THE BODY of DIVINITY, Or, a Confession of FAITH, Being the substance of CHRISTIANITY: Containing the most Material things relating to Matters both of FAITH and PRACTISE.

Published for the Benefit and Profit of all, especially of those who love the Lord Jesus in Sincerity, and desire the knowledge of the Holy, and the way of the New-Covenant that leads to Glory.

Very briefly contracted according to Scripture light, and plainly handled in 31. Chapters.

By THOMAS COLLIER.

John 5. 39. Search the Scripture, for in them ye think to have eternal life, and they are they which testifie of me.
Isa. 8. 20. To the Law, and to the Testimony, if they speak not according to this Rule, it is because there is no light in them.
2 Cor. 4. 13. But having the same Spirit of Faith, according as it is written, I believe, therefore have I spoken; we also believe, therefore speak.

LONDON, Printed for Nath. Crouch in Exchange Ally, over against the Royal-Exchange in Corn-hill, 1674.

THE PREFACE, OR, EPISTLE TO THE READER.

THis Treatise is designed for thy special and spiritual Profit; its true that the holy Scripture, commonly called the Bible, is the Book of all Books, and that ac­cording to which, we all ought to speak, write and walk; and its true as the Wise man saith, of making many [Page] Books there is no end, especially un­less our end therein be the glory of God, and the good of Souls: its true we know but in part, and a very little, little part too, and therefore can Pro­phecy but in part.

Therefore read not any mans Book but with a supposition, that there may be a mixture▪ of some Errour with Truth, and some mistakes, and receive nothing for truth from the word or cre­dit of the Person who ever it be, but as its rightly grounded on the Word of God, the Scripture of Truth, accor­ding to which all ought to speak, and the best of men may be in some things mistaken; though ordinarily in the sub­stantial things of the New-Birth of Faith and Holiness, the Spirits work is the same in all, yet by reason of the Babylonish confusion that yet re­mains, the language of the Saints [Page] seems to be much divided; in consi­deration whereof, I thought nothing more likely to produce unity in spirit, then unity in the body and substance of Truth; for which cause I have made this Essay in bringing forth this brief plain Treatise about the most substan­tial matters of Christianity, that all who agree in the substance of Truth, may unite in Spirit; and although we cannot attain such a uniting as is desi­rable, and shall in time be by the Lord accomplished, in and amongst his Peo­ple, according to that Prophesie and Promise, Zeph. 3. 9. Yet it is my hearts desire, that all who truly love the Lord, would shew it by their uni­ting at least in affection, for that is Gospel-Grace and Love indeed, to love for God and Christs sake, though of differing apprehensions about some of the weighty things in the New-Covenant, [Page] for every Truth of Christ is of weight and worth, and is, or ought so to be esteemed by all that love him, Psal. 119. 127, 128. and the right understanding of the mind of God in the Scripture, is the only wright way of uniting.

I am far from the mind of those who pretend and endeavour the uniting of all into uniformity in Faith and Worship, by Coersive Power and human force; a unity more suiting Brutes then Christians, and a way to build up Satans Kingdom, under pretence of the Kingdom of Christ; but that I earnestly long after, and pray for, is, the uniting of all true Christians in the spirit and faith of the Gospel, who are the Church and Kingdom of Christ, his Body Mistical, and if through darkness we cannot attain the unifor­mity of Christian Faith, and worship [Page] in every part, but the language of Chri­stians be yet divided, yet let every one endeavour the attainment of a spi­rit of Love, and forbearance each to other, not Judging, Sensuring, and Reviling, which shews the spirit of the World, and not of Christ.

And these ensuing Chapters are most especially and principally direct­ed to such, who alone are capacitated to Understand, Believe and Practise the things in them contained, they are not the Notions of sudden Conception, but the fruit and birth of many years Tra­vel and Meditation, and I hope it may, through the Blessing of God, at some time or other, to some persons or other, add something or other to the Understanding, Faith, Hope, and Joy of their Souls, and be some help of direction to a right walk in the way of Life.

I shall not say any thing as to the matters handled in this Treatise, by way of Commendation, to induce the Reader to its Perusal; if it speak not for it self, in the use thereof, the Reader is at liberty to lay it aside, only let him beware that he slight it not, because it is not suited to his mind; if it be according to the Divine revelation of the Word and Will of Christ; its the great concernment of all that will approve themselves grati­ous before the Lord, to bring their minds to the Scripture, and not the Scripture to their minds; it is to be feared that great hath been the mis­carriage of Christians in this very thing at this day, open-heartedness to God-ward, and a sincere will to know that we may do the will of the Lord, is the ready way to know more of his will, and then shall we not be ashamed, [Page] when we have a respect to all his Com­mandments; ignorance of any part of the Revealed Will of God is a sin, a sinful defect in gratious persons, but to be willingly ignorant, or willfully disobedient to any part of the Reveal­ed will of God, is a sin of the highest nature, and must be punished with many stripes, Luk. 12. 47, 48. will­fully to add to, or diminish from the Word of God, is a sin, and the judg­ment of such is declared in the Word, Deut. 4. 2. Prov. 30. 6. Rev. 22. 18, 19.

In a word, I do believe that sincere desires, accompanied with the like en­deavours, after the knowledge of the will of Christ, and a faithful living up to what we know, resolving our wisdom and wills in every thing into the wisdom and will of Christ, would be wonderfully blest of the Lord for [Page] spiritual grouth, and uniting of the Saints both in faith and worship.

I have herein declared my Faith in which I live, and believe that by the grace of God I shall die, and yet live Eternally: This have I declared as the discovery of my heart in the matters of my God, when I am gone hence, and shall be hear no more seen.

And what ever may be found in any other of my Writing that may seem contrary to any thing in this, or is contrary in very de [...]d, either under­stand it by this, or else let it fall to the ground, for days of Temptation oft­times brings forth effects, which occa­sions after Repentance.

To be sound in the Faith, and in the Principles of Religion, is of deep concernment to all Christians, and in­deed a good and Christian walk in the [Page] way of sincere and universal holi­ness and obedience, is that which great­ly concerneth and becometh Christians, in order to their eternal Welfare.

As a help to both have I presented this small brief Treatise to thy con­sideration, in which I have to the ut­most of my ability and light, not only studied Truth, that might be profiting to the Reader, but brevity likewise, that much might be found in a little Volume, in which, if persons exer­cise their own understandings in the use thereof, they may probably reap some benefit thereby. And Reader, what thee dost find differing from thine own understanding, be not hasty in judging or sensuring, but read and ponder, and search the Scripture, to see whether it be so or no, without which the most do wrong to the Truth, and to thine own soul.

But I shall say no more, but com­mit it to the Readers, in the blessing of God, praying for their profiting there­by, and if your souls do reap any spi­ritual benefit or advantage in the use hereof, let God have the Glory, and the Author (as Instrument) hath his end answered; And so fare the well in the Lord: Grace, Mercy, Peace and Truth, be with all that love the Lord Jesus in sincerity.

Amen.

An Account of the Particular Mat­ters Treated of in the ensuing Discourse.

  • CHapter I. Concerning God, 1. That he is. 2. What he is. 3. How he doth subsist. 4. Where he is. Page 1.
  • Chap. II. Of the Holy Scripture, that it is the Divine Word and will of God, proved by many Divine Arguments, P. 48.
  • Chap. III. Of the Creation of the world, and all things therein, P. 70.
  • Chap. IV. Of the Creation of Man, P. 73.
  • Chap. V. Of the Angels, and of their Creation, P. 85.
  • Chap. VI. Of the Devil and wick­ed Angels, P. 99.
  • [Page]Chap. VII. Of the Fall of Man from his Created Innocency, P. 107.
  • Chap. VIII. Of the way and means ordained of God for the recovery of Man out of his faln Estate, P. 113.
  • Chap. IX. Of the design of God in general, in his New Covenant Restauration, which was to make all things New, P. 123.
  • Chap. X. Of the order and method of God in preparing a people for his glorious Estate, pag. 133. and followeth in rest of the chapters.
  • Chap. XI. Of Faith, 1. what it is. 2. how its wrought. 3. its grounds and objects. 4. its excellency. p. 139
  • Chap. XII. Of Repentance, P. 149
  • Chap. XIII. Treateth of Justifi­cation, P. 163.
  • Chap. XIV. Is a more distinct di­scourse [Page] of Justification by Faith, which answers to several que­stions and objections about the Matter, P. 180.
  • Chap. XV. Of Gospel assurance, and whether it may be attained in this life, P. 209.
  • Chap. XVI. A further Discovery of the New-Covenant, and Life of Faith, P. 248.
  • Chap. XVII. Of Sanctification and good works, P. 253.
  • Chap. XVIII. Of the true and sa­ving knowledge of God, P. 270.
  • Chap. XIX. Of the Divine Vertue and grace of Love, P. 293.
  • Chap. XX. Of the Gospel fear of God, P. 324.
  • Chap. XXI. Of the Law of God, and what we are to understand thereby, P. 341.
  • Chap. XXII. Of Prayer, P. 364.
  • [Page]Chap. XXIII. Of Perfection, and whether it may be attained in this life, P. 406.
  • Chap. XXIV. Of Sincerity. p. 421.
  • Chap. XXV. Of Election, p. 441.
  • Chap. XXVI. Of Reprobation, p. 451.
  • Chap. XXVII. Of the Church of Christ in the New-covenant, p. 457.
  • Chap. XXVIII. Of the Ordinan­ces, Officers, and Administrations in the Church of Christ, p. 464.
  • Chap. XXIX. That the Estate of the Church in this world is an Afflicted Estate. p. 499.
  • Chap. XXX. Of Death, and the State after Death; of the Resur­rection and Judgment. p. 531.
  • Chap. XXXI. Of the Coming, Kingdom, and Reign of Christ on Earth. p. 548.

CHAP. I. CONCERNING GOD.
1. That He is. 2. What He is. 3. How He doth subsist. 4. Where he is.

1. THat God is, or that there1 That God is, or that there is a God. is a God, i. e. an infi­nite self-Being, that hath given Being to all things, &c. is necessary to be believed of all▪ and is the first step of Faith in order to Salvation, Heb. 11. 6. He that cometh to God, must believe that He is▪ and that He is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Now, though it be a common received Principle that God is, yet in as much as it's evident▪ according to the Scripture, That the Fool hath said in his heart, that there is no God, Psal. 14. 1. And that the transgression of the Wicked saith, within my heart, that there is no fear of God before [Page 2] his eyes, Psal. 36. 1. And oft-times gracious Souls, through their own weakness, and Sa­tans wiles, meet with temptations on this ac­count; I shall therefore speak something to this so necessary a truth; the grounds I shall present for evidencing this so great and sa­cred a principle of truth▪ are as followeth.

1. The Word of God, the Scriptures of Truth,Proof. 1. The Scripture The word of God. in the substance of them, is▪ to hold forth this one God, or Invisible, Creating, Upholding, and Preserving Power, Gen. 1. 1. In the Be­ginning, God Created the Heaven and the Earth, v. 6. God said, let there be a Firma­ment, &c. and so throughout the Chapter, and indeed throughout the Bible. I shall mention but a few instances in the name of the whole, Gen. 6. 5. God saw the Wicked­ness of man, &c. v. 6. I [...] R [...]pented the Lord, that he had made man, &c. v. 11. The Earth was corrupt before God, see ver. 12. 13. Exod. 20. 1, 2. And God spake all these words say­ing, I am the Lord thy God, &c. Psal. 29. 1, 2. Give unto the Lord, O ye mighty▪ give unto the Lord Glory and Strength; give unto the Lord the Glory of his Name, Psal. 82. 1. God standeth in the Congregation of the Mighty, &c. Joh. 1. 1. In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, &c: Let this serve among the multitude of Scripture-Testimonies to prove that God is.

A second Testimony, is the Works of2. The works of God. God, which do abundantly declare and Preach forth the Divine Being, and Omnipo­tent [Page 3] Power and Wisdom of this Divine, though Invisible Creator of all things; for Reason will tell us, that none of these things could give Being to, or Create themselves. Man, who is the most Intelligible and Ratio­nal Creature here below, was so far from creating himself, that let all the Wisdom of all the men in the World be conjunct in uni­ty, they are not able to Create, or give Be­ing to the basest of Creatures, no, not a Fly, or Worm; Its true, the Image, or likenessMan mad [...] not himself. of Creatures they can make, of matter that was made before, by the Creator, but nothing can they Create, nor put life into their Image which they have formed; it is the work of a God, and not of man, to Create and give life.

If it be Objected (as by some it is) that allThings come not by Nature [...] things came by Nature, I Answer, that al­though there is a natural and secondary cause of things, ordinarily producing such effects, almost in all cases; yet there is the God of Nature, which is the cause of all se­condary causes, & gave the fi [...]st Being there­unto; he was the immediate cause of the Creation, and the only foundation▪ cause of the continuation and promulgation of the World, by Divine Ordina [...], and Divine Power; for Nature of it self (distinct, or, separated from Divine Ordinance and Po­wer) is nothing, but must fall into nihilation and the first nothing, if not supported by the God of Nature; so that, as at first, God made all things by his Word immediatly, so [Page 4] by his Divine Ordinance and Word of Po­wer, he continueth all things in that way of natural meanes by himself appointed, as Pro­creation, Food, Cloathing, &c. So the Earth to bring forth Food both for Man and Beast; the Sun, Moon, and Stars, with their influences, &c. As God was the former of all (the contrary is Atheistical and Brutish to imagine) they did not, could not make them­selves, nor influence themselves with power to effect any thing as of themselves, no more than Create themselves; but what is effected in this way, must be by Divine Ordinance and Power, according to the Scripture, Gen. 1. 14. to 18. v. 28. Job. 38, 39. chap.

So that indeed the works of God do wonderfully declare that God is, and not only that he is, but that he is an infinite, Om­nipotent one. See what the Scripture speaks to this purpose, Psal. 19 1. The Heavens declare the glory of God, and the Firmament sheweth his handy-work, v. 3. There is no speech nor language, where their voyce is not heard, Rom. 1. 19, 20. That which may be known of God, is manifest in them (i. e. in the Gentiles) for God hath shewed it to them, for, the invisible things of him, from the Crea­tion of the World, are clearly seen, being under­stood by the things that are made, even his eternal Power and God-head, so that they are without excuse, i. e. The works of Creation that are visible, do convincingly and unde­nyably shew to men the invisible God in his Being, Power, and Wisdom, and on this ac­count [Page 5] all men will be left without excuse in the great day of account, Rom. 2. 12. For as many as have sinned without Law, shall perish without Law; that is, as many as have sinned without the written Word of God, Law, or Gospel, having the Law of the Creation, shall be Judged, and perish by that, for that shall leave them without ex­cuse: So that the very Works of God in Creatio [...], are sufficient in themselves to con­vince the World of his Divine Power and God-head, and will sink the hearts of all A­theists in the day of Judgment.

3. The Faith of the people of God3. The people of God have still own­ed, and believed that God i [...]. throughout all ages, i. e. those that from principles of Reason, have been most likely to be his people, the most humble, holy, self­denying people, have through-out all ages, and still do, own, believe, trust in, and ac­knowledg this invisible glorious God; this both Scripture, History, and Experience do testifie, Gen. 4. 3, 4. & 5. 24. & 6. 9. & 12. 1, 4. & 24. 3. in things of this kind I might abound, but it is enough; all the holy ones of God, throughout all ages, both of Old and New Testament, and to this day have fixed here, to own the Lord to be their God, to believe, trust in, and worship him, according to his Name and Nature; and this both History and Experience declare, that all professing honesty and Conscience, have, and do cleave to this one invisible Being as their chiefest good, from whence they have their Being, and by whom they are sustain­ed, [Page 6] and to whom they acknowledg as due, their all, and who is all in all to them; a wonderful convincing argument to support any man of Conscience under temptation in this matter, to consider, that all professing Conscience & Holiness have believed in and owned this God, and may serve to help and deliver Souls from their Atheistical tēptations

4. All the World by the works of Crea­tion,4 [...] All Nations b [...]lieve that there is a God. and the natural capacity as rational, are convinced, and do acknowledg that there is a God; although its true that they are greatly corrupted and blinded in their understand­ing, and knowing of the true God; because as the Apostle hath it, Rom. 1. 21. That when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, i. e. being convinced by the works of Crea­tion, that there was a Divine invisible Power and Being, that made both it and them, they glorified not him, but made Images like to corruptible man, &c. Yet so it is, and re­mains in the dark minds of men by Nature, and cannot be razed out, that there is a God, though they form Gods to themselves, ac­cording to their vain imaginations; and the truth is, that Atheists must be found, (if any where) amongst debauched, apostatised, or pretended Christians: though I deny not, but that gracious souls may sometimes meet with this temptation, (though to their great grief) which Heathens do abandon; who although they retain not the knowledg of the true God, yet a Deity they own, Jona. 1. [...]. In their fear, they cryed every one to his [Page 7] God, and Nineveh acknowledged the true God, Jona. 3 8. So Nebuchadnezer, Dan. 3. 28. and Darius, chap. 6. 25, 26, 27. So that God is, is a truth universally acknowledged, and that in him we live, move, and have our Being, acknowledged by certain of the Hea­then Poets, Act. 17. 28.

And as its necessary for every one to beThere is but one God. established in this truth, that there is a God, so likewise that there is but one God, and not a plurality of Gods; as the blind Idolatrous Heathen imagine, although in this one God there is a plurality of Titles, and varieties of discoveries, properties, and operations; yet I dare not say of persons, or distinct sub­sistings (as I may speak more unto in its place) yet to us there is no other God but one, Deut. 6. 4. Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. Eph. 4. 5, 6. To us there is one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all, &c and only one, that, is one and no more, Isa. 43. 10, 11. Before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me; I, even I am the Lord, and be­sides me there is no Saviour, chap. 45. 5. I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God besides me, chap. 44 8. Is there a God besides me, yea, there is no God, I know not a­ny. So that though there are, that are called Gods, many, yet to us there is but one God, &c. 1 Cor. 8. 5, 6. And who amongst all that are called Gods, are like unto him, Mic. 7. [...]8.

2. What this God is, and truly he is a2. What God is. mystery; and if his people tremble at his Word, how much more ought we to have trembling thoughts of his unsearchable Be­ing, and in this he is an invisible mystery, such a one whom no man hath seen, nor can see; but in thinking and speaking of him, we must think and speak of him as he hath discovered himself unto us in his Word, and by his Works, and the secret teachings of himself thereby.

1. What he is in his Nature and Essential1. What God is in his Na­ture and Essence. Being. 1. He is a Spirit, Joh. 4. 24. God is a Spirit, &c. 2. A holy Spirit, Lev. 19. 2. I the Lord your God am Holy, and chap. 20. 26. I the Lord am Holy, Psal. 22. 3. But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel, Psal. 99. 5. 6. Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his holy Hill, for the Lord our God is holy, He is most holy 1. Sam. 2 2. There is none holy as the Lord, &c.

3. He is in himself an infinite, unsearcha­ble, incomprehensible, eternal, and glorious spirit, who is in, and of himself, and gives Being to all things; therein is he differenced from all Created Spirits and Powers, whether of Angels or men. First, in that he is infi­nite and incomprehensible in his whole name. 2. In his Eternity. 3. In his Power and Wisdom in Creating and upholding all things by the Word of his Power.

2. What he is in his Name and Attributes,2. What he is in his Name and Attri­butes. which are many, and all thereby to make himself known to his people, that they might [Page 9] learn to fear before him, believe, love, obey him, and trust in him; as First, His Power and1. His Power. Allsufficiency, he hath let us to know that he is an Almighty One; Gen. 17. 1. He saith to Abraham (that not only Abraham himself, but all his Children might know it, and be encouraged) I am God Almighty, or Al­sufficient; walk before me, and be upright▪ Psal. 62. 11. God hath spoken once, twice have I heard this, that Power belongeth to God; hence he is called the Almighty, Psal. 68. 14. When the Almighty scattered Kings, &c. Psal. 91. 1. He that dwelleth in the secret of the most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 1 Cor. 6. 18. Rev. 1. 8. and this the Prophet David wonderfully de­scribes in his Thanksgiving, 1 Chron. 29. 11, 12. Thine O Lord is the Greatness, and the Power, and the Glory, and the Victory, and the Majesty, for all that is in the Hea­ven and in the Earth is thine, thine is the Kingdom O Lord, and thou a [...]t exalted as Head above all; both Riches and Honour come of Thee, and thou Reignest over all, and in thine hand is Power and Might, and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all: A great Comfort it is unto Christians that they have such a great Al­mighty, and All-sufficient God, able to do for them what-ever they need; they may say as 2 Sam. 22. 33. God is my Strength and Power, he maketh my way perfect, and as Psal. 118. 6. The Lord is on my side, I will not fear what man can do unto me? and that [Page 10] because this God is our God for ever and ever, he will be our guide unto death, and let it si­lence and still wicked men for ever. Woe to them that God is such an Almighty one, able to deal with, and bring down all his, and his Churches Enemies, Ezra 8. 22. The hand of our God is upon all them that seek him for good, but his Power and his Wrath is a­gainst all them that forsake him, Psal. 66. 7. He ruleth by his Power for ever, his eyes be­hold the Nations, let not the Rebellious ex­alt themselves.

2. He is Omniscient as well as Omnipo­tent;2. His Wisdom. he is most Wise, see both Psal. 147. 5. Great is our Lord, and of great Power, his Ʋnderstanding is Infinite, Isa. 40. 28. There is no searching of his Ʋnderstanding; we may and must say as Psal. 104. 24. O Lord how manifold are thy Works! in Wisdome hast thou made them all; all Wisdom, and Counsel, and Strength is in him, Prov. 8. 14. Coun­sel is mine, and sound Wisdome, I am Ʋnder­standing, I have Strength; comfort for Christians, that their God is such a God of Wisdom and Counsel, he knows how to de­liver his people in time of need, 2 Pet. 2. 9. The Lord knoweth how to deliver the Godly out of temptation, and to reserve the unjust un­to the day of Judgment to be punished, and this Wisdom is all in Christ, and for his people; Who of God is made unto us Wisdom and Righ­teousness; &c. he is Wisdom to us, and Wisdom in us; he giveth Wisdom to his peo­ple, Prov. 2. 6, 7. for the Lord giveth Wis­dom, [Page 11] out of his mouth cometh Knowledg and Ʋnderstanding, he layeth up sound Wisdome for the Righteous, &c. see chap. 3. 13. & 2. 3, 4, 5. & 81. 3. In a word, God is Infinite in his Wisdom, and his Wisdom is exercised for, and in behalf of his Church, especially on the New-Covenant account, in the Gospel of Salvation by Jesus Christ, which is called the manifold Wisdom of God, and exercised in all his works and wayes.

3. He is a Holy God, Infinite in Purity,3. He is a Holy God. perfectly holy, such a one, with whom Ini­quity can have no fellowship, for God is Light, and in him is no Darkness at all, 1. Joh. 1. 5. therefore, let no man say when he is tempted, that he is tempted of God, for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man, Jam. 1. 13. No, he is a Holy God, most Holy, infinite in Holiness, Isa. 6. 3. the Seraphims cryed one to another, and said, Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of Hosts, the whole Earth is full of his Glory; and this holy name in this Scripture is attri­buted unto Christ, who was to fill the Earth with the Glory of the New-Covenant Grace, Joh. 12. 41. These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory and spake of him, i. e. of Christ, as is evident, a holy God, and a holy Lord Jesus, and he will have a holy People, or none, 1 Pet. 1. 15, 16. As he that hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of Conversation; because it is written, be ye holy, for I am holy. Gods holiness should engage his People to holiness, to prize it, and press [Page 12] after it; for, Holiness becometh the House of the Lord for ever, Psal. 93. 5.

O blessed Consolation for all New-Cove­nant-spirited holy Ones! their God is holy, & loveth holiness, & owneth all that are Created after him, in Righteousness and true Holiness; and will own them in the day of need, when it will be worth a world to be owned by him, Mal 3. 17. though they are hated of the unholy and profane world, and though they mourn in the sence of their own unholiness, knowing that in themselves, i. e. in their flesh dwelleth no good thing, yet God owns them, and will own them when it will be worth more than the world to be owned by him.

But Woe to the Wicked, that God is a holy God, and loves holiness; Woe to those that establish iniquity by a Law, God will have no fellowship with them, Psal. 94 20. Shall the Throne of Iniquity have fellowship with thee, who frameth mischief by a Law, Isa. 3. 12. Woe unto the Wicked, it shall be ill with him, for the Reward of his hands shall be given him; God is a holy God, and Holy and Reverend is his Name, Psal. 111. 9. His Name is Holy, Isa. 57. 15. his whole name, holy in all his Attributes, holy in his Power, holy in his Wisdom, in his Justice and Mer­cy, &c. it's all exercised in a way of holiness, holy in all his Ministrations: in a word, he is as Psal. 145. 17. Righteous in all his ways, and Holy in all his works; so that, as there is not, nor can be any unholiness in him, so there shall no unholy person dwell with [Page 13] him; for without holiness, no man shall see the Lord. Heb. 12. 14. and Rev. 21. 27 There shall in no wise, enter into it, any thing that de­fileth, &c. see chap. 22. 15.

4ly. He is a Just and Righteous God, and4. He is a Just & Righte­ous God. his Justice and Righteousness runs through all his Name, he exerciseth his Power, and Wisdom, and Judgments, and Mercy, all in a way of Justice and Righteousness, Zep. 3. 5. The just Lord is in the midst thereof, he will not do Iniquity, &c. He cannot do Ini­quity, its contrary to his Nature, to his Name, Deut. 32. 4. His work is perfect, for all his ways are Judgment; a God of Truth, and without Iniquity, just and right is he; he is just in all the Judgments he execut­eth upon his Enemies, Rev. 15. 3, 4. Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Al­mighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of Saints: v. 4. explains what is meant by the just ways of the Lord, i. e. his just Judg­ments on his Enemies, for thy Judgments are made manifest. He is just in all the afflictions and corrections he exerciseth his own people withal, Neh. 9 33. howbeit thou art just in all that is brought upon us, for thou hast done right, but we have do [...]e wickedly.

He hath exalted his New-Covenant mer­cy in the way of Justice, for there must be no variance in his Name or Nature, but his mercy must come to us in the way of Judg­ment and Justice; his justice must be satis­fied, & so his mercy comes forth in the salvati­on of Sinners, here he is called a just God & a [Page 14] Saviour, Isa. 45. 21. Just, and yet a Saviour, Zec. 9. 9. He is Just, having Salvation, Rom. 3. 26. that he might be Just, and the Justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. 1 Joh. 1. 9. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, &c. Mercy might not come forth with any wrong to Justice, neither shall Justice do any wrong to Mercy, but fall in with it, and be as truly for the right objects, or subjects of mercy, as mercy it self, Psal. 85. 10. Mercy and Truth are met together, Righteousness and Peace have kissed each other.

5. He is a gracious and merciful God, it5. He is a gracious & merci­ful God, is his Name, his Nature, to shew mercy to men, Exod. 34. 6. When the Lord proclaims his Name to Moses, he proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God merciful and gracious, long-suf­fering, and abundant in goodness and truth, &c. Mic. 7. 18. Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth Iniquity, and passeth by the trans­gression of his heritage, because he delighteth in mercy, to shew mercy, and to do good to sin­ners is his delight; he is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works, he maketh the Sun to arise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. God so loved the World, that he sent his only begot­ten Son into the world, that whosoever believeth on him, should not perish, but have everlasting life, Joh. 3. 16. Jesus Christ by the grace of God did taste death for every man, Heb. 2. 9.

It is wonderful mercy and goodness to men, that God should find a way to satisfie his Justice so far for Sinners, that mercy and remission of sins should be proclaimed to sin­ners on the terms of the New Covenant, i. e. Repentance, Faith, and Obedience; Peace on Earth, and good will towards men: He would have all the world to know that he is a mer­ciful God, and therefore the glad tidings is to be published to every Creature, but its the priviledg of his own people, true Belie­vers, to have a special interest therein, they are the people of his mercy, and to them his mercy hath, and doth abound, Eph. 2. 4. But God who is rich in mercy, for his great love, wherewith he loved us, when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, &c. Tit. 3, 4. but after the love and kindness of God our Saviour to man appeared, not by works of Righteousness that we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of Regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit; so that this glorious at­tribute and name of God in our Lord Jesus unto salvation, is now manifested with a witness, to, and for the salvation of his pecu­liar ones; he hath wrought them to it, and possessed them of it, Rom. 5. 5. and here they are looking for the mercy of our Lord Je­sus unto eternal life: This attribute of God; which is his Name and Nature, is full of en­couragement to poor Sinners to come in and accept of mercy in this day of mercy, and not to judg themselves unworthy of life, by [Page 16] putting it from them, 2 Cor. 6. 2. Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of Salvation, Isa. 55. 6, 7. Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near, let the Wicked forsake his way, and the Ʋnrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Its full of Consolation to gracious souls, that God is a God of mercy, its his Name, his Nature, he delighteth to be gracious in, and for the sake of the Son of his love: com­fort in respect of sin, he is ready to pardon; if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, &c. he that confesseth and forsaketh shall sind mercy.

Comfort in respect of Enemies in the midst of all their oppressions and wrongs, the mercy of God is their support in the midst of all their oppression, Psal. 52. 1. Why boastest thou thy self in mischief thou mighty man, the goodness of God endureth al­ways; and likewise the Prophet implores mercy in all his distresses, Psal. 56, 1. & 57. 1. This glorious Attribute of goodness and mercy in God, will prove dreadful in the end to impenitent sinners, who still per­sist in sin, and will not accept of mercy on the terms it is to be had, when they shall give an account for the abuse of mercy, and be everlastingly tormented in the thoughts and remembrance of their folly and madness therein, Rom. 2. 4. or despisest thou the riches [Page 17] of his goodness, and forbearance, and long-suffe­ring, not knowing that the Goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance, v. 5. but after thy hardness and impenitent heart t [...]easurest up unto thy self wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous Judgment of God. 6. He is a faithful, covenant-keeping God.

The sixth Attribute of Gods Name, is, his Faithfulness; He is a faithful God, Deut. 7. 9. Know therefore the Lord thy God is a faithful God, which keepeth Covenant and mer­cy with them that love him and keep his Com­mandments, to a thousand Generations, i. e. for ever. His Faithfulness shall never fail; for he is truth it self, and cannot lye, Tit. 1. 2. In hope of eternal life, which, God that can­not lye, promised before the World began.

God cannot lye, it's contrary to his Name and Nature, therefore he cannot do it; for he can do nothing contrary to himself, and he would have his people know it, that they might build their Faith and Comfort in his Faithfulness, 1 Cor. 1. 9. God is faithful, by whom ye are called to the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord: ch. 10. 13. God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, &c. Heb. 10. 23. Let us hold fast the Profession of our Faith, without wavering; for he is faithful that promised. In all which Scriptures, with many more that might be mentioned, it's more than evident, that God delights to have his people know that he is faithful, and to believe the truth thereof; that is it, I understand, is intended, Ps. [Page 18] 138. 2. I will worship toward thine holy Tem­ple, and praise thy Name for thy loving kind­ness and thy truth; for thou hast magnified thy Word above all thy Name: that is, thy truth and faithfulness in performing thy Word: though all his Name be magnified, and is glorious; yet this of his Truth and Faithfulness he puts an emphasis upon it, and an excellency, as if God would have more re­spect to his faithfulness in his Word than to all his Name: not that there is any difference in respect of himself, but for the comfort of his people, who are most ready to fail in their Faith, in his faithfulness in his Word; therefore, to confirm his people in this mat­ter, he lets them to know, that he hath mag­nified his Word above all his Name, i. e. whatever of his Name may, (be supposed to fail) yet his Faithfulness in his Word shall ne­ver fail, Psal. 89. 33. to confirm us in his Faithfulness in his Word, he hath given us his Word and his Oath, two immutable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, Heb. 6. 17. 18. if God should be unfaithful in his Word, he must cease to be God, it must de­stroy him in his Name and Being; and that is it he hath laid so much stress on our Faith and Believing, which lieth chiefly in our believing the Truth of God in his Word, and living up unto it, he that believeth not must be damned; because not believing we do in our part make him a Lyar, Joh. 3. 33. He that hath received (i. e. believed) his Testi­mony hath set to his Seal that God is true, 1 [Page 19] Joh. 5. 10. He that believeth not God hath made him a Lyar, &c. no wonder if unbe­lief be the Portion of Unbelievers; for they thereby do their part to make the faithful and true God a Lyar. This was the Faith of Abraham our Father, Rom. 4. 3. Abraham believed God, and it was acco [...]ed to him for Righteousness: and indeed all the parts of Faith are included in this, of believing God, relating to Justification, Obedience, and Glory; if we believe the Truth of the Doctrine of Justification and Life by Jesus, we believe likewise the Lordship and the Law of Christ, and cleave to him there­in, which is our Justification, or rather the terms of the Gospel, on which God doth justifie us: and finding those Terms or Divine Virtues of Faith, &c. wrought in us, we hence conclude (from the Promise of Life to those in whom it is wrought) our interest therein; and thus our interest in Life is built on Gods Faithfulness in his Word; for God would not have his peo­ple to conclude their interest in his Grace of Life from fancy and imagination, but from his Promise of Life; for whatever Faith we pretend unto, if it be not groun­ded on the Word of God and his Faithful­nessƲse of God's Faithful­ness. 1. Encou­ragement 2. Com­f [...]rt. therein, it is but Fancy and not Faith.

This Doctrine of the Faithfulness of God affords not only great encouragement to believe God in his Word, but likewise strong Consolation to all true Believers, Hebr. 6. 17, 18. Wherein God willing more abundant­ly [Page 20] to shew unto the Heirs of Promise, the im­mutability of his Counsel co [...]firmed it by an Oath, that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to the hope set before us &c. the strong Conso­lation of the Saints flows from the impossibi­lity of God to lie, i. e. from the infallibility of his Truth and Faithfulness: God must lie if those who believe and ob [...]y the Gospel be not saved, which is impossible: and from hence it is, that the Saints have not only grounds of strong Consolation, but like­wise of everlasting Consolation and good [...]ope through Grace, 2 Th [...]ss. 2. 16.

But Secondly, on the contrary, Gods2. Dread to wicked men who continue in sin. Faithfulness is a dreadful Doctrine to all im­penitent and hardned sinners; it infallibly cuts them off from all hope of mercy, and binds them over to the eternal Judgment. It's a common thing with unrepenting sinners, to say, they hope to be saved, yet keep their sins and lusts, and never repent and turn to the Lord, nor in truth believe according to the Gospel; for true Faith is always accompanied with Repentance and Obedience: To such, I must say, it's impossible for them to be saved, living and dying in an unconverted estate: Damnation to such is as certain as Salvation is to such as believe and obey the Truth: they hope for impossibilities, God hath said, that he that believeth not shall be damned, and sworn that such shall never enter into his rest. God must be unfaithful, if wicked and un­godly [Page 21] men be saved, who so live and die without Repentance; and not only so, but the Faithfulness of God binds them over to all the Plagues and Judgments threatned in the Book of God: a dreadful word for all impenitent sinners and hypocrites, and might serve to [...]right them out of that dread­ful estate.

7. And finally, all the Names and Titles7. And fi­nally, all th [...] [...]ules g [...]v [...] to God in Scriptu [...]e are signi­ficant. given to God in Scripture are significant, and serve to discover his Nature and Being to us; as El, God, denotes him to be a strong Lord, a creating, preserving, ruling, governing Power, Jehovah, an eternal Self-Being; and gives Being to all things, especi­ally to his Promises, in fulfilling them, Exod. 6. 3. I appeared to Abraham, and to Isaac, and to Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name Jehovah was I not known: i. e. he appeared to them a God, making Pro­mises, but now a God fulfilling Promises, which his Name Jehovah imports: and as he was then Jehovah, a God fulfilling all the Promises made to Abraham, &c. relating to the old Covenant, and bringing them in­to the Land of Canaan, see Jos. 21, 44, 45. and 23. 14, 15. so he is Jehovah still, and will as certainly perform all the Promises of the New Covenant to his spiritual Israel, i. e. all that believe and obey the Gospel, both of Jews and Gentiles, Rom. 2. 10. Glory, Honour and Peace to every one that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: and this our glorious God is in all, both in [Page 22] Name and Nature, gloriously infinite, and infinitely glorious and eternal, Exod. 15. 6. The right hand of the Lord is become glorious in power, the right hand of the Lord hath dashed in pieces the enemy, &c. v. 11. Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the Gods? who is lik [...] unto thee, glorious in holiness, fear­ful in praises, d [...]ing wonders? Deut. 33. 27. the Eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms, &c. Jer. 10. 10. but the Lord is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting King, &c. Ps. 90 2. before the M [...]untains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the Earth and the World, even from everlasting thou art God.

3. How this one God subsisteth, as he subsisteth in and of himself, and is an infi­nite, eternal, glorious Self-being, invisible and incomprehensible.

So in the Scriptures of Truth, the Father, [...] Son (or Word) and Spirit is declared to be this one God, so that this one God subsisteth in three, Father, Son and holy Spirit, and these there are one, each of the three is God, and yet three is but one God.

1. The Father is God, Rom. 15 6. That 1 The Fa­ther is God. ye may with one Mind and one Mouth glorifie God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Cor. 8. 6. But to us there is but one God the Father▪ of whom are all things, and Eph. 4. 6. One God the Father of all.

2. The Son is God, Psal. 45, 6▪ with2 The s [...]n is G [...]d. Heb. 1. 8. But unto the Son, he saith, thy Throne▪ O God, is for ever and ever, a Scepter [Page 23] of Righteousness is the Scepter of thy King­dom, &c. Heb. 1. 10. from Psal. 102. 25. And thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the Earth, and the Heavens are the work of thine hands, &c. John 1. 1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God▪ [...]nd the Word was God. Isa. 6. 3. The S [...]r [...]phims cryed one to another, and said, holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts, &c. and it was Jesus Christ the Son of God they cryed out unto, and called him the Lord of Hosts, and that the whole Earth was full of his glory. John 12. 41. These things said Esaias when he saw his glory and spake of him: It is he who is over all God blessed for ever, Amen. Rom. 9. 5. This is the true God and eternal Life, 1 John 5. 20

3. The Holy Spirit is God, Act. 5. 3.3 The ho­ly spirit is God. Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lye to the holy Spirit? v. 4. Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And the Lord states all Wor­ship to be performed in this Name, as the Name of the only true God; Mat. 28. 19. go ye therefore and Disciple all Nations bapti­sing them in the Name of the Father, and [...]on, and of the Holy Spirit, i. e. in the au­t [...]ority of that Name, the great Name of God.

But I shall endeavour to speak more2 A more distinct speaking t [...] th [...]s mystery. largely and distinctly of this unsearchable Mystery, though in this imperfect state we never can attain the perfection of Knowledg herein, but rather believe the truth that it is, than understand how it is. I fear that [Page 24] many have been too boldly curious and confident in this matter, which is in it self an unsearchable mystery: the Apostles, by whom (as instruments) it's revealed to us, conten­ted themselves in the revelation thereof, not curiously enquiring into the mystery it self, but concludes it to be a mystery, 1 Tit. 3. 16, And without controversie great is the mystery of Godl [...]ness, God manifested in the flesh, &c. and the Apostle prayeth for the Saints, that they might come to the acknow­ledging of the mystery of God, even the Father; and of Christ: but we think it scarce enough for the Saints to acknowledg and believe this mystery, but must come to know how it is, and it may be by human distinctions so dar­ken it, that not one of a hundred among be­lievers can understand; and some because they cannot by reason understand it, deny it, and so lose themselves, in the loss of Faith in the knowledg of God, according to his own discoveries in the Word of his Grace.

That the Father is God, and the Son is God, and the holy Spirit is God, is evident from the Scriptures beforementioned, and might be evinced by many more; and with­out all arguments the Scripture alone is the ground of our Faith, and that all three must be included in the unity of the Divine Na­ture is as clear, and that not only;1 Three in one prov'd by infal­lible con­sequence.

1. By infallible deduction and necess [...]ry consequence from the Scripture which lets us know that there is none other God but [Page 25] one, then we must rationally and religiously conclude, that those three are all included in this unity of Divine Essence, and is this one God, or else neces [...]a [...]ily must own a plurali­ty of Gods, which is destructive to that unity in Essence.

2. The Unity in Essence in these three is2 Proved in their unity in Creation, Preser­vation & Redemp­tion. proved, in their unity in the Work, both of Creation, Preservation and Redemption: hence the work of Creation is sometimes at­tributed to the Father, sometimes to the Son, and sometimes to the holy Spirit.

1. Sometimes to the Father, Heb. 1. 2.1 Creation Attribu­ted to the Father. By whom he also made the Worlds (He) that is, God the Father made the Worlds, Eph. 3. 9 the mystery of the Gospel there spoken of, that was hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: here the Creation is attribu­ted to God the Father.

2. It is attributed unto the Son, Heb. 1.2 To the Son. 10. Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the Earth, and the Heavens are the work of thine hands, which the Apo­stle applied to Christ the Son of the Father, as is by the scope of the matter clearly discernable, Col. 1. 16. For by him (i. e.) Christ, were all things created, &c. Joh. 1. 3. All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

3. It's attributed to the Holy Spirit; in3 To the Holy spi­rit. the work of Creation it's said, Gen. 1. 2. The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the Waters. Psal. 104. 30. Thou sendest forth thy Spirit and they are created, &c. Job. 26. 13. [Page 26] By his Spirit he hath garnished the Heavens, &c. and ch. 33. 4. The Spirit of God hath made me, all which hold forth unity in the Divine Essence, from their unity in the Work, as we must unavoidably understand, unless we lose both Reason and Religion; that when the Creation is attributed to God, the one infinite glorious Being, it includes the whole three▪ Father, Son and Spirit, it being attributed to each of them apart, in­rallibly includes the unity of Essence, in the three, Father, Son & Spirit, & these three are one: and that the three are included in such Scriptures as these, wh [...]re one is spoken of, Act, 14 15: That you should turn from these vanities, un [...]o the living God that made Hea­ven and Earth, and the Sea and all things therein, ch. 17. 24. God that made the world and all things therein, &c. with multitudes of the like Scriptures which include the whole, as one in Essence and Work, though three in that unity, or else all three could not be said to create the World.

2. In Preservation and Redemption, God2 Pr [...]v [...]l in Preser­vation & Redemp­tion. the Father is said to preserve man and beast, Psal. 36. 6. and all things are said to consist by Jesus Christ, Col. 1. 17. God is frequent­ly in Scripture called our Saviour, and so is Jesus Christ, Tit. 3. 4, 6. and the holy Spi­rit had his operation, in this work of Salva­tion and Redemption, by, Jesus Christ cruci­fied, Heb, 9. 14. so that there was and is unity and concurrence in every work which proves them to be one God, or God [Page 27] to be one in three, Father, Son and Spi­rit.

3. The Unity in these three is discovered3 In their unity in the power of the Go­spel. in their unity in the power and authority of the Gospel, which is to be administred in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit, Mat. 28. 19. unity in power and authority declares unity in Es­sence and Nature; or unavoidably three Divine Beings.

I shall yet proceed to speak more distinct­lyA more distinct discovery. to this wonderful Mystery, and pray the Lord to do it humbly, soberly, tremblingly, and plainly, and according to the word of Truth, and I trust I shall not vary from the very plain terms and discoveries of God in the Gospel in this matter.

1. God the Father is in Scripture said toGod is said to be the father 1 as the original cause of all things: be the Father, and so distinguished, as seems plain by the Divine Revelation.

1. As he is the original cause of all things as a Father; 1 Cor 8. 6. To us there is one God the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him, Rom. 11. 39. For of him, and through him, and to him are all things, &c. Eph. 4. 6. One God the Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. And on this account he is the father of the whole Creation (as the first effectual cause of all) who are therefore said to be his Of­spring; Acts 17. 28, 29. For we are also 2 as ma­king pro­vision for all. his Of-spring, forasmuch as we are the Of spring of God.

2. He having, as a Father, brought forth [Page 28] a Creation, as his Of-spring, he taketh care of all, and maketh provision for all as his Of-spring, and as a Father. Psal. 145. 15, 16. The Eyes of all wait on thee, and thou gi­vest them meat in season; thou openest thine hand and satisfiest the desire of every living thing, Psal. 147 8, 9. Who covereth the Heaven with Clouds, and giveth to the Beast his food, and to the young Ravens that cry, Mat. 5 45. He maketh his Sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth Rain on the just and on the unjust: hence Christ teacheth us to pray to God as our Father for daily bread.

3. He is the Father in relation to his Son,3 He is the Fa­ther in relation to Christ, his Son. our Lord Jesus, Luke 1. 35. The holy Spi­rit shall come upon thee, and the power of the highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing, which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God. John 1. 14, 18. And the Word was made Flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his Glory, as the Glory of the only begotten Son of God, full of Grace and Truth, v. 18. No man hath seen God at any time (i. e. God the Father) the only Son which is in the bosom of the Fa­ther he hath declared him, Rom. 15 6. That you may with one mind and with one mouth glorifie God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: These with multitudes of Scriptures of like import, prove God to be the Father, as relative to Jesus Christ his Son.

4. And so in him he is the Father rela­tive [Page 29] on the New-Covenant account, of all4 In re­lation to his Chil­dren in him. his New Covenant-spirited people, i. e. true Believers espoused unto Jesus Christ his Son by Faith. Gal. 3. 26. For ye are all the Children of God by Faith in Jesus Christ: John 20. 17. Go to my Brethren, and say to them, I ascend to my Father and your Father, &c. Rom. 8. 16. 17. and thus he is the Fa­ther of the whole family in Heaven and Earth, Eph. 3. 14, 15. with ch. 2. 19.

5. And so in him he is the Father of all5 He is the Fa­ther of all our New Covenant-Mercy. our New Covenant-Mercy, relating both to Grace and Glory, 2 Cor. 1 3. Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Mercies and God of all Comfort, 2 Tit. 1 9. who hath saved us, and called us with an holy Calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and Grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus be­fore the World began. Tit. 3. 4 but after that the Love and Kindness of God our Saviour to­wards man appeared, &c. Eph. 1 17. that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ the Father of Glory. By all which it appears, that God is the Father, relative to all our New Cove­nant-mercies, relating both to Grace and Glory.

2. Of his Son our Lord Jesus Christ,2 How Christ is God, and the Son [...] God. who is likewise God of the same nature, not only God over all in Name, but in the Di­vine Nature, as before hath been proved, Joh. 1. 1: Col. 2. 9. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily: and is eter­nal, Mich: 5. 2. where it's said, that his go­ings [Page 30] out have been from of old, from ever­lasting.

Quest. How may we conceive of Christ as the Son of God, and so God in the same nature, distinguished from the Father, and yet one in the Father?Christ the Son of God in his both Na­tures: so not two sons but one.

Answ. 1. I understand, not a Son only in the divine nature, (but in the unity of na­tures as God and Man) as is commonly un­derstood; what doth this less than make him to be two Sons, one in the Divine Na­ture, and another in the Human Nature, by Grace of Union. 1. One begotten of the sub­stance of God by an unspeakable Generation, this is a Son by Nature. 2. The Man Christ, or the Manhood of Christ, which is the Son of God by Grace of personal Ʋnion, being united unseparably to the person of the Son of God, a Son by personal Ʋnion. (See Wilsons Scripture-Dictionary on the Word Son:) What doth this but suppose him to be two Sons, one by Nature, another by Grace and personal U­nion, which seems contrary to all Scripture-Record of this great Mystery of the Son of God.

But 2ly. and affirmatively, we are to un­derstand, that where-ever the Scripture speaks of Jesus Christ the Son of God, it intends him as in both Natures, not as two, but as one Son, whether it be in his crea­ting, preserving, ruling, judging, or saving redeeming power, it's always in relation to the Union of the two Natures, as God-Man and Man-God: so he was the Word, and [Page 31] so he was and is the Son of God, so not two, but one Son.

For the clearing this, consider first, thatProof 1. It is so to be under­stood in Scripture where ever Christ is spoken of in the Scrip­ture as the Son of God, and that relating to his Eternity, it is to be understood i [...] his both natures, as in time he was manifest in the Flesh: the Divine Nature was God e­ternally, the human considered in the eter­nal Council as in union, who calleth things that are not, as though they were; and with him it's all one, there is no new thing with him; but Christ the Son of God was so, and the same relating to the Father from eternity, as when manifest in time, and so should we understand him.

That he was thus considered in his both natures as the Son of God from eternity, see Col. 1. 15, 16. who is the Image of the invisible God, the first-born of every Creature: in this verse and in the verses before, [...]e is sp [...] ­ken of as God and Man; for so he was a Creature, a Son, a wonderful one▪ that God should become Man, and Man God, not by confusion or mixt [...]re of Natures, but by personal union of Natures, the first-born of every Creature in the eternal Council; and that because by him (as thus born) all things were created, Rev. 3. 14. he is said to be the beginning of the Creation of God: a wonderful Mystery it is indeed, that Jesus Christ should be considered as in his both Natures with the Father from all eternity, the Father by him manifesting his eternal [Page 32] Power and Godhead, in the Creation, and yet to be made of the seed of David according to the Flesh, when made visible in the world in time, Rom. 1. 3. Gal. 4. 4. thus was the Son of God considered as in his both Na­tures from eternity, and was the medium by which the Father did all his works, and without whom nothing was made that was made; nor probably had the invisible God manifested himself in the Creation of the world, but in this way by his Son; for by him he wrought all his Works. The truth hereof appears in that the work of Creation, and so of Redemption and Salva [...]ion, is not ascribed to the Son as the first mover there­in, but to the Father who did all by him: as will appear by these Scriptures, to which all others that ascribe the work of Creation to the Son may be referred for light in this matter, Fph. 3. 9. hath been hid in God who created all things by Jesus Christ. He was Jesus Christ as God-man, so considered in the work of Creation, Heb. 1. 2. by whom (i. e. by Christ his Son) he (i. e. God the Fa­ther) also made the worlds, 1 Cor. 8. 6. but to us there is but one God the Father, of whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him, Joh. 1. 3. all things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made; the Father did it by him, and not without him, Col. 1. 16. by him were all things created, &c. all things were made by him and for him: and Heb. 1. 10. we may very well under­stand [Page 33] by these Scriptures, and it no whit de­rogates from the Godhead and Glory of the Son of God, but it affords us Light in this wonderful Mystery, John 1. 1. In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God: Vers. 14. And the Word was made Flesh, and dwelt amongst us, &c. i. e. the same Word and Son of God, God-man, was made [...], viz. made in and of a Woman; born God and Man: Him by whom the Worlds were made, and no­thing was made without Him.

Further, Consider M [...]h 5 2. Out of thee shall He come forth unto M [...], that is to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings [...]rth have been from of old, from Everlasting: i. e. the same that was born in Bethlem of the Virgin, that was to be Ruler of Israel, He it was whose goings forth were from of old, [...] ­ing: And Vers. 4. He that was [...] rule, or feed in the Majesty of the Lord, was the same whose goings forth was from [...], &c. which was and is Jesus Christ in both Natures, God and Man in one Person. Jer. 23. 5, 6. Prov. 8. 14. to 31. The Son of God is the same Person, the same Wisdom, not1 Cor. [...]. 2 [...]. in one but in both Natures, compared with Mat. 11. 19. Psal. 45. 6, 7. Thy Throne, O God is for ever and ever, the Sc [...]ter of thy Kingdom is a right S [...]pter; Thou [...] ­teousness and hatest Wickedness, [...] God, even thy God hath [...] Oyl of Gladnes [...] above thy fellows. This is a [Page 34] high and glorious Description of the Son of God. yet in his both Natures, Man as well as God; as he was a [...]ted with the Oyl of Gladness above his f [...]ll [...]ws, as he was the Son of God. Heb. 1. 1. God hath in these last days spok [...]n to [...] by his Son; is it by the Di­vine Nature onely? surely I suppose none will say so; but in and by that Person which was and is his Son the Man Christ Jesus, that holy thing that was born of the Virgin,Luk. 1. 35. and called, The Son of God. Phil. 2. 6, 7, 8. It was the same He, that was in the form of God, and thought it no robbery to be equal with God, that was made in the form of a Servant, &c. Surely it was not the Divine Nature onely, that was not subject to death.

2. His Name Christ signifieth Anointed;2. His Name Christ im­ports b [...]h Natures. there is the Anointing, and the Anointed; the Divine Nature is the Anointing, the Humane Nature is the Anointed. And in­deed it's contrary to the Divine Revelation of this Mystery, to suppose a Christ or Son of God in one of the Natures onely, whe­ther the Divine or Humane: Look on the Humane without the Divine, so he would not be Anointed; or the Divine without the Humane, so it is the Anointing, not the A­nointed: It's a conception that in it self seems to un-Son him, and un-Christ him; let no man put that asunder which God hath joyned together, for as he was Christ the Anointed, so was he the Son of God, [Page 35] Mat. 16. 16. Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

3. Otherwise to understand it, and to3. Else he must be a Son di­ve [...]s man­ner of ways. suppose impossibilities in this, because it may seem so to our reason, seems to un-God the whole Trinity, in whom and with whom all things are possible, and all things by him declared we ought to believe. It seems to import that Christ is a Son in differing man­ner of ways; either two Sons, one by Na­ture, and another by Grace and Personal Union, or one manner of Son before time, and another manner in time; so making things to be various, changable, and new to God, as it is to us; and so Christs Huma­nity must be an addition to the Son of God; Whereas the Scripture presents us with one onely Son of the Father, God and Man, by whom he made the Worlds, and by whom it all consists, and by whom he will save the World, i. e. such as shall be saved, 1 John 4. 14. and by whom he will judge the world, Acts 17. 31. by whom it was the Fathers great and eternal Design to open and make known the Mystery of himself in his times, 1 Tim. 6. 15, 16. Even the same that was ye­sterday, and to day, and for ever; which can­not be true, if the Sonship of Christ was not the same to the Father at first, as it was at last: This seems to un-God him, and make him like to man, and not eternally the same.

So that this Truth thus considered, seems to contradict that common notion of Christs being the Son of the Father in the Divine Nature onely, by an Eternal Generation in the Godhead onely▪ which seems to be an unwarranted expression, and that which the Scripture (which is the Divine Revelation of all Truth) is unacquainted with, being rightly understood. Permitting the sence of it own language, it will appear that all those Scriptures that speak of the begetting of the Son of God, intends him as he was the Christ, the Son of the Father in the Uni­ty of Natures, and not in the Divine Na­ture onely. John 1. 14. It was the Word as made Flesh, that was the onely begotten Son of the Father, full of Grace and T [...]uth, be­gotten in the Eternal Counsel and Mind of the Father, 1 Pet. 2. 20. and in time, accor­ding to purpose, was wonderfully begotten in the Womb of the Virgin, Luk. 1. 31, 35.Gal. 4. 4. which must be understood in his whole Per­son God and Man, whole Christ.

Christ is said in Scripture to be the first-begotten, or first-born, on a three-fold ac­co [...]nt:Christ the Fi [...]t-Be­gott [...]n, fi [...] [...] up [...] a three fold acc [...]unt.

1. He is said to be the First-begotten, or First-born of every Creature, Col. 1. 15. Rev. 3. 1 [...]. and here he lieth at the bottom of the Creation, as all was made by him.

2. He is said to be the First-born among many Brethren, Rom. 8. 29. and here he is presented to us as lying at the bottom of [Page 37] Election, as the rest were elected in him, Ephes. 1. 4, 5.

3. He is said to be the First-begotten of the Dead, and so he lieth at the bottom of the Resurrection, Rev. 1. 5. 1 Cor. 15. 20, 21, 22. and to this doth the Apostle apply [...]sal. 2. 7. Thou a [...]t my Son, this Day have I begotten thee, Acts 13. 33.

But to finish this, I shall draw up the re­sult in this short Conclusion: [...]hat as the Son of God was promised to come forth, and did come forth in time, so was he con­sidered by and with the Father before time: But he was promised to come forth, and did come forth God and Man in time; There­fore he was so the Son of God before time, which hath been fully cleared; Yet I adde John 16. 30. & 17. 8. Isa. 9. 6. or else he was not yesterday, and to day the same for ever.

Further, As we are to understand him al­ways to be the Son of God in both Natures, so are we to understand him to be the Son of Man in both Natures. God-Man, as Man-God, God and Man in one Person, so that the Son of God is the Son of Man, and the Son of Man is the Son of God, Mat. 9. 6. That ye may know that the Son of Man hath power on [...]ar [...]h to forgive sins, John. 3. 13. Hence his Blood is called: The Blood of God, Acts 20. 28. And that God laid down his life for us, 1 John 3. 16. Yet the Divine and Humane Nature remaining distinct and unmixed, though in the Unity of Person, [Page 38] One Man, One Son, truly God, and truly Man; yet Relative Properties and Opera­tions distinct, as to the Divine and Humane Nature, at least in the time of his Humi­liation.

Thirdly, Touching the Divinity of the3 Touch­ing the Divinity of the ho­ly Spirit. Holy Spirit, that he is God, as I said before, he is of God, and is God: This is evident in the Scriptures: He is joyned in with the Father and the Son in the Work of Crea­tion, Gen. 1. 2. Job 26. 13. and 33. 4. in the work of Teaching, Prophesying, Convicting, Converting, it's all applied to the holy Spi­rit, John 14. 26. 1 Cor. 12. 7. to 11. John 16. 8.

The holy Scriptures declare the holy Spi­rit to be of God, and therefore God of the same Nature, and is the Efficacious Effect­ing Power of the Father and the Son, the Father is the Fountain and first Cause of all things, it's he of whom are all things; the Son is the Medium, or Arm by which it is effected, for whose sake it was done, and by whom it was done, by whom are all things: The holy Spirit is the Effecting Power, ac­complishing what he purposed in and by his Son, as the Way; hence the holy Spirit is called in Scripture, The hand of God, Job 26. 13. Psal. 139. 5, 10. Isa. 50. 2. and 59. 1. The finger of God, Exod. 8. 19. & 31. 18. Deut. 9. 10. Luk. 11. 20. with Mat. 12. 28. The Power of God, Luk. 1. 35. & 24. 49. with Act. 1 8. The breath of God, Ps. 33. 6. Job 33. 4.

And this is the Spirit of the Father and the Son, and is Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent, this Spirit is in the Fa­ther and the Son, and proceeds from the Fa­ther and the Son, John 14. 16, 17, 26. & 16. 7. and is the Convincing, Converting Power of God, the Teacher and Comforter of his People.

Whereas some say that the holy Spirit isThe opini­on that the holy Spirit is a Creature, confuted. a Creature, a glorious Created Spirit, and not God; there is no ground in Scripture for such an imagination, but its contrary to the Truth thereof.

The Reasons ordinarily rendred, are,

1. Because he is said in Scripture to be sent by the Father and the Son, therefore sub­ject to the Father and the Son; and must be a Creature, for greater is he that sends, than he that is sent.

I answer, He may be said to be sent of God, (and so is Christ the Son) and to be subject to the Father and the Son, yet one in the same Nature and Essence; his being in Office and Work subject, no whit dero­gates from his Divinity: All the Actions of a man follows the Understanding and Will, of which the Head and Heart is the seat; yet the Hand works what the Head and Heart directs unto; this argueth not that the hand is not essentially of the same body, because subject to the head, neither doth it argue inferiority (though subjection) in es­sence or substance, but in office and work. [Page 40] for every Member of the Body is of the same, though every Member hath not the same Office and Work, yet all are gover­ned by the Head and Heart, and shall be of the same in Glory to eternity. I mind this low comparison, which Reason can reach, to illustrate this high and divine My [...]ery by▪ of Father, Son and holy Spi­rit God may be, and is said to be, the Head, 1 Cor. 11. 3. and 3. 23. and the Son may be said to be the Heart of God, he th [...] [...] (and is) in the [...]som of the Father, John 1. 18. and came out from God, Joh. 1 [...]. 27, 28. the holy Spirit the Hand by which the Head and Heart worketh and accomplisheth all; as I minded before: yet all three in unity of Nature, Will and Work.

2 Reason, because it's said, he shall not speak of himself, &c. this shewes him not to be God.

Answ. This is not spoken by Christ to declare the Spirit not to be God, but to distinguish the Spirit of the Father and the Son from all false Spirits whether of Devils or Men that as the Father hath honored the Son, and will have all men to honour the Son, even as they honour the Father, Joh. 5. 23. so it is the Office and Work of the Spirit not to speak of himself, (or of the Father either) distinct and without the Son; but to be opening the Mystery of the Father and the Son, the good Will of the Father in the Son, to shew Jesus Christ un­to [Page 14] us; because he is the Way, the Truth and the Life, Joh. 14. 6. If our Teaching be of the Spirit of Christ, it opens Jesus Christ unto us, and the Mystery of the Love of God in him, the Pardon, Peace, the Life and Salvation which is in him, 1 Cor. 2. 12. Now we have received not the Spirit which is of the World, but the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given us of God: but false Spirits speak of themselves, and ex­alt themselves, and in something or other designedly derogates from Christ, and the Salvation that is by him.

In this Answer note these two things: 1. In that he speaks not of himself, but shews us the things of Jesus Christ, things to come, i. e. the Salvation to come, that is to be obtained by our Lord Jesus Christ with eternal Glory: it is so far from proving him not to be of God, that it indeed proves him to be God, and one in the same Work with the Father and the Son, to exalt the Son as the Father hath.

And 2ly. That he is in this, by our Lord, clearly discovered to us in way of distin­ction from all false Spirits, who exalt them­selves, and not the Son of God, and i [...] the special character, or discovery of the diffe­rence between the Spirit of God in its Workings and the Spirit of the World, the one exalts Christ our Lord and Savi­our, opens him and the Mysteries of Life [Page 42] by him, the other leaves him out, speaks of it self, and exalts its self without him, and this is indeed the Spirit which is not of God, or of Christ, what ever persons pretend unto in this false self-exalting and Christ-abasing Spirit.

3 Reason Because the Spirit is said to hear, to have a hearing property, what he shall hear that he shall speak, &c.

Answ. 1. Hearing in it self is no argument to prove the Spirit not to be God; for God in Scriprure is frequently said to hear, Ps. 65. 2. Jer. 8. 6.

2. Hearing in Scripture-sense imports Understanding, Mat. 13. 13, 14. so that by Hearing (in that saying of Christ) we are to understand, is meant, the Spirits Un­derstanding and Knowledg, of the depths of the Mysterys of Salvation that is by Jesus Christ, and to be opening that to the Saints, 1 Cor. 2. 10, 11, 12.

4. Because it is said, that the Spirit ma­keth intercession for the Saints according to the Will of God, therefore not God.

Answ. The word properly must be un­derstood, in us, Rom. 8. 26, 27. the scope of the matter explains its self, the Spirit helpeth our infirmities: this is the way of the Spirits intercession, by helping our infirmities, with sighs and groans which can­not be uttered rationally: this must be in us, and this sutes with the Scripture in this case, Jude v. 20. praying in the holy Spirit, [Page 43] so that the Spirits Intercession for us, or in and by us, is by helping our infirmities both in matter and manner, according to the Will of God, Zech. 12. 10. Christ our Mediator is our Intercessor for us, and the holy Spirit is our Intercessor in and by us, helping and assisting us to pray for such things as we need, and in such a manner as we ought, so that all those Titles given to the Spirit in the Scripture, and those Works ascribed to him relating to his Office and Work in the God-head, no whit derogates from his Union in the same Divine Na­ture, or eternal Existency in and with the Father and the Son.

That there is any personality in God, or three Persons in the Divine Essence is a Lan­guage I do not yet understand, is made use of in the Scriptures; therefore I avoid the terms, though I am not willing to que­stion, or doubt, but that those who use it (who are godly, and understand what they say) do it thereby to express the Truth of the Scripture-distinction in the Trinity, i. e. that there is Father, Son and Spirit in unity of Nature, and is but one God, the word Person being not at all, as I know, given either to the Father or holy Spirit, but to the Son, as God and Man in one Per­son.The truth of the Tri­nity pro­ved from the Old Testament

And this Truth, i. e. a plurality in one infinite and eternal God is clearly to be proved from the Old Testament, even [Page 44] from the Creation, and that probably in more clear and God-like Terms of Distin­ction, than Persons, which probably the Learned have avoided for some (at least supposed) good Reasons, on which account I shall at present say no more, onely present to those that understand, Gen. 1. 1. with vers. 26.

The sum of all is this, That God is One, Eternal, Infinite, Substantial Being, distin­guished into Father, Son and holy Spirit, and in all there are Divine and Distinct Re­lative Properties and Operations, yet in all no one wills, no one acts▪ without the other, Gen. 1. 1, 2, 26. Heb. 1. 2. Job 33. 4.

Thus have I given a brief Discovery ofThe Con­clusion. my little, little Apprehension in this great and wonderful Mystery of all Mysteries, whom rightly to know, is Life Eternal; a Mystery not too curiously to be pried into, but in the plain Demonstration of his own Word, and I am sure it will remain a My­stery still. This I believe is necessary for every Christian to believe in this matter; That there is One onely True God, and that this True God is One in Essence and Na­ture; and that the Father, Son, or Word and holy Spirit, is this True God; That Je­sus Christ in his both Natures, Divine and Humane, is the Son of God; The second Man is the Lord from Heaven, 1 Cor. 15. 47. And that the holy Spirit is the Out-goings and Effecting Operations of God, and so is [Page 45] God of the same Nature, the Enlightener, Convincer, Converter, Sanctifier, Streng­thener and Comforter of the Saints, in and [...] [...]ea [...]s appointed for that end, i. [...]. t [...] Word of Truth, and Doctrine of the Gospel.

Fourthly, Where this glorious God is.

1. He is in all places by his Spirit, Psal. 4 Where God is. 139. 7. Whither shall I go from thy Spirit, and whither shall I flee from thy presence? See Vers. 8, 9, 10. Prov. 15. 3. The Eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. 2 Chron. 16. 4. The Eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole Earth, to shew himself strong in behalf of them whose Heart is perfect towards him. And as he is by his Spirit every where: So,

2. His Paternal Presence is in Heaven,God the Father is in Heaven his Glorious Majesty, for we must believe God to be a Substantial Being (not [...]n Airy Fancy, a Nothing) and such a Substantial Being as the Scripture declares him to be; yea and infinitely beyond all Verbal Decla­ration, or Heart-Conception; that He is such an One whom no man hath seen nor can see and live such a One in his own Glo­ry▪ that if he should discover himself to the World, would destroy it at once, for no man hath seen him or can see him. 'Tis true, Jesus Christ his Son is the Brightness of his Glory, and the express Image [...]f his Substance, Heb. 1. 3. But the Glory of the [Page 46] Father is a hidden Glory, and by the Son the Father hath been and shall be revealed in His Times, 1 Tim. 6. 15, 16. And, Heaven is his Throne, and the Earth his Footstool.

That the glorious Habitation of God is in Heaven, is clear from Scripture-Revela­lation, that whiles the Son was on Earth, the Father was in Heaven: John 20. 17. Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father; but go to my Brethren, and say to them, I ascend to my Father to and your Fa­ther, to my God, and to your God. And Christ teacheth to pray, Our Father which art in Heaven, &c. Mat. 6. 9.

And the Heaven where the Glorious Majesty is, seems to be above all Crea­ted Heavens, in the Increated Heaven, his Eternal Habitation: For as God is Eternal, so He must have an Eternal Habitation: Which is the Heaven into which Christ our Lord is Ascended to the Right Hand of Power and Glory: Ephes. 4. 10. He that descended, is the same that ascended up far above all Hea­vens, &c. The most Glorious Heaven, and Eternal Habitation of GOD, far above all Created Heavens, is cal­led, The High and Holy Place where He dwells, Isaiah 57. 15. Psal. 8. 1. Thou hast set thy Glory above the Heavens, i. e. [Page 47] the Created Heavens. Psalm 113. 4, 5, 6▪ The Lord is High above all Na­tions, and his Glory above the Heavens: Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on High, who humbleth Himself to behold things in Heaven and Earth: i. e. To behold things in his Created Heaven and Earth: Who is said to hum­ble himself to behold things in Hea­ven and Earth, that is, Because the Created Heavens and Earth are all in the Fallen State, by reason of the Sin and Fall of Man: Therefore God doth greatly humble himself in looking after the Heavens and Earth in the Fallen State.

CHAP. II. Of the Holy Scriptures: That it is the Divine Word and Will of God, pro­ved by many Divine Arguments.

I shall now proceed, to present some grounds to prove the holy Scriptures to be the Word & Will of God, the holy and vine Truth of God, it being a matter of concernment for Christians to be establish­ed in, next our believing that there is a God, and indeed we cannot savingly be­lieve that God is, unless we believe the Truth of his Word, that it is the Divine Revelation of his Will, relating both to matters of Faith and Practice, in order to our spiritual and eternal well-being. And (I trust) I shall propound several weighty and undeniable grounds for Confirmation of Faith, in the Truth and Divinity there­of.

And, the f [...]rst [...]ort of Grounds I shall pre­sent1. Its own witness, which proves it Diuine. are such as ariseth from it self, that we may see its own Witness full of all suf­ficiency to prove its own Divinity.

1. Its Divine Purity proves it to be of1. Its Di­vine Pu­rity. God, who is most holy; it treats about, presents us with, and calls us to, Holiness and Purity; it allows of no uncleaness, [Page 49] no impurity; it's that which is above Men or Devils to bring forth, who are filled with all uncleanness; it is a pure Word, a holy Word, a God-like Word, a Word that all unholy persons do hate, (because they hate Holiness) what ever they pre­tend to the contrary in word, yet in deed they hate it, and wish there were no such Word to condemn their Unholiness; a Word that the Devil hates; and that is it he so much endeavours to destroy the Faith of Men therein: Holiness and Puri­ty is that which is contrary to the natural inclinations both of Men and Devils: this Truth of the Scriptures Purity, all holy ones must and do acknowledg, and this te­stimony it bears of it self in the general bo­dy thereof, that who so runs may read it: It forbids & condemns Sin, it commands and commends Holiness, and directs unto it; but see some particular Texts of Scrip­ture, that confirms this general Witness, Psal. 12. 6. The Words of the Lord are pure Words, as Silver tried in a Furnace of Earth, [...]u [...]ified seven times. Psal. 119. 140. Thy Word is very pure, therefore thy Servant loveth it: it commendeth Holiness, Psal. 93. 5. Holiness becometh thine House, O Lord, for ever: it teacheth Holiness, [...]sal. 34. 11, 12, 13, 14. it commandeth Holi­ness, 2 Cor. 7. 1. 1 Pet. 1. 14, 15. and re­proves and condemns both Sin and Sinners, 1 Cor. 6. 9, 10. Psal. 11. 5. 6. and 9. 17. Rev. [Page 50] 22. 15. it is a holy, pure Word, and therefore of God.

2. Its Divine Power witnesseth it to be2. Its di­vine pow­er. the Word and Truth of God, or rather the Divine Power of God attending it, and manifest in it, and by it, in renewing and begetting Souls to the Faith, and to work dead Sinners into a Conformity to it self, i. e. the Truth and Holiness there­in contained, Joh. 17. 20. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word: i. e. the Preaching of the Word, or Reading of the Word, Rom. 10. 17. Examples of the Pow­er and Efficacy in and with the Word; see Acts 2. 37, 41. and 8. 12. and 12. 24. Gal. 3. 2. Jam. 1. 18. and common experience witnesseth the truth hereof, it's that Word which makes wicked men to tremble, Act. 24. 25. and Devils too, Jam. 2. 19. that resists Satan, Matt. 4. 3. to 11. it's that Sword of the Spirit, being exercised by Faith, which repels and quenches all the fiery Darts of the Devil and Men, Ephes. 6. 11, 17. 1 Pet. 5. 9. So that its Divine Power proves it to be a Divine Word.

3. Its Divine Wisdom and Mystery3. Its di­vine wis­dom and mystery. proves it to be of God, and not of Man: Such is its Divine Mystery and Wisdom▪ that it confounds and brings to nought all the Wisdom of the World, and turns it in­to foolishness; it opens the Mysteries of the Wisdom of God in the Salvation of Man [Page 51] by Jesus Christ; which all the world in all its wisdom could never have thought on. Nay, such a heighth and depth of Mystery and Wisdom is there herein, that now it is brought to light; none of themselves, in the Wisdom of man, can savingly understand it; its that which none of the [...]rinces of this World knew; it's such Wisdom as is indeed foolishness to this world, and the fleshly wis­dom.

This is not onely witnessed by the Scrip­ture, 1 Cor. 1. 19, 20. & 2. 6, 7, 8, 13, 14. & 3. 18, 19, 20. but understood, believed and experienced by the Saints in some measure, that the Mystery of Salvation by Jesus Christ is the mani [...]old Wisdom of God, Eph. 3. 10.

4. Its Divine Tendenci [...]s proves it to be [...] a Divine Word. The matter at which it aims, and ends to which it tends, wonder­fully discover its nature, and whence it is; As▪

First, Its Exalt [...]ion of God in all his Name, and its laying low of the Creature: It is a God and a Christ-exalting Word, and a man-abasing Word, a Devil and S [...]n-dis­covering and condemning Word, and there­fore of God; for it is not possible for man, as man, to bring forth any thing but that which will exalt himself: But the Scripture doth not onely condemn Sin and Sinnars, but it layeth low the Righteousness, Wis­dom, Will and Power of Man in Divine [Page 52] things; and exalts the Righteousness, Wis­dom, Will and Power of God.

1. The Wisdom, 2 Cor. 2. 6, 7, 8.

2. The Will, John 1. 13. Rom. 12. 2. Col. 4. 12. Heb. 10. 36. 1 John 2. 17. 1 Thes. 4. 3.

3. The Power, Josh. 24. 19. Prov. 16. 1. Jer. 10. 23. John 15. 5. 1 Cor. 4. 7. Phil. 2. 13. & 4. 13.

4. The Righteousness of God, and lay­eth low the Righteousness of Man, and therefore it i [...] of God Isa. 45. 24, 25. & 64. 6. Dan. 9. 24. Rom. 4. 3. & 8. 23, 24. Phil. 3. 7, 8, 9.

Secondly, The second Design discovered2. It is to bring the H [...]e God and sinful man into Ʋnitie again. in Scripture, is, To bring the holy God and sinful man into Unity again; a wonderful Design, both as to the Way and Work! May this be a Divine or Humane Work, think you? We were all gone out of the way, gone out from God into a state of sin and death, enemies to him who had power to destroy us for ever; and the Great God hath declared in his Word that he hath found out a way of Reconciliation and Peace for poor Sinners, and declared it in this his Word: He hath given his onely Be­gotten out of his Bosom, that he might give his Life and Blood for our Reconciliation and Redemption, and this is the Message of the Word to us, Eph. 2. 13, 15. Col. 1. 20. and this was not of Man, but of God, 2 Cor. 5. 19. God was in Christ, reconciling [Page 53] the world to himself, &c. 1 Pet. 3. 18. Jesus Christ gave himself for us, the Just for the Ʋnjust, that he might bring us to God. This was a God-like Design, which proves the Word to be of God.

Thirdly, And in a word, The design of3. It is to make us holy here, and happy hereafter. the Word, and of God therein, is to make us holy here, and happy hereafter, to make us conformable to the VVill of God here, that so we may live eternally with him here­after: A glorious Divine Design! far above the reach of Humane Reason, or the VVill of Man; nay, its contrary to the VVill of Man by Nature, who is so far averse to it, that he resolves not to be holy, though he be never happy, and so judges himself un­worthy of the Life promised to those that obey him, Psal. 8. 4. John 3. 16, 19. Acts 13. 46.

5. A fifth Testimony from the VVord itA 5th Te­stimonie is its di­vine truth self, is, its Divine Truth, and the Truth of God witnessed therein, John▪ 17. 17. San­ctifie them through thy Truth, thy word is Truth; this is the witness of Him who is Truth it self, and is the faithful and true Witness. Psal. 119. 160. Thy Word is true from the beginning, &c. Psal. 19. 9. The Judgments of the Lord are True, and Righ­teous altogether.

I shall give some particular convincingProved by Demon­strations of its own. Demonstrations in confirmation of the truth thereof; the Scripture declares the Creation of the World by the Word of God, with [Page 54] the manner and order thereof, Gen. 1. which all may see, and conclude the truth thereof, if not Atheists: The Bow in the Cloud to be a sign of Gods Covenant with all flesh, Gen. 9. 13. visible to be seen of all, that God may be known by his Works which he hath made, Rom. 1. 19, 20. Psal. 19. 1, 2. confest of all except Atheists: That he gives us rain and fruitful seasons, Acts 14. 17. That He causeth the Sun to arise on the good and on the evil, and the Rain to fall on the just and the unjust, Mat. 5. 45. All to be seen & acknow­ledged by all: Fulfilled the Destruction of Jerusalem, threatned Mat. 24. 2. Luk 21. 20, 24. known and believed of all that do not wilfully shut their Eyes. All which con­firms the Truth thereof.

See further the Truth as testified in and of its self, and ought to be believed, Gen. 15. 13. The affliction of Abrahams Natural Seed four hundred years, the truth thereof you may see Exod. 12. 40. Gal. 3. 17. The truth of all the Promises made to the Fathers, see Jos [...]. 21. 44, 45. & 23. 14. Their Babylonish Captivity threatned, & executed according­ly, Jer. 17. 1, 4. & 21. 4, 7. with their return, according to the time, and by the person foretold, Dan. 9. 2. Jer. 29. 10. Isa. [...]4. 28. and 45. 1, 2, 1 [...]. with Ezra 1. 1, 2. Christ was promised to be of the Seed of David, and to be born of a Virgin, and it was so fulfil­led, Isa. 7. 14. with Mat. 1. 23. Gal. 4. 4. and that he should suffer death, which was accordingly [Page 55] fulfilled, Luk. 24. 25, 26. Acts 3. 17, 18. with multitudes of like examples that might be named, but these are suffici­ent to the matter in hand, and end intended, i. e. to confirm us in the truth of this blessed Word.

6. And finally its Divine Harmony wit­nesseth6. Its di­vine har­mony greatly c [...]nfi [...]ms us Divi­nity. abundantly to its Divinity, or Di­vine Truth: I say, its Divine Harmony and Concurrency with it self, written by so many men in so many Ages of the World, at such distance of times and places, and to hold harmony and Unity with it self from first to last, wonderfully declares it to be from that one God that changeth not, and not from men: For such a word to be giving forth about Two Thousand years, some at one time, and some at another, in some part was fulfilled what was promised in another, the New Testament being the fulfilling of the Old; I say Harmony and Unity in the Substance and Body thereof: What may be supposed of difference by some, is onely in matters circumstantial, but not material; and it may be their ignorance in not understanding wherein the Unity and Harmony consists. But the Substance and Body of the Scriptures, as it treats of and discovers God and Christ, and the Works of Creation and Redemption, what he hath done for his People in all Ages, and under all Ministrations; what he hath promised he will do for them, and what he requireth [Page 56] his People to do; and what he hath done and will do to his and his Churches Ene­mies, in a word, the Volumn of the Book treateth, Heb. 10. 7. Or of Mans Fall, sin­fulness and misery thereby, of Christ pro­mised and effected, and of all things con­curring to the Redemption & Restauration of Fallen Man by Christ, in all which is ful­ness of Unity and Harmony.

And so much shall suffice to be here spo­ken for the Authority of the Scriptures own witness to its Divinity and Truth.

II A second Witness is, The ConsentII▪ W [...]t­n [...]ss [...] the C [...] all G [...]e Persons. and Testimony of all the Godly in all Ages unto this day.

1. The Testimony of those Godly Per­sons who writ the [...]criptures, who give their own Testimony that it was the Word of the Lord, and not their own. Amongst the multitude that might be named, take these few in behalf of the whole, Gen. 12. 1, 2. & 17. 1. Exod. 20. 1. & 31. 1. & 33. 1. Lev. 4. 1. & 6. 1. Deut. 33. 9. 1 Kings 8. 26. Psal. 119. 9. Isa. 1. 2. Jer. 1. 2. Ezek. 1. 3. Mark 7. 1 [...]. John 10. 35. and the Apostles confirm it in the New Testament, 2 Tim. 3. 16. 2 Pet. 1. 20, 21. & 3. 15▪ 16. 1 Cor. 14. 37.

2. And all other Godly Persons, both in the times of the Scripture's being given forth in the Old and New Testament, and in all Ages since to this day, hath believed the Divinity and Truth thereof, as both Hi­story [Page 57] and Experience declares; else what means their faith in, practice of, and suffer­ing for the truth therein contained, as hath been so abundantly demonstrated in all Ages.

And almost all men where it comes, must fall before it, acknowledging the Truth thereof, though most of men dare be so bold as to adde their Inventions to it, and not to live in obedience thereunto: How they think to escape the Judgment threat­ned, it concerns them to consider in time, Rev. 22. 8. John 12. 48.

III. It must be from God, and so be hisIII. It is from God, because it can be from none else. 1. It can­not be from An­gels Good or Bad. Word and Will made known unto us, be­cause it can indeed be from none else.

1. It cannot be from Angels alone, either Good or Bad.

1. It cannot be from good Angels, any otherwise than as Messengers of God to deliver it; for good Angels durst not as­sume such an Authority distinct from God, but as Messengers from God, so they deli­vered part of it, as Dan. Chap. 10, 11, 12. Rev. 1. 1.

Nor 2dly, Could it be given by bad An­gels, or the Devil; it being the holy Word of Truth, it's contrary to his nature; he is a Liar, and the Father thereof, and an Ene­my to all Truth and Holiness, especially to God, and Christ, and the Salvation of men, which is the substance of the Truth which [Page 58] is held forth unto us in the holy Scrip­ture.

2. It's against his Interest and Kingdom, it destroys him in all his ways, and tends to deliver Souls out of his Kingdom and Captivity, and discovers his destruction without all hope or help; and therefore it cannot be of him.

2. It cannot be from men, no not of any2. It can­not be from men alone, ei­ther Good or Bad, Rich or Poor. sort of men.

1. It cannot be of debauched men, of vi­cious life and conversation, for it abundant­ly preacheth forth their reproof and con­demnation; I need not to mention Scrip­ture for this, it's so abundantly known; so that none can rationally think that it should be the work of wicked men.

2. Nor can it be a device of great men, or the Princes of the Earth, to keep men in awe, (as some imagine) though some such were imployed by the Lord therein▪ as Mo­ses, David and Solomon, &c. That it could not be the device of great men, is evi­dent,

1. Because the truth contained therein is a Mystery, and above their reach to under­stand it (onely as men) the Grace and Glo­ry held forth therein is a Mystery to them, 1 Cor. 2. 7, 8.

2. It cannot be of great men, and the Princes of the Earth, for they throughout all Ages have been the great Persecutors of those who have owned it, and in truth [Page 59] of heart have cleaved to it: there needs no proof for this; therefore no man of reason can imagine it to be their device.

3. It cannot be of them, for it discovers their sin and judgment as much as of any sort of men, Psal. 82. Jer. 5. 5, 6. Isa. 30. 33. Rev. 6. 15, 16.

Nor 3dly, Can it be the Word of the Wise men of the World: Because,

1. It condemns the Wisdom of the World as Folly, and lets such to know that they must be Fools, if ever they will be wise in the Wisdom of the Scriptures, 1 Cor. 3. 18, 19.

2. The wise men of the World are most averse to the Wisdom therein contained, and as few of them as of any sort of men attain to the saving knowledge thereof, and conformity thereunto, Luk. 10. 21. 1 Cor. 1. 20. 26.

Nor 4thly, Can it be the Word of Fools or Madmen, as sometimes Festus charged Paul, Acts 26. 24. and as wicked men still account the People of God, who own it, and live according to it; but the Scripture discovers them to be the Fools and Madmen that do not believe it, nor walk according to it, and they shall one day confess it, Psal. 64. 8. Wisd. 5. 4.

Nor 5thly, Is it the Word of Worldly Rich Men: For,

1. It preacheth their doom and judgment, Psal. 49. 16. Mat. 19. 23, 24. Luk 6. 24.

[Page 60]2. It sets Rich Men on Works which they themselves are averse unto, 1 Tim. 6. 17, 18. And well it were if Christians that are rich in this World, were more set at li­berty in this VVork than they are.

Nor 6thly, Was it given by Poor Men, as such; for it holds their misery, without Christ, to be worse, in some sence, than the misery of the Rich; miserable both here and hereafter; for all wicked men, both Poor and Rich, without Repentance, must perish, Luke 13. 3, 5. and that he that belie­veth not must be damned, whether Rich or Poor, Mark 16. 16. And that the Cause of the Poor must not be favoured because they are poor, more than the Rich, Lev. 19. 15. Exod. 23. 3.

Nor 7thly, Was it the Word of Hypo­crites or self-righteous Persons, for it con­demns Hypocrites with a witness, Mat. 23. throughout, and 24. 51. Luk. 11. 44. and for self-righteous Persons, who think to be saved by their own works, it shuts them out both of the Grace and Glory thereof, Mat. 5. 20. Luk. 18. 9. to 14. Rom. 10. 3.

Nor 8thly, Was it the Word of Proud Persons: For,

1. It generally requires Humility, it pre­fers and works Humility; Humility and Self-abasing is the very spirit of the Go­spel, Mat. 5. 3.

2. And on the contrary it discovers the sin and judgment of all proud persons, I [Page 61] wish it were more laid to heart, Prov. 16. 5. Isa. 2. 11, 17. Mal. 4. 1.

9thly, Neither was it Godly Men of themselves who writ it; although it's true, it was written by Holy Men of God, as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit, 2 Pet. 1. 21. But onely as Godly men it came not from them; and that,

1. Because none could be so good of themselves as to reach into those Divine Mysteries of God and Christ, of Grace and Glory, as are so abundantly and divinely opened unto us therein, even the manifold Wisdom of God.

2. Because none truly gracious durst be­lie the Lord, and say, The Lord spake, and, Thus saith the Lord; and that these things are the Commandments of the Lord, and yet speak their own imaginations: therein they must be Lyars and Deceivers, which, far be it from any who love the Lord, to imagine: For it must be the Lords Word, or the Word of Lyars and Deceivers, and it con­demns Lyars to destruction, Isa. 28. 15. Rev. 21. 27. & 22. 15.

IV. And as a result from what hath beenIV. Its Imparti­allity proves it to be a di­vine word said in this last Argument, Its Impartiality proves it to be the Word of God, and not of Man: It respects neither High nor Low, Rich nor Poor, neither Learned nor Unlear­ned, &c. It's a wonderful Divine and God-like Word on this Account: It's impossible [Page 62] for any Men, as Men, to bring forth such a Word, without being partial to themselves in something or other at one time or other; But purely to Exalt God and Holiness, Grace and Glory, without all respect of Persons, directing the way thereto, con­demning sin and sinners, without any respect of persons, one or other, declares abundantly that it is of God, and not of Man.

