AN ELEGANT And Learn …

AN ELEGANT And Learned DISCOURSE Of the Light of Nature, With several other TREATISES: Viz. The Schisme. The Act of Oblivion. The Childes Returne. The Panting Soul. Mount Ebal. The White Stone. Spiritual Opticks. The Worth of Souls.

By NATHANAEL CULVERWEL, Master of Arts, and lately Fellow of EMANUEL Colledge in CAMBRIDGE.

Imprimatur, EDM. CALAMY.

London, Printed by T. R. and E. M. for John Rothwell at the Sun and Fountain in Pauls Church-yard. 1652.

To the Reverend and Learned ANTHONY TƲCKNEY D. D. Master of Emmanuel Colledge IN CAMBRIDGE, And to the Fellows of that Religious and happy Foundation.

Honoured Sirs,

THe many testimonies of your real af­fection towards this pious and learn­ed Authour, (especially while he lay under the discipline of so sad a Pro­vidence) deserve all thankful acknowledgement, and grateful commemoration: which I doubt not but himself would have made in most am­ple manner, had it pleased God to have granted him longer life, and farther opportunity. But since Divine Providence hath otherwayes dispo­sed; I thought it no solecisme in friendship to undertake the Executorship of his desires, and [Page] so farre to own his debt of gratitude, as to en­deavour some Publike acknowledgement of it, though the greatnesse of your benefits admit not of just reompence and satisfaction. Having therefore the disposal of his papers committed to me by his nearest and dearest friends, and finding them to be of such worth and excellen­cy as ought not to be smothered in obscurity; I interpreted this a fit opportunity to let both your selves and others understand, how deep an impression your kindnesse to him hath left in the apprehensions and memories of those his friends, whom God and Nature had given the advantage of being more peculiarly interessed in his wel­fare. Upon which account I do here present you with this Elegant issue of his noble and gallant abilities; which, besides the relation it hath to you by the Fathers side, would gladly intitle it self unto your acceptance and protection, as ha­ving been conceived in your Colledge, and deli­vered in your Chappel; and therefore hopes that you, who with much delight were sometimes ear-witnesses of it, will now become its Susce­ptours.

And thus having lodged it in its Mothers armes, I leave it to her embraces. On whose be­half [Page] I shall only offer up this serious and hearty wish; That as, by the blessing of heaven upon her fruitful womb, she hath been made a Mother of many profitable instruments both in Church and Common-wealth: so God would be pleased to make good her name unto her, and delight still to use her as the handmaid-instrument of his glo­ry; that he would lay her topstone in his blessing, as her foundation was laid in his fear.

So prayes
The meanest of her sonnes,
Your humble servant
Aug. 10. 1652.



NOt many moneths have passed since I sent abroad into the world a little Treatise, which knew it self by the name of Spiritual Opticks, with intention on­ly to make some discovery of the mindes and affecti­ons of men towards pieces of that Nature; which having met somewhere (it seemes) with kinde en­entertainment, and acceptance beyond its expectati­on; hath now perswaded all its fellows into a reso­lution to take wing, and adventure themselves up­on thy candour and ingenuity. I intend not here to hang out Ivy; nor with my Canvase to preface this cloth of gold. The work is weaved of Sunne-beams, to hang any thing before it, were but to obscure it; yet something here must needs be said for mine own discharge, and thy better satisfaction. Know there­fore, (gentle Reader) that these pieces were first in­tended as Scholastick Exercises in a Colledge-Chap­pel, [Page] and therefore more properly suited to such an Auditory; yet I make no question but some of them, the White Stone especially, may be read with much profit, by those who are of meaner capacities, and lesse refined intellectuals. The Discourse of the Light of Nature (which, though here it beare the torch before the rest, is younger brother to them all) was written above six yeers ago; the designe of it was, as on the one hand to vindicate the use of Rea­son in matters of Religion from the aspersions and prejudices of some weaker ones in those times, who, ha­ving entertained erroneous opinions, which they were no way able to defend, were taught by their more cun­ning seducers to wink hard, and except against all offensive weapons: so on the other hand to chastise the sawcinesse of Socinus and his followers, who dare set Hagar above her Mistresse, and make Faith waite at the elbow of corrupt & distorted Reason; to take off the head of that uncircumcised Philistim with his own sword, but better sharpened; and then to lay it up behinde the Ephod in the Sanctuary. An enter­prise I confesse, of no small import; which yet he hoped, with Gods assistance, to have effected by giving unto Reason the things that are Reasons, and unto Faith the things that are Faiths. And had the world been favoured with his longer life, the height of his parts, [Page] and the earnest he gave, had bespoken very ample ex­pectations in those who knew and heard him: But it pleased God (having first melted him with his love, and then chastised him, though somewhat sharply) to take him to himself; from the contemplation of the Light of Nature, to the enjoyment of one superna­tural, that [...], Light inaccessible, which none can see and live; and to translate him from snuf­fing a Candle here, to be made partaker of the inheri­tance of the Saints in Light. So that all he finisht to­wards that undertaking was this Discourse of the Light of Nature in general, not descending so low as to shew how the Moral Law was founded in it, or that Gospel-revelation doth not extinguish it. Wherein, if, standing in the midst between two adversaries of ex­treme perswasions, while he opposes the one, he seeme to favour the other more then is meet; when thou shalt observe him at another time to declare as much against the other, thou wilt then be of another minde. Judge candidly, and take his opinion, as thou wouldst do his picture, sitting; not from a luxuriant expression (wherein he alwayes allowed for the shrinking) but from his declared judgement, when he speaks profes­sedly of such a subject. For instance, if any expressi­on seeme to lift Reason up too high; you may, if you please, otherwhere hear it confesse and bewail its own [Page] weaknesse; [chap. 12.] you may see it bow the head and worship, and then lay it self down quietly at the feet of Faith; [chap. 18.] So that if thou reade but the whole discourse, thou wilt easily perceive (as him­self would often affirme) that he abhorred the very thought of advancing the power of Nature into the throne of Free-Grace, or by the light of Nature in the least measure to eclipse that of Faith.

I would not willingly by any Prolepsis forestall thy reading, yet if thou shouldst desire a foretast of the Authours stile, I would turne thee to the beginning of the seventeenth chapter; never was light so bespang­led; never did it triumph in greater bravery of ex­pression. But I detaine thee too long. Let this suffice thee as a course List to a finer Webb; or as waste paper to defend this Book from the injury of its covers.


The Discourse of the Light of Nature conteines

  • CHap. 1. The Porch, or Introduction page 1
  • Chap. 2. The explication of the words p. 9
  • Chap. 3. What Nature is p. 14
  • Chap. 4. Of the nature of a Law in general p. 20
  • Chap. 5. Of the Eternal Law p. 28
  • Chap. 6. Of the Law of Nature in general, its
    • Subject
    • Nature
    p. 34
  • Chap. 7. The extent of the Law of Nature p. 54
  • Chap. 8. How the Law of Nature is discovered? not by tra­dition p. 62
  • Chap. 9. The Light of Reason p. 68
  • Chap. 10. Of the consent of Nations p. 77
  • Chap. 11. The Light of Reason is a derivative Light p. 87
  • Chap. 12. The Light of Reason is a diminutive Light p. 122
  • Chap. 13. The Light of Reason discovers present, not future things p. 131
  • Chap. 14. The Light of Reason is a certain Light p. 141
  • Chap. 15. The Light of Reason is directive p. 154
  • Chap. 16. The Light of Reason is calme and peaceable p. 166
  • Chap, 17. The Light of Reason is a pleasant Light p. 175
  • Chap. 18. The Light of Reason is an ascendent Light p. 198

The most material escapes of the Impression, be pleased (Reader) thus to amend.

PAge 6. line 16. for there that read their, p 10. l 14. for to r. into, p 13. l. 22. for Sooth. worth r. somewhat worth, p. 25 l. 21. for is r. it is, p. 33. l. 19 for primae practicae r. pri­ma practica, p. 48. l. 21. for where r. whence, p 62. l. 3. nor an intellectus [...]gens dele, p. 68. l. 22. for Evangelistical r. Evangelical, p. 70. l. 14. for its r. their, p. 71. l. 29. Antonius r. Antoninus, p. 92 l. 16. many r. any, p. 93. l. 7. him a r. him in a, p. 107. l. 20. should r. sould, p 128 l. 31. this r. his, p. 132 l. 23. & per r. & non per, p. 137. l. 16. these r. those, p. 140. l. 24. Jurispositorum r. Jurisperitorum, p. 145. l. 16 [...], p. 147. ult. theirs r. this, p. 154. l. 17. certainly r. certainty, p 157. l. 21. r. them as Gods, p. 16 [...]. l. 20. r. judice, p. 165. l. 9. the r. that, p. 166. l. 26. persecutions r. prosecutions, p. 178. l. 31. choyest r. choycer, p. 194. l 34 be r. not be, p. 202. l. 8. is r. if, p. 210 l. 22. maintenency r. manu-ten­ncy.

P. 1. l. 20. casus r. caput, 3. 1. r. omrtality r. morality, 5. 23. r. [...], so the Scholiast, 8. ult. his r. its, 10. 13. painted r. pointed, 18. in marg. Fox dele, 22, 2. have dele, 47. 17. to not r. not to, 48. 3. them r. him, 54. 3 not only r. only, ibid. l. 15. [...]re r. were, 66. 4. Poll­titian r. Politian, ibid l. 31. historistia r. historia, 77. 25. deglutiemur r. deglutiemus, 123. 17. with r. what, 127. 36. brim then r. brim, then was the, 129. 37. examination r. exina­nition, 150. 14. and then dele.

The rest, I hope, will not disturbe the sense.

Courteous READER.

THis Discourse, which had my Brother for the Author; might justly have expected me to have been the publisher: And I should think my self inexcusable, in this particular, did not the remote distance of my present abode, and the frequent avocations from study, by attendance upon my Ministery, together with the ruines of a crazy body, somewhat apo­logize in my behalfe.

That is obvious and [...] in every mans mouth, that the Brother should raise up seed to the Brother; but here, lo a friend that is neerer then a brother, who reares up this living monument, to the memory of his deceased friend.

In this Treatise we may perceive, how the Gentiles Candle out-went us with our Sun-beams: How they guid­ed only by the glimmering twilight of Nature, out-stript us who are surrounded with the rayes of Supernatural light, of revealed truth. Thou may'st here finde Plato to be a Moses Atticissans, and Aratus, Menander, and Epimenides called into the Court, to bring in their suffrages to Saint Pauls Doctrine.

Here we may finde Reason like a Gibeonite hewing wood, and drawing water for the Sanctuary: Jethro giving coun­sell to Moses. God draws us with the cords of a man; he drew profest Star-gazers with a Star to Christ. Galen a Physician was wrought upon, by some Anatomicall observations to tune an hymne to the praise of his Creatour, though o­therwise Atheist enough.

Reason though not permitted (with an over-daring Pompey) [Page] to rush into the Holy of Holies, yet may be allowed to be a Proselyte of the gate, and with those devote Greeks, to worship in the Court of the Gentiles.

Naturall Light, or the Law written in the heart, em­proved by that [...] which is written in the book of the creature in capitall letters, so that he that runnes may read, is that which this Treatise beares witnesse to; where these [...], those heaven-borne-lights are set up in the soul of man, like those twin flames on the Marriners shroud, they presage a happy voyage to the fair Havens.

As for the bosome-secrets of God, Gospel-mysteries, the Mercy-seat it self into which the Angels desire [...], Reasons plum-line will prove too short to fathome them; here we must cry with the Apostle [...]! Reason may not come into these Seas, except she strike her top-saile; here we may say with Aristotle, at the brinke of Euripus, not being able to give an account of the ebbes and flowes, If I can't comprehend thee, thou shalt me.

It is storied of Democritus, that he put out his eyes that he might contemplate the better: I do not counsel you to do so; but if you would wink with one, the eye of Reason (captivate every thought to the obedience of Christ) you might with that other of Faith, take the better aime at the marke, to obtaine the price of the high calling in Jesus Christ.

Possibly an expression or two (more there are not) may seem to speak too much in Reasons behalfe; but if well exa­mined, will prove nothing to the prejudice of free Grace: The whole scope of the book endeavouring to fil those land­marks and just bounds betwixt Religion, and Reason, which some (too superciliously brow-beating the hand-maid, and others too much magnifying her) have removed.

These exercises suit well with the place where, and the auditours to whom they were delivered, but like A­ristotles [Page] [...] these are not for vulgar eares; These Lucubrations are so elaborate, that they smell of the Lamp, The Candle of the Lord.

As concerning the Author of this Treatise, how great his parts were, and how well improved (as it may appear by this work) so they were fully known, and the losse of them sufficiently bewailed by those among whom he lived and conversed; and yet I must say of him [...]: And as it is hard for men to be under affliction, but they are liable to censures, Luke 13. 2, 4. so it fared with him, who was looked upon by some, as one whose eyes were lofty, and whose eye-lids lifted up; who bare himself too high upon a conceit of his parts (although they that knew him intimate­ly, are most willing to be his compurgatours in this particu­lar.) Thus prone are we to think the staffe under the water crooked, though we know it to be straight: However, turne thine eyes inward, and censure not thine own fault so severe­ly in others. Cast not the first stone, except thou finde thy self without this fault: dare not to search too curiously in­to [...] of God; But rather learn that lesson of the Apostles in that elegant Paranomasy, [...]. Rom. 12. v. 3.

Thus not willing longer to detain thee from the perusall of this Discourse; I commend both thee and it to the bles­sing of God, and rest

Thine to serve thee in any spiri­tuall work, or labour of love, RICH. CULVERWEL.


PROVERES 20. 27.

[...] Mens hominis lucerna Domini, The understanding of a man is the Candle of the Lord.

[...]. Septuag. [...]. Aqu. Symm. Theod. [...]. Sic alii.

The Porch or Introduction.

TIs a work that requires our choycest thoughts, the exactest discussion that can be; a thing very material and desirable, to give unto Rea­son the things that are Reasons, and unto Faith the things that are Faiths; to give Faith her full scope and latitude, and to give Reason also her just bounds and limits; this is the first-born, but the other has the blessing. And yet there is not such a vast hiatus neither, such a [...] between them as some would imagine: there is no such implacable antipathy, no such irreconcileable jarring between them, as some do fan­cy to themselves; they may very well salute one another, [...], osculo Pacis; Reason and Faith may kisse [Page 2] each other. There is a twin-light springing from both, and they both spring from the same fountain of light, and they both sweetly conspire in the same end, the glory of that be­ing from which they shine, & the welfare & happines of that being upon which they shine. So that to blaspheme Reason, 'tis to reproach heaven it self, and to dishonour the God of Reason, to question the beauty of his Image, and by a strange ingratitude to slight this great and Royal gift of our Crea­tor. For 'tis he that set up these two great Luminaries in eve­ry heavenly soul, the Sun to rule the day, and the Moon to rule the night; and though there be some kinde of creatures that will bark at this lesser light, and others so severely criti­cal, as that they make mountains of those spots and freckles which they see in her face; yet others know how to be thankful for her weaker beams, and will follow the least light of Gods setting up, though it be but the Candle of the Lord.

But some are so strangely prejudic'd against Reason, and that upon sufficient reason too (as they think) which yet in­volves a flat contradiction, as that they look upon it not as the Candle of the Lord, but as on some blazing Comet that portends present ruine to the Church, and to the soul, and carries a fatal and venemous influence along with it. And because the unruly head of Socinus and his fol­lowers by their meer pretences to Reason, have made shipwrack of Faith, and have been very injurious to the Gospel; therefore these weak and staggering apprehensions, are afraid of understanding any thing, and think that the very name of Reason, especially in a Pulpit, in matters of Religion, must needs have at least a thousand heresies coucht in it. If you do but offer to make a Syllogisme, they'l strait way cry it down for carnal reasoning. What would these men have? Would they be banisht from their own essences? Would they forfeit and renounce their under­standings? Or have they any to forfeit or disclaime? would [Page 3] they put out this Candle of the Lord, intellectuals of his own lighting? or have they any to put out? would they creep into some lower species, and go a grazing with Nebuchad­nezar among the beasts of the field? or are they not there already? Or if they themselves can be willing to be so shamefully degraded, do they think that all others too are bound to follow their example? Oh, what hard thoughts have these of Religion? do they look upon it only as on a bird of prey, that comes to peck out the eyes of men? Is this all the nobility that it gives, that men by vertue of it must be beheaded presently? do's it chop off the intelle­ctuals at one blow? Lets hear awhile what are the offences of Reason; are they so hainous and capital? what has it done? what lawes has it violated? whose commands has it broken? what did it ever do against the crown and dig­nity of heaven, or against the peace and tranquillity of men? Why are a weak and perverse generation, so angry and dis­pleased with it? Is it because this daughter of the morning is fallen from her primitive glory? from her original vigour and perfection? Far be it from me to extenuate that great and fatal overthrow, which the sons of men had in their first and original apostasie from their God; that under which the whole Creation sigh's and groanes: but this we are sure, it did not annihilate the soul, it did not destroy the essence, the powers and faculties, nor the operations of the soul; though it did defile them, and disorder them, and every way indispose them.

Well then, because the eye of Reason is weakened, and vi­tiated, will they therefore pluck it out immediately? and must Leah be hated upon no other account, but because she is blear-ey'd? The whole head is wounded, and akes, and is there no other way but to cut it off? The Candle of the Lord do's not shine so clearly as it was wont, must it ther­fore be extinguisht presently? is it not better to enjoy the faint and languishing light of this Candle of the Lord, rather [Page 4] then to be in palpable and disconsolate darknesse? There are indeed but a few seminal sparks left in the ashes, and must there be whole floods of water cast on them to quench them? 'Tis but an old imperfect Manuscript, with some broken periods, some letters worn out, must they therefore with an unmerciful indignation rend it and tear it asunder? 'Tis granted that the picture has lost its glosse and beauty, the oriency of its colours, the elegancy of its lineaments, the comelinesse of its proportion; must it therefore be total­ly defac'd? must it be made one great blot? and must the ve­ry frame of it be broken in pieces? Would you perswade the Lutanist to cut all his strings in sunder, because they are out of tune? and will you break the Bowe upon no other ac­count, but because it's unbended? because men have not so much of Reason as they should, will they therefore resolve to have none at all? will you throw away your gold, because it's mixt with drosse? Thy very being that's imperfect too, thy graces, they are imperfect, wilt thou refuse these also? And then consider, that the very apprehending the weaknes of Reason, even this in some measure comes from Reason. Reason, when awaken'd, it feels her own wounds, it hears her own jarrings, she sees the dimnesse of her own sight. 'Tis a glasse that discovers its own spots, and must it there­fore be broke in peices? Reason her self has made many sad complaints unto you; she has told you often, and that with teares in her eyes, what a great shipwrack she has suffered, what goods she has lost, how hardly she escaped with a poor decayed being; she has shewn you often some broken re­liques as the sad remembrancers of her former ruines; she told you how that when she swam for her life, she had no­thing but two or three Jewels about her, two or three com­mon notions; and would you rob her of them also? is this all your tendernesse and compassion? Is this your kindness to your friend? will you trample upon her now she is so low? Is this a sufficient cause to give her a Bill of divorce­ment, [Page 5] because she has lost her former beauty and fruitful­nesse?

Or is Reason thus offensive to them, because she cannot 2 grasp and comprehend the things of God? Vain men, will they pluck out their eyes because they cannot look upon the Sun in his brightnesse and glory? What though Reason cannot reach to the depths, to the bottomes of the Ocean, may it not therefore swim and hold up the head as well as it can? What though it cannot enter into the Sanctum San­ctorum, and pierce within the Veile; may it not notwith­standing lie in the Porch, at the gate of the Temple called beautiful, and be a door-keeper in the house of its God? It's wings are clipt indeed, it cannot flie so high as it might have done, it cannot flie so swiftly, so strongly as once it could, will they not therefore allow it to move, to stirre, to flutter up and down as well as it can? the turrets and pinacles of the stately structure are fallen, will they therefore demolish the whole fabrick, and shake the very foundations of it? and down with it to the ground? though it be not a Jacobs lad­der to climbe up to heaven by, yet may they not use it as a staffe to walk upon earth withall? and then Reason it self knows this also and acknowledges, that 'tis dazled with the Majesty and glory of God; that it cannot pierce into his my­sterious and unsearchable wayes; it never was so vain as to go about to measure immensity by its own finite Com­passe, or to span out absolute eternity by its own more im­perfect duration. True Reason did never go about to com­prize the Bible in its own Nutshel. And if Reason be content with its own sphere, why should it not have the liberty of its proper motion?

Is it because it opposes the things of God, and wrangles 3 against the mysteries of salvation, is it therefore excluded? An heinous and frequent accusation indeed, but nothing more false and injurious; and if it had been an open enemy that had done her this wrong, why then she could have [Page 6] born it; but it's thou her friend and companion, ye have took sweet counsel together, and have entred into the house of God as friends, 'tis you that have your dependance upon her; that cannot speak one word to purpose against her, without her help and assistance. What mean you thus to revile your most intimate and inseparable self? why do you thus slander your own beings? would you have all this to be true which you say? Name but the time if you can, when ever right Reason did oppose one jot or apex of the word of God. Certainly, these men speak of distorted Reason all this while. Surely they do not speak of the Candle of the Lord, but of some shadow and appearance of it. But if they tell us that all Reason is distorted, whether then is theirs so, in telling us so? if they say that they do not know this by Reason, but by the Word of God; whether then is there [...] Reason, when it acknowledges the Word of God? whether is it then distorted, or no? Besides, if there were no right Reason in the world, what difference between so­briety and madnesse, between these men and wiser ones? how then were the heathen left without excuse, who had no­thing to see by but this Candle of the Lord? and how do's this thrust men below sensitive creatures, for better have no Reason at all, then such as do's perpetually deceive them, and delude them.

4 Or do's Reason thus displease them, because the blackest Errours sometimes come under the fair disguise of so beau­tiful a name, and have some tincture of Reason in them? But truly this is so farre from being a disparagement to Reason, as that 'tis no small commendation of it, for [...], Men love to put a plausible title, a win­ning frontispiece upon the foulest Errours. Thus licenti­ousnesse would faine be called by the name of liberty, and all dissolutenesse would faine be countenanced and secured under the Patronage and protection of free-grace. Thus wickednesse would willingly forget its own name, and a­dopt [Page 7] it self into the family of goodnesse. Thus Arminia­nisme pleads for it self under the specious notion of Gods love to mankinde. Thus that silly Errour of Antinomia­nisme will needs stile it self an Evangelical Honey-comb. Thus all irregularities and anomalies in Church af­fairs must pride themselves in those glittering titles of a New Light, A Gospel way, An Heaven upon Earth. No wonder then that some also pretend to Reason, who yet run out of it, and beyond it, and besides it; but must none there­fore come near it? because Socinus has burnt his wings at this Candle of the Lord, must none therefore make use of it?

May he not be conquer'd with his own weapons, and beat out of his own strong holds? and may not the head of an uncircumcised Philistine be cut off with his own sword?

Or lastly, are they thus afraid of Reason, because by ver­tue 5 of this, men of wit and subtilty will presently argue and dispute them into an Errour, so as that they shall not be a­ble to disintangle a truth, though in it self it be never so plaine and unquestionable? But first, Reason it self tells them that it may be thus, and so prepares and fortifies them against such a tryal; and then, this only shews that some mens Reason is not so well advanc'd and improv'd, either as it might be, or as others is; a sharper edge would quickly cut such difficulties asunder. Some have more refined and clarifi'd intellectuals, more vigorous and sparkling eyes then others, and one soul differs from another in glo­ry; and that reason which can make some shift to maintain Errour, might with a great deal lesse sweat and pains main­tain a truth.

There's no question but that Bellarmin, and the rest of the learned Papists could have if they had pleased, far more easily defended the Protestant Religion then that of their own. Besides, the vigour and triumph of Reason is prin­cipally to be seen in those first-born beames, those pure and unspotted irradiations that shine from it; I mean those [Page 8] first bublings up of common principles that are own'd and acknowledg'd by all; and those evident, and kindly derivations that flow from them. Reason shews her face more amiably and pleasantly in a pure and cleare streame, then in those mudded and troubled waters, in which the Schoolmen (that have leasure enough) are alwayes fishing. Nay, some of their works are like so many raging seas, full of perpetual tossings, and disquietings, and foamings, and sometimes casting up mire and dirt; and yet these vast and voluminous Leviathans love to sport therein, and that which is most intolerable, these grand [...], that seem'd so zealous for Reason, at length in expresse termes disclaime it; and in a most blindfold and confused manner, cry up their great Diana, their Idol of Transubstantiation; and the Lu­therans are very fierce against Reason too, much upon the same account, because it would never allow of that other monstrous and misshapen lump of Consubstantiation.

But why have I all this while beaten the air, and spilt words upon the ground? why do I speak to such as are in­curable and incapable? for if we speak Reason to them, that's that which they so much disclaim: if we do not speak Reason to them that were to disclaime it too.

But I speak to men, to Christians, to the friends of learn­ing, to the professors of Reason: to such as put this Candle of the Lord into a golden Candlestick, and poure continu­al Oile into it. Yet lest any among you Athenians, should erect an Altar to an unknown God; lest you should igno­rantly worship him, we will declare him to you.

And that which we have now said may serve as a Porch and preamble, to what we shall speak hereafter out of these words.

Where we shall see

1) How The understanding of a man is the Candle of the Lord.

2) What this Candle of the Lord discovers; where we shall finde

[Page 9] 1) That all the Moral Law is founded in natural and common light, in the light of Reason.

2) That there's nothing in the mysteries of the Gospel contrary to the light of Reason; nothing repugnant to this light that shines from the Candle of the Lord.

The Explication of the words.

NOw as for the words themselves, we cannot better judge of the fitnesse of this expression, then by con­sidering who it was that spoke it.

Now these words were spoke by him that had a large portion of intellectuals, one that was [...], they were spoken by Solomon in whom the Candle of the Lord did shine very clearly; one that had ask'd this as the choisest favour that he could expect from the bounty of heaven; to have a glorious lamp of knowledge shine in his soul for the enlightning of it. And though the envious Jews would fain perswade the world that he lighted his can­dle at hell it self, for they esteemed him no better then a Ma­gician; as they esteemed him also that was greater then So­lomon; yet we know very well, that Solomons was a purer Candle then to be lighted at a Lake of fire and brimstone; 'twas not of Lucifers setting up, but it came from the Fa­ther of lights, 'twas lighted with Sun-beams from heaven.

And 'tis a modest and humble expression in him to call his understanding the Candle of the Lord, when as the world look'd upon him as a star of the first magnitude, nay as a Sun shining in the firmament, gilding the world with knowledge, scattering beams of light, sparkling out in wise and prover­bial sayings, so that the bordering Princes and Nations are [Page 10] ready to adore such an orient light; and the Queen of the South thinks it no small happinesse to sit under the shadow of it. But yet to be sensible of his own narrow sphere, of his own finite compasse and influence, did not at all take from his lustre, but did rather set it off, and adde to his glory.

Thus that wise man among the Heathen Socrates did so farre complain of the weaknesse of his candle-light, as that he tels us his lamp would shew him nothing but his own darknesse. And though a wiser then Socrates be here, yet he is much in the same measure sensible of the dimnesse of his own intellectuals. And yet he was one that had made many discoveries with this Candle of the Lord, he had searcht into the mines, and several veins of knowledge; he had searcht into the hid treasures of wisdome, he had searcht to the depth of State-affairs, he had searched into the bowels of natural causes, into the Magnalia & Mysteria of Nature; as if among many other wives he had espoused Nature also to himself, he had searcht into the several tempers and intel­lectual complexions of men; he had searcht long enough with this Candle of the Lord, to see if he could finde any good under the Sun, he went with his Candle to finde out a summum bonum; he searcht into all the corners of be­ing; and at length being sufficiently wearied; you may see him sitting down; you may hear him complaining that he had but spent and wasted the Candle of the Lord in vaine; for so much is implyed in [...] ▪ this was but de­pastio spiritûs, as he himself calls it.

Yet he was one that shewed others how they might make better improvement of their intellectual lamp; and this was his wisest advice that he gave upon his most mature and concocted thoughts, this was tanquam mox emoriturae lucer­nae supremus fulgor: that men would only follow this Candle of the Lord, as it directs them in the wayes of God, which are wayes of sweetnesse and pleasantnesse, for this was [...] the very end why God set up such a light [Page 11] in the soul, that it might search out his Creatour with it.

And as for the minde of the words, though one would think they were very clear, and shining with their own light, yet interpreters are pleased to cloud them, to turn light it self into a Chaos, and to cast darknesse upon the face of the Text; like some unskilful ones, while they go about to snuff the Candle, they put it out, but we'l try whether it can be blown in again.

We shall reduce their several meanings to these three heads.

1) Some would have it thus. The Candle of the Lord [...]s in the understanding of a man, as if the words did run thus, [...] Lucerna Domini in mente hominis, that is, God with his Candle discovers the very thoughts and intentions of men, he searches into every corner of the heart; he has lucernam in corde, he spies out every Atome, he perceives the first starting of a motion, the first peeping out of a thought, but this, though it be very true, yet is no­thing to the purpose here.

2) Some glosse upon the words thus, the understanding of man when 'tis enlightned with supernatural knowledge, is then the Candle of the Lord: but these do rather dictate to Solomon, and tell him what they would have him say; they do rather frame and fashion a Proverb to themselves, then explain his meaning: and these are they that are afraid to give natural light, and natural reason their due. But

3) I shall fully agree with them that take this for the pro­per and genuine meaning of the place, that God hath breath­ed into all the sons of men, Reasonable souls which may serve as so many Candles to enlighten and direct them in the searching out their Creatour, in the discovering of other inferiour beings, and themselves also; and this is that which is here implyed by [...], that same spira­culum vitae, nay that same immortal breath, that same rati­onal breath quickened by God himself, and flowing from [Page 12] him as a pure derivation from his own being, and thus the Hebr. Doctors do still look upon this word [...], as that which does expresse [...], animam rationis participem, and (as they observe) it has a plain vicinity with [...], but to be sure the being is derived from thence whether the word be or no. So then [...] it points out the supreme region, the very top and flower of a reasonable soul, [...]; as [...] does speak nothing but the dregs and bottome of it, the inferiour and sensitive soul. The Apostle Paul in his learned speech to the Athenians mentions them both, and calls them very significantly, [...], and so some also take that other place of the Apostle in that accurate discourse of his to the Corinthians, that which he calls [...], they call it [...], and that which he termes [...], they render it [...], though it be true also that sometimes they take the word [...] in a more generical sense, for thus they tell us, there are in man 3 [...]. (1) [...] the vegetable soul, a soul in the bud, the very blossome and flower of life. (2) [...] anima bruti, a soul looking out at the window of sense. (3) [...] a soul spark­ling and glittering with intellectuals, a soul crowned with light, and this is the same with [...] ▪ Now as for that other word [...] though sometimes the minde of man his intellectual part be expr [...]st by it, yet the word in its own nature is a great deal more large and comprehensive, and as it extends to some material beings, so it reaches to all spi­rituals; hence [...] ▪ and the Angels both good and bad frequently come under this name, but when 'tis put for the minde and spirit of man, yet I finde it very well differenced from [...] for [...] doth properly import impetum animi, motum mentis, the vigour and ener­gy of the soul, [...], rather then [...], and the He­brew [Page 13] Doctors are pleased to tell us the several situations of these, [...] they say is in corde, [...] in cerebro, [...] in hepate. Now though I know that some places in the New Testament which speak of soul and spirit meet with this interpretation, that spirit there is the purest eminency, the most refined part of the soul; yet this is not at all prejudi­cial to what we now speak of; for first, they may take it for the regenerate part of the soul, that which the Apostle cals the new creature; or else (2) suppose it be spoke of the soul in its natural condition, 'tis worth the considering then whether it would not be better rendered by [...] then [...], as [...] here is rendered the spirit of a man; but (3) grant that [...] be more answerable to it, and that [...] should have the worth and precedency of [...] which yet will scarce ever be shewn or explained; yet this is very sure and unquestionable, that [...] does very properly speak a reasonable soul, and that the more peculiarly, be­cause when Moses speaks of that very moment when 'twas created, and breathed into man, he calls it [...] and the Arab. interpreter keeps as close to the words, as so vast a Dialect will give leave, and stiles it [...] halitus vitae. And 'tis soothworth, the wond'ring at that that learned interpreter of Genesis, who is so well verst in Rabbinical writings should yet expound that of the sensi­tive; but they run as far into the other extreme that would understand [...] of a soul advanc'd above it self by super­natural principles, and I think this sense will scarce be owned by any that can construe Hebrew.

So then, these words are a brief commendation of natu­ral Light, of the Light of Reason. For the farther clearing of which we must enquire. (1) What Nature is. (2) What the Law of Nature is. (3) What the Light of Nature is.

What Nature is.

THe words being to be understood of Lumen Naturale, according to the mindes of the best and most interpre­ters; it will be very needful to enquire what Nature is, and here we will be sure not to speak one word for Nature, which shall in the least measure tend to the eclipsing of Grace; nay, nothing but what shall make for the greater brightening and amplifying of the free Grace and distin­guishing goodnesse of God in Christ; and nothing but what an Augustin, or a Bradwardin those great Patrons of Grace would willingly set their seals unto.

Well then, as for Nature, though it be not far from any one of us, though it be so intimate to our very beings; though it be printed and engraved upon our essences, and not upon ours only, but upon the whole Creation; and though we put all the letters and Characters of it together as well as we can, yet we shall finde it hard enough, to spell it out, and read what it is; for as it is in corporeal vision, the too much approximation and vicinity of an object do's stop up and hinder sight, so 'tis also many times in Intellectual Opticks; we see something better at a distance; the soul cannot so easily see its own face, nor so fully explain its own nature. We need some Scholiast or Interpreter, [...]o com­ment upon our own beings, and to acquaint us with our own Idiomes; and I meet with many Authors that speak of the light of Nature, but I can scarce finde one that tells us what it is. Those famous and learned Triu [...]viri; SELDEN, that has made it his work to write De Jure Naturali; and Grotius that has said somewhat of it in his book De Jure Belli & Pacis: and Salmasius that has toucht it in his late Treatise De Coma, and in his little Di­alogue [Page 15] subordinate to it, in either of which, if he had plea­sed, he might have described it without a digression; yet none of these (as far as I can finde) give us the least adum­bration of it; which notwithstanding was the rather to be expected from them, because the Philosophers had left it in such a cloudy and obscured manner, as if they had ne­ver seen Nature face to face, but only through a glasse dark­ly, and in a riddle. And as we reade of a Painter that repre­sented Nature appearing to Aristotle with a veile and mask upon her face; so truly Aristotle himself painted her as he saw her, with her veile on, for he shews her only wrapt up and muffled in matter and forme, whereas methinks he that could set Intelligences to the wheele to spin out time and motion, should have allowed them also some natural ability for performing so famous a task and imployment, which his head set them about. And truly why Angelical beings should be banished from the Common-wealth of▪ Nature; nay, why they should not properly belong to Physicks as well as other particular beings; or why bodies only should engrosse and monopoliz [...] natural Philosophy, and why a soul cannot be admitted into it, unlesse it bring a certificate and commendamus from the body, is a thing altogether un­accountable, unlesse it be resolved into a meer Arbitrary de­termination, and a Philosophical kinde of Tyranny.

And yet Aristotles description of Nature has been held very sacred, and some of the Schoolmen do even dote upon it. Aquinas tells us in plain termes, Deridendi sunt, qui volunt Aristotelis definitionem corrigere. The truth is, I make no question but that Aristotles definition is very commensurate to what he meant by Nature; but that he had the true and adaequate notion of Nature, this I think Aquinas himself can scarce prove; and I would fain have him to explain what it is for a thing innotescere lumine Naturae, if Nature be only principium motûs & quietis. Yet Plutarch also in this point seems to compromise with Aristotle, and after a good, [Page 16] specious and hopeful Preface, where he saies that he must needs tell us what Nature is, after all this preparation he does most palpably restrain it to corporeal beings, and then votes it to be [...]. And Em­pedocles, (as he is quoted by him) will needs exercise his Po­etry and make some Verses upon Nature, and you would think at the first dash that they were in a good lofty straine, for thus he sings— [...]. 'Twas not of a mortal wi­thering off-spring, nor of a fading Genealogy; but yet tru­ly his Poetical raptures were not so high as to elevate him a­bove a body, for he presently sinks into [...], he falls down into matter, and makes Nature nothing else but that which is ingenerable and incorruptible in material beings; just as the Peripateticks speak of their materia prima. But Plato who was more spiritual in his Philosophy, chides some of his contemporaries, and is extreamly displeased with them, and that very justly, for they were degenerated into a most stupid Atheisme, and resolved all beings into one of these three Originals, that they were either [...]. They were either the workmanship of Nature, or of Fortune, or of Art. Now as for the first and chief corporeal beings, they made them the productions of Nature, that is, (say they) they sprung from eternity into being by their ovvn impetus, and by their ovvn vertue and efficacy, [...], like so many natu­ral automata, they were the principles of their own being and motion, and this they laid down for one of their axi­omes. [...]. All the Ma­ster-pieces of being, the most lovely and beautiful pictures were drawn by Nature, and Fortune; and Art only could reach to some poor rudiments, to some shadows, and weak­er [Page 17] imitations, which you will be somewhat amazed at when you hear by and by what these [...] were.

The foundation of being, that they said was Natural, the mutation and disposing of being, that they made the im­ployment of Fortune, and then they said the work of Art was to finde out Laws, and Morality, and Religion, and a Deity; these were the [...] they spake of before.

But that Divine Philosopher does most admirably disco­ver the prodigious folly of this opinion, and demonstrate the impossibility of it in that excellent discourse of his, in his 10 De Legibus. Where he does most clearly and con­vincingly shew, that those things, which they say were framed by Art; were in duration infinitely before that which they call Nature, that [...]: that spirituals have the seniority of corporeals. This he makes to appear by their (1) [...] (2) [...] (3) [...], for these three though they be not expressely mentioned in him, yet they may very easily be collected from him. Souls they move themselves, and they move bodies too, and therefore must needs be first in mo­tion; so that [...]. Reason and Religion, Laws and Prudence must needs be before density and rarity, before gravity & levity, before all conditions and dimensions of bodies. And Laws and Religion they are in­deed [...]; that is, the contrivances and pro­ductions of that eternal [...] the wisdome of God himself.

So that all that Plato will allow to Nature, amounts to no more then this, that it is not [...] opifex rerum, but only Dei [...] famula & ministra; As the eyes of [Page 18] a servant wait upon his master, and as the eyes of an handmaiden look up to her mistris, so wait her eyes upon the Lord her God. And he doth fully resolve and determine that God is the soul of the world, and Nature but the body; which must be took only in sensu florido, in a flourishing and Rhetorical sense: that God is the fountain of being, and Nature but the chanel; that he is the kernel of being, and Nature but the shell. Yet herein Plato was defective, that he did not correct and reform the abuse of this word Na­ture; that he did not scrue it up to an higher and more spi­ritual notion. For 'tis very agreeable to the choycest, and supremest being; and the Apostle tells us of [...]. So that 'tis time at length to draw the veile from Natures face, and to look upon her beauty.

And first, 'tis the usual language of many, both Philoso­phers and others, to put Nature for God himself, or at least for the general providence of God; and this in the School­mens rough and unpolisht Latin, is stiled Natura naturans; thus Nature is took for that constant and Catholick Provi­dence, that spreads its wings over all created beings, and shrouds them under its warme and happy protection. Thus that elegant Moralist Plutarch speaks more like to himself then in his former description. [...]; Nature is in all things accurate and punctual, 'tis not defective nor parsimonious, nor yet sprouting and luxuriant: and conso­nant to this is that sure axiome, Natura nihil facit frustrá. Thus God set up the world as a fair and goodly clock, to strike in time, and to move in an orderly manner, not by its own weights (as Durand would have it) but by fresh influ­ence from himself, by that inward and intimate spring of immediate concourse, that should supply it in a most uni­form and proportionable manner.

Thus God framed this great Organ of the world, he [Page 19] tuned it, yet not so as that it could play upon it self, or make any musick by vertue of this general composure, (as Durand fansies it) but that it might be fitted and prepared for the finger of God himself, and at the presence of his powerful touch might sound forth the praise of its Creatour in a most sweet and harmonious manner.

And thus Nature is that regular line, which the wisdome of God himself has drawn in being [...], as he speaks, whereas that which they mis­call'd Fortune, was nothing but a line fuller of windings and varieties; and as Nature was a fixt and ordinary kinde of Providence; so Fortune was nothing but a more ab­struse, and mysterious, and occult kinde of Providence, and therefore Fortune was not blinde, as they falsely painted and represented her; but they themselves were blinde and could not see into her. And in this sense that speech of that grave Moralist Seneca is very remarkable, Providentia, fa­tum, natura, casus, fortuna sunt ejusdem Dei varia nomina.

But then secondly, Nature as 'tis scattered and distributed in particular beings, so 'tis the very same with essence it self, and therefore spirituals, as they have their essence, so they have their Nature too, and if we gloried in names, 'twould be easie to heap up a multitude of testimonies in which these two must needs be [...].

And thus Nature speaks these two things.

1) It points out Originem entis, 'tis the very Genius of Entity, 'tis present at the nativity of every being, nay 'tis being it self. There is no moment in which you can ima­gine a thing to be, and yet to be without its Nature.

2) It speaks Operationem entis, and 'tis a principle of working in spirituals, as well as principium motûs & quietis in corporeals. All essence bubbles out, flows forth, and pa­raphrases upon it self in operations. Hence it is that such workings as are facilitated by custome, are esteemed natu­ral. [Page 20] Hence that known speech of Galen, [...]; Customes are frequently adopted and ingraffed into Nature. Hence also our usual Idiom calls a good disposi­tion a good nature. Thus the Moralists expresse Vertues or Vices that are deeply rooted, by this terme [...].

And so some, and Grotius amongst the rest, would un­derstand that place of the Apostle, Does not even Nature it self teach you, of a general custome: but that word [...] does plainly refuse that interpretation; and the learn­ed Salmasius does both grant and evince, that it cannot be meant of custome there. And thus having seen what Na­ture is, 'twill be very easie in the next place to tell you what the Law of Nature is.

Of the nature of a Law in general.

BEfore we can represent unto you the Law of Nature, you must first frame and fashion in your mindes the just notion of a Law in general. And Aquinas gives us this shadowy representation of it; Lex est quaedam regula & mensura, secund [...]m quam inducitur aliquis ad agendum, vel ab agendo retrahitur. But Suarez is offended with the la­titude of this definition, and esteems it too spreading and comprehensive, as that which extends to all Naturals, I, and to Artificials too; for they have regulas & mensuras opera­tionum; Thus God has set a Law to the waves, and a Law to the windes; nay, thus clocks have their lawes, and Lutes have their Lawes, and whatsoever has the least ap­pearance of motion, has some rule proportionable to it. Whereas these workings were alwayes reckoned to be at the most but inclinationes, & pondera, and not the fruits of [Page 21] a legislative power. But yet the Apostle Paul, to staine the pride of them that gloried in the Law, calls such things by the name of Law as were most odious and anomalous. Thus he tells us of [...], & [...], though sin be properly [...]: Thus he mentions Legem membrorum, the same which the Schoolmen call Legem fomitis.

And yet this is sure, that a rational creature is only capa­ble of a Law, which is a moral restraint, and so cannot reach to those things that are necessitated to act ad extremum vi­rium.

And therefore Suarez does give us a more refined de­scription, when he tells us that Lex est mensura quaedam actu­um moralium, it à ut per conformitatem ad illam, Rectitudi­nem moralem habeant, & si ab illa discordent, obliqui sint. A Law is such a just and regular tuning of Actions, as that by vertue of this they may conspire into a moral musick, and become very pleasant and harmonious. Thus Plato speaks much of that [...] & [...] that is in Lawes, and in his second book De Leg. he does altogether discourse of harmony, and does infinitely prefer mental and intellectual musick, those powerful and practical strains of goodnesse, that spring from a well-composed spirit, be­fore those delicious blandishments, those soft and transient touches that comply with sense, and salute it in a more flat­tering manner; and he tells you of a spiritual dancing that is answerable to so sweet a musick, to these [...]. Whilest the Lawes play in consort, there is a Cho­rus of well ordered affections that are raised and elevated by them.

And thus as Aristotle well observes, some Lawes were wont to be put in verse, and to be sung like so many plea­sant odes, that might even charme the people into obe­dience.

[Page 22] 'Tis true, that learned Philosopher gives this reason of it, they were put into verse, [...], that they might remember them the better: but why may not this reason also share with it, that they might come with a great­er grace and allurement, that they might hear them as plea­santly as they would do the voice of a Viall or an Harp, that has Rhetorick enough to still and quiet the evill spirit? But yet this does not sufficiently paint out the being of a Law, to say that 'tis only regula & mensura; and Suarez himself is so ingenuous as to tell us that he cannot rest satisfied with this description, which he drew but with a coale as a rudi­ment rather then a full portraiture; and therefore we'll give him some time to perfect it, and to put it into more o­rient colours.

And in the meane time we'll look upon that speculative Law-giver, Plato I mean, who was alwayes new modelling of Lawes, and rolling Political Ideas in his minde.

Now you may see him gradually ascending and climbing up to the description of a law, by these four several steps, & yet he does not reach the top & [...] of it neither. First, he tells us that Lawes are [...], such things as are esteemed fitting; but because this might extend to all kinde of customes too, his second thoughts limit and con­tract it more, and tell us that a Law is [...], De­cretum civitatis, yet because the masse and bulk of people, the rude heap and undigested lump of the multitude may seek to establish [...], as he calls it; there­fore he bethinks himself how to clarifie a Law, how to purge out the drosse from it, and tells us in the next place, that it is [...], inventio ejus quod verè est, where it is very remarkable what this Philosopher means by [...], by which he is wont usually to point out a Deity, which is stiled by Aristotle [...], but it is not capable of [Page 23] this sense here, for thus Lawes are not [...], but rather [...]. Lex est inventio, vel donum Dei, as the Oratour speaks. [...] ▪ therefore in this place speaks these two particulars. (1) [...], for all rectitude has a being, and flows from the fountain of being, whereas obliquities and irregularities are meere privations, and non-entities; and 'tis a notable speech of Plato, [...], the very same expression which the Apostle gives to the Law of God, when he calls it the royal Law. (2) [...] implyes [...], every thing that is profitable has a being in it, but you can gather no fruit from a privation; there is no sweetnesse in an obliquity, and therefore a Law is an wholsome mixture of that that is just and profitable, and this is [...], as Plutarch speaks. Whereas turpe praeceptum non est lex, sed iniquitas, for obligation that's the very forme and essence of a Law; Now every Law obligat in Nomine Dei; but so glorious a name did never binde to any thing that was wicked and un­equal. [...], & [...], and that only is countenanc'd from heaven. The golden chain of Lawes, 'tis tied to the chair of Jupiter, and a command is only vigorous as it issues out, either immediately or re­motely, from the great Sovereigne of the world. So that [...] is the sure bottome and foundation of every Law. But then because he had not yet exprest who were the com­petent searchers out of this [...], therefore he tells you in the last place that Laws are [...], which he clears by other things; for [...], are [...], & [...] are [...]. And he resolves it into this, that in all true kinds of government there is some supreme power de­rived [Page 24] from God himself, and fit to contrive Laws and Con­stitutions agreeable to the welfare and happinesse of those that are to be subject to them; and [...] (as he speaks) are the fittest makers of Lawes.

Yet you must take notice here of these two things. (1) That he did not lay stresse enough upon that binding ver­tue, which is the very sinew, nay the life and soul of a Law. (2) That these three descriptions [...] intend only humane Lawes, and so are not boild up to the purer notion of a Law in general.

