THE Godly Mans Ark OR, City of Refuge, in the day of his DISTRESSE.

Discovered in divers SERMONS, The first of which was Preached at the Fune­rall of Mistresse Elizabeth Moore.

The other four were afterwards preached, and are all of them now made publick, for the sup­portation and consolation of the Saints of God in the hour of tribulation.

Hereunto are annexed Mris. Moores Evidences for Heaven, composed and collected by her in the time of her health, for her comfort in the time of sickness.

By ED. CALAMY, B. D. and Pastor of the Church at Aldermanbury.

The second Edition, corrected and amended.

London, Printed for Iohn Hancock (Brother to the late deceased Eliz. Moore) to be sold at the first shop in Popes-head Alley, next to Cornhill.

And for Tho. Parkhurst at the three Crowns over a­gainst the Great Conduit at the lower end of Cheapside. 1658.

TO Those of Aldermanbury-Parish, Together, With all others who attend constantly upon the Word of God there preach­ed, and more especially to such of them, who are admitted to par­take of the Lords Supper there administred.

Beloved in the Lord;

I Need not spend much time in giving you an account how these ensuing Ser­mons come to bee made publick. It is not because they are more worthy than those which you hear weekly; Nay, I may truly say (without boasting) they are less worthy (though I think none of them much worth) than many others. It is not because I desire to bee in print; But it is

[Page] 1 To present you with the Pattern of a Woman whom God did pick out to make an example of great affliction, and great patience, that when you come into great troubles, you may bee comfort­ed with those comforts, with which shee was comforted.

2 To acquaint you with the pains shee took, and with her diligence in time of health to make her salvation sure; That so you may bee provoked to lay up suitable, seasonable, and sufficient provision against an evil day, and not have your Evidences for Heaven to get in the hour of adversity.

It is the grand sin of most people to delay and prorogue their solemn pre­paration for affliction and sickness, till they come to bee sick, and in affliction. There are many in Hell, who purposed to repent, but were prevented by death; therefore Bernard saith,Bona pro­ [...]osita [...]e­hennam intr [...]ue, bona ope­ra coelum. good purposes go to Hell, and only good performan­ces lead into Heaven.

To prevent your delaying and defer­ring [Page] to provide for affliction, these Ser­mons are printed, and to perswade you, that whatsoever you do for Heaven, you would do it speedily, and with all your strength.

The Subjects handled are so plain and easy, and the stile so rude and unpo­lished, that I was resolved to have bu­ried them in perpetual oblivion, had I not been conquered by this following (together with the forementioned) consi­deration, that they are calculated on­ly for people under great troubles, at which times learned debates about Discipline, and controverted points of Divinity, painted Eloquence, and curious Language, are of very little e­steem, and account. Afflicted conscien­ces are oftentimes puzled, but never comforted with doubtful disputations. Neat and elegant expressions may skin over, but cannot Cure spiritual diseases. Nothing can heal a wounded con­science, and keep a man from sinking into despondency in the day of great tribu­lation, [Page] but a real, right, and particular Application of the Promises, to help a doubting Christian to performe this great work, there are thirteen plaine Rules and Directions laid down in the following Treatise. My prayer is, that they may prove useful and successeful.

Seneca indeed comforts his friend Polybius, and perswades him to bear his afflictions patiently, because hee was the Emperours Favourite, and tells him, That it was not lawful for him to complaine, [...]as tibi non est de fortuna conqueri salvo Cae­sare. while Caesar was his friend: But this was but a poor Cordi­al: For Caesar himself a little while af­ter, was so miserable, that hee had not a friend to help him, much less was hee able to help his friend. The Word of God affords a better Cordial. it bids a true Child of God not to bee over­much dejected under the greatest affli­ction, [...]as tibi non est de fortuna conqueri salvo Deo. & salvis promissio­nibus Dei. because hee is Gods Favourite; It tells him, That it is not lawful for him to complain while God is his friend, and the Promises of God his [Page] rich portion, and inheritance. Though Job lost all hee had, yet hee lost nothing, because hee lost not his God, who is All in All, and they who have him, have All.

My purpose at first was onely to have printed the Sermon preached at Mris. Moors Funeral, together with her E­vidences for Heaven, collected by her in the time of her health. But the impor­tunity of friends hath overswayed mee, and caused mee to adde four more, preached immediately afterwards on the same Text.

And now (Dearly Beloved) having this fair opportunity to speak to you in writing, give mee leave to propound and lay before you some cautions and admo­nitions; some Rules and Directions for the right ordering of your lives and con­versations in these dangerous and divi­ded times, that so you may bee able af­ter my decease, to have them in perpetual remembrance.

1 Take heed of mistaking in the great [Page] work of Beleeving and Repenting. Faith and Repentance are the two great Gospel-graces: And the reason why so many miscarry to all eternity, is not for want of them (such as they are) but upon a pure mistake, in thinking they have them, when they have but a shadow of them. Where one goeth to Hell by despe­ration, hundreds go thither by presump­tion. O! quam multi cum hâc vanâ fide, & vana spe ad aeternos labores de­scendunt; How many thousands go to hell with a vain faith, and hope of hea­ven! And therefore bee much in exami­nation, whether your Faith be right or no. Examine your selves,2 Cor. 13. 5 whether yee bee in the Faith, prove your own selves. To bee mistaken in the great work of Be­leeving,Mark. 16. 16 is to bee necessitated to dam­nation. For hee that beleeves not, shall bee damned. Ask your souls often, whe­ther your Repentance bee of a right stamp or no; whether it bee a Repen­tance unto life, a Repentance never to bee repented on. To bee mistaken [Page] in purchasing of Lands, can but hurt your outward estates; but to bee mis­taken in the graces of Faith and Repen­tance, will undo your souls to all e­ternity. What the Characters of a true Faith, and true Repentance are, you have frequently heard, I will not now repeat them. Only remember that self-flattery, is self-mockery; that soul-delusion, is soul-damnation. Pray unto God to deliver you from that great murderer of souls, the sin of Presump­tion.

2 Take heed (as I have said) of de­laying, and putting off the great work of providing for Heaven, till sickness or old age. The Lord Christ commands you to seek first the Kingdome of God, and his Righteousness, &c. First, be­fore other things, first, more than o­ther things. You must seek after Hea­ven in the first and chief place, and if you seek it in the least and last place, you will never obtain it. In matters of weight delay is dangerous, Abigail [Page] made haste to prevent Davids fury. Ra­hab made haste to hang out her Scarlet threed. The salvation of your souls is a matter of the greatest concernment, and to delay providing for it, is not onely a sin against the command of Christ, but a sleighting of the Hea­ven of Christ. How justly may God deny to you (who refuse when hee calls) either space, or grace, to turn to him, and say to you, as it is reported, hee said to a man, who desired to repent in his old age, ubi consumpsisti farinam, ibi con-sume furfurem; Where you have spent your flower, there go spend your branne; Therefore let my Counsel bee acceptable to you. Make Christ your unum neces­sarium, your one thing necessary, and Heaven your primum quaerite; Seek yee first the Kingdome of God, and his Righteousness. Psal, 119. 60 Say with David, I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy Commandements.

3 Take heed of resting in the Mini­stry of man, You must not despise the [Page] teachings of Orthodox Ministers lawful­ly called (for hee that despiseth them, despiseth Christ; hee that is above their teachings, Eph. 3. 17 is above the teachings of Christ, 2 Cor. 5. 20 for Christ teacheth by them. They are his Embassadors, and they preach not only in his Name, but in his stead) yet you must not rest satisfied with the teachings of men, but pray, That while the Minister speaks to your ears, God would speak to your hearts. That God would fulfil that blessed Promise, Isa. 54. 13. And all thy Children shall bee taught of God. That hee would give you an unction from the Holy One to teach you all things. 1 Joh. 2. 20 That you may see the goings of God in his Sanctuary,Psal. 68. 24 you may behold the beau­ty of the Lord, Psal. 27. 4 and see his power and glory in his holy Temple.Psal. 63. 2 In a word, That God would give you, not onely the presence of Ordinances, but his pre­sence in them. That you may experi­mentally know, what it is to injoy com­munion with God in Gospel-Administra­tions.

[Page] 4 Take heed of formality, custo­mariness, and carelesness in the per­formance of holy duties. Hee that serves God carelesly, brings a curse upon himself, instead of a blessing. For cursed is hee that doth the work of the Lord negligently. Hee that serves God formally and customarily doth not serve him, but mock him. If the Israelites had brought the skin of a beast for sacrifice, instead of a beast, it would have been counted a mocking of God, rather than a worshiping of him. So do they who serve God negligently and formally.

5 Bee not contented to have a name to bee godly and religious, but la­bour to bee really such as you are supposed by others to bee. Remem­ber what Christ saith of the Church of Sardis. Rev. 3. 2 That shee had a name to live, but was dead. What will it profit you to bee thought by men to bee godly, if God knows that you are ungodly? What will it advantage you to seem to go to [Page] Heaven, and yet at last to miss of it? O labour to bee Christians, not only in word, but in deed, and in truth, not onely by outward profession, but by a holy conversation. Rest not satisfied with a less degree of grace, than that which will bring you to Heaven. It will bee a double Hell, to go within an inch of Heaven, and yet at last to miscarry.

6 Remember what Christ saith of Capernaum. The Capernaites were not so bad as the Gadarens, who desired Christ to depart from them: much less as the Nazarites, who thrust Christ out of their Coasts. Luke 4. 29 For they heard him preach every Sabbath-day,Luke 4. 32 and were astonished at his doctrine. And yet be­cause they did not sincerely practise what was taught them, Christ pronoun­ceth a heavy doom against them, Matth. 11. 23, 24. And thou Capernaum which art exalted unto Heaven, shalt bee brought down to Hell; for if the mighty works which have been done in thee, had been done [Page] in Sodome, it would have remained unto this day. But I say unto you, that it shall bee more tolerable for the land of Sodome in the day of judge­ment, than for thee. It is not enough to praise the Sermons you hear, to admire, and stand astonished at the Doctrine delivered. If you do not pra­ctise what is preached. If you do not live Sermons, as well as hear them, it shall bee easier for Sodome and Go­morrha at the day of judgement than for you.

7 Take heed that the love of the world, doth not eat out the heart of Re­ligion, and at last, Religion it self out of your hearts. Remember what the Apostle Paul saith,1 Tim. 6. 10 That the love of money is the root of all evill, which while some have coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced thēselves through with many sorrows. And what the Apostle John saith, Love not the world, 1 Joh. 2. 15 neither the things that are in the world. If any man love [Page] the world, the love of the Father is not in him. There is no sin so contrary to true Saint-ship, as worldly-mindedness: A Saint is one who hath much of Hea­ven in him, and is much in Heaven. A Saint is one whose original is from Heaven, John 3. 3 hee is born from above, [...] his name is written in Heaven, his medita­tions, affections, and conversation is in Heaven. Hee is one who is elected to things above, and called to partake of Heaven, and eternal happiness. And for such a man to minde things earthly, is a sin of the first magnitude.Eph. 5. 3 There­fore the Apostle would not have cove­tousness so much as named amongst Christians. There is no sin more defiles the soul. It will besmear you, and make you spiritual Blackamores, and Chimny-sweepers in Gods sight. There is no sin doth more dead and dull the heart in the doing of good duties. Mat. 22. 5 It hinders a man both from, and in Ordinances. The Farmer; and Merchant made light of the call of Christ, and one [Page] went to his Farm, the other to his Merchandize. There is no sin will more eclipse the light of Gods counte­nance from shining upon you. The Moon is never in the Eclipse, but when the earth comes between us and the Sun. A child of God is seldome without the light of Gods countenance, unless it bee through the over-much love of the world. No sin will more hinder your flight up to Heaven. Gen. 33. 13, 14 The Ostrich can­not flye high, because of the shortness of her wings. Jacob was forced in his travelling towards Canaan to go slow­ly and softly, because of his multitude of children, of flocks and herds. And therefore let mee again beseech you to take heed of worldly-mindedness; this will quickly betray you into Apostacy from Christ, and from the truths of Christ. A man who loves the world, will (Judas-like) betray Christ for thirty peeces. Hee will part with his Religion, rather than with his estate. This sin is the root of all evil, it [Page] exposeth a man to all temptations, to hurtful lusts, 1 Tim. 6. 9. to all errors, and all kinde of sorrows. It will drown your souls in perdition. [...] Hee that seeks things below, shall have his Heaven below. The Apostle saith expresly, that they who minde earthly things, Phi. 3. 19. their end is damnation. Therefore let mee once again repeat it; Take heed lest you bee like the Thorny ground. Let not the cares, riches, and pleasures of the World choak the good seed that is weekly sown in your hearts.

8 Let it bee your morning and even­ing thought what shall become of you to all eternity,Momen­tum undependet ae­ternitas. and labour so to use things temporal, as not to lose the things that are eternal. Remember that this life is a moment upon which eternity de­pends, Momen­taneum quod de­lectat, ae­ternum quod [...]. and according as you spend this moment, so you shall bee for ever happy, or for ever miserable. Remember that the pleasures of sin are but for a mo­ment, but the punishments of sin are everlasting.

[Page] 9 Look upon Sin as the greatest [...] evils, greater than poverty, imprison­ment, banishment, or death it selfe chuse the greatest Affliction, rathe [...] than commit the least sin.Anselme If Hel [...] were on the one side, and Sin on the other chuse rather to go into Hell, than to sin against God. For Sin is a greater evill than Hell, because it is the cause o [...] Hell, and more opposite to God (who is the chiefest good) than Hell is. For God is the Author of Hell (which hee hath provided for all unbelee­vers, and impenitent persons.) But it is blasphemy in the highest degree, to say, That he is the Author of Sin. Look upon Christ as the greatest good, grea­ter than health, wealth, liberty, or life. Love Christ more than you love your estates, or lives; Hee that loves Christ more than the world, will not forsake Christ to imbrace the world. Hee that fears sin more than affliction, will not sin to avoid affliction.

10 Rest not contented with that mea­sure [Page] of grace you have attained unto; but labour to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember that the Scripture doth not only perswade you to get into Christ, but to grow up into Christ; not only to bee Righteous, but to bee filled with the fruits of Righteousness,Eph [...]. 15. &c. Remem­ber that saying of Christ, [...] To whom much is given,Luke 12. 48. of them much is re­quired. God hath given you much, you have plentiful means of salvation, and you have had them for many yeares, hee expects from you, not onely good fruit, but much good fruit; not only thirty-fold, and sixty fold, but an hundred-fold. Where the Husbandman bestows most cost, hee expects most fruit. The more a Merchant adventures by Sea, the greater return hee looks for. God hath done more for you, than for many others; and therefore hee expect that you should do some singular thing for him. Hee looks you should be more hum­ble, more heavenly, more knowing than [Page] others. If the Sun should give no more light than a little Candle, to what pur­pose hath God given it so much light: If you that have Sun-like abilities do no more good, than those who have but half your abilities, to what purpose have you them? It is a true saying, As our gifts increase, so must our account increase.Crescen­tious [...]onis cres [...]unt rationes donorum. You shall answer at the great day, not only for your gifts, but for the measure of them. Remember that God doth not only require service from you, but service proportionable to the means, and mercies you injoy.

Hee that hath but one Talent, shall answer but for one; but you that have five, or ten Talents, must bee answerable, ac­cording to the quantity, as well as the qua­lity of them.

11 Labour to diffuse those graces which God hath given you, and to communicate them to those with whom you converse. True grace is of a spreading nature, and therefore compared to leaven, which diffuseth it [Page] self into the whole lump, and to Salt, that seasoneth all those things with which it is mingled. Ioh. 4. 29. 30. Assoon as the woman of Samaria had found out the Messias, shee leaves her water-pet, and goeth into the City, to tell others what God had done for her. Assoon as Cornelius had re­ceived the Message from the Angel, to send for Peter; hee calls together his kinsmen and neer friends, that they, together with him, might bee made partakers of Gospel-grace.Act. 10. [...]4 A true Christian is like a Needle touched with the Loadstone. A Needle (truly touched) draweth another, and that will draw another, and that, another: Whoso­ever hath his heart truly touched by effectual grace, will labour to convert others, and they, others. Philip will draw Nathaniel, Andrew will draw Peter. And Peter being converted, will labour to strengthen his Brethren: There is a natural instinct in all crea­tures to make others like themselves (as fire will turn all things that come [Page] neer it, into fire) and there is a spiritual instinct in all converted Christians, to convert others. It is as natural to a true Christian to make others true Christians,, as it is for a man to beget a man. True grace is not only of a com­municative, but of an assimilating na­ture.

See then that you labour by seasonable and religious admonitions, and exhor­tations; by communicating of experi­ences, and especially by the shining pat­tern of a holy life and conversation, to bring all those with whom you con­verse unto Iesus Christ. That man hath not grace in truth, who puts it in a dark Lanthorne.

12 Labour to bee good in your Rela­tions, good Husbands, and good Wives, good Parents, and good Children, good Masters, and good Servants. Remem­ber that that man cannot bee a good man, who is not good in his Relation. Hee cannot bee a good Christian, who is not a good Husband, or a good Child, [Page] or a good Father, &c. Shee cannot bee a good Christian, who is not a good Wife; and so of the rest; and the rea­son is: Because the same God who commands the Husband to love God, commands him to love his Wife; the same God who commands the Wo­man to obey God, commands her to obey her Husband. There is the same stamp of Authority upon our duties to­wards our Relations, as upon our duties towards God; therefore bee sure to make conscience of relative duties.

13 Ioyn works of mercy and cha­rity together with your profession of piety and holiness. For God hates a penurious, niggardly, and covetous professor of Religion. Let that saying of David abide upon your hearts, God forbid I should serve the Lord with that which cost mee nothing.2 Sam [...] God hates your obedience to the first Table, if it bee not joyned with obedience to [...] second. Works of mercy and charity ar [...] made in Seripture the touchstones [...] [Page] the truth of our piety and holiness. This is pure Religion (saith the Apostle) and undefiled before God,James [...]. 27. and the Father, to visit the Fatherless, and Widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. If any man say (saith St. John) I love God, [...] Ioh. 4. 20 and hateth his Brother, hee is a liar, for hee that loveth not his Brother whom hee hath seen, how can hee love God whom hee hath not seen? An unmerciful, and an uncharitable man, is a wicked and an ungodly man. Let it bee the care of all those amongst you, who are rich in estate, to be rich in good works. Let every man lay up for the poor, according as God hath prospered him, [...] Cor. 16. 2 remembering that saying of Christ. Come yee blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdome prepa­red for you, from the foundation of the world; For I was an hungred, and yee gave mee meat, I was thirsty, and yee gave mee drink, I was a stranger, and yee took mee in, naked, and [Page] yee cloathed mee, I was sick, and yee visited mee, I was in prison, and yee came unto mee.

14 Take heed of separating from the publick Assemblies of the Saints. I have found by experience, that all our Church-calamities have sprung from this root. Hee that separates from the publick worship, is like a man tumbling down a hill, and never leaving till hee comes to the bottome of it. I could relate many sad stories of persons professing godliness, who out of dislike to our Church-meetings, began at first to se­parate from them, and after many chan­ges and alterations, are turned some of them Anabaptists, some Quakers, some Ranters, some direct Atheists. But I forbear; you must hold communion with all those Churches, with which Christ holds communion; you must separate from the sins of Christians, but not from the Ordinances of Christ. Take heed of unchurching the Churches of Christ, lest you prove Schismaticks in­stead [Page] of being true Christians.

15 Though you never live to see the times setled, yet labour to get your con­sciences setled: Pray for the Spirit of Truth, to guide you into all Truth in these erring dayes. Remember that say­ing of Christ, Mat. 6. 23. If thine eye bee evil, thy whole body shall bee full of dark­nesse; if therefore the light that is in you bee darkness, how great is that darkness. God hath given you your un­derstandings, to be the guide of the whole man. As the Eye is the guide of the body, and the Sun of the world, so is the understanding of the man; therefore you must in praying, pray that God would give you a right understanding in all things. Pray not onely for the grace of Sanctification, but of [...] Illumination. Avoid as soul-poyson all Doctrines,

1 Which tend to liberty, open a door to prophaneness, and are contrary to god­liness.

2 Which hold forth a superstitious strictness above what is required in the Wo [...]d.

[Page] 3 Which are Antimagistratical, and Antiministerial.

4 Which lift up corrupt nature, and exalt unsanctified reason.

5 Which preach free-grace, to the ut­ter ruine of good works.

6 Which lessen the priviledges of Infants, and makes their condition worse under the New Testament, than under the Old.

7 Which are contrary to the Analogy of Faith, the ten Commandements, and the Lords Prayer.

16 Take heed lest being led away with the errour of the wicked, you fall from your own sted fastness. 2 Pet. 3. 17 Take heed of a threefold Apostacy, of which this Nation is deeply guilty.

Of Apostacy

1 In your Judgements, from the Truths of Christ, and from the Faith once delivered to the Saints

2 In your Affections, from that ancient love, desire, and delight, which the Saints of God have had heretofore, [Page] and you your selves once had, in, and to­wards the Ordinances of Christ, and the godly and learned Ministers of Christ.

3 In your conversations, from that humble and exact walking with God in all good duties, both towards God, and man, which was the credit, and honour of the good old Puritan in former daies. Let mee speak to you in the words of the Apostles Paul and Peter. [...] Cor. 15. [...]. Wherefore my beloved Brethren, bee yee sted­fast and unmoveable, &c. The God of grace, who hath called you into his eternal glory by Jesus Christ, make you perfect, stablish, strength­en, and settle you.

17 Remember that it is the will of Jesus Christ, that you who partake of the same word of life, and of the same Sa­cramental Bread and Wine, should admonish one another, exhort one another, watch over one another, bear the burdens of one another, provoke one another to love and good works; seek the good of one another, and not [Page] your own good only. That you should warn the unruly, comfort the feeble­minded, and support the weak. That this is your duty appears, from Col. 3. 16. Phil. 2. 4. Heb. 1. 24. Gal. 6. 1. Rom. 15. 2. Rom. 14. 7. 2. Cor. 5. 15. 1 Thes. 5. 11, 13, 14. The 12th. vers. speaks of Ministerial and authoritative admonition, but the 13, and 14. verses of fraternal and charitative. These Texts will rise up in Iudgement against thou­sands of Christians at the last day. I do not say that you are to admonish none but those of your own Society. Admoni­tion is an act of mercy; It is spiritualis Eleemosyna, spiritual Almes, and you are bound by the royal law of charity, by the communion of Saints, the com­munion of Churches, and communion of natures, to distribute these spiritual almes to all that need them, as God shall give occasion. But this I say, you ought especially to admonish them, and watch o­ver them. This is novum, though not solum vinculum. Some Divines think [Page] that one chief reason why the Israelites were punished for Achans sin, was be­cause they did not admonish him, and watch-over him: For the Israelites were commanded in the plural number, Josh. 6. 18. Keep your selves from the accursed thing, &c. Hee was one of the body, and because they did not watch over him, they communicated in his sin, and in his punishment. There is an ex­cellent Law in this Nation, That every Parish shall provide for its own poor. And by parity of reason, it is as just and equal, That every Congregation should chiefly and especially look to the souls of their own members, to warn them, admonish them, exhort them, and watch over them.

That you may the better discharge this duty, you must labour to bee ac­quainted one with another, as far as your Callings and Relations will give you leave. It is a great and common sin, and much to bee lamented, That there is so little knowledge and acquain­tance, [Page] between those that are of the same Congregation. They sit in the same Pew together, partake of the same Sacra­ment, and yet converse no more toge­ther, than if one lived at York, and the other at London. And when they do con­verse together, it is a meer civill and outward converse, as amongst sober heathens: But there is very little Re­ligious society between them, for the spiritual edification one of another. Now this must needs bee a great sin; For how can you watch over one another, edifie and admonish one another? How can you support the weak, comfort the feeble-minded, if not spiritually acquainted one with another.

And yet it is not my opinion, that every member of a Congregation is bound to know every fellow-member. I beleeve it was not so in the Church of Jerusalem, or of Samaria. It is in­credible, to think that they all knew one another. I should bee loath to lay such a clog upon you consciences, as to say, [Page] That every maid-servant, and man-servant is bound to know, and to bee acquainted with all those with whom they communicate in the Lords Sup­per. Indeed the Church-officers are the eyes of the people, and are to know all, and to bee acquainted with all: But yet notwithstanding this, I say, It is the duty of every member, to endeavour ac­cording to his place and calling, to grow up in spiritual acquaintance one with another, as God shall offer occasion, and not to be so strange and unacquainted, but to walk in love one towards another, to bear one anothers burden, and so fulfill the Law of Christ, Gal. 6. 2.

And this you ought the rather to do, that so you may contribute to the keep­ing of the Sacrament of the Lords Supper pure in the Congregation to which you belong. There is much com­plaint amongst many (and not without just cause) of mixt communions, and of [...] universal liberty which some take in giving the Sacrament promiscuously [Page] to all that come, though grosly ignorant, and notoriously scandalous, and in mak­ing (If I may so speak) the Chancel-door, as wide as the Church-door. This in my judgement is a great ini­quity.

1 It is to give holy things to Dogs, and to cast Pearls to Swine. It is a prophanation of the Ordinance, in giv­ing it to those who are visibly unworthy to receive it, and to whom wee know Christ would not have us to give it.

2 It is an act of great uncharitable­ness, to those who are grosly ignorant, and scandalous. For it is to give them that which wee know will further their damnation.

3 It makes the Church-Officers (who have power to hinder them, and do not use it) partakers of other mens sins.

4 It is an Act of cruelty to the Na­tion: For because wee have been Pro­digal of Christs blood, therefore hee hath been Prodigal of ours.

[Page] 5 It is a great scandal to the truly godly, and a stumbling-block to weak Christians, causing them (though unad­visedly) to separate from our Congrega­tions.

6 It is to walk contrary to the practise of most (if not all) of the Churches of Christ in the Christian world.

To prevent this Sacrament-propha­nation; there are some Ministers, wh [...] wholly surcease from administring it. This I allow not, unless in case of absolute ne­cessity. For this is (as it were) to suspend the whole Congregation, and to deny Children their bread, for fear of gi­ving it to Dogs. The best way is to follow the advice which our Lord Jesus Christ gives, Matth. 18. 15, 16, 17. where hee propounds Rules and Directions for the removing of scandals out of the Church. If thy Brother shall trespass against thee (saith Christ) go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone. Hee doth not say, Go, and separate pre­sently (For this is to rend the Church, [Page] not to heal it; This is to hinder thy Brother from Christ, rather than to gain him to Christ. Hee doth not say, Go and tell others (for this is to back­bite thy Brother. This is to reproach him, rather than to reprove him) But hee saith, Go and tell him his fault be­tween thee and him alone; if hee shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy Brother: But if hee will not heare thee, then take with thee one or two more, &c. And if hee shall neglect to hear them, tell it to the Church (that is, to such who are impowred by Christ to redress offences) but if hee neglect to hear the Church, let him, &c. Hence learn,

That all Church-reformation, and Sacrament-purity must begin from Church-members, and proceed from them in Christs way unto Church-of­ficers; That if any man who is called a Brother, bee a Fornicator, or a Railer; or a Drunkard, or guilty of any other scandalous sin, It is your duty, who are [Page] members of the same body with him, and know his guiltiness, to labour by private admonition to gain him to God, not to shame him by telling others, but to gain him, by telling him alone. But if hee will not hear you, then you are in an orderly way, to bring it to the Church, which if you neglect to do, the sin of Church-pollution is your sin, and not the sin of your Church-officers. If there bee three doors to get into an house, hee that keeps mee out of the first, keeps mee out of the other two. All Sacrament-reformation begins with you, you are the first door at which it enters: if you faile of your duty, the sin lyeth at your door, not at ours. It is the custome of all people (though otherwise godly) if a scan­dalous sinner bee admitted to the Lords Supper, to charge the sin of it upon the Minister, and in the mean time to forget that the sin is theirs, not his, because they have not done what Christ would have them, for the gaining of him, and for the inabling of the Church, to pro­ceed [Page] against him by censures, if hee prove obstinate. The Lord give you hearts to thinke of this, and give you grace (instead of murmuring against, and com­plaining of mixt communions, and of separating from us because of them) to contribute your utmost towards the pur­ging of our Congregations, and to pra­ctise all those duties which Christ re­quires of you in order thereunto.

I have much more to say of this parti­cular, but I perceive that the Epistle swells to too great a bigness, and therefore I shall defer what I have further to say, till God shall offer mee another such oppor­tunity.

18 Labour to maintain peace and uni­ty amongst your selves. It is a good and pleasant thing for brethren to dwell together in unity.Psal. 133. Have Salt in your selves,Mark 9. 50 and peace one with another. Labour to get your souls seasoned with the grace of humility. self-denial, and mortification; and this will keep you in peace. Remember the saying of Christ, [Page] Blessed are the Peace-makers. Now I beseech you Brethren, by the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that yee all speak the same thing, and that there bee no divisions among you; but that yee bee perfectly joyned together in the same minde,1 Cor. 1. 10. and in the same judge­ment.

19 Study often and often the quatuor novissima, the four last things, Death, Judgement, Hell, and Heaven. The meditation of Death, will prepare you for Death: The meditation of Hea­ven, will make you heavenly-minded: The meditation of Hell, will keep you from Hell:Descenda­mus vi­ventes, ut non de­scenda­mus mo­ [...]ientes. Therefore Bernard perswades us to go often down to Hell by medi­tation while wee live, and wee shall not go down to it when wee dye. The meditation of the day of Judgement, will bee both fraenum, & calcar, a bridle to curb you from sin, and a spur to incite you to all godliness, that so you may give up your account with joy at that terrible day.