V. It must be of God, and Divine, ifV. The Scripture is of God, if Christ be of God. Jesus Christ was of God, as the Scripture witnesseth, and all good men believe, John 16. 27. & 17. 8. Acts 9. 22. He confirmed the Scriptures, and fulfilled them abundantly; He came forth in the fulness of Scrip­ture; owns it, and lives to it, commends it to be the Truth, John 17. 17. and commands the use thereof, John 5. 39.

So that our Lord having before us owned the Scriptures and fulfilled them, commen­ded and commanded them, I say, That if we believe that He was the Christ, and not a Deceiver, which is blasphemy to think, we need no further proof of the Truth of the Scripture. Dive into the weight of this Argument, and it will establish you for ever▪

And that both Christ and Scripture are ofHis mira­cles a high demon­stration that he was the true Christ God, and that the things relating to Christ recorded in Scripture, are Truth, the won­derful Works and Miracles He did in His Fathers Name, is a very high Testimony of the Truth both of Christ and Scripture, [Page 63] witnessed by the Scripture, done so openly in the view of all, confest by all, none op­posing the truth thereof, no not the Jews, who were His Enemies; confest by Maho­met in the Turkish Alcoran, received and believed by Tradition, without all contradi­ction to this day; not only of the Saints, but of the World too, strongly and rationally confirm the truth thereof.

VI. The Divine Impressions stampt onVI Seal­ing Testi­monies by the holie Spirit. the Hearts of the Saints by the Holy Spirit, suitable to the Word of Grace, the Work in them answering the Word without them, as the New Covenant and Law of God written in their Hearts, which hath wrought in them Faith, Love, and the Life of the VVord, which are to them sealing Testimo­nies of the Truth and Divinity of the Word: And hence it is that they set their seal to the truth thereof, in believing, loving, and obeying thereof, and cleaving to God therein, and suffering any Difficulties infli­cted by men for the truth thereof, adventure their Souls and Eternity upon the truth of God therein, and the loss of all in the VVorld, rather than lose their share in the Word of Life: A high Confirmation of the Divinity thereof!

VII. Finally, As the Resultance from theVII. Dan­ [...]er of de­ [...]ying the Scripture [...] be of God. whole, To deny the Truth and Divinity of the Scripture, is to deny God Himself, and Jesus Christ, and all Religion, to pass a [Page 64] black Sentence on all the VVriters thereof, as Lyars and Deceivers, and on all the Saints throughout all Generations, who have believed, obeyed, and suffered for ad­hering to the Truth therein; and on all the Effectual Workings of the Holy Spirit in the Hearts of Believers, conforming them thereunto; so that it's impossible for any man that hath lived under the Instruction thereof, to deny it, and not to be an A­theist, if not to be guilty of the unpardonable sin: for the whole matter the Scripture treats on, in the substance thereof, is, as I said before, God, and Christ, and Holiness, the Reducing of Man back again to God, through Christ, from whom he was gone astray. And therefore what can those ex­pect who deny this Holy Divine Word of Truth, but all the Judgments and Plagues that are written therein?

I shall now come to Answer some Obje­ctions in relation thereunto.

Object. Though the Scripture was given of Object. 1 God, and Divine Truth, the Word and Will of God to the People of these times in which they were given; yet it's a great Question whe­ther it be so to us, and whether we have ought to do with it, unless the same Spirit work im­mediately the same Truth in us; we are to hearken to what God speaks in us, and not without us, &c.

Answ. To this I answer: That Truth is Truth still, and the Word and Will of God is the same still, although its true that God hath made known his Will at various times and various ways, under several manifesta­tions; yet when one Ministration ended, it was by the coming in of another, as the substance of the former, and openly decla­red from Heaven by the Son of God, with great Power; and great Witness; and the Word and Ministration of the Son of God is the same till his second coming, Ma [...]. 28. 20. unto which all are bound to take heed unto, under peril of Judgment, Heb. 2. 23. Act. 3. 22, 23. Joh. 12. [...]8. and it is the Word and Will of the Lord still, whe­ther men believe it and obey it or not, whether you have the Spirit to work you to it or not: and if you are not taught by the Word, and wrought to God in the Word to believe the Gospel, it's an evi­dent sign that you have not the Spirit of Christ, but of Errour and Delusion; which will fail you in the day of need.

Obj. Though they were given of God Obj. 2 and Divine Truth, yet they may be cor­rupted by men, having been in the hands of men that knew not God: but sought it themselves, they might corrupt it, and so it might either be mixed, or lose much of its Purity and Divinity.

Ans. It's true▪ that it hath passed through the hands of those who wanted not wicked­ness [Page 66] enough to do it; but we have un­doubted grounds to believe, that the Lord preserved it and kept them from corrup­ting of it; for if they or any other had cor­rupted it, it must have been to serve their own ends: but the Scripture, that was by them preserved, and by them owned to be the Word of God, the Scripture of Truth, is so far from serving their interest, that it leaves them neither Root nor Branch, no Word have they from hence to warrant them in any of their ways: as a Church of Christ their Dependency lay rather in the Authority of their Church, keeping peo­ple in Ignorance, false Translations, coer­cive Power and the like, rather than in cor­rupting the Scriptures in the original Lan­guages: a Divine Hand it was that it should be preserved holy and pure, as it is, as hath been proved.

Obj. The Scripture is not all the Word Obj. 3 and Will of God to Men, given by Di­vine Inspiration; for there is in it the Words of the Devil and of wicked men, the Failings and Miscarriages of the Saints, &c.

Answ. When I say it's the Word, or Words, of God, I intend thereby, that the Body and substance thereof is the Di­vine Mind and Will of God made known to men by the Inspiration of the Holy Spi­rit, by such ways as he pleased, and by such persons as he pleased.

2. As to the Discoveries of the Words or Works of Satan▪ or wicked men, and the Sins and Failings of the Godly, I easi­ly grant, that it is not the Word of God in the first sence, given by Inspiration.

Yet 2ly, As written and recorded by ho­ly men inspired by the Lord, those things, with many other Historical Relations re­corded, are true by Divine Testimony, that such things were, and so are, of divine and undoubted Credence; whereas all other Histories, that are meerly humane, can have but a humane and doubtful be­lief.

3. It was written by the Will of God for the use and advantage of his Church and people, Rom. 15. 4. Whatsoever was written afore time was written for our Lear­ning, &c. 1 Cor. 10. 11, 12.

1. Let us hence be informed of the great­ness Ʋse 1 of the sin and danger, not to believe the Scripture, he that believeth not must be damned.

2. Of Exhortation, 1. to believe the Ʋse 2 Scripture to be the Word and Will of God, to be of Divine Authority, and to prize the Word more, and to be thankful to God that hath given it to us, and given to any the saving understanding thereof, and wrought them into a conformity there­unto.

2. To live the life of the Scripture, the life of Faith, and the life of Love, the life [Page 68] of Obedience, and the life of Holiness: it is a holy Word, and Holiness becomes all those who profe [...]s to own it, what ever Scripture, Faith or profession we pretend un­to, if we live not the life of the Scripture, it will Judg us at the last day, Joh. 12. 48.

3. To be improving and applying of the Consolations of the Scripture, and that it may be so, acquaint your selves more there­with, Rom. 15. [...].

3. Of Consolation to all those who Ʋse 3 truly believe and obey the Word [...], as it is the Word, the Will of God, theirs is and shall be the Consolations of the Scripture, all its promises are Yea and Amen in Christ Jesus; 2 Cor. 1. 20. theirs is the Grace held forth in the Scripture, and theirs shall be the Kingdom of the Glory promi­sed.

4. If this be truth, that the Scriptures are Ʋse 4 the Word of God, i. e. his Divine Will made manifest to men, then wo to all wicked men, that walk contrary to this Rule, they are not only like to miss of the Glory promised, but must expect un­doubtedly to meet with all the Plagues, especially the eternal Plagues and Judg­ments therein denounced against unrepen­ting sinners.

If the Scriptures be the Divine Word and Will of God, given as the Rule of Faith and Practice, in order to our serving and the attaining of the Righteousness and [Page 69] Life therein held forth, then wo to all those that slight it and refuse it, that will have none of it, that take what they list and leave what they list, or like not: cer­tainly such must know one day what it is to undervalue the Word and Will of so high and so holy a God

CHAP. III. Of the Creation of the World, and all things therein.

1. IN general, that God created the World, and all things therein, is plain by manifold Testimonies of Scrip­ture, Gen. 1. 1. [...]sal. 33. 6. & 136. 4. to 9. Act. 14. 15. & 17. 24. And not onely so, but,

2. Light of Reason teacheth the same, that there must needs be a First Cause of all things▪ from whence they proceed. Though Reason teacheth not the time and manner thereof, that we must have from Divine Revelation, Heb. 11. 3. Through Faith we understand that the Worlds were framed by the Word of God, &c. that is, not onely that God made the Worlds, but the Man­ner, Method, and time, according to the Scripture-Revelation, Gen. 1. This the Apo­stles (as we) understood by Faith in the truth of that Revelation. And this Crea­tion of the Worlds intends the Celestial World▪ and the Terrestrial World, and all things therein, whether they be things in Heaven, or things in Earth, visible and in­visible, &c. all things were created by and for [Page 71] Him. And that He made the Worlds in six days, and that He made all things good, yea very good, the Scripture informs us in, and the matter whereof the World was made, is exprest Gen. 1. 2. the deep unfor­med Chaos, The Earth was void, and with­out form, and darkness was on the face of the deep, &c. When this unformed Deep was created, I suppose is not exprest in Scriptur [...], though its supposed to be part of the first days Creation, and intended in vers. 1. I [...] the beginning God created the Hea­ven and the Earth, i. e. the matter of which Heaven and Earth was afterwards formed. But this seems not to be the thing intended, and that,

1. Because this confused deep was nei­ther Heaven nor Earth.

2. In that the Creation or forming of Heaven and Earth in order followeth, and the word Beginning seems not to intend the first days work only, but as a Preface or Prologue to the whole six days work, in which the Heavens and the Earth were cre­ated, in the beginning, i. e. in the first six days of the World, God created the Hea­ven and the Earth, according to the Me­thod there exprest, in which all was finish­ed, and God rested from His Work the se­venth day. Whether God made the mat­ter of which all was made, of nothing, is known onely to Himself; Reason seems so to teach, that if there were any first mat­ter [Page 72] uncreated of which all was made, that there must be something Eternal besides God: But this being a secret, I shall so leave it, con [...]luding with the Scripture-Light and Language, H [...]b. 11. 3. Through Faith we und [...]and that the Worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that the things that are [...] not made of things that do appear.

The Unity of the Father. Son, and Spirit, with the M [...]nner and Method, in this Work of Creation, I have (according to my Un­derstanding in the Scripture-Light) spoken to in what I have before written concerning God.

The Reasons of Gods making the Worlds, seems to be rendred in the Scripture, i. e. to [...]ulfil His Eternal Will and Counsel, and to shew His Eternal Power and Godhead, Eph. 1. 11. Rom. 1. 20. to glorifie Himself in His own Works, Prov. 16. 4. 1 Chron. 29. 11. and that all things might glorifie Him; therefore He made all things in a suitableness there­unto, for He made all things good, very good.

CHAP. IV. Of the Creation of Man.

IN this Chapter I shall, according to the Light of the Divine Revelation, treat of Mans Creation in five particulars.

1. The time when he was made, and1 The Time when. that is expressed, Gen. 1. 26, 31. to be the sixth day, after all the rest of the Creation was made: God made all things first, and Man was the last of the Creation, in rela­tion to his time of being formed, though first in purpose and council: In which we may learn, that ordinarily Gods greatest and most glorious ends and designs are ef­fected in his last and concluding Work: so it was in this wonderful work of Creation; all the fore-going Work was but an Usher or Preparation for Man. So it was in his calling Abraham out of his Country and the Affliction of his Seed four hundred years, it was all in order to their possession of the promised Land, which was the crowning Work at last, and all before was a Pre­paration to it: so in the work of Re­demption and Restauration by Jesus Christ, in all the parts of it, the last will be the perfecting and crowning Work: so in the Saints spiritual Race and Warfare, [Page 74] and the Regeneration-state, the last is that shall crown all, 2 Tit. 4. 7, 8.

2. Man was in his Creation the most2 The Excellen­cy of Man in his Creation. excellent of all Gods Works here below; and this appeareth, 1. in that he made all things for him before he had made him, he built him the World for his House, the Garden of Eden for his Pleasure and De­light, and all the Creatures for his Service; and this appears in that he made all things first, and last made Man, and brought all to him, and made him Lord of all, Gen. 2. 19, 20. Psal. 8. 6, 7, 8.

2. In that he took time to consult about making man, more than in all the rest of the Creation; the rest of the Creation was made suddenly, he spake the Word, and it was done; and much was done by Divine Ordinance, Genes. 1. 11, 12, 20, 21. but when he comes to make Man, he deliberates upon it, an there seems to be (as it were) a Consultation of the whole Trinity, Let us make Man, which he did not of any o­ther part of the Creation.

3. In that he made Man in his own image, and after his own likeness, which is not said of any other of the Creatures: so that Man being the most excellent of the Terrestrial Creation, God made all for his service first, provided for him before he brought him into the world, that so he might be fur­nished with all things convenient for Use and Pleasure, for Honour and Dignity.

3. The Matter of what God made Man,3 Of what God made man. and that is expressed, Genes. 2. 7. And the Lord formed Man of the Ground, and brea­thed into his N [...]st [...]ls the Breath of Life. Here is the whole Man, Body and Soul, his Bo [...]y was made of the Dust of the Ground, chap. 3. 19. In the Sweat of thy Face shalt thou eat Bread, until thou return to the Ground; for Dust thou art, and to Dust thou shalt return. Which, as it abun­dantlyIt should teach man to be hum­bl [...], and to a [...]mire his Crea­tor. declares the Wisdom and Power of the Former, to form such a Piece for his Praise out of the Dust, so likewise it should teach Man to be humble, being made of so base a Matter as his Body was framed of, and must return to it again: of what should Dust be proud, and why should Ra­tional Men and Women, nay Religious Men and Women, paint out their dusty, dunghil Bodies, as they do? and likewise to admire the Wisdom and Power of his Creator, as the Prophet, Psal. 139. 14, 15, 16.

2. For his Soul, that was more spi­ritual,Of the Soul or Spirit of man. it is said, Gen. 2. 7. that God brea­thed into his Nostrils the Breath of Life, and so more spiritual and excellent than the Souls of other Creatures, else he could not have born the Image of God: and hence, it being the Breath or Spirit of Life before it was breathed into the Body, it shall live when the Body is dead: as for the Matter of the Soul, or Spirit, what it [Page 76] is in its Essence and Substance, is too cu­rious for any to pretend any further to de­termin; but that there is the Soul, or Spi­rit, that dieth not, Scripture doth deter­mine, Eccl. 12. 7. Matt. 10. 28. Luk. 23. 44. Act. 7. 59. Rev. 6. 9. the Soul or Spi­rit is rather to be demonstrated by its Pro­perties and Faculties, than by its Substance or Essence, the several Properties of the Soul are, the Understanding, Will, Affe­ctions, Conscience, Memory, &c. the Seat of the Soul (though its operations ap­pear in all the Body) is principally in the Head and Heart; the Head is principally the Seat of the Understanding and Memo­ry, the Heart of the Will, Affections and Conscience.

It hath been a matter of School DisputeWhether the Soul comes by Genera­tion or In­spiration. whether the Soul (since Adams Creation and Inspiration) comes by Generation or Inspiration, a matter I think not much material, yet I shall give some probable discovery hereof from Scripture-Revela­tion; and it seems most probable, that Souls come by Generation, as the Bodies do; it is true, the word Soul often in Scrip­ture intends the whole man, Body and Soul; the Soul being the principle part of man, the whole is included therein, Gen. 12. 5. And Abraham took Sarah, his Wife, and Lot his Brothers Son, and all their sub­stance which they had gathered, and the Souls that they had gotten in Haran, chap. [Page 77] 46. 18. These are the Sons of Zilpha, whom Laban gave to Leah, his Daughter, and these she bare unto Jacob, even sixteen Souls, v. 22. These were the Sons of Rachel, which were born to Jacob, all the Souls were fourteen: Now this I understand, that when the Soul is put for the whole Man, that the Soul, by which the whole is expressed, may not be left out, and not at all intended, v. 26. All the Souls that came with Jacob into Egypt, which came out of his Loins, were seventy Souls, &c. Now if we may not rationally (where the whole is expressed by the Soul) leave out the Soul from being part of that which is by it expressed; then it is evident that Souls come from the Loins of Parents, as the Body doth; so that, I think, that the Letter of Scripture in plainness determines this case: and farther, in a way of reason, if it were not so, Man should (as other creatures) procreate his like, in the ordinary way of Generation, by the Divine Ordinance and Power of the great Creator. Here are two Objections to be answered.

Object. 1. Its said, Zech. 12. 1. Tha [...] God [...] formeth the Spirit of Man within him therefore it comes not by Generation.

Answ. It's true, God formeth the Spirit of Man, and so he formeth the Body like­wise in the Womb as he doth the Spirit; yet that argues not that the Body cometh not in the ordinary way of Generation, be­cause God forms it: for Generation is his [Page 78] Ordinance, and leaves not out his forming Power and Wisdom in the Work: Psal. 139. 13, 15, 16. For thou hast possessed my Reins, thou hast covered me in my Mothers Womb. And further, it's said Jer. 10. 16. That He is the Former of all things; yet that argues not that those things come not in way of Generation.

Object. 2. If it be so, this will seem to de­stroy Obj. 2 the Immortality of the Soul: for what comes from Man by Generation, must die and return to the Dust, &c.

Answ. That will not necessarily hold true. For we must understand this, that the Soul of Man is not immortal by Nature, for then it must be God; there is nothing of it self immortal, but God; not the Spirits of Men no nor Angels: Immortality both to Angels and Men is by Divine Ordinance and Power from the Immortal God, for He onely it is that hath Immortality, and makes whom and what He will to be Immortal. So that this no whit derogates from the immor­tality of the Soul, because that comes not from its own Nature, but from the Ordi­nance of the Lord, who hath designed to make the Body immortal too in his own time. Quest. How we are to di­stinguish in B [...]dy, S [...]ul and Spirit.

Quest. How are we to understand that di­stinction of the Apostle, 1 Thes. 5. 23. where he mentions Spirit, Soul, and Body? Wherein lieth the distinction?

Answ. Sometimes Soul intendeth the [Page 79] whole Man, Body and Soul, as hath been already proved; sometimes the word Soul intends both Soul and Spirit onely, Mat. 10. 28. sometimes the word Spirit intends both Soul and Spirit, Zech. 12. 1 But when it is distinguished as in that Scripture before ex­prest, and in some others likewise in the three-fold distinction; I understand the Difference and Distinction to consist in this:

1. As in all men, the Spirit I understand to be that Reason, Wisdom, and Under­standing, Conscience, Will and Affections, wherein consisteth most especially the Image of God, the most pure part of the Soul, and this is that which is called the Spirit of Man, in distinction from the Soul; and this is in all men, though exceedingly defaced by the Fall.

And in as much as there must be Animal Spirits, Vigitation, Sence, Lustings, Hun­ger, Thirst, &c. that is called Soul in other Creatures, and this lieth and liveth in the whole Body, and is the Life and Animation thereof; and this I understand is intended by Soul, when distinguished from the Spi­rit. In a word, to be plain, what is in man as to Life, and Sence, and Motion, as in other Creatures, that is the Soul; what is in man above and beyond other Creatures, wherein his Excellency consisteth as Ratio­nal, that is the Spirit; and this is the Spirit in all men.

2. When considered in Saints, as renew­ed by Grace, 1. Negatively we are not to understand it to be the Spirit of God; for we must distinguish between our Spi­rits and the Spirit of God as the Scripture frequently doth; nor. 2. Do I understand by Spirit, is only intended the renewed Work of Grace, or New Man created after God; though much of the matter lieth there.

But affirmatively, I understand, that by Spirit in the Saints, is meant, the more rational, understanding, divine Part, in which the New Work is wrought, with the Work wrought in it, Eph. 4. 23. And be ye renewed in the Spirit of your Minds. By Mind is meant the Natural Soul, the Spi­rit of the Mind that in which the Renewed Work is wrought; the Image of God must begin to be Renewe [...] where first it princi­pally was, and where it was principally de­faced which was in the Spirit of the Mind or Soul; and this spiritual Work must pass upon the whole Man before our Redemp­tion will be compleated: Hence our Bodies must did, as well as our sins and sinful Na­tures, that so our Bodies may be changed as well as our Spirits, that they may be rai­sed immortal and incorruptible; and that before we can attain the Perfection of the New-Covenant-Restauration, they must be raised spiritual Bodies.

Wonderfully blinded are they, who pre­tend [Page 81] themselves perfect, or own Personal Perfection in this sinful and mortal Bo­dy, and but in part renewed Soul or Spi­rit.

IV. In what Estate God made Man; and4 In what estate man was made. this the Scripture doth help us in: We know in what Estate we are by Nature, in part, by woful experience; but what we were in our first Parents, the Divine Reve­lation onely instructs us in; which was an Estate of Uprightness, free from sin, Eccles. 7. 29. In the Image of God, Gen. 1. 26. And God said, Let Ʋs make Man in Our Image, after our Likeness: & ver. 27. So God created Man in His own Image, in the Image of God created He him, Chap. 5. 1. & 9. 6. And doubtless this Image and Likeness to God carried such an Excellency and Glory in it, as that we being gone out from it, cannot in any case comprehend it, any otherwise than as by the Light of the Spirit in and byWhat is meant by being created in the image of God. In [...] things. the Scripture, we may give some guess at it in our Understandings. And I shall pro­pose my apprehension herein in these six things.

1. In the Purity and Perfection of his Soul or Spirit, breathed into him by God, his Understanding, Memory, Will, Affecti­ons, Conscience, all perfect, concerning both God, himself, and the whole Creation, as far as needed him in his station, and might tend to make him comfortable and happy, while abiding in that state.

[Page 82]2. Without all sin, or sinful inclinations, any otherwise than as Temptations present­ed might prevail, else he could not be up­right, and in the Image of God; yet sub­ject to Temptation, else he had not sin­ned.

3. A Power of Free-will, of standing or falling, keeping or losing his present happy Estate: A power of standing, or else he could not be in the Image of God; or of falling; and that both he and we have found (I may in some sense say) by woful Experi­ence.

4. Rule and Dominion over all the rest of the Terrestrial Creatures, as Gods Vice­gerent here on Earth, as before hath been mentioned, Psal. 8. 6, 7, 8. And herein con­sisteth one special part of his being in the Image of God, with his fitness thereun­to.

In the fallen state, where, for necessity, are but petty Kings and Rulers over men (in comparison of this Great Lord of the World;) yet it's said of them, Ye are Gods; there being something of Gods Image in Government, though exercised by bad men in the fallen state.

5. He might be made in the Image of God in the whole Man, Body and Spirit, for so the words seem to import, Let Ʋs make Man in our Likeness, i. e. in the Like­ness or Image that God designed to bring forth His Son in, who was with God, and [Page 83] was God, Immanuel, God with us, and in this, as in other things, might he be said to be the Figure of Him that was to come.

6. I may adde that he was made in the Image of God in the Trinity: Father, Son▪ and Holy Spirit, yet but one God; so He made Man, Spirit, Soul and Body, yet but one Man, all pure and perfect in the First Creation; a Trinity in Unity, and a Unity in Trinity in Man; this Glorious Terrestrial Creature, yet but one Man: That as there was a Unity in Trinity in God, Three and yet but One; so would He make His Crea­ture Man in His own Image, that he might the better understand and know his God.

V. How Man was made: God made5 How Man was made. Man in His own Image, Male and Female created He them; He created Man both Male and Female; for by the word Man, is intended Mankind, i. e. both Man and Wo­man. Whether the Woman was dividedly made the sixth day, I suppose cannot be po­sitively determined, but that she was made in the Man the sixth day (if not dividually) is plainly asserted, and the taking of the Woman out of the Man was but the sepa­rating of the Male from the Female, that so they might be the more fit for all their relative concerns in this World, and should doubtless teach the Man to love his Wife as his own Flesh, and the Woman to love [Page 84] her Husband, and to be subject to him as to her Lord: and the End of God in the Creation of Man was, His own Glo­ry, that Man might serve him in enjoy­ment of all his Works in this World, and be to His Praise and Glory.

CHAP. V. Of the Angels, and their Creation.

1. THat there are Angels, heavenly Spi­rits,1 That there are Angels. the Divine Word doth evident­ly declare, Gen. 16. 7. & 24. 7. & 19. 1. Psal. 8. 5. with multitudes of Scripture to this purpose.

2. That they were created, and are the2 That they were created. Creatures of God, though the Creation of Angels is but little mentioned in the Scripture, if at all; yet it is evident, they were created: and that both from Scrip­ture and Reason,

1. From Scripture, Col. 1. 16. For by Him all things were created that are in Hea­ven, and that are in Earth, visible and in­visible, whether they be Thrones or Domini­ons, or Principalities, or Powers, &c. By things invisible we are to understand the Angels, and the same Principalities and Powers, compared with Eph. 3. 10. where the Angels are called Principalities and Powers, in heavenly places.

2. Reason teacheth, that they must be and are created, or else they must be e­ternal, which is proper to none but God, and if so they must be God, but they are not God, but his Creatures, made by Him, and for Him.

3. The time when they were created: this3 The time when they were created. is not expressed with clearness in the Scrip­ture, though it is supposed, that they were created in one of the six days; and that it was in the first day, Gen. 1. 1. that under the term of Heavens (God created the Hea­vens and the Earth) the Angels are in­cluded.

But to me it seems probable, that theyAnd that before the six days Creation. were created before the beginning of the six days Creation, and not included in the six days Work.

Reas. 1. Because the Creation mentio­ned, Reas. 1 Gen. 1. seems to be the Creation of the visible Worlds, i. e. of the Heavens and the Earth, and not the celestial, invisible Angels, and that not only because there is nothing expressed about the Creation of the invisible Spirits, but of the Heavens and the Earth, with the manner thereof. But

2. In that Creation all things were made Reas. 2 for the use of Man, therefore Angels were not any part of that Creation; for they were not created for the use of Man before his Fall, (though since imployed in that Ser­vice) the Scripture gives us no such testi­mony, nor could it stand with his estate in Innocency, being left to his own both will and power to stand or fall: neither had he need on any other account, being per­fect in his estate, and, under God, Lord of the whole Creation.

Reas. 3. It is not probable, that they Reas. 3 [Page 87] should be any part of the six days Crea­tion, that being made for Man, and there­fore, as a punishment upon Man, fell all with Man; both the Heavens, Earth and all things therein (of the six days Creation) fell into a corrupted estate by the Fall of Man, Gen. 3. 16, 17, 18, 19. Job 15. 15. and that is it that the Heavens must be restored as well as the Earth, 2 Pet. 3. 13. Heb. 1. 11, 12. and if Angels had been then and on the same account created, they must all have fallen with Man for the Sin of Man.

And therefore, Fourthly, probably not Reas. 4 only the Creation of Angels, but likewise the Fall of the Apostate Angels was over and past before God created this World. And God might create this World (and Man) in the room of the Apostate Angels, which may be one reason of their exceeding hatred and malice against Man. And pro­bably, it be the Angels that are spoken of, Job 38. 7. called Morning-Stars, and the Sons of God, who were present at the Crea­tion of the World, and sang the Praises of God in beholding thereof; when the Mor­ning-Stars sang together, and the Sons of God shouted with Joy. Compare it with v. 4, 5, 6.

By all which it seems to appear, that the Angels were the first of Gods actual Creation, and the first World that he made was the World of Angels, and may be in­cluded [Page 88] in the plurality of Worlds, Hebr. 1. 2.

4. The Matter of what they were crea­ted,4 The [...]tter of what th [...]y were [...] p [...]bly of th [...] [...] El [...] ­ment. is not in Scripture so clearly expressed, as the Creation of the visible World is. It is evident that they are Spirits, sub­stances, and not fictions and imaginary only, but spiritual Bodies or Substances; whether they were made of all the four Elements, or any of them (which some de­ny) is not to us ma [...]erial, though the Scrip­ture seems most to adhere (in their De­scription) to that of Fire, that they are of fiery Bodies, though invisible: it is true, they appeared sometimes in the likeness of Men, yet it seems, that when they ap­peared most proper to their own nature, it was in the likeness of Fire: it was a Chariot of Fire in which Elijah was car­ried up to Heaven, 2 King. 2. 11. & chap. 6. 17. Elisha prayed and said, O Lord, I pray thee, open his Eyes that he may see, and the Lord opened the Eyes of the Young man, and he saw, and behold the Mountain was full of Horses and Chariots of Fire round a­bout Elisha. The Angels seem to be in their invisible Glory; for the Young man could not see them till his Eyes were open: to this the Prophet seems to agree, Psal. 68. 17. The Chariots of God are twenty thou­sand, even thousands of Angels. Ezek. 1. 13. The likeness of the living Creatures was like burning ceales of Fire, and like unto [Page 89] Lamps, &c. Exod. 3. 2. the Angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in the Bush bur­ning with Fire, and the Angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of Fire out of the midst of the Bush, &c. with Act. 7. 30. Psal. 104. 4. who maketh his Angels Spi­rits, his Ministers a flaming Fire: I under­stand the proper reading of the Words to be this, to have the true sense thereof, He maketh his Spirits Angels, that is, Messengers: this holds analogy with the Scriptures, and with Truth, Angel signi­fying Messenger: to make his Messengers Spirits is improper, they were made so at first, and he maketh them his Messengers, even a flaming Fire his Ministers, that is, Ministring Spirits, his Angels. These things thus considered, I most incline to this, that they are for the most part of the fiery Element.

5 The Number of Angels; as to the ac­count5 The Number of Angels number­less. of Man they were innumerable, we may say, as Rev. 7. 9. in another case, a great number which no man could number. God did not create them as he did Man, one Man and one Woman to increase the World thereby, and the Number to come forth in many Generations; but he made them all at once, a multitude in this Crea­tion: the Prophet speaking of good An­gels saith, Ps. 68. 17. The Chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of Angels. Where he names a certain number for an [Page 90] uncertain, as appears by Dan. 7. 10. Thou­sand thousands ministred unto him, that is, of Angels; for they minister to Christ, and serve him in Judgment, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him, that is, to be judged by him; Mat. 26. 53. Think­est thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and He shall presently give me more than twelve legions of Angels. The fallen Angels are multitudes, Mar. 5. 9. therefore they must needs be many in their first Creation.

6. The state in which they were created6 The state in which these were cre­ated. must needs be good, holy, pure, perfect; for [...]s they were a higher and foregoing Creation, excelling Man in their Creation, so they must be good; for God, who was and is Goodness it self, could make no­thing but that which was good; I say, could not, in respect of his Nature; it would have been contrary to himself; and that they were all so created is evident from the Scripture; for some of them are good still, Elect Angels, called the Angels of God, Heb. 1. 6. Psal. 103. 20. and the others were so created; for the Scrip­ture saith, that they kept not their first estate, that is, of Innocency and Goodness, in which they were created; for God never made them Devils, but Angels of Light.

The Titles given to the good Angels in Scripture discover their Nature and Good­ness: they are called Spirits, Heb. 1. 7, [Page 91] 14. Ministring Spirits and Messengers of God. They are called Gods, Psal. 138. 1. & 8. 5. & 97. 7. with Heb. 1. 6. Sons of God, Job 1. 6. & 38. 7. Principalities and Powers, and Dominions, and Cherubims and Scraphims; all which holds forth their ex­cellency in Nature and Work.

7. Of the Degrees of Angels, that there7 Of the Degrees of Angels. are Degrees of Angels is manifest in the Scripture; there are Principalities, and Powers, and Thrones, and Dominions, Col. 1. 16. which intends not a difference in Na­ture, but in Office and Imployment: we read of Michael the Arch-Angel, or chief Angel, Jude v. 9. Rev. 12. 7. However some think him to be Christ, I am (and that on good grounds) of another mind. But what those Degrees and Orders of Angels are, is not any further manifest in Scripture; therefore I shall speak no further of it, only thus much, that God is the God of Order, and hath set an Order and Govern­ment in the whole Creation, and we have ground to believe, that there is the most perfect and glorious Order in the heavenly Host.

8. Of the Office, Work, and Ministry8 Of the Office & Work of Angels. of the good Angels, their Work and Of­fice is twofold. 1. Such as respects God their Creator. 2. Such as respects the Creatures.

1. Such as respects God their Creator.1 To praise God. 1. It is to praise and glorifie him continual­ly, [Page 92] Psal. 14. 8. 2. Praise him all ye Angels, Praise him all ye Hosts, Isa. 6. 3. One cryed to another and said, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts, the whole Earth is full of his Glory. Luk. 2. 13, 14. And suddenly there was with the Angel a multitude of the heavenly Host, praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth Peace, Good will towards Men.

2. They wait on God in Heaven with a2 To do his Will. ready mind to know and do his Will, Mat. 18. 10. I say unto you, that in Heaven their Angels do always behold the Face of my Father that is in Heaven. Psal. 103. 20. Bless the Lord ye Angels of his, that excel in strength, that do his Commandments, hearkening to the voice of his Word. Hence it is, that Christ teacheth us to pray, Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven, that is, as it is done by the Angels in Heaven.

2. Such as respects the Creatures, and the2 Th [...]ir Service to Men. 1 Such as respect the Nati­ons of the World. World here below in the Government thereof, in which Angels are imployed; as is implyed in Heb. 2. 5. Ʋnto the Angels he hath not put in subjection the World to come, &c. which implieth, that this World is much under the Government of Angels: and in this, note, that not only good An­gels, but evil Angels are imployed, and at work in the Government of the Nations.

1. Good Angels, that is it I am now treating about, they have their Work [Page 93] both in the Government and overturns of the Nations. Dan. 10. 20. the Angel tells Daniel, Now will I return to fight the Prince of Persia, and when I am gone forth, lo, the Prince of Grecia shall come, and ch. 11. 1. Also I, in the first year of Darius, the Mede, even I stood to confirm and streng­then him: which clearly imports, the im­ployment of Angels in the Transactions and Government of worldly Kingdoms, to carry on Gods Design in the Earth, among the worldly Powers, and to accomplish his Will.

And likewise the evil Angels are at work there, to carry on their Design, and, if they could, to prevent Gods Design: Dan. 10. 12, 13. the Angel tells Daniel, that the Prince of the Kingdom of Persia withstood him one and twenty days, and that Michael, one of the chief Princes, came to help him. In which I observe two things, 1. That by the Prince of Persia is intended an evil Angel, who, as far as permitted, gover­ned both the King and Kingdom of Persia; for the King of Persia, as a man, could not stop the Angel, till Michael came to his help. 2. That he did, for a time, stop the Angel in his way and work for Daniel. The Devil will hinder good from the Saints as much as possible he can.

But 2. and especially, such Works as2 Such as respect the Saints relate to the Saints, the Ministry and Go­vernment of the Angels being especially for [Page 94] them, and they are such as relate either 1. to this Life, or 2. at and after Death. 1. Such as relate to them in this Life, and they are such as relate 1. to the Body, 2. to the Soul, i. e. both to the outward and inward man.

1. Such as relate to the Bodies of the1 Their Bodies. 1 To pre­serve and defend. Saints, 1. is to preserve and defend them from dangers, they are liable to both from Devil and Men, as likewise accidents of danger they may fall into, Psal. 134. 7. The Angel of the Lord encampeth round a­bout those that fear him and delivereth them, and 91. 11. For he shall give his Angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways: Gen. 48. 16. The Angel that redeemed me from all evil bless the Lad: so the Angel warned Joseph to flee into Egypt to pre­serve Christ, and to return when Herod, who sought his life, was dead, Mat. 2. 13, 19, 20. see Dan. 3. 28. & 6. 22. and some­times makes use of his Angels in an offen­sive way to the wicked, for preservation of his people, 2 Chron. 32. 20, 21. 2 King. 19. 35. and to deliver out of the hands of Enemies, Num. 20. 16.2 To sup­ply in need and di­str [...]ss. 3 To di­rect and Prosper in lawful underta­kings.

2. To bring needful things to them for their sustenance and preservation in time of distress, as in the case of Hagar, Gen. 21. 17, 18. and Elijah 1 King. 19. 5.

3. To direct and prosper them in their lawful and just undertakings, and to ac­complish their businesses for them, as in the [Page 95] case of Abrahams Servant, Gen. 24. 7, 40. Gen. 23. 20.

2. Such as relate to the Soul, 1. They2 Such as relate to the Soul. have and may reveal the Will of God to them, in this they have bee frequent. It is said, the Law was given by the Disposition of Angels, Act 7, 53. that it was ordained by Angels, &c. Gal. 3. 19. There are mul­titudes of examples of this kind in Scrip­ture, which I shall forbear to mention, on­ly Rev. 1. 1. to inform what to do in di­stress, as in the case of Hagar when she fled from her Mistress, Gen. 16. 9.

2. To comfort them in case of trouble2 What is their work at & after Dea [...]h. and temptation, as in the case of Christ, before his suffering, in his agony, Luke 22. 43, 44. in dangers and difficulties, as in the case of Paul, Act. 27. 23, 24.

2. What is the Office and Work of the good Angels, at and after Death.

1. They wait to convey their Spirits (when separated from their Bodies) to the place prepared for them till the uniting of Soul and Body again, Luke 16. 22. which is not into the highest Heaven, the most high and holy place, the glorious and eter­nal Habitation of God, the holy of holies, where Christ our high Priest (only) is en­tred, there to appear in the presence of God for us; but into Paradise, Luke 23. 43. or the third Heaven, which is all one, as is explained by the Apostle, 2 Corinth. 12. 2, 4.

[Page 96]2. They shall come with Christ at the day of Judgment, to gather all the faith­ful to him, Matth. 24. 31. And separate the wicked from among them, Matth. 13. 49.

Quest. Have the Saints every one a par­ticular Quest. Angel attending upon them, as some are of opinion?

Answ. Very probably it is so: yet Answ. all the Angels are for the Service of the Saints, and they may have more than one if need require, Heb. 1. 14. Are they not all Ministring Spirits, sent forth to mini­ster for them who shall be Heirs of Salva­tion: and Christ saith, Matth. 26. 53. Thinkest thou that I cannot pray unto my Fa­ther, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of Angels. See 2 King. 6. 16, 17. and whereas the Prophet saith, Psal. 34. 7. The Angel of the Lord encam­peth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. I understand it to be in­tended of the general care of the Arch, or Chief, Angel over the Church in ge­neral, who have all the heavenly Host for that Service, and is called, Dan. 10. 21. Michael your Prince: And probably it was the same, Luke 2. 9, 10. 11. that brought the tidings to the Shepherds of the Birth of our Saviour; and ver. 13. and suddain­ly there was with the Angel a multitude of the heavenly Host praising God, &c. so that the Saints have not only one Angel, [Page 97] but the whole heavenly Host for Service, as need and occasion requireth, who are intelligible spirits, swift in motion, great in strength and ready in mind, to do the Will and Pleasure of the Lord, in this or any other matter, Psal. 103. 20, 21.

CHAP. VI. Of the Devil and evil Angels.

IN this I understand, that when the DevilA Chief or Prince of Devils. is spoken of in the Singular Number, it intends him as the Chief; for it is evident, that there is an Order among the Devils, a Chief, or Prince of Devils, at whose service all the rest are, & this Prince of De­vils hath many Titles given him in Scrip­ture:His Titles & Names given in Scripture is to dis­cover his Nature.

1. Beelzebub the Prince of Devils, as is supposed from Baalzebub the God of Ekron, 2 King. 1, 2, 6.

2. The Old Serpent, Rev. 12. 9. so called for age in Wickedness, and Subtlety to de­ceive, He it was that deceived our first Parents, Gen. 3. 1. 2 Cor. 11. 3. and the Apostle saith, 2 Cor. 2. 11. We are not igno­rant of his Devices.

3. The Devil, Mat. 4. 1. 1 Tim. 3. 6. which signifieth a malicious Slanderer, and false Accuser, a Calumniator, 2 Tim. 2, 3. Tit. 2. 3.

4. Satan, 1 Chron. 21. 1. Job 1. 6, 7, 8, 9. Zech. 3. 1. an Adversary, or Enemy, some­times ignorantly, so was Peter to Christ, Matth. 16. 23. Mark 8. 33. 2. maliciously and intentionally, so is Satan, Mat. 4. 10.

[Page 99]5. The Dragon and a roaring Lion, Rev. 12. 9. 1 Pet. 5. 8. so called for his fierceness and cruelty to mankind, wicked and cruel men are so called, Isa. 27. 1. Ez [...]k. 29. 3.

6. The Prince of this World, Joh. 12. 31. and the God of this World, 2 Cor. 4. 4. which signifieth his ruling Power in and over the people of this World, the Spirit that now worketh in the Children of Disobedience, Eph. 2. 2.

7. The Prince of the Power of the Air, Eph. 2. 2. which noteth the great Power of Satan in the airy Firmament, as also his place of passage to and fro, and under this single Title in various Expressions, or Names, relating to the Prince, or Chief, is the fulness of his Nature and Work disco­vered: and likewise the whole number is sometimes included, Mark. 5. 9. My Name is Legion, for we are many, and they are all of the same Name and Nature.

2. Of evil Angels, or Devils, in general,2 Of evil Angels or Devils in general. 1 Their Creation. I shall note,

1. Their Creation, and that (as I said be­fore) was good; for God made all good, Angels of Light, that is clear; for they kept not their first estate, and abode not in the truth, Joh. 8. 44. which argueth that they were in the truth, but abode not therein.

2. Of their Fall, and that was by Sin;2 Of their Fa [...], that it was for sin. what Law God gave them is not expres­sed, but doubtless it was the Law of Hu­mility and Obedience, to be content in [Page 100] their station, and to be obedient to their Maker, but they brake it and fell from that estate by sin, and sin must be a trans­gression of some Law: that it was for sin that they were cast down and became De­vils is clear from Scripture, 2 Pet. 2. 4. For God spared not the Angels that sinned, but cast them down to Hell, &c. Job 4. 18. he charged his Angels with folly, that is sin; for sin is the greatest folly, and so they fell from God into the greatest enmity and ha­tred against him.

3. What the sin of the Angels was by3 What was the S [...]n of the Angels [...] fell. which they fell: as for this, various ap­prehensions there are concerning it: with the confutation of any I shall not meddle, but state the truth from the Scripture: and that describes it, especially in three things; the first is Pride, and this appears from two Scripture-Grounds; the first is 1 Tim. 3. 6. amongst the Qualifications of a Bishop; this must be one, Not a Novice, lest, being lifted up with Pride, he fall into the condem­nation of the Devil: from whence I would observe these four probable things,

1. That Pride was the cause of the De­vils Fall and Condemnation, or that by which he became a Devil.

2. That very probably the fallen Angels stood but a little while; they fell in the young estate of their Creation, while No­vices.

3. That Novices in Faith or Ministry [Page 101] are in greatest danger to be insnared with the Devils sin of Pride. And

4. That such is the evil of the sin of Pride, that it exposes those that are insna­red therewith, and captivated thereby, to the Devils Condemnation that is eternal, without hope or help: O therefore take heed and beware of Pride.

The second Scripture-Ground is, the temptation he made use of, and prevailed upon our first Parents withal; which was, Pride and Disobedience, he knoweth ye shall be as Gods, &c. It seems he knew by experience what aspiring Pride would do, and so prevails to throw down Man (as he thought) into his own condemnation.

The second sin of Satan was Lying, as described by our Lord, Joh. 8. 44. He a­bode not in the Truth, but turned from the Truth to his own Lies; for when he speaketh a Ly he speaketh of his own, i. e. his own Nature, and his own Sin; for he is a Lyar, and the Father thereof.

And thirdly, to Pride and Lying Diso­bedience must be added: I may say truly, that Pride and Lying is Disobedience it self, and that all known Disobedience car­ries Pride and Lying in it: Pride is the cause why Men will not obey, when they know, what they promise themselves in Disobedience proves a Ly.

I am not of the mind as some are: ei­ther 1. That in their first Creation they [Page 102] were set to minister for Mans Good; and their thinking that too mean, was the cause of their Fall: and that,

1. Because (as I have before minded) that very probably their Creation and Fall too was before Man was made.

2. Because that Man in his created estate of Innocency had no need of Angels to mi­nister to him.

3. The World then was not put in sub­jection under Angels till after the Fall, but Man was the sole Lord thereof▪ under his Maker; nor shall it be in subiection to them after Restauration, Heb. 2. 5.

4. Nor was it likely, that they should be assisting him on the spiritual account, to keep him from sin; for then he had not been left to his free will, in his created e­state, to stand or fall

Nor 2. do I think their Sin was against the holy Spirit, as some suppose, according to the Sense thereof in Scripture, as it is the unpardonable Sin; (i. e. in their Fall) because they were created upright and ho­ly Creatures, as Man was; and was no more capable to sin that Sin than Man was; though all Sin ever was, and is against the holy Spirit, though not in the Sense as the unpardonable Sin is: they having nothing to provoke them to sin on the one hand, so nothing to prompt them to constancy in Humility and Obedience on the other hand, but their good created estate, and the [Page 103] Goodness of their Creator; but after their first Sin & Fall, they (doubtless) became the sink of Sin and nursery of all Abomination.

4. Unto what they fell, as into sin, so4 Ʋnto what th [...]y fell. into remediless and perpetual misery, ne­ver to be restored; but are reserved in everlasting chains of darkness, unto the Judg­ment of the great day, Jude v. 6.

Quest. Whence is it, that Angels should Quest. sin and fall, without all hope of recovery; and that God should afford a means for Mans recovery after his sin and fall; espe­cially, Angels by Creation being the more noble Creatures?

Answ. Next to the wonderful Will and Answ. Counsel of God, according to which he worketh all things, Eph. 1. 11. probably it was,

1. Because the Angels, in their Creati­on, were more noble and strong Creatures than Man, who was made of the Dust; and God took it as a more unpardonable Offence in them than of weak Man, who was made of the Dust: for to whom soever much is given of them is much required.

2. Angels, though of a higher degree by Creation, yet fell of their own volunta­ry will, without any one to tempt them; but Man was tempted to it by the evil one, and so was snared by temptation.

3. The evil and fallen Angels proceed and persist in their Pride and Enmity a­gainst God and his New Creation, to de­stroy [Page 104] it immediately; which might tend to provoke God to set an everlasting Seal of Darkness and Judgment upon them, and to exercise Pity and Compassion to­wards poor miserable fallen Man, to open a way of recovery, on the terms therein proposed.

Q [...]st. Whence is it, that the Devil Quest. should be so irreconcileably and unchange­ably set in enmity against mankind, as to make it his whole and unwearied work to be seeking their destruction, and especi­ally the Saints?

Answ. 1. Probably, because when the Angels fell, God made Man▪ of a lower sta­tion than they, to be in some sense in their ste [...]d, that so he might delight himself in a lower Creation, Prov. 8. 31.

2. Because God would not, by any means, lose his poor Creature Man▪ but brought to light a high and glorious way of Restauration for Man out of his fallen estate, and left the Angels under Dark­ness, unto Judgment; which fills them with all enmity both against God and Man; and his great design is to hinder this gra­cious and glorious Work of the Salvation of Men, though his own Damnation be the greater in the end. [...] The evil Offices & Works of the Devil towards Man.

5. What are the evil Offices and Works of the Devil and his Angels against Man­kind in general, and they are twofold:

1. Such as respect the Bodies, and out­ward [Page 105] man and estate, if permitted by God, as is clear in the case of J [...]o, Ch [...]p. 1, and 2. to smi [...]e and afflict him in his Children and Substan [...] and in his Body too with dread­ful Sores and Pains.

2. Entring [...]n and possessing the Bodies of Men, and using them in a dreadful man­ner, Mat. 8. 16. Mar. 9. 17, 18, 25, 26.

3. By stirring up wicked men to perse­cute the people of God, for their believing and obeying the Truth, Rev. 2. 10. 1 Pe [...]. 5. 8, 9.

2. Such as relate to the Soul.

1. In stirring up and troubling some with Melancholiness, to their great wrong, as in the case of Saul, 1 Sam. 16. 14. 16. 23.

2. To be a Lying Spirit in the mouths of False Prophets and Ministers, to seduce and deceive Souls to their destruction, 1 King. 22. 21, 22, 23. 2 Cor. 11. 13, 14, 15.

3. In blinding the Minds of Unbelievers (where the Gospel is published) to their destruction, 2 Cor. 4. 4.

4. In prevailing over wicked men, to some gross and horrible iniquity, and af­ter to follow them with the guilt till they destroy themselves: as in the case of Judas.

5. To reign and rule in the Hearts of wicked men, the Children of Disobedience, as their Lord and King, so making them willingly subject to him, Eph. 2. 2. 2 Tim. 2. 26. Col. 1. 13.

[Page 106]6. To use all endeavours to intice and insnare the Lords People with Sin, if possi­ble, to ruine them effectually, 2. Cor. 11. 3. Eph. 6. 11. 1 Pet. 5. 8.

7. To prevent them (if possible) by some means or other from doing that good they might and ought to do, 1 Thes. 2. 18.

8. To accuse them for their miscarriages (it may be much by his occasion) both be­fore the Lord and in their own Consciences to condemnation, if possible, to drive them to despair, Rev. 12. 10. Eph. 6. 11, 12, 13.

9. If he have no matter wherewithal to accuse them before God, he will accuse them with what they will do if God will but permit him to afflict them in Body or state, as in the case of Job, chap. 1. 11. and 2. 5.

10. And finally, He will use all his skill and power to the utmost of his limitation, to bring ruine and destruction both to the Bodies and Souls of Men; for he goeth a­bout like a roaring Lion, seeking whom he may devour.

CHAP. VII. Of the Fall of Man from his created Innocency.

THat God made Man upright after his own Image, hath been before treated on, but he continued not in that estate, but fell from it by transgressing the Law of his Maker, in eating the forbidden Fruit, Gen. 2. 16, 17. and 3. 3, 6, 17.

Quest. Was that the only sin and trans­gression Quest. of our first Parents, that brought in Death and Misery on Mankind, i. e. the eating of the forbidden Fruit in the Gar­den?

Answ. It was the only Transgression, Answ. the only Sin and Cause of Death; there is no other thing mentioned in the Scrip­ture; and therefore it is presumption in any to pretend to more than what is written.

Quest. Is it likely, that God should in­flict Quest. so great a Judgment for so small a Fact, as the eating of an Apple? will it ap­pear to be just and right in God so to do?

Answ. 1. The less the mattter seems to Answ. [Page 108] be, that is required, or forbidden, the grea­ter is the sin in him that transgresseth, he that will adventure the transgression of Gods Law for nought, for an Apple, will much more make a breach on a higher account, or supposed advantage: to sin for a little, or small matter, is as truly ac­counted a prophane spirit, as the greatest sinner, Heb. 12. 16. Esau for a morsel of M [...]at sold his Birth-right. And it argues a base spirit to transgress for a piece of Br [...]a [...], Prov. 28. 21.

2. The wilful breach of a (supposed) little command, is as truly a sin and con­tempt against God, as the breach of the greatest.

3. This was a great Command, and all the Commands that God gave to man in his Innocency, so that it was the only great Command of God given to Man.

4. In this actual Transgression of Eating the forbidden Fruit was contained much of Sin, (though the Act it self was the Trans­gression:) For,

1. There was not a giving to God that due Honour and Worship that was right and meet, nor had he respect to himself and his posterity as he ought, but sinned a­gainst God, Himself and Posterity in that one Act; and so transgressed that general Law, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine Heart, and thy Neighbour as thy self: he failed in both, transgressed [Page 109] both, so that though his Sin and Transgressi­on consisted in that one Act, yet it contai­ned in it the breach of the whole Law, was a high affront against God, and wrong to himself and all mankind, attended with Pride, Unbelief and Disobedience; they were willing to be as Gods, and obeyed the Devil rather than God; so that the Sin was a great Sin, especially as committed against an infinite God.

2. Into what he fell, and that is expres­sed,2 Into what be he f [...]ll. into a state of Death; in dying thou shalt dye.

Quest. Did Adams Sin bring Death upon himself only?

Answ. It brought in Death upon him­self and all mankind, and a Curse upon the whole Creation, Gen. 3. 17, 18, 19. Rom. 5. 17, 18, 19.

Quest. Whence came it to pass, that the Quest. Sin of one Man should bring in Death, and a Curse upon all?

Answ. 1. Because Adam was the Father Ans. of all mankind, he stood as a publick person, and all his posterity was considered as in him, and in him we all sinned, and in him we all fell into the same estate of Death, Rom. 5. 12.

2. Because the Contagion and Defilement of Sin came into us all, our Natures were corrupted, and by Generation ever since all the Sons and Daughters of Adam have been sinful, and defiled by Nature even [Page 110] from Conception, and this is that we call Original Sin, the sinful Nature and sinful Disposition that every one bringeth into the World with him, Rom. 5. 18. as by one Offence into all men, into condemnation; so it is read in the Greek, Psal. 51. 5. Job 14. 4. by reason whereof they fall into actual Transgression sutable to their capacities as soon as born into the World, Psal. 58. 3. Rom. 3. 12.

Quest. What is the reason that the whole Quest. Creation should fall together with Man?

Answ. Because that the whole Creation Answ. (of the visible world) was made for the use of Man, and therefore it was just with God, (as a Curse upon Man for his Sin) that it should fall with Man, and be cur­sed for mans sake, to add to the Curse that came in by sin.

Quest. What was the Life that Adam Quest. lost by his Sin?

Answ. It was the Deprivation and loss Answ. of all that Good in which he was created, free from Sin▪ Sorrow▪ Curse and Death.

Quest. What Death was it that came in Quest. by Adams Transgression?

Ans. A Death in Soul from the injoy­ment Answ. of Communion with God, a Death in Body, a Death in Sin, and by Sin all the Afflictions, Sorrows, Trouble and Mise­ry in this world, and an Usher to the Mi­sery in the world to come, Gen. 3. 19. Rom. 5. 12.

Quest. Was the Death that came in Quest. by Adams Transgression the first Death, that is the Death of the Body, or the first and second Death, the Death of Body and Soul eternally in misery?

Answ. Adams Sin made way to the e­ternal Answ. Death in misery, though not the cause thereof; for eternal Death and Dam­nation in Hell is not for Adams Transgres­sion, but for the actual Transgressions of Men committed by themselves against God since the Fall: the Soul that sinneth it is that must die this Death: the first Death is the Punishment of Adams Transgression, which is still in execution; all are liable to it, old and young; but the second Death is for Mens actual Transgression against the second Covenant, which took place ver­tually in promise immediately after the Fall, on which account both Man and the World too was reserved in order to the Restauration.

Quest. By what means did Adam thus Quest. fall into sin and misery?

Ans. By the Instigation of the Serpent, Answ. prevailing upon the Woman, Gen. 3. 1, 4. which was taken out of him, Gen. 2. 21, 22. and given to him by the Lord, that she might be a meet help for him, Ge. 2. 18. which may teach us, that those things that are or­dained by the Lord for the use of Man do oft-times (through Mans weakness) prove to his hurt, Eph. 5. 13, 14. and should teach [Page 112] the Woman Humility and Subjection to the Man according to Gods Ordinance, and not to usurp Authority, lest she be de­ceived, and deceive others, as Eve the Mo­ther of all did, 1 Tim. 2. 12, 13, 14. 1 Cor. 14. 34, 35.

Quest. VVas it the Serpent that decei­ved Quest. the Woman? or the Devil in the Ser­pent? or the Devil in the form of the Ser­pent?

Ans. The Devil in the Serpent; for it's Answ. said, that the Serpent was more subtile than any Beast of the Field, Gen. 3. 1. From whence the Devil is called a Serpent for his subtilty; and his subtilty (in part) was in making use of the most subtile Creature to effect his design by: which may teach us, that Satan maketh use of the most sub­tile and likely ways and means to car­ry on and accomplish his designs by, in or­der to mans destruction. He made use of the Serpent to deceive the Woman, and the VVoman to deceive the Man; the VVo­man being the weaker vessel, he assaults her first; and, prevailing on her, his work was more than half done; for she was likelier to deceive the Man than the Serpent was to deceive her: therefore it deeply con­cerns all (especially VVomen, who are the weaker vessels, and most liable to be decei­ved) to be very heedful of Satans Wiles, and not to be ignorant of his D [...]vic [...].

CHAP. VIII. Of the Way and Means ordained of God for Recovery of Man out of this Estate.

MAn being fallen by Sin into a state of Death and Misery, gone out from his Maker, God did not let him go, but took hold of him again, designing to do him good, and that immediately after the Fall, in the first Promise, Gen. 3. 15. that the Seed of the Woman should break the Ser­pents Head. It was a Threat to the Ser­pent, but a Promise to Man; in which be­hold,

1. The Severity of God:

1. To Man, that had sinned, though by occasion of Temptation, yet the Curse and Judgment threatned, must come upon him▪ Severity to the Serpent as a Creature and Beast of the Field, being used by the De­vil for effecting so bad a work [...] therefore cursed must he be above all the Beasts of the Field, on his B [...]ll [...] must he go, and Dust must he eat, and enmity hath God set between him and the VVoman, &c. which we see verified according to the VVord; Severity [Page 114] against the Devil, the chief agent in the work, expressed in these words, It shall break thy Head. i. e. the Devil; he was the Serpents Head in this design; the Head is the seat of VVisdom, Government and Speech; the Devil in this sense is said to be the Head, who made use of the Ser­pent and governed him, and spake in and by him; and therefore the Seed of the Wo­man, that is, Jesus Christ, that was to be born of a VVoman, should break the De­vil in his design, in his present work against mankind: so that Jesus Christ the Seed of the VVoman to break the Serpents Head, (which was a Threat to the Serpent but a Promise to the VVomans Seed) Mat. 1. 23. Gal. 4. 4. is the way and means ordai­ned by God to recover Man out of that e­state into which he fell by sin; that as sin and death came in by Man, so deliverance out of that estate must come by Man, by Christ Jesus the seed of the VVoman, both God and Man: and this Promise was fre­quently renewed from age to age, till the fulness of time was come that God had de­termined; and then (according to this and all his Promises) he sent forth his Son made of a Woman, made under the Law, that he might redeem them that were under the Law, Gal. 4. 4.

Quest. VVhat did Jesus Christ, for sin­ners, Quest. when he came into the world, in or­der to the Redemption of Man from sin and death?

Ans. As the first Man brought in Sin and Death by Disobedience, so Jesus Christ the second Man wrought Deliverance, & brought Life and Immortality to light by Obedience, Rom. 5. 9. For as by one mans Disobedience many were made sinners, so by the Obedience of one many shall be made righteous: as A­dams Disobedience brought us into a state of Sin and Death, so Christs Obedience is the alone way by which we must come in­to a state of Life, if ever we obtain it.

Quest. By what part of Christs Obedi­ence Quest. is it, by which he accomplished the Work? was it by his active or passive O­bedience, or both?

Ans. In some sense it was by both, but Answ. his passive Obedience it was that made a­ctual satisfaction to the Justice of the Fa­ther for the sin of sinners, so far, as that God for Christs sake will pardon all that in truth believe this glad tidings, and turn to the Lord, receiving him as their only Saviour and Lord, to be saved and ruled by him, Ephes. 5. 2. 1 Joh. 2. 12. Hebr. 5. 9.

And his active Obedience, in the fulness and perfection thereof, was his perfect Holiness, by which he was fitted to offer up himself to God an acceptable Sacrifice for sinners, which perfect Obedience and Ho­liness in him as our Head, is become the Believers by imputation, and so his active Obedience is the Believers Sanctification▪ [Page 116] as his passive is his Justification. 1 Cor. 1. 30. but of this more in the matter of Justificati­on when I come to speak of that distinctly, so that, in a word, he gave himself, that is, his Life and Blood, for our Redemption, Justification & Salvation; so that the Death and Sufferings of Christ it was, in which the Father was well pleased, and fully sa­tisfied, as a propitiatory Sacrifice for sin­ners, a covering Sacrifice to cover the sins of those who believe and obey the Gospel out of his sight, i. e. the sight of his Justice in the pardon of them, Psal. 32. 1. Rom. 4. 7, 8. Blessed are they whose iniquities are for­given, and whose sins are covered, &c. and nothing can cover sin from Justice, but the Blood, the Sufferings, of the Son of God, Eph. 1. 7. Col. 1. 14. which doth present us with the evil of sin, and our bad estate thereby, that when God had a mind to help us, nothing less than the Blood of his Son could do it; and with the strictness and se­verity of Justice in God, that when his own Son had undertaken the satisfaction, it must cost him his Life and Blood; and the Riches of Grace and Mercy both in the Father and the Son for poor sinners; the Father to give the Son to that end, 1 Joh. 3. 16. and the Son to give himself a Sacrifice for sinners, Joh. 10. 17, 18. and the Father to accept his own only Son for sinners, that so he might extend Mercy to them, and make them who believe accepted in him. This [Page 117] Grace and Love of the Father and Son is a height and depth unsearchable, if we lived more in the apprehensions thereof, it would fill us more with his fulness, and conform us more to his likeness, Eph. 3. 18, 19. 2 Cor. 3. 18.

Quest. Did Christ our Lord give him­self Quest. a ransom for all men, or for the elect only?

Ans. He gave himself a ransom for all Ans. men, to be testified in due time, 1 Tim. 2. 6. he tasted Death for every man, Heb. 2. 9. he was a Propitiation for the sins of the world, 1 Joh. 2. 2. God was in Christ reconciling the World to himself, not imputing their sins, Cor. 5. 19. and God so loved the whole world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that who­soever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life, Joh. 3. 16.

Object. If it be so these absurdities will Object. follow.

1. That where Justice is satisfied the sin­ner must be saved, it seems to be injustice, to take satisfaction in Christ, and to damn the sinners, unless you hold that all shall be saved.

2. Christ suffered in vain, if he bear the sins of any that may miss of Salvation by Him.

Ans. 1. The Satisfaction that God took Answ. in the Sufferings of Christ, lay more in the Excellency of the Person suffering, than in the Greatness of the things suffered, though [Page 118] the sufferings were exceeding great, be­ing born by an infinite Person; it was the infinite Worth of the Person that suffered, that set an infinite value on the Suffering, more than if all the World had suffered to eternity, 1 Peter 18, 19.

2. Had it been for the redemption but of one person, it must have been with the same price; so that Satisfaction for the Sins of the World no whit augmented the price paid; therefore no absurdity at all.

3. No person is delivered only and sim­ply on the sufferings of Christ, but the sa­tisfaction that God took in the sufferings of Christ was on terms of their believing and obeying the Gospel; and on these terms it is, that the Grace of the New Co­venant is published to all, and none are like to partake thereof without Faith, Re­pentance and Obedience, though not as the meritorious cause, yet as the terms on which it is dispenced, Mar. 16. 16. Luke 24. 47. though, it's true, Repentance effe­cted is the gift of Grace.

4. VVere it not so, the Plaister would not be as large as the VVound, nor the Physicians hand be as large in the Cure, as the Destroyer was to destroy, which seems not only dishonourable to the Un­dertaking of Christ, but contrary to Rom. 5. 15. to 20. though all partake not of the [Page 119] benefits, the fault is in themselves, and not in the Physician, Hosea 13. 9. 2 Peter 2. 1.

5. Yet God had a special respect in this great transaction of the Suffering of his Son, unto his elect, whom he foreknew, and predestinated them to be partakers of the Benefits thereof, Rom. 8. 2, 3, Heb, 2. 10. Eph. 5. 25, 26, 27.

6. And finally, the manner and method of Gods work, both in the Creation of Man and since the Fall, was

1. He made Man upright in his own Image, and so left him in that good created estate, to his own power and will to stand or fall: God did not act to forward his Fall, nor yet to hinder it, more than give his Law of Command, with the Threat on Disobedience; but he sinned voluntarily, by the temptation offered.

2. Man being fallen from God, he hath provided a Remedy, a blessed way of Recovery; and this Remedy is as large as the case requireth, and is to be pub­lished and tendred to all, (and that truly too) on the terms thereof; that is, Faith, Repentance and sincere Obedience, &c. that now whoever will, may come and take of this Water of Life freely; and Man is left free to accept or not ac­cept; and so mans Destruction will be (the second time) of himself.

God hath not bound himself, nor is he tyed in Justice to work men to the terms prescribed, nor doth he any thing to hinder, but very much the contrary, not only in the All-sufficiency of the Means, but by the publishing thereof, and manifold mercies, and invitations to Repentance.

VVhat he affords of special Grace and Assistance to any, is his superabounding Mercy, and it no whit derogates from from his general Love, Kindness and Provision for mankind in general: and it is mans wilful wickedness, in choosing Death rather than Life, and thereby judge themselves unworthy of the Life that is offered to them.

It is true, God foresaw Man in his fallen state; and saw, that notwithstan­ding the Greatness of the Grace of his New Covenant▪ yet that none would of themselves seek after God, and sincere­ly cleave unto him in that New and Liv­ings way, on which he did determine; and it was the Covenant, and Contract between the Father and the Son, (in this great Undertaking, that his Suffe­ring might not be in vain) to bring in some Souls effectually into the Grace of the Covenant, and that not from any natural good in them more than others, but without all respect of persons, only his special and superabounding Grace; [Page 121] having passed no Act, but as relative to Sin and Disobedience, that may hinder any: but hath afforded both Means and Helps sufficient, by which men might be­lieve, obey, and be saved▪ but they will not.

CHAP. IX. Of the design of God in general, in this his New Covenant, Restauration-Work, which was to make all things New.

THe design of God by Jesus Christ in his New Covenant-work, was, to make all things New, Rev. 21. 5. And he that sate upon the Throne, said, be­hold I make all things New, &c. God made the first, or old World, both Heavens and Earth, and all things therein for the use of man, and then made man to possess it; but man fell by sin, and the whole Creation fell with him, as a just Judgment of God upon man for his sin, Gen. 3. 17. Job 15. 15. Now in as much as this old Creation was lost and faln, the design of God by Jesus Christ was the recovery and restauration of all again, and to make all New, not of new matter that was not before, but to make the Old New again; all Old things must be made New.

Quest. What is it that God designed by What will God make new. A new People. Jesus Christ to make New?

Answ. 1. A new people, brought out from the old stock; a people renewed by [Page 123] the power and spirit of Grace, by and through the Gospel; and this is that which is owned of all the godly, witnessed in the Scriptures, and in a measure experienced by all the Saints, 2 Cor. 15. 17. If any man be in Christ, he is a New Creature, Old things are past away, behold all things are be­come New, Eph. 4. 23, 24. Be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the New Man, which after God, is Created in Righteousness and true Holiness, and this is that birth which is from above, without which, no man can see the Kingdome of Hea­ven, Joh. 3. 3.

Obj. This is effected here in the Kingdome of Grace, &c.

8. Answ. True, It is so, in the begin­nings thereof, in order to its perfection in the Kingdom of glory; for it will not be perfected till the Resurrection of the body from the dead, that is called the day of Re­demption, Rom. 8. 23. Eph. 4. 30. It is per­fected already in Christ our head, the se­cond Adam, who was the Lord from Heaven; but it must have its time of perfecting in the members, begun here, and perfected in the day of Christ, 1 Cor. 13. 10. then it is, that our vile bodies shall be changed and fashi­oned like unto his glorious Body, Phil. 3. 21. Then the whole man shall come forth compleat in the Heavenly Birth.

2. This new Creation shall be effected2 By a ne [...] Co­v [...]nant. by, and under a New Covenant; man lost [Page 124] all in the breach of the Old Covenant, but by the New Covenant he shall be renewed, and become Heir of all things, in, and with Christ the Head and Lord thereof, it's New-Covenant Grace, and New-Covenant-Work, all true blessedness is by the New Covenant, i. e. the Covenant of this new estate, Jer. 31. 31. Heb. 8. 8. 13. & 12. 24.

Obj. This Covenant is said to be made, and to be of force from the death of the Testator.

An. True, it is so, it took its effect then, and virtually from the Fall; from the first Promise, that the Seed of the Woman should break the Serpents head; so that all the Saints since the Fall, were renewed and sanctified by virtue of this Covenant, which became the alone ministration of God to men, af­ter the death of the Testator, in, and with whom the Covenant was made, and that before the world was, 2 Tim. 4 9. Tit. 1. 2. so that it hath had its effect virtually from the beginning, as a preparation to glory, but it is indeed the Covenant of the glorious Estate.

3. And in this New Covenant is brought3 A new Law. forth a new Law, for this new People, the Law of Faith, and the Law of Love, Joh. 13. 34. A new Commandement give I unto you, that ye love one another, &c.

Obj. This was the Old Commandement, and from the beginning, the Sum of the [Page 125] whole Law, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy might, and thy Neighbour as thy self.

Ans. True, as the Law, it did require it, as imployed in it, but if any answered it, it was by the Grace of the New Covenant, though the duty of the Old; but now its the duty of the New Covenant, seated on the new terms of the Gospel, from the grace thereof, from the love of Christ, and effected thereby, Rom. 5. 5. The love of Christ is shed abroad in our hearts by the holy Spirit that he hath given to us, 1 Joh. 4. 19. We love him, because he loved us first: its therefore new, because in all the Saints its not only required, but is true both in him, (i. e. Christ) and in you, i. e. the Saints; and this is that which is, and shall be, the great Law of the perfect and glorious Estate, in the new world, and that to Eternity.

4. There shall be a new habitation, or4 A new Habitati­on. dwelling place for these new people, a new Heaven, and a new Earth, Rev. 21. 1. I saw a new Heaven, and a new Earth, and the first Heaven & the first Earth was past away &c. Is. 65. 17. & 66. 17. to these Peter hath Rela­tion, 2 Pet. 3. 13. Nevertheless, we according to his promise, look for new Heavens, and a new Earth wherein dwelleth Righteous [...]ess; in which note 1. That the Apostle in this Scripture, relates to the promise before mentioned, Isa. 5. 17 as appears in that he uses the express terms of that promise, and [Page 126] there is no other promise thereof in the terms exprest, in the Old Testament. 2. That it is to be understood literally, and not mystically, or spiritually, that is a wrong to the Scripture; for it is the material visible Heavens and Earth that Peter treateth of, vers. 5, 6, 7. its the same that must be dis­solved, and this is that which is frequently called in Scripture, the World, or Earth to come, Mat. 12. 32. Luk. 2. 35. Heb. 2. 5. the world, of which the Saints by Faith, are made Heirs, Rom. 4. 13. For the Promise that Abraham should be the Heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or his Seed through the Law, but through the Righteousness of Faith, and this cannot be understood that it in­tends, that all Believers should be account­ed his Children (though that be a truth, and is exprest, vers. 11.) and that for two reasons: 1. It's improper so to understand it, for so believers are rather his Heirs, his Children, and not he their Heir, for in this he is to be Heir of the world. 2. Because in this Heir-ship of Abraham to the world, his Children are Heirs to the same Promise with him, the Promise is to Abraham and his Seed, vers. 16. therefore it is of Faith, that it might be by Grace, that the Promise might be sure to all the Seed. What Promise? to be the Heirs of the world: this is the Coun­try that our Fathers were seeking after, and dyed in the Faith thereof, Heb. 11. 13, 14, 15. Wherefore God hath prepared for them a [Page 127] City, vers. 16. a Holy and Heavenly City, that must come down into this new world, Rev. 21. 2. New Jerusalem, that must come down from God out of Heaven, that the Ta­bernacle of God may be with men.

Obj. This seems to be expalined, vers. 9. Object. 10. to be the Church, the Bride, the Lambs Wife.

Answ. I question not, but that the Answ. Church, the Bride, the Lambs Wife, is in­cluded herein, but it's a description, both of the City and of the Inhabitants, the like we have, chap. 3. 12. and Gal. 4. 25. Old Je­rusalem was in Bondage with her Children, and vers. 26. but Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the Mother of us all. Here is new Jerusalem, the holy City, which is a­bove, and her Children, which are the Saints exprest in these words, which is the Mother of us all; who are born from thence, without which they cannot see the Kingdom of God, Joh. 3. 3. see Psal. 87. 3. and in this is clear­ly a distinction between the City and the Inhabitants, Heb. 12. 22, 23.

5. The Saints shall then have a new5 A new C [...]v [...]ant name, Rev. 2 17. and 3. 12. as they are already in some measure made partakers of the new nature, and new name, they shall then be perfected therein 2 Pet. 1. 4. Phil. 3. 21. 1 Cor. 15. 44. 48, 49. 53, 54. they shall have a new name, Isa. 55. 15. he will call his Servants by another name, chap. 62. 2. and thou shalt be called by another [Page 128] Name, which the Mouth of the Lord shall Name; the Lord will take away that Name of Reproach which his people hath had in the world throughout all ages, and they shall be known and owned (even by their Enemies) to be the blessed of the Lord, Isa. 61. 9. All that see them, shall acknowledg that they are the Seed which the Lord hath blessed, chap. 60. 14. The Sons also of them that afflicted thee, shall come bending unto thee, and all they that despised thee, shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet, and they shall call thee the City of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy one of Israel.

6. In this new Estate, their work shall6 Shall sing new Songs of Praise. be to sing new songs of praise to God, and to the Lamb, Rev. 5. 9. & 4. 8. that is it the prophet speaks so much of, and exhorts so much unto, singing of new songs, Psal. 96. 1. and 98. 1. it relates especially to this E­state, they shall sing such new songs of praise to God, and to the Lamb, as none can learn but the Redeemed ones, suitable to the measure of the new work in them; can the Saints now sing new songs, (or else they were better sing none,) but then they shall be compleated therein, without mixture.

Reasons from Scripture further to il­lustrate and confirm this glorious Truth. 1. Its the accomplishment of the Eternal Counsel and purpose of God, the Prophet speaking of this same work (i. e. the Re­stauration,) saith Isa. 25. 1. Thy Counsels [Page 129] of old are Faithfulness and Truth: So like­wise Reason Further to confirm this Truth 1. The purpose and coun­sel of God. the Apostle Paul deeply discoursing, & discovering this Mistery of the Restauration by Jesus Christ, in the New Covenant, saith Eph. 1. 11. Who worketh all things after the Counsel of his own Will. Hence it is, that Jesus Christ by whom the Work was to be accomplished, was from Everlasting, Mic. 5. 2. John 6. 38, 40. And the Mercy of God herein, is from Everlasting to Everlast­ing.

2. His Eternal Grace and-Love to his2. His Eternal Grace & Love. Chosen Ones, whom he purposed to this E­state, therein to glorifie the Riches of his Grace, and to glorifie them with this Glo­ry, in this New World, Jer. 31. 3. 2 Tim. 1. 9, 10.

3. This is the substance and Life of the3. This is the sub­stance of the New Covenant. New Covenant, which all true Christians believe; and should claim their Interest therein; and indeed, it is of concernment to all Believers to understand, what, and wherein Heirship doth consist; which is to this New World: see the New Covenant, Gen. 12. 3. and 22, 18. In thy Seed (that is in Christ) shall all Nations of the Earth be blessed. This Promise in the word Blessed, includes the Blessedness of this New World, to the Heirs thereof: So the Apostle apply­eth it, as hath been before minded, Rom. 4. 13, 16. Gal. 3. 18, 19. 29. in all which it's evi­dent, that the Hiership of Abraham and his Seed, (that is Believers) by vertue of the New Covenant, is to this Inheritance, which [Page 130] serves to open the Heirship spoken of in all other Scriptures; I mean, the New Cove­nant Heirship.

4. It was the great Designe of God, made4. It was the de­signe of God, ma­nifest since the Fall. manifest ever since the Fall; and all things since hath been working in order thereunto, Gen. 3. 15. and 12. 3. Psal. 37. 11. with Mat. 5. 3. Rev. 5. 10. It was the great De­signe of God, in sending Christ into the World; and of Christ in coming into the World, to do that for the World, without which, this new Work and World could not be accomplished, Heb. 11. 40. And in order to the accomplishing hereof, he is ascended up where he was before, to prepare a place for his People, John 14. 2, 3. and to prepare a people for that place, Heb. 12. 2. 2 Cor. 5. 5. And when he comes again the second time in his Power and Glory, it will be in or­der to the finishing of this Work, Mat. 25. 34. Rev. 21. 1. to the

Object. It's frequently said in Scripture, that the Reward of the Saints is in Heaven, That it's laid up in Heaven for them, &c. 1 Pet. 1. 4.

Ans. It is true: it is so, and that without any Contradiction at all to this present Truth, which is so apparantly held forth in Scripture. It behoves us so to Understand one Truth, as not to lose, or destroy ano­ther; which hath been a great Weakness a­mongst Christians. But let us see a little how both may stand together; the Inheri­tance of the Saints may be said to be in [Page 131] Heaven, and to be reserved in Heaven for them.

1. As all the good Gifts of God given to the Saints, on the Gospel account, now in this day of Grace, in order to that Glory, are said (in sence and substance) to be in Heaven; for our Heavenly Birth must be from thence, John 3. 3. Except a man be born again above (so the Word is) he can­not see the Kingdom of Heaven. Jerusalem which is above, is the Mother of us all, and every good and perfect Gift cometh down from the Father of Lights, Jam. 1. 17. And doubt­less the Glory of that Estate is administred here below, by the Word and Spirit, 1 Cor. 2. 9, 10, 12. But the Glory it self is reserved in Heaven, till the time appointed, and then the Glory shall be administred down from thence, as now the Grace, and gracious Gifts are.

2. We Read in Scripture, that New Jerusalem must come down from God out of Heaven, and the Tabernacle of God will be with them, Rom. 21. 23. So that it may very well stand together, that it is in Heaven, and yet shall come down into the New Earth.

No wonder, if that State and Glory of the Saints is called Heaven then, when in per­fection in the New earth, and New state of the Church in it's imperfection, in this side that Glory (because made partakers of some of the Virtues of Grace) is called Heaven; and the Kingdom of Heaven, Mat. 13. 31, [Page 132] 32, 47. and 25. 1. Rev. 18. 20.

3. It is said in Scripture, that the Bodies of the Saints shall be fashioned like unto the Body of our Lord Jesus, Phil 3 21. and they shall be like unto the Angels, Luke 20 36. and that they shall have Spiritual Bodies, 1 Cor. 15. 44. Capable to ascend and descend; and so may have the possession of Heaven, as well as of the Earth, if it will add to their Glory; But he will make the place of his Feet glorious, Isa. 60. 13. and what place that is, see Ch. 66. 1. Mat. 10. 35. Act. 7. 49. [...]o conclude this Chapter; this opens [...] Window into that Truth, so much by most condemned; that is, the personal Reign of Christ, with his Saints, where it's like to be▪ no doubt but in this New World, must have the Glory there, it cost him so Dear in preparing for it, and purchasing of it. Eph. 1. 14. In a word, it is, and shall be made by him, and for him. But of this I shall speak in Chap. 31. more fully and di­stinctly.

CHAP. X. Of the Order and Method of God, in pre­paring a People for this Glorious E­state; which is, 1. By Effectual Calling.

MAN being created in a good Estate,Chap. 10 and by Sin faln from God, gone out into Darkness, Wrath, and Enmity: And God having opened a way of Recovery, that is, by Jesus Christ crucified. I shall now come to speak something of the Order and Method of God, in preparing, and bringing up a People to this State of Glory; and that is,

1. By Effectual Calling; although it'sOf Effe­ctual Cal­ling. true, that Effectual Calling concludes the whole Work of Grace, in order to Glory, or else it is not Effectual. Yet in as much as it is so frequently, and distinctly spoken of in Scripture, I shall speak of it distinctly, to pass by the various use of the word, Call, Called, and Calling, in the Scripture sence; I shall speak only of this Calling unto, and of Sinners, out of their lost Estate by Sin. Unto God by Jesus Christ

The Scripture presents us with, 1. A ge­neral Call, or Calling to all; as all have [Page 134] sinned, and come short of the Glory of God,1. A gene­ral Cal­ling to all. and he hath opened a Way and Means full of Sufficiency for All; therefore he calls upon All to come in, and accept of this Grace, where the Word of the Gospel comes; and where it doth not, his Works doth so far, and sufficiently declare, and make known God to the World, as that they shall be in­excusable in the Day of Accounts, Rom. 1. 20. This general Call by the Gospel to Sinners, is fully confirmed in the Commission of Christ, given to his Apostles and Ministers, Mark 16. 15. Go ye into all the World, and preach the Gospel to eve [...]y Creature, &c. See, it's likewise confirmed, Prov. 8. 1. to 10. and 9. 1. to 6. And of this first sort of Call, many, yea multitudes, are called, that will not Obey▪ which is their sin, and will be their Condemnation, Prov. 1. 20▪ 24. The Truth hereof we see daily by woful Experi­ence, that Men refuse their own Mercy, and destroy themselves, Hos. 13. 9. They judge themselves unworthy of the Life tendered them in the Gospel, in refusing the Wayes of Life, and choosing the Wayes of Death and Darkness; preferring the Devil and his service before the Lord Jesus and his Ways of Life.

2. Others there are, who pretend to yield2. A more particular Calling. Obedience to the Heavenly Call, and come into the Profession thereof; but it is but faignedly, not in Truth, and with their whole Hearts, to give up themselves to God there­in, and so come short of the Glory prepared, [Page 135] and promised; not because there is any fail­ing in the Truth of God, but because their Hearts was not Right with God, neither were they stedfast in his Covenant; but like treach­erous Judah, they turned not unto the Lord with their whole Hearts, but feignedly, Jer. 3. 10. And of this sort are such as either, 1. Receive the Word with Joy, without any Heart-Conversion to the Lord; and for a while Believe, but when Tribulation, and Persecution ariseth because of the Word, by and by they are offended: Or, 2. Such as Profess to know God, but in Works deny him, being Abominable, and Disobedient, and to every God Work a Reprobate, Tit. 1. 16.

Or, 3ly. Such as are palpably Hypocrites, who come into the Profession of the Gospel, Designing some Base ends to themselves, and make use of Profession to Cloak their wick­edness withal; of the Discovery of these, the Scripture is full, Mat. 15. and 23 Chap­ters: And of Such is to be feared there hath been, and still are many in the visible Pro­fession of the Way of Life, but such are still in the Way of Death; For the Hypocrite in Heart do heap up Wrath, Job 36. 13. And the Hope of the Hypocrite shall perish, Job 8. 13.

Or, 4ly. Such as Foolishly content them­selves with Lamps (that is, visible Profession of Truth) without Oyl in their Vessels; that is, the Annoynting of the Spirit and Truth of Grace and Life in the Heart, like the Foolish Virgins, Mat. 25. 2, 3, 8▪—11, 12. And [Page 136] thus having not the Wedding-Garment, i. e. Cloathed and Covered with the Righteous­ness of Jesus Christ, by Faith and sincere Obedience, come Short of Obtaining the End of the Heavenly Calling; and so the Truth of that Word will appear, Mat. 22. 11, 12 That many are Called, but few are Cho­sen.

A Third Sort of Call is; such as are Ef­fectually3. Is the effectual Calling. called, by the Power of Christ in the Word of the Gospel, And turned from Darkness to Light; and from the Power of Satan unto God: Such a Call as the Apostle was Partaker of, Gal. 1. 15, 16. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my Mo­thers Womb, and called me by his Grace to Reveal his Son in me, &c. And this Call is Effected by the Word of God's Grace, which is his General Call to all, and Ef­fected by some secret Divine Operation of the Holy Spirit in the Word of Grace, be­getting Souls to the Lively Faith, and Hope of the Gospel, Sam. 1. 18. 1 Pet. 1. 3. And this Lively Faith and Hope, where it is in Truth; that is, where this Effectual Cal­ling is, it is of a purifying Nature, Acts 15 9. 1 John 3. 3. Every man that hath this Hope in him, purifyeth himself as he is Pure. This Divine Calling, it is in Scripture cal­led:

1. A High Calling, Phil. 3. 14. Not only because it's Effected from on High, but because they are called to High Things; made Partakers of Heavenly Virtues; in­terested [Page 137] in High and Heavenly Relations; the Children and Servants of the most High God, as also interested in the High and Heavenly Glory, Made Heirs according to the Hope of Eternal Life.

2. A Holy Calling, 2 Tim. 1. 9. Called to Holiness, 1 Thes. 4. 7. vers. 3. 4. For this is the Will of God, your Sanctification, that you should abstain from Fornication; that every one of you should know how to possess his Vessel in Sanctification and Honour. By Vessel in this place, I understand is intended our Bodies; that every one might know how to possess his Body in Sanctification and Honour: So the word Vess [...]l in Scripture Sence imports, Acts 9. 15. 2 Cor. 4 7. For the Lust of Concupiscence and Fornica­tion, ariseth in the Heart, and the Mem­bers are but Instruments to Execute what worketh from within; and the Scripture saith, that the Body is not for Fornication, but for the Lord; and know ye not, that your Body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit, 1 Cor. 6. 13, 19. The Lord hath called his People [...]o Holiness here, and to Happiness hereafter; wonderfully are they mistaken, who think that the Calling to Christianity, is only to the Profession thereof here, and the Glory thereof hereafter, without Holiness, when the Scripture saith in express Terms, that without Holiness, no man shall see the Lord, Heb. 12. 14.

3. A Calling to Glory and Virtue, 2 Pet. 1. 3. Glorious Relation, and virtuous Con­versation; [Page 138] or Virtue, as the Way; and Glory, as the End: This is that Calling the Apostle mentions, Rom. 8. 28. Who are the Called according to his purpose. And therefore it greatly behoves such to walk worthy of God, who hath called them to his Kingdome and Glory. 1 Thes. 2. 12.

4. It's called a Heavenly Calling, Heb. 3. 1. Wherefore Holy Brethren, partakers of the Heavenly Calling; it's effected from Hea­ven, and possesseth the Soul with a Heaven­ly Mind, and interesteth in Heavenly Glo­ry; it being such a High, Holy, Heaven­ly, Virtuous, and Glorious Calling: It greatly concerns such to Honour their Chri­stian Calling; that as he that hath called them is Holy, so be ye Holy in all manner of Conversation and Godliness, 1 Pet. 1. 15.

The sum of the Matter wherein this Ef­fectual Calling consists; it is an Effectual turning of the whole Man, from Sin and Satan to God, (in the way of the Gospel) both in Heart and Conversation; or an Ef­fectual yielding up our selves in Obedience to the Heavenly Call, sincerely turning to, and following of the Lord; as Paul, Gal. 1. 15, 16. Acts 26. 19. And with purpose of Heart to cleave to, and follow the Lord, in wa [...] of constant, universal, and sincere O­bedience: This is the special Effectual Cal­ling, According to his purpose, to the obtain­ing of the Glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, and gives Right to the Promise of the Eternal Inheritance, Heb. 9. 15.