And though that same other branch [...] may seem to reach farther yet, 'tis too obscure, too much in the clouds to give a cleer manifestation of the nature of a Law. And yet Aristotle does not in this supply Platoes de­fects, but seems rather to paraphrase upon these descriptions of humane Lawes, and tells in more enlarged language, that [...]. Where yet he cannot possibly mean that every individuum should give his suffrage, but certainly the representative consent of the whole will content him.

But I see these ancient Philosophers are not so well fur­nisht, but that we must return to the Schoolmen again, who by this time have lickt their former descriptions into a more comely forme. We will look upon Aquinas his first.

Lex (saies he) est ordinatio rationis ad bonum commune ab eo qui curam habet Communitatis, Promulgata. It is a rati­onal Ordinance for the advancing of publike good, made known by that power, which has care and tuition of the publike.

And Suarez his picture of a Law, now that 'tis fully drawn, hath much the same aspect. Lex est commune praece­ptum, [Page 25] justum ac stabile, sufficienter promulgatum. A Law is a publike command, a just and immovable command, lift­ing up its voice like a trumpet, and in respect of the Law­giver, though it do praesupponere actum intellectüs, as all acts of the will do; yet it does formally consist in actu vo­luntatis; not the understanding, but the will of a Law-gi­ver makes a Law. But in respect of him that is subject to the Law it does consist in actu rationis, 'tis required only that he should know it, not in actu voluntatis, it does not depend upon his obedience. The want of his will is not e­nough to enervate and invalidate a Law when 'tis made; all Lawes then would be abrogated every moment. His will indeed is required to the execution and fulfilling of the Law, not to the validity and existence of the Law: and thus all the lawes of God do not at all depend upon the will of man, but upon the power and will of the Law-giver. Now in the framing of every Law there is to be

1) Intentio boni communis, and thus that speech of Car­neades, Vtilitas justi propè mater, & aequi, if it be took in this sense, is very commendable; whereas in that other sense (in which 'tis thought he meant it) is not so much as tolerable. Law-givers should send out lawes with Olive­branches in their mouths, they should be fruitful and peace­able; they should drop sweetnesse and fatnesse upon a land. Let not then Brambles make lawes for Trees, lest they scratch them and tear them, and write their lawes in blood. But Law-givers are to send out lawes, as the Sun shoots forth his beams, with healing under their wings: and thus that elegant Moralist Plutarch speaks. God (saies he) is angry with them that counterfeit his thunder and lightning, [...]; his Scepter, and his Thunder­bolt, and his Trident, he will not let them meddle with these. He does not love they should imitate him in his absolute do­minion and sovereignty; but loves to see them darting out [Page 26] those warme, and amiable, and cherishing [...], those beamings out of Justice, and goodnesse, and clemen­cy. And as for Lawes, they should be like so many green and pleasant pastures, into which these [...] are to lead their flocks, where they may feed sweetly and se­curely by those refreshing streams of justice, that runnes down like water, and righteousnesse like a mighty torrent. And this consideration would sweep down many cobweb­lawes, that argue only the venome and subtilty of them that spin them; this would sweep down many an Achitophels web and many an Hamans web, many an Herods web; every spiders web that spreads lawes only for the catching and en­tangling of weaker ones; such Law-givers are fit to be Domitians play-fellows, that made it his Royal sport and pastime to catch flies, and insult over them when he had done. Whereas a Law should be a staffe for a Common­wealth to lean on, and not a Reed to pierce it through. Laws should be cords of love, not nets and snares. Hence it is that those laws are most radical and fundamental, that principal­ly tend to the conservation of the vitals and essentials of a Kingdome; and those come neerest the Law of God him­self, and are participations of that eternal Law, which is the spring and original of all inferiour and derivative lawes. [...], as Plato speaks; and there is no such publick benefit, as that which comes by lawes; for all have an equal interest in them, and privi­ledge by them. And therefore as Aristotle speaks most ex­cellently, [...]. A Law is a pure intellect, not only without a sensitive appetite, but without a will. 'Tis pure judgement without affections, a Law is impartial and makes no factions; and a Law cannot be bribed though a Judge may. And that great Phi­losopher does very well prosecute this; If you were to take physick, (saies he) then indeed 'tis ill being determined by [Page 27] a book, 'tis dangerous taking a printed recipe, you had better leave it to the breast of the Physician, to his skill and advice, who mindes your health and welfare, as being most for his gain and credit. But in point of justice the case is very dif­ferent; you had better here depend upon a Rule, then to leave it to the arbitrary power of a Judge, who is usually to decide a controversie between two; and if left to himself, were apt to be swayed and bias [...]ed by several interests & en­gagements, which might encline him to one more then an­other. Nay now that there is a sixt rule, an immovable law, yet there is too much partiality in the application of it; how much more would there be, if there were no rule at all?

But the truth is, the Judge should only follow the ultimum & practicum dictamenlegis; his will like a [...]ae [...]a potentia is to follow the novissimum lumen intellectûs of this [...] that is to rule and guide him, and therefore justice was painted blinde, though ip [...]a lex be oculata, for [...], and the will is to follow the ultimum nutum capitis, the meaning of the Law in all circumstances.

2) In a Law-giver, there is to be judicium & prudenti [...] Architectonica ad ferendas leges, the Aegyptian Hierogly­phick for legislative power, was Oculus in sceptra; and it had need be such an eye that can see both [...]. It had need have a full and open prospect into pub­like affairs, and to put all advantages into one scale, and all inconveniences into another.

To be sure the Lawes of God, they flow from a fountain of wisdome, and the lawes of men are to be lighted at this Candle of the Lord, which he has set up in them, and those lawes are most potent and prevalent that are founded in light, [...]. Other laws are [...], they may have an iron and ada­mantine necessity, but the others have a soft and downy [Page 28] perswasion going along with them, and therefore as he goes on [...]. Reason is so beautiful, as that it wins and allures, and thus constrains to obedience.

3) There is to be sigillum Legis, I meane Electio & De­terminatio Legis, after a sincere aime at publick good, and a clear discovery of the best means to promote it, there comes then a fixt and sacred resolution; Volumus & statu­imus, this speaks the will of the Law-giver, and breaths life into the Law, it addes vigour and efficacy to it. But yet notwithstanding,

4) There must be vox tubae, that is, promulgatio & insi­nuatio Legis; The Law 'tis for a publick good, and is to be made known in a publick manner; for as none can desire an unknown good, so none can obey an unknown Law; and therefore invincible ignorance does excuse; for else men should be bound to absolute impossibilities. But whether it be required to the publishing of a Law that it should be in way of writing, which is more fixt and durable, or whether the manifestation of it in a Vocal and Oral manner will suf­fice, (which yet is more transient and uncertain) I leave the Lawyers and Schoolmen to dispute it. This I am sure, that all the Lawes of God are proclaimed in a most sufficient and emphatical manner.

Of the Eternal Law.

HAving thus lookt upon the being of a Law in general, we now come to the spring and original of all Lawes, to the eternal Law, that fountain of Law, out of which you may see the Law of Nature bubbling and flowing forth to [Page 29] the sons of men. For, as Aquinas does very well tell us, the Law of Nature is nothing but participatio Legis aeternae in Rationali creatura, the copying out of the eternal Law, and the imprinting of it upon the breast of a Rational being, that eternal Law was in a manner incarnated in the Law of Nature.

Now this eternal Law it is not really distinguished from God himself. For Nil est ab aeterno nisi ipse Deus, so that 'tis much of the same nature with those decrees of his, and that Providence which was awake from everlasting. For as God from all eternity by the hand of infinite wisdome did draw the several faces and lineaments of being, which he meant to shew in time: So he did then also contrive their several frames with such limits and compasse as he meant to set them; and said to every thing, Hither shalt thou go, and no farther.

This the Platonists would call [...], and would willingly heap such honourable titles as these upon it, [...]. And the greatest happinesse the other Lawes can arrive unto, is this, that they be [...], mi­nistring and subservient Lawes; waiting upon this their Royal Law. [...]; Or as they would choose to stile them, [...], some shadows & appearances of this bright and glorious Law, or at the best, they would be e­steemed by them but [...], the noble off-spring and progeny of Lawes; blessing this womb that bare them, and this breast that gave them suck.

And thus the Law of Nature would have a double porti­on as being Lex primogenita, the first-born of this eternal Law, and the beginning of its strength. Now as God him­self shews somewhat of his face in the glasse of creatures, [Page 30] so the beauty of this Law gives some representations of it self in those pure derivations of inferiour Lawes that stream from it. And as we ascend to the first and supreme being, by the steps of second causes; so we may climb up to a sight of this eternal Law, by those fruitful branches of se­condary Lawes, which seem to have their root in earth, when as indeed it is in heaven; and that I may vary a little that of the Apostle to the Romanes, The invisible Law of God long before the creation of the world, is now elearly seen being understood by those Lawes which do appear; so that [...] is manifested in them, God having shown it to them. Thus, as the Schoolmen say very well, Omnis lex participata supponit legem per essentiam, every impression supposes a seal from whence it came; every ray of light puts you in minde of a Sun from which it shines. Wisdome and power, these are the chief ingredients into a Law; now where does Wisdome dwell, but in the head of a Deity? and where does power triumph, but in the arme of Omnipotency?

A Law is borne ex cerebro Jovis, and it is not brachium seculare, but Coeleste that must maintain it, even humane Lawes have their vertue radicaliter, & remotè (as the Schooles speak) from this eternal Law. Thus that famous and most renowned Orator and Patriot (Tully I mean) does most admirably expresse the linage and descent of Lawes in this golden manner. Hanc video sapientissimorum [...]uisse son­tentiam, Legem nemque hominum ingeniis ex [...]ogitata [...], ne­que scitum aliquod esse Populorum, sed aet [...]rnum quidd [...] quod universum mundum regeret, imperandi prohibendique sapientiâ. It à principem illam Legem & ultimam ment [...]m dicebant omnia ratione out cogentis, aut vetanti [...] Dei. Which I shall thus render, Wise men did ever look upon a Law, not as on a spark struck from humane intellectuals, not blown up or kindled with popular breath, but they thought it an eternal light shining from God himself irradiating, [Page 31] guiding and ruling the whole Universe; most sweetly and powerfully discovering what wayes were to be chosen, and what to be refused. And the minde of God himself is the centre of Lawes, from which they were drawn, and into which they must return.

Thus also that florid Moralist Plutarch resolves all Law and Justice into that Primitive and eternal Law, even God himself, for even thus he tells us. Justice (saies he) does not only sit like a Queen at the right hand of Jupiter when he is upon his throne, but she is alwayes in his bosome, and one with himself; and he closes it up with this, that God him­self is [...]. As he is the most ancient of dayes, so also is he the most ancient of lawes; as he is the perfection of beings, so is he also the rule of operations.

Nor must I let slip that passage of Plato, where he calls a law [...], the golden Scepter by which God himself rules and commands; for as all true Government has a bright stamp of divine Sovereignty, so every true Law has a plain superscription of his Justice. Lawes are anoynt­ed by God himself, and most precious oile drops down up­on them to the skirts of a Nation; and the Law of Nature had the oile of gladnesse poured out upon it above its fel­lowes.

So then, that there is such a prime and supreme Law is clear, and unquestionable; but who is worthy to unseal and open this Law? and who can sufficiently display the glory of it? we had need of a Moses that could ascend up into the Mount, and converse with God himself, and yet when he came down he would be faine to put a veile upon his face, and upon his expressions too, lest otherwise he might too much dazzle inferiour understandings; but if the Schoolmen will satisfie you, (and you know some of them are stiled Angelical, and Seraphical) you shall hear, if you will, what they'l say to it.

[Page 32] Now this Law according to them is Aeterna quaedam ra­tio practica totius dispositionis, & gubernationis Vniversi. 'Tis an eternal Ordinance made in the depth of Gods infi­nite wisdome and councel for regulating and governing of the vvhole vvorld, vvhich yet had not its binding vertue in respect of God himself, vvho has alvvayes the full and un­restrained liberty of his ovvn essence, vvhich is so infinite, as that it cannot binde it self, and vvhich needs no Lavv, all goodness and perfection being so intrinsecal and essential to it: but it vvas a binding determination in reference to the creature, vvhich yet in respect of all irrational beings, did only fortiter inclinare, but in respect of Rationals, it does formaliter obligare.

By this great and glorious Lavv every good action vvas commanded, and all evill vvas discountenanc'd, and for­bidden from everlasting. According to this righteous Lavv all revvards and punishments vvere distributed in the eter­nal thoughts of God. At the command of this Lavv all cre­ated beings took their several ranks and stations, and put themselves in such operations as vvere best agreeable and conformable to their beings. By this Lavv all essences vvere ordained to their ends by most happy and convenient means, The life and vigour of this Lavv sprang from the vvill of God himself; from the voluntary decree of that eternal Lavv-giver, minding the publike vvelfare of be­ing; vvho vvhen there vvere heaps of varieties and possi­bilities in his ovvn most glorious thoughts, vvhen he could have made such or such vvorlds in this or that manner, in this or that time, vvith such & such species, that should have had more or fevver individuals, as he pleased, vvith such o­perations as he vvould allovv unto them; he did then se­lect and pitch upon this vvay and method in vvhich vve see things novv constituted; and did binde all things accord­ing to their several capacities to an exact and accurate ob­servation of it.

[Page 33] So that by this you see hovv those eternal idea's in the minde of God, and this eternal Law do differ. I speak now of Idea's not in a Platonical sence, but in a Scholasti­cal, (unlesse they both agree, as some would have them.) For Idea est possibilium, Lex tantùm futurorum, God had before him the picture of every possibility, yet he did not intend to binde a possibility, but only a futurity. Besides, Idea's they were situated only in the understanding of God; whereas a Law has force and efficacy from his will; accord­ing to that much commended saying, In Coelesti & Angeli­ca curia voluntas Dei Lex est. And then an Idea does magìs respicere artificem, it stayes there where first it was; but a Law does Potiùs respicere subditum, it calls for the obedience of another, as Suarez does very well difference them.

Neither yet is this eternal Law the same with the provi­dence of God, though that be eternal also. But as Aquinas speaks, Lex se habet ad providentiam, sicut principium ge­nerale ad particulares conclusiones; or, if you will, Sicut principia primae practicae ad prudentiam; his meaning is this, that Providence is a more punctual and particular ap­plication of this binding rule, and is not the Law it self but the superintending power, which looks to the execution and accomplishment of it; or as the most acute Suarez has it, Lex dicit jus in communi constitutum, providentia dicit curam quae de singulis actibus haberi debet.

Besides, a Law in its strict and peculiar notion, does only reach to rational beings; whereas Providence does ex­tend and spread it self over all. But that which vexes the Schoolmen most, is this, that they having required promul­gation as a necessary condition to the existence of a Law, yet they cannot very easily shew how this eternal Law, should be publisht from everlasting. But the most satisfa­ctory account that can be given to that, is this, that other Law-givers being very voluble and mutable before their minde and will be fully and openly declared, they may [Page 34] have a purpose indeed, but it cannot be esteem'd a Law. But in God there being no variablenes nor shadow of turning, this his Law has a binding vertue as soon as it has a being, yet so as that it does not actually and formally oblige a creature till it be made known unto it: either by some revelation from God himself which is possible only, and extraordina­ry; or else by the mediation of some other [...]aw, of the Law of Nature, which is the usual and constant way that God takes for the promulgation of this his eternal Law. For that [...], that sacred Manuscript, which is writ by the finger of God himself in the heart of man, is a plain transcript of this original Law, so far as it concerns mans welfare. And this you see does most directly bring me to search out the Law of Nature.

Of the Law of Nature in general, its subject and nature.

THe Law of Nature is that Law which is intrinsecal and essential to a rational creature; and such a Law is as necessary as such a creature, for such a creature as a creature has a superiour to whose Providence and disposing it must be subject, and then as an intellectual creature 'tis capable of a moral government, so that 'tis very suitable and conna­tural to it to be regulated by a Law; to be guided and com­manded by one that is infinitely more wife and intelligent then it self is; and that mindes its welfare more then it self can. Insomuch that the most bright and eminent creatures, even angelical beings, and glorified souls are subject to a Law, though with such an happy priviledge, as that they cannot violate and transgresse it; whereas the very dregs of entity, the most ignoble beings are most incapable of a [...]aw; for you know inanimate beings are carried on only vvith [Page 35] the vehemency and necessity of natural inclinations; nay, sensitive beings cannot reach or aspire to so great a perfe­ction as to be wrought upon in such an illuminative way as a Law is; they are not drawn with these cords of men, with these moral ingagements, but in a more impulsive manner driven and spurred on with such impetuous propensions as are founded in matter; which yet are directed by the wise and vigilant eye, and by the powerful hand of a Providence to a more beautiful and amiable end, then they themselves were acquainted with. But yet the Lawyers, the Civilians would faine enlarge the Law of Nature, and would willingly perswade us that all sensitive creatures must be brought within the compasse of it; for this they tell us, Jus natura­le est quod natura omnia animalia docuit, nam jus illud non solùm Humani Generis est proprium, sed [...]mnium animalium quae in terra marique nascuntur, avium quoque commune est. Nay, they are so confident of it, as that they instance in se­veral particulars, Maris & foeminae conjunctio, Liberorum procreatio, educatio, conservatio, Plurima in tutelam propri­am facta, Apium respub. Columbarum conjugia. But not on­ly the Criticks, but the Schoolmen also do sufficiently cor­rect the Lawyers for this their vanity; for certainly these men mean to bring beasts, birds and fishes into their Courts, and to have some fees out of them. Perhaps they expect al­so that the Doves should take Licences before they marry: it may be they require of the beasts some penitential, or (which will suffice them) some pecuniary satisfaction for all their adulteries; or it may be the Pope will be so favourable, as to give his fellow-Beasts some dispensation for all their ir­regular and incongruous mixtures.

But yet notwithstanding, they prosecute this their notion, and go on to frame this difference between [...], & [...]. Jus Gentium, & Jus Naturale. The Law of Nature (say they) is that which is common [Page 36] with men to irrational Creatures also; but the Law of Na­tions is only between men: but this distinction is built up­on a very sandy bottome; what the true difference is we shall see hereafter. Now all that can be pleaded in the be­half of the Lawyers, is this, that they erre more in the word then in the reality. They cannot sufficiently clear this Ti­tle of a Law; for that there are some clear and visible stamps and impressions of Nature upon sensitive beings, will be easily granted them by all, and those instances which they bring, are so many ocular demonstrations of it; but that there should a formal obligation lie upon Brutes; that they should be bound to the performance of natural com­mands in a legal manner; that there should be a [...] upon them, [...], so as that they should be left without excuse, and lie under palpable guilt, and be obnoxious to punishment for the violation of it, this they cannot possibly finde out, unlesse they could set up this Candle of the Lord in sensitive creatures also; where­as there are in them only some [...] as the Philosopher calls them, which the Oratour renders, virtutum simulacra, some apish imitations of rea­son, some shadows of morality, some cunterfeit Ethicks, some wilde Oeconomicks, some faint representations of Politicks amongst some of them. Yet all this while they are as farre distant from the truth of a Law, as they are from the strength of Reason. There you may see some sparks of the divine power and goodnesse, but you cannot see the Candle of the Lord. Now these men might have consider­ed if they had pleased; that as for the prints and foot-steps of Nature, some of them may be seen in every being. For Nature has stampt all entity with the same seal, some softer beings took the impression very kindly and clearly; some harder ones took it more obscurely.

Nature plaid so harmoniously and melodiously upon her [Page 37] Harp, as that her musick prov'd not only like that of Or­pheus, which set only the sensitive creatures on dancing; but like that of Amphion, inanimate beings were elevated by it, even the very stones did knit and unite themselves to the building of the Universe.

Shew me any being, if you can, that does not love its own welfare, that does not seek its own rest, its centre, its happinesse, that does not desire its own good [...], as he speaks; pick out an entity, if you can tell where, that does not long for the continuation and amplifi­cation, for the diffusion and spreading of its own being. Yet surely the Lawyers themselves cannot imagine that there is a Law given to all inanimate beings, or that they are accountable for the violation.

Let them also demurre awhile upon that argument which Suarez urges against them, that these sensitive creatures are totally defective in the most principal branches of the Law of Nature; as in the acknowledging of a Deity, in the a­doring of a Deity, where is there the least adumbration of divine worship, in sensitive beings? What do they more then the heavens, which declare the glory of God; or the firmament, which shewes his handy work? Unlesse per­haps the Lawyers can finde not only a Common-wealth, but a Church also among the Bees; some Canonical obe­dience, some laudable ceremonies, some decency and con­formity amongst them. We'll only set some of the Poets to laugh the Lawyers out of this opinion; Old Hesiod. tells them his minde very freely.


[Page 38] What are those Lawes that are observed by a rending and tearing [...]ion, by a devouring Leviathan? does the Wolf oppresse the Lamb by a Law? Can birds of prey shew any Commission for their plundering and violence? thus also that amorous Poet shews that these sensitive crea­tures, in respect of lust, are absolute Antinomians. For thus he brings in a wanton pleading.

—Coëunt animalia nullo
Caetera delicto, nec habetur turpe juvencae
Ferre patrem tergo; fit equo sua filia conjux▪
Quásque creavit init pecudes caper; ipsáque cujus
Semine concepta est, ex illo concipit ales.

And what though you meet with some [...], some rare patterns of sensitive temperance? a few scat­tered and uncertain stories will never evince that the whole heap and generality of brutes act according to a Law. You have heard it may be of a chaste Turtle, and did you never hear of a wanton Sparrow? It may be you have read some story of a modest Elephant, but what say you in the meane time to whole flocks of lascivious Goats? Yet grant that the several multitudes, all the species of these irrational creatures were all without spot and blemish in respect of their sensitive conversation, can any therefore fancy that they dresse themselves by the glasse of a Law? Is it not rather a faithfulnesse to their own natural inclinations? which yet may very justly condemne some of the sons of men, who though they have the Candle of the Lord, and the Lamp of his Law, yet they degenerate more then these in­feriour beings, which have only some general dictates of Nature.

This is that motive with which the Satyrist quicken'd and awaken'd some of his time;

Sensum è coelesti demissum traximus arce,
Cujus egent prona & terram spectantia; Mundi
[Page 39] Principio indulsit communis Conditor illis
Tant [...]m animas, nobis animum quoque.—

A Law 'tis founded in intellectuals, in [...] not in [...], it supposes a Noble and free-borne creature, for where there is no Liberty, there's no Law, a Law being no­thing else but a Rational restraint and limitation of abso­lute Liberty. Now all Liberty is Radicaliter in Intellectu; and such Creatures as have no light, have no choice, no Mo­ral variety.

The first and supreme being has so full and infinite a li­berty as cannot be bounded by a Law; and these low and slavish beings have not so much liberty as to make them ca­pable of being bound. Inter Bruta silent leges. There is no Turpe nor Honestum amongst them: no duty nor obedience to be expected from them, no praise or dispraise due to them, no punishment not reward to be distributed amongst them.

But as the learned Grotius does very well observe; Quo­niam in bestias propri [...] delictum non cadit, ubi be [...]tia occidi­tur ut in lege Mosis ob concubitum cum homine, non ea verè poena est, sed usus dominii humani in bestiam. For punish­ment in its formal notion is [...] (as the Greek Lawyers speak) or as the fore-mentioned Au­thor describes it; 'Tis malum Passionis quod infligitur ob malum actionis. In all punishment there is to be some [...] & [...], so that every Damnum or Incommo­dum is not to be esteem'd a punishment, unlesse it be in vin­dictam culpae. So as for those Lawes given to the Jewes, where sometimes the Beast also was to be put to death: the most renowned Selden gives a very full and satisfactory ac­compt of it out of the Jewish writings, and does clearly evi­dence that the meaning was not this; that the Beast was guilty of a crime, and had violated a Law, and therefore was to be condemned and put to death; but it was in order [Page 40] to the happinesse and welfare of men; for Bestia cum homi­ne concumbens was to be ston'd: partly because it was the occasion of so foule a fact, and so fatal punishment unto man; and partly that the sight and presence of the object might not repeate so prodigious a crime in the thoughts of men, nor renew the memory of it, nor continue the disgrace of him that died for it. But there was another different rea­son in Bove cornupeta, for there, as Maimonides tells us, in his Morch Nebachim, 'twas ad poenam exigendam à Domino: the putting of that to death was a punishment to the owner, for not looking to it better; for I cannot at all consent to the fancy of the Jewes, which Josephus mentions; [...]. Although the fore­named Critick give a better sense of it, then 'tis likely the Author ever intended: non in alimentum sumi debuit unde scilicet in Domini commodum cederet: but how such an in­terpretation can be extracted out of [...] is not easily to be imagined; for those words of Josephus plainly imply, that the Jewes thought such an Oxe could not yield wholesome nourishment; or at the best, they look't upon it as an unclean Beast, which was not to be eaten, which indeed was a fond and weak conceit of them, but they had many such, which yet the learned Author loves to excuse, out of his great favour and indulgence to them. Yet, which is very remarkable if the Oxe had kill'd a Gentile, they did not put it to death. It seems it would yield wholesom nourishment for all that. But this we are sure of, that as God does not take care for Oxen, (which the acute Suarez does very well understand of Cura Le­gislativa, for otherwise God hath a Providential care even of them) so neither does he take care for the punishmeut of Oxen, but 'tis written for his Israels sake, to whom he has subjected these creatures, and put them under their feet.

Neither yet can the proper endof a punishment agree [Page 41] to sensitive creatures; for all punishment is [...], as Plato speakes; [...]. 'Tis not in the power of punishment to recal what is past, but to prevent what's possible. And that wise Moralist Seneca does almost translate Plato verbatim; Nemo prudens punit quia pecca­tum est, sed nè peccetur: Revocari enim praeterita non pos­sunt, futura prohibentur.

So that the end of all punishment is either in compensati­onem, which is [...], 'Tis in utilitatem ejus contra quem peccatum est; or else 'tis in emendationem, and so in utili­tatem peccantis; in respect of which that elegant Moralist Plutarch stiles punishment [...], and Hierocles calls it [...]: or else it is in exemplum, in u­tilitatem aliorum; [...], as the Greek Oratour speaks; the same which God speaks by Moses, that Israel may hear and fear: and thus pu­nishment does [...].

But now none of these ends are applyable to sensitive creatures, for there is no more satisfaction to justice in in­flicting an evill upon them, then there is in the ruining of inanimate beings, in demolishing of Cities or Temples for I­dolatry; which is only for the good of them that can take notice of it; for otherwise as that grave Moralist Seneca has it, Quàm stultum est his irasci, quae iram nostram nec meru­erunt, nec sentiunt: No satisfaction to be had from such things as are not apprehensive of punishment. And there­fore Annihilation, though a great evil, yet wants this sting and aggravation of a punishment, for a creature is not sensi­ble of it.

Much lesse can you think that a punishment has any pow­er [Page 42] to mend or meliorate sensitive beings, or to give exam­ple to others amongst them.

By all this you see that amongst all irrational beings there is no [...], and therefore no [...], and therefore no [...]: from whence it also flows that the Law of Nature is built upon Reason.

There is some good so proportionable and nutrimental to the being of man, and some evil so venemous and de­structive to his nature, as that the God of Nature does suffi­ciently antidote and fortifie him against the one, and does maintain and sweeten his essence with the other. There is so much harmony in some actions, as that the soul must needs dance at them, and there is such an harsh discord and jarring in others, as that the soul cannot endure them.

Therefore the learned Grotius does thus describe the Law of Nature; Jus naturale est dictatum Rectae Rationis, indi­cans, actui alicui, ex ejus convenientia vel disconvenientia cum ipsa natura Rationali, inesse Moralem turpitudinem, aut necessitatem Moralem; & consequenter ab Authore Naturae ipso Deo, talem actum aut vetari aut praecipi. Which I shall thus render; The Law of Nature is a streaming out of Light from the Candle of the Lord, powerfully discovering such a defor­mity in some evil, as that an intellectual eye must needs ab­hor it; and such a commanding beauty in some good, as that a rational being must needs be enamoured withit; and so plainly shewing that God stampt and seal'd the one with his command, and branded the other with his disliking.

Chrysostome makes mention of this [...], and does very rhetorically enlarge himself upon it in his 12 and 13 Orations [...]; where he tells us, that it is [...]; a Radical and fundamental knowledge, planted in the be­ing of man, budding and blossoming in first principles flou­rishing and bringing forth fruit, spreading it self into all [Page 43] the faire and goodly branches of Morality, under the sha­dow of which the soul may sit with much complacency and delight. And as he poures out himself very fluently; [...]: There's no need of Oratory to allure men to it, you need not heap up arguments to convince them of it: No need of an Interpreter to acquaint them with it: No need of the minds spinning, or toyling, or sweating for the attaining of it; it grows spontaneously, it bubbles up freely, it shines out cheerfully and pleasantly; it was so visible as that the most infant-age of the world could spell it out, and read it without a Teacher: [...]; as he goes on, 'twas long extant before Moses was born, long before Aaron rung his golden Bells, before there was a Prophet or a Judge in Israel. Men knew it [...]. They had a Bible of Gods own printing, they had this Scripture of God within them. By this Candle of the Lord, Adam and Eve discovered their own folly and nakednesse; this Candle flamed in Gains conscience, and this Law was proclaimed in his heart with as much terror as 'twas publisht from Mount Sinai, which fill'd him with those furious reflections for his unnatural murder. Enoch when he walkt with God, walkt by this light, by this rule. Noah the Preacher of righteous­nesse took this Law for his text. Nay, you may see some print of this Law upon the hard heart of a Pharaoh, when he cries out, the Lord is righteous, but I and my people have sin­ned. Hence it was that God when he gave his Law a­fresh, gave it in such a compendious Brachygraphy; he wrote it as 'twere in Characters, [...] without any explication, or amplification at all. He only enjoyned it with an Imperatorious brevity, he knows there was enough in the breasts of men to convince [Page 44] them of it, and to comment upon it, only in the second Command there is added an enforcement, because his peo­ple were excessively prone to the violation of it; and in that of the Sabbath there is given an exposition of it, because in all its circumstances it was not founded in Natural Light. So that in Plutarchs language the Decalogue would be call'd [...], Gold in the lump, whereas o­ther Law-givers use to beat it thinner. Of this Law as 'tis printed by Nature, Philo speaks very excellently; [...]. Right Reason (saies he) is that fixt and un­shaken Law, not writ in perishing paper by the hand or pen of a creature, nor graven like a dead letter upon livelesse and decaying Pillars, but written with the point of a Dia­mond, nay with the finger of God himself in the heart of man; a Deity gave it an Imprimatur; and an eternal Spi­rit grav'd it in an immortal minde. So as that I may borrow the expression of the Apostle, the minde of man is [...]. And I take it in the very same sense as 'tis to be took of the Church; 'Tis a Pillar of this Truth not to support it, but to hold it forth. Neither must I let slip a passage in Plutarch which is very neer of kin to this of Philo, [...]. You may take it thus: This Royal Law of Nature was never shut up in a paper-prison, was ne­ver confin'd or limited to any outward surface; but it was bravely situated in the Centre of a Rational Being, alwayes keeping the Soul company, guarding it, and guiding it; Ru­ling [Page 45] all its Subjects, (every obedient Action) with a Scepter of Gold, and crushing in pieces all its enemies (breaking e­very rebellious Action) with a Rod of Iron. You may hear the Lyrick singing out the praises of this Law in a very lofty straine; [...]; This Law which is the Queen of Angelical and humane Be­ings does so rule and dispose of them, as to bring about Ju­stice, with a most high and powerful [...], and yet with a most soft and delicate hand.

You may hear Plato excellently discoursing of it, whilest he brings in a Sophister disputing against Socrates, and such a one as would needs undertake to maintain this Principle, [...]. That there was an untunable antipathy between Nature and Law; that Lawes were nothing but hominum infirmiorum commenta; that this was [...], the most bright and eminent Justice of Nature, for men to rule according to Power, and according to no other Law: that [...] was [...], and [...]; that all other Lawes were [...]: Nay, he calls them cheatings and bewitchings, [...], they come (saies he) like pleasant songs, when as they are meer charmes and incantations. But Socrates after he had stung this same Callicles with a few quick Inter­rogations, pours out presently a great deale of honey and sweetnesse, and plentifully shewes that most pleasant and conspiring harmony that is between Nature and Law. That there's nothing more [...] then a Law, that Law is founded in Nature, that it is for the maintaining and enno­bling and perfecting of Nature. Nay, as Plato tells us else­where, There's no way for men to happinesse, unlesse they [Page 46] follow, [...]; these steps of Reason, these foot-steps of Nature. This same Law Aristotle does more then once acknowledge, when he tells us of [...] and [...]; a Positive Law with him is a more pri­vate Law, [...]; but Natures Law is a more publike and Catholike Law, [...], which he proves to be a very Sovereign and commanding Law, for thus he saies, [...]. The Law that is most filled with Reason must needs be most victorious and triumphant.

The same Philosopher in his tenth Book De Rep. has an­other distinction of Lawes; one branch whereof does plain­ly reach to the Law of Nature.

There are, saies he, [...], which are the same with those which he call'd [...] before, and then there are [...], which are all one with that he stil'd before [...]. Now, as he speaks, these [...] are [...]; Lawes of the first magnitude, of a Nobler Sphere, of a vaster and purer influence. Where you see also that he calls the Law of Nature, the Moral Law; and the same which the Apo­stle calls [...], he with the rest of the Hea­then calls it [...], couching the same sense in a seeming contradiction.

The Oratour has it expressely; Non scripta, sed nata lex.

And amongst all the Heathen, I can meet with none that draws such a lively pourtraiture of the law of Nature as that Noble Oratour does.

You may hear him thus pleading for it: Nec si regnante Tarquinio nulla erat scripta lex de stupris, &c. Grant, (saies [Page 47] he) that Rome were not for the present furnisht with a Posi­tive Law able to check the lust and violence of a Tarquin; yet there was a Virgin-law of Nature, which he had also ra­visht and deflour'd: there was the beaming out of an eter­nal Law, enough to revive a modest Lucretia, and to strike terror into the heart of so licentious a Prince: for as he goes on, Est quidem vera lex Recta Ratio, Naturae congruens, dif­fusa in omnes, constans, sempiterna; quae vocet ad officium jubendo, vetando à fraude deterreat; quae tamen Probos, ne­que frustrà, jubet aut vetat, nec improbos jubendo aut vetan­do movet. Hinc Legi nec Propagari fas est, neque derogari ex hac aliquid licet. Neque tota abrogari potest. Nec verò aut per Senatum, aut per Populum solvi hac Loge possumus. Neque est quaerendus explanator, aut interpres ejus alius. Non erat alia Romae, alia Athenis: Alia nunc, alia posthac: sed & omnes gentes, omnitempore, Vna Lex, & sempiterna & immutabilis continebit, unúsque erit quasi communis magister & Legislator omnium Deus: Ille Legis hujus Inventor, Dis­ceptator, Lator; Cui qui non parebit ipse se fugiet, & Natu­ram hominis aspernabitur; Hoc ipso licet maximas poenas, eti­amsicaetera, quae putantur, effugerit.

His meaning is not much different from this:

Right Reason is a beautiful Law; a Law of a pure com­plexion, of a natural colour, of a vast extent and diffusion; its colour never fades, never dies. It encourages men in o­bedience with a smile, it chides them and frowns them out of wickednesse. Good men heare the least whispering of its pleasant voice, they observe the least glance of its lovely eye; but wicked men sometimes will not heare it though it come to them in thunder; nor take the least notice of it, though it should flash out in lightning. None must inlarge the Phylacteries of this law, nor must any dare to prune off the least branch of it. Nay the malice of man cannot total­ly deface so indelible a beauty. No Pope, nor Prince, nor Parliament, nor People, nor Angel, nor Creature can ab­solve [Page 48] you from it. This Law never paints its face, it never changes its colour, it does not put on one Aspect at Athens and another face at Rome, but looks upon all Nations & per­sons with an impartial eye, it shines upon all ages and times, and conditions, with a perpetual light, it is yesterday and to day, the same for ever. There is but one Law-giver, one Lord and supreme Judge of this Law, God blessed for ever­more. He was the contriver of it, the commander of it, the publisher of it, and none can be exempted from it, unlesse he will be banisht from his own essence, and be excommuni­cated from humane Nature.

This punishment would have sting enough, if he should avoid a thousand more that are due to so foul a transgres­sion.

Thus you see that the Heathen, not only had this [...] upon them; but also they themselves took spe­cial notice of it, and the more refined sort amongst them, could discourse very admirably about it, which must needs leave them the more inexcusable, for the violation of it. We come now to see where the strength of the Law of Na­ture lies, where its nerves are, where it has such an efficaci­ous influence, such a binding vertue.

And I finde Vasquez somewhat singular, and withal erro­neous in his opinion, whilest he goes about to shew that the formality of this Law consists only in that harmony and proportion, or else that discord and disconvenience, which such and such an object, and such and such an action has with a Rational Nature; for, saies he, every Essence is Mensura Boni & Mali in respect of it self.

Which, as he thinks, is plainly manifested and discover­ed also in corporal beings, which use to flie only from such things as are destructive to their own formes, and to em­brace all such neighbourly and friendly beings as will close and comply with them. But he might easily have known [Page 49] that as these material beings were never yet so honoured, as to be judg'd capable of a Law; so neither can any naked Essence, though never so pure and noble, lay a Moral en­gagement upon it self, or binde its own being: for this would make the very same being superior to it self, as it gives a Law, and inferiour to it self, as it must obey it.

So that the most high and Sovereigne being even God himself, does not subject himself to any Law; though there be some Actions also most agreeable to his Nature, and others plainly inconsistent with it, yet they cannot amount to such a power, as to lay any obligation upon him, which should in the least Notion differ from the liberty of his own essence.

Thus also in the Common-wealth of humane Nature, that proportion which Actions bear to Reason, is indeed a sufficient foundation for a Law to build upon; but it is not the Law it self, nor a formal obligation.

Yet some of the School-men are extreme bold and vaine in their suppositions; so bold, as that I am ready to questi­on whether it be best to repeate them; yet thus they say,

Si Deus non esset, vel si non uteretur Ratione, vel si non rectè judicaret de Rebus, si tamen in homine idem esset dicta­men Rectaerationis, quod nunc est, haberet etiam eandem Ra­tionem Legis quam nunc habet.

But what are the goodly spoyles that these men expect, if they could break through such a croud of Repugnancies and impossibilities? the whole result and product of it will prove but a meer Cipher, for Reason as 'tis now does not binde in its own name, but in the name of its supreme Lord and Sovereigne, by whom Reason lives, and moves, and has its being.

For if only a creature should binde it self to the observa­tion of this Law, it must also inflict upon it self such a pu­nishment as is answerable to the violation of it: but no such being would be willing or able to punish it self in so high a [Page 50] measure as such a transgression would meritoriously re­quire; so that it must be accountable to some other Legis­lative power, which will vindicate its own commands, and will by this means ingage a Creature, to be more mindeful of its own happinesse, then otherwise it would be.

For though some of the Gallanter Heathen can brave it out sometimes in an expression; that the very turpitude of such an action is punishment enough, and the very beauty of goodnesse is an abundant reward and compensation; yet we see that all this, and more then this, did not efficaciously prevaile with them for their due conformity and full obedi­ence to Natures Law; such a single cord as this, will be ea­sily broken.

Yet there is some truth in what they say, for thus much is visible and apparent, that there is such a Magnetical power in some good, as must needs allure and attract a Rational Being; there is such a native fairnesse, such an intrinsecal lovelinesse in some objects as does not depend upon an ex­ternal command, but by its own worth must needs win up­on the Soul: and there is such an inseparable deformity and malignity in some evill, as that Reason must needs loath it and abominate it.

Insomuch as that if there were no Law or Command, yet a Rational being of its own accord, out of meere love would espouse it self to such an amiable good, 'twould claspe and twine about such a precious object, and if there were not the least check or prohibition, yet in order to its own welfare, 'twould abhor and flie from some black evils, that spit out so much venome against its Nature.

This is that which the School-men meane, when they tell us, Quaedam sunt mala, quia prohibentur; sed alia prohi­bentur, quia sunt mala: that is, in Positive Lawes, whe­ther Divine, or Humane; Acts are to be esteem'd evill up­on this account, because they are forbidden; but in the Law of Nature such an evill was intimately and inevitably an e­vil, [Page 51] though it should not be forbidden.

Now that there are such Bona per se, and Mala per se, (as the Schools speak) I shall thus demonstrate: Quod non est Malum per se potuit non prohiberi, for there is no reason ima­ginable why there should not be a possibility of not prohi­biting that which is not absolutely evil, which is in its own nature indifferent.

But now there are some evils so excessively evil, so intol­lerably bad, as that they cannot but be forbidden; I shall only name this one; Odium Dei, for a Being to hate the Creatour and cause of its being, if it were possible for this not to be forbidden; it were possible for it to be lawful; for Vbi nulla Lex, ibi nulla praevaricatio: Where there's no Law there's no [...]; where there's no Rule, there's no A­nomaly; if there were no prohibition of this, 'twould not be sin to do it. But that to hate God should not be sin, does involve a whole heap of contradictions; so that this evill is so full of evill, as that it cannot but be forbidden; and therefore is an evil in order of Nature before the Prohibiti­on of it. Besides, as the Philosophers love to speak, Es­sentiae rerum sunt immutabiles, Essences neither ebbe nor flow, but have in themselves a perpetual Unity and Iden­tity: and all such properties as flow and bubble up from Be­ings, are constant and unvariable, but if they could be stopt in their motion, yet that state would be violent, and not at all connatural to such a subject.

So that grant only the being of man, and you cannot but grant this also; that there is such a constant conveniency and Analogy, which some objects have with its Essence, as that it cannot but encline to them, and that there is such an irreconcileable Disconvenience, such an Eternal Antipathy between it and other objects, as that it must cease to be what it is before it can come neer them.

This Suarez termes a Natural Obligation, and a just foun­dation for a Law; but now before all this can rise up to the [Page 52] height and perfection of a Law: there must come a Com­mand from some Superiour Powers, from whence will spring a Moral obligation also, and make up the formality of a Law.

Therefore God himself, for the brightning of his own Glory, for the better regulating and tuning of the world; for the maintaining of such a choyce peece of his work­manship as man is, has publisht this his Royal command, and proclaim'd it by that Principle of Reason, which he has planted in the being of man: which does fully convince him of the righteousnesse, and goodnesse, and necessity of this Law, for the materials of it; and of the validity and authority of this Law, as it comes from the minde and will of his Creatour. Neither is it any eclipse or diminution of the Liberty of that first being; to say that there is some e­vill so foul and ill-favour'd, as that it cannot but be forbid­den by him; and that there is some good so fair and emi­nent, as that he cannot but command it.

For, as the Schoolmen observe, Divina voluntas, licèt simpliciter libera sit ad extra, ex suppositione tamen unius, Actûs liberi, potest necessitari ad alium.

Though the will of God be compleatly free in respect of all his looks and glances towards the Creature, yet notwith­standing upon the voluntary and free precedency of one Act, we may justly conceive him necessitated to another, by vertue of that indissoluble connexion and concatenation between these two Acts, which does in a manner knit and unite them into one.

Thus God has an absolute liberty and choyce, whether he will make a promise or no, but if he has made it, he can­not but fulfil it. Thus he is perfectly free, whether he will reveal his minde or no, but if he will reveal it, he cannot but speak truth, and manifest it as it is.

God had the very same liberty whether he would create a world or no, but if he will create it, and keep it in its come­linesse [Page 53] and proportion, he must then have a vigilant and providential eye over it; and if he will provide for it, he cannot but have a perfect and indefective Providence a­greeable to his own wisdome, and goodnesse, and being, so that if he will create such a being as Man; such a Rati­onal Creature furnisht with sufficient knowledge to discern between some good and evill; and if he will supply it with a proportionable concourse in its operations; he cannot then but prohibit such acts as are intrinsecally prejudicial and detrimental to the being of it; neither can he but com­mand such acts as are necessary to its preservation and wel­fare.

God therefore when from all eternity in his own glori­ous Thoughts he contriv'd the being of man, he did also with his piercing eye see into all conveniences and discon­veniences, which would be in reference to such a being; and by his eternal Law did restrain and determine it to such acts as should be advantageous to it, which in his wise Oe­conomy and dispensation, he publisht to man by the voyce of Reason, by the Mediation of this Natural Law.

Whence it is that every violation of this Law, is not on­ly an injury to mans being, but ultra nativam rei malitiam, (as the Schools speak) 'tis also a vertual and interpretative contempt of that supreme Law-giver, who out of so much wisdome, love, and goodnesse did thus binde man to his own happinesse.

So much then as man does start aside and Apostatize from this Law, to so much misery and punishment does he expose himself.

Though it be not necessary that the Candle of nature should discover the full extent and measure of that punishment which is due to the breakers of this Law, for to the Nature of punishment, non requiritur ut praecognita sit poena, sed ut fiat actus Dignus tali poenâ. The Lawyers and the School­men both will acknowledge this Principle.

[Page 54] For as Suarez has it, Sequitur reatus ex intrinseca conditi­one culpae, Ità ut licèt poena per Legem non sit determinata, Arbitrio tamen competentis judicis puniri possit. Yet the Light of Nature will reveal and disclose thus much: That a being totally dependent upon another, essentially subor­dinate and subject to it, must also be accountable to it for every provocation and rebellion: And for the violation of so good a Law, which he has set it, and for the sinning a­gainst such admirable Providence and justice as shines out upon it; must be liable to such a punishment, as that glori­ous Law-giver shall judge fit for such an offence; who is so full of justice, as that he cannot, and so great in goodnesse, as that he will not punish a Creature above its desert.

The Extent of the Law of Nature.

THere are stampt and printed upon the being of man, some cleare and undelible Principles, some first and Alphabetical Notions; by putting together of which it can spell out the Law of Nature.

There's scatter'd in the Soul of Man some seeds of light, which fill it with a vigorous pregnancy, with a multiplying fruitfulnesse, so that it brings forth a numerous and spark­ling posterity of secondary Notions, which make for the crowning and encompassing of the Soul with happi­nesse.

All the fresh springs of Common and Fountain-Notions are in the Soul of Man, for the watering of his Essence, for the refreshing of this heavenly Plant, this Arbor inversa, this enclosed being, this Garden of God.

And though the wickednesse of man may stop the plea­sant motion, the clearand Crystalline progresse of the Foun­tain, [Page 55] yet they cannot hinder the first risings, the bubling en­deavours of it. They may pull off Natures leaves, and pluck off her fruit, and chop off her branches, but yet the root of it is eternal, the foundation of it is inviolable.

Now these first and Radical Principles are wound up in some such short bottomes as these: Bonum est appetendum, malum est fugiendum; Beatitudo est quaerenda; Quod tibi fieri non vis, alteri nè feceris. And Reason thus [...], incubando super haec ova, by warming and brooding upon these first and oval Principles of her own laying, it be­ing it self quicken'd with an heavenly vigour, does thus hatch the Law of Nature.

For you must not, nor cannot think that Natures Law is confin'd and contracted within the compasse of two or three common Notions, but Reason as with one foot it fixes a Centre, so with the other it measures and spreads out a cir­cumference, it drawes several conclusions, which do all meet and croud into these first, and Central Principles. As in those Noble Mathematical Sciences there are, not only some first [...], which are granted as soone as they are askt, if not before; but there are also whole heaps of firme and immovable Demonstrations, that are built upon them. In the very same manner, Nature has some Postula­ta, some [...], which Seneca renders praesumptio­nes, which others call Anticipationes Animi,) which she knows a Rational being will presently and willingly yeeld unto; and therefore by vertue of these it does engage and oblige it, to all such commands as shall by just result, by ge­nuine production, by kindly and evident derivation flow from these.