[Page] 20 Study the exceeding great and precious Promises of the Gospel, make a Catalogue of them, meditate on them, and labour to apply them to your own souls, for your everlasting comfort. And for this purpose, read over these Sermons, and study them in time of health, that you may injoy the benefit of them in the time of sickness.

Lastly, Let mee intreat you to praise God in my behalfe; that hee hath been pleased out of his free love to uphold mee amongst you in my Ministerial imploy­ment for these Eighteen years; And to continue your earnest prayers unto him, that hee would make my labours more use­full, and successful, that hee would guide mee, that I may guide you, that hee would not onely make, but keep mee faithful in these back sliding times, and teach mee so to preach, and so to live, that I may save my self, and those that hear mee.

Your Servant in the Work of the Ministry. Ed. Calamy.

Books lately printed for Thomas Park­hurst, at the sign of the three Crowns, [...]ver against the great Conduit, at the lower end of Cheapside.

Four profitable Treatises very use­ful for Christian practice, viz. The Killing Power of the Law. The Spi­ritual Watch. The New Birth. Of the Sabbath. By the Reverend Willi­am Fenner, late Minister of Rochford in Essex.

The Journal or Diary of a thankful Christian, wherein is contained Directi­ons, for the right method of keeping and using, according to the Rules of Practise; A Day-book of National and publick, personal and private passages of Gods Providence, to help Christi­ans to thankfulness, and experience. By Iohn Bendle, Minister of the Gospel at Barstone in Essex, large Octavo.

Here followeth the Sermon preach­ed at the Funeral of Mris. Elizabeth Moore, the 27th. of February last, at Aldermaenbury.

The Godly mans Ark; OR, City of Refuge in the day of his Distresses. SERMON I.

PSAL. 119. 92.‘Unless thy Law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine Affliction.’

THis Psalm (out of which my Text is taken) exceeds all the other Psalms, not only in length, but in excel­lency, so far (in the judgement of Ambrose) as the light of the Sun excels [Page 2] the light of the Moon. As the Book of Psalms is stiled by Luther, An Epitome of the Bible, or a little Bible▪ So may this Psalm fitly bee called, An Epitome of the Book of Psalms. It was written (as is thought) by David in the dayes of his banishment under Saul, but so penned, that the words thereof suit the condition of all Saints. It is penu doctrinae publicum unicuique apta & convenientia distribu­ens, A publick store-house of heavenly doctrines, distributing fit, and conve­nient instructions to all the people of God, and therefore should bee in no less account with those who are spiri­tually alive, than is the use of the Sun, Air, and Fire, with those who are na­turally alive: It is divided into two and twenty Sections, according to the Hebrew Alphabet, and therefore fitly called A holy Alphabet for Sions Schol­lars. The A, B, C, of godliness: Sixt [...] Senensis calls it, An Alphabetical Poem▪ The Iews are said to teach it their little [Page 3] children the first thing they learn, and therein they take a very right course, both in regard of the heaven­ly matter, and plain stile fitted for all capacities. The chief scope of it, is to set out the glorious excellencies and perfections of the Law of God. There is not a verse (except one onely, say some Learned men in Print, but are therein deceived; but I may truly say, Except the 122. and the 90. verses) in this long Psalm, wherein there is not mention made of the Law of God, under the name of Law, or Statutes, or Precepts, or Testimonies, or Com­mandements, or Ordinances, or Word, or Promises, or Wayes, or Judge­ments, or Name, or Righteousness, or Truth, &c.

This Text that I have chosen, sets out the great benefit and comfort, which David found in the Law of God in the time of his affliction—It kept him from perishing. Had not thy Law been my delights, I had perished in my affliction.

[Page 4] The word Law is taken diversly in Scripture, sometimes for the Moral Law, Jam. 2. 10. Sometimes for the whole Oeconomy, Polity, and Regiment of Moses, for the whole Mosaical dis­pensation by Laws, partly Moral, partly Judicial, partly Ceremonial, Gal. 3. 23. Sometimes for the five Books of Moses, Luke 24. 44. Sometimes for the whole Doctrine of God, contained in the Scriptures of the Old Testament, Joh. 7. 49. By Law in this place is meant, all those Books of the Scrip­ture which were written when this Psalm was penned. But I shall handle it in a larger sense, as it comprehends all the Books both of the Old and New Testament. For the word Law is sometimes also taken for the Gospel, as it is Micah 4. 2. Isa. 2. 3. The mean­ing then is, Unless thy Law, that is, Thy Word, had been my delights, I should have perished in mine Affliction.

David speaks this (saith Musculus) of the distressed condition hee was [Page 5] in, when persecuted by Saul, forced to flye to the Philistins, and sometimes to hide himself in the rocks and caves of the earth. Hi [...] vero simile est, fuisse illi ad manum codicem divinae legis, &c. It is very likely (saith hee) that hee had the Book of Gods Law with him, by the reading of which, hee mitiga­ted and allayed his sorrows, and kept himself pure from communicating with the Heathen in their superstiti­ons. The Greek Scholiasts say, That David uttered these words, A Saule pulsus, & apud Philistaeos & impios ho­mines agere coactus, when driven from Saul, and compelled to live amongst the wicked Philistins, &c. for he would have been allured to have communi­cated with them in their impieties, had he not carried about him the me­ditation of the word of God. Unless thy Law had been my delights, &c.

In the words themselves, wee have two Truths supposed, and one Truth clearly proposed.

[Page 6] 1 Two Truths supposed.

1 That the dearest of Gods Saints, are subject to many great and tedious Afflictions.

2 That the word of God is the Saints darling, and delights.

One Truth clearly proposed.

That the Law of God delighted in, is the afflicted Saints Antidote a­gainst ruine, and destruction.

1 Two Truths supposed.

The first is this:

Doct. 1. That the best of Gods Saints are in this life subject to many great and tedious Afflictions.

David was a man after Gods own heart, and yet hee was a man made up of troubles of all sorts and sizes, in­somuch as hee professeth of himself, Psal. 69. 1, 2, 3. Save mee, O God, for the waters are come in unto my soul, I sink in deep mire where there is no standing, I am come into deep waters, where the flouds over-flow mee; I am weary of my crying, my throat is dryed, mine eyes [Page 7] fail while I wait for my God. And in this Text he professeth that his afflictions were so great, that he must necessarily have perished under them, had hee not been sustained by the powerfull comforts he fetched out of the word. There is an emphasis in the word Then, I should then have perished: that is, long before this time; then, when I was afflicted, then I should have perished. Iunius and Tremelius tran­slate it, Iam diu periissem, &c. I should long ago have perished. Iob was a man eminent for godliness, and yet as eminent for afflictions. Nay jesus Christ himself was a man of sor­rows, Isa. 53. 3. Insomuch as that it is truly said, God had one Son without sin, but no Son without sorrow.

This our Dear Sister, at whose Fu­neral wee are met, was a woman full of many and great afflictions, which (no doubt) would have quite drowned and swallowed her up, had not the Word of God supported her, there­fore [Page 8] it was that shee desired that this Text might bee the subject of her Funeral Sermon.

Quest. But why doth God afflict his own children with such variety of long and great Afflictions?

Ans. 1. God doth not do this, be­cause hee hates them, but because hee loves them, For whom the Lord loveth hee chastiseth, &c. Heb. 12. 6. Did the Lord hate them, hee would suffer them to go merrily to Hell. There is no surer sign of Gods reprobating anger, than to suffer a man to prosper in wicked courses. God threatneth this as the greatest punishment, not to punish them, Hos. 4. 14. And therefore because God loveth his children, hee chastiseth them in this world, that they may not bee condemned in the world to come, 1 Cor. 11. 33.

2 God doth not do this, because hee would hurt them, but for their good, Jer. 24. 5. The good figs were sent into Captivity for their good. Heb. [Page 9] 12. 10. Hee for our profit, &c. God hath very gracious and merciful ends and aims in afflicting his people. Give mee leave here to inlarge my Discourse, and to give you an account of some of these Divine aims.

1 Gods design is to teach us to know him, and to trust in him, and to know our selves. It is a true saying of Luther, Schola crucis, est Schola lucis, the School of Affliction, is a School of Instruction, Gods [...] are [...], His rods (when sanctified) are powerful Ser­mons to teach us,

1 To know God, And this is life E­ternal to know him, Joh. 17. 3. It is said of Manasseh, a Chron. 33. 13. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord hee was God. Then, when hee was caught among the thorns, bound with setters, and carried to Babylon; before that time hee knew not the Lord: Afflicti­ons teach us to know God, not only in his power and greatness, in his anger, and hatred against sin, but also in his [Page 10] goodness and mercy; For God doth so sweeten the bitter cup of affliction, that a childe of God doth many times taste more of Gods love in one months af­fliction, than in many years of prospe­rity, 2 Cor. 1. 4, 5. 2 Cor. 7. 4. Adde to this. Afflictions teach us to know God Experimentally and affectionative­ly, not cerebraliter (as Calvin saith) but cordialiter, so to know him, as to love and fear him, and to flye unto him as our rock and hiding-place in the day of our distress. It is said, Cant. 3. 1. By night I sought him whom my soul loveth, &c. Some by the word Night, understand the night of divine desertion, and from the words Gilbertus hath this saying, Qui quaerit in nocte, non quaerit ut videat, sed ut amplectatur; Hee that seeks after God in the night of adversity, doth not seek to see him, and know him formal­ly and superficially, but to imbrace him, and to love him really and cordi­ally: And therefore the Church ne­ver left till shee had found Christ, and [Page 11] when shee had found him, shee held him and would not let him go, Cant. 3. 2, 3, 4.

2 Not onely to know God, but also to trust in him, 2 Cor. 1. 9. Wee had the sentence of death in our selves, that wee should not trust in our selves, but in God▪ which raiseth the dead. Note here, 1 That an Apostle is apt in time of prosperity, to trust in himself. 2 That God brings his children to the gates of death, that they might learn not to trust in themselves, but in God, which raiseth the dead, that is, from a dead and desperate condition.

3 Not onely to know God, but to know our selves, which two are the chief parts of Christian Religion: It is said of the Prodigal, that when hee was in adversity, then hee came to him­self, Luke 15. 17. And when hee came to himself. He was spiritually distracted, when hee was in prosperity: Afflictions teach us to know that wee are but men, according to that of David, Psal. [Page 12] 9. 20. Put them in fear, O Lord, that they may know themselves to bee but men. Caligula and Domitian, Emperors of Rome, who in prosperity would bee called Gods, when it thundred from Heaven, were so terrified, that then they knew they were but men. In prosperity wee forget our mortality. Adversity causeth us to know, not on­ly that wee are men, but frail men, that God hath us between his hands (as it is Ezek. 21. 17.) and can as easily crush us, as wee do moths: That wee are in Gods hands, as the Clay in the hands of the Potter: That hee hath an absolute soveraignty over us, and that wee depend upon him for our being, well-being, and eternal-being. These things wee know feelingly and practi­cally in the day of Affliction. And it much concerns us to know these things, and to know them powerfully. For this will make us stand in awe of God, and study to serve and please him. Hee that depends upon a man [Page 13] for his livelihood, knowing that hee hath him at an advantage, and can ea­sily undo him, will certainly endeavor to comply with him, and to obtain his favour. The ground of all service and obedience is dependence. And did wee really and experimentally know our dependence upon God, and the advantages hee hath us at, wee could not, wee would not but comply with him, and labour above all things to gain his love and favour.

2 Gods aim in afflicting his children,The se­cond De­sign of God in afflicting his chil­dren. is either to keep them from sin, or when they have sinned; to bring them to re­pentance for it, and from it.

1 To keep them from sin; This made him send an Angel of Satan to buffet Paul, lest hee should bee lifted up in pride, and exalted above measure, 2 Cor. 12. 7.

2 When they have sinned to bring them to repentance for it, and from it. God brings his children low, not to trample upon them, but to make them [Page 14] low in their own eyes, and to humble them for sin, Deut. 8. 2. God brings them into the deep waters, not to drown them, but to wash and cleanse them, Isa. 27. 9. By this shall the iniquity of Iacob bee purged, and this is all the fruit, to take away sin, &c. Afflictions (when sanctified) are divine Hammers, to break, and as Moses his Rod, to cleave our rocky hearts in peeces.

1 They open the eyes to see sin Ocu­los quos culpa claudit, paena aperit. When the brethren of Ioseph were in adversity then they saw (and not before) the greatness of their sin in selling their Brother, Gen, 42. 21.

They open the ear to Discipline. In prosperity wee turn a deaf ear to the voyce of the charmer, though he charm never so wisely. But adversity open­eth the ear, and causeth us to attend: When God spake upon Mount Sinah in a terrible manner, then the people said unto Moses, Speak thou unto us, all that the Lord our God shall speak unto [Page 15] thee, and wee will hear it, and do it, Deut. 5. 27. Memorable is that Text, Jer. 2. 24. A wilde Ass used to the Wilderness, that snuffeth up the wind at her pleasure, in her occasion who can turn her away? all they that seek her, will not weary themselves, in her month they shall finde her; in her month, that is, when she is great with young, and near her time. A wicked man in the day of his pros­perity, is like a wilde Ass used to the wilderness, hee snuffeth at any that shall reprove him, hee is of an uncir­cumcised ear, and a rebellious heart, but in his month, that is, when hee is bigge with Afflictions, then hee will be easily found; this will open his ear to Discipline.

3 They will open the mouth to con­fess sin, Judg. 10. 15.

4 They will command us to depart from iniquity, Job. 36. [...], 9, 10.

Afflictions are Gods Furnaces, to purge out the dross of our sins, Gods files to pare off our spiritual rust, Gods Fannes [Page 16] to winnow out our chaffe. In prospe­rity wee gather much soil, but adver­sity purgeth and purifieth us. This is its proper work, to work out unrighte­ousness, Dan. 11. 35. Dan. 12. 10.

3 Gods end is not only to keep us from sin,The third Design. but to make us holy and righ­teous, therefore it is said, Isa. 26. 9. When they judgements are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righ­teousness. And Heb. 12. 10.—Hee for our profit, that wee may bee partakers of his holiness. As the waters that drowned the old world, did not hurt the Ark of Noah, but bare it up above the earth, and as they increased, so the Ark was lifted up nearer and nearer to Heaven: So Afflictions (when sanctifi­ed) do not prejudice the Saints of God, but lift them up nearer unto God in holiness, and heavenly-mindedness.

4 Gods design in afflicting his chil­dren, is to make the world bitter unto them,The fourth Design. and Christ sweet. 1 To imbit­ter the world: There are two lame leggs [Page 17] upon which all worldly things stand, uncertainty, and insufficiency. All earth­ly things are like the earth, founded upon nothing. They are like heaps made of wax, that quickly melt away. Riches, and honours, wise, and children, have wings, and flye away; they are like unto Absoloms Mule, they will fail us, when wee have most need of them; They may puffe up the soul, but they cannot satisfie it, inflare possunt, satiare animam non possunt: They are all vani­ty and vexation of spirit, so saith the Preacher; but most people in time of health, will not beleeve these things; but when some great sickness betides them, this is as a real Sermon, to make out the truth of them; then they see, that a Velvet slipper cannot cure the Gout, nor a golden cap the head ache, Prov. [...]. 4. That riches avail not in the day of wrath, and this imbitters the world.

2 To make Christ sweet and precious. When Christ and his Disciples were in a [Page 18] ship together, Mat. 8. 25. it is said, That Christ was asleep, and as long as the Sea was calm, his Disciples suffer­ed him to sleep, but when they were ready to bee drowned, then they a­woke Christ, and said, Master, save us, wee perish. Even the best of Saints when fatted with outward plenty and abundance, are prone to suffer Christ [...] lye asleep within them, and so neglect the lively actings of Faith upon Christ; but when the storms of affliction, and outward calamity begin to arise, and they are ready to bee overwhelmed with distresses, then None but Christ, none but Christ.

5 Gods design in afflicting his chil­dren, is to prove, and improve their graces.

1 To prove their graces, Rev. 2. 10. Deut. 8. 2. to prove the truth, and the strength of them. 1 The truth and sin­cerity of their graces; For this cause he loaded Iob with afflictions, to try whe­ther hee served God for his Camels [Page 19] and Oxen, or for love to God. As So­lomons sword tried the true Mother from the false; So the sword of affliction discovers the sincere Christian from the hypocrite. Distresses are divine touchstones, to try whether we be true or counterfeit Saints; That grace is true, which upon tryal is found true. 2 To try the strength of our graces. For it requires a strong faith to indure great afflictions. That Faith which will suf­fice for a little affliction, will not suffice for a great one. Peter had faith enough to come to Christ upon the Sea, but assoon as the storm began to arise, his Faith began to fail, and Christ said, Why art thou afraid, O thou of little Faith? Mat. 14. 30, 31. It must bee a strong Faith that must keep us from sinking in the day of great Distress.

2 To improve our graces. It is re­ported of the Lionesse, that she leaves her young ones, till they have almost killed themselves with roaring, and howling, and then at last gasp, shee re­lieves [Page 20] relieves them, and by this means they become more couragious. So God brings his children into the deeps, and suffers Ionah to bee three daies and three nights in the belly of the Whale, and David to cry till his throat was dry, Psal. 69. 3. and suffers his Apostles to bee all the night in a great storm till the fourth watch, and then hee comes and rebukes the winds, and by this means hee mightily increaseth their pa­tience and dependence upon God, and their Faith in Christ. As the Palm-tree, the more it is depressed, the higher, stronger, and fruitfuller it grows; So doth the graces of Gods people.

Lastly, Gods aim in afflicting his people, is to put an edge upon their pray­ers, and all their other holy services.

1 Upon Prayer: What a famous Prayer did Manasseh make, when hee was under his iron fetters. It is thrice mentioned, 2 Chron. 33. 13, 18, 19. When Paul was struck off his horse, and struck with blindness, then hee [Page 21] prayed to purpose. Therefore it is said, Act. 9. 11. Behold hee prayeth! In pro­sperity wee pray heavily and drowsily, but adversity adds wings to our pray­ers, Isa. 26. 16. The very heathen Marriners cryed aloud to God in a storm. It is an ordinary saying, Qui nescit orare discat navigare. There are no Saylors so wicked, but they will pray when in a great storm.

2 Upon Preaching. Prosperity glutteth the spiritual appetite, adver­sity whetreth it.

3 Upon a Sacrament. How sweet is a Sacrament to a true Saint after a long and great sickness?

1 It makes God, and the word of God precious. If God sets our Corn-fields on fire (as Absalom did Ioabs) then hee shall bee sure to cause us to come run­ning to him: And how sweet is a text of Scripture to a childe of God in the hour of his distress?

By all this it appears that God afflicts his children not to hurt them, but to [Page 22] help them, and that God hath many glorious and gracious ends and aimes in afflicting of them. Therefore it is that David saith of himself in the 71. verse of this Psalm, It is good for mee that I have been afflicted, that I might learn thy Statutes, Hee never said, It is good for mee that I have been in pro­sperity, but hee rather saith the con­trary in the 67. verse, Before I were afflicted, I went astray, but now I have kept thy word. Gods people will bless God as much (if not more) in Heaven, for their adversity, than for their pro­sperity.

Use 1. Let us not pass rash censures upon persons under great afflictions. Say not, such a woman is a greater sinner than others, because more afflicted. This was the fault of Iobs friends, and God expresseth his anger against them for it, Iob 42. 7. My wrath is kindled against thee, and thy two friends, for you have not spoken the thing that is right, &c. This was the fault of the Barbari­ans, [Page 23] Act. 28. 4. When they saw the ve­nemous beast hang upon the hand of Paul, they said among themselves, no doubt this man is a murderer, &c. But remember they were Barbarians. It is a sign of a Barbarian, not of a Christian to pass a rash censure upon persons in affliction. Think you (saith Christ) that those eighteen upon whom the Tower in Siloam fell and slew them, that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jeru­salem. I tell you, nay, but except you re­pent, ye shall all likewise perish, Luke 13. 4, 5. Think you that they which have the stone and gout in extremity, that have cancers in their faces and breasts, are greater sinners than others. I tell you nay, &c. For my part, if I would censure any, it should bee such as live wickedly, and meet with no affliction: These have the black brand of reproba­tion upon them. These are men de­signed to damnation. Ambrose would not tarry a night in the house of a Gentleman that had never in all his [Page 24] life been afflicted, for fear (as hee said) lest some great and sudden judgement should betide it. But when I see a godly woman afflicted, then I say, this is not so much for her sin, as for her trial; this is not to hurt her, but to teach her to know God, and to know her selfe, to break her heart for sin, and from sin, to make the world bitter, and Christ sweet. God hath put her into the fire of affliction, to refine her, and make her a vessel fit for his use. God is striking her with the hammer of af­fliction, that shee may bee squared, and made ready to bee laid in the heavenly Ierusalem.

Use 2. Here is rich comfort to the chil­dren of God, under the greatest afflictions. For the best of Saints are subject to the worst afflictions: This is the lot of all Gods children, Christ himself not ex­cepted. Afflictions (indeed) conside­red in their own nature, are evil things, and so are called, Amos 5. 1 [...]. They are part of the curse due to sin, the [Page 25] fruit of Gods revenging wrath; they are as a biting and stinging Serpent. And to a wicked man, remaining wicked, they are the beginning of Hell: Un­sanctified afflictions parboil a wicked man for hell and damnation. But now to a childe of God, they have lost both their name and nature, they are not pu­nishments properly, but chastisements, not [...], but [...]. They are not satisfactory, but castigatory. Jesus Christ hath taken away the sting of these Serpents; they are not fiery, but brazen Serpents, they have a healing, not a hurting power. Christ hath removed the curse, and bitterness of them; as the wood sweetned the waters of Marah, Exod. 15. 25. So Christs Cross hath sweetned the bitterness of Afflictions.

There are eight comfortable consi­derations to chear the heart of a childe of God in the day of his distress.

1 God never afflicts his people, but ut of pure necessity, 1 Pet. 1. 6. Though ow for a season, if need bee, yee are [...] ­ [...]aviness. As a most loving Father, [Page 26] never corrects his childe, but when he [...] is forced to it. Hee willingly pro­vides for his childe, but punisheth him unwillingly. So God freely loadeth with his blessings, but hee never chastiseth his children, but when forced to it, therefore hee saith expresly, Lam. 3. 33. Hee doth not afflict willingly, Isa. 27. 1. Fury is not in mee. It is wee that put Thunderbolts in Gods hand. If the S [...]n did not first draw up the va­pours from the earth, there would ne­ver bee any thundering, or lightening. God would never thunder from Hea­ven with his judgements, if our sins did not first cry to Heaven for punishment. As Christ whipt the sellers of Oxen and Sheep out of the Temple with a whip made (in all probability) of their own cords; So God never scourgeth us, but it is with a whip made of our own sins, Prov. 5. 22. Rom. 2. 5.—Thou treasurest up to thy self, &c. God hath a double trea­sure, a treasure of mercy, and a treasure of wrath; his treasure of mercy is alwayes [Page 27] full, but his treasure of wrath is empty, till wee fill it by our sins. And there­fore when God punisheth his children, hee calls it a strange work, and a strange act, Isa. 28. 21. It is observed of the Bee, that it never stings, but when pro­voked: Sure I am, that God never afflicts his children, but out of pure necessity.

2 Not only out of pure necessity, but out of true and real love; as I have shewed, Heb. 12. 6, 7, 8.

Object. Do not divine afflictions pro­ceed out of anger? Was not God angry with Moses for speaking unadvisedly with his his lips? And angry with David for his Adultery, and thereupon afflicted both of them?

Answ. This anger was a Fatherly anger, rooted in love; It was not ira quae reprobat, but ira quae purgat: It was not ira hostilis & exterminativa, but ira paterna & medicinalis. As it is a great punishment, for God sometimes not to punish, Isaiah 1. 5. Hos. 4. 14. [Page 28] So it is a great mercy, sometimes for God to withdraw his mercy.

3 Afflictions are a part of Divine predestination. That God which hath e­lected us to salvation, hath also elected us unto afflictions, 1 Thes. 1. 3. That no man should bee moved by these afflictions; for you your selves know that wee are appoint­ed thereunto. The same love with which God elects us, and bestoweth Christ, and his Spirit upon us, with the very same love hee afflicts us.

4 They are part of the gracious Covenant which God hath made with his people, Psal. 89. 31, 32, 33. In which words we have three things con­siderable.

1 A supposition of sin; If his children forsake my Law, &c. For sin is alwayes causa sine qua non, the cause without which God would never chastise us, and for the most part it is the cause for which.

2 Wee have a gracious promise, Then I will visit their transgression with [Page 29] the rod, and their iniquity with stripes.

3 Wee have a merciful qualificati­on: Nevertheless my loving kindnesse will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail, my Covenant will I not break, &c. Afflictions are not only mercies, but Covenant-mercies; There­fore David saith, Psal. 119. 75.—and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted mee. God would bee unfaithful, if hee did not afflict his children.

5 Consider that afflictions are part of the Saints blessedness, Job. 5. 17. Behold! happy is the man whom God cor­recteth, &c. Behold (saith Eliphaz) and wee had need behold, and consi­der it, for there are few that beleeve it, and yet it is most true; That af­flictions (when sanctified) when they are not only corrections, but instructions, then they are evidences that wee are in a blessed condition. Eliphaz his saying must bee interpreted by what David saith, Psal. 94. 12. Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Lord, and [Page 30] teachest out of thy Law; It is not cor­rection simply, but correction joyned with instruction, which intitles us to happiness. Iob even while hee was upon the dung-hill, wonders that God should set his heart so much upon him, as to visit him every morning, and try him every moment, Job 7. 17, 18. Iob upon the Dung-hill, was happier than Adam in Paradise. Adam in Paradise was con­quered by the Devil; but Iob upon the Dung-hill overcame the Devil. La­zarus in his Rags was happier than Di­ves in his Robes; Philpot in his Cole-house, than Bonner in his Palace; and godly Mr Whitaker upon his bed of pain, than a wicked man upon his bed of Down▪ There were many in Christs time who would never have known him, or come to him, had it not been for their bodi­ly diseases.

6 Consider the gracious and merciful ends, aims, and designes, that God hath in afflicting his people, what these are, ye have heard already.

[Page 31] 7 The sweet and precious promises, which hee hath made to his children in the day of their adversity, to comfort them, and support them; what these are, you shall hear afterwards.

8 Consider that all afflictions shall work at last for the good of Gods chil­dren. Rom. 8. 28. Though they are not bonae, yet they shall bee in bonum; Though they are not good in them­selves, yet they shall turn to their good. God beats his children, as wee do our cloaths in the Sun, onely to beat [...]ut the Moths; God puts them into the fiery furnace, not to hurt them, but onely to untie the bonds of their sins, as hee deal [...] with the three children, Dan. 3. 25. God will either deliver them out of their afflictions, or send them to Heaven by them; Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

Use 3. If the best of Saints are sub­ject in this life unto many, great, and tedious afflictions, then let us, [Page 32]

  • 1 Expect
  • 2 Prepare for
  • 3 Improve

1 Let us expect Afflictions; for Christ hath said expresly, Ioh. 16. 33. In the world yee shall have tribulation. There is in every childe of God,

1 Sufficiens Fundamentum, a suffi­cient Foundation for God to build a house of Correction upon: There is sin enough to deserve affliction.

2 There is sufficiens Motivum, Mo­tives sufficient to prevail with God, to chastize them when they sin against him; some of these you have heard already, let mee adde one more: Be­cause hee is more dishonoured by the sins of his own children, than by the sins of wicked men: As it is a greater discredit to an earthly Father, when his own children, than when other mens children, live wickedly; so it is a grea­ter disparagement to our heavenly Father when his own Sons and Daughters, than when the Devils children trans­gress [Page 33] his Law: And therefore God will chastize them sooner, surer, and more than others. 1 Sooner, Rom. 2. 9. Tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doth evil, of the Iew first, and also of the Gentile. First, the Jew, and then the Gentile. 2 Surer than others, Amo [...] 3. 2. You onely have I known of all the Families of the earth, therefore I will punish you for all your ini­quities. 3 More than others, [...]am. 4. 6: The punishment of the iniquity of the Daughter of my people, is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodome. &c. Dan. 9. 12. under the whole heaven hath not been done, as hath been done upon Ieru­salem.

3 There is sufficiens necessitas, suffi­cient necessity to provoke God to afflict them. It is needful that the Wheat bee winnowed, that so the chaffe may bee separated from it. It is needful that the Wind blow upon the Wheat, to cleanse it, and that Gold bee put into the furnace, to purge and purifie it. [Page 34] When the Sheep of Christ are divided one from the other in judgement, and affections, when separated in Doctrine, Worship, and Discipline. It is very need­ful that God should send afflictions and distresses, which may bee (as the Shep­herds Dog) very serviceable and instru­mental, to unite them together, and to gather them into one Sheepfold. And therefore let the Saints of God expect afflictions.

2 Let us prepare and provide against the day of tribulation.Gods peo­ple are to prepare for affli­ctions. Let us pro­vide,

1 A stock of graces. For sickness is a time to spend grace, 1 A stock of graces. but not to get grace▪ A Christian in sickness without grace, is like a Souldier in war without Armour like a house in stormy weather without a foundation, and like the men of the old world, when ready to bee drowned▪ without an Ark. Woe bee to that person that hath his graces to get whe [...] hee should use them! And therefore if wee would bee comforted in the day [Page 35] of tribulation, wee must provide afore­hand a furniture of graces.

1 A true Faith (for a painted Faith will avail no more than a painted helmet or a painted ship) and not only a True, but also a strong Faith. A little faith will faint under great afflictions; when the winds began to blow fiercely, Peters little Faith began to fail, Mat. 14. 30.