CHAP. XI. Of Faith. 1. What it is. 2. How it is wrought. 3. It's Grounds, and it's Object. 4. It's Excellency.

FAith is an excellent Divine Virtue; thatChap. 11. Of Faith. which the Scripture layeth much stress upon, and that without which there is no Salvation: He that Believeth not shall be Damned. I shall therefore speak something distinctly concerning this Great and Divine Virtue of Faith: It's satisfying and saving Faith only, that I shall endeavour to be speaking of.

1. I shall discover what Faith is; Faith in1. What Faith is. it self (take it on all Accounts) is a giving Credence to the Truth of God, it is to Be­lieve God: Faith is a giving Credit to, or Believing a Report, be it in Humane or Di­vine Things: To give Credit to Humane Relations on Humane Testimony, is a Hu­mane Faith; to give Credit to the Di­vine Report of God in the Gospel, is a Di­vine Faith.

So that the Divine Faith of the Gospel to which Life is promised, is a Hearty giving Credit to, and Believing of the Truth or God, and Christ in the Gospel, with a [Page 140] hearty consenting to be Saved, and Ruled by the Lord Jesus.

1. That the Divine Faith, is a giving Credence to, and believing of the Truth of God in the Gospel; this (according to the Ministration) hath been accounted the True Faith in all Generations, to Believe, and O­bey God. This was the Faith of Abraham, the Father of the Faithful, Gen. 15. 6. Rom. 4. 3. Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for Righteousness; and it was accompanied with Obedience: Faith and Obedience always goes together, else it's none of the Faith of God's Elect, Heb. 11 8. By Faith, Abraham when he was called to go out into a Place, which he should after Receive for an Inheritance▪ Obeyed, and he went out, not knowing whither he went, Jam. 2. 22. See you how Faith wrought with his Works, and by VVorks was his Faith made perfect: And this was the Faith required, and accepted throughout that Ministration, 2 Chron. 20. 20. Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; Believe his Prophets, so shall ye prosper. And their Failing herein, was their great Sin and Reproof, and the Cause of their other Sins and Judgments, Deut. 1 32. Ye did not Believe the Lord your God; the Effects thereof are Described, both as to their Sins and Judgment, vers. 34. 35. Un­belief in this Matter, hath been the Con­demning Sin, both in Law and Gospel, Isa. 53. 1. A Pophesy of the Gospel, compared with John 12. 38. Rom. 10. 16. Who hath Be­lieved [Page 141] our Report, (or our Doctrine,) and to whom is the Arm of the Lord revealed, Mark 16. 15, 16. Preach (or Publish) the Gospel to every Creature; He that Believeth, and is Baptized, shall be Saved, he that Believeth not, shall be Damned; that is, He that Be­lieveth, and Obeyeth the Gospel, shall be Saved: This is the Gospel-Faith, heartily to Believe, and Obey the Gospel, is the Faith to which Salvation and Life is pro­mised, John 20 31.

2. How this Faith is wrought; it's Ef­fected2. H [...]w its wrought. in the hearts of Men by the Word and Spirit of Christ; it must be a Word-Faith, or else it is but a Fancy, and therefore it must be wrought by the Word; that is, the Word must be the Instrumental means thereof, because without it Persons know not what to Believe; it's the Instruction of the Gospel that directs to the Matter of Faith; that is, what is to be believed; with­out which Persons remain Ignorant of the Historical part of Faith; the Truth of this is obvious and clear, both from Scripture and Reason, Rom. 10. 14. How shall they call on him in whom they have not Believed, and how shall they Believe on him, of whom they have not heard? Where the Apostle, even from Prin­ciples of Reason, concludes, that as Faith is absolutely necessary to calling on the Lord, so is Hearing the Doctrine of the Gospel abso­lutely Necessary to Believing; that is, to instruct in the Matter what to Believe, which without the Doctrine of the Gospel cannot [Page 142] be without a Miracle, which hath not been, nor is it God's way of Working; and by the Gospel, do the Lord Efficatiously work the Saving Faith of the Gospel, Col. 2. 12. Heb. 12. 2. 2 Cor. 5. 5. It's by the Word that Faith comes, John 17. 20. The Word being the Divine Revelation of the Will of God, accompanied with the Divine Power of God, accomplisheth the Work, 1 Thes. 1. 5.

3 What are the Grounds and Objects of3. The Grounds and Ob­jects of Faith. Faith? The Ground of Faith, is the Truth and faithfulness of God in his Word, and his All-sufficiency to perform it.

1. His Truth and Faithfulness; the Ground or Reason, why you believe a Man is, be­cause you judge him to be Honest and True, that he will not (knowingly) tell you a Lye; it's true, in matter of Law, for Ending of Controversies among Men, both by the Law of God and Men; the Oath of Two (in Common) determineth the Case, from Sup­position that they will not Swear false. Though (according to the Proverb) the Word of one honest Man is a Surer ground of Credence, than the Oath of Two Lyers; but the Truth of God in Divine Credence, is the sure Ground of Faith: And when a Soul comes to this pitch of Faith, to Believe, that he that hath spoken is God that cannot Lye; that Faithful is he that hath promised, who will do it. Then he is quiet, it puts the Mat­ter out of doubt; and for this, he hath gi­ven us Two Immutable things, in which it is [Page 143] impossible for God to Lye, Heb. 6. 18. In which is included the Mercy of God; for it is his Mercy to promise, and his Truth and Faithfulness to perform: Hence the Scrip­ture saith, Mercy and Truth are met toge­ther, Psal. 8 [...]. 10. And the coming of our Lord into the World, was to perform the Mercy promised to our Fathers, and to re­member his Holy Covenant, Luke 1. 7 [...]. So that there is a Concurrency of Mercy and Truth in God as the Ground of our Faith. 2. The All-sufficiency of God to perform his Word, his Mercy, and his Truth, is the ground of Faith. If an honest Man promise you that which he is able to perform, you give great Credency thereunto; though there can be no Infallible Credence in this Matter: For Men (be they never so Faith­ful, yet) have not the power of Perform­mance in themselves, therefore may fail; but God hath all power of Perforance in himself; and this was the ground of A­braham's Faith, Rom. 4. 21. Being fully perswaded, that what he had promised, he was able to perform: And when God commanded him to offer his Son, (for which he had so strong Faith) he fixes both on the Truth and Power of God; and on that account yields ready Obedience, Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the Dead, Heb. 11. 19. There is likewise an All-suffici­ency in the Lord Jesus, for the accomplish­ing of the Word, and Work of Salvation forThe Obiect of Faith. all true Believers, Heb. 7. 25.

And the same, that is the Ground, is like­wise the Object of Faith; that is, to what, and to whom we are to look in Believing, that is to God and Christ, Who performeth all things for us: We are to look to him, and Believe in him; to have God and Christ in their Mercy, Truth, Faithfulness and Power always in our Eye, Isa. 45. 22. Look unto me, and be ye saved all the ends of the Earth; that is, Gentiles as well as Jews, Mich. 7. 7. Therefore will I look to the Lord, and wait for the God of my Salvation, &c. Isa. 17. 7. John 3. 14, 15.

4. What is the Excellency of Faith? Faith4. Of the excellency of Faith. is an excellent and choyce Virtue; it's called in Scripture (for it's Excellency) precious Faith, 2 Pet. 1. 1. To them that have obtain­ed like precious Faith with us: It's called Precious for it's excellent and precious Uses and Effects; Which are as followeth:

1. It justifieth God in his whole Name;1. It justi­fieth God. especially, in his Mercy, Truth, Faithfulness, Power, Wisdom, Purity, and Justice, where­in Faith is mostly exercised; He that be­lieveth not God, (abaseth, and abuseth him in his whole Name) hath made him a Lyer; but he that Believeth, justifieth God in his Truth, John. 3 33. He that receiveth (i. e. Believeth) his Testimony, hath set to his Seal, that God is true. No wonder that Unbelief must be punished with Damnation, s [...]eing it gives God the Lye, not only in not Believing that Jesus is the Christ; Men may believe the general Doctrine of the Gospel, [Page 145] touching Salvation by Jesus Christ, by Edu­cation and Tradition, and not believe the Truth thereof, in matter of Holiness and Obedience, to conform thereunto, and that do as truly give God the Lye, as not to Be­lieve the Doctrine of Salvation; for if Men may be Saved in ways of Unholiness and Disobedience, the word of the Lord is not True which saith the contrary, 1 Cor. 6 9, 10. Ephes. 5. 3, 4, 5, 6. Heb. 12. 14. Rev. 21. 27. Therefore let God be True, and every Man (in this matter) a Lyer.

2. It's that (as the Condition) will justi­fie2. I [...] justi­fieth the Sinner. the Believers before God, Rom. 5 1. There­fore being justified by Faith, we have Peace with God: But of this, more at large in the Doctrine of Justification.

3. It's of a Soul-strengthening Excellen­cy;3. It's of a Soul▪ strength [...] ning Ex­cellency. it helps to hold out, and to overcome­ing the Spiritual Warfare, 1 Cor. 16. 13. Watch ye, stand fast in the Faith, quit ye like Men, he strong: Our strength in the warfare, is by standing fast in the Faith; the Saints have many Enemies to Encounter withall, both within them, and without them; and it is their stability in the Faith of the Gospel that is their strength, Eph 6. 16. In the Spiritual warfare with those high E­nemies, the Saints are to Encounter withal, Exprest vers. 12. The chief Defence of the Saints in Faith; Above all, take the Shield of Faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the Fiery Darts of the wicked One. It's that by which we must get the Victory over the [Page 146] World if ever we get it, 1 John 5. 4. And this is the Victory that overcometh the World, even your Faith. What we are to under­stand is intended by the World, see Chap. 2. 16. For all that is in the World, as the lust of the Flesh, the lust of the Eyes, and the Pride of Life, is not of the Father, but of the World. The World, the Flesh, and the Devil are the three great Enemies of the Saints; and by Faith it is that they over­come them all. How so? Why Faith be­lieves the Truth of, and Interest in, better things than either any, or all of these can propound; and that makes the Gracious Soul to slight All, and to account it but Dung and Dross, and to part with All, for the Excellency of Christ: It believes down the World, and Sin, and Satan; believes in Grace and Strength from the Lord: Hence the Scripture saith, that we are kept by the Power of God through Faith, 1 Pet. 1. 5. God strengthens, keeps, and preserves his People in a way of Believing, not without, or out of the way of Faith: In a word, our Lord expresseth the Power of Faith, All things are possible to him that Believeth, Mark 9. 23. Faith believes all things possible for God to do, that he hath said he will do; and all things possible for Man to do and suffer, that God calls him to; it strengthens the Soul both in doing and suffering.

4. Excellency of Faith is; it purifieth the 4. Faith purifieth the heart. Heart, Acts 15. 9. It's of a purifying Na­ture in it's Exercise and Imployment; it ex­erciseth [Page 147] it self about the Holiness of God in his own Nature, the purity of his Word and Will, the greatness of his Love in the Death of the Lord for Sinners, with the Holy ends thereof, &c. And this works the Soul into the Hatred of Sin, and Love of Holiness; believes the Truth of all the Holy Instituti­ons, Ordinances and Commands of the Lord; and it's Bounden Duty to live up to him therein: In a word, Faith in the Word of the Lord it is that works the Soul to Es­chew Evil, and to do Good, to abhor that which is Evil▪ and to cleave to that which is Good: No Holiness without Faith; and the more Faith is thus exercised, the more Holy Conformity will there be to the Lord.

5. Excellency of Faith is, that it fills the 5. It fills the Soul with J [...]y & Peace▪ Soul with Joy and Peace, Rom. 15. 13. Now the God of Hope fill you with Joy and Peace in Believing &c. It's true, it is the God of Hope that gives this Joy and Peace; but it comes into us through Believing, it never comes to any Soul but by Believing; that is, believing the Truth of the Doctrine of the Gospel in all the good Tydings thereof, in all the Promises and Precepts; it all af­fords Joy and Peace to the Believer, who is exercised therein, 1 Pet. 1. 8.

6. Excellency of Faith is; that it's the6. I [...]s the Mother of all [...]ther Divine Vertues. Mother (if I may so say) of all other Di­vine Vertues, Love, Hope, Patience, Obe­dience, &c. They are all Nursed, and Nou­rished up under Faith; and without Faith, [Page 148] there can be none of all these, though Faith worketh, and getteth strength by these: Yet without Faith there can be none of these, as Without Faith we cannot please God. So without Faith we can have no Divine Virtue, and if our Faith be right and true, then it carryeth in it something of every Divine Virtue of the New Covenant: And this Christians should be instructed in, that it might engage their Hearts to be Adding to their Faith Virtue, &c, according to 2 Pet. 1. 5, 6, 7.

Faith is the first Active Demonstrative Virtue in the Soul, and lyeth at the bottome of every Virtue, and of every Duty.

7. Such is the Excellency of Faith,7. It ren­ders both Persons and Ser­vices ac­ceptable. that it renders our Persons and Services, and all we Doe and Suffer for Christ, according to his Will, acceptable to and with the Lord; See Heb. 11. almost throughout. The Works of the Saints and Elders of old, were all accepted, being done in Faith, and vers. 6. Without Faith it is impossible to please him.

Object. The Apostle, 1 Cor. 13. seems to prefer Love as the only Gospel, amiable, and acceptable Virtue, yea, even above and beyond Faith, vers. 2. Though I had all Faith, &c. and have no Charity, I am nothing.

Answ. It's true; if it were possible to have all Faith without Love, it would be no­thing; that is, produce nothing, issue in no­thing; true Faith is always accompanied [Page 149] with true Love, and though Love be the most Heaven-born Virtue, that which makes us most like God, yet this Love is not, can­not be, before, and without Faith; we can­not love God till we believe him to be God, nor Jesus Christ, till we believe the Truth of the Gospel concerning him, nor love his Word, till we believe it to be his Word, &c.

8. It's excellent End and Issue, discovers8. It's ex­cellen [...]s End. the Excellency of the Virtue; it Issues the Soul in Glory, it prepares the Soul for Glo­ry; through it it's preserved by the Power of God to Glory; He that endureth (i. e. in the Faith and Profession thereof) to the end, shall be Saved, 1 Pet. 1 9. Receiving the end of your Faith, the Salvation of your Souls. By Soul, we are to understand the whole Man, Body and Soul▪ and this is, and will be the end of all true Faith, to bring you to Salvation both Body and Soul; but this note, it's not Faith only in the Habit of it, but in the Living-working Power thereof, according to the Gospel, as it brings forth those other Divine Virtues aforementioned. But to this of Faith, I shall speak more di­stinctly in the Doctrine of Justification in some Cases.

CHAP. XII. Of Repentance.

REpentance and faith are undoubtedChap. 12. Of Re­pentance. Companions; in as much as some­times [Page 150] Repentance is included in Faith, and sometimes Faith is included in Repentance, and it comes in immediately with Faith, and much spoken of in the Scripture, as absolute­ly necessary unto Life; and in my Method in speaking to it, I shall endeavour

1. To shew what it is; the Greek Word1. What it is. [...]. (Metanoesate) properly signifieth a Change of the Mind, which cannot be without a Mea­sure of Faith; and that not an ordinary change of the Mind from one thing to ano­ther, but it is a change of the Mind from owning of, delighting in, and following after the Service of Sin, Satan, and the World, to the owning of, delighting in, and following after the Lord, in serving of him. In a Word, true Repentance is the turning of the whole Man from Sin and Sa­tan unto God; to Believe and Obey the Gospel, for where the Mind is eff [...]ctually changed, there will be a change in the whole Conversation; it's one in Substance with Conversion, for that is a turning from Sin to God, and so is Repentance; it's not a turning from one Sin to another, or from one Opinion to another; (unless it be from Errour to Truth) or a turning from Pro­phaneries to Civility or Formality. So the last Estate may be worse than the first; but it's the turning from the Power of Sin and Satan to God, Acts 26. 18. Isa. 55 7. Let the Wicked forsake his Way, and the Ʋn­righteous Man his Thoughts, and let him turn to the Lord, and he will have Mercy on [Page 151] him, &c. This I take to be the Essence and Substance of Repentance, the change of the Mind; and so the turning of the whole Man, from Satan to God in the way of the Gospel; in which Way and Work of Re­pentance the Soul shall obtain Remission of Sins here, and an Inheritance amongst the Sanctified Ones hereafter.

2. That this Repentance is an Evangeli­cal2. It's an Evange­lical Du­ty. Duty, and Virtue, and not Legal, as some imagine; unless it be the Law of the New Covenant; so it's Legal and a Duty, Persons who think Repentance to be only a Legal Old Covenant Work, and the Persons exercised in it▪ to be of an Old Covenant Spirit, discover themselves to be indeed strangers to the New Covenant Grace, and the way of Interest therein, that must needs be Evangelical; that is, the Condition, or Terms of all our New Covenant Mercy: the Grace and Mercy of the New Covenant is propounded on the terms of Repentance, and without it we may not expect any In­terest therein, Luke 24. 47. That Repentance and Remission of Sins might be preached in his Name &c. Repentance must precede the Remission of sins as the Condition; no Repentance, no Remission of sins, Acts 2. 28. Repent every one of you for the Remis­sion of sins; that is, that your Sins may be remitted, or forgiven. So that Repentance is so much a Gospel Duty, as that there is no Remission of Sins without it, which leads us

[Page 152]3 To the Necessity of this Repentance; the Necessity appears in [...]wo things: 1. From the stress the Lord hath laid upon it,

1. By Precept and Command, Mark 1. 15.3. The necessity thereof. Repent ye, and believe the Gospel Acts 17. 30. Now he commandeth all Men every where to Repent. That answers the Terms of the Gospel, on which Remission of Sins is to be Preached; that is, on the Terms of Repentance, which implyeth a strong Com­mand unto Repentance: So that Unre­penting Sinners continue in a way of Dis­obedience to God in the Gospel in this mat­ter.

2. The Danger of not Repenting, dis­covers the Necessity thereof, if there be no Remission of sins without Repentance, then there is no Salvation, no New-Covenant-Blessedness, Rom. 4. 7. Blessed is the Man whose Iniquity is forgiven, and whose Sin is covered. It's the same in Sence and Sub­stance as that of Faith, Mark 16. 16. He that Believeth and is baptized, shall be Saved, he that Believeth not, shall be Damned. What Christ here calls Believing, Peter, Act. 2. 38. Calleth Repentance, who best un­derstood his Lords Commiss [...]on. Repent­ance and Faith being inseparable; Christ saith, he that Believeth and is Baptized: answering those very Terms, and Act­ing according to this Commission, saith, Repent and be Baptized, &c. So that it followeth, that he that Believeth not, he [Page 153] that Repenteth not, must be Damned, Luke 13. 3. Except ye Repent, ye shall all likewise perish. So that such is the Necessi [...]y of Repentance, as that without it there is no Remission, and so no Salvation; but on the contrary, Perishing and Damnation; God accepts of none on any other Terms but this; of a Soul turning to him, he Remits sins on no other terms.

And the Reason is, because it was indeed the great Designe of God in the Gospel, and End of Christs suffering for sinners to Effect this Work, to bring us off from Sin and Satan to God, in this way of Repentance; and indeed they are wonderful, contrary, Base, and dishonourable Thoughts of God, and our Lord Jesus; to think he should give his Life and Bloud to so base an End, as to purchase a Liberty for Persons to serve Satan and Sin without danger: No, it's far otherwise, 1 Pet. 3. 18. For Christ hath once suffered for our sins, the Just for the Ʋn­just, that he might bring us to God. And we turn to God by Repentance, Isa 55 7. There is no other way for us to come to him; it's true, Christ Crucified is the a­lone way of Acceptance when we come; yet no Acceptance in him without Faith and Re­pentance.

4. That this Grace of Repentance is the4. Repen­tance is the Gift of God. Gift of God, Acts 11. 18. Then hath God also to the Gentiles grante [...] Repentance unto Life; it's the Gift and Grant of God, on a Twofold account.

[Page 154]1. It's his Gift, his Grant, that poor1. He give [...] the Doctrine. Forlorn perishing sinners, may have Ac­ceptance and Life by Jesus Christ, on the terms of Repentance. It is a wonderful, free, and rich Grant, if this were all, for God to grant Remission of Sins, and Life Eter­nal, on our Acceptance and turning to him by Repentance, Then hath God granted Re­pentance unto the Gentiles unto Life; that is, God hath granted the same Grace to the Gentiles as to the Jews; that on Repentance they shall have Life, and this Gra [...]t is Uni­versal where-ever the Gospel comes; Life upon Repentance is to be published, that whosoever doth Repent and Believe the Gos­pel, shall be saved. O bless the Lord for this Grant, and improve it.

2. Not only the grant of Life on terms of2. He gives the Grace of Repen­tance. Repentance is the Gift of God, but the Grace of Repentance (i. e. that Grace by which we do Repent) is the gift of God: The Grace of Repentance (or to Repent) is (as all other Divine New-Covenant Vir­tues are) the gift of God; Every good and perfect Gift cometh down from the Father of Lights. So doth this good Gift and Grace of Repentance; hence the Apostle exhort­eth firmly▪ and with him all true Ministers, 2 Tim. 2. 25. In Meekness instructing those that oppose themselves, if God peradven­ture will give them Repentance, to the ac­knowledging of the Truth, &c. That is, give them Grace to repent, and to turn to him: Man by Nature is Averss to this great Work [Page 155] of Repentance, he will not come to God though he perish, John 5. 40. Ye will not come to me that ye might have Life; But it is the Lord that gives, and works the Grace.

5. What are the concomitant Virtues, or5. The concomi­tance, or compani­ons of Re­pentance. Companions of Repentance? And they are many, indeed all the Divine Virtues of the New Covenant, as Faith, and Love, and Holiness, &c. it contains the Birth which is from above, without which none can see the Kingdom of God John 3. 3. It contains in it the whole Work of Regeneration, and Sanctification. But that which I shall more particularly mention is:

1. That true Repentance is always ac­companied1. It ab­hors the Evil, and loves the Good. with a Soul- [...]ating of sin, and Love of Virtue, and Holiness; It abhors that which is Evil, and cleaves to that which is Good. It doth not only leave Evil, but abhor it as it is Evil and Sin, as it is against God, his Holy Name and Nature; and not only abhor sin, all sin: But those in whom it is, do abhor and loath themselves because of sin and the sinful Nature, Ez [...]k. 36. 31. Then shall ye remember your own [...]v [...]l ways, and your Doings that were not Good, and shall loath your selves in your own sight, for your I­niquities, and for your abhominations. Jer. 31. 19. After that I was turned, I Repented, I smote upon my Thigh, I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the Reproach of my Youth. These are New Covenant Discoveries of this great Work of Repen­tance, [Page 156] Rom. 7. 24. O wretched Man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of Death. Therefore in vain do those talk of Repentance and Interest in Gospel-Grace and Life, who love themselves, and sin still, And are not purged from their old Filthi­ness.

2. True Repentance is always accompani­ed2. Godly Sorrow. with godl [...] Sorrow for sin; as it is a­gainst God, his Holy Will, his Holy Name and Nature: Contrition, and Brokenness of Heart for sin as it is against God, always accompanies true Repentance, Psal. 51. 4. Against thee, thee, only have I sinned, &c. So Peter, Mat. 26 75. When he had sinned, and repented. He went out and wept bitterly, 2 Cor. 2. 7. Ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much Sorrow. By all which it appears (and likewise from Expe­rience) that true Repentance is always ac­companied with godly Sorrow; and that not only in the Souls first Return from sin to God, but the Saints in all their Relapses, and Returns, it's accompanied with godly Sorrow.

3. Concomitant and Companion of true3. Holy Resoluti­on. Repentance is Holy Resolution in the strength of Grace.

1. To Sin no more, to be Drunk, to be1. To sin no more. Prophane, and Graceless no more, Hos. 14 8. Ephraim shall say, what have I to do any more with Idols! Isa. 30. 22. Thou shalt cast them away as a Menstruous Cloth, thou shalt say [Page 157] unto it, get you hence: O! sin in the eyes of true Repenting Souls is a Monstrous thing, and they resolve against it! they say to it, get you hence; get you hence Pride, and get you hence Covetuousness, &c. Job 40. 5. Once have I Spoken, but I will not Ans­wer; yea twice, but I will procced no fur­ther.

2. Holy Resolution for time to come in2. To cleave to, and serve the Lord. the strength of the Grace that is in Christ Jesus; to keep close with God, and to be a Faithful Follower of him, in [...] his Ways, and to be obedient to him in all [...]s Will; ac­cording to the Exhortation to New Con­verts, Acts 11. 23. They exhorted them all that with purpose of Heart they would cleave to the Lord. This was the Holy Resolution of Joshua, Ch. 24. 15. But as for me and my House, we will serve the Lord. And the Prophet, Psal. 119. 115. Depart from me ye Evil Doers, for I will keep the Commandments of my God. This Holy Resolution brought into Practice God owns abundantly, Isa. 26. 7 8. 1 Cor. 15. 58.

4. Companion of Repentance, is Watch­fulness4. Compa­nion of Repent­ance is Watchful­ness. and Care for Future to come against sin, and to the performance of Duty, with­out which, the highest Resolutions prove Abortive, and comes to nothing; without this Watchfulness against sin, and the oc­casions thereof, persons are easily ensnared therewith; to be Watchful of Satan, and all his Wilds and Devices, who Watches to catch Souls with his Baits; to be Watchful [Page 158] of Men, and all the Occasions they meet with in the World to draw them to Evil; to be Watchful of themselves, and their own Deceitful Hearts, that they be not enticed and ensnared: O the Carefulness of the gracious Soul in this matter, and the Pains he taketh with his own Heart, to keep it in subjection to the Lord, that it miscarry not in any matter, either of Omission or of Com­m [...]ssion, by any Temptations! but where the Repentance is not right, but feigned, there is no Care or Watchfulness; or very little and slender Care or Fear of sin; very little Care and Conscience to keep close with God in Duty. Very little Watchfulness unto Prayer, to times of Prayer, and to keep the Heart to God in Prayer: but the wise Mans Eyes are in his Head, and his Heart is in­structed in Wisdom; he knoweth, that to depart from Evil, that is Ʋnderstanding, Job 22. 28. And therefore according to the fre­quent Exhortations in the Scriptures, is Watchfull and Circumspect, very care­ful of Occasions and Temptations, Avoid­ing all Appearance of Evil, and Companions that may ensnare therewith; see 1 Cor. 16. 13. Eph. 5. 7, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17. 1 Thes. 5 22

6. Repentance is a continued Work in all6. Repen­tance is a continu­al work. the Parts thereof, or with all it's Conco­mitants; it's never over, or ended, while in this World, in this Imperfect and Sinning state.

[Page 159]1. It's necessary in the first Work of Closing with God; and the first visible Work is, a turning to the Lord, a change of Estate, a change in Spirit, in Principles, in Conver­sation, without which there is no Salvation, as hath been before shewed, 2 Cor. 5 17. If any man be in Christ, he is an New Crea­ture; Old things are past away, behold all things are become New.

2. It's the daily Work of Christians, in as2. It is the constant Work of Christi­ans. much as the sinful Nature continues; by reason of which there are many Vanities and Evils that occasions Need of daily Repent­ings; and through Temptations, sometimes (especially with some) grosse Miscarriages, which must be repented of. The Truth here­of the former Examples of Saints in Scrip­ture doth witness, as Job, David, Peter, &c. with many others Repenting, Mourning, and Abhorring themselves; as likewise the pre­sent Experience of some in this matter; so that its the daily Work of Christians to be daily renewing their Repentance, and to be turning more and more to the Lord; and this Work must go on till we come to Per­fection.

The Life of Saints is a Life of Watching, Warring, Repenting, Mourning, Praying, Believing, and Obeying, till they come to Glory; every New sin must be repented of, and the Body of Death must be Mourned under; and the Pardon of Purging of not only known, but unknown sins must be prayed for, Psal. 19. 12. Who can understand [Page 160] his Errours, cleans thou me from secret Faults. A Loose, Vain, Carnal, Careless, Sluggish, Negligent frame of Spirit, and Conver­sation do wonderfully unbecome true Christians; and do rather demonstrate such Persons in whom it is, to have a Name to be Alive and yet are Dead, Dead while they are Alive: They are the Humble, Holy▪ Re­penting, Believing, Obeying Souls, that are in the way of Life, Mat. 5. 3. to 8. Psal. 50. 23. Phil 3 20 21.

Therefore 1. Wonderfully is the World1. Ʋse. cheated, with the Name of Christians, and Church, without Repentance; who talk of Christianity, Church. Worship, Ordinances, Remission of Sins, Glory, and all without Repentance; which is impossible, a horrible Thing is committed in the World upon this account; not only to pretend to Christiani­ty without Repentance, but hates, abhors, and persecute those that do repent, and come to the Lord; surely such are far from the Truth of Christianity.

2. Greatly likewise are they mistaken,2. Ʋse. who think that Repentance is no Evangeli­cal Work, but Legal; or that it is but once to be performed, it's not only contrary to the Scripture, and Experience of Saints, but tends much to Carnalness and fleshly Liber­ty; or it must be found in Persons who think themselves perfect and without sin, and so need no Repentance: An Argument of gross Ignorance, not knowing them­selves; and from thence pride of Heart, [Page 161] being puffed up with their own Decei­vings.

3. Therefore let gracious Souls be ex­horted3. Ʋses to be daily Repenting and Turning to the Lord, there being daily Cause there­of, and need to be Exercised therein; as there is of Faith; for Faith as to Interest, cannot be kept alive but by Repentance, therefore as they sin daily, it behoves them to Repent daily, and to be daily turning to the Lord.

Object. Repentance and Faith, and every Object. New Covenant Virtue is the Gift and Work of God, and comes under the absolute Pro­mise of the New Covenant, Jer. 31. 33. I will put my Law in their inward Parts, and will write it in their Hearts: What need so much a doe about the matter as if it were the Work of Man; this seems to be Legal, and not Evangelical, to set Man upon that which is God's Gift and Work.

Answ. We are to distinguish in this mat­ter, Answ or else we may quickly confound Truth, and lose the Truth of our selves too. I say, we are to distinguish between the Act of Divine Virtues, and the Habit; that is, not only the Power, but Disposition, wrought of God in the Heart according to his Pro­mise, and the Actings thereof; for Repen­tance, Faith, Love, Obedience, &c. is our Act, and our Duty, and sure enough we shall Perish if it be not done: Therefore though it be of God to effect the New Work within, which is his special Grace, where it [Page 162] is, yet four things do weightily concern us, to be instructed in.

1. That the Acting of Divine Grace, into the Performance of Gospel-Duty, doth concern us, and is the Duty of all, though they have not the Law written in the Heart.

2. That you can never know this Law of Grace to be in your Hearts, but by your Holy Disposition of Acting Divine Vertues and Duties, sure enough they are Graceless Persons who act not those Divine Virtues the Gospel requires.

3. Persons sincerely Acting, and Work­ing towards God in Divine Grace and Life received, is the undoubted way of Increase thereof, and therein God will bless En­deavours with Increase, and curse Sluggish­ness and Negligence with Loss of all, Mat. 25. 16. to 29.

4. That it's a dangerous and pernitious Understanding of Gods absolute Promise in the New Covenant; so as to make null, his Conditional Promises in the Administration thereof, even as dangerous, if not more, then to fix on the Conditional, so as to make null the absolute. But there is a saving Under­standing of both if rightly directed therein.

CHAP. XIII. Treateth of Justification.

THe next thing I shall come in order toChap. 13. Of Justi­fication. speak unto, is the matter of Justificati­on, this followeth Faith and Repentance ac­cording to the Law of the New Covenant, it followeth Effectual Calling, according to the Order stated, Rom. 8. 3. Whom he pre­destinated, them he called, and whom he cal­led, them he justified, &c. In this Order, Justification followeth Calling, in which Faith and Repentance is included, and there­fore is it propounded in the Gospel on terms of Faith and Repentance, Acts 13. 39. By him all that Believe are justified, &c. Rom. 5. 10. Being justified by Faith we have Peace with God. Luke 24. 47. Repentance and Remission of Sins must be preached in the Name of Christ▪ &c. Remission of sins upon Repen­tance.

In my Discourse about this Matter, I shall endeavour to shew:

1. What Justification is; Justification is1. What it is▪ an Acquittance and Discharge from the Guilt and Eternal punishment for sin, and is the same as Remission and Pardon of sin: For a Person whose sins are pardoned, is ju­stified, [Page 164] and his sins are as if they had not been; that Justification consisteth in the Pardon and Remission of sin is clear, Rom. 4. 6, 7, 8. Even as David describeth the Bles­sedness of the Man unto whom God imputeth Righteousness with Works. Here is an im­puted Righteousness without Works; Righ­teousness and Justification in this place is all one, and vers. 7. explains what this Righteousness and Justification is; Blessed are they whose Iniquities are forgiven, and whose Sins are covered; Blessed is the Man to whom the Lord will not impute Sin. So that it's evident, that Righteousness unto Justification consists in this; the Forgiving, Covering, and not Imputing of sin; the same we have in substance, Act. 13. 38. Be it known to you Men and Brethren, that through this Man is preached unto you the Forgiveness of Sins; the Forgiveness of Sins is the glad Tydings of the Gospel, and vers. 39. declares this Remission of sins to be Ju­stification, And by him all that Believe, are justified from all things, from which they could not be justified by the Law of Moses; that is, their sins are forgiven, Col. 2. 13. Having forgiven you all Trespasses; and where all Trespasses are forgiven, such Per­sons stands Quit and Justified before God, Rom. 33. 34. Who shall lay any thing to the Charge of God's Elect; it is God that ju­stifieth, who is he that Condemneth? If God pardon, acquit, and justifieth, who can Con­demn? And thus much as to the Matter of [Page 165] Justification, what it is, and wherein it con­sisteth.

2. How this Justification and Righteous­ness2. How it is to be obtained. is to be obtained; and this I shall mind on a twofold Account. 1. As it relates to God, and 2. As it relates to us.

1. As it relates to God the Father, that1. As it relates to God, his Justice must be satisfied. so it might come unto us in a way of Justice as well as Mercy: Man having sinned, and being gone out from God by sin, and Dis­obedience; he being a Just and Righteous God, his Justice must be satisfied, that so he might have a Honourable and Righteous way of exercising Mercy to Sinners▪ and the way of satisfaction to Divine Justice, and Demonstration of Divine Love and Grace to Sinners, was by Jesus Christ crucified; The Son of the Father in Truth and Love: The Death and Sufferings of our Lord, was the alone satisfactory Sin-offering to the Fa­ther for the sin of sinners; this will appear if we consider:

1. How frequently Christ is said in Scrip­ture,It appears 1. Christ dyed for Sinners. to Dye for our sins, 1 Cor 15 3. For I delivered first of all that which I received; how that Christ dyed for our sins according to the Scriptures, Gal. 1. 4. Who gave himself for our sins, &c. that is, because of our sins, our sins were the cause of his Death, that he might thereby make Peace and Reconci­liation for sinners; that the way of Mercy might be opened, and a Hopeful way of Sal­vation for sinners, in that He bear our sin [...] on his own Body on the Tree, 1 Pet. 2. 24. [Page 166] That he dyed for us, 1 Pet. 4. 1. And for our sins, the Just for the Ʋnjust, that he might bring us to God, 1 Pet. 3. 18. that is, in our sted, that we might Live.

2. That God the Father hath in Scripture,2. God hath de­clared his satisfa­ction. as clearly and fully declared, his being satis­fied and well pleased with, and in the Sufferings of his Son for the sake of Sinners: And this will appear if we con­sider:

1. That God the Father laid our sins up­on him; and surely he would never have laid our sins on the Back of his Son, if he had not been well pleased in his Bearing of them, Isa. 53. 6. All we like Sheep are gone It appears 1. He laid our sins upon his Son. astray, we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord hath laid on him the Ini­quity of us all; that is, he hath laid on him the Penalty, and Punishment of our Iniqui­ties, as vers. 4. 5. explains it, He hath borne our Griefs, and carried our Sorrowes, he was Wounded for our Transgression, he was Bruised for our Iniquities; the Chastisement of our Peace was upon him, &c. vers. 10. It pleased the Lord to Bruise him, he hath put him to Grief, when you shall make his Soul an Offering for Sin, &c. That is, his whole Man Body and Soul; so Soul often imports in Scripture: Now if God the Father make his Son an Offering for sin, and lay the sin of Sinners upon him, he must needs be satisfied and Well-pleased with such an Of­fering.

[Page 167]2. Jesus Christ came into the World to2. His Son came to do his Will. do the Will of God, Heb. 10. 7. Joh. 6. 38. Who gave him a Body sutable to this his Will, that he might have some what also to offer, Heb. 10. 5. and 8. 3. And it is ap­parent, that it was the very Designe of the Father in sending him into the World, that he might offer himself to God, a Sacrifice for the sin of Sinners, and therefore must needs be satisfied, and well-pleased in that Work.

3. The Scripture in plain terms, declares3. The Scripture declares that he is satisfied. the Father to be well satisfied with, and in the Sufferings of his Son for the sake of Sin­ners:

1. From the Mouth of the Son himself, Joh. 10. 17. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my Life, &c. And the cause of his laying down his Life, see vers. 15. I lay down my Life for the Sheep. If God the Father loved him for doing this part of his Will, then surely he accepted him in it, and was well pleased:

2. From the Testimony of the Father, Mat. 3. 17. This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; that is, well pleased in all his Sufferings and Undertakings for Sinners, Eph. 5. 2. Walk in Love as Christ hath loved us, and given himself for us, an Offering and Sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling Sa­vour. Jesus Christ was a satisfactory sweet smelling Savory Offering to the Father for the sin of Sinners.

4. The Efficacy of his Sufferings lay much4. It lay much in the Fa­thers will. in the Will of the Father; for if the Suffer­ings of Christ had not fully answered the Fathers Will; there could not have been so clear satisfaction to us Sinners, that God had accepted the Sufferings of his Son for us as satisfaction to his Justice for the sin of Sin­ners: But Christ accomplishing his Fathers Will in the whole Work, it must needs be acceptable and satisfactory, Heb. 10 9, 10. Loe I come to do thy Will▪ O God, by the which Will we are Sanctified through the Of­fering of the Body of Jesus Christ once for all. So that it's evident, that it was the Will of the Father that Christ came to Doe, and the suffering of Christ concurring with, and answering of this Will of God, is it by which the Work is effected, and we are san­ctified.

5. These things thus considered, it neces­sarily5. It fol­loweth that the Offering of Christ was to sa­tisfie Justice. followeth; that there must be some great cause of this wonderful Offering that must be given to God for Sinners; for the Scripture speaks, that this Offering was given to God, Heb. 9. 14. Who through the Eternal Spirit, offered himself without Spot to God, &c. And to what end may we suppose it to be, that He offered himself without Spot to God.

Was it only to fulfill his Will and Plea­sure, or only to manifest his Love to Sin­ners, or only to be a Pattern of Sanctity and Sufferings to his People, as some ima­gine; surely it must be both Irrational, and [Page 169] Irreligious so to imagine: It's true, all these was included in it, but satisfaction to Di­vine Justice was the Foundation and Princi­pal Cause of his Suffering; he came to do his Fathers Will; but it was in order to this, that so he might shew Mercy to Sinners; can any Man rationally imagine, that God should send his only begotten Son into the World to be Abused, Scourged, Tempted, Buffetted, falsly Accused, unjustly Condem­ned, Crucified, lay Punishments upon him, &c. only to fulfill his Will, not relative to something further, or to commend Love to Mankind, or to be a pattern of Sanctity and Suffering. Would any Parent deal so with an only Son? Would it not be justly ac­counted Irrational, and Tyranical; God could have found out some more Moderate and Rational Way to have eff [...]cted such a Work. But the Scripture tells us, that Jesus Christ came to doe, and did that for us which the Law could not doe, Rom. 8. 3. which the Levitical Priesthood could not doe, Heb. 7. 11. to 19, 24. to 27. With Sil­ver or Gold, or Corruptable things could not do, 1 Pet. 1. 18, 19. That he was an Offering for Sin and Sinners; that he offered himself to God, that he Bear our sins in his own Body, Dyed for us, the Just for the Ʋnjust, &c. With Multitudes of like Expressions in Holy Scripture; all which do abundantly discover, that the Sufferings of Christ was to satisfie Justice, and that the Father was satisfied and well pleased therein, and therewith; and [Page 170] did love the Lord Jesus, because he was willing to undertake such a Service for Sin­ners, and that he doth on this account; that is, for the suffering Sake of Christ, Pardon and Justifie those who Believe in, and O­bey the Lord Jesus, 1 John 2. 12. with Eph. 1. 7.

2. As it relates to us; that is, the Terms2. As it relates to us, it is on the terms of Faith, Repen­tance, and Obedi­ence. and Conditions on which it is administred to us, and that is on the Terms of Faith, Re­pentance, and sincere Obedience to the Lord: Though Justification comes free to us, without any Meritorious Work of ours as the Deserving Cause, yet as the Conditi­on or Terms on which we must have it, which is but Reasonable and Religious, it is on our Faith and Obedience to the Lord. Hence it is that Justification and Salvation is so frequently in Scripture propounded on these Terms, and indeed it's never propound­ed but on these Terms, either Exprest or Implied; this was the Doctrine which was first begun to be preached by the Lord, Mark 1. 14, 15. and confirmed by them that heard him, and were Commissioned by him, Mar. 16. 15, 16 Luke 24. 47. according to that Commission so they taught in this matter, Act. 2. 38. Repent and be Baptized every one of you for the Remission of sins; that is, that your sins may be Remitted, Acts 26. 18.

1. There must be the opening of the Eyes, and a turning from Darkness to Light, (that is, to the Light of Gospel-Grace) and from [Page 171] the power of Satan to God, and then fol­loweth Remission of sins, That they may re­ceive Forgiveness of sins; where note, that Forgiveness of sins followeth a Soul turning to God, which includes both Faith, Repent­ance, and Obedience, according to the Gospel, and the Inheritance followeth For­giveness of sins, that is, Justification: the sum of all is this, that where the Gospel is sincerely Believed and Obeyed, there is a Legal New Covenant-Right to Forgiveness of sins, and to the Inheritance, a Legal Right to the Justification, and the Glory of the Gospel, Heb. 5 9. He is become the Author Our right is continu­ed on the same ac­count. of Eternal Salvation to all those that Obey him. And as we come to have a Legal New Covenant-Right in Justification and Salvati­on, by Believing and Obeying the Gospel, so our Right is continued therein, by our Sincerity and Constancy therein: And this is, as abundantly Witnessed too in the Scrip­tures as the former, Mat. 10. 22. He that endureth to the End shall be Saved, Luk. 9. 62. No man having put his Hand to the Plough, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of Heaven, Mat. 5. 13. Mark 13. 13. And this is confirmed by the Apostles, Col. 1. 21, 22, 23. Heb. 3. 6, 12, 14. and 9, 1. 11.

Object. This seems to imply a Possibility Object. of falling from Grace, after Believing and Obeying the Truth, which is contrary to the Scriptures, and the Common Received Faith of the Godly.

Answ. The Unchangeableness of the Love Answ. of God, and this Truth will and must stand together (as I said before, we may not, nor must not so understand one Truth as to De­stroy another).

1. Therefore I say, that the Lord knoweth them that are his, and who are effectually Called, and they shall be kept through Faith unto Salvation, 2 Tim. 2. 19. Nevertheless, the Foundation of the Lord standeth sure, ha­ving this Seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his. But we know (as yet) no other­wise but by Faith and sincere Obedience, and our Constancy therein, by which we are under the Law of Grace, of the New Cove­nant; so that though we ought to believe the Unchangeableness of the Lord's Love in the New Covenant of his Grace; and that there are a People known to him who shall be kept by his Power through Faith, and shall obtain the Inheritance promised; and that we are of that Number, if we in Truth and Sincerity, Believe and Obey the Gospel unto the end. And the more stedfast we are in the Faith, and Constant, Sincere, and Universal in our Obedience, the Greater, and Well-grounded will be our Assurance, both of Interest, Standing, and Glory, 2 Pet. 1. 10, 11. Rom. 2. 7, 10. Rev. 22. 14. Luke 6. 47, 48.

2. We must distinguish between the state of Grace, and the state of Glory; the As­surance of the Saints in the state of Grace, must be distinguished from their assurance in [Page 173] the state of Glory, then all Doubts will be over: But in the state of Grace, there are, and will be ground of Doubts and Fears; not to Fear or Doubt the Truth of the Gos­pel, and of the Love of God therein, or of the Changeableness thereof; here our Faith should be without Doubting, but as to our Interest therein, and certainty of Obtain­ing; in as much as it depends (according to the Law of Grace) not only on the Truth of God in the Gospel, but the Truth of our Faith therein, and Constancy of our Obedi­ence to the end, and our Interest must flow from both; for without the second we have no Interest in the first: So that it requireth not only Self-examination of the Truth of the Work, of the Heavenly Birth, and Re­generation, but Constancy therein to the end; and by reason of the Corruption of our Natures, and Imperfections in those Di­vine Virtues to which the Promise is made, necessarily may occasion sometimes Doubt­ings and Fears; and this seems to be owned by the Scriptures, to be rather a Virtue than a Vice, in Believers, Rom. 11. 20. Be not High­minded, but fear, Heb. 4. 1, 11. Let us fear, left a Promise being left us, we come short, Prov. 28. 14. Happy is the man that feareth always: Not only feareth God, but feareth his own deceitful Heart, feareth a Heart of Ʋnbelief, to depart from the living God; fear­eth to sin against God, whether in Omission, or Commission: This is a Godly fear, that must be where Grace is, and may sometimes [Page 174] be accompanied with Doubts and Godly Je­lousies of a Man's self, & tendeth to establish the Soul in a well-grounded Assurance, su­table to the Gospel; and this I must say, I had rather have Fellowship with Self-exami­ning, Self-judging, and Self-fearing Souls, stable in the Faith, though as to Interest something, at sometimes mixed with Doubt­ings, than with High-flown Believers with­out all fear, that have High Assurance on Low grounds, scarcely able to give (from the Law of the New Covenant) a Reason of their Hope. But see this more in Chap. 15.

CHAP. XIV. Wherein I shall speak more distinctly to the matter of Faith, and of Justifi­cation by Faith: With Answer to se­veral Questions and Objections about the matter.

HAving spoken something to the matterChap. 14. of Justification what it is, and where­it doth consist; that is, in the Pardon and Remission of sins, taking away the Guilt and Condemnation of sin, with the Terms on which we must have it, if ever we have it. 1. Relating to God. 2. Our selves, i. e. on the Terms of Faith, Repentance, and sincere Obedience. I shall in this speak more distinctly unto the Doctrine of Justification by Faith, and endeavour to answer such Questions and Objections, as ordinarily are, or may be made about it.

What the Faith is to which Justification is promised, I have already stated in the sub­stance thereof, in Chap. 11. that it is to be­lieve God in his Word, to believe the Truth of the Doctrine of the Gospel, of God's Grace to Sinners in Jesus Christ, which if True and Right, is accompanied with true Repentance, Truth of Love to God, and [Page 176] sincere Obedience; or a Hearty and Wil­ling Consenting to the Truth of the Do­ctrine of the Gospel, to be saved by Jesus Christ, and in all things to be Ruled by him as Lord and King.

They are vain Imaginations that People create to themselves, of a Faith without Re­pentance, or a Faith with Works, or a Faith without Works after their own Imagi­nations, and not after the Will of Christ, or to expect to be saved by him, when they have no mind to be ruled by him, Acts 3. 22, 23. But as to the particular distinct Act of Faith, it is to believe God in his Word; and that not only in this, but in all Cases, Faith is to believe God: It's a Fancy and not Faith, that hath not the Word of God for it's Foundation. I intend in Divine and New Covenant Concerns; Abraham believed God, and it was accounted unto him for Righ­teousness: This was the Faith of the Father, and may, or must we suppose the Faith of the Children to be another Faith; see Vers. 23. 24. Now it was not Written for his Sake alone, that it was imputed to him, but for us also, to whom [...] shall be imputed, if we believe on him, who raised up Christ our Lord from the Dead.

Object. This with other Scriptures, menti­ons Object. 1 Believing in God, as well as Believing of God, 1 Pet. 1. 21. John 14. 1. so that it seems it is not enough to Believe God; but we must Believe in God, and in Christ. [Page 177] Answ. It's all one in substance, to be­lieve in God and in Christ, is to believe his Faithfulness, and All-sufficiency; that he is as good, and as true, and able as the Scrip­ture reports him to be; to perform his Word, you Believe in him, that he will not fail, &c.

But to return, the Faith of Justification is to Believe the Truth of the Gospel Record concerning the Justification and Life therein promised (to those that do Believe) by Jesus Christ Cr [...]cified, Rom. 5. 9. Much more being now justified by his Blood, we shall be saved from Wrath through him, Eph. 1 7. Col. 1. 14. To Believe this truly, being ac­companied with the Concomitants of saving Faith, i. e. Love, and sincerity of Obedi­ence, is the justifying, saving Faith of the Gospel, to which the Promise of Life is made, Mark 16. 16. He that Believeth, and is Baptized shall be saved; that is, he that Believeth and Obeyeth the Lord, shall be saved: That of Baptisme (being the first Initiating Ordinance i [...]to the vi [...]ible Con­stituted Church of Christ) includes the whole of Obedience.

Object. But, What must we Believe?

Answ. The Gospel, that which was to be preached; Preach the Gospel &c. The Gospel is the Glad [...]idings of Pardon▪ Peace, and Life by Jesus Christ, Mark 1. 15. Re­pent yea and Believe the Gospel, was Christ's own Doctrine; for further Confirmation of this Truth, see John 8. 24. and 20. 31. [Page 178] Rom. 10. 9, 10. 1 John 5. 10, 11. All which Scriptures if well weighed, with many others, bear testimony to this Truth, that Faith is, to believe God, to believe the Truth of the Do­ctrine of the Gospel.

Object. This is accounted, and called a Object. 2 Historical Faith, which though necessary to True and S [...]ving Faith; yet it's common to Wicked Men, and Devils, and therefore can­not be the justifying saving-Faith of the Gospel.

Answ. Notwithstanding it may be the Answ. Faith of Wicked Men and Hypocrites, and of Devils too: Yet it is the justifying Faith of the Gospel; for the Difference lyeth not in the Matter believed, but in the Manner of believing: Wicked Men and Hypocrites may believe it, meerly as a History assent to it; but they do not believe as Justified Persons doe; We must distinguish in this Case, not in the Matter believed, but in the Manner of believing.

Quest. Wherein lyeth the Difference? Quest.

Answ. The one, from either common Il­lumination, Answ. Education, Custom or Tradi­tion, believes the same things, with a head-Assent to the Truth of the Gospel: But the other, believes it with the Heart, Rom. 10. 10. For with the Heart Man believeth unto Righteousness, Acts 8. 37. If thou believest with all thine Heart, thou maiest, Psal. 37. 31. The Law of God is in his Heart, none of his Steps shall slide. It's the Promise of the New Covenant, that God will write his Law [Page 179] in the Hearts of his People; that is, im­plant a Holy sincere Disposition of Faith, and Love, and the Fear of his Name; the Heart is wrought after God, but Hypo­crites have it at most, and best, but in the Head, in the Understanding from common Illumination, &c. There is a great deal of Head-Faith in the World, of Customary-Faith that will come to nothing: But where it is in Truth, in the Heart, it effects a Heart-Change, with a Change in the whole Conversation: Heart-believing, Heart-Love to God and his things; Heart-hatred of sin, and Heart-obedience to the Will of Christ; and thus He that is in Christ, is a New Creature, 2 Cor. 5. 17. And he that Believeth, hath the Witness in himself, 1 Jo [...]. 5. 10. and do, or might know, that he hath this Heart-Faith in him.

So that the Truth remains, that that which Men call a History call Faith, i. e. believing the History, the Truth of the Doctrine of the Gospel, truly as hath been demonstra­ted, is the justifying Faith of the Gospel. And as for Devils, if Christ had Dyed [...]or them, and God had in the Gospel promised Life to them on the Terms he hath to M [...]n; Li [...]e might be preached to Devils on the same terms as to Men: But God having in Justice left them without the reach o [...] this Gospel-Grace; whatever they believe a­bout it, let not Man quarrel about the easie way of Man's obtaining, i. e. Believe, Re­pent, and Obey the Gospel; and be justifi­ed and saved.

Quest. But how shall I come to believe mine own Interest in Justification and Life, which hath been accounted with some, the Faith of Justification?

Answ. True, it hath so with many, and I believe that want of Spiritual skill, hath done wrong to many tender Souls, and hath caused them to go with Sorrow to their Graves; and that either, 1. In teaching, that the Faith of Justification and Life must be the Faith of Application, or assurance of Interest, which is not the Truth of the Gospel, but this of Interest must grow from that of Ju­stification.

Or 2. In not laying the right Foundati­on of Assurance; so Souls have been kept much in the Dark in this matter: For the Faith of Interest must be Founded on the Promise of Life (if right) as well as the Faith of Justification; for it is to believe God, as I said before, all Faith if right, must be Foun­ded on the Word of God. So that the right Gospel-way for Believers to Read their own Interest, and to Read their Names in the Book of Life, is, to make a Resultancy, or Conclusion from the Premises, (thus) God hath promised Justification and Life to them that do Believe and Obey the Gospel; I do so Believe, therefore I shall be saved, and this is the Gospel-Ground or Reason of our Hope of Interest in Gospel-Grace and Life; and thus our Interest will be grounded on the Promise of God in the Gospel. If I have the Faith of the Gospel, and abide [Page 181] therein, I am Justified, and shall be Sa­ved.

There are three Things that it behovesThree Things consider­able. Christians to be Instructed in, in this Matter, for their Support and Peace in this Mortal, and Imperfect Estate.

1. To understand and know, that to be­lieve the Truth of the Glad-tidings of Salvation by Jesus Christ crucified, ac­cording to the Gospel, is the Terms and Condition of our Justification and Salvation, and that who doth so Believe shall be Sa­ved.

2. That who so doth believe, hath the Promise of Life from the Law and Covenant of God in the Gospel, and from hence must claim his Interest in Grace and Life; and if he claim it any other way, it may be a Fan­cy; only note this, that we cannot be so Infalliable as to our particular Interest in Life, as we are (or ought to be) in the Truth of the Doct [...]i [...]e of the Gospel, (as I have before minded) because the one fixes only on the Truth of God; the other not only on the Truth of God, but likewise on the Truth of our own Faith, which being ac­companied with Imperfections, may occasion Doubtings: But of this more full in Chap. 15. of the Assurance of Faith.

3. That in all the Fa [...]lings of the Saints (for the Lord knew that his People could not live perfectly without sin in his New Covenant of Grace) his Law of Grace on this account is, that his People sincerely [Page 182] humble themselves, confess their sins, for­sake them, and beg Mercy, and he will For­give them, for the sake of his Son: And this is the Law of Grace in the New Cove­nant for support of Believers, in their Spiri­tual Race and Warfare after Conversion, and the way for them to have the Assurance of the Pardon of their daily Miscarriages; it must come in from this Law of Grace; it's true, I sin daily, and come short in every Duty, I know that in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good Thing. But it is my Bur­den, I am in Truth humbled, and do not only Watch and War against it, but do daily implore the Throne of Grace for Pardon: Hence I have ground from the Law of Grace, to believe mine Acceptance, and Remission of my sins; this is the way of the New Covenant for the daily Pardon, Peace, and Comfort of the Saints, Mat: 6 12. Psal. 32. 5 Prov. 28. 13. Heb. 8. 12. 1 Joh. 1. 9.

Quest. The Scripture saith▪ that we are Quest. 1. justified by Faith, Rom. 5 1. 2. That we are justified by Grace, Rom. 3. 24. 3. That God justifieth, and Christ justifieth, Rom. 8. 33, 34. 4 That Works justifieth, and not Faith only, Jam. 2. 24. How may we under­stand these Distinctions, and reconcile the Scriptures?

Answ. 1. Faith is said to justifie, not as Answ. the meritorious or satisfying Cause of Justi­fication; that is, Christ crucified only: But as the conditional Cause, or Terms on [Page 183] which we are justified; that is, we are not, nor cannot be justified without it: This is the Law of the New Covenant, it's said Rom. 4. 3. That Abraham's Faith was ac­counted to him for Righteousness, or imputed as vers 22. 23. Not that Abraham's Faith was his Righteousness to Justification, but God accounted him Righteous, and doth account one Righteous that doth Believe, or imputeth Righteousness to such a one that was not so accounted before, nor can be Righteous without it; for he that believeth not must be Damned. So that Faith justifi­eth, as it is the condition of Justification in the New Covenant, on our parts to be per­formed, though in the Spirit and Life of the Covenant, or Law written in the Heart.

2. We are justified by Grace; that i [...], it's all of Grace, and nothing of Desert in us; our Faith is not any meritorious Cause in us, but it's all Grace; it's Grace in God to give his Son for us and Grace in Christ to give himself, and Grace in God (as to us-ward) to accept the Sufferings of his Son for us; and Grace in him, to Pardon and Justifie Sinners on their Believing; so that it's all Grace as from God, and we may, and ought to c [...]y, Grace, Grace unto it.

3. It's God that justifieth, it is God the Father that justifieth:

[Page 184]1. Because he Prepared and D [...]signed the Sacrifice, and our Justification there­by, John 3 16. 1 Pet. 1. 18, 19, 20. Heb. 10. 5.

2. He accepted the Sacrifice for us when offered, Eph 5. 1. 2. and 1, 6, 7.

3. It is he that Pardons us; that is, justi­fieth us for the Sake of Christ (our Peace-Offering) when we do believe; and Christ is said to justifie us as the Meritorious, Sa­tisfactory Cause of our Justification; there­fore it is said, Rom. 8. 34. It is Christ that dyed, &c.

4. We are said to be justified by Works, and not by Faith only; because that the Faith to which Justification and Salvation is promised, must be a working Faith, and when Salvation is promised to Believing, we must understand it to be such a Faith as the Gospel intends; that is, a Faith that carri­eth in it Love, and sincere Obedience to the Will of Christ; it is a Faith which worketh by Love, Gal. 5. 6. the contrary is a dead Faith, as a Body without a Soul, that will never justifie, Jam. 2. 26. Thus Works ju­stifie:

1. The Truth of our Faith, for Faith without Works is dead

2. Works justifieth (in some sence) as Faith doth; that is, not as the Meritorious Cause, but as the Condition, because the Faith to which Justification is promised, in­cludes Works in it, and so is as truly the Condition of our Justification as Faith; for [Page 185] the Gospel excludes that Faith as no Condi­tion at all; that is, without Works, so that Faith without Works is none of the justify­ing saving-Faith of the Gospel. So that thus considered, here is a sweet Harmony and Concurrence in those Scriptures, and helps to a more full Understanding of the glorious Method of God in this way of Ju­stification and Salvation of Sinners, by Jesus Christ.

Object. The Apostle saith, Rom. 4. 4, 5. Object. Now to him that worketh, the Reward is not reckoned of Grace but of Debt; but to him that Worketh not, but Believeth on him that justifieth the Ʋngodly, his Faith is counted for Righteousness.

Answ. We are to understand in this Answ. Scripture by not Working, is intended Me­ritorious Working, that may deserve Life, vers. 4. it's such a Working as that the Re­ward is not counted of Grace but of Debt; not that we may not Work at all, that is prophane to imagin: But not to Work Me­ritoriously, so as to expect Justification and Life, as a due Debt for our Working; here Works are nothing. He that Worketh not (in this sence) but Believeth: But Faith and Works as the terms on which God will justifie and save, of his own Love and Grace in Christ Jesus, is absolutely necessary to Salvation: And further, Works are neces­sary, for thereby we shew forth the Life of Christ in our Mortal Bodies, and glorifie God in our Bodies and Spirits; who hath [Page 186] done, and doth all freely for us, and in us.

Quest. Do not this seem to make Faith Quest. and Works co-partners with Christ in the Work of Justification and Salvation, contrary to Col. 3. 31. Christ is all and in all. And Rom. 9. 32. They sought Righ­teousness, as it were by the Works of the Law.

Answ. It makes it no otherwise Co-part­ners Answ. with Christ in the Work of Justificati­on, then God hath made it; What God hath joyned together, let no Man put asunder: God hath joyned Faith and Work as the Condition, and the Sufferings of his Son our Lord Jesus, as the Meritorious satisfying Cause, and his own Eternal Grace in Christ Jesus as the Foundation, and applying Cause; so all these doth concur in Unity, see Eph. 2 7. 8. Yet not of Works as any deserving Cause, lest any should boast, vers. 9. Tit. 3. 4, 5, 6 7.

Yet Works are absolutely necessary to Salvation, as the Concomitant of true Faith, and Condition of our Salvation, and Way that we must walk into Glory, For without Holiness no Man shall see the Lord, Heb. 12. 14. see Mat. 7. 24, 25, 26, 27. Rom. 2. 7, 8, 9, 10. Rev. 22. 14.

There are four things which stand in Uni­ty, and it greatly concerns Christians to be instructed therein.

[Page 187]1. That all our Spiritual and EternalNote four Things. Good, is Founded in, and is the Effect of the Eternal Love of God; there is all the Grace and Glory of the New Covenant bottomed, 1 Tim. 1. 9. Jer. 31. 3.

2. That Jesus Christ is the Way, and Me­ritorious Cause of the accomplishing of this Salvation; God never intended to save any One by his Grace alone, without Relation unto Jesus Christ crucified, Acts 4. 12. Though probably many saved-Ones have dyed without Faith in Christ Crucified, before he came in the Flesh, and had Suffered; yet in the great Day, all the saved Ones shall know that their Salvation was effected by him.

3. That Faith is the terms on which we must have this Salvation, and so is (on that account) absolutely necessary; for he that Believeth not, must be Dam­ned.

4. That Works as included in Faith, and may not be separated from it, are absolute­ly necessary; likewise without which the Faith is naught, dead, feigned, that will stand the Owners thereof in no steed in the day of Need.

Quest. Whether the Scripture do not hold Quest. forth the Justification of the Elect before Believing? Some are of the mind that the Elect were justified from Eternity; others that they were justified when Christ dyed; that when God was Actually satisfied, the E­lect must be Actually justified?

Answ. Actual Justification cannot be, Answ. before, and without Faith, because it is con­trary to the Doctrine and Law of the New Covenant, which is the ground of our Faith and Hope in the matter; for that saith ex­presly, that He that Believeth not, shall be Damned, and Act. 13. 39. By him all that Believe are justified from all things, from which they could not be justified by the Law of Moses. It is a Doctrine the New Covenant is unacquainted with, and therefore contra­ry to the wholesome Words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Doctrine that is according to Godliness.

It's true, we Read Rom. 8. 29, 30. of a Calling, and Justification to be from Eter­nity; but we must understand that as in God's purpose to be done, not as Actually done; for a purpose in God to justifie, is not Justification; and the Scripture will clear it self in this matter; Whom he fore­knew, them he Predestinated to be Conform­ed to the Image of his Son. Note, Predesti­nation was to something in time, namely, to Conformity to Christ, which is not before Believing; Whom he Predestinated, them he Called; and Calling is in time, And whom he Called, them he Justified; and whom he Ju­stified, them he Glorified; or as the Margin Reads it, them he is wont to Call, wont to Justifie, wont to Glorifie; and take it in this Sence and It's clear: But however, they were no more Justified, than Called, than Glorified from Eternity, which must all re­late [Page 189] to Purpose, and to be Effected in time; they are called Sheep, John 10. 16. Children, Gal. 4. 3. Yet still in Purpose, Rom. 4. 17. will clear us in this matter, and many other things of like concern, that God cal­leth things that are not, as though they were. They are not in Actual being, yet are in his Purpose to be in time; we may as well say God made the World before he did it, and that the World was Drowned before it was, and that Christ was come in the Flesh, and had Suffered, and was Raised, and Ascend­ed, and come again to Judgment, &c. be­fore it was, or is, because it was God's Purpose, that all these, and Multitudes more of things should be done, which is indeed contrary to all Reason, and would over­turn all Truth to say it is done: and as for Actual Justification, when Christ Dyed, and Rose again; it's true, there was Actu­al Satisfaction to Divine Justice, both gi­ven and taken, in order to Justification; but Satisfaction is one thing, and Justification is another.

It's true, if Christ had done for us, what he did, as our Surety, being bound with us to pay our Debt, if we could not; and in so doing, had fully answered the Law to which we were liable; then Actual Justification must have followed Actual Satisfaction, with­out all terms of Believing and Obeying; for if the Surety pay the Debt, and Cancel the Bond, in strictest Law, the Principle is quit without any terms, and likewise no need of [Page 190] pardoning Grace, if the Satisfaction was such, that Christ as our Surety, paid our Debt in strictest Law-sence; but it's evident, that what Christ did for, and in behalf of Sinners, was by voluntary Contracts between the Father and the Son, John 6. 38, 39. 2 Tim. 1. 9. and voluntarily undertaken by the Lord; and the Satisfaction that Christ gave, and Justice took, was not the Pay­ment of our Debt in kind, as our Surety ob­liged to it, if we could not do it; neither was he the Person that the Law might expect Satisfaction from; for the Law saith, The Soul that sinneth, that shall Die, and We all have sinned, and come short of the Glory of God. So that the Satisfaction that Christ gave, was voluntarily given, and gracious­ly Received and Accepted, as Acts of Grace to us, both in the Son in Suffering, and the Father in Accepting; and therefore it must come to us, as it is indeed, Acts of Grace; and on the terms agreed on between the Fa­ther and the Son, which are published in the Gospel; and it was no ways intended to ac­quit the Sinners presently without any more adoe; no, it holds true, That he that Be­lieveth and is Baptized, shall be Saved; but he that Believeth not, shall be Damned. Therefore it concerns you to take heed how you understand Actual Justification, to be, when there was Actual Satisfaction, lest you put an end to the Terms and Conditions of Justification by the Law-Covenant of Grace, and to the Pardoning Grace of [Page 191] God the Father, and so miss of Justifica­tion and Life on the Terms propound­ed. This will make way for two Questions further.

1. Quest. What is the Reason that God Quest. should lay so much [...]tress on Faith, as that there should be no Justification, nor Salvati­on without it?

1. Answ. Because thereby we justifie Answ. God (as I shewed before in the Excellency of Faith) and so Honour him in his Truth, and All-sufficiency; Unbelief is the Disho­nourable sin, therefore the Damning sin, He that believeth not, hath made him a Lyer, 1 John 5. 10. but He that Receiv­eth his Testimony, hath set to his Seal, that God is True, John 3. 33. Which God takes well, and will justifie those that justifie him.

2. It was the Designe both of the Father and the Son, that this wonderful Designe of Grace to sinners, both in the Father and the Son, should come to us in the Way of Faith and Obedience, that it might be valu­ed, and thankfully received; and that God and Christ might be thereby glorified, Eph. 1. 3. 1 Cor. 6. 20. Else we must suppose the Designe to be to purchase a Liberty for Men to sin and serve the Devil, and dishonour God; which would be Irrational, and Irreli­gious to imagin.

[Page 192]3. Because God and Christ in this Work did not only Designe to save Sinners from Wrath, but to make them conformable to the Image of his Son; and the Entrance of this Conformity is at the Entrance of this Grace, even the first Work of Saving Faith; and in this Conformity, must Believers grow up more and more, 1 Cor. 15. 48, 49. 2 Cor. 3. 18. and 4. 10, 11. Till they come to a Perfect Man in Christ, their Head, Eph. 4. 13.

Quest. 2. How can it be just in God, to Quest. lay the Sin and Punishment of Sinners upon a just Person that had not Sinned? 1 Pet. 3. 18. The Just for the Unjust to bring us to God.

Answ. 1. God will clear his own Justice Answ. himself, Rom. 3. 26. That he might be Just, and the Justifier of him that Believeth in Jesus. Vers. 5. 6. Is God Ʋnrighteous, &c. God forbid: then how shall God judge the World, Gen. 18 25. Shall not the Judge of all the World do Right?

2. Though it was not the same Persons that sinned, yet in the same nature is the Re­demption accomplished, Heb. 2. 14. For as much as the Children were Partakers of Flesh and Bloud, he also himself took part of the same; so that though not the same Souls that sinned, yet in the same Nature is the Satisfa­ction made and accepted, Rom. 8 3.

[Page 193]3. Christ did the Work voluntarily and freely for Sinners, and not by Computation; otherwise there might not have appeared so much of Justice in it, but he freely undertaking the Work, having Power to dispose of himself in the Matter, Joh. 10. 17, 18. And God the Father accepting, it was a wonderful Act, both of Justice and of Mercy; Justice in the Father in pu­nishing the sins of Sinners upon his own Son, and Mercy to us sinners, that we might have a Door of Hope for Deliverance.

Quest. Whether this Justification Quest. imputed on Believing, be a perfect, and compleat Justification?

Answ. It is so from the Guilt and Answ Eternal Punishment of sin, (yet not­withstanding, God will visit the In [...]qui­ties, and sins of his People, as a Father for their good, Psal. 89 30, 31, 32, 33. Heb. 12. 6, 10. and doth judge them too; but it is, that they may not be Con­demned with the World, 1 Cor. 11. 30, 31, 32.) For when sin is Pardoned, the [Page 194] Offender is free, and stands to God as if he had not sinned, as to the Eternal Condemnation; which was the great Designe of God and Christ in this Transaction, Rom. 8. 1. There is there­fore now no Condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the Flesh but after the Spirit, Col. 2. 13. 1 John 4. 17.

Quest. Is this Righteousness and Quest. Justification by Faith, the Everlasting Righteousness of Saints spoken of? Dan. 9. 24.

Answ. As it is a perfect Righteous­ness, Answ. so it is in some sence Everlast­ing; for we must stand Justified (from the guilt of sin committed in this World,) for the sake of Christ to E­ternity; the Bloud of Christ is called the Bloud of the Covenant; that is, the Bloud of the New and Everlasting Covenant, which is the Covenant of the Glorious State, and so it is an Usher to the Everlasting Righteousness, that is to be perfected in the Persons of the Saints: Justification here for the sake [Page 195] of Christ, is our Righteousness unto Acceptation, Personal and Perfect Holiness in our compleat Conformity to Christ our Head, will be our Eter­nal (Personal) Righteousness in Glo­ry, our Righteousness by Faith here, will bring us to the Righteousness of Holiness and Glory hereafter, Gal. 5. 5. Phil. 3. 20, 21. Col. 3. 4. 2 Tim. 4. 7, 8. (See Mr. VVilson, in this Life, there is a justifying Righteousness, which is not had but by Faith, (such as Abraham had) it is perfect, but not Inherent in us; it steeketh in Christ's Manhood as the Subject, and is ours by Imputation, Rom. 4. 4, 5, 6. There is a Righteousness of Sanctification, or sanctifying Righteous­ness in this VVorld, &c. This is Inhe­rent, but not Perfect, growing daily by degrees unto Perfection, Jam. 2. 21, 22. More briefly thus, there is a Righteous­ness in Heaven both Perfect and Inhe­rent, a Righteousness on Earth that is Perfect but not Inherent, which is Justi­fication, or Inherent, but not Perfect, which is Sanctification. Thus far Wilson in his Scripture-Dictionary on the Word Righteous.) In a Word, that [Page 196] which I believe in this Matter is, that the Imputed Righteousness of Christ here by Faith, must abide for ever, as the Foundation of our Eternal Hap­piness, that if ever that should fail, we must Perish: So that the Church in Glory shall for ever admire Jesus Christ crucified; and know the Weight and Worth of the Bloud of the Covenants, and the Personal per­fect Holiness of the Saints, shall be their Everlasting Personal Righteous­ness in Glory.

Quest. Whether the Imputation of Quest. Justification to a Believer on the First Act of True Faith, be Perpetual? And whether One ought to Believe the Pardon of all Sin, past, present, and to come, as is the Apprehension of some?

Answ. 1. Though it's true, that the Answ. Justification of the New Covenant is certain and perpetual to true Belie­vers, yet they stand in it by their Con­stancy in the Faith, and Obedience of the Gospel; the Believer hath no [Page 197] ground to conclude it certain to him, any longer than he continueth in the Faith, for he stands by Faith, Rom. 11. 20. Thou standest by Faith, be not high-minded, but fear, 1 Cor. 16. 13. Watch ye, stand fast in the Faith &c. Heb. 3. 6, 12. Yet we ought to believe that God will maintain our Faith, and keep us from Falling, Phil. 1. 6. 2 Tim. 1. 12. Jude, vers. 14. Else we could have no solid Comfort.

2. And although I know no ground to believe the Pardon of sins before they are committed, and that:

1. Because I know no Scripture. Rule for such a Faith, it is an Unscrip­tural Fancy, and Imagination.

2. The Scripture doth direct us to the Pardon of sin after it is commit­ted, and the way in which we must ex­pect to have it, (though not the cause) that is, in a way of Confessing, (as hath been before-minded,) 1 John 1. 9. Forsaking, Prov. 28. 13. Prayer, Mat. 6. 12. Forgiving of others, Mat. 18. 35.

[...] [Page 197] [...] [Page 198] Yet 3. We ought to believe that God will pardon our sins on the Terms mentioned, after they are committed.

Quest. Is not this Legal Doctrine? Quest. It is the Judgment of some, that a Be­liever ought to believe the Pardon of all sins, past, present, and to come; and that to pray for the Pardon of sin is Le­gal?

Answ. It's true, it is Legal, i. e. ac­cording Answ. to the Law of the New-Co­venant, and is Gospel; all Mercy and Pardon after the Fall is Gospel, and a Fruit of the New-Covenant; and the Truth is, that they that Darken this, lose the Life of the Grace of the Gospel, and savours much of Igno­rance and Pride: It's infinite Mercy that God hath opened a Door of Hope, and Way of Mercy and Pardon of the sins of his People after Con­version, (as before) and if they walk humbly with God in this way of his Ordaining, they shall not miss of ob­taining Mercy, Heb. 4. 16.

We ought to believe that God will continue the Grace of Faith and give us Repentance for sin, and will Par­don our sins in this way of Repen­tance; and this is according to the Law of the New-Covenant.

The Great day of Mercy and Par­don, will be at the Great day of Judg­ment; when we must all appear before the Judgment-seat of Christ, Act. 3. 19. 2 Tim. 1. 18. Jude, vers. 21. Looking for the Mercy of our Lord Jesus unto E­ternal Life. And this I understand to be the glorious Ministration of the New-Covenant, Heb. 8. 12. For I will be Merciful to their Unrighteousness, and their Sins and Iniquities will I Remem­ber no more. Though Believers are interested in this Covenant, and God pardoneth their Iniquities here, in the Order and Way prescribed, that they shall not prove their Eternal Ruin, if we are not yet under the perfect and glorious Ministration thereof; for the New-Covenant in the Perfection of it's Ministration, is the Covenant of the perfect Restau­ration and Glory: God do now re­member [Page 200] the sins of his People, so as to correct them by various Ways, ac­cording to his own Will, Psal. 89. 30, 31, 32. 1 Cor. 11. 30, 31, 32. But then he will so Pardon the Iniquities of all his People, as not to Remember them, so as to Correct or Punish them, Isa. 33. 24. Mich. 7. 18, 19, 20.

Quest. Whether the Faith unto Quest. which Justification is imputed, be an Act of the Old, or of the New-Man?

Answ. True and Saving Faith is an Answ. Act of the Soul renewed by Grace, of the Law of God written in the Heart; the New-Covenant admits of no Old thing; it's New Wine is not put into Old Bottles, 2 Cor. 5. 17. Old things are past away, behold all things are become New. It's the Act of the New Man, from a principle of Life wrought in the Soul by the Gospel, flowing from the Second Man, the Lord from Hea­ven, who is a quickning Spirit.

Note, 1.▪ That there is, or may be a Faith without Life, John 2. 23, [Page 201] 24, 25. and 8. 30, 31. Mat. 13. 20, 21. Luke 8. 13. 1 John 2. 19.

2. That that Faith to which Life is promised, is an effect if Life, Joh. 11. 26. Whosoever Liveth and Belie­veth in me, shall never Die; that is the Faith of Life, that is an Effect of Life, 2 Cor. 4. 13. Having therefore the same Spirit of Faith, &c. There is a Spirit of Faith; that is, the Spirit of the Gospel that begets Life and Faith in Men, by the Word of Faith, called by our Lord, The Birth from above; and a Begetting again by the Word of Truth, Jam. 1. 18. and a being Born of God, 1 John 3. 9. and 5. 18. The New-Covenant, or Law in the Heart, Heb. 8. 10.

Quest. If the Case be thus, How shall Quest. I know that my Faith is Right? I shall be left still in Doubt, and at a Loss in this Matter?

Answ. I must say to this as Christ Answ. said in another case; By their Fruits you shall know them, Mat. 7. 16, 20. If [Page 202] thy Faith be the Effect of the Spirits Working, and Work of the New Man: then see 2 Cor. 15. 17. If any Man be in Christ, he is a New Creature, Old things are past away, behold all things are become New. New Light, and new Life, new Affections, new Objects of Love, new Delights, su­table to the new Birth, and new Man, Which is created after God in Righteous­ness and true Holiness, Eph. 4. 24. Gal. 5. 22, 23. Where the Fruits of the Spirit are described, as effected in the true Believer; The Fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Long-suffer­ing, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meek­ness, Temperance, &c. Where these Fruits of the Spirit are in Truth, there the Faith is Right and Sa­ving: But more particularly,

1. Where Truth of Faith is, there is Humility; this is a special distin­guishing Character of New Cove­nant Faith: when the Soul is truly Humbled, it's the Property of the Ef­fectual Working of the New Cove­nant-Spirit in the Gospel, to lay the [Page 203] Creature low, Rom. 3. 27. Where is Boasting then? It is excluded; by what Law? Of Works? Nay, but by the Law of Faith. So that Faith takes off all Boasting, where it is in Truth; and the Reason is, because the true Belie­ver seeth, and knoweth, that he is a poor Nothing, wretched Creature in himself; and that he must have all, both Pardon, Peace, and Life, from the Mercy of God in Christ Jesus; and that all he doth, or can do, is no Meritorious Cause of Grace or Life, of Pardon, or Peace; but that when he hath done all that he can, he is an Un­profitable Servant. And that his best Services are Defiled with sin, and sinful Imperfections of Nature; and this makes the Soul humble, and low in it self, to abhor it self; and this declares it evidently to be under the Blessing pronounced by our Saviour, Mat. 5. 3. Blessed are the Poor in Spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Revel. 2. 9. and 3. 8. This is the Man to whom God will look. Isa. 66. 2. and with whom He will dwell, Chap. 57. 15. and that shall dwell with him for ever. [Page 204] Zeph. 3. 12. to 18. For this groweth not upon the Old stock of Nature, that is Proud and Self-conceited; and if any New-Covenant Gifts come into such a Soul, it is but as the Putting of New Wine into Old Bottles, that will make them swell and burst, first or last.

2. Where Truth of Faith is, there is Truth of Love; and therefore it behoves every one to prove the sin­cerity of their Love, that great New-Covenant Virtue, and Heaven-born Grace, to love God and Christ above all, Mat. 22. 37. Eph. 6. 24. Mat. 10. 37. To love his Word and Will, and to Delight in it, and prize it a­bove all Worldly Treasure, Psal. 119. 97, 103, 127. To love his People for his Sake, because they are his, and bear his Image, and Likeness, 1 John 3. 14. and 4, 12.

3. Where Truth of Faith and Love is, there will be Willing, and Universal Obedience to the Will of Christ; he that loveth the Lord sin­cerely, [Page 205] will Obey him Universally; it's in Vain to talk of Faith and Love without Obedience, see Psal. 119. 6. John 14. 15. 1 John 2. 3, 4, 5. 1 Pet. 1. 14, 15. Whoever accept­eth of Jesus Christ to be his Sa­viour, must, and doe Willingly consent that he shall be his Lord to Rule him.

Quest. VVhat is the Reason that Quest. God should bring Forth, Accept, and Apply unto Men such a Righteousness unto Life, in the New-Covenant which is not their own, but of Grace, imputed and Accounted theirs on Believing, &c.

Answ. His own good Will and Answ. Pleasure, his everlasting Love and Grace:

1. No Desert in us; there was no­thing in us, unless our Misery, that called to the Depth of Mercy, Psal. 42. 7, 8. Deep called to Deep: The Depth of our Misery, that called to [Page 206] the Depth of Mercy, and the Love of Pitty and Compassion in God, brought forth this Free Ministrati­on of Grace and Life by Jesus; and this is rendred as the Cause, Joh. 3. 16. God so Loved the VVorld, that he gave his only Begotten Son, that whosoever Believeth in him, should not Perish, but have Everlasting Life. VVhat he hath Done for us on this Account is Love, and like­wise what he Worketh in us, Eph. 2. 4, 5.

And 2. His Eternal Councel and Purpose, as well as his Eternal Love, Eph. 1. 11. The Apostle speaketh of this Wonderful Mistery of Grace and Life, through Faith in Christ; saith, He worketh all things after the Councel of his own VVill. And Isa. 25. 1. The Prophet speaking of the Restauration-Work, saith, Thy Councels of Old, are Faithfulness and Truth, all the Salvation-work of the New-Covenant, is the Effects of God's Ancient Purpose and Coun­cel.

3. Because else there could have been no Salvation for Man; our own Righteousness could not have done it, at best, that could have been but as filthy Rags, Isa. 64. 6. Though we had endeavoured to Answer the Righteousness of the Law, Acts 13. 39. Phil. 3. 9. It must have left us short of Justification and Salvation, Joh. 8. 24. If you believe not that I am He, you shall Die in your sins.

4. That so our Justification and Salvation might be sure, Rom. 4. 16. Therefore it is of Faith, that it might be by Grace, to the end the Promise might be sure to all the Seed, &c. It is a Righteousness that will not Fail, though we in many things, through Weakness fail, Rom. 7. 18, 19. Jam. 3. 2. Yet the Apostle Tri­umphs in this Righteousness, because it's sure, Rom. 7. 25. and 8. 1. It's called the Sure Mercies of Da­vid, Isa. 55. 3. and an Everlasting [Page 208] Righteousness, Psal. 119. 42. Thy Righteousness is an Everlasting Righ­teousness, and thy Law is the Truth. Christ our publike Person, having undertaken the whole Work, both for us, and in us; it's very sure to those who commit themselves to him, to be Saved, and Ruled by him, John 6. 38, 39. Phil. 4 13. Eph. 3. 16, Isa. 26. 5.

CHAP. XV. Of Gospel-Assurance; and whether Assu­rance of interest in Christ, in Grace and Glory, may be attained in this life.

I Shall now come to speak something a­boutOf assu­rance of Faith. Gospel-assurance, or the assurance of Faith, whether the assurance of interest in Justification and Salvation may be at­tained in this life, on this side the possession of the purchased inheritance: and as for the assurance of Faith, we must consider it in two particulars.

1. Assurance of Faith in the truth of theAssurance of Faith in the Doctrin. Doctrine to be believed, and the truth and faithfulness of God therein, this being the Faith to which Justification is promised, (as hath been before proved) and in this, assu­rance of Faith is requisite unto Justification and life; for if we falter in the truth of the Doctrine, we must needs fail in the whole; by believing the truth of the Do­ctrine of God, we justifie him, and set to our seal that God is true; and he will justifie those who justifie him: if we believe not, yet be abideth faithful, (to those who believe,) he will not, he cannot deny himself, 2 Tim. 2. 13. this being the Faith of Justification and life, of this we ought to be fully assured, [Page 210] and infallibly, and undoubtedly satisfied of the truth of God in his Word, and of all things related therein, relating to Sal­vation by Jesus Christ Crucified, raised and ascended: Joh. 6. 69. We believe, and are sure, that thou art the Christ the Son of the Living God, Chap. 8. 24. If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins; so that Assurance in this is positively necessary, i. e. the full assurance of Faith; this Peter Preached as necessary to Salvation, Act. 2. 36 therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, b [...]th Lord and Christ; 1 Thes. 1. 5. Our Gospel came not to you in word only, but also in Power, and in the Holy Spirit, and in much assurance, &c. to that end was those mighty gifts given to, and by the Apostles in the Primitive time, for confirmation of the truth of the Doctrine of the Gospel, Act. 5. 3. 1 Pet. 12. which confirmation stands firm to us, and to all believers to the Worlds end; though, it's true, it is by the work of the same spirit, in the same Do­ctrine that doth establish our hearts there­in, 2 Cor. 4. 13.

Yet in this it's possible for gracious souls sometimes to be under temptation, and to want that assurance of Faith as is requisite in so weighty a matter as this is; there is no temptation but a Christian may be as­saulted with; consent is the dangerous sin, and in this matter, to depart from the [Page 211] Faith, and to reject Christ crucified, and Salvation by him, is the unpardonable sin, Heb. 10. 26. 29. and 6. 4, 5, 6.

Many gracious souls trouble themselvesThe unpar­donable sin in two things. about this sin, fearing themselves to be guilty thereof, through their ignorance of the sin what it is: all sin (it's true) is a­gainst the Holy Spirit, but the unpardona­ble sin, or sin unto death, consists especially in two things;

1. A wil [...]ul departing from the Faith, and refusing and rejecting Salvation by Je­sus Christ crucified, by persons after they have professed Faith in him, and obedience to him, according to those Scriptures be­fore mentioned.

2. A wilful and malicious opposing of the Spirits workings, or any known truth of the Lord Jesus, after conviction, that it is the Holy Spirit, and the truth of the Lord Jesus; yet contrary to light and con­victions of conscience, for base, by, and fleshly ends to oppose, contradict, and blaspheme, is the sin against the Holy Spi­rit; and this is it mentioned, Mat. 12. 31, 32. with v. 24. but for Christians to meet with doubtings about the matters of Faith, (though they ought to watch and war a­gainst it) they have no ground to draw sad conclusions against themselves, though it's cause of humiliation. For support in such cases, consider, 1. The Prophet, Psal 89. 34. 19, to 37. the Lord having made great [Page 212] and precious promises to David, and in him to Christ, on the new covenant account, in which was much of the Gospel Grace; yet immediately his Faith fails in the whole, as if God had made void his covenant, and broken all his promises in that matter, ver. 38. 45. which hath been fulfilled on the natural seed, and worldly Kingdom, to vi­sible appearance: but as it related to Jesus Christ, it stands firm, and he is exalted up­on the Throne, and the Promise is sure to all thee seed. 2. John the Baptist, who had many high confirmations from Heaven concerning the Lord Jesus, that he was the Christ; he saw the sign upon him, which God gave him, by which he should know him, Joh. 1. 33. insomuch that he could say, ver. 34. 56. I saw, and bear record, that this is the Son of God; and behold the Lamb of God, &c. and heard the voice from Heaven saying, This is my beloved Son, &c. yet after all these testimonies and assurances of his Faith in this matter, he being in Prison, comes to doubt whether he was the Christ or not, Matt. 11. 3. Art thou him that should come, or do we lo [...]k for another? which disco­vers that there was in John a doubt whether he was the Christ or no: and this appear­eth not only by the message or question, but if we consider, 2. the time when he sent, when he was in Prison; it was a Pri­son temptation: 2. By the answer of Christ to John to strengthen him under this temp­tation, [Page 213] Go and shew John those things that you do hear and see, &c. 2. By his answer to the multitude, What went ye out to see, a r [...]ed shaken with the wind? &c. which clearly im­ports, that John was shaken in his Faith; and yet for all that, he was a Prophet, and more than a Prophet, v. 9. Which clearly imports, that gracious souls may come under temp­tations and doubts in matters of Faith of highest concernment, and yet be gracious still: yea further, gracious persons may, through a sudden fit of fear, and surprisal by temptation, not only doubt in the main matters of Faith▪ but even deny the Faith they have been established in. The case of Peter is full in this matter, who denied and forswore his Lord: but the difference lieth here, the gracious person may fall by a sudden surprisal of sinful fear, and weep bitterly for it when it is done, and loves the Lord the more; but the other deli­berately resolved, and wilfully departs from the Lord, and will no more of him, but with the dog returns to his vomit, and with the sow that was washed, to her wallowing again in the mire: yet it deeply concerns souls to be heedful of such temptations.