For men must not only look upon the capital letters of this [...], but they must reade the whole context, and coherence of it; they must look to every jot and Apex of it, for heaven and earth shall sooner passe away, [Page 56] then one jot or title of this Law shall vanish.

They must not only gaze upon two or three Principles of the first Magnitude, but they must take notice of the lesser Celestial Sporades, for these also have their light and influence.

They must not only skim off the Creame of first Princi­ples, but whatsoever sweetnesse comes streaming from the Dugge of Nature, they must feed upon it, they may be nourisht with it.

Reason does not only crop off the tops of first Notions, but does so gather all the flowers in Natures Garden, as that it can binde them together in a pleasant posie, for the refreshment of it self and others.

Thus as a noble Author of our own does well observe, Tota ferè Ethica est Notitia communis: All Morality is no­thing but a collection and bundling up of natural Precepts. The Moralists did but [...], enlarge the fringes of Natures garment; they are so many Com­mentators and Expositors upon Natures Law. This was his meaning that stil'd Moral Philosophy, [...], that Philosophy which is for the main­taining and edifying of humane nature. Thus Natures Law is frequently call'd the Moral Law. But the School-men in their rougher language make these several ranks and distri­butions of natural Precepts. [...]. First, there come in the front Principia Generalia, (as some call them) per se Nota; ut Honestum est faciendum; Pravum vitandum. Then follow next Principia Particularia, & magis determinata; ut justitia est servanda; Deus est co­lendus; vivendum est Temperate. At length come up in the reare, conclusiones evidenter illatae, quae tamen cognosci nequeunt nisi per discursum; ut Mendacium, furtum, & si­milia prava esse.

These, though they may seeme somewhat more remote, [Page 57] yet being fetcht from clear and unquestionable premisses, they have Natures Seal upon them; and are thus farre sa­cred, so as to have the usual priviledge of a Conclusion, to be untoucht and undeniable.

For though that learned Author, whom I mention'd not long before, do justly take notice of this, that discourse is the usual in-let to Errour, and too often gives an open ad­mission, and courteous entertainment to such falsities, as come disguis'd in a Syllogistical forme, which by their Se­quacious windings and Gradual insinuations, twine about some weak understandings: yet in the nature of the thing it self, 'tis as impossible to collect an Errour out of a Truth, as 'tis to gather the blackest night out of the fairest Sun­shine, or the foulest wickednesse out of the purest goodnesse. A Conclusion therefore that's built upon the Sand, you may very well expect its fall, but that which is built up­on the Rock is impregnable and immovable; for if the Law of Nature should not extend it self so farre, as to oblige men to an accurate observation of that, which is a remoov or two distant from first Principles, 'twould then prove extremely defective in some such Precepts as do most intimately and intensely conduce to the welfare and advantage of an Intel­lectual being.

And these first Notions would be most barren ineffica­cious speculations, unlesse they did thus encrease and multi­ply, and bring forth fruit with the blessing of heaven upon them.

So that there is a necessary connexion, and concatenati­on between first Principles, and such Conclusions. For as Suarez has it, Veritas Principii continetur in conclusione: so that he that questions the Conclusion, must needs also strike at the Principle. Nay, if we look to the notion of a Law, there is more of that to be seen in these more particular deter­minations, then in those more Universal notions; for Lex est proxima Regula operationum. But now particulars are neer­er [Page 58] to existence and operation then universals: and in this respect do more immediately steere and direct the motions of such a being. The one is the bending of the bowe, but the other is the shooting of the Arrow.

Suarez does fully determine this in such words as these, Haec omnia Praecepta (he means both Principles and Conclusions) prodeunt à Deo Auctore Naturae, & ten­dunt ad eundem finem, nimirum ad debitam conservatio­nem, & Naturalem perfectionem, seu foelicitatem Humanae Naturae.

This Law of Nature as it is thus brancht forth, does binde in foro Conscientiae; for as that noble Author, (whom I more then once commended before) speaks very well in this; Natural Conscience 'tis Centrum Notitiarum Commu­nium, and 'tis a kinde of Sensus Communis in respect of the inward faculties, as that other is in respect of the outward Senses. 'Tis a competent Judge of this Law of Nature: 'tis the Natural Pulse of the Soul, by the beating and mo­tion of which the state and temper of men is discernable. The Apostle Paul thus felt the Heathens pulse, and found their consciences sometimes accusing them, sometimes ma­king Apology for them. Yet there's a great deale of dif­ference between Natural Conscience, and the Law of Na­ture; for (as the School-men speak) Conscience, 'tis Dicta­men Practicum in Particulari; 'tis a prosecution and appli­cation of this Natural Law, as Providence is of that Eter­nal Law.

Nay, Conscience sometimes does embrace only the sha­dow of a Law, and does engage men though erroneously to the observation of that which was never dictated by any just Legislative power. Nor is itcontent to glance only at what's to come, but Janus-like it has a double aspect, and so looks back to what's past, as to call men to a strict ac­compt for every violation of this Law.

Which Law is so accurate as to oblige men not only [Page 59] ad Actum, but ad modum also: it looks as well to the in­ward forme and manner, as to the materiality and bulk of outward actions: for every being owes thus much kindnesse and courtesie to it self, not only to put forth such acts as are essential and intrinsecal to its own welfare; but also to de­light in them, and to fulsil them with all possible freenesse and alacrity, with the greatest intensnesse and complacency. Self-love alone might easily constraine men to this natural obedience. Humane Lawes indeed rest satisfi'd with a visi­ble and external obedience; but Natures Law darts it self into the most intimate Essentials, and looks for entertain­ment there.

You know that amongst the Moralists only such acts are esteem'd Actus Humani that are Actus Voluntarii. When Nature has tuned a Rational Being, she expects that every string, every faculty should spontaneously and cheerfully sound forth his praise.

And the God of Nature that has not chain'd, nor fet­ter'd, nor enslav'd such a Creature, but has given it a com­petent liberty and enlargement; the free diffusion and am­plification of its own Essence; he looks withal that it should willingly consent to its own happinesse, and to all such means as are necessary for the accomplishment of its choi­cest end: and that it should totally abhorre whatsoever is de­structive and prejudicial to its own being; which if it do, 'twill presently embrace the Law of Nature, if it either love its God or it self; the command of its God, or the welfare of it self.

Nay, the precepts of this natural Law are so potent and triumphant, as that some acts which rebel against it, become not only Illiciti, but Irriti, as both the Schoolmen and Law­yers observe: they are not only irregularities, but meere nullities: and that either ob defectum Potestatis & Incapaci­tatem Materiae, as if one should go about to give the same thing to two several Persons, the second Donation is a Mo­ral [Page 60] Non-entity: or else Propter Perpetuam rei indecentiam, & Turpitudinem Durantem; as in some Anomalous and in­cestuous marriages. And this Law of Nature is so exact, as that 'tis not capable of an [...], which the Lawyers call Emendatio Legis: but there is no mending of Essences, nor of Essential Lawes, both which consist in Puncto, in in­divisibili, and so cannot Recipere magis & minús: nor is there any need of it, for in this Law there's no rigour at all, 'tis pure equity, and so nothing is to be abated of it. Neither does it depend only à mente Legis-latoris, which is the usu­al Rise of Mitigation; but 'tis conversant about such acts as are Per se tales, most intrinsecally and inseparably.

Yet notwithstanding this Law does not refuse an Inter­pretation, but Nature herself does glosse upon her own Law, as in what circumstances such an Act is to be esteem'd murder, and when not; and so in many other branches of Natures Law, if there be any appearance of Intricacy, any seeming knot and difficulty, Nature has given edge enough to cut it asunder.

There is another Law bordering upon this Law of Na­ture, Jus Gentium, Juri Naturali Propinquum & consangui­neum; and 'tis Medium quoddam, inter Jus Naturale & Jus Civile. Now this Jus Gentium is either per similitudinem & concomitantiam, when several Nations in their distinct conditions have yet some of the same positive Lawes: or else (which indeed is most properly [...]) Per communicationem & Societatém, which, as the learned Gro­tius describes, Ab omnium, vel multarum gentium volun­tate vim obligandi accepit: that is, when all or many of the most refined Nations bunching and clustering together, do binde themselves by general compact, to the observation of such Lawes, as they judge to be for the good of them all. As the honourable entertainment of an Embassadour, or such like.

[Page 61] So that 'tis Jus humanum, non scriptum. 'Tis [...]. For as Justinian tells us, Vsu exigente, & Humanis necessitatibus, Gentes humanae quaedam sibi jura constituerunt. Whereas other humane Lawes have a nar­rower sphere and compasse, and are limited to such a state, which the Oratour stiles, Leges populares, the Hebrews call their positive Lawes [...], sometimes [...], though the one do more properly point at Ceremoni­als, the other at Judicials; The Septuagint render them [...], some others call them [...], as they call natural Lawes [...], which the Hellenists ren­der [...]. But according to the Greek Idiom, these are tearmed [...], and the others [...].

Now, though the formality of humane Lawes do flow immediately from the power of some particular men; yet the strength and sinew of these Lawes is founded in the Law of Nature; for Nature does permissively give them leave to make such Lawes as are for their greater convenience; and when they are made, and whilest they are in their force and vigour, it does oblige and command them not to break or violate them: for they are not to contradict their own Acts, nor to oppose such commands, as ex Pacto were fram'd and constituted by themselves.

Thus much for the Law of Nature in general. We must look in the next place, to that Lumen Naturae, that Candle of the Lord by which this Law of Nature is manifested and dis­covered.

How the Law of Nature is discovered? not by Tradition, nor an Intellectus agens.

GOD having contrived such an admirable and harmo­nious Law for the guiding and governing of his Crea­ture, you cannot doubt but that he will also provide suffici­ent means for the discovery and publishing of it; Promul­gation being pre-requir'd as a necessary condition before a Law can be valid and vigorous. To this end therefore he has set up an Intellectual Lamp in the soul, by the light of which it can read this [...], and can follow the commands of its Creatour.

The Schoolmen with full and general consent understand that place of the Psalmist of this Lumen Naturale, and ma­ny other Authors follow them in this too securely. Nay, some Critical writers quote them, and yet never chide them for it. The words are these, [...] Eleva super nos lumen vultûs tui: but yet they, very igno­rantly, though very confidently render them; Signatum est super nos lumen vultûs tui: and they do as erroneously interpret it of the light of Reason, which (say they) is Sig­naculum quoddam, & impressio increatae lucis in Anima. So much indeed is true, but it is far from being an Exposition of this place. Yet perhaps the Septuagint misled them, who thus translate it; [...]; but Aquila, that had a quicker eye here, ren­ders it [...], and Symmachus [...].

The words are plainly put up in the forme of a Petition to heaven, for some smiles of love, for some propitious and favourable glances, for Gods gracious presence and accept­ance. And they amount to this sense; If one Sun do but [Page 63] shine upon me, I shall have more joy, then worldlings have, when all their Stars appear.

But to let these passe with the Errours of their vulgar La­tin; I meet with one more remarkable and of larger influ­ence; I mean that of the Jewes, who (as that worthy Au­thor of our own in his learned book De Jure Naturali se­cundùm Hebraeos makes the report) do imagine and suppose that the light of Nature shines only upon themselves origi­nally and principally, and upon the Gentiles only by way of Participation and dependance upon them: They all must light their candles at the Jewish Lamp. Thus they strive as much as they can to engrosse and monopolize this natural light to themselves; only it may be sometimes out of their great liberality they will distribute some broken beams of it to the Gentiles. As if these [...] these Prae­cepta Noachidarum had been lockt up and cabinetted in Noahs Ark, and afterwards kept from the prophane touch of a Gentile: as if they had been part of that bread, which our Saviour said was not to be cast unto dogs; and there­fore they would make them be glad to eate of the crumbs that fall from their masters table. As if they only enjoyed a Goshen of Natural light, and all the rest of the world were benighted in most palpable and unavoidable darknesse; as if this Sun shin'd only upon Canaan; as if Canaan onely flow'd with this milk and honey; as if no drops of heaven could fall upon a Wildernesse, unlesse an Israelite be there; As if they had the whole impression of Natures Law; as if God had not dealt thus with every Nation; as if the Hea­then also had not the knowledge of this Law. 'Tis true, they had the first beauty of the rising Sun, the first peep­ings out of the day, the first dawnings of natural light; for there were no other that it could then shine upon: but do they mean to check the Sun in its motion, to stop this Glant in his race, to hinder him from scattering rayes of light in the world? Do they think that Natures Fountain is en­clos'd, [Page 64] that her Well is seal'd up, that a Jew must only [...] of it, and a Gentile must die for thirst? O but they tell you they are [...], a Darling, and peculiar Nation.

We shall fully acknowledge with the Hebrew of He­brews, [...], though not in re­spect of natural light, which doubtlesse is planted by Nature in the heart both of Jew and Gentile, and shines upon both with an equal and impartial beam. And yet this must not be denied, that the Jewes had even these Natural notions much clarified & refin'd from those clouds and mists which [...] Original sin had brought upon them, and this by means of that pure and powerful beam of heavenly truth which shined more peculiarly upon them; those Lawes which Nature had engraven [...] upon the tables of their hearts, sin like a moth had eaten and defaced (as in all other men it had done) but in them those fugitive letters were call'd home again, and those many Lacunae were supplyed and made good again by comparing it with that other Copy (of Gods own writing too) which Moses received in the Mount; and besides, they had a great num­ber of revealed truths discovered to them, which were en­graffed indeed upon the stock of Nature, but would never have grown out of it: so that this second Edition was Au­ctior also, as well as Emendatior; but yet for all this they have no greater a portion of the light of Nature then all men have. Thus Christians also are [...], and yet in respect of their natural condition, have no more then others.

Now if the Jewes have so many priviledges, why are not they content, why do not they rest satisfied with them? Why will they thus be claiming and arrogating more then their due?

Are they the first-born, and have they a double portion, [Page 65] and do [...]ey envy their younger brethren, their birth and being? Have they a bright and eminent Sun-shine, and do they envy a Gentile the Candle of the Lord?

No (as that learned Author tells us) they will grant that the Gentiles had their Candle, and their Torch, but it was lighted at the Jewes Sun. They may have some bottles of water to quench their thirst, but they must be fill'd at their streams, [...], ex fluentis Hebraicis.

But truly, if they were at their disposing, there be some that will question, whether they would let them sip at their fountain or no; whether they would let them light a Can­dle with them or no. Yes (may some say) Pythagoras light­ed his Candle there, and Plato lighted his Candle at theirs.

But what did they borrow common Notions of them? did they borrow any Copies of Natures Law from them? was this [...], only some Jewish Manu-script, which they translated into Greek? Can Pythagoras know nothing, unlesse by a present [...] a Jews soul come and enforme him? That Pythagoras should be cir­cumcis'd by the perswasion of the Jews is not impossible; but that he could not know how to [...]orbid Blasphemy, with­out the Jews teachings, deserves a good argument to prove it.

If they will but attend to Pythagoras himself, they shall hear him resolving these first Notions of his and others, in­to Natures bounty, and not into the Jews courtesie; for thus he sings;— [...]. And Hierocles in his Comment (which is as golden as Pythagoras his Verses) does thus paraphrase upon his meaning, [...]. And these Principles which he does call here [...], [Page 66] he does not long after stile [...].

Then as for Plato, to be sure he'll tell them, that he has connate Species of his own, for which he was never behold­ing to the Jews. He'll tell them, that he has many Sperma­tical Notions, that were never of their sowing; Many vigi­lant sparks that were never of their striking or kindling. He'll but set his Reminiscence awork, and will visit his old acquaintance, recal many ancient truths, that are now slipt out of his memory, and have been too long absent.

And surely Aristotle never thought that his Rasa Tabu­la, could have nothing printed upon it, till a Jew gave it an Imprimatur, he little imagin'd that the Motion of his Soul depended upon these Oriental Intelligences.

Therefore if they please they may spare that pretty story of theirs, which that learned Author, whom I have so of­ten commended, does acquaint us with, but yet withall esteems it fabulous of Simeon the just, the High Priest read­ing of Lectures to Aristotle a little before his death, of the immortality of the soul, and the reward and punishment which are reserved for another life: and that so powerfully, as that he convinced him, and converted him.

But certainly that brave Philosopher could easily spy out immortality stampt upon his own soul, though such a Monitor had been absent, and did know long before that time by the improvement of his own intellectuals, that he must give an account of his being and operations to his [...].

What means then that voice of the Oracle;

[...], Truly the Oracle here is not so obscure, but that you may easily perceive that by [...], it did not mean Intelligen­tia, which is [...], but only [Page 67] Sapientia, which is [...]. Now why they had more of this, the Apostle will give you the best account of it; [...], because they had a better Oracle to consult withal, then this was.

Yet surely neither Jew nor Gentile need go to an Oracle to enquire of common Notions. But in respect of these that Anonymous Author of the life of Pythagoras speaks an unquestionable truth; [...]; that is the Athenians had not an Adventitious and Precari­ous kinde of knowledge; but that Nature which gave them a Being, gave them Education also; As her womb bare them, so her breasts gave them suck; As they were [...], so likewise [...].

But you shall hear a bragging and doting Egyptian telling you, [...]. The Greeks were al­wayes boys in knowledge. Grant that they were children; yet cannot they suck at Natures dug? Cannot they reade Natures Alphabet, unlesse a Jew come with his fescue and teach them?

Howere, the Egyptian has little Reason to triumph, for to be sure, if there be any light in Egypt more then this of Nature, they may thank Israelites for it: if there be any corne in Egypt, they may thank a Joseph for providing of it. These, if any, lighted their Candles at the Israelites, and receiv'd more precious jewels from them, then ever they were robb'd of by them.

This indeed must be granted that the whole generality of the Heathen went a gleaning in the Jewish fields. They had some of their grapes, some eares of corne that dropt from them. Pythagoras and Plato especially were such notable gleaners, as that they stole out of the very sheaves, out of [Page 68] those truths that are bound up in the sacred volume▪ Yet all this while they nere stole first Principles, nor demonstrati­ons; but they had them [...], and needed not to take such a long journey for them.

Give then unto the Jew the things of the Jews, and to the Gentile, the things that are the Gentiles, and that which God has made common, call not thou peculiar. The Apo­stle Pauls question is here very seasonable, [...].

There was never any partition-wall between the Essence of Jew and Gentile: Now the Law of Nature 'tis founded in Essentials. And that which is disconvenient to that Ra­tional Nature which is in a Jew, is as opposite and disagree­able to the same Nature in a Gentile; as that good which is suitable and proportionable to a Jew in his Rational being, is every way as intrinsecal to the welfare of a Gentile▪ that does not differ essentially from him. So likewise for the Promulgation of this Law, being it does equally concerne them both, and equally oblige them both; it is also by Na­ture equally publisht and manifested to them both. So that what the Apostle speaks in respect of the freenesse of E­vangelistical light, we may say the very same in respect of the commonnesse of natural light: [...], but all these are one in respect of Nature, and natures Law, and natures Light.

The Light of Reason.

THis law of Nature having a firme and unshaken foun­dation in the necessity and conveniency of its materi­als, [Page 69] becomes formally valid and vigorous by the minde and command of the Suprem [...] Law-giver; So as that all the strength and nerves, and binding virtue of this Law are [...]ooted and fasten'd partly in the excellency and equity of the commands themselves, but they principally depend up­on the Sovereignty and Authority of God himself: thus contriving and commanding the welfare of his Crea­ture, and advancing a Rational Nature to the just perfecti­on of its being. This is the rise and original of all that obli­gation which is in the Law of Nature. But the publishing and manifestation of this Law which must give notice of all this, does flow from that heavenly beame which God has darted into the soul of man; from the Candle of the Lord, which God has lighted up for the discovery of his owne Lawes; from that intellectual eye which God has fram'd and made exactly proportionable to this Light.

Therefore we shall easily grant that the obligation of this Law does not come from this Candle of the Lord; and others I suppose will not deny that the Manifestation of this Law does come from this Candle of the Lord, that the Promulga­tion of this Law is made by the voice of Reason.

In order of Nature, this Law, as all others, must be made, before it can be made known, Entity being the just Root and bottome of Intelligibility. So that Reason does not fa­cere or ferre legem, but only invenire, as a Candle does not produce an object, but only present it to the eye, and make it visible. All verity 'tis but the glosse of Entity, there's a loving Union and Communion between them, as soone as being is it may be known.

So that Reason is the Pen by which Nature writes this Law of her own composing; This Law 'tis publisht by Au­thority from heaven, and Reason is the Printer: This eye of the soul 'tis to spy out all dangers and all advantages, all conveniences and disconveniences in reference to such a be­ing, and to warne the soul in the name of its Creator, to fly [Page 70] from such irregularities as have an intrinsecal and implaca­ble malice in them, and are prejudicial and destructive to its Nature, but to comply with, and embrace all such acts and objects as have a native comelinesse and amiablenesse, and are for the heightning and ennobling of its being.

Hierocles does most excellently set forth this, whilest he brings that golden Verse of Pythagoras to the Touch-stone; [...], and does thus brighten it, and display it in its full glory, [...]; his meaning's this: There is a kinde of Canon-Law in the essences of men, and a Rational tuning all its faculties according to those lessons which Nature has set; it does [...], with a most grateful and har­monious life, pleases both it self and others. So whilest he weighs that other golden verse in the Ballance, he speaks very high. [...]; he gives us this learned accompt of it; [...]; which I may thus render; To obey right Reason, 'tis to be perswaded by God himself; who has fur­nisht and adorn'd a Rational Nature with this intrinsecal and essential Lamp, that shines upon it, and guides it in the wayes of God, so as that the soul and its Creator become [Page 71] pefect Unisons, and being blest with the light of his coun­tenance, it steeres all its motions and actions with much se­curity and happinesse. But if this Lamp of Reason be dark­en'd and obscured, the soul presently embraces a Cloud, and courts a Shadow; the blackest and most palpable Athe­isme and wickednesse must needs cover the face of that soul, that starts back and apostatizes from its God and its Reason. Where you cannot but take notice that he calls the light of Reason [...], which is an expression very pa­rallel to this of Solomon, the Candle of the Lord.

That wise Heathen Socrates was of the very same minde, in whose mouth that speech was so frequent and usual, [...]; 'Tis in vaine to trust any thing but that which Reason tells you has the Seal of God upon it. Thus that Heathen Oratour very ful­ly and emphatically; Nos Legem bonam à Mala nullâ aliâ nisi Naturali norm [...] dividere possumus; Nec solùm Jus & Injuria à Natura dijudicantur, sed omnino omnia honesta & Turpia. Nam & communis Intelligentia nobis Res not as effi­cit, ea quae in animis nostris inchoavit, ut Honesta in virtute ponantur, in vitiis Turpia; That is, Nature has distinguisht good from evil, by these indelible stamps and impressions which she has graven upon both; and has set Reason as a competent Judge to decide all Moral controversies, which by her first seeds of light plainly discovers an honourable beauty in goodnesse, and an inseparable Blot in wickedness: hence these three [...] are esteem'd equivalencies by that Emperour and Philoso­pher Marcus Antonius. But yet the Jews will by no means yeeld that there is light enough in the dictates of Reason to display common notions, for they look upon it as a various and unsatisfactory light mixt with much shadow and dark­nesse, labouring with perpetual inconstancy and uncertain­ty. What are first Principles become so mutable and trea­cherous? [Page 72] Are Demonstrations such fortuitous and contin­gent things? had I met with this in a fluctuating Acade­mick, in a Rowling Sceptique, in a Sextus Empiricus, in some famous Professor of doubts, I should then have lookt upon it as a tolerable expression of their trembling and shivering opinion. But how come I to finde it among those Divers into the depths of knowledge, who grant a certainty, and yet will not grant it to Reason? I would they would tell us then, where we might hope to finde it; Surely not in an Oriental Tradition, in a Rabinical dream, in a dusty Manu­script, in a Remnant of Antiquity, in a Bundle of Testimo­nies; and yet this is all you are like to get of them, for they tell you this story, that these Natural precepts, tum in ipsis rerum initiis, tum in ea quae fuit post diluvium instaurati­one, Humano generi, ipsà sanctissimâ Numinis voce fuisse imperata, atque ad Posteros per Traditionem solùm inde ma­nâsse; that is, that these commands were proclaim'd by the voice of God himself, first to Adam in the first setting out of the world; and then they were repeated to Noah when there was to be a reprinting, and new Edition of the world after the Deluge; and thus were in way of Tradition to be propagated to all posterity. O rare and admirable foundati­on of Plerophory! O incomparable method and contri­vance to finde out certainty, to rase out first Principles, to pluck down Demonstrations, to demolish the whole stru­cture and fabrick of Reason, and to build upon the word of two or three Hebrew Doctors, that tell you of a voice, and that as confidently, as if they had heard it, and they are en­trusted with this voice, they must report and spread it unto others, though they do it like unfaithful Ecchos with false and imperfect rebounds.

This is to tell you that men have no Candle of the Lord within them, but only there must be Traditio Lampadis, a General and Publique light, that must go from one hand to another.

[Page 73] This is to blot out the [...], to leave out Canonical Scripture, and to give you Apochrypha in the room of it. 'Tis to set a Jew in the chaire dictating the Law of Nature, with the very same infallibility, that the Pope promises himself in determining all points of Religion. Therefore some it may be will have recourse to such an In­tellectus Agens as must clear up all things. Now this is an­other Oriental Invention, for those Arabian writers Aver­roes and Avicen, did not look upon the spirit of a man as the Candle of the Lord, but must needs have an Angel to hold the Candle to enlighten men in their choicest operations. Nay, Averroes will allow but one Angel to superintend and prompt the whole Species of mankinde; yet Zabarel que­stions whether his bounty will not extend to two, the one for an Intellectus Agens, the other for an Intellectus Pati­ens. To be sure Averroes fanci'd man as the most imperfect and contemptible being that could be, totally dependant upon an Angel in his most essential workings; the whole sphere of his being was to be mov'd by an Intelligence.

He fanci'd him a Ship steer'd only by an Angel; he fanci'd him a Lute that made no musick but by the touch of an An­gel. It had been well if his Genius would have tun'd him a little better. It had been well if his Pilot would have kept him from making shipwrack of Reason. If his Intelligence would but have mov'd his Head a little more harmonious­ly. But by this, if he had pleas'd he might have perceiv'd that there were pluralities and differences of understandings, because there were so few of his minde. Yet Plotinus and Themistius that were his Seniors, had more then a tincture of this Errour; and lookt upon this [...], as if it had been Sol quidam incorporeus nulli oriens aut occidens, sed semper & ubique omnibus praesens.

Which notion Cardan prosecutes so far, as that he falls into this most Prodigious conceit, that this Intellectus A­gens does offer its light and assistance to sensitive beings al­so, [Page 74] but that the churlishnesse of the matter will not well­come and entertain such pure irradiations, for thus he speaks; Eundem Intellectum etiam belluis imminere, easque ambire: At ipsi non patere Aditum, propter materiae inepti­tudinem. Igitur hominem intus irradiare, circum belluas extrinsecùs collucere. Neque aliâ re Hominis Intellectum, ab Intellectu differre belluarum. Idcirco belluas ea omnia habere inchoata, quae in homine perfecta sunt. But Scaliger has sufficiently corrected him for this brutish Tenent; so that I shall need only to adde this; Cardans Intellectus Agens, was so familiar, as that some question whether he were a good Angel or no. Nay, some tell us that he was left him for an inheritance, shut up in a Ring, enclos'd in a golden circle, a goodly sphere for an Intelligence to move in. But there were many others also enamour'd with this opinion, of an Intellectus Agens; the Platonists were excessively en­clinable to it, and were alwayes so much conversant with spirits, which made their Philosophy ever question'd for a touch of Magick. Nay, Scaliger tells us of some others, that will have this Intellectus Agens to be caput & Author consiliorum omnium, the contriver of the rarest and wittiest inventions; the Author of Guns, of Clocks, of Printing, of the Pyxis nautica: Materialem verò Intellectum esse quasi Vsufructuarium, & beneficiarium illius.

The Jews especially admire and adore the Influence of an Intellectus Agens, and not forgetful of their Primogeni­ture and priviledges, but being alwayes a conceited and a bragging generation, they would fain perswade us that God himself is their Intellectus Agens, but to the Gentiles he sends only an Angel to illuminate them.

The Jews indeed sometimes call every faculty an An­gel, as one of the best amongst them, Maimonides tells us, but yet here they properly mean an Angelical being, di­stinct and separate from the soul, and just according to A­verroes Determination, the lowest Intelligence, Vltimus [Page 75] Motor Coelestium. Their own Intellectus Agens they call [...] & [...], the presence and power of God dwelling in the understanding, the influence of it they tearme [...], as the forementioned Maimonides observes, that is, a copious and abundant supply of light shining upon the Minde. According to which they understand that place of the Psalmist [...] in lumine tuo vi­debimus lumen; which the Schoolmen more truly expound of the Lumen Gloriae in the Beatifical vision, though it may reach also to that joy and delight which Saints have in com­munion with God here.

Amongst fresher and more moderne writers, Zabarel is very intense and zealous for this, that God himself is the Intellectus Agens of the soul: but being a most humble and devoted servant of Aristotle, he can by no means quiet and content himself unlesse he can shew the world that his Master was of the same judgement.

This makes him to suborne two or three Testimonies, or at least to tamper with a place or two; and then bravely to conclude that without doubt 'twas the minde of the Philo­sopher, which is not only against the whole stream of other Interpreters, but against the known & Orthodox Principles of him that was wiser then to countenance such a vanity.

It should seeme by that eminent writer of our own, that Fryer Bacon was of the same mind too, for whose words these are quoted amongst many others, out of an Oxford-Manu­script; Deus respectu animae est sicut Sol respectu Oculi Tempora­lis, & Angeli sicut stellae. Now what angels they were that this Roger Bacon fixt his eye upon, whether they were not fallen Stars, let others examine. I should think that Cardans In­tellectus Agens and his were both much of the same colour.

But this you may perceive in him and the rest of the great Pleaders for an Intellectus Agens, that they found all their Arguments in a pretty similitude of an eye, and light, and colours, as if this were some inconquerable Demonstrati­on. [Page 76] Whereas that great Master of subtleties, whom I have more then once nam'd before, has made it appear, that the whole Notion of an Intellectus Agens is a meere fancy and superfluity.

Yet this may be granted to all the foremention'd Authors, and this is the only spark of Truth, that lies almost buried in that heap of Errours; That God himself as he does supply every being, the Motion of every Creature with an intimate and immediate concourse every way answerable to the mea­sure and degree of its Entity; so he does in the same man­ner constantly assist the Understanding with a proportiona­ble Co-operation. But then as for any such Irradiations upon the soul in which that shall be meerly patient: God in­deed if he be pleas'd to reveal himself in a special and extra­ordinary manner, he may thus shine out upon it, either im­mediately by his own light, or else drop Angelical influ­ence upon it: but that this should be the natural and ordina­ry way, necessarily required to Intellectual workings, is ex­termely prejudicial to such a noble Being as the soul of Man is; to which God gave such bright participations of him­self, and stampt his Image upon it, and left it to its own workings, as much as any other created being whatsoever. Nay, as Scaliger does most confidently object it to Cardan, you will not have one Argument left, by which you can e­vince the Immortality of the soul, if ye shall resoive all the excellency of its being and operations into an Intellectus A­gens really distinct from it.

But then to make this [...], and [...], only the various aspects and different relations of the same soul, is but a weak and needlesse device, and if 'twere Ari­stotles, to be sure 'twas none of his Master-pieces; for 'tis built upon I know not what Phantasms and false Appear­ances.

Whereas those Species and colours, those pictures and re­presentations of being that are set before an Intellectual [Page 77] eye, carry such a light and beauty in themselvs as may justly engratiate them with the understanding. And though some tell us that they have too much drosse & impurity, that they are too muddy and feculent, not proportionable to the pu­rity of a reasonable soul, yet let them but think of those ma­ny strainers they have gone through: those double refinings and clarifyings, that they have had from so many percolati­ons: and withall they may know that the understanding can drink in the most pure and flowring part of the Species, and can leave the dregges at the bottome. Have you not thus often seen a seal stamping it self upon the waxe, and yet not communicating the least particle of matter, but only lea­ving a form and impression upon it?

However, there is as much proportion between these Species and an Intellectus Patiens, as between these and an Intellectus Agens. Nay, there is more proportion between these Species and the understanding, then between the soul and body, which yet are joyn'd and married together in a most loving and conjugal union.

Of the consent of Nations▪

THough Natures law be principally proclaim'd by the voyce of Reason; though it be sufficiently discover'd by the Candle of the Lord; yet there is also a secondary and additional way, which contributes no small light to the ma­nifestation of it: I mean the harmony & joynt consent of Na­tions, who though there be no [...] nor [...], no communion, nor commerce, nor compact between them, yet they do tacitly and spontaneously conspire in a dutiful observation of the most radical and fundamental Lawes of Nature.

[Page 78] So that by this pleasant consort of theirs you may know that the same Nature did tune them all. When you see the same prints and impressions upon so many several Nations, you easily perceive that they were stampt eodem communi Sigillo, with the same publique Seal. When you see the ve­ry same seeds thrown in such different soyles, yet all encreas­ing and multiplying, budding and blossoming, branching out and enlarging themselves into some fruitful expressions; you know then that 'twas Natures hand, her bountiful & suc­cesseful hand that scatter'd such Seminal Principles amongst them; you presently know that 'tis no enclosed way, 'tis a Via Regia, in which you meet with so many Travellers, such a concourse and confluence of People.

Amongst many others, the learned Grotius is ful and ex­presse for searching out the Law of Nature in this manner.

You shal hear his own words which he speaks in that excel­lent work of his, De jure Belli & Pacis: Esse aliquid juris Natu­ralis probari solet tum ab eo quod Prius est, tum ab eo quod Poste­rius; quarum probandi Rationum illa subtilior est, haec populari­or. A Priori, si ostendatur Rei alicujus convenientia aut discon­venientia Necessaria cum Natura Rationali ac Sociali. A po­steriori verò, si non certissimâ side, certè probabiliter admo­dum juris Naturalis esse colligitur id, quod apud gentes omnes, aut moraliores omnes tale esse creditur. And [...]he does annex this reason of it; Vniversalis effectus, Vniversalem requirit causam. When you see such fresh springs and streams of Justice watering several Kingdoms and Nations, you know that they are participations of some rich Fountain, of a vast Ocean. When you see so many Rayes of the same light, shooting themselves into the several corners of the world, you presently look up to the Sun; as the glorious original of them all.

Let me then a little vary that place in the Acts of the A­postles: you may hear every man in his own Language, in his own Dialect, and Idiom speaking the same works of Na­ture; [Page 79] Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judea, and Cappadocia; in Pontus, in Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jewes and Proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, you may hear them speak in their Tongues the wonderful works of God and Nature.

For whatsoever is Natural and Essential is also universal in order to such a Species. The Philosopher speaks to this very pertinently; [...]; That is, whatsoever is Natural is immovable, and in the same manner perpetually energetical; as fire does not put on one colour amongst the Grecians, and paint its face o­therwise amongst the Persians: but it has alwayes the same ruddinesse and purity, the same zeal and vehemency.

As Nature shews choice variety and Needle-work in this, in that she works every Individuum with several flourishes, with some singular and distinguishing notes: So likewise she plainly aspires to concord and unity, whilst she knits altoge­ther in a common and specifical identity. Not only in the faces of men, but in their beings also, there is much of Iden­tity, and yet much of variety.

You do not doubt, but that in all Nations there is an ex­act likenesse and agreement in the fabrick and composure of mens bodies in respect of integrals, excepting a few Mon­sters and Heteroclites in Nature; nor can you doubt but that there is the very same frame and constitution of mens spirits in respect of Intrinsecals, unlesse in some prodigious ones, that in the Philosophers languge are [...]. As face answers face, so does the heart of one man the heart of another, even the heart of an Athenian, th [...] heart of an Indian.

Wherefore the Votes and Suffrages of Nature are no [Page 80] contemptible things. [...]; as the Poet sings. This was the minde of that grave Moralist Seneca, as appears by that speech of his; Apud nos veritatis argumentum est ali­quid omnibus videri. But the Oratour is higher and fuller in his expression; Omni autem in re, Consensio omnium Gen­tium, Lex Naturae putanda est. And that other Oratour Quintilian does not much differ from him in this; Pro cer­tis habemus ea, in quae communi opinione concessum est. Or if the judgement of a Philosopher be more potent and preva­lent with you, you may hear Aristotle telling you, [...]. You may hear Heraclitus determining that [...] is an excellent [...] of Truth; and therefore he wss wont to lay down this for a Maxime, [...], which may be rendred Vox Populi, Vox Dei; yet upon this condition, that it be took with its due restraints and limitations: If you would have a sacred Author set his seal to all this, Tertullian has done it; Quod apud multos unum invenitur, non est erratum sed tra­ditum.

Surely that must needs be a clear convincing light that can command respect and adoration from all beholders; it must be an orient Pearl indeed, if none will trample upon it. It must be a conquering and triumphant truth, that can stop the mouths of gain-sayers, and passe the world without contradiction. Surely that's pure gold that has been ex­amin'd by so many several Touch-stones, and has had ap­probation from them all; certainly 'tis some transcendent beauty that so many Nations are enamour'd withall. 'Tis some powerful musick that sets the whole world a dancing. 'Tis some pure and delicious relish, that can content and sa­tisfie every palate. 'Tis some accurate piece that passes so [Page 81] many Criticks without any Animadversions, without any Variae lectiones. 'Tis an Elegant Picture, that neither the eye of an Artist, nor yet a Popular eye can finde fault with­all. Think but upon the several tempers and dispositions of men; how curious are some? how censorious are others? how envious and malicious are some? how various and muta­ble are others? how do some love to be singular? others to be contentious? how doubtful and wavering is one? how jealous and suspicious is another? and then tell me whether it must not be some Authentical and unquestionable Truth, that can at all times have a Certificate and Commendamus from them all?

Then look upon the diversities of Nations & there you will see a rough and barbarous Scythian, a wild American, an un­polisht Indian, a superstitious Egyptian, a subtile Ethiopian, a cunning Arabian, a luxurious Persian, a treacherous Cartha­ginian, alying Cretian, an elegant Athenian, a wanton Co­rinthiā, a desperate Italian, a fighting German, & many other heaps of Nations, whose titles I shall now spare, and tell me whether it must not be some admirable and efficacious Truth, that shall so over-power them all, as to passe currant amongst them, and be own'd and acknowledg'd by them.

Yet notwithstanding as we told you before, that the ob­ligation of Natures Law did not spring from Reason, so much lesse does it arise from the consent of Nations. That Law indeed which is peculiarly term'd [...], Jus Gentium, has its vigor and validity from those mutual and reciprocal compacts, which they have made amongst themselves: but the meeting of several Nations in the ob­servation of Natures Law, has no binding or engaging vir­tue in it any otherwise then in an exemplary way; but yet it has a confirming and evidencing power, that shews that they were all obliged to this by some supreme Authority, which had such an ample influence upon them all. Thus you know the sweetnesse of Honey, both by your own taste, [Page 82] and by the consent of Palates too: yet neither the one, nor the other does drop any sweetnesse or lusciousnesse into the Honey-comb. Thus you see the beauty and glory of light, and you may call most men in the world to be eye­witnesses of it, yet those several eyes adde no glosse or lustre to it, but only take notice of it.

Man being [...] and [...] as the Phi­losopher styles him, a sociable and peaceable Creature; [...], as that sacred Oratour termes him, a congregating Creature that loves to keep company, he must needs take much delight and complacen­cy in that, in which he sees the whole Tribe and Species of mankinde agreeing with him.

Why then do the Jews look upon the [...] with such a disdaining and scornful eye, as if all the Nations in com­parison of them, were no more then what the Prophet saies, they are in respect of God, as the drop of a bucket, as the dust of the Ballance, that cannot encline them one way or other.

Do but hear a while how that learned and much honour­ed Author of our own, does represent their minde unto you. Gentium (saies he) sive omnium, sive complurium opiniones, mores, constitutiones, mensurae apud Hebraeos, in eo decernendo quod jus esse velint Naturale, seu universale, locum habent nullum. These are the Contents of that Chapter which he begins thus; Quemadmodum ex aliorum animantium acti­bus aut usu, jus aliquod naturale disci, aut designari nolunt Ebraei; it à neque ex aliarum, sive omnium sive plurimarum Gentium usu ac moribus de Jure Naturali, seu hominum uni­versali decerni volunt. It seems the Jews look upon the Gentiles, as if they differ'd specifically from them: as they do not search for the Law of Nature amongst Sensitive Be­ings, so neither amongst other Nations.

But I had thought that the Jewish Writers had promis'd the Heathens an Angel, an Intelligence, to irradiate & illumi­nate them, and does he shine upon them no clearer? does [Page 83] he performe his office no better? The Jews told us that they themselves were to enforme them and instruct them, and have they taught them their lessons no better? they mention'd a voice that came to Adam and to Noah, and have they whisper'd it only in one anothers eare? Why have they not proclaim'd it to the rest of the world?

How sad were the condition of the Gentiles, if they were to live upon the Jews courtesie and benevolence, that would strip them of Nature, plunder them of their essences, rob them of their first Principles and Common Notions? But God has not left them like Orphans to such unmerciful Guardians. He himself has took care of them, and has made better provision for them.

Now these several Nations are to be consider'd either in the common bulk and heap of them▪ or else in the major part of them, or in the noblest & most refined sort amongst them, either [...] and [...], or [...] and [...].

If we take them in the fullest universality of them, then that worthy Author of our own saies truly, Nec olim, nec hactenùs, aut qualesnam, aut quot sint, fuer [...]ntve, est ab ali­quo satis exploratum. Nor indeed is it at all material in re­spect of this, whether we know them or no; but having the formal consent of so many, and knowing that there is Par Ratio Reliquorum, being that they have the same natural engagements and obligations upon them, we cannot just­ly distrust, but that if there should new Nations, nay if there should new worlds appear that every Rational Nature amongst them, would comply with and embrace the seve­ral Branches of this Law: and as they would not differ in those things that are so intrinsecal to Sense; so neither in those that are essential to the Understanding. As their cor­poral eye would be able to distinguish between beauty and deformity, so their Intellectual eye would as easily discerne some goodnesse from some kinde of wickednesse.

[Page 84] But are there not many Nations of them that live in the perpetual violation of Natures Law? If you speak of the more capital letters of this [...], you finde no Nation so barbarous but that it can read them and observe him. I never heard of a Nation apostatizing from com­mon Notions, from these first Principles. But if you mean the whole context and coherence of Natures Law, if you speak of those Demonstrations that may be built upon these fundamental Principles, of those kindly derivations and conclusions that flow from these fountain-Notions: then this indeed must be granted, that 'tis the condemning sin of the Heathen; That so many of them imprison this natural light, and extinguish this Candle of the Lord.

There are many wilde and Anomalous Individuum's a­mongst them [...], as A­ristotle calls them; [...], as others terme them; but are there not such also even amongst Jews? nay amongst such as call themselvs Christians, that are lapst and fallen be­low themselves? many natural precepts are violated even a­mongst them; have you weeds, & bryers, & thornes in a gar­den? no wonder then that you meet with more in a wilder­nesse. Are there some prodigies in Europe? you may ve­ry well look for more Monsters in Africa. Do Christians blur and blot the Law of Nature? no wonder then that an American seeks quite to rase it out. Does an Israelite put Truth sometimes in Prison? no wonder then that an E­gyptian puts it in a Dungeon. Yet notwithstanding amongst all those that have had so much Culture and Morality as to knit, and embody, and compact themselves into a Com­mon-wealth; to become [...], to be regulated by a legal government, you will scarce finde any Nation that did generally and expressely and for long con­tinuance, either violate or countenance the violation of a­ny precept clearly Natural.

This is that in which the learned Grotius satisfies himself, [Page 85] that Omnes Gentes Moraliores & Illustriores, gave due obedi­ence and conformity to Natures Law, so that all Testimo­nies fetcht from them, are to have an high price and esteem put upon them.

But the famous Salmasius in his late Tractate De Coma goes a far different way; and tells us that he had rather search for Natures Law in a naked Indian, then in a spruce Athenian, in a rude American, rather then in a gallant Ro­man; in a meer Pagan, rather then in a Jew or Christian. His words are these, Quanto magis Barbari, tanto feliciùs, faciliùsque Naturam Ducem sequi putantur: Eam detorquent, aut ab ea magis recedunt politiores gentes.

Those Nations that have more of Art and emprovement amongst them, have so painted Natures face, have hung so many Jewels in her eare; have put so many Bracelets upon her hand; they have cloth'd her in such soft and silken ray­ment, as that you cannot guesse at her so well, as you might have done, if she had nothing but her own simple and neg­lected beauty: you cannot taste the Wine so well, because they have put Sugar into it, and have brib'd your palate.

So that the learned Salmasius will scarce go about to fetch the Law of Nature from the Jews principally; you see he chooses to fetch it rather from a Scythian, from a Barbarian; there he shall see it without any glosses, without any Super­structures, without any carving and gilding, a [...] plainly written, without any flourishes & amplifi­cations. Yet the Author, whom I but now commended, (Sal­masius I mean) neither could nor would go about to vindi­cate all those Nations from some Notorious Rebellions a­gainst Natures Law, but he would rather choose, (as much as he could) to abstract their Intellectuals from their Practi­cals, and would look to their opinions and Lawes, rather then to their life and conversation.

Indeed Aristotle tells us, [...] [Page 86] [...]. That same phrase [...], does only speak a propensity and incli­nation in their vile affections to such wickednesses as these were; which sometimes also they acted in a most violent and impetuous manner. Though to be sure they could not be long a Nation if they did thus kill and eat up and devoure one another.

But let us suppose that they dealt thus with their ene­mies, yet can it be shewn us that they establisht Anthropo­phagy by a Law? that their Natural Conscience did not check them for it? or if their reason did connive at them; yet how comes it to passe that their Angel did not jog them all this while, that their Intellectus Agens did not restraine them?

But out of what Antiquity doth it appear that any Nati­on did favour Atheisme by a Law? that any Kingdome did licence Blasphemy by a statute, or countenance Murder by a Law? Out of what Author can they shew us a Nation that ever did allow the breaches of solemne compacts, the dishonouring of Parents, that ever made a Law for this, that there should be no Law or Justice amongst them?

Till all this can appear, let the Testimonies of Gentiles be esteem'd somewhat more then the barking of dogs. Me thinks if they were meere Cyphers, yet the Jews going be­fore them, they might amount to somewhat. Let the prints of Nature in them be accounted sacred: a Pearle in the head of a Heathen, some Jewels hid in the rubbish of Nations, let them be esteem'd precious. Whatsoever re­mains of Gods image upon them, let it be lov'd and acknow­ledg'd. Their darknesse and misery is great enough, let not us aggravate it, and make it more. To mix the light of their Candle, with that light which comes shining from the Can­dle of an Heathen, is no disparagement to Jew nor Chri­stian.

The light of Reason is a derivative light.

NOw the Spirit of man is the Candle of the Lord.

First, as Lumen derivatum, [...]. Surely there's none can think that light is primitively and original­ly in the Candle; but they must look upon that only as a weak participation of something that is more bright and glorious. All created excellency shines with borrowed beames, so that reason is but Scintilla divinae lucis, 'tis but Divinae particula aurae. This was the very end why God framed intellectual creatures, that he might communi­cate more of himself to them, then he could to other more drossie and inferiour beings, and that they might in a more compleat and circular manner redire in principium suum (as the Schoolmen speak) that they might return into the bosom of the first and supreme cause by such operations as should in some measure imitate and represent the work­ing of God himself, who being a most free and intellectual Agent, would have some creature also that should not only take notice of these his perfections, so as to adore and ad­mire them, but should also partake of them, and should fol­low the Creator in his dispensations and workings, though still at an infinite distance and disproportion.