2 A great measure of patience to inable us to wait quietly and contentedly, till God come in with help, for many times hee tarrieth till the fourth watch of the night, as hee did, Matth. 14. 25. And therefore wee have need of pa­tience to keep us from murmuring or repining.

3 A great stock of Self-denial, hu­mility, repentance, contempt of the world, and heavenly-mindedness. Hee that is furnished with grace in an evill hour, will bee as safe and secure, as Noah was in the Ark, in the time of the Deluge, or as those were who had sufficiency of corn in the time of the seven years [Page 36] dearth in Aegypt.

2 A stock of assurance of Salvation: 2 A stock of Assu­rance. For though a man hath never so much grace, yet if hee wants the assurance of it, hee cannot receive any comfort by it in the day of his distress. Ia­cob was not at all quieted in his spirit, for Iosephs being alive, till hee came to know of it. And therefore wee must not onely provide grace, but the assu­rance of grace, that wee may bee able to say with confidence, as Iob did up­on the dung-hill, Iob 19. 25. I know that my Redeemer liveth, and with the holy Apostle, Rom. 8. 38. I am perswa­ded, that neither death, nor life, nor Angels, nor Principalities, nor Powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall bee able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Iesus our Lord. That man who hath got a Scrip­ture assurance of his salvation, will bee more than a Conqueror in the day of his distress.

[Page 37] 3 A stock of Divine Experiences. 3 A stock of Divine Experien­ces. Happy is that man that lodgeth up in his heart all the former Experiences he hath had of Gods love and mercy to­wards him, and knoweth how to argue from them in the day of calamity: Thus did Moses in his prayer to God, Numb. 14. 19. Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people, according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people from Egypt, even untill now. Because God had forgiven them, therefore Moses intreats him to forgive them; this Argument is drawn from former experience. And thus David incourageth himself, 1 Sam. 17, 37. The Lord hath delivered mee out of the paw of the Lion, and out of the paw of the Bear, and hee will deliver mee out of the hand of this Philistine. Thus also Paul reasoneth, 2 Cor. 1. 10. Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver, and in whom wee trust that hee will yet deliver us! Divine experi­ences are the Saints great incourage­ments [Page 38] in the day of Affliction. Blessed is the man that hath his quiver full of these arrows.

4 A stock of Sermons. Wee must do with Sermons,4 A stock of Ser­mons. as the Trades-men do with the mony they get; some of it they lay out for their present use, and some of it they lay up against the time of sickness. That man is an ill husband, and an unthrifty Trades-man that makes no provision for old age; or for an evill day; and that man is an unpro­fitable hearer of the word, who doth not stock and store himself with Ser­mons, whereby hee may be comforted in the hour of affliction. And therefore the Prophet Isaiah adviseth us, Isa 42. 23. to hear for the time to come, or (as it is in the Hebrew) for the after-time. Sermons are not onely to bee heard for our present use, but to bee laid up for after-times, that when wee lye up­on our sick-beds, and cannot hear Ser­mons wee may then live upon the Ser­mons wee have heard.

[Page 39] 5 And lastly,5 A stock of Scrip­ture pro­mises. Wee must prepare and provide a stock of Scripture-promi­ses, which will bee as so many reviving Cordials, to chear us, and as so many spi­ritual Anchors, to uphold us from pe­rishing in the day of our tribulation. What these promises are, you shall hear afterwards: These upheld David in the hour of his distress, and therefore hee saith in the Text, Unless thy Law had been my delight, I had perished in mine affliction. If this our dear Sister had not had this stock, shee had been quite overwhelmed under the grievous­ness of her tormenting pains. Bee wise therefore, O yee Saints of God, and pre­pare these five provisions in the time of health, that so you may live joy­fully in the time of sickness.

3 As wee must expect and provide for afflictions,3 Gods people are to im­prove af­flictions. so also wee must labour (when afflicted) to improve them for our spiritual benefit and advantage. Wee must pray more for the sanctification of them, than for their removal: It [Page 40] was not the staffe of Elisha that revived the dead childe, but Elisha himself. It was not the troubling of the waters of the Pool of Bethesda, that made them healing, but the coming down of the Angel. It was not the Clay and spittle that cured the blinde eyes, but Christs anointing them with it. It was not the cloak of Elijah that divided the waters, but the God of Elijah: Troubles, stroaks, blows, afflictions, and distresses will do us no good, unless the Lord bee pleased to make them effectuall; And therefore let us pray unto God that hee would give us grace together with our affliction. That hee would adde instruction to his correction, that hee would make us good schollars in the school of afflictions, and inable us to take out all those excellent lessons, which hee would have us to learn in it, that thereby wee may come to know God more powerfully, and experimentally, and tok now our selves, and our own frailty, and our absolute de pendene upon God [Page 41] more effectually, that thereby wee may bee more purified and refined, that the wind of temptation may cleanse us from the chaffe of our corruption, that wee may learn righteousness by Gods judge­ments, and bee made partakers of his holiness. Such a good Scholar was Ma­nasseh, hee got more good by his Iron chain, than by his Golden chain: Such another was the Prodigal childe, who was happìer amongst the Swine, than when in his Fathers house; Such was Paul, his being strucken down to the ground, raised him up to Heaven; by the blindness of his body, his soul recei­ved sight; and hee was turned from a persecuting Saul, to a persecuted Paul. Such another was David, who pro­fesseth of himself, that it was good for him that hee was afflicted; and such Scholars ought wee to bee.

There are some that are arrant Dun­ces in this School, that are like unto the bush which Moses saw, which burned with fire, but was not consumed; [Page 42] the fire did not consume the thorny bush. Many such thorny sinners are burnt up with the fire of divine affli­ctions, but their sins are not consumed. Of these the Prophets complain, Amos 4. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12.—Yet they have not returned, &c. Jer. 5. 3. Thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction; they have made their faces harder than a rock, they have refu­sed to return. Rocks and stones by hew­ing and polishing may bee made fit for a building: But there are some men who by no afflictions will bee amended. The Mountains melt at the presence of the Lord, and the rocks rend asunder, when hee is angry: But there are some that have made their faces harder than the Rocks, and the Mountains, and are not at all affected with Gods anger. Of such as these Bernard complains, Multi humiliati, pauci humiles, corripimur, sed non corrigimur, plectimur, sed non flecti­mur; Multo facilius fregeris quam [Page 43] flexeris. Non cessant vitia civium usque ad excidia civitatum; Prius est interire quam corrigi. Prius ipsos, quam in ipsis vitia non esse.

There are others that are the worse for their afflictions, like the Smiths Anvil, the more they are stricken, the harder they are: Such a one was King Ahaz, 2 Chron. 28. 22. In the time of his distress hee did trespass yet more a­gainst the Lord: There is a brand put upon him—This is that King Ahaz, that wicked King Ahaz, that reprobate King Ahaz. As Pearls put in Vinegar lose their colour and beauty, so many, when under Gods hand, lose all their glory and excellency, and begin to di­strust Gods Providence, to call his justice into question, to murmure and repine against Gods dealings, and to use unlawful means for their delive­rance. Of these the Prophet Isaiah complains, Isa. 1. 5. Why should you bee stricken any more? Yee will revolt more and more; Such was Ahaziah, 2 King. [Page 44] 1, 2. that sought for help from Baal­zebub the god of Ekron; and such was Saul, who sought to the Witch of En­dor for health in the day of his di­stress.

Both of these sorts are in a sad and miserable condition; For God hath two Furnaces, the Furnace of Affliction, and the Furnace of Hell-fire. If the first Furnace will not purge us, the second will everlastingly consume us. As the Roman Consuls had a man ap­pointed to go before them, carrying a Rod, and an Axe; a Rod for the punish­ing of corrigible offenders, an Axe for the destruction of incorrigible; So God hath his Rod, and his Axe, his Pruning knife, and his Chopping-knife, his Warning-peeces, and his Murdering-peeces. Afflictions are his Rods to cor­rect us for our sin, his Pruning-knife to pare off our luxuriant branches; his Warning-peeces to call upon us to re­pent.

But if his Warning-peeces will do [Page 45] us no good, wee must expect his Mur­dering-peeces. If his Pruning-knife will not amend us, his Chopping-knife will confound us. If his Rods will not re­claim us, then his Axe will hew us down, and cast us into everlasting fire. God hath three houses, the house of In­struction, of Correction, and of De­struction, The place where Gods peo­ple meet to hear his word, is his house of Instruction. And if wee profit in this house, hee will never carry us unto the house of Correction. But if wee bee stubborn and rebellious in the house of Instruction, then hee will send us to the house of Correction. And if wee profit in this house, hee will never send us into the house of Destruction. But if wee continue incorrigible in the house of Correction, hee will inevitably send us to the house of Destruction, that is, unto hell fire.

And therefore whensoever God brings us into the School of Affliction, let us labour to bee good Schollars [Page 46] in it; and to answer all those ends, aimes, and designes which God hath in afflicting of us. Let us pray to God that our afflictions may bee Divine Hammers to break our hearts for sin, and from sin, may make the world bit­ter, and Christ more precious, may prove and improve our graces, and may put an edge upon all holy duties.

There are two things I would have you in an especial manner to labour af­ter.

1 Labour when afflicted,Gods people are to labour to know the mean­ing of Gods Rod to know the meaning of Gods Rod.

2 That the good you get by afflictions, may abide upon you after your recovery from them.

1 You must labour to know the meaning of Gods Rod, and what the particular arrant is, which hee hath to you in the day of your distresses, you must do as David did, 2 Sam. 21. 1. hee inquired of the Lord to know the reason why hee sent a Famine amongst them. So must you, you must pray [Page 47] as Iob doth, Iob 10. 2. Shew mee, O Lord, wherefore thou contendest with mee? When the cause of a disease is found out, it is half cured. Your great care therefore must bee to study to know the particular cause and reason, why God turns your prosperity into ad­versity. The Prophet Micah tells us, Micah 6. 9. That the Rod hath a voyce, and that the man of wisdome shall see Gods Name upon it. There is a great measure of spiritual Art and Wisdome required, to inable a man to hear this voyce, and to understand the language of it. A spiritual Fool cannot do it.

Quest. What must wee do,How wee may know the mean­ing of Gods Rod that wee may understand the voyce of the Rod?

Ans. You must know, that the Rod of God ordinarily speaks three langua­ges, it is sent for correction for sin, for the trial and exercise of Grace, and for instruction in holiness; Sometimes in­deed it is sent only for trial and instru­ction, and not at all for sin. Upon this account was Iob afflicted, and the [Page 48] blinde man, Ioh. 9. 3. But for the most part it hath a threefold voyce; it is ap­pointed for instruction, probation, and also for correction, Lam. 3. 39. Isa. 42. 24. Luke 1. 20. 1 Cor. 11. 30.

Quest. How shall a man know whether his afflictions bee only for trial and instru­ction, and not at all for sin?

Answ. The safest and best way for a Christian in this case, is to beleeve that all his afflictions are both for trial and instruction, and also for sin: Indeed when hee seeth another man, who is very godly, grievously diseased, hee may charitably beleeve, that this is for his trial, and not for his sin; but when it is his own case, then (as D. Ames saith most excellently) Aequissimum, tutis­simum, & Deo gratissimum est, ut in af­flictionibus omnibus peccata nostra intu­eamur, quae illas vel directe procurarunt, vel saltem promeruerunt. Quamvis enim omnes afflictiones non immittantur sem­per directè & precipuè propter peccatum, peccatum tamen est omnium afflictionum [Page 49] fons & fundamentum, Rom. 5. 12.—It is most equal, most safe, and most acceptable to God, to have an eye upon our sins, which have either directly procured them, or at least deserved them. For though afflicti­ons are not alwayes sent directly and espe­cially for sin, yet sin is the original and foundation of all afflictions.

Quest. VVhat course must wee take to finde out what that sin is in particular, How to finde out the parti­cular sin for which God af­flicts us. for which God corrects us?

Answ. 1. Sometimes wee may read our sin in our punishment. Adonibezek, though a Heathen King, did this, Iudg. 1. 7. Threescore and ten Kings, having their Thumbs▪ and their great Toes cut off, gathered their meat under my table; as I have done, so God hath re­quited mee. I read of holy Ephrem, that hee was converted by the suitableness of his affliction, unto the sin hee had committed, for hee saw clearly that his misery came not by chance, but from God immediately, and for sin. As a man may sometime gather the disease [Page 50] of the Patient by observing the Physi­tians Bill, so hee may guess at his sin, by considering his punishment.

2 Consider what that sin is for which they conscience doth most of all accuse thee. Conscience is Gods Vice­gerent, his bosome Preacher. And when wee sleight the voyce of Conscience, God seconds it with the voyce of his Rod, which speaks the very same lan­guage that Conscience doth.

3 Consider what is the sin of thy Complexion, and Constitution, what is thy Dilectum delictum, thy peccatum in deliciis, thy beloved sin, what is that sin to which thou art most of all in­clined; and if that sin prevaile over thee, and thou canst not say with David Psal. 18. 23. I have kept my self from mine iniquity. It is very probable that for the subduing of that sin, thou art corrected of God.

4 If ever thou hast been at the gates of death, despairing of life, con­sider what that sin was, which did thee [Page 51] most of all trouble and perplexe thy conscience; or if ever thou hast been in a dream, supposing thy self to bee dying, and breathing out thy last; what was that sinne which did then most of all affright thee. It is very likely that God by afflicting thee, intends to get that sin more conquered and mor­tified.

5 Consider what those sins are for which thy godly Minister (under whose care thou livest) doth reprove thee, and of which thy true and real friends do accuse thee; for, if thou hast sleight­ed the voyce of thy faithful Minister, and friends; surely God out of his love to thee, followeth their advice with the voyce of his Rod, that thereby hee may open thine ear to Discipline, and command thee to depart from those iniquities.

But if thou canst not finde out that particular sin, for which God afflicts thee, labour to repent of every sin, and then thou wilt bee sure to repent [Page 52] of that sin. If thou canst not finde out the Bee that stings thee, pull down the whole Hive, or the thorn that pricks thee, pull down the whole Hedge. Do that out of wisdome, which Herod did out of malice, who because hee could not finde out the Babe Iesus, killed all the children in Bethlehem from two years old, and under, that so hee might bee sure to' kill Iesus. Let us seek the utter ruine and death of all our sins, and then wee shall bee sure to destroy that sin for which God afflicts us, and when the cause is removed, the disease will forthwith bee cured, and the Almighty pacified, and re­conciled unto us.

2 Let us labour that the good wee reap by our afflictions, The good we get by our Affli­ctions must re­main with us after our reco­very. may abide upon us after, our recovery from them. There are very many who while they are under the Rod, seem to bee very penitent, and do purpose and promise to amend their lives, but as soon as the Rod is removed, they returne like the Dog [Page 53] to the vomit, &c. Such was Pharaoh, whilst he was plagued he confessed his sin, and prayed for pardon, but as soon as ever the judgement was gone, hee hardened his heart. Such were the Is­raelites. Psal. 78. 34, 35, 36, 37. They were not stedfast, they turned back. Just like a truantly School-boy, who while his Master is whipping him, will promise any thing, but when it is done, forgets presently to doe what hee promised: Or like unto water, which while it is up­on the fire is very hot, but as soon as ever it is taken off the fire, presently groweth cold. I knew a man who in the time of his sickness was so terrified in his conscience for his sins, that hee made the very bed to shake upon which hee lay, and cried out all night long, I am damned, I am damned, and made many and great Protestations of amend­ment of life, if God would bee pleased to recover him. In a little while hee did recover, and being recovered, was as bad, and as wicked as ever before.

[Page 54] And therefore let us labour that the good wee get by our afflictions, may not vanish away with our afflicti­ons, but may abide on us after wee are recovered, that wee may bee able to say with David, It is good for mee that I was afflicted, not onely that I am, but that I was. David praiseth God in health, for the good hee had got in sickness, and which still abode with him. Let us say with the same Pro­phet, Psal. 66. 13, 14. I will go into thy house with burnt offerings, I will pay thee my vows which my lips have uttered, and my mouth hath spoken, when I was in trouble. Let us pray unto God that his afflictions may not onely skin over our spiritual diseases, and coup up our sins, but mortifie them, and so change our natures, that wee may never re­turn to folly.

I will conclude this point with a famous saying of Plinius secundus, worthy to bee written in letters of gold. A friend writes to him, and [Page 55] intreats him to give him advice how to frame his life, so as hee might live as becomes a good man. Hee returns him this answer: I will not prescribe many rules, there is this one only which I commend to thee above all other. Ut tales esse perseveremus sani, quales nos futuros profitemur infirmi. Let us labour to continue and persevere to bee such, when wee are well, as wee purpose, and promise to our selves to bee, when wee are sick. There is hardly any man so wicked, but hee will in sickness make many and great promises of a new life, and of universal reformation if God would restore him. Now then if we not one­ly bee such, but continue to bee such when restored, as wee promise to bee when sick, then wee shall bee excellent Schollars, in the School of Affliction, and God will either (as I have already said) deliver us out of affliction, or send us to heaven by affliction. So much for the first Truth supposed.

The End of the first Sermon.

THE Word of God IS THE Saints Delights. SERMON II.

PSAL. 119. 92.‘Unless thy Law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine Affliction.’

NOw I come to speak of the second Truth sup­posed in the Text.

That the Word of God is the Saints darling, and [Page 58] delights; not onely their delight, but in the plural number, their delights, that is (as our Annotations say) a Saint doth greatly delight in Gods Law, or as Iunius; All the delight of a Saint is in Gods Law, Gods word is the center of his delights, Nisi lex tun erat omuit oblectatio mea, Many were the troubles and sorrows of Davids life, but against them all hee found as many comforts and delectations in Gods Word, therefore hee saith, vers. 29. Thy Te­stimonies are my delights, &c. and 143. Trouble and anguish have taken hold on mee, yet thy Commandements are my de­lights: And in the Text, Unless thy Law had been my delights, &c. Whilst others delight in vanity and iniquity, whilst others take pleasure in hunting, hawking, carding, dicing, eating, and drinking, the Saints of God, can say with Austin, Reasons why the Saints take so much de­light in Gods Law Sacr a Scripturae tuae sunt sanctae dellctae meae, Thy holy Scriptures are my holy delights.

Quest. Why do the Saints of God take [Page 59] such delight in the Law of God?

Answ. 1. Because they are spiritu­ally inlightned; their eyes are opened to behold the glory and beauty, and to understand the deep mysteries of the Law, therefore David prayeth, vers 18. Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy Law, As the Apostle saith of the Jews, 2 Cor. 3. 14, 15, 16. That to this day there is a vail over their hearts, when Moses is read, and when they shall turn to the Lord, this vail shall bee removed▪ So it is with Christians, when a wicked man reads the word, there is a vail o­ver his eyes, and over his heart, and o­ver the Scriptures, The god of this world hath so blinded his eyes, that hee cannot behold the beauty and glory of them; but the true Saint hath this vail re­moved, Christ hath anointed his eyes with his spiritual eye-salve; hee seeth a surpassing excellency in the Word of God, and therefore cannot but delight in it.

[Page 60] 2 Because they are not onely il­lightned, but regenerated; And as chil­dren new born by the instinct of nature, have a natural appetite to milk for conservation of their life; so the new born Saint, by the instinct of grace, hath a spiritual appetite to the Word of God, according to that of Saint Peter, 1 Pet. 2. 2. As new borne babes desire the sincere Milk of the VVord, that you may gr [...]w thereby: The Word of God is the Saints food, and as it is impos­sible for a childe unborn to desire food, so for a man unregenerated to hunger after, and take true pleasure in the Word; and as it is impossible for a new born child, not to delight in Milk, so it is as impossible for a regenerate Christian, not to delight in the Law of God.

3 Because a true Saint hath the Law of God written in his heart, ac­cording to that precious promise of the Covenant of grace, Ier. 31. 33. I will put my Law in their inward parts, and [Page 61] write it in their hearts. A Saints heart is the counterpane to Gods Law. The Law is within his heart, Psal. 40. 8. and as it is in the Hebrew, in the midst of his bowels, in medio viscerum. God hath infused a principle of grace into his inward parts, whereby hee is not onely inclined, but inabled to walk in all the Commandements of the Law blameless. A true Saint hides the Law in his heart, as a choice Iewel in a most precious Cabinet, as David saith, vers. 9. I have hid thy Law in my heart. Hid it as a rare treasure. So doth every Saint, and therefore cannot but delight in it.

4 Because the same holy Spirit that wrote the word, dwelleth in every true Saint. It is certain that all Scripture is of Divine Inspiration, and that the holy men of God spake as they were guided by the Holy Ghost. And it is as certain, That the same Holy Ghost dwelleth in every Saint, Rom. 8. 11. And by vertue of the in-dwelling of [Page 62] the Spirit, they are sweetly and power­fully drawn to make the Law of God their chiefest delight.

5 Because it is Gods inditement, and invention. This reason is brought in the Text, Unless thy Law, &c. It is the Law of that God in whom they de­light. It transcribes the minde and heart of God. A true Saint seeth the Name, Authority, Power, Wisdome, and Goodness of God in every lett [...] of it, and therefore cannot but take pleasure in it. It is an Epistle sent down to him from the God of heaven. It is one of the greatest Love-token [...] that ever God gave to his Church. There are two great Gifts that God hath given to his people. The Word Christ, and the Word of Christ. Both are unspeakably great. But the first will do us no good without the se­cond.

6 A true Saint cannot but delight in the word of God, because it is his inheritance, vers. 111. Thy testimonies [Page 63] have I taken as an heritage for [...]ver for they are the rejoycing of my heart. Therefore they were the rejoycing of his heart, because they were his ever­lasting Inheritance.

7 Because hee findes a sweetness in i [...]. Delight is nothing else but a pas­si [...]n of the soul, arising from th [...] sweetness of the object that wee enjoy. Things that are good, present, suitable, and sweet, are the object of our de­lights, such is the word of God to e­very true Saint. It is sweeter than the h [...]ny, and the hony-comb, Psal. 19. 10. So also Psal. 119. 103. How sweet are thy words unto my taste, yea sweeter than [...]ony to my mouth. A Saint must needs delight in it, it is so suitable, and so sweet.

8 Because he loves the Law. Now that which wee love, wee cannot but delight in, when wee come to enjoy it. A true Saint doth not onely love the Law, but hee loves it exceedingly, Psal. 119. 167. My soul hath kept thy [Page 64] testimonies, and I love them exceedingly. A true Saint can say with David, Psal. 119. 97. Oh how do I love thy Law! and vers. 127. I love thy Commande­ments above gold, yea above fine gold: And vers. 72. The Law of thy mouth is better to mee than thousands of gold and silver. Now because the Saints of God are so inamoured with the Law of God, therefore it is, that they cannot but delight in it, as David saith, Psal. 119. 47. I will delight my self in thy Commandements, which I have loved▪ Hee that loves the Commandements (as all Saints do) cannot but delight in them.

Use. This shews that there are but few true Saints amongst us. There are many bastard Saints, and nomin [...]l Saints, but few true and real Saints. Wee live in an age, wherein there were never more Saints, and never fewer, never more by outward Profession, and never fewer by a holy Conversation. It is the property of a true Saint to [Page 65] make the word of God his darling and delights.

But where shall wee finde such Saints? It is easie to finde out men that can say, Eating and drinking is my delight, carding and dicing is my de­light, reading of vain and trifling books is my delight, to satisfie the lusts of the flesh is my delight. But where is the man that can truly say as David doth? The Law of God is my delights, and the joy and rejoycing of my heart for ever. Austin professeth of him­selfe, that before his Conversion, hee took no pleasure in the Word of God. His proud heart (as hee saith) would not stoop to the humble expressions of it. After his Conversion, hee was ravished with the beauty and excel­lency of the Scriptures, but before his Conversion, hee saw no excellency in them. Politian (though a great Schollar, yet a notorious Atheist) professeth most blasphemously, that hee never lost more time than in reading the [Page 66] Scripture. And it is reported of Plato, that when hee had read the first Chap­ter of Genesis, hee said, Hic vir multa dicit, sed nihil probat: This man saith many things, but proveth nothing▪ Where shall wee finde the man that puts a due estimation upon the word of God? That prizeth it above gold, yea above much fine gold? That rejoyceth in thy word, as much as in all riches, verse 14. That can appeal to God, and say as David, vers. 159. Consider, Oh Lord, how I love thy Precepts? and vers. 97. Oh how do I love thy Law? There are some men that can delight in any thing but in God, and his Word, and his Ordinances: They can de­light in the creatures of God, but can­not delight in the Ordinances of God. They can delight in the gifts of God, in riches, and health, and honours: But they cannot delight in the God of these gifts. They can delight in books of Philosophy, and Humanity, but they cannot delight in the word of God.

[Page 67] Mark the sad condition that these are in.

It is a certain sign that there is a vail over their eyes and hearts, that they are not yet anointed with Christs eye-salve, that the God of the world hath blinded their eyes, that they can­not see the glorious excellencies of the Law of God.

It is certain, that they are not born anew, for if they were new born babes, they would desire the sincere milk of the word.

It is certain, that the Law of God is not yet written in their hearts, and that the Spirit of God doth not dwell in them. It is certain, that they have no part, nor portion in the word of God, that they never tasted the sweetness that is in it, and that they have no true love to God, nor to his word. It is a true saying, Qui regem amat, legem amat, hee that loves a King, will love his Law. And I may say, Qui Deum amat, legem Dei amat: Hee [Page 68] that loves God, will love the Law of God, which is nothing else but his Image, and his Picture, his last Will and Testament, his blessed Love-token. And therefore if you delight not in the Law of God, it is evident you do not de­light in the God of this Law. And if you delight not in God, hee will not delight in you; unless it bee to laugh at your destruction, as it is Prov. 1. 26.

Q. But how shall I know whether I do delight in the Word of God, or no?

Answ. You shall know it by these notes.

1 Hee that delights in Gods Law, will bee very frequent in meditating and reading of it, and very often in speaking of it. Thus saith David, Psal. 1. 2. His delight is in the Law of the Lord, and therein hee will meditate day and night. And Psalm. 119. 97. Oh how do I love thy Law, it is my medita­tion all the day. So also vers. 15, 16. 23. Hee that takes pleasure in the [Page 69] Law, hee will bee often thinking of it, as Christ saith, Matth. 6. 21. Where the treasure is, there the heart will bee also: If the word of God bee thy treasure, thou wilt meditate on it, Cogitatione crebrâ, longâ, & profundâ. Thou wilt frequently think of it, and when thou beginnest to think of it, thou wilt dwell upon the thought of it, as a Bee dwells (as it were) upon the flower to suck out the sweetness that is in it, and thou wilt think of it with deep and serious meditations and contemplations, thou wilt dive into the unsearchable riches and treasures that are in the Word. And as thou wilt meditate on it, so thou wilt bee often, and unwearisome in reading and perusing of it, and dis­coursing about it. A man that delights in hunting, is never weary of talking of hunting, and hee that delights in the world, of speaking about the world; and if you did delight in Gods word, you would bee very frequent, and in­defatigable in discoursing of it.

[Page 70] 2 If you delight in the Word of God, you would delight in the Ministers and Ambassadors of the Word, law­fully commissionated by Christ: For the great work of the Ministry is to expound and apply the Word; and therefore if you dis-respect the godly, learned, lawful Ministry of the Word, you take no delight in the Word.

3 They that delight in the Word, will bee at any cost to bring the Word to their Congregations, they will part with thousands of gold and silver, ra­ther than with the word; He that esteems the Word above thousands, will bee wil­ling to part with hundreds for the Words sake. Hee will account a famine of the Word more bitter than a famine of bread; by how much the soul is better than the body, by so much will hee bee more troubled for a soul-famine, than a bodily.

4 Hee that delights truely in the Law, will sincerely labour to obey it, and bee m [...]ch grieved when it is disobey­ed. [Page 71] 1 Hee will sincerely labour to o­bey it, hee will make the Word of God the man of his counsel, vers. [...]4. Thy testimonies are my delight, but how doth hee prove that? in the following words, and my counsellors: Hee will make the Word a Lamp to his feet, and a light to his paths, vers. 105. In all his undertakings, hee will inquire what God would have him to do, and hee will make Gods Word his Compass to sail by, and pray with David, vers. 35. Make mee to go in the path of thy Com­mandements, for therein do I delight. 2 Hee will bee much grieved when o­thers transgress the Law of God. Thus David, vers. 53. Horror hath ta­ken hold upon mee, because of the wicked that forsake thy Law, and vers. 136. Ri­vers of waters run down mine eyes be­cause they keep not thy Law.

And therefore you that delight in sin, you cannot bee said to delight in the Word; and you that are not pained and grieved when others sin, you are [Page 72] not amongst the number of those that take pleasure in Gods Law, or in whom God takes pleasure.

Use 2. Let us make it appear that wee are Saints in deed, and in truth, not only Saints in Mans, but in Gods Calen­der, by following the example of holy David, set down in the Text. Let us make the Law of God our joyes, and our delights. Let mee speak to you in the words of the Apostle, Col. 3. 16. Let the Word of God dwell richly in you, &c. not onely with you, but in you. And in the Words of Christ, Ioh. 5. 39. Search the Scriptures, for therein you hope to finde eternal life. The Greek word signifieth to search, as men do under ground for treasures, or to search as men who dive under water for some­thing that is at the bottome. Let us with Iob 23. 12. Esteem the ward of God above our necessary food. Let us love it above gold, yea above fine gold; Let it bee dearer to us than thousands of gold and silver, sweeter than the hony [Page 73] and the honey-comb.