2. The second sort of Assurance, is the2. Of Assu­rance of Interest. assurance of interest in the Doctrine be­lieved; and in speaking to this, I shall shew, 1. That there is a Gospel Assurance of interest in Grace and Glory to be ob­tained in this World. 2. What this Assu­rance [Page 214] is, and how, and how far it may be attained. 3. What it is that ordinarily hin­ders persons from obtaining thereof.

1. That a well grounded Gospel Assu­rance1. That it may be at­tained. of Faith may be attained here in this life; it is that which many Saints have at­tained, and a possibility is stated for all to attain it. 1. That many have attained it, Job, though under afflictions, yet could say, I know that my Redeemer liveth, &c. whom I shall see for my self, &c. Job. 19. 25. 27. and the Prophet could say, after a cloud of dark­ness, and temptation, Psal. 73. 24. 26. Thou shalt guide me by thy counsel, and afterward re­ceive me to Glory; and Paul, Gal. 2. 20. I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me: and 2 Tit. 4. 7, 8. I have fought a good Fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the Faith, from henceforth is laid up for me a Crown of Righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge will give me at that day, &c.

But, 2. Lest it be objected by any, that these were extraordinary persons, and therefore may doubt whether it be attain­able by believers as such; a possibility is stated for all to attain it: and this will ap­pear in the promise; it's promised (not Prophets, or Apostles, or Ministers as such) to all Believers; he that believeth, and is bap­tized, shall be saved; and John 6. 40. and this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may [Page 215] have everlasting life, see Act. 16. 31. Rom. 10. 9. If God hath made the promise of life to believers as such, without distinction, he hath stated a possibility to believers to obtain a Gospel assurance of their Salva­tion.

2. It appears in that it was the Apostles work, (and should be the work and en­deavour of every faithful Minister) to help Believers in this matter, that so they might attain a well groun [...]e [...] comfortable assurance of their intere [...]t in the grace of life; so Paul, Rom. 3. 22. The righteousness of God, which is by Faith of Christ, unto all, and upon all that believe; and Chap. 8. 1. There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, wh [...] walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit: 1 Joh. 5. 13. These things have I written to them that believe, &c. that ye may know that ye have eternal life, &c. The Lord's design is not only to give his people eter­nal life, but he would have them to know it for their comfort; and for that end he hath stated clear grounds in his Word, by which they may come to know it, as I shall endeavour in the second place to shew what it is, and [...]ow it may be attained.

2. What this Assurance is, and how far it may be attained 1. What it is, it is cal­led in Scripture sometimes, the assurance of Faith, Heb. 10. 22. Let us draw near in full assurance of Faith, Heb. 6. 11. The full as­surance of hope, the full assurance of understand­ing; [Page 216] Col. 2. 2. Confidence, boldness; Eph. 3. 12. Heb. 10. 35. The confidence of hope; Heb. 3. 6. Whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence, and the rejoycing of the hope firm to the end. The assurance of Faith, Hope, Confidence, is sometimes higher, and some­times lower; sometimes more, sometimes less, according to the souls exercise in the word of Life, and work of Faith, and the working of the Spirit in the word of Faith; for there is no such assurance to be attained here, as when we come to the possession of the Kingdom and Glory promised, when all occasion of doubting shall be done away: for the assurance here, is but the assurance of Faith, Hope, and Confidence, which af­fords Peace, Joy, and Consolation: the Scripture (and so must reason too) make a vast disproportion between the life of Faith, and the life of present and full In­joyment, 2 Cor. 5. 7. We live by Faith, and not by sight, that is, not by present injoy­ment; Heb. 10. 38. Now the just shall live by Faith, that is, now in this side the Glory promised, in which it may be supposed, is danger of drawing back: If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

2. How it must be obtained; the assu­rance2. How it must be ob­tained. of Faith and hope must be attained by a reflect act of the soul, or a resultancy, or conclusion from the condition, on which life is promised▪ to instance, Mat. 5. 3. &c. are many precious promises made to per­sons [Page 217] that are indowed with those Divine Virtues therein exprest, as, Blessed are the poor in spirit, &c. Who so finds those Virtues in him, may, and ought to claim his interest in the promises: so Mat. 16. 16. He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved; that is, he that believeth, and obeyeth the Lord, (of which, Baptism is the first, and inga­geth to the whole duty of the Gospel) shall be saved; I do believe and obey the Gospel, therefore I shall be saved: so 1 J [...]h. 5. 1. Whosoever doth believe that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God; this Faith, if right, is accompanied with those other Virtues mentioned, as love to God, love to his people, obedience to his will, and his Com­mandments are not grievous, it getteth victory over the World, &c. as ver. 2. By this we know we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his Commandments; ver. 3. For this is the love of God, that we keep his Command­ments, and his Commandments are not grievous: that is, they are not grievous to Believers; ver. 4. Whatsoever is born of God, overcometh the World; and this is the victory that overcometh the World, even your Faith. What the World is that Faith overcometh, the Apostle had before explained, Chap. 2. 15, 16, 17. Faith getteth the victory, by fixing the soul on better objects than the World is: Heb. 5. 9. He is become the Author of eternal Salvation to all them that obey him. Now the resultancy from the whole is, I do believe that Jesus [Page 218] is the Christ, and my Faith is accompanied with love to God above all, and do love his people for his sake; and do sincerely desire to know and do his will, and keep his Commandments; they are not grievous to me, but my failing therein, is my grief; and by this Faith I have overcome the World, and am dead to it; and it is my real desire and endeavour to abandon all things that are contrary to the will of the Lord, to abhor that which is evil, and to cleave to that which is good; therefore I am born of God, therefore I have an interest in the new covenant, this is the way appointed of God, in which they may make their Calling and Election sure, if they give diligence to it, 2 Pet. 1. 10. and these are the things that John write in his Epistle to them that did believe, that they might know that they had eternal life, 1 Joh. 5. 13. and according to our abounding in those Divine Virtues, or not abounding, so will our assurance be, 2 Pet. 1. 10, 11.

Quest. Is not Assurance the immediate Quest. gift of the Spirit? does not the Scripture speak of being sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise, Eph. 1. 13. 2 Cor. 1 22?

Answ. 1. It's without all question to me, Answ. that the ground of all sealings is from the Holy Spirit, and that he doth refresh the hearts of Believers, and seal up love to them in the waies of his own appointment; yet for persons to take that for a sealing [Page 219] evidence, which relates neither to word, nor work of the Spirit, but some appre­hended over-powrings, or [...]rong perswa­sions without all grounds, [...]rong confi­dence and consolation, but knows not [...]rom whence it comes, can give no reason there­of, but supposeth that it [...] be from the Spirit: this may [...] [...]on of our own spirits, or the [...] who can transform himself into an Angel of l [...]ght; and I fear many souls have miscarried on this account.

2. The assurance and comfort of Saints 2 must come in by believing, (if right▪ Rom. 15. 13. The God of Hope fill you with joy and peace in believing: as, 1 Pet. 1. 8. What ever comes in any other way, may prove a [...]an­cy, and Faith in this matter must have a relation to the word of Grace, or the work of the Spirit suitable to some word, or both, in which is found the sealings of the Spirit, it must be in and by the word and work. The Spirit was promised and given for a twofold Seal. 1. To seal the truth of the Doctrine, to be believed by its gifts and mighty works, in and by the Ministers thereof; and 2. To seal the truth of our Faith relative to interest in that Doctrine, and that is by the word and work of the same Spirit

1. By the word, Joh. 16. 13, 14. Where [...]he Spirit seals by the Word. the manner of the Spirits work is [...] ­ed; that is, he shall guide you into truth, [...]e [...] [Page 220] not speak of himself, he shall shew you things to come, he shall glorifie me, he shall take of mine, and shew it unto you; so that the way of the Spirits working and leading into truth is, in opening the Word, and shewing the goodness of the Word, the Doctrine of the Gospel which leads us to Christ; for he shall glo­rifie him, and take of his, and shew it to the soul; and there is nothing of Christ to be shewed to us, more than is revealed in, and by the Word: so that the Spirits sealing is in, and through the Word; and this Believers have experience of, more or less, (of the Spirits sealing through the Word, read, heard, and applyed) to their joy and comfort; for the Spirit comforts, by opening Christ, and the blessed truths of the Gospel relating to him, by his Word, and his Ordinances appointed for that end.

Quest. In what manner doth the Spirit Quest. work by the Word, in sealing up assurance to the souls; is it by an immediate bring­ing in of Scripture over-powringly un­thought on, or unexpected?

Answ. Sometimes the Spirit of Christ Answ. may so work, and I question not but that in some cases, and at sometimes he hath so wrought, though it's not so usual, nor al­waies may it prove so fafe to be depended on; for when we respect more the manner of its being brought in, than the matter; [Page 221] and the shew of the sealing testimony (as apprehended) lieth rather in the manner than the matter; Sathan may transform himself therein, and deceive the soul: I have known some looking so much after the manner of receiving evidence in this way, as that they thought scarsly any Scrip­ture there, or worth a looking into, unless brought in in this way, which is a great and dangerous temptation. But if at any time the Spirit of the Lord, do in distress sup­ply the soul in this way, it may be known; 1. When the Scripture is suitably applied to the souls condition; 2. When the fruit thereof is thankfulness to God, humility, and an humble walk with God, and with his people: for delusions in this case are accompanied with bad effects, as pride, self-exalting, neglect of duty to the Lord, and slighting the Word, (unless it be in this manner of revelation, as it's called;) but to the Believer, every word of the Lord is pure and precious, and the Spirit meets with sealing evidences sometimes in one word, and sometimes in another, from the openings of the Grace and Glory of the new covenant, with the applications thereof; so that the soul can say on good ground, this is my promise (where-ever it finds it) my Grace, my Glory, and the Lord is my Portion, my God in whom I trust.2. By his work in the soul.

2. The Spirit seals Assurance, by his work, in the hearts of Believers; as by his [Page 222] Word, he leaves such an impression upon the soul, of his own likeness, by which the whole man is in a measure formed into the Image and likeness of Christ, that, upon examination, the Believer finds the Spirit of Christ is there; he finds Faith, and Love, and Humility, and Meekness, and Obedience, and Joy in the Lord; from whence the Believer cl [...]arly concludes, that the Spirit of the Lord is there: it is the Spirit of Adoption, that inables those, in whom it is, to cry Abba Father; that is, it discovers the Adoption and Sonship to the soul; and this doth not import (alwaies) an undoubted assurance, yet the soul can cry it out, cry Abba Father; so it is, in both Scripture that speaks of this truth, Rom. 8. 15. Gal. 4. 6. It's a Metaphor taken from children, who, when their Father frowns, or hides his face, yet they lose not their relation, though they cry, yet their cry is Father, Father; so gracious souls that have the Spirit of Adoption, though but low in their apprehensions, yet they cry it out; Father, Father; and claim their inter­est and relation still.

Obj. In the same Scripture it's said, for Quest. ye have not received the Spirit of bondage to fear, again, but the Spirit of Adoption, &c? Which seems to import, that where the Spirit of Adoption is, all doubting and fears is done away: and John saith, 1 Joh. 4. 18. That perfect love casteth out fear.

Answ. 1. We are to understand, that the Ans. Apostle in this place is distinguishing be­tween the two ministrations, i. e. between the old and new Covenants, and the dif­fering spirit that each tended to; the first, with all its sacrifices, which could not make the come [...]s thereunto perfect, as pertaining to the conscience, Heb. 9. 9. and 10. 1. had a na­tural tendency to leave them under bon­dage and fear, there being a remembrance of sin every year, when the sacrifice was over, they must necessarily be under fear till another sacrifice.

But the Gospel ministration is a mini­stration of Liberty, Life, and Peace, by that one Sacrifice once offered for all, that there is no cause of fear for need of ano­ther Sacrifice; so that the spirit of the Gospel in the ministration thereof, hath its natural tendency to take away legal fear out of the hearts of Believers, where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, that is, from the spirit of bondage: it doth not import that the Saints are freed from the filial fear of God, nor from fear of sinning against him, nor from having an holy fear of them­selves, lest they come short, Heb. 4. 1.

And it's true, perfect love casteth out fear; that is, that fear which hath torment, the le­gal fear; and it's true likewise, that if we did or could live up in the perfect appre­hension of the love of God in Christ to us, (which could perfect our love to him) we [Page 224] could not fear the legal fear, you cannot fear, that one whom you believe do intire­ly love you, will do you hurt; so live in this love of God, and you cannot fear this fear, that is, you cannot fear that he will damn you, and destroy you after all the Gospel-grace and manifestations of his love.

But yet for all this, you may fear, and you'l have need (sometimes) to fear your own naughty hearts, and sinful nature; and to take heed of an evil hea [...]t of unbelief, to de­part from this Living and Loving God.

So that the sum of all is this, that Be­lievers under the Gospel are freed from the old covenant spirit of bondage, and under that notion cannot fear again, because they are by one Sacrifice for ever perfected; they need not another to take away their sins, if they live up much in the love of God, they cannot fear that God will hurt them, but do them good.

But when their fear works so high as to disclaim their relation, that is besides the Spirit of the Gospel, unless it be as a pu­nishment of some former or present sin, thereby to work the soul to a more watch­ful frame, how it walks for time to come.

Now this new Covenant assurance, as it admits of degrees, so in the highest degree it admits of imperfection, and reacheth not so far as sight and injoyment; so that in the same souls may be high confidence [Page 225] and comfort at one time, and flagings and fears at another; not fears of Gods love and faithfulness, nor the all-sufficiency of that one Sacrifice, but fear of our own de­ceitful hearts, and naughty natures; and the reason is, because (as I said before) our assurance depends not only on the truth and faithfulness of God in his Word, but likewise on the truth of the work of Grace in us, and that work being imperfect as in us, our assurance must needs be something like unto it; but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is imperfect shall be done away; then no more sin nor sorrow, no more fear of coming short of that rest.

Quest. If our assurance must come in Quest. from the Divine works, and workings of the Spirit through the Word in the way by you prescribed, is it not the way to keep souls under doubtings still? when those Divine Virtues are low, and hardly discern­able by reason of corruption, it must needs minister occasion of doubting?

Answ. 1. This is the most certain and in­fallible Answ. way of discerning our interest, and in this the Devil cannot delude, or deceive souls, when our assurance comes in from Scripture-grounds; but the other is un­certain, souls may be deceived, and the most certain and sure, must needs be best, and most satisfactory to the sincere Christian.

2. Those high (supposed) assurances, without relation to the Word or work of [Page 226] the Spirit, (if true) may fail as much, and more than the other, unless souls will live for ever under one single sealing evidence, (as I fear too many do so neglect the daily exercise of Faith,) or expect daily renewed sealings, which I suppose are not ordinary in this way; whereas those Divine Virtues of the Spirit to which the promise is made shall never totally fail, in truly gracious souls; though through the prevalency of corruption they may be clowded, yet the soul may through all the clowds of dark­ness, see something of the Divine stamp left and remaining on the heart: if some­times (to apprehension) there should ap­pear nothing but a sense of sin, and bitter weeping for it, with a heart longing after Christ, as was sometimes the case of Peter, yet this is something, yea very much of the Divine impression, and so it appears to be the sure way for solid peace, and salva­tion in the end.

3. What it is that ordinarily hinders3. The hin­drances of Assurance. Christians from obtaining this assurance; though first▪ I fear that many Christians content themselves with an ungrounded assurance, and such need to be startled out of their groundless security: and, 2. O­thers scarce trouble themselves about the matter, but content themselves in the form of the Gospel, leaving the matter of assu­rance of interest to those that will trouble themselves about it: but it's that which [Page 272] does concern every true Christian (both for his own comfort, and the comfort or conviction of others) to be able to give a reason of his hope, a grounded and com­fortable assurance of interest in Christ and Grace being of that worth; for a comfor­table walking with God here, (though not the essence of Christianity) I shall endea­vour to state some of the lets and hin­drances, that Christians may escape them, and obtain the mercy.

The first let or hindrance I shall menti­on,Lets and hindrances of obtaining Assurance. ariseth from the confused notions about the way of obtaining thereof, which have occasioned many miscarriages; some to conclude that they have it, when it's to be feared they do mistake, and if so, they de­ceive themselves, and others, serious seek­ing souls, sent with sorrow to their graves, for want of right direction from the Word of Life in this matter.

1. It hath been by many supposed, that1. Supposing the Faith of interest to be the Faith of Justifica­tion. the Faith of assurance of interest, hath been the Faith of Justification; and hence persons falling sho [...]t in this, conclude that they have no Faith at all, but that they are in a state of unbelief: I have known some to lie in sorrow, complaining they had no Faith, and so under fears of perishing, be­cause they could not believe their own in­ter [...]st, being unskilled in the right way of making it up to their comfort; I have asked them, do you believe in truth that [Page 228] Jesus is the Christ? they answer, yea, then you are born of God, Joh. 5. 1. Do you be­lieve the truth of the Doctrine of the Go­spel concerning the life and salvation held forth therein by Jesus Christ crucified; (yea) then you have that Faith to which Salvation is promised: Mar. 16. 15, 16. 1 Joh. 5. 10, 11, 13. Do you believe with your heart that God hath raised Christ from the dead? if you do, you cannot but believe that he died fo [...] our sins, according to the Scrip­ture, (yea) then you shall be saved, Rom. 10. 9. Are you in good earnest, willing to be saved by Christ▪ and to be ruled by him as your Lord, and to serve him in all things? Answ. yea, with my whole soul, if I may be accepted; then you have the Spirit of Christ, 1 Cor. 12. 3. Do you love God and Christ above all, and his people for his sake? yea, I love God and Christ (I hope) above all, and desire to love them more, and his people, because they are his, and his image is stampt upon them then you are born of God, 1 Joh. 3. 14, 19, and 4, 7, 12. And do you see your self vile, are you poor in your own eyes, and do you see and believe, that if ever you be saved, it must be by the free Grace and Mercy of God in Jesus Christ? Yea, I do find it so to be with me, then yours is the Kingdom of Heaven; Mat. 5. 3. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. And what Faith is it that you would have? will the Faith of [Page] Abraham the Father of us all do it? He be­lieved God, and it was accounted to h [...]m for Righteousness, Rom. 4. 3. Will the Faith to which Justification and Life is promised do it? why that you have, and yet con­clude that you have no Faith: thus many poor souls lie groveling on the ground, supposing they have no Faith, when in truth they are rich in Faith, and heirs of that Kingdom which God hath promised to them that love him, Jam. 2. 10. and from such a self-examination may doubting souls come to see that they indeed have Faith, even the Faith of Gods Elect, and be able to give a reason of their Hope both to themselves and others.

But for persons to suppose, that the Faith of interest is the first and only Faith of Justification and Life, is according to the Proverb, to set the Cart before the Horse, which must needs go heavily, a [...]d bring disconsolation and confusion to the soul.

2. Others talk at such a rate about the2. Supposing it to come in in some un­known way & manner. attaining of Assurance, as if it must drop down from Heaven into the heart in some wonderful, unknown way, immediately from the Spirit, with such over-powrings of consolation, as if they were in Heaven alredy, such as scarsly any serious Christians have experienced; which have amazed seri­ous souls out of their hope and confidence, having no experience of such a thing; and [Page 230] others it may be cheated with something like this, with a foolish confidence of as­surance of Heaven, ordinarily attended with Pride and Self-conceit, and neglect of an humble walk with God, which is the way for Christians to walk into Glory; whereas solid and sound assurance must come by believing, and the Spirits sealing is in that way, and the highest attainment of Joy and Peace is by believing; what comes in any other way, comes we know not whence, and may lead us we know not whether.

3. Others will have no Faith of assu­rance,3. Others some imme­diate appli­cation of some Scrip­ture. unless it be from some Scripture im­mediately and powerfully brought to them by the Spirit to the satisfying of their souls, and silencing all doubts in the mat­ter, and this they account the sealing o [...] the Spirit. To this I say, 1. That it is mercy when the Lord does bring Scripture to remembrance, to his people, suitable to their conditions, for their comfort and in­struction; I doubt not but that God doth instruct, support and comfort his people in this way: yet, 2. This is not the Scrip­ture way in which souls may undoubtedly read their interest: it's true, it's matter of meditation and consolation to gracious souls, to have the Word brought into their remembrance, but not the way prescribed by which they may undoubtedly conclude their interest.

2. The Scripture saith, that we should be able and ready to give a reason of our hope; now this is no sufficient reason, according to the Scripture, either to satisfie our selves or others, that I had such a Scripture brought home to me at such a time, in which the assurance of my interest in Grace and Life was sealed: this singly of it self may be true or false, if there be not the rational Scripture ground, that is, the true work of Grace; it's a hundred to one but it's false and delusive, therefore, at a di­stance from the work of the Spirit, it's no sure ground; for Satan can make use of Scripture to deceive souls. So that I say, that evidence that may admit of doubt, and if the party receiving it, be void of those evidences I have minded, then it's un­doubtedly false, and therefore not over­confidently to be built upon.

But in the other way, of concluding our interest from the work of the Spirit in us, suitable to the Word without us, when there is an answerableness in this matter, it's surely of God, and in this the Devil will not, cannot deceive you; it works you more to love, and be like the Lord: but the other, if not right, it serves rather to harden, and to cure miscarriages ever after. Well, saith such a soul, I had such a word brought in at such a time, in such a manner, in which I was sealed: I will never let go that, it was of God, I fear neither [Page 232] Devil nor men, &c. Though the right use of former experiences is precious, yet I fear this hath proved to the damage of many souls.

And on the other hand, gracious and tender souls that hath the root of the mat­ter in them, understanding that this is the supposed way to get assurance; and having no experience thereof in themselves, put their souls upon the rack of doubts and fears without cause, fearing they have no Faith, being afraid to draw conclusions from right Gospel grounds: O, saith the soul, I never had experience of such a sealing evidence, therefore I fear all is naught.

4. Some talk of assurance at such a rate, not only as if it must come in some strange immediate way from the Spirit, but like­wise it must come to whom, and when he pleaseth, and that it's retained from some for ever; that is, in this World, and as if it were reserved to sometimes, and for some persons, &c. And this puts tender and serious souls to a doubt in the matter, where ever they may meet with any com­fortable assurance of the love of God to their souls, &c.

To this I say, it's true it is the gift of God, but no other than the Spirit and Faith is, and if any one hath not the Spirit of God, and Faith, he is none of his; and whoever can assure himself that he hath the Spirit [Page 233] of Christ, is sure of all; for God no more with-holds assurance from any of his, than he does his Spirit, and the virtues thereof; but it is as common for all Saints as be­lieving, though all Saints are not so com­monly instructed herein: God is no re­specter of persons, he would have all his little ones to have the consolations of the Gospel: it is true, there are causes why God may hide his face from his people in this matter, but that relates to themselves as the cause, which is the second hindrance of assurance.

2. Sin proves a great hindrance to the2. Sin proves an hindrance to assurance comfortable assurance of the Saints; and that, 1. Sometimes through mistake; and, 2. Sometimes justly. 1. Sometimes through mistake; for indeed sin, if seen and repen­ted of, cannot justly hinder assurance, for to such souls there is the promise of mer­cy, they are under the promise of the par­doning Grace of the Gospel, 1 Joh. 1. 9. The remembrance of old sins, or new sins, if repented of, should not hinder, 1 Joh. 2. 1, 2.

2. Sin sometimes justly hinders assu­rance, when it is regarded in the heart, and unrepented of; it stares in the conscience, and fills the soul with fear; and no won­der, if sin be harboured secretly in the soul, whether it be pride, covetousness, oppres­sion, disobedience, neglect of duty, loss of first love, &c. one of these two things [Page 234] must necessarily follow; either, 1. a dull insensible, hardened frame, without all fear or doubts: or, 2. Clowds and dark­ness, doubts and fears do arise about inter­est, and that justly too, till the soul do re­pent, forsake, and turn to the Lord; If I regard iniquity in my heart, God will not hear my Prayer; there is the same reason as well as rule, for a Believer to repent of sin, be­fore he can have true Peace, as for a sinner in the first work of Conversion; for sin is the same still where-ever it is; and on this account it is, that God doth hide himself from his people, and leave them under af­fliction and sorrow, Deut. 32. 20. And on this account it is, that persons may have a comfortable assurance, and lose the sense thereof again, by renewed acts of sin, with­out repentance.

3. Hindrance is, mistakes in the manner3. Is mis­understand­ing the Spi­rits work­ing. and method of the Spirits working, and so of witnessing in some cases, proves a great hindrance to Christians in their assu­rance; by reason of which, gracious souls take up that against themselves, as an hin­drance, which is one of the most assured grounds of the truth of Grace, and of the Spirits working; to instance, Joh 16. 8, 9, 11. The Spirits work is to convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; now when the Spirit in the Word effects this work in the hearts of sinners, when they see themselves to be sinners, and miserable [Page 235] in themselves, and that they are unrighte­ous, and that their own righteousness is nothing worth, and that there is righ­teousness in Christ for sinners, because he is gone to the Father to make good his suffering on that account, and of the certainty of Judgment, because the Prince of this World is judged; this work being effe­cted in them, they sink in their spirits, and think they are undone, that there is no hope of mercy, when they are in the high­way of mercy and the Spirits working in order to their eternal safety. Hard it is to suffer the loss of all things, not only their sins, but their own righteousness, and to submit themselves to the righteous­ness of Christ, Phil. 3. 7, 8, 9. and this not only in the first work of Conversion, but after some progress in Christianity; many gracious persons are exceeding liable to this mistake: O, saith the gracious soul, (that lives most in self-examination, and so in the knowledg of himself, and the badness of his own nature) I find such a deadness in my nature, such an indisposed­ness to that which is good, &c. that I fear all is naught, and that it is not for such a one as I to think that I have any thing of good in me. This, I know, is the case and complaint of many gracious souls, where­as this is one of the most undoubted evi­dences of being possest with the Spirit of [Page 236] Christ, and so in a state of Grace, Rom. 8. 9, 10. The Apostle having asserted this truth, That if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his; but how shall I know that I have the Spirit of Christ? The A­postle answers this question; If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness; that is, if the Spirit of Christ be in you, it hath disco­vered your own death to you; you see that there is nothing but death in your own nature, because of sin, but the Spirit is life, because of righteousness; that is, if the Spirit of Christ be in you, it hath disco­vered your own death to you; you see there is nothing but death in your bodies by reason of sin, but the righteousness of Christ, the Grace, the Mercy, the pardon of sin for the sake of Christ, is the life of your Spirits; this is a certain evidence of the Spirits work, when it causeth souls to be sensible of their own death, and the life that is in Christ Jesus, and that not only in their first conversion and turning to the Lord; but it keeps up, and carrieth on that work in the hearts of Believers all the daies they live in this world, Col. 3. 3. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God: not only dead to sin, but you do, or should know, that there is nothing but death in your nature, as of your selves, and your life is in Christ hid there; so that sometimes Christians themselves that are [Page 237] interessed in it can scarce see it, or believe it, altogether hid from wicked men; they are strangers to it, and as for the glory there­of, hid from all Saints, till Christ who is our life do appear, then shall they appear with him in Glory, v. 4. that this is so sure a character of the Spirits working, doth further appear, Rom. 7. 18. I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing. O, but when Christians are taught this lesson, they think they are undone, and so indeed they are in themselves, but it's an high discovery of the Spirits working; the flesh never did, never will discover its own badness; but the flesh will be alwaies priding it self, and puffing it self up, though altogether without cause; but, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven, Matt. 5. 3. That is, those who are sensible of their own poverty, and want of all good in themselves, that what of virtue is in them, is of the Lord, and from him, and that their righteousness and life is of free Grace in our Lord Jesus Christ; so that this (it's evident) hath been a needless hin­drance in the way of the Christians com­fort, and is rather a strong ground to con­firm them in the truth of their partaking of Gospel Grace.4. Hin­drance is, mistake a­bout the end of seek­ing.

4. Hindrance is, that mistaken notion amongst many Christians, that is, that we must seek God and his Glory only in all our seekings, services and sufferings, and [Page 238] not any thing for our selves; O, saith the gracious soul, I cannot, I dare not lie, I find that I cannot but have respect to my self, and mine own salvation; if that were left out, I should sink and fail in the work, and that makes me fear that it is not right, what-ever I do.

Doubtless this is a mistaken notion, and contrary to the very drift and scope of the Gospel; for the great design of God in the work of Redemption, next his own Glory, was the salvation of poor sinners; and to suppose that God would have his people to leave out their own good and salvation in the Gospel work, which he himself hath so much designed in the whole work of Gospel Redemption, is contrary to all (both divine and humane) reason.

1. The incouragement to believing, obeying, and suffering is this, Justification, Act. 13. 39. Salvation, Mar. 16. 16. Act 16. 31. Rom. 2. 10. Augmentation of Glory, 2 Cor. 4. 17, 18. And certainly God would never have stated these as incouragements, if he would not have his people to have respect thereto.

2. This is that which hath been the en­couragement of the Saints throughout all generations, and that which they had in their eyes, to which they had respect, and which they sought after, Matt. 19. 27. Peter's question, with Christ's gracious an­swer, We have left all, and followed th [...]e; and [Page 239] what shall we have? Heb. 11. 13, 14, 15, 16. describes the Patriarks to be seeking a Countrey, and so to have respect to the re­compence of reward, and God's owning them therein; wherefore (even for seeking an heavenly Country according to the will of God) he was not ashamed to be called their God; for he hath prepared for them a City, ver. 24, 25, 26. Moses left Egypt, and Pha­raoh's house, and refused to be called the Son of Pharaoh's Daughter, and chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the trea­sures of Egypt; for he had respect unto the re­compence of reward, 1 Cor. 9. 24. to 27. Rom. 2. 7. Heb. 10. 34. 36. Rev. 22. 14. with multitudes of like Scriptures that might be mentioned in this matter. In all which it appears, that it is the will of God, and hath been the design of the Saints in all ages, to be seeking after their own spiri­tual and eternal welfare: and indeed it's one of the first exhortations of Christ to his, First seek the Kingdom of Heaven, and the Righteousness thereof, &c. and the reward is that which all true Believers must and do believe, Heb. 11. 6.

To clear this matter further, I shall mind4 Things to clear this matter. four things, 1. That we are to seek God and his Glory first and chiefly, because he is the chiefest good; and in seeking him, and finding him, we find all; yet not to [Page 240] leave out our selves, and our own good in seeking him, it is for his worth that we seek him, that we may be able in truth to say as the Prophet, Lam. 3. 24. The Lord is my Portion, saith my soul, therefore will I hope in him; for when once the soul hath an in­terest in Christ, and in God, he hath an in­terest in all, 1 Joh 5. 12. He that hath the Son, hath life, 1 Cor. 3. 22, 23.

2. He that truly seeketh the honour of God and Christ, seeketh his own honour in the right way; he that taketh care of the honour of God and Christ in the right way, (that is, in believing, loving, and o­beying the truth,) God will take care for his honour, 1 Sam. 2. 30. the Lord saith, He that honoureth me, I will honour.

3. If we seek our selves in the way that God hath appointed, we cannot miscarry, that is, in the lose of our selves, and clea­ving to the Lord alone, expecting all from Grace, in the way of Faith and Obedience, not for any meritorious good that is in us; that when we have done all we can, see and say, that we are unprofitable Servants, and cry Grace, Grace, to the whole work, both for us, and in us, then we rightly seek God and Glory.

4. It's true in one sense, that we may not seek our selves by any means, that is, our own esteem and glory here among men, or to be lifted up in our own minds, that is, fleshly, and of the first man, that must be [Page 241] mortified, as a dangerous and soul-ruining, and God-dishonouring evil, that Christi­ans are too much by nature inclined to, through the remainders of the old cor­rupt nature; and must be watched and warded against; self-wisdom, self-will, self­esteem, self-boasting, and self-glorying, is to be abandoned; but in seeking after and obeying of God and Christ, To seek glory, honour, and eternal life, is so consistent with the truth of the Gospel, that it's impos­sible to sever them, whatever souls foolish­ly and vainly imagine to the contrary; What God hath joyned together, let no man put asunder.

5. Hindrance of souls assurance is, when5. Hin­drance, when souls trouble themselves about Gods Decrees. they trouble themselves about the Decrees and Counsel of God, whether Elected, or not Elected; if they are not Elected, then it's in vain for them to believe, &c.

This is not a work for Christians to trouble their minds about, neither are they like to have the assurance of Gospel con­solation, while they make this their first work: I shall for help in this matter, pre­scribe these seven things.

1. That Christ died for all, and that the7 Things considered in this mat­ter. love of God in the Gospel is truly pro­pounded to all, and that all are brought under it, either in a way of life or death; life, if they repent, believe, and obey it; death, if they re [...]ect it, 1 Tit. 2. 6. Heb. 2 9. 1 Joh. 4. 14. Joh. 3. 16, 17. Mar. 16. 15, 16.

[Page 242]2. That all are invited, and required to believe and obey the Gospel, with gracious promises of acceptance, by him that is truth it self, and cannot lie, nor will he de­ceive those that come to him, Isa. 55. 7. Matt. 11. 28. Acts 17. 30. 1 Tit. 2. 4.

3. There is the same reason for all to halt, and doubt in this matter, as for any one; and yet we find not any one men­tioned in the Scripture, among the many thousands of Believers. that made a doubt on this ground, no, not of the worst of sinners: those that had a hand in the Cru­cifying of Christ, Acts 2. 23. 36, 37, 41. They gladly received the word of Salva­tion, not questioning the matter of Ele­ction, but glad, with the good news of Salvation, on the tearms propounded; with many like instances of Gentiles as well as Jews, Acts 13. 48. And the Apo­stles did not propound Election as any hin­drance to the Faith of any, but assures them, (where-ever they came) that on the tearms of the Gospel they should be saved; Acts 16. 31. Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved.

4. Nor did the Apostles mention Ele­ction to Believers after conversion, with any design to stumble them in the matter of Faith relating to their own interest, but that they might the more admire Grace, and live to the God of Grace, that they might not sacrifice to their own net, nor [Page 243] take the Glory of the work of God wrought in them, and for them, to them­selves, but that they might give the glory of all to him, and live to him in the injoy­ment thereof, Rom. 11. 6, 33. Eph. 1. 3▪ 4.

5. Nor hath God done any act (contrary to the free tenders and invitations of the Gospel) that may tend to discourage, or hinder any from believing and obeying the Gospel, that they may be saved; God's Electing some, that he might not lose his design wholly in the restauration work, is no bar to hinder any, because he affords means and helps to all; so that men shall one day acknowledge, that God is righte­ous, and their damnation is of themselves, and of their own choice; I would, but ye would not; see Prov. 1. 20. to the end.

6. Take heed of entertaining such thoughts about the Decrees of God, (which are secret and hidden) as are in­consistent with the Doctrine of the Gospel, his revealed will; for all notions about the Decrees, really inconsistent with the Do­ctrine of Grace, and promise of life on the tearms of the Gospel, are dishonourable to God, and dangerous to your souls; therefore look you to the revealed will, believe and obey that, and you are safe.

7. You are to know, that the way by which you shall know your Election, is by believing and obeying the truth; and sure enough it is, that if you continue in a state [Page 244] of unbelief and disobedience to the Gos­pel, you are not Elected; For he that be­lieveth and obeyeth, it is, that shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be damned.

O therefore be wise, and stumble not where God hath laid no stumbling stone, but fall in with the truth, believe and o­bey the Gospel, and you shall be saved; you are under all the precious promises of life, which are all yea and amen (certain and sure) in Christ Jesus, who is become the Author of Eternal Salvation to all those that obey him, Heb. 5. 19.

The sixt and last hindrance I shall men­tion,6. Hin­drance is, the loss of Hope. is, the cancelling, and striking out of hope out of the Believers Book, or turn­ing it into another thing than it is, ma­king new covenant hope to be nothing else but the expectation of the soul, ex­pecting and looking for that which Faith believes; whereas hope and expectation are two distinct Virtues; expectation is the daughter both of Faith and hope; Faith believes the truth, hope puts in for an interest, then comes expectation of the full enjoyment thereof.

This of Hope, is a step for the soul to stand upon, till it attain assurance; but when this is taken away, and the soul sup­poseth there is no degree short of assu­rance, and finding that something difficult, especially to step into it at one step, lieth groveling on the ground without hope; [Page 245] but this we are to know, that Hope is a blessed Gospel virtue, when rightly groun­ded; and that Christians may, and should exercise it in this very case; step up into Hope first, and there stand and wait till as­surance come, that will come in by degrees, in the souls constancy in the Faith and sin­cere walk with God, improving Divine Grace received, and acquaintance with the right way of attaining of assurance: it's true, that Hope as well as Faith admits of degrees; sometimes there is the full assu­rance of Hope, which is the next step to the full assurance of Faith; we are saved by Hope as well as by Faith, Rom. 8 24. And Hope is the anchor of the soul, to hold us firm and stedfast to the Lord, Heb. 6. 19. There­fore be sober, and hope to the end, and cast n [...]t away your confidence: if you never get above a well grounded hope of an interest in Grace and Glory, you are safe. See the pre­cious promises made to this Grace, or ra­ther to the persons in whom it is, Ps. 31, 24. & 33. 18, 19, & 147. 11.

Quest. How may I know that my Hope Quest. is right, and not the common un­grounded Hope of the World and Hypo­crites?

Answ. 1. When it is rightly grounded, Answ. not meerly fancy and imagination, taken up either from a common notion of Chri­stianity and hear-say of Heaven and Hap­piness, conclude an interest, and pretend an [Page 246] hope to be saved without any work of Grace at all in the heart, and thus deceive themselves with a vain hope, can give no reason thereof, but God is merciful, and Christ died for sinners, and they be Chri­stians, and hope to be saved, although al­together strangers (if not enemies) to the work of Grace.

Others hope ariseth from a meer rational conversion from some external acts of sin, to some external duties, and so (it may be) to another, though not a new life, altoge­ther without a new heart, and thence hope to be saved.

Now the well grounded hope of the Gospel, must be on the same that Faith of interest is, on the same grounds must souls get first into hope, that is, the word and promises of the New Covenant, and the work effected in the heart; where there is an harmony in word and work, there is a stable ground for hope; as there is no stable ground for hope from the Word without the work, so is there no ground for hope from the work without the Word; but when the soul can say, I have believed, repented, and obeyed the Gospel, and it is its desire and endeavour to persevere there­in to the end, there is a Gospel ground for hope of an interest in the precious promi­ses of the Gospel.

2. From the effects of this hope, to in­crease and strengthen it, when the soul is [Page 247] sincerely prosecuting the design of Holi­ness, and desireth, and endeavoureth to be more like Christ daily, and less like the World, it's an undoubted discovery that the hope is right; 1 Joh. 3. 3. Every man that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself as he is pure. And a wonderful discovery, I fear, it is of the vanity of the hopes of multi­tudes of professors, that think themselves gotten above the World, whose great de­sign is to be like the World; great and rich, like the World; proud and vain in their fashions, like the World; dead and lifeless to the power of Religion, like the World: but where is the man, where is the woman to be found, who designs confor­mity to Jesus Christ, and mourns in the sense of non-conformity that yet remains, and reioyceth that a time will come, that the vile body shall be changed, and fashioned like unto his glorious body? He that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself as he is pure.

CHAP. XVI. A further Discovery of the New Covenant, and Life of Faith.

OF this much hath been spoken in what hath been before minded; yet I shall speak a little more distinctly to it in this place.

1. The Gospel, or New Covenant, are1. Of the Gospel, or New Cove­nant. tearms equivalent, and intends one and the same thing in substance; the New Cove­nant is so called, because it is the Covenant of the renewed Estate, of the new Life, and deliverance out of that estate of sin and death into which we fell by the first transgression; this Covenant relating to new men and women in Christ Jesus, and the new World, the whole new estate pro­pounded and promised therein, made, 1. In and with Christ Jesus the head of this new and glorious design of God, in the reno­vation and restauration work: and, 2. In him, with all the members of his body, the Church, Tit. 1. 2. Tit. 1. 9. On whom this design of God shall undoubtedly be ac­complished▪ it being the glorious and un­doubted end and issue of the great under­taking of Christ our Lord in his suffering [Page 249] for sinners, Joh. 6. 38, 39. Eph 5. 25, 26, 27. Called a Covenant of Grace, because the regeneration and restauration work in all the parts thereof, is the effect of the free Grace of God in Christ Jesus, and a Covenant (or promise) of Life, because it is a deliverance from death, into a state of Life, never to die again: it's called the Gospel, which signifieth glad, or good ti­dings, Luke 2. 10. Rom. 10. 15. It imports all the good promised in the New Cove­nant, of Pardon, Peace, Life, of Justifica­tion, Sanctification and Glory, with the way by which it is effected, that is, by Je­sus Christ crucified, raised and ascended in the performance of his Mediatory Of­fice, 1 Cor. 15 1, 3, 4. It intends the glad tidings of remission of sins by Jesus Christ, and of Salvation; Luke 24. 47. with Mark 16. 15. It being one and the same commis­sion, it promiseth remission of sins, and Salvation, on its own tearms, i. e. on Faith, Repentance and new Obedience; it pro­m [...]seth acceptation in service, and gives rules relating thereunto, unto which all New Covenant spirited people ought to take heed, Acts 3. 22, 23. It promiseth as­sistance in service, Isa. 26. 12. 2 Cor. 5. 5. Phil. 2. 13. Eph. 1. 6. With eternal Life and Glory in the World to come, and preserva­tion thereunto, in the way of Faith Holi­ness, and sincere Obedience unto the end, 1 Pet. 1. 5. Heb. 5. 9. This is the New [Page 250] Covenant, the Gospel, the glad tidings of Gods free Grace and good will to men, ac­companied with the discovery of the dreadful state of all that do not believe and obey this Gospel.

There is Pardon and Peace, Grace and Life, a Kingdom and Glory, and that Eter­nal, given by covenant and promise to all that in truth believe and obey the Gospel, Heb. 5. 9, & 9. 5. Contained in that, Gen. 12. 3. In thee shall all thee Families of the Earth be blessed; which includes all the blessings of the New Covenant, relating to Grace and Glory: but of this I have written di­stinctly, and of the Mediatory Office of Christ, in this New Covenant, in a Book entituled, The Discourse of true Gospel Bles­sedness, or, The distinction of the two Covenants, Old and New; to which I refer the Reader that desireth to see further in this mat­ter.

And, 2. As for the Life of Faith in this2. Of the Life of Faith. Gospel, or New Covenant, and the truth of God therein; what the Faith of the Gos­pel is, to which the promise is made, hath been before shewed: but the Scripture speaks of living by Faith, Heb. 10. 38. Now the just shall live by Faith; 2 Cor. 5. 7. We live by Faith, and not by sight; that is in this side the glory promised, we live by Faith, and not by present possession and enioy­ment; only the Spirit and Faith we have, as the Earnest and Evidence of the Inheritance, [Page 251] and purchased Possession, 2 Cor. 1. 22. Hebr. 11. 1.

Now this Life of Faith imports threeThe life of Faith in three things things; 1. A constant abiding in the Faith and profession of the Gospel unto the end, Heb. 3. 12. & 10. 23, 38, 39. 2. A con­stant exercise of Faith in the truth and faithfulness of God in all the good disco­veries and promises of the Gospel, 1 Thes. 5. 24. Faithful is he that hath called you, who will do it. Heb. 10. 23. Let us hold fast the profession of our Faith without wavering, for faithful is he that hath promised. Faith right­ly exercised on the faithfulness and all­sufficiency of God, will fill the soul with Joy and Peace, Rom. 15. 13. To believe not only the truth of the mercy promised, but the faithfulness of God therein, and his all­sufficiency in the performance thereof: this was it supported Abraham in his life of Faith, Rom. 4. 31. He did not only believe the faithfulness of God, but being fully per­swaded, that what he had promised, he was able also to perform.

3. When the soul thus abides in the Faith, and thus exerciseth Faith on the good promises of the Gospel, as that it is strengthened, comforted, nursed up, and nourished thereby unto life eternal: when the soul is kept alive to God thereby in the greatest temptations and difficulties this World affords, this is to live by Faith, to live by believing the truth of the good [Page 252] Word of God to live by believing the truth of his precepts in the Gospel, so as to obey him therein, the truth of all his great and precious promises of life, so as to be com­forted therein, Matt. 17. 5. Rom. 15. 13. O that Christians would study more this life of Faith, the want of which, is the cause they go on so heavily in the waies of the Gospel, and meet with so many obstru­ctions and hindrances therein; whereas, if the life of Faith were kept up more in the true nature thereof, how might Christians make Christ's commands their songs, and suf­ferings for him their joy, in the house of their pilgrimage: but for want of this it is, that his service is too often a burden, and suffer­ings for his sake too much feared; where­as the Lord would have his people to serve him with delight, and to suffer for him with joy, Ps. 100. Luke 6. 22, 23. Acts 5. 41. Which is possible to be performed in this life of Faith, and no otherwise, Mark 9. 23. 1 Pet. 1. 8.

CHAP. XVII. Of Sanctification and Good Works.

THE next thing in order that I shall speak of, is, Sanctification and good Works; for whom he justiefith, them he sanctifieth, and maketh to be an holy people for himself.

Sanctification in Scripture-sense, is va­riouslyIt's vari­ously under­stood. understood and applied. 1. It im­ports a separation to an holy use for a time, as was frequently used under the Law, which was a legal or ceremonial Sanctifi­cation, or separation to an holy use for some time, as Aaron and his Sons were se­parated, consecrated and hallowed for the Priests Office, which was a typical sanctify­ing or hallowing, during that ministration, with their holy garments, as appears, Exod. 28. 1. & 29. 1. Holy garments, holy place, holy anointing oil, holy vessels, &c. which were all typical, and but for a time. But this is not the Sanctification that I am to speak of.

It's true, that in the Gospel there are some sanctified and holy instituted ordi­nances ordained, and left by our Lord for sanctified and holy ends, to promote and [Page 254] carry on the work of Sanctification in his people till they come to Glory: but the Sanctification that I shall speak of, is, the sanctification of justified persons, in order to Glory; for Without holiness, no man shall see the Lord, Heb. 12. 14.

Sanctification in general, sometimes in­cludes the whole work of Grace, a morti­fication of sin, and vivification of the Spi­rit, by which the whole life of Grace is carried on, and effected, 1 Thes. 5. 23. And the very God of Peace sanctifie you throughout; and I pray God that your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 Cor. 7. 1. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse our selves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

But, 2. And more particularly and di­stinctly,Sanctifica­tion of two parts; Im­puted, and Inherent, or Imparted. Sanctification consisteth of two parts, 1. Imputed, 2. Imparted, or Inhe­rent; 1. Imputed, there is an imputed San­ctification, as there is an imputed Justifi­cation: if any scruple the time of imputed Sanctification, it's no other in sense and substance, than the accounting the holiness of Christ our Head in his own person, to be the Believers: the Scripture speaks of an imputed righteousness to Believers, Rom. 4. 6, 7. Which must be their Faith, as, ver. 3. 22, 23, 24. Or the pardon of sin on the satisfaction of Christ by his death, which most properly is the righteousness [Page 255] of Saints unto Justification, Rom. 5. 9. And on this account there is as much said in Scripture for this imputed Sanctification as of Justification, 1 Cor. 1. 30. Who of God is made unto us, Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemption; He is made to be our Wisdom, and Sanctification, as our Righteousness, that is, the perfect pu­rity of Christ the Son of God, with his perfect and compleat obedience to the ho­ly Law of God, is reckoned and accounted the Believers, as their Sanctification, as he is not only wise for them, and communi­cates of his Wisdom to them, but as their Head, his Wisdom is accounted theirs, and he is made to be their Righteousness, that is, his death and satisfaction was accepted for us; and on that account does God re­mit and pardon the sins of Believers; and he is made our Sanctification, that is, his Sanctification is accounted ours; and this is fully included in, Col. 3. 11. Where Christ is said to be to Believers, All, and in all: all, in matter of Justification, and all in matter of Sanctification, and in all: effe­cting the work of Sanctification in his people, by his Spirit that dwelleth in them: and in this sense (as he is made the Sancti­fication of or to Believers, their Sanctifi­cation is perfect, as their Justification is perfect, as considered in the Sanctification, and perfect holiness and obedience of Christ: and hence it is the Apostle saith, [Page 256] 1 Joh. 4. 17. That as he is, so are we in this World; that is, by his imputed Righteous­ness and Holiness, accounted so of God, and he would have his people to know it for their comfort.

2. Of the Inherent or Imparted Sancti­fication; by it I intend the Sanctification wrought in us by the Spirit of Christ in and by the Word of the Gospel; for that is the way of the Spirits working, Sancti­fication; and from hence it is that Sancti­fication is sometimes attributed to the Spi­rit, 1 Pet. 1. 2. 2 Thes. 2. 13. And some­times to the Word, Joh. 15. 3. and 17. 17. Thereby to let us to know, that the Word effects it not without the Spirit, nor the Spirit without the Word.

And this Sanctification is likewise to beImparted Sanctifica­tion is of two parts. considered and understood under a two­fold consideration; 1. As within us; 2. As wrought and brought forth, and made ma­nifest; and that is it I join Sanctification and Works together; for all the Works of the Gospel are the external parts of Sancti­fication.

The first of these is, Holiness of Mind1. Holiness of mind. and Spirit: The second is, Holiness of Conversation, universal Obedience to the Law of Christ. See both these together, Ps. 45. 13. The Kings daughter is all glorious within, her cloathing is of wrought Gold.

But, 1. This Sanctification, as it is in the Saints, it is an holy disposition wrought [Page 257] in them by the Spirit, through the Word of the Gospel, which is called in Scripture sometimes, the law of God written in the heart, Heb. 8. 10. in which is both Faith, Love, and Holiness. Sometimes its called the new man, which is created after God in righteousness and true holiness, Eph. 4. 24. Re­newed in knowledg after the image of him that created him, Col. 3. 10. It is after God, i. e. after his image and likeness; after God, that is, an holy disposition and desire to be more like the Lord in holiness, 1 Joh. 3. 3. After a conformity to his will in every thing, both within and without; desires and endeavours daily the mortification of sin, and to increase in the newness of the spirit of holiness, such a soul is minding the things of the Spirit, Rom. 8. 5. And with the mind do serve the law of God, Rom. 7. 25. Would be more like Christ whiles here in this mortal state, 1 J [...]h. 3. 3. The mind and affections are set on things that are above, Col. 3. 1. And grows in the sense of the sinful nature, and body of death, which so much hinders their perfection in holiness, Rom. 7. 24. And is waiting for the Adoption, to wit, the Redemption of the body, Rom. 8. 23.

And where this inward holiness, and ho­ly disposition of heart is, there is not only an holy desire of conformity to the Lord, and of appearing more in the image of Christ, but such souls do sanctifie the Lord in their hearts, 1 Pet. 3. 15. That is, have [Page 258] holy and reverend thoughts of him, ac­cording to his name and nature, Psal. 111. 9. They sanctifie him in all his Ordinances, for their spiritual building up in the Faith, Ps. 119. 18. 129. In all his waies, and in all his works, Ps. 145. 17. Yea, in his afflicting, correcting dispensations, that are cross to the flesh, and unpleasing to nature, yet the sanctified heart doth sanctifie God therein, and give him the glory, and justifie him in what he doth in this matter, Joh 1. 21. Ps. 119. 65, 75.

2. This sanctification is to be considered2. Of Con­versation. as it is brought, or wrought forth and made manifest, so that although it's a truth, that all external holiness in appearance, not flowing from this inward principle of ho­liness and life, will end in obscurity: yet it is as certain, that where-ever this Prin­ciple and life of Grace is, it brings forth the fruit of holiness, Rom. 6. 22. And this in Scripture is called holiness of conversa­tion, 1 Pet. 1. 15, 16. And includes all the good duties and works of the Gospel.

This holiness in conversation, or goodThis is of two parts. 1. Such as concern re­ligious wor­ship. and holy works of Saints consisteth of two parts; 1. Such as relates to our walking with, and living to God in all religious service, and obedience in matters of wor­ship: these are works that God requires of his people, and must necessarily come un­der that of sanctification and holiness; for the institutions of our Lord and Law­giver [Page 259] are holy, they are a part of his holy Will, left recorded in the holy Scripture, and it is a part of our Sanctification, to sanctifie the Lord in our obedience to him therein, Luke 1. 6. It is said of Zacharias, and Elizabeth his Wife, that they were both righteous before God, walking in all the command­ments and ordinances of God blam [...]lesly, that is holily: and ver. 74, 75. That we being de­livered out of the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righte­ousness before him all the daies of our life, Rom. 12. 1 Pet. 2. 5, 9. All which Scriptures do present us, with the Saints holy service of God in matters of Worship. And this part of the Christians holiness must alwaies answer the Law and Will of the Law-giver; for God will have his Ordinances and Insti­tutions to be observed by his people, be­cause therein his Worship and his Honour is concerned.

There are four things too common a­mong men, that God and Christ will not pass over without rebuke in the end.

The first is, neglect; when persons out of sluggishness, and unzealous frames of Spirit, do neglect the service and worship of God, according to his own appoint­ments, making it a matter of indifferency, seeing (as they suppose) they may be saved without any such observances; and so do not undervalue the wisdom and will of God, (which is an high degree of iniquity [Page 260] and sin against him,) in omitting and neg­lecting their duty in his service and wor­ship. But let such know, that look how far short they come in their obedience to Jesus Christ in matters of worship, so far they come short in holiness; every breach made in this matter, makes a breach upon sanctification and holiness. It's true, all come short in this matter in some measure, in matter or manner, or both: but when persons do willingly fail in the matter of Worship, that is the great sin to be willing­ly ignorant, or willingly disobedient, will not, may not go unpunished.

The second is, when persons change the ordinances of Christ, and things of insti­tuted Worship, or mix their own inven­tions therewith; this will he not bear with, though he suffer it long, yet it must be ac­counted for in the end. When the Lord ordains, and commands one thing, and we resolve to do another, it's an high act of disobedience and transgression of his Law: the danger thereof see, Isa. 24. 4, 5, 6. Acts 3. 22, 23.

3. When persons undervalue the holy Ordinances of Christ, counting them small things, matter of circumstance, scarce wor­thy to be taken notice of, as if there were no matter of Religion, or religious obser­vance to be had of them; whereas in truth, Christ's Church on Earth is visibly distin­guished from the World, and false wor­shippers, [Page 261] only in the matters of Faith and Worship, and especially in keeping close to God in the formalities of his Worship, ac­cording to his own appointments: an un­holy spirit and principle it is, that doth undervalue the holy, instituted Ordinances and Worship of the Lord.

4. When persons set themselves in direct opposition to the will and worship of the Lord in his appointments; when they they think it not enough to turn away from the truth of worship, and cleave to their own inventions and imaginations, or to the inventions of others, but are inveterated and [...]mbitterated in their spirits against the holy Ordinances and Institutions of our Lord, and against his people, for worship­ping him therein, and so come under that blame, Hos. 8. 12. I have written to him of the great things of my Law, but they were counted as a strange thing. The constitution of Chur­ches, according to new-covenant rule, by the Doctrine of the Gospel, Faith, Repen­tance, and Baptism, so clearly stated in the Gospel, that he that runs may read, is be­come the contempt and scorn of too many who otherwise we willingly hope are god­ly. It's no wonder for profane men, to profane and blaspheme the holy Ordinan­ces of Christ, and his people for walking therein: but it behoves all that pretend true godliness, to take heed what they do in this matter, and to know, that look how [Page 262] far they miscarry herein, so far they mis­carry in the great matter of holiness; and, at the best, must expect to meet with blame and shame in the end, and suffer the loss of all their building, that is contrary to it, 1 Thes. 3. 13. 2 Pet. 3. 14. 1 Joh. 2. 28. 1 Cor. 3. 11, to 15.

The second sort of holy works are such2. Such as relate to men. as relate to our walking before, and to­wards men; and herein consisteth a great part of a Christians holiness: for God does not only require, and expect his people to walk holily towards him; but likewise, that they walk holily, justly, and inoffen­sively towards all men. The truth of this is confirmed by these and the like Scrip­tures, Mat. 5. 16. Phil. 2. 15, 16. 1 Pet. 2. 11, 12. By all which it appears, that it greatly concerns all Christians, (who are so indeed) to walk holily before men.

This holy walking before men, I shall mention or distinguish in five particulars.

1. Take heed and beware of sin; for al­though it is a truth, that all sin is against God, and on that account ought to be ab­hord of all sincere souls, in love and obe­dience to him; yet we should have respect to men in this matter likewise, because the glory of God, the honour of Religion, and the souls of Sinners are concerned herein; therefore the Lord's people should take heed of, and depart from every evil way, and every evil work. O take heed, [Page 263] and beware of Covetousness, Pride, Oppression, Profaneness, [...]ght behaviour, jestings, evil communication, and the like, which will occasion men to reproach, and harden them against the [...], to their own destruction. Thus men professing godliness, not only sin against God and wrong their own souls, bring dishonour to Religion, but the guilt of the damnation of poor sinners upon themselves, hardening them in their evil waies, by their bad example. O consider this all ye that pretend to be religious, and have not conscience to God in this matter: see Rom. 2. 23, 24. Phil. 3. 18, 19.

2. To walk justly and righteously to­wards men, in all civil and worldly con­cernments: Christians should be exceed­ing conscious and careful in this matter, that no unjust or unrighteous thing be done by them, but to keep to that righte­ous rule, As ye would that men should do to you, so do ye to them. If this rule were sincerely followed, it would prevent many miscar­riages on this account; and this is an un­doubted truth, that persons who can for worldly advantage do wrong, defraud, or oppress others, have very great cause to suspect their own sincerity in the great things of the Gospel; for he that is unfaith­ful in the least, is not faithful in the greatest. This of Iniustice and Oppression is that the Lord complains of, and dislikes in his peo­ple throughout all his ministrations both [Page 264] in Law and Gospel; and it is that which is directly contrary to the holy Law of God, and indeed to the law of Nature; therefore let not such persons who can gripe and grind, defraud and oppress, de­ceive themselves, in counting themselves of the number of the holy ones of God.

3. An holy walk before men is an inof­fensive walk; that is, to give no just occa­sion of offence by any means, in any thing, unless it come to pass, (as it too often doth) that ignorant and foolish men will be of­fended at holiness, and the worship of God: in such case we ought rather to displease men than God, and rather to please God than men, Acts 4. 19. & 5. 29. Gal. 1. 10. But in cases wherein we may without sin against God, and wrong to our own Con­sciences, we may, yea we ought to walk in­offensively, Rom. 12. 18. 1 Cor. 10. 32, 33. And wilful breach in this matter, is a trans­gression of the Law of Christ, and an un­holy thing: and I fear there is much of un­holiness in too many professing people in this matter.

4. An holy walk is a peaceable, holy walk with men; this is the law of the Gospel, As much as in you lieth, live peaceable with all men; and follow peace with all men, and holiness, &c. The Law of God is holy, and it's the great part of our holiness to live to it; and unpeaceable, froward persons cannot well be accounted an holy person: a [Page 265] wonderful mistake it is in persons, who un­der a pretence of holiness, make a breach of peace on unsound and ungrounded no­tions: when it may be, these very notions on which the breach is made, (when rightly examined) are unholy notions, without all footing in the law of Christ: and thus, through the slight of the subtil Adversary, is unholiness shrowded under the name of holiness; it behoves all serious souls en­snared with this evil, to consider it in time, and to repent.

5. An holy walk, and holy works, are works of Charity, and doing the will of Christ, in doing good to men; Gal. 6. 10. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially to them who are of the houshold of Faith. In this Christians should be like their Lord, of whom it is said, that he went about doing good, Acts 10. 38. And truly, as good works are a part of the Christians holiness, so are they the un­doubted concommitants of Faith; for the Faith that is without the works of the Gospel, is a dead Faith: and this is the charge given to those that are rich in this World, to be rich in good works, &c. 1 Tit. 6. 17, 18. And that those that have believed in God, to be careful to maintain good Works; these things are good and profitable to men, Tit. 3. 8. Not to God, he needs them not, Job. 22. 2. & 35. 7. But good works are profi­table to men, i. e. to those that are sincere­ly [Page 266] exercised therein. 1. They prove the truth and sincerity of their Faith and Love, for without it the Faith is naught, and the Love is of the same nature; it's none of the Faith and Love of the Gospel that is without the works of the Gospel, Jam. 2. 14, 18. 2 Cor. 8. 8. 1 Joh. 2. 3, 4, 5. & 3. 14, 17, 18. He that pretends to have the Faith and Love of the Gospel, without the works of the Gospel, deceives himself; Jam. 1. 22. Be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

2. It will make for their account in the day of account; for we must all expect to give an account in the great day of the Lord, 2 Cor. 5. 10. And the good works of the Saints shall be rewarded at that day, Matt. 25. 20, 21, 22, 23. & ver. 34, 35, 36. 1 Tit. 6. 17, 18. Rev. 22. 14. Only this, it behoves us to beware of Popish meritorious works, deserving any thing, either in Justi­fication, or Salvation, but it's all of Grace.

In this note three things; 1. That Be­lievers are put into a capacity of doing ac­ceptable works, only by Grace, renewed, justified, and accepted in person and ser­vice, only by Grace, through Faith in Christ Jesus.

2. That being put into this saved estate, and capacity of doing acceptable works in the Lord Jesus, it is expected that they live to God herein, and are faithful in that high and holy Calling: this is it unto which [Page 267] they were created in Christ Jesus, Eph. 2. 10. For we are his workmanship created in Christ Je­sus unto good works, which God hath before or­dained that we should walk in them: and this the Grace of Christ (where it is in truth) teacheth, Tit. 2. 11, 12. And they are in Scripture account, graceless persons, that are void of good works, Tit. 1. 16.

3. God will give rewards to his people according to their works; not that the works are the meritorious cause of reward, for so it cannot be, because all the works of the Saints, as done by them, are imperfect, and mixed with sin, and so in themselves can deserve nothing but condemnation: but, as accepted in the beloved, so are ac­counted as perfect, and shall have as full a reward as if they were perfect, so that the reward is still of Grace: It's Grace that God will crown the imperfect works of his people (done in sincerity of Faith and Love) with Glory: and sutable to the di­ligence and labour of love in the Lord's work, shall the reward be dispenced, Matt. 25. 20, 21, 22, 23. Luke 19. 16, to 19. 1 Cor. 15. 41, 42. Matt. 19. 27, 28, 29. And the suffering Saints, for the name and sake of Christ, are like to have the greatest share in the Glory to come, Luke 6. 22, 23. 2 Cor. 4. 17, 18. 1 Pet. 4. 13. A wonderful en­couragement should it be to the Saints, both in doing and suffering the will of the Lord, they shall suffer no loss at all by it, [Page 268] but great advantage for encouragement in the way and works of the Lord, both in doing and suffering his will, 1 Cor. 15. 58. Heb. 5. 10. Rom. 2. 7. 10. And they are pro­fitable to the souls and bodies of others, they are relieved and refreshed thereby, 2 Cor. 9. 12. Philem. ver. 7.

Thus have I endeavoured to give a brief touch to this great matter of Sanctification and good Works; with the great concern­ment of all godly persons to walk therein. The truth is, (I fear) that as the Papists, and Popishly affected, make too much of of them, in looking on them as merito­rious, and their Saviours; so the Prote­stants run far on the other hand, under the notion of being all for Faith, and so have been, and are too little for works. But I hope the Reader will lay this matter to heart, and not content himself with any Faith short of this holy working Faith. And O that every that nameth the name of Jesus in truth, would shew themselves Christians on this account, in an exemplary walking in the works of the Gospel. Stron­ger Christians should be examples to the weaker; and elder Christians should be examples to the younger; and especially should Ministers be examples and patterns to the Saints, they should shine forth not only in Doctrine, but in Life; they should be patterns in love, humility, meekness, patience, holiness, and every good work; [Page 269] examples in Word, in Spirit, in Conversation, and Doctrine; that so the Gospel be not blamed, nor God dishonoured, nor Men justly offended, 1 Thes. 2. 10. 1 Tit. 4. 12. And thus should both Minister and people prize and press after holiness, within, and without, because holiness becometh the house of God for ever, and thereby he is glorified; and such are manifested to be in the hope­ful way of Salvation; for [...]hout holiness no man shall see the Lord▪ though not as the meritorious cause, but as thereby prepared thereto, and as the way in which they must walk to Glory.

CHAP. XVIII. Of the true and saving Knowledg of GOD.

THE true and saving knowledg of GodAs for the knowledg of God, I refer the Reader to Chap. 1. where it is more di­stinctly treated of. is absolutely necessary to Salvation, and indeed is the first work wrought in the soul in order to conversion: there can be no Faith, nor Repentance, nor Love, nor Obedience, or holy walking without know­ledg; for without knowledg the heart cannot be right: therefore it is said, when God works effectually in turning souls to himself, Hos. 8. 2. Israel shall cry unto me, my God, I know thee: and 2. 20. I will betroth thee to my self in faithfulness, and thou shalt know the Lord. It's the new covenant promise, Jer. 31. 34. They shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, saith the Lord; and Joh. 17. 3. This is life eternal, to know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. In these Scriptures we must under­stand, is intended the true and saving know­ledg of God and Christ in the new cove­nant, and contains in it Faith, Repentance, Love, the fear of God, holy Obedience, and all the Divine Virtues of the Gospel in order to eternal Life, or else it is not that [Page 271] knowledg that is, or hath eternal Life; it's the knowledg of God in the Gospel that I intend; and much I shall not speak, as to the matter of illumination, in the know­ledg of God; for God in himself is a my­stery, we cannot know him, but as he hath made known himself in his Word, and by his Works; know him in his Name, in his Greatness, and his Goodness, &c. Jer. 9. 24. Let him that glorieth, glory in this, that he un­derstandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord, which exerciseth loving kindness, judgme [...] and righteousness in the earth &c. To know that he is the Lord gracious and merciful, &c. As he hath opened and made known himself in Jesus Christ crucified, in whom he was, and is well pleased, and satisfied; and [...] his sake, pardoning, justifying, and saving all that come unto God by him. In a word, He that cometh to God must believe, and know that God is, (as he hath made known him­self to be in the Gospel) and that he is a re­warder of them that diligently seek him. Know­ledg differs little from Faith, and some­times it's all one, when th [...] soul is so in­lightned into the knowledg of God, and Christ, and Truth, as to believe, Joh. 6. 69. We believe, and are sure, (Greek, know) that thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God; 1 Joh. 5. 20. And we know that the Son of God is come, &c. And Job, I know that my Redeemer liveth, &c. By all which it appears, that knowledg which is saving, differs but [Page 272] little from Faith, and includes Faith.

Now in as much as knowledg, or illu­minationDifference between saving knowledg, and that which is not. is common to all where the true light shines, i. e. to hypocrites and forma­lists, as well as sincere Christians, as Heb. 6. 4. 6. & 10. 32. 2. 2 Pet. 2. 20, 21. Rom. 2. 17, 18. 21, 22. 1 Cor. 8. 1, 2. I shall therefore rather apply my self to speak something to shew the difference between the saving knowledg of God and Christ in the new covenant of his Grace, and that which men may have, and yet be short of Grace and Life; referring the Reader to Chap. 1. for the distinct knowledg of God.

The first difference is, the saving know­ledg1. It is a soul-hum­bling know­ledg. of God and Christ, is a soul-humbling self-abasing knowledg: and that in the first work of Conversion, the very entrance of saving knowledg, gives the soul such a sight and apprehension of God, and of Christ, and of himself and sin, that it throws down, and lays low the soul, and makes him cry out as those. Acts 2. 37. Being pricked at the heart, with the light of truth: they understood and believed what they did not before, both concerning Christ and themselves: They cried out, men and brethren, what shall we do? How wonderfully was the case changed? they who but a little before, cried out, Crucifie him, Crucifie him, now are pricked at the heart for it, and cry another cry, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Sutable to this is that, Psalm 119. 130. [Page 273] The entrance of thy Word giveth light, it giveth understanding to the simple. The very entrance of the Word of Life into the heart, giveth this light; the soul comes thereby to know something of God, of his Holiness, of his Justice, and Goodness; and something of himself, of his own badness, unholiness, sinfulness, and need of mercy; and this amaseth and abaseth the soul; and if the work be right, this soul­abasing is not only in the sight and sense of some one particular sin, or particular sins, but it gives a sight of the body of death, that is, of the sinful nature, that there is nothing but sin, a sinful state, the thoughts and imaginations, the words and works; yea, that the best works (as done by us) are menstruous and filthy. A soul never right­ly knows himself, till he thus know him­self: and the want of this is the cause of so many abortives in Religion, that comes to nothing. Persons may meet with some convictions of, and conversion from some particular sin, or sins, but never see them­selves utterly lost, and undone, and filthy all over; and such conversions ordinarily first or last comes to nothing: not but that the beginning work oft-times may arise from conviction of some capital iniquity, as those, Acts 2. 37. But if saving, it leaves not till it discover the body of death: this is the effect of saving knowledg; or if it meet with, and steal in by degrees on [Page 274] those that have lived under good educa­tion, and use of means, that it makes not so great a noise at first. This must be ef­fected first or last, the knowledg of God in Christ Jesus, in the way of the Gospel, and of themselves, to know themselves to be indeed wretched, and miserable, without which they never rightly imbrace Christ, and the Grace and Mercy of the new Co­venant.

And this self-humbling, self-abasing, and self and sin-abhorring frame, is not only a work for a day, i. e. at first conviction, but where the true light shineth, it abideth; and gracious growing Christians, the lon­ger they live, and the higher they grow in Gospel light, the more they know them­selves and the more they abase themselves, have little and low thoughts of themselves. This is that which sincere Christians do and can experience; see witnesses from Scripture of this truth, David, a man after God's own heart, though a King, when he danced before the Ark, and withal his wife mocked him, he said, I will yet be more vile than this▪ and base in my own sight. By which we may see, that this is the common work of God in all gracious souls; Greatness nor Kingship did hinder: it laies low the souls of Great men and Kings, where it is in power; Job 40. 4. I am vile, what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth, &c. And Chap. 42. 5. 6. I have heard [Page 275] of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth thee, wherefore I abhor my self, and re­pent in dust and ashes. The more a soul knows of God and Christ, the more he abhors himself; not only an abhorrency of sin, but of self, because of sin, attends gracious knowing persons, Isa. 6. 5. That Evange­lical Prophet cries out, Wo is me, I am un­done, I am a man of unclean lips, &c. For mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts. He had seen King Jesus, it was a Gospel sight which did thus humble and abase him, Joh. 12. 41. These things said Isaiah when he saw his glory, and spake of him. It was the glory mentioned in this Chapter, the Evan­gelist alludes unto. John the Baptist, the fore-runner of our Lord, of whom he te­stifieth, that he was greater both in light and work, than the greatest Prophet, yet he had this frame of spirit in him, Joh. 1. When they sent to him to know who he was, he confessed, and denied not that he was not the Christ; He it is, who coming after me, is pre­ferred before me, whose shooes latchet I am not worthy to unloose, ver. 20. 27. Not worthy to do the meanest service for him. So the holy Apostle Paul acknowledgeth, Rom. 7. 18. I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing: and hence he cries out, ver. 24. O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? And confesseth himself, 1 Cor. 15. 9. To be the least of the Apostles, not meet to be called an [Page 276] Apostle; and Eph. 3. 8. The least of all Saints. By all which it appears, that true and saving new covenant knowledg, is a soul-hum­bling, and self-abasing knowledg.

But the common head-knowledg that hypocrites and formalists attain unto, is a soul-exalting, and self-boasting knowledg, it puffs up, and makes them proud, and self-conceited; they swell with their own good esteem of themselves, they think themselves best, and every one worse than themselves: he saith as the Pharisee, Lord, I thank thee, I am not like other men. Not but that it is the duty of gracious souls to be thankful for God's gracious work in them, as well as for his benefits bestowed on them. But to be proudly thankful, is proper to hypocrites, and ca [...]nal professors: the hypocrite Jehu like saith, Come see my zeal for the Lord, when it is all for himself. But this self-abasing, and soul-humbling knowledg, if far from the tabernacle of the hypocrite; self-boasting, and self-glory­ing, is the fruit of the flesh; and indeed, whatever such persons pretend to know, yet they are in truth ignorant; did per­sons know themselves as they are, (which they can never rightly do without the sa­ving work of Grace) they would see cause enough in themselves to abase themselves; but ignorance is the cause of pride, that is it the Apostle intends, 1 Cor. 8. 2. If any man thinketh that he knoweth any thing, he know­eth [Page 277] nothing as he ought to know: that is, he that thinketh of his knowledg, so as to be puffed up, grows proud, and self-con­ceited therewith; such a one knoweth no­thing as he ought to know: in which it's clear, that ignorance is the cause of pride, and puffings up; he that knoweth most, being puffed up, knoweth nothing as he ought to know.

But here I would mind a word further, lest any gracious soul, by this, should fall into temptation, we are to know, that sa­ving knowledg may be attended with the same temptation of pride and puffings up; not that it flows from knowledg, but part­ly from ignorance, and especially from fleshly corruption, there being the remain­ders of all sin in the nature of the Saints; and that is it the Apostle intends, 1 Cor. 8. 1. Knowledg puffeth up, but love edifieth. He speaks there of the knowledg of good men, as well as bad; for it differs not in the formality or kind thereof, as specula­tive, relating to the things known or un­derstood; it differs rather in the manner of the work, than in the matter, for the most part: for, saith the Apostle, We all have knowledg, knowledg puffeth up. Even such knowledg as the Apostle had▪ and as we all have: not (as I said before) that knowledg in it self puffeth up, if saving, and sancti­fied; but it's the base flesh, corruption of nature, that takes an advantage there-from [Page 278] to be puffed up: the Saints having the root of all sin in them, and so of pride, as of worldliness, and other like sins; and are liable to puffings up, as the Hypocrites. Experience teacheth this, and the Apostle had the same experience, as is manifest, 2 Cor. 12. 7. Lest I should be exalted above measure, through the abundance of revelations, &c. The holy Apostle was in danger of this self-boasting, through his abundance of revelations and knowledg: hence he saith, 1 Cor. 9. 27. I keep under my body, and bring it in subjection, lest by any means, when I have preached to others, I my self should be a cast away. Such is the baseness and corruption of nature, even in the Saints, as to be pri­ding it self, and puffed up in heavenly light and knowledg.

The difference then between the sincere soul and the hypocrite is, the sincere heart that lives in light, doth not only know God and Christ in some measure, but himself; and so espies these fleshly motions and workings to self-exaltations and puffings up, and so judges it, and abhors it as a de­testable thing; watches it, and wars against it, as against any other iniquity.

But the meerly notional head professor and hypocrite, he pleaseth himself in it, it is his life, his glory, self-glorying is his highest attainment; and so his life, all his receptions of light hath not brought him out of self, he seeks himself, and glorieth [Page 279] in his self-attainments, and lives therein with pleasure; he preacheth for himself, and prayeth, and discourseth, and profes­seth for himself; and so he lives in self, as his Element, as the fish lives in the water; all his light and knowledg worketh him not out of himself, if he attain but to a shew of humility; he is proud, and puffed up therewith, for such may attain to a shew of humility, and be va [...]nly puffed up in their fleshly mind, Col. 2. 18. 23.

2. Saving knowledg is an heart-affecting2. It is an heart affe­cting, and an heart­transform­ing know­ledg. knowledg, it is an heart-transforming knowledg: the saving knowledg of God and Christ in the Gospel, affects the heart where it is, with love to God, and love to his Word and Will, love to his Promises, and love to his Precepts, and an hatred to every false way, Ps. 119. 125. The Prophet prayeth, Give me understanding, that I may know thy Precepts, ver. 127. I love thy Com­mandments above Gold, above fine God; therefore I esteem all thy Precepts concerning all things to be right, and I hate every false way. This is true knowledg that affects the heart with love to, and delight in the Lord and hatred against all things that is contrary to him. Saving knowledg affects the heart with God, and exalts God and Christ above all, and hath low and contemptible thoughts of the World, and all things here below, looks upon it as it is, to be all but vanity, and vexation of spirit. So the Apostle, Phil. [Page 280] 3. 8. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledg of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, &c. And as it is an heart-affecting, and an heart­delighting knowledg, it affects the heart with God and Christ, and the things that concern his Name and Gospel; so is it an heart-transforming and changing know­ledg, it leaves not souls carnal and world­ly, and vain and sinful, as they were before; no, but it changes those in whom it is, it very much effects what God requires, Rom. 12. 2. Be not conformed to this World, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your minds, &c. And thus saving knowledg effects, 2 Cor. 3. 18. But we all with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of God, are changed, &c. The knowledg of God and Christ in the Gos­pel is of a changing nature, it works those in whom it is, into the image and likeness of Christ, which is God's design in the Gospel, 1 Cor. 15. 48, 49. It accomplisheth the work of Sanctification, and an holy conformity to the Lord Jesus.

Saving knowledg reacheth the heart, it's exercised about heart-work; it humbles the heart, it changes the heart, it glads the heart, it conforms the heart, and so the whole man to the will of Christ; all that the understanding receives, it immediately conveys to the heart: the understand­ing [Page 281] savingly inlightned by the Word and Spirit, conveys light and love to the heart. In this way the love of Christ is shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit; Rom. 5. 5. 2 Cor. 4. 6. For God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledg of the glory of God, in the face of Iesus Christ. God's new-cove­nant-light shines not only into the head, but likewise into the heart, making an heart-change, and working heart-love, and heart-obedience, and giving heart-conso­lations: it works heart-hatred of sin, and heart-performance of duty, Ps. 37. 31. The Law of God is in his heart, none of his steps shall slide; that is, it is in his heart to be­lieve God, to love God, and obey him as far as he knoweth, and is willing to know more, that he may do it: he prayeth with the Prophet, Ps. 119. 33. Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy Statutes, and I shall keep it unto the end. The truly knowing soul accounts nothing well done, in which the heart is not; believes with the heart, loves with the heart, obeys with the heart, hates sin with the heart, rejoyces in the Lord with the heart; in a word, what-ever such a soul doth, he doth it heartily, as to the Lord.

But head-knowledg, or the knowledg of the hypocrite and formalist never affects the heart, unless it be some sudden flashes of seeming joy, Mat. 13. 20, 21. But short it is, and short of truth, and reacheth not [Page 282] so far as to affect the heart indeed with God and Christ, his Word and Will, his Precepts and Promises; he goes no further (at best) than that Church, Rev. 3. 1. I know thy works, that thou hast a name, that thou livest, and art dead: Dead while alive, and such mens works are dead works, and dead ser­vices, with all their knowledg, they are not changed, but remain the same, world­ly still, and carnal, and proud still, and vain, and like the World still, no true non­conformists to the World; it's to be feared that there is too much of this sort of know­ledg among Professors, that will at last leave them where it found them, i. e. in the gall of bitterness, and bond of iniquity.

The knowledg of the hypocrite dwells most in the head, it is swimming-brain­knowledg, and runs into the tongue, and it may be into some form of profession, but sinks not into the heart, it makes no change there, works not the heart after God; come to Christ's Ordinances they may, and make profession of his Name, but their hearts are after their covetousness; the world hath their hearts be-sure, where-ever their persons are; so that word is fulfilled in them, [...]rov. 10. 20. The tongue of the just is as choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is little worth.

But saving knowledg reaches the heart, affects and transforms the heart, and con­forms the whole man into the image of our Lord Jesus.

3. Saving knowledg is a trusting, relying3. It is a trusting, re­lying know­ledg. knowledg; the soul that rightly knows God, will trust in him, trust in his Faith­fulness, in his Word, trust in his all-suffici­ency to perform it; trust in him for body and soul, and that in the greatest difficul­ties, and under the greatest temptations, Ps. 9. 9, 10. The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in time of trouble; and they that know thy Name will put their trust in thee: that is, they that know him to be (according to his Word) merciful and gra­cious, all-sufficient and faithful, will put their trust in him, and rely upon him. It effects in them that exhortation, Isa. 26. 4. Trust in the Lord for ever, for in the Lord Je­hovah is everlasting strength. This knowledg of the Name of God it was, that made the three children, Dan. 3. 17. Not to be care­ful, or fearful of the Fiery Furnace, Our God, whom we serve, is able to deliver us out of thine hand, O King: they knew Gods all­sufficiency, and there they trust, and leave the issue to him, ver. 18.

But head-knowledg, or the knowledg of the hypocrite, whatever it talks yet, it never works a soul truly to trust in God at all times, nor truly at any time; there may be a supposition of trusting sometimes, but when the difficulty comes, the soul starts aside from God to some secondary and un­lawful way of deliverance, like those com­plained of, Hos. 5. 13. But the soul that [Page 284] truly knows the Lord, does trust in him at all times, especially in times of need and danger, Ps. 56. 3. What time I am afraid I will trust in thee; that is the time especially to trust in God, in time of need: this was it kept up the heart of the Apostle in all his temptations, 2 Tit. 1. 12. Nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have be­lieved (or trusted) and am perswaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him against that day.

I know his goodness, faithfulness, and all-sufficiency, and that makes me trust him with body and soul, I commit all to him, and to his keeping unto that day: thus knowing souls are trusting souls, Psal. 52. 8. I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever. They trust in his Word, in his Mer­cy, in his Faithfulness, in his all-sufficien­cy, that he will never fail them. See the precious promises to such knowing, tru­sting souls, Jer. 17. 7, 8. Ps. 34. 22. & 37. 40. & 125. 1. O therefore trust in the Lord for ever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.

4. Saving knowledg is a doing, working4. It is a doing know­ledg. knowledg: they who rightly know, are ready to do what they know, Joh. 13. 17. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them; see Heb. 12. 17. Saving knowledg is no sluggard, it is no idler, but its design to know, is, that it may do the will of God; that is the design of the soul in all his seek­ings, [Page 285] to know that he may do the will of God, Ps. 119. 33, 34. Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy Statutes, and I shall keep it unto the end; Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy Law, yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.

Heart-knowledg designs heart-obedience to the Lord, ver. 10. With my whole heart have I sought thee, O let me not wander from thy Com­mandments: and the Word, the Scripture of Truth, is the rule of the gracious souls obedience, he knows, and believes, that the Scriptures, by the teachings of the Spirit therein, is able to make him wise unto Salvation, 2 Tit. 3. 15. See Psal. 119. 97, to 100. And he is universal in his obedience, have re­spect to all the Commandments, Ps. 119. 6. Then shall I not be ashamed when I have respect to all thy Commandments, and that alwaies, even to the end, ver. 112. And that readily and chearfully, swiftly, and with alacrity, ver. 32. I will run the way of thy Commandments when thou shalt enlarge mine heart, ver. 54. Thy Statutes hath been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage. Works of Piety, and works of Charity, all works that God requireth; Grace teacheth to a ready and right per­formance thereof, Ps. 100. 2. 2 Cor. 8. 5, 6, 7. Tit. 2. 11, 12.

But head-knowledg only, is more for word than deed, talks much, but doth but little; and if there be any deeds, it is for low, base, and by-ends, for self, and not [Page 286] for God, to some commands, and not to all; at some times, in a good fit, or when applause or advantage concur, with a cold and dead heart, not with delight and joy, not serving the Lord, but themselves: hence the Lord complains, Zec. 7. 5. 6. That his people did fast for themselves, and eat and drink for themselves; whereas gracious souls, who live in light, should do all for God, eat and drink for him, that they may live to him, perform every duty for him, that he may be glorified, 1 Cor. 10. 31. Whether ye eat or drink, or whatsoever you do▪ do all to the Glory of God; see 2 Thes. 1. 11, 12 Gal. 2. 19. And this the hypocrite and formalist do never attain unto, but doth all for self.

5. Saving knowledg is a growing & incre­sing5. It is a growing, increasing knowledg. knowledg, it increseth where it is, 2 Pet. 3. 18. But grow in Grace, and in the knowledg of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; it groweth, and increaseth, and where this growth is, there is an increase and growth in every virtue, in the whole new man, which is cre­ated after God. Which new creation con­sisteth first and especially in knowledg, Col. 3. 10. And have put on the new man, which is created in knowledg, after the image of him that created him. Knowledg is the first and principal work, and in it, and with it, righ­teousness and true holiness, Eph. 4. 24. With­out it there is nothing but ignorance of the life of God, ver. 18. This is the saving work of the Lord, to cause the true light to shine [Page 287] into the hearts of his people, 2 Cor. 4. 6. And this increaseth and groweth up by degrees, with the increase of Faith, Love, Holiness, and every divine virtue, Col. 2. 19. It in­creaseth with the increase of God, and groweth up into him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ, Eph. 4. 15. This of spiritual growth, is the design and end of God in the mini­stry and means he hath afforded his Church; see Eph. 4. 11, to 15. And this is, or should be the design of all faithful Ministers; the spiritual growth of themselves, and the Church, in the knowledg of, and confor­mity to the Lord, 2 Cor. 4. 10, 11, 12. Where the Apostle discovers, that the end of all Gods dispensations was, that they might be more like Christ, that the life of Christ might be manifest in their mortal flesh; and con­cludes the same of the Church, though they were not under the like afflictions, yet they expected the same work to be effected in them, by their liberty, and the use of the means that God had given them, exprest in these words, So then death (that is afflicti­ons) worketh in us, but life in you; that is, we expect and hope that a conformity will be wrought in you by your liberty, and peace­able injoyment of the Ordinances of God, and opportunities of Grace, and of growth; and so if that work go forwards, be it by death, or life, affliction, or liberty, we have our desire: this was his frequent Prayer for the Church, their growth and increase [Page 288] in this Grace, Eph. 1. 16, 17, 18, 19. Phil. 1. 9, 10, 11. Col. 1. 9, 10, 11. And this is (o [...] should be) the desire and endeavour of every gracious soul, according to the mea­sure of their capacities in the use of the means God hath appointed, to grow and increase thereby, in light, in love, in ho­liness, and an holy conformity to the will of Christ, 1 Pet. 2. 2. As new born babes, de­sire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby; and in so doing that Word is made good, Prov. 4. 18. The path of the Just is as a shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

But on the contrary, head-knowledg only, or the knowledg of hypocrites and formalists, either decaies, groweth down­wards, less and less, worse and worse, till it come to nothing, or grows in the head only, no increase in the parts of holiness; it's like the disease called the Rickets, the head grows, but the body decaies, grows weaker and worse, till at last, without cure, head and body goes to the dust. So it is with head-Christians, grow in the head, in notion, but decay in the body of Christi­anity, or stand at a stay without any spiri­tual growth; though there is no standing or stopping in Christianity, who so grow­eth not better, must (though insensibly) grow worse. I do not question but that gracious souls do meet with their winter-times, times of temptation, and to ap­appearance [Page 289] sometimes grow worse rather than better; but it proves to their advan­tage in the end: the best of Saints have had, and have their ebbings and flowings, their winter and summer; but it's a sign of life where is the sense thereof: this is common in the Scripture, and in the experience of the Saints: but the notionist and head-professor is insensible of his deadness and decaies. This I speak, that serious souls may not sink in the sense of their shortness and wants, that the Eunuch that is joyned to the Lord, may not say I am a dry tree, Isa. 56. 3.