This moved him to stamp upon some creatures under­standing and will, which in themselves make up one simple and entire print and signature of Reason, though we break the seal for the better opening of them, and part them into two several notions. To this end he fill'd the highest part of the world with those Stars of the first magnitude, I meane those Orient and Angelical beings, that dwell so neere the fountain of light, and continually drink in the beams of glo­ry; that are exactly conformable to their Creatour in all [Page 88] his motions, for the same end he furnished and beautified this lower part of the world with intellectual lamps, that should shine forth to the praise and honour of his name, which totally have their dependance upon him, both for their being, and for their perpetual continuation of them in their being. 'Twas he that lighted up these lamps at first; 'tis he that drops [...] the golden oile into them. Look then a while but upon the parentage and original of the soul & of Reason, & you'll presently perceive that it was the Can­dle of the Lord. And if you have a minde to believe Plato, he'll tell you such a feigned story as this. That there were a good­ly company of Lamps, a multitude of Candles, a set num­ber of souls lighted up altogether, and afterwards sent into bodies, as into so many dark Lanthorns. This stock and trea­sure of souls was reserved, and cabinetted in I know not what Starres, perhaps that they might the better calculate their own incarnation, the time when they were to descend into bodies, and when they came there they presently sunk into [...]; they slipt into [...], which he tearms [...], the putting off of knowledge for a while, the clouding and burying of many sparkling and twinkling no­tions, till by a waking reminiscence as by a joyful resurre­ction, they rise out of their graves again. Plato it seems lookt upon the body as the blot of nature, invented for the defacing of this [...], or at the best as an im­pertinent tedious parenthesis, that checkt and interrupted the soul in her former notions; that eclipsed and obscured her ancient glory, which sprung from his ignorance of the resurrection, for had he but known what a glory the body was capable of, he would have entertained more honourable thoughts of it.

Yet Origen was much taken with this Platonical notion, it being indeed a pretty piece of Philosophy for him to pick allegories out of. And though he do a little vary from Plato [Page 89] in a circumstance or two, yet in recompence of that he gives you this addition, and enlargment, that according to the car­riage & behavior of these naked spirits before they were em­bodied, there were prepared answerable mansions for them. That such a soul as had walkt with God acceptably was put into a fairer prison, was clothed with an amiable and elegant body; But that soul which had displeased and provoked its Creator, was put into a darker dungeon, into a more obscure and uncomely body. That Candle which had shined clear­ly, was honoured with a golden Candlestick; that which had soiled its light, was condemned to a dark Lanthorne: one would think by this, that Origen had scarce read Genesis, he doth in this so contradict the Sacred History of the Cre­ation. Nor is this the just product of Plato's opinion, but 'tis pregnant with much more folly, he returns him his own with usury, gives him this as the just [...] and improve­ment of it.▪

Aquinas doth clash in pieces all these Platonical fictions in his two books Contra Gentiles; yet upon this sinking and putrid foundation was built the tottering superstructure of connate Species. For when Plato had laid down this Error for a maxime. [...], that the souls of men were long extant before they were born, then that other phansie did presently step in [...], that the soul was very specula­tive and contemplative before it was immerst in the body, which made way for the next conceit, that the soul brought many of its old notions along with it into the body, many faithful attendants that would bear the soul company in her most withering condition, when other more volatile and fu­gitive notions took wing to themselves and flew away; ma­ny a precious pearl sunk to the bottome of Lethe, but some reliques of notions floated upon the top of the waters, and in the general Deluge of notions there was an Ark prepa­red [Page 90] for some select principles, some prec [...]pta Nouchidarum, which were to increase and multiply and supply the wants of an intellectual world.

This makes the Platonists look upon the spirit of man as the Candle of the Lord for illuminating and irradiating of objects, and darting more light upon them then it receives from them. But Plato as he failed in corporeal vision whilest he thought that it was per extramiss [...]onem radiorum; So he did not ab errore suo recedere in his intellectual optio [...]but in the very same manner tells us that spiritual vision also is per emissionem radiorum. And truly he might as well phansie such implanted Ideas, such seeds of light in his external eye, as such seminal principles in the eye of the minde. There­fore Aristotle (who did better clarifie both these kindes of visions) pluckt these motes out of the sensitive eye, and those beames out of the intellectual. He did not ante­date his own knowledge, nor remember the several postures of his soul, and the famous exploits of his minde before he was born; but plainly profest that his understanding came naked into the world. He shews you an [...], an abrasa tabula, a virgin-soul espousing it self to the body, in a most entire, affectionate, and conjugal union, and by the blessing of heaven upon this loving paire, he did not doubt of a Notional off-spring & posterity; this makes him set open the windows of sense to welcome and entertain the first dawnings, the early glimmerings of morning­light. Clarum mane fenestras intrat & Angustas extendit lumine rimas. Many sparks and appearances fly from vari­ety of objects to the understanding; The minde, that catch­es them all, and cherishes them, and blows them; and thus the Candle of knowledge is lighted. As he could perceive no connate colours, no pictures or portraictures in his ex­ternal eye: so neither could he finde any signatures in his minde till some outward objects had made some impression [Page 91] upon his [...], his soft and plyable understand­ing impartially prepared for every seal. That this is the true method of knowledge he doth appeal to their own eyes, to their own understandings; do but analyse your own thoughts, do but consult with your own breasts, tell us whence it was that the light first sprang in upon you. Had you such notions as these when you first peept into being? at the first opening of the souls eye? in the first exordium of infancy? had you these connate Species in the cradle? and were they rockt asleep with you? or did you then me­ditate upon these principles? Totum est majus parte, & Nihil potest esse & non esse simul. Ne're tell us that you wanted origanical dispositiōs, for you plainly have recourse to the sensitive powers, and must needs subscribe to this, that al knowledg comes flourishing in at these lattices. Why else should not your Candle enlighten you before? who was it that chained up; and fettered your common notions▪ Who was it that restrained and imprisoned your connate Idea's? Me thinks the working of a Platonists soul should not at all depend on [...]; and why had you no connate demonstrations, as well as connate principles? Let's but see a catalogue of all these truths you brought with you in­to the world. If you speak of the principles of the Laws of Nature, you shall hear the Schoolmen determining. Infans pro illo statu non obligatur lege naturali, quia non habet usum Rationis & libertatis. And a more sacred Author saies as much, Lex Naturae est lex intelligentiae quam tamen ignorat pueritia, nescit infantia. There's some time to be allowed for the promulgation of Natures Law by the voice of Rea­son. They must have some time to spell the [...] ▪ that was of Reasons writing. The minde having such gradual and climbing accomplishments, doth strong­ly evince that the true rise of knowledge is from the ob­serving and comparing of objects, and from thence ex­stracting [Page 92] the quintessence of some such principles as are worthy of all acceptation; that have so much of certainty in them, that they are neer to a Tautology and Identity, for this first principles are.

These are the true and genuine [...]; these are the [...]; these are the props of Rea­sons contriving, upon which you may see her leaning, about which you may see her turning and spreading and enlarging her self. That learned Knight, in his discourse concerning the soul, doth at large shew the manner how the minde thus goes a gathering of knowledge; How like a Bee it goes from flower to flower, from one entity to another, how it sucks the purest and sweetest of all, how it refuses all that is distasteful to it, and makes a pleasant composition of the rest, and thus prepares honey-combs for it self to feed on.

But if it were at all to be granted that the soul had many stamps and characters upon it; that it had any implanted and ingraffed Species; 'twere chiefly to be granted that it hath the connate notion of a Deity, that pure and infinitely refined entity, abstracted from all appearance of matter. But mark how the great Doctor of the Gentiles convinces them of the [...], he doth not set them a searching their connate Species, but bids them look into the glasse of the creatures; O but (might some Platinist say) why, he is all spirit and an invisible being, what shall we finde of him amongst material objects? yes (saies the A­postle) [...], the invisible things of God are made known by the things that do appear; for a being indowed with such a soul as man is, can easily in a discour­sive way, by such eminent steps of second causes ascend to some knowledge of a prime and supreme being; which doth fully explain that he means by his [...], those clear dictates of Reason fetched from the several workings of the understanding, that have sealed and print­ed [Page 93] such a truth upon the soul; so that no other innate light, but only the power and principle of knowing and reasoning is the Candle of the Lord.

Yet there is a noble Author of our own, that hath both his truth and his errour, (as he hath also writ about both) who pleads much for his instinctus naturales, so as that at the first dash you would think him a Platonical strain; but if you attend more to what he sayes, you will soon perceive that he prosecutes a farre different notion much to be preferred before the other phansy.

For he doth not make these instincts any connate Idea's and representations of things, but tels us that they are pow­ers and faculties of the soul, the first-born faculties and be­ginning of the souls strength, that are presently espoused to their Virgin-objects closing and complying with them, long before discourse can reach them; nay, with such ob­jects as discourse cannot reach at all in such a measure and perfection: these instincts he styles Naturae dotes, & pro­videntiae Divinae universalis idea, & typus optimus. Some of these are to be found in the lowest inanimate beings, which yet have no connate Species among them; though they have powers and propension to their own welfare, a blinde tendency and inclination to their own security; for thus he speaks—Instinctus ille Naturalis in quovis inarticu­lato licèt & incauto elemento, sapiens est ad conservationem propriam; and such a noble being as man is, must needs have it in a more sublime and eminent manner.

Therefore he tearms these instincts in man facultates no­ëticae, & facultates Deo analogae; whereas those other in­feriour faculties are esteem'd facultates analogae mundo; his words being somewhat cloudy, I shall thus paraphrase up­on them. The soul 'tis made with a through light, with a double window, at one window it looks upon corporeals, at the other it hath a fair prospect upon spirituals. When it takes notice of the material world, it looks out at the win­dow [Page 94] of sense, and views the putamina & cortices rerum, theoutward husks and shells of being, but not at all pleas'd or contented with them, those higher powers, those purer faculties of the soul unclasp and disclose themselves, and extend themselves for receiving some delight more preci­ous and satisfactory, being made in as harmonious propor­tion suitable to spiritual objects, as the eye is to colours, o [...] the care to sounds. And as you know, a corporeal eye is so fashioned and organiz'd, that though it have no connate Species of the Sunne, yet tis pleasant to behold it; so the eye of the soul doth willingly open it self to look upon God per modum objecti, a [...]d has all per receptionem from him, fixing its eye upon so transcendent and beautiful an object, and viewing all those streamings out of light, those beamings out of eternal and universal notions, that flow from him as the fountain of lights, where they have dwelt from everlasting, which now appear to it in time with a most powerful and enamouring ray, to direct the soul to that happinesse it longed for, and to guide and conduct it in all its operations. If you ask when these highest faculties did first open and display themselves, he tells you 'tis then when they were stimulated and excited by outward ob­jects, and it may be upon this account, that when the soul can finde nothing there worthy one glance, one cast of its eye, impatient of such empty and shadowy sights, it opens it self to the [...], and warmes it self in those everlast­ing Sun-beams▪ but when it comes down from the mount, it puts on the veile of sense, and so converses with materi­al objects.

Yet I do not here positively lay down this for a truth in all the branches of it, but only represent the minde of the forementioned Author, who himself doth acknowledge that the rise of these first principles is very Cryptical and mysterious. His words are these. Vos interea non▪morari debet quèd quomodo eliciantur istae notitiae communes nescia­tis. [Page 95] Satis supérque diximus vos nescire quomodo fiat gustus, odoratus, tactus, &c. By which you cannot but perceive that he makes the conformity of such a faculty with such an object, the spring and original of common notions. Yet this then had deserved a little clearing, whence the difficulty of understanding spirituals pro hoc statu does arise, if there be such a present, and exact analogy between them; where­as the intuitive knowledge of God, and viewing those good­ly notions that are steept in his essence uses to be reserved as a priviledge of a glorified creature. Yet this I suppose may be said that herein is the souls imperfection, that it cannot sufficiently attend both to spirituals and corporeals; and therefore sense being so busie and importunate for the prosecution of her objects; no wonder that these noënti­cal faculties do faint and languish. So that if there be any whom the former discoursive way will not suffice, it seems better for them to have recourse to an innate power of the soul that is fitted and fashioned for the receiving of spiri­tuals, quatenus spirituals, then to flie to I know not what connate Species, of I know not how long duration before the soul was acquainted with the body. Yet that other no­ble Author of our own, that has the same title of truth not without a competent mixture of error too, doth choose to resolve all into a Platonical remembrance, which yet that acute answerer of him doth shew to be a meer vanity; for as for matters of fact, to be sure they have no implanted Idea's: And if historical knowledge may be acquired with­out them, why then should discursive knowledge have such a dependence upon them? And I wish that the Platonists would but once determine whether a blinde man be a com­petent judge of colours by vertue of his connate Species, and whether by supply of these Idea's deaf man may have the true notion of musick and harmony? if not, then they must ingeniously confesse, that the soul for the present wants so much of light as it wants of the window of sense. [Page 96] But if they tell us that some outward objects must jogge and waken these drowsie and slumbring notions, they then lay the foundation in sensitives; and withal let them shew us, why the generality of men in their intellectuals are not equally improved, whereas they have the same objects to quicken and enflame them? in the mean time we will look upon the understanding as speculum non coloratum, a glasse not prejudic'd nor prepossest with any connate tinctures, but nakedly receiving, and faithfully returning all such co­lours as fall upon it. Yet the Platonists in this were com­mendable, that they lookt upon the spirit of a man as the Candle of the Lord, though they were deceived in the time when 'twas lighted.

Nor is this Candle lighted out of the Essence of God himself, 'twere a farre more tolerable errour to make the light of a Candle a piece of the Sun's essence then to think that this intellectual lamp is a particle of the divine nature: There is but one [...], I mean the wonderful [...], not a Candle, but a Sun that shined from everlasting. But I finde the Stoicks challeng'd for this errour, that they thought there was a real emanation, and traduction of the soul out of God. Ex ipsa Dei substantia, and the Gnosticks, the Maniche's and Priscillianists are lookt upon as their successors in this folly.

Now as for the Stoicks you'll scarce finde evidence e­nough to prove them guilty of this opinion. They have in­deed some doting and venturing expressions, when they amplifie and dignifie the nobility of the soul; and will needs have some of the royal blood to run in every veine and fa­culty of it, nor are the Platonists defective in this, but lift up the soul to as high a pitch of perfection as the Stoicks ever did; yet surely both of them but as a limited and de­pendant being infinitely remote from the fulnesse of a De­ity. [Page 97] Yet Simplicius in his Comment upon the grand Stoick Epictetus tells us that that Sect of Philosophers were wont to call the soul [...], pars vel mem­brum Dei, which is a grosse and corporeal conceit, not at all agreeable to the indivisibility of spirituals, nor suitable with the souls immateriality, much lesse consistent with the transcendent purity of God himself. But the learned Sal­masius in his Animadversions on both the forementioned Authors, though he spend paper enough in clearing some passages of the Academicks, Peripateticks, and Stoicks, concerning the nature of the soul; yet doth not in the least measure take notice of any such heterodox tenent among the Stoicks, yet if there had been any such, they had very well deserved Animadversions; but he doth thus repre­sent their Philosophy to you; That whereas the soul is usu­ally lookt upon as [...], being brancht out into the Vegetative, Sensitive and Rational▪ the Stoicks they chose to make it [...], and would have septem partes ancil­lantes, Imperatricem unicam; which they reckoned thus: [...] they were five; then [...], which was all one with [...], or [...], or [...]. Yet as Pla­to and Aristotle disposing the soul into three several ranks and distributions, would by no means allow of [...], a triplicity of souls in one compositum: So neither would the Stoicks admit any plurality of souls, but esteemed these [...] only as [...], non mem­bra sed ingenia, as Tertullian terms them very significantly, stiling the powers and faculties of the soul, the several wits of the soul, so that it was but [...], enlarging it self to the capacity and exigency of the body, but in such a manner, as that 'twas dispensata potiùs quàm [Page 98] concisa. The principal and Hegemonical power of the soul the Stoicks situated in the heart, as Aristotle did, though very erroneously, & yet Plato had taught him better, for he plac'd it in the brain as the proper tabernacle for reason to dwell in. But amongst the Stoicks there are some expressions that seem to depresse & degrade the soul, as much as others seem to advance and exalt it, for though some call it [...], yet others, and among the rest Zeno (the great found­er of that Sect,) tearms it [...], & [...], which that stupid Author of the souls mortality finding somewhere translated into English, catches at, and tells us that the Stoicks hold the soul to be a certain blast hot and fiery, or the vital spirit of the blood; whereas at the most, they did only choose that corporeal spirit as Ve­hiculum animae, a Chariot for a more triumphant spirit to ride in, the principal seate of the soul, which they did so much extol and deifie. 'Tis abundantly clear that their Sto­ical Philosophy was more refined and clarified, more sub­lime and extracted from matter, then to resolve the quint­essence of a rational nature into I know not what muddy and feculent spirit; this they could not do, if they would be faithful and constant to their own principles. Nay, they were so farre from thus vilifying the soul and detracting from it, as that they were rather excessive and hyperbolical in praising it above the sphere of a creature. Thus that known Stoick Epictetus calls the soul of man [...], which Seneca renders, liber animus est Diis cognatus; and Arrian in his Comment upon the forementioned Author doth thus diffuse and amplifie it, [...]. i. e. There is connexion and coherence of souls with a Deity, there are mutual touches and embra­ces between them, they are some delibations, and partici­pations [Page 99] of himself; thus that famous Emperour M. Anto­ninus that had tasted of the Stoical Philosophy, styles the soul [...]. Where, at the first one would think he had meant it in an Averroistical sense, but that he himself doth prevent the interpretation, by telling you that he in­tends nothing else but [...], which therefore he calls [...], because that he knew the soul was separa­ble from the body, and Pythagoras long before him had cal­led it by the same name in his golden verses.

But amongst all the rest, Seneca is the most high and lof­ty in magnifying, and very neer deifying of the soul; for thus you may hear him speak; Quid aliud vocas animum, quàm Deum in humano corpore hospitantem? That is, What lesse title can you give the soul, then that of a God conde­scending to dwell in an house of clay? which is too neere that of the Apostle [...], God ma­nifestested in the flesh. Nor yet was this any unwary pas­sage that slipt from Seneca's pen on the sudden, but he will stand to it, and repeat it, for thus he saith again. Ratio nil aliud est quàm in corpus humanum pars Divini spiritûs mer­sa, Reason 'tis somewhat of a Deity steept in a body. From this last speech that learned and eminent writer of our own doth endeavour to evince, that Seneca made God the Intel­lectus Agens of the soul, whereas 'tis very evident that this Philosopher only prosecuted that Stoical notion, of the soul being [...], a branch of a Deity [...]. Yet notwithstanding all these strains of Stoical Philosophy do not sufficiently declare that they thought the soul to be of the very same es­sence with God himself, but only that they perceived much similitude between the soul and a Deity; many bright [Page 100] resemblances of God stampt upon it, which is not only sound Philosophy, but good Divinity too; that the soul was made according to the image of its Creatour. Thus they made it not only [...], but [...] too, even the breath of a Deity [...], stampt with the Seal of God himself, as Philo speaks. 'Twas [...], as Damascen calls it, very agreeable to this of Solomon, the Candle of the Lord. 'Tis [...], as Greg. Nyss. has it, the Poeme of God himself. That whereas o­ther creatures were as it were writ in Prose, the souls of men were composed more harmoniously, in more exact number and measure. No wonder then that the Stoicks spying out such spiritual workmanship, and embroydery in the soul of man, did esteem it as an inferiour kinde of Dei­ty, a Bud, and Blossome of Divinity; as they meant by their [...], nothing but [...], so likewise when they call the soul To▪ [...], they need intend no more then the Pythagoreans do by their [...], that divine vertue and efficacy which the soul has, that makes it look so like its Creatour. Thus the Pythagoreans were wont to call the higher region of the soul, [...], and the lower [...], not under­standing by the first any particle of a Deity, though it may be by the last they might understand the soul of a beast, by vertue of their supposed [...]. But I meet with none that doth so punctually and accuratly determine this, as Trismegistus does, who speaks so exactly as if he had spyed out this difficulty and objection, his words are these. [...], The soul, saies he, was not framed and carv'd out of the es­sence [Page 101] of a Deity, but it rather sprung from the dilatation, and diffusion of his power and goodnesse, as beams do from the Sun, when it spreads forth its quickening and cherish­ing wings. Yet when you hear the creatures often stiled beams of a Deity, and drops of a Deity, you must neither imagine that there is the least division, or diminution, or variation in the most immutable essence of God; nor that the creature does partake the very essence of the Creatour, but that it hath somewhat of his workmanship, obvious and visible in it, and according to the degree of its being, doth give fainter or brighter resemblances of its Creatour. As suppose an accurate Painter should bestow much of his skill in drawing a lively portraicture of himself, you would not think such a picture a piece of his essence, but you would look upon it only as the fruit and product of his skil, and as a witty imitation of himself. Now there is a far great­er disproportion between God and any created being, then between the face and the picture of it: So that if you see any heavenly beauty, any divine lineaments sparkling in the soul, you may presently conclude that it was digitus Dei, nay the hand of God that drew them there, as the sha­dowy representations of his own most glorious being. 'Tis the greatest honour that a creature is capable of, to be the picture of its Creatour. You know the very formality of creation doth speak a being raised ex nihilo; creation be­ing the production of somthing out of the barren womb of nothing; and if the creature must be ex nullo praeexisten­te, then to be sure 'tis not extracted out of the essence of God himself. But the whole generality of the ancient Hea­then Philosophers had a vaile upon their face, here they had not a clear and open sight of the creation, but only some ob­scure and imperfect notions about it, which made them think that all corporeals were made ex aliqua praejacente ma­teria, coexistent with the prime and supreme efficient; and because they could not fetch spirituals out of materials, nor [Page 102] yet conceive that they should be fetcht out of nothing, this made them determine that they sprung out of the essence of God himself, who as a voluntary fountain could bubble them forth when he pleased, who as a father of lights could sparkle and kindle them when he thought best. But that fiction of materia ab aeterno will do them no service at all; for either 'twas produced by God himself, & then it was cre­ated ex nihilo, for God himself was a pure immaterial Spi­rit, and therefore must make matter where none was before; or else it was an Independent eternal being, which makes it another Deity, and that involves a flat repugnancy. There­fore as corporeal and material beings were raised out of no­thing by the infinite vigour and power of God himself, so he can with the very same facility produce spiritual beings out of nothing too. Can he not as well light this Lamp out of nothing, as build the goodly fabrick of the world out of nothing? Cannot a creating breath make a soul as well as a creating word make a world? He that can create the shell of corporeals, cannot he as well create the kernel of spiritu­als? He that created a visible Sun, cannot he as well create an invisible, an intellectual spark? You may hear Aquinas dispu­ting against the Gentiles, & most fully and strongly demon­strating, that God could not be either the materia or forma of any created being, for its not imaginable how the Crea­tor himself should ingredi essentiam creaturae. But his causality is by way of efficiency producing & maintaining beings; the best of creatures are but vasa figuli. Now a vessel, though a vessel of honour, yet it is no piece of the Potters essence, but only the subject of his power and will. One and the same Seal may print all the Wax that's possible, yet there will not be the least mutation in the Seal, but only in the Wax; nor yet doth the Wax at all participate of the seals es­sence, but only receives a stamp and signature made upon it. So that the Seal was as entire and compleat before it had imprinted the Wax, as it was afterwards; and though all [Page 103] the signatures of the Wax were defaced and obliterated, yet the Seal would be as perfect as before.

Thus God, though he leaves prints of himself upon all the souls in the world, nay upon all the beings in the world, yet these impressions are not particles of himself; nor do they make the least mutation in him, only in the creature; for he was as full and perfect before he had printed any one creature, and if the whole impression of creatures were an­nihilated, yet his essence were the same, and he could print more when he pleased, and as many as he pleased. Yet all the entity, goodnesse, and reality, that is to be found in the creature, was totally derived from him, and is transcendent­ly treasured up in him, as the print of the wax, though it be really different from the print of the Seal, yet that very stamp and signature had its being from the Seal, 'twas ver­tually and originally in the Seal; and now gives some re­semblance of it. All created goodnesse was à Deo producta, & à Deo exemplata, (as the Schools speak) though not very elegantly. 'Tis à Deo conservata, & in Deum ordinata, yet all this while 'twas nothing of the essence of a Deity; and indeed it cannot have any of his essence, unlesse it have all of it. He that calls the creature a drop in such a sense, may as well call it a fountain; he that thus termes it a ray of Divinity, may as well call it a Sun, for there are no particles in essentials. All essence 'tis indivisible, how much more the essence of God himself. How fond is the fancy of a semi-Deity, away with the Stoicks [...] here, if this be the meaning of them, who ever heard of fragments in spiritu­als! Dares therefore any absolutely deifie the soul? or make it coëssential or coëqual with God himself? Is not the soul a limited and restrained being? short and imperfect in its operations, a dependent and precarious being; and are these things agreeable to a Deity? Is not the soul natural­ly united to the body for the quickening and enforming of it? and is that a condition fit for a Deity? nay, are not [Page 104] many souls guilty, defiled, miserable beings? and are they all this while spangles of a Deity? They must have very low and dishonourable thoughts of God that make any creature partner or sharer with him in his essence, and they must have high and swelling thoughts of the creature. How proud is that soul that aspires to be a God? Is it not e­nough for a soul to approach unto his God, to see his face, to enjoy his presence, to be like unto him, to be knit unto him, in love and affection? Happinesse doth advance a creature to his just perfection, but it doth not lift it above the sphere of its being. A glorified being, is still a subser­vient and finite being. A soul when in its full brightnesse, yet still is but the Candle of the Lord, let it come as neer as it can, yet it will be infinitely distant from him. Heaven it doth not mix and blend essences together, but keeps them all in their just beauty and proportions; so that take a creature in what condition you will, and 'tis not the least particle of a Deity. There's another Errour, but it's scarce worth mentioning, of some that would have the Candle of the Lord lighted up by Angels, as if they had created the soul; Nay, the Carpocratians thought that all the rest of the world was created by them. But as no secondary being could create it self, so neither can it create any other being. 'Twas no Angelical breath, but the breath of a Deity that gave life to the soul, and 'twas not made after the image of an Angel, but of God himself. Angels and souls both came from the same Almighty Father of spirits, from the same glorious Father of lights, who shewed the greatnesse of his power in raising such goodly beings, not out of himself, but out of nothing.

Whether ever since the first Creation the souls of men be lighted on the same manner immediately by God him­self, by that commanding and efficacious word. [...], let there be light, let there be an intellectu­al Lamp set up in such a creature; or whether it be lighted [Page 105] by the parents? whether one soul can light another? whe­ther one and the same soul may be lighted by two, as a candle is lighted by two? These are the several branches of that great question, which hath been frequently vext and discussed, but scarce ever quieted and determined. The Divines favour the way of creation, the Physicians that of traduction; Nay, Galen tells in plain termes, that the soul is but [...] a meere temper or complexi­on, the right tuning of the body, which is not farre distant from the Fidlers opinion, that Tully speaks of, that would needs have the soul to be an harmony. His soul that plaid him some lessons, and his body danc'd to them. And indeed some of the Physicians are as loath as he was ab arte sua dis­cedere, and therefore they do embody the soul as much as they can, that their skill may extend to the happinesse and welfare of it, as if they could feel the pulse of the soul, and try experiments upon the spirits; as if they could soften and compose the Paroxysme of the minde, and cure all the Languors and distempers of the soul; as if their drugs would work upon immaterial beings; as if they could kill souls as fast as they can kill bodies: as if the Candle of the Lord did depend upon these Prolongers; as though the Lamp would go out, unlesse they pour in some of their oile in­to it. No doubt but there is a mutual communion and in­tercourse between this friendly and espowsed paire, the soul and body; no doubt but there is a loving sympathy and fellow-feeling of one anothers conditions; but 'tis not so strong and powerful, as that they must both live and die together. Yet I speak not this as though the maintaining of the souls traduction did necessarily prejudice the immor­tality of it; for I know there are many learned Doctors amongst them (and Seneca amongst the rest) that are for the souls beginning in a way of generation, and yet do de­test and abominate the least thoughts of its corruption. Nay, some sacred writers contend for the souls traduction, [Page 106] who yet never questioned the perpetuity of it: not only the African father Tertullian, but most of the Western Churches also; and the opinion of Apollinaris and Neme­sius that one spiritual being might propagate another; I have not yet found sufficiently disprov'd, though it be ge­nerally reprehended. The truth is, the original of all formes, 'tis in profundo, 'tis very latent and mysterious; yet the Naturalists must needs acknowledge thus much, that the matter and forme of every thing must have at least an incompleat being before generation; for by that they do not receive any new absolute entity, for then it would be a creation, but the parts are only collected, and disposed, and united by a strict & Gordian knot, by an inward continuity. So that in all such production the materia oritur ex materia, & forma ex forma generantis, and thus formes are conti­nued according to that degree of being, which they had in the first Creation. Now why there should not be such a traditio Lampadis in the souls of men, will not easily be shewn; the nobility and purity of the soul doth not at all hinder this, for there is a proportionable eminency in the soul, that doth produce it▪ One soul prints another with the same stamp of immortality, that it self had engraven upon it. But if any question how an immaterial being can be conveighed in such a seminal way, let him but shew us the manner by which 'tis united to the body, and we will as easily tell him how it entered into it. Yet Hierome was so zealous against this, that he pronounceth a present Anathe­ma, to all such as shall hold the soul to be ex traduce. But Austin was a great deale more calme and pacate; Nay, in­deed he was in this point [...], in a kinde of equipoise and neutrality; and therefore with a gentle breath he did labour to fanne and coole the heat of Hieromes opinion, and putting on all mildnesse and mode­ration, plainly confesses, Se neque legendo, neque or ando, ne­que ratiocinando invenire potuisse quomodo cum Creatione [Page 107] animarum peccatum originale defendatur. It seems he could not solve all those difficulties which the Pelagians raised against original sin, unlesse he held the traduction of the soul. He could not perceive how the Candle should be so soyld, if it were lighted only by a pure Sun-beame fetcht from heaven. Yet that knot (which so skilful and laborious a hand could not unty) some others have easily cut asunder; and indeed there is no such cogency, and prevalency in that argument as can justly promise it self the victory. For the Schoolmen that are strong assertors of the souls creation, do satisfie all such doubts as these. And the major part of modern writers do encline to this, that these Lamps are lighted by God himself, though some indeed do [...], and will determine nothing, as the acute Pemble does among the rest, in his little Tractate De Origine Formarum, and so doth that learned Knight in his late discourse of the soul, where he doth only drop one brief passage that countenan­ces the souls traduction, upon which he that pretends to an­swer him, takes occasion to huddle up no lesse then twenty Arguments against it, which sure he should by number and not by weight. But that Oxford answerer of that Brutish Pamphlet of The Souls Mortality, doth more solidly and de­liberately handle the question, yet being very vehement and intense for the souls Creation, he slips into this error, that the traduction of the soul, is inconsistent with the im­mortality of it. But it may be you had rather hear the votes and suffrages of those ancient heathen writers, that had no­thing to see by but the Candle of the Lord; perhaps you would willingly know what their souls thought of them­selves. You'll believe nature, the universal mother, if she tell you who is the father of spirits. Wee'll begin with Py­thagoras, and he tells you his minde freely and fully, whilest he gives you that piece of leafe-gold in one of his Verses; [...]. Aratus is in the very [Page 108] same streine, and was honoured so farre as to be quoted by an Apostle for it, [...]. But if these seeme somewhat more generally, not exactly pointing out at the soul, the Caldy Oracle will speak more punctually, [...], the Father of spirits by his thought and word, by his commanding breath did kindle this Lamp of the soul, for the quickening and illuminating of such a noble creature. Zoroaster pou­ers it out more at large, and does thus dilate and amplifie it. [...]. O soul (saies he) why do'st thou not aspire, and mount up to the centre and light of glory, to that fountain of beams and brightnesse, from whence thou wert derived, and sent down into the world, cloath'd and apparell'd with such rich and sparkling indowments? The consideration of this made the Divine Trismegist break into that pang of admi­ration, [...]; what womb (saith he) is fit to bear a soul? who is fit to be the father of the soul? what breast is able to nourish a soul? who can make sufficient provision fot a soul, but only that pure and invisible Spirit that shoots them, and darts them into bodies by his own Almighty power? And as the fore­mentioned Author goes on, [...], that is, God the Father of being, the Father of life and nature, did frame and fashion man much like himself, and love him as his proper off-spring; for those words of his, [...] must be ta­ken in an allayed, and tempered sense, (for they must by no means be understood of an equality, but only of a simili­tude). In the very same sense he calls God [...], [Page 109] the Painter and trimmer of the soul; thus representing himself to the life; As for the minde of the Platonists and the Stoicks we have before acquainted you with it, one looks so high, as if a Creation would scarce content them, unlesse they may have it ab aeterno; and the other seem to plead for a traduction and generation of the soul, not from the parents, but from God himself, which makes Epictetus so often mention the affinity and consanguinity of the soul with the Deity; And to use such words as these, [...]; If the Phi­losophers (saies he) speak truth, when they tell us how neer a kin the soul is to God; why then doth such a soul streight­en and confine it self? why doth it contract and imprison so vast an essence? why does it look upon some spot of ground, with such a partial and peculiar affection? why doth it love the smoke of its earthly coun [...]rey, [...]; why does it not rather warm it self in the flame of its heavenly original? why does such an one stile himself an Athenian, a Corinthian, a Lacedemonian? why does he not rather think that he hath a whole world within him? why does he not summe up all his happinesse in this great and honourable title, that he is the Son of God? and thus you see [...] will be the same with Socrates his [...]; and the words you see will passe currantly in this sense; But yet (if we may take the liberty of a con­jecture) I am ready to think that the first negative particle doth intrude it self too unseasonably, against the drift and meaning of the place, and therefore is to be refused and rejected; so that whereas the words were printed thus, [...]; read [...], and then they will run thus, Quid se [Page 110] mundanum vocat, cur non potius filium Dei? why doth he think himself a worldling, why doth he measure himself by earth, if he were born of heaven? where yet you may per­ceive that the Philosopher ascribes that to the first [...] which is due only to the [...] to be called a Son of God. Nay, which indeed is due only to the [...], to the only begotten Son of God. Thus Philo the Jew (too Stoical in this) calls souls [...], which is the ve­ry same title, that the Apostle applies to God himself; and Plotinus gives as much to the soul as the Arrians did to Christ, for he calls it [...], which Plato stiled [...]; but Epictetus he goes on to keep [...], much in the Language of the Oracle, [...]: by [...] it can mean nothing else but God himself, the Father of spirits, and these [...] are such love-to­kens as he has left with the sonnes of men to engage their affections to him. These Symbols are the very same which Moses calls the image of God; those representations of himself which he has scattered and sown in the being of man; as this word [...] does imply, which made the wise Grecian Thales conclude [...], that all men were bre­thren born of the same supreme being, that did educate and instruct them; this teaching is the same which the Persian Magi call'd a divine inebriation, [...], it was replete [...], you see then, that the joynt consent of the Chaldeans, Egyptians, Persians, Gre­cians; was for the creation of the soul; and if you desire more testimonies from them, you may consult with Eugubin in his learned work de perenni Philosophia, where you shall [Page 111] meet with whole heaps of them. But as for Aristotles opi­nion, you know that his custome was, when he could not beat out a notion into a rational account fairly to passe it by, and not to piece it out with such fabulous inventions, as Plato did abound withall; and though it is like he did often dispute this question in his thoughts, yet he makes no so­lemne entrance upon it in his works, but only toucheth it occasionally, and scatters a passage or two; that seeme very clearly to acknowledge the creation of it: for (not to speak of the place in his morals, where he calls the soul [...], I shal only commend unto you those ful and pregnant words in his two books de generatione anima­lium, the words are these [...], he had but a little before evinced that the sensitive, and vegetative souls were con­veighed in a seminal way, like a couple of sparks, they were struck ex potentia materiae; but (sayes he) the rational, that came [...] ex altiori sede, as Seneca speaks, the window of heaven was open'd, and present light sprung in, for the compleating of those former rudiments and prepa­rations; the misunderstanding of this [...], did it may be occasion, but it did at least corroborate the phan­cy of an Angels being an Intellectus Agens; yet Simplicius that known Interpreter of Aristotle does expound it of the souls creation, [...], as he speaks; and this which Aristotle here calls [...], Psellus the Philosopher stiles [...], Plato termed it [...], the Sy­bils call'd it [...], some others [...], still conspiring with this of Solomons, the Candle of the Lord; and Seneca, (setting aside his Stoicisme) has very gallant and brave apprehensions of the souls nobi­lity, [Page 112] and tels us that it was haustus ex divina origine, which Tully, thus varies, ex mente divina decerptus, souls, like so many flowers, were cropt and gathered out of the garden of God; and were bound up in fasciculo viventium, in the bundle of the living: and if you will but attend to the noble Oratour and Philosopher; you shall hear him thus plead­ing for the souls divinity. Animorum nulla in terris origo inveniri po [...]est; nihil enim est in animo mixtum atque con­cretum, aut quod è terra natum; atque fixum esse videatur: nihilque aut humidum quidem, aut flabile, aut igneum, his enim in Naturis nihil inest, quod memoriae vim, mentis, co­gitationis habeat; quod & preterita teneat, & futura praevi­deat, & complecti possit praesentia, quae sola divina sunt, nec evincetur unquam unde ad hominem venire possunt nisi à Deo; singular is igitur quaedam est natur a atque vis animi, se­juncta ab his usitatis notisque naturis; it a quicquid est illud quod sentit, quod serpit, quod vult, quod viget, coeleste & divinum est; ob eam rem aeternum sit necesse est; which I shall thus render. 'Tis in vain to look for the souls parent­age upon earth, for there is no mixing and blending of spi­rituals with corporeals, the earth doth not contribute, for the fixing and consolidating of them; 'tis no aëry puff will suffice for the swiftnesse and nimblenesse of their moti­on; no drops of water will quench their thirst and long­ings; they have a purer light and heat, then could ever be fetcht from an elementary spark, in those humble and sor­did beings, there's nothing fit to represent, much lesse to produce the clasping and retentive power of memory; the masculine and vigorous working of the minde; the refined and comprehensive vertue of those thoughts, that can recall and look back to things past, that can interpret, and com­ment upon all present objects, and with a Prophetical glance can spy out futurities and possibilities, which are works not unworthy of a Deity, nor can it e're be shewn that such rare priviledges should be communicated to humane nature any [Page 113] other way then by the immediate bounty and indulgence of heaven; there being such singular and inimitable idioms in the minde of man as could neverbe extracted from those ordinary and vulgar entities. Though a sensitive soul may creep upon the ground, though it may roll and tumble it self in the dust, yet an intellectual being scornes to look low­er then heaven it self; and though it be dated in time, yet it means to live as long as eternity. The Poets had veiled and mufled up the same opinion in their mythology, whiles they tell us that Prometheus, (which is all one with provi­dence) did work and fashion the bodies of men out of clay, but he was fain to steal fire from heaven for the quickening and enlivening them with souls, which made the Prince of Poets sing Igneus est ollis vigor & Coelestis origo, and Ovid supplies him with a short verse, Sedibus aetheris Spiritus ille venit. How often do you meet with this in Homer, that God is the Father of spirits, [...], the Father of Angelical beings and of the souls of men; which Virgil renders hominum Sator atque deorum. Yet all this while I know not whether you can, I am sure I cannot, suf­ficiently perceive that the generality of the Heathen did think that every soul was immediately created by God him­self, but only that at the first there was bestowed more then ordinary workmanship upon them, which they knew princi­pally by those generous motions wch they found working in their own souls; and partly by some reliques of Mosaical History, that was scatter'd amongst them. Thus then I have represented unto you, as indifferently as I can, the state of this great controversie; and though I could easily tell you which part I do most easily encline to; yet I shall rather re­fer it to your own thoughts, with this intimation, that a mo­dest hesitancy may be very lawful here; for if you will be­lieve Gregory the Great, he tells you it's a question which cannot be determined in this life. However 'tis enough for us that the spirit of a man either by vertue of its constant crea­tion, [Page 114] or by vertue of its first creation is the candle of the Lord.

As the soul is the shadow of a Deity, so reason also is a weak and faint resemblance of God himself, whom there­fore that learned Emperour M. Antoninus calls [...], 'tis God that plants reason, 'tis he that wa­ters it, 'tis he that gives it an increase, [...], the title of [...] belongs to Christ himself, in whom are hid the treasures of wisdome and knowledge. Reason first danc'd and triumpht in those eternal Sun-beams, in the thoughts of God himself, who is the fountain and original of Reason. And as his will is the rule of goodnesse, so his understanding is the rule of Reason. For God himself is a most knowing and intellectual being, he is the first mover of entity, and does determinatè ten­dere in aliquem [...]inem, which speaks an intelligent agent; he does propound most choice designes, and blessed ends to himself, and is not that a work of Reason? he does con­trive, and dispose, and order means for accomplishing of them, and doth not that require understanding? He makes all beings instrumental and subordinate to him, he moves all inferiour wheels in a regular manner; he moves all the spheres of second causes in a harmonical way; such blinde entities as want intellectual eyes, he himself doth lead them, and conduct them▪ and to others he gives an eye for their guidance and direction. Now, he that hath fram'd an intellectual eye, shall not he see? he that hath cloathed the soul with light as with a garment, shall not he much more be cloathed himself with a fuller and purer brightnesse? In that which we esteem reason amongst men, there are many clouds and blemishes, many dark spots and wrinkles, that are scattered and conquered by this more glorious light. The soul 'tis fain to climb up and ascend to knowledge by several steps and gradations, but his understanding is all at the same height and eminency; Mans reason is fain to spend [Page 115] time in knitting a proposition, in spinning out a Syllo­gisme, in weaving a demonstration; but he is infinitely be­yond, and above these first draughts and rudiments of knowledge; he sees all [...], at the first opening of his eye from everlasting, with one intellectual glance, he pierceth into the whole depth of Entity, into all the di­mensions of being. Mans understanding is fain to borrow a Species from the object which presents to the minde the picture and portraicture of it self, and strikes the intellectu­al eye with a colour suitable and proportionable to it: But the divine understanding never receives the least tincture from an object, no species ab extra, but views all things in the pure Crystal of his own essence, he does not at all see himself in the glasse of the creatures, as we see him, but he sees creatures in the glasse of his own being, how else should he see them from everlasting, before they were extant, be­fore they were visible by any Species of their own? God therefore doth primarily and principally look upon him­self, for he is nobilissimum intelligibile, he cannot have a more beautiful and satisfying object to look upon, then his own face, [...] is an object fit to enamour all understanding: for the more any being is abstracted from materiality, the more 'tis refin'd from material con­ditions, the more graceful and welcome it is to the under­standing; for matter does cloud and darken the glosse of being; it doth eclipse an object, and is no friend to intel­ligibility. So that God being a pure and immaterial spirit must needs be praestantissimum intelligibile, and a most ade­quate object for his own eye to look upon. And this un­derstanding is himself, it being actio immanens, alwayes dwelling with him, Dei scientia est Dei essentia, (as the Schoolmen speak) God is [...], he is both all eye, and all light; as suppose the bright body of the Sun had a visive faculty, so as it could view and sur­veigh [Page 116] its own light and beams, and could by vertue of them look upon all other things, which its own light does unveil, and discover, 'twould then give some languishing adum­bration of a Deity, who is alwayes looking upon his own perfections, and seeing creatures by his own light, by his own uncreated beams. For Species & similitudo omnium est in Dei essentia. Thus God looking upon his own omnipo­tency, knows all possibilities; viewing his own determina­tions, he sees all futurities; looking upon his own wisdome he beholds all varieties, all degrees and differencies of be­ing, which yet put not the least shadow of difference in him, because the excellencies of all beings are treasured up in him only by way of transcendency, not per modum compo­sitionis, sed per modum perfectionis (as the Schools have it.) So that when God beholds all created beings by vertue of his own essence, yet you must not imagine that the forma­lity of a creature is conteined in an uncreated being, but only that there is enough of being there to give a represen­tation of all being whatsoever. As when a glasse reflects a face, there's not the least mutation in the glasse, much lesse is the face any part of the glasses essence; though the glasse give a sufficient resemblance of it. Yet herein there's this disparity, that the glasse of Gods essence did represent a creature, before any created face could look into it; for God looking upon himself from eternity, did then know quot moàis aliquid assimilari potuit ipsius essentiae, and did know how farre such a being would imitate his essence, and how farre it would fall short of it. He saw that this being would come neerer, that that being would be more distant and re­mote from him; this picture would be liker him, that would shew very little of him. Now the actuality and ex­istence of such an object is not requisite to the understand­ing of it, for how then could we conceive of the privation of a not Entity? How can we otherwise apprehend them, then by framing the notion of something positive in our [Page 117] mindes, and supposing a total deficiency from it? Thus as they use to speak, Rectum est index sui & obliqui; & nobi­lissimum in unoquoque genere est mensura, & exemplar reli­quorum, that first and supreme being by the great example and patern of himself, can judge of all inferiour and imper­fect beings. Nor could he see them ab aeterno any other­wise then in himself, there being nothing else eternal, but himself, and in himself he could clearly see them as we see effects in their cause. All created beings were emi­nently contained in the Centre of one indivisible essence, who by his infinite vertue was to produce them all, who being an intelligent Centre did see those several lines that might be drawn from him, and withall, being a free and a voluntary Centre, did know how many lines he meant to draw from himself. Now you know amongst men, a de­monstration à priori, is esteemed most certain and scientifi­cal, Scire est per causas cognoscere. God thus knew crea­tures, perfectly knowing himself, who was the first cause of them all; This doth much speak the immutability of the eternal reason and wisdome in the minde of God, and doth remove all imperfections from it: For you see, he did not move in an axiomatical way, per compositionem & divisi­onem; for he saw things by his own uncompounded and in­divisible essence; much lesse did his knowledge improve it self in a syllogistical way, deducing and collecting one thing out of another: This is the Schoolmens meaning▪ when they tell us cognitio Dei non est ratiocinativa, that is, non est discursiva. They that will light a candle may strike such sparks, but the Sunne and Starres want no such light. Angels are above Syllogismes, how much more is God himself? Nay, even amongst men, first principles are above disputings, above demonstrations; now all things are more naked in respect of God himself, then common notions are to the sight of men. 'Tis a motus testudineus, a tardy▪ and tedious work, a fetching a compasse, to gather one [Page 118] thing out of another; 'Tis the slow pace of a limited under­standing. But there's no succession in God, not in the knowledge of God. There's no prius & posterius, no pre­misses or conclusions; no transitus ab uno ad aliud, no exter­num medium, for he does not cognoscere per aliud medium à seipso distinctum, there's a compleat simultaneity in all his knowledge, his essence is altogether, and so is his know­ledge; plurality of objects will confound a finite under­standing, for they must be presented by different Species, and a created eye cannot exactly view such different faces at once, such several pictures at once. The under­standing sometimes loses it self in a croud of objects; and when such a multitude comes thronging upon it, it can scarce attend to any of them. But God seeing them all per unicam speciem, per unicam operationem, takes notice of them all with an infinite delight and facility. For he loves to attend to his own essence, which doth so admirably repre­sent them all; hence his knowledge is alwayes in act, be­cause his essence is a pure act; Humane understandings have much of their knowledge stor'd up in habits, but there are no habits in a Deity, for knowledge is dormant in a ha­bit, but his understanding never slumbers nor sleeps: There's no potentiality in him, but he's alwayes in ultima perfectione, he is semper in actu intelligendi, as Sol is semper in actu lucendi. Humane understandings are faine to un­bend themselves sometimes, as if they were faint and wea­ry, but Divinity is alwayes vigorous, and Eternity can ne­ver languish. The understanding of God thus being fill'd with light, his Will also must needs be rational, non caeca, sed oculata notitia. This makes the Schoolmen very well de­termine, that though there cannot be causa divinae volun­tatis; yet there may be assign'd ratio divinae voluntatis. There can be no cause of his Will, for then there would be a cause of his Essence, his Will being all one with his Essence; but there cannot be causa prior primâ. Yet [Page 119] this account may be given of his Will, that bonum intelle­ctum est fundamentum voliti, so that as God does primarily intelligere seipsum, so he does understand other things, only per seipsum, so likewise he does principally and necessarily velle seipsum, and does will other things secondarily, and out of choice, propter seipsum. And as God hath set all other beings a longing after the perfections and conservations of their own beings, and has in a special manner stampt upon a rational nature an intellectual appetite of its own well-fare and happinesse, so as that it cannot but propound an ulti­mate scope and end to it self, and bend and direct all its de­sires for the hitting and attaining of it; so he himself also sets up himself, as the most adequate and amiable end of all his workings and motions, and does bend the whole creati­on, does shoot every being, and order it to his own glory. Now how rational is that Will of his that does chiefly fix it self upon the fairest good, and wills other things only as they are subservient to it, Deus vult bonitatem suam tan­quam finem, & vult omnia alia tanquam media ad finem. Out of the intense and vehement willing of himself, he wills also some prints and resemblances of himself. The beauty of his own face, of his own goodnesse is so great▪ as that he loves the very picture of it; And because one picture cannot sufficiently expresse it, therefore he gives such various and numerous representations of it. As when men cannot expresse their minde in one word, they are wil­ling to rhetoricate and inlarge themselves into more. God doth give many similitudes of himself, for the greater expli­cation of his own essence. His essence in it self not being capable of augmentation or multiplications, he loves to see some imitations and manifestations of it, to make known his own power & perfection in a way of causality. Now the understanding of God being so vast and infinite, and his will being so commensurate and proportion'd to it, nay all one with it; all those Decrees of his that are the Eternal pro­duct [Page 120] and results of his minde and will, must needs be ratio­nal also; For in them his understanding and will met toge­ther, his truth and goodnesse kissed each other. And though these Decrees of God must be resolved into his absolute su­premacy and dominion, yet that very sovereignty of his is founded upon so much reason, and does act so wisely and intelligently, as that no created understanding can justly question it, but is bound obediently to adore it. The pro­secution and application of these Decrees, 'tis accompani­ed with the very same wisdome and reason; for what's Pro­vidence but oculus in sceptro, a rational guiding and ruling all affairs in the world, 'tis ipsa ratio divina in summo prin­cipe constituta; 'tis ratio ordinandorum in finem, that which in man is called prudence, in God is called Providence; the right tuning and regulating of all circumstances, and ma­king them to conspire & contribute to his own end & glory. And if man could but rightly interpret and comment upon Providence, what fresh discoveries, what bright displayings of divine reason would they all continually meet withall? what shinings and sparklings of divine wisdome are there in some remarkable providential passages? You that are most acquainted with the wayes of God; tell us if you did ever finde any thing unreasonable in them. Enquire still more into his dealings, and you'll see more of reason in them. Could you search deeper into the rich mine of his counsel, you would still meet with more precious veines of wisdome. The depths of his counsels, what are they but the very pro­foundnesse of his reason? [...] they are [...]. And whensoever this secret counsel of his issues out and bubles forth, it is in most rational manifestations. His commands are all rational, his word is the very pith and marrow of reason. His Law is the quickening and waken­ing of mens reason; his Gospel, 'tis the flowing out of his own reason; 'tis the quintessence of wisdome from a­bove; His spirit is a rational agent; the motions of the [Page 121] holy Ghost are rational breath; the revelations of the holy Ghost, a rational light, as rational as a demonstration: the Apostle calls them so. As when the Spirit of God over­powers the will, it makes a willingnesse there, where there was an absolute nolency, an obstinate refusal before. So when it over-powers the minde, it makes it understand that which it did not, which it could not understand before. Spi­ritual irradiations stamp new light, create new reason in the soul; Nothing comes to man with the superscription of a Deity, but that which hath upon it some signature of wisdome. God himself is an intelligent worker in his deal­ing with all beings, how much rather in his dealing with rational beings? By all this you see that God himself is the Eternal spring and head of reason. And that humane wis­dome is but a created and an imperfect copy of his most perfect and original wisdome.