You that are Gentlemen, remem­ber what Hierom reports of Nepotia­nus, a young Gentleman of Rome, Qui longa & assidua meditatione scriptu­rarum, pectus suum fecerat bibliothecam Christi, who by often and assiduous meditation of the Scriptures, made his breast the Library of Christ. Remem­ber what is said of King Alphonsus, that he read over the Bible fourteen times, together with such Commentaries as those times afforded.

You that are Schollars, remember Cranmer and Ridley, the former learnt the New Testament by heart in his journey to Rome, the latter in Pem­brook-hall Walks in Cambridge. Re­member what is said of Thomas a Kem­pis, that hee found rest no where, nisi in angulo, cum libello; but in a corner with this book in his hand. And what is said of Beza, that when hee was above fourscore years old, hee could say per­fectly by heart any Greek Chapter [Page 74] in Pauls Epistles.

You that are women, consider what Hierom saith of Paula, Eustochiam, and other Ladies, who were singularly ver­sed in the holy Scriptures.

Let all men consider that hyperbo­lical speech of Luther, That hee would not live in Paradise without the VVord, and with it hee could live well enough in Hell. This speech of Lu­thers must bee understood, Cum gran [...] salis.

Quest. May not a wicked man delight in the VVord of God? Is it not said of Herod, Mark. 6. 20. that hee heard John Baptist gladly, and of the stony ground, Luke 8. 13. that it received the Word with joy? Is it not said of the Israelites remaining wicked, that they delighted to know Gods wayes, and took delight in approaching to God, Isa. 58. 2. and of the Iews, Joh. 5. 35. that they were wil­ling for a season to rejoyce in the Light▪ held forth by the preaching of John Bap­tist.

[Page 75] Answ. There is a wide and vast dif­ference between the joy and delight which a true Saint takes in Gods Word, and that which may bee found in an hypocrite.

1 The delight of a godly man, is or­derly and seasonable. It is the conse­quent of conviction and humiliation; For though Ioy bee the great work of the Spirit, yet it is not the first work. First, The Spirit by the Word con­vinceth and humbleth, and then com­forteth; therefore Christ saith, Mat. 5. 4. Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall bee comforted; and David saith, Psal. 126. 5. They that [...]ow in tears, shall reap in joy. But the joy of an hypo­crite is unseasonable and disorderly. It is his first work. It is said of the stony ground, that when they heard the word, they received it immediately with glad­ness, Mark. 4. 16. It is not said, they received it first with sorrow, and then with gladness. Here is mention of joy without any antecedent humilia­tion. [Page 76] Nay, the Text saith expresly▪ Luke 8. 6. it lacked moisture, and there­fore it withered away. There are ma­ny Professors in our dayes that skip from sin, to joy at first, that all in an instant are in the highest form of sin, and in the highest form of comfort, that skip out of the lap of the Devil, into the lap of joy: These are as the stony ground. These are wanton Chri­stians; They sow before they plough; They know not the bitterness of sin, and therefore in time of temptation fall away.

2 The delight that a godly ma [...] takes in the Word, is a well-rooted delight. It is rooted in an humble, good, and honest heart, as is said of the good ground, Luke 8. 15. But the delight of an hypocrite is shallow and superficial; as his graces are sleight and formal, so are his delights. Therefore it is said of the seed that fell upon the stony ground, that it had no root, Luke 8. 13. and Matth. 13. 5. it wanted depth of [Page 77] earth, and therefore when the Sun a­rose, it was scorched. The Apostle hints this, Heb. 6. 4.—and have tasted the good Word of God. The delight of a wicked man in the Word, is but a tasting, and sipping, no soaking, a float­ing a loft in the River of Christs blood, no diving down to the bottome. A man may taste a thing, and not like it, taste, and like it, and yet not come up to the price of it, as the young man, Matth. 19. 22. Hee was very desirous to injoy eternal life, but hee would not part with his possessions for the obtain­ing of it. A Cook tasteth of the meat hee dresseth, but they onely that are invited eat of it.

Tasting doth not imply habitual grace. A man may taste that which hee never digesteth, nor concocteth. The Israelites tasted of the first fruits of the Land of Canaan, and yet did not enter into Canaan. Such is the joy of the hypocrite. It is outward and superficial; But the delight of a true [Page 78] Saint is inward, solid, and substantial. Ieremy saith, that the Word of God was the joy and rejoycing of his heart, and that hee did eat it, Ier. 15. 16. hee did not onely taste it, but eat it. And Paul saith, Rom. 7. 22. I delight in the Law of God after the inner man; His de­lights had depth of earth, they were well digested and concocted.

3 It is superlative and over-topping. A godly man delighteth more in God and his Word, than in any worldly thing whatsoever. Lord lift thou up (saith David, Psal. 4. 6, 7.) the light of thy countenance upon us, thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn▪ and their wine in­creased. So also Psal. 43. 4.—Unto God my exceeding joy, Psal. 137. 6. If I prefer not Ierusalem above my chief joy. And Psal. 119. 72. 127. The delight of a Saint in Gods Word over-toppeth all his creature-delights, and injoyments, and for the joy hee findes in it, hee will sell all hee hath to purchase it, Mat. 13. 44. [Page 79] But the joy of a wicked man is of an inferiour nature, hee rejoyceth more in Corn, Wine, and Oyl, &c. And when it comes into competition, hee will leave his spiritual and heavenly, rather than lose his creature and carnal pleasures. Thus Herod rejoyced in the word that Iohn Baptist preached, but hee rejoy­ced more in his Herodias, and when it came to the trial, hee chose to behead Iohn Baptist, rather than to part with Herodias.

The stony ground, when persecution arose, parted with all its joy, and faith, rather than it would lose its estate, or life. As a godly man rejoyceth in worldly things, as though hee rejoyced not, 1 Cor. 7. 30. So a wicked man re­joyceth in spiritual things, as though hee rejoyced not. In the old Law those Fowls that did both flye and swimme, were unclean: A wicked man would many times flye aloft in spiritual delights, but hee would also bathe him­self, and swimme in carnal pleasures, [Page 80] and his heart is more affected with worldly advancement, and bodily re­creations, than with heavenly, and this is a sign that hee is an unclean Christian, and that his delights in God, and his Word are not right, because they are not overtopping and superlative.

4 It is powerful and soul-strengthen­ing, full of life, vigour, and activity; it will inable the soul to do and suffer any thing for God, it turns a Prison into a Paradise, it makes Martyrdome to bee as a bed of Roses, it is Armour of proof to steel us, and make us fit to indure Afflictions, both for God, and from God; therefore David saith in the Text, Unless thy Law had been my de­lights, I should then have perished in mine Affliction. His delight in the Law sup­ported him from sinking. It is like Oyl to the Wheels, like Sails to the Ship, and wings to the bird; but the delight that a wicked man hath in the Word is a pow­erless, dead, fruitless, and strengthless de­light. It is as a paper Helmet, and a [Page 81] painted fire, it will not support him in the hour of adversity: The persons re­presented by the stony ground, fell a­way, notwithstanding their joy, as soon as ever persecution arose for the Go­spel. But the joy of a true Saint is soul-supporting, and soul-upholding. The joy in the Lord is their strength, Neh. 8. 10.

5 The delight that a godly man hath in the Word, is sin-excluding. It cannot consist with a delight in any sin; therefore David saith, Psal. 119. 11. Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sinne against thee. Sinne is as a wooden window, to shut out the true joyes of the Spirit. But now a wicked man, though hee may delight in the Word, yet hee also delights in sinning against the Word. Although Herod heard Iohn Baptist gladly, yet hee kept his Herodias; and though the Israelites delighted to know Gods wayes, yet they did not delight to walk in his wayes. They were as a Nation that did righteousness, hee doth not say, [Page 82] they were such, but quasi gens, &c. as a Nation that did righteousness. And though they delighted to approach to God, yet they did not delight to obey that God before whom they approa­ched; they took pleasure in sinning a­gainst God, as well as in serving of God, Isa. 58. It was not a sin-exclu­ding joy, and therefore it was false and counterfeit.

6 It is grace-increasing. The more a Saint delights in the Word of God, the more careful hee will bee to obey the Will of God, and to grow and in­crease in the grace of God; therefore David saith, Psal. 119. 167. My soul hath kept thy testimonies, for I love them exceedingly. And Psal. 40. 8. I de­light to doe thy Will, O my God, yea thy Law is within my heart; because the Law was written in his heart, therefore hee delighted to doe it. Hee that de­lights to keep Gods Law, God will give him more grace to keep it accor­ding to that remarkable text, Psal. 119. [Page 83] 55, 56. I have remembred thy Name, O Lord, and have kept thy Law, this I had, because I have kept thy Precepts. What had David for keeping Gods Precepts? Hee had power to keep his Law; that is, to grow and increase in keeping of it. As the Prophet, Hos. 6. 3. speaks of the knowledge of God. Then shall wee know, if wee follow on to know the Lord, that is, if wee industriously labour to know God, wee shall have this reward, to bee made able to know him more. So may I say of the grace of God. Hee that delights to keep Gods Law, shall have this reward, to bee inabled to keep it more perfectly.

A true delight in Gods Word is Grace increasing. Grace is the Mother of all true joy, Isa. 32. 17. and joy is as the Daughter, and the Mother and Daughter live and dye together. True, spiritual delight, ebbs and flows as grace ebbs and flows. As the wood is to the fire, oyl to the flame, the sha­dow to the body, so is joy to grace. [Page 84] Quantum cres [...]is in gratiâ, tantum dila­târ is in fiduciâ. But now a wicked man, though hee may have a kinde of de­light in Gods word, yet it is not a de­light of the right kinde. It doth not argue that hee hath true grace in him.

An hypocrite is all joy, and no grace; a Giant in joy, and not so much as a dwarf in grace, like a green bough tyed to a dead tree. Hee is in the highest form of joy, and not so much as in the lowest form of grace.

7 The delight that a godly man hath in the word, is not onely a de­light in spiritual things, but a spiritual delight, grounded upon spiritual aimes and reasons. But the delight of a wicked man, though it bee in spiritual things, yet it is but a natural delight. As a godly man spiritualizeth carnal things; so an ungodly man carnalizeth spiritual things. Austin before his conversion, rejoyced much to hear Ambrose preach, but it was because of his eloquence (as hee saith) not upon a spiritual ac­count. [Page 85] A wicked man may follow a Preacher, and delight in his preaching, because of his elegant words, and Rhetorical expressions, because hee is unto him as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voyce, &c. as it is Ezek. 33. 32. Or, out of novelty, be­cause newly come (as the Israelites de­lighted in Manna at first, but after­wards loathed it) or because hee loves his person; or out of a desire to obtain a form of knowledge in heavenly things. The Pharis [...]es delighted to do many spiritual things out of vain-glory. Iehu delighted to do the will of God, but it was for his owne ends. Pauci quaerunt Iesum, propter Iesum. Stella is of opinion, that the Devil per­swaded Herod, to hear Iohn Baptist gladly, and to reverence him, and to do many things, that so hee might hold him the faster in his possession. The Devil had him sure by one sin, and therefore hee provoked him to do some good things, that so hee might rock [Page 86] him asleep in presumption, and by his good things hee might quiet his con­science, and put a fair gloss upon his incestuous practices: A man may re­joyce in spiritual things upon sinful grounds and reasons. But now a true Saint delights in the word upon a spiri­tual account, because it is Gods word, and God would have him delight in it, be­cause it is his guide to glory, the way by which he is sanctified. It is both concha & canalis, A Cistern to contain the glo­rious mysteries of salvation, and a Conduit to convey God and grace into his soul.

In a word, hee delights in it, be­cause it is holy and pure, hee can say with David, Psal. 119. 140. Thy word is very pure, therefore thy servant loveth it. This no wicked man can truly say.

8 The delight that a godly man takes in the word, is without any reser­vation or distinction. Hee delights in the whole word of God, in the command­ing, and threatning word, as well as in [Page 87] the promising word; he beholds God, and his wisdome, and goodness in every verse, and therefore hee can say with Hezekiah, Isa. 39. 8. Good is the Word of the Lord. Hee hath the whole Law writ­ten in his heart, and rejoyceth in every tittle of it. But a wicked man hath his reservations and distinctions, hee may delight in the promising word, but hee undervalues the commanding word, and turneth a deaf ear to the threat­ning word. It is said of the Iews, that they rejoyced in the light of John Bap­tist; but it is not said, They rejoyced in his heat: Hee was a burning, and a shining Light, they rejoyced in his shining, but not in his burning. It is hardly possible for a wicked man, re­maining wicked, to rejoyce in the burn­ing zeal, holiness, and strictness of a Iohn Baptist. But a godly man de­lighteth both in the light, and heat of the word.

9 It is an abiding delight, 2 Thess. 2. 18. Everlasting consolation, Joh. [Page 88] 16. 22. Your joy no man taketh from you. It is as a fixed Star. But the de­light of a wicked man in the Word, is as the crackling of thorns upon the fire, and as the Corn that grew on the stony ground, which quickly sprung up, and as quickly withered, Iob 27. 8. Therefore it is said of the Jews, Ioh. 5. 3. They rejoyced in his light for a season. In the Greek it is, [...] for an hour. A wicked mans delight in the Word, is but as a blazing Star, which is quickly extin­guished. Hee may rejoyce in the word while hee is hearing of it, but it quick­ly vanisheth away. Hee is like to a man that comes into a pleasant Garden, and is delighted with the smell of it while hee is there. But a childe of God makes a Posie of these Flowers, to refresh him when hee is out. Hee de­lights to read, and to keep the Law of God continually, for ever and ever, Psal. 119. 45.

Let us (I beseech you) labour, with [Page 89] all labour, for this superlative, well-rooted, powerful, spiritual, sin-excluding, grace-increasing, and abiding delight, in the whole word of God.

Quest. VVhat must wee do that wee may bee inabled thus to make the Law of God our Delights?

Answ. 1. You must seriously study the excellency of Gods word, this made David prize it so much, and love it so much, Psal. 19. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. The Word of God hath God for its Author, and therefore must needs bee full of in­finite wisdome and eloquence, even the wisdome, and eloquence of God. There is not a word in it, but breathes out God, and is breathed out by God. It is (as Ireneus saith) [...], an invariable rule of faith, an unerring and infallible guide to Hea­ven. It contains glorious revelations and discoveries, no where else to bee found. It hath a manifesting, convin­cing, soul-humbling, soul-directing, soul-converting, and soul-comforting power, [Page 90] and efficacy in it, as appears by these Scriptures, Heb. 4. 12. 1 Cor. 14. 24, 25. 1 King. 21. 29. Psalm 119. 105. 2 Cor. 3. 6. Psalm 119. 50. And therefore to delight in the Word, and the God that made it, is not only our duty, Psa. 37. 4. But it is recorded in Scripture as our priviledge, and as the great reward that God would bestow upon those that keep holy the Sabbath-day, Isa. 58. 13, 14. Then thou shalt delight thy self in the Lord. This shall bee thy great reward.

2 You must fixedly ponder the ne­cessity of practising this duty: For if you delight in Gods Law, God will de­light in you. If the Law bee your belo­ved, you are Gods beloved; If you take no pleasure in his word, his soul will take no pleasure in you.

3 You must pray for the grace of Illumination. Whensoever you take the Bible in your hand to read in it, pray Davids prayer, Psal. 119. 18. Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous [Page 91] things out of thy Law. Philosophers observe, that Lumen est vehiculum in­fluentiae, Light is the Chariot of in­fluence, as it begets the flower in the field, the gold in the Mineral; so the foundation of all regeneration, is illu­mination. Pray that God would open your eyes that you may understand the Scriptures, as hee did to his Apostles, Luke 24. 45. That hee would take away the vail that is upon your hearts.

4 Pray that he that made you crea­tures, would make you new creatures, that as new-born Babes you may desire the sincere milk of the word.

5 Pray that God would fulfill that excellent promise, Ier. 31. 33. That hee would put his Law in your inward parts, and write it in your hearts, and then you cannot but heartily delight in it.

6 Pray to God to give you the same Spirit that wrote the word, to inable you to delight in it.

[Page 92] 7 Pray for a spiritual palate, that you may not only delight in spiritual things, but have a spiritual delight in spiritual things. It is said of the Lioness, that when shee hath once tasted of the sweetness of mans flesh, shee is never satisfied till shee hath more of it. Hee that hath tasted of the good Word of God, and not onely tasted, but eaten it, and digested it into good nourishment, hee will not onely delight in it, but hee will delight in it above gold, yea above fine gold, and hee will never bee satisfied, till hee bee filled with the fulness of that God that made it.

The End of the second Sermon.

THE Excellency and Usefulness OF THE WORD. SERMON III.

PSAL. 119. 92.‘Unless thy Law had been my Delights, I should then have perished in mine Afflictions.’

NOw I come to speak of the Proposition that is clear­ly held forth in the Text. Doct. 3. That the VVord of God delighted in, is the Afflicted Saints Antidote against ruine [Page 94] and destruction. Unless thy Law had been my delights, I should, &c. The Word of God is the sick Saints salve, the dying Saints cordial; a most precious medicine to keep Gods people from perishing in time of affliction: This up­held Iacob from sinking when his bro­ther Esau came furiously marching to destroy him, Gen. 32. 12. And thou saidst I will surely do thee good, &c. The promise of God supported him. This also upheld Ioshua, and inabled him couragiously to fight the Lords bat­tels, because God had said, Hee would never leave him, nor for sake him, Josh. 1. 5. Melancthon saith, that the Lant­grave of Hessen told him at Dresda, that it had been impossible for him to have born up under the manifold miseries of so long an imprisonment, Nisi habuis­set consolationem ex Verbo divino in sua corde, but for the comforts of the Scriptures in his heart.

There are eight things may bee said (amongst many other) in commenda­tion [Page 95] of the Word of God.

1 It is the Magazin and Store-house of all comfort and consolation. There is no condition (but one) that a man can be in, but hee may finde soul-sup­porting comfort for it out of the Word. Indeed if thou resolvest to go on in sin, the Word cannot comfort thee; it threatneth Hell and Damna­tion to all such. If the God of Heaven can make such miserable, they shall be miserable; But excepting this one, there is no condition so miserable, but a man may fetch a Cordial out of the Word, to support him under it. Art thou as empty of riches, and as full of Diseases, as Iob under the Old Testa­ment, and Lazarus under the New Testament? are the (sins-with which thou art willing to part) many and great? Is thy Conscience exceed­ingly wounded and disquieted? Doth the Devil roar upon thee with hide­ous temptations? let thy condition be never so sad, the Word of God is able [Page 96] to afford thee comfort under it. For it is the Word of that God, who is the God of all consolation. There is no kinde of true comfort, but here it is to bee had, here are Cordials of all sorts. Comforts under bodily troubles, and comforts under soul-troubles. There is no Monarch can furnish his table with such variety of delicates, as God hath furnished his Word with variety of comforts.

2 The Word of God is not only the Magazine of all true comfort, but the Fountain from whence it is derived. All the comfort that you receive by reading of good books, is fetched out of this Book. All the refreshings that the Ambassadors of Christ administer to you, are borrowed from this Fountain. As the King of Israel an­swered the woman (that cried out, saying,2 King. 6 26, 27. Help my Lord, O King) If the Lord do not help thee, whence shall I help thee? So will all the true Ministers of Christ say to any distressed soul that [Page 97] cries out for comfort: How can wee comfort you, if the Word of God doth not comfort you? All our com­forts must bee fetcht from thence.

3 It will comfort us at such a time, when no outward thing can comfort us. And that is, when wee are under soul-agonies, and when our soul sits upon our lips; ready to depart, when wee are sailing into the Ocean of Eternity; then, even then, the promises of the Word will comfort us: When gold and silver, Father and Mother, Friends, and Physitians are miserable comfor­ters, then will one promise out of the Word fill us full of joy unspeakable, and glorious.

4 The Comforts of the Word exceed all other Comforts, for they are pure, and purifying, sure, and satisfying; they are soul-supporting, soul-comforting, and soul-ravishing, they are durable and e­verlasting. The comforts of the world are not worthy to bee named that day, in which wee speak of the [Page 98] comforts of the Word. They are not consolationes, but consolatiunculae. At best they are but bodily, unsatisfying, and transitory. Many times they are sin­ful, and soul-damning.

5 The Word of God is not onely a Magazine, and a Fountain of comfort, but also a touchstone, by which wee must try all our comforts whether they bee true and real, or no. All joyes, hopes, and assurances, must bee tryed by the Word, and if not rightly groun­ded thereupon, are false, and soul-delusions.

6 It is as an Apothecaries shop, or a Physitians dispensatory, out of which wee may fetch all manner of Medi­cines, to cure all the diseases of our souls. Art thou spiritually lame, blinde, or dumb? &c. The Word will open blinde eyes, make the dumb to speak, and the lame to walk. If dead in sins and trespasses, the Word, when it is the sword of the Spirit, will quicken thee. It is as a corrasive to [Page 99] eat sin out of thy heart; therefore Da­vid saith, I have hid thy Word in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

7 It is a spiritual Armory, out of which wee may fetch all manner of Weapons, to conquer the Devil, and his temptations, 2 Corint. 10. 4. It is that little Brook, out of which every David may fetch five smooth stones to destroy the Devil. These five smooth stones, are five texts of Scripture, three of these Christ took out of the brook of the Word, by which he sub­dued the Devil, Mat. 4. 4. 7, 10.

8 It is the Sun of the Christian VVorld. As the Sun is the light of the Natural VVorld, and without it, the World is but a Chaos, and a Dunge­on full of darkness. So is the VVord of God, the light of the spiritual world, without which a Christian is under an eternal night. Therefore David saith, Thy VVord is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path, Psal. 119. 105. [Page 100] What would all the World avail, if no Sun to illighten it, and what comfort would all the wealth of it afford us, if no word to instruct, and counsel us? For this is the Christians compass to sail to Heaven by, his staffe to walk withall to Heaven, his spiritual blad­ders to keep his soul from drowning. The Cork, to keep up the net of his soul from sinking. Afflictions are like the lead of the Net, which weigheth it down, but the Word is as the Cork, which keeps it up, that it sinks not. So saith David in the Text, Unless thy Law had been my delights, &c.

Vse. If the Word of God bee of such invaluable excellency, absolute ne­cessity, and of such admirable use. 2 Vse.

1 Let us bless God exceedingly for revealing his will unto us in the Word. It was a great honour, and priviledge to the Iews, that to them were com­mitted the Oracles of God, Rom. 3. 2. And it is our great happiness that wee have not only the same Oracles of God [Page 101] which they have, but an addition of the New Testament, for the clearer discoverie of the mysteries of salvati­on unto us. If God be to bee praised for every crum of bread we eat, much more for giving us his VVord, which is the bread of life, and the only food of our souls. Blessed bee God, who hath not only given us the book of the Crea­tures, and the book of Nature to know himself, and his will by, but also, and especially the Book of the Scriptures, whereby wee come to know those things of God, and of Christ, which nei­ther the Book of Nature, nor of the creatures can reveal unto us.

Let us bless God, not only for re­vealing his will in his VVord, but for re­vealing it by writing. Before the time of Moses, God discovered his Will by immediate revelations from Heaven. But wee have a surer word of Prophecy, a Pet. 1. 19. surer (to us) than a voyce from Heaven; For the Devil (saith the Apostle) transforms himself into an An­gel [Page 102] of light. 2 Cor. 11. 14. Hee hath his apparitions, and revelations, hee is Gods ape, and in imitation of God, he appears to his Dis­ciples, and makes them beleeve it is God that appears, and not the Devil. Thus hee appeared to Saul in the like­nesse of Samuel. And if God should now at this day discover his way of worship, and his Divine Will by Reve­lations, how easily would men bee de­ceived, and mistake Diabolical delusi­ons, for Divine Revelations; and there­fore let us blesse God for the written word, which is surer and safer (as to us) than an immediate Revelation. There are some that are apt to think, that if an Angel should come from Heaven, and reveal Gods Will to them, it would work more upon them than the writ­ten word; but I would have these men study the conference between Abra­ham and Dives, Luke 16. 27, 28, 29, 30, 31. Habent Mosen & Prophetas, &c. They have Moses and the Prophets, if they will not profit by them, nei­ther [Page 103] would they profit by any that should come out of Hell, or down from Heaven to them. For it is the same God that speaks by his written Word, and by a voyce from Heaven. The dif­ference is only in the outward cloathing; and therefore if Gods speaking by writing will not amend us. No more will Gods speaking by a voyce. O bless God exceedingly for the written Word! Let us cleave close to it, and not expect any Revelations from Heaven of new truths, but say with the Apostle, Gal. 1. 8, 9.

Use 2. Let us prize the word of God above gold, yea above fine gold: Let us read it, diligently, reverently, praying to God to give us the same spirit, that wrote it, to inable us to understand it, and conscientiously to practise it. Let us make it the joy and rejoycing of our heart, and as it is in the Text; Let us make it our Delights, but of this I spake in the former point. The onely motive I shall now use to perswade [Page 104] you to make the Word your Delights, shall bee this in the Text. Because it will keep you from perishing in the time of your greatest affliction. It will com­fort you when you have most need of it (that is, under heart-sinking-afflicti­ons, and at the hour of death) and it will comfort you when all outward comforts and creatures fail. It wil bee food to strengthen your weake Faith; Physick to cure the remainders of corruptions, it will bee a Cordial to revive your drooping spirits, and fainting souls. It will make you more than Conquerors over all temptations and distresses.

Quest. But now the great Question is, How a childe of God ought to manage and make use of the word of God, so as to make it a Conduit of support and com­fort, in the day of his greatest Afflicti­ons?

Answ. To bee able to do this, there is a great deal of spiritual wisdom and understanding required. For the [Page 105] word to many people is like Sauls Ar­mour to David, which was so cumber­some to him, that hee could not wear it.

There are many know not how to use the Word, so as to bee comforted by it. As the woman of Samaria told Christ, Ioh. 4. 11. The Well is deep, and thou hast nothing to draw with. So may [...]I say, The word of God is a deep Well, it is a Well of salvation, Isa. 4. but it is deep, and the deeper the sweeter, but most people want Buckets to draw with, they want a spiritual Art to fetch out of these Wells of salvation, divine sup­portation and consolation; and there­fore to help you in this great work you must know,

That the word of God may bee di­vided into three parts;The word of God divided into the comman­ding, threatning and pro­mising Word. Into Comman­dements, Threatnings, and Promi­ses: And though a Christian must not neglect the commanding, and threat­ning word, yet if ever hee would make the word a Channel of Divine comfort, [Page 106] hee must study the promising-word, for the Promises are a Christians Magna Charta for Heaven. All comfort must bee built upon a Scripture promise, else it is presumption, not true com­fort. The Promises are pabulum fidei, & anima fidei, the food of faith, and the soul of faith. As faith is the life of a Christian, so the promises are the life of Faith: Faith is a dead Faith, if it hath no promise to quicken it; As the Promises are of no use without Faith to apply them, so Faith is of no use without a Promise to lay hold on. And the great reason why the people of God walk uncomfortably in their afflictions, is, because they do not chew the Promises; they are rare Cordials, but as a man cannot taste the sweetness of a Cordial, unless hee chew it, no more can wee receive any spiritual refresh­ment from the Promises, unless wee meditate on them. The promises are as a Mine full of rich treasure, but as Mines, unless wee digge deep into [Page 107] them, wee can never get the gold and silver hid in them: no more can wee injoy the soul-ravishing comfort of the promises, unlesse we digge into them by a serious consideration of them. They are as a garden full of rare flowers, able to sweeten any condition. But because wee doe not walk in this garden, and pick out these flowers; hence it is that wee live so disconsolately and dejectedly under our afflictions. There are many rare stories declaring the comfort that some of Gods Saints have received from the promises in the day of their distresse. Mr. Bilney that blessed Mar­tyr was much wounded in Conscience, by reason of the great [...]n hee commit­ted, in subscribing to the Popish errors, but hee was much comforted by read­ing those words, 1 Tim. 1. 15. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all accep­tation, that Iesus Christ came into the VVorld to save sinners, of which I am the chief. Beza was supported under his troubles, by the words of Christ, [Page 108] Iohn 10. 27, 28, 29. Mr. Bolton tells us of one, that was upheld under great affliction, and comforted from Isa. 26. 3. Of another, from Isa. 57. 15. I knew a young maid that went triumphantly to Heaven, by the refreshing shee found in that well known Text, Matth. 11. 28. and many that have been wonder­fully cheared by reading the eight Chapter of the Romans, and by that Text, 1 Ioh. 3. 14. VVee know that wee have passed from death unto life, be­cause wee love the Brethren. The truth is, there is no promise, but if God bee pleased to illighten it, and shew us our interest in it, will afford a Harvest of joy. It is with Promises, as it is with Sermons: That Sermon which once heard, did not at all work upon us, the same Sermon heard at another time may exceedingly affect us. And the same Text of Scripture, which some­times doth not at all comfort us, may at another time convey much comfort to us. Two men troubled in conscience [Page 109] may both of them read the same chap­ter, and hear the same Sermon, and one of them may have his troubled minde pacified, and the other continue troubled, and the reason is, because the Spirit of God makes the Word effe­ctual to one, and not to the other. How often hath a distressed Saint, read Mat. 11. 28. 1 Tim. 1. 15. Ioh. 10. 27, 28. Isa. 26. 3. Isa. 57, 15. 1 Ioh. 3. 14. and found no comfort in reading of them; But if the Spirit of God did come in, and open his eyes to behold the rich mer­cies wrapt up in these promises, and his interest in them, they would fill him with comfort above expression. And therefore if ever you would make the Word of God, Gods instrument to conveigh support and comfort to you in the time of soul-sinking afflictions, you must study the promises, and pray unto God that his Spirit may irradiate them, and shew you the fulness of them, and your interest in them.

