THE SAINTS INHERITANCE. AND THE VVORLDLINGS PORTION.

Representing The Glorious condition of a child of God, and the Misery of having ones Portionin this World.

Vnfolding the State of true happiness with the Marks, Means, and Members thereof.

By IER. BURROUGHS.

Psal. 144.15.

Blessed is that People whose God is the Lord.

LONDON, Printed for Francis Eglesfield, at the Marigold in St. Paul's Church-yard, 1657.

The Authours Epistle to the Reader.

IT hath been the way of God in speaking to men, and drawing their hearts to him, to apply him­self to them, in those things they have skill of and are ac­quainted with. When Christ was revealed to the Wise men that came from the East, it was by a Star: they were A­stronomers, and conversed [Page] much in the contemplation of the Stars, and God speaks to them accordingly: When our Saviour called Fishermen to follow him, he tells them. Hee will make them Fish­ers of men; hee expresseth himself unto them in their own way.

And it may be the sutable­nesse of these subjects may in­vite some to read this treatise, especially it being the desires of many that heard the same, and found some work of God upon their hearts by them, to have it by them; at first I was [Page] unwilling to let such sudden things appear so publike, but after considering, that some way it may be usefull, and a little good is worth much of my time and labour, who knows what a truth, what a hint fitted to the apprehen­sions of people in their own way may doe, therefore here you have it, and the Lord prosper it to you.

Yours in Christ, IER. BURROUGHS.

KNow Christian Reader, that Part of this Work was perfected by the Au­thour in his life time. But it pleased God to take him away before the rest was finished, whereby the Copie was for a time mislayed, & with some dif­ficulty at length procured, which is now published for thy good. Bless God for preserving such a Iewell; and see thy soul bee in­riched by it. Let it not be said, there was a Prize put into thy hand, but thou hadst not a heart to make use of it. Remember thou hast an immortall soul, and art capable of living in immor­tall [Page] glory, therfore be not put off with the things of this life. Let not that satisfy thy soul, which may stand with the eter­nall hatred of the great God, least while others partake of an Inheritance above, thou have a Portion with reprobates belowe. Thou mightst have been past reading or hearing of these things, and have found by sad expe­rience, what it is to be excluded the Saints felicities. Imbrace the Opportunity and pass by the escapes of Printing. So

Farewell.

THE VVORLDLINGS PORTION.

17. Psalm. 14.

From men of the world, who have their portion in this life.

THis Psalme is Davids moan unto God under Sauls per­secution; sine dubio Saulum (saith Molerus upon it) without doubt the Psalmist aymes at Saul in it, wherein we have these 4. things.

[Page 2]First he appeals unto God to judge the uprightnesse of his heart, towards Saul. Verse 2. Let my sentence come from my pre­sence; from Saul and his Courtiers there comes a hard sentence, they call me Traytor, they call me Rebell, but Lord leave me not unto their sentence, let my sentence come from thy presence that I know will be another sentence, then what cometh from them, for thou hast proved me and tried me, and findest nothing in me; that is the first thing.

Secondly, his prayer to God to keep him in his way, his going, and his footsteps from sliding, Verse 5. Lord whatsoever the wrath of Saul be against me, yet let neither that, nor any other thing put me out of thy way but keep my heart close unto thee, and keep my paths in thy way, let not my footsteps so much as slide from thee, for Lord they watch at my halting, if they can find but the least slip from me, they take advantage of it to the utmost, and I am a poor, weak creature; therefore Lord keep me that my footsteps may not slide.

[Page 3]Thirdly, he prayes for deliverance,Verse 7. shew thy marveillous loving kindnesse to me O Lord; my straights they are marveillous, I know not what to do, nor whether to turn me, but my eyes are towards thee, as my straights are marveillous, so let thy loving kind­nesse be marveillous towards me, and keep me as the apple of thy eye, O Lord, I am but as a dog, a vile creature in the eyes of Saul, and those about him, but blessed be thy name, I can look up to thee, and know that I am dear unto thee, as the apple of thy eye; all the Saints of God are dear to God, at all times, but the persecuted Saints, they are the apple of Gods eye; if at any time they are dear to God, then especially when they are most persecuted, they are the apple of his eye, and the apple of an eye you know is weak, and little able to resist any hurt, which makes men the more tender of it; the more weak and shiftlesse Gods people are for themselves, the Lord is so much the more tender over them.

And one argument that the Psal­mist [Page 4] useth in praying against his ene­mies is this, and a speciall one, because they prospered so much in this world, they are inclosed in fat, and have their hearts desire, and thou fillest their bel­lies with thy hid treasure, they leave to their babes, they have their portion in this life; Lord keep me from them.

Lastly he doth professe his resolu­tion, yet notwithstanding all the dan­gers he was in, to go on in the wayes of God, and expects a gratious issue, but I (saith he) will behold, thy face in righteousnesse; indeed I cannot behold the face of the King without danger, there are a great many that run to kill me, and I desire his face, but though I cannot see his face, yet Lord I shall behold thy face, I will behold thy face, and it shall be in righteousnesse, I will still keep on in the wayes of righ­teousnesse, and when I awake, for I be­lieve that these troubles will not hold long: I shall not sleep a perpetuall sleep, but I shall be delivered, and sa­tisfied with thy likenesse, there shall be the manifestation of thy glory to me, [Page 5] that shall satisfy me for all the trou­bles that I have endured for thy names sake, that my soul shall say, I have enough; this is the summe of this Psalme.

Now the words read unto you, are a description of Davids adversaries, implying an argument, why he would be delivered from them; they are de­scribed to be men of this world, they were onely those that were adversa­ries to him; and a comfort it must needs be to the Saints of God, to see that none are their enemies, but wordly persons, men of this world, who have their portion in this life; they have somewhat here, and here is all they are like to have.

Secondly, it implies the argument, why he would be delivered; Lord de­liver me from them, because they are men of this world, who have their por­tion in this life; where lies the force of this argument, that he would be delivered from them because they were men of this world, that have their portion in this life; It consists first in [Page 6] this, Lord, they care not what inju­stice they do, they have no regard of any thing but in this world, therefore be it right or wrong, may they have but their lusts in this world, that is all they care for; Lord deliver me from such men; Secondly, here is all their good, their portion is in this life, and therefore they are greedy upon this, & if they may have this, let it be with the ruine of never so many men, though it be to raise their estates by my ruine, and the ruines of others, that are never so innocent, what care they they are greedy upon having their lusts satisfied, for here is all their portion; they care not for religion, they will make use of pretences of re­ligion any way for their own ends; what care they what pretences they make for religion, so they may thrive in the world they regard not anything in religion, so they may have their own ends; Lord, deliver me from such men; Thirdly, they have their portion in this world, hence is it that their hearts are so swelled with pride in [Page 7] their lusts, and so warm, their malice is so heated that it is outragious; O let not the foot of pride come upon me; de­liver me from proud men that flusht with the enjoyment of their hearts de­sires; As long as they may have their own ends, and fulfill their lusts, they will be exceedingly hardened in their own wayes, they will give no glory to thee, but will be so much the more enraged against thy people, by taking that as an argument that their wayes are good, Lord, therefore deliver me from those men; they scorne at prayer, or any thing that is said, concerning the tendernesse of Conscience; they despise Conscience and Prayer; Lord, let me never fall into the hands of such; deliver me from the men of this world, who have their portion in this life;The words opened. from the men of the world, that is from mortall men, from men though of the world, yet are not like to enjoy the world long, so some translate it, 89. Psal. 47. Remember how short my time is, saith David how short, what little time I have in this world, the men of this [Page 8] world, shall have but a little time here, the Hebrew word that is transla­ted men, with the change of the posi­tion of one prick, signifies dead men, mortui, as well as viri, (I say) with the change not of a prick, but onely of the position of one prick, of one point, it signifies dead men; they are men of the world, but such men as are within one prick of death, within one point of death, howsoever they rejoyce in this life; They are men that have all they have but onely leased for their lives, nay, not so much as leased, they have but an estate of life at the most, and this present life unto them, as in stead of all lives.

There are these 2. doctrinall con­clusions in the words, that lie plainly before you; The first is, there are a generation of men, to whom God gives some outward good things for a while, but these are all that ever they are like to have, they shall never have any more good from God, then that they have here for the present; Secondly, that Gods Saints do desire [Page 9] to be delivered from such kind of men; these 2. contain in them the hope of the holy ghost in the words.

First; there are a generation of men unto whom God gives out a portion,Doct. 1. some comforts in this world, and here is all that they are like to have; And now set your hearts I beseech you, unto what I have to say in this argu­ment, for meditating what to pitch upon for such an assembly, I could not determine of an argument that I thought might more reach unto the hearts of those to whom I was to speak then this, and I hope before I have done, you will find it such a se­rious argument that concerns us all.

I have read of Gregory that being advanced to preferment, he professed that there was no Scripture that went so to his heart, that struck such a trembling into his spirit, and daunted him so much as that Scripture did, Here you have your reward, Son in your life time you have had your pleasure; O this was a dreadfull Scripture that [Page 10] sounded in his ears continually; as Ierome speaks of that Scripture, arise ye dead, and come to judgement; night and day he thought that Scripture sounded in his ears; so Gregory here, you have your reward in this life, you have had your pleasure; this was the Scripture that night and day sounded in his ears; O that it might please God to assist me so far this day, that I might make this Scripture ring in your eares, even when you lie upon your beds, after the Sermon is done, that you may not forget the sound of it, Men of this world, who have their portion in this life; if this Scripture should prove to be the portion of any one of you, of the richest in this place, woe unto him, that ever he was born, which I shall anon make out fully to you.

But (you'le say) do you think to preach to men that have their porti­on here in this life? I fear me, I may meet with such, whom it nearly con­cerns in this congregation, therefore be not any of you too ready to put off this from you, to think your selves, [Page 11] out of the danger of this Scripture; for it was spoken concerning Saul, and Saul might have (for ought I know) as strong arguments of Gods love to him, as many of you, I fear have this day.

1 For 1. Saul was a man chosen imme­diately by God himself to be the first King that ever was over his own peo­ple, and was not that a great fa­vour.

2 2. Saul for his person was one of the godliest men that was amongst all Israel; higher from the shoulders to the head, then any of them; and for his endowments he was a man, whom God did endow with admirable gifts of government, he caused another spirit to come upon him; he was a man that when he heard of his prefer­ment, seemed to be very humble, as judging himself unworthy of such a dignity, saying, 1 Sam. 9.21. who am I,and what is my Fathers house, that I should be thus exalted; and when he had been chosen, some that would reject him, notwith­standing Gods honouring of him, [Page 12] Saul had a mighty power over his spi­rit, he was very week and a quiet man; for the Text saith, 1 Sam. 10.27. he held his peace, when the Children of Belial said, what have we to do with him; yea.

3 3. Though he were quiet in his own cause, yet he shewed himself to have an excellent spirit in a publick cause, he was full of anger: when it was for the good of the people that he was a governour over: when he heard of a dishonour done to the people of Israel, the Text saith, that 1 Sam. 11.16. his anger did rise within him; an excellent pattern for all Governours, for all in publick places, to be very silent, quiet, self-denying putting up wrongs, in their own cause, but to be full of zeal for the publick cause; to reserve their spirits for a publick good; Many, when they are anger'd in their private cause, and so full of violence, and spend their spirit there so much, that they have no spirit at all, when it comes to a pu­blick cause, Saul went beyond them in this.

[Page 13]Further, Saul was one who was much troubled at the sin of the people against God, he had not onely a spirit to vindicate publick wrongs, but when he saw the people sin against God, his heart was much troubled thereat, and grieved for it, and being mighty sollicitous and carefull to pre­vent sin in the people, this you shall have in the first of Samuel 14.33. they told Saul there that the people had sinned in eating with bloud, upon that, Saul shews himself displeased, come (saith he) and do not sin against the Lord, rowle a stone hither; he would see with his own eyes, that they did slay the cattle, and they did powre forth the bloud that they might not sin against God in eating bloud; this was his care; yea he was very diligent to enquire of God what he should do in businesses of great consequence, he would not go out, till he had first en­quired of God.1 Sam. 14.27.

Yea more then all this, he was a man that had a very reverend esteem of the Prophets of God; when Samuel came [Page 14] to him,1 Sam. 15.13. O thou blessed of the Lord (saith Saul to him) when Samuel shewed un­to him, what his sin was, he c [...]me and confessed it before the people, saying,1 Sam. 15.30. I have sinned, I have sinned against the Lord, meerely at the conviction of one Prophet.

And God seemed to be with Saul very much, shewing great respect to him, to make him an instrument of much good to Israel; he granted unto him as glorious a victory as ever man had in this world, for so we may call it, and if there be any outward thing in the world, might be gather'd as an argument of Gods love, such a remar­kable victory as he had over his ene­mies; well might the victory you shall find in the first of Samuel 13. where the Philistins were risen up a­gainst him and there were 30000 cha­riots,1 Sam. 15. & 14. chapters. of his adversaries, and 6000. horsemen, and people as the sand of the Sea for multitude; well, here was a mighty enemie, what had Saul to oppose these? you shall find that there were but 600. men with Saul; there [Page 15] was of one side 30000. Chariots, 6000 horsemen, and people as the sand of the Sea without number, and Saul had but 600. with him at this time, yea and of those 600. there was not any one of them, that had a sword, but onely Saul and Ionathan; for the Philistins were wise enough to disarm all the malignants that they accounted so, and would not let so much as a smith be amongst them; they would not onely take away their arms, but they would look to them to see that they had no armes supplied unto them, that was the wisedome of the Philistins, yet we find, if you read afterwards in the Scripture, that God was so far with Saul, and blessed him, and gave him victory over all these; besides all this, God blessed Saul with a very gracious child, a Godly Son of a sweet nature, Ionathan, which indeed if any outward argument in the world, might be an argument of Gods love; that might be.

Now put all these things together, and yet here is the man that hath his [Page 16] portion in this world; I now chal­lenge him that hath certain evidence of a mighty work of God upon him in Christ, let him shew me greater ar­guments of Gods love to him, then Saul might have done, and yet it proved to be Sauls condition to have onely his portion in this world; God herein shews that his mercy is his own, and that he will let out his mer­cy as he pleases, it is your Fathers pleasure to give you a Kingdom; the Fa­ther deals out the portion as he pleases unto his children; God will let the line of his mercy go thus far to one and there stop, and so far to another and there stop, and then come in a crosse line again unto him.

God so disposes of his mercy, that there are some that shall have heaven and earth to be their portion, & there portion is blessed, indeed, there are some that shall have earth, but not heaven, and their portion is poor, and sad; there are others, that shall have heaven, but not earth, and their por­tion is rich & blessed; there are others [Page 17] that shall neither have heaven nor earth, and their portion, (you'l say) is miserable indeed, Gods mercy is his owne to dispose off as he will;21. Genes. 14. we read of Abraham: He calleth for Ishmael and Hagar, and he gives them a piece of bread, a bottle of water and sends them away, there is an end of them; so Jehoshaphat: He gave his other Son (saith the Text) gifts, 2. Chron. 21.3. but the King­dom he gave to Iehoram; so God hath people to whom he gives pieces of bread, bottles of water, yea some, to whom he gives great gifts in this world, but he keeps his inheritance for his Isaacs, he keeps the Kingdom for Iehoram; Esau he had his portion in this world, and such a portion as he thought to be a very good portion too: Brother (saith he) I have enough. 33. Genes. 19.

Most rich men go not so far as E­sau, they have their portion, and yet complain of it, Esau had his portion, and thought he had enough; Christs auditours, in the 6. of Luke 24. had their portion in this world, woe to you, here is your consolation, (saith [Page 18] Christ unto them) O dreadfull speech, wo to this man, wo to such wretches, here is their consolation; Dives he had his portion in this world,16. Luke 25. Son re­member in thy life time thou hadst thy pleasure, in thy life time, and thou hadst thy good things, they were thy good things, those things that were measur'd out for thee, thou hadst them in thy life time.

In the handling of this argument, I shall divide what I have to say into these 6. particulars, that you may eve­ry one of you go the more readily along with me; first, why it is that God will deal out somewhat to wick­ed men in this world, why they shall have any portion at all; Secondly, that this their portion, it is confined to this life; and why so; Thirdly, some Corollaries that you will see will na­turally flow from those two; Fourth­ly, we shall consider the condition of these men, who are such that have their portion in this world; and fifth­ly, we shall endeavour to shew unto you, who are those men, to cull out [Page 19] of the congregation, what that man is, & which is that woman, that is like to have their portion in this world, and then sixthly, conclude in the words of exhortation unto you all.

1 First then, God doth give to wick­ed men a portion, he deals out some­thing to them in this world, because they are his creatures;Why God gives any thing to wicked men. saith Iehu con­cerning Iezebel, go take away this cursed woman, shew some respect un­to her, let her not lye in the streets, for she is the daughter of a King; so saith God, well, though these be vile persons, yet they are my creatures, some respect they shall have from me, some good I'le communicate to them.

It is not an argument strong e­nough, that because you are Gods creatures, therefore God should be mercifull eternally to you; but it may be argument strong enough, because you are his creatures, you shall have somewhat here; for this time of life, is the time of patience, the day of Gods long suffering, and therefore somewhat you shall have.

[Page 20] 2 Secondly, wicked men do some­what for God here, some kind of ser­vice that is at least materially a service for God, and God will not have them clamour upon him, that they have no­thing for their work, God will give to every one, what they do for him, though it be never so little, you have a famous place for that in Ezekiel: 29. Ezekiel 18.19.20. Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon caused his army to do great service a­gainst Tyrus, yet had he no wages for it. Therefore God enquires about this, and seems to complain why Ne­buchadnezzar should be all this while without his wages; therefore, behold I will give the land of Egypt unto him, he shall take her spoil, and her prey, and that shall be his wages.

Many wicked men, God doth make use of in divers services, and much re­freshing and good his Churches shall have from them, the Lord causes the very earth to help the woman, earthly men to be of use to the Church; and God will not be be­holding to them for their work; A [Page 21] thorn may serve to stop a gap, though it be but a thornbush, and if it serve to stop a gap and be of any use, it hath some benefit by it, all that while it is kept from the fire; whereas were it not of use, it might presently be brought to the fire; An argument by the way for all men to be of as much use to the Church of God, as possibly they can, it may be that is the very thing that keeps them from the fire; thou art a thorn, but God hath use of thee, and therefore brings thee not to the fire, but if thou once comest to be unusefull, the fire is the next thing thou shalt hear off, I remember Austin, Aug. de Ci­vitate Dei 5. book 12. chap. speaking of the Romans that had such a flourishing condition for a while, gives this for one reason of it, that the Romans had brave spirits, they were men that had excellent morallities, and heroique kind of spi­rits, they were delivered from that basenesse of spirit, that other people had, and therefore God shewed some kind of respect to them; many instan­ces might be in this kind.

[Page 22] 3 But thirdly, God gives wicked men a portion here to shew the world, what little good there is in all the things that are here below; certainly if there were much good, they should never have them; it is an argument, there is no great excellency in the strength of body, for an oxe hath it more then you; an argument there is no great excellency in Agility of bo­dy, for a dog hath it more then you; an argument no great excellency in gay cloaths, for a Peacock hath them more then you, its no argument there is any great excellency in gold and sil­ver, for the Indians that know not God, have them more then you; and if these things had any great worth in them, certainly God would never give them to wicked men; as it is an argument, there is no great evill in afflictions in this world, because the Saints are so much afflicted; so its no great argument there is any great good in this world, because the wicked they enjoy so much of it,Luther in G [...]nes. Luther hath such an ex­pression as this.

[Page 23]The Turkish Empire, as great as it is, is but a crumme that the Mr of the family casteth to dogs; such an esteem had Luther of the whole Tur­kish Empire, and indeed God in gi­ving of them worldly goods to Turks and wicked ones, who are his enemies shews there is not much excellency in them; God therefore casts them pro­miscuously up and down the world, because he looks upon them as worth­lesse things, God doth not so much regard whether subjects be prepar'd to give him his glory of them, yea or no, you shall have them however, he is content to venture them.

Indeed when God cometh unto his choice mercies in Christ, there he looks to have glory from them, and he doth never give them to any, but first he prepares them that they may give him the glory of those mercies; but it is otherwise with others; as sup­pose you see a man but gathering of crabs although swine be under the tree, he cares not much to drive them away, they are but crabs, let them [Page 24] have them; but if he were gathering any choice and precious fruit, if any swine should come under he drives them away: so as for outward things, Crabs, the Lord suffers the swine of the world to come grunting and take them up, but when he comes to the choice mercies in his Christ, there he makes a distinction; O that is precious fruit; a Blacksmith that is working upon iron, though a great many cin­ders and little bits of iron fly up and down he regards them not, but a Goldsmith that is working upon gold, he preserveth every ray and eve­ry dust of gold; and a Lapidary that is working upon precious stones, every little bit he will be sure to preserve; a Carpenter that is onely hewing of timber, he much regards it not, if chips fly up and down, but it is not so with a Lapidary; so these outward things are but as the chips, and cinders, and such like trash, and therefore God gives a portion to wicked men out of them.

4 And then further, God knows that [Page 25] he hath time enough to manifest his justice upon them, he hath an eter­nity hereafter for the declaration of his justice against sinners; and there­fore lets them have somewhat, for a while; as you know it is natu­rall in all, when they see a man going to execution, that is not like to live above an houre or two, every one is ready to pitty him, and to be any way officious to him, O saith one, the man shall not have comfort long, we cannot do much for him, he will have misery enough, shortly, and it is ob­servable, let a man go to execution for wickednesse, and then he is pittied by all; but if a man should suffer for god­linesse, then perhaps they will not be so full of pitty towards him; as I re­member in the book of Martyrs, there is a story of Mr Iohn Frith, a learned godly Minister, and Andrew Huet that were martyrs, and were to suffer for their consciences, and the story tells us of one Dr Cooke a Parson in London, that openly admonished the people that they should pray for them no [Page 26] more then they would doe for a dog, that charity of theirs that they talk so much of, is such towards them that suffer out of conscience; & as amongst Papists, so amongst ungodly men, let a man suffer out of conscience, they will rather rayle at him, and when they are in their sufferings, they will rather give them gall and vinegar to drink, as they once did Christ upon the Crosse; though in other sufferings they will pitty men.

5 Fifthly, by this that God gives to the wicked the Lord shews what great things he hath reserved for his own children; surely if the dogs have so much, the Father keeps a good house, if the hang-byes may have such doals, certainly there is good provi­sion for the children within, as by the afflictions of the Saints, God doth de­clare to wicked men, and would have them draw such an argument from it; that there are fearfull things that are like to befall them, if judgement begin at the house of God, where shall the wicked and ungodly appears so by the [Page 27] prosperity that wicked men have in this world, God doth declare to his children, and he would have them ar­gue from thence, what then hath he reserved for his beloved ones, for his Saints, for his Children that are so dear unto him.

6 Sixthly, God fetches a great deal of glory from hence, he fetches about his own ends very much, from the portion that wicked men have; as sometimes he doth it that they might stumble and harden their hearts, and break their necks at it, and to ripen their sins, hence he lets them go on a long time, and have their wills; 33. Isaiah 1. Wee to thee who spoilest, and wert not spoiled, and dealest treacherously, and wert not dealt treacherously with all, when thou shalt cease to spoyl, thou shalt be spoiled; I'le let thee go on, thou shalt spoil as much as thou wilt, and when thou hast done spoiling, thou shalt be spoiled thy self; sometimes God doth it, to fetch about this end, namely, to chastise his own people with the prosperity of the wicked, as I have [Page 28] read of one, being a Monk was ad­vanced to come into an Episcopall seat, and being a lewd wicked man, he began to be proud of his advance­ment, whereupon hee heard a voice uttering these words, cur superbus O infelix, &c. why art thou so proud, O unhappy man, thou art not advanced, because thou art worthy of this honour, but because this City is so ill, that it deserves such a Prelate to be over it, in way of judgement to that place. God advances some man out of wayes of heavy judgements unto o­thers, God gives them such a portion not out of love to them, though they are ready to gather the argument, but out of his displeasure unto others; and then, he gives a plentifull portion to many, to teach us all to do good unto our enemies, not onely humanitati as they say, but homini not onely to hu­mane nature, but to men, to men that are wicked, some good must be done unto them.

And besides the Lord would shew hereby, that he would have no argu­ment [Page 29] of love or hatred to be drawn from these outward things; and indeed because he would not have them to expect any more; it may be many men that are ungodly, prospering in this world, they gather this argument, that therefore God loves them, & intends mercy to them; no, you may rather gather an argument quite t'other way because God intendeth no further good unto you hereafter, therefore it is, you have so much now; we use to answer men that come for their doal, when they come twice, why do you come again, you have had your doal already; so will God answer to many men, when they shall cry to him for mercy at that day, why come you to me for more, you have had your doal already; have you not had already more then your works comes to, more then you have done; you have had your part and portion already; indeed men speak much of Gods mer­cy, and the mercy of God we ac­knowledge to be very great, and glo­rious; well, God doth shew himself [Page 30] glorious in mercy that thou being so wicked hast so much as thou hast in this world; and therefore though thou shouldst be denyed of eternall mercy hereafter, yet thou hast cause to tell divels and damned creatures that shall be thy company, that God was very mercifull to thee, while thou diddest live in this world.

The portion of the wick­ed is con­fined to this life. 17 Ierem. 13.14. Revel. 3.But secondly, here is all that ever thou art like to have; 1. because there are some men whose names are writ­ten in the earth, whereas the Saints are described to be men that are redeemed from the earth. It is their happinesse to be redeemed from the earth, and all the happinesse thou hast is that thou art written in the earth. 2. here is their portion, because they are vile in the eyes of God; if you should ask the question, why you give bones to the dog, and swill to the swine, and nothing else, why the answer would be, because it is a dog that hath it, and because it is a swine, it is dogs meat; certainly God doth speak exceeding contemptibly of all ungodly ones in [Page 31] the world, let them be never so great in regard, of outwards; a vile person shall arise saith Daniel;11. Dan. 21. what is this vile person? Interpreters generally consent in this, that it is meant of An­tiochus Epiphanes, that was a mighty great Prince, such a Prince as when the Samaritans did write to him, they writ Antiocho magno Deo, to Antiochus the great God, and his very name shews him to be a great one, Antiochus Epiphanes, as much as Antiochus the illustrious, and the famous, and yet when the holy Ghost speaks of him, it is Antiochus a vile person, they are vile in the eyes of God; if there be any in a family that you care not much for, you make no great provision for them; doth God take care for Oxen? somewhat they have but little; doth God take care for ungodly men. 3. Here is their portion, it is confin'd to this life, why they chose it them­selves, & in that they have no wrong, they make choice of this portion themselves; Moses speaking to the people saith he, I set before you life and [Page 32] death; so do the Ministers of God in preaching to you, they set before you life and death, what do you chuse now? you chuse the way that goes to death, you have but your choice; you chuse vanitie to be your portion, God does you no wrong to give you vani­tie; now you that will indent with God for your penny, you cannot take it ill, if when the end of the day comes, God puts you off with your penny.

You know those in the vineyard, that agreed for their penny, they began to murmure indeed, when they came to receive their wages; but saith the Mr of the vineyard, did you not agree with me so? so you agree with God; all you intend in Gods service is, that you may have some present comfort in this world, you dare not trust God for the future, and here is that that God will shew his infinite displeasure against the sin of distrust by, that when the Lord propounds now in this day of grace, such glorious and blessed things to the children of men, and for [Page 33] ought you know, any of you may have your portion in them, as well as others, & yet you dare not trust God for these gratious things; you think rather with your selves, let me have somewhat now, somewhat for the present, that for the present is reall, that which you talk off, is to come, & I know not whether they be imagi­nations or no; Therefore you mean it seems to serve God for your present pay, & present pay you shall have & no more; there are some servants that are your day labourers, that expect their pay at night, and if you give them that there is an end, but there are other ser­vants, that will serve you in expectati­on of a reversion, & expectation of pre­ferment, especially when they serve no­ble men & Princes, though they have no present pay given them at night, yet they go on cheerfully in their ser­vice, they expect some great reversions and leases, & preferments afterwards; & now though they have nothing at present, yet when the other befalls them, they and their posterities are in­riched; [Page 34] this is the direct difference be­tween the men of the world & Gods children; the men of the world will do nothing without present pay, that which is just before them they must needs have, their hearts are upon that; but the Saints they hear what a blessed thing God hath revealed in his word, what a blessed Covenant of grace there is, what rich promises of glo­rious things to come, now they be­lieve God, and trust in God for these, and they say, Lord let me have my portion in the life to come, and what ever thou doest with me here, I care not; as it was the speech of Austin, Lord, here burn, here cut mee, but spare mee hereafter; I am content (Lord) to be burnt, to be cut, to endure any thing in the world, onely hereafter I look for somewhat else, and i'le wait for hereafter.