Now Philosophy could dictate thus much, [...]. God loves to see such a no­ble creature as man is, to follow and imitate him in his rea­son. Omnia intendunt assimilari Deo, as the Schoolmen have it. Now men cannot be more assimilated unto God, then by moving as intelligent agents. Does God himself work according to reason from eternity to eternity? And has he made a creature in time, whose very essence is reason? Why then does it not open its eyes? why does it not use its lamp? and though it cannot discover all, yet let it discern as much as it can. Let it not act in the choicest points of religion, out of blinde and implicit principles, and huddle up its chiefest operations in I know not what confused and obscure and undigested manner. This neither becomes sons of light, nor works of light. The more men exercise reason, the more they resemble God himself, who has but few crea­tures that can represent him in so bright an excellency as this; only Angels and men; and therefore he expects it [Page 122] the more from them. And the more they exercise their own reason, the more they will admire and adore his; For none can admire reason but they that use some reason them­selves. And this may suffice for the first particular, that The Candle of the Lord 'tis lumen derivatum, it was first lighted at a Sun-beam.

The light of Reason is a Diminutive light.

THis Candle of the Lord, 'tis Lumen tenue & diminu­tum. A Lamp is no such dazling object. A Candle has no such goodly light, as that it should pride and glory in it. 'Tis but a brief and compendious flame, shut up, and imprison'd in a narrow compasse. How farre distant is it from the beauty of a Starre? How farre from the bright­nesse of a Sun? This Candle of the Lord when it was first lighted up, before there was any thief in it, even then it had but a limited and restrained light. God said unto it, Thus farre shall thy Light go. Hither shalt thou shine, and no far­ther. Adam in innocency was not to crown himself with his own sparks. God never intended that a creature should rest satisfied with its own candle-light, but that it should run to the fountain of light, and sunne it self in the presence of its God. What a poor happinesse had it been for a man, on­ly to have enjoyed his own Lamp? Could this ever have been a beatifical vision? Could this light ever have made a heaven fit for a soul to dwell in? The sparkling Seraphims and glittering Cherubims (if it were possible that the face of God should be eclipsed from them, that they should have no light, but that which shines from their own essences) Blacknesse, and darknesse, and gloominesse, a totall and fa­tal Eclipse, a present and perpetual night would rush in up­on [Page 123] them, if the heaven were fuller of Stars then it is, and if this lower part of the world were adorned and illuminated with as many Lamps as 'tis capable of, yet would they ne­ver be able to supply the absence of one Sun. Their united light would not amount to so much as to make up one day, or one moment of a day. Let Angels and men contribute as much light as they can, let them knit and concentricate their beams; yet neither Angelical Star-light, nor the sons of men with their Lamps and Torches could ever make up the least shadow of glory, the least appearance of heaven: the least fringe of happinesse. Lucifer that needs would be an Independent light that would shine with his own beams, you know that he presently sunk and fell into perpetual darknesse. And Adams Candle aspiring to be a Sun, has burnt the dimmer ever since. God taking notice of it, and spying him in the dust; Lo (saies he) here lies the spark, that would needs become a God. There lies the glow­worm that would needs become a Sun. Man is become like one of us, yet notwithstanding Adams light at first was a pure light, till he had soild it, 'twas a Virgin-light till he had deflower'd it. The breath that God breath'd into him was very precious and fragrant, till he had corrupted it. [...] the spirit of Adam (if we should render the words so) 'twas in a special manner [...] Lucerna Domini, when God raised this goodly structure of man out of no­thing, he built it most compleatly and proportionably; he left it in statu integro & perfecto, for you cannot imagine that any obliquity, or irregularity should come from so ac­curate an hand as his was; when God printed the whole creation, there were no errata to be found, no blots at all. Every letter was faire and lovely, though some first and ca­pital letters were flourisht more artificially then others; Other inferiour creatures would serve like so many conso­nants, but men were the vowels, or rather the diphthongs to praise him both in soul and body. When God first tun'd [Page 124] the whole creation, every string, every creature praised him; but man was the sweetest and loudest of the rest, so that when that string apostatized, and fell from its first tuning, it set the whole creation a jarring. When God first planted the soul of man, it was the garden of God himself, his spiri­tual Eden, he lov'd to walk in it; 'twas full of the fairest and choicest flowers, of the most precious and delicious fruits; 'twas water'd with all the fresh springs of heavenly influ­ence: No weeds, nor briers, nor thornes to be found there. The understanding, that tree of knowledge was very tall and stately, and reaching up to heaven. There was in man a cognitio plena & lucida, as the Schoolmen speak; clara & fixa contemplatio intelligibilium. The eye of the soul 'twas quick and clear, 'twas strong and fixt, God tried it by him­self, by a Sun-beam, and found it genuine. How presently did Adam by this spy out the stamps and signatures that were upon the several creatures? when by an extempora­ry facility, he gave them such names as should interpret and comment upon their essences (nay according to the School­mens determinations) man in this his primitive condition, habuit scientiam omnium natur aliter scibilium. As God framed him an elegant body, at its full height and stature, (though not with his head reaching up to heaven, as some did ridiculously phancy) so he gave him also a comely and amiable soul at its just [...] endowed with all natural ac­complishments and perfections; his Dove-like spirit dwelt in a spotlesse and beautiful temple. This makes the Prote­stant Divines very well determine, that pronitas ad malum non fluit ex principiis naturae integrae; for it would be a thought too injurious to the God of Nature, to imagine he should frame evill. Yet some of the Papists and some others do constantly affirm, that such a rational being as man is, con­sidered in pur is natur alibus, will have an unavoydable pro­pensity unto evil, ex necessaria materiae conditione, and they bring forth such bold words as these. Deum non posse cre­are [Page 125] hominem ex anima rationali, & materiali sensibili com­positum, quin praeter divinam intentionem, homo it à constitu­tus habeat praecipitem inclinationem ad sensibilia, their meaning is this, by reason of that intimate and essential con­junction of the sensitive powers with the intellectual, there must needs arise some ataxy and confusion in the being of man, and too great a favouring of sensitive objects, unlesse that inferiour part of the soul be restrained supernaturali quodam fraeno (as they speak;) and say they, it was thus chain'd up in a state of innocency, but now being let loose, 'tis ex­treamly wilde and unruly. How derogatory is this from the goodnesse and power of Gods creation, and from that ac­curate harmony and immaculate beauty that were to be found in such a noble being as man was in his native and o­riginal condition? nec fraenum nec calcar desiderabatur, for there was a just and regular tendency without the least swerving or deviation. There was no such tardity in the sensitive part as should need a spurre; nor yet any such im­petuousnesse and violence as should require a bridle. This indeed must be granted, that upon the knitting and uniting of such a soul to such a body, of sensitives to intellectuals, there will naturally follow, respectus & inclinatio ad sensi­bilia; and this is not praeter, sed secundùm intentionem di­vinam; but that this should be praeceps, rebellis, & inordinata inclinatio, is so farre from being necessary, as that 'tis plain­ly contra-natural. For this sensitive appetite of man, is born sub regno rationis, and so is to be govern'd sceptro ra­tionis. By this golden Scepter, it was peaceably rul'd in a state of innocency. Anima non aggravata erat à corpore, (as the Schoolmen say) the body though it was not beauti­fied and clarified in the same measure that a glorified body is; yet it was dutiful and obedient, and every way serviceable to the soul. The sensitive powers were not factious, but were willingly subject to the higher powers, to the intelle­ctuals. The first bublings of the soul were pure and crysta­line, [Page 126] and streamed out very freely and fluently without any murmuring, without any wavering, without any foam­ing. There were no violent motions, no violent perturbati­ons which since have made such insurrections in the soul, and with their importunate breath endeavour as much as they can, to blow out this intellectual Lamp, this light of reason. There were nullae passiones, quae respiciunt malum, (as the School tells us.) There was no slavish fear to bespeak and antedate grief. There was no palenesse to be seen, no tremblings nor shiverings, no tears nor sighs, no blushes nor the least tincture of shame. Paradise it had so much of the Lily, as 't had nothing of the Rose, yet there were isti [...]smo­di passiones quae ordinantur ad bonum. Joy would dance and leap sometimes, love would embrace and twine about its dearest good; such pure and noble affections as live and dwell in the breasts of glorified beings were not banisht and excluded from this state of integrity. The Poëts shadowed out this happy time in their golden age, though they mixe some drosse in the description of it. Now man being con­stituted in this state of natural rectitude, his Candle shining clearly, his will following cheerfully, his affections com­plying most suitably, a sudden cloud presently rusht upon him, and blotted all his glory. And as the Orator stiled that Roman Magistrate, that was suddenly turned out of his place, Consul vigilantissimus, because he did not sleep all the time of his Consulship (for he continued but a day in it) In the very same sense, and only in this sense, man also was vigilantissimus in honore, in the Psalmists language [...] non per noctabit, he would not abide in honour, he did not lodge one night in honour. Though I am farre from laying such stresse upon those words, as they do, that will needs from thence measure the time so exactly, as that they'll tell you to a minute how long Adam enjoyed his first glory: This only we are sure of, it was a very brief and transient happinesse, a fading and withering glory; he had wasted [Page 127] his Oile presently, and the Lamp was going out, but that God dropt fresh oile into it, by the promise of a Messiah. The Schoolmen are very solicitous & desirous to know how Adams understanding being in vigore viridi could be en­tangled in such a snare, and deluded with such a miserable fallacy. Aquinas for his part determines hominem in primo statu decipi non potuisse, which yet is altogether unconcel­vable, for how could he fall unlesse his head declin'd? 'Tis not very easily perceptible at any time; how there can be defectus in voluntate, and yet not Error in Intellectu, much lesse can we tell how this should come to passe, when the will was so obediently disposed ad nutum intellectûs, when it gave such observance to all the commands and dictates of the understanding, as that did in a state of innocency. And to resolve the whole anomaly and irregularity of that first prevarication, only into the wills untowardnesse; what is it else then to say that Adam sinned ex mera malitia, contra claritatem judicii; which is to entertain a thought very groundlesse, uncharitable, and dishonourable to the first root of mankinde, and to make his transgression of the same dye with those damned Angelical spirits that were thrown into irrecoverable misery. Therefore Zanchy, that was one of the most scholastical amongst the Protestants, doth most judiciously conclude, that the understanding of Adam was defective in its office, by a negligent non-atten­dency. The eye was clear enough, the bowe was strong e­nough, but it was not vigilant enough, it was not bent e­nough; the balance was not deceitful, but he forgot to weigh things in it. Now man by this fall of his was not on­ly spoliatus supranatur alibus, but also vulneratus in ipsis naturalibus. How soon is this beautiful creature withered! his spring is gone, his May is gone, his glosse and greennesse gone; the flower droops, the tree is neither so flourishing nor so fruitful, an untimely and disconsolate Autumne comes upon him. Thus the purest complexions are alwayes [Page 128] most fraile and brittle. Thus the highest conditions are most tottering and precipitious, and the noblest perfecti­ons, if built only upon natures bottome, are but voluble and uncertaine. There arises a sudden [...], a pre­sent [...], in the being of man. The Philosophers were very sensible of it, and groaned under it. You may hear them complaining of the [...], of the languishings and faintings of the soul, of a [...], a spurious and adulterate kinde of reason. You may hear them complaining of an [...] & [...], a defluvium pennarum. The wings of the soul flag, many of the feathers are sick and drop away. And that soul which was wont to build its nest in the Starres, is now faine to build it in the dust. You may hear one Philosopher complaining of the [...], his head, his understand­ing akes; another of the [...], his eye, his reason is dimm'd; a third of the [...], the palpitatio cordis, his soul trembles with doubts and uncertainties. You may see one grasping a cloud of Errors, another spending much of his time in untying some one knot, in solving some one difficulty; you may see some one pleasing himself, and sit­ting down in the shadow of his own opinion, another bend­ing all his nerves and endeavours, and they presently snap asunder. You may see Socrates in the twilight, and lament­ing his obscure and benighted condition, and telling you that his Lamp will shew him nothing but his own darknesse. You may see Plato sitting down by the waters of Lethe, and weeping because he could not remember his foormer notions. You may hear Aristotle bewailing himself thus, that this [...] will so seldome come into act, that his abrasa tabula has so few, and such imperfect impressi­ons upon it, that his intellectuals are at so low an ebbe, as that the motions of Euri [...]us will pose them. You hear Ze­no [Page 129] complaining that his [...] is dark, and Epictetus confes­sing that he had not the right ansa, the true apprehension of things; look upon the Naturalists head and you'll see it non­plust with an occult quality, feel the Moralists pulse, (his conscience I mean) and you'll finde it beating very slowly, very remissely; look upon the most speculative Eagles that stare the Sun in the face, that fly highest in contemplation, those that love to sport and play in the light; yet at length you may see the Sun striking them thorow with one of his glorious darts, and chastizing their inquisitive eyes with one of his brightest beams. The Sun 'tis ready to put out this Candle of the Lord, if it make too neer approaches to it. Humane understandings are glad to wink at some dazling objects, as vehemens sensibile doth destruere sensum: so ve­hemens intelligibile doth perstringere intellectum. For in all knowledge there's required a due proportion between the objectum cognoscibile, and the virtus cognoscitiva, but when the several powers and faculties of the soul lost that comely proportion which they had amongst themselves, they lost also much of that correspondency and conformity which they had to their several objects. And the soul besides its own losse, had a share in the bodies losse also: for the body wanting much of that accurate and elegant composure which once it had, knowledge it self must needs be preju­dic'd by it; that being amongst men founded in sense, and in some measure depending upon organical dispositions. So that the streitning and stopping of these windows, must needs prohibit light. Sin entred in first at a corporeal, then at an intellectual window, and stole away the heart; and the windows have been broken ever since. I know the ge­nerality of Philosophers do partly excuse the understand­ing, and do blame the objects for their exility and poverty, for their little diminutive Entity, for their want of intelli­gibility. But the subtil Scotus doth endeavour to invalidate, that by telling them, that omnia eâdem facilitate intelli­guntur [Page 130] à Deo. Thus much is evident and undeniable, that the spying out of a little lurking object, doth argue the strength, and quicknesse, and clearnesse of the eye. The Sun discovers atomes, though they be invisible by candle­light, yet that makes them dance naked in his beams. Crea­ted understandings want spectacles to augment and majo­rate some objects. But the soul never meets with more dif­ficulty then in the understanding of spiritual beings, al­though they have most of Entity, and so most of intelligi­bility. Yet the soul being imprison'd in a body not suffici­ently clarified and refined, cannot so fully close and com­ply with incorporeal beings. This Candle of the Lord will discover more of spirituals when 'tis took out of the Lant­horne in statu separato, or when 'tis put into a clearer in statu consummato. But for the present how little doth it know of it self? How little of Angels? How little of God? And yet how much might be known of them? Look but a while, (if you can endure to look) upon so unlovely and un­pleasant an object, I mean upon those black and prodigious Errors, that cover and bespot the face of these times. And they'll soon convince you of the weaknesse and dimnesse of this Lamp-light of the spirit of a man. The Candle of the Lord, though it be amongst them, yet 'tis not so powerful as to scatter and conquer their thick and palpable darkness. 'Tis not an easie, nor a sudden, nor a delightful work to num­ber so many errors, yet if I could reckon them up all, from the blundering Antinomian, to the vagabond Seeker, or the wild Seraphick, set on fire of hell, they would all serve for so many fatal examples of the miserable weaknes of mens un­derstanding. 'Tis true, they do not follow the Candle of the Lord, for then reason would have guided them better. But this very consideration shewes the weaknesse of their can­dle-light, for if it had been a brighter 'twould not have been so soon put out. 'Tis easie to blow out a candle, but who can put out a Starre? or who can extinguish the Sun? And [Page 131] men can shut up natural light, but who can imprison a Star? or who can shut up the Sun? This faint and languishing candle-light does not alwayes prevaile upon the will, it doth not sufficiently warme and inflame the affections. Men do not use to warme their hands at a candle, 'tis not so vi­ctorious and over-powerings as to scatter all the works of darknesse. It will be night for all the candle; the Mo­ralists were not only frigid in their devotions, but some of them were very dissolute in their practises. When you think upon these things, sure you'll willingly sub­scribe to the forementioned particular, which you may do very safely, that the spirit of a man 'tis but a Candle. Lu­men exile & diminutum.

The light of Reason discovers present, not future things.

'TIs lumen explicans praesentia, non aperiens futura, for did you ever hear of such a Lamp as would disco­ver an object, not yet born nor yet in being? Would you not smile at him that should light up a Candle to search for a futurity? 'Tis the glorious prerogative of the Divine un­derstanding, to have such a fair, and open, and unlimited prospect, as that in one glorious twinkling of an intellectu­al eye, he can see the whole compasse and extent, and lati­tude of being; and the whole duration of being▪ for Eter­nity at one draught doth swallow up the whole fluency of time, and is infinitely above those temporal conditions of past, present, and to come; Nullum tempus occurrit Regi, (say the Lawyers) Nullum tempus occurrit Deo, say the Phi­losophers. An intellectual Sun, doth not occidere, & redi­re, but makes one bright and perpetual day, and by its pure [Page 132] and uninterrupted irradiations, doth paraphrase, and com­ment upon all objects, so as to uncloud and reveale the most obscure contingency, and to make it present, and naked, and visible. For as the Schoolmen tell us, Scientia Dei ad om­nia presentialiter se habet, His knowledge being all one with his essence, without the least shadow of change. Inso­much as that which with men is a futurity and contingency, with him is alwayes present and extant; which speaks for the certainty and infallibility of his prescience, though it be conversant about such things, as seeme to us most casual and fortuitous. For even we our selves know these things certainly, when they are in act, and in being, because that then they lose their volubility and contingency, and put on reality and necessity: according to that unquestionable rule, Omne quod est quando est necesse est esse, a contingency when 'tis extra suas causas, when 'tis actualy produc'd having a determinatum esse, it may then also have a determinate cog­noscibility. Now God always thus sees a contingency in ter­mino, in eventu, in periodo; whereas created understandings look upon it, in medio, in motu, in itinere. Nay such is the po­verty & imperfection of mans knowledge, that many things which are in their own nature necessary and demonstrable; yet perhaps they know them, per modum probabilitatis & per modum ncecessitatis. But such is the height & transcendency of the Divine understanding, as that such things as are in their own natures most dubious and hovering between esse and non esse; yet God knows even these per modum infalli­bilem, and plainly perceives which way they will encline, when men see only an equipoise and neutrality. So that the whole rise of contingency flows from the wavering of se­cond causes. And though scientia Dei be causa rerum; yet being but causa remota, it doth not take away contingency; But God himself sees that some things will evenire contin­genter: For he doth not only cognoscere res, but ordinem & modum rerum. And knows that there are some causae inter­mediae, [Page 133] mediae, which are impedibiles and defectibiles (as the School­men speak somewhat rudely) and by vertue of these, there arises a contingency. Thus in a Syllogisme, though the major be necessary, yet if the minor be contingent, the con­clusion will be so also, and will sequi deteriorem partem; though the first cause be certain, yet if there be obstructions in the second, you cannot promise your self what the ef­fect will be. Though the spring of motion cannot fail, yet if the wheels may possibly break, the progresse will be very uncertain to all but to God himself. For other understand­ings only know that the wheels may break, but God he sees whether they will break or no, so that which in respect of creatures is periculosae plenum opus aleae, in respect of God is fixum & [...], determined and immoveable in his everlasting thoughts. Angelical beings cannot reach to so high a perfection of knowledge as this is. For futurum qua­tenus futurum, is objectum improportionatum intellectui An­gelico, as acute Suarez doth abundantly evince. The Phi­losophers finde difficulty enough in explaining the manner how God hath a certain and infallible prescience of these fu­ture uncertainties. And they finde it a plain impossibility for the Angels to have any such knowledge, for they neither have aeternitatem intuitûs, which should ambire in objecto suo omnes differentias temporis, which should remove all succession, all prius & posterius, and make a compleat simul­tanëity, nor yet have they plenitudinem rationis representa­tivae, they have no such boundlesse and infinite species as the Divine essence is, by which God beholds all things. Angels have neither light enough of their own to manifest a future object, nor an eye strong enough to pierce into it. They cannot infallibly foretel their own motions, because God can alter them and over-power them, much lesse can they know the determinations of God himself, or any ope­rations that depend upon a free agent, till they bud and blossome in some actual discoveries and appearances. Nor [Page 134] are they so well acquainted with the whole context and co­herence of natural agents, with all those secret twinings and complications as to spy out beforehand those events which are brought forth in a casual and unusual and very unlikely manner. Whensoever then they have any prescience of future contingencies, 'tis only by revelation from God him­self. They may see the face of a future object in speculo di­vino, but yet that's speculum voluntarium, and shews only what it pleaseth, and when, and to whom it pleaseth. The wicked Angels know this well enough, that they for their parts have no knowledge of future uncertainties, though they desire to have it as much as any, and they pretend to it as much as any; yet you know how cautelous they were in their Oracular responsals, as that elegant Moralist Plu­tarch doth most excellently shew in several places. They alwayes drew a curtain before their predictions, and wrapt them up in obscurity, which plainly argued a consciousnesse of their own ignorance in respect of future events. The good Angels are so fill'd with their present happinesse, they are so quieted with the enjoyment of God himself, as that they are not at all solicitous, or inquisitive about future e­vents, but they cheerfully entertain and drink in all those beams that come flowing from the face of their God, and they desire no more then he is pleased to com­municate to them, nay indeed they can desire no more, for he gives them as much as they are capa­ble of. Now if Angelical understandings are not so wide and comprehensive as to graspe and take in such ob­jects, what mean then the sons of men to aspire and reach after the knowledge of them? if those tall and eminent be­ings, standing upon the mount of God cannot see them, how shall the sons of men that are of a lower stature hid in a valley, how shall they behold them? Yet there was al­wayes in the generality of mankinde, a prurient desire, and hankering afterthe knowledge of future events. Men still [Page 135] stretch out the hand to the forbidden tree, they long for the fruit of it, and would fain be plucking some apples from it. Nay, men long for the greenest apples, for the precocious knowledge of events before they come to their just ripe­nesse and maturity. The desire of this sets the Astrologer a lighting his candle at the Stars. O how doth he flatter himself in his own imaginary twincklings, and how doth he perswade the more simple & credulous part of the world that he can discover every future atome, that he can put those capital Stars, those golden letters together, and spell out all the fates of Kingdomes and persons? It makes the Augur (the [...] as the Greeks call him) chatter with the birds in their own dialect, and as if he were their Scholiast, he writes Comments and Expositions upon their language; O how devoutly will he listen to a prophetical Crow? how will he criticize upon the harsh accents of the screech-Owle? upon the dismal and melancholy notes of the night-Raven? It makes the Auspex watch the birds in their several postures, and to be as diligent and judicious a spectator of them, as the other was an Auditor. He can in­terpret every fluttering, he can tell you all their journeys, where they lodg'd, where they baited last, what tree they visited, what bough they staied longest upon; and at length he will pluck some pens out of their sacred wings, for the writing of all his learned predictions. It moved the Exspex to consult with the inwards, to search into the bowels of things; he'll but look upon a Liver, and will presently tell you the colour and complexion of all affairs. It caus'd the Aruspex to behold the behaviour of the dying sacrifice, and from the quietnesse or strugling of those sensitive creatures, to foretel the reluctancles or facilities in higher matters. It set the Chiromancer a studying to read those lines that seem to be scribled upon his hand, and to explain them with his own interlineary glosses; and to look upon them as natures M S S▪ as an Enchiridion of natures penning, in which [Page 136] she gave him a brief Synopsis of all such passages of his life, as should come into being afterward. It moved the Inter­preter of dreams to set up his seat of Judicature in those gates of fancy, the Porta Cornea I mean, and the Porta Ebur­nea, and as if the night were to enlighten the day, he will regulate all his waking motions by those slumbring intima­tions, yet usually the interpretation of the dream is the more non-sensical dream of the two. Some others will needs cast lots for their fortunes, and think that the judgement of a Dye is infallible, will undertake no matters of moment til they be predetermined by it; Jacta est alea, & per praesen­tem sortem judicant de futurâ. A rare device to finde out one contingency by another, to lose one arrow, and to shoot another after it. These are some of those many methods and contrivances, which the sons of men have contriv'd to themselves, for the finding out of future events. What should I tell you of the rest of the [...], and the [...], of the [...], and the [...], and [...], of the [...], of the [...], which are all but the various expressions of the same madnesse? What should I tell you of those several Nations that have been enamor'd with these follies? the Assyrians, the Caldeans, the Persians, the Grecians, the Romans, have had alwayes amongst them several professors of these vanities. You see how fain the sons of men would have some key or other to unlock and open these secret and reserved passages, which Providence hath wisely shut up, and hid from the eyes of men. But Aquinas passes this cen­sure upon them all, Hujusmodi artes non utuntur patrocinio intellectûs bene dispositi secundùm virtutem. And that sacred Author is much of the same minde▪ Frustrà illud quaeris▪ in terris quod solus Deus novit in Coelis. Yet this tree of know­ledge is fair to the eye, and pleasant to the taste, the soul doth relish all notional dainties with delight, and these pre­notions [Page 137] and anticipations of things are the more sweet and delicious to the palates and tastes of men, because most of their being is treasur'd up in their future condition. They have no satisfaction, no Sabbath, nor quiet in their present state, and therefore they would fain know what the next day, and what the next yeer, and what the next age will bring forth. The desires, the prayers, the hopes, the endea­vours, the councels of men, they all look towards the fu­ture. For (as Mirandula the younger doth well observe) the soul of man, 'tis trium temporum particeps. Tempus prae­teritum memoriae, praesens intellectui, futurum voluntati con­gruit & respondit. God therefore that he may keep such a creature as man is in a waiting and obedient posture, in a posture of dependance and expectation, he doth chuse gra­dually and leisurely to discover to him, [...] these thoughts which he hath concerning him. God will have man in this sense in Diem vivere. to entertain fortune by the day, (as the noble Verulam saith that Prince did whose life he writes and commemorates) [...]; 'tis a speech that may be took in a better sence, then Anacreon e're meant it. And so may that of the Latin Lyrick, Quid sit futurum cras fuge quaerere. And the Heroical Poet shews them the necessity of this sobriety and temperance in knowledge; for saith he, Nescia mens hominum fati sortisque futurae; for mens knowledge naturally enters in at the gate of sense, but a future object can have no admission there. And as the minde cannot recal objectum totaliter praeteritum, when there is no remaining Species, neither the least print or vestigium of it; so neither can it present an object that's altogether future, and hath no such colour as can move and strike the intellectual eye; such effects indeed as are stored up in preg­nant and eminent and necessary causes, may be easily and certainly foreknown by visible and unquestionable demon­strations. [Page 138] The foretelling of an Eclipse may be done with­out an Oracle, and may be believed though there be no miracle to seal and confirme it. Such effects as lurk in pro­bable causes, that seem to promise very fairly, may be known also in an answerable, and proportionable manner, by strong and shrewd conjectures; hence spring all the prae­notiones Medicorum, Nautarum, Pastorum, as the fore-menti­oned Mirandula tells us. yet the great pretenders of the Antedating knowledge, do very frequently & pro more, de­ceive both themselves and others in these more ordinary & easy scrutinies. This might cloath your Almanacks in more red, and put them to the blush for guessing at the weather no better, you may write upon them nulla dies sine errato, did they ne're threaten you with thunder and lightning e­nough to make a Caligula prepare new Laurels; when yet the heavens prov'd very pacate and propitious? Did they ne're tell you of a sad discontented day which would weep its eyes out? which yet when 'twas born prov'd a Democri­tus, and did nothing but laugh at their ignorance and folly. Did they ne're flatter you with fine pleasant tempe­rate weather, [...], the rain descended, the windes arose, the hail beat, the Pre­diction fell, because 'twas built upon so weak a foundation. So that Aquinas for his part thinks, that the sensitive crea­tures, the Crows, and the Craines, and the Swallows, those flying Almanacks, that know their appointed tims, are more happy and successeful in their predictions, & are better di­rected by their feeling the impression of some heavenly bo­dies then men are by their seeing of them. Now if these Anni specula be crackt and broken, and give such unequal representations of things most obvious, how then will they be ever able to shew you objects farre more imperceptible and immaterial, that depend upon the will and decrees of God himself? and upon the motions of most free and in­different agents? This makes the great Astrologo-mastix, I [Page 139] mean the most noble and eminent Mirandula with indig­nation to conclude, that this blasing Art of theirs (that is Astrology abus'd, for so either he means, or ought to mean) 'tis at the best but Domina & Regina Superstitionum, and he breaks out into such words as these, Vanitas vanitatum Astrologia, & omnis superstitio vanitas; yet notwithstand­ing God hath provided some that shall give some faint re­semblances of himself, in the knowledge of future things, by a participation of light from him. [...]. That I may bor­row these words of the Apostle, This Lumen propheticum, 'tis Lumen super naturale, Prophetical springings come not from the will of man, but from the breathings of the holy Ghost, they are impressiones & signaturae divinae scientiae. As God himself is [...], so he will have a Prophet to be a shadow of himself, [...], which Virgil well translates, Novit namque omnia vates, Quae sint, quae fuerant, quae mox ventura trahantur. God thus revealing and communicating his minde to his Prophets doth clearly manifest, that he himself hath an exact knowledge of future events, he doth expressely shew that he doth curare res humanas, that he is actor & ordinator futurorum; That his providence doth o­ver-rule the greatest contingencies. He doth therefore up­braid the Idols of the Heathens with their ignorance of these things [...] Jsaiah 41. 23. Prophetical lan­guage is divini sermonis character, and doth necessarily re­quire, super humanam cognitionem, which makes me won­der at the great Doctor Maimon, that resolves the power of prophesying into nothing else then a healthful temper, [Page 140] a lively complexion of body, and a vigorous minde advan­ced with study and industry. An opinion which smells too strongly of the Garlick and Onions of that Countrey, the Egyptian superstition I mean, with which he was sufficient­ly acquainted; yet he tells us that it's the publick tenent of the Jewes, sententia legis nostrae, for so he entitles it, and withall addes that the Art of prophesying (for though he does not stile it so, yet he makes it so) 'tis supremus gradus hominis, & summa perfectio speciei; the qualifications which he requires are these, men must be idonei ad pro­phetiam ab ipsa conceptione & nativitate, there must be dispositio & dexteritas naturalis, there must be optimus hu­mor cerebri, he must be optimus vir in intellectualibus, & moribus suis perfectus. But his principal condition is, that there must be summa facultatis imaginatricis perfectio; for saith he, if the influence of an intellectus agens, (such a one as he, falsely and vainly supposes) be pour'd out only up­on the rational part of the soul, and doth not drop upon the fancy, either by reason of the scarcity of oile, or the in­capacity of the fancy, there will be onely secta sapientum speculatorum. Such men may be eminent for deep Con­templation, but they will ne're be famous for prophesying. If the fancy be onely quickned or heightned, then there will be secta Politicorum, Jurispositorum, Praestigiatorum, Incantatorum, But if the understanding, and fancy be both heightened to their due apex repente [...]iunt prophetae: onely this I had almost forgot which yet he thinks very conve­nient, that they should have good dyet for the time of their prophesying; for, as he tells you, according to the minde of the Jews, Prophetia neque habitat inter tristitiam neque pigritiam; So that the terrae filii the [...], the vul­gar sort of people are no more fit to prophesy, quâm vel Asinus vel Rana. They are his own words turn'd into La­tine. But surely this Doctor himself did not prophesy but dream all this while; How else did he think that such [Page 141] a noble and spiritual imployment, such a rare and glorious priviledge as this is, could be raised by the power of man out of the strength of nature, that nature that's so fallen and degenerated? And what means he to limit the Holy one of Israel, and to restraine the Spirit of the Almighty? Grant that Esay was a Courtier, yet was not Amos an herdsman? and was not he also among the Prophets? Did he ne're hear of the weaker sex sometimes prophesying? which yet was neer famous for intellectuals. Does not this prophetical spirit breath when it pleaseth, and where it pleaseth, & how it pleaseth? Me thinks this second Moses should not be of­fended, though some of the ordinary people be Prophets. Or if natural endowments, or artificial preparations must be had, and if they of themselves be so potent, and energetical, how then comes Vision to fail, and how does Prophecy cease? Are there none that have their imagina­tion strong enough, that have their understandings rais'd enough? that are of unquestionable integrity, and are not wanting in study and industry, and yet are no Prophets nor Prophets sons? Let then this Candle of the Lord content it self with its proper object. It findes work enough and dif­ficulty enough in the discovery of present things, and has not such a copious light as can search out future events.

The light of Reason is a certain light.

'Tis Lumen certum. Lamp-light as 'tis not glorious, so 'tis not deceitful, though it be but a faint and languishing light. Though it be but a limited and restrain­ed light, yet it will discover such objects as are within its own sphere with a sufficient certainty. The letters of Natures law, are so fairly printed, they are so visible [Page 142] and capital, as that you may read them by this Candle­light; yet some weak and perverse beings not fit to be honoured with the name of men, slight all the workings and motions of Reason, upon this account, that they are Rolling and fluctuating, that they are treacherous and unconstant. And they look upon Logick which is no­thing else but the just advancement of reason, an Art of Ripening and mellowing reason, an art of Clarifying and refining of the minde, yet they look upon it as an intelectual kinde of jugling, an artificial kinde of cheat­ing and cozening their understanding: Nor were it a wonder if onely the dregs of people, the rude lump of the multitude, if they onely were sunk and degenerated into this folly, But I meet with a famous and ancient sect of Philosophers that delight in the name of Scepticks, who by a strange kinde of Hypocrisy, and in an unusual way of affectation pretend to more ignorance then they have, nay then they are capable of. They quarrel with all Arts and Sciences, and do as much as they can to an­nihilate all knowledge and certeinty; and professe no­thing but a Philosophical kinde of neutrality, and Luke­warmnesse. Socrates did not please them; for he shewed himself but a Semisceptick, one that was too confident in saying that he did hoc tantum scire, se nihil scire; for they will not allow so much knowledge as that comes to, this they tell you, that they don't know this, whether they know any thing or no. There was one sort of Acade­micks, that came very neer them, their motto was, [...], their meaning was that they could not graspe or comprehend any object. Lucian (that unhappy wit) makes himself very merry with them, and laughs at one of them, that had a servant that prov'd a fugitive and ran away from him, his Master (sayes he) is very unfit to runne after him [...]; for he will al­wayes [Page 143] cry, [...], I cannot reach him, I cannot come neer him; yet if these Academicks by their [...] meant no more then this, that the whole Intelligibility of any entity, could not be exhaust­ed by them, that they could not perfectly and powerfully pierce into any object as to discover all that was knowable in it, their opinion then was not onely tolerable, but very commendable, and undeniable; for only God himself, doth thus [...]. There is not enough in any created lamp to give such a bright displaying of an ob­ject. Nor is there vigour enough in any created eye, so to pierce into the pith and marrow of being, into the depth and secrecy of being. But if their minde was this (as 'tis generally thought to be) that there was nothing in being so visible as that their understanding could pierce it with certainty and satisfaction, such an Error as this was very derogatory to the plenitude and exuberancy of beings that streams out in a cleer cognoscibility, and 'twas very injuri­ous to their own rational capacities, which were not made so strait and narrow-mouth'd as not to receive those notions that continually drop from being: But they were contriv'd and proportion'd for the well-coming and entertaining of truths, that love to spin and thred themselves into a fine continuity, as if they meant to pour themselves into the soul without spilling. But the Scepticks will bid you [...], and will desire you not to believe one word of this. They have no lesse then ten several bridles, ad compe­scendum & cohibendum assensum; Sextus Empiricus, that grand Sceptick will give you a sight of them all, from whence they were stil'd [...] men that did check and constrain knowledge, that whereas the [...] their adversaries ex Diametro, did lay down their determinations in a more positive & decretorious manner, [Page 144] these [...] would take time to consider, and no lesse then all their life-time. They chose to be so many per­petual Questionists that would pose themselves, & rub them­selves, and stay themselves finally, and would by no means be perswaded to commence or take any degree in know­ledge. [...], that was the summe of all their Philosophy. Their most radical and fundamental principle, if they may be said to have any such, was this, [...], that all pro­positions were in aequilibrio, that there was nothing could encline the Balance this way or that, that there was an [...], there was an exact equality of reason, for the affirmation or negation of any Proposition. Lucian brings in one of them with a parie of Balances in his hand, crowding three or four Ar­guments for the affirmative into one scale, and just as many for the negative into the other, and then telling them his meaning in these words, [...]. I have took (saith he) a great deal of pains in weighing of controversies, and yet finde in them such an undistinguish­able equipoise as that there is not in me the least inclination to one side more then the other. This they tearm an [...], an [...], a speculative kind of [...], an impartiality in respect of al things. In morals they call it [...]; for as they would not acknowledg any verum or falsum, so neither would they trouble themselves about any turpe or honestum, [...]. They had no better Ethicks then that speech would amount to; yet they had some lawes amongst them, some customes and rules of life, but they did not observe [Page 145] them, some customes and rules of life, but they did not ob­serve them as [...], things that were fixt and fit to be establisht, they were farre from being irrever­sible, like those of the Medes and Persians, but they put them under the head of [...], lawes pro tempore, such shadowes and appearances as they would for the pre­sent please themselves in. And after all debates, after all their siftings and discussing of affaires, they would conclude no otherwise then this. [...], which were all but so many frigid expressions of their hesitancy and stammering opinion. Yet this they call'd [...], a judicious pawsing and deliberation which they did farre preferre, or rather seeme to preferre, before the daring rashnesse of others, that were more dogmatical and magisterial, [...] (as they call'd them) swelling bladders, empty bottles, that were stopt, and seal'd up as if they had some precious liquor in them, when as they were fill'd with nothing but aire and winde. There was more modesty and lesse ostentation, as they thought, in their [...], which they esteem no small temperanc [...] and sobriety in knowledge. An intelle­ctual kinde of continence and virginity to keep their minde pure and untoucht, when as other understandings were ra­visht & deflower'd with the violence of every wanton opi­nion. Whereas demonstrations did not move these men at all, for as they tell you, they alwayes run, either [...] or [...], they either rest in a medium equally obscure, which must needs be invalid and inefficacious, or else there will be no period at all, but a processus in infinitum, if you expect that they should acqui­esce and rest contented with first principles, they know no [Page 146] such things, they tell you they are only some artificial pil­lars, which some faint and tired understandings have set up for themselves to lean upon, they won't be fetter'd with an Axiome, nor chained to a first principle, nor captivated by a common notion. As they break the most binding cords of demonstrations asunder, so they threaten to make these pil­lars of truth to tremble; to prove by a first principle (say they) 'tis but petitio principii, 'tis [...], 'tis to beg a truth, not to evince it. If you tell them that these common notions shine with their native light, with their own proper beams; all that they return will be this, that perhaps you think so, but they do not. Yet that they might the better communicate their mindes, they allow'd their schollers to take some things for granted, for a while upon this condition, that they would distrust them afterwards. But these doubters, these Scepticks were never so much convinc'd, as when they were quickened and a­waked by sensitive impressions. This made some laugh at Pyrrhon, though not the Author, (as is falsely supposed by some) yet a principal amplifier and maintainer of this Sect, (whence they had their name of [...],) who when a dog was ready to bite him, he beat him away, and ran as fast as he could from him; Some that took notice of it, gave him a smiling reproof, for his apostatizing from Scep­ticisme, but he returns him this grave answer, [...]; Where he spoke truth before he was aware, for his words are [...], (as I may so phrase them) a brief description of the whole drift and intention of that Sect, which was [...], for they had sufficiently put off Rea­son, and they did endeavour indeed to put off Sense as much as they could: Yet the Sceptical writer Sextus Em­ricus confeffes, that the [...], the vehemen­cy [Page 147] & importunity of sensitive, [...], they are (saith he) so urgent and cogent, as that they do extort some kinde of assent from us, [...], when we seem to be hungry (saith he) perhaps we go to our meat, and when we have made a shew of eating, at length we seem to be satisfied, all such matters of sense they resolve into their [...], into some kinde of appearances that do for the present affect them. [...], honey seems to be pretty sweet and pleasant to them, but whether it do not dissemble, whether it be as it seems to be, that they question. I finde that Pyrrhon the great promoter and propagator of this Sect was at first a Painter by his trade, and it seems he was very loath ab arte sua re­cedere, for he looks upon every being as a picture and co­lour, a shadow, a rude draught and portraicture, a meere re­presentation, that hath nothing of solidity or reality. These pictures of his drawing enamor'd many others, for this Sect was patroniz'd by men of acutenesse and subtilty, the wits of the age, magna ingenia, sed non sine mixtura dementiae, mala punica, sed non sine grano putrido, I could name you Authors of good worth and credit, who tell you that Ho­mer and Archilochus and Euripides, and the Wise men of Greece were all Scepticks, yet those proofs which they bring to evidence and evince it, are not so pregnant and sa­tisfying, but that you may very lawfully doubt of it, and yet be no Scepticks neither. But Francis Mirandula reckons many very learned men that were deeply engaged in this Sect, and some others that did very neere border upon it. Protagoras among the rest whom Plato frequently menti­ons, and whom Aristotle confutes, who was of this minde that all opinions were true, Sextus Empericus passes this censure upon him, that he was too positive and dogmatical in asserting theirs; but if he had only question'd and deli­berated [Page 148] upon it, whether all opinions were not true, he had then been a rare and compleat Sceptick. The ground that Protagoras went upon, was this, [...]. By [...] he meant nothing else but [...], and Aristotle thus explains the words, [...], for he made appearance of the whole essence & formality of truth. So that according to him severall opinions were but the various discoveries and manifestations of truth. There was one verum quod ad te pertinet, and another verum quod ad illum pertinet. Honey was as truly bitter to a feaver­ish palate, as it was sweet and dellcious to an ordinary taste. Snow was as truly black, in respect of Anaxagoras, as it was white in the eye and esteem of another. Thus saith he, mad men, wise men, children, old men, men in a dream, and men awake, they are all competent Judges of these things that belong to their several conditions; for (as he tells us) truth varies according to several circumstances, that's true to day, which is not true to morrow, and that's true at Rome, that's not true at Athens; that's true in this age, that's not true in the next: That's true to one man, that's not true to another. There's none of you but can spie out such a weak fallacy as this is; and if he meant to have spo­ken truth, he would have said no more then this, that every man thinks his own opinion true. For as the will cannot embrace an object unlesse it be presented sub umbra boni, so neither can the understanding close and comply with any opinion, unlesse it be disguised, sub apparentia veri; But to make appearance the very essence of truth, is to make a shadow the essence of the Sun, 'tis to make a picture the es­sence of a man. I shall say no more to Protagoras then this, that if any opinion be false, his cannot be true, but must needs be the falsest of all the rest. Yet the end that these Scepticks propound to themselves, was (if you will believe [Page 149] him,) [...], a freedom from jarres and discords, from Heresie and Obstinacy, to have a minde, unprejudic'd▪ unprepossest, the avoiding of perturbations a milky whitenesse and serenity of soul; a fair marke in­deed, but how a roving Sceptick should ever hit it, is not easily imaginable, for what Philosophy more wavering and voluble? was there ever a more reeling and staggering company? was there ever a more tumbling and tossing ge­neration? What shall I say to these old Seekers, to this wanton and lascivious Sect, that will espouse themselves to no one opinion, that they may the more securely go a who­ring after all? If they be resolv'd to deny all things (as they can do it very easily, and have seem'd to do it very com­pendiously) truly then they have took a very sure way to prevent all such arguments as can be brought against them; yet because they seem to grant appearances, we will at least present them with a few [...], and we will see how they will move them and affect them. 'Twere well then if Pyrrhon, the forementioned Painter, would but tell us, whe­ther a picture would be all one with a face, whether an ap­pearance be all one with a reality, whether he can paint a non-entity or no, whether there can be an appearance where there is no foundation for it, vvhether all pictures do equal­ly represent the face, whether none can paint a little bet­ter then he used to do, whether all appearances do equal­ly represent being? whether there are not some false and counterfeit appearances of things? If so, then his [...], must needs be took away, or if there be alwayes true and certain appearances of things, then his doubting and [...] must needs vanish. When he is thirsty, and chooses rather to drink then abstaine, what then be­comes of his [...]? if he be sure that he is athirst, and if he be sure that he seems to be athirst, what then be­comes [Page 150] of his [...]? When the dog was ready to bite him, if he was indifferent, why did he run away? if it were an appearance, why did he flee from a shadow? why was the Painter afraid of colours? If his sense was only affect­ed, not his understanding, how then did he differ from the sensitive creature? from the creature that was ready to bite him? if he tels us that he was the hansomerpicture of the two who was it then that drew him so fairly, was it an appear­ance also? Doth one picture use to draw another? when he perswades men to encline to his Scepticisme, what then becomes of his [...]? when he makes no doubt nor scruple of denying certainty, what then becomes of his [...]? but not to disquiet this same Pyrrhon any long­er, I shall choose more really to scatter those empty fancies by discovering the true original and foundation, the right progresse and method of all certainty.