Quest. How must wee improve the [Page 110] promises, so as to make them spiritual bladders, to keep us from being drowned in the deep waters of Affli­ction?

Ans. You must doe three things.

1 You must make a Catalogue of the Promises. Three things to bee done by those that would im­prove the promises.

2 You must seriously ponder and meditate on them.

3 You must apply them to your own souls, as belonging to you in particu­lar.

1 You must make a Catalogue of the Promises, you must gather them up, as they lye scattered in the Word, in­to a spiritual Nose-gay, and binde them together: You must doe as they that gather up ends of Gold and Silver, you must lose none. Every promise is as a ray of gold, as a Star in the firma­ment. And though there are starrs of divers magnitudes, differing from one another in glory, yet every star hath its beauty and benefit: So though some Promises are more glorious than [Page 111] others, (like the Sun, in comparison of the Moon) yet every promise hath its beauty, and lustre, and as star-light in a dark night is very comfortable; so in the dark night of affliction, every little promise will afford unspeakable comfort to a troubled soul.

To help you in making this Cata­logue, give mee leave to suggest three things.

1 Bee sure to make it in time of health. Woe bee to those that have their promises to gather, when they should make use of them! You that sleight the promises in prosperity, shall receive no comfort from them in adver­sity.

2 Forget not to treasure up all those promises which God hath made to his children, in the day of their ad­versity. As for example, God hath promised in all our afflictions to bee with us, Isa. 43. 2. When thou passest through the waters, I will bee with thee, and through the Rivers, they shall not over­flow [Page 112] thee, &c. hee will bee with you to protect and direct you, to support and comfort you. If three Saints bee put in­to the fiery Furnace, the Son of God will make the fourth, Dan. 3. 25.

2 God will be afflicted in all our affli­ctions, Isa. 63. 9. he suffers in all our suf­ferings, Act. 9. 4.

3 Hee will make our beds in our sicknesses, Psal. 41. 3. hee will conde­scend to the lowest office for our ease and refreshment.

4 Hee will know our souls in adver­sity, Psal. 31. 7. hee will know us to pitty us, and to succour, and to help us.

5 Hee will keep us from the evill of all afflictions, Job 5. 19. God hath not promised to keep his people from af­flictions, but to keep them from the hurt of them. Though they are not good in themselves, yet hee will turne them to our good, Heb. 12. 10. 1 Cor. 11. 32. Ier. 24. 5. The good Figs were carried into Captivity for their [Page 113] good. God hath promised that all things shall worke together for our good, Rom. 8. 28. not only all Ordinances, &c. but all Afflictions, &c.

6 God hath promised to lay no more upon us, than wee are able to bear, but ei­ther to give us less pain, or greater pa­tience, 1 Cor. 10. 13. And though in a little wrath hee hide his face from us for a moment, yet with everlasting kindness will he have mercy on us, &c. Isa. 54. 7, 8. These, and many such like Promises, will bee as so many spiritual Cordials to revive our fainting spirits, and as so many Pillars to uphold us under the greatest Affliction.

3 For the compleating of this Ca­talogue, Mr. Lee on the Promises▪ Mr. B [...]ll, Mr. Bulk­ley. you may make use of many excellent Books written for this pur­pose, wherein you shall have Promi­ses of all kindes, both spiritual and temporal, gathered together: Yet let mee advise you not to rest sa­tisfied with the Collections of o­thers; but when you read the Bible, [Page 114] and meet with a suitable promise, with which God is pleased to affect your hearts, take the pains to write it down, and one such promise of your own writing, will work more powerfully upon your souls, than many others of anothers gathering. So much for the first, viz. Make a Catalogue of the Pro­mises.

The End of the third Sermon.



THis and the follow­ing Sermon con­tains a large Dis­course about the Promises, which because it may bee thought by some to bee impertinent to the Text, and [Page 116] rather a Digression from it, than an explication of it; I crave leave to informe thee of two things.

1 That the Promises are the Principal grounds of Comfort to a Childe of God, in the day of his Adversity. They are his chiefe City of Refuge, when all Creature-comforts faile; when hee suffers Ship-wrack of all humane props, these are his Planks upon which hee swims safe to the shoar of Heaven. All Comfort that is not founded upon a Pro­mise, is Delusion, not true Consola­tion. And therefore a Discourse about them, cannot rationally bee interpreted Eccentrical to the Text.

[Page 117] 2 That there are diverse par­ticulars added to these Ser­mons, concerning the Na­ture, Necessity, Excellency, and Vsefulness of the Promises, which were not mentioned in the preaching of them. And if any of them shall appeare to bee Heterogenial to the Text, yet if they prove serviceable to heighten thy esteeme of the Promises, and to quicken thee to a more serious and frequent Meditation on them, and Application of them. I hope thou art not at all in­jured; And I may justly desire, that thou wouldest not bee of­fended.

It is reported of Saint Au­stin [Page 118] (in his life written by Pos­sidius) that by a digression (in one of his Sermons) from his Text, hee converted an Hereticke from his erroneous Opinions. If any passage in these two Sermons prove use­full to turne thee from thy sin­full Negligence, and to awaken thee to a more diligent study of the precious Promises, I shall account it a happy and blessed Digression; For herein especially consisteth the diffe­rence betweene a Religious Chri­stian, and a Moral Man▪ A Mor [...]l Man will abstaine from the outward acts of sinne; But hee knowes not what it is to live upon Promises; Hee ne­ver [Page 119] tasted any sweetnesse in a Promise. Hee lives upon Crea­tures, not upon Promises, and therefore when Creatures faile, his heart sinkes like a stone, and hee is at his Wits end, and Faiths end. But a Religious Christian lives upon Promises, and not upon Creatures, and therefore when Creatures faile, hee hath the Promises to live on; Hee labours to taste the sweetnesse that is in them. Hee lives upon Promises, when Providence seemes to run crosse to Promises. They are his fiery Chariot, to carry him up to Hea­ven. If then these ensuing Sermons, inflame thy affecti­ons with a greater love to the [Page 120] Promises, and a greater care to meditate on them, and to get an interest in them, thou hast cause to bless God, and to pray for

Thy unworthy Servant in Christ, ED. CALAMY.


PSAL. 119. 92.‘Unless thy Law had been my Delights, I should then have perished in mine Afflictions.’

HEE that would improve the Promises, so as to make them Spiritual Bladders, to keep him from being drowned in the deep waters of Affliction, must not only [Page 122] make a Catalogue of the Promises, but hee must also,

2 Fixedly, and seriously meditate on them;We must not only make a Catalogue of the Pro­mises, but meditate on them. first, hee must treasure up these Iewels in his heart, and then unlock them by meditation; first, hee must make his Nose-gay, and then smell of it. The Word of God (as I have said) is as a Garden full of excellent Promises, as so many choice flowers. And it is our duty to walk often in this Garden, to gather up all the flow­ers, that lye scattered in it, into se­veral Nose-gayes, to binde them toge­ther (if I may so speake) with the threed of Faith, and then every day to smell of them. The Promises are the Saints Legacies left them by Christ in his last Will and Testament. The Saints are called the Heires of the Promises, Heb. 6. 17. And if they would bee filled full of joy in the day of their distresse, they must bee frequent in reading these Legacies: The Promises are (as it were) the [Page 123] breasts of God, full of the Milk of grace and comfort. And it is our duty to bee sucking out (by meditation) the milke of grace and comfort con­tained in them. That which the Pro­phet saith of the Church of Christ, may as truly bee said of the Promises of Christ. Rejoyce, O yee people of God, and bee glad all yee that have an interest in the Promises; Rejoyce for joy, all yee that are mourners in Sion, Isa. 66. 10, 11. that yee may sacke and bee satisfied with the [...]easts of their consolations, that yee may milke out, and bee delighted with the abundance of joy and comfort con­tained in them. The Promises are the Saints Aqua-vitae (as one calls them) the Saints Cordials, the Saints Planke to swim to Heaven upon, the Saints Fiery Chariot, to carry them up to Heaven. And the great reason why they walke so uncomfortably, so dis­consolately, and so unbeleevingly, in the time of their tribulation, is because they do not smell of these [...], [Page 124] they do not chew these Cordials, they do not read over these spiritual Legacies, they doe not by serious meditation and consideration, sucke out the comfort comprehended in them. For as fire will not warme us unlesse wee tarry at it, and a Bee cannot sucke out the ho [...]y that is in a flower, unless shee abide upon it; no more can any Childe of God receive supportation, and consolation from the Promises in the houre of temptation, unless hee seriously and solemnly ponder and meditate on them.

There is a double difference between a presumptuous sinner, and a poor, humble, distressed Childe of God.

1 A presumptuous sinner studieth no­thing but the promising Word: The diffe­rence be­tween a presump­tuous sin­ner, and a true Childe of God in re­lation to the Pro­mises. Hee sleights the commanding, and the threatning Word. The Word com­mands him to keep holy the Sabbath day, not to love the world, not to lust, but hee turnes a deaf ear to it. The Word threatneth to wound the [Page 125] hairy scalp of every one that goeth on in his wickednesse, but because God is pa­tient and long-suffering, therefore hee regards it not. But as for the Promising word, hee snatcheth at it, hee doth not truly lay hold on it, but snatcheth at it, before it belongs to him, and Spider-like, sucks the poyson of sin out of it, and makes of it a Cradle to rock him­self asleep in sinful courses. Because God hath promised, That whensoever a Sinner turnes from his sins which hee hath committed, hee shall surely live, and not dye, therefore hee delayes, and pro­rogues his turning from sin.

But now a poor, distressed, humble Christian, fails on the contrary part; hee pores upon the commanding and threat­ning Word, but never ponders the promising Word. God (saith hee) commands mee to love him with all my heart and soule, to wash my heart from iniquity, to love my enemies, to cut off my right hand, and to plucke out my right eye, &c. But I cannot performe [Page 126] these commands, therefore surely shall never bee saved. God (saith hee) hath threatned to curse every one that continueth not in every thing that is writ­ten in his Law to do it, and therefore surely I am accursed.Three ob­servable things a­bout the Promises. But hee never studies, nor ponders the promising Word, for if hee did, hee would quickly know three things for his ever­lasting comfort.

1 That there is nothing required by God in his Word as our duty, but God hath either promised to bestow it upon us as his gift, or the Saints have prayed to God for it as his gift. God com­mands us to love him, but hee hath promised to circumcise our hearts to love him, &c. Deut. 30. 6. God com­mands us to fear him, Ezek. 18. 31. to turn our selves from our transgressions, and to make our selves a new heart, and a new spirit. Ezek. 36. 26. But hee hath promised to give us a new heart, Jer. 32. 40 and a new spirit, to put his fear in our hearts, Mic 7. 19. that wee shall never depart from him, Rom. 6. 14 and to turn us [Page 127] from our evill wayes. The Saints of God also have prayed unto God for this, as the fruit of his free mercy, Ier. 31. 18. Lam▪ 5. 21. There is nothing com­manded in the Covenant of works, but God hath promised in the Covenant of grace, in some measure to work it in us, for hee hath promised to work all our works in us, Isa. 26. 12. and to write his Law (not one Commandement of it only, but the whole Law) in our hearts, Jer. 31. 33. and to put it in our inward parts, Ezek. 36. 27. and to cause us to walk in his wayes.

2 That God under the Covenant of grace, will for Christs sake accept of less than hee requires in the Covenant of works. Hee requires perfection of de­grees, but hee will accept of perfection of parts, hee requires us to live with­out sin, but hee will accept of our sincere endeavours to doe it. If there bee a willing minde, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not ac­cording to that hee hath not, 2 Cor. 8. 12.

[Page 128] 3 That though hee cannot in his owne person perform all that God commands, yet Iesus Christ as his Surety, and in his stead, hath fulfilled the Law for him, and that God will accept of Christs perfect, as a cover for his imperfect righteousnesse. That Christ hath redeemed him from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for him. That the Threatnings of the Law are Serpents without a sting, and that Christ hath taken away the power and force of them.

Did a broken-hearted, and wounded sinner ponder and meditate on these things, they would fill him full of joy and comfort. Hee would flye from the Covenant of Works, to the Covenant of Grace; from his owne un­righteousnesse, unto the righteousnesse of Christ; and from the commanding and threatning word, unto the promising word; hee would say, Lord! Thou commandest mee to walke in thy Sta­tutes, and to keep thy Lawes; This I cannot do of my selfe, but thou hast [Page 129] promised to cause me to walke in thy ways, and to write thy Law in my heart. Domine da quod jubes, & jube quod vis Aust. Lord give me power to doe what thou com­mandest, and then command what thou wilt.

2 A presumptuous Sinner is alwayes studying the promising Word,The se­cond diffe­rence. to bolster up himself in sin, but hee ne­ver studies his sins and iniquities, to re­pent for them, and from them. Hee me­ditates on the Promises to harden his heart in sin, but not at all on his sins to humble himself for them, and to turne from them.

But now on the contrary, A poore distressed Christian pores upon his ini­quities and corruptions, but never mindes himself of the Promises, and this makes him live so dejectedly, and disconsolately. A wicked man studi­eth his Corruptions too little. A di­stressed Christian too much. If hee did study the Promises, as much as he doth his corruptions; hee would not walk so uncomfortably.

[Page 130] Wherefore if ever you would make the VVord of God a Conduit of comfort in the day of your distresse; you must not only meditate on the commanding and th [...]eating word, but on the pre­mising VVord. The Commandements and threatnings must drive you to the Promises; you must not only study your corruptions to humble you, but also the Promises to comfort you. I doe not say, you must not study your cor­ruptions, but you must joyn the study of the Promises together with them. If Abraham had minded only the deadnesse of Sarahs wombe, and of his own body, hee had never beleeved, &c. but hee was strong in Faith, and stag­gered not because hee considered not his owne body now dead, when hee was about an hundred years old, Rom 4. 19, 20, 21. nor the deadnesse of Sarahs wombe, but was fully perswaded, that what God had promised, hee was able to performe. If Sarah had considered only that shee was past age, shee would never have beleeved [Page 131] that shee should have a Childe, but she eyed the Promise, and judged him faithful, Heb. 11. 11 who had promised, and that made her beleeve. If a Saint of God looks only downwards upon the dead­nesse of his heart, and meditates on­ly upon his sins and infirmities; hee will never bee comforted in the day of his distresse. But hee must also look upwards unto the Promises, seri­ously ponder, and fixedly study them, which will bee as strong Pillars to sup­port him, and keep him from fal­ling into despair; in the hour of tribu­lation.

Q. What are the Meditations which we must have in reference and relation to the Promises in the day of our distress?

Ans. I will rank them into nine parti­culars.

1 You must meditate upon the three great truths already mentioned,The first meditati­on about the Pro­mises.

1 That God commands nothing as our duty, which he hath not promised, as his gift.

[Page 132] 2 That God in the Covenant of grace, will accept of less than hee re­quires in the Covenant of works.

3 That if wee truly beleeve in Christ, God will accept of his righte­ousnesse, as a satisfaction for our un­righteousnesse.

2 You must meditate upon the ex­cellency and preciousnesse of the Promi­ses, The se­cond Me­ditation, meditate on the pre­ciousnesse of the Pro­mises. they are called [...], exceeding great and precious Promises; They are precious in five respects.

1 Because they cost a great price, 2 Pet. 1. 4 The Pro­mises are precious in five re­spects. 2 Cor. 1. [...]0. (even the bloud of Christ) to purchase them. They are all made to us in Christ, and for Christ; they are in him yea, and in him Amen. The Covenant (which is the Pandecta and Cabinet of all the Promises) was sealed with his Bloud.

2 Because they assure us of great and precious things; they assure us of our interest in God, of our justification, reconciliation, adoption, sanctification, [Page 133] and glorification. Heaven it self is no­thing else but the injoyment of the Pro­mises, Heb. 6. 12. The Promises are Heaven folded up; Heaven is the Pro­mise unfolded. For the Promises are nothing else but the eternal purposes of God towards his Children made mani­fest. The purposes of God are his con­cealed Promises; and the Promises are his revealed purposes. The Promises are the kisses of Iesus Christ, they dis­cover his dear love, and when hee dis­covers to us our interest in them, then hee kisses us with the kisses of his mouth, and fills us with joy unspeakable and glorious. They are made by God, and they make over God to us, as our portion, and Christ as our Saviour, and the Spirit as our Sanctifier, and all good things, both here and hereafter as our inheritance, and therefore may well bee called exceeding great and precious Promises.

3 Because they put a price upon the New Testament; for wherein doth [Page 134] the New Testament exceed the Old, un­less it be in this, because it is founded upon better Promises? Heb. 8. 6. and bringeth in a better hope, Hebrews 7. 19.

4 Because they put a price upon all the blessings of God. A little mercy reached out to us, as a fruit of a Pro­mise, is more worth than a world of blessings comming to us meerly by way of providence. A man may receive blessings from God upon a double ac­count, either ex largitate, or ex promis­so, either by way of providence, or by way of Promise. 1 By way of Provi­dence, Thus God gives the earth to the sons of men, Psal. 115. 16. Thus hee gave one hundred twenty and seven Provinces to Ahashuerus. Thus he sets up the basest of men to rule over Nations, Dan. 4. 17.

2 By way of Promise. Thus hee gives health, wealth, and all outward comforts unto his children. For god­linesse hath the Promise of this life, and [Page 135] that which is to come, 1 Tim. 4. 8. Now you must know that a little blessing coming to us, as a fruit of the Pro­mise, is more worth than a thousand blessings comming to us, only by way of Providence. And therefore David saith, A little that the righteous man hath, is better than the riches of many wicked, Psalm 37. 16. And the reason is,

1 Because blessings given by ver­tue of a Promise, are signes of Gods spe­cial love, and come flowing to us from the same love with which God gives us Christ, they are the fruit of Covenant-love.

2 Because wee have them as bles­sings. A man may have a blessing, and yet not have it as a blessing. The Israelites had Quails sent them imme­diately from God, which was a bles­sing in it self, but was not sent to them as a blessing.Psal. [...]8, 30, 31 For while the meat was in their mouthes, the wrath of God came upon them. The wicked have blessings, [Page 136] but not as blessings, but as the Cup in Benjamins Sack, which proved a snare to him, rather than a mercy. But the godly have blessings as blessings: They have grace with them to improve them for Gods glory; they have not only the blessings, but a thankful heart for them, and a fruitful heart under them, which is a certaine signe that they have them as blessings.

3 Because they are pledges to them of better mercies, and beginnings of bet­ter. They are not merces, but arrha, not their wages, but an earnest of Hea­ven. Now a farthing given as an ear­nest of a thousand a year, is more worth than many pounds given as a reward. A wicked man hath outward blessings as his portion, his Heaven, his All; but a godly man that hath them by vertue of a Promise, hath them as a pledge of Heaven, and as a beginning of eternal mercies.

5 The Promises are precious, be­cause they produc [...] great and precious [Page 137] effects. They are not only excellent in themselves, but are also very powerful and operative upon all beleevers. The Promises (as one saith) sealed by the Bloud of Christ, ratified by the Oath of God, testified by the Spirit of truth, de­livered by the hand of mercy, and recei­ved by the hand of Faith, are operative words, and produce rare effects in the soul. They have

  • 1 A Sanctifying
  • 2 A Comforting

1 A soul-sanctifying Power. There­fore they are said to make us partakers of the Divine Nature, 2 Pet. 1. 4. I say, of the Divine Nature; not by the com­munication of the Divine Essence, but by participation of Divine Graces. Not in a Familistical sense (as if wee were Godded into God, and Christed in­to Christ) but in a spiritual sense; wee are by the Promises made partakers of the Divine Nature, that is, of the Divine Graces, by which wee are made like to God in holinesse. The Apostle [Page 138] tells us, that they have a power to cleanse us from all filthinesse, both of flesh and spirit, and to inable us to perfect holi­ness in his fear, 2 Cor. 7. 1.

2 A Comforting Power. They are able to comfort us in the worst of dayes, and dangers. O how precious is a Promise to a distressed Christian, in the hour of extreamity! The Sun is not more comfortable to a man in a dark dungeon, or food to a man ready to starve, or water to a man ready to dye for thirst. The Promises of God are al­wayes precious, but never more precious than in times of misery and calamity; and therefore let us in such times espe­cially meditate upon the preciousness of them.

3. You must meditate upon the free­nesse of the Promises.The third Meditati­on, medi­ [...]ate on the freeness of the Pro­mises. The Promises are the outward discoveries of Gods eternal love to his people. Now no­thing moved God to enter into Co­venant with them, and to ingage him­self to them by Promise; and there­by [Page 139] to become their debtor, but his free love and mercy; and therefore they are said to bee given us of God, 2 Pet. 1. 4. whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious Promises. God promiseth in his Word, not on­ly to love us, but to love us freely, Hos. 14. 4. I will heal their back-sliding, and love them freely. The reason why God makes us his people, is not from any worth in us, but only because it pleaseth him so to do, 1 Sam. 12. 22. The Lord will not forsake his people for his great names sake, because it pleased the Lord to make you his people. The Lord Jesus Christ, who is the great and fundamental Promise, the root of the other Promises, is freely, tendred in the Gospel, and freely given, Ioh. 3. 16. God so loved the World, that hee gave his only begotten Son, &c, The four [...] Meditati­on. Medi­tate on the stability of the Promi­ses. Revel. 22. 17. Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

4 You must meditate on the firm­nesse, faithfulnesse, unchangeableness▪ [Page 140] and immutability of the Promises: they are the Promises of that God, who cannot deny himself. Promissae haec tua sunt Domine (saith Austin) & quis falli timet, cum promittit ipsa veritas; Heaven and earth shall passe away, but one jot or tittle of the VVord shall not passe. Mat. 5. 18 There is no Promise which God hath made, though never so improbable, and im­possible to flesh and bloud, but it shall come to passe in due time, whatsoever hee hath promised in his goodnesse, hee will perform by his power. God is not a man that hee should lye, neither the Son of man, that hee should repent: Hath hee said, and shall hee not doe it? or hath hee spoken, and shall hee not make it good? Numb. 23. 19. God hath promised that the same Bodies that dye, shall rise againe at the last day. This is in­credible to Natural reason. The Sto­icks and Epicures derided it, when it was preached by Paul, Acts 17. 32. But hath God said it, and shall he not doe it? Is the Lords hand shortned? [Page 141] Therefore Christ tells the Sadduces, Matth. 22. 27. You erre, not knowing the Scriptures, and the power of God. God is omnipotent, and therefore able to doe above what wee can ask or think: God hath promised at the Resurrecti­on, to make our vile bodies like unto the glorious Body of Christ. This is im­possible to Natural reason; but mark what the Apostle saith, Phil. 3. 21. Who shall change our vile bodies, and fashion them like unto his glorious Bo­dy, according to the working whereby hee is able even to subdue all things un­to himself. God hath promised, that be­fore the end of the World, there shall be a National conversion of the Iewes, that the Kingdomes of the world shall be­come the Kingdomes of our Lord and Sa­viour. Rom. 11 25, 26. And that Babylon shall fall. These are the Promises of God, who cannot lye;Rev. 11. 15 Faithful is hee, Rev. 18. 2 who hath said it, who also will doe it, 1 Thes. 5. 24. though the things promised seeme impossible to men,Mat. 19. 26 yet with God all things are [Page 142] possible: Therefore the Apostle proves the future conversion of the Jewes by an Argument drawn from the power of God, Rom. 11. 23. God is able to graft them in again. The like is brought to prove the ruine of Antichrist, Rev. 18. 8. Her plagues shall come in one day, death, and mourn­ing, and famine, and shee shall bee utter­ly burnt with fire, for strong is the Lord God, who judgeth her. The Promises are a firme Foundation to build our Sal­vation upon: An Anchor, both sure and stedfast. When David was taken by the Philistins, hee was so support­ed by the Promise of God, that hee did not fear what man could doe a­gainst him; therefore hee repeats it three times, Psal. 56. 3. 10. In God I will praise his VVord, in God I will praise his VVord, in God I will praise his Word▪ (that is, his Word of Promise) I will not fear what flesh can doe unto mee: the Scripture builds all the hope and comfort of a Christian upon the faith­fulness [Page 143] of God, 1 Corinth. 1. 9. God is faithful, by whom, &c. 1 Thes. 5. 23, 24. 1 Corinth. 10. 13. God is faithful, who will not suffer you to bee tempted a­bove that you are able, &c. 2 Thes. 3. 3. The Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, &c. Heb. 10. 23. for hee is faith­ful that promised. Memorable is that saying of David, Psalm 138. 2. For thou hast magnified thy VVord above all thy name: Which words are to bee understood (as David Kimhi, and our English Annotations say) Hysteron proteron, that is, thou hast by thy Word, (that is, by performing thy Word and Promises) Magnified thy name above all things, or as Ainsworth; Thy word of Promise in Christ, and thy faithful­ness in performing of it, doth more exalt thy Name, than any thing by which thou art made known. O then let all the Saints of God, who are heirs of the Promises, meditate frequently upon the preciousness, freeness, firmness, unchangeableness, and immutability of them.

[Page 144] 5 You must meditate upon the ful­nesse and richness of the Promises.The fifth meditati­on, medi­tate on the richness of the Pro­mises. The Promises are the Saints Magazine and spiritual Treasure; they are called the unsearchable riches of Christ, Ephes. 3. 6, 7. It is one of the greatest titles belonging to a Saint,Heb. 6: 17. to bee stiled an Heir of the Promises. That man who hath a right to all the Promises in the Bible,Qui habet habentem omnis, haber om­nia. is the richest man in the world. For God is his (and hee that hath him that hath all things, hath all things) Christ is his (and Christ is all in all) the Spirit is his (and hee who hath the Spirit, hath all good things, as appears by comparing Mat. 7. 11. with Luke 11. 13. In the first it is said—How much more shall your Fa­ther in Heaven, give good things, &c. In the second, How much more shall your Heavenly Father give the holy Spi­rit, &c.) Grace, and Glory, and all outward good things are his. It is said of the Great Duke of Guise, that (though hee was poore, as to his pre­sent [Page 145] possessions) yet hee was the richest man in France, in Bills, Bonds, and Obligations, because hee had inga­ged all the Noble-men in France unto himselfe, by preferring of them. A true and real Christian is the richest man in the World in Promises and Obligations, for hee hath the Great God ingaged by promise to bee his God, and the God of his. As Charles the first, commanded his Herald in a chal­lenge to Francis the first, King of France, to proclaim him with all his titles, stiling him Emperour of Germa­ny, King of Castile, Arragon, Naples, Sicily, &c. But Francis commanded his Herald to call him so often King of France, as the other had titles by all his Countries; implying, that France alone was more worth than all his Countries. So when a wicked man brags of his Lordships, and great pos­sessions, when hee boasteth of his thou­sands a year, a childe of God may say, God is mine, God is mine, &c. I am [Page 146] richer than all the wicked men in the world.

6 You must meditate on the latitude and extension of the Promises.The sixth Meditati­on, medi­tate on the lati­tude and extension of the Promises. The Promises are the Saints Catholicon, and Panacea. There is no condition a Childe of God can bee in, but hee may finde, not onely a Promise, but a suitable and seasonable Promise to comfort him in it. And herein espe­cially consisteth the spiritual Excel­lency, and heavenly Wisdome of a Chri­stian, not onely to study the Promises in general, but to labour to finde out, and having found out, to meditate up­on such kinde of Promises, which are most suitable, and most seasonable to the condition hee is in. As for ex­ample.

If thou art poor in estate, meditate on Psalm 34. 10. Matth. 6. 33. Heb. 13. 5.

If barren, and without children, meditate on Isa. 56. 5.

If persecuted for Christs sake, me­ditate [Page 147] on Matth. 5. 10. 1 Pet. 4. 12, 13, 14. Psal. [...]4. 12.

If sick, and under tormenting pains, meditate on Psal. 50. 15. Isa. 63. 9. Rom. 8. 28.

If reproached, slandered, and falsely accused, meditate on Mat. 10. 25. Mat. 5. 11, 12. Luke 6. 22, 23.

If Satan tempts thee, and thou art not able to resist him, meditate on Rom. 16. 20. 1 Cor. 10. 13. Gen. 3. 15. 1 Ioh. 3. 8.

If thy corruptions bee too strong for thee, meditate on Rom. 6. 14. Micah 7. 19.

If God hides his face from thee, and thou sittest in darkness, and seest no light, meditate on Isa. 50. 10. Isa. 54. 7, 8.

If ready to faint in waiting upon God, and in expecting the fulfilling of his Promises, meditate on Isa. 30. 18. Isa. 63. 3. Isa. 40. 28, 29, 30. Mal. 3. 1.

If ready to dye, and full of fears [Page 148] and doubts, meditate on 1 Cor. 15. 55, 56 57. Hos. 13. 14. Rev. 14. 13. 1 Cor. 3. 22, 23. 2 Cor. 5. 1, 8.

7 You must meditate on the variety of the Promises,The seventh Meditati­on, Medi­tate on the [...]ariety of [...]he Pro­ [...]ises. and their difference and distinction one from the other. The Promises are like unto the stars in the firmament.

1 For their multitude, they are very many. The Scripture is bespangled with Promises, as the Heavens are with stars. It were happy if the Saints would prove spiritual Astronomers, and make it their work to study the nature of these stars.

2 For their beauty, excellency, and influence. Every star is beautifull in its kinde, and very usefull and advan­tagious, so are the Promises. And as the stars are most comfortable in the darkness of the night, so are the Pro­mises in the night of trouble and ad­versity.