But the head-professor grows big in the head, but little in the heart, like Ephraim the Lord complains of, Hos. 7. 11. Ephraim is like a silly dove without an heart: no heart for God, his Name and Truth; great in his own eyes, commends himself; But not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth. It may be he grows great with error, fancies and imaginations, finds out some better Religion (they think) than the Lord hath ordained; like those the Lord complained of, Jer. 2. 32, 33. Why trimmest thou thy way to seek love; and in their inventions think themselves to be innocent as they; ver. 35. Yet thou sayest, because I am innocent: and yet, ver. 36. G [...]d about to change their way: and Chap. 6. 16. When the Lord calls to them to return to the good old way; (of Faith, Love, Obedi­ence,) and to walk therein, they will not. [Page 290] Thus saith the Lord, stand ye in the waies, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest to your souls: but they said, We will not walk therein. Thus evil men, and seducers, wax worse and worse, de­ceiving, and being deceived, 2 Tit. 3. 13.

6. Saving knowledg is a defusive know­ledg,6. It is a defusive knowledg. it's willing to impart to others what it knows of God; as it receives freely, so it does as freely impart to others: so the Prophet, Ps. 40. 10. I have not hid thy righte­ousness within my heart; I have declared thy Faithfulness, and thy Salvation; I have not con­cealed thy loving kindness and thy truth from the great Congregation. Prov. 15. 7. The lips of the wise despise knowledg, but the heart of the foolish doth not so: and Chap. 10. 21. The lips of the Righteous feed many, but fools die for want of wisdom: and 20. 15. The lips of knowledg are a pretious Jewel; the lips of the Righteous de­spiseth knowledg, both to Saints and Sinners. The reason is, because they have received from the Lord of his teachings; their hearts are filled with his divine knowledg; and it may be so sometimes, that there needs skill in the learner to draw it forth, some having learned that lesson to be slow to speak, and slow to wrath, and swift to hear: and that, Prov. 14. 33. Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding, but that which is in the midst of fools is made known: so that the knowledg of the Prudent is disper­sed wisely, and must have its occasion and [Page 291] opportunity; and sometimes some to draw it out, Prov. 20. 5. Counsel in the heart of man is like deep waters, but a man of understanding will draw it out. Sometimes there needs a wise tongue, as a bucket to draw out of those living waters that are in the hearts of the Saints, Joh. 7. 38, 39. But this is a truth, that those that know God, or rather are known of him, cannot but be speaking of those things they have seen and heard, Acts 4. 20. According to the measure of their recep­tions, Rom. 12. 3. Occasions and opportu­nities.

Quest. What difference may we under­stand Quest. there is between Knowledg and Wis­dom? The Scripture seems to make a di­stinction, 1 Cor. 12. 8.

Answ. Sometimes knowledge includes wisdom, and sometimes wisdom includes knowledg, Isa. 50. 4. Jam. 3. 13. But when it is mentioned distinct, as distinct gifts, as, 1 Cor. 12. 8. Knowledg is a gift of under­standing some truths more than others: and that it may be some secret and hidden my­steries, by virtue of special gift, as Chap. 13. 2. Though I understand all mysteries, and all knowledg, &c. Wisdom is a gift to apply this knowledg to the benefit of the Church; one may have a gift of Knowledg, that may tend to inform the understand­ing; another the gift of Wisdom and Pru­dence, to apply it to the profit of the Church sutable to its worth. And this di­stinction [Page 292] will usefully hold in many cases; some know much, and want wisdom to make so good use of their knowledg as might be desired: some have Wisdom and Prudence to use more Knowledg than they have; but indeed the ready way to attain more, is to use well what we have: Hos. 14. 9. Who is wise, and he shall understand these things; and prudent, and he shall know them, &c. That is, who so is wise and prudent, to make a right use of what he knows, he shall understand; that is, he shall understand more of the will of the Lord: he whose knowledg is truly practicable, stands in the road-way of higher and larger instructions and teachings; Joh. 7. 17. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the Doctrin, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of my self. O therefore, let all be exhorted to be seeking after this saving knowledg of God and Christ in the Gospel, and content not your selves without this humbling, heart-affect­ing, sanctifying, transforming, trusting, do­ing, growing, and increasing knowledg of God; it's that, without which the heart cannot be right; nor can your souls enjoy the Grace and Peace of the Gospel, 2 Pet. 1. 2. Col. 2. 2, 3.

CHAP. XIX. Of the Divine Virtue and Grace of Love to God, &c.

THE choice Virtue of Grace of Love, which alwaies accompanieth true Knowledg and Faith, is as the oile to the wheels, that makes the soul as the Chariots of Aminadab, to run swiftly, and perform every duty relating both to God and man chearfully and willingly; the Lord loves willing and hearty service, and that can ne­ver be, unless it flows from the truth of love to God, as well as conscience and duty to him.

This duty and virtue of love, must be, 1. and chiefly to God and Christ above all. 2. To his people for his sake. 3. To all men, to enemies as well as to friends.

1. To God and Christ, as our chiefest1. To God and Christ. good, as there are many excellent and use­ful new-covenant Gifts and Virtues, being accompanied with love; yet love is the most excellent of all Gifts, and of all Vir­tues next to Faith; and the Apostle pre­fers it beyond Faith, that is, that Faith which is without love: there may be (and I fear is) much Faith without love, which [Page 294] will fail in the end: but Gospel-love can­not be without Faith; for where truth of love is to God and Christ, there is Faith: for no man can love him on whom he doth not believe; but men may have Faith with­out Love, therefore he prefers Love above Faith, 1 Cor. 13. 2. And though I have all Faith, &c. and have not Charity, (that is love) I am nothing: the word all Faith, not only intends the Faith of miracle, for that is but one sort of Faith, but all Faith in the ha­bit of it, though not in the power and life; for if there were not Faith in the Doctrine, ordinarily there could not be the Faith of miracle, as, Mat. 7. 21, 22. Though saving Faith is alwaies accompanied with the truth of Love, and a measure of all the Di­vine Virtues of the Gospel, ver. 13. Now abideth Faith, Hope, Charity; but the greatest of these is Charity. So Col. 3. 14. The Apo­stle having mentioned several choice duties and Virtues, saith, And above all these things put on Charity, which is the bond of Perfection; or the perfect bond, by all which it appears, that Love, Charity, is a most choice and singular Virtue, and desirable for Christians to be prising and pressing after.

What Love is in general; Love is an af­fectionA descripti­on of Love. of the soul fixed upon, cleaving to, and delighting in something wherein it ap­prehends some special worth and good; thus it is in natural Love, and thus it is in spiritual Love; for there is a natural, and [Page 295] there is a spiritual Love: the second it is I am speaking of; and the difference is ra­ther to be discerned in the object than in the root or principle, that being a Divine secret, the rise whence Divine Virtues flow from the secret and hidden work of the Spirit of Grace; yet the Spirit propounds to us the distinction rather by the object than the principle from whence it flows: it lets us to know, that if our love fix sin­cerely on the right objects, then it flows from the right principle: so then, as natu­ral love fixes on natural and worldly ob­jects, from natural causes; so that is spiri­tual love that fixes on spiritual objects; na­tural love never looks so high as God, and Christ, and Glory, to fix there.

So then this is spiritual love that fixeth upon, cleaveth to, and delighteth in God, and Christ, in Grace, and Glory, as its chiefest and most special good: and this is certain, that we can never love God as we ought, and as doth concern us, unless we apprehend him to be our chiefest and most especial good. Matt. 22. 37. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy soul, and with all thy heart, and with all thy mind; which we can never do, unless we prize him above all other good in the World; and so of Christ: Matt. 10. 37, 38, 39. He that loveth Father or Mother, Son or Daughter, or Life more than me, he is not worthy of me. Which no soul can attain to, but by being instructed into the [Page 296] transcending worth of Jesus Christ: this could the Prophet say, Psal. 73. 25. Whom have I in Heaven but thee; and there is none upon Earth that I desire besides thee: and the Spouses song, 5. 10. My Beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand: and Paul, Phil. 3. 8. Yea doubtless, I do account all things but loss for the excellency of the know­ledg of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung that I might win Christ, &c. And this is that which every soul that loves the Lord Jesus in truth and sincerity can say: so that if you love God and Christ above all, you do then esteem him as your chiefest good, as your alone portion; you do undervalue every thing here below; you can look up­on every thing here below to be but vanity, yea, vanity of vanities: Eccl. 1. 2. Vanity of vanities, (saith the Preacher) Vanity of vani­ties, all is vanity: this doubling and trebling of its vanity, argues it to be exceeding vain, little, and contemptible to the soul that loves Christ, in comparison of him; souls that have seen into, and tasted of the goodness of the Lord, and the excellency of Divine things, can say with the Prophet, Lam. 3. 24. The Lord is my portion saith my soul, therefore will I hope in him.

Quest. How shall I know that I love God Quest. and Christ above all, as my chiefest good, as my portion, and lot of mine inheritance?

Answ. 1. If you love God above all, as Answ. [Page 297] your chiefest good, which you do, if your1. Your me­ditations will be much upon him. love be right; your meditation will be much upon him, and about him; that as in the first place you have left all for him, so your thoughts are precious of him: if God and Christ, Grace and Glory be of highest esteem in your hearts, then you love God above all; for what a man loves most, and best, his mind is most upon, be it persons, or profits, &c. a man may know what he loves most, and best, by the run­ning out of his mind after it, and exercise of his mind about it. The worldling hath his mind taken up with the world, runs af­ter his profit, and seeks after his gain from every quarter; and when it goes well on that account, all is well; he troubles him­self as little as may be about things of Di­vine concernment; but the gracious soul presseth hard after God, Ps. 63. 8. My soul (saith the Prophet) presseth hard after thee. As the worldling presseth hard after the world, be­cause it is his portion, his all, his chiefest good: so does the soul that loves God as his portion, follow hard after him, that it may know him more, and enjoy him more; his meditations are daily of him; he e­steems his loving kindness better than life, and therefore his soul is set upon him: Ps. 104. My meditation of him shall be sweet, I will be glad in the Lord; so that in a word, where your minds are most set, and most exer­cised, and what you most prise, there you [Page 298] love most, and best; For where your treasure is, there will be your hearts also, Mat. 6. 21. O how few that profess Christianity, can ap­prove their hearts to God in this matter.

2. If you love God above all, as your2. You will love his things. chiefest good, you will love his things, whatever hath his stamp upon it; I mean on the spiritual account, you love it, and prize it for his sake.

1. You love his Word, and Will, his1. His Word. Promises, his Precepts, all will be precious to you: it is not possible for souls to love God, and not to love his Word, his Will; Ps. 119. 97. O how I love thy Law, it is my me­ditation all the day; ver. 103. How sweet are thy words unto my taste, yea sweeter than honey to my mouth. This is a special property of a soul that loves the Lord, to love his Word, and to delight therein, to suck sweetness there-from: ver. 72. The law of thy mouth is better to me than thousands of Gold and Silver. Well, by this you may know, if you love the Lord, you do love his Word, his Will, his Precepts, his Promises, it's all precious to you, and your meditation is much there­in; ver. 97. and Ps. 1. 2. Where you have a description of a Godly man, to be one that doth meditate in the Law of God day and night: that is, his meditations are much exercised about the good Word of God.

2. If you love God indeed, you will2. To do [...]is Will. love to do his Word, and Will; you will love to obey him, to submit to him in every [Page 299] things. It's a great mistake in persons who pretend to love the Word of God, but do not love to do it; such persons deceive themselves; Joh. 14. 15. saith Christ, If ye love me, keep my Commandments. This was the voice of the Law, and this is the voice of the Gospel; Exod. 20. 6. Shewing mercy un­to thousands of them that love me, and keep my Commandments. God never did, nor ne­ver will accept any service but that which is done in love to him; and he ever did, and will, accept of those who love, serve, and obey him according to his Word and Will: and if you serve him in love, his Commandments will be pleasant to you. 1 Joh. 5. 3. This is the love of God, that we keep his Commandments, and his Commandments are not grievous. Then we love God, when we keep his Commandments, and they are pleasant to us, and not grievous: and if in this spirit of love, you live to, and obey the Lord, he will meet with you, and your souls shall meet with him, and have fellow­ship with him: Isa. 64. 5. Joh. 14. 21, 23. Read those Scriptures at your leasure.

3. If you love Christ, you do love what3. Love what he loves, and hate what he hates. he loves, and hate what he hates; you love Holiness, Righteousness, and Obedience, and hate sin, and iniquity, and disobedi­ence, and every false way, though you be hated of the wicked for so doing. Psal. 97. 10. Ye that love the Lord, hate evil; he pre­serveth the souls of his Saints, he delivereth them [Page 300] out of the hands of the wicked; i. e. Though the wicked hate and persecute the Saints for their hating and forsaking the waies of the wicked; yet let those that love the Lord, have evil still; for God will deliver them out of the hands of the wicked, that do hate them for their hating of wicked­ness. O therefore, ye that love the Lord, hate evil, and love goodness; Amos 5. 15. Hate the evil, and love the good, &c. This is that which God loves; Psal. 11. 7. And Christ loves; Psal. 40. 7. Heb. 1. 9. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated wickedness; wherefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oile of gladness above thy fellows. Do you love God and Christ above all, then shew it in this way; Abhor that which is evil, and cleave to that which is good: it is to be feared, that most that bear the name of Christian in the World, do in truth hate that which God loves, and love that which he hates; an infallible discovery that the love of God is not in them.

4. Those who love the Lord, do love4. They love his appear­ing. his appearing, and long to be with him; surely those who talk of love to Christ, but care not to be with him, desire not his coming, that they might more fully enjoy him; do but talk of love, it is love but in word and tongue, not in deed and truth: if the Bride pretend love to the Bridegroom, but desire not the Marriage-day, could be content if that never come, it argues but [Page 301] little or no love, sutable to such a relation. If the Wife pretend love to her Husband, and when he is gone from home, care not where ever he do return, it's but little sign of love: so, for souls to talk of love to Christ, but desire not the enjoyment of him in the nearest relation, do but deceive themselves; they have ground to fear their love is not right; they will be content to go to him, and to enjoy him, when there is no remedy, when they must go to him, or to a worse place, and to worse company: I fear this is the case of most who think and say they love Christ; the truth of this, that they who love Christ, do love his ap­pearing, that they may be with him. See 2 Tit. 4. 7, 8. Tit. 1. 13. Heb. 9. 28. Rev. 22. 20. Whence it's apparent, that it's those that love his appearing, that shall have the Crown of Righteousness. It is to them that look for him, that he will appear a second time without sin unto salvation.

5. Those who love God, do love his5. They love his people. people also for his sake, (which was the se­cond thing proposed;) because the worth of Grace is in them, Divine Virtue is in them, the Name of God is upon them, they are the children of the same Father, members of the same Body, heirs to the same Kingdom and Glory; and therefore they love them; this is the command of God; 1 Joh. 4. 21. And this is the Command­ment we have from him, that he that loveth God, [Page 302] do love his Brother also: And the disposition of the Saints, Chap. 5. 1. Every one that lo­veth him that begat, loveth him also that is be­gotten of him.

Quest. But how shall I know that I love Quest. the people of God in truth?

Answ. It is then true love, when it is sin­cere, Answ. It is true when sin­cere. and unfeigned love, not hypocritical, and in shew only: 1 Joh. 3. 8. Let us not love in word, and in tongue (only) but in deed and in truth: there is much word and tongue­love, but little deed-love; much feigned love, but little unfeigned love: 1 Pet. 1. 22. Seeing you have purified your hearts in obey­ing the truth through the spirit, unto unfeigned love of the Brethren, &c. Our love to the Bre­thren must be of the same nature as it is to God; because, if we love rightly, it must be for his sake. And surely we cannot ra­tionally imagine that God will accept of hypocritical love, word-love, tongue-love, love in shew, feigned love, no, God abhors it, and so should men. Rom. 12. 9. Let love be without dissimulation: it is sincere love to the Brethren that is right and true: 2 Cor. 8. 8. I speak not (saith the Apostle) by Com­mandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.

2. It is then true, when it is spiritual2. When it is spiritual. love, when it is for God's sake, and for Christ's sake, because they belong to him: This is true and sincere love, when we love for his sake: Mark 9. 41. For whosoever shall [Page 303] give you a cup of water to drink, because ye be­long to Christ; verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. The Lord takes well any the least token of love shewed to any, be­cause they belong to him, because it is a to­ken of their love to him, in any who shew kindness for his sake; Mat. 10. 42. As the greatest shew of love, if it be not for his sake, is not accounted of with him; so the least act of love for his sake shall be rewar­ded, because that where little acts of love are for his sake, greater acts will be, if op­portunity and ability concur.

3. It is then right and true, when it ma­nifests3. It is a doing-love. it self in action, when it is as ready to do as to speak; yet it is but word and tongue-love. I say, true love to the Bre­thren is a doing love, for soul, for body, for both, as occasion and need requireth, according to ability: 1 Joh. 3. 17. But who­so hath this Worlds good, and seeth his Brother hath need, and shutteth up the bowels of compas­sion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? Those that are streight-hearted, and streight-handed towards the people of God in their necessities, have ground to suspect themselves, that they love neither God nor his people. And sutable to the abilities that God gives in the World, does he expect that men do in this matter: where he gives much, he expects much; 1 Tit. 6. 17, 18, 19. And that it be done willingly, and not grudgingly, for that is not thank­worthy, [Page 304] nor is it any true discovery of love; The Lord loveth a chearful giver, 2 Cor. 9. 7. & 8. 12. Rom. 12. 8. I fear few doth manifest truth of love in this matter; who though they give, do it slackly, and grudgingly, thinking every little too much, and would gladly be without the occasions and opportunities of doing what they do: see Isa. 32. 5-8. And read it at leasure, and meditate well upon it, and the Lord give you right understanding therein.

4. It is then true when it will cover of­fences,4. When it will cover offences. and is ready to forgive: Prov. 10. 2. Love covereth all sins; 1 Pet. 4. 8. Love covereth the multitude of sins. 1. There are many sins that love may, and should cover, without reproof. As personal infirmities that attend Saints in this mortal, sinful state, wherein Christians cannot speak, nor act, but a quick eye may discern something amiss, which must be covered, else the life of Christians would be uncomfortable with each other, and their time must be spent in reproving each other. Jam. 3. 2. In many things we offend all: Ps. 19. 12. Who can understand his errors, &c. Christians may see so much of imper­fection in each other, that needs love to cover, rather than to multiply reproofs for common failings: who so knows them­selves, can do it, and yet true love reproves sin; that is, such things as are sinful and dishonourable, and cannot stand with the safety of the soul, that comes not under [Page 305] the common infirmities of nature, unavoi­dably attending gracious souls.

2. Love covereth sin from others; where2. It covereth sin from others. is cause of reproof, and gives a private re­proof; according to, Mat. 18. 15. If thy Brother trespass against thee, tell him his fault between him and thee alone, &c. Love is no whisperer, nor back-biter; those who are so ready to publish the failings of their brethren, that others shall know it before them, that wait advantages to publish the failings of their brethren, without obser­ving the right rule, they are, in so doing, ra­ther backbiters than lovers of their brethren

3. Upon repentance, it covereth all sin, it3. On re­pentance, it covereth all sin. forgiveth all sin; Lu. 17. 3. If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; if he repent, forgive him: see ver. 4. Love is no implacable person, but easie to be reconciled; it is like God, and Christ, ready to forgive, Col. 3. 12, 13. When persons are so much bound up in their spirits, that they with so much diffi­culty forgive their brethren on their repen­tance, it's a sign they live not in the sense of the need they have of forgiveness from God themselves; and may justly doubt whether they are made partakers of the forgiveness of the Gospel, Mat. 6. 12. 14, 15. The sense of Gospel-forgiveness, works those rightly apprehending it, into like pittiful, merciful, and forgiving frame, Col. 3. 12, 13.

4. True love to brethren is not easily4. It is not easily pro­voked. provoked, but suffereth long; 1 Cor. 13. [Page 306] 4, 5. It starteth not aside for small occa­sions; it is not drops of water that can quench true love; Cant. 8. 7. Many waters cannot quench love, nor floods drown it. That love that is easily provoked, that will not bear nor suffer any thing, that is easily quenched; is not love of the right stamp.

5. True love to the brethren is full of5. It's full of hope. Hope, and full of Faith; 1 Cor. 13. 7. It ho­peth all things, it believeth all things; that is, all things that there is ground to hope and believe; it taketh hold of every thing that may minister occasion to hope the best, to hope that there is truth of Grace, to hope that their Faith and Repentance is true but that love that will not believe, and hope any thing, if it come not up fully to the mind of the party, it may be a faith­less love and an ho [...]eless love, as to our brethren; so may it be in respect of God; for be sure we come infinitely more short in respect of God, than any of our bre­thren (where is any ground of hope) do or can in res [...]ect to us.

6. It is then true love, when it is accom­panie [...] 6. When accompani­ed with love and obedience to God. with love to God, and obedience to his Will: for any to talk of love to the peo [...]e of God, and yet hath no respect to the Commandments of God, no conscience of living to God according to his revealed Will, they deceive themselves: for, As he that loveth God, must love his Brother also; so he that loveth the people of God, must love [Page 307] God, and keep his Commandments: 1 Joh. 5. 2. By this we know we love the people of God, when we love God, and keep his Commandments. Lest any should dece [...]ve themselves, the Apostle st [...]tes it both waies; 1. If any love God, they love his people: He that loveth him that begat, l [...]veth him that is begotten of him. But lest any should mistake, and say I love him that is begotten, therefore I love him that begat; he states it the other way, to prevent all mistakes, that so our love may be true and right indeed: By this we know we love the people of God, when we love God, and keep his Commandments. That is, by this we know that our love to the people of God is right, when it is accompanied with love and obedience to God; For this is the love of God, that we keep his Commandments. Our love to God is not right, if we love not his people; & our love to his people is not right, if we love not God, nor keep his Commandments.

7. True love to the Saints is then right7. It must be univer­sal, to all Saints. when it is universal, to all Saints, as well to one as to another, as well to the poor as to the rich, and as well to the rich as to the poor; to a poor Lazarus, as to a rich and royal David; to an afflicted Joseph, as to an admired Solomon: if love be right, it is no respecter of persons; For he that respecteth persons, will transgress for a piece of bread: that is, upon any occasion will wrest judg­ment. But this love is rare to be found, rich professors will love them that are rich, [Page 308] and undervalue the poor, make them their foot-stool; and too often the poor under­value the rich, because they are rich, have an evil eye upon the riches of their bre­thren, because themselves are poor: but the love of the Lords people is (or should be) one to another for the Lord's sake, be­cause they are his, and so should be to the weak as to the strong, to the poor as to the rich; partial love is no true love. Jam. 2. 1, 2. It is the commendation the Apostle gives the Ephesians, that their love was to all the Saints; Eph. 1. 15. Col. 1. 4. It's a choice discovery of Divine love, when it hath no respect of persons, but fixes on the object purely for spiritual causes, for Holiness, for the image and Grace of Christ: the poorest Saints are as nigh to God, as rich in Grace and Glory as the richest: Jam. 2. 5. Hearken my beloved Brethren, hath not God chosen the poor of this World, rich in Faith, and heirs of that Kingdom, which he hath pro­mised to them that love him.

8. Yet, if it be divine and true, it runs8. It is su­table to the causes of love. out sutable to the causes of love; for though true love be universal, and impar­tial, yet it is not blind, but fixes most where it apprehends most of God, most of Ho­liness, Humility, Love, and constancy in the way and work of the Lord: for this is certain, that if we love for Godliness sake, where we see most of Godliness, and the image of Christ, there we love most; and [Page 309] this need not be stated as a duty, for it is the property of true Grace and Love so to do: we have Christ our Lord for example in this matter, who had his beloved Disci­ple above the rest; Joh. 13. 23. & 20. 2. & 21. 20, 24. Not but that he loved all, and so must we love all the Lord's people with the same love, although there may, and will be degrees therein: Psal. 16. 2, 3. My goodness extendeth not unto thee, but to the Saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight. So did Paul prize and prefer Timothy above all the rest of the Mi­nisters with him, for the excellency of spirit that was in him; Phil. 2. 29. 20, 21, 22. And on this account a poor Saint may have more spiritual cause of love in him than a rich one; he that is poor in the World, may be rich in Grace; and a rich Saint in the World may be rich in Grace, and have more cause of spiritual love than some that are poor: not but that all that are truly gracious, are spiritually rich in Grace; yet God giveth differingly as he pleaseth; and there are differing capaci­ties and improvings of what is given: but this is certain, that faithful improvement shall have addition and increase.

9. And lastly, True love to the Saints is9 They love constantly. constant love, not by fits and good moods, sometimes love, and sometimes hate; like the Religion of some, who under convicti­ons, or afflictions, will be very religious, [Page 310] and make promises, but when the fit is over, their Religion is ended; but true love both to God and his people never fail­eth; 1 Cor. 13. 8. It is constant in adversi­ty as in prosperity, under weakness, [...]rail­ties, and miscarriages, as under highest de­monstrations of purity. It's true, Saints under sin must be reproved, and so it may be, that some strangedness may be requisite, yet love must still continue: Gal. 6. 1, 2. Heb. 13. 1. Let brotherly love continue, to stran­gers as well as acquaintance, ver. 2. Prov. 17. 17. A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity: Love in adversity con­tinueth faithful in adversity; if it reprove for sin and miscarriage, it doth it love and faithfulness: Prov. 27. 6. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful: hence the Prophet saith, Psal. 141. 5. Let the righteous smite me, and it shall be a kindness; let h [...]m reprove me, and it shall be an excellent oile, which shall not break my head, &c. Where truth of love is, it's constant while the cause thereof continueth; and in any miscarriage, it doth all its works in love.

3. They that love God do love all men,3. They love all. as men; they love Christians as such, and they love men as men, and enemies as ene­mies, persecuters as persecuters; they love them with the love of pitty and compas­sion; and this is their duty, and dispositi­on in some measure, if made partakers of the Grace of God in truth: Mat. 5. 44. [Page 311] to 47. If ye love them that love you, (that is, only them) what do ye more than others? No­thing more eminently discovers a Gospel­spirit than this; for this is clear above na­ture, nature never teacheth this lesson, but the contrary; Nature teacheth to hate, and seek revenge on enemies; but Grace teach­eth to pitty them, and pray for them; and what Christ taught his Disciples, he pra­ctised himself, both in doing, and praying for enemies, Luke 22. 50, 51. & 23. 34. And this lesson Stephen had lea [...]ned, Acts 7. 60. And to this we are exhorted by the Apostle, Rom. 12. 19, 20. and Gal. 6. 10. As much as in us lieth to do good to all, though especially to the houshold of Faith. This is the command of the Lord, and then we love God when we keep his Commandments, and his Commandments are not (or should not be) grievous to us.

Quest, How shall I know that I love mine Quest. enemies?

Answ. 1. When you can pitty them in Answ. their misery, spiritual or bodily and pray for them, and truly desire their good; Ps. 35. 13, 14. But as for me, when they were sick, my cloathing was sackcloath; I humbled my self with Fasting, and my Prayer returned into mine own bosome: I behaved my self as though he had been my friend; I bowed down heav [...]ly, as one that mourneth for his Mother. This is a suta­ble frame of spirit for Christians towards enemies, Mat. 5. 44.

2. When you are as ready to do them [Page 312] good, (as to desire their good) when oc­casion and opportunity is offered; Gal. 6. 10. As you have therefore opportunity, do go [...]d to all men: but on the contrary, Nature with­out Grace, waiteth opportunity to revenge, but Grace teacheth otherwise: Grace bears no hatred nor malice, but gladly forgives, so far as God forgives: yea, it begs forgive­ness of God for them, Luke 23. 34. And is ready to do any service of love for soul or body, as occasion, opportunity, and capa­city affords.

This Divine Virtue of Love being soƲse I. Of Information in three things. choice a Vertue, and so useful, I shall for further profit, endeavor to make some ap­plication of this truth; and that, 1. Of information▪ and that in three things.

1. To inform us in the truth of the ex­cellency1. Of the Excellency of Love. of this Grace of Love to God, to Man, to Saints, to Sinners; it's an excel­lent Virtue, and much to be prized and pressed after by all Saints: it's the choicest Gift, the choicest Virtue: its choiceness and excellency appears;

1. In that (as hath been before mention­ed)1. It's pre­fer'd above all. it's prefer'd in Scripture above all, and before all other Virtues, before Faith, Tongues, Prophecy, Knowledg, understanding all Mysteries, 1 Cor. 13. 1, 2. & 8. 1, 2, 3. In all which its Divine Excellency is wonder­fully discovered; it's that which puts worth and value in all other Virtues and Duties; for all without it is nothing.

[Page 313]2. It's that which doth the greatest2. It d [...]h the gre [...]est work. work, and beareth the greatest burthens; 1 Cor. 13. 4, 5, 6. It beareth all things, &c. It suffereth, endureth, beareth, never faileth. Chri­stians have great work to do for God in the World, in matter of service and suffer­ing, in doing good, and eschewing evil, in mortifying sin, great burdens to bear for the sake of Christ: and it is only love flow­ing from Faith, that will make all easie, and help us through every duty, and every dif­ficulty; for Faith worketh by love, Gal. 5. 6. Faith getteth victory over the World; but it is by love; for Faith can do nothing with­out love, as it ought to be done, for it is nothing; but Faith and love working to­gether, makes the soul bold and valiant for God, and strong, able to do, suffer, and bear for Christ, what-ever he calls us too: It is the never-failing Virtue, it will never fail us hear, as it shall not fail us here­after: it's the bond of perfection, or the per­fect bond, that ties us perfectly to God in all difficulties, and perfectly one to ano­ther in every duty; holiness in life is the great concernment for every Christian to be pressing aften, to be holy in heart, and holy in life, to be holy in all manner of conver­sation and godliness, 1 Pet. 1. 15. But this we must attain in the power of the love of God in the Gospel, if ever we attain it, Eph. 3. 17, 18, 19. 1 Thes. 3. 12, 13.

[Page 314]3. Love is the fulfilling of the Law,3. It is the fulfilling of the Law. yea, and of the Gospel too, Mat. 22. 37, 39, 40. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and thy neighbour as thy self: on these two Commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets; it all hangs upon love: Rom. 13. 8. 9. He that loveth another, hath fulfilled the Law: so that Love to God, and love to Man, is the fulfilling of the Law: not that any should suppose that meerly love with­out any thing else, is intended; but that, where truth of love is to God, and to man for God's sake, it will carry on such souls chearfully to every duty, both to God and Man, that the Law requireth; that is, the Law of the new Covenant: for the Law, as it is holy, just, and good, is still to be ob­served, as administred by Christ in the new Covenant, and is the rule of the Believers sanctification; and he that loveth truly, fulfilleth it rightly: and the true cause why Believers live so little to the Law of Christ, is because they love so little.

4. Where this Grace of Love is in truth,4 It is an evidence of being born of God. it's an evidence that such souls are born of God, and in a state of life; it's an Heaven­born Virtue, and they are Heaven-born Christians in whom it is; and the contrary discovers a state of death, 1 Joh. 3. 14, 15. And this of love, in this Scripture, is not intended (as some imagine) only a sign to others, that such persons are born of God, but to the persons themselves in whom it [Page 315] is; see ver. 19. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. It's an high evidence to a gracious soul. that he is born of God, and is of the truth, and that he is passed from death to life. And thus much as to the excellency of this Virtue of Love.

2. It may inform us of the great coming2. It in­forms of the great come­ing short herein. short, and wonderful failing of Christians in this matter; every one may best find out this in his own heart, as among all the choice Virtues of the new Covenant, this excelleth: so it is to be feared, that among all, Christians fail most in this, of love to God, to Man, to the Word, to the Precepts, yea, to the promises of the Gospel; the Lord help souls to lay it to heart in time; for nothing demonstrates us (to our selves, to others) to be Christians indeed, as this of love doth.

3. It inform us of the true cause of all3. Of the cause of all miscarri­ages. miscarriages among Christians, to God, to Man, both Saints and Sinners; it is want of love; love would make us willing to every duty, it would set the soul upon the wheels, to run the way of Gods Commandments, and to make them the joy and delight of our souls. We should then make God's Statutes our songs in the house of our pilgrimage; we should then be free and universal in our obedi­ence; love would end very much, and ma­ny of the differences among Christians, and cause them to bear with, and forbear one [Page 316] another, In a word, if ever there be a re­formation of things amiss among Christi­ans, it must begin here.

2. Use of exhortation to this great duty2. Ʋse of Exhorta­tion. of Love, the Excellency, the Beauty, the Glory thereof, should quicken the hearts of Christians to a greater desire and endeavor after so holy, so lovely, and desirable a Vir­tue: if it be so excellent, let us approve it: Phil. 1. 9, 10. And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more, in all knowledg, and in all judgment, that you may approve things that are excellent, that ye may be sincere, and without offence, till the day of Christ. Let us approve it in our hearts, in our lives; Let us walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and given himself for us. To provoke your hearts to be more reaching after this Hea­venly Virtue, consider, not only what hath been already said, which is enough to quicken any living, believing soul, with an earnest desire of increase herein; but fur­ther consider;

1. That duty to God calls for it: see the1. Duty to God calls for it. many commands in Holy Scripture to this great duty of love to God, to one another, and to all men: Mat. 22. 37. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, &c. Ps. 31. 23. O love the Lord ye his Saints; and who­ever sincerely performs this duty, is under the Blessing of Grace in order to Glory; Eph. 6. 24. Grace be with all that love the Lord Jesus in sincerity, Amen. But on the contrary, [Page 317] if any be without this Divine disposition, and so perform not this duty; see 1 Cor. 16. 22. If any man love not the Lord Jesus, let him be accursed, Anathema Maranatha, accursed till the Lord come: and for the duty of Saints love one to another, see John 13. 34. A new C [...]mmandment give I unto you, that ye love one another, &c. 1 Joh. 4. 21. This Command­ment we have from him, that he who loveth God, should love his Brother also.

2. The Saints relation to God, and one2. Relation calls for it. to another, calls for it; they are the chil­dren of God, the Sons and Daughters of God Almighty; this is their relation to God, and their priviledg; They are all the Children of God by Faith in Christ Jesus; they are all the children of one Father, espoused to one Husband, members of one Body: 1 Cor. 12. 27. Ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular: and this calls aloud for love in the highest degree, both towards God, our Father, and towards our Lord Jesus Christ, and one towards another.

3. The blood of Christ calls for it, it be­ing3. The blood of Christ calls for it, one special end for which it was shed, to make up the blessed relation of Peace, Unity, and Love, of Father, Son, and Saints: Christ had never died such a cursed death, had it not been to reconcile us to God, to make up the breach between God and us, to bring us in again to God, that we might love God, and live to him, and to recon­cile us one to another, that we might love [Page 318] one another as brethren: see both these, Eph. 2. 13, to 16. Where our reconciling to God, and one to another, is both by the Cross and sufferings of Christ.

4. The Prayer and Intercession of our4. The pray­er of Christ calls for it. Lord Jesus, calls for it; he hath suffered for it, and hath prayed for it, John 17. 21, 23. That they may all be one, as thou O Father art in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us, &c.

Beloved friends, shall our dear Lord com­mand it, sweat, and suffer for it, and pray for it, and shall we set light by it, and be negli­gent in so weighty a matter as this is, that so much concerns the Name and Glory of Christ in the World, that so much concerns our duty, and our spiritual and eternal welfare.

5. The souls of poor sinners call for it,5. The souls of sinners call for it. the littleness of love to God appearing in the muchness of self-love, and love to the World; and littleness of love to Saints ap­pearing by the divisions amongst them, hardens sinners against the truth, to their destruction: when they see such divisions, and breaches, and so little love, they speak evil of the way of truth, and are hardened in the way of sin, to their destruction. Love among Christians, and a lovely carri­age towards all, is the way to convince sin­ners, that God is with his people, and that they are in the truth, Joh. 17. 23. Where Christ prayeth his Father that his people [Page 319] might be made perfect in one, that the World may believe that thou hast sent me. Love and Unity among the people of God, would be a blessed means to convince the World of the truth of Christianity, and to make them in love with Jesus Christ.

6. Your own souls abundantly need it,6. Your own souls call for it. and if sensible thereof, would groan, and cry out in the sense of the want thereof, and be endeavouring an increase therein; without it you can have no solid ground of Peace in your own souls: 1 Joh. 4. 18. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear, because fear hath torment; he that feareth, is not made perfect in love: If ever you would be rightly rid of tormenting fear, and have joy and peace in your souls, it must come in in this way of love, living much in the love of God, in Christ Jesus, will perfect your love to him, and to his holy ones for his sake; which will prove so high an evidence to your souls, of the truth of Grace, that it will cast out all fears, and establish your hearts in believing your interest in, and relation to the Lord Jesus: so Faith working by love, will be to you sound and solid peace: no won­der, that persons that have but little love, have so little peace in their souls; with­out it you can have no true fellowship with God, nor one with another.7. The pre­sent time and state calls for it.

7. The present time, and state of the Church, and dispensations of Gods, calls [Page 320] for it; for it is a time and state of division and breaches among the people of God in general, one bends one way, and another bends another way, casting contempt and reproach upon each other, as if they were enemies; by reason of which, the way of truth is evil spoken of, and poor sinners are hardened, and God and Christ is disho­noured, and many gracious souls grieved, and discouraged. O that all who have any bowels of love in them at all, would lay these things to heart, and learn to love more, then they would bear with, and for­bear each other in love; then they would be content to let each other walk accord­ing to what they have received, and not be offended at their diligent and humble en­quiring after further light, without bitter­ness, and wrath, and evil speakings.

O the general coldness, and luke-warm­ness that hath befallen the Church at this day, and all for want of love; the earthly, worldly mindedness, and covetousness, the streight-heartedness, and streight-handed­ness, the love of back and belly in pride and voluptuousn [...]ss, and other abominati­ons, that do more than manifestly declare the great coming short in love, truth of love would cure all; and the present dis­pensations of God, his frowns and corre­ctions by his rod, and the things he seems to be calling his people to bear and suffer for his name and sake; which can never be [Page 321] rightly born and suffered, but in the spirit and power of Evangelical love; all which calls aloud to all gracious souls, to learn to love more.

8. Consider the sweetness and loveliness8. It's a sweet and lovely life. of the life of Love, 1. To God; if you live up much with God in truth of love, it will not only sweeten your souls to God, and he will delight in you, but your thoughts will be precious of him, and his service will be sweet and precious to you; His yoke will be easie, and his burden will be light.

Otherwise his service will be burden­some, and his work tiresome to the soul: but truth of love to God, sets the heart at liberty, and carrieth the soul through the most difficult services with delight: and this is the soul that God will meet with in the▪ way, and manifest himself unto, John 14. 21.

And, 2. This is the true, sweet, and lovely life of Christians one with another; Ps. 133. 1, 2. Behold, how good and how plea­sant it is, for Brethren to dwell together in Unity; it is next to the Divine anointings of our Lord Jesus, and indeed an effect thereof; It's like the precious ointment upon the head, that run down upon the heard, even Aaron's beard, that went down to the skirts of his garments. Aaron was a type of Christ, his anointings of Christ, the running down of the oint­ment upon his beard, and the skirts of his garment; the coming down of the spirit [Page 322] of Christ upon his members, which unites them to him in the same spirit and love, and one to another by the same spirit: so that the unity of Saints is next to our uni­ty with Christ, John 14. 20. and 17. 23.

9. It's that Virtue which makes us most9. It makes us most like God. like God and Christ, it is the most God-like and Christ-like Virtue: would you be more like your Father, and more like your Head and Lord? O then grow more in this Grace, love God and Christ more, love one ano­ther more, and love all men more; when our Lord Christ sets his Disciples in the high-way of being like their Father, it is in this of love; Mat. 5. 44. and 1 Job. 4. 7. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and every one that loveth, is born of God, and knoweth God; ver. 8. For he that loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is love. Love is an heavenly and God-like Virtue; and the more you live in it, the more are you like God; and the more persons live without love, the more do they live without God; and look how much they live in malice and enmity, so much are they like the De­vil.

10. And finally, that your souls may10. And fi­nally, live much in the love of Christ. grow in this Grace, (which will prove to be the growth in all Grace, and of every Virtue) live much in the meditation of the preciousness of Jesus Christ, of his Person, of his Virtues, of his Love and the design of good to your souls in all that he hath [Page 323] done and suffered for you; 1 Pet. 2. 7. Vnto you therefore which bel [...]eve, he is precious, his Person, his Blood, his Virtues, his Love is precious; He is altogether lovely; 1 Jo [...]. 4. 19. We love him, because he first loved us. The thoughts of this first and free love, this great and marvellous love is precious: 1 Jo [...]. 3. 1. Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. I say, if souls did live more in the consideration of this mar­vellous love, how would it transform them into the likeness of Christ; 2 Cor. 3. 18. O therefore, if you would grow in this Grace, dwell deep here, live much in the meditation of the mystery of the love of Christ to your souls in the new Covenant; Eph. 3. 17, 18, 19. You must be rooted and grounded in the love of Christ, and endeavor to comprehend more of this unsearchable mystery; and this is the way to be filled with all the fulness of God, the fulness of understanding and know­ledg, Col. 2. 2. The fulness of conformity to him in Love, and in every Divine Virtue.

CHAP. XX. Of the Gospel-fear of God.

THE fear of God is one (and not the least) of the Divine and saving Vir­tues of the new Covenant, and planted in every gracious heart; it is a part of the new Covenant Law written in the heart, absolutely necessary to Salvation, as other new Covenant Virtues are, and is included in that Faith to which the promise is made.

The fear of God is of that worth and weight, that it is impossible for a truly gra­cious soul to be without it; it is a special character of a graceless person that is with­out it; Rom. 3. 18. There is no fear of God before their eyes. In speaking to this, I shall mind three things; 1. That it is a Virtue of the new Covenant, and necessary to be in the hearts of all Believers. 2. What it is. 3. The usefulness and profitableness there­of.

1. That it is a Virtue of the new Cove­nant,1. It is a Virtue of the new Covenant. and necessary to be written in the hearts of all true Believers. And this will appear, if we consider,

1. That it is a promise of the new Cove­nant; Jer. 32. 39. And I will give them one [Page 325] heart, and one way, that they may fear me; ver. 40. I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me. Which is a promise of the new and everlasting Covenant, the same as is exprest, Chap. 31. 31, to 34, And is applied to the Gospel by the Apostle, Heb. 8. 8. Where God promiseth to write his Law in the heart, that is, to season the heart with a disposition to believe, love, fear, and obey the Lord.

2. It is that Virtue with which Christ our Lord was eminently filled, and therefore certainly it is necessary for his members to be seasoned therewith: Isa. 11. 2. And the spirit of the Lord shall rest up [...]n him, the spirit of Wisdom and Vnderstanding, the spirit of Counsel and Might, the spirit of Knowledg, and the fear of the Lord; which was exceeding proper to the holy Son of God: and if Christ the Lord must have this spirit of the fear of God, then surely it must needs be necessary for all his to be partakers of the same Spirit and Virtue; for from his fulness we all receive.

3. It is the praise-worthy Virtue of the Saints, commended throughout all Gene­rations: 1 Kings 18. 3. It's said, that Oba­diah feared the Lord greatly: the effects there­of follows, ver. 4. Neh. 7. 2. It's said, that Hanani feared God above many; for which Ne­hemiah gave him the charge over Jerusalem. Job is described to have this Virtue, Job. 1. 8. To be an upright man, and one that feared [Page 326] God; and ver. 1. One that feared God, and eschewed evil. Mal. 2. 4, 5. God made his Covenant with Levy, of Life and Peace; for the fear wherewith he feared me, and he was a­fraid before my Name. It is the commenda­tion of the Churches, in a time of liberty, that they walked in the fear of the Lord; Acts 9. 31.

4. This is that the Lords people are frequently exhorted to, both in the old and new Testament; by which it appears, that it is a duty as well as a Virtue; Lev. 19. 14. But shalt fear thy God, I am the Lord; and 25. 17. But thou shalt fear thy God, for I am the Lord thy God. Deut. 13. 4. Ye shall walk af­ter the Lord your God, and fear him. Eccl. 12. 13. Fear God, and keep his Commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. Deut. 6. 13. Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and swear by his Name. Luke 12. 4, 5. And I say unto you, my friend [...], be not afraid of them that kill the body, &c. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear; fear him, that after he hath killed, hath power to cast into Hell; yea, I say unto you, fear him, 2 Cor. 7. 1. The Apostle exhorteth the Saints to be perfecting holiness in the fear of God. By all which it abun­dantly appears, that to fear God is the spe­cial duty of every true Christian; 1 Pet. 2. 17. Rev. 14. 7. Heb. 12. 28. Let us have Grace, that we may serve God with Reverence and Godly fear.

[Page 327]5. It's that Virtue which includes part, yea, a great part of the Gospel; because where the fear of the Lord is, there is Faith, Love, Humility, and Obedience; even the whole terms of Gospel-interest: Rev. 14. 6. 7. When the Angel preached the ever­lasting Gospel to them that dwell on earth; the substance or great part thereof was, Fear God, and give Glory to him, &c. and Chap. 15. 3, 4. This shall be the song of Saints, Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy Name, for thou only art holy.

6. It's that Virtue unto which happiness and blessedness is promised, and that must needs be a Virtue absolutely necessary to Salvation, and is included in true Faith; Prov. 28. 14. Happy is the man that feareth al­waies. This happy fear must be alwaies, never off the heart; Chap. 23. 17. Be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day, that is, al­waies, every day; let not the fear of God be out of thine heart at any time; Ps. 112. 1. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, &c. and 128. 1, 4. By all which it appears, that per­sons who fear God in truth, are under the promises of Blessedness; and therefore it is a choice Virtue.

2. I shall endeavour to shew what the2. What it is to fear God. fear of the Lord is, or what it is to fear God: It is to have an holy, honourable, and reverend esteem of God, to have the awe and dread of God upon our hearts, be­cause Holy and Reverend is his Name; Ps. 33. 8. [Page 328] Let all the Earth fear the Lord, let all the Inha­bitants of the World stand in awe of him: Isa. 8. 13. Sanctifie the Lord of Hosts Himself, and let Him be your fear, and let him be your dread. It becometh the people of the Lord of Hosts to have humble, holy, reverend, and trembling thoughts of God alwaies; Ps. 2. 11. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoyce with trembling: serve him with reverence and godly fear. It is to be feared that Christians have too low and common thoughts of God, which exceedingly unbecometh them, and is a great disadvantage on the spiritual account, as well as dishonourable unto God. This holy, reverend fear, is a love­like fear, not a slavish fear; a spouse-like fear, flowing from, or mixed with love: Let the Wife see that she reverence her Husband, (or fear her Husband:) The Wives re­verence of, or fear toward her Husband, is not, or should not be slavish, but in love, and conscience of God's Ordinance: so it behoves every true Christian to reverence, honour, and fear the Lord; and that with this filial spouse-like fear, to love God, and fear before him.

To help on this work in the heart, IMeditati­ons to help us to fear God. shall propound some serious meditations of God, that may tend to beget and in­crease this holy, reverend awe, and fear of God in the heart.

1. Live much in the meditation of his1. His Greatness. Greatness. O, God is a great God, and a great [Page 329] King above all Gods, and above all men. Psal. 89. 6, 7. For who in the Heavens can be compa­red to the Lord? Who among the sons of the Mighty can be likened unto the Lord? God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the Saints, and to be had in reverence of all that are round about him. Note, that this great fear of God in the Saints, does arise from the conside­ration of the Greatness of God; Who can be compared to the Lord, who may be likened to our God, in Heaven or Earth? Therefore is he greatly to be feared in the assembly of the Saints, &c. Ps. 147. 5. Great is our Lord, and of great Power, his understanding is infinite; and 95. 3. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all Gods. And, as an effect of this, or a resultancy drawn from this meditation of his Greatness, above all, ver. 6. O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker: that is, seeing he is such a great one above all, even our Maker; let us worship and bow down, and kneel before him, i. e. Let us worship him in all humility, and holy reverence; Let us have Grace to serve our God with reverence and godly fear. Exod. 15. 11. Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the Gods? who is like unto thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders. And this result the Prophet draws from this meditation; Jer. 10. 6, 7. Foras­much as there is none like unto thee, O Lord, and thy Name is great in might, who would not fear thee, O King of Nations; for to thee doth it ap­pertain. [Page 330] That is, to be great above all, and to be feared above all: this is the first con­sideration that will tend to season our souls with this blessed Virtue, the greatness, the gloriousness of God to live upon our hearts.

2. The holiness and purity of God; He 2. His Ho­liness and Purity. is Glorious in Holiness, Holy and Reverend is his Name. Serious thoughts of Gods Holiness will beget and increase in us this holy, re­verend fear; Psal. 99. 9. Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his foot-stool, for the Lord our God is holy. The sight and apprehension of the Holiness of God will help us to worship him reverendly, and awfully. This was it made Isaiah, Chap. 6. 3. 5. (When the Seraphims cried out, as overcome with the holiness of God, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts;) to cry, Wo is me, I am undone, I am a man of polluted lips, &c. Thus you see, (and I hope all true Christians can experience) that serious thoughts of the Holiness o [...] God will [...]ill them with humble, honoura­ble, and awful thoughts of him.

3. The great Goodness and Mercy o3. His Goodness. God, especially on the new Covenant ac­count, will tend wonderfully to season th [...] soul with this Virtue; and this mixed wit [...] the rest, makes it to be Evangelical fear; tha [...] son-like, spouse-like fear, that so muc [...] concerneth, and becometh the Saints: th [...] is the promise of the Lord to his people Hos. 3. 5. Afterwards shall the children of Isra [...] [Page 331] return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their King, (that is Christ Jesus) and shall fear the Lord and his Goodness in the latter daies. It's the latter day work (especially under the Gospel) for Saints to fear the Lord and his Goodness: Ps. 130. 4. With thee is forgiveness, that thou maist be feared: the Goodness, For­giveness and Mercy that is with God, will make his people to fear him, and fear to sin against him, fear to displease him: he that will sin without fear, because God is good and gracious, may justly fear that he is without all Grace: gracious souls fear to sin against so good and gracious a God. Shall all the Nations fear and tremble at all the great goodness that God will do for (and shew unto) his people, Jer, 33. 9. And shall not the great goodness of God cause the hearts of those interessed in it, to fear and trem­ble before him. Surely it's impossible for a gracious soul to take a view of the Great­ness, the Glory, the Purity, and the good­ness and Mercy of God, and of his own badness, but with astonishment, holy re­verence and fear: and thus they shall fear the Lord and his Goodness, (the Lord for his Goodness) in the latter daies.

4. Meditation on the Justice and Judg­ments4. His Ju­stice against sin and sin­ners. of God against sin and sinners, will tend to beget, maintain, and increase this holy fear of God, and fear to sin against him: Psal. 119. 120. My flesh trembleth be­cause of thee, and I am afraid of thy Judgments. [Page 332] Matt. 10. 28. [...]ear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him that is able to destroy both body and soul in Hell.

Obj. This is a slavish fear, and not the Objection. soul-like fear or the Gospel.

Answ. 1. It is that which becometh, and Answer. concerneth gracious souls, to fear God in all his Names, his Justice as well as his Mercy; and it is a token of a graceless heart, that hath not the awe of God in his Justice, that being one great part of his Name, of his Glory, wherein he hath, and will make himself famous. God to il­lustrate this part of his Name and Glory, unites Justice and Mercy in the proclaim­ing of his Name, to the end that his peo­ple may love him, and fear before him, Exod. 34. 5, 6, 7. There you have the name of the Lord proclaimed in these two At­tributes, of Mercy and Justice: And who­so thinks this wonderful, gracious, and ter­rible Name of the Lord (to fear and trem­ble at his Goodness, and his Justice, his Righteous and Terrible Name) to be be­neath his new Covenant calling, lives great­ly below the calling of a Christian.

2. Christians are flesh as well as spirit, and liable to temptation and miscarriage, woful experience teacheth us this; and God, as a Father, does not only keep his children in awe, with the knowledg of their relation, that so love may prevail; but like­wise [Page 333] with the rod, and threats, and danger too, of dispossessing of the inheritance and pro­vision on that account; and counts it well, if all tend to effect the work: thus dealeth the Lord with his people, else what mean­eth those various sayings in his Word? Ps. 89. 30, 31, 32. If his children forsake my Law, and walk not in my Judgments; if they break my Statutes, and keep not my Commandments, then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes, &c. See Heb. 12. 7, to 11. And those Judgments executed for­merly on the people of God for sin, left on Record for our learning, to the end we might fear to sin against him, lest we meet with like Judgments: 1 Cor. 10. 1. to 11. and Chap. 11. 30. For this cause many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep, &c. All which clearly proveth that God doth afflict his people for sin; and he hath recorded it, that his people might fear to sin against him. Yea, and further, he keeps his chil­dren in awe with threats of dispossessing them of the inheritance, Heb. 6. 4, 5, 6. and 4. 1. 11. and 3. 12. 14. 2 Tit. 2. 12, 13, 14. Rev. 2 and 3 Chapters; all which confirms this truth, that God threatens for sin, and executes for sin; and warns to watchful­ness, that the Crown be not lost, Rev. 3. 11. Though it's true, that fear flowing from love, is the most Evangelical and son-like fear: yet a mixture, a fear of God in his whole Name, his Greatness, Holiness, Good­ness, [Page 334] Justice, Righteousness, &c. is the most solid, safe, preserving fear; the soul being ballanced with all the means and me­ditations of God prescribed to carry on this blessed Divine Virtue, is sutable and useful for the accomplishment thereof. Do not Parents account it well, if all lawful means effect the end; that is, to keep their children in awe and subjection; threats and stripes as well as love? And doth not God deal with his children accordingly? And doth not Christians that will not stand in awe of his Judgments, wonderfully dis­honour him, that will fear him but in one part of his Name? A dangerous tempta­tion, to be shamed, and avoided of all who desire to fear God, Mal. 2. 5. and 4. 2.

5. Meditation on the Word of God will5. The Word of God. tend to seaso [...] souls with this holy fear, for that will help us in the four former parti­culars. The truth of God in all his Names, and faithfulness in all his Word, in his Pre­cepts and Promises, and threats against sin and sinners, will tend to work and increase this Grace, Isa. 66. 2. But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my Word. In the Word of God, is declared the whole trembling Name of God in all the parts thereof; and the meditation thereon will cause gracious souls to fear before him. Psal. 119. 161. My heart standeth in awe of thy Word. The thoughts of the Authority, Purity, Divi­nity, [Page 335] and truth of the Word, will beget and increase awful and reverend thoughts of God.

3. Of the usefulness and profitableness3. Its Ʋse­fulness. of this Virtue: We may say of this Virtue as the Apostle speaking of Godliness, that it's profitable to all things: it's the summ of Godliness, and is useful to ballance the soul at all times, and in all places and compa­nies; and to have its exercise and use in all Virtues: it's the soul-seasoning, and soul­ballancing Grace; it's the beginning, mid­dle, and end of Wisdom. But to speak more particularly and distinctly of this Divine Virtue, in the use thereof;

1. It's a sin-destroying Virtue; where the fear of God is, there sin must out: it is is impossible for the fear of God, and the love of sin, to dwell together in the soul: Psal. 4. 4. Stand in awe, and sin not; where the awe of God is, there will be a fear to sin against him: Gen. 39. 9. Joseph said, How then shall I do this great wickedness, and sin against God. Fear of God occasions fear of sinning against him; this was it kept Nehemiah from oppressing the people like the former Governors, Neh. 5. 15. But so did not I, because of the fear of God, Ps. 19. 9. The fear of the Lord is clear, &c. it's a purging, cleansing Virtue; it cleanseth the soul from the love, power, and practise of sin; Prov. 16. 6. By the fear of the Lord men depart from evil; and 8. 13. The fear of the [Page 336] Lord is to hate evil, pride and arrogancy, and the evil way, &c. Ps. 34. 11, 12, 13. Where the love and fear of God is, there the love of sin can have no place; and the true cause of reigning abominations in any is, be­cause the fear of God is wanting there: Ps. 36. 1. The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God be­fore his eyes. O therefore consider this, you that can sin without fear; it argues you to be without the fear of God, and to be graceless persons; Rom. 3. 18. There is no fear of God before their eyes. And this I fear to be the case of many, not only of the World, but of those who pretend and pro­fess to be called out of the World: Job feared God, and eschewed evil, Chap. 1. 1. Fear God and sin if you dare.

2. The fear of God, as it is a sin-de­stroying Virtue, so it is a God-obeying Virtue: where the fear of God is in truth, there is conscience and care to obey the Lord, to keep his Commandments: Eccl. 12, 13. Fear God, and keep his Commandments; that is, keep his Commandments as your duty: and where this fear of God is, you will keep his Commandments as your dis­position, the fear of God, and obedience to him, alwaies dwells together: Ps. 5. 7. As for me, I will come into thine house in the mul­titude of thy Mercies, and in thy fear will I wor­ship toward thine Holy Temple. Where sense of Mercy, and power of Love, and the fear [Page 137] of God meet together in one soul, there will be sincere obedience, and worshipping of God; there will be serving God with re­verence, and godly fear: Ps. 2. 11. Serve the Lord with fear, rejoyce with trembling. You that have no care nor conscience of obey­ing the Lord, of serving and worshipping the Lord according to his appointments, and living to him according to his will, have just grounds to suspect that you are without the love and fear of God.

3. The fear of God is a soul-sanctifying Virtue; where the love and fear of God is, the desire of that soul is to be more like God, and like Christ; it doth not only out with sin, but it increaseth Virtue: it is as truly desirous of increase in Virtue, of con­formity to Christ, as it is to be rid of sin: outing of sin is one part of Holiness, and inning of Virtue is the other; and it's ac­complished by the fear of God: Ps. 34. 11, 12, 13. Come ye children, hearken to me, and I will teach you the fear of the Lord; and con­cludes all in this, Depart from evil, and do good, seek peace, and pursue it. This is the way to perfect Holiness, 2 Cor. 7. 1. Let us cleanse our selves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, perfecting Holiness in the fear of God. The fear of God is a soul-sanctifying Virtue: would you grow in Holiness and confor­mity to Jesus Christ (which I dare say is the desire of all gracious souls) both in the inward and outward man, then see that you grow in this Virtue.

[Page 138]4. The fear of God is a soul-consolating Virtue; it affords very much ground of consolation to the soul where it is; for where this is in truth, there are all the Di­vine Virtues of the Gospel to which the promises are made, as Faith, Love, Humi­lity, Meekness, Patience, Self-denial, &c. The Divine saving Virtues of the new Co­venant goes not alone, they are much be­sides the truth of the Gospel, that tell souls, that one Grace or Virtue of Christ in them, is enough to demonstrate them to be in a saved condition; whereas the Gos­pel-saving Graces or Virtues to which Sal­vation is promised, goes not alone: he that supposeth he hath one alone, must sup­pose impossibilities; either he hath more; or none at all; For from his fulness we all re­ceive, and Grace for Grace; that is, of every Divine Virtue of Christ, the Believer hath something thereof within him; and where the fear of the Lord is, there is the truth of all Divine Grace; it's laid at bottom of all, as that from whence it flows: Acts 10. 34, 35. In every Nation, he that feareth God, and worketh Righteousness, shall be accepted. Fear God, and the work will be done, mat­ter of comfort to souls possessed with this Virtue: Prov. 14. 26, 27. The fear of the Lord is strong confidence, &c. That is, it is a ground of confidence, of interest in God, which affords strong consolation; Prov. 19. 23. The fear of the Lord tendeth to life, and he [Page 339] that hath it, shall abide satisfied, he shall not be visited with evil. It's such a Virtue, so much tending to life, that affords satisfaction to the soul that hath it, that he is in the way of life. Hence the Lord saith, (speaking of such a person,) Isa. 33. 6. The fear of the Lord is his treasure; a treasure of Grace is in it here, and a treasure of Glory shall attend it hereafter; thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord.

5. The fear of God is a soul-preserving5. It is a soul-preser­ving Grace. Grace, a soul-seasoning and preserving Vir­tue; it tends to preserve those in whom it is, to the Kingdom of Glory promised: it not only preserves and keeps the soul from sin, and keeps it close to duty; but it pre­serves the soul from defilements in evil times, and daies of temptation: Mal. 3. 15, 16. When they called the proud, happy; and they that tempted God were delivered; and they that wrought wickedness were set up: then they that feared God, spake often one to another, and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, &c. That is, he approved it, and owned them, and re­membred them in mercy in the day of need. The fear of the Lord will preserve souls pure to God in profane and sinning times, and in persecuting times, and in times of temptation: in a word, it will preserve those in whom it is, through all difficulties and temptations; it will pre­serve from the sinful fear of man: Prov. 29. 25. The fear of man bringeth a snare; Isa. 51. [Page 340] 7, 12, 13. But the fear of God delivereth from this snare, it keepeth from a wicked departing from God; Jer. 32. 40. I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me. O therefore all ye that fear God, seek, that ye may increase therein more and▪ more; it will tend to the increase of every Virtue, and decrease of sin; and preser­ving you in Faith, Love and Holiness unto the day of Redemption. I conclude this with, Psal. 34, 9. O fear the Lord ye his Saints, for there is no want to them that fear him.

CHAP. XXI. Of the Law of God, and what we are to understand thereby.

COncerning the Law of God, which hath been, and is, the rule both of Faith and Practice throughout all Ages, according to the manner of the ministra­tion thereof, of which it's necessary for Christians to be instructed in. In speaking thereof, I shall endeavour, 1. To shew what it is. 2. How it hath been in several times and manners given and administred since the beginning. 3. The necessariness of be­lieving and obeying thereof, according to the time and manner of the administring thereof. 4. What Law it was that Christ fulfilled in his active and passive obedience; and for what sins it was that he suffered.

1. What the Law of God is; 1. Sometimes,1. What the Law of God is. by Law, we are to understand the whole Word and Will of God revealed, relating1. The whole Word and Will of God. both to Faith and obedience, things to be believed and practised throughout all A­ges; the Precepts and Promises comes un­der this Law: and hence it is, that not on­ly the Law given by Moses, is called the Law, that was the Law of Commands; but [Page 342] the Psalms is called the Law; John 10. 34. Which relates to Psal. 82. 6. and Psal. 78. 1. Give ear O people to my Law, &c. And the Prophets are called the Law; 1 Cor. 14. 21. In the Law it's writen, &c. Which relates to Isa. 28. 11. All the promises of God in his Word may come under this of Law; 1. As it concerneth us to believe them: this is the Law of Faith, and it's our duty to be­lieve God in all his Word. 2. As it con­cerneth God, because he hath tied himself to us therein; that as his Precepts tieth us to obedience to him, in matters of Faith and Practice; so his promises is the Law by which he walks towards his people; and he would have his people to know, that as he hath brought them under the Law of the new Covenant to him, and they ought to be obedient to him in all things, Acts 3. 22. So he hath obliged himself to his peo­ple in the Law of the new Covenant to him, and they ought to be obedient to him in all things, Acts 3. 22. So he hath obliged him­self to his people in the Law of the new Covenant, to perform all the good things promised therein to his people, that keep Faith to him in that Covenant: and that if we fail not in our duty, he will not, can­not fail in his Word, having bound himself by his own Law, and Covenant of Promise in this matter; and he cannot lie, he cannot break his own Law Covenant, Rom. 3. 3, 4. 2 Tit. 2. 11, 12, 13. Tit. 1. 2. Heb. 6. 17, 18. [Page 343] And not only so, but he hath bound him­self by promise, to supply the hearts of his people with Grace, till they come to Glory, Jer. 32. 40. 2 Thes. 3. 3. 1 Pet. 1. 5. Joh. 10. 28, 29.

2. Sometimes (and most frequently in2. The Law given by Moses. Scripture) by Law is intended the ten Pre­cepts given by Moses in tables of Stone, from Mount Sinai, Rom. 7. 7, &c. and 13. 8, 9. Gal. 3. 17, to 22. Sometimes it in­tends the whole Law, Moral, Ceremonial, and Judicial, Eph. 2. 14, 15. Gal. 5. 2, 3, 4. And the Prophet, Ps. 119. So frequently speaking of Law Statutes and Judgments, &c. Intends thereby the whole of the Law.

3. The making known of the Will of3. The Will of God be­fore the Law. God before this Law was given from Mount Sinai, (and in some sense without it) is impliedly called the Law; Rom. 5. 13. For untill the Law sin was in the World, but sin is not imputed when there is no Law: and 4. 15. Where no Law is, there is no transgression. There­by clearly implying, that there was no time from the Creation, in which man was left without Law, though God have had his differing waies of bringing it forth.

4. The Will of God made known in the4. The Will of God in the Gospel. Gospel by Jesus Christ, is called Law; and is (indeed) the only Law Covenant on re­cord for Believers, called The Law of Faith; Rom. 3. 27. The Law of Liberty; Jam. 1. 25. The Royal (or Kingly) Law; Jam. 2. 8. Given [Page 344] to us by the Lord Jesus, Heb. 1. 1, 2. Jo [...]. 12. 49, 50. Unto whom we ought to sub­mit in every thing; Acts 3. 22, 23. The Doctrine of the Gospel relating to Faith and Obedience, is the Law of Christ; His Royal Law to Believers.

5. The new Covenant promised, and5. The Law written in the heart. written in the heart, (that is, an holy dis­position and power of Grace to do what God in his Law-Doctrine of the Gospel re­quireth) is called the Law; Heb. 8. 10. Rom. 2. 14, 15. This is the Law of God in the heart; Ps. 37. 31. The Law of God is in his heart, his steps shall not slide.

2. How the Law of God hath been at2. How it hath been delivered, 1. To Adam several times, and in several waies and me­thods delivered; Heb. 1. 1. The first was given to Adam in his state of Innocency; Gen. 2. 17. Who by nature was the origi­nal (or root) of all mankind; though it be not in them called Law, yet it was a Law Covenant of Command, with the penalty on the breach thereof. Of the tree of the Knowledg of good and evil thou shalt not eat; for in the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die; or, in dying, thou shalt die. Which Law he transgressed, and brought in death on himself, and all mankind.

2. After this fall of man, God had his Law in the World condemning sin, till the Law was given by Moses, (though not so clear and plain) else there had been no sin; for Where no Law is, there is no transgression: [Page 345] and yet before the Law, or untill the Law (given by Moses) sin was in the World: yet not so clear a Law; For the Law was added because of transgression, that sin might appear to be out of measure sinful. It was sinful before, but it did not appear to be so sinful before, as it did after by the Law: they that sinned be­fore the Law, did not sin after the similitude of Adam's transgression, Rom. 5. 14. That is against a plain Precept with a threat, as those since the Law, who received it, and lived under it as their Law Covenant, and voluntarily brake it, and in that respect did sin after the similitude of Adam's transgres­sion; though it's true, in some respects none can sin after the similitude of his trans­gression. And that first, as he, in a state of innocency, and yet sinned. 2. As a publick person, and so let in sin and death upon all; so none but himself personally could sin; yet sin was in the World till the Law, which argueth that there must be some Law.

So then the question is, what that Law Quest. was? and how it was given and admini­stred?

Answ. It is the opinion of some, that it Answ. was the Law of Nature written in the hearts of all men, which is the Moral Law, or substance of the Law given by Moses.

Now, though I shall not altogether de­ny this position, yet I think it hath need to be inquired into, and to be considered with other concurring circumstances, [Page 346] without which it will not hold true; for,

1. There is no such thing as a Law writ­ten in the hearts of men by nature, to teach them that God is, and is to be worshipped, and to convince of sin against him, distinct from all means without him. And this will appear, if we consider,

1. That all Nations in the World know, and worship according to the traditions and customs received, and judg that to be sin, which by custom and account is so ta­ken to be: and hence it is, that the World generally, in many things, call good evil, and evil good, and make conscience of so doing, having no Law written in their hearts, that convinces them thereof.

2. This appears from the Word of Truth, Rom. 1. 20. For the invisible things of him from the Creation of the World are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his Eternal Power and Godhead. Where the Apo­stle states the way and means of knowing God, where neither Law nor Gospel is, that is, not singly by any Law in the heart, but by the Works and Law of Creation, that preacheth forth God to all Nations, Ps. 19. 1, 2, 3.

Obj. The Apostle, Rom. 2. 14, 15. Speak­ing Objection. of the Gentiles, in plain terms saith; That they do by nature the things contained in the Law, which sheweth the work of the Law written in their hearts, &c.

Answ. It's true; but this Scripture is ve­ry Answer. [Page 347] much mis-understood; for it's evident the Apostle intends not the common and unbelieving Gentiles, of them he had spo­ken in the first Chapter; but here he speaks of believing Gentiles, thereby to reprove the Jews, who boasted of the Law, and thence opposed the Gospel, and the be­lieving Gentiles that obeyed the Gospel; (and is the same in substance as that, Rom. 9. 30, 31, 32.) and did not walk under the Law as a ministration, as the Jews did; and the Apostle to stop the Jews opposite boasting, endeavors to convince them, that the Gentiles who believed, though they had not the Law, neither were circumcised, yet being circumcised in their hearts to God, they were safe, and should judg them that bosted so much of the Law. That this is the true sense and meaning of that Scripture, is evident; 1. From the occasion of the words; It's such a doing of, or living to the Law, as is attended with Glory, Honour, Immortality, &c. Honour, Glory, and Peace, ver, 7. 10. And it's the same doing intended throughout the Discourse. 2. It's such a doing of the Law as will justifie before God, ver. 13. 3. It's such a doing of the Law as may stand with a good conscience in the day of need; that is, in the day of Judgment, ver. 15, 16. 4. It is such a do­ing as flows from an heart spiritually cir­cumcised to God, and shall have praise of him, ver. 28, 29. It's the same Gentiles he [Page 348] was speaking of before, and is the result drawn up from the former promises; so that by the Law written in the heart, we must understand the Law of the new Co­venant, inclining to believe and obey the Gospel; or that the Apostle held forth another way of Salvation than by Jesus Christ, and the new Covenant, which we may in no case imagine.

I shall return to shew the waies of God in making known himself to men since the fall. And, 1. I grant that there is a capacity left in man by nature, in the use of means, in some measure to know God, and to know many things to be sinful, but not without the concurrency of the use of means. I deny not what God might work miraculously, he could make the Asse to speak, to convince the madness of Balaam, but his ordinary way hath been in the use of means. It is with the soul of man, as it is with the body; the eye is called the light of the body, not that there is any light in the eye more than in any other part of the body, but a capacity of seeing, or a seeing faculty; when the light shineth, the eye seeth no more than the hand, if there be no light without: So it is in the souls of men, there is the eyes of the un­derstanding, but it must have something propounded from without, before it un­derstands, or apprehends: if it were pos­sible to keep men from all means of light, [Page 349] either by seeing or hearing, the understand­ing (which is the eye of the soul) would remain dark, as the eye of the body with­out light.

Now the Law or Will of God might very probably, 1. Descend something by tradition from Adam, who had converse with God, not only before, but after the fall; and could not but retain much of the knowledg of God, and so commend it to Posterity.

2. The discoveries of the Will of God in the matters of Worship, and the manner thereof in offering of sacrifices, which could not (ordinarily) come by nature, but by some way of institution. Some dis­coveries of his Will by Divine Inspiration, in way of Prophecy, as is plain; Jude ver. 14. Enoch the seventh from Adam prophecied, &c. And God spake sometimes immedi­ately to the Fathers, and those discoveries of God were propagated to Posterity, though much corrupted: and doubtless there is at this day much of tradition a­mong some of the Heathens about circum­stances and ceremonies corruptly practised by tradition, as offering sacrifice, circum­cision, offering their first-born to God, and owning only one God, their Priests and Prayers, &c.

The fourth and most common way of God's teaching mankind throughout all Ages, (especially where other means hath [Page 349] failed) hath been by his works of Creation, and Preservation, in which was, and is, a sufficiency to teach the knowledg of God, as to his being; and from hence that capa­city left in man, might learn the substance of the Moral Law, but not without this means; that the Creation was a sufficient means to teach the knowledg of God; i. e. That there was a God infinite in his being, and glorious, the former of all things; and that this was God's way of teaching, the Apostle plainly asserts; Rom. 1. 19, 20. And the Prophet, Psal. 19. 1, 2, 3.

There was, and is a capacity in man, (by this means and help;) 1. To conclude that there is a God, the Creator and Pre­server of all; that he must be infinite in Power, Wisdom, and Goodness. And, 2. From reason▪ conclude, that there is but one God, not a plurality in Essence, Will, and Work; but that there must be unity in so great and glorious a Work. And then; 3. That it's a duty to be subject to this Creator, and that he must be honoured and worshipped according to his own will, as far as understood: that this Invisible, Powerful, Wise God, that made all things, must needs be Holy, as Great, and Wise; and his Will must be the Law to the Crea­ture, and that the transgression thereof must needs be sinful: and from hence must necessarily understand what was for com­mon [Page 350] good and society of mankind, being capacitated with reason, exercised thus in in the use of means, might and did attain much; and I dare not but to think, that in this means God hath from the beginning wrought many souls savingly to him­self.

And thus it appears that there was a Law, i. e. a means to know God, (and in some measure to know duty, and to know sin) before the Law was given; and the same means do the World yet injoy, where the Gospel is not preached.

2. God made known himself, and Will, to his Servants, both before and after the Flood, to Noah; and especially to Abraham, whom he called out from the rest of the World, to whom he gave great and preci­ous promises, with whom he made the Co­venants, and gave him circumcision, in which was included the whole Law, Gal. 5. 3. And after he appeared to Isaac and Jacob, and most of all to Moses, to and by whom he gave the Law and old Covenant to his people, in which was the Covenant of Life and Peace darkly held forth, 2 Cor. 3. 13. And in which was contained the duties of his people, till the anointed one promised was come; the great Lord and Law-giver of this new Covenant of Life, unto whom we are to submit our selves in all things.

3. That it was, and is necessary for men [Page 351] to belive and obey God according to the means and ministration throughout all Ge­nerations; and the sin of those who lived not up to the means and light of the time and ministration.

1. As given before the Law, and where Law nor Gospel never came; if there be any place or people in the World where its sound hath not been heard, their duty was, and is, to know, believe, and serve God, ac­cording to the means afforded, and they shall be thereby accordingly judged, Rom. 2. 12, 16. Acts 17. 31.

2. As made known in and by the Law; their duty was to believe and obey God according to his Will made known in the Law; and hath been, and shall be judged for their disobedience and sin against the Law, Rom. 2. 12, 17, to 24.

3. Those that live under the Gospel, it's their duty to believe and obey God accor­ding to the Law of the Gospel, and new Covenant, as it's administred and given forth by Jesus Christ the Son, Heb. 1. 1, 2. And such must be judged according to the Gospel; and receive approbation, or con­demnation, according to their believing and obeying, or not believing and obeying of Jesus Christ in the Gospel, 2 Thes. 1. 7, to 10. Heb. 2. 2, 3.

Quest. Have we not that which is called Quest. the Moral Law, administred to us by Christ in the Gospel, as a rule of Life to Believers? [Page 353] And if so, in what manner are we then to receive it?

Answ. 1. That we have the truth and sub­stance Answ. 1. That we have the truth and substance of the Law. of the Law administred in the Gos­pel, is without all ground or reason of question or doubt, because that Law was, and is Spiritual, Holy, Just, and Good; and there can be no better Law than that as a rule of holiness to the Saints; but in speaking to it, and opening thereof, I shall offer to consideration these four following things.

1. That the Law, as a ministration inYet, 1. As given by Moses, it is done a­way. the hand of, or as given by Moses from Mount Sinai, is done away and abolished, as it required righteousness unto Justifi­cation, Rom. 10. 4, 5. Though of it self it never justified any, but was indeed the mi­nistration of condemnation: for had it not re­quired a righteousness to Justification, it could not have been the ministration of condemnation; and on both these accounts it's done away to Believers, and abolished, 2 Cor. 3. 7, to 11. And on this account (as administred from Mount Sinai) it's done a­way as a rule; for as it was a rule of righte­ousness, so it became the ministration of condemnation, and so Believers are dead to it by the body of Christ, being espoused to him, as the Wife is free from the Law of her Husband, being dead, Rom. 7. 4, 6.

Yet, 2. Believers are not without the2. Believers are not without the Law. Law, but it is to them the rule of Holiness, [Page 354] as given by their Lord and Law-giver; and so is no ministration of condemnation to Believers, being in the hand of their Me­diator, he having fulfilled the righteous­ness thereof for us in his own person, actively in living up perfectly to it, and the penal part thereof for us in his sufferings; but that it is to Believers (as his Law, and given by him) a rule of Holiness, (is with­out all just ground of question) but not of righteousness unto Justification, but of Conversation, righteousness unto Justifica­tion being alone, by, and for the suffering sake of Christ.

Reasons why the Law, as in the hand of Christ, is a rule of Life to Believers.

1. Because it's so stated in the new Te­stament; 1 Tit. 1. 8, 9, 10, 11. For we know that the Law is good, if we use it lawfully, &c. For the Law is not made for a righteous man, &c. That is, righteous men are not under the Law, that is, under the rule and condem­nation thereof, as given by Moses, Rom. 6. 14. Because they are espoused to Jesus Christ by Faith, Rom. 7. 4. And so they perform all their obedience to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Law-giver; and that this is it the Apostle intends, 1 Tit. 1. 8, 9, 10, 11. is clear; ver. 10. If there be any thing else that is contrary to sound Doctrine; that is, the Law condemns what-ever is contrary to the sound Doctrine of the Gospel; as ver. 11. According to the glorious Gospel of the [Page 355] Blessed God, &c. That is, the Law of the glorious Gospel of the blessed God con­demns what-ever is contrary to it. The Law is brought forth in the glorious Gos­pel, and is become the rule of the blessed God to Believers; and who-ever walks contrary to it, must be condemned by our blessed Lord Jesus, who is the Lord of this blessed and glorious ministration, Rom. 13. 8, 9. 10. and 3. 31. Do we then make void the Law through Faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the Law. God forbid that any should have such thoughts; no, it establisheth the Law; and that, 1. In its Righteousness and Justice given in the old ministration, that it must be fulfilled for us, that we might be (through believing) justified from its con­demnation, and so that it might be fulfilled in us, and by us, as our Sanctification; Rom. 8. 4. That the Righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us, &c. That is, in us by believing and obeying Christ therein: and this the Apostle states in plain words, that he was under the Law to Ch [...]ist, 1 Cor. 9. 21.

2. The Law in it self, as given by God, is Spiritual, Holy, Just, and Good, Rom. 7. 12, 14. And we cannot expect a better rule of life for Sanctification, than a Spiritual, Holy, Just and Good Law; It's the manner of administring makes the difference, and not the matter in the substance thereof, the manner differs. It's given by Jesus Christ as Mediator, he ha­ving fulfilled the righteousness thereof, and [Page 356] born the penalty, by which means it's be­come his Law, and he hath it in his hand to give it forth as his Royal Law, as an holy rule for his people to serve him by.

3. It's that Law which in the substance thereof, requires that we should love the Lord our God with all our hearts, and our neigh­bours as our selves, Mat. 22. 37, 38, 39. And this must needs be the Law of the Gospel, if we will have any Law at all; it's true the Law required it, but the Gospel effects it, it effects what the Law required, 2 Cor. 5. 14. The love of Christ constrains us, that is, it maketh us willing to love and obey the Lord.

4. The Law in the matter thereof is per­petual, therefore not to be done away in the matter or substance, but in the manner of administring, as administred in the old Testament; that called the Moral Law, was the foundation of the Ceremonial and Judicial, they were both drawn out of the Moral; the Moral in the first part thereof required the worshipping of the one true God; the Ceremonial shews how this one God would be worshipped: the second part relates to the duties of men each to other; the Judicial opens those duties, with the penalty of the breach thereof, re­lating both to God and men.

And as it is in the hand of Christ, it is the same still; the Moral Law substantially is the foundation of all duty, as to the or­dering [Page 357] of the conversation; for the duty of it was never taken away, as it tends to holiness; and as it is in the hand of Christ, it calls for Faith in him, and obedience to him; for the rise of all duty was from the Law, which had its rise from the holy God, and sutable to its being opened, was to be obeyed.

And the perfection required in the holy and just Law of God, will be the perfection of Saints in Glory; perfection in love and holiness will be the glorious state of Saints; and (indeed) it was the great design of God in the Gospel, by Jesus Christ, to bring up a people to the spiritual perfection requi­red in the Law, which is begun here by Faith and Holiness, and shall be perfected in Glory.

So then this being the spiritual and per­fect rule of Holiness drawn by God Him­self, and presented to men as a character of that perfection he designed to bring up his people to by Jesus Christ, it remains in his hand as the foundation of all Law and Spirit working in the heart, for the gradual perfecting of the Saints therein.

To make this clear, that it is as to the matter thereof the same, and must be the same in the substance thereof; for it re­quires the owning and worshipping the one true God in Holiness, which is the du­ty of the Gospel, and will be the eternal duty and work of Saints in Glory. And [Page 358] Jesus Christ the Lord of this Gospel-mini­stration, and Mediator of the Gospel-cove­nant, gives us rules as to the manner how God will and must be worshipped; and to him are we bound to submit in all his Or­dinances and Institutions, about the man­ner and matter of his instituted Worship, and not turn back to the Mosaical Institu­tions: but now Christ gives rules in the Gospel, as the Ceremonial Law did under that ministration; and if we refuse Christs Institutions, and go back to Moses, we must lose our part and interest in Christ and the Gospel, Gal. 5. 2, 3, 4. And the Judicial Law we have from Christ, to curb sin and transgression, and to keep order in his Kingdom in this imperfect state: that is, the Order, Offices, and Government in his Church, his House, his Kingdom, and both rules of Worship and Discipline flows ori­ginally from the right of the Moral Law, as the Ceremonial and Judicial did, though now as a part of the new Covenant in the [...]and of Christ our Law-giver, or Statute­ [...]er, who writes it in the hearts of his [...] as in the Word of the Gospel.

[...]he [...]ourth thing mentioned to be con­ [...]d is, what Law it was that Christ ful­ [...]lled in his active and passive obedience; and for what sins it was that he suffered?

To this I answer, 1. That it was the Law given by the hand of Moses, and writ­ten in Tables of Stone, that Christ fulfil­led [Page 359] in his active and passive obedience, for and in behalf of sinners: and then it was for the sins committed against that Law, the truth hereof appears from Scripture; the Scripture speaks not of any other Law, that was the Law which Christ came to ful­fil, Mat. 5. 18. That was the Covenant and Law, God made with his people, cal­led the first Covenant, and as a Covenant and Ministration, was to be done away, Jer. 31. 31, 32, 33. Whether this Law was given to Adam before the fall, or written in him, I shall not dispute: It's that in which the Scripture is silent: if we suppose that it was written in him, we must likewise suppose it to be much inferior to the writing of the Law in the hearts of Be­lievers in the new Covenant; for he fell from his estate, and all we in him; but the Law of the new Covenant is so written in the heart, as that they shall never depart from him; it shall be their eternal perfection in Glory; and the design of God herein is, not to bring us back to Adam's first estate, who in his first and best estate was of the earth earthly, 1 Cor. 15. 47. But to the se­cond man, which is the Lord from Heaven. Yet I shall not question but that the whole Law might be included in that one insti­tuted Ordinance, Gen. 2. 17. As it was in that instituted Ordinance of Circumcision given to Abraham, Gen. 17. 10, &c. Com­pared with Gal. 5. 3. And in the Gospel, [Page 360] the instituted Ordinance of Baptism in­cludes the whole Law of the Gospel, Mar. 16. 15, 16. Gal. 3. 27.

And so that instituted Ordinance being broken, the Law might be the flaming Sword in the hand of the Angel, to keep the way of the tree of Life, that none could enter but by the Mediator; for the Law it was which stop­ped all entrance again to God, but by the Mediator; the Law it was that did curse for sin, and was the fiery administration of death; and this is the Law that Christ did bear the curse thereof for sinners.

2. And then it must necessarily follow, that Christ died for the transgressions that was against this Law ever since the fall of man, and not so properly in a meritorious way; for Adam's transgression against that instituted Ordinance, in eating the forbid­den fruit, for which death came in upon him and his posterity, and we are all under the execution of that sentence, which was especially the nihilating of the body, with the miseries attending that sentence in or­der thereunto, and an usher (though not the cause) to eternal misery.