You'le not wait for hereafter, but you must have it for the present, and that is the reason you are put off here; O it is a serious thing, I speak off to you, many a soul will wring its hands, [Page 35] and curse it self eternally, that it was not content to trust God for hereafter, but would have present pay; you that are great Merchants, if you buy a thing that is but a trifle, you pull out your purse, and give the mony down pre­sently, but suppose you go to the ex­change and bargain for 1000 l. there you may give a little down now, but the great pay must come upon pay dayes afterwards, it is not expected it should be presently done; so there are some men in the world will trade with God, but they trade with God for pidling things, for their credit, and ap­plause, and for their preferments and estates: God gives down the pay pre­sently, you shall have it, there is your mony presently, it is done; but now there are other of Gods Saints that trade with God for great things, for immortality and glory, & a Kingdom, and the Crown of eternall life, now they expect not to have it down pre­sently they are content to stay; O these are the best Traders, the best Mer­chants, that will trade with God for [Page 36] great things, and be content to stay.

Further these things that are here, they are the onely suitable things to your hearts, and what will you do with any more hereafter, these things doe exceedingly please you, and give you content as agreable to you, and the things that are to come, are disagrea­ble; what would men do that are car­nall and wicked now, what would they do in heaven, certainly if you hate Gods Saints now, that have but a little grace, you would hate them infinitely more afterwards, when they are perfect in grace; & when all your common gifts shall be taken away, for so it shall be; now the things of God are unsuitable to you, though you have now many common gifts, and you now abhorre the grace of God, though it be imperfect, what then, when all common gifts shall be taken from you, and grace made per­fect, how insuitable will it be then to you; therefore expect nothing here­after.

[Page 37]Again 5. You abuse your portion you have now, what will you do with more, who will trust you with the true riches, you abuse that you have; indeed men of the world that are wicked, and very rich, and preferr'd to places of honour and power, O what a deal of mischief they do in the world, what dreadfull evills are they unto the earth; such men, how do they abuse their portions; why now as it is with a tooth in a mans head, a tooth indeed is preferr'd to have an emi­nent place in the head, but when the tooth comes to be rotten, painfull, what do we, but pull it out, and throw it away: so though God preferres men to eminent places, when through their wickednesse they grow rotten, and do hurt, the Lord pluckes them out in his anger; they abuse their por­tion, and do a great deal of mischief, therefore must expect to be thrown away.

But above all, the argument is, be­cause they have no interest in Iesus Christ; the rich treasures of the infi­nite [Page 38] grace of God, are let out in Christ; God hath divers conduit pipes, (as I may say) of his grace, to let out unto his creatures; there are some lesser conduit pipes, and those conduit pipes may be opened through the generall bounty of God; but now the Lord hath the great current of his eternall mercies, for some that he doth intend eternall good unto, and this great cur­rent of his, it is stopped by justice, the infinite justice of God doth stop this great current, so as it cannot be open­ed to have any drop of that mercy let out, untill the divine justice comes to be satisfied; in the mean time the other smaller pipes run, the generall bounty of God still flowes; Christ therefore out of pitty to mankind that they may not be put off, with these generall out­ward comforts, he comes and satisfies Gods infinite justice, that he might open the current, the sluce of his in­finite & eternall grace to others; now happy are those creatures, who have interest in the Lord Christ, for this is his work to satisfy the justice of the [Page 39] Father, that so the great pipe may be opened, and then flowes in all grace, infinite eternall grace, when that comes once to be opened, no mervail though we hear of such glorious things, that the Saints of God have in the life to come, no mervaile, why Christ doth come and opens the great sluce of Gods infinite grace and mer­cy to them; as for the men of the world, they have but a little of the drislings of Gods generall bountie through some crannies, but the floud­gates of Gods grace are opened in Christ: therefore till divine justice be satisfied, there can be no further good for poor man, but meerely the fruits of Gods generall bountie, and patience.

There are some creatures, whom the Lord hath left to the course of ju­stice, they shall have what they earne, and no more; others there are, whom God hath set his heart upon, and whe­ther they earn or no, God intendeth eternal mercies to them, here is the difference of the Covenant of works, [Page 40] and the Covenant of grace, and there­fore the one is left to himself: and the other, Christ the head of the Cove­nant comes to undertake for him what he cannot do; they who are not chil­dren, and must not expect childrens portions, as many of you rich men, when you die, you will leave your ser­vants some legacy; perhaps you'le give every servant in your house 5. l. or so, but when you come to your children, to write in your will, what such a son, and such a daughter shall have, that is another manner of businesse, then 40 s. or 5. l. Great things you leave to them.

So the world may be divided be­tween children and servants, for though the truth is, all men are at de­fiance with God, yet God maketh them servants one way or other, and there is some little legacy that ser­vants shall have but they must not ex­pect the childrens portion; therefore they have it here, but must not have it hereafter.

Thus saith the Lord, if the Prince [Page 41] give a gift unto any of his sons, the in­heritance shall be his sons, but if to his servant, then it shall be but till Iubilee; this was Gods law, that if a Prince gave a gift to his son, his son should inherit it for ever, but if he give it to a seruant; it should continue with him but for a while; Here is the difference of Gods administration of all his gifts, he giveth some to servants, and these shall continue for a time, with in a little while all will be called for a­gain, all the good and all the comfort thou hast, God will call for it again; but now that which he gives to his children, they shall have for ever, their pleasures are durable and their mercies everlasting.

Again the portion that the world hath here comes from Gods patience, now there will be an end of the mani­festation of the glory of patience in this world; as there are some graces of the Spirit of God in the Saints, that shall have an end in regard of their exercise in this world, so there are some attributes of God that shall have [Page 42] an end in regard of the manifestation of them in that way that God doth now manifest them in this life, and that is the patience of God towards ungodly ones, now if they hold all upon patience (mark, they hold all upon patience) when that expires, then all their good is at an end.

And ungodly men, shall have to deal with God immediately in the world to come (I beseech you ob­serve but this answer) now they have to deal with God through creatures, and while they have to deal with God through creatures, they may get a great deal, & may make shift for much, but when they shall come to have to deal with God immediately, then it will be otherwise with them, as for example, there are a great many hang-byes at great mens houses, perhaps when they come to have to deal with the servants, they get some bits and scraps, and many things of the ser­vants; but if they know they can have nothing, but from the very hand of the Knight or Lord of the house him­self, [Page 43] then they will expect no great matter; so wicked men in this world, they are as hang-byes and all that they have, are but as scraps from the ser­vants, they have to deal onely with creatures, they look no further; But hereafter things shall be setled ano­ther way, and all things shall be weighed by God himself, in a ballance of justice, & distributed by the hands of God himself immediately, and then things will be carried after ano­ther manner, the Lord himself will come to dispose of things.

Then it was a speech of a German Divine, though he were a good man, and lived very innocently, when he lay upon his sick bed and apprehend­ed death, he was in great terrours of spirit, mightily troubled, and some of his friends came to him, & asked him, why should you be so troubled, that have lived so good a life as you have done? this was his answer: The judge­ments of God are one, and the judge­ments of men are another, I have now to deal with God, it is true, I lived thus [Page 44] before men, and men gave their ver­dict of me as good, and thought I was in a good condition, but O, I am now to go to God, and to deal immediately with him, and Gods judgements and mans judgements are different things; when God shall come to weigh all mens portions out, as it will be, then so much righteousnesse, so much hap­pinesse; you'l say then, Lord what shall become of us all, all our righ­teousnesse is as the menstruous cloth; I but for the Saints, the righteous­nesse of Christ will be put into one scoale, and their portion into the o­ther, and their portion will be weighed by the righteousnesse of Christ; Now when thou comest to God, thou must come to the scoale, and thou wilt put in thy good servings of God, and thy coming to Church, and some good civill actions and morall things thou hast done, thou wilt put them in the scoale, God will say, that thou hast had already, weighs down all those. Hast thou nothing to put into the scoales but this? thou hast had thy [Page 45] reward already for all this, and much more, then, if there be nothing to put into the scoale but this, thou art un­done, and there is nothing for thee for eternity; and these are the 2. first things; now then some Corollaries from hence, and then we will proceed unto the other.

Vse 1.Is it so that wicked men have a portion here, and that is all they shall have. 1. then, we may see a reason, why the men of the world are so cun­ing in the things of the world, why they can make a better shift for them­selves, in the world, then other men can, why, here is their portion, their very happinesse, and good is here; no mervail though they speed so well as they do:1 Corinth. 2.12. We have not received the spirit of the world (saith the Apo­stle,) we cannot tell how to shift in the world, so as other men doe, for indeed we look further then these things; you know a swine though it goes away abroad all day wandering up and down, it knows the way to the trough at night; but if a [Page 46] sheep wander a little out of his place, it knows not how to come back a­gain, but wanders up and down till it be lost; swine are not so, ungodly men, though they go up and down wandering, they know how to come to their trough at night, they have better skill in the world they are more artificiall in the things of this life, as the Scripture speaks, the children of this world, are wiser in their genera­tion, then the children of light; why is it? why, their portion is in this world.

Vse 2.Secondly, here we see the reason, why there are so great ones in the world, that regard religion so little as they do, and the wayes of God, and the Church of God, why it is not their portion: those things that concerns another life, is not any part of their portion: they mind what it is that con­cerns the present life, because this is their portion; when many come into places of dignitie, and power, what are their thoughts, why now they think of gratifying their servants; now [Page 47] they think of respect and honour that they shall have abroad in the world, and be accounted some body, now they think of revenging all their wrongs, of making up of all their broken titles, &c. this hath been here­tofore very ordinary in men advanced amongst you, these are all their thoughts as for doing service for God, and for the Church, and vindicating the truth of God, and his honour, that is scarce in all their thoughts, for they do not look upon that as part of their portion; here is the reason, why so many magistrates are like to 18. Acts 17. Gallio, caring for none of those things; they were to him but matter of words, and yet they were about the great funda­mentall points of religion, whether Christ were the true Messias, and whether he were God or no, but to Gallio these things were but matter of words; and so the great things of God and religion to carnall hearts, are things, of no great consequence; yea, when as Sosthenes that was the ruler of the Sinagogue for counte­nancing [Page 48] of Paul, had the rude multi­tude of the Citie, rose up to apprehend him; Gallio cared for none of these things; what did he care for rectifying any thing that was amisse in reli­gion.

O let us, (say they, that have their portion here) what ever becomes of things) let us have peace (say they) that we may live peaceably in our houses, and enjoy that we have quiet­ly, they look no further then that, be­cause their portion is here; As for truth, how do they reject that, and contemne it; such a speech (as is cre­dibly reported) hath come from a Citizen here even in cursing of truth, so, as had he lived amongst the Iews, he would certainly have been stoned to death; let us have peace, and a pox of truth; I say, such a speech as this, among the Iews would have caused him to have been stoned to death, being such horrible blasphemy, but how many are ready to say with Pi­late;18. Iohn 38. when as Christ talked to him of truth; truth (saith Pilate) what is truth? [Page 49] as if he had said, what a strange man is this, the man is in danger of his life, and he talks of truth, what is truth? (saith Pilate) and turns it back upon him presently; just thus for all the world, are the hearts of many, they think what should we look at truth, or at any thing now, but to preserve our lives and estates, and outward com­forts in the world; what is truth?

They are a company of mad-braind-fellows, that are factious and sedi­tious; who talk of truth, but know not what they say, come let us have peace though it be upon any terms; who is there in this place that desires it not, the Lord knows, peace it is the desire of those that are accused most for want of desires in this thing; yea, we dare challenge any of you, with this challenge; those who have been most at the Throne of grace begging unto God for peace for England, let them carry the day those that have put forth most prayers for peace be­fore the Throne of grace, we are wil­ling they shall have the day; we read [Page 50] that amongst all the tribes, that came up in a warlike-way to help the peo­ple of God against oppression in Iudges:5. Iudges 18. that of all Nephtali was the onely tribe, that joyned with Zebulun, that jeoparded their lives in the cause of God, that would take up armes to defend themselves and the people a­gainst oppression; surely these 2. tribes by the others that would not venture themselves, were at that time ac­counted very factious, and very sedi­tious; what they onely, Zebulun and Nephtali? why, yet that is observable, though there where none joyned with Zebulun but onely Nepthtali, there is no tribe of which it is so much spo­ken, to be a tribe full of courtesie and civilitie, of a peaceable & quiet dispo­sition, as Nephtali was; you shall find that, if you read the 49. of Genesis: 49. Genes. 21. there are these 2. things said of Nephta­li, 1. that he was as a Hinde let loose, & gave goodly words; I, but they may be but words of complement, and false; nay, when Moses comes with the blessing (you shall find these [Page 51] 2. places, one in Genesis, and the other in Deuteronomie; when Moses comes with the blessing upon Nephtali; Neph­tali filled with favour, and with the blessing of the Lord; what is the meaning? Nephtali was a tribe that had most courtesy, and civility of all, compared to a goodly Hind, of a quiet disposition, and courteous language, one that had the favour of God, and the favour of men, and yet this Nep­thali was the tribe that would jeopard their lives, and take up armes in de­fence of the people of God, against oppression in those times, above all.

And Phinehas that was so zealous, and would make use of the sword, God said, 25. Num­bers 12.13. he would make a Covenant of peace with him; even with Phinehas that is such a fiery hot man, a Cove­nant of peace must be made with him, by God himself, for he did indeed by that way procure peace to Israel; for so the Text saith there in that place of Numbers, that because Phinehas was so zealous, it was (saith God) [Page 52] that I might not consume them in my jea­lousie; As if he should have said, if there had not been some amongst them, that had been zealous, and as they account fiery, I would have been zealous my self, and fiery my self, and consumed them; and it was well they had such amongst them; and one day those that cry out of them, may come to see cause, to blesse God for them; we had such, would not have the world put off, and gull'd with the fair name of peace; we know the di­vell hath made much use of words in former times, and would fain make use of it, as if those that desir'd truth most, were not greatest friends unto peace, God forbid, but it should be so, why though it is true, we think not we have our portion here, and therefore we would not have peace upon any terms; Indeed we confesse our por­tion lies higher, and that wherein our portion doth consist, we would have upon any terms; and therefore desire with Paul, 3. Philip. If by any means, I may at­tain to the resurrection of the dead; [Page 53] so if by any means, upon any terms, that I may have peace at the great day whatsoever I endure here; we would be glad that all our mountains were mountains of Olivet, but yet we would be loth to have them moun­tains of corruption; You read in the Kings of a 2. Kings 23.13. mountain of corruption,of offence, so it is in the old La­tine, now if we compare one Scri­pture with another, we shall find, that was no other but mount O­livet; mount Olivet was made a mountain of corruption: there Solo­mon did build idolatrous Temples for the honour of the Gods of his Queen, those gods that his Queen did wor­ship,1. Kings 11.7. Solomon built Temples for to gratifie her, & it was upon the Mount before Ierusalem, which was the mount of Olivet, now you know the Mount Olivet had his name from O­lives that did grow there, and were emblems of peace, but yet the mount Olivet may be made a mount of cor­ruption; we would be glad that we might live upon mount Olivet, all our [Page 54] dayes, but are loth this mount Olivet should be made a mount of corru­ption.

[...]Give me leave but in a few words, yet to put some considerations to you, and if I speak not reason in them, re­ject them; 1. because that you are so greedy of comforts in this world, you would fain have peace, but I hope a safe peace, and that is all we do desire; if the peace be not safe, O the bloud that may follow after; we read in the 27. of the Acts v. 13. That there was indeed a calme, and the South-wind did blow softly for a while, but pre­sently there did rise a tempestuous wind called Euroclydon; take we heed (my brethren) that we be not delu­ded with the softly South-wind, take heed that there be not an Euroclydon, that blows presently after; were we sure to be delivered from that same Euroclydon, we should be glad of con­tinuance of soft blowings of the South-wind.

Can you think of a safe peace, to live under any arbitrary governments; [Page 55] no, that you'l say; and therefore we account our condition ill now, for we have arbitrary governments amongst us still, do not the Parliament them­selves govern in that kind?

[...]Give me leave in a word to answer this; consider of the difference be­tween the arbitrary government the Parliament complains off, and what now you feel; 1. that was then when the Kingdom was in a setled way, and especially when there was no contra arbitrary power to oppose it, yet then it went on, and surely then it did but make way for worse arbitrary govern­ment, but now it is in a vvay, vvhen the Kingdom is unsetled, & in a vvay vvhere there is a necessity of some help beyond the ordinary course of lavv, because of a contra arbitrary povver that is opposed; and is it pos­sible for any man that hath any vvise­dome, or understanding not to see the difference betvveen these tvvo?

But I'le shevv you a greater diffe­rence then this, that that vvas before, those that governed then, suffered no­thing [Page 56] in it themselves; but gained all; novv those that are accused for the present, if that be arbitrary they suffer themselves as much as vve do, and their posterity suffers as much as ours, therefore the thing is far diffe­rent from vvhat vvas before.

3 And yet further, if you would not be carried away with words, but judge righteous judgement, consider this: can you think that if the adversa­ries should prevail, you should be onely at the dispose of the King? do you not think that those that are with him, & give such strength and assistance to him, that you must not lie at their mercy too, and will that be safe for you; I put it to every mans conscience, whether he can think that it is safer, for Church, or Commonwealth to be governed by the King with those that are now about him, and an army of Papists, or to be governed by the King with his 2. Houses of Parlia­ment, which is the safest way in the consciences of any men living.

Yet further, consider, if you have [Page 57] your eyes in your heads, that perhaps what you ayme at as your end, your adversaries may ayme to be as their means, and what will become of you then, if that that you would have as an end, they shall look at but as a me­dium; consider what consequences, may come of that.

And lastly, you that do desire so much peace to preserve your own por­tions here, would not you willingly have such peace, as those that have appeared for you in houses of Parlia­ment, in City, in Ministery, that have been most active be preserved too? are you so desirous of it, as to be willing to leave them to the fury and rage of their adversaries? were not this one of the horriblest wickednesses that ever was committed in a Kingdom, when men from a desire to save their own estates particularly, should betray those that have been faithfull to them in their places of trust.

It was a speech of Demosthenes, to one that would fain have peace. It is a vain and preposterous thing to desire [Page 58] peace with the flock, upon this condition, that the keepers of the flock may be be­trayed; The fair name of peace will ne­ver prevail with a wise man, when this shall come to be the condition of it, (the good people in Chrysostomes time) thought it such a thing, to have but the mouth of one Chrysostome stop­ped, that they professed, if the Sunne should turn back, & keep in her rayes, it were more tollerable, then that the mouth of Iohn Chrysostome should be stopped; they had such a high esteem, of a faithfull Minister in those times; therefore if you would be faith full to God, and to his Kingdom, and to those that have appeared for you, look after such peace, wherein you and they may be safe.

God knows they would have been willing, to have been as silent as you, but suppose all the Ministers of the Kingdom, and men that had ability to appear publickly, had all been si­lent, so as the businesse had been wholly betrayed, and at length an ar­my of Papists had risen, when you had [Page 59] had no help to have resisted them, would you not have cried to Mini­sters? would you not have cried to Magistrates? would you not have cried to Parliament men? if they have ven­tured themselves to be faithfull for you, know, you can have no peace ex­cept they have it; and it were an un­worthy thing to think of your safety without theirs.

But you'l say, we would not have our estates, and peace, thus (as you speak) upon any terms, without any regard to religion, we have our por­tion in religion, as well as you, and we have our consciences to look after as well as you; and God forbid it should be otherwise, but that religion should prosper too with our peace, but we would not have such Sects to be maintained in the Kingdom; let us have truth and religion, but away with the sectaries.

1 First understand, who they are, you speak off; do you know wherein you and they differ? you cry out of them, as if they were of another religion, [Page 60] when as when it comes to be scann'd, the difference between you and them will prove not to be so great.

2 But 2. further, I put this to you; do you spend as much breath in praying for these kind of men, as you do in rayling upon them? then somewhat may be said.

3 But 3. it is a vain thing to think, that true religion can be maintain'd, and have the liberty of it, without some difference of opinion amongst us; indeed the Turks have as much peace in their religion, as any religion hath in all the world, and there is as little difference of opinions amongst the Turks, as there is in any religion weatsoever; but well may that coat have no seam, that hath no shape; if the truth of religion comes to appear, certainly it is impossible, but many differences of opinion must come, and it is a most intollerable pride of heart and tyrannie in any whatsoever to think, by violent means to force all, to be of the same opinions that they are of in matters that are not of the foun­dation, [Page 61] and that may stand with the peace of a Commonwealth, too; you take upon you in that, more then Christ doth, more then the Apostles ever did.

But you'l say, if men be in an er­rour, why should they not be forc'd, shall every man be left to his opinion, to do what he will?

No, I plead not for that neither; therefore I except all opinions. 1. a­gainst the foundation of religion. 2. and that are against the foundation of civill government; take those 2. aside, and then for other opinions that are of a lower, inferiour nature, (I say) there you take too much upon you, whosoever you are, if you should think to force men to be of the same opinion as you are, and there is no such way to make a disturbance in Churches, & Commonwealths, then to force men to be of the same opi­nion in things, that are of an inferiour nature.

I, but you'l still say, if it be an er­rour, they must not be left to live in [Page 62] it, if it be an errour; nay stay there, a man may be in an errour; and yet you have nothing to do to offer violence unto him, to bring him out of his er­rour; you may seek to convince him as much as you can: but to offer vio­lence, you undertake more, then God hath given you commission to do, what ever you are; & I give this Scri­pture for it, with is clear in the Ro­mans: One believeth that he may eat all things, Rom. 14.2. another eateth hearbs, let not him that eateth, despise him that eateth not, and let not him which eateth not, judge him that eateth; for who art thou that judgest another? who art thou that judgest? certainly one of these was a sin at that time, but yet, though one were a sin, yet they that were in the right must not by violence force those, that were in the vvrong, to their opinion; but they must leave them to God; (I say,) in matters of such consequence as these, it is a point of Antichristian tyranny, and noto­rious pride in men, that have taken so much upon them, as to force all to be [Page 63] of the same opinion; this is not the way certainly for true peace; but thus much for the 2. Corollary; The 3. follows.

Vse 3.If men have their portion in this world, here is the reason why there is such a stir in the world by men, to maintain this their portion; what rending and tearing is there among men to preserve their estates? especial­ly if they have a higher portion in the world then others; O, what a deal of stir is there to keep up their honour and reputation. There was such stri­ving for the Popedome in Henry the fourth his dayes, that it cost many thousand mens lives. Such blustring men make to be great in the world, it cost the bloud of twenty thousand per­sons meerely to satisfy the wills of a few; certainly one day the world will be wiser, and understand that they are men, and not dogs, to be subject to the humours and lusts of others, and that no man hath now any further power over them, but what they have by agreement from them, I hope men [Page 64] will be wise enough to understand this, and not sacrifice their lives, for the satisfying of the wills of a few men in the world; it is their God, and do you say what ayles me, when you have taken away my Gods? here is the ground of all the stirs and combu­stions in the world, because carnall hearts look upon what they enjoy as their portion.

But how comes it thus to passe, that men should be so greedy of this their portion? it is such an excellent por­tion, that they are so greedy of it? is it worth so much, that they contend so about it? this maketh way for me to slip into the 4. particular, to en­quire, what kind of portion this is, that these men of the world have, therefore consider. 1. what poor things they are, that they make such a stir about; secondly, consider the te­nure upon which they hold, what ever they enjoy; and thirdly, consider the mixture of evill that there is in that they enjoy; and fourthly, the blessed portion that they loose, and [Page 65] lastly, the dreadfull end that there will be to such men, that have their portion here.

1 First, the poor things that men have here in this world, what are they? their comforts for the most part, are but imaginary;What poor things worldly men strive for. in the 8. of Hosea, Ephraim feeds upon the wind; and when a bladder is full of wind, one prick lets it quite out: so when death comes, it lets out all their com­forts; wilt thou set thy heart upon that which is not, it is not, it hath no realitie in it; in the 25. of the Acts;25. Acts. when Bernice and Agrippa came in great pomp, to the assembly; that which you have in your books transla­ted, great pomp, it is in the Greek great fancie; all the pomp and jollity of the world, is but a meer fancy, this is their portion.

2 And 2. that they have is of a very low nature; this would be an argu­ment we might Philosophize in, if it were fit, or if we had time, but i'le quickly passe over these things; it is of a very low nature, and not much [Page 66] concerns the soul, all the portion they have here, therefore saith the Text here, thou fillest their belly; it is but a belly full, and what is that to the soul? indeed the rich man in the Gospell, could say, Soul take thy ease, eat and drink, &c. Soul take thy ease; because you have goods laid up, and because you may eat and drink; what is all this to the soul? Ambrose hath such a speech upon the place: if the man had had the soul of a swine, what could he have said otherwise; for indeed these things were suitable to the soul of a swine; you shall find that a man is not the better, because of outward things not a whit; the heart of the wicked is little worth; his estate may be some­what worth, his house may be some­what worth, his lands may be some­what worth; but the hears of the wicked is little worth,10. Pro­verbs. saith Solomon. And would, not you think that to be a great evill, that when you go up and down abroad, you should certainly know, that there is no man gives you any entertainment, or any respect, but [Page 67] it is for your servants sake that tends upon you, would not that trouble you; indeed you come to such a mans house, & he seems to make you well­come, and you have entertainment; I but you come to know afterwards, that it was not for your sake, but for your servants sake, that he loved you, would not this discourage you? the truth is so, all that you have in this world, it is for your servants sake, for your goods, your house and lands: it is not for any worth that is in you. It was aspeech that Socrates spake once to one — when he had a fine house, and a many brave things; what (saith he) there are many come to see thy house and thy fine things there, but no bo­dy comes to see thee, they know there is a worth in thy fine house, and in thy fine furniture, but they see no worth in thee, indeed all these things are not souls meat, it is not mans meat they feed upon, it is but ashes, it is nothing to the soul of a man.

3 And further, suppose it were for thy soul; what thou hast here is but a [Page 68] very poor pittance, thou hast not all the world neither, though thou hast thy portion in this world; if thou hadst the whole world at command, yea, if God should make a 1000. worlds more for thee to command, that were all but a poor pittance, to put off an immortall soul with all; but what thou hast is but a little minuin in the world. All the nations of the earth are but as the dust of the ballance, and a drop of the bucket to God, what is thy dust then? what is thy house and land then? as Socrates wittily rebuked the pride of Alcibiades, when he was very proud, that he had so much land lay together, he brought the map of the world to him, and (saith he) pray shew me, where your land [...]ies here, one prick of a pen would make a de­scription of all.

England, Ireland, and Scotland, are but 3. little spots unto the world, and what are your farmes and your man­nours? you have but a little portion, if you had all it were no great matter; the truth is all you have in this world, [Page 69] cannot be enough to make you live in fashion in the world, like a man; it is not enough (I say) for to live like a man in the world, to live like one that hath an immortall soul, like one that hath the image of God upon him, and was sent hither into the world, to do so great services, as every one of you were sent hither to do, and therefore it is but a mean thing, little cause you have to rejoyce in it.

It is true they that are godly, ac­count themselves unworthy of the least thing they have here in the world; but i'le tell you a mistery of religion now, a practicall maxime of religion, that is a great mistery to the world, which is this, that a gracious heart, though he thinks himself un­worthy of the least crum of bread, yet all the creatures in heaven and earth, will not serve him to be his portion, will not satisfy him; though he hath a heart that will be satisfied with any thing, as counting himself unworthy of the meanest condition in this world, as a present gift of God; but [Page 70] if God should give him heaven and earth, he had such an unsatisfying heart, as he would not be satisfied with heaven and earth, except God gives him himself too; therefore cer­tainly thy portion, it is a but a very little portion.

4 Besides those things thou hast, are things that will vanish, and quickly come to nothing; it is said of the whole world, that it hangs upon no­thing;26. Iob 7. so all the things of the earth do: therefore it is said of Abraham, that he sought a City, that had foun­dations;10. Hebr. all other things, are as things that have no foundation at all; there is a worm in every creature that will consume it in time; and the Scripture calls all our riches uncertain riches.