3 And especially for their distincti­on and difference▪ For one star dif­fereth [Page 149] from another in glory, 1 Cor. 15. 41. There is one glory of the Sun, another of the Moon, another of the Stars; So do the Promises differ exceedingly one from the other in beauty and ex­cellency. Some are temporal, some spi­ritual, some of things that are eternal. Some are conditional, some absolute; some are Promises to those that have grace; some are Promises of grace; some are general, others particular. Some are Original, Fundamental, and Fountain-Promises (as the promise of Jesus Christ, of God being our God, and of the Holy Ghost.) Others are derivative, depending, and rivolet-pro­mises, (as the promises of all outward comforts here, and of eternal life here­after.) Now it is our duty to take no­tice of every ray of gold, to meditate upon all the Promises, both spiritual, temporal, and eternal, both conditional, and absolute, both of grace, and to grace, both general, and particular; but especially of the Original and Fun­damental [Page 150] Promises, the Fountain Pro­mises, from whence all others as so many streams and rivolets, are deduced and derived.

8 You must meditate on the useful­fulness, [...]he eight Meditati­ [...]n, medi­ [...]te on the [...]sefulness [...]f the [...]romises. and profitableness of the Pro­mises. I have already shewed you, that they are the Conduits of grace, and comfort, that they have a soul-sanctify­ing, and a soul-comforting-power. Give mee leave to adde, That the Promises are,

  • 1 The breathings of Divine love and affection.
  • 2 The life and soul of Faith.
  • 3 The Anchor of Hope.
  • 4 The VVings of Prayer.
  • 5 The Foundation of Industry.
  • 6 The Rayes and Beams of the Son of Righteousness, and upon all these accounts are very usefull and advanta­gious.
    [...]he Pro­ [...]ses are [...] [...]eathings D [...]vine [...].

1 They are the breathings of Divine love and affection. It is an Argument of Gods wonderful love to his chil­dren, [Page 151] that hee is pleased to enter into a Promise and Covenant to bee their God, and to give them Christ, and in Christ all blessings here, and hereaf­ter. Wee read Gen. 17. 2, 3. when God told Abraham that hee would make a Covenant with him, hee fell on his face as astonished at so great a mer­cy, and as thankfully acknowledging the goodness of God towards him. The like wee read of David. When God by Nathan made a promise to him,2 Sam 7. 11, 18, 19. hee goes into Gods house, and prayes, Who am I, O Lord, and what is my house, that the Lord my God should do this! &c. The Promises are the Cabinets of the tender bowels of God, they contain the dear and tender love of God towards his elect children, God by promising makes himself a debtor to them. Now that God who is bound to none (no not to the Angels of Heaven) should enter into bonds, and binde himselfe to give grace and glory to his elect children, this is love above expression. [Page 152] And there is nothing moved God to do this (but as I have said) his free grace and mercy. For though God bee now bound out of justice and faithfulness to fulfill his Promises, yet nothing moved him to make these promises, but his love and mercy, as David saith of what God had promised to him, 2 Sam. 7. 21. According to thine own heart (ex mero motu volunta­tis) and according to thy Word, not for any thing in mee, For what am I, O Lord! &c. Thus you see how the Promises are the breathings of Divine love and affection, and upon this ac­count are very usefull and profitable. For love is loves loadstone; therefore the Apostle saith,Magnes amo [...]is amor. 1 Ioh. 4, 19. Wee love him, be­cause hee loved us first. The sense of Gods love to us, will kindle a love in us to God. Even as the beams of the Sun reflecting upon a VVall, heats those that walk by the Wall. So the Beams of Gods love shining into our souls, warms our hearts with the love [Page 153] of God. The lov [...] of God constrains us, as saith Paul, 2 Cor. 5. 14. There is a compulsive and constraining power in love. What did not Iacob do for the love of Rachel? How was Mephibo­sheth affected with the love of David? 2 Sam. 9. 8. It is our duty to love those that hate us, but not to love those that love us, is more than heathenish and brutish▪

2 They are the life and soule of Faith. The Pro­mises are the life and soul of Faith. Faith without a Promise to act upon, is as a body without a soul, as a dead flower which hath no beauty or sweetness in it; But Faith grounded upon the Promises, will inable a Chri­stian to advance in all manner of holi­ness. What made Abraham forsake his Country, and his Fathers house, and go hee knew not whither? Nothing moved him to this, but because God had promised to make him a great Nation, and hee beleeved it. Of all graces, none so causal of holiness as the grace of Faith: It is a world over­coming, [Page 154] heart-purifying, life-sanctifying, wonder-working grace; and therefore the Promises must needs bee very use­full, because they are the life and soul of Faith.

3 They are the Anchor of Hope. The Pro­ises are the an­chor of Hope. Hope is called an Anchor of the soule, both sure, and stedfast. But the Promi­ses are the Anchor of Hope.Heb. 6 9. All Hope of Heaven, which is not found­ed upon a Promise, is presumption, and not Hope. Presumption is when a man hopes to go to Heaven, upon no ground, or upon an insufficient ground. But true Hope is a Hope grounded upon a Scripture-Promise: And Hope bot­tomed upon Divine Promises, will mightily availe unto purity and holi­ness. Abraham, Isaac, and Iacob li­ved as pilgrims and strangers upon earth, because they looked and hoped for a City which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Heb. 11. 9, 10. The Old Testament Saints would not accept de­liverance upon sinfull termes, Heb. 11. because [Page 155] they hoped for a better Resurrection. The Papists and Arminians are much mista­ken in teaching, That the assurance of salvation is an enemy to godliness. The Scripture saith the quite contrary, 1 Ioh. 3. 3. Hee that hath this Hope puri­fieth himselfe, even as hee is pure. The true Hope of Heaven, will make us live heavenly.

4 They are the Wings of Prayer: Prayer is a Divine Cordial to convey grace from Heaven into our soules.The Pro­mises are the wings of Prayer. It is a Key to unlock the bowels of mer­cy, which are in God. The best way to obtain holiness, is upon our knees; the best posture to fight against the Devil, is upon our knees; and therefore Prayer is not put as a part of our spiri­tual Armour, but added as that which must bee an ingredient in every part,Eph. 6. 18 and which will make every part effe­ctual. But now the Promises are the Wings of Prayer. Prayer without a Promise, is as a Bird without VVings: Gen. 32. 12. And therefore wee read both of Ia­cob [Page 156] and Iehoshaphat, 2 Chron. 20. 8, 9. how they urged God in their prayers with his Promi­ses. And certainly the Prayers of the Saints winged with divine promises, will quickly flye up to Heaven, and draw down grace and comfort into the [...] souls. And upon this account it is that the Promises are so useful to a Christian, because they are so help­full in prayer. When wee pray, we [...] must urge God with his Promises, and say, Lord, Hast thou not said, Th [...] wilt circumcise our hearts to love the [...] thou wilt subdue our sinnes, thou wil [...] give the Spirit to those that aske it? Lord! Thou art faithfull, fulfill thes [...] thine own promises: And wee must remember this great Truth, That the Promises God makes to us, to mortifie [...] our sins for us, are greater helps against sin, than our promises to God to mortifie sin. Many men in the day of their di­stress vow and promise to leave sin, and fight against it in the strength of these promises, and in stead of conquering [Page 157] sin, are conquered by sin. But if wee fight against sin in the strength of Christ, and of his promises; if wee urge God in prayer with his owne Word, wee shall at last get victory over it. For hee hath said, That sin shall not have dominion over us, Rom. 6. 14.

5 They are the foundation of Indu­ [...]try. The Pro­mises are the foun­dation of industry. The promises do not make men [...]azy and idle, as some scandalously say, [...] they are the ground of all true la­ [...]our and industry, therefore the Apostles perswade us from the consideration of the Promises,2 Cor 7. 1 unto the study of soul-purification,Heb. 13. 5. to have our conversation without covetousness;1 Cor. 10. 13, 4. to flee from Ido­latry, 2 Cor. 6. 17, 18. and to separate our selves from sin­full communion. Divine promises are [...]reat incouragements unto spiritual di­ [...]gence.

Object. Though conditional Promi­ [...]es bee the foundation of industry (be­ [...]ause wee cannot have the thing promi­ [...]es, unless wee perform the conditi­ons) [Page 158] yet absolute Promises (say some) are foundations of lasiness, and therefore they a firm there are no absolute Promi­ses in Scripture.

Answ. Absolute Promises are made foundations of industry in Scripture, as well as Conditional: The Apostle exhorts us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling,Phil 2. 12, 13. because it is God [...] worketh in us both to will and to do, of hi [...] owne good pleasure. And the reason is, because God performeth nothing which hee promiseth, though never so abso­lutely, but in the diligent and conscien­tious use of the means on our part. God promiseth Ezek. 36. 26. to give us a new heart, and a new spirit, &c. but the [...] hee adds, vers. 37. I will yet [...] this, bee inquired of by the house of Is­rael.

6 They are the rayes and beams (as one saith) of Christ the Son of Righ­teousness, The Pro­mises are the raies and beams of the Son of righte­ousness. in whom they are found­ed and established. As all the li [...]es in a Circumference, though never [Page 159] so distant,Dr. Rey­nolds on the sinful­ness of sin carry a man to one and the same Center. So all the Promises carry us to Christ the Center. For the Promises are not made for any thing in us, nor have they any stability from us, but they are made in, and for Christ unto us, unto Christ in our behalf, and unto us, so far as we are Members of Christ. Now Jesus Christ is the ground of all soul-purification, soul-consolation, and soul-salvation; And therefore I may safely conclude, that the promises are most singularly usefull and advantagi­ous. And that it is the duty of all those that desire to live holily and comfortably, to consider and ponder the profitableness and beneficialness of the Promises.

9 And lastly,The ninth Meditati­on, me­ditate on the ne­cessity of getting an interest in the Pro­mises. you must meditate on the great necessity that lyeth upon all men to get a Scripture-interest in the Promises. This I adde to awaken Christians to attend diligently to this Discourse about the Promises, and to shew them the necessity of minding and [Page 160] of studying them. For hee that hath no right to them is in a faithless, hope­less, comfortlesse, desperate, and dam­nable condition. All the happiness of a Christian both here and hereafter con­sisteth especially in his right and title to the promises. The Scripture tells us in express words, that hee that is a stranger from the Promise, Eph. 2. 12 is without Christ, without God, without hope. Sad is the condition of that man, who hath no interest in God, nor in Christ, and who is without hope. And such is the condition of him who is a stranger to the Promises; for all hope of Heaven, which is not bottomed upon a promise, is presumption, and soul-delusion. All comfort and joy which is not grounded upon a promise, is soul-cousenage; and all Faith not anchored upon a Promise, is nothing else but flattery▪ and soul-mockery. Consider this you that are full of joy and comfort, and (as you say) relye upon Christ for salvation; Tell mee, what promise have you to build [Page 161] this Faith, this hope, this comfort up­on? For there are thousands that flatter themselves into Hell by a false hope of Heaven; thousands which promise to themselves to goe to Heaven, but have no promise for it from God. Such were the five foolish Virgins; such was the Church of Laodicaea, such were they, Matth. 7. 24. Hos. 8. 2, 3. Micha 3. 10, 11. Remember this, and let it bee daily in your thoughts: you that have not true right to the Promises, your Faith is faction, your Hope is presumpti­on, and your joy is delusion. To bee a stranger from the Promise, is to be with­out God, without Christ, and without Hope. So much for the second particu­lar, viz. Meditate on the Promises.

The End of the fourth Sermon.

RULES FOR THE Right Application of the Promises SERMON V.

PSAL. 119. 92.‘Unlesse thy Law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine Af­flictions.’

NOw I come to the third and last particular. He that would make the Promises as spiritual bladders to keep him from drowning in [Page 164] the deep waters of affliction, must not only make a Catalogue of them, and meditate upon them, but hee must make Application of them to his own soul, as belonging to him in particu­lar. Hee must (as it is said of the god­ly Patriarchs, Hebrews 11. 13.) be per­swaded of them, [...] and imbrace them; hee must hugge and kisse them as his rich portion, and glorious inheritance. And this is the chief of all: For no man can receive any comfort from a Promise, who is not able to make out his interest in that Promise: As the life of a Sermon is in the Appli­cation of it unto our selves, so the life of a Promise is in the appropriation of it. Quid est Deus, si non est meus? What am I the better (saith Origen) that Christ took upon him the flesh of a Virgin, if he took not my flesh? What was the great Prince the better for the miraculous plenty in Samaria, when the Prophet told him that hee should see it with his eyes, but not eat of it? [Page 165] As the man, who when he was ready to be drowned, saw a Rain-bow (which was a signe that the World should never bee again drowned) said, Quid mihi proderit haec Iris, si ego peream; What am I the better for this Rain bow, if I perish? So may I say, what is a man the better for the rich Mine of treasure contained in the Promises, if hee hath no share in it.

There are three sorts of Professors of Religion.

1 Some lay claime to the Promises when they have no right to them; such are your presumptuous sinners, who take it for granted, that the Promises belong to them, who pre­sume themselves into Hell by a false hope in the Promises, who make a Feather-bed of the Promises, upon which they sleep securely in sin: As Thrasilaus (a m [...]d Athenian) laid claime to every Ship that came to Athens, though hee had right to none: So a presumptuous sinner laies [Page 166] claime to every Promise, though hee hath right to none; he inlargeth them beyond their bounds, and maketh the conditional Promises to bee absolute, and such as belong only to those that are in Christ, to belong to him, though he be not in Christ. He sucks the poi­son of sin, and security, out of the sweet flower of the Promises.

2 Some have an interest in the Pro­mises, and know their interest. These live in Heaven while they are upon earth, these rejoyce in tribulation, and are more than, Conquerours over the greatest afflictions. These are secure from perishing in the day of distresse. That man, who taking the Bible in­to h [...]s hand, can say upon right grounds, All the Promises in this Book are my portion, and I have a right and title to them, this man is happy above expression.

3 Some have an interest in the Pro­mises, but do [...] not know their interest, and therefore dare not (in the hour of [Page 167] trouble) apply them for their supporta­tion and consolation. Such are your broken-hearted, wounded, distressed, and deserted Christians. Such can receive no comfort from the Promises in the day of affliction. When they begin to apply them for their support, the Devil suggesteth to them, and their owne doubting hearts tell them, that they mis-apply them, and that they belong not to them. When a godly Minister (whose office is to speak a word in season to those that are weary, Isa. 50. 4.) indeavours by the Applica­tion of the Promises to comfort them, their souls refuse to bee comforted, they exclude themselves from having a right to Christ, and his Promises, though Christ would not have them excluded. They groundlesly fear that their names are written in the black Book of reprobation, and that all the Curses of the Law are their portion; hence it is that they live so uncomfor­tably, and disconsolately in the time [Page 168] of affliction. Now then for the help of such persons, who have a true title to the Promises, but know it not, who walke in darknesse, and see no light, who beleeve they are Hypocrites, when they are not, and that they are not in Christ, when they are (that I may be Gods instrument to inable such to make Application of the precious pro­mises unto their own souls in particu­lar, in the hour of trouble, for their e­verlasting supportation and consolation) I shall lay down these ensuing Rules, and Directions.

Rule 1.

1 Whosoever in a Gospel-sense doth obey the commanding word of God, The first Rule for the right Applicati­on of the Promises. hath a real interest in the Promising Word of God: Though thou canst not per­fectly obey the will of God, yet if thou dost truly desire, and industriously in­deavour to obey it in all things. If God hath written his Law in thy heart, and [Page 169] given thee a Gospel-frame, inclining thee to the obedience of all his Com­mandements sincerely, though not per­fectly; this is an infallible evidence, that thou hast a right and portion in all the Promises. This is that which God saith, Exod. 19. 5. If you will obey my voyce indeed, then yee shall bee a pecu­liar treasure, &c. If yee will obey my voyce indeed, not only in word, and in shew, but in deed, and in truth. Thus Ierem. 7. 5, 7. If yee thorowly amend your wayes, if yee thorowly execute judgement, &c. then will I cause you to dwell in this place, &c. If yee tho­rowly amend, &c. not only in some things, but in all things; not only out­wardly, but inwardly also. This Rule is expresly delivered by the Apostle, 1 Tim. 4. 8. Godlinesse hath the promise of the life that now is, and that which is to come. If thou beest a godly man in a Gospel-sense, that is, one who truly and sincerely indeavoureth to bee godly. If thou makest Gods Will, [Page 170] thy Rule to live by, and not thine own. Gods glory thy end, and not thy own carnal interest. Gods love thy Prin­ciple. If thy Rules, Aimes, and Prin­ciples bee godly, all the Promises of this Life, and of the Life to come, be­long to thee. It is worth observing: that all the Promises of Life and Sal­vation are conditional. Happiness is en­tailed upon Holiness, Glory upon Grace. You shall read in Scripture of the blessings of the Covenant, and of the bond of the Covenant, Ezek. 2 [...]. 37. of the blessings of the Promises, and of the condition of the Promises. If ever you would assure your selves of your interest in the blessings of the Covenant, you must try your selves by your sincere per­formance of the condition. Thus Christ is promised to none but such as be­leeve; pardon of sin, to none but such as repent; and Heaven, to none but such as persevere in well doing. Tell mee then, Canst thou say as in Gods presence, that thou hast respect to all [Page 171] Gods Commandements (though thou failest in all, yet thou hast respect to all) that thou obeyest God in deed, and in truth, and that thou sincerely labourest to bee godly? This is a certaine signe, that all the Promises are thy portion; but you that are un­godly, and doe not thorowly amend your wayes, you that sleight, underva­lue, and despise the commanding Word, you have no part, no portion in the pro­mising word.

But it may bee a distressed Chri­stian (though without just cause) will say that hee is afraid that hee doth not sincerely obey the commanding word, and therefore dares not apply to him­self the promising word, wherefore I adde

Rule 2.

2 The more thou art afraid, The se­cond Rule for the right Ap­plication of the Pro­mises. lest thou shouldest have no right to the Promises, the more right thou hast (in all probabi­lity) [Page 172] to them. This I speak only to the distressed Christian; not that I com­mend his fear: But this I say, This fear which thou art possessed withall▪ is a probable signe that thou hast an in­terest in the Promises. For a presump­tuous Sinner never doubts of his right to them, but takes it as a Maxime not to bee denied, that they belong to him. It is a comfortable saying of Mr. Greenhams, When thou hearest the Promises, and art in a cold sweat, and hast a fear and trembling seizing up­on thee; lest they should not belong to thee, doubt not, but that they doe belong to thee; For Christ hath said;Mat. 11. 28 Come unto mee all yee that are weary, and heavie laden, and I will give you rest. And the Pro­phet Isaiah calls upon those who are of a fearful heart,Isa. 35. 4 to bee strong, and fear not, and tells us for our comfort, that God will look with an eye of fa­vour upon him that is poor, Isa. 66. 2 and of a con­trite spirit, and trembleth at his word.

Rule 3.

3 The more sensible thou art of thine own unworthiness to lay hold upon the Promises,The third Rule for the right Applicati­on of the Promises. the more thou art fitted and qualified to lay hold upon them. For the promises are (as I have shewed) the fruit of Free-grace. Nothing moved God to enter into a Covenant with his people, and thereby to be­come their Debtor, but his free love. Free grace brought Christ down from Heaven,Sola mise­ricordia deducit Deumad homines, & sola mi­sericordia reducit homines ad Deum. and it is Free Grace must carry us up to Heaven. Christ himself is called, the gift of God, John 4. 10. Moses tells the Israelites, Deut. 7. 7, 8. The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor chuse you, because you were more in number than any people, &c. but because the Lord loved you, and because hee would keep the Oath which hee had sworn unto your Fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeem­ed you, &c. God doth not love us, [Page 174] because wee are worthy of his love, but because hee loves us, therefore hee makes us worthy. Wee must not bring worthinesse to Christ, but fetch worthinesse from Christ. And there­fore if thou beest sensible of thine owne nothingnesse, emptinesse, and unworthinesse; lay hold upon that excellent Promise, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdome of Heaven.Mat. 5. 3 Blessed are those who are sensible of their spiritual wants, for to them belongs the Kingdome of Hea­ven, as certainly as if they were already in it.

Rule 4.

4 Study thy interest in the main and fundamental Promise, The fourth Rule for the right Applicati­on of the Promises. 2 Cor. 1. 20 and that will help thee to make out thy interest in all the other; The main and fundamen­tal Promise, is the Promise of Christ. For all Promises, whither Spiritual o [...] Temporal, are made to us, in and [Page 175] thorough him. God hath promised, never to leave us, nor forsake us, and that all things shall work together for our good; that is, if wee be in Christ, God hath said, all things are ours, whe­ther Paul, or Apollos, whether life or death, 1 Cor. 3. 2 whether things present, or things to come; but it is with this Promise, if wee bee Christs: Whosoever takes any comfort from any Temporal pro­mise, and is not in Christ, doth but delude and cheat himself. This then is thy work; O Christian! study thy interest in Christ, make out that, and make out all. If no interest in Christ, no interest in the Promises; If an inte­rest in Christ, an interest in the Promi­ses; let this then be thy daily business to make it out to thy soul,Three things to be studied in order to the make­ing out of our inte­rest in Christ. that Christ is thine.

Quest. How shall I bee able to doe this?

Answ. For this purpose you must diligently study three things.

1 The Universality of the Promise of Christ.

[Page 176] 2 The Freenesse of it.

3 The condition upon which hee is tendred.

1 The Universality of the promise of Christ. First, the universali­ty of the Promise of Christ Christ Jesus with all his be­nefits is promised to every one who is willing to lay hold on him,Mark 16. 15, 16. as hee is tendred in the Gospel. The Apostles are commanded to go into all the world, and to preach the Gospel to every creature; hee that beleeveth, and is baptized, shall bee saved, &c. If thou hast a heart to beleeve, bee thy sins never so great, it is for the honour of Iesus Christ to pardon them. As the Sea covers great Rocks, as well as small, so the Mercy of God in Christ will pardon great sins, as well as little. Magnus de caelo venit me­dici [...]s; quia magnus in terra ja­cebat a [...] ­gro [...]us Aug. It will cost Christ as lit­tle to wash away the guilt of great sins, as of small. Christ is a great Phy­sitian. And David prayeth, Pardon my iniquity. for it is great, Psalm [...]5. 11. Though thy sins bee never so bloodily circumstantiated, though ne­ver so often reiterated, though thou [Page 177] beest never so loathsome, yet if thou canst beleeve; There is a Fountaine opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Ierusalem, for sin, and for uncleanness; and therefore let no man exclude himselfe from a right to Christ, who is willing to take Christ upon Christs termes. Hee that ex­cludes himself, offers the greatest in­jury imaginable.

First, Unto Iesus Christ, for hee makes him a lyar; Christ hath said, If any man come to nice, I will in no wise cast him out; Ioh. 6. 37. and hee saith, Christ will cast mee out, although I do come to him.

Secondly, Unto his own soule. For hee necessitates himselfe unto damnati­on; For Christ hath said expresly, Hee that beleeveth not shall bee damn­ed.

Object. But I am afraid that I am a Reprobate, and that God hath excluded mee from having any interest in Christ.

[Page 178] Ans. Who told thee so? It is one great sign thou art not, because the Devil would perswade thee that thou art. But howsoever, Secret things be­long to God, but those things which are revealed, to us, and our children. God hath kept the black Book of Reproba­tion secret. Hee openeth the whole Book of Election to some of his chil­dren, but hee keeps his black Book un­revealed. It is a sin for any man to think himself a Reprobate (unlesse hee can prove that hee hath sinned the sin against the Holy Ghost) for this thought would hinder him from the use of means for his salvation, and cause him to despair, which is a sin of the first magnitude; and therefore take heed of complementing thy self into Hell by a sinfull modesty, in refu­sing to beleeve in Christ: Take heed of dallying or delaying in the great work of laying hold upon Christ upon Christs termes. Remember, God ex­cludes none from Christ, but such as [Page 179] exclude themselves by unbeleef. And remember,Joh. 3. 36, Whosoever beleeveth not the Son, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.

2 You must study the Freeness of the Promise of Christ.Study the freeness of the Promise of Christ. Isa 55, 1. God promi­seth Jesus Christ freely, Ho every one that thirsteth, come yee to the waters, and hee that hath no money; Come yee, buy, and eat, yea, come by VVine and Milke without mony, and without price, &c. Christ is offered in the Gospel, sine pretio, sine merito, sine motivo, without price, without merit, and without any motive inducing on our parts. There­fore the Holy Ghost saith, VVhosoever will, Rev. 22. 17. let him take the water of life freely. Let not then thy undeservedness hin­der thee from laying hold upon Christ, as thy portion. Say not, I am not worthy that Christ should owne mee. Christ will owne thee, not because thou art worthy, but because hee delights in mercy, Micah 7. 18. Say not, I am not humbled enough, and therefore I [Page 180] dare not lay hold upon Christ. For humiliation is not required to make us precious to Christ, but to make Christ precious to us, and if thou beest so far humbled, as to bee willing to take Christ upon Christs termes, thou art humbled enough, unto Divine acceptation, though not unto Divine satisfaction. Every stung Israelite, who was inabled to look up to the brazen Serpent, was healed, though hee was not stung to that proportion that another Israelite was.

3 You must study [...]he condition up­on which Christ is promised. Study the condition upon which Christ is promised. It is certain Christ is not tendered absolutely without any condition. Christ is not offered to a proud sinner, resolving so to continue, or to a Drunkard, resolving to persevere in his drunkennesse. Those Texts which declare the Free­ness of the offer of Christ, doe also mention a condition to bee performed by those that will have him, Isa. 55. 1. Revelat. 22. 15. In both places the [Page 181] condition of thirsting is expressed. Let him that is a thirst come. Ho every one that thirsteth.

Quest. Doth not the mentioning of a condition take away the freeness of the tender of Christ?

Answ. By no means. The reason is, because this very condition is the free gift of God. The Apostle saith, Rom. 4. 16. Therefore it is of Faith, that it might bee by grace. The condi­tion of Faith doth not make the offer of Christ, not to bee of grace, but therefore it is of faith, that it might bee of grace, for as Christ, so also faith is the gift of God. Eph. 2. 8. Wee do not preach conditions unto justification in a Popish sense (as if they merited out of congruity the pardon of sin) or in an Arminian sense (as if wee could do any thing by our free-will (without grace) to dispose our selves unto justification) but in a Scripture sense, wee say, That all those on whom God intends to bestow Christ freely, hee freely openeth their [Page 182] eyes to see their undone condition out of Christ, hee humbles them under the sense of their sad condition, and out of his free mercy inables them by faith to lay hold upon Christ, and to ac­cept of him upon his own termes; Faith is not the cause for which, but the cause without which, God will not give us Christ.

Quest. But what is the condition upon which Christ is promised?

Answ. There is (if I may so speak) Conditio praeparans, & disponens, and conditio applicans, the condition re­quired to the preparing and disposing us for an interest in Christ, and the condition applying Christ to us, and bringing him into our possession.

1 The condition required to the disposing, preparing, and fitting us for an interest in Christ. And this is the sight of our sins, the sense of them, and a real willingness to part with them. There is no man qualified according to the Gospel, to rest upon Christ for [Page 183] pardon of his sins, who is not really willing to part with them. And no man will bee willing to part with his sins (which hee naturally loves as himselfe) unlesse hee see the sinful­ness and cursedness of them, and feels in some measure the smart of them. The woman who had the bloody issue, never thought of coming to Christ, till all her mony was spent in vaine a­mong other Physitians. T [...]e Prodigal childe would never have returned to his Father, had hee not seen himselfe utterly undone by wandring from him.

2 The condition applying Christ to us, and bringing him into our possession. This is Faith, which therefore is the proper condition of the Gospel, upon which Christ is tendred. Now this Faith is not a bare receiving, and taking of Christ. For there are many who take him, and mistake him. (There is no man but is willing when hee is dy­ing, to take Christ, as the men of the [Page 184] old world were willing to go into the Ark when the Flood came) but this taking and receiving of Christ (if it bee right) hath six Properties.

1 It is a receiving of Christ with all his appurtenances, Right re­ceivi [...]g of Christ hath six Pr [...]perties Christ and disgrace, and reproach, and poverty. Christ and his Cross: There are many would bee glad of Christ, but they will not take up his Cross. They would take Christ down from the Cross (as Ioseph of Ari­mathea did) and leave the Cross behinde them. But hee that takes Christ aright, will bee as willing to wear a Crown of thorns, for his sake, as a Crown of gold.

2 It is a receiving of Christ in all his Offices, as our King, Priest, and Pro­phet. A true Beleever is as willing to receive Christ into his soul, as hee is that Christ should receive him into hea­ven, hee is as willing to have Christ reigne over him, as hee is to reign with Christ in Heaven. Hee desires not only to bee saved, but to bee healed by Christ.

[Page 185] 3 It is a receiving of Christ into eve­ry room of the soul; for Christ will come into every room, or into never a room. A true beleever opens every door unto Christ, hee gives him the lock and key of the whole man, and desires that hee would come and reside in every room.

4 It is a receiving of Christ, and him only. For Christ must rule alone, or not at all. An Hypocrite would com­pound with Christ, and together with the false Mother, divide the childe, but a true beleever saith with the Prophet, O Lord our God▪ Other Lords besides thee have had dominion over us; Isa. 26. 13. but now by thee onely will wee make men­tion of thy Name. And with the true Mother hee will give the whole to God.

5 It is a receiving of Christ in health, as well as in sickness; in prosperity as well as in adversity; in youth, as well as in old age; in life, as well as in death. Most people make use of Christ, meerly as a shelter against a storme for [Page 186] their own ends (as the Athenians did of Themistocles) and when the storm is over, forsake him. Most people flye to Christ in their distress, as Ioab did to the horns of the Altar, and when they can serve the Devil no longer, then they begin to think of serving of God; but a true beleever will give his best dayes to God, as well as his worst, hee desires not onely to dye in Christ, but to live for Christ, hee receives Christ in health, &c.