Now God himself, that eternal and immutable being, that fixt, and unshaken Entity, that [...], must needs be the fountaine of certainty, as of all other perfections; and if other things be compared to him, they may in this sense, without any injury to them, be stiled [...], in re­spect of the infinite reality and weighty and massy so­lidity, that is in his most glorious being, by vertue of which, as himself hath everlastingly the same invariable knowledge of all things, so he is also the most knowable and intelligible object, a sunne that sees all things, and is in it selfe most visible. An Atheist must needs be a Sceptick; for God himself is the onely immoveable verity upon which the soul must fix and anchor. Created be­ings, shew their face a while, then hide it again, their colour goes and comes, they are in motu & fluxu, God is the onely durable object of the soul. Now that the soul may have a satisfactory enjoyment of its [...] and [Page 151] that it may be accurately made according to his image, God stamps and prints as resemblances of his other per­fections, so this also of certainty upon it; How else should it know the minde of its God? how should it know to please him, to believe him, to obey him? with what confidence could it approach unto him, if it had onely weak & wavering conjectures? Now God, lets the soul have some certaine acquaintance with other beings for his own sake, and in order to his own glory. Nor is it a small expression of his wisdome and power, to lay the begin­nings of mans certainty so low, even as low as sense; for by means of such an humble foundation the structure proves the surer and the taller. 'Tis true there is a purer and nobler Certainty in such beings as are above sense, as ap­peares by the Certainty of Angelical knowledge, and the knowledge of God himself; yet so much certainty as is requisite for such a rational nature as man is, may well have its rising and springings out of sense, though it have more refinings and purifyings from the understanding. This is the right proportioning of his certainty to his be­ing; for as his being results out of the mysterious union of matter, to immateriality: so likewise his knowledge and the certainty of his knowledge (I speake of naturall know­ledge) first peeps out in sense, and shines more brightly in the understanding. The first dawnings of certainty are in the sense, the noon-day-glory of it is in the Intellect­uals. There are indeed frequent errours in this first Edi­tion of knowledge set out by sense; but 'tis then onely when the due conditions are wanting, and the understand­ing (as some printers use to do) Corrects the old Errata of the first Edition, and makes some new Errours in its owne. And I need not tell you, that 'tis the same soul that moves both in the sense and in the understanding, for [...], and as it is not priviledged from failings in the motions of the sense, so neither is it in all [Page 152] its intellectual operations, though it have an unquestion­able certainty of some, in both. The certainty of sense is so great as that an Oath, that high expression of cer­tainty, is usually and may very safely be built upon it. Mathematical demonstrations chuse to present themselves to the sense, and thus become Ocular and visible. The Scepticks that were the known enemies of certainty, yet would grant more shadow and appearance of it in sense, then any where else, though erroneously. But sense that rackt them sometimes, and extorted some confessions from them, which speculative principles could never do. A­way then with that humour of Heraclitus that tells us [...], mens eyes (sayes he) are but weak and deceitful witnesses. Surely he speaks onely of his owne watery and weeping eyes, that were so dull'd and blur'd, as that they could not clearly discerne an object. But he might have given others leave to have seen more then he did. Nor can I tell how to excuse Plato for too much scorning and sleighting these outward senses, when that he trusted too much inwardly to his owne fan­cy. Sextus Empiricus propounds the question, whether he were not a Sceptick, but he onely shew'd himself a Sceptick by this, for which he mov'd such a question. 'Tis sure that Plato was sufficiently dogmatical in all his assertions, though this indeed must be granted, that some of his principles strike at certainty, and much indanger it; for being too fantastical and Poetical in his Phisosophy, he plac't all his security in some uncertaine airy and imaginary Castles of his own contriving and building and fortifyng. His connate Ideas (I mean) which Artistotle could not at all confide in, but blowed them away pre­sently; and perceiving the proud emptinesse, the swel­ling frothinesse of such Platonical bubles, he was faine to search for certainty some where else, and casting his eye upon the ground he spyed the bottome of it, lying in [Page 153] sense, and laid there by the wise dispensation of God him­self, from thence he lookt up to the highest top and Apex, to the [...] and pinacle of certainty plac't in the understanding. The first rudiments of certainty were drawn by sense, the compleating and consummating of it was in the understanding. The certainty of sense is more grosse and palpable, the certainty of intellectuals, 'tis more cleere and Crystalline, more pure and spiritual. To put all certainty or the chiefest certainty in sense, would be ex­cessively injurious to reason, and would advance some sen­sitive creatures above men, for they have some quicker senses then men have; sense 'tis but the gate of certain­ty, (I speak all this while but of humane certainty) the understanding 'tis the throne of it. Des-Cartes the French Philosopher resolves all his assurance, into thinking that he thinks, why not into thinking that he sees? and why may he not be deceived in that as in any other operations? And if there be such a virtue in reflecting and redupli­cating of it, then there will be more certainty in a su­per-reflection, in thinking that he thinks that he thinks, and so if he run in infinitum, according to his conceit he will still have more certainty, though in reality he will have none at all, but will be fain to stop and stay in Sceptisme, so that these refuges of lyes being scatter'd, first pinciples and common notions with those demonstrations that stream from them, they onely remaine, as the nerves of this assurance, as the souls of natural Plerophory; and he that will not cast Anchor upon these, condemnes himself to perpetual Sceptisme; which makes me wonder at a pas­sage of a Right honourable of our own; Though whether he be the Authour of the passage, you may take time to consider it: But this it is, (the sense of it I mean) That absolute contradictions may meet together, in the same respect Esse & non esse it seemes are espoused in a most neer and conjugal union, and live together very affecti­onately [Page 154] and imbracingly; O rare and compendious Sy­nopsis of all Sceptism! O the quintessence of Sextus Empi­ricus and the Pyrrhonian [...] of all their [...] and [...] of their [...] and [...], that which is the most paradoxical of all; you have all this in a book that calls it self by the name of truth: yet let none be so vaine as to imagine that this is in the least measure spoken to the disesteem of that noble Lord, who was well known to be of bright and sparkling intellectuals, and of such singular and incomparable ingenuity, as that if he had liv'd till this time, we cannot doubt but he would have re­tracted it, or at least better explain'd it before this time. However I could not but take notice of so black an Error that did crush and break all these first principles, and had an irreconcileable Antipathy against reason and certainty, though it hid it self under the protection of so good and so great a name. Certainly 'tis so precious and desirable, as where God hath given it, 'tis to be kept sacred and un­toucht; and men are to be thankful for these Candles of of the Lord, for this Lumen certum, set up, not to mock and delude them, but to deal truly and faithfully with them.

The light of Reason is directive.

'TIs Lumen dirigens, this [...], 'tis a light for the feet, and a Lanthorn for the paths. For the understanding, 'tis the [...], the leading and guiding power of the soul. The will looks upon that as L [...]e­ander in Musaeus lookt up to the Tower for Hero's Candle, and calls it as he doth there [...]. [Page 155] Reason doth facem praeferre, it carries a Torch before the will, nay more then so, 'tis an eye to the blinde; for otherwise 'twere in vain to light up a Candle for a Caeca potentia, to see withal. Intellectuals are first in mo­tion [...], these gates of light must first be set open before any glorious and beautiful object can en­ter in for the will to court and embrace. The will doth but echo to the understanding, and doth practically repeat the last syllable of the ultimum dictamen, which makes the Mo­ralist well determine virtutes morales non possunt esse sine in­tellectualibus; for to the presence of moral vertues there are necessarily pre-required Intelligentia & prudentia, the one being the knowledge of principia speculativa, as the other of principia operativa. That action must needs be hopeful and promising when the understanding aimes before the will shoots; but he that in an implicit way rushes upon any performance, though the action it self should prove mate­rially good, yet such a one deserves no more commenda­tion for it, then he would do that first put out his eyes, and then contingently hit the mark. Other creatures indeed are shot more violently into their ends, but man hath the skill and faculty of directing himself, and is (as you may so ima­gine) a rational kinde of arrow, that moves knowingly and voluntarily to the mark of its own accord. For this very end God hath set up a distinct lamp in every soul, that men might make use of their own light: all the works of men they should olere lucernam, smell of this Lamp of the Lord, that is to illuminate them all. Men are not to depend wholly upon the courtesie of any fellow-creature; not upon the dictates of men; nay not upon the votes and determina­tions of Angels; for if an Angel from heaven should con­tradict first principles, though I will not say in the language of the Apostle, let him be accursed, yet this we may safely say, that all the sons of men are bound to dis-believe him. [Page 156] All arguments drawn from testimony and authority, (cre­ated authority I mean) were alwayes lookt upon as more faint and languishing, then those that were fetcht from rea­son. Matters of fact indeed do necessarily depend upon te­stimony, but in speculations and opinions none is bound so farre to adore the lamp of another, as to put out his own for it. For when any such controversie is mov'd, when any Author is quoted and commended, all the credit and esteem that is to be given him, is founded either in the Reason, which he doth annex to his assertion, or else in this more re­mote and general reason, that such a one had a very clear and bright lamp, that the Candle of the Lord did shine very eminently in him; therefore what he saies is much to be attended to, for in his words, though there should not be ratio explicata, yet it is to be supposed that there's ratio sub­intellecta. So that the assent here is ultimately resolv'd in­to the reason of him that speaks, and the other that receives it; for he that complies with a naked testimony, makes a tacit acknowledgement of thus much, that he is willing to resigne up himself to anothers reason, as being surer and fuller then his own; which temper and frame of spirit is very commendable in a state of inchoation: for [...], knowledge in the cradle cannot feed it self; knowledge in its infancy must suck at the breasts of another: And babes in intellectuals must take in the [...], those spoonfuls of knowledge that are put in their mouths, by such as are to nurse and to educate them. Paul when he sits at the feet of Gamaliel, must ob­serve the prints and footsteps of the Hebrew Doctor, and must roll himself in pulvere sapientum. Knowledge in its non-age, in its pupil-age and minority must hide it self un­der the wing and protection of a guardian. Men use at first to borrow light, and to light their candle at the light of an­others; yet here I finde some licence and encouragement [Page 157] given to these first beginners, to these setters up in learn­ing to be [...], modestly inquisitive into the grounds and reasons of that which is delivered to them.

Thus that sacred writer Hierom commends Marcell [...] though one of the weaker sex, upon this account, that she was wont to search and to examine his doctrine, it à ut me sentirem (sayes he) non tam discipulum habere quàm judi­cem. Nay, a farre greater then Hierome honours the Bereans, with the title of [...], a more noble and gene­rous sort of Christians that would bring even Apostolical words to the touch-stone. Why is it not then lawful for them that are in statu adulto, that are come to some preg­nancy and maturity in knowledge, to look upon the stamp and superscription of any opinion, to look any opinion in the face? The great and noble Verulam much complains (and not without too much cause) of those sad obstructions in learning, which arose upon the extreme doting upon some Authors, which were indeed men of rare accomplish­ments, of singular worth and excellency, and yet but men, though by a strange kinde of [...], a great part of the world would have worshipt as gods. The Canonizing of some profane Authors, and esteeming all other as Apocry­phal, hath blasted many buds of knowledge, it has quencht many sparks and beams of light, which otherwise would have guilded the world, with an Orient and unspotted lustre. Farre be it from me to drop one word that should tend to the staining and eclipsing of that just glory that is due to the immortal name of Aristotle. There are those that are envious and ungrateful enough, let them do it if they please; yet this I shall say, and it shall be without any injury to him, that to set him up as a Pope in Philosophy, as a visible head of the truth militant, to give him a negative voice, to give him an arbitrary power, to quote his texts as Scripture, to look upon his works as the irreversible decrees of Learn­ing, [Page 158] as if he had seal'd up the Canon, so that whoe're addes to him, or takes one word from him, must be struck with a present Anathema to condemn all for Hereticks that oppose him, for Schismaticks that depart from him, for Apostates that deny him; what's all this but to forget that he was but the Candle of the Lord, and to adore him as a Sun in the firmament that was set to rule the day of knovvledge? 'tis to make him an [...] the causa prima, the first mover of Learning, or at least 'tvvas to make him such an Intelle­ctus agens, as Averroes vvould have, that must enforme and quicken all that come after him. Could that modest Philosopher have foreseen and prophesied, that the vvorld vvould thus flatter him, tis to be fear'd, that he vvould have throvvn his vvorks also, his legible self into Euripus rather then they should have occasioned such excessive Ido­latry and partiality; yet 'tis no fault of his, if the vvorld vvould over-admire him; for that vvhich first inhanc't the price and esteem of Aristotle, vvas that rich veine of reason that ran along and interlin'd most of his vvorks. Let this therefore, and this only commend him still; for this is of indelible and perpetual duration; yet if these blinde admi­rers of him, could have follovved him fully and entirely, they might have learnt of him a braver liberty and inde­pendency of spirit; for he scorned to enslave and captivate his thoughts to the judgement of any vvhatsoever; for though he did not deal violently and dis-ingenuously vvith the vvorks of his predecessors, (as some affirme) yet he dealt freely vvith them, and vvas not over-indulgent to them. He came like a Refiner amongst them, he purged avvay their drosse, he boyl'd avvay their froth and scum, he ga­thered a quintessence out of their rude and elementary principles. Hovv impartially did he deal vvith his Master Plato? and not favour him in any of his Errors, and his vvords are ansvverable to his practises, you may hear him vvhat he saith, and professes, [...], [Page 159] to have a reverent esteeme of Antiquity is but fitting and equal, but to stand in awe of it, is base and unworthy. Potestas senatoria is very ho­nourable and beneficial, but dictatoria potestas, is not to be allowed in the Common-wealth of Learning; yet such hath been the intolerable tyranny and oppression of the Roman faction, as that they have enjoyn'd and engaged as many as they could to serve and torture their wits, for the maintaining of whatever such a one as pleaseth them, shall please to say: for they care not how prejudicial or detri­mental they prove to Learning, so that they may but train up their schollars in an implicit faith, in a blinde obedience, in a slavish acknowledgement of some infallible judge of controversies, and may shut up and imprison the generality of people in a dark and benighted condition, not so much as allowing them the light of their own Candle, this Lamp of the Lord that ought to shine in them. That great ad­vancer of Learning whom I commended before, takes no­tice, that by such unhappy means as these, the more noble and liberal sciences, have made no progresse proportiona­ble, to that which more inferiour and mechanical Arts have done; for in these latter ingenia multorum in unum coëunt, whereas in the former, ingenia multorum sub uno succubu­erunt. What brave improvements have been made in ar­chitecture, in manufactures, in printing, in the Pyxis nau­tica? For here's no limiting and restraining men to Anti­quity, no chaining them to old Authors, no regulating them to I know not what prescribed formes and Canons, no such strange voices as these. You must not build better then your predecessors have done, you must not print fair­er then the first Tullies Offices, that ere was printed; 'Tis not lookt upon as a transgression and a piaculum, if they should chance to be a little more accurate then they were that went before them. But in speculatives, in meere Ma­thematicks (which one would think were farre enough from [Page 160] any breach of faith or manners) yet here if a Galilaeus should but present the world with a handful of new demonstrati­ons, though never so warily and submissively, if he shall but frame and contrive a glasse for the discovery of some more lights; all the reward he must expect from Rome, is, to rot in an Inquisition, for such unlicenced inventions, for such venturous undertakings. The same strain of cruelty hath marcht more vehemently and impetuously in sacred and religious matters, for here Babylon hath heated her fur­nace seven times hotter, whilest under the pompous name of a Catholique Church, under the glittering pretences of Antiquity and Authority, they have as much as they could put out all the Lamps of the Lord. And that Bestian Empire hath transform'd all its Subjects into sensi­tive and irrational creatures. A noble Author of our own tells us in his book De Veritate, that he for his part takes them for the Catholique Church, that are constant and faithful to first principles; that common notions are the bottome and foundation upon which the Church is built. Excuse our diffidence here great Sir, the Church 'tis built upon a surer and higher Rock, upon a more Adamantine and precious foundation; yet thus much is acceptable and undeniable, that whoe're they are that by any practices or customes, or traditions, or tenents, shall stop the passage of first principles, and the sound reason that flowes from them, they are in this farther from a Church then the Indians or the Americans, whilst they are not only Antichristian, but unnatural. And of the two the Church hath more security in resting upon genuine Reason, then in relying upon some spurious traditions; for think but a while upon those infi­nite deceits and uncertainties that such Historical convey­ances are liable and exposed to, I alwayes except those sa­cred and heavenly volumes of Scripture, that are strung to­gether as so many pearls, and make a bracelet for the Spouse to wear upon her hands continually: These wri­tings [Page 161] the providence of God hath deeply engaged it self to keep as the apples of his own eye. And they do not bor­row their certainty or validity from any Ecclesiastical or universal Tradition (which is at the most but previous and preparatory) but from those prints of Divinity in them, and specially from the seal of the same Spirit that endited them, and now assures the soul, that they were Oracles breathed from God himself. As for all other sacred Antiquity, though I shall ever honour it as much as any either did or can do justly, and with sobriety; and shall alwayes reverence a gray-headed truth; yet if Antiquity shall stand in competi­tion with this Lamp of the Lord (though genuine Antiquity would never offer to do it) yet if it should, it must not think much if we prefer Reason, a daughter of Eternity, before Antiquity, which is the off-spring of time. But had not the spirit of Antichristianisme by its early twinings and insinu­ations wound and wrought it self into most flourishing and primitive times, into the bosome of a Virgin-Church, and had it not offered violence to the works of some sacred wri­ters, by detracting and augmenting according to its several exigencies, by feigning and adulterating, by hiding and annihilating some of them, as much as they could, (the or­dinary tricks of Antichrist, which he used alwayes more subtilly, though of late more palpably) had it not been for such devices as these, Antiquity had come flowing to us, in purer and fuller streams, in more fair and kindly deriva­tions, and so might have run down more powerfully and victoriously then now it will. But Antichrist hath endea­voured to be the Abaddon and the Apollyon of all sacred an­tiquities, though the very reliques of those shining and burning lights that adorn'd the Church of God, have splendor enough to scatter the darknesse of Popery, that empty shadow of Religion, that arises ob defectum Luminis; yet Antiquity (setting aside those that were peculiarly [...]) was but the first dawning of light which was to [Page 162] shine out brighter and brighter, till perfect day. Let none therefore so superstitiously look back to former ages, as to be angry with new opinions and displayings of light, either in Reason or Religion. Who dares oppose the goodnesse and wisdome of God? if he shall enamour the world with the beauty of some pearls and jewels, which in former times have been hid, or trampled upon? if he shall disco­ver some more light upon earth, as he hath let some new Stars be found in the heavens; This you may be sure and confident of, that 'tis against the minde and meaning of Antiquity to stop the progresse of Religion and Reason. But I know there are some will tell us of a visible tribunal, of an infallible head of the Church borne to determine all controversies, to regulate all men, 'tis a wonder they do not say Angels too. Others more prudently and equally resolve the final judgement of Controversies into a gene­ral and oecumenical Councel, but I shall speak to them all, in the language of the Philosopher, [...], and I shall explain it according to the minde of the learned Davenant in his discourse de indice ac norma fi­dei & Cultûs Christiani: God only is to rule his own Church [...], judicio autoritativo, by a determining and Legislative power. Men that are fit­ted by God himself, are to guide and direct it [...], judicio ministeriali, in way of subservien­cy to him, by an explication of his minde, yet so as that e­very one may judge of this [...], judicio privato & practicae discretionis, by acts of their own understanding illuminated by the Spirit of God; for there are no representatives in intellectuals and spirituals. Men may represent the bodies of others, in Civil and Temporal affairs in the acts of a Kingdome, and thus a bodily obedi­ence is alwayes due to just authority; but there is none can [Page 163] alwayes represent the minde and judgement of another in the vitals and inwards of Religion; for I speak not of repre­sentations in outward order and discipline. A general coun­cel does and may produce judicium forense, but still there is reserved, to every single individuum, judicium rationale; for can you think that God will excuse any one from Error upon such an account as this, such a Doctor told me thus; such a piece of Antiquity enform'd me so, such a general Councel determin'd me to this; where was thine own Lamp all this while? where was thy ratio illuminata & guhernata, secundùm normas bonae & necessariae consequentiae rationali creaturae impressas? Yet this must be gratefully acknow­ledged that these general Councels have been of publick influence, of most admirable use and advantage to the Church of God; though they are not of the very Essence of it; for 'tis well known that there were none of them till the dayes of Constantines: But herein is the benefit of Coun­cels, that they are (or ought to be) a comparing and collect­ing of many Lights, an uniting and concentricating of the judgements of many holy, learned, wise Christians with the Holy Ghost breathing amongst them, though not alwayes so fully and powerfully as that they shall be sure to be pri­viledg'd from every Error, but being all of them subject to frailty and fallibility, and sometime the major part of them proving the pejor part, there is none bound to give an ex­temporary assent to their votes and suffrages, unlesse his minde also concurre with theirs. That worthy Divine of our own, whom I mentioned before, speaks very fully and clearly to this, Ad nudam praescriptionem, aut determinati­onem alterius sine lumine privati judicii nemo est qui cre­dere potest etiamsi cupiat maximé. The most eminent Mi­randula will give you the reason of it; for (saies he) Nemo cre­dit aliquid verum praecisè quia vult credere illud esse verum, non est enim in potentia hominis facere aliquid apparere in­tellectui suo verum, quando ipse voluerit. But before there [Page 164] can be faith in any soul, there must be cognitio propositionis credendae, and there must be inclinatio intellectûs ad assen­tiendum huic propositioni revelatae, & cognitae; Before you understand the termes of any proposition, you can no more believe it, then if it came to you in an unknown tongue. A Parrat may repeat the Creed thus, Corvos poëtas poëtridás­que picas cantare credas Pegaseïum melos. Though such at length may very safely conclude, as that talkative bird is reported to have done by a happy and extemporary contin­gency, Operam & oleum perdidi. This is the misery of those implicit believers amongst the Papists (and 'tis well if not among some Protestants too) that do in aliorum sen­tentias pedibus potiùs quàm cordibus ire, dancing in a circu­lar kinde of faith, they believing as the Church believes, and the Church believing as they believe, &c. and this is with them, [...] the whole perfection of a Roman Ca­tholique. Yet let none be so foolish or wicked as to think that this strikes at any thing, that is truly or really a matter of faith, when as it doth only detect the wretched vanity and deceit of a Popish and implicit credulity, which com­mands men to put out their Lamps, to pluck out their eyes, and yet to follow thelr leadets, though they rush upon the mouth of hell and destruction, whereas 'tis better to be an Argus in obedience, then a Cyclops a monstrum horrendum, &c. An eye open is more acceptable to God then an eye shut. Why do they not as well command men to renounce their sense, as to disclaim their understandings? Were it not as easie a tyranny to make you to believe that to be white which you see to be black, as to command you to believe that to be true, which you know to be false? Nei­ther are they at all wanting in experiments of both; for Transubstantiation, that heap and croud of contradictions doth very compendiously put out the eyes of sense and reason both at once: yet that prodigious Error was establish­ed in the Lateran Councel under Innocent the third, which [Page 165] (as some contend) was a general and Oecumenical Councel. And if the Pope whom they make equivalent to all Coun­cels, nay transcendent, if he in Cathedra shall think fit to determine, that the right hand is the left, they must all im­mediately believe him, under pain of damnation. So that first principles, common notions with the products and im­provement of them, must needs be lookt upon as of bad consequence, of pernicious influence at Rome; what, to say that two and two makes four, the totum's majus parte (e­specially if the Church shall determine against it) O dange­rous point of Socinianisme! O unpardonable Heresie of the first magnitude! Rebellion against the Catholique Church! a proud justling against the Chair of infallibility! Away with them to the Inquisition presently, deliver them up to the Secular powers, bring fire and fagot immediately; Bonners learned demonstrations, and the bloody discipline of the scarlet and purple Whore. No wonder that she puts out the Candle, and loves darknesse rather then light, seeing her deeds are evil. She holds a Cup in her hand, and won't let the world sip and taste, and see how they like it, but they must swallow down the whole Philtrum and potion without any delay at all. Thus you may see the weak reeds that Babylon leans upon, which now are breaking and piercing her thorow. But Religion fram'd according to the Gospel, did alwayes scorn and refuse such carnal supports as these are. That truth that must look the Sun in the face for ever, can you think that it will fear a Candle? must it stand in the presence of God, and will it not endure the tryal of men? Or can you imagine that the Spouse of Christ can be so unmerciful as to pull out her childrens eyes? though she may very well restrain their tongues sometimes, and their pens if they be too immodest and unruly; I shall need to say no more then this, that true Religion never was, nor will be, nor need be shy of sound Reason which is thus farre Lumen dirigens, as that 'tis oblig'd by the will and com­mand [Page 166] of God himself, not to entertain any false religion, nor any thing under pretence of Religion that is formally and irreconciliably against Reason. Reason being above humane testimony and tradition, and being only subordi­nate to God himself, and those Revelations that come from God; now 'tis expresse blasphemy to say that either God, or the Word of God did ever, or ever will oppose Right Reason.

The light of Reason is calme and peaceable.

'TIs Lumen tranquillnm & amicum, 'tis a Candle, not a Comet, it is a quiet and peaceable light. And though this Candle of the Lord may be too hot for some, yet the Lamp 'tis only maintain'd with soft and peaceable Oile. There is no jarring in pure intellectuals; if men were tun'd and regulated by Reason more, there would be more Concord and Harmony in the world. As man himself is a sociable creature, so his Reason also is a sociable Light. This Candle would shine more clearly and equally if the windes of passions were not injurious to it. 'Twere a commenda­ble piece of Stoicisme, if men could alwayes hush and still those waves that dash and beat against Reason, if they could scatter all those clouds that soil and discolour the face and brightnesse of it, would there be such fractions and com­motions in the State, such Schismes and Ruptures in the Church, such hot and fiery persecutions of some trifling opinions? If the soft and sober voice of Reason were more attended to, Reason would make some differencies kisse and be friends, 'twould sheath up many a sword, 'twould quench many a flame, 'twould binde up many a wound. This Candle of the Lord 'twould scatter many a dark suspi­tion, [Page 167] many a sullen jealousie. Men may fall out in the dark sometimes, they cannot tell for what, if the Candle of the Lord were but amongst them, they wonld chide one ano­ther for nothing then but their former breaches, [...] it calmes and composes a soul, where­as passion, as the grand Stoick Zeno paints it, is [...]. An a­bounding and over-boyling impetus, a preternatural agi­tation of soul, animi commotio aversa à recta ratione, & contra naturam, as the Orator stiles it. The soul 'tis tost with passion, but it anchors upon Reason. This gentlenesse and quietnesse of Reason doth never commend it self more then in its agreeing and complying with faith, in not oppo­sing those high and transcendent mysteries that are above its own reach and capacity; nay it had alwayes so much hu­mility and modesty, waiting and attending upon it, that it would alwayes submit and subordinate it self to all such divine revelations as were above its own sphere. Though it could not grasp them, though it could not pierce into them; yet it ever resolv'd with all gratitude to admire them, to bow its head, and to adore them. One light does not oppose another; Lumen fidei & Lumen rationis, may shine both to­gether though with farre different brightnesse; the Candle of the Lord, 'tis not impatient of a superiour light, 'twould both ferre parem & priorem. The light of the Sun that in­deed is Lumen Monarchicum, a supreme and sovereign light, that with its golden Scepter rules all created sparkles, and makes them subject and obedient to the Lord and rule of light. Created intellectuals depend upon the brightnesse of Gods beams, and are subordinate to them, Angelical Star-light is but Lumen Aristocraticum, it borrows and de­rives its glory from a more vast and majestical light. As they differ from one another in glory, so al of them infinitly differ from the Sun in glory. Yet 'tis far above the Lumen Democra­ticum, [Page 168] that light which appears unto the sons of men, 'tis above their lamps & Torches, poor and contemptible lights, if left to themselves; for do but imagine such a thing as this, that this external and corporeal world should be adjudg'd never to see the Sun more, never to see one Star more. If God should shut all the windows of heaven, and spread out nothing but clouds and curtains, and allow it nothing but the light of a Candle, how would the world look like a Cy­clops with its eye put out? 'Tis now but an obscure prison with a few grates to look out at; but what would it be then, but a capacious grave, but a nethermost dungeon? yet this were a more grateful shade, a pleasanter and more comely darknesse, then for a soul to be condemned to the solitary light of its own Lamp, so as not to have any super­natural irradiations from its God. Reason does not refuse any auxiliary beams, it joyes in the company of its fellow-Lamp, it delights in the presence of an intellectual Sun, which will so far favour it, as that 'twill advance it, and nourish it, and educate it; 'twill encrease it,, and inflame it, and will by no means put it out. A Candle neither can nor will put out the Sun, & an intellectual Sun, can, but will not put out the Lamp. The light of Reason doth no more pre­judice the light of faith, then the light of a Candle doth extinguish the light of a Star. The same eye of a soul may look sometimes upon a Lamp, and sometimes upon a Star; one while upon a first principle, another while upon a re­vealed truth, as hereafter it shall alwayes look upon the Sun and see God face to face; Grace doth not come to pluck up nature as a weed, to root out the essences of men; but it comes to graft spirituals upon morals, that so by their mu­tual supplies and intercourse they may produce most noble and generous fruit. Can you tell me why the shell and the kernel may not dwell together? why the bodies of nature may not be quickened by the soul of grace? Did you ne­ver observe an eye using a prospective-glasse, for the disco­vering [Page 169] and amplifying and approximating of some re­mote and yet desirable object? and did you perceive any opposition between the eye and the glasse? was there not rather a loving correspondency and communion between them? why should there be any greater strife between Faith and Reason, seeing they are brethren? do they not both spring from the same Father of Lights, and can the Fountain of love and unity, send forth any irreconcileable streams? do you think that God did ever intend to divide a rational being, to tear and rend a soul in pieces, to scatter principles of discord and confusion in it? If God be plea­sed to open some other passage in the soul, and to give it an­other eye, does that prejudice the former? Man you know is ordained to a choicer end, to a nobler happinesse, then for the present he can attain unto, and therefore he cannot ex­pect that God should now communicate himself in such bright and open discoveries, in such glorious manifestations of himself, as he meanes to give hereafter. But he must be content for the present, to behold those infinite treasures of reserved love, in a darker and more shadowy way of faith, and not of vision: Nature and Reason are not sufficiently proportion'd to such blessed objects, for there are such weights of glory in them, as do opprimere ingenium huma­num, there are such depths, such pleonasmes, such oceans of all perfections in a Deity as do infinitely exceed all in­tellectual capacity but its own. The most that mans Rea­son can do, is to fill the understanding to the brim, but faith that throws the soul into the Ocean, and lets it roll and bathe it self in the vastnesse and fulnesse of a Deity. Could the sons of men have extracted all the spirits of Reason, and made them meet and jump in one head; nay, could Angels and men have united and concentricated all their Reason, yet they would never have been able to spy out such profound and mysterious excellencies, as faith beholds in one twinckling of her eye. Evangelical beauties shine [Page 170] through a veile that's upon their face; you may see the pre­cious objects of faith like so many pearls and diamonds sparkling and glittering in the dark. Reveal'd truths shine with their own beams, they do not borrow▪their Primitive and original lustre from this Candle of the Lord, but from the purer light, wherewith God hath cloathed and attir'd them as with a garment; God crowns his own Revelati­ons with his own beams. The Candle of the Lord it doth not discover, it doth not oppose them, it cannot eclipse them. They are no sparks of Reasons striking, but they are flaming darts of heavens shooting, that both open and enamour the soul. They are Stars of Heavens lighting, men behold them at a great distance twinckling in the dark. Whatsoever comes in Gods name does aut invenire viam, aut facere. Whatever God reveals in his Word, 'tis supra providentiam rerum communem constitutum. 'Tis not in the road of nature, and therefore for the welcoming and en­tertaining of it (as a noble Author of our own doth very well observe,) explicatur sensus quidam supernaturalis, & [...], there's an opening of a new window in the soul, an intellectual eye looks out at the window, and is much pleased and affected with the oriency of that light that comes springing and rushing in upon it; as there's a [...], so there's an [...] too; the one 'tis written by the pen of nature; the other by the finger of the Spirit, for ubi desinit natura, ibi incipit gratia; and this second Edition set out by Grace, 'tis auctior & e­mendatior, yet so as it doth not at all contradict the first E­dition, that was set out by Nature; for this is the voice of Nature it self, that whatsoever God reveals must needs be true; and this common Principle is the bottome and foun­dation of all Faith to build upon. The soul desires no great­er satisfaction then an [...], for if God him­self say it, who can question it? who dare contradict i [...]? [Page 171] Reason will not, Reason cannot; for it does most immo­vably acknowledge a Deity, and the unquestionable truth of a Deity: in all believing there is an assent, a yielding to him that speaks by vertue of his own Authority; though he don't prove it, though he don't evince it. Now men themselves look upon't as a contempt and injury not to have their words taken, and Reason it self dictates thus much, that we are to believe such a one whom we have no reason to distrust; for without some Faith there would be no commerce nor traffiking in the world, there's no trading wit hout some trusting. A general and total incredulity would threaten a present and fatal dissolution to humane society. Matters of fact are as certain in being and reality, as demonstrations; yet in appearance most of them can ne­ver be prov'd or evinc'd any other way then by meer testi­mony much historical knowledge, many a truth has been lost and buried in unbelief, when as many a falsity in the mean time has prov'd more fortunate and triumphant, & has past currantly through the world under the specious disguise of probability; yet because no created being is infallible or authentical, because the sons of men are so easily decei­ved themselves, and are so apt and propense to deceive and impose upon others, 'twill be very lawful to move slowly and timerously, warily and vigilantly in our assents to them; for a sudden and precocious faith here, is neither com­mendable nor durable: But God being truth it self, an Eternal, Immutable truth, his word being vehiculum veri­tatis; and all Revelations flowing from him, shining with the prints and signatures of certainty, hence it is that his naked word is a demonstration; and he that won't believe a God, is worse then a Devil, he is the blackest Infidel that was e're yet extant. This sin is so unnatural, as that none but an Atheist can be guilty of it; for he that acknowledges a De­ity, and knows what he acknowledges, sure he won't offer to make his God a liar. That which might otherwise seem to [Page 172] some to be against Reason, yet if it bring the seal of God in its forehead, by this you may know that 'tis not against Reason. Abrahams slaying of his son may seem a most horrid and unnatural act, against the [...], against the Candle of the Lord, yet being commanded and autho­rized by God himself, the Candle durst not oppose the Sun. That pattern of faith the father of the faithful does not dispute and make Syllogismes against it; he does not plead that 'tis against common Notions, that 'tis against Demonstrations (for he had said if he had said so,) but he doth dutifully obey the God of Nature, that high and supreme Law-giver, who by this call and voice of his did plainly and audibly proclaime, that for Abraham to kill his son in these circumstances, was not against the Law of Na­ture. So that all the stresse and difficulty will be to know whether God reveals such a thing or no; for here Reason (corrupt reason I mean,) is wont to slip and evade, and when it cannot frame a conceit adequate & commensurate to some transcendent and superlative mysteries, it would then fain cloud them and eclipse them, that it may quench and avoid the dazling brightnesse of them. It would faine make them stoop and condescend to its own capacity, and therefore it puts some inferiour notion upon them. When it cannot grasp what God saith, it then presently questions whether God say so or no, whether that be the minde of his Word. Hence many may erre very deeply and dangerously, yet will acknowledge the Scriptures, they will own and honour them as the Word of God; for they are not yet arriv'd to that full perfection of Errour, as those lumps and dunghills of all Sects, I mean that young and upstart generation of gross Anti-Scripturists, that have a Powder-plot against the Gos­pel, that would very compendiously behead all Christian Religion at one blow, a device which old and ordinary He­reticks were never acquainted withall. Though they be not come to such an height as this, yet eitheir by their flat [Page 173] and frigid explicating, they do endeavour to dispirit and evervate the Word of God; or else in a more violent and injurious manner, they do even ravish it, and deflower the virginity of it, or else in a more subtle and serpentine man­ner, they seek to bend the rule, and expound it to their pur­poses and advantages. The letter of the word, the vagi­na verbi that does not wound them, that does not strike them, and as for the edge they think they can draw that as they please, they can blunt it as they list, they can order it as they will. But the Law of sound Reason and Nature does oppose such unworthy dealings as these are; for men look upon't very heinously to have their words misinter­preted, to have their meaning wrested and violenc'd. Can you think that the majesty of Heaven will allow or en­dure that a creature should study or busie it self in pervert­ing his words, in corrupting his meaning, in blending it and mixing it with the crude imaginations of their own braine? That Spirit which breath'd out the word at first, and which convinces and satisfies the soul, that 'tis the word of God; the very same Spirit is the Interpreter of it, he is the Com­mentator upon it. The text is his, and the glosse is his, and whosoever shall call this a private spirit, must needs be a bold blasphemer, a Jesuit, an Atheist. But they that know what the Spirit of God is, will easily grant that the Spirit of God unsheaths his own sword, that he polishes Evangelical Pearls, that he anoints and consecrates the eye of the soul, for the welcoming and entertaining of such precious ob­jects. 'Tis true indeed, that som explications are so im­pertinent and distorted, as that a prophane and carnal eye may presently discerne that there was either some violence or deceit used in them, as who cannot tell when any Author is extremely vext and wrong'd? but if there be any such obscurity as may give just occasion of doubting and dissi­dence, who then can be fitter to clear and unfold it, then the Author himself? nay, who can explaine his minde cer­tainly [Page 174] but he himself? is it not thus in spirituals much ra­ther? When God scatters any twilight, any darknesse there, is it not by a more plentiful shedding abroad of his own beams? such a knot as created understanding cannot unty, the edge of the Spirit presently cuts asunder; Nor yet is providence wanting in external means, which by the goodnesse and power of God, were annexed as sigilla ver­bi, miracles I mean, which are upon this account very suit­ably and proportionably subservient to Faith, they being above natural power, as revealed truths are above natural understanding. The one's above the hand of nature, as the other's above the head of nature; But Miracles, though they be very potent, yet they are not alwayes prevalent, for there were many spectators of Christs Miracles, which yet like so many Pharaohs were hardened by them, and some of them that beheld them were no more moved by them, then some of them who only hear of them; will not at all attend to them. So that only the seal of the Spirit can make a firme impression upon the soul, who writes his own word upon the soul with a conquering and triumphant Sun­beam, that is impatient either of cloud or shadow. Be open therefore ye everlasting doors, and stand wide open ye in­tellectual gates, that the spirit of grace and glory, with the goodly train of his revealed truths may enter in. There's foundation for all this in a principle of nature; for we must still put you in minde of the concord that is betwixt Faith and Reason. Now this is the voice of Reason, that God can, and that none but God can assure you of his own mind; for if he should reveal his minde by a creature, there will still be some tremblings and waverings in the soul, unlesse he does withal satisfie a soul, that such a creature does com­municate his minde truly and really as it is, so that ultimate­ly the certainty is resolv'd into the voice of God, and not into the courtesie of a creature. This holy Spirit of God creates in the soul a grace answerable to these transcendent [Page 175] objects, you cannot but know the name of it, 'tis cal­led Faith, Super-naturalis forma fidet, as Mirandula the younger stiles it, which closes and complies with every word that drops from the voice or pen of a Deity, and which facilitates the soul to assent to revealed truths; So as▪ that with a heavenly inclination, with a delightful propen­sion it moves to them as to a centre. Reason cannot more delight in a common notion or a demonstration, then Faith does in revealed truth. As the Unity of a Godhead is de­monstrable and clear to the eye of Reason, so the Trinity of persons, that is, three glorious relations in one God is as certain to an eye of Faith. 'Tis as certain to this eye of Faith that Christ is truly God, as it was visible to an eye both of Sense and Reason that he is truly man. Faith spies out the resurrection of the body; as Reason sees the immor­tality of the soul. I know there are some Authors of great worth and learning, that endeavour to maintain this Opi­nion, that revealed truths, though they could not be found by reason, yet when they are once revealed, that Reason can then evince them and demonstrate them: But I much rather [...]ncline to the determinations of Aquinas, and mul­titudes of others that are of the same judgement, that hu­mane Reason when it has stretcht it self to the uttermost, is not at all proportion'd to them, but at the best can give only some faint illustrations, some weak adumbrations of them. They were never against Reason, they were alwayes above Reason. 'Twill be employment enough, and 'twill be a noble employment too, for Reason to redeeme and vindicate them from those thornes and difficulties, with which some subtle ones have vext them and encompast them. 'Twill be honour enough for Reason to shew that Faith does not oppose Reason; and this it may shew, it must shew this; for else [...], those that are within the in­closure of the Church will never rest satisfied, nor [...], Pa­gans, Mahumetans, Jewes, will ever be convinc'd. God in­deed [Page 176] may work upon them by immediate revelation; but man can only prevaile upon them by Reason; yet 'tis not to be expected, nor is it required, that every weak and new-born Christian, that gives reall assent, and cordial en­tertainment to these mysterial truths, should be able to de­liver them from those seeming contradictions which some cunning adversaries may cast upon them. There are some things demonstrable, which to many seeme impossible, how much more easily may there be some matters of faith which every one cannot free from all difficulties. 'Tis suf­ficient therefore for such, that they so farre forth under­stand them as to be sure that they are not against Reason, and that principally upon this account, because they are sure God has revealed them. And others that are of more advanced and elevated intellectuals, may give such expli­cations of them, as may disentangle them from all repug­nancy, though they cannot display them in their full glory. Nor must the multitude or strength and wit of opposers fright men out of their Faith and Religion. Though the major part of the world do disesteeme and look upon them as meer contradictions; yet this being the censure of mo [...] unequal and incompetent judges, is not at all prejudicial to their worth and excellency; for to most of the world they were never revealed so much as in an external manner, and to all others that refuse and reject them, they were never powerfully revealed by the irradiations of the Holy Ghost. So that one affirmative here is to be preferred before a whole heap of negatives; the judgement of one wise, en­lighten'd, experienc'd, spiritualiz'd Christian is more to be attended to, then the votes and suffrages of a thousand gain­sayers; because this is undeniable, that God may give to one that Eye, that Light, that discerning power, which he does deny to many others. 'Tis therefore a piece of exces­sive vanity and arrogancy in Socinus, to limit and measure all Reason by his own. Nor does this put any uncertainty [Page 171] in Reason, but only a diversity in the improvings of it, one Lamp differs from another in glory; and withal it laies down an higher and nobler principle then Reason is: for in things meerly natural, every rational being is there a compe­tent Judge in those things that are within the Sphere & com­passe of Reason, the Reason of all men does agree and con­spire, so as that which implies an expresse and palpable con­tradiction, cannot be own'd by any; but in things above Nature and Reason, a paucity here is a better argument then a plurality; because Providence uses to opèn his Cabi­nets only for his Jewels. God manifests these mysterious secrets only to a few friends, his Spirit whispers to a few, shines upon a few, so that if any tell us that Evangelical my­steries imply a contradiction, because they cannot appre­hend them, it is no more then for a blinde man confidently to determine, that it involves a contradiction to say there is a Sun, because he cannot see it. Why should you not as well think that a greater part of the world lies in Error, as that it lies in wickednesse? is it not defective in the choisest in­tellectuals, as well as in the noblest practicals? Or can any perswade himself, that a most eminent and refined part of mankinde, and (that which is very considerable) a Virgin­company which kept it self untoucht from the pollutions of Antichrist upon mature deliberation, for long continuance upon many debatings, examinings, discussings, constantpray­ers unto God for the discovery of his minde, should all this while embrace meere contradictions, for the highest points of their Religion? or can any conceive that these Evange­lical Mysteries were invented, and contriv'd, and main­tain'd by men? Could the Head of a creature invent them? could the arme of a creature uphold them? have they not a Divine super-scription upon them? have they not an heavenly original? or can you imagine that Providence would have so blest and prosper'd a contradiction? as al­wayes to pluck it out of the pawes of devouring adversa­ries? [Page 172] when the whole Christian world was ready to be swallowed up with Arrianisme, dare any to say that God then prepar'd an Arke only for the preserving of a contra­diction? Providence does not use to countenance contra­dictions, so as to let them ride in triumph over Truth. The most that any opposer can say, if he will speak truth, is no more then this, that they seeme to him to imply a contra­diction? which may very easily be so, if he want an higher principle of faith, suitable and answerable to these matters of faith, both of them (the principle and object I mean) be­ing supernatural, neither of them contranatural; for there is a double modesty in Reason very remarkable; As it does not multa asserere, so it does not multa negare; as it takes very few things for certain, so it concludes very few for impossible; Nay, Reason though she will not put out her eye, for that's unnatural, yet she will close her eye some­times, that faith may aime the better, and that's commen­dable: And Faith makes Reason abundant compensation for this; for as a learned Author of our own, and a great Pa­tron both of Faith and Reason, does notably expresse it, Faith is a supply of Reason in things intelligible, as the imagination is of light in things visible. The imagination with her witty and laborious pensil drawes and represents the shapes, proportions and distances of persons and places, taking them only by the help of some imperfect descripti­on, and 'tis faine to stay here, till it be better satisfied with the very sight of the things themselves. Thus Faith takes things upon an heavenly representation and description, up­on a word, upon a promise, it sees a heavenly Canaan in the Map before an intellectual eye can behold it in a way of cleere and open vision; for men are not here capable of a present Heaven, and happinesse of a compleat aud beatifical vision; and therefore they are not capable of such myste­ries in their full splendor and brightnesse; for they would make it, if they were thus unfolded, but they now flourish [Page 173] only in the latices, as Christ himself the Head of these My­steries; they do [...], they put a veile upon their face, out of pure favour and indulgence to an intelle­ctual eye, lest it should be too much overcome with their glory; the veiles of the Law were veiles of obscurity, but the veiles of the Gospel are only to allay the brightnesse of it. 'Tis honour enough for a Christian, if he can but touch the hem of Evangelical Mysteries, for he will never see a full Commentary upon the Gospel, till he can behold the naked face of his God. Yet the knowledge which he hath of him here, imperfecta cognitio rerum nobilissimarum, 'tis most pleasant and delicious. 'Tis better to know a little of God and Christ, then to see all the creatures in their full beauty and perfection. The gleanings of spirituals is better then the vintage of naturals and morals. The least spangle of happinesse is better then a globe of temporals. This sets a glosse and lustre upon Christian Religion, and highly com­mends the purity and perfection of it, above all other whatsoever, in that it hath [...]. Christ tries all his followers by his own Sun-beams. Whereas the dull and creeping religion of Mahomet has nothing at all above Nature and Reason, though it may have many things against both; no need of Faith there, there are no Mysteries in his Alcoran, unlesse of deceit and iniquity. Nothing at all nisi quod de facili, à quolibet mediocriter sapiente naturali ingenio cognosci potest, as that solid Author very well ob­serves. And therefore that stupid imposter did not seale his words with any miracles, for there was not one supernatu­ral truth to be sealed, nor could he have sealed it if it had been there, but only he prosecutes it with a sword. Maho­mets Loadstone does not draw men, but his sword that conquers them, he draws his sword, he bids them deliver up their souls, and tells them, that upon this condition he will spare their lives. Signa illa quae tyrannis & latronibus [Page 174] non desunt, as he speaks notably. But the very principles of Christian Religion are attractive and magnetical, they enamour and command, they overpower the understand­ing, and make it glad to look upon such mysterious truths as are reflected in a glasse, because it is unable to behold them [...]. This speaks the great pre­eminence of Mount Sion above Mount Sina. In the Law you have the Candle of the Lord shining; in the Gospel you have the day-spring from on high, the Sun arising. Nature and Reason triumph in the Law, Grace and Faith flower out in the Gospel. By vertue of this wise and free dispen­sation, weak ones chiefly receive the Gospel, for they are as well able to believe as any other, nay they are apter to be­lieve then others. If it had gone only by the advancement of intellectuals, by the heightenings and clarifyings of Rea­son, who then would have been saved but the grandees of the world? the Scribes, the Pharisees, the Philosophers, the Disputers? but God has fram'd a way that con­founds those heads of the world, and drops happinesse into the mouths of babes. There are some understandings that neither spin nor toile, and yet Solomon in all his wisdome and glory was not clothed like one of these: for this way of Faith 'tis a more brief & compendious way Longum iter per Rationem, breve per Fidem. Very few understandings much lesse all can demonstrate all that is demonstrable, but if men have a power of believing, they may presently as­sent to all that's true and certain. That which Reason would have been sweating for this many a yeer, Faith sups up the quintessence of in a moment. All men in the world have not equal abilities, opportunities, advantages of impro­ving their Reason, even in things natural and moral, so that Reason it self tels us, that these are in some measure necessi­tated to believ others. How many are there that can't mea­sure the just magnitude of a Star, yet if they will believe an Astronomer, they may know it presently, and if they be sure [Page 175] that this Mathematician hath skill enough, and will speak nothing but truth, they cannot then have the least shadow of Reason to dis-believe him. 'Tis thus in spirituals, such is the weaknesse of humane understanding pro hoc statu, as that they are necessitated to believing here; yet such is its happinesse, that it hath one to instruct it who can neither deceive nor be deceived. God hath chosen this way of Faith, that he may staine the pride and glory of man, that he may pose his intellectuals, that God may maintaine in man great apprehensions of himself, of his own incompre­hensiblenesse, of his own truth, of his own revelations, as that he may keep a creature in a posture of dependency, so as to give up his understanding, so as to be disposed and regulated by him. And if a Cherubim be ambitious of stooping, if Angelical understanding do so earnestly [...], me thinks then the sons of men might fall down at the beautiful feet of Evangelical mysteries, with that hum­ble acknowledgment, Non sum dignus solvere corrigiam [...]ujus mysterii. Only let thy Faith triumph here, for it shall not triumph hereafter; let it shine in time, for it must va­nish in eternity. You see then that Reason is no enemy to Faith, for all that has been said of Faith, it has been fetcht out of Reason. You see there are mutual embraces twixt the Law and the Gospel, Nature and Grace may meet to­gether, Reason and Faith have kissed each other.