Christian, thou art made for an e­ternall condition; these things are fa­ding; when thou comest to enter in upon thy eternall estate, if thou shouldst then ask, what shall I have now, I have now thus much, and thus much in my whole life; but what shall I have now I come to enter in upon [Page 71] my eternall estate? truly nothing at all. If a man were to go a great voyage to the Indies, and all the provision he makes is this, he gets a vessell that can make shift to carry him as far as Gravesend, that he will do, and what need he hath of provision to Graves­end, or perhaps to the Downs he pro­vides for, he goes on, & should go on now from the Downs, and begins his voyage, to go to the Indies, and is gotten into the Ocean; alas, his vessell is a rotten vessell; were not this an unwise man? truly this is the condi­tion of thousands in the world; man, woman, thou art made for an eternall condition, God intendeth eternity for every mothers child that is here this day, and God expects that thy life should be spent in making provision for this eternall estate of thine, and thou thinkest of nothing, but that thou mayst provide for a few years here, & live in some fashion, and be some bo­dy in the world. O when thou comest to enter upon the Ocean of eternitie, thou wilt give a dreadfull shrik, & cry [Page 72] out, I am undone, I am undone, I have nothing provided, for eternall life.

Again consider whatever thou hast in this world, it is no other, but what may stand with the eternall hatred of an infinite God towards thee: it may be the portion of a reprobate, and will this serve thy turn? will this satisfie thee? will that satisfie thy soul, that may be the portion of a reprobate? there are many that are now sweltring under the wrath of the infinite God, that have had 20. times as much as any of you have that are here before the Lord this day, they have had greater estates then you, and lived merrier lives then you, & yet are now under the wrath of God, will a repro­bates portion serve thy turn: therefore consider that to enjoy the dominion of all the world, may stand with Gods eternall hatred, but to have the least dram of saving grace, intitles men to the favour of God which is better then life. What a difference is there then, between the having the least dram of grace, and the enjoyment of all the [Page 73] world, and what a goodly portion is there here that thou so much rejoycest in? certainly, thy heart is strait, that thou thinkest these things to be so big, as in a narrow vessel a thing will appear big, but in a mighty wide ves­sell it appears little; so when the Lord by grace shall widen and enlarge thy heart, then all the things of the world will be little to thee.

Indeed if a man be below here, he looks upon that, which is next to him, that hath any bignesse in it, as some­what great, but if a man were advanced on high, on the top of a pinnacle, then that which seemed great appears but little to him; so the men of the world that are here, lie graveling below, and the curse of the serpent is upon them, and they think the things of the world great matters, but grace lifteth up the heart on high to God and Christ, mounts it up to eternity, and then we look upon all things here below as mean, this was the reason that Luther, when he had great gifts sent to him by many of the great men of Saxonie, [Page 74] he began to be afraid, least the Lord should reward him here in this world, and he hath this expression, Luther. I did vehemently protest, God should not put me off so; that is his word, according to the manner of his language: thus he speaks, when there came in things of the world, and he began to be tickled with honour, and great men did re­spect him, O (thought he) I shall be some body now in the world; thus corruption began to work, but grace did prevail, and he breaks out with this expression, I did professe, God should not put me off so; the Lord shall not put me off with worldly honors and dignities; there are other things I look for, things that are bet­ter and higher, these are poor pittan­ces, for this soul of mine to be put off with all, there are other things I must have from the Lord, or else I cannot be satisfied; that is the first thing, the poor things of the world, which is the portion of wicked men.

Secondly consider the tenure by which they hold it; all you have in [Page 75] the world, you hold it not by very good tenure, it is not held in Capite. I confesse this, I think not the men of the world to be usurpers, for what they lawfully get in the world: I think not they shall answer meerely for their using what they do, meerely for their right to use what they have; but they shall answer for their not right using the same; they shall not answer (I say) for their right to use, but for their not right using; they have some right, but what right is it.

There is a 3. fold right. 1. a right of justice, that we may claim to a thing as a due: what is not your right, you cannot claim. 2. there is a right of Creation, that God gave to man at first: you have lost that right now. 3. there is a right of promise; God hath promised all good things to his peo­ple; you have not that right neither: you have neither the right of justice to claim, nor the right of your Crea­tion, nor the right of promise; what right then?

There is a fourth right, and that I [Page 76] confesse you have, which is a right of donation; God is pleased to give to you. And thus you hold all your ho­nours, and estates, that are ungodly men; just thus, even as a man that is condemned to dye, and there being a little reprieving for 2. or 3. dayes, be­fore his execution, the Prince out of his indulgence gives order to have provision made for him, according to his qualitie, that if he be a Gentleman, he should have such provision, if a Knight, or a Nobleman, he shall have provision according to his qualitie, till his execution; now no man can say, this man usurpes, though he hath forfeited all his right to his lands and estates, yet if the King will give him this refreshment, he is no usurper, but it is a poor right he hath, it is a right of donation; and thus God gives the un­godly men in this world their right to outward comforts; you have your portion, but you see how you hold it.

The next thing to be considered, is, that this portion here, as it is poor [Page 77] in regard of the mean things, and the Tenure; so there is a great deal of mix­ture there in, and the truth is, all the good things wicked men enjoy in this world, will scarce bear charges; that is, there is so much trouble they meet withall in this world, with their por­tion, that what they have will scarce bear charges; & if a man goes a voy­age, we use not to count any thing he spends by the way, to be part of his treasury; now all we have here in this world is but spending money to bear our charges in religion: God knows we shall be at a great deal of charges, and afflictions we shall meet with here; but besides, there is a mixture of Curse in every portion of an ungodly man; if any of you think you get such a rich match, you get an heire that is a very rich match, & you get her porti­on, & if it be in money, there you go & fetch away the bags of gold, that are her portion, but if it should prove that every bag of gold, you have of your wives portion, had the plague in it, it were but a poor portion; certainly it [Page 78] is thus with all ungodly ones in the world, that all the while they live, whatsoever they enjoy, (continuing wicked men) they have a curse of God that goes along with it, and ma­kes way unto eternall misery for them; as those that are godly have the blessing of God in outward things that makes way for their eternall good; so thou hast the curse of the Lord mingled with all thy outward things that makes way for eternall evill unto thee.

And then consider what portion thou loosest, thou hast got one, but thou loosest a great deal more; if a man had been at the exchange and made a bargain about some petty thing, and afterwards when he comes home, knows that by not being at home, he hath lost a purchase that would have made him, and his posterity: he hath little cause of rejoycing in that bar­gain; so though thou hast got a porti­on, that may seem to satisfie thee somewhat, know thou hast lost a por­tion of infinite worth and value.

[Page 79]It is impossible to shew you, what this portion is; for the devil could shew Christ all the glory of the world in the twinckling of an eye; but if I should come to shew you the glory of Heaven, I had need have eternity to shew you, what the portion of the Saints is; but though I cannot shew it you all, I will onely give you a hint or two, that you know somewhat what it is.

1. It is such a portion as is fit for the spouse of the Lamb, as is fit for the spouse of one that is to marry the Son of God, the second person in Trini­ty; 2. it is such a portion as is fit and suitable to an heire of life & glory, an heire of Heaven and Earth; yea, it is such a portion, as God doth give men, to this very end, to declare what the infinite power of God is able to do, to raise a poor creature to the height of happinesse; what think you this must be, that (I say) it must therefore be done, that it might declare to An­gels and all creatures, what the infinite power of God is able to do, to raise a [Page 80] poor creature to happinesse & glory; this must be somewhat.

Again, it must be such a one as in which, God must attain unto the great designe, that he had from all e­ternity, in making of Heaven and Earth, which was to magnifie the riches of his grace to a Company, that he had set apart to glory; it must be such a portion; and guesse you what this must needs be.

Yea, it is such a portion as must re­quire the infinite power of God, to support a creature to bear the weight of that glory; and all this must be now to all eternity; I remember when E­sau did but hear Isaac his Father, tell what a blessing he had given unto Ia­cob, he fell a weeping; O that God would so strike unto the hearts of men, that have so little minded any thing, but the world: Thou hearest but a few words, to what the Lord hath reserved to all eternitie, for his Saints; and compare but that with what is thy portion, and thou hast cause to weep.

[Page 81]I but more cause you'l have to weep, if you consider the last thing, and that is, what is like to be the end of all thy portion in this world; if in­deed thou could'st ruffle it out in this world, and enjoy thy hearts desire, and there an end: it were somewhat; O, but there is somewhat else remains afterwards; as. 1. O, the perplexity of spirit, that any worldly man will have when death comes, when he shall see an end of all the comforts of this world, now farewell house, fare­well lands, and farewell friends, fare­well acquaintance, and all merry meetings, and joviallities, I shall never have comfort more in you; as it was the speech of Pope Adrian, when he was to die, O thou my soul, my soul, whither art thou going? whither art thou going? thou shalt never have more jests, nor be merry, nor be jocund any more; where art thou going? so may a man that hath his portion in this world, say at his death, where is this poor soul of mine going? I have lived here thus many years, and I have had ma­ny [Page 82] merry meetings, I have eaten with the strongest, and have drunk the sweetest, and gone in brave array, but now my day is gone, what shall be­come of me, what peace have I now, when all is gone.

I remember Latimer hath a story in one of his Sermons, that he preach­ed before King Edward, of a rich man, that when he lay upon his sick bed, there came one to him, and tells him, that certainly by all reason they can judge, he was like to be a man for an­other world, a dead man: assoon as ever he hears but these words, what must I die, send for a Phisitian, wounds, sides, heart, must I die? wounds, sides, heart, must I die? and thus he goes on, and there could be nothing got from him, but wounds, sides, heart, must I die? must I die, and go from all these? here was all, here was the end of this man that made his portion in this world.

Another rich man that lived not far from the place, that I my self lived in heretofore; when he heard his sick­nesse [Page 83] was deadly, he sends for his bags of money, and hugs them in his arms, O must I leave you? O must I leave you? And another, lying upon his sickbed, layed a bag of gold to his heart, and then bids them, take it a­way, it will not do, it will not do; An­other, when he lay upon his sickbed, his servants came to him, & said, what lack you? would you have any beer? what do you want? O (saith he) I want onely one thing, peace of conscience, that I would have, it is not beer, nor friends, nor an easy pillow I want, but ease of conscience; O consider, whether there be not like to be perplexitie in your spirits.

And then (brethren) you must be called to an account for all, though (as I told you before) not to account for the right to use; but for not right using; and do but think with your selves, if you now have so much as you cannot reckon, how then will you be able to reckon for it, if now you can­not count, how will you be able to give an account at the last day, espe­cially [Page 84] when you have had no thoughts of this before hand.

There will be a dreadfull portion indeed at the day of judgement, O the shame and confusion that will be up­on the faces of the men of the world in that houre, when they shall see their poor neighbours have their portion with Christ in glory; perhaps, a poor servant in the house advanced to glo­ry, and they stand on the left hand to be cast out; perhaps some of these poor hospitall boyes shall be advan­ced to eternall glorie, when as some of you, that are their great masters, shall be cast out eternally; what an infinite shame and confusion will this be to you.

O now I see what it is to trust in God, and not to trust in him; those are happy that would trust for the future, but I miserable, that dar'd not trust in him:11. Psal. 6.24 Matth. 51. The Lord will rain snares, and fire, and brimstones, here is the portion of the ungodly at last; appoint him his por­tion with hypocrites, saith Christ, where there is weeping and wayling, and [Page 85] gnashing of teeth; that is the portion of hypocrites in the conclusion; Now here thou seest the end of all, what dost thou think then of thy portion now? think but of one Text, and I have done.

27. Iob 8. What hope hath an hypocrite though he hath gained, when God takes away his soul? Mark, there are many hypocrites that aymed to get estates in the world, but cannot thrive, God crosses them: well, but suppose thou aymest to gain, and hast got all thou wouldst desire; what hope hath an hypocrite, though he hath gained? though he hath grown never so rich, and got all he de­sires, when God takes away his soul? this time is coming, it will be ere long, and it may be suddenly, the por­tion of some that are here present, and perhaps this Text of mine, may then ring in their ears, when they lie upon their sick beds, perhaps within a month, or six weeks, when Gods time shall be, and then conscience may repeat in your ears; I heard such a day there were a generation of men [Page 86] that have their portion in this world, and now I am afraid, I am one of them; and there is an end of my por­tion, onely I must go to my other portion, that will be very dread­full.

I but who have you spoke too all this while? who is the man that hath his portion in this world? it is a poor portion, as you have set out to us, but every one will go away and say, I hope it is not I, I hope God hath a better portion for me then this; there­fore give me leave to speak in the name of God to you, and out of his word, to point out the man and wo­man that is like to have their portion here, living and dying in such a condi­tion.

1. Signes of a man whose portion is in this world.First, that man to whom God gives in this life, nothing but what belongs to this life, that is the man apparently; if God give thee thy estate, and if he gives thee not somewhat besides thy estate, that is a principle, that is a seed of eternall life in thee, certainly he never intends good to thee in the [Page 87] world to come. There are many men have a great deal in this world & they say they hope, God will be mercifull to them in the world to come. Now this is a certain truth, that man to whom God denies spirituall mercy in this world, God will deny eternall mercy to him in the world to come; this therefore should be thy care, doth God increase my estate in this world? O that the Lord would give a propor­tionable measure of grace, or else it is nothing; Lord, thou givest me here a great estate, if thou givest not to me together with it, a proportionable measure of grace to use it to thy name, I had better have been without this.

Is this thy care? I put it to thy con­science; as thy estate encreases, art thou solicitous at the Throne of grace, that the Lord would give thee a pro­portionable measure of grace, to ma­nage thy estate for his glory; then peace be to thee, thou art not the man.

You may further examine it, by the [Page 88] workings of your hearts about your present portions; As. 1 whether you enjoy what you have for it self, and whether your hearts be terminated in what you do enjoy; one that is godly hath his portion beyond these things, he enjoyes the creatures. I but it is God that he enjoyes in them; that is sweet to me, that I can see, and taste the love of God in; I but a Carnall heart enjoyes the creatures, and runs away, and is terminated there; looks much at the creature, but at little in God; as divers of your hospitall chil­dren here, look more at the men that were their friends, to bring them into the hospitall, when they were Father­lesse and Motherlesse, and shiftlesse, then they look at the founders of the Hospitall, they little think of them, to thank God for them, but if they meet with him that was the next cause to bring them in, they will thank him for his kindnesse; so it is with most men, they look at outward means and se­condary causes, but a godly heart looks at the root of all things; I re­member [Page 89] one that came into the Trea­surehouse of Venice, where he saw Ta­bles of gold and silver, and he pointed down, looking at the bottom of the Table, whereupon one asked him, why is your eye so at the bottom? O (saith he) I am looking at the root of all this; Alas, it is a small matter for a man that hath a great trade, to have a great stock.

A godly man though he hath but a little, yet he looks at the root, at the love of God, and the Covenant of grace, which is the spring of all, and the chief thing that satisfies his heart, it is the goodnesse of God that satis­fies a gracious heart, and not the bare creature.

Therefore examine, how your hearts are set upon these things of the world, whether your hearts go out with full strength to them; if you make your bellies to be your God, then your end will be destruction: That man that hath his heart swal­lowed up in the world, like Corah, Da­than, and Abiram, that were swal­lowed [Page 90] in the earth; if the things of the earth be a gulfe to swallow thy heart up, there is another gulfe to swallow thee up hereafter. Consider how do the losse of the things of the world, take thy heart; dost not thou account thy self an undone man, when thou had lost some comforts? dost thou not come home to thy wife and children, I say, I am an undone man? why what is the matter? I have lost some part of my estate; O carnall heart! one that is Gods child may have some crosses, but no losses at all; because he enjoyes all in God, and hath God still. The truth is, if thou wert truly Godly, whatever afflictions thou meetest with all, (as we say, a man may put all his gain in his eye; so you may,) if you be godly, put all your crosses in your eyes; you are so far from being un­done.

Examine then whether these things of the world, be not the onely suitable things to your hearts? whether you blesse not your selves in these, as in your happinesse; the Ivie will claspe [Page 91] about a rotten tree, and cannot be ta­ken off it, without tearing; and so the heart of a worldling, will clasp about these rotten comforts, as the onely a­greable things. You may hear them sometimes tell with joy that we were in such a place, and were so merry, & had the bravest meeting, and what was there? there was singing and drinking, and blaspheming of the name of God, & yet it was the bravest meeting that could be.

When did you ever come from an ordinance of God, and say, O it was a brave day to me, the Lord hath spo­ken to my heart this day; did you ne­ver go from the word, with as merry a heart, and rejoyce of it amongst your friends, as you did from a merry meeting? you may fear you are the man that have your portion here.

If I were to give but one evidence. whether a man hath grace or no? I would give this assoon as any one; Suppose thou hast got some estate in the word, I put this to thee, what dost thou account to be the chiefest good [Page 92] of thy estate, more then thou didst be­fore. A man that hath got an estate more then he had before, thinks with himself, now I may live at a better fashion, then I could, now I may have more freedom then before, now I may have more credit in the world then I had now, I may have my own mind, and satisfie my lust more then I did, or then another man can do; is not this the thing thou most rejoycest in; nay, is not this a truth, that some of your hearts (if your hearts were ripped up, this would be the language of them) most rejoyce in, because here­by you have most fewel for your lusts; a poor man hath not so much fewel for his uncleanesse as you have, nor so much fewell for his pride and malice as you have, and many rich men account the blessing and happi­nesse of their estates to consist in this very thing, that now they may have a larger scope for their lusts then ever they could before; alas, a poor man cannot go abroad, and drink, as you can do; a poor man cannot lay out so [Page 93] much upon a whore, and an unclean wretch, as you can do, and you re­joyce in this, if this man hath not his portion in this world, who hath? the Lord strike thy wretched heart.

A gracious man, when God bles­seth him in this world, though there be but a little grace in him, it will work thus: the Lord hath raised my condition above my brother, & why? the Lord giveth me a larger opportu­nitie to do him service, then my bro­ther hath, or then I had before: there is such a poor man, he is an honest man, but (God knows) he can do but little in the place where he is, he hath but little means; but God hath given me means, and this means enlarges my opportunities to do God service, and for this my soul blesseth God, I account my estate happier then be­fore, I now may be of more use, and do God more service then otherwise I could do; have you such workings in heart, you rich men if: you have not never be at quiet till you get your hearts working in this manner; this [Page 94] will be a blessed testimony, that God gives you a portion here, and inten­deth another portion for you in the world to come.

Again, what is that thing that you strive to make most sure? that which a man strives to make most sure, that he counts his happinesse to consist in; O for thy Land, and debts, thou strivest with all thy might to make them sure, but as for the matter of thy sal­vation, and peace in Christ, thou hast a good hope thereof, but takest no pains to make it sure.

See what thou dost most admire men for? O such a man is happy, he hath so much coming in, and hath so much a year; but dost thou call the vile man happy? this is a signe that thou hast not thy eye enlightned: canst thou look upon those that are poor and mean in this world, as most happy creatures, because the Lord gives them the grace of his spirit? and think, well, it is true, I have a greater estate then such a poor man that is my neighbour, or then such a poor kinds­man, [Page 95] but God knows, he doth God more service then I do, he prayes more, and more heartily in one day then I do in a whole year. O, the Lord hath other manner of prayers, and sighes come from his poor cottage, then ever he had from my brave pal­lace: I have my citie house and my countrey house, but they were never so perfumed with prayers; some that live in poor cellars, send up more prayers, and God hath more honour from them, then he hath from me; in my familie (perhaps) there is cursing and blaspheming of God, in such poor cottages, there is (perhaps) blessing and praysing of God, now canst thou look upon them, as the most happy people in the world.

Lastly, what art thou most carefull to lay up for thy children? if the things of the world take up thy care for thy children most, it is an argument thou thinkest, thy children shall have a good portion if thou canst leave them so many thousands; & it is like it is thy portion too; if thou countest it theirs.

[Page 96]Examine also thy services what they are; dost thou put off God with slight services, then know thy portion is like to be of Gods slight mercies; Again, art thou hypocriticall in thy service, dost thou ayme at the praise of men in outward duties, that is a signe thou hast thy reward here; and are thy services forced, that thou art compelled, it is meerely conscience compells thee, and not an inward a­greablenesse between the frame of thy heart, and holy things: then it is like, a servants portion will be thine, and not a childs portion.

Further, hast thou heretofore been a forward professour in religion, and hast now forsaken the wayes of God; I'le give you a dreadfull Scripture for this, in the 17. of Ieremiah17. Ierem. 13.: All you that forsake the Lord shall be ashamed, & they that depart from me, shall be written in the earth; if thou hast been forward heretofore, and now thou comest to be more ancient, and now thou art dead, and dull, and cold —; here is a Text for thee, go home, & tremble, [Page 97] least thou be a man, whose name is written in the earth. And doth not God for the present curse thy portion? thou findest the more thou hast, the worse thou growest; as if a man should eat meat at ones table, and assoon as he hath eaten it, begin to swell, he will conclude certainly the meat was poysoned, so when thy estate rises, thy heart rises with pride, surely it was poysoned with the curse of God that was in it.

Again I'le onely name one signe more; what sayest thou to this, that man that spends his dayes without ha­ving some fear, least God should put him off with the things of this world: there may be some danger of that; it is said of some, that they feed them­selves without fear;Iude 12. you can go to a merry meeting, and feed upon the chear, and eat without fear; but never have such a thought as this in your heart, what if God should put me off with these things? I hear indeed there are some menare put of so, what if that should prove to be my portion what a [Page 98] miserable creature were I? I fear there were some men never had such a thought in their lives, what if it should prove so with me, what a miserable creature were I.

I have one word of exhortation to you all, & then I have done, & this ex­hortation must be divided: First, unto you that have some evidences that God hath given you a better portion, that God hath not put you off with the portion of this world; O blesse the Lord for his goodnesse to you, that ever he hath shewed you better things then the world affoords, your line is fallen into a good ground, you have a goodly inheritance; though thou hast not so much as others have, yet thou hast that that will make thee happy forever.

I have read of one Didimus, a learn­ed godly Preacher, but he was blind, whereof he complained, & was much troubled for his want of sight, where­upon a Christian friend rebuked him sharpely; what (saith he) hath God given you that that is the excellency [Page 99] of an Apostle, of a Minister of Christ; and are you troubled for want of your sight, that a pismire may have, that a bruit beast may have, for the want of thy sight, that the rats and mice may have, are you troubled with that, and rather not taught to blesse God, that hath given you so great a mercy, as to make you such an instrument of his service? so may I say to you that are godly, hath God given you Iesus Christ? hath he given you his Son, hath he given you his Spirit, hath he given you himself, to be your portion, and are you troubled that you have not more of that, that beasts may have, as well as your selves? O be ashamed of any mournfull discontent­ments for want of the comforts of this world.

And do not envy wicked men for their outward prosperity; I remember a story of a poor souldier that was condemned to die meerely fortaking a bunch of grapes from a Vine, for there was a strict law that who ever should take any thing from that place they [Page 100] went through, he should dye for it. Now he had taken a bunch of grapes, and was condemned to die, and as he went to execution, he went eating of his bunch of grapes, and some came to him, and said, dost thou go eating thy grapes, thou shouldst think of some­what else; he answers, I beseech you (Sir) do not envy me my grapes, they will cost me dear; so may I say of all the men of the world; we have no need to envy them of any thing they have, it will cost them very dear one day.

Thirdly, live like such as God hath not put off with the portion of this world? manifest in it your conversati­ons that you look for higher & better things, then what this world affoords; shew they are but slight in your eyes; look upon your estates as despicable, be willing to improve them all for publick good, yea, to jeopard not estates onely but your names, your li­berties, and your lives in a publick cause; and those that shall do so, how­ever the world may look upon them [Page 101] in a sad condition, and say, O such a man is like to be undone, and his life is in danger; I tell you such a one that shall out of a good principle, be wil­ling to venture life and estate and ap­pear for God, that man shall be most honoured, and be found the most hap­py man at last; and indeed herein he shews himself to be a man that looks for a higher portion, then these things here; as those in the Hebrews: By that they said and did, 11. Hebr. 14. they shewed plainly, they looked for another Country; so see you men that might live as comforta­bly in outward things as you, and (did their consciences give way) they could be as quiet as you; but conscience puts them upon it, that seeing God calls them to a publick place, they can be content to put all at Gods feet.

Now though you may think that such are in most danger, they shew plainly they are men of another countrey, and should be most ho­noured; and take but this principle with you, the more any one gives up [Page 102] his estate to God, the more comfort he hath in his estate, whether in the enjoyment of it, or in the losse of it; I expresse it thus: when one resignes up all he hath, his estate, liberty, name, life to God, the oftener it comes into Gods hands, the better it comes, when God gives it him again; a carnall heart when once he hath these things, he will not trust God with them, but he will have them in his own keeping; but a gracious heart, though he hath all these from God, yet every day he is willing to give up all to him, and to trust God with them again; though he be a rich man, he is willing every day to come and beg his bread at his Fa­thers gate, and give up all; now he gives up all in the truth of his heart to God, and God gives it him all again; as long as in a lawfull way he enjoyes it, he hath it a fresh from God; now this (I say) the oftener any thing comes out of Gods hand, the sweeter & the better it is; wicked mens estates come but once out of Gods hands, and therefore there is not so much com­fort [Page 103] in them, but a godly mans estate comes 100. and 100. times from God; for every resignation gives it to God, and God gives it him again; & there­in is comfort, and O blessed are they that live so, as that they declare they look for another Countrey, and that their portion is not here; let the men of the world think them foolish, that will venture themselves so, God and his Saints have declared that their portion it not here.

And now to you all, the word of exhortation from God is, that every one in this place, would put on to make more sure of another portion, besides the portion of this world; put on, I say for you are all made capable of higher and better things, then the things of the world; and never a one here but hath an immortall soul, and is capable of Communion with Fa­ther, Son, and Holy Ghost, and that is another manner of businesse, then to eat and drink, and have pleasure with the flesh, here for a while; God hath made your natures capable of [Page 104] such glory, do not debase your selves, to rest satisfied with husks, when you may have meat enough in your Fa­thers house; and therefore put on, and let the poorest sort put on, that have but a little portion here; yet there is as fair way for you to have the God of Heaven and Earth to be your portion, to have whatsoever Iesus Christ hath purchased by his bloud to be your portion, to have eternitie, and immor­tality to be your portion; (I say) there is as fair a way for it, as for the greatest Princes in the earth; you may come to have a portion here.

Indeed many a poor apprentice may say; my Father is dead, and hath left me no portion: I, but you that are poor apprentices, and others, and the poor Hospitall boyes, that live upon charitie, it is possible some poor wretches there may come to have their portion in God and Christ, and immortality, as well as the greatest, and richest of all; therefore raise up your hearts here, you that are the poorest and meanest, & know you are born for high things.

[Page 105]If I should come and tell one that is a poor boy in a blew coat now, what ever you are now, there is such a rich man will adopt you to be his child, and make you his heire, that would raise up his heart; well, how ever meanely you live now, you may be a glorious creature hereafter, if so be you have now a heart to put upon it, and to seek after it for your por­tion.

But you'le say, Lord what should we do, that our portion may be a higher portion, then in this world; the first thing I would put you upon, is this; let the whole course of your life be steared (as it were) with the fear of God, have a continuall jealousy, least God should put you off with the things of this life; hold forth this in every action, that any one may see by your conversation, surely this man, this woman hath some fears, least God should put him off with a porti­on in this world; and especially you that have great portions in this life, & have done God little service; you [Page 106] know there are many poor people that live upon almes, have done God more service then you; you have most cause to fear; they that are Rulers and Governours have mighty cause to fear, unlesse they have good evidence in their hearts; Chrysostome upon the 13. of the Hebrews, speaking of those that are Governours; saith, I wonder that any Governour should be saved; he hath such a speech there: I will not say so, but there is a great deal of ha­zard; Christ tells us, that a man that hath a great portion in this world, (though it is possible he may have more hereafter,) yet it is doubtfull; whether he shall inherit heaven.

It was the counsell of one to a King; saith he, I desire but this favour, that every day you would think of this Text, what profits it a man, to gain the whole world, and to loose his own soul? spend some little time in considering of it every morning when you arise, and every night when you lie down, what will it advantage me to be great here and miserable hereafter. The [Page 107] same councell I give to you, daily pray to God, to make you understand, what there is in this Text, that there are a generation of men, who have their portion in this world only.

Secondly, if you would not have your portion here, labour to take off your hearts from all outward com­forts; he that will be rich, shall fall into many temptations; know it is not ne­cessary, you should have an estate in this world, but it is necessary, you should make your peace with God; it is necessary I should provide for my soul; but how things go with me here, is not so much necessarie.