For the eternal state of man is brought in by Jesus Christ, but that sentence past no further than this, Gen. 3. 19. Dust thou art, and to dust thou shalt return. There is not a word of eternal death in misery, but the undoing of what God had done, and the eternal estate came in by the death and re­surrection [Page 361] of Jesus Christ; eternal Life and Glory to such as believe and obey the Gospel, and death and condemnation to unbelievers for their sin against him, and not accepting his Grace, although he came not into the World until the fulness of time determined was come, Gal. 4. 4. Till then God accepted of sincerity of Faith and service, according to the time and means both of Jew and Gentile; yet still, as ha­ving respect to Jesus Christ; for God ac­cepted of no man after the fall, but rela­tive to the promised seed; and all saved ones shall know, that their Salvation is by him; and all condemned ones shall know that their condemnation is for sinning a­gainst Jesus Christ, else how shall he be the Judge of all: so that it followeth, that the sins for which Christ died, was the sins committed against the righteous Law and Gospel of God since the fall, and not so properly for Adam's particular sin by which he fell, (for that punishment passeth on all,) unless it be, that by his death and resurrection, he recovers all mankind out of that estate into which they fell. And this is a general redemption, by the death and resurrection of Christ the sentence of death past on all men; and Christ Jesus un­dertakes that sentence in behalf of all men, and riseth again, and so conquereth death in behalf of mankind, recovers the Malefactors from the power of death after [Page 362] the execution of the sentence, and so doth no wrong to the Law, nor Justice executed in that sentence. So that it's a truth, that the sins for which Christ suffered, was the sins of mankind since the fall. And this doth further appear.

1. That sin and trangression of Adam, by which death came into the World, is not mentioned in the Scripture to be the cause, or any part of the cause of Christ's suffering, unless, as was last mentioned.

2. The Scripture frequently expresseth the death and sufferings of Christ to be for the sins of the World, and for our sins, Adam's sins after the fall being included; Joh. 1. 29. Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the World; 1 Cor. 15. 3. How that Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scripture; 1 Pet. 3. 18. For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, &c. and Isa. 53. 5. With multitudes of Scriptures to this pur­pose that might be produced. And he di­ed for the sins and transgressions committed a­gainst the first Testament, Heb. 9. 15. i. e. the first after the fall; for mankind had done with that before the fall, except being under its execution:) for all the sins in the World have been in some sense (as hath been be­fore shewed) against that Testament and Holy Law, and against Jesus Christ, by whom all have subsisted since the fall; so that we may come to result in this mat­ter.

[Page 363]1. That Adam's transgression of an in­stituted Ordinance, was the cause and way by which sin and death came in upon all men, which should make all men tremble in the thoughts of making light of the instituted Ordinances of Jesus Christ.

2. That the Law by which sin hath con­tinued in the World, is the holy and righte­ous Will of God declared, according to the times, waies and means by himself de­termined; and that men of themselves, in their own wills, have constantly acted con­trary thereunto.

3. That Jesus Christ died to save men from the condemnation of their own sins against God, since the fall; and to recover all men out of that state of death into which they fell by Adam's transgression.

4. That the Holy Law of God in the hand of Christ our Mediator, is the holy rule of life to Believers; and that in which they should grow and increase till they come to Glory: to cleave to Jesus Christ in all the Laws of the new Covenant, as administred and given forth by him; in which is contained the essence and substance of the Law, and that in the highest and most glorious way of administring, till we come to Glory.

CHAP. XXII. Of Prayer.

AS God is, and is to be worshipped; so one great part of the worship of God is Prayer, thereby we acknowledge him to be, and our want of supply from him and his ability to help us, it is such a part of Gospel Worship which includes all gospel virtues in it, unto which the promise is made, Rom, 10. 13. from the Gospel-pro­mise, Joel 2. 32. Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved; in speaking distinctly to this matter, I shall endeavour to shew, 1. What Prayer is. 2. By whom it is to be performed. 3. That it is a duty of special concernment to be performed by those concerned in it. 4. The manner how it is to be performed. 5. The priviledges thereof and the incouragements thereunto, and the hinderances and discouragements that sometimes Christians meet with all in this service; and in these I shall be very brief, yet as plain and as full as brevity will permit.

1. What Prayer is. 1. More generally,What Pray­er is. Prayer includes Confession, Contrition, Pe­tition, Thanksgiving, and may be, and or­dinarily [Page 365] is performed all in one, and comes under that of Prayer, Dan. 9. 3, to 20. where under Prayer is included much of confessi­on and humble confession of spirit, with earnest petition: and Davids Psalms are cal­led sometimes Psalms, and sometimes Pray­ers, because both was contained in them, Psal. 72. 20. and good it is for the Saints to be much exercised in all these parts of prayer, that so much sutes our low condi­tions and needs, and the greatness and ma­jesty of him to whom we pray.

But I shall especially speak to the peti­tionary part of Prayer, that being most pro­perly and distinctly prayer, as that doctrine and rule of prayer prescribed by our Lord doth manifest, which consists especially in Petition; and on this account, prayer is the asking or begging something of God, in the name of Jesus Christ; that either our selves or others do want and stand in need of, either for body or soul, in things rela­ting to this life or that which is to come, Mat. 7. 7. to 11. Prayer is not appointed as a complementing work, but that the soul might therein and thereby go to God, in all holy and humble boldness, to make known its wants, and beg supplies and help in all cases of need; it is to come with all holy boldness to the throne of Grace, in the name of Jesus Christ in faith and expectation, in that way to receive from the Father what we truly need.

But more particularly as to the matter of Prayer. 1. It must be good and accor­ding to the will of God, if we fail in this we fail in all, for we have no promise of hearing, further then we pray according to his will, 1 John 5. 14. And this is the confi­dence that we have in him, that if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us. And this is one special work of the spirit in the hearts of Saints, to help them to pray ac­cording to the will of God, Ro. 8. 27. persons may pray in their own spirits, and be very earnest, and will have no nay for that which God would not have them, and it may be is not good for them, and he may give it them in judgement. I believe that many have experience of this truth at this day, as his people of old, Psal. 78. 18. They tempted God in their hearts, by asking meat for their lusts, v. 29. 30, 31. He gave them their hearts desire, but while the meat was in their mouths the wrath of God came upon them; they must have their lusts fulfilled, and their lusts they had, but in anger and in wrath, with vengeance for their lusting; so the same people Israel lusted for a King, and would have no nay, and God gave them their desire, Hos. 13. 11. I gave thee a King in my anger, and took him away in my wrath. It greatly behoves Christians to look to the matter what they pray for, that they pray for that which is good, for which they have some precept or promise, either gene­rally [Page 367] or particularly, and that too accor­ding to the terms thereof, either absolute or conditional, that is, of submission to the will of God relating either to thing or time.

1. What is absolutely promised, we may and ought absolutely to pray for, as Mor­tification of sin, Sanctification of Life, Preservation in the Faith, Perseverance in Grace to the end, with profiting under the various dispensations of God in the World, &c. All which comes under some special command or promise, either general or particular.

2. Some things we must pray for condi­tionally, with submission to the will of God, both relating to thing and time, as Health, Peace, deliverance from Affliction, prosperity in the world, &c. because these are things of worldly and temporary con­cernments, and not absolutely necessary to the life of the new Covenant, nor abso­lutely promised; Christ our Lord is an example to us in this matter, Mat. 26. 39, yet we may pray absolutely in this, so far as God hath promised, that is, Food and Rayment is promised, all these things shall be added to you, but worldly riches is not pro­mised, but Food and Rayment is promised, because your heavenly Father knoweth that you have need of these things; you cannot live nor subsist without them, nor serve God in the world without them: That was it [Page 368] which Jacob said, that if God would give him Food to eat, and Cloaths to put on, then God should be his God, because without it he could not live; if God would keep him alive he would live to God; so that for Food and Rayment we ought to pray in faith, and to believe the promise, all these things shall be added, Mat. 6. 33.

And as for Deliverance from Afflictions, Christians ought to pray absolute for sup­port under them, and profiting by them, and deliverance in the Lords time; time not the deliverance, and then you may be absolute, and that because you have the promise, Ps. 50. 15. Isa. 45. 17.

2. By whom this duty of Prayer is to be2. By whom it is to be performed. performed, and that is by believers, though I shall not question the common duty of all men in this matter, but none can perform it acceptably, but Believers, Justified persons; God first accepts the person before the ser­vice is accepted, it is the Prayers of a righte­ous man that availeth much, Jam. 5. 16. as for others, see what God saith, Ps. 50. 16, 17. As for the wicked, God saith, what hast thou to do to declare my Statutes, or that thou shouldst take my Covenant in thy mouth, &c. Prov. 15. 8. The Sacrafice of the wicked is abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is his delight, chap. 21. 27. it behoves every one to look to it, to have some ground of a Turance of relation to the Lord in the New Covenant, which will greatly imbolden the soul in [Page 369] this duty, although souls may cry and call and obtain too, when they lye under doubtings of interest, they may cry Abba Father; for the acceptation of our persons doth not consist in assurance of interest and relation, but in believing the Gospel and cleaving to the Lord therein, yet the high­er our assurance of interest and relation works, the more boldness and confidence will there be in Prayer; and sometimes sinkings in spirit on that account may in­crease fervency; but it is the duty of up­right ones to worship God, to pray unto him, and to praise him it becomes them; it is sutable to their high calling, it becometh the upright to be thankful, Ps. 33. 1. Praise is comely for the upright; all the wicked of the Earth, whose persons are unaccepted, their Prayers are abomination to the Lord; for without Faith it is impossible to please him, it was by Faith, that Abels Sacrifice was accepted, by which he obtained witness that he was righ­teous.

3. That Prayer is a duty of special concern­ment3. That its a special duty to be performed. to be performed by those concerned therein, that is believing, righteous, justified persons, the Children of God; and this appeareth, 1. From the manifold com­mands and Exhortations thereunto, a few of which I shall mention, Mat. 7. 7. A [...]k and it shall be given, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you; a plain command from our Lord, with a promise of answer, [Page 370] Eph. 6. 18. Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, &c. 1 Thes. 5. 17. Pray continually, Col. 4. 2. Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; by all which, and many other Exhortations in Holy Scripture it appeareth, that Prayer is the special duty of the Saints.

2. It appears from the frequent example of the Lords people throughout all ages, who were frequently exercised in this di­vine duty and work, as Abraham, Gen. 18. 23, to 33. Moses, Exod. 32. 30, 31, 32, & 33. 13 & 34. 91. Solomon, 1 King 8. 22. David, Ps. 5. 1, 2, 3. & 17. 1, 2, &c. & 55. 16, 17. in the New Testament, Christ himself was very often exercised in this work, Mat. 14. 23. Luke 6. 12. and Paul, Phil. 1. 9. Col. 1. 9. 1 Thes. 3. 10. The Apostles, Acts 4. 24. to 31. and the whole Church, Chap. 2. 42. with multitudes of like examples both in old and new Testament; all which confirms the truth, that it is the great duty and con­cernment of the Saints, according to the will of God, to be frequently exercised therein.

3. It appears to be a very acceptable ser­vice to the Lord when rightly performed, from the acceptance thereof which God hath manifested, and the returns that he hath made to the prayers of his people throughout all ages, wherein he hath ma­nifested himself to be well pleased with the faithful prayers of his people, in his [Page 371] hearing and answering of their prayers; see his answer to Abraham in his requests, Gen. 18. 21, to 33. to Moses, Exod. 32. 33, 34. & 33. 14. 17. to Jehoshaphat, 2 Chron. 20. 6, 15, 16, 17. to David, Psal. 18. 6, 7, 8. & 118. 5. I called upon the Lord in distress, he answered me and set me in a large place. In a word, the Lord never commanded his people to seek his face in vain, Isa. 45. 19. I said not to the seed of Jacob, seek ye me in vain; and of this his people hath had experience, and must say (if they speak true of him) as Moses, Deut. 4. 7. What Nation is there so great who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God in all that we call upon him for.

I may add 4. that an unpraying people are noted in Scripture to be a Graceless and Godless people; The workers of iniquity, Psal. 14. 4. Are a people that call not upon God; and Psal. 10. 4. The wicked in the pride of his coun­tenance will not seek after God; God is not in all his thoughts; wicked men, if they pray, it is but in form, and for fear, or custome and tradition, and not in faith and love with constancy, as gracious persons doth, Job 27. 10. speaking of the Hypocrite, will he always call upon God? No, he will not, it is of custome, or for fear, or to be seen of men, if he doth it at all; and as wicked men are a prayerless people, so it is a note of a Godly man to be a praying man. No sooner was Saul converted, but behold he prayeth, Acts 9. 11. which was given as a to­ken [Page 372] to Annanias that he was a converted man, and the Prophet deprecates against an unpraying people. Jer. 10. 25. Pour out thy fury upon the Heathen that know thee not, and upon the Families that call not upon thy name. Psal. 79. 6. by all which it appeareth, that prayer is the special duty of the people of the Lord.

The fourth particular relates to the man­ner4. The right manner of Prayer. of prayer, how it is to be performed, and in this are many requisites to be con­sidered to the right performance there­of.

1. We must pray in the Spirit, if we pray1. It must be in the spirit. in a right manner, not only with our own spirits, but in the spirit of Christ; there is a gift of prayer with large expressions, which Hipocrites may attain, and there is the spirit of prayer, which is proper only to sincere Christians, hence the Apostle saith, 1 Cor. 14. 15. I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also, Jud. v. 20. praying in the holy spirit, and this is the promise of God to give his people, the spi­rit of grace and of supplication, Zech. 12. 10. The spirit of Christ is a spirit of prayer, it enables those in whom it is to cry Abba Father, Rom. 8. 15. it helpeth both as to matter and manner, for we know not what to pray for as we ought.

Quest. How shall I know that I have this Quest. spirit of prayer?

Ans. We may know it in the matt [...]r and Answ. [Page 373] in the manner of our prayers. 1. In the mat­ter of our prayers when we are kept to, and helpt in the right matter of prayer; the matter you have heard, it must be good, and according to the will of God, when we are rightly lead in this matter, it is by the Spirit of Christ, Rom. 8. 26, 27. We know not what we pray for as we ought, &c. but the spirit helpeth our infirmities, and make intercessi­on for us according to the will of God. There is much in this, to have our hearts lead in the will of God in our praying. When persons run out in their own spirits and in their own wills, and it may be besides the matter of prayer, there is nothing of the spirit of Christ therein.

2. We then pray with the Spirit, when our own spirits are set at work in the duty; prayer by the spirit is not lip labour only, but heart work, when we (as we ought in all other services) in prayer, serve God with our Spirits, with our whole Heart, Rom. 1. 9. God is my witness whom I serve with my spirit in the Gospel of his Son, &c. Psal. 119. 10. With my whole heart have I sought thee, O let me not wander from thy Commandments; then have we the spirit of Christ in Prayer, when our whole heart is in the work, My Son give me thy heart; the Spirit works the heart to God according to his word, and in this note, that (ordinarily) when the spirit worketh in our hearts to the work, it works the heart beyond the words; and [Page 374] here lyeth the difference between Praying in the Spirit and without the Spirit; he that prayeth in the spirit, his spirit thereby out­runs his words, he is more in heart then in word, the spirit worketh in us with Groanings that cannot be uttered; that is, heart groanings and desirings beyond the expres­sions, but the other his tongue out runs his heart, he is far better at lip labour, then at heart work in Prayer.

3. Then we pray by the Spirit, and in a right manner, when we pray in Faith; be­leving, that is the right spirit of prayer; then pray we by the spirit, and in a right man­ner; for the spirit of Christ is the Spirit of Faith, 2 Cor. 4. 13. But having the same Spirit of Faith, &c. Mat. 21. 22. And all things what­soever ye shall ask in Prayer, believing, ye shall receive; so that to pray believingly, is the right manner of praying.

Quest. When may I be said to Pray Be­lievingly? Quest.

Answ. 1. When you believe understand­ingly Answ. and rightly, that the matter or things you pray for is according to the will of God.

2. When you believe that God will give you what you pray for, because it is according to his will, it is his will you should ask it, because it is his will that you should have it, and that you should thus believe in asking, see 1 Joh. 5. 14, 15.

Quest. Are there not some things that we Quest. ought to pray for, which we have no par­ticular ground for faith, that it shall be granted? we are commanded to pray for wicked men and enemies, Mat. 5. 44.

Answ. We ought to pray in such and like Answ. cases, because God requires it, and may and ought to pray in Faith, we ought to pray for what God hath promised, believ­ing that he will give it; and to pray for what he hath commanded us, believing, 1. That it is our duty because commanded. 2. That he will accept us therein, if not grant the thing prayed for; yet that he will assuredly answer us in returning our prayers into our own bosom. Ps. 35. 13. But as for me when they were sick my cloathing was Sackcloth, I humbled my self by fa [...]ting, and my prayer returned into mine own bosome; so that we ought to pray and believe that God will accept us, and make a return of our pray­ers to advantage; though in this and in many other cases we have no particular ground to believe an answer in the very thing prayed for, yet we ought to pray in Faith, not doubting the matter, o [...] Gods faithfulness in hearing and answer­ing, either in granting the things prayed for, or make a return to the souls advan­tage.

4. To Pray in a right manner is to pray4. It is to pray fer­vently. fervently (with heart fervency) and ear­nestly, not sluggishly and coldly, but [Page 376] zealously to have the heart affected in pray­er. Jam. 5. 16. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much; and its the work of the spirit to fill us with true zeal and fervency in prayer, when the soul will have no nay, like Jacob wrestling with God, Gen. 32. 26. I will not let thee go except you bless me. Hos. 12. 4. He had power with the Angel and prevailed, he wept and made suppli­cation. And this fervency consisteth not so much in multitudes of expressions, or loudness of voice, but in pouring out our souls to the Lord, and in strength of faith to prevail with him, Ps. 42. 4. When I re­member these things, I pour out my soul in me, & 25. 1. I lift my soul to thee, & 143. 8. Thus, in this and in every part of Gods service it behoves Christians to be fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; hence is prayer so fre­quently called in Scripture, crying from its fervency. Psal. 17. 1. & 34. 15. 17. &c.

5. To pray rightly, is to pray humbly5. To pray humbly. and self-abaseingly, and this is the proper work of the spirit to discover our own nothingness and needs unto us; this is a special requisite in prayer, Psal. 9. 12. He forgetteth not the cry of the humble, & 10. 12. Arise O Lord God lift up thine hand, forget not the humble; The fear of Gods greatness and goodness living in the heart, will tend (ve­ry much) to humble the soul in its addres­ses to him, and is very acceptable with [Page 377] him, Ps. 51. 17. The Sacrifices of God are a broken Spirit, a broken and a contrite heart O God thou wilt not despise; its that Prayer that comes from a humble and broken Spirit that is well pleasing to the Lord; the poor Publican that had nothing to say for him­self, But Lord be merciful to me a Sinner, was accepted, when the proud boasting Pharisce was rejected, Luke 18. 13. 14. Proud Per­sons, and Proud Prayers, are an abomina­tion to the Lord, but he will not forget nor despise the prayers of the humble.

6. To Pray in a right manner, is to pray6. Sincere­ly and not Hypocriti­cally. sincerely, and not hypocritically, and this can never be without sincerity and truth of heart to God-ward, in the main of Religi­on, Ps. 51. 6. Thou desirest truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden parts thou hast made me to know Wisdom, & 17. 1. Give ear unto my Prayer that goeth not out of feigned lips. Un­feigned Faith, and unfeigned Love, and unfeigned Obedience, and unfeigned Pray­er, is the Lords delight, he loveth that, he desireth truth in the inward parts, Psal. 145. 18. The Lord is nigh to all that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth; heart and tongue must go together, yea, and there had need be more in the heart then the tongue expresseth rather then less; an emp­ty hearted Christian performs empty ser­vice, makes empty airy prayers, and must expect empty returns, but truth and inte­grity reacheth Heaven, it being the spirits [Page 378] work to effect it, and truth alone is there imbraced.

7. To pray in a right manner is to pray7. To pray Briefly. Briefly, and without Tautologies, and this has beer the practice of all Saints through­out all Generations, and is the express command of our Lord, Mat. 6. 7, 8. But when we Pray use not vain repetitions, (or bab­ling or speaking idely) as the Heathens doe, for they think they shall be heard for their much speaking, be ye not therefore like unto them; for your Heavenly Father kn [...]weth what things you need before you ask them. In which are two things observable, 1. Our Lord forbids vain Repetitions, Tautoligies, and idle Talking in Prayer. 2. Much speaking, as if multitude of words would prevail with God; this is it he reproves in the Phari­sees as well as in the Heathen, their ma­king of long Prayers, Mat. 23. 14. and this he forbids in his Disciples, in warning them not to be like the Heathen, who think to be heard for their much speaking; it is much speaking in Prayer that Christ re­proves, as well as vain speaking, and that appeareth, 1. From the argument used to inforce the Exhortation, Your Father know­eth the things ye have need before ye ask, there­fore you need not have much speaking a­bout the matter. 2. The pattern of pray­er presented by Christ in the verses follow­ing, as an example of the substance and bre­vity in prayer.

3. The example of Christ Himself in Prayer, Matt. 26. 39. The exhortation of the Wise man, Eccl. 5. 2. According to which we find the Prayers of the Saints to be both brief, and full of matter, through­out all Generations, Ex [...]d. 33. 12. and 16. 2. 2 Chron. 20. 5▪—12. [...]an. 9. 3 19. [...] 1 King. 8. 22.—is the longest we read of, on a spe­cial occasion; yet without vain repetiti­ons; Acts 4. 24. All which confirms the truth, that it's a right manner of praying to pray briefly; and this cannot be done truly but by the Spirit: Christ would not have his to think, that enumerating words like the Heathens, or Papists, or Hipocrites, that pray by number, and length of time, and multitude of words, is prevalent with God; but to pray briefly, and understandingly, according to the word and work of the Spirit.

8. To pray in a right manner, and by the8. In the fear of God. Spirit, is to pray in the fear of God; as the fear of God is a choice new Covenant Ver­tue to dwell in the heart alwaies, so espe­cially when the soul addresseth it self to God in Prayer, to do it in the holy awe of the Lord; Psal. 5. 7. As for me, (saith the Prophet) I will come into thine house in the multitude of thy Mercies, and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy Temple. It's a choice frame of Spirit, to serve the Lord with fear in all the parts of his service, and espe­cially in this of Prayer, To serve him with [Page 380] Reverence and Godly fear. They are the per­sons that God will accept, and answer their Prayers, Ps. 145. 19. He will fulfill the desire of them that fear him, he will hear their cry, and save them.

9. To pray in a right spirit, and so in a9. To pray holily. right manner, is to pray holily, with a de­sire of holiness, and a design for hol [...]ness; 1 Tit. 2. 8. I will that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubt­ing. To lift up holy hearts, and holy hands, is well pleasing to the Lord; Psal. 86. 2. Preserve my soul, for I am holy; that is, I am sanctified to thee, and am one of thine ho­ly ones, and do love holiness, and design holiness; this is absolutely necessary in Prayer, Ps. 66. 18. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me. Unholy Pray­ers are not like to have any acceptance with, or answer from the Lord, to pray and sin, and sin and pray, as if persons in Prayer did design to ask leave to sin, to be cove­tous and oppressing, to be proud, vain, and prophane, such Prayers the Lord abomi­nates, Isa. 58. 3, 4. They fasted, and pray­ed, but their design was not for holiness, but for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness; this shall never cause their voice to be heard on high: No, God heareth not sinners: that is, those who held themselves servants to their lusts, that design not ho­liness; Chap. 59. 2, 3. Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your [Page 381] sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

10. To pray in a right manner, and by10. It must be in the Name of Christ. the Spirit of Christ, is to pray in the name of Christ, to offer up all our Prayers to God in his Name, and not in our own Name, or on the account of any worth that is in our selves; this is essential to a right manner of Praying; for there is no acceptation of our persons or services out of him; Col. 3. 17. Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus: that must be the manner of our doing: Joh. 16. 23. Ʋerily I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my Name, he will give it you; that is, that is good, and according to his will; ver. 26. And this is by the Spirit of Christ, for it is the spirit of the Gospel that leads us to Jesus Christ, and to the Father by him: but the question will be, What it is to pray to the Father in the Quest. Name of Christ?

Answ. 1. To come to the Father in the Answ. Name of Christ, is to come to him in the authority of Christ; though Prayer be a common duty to man, as related to God his Creator; yet on the new Covenant ac­count, true Believers stand related to God in Christ, on the account of Redemption; and that is the Service and Prayer I am speaking of; and we must perform every duty to God, by virtue of his authority, as our Lord and Law-giver, in the new and [Page 382] everlasting Covenant; so that we are to perform this and every service in his Name, that is, in his authority, by virtue of his commission and command, Matt. 7. 7. 8. John 16. 26.

2. To Pray in the Name of Christ, is to offer up our Prayers to the Father, as per­sons interessed in Christ by Faith, accord­ing to the Word, believing and expecting acceptance with the Father for the sake of Christ, and not for any worth in our selves; Jesus Christ, Son to the King of Glory, be­ing our only way of acceptance, both of our persons and services: therefore we must by Faith in all our addresses to the Throne of Grace, have respect to Jesus, as our way, and as upon the Throne for us, to plead our cause, and to present the per­sons and services of his people in himself to the Father; he is our friend in the Court of Heaven, and to pray the Father in his Name, is to pray the Father for his sake to accept us, and grant our requests; because by the Law of the new Covenant we belong to him, and are the children of God by Faith in him. And the reason why we must offer up all in the Name of Christ is, because we are imperfect, and our ser­vice imperfect, and can have no acceptance but in him, and for his sake, who is perfect, 1 Pet. 2. 5.

11. As an effect of this acceptation in11. To pray boldly. our dear Lord, and for his sake, a right [Page 383] Gospel way of praying is, to pray boldly; an holy, humble boldness becometh Chri­stians, and God is well pleased therewith: He would have them come with boldness to the Throne of Grace, Heb. 4. 16. He having opened such a new and living way, so full of Grace, he would have his children to know it, and improve it with all holy and hum­ble boldness, and confidence, believing his readiness and willingness to hear and an­swer the prayers of his people: God would have his people to exercise so much Faith in the way of the Gospel, that new and living way, as to command of him what he hath promised to give, because he hath of his own Grace bound himself to it by his new Covenant Law promise, and he takes it as Glory to his Name, for his peo­ple to believe that he will not, cannot with-hold what he hath promised: there­fore Believers ought to come to God with holy boldness, and humble claiming their right, by Grace, in the blessings, and bles­sed things promised in the new Covenant, as the Apostles, Acts 4. 24. to 31.

12. To pray in a right manner, is to12. Be con­stant. pray constantly, and not to faint and give over: if you wax weary, either through a carnal carelesness and sluggishness, or fainting for fear of not being answered, it's the way to lose all; and as a necessary ingredient to constancy, and persevering herein, you must add patience; Ps. 40. 1. I [Page 384] waited patiently for the Lord, and he inclined un­to me, and heard my crie: that is, it was long before I had an answer; but I waited long, and patiently, and had my desire in the end. Christ put forth that Parable, Luke 18. 1.—to this very end, That men ought alwaies to pray, and not to faint; to assure us, that if we wax not weary, God will hear and an­swer in the end; Rom. 12. 12. Continuing instant in Prayer; Eph. 6. 18. Praying al­waies with all supplication in the spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance. This is a duty that Saints must persevere in while they are in this World, it's the way in which God will be worshipped, and they have daily need of mercy from him: as for times of Prayer, there is publick and pri­vate Prayer in Church, in Family, and in Closet, all which ought to have its time. The Prophet fixes on the morning, Ps. 5. 3. and 55. 17. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and crie aloud, and he shall hear my voice. O that Christians would lay this to heart, and not bethink time to spend in this holy and heavenly service to con­verse with God; but according to the ex­hortation, 1 Thes. 5. 17. To pray without cea­sing, that is, without being weary, or giving over, or neglecting so holy, acceptable, and needful a service: it is a note of an hipo­crite, that does not alwaies call upon God, Job 27. 10. but by fits and starts, when he hath a mind to it; or for fear, in time of dan­ger, [Page 386] or the like; but it is not constant and sincere with God in the work.

5. I come to the priviledges of this du­ty5. The pri­viledges of Prayer, and En­courage­ments. of Prayer, and encouragements there­unto to those that rightly perform it. As it is a duty, so there is much of priviledg in it; and for such as are capable to a right performance of the duty, by how much they live in the neglect thereof, so much do they forsake their own mercy.

The first priviledg is access with accep­tance1. Access with accep­tance. at the Throne of Grace, To come with boldness to the Throne of Grace, to pour out our souls to God, to make known our weakness, wants, and wrongs, and to ob­tain mercy; a priviledg which no carnal, unconverted person in the World hath to do withal; Ps. 50. 16. Prov. 28. 9.

2. To have power with God, when2. Have power with God. rightly performed, and this have the Saints had experience of throughout all Gene­rations: Jacob the great Wrastler, who had power with God, and prevailed; Gen. 32. 24.—28. With Hos. 12. 3, 4. By his strength he had power with God, yea, he had power over the Angel, and prevailed; he wept, and made sup­plication unto him. Moses likewise had pow­er with God, and prevailed for his people, when God bid him let him alone; Exod. 32. 10. Let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them; yet Moses would not let God alone in this matter, but besought the Lord God, and said, &c. ver. 11, 12, 13. and pre­vailed [Page 386] with God; ver. 14. That he said unto him, ver. 34. Go lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee; behold, mine Angel shall go before thee, &c. I might speak of Jehosophat, 2 Chron. 20. David, Psal. 34. 4. Daniel, Chap. 9. 3, to 23. With multitudes of others that I might mention in holy Scripture, that have prevailed with God in this way, and indeed it is the pri­viledg of all the Saints; God will be com­manded by them, when they pray accord­ing to his will revealed in his Word; Isa. 45. 11. Jam. 5.—16, 17. When the Prayer of the wicked shall be turned into sin, Ps. 9. 7. and abomination, Prov. 15. 8. and reproach, Isa. 66. 3.

3. To have what they will of God, as3. To have what they will. an effect of this prevalency with him; Mat. 7. 7, 8. Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, &c. Joh. 14. 13. Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my Name, that will I do, and 15. 7. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you. Here is a priviledg for pray­ing Saints; it is but ask and have; Ask what you will, and ye shall have it, only re­member the rules before prescribed, keep in Gods will, let his will be yours, and let this be the rule of your praying, and then ask what you will, and it shall be done; and his will is a good and perfect will in all things, and alwaies wills that which is best for his people: so that a Christian that [Page 387] lives in the will of God, may say truly, that he hath his will granted at all times.

4. Priviledg is free converse and com­munion4. Converse and commu­nion with God. with God in Jesus Christ, as a Son with a Father, with heart, delight and joy. It's said, Exod. 33. 11. That God talked with Moses face to face, as a man talketh with his friend. Prayer is a talking with God face to face, as with a Father, and a friend; Abraham was called the friend of God, Jam. 2. 23. And talked with God; Gen. 18. 23. And ye are my friends, saith Christ, if ye do whatsoever I command you; Joh. 15. 14. Pray­er is to the Saints a son-like and friendly conversing with God, who is a consuming fire to his enemies, but a Father and a friend in Jesus Christ to his children, who have this priviledge to come boldly to him, to have access with acceptance at his Throne of Grace, and to commune with him about the great things of his will, re­lating to his Glory, and their own eternal welfare, according to the Gospel of his Grace in Jesus Christ: priviledges they are, unto which all carnal hearts (though wise in the World's wisdom) are strangers too, their souls come not in sight of these se­crets. O that all sincere hearted Christians did more study, prize, and improve this Mercy.

Though these priviledges are all en­couragements to this duty, and who, or what Christian soul, interested in such [Page 388] Grace and favour, can neglect a duty atten­ded with such soul-advantages; it's the way to maintain friendship with God: per­sons that are negligent in this duty, grow carnal, and estranged from God, and liable to reproof and judgment: it was the sin that Job's friends supposed him to be guilty of, as the cause of his affliction; Job 15. 4. Yea, thou castest off fear, and restrainest Prayer before God. But I add to these, as a further encouragement.

5. The great and precious promises of5. The great and preci­ons promi­ses made unto pray­ing people. God made to this duty, should wonder­fully encourage gracious souls to a fre­quent and faithful performance thereof, not only the promises of hearing and an­swering of the Prayers of his people; Ps. 50. 15. Matt. 7. 7. Joh. 15. 7. Jam. 1. 5. If any man want wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him: but the promise of Salvation is made unto it, being performed according to the rules prescribed, which includes all the virtues of the new Cove­nant, unto which the promises are made; Joel 2. 32. And it shall come to pass, that who­soever shall call on the Name of the Lord shall be saved: which intends new Covenant de­liverance and salvation, compared with, Rom. 10. 13, 14. New Covenant spirited praying people are under the promise of Salvation; therefore let all new Covenant spirited people be encouraged to this work [Page 389] and duty, as one of the most noble, Son-like parts of Christians obedience, full of spiri­tual advantage to the soul, as well as Ho­nour and Glory to God.

6. And lastly, I shall speak something6. Lastly of the hinde­rances and discourage­ments of Prayer. 1. That it is not a du­ty but a pri­viledge on­ly. to some of the hinderances and discou­ragements that Christians meet with all sometimes in the performance of this du­ty.

1. Sometimes with some persons, a re­ceived Principle, that Prayer to God is no duty, nor ought not so to be performed, but only as a priviledge or liberty, or at most if a duty, yet not to be performed by Christians, without some more then ordi­nary movings thereunto by the Spirit of Christ; and that without this it is but for­mal and fleshly, &c. And from hence they neglect this duty.

In answer hereunto, and to help the soul out of this mistake; consider and ponder well, 1. That Prayer is a duty, and is fre­quently so stated in the Scripture (as hath been before proved) and ought so to be practised, Mat. 7. 8, 9, 10. and this noti­on runs contrary to and thwart the law of the New Covenant, and so cannot be of God, and whence then it is you may easily judge.

2. Its a Notion never mentioned by Christ or his Apostles in the Scriptures, who were frequently exercised in this work according to time, place, and opportunity, [Page 390] therefore an unscriptural and new founda­tion, and not of God.

3. The event discovers it whence it is, intending to make such persons to become Prayerless, and so by deg [...]ees (if grace pre­vent not) graceless persons, woful experi­ence hath taught us the truth of this; its a temptation that gracious persons have met withall, and have suffered much of loss thereby, on the spiritual account, it being the Devils design under any pretence, to work off souls from this duty. Yet fourth­ly, it concerns Christians to perform it as a duty, and in spirit too, the duty destroys not, nor hinders spiritual service, and in­deed it cannot be spiritual where it is not performed to God in conscience as duty; prayer with and in the spirit is a duty, pray­ing always in the holy spirit, and pray without ceasing, &c. and where it is in conscience to God performed by believers, the holy spi­rit is never wanting to doe his office, if we are faithful to our duty; therefore be ex­horted to be faithful in your duty, and be sure you shall not want the Spirit of Christ to assist you in this or any other service of his.

2. Others are discouraged in this dutyThe sense of sin. from the sense of their sinfulness, their cor­rupt natures. O saith the soul, I see such a body of death, such a mass of corruption attending me daily, that I am afraid to pray or to go to God as to a Father; for I see ini­quity [Page 391] cleaves to my best services, and I can­not pray without [...]n, and therefore better not pray at all. To this I say, 1. That its a mercy to have the true sight and sence of sin, with a loathing thereof, and this hath been and is the case of the most holy justi­fied persons in the world, Rom. 7. 24. O [...]retched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death▪ to be without the sence of Sin, that is the true misery and most dan­gerous condition.

2. Art sensible of thy Sin and Sinful Na­ture, Man, Woman, and is that thy burthen in good earnest? Why, then Pray the more, and cry the more unto God in the name of Christ for Pardon, for Power to mortifie thy sins and sin [...]l nature, and be not dis­couraged because of thy sinfulness; indeed if you like and love thy sins, then tremble, God will not hear thee, but if you hate and abhor thy corruptions, and thy self be­cause thereof, then be not discouraged, but go to God repentingly and believingly, and Pray God, in the name of Jesus Christ, for pardon and power against thine iniquities; and this know, that if thou wilt not pray till thou hast no sin, thou art never like to pray here in this world, nor wouldst thou have need to pray hadst thou no sin. Remem [...]er the Prophet made this an argument to pray the more and more earnest, because of his sin, Psal. 25. 11. For thy Name sake O Lord pardon mine iniquity, for it is great.

Quest. Why did Christ Pray then who had Quest. no sin?

Answ. 1. Though he had no sin of his Answ. own, yet he was to encounter with all the sins of the world, to bear our sins, and to encounter with Justice, and satisfie that, and to conquer all the enemies of poor sin­ners, even death it self, and therefore no wonder if he was much in Prayer.

2. He was a pattern to us in this matter, that we might learn of him and find support for our souls in all difficulties by Faith and Prayer.

A third hinderance in this duty of Pray­er3. Want of expressions. is, want of words and expressions: O saith the Soul, I want the gift of Prayer, had I words and expressions as some have, I should be incouraged in the work, but I want words to express my mind, I am so weak on that account, that I am discou­raged in the work, &c.

Answ. To this I shall say, 1. this may come to pass through thine own negligence and sluggishness, want of use is ordinarily at­tended with debility in any duty or ser­vice, the Sluggard saith, a Lyon is in the way, and so sitteth still, from a supposition of difficulty, but up and be doing, and the Lord will be with thee; this the Lord fore­saw, the backwardness and sluggishness of his people, therefore hath he given so many commands unto it, and promises to the incouragement of a right performance [Page 393] thereof, I say set about the work in obedi­ence to him, and thou shalt not be without his assistance.

2. If thou hast the Spirit of Prayer (as that thou hast in some measure, if thou be a Christian in truth, for if any man have not the spirit of Christ he is none of his) Then be not discouraged though thou hast but little of the gift of utterance, men may have the gift without the spirit, although where­soever spirit and gift goes together, it is of choice use for the Church; yet be not dis­couraged, for God accepts his children accor­ding to what they have, and not according to what they have not; therefore if thou canst make known thy wants and weaknesses, though thy language be not eloquent, yet groan it, and cry it out before the Lord who knoweth the meaning of the Spirit; for where the spirit of Christ is, it will help to cry, Abba Father, and know that as a Father de­lighteth more in the stammering and bro­ken language of his little Child, then in the most composed speech of the most excel­lent Orator; yea, and it may be more then in the most accute language of his own grown Children; so doth God, the Father of all Believers, delight in the Prayers of his own poor weak Children, coming from sincere hearts and faith unfeigned, more then in the most excellent language of the Hy­pocrite or Stranger, and as much as in the well ordered Prayers of his own more [Page 394] grown and gifted children; therefore be not discouraged in this matter, and if thy Father see it best in thy faithful exercise of what thou hast, he will give you in­crease.

3. It may be thy Father seeth that the Spirit of Prayer without much of gift is best for thee, to keep thee humble and low­ly; it may be thou wouldst be proud and ruine thy self if thou hadst such gifts as some others have, but he knows what is best, and gives sutable to our abilities, though its true, that abilities to a right use of gifts, are of him likewise.

4. We are to know, that God gives his gifts variously and differingly as he plea­seth, and that for the use and edification of the Church, for that indeed is the great end and use of gifts, and he never intended to give to all his children gifts for publick service in the Church; are all Prophets, &c. no, t [...]y are not, Some are Prophets or Spiritu­al, and others are reputed as ignorant, that is without gift for publick service, but must rather learn, 1 Cor. 14. 37, 38. of which are Women in general, and many Men likewise; therefore be content with what God hath given thee and faithfully improve that, and in so doing, thou shalt not only meet with acceptation, but (it may be) with in­crease.

For there are ways for use and improve­ment of Christians gifts, though not in a [Page 395] publick way on a Church account, that is inclosed and in family duties, and in pri­vate with Brethren and Members, Mat. 18. 19, 20. therefore note this by the way.

1. That it is a weakness for weak Bre­thren, that have not a gift of publick use for edification to put themselves on pub­lick imployment when it is neither profita­ble to the Church, nor honourable to the Lord. 2. That its the Churches weakness to urge Publick Duty on Private Spi­rits.

A fourth hinderance and discouragement4. No re­turn of prayer. in Prayer is, may the soul say, I have pray­ed often and waited long, but I doe not find that I have any answer or return of my Prayers, but rather the contrary, God seems to go over all my Prayers, and to work con­trary to my Prayers, and to write bitter things against me; the more I pray the worse it seems to be, and what should I do in this matter?

Answ. 1. In General, if it be so indeed, as you suppose, yet be not discouraged, it is no otherwise then sometimes hath been the dealings of God with his people for­merly, as appears by their complaint in this matter, Psal. 13. 1, 2. How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord, for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me? how long shall I take coun­cell in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemies be exalted over me? yet the Prophet giveth not off, but praye [...] [Page 396] still, ver. 3. Consider and hear O Lord my God, lighten mine eyes lest I sleep the sleep of death. And further the Lord did not only seem to forget and not hear the Prayers of his Ser­vants, but to be angry with the Prayers of his people, Psal. 80. 4. O Lord God of Hosts, how long wilt thou be angry with the prayers of thy people? See ver. 5. 6. and ver. 7. 14. He continueth Praying still, Turn us again, O God of Hosts, look down from Heaven and visit this Vine, &c. so that if the case be thus yet, be not discouraged, but pray still and faint not, the Lord proveth the faith and pati­ence of his People, for he hath not said to the House of Jacob, seek ye me in vain; and remem­ber that it is a note of a graceless person to give off, and to say, it is in vain to serve the Lord, and what profit is it that we have walked mo [...]rnfully before him, Mal. 3. 14. But it often comes to pass, that God doth not an­swer the Prayers of his people from several just grounds which I shall endeavour to shew as followeth.

1. It may be thou Prayest for that whichGrounds of Gods not answering Prayer. God will not give, or for that which he hath not promised, or at least not promised it in the way, and at the time that thou wouldst have it; so did Moses that servant of God pray for that which God would not give him, and then it is in vain to pray a­gainst the will of God; see this in Deut. 3. 23, 26. Moses besought the Lord that he might not die, but that he might live and [Page 397] go into the goodly Land; but God had de­signed the contrary, and would not answer his Prayer, ver. 26. The Lord was wrath with me for your sakes, and would not hear me, and the Lord said unto me, let it suffice thee, speak no more to me of this matter, &c. So that when the people of God ask of him things that he will not give them, but hath determi­ned the contrary, its in vain then to ask, see the like, Jer. 7. 16. Pray not thou for this People, neither lift up cry nor Prayer for them, neither make Intercession nor Prayer for them, for I will not hear thee.

Or secondly, if thy Prayer be right in all things in this matter, he may answer thee and thou not know it. For 1. God does not always answer the Prayers of his people in the same things they pray for, and yet answer them in that which is equivalent, that is as good and better then that which they prayed for, for God knoweth what is good, and giveth the best good to his peo­ple. Thus Moses prayed, Exod. 33. 18. Lord I beseech thee shew me thy Glory; he asked too much of God, not too much for God to grant, but too much for Moses to receive; if he should have had his desire, it would have killed him, ver. 20. And he said thou canst not see my face, for there shall no man see me and live. But God answered him in that which was better for him in his pre­sent capacity, that is, the sight of his goodness which should suffice him till he was [Page 398] capacitated to see his glory, Ex. 34. 6, 7. So likewise Paul, 2 Cor. 12. 7, 8, 9. he pray­ed thrice to be rid of the Thorn in the Flesh the messenger of Satan that buffeted him, and the Lord answered him not in the very thing, but in that which was as good and better, My Grace is sufficient for thee, [...]ay strength shall be perfected in weakness; and this the Apostle took for a good and full an­swer, most gladly will I therefore glory in mine infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me, &c. So it may be thou hast prayed o­ver and over, again and again, to be delive­red from afflictions and persecutions, and yet they increase daily, and thou thinkest God hath not heard thee, but if he assure thee that his Grace shall be sufficient to bear thee up under all that he hath done, and will bless thee with strength in thy Soul, that is enough and a gracious answer, and that he will deliver in his time, for this he hath promised; it may be thou hast been wrestling and praying against thy corrup­tions of nature, and crying out as the Apo­stle, O wretched man that I am, who will deli­ver me? And when shall I be delivered, &c. and yet canst not be rid of them, but some of these Canaanites do still remain, and so thou thinkest that God does not hear thee, but if he lead thee thereby, the more to Je­sus Christ, to see the need thou hast of him, and the salvation that is in him, keeping up the warfare still, and keeping humble in [Page 399] the sense thereof, believing the full delive­ring in the end; it is a gracious answer that will fill the soul with joy, Rom. 7. 25. Thanks be unto God through Jesus Christ my Lord. The like may be said in many other cases, Christians may seek good things of God, and he may answer them in other things, even cross to expectation, yet best for them; they may seek Riches, and he may give them Poverty; they may seek prosperity, and he may give them adversi­ty; they may seek life, and he may give them death; and yet give them that which is good and best for them.

Or thirdly, It may be thou hast not pray­ed in a right manner, which is so necessary a requisite in Prayer (as hath been before shewed) as that without it we may not ex­pect any answer from God, that is, to pray with the spirit understandingly, believing­ly, humbly, &c. but in thine own spirit, if not in thine own name, and then no won­der if thou hast no return of thy Prayers from God, for he regardeth the manner as well as the matter of the prayers of his people, he will be sought in the due man­ner, or else he will reprove and cross his people in the service; 1 Chron. 15. 13. The Lord our God made a breach for that we sought him not after the due order. God hath re­spect to manner and order, in all his wor­ship, and when his people miss there [...]n, he will meet with them in way of reproof.

Or 4ly, it may be thou hast had wrong ends in thy Prayers, and that hath hinder­ed thy success; there are two great ends to be sought in our Prayers, that is, the Glory of God, and the good of our selves and others; and if thou miss in the end of seeking, thou missest of all, it may be thou hast prayed for Conquest over thy Lusts, for the increase of the gifts and Graces of Christ, that thou mayest be accounted some body in Profession, gifts of Ministery, that thou maiest be Esteemed and have a Name, &c. if God give them, it will be to thy wrong; this is minded, Jam. 4. 3. Ye a [...]k and receive not, because ye ask amiss, to be­stow it upon your lusts. God sees that your desires granted would [...]uine you; you pray for deliverance from Affliction, not that you may glorifie God, but that you may live at ease, and see no sorrow; you pray for worldly injoyments, when (per­haps you have enough before, and more then you do well use for the Glory of God) to bestow it upon your lusts, like Israel of old, Psal. 78. 18. who ever thus misses in their ends in praying, must expect to miss of obtaining, or else if they have their de­sire it will be to their spiritual loss and dammage; he grante [...] his peoples desi [...]es, when they asked meat for the [...]r lu [...]ts, but he sent leanness into their souls. I am afraid that there are many rich Christians that are grown fat and rich in the World, but are [Page 401] grown lean in their Souls, and others like the Church of Corinth grow rich in gifts, but poor in Grace, that he could not write to them as to spiritual, but as to carnal, even as to Babes in Christ, and notwithstanding all their gifts had need to be instructed in that excellent vertue and way of love; O all ye Churches and Ministers, remember this, Gifts without grace to a right use thereof, is but like to a Jewel of Gold in a Swines Snout.

Fifth and Finally, or else sin may be the cause why God doth not hear and answer your Prayers; Men Pray and Sin, and Sin and Pray, and wonder why God doth not hear them; but if men allow themselves in sin, God will not hear them. I intend not the common infirmities of nature, watched over and warred against by the Saints, that shall not hinder their Prayers; Jam. 5. 17. but sins lived in and owned, unrepented of, surely God will not here such, Psal. 66. 18. If I regard iniquity in mine heart, God will not hear me; it is the iniquity of the heart and hands that makes a separation between God and the Soul, Psal. 49. 5. Why should I be afraid of evil, when the iniquity of my heels do compass me about. It is not the iniquity of our heels that should make us afraid, but the iniqui­ties of our hands; the iniquities of ou [...] heels are such as we shun and run from, such as we hate and war against; but the iniqui­ties of our hearts and hands are such as we [Page 402] love, follow after, catch it, and hold it fast, plead for it, that is the iniquity that will stop your Prayers, and the influence of Gods Grace to your Souls; Isa. 58. 3. They complained they had fasted and pray­ed, and sought God, but he did not hear, nor take notice of them; the cause see, ch. 59. 1, 2. Behold the Lords hand is not shortned that it cannot save, nor his ear heavy that it cannot hear, but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you that he will not hear. O its sin and iniquity that puts a stop to our Prayers, and causeth God to hide his face that he will not hear, and this the Church was sensible of; and O that we were more sensible then we are, Mich. 7. 9. I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, &c. If souls once come to be sensible of sin, that it is the cause of af­fliction, and of Gods indignation against his own people, and hinders the preva­lency of their Prayers; they would cer­tainly search out the sins which are the cause, and humble themselves, and turn from their iniquities, and patiently to wait and bear till he turn to them in mercy.

Quest. What Sins are they that ordi­narily Quest. causeth God to pass over the pray­ers of his people, and to refuse to hear but rather to afflict them?

Answ. 1. All sins of the heart and hands Answ. [Page 403] have the same effect, but I shall mention some more remarkable sins, for which the people of God hath been afflicted, and a­gainst which he hath manifested his dis­pleasure.

1. That sin of Covetousness and world­ly mindedness, the common bait by which the Devil deceiveth souls, that steals a­way the hearts of Christians (if Grace prevent not) to their spiritual and effectu­al ruine, or at best to their great loss on the spiritual account, and oft times on the outward account likewise, stopping and hindering their prayers, and drawing down Judgment both upon themselves and others. Isa. 57. 17. For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wrath, and smote him, I hid my face and was wrath, and he went on frowardly in the way of his own heart, &c. O that we had not cause to say, that this ini­quity prevails at this day; and though God smites and smites at this iniquity, as is evident by the manner of his smiting, yet whether he hath not cause to say, he went on frowardly in the way of his own heart. O who is it that reforms and returns to him that smiteth, but rather quarrel at the rod, and cry out for deliverance, but keep fast the sin that is the cause there­of; surely God will make us sick with smiting before he hath done, if there be no reformation.

2. Pride is another crying abomination, [Page 404] for which God hath a controversie with his people, self conceit, pride of heart, pride in Apparel, pride of riches; O this dam­nable hell born sin, is like to prove the ruine of multitudes, for its followed after and pleaded for, rushing into the new in­vented and deuised fashions, to the disho­nour of God, and shame of Religion, and undoing of poor souls; the Lord may justly for these things complain as of his people of old; Hos. 5. 5. The Pride of Israel doth testifie to their face; and he is at work with his people at this day for these abo­minations.

O that Professors in the City of London would lay these things to heart, from whence prophaneness in this matter is come forth into all the nation; Pride was Sodom sin, and likewise the sin of spiritual Sodom and Aegypt Rev. 18. 12, 13. & 17. 4. Let all the Sons and Daughters of Sion, tremble in the thoughts of living in the practise of Sodoms abominations; and o [...] the contrary, be ye cloathed with humillity; that is, let all your carriages and behavi­ours, your words and works, your gesture and apparel, shew forth humility, and prove the Lord if he hath not a blessing in store for you.

3. Loss of first love both to God and one to another, and loss of zeal for God, his name and truth in the earth; this is it for which God hath a controversie with his people, and will not hear them cry, they [Page 405] never so loud, and make they never so ma­ny prayers, Rev. 2. 4, 5. Thou hast lost thy first love, remember from whence thou art faln and repent, and do thy first works, or else I will come unto thee quickly, and remove thy Candle­stick out of his place, except you repent; it is repentance God expects, before he will hear and answer our prayers, for it is these and the like sins that doth hinder the pre­vailing of our prayers, that they can have no enterance at the throne of Grace. See these sins more fully described Chap. 29.

CHAP. XXIII. Of Perfection; and whether it may be at­tained in this Life.

PErfection in the new Covenant Restau­ration and Life, is a Glory to be be­lieved beyond what we do, or can yet know or injoy. But in as much as there are great mistakes about this matter, and the word perfect being frequently used in the Scrip­ture, and abused by ignorant and erring persons, by reason of which serious souls may be (and many are) put to a loss in this matter; I shall endeavour to clear up this truth according to the best light that I have (through Grace attained herein, for the advantage of others: in which I shall endeavour, 1. To clear up the various use and import of the word perfect, as used in the holy Scripture, and how far perfection is attainable here. 2. To prove that per­fection in the highest intention, is not at­tainable in this life.

1. The various use and import of theThe various import of the word sincere. word perfect, as used in the Scriptures; 1. Sometimes it imports sincerity and truth in the inward parts; he that is a sincere Christian towards God in all his walks, is in [Page 407] God's account a perfect Christian, though otherwise attended with many imperfecti­ons; uprightness and integrity is a choice virtue, owned and approved of God, and a comfort to souls in whom it is; 2 Chron. 20. 3. Hezekiah could say, Remember Lord I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth, and with a perfect heart; that is, with an upright and sincere heart, that is the true sense and meaning of the King, for other­wise he had many infirmities; 1 Chron. 28. 9. And thou Solomon my Son, know thou the God of thy Father, and serve him with a perfect heart, and with a willing mind; that is, a sin­cere, upright, sound, and undivided heart; for the Lord desireth truth in the inward parts, Ps. 51. 6. Job was said to be perfect; that is, upright, sincere, and so owned of God, though he saw himself to be sinful, and so confesseth, Job. 13. 23.

2. There is a comparative perfection2. Compa­rative. spoken of in Scripture; that is, some have been, and may be reputed more perfect than others; and so said to be perfect, com­pared with those that are worse than them; living in the same time and age, and it may be enjoy like means; Gen. 6. 9. It's said that Noah was a perfect man in his Generation; that is, compared with the Generation in which he lived; he was a perfect man com­paratively, and upright and sincere in his Generation, and walked with God; that is, kept close with God, and worshipped him in an [Page 405] evil Generation; ver. 5. God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, &c. or compared with others that are weaker Christians. Some Christians compared with others, may be said to be perfect, and this I call a comparative perfection; 1 Cor. 2. 6. Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect; that is, perfect comparatively with the Corinthians, Chap. 3. 1, 2. And I brethren could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ, &c. not as to those that were spiritual, or per­fect, which is all one in sense and substance; they compared with others, were not so spiritual or perfect as them: and this is it the Apostle minds, Phil. 3. 15. Let us there­fore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded; that is, compared to others that were more im­perfect in their Knowledg, Faith and Pra­ctice, not perfect in the highest perfection; for so the Apostle himself was not perfect; ver. 12. Not as though I had already attained, or were already perfect, &c. So that it's evi­dent both from Scripture and experience, that there is this comparative perfection, and that in varieties of degrees among all Christians; which are distinguished, 1. De­grees of this perfection among Christians. 2. Among Churches. And, 3. Among Mi­nisters, yet all are Christians.

1. Among Christians in general, there1. Of Chri­stians in ge­neral. are varieties of degrees, in Knowledg, in Faith, and in Practice, and in all the gifts [Page 406] and virtues of the new Covenant; this is abundantly cleared by the Apostle, 1 Cor. 12. 12. to 25. Where he discovers the Church in all its parts to have variety of members, as the body of Christ, some more honourable or perfect than others, some weak in the Faith, and some strong; Rom. 14. 1. and 15. 1. Some are comely in their spirits and conversations, and some need to have comeliness to be put upon them; 1 Cor. 12. 23, 24. Some spiritual, some carnal, some useful and helpful to others, others that must be helped along, and sup­ported; 1 Thes. 5. 14. Now we exhort you brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feeble minded, support the weak, be patient to­ward all. Now it's evident, that it was not (only) the Ministers or Elders the Apostle intended, compared with ver. 11, 12, 13. But it was the more perfect and spiritual members of the Church, that they might know how to behave themselves towards the more weak and imperfect ones.

2. There are degrees in this perfection2. Among Churches. among the Churches, some Churches are more perfect than some, being compared; and that is it the Apostle intended in his writing to the Church of Corinth; He could not write to them as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, &c. But he spake wisdom among them that were perfect, 1 Cor. 2. 6. But we speak wisdom among them that are perfect, &c. that is, more perfect, and more spiritual, [Page 410] as the Church of the Romans, whose Faith was famous throughout the World, Rom. 1. 8. and 16. 19. The deep things the Apostle writes to them about their freedom from the Law, and sin, by Jesus Christ, and from condemnation, by the Law of the spirit of life which is in Christ Jesus, &c. So likewise the Churches of Ephesus, Phil. &c. and Rev. 2, 3, Chapt. Some Churches were more perfect than others, and two of them excelling all the rest; that of Smirna, Ch. 2. 8, 9, 10. and that of Philadelphia, Chap. 3. 7, 8, 9, 10.

3. Among Ministers, there is a ministe­rial3. Among Ministers. perfection spoken of in Scripture; 2 Tit. 3. 17. That the man of God may be per­fect, &c. That is, the minister of God, fre­quently so called in the Scripture; 1. Of the old Testament, Deut. 33. 1. Jude 13. 6. 1 Sam. 2. 17. 2 King. 1. 9, 10. And in the new Testament Paul calls Timothy, the man o [...] God; 1 Tit. 6. 11. But thou O man of God, flee these things, &c. This is a ministerial perfection; that is, to be well instructed in the Scriptures, and have thence learned how to fulfill their ministry; 2 Tit. 2. 15. Study to shew thy self approved unto God, workman that need not be ashamed, rightly di­viding the word of truth. And among such are likewise diversities, and degrees of per­fection; and that,

1. In gift, 1 Cor. 12. 11. 2 Cor. 11. 5.They differ, 1. In Gift. For I was not behind (that is, in gift) the very chiefest Apostle: which word chiefest, [Page 411] implyeth clearly a diversity in gifts, even amongst the Apostles; for there was no chiefdom by Office, but in Gift Peter and John seems to excel.

2. In divine disposition to the work,2. In divine disposition. some are more disposed thereunto than others. The Apostle Paul had upon him the care of all the Churches, 2 Cor. 11. 28. For which (very probably) he was envied by false Apostles, deceitful workers, the Devils ministers, who envy those who are more sin­cere, laborious and faithful than them­selves; ver. 12, 13, 18, 19. with Gal. 4. 17. They would exclude you, (or rather us) that you might affect them. And the same in sub­stance he speaks of Timothy, Phil. 2. 19, 20. I have no man like minded, (that is, no Mini­ster) that will naturally care for your estate. It's a choice virtue in a Minister to have a na­tural care of the Church of Christ, such (it seems) were, and still are, very rare to be found.

3. In labour and industry in the work,3. In la­bour. as an effect of this divine disposition; so the Apostle Paul laboured more abundantly than they all; that is, than all the rest of the Apostles: see both disposition and labour for the Church together, in Titus, and the brother, whose praise is in the Gospel, 2 Cor. 8. 16, 17, 18.

4. In conversation and holiness, there are4. In con­versation. diversities and degrees of attainments (and so of this comparative perfection) in ho­liness, [Page 412] and that in the true Ministers of Jesus Christ, although it greatly concerns all to be exemplary in this matter, 1 Tit. 4. 12. 1 Thes. 2. 10. Gal. 2. 11, 12, 13, 14.

The reasons of these degrees of perfecti­ons and attainments both in Ministers and Members, and so in the Churches, are,

1. From the varieties and degrees of Reasons, 1. Differ­ence in Gifts. Gifts, Graces and Virtues given by the Lord to his people; he gives to some more, to some less, even as it pleaseth him; Rom. 12. 6. 1 Cor. 12. 4, 5, 6, 11. All these worketh that one and the self-same spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will; and in Matth. 25. 15. Is this held forth by our Lord in the diversity of talents; and Eph. 4. 7. But unto every one of us is given Grace according to the measure of the gift of God.

2. From the degrees of improvement of2. Degrees of Improve­ment. those gifts the Lord hath given; for suta­ble to the improvement the Lord gives in­crease: where persons are sluggish and negligent, whether Minister or Member, there is but little or no increase; and where persons are diligent and faithful improvers of the talents received, there God will bless it with increase; Matt. 25. 29. For unto every one that hath, it shall be given, and be shall have more abundantly, &c. That is, he that hath improved that which he hath, as is clear, compared with the former part of the Parable, and will prove true both here and hereafter: see Heb. 5. 12, 14. Prov. 13. 4.

[Page 413]3. From the due and undue ends of per­sons3. In their ends. endeavour after a greater measure of perfection in gifts and virtues; 1 Cor. 12. 7. The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every one to profit withal; that is, for spiritual profit both for himself and others; but when Gifts and Virtues are sought after for pride, honour, and self-esteem, or the like fleshly and base ends, no wonder if God with-hold, see Jam. 4. 3. Or if he answer the desire, it is in a way of wrath, as some­times he gave his people their desire accor­ding to their lust, but it was in a way of wrath, Ps. 88. 29, 30, 32.

3. A third sort of Perfection minded in3. Perfesti­on in unity. Scripture, is a perfection in Unity amongst the Saints and Churches, and this is a de­sirable perfection, of which Christians greatly fall short at this day; 1 Cor. 1. 10. Now I beseech you brethren, by the Name of our Lord Jesus, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that ye be perfectly joyned together in the same mind, and in the same judgment, Eph. 4. 2, 3. Phil. 2. 2, 3. This is promised in the new Covenant, Ezek. 11. 19. Prayed for by our Lord, Joh. 17. 21. And to be endeavoured after by all Saints, and they that are contrary, shew themselves to be carnal. 1. Cor. 3. 3.

A fourth sort of perfection spoken of in4. In Ʋni­ty. Scripture is, when men are well instructed in the principles of Religion, relating to matters of Faith and Practice and are truly [Page 414] and humbly reaching after the knowledg of the whole will of God in his Word; when the heart is universal for God in all his will, that is a perfect man, Col. 4. 12. It was the fervent labour and prayer of Epaphras for the Church, that they might stand perfect and compleat in all the will of God, Acts 18. 26. Apollo, though an cloquent man, yet being a godly man, was willing to be instructed by Aquila and Priscilla, in the way of God more perfectly, and the earnest Prayer of the Apostle in behalf of the Church, 1 Thes. 3. 10. And this is such a Perfection where it is in truth, that will afford the soul much boldness both towards God and Men, Ps. 119. 6. Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect to all thy Commandments; ver. 165. Great peace have they that love thy Law, and nothing shall offend them.

5. There is a Perfection in Justification,5. In Justi­fication. which is by Jesus Christ crucified; that is, the pardon of all sin for the sake of Christ; and this is perfect, and is the perfection spoken of by the Apostle, Col. 1. 28. Which was the great desire and endeavour of the Apostle, that all believers might live up in it, That we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus; that is, perfectly justified in him; Col. 2. 13. Having forgiven you all trespasses; that is perfect justification▪ where all trespasses are forgiven, Act. 13. 39. By him all that believe are justified from all things from which they could not be justified by the Law [Page 415] of Moses; this imputed righteousness to believers is perfect.

6. As for Sanctification, that is two­fold,6. In San­ctification. 1. Imputed, that is the perfect obe­dience and purity in the person of the Son of God, imputed to believers, that is made to them, and accounted theirs; 1 Cor. 1. 30. Who is of God made to be unto us, Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification and Redemption: and this is perfect Sanctification.

2. Is holiness wrought in the Saints, as I minded in the matter of Sanctification, Chap. 17. And this is both perfect and im­perfect; 1. Perfect, in respect to the parts of holiness; that is, there is something of every part of holiness, of every virtue of Christ, in whom holiness was perfect; and so he was the perfect pattern of holi­ness to his people, and from whom it comes into us; Joh. 1. 16. And of his fulness have all we received, and Grace for Grace: that is, of every virtue that was in Christ, have his people received a measure, by which there is (sutable to the reception) a conformity to him, and a bearing his image and like­ness in this World: on this account it is they are said to be Created after God in Righ­teousness and true Holiness, Eph. 4. 24. And in this respect the Saints are perfect in Ho­liness, i. e. in respect of the parts thereof. A child when he is born into the World, hath all the parts of a man, and so is reputed a man in respect of parts, though [Page 416] not in respect of growth and stature.

So believers in respect of growth up to the perfect state, so they are imperfect, and greatly imperfect too, and are (or should be) growing daily in all the parts of Ho­liness, 1 Cor. 13. 11. The Apostle presents this same truth by the same simily, When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, but when I was a man, I put away chil­dish things: he useth this simily, to hold forth the childish, and perfect state of Christians: they are children, though but little ones, yet they are perfectly so; yet imperfect in respect of the highest degree, or growth to the perfect state; and that is it the Apostle intends, Phil. 3, 12.

2. Things propounded, that the highest2. The highest de­gree not at­tainable in this life. degree of Gospel-perfection is not attain­able in this life; and to demonstrate this truth, and make it plain, let us consi­sider.

1. The declared experience and judg­ment of the Saints in Scripture record, which the Reader may in these Scriptures take knowledg of, 1 Kin. 8. 46. Eccl. 7. 20. Jam. 3. 2. 1 Joh. 1. 8. 10. Joh. 40. 4, 5. and 42. 6. Isa. 6. 5. All which demon­strates the truth of this matter; the most eminent of the Saints that lived in the World, yet were sensible of sin and imper­fection, and some of them declared it to be the state of all; Not a man on earth that liveth, and sinneth not: and the Apostle Paul a [Page 417] man of the highest attainment in Gospel­perfection, yet confesseth himself not to be perfect; Phil. 3. 12. And that we have every virtue but in part, 1 Cor. 13. 10, 11, 12.

2. We are yet in the imperfect and fallen state, only coming forth by Faith, and the beginning work of regeneration wrought in the spirit of the mind; the people of God after believing, are but in the way to the perfect deliverance; perfection is for the perfect restored state of the Saints: and indeed, were it not so, we might say as the Apostle, 1 Cor. 15. 19. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most misera­ble; so, if our highest perfection were in this life, we should be (comparatively) but miserable.

3. That this perfect state of the Saints will not, cannot be, till the second coming and Kingdom of our Lord Jesus: it's true, when the body returns to the dust, the Saints shall cease from sin, and they shall be with the Lord: but this is not their per­fection, though it would be a blessed de­gree, if it were possible to be attained here; but perfection will not, cannot be, till our Lord come again from Heaven: the truth of this appears from these Scriptures, Phil. 3. 20, 21. Col. 3. 4. 1 Joh. 3. 2. Read these Scriptures, and understand.

2. The resurrection from the dust will not be till our Lord doth come again in [Page 418] Glory, 1 Thes. 4. 16. 1 Cor. 15. 23. And till then we come not out of the falen state, The last enemy to be destroyed is death. While we lie in the grave, our bodies are in the lowest degree of the falen state; and for any to pretend perfection while in the falen state, a state of sin, sickness, sorrow, and death, must flow from ignorance, or wil­fulness, or both.

4. That though perfection is not attain­able in the highest degree, in this falen, mortal, sinful, sorrowful, and imperfect estate; yet it is the duty, disposition and concernment of all perfect Christians, to be pressing forward after perfection, Phil. 3. 10, 11, 12, 13, 14.

Quest. To what end is it to press forward after that which is not to be attained in this life?

Answ. In my answer to this question, I shall mention three things; 1. That be­lievers, if they press forward after any thing, that is of God and Christ, that is of the new Covenant; it must be perfection, it is not imperfection they reach after, too much of that they have already in them­selves, which makes them groan in the sense thereof; therefore if they press for­ward after any thing, it must be Perfe­ction.

2. By pressing forward after Perfection. I intend a growing up into a greater mea­sure of the perfection attainable in this [Page 419] mortal state; for (as hath been shewed) there are degrees of Perfection attainable here, both in Knowledg, Faith, Love, and an holy conformity to our Lord Jesus, in the Gifts and Virtues of the Holy Spirit; 1 Pet. 2. 2. 2 Pet. 3. 18. And this is it the Apostle minds, Phil. 3. 10. That I may know him, &c. That is, that I may grow and in­crease in the knowledg of him, and in a conformity to him, for he knew him in part before. O, it's a sign of a gracious soul, that is truly longing and endeavour­ing after the highest degree (attainable here) of conformity to Jesus Christ; 1 Joh. 3. 3. He that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself as he is pure: that is, maketh Christ the copy and pattern after which he walk­eth.

3. By pressing forward after Perfection, I intend that the godly soul principled with perfection, have in his eye the highest and glorious perfection; and that is it he would attain, if possible, though he knows it's not attainable here, yet he reacheth af­ter it, and can do no less, if interested in it; it is his portion, and that is it the A­postle intends, Phil. 3. 11. If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead; that is, to that perfection that shall be at­tained at the resurrection of the dead; ver. 12, 13, 14. I press forward to the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus: God & Christ is the mark we are running to▪ [Page 420] 1 Pet. 3. 18. Mat. 16. 24. And Perfection and Glory is the prize we are running for, 2 Tit. 4. 7, 8 Rom. 2. 7. And he can never run right that hath not both the mark and prize in his eye: So run that ye may ob­tain.

CHAP. XXIV. Of Sincerity.

SIncerity being that which crowns all o­ther virtues and duties (for without sin­cerity all is nothing) and must have its place and use in all relating both to God and Man, without which it is unaccepted with God; and although I have occasion­ally given hints of this virtue in other Chapters, and particularly in that about Prayer, in the manner how it must be per­formed, yet I shall in this place speak some­thing more distinctly, yet briefly. It be­ing a virtue so well pleasing to God, he de­sireth truth in the inward parts, Psal. 51. 6. man would not accept of hipocritical service or shew of love, if he knew it so to be,; how much less will God accept of that which is but feigned and in shew; God knoweth the heart, the mind, and thoughts, and he will have the heart in all, or nothing at all, My Son give me thy heart; God will accept no gift without the heart, let God have the heart, and he hath all, but with­out the heart he will accept nothing.

All the glorious shews in Religion with­out the heart, are but Painted sins, and the [Page 422] persons but as Whited Tombs, that appeas beautiful to men, but within are full of Dead men Bones. Sincerity must have its place in Faith, or else it is but feigned and nothing worth, true faith must be unfeigned, 1 Tim. 1. 5. its to be feared that there is a great deal of feigned Faith in the World, that makes men no better then Hypocrites. Joh. 2. 23, 24, 25. Sincerity must have its place in love, (or else its nothing) and that 1. to God the Father, Mat. 22. 37. to Jesus Christ his Son, Eph. 6. 24. Grace be with all those that love our Lord Jesus in Sincerity, Amen▪ To the people of God for his sake it must be sincere heart love, Mat. 22. 39. Thou shalt love thy Neighbour as thy self; 1 Joh. 3. 18. love not in Word and Tongue, but in deed and in truth; 1 Pet. 1. 22. it must be unfeigned and with a pure heart fervently. Sincerity must be in our prayers, Psal. 17. 1. Give ear unto my Prayers that goeth not out of feigned lips. In a word, Sincerity must be in all our services if they are accepted of the Lord, 1 Chron. 28. 9. Psal. 119. 34. Give me Ʋnderstanding and I shall keep thy Law, yea I shall observe it with my whole heart, ver. 69. I will keep thy Precepts with my whole heart, and 9. 1. I will praise thee with my whole heart; so that whe­ther it be faith or love, prayer or praise, or any part of obedience, it must be with the heart, a sincere heart, a whole and undevi­ded heart, a heart and a heart the Lord disowneth.

I shall indeavour to shew some infallibleSigns of sincerity. Characters of a sincere heart, plain from Scripture, and Saints, Experience, not to darken truth, or leave Souls at a loss, but that he that runs may read and understand. And in general, as the ground of the whole, a sincere heart is an honest heart, and good heart, Luk. 8. 15. this honest and good heart includes the whole of sincerity.

1. An honest, good, and sincere heart,1. Its an o­pen plain heart. is an open and plain heart; he is true in what he doth, he hates and abhors deceit, we use to say he is an honest man that deals plainly and justly, so that he dares let all his actions come to the tryal; so is it with the sincere soul, he is honest and plain, would have all his works done in the light, he hates darkness, he deals above board (as the saying is) he is willing that all his a­ctions should be brought to the tryal, Rom. 13. 13. Let us walk honestly as in the day, &c. The honest sincere soul loves the day, he is not for night work, nor deeds of darkness, be it never so secret. Joh. 3. 19 20, 21. He that doth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest that they are wrought in God. The sincere soul loves the light, because it discovers the darkness of sin, the sincere soul fears all sin, especi­ally hypocrisie, he would not be an hypo­crite for the world, and therefore comes to the light. Of the Word and Spirit of Christ, to try his spirit and actions by, that [Page 424] so he may know that his deeds are wrought in God, that they are of God, and owned and approved of him; the honest sincere heart, as he fears hypocrisie, and comes to the light, that he may understand of what so [...] his work is, so he doth it sincerely and throughly; he is in good earnest in the matter, and therefore do not only search himself, and is willing to be searched by o­thers, but is willing to stand to the Lo [...] searching who knoweth all things. Psal. 139. 23, 24. Search me O God and know my heart, try me and know my thoughts, and see if there be any wickedness in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. O this is a sincere honest heart indeed that would have all darkness discovered and brought to his knowledge, and to that end desires the Lord to search and bring to light any hidden way of ini­quity and darkness. But the Hypocrite dwells in the dark, and is afraid of the light, he covers himself with darkness, he thinks men see it not, nor would he have God to see it, he dares not make a search him­self into his heart and ways, much less would he have God to do it, lest his deeds should be reproved.

2. This honest sincere heart is a univer­sal2. It is a u­niversal heart. heart for God, it hates, abhors, and for­sakes all sin, he would not have one sin left, as he desireth to have all sin pardoned, so he would have all sin mortified, he loath­eth every evil way, Psal. 119 128. is willing [Page 425] to imbrace every truth of the Gospel for truths sake, to have a respect to all Gods Commandments, Psal. 119. 6. Then shall I not be ashamed when I have a respect to all thy Commandement,; the sincere soul (accor­ding to his light) do not half it with God or with men, but as Joshua and Caleb, Num. 14. 24. and 32. 12. Being men of another spirit they follow God fully, and what they know not they beg light from him, as the Pro­phet, Psal. 119. 33, 34. Teach me O Lord the way of thy Statutes, and I shall keep it unto the end, give me understanding and I shall keep thy Law, yea I shall observe it with my whole heart; a sincere heart as he is universal in his obe­dience to God, so is he careful of out-run­ning truth, moves not sudden, but on sound and sollid ground, he would not miscarry for a world, to take errour for truth, Psal. 119. 128. I esteem all thy Pre­cepts concerning all things to be right, and I hate every false way.

But the Hypocrite at best does but half it with God, and with men, leave some sins that are most scandalous and less pro­fitable, but keep some sins close and fast still, as his Dallilah, that he will not part withal; touch his Darling, beloved, pro­fitable sin, then he startles, be it cove­tousness, oppression, pride, or whatever else that must not be medled with, like He­rod who heard John the Dipper gladly, and reformed some things; but when he tou­ched [Page 426] the Darling Lust, he must suffer for it; so it is likewise with the Hypocrite in matter of service, he will do some duties, such as like him and may stand with his credit and profit, but is not universal; do not desire to know, that he may do, and so indeed is not upright and honest either with God or Men, for the Hypocrite can sin out of sight, lye and cheat for advan­tage, without any conscience at all.

3. The honest plain sincere heart car­rieth3. Designs only the glory of God, &c. no design along with him in his heart, but the Glory of God, and his own and o­thers spiritual and eternal good. This is the design of the sincere heart in all his undertakings both towards God and Men; and this is Gods design in all his underta­kings, especially on the new Covenant ac­count, his own Glory and ehe Salvation of Sinners, and this the sincere heart is prin­cipled with. Psal. 119. 55. I have remembred O Lord thy name in the night, and have kept thy Law; that is a good keeping of the Law of God that flows from the remembrance of his name, Mal. 3. 16. There was a book of remembrance written for those that feared God and thought upon his name. The sincere soul in all his seekings, seeks God and Christ as the chiefest good, and seeks the Glory of the Name of God, and his own and others Salvation. Psal. 119. 94. I am thine, save me, for I have sought thy Precepts. So Abraham and the Saints of old sought a [Page 427] Country, Heb. 11. 14. They that say such things plainly declare that they seek a Country. The Saints may, yea, they ought to be seek­ing after the Heavenly Country, the Hea­venly City, and to have respect to the recom­pence of reward, ver. 26. to their own sal­vation, and the salvation of others, 1 Cor. 10. 33.

But the Hypocrites design is to keep up a visible Profession for his own honour and esteem among men, designing himself in all, making his Profession a Cloak to cover his secret Abominations, either covetousness as Judas, they make it a Cloak for Covetous­ness, 1 Thes. 2. 5. Or for Malitiousness, 1 Pet. 2. 16. or at best designs his own honour and esteem with men, for they love the praise of men more then the praise of God. But sin­cere souls can acquit themselves of such things, and abhors such designs as these, but designs to approve themselves to God, whatever men think, speak, or do against them.

4. A sincere heart is constant with God,4. Is con­stant with God. he is the same at all times, and in all pla­ces, and in all companies, time and place changes him not, Ps. 119. 20. My soul breaketh for the longing it hath to thy Judgments at all times, vers. 33. Teach me O Lord the way of thy Statutes and I shall keep it to the end, ver. 44. So shall I keep thy Law continually for ever and ever.

But the Hypocrite is much for timeing [Page 428] his service, serve God in prosperity, but turn away in adversity, Mat. 13. 20, 21. seem to be good in good company, but bad in bad company; Religious with the Religious, and Prophane with the prophane; the Hy­pocrite will be for God while it may stand with his ho [...]our and profit, but when that failes, his Religion is lost, like those, Mal. 3. 14. that said it is in vain to serve God, and what profit is it that we have kept his Ordinances and walked mournfully before the Lord of Hosts; they are all for worldly profit, gain is their best Godliness, but Gratious Souls see again in true Godlyness, though ob­tained in worldly loss.

5. The design of the sincere heart is to5. Design to please God. please God in every thing that he doth, and to approve himself to God, he will choose rather to cross the wills of the whole world then the will of God, and yet will please men too, so far as may be, and not displease God; sincere Christians in their non-conformity to the world, it is not to please their own fancies and humours (as some imagine) but it is to please God, to live to his word and will, Gal. 1. 10. Do I now please men or God, &c. If I please men, I should not be the Servant of God, 1 Thes. 4. 1. That as ye have received of us, how ye ought to walk and please God, &c. 1 Joh 2. 22. 2 Cor. 2. 17. That is a Son-like frame indeed, that designs to pleas [...] his Father in all things; the Sincere Christian would not [Page 429] displease God for a world, he had rather displease men, and himself too (I mean fleshly self) then displease God.

But Hypocrites design is to please men, and to please their own humours, they do what they do to be seen of men; the Hypo­crite if he pray; it is to be seen of men, if he give, it is to be seen of men, to have ap­plause of men, that is his end, and if that be attained, he hath his reward, Mat. 23. 5. But all their works they do to be seen of men, ch. 6. 1, 5. The Hypocrite if he can keep but just so much Religion as may continue his esteem among the Professors of his way and time, he looks no more, unless it be the vain glorious, glossing, talking, (and it may be) preaching Hypocrite.

6. The great care of a Sincere Christian6. Look e­specially to the heart. is to look to the heart, to have the heart right with God, he knoweth that the heart is deceitful, and that God requireth the heart, and will have the heart or nothing; and therefore whatever he doth, he doth it heartily as to the Lord; and mourns when he finds the heart wanting and wandering; he hates a divided Hypocritical heart, he be­lieveth with the heart, loveth God with the heart, prayeth with the heart, obey­eth with the heart, Rom. 16. 17. he accounts no service well done where the heart is wanting.

But the Hypocrite is a stranger to heart work and heart service, he troubles not [Page 430] himself with that work, the most he doth is to bring his body to the service, and his head it may be, but for the heart he take; no care for that, he is a stranger to such work, Ezek. 33. 31. VVith their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness, See Mat. 15. 8. Psal. 78. 36, 37. They did flatter him with their mouth, and they lyed to him with their Tongues, for their heart was not right with him; Thus the Hypocrites in heart heap up wrath, Job. 36. 13. For Hy­pocrisie lyeth in the heart, and Sincerity is in the heart, it is an honest and good heart.

7. The Sincere Christian dwelleth most7. Is most at home. at home, looks most to the state of his own soul, keepeth his own Vineyard, dresseth that, and watcheth his own heart and his own words, and ways, and warreth against his own sins and sinful nature, judgeth him­self for his own miscarriages, cryeth out, O wretched man that I am, (not but that sin­cere souls seeth, and reproveth, and mourn­eth for others sins; but his first, his great work is at home, to keep things in order there; he saith with the Prophet, Psal. 51. 4. Against thee only have I sinned; and with the Publican, Lord be merciful to me a Sinner. He saith with the Prophet, Psal. 119. 5. O that my ways were di [...]ectected to keep thy Statutes. But the Hypocrite is most abroad, quick­sighted to see into others failings, but blind at home, cryeth peace to his own [Page 431] soul without ground, his great work is to be finding fault abroad, he cryeth not, O wretched man that I am, but O wretched man that thou art; he is quick sighted into the sins of others, that his own may be co­vered, or at least lessened in his conscience account; an Hypocrite will sooner see a Mote in his brothers eye then a Beam in his own.

8. The Sincere Christian as he believeth8. He clea­veth to the Doctrine of Christ. in the Lord, and loveth and obeyeth the Lord above all, so he cleaveth (not only in word, and in tongue, but in deed, and in truth) to the Doctrine of Christ, the Word of the Gospel, as his alone ground of saith, and rule of obedience, and dare not for a world to swerve from it, either to his own or others inventions, 1 Joh. 4. 6. He that knoweth God heareth us, he that is not of God heareth not us; hereby know we the spirit of truth and the spirit of errour, 2 Joh. ver. 9. Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the Doctrine of Christ, hath not God; but he that abi­deth in the Doctrine of Christ, hath both the Fa­ther and the Son.

But Hypocrites whatever they pretend in word, of owning the Doctrine of Christ, yet easily turn from it, preferring their own inventions and imaginations equall with, if not above the Doctrine of the Gospel, Mat. 15. 7. Ye Hypocrites, &c. ver. 9. In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrine the commandements of men, Isa. 29. 13. Their [Page 432] fear towards me is taught by the Precepts of men.

God takes them to be Hypocrites that pretend to own him and his word, and in­deed own the Precepts of men, and their own inventions in his worship.

9. Sincere Christians love Gods things9. They love Gods things for his sake. for his sake, his word, his ways and Ordi­nances, because it is his, because it hath his stamp upon it, and spirit in it, loves his people because they are his, and have his spirit in them, and his name upon them, and so loves all whom the Lord loves, the poor Saints as well as the rich, they that are alive, as well as they that are dead, they they see and know, as well as them they ne­ver saw, &c.

But Hypocrites love is to some, for some base and by end, and not to all, or to the dead Saints, but not to the living; Hy­pocrites pretend a great deal of love to the deceased Saints which they never saw, but hate and persecute the living Saints, who desire to be the Followers of those who through faith and patience inherit the promise. Hypo­crites will pretend to be the greatest lo­vers of dead Saints, none love them as them­selves, they will honour them, every one o [...] them shall have a day dedicated to him in honour, Saint Peter and Saint Paul's day, &c. yea, and it may be adore and pray to them, make them their intercessors, but hate and persecute them that are alive, whom they [Page 433] see and know, and that too, because they walk in the steps of the deceased Saints. We may easily judge what love such have to Jesus Christ and the Apostles (if they were alive, they should quickly find and feal their love) that are so friendly to their followers in Faith and Patience; thus did the Hypocrites of old Mat. 23. 29, 30, 31. Woe unto you Scribes, Pharisees, and Hypocrites, because ye build the Tombs of the Prophets, and garnish the Sepulchers of the righteous, and say, if we had been in the days of our Fathers we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the Prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto your selves that ye are the children of them that killed the Prophets. They witness that they are the Children of the Persecutors (not by nature, but) by the same spirit, children in blood and persecution, therefore Hypo­crites, in pretending to love Saints that are gone, whom they never saw, but hate them they see, and would as truly hate and persecute them they never saw, if they were present, as they do those that are alive and present with them.

10. And finally the honest hearted sin­cere10. He fruitful. Christian is fruitful, he heareth the word of God and keepeth it, and bringeth forth fruit with patience. He knoweth that hereby God is glorified, Joh. 15. 8. and that his account shall be thereby advantaged in the day of account, Phil. 4. 17. They have their fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life, Rom. 6 22. [Page 434] Even the fruit of righteousness that is by Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of God. Phil. 1. 11. Fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; it is the fruitless tr [...]e that must be cut down. But the Hypocrite is a fruitless branch, an empty vine that bring­eth forth fruit to himself; he never goes out of (or above) himself, seeks himself in all that he doth, but brings forth no fruit to God, no fruit to men, no fruit for the good of his own soul, unless it be the fruit of his Hypocrisie, that is woe and wrath. The Hy­pocrite in heart doth heap up wrath; Woe to yo [...] Scribes, Pharisees, Hypocrites, ye Serpents, ye Generation of Vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell. Mat. 23. 29. 33.

2. I shall shew the advantages of sinceri­ty2. The ad­vantages of sincerity. and honesty of heart, to God-ward, in the New Covenant of his Grace.

1. Sincerity of heart to God, is that which renders all the weak and imperfect services of his people acceptable to him not as the meritorious cause, that is alone in Christ Jesus, and for his sake, both ou [...] persons and services are accepted in the bel [...] ­ved, Eph. 1. 6. But in him; neither are ou [...] persons nor services accepted without sin­cerity, feigned faith, and love, and obedi­ence is not accepted, it must be (as you have heard before) heart faith, heart love and heart obedience, that God accepts i [...] Christ and for his sake; this of sincerity and truth in the inward parts, God desireth [Page 435] and accepteth in all things, according to what we have, and not according to what we have not. Weak and imperfect services are accepted where sincerity is, this sweetens all our services, keeps the soul humble and holy, with a dayly dependance on the Grace that is in Christ Jesus. God (in Christ Jesus) covers the many failings, and accepts the weak services of his upright ones; David a man of many failings, yet being upright and sincere, he was owned of God to be a Man after his own heart: sincerity of heart makes us after Gods own heart, he delights in, owns, and approves of sincere souls, he takes them for his own, with all their weaknesses and imper­fections.

But Hypocrisie marrs all, it is as the dead Fly in the Box that causeth all the Oyntment to stink; The Hypocrite may to visible ap­pearance in outward shew, exceed the sin­cere soul, as the Pharisee did the Publican, he may preach, and pray, and converse at such a rate, as if he were an Angel of light, or a Minister and man of righteousness, and yet be an Hypocrite all the while, proud and self seeking, designing himself and his own ends in all; and this spoileth all; God owns not any person under heaven, for such external painted excellencies, though men sometimes (through weakness) may admire them, and they may admire them­selves, yet God owns not, on any such [Page 436] account, see Mat. 7. 22, 23. Luke 13. 15, 16.

2. Sincerity of heart towards God in the faith, gives great boldness to the soul before the Lord, both here and here­after.

1. Hear the sincere heart can appeal to the Lord in the most difficult case, when the Hypocrite must sink in his spirit, so Hezekiah, Isa. 38. 2, 3. Remember Lord how I have walked before thee in truth, and with a per­fect heart, &c. and Joh in his great tryal was supported and bold on this account, Job. 13. 15, 16. I will maintain mine own ways before him, for an Hypocrite shall not come before him, and 31. 6. Let me be weighed in an even ballance, that God may know mine integrity. O the boldness of a sincere soul, that dares to appeal to the Lord in the mat­ter, and to say as Peter, Lord thou knowest all things, thou knowest I love thee.