The light of Reason is a pleasant light.

'TIs Lumen jucundum; All light is pleasant, 'tis the very smile of Nature, the glosse of the world, the varnish of the Creation, a bright paraphrase upon bodies. Whether it discover it self in the modesty of a morning blush, and open its fair and Virgin eye-lids in the dawning [Page 176] of the day, or whether it dart out more vigorous and sprightful beams, shining out in its noon-day glory; whe­ther it sport and twinckle in a Star, or blaze and glare out in a Comet, or frisk and dance in a Jewel, or dissemble and play the Hypocrite in a gloworm, or Epitomize and abbre­viate it self in a spark, or shew its zeale and the ruddinesse of its complexion, in the yolk of the fire, or grow more pale, pining and consuming away in a Candle; however 'tis pleas'd to manifest it self, it carries a commanding lustre in its face, though sometimes indeed it be veil'd and sha­dowed, sometimes 'tis clouded and imprison'd, sometimes 'tis soyl'd and discolour'd. Who will not salute so lovely a beauty with a [...]; welcome thou first-borne of cor­poreal beings, thou Lady and Queen of Sensitive beauties, thou clarifier and refiner of the Chaos, thou unspotted beauty of the Universe. Let him be condemn'd to a perpe­tual night, to a fatal disconsolate grave, that is not en­amour'd with thy brightnesse. Is it not a pleasant thing to behold a Sun? nay, to behold but a Candle, a deputed light? a vicarious light? the ape of a Sun-beame? Yet there are some superstitious ones that are ready to adore it, how de­voutly do they complement with a Candle, at the first ap­proach? how do they put off the hat to it, as if with the Sa­tyr they meant to kisse it. You see how pleasant the light is to them; Nay that learned Knight in his discourse of Bodies, tells us of one totally blinde, who yet knew when a candle came into the room, only by the quickning & revi­ving of his Spirits. Yet this Corporeal light, 'tis but ashadow, 'tis but a black spot to set off the fairnes of intellectual brightnes. How pleasant is it to behold an intellectual Sun? Nay, to behold but the Candle of the Lord? How plea­sant is this Lamp of Reason, [...]. All the Motions and Operations of Nature are mix'd and season'd with sweetnesse; Every Entity 'tis sugared with some de­light; Every being 'tis roll'd up in some pleasure. How [Page 177] does the inanimate Being clasp and embrace its Centre, and rest there as in the bosome of delight? how flourish­ing is the pleasure of vegetatives? Look but upon the beau­ty and pleasure of a flower. Behold the Lilies of the Val­leyes, (and the Roses of Sharon,) Solomon in all his Plea­sure was not cloathed like one of these. Go then to sensi­tive Creatures, and there you meet with pleasures in a greater height and exaltation. How are all the Individua amongst them maintained by acts of pleasure? How are they all propagated by acts of pleasure? Some of them are more merry and cheerful then the rest. How pleasant and jocund is the Bird? How musical is it? How does it sing for joy? did you never see the fish playing in its element? did you never see it caught with a bait of pleasure? does not Leviathan sport in the sea, and dally with the waves? If you look up higher to rational Beings, to the sonnes of men, you'l finde there a more singular and pecular kinde of pleasure, whilest they have both a taste of sensitive de­light, and a Participation of Intellectual. The soul and body enjoying a chaste and conjugal love, the pleasure of the soul is more vigorous and masculine, that of the bo­dy more soft and effeminate. The Nobler any Being is, the purer pleasure it hath proportion'd to it. Sensitive plea­sure it hath more of dregs; Intellectual pleasure it hath more of Quintessence. If pleasure were to be measured by Corporeal senses, the Brutes that are more exquisite in sense then men are, would by vertue of that, have a choicer por­tion of happinesse then men can arrive to, and would make a better sect of Epicureans then men are ever like to do. But therefore Nature hath very wisely provided, that the pleasure of Reason should be above any pleasure of Sense; as much, and far more then the pleasure of a Bee is above the pleasure of the Swine. Have you not seen a Bee make a trade of pleasure, and like a little Epicure faring deliciously every day, whilest it lies at the breast of a flower, [Page 178] drawing and sucking out the purest sweetnesse? and be­cause 'twill have variety of dishes and dainties, it goes from flower to flower, and feasts upon them all with a pure and spotlesse pleasure, when as the Swine in the mean time tumbles and wallowes in the mire, rolling it self in dirt and filthinesse. An Intellectual Bee that deflowers most elegant Authors, a learned Epicure that sups up more O­rient pearles then ever Cleopatra did, one that delights in the embraces of truth & goodnes, hath he not a more refin'd and clarified pleasure, then a wanton Corinthian that courts Lais, then a soft Sardanapalus spinning amongst his Courti­zans, then a plump Anacreon, in singing & dancing and quaf­fing & lascivious playing? [...] as the elegant Moralist hath it: and 'tis as if he had said, the delights of a studious and contemplative Athenian, or of a couragious and active Lacedemonian, is infinitely to be preferr'd before the pleasure of a delicate Sybarite, or a a dissolved Persian. The delight of a Philosopher does in­finitely surpasse the pleasure of a Courtier. The choicest pleasure is nothing but the Efflorescentia veri & boni, there can be no greater pleasure, then of an understanding embracing a most clear truth, and of a will complying with its fairest good, this is [...], as the Greeks calls it; or as the Latines in sinu gaudere; all plea­sure consisting in that Harmonious Conformity and Cor­respondency, that a faculty hath with its object, 'twill ne­cessarily flow from this, that the better and nobler any ob­ject is, the purer and stronger any faculty is, the neerer and sweeter the union is between them; the choicest must be the pleasure that ariseth from thence. Now Intellectual Beings have the bravest object, the highest and most gene­rous faculties; the strictest Love-knot and Union, and so [Page 185] can't want a pleasure answerable to all this. Epicurus himself (as that known writer of the Philosophers lives, who him­self also was a favourer and follower of the Epicurean Sect, does represent him) that grand master of pleasure, though sometimes he seeme to steep all pleasure in sense, yet upon more digested thoughts he is pleased to tell us, that the supreme delight is stor'd and treasur'd up in intellectuals. Sometimes indeed he breaks out into such dissolute words as these, [...]. I know no pleasure, saith he, if you take away the bribes and flatteries of lust, the enticings & blandishings of sense, the graces and elegancies of Musick, the kisses and embraces of Venus. But afterwards he is in a farre different and mote sober strain, and seems to drop a pearl, though his auditors prov'd swine, his words were these, [...]. I meane not (saies he) the pleasures of a Prodigal, or those that are situated in a carnal fruition, [...]. I intend a rational pleasure, a prudential kinde of pleasure, which makes him lay down this for an axiome, [...], that is, there can be no pleasure unlesse it be dipt in goodnesse, it must come bubbling from a fountain of Reason, & must stream out vertuous expressions & manife­stations, and whereas other in their salutations were wont to write [...], he alwayes writ [...]. But that ingenuous Moralist whom I mentioned before, who could easily spy out the minde of Epicurus, and who was of great­er candor and fairnesse then to wrong his opinion, doth yet so farre lay it open and naked to the world, as that he notably detects the follies and vanities of that voluptuous Philosopher in that golden tractate of his, which he entitles [Page 186] [...]. Non potest suaviter vi­vere secundùm Epicuri decreta, where he shews that this jol­ly Philosopher makes the body onely the proper centre of pleasure, and when he tells you that the minde hath a more rarified delight, he means no more then this, that the minde perceives the pleasure of sense better then the sense does, which makes the forementioned Author passe this witty censure upon them, [...], they pour no pleasure upon the soul, but that which comes out of the impure and musty vessel of the body. The whole summe of Epicurus his E­thicks, which he stiles his Canonical Philosophy, is this, [...], that pleasure was the ( [...]) and ( [...]) of all happinesse. To this purpose he wrote a multitude of books, and scattered them like so many of his Atomes, and the greedy appetite of his licencious followers was easily caught with these baits of pleasure, which made his opinions to be stiled meretri­cia dogmata that curl'd their locks, that painted their faces, that open'd their naked breasts, that cloath'd themselves in soft and silken apparel, to see if they could thus entice the world; they were [...] that with a melt­ing and delicate voice, did endeavour to soften and win up­on the hearts of men as much as they could; the quintes­sence of all his doctrine was this, Dux vitae dîa voluptas, as Lucretius the Epicurean Poet sings. The practice of that frolick professour of pleasure, did sufficiently explain and comment upon his minde. His dwelling was in a garden, a fit place to crown with Rose-buds, [...] to crop the tops of pleasure, to let no flower of the spring passe untoucht of him; here he was furnisht with all his voluptuous accommodations, and he might spread like a green and flourishing Bay-tree; But amongst all his plea­sure [Page 187] me thinks none should envie that (which yet the wri­ter of his life is pleased to observe) that he was wont [...], to vomit twice a day constant­ly after meales, by vertue of his excessive luxury. O rare Philosopher! that Head of a vomiting Sect, that lickt up his and their own filthinesse. Is this the work of an Athe­nian? is this his mixing of vertue with pleasure? will he call this [...]; sure he will not call this [...]; yet his death was very conformable to his life, for he expir'd with a cup of wine at his mouth, which puts me in minde of the end of the other carousing Epicure, that merry Greek Anacreon; who by a most emphatical Tau­topathy was chok'd with the husk and kernel of a Grape. So soone does the pleasure of an Epicure wither, so soone are his resolves blasted, he eats, and drinks, and dies before to morrow, [...], &c. they seeme to refresh and fan the soul with a gentle breath, but they are not certain, nor durable. Those corporeal delights (as that florid Moralist Plutarch tells us) [...], like so many sparks, they make a crack and vanish; like some extemporary meteors, they give a bright and sudden coruscation, and disappear immediately. The pleasures of taste are but in fine palati, as that famous Epicure Lucretius tells us. Whereas intellectual joy shines with a fixt and undecaying brightnesse, and though these [...] (as Plato calls them elegantly) these outward pictures of pleasure, though they lose their glosse and colour, yet the inward face of delight maintains its ori­ginal and primitive beauty. Sensitive pleasure is limited and contracted to the narrow point of a [...], for sense hath no delight but by the enjoyment of a present object, when as intellectual pleasure is not at all restrained by any temporal conditions, but can suck sweetnesse out of time [Page 188] past, present, and to come; the minde does not only drink pleasure out of present fountains; but it can taste those streams of delight that are run away long ago, and can quench its thirst with those streams, which as yet run under ground. For does not memory (which therefore Plato calls [...] does it not reprint and repeat for­mer pleasure? and what's hope but pleasure in the bud? does it not antedate and prepossesse future delight? Nay, by ver­tue of an intellectual percolation, the waters of Marah and Meribah will become sweet and delicious. The minde can extract honey out of the bitterest object when 'tis past, how else can you construe it, haec olim meminisse jutabit? Cor­poreal pleasure 'tis but drossie and impure, the wine 'tis dasht with water, there is a [...] (as Plato in his Philebus that book of pleasure doth very plainly and fully explain it,) and the instance that there Socrates gives, is a quenching of thirst, where there's a very intimate connex­ion betwixt vexation and satisfaction. Tell me, you that crown your selves with Rose-buds, do you not at the same time crown your selves with thornes? for they are the com­panions of Rose-buds. But intellectual pleasure 'tis [...], clear and crystaline joy, there's no mud in it, no feculency at all. Men are asham'd of some corporeal pleasures, the crown of Roses 'tis but a blushing crown, but who are blusht at intellectual delights? Epicurus his Philosophy was very well term'd [...], 'twas afraid to come to the light, whereas intellectual plea­sure need not fear the light, or the Sun-shine. Men faint and languish with sensitive pleasures, Membra voluptatis dum vi labefacta liquescunt (as Lucretius himself upon much experience acknowledges.) Lassata viris nondum satiata, as the Satyrist speaks of the eminent wanton. Nay, such is the state and temper of the body [...], [Page 189] as that it will better endure extreme grief, then ex­cessive pleasure. Did you ne're hear of the soft Sybariste, who complain'd in the morning of his wearinesse, and of his pimples, when he had lien all night only upon a bed of Roses; but who ever was tir'd with intellectual pleasure? who ever was weary of an inward complacency? or who er'e surfetted of rational joy? Other pleasures ingratiate themselves by intermission, Voluptates commendat rarior usus, whereas all intellectuals heighten and advance them­selves by frequent and constant operations. Other plea­sures do but emasculate and dispirit the soul, they do not at all fill it and satisfie it. Epicurus may fill his with one of his atomes, as well as with one of his pleasures. Whereas ra­tional pleasure fills the soul to the brim; it oiles the very members of the body, making them more free and cheer­ful; Nay, speculative delight will make abundant com­pensation for the want of sensitive; 'twill turne a wilder­nesse into a Paradise. 'Tis like you have read of the Philo­sopher that put out his eyes, that he might be the more in­tent upon his study; he shuts his windows that the candle might shine more clearly within; and though he be rather to be wondered at, then to be followed or commended, yet he did proclaim thus much by this act of his, that he pre­ferred one beame of intellectual light before the whole glo­ry of this corporeal world; How have some been enamour­ed with the pleasure of Mathematicks? when saies Plu­tarch, did any Epicure cry out [...] with so much joy as Archimides did [...]? How have some Astronomers built their nests in the Stars? and have scorn'd to let any sublunary pleasures rend their thoughts from such goodly speculations? the worst of men in the meane time glut themselves with sensitive pleasure, [...] (as he in Plato speaks.) Apollo laughs but once in a yeere, when as a fool laughs all the yeer [Page 190] long. And 'tis a great deal more consonant to sound Phi­losophy that rationality should be the spring of inward plea­sure, then of outward risibility. Amongst all mental ope­rations reflex acts taste pleasure best, for without some self­reflexion men cannot tell whether they rejoyce or no; now these acts are the most distant and remote from sense, and are the highest advancements of Reason: true pleasure, 'tis res severa (as the grave Moralist Seneca speaks) and 'tis in profundo, where truth and goodnesse those twin-foun­tains of pleasure are. Sensitive pleasure makes more noyse and crackling, when as mental and noëtical delight, like the touches of the Lute, make the sweetest and yet the stillest and softest musick of all. Intellectual vexations have most sting in them, why then should not intellectual delights have most honey in them? Sensitive pleasure 'tis very cost­ly, there must be [...], much preparati­on and attendance, much plenty and variety, Parcentes ego dexteras odi, sparge Rosas, 'tis too dear for every one to be an Epicure, 'tis a very chargeable Philosophy to put in pra­ctice, whereas rational delight freely and equally diffuses it self, you need not pay any thing for fountain-pleasure, the minde it self proves a Canaan that flows with milk and ho­ney, other pleasure a sick man cannot relish, an old man cannot embrace it. Barsillai saies he's too old to taste the pleasures of the Court. A Crown of Rose-buds does not at all become the gray head. But this noëtical pleasure 'tis a delight fit for a Senator, for a Cato, 'tis an undecaying, a growing pleasure, 'tis the only pleasure upon the bed of sicknesse; the minde of him that has the gowt may dance, 'tis the staffe for old age to leane upon; these are the rosae in hyeme, the delights of old age, how much is the pleasure of a wise Nestor above the pleasure of a wanton Menelaus? The more rational & spiritual any being is, the larger capacity it has of pleasure. [...] (saith Plato) [Page 191] and in a commendable sense it does Terram coelo miscere, and extract what sweetnesse it can out of both. The purer Arts, the nobler Sciences have most pleasure annext to them, when as Mechanical Arts are more sordid and con­temptible, bei [...]g conversant about sensitive and corporeal objects. Seeing and hearing are the most pleasurable sen­ses, because they receive their objects in a more spiritual and intentional manner, and are deservedly stil'd by the Na­turalist sensus jucunditatis. Other senses are more practi­cal, but these are more contemplative. [...], as Aristotle tells us, for these are the sensus disciplinae, they are the [...] mentis, they contribute most to Reason. The more any object is spi­rituali [...]ed, the more delightful it is, there's much delight in the tragical representation of those things which in reality would be sights full of amazement and horror. The tick­lings of fancy are more delightful then the touches of sense. How does Poetry insinuate and turne about the mindes of men? A [...]acreon might take more delight in one of his Odes, then in one of his Cups; Catullus might easily finde more sweetnesse in one of his Epigrams, then in the lips of a Lesbia▪ Sappho might take more complacency in one of her Verses, then in her practices. The neerer any thing comes to mental joy, the purer and choycer it is. 'Tis the observation not only of Aristotle, but of every one al­most, [...]. Some things delight meerly because of their novelty, and that surely upon this account, because the minde which is the spring of joy, is more fixt and intense upon such things. The Rose-bud thus pleases more then the blown Rose. This noëtical plea­sure doth quietly possesse and satiate the soul, and gives a compos'd and Sabbatical rest. So that as the foremen­tioned Philosopher has it, [...]. [Page 192] Men that are took up with intellectual joy, trample upon all other inferiour objects. See this in Ange­lical pleasure; those Courtiers of heaven much different from those on earth, neither eat nor drink, nor come neere, nor desire to come neere any carnal pleasures. The painted and feigned heaven of a Mahomet, would prove a real hell to an Angel or glorified Saint. He plants a fooles paradise of his own, there are trees of his own setting and watering, the fat and juicey Olive, the wanton and sequacious Ivy, and though he would not allow them Vines on earth (such was his great love of sobriety) yet he reserves them for heaven; what meanes that sensual and sottish impostor, to give no­tice of heaven by an Ivy-bush? Does he think that Goats and Swine, that Mahomets must enter into the new Jeru­salem? This is just such a pleasure and happinesse as the Poets, that loose and licentious generation fancied and carved out as most agreeable to their Deities. They poure them out Nectar, they spread them a table, they dish out Ambrosia for them, they allow them an Hebe, or a Gany­mede to wait upon them, and do plainly transforme them to worse then sensitive beings, such is the froth of some vain imaginations; such is the scum of some obscene fancies, that dare go about to create an Epicurean Deity, conform­able to their own lust and vile affections. Judge in your selves, are these pleasures fit for a supreme being? is there not a softer joy, is there not a more downy happinesse for a spiritual being to lay its head upon? That conqueror of the world had far wiser and more sober thoughts, when he di­stinguisht himself from a Deity by his sleep and lust. And I begin to admire the just indignation of Plato, who (though neither he himself, (unlesse he be mis-reported) could con­tent himself with intellectual pleasure, no nor yet with na­tural, yet he) would banish from the Idea of his Common­wealth all such scandalous and abominable Poetry, as durst cast such unworthy and dishonourable aspersions upon a [Page 193] Deity, and make their god as bad as themselves, as if they were to draw a picture of him by their own faces and com­plexions. Yet as all other perfections, so the perfection of all true and real pleasure, is enjoyed by God himself in a most spiritual and transcendent manner. That which is ho­nour with men, is glory with him; that which we call rich­es, is in him his own excellency. His creatures which are very properly (as the Philosopher stiled riches) [...], all serviceable and instrumental to him, and so that which amongst men is accounted pleasure, is with him that infinite satisfaction, which he takes in his own Essence, and in his own operations. His glorious decrees and contrivan­ces, they are all richly pregnant with joy and sweetnesse. Every providential dispensation is an act of choicest plea­sure; the making of all beings, nay of all irregularities contribute to his own glory, must needs be an act of su­preme and sovereigne delight. The laughing his enemies to scorne, 'tis a pleasure fit for infinte justice, the smiling upon his Church, the favouring and countenancing of his people, 'tis a pleasure fit for mercy and goodnesse; Miracles are the pleasure of his omnipotency, varieties are the delight of his wisdome; Creation was an act of pleasure, and it must needs delight him to behold so much of his own workmanship, so many pictures of his own drawing; Re­demption was an expression of that singular delight and pleasure which he took in the sons of men. Such heaps of pleasures as these are never enter'd into the minde of an E­picurus, nor any of his grunting Sect, who very neer border upon Atheisme, and will upon no other termes and condi­tion grant a Deity, unlesse they may have one of their own modelling and contriving, that is, such a being as is wholly immerst in pleasure, and that such a pleasure as they must be judges of; a being that did neither make the world, nor takes any care of it, for that they think would be too much trouble to him, too great a burden for a Deity, 'twould [Page 194] hinder his pleasure too much. May they not a great deale better tell the Sun, that it's too much trouble for it to en­lighten the world; may they not better tell a Fountaine that it's too much pains for it to spend it self in such liberal eruptions, in such fluent communications? Or shall natu­rall agents act with delight ad extremum virium, and shall not an infinite, and a free, and a rational agent choose such operations as are most delightful to him? would not Epicu­rus himself choose his own pleasure? and will he not allow a Deity the same priviledge? will he offer to set limits to a being which he himself acknowledges to be above him? must he stint and prescribe the pleasures of a God? and mea­sure out the delights of the first being? who should think that an Athenian, that a Philosopher could thus farre dimme the Candle of the Lord? and could entertain such a prodi­gious thought as this, that the Sun it self is maintain'd with the same Oile, as his decayed and corrupted Lampis? That gallant Moralist Plutarch does most notably lay the axe to the root of this abominable Error, for, saith he, If Epicurus should grant a God in his full perfections, he must change his life presently, he must be a swine no longer, he must un­crown his rosy head, and must give that practical obedience to the dictates of a God which other Philosophers are wont to do; whereas he looks upon this as his fairest Rose-bud, as the most beautiful flower in his garden of pleasure, that there's no providence to check him, or bridle him; that he is not so subject or subordinate as to stand in awe of a Dei­ty. But that brave Author (whom I commended before) shews the inconsistency of this tenent, with true and solid pleasure; For grant, O Epicure, that thou dost not care for a Deity in a calme, yet what wilt thou do in a storme? when the North-winde blows upon thy garden, and when the frost nips thy tender Grapes. Thou dost not care for him in the spring, but wouldst thou be glad of him in the winter? will it be a pleasure then that thou hast none to [Page 195] help thee? none to guide thee, none to protect thee? Sup­pose a Ship ready to be split upon a rock, or to be soop't up of a wave, would this then be a comfort and encouragement to it, or would it take pleasure in this, [...], that it has no Pilot to direct it, it has no tutelar Deities to minde the welfare of it? but it must rush on as well as it can; thou blinde and fond Epicure, thou knowest not the sweetnesse of pleasure, that might be extracted out of providence, which is not [...], 'tis not a supercilious and frowning authority, but 'tis the indulgent and vigilant eye of a father, 'tis the tender and affectionate care of a Creator. One blossome of Providence hath more joy and pleasure in it, then all thy Rose-buds. Where is there more delight then in the ser­ving of a God? Look upon the Sacrifices, what mirth and feastings are there? [...], 'Tis not the abun­dance of wine, nor the abundance of provision that makes the joy and pleasure there, [...], it's the presence of a propitious Deity, ac­cepting and blessing his worshippers, that fills the heart with greater joy then an Epicure is capable of. Never was there a Sect found out that did more oppose true pleasure, then the Epicureans did; they tell us that they take pleasure in honour, [...], they look upon it as a lovely and delightful thing; yet by these tenents and pra­ctices of theirs, they quite staine and blot their honour, & so lose that piece of their pleasure which they pretend to. They say (if you'l believe them) that they take pleasure in friends, when as yet they constitute friendship, only [...], they must be boon companions, [Page 196] that must drink and be merry together, and run into the same excesse of riot. Have not sensitive creatures as much friendship as this amounts to? They tell us they love the continuation of pleasure, why then do they deny the im­mortality of the soul? [...], 'tis the voice of Epicurus and his swinish Sect, There must be no e­ternity. What, are they afraid their pleasure should last too long? or are they conscious (as they may very well be) that such impure pleasure is not at all durable? [...], 'tis the voice of the same impure mouth, There is no repetition of life: what's he afraid of having his pleasures reiterated? does he not expect a crown of Rose-buds the next spring? or is he so weary (as well he may be) of his pleasure, as that he will preferre a non-entity before it? This sure was the minde and desire of that Epicurean Poet Lucretius, though a Roman of very eminent parts, which yet were much abated by a Philtrum that was given him; a just punishment for him, who put so much of his pleasure in a cup; and this desperate slighter of Providence, at length laid violent hands upon himself. Are any of you enamour'd with such pleasure as this? you see what's at the bottome of an Epicures cup: you see how impatient a rational being is of such unworthy delights, and how soon 'tis cloy'd with them. You see the misery of an Epicure, whose pleasure was only in this life, and yet would not last out this life nei­ther. But all rational pleasure, tis not of a span long, but reaches to perpetuity. That Moralist whom I have so often mentioned, reckons up whole heaps of pleasure, which spring from the continuation of the soul. [...]. There (saies he) shall I have the pleasure of seeing all my friends again, there I shall have the pleasure of more ennobled acts of Reason; [...], there shal I taste the so much long'd for sweet­nesse [Page 197] of another world. [...], &c. The fear of future misery cannot more terrifie a guilty soul (the fear of which 'tis like made Epicurus put off all thoughts of another life as much as he could, for else the fear of that would have been a worm in his Rose-bud of pleasure; but the fear of that has not more horror and a­mazement in it,) then the hope of future happinesse has joy and delight annext to it.

Hoc habet animus Argumentum divi [...]itatis, qu [...]d eum divina delectant, as that serious Moralist Seneca speaks most excellently. The soul by the enjoyment of God comes neer the pleasure of God himself.

The Platonists tell us that Voluptatis Generatio fit ex in­finiti & finiti copulatione, because the object of real plea­sure must be [...]. An intellectual eye married to the Sun, a naked will swimming, and bathing it self in its fairest good, the noblest affections leaping and dancing in the purest light, this speaks the highest apex and eminency of noëtical pleasure; yet this pleasure of heaven it self, though by a most sacred and intimate connexion; it be unseparably conjoyn'd with happinesse, yet 'tis not the very essence and formality of it, but does rather flow from it by way of concomitancy and resultancy.

That which most opposes this pleasure, is that prodigi­ous and anomalous delight (not worthy the name of delight or pleasure) which damn'd spirits and souls degenerate farre below the pleasure of Epicurus, that delight which these take in wickednesse, in malice, in pride, in lies, in hypocrisie; all which speaks them the very excrements of Beelzebub, the Prince of Devils. But you that are genuine Athenians, fill your selves with noëtical delights, and envie not others their more vulgar Beotick pleasures; envie not the ranknesse of their Garlick and Onions, whilest you can feed and feast up­on [Page 198] more Spiritual and Angelical dainties. Envy not the wan­ton Sparrows, nor the laseivious Goats, as long as you can meet with a purer and chaster delight in the virginity of in­tellectual embraces.

Do you devoure with a golden Epicurisme, the Arts and Sciences, the spirits and extractions of Authors; let not an Epicure take more pleasure in his garden then you can do in your studies; you may gather flowers there, you may gather fruit there. Convince the world that the very pith and mar­row of pleasure does not dwell in the surface of the body, but in a deep and rational centre. Let your triumphant rea­son trample upon sense, and let no corporeal pleasures move you or tempt you, but such as are justly and exactly subor­dinate to Reason; you come to Athens as to a fountain of learned pleasure; you come hither to snuff the Candle of the Lord that is within you, that it may burn the clearer and the brighter. You come to trim your Lamps, and to pour fresh Oile into them; yourvery work and employment is plea­sure. Happy Athenians (if you knew your own happinesse.) Let him be condemn'd to perpetual folly and ignorance, that does not prefer the pleasant light of the Candle of the Lord before all the Pageantry of sensitive objects, before all the flaunting and Comical joy of the world.

Yet could I shew you a more excellent way, for the plea­sures of natural reason are but husks in comparison of those Gospel-delights, those mysterious pleasures that lie hidin the bosome of a Christ; those Rose-buds that were dy'd in the bloud of a Saviour, who took himself the Thorns, & left you the roses. We have only lookt upon the pleasure of a candle, but there you have the Sun-shine of pleasure in its full glory.

The light of Reason is an ascendent light.

'TIs Lumen ascendens [...], [Page 199] as Musaeus sings in the praise of Hero's Candle. Yet I mean no more by this, then what that known saying of Saint Au­stin imports, Fecisti nos (Domine) ad te, irrequietum erit cor nostrum donec redit ad te. The Candle of the Lord it came from him, and 'twould faine returne to him. For an intel­lectual lamp to aspire to be a Sun, 'tis a lofty straine of that intolerable pride which was in Lucifer and Adam: but for the Candle of the Lord, to desire the favour, and presence, and enjoyment of a beatifical Sun, this is but a just and no­ble desire of that end which God himself created it for. It must needs be a proud and swelling drop that desires to be­come an Ocean; but if it seeks only to be united to an Oce­an, such a desire tends to its own safety and honour. The face of the soul naturally looks up to God, coelúmque tueri Jussit, & erectos ad sidera tollere vultus, tis as true of the soul as of the body. All light loves to dwell at home with the Fa­ther of lights. Heaven 'tis Patria luminum, God has there fixt a tabernacle for the Sun, for 'tis good to be there, 'tis a condescension in a Sunne-beam that 'twill stoop so low as earth, and that 'twill gild this inferiour part of the world; 'tis the humility of light that 'twill incarnate and incorpo­rate it self into sublunary bodies; yet even there 'tis not forgetful of its noble birth and original, but 'twill still look upwards to the Father of lights. Though the Sun cover the earth with its healing and spreading wings, yet even those wings love to flie aloft, and not to rest upon the ground in a sluggish posture. Nay, light when it courteously salutes some earthy bodies, it usually meets with such churlish en­tertainment, as that by an angry reverberation, 'tis sent back again, yet in respect of it self 'tis many times an happy re­flection and rebound, for 'tis thus necessitated to come neerer heaven. If you look but upon a Candle, what an aspi­ring and ambitious light is it? though the proper figure of flame be Globular and not Pyramidal, (as the noble Veru­lam tells us in his History of Nature) which appears by those [Page 200] celestial bodies, those fine and rarified flames, (if we may so call them with the Peripateticks leave) that roll and move themselves in a globular and determinate manner: yet that flame which we usually see puts on the form of a Pyramide, occasionally and accidentally, by reason that the aire is in­jurious to it, and by quenching the sides of the flame crush­es it, and extenuates it into that form, for otherwise 'twould ascend upwards in one greatnesse, in a rounder and com­pleater manner. 'Tis just thus in the Candle of the Lord; Reason would move more fully according to the sphere of its activity, 'twould flame up towards heaven in a more vi­gorous and uniforme way, but that it is much quencht by that [...], and the unrulinesse of the sensitive powers will not allow it its full scope and liberty, therefore 'tis fain to spire up, and climbe up as well as it can in a Pyra­midal forme, the bottome and basis of it borders upon the body, and is therefore more impure and feculent; but the apex and cusp is of it catches at heaven, and longs to touch happinesse, thus to unite it self to the fountain of light and perfection. Every spark of Reason flies upwards, this divine flame fell down from heaven, and halted with its fall, (as the Poets in their Mythology tell us of the limping of Vulcane) but it would faine ascend thither againe by some steps and gradations of its own framing.

Reason 'tis soon weary with its fluttering up and down among the creatures, the Candle of the Lord does but waste it self in vain in searching for happines here below. Some of the choicest Heathens did thus spend their Lamps, & exhaust their Oile, and then at length were faine to lie down in dark­nesse & sorrow; their Lamps did shew them some glimmer­ing appearances of a Summum bonum at a great distance, but it did not sufficiently direct them in the way to it, no more then a Candle can guide a traveller that is ignorant of his way. You may see some of the more sordid Heathen toyl­ing and searching with their Candle in the mines and trea­suries [Page 201] of riches, to see if they could spy any veine of happi­nesse there, but the earth saith, 'Tis not in me. You may see others among them feeding and maintaining their Candle with the aire of popular applause, sucking in the breath and esteem of men, till at the length they perceived that it came with such uncertain blasts, as that they chose rather to cloy­ster themselves up in a Lanthorn, to put themselves into some more reserved and retired condition, rather then to be exposed to those transient and arbitrary blasts, which some are pleased to entitle and stile by the name of honours. You might see some of them pouring the Oile of gladnesse into their Lamps, till they soon perceived that voluptuous ex­cesse, did but melt and dissolve the Candle, and that plea­sures like so many thieves, did set it a blazing, and did not keep it in an equal shining. You might behold others, and those the most eminent amongst them, snuffing their Can­dles very exactly and accurately, by improving their intel­lectuals and refining their morals, till they sadly perceived that when they were at the brightest, their Candles burnt but dimly and blewly, and that for all their snuffing they would relapse into their former dulnesse. The snuffings of Nature and Reason will never make up a day, nor a Sun-shine of happinesse; all the light that did shine upon these Ethiopians did only discover their own blacknesse, yet they were so enamour'd with this natural complexion, as that they look't upon't as a piece of the purest beauty.

Nature Narcissus-like loves to look upon its own face, and is much taken with the reflexions of it self. What should I tell you of the excessive and hyperbolical vapourings of the Stoicks in their adoring and idolizing of Nature, whilest they fix their happinesse in the [...] in their own com­passe and sphere; these were (as I may so terme them) a kinde of Pharisees among the Heathen, that scorn'd precarious happinesse, like so many arbitrary and independent beings; they resolv'd to be happy how they pleas'd, and when they [Page 202] list. Thus do sond creatures boast of their decayed Lamps, as if they were so many Sunnes, or at least Stars of the first magnitude. The Stoicks spoke this more loudly, yet the rest of the Heathen whispered out the same, for they were all of the Poets minde.—Natura beatis Omnibus esse dedit, si quis cognoverit uti. And they would all willingly subscribe to those words of Salust. Fal [...]ò de natura queritur humanum ge­nus, which indeed is understood of the God of Nature, they were words of truth and loyalty; but if they meant them (as certainly they did) of that strength which was for the pre­sent communicated to them, they were but the interpreters of their own weaknesse and vanity. Yet 'tis no wonder to hear any of the Heathen Rhetoricating in the praise of Na­ture; it may seem a more tolerable piece of gratitude in them to amplifie and extoll this gift of their Creatour; 'tis no wonder if such a one admire a Candle, that ne're saw a nobler light. But for such as are surrounded and crown'd with Evangelical beams, for men that live under Gospel-Sun-shine, for them to promise themselves and others that they may be saved by the light of a candle▪ a Stoick, an Aca­demick, a Peripatetick shall enter into heaven before these. Yet I finde that in the very beginning of the fifth Centu­ry, Pelagius an high Traitor against the Majesty of Heaven, scattered this dangerous and venomovs Error, endeavour­ing to set the Crown upon Natures head, and to place the creature in the throne of God and grace. The learned Vos­sius in his Historia Pelagiana (a book full fraught with sacred Antiquity) gives us this brief representation of him, that he was, humani arbitrii decomptor, & Divinae Gratiae contem­ptor, a trimmer of Nature, and an affronter of grace. His body was the very type of his soul, for he wanted an eye, he was but [...] ▪ to be sure he wanted a spiritual eye to discern the things of God. He was a Scot by Nation, a Monk by profession, a man exemplary in Morals, and not contem­ptible for learning, for though Hierom vilifie him in respect [Page 203] of both, yet Chrysostom gives him a sufficient Commendamus, and Augustine himself will set his hand to it, that learned adversary of his full of grace and truth, & the very hammer that broke his flinty and rebellious Errour in pieces. If you would see the rise, and progresse, and variations of this Er­rour, how it began to blush and put on more modesty in Se­mipelagianisme; how afterwards it cover'd its nakednesse with some Popish fig-leaves; how at length it refin'd it self and drest it self more handsomely in Arminianisme, you may consult with the forementioned Author, who kept a relique of his Pelagian History in his own breast, whilest it left upon him an Arminian tincture. This spreading Errour leaven'd the great lump and generality of the world, as the profound Bradwardin sighs, and complains; Totus penè mun­dus post Pelagium abiit in errorem: for all men are born Pe­lagians; Nature is predominant in them: it has took posses­sion of them, and will not easily subordinate it self to a su­perior principle. Yet Nature has not such a fountain of per­fection in it self, but that it may very well draw from ano­ther; this Heathenish principle after all its advancements and improvements, after all its whitenings and purify­ings, it must stand but afar off in Atrio Gentium, it cannot en­ter into the Temple off God, much lesse into the Sanctum Sanctorum, it cannot pierce within the veile.

The ennoblement of intellectuals, the spotlesse integri­ty of Morals, sweetnesse of dispositions, and the candor of Nature, they are all deservedly amiable in the eye of the world. The Candle of Socrates, and the candle of Plato, the Lamp of Epictetus, they did all shine before men, and shine more then some that would fain be call'd Christians. Nature makes a very fine show, and a goodly glittering in the eye of the world, but this Candle cannot appear in the presence of a Sun▪ all the paintings and varnishings of Nature, they please and enamour the eyes of men, but they melt away at the presence of God. The Lamp of a Moralist may waste it [Page 204] self in doing good to others, and yet at length may go out in a snuffe, and be cast into utter darknesse. The harmoni­ous composing of natural faculties, the tuning of those spheres, will never make up an heaven fit for a soul to dwell in. Yet notwithstanding whatsoever is lovely in narure is acceptable even to God himself, for 'tis a print of himself, and he does proportion some temporal rewards unto it; the justice of an Aristides, the good laws of a Solon or a Lycurgus, the formal devotion of a Numa Pompilius, the prudence of a Cato, the courage of a Scipio, the moderation of a Fabius, the publitk spirit of a Cicero, they had all some rewards scat­tered among them. Nor is there any doubt but that some of the Heathen pleased God better then others. Surely Socra­tes was more lovely in his eyes then Aristophanes, Augustus pleased him better then Tiberius, Cicero was more accepta­ble to him then Catiline, for there were more remainders of his image in the one then in the other, the one was of pu­rer and nobler influence then the other. Minùs malus respectu pejoris est bonus, the one shall have more mitigations of pu­nishment then the other; Socrates shall taste a milder cup of wrath, when as Aristophanes shall drink up the dregs of fury; if divine justice whip Cicero with rods, 'twill whip Ca­tiline with Scorpions. An easier and more gentle worm shall feed upon Augustus, a more fierce and cruel one shall prey upon Tiberius; if justice put Cato into a prison, 'twill put Cethegus into a dungeon. Nor is this a small advantage that comes by the excellencies & improvements of Nature, that if God shall please to beautifie and adorne such an one with supernatural principles, and if he think good to drop grace into such a soul, 'twill be more serviceable and instrumental to God then others. Religion cannot desire to shine with a greater glosse and lustre, it cannot desire to ride among men in greater pomp and solemnity, in a more triumphant Chariot, then in a soul of vast intellectuals, of Virgin and undeflowered morals, of calme and composed affections, of [Page 205] pleasant and ingenuous dispositions. When the strength of Nature, and the power of godlinesse unite, and concentri­cate their forces, they make up the finest and purest com­plexion; the soundest and bravest constitution, like a spark­ling and vigorous soul, quickening and informing a beauti­ful body. Yet this must be thought upon, that the different improvement even of Naturals, springs only from grace. For Essentials and Specificals (which are meer Nature they are equal in all, but whatsoever singular or additional per­fection is annext to such a one, flows only from the distin­gushing goodnesse of an higher cause; that Socrates was a­ny better then Aristophanes, was not nature, but a kinde of common gift and grace of the Spirit of God, for there are the same seminal principles in all. Augustus & Tiberius were hew'n out of the same rock; there are in Cicero the seeds of a Catiline: and when the one brings forth more kindely and generous, the other more wilde and corrupted fruit, 'tis ac­cordingly as the countenance and favourable aspect of hea­ven is pleased to give the increase; for as the Philosophers tell us, Motio moventis praecedit motum mobilis, was there any propension or inclination to goodness in the heart of a Cice­ro more then of a Catiline? 'twas only from the first mover, from the finger of God himself that tuned the one more harmoniously then the other. As take two several Lutes, let them be made both alike for essentials, for matter and form; if now the one be strung better then the othet, the thanks is not due to the Lute, but to the arbitrary pleasure of him that strung it; let them be both made alike and strung alike, yet if the one be quickened with a more delicate and graceful touch, the prevailing excellency of the musick was not to be ascribed to the nature of the Lute, but to the skill and dexterity of him that did move it and prompted it into such elegant sounds. The several degrees of worth in men that are above radicals and fundamentals of nature, they are all the skill and workmanship, the fruits and productions of [Page 206] common grace. For Omnis actio particularis habet originem ab agente universali. Now if the universal agent did only di­spense an equal concourse in an equal subject, all the opera­tions and effects that flow from thence must needs be equal also; if then there be any eminency in the workings of the one more then of the other▪ i [...] can have no other original then from that noble influence, which a free and supreme a­gent is pleased to communicate in various measures; so that naked Nature of it self is a most invalid and inefficacious principle, that does crumble away its own strength, and does wear and waste by its motions, and for every act of im­provement it depends only upon the kindnesse of the first being. They that tell you Nature may merit Grace and Glo­ry, may as well tell you (if they please) that a Candle by its shining may merit to be a Star, to be a Sun. Nor yet is Na­ture alwayes constant to its own light; it does not deal faith­fully with its intimate and essential principles. Some dar­lings of Nature have abundantly witnessed this, whilest they have run into some unnatural practices, that were the very blushes of Nature; if then Nature cannot tell how to live up­on earth, will it ever be able to climbe up to heaven? Sines­ciat servire, nescit imperare, if it be not faithful in a little, do you think that it shall be made Ruler over much? no certain­ly, moral endowments when they are at the proudest top and apex, can do no more, then what that great Antipelagi­an Prosper tells us, Mortalem vitam honestare possunt, aeter­nam conferre non possunt. God has ordeined men to a choycer end, then these natural faculties can either deserve, or ob­taine, or enjoy. Natures hand cannot earn it; Natures hand cannot reach it, Natures eye cannot see it. That glorious and ultimate end, which must fill and satiate the being of man, is the beatifical vision of God himself. Now there is no na­tural power nor operation proportioned to such a transcen­dent object as the face of God, as the naked essence of a Deity. Inferior creatures may, & do move within the com­passe [Page 207] of their natures, and yet they reach that end which was propounded and assigned to their being: but such was the special and peculiar love of God, which he manifested to a rational nature, as that it must be advanc't above it self by a supernaturale auxilium, before it can be blest with so great a perfection, as to arrive to the full end of its being. Yet God has toucht nature with himself, and drawes it by the attra­ctive and magnetical vertue of so commanding an object as his own essence is, which makes Nature affect and desire somewhat supernatural, that it may make neerer approach­es unto happinesse; for this end God did assume humane na­ture to the divine, that he might make it more capable of this perfection, and by a strict love-knot and union might make it partaker of the divine nature; not that 'tis changed into it, but that it has the very subsistence of its happinesse by it. Every being does naturally long for its own perfecti­on, and therefore a rational nature must needs thus breath and pant after God, and the neerer it comes to him, the more intensely and vehemently it does desire him, for as they tell us, Motus naturalis velocior est in sine, the neerer a body ap­proaches to its centre, the more cheerful and vigorous is its motion. The Understanding that sees most of God, desires to see more of him; its eye will never leave rolling till it fix it self in the very centre of the Divine essence. Nature that has but some weake glimpses of him, and so it has but faint and languishing velleities after him. [...], as he speaks of the Heathens, they seem to nod after a summum bonum. What the states and conditions of those Heathens was and is in order to eter­nal happinesse, we cannot easily nor certainly determine; yet thus much may be safely granted, though we say not with the Pelagians, that the emprovements of nature can make men happy; nor yet with the Semi-Pelagians that na­tural preparations and predispositions do bespeak & procure Grace; nor yet with the Papists and Arminians, that works [Page 208] flowing from Grace do contribute to more Grace & Glory, yet this we say, that upon the improvement of any present strength, God out of his free goodnesse, may if he please give more. As God freely gave them nature (which makes Pelagius sometimes call Nature Grace) and as he freely, and out of his Grace gave them some emprovement of Nature, so he might as freely give them supernatural strength if it so please him. Yet a creature cannot come to heaven by all those improvements which are built upon Natures founda­tion; for if it should accurately and punctually observe eve­ry jot and tittle of Natures Law, yet this natural obedience would not be at all correspondent or commensurate to a su­pernatural happinesse, which makes Saint Augustine break out into such an expression as this; Qui dicit hominem ser­vari posse sine Christo, dubito an ipse per Christum servari possit; for this is the only way, the new and living way, by which God will assume humane nature to himself, and make it happy. Yet notwithstanding their censure is too harsh and rigid, who as if they were Judges of eternal life and death, damne Plato and Aristotle without any question, without any delay at all; and do as confidently pronounce that they are in hell, as if they saw them flaming there. Whereas the infinite goodnesse and wisdome of God might for ought we know finde out several wayes of saving such by the Pleonasmes of his love in Jesus Christ; he might make a Socrates a branch of the true Vine, and might graffe Plato and Aristotle into the fruitful Olive; for it was in his power, if he pleased, to reveale Christ unto them, and to infuse faith into them after an extraordinary manner; Though indeed the Scripture does not afford our charity any sufficient ground to believe that he did; nor dorh it warrant us peremtorily to conclude the contrary. Secreta Deo, it does not much concerne us to know what became of them; let us then forbear our censure, and leave them to their competent Judge. But when we mention Socra­tes, [Page 209] Plato and Aristotle, and the more eminent and refined ones among the Heathens, you must be sure not to enter­tain such a thought as this, that the excellency of their in­tellectuals and morals did move and prevail with the good­nesse of God to save them more then others of the Hea­then, as if these were dispositiones de congruo merentes salu­tem aeternam, this indeed were nothing but Pelagianisme a little disguised; whereas you must resolve it only into the free grace of God, that did thus distinguish them here in time, and might more distinguish them eternally, if it pleased him to bestow a Saviour upon them. Which grace of God is so free, as that it might save the worst of the Hea­thens, and let go the rest; it might save an Aristophanes as well as a Socrates, nay before a Socrates, as well as a Publi­can before a Pharisee: not only all Heathen, but all men are of themselves in equal circumstances in order to eternal happinesse; 'tis God only that makes the difference, ac­cording to his own determinations, that were eternal and unconditional. Yet I am farre from the minde of those Patrons of Universal Grace, that make all men in an equal propinquity to salvation, whether Jewes, or Pagans, or Chri­stians; which is nothing but dight and guilded Pelagia­nisme, whilest it makes grace as extensive and Catholick, a principle of as full latitude as nature is, and resolves all the difference into created powers and faculties. This makes the barren places of the world in as good a condition as the Garden of God, as the inclosure of the Church: It puts a Philosopher in as good an estate as an Apostle; For if the remedium salutiferum be equally applied to all by God himself, and happinesse depends only upon mens regulating and composing of their faculties; how then comes a Chri­stian to be neerer to the Kingdome of Heaven then an In­dian? is there no advantage by the light of the Gospel shining among men with healing under its wings? Surely, though the free grace of God may possibly pick and choose an Heathen sometimes, yet certainly he does there more [Page 210] frequently pour his goodnesse into the soul where he lets it streame out more clearely and conspicuously in external manifestations. 'Tis an evident signe that God intends more salvation there, where he affords more means of salvation; if then God do choose and call an Heathen, 'tis not by uni­versal, but by distinguishing grace. They make Grace Na­ture, that make it as common as Nature. Whereas Nature when 'twas most triumphant, shining in its Primitive beau­ty and glory, yet even then it could not be happy without Grace. Adam himself besides his integritas naturae, had also adjutorium gratiae, for as the Schoolmen explain it, though he had viros idoneas ad praestanda omnia naturalia; reipsa ta­men nihil praestitit sine auxilio gratiae. As, if you expect any goodly and delicious clusters from a Vine, besides its own internal forme which we'll stile Nature, there must be also auxilium gratiae, the Sun must favour it and shine upon it, the raine must nourish it, and drop upon it, or else Nature will never be pregnant and fruitful. Adams Can­dle did not shine so clearly, but that Grace was fain to snuffe it. Nature, though 'twere compleate and entire, yet 'twas faine to strengthen and support it self by its twinings about Grace, and for want of the powerful support and mainte­nency of Grace, Nature fell down presently; it startled from it self, and apostatiz'd like a broken bowe. What meane the Pelagians to tell us of a Naturalis Beatitudo, when as Nature now is surrounded with so many frailties and mi­series, so many disorders and imperfections? Yet were it as green and flourishing as ever it was when 'twas first plant­ed in Paradise, yet even then 'twould be too remote from happinesse, for perfect happinesse excludes and banishes all futurity and possibility of misery, which Nature never yet did, nor could do. And happinesse never flows out till the Sunne look upon it, till it see the face of God himself, whom Natures eye will ne're be able to behold. Yet Oh! how desirous is Nature of this? how inquisitive is humane Na­ture [Page 211] into the causes of things, and esteems it no smal piece of its beatitude if it can finde them out? Foelix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas. What a goodly sight is it then to behold the first cause of all being, and its own being? how faine would an intellectual eye behold him that made it! Nature longs to see who 'twas that first contrived it, and fram'd it, and fashion'd it; the soul would fain see its Father of Spi­rits. The Candle would faine shine in the presence of him that lighted it up.