Thirdly, set the glorie of Heaven and eternitie daily before your eyes, and be trading for higher things then the world affords: many poor peo­ple go up and down the streets, crying some mean thing, and think it well, if they get 18d. in a whole day, but a rich Merchant can go out in the morning, and make a bargain, and perhaps get 500. l. in an houre, he trades some­what like; so the men of this world la­bour [Page 108] for the meat that perisheth; but a godly man hath communion with God, and in a quarter of an hour gets that, he would not loose for thou­sands.

It was a speech of Cleopatra to An­thony, thou art not to fish for Gudgeons and Trowts, but thou art to angle for Castles and Cities; so may I say, if thou hast an immortall soul with thee, thou art not so much to angle for meat and drink, and cloaths, to make provision for the flesh, but for heaven and immortalitie.

The next thing is this: Honour God with thy substance. Lay out thy portion here for God. O, that I could but con­vince you of one principle of divinitie more, and that is this, that there is more excellency and good in one ver­tuous action, then there is in all the creatures in heaven and earth, (besides the blessed Angels, and glorious Saints above, I say others of the Saints, excepting these) take all creatures, Sun, Moon, Stars, Seas, Earth, all the Pearls & Iewels of the world, Pearls, [Page 109] put them all together, yet this is true divinitie, that there is more excellen­cy in one vertuous action, then there is, if thou hadst all these things to be thy possession; if men were convinced of this, they would be abundant in good works: Thou thinkest it a brave thing, to have so much coming in by the year, do but one good action for God, out of an upright principle, ANd there is more excellency in that one action, then there is in thy great re­venue, if thou hast 1000. times more added to it.

Me thinks this should make them that are rich, to be rich in good works; so saith the Scripture, Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be rich in good works, O, there is a rich­nesse in good works, as well as in great revenues; O, improve, lay out thy estate now for God; Ambrose saith up­on that place, of the rich man: is it not more honour, that so many children shall account you as their Father, then that so many pieces of gold shall call you their Lord? These pieces of gold, [Page 110] do (as it were) call you Lord, & there are 2. or 3. children shall call you Fa­ther; and is it not more excellent to have a couple of poor Orphans, while you are alive in this world, to call you Father, then to have so many bags of gold call you Mr? O, therefore, give a portion to 6. and to 7.

Again, if you would not be put off with a portion in this world, be sure that all the services you perform to God be choice services, if you expect choice mercies, let your services be choice services, be sure all your works be supernaturall works; you'le say how shall I know that? if I had time, I could make it out clear. A supernaturall work is that that hath a supernaturall principle, done to a su­pernaturall end, and in a supernaturall manner; A supernaturall principle, that is grace, which makes it suitable to my heart, not that I do it out of con­viction of conscience only, and a su­pernaturall end, that is, when I ayme at God, and not at my self in any dutie.

[Page 111]But what is this supernaturall man­ner of serving God? I shall explain it thus. Seneca in giving his rule how to know the affections, when they are naturall, and when not; saith, you shall know a naturall affection by this, if it be kept with in bound, it is naturall, if it be out of bounds, it is not natu­rall; I'le make use of it in another way; when you come to the service of God, if you think to limit God in his ser­vice, this is but a naturall service, you'l go so far and there stop, but if it be a supernaturall service, you'l let out your hearts, if it were possible in­finitely to God; you cannot be infinite, that is true, but you'l propound no bounds, nor limits to your service, & this is indeed the truth of grace, when it hath the impression of gracious infi­nitenesse upon it; infinitenesse is that whereby God is without all limits; so when the soul is without all limits and bounds in the way of grace, it is desi­rous to honour God, if it were possi­ble in an infinite way; these are super­naturall works.

[Page 112]Lastly, would you not have your portion in this world, be willing to cast away whatever of your portion you have got sinfully; this in the name of God, I declare as a speciall thing; therefore take it home with you; what ever man or woman in this place would not have his portion in this world, but would have his portion in the world to come; whatsoever of thy portion, thou hast got in a sinfull course, cast it away presently, never sleep with it, lye not down one night with it, rest not till thou art cleared of it.

It is an old rule, but a true one; all the repentance in the world, and all your sorrowing for sin whatsoever, will never obtain pardon without re­stitution, unlesse you restore what you are able, you can never have comfort of the pardon of that sin; If you have got it when you were young, being an apprentice, or at first setting up, away with it, else it will spoil all, and you'l never have any other portion from God; these hands of mine, had that [Page 113] once given them, to restore that was got wrongfully 50. years before; the wrong was done 50. years ago, yet af­ter 50. years space, the conscience of the man troubles him, and he comes to make restitution, and satisfie the wrong, he had done desiring me to conveye it to such a man whom he had wronged in such a place.

Know therefore that all the sweet morsels, that at any time you have so delight fully got down, they must up again; therefore willingly part with them; resolve before thou go out of this place, whatever thou hast got wrongfully, not to keep it one minute: and do it willingly, else thou canst have no comfort here or hereafter: if there be any true divinitie in the world, this is true divinitie; and yet it is hard to convince covetous men that have got their means this way.

If there be any that have done wrong in things betrusted to them, as those that be Maisters of Hospitalls, be sure you keep not that, for certain­ly you'l curse the time, you ever took [Page 114] it; therefore let the charge of God be strong upon you this day, cast out whatever you have got falsely. I have read a story of one, who hearing that place of Scripture read; 5. Isaaih 8. Woe to them that joyn house to house, he burst out in a loud cry, woe to me, and to my chil­dren then. So you, that are inriched through fraud and circumvention of others, have cause to say, woe to me and my familie, what shall become of us if this be true? Oh cast away this lumber, this trash, preferre your soul before all things whatsoever.

And if you would have your por­tion in another life, be willing to join with the sufferers for Christ; so Mo­ses did, though he were in the way of preferment, yet he chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, then to enjoy the pleasur's of sin for a season: Prise the Saints, associate with them, rather then with the jolly blades of the world. It is safer joyning with sufferers, then with those brave spirits that scorne goodnesse, jolly blades of the world, it is safer to join [Page 115] with the sufferers, then to joyn with those that are the jolly, and the brave spirits; And so I have done; onely de­siring that the Lord would settle all home upon your spirits, if it may be, because something may not be so plea­sing to the pallat of everie one, as some other, but if for that, you should reject what hath been said, and go away and slight this word of God; know that this Text one day may prove to be as scalding lead in your consciences; and that what is said con­cerning Doeg, in Psalme 52.7. may prove to be your portion. It is spoken of Doeg; This is the man (saith the Psalmist) that did not make God his trust, but trusted in his great riches; this is the man. So you may be pointed out one day, this is the man; Doeg was a great courtier, and because he was an Officer to King Saul, and because he had his favour, he trusted in the favour of the King, and in his riches, and what did he care for David? yet by the Text it ap­pears? he was one that made some [Page 116] shew of religion too; in the first of Samuel 21.7. He was detained before the Lord; Tremelius thinks, either out of some religious vow, or to keep the Sabbath; or somewhat concern­ing that law, he was detained before the Lord; and yet he was a vile ma­lignant against David, and all because he trusted in the great countenance he had at Court; now this is the man that made not God his trust, but that trusted in his great riches. The Lord forbid, this Scripture should be made true of any of you; I leave this Text with you that are rich men, take heed. I leave this Text with you that are in places of dignitie and ho­nour, take heed. I leave this Text with you that are voluptuous men, given up to your pleasure. Take heed you hear not one day this, Son, re­member in thy life time, thou hadst thy pleasure; I leave it with all that will not trust God, for a por­tion to come; and above all, I leave it with all hypocrites, let them take heed, it be not said to them, here is [Page 117] your reward; Consider what hath been said, and the Lord give you understanding.

FINIS.
[figure]

THE SAINTS INHERITANCE.

Psalme 16.3.

But to the Saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent in whom is all my delight.

THey that understand the whole Psalme to foresee the Messiah, and foretell of Christ, make this place parallel with that of Iohn 17.19. And for their sake I sanctifie my self, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. But here in the beginning of the Psalme, David prayes to God for preservation, and for deliverance out [Page 120] of some great evill, that it seems was upon him, or that he was in danger of. The argument that he useth, is, First his trust in God, as in the first verse, Preserve me O God, for in thee do I put my trust. And it was not an ungrounded and unwarranted trust, but that which proceeded from his interest he had in God, as in the se­cond verse, O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, thou art my Lord: thou art mine, and my onely God, in whom is all my confidence. But what if Da­vid should now perish in this distresse, should God be any looser by it? Da­vid seems to acknowledge this, that though he should not be preserved, yet God was bound to preserve his own name, and his own cause; as it followes in the second verse, my goodnesse extendeth not to thee. Though I should live, yet it is little that I could do for thee. But to the saints that are in the earth, Though my goodnesse extendeth not unto thee, yet may I be of use to thy people, and unto thy Saints while I live; for it extends to [Page 121] them, and they are those that my soul closeth with and hath delight in. O, therefore do I desire to live, and to be preserved, that I may be usefull to them, that are thy Saints.

It is a great argument to prevail with God, when any of you are in danger, and seek for preservation, if your hearts work thus to God, that the desire you have to be preserved is, that whatever you are, and whatever you can do, may extend to the Saints, that you may live to be of use and ser­vice in the world to Gods people. Many of you when you apprehend your selves to be in trouble, you then cry to God to be preserved: but to what end? wherefore would you be preserved? wherefore would you live? If we may judge of your ends according to your practise, you would live that you may have more time to satisfie your lusts, that you may have more time to dishonour God, that you may have more time to do mischief in the places where you live. There is this in the heart, and God sees it: [Page 122] God sees whatsoever will be after in your lives; God sees before what was in your hearts when you cried to be preserved. But now one that is gra­cious, he desires therefore to be pre­served: O, saith he, that I might live to be of use in that place where God hath placed me. If God should take me away now, my conscience tells me that it is little service that I have done for him. I have been of little use in the place where God hath set me, O, that I might be preserved for this end, that what I am, or have, or have been might extend to the Saints on earth, even the excellent in whom is all my delight. Thus you have the scope of the words, and the depen­dance of them. And in them there are these two things observable.

1. Observa­tion.First, the high esteem of the Saints; They are the excellent of the earth.

2 Observa­tion.And secondly, the sweet delight that Davids heart had in them; in whom is all my delight.

For the first, the high esteem that David had of the Saints, & the Saints [Page 123] that were on earth, the Excellent. The point is this, that the Saints of God, those that are godly, are the excellent in the earth.

Then secondly, from this that he saith, in whom is all my delight. Ob­serve this, that a gracious heart above all things in this world, takes the most contentment in the Saints of God; he is much delighted in them.

The first is but a preparation to the second: therefore I shall passe it over briefly. They are the excellent in the earth, therefore my delight is in them.

They are the excellent in the earth. Let them be what they will in regard of their outward meanness, yet there is an excellency in them. Iob scraping upon the dunghill; and Ieremy sticking in the mire in the dungeon, yet they had more glory and beauty upon them, then the greatest Potentates of the earth when they sate upon their thrones. Though they lie among the pots (as the Psalmist saith) yet are they [Page 124] as Doves, their wings are the wings of Doves, whose feathers are of gold, and silver; Psalm. 68.13. beau­tifull and glorious. You know the judgement that the holy Ghost pas­seth upon the Saints in old time, that were outwardly mean enough, there is as much meanness on them as the ma­lice of the world could put: the Text saith,Hebr. 11.36. they had tryalls of mockings, of scourgings, of bonds, and imprisonments, they were sawen assunder, they were tem­pted, they wandred in sheepskins, & goats skins: destitute, afflicted, tormented. What kind of creatures were these, surely they were some wretched men, and women that were thus hunted up and down to wander in sheeps­skins and goats-skins, destitute, afflict­ed and tormented? No such matter, they were such of whom the world was not worthy: v. 38. that is the judgement of the holy Ghost upon such, the world was not worthy of them.

The men of the world would have thought, and did think that they were such as were not worthy to live in the [Page 125] world: but the judgement of the holy Ghost was such, that the world was not worthy of them. I remember Chrysostome hath this interpretation of the phrase, they are such as are worth more then all the world, more then many thousands of the world; one of them is worth more then all the men of the world besides. It is a truth so; one Saint of God, though never so mean, one poor youth, one servant that is truly gracious, is worth more then all the men of the world besides that are not so. All the Monarchs and Princes on earth, have not that excel­lency in them that one poor child or servant hath that is gracious, and be­longs to God.

But the ordinary interpretation is thus, they are such as have that excel­lency, as that the world is not worthy to enjoy them, they are not worthy of their presence, that they should so much as live among them; they are rather fit to be set as stars in heaven, & be before the Lord in his glory: the world is not worthy of them.

[Page 126]But what is there in the Saints that makes them the excellent in the earth? The Saints that are the excellent. The word in the originall signifies the magnificent ones; those that have magnificent spirits, and are exceeding glorious.

There is this in them (that I may briefly passe over this first.)

The Saints have the Image of God.They have the image of God upon them, and therefore they must needs be the excellent on earth. The image of God makes them to resemble God in that which the creature is able to conceive of; That which is the height of Gods excellency: though it be true, whatsoever is in God is God himself: yet we conceiving of God according to our manner of speaking, there is something of God that appears most excellent, and glorious. And it must needs be in regard of that expression, because grace is called the image of God. Now when we draw the image of a thing, we draw it as near as we can according to that which is the most proper excellency of that thing. [Page 127] If I would draw the image of a man, I do not draw the likenesse of a piece of flesh, a beast hath that as well as a man; or I do not draw feet or legs, or the back parts of a man: but when the image of a man is drawn, his face is chiefly looked after to be drawn, which is the most excellentest part of man; and there we endeavour to ex­presse his life, and spirit as much as can be: for that is the most excellent part; and though the spirit cannot be drawn, and there can be no picture of it; yet because it is shewen most in the face, that is, as near as we can go, that is drawn there.

So the image of God, is that where­in the creature resembles God in height of excellency and glory. It is not every resemblance of God that is Gods image: there are some things that set out some of the glory of God, and they are but called Gods foot­steps, or his back parts. All the resem­blance of God in his creatures; and the expressions of his power, and wisedome; the invisible things of [Page 128] God that we see in the creature, they are all but his footsteps, and back­parts; they are not his image, Why? because they do not resemble God in that which he hath set out to us to be the height of his glory. What is that? The holinesse of God, that is the height of his excellency. Therefore it is said of God him [...]elf,Psalm. 111.9. holy and reve­rend is his name. Gods name comes to be reverend by holinesse: were it not for his holinesse, notwithstanding all the rest, (if it were possible to separate them) his name would not be re­verend. Therefore when the Saints in heaven glorifie God for his chiefest excellency, it is thus Isai 6.3. Revel. 4.8. holy, holy, holy. We find not in Scripture any of Gods Attributes thrice repeated, Wise, Wise, Wise, or Almighty, Almigh­ty, Almighty, but holy, holy, holy, be­cause the excellency of God consists chiefly in Holinesse: the LORD on­ly is Holy.Rev. 15.4.

Now because where grace is in the creature, resembling this holinesse of God, there is that principle whereby [Page 129] the creature is able to act as God him­self acts: for that is holinesse, the working of God to his own end in all things suitable to his nature. So when the creature works to God as his last end, and in some measure is suitable to that God with which the creature hath to doe, here is the Image of God.

Therefore the Scripture expresseth grace by these 4. things, as

  • The Image of God.
  • The Life of God.
  • The glory of God, and
  • The Divine nature.

There are these 4. expressions for the work of grace.

The Image of God, it resembles God in his excellency. The life of God himself, Ephes. 4. alienated from the life of God, that notes acting like God himself. And then it is the glory of God himself; and the divine na­ture, 2. Pet. 1.3. So that there must needs be excellency in the Saints that have grace that is of this na­ture.

[Page 130]Certainly, there is more of God in the meanest Saint, in the meanest gra­cious man or woman; there is more of the glory of God, then in all the world besides, then in heaven and earth. Take all the creatures, all the glory of God in the heavens, in the Sunne, Moon, and Stars, and put all into one. Take all the glory of God in the seas, those vast Oceans, and put that into one; take all the glory of God that appears in the earth, all the riches of the earth, and all arts and sciences, and what you will; put all into one, and the meanest youth or servant that hath the least degree of grace, hath more of the glory of God then all this is. There is more of the shining of God in the least degree of grace in the poorest Christian in the world, then there is in all these crea­tures. If there were a quintessence of all the excellency, and glory, extract­ed, and drawn, and put into one, yet there were not so much of God, God could not see so much of himself in that one creature that should have the [Page 131] excellency of all creatures put toge­ther, as he sees in the meanest Saint that hath the work of grace.

And surely then they are the excel­lent of the earth, if there be so much of God in them.

The work of grace is that which hath most of God in it; and where­soever it is, it is that which is the pro­per work of Gods eternall love; it is a beam of it, therefore there is a great deal of excellency in it. Take all other creatures, and it is possible to enjoy all the good that is in all the creatures in heaven and earth (excepting this one­ly, the grace of God) through the bounty of God, and the pleasure of God.

There is nothing that the creature hath, but may be communicated as a fruit of Gods generall bounty except spirituall blessings in Christ: but where ever this is, though in the least degree, it is of that nature, that it can­not come but onely from the eternall election of God. It is that which is the principle of Eternall life, wheresoever [Page 132] it is, it is that which will grow up to eternall glory.

All common gifts will never grow up to glory, though they grow up to the height of glory, but the grace of God, true grace, it is of the same na­ture with eternall glory. Therefore for the kind of it, it is the greatest good that ever God did, or that ever he will communicate to any creature for all eternity. I say, where ever God hath communicated any dramme of grace,Grace is the chiefest good that God doth bestow. that is the greatest good that ever God did, or ever will commu­nicate to all eternity, to any of his creatures, therefore it is exceeding excellent.

Onely excepting the work of God in the hypostaticall union of the two natures, wherein he joyned the hu­mane, and the divine nature together in one person; excepting that, the work of grace in any soul is the grea­test work that ever God did from all eternity, or that ever he will do, for the kind of it.

Now that which hath so much of [Page 133] God in it, & comes from the eternall election and love of God; and is the greatest work that ever was done, or ever shall be done; and the greatest good that ever was, or shall be com­municated to any creature for ever, truly this must needs be the greatest excellency. For God made the world for that end, that he might commu­nicate his excellency, and glory to the world, to the creature. Now that which was the greatest thing that God intended from all eternity; for the communicating of all his glory, it must needs make the creature excel­lent. This is the first thing, that the Saints are the excellent on earth in regard of the image of God upon them, and the work of grace in them.

But secondly, they are the excellent of the earth, in regard of the separa­ting of them for God: they are those that God set his thoughts upon from all eternity, that they might enjoy him. The great counsels that God wrought from all eternity, especially [Page 134] were set on work upon this great thing of separating of certain creatures for himself from the rest of the world.

Now when God shall set as it were (to speak after the manner of men) his thoughts and counsels on work from all eternity to set apart a few creatures for himself; if these can be known who they are, certainly, we cannot but look on them as the excellent on earth: Now wheresoever we see the work of grace in any, we may by that know that these God hath separated for himself, as setting his infinite wise­dome on work from all eternity above that. That was the thing he was most exercised in before the world, about the work of separating such and such for himself. The Psalmist saith, O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? How long will ye love vanity and seek after leasing? But know, that the Lord hath set a part him that is Godly, for himself. Psalm. 4.2.3. Here you see that God hath set apart the godly for himself, they are those that [Page 135] are dedicated, & consecrated to God, therefore there is a wonderfull excel­lency put upon them.

The excel­lency of things con­secrated.As you know any thing that is de­dicated and consecrated, though it be never so mean in it self, yet being once dedicated, being once made a consecrated thing, there is a great deal of excellency put upon that thing. As in the law, if it were but a piece of wood in the Tabernacle, if it were but a Badgers skin; if it were but brasse or goats hair or any such thing that were meane in it self, yet if it were once consecrated and made holy to God, they looked upon it as having a great deal of excellency on it.

Now I reason thus; if a piece of wood, or a little hair, or leather con­secrated to God had an excellency in it: what then hath an immortall soul, that hath the graces of the spirit, as so many pearls in it, when that is consecrated & set apart to God to the glory and praise of his grace to all e­ternity; here must needs be much ex­cellency and most eminent prehemi­nences.

[Page 136]When a thing is consecrated we look on it no more according to the quality of the thing, but to the conse­cration. As I remember I read of some people in India, that when they have but lost an Apes tooth that was con­secrated to their god, they will give an unspeakable summe of money for the redemption of it again, because it was a thing that was consecrated to their god. So I read of another that being raised from a mean birth, he took this way to make himself to be highly esteemed of the people, he had a golden bason that he used to wash his feet in, he took that and made an idoll of it, and consecrated it, and then every one fell down, and wor­shipped it when it was consecrated. Nay, saith he, if this which was mean before it was set apart to this use, comes so to be honoured, then I that am mean by birth, being set apart to the government, may as well be ho­noured by you.

Thus then if the superstition, and will of man having consecrated a [Page 137] thing, thinks he puts so much excel­lency on it, how much more when God himself, and the great and spe­ciall work of the holy Ghost that he is designed to, it is a speciall work of his office to consecrate souls to God, and to set them apart to himself, what an excellency must this needs be that is put upon them? They are the excellent of the earth. That is the se­cond.

The Saints Relation to God.Thirdly, if we consider that rela­tion that the Saints have to God; they are the nearest relations that can be exprest. Of children to parents; they are the children of God. Of a spouse to her husband; they are the spouse of Iesus Christ, the second person in Trinity; and in that regard they are more nearly united to God then the Angels themselves are, in being the spouse of the Son of God. Yea the very members of his body, they have a nearer relation in that respect to the divine nature, to the second person in Trinity then the Angels themselves: for they have not such a relation as [Page 138] this, therefore they are the excellent of the earth.

The Saints Privi­ledges.Again, fourthly, if we consider the great priviledges that the Saints have, we shal see them the excellent of the earth. Not to speak of their delive­rance from sin and guiltinesse, and those immunities that they have from others. But consider they have this priviledge, that God in all his attri­butes and works, he is continually working for their good.

There is this excellent prerogative of the Saints, there is no attribute of God but it is continually working good to every Saint of God. There is no work of Gods providence, but it works and acts continually for their good.

It would be a mighty excellent ho­nour put upon any man, if but such an honourable assembly as the Parlia­ment, should take thought for such an one, and all their purposes and plots, and councels all the time they are sit­ting should tend to the good of such an one in particular, taking notice in [Page 139] particular of him. It is that which I said, all your wisdome, and power and mercy, and faithfulnesse, and the infi­nite alsufficiency of God is continual­ly every moment working, not onely for the good of those that love God in generall, but for every particular Saint of God. God takes speciall no­tice of them, and sets all his attributes continually on work for their good, & wellbeing.

And the heavens continually work for them. They have this priviledge, that the whole world is made for them, God hath given them the world, they are the heirs of the world; as it is said of Abraham, he was the heir of the world. Rom. 4. Abraham had little himself, yet he had the world. Now the children inherit their fathers estate; if the world were A­brahams inheritance, then it is the in­heritance of every child of Abraham: for so the children of Abraham are heirs to all that Abraham had, that is, as far as concerns them, therefore they that are his heirs, are heirs likewise [Page 140] of the world, so the Apostle saith, 1 Cor. 3.22.23. All are yours, and you are Christs, and Christ is Gods. So that God, and the creatures are theirs, here is a mighty priviledge indeed.

Again, the priviledges that they have in all the good of the Covenant of grace, Whatsoever good there is in the Covenant of grace, all the rich promises in the Covenant of grace are the priviledges of the godly Saints. It is admirable priviledges that the pre­cious promises in the Scripture speak of, to have interest in them all.

The Saints immunities that come by the Co­venant of Grace.Besides, not onely the promises, but the immunities that come from the Covenant of grace, as this; that they are not to stand or fall for their eternall estate, by any thing that they are able to do themselves, they are freed from this, their eternall estate hangs not on that which they can do. Whereas others, that are not saints, that are not in the Covenant of grace, their eternall estate hangs on their endeavours, and actions, God dealing with them according to the Covenant [Page 141] of works, being in that condition: though they may be such as may after come to be Saints, and as God hath elected, and in love may look on them as he intends towards them: but for the present they are in such a condi­tion, as that they know not, but that their eternall estate depends on that which they do themselves. Now to be delivered from this, to have this immunity that such a thing of such a consequence, as our eternall estate should depend upon a sure foundation, upon that which is done by Christ, and done already; it is an infinite pri­viledge. Others cannot challenge to themselves this priviledge, that God will accept of their endeavours; do what they can, yet not being in the Covenant of grace, those endeavours are not accepted. That it pleaseth God to accept the will for the deed; it is one of the priviledges of the Saints, that comes by the Covenant of grace: but it belongs not to others, they have not to do with this immu­nity and priviledge. So I might name [Page 142] divers others, but then I should go out too far.

The Saints have accesse to the Throne of Grace.Again, this is a glorious priviledge of accesse to the throne of grace, to come to God in prayer. God gives them the key of all his treasures to come, and open them, and take what they will; it is a glorious priviledge that belongs to the Saints in any con­dition. God gives them a gracious praying heart, and that is the key of all the treasures of God, of all the ex­cellencies of God, that they have li­berty to come and take out what they will, be it unto thee as thou wilt. These are the excellent of the earth, that have these priviledges.

The Saints are the ex­cellent on earth.Again, they are the excellent in earth in regard of that which comes from them. As the work of grace is so excellent as hath been spoken of: so every gracious action that comes from a gracious heart there is a won­drous excellency in it. There is not any one gracious action, but it hath more excellency then heaven and earth. Not onely grace it self, but any [Page 143] action that comes from grace, hath more of God in it, and God more de­lights in it, then in all other things in heaven or earth.

Luther an advancer of faith and holiness.It is an expression of Luther, (though he were a great advancer of faith, yet he was also an advancer of holinesse as well as of faith; therefore speaking of any gracious work of a godly man or woman, saith he, preciosa &c. it is more precious then heaven and earth. And then he goes on with another expression I had rather be able to per­form any one gracious act, of the poo­rest woman, or maid; of the poorest Christian that is, then to be able to do all that ever Alexander, or Iulius Caesar had done. The least act that comes from faith, from a sanctified heart, he had rather be able to do it, then to get all the victories of Iulius Caesar and Alexander: all their triumphs and trophies were nothing to the least breathing of the work of grace in those that are godly, that which comes from them are exceed­ing excellent. Now I reason, they [Page 144] must needs be excellent, that have such excellent things come from them. As when there were such ex­cellent things came from the body of Paul, [...]that had such virtue in them, that had such virtue in them, that noted that there was a great deal of excel­lency that God conferred upon that Apostle, and a great deal of honour that was put upon him: So when there comes flowing such precious liquor, such precious things from the Saints, as an holy action is, it shews that there is a great deal of excellency in them.

Vse.Which (by the way) should teach us to abound in holy duties; though our actions as they are from us cor­rupted, we look on them as despica­ble, yet know that God looks on them as the most glorious things in the world, any breathing of a gracious heart, therefore he despiseth not the broken heart, nor the sighing of a contrite spirit. Psalm. 51.17. God can despise Monarchs, and Princes of the world: but God cannot despise a broken [Page 145] heart, nor any breathings from it. Though thou mayest despise it thy self, and look on it as despicable, the Lord cannot despise it: he sees so much excellency in it, though it be mixed with thy corruptions; yet there is that remainder of excellency in it, if there be but so much as may denomi­nate it a gracious act, it is a glorious thing in the eye of God.

Lastly, (to name no more) the ex­cellency of the Saints appears in this, the great use that they are of in the world. As especially this is one thing that God attains in them his great aim and end in creating the whole world. Were it not for a few gracious men, and women, what glory should God have in all the world? They are those that hold up the glory of God in the world, by which God hath his glory actively; for that is that God aims at. It is true God can force glory in spight of mens hearts, he will be glorified in spight of Devils: but God hath no active glory, but from gracious, god­ly people (I speak of the inferiour [Page 146] world) it is onely the godly that God hath glory from. Therefore were it not for them God (in some kind) had made all the world for nothing. Now those that are imployed in such a great work, and are of this great use in the world, as to bring to God that which he made the world for, the main, and great end that he made hea­ven and earth for; certainly these are principall in Gods esteem, and excel­lent. God can say I have my end in these: Take any town where there are but two or three that are godly, what glory hath God but of these? So for other places where hath God glory but for a few contemptibile ones? They are these that God glorifies in high and great services: these are the lights of the world, the salt of the earth: they are these that are the bles­sings of the world wheresoever they are; they are these for whom the world continueth so as it doth. There is a notable expression in Isaiah, In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt, and with Assyria, even a blessing in the [Page 147] middest of the Land, whom the Lord of hosts shall blesse, saying, blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance. Isaiah 19.24.25. Wheresoever they are in a Kingdom, or a family, or a town, they are a blessing in that King­dome, in that town, and in that fami­ly. Israel shall be a blessing in the middest of the Land. These are they that are the excellent of the earth.