6 It is a receiving of Christ, not only for an hour, or a day, or a year, but for ever. True Faith marries the soul to Christ, never to part. Once a mem­ber of Christ, for ever a member.

Now there is no childe of God of what size soever (though hee bee but as a toe in Christs body) who can­not truly say, that hee is willing to receive Iesus Christ with all these Pro­perties, to receive all Christ, with all his appurtenances, and to receive him only in every room, in health, and for [Page 187] ever. And therefore let not the De­vil, or thy mis-giving heart, or thy melancolick-phancy, keep thee off from beleeving that Christ Iesus is thy portion, and that thou hast an interest in the main and fundamental Promise, and by that, in all the other. Do to Christ, as the Shunamitish woman did to the Prophet,2 King. 4. 27. lay fast hold on him; and suffer not the Devil to cause thee to let go thy hold. Oh that there might bee this day a blessed and happy Marriage between Jesus Christ, and every di­stressed Christian.

Object. But suppose I am willing to [...]ake Christ upon Christs termes, can I [...] assured that Christ will receive [...]?

Ans. Yes doubtless.Ioh. 6. 37. For hee hath said, hee will; and hee is truth it self, [...] cannot lye.Isa. 55. 1. Indeed a poor wounded [...]nner will sometimes confess that hee is willing with all his heart to receive Christ upon his own termes;Rev. 22. 15. but hee [...]s afraid lest Christ should refuse to re­ceive [Page 188] him. But this is a needless fear: For Christ will in no wise refuse those that come to him. To as many as receive him, to all those hee will give power to be­come the Sons of God, Ioh. 1. 12. even to them that beleeve in his Name. Hee that beleeveth hath everlasting life, and shall never come into condemnation, Ioh. 5. 24. but is passed from death to life. So much for the fourth Rule.

If these Rules and Directions alrea­dy named, will not inable thee to ap­ply the Promises, so as to keep thee from perishing in the day of distress: Let mee adde,

Rule 5.

5 If thou canst not lay hold upon the Promises made to those, The fifth Rule for the right Applicati­on of the Promises. who are in the highest form in Christs School, lay hold upon the Promises made to those who are in the lower forms. In Christs School there are divers sorts of Scholars, some are in the high form, some in the middle, [Page 189] some in the lowest, some are Babes in Christs School, some are grown Chri­stians, some are as tall Cedars, some are as low shrubs. Now you must know that it is our duty to labour to bee of the highest form. Qui dixit sufficit, deficit. Non pro­gred [...], est regred [...]. Hee that saith hee hath grace enough, hath grace little enough. Hee that stints himselfe in his endea­vours after grace, never had true grace. Wee must labour to bee perfect, as God is perfect. But yet you must also [...]now, that hee that is a real Scholar in Christs School, is in an happy conditi­on, though hee bee not the best Scholar. And that it is our duty so to [...] the eminent graces, which are in others, as to bee thereby incited to a further progress in grace, but not so as to bee thereby disheartned and dis­ [...]uraged. There are many distressed Christians like to those who gaze so long upon the brightness of the Sun, that when they come into their houses, they cannot see at all, they pore so much upon the transcendent excellen­cies [Page 190] which are in their Brethren, that they are stark blinde in their own con­cernments, and cannot see any grace in themselves, and hereupon are apt to conclude, that they are out of Gods favour. But this is a non sequitur. The foot must not say, that it is no part of the body, because it is not so eminent a part as the head or heart. Wee must rather say with the Martyr, Blessed bee God that I am a member in Christs body, though but the weakest and lowest. Wee must not rest satisfied with being lo [...] Christians; but yet wee must not therefore say, Wee are no Christians. And when wee are under great tribu­lations and temptations, if wee cannot apply to our selves for our comfort those Promises which are made to [...]minent Saints of the highest form, let us apply those which are made unto true Saints, though to such who are the lowest of the lowest form; and here­by wee shall (through Gods blessing) finde our soules marveilously supported [Page 191] and comforted. As for example, Christ hath said,Mat. 5. 3. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdome of Heaven. And therefore though thou art not rich in grace, yet if poor in spirit, thou art blessed. Christ saith, Blessed are they that mourn, Mat. 5 4. for they shall bee comforted. Though thou canst not live without sin, yet if a mourner for thine own, and o­ther mens sins, thou art blessed.

Christ saith, Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after Righteousness, Mat. 5. 6. &c. Though thou findest an exceeding great want of righteousness in thee, yet if thou hungrest and thirsteth af­ter it, thou art blessed.

Christ saith,Mat. 11. 28. Come unto mee all yee that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. This Text is as an Alabaster box full of precious con­solation. If thy sinnes bee a burden to thee, Christ will give thee rest; if thou carriest them about thee, not as a golden chain about thy neck, but as an iron chain about thy feet; if thou [Page 192] beest heavy laden with them, Christ will take them off thy shoulders, and put them upon his.

Christ saith, That hee will not breake the bruised Reed,Mat. 12. 20. nor quench the smoaking flax, till hee send forth judgement un­to victory. If thou hast grace but as a smoaking flax, Christ will not quench it, but assist it, till it come to a great flame.

Christ saith, Mat. 9. 12, 13. That the whole have no need of the Physitian, but they that are sick. And that hee came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. If thou art a sin-sick sinner, thy name is in Christs Commission, hee came to save thee.

Christ saith,Mat. 18. 11. The Son of man is come to save that which was lost. If thou ap­prehendest thy self to bee in a lost con­dition, thou art amongst the number of those whom Christ came to save.

The Apostle saith,Rom. 8. 1. There is no con­demnation to those who are in Christ, [Page 193] who walke not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Though thou hast much flesh in thee, and art sometimes over­taken with sin, yet if thou dost not walk after the flesh, as a servant after his Master, if thou walkest after the Spirit, there is no condemnation to thee.

The Apostle saith,1 Ioh 1. 9. If wee confess our sins, God is faithful to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If wee confess our sins, out of a dete­station of sin, with bleeding hearts, and a sincere purpose of forsaking them, God is bound by vertue of his promise to forgive us, else hee were unfaithfull.

The Apostle saith,Phil. 1. 6. That hee that hath begun a good work in us, will perform it untill the day of Iesus Christ: And therefore if thou hast truth of grace, though but as a grain of Mustard seed, do not doubt, but that God in the di­ligent use of means, will inable thee to persevere.

[Page 194] I might adde, Nehemiah 1. 11. where God promiseth to bee attentive to the prayers of those who desire to fear his Name. And Isaiah 26. 11. Isa. 26. 3. Isa. 65. 1. Isa. 55. 1. Rev. 22. 15. Ioh. 6. 37. But I forbear.

Rule 6.

If thou canst not apply to thy selfe for thy comfort in affliction,The sixth Rule for the [...]ght Applicati­on of the Promises. the con­ditional Promises, lay hold upon the absolute Promises. I have formerly told you that there are some Promises con­ditional, others absolute, some to grace, others of grace, some to those that are godly, others, to make us godly: God hath not onely promised to pardon those that repent, but to give repen­tance; Act. 5 21. not onely to justifie those who beleeve, Phil. 1. 20. but to give us to beleeve; D [...]ut. [...]0. 6 not only to give Heaven to those that love him, Ier. 32. 40. but to give us grace to love him; not only to save those that persevere, but to inable us to persevere: And [Page 195] therefore if thou canst not lay hold up­on the Promises to those that are godly, apply those which are made to make us godly. If not those which are made to those who repent, beleeve and persevere, apply those wherein God promiseth to give us to repent, beleeve, and perse­vere. If not the conditional, lay hold upon the absolute.

There are these differences and a­greements, between conditional and ab­solute promises.

1 For Conditional promises.

1 All promises of life and salvation are conditional.

2 Conditional promises, are the fruit of Free-grace, as well as absolute. It is Free-grace which inableth us to per­forme the conditional, and Free-grace which moved God to pro­mise such great mercies upon such con­ditions.

3 They are the fruit of Rich-grace, and Rare-mercy, as well as absolute pro­mises.

[Page 196] 4 They are of great use to quicken a lazy Christian, and to incourage him to diligence; for no man can obtain the blessing promised, but hee that per­forms the condition injoyned.

5 They are rare Touchstones to try our interest in the Promises; For hee that neglects to perform the condition, cannot challenge an interest in the blessing promised upon the performing of it.

2 For Absolute Promises.

1 Though promises to grace bee conditional, yet promises of grace are absolute, and are made by God unto Christ in the behalf of his elect children, according to that of David▪ Ask of mee, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance,Psal. 2. 8. and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy pos­session.

2 There are no Promises so abso­lute, as to exclude all endeavours on our part. God will do the things pro­mised for us, but by us. Wee work, [Page 197] but it is God who worketh all our works in us; and for us.

3. Absolute Promises are founda­tions of industry, as well as conditional. The truth of this I made out in the former Sermon.

4 Absolute Promises are demon­strative arguments of special election, and of the perseverance of the Saints. There are some peculiar ones to whom God hath promised (in the use of means) absolutely to write his Law in their hearts, to cause them to walk in his wayes, to give them infallibly, and infrustrably repentance, faith, and per­severance. The promise of the first grace, and of the crowning grace is ab­solute. And therefore the Doctrine of Special Election, and of Perseverance must needs bee true.

5 Absolute Promises are mighty helps to wounded consciences, and rare Cordials for fainting and despairing Christians. When thou art in the dark, and seest no light, flye from [Page 198] the conditional Promises, to the absolute, say, Lord, thou hast not onely promi­sed to give pardon to those who repent, but thou hast exalted Christ for to give repentance. Thou hast not onely promised to justifie those who beleeve, but to give grace to beleeve. Lord fulfill thine own promise unto thy ser­vant, &c.

Object. All my fear is that these absolute Promises, do not belong to mee.

Answ. Take heed of making des­perate conclusions against thy selfe. Say as the King of Nineveh, Who knoweth but God may turn, and have mercy? Ex­clude not thy self; Neither man, nor Angel can say thou art excluded. No man ought to beleeve himself to bee a Reprobate (as I have shewed) these promises belong to all that can lay hold on them as they are tendred. As the brazen Serpent belonged to all those who were able to look upon it; so do these Promises to all that can by [Page 199] faith look up that they may bee heal­ed.2 King. 7. Say as the four Leapers in ano­ther case, If I go on in unbeleef, I am certainly damned. And therefore I will venture upon Christ; I will flye to this Ark, and if I perish, I will perish beleeving.

If these Directions will not suffice to comfort thee in the day of adver­sity, let mee adde,

Rule 7.

All Promises made in Scripture to the Saints in general, The se­venth Rule for the right applicati­on of the Promises. are applicable to every Saint in particular. God pro­miseth to Solomon, 1 King. 8. 37. 40. And Iehoshaphat applied this to his own particular condition, 2 Chron. 20. 9. God promiseth to the Saints in ge­neral, that hee will give them grace and glory, Psal. 48. 10 that hee will with-hold no good thing from them, Psal. 34. 10 that they shall want nothing that is good, Mat. 6. 33. and that all out­ward blessings shall bee added to them.

[Page 200] Now there is no Saint, but hee may as justly lay hold upon those Promises, as if his name were named in them. And the reason is, because all the Pro­mises do meet in Christ, as all lines in a Center. And every Saint hath all Christ. And therefore Promises made to those that are in Christ, belong to all that are in Christ.

Rule 8.

All Promises made to particular Saints are applicable to all Saints in the same condition. The eight Rule for the right Applicati­on of the Promises. God promiseth to Ioshua, that hee would never leave him, Iosh 5. nor forsake him. This is applied by the Apostle for the comfort of e­very Saint.Heb. 13. 5. Christ tells Peter, Luke 22. 32. I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not. This is applicable to every Saint: Christ prayeth for thee and mee, and therefore hee adds, When thou art converted, streng­then thy brethren. Therefore the [Page 201] Apostle Paul saith, That God com­forted him in his tribulation, 2 Cor. 1. 4. that hee might bee able to comfort those who are in trouble by the comfort wherewith hee was comforted. Iames 5. 10, 11. And the Apostle Iames propounds the example of the Prophets in general, and of Iob in par­ticular, to perswade unto patience in affliction. And therefore when thou art in any strait, consider what God hath promised unto others, in thy con­dition, and what God hath done to them, hee will do to thee, for hee is unchangeable. And say not, If I were a Paul, a Peter, or a Iob, God would do to mee, as hee did to them; but I am a poor, weak, unworthy crea­ture, not worthy to bee named that day in which these are named. But consider, If thou beest a member of Christs body (though but as the Toe) Christ will have a care of thee. If a childe of God (though but weak and sickly) thy heavenly Father will pro­vide for thee. A Father is tender of [Page 202] every childe, and a man of every member of his body; so will God bee of all those who belong to him, though but Babes in Christ.

Rule 9.

The Promises of the Gospel are all concatenated. The ninth Rule for the right applicati­on of the Promises. Iam. 2. 10. If thou hast a true right to any one Promise to which heaven is annexed, thou hast a right to all the other. As the Commande­ments of God are chained together (hee that breaks one, breaks all, and hee that sincerely labours to keep one, will labour to keep all,Q [...] quid proper [...] fit, [...] fit. according to that Rule. Whatsoever is done for God, is done equally.) And as the Graces of God are linked together; (and therefore heaven is sometimes promised to our grace, [...] 5, 3, 8 because he that hath one saving grace, hath all) so also are the Promises joyned together, hee that hath a right to one, hath a right to all: For they are all but one, [Page 203] and the same for substance. They are all the fruit of the same free love in God; They are all the branches of the same Covenant of grace. (And therefore if thou hast a right to the Covenant, thou hast a right to all the Promises) they all carry us to Christ, and meet in Christ, and are in him Yea, and in him Amen; And therefore if thou hast a right to Christ, thou hast a right to all.

This is a point of singular comfort in the worst of dayes and dangers. For sometimes a childe of God under great afflictions, can lay hold upon one promise, and not upon another, and some can apply those which others cannot, and others those which they cannot. Let all such know for their great comfort, That hee that hath right to one branch of the Covenant, hath right to all; Hee that hath let fall a chain of gold, consisting of divers links into the wa­ter, if hee can catch hold upon any one of the links, hee will easily get [Page 204] out the whole chain. The Promises are like to a golden chain with divers links, lay hold upon one aright, and this will assure thee of thy interest in all the rest.

I have known many (yea, very many) who have dyed with a great deal of comfort from the application of that one Text, 1 Ioh. 3. 14. unto their own condition. Wee know that wee have passed from death, unto life, because wee love the Brethren. When all other evidences failed them, and all other Texts of Scripture afforded them no comfort; here they anchored, here they found rest for their soules. They blessed God that they could say, that they loved the Brethren, and lo­ved them, not for any outward respects, but because of the Image of God in them, and they loved them when poor, as well as when rich; and the more they had of God, the more they loved them; and they loved them even when they were reproved by them of [Page 205] their faults. And upon this one plank they swam safely, and comfortably un­to the haven of eternal happiness.

Rule 10.

If thy condition bee so sad, and thy melancholy so excessive, The tenth Rule for the right Applicati­on of the Promises. that thou canst not lay hold upon any promise, yet not­withstanding look towards it. Say as Ionah, when hee was in the Whales belly, Jonah 2. 4. Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight, yet I will look again toward thy holy Temple. The Temple was a type of Christ. Though thou canst not apply Christ to thy soul for thy comfort, yet look towards him; and if thou canst not come to him, hee will come to thee; if thou canst not ap­prehend him, Phil. 3. 12. hee will apprehend thee: As the Loadstone will draw the Iron, though the Iron cannot draw the Loadstone, so will Christ (thy heavenly Loadstone) draw thee to the Promise, though thou canst not draw thy [Page 206] selfe to it. No man can come to mee (saith Christ) except the Father draw him: Ioh. 6. 44. Pray therefore with the Church, Cant. 1. 4. Draw mee, and wee will run after thee.

Rule 11.

Pray unto God to give thee Spiritual eyes, The ele­venth Rule for the right Applica­tion of the Promises. to behold thy interest in the Pro­mises: For as it is God who makes them, so it is he only who can irraditate them, and open thy eyes to see thy right in them. It is with Promises (as I have said) as with Chapters and Ser­mons. A man may read a Chapter, and hear a Sermon, and taste no sweetness in them at one time, and at another time taste much sweetness in them, as God is pleased to co-operate with the read­ing of the one, and hearing of the o­ther. So it is with the Promises, and therefore pray unto God to lighten thine eyes, Psal 13. 3. that thou sleep not the sleep of death. Rev 3. 18. Pray unto Christ to anoint [Page 207] thine eyes with his Spiritual eye-salve. And to cause thee to hope in his word of Promise, according to that excel­lent prayer of David, Remember the Word unto thy Servant, P [...] 49. upon which thou hast caused mee to hope. It is God must cause us to hope and trust in his Promi­ses, or else wee shall never bee able. God hath given thee eyes to see thy mi­sery; Rev. 3. [...]. O pray for eyes to see his mercy. The Church of Laodicea wanted eyes to see her misery. Shee was miserable, and naked, and knew it not. Thou hast eyes to see thy undone condition out of Christ. Pray for eyes to behold the riches of mercy that are in Christ, and his willingness to receive all that come to him.

Rule 12.

Pray unto God,The twelfth Rule for the right Applicati­on also of the Pro­mises. not onely to give thee Spiritual eyes to see thy interest in the Promises, but a Spiritual hand, to inable thee to apply them to thine own [Page 208] soul in particular. By this spiritual hand, I mean, A Christ-appropriating Faith. Justifying Faith is (as it were) the hand of the soul, by which wee ap­propriate Christ, and all the Promises, as belonging to us in particular. Now Faith is the gift of God. Pray for the Spirit of Faith. Eph. 2. 8. And for your incou­ragement, consider, that the Spirit is called,Act. 1. 4. The Promise of the Father, and that holy Spirit of Promise: Eph. 1. 13. And God hath promised to give the Spirit to those who ask for it.Luke 11. 23. If yee then being evill, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the holy Spi­rit to them that ask him? The office of the holy Spirit is first to seal grace, and then to seal to grace: First, the Spirit sanctifieth us, then it witnesseth to our spirits, Eph. 1. 13 that wee are sanctified. Pray therefore unto God that hee would not only work grace in you, but wit­ness unto the grace which hee hath wrought. Pray for the sanctifying and [Page 209] sealing work of the Spirit. That hee would not onely fit you to have an interest in the promises, but assure you of your interest in them.

Rule 13.

Study thy interest in the promises in the time of health, The 13. Rule for the right Applicati­on of the Promises. and outward prosperity; For I find by experience that a childe of God (under outward af­fliction, or divine desertion, or extream melancholy) is many times like a man in the dark. A man in the dark cannot (though never so learned) read in a book of the clearest print, or fairest character, hee cannot (though never so active) undertake any thing of weight. No more can a childe of God in the hour of distress, read his evidences for heaven, much less study to finde out evidences; hee looks up­on all the promises with a black pair of spectacles, and wants light to see his interest in them. When Sion was [Page 210] in distress,Isa, 49. 14. shee said, God had for­saken her, Psal. 116. 11 and her Lord had forgotten her. When David was persecuted by Saul, hee said in his haste, All men were liars, even Samuel himselfe, who had told him that God would bestow the Kingdome on him,Psal. 31. 22. Hee said in his haste hee was cut off from be­fore Gods eyes; Psa. 88. 13. 14 [...]. 5, 16, 17, 18. Thus did Heman. Christ himselfe cryed out, when hee was upon the Cross, with a loud voyce, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken mee? As men in Ag [...]es and Feavers, are not fit judges of meats and drinks, (whether they bee good or bad) because their pallats are out of taste. So a distressed Christian, (when under extream melancholy, di­vine desertion, or some great affliction) is no fit judge, at such a time of his interest in the Promises. And there­fore my advice is, Make out thy inte­rest in time of prosperity, and live upon it in time of adversity. Make, and read over thy Evidences for Heaven in [Page 211] time of health, and learn then by heart, that when thou comest into a dark con­dition, thou mayest neither have them to make, or to read. Do as Tamar did, Gen. 38. 18. 25. When Iudah her Father in law, lay with her, shee took as a pledge, his signet, bracelets, and staffe. And afterward when shee was in great distress, and ready to bee burnt as a Harlot, shee then brought her staffe, and signet, and bracelets, and said, By the man whose these are, am I with childe, and thereby shee sa­ved her life. So must you do. In time of health study thy interest in the promises, and in time of sickness live upon what thou hast studied, then bring forth thy staffe and bracelets, &c. then produce thy evidences, and make use of them as spiritual butteresses to keep thee from falling into despair.Mrs. Dig­gons dwel­ling with Mrs. Moor in Alder­manbury. I knew a very godly woman (not un­known to many here) who in her life time had taken a great deal of pains to compose, and write down her evi­dences [Page 212] for heaven, and who also kept a Diary of her life, and wrote down how shee spent every day; when shee lay upon her death-bed, it pleased God to with-draw himself from her for a while, and to let the Devil loose, who tempted her to despair, told her shee was an Hypocrite, a Formalist, and that shee had no true grace in her. Shee sent for mee, made her bitter complaint to mee, and sadly bewayled her condition. Then shee told mee (which before I knew not) how shee had spent her life, how carefull shee had been in searching her wayes, in observing how shee spent every day, and how exact in collecting Evidences for Heaven, the book was sent for, I read a great part of it to her, and tooke much delight and content in what I read. And it pleased God to come to her with comfort in the reading of it. Shee shewed her Staffe, and her Bracelets, and thereby quenched the fiery darts of the Devil.

[Page 213] Thus I have in three Sermons taught you how to make use of Scripture-promises, as Conduits of soul­supportation, and soul-consolation in the day of distress. When you here­after read the Bible, remember the promising-word (as well as the com­manding and threatning word) make a Catalogue of the Promises, medi­tate upon the pretiousness, freeness, usefulness, latitude, richness, and im­mutability of them. They are as cer­tain as God himselfe, they have the strength of God, the comforts of God, and assistance of God in them. Above all, labour to make application of them to your own soul. For this purpose, study these thirteen Rules and Directi­ons. Pray unto God to give thee spiri­tual eyes, to see thy interest in them, and spiritual hands to reach out after them. Pray to God to give thee spiri­tual ability, to act faith upon the pro­mises, to draw vertue from them, as the woman who had the bloody issue, did [Page 214] from Christ; to suck out all the sweet­ness that is in them, to hang upon them, as the woman did upon the Prophet, and as a Bee doth upon a flower, and by application of them to thy soul, to live in God, and on God here, till thou comest to enjoy the blessings promised with God for ever in heaven.

There is one Objection behinde, which when I have answered, I have done. For a distressed Christian will object, and say,

Object. Though the promises are rare cordials, and shall all of them bee certainly fulfilled, yet God is oftentimes long before hee fulfills them, and while God is fulfilling of his promises, I may in the mean time perish in my affliction.

Ans. It cannot be denied, but that God is oftentimes very long in fulfilling his promises. Gen. 3. 15. He promised that the seed of the woman should bruise the Serpents head; Lu. 18. 7, 8 but it was Four thousand years [Page 215] before that promise was actually ac­complished. Hee promiseth to avenge his elect of all their enemies, to do it speedily. And the souls under the Altar cry,Rev. 6. 10. How long Lord, when wilt thou avenge our blood? &c. But this is not yet fulfilled.

Nay, I must adde, That God is not onely a long time performing his promises, but sometimes instead of performing them, hee seems to the eye of flesh and blood to walk contrary to them. Sometimes the Providences of God run cross to his Promises. God promised to make David King; in­stead of this, hee is persecuted by Saul, as a Partridge upon the moun­tains, hee is driven to that extremity that hee begins to doubt of Gods pro­mise, and to say, That one day hee should dye by the hand of Saul. God promised to Ioseph, 1 Sam. 27. 1. That the Sun, Moon, and Stars should worship him, and that his sheaf should bee lifted up above the sheaf of his brethren. But hee [Page 216] findes the quite contrary, his bre­thren seek to slay him, sell him into Egypt, and there hee is put in prison as one quite forsaken of God. But yet notwithstanding all this, you must know, That though the way of God, in performing his promises, bee very mysterious and secret, yet hee will at last perform every [...] and tittle of them. Thus David was at last made King of Israel, and Ioseph Lord of Egypt, and his brethren came all to worship him.

Quest. How must wee carry and be­have our selves at such times, when Pro­vidences seem to run cross unto Gods Promises?

Answ. At such times there are three things required of us.

1 It is our duty to wait patiently, Three du­ties to bee practised when pro­vidences [...] cross to promi­ses. and beleevingly, till Providences and Promises meet together. Hee that be­leeveth maketh not haste. The Pro­phet there speaks of a glorious pro­mise,Isa, 28. 1 [...]. and adds, That a true Saint will [Page 217] wait Gods time, which is the fittest and best time, hee will patiently expect, till God fulfil his promise. Hee will do as the Martyr did, who might have escaped privately out of prison, and was tempted to it by his friends; But answered: Hee would not go out of prison when his enemies would have him, for they would make him tarry lon­ger than hee should, nor yet when his friends would have him, for they would make him tarry a lesser time than hee should; but hee would come out when God would have him. Gods time is the best; and they are soon enough de­livered, who are delivered in Gods way, and at Gods time. This then is thy great duty (O Christian) to wait pa­tiently, and beleevingly, and not to seek by unlawful waies to bee rid of they miseries, as David did by going to the Philistims; and as many in Queen Maries daies did,1 Sam. 27. 1. by yeelding to the Popish superstitions. To help you to wait Gods leisure, holding Faith [Page 218] and a good conscience; you have

1 Many rare and precious Promises made to those that wait upon him, which I have formerly named.

2 You have four attributes in God to support you, his faithfulness, al­mightiness, infinite goodness, and wis­dome. Hee is faithful, and not one tit­tle of his Word shall fall to the ground; hee is Almighty, and able to do what­soever hee hath promised; hee is in­finitely wise, to know the best time and season, and infinitely good and loving to his children,Lam. 3. 35. and doth not willingly afflict them, but will make haste to help them.

2 It is our duty to live upon Pro­mises, while Providences seem to run cross to Promises. This is the meaning of Hab. 2. 4. The just shall live by Faith. They shall live by Faith, when they have nothing else to live on. When sense and reason tell them, they are un­done, then shall they live by Faith in the Promises, and not only live pa­tiently, [Page 219] but comfortably, and joyfully, as the same Prophet, Hab. 3. 17, 18, 19. saith, Although the Fig-tree shall not blossome, neither shall fruit bee in the Vine, and the field shall yeeld no meat, &c. yet I will rejoyce in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. This life did Paul live, when the ship in which he was,Act 27. 20, 23, 24. was ready to bee drowned, when there was neither Sun-light, nor Star-light, yet hee was exceedingly chear­ful, because God had promised to pre­serve him, and those with him. By living this life, God is much honoured, and our souls much quieted and re­freshed.

3 It is our duty to continue praying, till providences and promises meet to­gether: For it is prayer, and prayer only, which will at last reconcile Gods Promises, and Gods dispensations, and cause them to meet, and to kiss one ano­ther: For as the Promises are the ground and rule of our prayers; so our prayers are the divine waies and means for the [Page 220] obtaining of the Promises. I say, as the Promises are

1 The ground of our prayers. For wee cannot pray in Faith, unless wee have some promise to bottome our prayers upon; therefore David often chargeth God in his prayers with his promise.Psal. 119. 28, 38, 41, 65, 76, 107, 141, 149. Hee harps eight times upon the same string in one Psalm, to teach us, that the greatest Rethorick and Ora­tory wee can use in our prayers, is to urge God with his promise.

2 They are not onely the ground, but the rule of our prayers; As wee must pray for nothing but what God hath promised, so wee must regulate our prayers according to Gods Promi­ses. Those thing which hee hath ab­solutely promised, wee must pray for ab­solutely, and where God hath put con­ditions, and exceptions, there our prayers must be conditional.

Now as the Promises are the ground and rule of our prayers, so our prayers are divine means and helps for the ob­taining [Page 221] of the promises: Though God hath made many glorious and preci­ous promises to his children, yet hee will perform none of them, but to those who by prayer seek them at his hands. When Nathan told Da­vid what great things God had pro­mised to him, hee went into Gods house to pray for them, 2 Sam. 7. The Prophet Isaiah mentioneth a glorious promise, Isa. 43. 25. but hee adds, Put mee in remembrance, vers. 20. Thus Ezekiel 36. 37. I will yet for this bee inquired of by the house of Israel, and therefore when you read the Pro­mises of the Bible, remember whatso­ever God makes a promise, you must make a prayer; and that prayer will hasten the fulfilling of the promi­ses: You must continue to pray, and faint not;Hab. 2. 2. for the vision is but for an appointed time, though it tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come, it will not tarry. This did Daniel when hee un­derstood the time approached, &c. [Page 222] hee prayed, Dan. 9. 2, 3. Thus did David, Psal. 56. 9, 10, 57. 1, 2. Thus must you do. These are the three great Duties which the Lord requires of us at all times, but more especially in these our dayes, wherein the Provi­dences of God seem to run quite cross unto his promises. The Lord give us grace to practise them. So much for this Text.

The End of the Fifth Sermon.

A Brief Repetition of what was said of Mrs. Elizabeth Moore at her Burial.

THough I have finished my Text, yet I have another Text remaining, of which I must speak a few words; and that is, The Party deceased, at whose Funeral wee are here met.