But the Hypocrite faints and sinks when God deals with him, Prov. 28. 1. The wicked flee when none pursue, but the righteous are bold as a Lyon.

2. Hereafter in the day of accounts, the great day of the Lord, who may abide it; sincerity then will be worth the world, then shall the righteous, sincere upright ones, stand with great boldness before the Lord, 1 Joh. 4. 17. Herein is our love made perfect that we may have boldness in the day of Judg­ment. Hypocrites shall then be ashamed [Page 437] and confounded, they shall be speechless, the ungodly shall not stand in the Judgment, nor Sinners in the Congregation of the Just, then they shall be ashamed and confounded in their own spirits, knowing themselves to be Hypocrites, and the Congregation of Hypo­crites shall be desolate, Job 15. 34. See Isa. 33. 14.

3. Sincerity will preserve the soul pure to God from sin, and keep the soul close and constant to God in duty. 1. It will preserve from sin, it is a wonderful pre­serving vertue, a sincere heart would not sin against God for a world, it not only preserves from the common sins of the time and place, but from the sins of mens callings and relations▪ and from the sins that men are by nature most inclined unto, Psal. 18. 33. 23. I was also upright before him, and I kept my self from mine iniquity. Sinceri­ty will keep souls from the iniquity of their natures, to which they are most in­clined, it will pluck out the right eye, and cut off the right hand; but Hypocrisie must have that spared and kept alive, the darling lust must live, though in the death of the owner thereof, Psal. 25. 21. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait on thee.

2. It will keep the soul constant and close to God is duty, it makes conscience of every duty and service, private and pub­lick, and keeps the soul in a right frame in [Page 438] the performance thereof, that is, holy, humble, awfull, believing, and rejoycing in the Lord, its that will tend to compleat the soul in all the will of God; sincerity goes through with the work, does not half it with God, nor turn back in the day of tryal, but the Hypocrite is fleeting, and in­constant, will not pray always, doth nothing in conscience and love to the Lord, especi­ally to private work and duty he is a stran­ger, looks not at the frame of his spirit in the work, but is too and fro, fast and loose with God, suitable to the time, occasion, and advantage of Profession.

Obj. Sincerity I perceive is a choice ver­tue, Obj. and all without it is nothing, but I find that I have much and many of the symptoms of hypocrisie in those discove­ries, at best I come short in many of those ten particulars mentioned, (I therefore) fear how it is with me; I would not be a Hypocrite for a world, can you say any thing further about this matter, that I might more clearly and certainly know mine estate?

Ans. What I have said as to the discovery Answ. of the sincere soul from the Hypocrite, is plain and full, yet I shall mention two or three things more.

1. A sincere soul dreads to be a Hypo­crite, he would not be a Hypocrite for all the world, he fears Hypocrisie as he doth a­ny other sin; this is the experience of all [Page 439] sincere Christians, they watch their hearts in this matter, and keeps up a holy jealou­sie of themselves, because they know that the heart is deceitful and treacherous; and therefore prayeth as the Prophet. Psal. 1 19. 29. Remove from me the way of lying, and grant me thy Law graciously, and in a gracious sincere heart; he knows that whatsoever is done in Hypocrisie, will prove but a lye in the end, and therefore dreads to be a Hypo­crite, and saith as the Prophet, v. 163. I ha [...]e and abhor lying, but thy law do I love.

2. We are to distinguish between being a Hypocrite and Hypocrisie; Hypocrisie is a sin of nature that all are inclined unto; there is the seed of all sin in the nature of it, in the Saints, and but in part mortified, the difference lyeth in this; the sincere heart desireth and designeth truth and sin­cerity in all, he would not be a Hypocrite nor have any hypocrisie to have any being in him, but the Hypocrite designs Hypo­crisie, and so professeth himself to be what he is not, and doth, or easily might know himself to be a Hypocrite.

The sincere heart watches himself in the matter to find it out, and warreth against it, and mourneth in the sense of his natural inclinations on that account; he judgeth it, and loaths himself for it as for any other e­vil: Pride and Hypocrisie will be appearing, but its the souls grief, and his desire and en­deavour is against it.

But the Hypocrite is in his Element, let his design be answered and he hath his end, he troubles not himself about sin cerity, or if at any time conscience accuse, he sear­ches not to the quick to find out the truth of the accusation, in order to deliverance, but stills and stifles convictions, and wil­lingly silences conscience, laying it to sleep without any cure of the malady.

CHAP. XXV. Of Election.

THough Election be first in order of time, yet not so in manifestation, re­latingWhat it is. either to God or man; God doth manifest it in time, and man comes to un­derstand it after believing, 1 Thes. 1. 4. My manner and method of speaking to this great truth shall be, 1. To shew from Scripture what Election is; Election is the choosing and designing of some out of the lump of mankind, for the end by the Ele­ctor determined; I take Election, fore­knowing and choosing, to be all one in sense and substance, and these are the Scripture terms about the matter, Rom. 8. 29. & 11. 2. 5. 7. Eph. 1. 4.

To Elect or choose in the common sense of all men, imports a taking of some, and leaving others, it cannot import the electing and choosing of all, as some ima­gine, for in common sense, that is no choo­sing where all are taken, for where some are chosen others are left, Mat. 22. 14. Many are call'd but few are chosen; so that in the common sense of all men, divine and humane, we must understand Election to [Page 442] be a choosing of some persons out of (or from among) many, to the end determined by the chooser.

2. That God hath elected and chosen2. That God hath elected some. some for himself from among men, and that before the world was, i. e. from Eternity; this appeareth from Scripture, 1 Pet. 1. 2. Elect according to the fore knowledge of God the Father, &c. or fore-ordained, as the same word is rendred, ver. 20. or fore-decreed, or as its rendred, Rom. 8. 29. Fore-know, whom he did fore-know, &c. that is, decree or ordain, and this for knowledge, ordaining and decreeing about the salvation of some men and women must be before time, Eph. 1. 4. According as he hath chosen us in him, be­fore the foundation of the world, that is, from Eternity, it is Gods eternal willing or pur­posing to save some in the way by him de­termined.

Obj. This choice seems to be in time, for they are chosen in Christ Jesus, and none are accounted to be in him before and with­out faith.

Answ. Its one thing to be actually in Christ by faith, and another to be elected and chosen in him before the world was; faith is the demonstration, and (in some measure) the accomplishment of this choice or election, which was in Christ Jesus be­fore the world began, or for his sake de­creed, ver. 5. Having Predestinated us, (or before set us apart) unto the adoption of Chil­dren [Page 443] by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will. Where is a Prede­stination unto the Adoption of Children, before the Adoption was accomplished, and that according to the good pleasure of his will, which he purposed in himself; and its without all question, that in all things, and in relation to all persons, about this great work of Salvation, He worketh all things ac­cording to the councell of his own will, ver. 11. And why should we not believe the truth of God in relation to Election before time, (it being so plainly stated in Scripture) as well as believe the truth of that word, Tit. 1. 2. In hope of Eternal life, which God that can­not lye, promised before the world began; If God made promises to us in Christ Jesus before the world began, why should we think it strange for him to elect or choose for him­self before the world began? 2. Tim. 9. Who hath saved us and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the World began; all which demonstrates this truth, that true believers are, but what they were Elected and de­signed to before they were, and that they do, nor shall enjoy any thing but what was promised them in Christ Jesus, before the World was.

But 2. If we should let it pass for currant as some would have it, (which we may not doe) that is, that Elect persons were not [Page 444] in any sence considered as in Christ Jesus, before and without faith, yet the choice was before the foundation of the World; fore­ordained to believing, to sanctification, so that it answers not the end for which it is objected. And further, Rom. 9. 23. those Elected chosen ones are called, the v [...]sse [...]s of mercy which he had afore prepared to glory; all which confirms the truth of Election be­fore time.

3. That this Electing, Choosing, De­creeing, and Ordaining love of God, was (as respecting the persons so chosen and e­lected) without any respect to any fore­seen faith, or grace, or good in them, as the preceeding meritorious cause of election, (if any meritorious cause at all, it must be in Christ Jesus, in whom and for whose sake the election was) the truth hereof appears; that it was not for our goodness, faith, or holyness, 2 Tim. 1. 9. Not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace that was given us in Christ Jesus, &c. And Rom. 11. 5. There is a remnant according to the Election of Grace, and if it be of Grace, then it is not of work, as the Apostle reasons it, ver. 6.

Obj. Though it be not of works as the meritorious cause, yet it may be of works as the conditional cause, as in the matter of Justification.

Answ. Though Faith, &c. be the condi­tion of Justification (according to the law [Page 445] of the new Covenant) which is effected in time, yet it is not the condition of electi­on; the reasons thereof are,

1. Because its no where stated in the Scriptures, as the condition of Election, as Faith is the condition of Justifica­tion.

2. Because in reason it cannot be, for Election and choice was before time, and so could not be on the condition of what we had not, we were not, nor had not saith when Elected, therefore faith would not be the conditional cause of an act past in God before the supposed condition thereof was in being, that could not be either the meritorious or conditional cause of such an act; so that its evident that Ele­ction was of Grace and not of Work, where­as Justification is not till we believe and o­bey the truth.

4. To what persons are elected, and that4. To what persons are elected. is to believe and obey the Gospel, to be holy here, and happy hereafter, 1 Pet. 1. 2. Elect, &c. Through Sanctification of the Spirit unto Obedience: Obedience as the end, which includes faith and love, and all the divine vertues and duties of the Gospel, through (or by) the Sanctification of the Spirit; hence faith is said to be, The faith of the operation of God, Col. 2. 13. Eph. 1. 4. The end of the eternal choice is described to be, That we might be holy, and that we might shew forth the praises of him that hath called us out of darkness [Page 446] into his marvellous light, 2 Thef. 2. 13. God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, Jam. 2. 5. By all which it appears, that the end of God in his Electing grace was, that he might have a holy, obedient people, that might shew forth his praise, and be e­ternally saved and glorified in the world to come.

5. How persons may come to know5. How men may know their Ele­ction. their Election of God, and that they are of the number of his Elected ones; God hath in his word opened a way by which his people may in a good and comfortable measure know their Election, 1 Thes. 1. 4. Knowing Brethren, Beloved, your Election of God. But how may we know our Election of God? Answ. When Gods ends of Election are effected in us, by that we may and must know it, if ever we rightly know it, when Faith, Love, Holyness, &c. is effectually wrought in us, by that we read our Ele­ction, the effects of electing Grace wrought in us, and this the Apostle clears, having asserted their knowing of their Election, ver. 4. he discovers how they came to know it, ver. 5, 6. by the effectual work of the Gospel in them, Gods shedding abroad his love in the heart, and uniting the heart to him­self in truth of faith and love, is the alone way by which Christians may read their Election. So the Apostle for himself, 1 Tit. 1. declares himself to be an Apostle, after the Faith of Gods Elect. And how does he prove [Page 447] that? By the acknowledgment of the truth which is after Godliness: and persons that pretend to know their Election of God any other way, deceive themselves.

6. The Reasons why God Elected some6. The rea­sons why God elected some. to Salvation before the world was, are, 1. his love, his special love; its true that God had a love to all mankind, for they were, and are his, he made the nature of all in the first man, and determined the being or persons of all in time, and loved all, Joh. 3. 16. God so loved the world that he gave his Son, &c. But herein is discovered his spe­cial everlasting love, Jer. 31. 3. Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love, &c. and this is the new Covenant love, a promise of Gospel grace to the Spiritual Seed, as ap­peareth Chap. 30. 10. to the end, and chap. 31. throughout, here is the great and spe­cial love of God and of Christ, who loved the Church and gave himself for it, Eph. 5. 25. Even the Ʋniversal Church of the First Born, whose names are written in Heaven, Heb. 12. 23.

2. That his design of Salvation by Jesus Christ might not be altogether frustrated, and come to none effect, for such was the Metamorphis and change made in man by the Devil, and Sin in the Fall, being gone out from God, that he would never be wil­ling rightly to return to him again, and this the Lord foresaw, and therefore it [Page 448] stood with the honour of his whole name to choose some in his Son, to be made par­takers of the life designed by him, that so our Lord Jesus might not suffer in vain, but might see of the Travel of his soul and be satisfied; it would have been infinitely be­low, and unbecoming an infinite God, to have entered upon such a work of such glorious concernment to his own name, and the good of sinners, and to be effe­cted by so wonderful a way, as the suffer­ings of his own Son; without a certain fore-knowledge of its event, yea, and with­out the certain accomplishing of the whole after the councel of his own will, and too low and base thoughts are they in men to think the contrary, as if God should go a­bout such a work as a man, not determi­ning the event before the undertaking, by which all his design and Christs sufferings might, nay, necessarily would have been in vain, that man was gone out from God, so as not (by his own will) to return again is evident, not only by experience, but by Scripture, Ps. 81. 11. Job 21. 14, 15. Prov. 1. 24, 25. Rom. 3. 11. to 17. with many like Scriptures to this purpose; wherefore it was necessary that God should give some to Christ, John 6. 39. (which are his Elected ones) that they might obtain the salvation designed, and he might not bestow all his labour [Page 449] and sufferings in vain, Isa. 49. 4, 5, 6. read it at your leasure, and consider it well.

Obj. If God hath Elected some, it Obj. seems contrary to the Scripture that saith he is no respecter of persons, &c.

Answ. Its true that God is no respecter Answ. of persons, that is, of Jews above the Gentiles, which was the present occasion of those words, nor of any person one above another (according to the usual respect among men) i. e. for any good by nature in one more then another, for all were in their blood, that is, in their sin alike, enemies alike, and alike miserable. But some he purposed to magnifie his Mercy on to life, and fixes his choice on them according to his own will, without any respect of person; that is, of Goodlyness of Person, Beauty, Wisdom, Strength, Honour, Riches, good Nature, or the like, but rather the con­trary, See 1 Cor. 1. 26, 27, 28, 29. Jam. 2. 5. and that from his own will and plea­sure, Luke 20. 21. a wonderful and hidden mistery it is.

3. That he might glorifie the riches of his mercy in saving some, as well as of his Justice in condemning others. Rom. 9. 23. That he might make known the Riches of his Glory on the Vessels of Mercy, which he had afore prepared to Glo­ry; Ephe. 1. 4, 5, 6. this was the ut­most [Page 450] and final design of God, to glo­rifie the Riches of his Grace Eter­nally, in the Vessels of Mercy prepared to Glory.

CHAP. XXVI. Of Reprobation.

REprobation I take to be non-election, and I dare not understand it further; for so here is Mercy and Justice wonderful­ly exalted in a way of righteousness: I do not find reprobation, as attributed to God, in this matter, in the terms thereof in the Scripture; and (I suppose that) all the sayings in the Scripture that seems equiva­lent to it, may be very safely understood in this sense; as Prov. 16. 4. He made the wicked for the day of wrath, i. e. he knew they would be wicked, yet he made them, and designed them for their wickedness unto wrath, Rom. 9. 21, 22. The elect he designed unto honour, and others he left to them­selves, and the means afforded, that conti­nue impenitent, he designed to dishonour; for God saw the end of all, and disposed all to such ends as will be for his own Glo­ry; Jude, ver. 4. The Apostle speaks of certain men that were of old ordained to this con­demnation; that is, God fore-knowing them in their sins, ordained them to con­demnation: I dare not think that God re­probated any, but in relation to their ob­stinacy [Page 452] and constancy in sin; none shall be damned from the detriment counsel, with­out relation to their sins; nor hath any act past in God to cause them to sin, but men are the cause of thir own destruction, though God for their sin hath designed them to it; so that God will wonderfully exalt himself in his Justice and Mercy on this account.

Reprobation hath two parts in it, 1. ATwo parts in Reproba­tion. non-clection, that is, a leaning to the means afforded, which is full of all sufficiency to save all, if they have hearts and grace to make use thereof: I say they are left to the means, to believe, &c. or not believe, at their own will and choice, and at their own peril; and so he propoundeth the Gospel to all without respect, effecting the term; of life therein propounded, where and when he pleaseth: but no act of God hin­dreth any man, but according to the pub­lick ministration of the Gospel, he wille [...] that all should be saved, by coming to the knowledg of the truth; and this will toward [...] all, he effects in whom he will, and leave [...] others to their own wills; though ma [...] have lost the freeness of his will to that which is good, by his sin, yet not the pow­er of willing, and God leaves his will free▪ he may believe, obey, and be saved if [...] will, God hinders not, unless it be by his Judicial act, as a punishment of former acts of sin and rebellion against him, as in the [Page 453] case of Pharaoh of his own people, Joh. 12. 39, 40. And of the rebellious Gentiles, Rom. 1. 21,—24. Which I call a Judicial hardening, i. e. a giving up to an hardened estate, in a way of Justice, as a punishment for sin, which is the greatest judgment that can befall persons in this World, and in this he acteth according to his own will, both in a way of Judgment and Mercy, Rom. 9. 15, 17. But otherwise God affords great and blessed means for man to believe and be saved: it is the devil and man him­self that debilitates the understanding and will, that it will have none of God and Christ, of Grace and Life, on the terms propounded in the new Covenant, which is, Repentance, Faith, and new obedience; this, man of himself will not submit too, nor cannot, because he will not: see 2 Cor. 4. 4. Joh. 5. 40. and 6. 44.

The second part of Reprobation of im­penitent sinners is, they are decreed and appointed to pain and misery, to be punish­ed with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his Power, 2 Thes. 1. 8, 9.

To be set on the left hand, with this sentence, Go ye cursed into everlasting fire, as a punishment for their sin against God, and rejecting Grace in the day of Grace. O how does it concern every one then to look about themselves wh [...]es they have time and means, and not profanely to plead, [Page 454] that if they are elected, they shall be saved, live as they list; if not, they shall be damned, do what they can. But know, that you may believe, obey the Gospel, and be saved if you will, if you have hearts to it, God hinders you not, but on the con­trary, affords you blessed means, and gives you bl [...]ssed invitations, and makes you bles­sed offers of Life, if you will obey him; and will accept you, and perform all his good word and promises of Life, if you come in, believe, and obey the Gospel. But know, that if you resolve to keep your sins still, and to live as you list, and will not accept of Christ and Life on the terms of the Gospel, you are so far from being any of the elect ones, that you must be damned, Mar. 16. 15, 16.

Obj. But I want the power of coming to Objection. God, I have sometimes a will, but I cannot accomplish the work; sin is too hard for me, how then can I come?

Answ. 1. Ordinarily the defect lieth in Answer. the will; when once the will and mind is really, and in good earnest for God, the power shall not fail, for the defect is in the will; it may be there may be some­times some convictions of sin, and appre­hensions of Grace, with the need thereof, and willingness to enjoy it, but it is but weak and flashy, and soon over, but no heart-hatred of sin, but rather a love to it, and loathness to part with it; no reso­lution [Page 455] to set on the work of turning to the Lord with the whole heart, and to trust him for strength therein, and thus the heart is divided; like those the Lord complains of, Hos. 10. 2. Their heart is divided, now shall they be found faulty; a double heart is an heart the Lord likes not; Jam. 1. 8. A double minded man is unstable in all his wai [...]s; and 4. 8. Purifie your hearts ye double minded. While the will is thus divided, it's no won­der if the power be wanting; Let not such a man think to obtain any thing from the Lord.

2. If they will be in good earnest to turn to the Lord, to believe and obey the Gospel, to eschew evil, and to do good, set a­bout the work, and do not sit still and com­plain for want of power, but look to the Lord, and he will not be wanting to thee; he that hath wrought the will, will not fail in helping to do, if thou set heartily a­bout the work: I shall say in this as David said to his Son in another case, 1 Chron. 22. 16. Arise and be doing, and the Lord will be with thee. God never did, nor never will damn any man for want of power, but for want of will, and so mens destruction is of themselves.

Obj. But Christ saith, Joh. 6. 44. No man Objection. can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me, draw him.

Answ. True, but first God draws by his Answ. Word, the Preaching of the Gospel, and [Page 456] the wooing invitations thereof, is the way by which he draweth sinners to himself these are the cords of his love by which he, draweth; Hos. 11. 4. I drew them with the cords of a man, with the bonds of love, and I laid meat before them: and this kind of draw­ing hath a natural tendency to effect the work, if wilfulness keep not from the Grace presented, and invited too.

2. If the work hereby be so far effected in thee, as a real desire to come to Christ, know it is from the drawing of the Lord, therefore come to him, fall in with him while he is thus drawing thee; the Lord calls thee, Matt. 11. 28. Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest: dispute not the power, but an hearty and willing consent to imbrace Christ Jesus, as thy Saviour and Lord, ac­cording to the Gospel, and the work is done.

CHAP. XXVII. Of the Church of Christ in the new Cove­nant.

THE Church of God, under the mi­nistration of the Law, or old Cove­nant, was the natural seed of Abraham; and so the Nation of the Jews to them was the Oracles and Ordinances given, and them did he own for his peculiar people to wor­ship him, his people in Covenant, and un­der his discipline and government.

The Church of God under the mini­stration of the new Testament, since the death and resurrection of the Testator, Jesus Christ, are, or should be, the spiritual seed of Abraham; that is, true Believers, both of Jews and Gentiles. It's now no National Church, but a people gathered out of the Nations, to the profession of Faith in Christ Jesus, and obedience to him, Gal. 3. 28, 29. Act. 10. 34, 35. Rom. 3. 29. Rev. 5. 9.

But to speak more distinctly of the Church, the word Church (or Assembly, as the Greek word Ekklesia imports) is vari­ously applied in the Scripture, to any As­sembly, bad as well as good; Acts 19. 32, [Page 458] 39, 41. The same word is so translated, and applied to an Assembly met together for evil.

But when it intends the Church, and assembly of God, and of Christ, on the new Covenant account, (that being it we are now about) we may consider it accord­ing to Scripture, on a three-fold conside­tion.

1. It intends a people gathered out ofWhat the constituted Church of Christ is. the World by the ministry of the Gospel, to the visible profession of Faith in Christ Jesus, and obedience to him, to Faith and Holiness, the Gospel constituted Church of Christ; and this is the Church I espe­cially intend to speak of, the visible con­stituted Church of Christ; and this is di­stinguished into several bodies, or congre­gational Assemblies, under the regal Go­vernment of Christ their Lord, yielding professed subiection to Jesus Christ in his Laws and Ordinances, as far as they are in­structed therein; every particular Con­gregation having the same power from Christ their Head and Lord; not one to Lord it over another, but to help and assist in love: and the Church of Christ is thus gathered into many particular Assemblies, by reason of distance of place, number of persons, that they cannot assemble in one, or a few Assemblies, but in as many as are necessary for their coming together, and comfortable serving of the Lord. That the [Page 459] Church of Christ is, or should be gathered thus, appeareth, Act. 14. 23. 1 Cor. 1. 2. Gal. 1. 2. Rev. 1. 4. All which proves the truth asserted; and that they had all of them the Ordinances of Christ administred in each Assembly, as appears evidently by the Apostles reproof and direction on this account, about matters of Order and Ordinances, as relating to particular Chur­ches, 1 Cor. 11. and 14. Chapt. Tit. 1. 5. Phil. 1. 1. Rev. 2 and 3 Chapt.

And this Church in all its particular As­semblies is gathered out of the World, and from the World, to the Lord, by the Word and Spirit of Christ, Matt. 28. 19, 20. Mar. 16. 15, 16. Act. 2. 41, 42, 47. and 4. 4. and 13. 48, 49. This was the Apostles commission, Act. 26. 17, 18. Which work was alwaies accomplished in this way, with­out, and contrary to the humane power, who ordinarily hath opposed this new Co­venant work of Christ.

(And what-ever Church it is that takes any other Lord or Law-giver besides Christ in religious things, and owns an hu­mane head either in its constitution by hu­mane power, or receiving Laws in matters of Faith and Worship, is none of Christ's Church, but an Harlot, a Sinagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews when they are not, Rev. 2. 9. Committing spiritual fornication with the Kings of the Earth, after the manner of the Whore of Babilon, Rev. 17. 2. and 18, 9. [Page 460] Taking the humane power as Head, Lord and Law-giver in Christs concernments, making them their strength, support and uphold, perswading the Magistrate to persecute all that fall not in with them; who, although Christ hath ordained that his Church should be subject to the hu­mane powers, in humane and worldly con­cerns, yet this is that with which few are satisfied, being otherwise perswaded by the false Church, who delighteth in fornicati­on, and loveth to have another Head and Lord than Jesus Christ.)

And the Churches of Christ thus ga­thered and constituted under Christ, their Head, Lord, and Law-giver, have an equal power from him, with their distinct offices to carry on all the administrations of his Kingdom; that is, his Church, according to the rules by him prescribed; and in these Churches is God to be worshipped in all his appointments, in spirit and in truth, Joh. 4. 24. 1 Pet. 2. 5.

And these visible constituted Churches of the Gospel are (or should be) all Saints, true Believers; they do bad service, who, to maintain their National Churches, and all Christendom, (as called) to be the uni­versal visible Church, would perswade us that the visible Church of Christ have in it multitudes of Hypocrites; though it's true, that Hypocrites have been, and it's like are, and may be in the true Church of [Page 461] Christ, yet they have no right, and must give an account for their being there, Mat. 22. 12. Luk. 26. 27. And surely they do bad work, and draw a bad conclusion from the premises; that is, because Christ's Church may have Hypocrites in it; they will pretend a Church for him, of openly profane, and ungodly Hypocrites.

But to prove that the visible constituted Churches of Christ are, or should be true Believers, this appeareth;

1. From the way of entrance, which is by Faith, Repentance, and Baptism, Matt. 28. 19, 20. Mar. 16. 15, 16. Act. 2. 39, 41. None must enter but in this way, to let us to know, that none else ought to be there.

2. From the provision made for them, when they are come in, that they may find feeding for their souls, according to the promise, Joh. 10. 9. That is, his holy ap­pointments that lead to him who is the true Bread of Life, for their building up in the Faith till they come to Glory, Act. 2. 42. Eph. 4. 11, 12, 13. And truly we cannot ra­tionally, nor religiously imagine, that he hath given such Gifts, and left us such Or­dinances to build up a company of profane and godless persons; I think they are pro­fane thoughts in those that think it.

3. The order he hath left in his Church to exclude Hypocrites, when discovered, evidently declares that he never intended [Page 462] to have a Church of Hypocrites, Matt. 18. 15, 16, 17. 1 Cor. 5. 7, 8, 13. 2 Tit. 2. 21.

4. It appeareth by the Titles given to the Church of Christ, they are called Saints, that is, holy ones, sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be Saints, holy Brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, the body of Christ, and members in particular, a chosen Generation, a royal Priest­hood, an holy Nation, &c. With many like expressions, all which do more than evi­dently demonstrate, that Jesus Christ never intended to have his Church to be a den of Hypocrites, and cage of unclean and hate­ful birds, but to be an holy people, to shew forth his praise in the World.

This is the visible Kingdom of Christ in this World, though not of the World; and those powers on earth that oppose his rule and government, by his Laws in his Church, are very bad neighbours to him; he is content to let them have the outward regality, and his subjects (on that account) to be subject to them, and is a good neigh­bour to them, and will do them no wrong, but good all their daies, if they would but be friendly to him and his; for by him it is that Kings Reign: but if they will not permit him his right, what will be the issue, is easy to be discerned, Ps. 2. 10, 11, 12.

2. The word, Church of Christ, does sometimes intend all true Believers in the World, whether in or out of particular constituted Churches; and this is it which [Page 463] is so commonly called the invisible Church, which is indeed in some sense invisible; that is, none can certainly know the true believers, but God alone (2 Tim. 2. 19. The Lord knoweth them that are his) and none else, no not themselves, some of them, and at some times; yet in some sense the Church thus considered is visible in the world, and do visibly own the Lord, according to the measure of means and light enjoyed; the Church thus considered I take to be inten­ded in these Scriptures, Rom. 10. 11, 12, 13. 1 Cor. 1. 2. Eph. 1. 21, 22, 23. where the Church is called, The body and fulness of Christ, Col. 1. 24. and as it is without que­stion, that in all ages many of the visible Church in profession have miscarried, be­ing none of Christs body truly, the Church taking its denomination from the better part, though all ought to be such; so like­wise we are in charity to judge, that many may be out of the right constituted visible Church and Churches of Christ (that are Members,) though its none of their virtue so to be; God hath his people in Babylon, Rev. 18. 4. and his Church (on this account) hath he had in the world, throughout all ages, Eph. 3. 21. although for a long while, but little of visibleness, according to Gospel rule did appear, and that is it I understand is intended, Rev. 11. 1, 2. Where the Wor­shippers are measured rather by the spiri­tualness of their invisible Worshipping, [Page 464] then by the rule of their Ordinances, Order and publick bearing up the name of Christ in this matter, being troden under foot of the Gentiles, that is, of the Babylonish and An­tichristian world, and this is it I take to be the Universal (and in some sort) visible Church of Christ in the World, the body of which all true believers are Members.

3. The word Church sometimes intends all the elect of God, and this is the invisi­ble Church (as to man) and this is evident from the Scriptures, Eph. 5. 25. Christ lo­ved the Church (before it was visible) and gave himself for it, So Heb. 12. 22. we read of the Ʋniversal Church of the first born, &c. the Church in this sense includes all the E­lect, but it is the bounden duty of all true believers to get themselves into the visible Profession of Christ, and bearing up his Name in the World, according to the rules by him prescribed, and the highest and best light they have, or may attain therefrom in this matter, and to be under the govern­ment of Christ, in some particular consti­tuted Church of his.

CHAP. XXVIII. Of the Ordinances, Officers, and Admi­nistrations in the Visible Constituted Church of Christ.

OUr Lord Christ Jesus hath left insti­tuted Laws and Ordinances for his visible Church and Kingdom, that his people by their submission to him there­in, might shew their subjection to his Re­gal Authority, as to their Lord and King. As there is no King but hath his Laws by which he rules, so Christ our Lord and King hath his Laws by which he rules in his Church, which is his Kingdom, and a government distinct from all humane and worldly governments, and admitteth not of any mixture of humane inventions or ordinances of men, nor of any humane power to inforce to the obedience thereof, Mat. 15. 9. Isa. 29. 13, 14. Psal. 110. 3. Acts 2. 41. His subjects must [...]e Volunteers, voluntarily subscribing to his government, they are a willing people in the day of his power, being wrought thereto by his word and Spirit, he is so far from foreseeing, that he accepts none but those who serve him wil­lingly; [Page 466] Christ will have his Subjects like those, 2 Cor. 8 3. Willing of themselves; that is, without humane constraint, and ver. 12. If there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what a man hath, and not according to what he hath not; and this is a truth in all cases of Christs service in first listing them­selves under him, ver. 5. They first gave them­selves to the Lord, &c. this is acceptable, when souls give themselves to the Lord to be saved and ruled by him, Rom. 6. 17. and 2. in their continuance with him, it must be willing, John 6. 67, 68.

God hath in all his Administrations throughout all ages, had his instituted Or­dinances, by which his people, (his Church) was distinguished from others, and in the observation of which they did visibly own God in the World, and the truth is, that the institutions of God in matters of Wor­ship, have been the Badge of distinction be­tween his Church and the world through­out all ages, and the cause of all the woe and misery that hath come on mankind, and on the people of God, hath been for the transgression of instituted Ordinances: Adams transgression of an instituted Ordi­nance, brought in death and misery in all mankind, and all the Plagues and miseries brought on Israel of old, was for trans­gression of the instituted Ordinances of God in the matters of his worship; See 2 King 17. 7. to 20. all the misery and wrath [Page 467] complained of in the Lamentations of Je­remy was the effect of this very sin, the Transgression of the Laws of God in the matters of his Worship in his Instituted Ordinances, Levit. 1. 18. The Lord is righ­teous, for I have rebelled against his Command­ments, and ver. 16. Woe unto us we have sin­ned, &c. And for this will be the great controversie of God with the (pretended) Christian world in the latter days, Isa. 24. 1. to 6.

The Lord Christ having appeared in the latter end of the world, to put away sin by the offering of himself, he being the substance of all former institutions, they leading to him, Col. 2. 17. Heb. 10. 1. and so he is be­come the great Lord and Lawgiver of his Church; God speaking to us by him, Heb. 1. 1. 2. Whom we are to hear (i. e. to obey) in all things, Acts 3. 22. 23. all his Ordinances and Laws are indespensably necessary for his Subjects to obey him in, so far as they know his will; and ignorance will not al­together excuse in this matter, there­fore it behoves all to be dilligently in­quiring, that so they be not willingly ig­norant.

The Laws, Ordinances, and Instituti­ons of Christ for his Church, his King­dom, to serve and worship him in, are as followeth.

1. Baptism (after believing, repenting,1. Is Bap­tism. and turning to the Lord) is the first duty [Page 468] required, Mat. 16. 15, 16. Acts 2. 38. 41. and is the imitating Ordinance into the visible Church and kingdom of Jesus Christ, and is the duty of all true Believers; and there is no other way or door of enterance decla­red by Christ, but by Faith and Baptism.

Not by natural generation or birth as some imagine, that is done away, as being of the old Covenant, where the natural seed were accounted for the seed, Gen. 17. 7. ver. 14. but in the New Covenant the spiritual seed, that is, believers are accoun­ted the seed and subjects of Christs King­dome, and are to live under his laws, Gal. 3. 26, 28. nor by entring into Covenant as some others imagine, which is after their own devising, mistaking and misapplying the Scriptures, as that 2 Cor. 8. 5. They gave themselves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. Hence some (and that too, men of parts and learning) gather, That they first gave themselves to the Lord, by believing and accepting the Gospel, and after to us; that [...]s, to the Church by some Cove­nant, which is a clear and palpable mi­stake, its true in the first sentence; that is, they gave themselves to the Lord, may be included their giving themselves to the Church by Faith and Baptisme, for those who give up themselves to be the Lords Sub [...]ects in his Church, do give themselves to the Lord, and to us by the Will of God; that is, they gave themselves to the mini­stry [Page 469] of the Saints in their necessities, and that beyond what the Apostles hope was, considering their great affliction and deep po­verty, that this is the true meaning of that Scripture is so plain, that he that runs may read it; so that I know no other way of enterance into the Church and visible King­dom of Christ, but by Faith and Baptism.

Neither understand I well what they mean that call Baptism a Covenant, and talk so much of a Baptismal Covenant; its a language the Scripture knows not, nei­ther know I any other Covenant then the Gospel new Covenant of Grace, which (on our part) is a willing consenting (from believing the truth of the Gospel) to be sa­ved by Jesus Christ, and to be ruled by him as Lord and King; which faith and con­sent is to be confessed in order to Baptism, by which the believer visibly gives up him­self to the Lord, as to be saved, so to be ruled by him. What other things are held forth in Baptism, its meet for Christians to be instructed in, as the washing away of sin, Acts 22. 16. that is the pardon and pur­ging away of sin by the blood of Christ, not the washing of the filth of the flesh, but the an­swer of a good conscience toward God, 1 Pet. 3. 21. Yet the washing of the flesh is a figure of that within, and a Conformity to Christ in his Death and Burial, thereby signifying our Death to sin, and our natural death likewise, to confirm our Faith in the truth of the Resurrection, Rom. 6. 3, 4, 5, 6. [Page 470] 1 Cor. 15. 29. and why Baptism and the Supper of the Lord (which is the second instituted Ordinance that I shall mention) should be so frequently called Seals as they are by some, I know not, because the Scrip­ture knows no such things; some calls themselves to Seal Gods love to the soul, and the believers interest therein. As to this its true, the love of God and Christ is abundantly held forth therein, and the be­liever exercising faith, may (and I hope do) meet with refreshing and sealing consolati­ons therein, and so he doth in other of the instituted Ordinances of Christ, i. e. the Word and Doctrine of the Gospel, but without the exercise of Faith, he profits by neither, Heb. 4. 2. Others say, they are Gods Seals to confirm his truth in his Co­venant to us, and that God never sets Seal to the truth of any mans interest, that we must look to our selves, whether we have the faith to which the Covenant is made; God seals to that, he will not fail in per­forming of the Covenant on his part, which have something▪ of truth in it; i. e. it behoves us to look that our faith is right, and God will not fail in performance of his Covenant of life; but its true like­wise that God hath and doth set seal to the truth of his peoples faith in the Cove­nant of his Grace, else they can have no seal but their own, which must needs prove invalid in the day of need; if Gods seal and [Page 471] theirs concur not in the matter. Rom. 8. 16. The spirit it self beareth witness with (or to) our spirit, that we are the Children of God; the spirit of Christ is the alone sealing evidence to the hearts of Christians, and that by his word and work in them, Eph. 1. 13, 14. 2 Cor. 1. 22. this is such a Sealing evidence to the hearts of Christians, as that who so have it not, is none of his, Rom. 8. 9. and to call any of his Ordinances, Seals, is be­sides all Scripture rule, as for the truth of God in his Covenant, I think we cannot have more confirming Seals then his Word and Oath, two immutable things in which it is impossible for God to lye, Heb. 6. 17, 18. and the gift of his son from Heaven for Salvati­on of Sinners that believe and obey him. What greater and surer seals these (I know not) of the truth of God, and his Spi­rit working and effecting Faith, in and by those Sealing evidences of his love to men, is the Sealing Earnest of our in­heritance.

The Supper of the Lord is an instituted2. The Sup­per of the Lord. Ordinance of Jesus Christ, to be practised by the Church till his second coming. 1 Cor. 11. 26. a like Figure (as Baptism) very significant and of special use in the Church of Christ, if Faith be rightly ex­ercised therein, and serves especially to keep in remembrance the Death and Suf­ferings of our Lord Jesus, and the bene­fits we receive thereby, the great love of [Page 472] God and Christ to men, being therein dis­covered, 1 Cor. 11. 26. and the great sin in those that partake thereof, is, in not dis­cerning the Lords body; that is, the break­ing of the Lords body, and the shedding of the Lords blood for our sins, and the greatness of the Lords love therein, 1 Cor. 11. 29. it being an Ordinance that pre­senteth Jesus Christ Crucified (with all his benefits) to the eye, that the eye may af­fect the heart; for all good comes to the heart, by the ear and by the eye; the Do­ctrine of the Gospel comes to the heart, by the ear in hearing, and by the eye in seeing and reading; this Ordinance is for the eye that the heart may be affected, and for the taste and stomach, that the sense of hunger and feeding may be of spiritual use, to learn the soul to feed on Christ, who is the bread of Life, in which we may observe the Wisdome of God to make use of our senses for our spiritual good, Gal. 3. 1.

This holy Ordinance is for the holy people of God, the Church, his holy Na­tion, who alone (by true Faith) are inte­rested in this Crucified Jesus, who ever eats and drinks thereof, without interest therein, eats and drinks damnation to themselves. What sad and bad work then do they make that will bring in all, make up a Church of multitudes of Hypocrites to damn them, as if the design of God and [Page 473] Christ in the Gospel had been to get in multitudes into the Church on purpose to damn them; such will have a sorry ac­count in the great day who thus per­vert the Lords end in his Death, and cor­rupt and defile his Church and holy Ordi­nances.

3. Ordinance and Institution of Christ3. Preach­ing. in his Church is, the Preaching of the Gos­pel, for Building up of the Church in their most Holy Faith, as all the Ordinances of Christ are. There is a two fold Admini­stration of the Doctrine of the Gospel, the first for conversion and gathering into the Church, Mat. 28. 19. Mar. 16. 15, 16. Acts 2. 37, 38. and 26. 16, 17, 18. The 2. for building up of the Church in the holy Faith after Conversion and Gathering; Mat. 28. 20. Acts 2. 41, 42. this being the end of Gods giving gifts to men, Eph. 4. 11, 12, 13. They are bad Ministers who turn the World into the Church without repentance and Faith, and so build up a multitude of Hypocrites and prophane persons instead of the Body of Christ; neither Jesus Christ, nor deceived poor Sinners will thank them for it in the end.

4. Ordinance of Christ in his Church,4. Prophe­cie. is Prophecy, much spoken of in Scripture, though I fear I may say its almost lost out of the Church; but of this I shall speak more distinctly when I come to speak of [Page 474] the Officers in the Church, though I take not this of Prophesie to be perfor­med as an Office by an Officer as such, but by a gift.

5. Ordinance is Prayer; although its5. Prayer. true, this is not for the Church alone, but is the duty and property of all believers, as such Col. 4. 2. 1 Thes. 5. 17. yet it is a Church Ordinance, Acts 2. 42. Where Do­ctrine, breaking bread, and Prayers are set toge­ther, as the great and common Ordinances of the Church, in which they had fellow­ship together, in 1 Tim. 2. 1. Ephes. 6. 18. Jude verse 20. which in the Church (as all other of Christs Ordinances are) is to be performed by men and not by women, 1 Tim. 2. 8. See more about this of Prayer, Chap. 22.

6. Praising God or singing Praises to6 Praising. him, is an Ordinance of Christ in his Church, as well as the duty of all Saints at all times, See 1 Cor. 14, 15, 16. where both Prayer and Singing are mentioned as it ought to be performed in the Church, Col. 3. 16. the manner is exprest to be such, as in Prayer, one to speak to the Praise of God, so that the rest may joyn in with him to say Amen, as in Prayer, for all to sing in Meeter together, is that for which there is no rule (that I know) in Law or Gospel. In the Old Testament Singers were appointed to that service, 1 Chron. 9. 33. Ezr. 2. 65. Neh. 5. 67. and did perform [Page 475] it by turn, answering each other, 1 Sam. 18. 6, 7. Exod. 15. 20, 21; But I judge that Old Testament Singing is ended as to the manner thereof, and I am sure there is no rule in the New, for that which now by most is practised.

Gospel Singing should be new Songs by a new People, sutable to the new Covenant, Psal. 96. 1. and 98. 1. such Songs as none can learn but the Redeemed ones, Rev. 14. 3. no marvail if such as are for Forms of Worship in Prayer and Praise, be for a Formal people void of the Spirit and stran­gers to Spiritual Worship.

And as this is an Ordinance, so it is a gift in the Church of Christ, as Prayer is, and is so to be performed, a hearty giving thanks for mercies received, so as that the rest may say Amen; that is, joyn in pray­sing, which is exprest in saying Amen, as in Prayer, they are greatly mista­ken who think that there is no Sing­ing but in Meeter, and with a Singing Tone.

7. Ordinance of Christ in the Church is,7. Disci­pline. Church Discipline, Order and Government, and the Administring Church censures ac­cording as occasion and need calls for it; and herein is the Royal and Regal Autho­rity of Christ, in an especial manner kept up in his House, his Church, his Kingdom; which consists in the execution of his Laws upon Transgressors in all cases ac­cording [Page 476] to the fact, reproof, admonition, withdrawing, 2 Thes. 3. 6. rejecting, if there be no other remedy nor means can prevail, and this is that which makes much for the honour of Christ, and good of his Church, to preserve from sin, recover faln sinners, and to preserve the Church pure from defilements; of this the Scripture is full and clear, 1 Cor. 5. 7, 8, 13. 2 Tim. 2. 21. Heb. 12. 15, 16. Mat. 18. 15, 16, 17.

2. Of the Officers in the Church of2. Of the Officers in the Church of Christ. Christ, take we the Church of the New Testament since the death and Resurrecti­on of the Testator, to be but one Church state, as the Church of the Old Covenant was, from Circumcision untill the Death of Christ. Then 1. Jesus Christ is the great Offi­cer in & of his Church, the Angel, Messen­ger, Bishop, Shepherd, Prophet, Apostle, Lord, Law giver, and King of his Church, whose lawful subjects believers are; but he being ascended up on high to do work there for his Church, in order to its spiri­tual and eternal wellfare, hath left in his room and stead, Gifts and Officers for the good of his Church, which are (as enu­merated in the Scripture) Apostles, Pro­phets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers, and all for the good of the Church, Eph. 4. 11. 12.

1. Apostles, men immediately called,1. Apostles. inspired, and sent for the first publishing [Page 477] of the Gospel, and first planting of the Gos­pel Church, being endued with power for such a work, to give laws and directions from Jesus Christ, for his Churches directi­on in Faith and practice, till his second coming, but such Apostles we now have none, but they were and are our A­postles, we being of the same Gospel Church.

Though according to the common sense of the word Apostle (that is sent) so we have, or might or should have Apostles in the Church, it signifying a messenger, or one sent; as I shall more fully declare in its place.

2. Prophets, now this of Prophets I2. Prophets take not to be a distinct ordained Office, as Pastor and Teacher, but a gift in the Church, and so an Ordinance of Christ for the Churches Edification, not extraordi­nary any more then the other Ministry that we account to stand as the Ordinary Ministry in the Church; probably the Pro­phets in the Primitive times might have more and greater gifts then any now, but that Nulls not the gift nor use thereof in the Church, no more then that because, the Pastors and Teachers then had greater spiritual gifts then any now have. There­fore we should have no Pastors nor Teach­ers now, and so no Church, and so no Re­ligion; those who work Prophets out of the Church, might by the same reason and [Page 478] rule, work out all and themselves too; that by Prophets were intended ordinary Pro­phets for the edification of the Church (what ever gifts they then had) will ap­pear if we consider.

1. It was a gift to be obtained by indu­stry and endeavour (extraordinary prophe­sie was an immediate gift) 1 Cor. 12. 31. and 14, 39.

2. It was a Gift for the common good and Edification of the Church, most of profit, (viz. of the Gifts singly Admini­stred without Office) in the Church, therefore not to be lost or expulced out of the Church.

3. Yet it was (in some sense) inferlour to that of Preaching by Office, be­cause he that is called to Office, is not only a Prophet, but more then a Pro­phet, and this will appear if we con­sider.

1. That all the Prophets work was to speak by way of Edification, Exhortation, and Consolation; but the Elders or Offi­cers work and duty, was, and is, to Ex­hort, Reprove, Rebuke, with all au­thority, 2 Tim. 4. 2. Titus 2. 15. which none out of Office might authoritatively doe.

2. The Doctrine of the Prophets must be judged and tryed, as supposing they might speak amiss and fail (but the Offi­cers are supposed to have attained to such [Page 479] a degree of knowledge in the School of Christ, as that there is no such rule pre­scribed for them) 1 Cor. 14. 29, 30, 31. not that Officers or Elders are without all limi­tation in this matter, but under the Chur­ches judgment.

3. Prophesie was such an Ordinance in the Church of Christ, as that the Church it self might be too apt to despise it by reason of its meanness, as is implyed, 1 Thes. 5. 19. 20. Quench not the spirit, de­spise not Prophecyings; it seems they were all for Preaching, but despise Prophecyings, as it is too much at this day.

4. The Prophets might through weak­ness bring forth something that was not good or true, yet not to be despised, v. 21. Prove all things, hold fast that which is good. Which implyeth, that there might drop some things from the Prophets that might not be good, yet it should not be despi­sed nor they discouraged, but that which was good imbraced, and that which was bad left, and the Prophets instructed there­in, for their amendment.

All which proves that the Prophets were ordinary gifted persons in the Church for Edification, after its first gathering, till Officers were chosen, and the Officers was to be chosen out of the Prophets, that is to say, the best gifted and quallified among them, and this answereth the order. 1. A­postles, Secondarily Prophets, &c. and this was [Page 480] the rule observed, Acts 13. 1, 2. And out of these Prophets and Teachers, must Bar­nabas and Saul be taken, for more publick work and service; and if this rule were observed in the Churches, it would be a way (according to the Lord's Order) to raise up gifts in the Church fitted for Office, as occasion calls for it; for this of Pro­phecy is a constant order in the Churches to be continued Prophets, and an official Ministry may (and should) be together in the Church; so would not the Church be without persons gifted and fitted for of­fice, as need requireth.

The next out of the Prophets, are Evan­gelists,3. Evange­lists. Gospel cryers, or Gospel preachers, or Apostles, that is, ordinary Apostles: this is an office of great use in the Church, though almost left out, and lost, as if it were extraordinary, and only for the pri­mitive times; the reason thereof rendred, because there are no such Gifts now, nor Apostles to call them to the work, or di­rect them in it. A wonderful weak way of reasoning; by the same rule we may reason out all offices and officers out of the Church, yea, and reason out Church and all, for want of Apostles and Gifts; and here lieth the great reason of the seekers loss, want of Gifts, and gifted persons, as the Apostles, to administer Gospel Ordi­nances, and this is next of kin to it; for the same reason that works out Evan­gelist [Page 481] will (if followed) work out all.

1. That there were such called, and au­thorized Officers and Ministers belonging to the Church, not extraordinary, (as the first Apostles) but ordinary, not infallibly inspired, but such as received all their rules, relating to their work, from the Apostles, as the Pastors and Elders did both in their ministerial work, and in conversation, 1 Tit. 2, 3, Chap. and Chap. 4. 11, to 16. and Chap. 5. throughout; and 6. 11, 12, 13. 2 Tit. 2. 14, 15; 16, 22, to 26. So the Epi­stle to Titus proves the same, with many others that might be mentioned.

2. There is the same use and need of such a Ministry to preach the Gospel to the World, for conversion and gathering, and to take care for the establishing of the Churches, and Officers therein,; which, as it is Gods order in his Churches, so would it be a mercy and a blessing to the Chur­ches, and much loss hath befaln the Church in the neglect hereof: such a ministry (if spirited for the work) would be of gene­ral advantage to the Churches of Christ.

3. That their call unto it was ordinary, that is, in the primitive times, by the Apo­stles, and Churches; for there was no ex­traordinary Ministers, but such as was im­mediately called, as the Apostles were, and all Officers in the Church besides Apostles, were and are ordinary, and to continue. That they were so called to it, is clear; [Page 482] Timothy was called to this office, by the lay­ing on of the hands of the Presbytery, 1 Tit. 4. 14. And these sort of Ministers were cal­led sometimes Evangelists, i. e. Gospel Preachers, or Cryers, 2 Tit. 4. 5. Act. 21. 8. Sometimes Apostles, 2 Co [...]. 8. 23. The Apo­stles of the Churches, and the Glory of Christ, Phil. 2. 25. The Apostle calls Epaphroditus his brother and companion, &c. and your Apo­stle, that is, the Churches Apostle: by all which it appears, that this official Ministry was ordinary, and should be in the Church still, and the Church suffereth much in the loss thereof; for Gods Ordinances are not in vain; and out of the Prophets in the Church should this and other Ministers be chosen, according to the order stated, First Apostles, then Prophets, and then Evangelists, and Pastors and Teachers, Eph. 4. 11. This is the method of God's Order in the Church, 1 Cor. 12. 28. Where Evangelists in the term are left out, but very probably included in that of Teachers, that inclu­ding all the official Ministry, besides the first Apostles, Paul and Barnabas, who were not inferior Apostles, yet in as much as their call was not from the mouth of Christ in the manner as the rest was, they mus [...] (for order sake) be taken out from among the Prophets, and sent to the work in the ordinary orderly way of the Gospel, Ac [...] 13. 1, 2, 3.

2. Out of the Prophets are Pastors and [Page 483] Teachers to be chosen by the Church, and ordained; and although there be various Titles given in Scripture to these Officers, as Pastors, Teachers, Elders, Bishops, &c. It imports not variety of Offices, but the fulness of the work, every Title being sig­nificant, Pastor to feed, Teacher to instruct, Elder to rule, Bishop to oversee; it's pos­sible that all may be in one man, but in as much as these gifts may be more eminent, some in one, and some in another, sutably should they be exercised.

That those Titles hold not forth any distinction in Office, or variety of Offices, or any superiority in Office one above ano­ther, in way of authority, though in di­stinction by gift, doth appear, Tit. 1. 5, 6, 7. Where the Apostle first calls them Elders, ver. 5. For this cause left I thee in Creet, that thou mightest ordain Elders, &c. and after, ver. 7. Bishops; for a Bishop must be blameless, &c. By which it appears, that Bishops and El­ders are one and the same Office, 1 Tit. 3. The Apostle sums up all the Ministry of the Church on this account, under the Name of Bishop, and Chap. 5. 17. under the Name of Elders; by which it appears, that Bishops and Elders was one and the same Office, only Elders distinguished, by ruling and teaching, which distinguisheth not the Office, but the exercise therein, su­table to the gift, both in teaching and ru­ling; the like distinction we have, Rom. 12. [Page 484] 7, 8. distinguished by the Gift more than by the Office. Elders may have a gift to teach well, and rule well too; others may have a gift to rule well, and teach but lit­tle; or teach well, and little gift to rule; and sutable should they be exercised in the Church, Phil. 1. 1. These sorts of Officers are all included in that of Bishops; and 1 Pet. 5. 1. They are all included in El­ders, who were Pastors to feed the flock, ver. 2. Acts 20. 17. Paul calleth the Elders of the Church of Ephesus to him; and ver. 28. Calleth the same Elders, Bishops, Overseers; and Peter calleth himself an Elder, and a Witness of the sufferings of Christ, 1 Pet. 5. 1.

So that if any will suppose a superiority in Office among those varieties of Titles, there is least ground of all for that of Bishop; for Peter himself saith, that he was an Elder, but he no where calls him­self a Bishop; and Ordination was per­formed by the Presbytery, not Episcopacy, 1 Tit. 4. 14. and Hebr. 13. 7, 17. They are summed all under that of rule, and guides; and these Officers are to carry on the ad­ministrations of the Church in an orderly way, though the power of all is commit­ted to the Church, Matt. 28. 20. Yet the Church are to choose out such persons as God hath gifted and qualified for the Work, that although the gift be from the Lord, yet the authority of administring [Page 485] must be from the Church electing, and Or­dination of the Presbytery, by Fasting and Prayer, and imposition of hands, Act. 13. 3. 1 Tit. 4. 14. Act. 6. 3, 6. Who were the first Officers ordained in the Church, and were ordained Elders: though their work was to take care of the poor, yet they were or­dained Elders. 1. All Offices was in the Apostles, next to Jesus Christ, they were Apostles, Evangelists, Elders, Deacons, did all, and were all, as is evident in this first Church, and all other Officers and Offices came from them, as necessity called for it; and the first Office and Officers ordained in the Church, were those, Act. 6. and were ordained Elders; though then especially to take care of the poor, which the Apo­stles did before, and Elders still may do, if the work be not too much for them: that they were ordained Elders, is apparent; 1. In that we read of no Officers in that Church, but Apostles and Elders, Act. 15. 6. ver. 22. The whole are summed up in three distinctions, i. e. Apostles and Elders, and the whole Church, ver. 23. Apostles, Elders and Brethren; and Chap. 11. 30. The con­tribution was sent to the Elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul: and without all con­troversy, it was sent to them that had the care of that matter, and here they are cal­led Elders: I mind this the more for clear­ing, that election of Elders belong to the Church; the Apostles, though infallible, [Page 486] would not rob the Church of this right; see Act. 14. 23. When they had ordained them Elders (by election, or lifting up of hands) in every Church, Cheirotonesai, to choose by holding up the hand, to create by general voice of suffering; and thus all Officers, i. e. Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers, must be chosen by the Churches, and by Ordi­nation, be authorised to the work, 2 Cor. 8. 19. 23.

And Officers when thus chosen, and se [...] apart to the office and work, are to admi­nister all Ordinances in the authority of Christ, yet so as to have the Church with them in the work; and the Church is to encourage them, and be subject to their administrations in the Name of the Lord, while they abuse not their authority; and yet they are to be accountable to the Church, in case of male-administring, or abuse of power and authority; and the Church who authorized them, may again devest them of their authority, without re­pentance and reformation, or in case of scandalousness in conversation.

Yet not withstanding this, in matters of rule and order, they ought not to seek so much to please men as to displease the Lord; for they are the Lords servants, (as well as the Churches,) and must en­deavour to do all things according to the pattern and right rule, and to please the Lord, to whom they must give an account, [Page 487] though men be displeased therewith, and in case they suffer from men on that ac­count, yet they will have Peace with God and in their own souls.

Two things I fear are much wanting in the Churches. 1. A Spirit of Government in the authority of Christ, as Wisdom, Im­partiality, Courage, Meekness, Love, and the fear of the Lord. 2. A Spirit in the Church to be Ruled and Governed accor­ding to the Will of Christ, Heb. 13. 17. O­bey them that have the rule over you, and submit your selves.

And in case of need we read of helps, 1 Cor. 12. 28. Helps Governments, in as much as all power is invested in the Church, in case Officers be wanting, till they may be obtained; the Church hath authority to appoint such as are most suitably gift­ed, either upon tryal in order to Eldership, or as helps in case of need to carry on all the Administrations of the Church, or where are Officers, being sick, or a way, or weak with age, the Church may do the like; i. e. appoint helps to the Of­ficers in Government, or any other of the Administrations of Christ in his Church.

The fourth sort of Officers in the Church4. Deacons. are Deacons, whose work and office is to look after the necessities of the poor, and to make a just distribution of the Churches Treasure committed to them on that [Page 486] [...] [Page 487] [...] [Page 488] behalf, that as it is an Ordinance of Christ, that his should be free to communicate. 1. Privately, Mat. 6. 34. So likewise by gi­ving into the hands of the Deacons, who are to take a general care of the poor, and distribute to every one as they have need.

This is an honourable service and work of the Lord, the poor being in the Church in the room of Christ, to prove the truth of his peoples love to him, Christ saith, Me you have not always with you, the poor you have always with you. You may shew your love to me, in loving them, when I am gone, and in doing good to them; hence Christ will say at the last day, I was naked and ye cloathed me, hungry and ye fed me, Sick and in Prison, and ye visited me, &c. What the qualifications and work of the Deacons are, you may see, 1 Tim. 3. 8. to 13. 1 Pet. 4. 11. If any man Minister (that is, Deacons doe the work of a Deacon) let him do it as of the ability that God giveth, that is in the Church. In a word, it is to do that which the Apostles did before and ordained the Elders to do. Acts 6. 1, 2, 3.

I shall endeavour to answer one weighty question, and so shall conclude this mat­ter.

Quest. Is there no Supream Power and Quest. order in the Churches, to regulate miscar­riages, but is every Church absolutely in­dependant and unaccountable in any case, [Page 489] if not, then to whom must the account in Church miscarriages he given? and what way is left to regulate Church miscarri­ages?

Answ. 1. That a Church may miscarry Answ. either in Doctrine, Gal. 1. 6. Manners, 2 Cor. 12. 20, 21. Discipline, either in the Non-administring of censures, 1 Cor. 5. 1, 2. or in the evill and wrong Administring thereof, 3 John, ver. 9, 10. is very evi­dent.

2. That every Church with their Offi­cers have a like power from Christ in all Administrations, without any account­ableness to any one above the rest, in way of Superiority, is likewise clear.

Yet 3. There must be an accountable­ness of all the Churches each to other, in case of offence and miscarriage, though not to any one as Supream above the rest, yet a common accountableness must be owned, without which their fellowship must ne­cessarily be dissolved, the reasons thereof are as followeth.

1. From the Law of Relation and unity in the same faith and fellowship, which can­not be kept up and maintained but by a Brotherly accountableness, as Sister Churches, for the mutual help of each o­ther, and preservation of the whole in the truth; if the laws of Unity in any Society be broken, the Society must needs be bro­ken; Christ new Covenant Laws (in mat­ters [Page 490] of faith and practice) are the ground of Christians and Churches unity and so­ciety each with other; if any Church make a breach there, without being ac­countable for Reformation, the foundati­on of Fellowship is broken; therefore for preservation of the foundations of Fellow­ship of Churches, must this brotherly ac­countableness be maintained.

2. To reason from the lesser to the greater, as in a particular Church, though there be an equality and no Superiority a­mong Members, as Members, but what God makes in gifts and office, yet every Mem­ber ought to be accountable each to other, especially in matters of offence, Mat. 18. 15. &c. and so at last to the Church, so from the same rule and reason all the Chur­ches in the same faith and practice, and ha­ving the same relation one to the other, as members in the particular Church, should have the same care of each other, which cannot be unless there be the same accountableness to each others as Chur­ches, as is in the members of one and the same Church, as all the Members in a particular Church make up the Church, so all the Churches are but so many parts and Members of the Universal, and should have the same care and keep up the same accountableness, and this is without all single Superiority.

3. Without this particular Chur­ches [Page 491] are in worse case, then Mem­bers in particular Congregations, who have the benefit of the Laws and Administrati­ons of Christ, for their preservation in the Faith; the want of which accountableness of Churches must necessarily render them, 1. The more lyable to sin, and miscarry be­cause not accountable. And 2. In case of sin and miscarriage, are left miserable; that is, without any means of recovery to re­pentance, which is ridiculous and per­verse for any to imagine, that Christ should be more careful of particular Members, then of particular Churches.

4. Without this accountableness of Churches and power of dealing, with a transgressing sinning Church for Reforma­tion, it must necessarily import a neces­sity for the whole to have Fellowship with a sinning Church in their sin; that prin­ciple that leaves sinners without any help from their sins, and so leaves them to pe­rish without hope or help, and leaves the whole under the gift of their sins and miscarriages, by holding fellowship with them in that Estate, is to be ab­horred of all Christians and Churches of Christ.

Obj. These are weighty reasons for ac­countableness Obj. of Churches, and appeals in case of sin on any account, make Admini­strations of sensures, or wickedness in con­versation justified, or false Doctrine main­tained; [Page 492] but in as much as plain Scripture rule, is that which binds conscience, and justifieth practice; some may startle from this for want of plain Scripture rule to warrant in this case, or at least make a plea to justifie them in their no [...] accounta­bleness, therefore Precept or President would be of use to clear and confirm us in this matter.

Answ. 1. In cases left doubtful and dark Answ. in Scripture, we must (and its a common received principle) resolv'd by Scripture Reason, and Scripture Reason is a suffici­ent rule, as that without this, Churches must suffer sin in each other without any means of help, which is contrary to Lev. 19. 17. 2. Without this there is a necessity for all Churches to have fellowship with an er­roneous Church, in their sins, contrary to Eph. 5. 11. and so justly draw the guilt of sin upon themselves, Ezek. 3. 18. Acts 18. 6. and 20. 26. 3. Without this Churches are left in worse case then Members, with­out the means of help and recovery in case of sin; Christs Ordinances proves of ad­vantage, sometimes to keep from sin, sometimes to recover out of sin, when insnared therewith; therefore those who oppose this accountableness of the Chur­ches, are therein no friends unto them, nor to Jesus Christ.

4. Without this, wronged persons in matters of censure could have no redress [Page 493] but must lye under their oppressions with­out remedy, (which is that which some have asserted, that if a Church cast out its best Members unjustly, that there is no help, a horrid principle to be hushed out of all Christian Society) which would ren­der the Church and Government of Christ more obnoxious and dangerous then any humane Government (which in many ca­ses admitteth of appeals, on supposition of Male Administrations) and uncomfortable for any serious souls to come into the Church, who probably some time or other may fall under a Diotrephes, without all hope or help.

But I shall yet propound some further weighty Scripture grounds for confirma­tion of this practice.

1. The many Scriptures that gives us very much light in this matter, Acts 15. 2, 3. in the case of the difference at Antioch about Circumcision, the Church appealed to the Apostles and Elders at Jerusalem, with the whole Church, as appears ver. 1. 2. with ver. 23. The Apostles, Elders and Bre­thren, which was the whole Church; so in the case of the Incestuous person, 1 Cor. 5. 1. the Apostle determines the matter, and they follow his advice, See chap. 7. 1. &c. about the matter of Marriage, and putting away of the unbeliever; about which they had written to him, he resolves the case, and that not altogether in way of power [Page 494] without the Church, as is evident, 2 Cor. 1. 24. Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy. So he deter­mines the case of the disorderly Members, 2 Thes. 3. 6. 1 Joh. ver. 9, 10. in the case of Diotrephes, evil Administration of cen­sures, casting out such as he should not, Wherefore (saith the Apostle) I come, I will remember his deeds which he doth, &c. Now what in ordinary cases the Apostles did for­merly, the Ministers and Churches may and ought to do now, in like cases, it be­ing patterns for all times, as occasion re­quires, in the Administrations of the Church, and for the preservation of the peace and purity of the whole, Mat. 28. 20. Teaching them (that is, the Church Baptised Believers, with their Ministry) to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. So that the Churches have as full power from Christ for preservation of the whole, in their Loyalty to him in Purity and in Peace, as the Apostles had, which is a full and warrantable authority in this matter.

As an illustration of this matter, re­markable to this purpose is that of the two Tribes, and half building an Altar; Josh. 22. 10. which was an act (in appear­ance) contrary to the Law of God, and so a matter of fact to be inquired into, Exod. 20. 24. with Lev. 17. 18. Deut. 12. 5, 6. and the rest of the Tribes sent Pheneas, and ten [Page 495] Princes with him, to inquire after the mat­ter, and to lay (as they judged) sin to their charge; and those Tribes owned their bre­thren in the matter, and gave them a good account to their satisfaction, ver. 22. those Tribes had no Lordship given them over each other, yet was it their duty to look to each other, that the Law of God was not transgressed, and to execute the Law in such cases. The like we read about the abuse of the Levites Wise, Judg. 19. 20. chap. on his complaint they all, as one man, joyn in the matter to avenge the sin; by all which it appeareth, that the Church of God throughut all ages hath had this power to rebuke sin, and maintain truth, in dealing with either persons or assem­blies, in case of sin, according to the rule of the present ministration, under which they lived, and without repentance, to withdraw Communion from them, and in their obstinacy in an evill way to re­ject.

2. This likewise comes under that ge­neral rule, Phil. 4. 8, 9. it is just and ho­nest, and lovely, makes for Purity and Peace, for the Churches to be subject one to another (as it behoves Members) in this case, 1 Pet. 5. 5.

So that then it follows, 1. That Church which refuseth to be accountable of any of their actions to their neighbour Chur­ches (being desired on complaint of mis­carriages) [Page 496] on this ground, that they have no power to inquire after any of their mat­ters, and that they are accountable to none but God, do hereby make a breach upon the Law of relation, and exclude all Chur­ches from their fellowship, and so stand by themselves alone.

2. That such a Church is no more fit for the Communion of Churches, then a Member in a particular Church, that will not live under the Law of the Relation, and will be accountable to none but God; a principle that makes persons not meet to live among men, much less in the Society of the Churches of Christ.

3. That (on the grounds stated) it is the duty of the Churches in case of com­plaint of scandal, in Doctrine, Discipline, or Manners, of any particular Church in the same fellowship, to make dilligent and speedy inquiry into the matter, that they may thereby shew their love to, and zeal for the Glory of God, the purity and peace of his Church; the good of the offenders▪ and preservation of themselves from the guilt of others sins.

4. That if any Church come under a re­port or complaint of miscarriage and scan­dall in Doctrine, Manners, or unjust cen­sures, and refuse to give an account there­of, being tenderly desired, or to clear up the matter in a just way (that is, the sup­posed Offenders and offended, with their [Page 497] witnesses, to be heard before the Neigh­bour Churches, or their Ministers and Members appointed for that service) the Churches ought to withdraw their fellow­ship from such a Church, to preserve them­selves pure from their sin: whatever is a just ground for one Church to exclude a Member, is a just ground for a Church to be excluded in like case; and this is a just ground to exclude a Member. 1. Report, and complaint of scandalous sin. 2. It be­ing inquired after, a positive refusal to give an account, especially before the witnesses that accuse. 3. A denying the power of the Church to make inquiry and to deal in the matter, &c. If such a person be fit for fellowship in a particular Church then such a Church may be fit for the Fel­lowship of Churches, Mat. 18. 17. So that in a word its evident, that its not only the Churches sin that refuseth to be accounta­ble to her Neighbour Sister Churches, but that the Churches do sin in neglecting or delaying to call such a Church to account (which is under complaints, reports, and jealousies of sin in any case) in not perfor­ming their duty to God or men; nor can they acquit themselves before the Lord, untill they have impartially done their du­ty in this matter: that it is a duty, and to be done in Christs authority, is clear and full, from Col. 3. 17. or else they must leave Christs authority, or leave the work whol­ly [Page 498] undone, which is contrary to the true sense and reason of the Scripture, as hath been before proved, or do it in their own will and authority.

CHAP. XXIX. Sheweth that the Estate of the Church in this World is an Afflicted Estate.

NOtwithstanding God hath called his people in the New Covenant of his Grace to glory and vertue, and that he hath made them nigh to himself, his own children by Grace and Adoption, and in­terested them in Glory; yet in this world in their following and serving him they must expect to meet with Afflictions and Tribulations for his Name and Sake, the truth hereof appeareth, 1. from Scripture, 2. from Experience.

1. From Scripture, nothing is more ful­ly and clearly stated then this, Joh. 16. 3. 3. Mat. 16. 24. this must be the portion of e­very one, man and woman, that will follow Christ, they must expect to meet with Tribulations, to meet with shame and re­proach in the world, with loss of friends, relations, and life it self when called to it, Mat. 10. 37, 38, 39. this truth the A­postles confirmed in their doctrine after Christ, Acts 14. 22. That we must through much Tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God. [Page 500] 2 Tim. 3. 12. That all that will live Godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution: men may live Godly according to the customs and wills of men, in the times and places where they live, without persecution, but if any will live godly in Christ Jesus, that is, according to his laws and his will, they must expect to meet with persecu­tion.

2. This the Primitive Church, and all ages ever since, hath and doth by experi­ence witness; I need not mention particu­lar Scriptures, or History, or Experience in this matter, it being so obvious and clear, that he that runs may read. Act. 20. 23. 1 Cor. 9. to 13. 2 Cor. 11. 23. to 28. 2 Thes. 1. 4. Rev. 2. 9, 10. History and Ex­perience proves the same, the wonderful persecutions, wrongs, and deaths, the Saints have met withall in all ages, abun­dantly confirms the truth.

The reasons hereof are, 1. Relating to the men of the world, from whence the per­secution always cometh, and that 1. From their ignorance, that is the foundation cause men are ignorant of God and his truth; Strangers to the life of God through the ignorance that is in them; hence flows all the mischief ordinarily that is in the world. Joh. 16. 3. And these things will they doe unto you, because they have not known the Father nor me; 1 Cor. 2. 8. Had they kn [...]wn, they would not have Crucified the Lord of Glory. Hence [Page 501] Christ prayeth for his Persecutors, Luke 23. 34. Father fo [...]g [...]ve them for they know not what they doe; and the Apostle confesseth, that while he was a Persecutor, he did it igno­rantly in unbelief, 1 Tim. 1. 13. Let us learn to pitty poor Persecutors, and pray for them according to the command of our Lord, and example of himself and his servant Stephen, Acts 7. 60. for they are blind and they know not what they doe.

2. As flowing from their ignorance, is their Pride of Heart, who think their own ways and wills best, and so hate the will of Christ, and persecute his people for walking therein; they will have their own imaginations to be the truth and nothing else; and this pride flows from ignorance, for all pride flows from ignorance; for if men knew God and themselves, it would not be possible for them to be proud, but to abase themselves and submit to him, and would be willing that he should rule, and that his people should serve him, Psal. 10. 2. The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor, &c. ver. 4. The wicked through the pride of his countenance will not seek after God, &c. Isa. 10. 12, 13. so that ignorance and pride goeth together, and both bringeth forth Perse­cution, Psal. 140. 5. The proud hath hid a snare for me, and Cords, they have spread a Net by the way-side, they have set grins for me. And note, its the proud that hath done it.

3. As flowing from both, enmity and mallice, the old enmity still remaining and working in the Serpents seed, Gen. 3. 15. Mat. 23. 33. saith Christ, [...]e Serpents, ye Ge­neration of Vipers, how can ye escape the damna­tion of hell. From hence it is they love vio­lence, Psal. 11. 5. Him that loveth violence his Soul hateth, and that not only the Anti-Christian Heathens, but the Anti-christian and false Church walketh in the same steps. Rev. 1 [...]. 6. And I saw the woman (that is, the Babylonish false Church) drunken with the blood of Saints, and with the blood of the Mar­tyrs of Jesus Christ, &c. chap. 18. 24. and in her was found the blood of Prophets and Saints, and all that were sla [...]n upon the earth. And of this the Prophet Micah Prophecyeth, that Persecution should be in the hand of the false Church in the latter days▪ Mic. 7. 10. Then she that is m [...]ne enemy shall see it, and shame shall cover her. O ye dreadful state of pretended Church Persecutors, its a high­er degree of wickedness in them, then in the Heathens who deny Christ, and greater will be their Judgment.

4. Because God hath called them out of the world, and made them to d [...]sser▪ therefore do the world hate them, Joh. 15. 19. 1 Pet. 4. 4. because they dare not run to the same excess of Riot, in matters of Wor­ship and Conversation, therefore doth the world hate them.

[...]. Reasons relating to the people of [Page 503] God; and 1. they cannot well be with­out it, they need Afflictions, and may not be without it, though like little chil­dren they like it not, 1 Pet. 1. 6. Though now for a season (if need be,) ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations; the Lords people hath need of manifold temptations of much tribulation.

Quest. What is the need that Christians Quest. have of Tribulations.

Ans. 1. There is need because of sin, or­dinarily Answ. God afflicts his people for sin, Lam. 3. 39. Man suffereth for his sin, it is to make his people partakers of his holiness, Heb. 12. 10. The fruit of all is to take away the sin, Isa. 27. 9. O that [...]in that doth so ea­sily beset the Saints, is the cause of the mi­series and afflictions that doth so ordina­rily and often attend them, Psal. 89. 30, 31, 32. 1 Cor. 1 [...] 30, 31, 32.

Quest. What sins are they for which God Quest. doth ordinarily afflict his people?

Answ. 1. All sin, and therefore none of Answ. us all can plead guiltless, or charge God justly, we must say as Jam. 3. 2. In many things we offend all▪ but especially and par­ticularly it may be,

1. For the sin of Covetousness, as I minded, chap. 22. with other sins I there minded, which hinders the prevalency of Prayer, which are the causes o [...] Gods af­flicting his people, but in this place I shall speak more full, Isa. 57. 17. For the iniqui­ty [Page 504] of his covetousness was I wrath with him, and smote him, &c. God is wrath with, and smites his people for Covetousness and worldly mindedness, when they set their hearts on the world more then upon him, or more then they should, he will correct them; this was his complaint of his peo­ple, Jer. 6. 13. That from the least of them even to the greatest, every one of them is given to covetousness; therefore it is not in vain that our Lord warns us, Luke 12. 15. Take heed and bewa [...]e of Covetousness, and the Apostle, Eph. 5. 3. But Fornication and all uncleanness [...] covetousness, let it not be so much as named a­mong you as becometh Saints.

Quest. Is there any such thing as Co­vetousness in the World, or espe­cially among Christians, and in the Church?

Answ. Surely if the Scriptures be true, there is, and I fear that experience too much proves the truth hereof; in this I shall note three things.

1. What it is, and wherein it consists. 1. In the lusting after and coveting that which is none of ours, Exod. 20. 17. Thou shalt not Covet thy neighbours house, &c. Rom. 7. 7. I had n [...]t known lust, except the Law had said thou shalt not Covet. Matthew 5. 27, 28.

Quest. Is it not lawfull for me to Covet o [...] desire what another hath if I need it, provided I am willing to [Page 505] buy it, and pay its worth for it?

Answ. Nay, unless the party be willing Answ. to sell it, 1 King. 1. 21. 1, 2, 3. in the case of Ahab coveting Naboths Vineyard, who of­fered to give him a better for it, or its worth in mony. The effect of that covetousness may be read in letters of blood, and should be a warning to covetous persons, who de­sire that which is none of theirs.

2. An unlawful getting any worldly thing, or any unlawful gain, Jer. 17. 11. As the Partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midest of his daies, and at the end shall be a fool.

Quest. When may Riches be said to be Quest. unlawfully gotten?

Answ. 1. When it is stoln; Theft is the Answ. highest degree of Covetousness, and un­lawful gain, in act, on any account, Exod. 20 15. Thou shalt not steal; Eph. 4. 28. Let him that stole steal no more, &c. Prov. 9. 17. S [...]oln waters are swee [...], &c. Therefore God makes a Law to punish this sort of cove­tousness in its own kind, Exod. 22. 1, 2, 3, 4.

2. When it is gotten by fraud, lying, couzening and cheating, then it's covetous­ly and wickedly gotten▪ Mic 6. 10, 11, 12. Lev. 6. 1, 2, 3. and 19. 11, 13. 1 Thes. 4. 6. Commending that which is bad for good, and discommending that which is good, and say it is bad; see it both in Amos 8. 5, 6. Prov. 20. 14.

3. When it's gotten by oppression of the poor, grinding, and hard dealing; when it is gotten out of the bowels of the poor, when they give not sufficient for their la­bour, or defraud them of their due and right, or keep it from them for their own advantage, to the prejudice and wrong of the poor, Isa. 3. 14. Amos 4. 1. and 5. 11. Jam. 5. 4. Deut. 24. 14, 15.

4. When it is gotten in the over eager pursuit of a lawful calling, when the design is to get the riches of the World, Ps. 127. 2. 1 Tit. 6. 10. Prov. 20. 21. and 23. 4. and 28. 20. When men rob their bellies of what is meet, and rob their eyes of sleep, and their families of that rest, peace and good they might and should enjoy; and rob God of his time, and their souls of good, and all to fill their purses, to grow great and rich in this World; it's an high degree of covetousness, and a great sin and shame for any Christians to be sound in this practice.

3. An unlawful keeping when men have it, and the Lord calls for it, which is espe­cially for his Ministers, and for his poor; 1. For his Ministers, and that as just and due debt for their serving the Lord and his Church, that they may live comfortably with their Brethren in the work and ser­vice; see 1 Cor. 9. 7, 14. Gal. 6. 6. 1 Tit. 5. 17, 18. 2. His poor, Gal. 6. 10. Mat. 26. 11. 1 Ti [...]. 6. 17, 18. 1 Joh. 3. 17, 18. And that [Page 507] willingly and chearfully; for both Christs Ministers, and his poor, are with the Church in his stead, though on a differing account, one for service, and the other for trial; and look how the Church deals with them here, so would they deal with Christ were he present, and so he taketh it, and so will he account with men at the last day.

2. The greatness of the sin and that ap­pears, 1. From the Lords forbidding of it, Exod. 20. 17. Rom. 13. 9.

2. From the many cautions given against it, to be ware thereof, Luke 12. 15. Eph. 5. 3. Heb. 13. 5.

3. From the evil effects thereof, as vio­lence and oppression, Mic. 2. 2. Stealing and theft, John 7. 11. 21. Deceit and treachery as in the case of Judas, Mat. 26. 14, 15, 16. Lying, 2 Kin. 5. 22. 27. Murder, as in the case of Ahab with Naboth, 1 Kin. 21. Mer­chandise of souls, 2 Pet. 2. 3. Covetous­ness is fit for any abomination, to accom­plish its design.

4. In that it's ranked with the worst of sins, 1 Cor. 5. 10. and 6. 10.

5. In that it hath the term of the worst of sins put upon it, it's called Idolatry, [...]ph. 5. 5. Jer. Col. 3. 5. which is an abominable sin, 44. 4. 1 Pet. 4. 3.

6. By the difficulty, for a rich covetous man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, Mat. 19. 23, 24.

7. By the Woes and Judgments in Scrip­ture [Page 508] denounced against it, Hab. 2. 9. 1 Cor. 6. 10. Eph. 5. 5, 6. And this woful soul­deceiving, and soul-destroying sin, the Lords people are liable to be ensnared with it; and that appeareth in that they are so often taxed for it, and accused of it, Jer 6. 13. and 8. 10. Ezek. 33. 31. 2. In that they are so often cautioned against it, as I minded before, Luke 12. 13. 1 Tit. 6. 8. 9, 10, 11, 17, 18. Heb. 13. 5. 3. In th [...] they pray against it, Ps. 119. 36.

In a word, to conclude, Covetousness [...] a sin that draws down judgments, tempor [...] judgments, Isa. 57 17. Spiritual and etern [...] judgments, as other abominations do, 1 Tit. 6. 9, 10. Yet such is the weakness & wretch­edness of Christians, to suffer themselves to be ensnared thereby, to be dallying therewith, and to keep it in their bosome, as their special friend; and that too, against all reproofs, and means of help, which, [...] the end, if Grace prevent not, will sting like a Serpent, and bite like a Cockatrice▪ piercing them through with many sorrows, drown­ing th [...]m in perdition and destruction.

Or, 2. It may be for the sin of Hypocr [...] ­sie, Isa. 10. 5. 6. O Assirian, the rod of mi [...] anger. &c I will send him against an hypocri­tical N [...]tion, &c. and 9. 17. Job 15. 34. The Congregation of Hypoc [...]ites shall be desolate, &c▪

Quest. Wherein doth Hypocrisie co [...] ­sist? Quest.

A [...]w. Generally in making a shew of Answ. [Page 509] that which is not, either relating to God or man; Ezek. 33. 31, 33. Matt. 15. 7, 8. Love in word and in tongue only, and not in d [...]ed and in truth, 1 Joh. 3. 18. It's not in vain that Christ gives that caution, Luke 12. 1. Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is Hypocrisie, Ps. 58. 1, 2. Sincerity is a love­ly virtue, but hypocrisie, double dealing, an heart and an heart the Lord abhorreth. O! let all that expect to approve them­selves to God, abhor it; grounds there are to fear, that it hath gotten too much foot­ing in the hearts of Christians at this day.

Or, 3. It may be for the sin of Pride God may rebuke and chastise his people; Isa. 28, 1, 3. Woe to the crown of Pride, ver. 3. The crown of Pride, the drunkards of Ephraim shall be trodden under fe [...]t; Hos. 5. 5. The Pride of Israel doth testifie to his face, therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall into their iniquity, Judah also shall fall with them. Pride is a sin that God will not bear with, no, not in his own people, but he will visit them, and bring them down, and lay them low, even in the dust.

Quest. Wherein doth Pride consist?

Answ. Pride is in the heart▪ it's an heart­sin, it's a being puffed or lifted up in the heart, Prov. 16. 5. Every one that is proud in heart, is an abomination to the Lo [...]d; Ps. 131. 1. (saith the Prophet) Mine heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: there is pride of Parts, [Page 510] Wisdom, Riches, Strength, Beauty, Ho­nour, &c. Jer. 9. 2, 3. Pride in falshood, 1 Tit. 6. 3, 4. but all comes from the heart. I shall therefore endeavour to shew some of the symptoms of Pride, wherein a proud heart is discovered, which are as the flag [...] or ensigns thereof.

1. A proud and lofty look, lofty eyes, and a lofty countenance and carriage, is a discovery of a lofty and proud heart, Psal. 101. 5. Him that hath an high look, and a proud heart, will not I suffer; an high look and a proud heart ordinarily goes toge­ther, and the Lord will not suffer such in his Family, Ps. 131. 1. My heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty; lofty eyes bespeaks an haughty heart, Prov. 6. 17. A proud look is one of the abominations the Lord hateth, Chap. 21. 4. and 30. 13. There are a Genera­tion, O how lofty are their eyes, and their eye-lids are lifted up! And this lofty, haughty heart, that is discovered by a lofty and proud look, will God bring down, Isa. 2. 11. 17.

2. A lofty tongue; and that is either, 1. A ruling, lording tongue, which disco­vers a proud heart, Ps. 12. 3, 4. God will cut off the tongue that speaketh proud things, &c. and 73. 8. They are corrupt, and speak wicked­ly, concerning oppression, they speak loftily; great and proud words are the discoveries of a proud heart.

2. A self-exalting, and a self-boasting tongue is a symptom of a proud heart, and [Page 511] this the Hypocrite cannot avoid, Luke 18. 11, 12. The proud boasting Pharisee by it discovered the pride of his heart; for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speak­eth: thus Jehu boasts of the rightness of his heart, when it was but a discovery of his Pride and Hypocrisie, 2 K [...]n. 10. 15. Self-praise, and self-commendation is a special character of folly and pride, Prov. 27. 2. Let another praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips: it's much better for a mans works to praise him, than his tongue, Prov. 31. 31.

3. Lofty habit, gay cloathings, fleshly adornings, is a special symptom of a proud heart.

Quest. Is there any such thing as pride in apparel? or any such thing condemned in the Scripture, as pride in apparel?

Answ. I propose this question, and the same to that of covetousness, because I perceive Christians run to excess in these things, without all care or fear, as if there were no such sins in the World, a dange­rous evil of our times, Christians rush into it, as if riches, gay clothes, and following the fashions of the times, were the only preparations for another World; or if not, as if they expected no part therein, but to have their portion only in this life.

But surely it is a sin condemned by the Lord, not only in the old, but in the new Testament; in the old, Isa. 3. 16, 17. Be­cause [Page 512] the daughters of Sion are haughty, and walk with stretched out necks, and wanton eyes, and therefore the Lord will smite with a scab, the crown of the head, &c. ver. 18. In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of the twink­ling ornaments, &c. What they are you may see in that which followeth: by which we may see, that the Lords people hath alwaies been addicted too much to this sin, and especially the female Sex; and this we find at present by woful experience amongst professing people, though contrary to the Word of God, and the Spirit of Grace (in the hearts of gracious ones) 1 Tit. 2. 9, 10. 1 Pet. 3. 3, to 6. In both which Pride is forbidden, and modest apparel, with shamefac'd­ness, and sobriety, as becometh women professing Godliness, is commanded; and the truth is, that this sort of Pride is a shame, and a shameful sin to be found in the Church of Christ; Luke▪ 7. 25. They that wear gay cloathing, are in Kings houses; they should not be in Churches. It's the Whore of Babilon whose Beauty consists of such deckings; Rev. 17. 4. It behoves the Churches to purge out this sin as an abomination, (and to be cloathed with humility, which adorns the new Covenant) lest the Lord cast them out, as an abominable branch.

O, if we could, or would be every one striving who should be most like Christ, and conformable to him, as we are striving to be like the World; how glorious would [Page 513] Christians be in their profession, over now they are: but now unhappy we, whose care is to be like the World, though there­by we are the more unlike our Lord, and so dishonour him, and wrong our own souls: and that which adds to this sin is, that Ministers, who should cry aloud a­gainst these abominations, either practice the same themselves, or allow it in their Families and Relations; are silent in the matter at best, and others shameless enough, plead for it, and surely that is the Devils work: no wonder then if it grow to a mighty torrent both of sin and judg­ment. Some it may be preach it down in word, but allow it in practice in them­selves and Families, as if they had a license to be licentious in this matter.

I have observed this evil in Parents, that hath been bread plain themselves, (and it may be so continue) but breed their chil­dren to pride and vanity, as if they designed them to destruction, and say (it may be) they cannot help it: let such know, that they ought to command their children, and remember Ely in like case, for his weak and soft dealing with his Sons, 1 Sam. 2. 22, to 27, 33.

I have observed the Husband to go plain himself, but the Wife arraied like a Stage­player; and the vain man it may be is proud to see his Wife so fine, or if not, passeth all by in silence, or complains that [Page 514] he cannot rule her; she will have it so, say what he will.