I would now willingly be over this that I may come to the other, but one­ly there is a word or two of applica­tian. And that is.

First, to shew what a vast difference there is between those that are godly, & those that are wicked. Many things I might shew that the Scripture ex­presseth of wicked ones in all their glory: let all the glory of the world be put upon them, yet the Scripture speaks exceedingly contemptuously of them. I must not spend time in those expressions, onely one, and that is Daniel. And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not [Page 148] give the honour of the Kingdome: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the Kingdom by flatteries. Daniel 11.21. It is spoken (as most Interpreters carry it) of Antiochus Epiphanes, he is called a vile person, we may observe that David doth here more fully set out the love and affection he bears to­wards those that feare God by the contrary effect of hatred wherewith he doth prosecute the wicked, as in the 4. v. of this Psalm, & in the 4. vers. of the foregoing Psalm, the Psalmist saith, In whose eyes a vile person is con­temned, but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. Psalm. 15.4. Of this Antiochus there are three things ob­served, yet he is called a vile person. First, he was a great enemy to many sinnes. Secondly, when the Iews wrote to him, because they feared his wrath, he being a persecutor of the Iews; there were some that lived in Samaria that were Samaritans that wrote to him to desire his favour, that were not their own selves Iews, but Samaritans: and Iosephus saith, they [Page 149] wrote to him in this stile, To An­tiochus, &c. Antiochus the mighty God; they gave him this title of honour. He was a great man on earth accounted where he lived; among the Samari­tans, a mighty god; yet the Scripture calls him a vile person. And then his name Epiphanes, which is as much as illustrious or glorious. He hath that title of almighty god, and illustrious, and glorious, and yet he was a vile person. Thus it is, where God sees not the work of grace.

Vse.The consideration of this might give us some hope that there will be a time wherein God will appear for his Saints. It is not probable that God will alwayes suffer his Iewels to be trodden under feet in the world; that God will alway look upon such as are excellent on earth, and see them so abused in the world, & so contempti­ble as they are; surely this will not be alwayes, God hath this time to make it manifest to the world, that they are the excellent of the earth. They are now Iewels, yet they are such as are [Page 150] in the dirt, and so are despised & con­temned: but there is a promise, that the Lord their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his Land. Zach. 9.16. As the stones of a Crown, God will lift them up and make them honou­rable.

And there is another Text which is very observable; for every one to take notice of Gods intention to make these excellent ones famous on earth. The governours of Iudah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Ierusalem shall be my strength in the Lord of hosts their God. Zach. 12.5. There was a time when the governours of Iudah despi­sed those that were gracious & godly; but God hath promised that the go­vernours of Iudah shall be convinced of their errour, and shall say in their hearts the inhabitants of Ierusalem shall be my strength in the Lord of hosts their God: However now through the ca­lumnies of the world; however now through the reproaches that are cast [Page 151] upon the Saints of God, it falls out many time, that even the governours of Iudah despise and contemne them, and say they are seduced people, that they are factious and turbulent, and so their hearts are against them, & hate, and abhorre them, & look upon them with such an evill eye, as those that they name puritans: yet there is a time promised when the governours of Iu­dah shall say in their hearts the inha­bitants of Ierusalem are my strength in the Lord of hosts. O ye inhabitants of Ierusalem, Gods Church and peo­ple, his sanctified ones (for Ierusalem typified the estate of Gods people un­der the Gospell; Gods sanctified ones under the Gospell) shall be such as the governours of Iudah in their hearts shall say, My strength is in them. I see they are my best subjects, my chief strength is in them, and they are of principall use for me, and my King­dom is upheld in peace for them, and there is the blessing of God on them, they shall be my strength in the Lord of hosts their God. Now I see God is [Page 152] their God; God hears their prayers, and hath done much for them, we are convinced of it. O this will be a bles­sed time, when it shall be that the governours of Iudah shall say so.

Blessed be God that they do say so in any measure, that the governours of Iudah say at all of the inhabitants of Ierusalem, of the godly, that their strength is in them: that they may see those that are the excellent of the earth, in any measure to be truly the excellent of the earth.

It were a ruefull spectacle, and would draw tears of bloud, to see the excellent ones to have that usage that they have had. But now to see those excellent ones countenanced in a pu­blick way, especially in publick courts of Iustice, it is glorious, when the governours of Iudah shall do it. And this we are to pray for, that it may be more and more seen amongst us, and to say no more; let us learn to honour them that God hath honoured: since they are excellent ones, and God hath put excellency upon them, do [Page 153] you so too, look on them according as God esteems them. It is observed, that God in the time of the law did not require them to offer in sacrifice, Lions and Eagles, those brave crea­tures; but Lambs and Doves, mean creatures, he would have offered in sacrifice. So God doth not regard the brave spirits of the world that strut it out; but if there be any that be gra­cious and godly though they he never so poor and mean, as Lambs and Doves, God honours and respects them, they are a sacrifice to him; the broken heart is a sacrifice to God.Psalm 51.17. The sacr [...]fices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O Lord, thou wilt not despise. Therefore when God would lift up himself in glory, he saith, Psalm. 34.18. He that dwells in the high and lofty place. What of him? he looks to those that are of humble, and contrite hearts, and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. As if there were no other subject in the world worth looking upon, he looks onely to them. As a thing that is before ones eye that he prizeth, his [Page 154] eye is fastned on that: so God looks on them as if they were the onely ob­ject to be looked at; therefore let them be looked at by us with reve­rence in our hearts: it is fit that we should honour those that God ho­nours.

The King of Babylons message to Hezekiah.Therefore it is observed in the message of the King of Babylon to Hezekiah, 2 Chron. 32.31. When He­zekiah was sick, and God had given him a sign of his recovery that the sun did go backward: It was a wondrous honour that God put on him that the sun should go backward. The ambas­sadours of the king of Babylon came to congratulate with Hezekiah after his recovery: but what was the busi­nesse? not onely to congratulate with him for his recovery; but to enquire of the great miracle, so the Text saith, the ambassadours of the Prince of Babylon were sent unto him to enquire of the won­der that was done in the land; Why did they enquire of this wonder? there were many wonders done, but they were not sent to enquire of others but [Page 155] of this. Because they worshipped the sun for their god and because their god had put such an honour upon He­zekiah; they perceived the altering of the sun that it went backward, and they enquired of the matter, concern­ing the alteration in the sun, and after enquiry there was news that it was for the sake of Hezekiah. Now because they worshipped the Sun as their god, and so apprehended that their god had put such an honour upon He­zekiah, they honoured him too. Though Hezekiah were king of the Iews, and they were enemies one to another, Ierusalem and Babylon, yet when God had honoured him, they sent to congratulate one another, then they put honour and respect one upon another upon that occasion.

That should teach us, if the heathens when they see their God put honour on any, they honour such as God ho­nours, then when you see or hear that God honours gracious & godly men, and women, do you so too; prize them, let them have high esteem in your [Page 156] hearts. You have heard this day what honour God puts upon his Saints, therefore learn you to honour them. And much might be said, to draw the hearts of all people to the love of the people of God. Somewhat for the people of God; to walk as excellent ones, not to defile one another. And for others, if they would be those here in the world that be excellent and glorious; it is not the outward things of the world that hang on you; as clothes, and riches that make you ex­cellent ones in the eye of God, but it is grace, and godlinesse. By faith the fathers obtained good report.

Some think there is no way to get esteem, but by outward bravery, great livings, fine clothes and the like; and men think that the way to be ac­counted more eminent then others, is to be rich, and to wear fine cloaths & get honours and such like; but these are fading and not permanent. So there are many ministers that think to get esteem if they be honoured before great ones, and go brave. But you [Page 157] know by experience, that a faithfull godly minister, that walks faithfully, and conscionably, he gets more esteem in the hearts and consciences not onely of those that are godly, but of those that have enlightned con­sciences, then a hundred of those; and they vex at it that they should do so; Why? they go a way to work to get more esteem, but they are deceived; they look at excellency where it is not. It is not such things, but in the work of grace, that prevails with the consciences of men. Boniface the mar­tyr when he was asked the question,Boniface. if he might have the sacrament, if he would drink it in a wooden challice? saith he, the time was that there were wooden cups and golden priests, but now there are golden cups & wooden priests. There was a time in the pri­mitive times, they were very mean, they were content with wooden ves­sels; but the men were gold in regard of grace, and godlinesse, and so they were highly esteemed; but now they have golden cups, that is a great deal [Page 158] of bravery and glory; but they have wooden priests, those that have no true excellency in them. Prov. 10.20. The heart of the wicked is little worth. It may be his estate, his houses, his lands may be somewhat worth, but what is his heart worth? he hath nothing in him­self to commend himself. But now the excellency of Gods people is in that, it is in the soul and heart.

It were an uncomfortable thing to any of you, if suppose you have a ser­vant along with you where you go, and all the respect you have is for your servants sake; if any entertain you into their house, it is not out of respect to you, but respect to your man; they love your man, and for his sake they entertain you; this would deject your hearts if you should know that you have no respect for any good in your selves, but for your servants sake. So the men of the world, they have respect, but what is it for? for their riches, for their honour, for their brave cloaths, for their money; all servants under them, they have no [Page 159] respect for any thing in themselves, they have no spirituall excellency; especially when they are to deal with God, and the consciences of men, they have no respect. But godly men have not so many servants to gain respect by outward things: but that respect they have of Gods Saints, and in the consciences of men they have it from an internall excellency. But we let this go.

The second point follows, The ex­cellent of the earth. In whom is all my delight.

It is but little that can be done I see, though it were the point I in­tended most. That that hath been said already makes way abundantly into the heart, that if they be the excel­lent of the earth, there is cause that we should delight in them.Observa­tion. That is the point, that a gracious heart takes great delight in the Saints on earth.

First in their persons.

Or secondly in their society, and communion with them.

Or rather thus; they take de­light [Page 160] in them, severally and joint­ly.

If they look upon any one Saint of God, they have deligt in him▪ but they have more to look on all the Saints together jointly; so they can say their souls delight in them, there is a sweet complacency taken in them jointly. And that is that which I shall speak to at this time; The delight that is to be taken in the Saints jointly together. There is delight in the Saints in re­gard of the sweetnesse of their society and communion with them. For so this delight of David is to be taken in a large sence; not onely in one parti­cular, because of the good that he saw in their persons: but in regard of all the good he saw in them, and by them in joyning with them take them alto­gether jointly. All the good that came from them; so he delighted in them. There is a great deal of delight and contentment to be had in the Saints of God, especially jointly.

If you look at one sometimes (though in never so mean a condition) [Page 161] there is a great deal of delight there. As Doctor Tayler the Martyr, that we read of in the book of Martyrs coming to Bradford, he professed that it coun­tervailed all his trouble in prison, that he was acquainted with that Angel of God Iohn Bradford, meaning him in particular. And another that pro­fessed that he had rather be with Cato, (a heathen) for his morall excellen­cies, in prison then with Cesar in the Senate in all his pomp. To be shut up with one godly man is a great deal of delight and contentment: what a great deal of delight is there then in their being together, and in that way wherein most of their excellencies appear? such delight is in them joint­ly.

Communion of Saints is comforta­ble.First, because the most comfor­table communion that possible can be is enjoyed with them, and in them: for

First, is it not a most delightfull thing to see a company of godly peo­ple together to behold the resplen­dent beauty, and glory of the graces [Page 162] of Gods spirit? If there were nothing else, what a delightfull thing is it saith the heart? The very sight of good men is pleasing and delightfull to those that look upon their faces: wis­dome makes their faces shine. The seeing of the resplendent grace of God in them is very delightfull. What is the delight of God, but the seeing of the shining of his glory in his works? especially when God sees that which is the shining of his highest glory, as his own grace and holinesse, that God delights in most. So when a gracious heart sees his own image, & that grace that God hath wrought in him, he sees it resplendently in others, it is a de­lightfull object.

Again, there is a comfortable com­munion with them in regard of the fragrancie of grace. The beauty of grace is delightfull, but the fragrancy, the breathings of grace, are sweet in the heart. The beholding of it is de­lightfull to the eye, but the workings of their grace is exceeding sweet, and comfortable to the heart: Therefore [Page 163] saith the Church, Let my beloved go down into the gardens, among the beds of spices to feed in the gardens, and to gather spices. Cant. 6.2. All the Churches of God in the world are as the garden of Christ; and every particular Church in that garden is as a bed of spices; and every particular Saint is as the seve­rall parts of that bed, & especially the fragrant smell is very sweet.

It is said of Alexander, his very body was of such a constitution, that where ever he went there was a sweet savour came from his body. Certain­ly, where there is but one of Gods children, there is sweetnesse from him; but where there is a company joyntly, there is a wonderfull un­speakable sweetnesse comes from them, it is exceeding comfortable to a gracious heart to be among them.

Again, their communion is comfor­table and delightfull jointly, in regard of the nearnesse; there being no com­munion under heaven, wherein there is that nearnesse one to another, as of [Page 164] the Saints. Observe, (that you may see how near they come together, and are made one, and so are exceeding delightfull one to another) any thing the more spirituall they are, the more they are united; the more corporeall they are, the lesse union. A heap of stones are not united, as the severall beams of the sun, a thousand of them are united in one point, because they are of a spirituall nature. So it is with the spirits of men, the more carnall any men, and any society is, the lesse union: therefore the reason why the people of God many times are di­vided, and not united is, because they are carnall, 1 Cor. 3.3. Are ye not carnall, saith the Apostle,when there were divisions? were you spirituall you would be more united one to another, but car­nall men are carnally minded.

It is with spirituall society in re­gard of spirituall union, as it is with the society of wickednesse. There is bodily, fleshly wickednesse, and there is spirituall wickednesse. Now those that joyn together in grosse bodily [Page 165] wickednesse, they are not so closely united as those that joyn in spirituall wickednesse. A companion of drun­kards or whoremongers, they take de­light in one another, and joyn in wickednesse, but it is corporall, there­fore they soon fall out, and fly in the faces one of another. But those that joyn in spirituall wickednesse, as poli­tick ambitious men, men that joyn in mischief in a spirituall way, they keep mighty close, and you cannot easily break their bond of union; they will suffer much before they will discover one another, and break union one with another, because their union is in a way of spirituall wickednesse. So on the contrary, when any are united in the spirit of holinesse, they are mighti­ly united, there is no such union under heaven as that.

We read of the curtains of the Ta­bernacle, Exod. 26. there were some of them that were made of purple, & scarlet, and fine linen, and their teaches that held them together were pure gold. There were others of goats hair, [Page 166] and their buckles were brasse. So it may set out the different condition of men in the Church: There are some in the Church that are truly gracious and godly, that excell in grace; and they are united by tacks of gold; their union is mighty strong and glorious in their hearts. There are others in the Church, outward professours that are carnall, that are goats hair, goats in the Church; and they maintain a union too, but it is but brasse, the ground and bottome of the union is but mean; it is not such a gol­den union, as the union of the hearts of Gods people; there are no people under heaven so united as they.

It is true, through their corrupti­on, there is a great deal of dissention (as there is corruption in the best) but that is as farre as they are carnall; the more spirituall they grow, the more near is their union one to an­other, and the more entire is their love,Cant. 6.9. My beloved is one, saith Christ to his Church, she is the choice of one [Page 167] of her that bare her, and the daughters saw her and blessed her. There is an onenesse, and intirenesse in the hearts of the Saints, and this makes them to be blessed by those that behold them, and makes their communion very de­lightfull.

That is the first particular, their communion is most delightfull of all other communions: therefore David saith, all my delight is in them, taking them together.

But then in the second place, A gracious heart must needs delight in the Saints, if you take them jointly; because that when they are together, there God is worshipped: the so­lemnest worship that God hath is from the Saints joyned together. As I told you before that the glory that God had in the world was from them all: but the solemnity of Gods worship cannot be but from them jointly to­gether. Therefore the great delight of a gracious heart is to be with the saints when they are jointly together: because there the name of God is ho­noured, [Page 168] and they worship God in a so­lemne way; God is honoured among them.

Christ himself much delights in the Saints when they are joyned to­gether in the duties of holy worship, do but compare two Texts of Scri­pture, that will both make us in love with the Saints, and delight in joynt communion with them. Compare Psalm. 22.22. with Heb. 2.12. The Psalme is a prophesie of Christ; and generally all interpreters go this way, that it is so, it appears by the Psalme that Christ especially is meant: the Text saith, I will declare thy name unto my brethren in the middest of the con­gregation will I praise thee. It is the promise of Christ to declare the name of his father to his Church and peo­ple, and in the middest of the congre­gation he shall praise God. Mark it, in Heb. 2.12. the Apostle applies it to the Saints joyned together, saying, I will declare the name unto my bre­thren, in the middest of the Church, will I sing praise unto thee. This was after [Page 169] Christ had been in the flesh, yet the Apostle applies this to the Church, in the middest of the Church, will I sing prayse unto thee. This they gather hence, that Christ he delights in being with his people when they are jointly together, because of the solemne worship of God, that is tendered to God by them, and he joynes with them in it as a delightfull work: as they are together to praise God, Christ is praising him; as they wor­ship, Christ is worshipping. Now eve­ry Saint of God hath the spirit of Christ in him, and so he delights in the society of the Saints on this ground, because there is worshipping of God, and God is praised solemnly among them. If there be any place in the world, wherein God hath solemne worship, it cannot be grieve a gra­cious heart, that he is not with them, for his heart is with them, he delights to be with them, especially in such a work as that; it grieves him that he cannot be there.

It is a note of an Interpreter that I [Page 170] have met with upon Isaiah. 6. where the Angles cry Holy, holy, holy, Lord of Hosts, the Prophet cryes, Woe unto me for I am undone, &c. saith he, upon this ground, because he could not joyn with those blessed creatures, and so magnifie, and praise, and wor­ship God; that he through his sin­fulnesse was not able to joyn with them, he cryes, Woe is me, I am un­done. So when any gracious heart doth but hear, that there is a people in the world that are precious ones, the excellent on earth, that joyn in the worship of God, and honour God in his own way, and enjoy communi­on with God, and I cannot joyn with them, woe to me that there should be any let or hinderance that I cannot come and joyn with them: for my heart is there, my delight is in the Saints when they are jointly together: because Gods solemne worship is there.

But thirdly, my delight is in the Saints jointly, in regard of the won­derfull delight God hath in them. A [Page 171] gracious heart must needs delight in them, because God himself takes so much delight in them: but especially when they are jointly together. There are speciall expressions in Scripture of Gods taking delight in the Saints jointly, as in Zephany Zeph. 3.17. The Lord thy God in the middest of thee is mighty: he will save, he will re­joyce over thee with joy: he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. What expressions are here of Gods delighting in his people! The Lord thy God will rejoyce, he will rejoyce over thee with joy; he will love, he will rest in his love, and joy, and joy over thee with singing. And in Isaiah, you shall find that the Church is called Hephzibah, Gods delight: Thou shalt no more be termed, Forsaken; neither shall thy Land any more be termed, Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzi bah, and thy land, Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married. Isaiah 62.4. it is a wondrous delight that God hath in his Saints.

[Page 172]There are wonderfull expressions in Scripture for the manifesting of Gods delight, even to admiration; especially in the Church jointly to­gether. They are such expressions as we could not think or invent: as na­mely, that he calls his people his por­tion, his pleasant portion, for the Lords portion is his people: Iacob is the lot of his inheritance. Deut. 32.9. God calls them his inheritance, the lot of his inhe­ritance: Ier. 12.7. he calls them the dearly beloved of his soul; Exod. 19.5. he calls them his peculiar treasure. Now therefore if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people. God hath treasures in the world; the creatures that are called the good treasures of the Lord: Deut. 28. but his people are called his peculiar treasure, there is a particularity: There is another kind of excellency in the people of Gods delight, then in all o­ther creatures; they are his common treasure, but his people are his pecu­liar treasure. God calls them his glo­ry, [Page 173] I will glorifie the house of my glory, I will place salvation in Zion for my glo­ry. Isa. 46.13. The crown of his glory, Isa. 60.7. he calls them the Throne of his glory, Isa. 62.3. Thou shalt be a Crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royall diadeem in the hand of thy God. In severall places that I cannot stand on. His glory, the House of his glory, the Crown of his glory, the Throne of his glory. He calls them the royall Diadeem, he calls them his ornament, an ornament set in Majesty and glory. There are the expressions, and more I might name of Gods delighting in his people. Therefore if God delight in them and find satisfaction, much more should we.

Christs speaks of his Church,Cant. 5.1. O my sister, my spouse, my heart is ravished with thee. It is a strange expression, for Christ himself to be ravished with his people. It is an expression beseeming the Church, to have said so to Christ, but for Christ to say to the Church, it is wonderfull. And again, My love, [Page 174] my dove, my undefiled one, Cant. 2. and at that very time when the Church was in a state of security, that Christ should call her his love, his dove, his undefiled; all to expresse the abun­dance of delight in his people. Well if God have such delight in them, much more should the Saints.

Again, if we consider further, the presence of God among his people, it is another argument why the Saints of God should take so much delight in other Saints, especially when they are joyned together, because God is present there. The Lord is here, is the name of all their assemblies, Psal. 8.11. The Lord dwells, and hath his tabernacle in Sion. It is a strange expression concerning the presence of God, in that he makes his people his habitation. As the people of God call God their habita­tion: so God calls his Church his ha­bitation. God dwells in Sion. Psal. 90. Would you not delight to keep house with God? Where Gods people are, God keeps house: and we should long to have it our own house, and not [Page 175] come as strangers. A man may come as a stranger, and take a bit, and be refreshed in a family; but it is not his house, But now Gods peo­ple when they go to others of the Saints they see God there, and they have that house for their house. It is called (as I told you) the house of his glory; that house that God de­sires to dwell in; he hath a mighty love to that house, to dwell among his people. In Psalm. 132. there are many great and excellent expressions. For the Lord hath chosen Zion, he hath desired it for his habitation, Psal. 132.13, 14. God desires Zion; what is Zion, but onely his Saints and peo­ple joyned together? Zion was a type of the Church: so now all the Saints of God together are Zion. Now God hath a desire to this habitation. God dwells in the high and holy place, the highest heaven is God habitation; but though God have such a house in hea­ven, yet he is not (as it were) contented with that house, but he desires an­other house: he hath a desire to Zion [Page 176] to be his habitation, and the house where his honour dwelleth. You know a Prince may have some houses of meaner regard, when he goes to his sport, he may have a mean house to lodge in for a while: but his pallace where he shews his Majestie, and ho­nour, that is more glorious. So the people of God, and the Church, is called the house of Gods honour, it is not a mean house, but a house of ho­nour.

Further, it is that house that he means to dwell in for ever, he loves it so well. This is my house, I will dwell in it for ever. I am so well pleased with it, I will rest in it for ever. Surely, we have cause to rest our hearts in Gods people, when God finds rest there, and for ever.

It may be some of you are some­times acquainted with the people of God, & at the first delight in them: but your hearts being carnall you soon grow weary of them. It is not so with God, he delights in his people, and rests there, and rests there for ever.

[Page 177] Why God is said to dwel [...] with his Saints.But you will say, how is God pre­sent with his Saints more then in other places; why is God said to dwell a­mong his people, his Saints?

I answer, in two regards God is said to dwell among his people in a spe­ciall manner.

First, because he makes himself known to his people, more then to all the world besides. There are none that know the counsell and mind of God, so as his Saints do. God is known in Iudah. Psal. 29.9. There God opens himself, In his Temple every man speaks of his glory.

Secondly, because God communi­cates himself most among his people, God is said to be in heaven. Why? but because there he manifests his glory more then in other places; therefore heaven is his habitation. If that be his habitation where he manifests himself more, then his people are his habita­tion, because he manifests himself most there.

Secondly, heaven is the place of Gods residence, because he commu­nicates [Page 178] himself most there: then also Gods people are his residence, he communicates himself there. And he communicates himself to them in a speciall manner, in four regards.

  • 1. He communicates to his people more choise mercies.
  • 2. He communicates mercies more fully.
  • 3. He communicates mercies more powerfully.
  • 4. More universally, then to o­thers.

1. He communicates goodnesse a­mong his people and Saints more choisely, more choise mercies of God. There is a remarkable place in the Psalmes, The Lord that made heaven and earth blesse thee out of Zion. Psalm. 143. ult. He saith not the Lord that made heaven and earth blesse thee, ei­ther out of heaven or earth, but out of Zion, as nothing that the choise mer­cies that God hath to communicate are out of Zion; among his people joyned together in the way of worship. Would you desire that God [Page 179] should blesse you with the chief mer­cies that he hath? look upon God as blessing out of Zion; out of Zion God communicates his choisest mercies: therefore it concerns all to be in Zion, that they may have God to blesse them out of Zion; there runs the sweetest of Gods mercies indeed in Zion.

Again, God communicates his mer­cies more fully among his people then any other way. Psalm. 36.7, 8. How excellent is thy loving kindnesse, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatnesse of thy house, and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. They shall be abundantly satisfied; how? not with the creatures, but with the fatnesse of thy house. Neither with thy communication to them alone. God hath abundance of mercies for his Saints alone: but when they are a­mong the Saints jointly together, then they shall be abundantly satisfied with [Page 180] the fatnesse of his house, and he sha [...]l make them drink of his rivers of plea­sures. While they are alone in cor­ners, they may have many sweet drops of pleasure from God, but when they are joyned with the Saints, there are rivers of pleasure, and delight that come to their hearts: therefore there is great delight to be had in the Saints of God when they are joyned to­gether.

Thirdly, he communicates them more powerfully, mark, in Psal. 133.3. As the dew of Hermon, and the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded a blessing, even life for ever more. There was blessing, & the Lord commanded it: there went a powerfull work of Gods grace upon the hearts of people there, when they were joyned to­gether in Zion: there God command­ed the blessing. If you would have God speaking powerfully to com­mand a blessing on your souls you must be among his people, you must joyn in a holy fellowship with his [Page 181] people; there God commands it.

In the last place, more universally all the goodnesse of God is commu­nicated among his people, therefore the Church is called the perfection of beauty; Psam. 50. that some translate, the universality of excellency and beauty. There is a universality of all among the Church and people of God. And in another place, All my springs are in thee. Psam. 87. speaking of joyning with the people of God, that is, all my springs of truth that are revealed to me; all the springs of com­fort that I have communicated to my soul, all the springs of grace that I have; to quicken me, they are all in thee in the joynt society and commu­nion with Gods people, I find all. Thus we see the presence of God a­mong his people in regard of the com­munication of himself to them, and therefore what a great deal of cause there is to joy, and delight in the Saints jointly together.

Again further there is abundance of cause to delight in them joyned to­gether, [Page 182] in regard of their admirable priviledges as they are joyned toge­ther. They have priviledges as they are alone, but as they are joyned they have committed to them the oracles of God, Rom. 3.2. all the ordinances by which God conveyes himself. To them are committed the seal of the covenant, you cannot singly have the seal of the covenant, but joyned with the people of God, closing with them. To them is committed the very power of Iesus Christ: saith the Apo­stle, When ye are together with the power of Iesus Christ, 1 Cor. 5.4. a glorious priviledge. Yea, further, take this one thing they are inheritours to all the promises that ever God made to the Church from the beginning of the world. There is no society of Saints that joyn in Christian fellowship, but they are so. See a remarkable place for that in Isa. 54.17. No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgement thou shalt con­demn: this is the heritage of the ser­vants [Page 183] of the Lord, and their right­eousness is of me, saith the LORD. That promise that God made to the Churches before, this is their heri­tage. And conceive of this one now that is of great use, that all that is said in Scripture concerning Gods delight to be among his people, and in Zion, all were but to type out the excellent condition of Gods Church in the times of the Gospell. The most of the expressions are of Gods delight a­mong his people in the time of the law: but know that all those expres­sions were but meer types, and there is a great deal more in the Antitype then in the type: therefore the Saints of God joyned under the Gospell have abundance more of the glory of God, of the presence of God, and of privi­ledges, then Zion had, or Ierusalem could have; because that was but a type of their happy condition under the time of the Gospell.