Shee was a Woman (I verily be­leeve) truly fearing God, and yet throughout her whole life loaded with many and great troubles. God picked her out to bee a pattern of af­flictions, as hee had not long before that Reverend and godly Minister, Mr. Ieremiah Whitakers.

This Pattern teacheth us three Lessons.

[Page 224] 1 That all things come alike to all in this world, and that no man knoweth love or hatred by any thing that is before him. The best of Saints sometimes are upon the Dunghil, when the vilest of men are upon the Throne. The best of men are afflicted, when the worst of men are in prosperity.

2 That there is not so much evil in affliction, or so much good in prosperi­ty, as the world imagineth. For if there were, God would not bestow so much prosperity upon the wicked, and exercise his dear children with so many afflictions.

3 That there will come a rewarding day, in which it shall certainly bee well with the Righteous. When I see a wicked man prosper, I say, Surely there will come a punishing day, in which the wicked shall be turned into Hell. When I see a godly man in adversity, I say, Verily there is a reward for the Righteous, Psal. 58. verily there is a God that judgeth in the earth. Such examples [Page 225] prove that there is another life be­sides this. And that if the godly had hope onely in this life, they were of all people most miserable.

I will not trouble you with a rela­tion of her Christian carriage in the time of her health, because it is suf­ficiently known to most here present. I shall onely take notice of her great care and diligence in making her calling and election sure. Shee had not her Ark to build when the flood came, nor her Corn to get when the seven years of Famine came: Shee had laid up a stock of graces, and comforts against the evill hour; Shee had not her Evidences for Heaven to get, at the houre of death. But shee had collected and composed them in the time of her life, and when shee came to dye, shee [...]ad neither her graces, nor her com­forts, nor her Evidences for Heaven to seek, shee had nothing to do but to dye.

Her sickness was very long, and [Page 226] very painful, concerning which I shall briefly acquaint you with these few particulars.

1 God moved the hearts of very many godly people, to take compassion of her sad and afflicted condition, and to contribute liberally (shee being poor) towards her relief; this merciful provi­dence wonderfully comforted her; She saw Gods love in it, and was so much af­fected with it, that she was (for a little while) really and exceedingly afraid (notwithstanding her great torments by reason of a cancer in her breast) lest she should have her heaven in this life, and lest this mercy should bee all her portion. The Lord recompence that labour of love and that Christian chari­ty a thousand fold into the bosomes of those who manifested so much kind­nesse to her.

2 Her Patience was very great. As God increased her pains, hee increased her patience, even to the admiration of such of us as were frequent spectators [Page 227] of it. She was brought to such a sweet frame of spirit, as to bee willing to live under all her torments, as long as God pleased, and to dye whensoever he pleased.

3 Shee was a woman of a very fearful nature, and in the time of her health had many doubts and scruples (notwithstanding all her care foremen­tioned) about her salvation. But in her sickness, all her doubts vanished. God chained up Satan. The Devil had no power to tempt her, shee felt a great calmness in her soul, and had much inward peace, and injoyed more of God, and his consolations, in the time of her sickness▪ than in the time of her health.

4 Shee was very forward in spread­ing and diffusing those graces which God had bestowed upon her, and in giving good counsel to those who visit­ed her. I have heard her often, and often perswading her friends to prize health, and to improve it for the good of their souls, to lay up against an evill [Page 228] day, and to stock themselves with grace before sickness come. Shee would frequently say, O the benefit of health! O prize health! praise God for health, and improve health for your eternal good.

5 Shee was very well vers't in the Scriptures. The Law of God was her delight; and this kept her from perish­ing in her affliction. Shee was continu­ally fetching cordials out of the Word, to comfort her under her great pains, and to preserve her from fainting. The twelfth Chapter of the Hebrews was a precious cordial to her, so was the eight of the Romans, and the 2 of the Corinthians the 4. Chap­ter and the 17, 18. verses. For our light affliction which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

While wee look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which [Page 229] are not seen, are eternal.

1 Cor. 15, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57.

For this corruptible must put on in­corruption, and this mortal, must put on immortality.

So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shal have put on immortality; then shal be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

The sting of death is sinne, and the strength of sin is the Law.

But thanks bee to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Iesus Christ.

Phil. 3. 21. Who shall change our vile body, that it may bee fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the work­ing whereby hee is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

A little before her death shee said, In the Lord Iehovah there is righteous­ness and strength; righteousness for [Page 230] justification and strength for supporta­tion. Shee said, that the Word of God was the best cordial in the world: And that one minutes being in Heaven, would make amends for all her pain and misery.

6 And lastly, I cannot but take special notice of the happy close of her life, and of the blessed end shee made. It is said of Iob, James 5. 11. Yee have heard of the patience of Iob, and have seen the end of the Lord, &c. This our Christian Sister did in a great measure, partake both of Iobs pains, and Iobs patience, and made as happy an end, as hee did, though in another kinde. In the morning of that day in which shee dyed, shee fell into a slumber, in which shee heard (as shee thought) one saying to her, This day thou shalt bee with mee in Paradise. Immediately shee awaked full of joy, and though hardly able to speak, yet shee uttered it to those who stood by, and was much comforted with it. [Page 231] Now though I am far from putting any confidence in dreams, and doubt not that a man may dream hee shall go to Heaven, and yet bee cast into Hell. Though I do not think that comfor­table dreams are sufficient evidences of salvation. (Nay, when they are brought as proofs of erronious opinions, I account them Diabolical delusions; and when wicked men have them, pleasant presumptions.) Yet notwith­standing when a woman who hath spent many years in the service of God, and is visited by God for above a year, with great and most grievous pains, shall at the close of her life, (when shee is upon the very brink of eternity) have such a sweet, refreshing, and heart-chearing impression upon her spirit; when heart fails, and flesh fails: When shee can hardly speak to express the great­nesse of her joy, then to hear a voice (as it were) saying to her, This day thou shalt bee with mee in Paradise. This (in all probability) was the voice of [Page 232] God, and not of man. This was the Lords doing, and it is marveilous in our eyes. I forbear saying any more. Shee is gone from a Prison to a Palace; from a Purgatory to a Paradise. Shee is at rest with God, where all tears are wiped away from her eyes: The Lord fit us by his grace to follow her in due time into the Kingdome of glory. Amen.

Mrs. Elizabeth Moores EVIDENCES FOR HEAVEN: Collected by her self in the time of her health, in such manner and method, as they are here presented to Publick view.

1 Her Design in this Collection.

IN the Examination of my self, I finde that my Aims and Ends, why I desire to gather together, and clear up my Evidences for heaven (if my deceitful heart doth [Page 234] not deceive mee) are these follow­ing.

1 THat hereby (as a means) I may bee inabled to glorifie God in the great work of beleeving, The first Design. that here­by (with Gods blessing) the dimme eye of my Faith may more clearly see the Lord Jesus Christ to bee a Peace-maker, and Reconciler, and Surety, for mee, even for mee, who am by nature a fire-brand of Hell. The time was, I am sure, when I was the Devils picture, and had the black brand of Re­probation upon mee, and therefore it doth neerly concern mee to search and trye what Evidences I have to prove that God fetching Arguments out of his own bowels, and the riches of his free grace, hath redeemed mee out of this lost estate.

2 MY Aime is to strengthen that longed for grace of Assurance▪ The se­cond De­sign. A grace, which though it bee not of [Page 235] absolute necessity for the being and salvation, yet it is of absolute necessi­ty for the well being and consolation of a Christian; without this grace I can neither live nor dye comfortably; and I have been often exhorted by Gods faithful Ambassadors, to gather toge­ther my Scripture Evidences, and to have the approbation of some godly and experienced Minister or Christian; and this by Gods blessing may bee a means to strengthen Assurance: Yea, I finde in Scripture, that the Lord saith, that the Priests lips shall preserve knowledge, Mal. 3. 7. and thou shalt seek the Law at his mouth, for hee is the Messenger of the Lord of Hosts.

3 MY Aime is to obey God in his Word, The third Design. who hath commanded mee by his Apostle, Phil. 2. 12. to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling;2 Pet. 1. 10. and to give all diligence to make my calling and election sure:2 Cor. 13. 5. And I am exhorted to examine my self, and prove my self, [Page 236] whether I bee in the faith or no, Know yee not (saith the Apostle) that Christ is in you, except you bee reprobates: And if any man bee in Christ, hee is a new Creature; old things are passed away, and all things are become new.

Now then to prove whether I bee indeed and in truth born again, is my desire at this time, the Lord help mee, and give mee a sincere and upright heart, and guide mee herein by his ho­ly Spirit, for the honour of his holy Name.

2 A brief Collection of her Evi­dences for Heaven.

Blessed bee God,First Evid who hath through his free mercy begotten mee to a hope, that I am regenerated and born from a­bove, and converted unto God.

Reason, Because the Lord hath gone the same usual way with mee, as with those he [...] pleaseth to convert to him­self; [Page 237] and this I shall make to appear in five or six particulars.

1 The Lord by his Spirit accompa­nying the preaching of his Word, cau­sed the scales to fall from my eyes, and opened them, and set up a clear light in my understanding, and made mee to see sin, to bee exceeding sinful, out of measure sinful, and to look on it as the loathsomest thing in the world, and on my self as a loathsome creature in Gods sight, and in my own sight, by reason of the Leprosie of sin, where­with I was over-run.

2 The Lord brought mee to see the misery that I was in, by reason of my sins. I thought I was utterly forsa­ken of God, and I thought that God would never accept of such a wretch as I saw my self to bee. I could not think otherwise, but that hell was my portion, and that I, by reason of my sins must go thither, expecting every day when the Lord would glorifie himself in my damnation. I saw my [Page 238] self in more misery, because of my sins than I could then, or now expresse to any body. I looked upon God as a consuming fire, and on my self as stub­ble, ready to bee consumed by him, &c.

3 The Lord brought mee to a spi­ritual astonishment, that I cried out, What shall I do to bee saved! and said with Paul, Lord! what wouldest thou have mee to do? Do but make known to thy poor creature what thy will is, and I thought I could do any thing, or suffer any thing for the Lord. But since I have had some more knowledge of the holy Will of God, woe is mee! what a barren and unfruitful heart have I! a heart that can neither do, nor suffer any thing for the Lord, as I ought to do: But this I can say, that the astonishment I was in by the sight of my sins, and the misery I was plun­ged into, put mee on the performance of holy duties, especially prayer.

4 The Lord took mee off my own [Page 239] bottome, off my own righteousness, and made mee to see that that was but a sandy foundation, and would not hold out. I was not taken off from the per­formance of holy duties; no, I thought with my self that I am commanded by God to perform holy duties, which is the way and means whereby wee may meet with God (For hee is ordi­narily to bee injoyed no where but in his own ordinances) but the Lord took mee off from resting and trusting in Or­dinances. And as hee made mee to see that without the practise of them hee would not accept of mee; so also hee made mee to know that it was not for holy duties, for which I was accepted. The sins that cleave to my best per­formances, are enough for which the Lord may justly condemn mee, if I had no other sins.

5 The Lord brought mee to see a Superlative beauty and excellency in the Lord Iesus Christ, and my soul was deeply in love with him, even with [Page 240] whole Christ in all his Offices, and (if I know any thing at all of my owne heart) I desired Christ as much to bee my King and Prophet, to teach, and guide mee, and subdue mee to himself, and rule over mee, as to bee my High-Priest, to make Attonement by offer­ing up of himself for mee, and washing mee in his blood, by which I must bee justified.

6 The Lord brought mee to see a soul-satisfaction in the Lord Jesus Christ alone; and I think I should bee as fully satisfied with Christ alone, as my heart can desire. If I know my heart, it panteth after Christ, and Christ alone: None but Christ, none but Christ. The whole world in com­parison or competition with Christ, is nothing to mee: But in him I see full contentment. To see and know my interest in him and to injoy communi­on with him, is that, which if the Lord would bestow upon mee, I should with Iacob say, It is enough; and with old [Page 241] Simeon) Now let thy servant depart in peace, for my eyes have seen thy salva­tion.

Now I desire to set down some o­ther Scripture Evidences, that I finde upon search and examination of my heart, by laying it to the Rule; The Word of God.

My Second Scripture Evidence is taken from Mark. 2. 17.Second Evidence. Where Christ saith, They that are whole have no need of the Physitian, but they that are sick, and hee came not to call the Righte­ous, but sinners to repentance. Now through Gods mercy I can say, that I am a sin-sick-sinner (the Lord make mee more sick) I am not righteous in mine own eyes, but a sinner, and see my self undone for ever, without the righteousness of Christ bee imputed to mee, and therefore I hope I am a­mongst the number of those whom Christ was commissionated by his Fa­ther to come to save.

[Page 242] From Matth. 11. 28, 29. I am weary and heavy laden; Third Evidence. now Christ hath pro­mised to give ease to such. And I am willing to take his yoke upon mee, and would fain learn of him the lesson of meekness and lowliness, and therefore am invited to come unto him.

I can say with David, Fourth Evidence. that my sins are a heavy burden to mee, they are too heavy for mee, Psal. 38. 4. and I can say that I mourn, because I cannot mourn no more for my sins; now Christ saith, Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall bee comforted, Mat. 5. 4.

From Matth. 5. 3. I think (if my heart do not deceive mee) I am pòor in spirit; Fifth Evidence. now theirs is the Kingdome of Heaven, saith Christ.

From Matth. 12. 20. I am a bruised reed, Sixth Evidence. and smoaking flax, and therefore Christ hath promised, hee will not break such a reed, nor quench the [Page 243] smoak of grace, if it bee true grace, but hee will increase it more and more (as hee saith) Untill judgement breake forth into victory: And hee came to set at liberty them that are bruised, Luke 4. 18. Therefore I hope I am such a one as hee came to binde up, and set at liberty; Yea, and that hee was anointed and sent by his Fa­ther to mee, and such as I am, Isa. 61. 1.

From 1 Tim. 1. 15.Seventh Evidence. This is a faith­full saying, and worthy of all acceptation, (saith Paul) That Iesus Christ came into the world to save sinners: And so say I too; it is worthy all acceptation, that Christ should come from the bo­some of his Father, who was infinitely glorious and happy, that hee should come into the world to save mee, mee a sinner, mee the chiefe of sinners; mee, that if saved, I do verily beleeve, there is none in heaven, nor any that ever shall come thither, that hath or [Page 244] will have the cause to magnifie and a­dore free grace, as I shall have. And herein doth God commend his love towards mee—For if when wee were enemies, wee were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled, wee shall bee saved by his life, Rom. 5. 10.

I can say with Paul, Eighth Evidence. that I delight in the Law of God, after the inward man, and I am grieved that I cannot keep it. I finde that spiritual war in mee, between flesh and spirit, which Paul complaineth of, and I can say, that Paul doth confess over my heart in his confessions, Rom. 7. And I can go along with him there, from verse 9. to the end of the chapter; and from hence I gather, that there is some spi­ritual life in my soul, and an indeavour to walk after the spirit, and therefore I hope and desire to conclude with him, that there shall bee no condemna­tion to mee, but that the Law of the spi­rit [Page 245] of life in Christ Iesus shall make mee free from the law of sin,Rom. 8. 1, 2and death. I finde an earnest desire wrought in my soul, to bee made like unto Jesus Christ, and that it may bee my meat and drink to do and suffer his will, as hee would have mee.

I can say,Ninth Evidence. that the Lord hath in some measure put his fear into my heart, that I fear to offend him out of love to him, and I love to fear him.

I can say with the Church to Christ,Tenth E­vidence. Cant. 1. 7. O thou whom my soul lov­eth! (and if I know any thing at all of mine own heart) Christ is altogether lovely, and most desirable to my soul.

I think I can truly say with David, that I have none in Heaven but thee, and there is nothing on earth that I de­sire besides thee, in comparison of thee, in competition with thee. Though all that is dearest to mee in the world should forsake mee, yet if God whom [Page 246] I have chosen for my portion will not forsake mee, I have enough. It is my desire and endeavour more and more to account all things but loss and dung, that I may win Christ. I can with Peter make my appeal to him, and say, Lord, thou who knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee, and that it is the desire of my soul to love thee more, and to love thee for thy self, because thou art holy, and good, and gracious, and the chiefest amongst ten thousand; Yea God in Christ alone, is worthy to be beloved, and it is my highest priviledge that hee will give mee leave to love him, who only can satisfie my soul, and rede [...]m it from death eternal, who hath justified mee by his blood, and sanctified mee by his Spirit, whom therefore I love with all my heart, and all my soul, and all my might, and all my strength. Finding therefore, that God hath drawn out my heart to love him, and make choice of him alone, I from hence gather [Page 247] and ground my hope, that God loveth mee, according to that Scripture, 1 Ioh. 4. 19. Wee love him, because hee first loved us.

I finde my heart much inflamed with love to all the children of God,Eleventh Evidence. because they are Gods children, and the more I see, or finde, or hear of God in them, the more I finde my heart cleaving to them, and I thinke I can truly say with David, That my delight is in the Saints, and those that excel in grace; not because they are friends to mee, or I have relation to them in regard of outward obligations, but because they bear the Image of God upon them, and manifest it in their holy conversation. I love them, whether rich, or poor. And though I did never know some of them, but onely hear of their holiness, and piety, yet I could not but exceedingly love such. Therefore I hope that I am passed from death to life, because I love the Brethren, 1 Ioh. 3. 14.

[Page 248] I do not only love God,Twelfth Evidence. and the children of God, but I labour to keep his Commandements,1 Joh 5. 3 and they are not grievous to mee. But I pray with David,Psal. 119. 5. v. 32, 34 O that my waies were directed to keep thy statutes! Lord inlarge my heart, and I will run the waies of thy Commandements: Give mee understand­ing, and I shall keep thy Law, yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart; for therein do I delight.

I finde I am one that is very thirsty after Jesus Christ,Thir­teenth E­vidence. and the grace of Christ; and I thirst to have his image more and more stamped upon mee; and I would fain bee assured by Gods Spirit, that I am transplanted into Christ, and therefore I long, and in­deavour after a true and lively Faith, because that Grace is a soul-transplant­ing and uniting grace. Now Christ hath promised to satisfie the thirsty, Matth. 5. 6. and such Christ hath earnestly invited to come, though they have [Page 249] nothing to bring but what may make against themselves, yet to come emp­ty, and hee hath promised to fill them, Isa. 55. 1, 2.

I am willing to confess, Four­teenth E­vidence. and with all my heart to forsake all my sins. I am willing to give glory to God in taking shame unto my self. I acknowledge my self a guilty malefactor, and judge my self worthy of the just condem­nation of the righteous Judge of all the earth. And I do not only con­fess my sins, but with all my heart I desire to forsake them, and to turn to the Lord: Now hee hath said, hee will have mercy on such, and will a­bundantly pardon them. For his thoughts are not as our thoughts, nor his waies, as our waies, Isa. 55. 7, 8. It is my constant indeavour to dye to sin, to live to newness of life. And this is my comfort and hope, that hee who hath begun a good work in mee, will per­fect it. For it is hee that worketh all [Page 250] our works in us, and for us, Isa. 26. 12. and hee that hath wrought in mee to will, to do that which is pleasing in his sight, will work in mee to do also, and that of his good pleasure, Phil, 2. 13.

I hope I am one whom God hath taken into Covenant with himself,Fifteenth Evidence. be­cause hee hath bestowed upon mee the fruits of the Covenant, because hee hath circumcised my heart to love him, and hath put his fear into mee, and hath wrought an universal change in mee; and hath given mee a new heart, and a new spirit; yea his own spirit which hee hath put within mee, even the Spirit of Truth, which will guide mee into all Truth. It is his own promise to give his holy Spirit to them that aske it of him (as I have done often) Luke 11. 13. and I hope that God will make it in his due time, a witnes­sing and a comforting Spirit. I will wait upon him for the accomplish­ment [Page 251] of all his promises, both of grace, and to grace. Hee hath said, hee will bee a Sun and a Shield, he will give grace and glory, and no good thing will hee with-hold from them that walke uprightly. And hee hath promised to subdue our sins for us; and hath said, That sin shall not have Dominion over us, Rom. 6. 14. That hee will bee our God, and wee shall bee his children; and hee will save us from all our uncleannesses. I hope I have a share in this blessed Covenant of Free Grace.

As for my Affliction that lyeth upon mee (though it bee in it self very hea­vy) I much more desire the sanctifi­cation of it,Sixteenth Evidence. than the removal. I ear­nestly labour to learn all those lessons which God teacheth mee by Af­fliction. I know I should not bee scourged, nor bee in tribulation, but that I have need of it; it is for my pro­fit to make mee partaker of his holiness. Afflictions are an evidence of Son­ship, [Page 252] Heb. 12. 6, 7, 8. God hath pro­mised that all things shall work together for good to them that love and fear him. Rom. 8. 28 And I have had much experience of his faithfulness, who hath not suffered mee to bee tempted above what hee hath inabled mee to bear; therefore I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him. Hee hath chastized mee less than mine ini­quities deserve. Hee chastizeth mee here, that hee may not condemn mee hereafter.

Faith is the condition of salvation.Seven­teenth E­vidence. Beleeve in the Lord Iesus Christ, and thou shalt bee saved. And this is his Com­mandement, Act. 16. 31. that wee should beleeve in his Son Iesus Christ: 1 Joh. 3. 23 Now I find nothing so hard to mee as to beleeve aright: to cast away all my own Righteousness as dung, in point of justification, and to cast away all my unrighteousness, so as that bee no bar to mee, and to role, and cast, and venter my immortal soul [Page 253] upon Jesus Christ and his Righteous­ness, for life and salvation by him alone, and to see my self compleat in him; this is supernatural. Yet I must and will give glory to God, and say, Lord I beleeve, help thou my unbe­leef. And by this I prove that this precious grace of faith is wrought in mee, because Jesus Christ is to mee very precious: and I finde in the Word,1 Pet. 2. 7 that to them that beleeve hee is precious: and I am willing to take Christ upon his own termes, as hee is tendred in the Gospel; and am willing to give up my self soul and body wholly to him; and my love to God, and to the children of God, is a fruit of my Faith, as also my desire to bee made like unto him: For hee that hath this hope in him, purifieth him­self, even as hee is pure, 1 John 3. 3. And I trust that I am kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, 1 Pet. 1. 5. I know whom I have be­leeved, and I am perswaded that hee is [Page 254] able and willing to keep that which I have committed unto him, 2 Tim. 1. 12. which is my immortal soul.

Thus I have according to the A­postles exhortation endeavoured to give a reason of the hope that is in mee. What have I but what I have recei­ved? The desire of my soul is, that God may have all the glory. And if I bee deceived, the Lord for Christs sake undeceive mee, and grant that if I have not true grace, I may not think I have, and so bee in a Fools Paradise. And the Lord that is my heart-maker, bee my heart-searcher, and my heart-discoverer, and my heart-reformer. Amen.


Books Printed, and are to bee sold by Iohn Hancock, at the first shop in Popes-head Alley, next to Cornhill.

A Book of Short-writing, the most easy, exact, lineal, and speedy method, fitted to the meanest capa­city; composed by Mr. Theophilus Metcalf, professor of the said Art.

Also a School-master, explaining the Rules of the said Book.

Another Book of new Short-hand by Thomas Crosse.

A Coppy-book of the newest and most useful hands, with Rules, where­by those that can read, may quickly learn to write: To which is added, Brief Directions for true Spelling and Cyphering, &c.

Four Books lately published by Mr. Thomas Brooks, Preacher of the Go­spel at Margarets New Fish-street.

1 Precious Remedies against Satans Devices. OR,

Salve for Beleevers and Unbeleevers Sores, being a companion for those that are in Christ, or out of Christ, that sleight or neglect Ordinances, under a pretence of living above them, that are growing in spirituals, or decaying, that are tempted, or desert­ed, afflicted, or opposed, that have as­surance, or want it, on the 2 of the Corinthians, the 2. and the 11.

2 Heaven on Earth: OR,

A serious Discourse, touching a well-grounded Assurance of mens e­everlasting [Page] happiness, and blessedness, discovering the nature of Assurance, the possibility of attaining it, the Causes, Springs, and Degrees of it, with the Resolution of several weighty Questions, on the eighth of the Romans, 32, 33, 34. verses.

3 The Vnsearchable Riches of Christ: OR,

Meat for strong Men, and Milk for Babes, held forth in two and twenty Sermons, from Ephesians 3. 8. preached on his Lecture nights at Fishstreet-hill.

4 His Apples of Gold, for young Men, and Women: AND

A Crown of Glory for old Men, and Women: Or the happiness of [Page] being good betimes, and the Honour of being an old Disciple, clearly and fully discovered, and closely and faithfully applied.

5 His String of Pearles; OR THE Best things reserved till last.

Preached at the Funeral of Mrs. Blake, late wife of Mr. Nicholas Blake Merchant.

The Covenant of Gods Free Grace unfolded, and comfortably applyed to a disquieted or dejected soul, on the 2 of Samuel, 23. 5. By that late Re­verend Divine, Mr. Iohn Cotton of New-England.

Darkness discovered, or the De­vils Secret Stratagems laid open; shewing the way to end controver­sies in Religion, written by Iacobus Acconcius, and translated into Eng­lish.

[Page] A brief Description of the Pres­byterian Government, approved by divers godly Divines, and humbly presented to the consideration of the Assembly.

A Treatise of Civil Government, by Robert Spey.

A Glass for the Times, briefly con­futing divers errors in Religion.

The Ruine of the Authors and Fo­menters of Civil War; as it was dili­vered in a Sermon before the Parlia­ment, at their monthly Fast, by Mr. Samuel Gibson; sometime Minister at Margarets Westminster, and one of the Assembly of Divines.

The New Creature, with a De­scription of the several marks and characters thereof, by Richard Bartlet.

A Learned Speech, by Sir Francis Bacon in Parliament quinto Iacobi▪ con­cerning the Scottish Nation.

A Mirrour for Christian States; or, a Table of politick Vertues, conside­rable amongst Christians, by E. Moli­ner, [Page] Doctor of Divinity.

A Treatise of the external works of God; 1 In General, on Psal. 135. 6. 2 In Particular, on Gen. 1. 2.

3. Of Gods actual Providence; By George Walker, B. D. late Pastor of St. Iohn Evangelist Church.

The Expert Physitian.

Learnedly treating of all Agues and Feavers essential, whether simple, or compound, confused, Erratick and Malignant, shewing their different Na­ture, Cause, Signe, and Cure, written originally by that famous Doctor in Physick, Bricius Bauderon, and transla­ted into English by Doctor Wells, Li­centiate in Physick, by the University of Oxford: To bee sold by by Iohn Hancok, at the first shop in Popes-head Alley, next to Cornhill. 1658.

Books lately Printed for Thomas Parkhurst, at the Sign of the three Crowns over against the great Conduit, at the lower end of Cheapside.

A Learned Commentary, or Ex­position upon the first Chapter of the second Epistle to the Corin­thians, by Dr. Richard Sibbs, pub­lished for publick good, by Thomas Manton, Folio.

There is newly come forth Mr. William Fenner his Continuation of Christs Alarm to drowsie Saints, with a Treatise of Effectual Calling: The Killing Power of the Law: The Spi­ritual Watch: New Birth: A Christi­ans ingrafting into Christ: A Treatise on the Sabbath, which were never be­fore printed, bound in one Volume, Fol▪ and may bee had alone of them [Page] that have his other Works, as well as bound with all his former Works, which are now newly printed in the same Volume.

Truth brought to light, and disco­vered by time, or an Historical Narra­tion of the first fourteen years of King Iames, in 4.

Mr. Robinsons Christians Armor in large 8.

Book of Emblems, with Latine and English verses made upon (Lights) by Robert Farlie, small 8.

Grace to the Humble, as prepara­tion to the Sacrament in five Sermons, by Dr. Iohn Preston.

Picturae L [...]ventes, or Pictures drawn forth into Characters, 12.

A most Excellent Treatise contain­ing the way to seek Heavens Glory, to flye Earths Vanity, to fear Hells Hor­ror, with godly Prayers, and the Bell­mans Summons, 12.

Iohnsons Essaies expressed in sundry Exquisite Fancies.

[Page] The one thing necessary; By Mr. Thomas Watson, Minister of Stephens Walbrook, 8.

Sion in the House of Mourning, be­cause of Sin and Suffering, being an Exposition on the fifth Chapter of the Lamentations, by D. S. Pastor of Upingham, in the County of Rut­land.

Groans of the Spirit, or the Trial of the Truth of Prayer.

A Handkercher for Parents Wet-eyes, upon the death of their children or friends.

The Dead Saint speaking to Saints and Sinners living, in several Treati­ses, viz. On 2 Sam. 24. 10. on Cant. 4. 9. on Iohn 3. 15. on Iohn 1. 50. on Isa. 58. 2. on Exod. 15. 11. Never Published before. By Samuel Bol­ton, D. D. late Mr. of Christs Colledge in Cambridge.

Peoples Need of a Living Pastor, at the Funeral of Mr. Iohn Frost, M. A. [...] M [...] ▪ Zach. Crofton.

[Page] A Treatise against the Toleration of all Religions, By Mr. Tho. Ed­wards.

Chatechizing Gods Ordinance; in sundry Sermons, by Mr. Zachary Crof­ton, Minister of Buttolphs Aldgate London, the Second Edition, corrected and augmented.

A Theatre of Political Flying-In­sects. Wherein especially the Nature, the Worth, the Work, the Wonder, and the manner of the Right-ordering of the Bee, is discovered and described. By Samuel Purchas, M. A. and Pastor at Sutton in Essex.

There is going to the Press, Mr. William Fenner, late of Rochford in Essex, his second part of Mans wil­full Impenitency, upon Ezek. 18. 32. With some other Peeces of his, pre­served by a special Providence.


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