An argument that the man knows not how to rule, and so draws the guilt of his Wives sin upon himself; or that the Wife knows not her duty either to God or to her Husband: and indeed, those who have no conscience of duty to God, it cannot be expected that they should have conscience of duty to man. I would advise such wo­men to read, and seriously to consider, Eph. 5. 24. 33.

4. A lofty carriage and conversation is a symptom of a proud heart; Dan. 4. 37 Those that walk in Pride, he is able to abase: a proud walk, a proud life discovers a proud heart, 1 Jo [...]. 2. 16. One of the things that is of the World, and not of the Father, is pride of Life, which is not of the Father, but of the World. O there­fore let Christians leave it to the World, and cleave to the Father, and the things of the Father, lest he strip and whip them from their grievous transgression in this matter.

5. Contentions and divisions about need­less and invented things, is a sign of a proud heart, when persons form up things to themselves which the Lord never required, and make that a ground of division for self-ends; such things as these being the cause of most of the divisions at this day, it flows from self and pride: Prov. 13. 10. Only by pride cometh contention, but with the [Page 515] well-advised is Wisdom, and 22. 10. Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out, yea, strife and reproach shall cease. O the breaches and divisions, the contentions and strifes which this monster (pride) hath produced both in Church and State; the Lord give repentance, or judgment must be the issue: good Hezekah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, &c. and the wrath of the Lord was deferred, 2 Chron. 32. 26.

4. Affliction may come upon the peo­ple of God for their living in the trans­gression of the known Ordinances of the Lord; this is that for which God hath had (and probably hath at this day) a con­troversie with his people; and for these things he hath, doth, and will visit them, Ezek. 11. 19, 20, 21. Where the reason of Gods gathering his people from the Na­tions, ver. 17. and giving them one heart, and putting his new spirit in them, (i. e. his new Covenant spirit) is, that they may walk in my Statutes, and keep mine Ordinances, and do them, &c. but those whose hearts walk af­ter their detestable things, and their abominati­ons, I will recompence their own way upon the [...]r own heads, saith the Lord, Dan. 9. 8,—11. Where the Prophet acknowledgeth, that the cause of all the Churches afflictions and miseries, was for sin, and not obeying the voice of the Lord, and walking in his Laws, which he had set before them, &c. and it's very likely that this is one cause of God's afflicting his people; [Page 516] not only the things before-mentioned, but the changing of the instituted Ordinances of Christ into mens own inventions, so slighting his commands, and his people for walking therein, for transgressing of the Law of love to God, to men, to good men, to bad men. O the great failing in this matter; the Law of Christ is, that his peo­ple should not speak evil one of another, nor back-bite one another, Eph. 4. 31. 1 Pet. 2. 1. Jam. 4. 11. Nor to think evil one of another, 1 Cor. 13. 5. Zec. 7. 10. Nor easily to be­lieve evil reports against a brother, Psal. 15. 3. But what contrary walking to those blessed Laws of the Gospel (in these and many other things I might name) is found amongst us, and (that not by secret search) the Lord knoweth, and he will make us to know it, or he will make us sick with smi­ting.

Or, 5. It may be for his peoples unpro­fitableness under the mercy and means en­joyed, for the loss of first love, to God, his Name and Truth, to one another; and this is it of which the Lord complains of his people, and warns them to repent, and d [...] their first works, lest he come against them spee­dily, and remove the Candlestick out of his place, Rev. 2. 4. Jer. 2. 2, 3, 17. When the Lord feeds his people to the full with mercy and means of life, and they grow carnal and unprofitable, and (as it were) die away un­der it, the Lord will not bear with it, either [Page 517] to grow careless, and luke-warm, or to be dead, or ready to die, as the Churches, Rev. 3. 1, 2. 15, 16. For these and the like evils it is, that the people of God need afflicti­ons in this World, to be emptied from ves­sel to vessel; and, O that the fruit of all might be to take away the sin, and to make them parta­kers of his holiness.

2. The people of God need afflictions2. They need afflictions for trial. for trial of the truth of their Virtues, the truth of their Faith, Love, Patience, Con­tentation, and Constancy in the Gospel: God did ever delight to trie his people, not that he did ever delight in their af­flictions and sufferings, but he delighteth in the truth of their Faith, Love, and Constancy, &c. And on this account it is that he proveth them, 1 Pet. 4. 12. Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery tryal that is to trie you, &c. Psal. 56. 10. For thou O God hast pro [...]ed us, th [...]u hast tried us as silver is tried: God ordinarily designs the good of his people in their afflictons, i. e. trying and purifying, to prove them, and resine them as silver; and if they are not resined by it, but give him occasion to say of them as of his people of old, the end will be bad and sad, Jer. 6. 29, 30. The bellows are burnt, the lead is consumed of the fire, the Founder melteth in vain; for the wicked are not plucked away, reprobate silver shall men call them, because the Lord hath rejected them: that is, when men do not profit under Gods corrections, they [Page 518] are as reprobate silver, and so the Founder melteth in vain.

1. God trieth the Faith of his people,1. To try their Faith. to see if that will hold out, and endure the fire; and the reason is, because there is much temporary Faith, that will not en­dure the fire, Luke 8. 13. Matt. 13. 20, 21. Therefore he will try, and prove the truth of their Faith, 1 Pet. 6. 7. God will make it to be of great advantage to his people that are faithful to him therein: Abraham the Father of the faithful must have his Faith tried, when God commanded him to offer up his Son, Heb. 11. 17. his all; so God will try his people, by calling them to offer up all, as a sacrifice for his sake: and thus hath he tried his peoples Faith throughout all ages, some more, and some less, according to his Divine pleasure, and his peoples need, for their profit.

2. God trieth his peoples love, whether2. To try their love. they do indeed love the Lord with all their hearts, and with all their souls, and cleave to him in all estates, Matt. 10. 37, 38, 39. He that loveth Father or Mother, &c. more than me, is not worthy of me: he will prove his people whether they do love him indeed, or not; hence the Apostle saith, Rom. 35. 39. VVho (or what) shall separate us from the love of Christ, &c. It's not death or life that shall be able to do it, Song 8. 6. 7.

3. God trieth the patience of his peo­ple;3. Patience. we think we have much patience [Page 519] when we have no trial, but when trial comes, we shall find our weakness and want in this matter, Jam. 1. 3, 4. This of Pa­tience under afflictions is such a divine new Covenant Virtue, that he that hath it tru­ly, wanteth nothing, i. e. to carry him through in a right suffering; and it's im­possible to have true patience without true Faith, and true love, Jam. 5, 6, 7, 8. Rom. 5. 3, 4, 5. The Apostle commends the Church of the Thessalomans, 2 Thes. 1. 4. For their Faith and Patience in all their tribu­lations.

4. God trieth the contentation of his4 Conten­tation. people; contentation is a choice Virtue, and resignation to the will of God in all cases and conditions, in poverty, sickness, wrongs, and persecutions, to be contented, and to resign to the Lord; an hard lesson for flesh, but Grace teacheth it, and God expects it, and therefore proveth his peo­ple, that it may be manifest of what spirit they are in this matter, and that he may teach them this duty, Phil. 4. 11. 1 Tit. 6. 6, 8.

And so, 5. For trial of our perseverance, whether we will hold out to the end, in the Faith and profession of the Gospel, Matt. 10. 22. Ye shall be hated of all Nations for my Name sake, but he that endureth to the end shall be saved; John 8. 31. Jesus said, if ye conti­nue in my VVord, then are ye my Disciples indeed; that is, if ye hold out in all trials and temp­tations, [Page 520] and continue in the Word, abide in the Doctrine of Christ to the end, then are you Christians indeed; Jam. 1. 12. Blessed are they that endure temptations, for when they have been tried, they shall receive a Crown of Life, &c. Note, the promise of Blessedness is to those that endure, i. e. hold out to the end, in a right, patient, and contented spirit; if we endure not to the end, all our profession and sufferings will be in vain, Gal. 3. 4.

A third sort of reasons are, in relation3. Reasons such as re­late to God. to God our Father, and Jesus Christ our Lord, who doth it for the good of his people; God will, and doth afflict his peo­ple in love, as a tender Father, for their profit; he best knows what his people needs, and sutably he deals with them, he doth it to make them partakers of his Holiness, Heb. 12. 5. He doth it in love, and in faith­fulness, Psal. 119. 75. and will issue all in their good, and spiritual advantage, Rom. 8. 28. He doth it to fit them for the King­dom and Glory he hath prepared for them, and promised to them, Rom. 8. 17. If we suffer with him, it is that we may be glorified with him: the Lord will have his people from the Cross to the Crown, purified and refined for that glorious estate, Rev. 6. 14, 15. Great tribulations will tend to work the Saints to the exercise of Faith in the blood of the Lamb, and thereby to be purifying themselves as he is pure, which will be for [Page 521] their comfort here, and glory in the end.

3. I shall propound some rules for dire­ction3. Rules for a right suf­fering. to the Saints in order to a right com­fortable and profitable suffering.

1. When it is for a good cause, the name1. A good cause. and truth of the Lord, for any of the truths of the Gospel, for owning him in his Offi­ces as your Priest, Sacrifice, and Atonement, and so as your Saviour, or as your Prophet to teach you, and Lord and King to be ru­led by him, in all his Laws and Ordinances, in matters of worship and conversation; in opposition to the commands of men though pretended Christians; and herein lyeth the ordinary cause of suffering and persecutions, from Nominal Christians and the Whorish Church, especially for the Pro­phetick and Kingly office of Christ our Lord, a glorious cause for the Saints to suffer in, as ever was stated in the World, Luke 6. 22. If it be for the Son of mans sake hap­py are ye; for his words, for his laws, for his worship, Mar. 8. 38. Rev. 1. 9. John was persecuted for the word of God, and for the te­stimony of Jesus; The Apostles for refusing to forbear Preaching in the Name of Jesus, when commanded, and owning Jesus as Lord in the matter, Acts 4. 19. and 5. 29. 1 Pet. 4. 14. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ happy are ye.

2. A good call to suffering is likewise of2. A good call. concernment, and that is, 1. When it is for [Page 522] worshipping God according to his will. Or 2. for refusing to worship with those who (in our judgments and conscience) do the contrary, when we cannot worship God in peace our selves, nor forbear worship­ping with others, contrary to the will of Christ, and the light of our own conscience (without suffering) then have we a lawfull and good call to suffer, especially if there be no way opened by the Lord for escape, without sinning against him, here is both a good cause, and a good call.

3. When there is withall a good consci­ence,3. A good Conscience. that is of special concernment for comfort in suffering, not only a good con­science in respect of the cause, and clear­ness of the call, but also in relation to the sincerity of our faith, and walk with God, and towards men in the whole course of our conversation, (for when mens former conversations have been sinful, worldly, proud, vain and unprofitable, it must needs lessen their comfort in suffering, when they shall reflect on themselves and sins, as the cause, let such look that they repent of the sin, that so they may have the advan­tage and comfort of suffering.) For con­firmation of this, see 2 Cor. 1. 8. 12. and read it at your leasure, O it will be a com­fort indeed to you when you come to suf­fer, the testimony of your Conscience, as to your former conversation, it will be a continual Feast.

[Page 523]4. When you mannage the business in a4. A good Spirit. good spirit, that is in the spirit of love, without which all is nothing, 1 Cor. 13. 3. love both to God and man, in the meek and patient spirit of our Lord Jesus, who as a Lamb dumb before the Shearer, so opened he not his mouth, who when he was reviled, reviled not again, when he suffered he threatned not, but committed himself to him that judgeth righte­ously, 1 Pet. 2. 23.

4. I shall propound some helps and sup­ports4. Encou­ragements in suffering. to the Saints in their sufferings, to the end they may not faint nor flag in the way.

1. Its presented to us in the Gospel as the way to the Kingdom; and truly if so, though it be not pleasant to the flesh, but a rugged way, yet while it leads to so good an end, they have no cause to be discouraged, but to lift up their hearts and heads, Mat. 16. 24. Acts 14. 22. Jam. 1. 12.

2. Its the way in which Christ hath wal­ked before you; The Captain of your Salvati­on was made perfect by suffering, Heb. 2. 10. Hence the Apostle exhorts us to look to Je­sus, and to consider him that suffered such contra­diction of sinners, least we be weary and faint in our minds, Heb. 12. 2, 3. If Jesus was con­tent to go the way before you and for you, how should this arm you with the same mind?

3. He hath not only gone before his [Page 524] people in this way of suffering, but he hath made the way plain for them, that they may walk in it safely; he hath con­quered all his and his Churches Enemies, that they can do them no wrong while they cleave to, and follow the Lord, Joh. 16. 33. [...]e of good chear I have overcome the world: He hath spoiled principalities and pow­ers, and made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them therein▪ Col. 2. 15. So that there is nothing in the way that shall hurt you.

4. And this is not all, but you have his promise that he will be with you, he will not leave you alone in the way, but he will be with you in the fire, and in the water, to up­hold and preserve you through the most fiery try­als, and floods of ungodly men, Isa. 41. 10. and 43. 1, 2. and his Grace shall be sufficient for your support, 2 Cor. 12. 9.

5. Its the way in which all the Saints have walked before you to the Kingdom, as Heb. 11. and chap. 12. The Apostle calls them, a cloud of witnesses to this truth, as an argument to encourage Saints in their sufferings; the new Testament is full to it. and both History and experience confirms it; therefore my Beloved▪ Think it not strange concerning the fiery tryals which is to try you, as if some strange thing had happened unto you, 1 Pet. 4. 13. but know its no new thing therefore it should not be strange, its the way in which all the Prophets and A­postles, [Page 525] and Saints have walked before you in, and if you will walk in another way, you may doubtless come to some o­ther end.

6. Consider the great advantages you shall reap thereby, which should be incou­ragements to your souls in suffering; and that not only in those many things that hath been before mentioned, as to prove and try the truth of your Faith, Love, Pa­tience, Constancy, and Perseverance in the Truth, the purging away of sin, &c.

But 1. It shall give you the advantage of more of Christs Spirit and presence in your faithful cleaving to him in suffering, The Spirit of God and of glory shall rest upon you, 1 Pet. 4. 14. The Lord will make known himself to you (it may be) in a more glorious manner and measure then ever before; and so it shall be to you an evident token of Salvation and that of God. Phil. 5. 28. a right suffering frame of spirit is the gift of God, and a token of Salvation to those in whom it is.

2. It shall work for your great glory at the appearing and Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 Cor. 4. 17, 18. Those light afflictions that are but for a moment, worketh for us a more exceeding and Eternal weight of glory; a right suffering for Christ will turn to wonderful advantage both on the spiritu­al and eternal account; its the great wor [...] of the world (and I fear of those who pro­fess [Page 526] to be called out of the world too) to be trading in the greatest ways of worldly advantage, which doth all perish in the u­sing. O why should Christians be so un­willing to be trading in this way of gain? there is no gain like this, what ever you gain here, its durable, eternal, and exceed­ing great, a weight of glory, Mat. 5. 11. 12. 1 Pet. 4. 13. Your reward shall be great in Heaven, and your joy exceeding and full of glo­ry at that day. Rom. 8. 18. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be reveal­ed in us; bring your hearts to a right reck­oning, as the Saints of old have done, rec­kon the littleness of the suffering, and the greatness of the glory, the momentariness of the suffering, and the eternity of the glory; and you will see that there is no comparison between them, you will then indeed see and say that sufferings for Christ is your gain, your riches, as Moses that Servant of the Lord did, He esteemed the re­proach of Christ greater riches then the treasures of Egypt, for he had respect unto the recompence of reward, Heb. 11. 25, 26.

I shall now only answer two objections or questions about this matter, and so con­clude this Chapter.

1. If it be true indeed, that God and Quest. Christ do love the Saints as the Scripture relates, and that they are so nearly and dearly related to them; i. e. to God as [Page 527] Children, and to Jesus Christ as Espoused to him, and Members of his body, how it is possible for the Father and the Son to permit them to pass under such oppressi­ons and wrongs, from men in the World?

Answ. 1. Without all controversie it Answ. should not be so with them, were they fit for another state, its not for want of love or good will in God, that his people must be chastised, but it is in love and faithful­ness that the Lord doth it, or permits it to be done, its for their good, as hath been before shewed; Parents correct their Children for their good, and not their hurt, in love to amend them, and not to harm them, though Children think the contrary; he doth it for their profit, To make them partakers of his holiness, that they may not be condemned with the world.

2. He will try them (as I said before) the truth of their Faith, Love, Patience, and Constancy; and great reason it should be so, for the truth of our Lords love to us was tried to the purpose, and that too in the way of his Suffering for us, and he was content to suffer and bear hard and heavy things for us, without grudging and repining; and its meet our loves should be tryed likewise, therefore let us arm our selves with the same mind.

3. Though he in this way try and prove his people, yet he takes all the wrong done [Page 528] to them as done to himself, and will judge both his and their enemies in the end. Zech. 8. 2. He that toucheth them, toucheth the Apple of his eye, Acts 9. 4. Saul, Saul why persecutest thou me?

4. His glory [...]s concerned in it, which should be more precious to us then our lives, on your part he is glorified; it is his glo­ry to have a people in a sinful world, to bear up his name before men, in a way of profest obedience, in opposition to the wickedness of the world, and it will be for the glory of his Justice in the day of ac­counts, that he had a people in the world that did own him, and bear up his name in doing and suffering, and shall silence and shame enemies at that day, and cause them to justifie, and Glorifie God in the day of visi­tation.

2. Christ saith, that his Yoke is easie, Quest. and his Burden is light, Mat. 11. 30. how does it appear so to be, seeing such hea­vy service and sufferings attend the Gos­pel?

Answ. 1. Its a easie Yoke comparative­ly, Answ. with the Yoke of the Old Covenant, which was such a Yoke as Peter saith, Acts 15. 10. That neither we nor our Fathers were a­ble to bear.

2. Its easie and light, compared with the Yoke of Sin and Satan, which makes men to take great pains to do wickedly, and very often destroy their bodies in the Service [Page 529] of Sin and Satan, by Surfeiting and Drun­kenness, and other ways in which they wil­lingly Sacrifice themselves to the Devil and their own Lusts, and so to Eternal Condemnation, from which Believers are delivered.

3. To truly gracious Souls that love the Lord Jesus in Sincerity, there is nothing so heavy a burden to them as sin, nor plea­sant as the service of the Lord, and suffer­ings too, when they live the life of Faith and love; sin is their burden, and the want of a suffering frame of spirit is their bur­den, but Grace and Holiness, and a Heart fitted to conform to Christ in every thing, and to follow him where ever he leads, that is the delight of the gracious soul.

Note this as a special distinguishing Cha­racter,Note this. between a gracious Sincere Heart, and a Hypocrite, or Formalist; the burden of the Hypocrite is, that there is such ser­vice, and that there are such duties requi­red, such sins to be avoided, and such suf­ferings to attend the Gospel; and this is his burden. He goes on heavily, and at a hard rate, and in all could gladly turn back again; if self esteem and credit with Pro­fessors, and legal conscience would permit, and many poor souls waiting for a fair op­portunity of drawing back, ever and anon break through all, and return as they were; this we see by wofull experi­ence, [Page 530] according to that word, 2 Pet. 2. 21, 22.

But the Sincere Christian rejoyceth in the Service, and hateth the sin that doth so e­sily beset, loves the holiness of God, and the purity of his Word and Worship, but is burdened and grieved that he comes so short in the right performance thereof, he quarrels not at the strictness or holiness of the service, but with himself that hath so much aversness in his nature thereunto; He rejoyceth that God hath accounted him wor­thy to suffer shame for his name sake, but is bur­dened with his own carnality, and coming short in the right suffering spirit of the Gospel.

CHAP. XXX. Of Death, and the State after Death; of the Resurrection and Judgment.

COncerning Death I need say but little; not only the Scripture assures us of the certainty thereof, that it is appointed for men once to die; but common experience confirms the truth hereof, we see it dayly, that all men dye, it is the way of all flesh, great and small, noble and ignoble, good and bad, all die, except those (of the Saints) that shall be found alive at the co­ming of the Lord, they shall be changed, which will be a death to the body, though not asleep in the grave, but a sudden change 1 Cor. 15. 51. and many of the wicked shall not then die, but be cast alive into the Lake of Fire, Rev. 19. 2. But alas, who is that so layeth it to heart, the certainty and sud­denness thereof, so as to be preparing and prepared for it, as doth concern them that prayeth with the Prophet, Psal. 39. 4. Lord make me to know mine end, and the measure of my dayes, that I may know how frail I am, and Psal. 90. 12. So teach us to number our dayes that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom; so as [Page 532] to be always ready when ever the time comes.

2. Concerning the State of men and wo­men2. Of the State of men after death. after Death, their bodies return to the Dust, according to the Word of the Lord, Gen. 3. 19. and must there remain till the Resurrection; and to the Saints its counted and called a sleeping in Jesus, and indeed its a sleep to all, both good and bad, so called, because there is a lying down as to sleep, and shall be a rising again as men out of sleep, Dan. 12. 2. They that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, &c. and their spirits returns to God that gave them, Eccles. 12. 7. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return to God who gave it. The Spirits of men be­ing (by divine ordinance) immortal, shall not die, but return to the Lord; i. e. to his disposal untill the Resurrection; and as for the State of the Spirits of men after death, what light I understand the Scrip­ture giveth us herein, I shall endeavour briefly to discover.

1. For the State of the Spirits of the1. Of the Saints. Saints, the Scripture seems clear, that the place to which they go, and where they shall abide till the Resurrection of the bo­dy, is to a place above in Heaven called Para­dise, signifying a place of rest and pleasure, 2 Cor. 12. 2, 4. ver. 2. the Apostle calls it the third Heaven, and ver. 4. explains it to be Paradise, which is the place of rest for [Page 533] the Spirits of the Deceased Saints, and not the highest Heaven, the glorious habitati­on of God and Christ, which is said to be far above all Heavens, Eph. 4. 10. into the highest Heaven none are, nor may enter, at least till the Mediatory office of Christ be finished, so it was in the Type, none might enter into the most holy place but the High Priests only, and Christ only is en­tered into Heaven it self, and by himself to perform his Mediatory Office; that this place above called the third Heaven and Paradise, is the place where the spirits of the Deceased Saints are, seems to be con­firmed by the words of Christ to the Thief, Luke 23. 43. To day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.

2. And as for the State they shall be in, it is described to be a better estate then here in the body, and that they shall be with Christ. See both Phil. 1. 23. that is more nearly with him, and so in a far bet­ter condition, then while here in the body, 2 Cor. 5. 6, 7, 8. which should make all the truly Godly willing to depart this life, and to be with Christ, although the de­grees of glory are reserved till after the Resurrection and Judgment, yet at the de­parture out of this body, it will be much better.

2. As for the place and state of the wick­ed,2. Of the Wicked. as the Saints attain not the highest glo­ry, so the wicked go not into the place of [Page 534] the greatest punishment; the reason (as to both) is, because there is a judgment to come, and God doth not first execute, and then judge, but first judge, and then execute the sentence, Mat. 25. 31. the most and best light I find in Scripture concerning this matter is, that there is a place where the spirits of wicked men are kept and reser­ved by the Lord as Prisoners, for the judgment, 1 Pet. 3. 19. 2 Pet. 2. 9.

3. Concerning the Resurrection, and in3. Of the Resurrecti­on. 1. All shall be raised. this I shall premise six things. 1. Prove the truth thereof, and that it shall be gene­ral of all both just and unjust, Act. 24. 15. And have hope towards God, which they them­selves also allow, that there shall be a Resur­rection of the dead, both of the just and unjust; and this our Lord confirms, John 5. 28, 29. and the Apostle, 1 Cor. 15. 12, &c. where the Apostle disputeth against those that de­ny this Doctrine, stating the truth here­of on such plain and infallible grounds, as might tend to satisfie Conscience in this matter, and to silence all gain-sayers; and indeed this truth is stated both in the old and new Testament, and have been the Faith of all the Saints since the Fall, Job. 19. 25, 26. 27. Psal. 49. 14. Isaiah 26. 19. John 11. 24. Acts 26. 6, 7, 8. Heb. 11. 35.

2. It shall be the same bodies that was2. The same bodies. laid down in the dust, that shall be raised again, and not another body, for that would [Page 535] be no Resurrection, but a Creation; the Resurrection will be a work of greater power and wisdom, then the Creation of other bodies. For God to bring up the same bodies through all the difficul­ties and impossibilities to reason and flesh, will abundantly magnifie God in his whole name in the Restauration work, and Jesus Christ by whom it shall be done, that it shall be the same bodies that shall be raised, See Isa. 26. 19. It is them that sleep in the dust of the earth that shall awake, Dan. 12. 2. And them that be in the Grave that shall come forth, 1 Joh. 5. 28, 29. And every seed shall have his own body, 1 Cor. 15. 38.

3. What bodies the Saints shall be raised3. VVhat Bodies. in, though the same body shall be raised for substance, yet they shall be changed, 1 Cor. 15. 51. Behold I shew you a mistery, we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. The change must pass upon all, both li­ving and raised Saints shall be changed; and this change is held forth in various ex­pressions and terms, ver. 42, 43, 44. Its sown in corruption, its raised in incorruption; its sown in dishonour, its raised in glory; its sown in weakness, its raised in power; its sown a natural b [...]dy, its raised a spiritual body, &c, In a word for all, the Apostle states the change in full, Phil. 3. 20, 21. and yet it must be the same bodies for substance, changed and made spiritual; as the Wa­ter was turned into Wine, Joh. 12. not by [Page 536] al [...]ering its substance, but its nature and quality, so shall it be in the Resurrection. But this change is indeed a Mistery; that it shall be, we ought to believe, but what it shall be, is a Mistery further then the Di­vine Revelation hath instructed us therein, it shall be a conformity to Jesus Christ, and that will be enough, and the fulness of the Saints Glory.

Ob. Some may say the Apostle calls those Obj. Fools that are inquisitive about the body, what it shall be in the Resurrection, 1 Cor. 15. 35, 36.

Ans. The Apostle calls not those Fools Answ. that solemnly inquire after this Mistery, to understand what God hath [...]evealed in this matter, that they may glorifie him in be­lieving, and have the comfort thereof to their souls; but he calls them Fools who deny the Resurrection, and asks this que­stion in opposition on purpose to silence those who own and believe the Resurrecti­on; who ask the question in craft, and not of sincerity, as is evident from the scope of the matter. This relates to verse. 12. How say some among you that there is no Resur­r [...]ction of the dead; these it were the Apost [...]e supposeth might make this question, not so much for satisfaction, as for opposition, and to strengthen themselves in their er­rour, and such it is the Apostle calls Fools.

4. The time when the Resurrection shall4 The time when [Page 537] be; and that is at the second and Glorious coming of our Lord Jesus from Heaven, Mat. 29. 30, 31. with 1 Thes. 4. 16. For the Lord himself shall descend from Heaven with a Shout, with the voice of the Arch-Angel, and the dead in Christ shall rise first; so that the Re­surrection shall be at the coming of Christ from Heaven, when he shall come again and receive his people to himself, that where he is, they may be also. 1 Joh. 14. 3.

5. The order of the Resurrection, and5. The or­der of the Resurrecti­on. that is explained, 1 Cor. 15. 23. Christ the first fruits, afterwards they that are his at his coming, and then (or afterward) cometh the end. When all shall be raised, this is the order of the Resurrection, For every man must be raised in his own order. What distance of time this order may admit, I shall here forbear to speak of; but that there shall be a first and second Resurrection is plain from Scripture, 1 Thes. 4. 14, 16. Rev. 20. 4, 5. and ver. 12, 13. cometh the end or ge­neral Resurrection.

6. The end of this Resurrection it is to6. The end thereof. the Saints, that they may be perfected in the Restauration of the new Covenant, and receive the end of their Faith, Ser­vice, and Sufferings; and to the wicked, that they may receive the due and iust re­ward of their Wickedness and Rebelion a­gainst the Lord. See both Joh. 5. 28, 29. Dan. 12. 2. from what hath [...]een said in this matter.

1. Take a taste of that spirit that deny­eth Ʋse. the Resurrection, that pretends it on­ly to be an inward Resurrection from the death of sin, which rightly understood, hath something of truth; for there is a spiritual rising with Christ accomplished here in all the Saints, Col. 3. 1. but that is [...]ot all, nor without this will it be any thing at all, 1 Cor. 15. 18, 19 for to deny the Resurrection of the body, is to deny all Religion, so the Apostle reasons and explains it, ver. 15, 16, 17, 18, 19. so that those who deny the Resurrection of the bo­dy are miserable comforters, and are like to come to a miserable end, and under this motion it was de [...]yed of old; that is, that all was accomplished within, and so said, that the Resurrection was past already, 2 T [...]m. 2. 18. they would not be so gross as in terms to deny the Resurrection, but said that it was past already.

4. Of the iudgment that shall be at or af­ter [...] Of judg­ment. the Resurrection. 1. That there shall be an Eternal Judgment is one principle of Religion, and the Faith of all Saints, and the wicked do acknowledge this in word, but if they did really belie [...]e it in their hearts, they durst not do as they do, but to prove the truth asserted, that there shall be a general iudgment and account given to the Lord for all things done in the bo­dy, Eccles. 11. 9. and 12, 14. God shall bring ev [...]ry work unto judgment, with every secret [Page 539] thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. Heb. 9. 27. And as it is appointed to men once to die, and after this the Judgement, Acts 17. 31.

Quest. Must the Saints come to judg­ment, Quest. and give an account at that day?

Ans. Yea, all must come to judgment, Answ. and give an account at that day, Saints as well as Sinners, 2 Cor. 5. 10. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that e­very one may receive the things done in his body, according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad. The Saints must not expect to pass in the judgment without giving an ac­count of all their actions, Rom. 14. 10. We shall all stand before the judgment Seat of Christ, v. 12. So then every one of us shall give an account of himself to God; So that in vain do they i­magine and talk, who think and say, they shall have nothing to do at that day, but in to Glory without passing the judgment; a dangerous Doctrine to be asserted, and contrary to the plain testimony of the Scripture.

Reasons why the Saints must come to Judgment.

1. Because there are many bad persons, Hypocrites, under the name and professi­on of Saints, both of Preachers and Hear­ers, that must then be discovered and brought to light, and receive their judge­ment accordidgly; Then the Sinners in Sion shall be afraid, fearfulness shall surprize the Hy­pocrites; [Page 540] then many that had high thoughts of themselves here, will be speechless, when the Lord shall say unto them, Depart from me ye workers of iniquity, I never knew you.

2. Because many Saints and such as may be saved at that day, do allow themselves in t [...]ings contrary to the will of their Lord, both in Omission and Commission, for which they must give an account; many of the Saints (it is to be [...]eared) doe bad work here (or else there are but few Saints on earth) for which they must be judged, for they must give an account for every thing done, whether it be good or bad; good to be approved, and bad to be repro­ved, for all things must come to the light and be made manifest.

3. All must come to judgment, because all must receive according to their works, there can be no rendering according to the de [...]ds done in the body, without coming to judgment, we may not imagine that the most righteous [...]udge will do up things in confusion, but he will do all things in righteousness and equity; its evident that God will give diversities and degrees of re­wards to his people at that day; Dan. 12. 3. Luke 19. 17, 19. 1 Cor. 15. 41, 42. and those diversities of rewards shall be dispensed ac­cording to their works, Mat. 16. 27. not as the Meritorious cause, that is all in Christ Jesus, both as to Justification and Salvati­on; [Page 541] all true believers are brought into a justified and saved state in him, and into a capacity of acceptable service for his sake, and their works shall be all reckoned to them, and so be rewarded; so that the less Christians have been exercised in working for God, the less will their reward be, and thereby their negligence will be reproved; and the more they sin against Jesus Christ in matters of Worship, the greater will their loss be; all buildings contrary to the Lord must be accounted for, and the own­ers thereof suffer the loss, though they may be saved, yet it will be so as by fire, 1 Cor. 3. 12, 13.

4. The Lords people must come to Judg­ment, because all [...]sin must be repented of, first or last; there are many sins in the Saints that they allow themselves in, and some it may be, they know not to be sins, but take them to be virtues; all which they must have a time to be convinced of, and to re­pent. May we imagine that God hath or­dered repentance for his people here, and his Church to expect repentance for known and gross sins, and yet if any sins pass unre­pented of, that they must never be repented of; surely we cannot rationally imagine it. In this I understand that not any sins of the Saints repented of, and warred against, shall be accounted for at that day, but they are pardoned by the Law of Grace, according to the word of Grace, 1 Ja 1. 9.

Object. The Scripture saith, Heb. 8. 12. Object. I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins, and their iniquities I will remember no more; this seems to contradict the pre­sent affection of an after reckoning, and ac­count to be given by believers.

Answ. 1. We ought not so to understand Answ. one Scripture, as to contradict another, e­specially such a general truth asserted in so many Scriptures as this is.

Therefore 2. We are to understand that Covenant, to relate in its glorious and per­fect ministration, to the glorious state of the Kingdom, although it took its enter­ance from the death of the Testator, and believers are now under it (in its first and beginning ministration) for there is no o­ther Covenant but this new and everla­sting one; yet we do find that now God doth remember the sins of his people, so as to afflict and judge them; and this they have felt and do feel, and are like to feel in this imperfect State. But in as much as the new Covenant is the Covenant of the new and restored state, and especially in it is the perfection thereof intended, thoug [...] it hath a preparative enterance now in wa [...] of grace, it shall then be perfected both i [...] Grace and Glory, and the final doing awa [...] of sin will [...]ot be till after the judgment and then God will remember their sins no more so as to judge them for it, neither shall h [...] people sin any more, Isa. 33. 24. Rev. 21. [...]

And so 5ly. The Saints must come to judgment, that so God and Ch [...] may be admired in the pardoning Grace of the new Covenant; at that day they shall admire and glorifie his mercy more then ever they did or could before, they shall then see how justly they might be condemned and sent away with Hypocrites and Unbeliev­ers, and shall admire the grace of their Sal­vation, beyond what they were of capa­city to do in this mortall Estate, Acts 3. 19. 2. Tim. 1. 18. 2 Thes. 1. 10. Jude verse 21.

6. And finally, it must be so that the justice of God may appear the more righ­teous and convincing to his (and his Churches) enemies, when they shall fee and know, that his people that have own­ed him here, must come to judgment, and be scarcely saved, through the appearing difficulties; how justly must they be con­demned, 1 Pet. 4. 17, 18. which is truly ap­plicable hear, relating to the afflictions of the Church, and so it will be then; Judg­ment must first begin at Gods house, he will judge and acquit them first, Where then shall the un­godly and sinner appear? what judgment must they expect? how will it silence them, and cause them to justifie God for ever in the righteousness of his judgment toward them? Let the Lords people believe this truth, and so live in this world as those that do expect to give an account of [Page 544] themselves, and of all their works to God.

2. The wicked must then come to judg­ment, all men great and small, must then appear to give an account of all their wick­edness, their unbelief, disobedience, perse­cution, hard speeches, and hard actions, spoken and done against the Lord and his people, for all their abominations and fil­thiness. O! woe will it be at that day to all the wicked of the earth; who will now forget God and will have none of him; that bid God depart from them, they will none of the knowledge of his ways; the Lord will bid them depart at that day into everlasting fire. O con­sider this ye that forget God, least he come and tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver, Psal. 50. 22.

2. Who shall be the judge? and that is Jesus Christ, he shall be the great judge of the World and of the Saints too, see both, Mat. 25. 31. Acts 17. 31. He hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righte­ousness, by that man whom he hath ordained, &c. Rom. 2. 26. and 2 Cor. 5. 10. We must all appear before the judgment Seat of Christ, &c. And the Father will judge in and by the Son; so that it will be the judgment both of the Father and the Son; God will judge the world in righteousness by that man. &c.

Quest. Why will God judge the world by Jesus Christ, and not do it himself imme­diately?

Answ. 1. Because he hath done all his works by him from the beginning, he at first made the world by him, Heb. 1. 2. by him he Redeemed the world again out of that estate into which it fell by Transgres­sion, which shall be accomplished in his times, Eph. 4. 30. Rom. 8. 23. Rev. 21. 5. by him he governs the world now, even in its fallen estate, Eph. 1. 21, 22. and by him Be­lievers shall be saved, Acts 4. 12. By him the dead must be raised, J [...]h. 5. 28. And by him must the World be Judged, God the Father never did nor never will do any thing without him, but by him, he hath and will accomplish all his work, especial­ly the Restauration work.

2. Christ must be judge of the World, because he is most sutable and fit to judge the World; because he is the son of man, Joh. 5. 27. He hath given him authority also to exe­cute judgment because he is the Son of man. God considered out of Christ, is dreadful, would destroy men, none can see him and live, till af­ter the judgment be past, so that he alone is fit to judge, because he is the Son of man, and able to Judge, because he is the Son of God.

3. Christ must be the judge of the world, because he dyed for the World; He gave himself a ransome for all men, he [...]ed death for every man▪ therefore must he judge the world for their sin against him, in neg­lecting and refusing the salvation by him [Page 546] wrought forth and tendered to the world, and to justifie his people that have believ­ed his love, and owned him in the world, so that he died for the world, must be judge of the world, that all mens mouths may be stopped in the Judgment, and that his peo­ple may admire him in his wonderful grace.

4. Christ must be judge of the World, because therein God the Father had a de­sign to honour him, and to make him glo­rious before the world, Joh. 5. 22. 23. The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed [...] judgment unto the Son, that all men should ho­nour the Son, even as they honour the Father, &c. That in all things he might have the pre­heminence, Col. 5. 18. That as he humbled himself to the death for the sin of sinners▪ and became the contempt and scorn of men (and is so in his members still) so he might be exalted over them all, and be visibly ma­nifested to be Lord and Judge of all men. Phil. 2. 7, to 11. Isa. 53. 12. Rev. 19. 16. all which makes much for the people of God he that dyed for them shall be their judg [...] who will surely judge so, as to save all the meek of the earth, but terrible will it be for the wicked, the Lamb slain is become the [...] judge, Ps. 76. 8. 9. Rev 6. 15. 16, 17. That he whom the nations abhorred, and man despised is a servant of Rulers; should become their judge, will be their astonishment; for [...] the Lamb slain be become the [Page 547] judge, yet he will be very terrible to his enemies.

As for the day and time, it shall be at and after his next appearing in glory; as for the manner it will be very terrible, ho­nourable, and glorious, a Fryday to the wicked; as for its continuance, the time of the judgment must be suitable to the greatness and honour of the work; proba­bly it must take up length of time, that all things may judiciously be done, so as to stop all mouthes, so that the day of judg­ment may be long, and the execution thereof must be for ever.

CHAP. XXXI. Of the Coming, Kingdom, and Reign of Christ on Earth.

THat Christ shall come again from Hea­ven1. That he shall come. the second time in Glory, is a great truth of the Gospel believed of all the Saints, and is indeed the crowning part of the Gospel, in which I shall en­deavour to shew these four things; 1. That he shall come again from Heaven. 2. The time when he shall come. 3. The manner how he shall come. 4. His end in coming, or the work he shall do when he cometh.

1. That he shall come again the second time, is a truth so abundantly held forth in Scripture, that he that runs may read. Te­stimonies for proof hereof; 1. The Pro­phets witness to this truth, this Moses in substance speaketh of, that is, of the work that shall be done at that day, Deut. 32. 36. 43. and Dan. 7. 9. 13. speaks the very lan­guage of the new Testament, concerning the coming of Christ, I saw in the night vi­sions, and behold, one like the Son of man coming in the clowds of Heaven; so Jude saith, ver. 14, 15. That Enoch the seventh from Adam prophesied, saying, behold he cometh with ten thousands of his Saints, &c.

The second testimony is Christ himself, who is truth it self, from his own mouth, Mat. 24. 30. Then shall appear the Sign of the Son of man in Heaven, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clowds of Heaven, with Power and great Glory, Chap. 16. 27. and 25. 31. Rev. 22. 20.

3. The testimony of Angels, whom God hath frequently made use of, to declare his will to men, Act. 1. 10, 11.

4. The fourth testimony is of the Apo­stles of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, after his Ascention, 1 Thes. 4. 16. For the Lord himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the A [...]ch-Angel, and with the trump of God, &c. Heb. 9. 28. To them that look for him, shall he appear the second time, without sin to Salvation. This Doctrine was preached and believed in the first foun­dation work, 1 Thes. 1. 9, 10. In their first conversion this was their Faith; they turned to God from Idols, to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from Heaven; this was the Faith of the Saints exprest in Scrip­ture, to be looking for the blessed hope, Tit. 2. 13. Rev. 22. 20. And this hath been the Faith of the Saints ever since, and is and shall be till he come, however persons who pretend to Christianity, deride and scorn this glorious truth; and those who believe and wait for this blessed hope, cal­ling the promises of his coming litteral promises, and that they who look for it [Page 550] shall never see it; and so fulfill the Scrip­tures, who foretold of such persons to [...]e in the latter daies, 2 Pet. 3. 3, 4. Well it would be for such persons, if the Lord ne­ver come to call them to an account for their infidelity and disobedience to him; but the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the Go [...]pel of our Lord Jesus Christ, &c. 2 Thes. 1. 7, 8, 9, 10.

2. The time when he shall come; and2. When he shall come. in this I shall note two things; 1. That the time is (as to man) uncertain, though the thing be certain, yet the time is uncertain; and I think it's great weakness, i [...] not pre­sumption, in any, to pretend to fix the time▪ though I do not question, but that proba­bly, God may have discovered the time in the Scripture; but if so, it's not so disco­vered, as that any man is likely to under­stand it; for the Scripture lets us to know, that there are some things recorded, that are sealed till the time of the end, Dan. 12. 9. But that the time of the Lords coming is uncertain, as to man; I shall state on these following grounds.

1. The Prophets did not know it, though1 Ʋncer­tain to the Prophets. they spake of the restauration work, that is to be accomplished at that day, Acts 3. 19, 20, 21. All the Holy Prophets did speak of the things to be done, when God does send Jesus Christ from Heaven; but as to the time [Page 551] they could say no more, but that it should come to pass in the last daies, in the latter end of the World, Isa. 2. 2. M [...]c. 4. 1. Jer. 23. Having prophesied in the former part of the Chapter of the glorious restauration of the Church, which shall be accomplished at that day, with the destruction of the Chur­ches enemies; saith, ver. 20. In the latter daies ye shall consider it perfectly.

2. The Apostles did not know the time,2. To the Apostles. though they believed, and taught the truth of the Doctrine, yet the time was hid from them, any otherwise than signs, and pro­bable conjectures, as Paul, 2 Thes. 2. 3. That day shall n [...]t come, except there be a departing from the Faith first, 1 Joh. 2. 18. Little chil­dren, it is the last time, and as ye have heard that Antichrist shall come, even now are there many Antichrists, whereby we know it is the last time. By which it appears the Apostle knew the time no more than we, but by probable conjecture, and very probably thought it to be nearer than it was.

3. Angels knew it not, nor probably do3. To An­gels. not know it, Matt. 24. 36. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the Angels of Heaven, but my Father only.

4. The Son himself did not know it,4. To the Son. Mar. 13. 32. But of that day and hour know­eth no man, no, not the Angels that are in Hea­ven, neither the Son, but the Father only. And this secret in the Fathers counsel only, Christ confirms after his resurrection; [Page 552] Acts 1. 7. It is not for you to know the times and seasons which the Father hath put in his own pow­er; yet vain man would be wise above what is meet, forgetting that things revealed belong to us, and things secret belong to God: and indeed it's contrary to the Scripture, for any man to know certainly before hand, the hour, day, or year of our Lord's coming, then such Scriptures as these could not be true, as Matt. 24. 44. In such an hour as ye think not, the S [...]n of Man cometh; and 25. 13. VVatch ye, for ye know neither the day nor hour wherein the Son of man cometh, Luke 12. 40. and 18. 8. So that the time is un­certain, that his people may be alwaies, in all generations ready prepared, and waiting for it. But let us take heed of fixing on times, in which all have, and probably must miscarry. it is the way to destroy the Faith of the weak, in the thing it self; and men lose themselves when they time things, kept secret in God; though good men hath failed herein, yet doubtless it hath risen in part from pride, supposing they knew more than they did; but when it's apparent they miss, there is cause to be humbled for pre­suming above what they understood; yet,

2. Though the time be uncertain, (and good reason it should be so) yet we have grounds to believe and hope, that it is not far away, but may be (for all that we know) at the doors; for if Christ's first coming was in the end of the VVorld, Heb 9. 26. And [Page 553] if it was then but a little while before he that shall come, will come, and will not tarry, Ch. 10. 37. And our Lord Christ promiseth to come quickly, Rev. 22. three times in this Chapter, ver. 7, 12, 20. We have grounds to expect the time to be near, even at the doors.

3. The manner how he shall come, and3. The man­ner of his Coming. that will be wonderful, glorious, and ter­rible; his first coming was meek and low­ly, he humbled himself, and was contemp­tible, trampled under feet of men, content to be abased, and vilified by sinners, and bare all meekly, as a Lamb dumb before the shearers, so opened he not his mouth; and the reason of it was, because he then came to save sinners, to give his life a ransome for sin­ners; he then came not to condemn the VVorld, but to save the World; but now he will come to judge the World; and therefore he must come as the great Judge of the World, in Power and great Glory, to the dread, amazement and astonishment of the World; therefore he is described to come in flaming fire, to come with the gr [...]at sound of a trum­pet, the trump of God, and voice of the Arch-Angel, with glorious attendants, Luke 9. 26. He shall come in his own Glory, and in his Fa­thers Glory, and of the Holy Angels; he shall come in all the Glory of Heaven. O won­derful glorious Judge and King, Thousand thousands shall attend upon him, and ten thou­sand times ten thousand shall minister to him, [Page 554] Dan. 7. 10. Hence it's called the great and terrible day of the Lo [...]d, Joel 2. 31. Who then may abide the day of his coming, who shall stand when he appeareth? That is, it will make the Captains, and Great Men of the Earth, and all men out of Christ, to wail and cry, and to wish the rocks to fall upon them, and cover them from the presence of the Lamb. Why, what is the matter, that the whole World should dread a Lamb? the World hath a­bused him, and wickedly wronged his Lamb-like Grace and Meekness, and now his wrath is stirred, and he is become the Lyon of the Tribe of Judah, and he will make all his enemies to tremble and quake before him: this will be the manner of his coming, Mat. 24. 30.

4. The end of his coming, or the work4. The end of his Co­ming. he shall do when he cometh; and that is not only to raise the dead, and judge the World, as hath been before minded.

But that which I shall especially mind inTo set up his King­dom, and Reign. this place is, that he shall come to take to himself his great Power, and to Reign, Rev. 11. 17. That Christ shall, at and after his se­cond and glorious appearing, have a King­dom, and reign on Earth, is the great thing that I shall from Scripture-light evince and prove in this place; it being a truth that none is more clearly stated in the Scripture, yet by many much opposed and contradicted.

I shall in this that followeth, endeavour, [Page 555] 1. To prove the truth from plain Scrip­ture evidence. 2. By Scripture reasons; And, 3. Endeavour to answer such objecti­ons as are made against it, and such que­stions as may be made about it, for the more full clearing thereof.

1. To prove this great truth from plain Scripture evidence, Ps. 72. Which accord­ing to the letter relates to Solomon as the type, but to Jesus Christ as the substance, as is (I think) by all understood, and in truth must be so understood. This Psalm discovers the Glory of Solomon's Kingdom in the type, and of Christ's Kingdom espe­cially as the antitype, ver. 7, 8. In his daies shall the righteous flourish, and abundance of Peace, so long as the Moon endureth; he shall Proved, 1. From Scripture. have dominion from Sea to Sea, and from the River to the ends of the Earth, &c. Which must unavoidably be understood of the King­dom of Christ, the Son of David, the true Solomon, and King of Peace; for Solomon's Kingdom in the type did not continue so long as the Moon endured, but was ended long since; and ver. 17. His Name shall en­dure for ever, his Name shall be continued as long as the Sun, and men shall be blessed in him, all Nations shall call him blessed; which most properly relates to Christ, Jer. 23. 5, 6. Behold the daies come, saith the Lord, that I will raise to David a Righteous Branch, and a King shall Reign, and prosper, and shall execute Justice and Judgment in the Earth, &c. which is so [Page 556] full and plain in the very terms, as cannot be avoided, nor evaded, without open a­buse to the Text; he must Reign, and he must execute Justice and Judgment in the Earth, &c. To this agreeth, Ps. 96. throughout, ver. 13. as the sum of all, Before the Lord, for he cometh, for he cometh to Judge the Earth; he shall Judge the VVorld in R [...]ghteousness, and the people with his truth; see the same. Ps. 98. 9. and 82. 8. After divers exhortations to worldly Governours, to do Justice to the poor and fatherless, to the afflicted and needy, &c. and reprehensions for their wilful miscar­riage in this matter, and hopeless expecta­tion of any redress therein, concludes the whole, (as the comfort of the afflicted) with this petition (and assurance of Faith,) Arise O God, judge thou the earth; for thou shalt inherit all Nations; implying that there will [...]e but little (or no) righteousness in the earth till that day; and then shall he pos­sess the Nations, and judge them with equity and truth.

2. In his daies Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely, &c. that is, free from afflictions, and wrongs, from enemies, as they had been formerly liable to, which cannot be rationally understood otherwise than the peaceable Kingdom of Christ on earth; sutable to Ezek. 37. 24. to the end; and Jer. 30. 8, 9. Which Scriptures cannot be allogorised, unless men resolve to turn all Scripture into allegories, and so turn [Page 557] out all the truth of Scripture, (as some have done) according to their own fancies; but God hath put a stop in the way of al­legorising these Scriptures, and turning out this so great a truth; as that Acts 3. 20, 21. The Heavens must receive our Lord till the times of the restitution of all things which God both spoken by the mouth of all his holy P [...]ophets since the world began. What is this restituti­on spoken of by the Prophets, but the re­storing and glory of the Church; and this must be when God does send Christ again from Heaven in Glory: the first coming of Christ was a preparative to this work, as that without it the restau [...]ation could not not be accomplished, and as what the Pro­phets foretold of his humiliation, was even so fulfilled, ver. 18. Why should we be incre­dulous, that what they have spoken con­cerning his Kingdom and Glory in the re­stauration work, should not be even so ful­filled likewise? And what reason there is for us to turn plain Scriptures into Allego­ries, relating to the Reign of Christ on Earth, any more then for the Jews to Al­legories the Scriptures that spake of his humiliation, and so lost the truth thereof, I do not yet understand. B [...]t to proceed to further proof of the truth, Dan. 2. 44. The God of Heaven will set up a Kingd [...]m (which is this fifth Kingdom of the store) cut out of the Mountains without hands, which shall ne­ver be destroyed; and chap. 7. 27. And the [Page 558] Kingdom and Dominion under the whole Heaven, shall be given unto the people of the Saints of the most high, whose Kingdom is an everlasting King­dom, and all Dominions shall serve and obey him; here is the Reign of Christ and Saints on Earth, so plainly and expresly stated, as is impossible with good conscience to gain­say, it is the Kingdom under the whole Hea­vens (not above the Heavens) in the great­ness and power thereof, given to the Saints, when taken by Christ, and all Dominions shall serve and obey him, that is, Christ as the great Lord and King of the World.

To this agreeth the new Testament Te­stimonies, relating to this truth, and fully holding harmony therewith, Luke 1. 32, 33. And he shall be great, and he shall be called the Son of the highest, and the Lord shall give unto him the Throne of his Father David, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his Kingdom there shall be no end. This fully an­swers the old Testament Prophesies in this matter. 2 Tim. 4. 1, The Apostle in express terms, states the Kingdom of Christ to be at and after his appearing; He will judge the quick and dead at his appearing, and his King­dom, which must be the Kingdom spoken of by the Prophets, Rev. 11. 17. The Song of the Saints was and will be, for that thou hast taken to thy self thy great power and hast raigned, and the nations were angry, &c, and no won­der, for many of his people are angry at those who believe the truth thereof; we [Page 559] may not understand it to be his providenti­al reign over the World, as it is constantly exercised, nor his spiritual Reign in and over his Church, which he hath always ex­ercised, but some more higher, and glori­ous visible Kingdom and reign on Earth, after the sound of the seventh Angel; and the seventh Angel sounded, and there were great voices in Heaven saying, the Kingdom of this world are become the Kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever. What can be more plain in the very terms of the Prophets, they were his before, but now in another manner then before; chap. 19. 1, to 8. it is the great Song of the Saints, That the Lord God Omnipotent Reigneth, What did he not Reign before? Yes surely, but now in another manner, more visibly glori­ous, ruling the world and saving his peo­ple, with the everlasting Salvation spoken of, Isa. 45. 17. and to this agreeth, Rev. 20. 4. Where the Saints are said to Live and Reign with Christ a thousand years, and chap. 5 9. 10. it is the Song of the Saints, That Christ the Lamb of God hath redeemed them from the Earth, by his blood, and made them unto God, Kings and Priests, and they shall reign on Earth; and to this time and state do that Phil. 2. 9. 10, 11. agree thus, amongst the multitude of Scripture testimonies to this great truth, have I mentioned some plain, full, and un­deniable testimonies for confirmation, that he that runs may read.

2. I shall further confirm this truth fromReason [...] thereof. clear Scripture reasons and arguments, in­fallibly drawn from thence.

1. It is the great promise of the new Co­venant, Reason. (and therefore it must be) contain­ed in Gen. 22. 18. And in thy Seed shall all the Earth be blessed, compared with Rom. 4. 13, For the promise that he (i. e. Abraham) should be the Heire of the World, was not to Abraham o [...] to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of Faith, where Abrahams heir­ship to the World, and the Heirship of all hir spiritual seed, i. e. Believers is stated to be, not by the Law, but by the Covenant of Grace in Christ Jesus, who was the Seed to whom the promise was made, Gal. 3. 16. and is to be obtained by the righteousness of Faith, and the Heirship is exprest to be; Heirs of the World, both of Christ and Abra­ham, and all the true seed, Rom. 4. 16. and by this Scripture (that is to say) that Abra­ham and his seed are the heirs of the world; may we understand all other Scriptures that speak of the Saints heirship, yet not of this world in its old estate, but in the world to come, The new Heaven and new Earth, wherein dwelleth righ [...]eousness; see this more full in cap. 9.

2. The Restauration work and Kingdom Reason. 2 of Christ on Earth, was the great design of God to be accomplished, and made mani­fest ever since the Fall of Man, (and there­fore it must be) as you may see at large in [Page 561] chap. 9. unto which I refer the Reader for Confirmation of this Argument; and indeed Gods Covenant and design in this matter is the foundation of this building; hence it is that he hath so abundantly filled his word with the Prophesies and promises thereof throughout, both the old and new Testa­ment, as hath been before proved.

3. This hath been the Faith of the Saints Reason. 3 of old (and should be ours) built upon the word of the Lord, (and therefore it must be so, or else they must lose their faith and expectation) to enjoy a Heavenly Kingdom and Country with Christ their King, Heb. 11. 13, to 16. (speaking of the Fathers of old) that they all died in Faith, not having re­ceived the promise, i. e. of actual possession) but having seen them afar off, and were perswa­ded of them, and imbraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and P [...]lgrims in the earth. What promises was it which they saw and were perswaded of? Surely it must be the promises of this glory, which made them to be as Strangers and Pilgrims in this world, and thereby plainly declared, that they sought a Coun­try; that is, the Country, Kingdom, Bles­sedness, and Glory promised, Psal. 37. 11. The meek shall inherit the Earth, and delight themselves in the abundance of peace, verse 29. The Righteous shall inherit the Land, and dwell therein for ever; and this Christ applyeth to the New Covenant, Mat. 5. 5. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth, Rev. [Page 562] 5. 10. And hast made us unto God Kings and Priests, and we shall Reign [...]n Earth.

O! why should the people of God now be so unbelieving as to t [...]is truth, and the Saints of old, so full of Faith therein.

4. It must be so, because the Earth and Reason. 4 World was at first made for man; God made the World and all things therein, and then made man to possess it, and gave him rule and Dominion over it, Gen. 1. 28. though he quickly lost it by his sin, and immediate­ly the second man, the Lord from Heaven, was promised, by which it was upheld, and man to have the use thereof in the faln state, and in much misery, and in subordination to the Lord Jesus, in order to the Rest [...]ura­tion promised, that God might not lose his design in his work here below, but might rai [...]e it up to a better and more glorious end, Psal. 8. 4, 5, 6. The Prophet in way of admiration saith, What is man that thou art mindful of him, and the Son of man that thou visiten him, for thou ha [...] made him a little (or a little while) lower then the Angels, thou hast crowned him with glory and honour, thou madest him to h [...]ve Dominion over the works of thine hands, th [...]u ha [...]t put all things under his feet, &c. in which the Prop [...]et relates, 1. To A­dam before his Fall, who was a Figure of him that was to come. And 2 Especially to Je­sus Christ the second man, and Lord from Heaven, w [...]o comes in to take the headship and Dominion, especially of the restored [Page 563] world, and all his people with him, as is explained by the Apostle, Heb. 2. 6, 7, 8. by which its evident, that as God made the world for man, and he by his sin lost it, so it shall be restored to (I will not say its first and Primitive Purity) a better estate for man, then at the first, as the Lord thereof exceeds the first man, Who was of the Earth, Earthly, so must it be restored suitable to such a Lord, and the Inhabiters thereof with him, it must be a Holy, Heavenly Country, VVherein dwelleth Righteousness, be sure God did not make the World to destroy it, but he will restore it, to be an habitation for men, according to the end of its first Crea­tion.

5. Both Christ and the Saints have had Reason. 5 their suffering part here below in this world, and therefore must have their glory here below, in the place of their reproach and suffering of their Faith and Service, shall their honour be; they have suffered on Earth, and they shall Reign on Earth, thus of Christ, Isa 53 12. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoile with the strong, because he powred out his soul to the death, &c. Because he suffered here, he must have a portion, divided with the great, and divide the spoile with the strong; What in Heaven? No, the great and strong are not like to come there, but it must be here be­low, according to the many promises before mentioned, when all things shall be mani­festly [Page 564] put under his feet, and the Saints his followers in the Regeneration shall have their glory with him, Matt. 19. 28. which answers Isaiah. 1. 26, 27. Romans 8. 17.

6. It must be so for the glory of God, for Reason. 6 he made all things at first very good for his own glory, but it stood not in that estate, but soon fell by sin, and must with man have been dissolved, had not Christ been promi­sed, by whom it was, and is supported in order to a greater glory, if the World had been dissolved; God had losed the glory of so great a work in breaking it to pieces as soon as it was made; and if there were no more glory to God to be expected from his Creation of the wonderful Fabrick of the Heavens and the Earth, with the things therein, then hath been in the faln state, wherein he hath been so much dishonoured and abused, it had been but little differing from its being dissolved immediately upon the Fall.

But we are to understand that the design of God was (not to let such a Creation and glorious building to fall to nothing, or die away by degrees through age and corrupti­on) for his own creating power and glory, to restore it to a more glorious [...]ate then at first, he will not let go the glory of such a Creation, at so low a rate as is imagined; No, no, but he will yet once more make the place of his feet glorious, Isa. 60 13. What that [Page 565] is, see Isa. 66. 1. chap. 44. 23. Sing O Hea­vens for the Lord hath done it, shout O ye lower parts of the Earth, break forth into singing ye Mountains, O Forrest and every Tree th [...]rein, for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Is [...]ael. What is the matter? Why it is for the accomplishment of the Restau­ration Work; When God did send Jesus Christ from Heaven, Prophecyed of by the Prophets, it is for the New Heavens and new Earth where­in dwelleth righteousness; it is for that God hath made the place of his feet glorious. In a word, it is for the Salvation of the Church, for that God hath thus glorified himself in Israel, chap. 60. 21. Thy people also shall be all righteous, they shall inherit the Land for ever, the branch of my planting, the works of my hands, that I may be glorified. We may not imagine that God made himself such a Creation to lose the glory thereof, but he will so or­der it in the Restauration thereof, as shall be more for his glory then if it had never faln; and thus it appears, that this new restored Estate and Kingdom of our Lord on Earth, must be for the gaining and aug­menting of the Glory of God in the Cre­ated World, bei [...]g restored by Jesus Christ, who shall be the Visible Lord of that E­state.

7. Reason to confirm this truth is, that Reason. 7 God hath stated the perminancy, and ever­lastingness of his New Covenant Grace and Life to his people, on the durableness of [Page 566] the Works of Creation, which includes both the Heavens and the Earth, Jer. 31. where the new and everlasting Covenant is stated, ver. 31. to 34. saith ver. 35, 36. Thus saith the Lord, who giveth the Sun for a light by day, and the Ordinances of the Moon, and of the Stars for a light by night, &c. If those Ordinan­ces depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the Seed of Israel shall cease from being a Nation be­fore me f [...]r ever; intimating in plain terms, that when the Creation of Heaven and Earth ceaseth to be, his Church must cease to be; so that those who believe the destruction and nihelation of the Creation, and that Christ shall have no restored Kingdome therein, do thereby (though inconsiderate­ly) believe an end of Church and Salvation by Jesus Christ, chap. 33. 20, 21. Thus saith the Lord, if you can break my Covenant of the day, and my Covenant of the night, that there should not be day and night in their season, then may also my Covenant be broken with David my Servant, that he should not have a Son to Reign upon his Throne, and his name mu [...]t continue as long as the Sun, Psal. 72. 17. Which imply­eth the perpetualness of the works of Cre­ation, if it were possible for these to fail; then Christ our King and Covenant of peace might fail, Psal. 39. 29. the promise of the Saints glory being no longer then these do continue; and if so, Christs Reign on Earth is in it self no strange thing; For as the new Heavens and new Earth which I will make, shall [Page 567] continue before me, saith the Lord, so shall your Name, and your Seed remain, Isa. 66. 22. As for the New Heavens and the new Earth, see chap. 65. 17, 18. 2 Pet. 3. 13. Rev. 21. 1, 5.

8. I think I may say that it is the judg­ments Reason. 8 of all Intelligent persons, that if man had not sinned, he had not dyed, but lived for ever; and then he must be created in such an estate, and the Earth and Heaven must have been for ever, for man to be sup­posed to be more durable, then the matter of which he was, and the Creation that was first made for him, is irrational.

And man for sin returns to the Earth a­gain, his matter whereof he was made, and is as truly Earth again as any other part of the Earth is; and yet we (on good grounds) believe that God will bring up all men a­new out of the Earth again in the Restau­ration; and why should it be incredible to us that the Earth and Heavens (that fell with man and for mans sin) shall be renew­ed and changed any more then to believe the Restauration and change of men, ha­ving as full and plain promises from the same God, for the one as for the other.

The Restauration of the Heavens and Earth to be a habitat on for Christ and the Saints, is (I answer) as authentick from Di­vine Revelation, as the Resurrection and Change, and as rational to all Rational and Intelligible persons.

[Page 568]9. The Scripture saith expresly, that Reason. 9 the Earth abideth for ever, Eccles. 1. 4. One Generation passeth away, and another cometh, but the Earth abideth for ever. Psal. 104. 5. who laid the foundations of the Earth that it should not be removed; that is, it shall abide for e­ver in the renewed estate, and then no won­der if the Kingdom of Christ be for ever, in his Reign on Earth, and the Saints King­dom with him, according to Dan. 7. 27.

10. And finally, it must be so, because Reason. 10 both the Heavens and the Earth was made by Christ and for him, Col. 1. 16. and he shall possess it all in another manner then yet he doth, Heb. 2. 8. But now we see not yet all things put under his feet; that is, as it shall be in his visible Kingdom and possession; Psal 2. 8. Ask of me and I will give thee the Heathen for thy inheritance, und the uttermost parts of the Earth for thy possession; And thus it is clear both from plain Scripture, and from Scripture Reason, that Christ and the Saints shall Reign on the Earth; that is, in the new Heavens and new Earth, wherein dwel­leth righteousness, Isa. 32. 1. Behold a King shall Reign in righteousness, and Princes shall rule in Judgment, &c.

3. I now come to answer such Objecti­onsOb. An­swered. against this truth as I have met with­all.

Object. 1. That Heb. 2. 5. For unto the An­gels Ob. hath he not put in subjection the world to come, of which we speak, intends the present [Page 569] ministration of the Gospel, that being the matter the Apostle is treating about, both in the first Chapter, and in the verses pre­ceeding that saying, and therefore it re­lates not to this Kingdom or World to come.

Answ. Its frequent in Scripture to apply Answ. that which especially relates to the glory to come, to the present Ministration, and that truly too, because the present Gos­pel Ministration, is an Usher and Prepara­tive to that glory; to instance in this Epi­stle, c. 4. where the Apostle applyeth the rest of the Sabboth to this rest in Glory, ver. 4. 9. yet he applyeth it to the present time, as began to be entered into by Faith, ver. 3. For we which have believed do enter in­to rest, and chap. 8. 6. to 13. the Covenant which in its perfection relateth to the State of Glory, and is the everlasting Co­venant; the Apostle applyed to the present time and Ministration, and the reason is, because it is all one Covenant, its the Gos­pel Covenant, and the Application of it to the present time, no whit derogates from its being the Covenant of the glorious state, I could give many instances to this purpose as Joel 2. 28. to 31. is a Prophesie, especial­ly of the glorious estate, yet the Apostle makes the Application thereof to the pre­sent time, and that truly too.

But 2. the Apostle is treating both be­fore and after of this restored estate, as well [Page 570] as of the present ministration of the Gos­pel; as c. 1. 10, 11, 12. and after the Text mentioned, ver. 6, 7, 8. so that ver. 5. is a relative to that, both before and after, it being usual in Scripture to intermix things that wisdom may be exercised to find out the Relatives to which each matter do [...]h relate, instance, 1 Cor. 6. 12, 13. which m [...]st be understood with c. 8. and 1 Tim. 5. 23. inserted without any re [...]ative as we find, but a sentence intermixed, relating to Ti­mothies health.

2. Ob. Peter in his 2d. Ep. 3. Chap. speaks Object. of a Dissolution of the Heavens and E [...]th by Fire, and not a Restauration, therefore it seems unlikely to be restored &c

Ans. We must understand the Di [...]sol [...]ti­on, to intend the corrupted estate thereof, Answ. and so a refining and purifying, or renew­ing out of its old estate, and must be un­derstood with other Scriptures, as Heb. 1. 11, 12. taken out of Psal. 102. 26. and apply­ed to the Restauration work of Christ, they shall perish, but thou remainest, and they all shall wax old as a garment, as a vesture shalt thou f [...]ld them up, and they shall be changed, &c. which explains what Peter intends by dissolving, or burning, or changing and making new, and this Peter himself explains to be his meaning in the same chap. v. 13. Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for a new Heaven and a new Earth, &c. That is, though I speak of bur [...]ing with fire; yet I intend not a dis­solution, [Page 571] but a changing & restoring, A new Heaven and new Earth, according to his promise.

3. Object. That Christ doth already Reign, and is in his Kingdom, his Church, and in some sence his people do Reigne Object. with him, 2 Pet. 1. 11. So an enterance shall he ministred to you abundantly, into the everla­sting Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; And Col. 1. 13. We are said to be delivered out of the Kingdom (or power) of darkness, into the Kingdom of his dear Son.

Answ. We have an entrance by Faith, in­to the Kingdom of Christ now, and are be­come his subjects (i. e. true believers) but Answ. that does not argue that neither Christ nor Saints shall have no Kingdom hereafter, its a truth believed of all Christians, that Christ hath his Kingdom of Grace here, in and over his Church and that Christ and Saints shall have the Kingdom of glory hereafter, and it is the same in substance that I plead for, Christs Kingdom in and over his Church now in this world, may not, should not, work such thoughts in any, that he shal have no Kingdom in the world to come.

4. Object. The Fifth Kingdom is already that Kingdom mentioned, Dan. 2. 44. that in the dayes of these Kings the God of Heaven will set up a Kingdom, &c. That is, in the days of the fourth Monarch, the divided King­dom, in their days shall the God of Heaven set up a Kingdom, which had its enterance at the first publishing of the Gospel, after the [Page 572] Resurrection of our Lord Jesus. So that if you will have another Kingdom state for Christ and Saints, you must find out a sitxh Kingdom, for the fifth is already in being, & where place will be found for the sixth is uncertain.

Ans. There is no need to find a sixth, that which is to come will be but the perfecting of that which is already begun, its the same in substance with the former Objection, and the answer in s [...]bstane must be same; it is a Kingdom begun now in the day of grace, and shall be perfeted in the day of glory; there is the beginning work of the stone before it becomes a M [...]untain to fill the whole Earth, and break and consume all other Kingdoms; so that it is the fifth Kingdom that is begun, and is in the world, though not of the world, and shall be perfected and become glorious, and stand for ever, at the appearing and King­dom Object. of our Lord Jesus.

5. Object. Christ speaks as if all should be done at his appearing on a sudden, the Resurrection and Judgment, and the Exe­cution thereof, M [...]t. 25. 31. to 41. Joh. 5. 28, 29. and the Apostle, 1 Cor. 15. 51, 52. We shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, &c. which seems to im­port that there shall be no such work as you speak of at that day. Answ.

Ans. Its the Lords usual way in Scrip­ture to speak much in few words, as Isa. 9. [Page 573] 6. There is Christ presented a Child, in his birth and humiliation, then the Government is upon his shoulders, and of the increase thereof there shall be no end, in one breath (as it were) is the birth and Kingdom of Christ stated, as if it were to be accomplished all at once, whereas in that Scripture is de­scribed that which from the beginning to the perfection of his Kingdom may be near upon 2000 years, and so for ever, and so things mentioned in those Scriptures, may and must be done, at, and after the appear­ing of Christ in their time and order, but not in so little time as is by some imagi­ned, 1 Cor. 15. 23, 24. as to the Resurrection (which is the case in hand) Christ the first fruits, afterward they that are his at his com [...]ng, then (or afterward) cometh the end; after­ward more properly, for it is the same in the Greek, as is before Translated, after­ward, which includes the whole time from Christs Resurrection, till the finishing work at the giving up of the Kingdom to the Father, and why the second afterward may not be as long as the first I know not.

And the hour of the Resurrection spo­ken of, Joh. 5. 28. may be understood by ver. 25. which hour (doubtless) includes the whole time of Gospel Conversion, till Christs second coming (a large hour) and why the hour, ver. 28. should be limited more then the other, I know not, especial­ly the Scripture presenting us with the [Page 574] order of the Resurrection as it doth, i. e. First and Second, Christ the first fruits, after­ward they that are his at his coming, afterward cometh the end. When all shall be raised, and Death conquered, and the Redemption perfected, and doubtless the change shall be in a moment, as is exprest. But this proves not that all the work of this last and great day must be done in a moment, because the Saints shall be changed in a moment, and I do believe that they are very much mistaken, that will allow our Lord but a moment of time to accomplish all his great work, at his second and glo­rious appearing and Kingdom.

The 6. Ob. The Scripture saith, that Christ must sit at the right Hand of God, till all his enemies be made his footstool; which seems to import that there will be no such work for Christ to do, when he comes from heaven, i. e. to subdue his enemies, and to set up his Kingdom.

Ans. The Scripture fully presents us with this, that he is at the right hand of God the Father, till the Kingdom is given up, which will be during his Mediatory Office and Work, which will not be ended till long after his coming from Heaven to Reign on Earth, not till all his enemies be made his footstool, for he is now at the right hand of God, and so shall be when he cometh in the Clouds of Heaven, Mat. 26. 64. Mar. 14. 62. and afterwards, so shall [Page 575] continue during his Reign, For he must Reign till he hath put all his enemies under his feet, 1 Cor. 15. 25. And is at his Fathers right hand of power in doing thereof, Psal. 110. 5, 6.

7. Object It seems to be too low for Obj. Christ to come from Heaven from his Fa­the [...]s Glory, to Reign on Earth, it seems too much to derogate from his glory, to leave his present state for such a King­dom, and it may seem to derogate from the glory of the Saints, to come from Hea­ven to Reign on Earth.

Ans. 1. As for Christ I say, 1. That it is Ans. generally and truly believed, that he shall come from Heaven to judge the World, without any supposition of diminishing of his glory, and why any should suppose it to be below his Glory to Reign on Earth, any more then to come from Heaven to Judge the World, I know not, when his Judging work will be one part of his King­dom.

2. If Christ did not think it below him to come in his humiliation, and to suffer for h [...]s Church on Earth, Phil. 2. 6, 7, 8. Eph. 5. 25. why should we think it so much to de [...]ogate from his Glory, to come from Heaven to Reign with his Church in his Kingdom on Earth, especially when the Earth shall be made a glorious habi­tation.

3. It will be so far from derogating from [Page 576] his glory, that it is indeed the top of the glory designed, as the fruit of his Sufferings and Mediatory Office, it is true as to per­sonal glory, it cannot be augmented or di­minished of what it is, but as to the great New Covenant Design in the Restauration, as Head of the Church, and over all (visi­bly made manifest) so it will be the won­derful increase of his Government and Glory, which is the glory to be looked for by the Saints, Tit. 2. 13.

And as for the Deceased Saints to lose their glory in coming from Heaven to Reign on Earth, I answer, 1. That the De­ceased Saints, though in a better place, and in a better condition then when in the bo­dy, yet are not in their perfect glory, though free from sin and affliction, for the spirit was fitted to and for he body, and is not in a capacity for the glory of the restored state without the body; if it were, no need then of the Resurrection, and the Apostle saith in vain, that we are of all men most miserable, if the dead rise not; by which our hope of a better life would be frustrate; and the Scripture saith, That the Souls of those beheaded or slain for the testimony of Jesus, cry for vengeance against those that slew them, Rev. 6. 9, 10. which argueth they are not in such a perfection of glory as is supposed.

2. The Scripture saith that they shall come from Heaven, without any suppo­sition [Page 577] of diminishing to their glory, but rather as a part of their glory, 1 Thes. 4. 14. Those that sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

3. It will be the Saints Glory to Reign with their Lord, and those who believe it, look not on it as such an unglorious E­state, but triumph in it, as their great glory, That they shall Reign on Earth, Rev. 5. 10.

4. It will no whit derogate from their glory, when they shall have the glory of Heaven on Earth, the glorious presence of Christ, and of Saints and Angels, Heaven upon the Earth shall be enjoyed, Rev. 21. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

8. Ob. The Scripture saith that the Saints Obj. shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the Air, and so shall ever be with the Lord, 1 Thes. 4. 17. Which seems to imply, that there shall not be such an Earthly Reign as you speak of, but rather a going away to Heaven with the Lord.

Ans. So doubtless they may and must be Ans. caught up to fulfill the Scripture, which saith, the Lord our God will come, and all the Saints with him, Zech. 14. 15. So that they must be taken up to meet him, that they may come with him, and that it is not only their Spirits, but their bodies, raised and united to their spirits that must come with him is evident, 1 Thes. 4. 14. Those that sleep in Jesus will God bring with him; it is the [Page 578] body that sleeps and not the spirit, so pro­perly, though it intends the whole man, body and spirit united, will God bring with him, so that our meeting the Lord in the air is so far from weakning this truth, that it adds to it, for we must meet him to come with him.

2. The Scripture tells us plainly of Christs coming down upon the Earth with his Saints, Joel 3. 11. Zec. 14. 4, 5. where is not only the truth asserted, but the place named. And thus much in answer to the Objections.

4. I shall answer some Questions that4. The que­stions about it. may arise about the whole matter, although we may not expect to answer all questions and doubts about it, by reason of igno­rance; for we know but in part, and in a very little part too, comparatively to the heighth and depth of mystery, that is in this new Covenant Restauration, it behoves us to believe the truth of the matter, though there be many things in it and con­cerning it, that we cannot know till we come to know as we are known, till that which is perfect is come, yet something brokenly I may offer in the matter.

1. Quest. When the beginning of this Quest. Kingdom of Christ shall be?

Ans. 1. As hath been before shewed, it is Ans. begun already in the way of grace, as a pre­parative in order to glory.

2. He will come in his Kingdom when he cometh from Heaven, 2 Tim. 4. 1. he will come in his Kingdom with power and great glory, and all his work at and after his appearing shall be the Kingdom work, conquering ru­ling and judging work.

2. Quest. Its said Rev. 20. 4. That the Quest. 2 Saints Lived and Reigned with Christ a thou­sand years, when may we suppose may be the time of the beginning, and so of the Period, of the 1000 years? and how may we reconcile that with those Scriptures that saith that he shall Reign for ever? Dan. 7. 14. Luke 1. 33.

Ans. That Rev. 20. 4. seems to import Ans. some particular time of enterance to, and period of some particular distinct exercise of his regal power, in some distinct manner from what it was before, or shall be after the period thereof, yet all but one King­dom, though variously and distinctly exer­cised from its enterance or beginning; and probably it doth point out the time of his peaceable Kingdom, so much spoken of in Scripture, to Commence from the time that he hath brought his enemies under him, af­ter his first appearing from Heaven, which must admit of time to bring down his ene­mies, and to bring the world in subjection to him, as in the Type; David and Solo­mon, the one Conquering and preparing, the other comes in and sets up the peacea­ble Kingdom, and Reigns in glory, as if he [Page 580] had been the person to whom the promise was made; and so indeed he was in the Type, but Jesus Christ was the true Solo­mon, and King of Righteousness, and King of Peace that shall Reign for ever. I say probably it intens some such Kingdome State (of which Solomons was the Type) which shall succeed the fall and subjection of the worldly Monarcks and Enemies of Christ, sutable to the many Prophesies and promises of such a thing, Psa. 110. 5, 6, 7. Isa. 66. 15, 16. Ezek. 38, and 39. chapters, with multitudes of like Scriptures of the Pro­phets, and in Rev. 19. is the same work de­scribed as a preparatory to the 1000 years Reign, of which David was a special Type, Psal. 18. 32. to 46. now may be its ente­rance; and probably its period will be at the perfecting of the Judgment, Death it self in the last Resurrection, being the last enemy that is to be conquered, and so pro­bably this 1000 years Reign is that which is intended, 1 Cor. 15. 24, 25, 26. For he must Reign till he hath put all his enemies under his feet, &c. which probably will be at the end of the 1000 years, when Death and Hell, and the Sea shall give up their Dead, and so the last enemy, i. e. Death destroyed; and when this period of time is over, and this work is done, will be the time of giving up the Kingdom to the Father, that God may be all in all; and the Son subject, 1 Cor. 15. 24. to 28. not that the Son was not subject before, [Page 581] or his work was to do his Fathers will, ever since his Incarnation, but probably it im­ports an other manner of Government, af­ter the 1000 years Reign, and the final judgment is over, more immediately by the Father, the Mediatory Kingdom of the Son being over, and the Restauration work is finished; not but that Christ is King still and Head of his Body, the Church, in the perfect state, and in all things he shall have the preheminence, as head of the Church, and Lord over all; and so his Kingdom shall be everlasting, according to the distinct man­ners and methods determined; and pro­bably till this time, (that is, the end of the 1000 years and perfecting the Judgment and conquest over all enemies, and giving up of the Kingdom to the Fa­ther) may not the Saints be capacitated to the glorious sight of the Father, it being Christs work in his times, to shew the Fa­ther to his members, 1 Tim. 6. 15, 16. for till this time, will not the Mediatory Kingdom of Christ be finished, nor the im­mediate Kingdom of the Father take place, nor the Saints be capacitat [...]d thereunto.

3. Quest. Whether the New Heavens Quest. 3 and new Earth promised, shall begin from the enterance of the 1000. years Reigne, or from the ending thereof, and of the fi­nal judgment?

Ans. Very likely it may and must take its Ans. enterance from the beginning of the 1000. [Page 582] years, though probably not perfected till after the 1000 years, and last judgment is over; God having in all his works pro­ceeded gradually, and not done it upon a sudden; so in the work of Creation, and so in the work of Redemption, and Restau­ration, God hath been about it ever since the fall; and may we rationally imagine that he will do any part of his great work on a sudden, but that he will (as always he hath done) work by degrees, accomplish his work gradually; that it must have its enterance in the beginning of the 1000. years, seems clear, from the time of the new Heavens and new Earth, must be full­filled, some promises, which is not (pro­bably) proper, when the last judgment is over (viz.) as outward Prosperity, Building, Planting, Eating, Drinking, &c. as Isa. 65. 17, to 25. which things are Relative to the Reign of Christ, and probably may be accomplished in the 1000. years.

That we may without wrong to the u­sual way of Gods discovering his will in Scripture, so understand it, how frequent­ly doth God (as is said before) bring forth that in one sentence (as it were) that ga­thers in all the time, from the humiliation of Christ to the glory of his Kingdom, as the new Covenant of his grace, the promise of his spirit, &c. so that we may safely con­clude that the new Heavens and new Earth [Page 583] shall be perfected in the Restauration work, according to the time or times de­termined.

4. Quest. Whether we may suppose that Quest. 4 there will be any place for unconver­ted persons, in the new Heavens and new Earth, during the thousand years Reign?

Ans. It seems very clear from Scripture Ans. that it shall be so, see Isa. 65. 20. Zec. 14. 16. to 19. which will be the Generation, that after the thousand years is over, Satan being loosed to tempt them, will compass the Camp of the Saints and the Beloved City▪ Rev. 20. 7, 8, 9. Which is like to be the last at­tempt of Satan and Men, against the Church, though then they shall do no act to hurt them, but in their enterprise, Fi [...]e shall come down from Heaven and shall devour them, and then will be the final judgment, v. 10. to 15.

5. Quest. May we suppose that men can Quest. 5 be so hardened (as that after they have seen such wonders, and the Glory of Christs Kingdom, and enjoyed so much of Peace and good thereby) as to at­tempt such a work against the Lord and his people?

Ans. 1. What the Lord hath declared in Ans. his word, that we ought to believe will come to pass.

2. It is no other in substance then hath been before, notwithstanding all the judg­ments [Page 584] of God on Aegypt, yet Pharaoh was hardened to his own destruction; and notwithstanding the wonderful works of Christ when he came in his Humiliation, yet the Jews were hardened against him to their own destruction.

3. The Scripture saith, that the Devil shall be loosed for a season to deceive them and so to harden them, and there is no que­stion but that he will be the same to the end that he hath been.

And 4. Their nature not being changed, there will remain the same enmity against Christ and holyness, on which Satan work­ing, they will be ready for the same work as other Persecutors hath been be­fore them.

6. Quest. May we not account the day of Quest. 6 judgment to be till after the thousand years Raign be over and finished?

Ans. The judgment includes the whole Ans. time from Christs coming from Heaven, untill the work be finished, it will be a day of Judgment, in the various parts of the ex­ecution thereof, Judgment shall be execu­ted upon the world, at and from his first appearing, till the Nations be broken, and all subjected to him, Isa. 9. 3, 4, 5. Zep. 3. 8. Rev. 19. 11. to 21. And he shall judge in righteousness during the thousand years Reign, and after it perfect the work; So that his Kingdom and Judg­ment shall be together, Judgment be­ing [Page 585] one great part of his Kingly work, 2 Tim. 4. 1 Who shall judge the quick and dead at his appearing, and his Kingdom.

7. Quest. At what time may we suppose Quest. 7 the Saints shall be raised? at his first ap­pearing in the Clouds of Heaven? or at the enterance of the thousand years? or after the thousand years are fini­shed?

Ans. Very probably at the enterance of Ans. the 1000. years, and that for these rea­sons.

1. Because it is not likely that they should be raised before the Nations are subdued, and the new Heavens and new Earth prepared.

2. The Scripture saith, that it shall be at the sound of the last Trump, which im­ports that other Trumps had sounded be­fore, (else it could not properly be called the last Trump) and probably it may have relation to the seaven Trumpets mention­ed in the Revelation, which are all to be sounded at and after Christs appearing, in carrying on the work of judgment upon the Nations, and when the seventh Angel sounded (which is the last Trump) There were great voices in Heaven saying, the King­doms of this world are become the Kingdoms of our Lord [...] of his Christ, and he shall Reign for ever and ever, Rev. 11. 15. and chap. 20. 4. the Resurrection is stated to be at the enterance of the thousand years, they lived [Page 586] and Reigned with Christ a thousand years. We may groundedly suppose, that after Christs appearing in the work, he may▪ as­cend and descend often, we may not ima­gine that he should be limited on Earth, and so his coming at the sound of the last Trump, to establish his peaceable King­doms to be the first Resurrection, and all his appearances and works is included in his second coming, and probably there may be Death in the time of this Reigne, Isaiah 65. 20. And if so, then there must [...]e a Resurrection of some of the just as well as of the unjust, at the end thereof.

8. Quest. May we suppose that this Quest. Estate shall be Ushered in by the Lord in the hands of the Saints, before the coming of Christ from Heaven, or not?

Ans. I know no ground from Scripture Answ. for such a Conception (although it hath been the imaginations of many in these lat­ter days) unless the raising of the witnes­ses spoken of, Rev. 11. 11, 12. be before the coming of Christ from Heaven, then some wonderful work must be accom­plished in some part of the world, called the tenth part of the City, where they Proph [...]cyed and were slai [...] and must be raised; whether any part of that work will be by the Lord, time will manifest; or whether it shall be before Christ comes [Page 587] from Heaven, is to me a great question, that I dare not meddle with, nor under­take to determine; yet I suppose it not a Corporal Slaughter, by a Massacre, as some imagine; (to be accomplished three days and an half before our Lord comes from Heaven) my reason for it is, be­cause I find that Christ will have his Church visible on Earth when he comes, though it will admit of great mixture, and low in faith, and probably under great Afflictions, Mat. 25. 1, to 13. Luke 18. 7, 8.

But otherwise, or any further then the raising of the witnesses (which I very much question whether it will be before Christs appearing) there is no ground to expect such a work as hath been by some sup­posed, and what, or when ever it be, it will be far from Conquering the World to Christ, it must be but the tenth part of the City, some Nook or Corner where the witnesses have most eminently Pro­phecyed, called, the Street of the great City, &c.

9. Quest. How are we to understand Quest. 9 those Prophecyes that speak so plainly and fully of Conquering, and bringing down of the enemies of the Church in the latter days, in a warlike way, as Isa. 9. 4, 5. and 41. 15, 16. with many other Scriptures to this purpose?

Ans. We are to understand it to be per­formed Ans. at and after the coming of the Lord from Heaven, my grounds for it are as fol­loweth.

1. As the Prophets do foretell of such things, and we are bound to believe the truth thereof, and neither Christ nor his Apostles mentions any thing thereof, in the new Testament, but directs us to look for the coming of Christ, and to a pati­ent suffering and waiting for that day, the Apostle speaks of the Apostasie, but not of deliverance; hence I conclude, that it must be done at and after his appearing, done it must be, the new Testament allows no place for it, before Christ cometh, there­fore it must be done at and after his co­ming.

2. The Scripture S