Observa­tion.It is an observable place that we have in the Hebrews, it is said concerning the state of the Church, that the law [Page 184] had but a shadow of good things to come. Heb. 10.1. and not the very image of the things. It is not so much as an image: observe, a shadow is not so much as an image; but an image is not so much as the thing it self: but that was not an image, but a shadow. As a Painter that takes an image, he draws first the dark shadow with a cole, there is a great deal of difference be­tween that shadow, and the image in beauty: so much difference there is between all the glory of God in the Church in the time of the law, and that glory of God that is among his people in the time of the Gospell▪ We may safely say, there is the like diffe­rence between Gods manifesting of himself to his people then, and now; as between a dark shadow drawn with a cole in comparison of an image. But mark, it was but a shadow of the image; that which we have now is but an image. As there is not so much in a shadow as in the image, so there is not so much in the image as in the thing it self. The presence of God and all his [Page 185] goodnesse to his people, and his glory to his people now, it is but an image to that which shall be; there shall be another presence of God, another communication, and revelation of God hereafter, in another kind then there is now; all that we have now is but an image of that which shall be; all that was in the law was but a sha­dow of that image: therefore we should have a great deal of delight in the Saints.

Much might be said further, for delighting in them now, because they are those that we shall live for ever with in heaven hereafter. Look to the Saints especially together, they are those that we shall live eternally toge­ther with in heaven, therefore they are those that we should delight in. They are those that we shall be joyn­ed with for ever in everlasting hale­lujahs, before him that sis upon the throne, and the Lamb. Look upon any Saint, though he be never so mean in gifts and abilities, thou and he shall alway joy in the presence of God in glory.

[Page 186]Yea to be among Gods people is heaven it self▪ they are not onely those that we shall be with in heaven, but it is heaven. Behold, saith the Lord, I create a new heaven and a new earth. Isa. 65.17. The state of the Church is cal­led heaven, For what is there in hea­ven but is here? I might shew the re­semblance of heaven, and that which is in heaven is here among us, and therefore if heaven be a place to be delighted in, the Saints are.

Therefore have a high esteem of the Saints, close with them, and come into as near communion as is possible. If they be so excellent, and to be de­lighted in, then especially when they are joyned together labour all to come in, and joyn with the Saints in the nearest union that is possible, in that fellowship wherein you may (as near as can be) have fellowship onely with them, especially that have the appearance of such.

The mixture of our communion doth much hinder our delight. Cast dirt into the fire, and it will damp it: [Page 187] so the mixture of ungodly ones, their spots and blemishes hinder the delight of Gods people one in another. But now to come among those that your hearts may close with, that you have comfortable evidence, that they are not meer talkers of religion and pro­fessours at large, but that the image of God is on them, O what closing is there with their hearts, and what ad­mirable good might we enjoy in the communion and society of them. Therefore know that it is one of the greatest blessings that you are capable of in this world to have the nearest communion with the Saints next to your immediate communion with God himself; it is that which you should so esteem; and your hearts should work after. Mark that Text Psalme. 36. what is said of our joyn­ing with the people of God, how ex­cellent is thy loving kindnesse, where­in appears the excellency? They shall be satisfied with the fatnesse of thy house. It is a fruit of the excellency of the loving kindnesse of God for peo­ple [Page 188] to be of Gods house, and to par­take of the fatnesse of it. To have abundance of Gods creatures, and to have an estate, and friends, it is a fruit of Gods kindnesse: but to joyn with Gods people in a way of worship and in the nearest union, that is a fruit of the excellent loving kindnesse of God to admiration. How excellent is thy loving kindnesse? it was so excellent that he was not able to expresse the excellency of it.

It is made in Scripture to be the proper inheritance even of the elect of God; to enjoy communion with the people of God, in the type, it is a fruit of the very inheritance of the elect of God; so as it is opposed to all the va­nities of the world. Mark what God saith by Isaiah,Isaiah 57.13. Vanity shall take them away, but he that putteth his trust in me shall possesse the Land, and shall inherit the holy Mountain and shall say, cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumbling block out of the way of my people, For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name [Page 189] is Holy, I dwell in the high and holy place; with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

Here is a firm inheritance indeed, the Saints shall possesse the holy mountain. God dwelleth on high, in the highest heavens, and the Saints that are of a contrite and humble spi­rit with him. Do you not perceive a joyfull revolution of the Saints, they shall be dwellers with God himself in eternity. Iob saith, I shall see my Re­deemer with these very eyes; though for a while, they be as it were, closed up in darkness, yet at last they shall be glorified. Nay, every part of the bo­dyes of the Saints shall be glorified, Christ shall make our vile bodies like his glorious body, saith S. Paul. There is no question, but his body is glorified throughout; there cannot be the least shade of darkness, for he is the Sun of righteousness, & so shall all the just, they shall shine as the Sun; every glorified Saint by the reflecti­on, [Page 190] not onely of their mind, but if their ocular body upon one another by a mutuall reciprocation of their beams, every one shall shine in every one. The glory of the soul shall trans­fuse it self, and redound to the body. Saint Paul in effect speaks as much; as it is sowen a naturall body, it riseth a spirituall body: As the soul here is swallowed up of the body, to the bo­dy as it were shall be swallowed up of the soul, in a word both soul and bo­dy shall be turned into glory, and the glory shall be to the Saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent in whom is all my delight.

FINIS.

THE RIGHTEOUS MANS REFVGE.

Ieremiah 33.3.

Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great & mighty things, which thou knowest not.

THe Prophet Ieremiah in this & the foregoing Chapter, layes down sundry and e­minent mercies that he in­tends for the good of his elect people; notwithstanding their provoking of God by their severall relapses & sun­dry backslidings; & though their ene­mies also did threaten them with utter desolation, and that they should be de­solate [Page 192] without man, and without in­habitant, and without beast, yet the voice of joy and the voice of glad­nesse, the voice of the Bridegroom & the voice of the Bride, the voice of them that shall say, praise the LORD of hosts, for the Lord is good▪ for his mercy endureth for ever; this voice shall be to the inhabitants of Ierusa­lem. But by what means shall these mercies be bestowed on then? in this Text, he tells them where ever they are afflicted or in any great distresse, call unto me, and I will answer thee. And as Christ in the Gospell, having the book of the Prophet Esaias deli­vered unto him, when he was in the Synagogue, read apart of it, then closed the book, and began his ser­mon to the people; this day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears, Luke 4.21. So may I say of this Text, that we have out of this Prophecy read unto you.

Behold this day hath the Lord full­filled this word of his in our ears be­fore our eyes. And therefore is it that [Page 193] we are all here this day met before the Lord, that we may witness unto this his good word and promise, Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. In the two last Verses of this Chapter, the Lord promiseth to establish a Covenant with David and raise up a deliverance to the seed of Ia­cob, and cause them to return out of their captivities, & he will have mer­cy on them.

That which he saith to his people, he speaks it plainly and openly, I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth. The heathen Gods did speak darkly and ambiguously to their worshippers, that they knew not what to make of their words; but I have not done so to you, saith God. They would have you worship them, but they cannot help you when you have so done; it is not so with me, Thus saith the Lord, if my Covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth, then will I cast away the [Page 194] seed of Iacob, that is, the Church of God, the Saints.

You will say, Why are the people of God called the seed of Iacob, rather then the seed of Abraham, or the seed of Isaac? the seed of Iacob. The reasons may be these two. First, because that all Iacobs posterity were the Church of God; all Iacobs children the Pa­triarchs, were every one of the Church; All that came from Abra­ham were not so, Ishmael was not so; All that came from Isaac were not so, Esau was not; But all Iacobs children were: therefore speaking of the peo­ple of God, of the Church that should be to the end of the world, they are said here to be the seed of Iacob, rather then the seed of Abraham, or of Isaac.

Then secondly, the seed of Iacòb, be­cause the Lord is here speaking of the blessing of his seed, namely in the hearing of their prayers. Call unto me, and I will answer thee. Now because Iacob was the most eminent in prayer, (though Abraham and Isaac [Page 195] no question were mighty with God in prayer yet,) the Scripture doth not put such an eminency either upon Abraham or Isaac for prayer as upon Iacob. You have the most eminent expression for prayer that ever was spoken of any man, never the like. Gen. 32.28. And he said, thy name shall be called no more Iacob, but Israel: for as a Prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. O how e­minent was he in prayer. Therefore it is rather said, the seed of Iacob, then of Abraham or Isaac.

But you will say, then they should rather have been called the seed of Israel: for his name of Israel was gi­ven him upon his prevailing with God.

We must not be too inquisitive. These names are used promiscuously. But, this is one reason that is given, and it seemeth to have probability with it.

In Scripture when God speaks of the Church in a low condition, he puts the name of Iacob on them ra­ther [Page 196] then Israel: Fear not, thou worm Iacob: and it follows, ye men of Israel, Isa. 41.14. He puts them in mind of their low condition by this name ra­ther then Israel; Fear not thou worm Iacob: For before Iacobs name was changed, ye know what a low condi­tion, and what streights he was in. So here, the Lord speaking of his Churches deliverance out of distress, he calls them the seed of Iacob, that they might see how by their prayers they were brought from their streights, as Iacob was brought from his streights by prayer. When he was Iacob before he was Israel, he was in great streights: so shall the Church be till they seek God. Call unto me and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.

That is, first, I did require it of them, and my requiring did prevail with them: I did not exhort them to it, or require it, and my words fell to the ground and they did not call unto me; but what I required of them was [Page 197] effected in them. When God speaks to a people, and they do not what he requires, his word may seem to be slighted, there being no efficacy in his words to prevail. But saith God, Call unto mee, and I will answer thee, that is, I called not on my people to call unto me and they went their own way; but what I spake to them pre­vailed with them, and in them, and they did that which I required. This is a blessed thing that we do that which the Lord requires of us to be done. That is the first observa­tion.

Secondly, call unto me, and I will answer thee, that is, I did not onely command, but I did promise to an­swer them. They calling unto me in a right manner, by that way & means which I directed them, I promised to answer their desires, when that they should call unto me.

I suppose that the principall scope of the holy Ghost is that which the words plainly present to our view; That we must call upon God, before [Page 198] he will hear and answer our requests. God requires his people to call unto him, and he is pleased to be found of them; and not onely to answer them, but to do abundantly for them.

So then this point ariseth plainly out of the words, When God requires a people to him, he will make it good to them that he will answer them.

Before I open this point I will give you a Scripture or two, one in the old Testament, and another in the new, Deut. 4.7. For what Nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for? Here is an experi­ment of the fruit of calling unto God; and it is spoken to shew the honour of Gods people, the priviledge of the seed of Iacob, and the eminent condi­tion they were in. God is nigh to them in all things they call upon him for: therefore they are not required to seek God in vain. So Matth. 21.22. And all things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. A very strange expression: Here might [Page 199] seem to be a tautologie. One would think that it had been large enough to have said, Whatsoever ye shall ask, ye shall receive: but here is, all things whatsoever. We would not speak so in ordinary language. I will give you all things whatsoever. Yet it may be, this may be intended, and I believe it is; And all things, here is the generall promise, that all things that ye ask ye shall receive: and whatsoever, may re­ferre to particulars, every particular thing that ye ask ye shall receive. You will say, any one that understands rea­son or Logick knoweth that particu­lars are included in the generall. But there is this illogicall reasoning of un­belief; that though we agree to the premises in generall, yet when we come to particulars, we think they will not be made good to us. I suppose you find your unbelieving hearts so irrationall, that though they believe the generall promise, yet when it comes to particulars, and you cannot but say that such a particular is in the generall, yet your hearts will not [Page 200] come up to it. Therefore our Saviour saith not onely, all things in generall, but also, whatsoever, in particu­lar.

So, Jam. 5.16. The effectuall fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. There is but one word in the origi­nall, [...], the working prayer; but it is translated by two, effectuall, fer­vent. Surely then prayer and seeking of God is the ordinance which he hath appointed for the turning about of the great affairs of the world. T [...] is the engine that doth it inwardly▪ there are indeed a great many out­ward wheeles used, but the spring of all is within, prayer turns all about. God never made use of any created power so much as of this. He never did such great things by any created power as by the ordinance of prayer. The Word is appointed for the con­verting of souls, but a great part of the blessing of the Word dependeth on prayer.

In the opening of this point I will first give you some evidences of it; Se­condly, [Page 201] shew you what great things prayer will do. Thirdly, wherein the efficacy and power of it lyeth. Fourth­ly, the objections of troubled unbe­lieving spirits against it. And then come to apply all. The evidences here­of are first the many famous records in Scripture of the noble and glorious exploits of prayer. If any of you should come to me to ask, as that King did of the prophets servant, 2. Kings 8.4. What great things hath thy master done? so what great things hath prayer done in the world? truly we might spend houres and dayes in returning you an answer, a great part of holy Scripture being spent in this very ar­gument. And it is a very good exer­cise for you in the night, when you cannot sleep, or at other times when you are troubled, to do as that King did, Esther 6.1. call for the book of the Records of prayer. You that read the Scriptures, mark what you read. The word of God will tell you how prayer hath stopped the Sunne in the firmament, opened heaven, and shut it [Page 202] again, raised from death to life, opened the prison doores, and what not?

Secondly, all Gods people are able to tell you great stories of what they have gotten by prayer. This poor man cryed, saith David of himself, Psalm. 34.6. and the Lord heard him. Who is it that cannot tell histories of Gods gracious dealing with him upon his calling unto him? to be sure▪ our Na­tion hath many things to say this way; and every particular godly soul hath many things to say: they would not lose their income of prayer for all the world.

Thirdly, surely it is not in vain to call unto God: for there was never any soul that ever would leave off, but would continue as long as he lived seeking him: he would seek his face evermore; if he had had no answer, he would have left off. When we see a Bee stick on a Flower, and will not be driven off, or if she be driven off, she will come again, we conclude certain­ly it finds honey there. So all the [Page 203] Saints of God that have ever sought God truly, they would never be beaten off this way. Let the world do what it will, persecute them, set spies to watch them in their meetings of prayer, let it punish and imprison them, let all the malice and rage of men be against them, yet they cannot hinder them either from praying in their closets, or from injoying the benefit of the communion of Saints in prayer. Daniel had rather lose his life then be kept from his prayers, though but for a day: but pray he would, and that openly, yea three times a day, as he was wont; he would not forbear one time. He did stick to prayer find­ing honey & sweetnesse in it. Oh how unlike are we to Daniel, though the performance of this duty was exceed­ing hazzardable to Daniel, yet he would not be deterred from it; but every light trifle taketh off our hearts.

It is not in vain for wicked men to call upon God, though they are not able to seek God as they ought. The [Page 204] prayer of the wicked is abominable, saith Solomon. Prov. 15.8. That is not to be understood of the prayer of every man that is unregenerate, wickednesse is not so to be taken in that place. For we know that God hath regarded the prayers of men unregenerate. The prayers & fasting of Niniveh were re­garded of God: the praying & fasting of Ahab was regarded of God. God hath granted the wicked some mer­cies, he hath looked on them as his creatures. Though God seeth enough in their prayers to cast them off, yet God hath manifested his regard to them. Therefore if it be not in vain for the wicked to call unto the Lord, much lesse is it in vain for the seed of Iacob, the elect of God, to call unto him.

Yea, the Lord heareth the cry of the very Ravens & the beasts, Psalme 147.9. and Psalme 104.21, 27, 28. Therefore the people of Niniveh would have the beasts eat nothing, that they might cry unto God, Ionah 3.7, 8. Surely if the brute beasts and [Page 205] the fouls be heard when they cry, it is good for the people of God, to call unto him.

There is very great reason that we should call unto God, because the peo­ple of God that have been wise and have conversed with God, and have known much of the mind of God, have given up themselves and all their strength to the duty of prayer. Now it were a weak part and an idle thing for any one to give up his strength & all his might to that which in reason we could not expect, and whereby there is no great thing to be obtained. It is said of Iehoshaphat 2. Chron. 20.3. that he feared, and set himself to seek the Lord. It is translated composuit fa­ciem suam, he set his face, he gave him­self up fully to seek the Lord. They know what they doe that give up themselves wholly to seek God.

Indeed carnall hearts condemn the people of God because they see them so earnest in those things that they think to be frivolous: For it argueth weaknesse in any man to give up him­self [Page 206] with all his strength to things that are vanity, and have no strength in them. Therefore because carnall men look upon the way of Religion, as a thing that hath no end, they think it foolish for men to be so earnest to give up their strength & their whole souls for it: But the Saints of God know what they do when they give them­selves up to seek the Lord, they know if they call unto him, he will answer them.

Again, this is an evidence that there is much advantage by prayer, because men that were wise and holy have so prized the prayers of the Saints, and made such high account of them. Mark the expression of the Apostle, writing to the Saints for their prayers. Rom. 15.30. Now I beseech you, bre­thren, for the Lord Iesus Christs sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that you strive together in prayer with me in your hearts to God for me. The Apostle Paul, so great a man, and one that had a migh­ty spirit in prayer, writing to private Christians in the Church of Rome, he [Page 207] beseecheth them for the Lords sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that they strive in prayer for him: He knew that there was much to be had this way.

Yea further, God is found of them that sought him not, Isaiah 65, 1. then surely, the people of God that call up­on him, shall receive answer from him.

Yea yet further, God when he in­tends to shew no mercy, giveth a streight charge to his people not to pray, or he shutteth up their hearts that they are not able to pray. This is an argument that prayer is prevalent, because when God will not shew mercy, he would not have such a pre­cious thing lost and spent to no pur­pose.

Lastly, it is not in vain, because if it should, then a praying heart were not alway a mercy from God: but cer­tainly it is. Therefore though perhaps you cannot find the thing granted that you pray for, yet to have a continuall praying heart, know that it is a great [Page 208] mercy from God. And those that are spirituall, prize more the continuance of a praying heart many times, then the granting of the thing they pray for. All these put together are full evi­dences, that it is not in vain to call un­to the Lord.

There be many other evidences which I passe by one purpose, that I may have as much time as may be for application.

But now, wherein doth it appear that it is not in vain to seek the Lord? what doth prayer do?

First, it is not in vain to seek God, if there were nothing else in prayer but the right exercise of the faculties of our souls and of our graces; this alone were worth our time. The gra­ces of our souls must be exercised about somewhat: Now prayer serveth for the exercise of all graces.

Secondly, it is not in vain if it were nothing but the performance of our duty as creatures to God. There are many people that are weary of prayer, because they have not that by it that [Page 209] they expect: But know that there are two arguments to prayer; the perfor­mance of duty, and the obtaining of mercy: If there were but onely the former, that alone should suffice to keep thee praying as long as thou livest.

Thirdly, it were not in vain if it were nothing but the tendering that homage and worship that we owe to God. Prayer is not onely a duty, but a great part of the worship that God hath in the world. While we are worshipping of God it is worth the time.

Again, it is not in vain, if there were nothing but this, that we come and shew what side we are of, that we joyn and side with God against his adver­saries and for his people. But these are not the things here intended.

Further, it is not in vain, because there is no faithfull prayer that ever was made but God accepts of it in heaven. There was never one of the seed of Iacob, that ever put up a faith­full petition to God, but God took it [Page 210] in his hand and read it. A King or any superiour, when you come with a pe­tition may refuse to take it, but God never refuseth to take any petition from a faithfull soul. Therefore saith the Psalmist, Psal. 6.9. The Lord hath heard my supplication, the Lord will re­ceive my prayer. He will take it, and look on it, and read it; and not onely so, but he will also accept it, and take pleasure in it: A Prince may take a pe­tition, and look on it, and after frown and shew anger in his countenance; but God doth not so with the prayers of his people: The prayer of the upright is his delight, Prov. 15.8. he never reads a petition that his people ten­ders, but with a smiling countenance. If it be a faithfull petition, he accepts it of them and receives it graciously. It is an expression of Luther speaking of the prayer of a contrite heart, The least sigh of a contrite heart so fills hea­ven with noise, that there is no noise of any thing in heaven or earth heard at that time, but onely the noise of prayer. Certainly a faithfull prayer taketh the [Page 211] heart of God very much, yea every faithfull prayer is recorded in heaven. You keep your letters upon the file, that you may readily find them, when you have occasion to look on such a letter sent from such a countrey: so God hath his file in heaven where all faithfull prayers are kept upon re­cord. As Princes have their paper of­fices, where transaction between one State and another are kept, so the Lord hath his prayer-office, where he keeps all the prayers of his Saints that ever were put up to him. Revel. 8.3. Another Angel came and stood at the Altar, having a golden censer, and there was given him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all Saints. Where were those prayers of all the Saints that he must take a cen­ser and offer incense with? God had them recorded with him, and now they were to be offered to him. And see what great things follow upon the offering of the prayers of the Saints, vers. 4. The smoak of the incense which came with the prayers of the Saints, [Page 212] ascended up before God out of the Angels hand. And the Angel took the censer, &c. and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. These followed upon the prayers of the Saints. It signified the time wherein all should come in remembrance be­fore the Lord, as if an Angel were of­fering, yea, Christ the Angel of the Covenant, hath a time to take the prayers presented long ago, and to of­fer them to God with his own incense. They are all recorded in heaven, there­fore they are not in vain. When a pe­tition is taken and put upon record, the petitioner petitioneth not in vain, his petition is not thrown out. God doth take all the petitions of the Saints and recordeth them; they are all filed up in heaven.

Yet further, there is no faithfull pe­tition but God puts his fiat to the bot­tom of it, at the instant that it is put up to him. There is a decree in heaven issued out for mercy, at the very in­stant that the petition is put up, God dealeth not with us in this kind, as [Page 213] men do who are counted very gra­cious, if they please to tell us they will consider of our petition: no; but your petition is presently granted. A peti­tioner when there is time taken to consider of his petition, trembles and shakes for fear it should not be grant­ed: but the petitions of the Saints of God are granted presently. When Da­niel had been seeking God at the even­ing sacrifice, an Angel comes to him, and tells him, that at the beginning of his prayer there was a decree to grant it, and that he was sent to him at the beginning of his prayer, Dan. 9.23. & Psa. 56.9. When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know, for God is for me. Did not Da­vid cry oft, and yet his enemies did not turn their backs when he cryed? He cryed oft when his enemies pre­vailed: yet he saith, When I cried then mine enemies turned back: and this I know, why? for God is for me. The meaning must be this, that at that in­stant that he cryed, there was a decree in heaven; the thing was done. He [Page 214] looked on it as done, even as certainly as if he had seen it with his eyes.

This is the reason that the Saints after they have prayed, though the thing be not actually done, fall to prai­sing and blessing of God. We have a notable example in Iehoshaphat, of whom we read 2. Chron. 20.3. that being in a great fear bad set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Iudah. He did not seek God slightly, but set himself to seek the Lord. And what his prayer was, ye may see from vers. 6. to 12. And Ie­hoshaphat said▪ O Lord God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven, and rulest over all Kingdomes? Mark how he pleadeth with God for the Covenant he had made, vers. 8. Speaking of the Sanctuary they had built for his names sake; If when evil commeth upon us, as the sword, judgement, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help. He urgeth the promise made to Solomon at the [Page 215] dedication of the Temple. For that prayer of Faith which Solomon made, and God accepted, hath the strength of a promise in it. O our God, saith he, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great com­pany that cometh against us, neither know we what to do, but our eyes are upon thee. 2 Chron. 20.21. Though he profest that his enemies were so many, that he knew not what to do, and that they had no might to resist them, yet after his prayer was done, and before the battell began, when he had consulted with the peo­ple, he appointed singers unto the Lord, that should praise the beau­ty of holinesse, as they went out before the Army, and to say, Praise the Lord, for his mercie endureth for e­ver, vers. 21.

Mark: he had not yet gotten the vi­ctory, the battell was not fought, yet as soon as he had ended his prayer, he praised the Lord for his mercie in­dureth for ever. He made account that the thing was done: It was de­creed in heaven. Therefore surely the [Page 216] people of God are answered when they call upon him.

Nay, it is not onely decreed, but ere long God will satisfie his people, & fill their longing souls with goodnesse, Psal. 107.9. A time shall come when they shall they say their prayers are heard, and that they have enough. Yea the Lord giveth more sometimes then his people mention in their prayer, they ask temporall blessings, and he bestoweth spirituall, yea he gi­veth them himself, and that is all in all. Surely then the prayers of the Saints are heard and answered.

But wherein lyeth the efficacy of prayer? What makes prayer so power­full with God?

One thing is, because God de­lighteth in mercy, and in communi­cating himself to the children of men. He taketh more pleasure in doing good, then any can in seeking it; yea, then any can in enjoying it from him. Our hearts cannot be so strongly set to seek for any mercy from God, as he is to communicate mercy to us. Who [Page 217] is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgres­sion of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, be­cause he delighteth in mercy, Mic. 7.18.

Another thing that rendreth pray­er so effectuall, is Gods Covenant and promise to his people. It was the speech of Alchimedes, Give me a place to set my Engine in, and I will shake the whole earth. Let prayer have a sure foundation to set foot on, and it will do mighty things. Now the promises are the foundation of pray­er, whereof we have great abun­dance Numb. 23. You shall find abun­dance of promises to the Saints of God, when Balaam was brought to curse the people. But in Deuter. 33. there are admirable promises. There is none like unto the God of I [...]shurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and on the skie in his excellency. The eternall God is his refuge, and underneath are the everlasting armes: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before [Page 218] thee, and shall say, destroy them. Israel then shall dwell in safety a­lone, the fountain of Iacob shall be upon a land of Corn and Wine, also his heavens shall drop down dew. Happy art thou O Israel, who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is that sword of thy excellency, and thine enemies shall be found lyars un­to thee, and thou shalt tread upon their high places. Here are promises to the Saints of God. They shall have all things that are good, and God will manifest himself, especially against his enemies. There must be a mighty efficacy in such a plea, when there are such large promises. So in the 14. Chapt. of this book of Isaiah, there are diverse promises for Gods people, For the Lord will have mercy on Ia­cob, and will yet choose Israel and set them in their own land, & the stranger shall be joyned with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Iacob, and the people shall take them and bring them to their place: and the house of [Page 219] Israel shall possesse them in the land of the Lord for servants and hand­maids: and they shall take them ca­ptives, whose captives they were, and they shall rule over their oppressours. And it shall come to passe that in the day that the Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve, &c. I make no question but some of the people of God have been pleading this pro­mise in prayer where the Lord hath promised to have mercy on Israel, and to give him rescue from his sorrows, and fears, and hard bondage. It was hard bondage that we were made to serve in, not long ago; here is a pro­mise that God will give us rest from it; and upon the pleading of this pro­mise God hath made it good to his people.

And in Isa. 41.8. there are large pro­mises in that Chapter to the Saints of God. But thou Israel my servant, Iacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend, Thou whom he have taken [Page 220] from the ends of the earth. Here are pro­mises for prayer to set foot upon, no marvell if it hath so much power and efficacy.

There are divers others, and ma­ny things behind of the efficacy of prayer, as it depends upon the pro­mise & covenant that God hath made with his people: for every promise is but a severall branch and expression of the covenant of God: therefore we are to referre them all to the Co­venant. I will give you but one Scri­pture, Ier. 30.10, 11. Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Iacob, nei­ther be dismaied O Israel: for lo, I will save thee from a far, and thy seed from the land of their captivity, and Iacob shall return and be in rest and quiet, and none shall make him afraid. For I am with thee saith the Lord, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations, whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in mea­sure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished. There is somewhat that [Page 221] God doth, but yet still he remembers his promise in the middest of afflicti­on, that he will leave nothing of that undone: therefore though his people be under great afflictions, the Lord will be good to them according to his promise.

Now again the Lord will regard the prayers of his people; the effica­cy of their prayers depends upon this, because it is Gods own work. That which is the work of God is not in vain: God made none of his works in vain. Now all their calling upon God, it is from God; it is Gods own work, and a most glorious piece of the work of God. Every prayer that comes from the poorest Saints of God; every gracious, and faithfull prayer it is a glorious piece of Gods work; It is a work of the holy Ghost, and therefore it is not in vain.

Again, as their prayers come from God, they seek God from God; so they seek God for God, they seek the Lord for himself. If the people of God seek God onely for Corn, [Page 222] and Wine, and Oyle; if they did seek him onely for their own ease, and outward liberties, and accommoda­tions, and for the lives of their ene­mies, perhaps they might seek in vain. No, but when they seek God, they seek God for God, & thence they pre­vail so much with God, Ye ask amisse, that ye may spend it on your lusts. Iames 4.3. You pray to God oft to be deli­vered from enemies, and you think your prayers (if it be in such a time as this) they come in vain: No marvell if so you pray that you may have li­berty to trade, and deliverance from taxations; (these may be sought,) but the house of Iacob seeks God for his name, that that may not be dishonour­ed, and for his Gospell, that that be not taken away, and the power of god­linesse trodden as dirt in the street. When they seek God for God, no que­stion, but God will hear and an­swer.

But the great efficacy of prayer is this, it is part of the purchase of the bloud of Christ: that God might hear [Page 223] the prayers of the Saints, it comes from the merits of Christ, it is a part of his purchase that God should re­gard them, it is in his name that we pray; so we are taught. It is by Christ that we have accesse to the throne of grace, our priviledge of seeking God is that which Christ hath purchased by his bloud. So that our seeking of God is not onely a duty, and benefi­ciall to us, but it is a high priviledge purchased by the bloud of Christ; by him we have accesse with boldness, the word is, with liberty of speech: li­berty of speech is by the bloud of Christ, that we may come before the Lord, and open our minds fully, cer­tainly there is a great deal of efficacy in prayer. Whatsoever our prayers are, as they are from us, though they be vain as they are from us, yet take them as Christs purchase, here lies the great efficacy of prayer.

Think not that the efficacy of prayer lies in earnestnesse, or enlargement: though it be a comfort and an evi­dence that God enlargeth us by his [Page 224] Spirit, (it is not parts that enlarge, but the Spirit) but the virtue of prayer lies not here: the strength whereby prayer doth great things, it lies in se­cret, in the purchase of Christ.

Again, Christ takes all the prayers of his people, and tenders them up to his Father for acceptance. We have a more glorious way of coming to God then Adam had in innocency, yea in some respects then the Angels themselves, by having such an Inter­cessor that takes all our prayers and carries them to his father.

Yea, not onely so, but he joins with us to the Father. There is a place in the Hebrews quoted out of the Psalms, that shews that Christ prai­seth God in the congregation; it is not onely the Saints that praise God but Christ himself. Heb. 2.12. I will de­clare thy name unto my brethren, in the middest of the Church will I sing praises unto thee. Christ in the middest of the Church sings praise to God. When people meet to praise God, Christ praiseth him. It is a mighty encou­ragement [Page 225] in praising God. So in pray­er, when we meet to seek God Christ seeks him: for he is at the right hand of the Father, making continuall inter­cession for the Saints; Christ himself joynes with them in the work that their prayers may be heard and an­swered.

Again, it is the stile and title that God glories in, to be a God hearing prayer, therefore he will hear and an­swer.

Again, prayer is the pouring forth of the spirit to God; the spirit that is so be beautified with the graces of his own spirit; now the pouring forth of such a precious spirit to God so beau­tified, and principled with the graces of the holy Ghost, certainly this can­not but be answered by God. Indeed, the Scripture saith of the heart of the wicked, that it is little worth: Let their heart be poured fourh, God doth lit­tle mind, or regard it: but the heart of the righteous is much worth; it is very precious before God: therefore when their hearts are poured out, [Page 226] and God sees the beauty and glory of his graces on them, it is exceeding de­lightfull to him, and such pouring out of their hearts, are heard and answer­ed. If God have a bottle for all their tears, he hath a bottle also for all their expressions, and pouring out of their hearts in prayer.

Further, the exceeding delight that God hath in his Saints must needs cause God to regard their calling unto him. They are his darlings: now there is no man that loves to deny a suit to any that he delights in.

Lastly, it were not for the honour of God, that his people should call un­to him, and not be answered, nor re­ceive that comfort they pray for. It is reported of Titus, though he were a heathen Emperour, yet he would not that any man should go sad out of the presence of the Prince. God accounts it an honour that none should go sad out of his presence. Therefore those are called on to rejoyce that seek the Lord. Let the hearts of them rejoyce that seek the Lord, Psalm. 105.3. not onely [Page 227] let the heart of them rejoyce that find the Lord, that obtain that they seek, but those that seek the Lord, while they are seeking should rejoyce in seeking him.

But now I will onely take away that great objection, and reasoning, that is in the hearts of many men a­gainst this point, and then come to the application.

You tell us that the prayers of Gods people are not in vain. But when they call unto him he will answer them, and by Gods mercy now and then, we have found some comfortable hear­ing from heaven: but ordinarily we find it otherwise. How many prayers have we put up to God, and find not the issue? we pray, and pray, and the enemies prevail, though now and then God give us help.

Now for the taking away of all un­believing reasonings against this point, I will not go from the Text at this time.

Therefore the first answer is this: You say you have sought God, and [Page 228] have not what you would have, and therefore God hath not answered when you have called.

Though perhaps this that you now say is something, yet it makes not the text void. Remember what hath been before: heretofore you have sought God, and God had answered your seekings, remember the times of old, let that for the present a little stay you. It was that that stayed the Psalmist, he began to reason as you do, that he had sought God without answer, Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more? is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore? &c. Psalm, 7, 8. here seems to be as much unbelief as in your rea­soning, but mark what follows, v. 10. And I said this is my death: but I will re­member the years of the right hand of the most high. O, it is my sinne, and weak­nesse that I should reason thus, I con­sider not what to do when I reason thus: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most high, vers. 11. I will remember the works [Page 229] of the Lord: sure [...]y I will remember the wonders of old. v. 12. I will medi­tate also of all thy works, and talk of thy doings. Thy way O God is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God? Thou art the God that doest wonders, thou hast declared thy strength among the people, v. 14. Thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people, the sons of Iacob and Io­seph, v. 15 Mark, at length he reco­vers himself with this, though pre­sent things seem to go hard, yet he re­membred what God had done; so do thou in this case. In this book of Isaiah, you have a complaint of unbe­lieving hearts, as if God had been sought in vain. Isa 40.27. Why sayest thou O Iacob, and speakest O Israel, my way is hid from the Lord, and my judge­ment is passed over from my God. Art thou one of the seed of Iacob, and hast sought God and sayest, thou hast had no answer? God reasons the case, and will confute their unbelief. Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the [Page 230] creator of the ends of the earth, faint­eth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint, & to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall. v. 28, 29, 30, 31. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as Eagles; they shall run and not be weary and they shall walk & not faint. Hath not God done great things heretofore, in 88. and in the powder plot and at other times? and though we be in some streights, re­member what God did before.

This should appease your hearts, what though thou have not present audience for the thing thou seekest: yet think, I deal with a God that hath an understanding that I cannot search. God it may be lets the adversary pre­vail sometimes, I cannot tell what glo­ry God may get by it, I cannot con­ceive how God can bring his own glory about when Israel flees before [Page 231] the Philistines. But why sayest thou so O Iacob? there is no searching of Gods understanding, God sees further then thou canst see: that thing that thou thinkest will make against his name may make for it: therefore lay thine hand upon thine heart. He giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might. God stayes till men have no might, till they faint, and are ready to fail, and then he comes and helps them. That is the meaning of that Scripture in Luke, where Christ saith, God will avenge his elect that cry night and day to him, though he tarry, he will avenge them, he will hear their prayers, he will answer their requests. But it follows upon it, not­withstanding when the Sonne of man comes shall he find faith on earth? I verily think that that want of faith, hath reference to that very promise specially, that God will hear his elect that cry: but God may stay so long, as that the very time when God shall come to perform it, and shall intend to do it, it may be a time when their [Page 232] faith is overcome, and fails in the pro­mise, that they begin to give over, and think they have sought God in vain. And usually the time when God comes to fulfill his promise, and to answer the prayers of his people, it is that very time when they fail and are ready to s [...]ck. Therefore that may be another argument, it may be thou hast not believed this promise. Thou sayest thou hast prayed, and thou thinkest thou hast not answer: hast thou believed this promise in the Text? hast thou relyed on it? God hath commanded it, and hast thou done as he commanded with belief, Call unto me and I will answer thee.

The word of God shall be made good, but how? upon our faith: it shall be made good to us upon our belie­ving: though we be never so godly, and pray never so well, yet if we will have the promises made good, it must be upon believing. If thou hast not laid the weight of thy soul on the pro­mise, thou hast no cause to say that God hath not made his word good; it [Page 233] may be thou hast not faith: learn to believe the word, and then thou shalt have it fulfilled. Thou wouldest have it made good, and then thou wouldest believe it; no, thou must first believe the word, and then expect that God should fulfill his promise.

Again, God is a great God that we call unto, and it is fit for us to wait, & and to wait long. He is great, and we call for great things, and we are poor, mean, vile wretches. God hath his prerogative sometimes to answer pre­sently, sometimes not so. Elias was a great praying man, he is set for an example of prayer; he prayes at one time for fire to come on the sacrifice, and fire came down presently; another time he prayed for rain, and then he prayed seven times, and bowed his head between his knees, and sent his servant, and sent him again and again. At one time God comes in at the first, at another time not till the seventh hour; it is Gods prerogative.

And take this note; it is a true sign of a gracious spirit, though God defer, [Page 234] yet still for the soul to cling to God, to think well of God, and of the wayes of God, and of the duty of prayer; it is an excellent sign, and the ready way to find favour with God. You have sometimes two beggers follow you for alms; one perhaps hath true need, pure need, and is of a soft tender spi­rit, the other is a sturdy rugged beg­gar, you deny them both; he that hath pure need, and hath a soft tender spi­rit, he thinks he is unworthy that the other man should be bountifull to him and he falls a weeping: yet he thinks well of the man, and will be ready to beg of him upon another oc­casion, he hath good thoughts of him. But the sturdy begger rails, & breaks into an angry passionate mood, and he will ask no more; who of them is like to prevail, the soft spirit that hath an ingenious disposition, or the sturdy spirit that soon breaks off? Thus there are many passionate hearts, that are not froward with men, but with God, they come, and ask mercy of God, but their hearts are stiff, and froward [Page 235] and sturdy, if they have not that they would, they presently break off, and say, why should we wait on God, and cry, it is in vain to seek the Lord. But now a gracious, tender, ingenious disposition, though the thing come not that he prayes for, he justifies God in all, and speaks well of God, and well of prayer, and loves that still, and waits on God in that way: this is the soul that is likely to pre­vail.

But further, (to answer from the Text) it may be thou hast not called unto God, Call unto me, saith God. It may be it is somewhat else that thou hast sought in prayer then God: though thou name God in thy prayer, it may be thy heart hath been after creature-helps, and thou hast made more account of the help of the crea­ture, of Armies, and strength, thou hast made account that they would do it rather then prayer; and if there be no help but prayer, thou thinkest it but a dry businesse.

A carnall hearted man when he [Page 236] hears of an army of twenty thousand men well clothed and the like, he thinks much may be done, but for the prayers of Gods people they think they be nothing. Now if thou have sought help by creatures, rather then by God, thou hast not sought God all the while, Or if it have been but out­ward safety, that thou hast sought and not the face of God, thou hast not sought God, Seek my face, saith God, Psalm 27. This is the generation of them that seek thy face, O Iacob. Psalm. 24. Thou seekest not God, without thou seek Gods face, without thou seek God for himself. And ordinarily, God is not sought, but thy estate is sought; and thou cryest out for the danger thou art in. Therefore thou hast no cause to say, it is in vain, look to thy prayers, take up thy prayers a­gain. Do as the fishermen do; if they find that there comes nothing up, that they do not catch, they take up their net, it may be there is a hole, a rent in the net. And so the Angler, if the fish do not bite he takes up the bait, it [Page 237] may be there is somewhat wanting on the hook. So look to thy prayers, it may be it is not God that thou hast sought, take them up and see what is amisse in them.

Another answer is this, it may be thy prayers have been vain and there­fore no marvell if nothing but vain come of them. Surely; God will not hear vanity, Iob 35.13. If there be nothing but vanity, how canst thou expect that God should hear them? Our pray­ers are ordinarily without form, and void, that is, there is nothing but va­nity in them. Not that God regards so much the setting of a mans words in form handsomely: for the grones and sighs of the spirit of God are acce­pted, though they be not methodi­call, as the making of a speech to men; God looks not to that. Many pray, and they know not why, but because o­thers do; but they propound not the true end of prayer.

I appeal to thy conscience; when thou hast gone to pray to God, hast thou propounded this end? I am go­ing [Page 238] to tender up that worship and ho­mage, that I a poor creature, owe to to the infinite glorious first being of all things: you call your families sometimes to come to prayer, and ne­ver think what you do, what you aim at. I and my family are now going to seek the great God in prayer, I am now going to joyn with my father or my master, now that we are altogether in this family to tender up that worship and homage that we poor creatures owe to that infinite glorious first be­ing of all things whereby to testifie our high respect, and esteem of him. Now if thy prayer be a customary way of prayer it is vanity, it hath not a right end.

It may be thou goest to prayer meerly to satisfie conscience· Or some have this by end in prayer, a wicked end, that is, they think to satisfie God for their former sinfull wicked wayes. They take liberty in company to drink and please the flesh, and as they served themselves then, so now they will serve God, and set one against another. [Page 239] Sometimes they will give liberty to the flesh to take contentment that way, but they will not alway do so, sometime they will be devout & serve God. There is no man so wicked as to be alwayes in the acts of wickednesse, but they think God must have his turn, and they must have their turn sometimes. And this is the prayer of many people, to put their sins in one scale, and so many devout prayers in the other scale, and the one shall poize the other. This is vanity, this is not the end of prayer.

When God doth not see thy ex­pressions filled with the graces of the Spirit: this is vanity; Take heed of vain expressions, when there is no­thing but nature in prayer; though there be never so much earnestnesse in prayer, if there be but a naturall spirit it is vanity, we must pray in the spirit as the Scripture speaks.

And take heed of sluggishnesse in prayer, that makes it vanity. The breath that comes from life in mans body is warm, but the breath that [Page 240] comes from bellows is artificiall and cold, some mens breath in prayer is artificiall and cold, but the prayer that comes from life, is warm breath that comes up to God.

Again, vanity in prayer is this, when all is eaten out with vain thoughts, thy heart roves in prayer, thou knowest not where thou art, thou canst not call that which thou makest a prayer. A prayer with vain thoughts it like beer, or wine that is dead, and hath lost the spirits. Vain thoughts are worms that eat out the strength of a duty: would you present a dish to your superiour that were worm eaten, or that were gnawn on before? when we let out our thoughts in duties, and present them to God, they are worm-eaten, and torn, the strength of them is quite gone.

And after you have prayed, take heed that you make not your prayers vain, by not looking after them, for the accomplishment of them; or by being proud of your prayers & gifts, by resting in them.

[Page 241]And again it is vani [...]y when thou undoest all as soon as thou hast done, by going contrary to thy prayer in thy life, not adding watchfulnesse to prayer. If a man take pains to weave a web, and spend so many hours in it, and then ravell it out, this man spends his time in vain. So do most people with their prayers, they pray for mer­cie, and grace, and as soon as they have done they go quite contrarie and ra­vell and undo all, is not this vanity? No marvell if thou thinkest it in vain, when there is nothing but vain thoughts in thy prayers.

And take heed that you make not the prayers of others vain. Luther writes to Melancthon angerly, in re­gard of his fear of the power of his adversaries, saith he. You make our prayers void. So it may be said of ma­ny that are cold, and luke-warm, and dead-hearted, and do not take to heart the cause of God; that fear the dis­pleasure of this bodie, and that bodie; you make our prayers void. You that have praying friends, it may be fathers, [Page 242] & mothers that are dead whose prayers are put up in heaven, take heed that you make not their prayers void; that you give them not cause if they should come to live again from the dead to weep and cry out, O how are our prayers made void by the prayers of such and such.

But you will say; Lord, what will become of us? we have abundance of vanitie in our prayers.

Therefore, that you may not be dis­couraged, know, that though there be manie vain thoughts in prayer, yet if there be sighing and mourning, and humbling of the soul, and panting of the heart after God in groning, and sighing, & though there be a mixture of vanitie, yet there is a working of the Spirit of God, and of grace in the heart after God; know that the Lord will not charge this vanitie on thee, the Lord will do away thy sin, there­fore let not that discourage thee. The efficacy lies not in the excellencie of thy prayer, but in the merits of Christ, and his mediation: Onely Christ will [Page 243] have somewhat of thy self in thy prayer, he will have thy heart pant, & work after him: but there may be abundance of vanitie, thou drawest a line, and makest a blot, and another line, and another blot, Christ draws all fair again, and presents to his Fa­ther.

Who are Ia­cobs seed.But another question is this, you say it is vain to pray. Can you make good that you are one of the seed of Iacob? This priviledge belongs to them; it may be you are of the seed of Esau.

The seed of Esau, what is that?

Who are E­saus seed.The Apostle speaks of Esau what his guise was. Heb. 12.6. and saith, Take heed that none of you be such as E­sau, lest there be any fornicatour or pro­fane person as Esau, who for one morsell of meat sold his birth-right. Now if thou prove a fornicatour thou art of the seed of Esau, or a profane person; what is that? for one morsell of meat he sold his birth-right, that is, to please, and satisfie and content the flesh he sold his birth-right, that was [Page 244] the land of Canaan; & so typified the priviledges of the Church of God, and even a type of heaven it was. His birth-right had a spirituall meaning, it had reference to the spirituall pri­viledges, that the Saints of God have to this day in all the ordinances of God.

That man or woman that priseth any carnall contentment before spiri­tuall priviledges, they are of the seed of Esau, and not of Iacob. Thou thinkest there is some savour in mo­nie, and in a good trade, and in good chear, and such a day as this Novem­ber 5. is better then a fastday, because of the good chear: but for the spiri­tuall duties of this day, to come and magnifie God, and to attend upon his word, thou thinkest they are circum­stances, and by matters, and thou art troubled if the Sermon be too long to hinder thee of thy dinner; thou art a prophane Esau, all that I have said be­longs not to thee, thou dost not be­long to Iacob but to Esau, that pre­ferrest carnall things for the flesh be­fore [Page 245] the spirituall priviledges of the Saints.

How are Iacobs seed known.But how shall I know that I am one of the seed of Iacob.

How do you know such an ones child, but by his likenesse to his fa­ther? One that hath the spirit of Iacob is of the seed of Iacob. There are ma­nie things that the Scripture speaks concerning Iacob, and see if you do answer them.

First,Gen. 32.24. Iacob was a mightie man in prayer, he was a wrestler with God, & he wrestled till the day broke, & was as strong at the last as at the first: hast thou the spirit of thy father Iacob? art thou not discouraged in prayer? though mercy come not presently, yet dost thou wrestle all night, & resolve whatsoever come, if thou die, thou wilt die wrestling; here is a child like the father, therefore thou art of the seed of Iacob.

Secondly, Iecob was one that feared God, when God appeared to him he looked on the presence of God as dreadfull, How dreadfull is this place? [Page 246] Genesis 28. because God was there. So dost thou look on the presence of God as dreadfull, that thou canst say the fear of the great God is on thy soul: when thou comest into his pre­sence? mark, for this is that expression in the Psalm, Ye that fear the Lord praise him, all the seed of Iacob glorifie him, and fear him all ye seed of Israel, Psalm. 22.23. If you will be sure not to seek God in vain, but that you may praise him in seeking him, fear the Lord all the seed of Iacob.

Thirdly, Iacobs heart was disinga­ged from the creature, a little of the creature would serve his turn, Gen. 28. Lord saith he, if thou wilt give me meat to eat & raiment to put on. He looked no further, he minded no great matters. Therefore in Ps. 24. there the generation of Iacob is set out, and one thing is, he that hath not lift up his soul to vanity. The men of the world have great things in their eyes, they are vanitie in Gods eye, though they be great in theirs, and they lift up their hearts to them. Now the sons of Ia­cob [Page 247] do not lift up their hearts to vani­tie, though the things of the world be present, their hearts stirre not, they rise not; but if God and Christ, and heavenly things be presented, their hearts are lifted up. If thy heart be lifted up to vanitie, if thy heart be as iron and the vanities of the world come and draw it up, thou art not a son of Iacob: a little would serve Ia­cob though he were a great heir, He was a plain man and dwelt in tents, Ge­nesis 25. and had a plain spirit, he did not look after great things; where­as Esau looked after great things abroad.

Again, he was one of a tender spi­rit: therefore where it is said he pre­vailed with the Angel, it is said he wept, and made supplication unto him, he found him in Bethel, & there he spake with us. That storie of Iacob concerns us how God dealt with our Father. If now thou have a tender spi­rit as he had; if when thou goest into the presence of God thou find thy spirit yield and melt, and re­lent, [Page 248] thou art one like thy father Ia­cob.

Again further, Iacob did in the time of his streights repair to the co­venant, that was a great satisfaction to his heart; he looked to the covenant, he fastned on that, and there he held as the main support of his spirit. Gen. 32.9. And Iacob said, O God of my Fa­ther Abraham, and God of my Father Isaac, the Lord which saidst unto me, re­turn unto thy countrey, and to thy kin­dred, and I will deal well with thee. &c. He heard that Esau was coming a­gainst him with a great company; & what doth Iacob? he gets him to God, O God of my Father Abraham, & of my Father Isaac, the Lord which said unto me return into thy countrey, &c. He repairs to the Covenant: Remember thy Covenant with Abraham and Isaac, and with me to, I went on thy word. Here was the guise of Iacob: canst thou in a straight get thee a word, and a promise, and brood thy soul o­ver it, and clasp it close, and say this is the promise that must, and will do me good?

[Page 249]Again, Iacob was of an humble spirit, I am not worthy of the least of thy mercies. He admired at the mercy of God that he had any thing, & Gods mercies made him more humble; this is an excellent disposition, we are ma­ny times humble and lowly when we are under the hand of God in afflicti­on: but when mercies make us hum­ble, that the more God is gracious the more vile we are in our own eyes, this is excellent.

And he looked back to his former condition, he looked upon his poor beginning and gives God the glory: I passed over this Iordan with my staff; Many of you came with your staff, and God hath given you two bands, you are grown great, are you willing to think of it, and to acknowledge the poor estate that once you were in, and to give God the glorie, I was thus, & thus, of poor parentage, and see how God had dealt with me.

Another thing remarkable is, that Iacob contented himself with God alone, he accounted that he had [Page 250] enough in God alone, though all were taken from him, he did not look upon himself as undone, but he had that that might make him for ever. In Gen. 33. compare the 9. and 11. verses, you shall find a notable difference be­tween Esau and Iacob, yet the word in our books is the same, but this Scri­pture is much wronged by the trans­lation. In vers. 8. Esau when he comes to Iacob, when Iacob would have gi­ven him his present, saith he, what meanest thou by all these droves which I met? he said these are to find grace in the sight of my Lord: and Esau said, I have enough my brother. It was a strange speech of Esau: A covetous wretch that is alway pyning and murmuring for having no more, and thinks, he shall want before he dye, he doth not come so farre as Esau, and Esau could say, I have enough, are there not many of you that never say you have e­nough? I pray thee take my present saith Iacob, for I have all things, nay saith Esau, I have enough. The one saith I have enough, the other saith I [Page 251] have all things, for [...]o the word is Col; Esau had enough, he did not want, he had meat and drink, and he saw none to interrupt him, he was satisfied with his estate, as his portion; he had e­nough, he cared for nothing more, they might talk of other things, but that was enough to him. Iacob comes, and saith I have enough; but this was another manner of enough: Esaus e­nough is his estate, but Iacobs enough is God, for he saith, I have all, Iacob was meaner for his outward condition then Esau, for he had nothing but what he had gotten in hard servitude. Now Esau saith, I have enough: Iacob saith, I have all: that is, God is enough in the want of all, if Esau should strip him of all he had, yet he had all in God. Now one that is of the seed of Iacob, in the time of want (as some of you may be plundered, and then all is gone you say;) no, if thou be of the seed of Iacob if thou have God thou hast all. There is such a promise, He that overcometh, shall inherit all things. How is that? and I will be his God, Re­vel. [Page 252] 21.7 Therefore whatsoever thou wantest if God be thine, if thou be Gods child, thou hast all.

Further, one of the seed of Iacob is one of the Church of God: for all Ia­cobs posterity was so: therefore the blessing in Ruth is,Ruth. 4.11. The Lord blesse thee like Rachel and Leah, which two did build up the house of Israel. Why is it not, the Lord blesse thee as Rebec­cah, or Sarah, but as Rachel & Leah. (It was a blessing upon a marriage con­dition) the reason is, because from Rachel and Leah, came onely those that were of the Church, that were members of the Church of God; but there came others from Rebeccah, & of Sarah came onely Isaac, but Abra­hams posterity was otherwise. And that Church that was then was but a type of that which should be after; that is of a company of people elect­ed, and called out from the world to be partakers of the Priviledges of Ie­sus Christ. The people of the Iews, the seed of Iacob were the Church of God, as the seed of such an one. And [Page 253] this typified the Church that should be after; a company that are taken out of the world, to partake of the privi­ledges of Iesus Christ. Canst thou say that thou art of the Church? The word that we translate Church is a company that is called out from the world. Canst thou ever tell of a work of God separating thee from the world, that when thou wentest ac­cording to the world, God gave thee a mighty call that made a separation between thee and the world? For it is said so of the seed of Iacob, Numb. 23.9. From the tops of the rocks I saw him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, the people shall dwell alone, they shall not be reckoned among the Nations. All the seed of Iacob are called out of the world, they are separated from them by a mighty work of God to partake of Christ, and be a member of him.

And upon this, such an one mighti­ly longs after all the outward privi­ledges of the Church, to enjoy all the outward ordinances of Christ after his [Page 254] way, those that are of the seed of Ia­cob, they prize the excellency of Ia­cob as the greatest excellency, their hearts are towards it, and they rejoyce in that above all the excellency in the world. If you ask what this excellen­cy of Iacob is? it is the joyning of Gods people in the way of ordinan­ces, and duties of Gods worship in the purity of them. This in Scripture is called the excellency of Iacob, Psal. 47.4. He shall chuse our inheritance for us, the excellency of Iacob whom he lo­ved. It is an excellent Scripture. O, it is a blessed thing to give all to God, to let God chuse our inheritance. What is our inheritance? The excel­lency of Iacob whom he loved. What was that? The worship of God, and his ordinances, joyning with the peo­ple of God in the way of his ordinan­ces, in his temple, those were the things that were the ordinances of God in those times; those are called the excellency of Iacob; and so it is now the excellency of a people to en­joy Gods ordinancies.

[Page 255]You have another expression to the same purpose. And I will bring forth a seed out of Iacob, and out of Iudah an inheritour of my mountain, and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there. Isaiah 65.9. What is the mountain of God? Gods Ordi­nances in his Church, I will bring a seed out of Iacob, and Iudah, and they shall in­herit my mountain. So that the greatest inheritance of the seed of Iacob is the mountain of the Lord: communion with the Church of God, and his or­dinances: if you be of the seed of Ia­cob, your hearts prize, and rejoyce in this, and that you have in Psalm. 24. vers. 3, 4, 5. you shall find how the seed of Iacob prize the enjoyment of God in his Ordinances. Who shall ascend in to the hill of the Lord? who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lift up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceit­fully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousnesse from the God of his salvation. This is the genera­tion of them that seek him: that seek thy [Page 256] face O Iacob. It is so in the book▪ but the particle O, is not in the originall: and therefore it may be read thus, That seek the face of Iacob; it may be read in the Genitive case, as well as in the Vo­cative. This is the generation of them that seek him, even of Iacob, and then he turns to God, that seek thy face: but be­cause his heart was full of this, of seek­ing Gods face, (though he intend to mention what generation it was, the generation of Iacob) he puts in that before, the generation of Iacob that seek thy face: that is, this is the gene­ration that so prise God in his ordi­nances, and account it such a blessing of God; that joyn themselves to the Church of God, and set up his ordi­nances and wayes; this is the blessed generation, these are those that seek God truly. We seek not God truly unlesse we seek him in his own wayes, unlesse we seek him in all his ordi­nances, we cannot comfort our souls that we seek him in truth. For as in the way of obedience, we cannot have comfort in our obedience that it is [Page 257] true, except it be universall to all Gods commandments, so we cannot have comfort in our seeking that it is true, except it be in all his ordinances, and wayes: therefore we must be of the generation of them that seek the face of the Church, that seek thy face O Iacob. So it follows in that place, lift up your heads O ye gates, and be ye lift up ye everlasting doors, that the King of glory may come in. Where should the King of glory come but into his Church? Who is the King of glory? The Lord, strong and allmighty: still the Church is called on to entertain Christ in his glory, so this is spoken of the Church. Thus you may know, whether you be of the seed of Ia­cob.

Again, if you be the seed of Iacob you have the inheritance of Iacob, & account it your inheritance. What was Iacobs inheritance? Deuter. 33.2. The Lord came from Sinai and from his right hand came a fiery law. The law of God is a fiery law; yet in verse 4. Moses commanded us a law, even the [Page 258] inheritance of the congregation of Iacob. So that though the law be a fiery law, a strict law, a severe law, yet it is the inheritance of the congregation of Iacob. If you be of the congregation of Iacob you account the law of God to be part of your inheritance: not o­nely to be that which you are bound to, that you must obey whether you will or no, but you rejoyce in the law of God as your inheritance. For my part I know not a more sure note of a gracious heart then this; one that re­joyceth in Gods law as his inheri­tance: as you know what expressions David hath, he rejoyced in it more then in Gold and Silver, more then in the honey, and the honey-comb. It is one thing to obey Gods Law, and an­other to rejoyce in it as an inheritance. If thou be of the seed of Iacob, thou hast the inheritance of the seed of Ja­cob.

Another is, he that is of the seed of Iacob is faithfull in the place that God hath set him. Iacob in serving of La­ban, Gen. 31.6. though he were chur­lish, [Page 259] he professeth that withall his power he served his father. It is an ex­cellent Text for servants; you would fain have time to seek God, and God forbid, but there should be some time allowed the poorest and meanest ser­vant to seek God alone. But art thou of the seed of Iacob? then be like him in this, to serve with all, thy power, though thou have a froward master or mistris, as Laban was, though they use you hardly, yet shew godlinesse in that relation. And for servants to seem godly, he must go hear, this Sermon, this man, and the other man, and be very earnest: (I blame them not for loving the word and desiring it: but for servants to be earnest in hearing the word, & injoying the ordinances, and crying out against superstition, and Antichristianisme, & yet be slug­gish, and unfaithfull in their service, and so as to give just offence to their governours, it is a dishonour. Shew your godlinesse in your relation: cer­tainly there is no man or woman god­ly, but those that are so in the rela­tions [Page 260] and places that they are set in: therefore manifest your selves thus to be the seed of Iacob.

Again, the seed of Iacob is a taught seed, God teacheth them, Psal. 147.19. He hath not dealt so with other Na­tions, he gave his law to Iacob, and his word to Israel. So in Deut. 33.10. Levi is appointed to teach Iacob. There is ne­ver a one of the seed of Iacob that is ignorant, that is a fool in matters of re­ligion, he is taught.

And then, one of the seed of Iacob, is one that hath a care of his family: so we read of Iacob, Gen. 35.1. God said to Iacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there, and make there an altar unto God that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. Then said Iacob to his houshold and to all that were with him, put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, &c. When he was to go into Gods presence, he laboured to reform his family. When God calls you to fast dayes, and to the Sacrament, do you cleanse your families, do you look [Page 261] what evills are in your families, and put out your power to cleanse them?

But there is one more that I may not omit, that is, Iacob, when he was to die, though he himself was to go the way of all flesh, yet this was his great comfort and the comfort of those that he left behind, that God would make good his word to his Church and people, Gen. 48.21. and Israel said to Ioseph, Behold, I die, but God will visit you, and bring you again to the land of your Fathers. Behold I die, but I die in faith of the promise: be­cause I am taken away shall I think the promise shall be of no effect? no; God shall bring you to the land of your fa­thers. Now when God shall cast you on your sick beds can you say, Behold I die; but go you on, God will make good his word, I die in faith that it shall go well with the Churches of God: there will be a time when they shall get the victory, when Christ shall reign, and the Saints shall be delivered from their oppressours? Here was the [Page 262] spirit of Iacob: if you be such a seed of Iacob you shall not seek Gods face in vain, but when you call unto him, he will answer you.

But you will say, it is true, some men may call unto God, and he will hear him, but I am a poor con­temptible and wretched creature, and if I do call unto him, he will not hear nor answer me.

That place in the Psalm fully an­swers any objection against our po­verty, or the poverty of our prayers, Psalm. 102.17. He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and will not de­spise their prayers. The prayer of the destitute, the word signifies a poor shrub in the wildernesse, a contempti­ble shrub, that is trodden on by the feet of beasts, and none regards it; God regards such prayers.

If I could make an excellent prayer it were somewhat: No, he doth not despise thy prayer. It may be thy prayer is such as thou despisest, & that others would despise, but God will not despise it.

[Page 263]But this was spoken perhaps to some in those times.

Mark what follows; This shall be written for the generation to come. This Scripture, this promise of God, it is written for the generations to come. And the people that shall be created shall praise the Lord. We that were not made then, but were created since, let us praise the Lord for this Scripture, that God will regard the prayers of poor shrubs, and not despise them.

But they are great things that I stand in need of, and it may be in vain for me to pray for such great things at Gods hands; perhaps if I did pray for ordinary things there might be hope, but I am to pray for great things, mercies for the Church and for the Kingdom, & people of God; is it not in vain for such a poor wretch as I to pray for such great things?

We may think that the things we pray for at Gods hands are too great for us to beg, but they are not too great for God to give. It is observed [Page 264] of Perilla, when Alexander would have him ask a dowrie for his daugh­ter; Alexander presently promised him 50. talents; it is too much saith he, 10. talents are sufficient; Alexan­der answered him, if it be too great for you to ask, it is not too great for me to give. God loves that his people should ask great things of him: yea he loves that the poorest, and meanest of his people should ask him great things; and therefore he sayes in this Text, Call unto me & I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things. This is a promise to every one of the seed of Iacob.

But when I pray in the time of af­fliction, and Gods hand is on me, will it not be in vain to call unto him then?

It is true; to neglect God in former times, and then to pray onely in affli­ction, it is a dangerous condition: but this temptation comes upon such as have sought God before. I, now you seek God, but this is in your affliction, and will God regard you now? I speak [Page 265] it onely to comfort such as are care­full to seek God in the time of their health: yet if thou hast been negli­gent; it is possible that God should re­gard thee in the time of affliction. Ionah prayed, and said, I prayed and cryed by reason of mine affliction to the Lord, and he heard me, Ionah 2.2.

But suppose it be affliction for sin: for so the objection may arise. It is true, if I did call unto God in the time of affliction that God did send for tryall, it may be God would hear me: but suppose Gods hand be on me for sin, will God hear my prayers?

That one notable example of Da­vid may help the people of God a­gainst such a temptation: Gods hand was on him for his sin, when he fled before Absolom, God threatned that warre should not depart from his house: yet David then prayed against that wicked politition, and counsel­lour, that the Lord would turn his counsell to folly; and God heard Da­vids prayer in his affliction that was for sinne, And the Lord turned the coun­sell [Page 266] of Achitophel to folly. Let us not be discouraged though polititians work never so craftily; though Gods hand be on us, and we have conscience ac­cusing us, and say, I this is for your sins that God leaves you thus in the hands of your enemies, that God gives them such power; that they find such fa­vour with the Prince as they do, though this be for our sins, yet let us seek to God to turn the counsell of Achitopell to folly. It shall not be, nor hath not been in vain, we have found it so, that in our affliction, and afflicti­on for sin, yet crying to God to turn the counsell of Achitophel to folly, God hath done so graciously, & hath incouraged us more and more to cry and call unto him for that end.

But what need I seek to God, God hath decreed and determined what he will do, what God intends to do, he hath decreed from eternity, therefore whether we pray or no it shall come to passe, if we do not pray it shall come to passe. If God have in­tended to deliver me out of a sick­nesse, [Page 267] it shall be done whether I pray or no; & when any ones time is come they shall die; and so when the time of a Kingdome is come it shall be de­stroyed, and not till then; therefore what good can prayer do?

Though I suppose you cannot but be satisfied, and think that this obje­ction hath little weight, yet for an­swer, I will give you a Scripture or two, Psalm. 2. I will declare the decree, The decree of God concerning the advancement of Christ in his resurre­ction, and so of the successe of the work of Christs mediation. I will de­clare the decree, the Lord hath said thou art my son this day have I begotten thee: Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession. Gods giving of Christ the heathen for his inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for his possession; it was decreed of God, yet Christ must ask it of his Father notwithstanding Gods decree. And another Text re­markable is in the prophesie of Da­niel, [Page 268] where the Text saith Dan. 9.2. In the first year of his reign, I Daniel understood by books, the number of the years whereof the word of the Lord came to Ieremiah the Prophet, that he would accomplish 70. years in the desolation of Ierusalem. And I set my face unto the Lord God to seek by prayer and supplica­tions. Mark, Daniel understood by books what God had determined con­cerning Ierusalem; what need Daniel go further, he knew Gods mind what he would do whether he did pray or no? but mark, vers. 3. I set my face to seek the Lord. After he knew what God had decreed, and what he would do, and what he had promised. Now we know not Gods decree: but if we did certainly know the decree of God in shewing mercy to the Land, yet it could no way hinder us, but encou­rage us to set our faces to seek the Lord, and to seek him more ear­nestly: therefore that is a vain obje­ction.

Again, it is not in vain to call unto the Lord, if we examine all we have [Page 269] had already: though we have not all we would have, yet if we consider the supporting mercies, the preventing mercies, and the guiding mercies that God hath granted us, we shall find that it is not in vain that we have sought him. There are abundance of mercies that thou hast had already. It is an evill thing to complain of Gods grace, when God hath bestowed such mercies. Thou thinkest thou hast no­thing, because thou hast not all thou wouldest have; as a froward child be­cause it hath not every thing to its mind casts away all. God hath been exceeding gracious to us; other souls would have adored God, and have blessed him with their faces to the ground, if they had had but the hun­dred part of those mercies that we have; yet because we have not all we desire, we are ready to think it is in vain. O let us take heed of dishonour­ing the grace of God.

Again, further thou thinkest it is in vain, because God sometimes denies in granting, and grants in denying. [Page 270] Many times God grants that we pray for in denying it, and denies that we pray for in granting it: our denyals are grants to us. Wo to us, if all were granted to us that we pray for. Much good may be gotten out of Gods de­nyalls: and God denyes us to do us good, and to prepare us for mercies: therefore it is not in vain that thou hast fought God, because it is not in vain that thou art denyed.

But further, it may be God delights more in thy praying, then in thy prais­ing voice, therefore though thou have not that thou hast sought for, give leave to God to delight in thee which way he pleaseth. There is the pray­ing, and the praising voice of Gods people, thou delightest that God should hear thy praising voice, it may be God delights to hear thy praying voice, and it may be he should not if thou haddest what thou wouldest have. Saith God to the Church, Let me hear thy voice, for it is sweet. There is no man that will think the King de­nies his petition, as long as the King [Page 271] loves to read it. If one present a peti­tion to the King, he doth not say he will presently do it: but if he read it, and when he hath read it, calls for it again, and again, will any man think it in vain that he hath put up that peti­tion? as long as the King hears it, and delights to read it, it is not in vain. So, as long as God loves to hear thy voice, and to read thy petition it is not in vain. As for thy praising voice, God shall have enough of that in heaven, but he shall have none of thy praying voice: therefore why shouldest thou not be willing that God should have more of thy praying voice here? All that ever God shall have of thy pray­ing voice it is in this worln, and after a little time God shall never hear us pray more. Therefore let us be wil­ling to go on, and continue in prayer, and not to wonder why God keeps us on in a way of praying, because all the time that ever God shall have to de­light himself in the praying voice of his people it is in this world: and for our praising voice, we would fain [Page 272] spend all our dayes in praising God for his mercies, but that is reserved for another world.

Further, it may be Gods way to stay till he bring a great deal of mercy together, and not by bitts and drops. As when men deal with great mer­chants, they expect not to have pay­ments, by six pences or shillings or Crowns at once: but though there be two or three or ten pounds due, they stand not on that, but stay for a greater summe. Now little traders that deal by retail, they take it in by pence, and little summes, Christians that are to deal with God, they deal for great things, and there are great transactions between God and a gracious heart: therefore think not much that God stayes with a greater summe. For as God deals with the wicked in the way of justice, so he deals with godly men in a way of mercy. He lets wick­ed men go on a great while, he comes not to judgement for sin, but stayes till all come together, till a great summe of wrath and judgement come [Page 273] together. So he deals with the saints he comes not with lesse mercies, but he stayes till abundance come, and when Gods time is come mercies will come to the full indeed.

Further, it may be God hath so much mercy that thou hast not a ves­sell capable of it. Onely know that heaven, and earth and all are working for thee. Is the plowing, and the sow­ing of the husbandman, and all the showers in vain; because the corn is not in the barn? we account it not so: so we must not account our prayers lost, because the thing we pray for is not presently graunted and owe pray­ers answered. Now for Applica­tion.

First, if it be so, that God saith, call upon me, and I will answer thee, cer­tainly there are great things for the Church to build on: God is to do marvelous things for his people in these latter dayes. Why? because all the Saints from the beginning of the world have been seeking God, not onely for their own times but for the [Page 274] Church to this very day: all their prayers are upon the fyle, and must be answered one day. O what a glorious harvest will it be! blessed are they that shall live to partake of it. We have a little, but certainly, there are glorious things for the Church; because everie prayer shall be an­swered.

Secondly, you that are the Saints of God, know your honour, though you be never so poor otherwise, God hath given you that which makes you rich: you have the key of heaven, you may open the treasures in heaven, and it shall never be in vain. Gods people are such as are exceeding honourable in the eyes of God, and in this regard that they have credit in heaven, that their prayers shall be heard and an­swered. Bathsheba saith to Solomon, 1 King. 2.20. I desire one petition of thee, I pray thee, say me not nay, It is translated by some, Ne confundas fa­ciam, confound not my face. Indeed, the denying of a petition, it is a disho­nour, and a confounding of the face: [Page 275] but God will not confound the faces of his people.

O, here see your priviledge, and your riches, all the prayers that you have made in your life time they are all trading in heaven, they are not lost. If a man have ventured a stock abroad to the Indies, and do not hear of it in a great while, he thinks it is lost & gone: but if he hear certain news that all his stock is safe, & in the place where he would have it, and those that are there faithfully improve his stock, he is revived by this, it rejoyceth his spi­rit, and he can say blessed be God; I hope to be a rich man for all this. I say to thee be of good comfort thy stock is not lost, it is trading in hea­ven, and everie prayer that thou hast put up is there. We should account our prayers as riches, as adventures sent to heaven, and not as children that shoot arrows and do not mind them.

And then learn this, it is a great pri­viledge to have a praying friend, a praying companion. Manie of you [Page 276] love friends that are delightfull, of a cheerly nature, and merry; but are they praying ones: praying friends are the speciall friends: because prayer can prevail with God. To have a friend in the Court, that can obtain any peti­tion, we think it a priviledge; to have one great friend in heaven is a great priviledge. Many people when they lie on their sick beds, they send to such and such to pray for them: why do they not send to their companions, that they did drink with, and swear with, to pray for them? O, they dare not. Here is enough to convince anie mans conscience, who are the best men, whatsoever they say.

Suppose thy condition were thus, that thou diddest lie on thy death-bed, and thy life did depend upon the prayers of four or five men. If God should speak thus from heaven, thou art at the brink of destruction, onely this favour thou shalt find; thou shalt have leave to choose where thou wilt four or five men to pray for thee, and according as they pray so it shall be [Page 277] with thee; thou hast liberty to choose through the world whom thou wilt. I appeal, would a drunkard choose four or five drunkards, or a swearer choose swearers, or unclean ones that they most delighted in all their life time? If all should depend upon it thou wouldest not choose such; there­fore thou art convinced in thy con­science, thou knowest that those are not precious in Gods eyes, (however thy lust have prevailed) but that the other are better men, that are gracious and have more credit in heaven. Learn to prise praying friends, that can pre­vail with God.

And let us set the crown upon pray­ers head, in the mercies we have from God, in publick mercies, and private deliverances of friends; attribute it not to second means, to fortune and chance, take heed of denying God his glorie.

It is a sign of a carnall spirit, when God hath glorified himself in answer­ing the prayers of his people, to attri­bute it to any other means.

[Page 278]As I remember, I read of the Por­phirian atheists, that followed the a­theisme of Porphyrie, they darkned the work of God in delivering the children of Israel out of Egypt thorough the red sea. They say that Moses had learned of the Egyptians, and they were great Astronomers: and Moses knew when it would be a low tyde, and what constellations there would be at that time, and that the tyde would prove low then, more then ever in the age of man, and Moses took the nick of time, end lead them through the sea. Thus atheists would darken the works of God, & put them of to naturall causes. So I find it re­lated of the old Prophet in Ieroboams time; Iosephus hath it related of him, he sent to Ieroboam to stretch out his hand, he tells us that this was by acci­dent, he was wearied all the day long, and now he had the Palsie, and after it was restored again; that which was done by prayer, he would have it by naturall means.

Iust thus it is, when God hath so [Page 279] magnified his mercy to England, and wrought such wonders yet manie car­nall atheisticall spirits, say this was an accidentall thing, and the policie of such men brought it to passe, they at­tribute all to naturall causes, it is a sign of wretched profane heart: For if God ever magnified prayer he hath done it in these dayes. There are 2 or 3 Scriptures that since the world be­gan were never more magnified, then by Gods working at this day.

One is in Exodus 13. In the thing wherein they dealt proudly, God was above them. Never since the world began was that more fulfilled. A se­cond is that in the 10. Psalme, The wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. If ever there were a ful­filling of that Scripture since the be­ginning of the world, it is as this day. A third is this in the Text. I said not to the seed of Iacob; seek ye my face in vain. God (as I said) hath raised a spirit of prayer among the seed of Iacob more then ever any in the world knew; there was never the like spirit of prayer [Page 280] raised, nor never the like things done for prayer.

And the Lord the rather honoured the ordinance of prayer now, because men so dishonoured it before and per­secuted it, that the people of God could not meet and assemble to fast and pray, but presently it was a con­venticle, and they were persecuted as factious people. Because God saw this way despised, he hath honoured it, and the former, and the latter mer­cies that we have received, we are to attribute to the goodnesse of God by prayer, they were obtained by prayer. Let us still be incouraged to call unto God for what we would have: for God hath said, call upon me and I will answer thee.

There are many of us now that can do little else: if God have delivered you from sicknesse, and other evils, know that God hath delivered you to pray, the lesse you can do otherwise, the more you should do in prayer. I have read of a heathen, Nu [...]a Pom­pylius, that he would never go about [Page 281] any thing but he would go to the temple and pray: you that are instru­ments intrusted with our lives, and li­berties, you had need to pray much, go into your closets and sanctifie all your thoughts and resolutions by prayer, that your help and assistance may not be in vain to us. And all o­thers had need to assist you in seeking God in prayer. This incouragement we have, that there is not any of us that seek God alone, but we joyn with thousands: why should our place be found empty? why should not our prayers joyn with the rest? We shall meet manie prayers in heaven; the prayers of our forefathers; the prayers of those that are dead and gone that did not live to enjoy the fruit of their prayers, yet when we pray for mercies our prayers meet with theirs in hea­ven: therefore let us be incouraged to call unto the Lord.

And if mercies should come, what a daunting would this be to our hearts, that mercies are come, but we have not sought them? and if mercies [Page 282] come not, conscience will flie in our face that we have been sensuall, car­nall creatures, and it is for our neglect of calling unto God, that God hath denied us the mercies that we ex­pected.

And then it should be a use of re­buke to those that begin to seek God, and continue not. O wretch, why hast thou left? whether wilt thou go? Is it in vain to serve the Lord? certainly thou wert never acquainted with God and his wayes; thou wilt find it a dreadfull change, when it shall ap­pear that thou had left God the foun­tain of living water, and hast sought after vanitie, and forsaken thine own mercy.

But the main of all should have been for the applying of it to the pre­sent occasion. The Lord hath made good his word this day, call unto me, and I will answer thee· This day testi­fies it to be true that they are great things that prayer hath done. I have heard manie years ago by credible te­stimonie, that on this fifth of No­vember, [Page 283] when we had such a great mercie so manie years ago, that verie day it was known, that a great manie godly people in the citie kept in fast­ing and prayer, so as it was eminently known and delivered from hand to hand of them in the city at that time, and you know what God did.

But what hath he done of late? If our fathers should rise out of their graves, and we should tell them that now the high commission (that they were so troubled with) is down; that there shall be no more star-chamber, that cutting off of ears is gone, they would wonder how this should come to passe. And whereas Parliaments were wont to be snapped in sunder, that this Parliament is to continue by as firm an Act as any thing in the land is made by. And for oppressours, all the Courts and Bishops Chanceries, they are down, and gone, God hath extirpated them: they were first cast out of the house, and now out of the Kingdome. And though an armie did rise and seek to bring us into slaverie, [Page 284] yet God hath given us victory (though some have suffered hardly) and brought the adversaries very low to surrender their towns, and castles and arms. And here we are to re­joyce in God, and to blesse him for all.

If many of our ancestours should rise, and hear what we speak, how we hold up our hands and blesse God, with what hearts would they joyn in the praising of God, and wonder that ever such things should be done! Let not the grace of God be in vain, as God hath not said to us, seek my face in vain.

What use shall we make of it?

Let us give him reall praise, and not onely come to repeat it, and tell God of it, but make his praise glo­rious, put a glorie on it; and then we do it, when we make a right use of his mercies, when we receive not his mer­cies in vain.

What is to make use of the memo­riall we celebrate?

First, the remembrance of these [Page 285] mercies must humble us; that is a sweet humbling; it is better to be melted by the beams of the Sunne, then by the scorching of the fire.

You will say, humbled, for what?

There are three things that we have cause to be humbled for, upon the consideration of the mercy of God towards us,

First, the sinne of unbelief, con­sider, when we were straitned at any time, when we heard ill news, that our armies fled, and came to danger, how our spirits were down as if all were gone. Let us check our hearts, God rebuked us in a kindly manner, we might have had a furious re­buke.

Secondly, be humbled for all our murmuring and repining, and discon­tent, O we did not think that the wars would have held so long, and O what taxations are upon us, and all our estates rent away? And how manie are there that had rather that all the good that God hath done for his peo­ple [Page 286] since these times should never have been done, then that they should suffer in their outward estates. Be rebuked for all your murmuring and repyning at such difficulties as you have met with in the great cause of God.

The third thing that this mercy should make us humbled for, & look back to, is that if ever there have risen this thought in any of our hearts, that it had been better for me if I had ne­ver appeared so much. I see how things are like to be, the enemie pre­vails and is like to overrun all: had it not been better that I had not ingaged my self so much? that I had not ap­peared so much? are they not wiser men that have kept themselves quiet and silent, and done as little as they could, nothing but what they have been forced to? And when the Kings party come, if they tax us, they can do no more then force us. If thou have such a thought, pray to God to for­give that thought: Let this that God hath done rebuke thee. Art thou sor­ry [Page 287] for what thou hast done? thou seest God will do it without thee. If thou have been a publick instrument, and hast done good and yet if in fear of successe thou hast repented? God re­bukes thee this day.

Then labour to love prayer as long as you live, as David saith, I will call upon God as long as ever live. Pray­er casts the scals, and hath the advan­tage.

First, the other side they feared not to suffer much if they were over­come; they think they have a head and they would be where he was, and he would countenance them, & make good their condition for them, but this side if they had been overcome, they had been men utterly undone: what a mighty advantage was there one way more then another?

Then the Kings side if he had pre­vailed he had places of dignitie to be­stow; if the Parliaments side prevail, we are but where we were, we do but maintain our own, we cannot expect to raise our condition. But how many [Page 288] broken Gentry expected to raise their condition on the other side? As it is said concerning the Pope, and the ge­nerall Counsell; the Pope prevailed, notwithstanding the generall Coun­cell, though that were above him, why? the Pope had Cardinall ships, and Deaneries to bestow but the Councell had none; they had the ad­vantage that way.

Again, those that appeared on the one side how were they discouraged extraordinarily? on the other side they were incouraged to the utmost. On the one side how unfaithfull have they been? on the other side they have kept to their principles, because their prin­ciples are suitable to the flesh: but there are many on this side that have not gracious principles and had a pu­blick cause, therefore they have been unfaithfull. We have use of men that have not principles to act by, but all the other go according to their own principles. The one part acts that they may gratifie mens lusts; now the ge­nerality of the world love it; they [Page 289] know if the one partie prevail they shall have liberty, and licensciousness, but if the other prevail they shall live under laws. Now men would have their lusts; therefore when they see on the one side they shall have their lusts, and on the other side they shall be more curbed, they strive hard for their lusts.

At the first I wondred that men should be so vile to fight to make themselves slaves: but when I consi­dered, they shall have slaves under them, and have their lusts, and the o­ther side be more curbed, then I was satisfied, and wondered that God should cast the scale the other way, they having all the advantages in a carnall way more then the other. On­ly here it is, we have people that have prayed, and this hath cast the scale. Love prayer, and praying people, and joyn with them, be on their side, for God is with them, and will not suffer them to pray in vain: a praying Christian is a usefull Christian in the world.

[Page 290]Again, make this use of all that hath been done. Look how far thou thinkest the adversaries would have been hardned if they had prevailed against the cause of God, be thou so much the more resolute in the cause of God. If they had prevailed how would they have blasphemed? and manie thousands of Atheist; would have been made more then there was before: what a mightie offence, and stumbling block would this have been? Now since God hath turned it the other way, justifie God and his cause; settle your hearts in the love of God, and his cause, and settle your sel­ves more strongly in the reformation in hand.

Further, let us give him reall praise, that we may not receive the grace of God in vain. By this grace we hope that he hath given us our estates that we were afraid would have been rent from us; we have the continuance of our liberties, and of the Gospell. Let our hearts be ingaged to God to give up our estates this day; let us re­new [Page 291] our ingagements to God in se­cret, between God and our souls. Lord thou mightest have taken away my estate by the spoylers, it was near it; and thou hast done it to other of my brethren, and is mine conti­nued! That estate that should have been spent for their lusts, I am re­solved to spend it in thy service that hast preserved it; and I account it a great mercie that I have an estate to honour thy name, I feared I should not.

God expects, that ever hence­forward you make a more holy use of your estates then before. And call your hearts to question, what do I do with my estate for God? what ho­nour hath God from my estate more then before? God expects more, or else God may justly say, in vain have I preserved this wretched estate: there are manie of my servants, if I had preserved their estates, they would have improved them in the towns and places they lived in, and here is a wretch I have preserved his estate, [Page 292] and he is more greedy and scrapes up for himself, and all his thought is, how to repair what he hath lost by taxations, &c. The Lord may re­pent of what he hath done, and the curse of God may follow such a mans estate. Take heed, know that there is an ingagement after this time.

And so for the libertie of the Gospell, God expects that you should prise the Gospell more then ever. Lord, we were afraid the Gospell would have been gone, if thou hadst given us up into the hands of our ene­mies, and our eyes should not have seen their teachers; we should not have heard things that refresh our hearts; shall we have the Gospell, and hope that our posterity shall have it? we hope that we shall never pro­voke thee as we have done heretofore to take it away. A man that hath been in danger to loose his estate, and hath recovered it, will be carefull after. Our slighting of the Gospell because we had it so ordinarie might have caused God to take it from us; and [Page 293] hath God restored it? let us take heed we provoke not God now, but attend upon the word more then ever we did.

Lastly, doth God say to us, Call upon me, and I will answer thee, then when God seeks us, let us be found of him. There is all the reason for it in the world. If God be so gra­cious to poor base worms, sinfull creatures, that if we do but chatter, our prayers are answered: Is it not reason when God calls upon us, that we should call upon him? When God calls out of his word to per­form such, and such duties, God seeks thee; then make use of this Text, I have called upon God, and he hath answered my requests. And now I go to hear the word, and out of the word he calls unto me, and seeks me, let me say, Lord what sayest thou to thy servant? The Lord is ready to hear your call, be you ready to re­ceive his answer, and go on, go on with encouragement, the Lord hath incouraged us this day. And let all [Page 294] your prayers and indeavours break through all difficulties, and the Lords mercy shall break through all oppo­sitions: for he hath said, Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

FINIS.
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These Books are lately Printed for Francis Eglesfield at the Marigold in St. Paul's Church-yard.
  • THe Leaper cleansed, or the Return of Richard Bellamy of Tiverton in Devon, from Ana­baptisme to the Truth, wherein their wiles to de­ceive are also laid open.
  • 3. Treatises.
    • First, The young mans Memento.
    • Second, Now if ever.
    • Third, The danger of being almost a Christian: pu­blished by Iohn Chishull, Minister of Gods Word at Tiverton in Devon.
These Books following are now in the Press.
  • Mr. David Dickson his excellent Expositon on all St. Paul's Epistles lately translated into English, and Printing in Fol.
  • A new vol. of Dr. Prestons, never before pu­blished.
  • Choice and rare experiments both in Physick and Chirurgery, with variety of excellent receits, for any distemper of the body never before published, discovered by the Elaborate pains and industry of Mr. Tho. Collins, Practitioner of Physick, near the City of Glocester.

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