Yet Nature cannot see the face of God and live. Ante obi­tum nemo supremáque funera foelix. The Moralists happiness is dormant in the night-time, for there's no operatio secun­dùm virtutem then, nor can the soul while 'tis clogg'd with a fraile body, climbe to the [...] of goodnesse or happiness; the soul here has not a perfect enjoyment of inferiour ob­jects, much lesse of God himself; it has but a shadowy sight of Angels propter connaturalitatem intellectûs nostri ad phantasmata; and if natures eye cannot look upon the face of a twinkling Starre, how will it behold the brightnesse of a dazling Sunne? that general knowledge which it hath of God here is mixt with much error and deceit.

Nor can Faith look upon the divine essence; 'tis a lovely grace indeed, yet it must die in the Mount like Moses; it cannot enter into the Land of promise; 'tis auditui magis si­milis quàm visioni, it hears the voice of its God, it does not see his face, it enflames the desire of the soul, it does not quench it, for men would faine see what they beleeve; the object of Faith is obscure and at a distance, but the face of God is all presence and brightnesse. Happinesse it consists in the noblest operation of an intellectual being, whereas in beleeving there is imperfectissima operatio ex parte intelle­ctûs, licèt sit perfectio ex parte objecti.

Nor yet is the divine essence seen in a way of demonstrati­on, for then only a Philosopher should see his face, such only as had skil in Metaphysicks, who yet may be in misery for all [Page 212] that, for demonstrations are no beatifical visions. The damn­ed spirits can demonstrate a Deity, and yet they are perpetu­ally banisht from his face: there can be no demonstration of him à priore, for he is the first cause, and all demonstrati­ons fetcht from such effects as flow from him, they do only shew you that he is, they do not open and display the divine essence, for they are not effectus adaequantes virtutem causae. To see God in the creatures, 'tis to see him veil'd, 'tis to see him clouded. The soul will not rest contented with such an imperfect knowledge of its God, it sees him thus here, and yet that does not hush and quiet rational desires, but does increase and inlarge them. Such things as last long, are per­fected slowly, and such is happinesse; the knowledge of men here 'tis too green and crude, 'twon't ripen into happi­nesse, till the Sun shine upon it with its blessed and imme­diate beams. God therefore creates and prepares a Lumen Gloriae for the soul, that is, such a supernatural disposition in an intellectual eye, by which 'tis clarified and fortified, and rightly prepared for the beholding the divine essence, which makes Dionysius the falsely supposed Areopagite, very fitly describe happinesse by this, 'tis [...], the souls sunning of it self in the Lumen Gloriae. Some will have that of the Psalmist to be sung in the praise of this light, In lumine tuo videbimus lumen. That Seraphical Prophet does thus most excellently represent it: The Sunne shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightnesse shall the Moone give light unto thee, but the Lord shall be unto thee an ever­lasting light, and thy God thy glory, Isai. 60. v. 19. You have it thus rendered in the Apocalypse: [...]. This lumen gloriae, which is similitudo quaedam intellectûs divini (as the Schoolmen speak,) this light 'tis not so much for the disco­vering of the object, (for that's an intellectual Sun cloathed [Page 213] with all perfection and brightnesse,) as 'tis for the helping and advancing of a created understanding, which else would be too much opprest with the weight of glory; but yet this augmentation of the visive faculty of the soul, by the Lumen Gloriae, 'tis not per intentionem virtutis natura­lis, but 'tis per appositionem novae formae: 'tis not the rais­ing and screwing of nature higher, but 'tis the adding of a new supernatural disposition that may close with the divine essence; for as Aquinas has it, Ipsa divina essentia copulatur intellectui, ut forma intelligibilis, humane understanding is as the matter accurately predisposed by the Lumen Gloriae, for the receiving of the divine essence, as an intelligible forme stamps an impression of it self upon it; it prints the soul with that summum bonum which it has so much long'd for.

So that though there be still an infinite disproportion between God and the creature in esse naturali, yet there is a fit and just proportion between them in esse intelligibili. Though an eye be enabled to behold the Sun, yet this does not make it all one with the Sun, but it keeps its own nature still as much as it did before.

Nor is this vision a comprehensive vision, for a finite being will never be able fully to graspe an infinite essence; 'tis true indeed, it sees the whole essence of God, not a piece of his face only, for all essence is indivisible, especially that most simple and pure essence of God himself, but the soul does not see it so clearly, and so strongly as God himself sees it; hence degrees of happinesse spring, for the Lumen Gloriae being variously shed amongst blessed souls, the lar­ger measure they have of that, the brighter sight have they of the divine essence. Several men may look upon the same face, and yet some that have more sparkling eyes, or some that stand neerer may discerne it better; if a multltude of spectators were enabled to behold the Sunne, yet some of them that have a more strong and piercing eye might see it [Page 214] more cleerly then the rest. In this glasse of the divine es­sence glorified souls see all things else that conduce to their happinesse; as God by seeing himself the cause and foun­tain of beings, sees also all effects that come streaming from him; so these also looking upon the Sunne, must needs see his beams; they see the Sunne, and see other things by the Sun: they see there omnium rerum genera & species, they there behold virtutes, & ordinem universi. Yet because they do not see the essence of God clearly and perfectly, (that is, comprehensively) so neither can they see all those treasures of mysterious wisdome, of unsearchable good­nesse, of unlimited power, that lie hid in the very depth of the divine essence. Non vident possibilia, nec rationes re­rum, nec ea quae dependent ex pura Dei voluntate, as the Schoolmen do well determine; yet all that a glorified un­derstanding sees, it's in one twinkling of its eye, for it sees all by one single species, by the divine essence. It forgets its wrangling Syllogismes, it leaves its tardy demonstrati­ons when it once comes to an intuitive knowledge. Non movetur de uno intelligibili in aliud, sed quiescit in actu u­nico, for the state of happinesse is a Sabbatical state. The soul rests and fixes it self in one act of perpetual enjoy­ment, and by this participation of simultaneity it partakes of eternity, for that is tota simul.

Whether this glorious happinesse be more principally situated in an act of the understanding, or of the will, I leave the Thomists and Scotists to discusse it; only this I will say in the behalfe of Aquinas, that the will cannot enjoy this happinesse any other wayes, then as 'tis a rati­onal appetite. For there is a blinde appetite of good in e­very being, which yet neither has nor can have such happi­nesse. As therefore the operations of the will, so the happinesse of the will also seemes to be subordinate to that of the understanding. But it is enough for us that an intire soul, an whole rational being is united to its [Page 215] dearest, fairest, and supreme object in a way of pure intuitive speculation, in a way of sweetest love and fruition. Nor could nature of it self reach this, for an inferiour nature cannot thus unite it self to a superiour, but only by his indulgence raising it above it self.

This Candle of the Lord may shine here below, it may and doth aspire, and long for happinesse; but yet it will not come neere it, till he that lighted it up, be pleased to lift it up to himself, and there transforme it into a Starre, that may drink in everlasting light and influence from its original and fountain-light.

THE Schisme.

1 COR. 3. 4.

For while one saith I am of Paul, and another, I am of Apollo, are ye not carnal?

THE Corinthians were Pauls Epistle, as he him­self stiles them; writ in a very legible character, to be seen, and read of all men; and to be set as a copy, for others to write after. No doubt but the Apostle had penned it very fairly; it was not writ with Inke (as he himself tells us), and yet I know not how, he meets with some blots and dashes in it; nay, the Epistle's ready to be torne asunder, and rent in pieces by strifes and divisions; While one saith, I am of Paul, and another, I am of Apollos. Corinth the famous [...] of Achaia, [...], or as Tully, Lumen Graciae: a mart-towne of great resort, whence as Eustathius tells us; Thu­cidides termed it [...], [...]enc't with a Castle, which they called Acro-Corinthus, as the Poet loftily; Quà summus casus Acro-corinthus in auras Tollit, & alternâ geminum mare protegit umbrâ. So that 'twas for strength impregnable; for command, very powerful; being able to cut off all passage by land, from one halfe of Greece to the other; and hence as Ca­saubon well observes out of the nineth book of Strabo', Geogra­phy; [Page 2] this was one of those Cities which were termed Compedes Graciae. It master'd the Ionian and Aegean Seas, on both which it had very commodious havens; the Sea on each side washing it, whence he calls it, bimaris Corinthus, and the Greeks [...], and [...]. The people (as in such places they use to be) were rich, and luxurious, proud, and contentious, [...], and so on, as Strabo in the eighth of his Geography. And I finde in Hesychius that [...] is no better then [...]; and here liv'd Lais, that famous Cour­tizan, that asked Demosthenes so dear for repentance. The City was full of Philosophers, and Rhetoricians, full of Artificers, fa­mous for new inventions; whence the Lyrick applyes that chiefly to them: [...]. But God tells Paul in a vision in the 8th of the Acts; that he had much people in this city. The Apostle he spends a year and six moneths amongst them, preaching the Gospel, and planting of a Church: and when from thence he [...]ailed into Syria, he left Apollos his successor for the watering of his plant­ation. Now in the Church which Paul had planted, and which Apollos had water'd, and which God had blest and given an in­crease unto; in the flourishing Church at Corinth, where there were so many Christians eminent for grace, and religion, Non cui­vis contingit adire a [...]ire Corinthum, every one could not reach to so high a degree of piety; yet even here there are strifes, and divisions, and tumults, [...], one standeth for Paul, and another for Apollos. Weeds they'l spring up though Paul never planted them, and though Apollos never watered them, to be sure God he never blest them; and yet they'l finde an increase. No Church so fair in this world as to be without spot and wrinkle, none so happy as to be wholly priviledged from jarres and dissensions: even in Parradise there was [...]; only in heaven there's, [...], and Jerusalem which is above, that's a city compacted, united within her self: Peace is within her walls; and happinesse within her palaces. Heaven's full of per­fect harmony, there's musick without the least discord, but we can't look for a Church triumphant here below. And yet we meet with none so much blam'd for strifes, and divisions as this of Corinth: indeed the very Genius of the people strongly in­clined them this way; and though it be true that grace doth [Page 3] not only polish and gild over nature; (Mortality knowes how to do that) but even subdue it, and change the very frame and con­stitution of it: yet being that 'tis not wholly conquer'd here; 'tis like 'twill shew it selfe most in some domineering corruptions, which generally reign'd amongst them; even the Christians at Corinth are contentious; Animi inflammati ebulliunt ad certamen: they were wholly disjoynted in affection, and therefore the A­postle desires that they might be [...]; and this is the very time, as Hierome tells us when Episcopacy was first esta­blish't in the Church; when one said I am of Paul, and another I am of Apollos 'twas thought fit to set some prime ruler over the rest for the better calming, and composing of these strifes, and tu­m lts. And the Scholiast tels us that this Apollos mentioned in the text was [...], the first Bishop of Corinth. Now as for the words. I am of Paul, and I am of Apollo, even amongst expositours as well as amongst the Corinthians there are [...]; for the better clearing of them it won't be amisse to compare them with that twin-place. 1 Cor 1. 12. Every one of you saith; you see how quickly schisme had spread it selfe, how soon a little leaven had leaven'd the whole lump. Every one of you saies, I am of Paul, and I am of Apollo, and I am of Cephas, (that's of Peter) and I am of Christ. The Major part of interpre­ters will by no meanes yield that the Apostle blames any such as said they were of Christ; but only complaines of this, that whereas the greatest part of them had with full voice cryed up Paul and Apollo, and Peter, only some few at length they stand for Christ; whereas all should have challenged this honourable and glorious title of Christian to themselves▪ Pauci dixerunt quod omnes dicere debuerunt, as he speakes: and one would have thought the very name Christian should have been better able to still these stirrings in the Church, then that of Quirites was presently to hush, and lay the commotions in Caesars army. Chry­sostome he thinks the Apostle brings it [...], and puts in his own voice; You indeed are for Paul, and Apollo, and Peter, [...], I am for none but Christ: but others, and they of a very strong, and piercing insight in the scripture, think even such may justly be blamed by the Apostle that said they were of Christ▪ if they did this in a violent and contentious way either (first) so as to exclud [...] [...] others from Christ that were not every way of [Page 4] their minde, or else (secondly) so as to vilifie the Ministers of Christ. For perhaps it might be spoken by some that had heard Christ himself preach with authority and power; and for them hence to slight Paul, and disesteem Apollos, surely this de­serv'd a sharp, and cutting reprehension. A fond conceit rooted in the mindes of many now adayes: that if they had heard but Christ himselfe preach, they doubt not but they should have be­lieved. Blessed indeed were the eyes that saw their Saviour, and the eares that heard the gracious words that flowed out of his mouth; but yet such as beleeve not Moses and the Prophets, the Apostles and Ministers sent in the name of Christ; neither would they beleeve if they should hear Christ himself preaching unto them, discovering his sweetest love, and dearest affection, unbosoming and unboweling himselfe, woing and beseeching them to be reconciled unto God. It has been well observed that we read of farre more converted by the ministery of the A­postles then by Christ himselfe, because he provided to magnifie the excellency of his spiritual presence above his personal. Even such may be blamed as say they are of Christ. Now as for the other branch, I am of Cephas, we never read of Peter's being at Corinth, 'tis like therefore 'twas spoke by some Jewes, that crept in amongst them, and extolled him as their Apostle; Peter be­ing a Minister of the circumcision, as Paul was of the uncircum­cision. And therefore the Apostle useth the name Cephas rather then Peter; it being nomen Hebraeo-Syrum; with which the Jewes were much better acquainted. The Popish expositours they are of Cephas. Baronius, and his troopes would faine perswade us that the Apostle doth not blame any such as said they were of Cephas, no more then he doth them that said they were of Christ. Such indeed as follow'd Paul, and Apollos must needs be schis­maticks, but such as kept themselves to the prime Bishop, and chief head of the Church next under Christ, to Peter, these are Catholicks like themselves. Others that can't wink so much but that they must needs see even Cephas followers come under the Apostles reprehension: they sweat and take great paines to very little purpose, whilest they go about to prove, that by Cephas here is not meant Peter, but some of that name, that preacht at Corinth, but who it should be they can't very well tell. You see how Cephas, who like his Saviour was, [...], [Page 5] becomes to them [...]. Was Peter any better then a [...]? and doth not the argu­ment hold as strongly? Was Cephas crucified for you? or were you baptized into the name of Cephas? This indeed we'll easily grant, and 'tis by the joynt consent of all Interpreters, that under these names of Paul, and Apollos, and Peter; there is a reprehension wisely and warily couch'd of such false Apostles as were amongst them, whom Paul, 2 Cor. 11. 6. stiles [...]; Words so big with Emphasis, as they hardly admit of a Translation, yet thus that place is rendred. I was not a whit behinde the very chiefest Apostles: Where Paul doth not speak (as it is usually taken) in respect of such as were true Apostles, but only in reference to such as had nothing to set them out, but lofty words of their own, [...]. One would have thought [...] had been a swelling title, and somewhat with the highest; but they in their own conceits are [...]. Paul acknowledgeth himself lesse then the least of the Apostles, and unworthy to be called an Apostle; and yet he did [...], he might well have the preheminence of them. These were they that thought to ingratiate themselves with the Corinthians, by an outward pompe of words, and splendour of humane wisdome▪ they made [...]. For the Scholiasts they did [...], as Phocius, they did monopolize the people, when as they should [...]; setting out truths, in a painted and meretricious bravery; nay, blending them with errors and humane devices, with the crude imaginations of their own braine: And thus the Apostle tacitely insinuates an argument, à minore admajus; If it a were a grosse and carnal thing, as no doubt but 'twas, to side with Paul that planted the Church, and to glory in Apollos that water'd it: Then much more to side with such a false Apostle, that went a­bout to overthrow it, and such another that meant to extirpate it. And that the Apostle thus aimes at them, 'tis clear out of the 4th Chapter of this Epistle, and the 6th Verse. ( [...], Chrysostome:) These things sayes he, have I transferr'd in a figure to my self, and to Apollo: [...]. Haec transtuli in faciem meam, according to the Syriack▪ [...]; if we would render't [Page 6] Hellenistically, as Heinsius tells us. These things have I hidden­ly spoke, and yet not so secretly, but that they might very well take notice of it. But yet thus he did, that his reproof might be [...], as the Scholiast speaks: [...] Chrysostom, a word well entertained; that he might soften, and supple his reprehension, so as it might become a precious Oile: that he might by no means exasperate these false Apostles; lest thus, while he spoke against Schismes, and tumults in the Church; he might increase them which were already, and occasion great­er. And therefore, as a learned Interpreter hath well observed; 'tis like that they did not yet strike at the essentials, or funda­mentals of Religion; for then Paul would have more openly, and piercingly reproved them. His words now were smoother then Oile; but then they should have been very swords. You see the wisdome of our Apostle, and you see the pregnancy of Scripture-sense, which in the same speech hath several aimes, all full of excellent use. Paul here takes off the Corinthians from their siding with false Apostles, and from their over-esteeming conceit which they had of true ones. And though some take the former to be the maine drift, and scope of the place: Yet I shall rather incline to them that rest in the latter, as the more proper and genuine meaning of it; having more vicinity with the letter of the Text, and being clearer out of the whole Series of the Chapter: For what is Paul? and what is Apollo? Paul did but plant, and Apollo did but water: 'Twas God only that gave the increase; so that he that plants is nothing, nor he that waters; but God that gives the increase. You see how the Apostle makes it his [...], to beat down those over-high thoughts which they had of such as indeed deserv'd esteem, and double honour; of such as were nuncii pulchri pedis, as the Hebrews love to speak. Oh, how beautiful were their feet, that brought the glad tydings of salva­tion; and yet such must not be adored, and deify'd; as if the gods had been come down amongst them, as so many Saviours that had been crucified for them, and into whose Name they had been baptized. Now that the Corinthians did thus glory in them, 'tis sure, and that in a double respect. 1. As being baptized by them; and thus, I am of Paul, and I am of Apollo; is as much as I am baptized by Paul, and I by Apollo; and this was strengthen­ed by an erroneous conceit amongst them, that the efficacy of [Page 7] the Ordinance depended upon the worthinesse of the Minister; Therefore Paul in the following words tells us for his part, that he baptized very few of them; lest they should say, that he bap­tized into his own name. And I finde in very good Authors, that from this time, the forme of Baptisme in the Greek Church was altered: For whereas before, 'twas [...], ever since this 'twas [...], lest they should seem to baptize into their own name. It is not for me to question the wisdome of the Church, in altering their forme: But this I am sure, that that which we still keep, is very warrantable; while the Minister saith, I baptize thee. 'Tis clear, not in his own name, while he addes, as they also did; In the name of the Father, and of the Sonne, and of the holy Ghost. But secondly, I am of Paul, and I am of Apollos; They are words of such as glory'd in the several gifts, and diversity of excellencies which they had in preaching the Gospel, and publishing the welcome newes of salvation by Christ; and thus 'tis, I am Pauls disciple, and I am Apollos his. One likes the powerful plainnesse of Paul, a­nother the ample plenty, and variety of Apollos: A third, the solidity, and perspecuity of Cephas. And here we will see as well as we can, by those obscure vestigia which we meet withall, wherein their several excellencies lay. And as for Paul, we finde him himself yielding by way of concession, 2 Cor. 11. 6. that he was [...], rude in speech. Although in­deed, I know not where to meet with more strong, and masculine eloquence, then in this our Apostle; that eloquence that had [...], as Eunapius speaks; Eloquence more fitted, and suited to the persons to whom he spake, and the places where he was: Yet this was that so much objected to him by those false Apostles; that prided themselves so much in a flaunting gaudy eloquence of their own, and esteemed Pauls preaching meer simplicity; and their followers, even the wiser sort of the Co­rinthians thought it no better then foolishnesse, as he himself tells us. But some of the more Christian sort amongst them, they ran into the other extreme; and were so far in love with that as they lik't none else. He preach't in a plain and a familiar way, sharply convincing the judgement. We have these characters of Apollo in the 18th of the Acts: That he was, 1. [...], an eloquent man. 2. [...], [Page 8] well skilled in the Scriptures, so the Idiom carries it; we render't powerfull in the Scriptures. 3. [...], he was earnest in his preaching, fervent in spitit. 4. [...], he taught us accurately, exactly; we have it diligently. 5. He did [...]. As the Heathens painted their Apollo, their god of eloquence; he had his harp, and his arrowes, his sweet and piercing expressions; there was the voice of the charmer, charming most sweetly: and there were arrowes in the hand of the mighty; happy he, for he had his quiver full of them. I suppose he wrought chiefly upon the affections, in a more Rhe­torical manner.—

Cephas, he laid down the principles of Religion in a more Ca­techetical way; he opened the Scriptures, and discovered a treasure of heavenly wisdome in every iota of holy writ. Such places, as he in his Epistle calls [...], he layed them [...], that I may borrow the expression in the Hebrews, and so he was more for the enlightening, and informa­tion of the minde. Peter, he unsheathed the sword of the Spirit; Apollos▪ he flourish't, and brandish't the glittering sword; Paul, he strikes with it, and pierceth to the dividing a­sunder of the joynts, and marrow; and to the discerning of the very thoughts and intentions of the heart: And though these here say no more, then I am of Paul, and I am of Apollos: Ab­rupt language will serve their turne; it is enough they can ex­presse their mindes; Yet no doubt, but some of the Corinthians could spin out their thoughts into a fairer thred, and thus one might speak for Paul.

What, did you ne're hear Paul preach? Did you ne're see him weeld those weapons of his warfare, which are not carnal; but mighty through God, to the pulling down of the strong holds of Satan, and to the beating down every high, and towering ima­gination; which advanceth it self against the knowledge of Christ, and captivating it into the obedience of Jesus Christ? Oh how he speaks, as if he were within a man; as if he supplyed the place of conscience! He has a window into the breast; he opens the window, and darts in a beam of irresistible light; Which though vain man may seek to imprison in unrighteousnesse, and thus become the jaylour of Truth: Yet as the light for a while, shut up in a cloud; easily breaks prison, and shewes his glorious [Page 9] face to all beholders: So the Truth discovers it self, will set it self at liberty; and he, when he sees his prisoner loose, like that other jaylour in the Acts; falls down, and amazed, cryes out, Sirs, What shall I do to be saved? 'Tis hard to imprison so strong a light. Cephas indeed preacheth very well, and soundly: And Apollos perhaps with more elegancy of expression, and greater discovery of affection; but give me the convincing strength of Paul, who though he be rude in speech, yet he comes in the very evidence, and demonstration of the Spirit; as for me, I am of Paul.

Another he's for Apollos. 'Tis true Paul preaches very power­fully, and so doth Cephas very profitably; but yet me thinks none so movingly as Apollo. Oh did you see with what a sweet facility he slides into his hearers? O how with a happy fluence he in­sinuates himselfe into them? Oh did you see how [...] and [...] met together, how sweetnesse and violence kiss'd each other? Did you minde with what a holy variety he refresh't his hearers, and how he led affection by the hand, which way he pleased? One while he dippes each word in a teare; another while he steeps every phrase in honey now he breaths out flames, that he may thaw a frozen generation; by and by he speaks in a silken Dialect; and cloathes his speech with the soft raiments of a more pleasant eloquence. If he flames in terrours you'ld think the Pulpit a mount Sina, nothing but thundering, and lightening, and the voice of the Trumpet; so that the people exceedingly quake and tremble. If he breath out peace, and open the bowels of mercy, if he display the riches of reconcili­ation in Christ, why now it becomes a mount of Olives, nothing but peace and sweetnesse, and a gentle aire. Christ is seen in the mount, now his doctrine drops as the raine, and his speech distilleth as the dew: as the soft raine upon the tender herbs▪ and as the showers upon the grasse, Heavenly Apollo! How is my soul taken with thy powerfull eloquence? O that I might for ever live under so happy a Ministery. Let whose will be for Paul, I am for Apollo. A third he's for Cephas.

For my part, I like Paul well enough: neither can there be much fault found with Apollo: but yet none pleases me so well as Cephas. O how doth he explaine the Oracles of God, and un­riddle the mysteries of salvation? O how doth he stoop to the [Page 10] lowest capacity, and feed us with the sincere milk of the word that we may grow thereby? how doth he come with line upon line, drop upon drop, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little? O how doth he unvaile, and [...]nmaske heavenly truths; so as each eye may see their beauty, and every soul become enamoured with them? What a lustre doth he set upon the pearle of price,; so as one would willingly part with all they have for the purchasing of it? Let others follow Paul, and admire Apollo: I am sure I profit by none so much as by Peter; I am of Cephas.

You see here the Corinthians vanity, and in it our propensity to glory in men, and that because we are carnal, which brings us to the Apostles censure painted with a stinging interrogation, Are ye not carnal? [...], nonne homines estis? So the vulgar Latine, it seems that makes it equivalent to be men, and to be carnal; indeed there's but little difference, Paul himselfe calls it in the former verse [...]. Nonne cor­porejestis? So the Syriack hath it, as 'tis usually translated, Don't you seem to be all body, to have nothing of a soul in you, no­thing of a more refined part, whilst you thus judge only according to outward appearance? and so I suppose [...] is a de­gree below [...], and yet he savours not the things of God▪ But the force of the Original there reaches further; even to this Nonne cadaverosi estis? as the word [...], from whence it springs, plainly shews. Carnal men they are dead in trespasses, and sinnes ( [...], as Lucian calls old men) though they esteem it their only life, as he sings Ʋivamus m [...]a Lesbia.

But here 'tis to be took in a more candid sense; for the Apostle speaks to such as were regenerate, and in the state of grace; to such as were [...], he himself calls them babes in Christ, so that here 'tis meant either (first) have not you such grosse ap­prehensions as carnal men use to have? or else (secondly) are not ye carnal in this? and thus the most refin'd, and spiritu­aliz'd Christian is grosse, and carnal in part. In the best soul there are schismes and divisions, even here and there are [...], as the Moralist: Every one has a double self, an Antagonist within himself We use to call a friend Alter ego; but here the [...] is the greatest [Page 11] enemy. This Plato means when he tells us of his [...]. 'Tis like they reach't no further then the rebellion of the sensitive soul against the rational, the strugling of reason with appetite: But we know of a nearer, and so a sharper conflict between the flesh, and the Spirit in the regenerate, the fight's described at large by our Apostle in the seventh to the Romans; and this is that which a Christian so much groanes under; as Porphyr [...] saies of Plotinus, that he so lived, [...] ▪ we finde it true in St. Paul, when he cries out, O who'le deliver me from this body of death! [...]. But I shall let this passe as not being formally in the text, but on­ly virtually there, and by just consequence might be deduc't from it▪ as many the like observations also might: and wee'l look upon the several aggravations in these words: Are ye not carnal? (first) You, that for time, and meanes might have been spiritual; [...], as he in the Greek Epigram calls out to Lycurgus, that cut down so many vines because they brought forth too much fruit, the bloud of the grapes which he thought too generous; he speaks to him that he would be pleased to cut down his, because it brought forth none at all. What could they have done more to yours then they have done? and when they looked for grapes, do you bring forth wilde grapes, full of sowrenesse and bitternesse, nothing but strife, and contention? is this the fruit of Paul's planting, and Apollo's watering? Nay how can they gather grapes of thornes, or figs of thistles! You that have drunk in the raine, which so often fell upon you; do you now bring forth nothing but briers and thornes▪ [...], or else you may look for the terrible curse up­on the fig-tree, Never fruit grow on thee more. Is this your best improvement of your so many precious, and golden opportu­nities? have you thus learned Christ? has the bright Sun-shine of the Gospel beamed out so strongly, and gloriously upon you, and can't it so much as warme your affections? while you thus neglect and abuse the meanes of grace, aro you not carnal?

2. You that would seem to be spiritual, are ye not carnal? What's become of your fair shews, and promising out▪sides, and specious professions! are they vanish't into this nothing, or [Page 12] worse then nothing! are our budding hopes so soon blasted, and do your forward resolutions so quickly languish? You that would have counted it an injury not to be thought Christians, and members of the Church, what do you mean to teare and rend the body in pieces? You that would have been lookt upon as living stones, fit to build God an house, an habitation for the God of Jacob, do you now go about to demolish so faire a stru­cture, and to bring into the temple the noise of axes, and ham­mers? You that would have been thought sharers in the com­munion of Saints, and to have had a chief part in that Spiritual consort, do you now put all out of tune by your strifes, and dis­sensions? while you shew no better fruits then these, what ever you seem to be, are ye not carnal?

3. Some of you that are truly spiritual, yet here in this, are ye not carnal? [...]; who has bewitcht you, O Corinthi­ans! that having begun in the Spirit, you should end in the flesh? You that are reconciled to a God of peace, and redeemed by a Saviour that breath'd out nothing but love: You that are sancti­fi'd and seal'd by a Spirit of unity, and have imbraced a Gospel of peace in all meeknesse and subjection of minde, laying down your weapons of defiance: why do yo now resist the goodnesse of so gracious a God, and kick against the bowels of so sweet a Saviour? why do you grieve the holy Spirit, and disgrace the Gospel, as if that taught you to be contentious? nay you that know that 'twas the hand of omnipotency that pluckt you out of the jawes of hell, and destruction; and how 'twas not in the power of man or angel to unfetter you of the least corruption; you that know how jealo [...]s God is of his honour, and how he takes it more hainously to be robb'd of it by his own people; whil'st you now attribute all to men, as if they were the authors, and finishers of your faith, are ye not carnall?

4 Even in that which you think your selves spiritual, are ye not carnal? Perhaps you think you honour Paul, and reve­rence Apollo, and give due respect to the Ministers; but know that they are the friends of the bridegroom, and would have pre­sented virgin-souls unto Christ and whil'st you dote upon other loves, and fix your thoughts on inferiour objects, you break Paul's heart, and discourage Apollo in his labour. Paul took you for his crowne, and joy; but you prove no better then a crown [Page 13] of thornes, and pierce him through with many sorrows. Paul called you his epistle, but you prove his blot, and now me thinks you should correct your own thoughts, and even acknowledge your selves carnal.

5. In all this I appeal to your selves; Are ye not carnal? Be your own judges; collect your thoughts together; consider it but with a serious, and composed spirit: carry your selves to the rule, to the law, and to the testimony; see whether this be to be carnal or no, if you deny it, why thus you'l prove your selves carnal, and more carnal then we hope you are: No question but you are carnal. And thus much may serve for clearing of the text. Wee'l now summe up the words together, and then they will amount to this proposition.

That it is a grosse and carnal thing to glory in the worthiuesse, and excellencies of them that dispense the Mysteries of salvation. And (first) as it seeks to eclipse and obscure the glory of God. Nam ea est conditio imperandi, ut non aliter ratio constet, quàm si uni red­datur. God hath taken all meanes for the brightning of his own Crown▪ and he that dares set it upon a creatures head; he that goes about to rest the golden Scepter out of Gods own hand, and to place a creature in his Throne, must needs be reus laesae Majestatis in a high degree. Nobis obsequii gloria relicta est. As he in the forenamed Historian told his Emperour, though a cruel Tyrant; this is all the honour left to us, and 'tis enough to be wholly subject to so great and good a God, and to give all the glory unto him. Let not then the Wise-man glory in his wisdome; no neither let others glory in his wisdome, for 'tis grosse Idolatry to attribute that to man which is due to God, to make them [...] which at the best are but [...], even these idols are nothing. Now God that made us, and knows our mold and fashi­on, the weaknesse and frailty of our nature; how we use to pore upon the immediate agent, as present to our senses, and obvious to our apprehensions; though far inferiour, and of a more ig­noble being, as wholly dependant upon a higher cause: he there­fore chose to himself so weak an instrument, as we could not pos­sibly imagine, that that should have sufficient influence, for the producing of so great an effect; as that by the few words of a weak frail man, a precious, and an immortal soul should be eter­nally saved, which most make a greater work then that of the [Page 14] creation; that so we might be necessitated to look higher to the powerful hand of God that brings so great things to passe. And this is his usual method, and manner of dealing. Thus hath he chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise: and 'tis plain as they tell us in Opticks that [...] non sunt acuti visûs, they give the reason, propter radios in illis disper­sos magis et dissipatos: Men of vast intellectuals, of very faire eyes [...] they do but [...] in spirituals; they have some broken and scattered notions, which can't represent hea­venly truths in their proper s [...]ecies: when as some of a lesse eye, oh how quick and piercing are they into these holy mysteries, and such as are dimme-sighted in Philosophy become eagle-eyed in Divinity. Chrysostome tells us of two in his time, a Greek, and a Christian, that were very hot in dispute, whether Paul, or Plato, were the better scholler. The Christian he amplifies St. Pauls wisdome, and excellency, the Greek scornes him, as rude and simple, and his writings not comparable to Platoes Philosophical, and lofty stile. The father he comes as 'twere to moderate; and when he had magnified St. Paul's learning, he seems to chide the Christian, that he did not yield the other what he would have. Grant indeed that Paul came in a more plain, and unlearned way, [...].

Nothing tended more to the advancement of the Gospel, to the stopping of their mouthes, then the consideration of this, that a few weak men by the foolishnesse of preaching; the preaching of a crucified Saviour confounded the grand [...] of the world, and more prevailed upon the hearts of men, though prepossest with contrary principles, then ever they could do with all their wisdome: For an handfull of naked impotent men, to conquen an whole host of armed champions. These are [...], as he there speaks. Alas Moses Atticissant had a veil upon his face, and [...] could not see into so divine a mystery; nay, God hath chosen the [...], the meere▪ Non-entia of the world, to bring to nought the things that are. A strange Paradox, and enough to amaze an Aristotle, to hear of a Non Ens annihilating an Ens; and yet no principle surer, or clearer in all his Metaphysicks, if it be took in this spiritual meaning: and that because, God hath chosen the things which are not at all [Page 15] in mens apprehensions; and of a very thinne, and weak being in themselves, He hath chosen these to bring to nought the things that are: That thus his power may be the more eminent in their weaknesse, and his Majesty shine more gloriously in their con­temptiblenesse. God could have clothed some bright Seraphim with light as with agarment, & sent him to have sparkled out Divi­nity amongst us. He could have made his Angels [...], even in this sense ministring Spirits, for the good of them that should have been heirs of salvation; But then, we should have been took up too much with the glittering of the creatures, and our eyes dazeled with their brightnesse. God therefore hath made these Starres, even of the first magnitude to disappear, that the Sonne may be all in all. He hath hid the Pearle in a shell, and shut up his treasure [...]: by an infinite conde­scension he speaks to us by Moses; and thus delivers the Gospel too by the hand of a Mediatour. He hath sent us men [...] Paul, and Apollo, and these fishers of men they came not with their silken line, and their golden hooke; with the inticing words of mans wisdome, as they do that go about [...]; no, they lay down the naked simplicity of the Gospel. Paul doth but plant, and Apollos doth but water; and God is pleased by so weak means, in so plain a way, to bring about his own glorious ends. Ipsum coelum stultitiâ p [...]timus, in a better sense then e're the Poet meant it; even by this foolishnesse of Preaching. Why then do you gaze on Paul, and glory in Apollos; as if 'twere Pauls great parts that raised the Gospel, and Apollos eloquence that set it off? What's this, but to oppose the Almighty, and to coun­terplot wisdome it self? God took this as a main way for the ad­vancing of his glory, and you make't (as much as in you lyes) wholly derogatory from it; and judge you, whether this be to be carnal or no. [...]. Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us; but unto thy Name be given the glory.

2. It is carnal, as it takes from the word of God, from its in­nate strength, and excellency; from its divine Majesty, and Royalty.

1. From its strength, and excellency. The Gospel shines with its own beams, and need not borrow light from Paul, nor lustre from Apollo: When God hath once writ with his own finger [Page 16] upon the Tables of stone, they need then no humane polishing; and the Gospel is very gloriously cloathed with such ornaments as Christ hath put upon it. The Image of God stamp'd upon the word, and this superscription is that which hath made it so currant, and all other writings to be but [...] in comparison of it. And in the plain preaching of the word, what a force and energy goes along with it: This is the voice of the Lord so powerful. that brings down the loftiest Cedars in Lebanon, and crusheth the strongest Oakes in Bashan. Mans eloquence doth but weaken, and soften the voice; and whilest 'twould make it more pleasant, makes it lesse powerful. That which Plutarch tells us of the Spartans, who for brevity were wont to speak as 'twere in characters, and sentences in puncto; and for the weigh­tinesse of speech, they spake in the lumpe, and massy sentences; he sayes of them, [...]; tis true here, Verbum Dei est sine cortice; 'tis all pith and strength, [...], as he there goes on, it is edg'd into efficacy. God himself hath been pleased to whet his sword; and as the Lacede­monian, when he was asked whether his sword was sharp▪ or no; replyed that 'twas [...], sharper then a calumny. 'Tis like his sword was not so sharp as his expression; but to be sure this two-edged sword, as 'tis [...], so 'tis [...], it can pierce through all oppositions, cut asunder the contradictions of men, the most Gordian knots, the most nodosum ingenium, as he calls Tiberius: but then the quick­ening power of the Spirit must go along with it, as that famous Captain when he had lost his sword; he told his enemies, 'twas not so much the sword, as the arme; unlesse the arme of the Lord be reveal'd, there's none will beleeve our report, unlesse this formative vertue go along with it; instead of [...], it be­comes but [...]. Our Apostle in the second Chapter of this Epistle, tells us of a demonstration of the Spirit; Now [...] (as he hath it) is [...], the native glosse of truth, which clearly shewes it, and presently convinceth a man; there's no disputing against a domonstration. The word that evidences it self, and the Ministers they may strongly perswade; but un­lesse the Spirit demonstrate, the soul hath never compleat satis­faction; and the Spirit that may save extraordinarily without the Word, but the Word can't possibly save without the Spirit: [Page 17] But if this accompany it; O then, there is a glorious Twinlight springing from them both; and irradiating the soul with power­full, and enlivening beams arising with healing under its wings. O then, the sword of the Lord, and of Gideon conquer most vi­ctoriously, and then there's none able to withstand it; though like Mars himself, he be tunicâ tectus adamantinâ, and though this be in the hand of the weakest messenger; he that will resist it, must [...], and such a one hath no great hope of victory, but he must fall down with Saint Pauls Idiot; and cry out, Sure­ly God is in you of a truth. Why then do ye attribute all to Paul, and ascribe the glory to Apollo; as if the word were a dead letter, till quicken'd by Paul; and an empty breath, unlesse animated by Apollo: as if Paul did not only plant, but blesse; and Apollo, not only [...], but [...]; Et Deus interim nihil faceret. He stood as a spectator all the while; when as indeed, Paul is but at the best, Echo Domini; he reflects the sound of the Gospel, the Echo that never speaks till it be spoken to: What I have received from the Lord, that deliver I unto you, and not as that doth dimidiata verba; no, he acquaints you with the whole will and counsel of God. And Apollo is but as Aristole calls a servant. [...]; he is Cythara Dei, strung and tun'd by him, touch't by his Spirit, and then making a most sweet and gracefull melody. Paul may spend his strength in vaine; and Apollo may stretch out his hand all the day long to a gainsaying, and disobedient people. Peter himself may toyle all night, and catch nothing: Men of most rare accomplishments, and of indefatigable industry may spend all their dayes, and not save a soul; and others of far weaker abilities, may adde daily to the Church such as shall be saved. God by his secret judge­ment may blast the labours of the one, because men glory too much in them; and by his goodnesse he may give increase to the other, because he hath more glory by them. This we are sure, 'tis the same word preach't by Paul, and by other his fellow-labourers; and the Spirit breatheth when it pleases, and blowes where it lists. And though these here had some more plausible excuse for their siding with Paul, and glorying in A­pollo, as men furnisht with extraordinary gifts, and the blessing of the Spirit in those primitive times, accompanying their labours in a more thankful manner; yet you hear the Apostles sharp [Page 18] reproof of them, even for this; are ye not carnal? But then

2. As it takes from the Majesty of the Word. Is it fit that the word of God should stoop to mans fancy? Why, here's Paul and Apollo, men of admirable endowments, and of most exact holinesse preaching the same Gospel; and yet 'tis embrac't by some, when coming from one; and neglected, when publisht by another. It is the same truth, but not in the same dresse: It is a signe, they never receiv'd the love of the truth; plain truth won't please them, it must be set out in such attire, as may best satisfie their eye; though sometimes not becoming the purity of chast a Virgin. This Lumen siccum (as he speaks) doth parch and offend many mens soft natures. And though no doubt but Paul, and Apollo deny their own excellencies, and become whol­ly subservient to the Gospel; yet even in them they finde some­what to preferre one before the other. And unlesse the word of God were, as the Jewes tell us of the Manna, though very fa­bulously, (yet we have the same in the Apocrypha in the 16th of Wisdome; that whatsoever Character, or Idea of taste a man shap't to himself in his fancy when he was eating the Manna, as most pleasant and delightful to him; it serv'd to the appetite of the eater, and was temper'd to every ones liking:) unlesse the word of God had so many severall relishes, agreeable to every ones liking: Even this, though Angels food shall be loathed, and nauseated, and surely this argues a carnal Spirit. Must the [...] bow to you? and the Gospel of the Kingdome be­come so basely serviceable, as to do homage to your lusts? Must that word which should search the Conscience tickle the fancy, and feed a worme of curiosity that never dies? What are these but as Plutarch calls inquisitive delatours [...], or in the Apostles phrase, men of itching cares, that catch more after an elegancy then after a promise, and are better pleas'd with a criticisme then with a practical truth. You know whose speech 'twas, Pruritus disputandi est Ecclesiae scabies. Wee'l mould it a little to our purpuse, pruritus aurium est animae scabies. 'Tis car­nal, as it takes from the word of God, from the strength of it, from the majesty of it.

3. (Wh [...]ch is the maine Argument urged by our Apostle) as it breeds ruptures in the Church, schismes, and divisions, which

[Page 19] First, Hinder the communion of Saints: For all communi­on flowes from union, and division takes that away. Some go about to make unity the very forme of being; to be sure, it tends much to the well-being of the Church. Oh how happy, and pleasant a thing it is to see the Churches children spreading themselves like Olive-branches round about her table in a peace­able, and flourishing manner! But when they shall [...], (as he speaks) think that the brightnesse of their Brethrens condition, doth but obscure, and shadow theirs; and thus [...], (as he most elegantly,) if there be the least ansa or occasion of strife, Pas­sion presently hooks it in, and is too apprehensive. When one shall say, I am of Calvin, and another, I am of Luther; when as they might both meet in the Name of Christian; nay, when by most ridiculous dissension (for we have heard of such a [...]) when one shall say, I am of Martin, and another, I am of Luther; whereas they did but divide Martin Luther, for they were both of his Religion; what must this needs bring, but a defor­mity, and confusion upon the face of the Church, a [...] enough to make up a Chaos.

Secondly, These Schismes, and Divisions, they stop the pro­gresse of the Gospel. If Christians would but take the Moralists counsell [...], to spend, and de­rive their malice some other way; as civil warres are often quench't by setting upon some common enemy: this was alwayes the Cretians custome, and from thence 'twas called Syncretismus; If we could hear of some happy Synchristianismus, when the hearts, and tongues, and pens of all them that professe the same faith in sincerity, would agree amongst themselves, and wholly oppose the main adversary: If we had not such narrow, and contracted souls; if God would be pleased to give us a larger heart, so as every one would become a [...], wholly let go his private aimes, and study the publick good; what might not united forces do? How quickly would all difficulties vanish; every mountain become a plain, the seven hills amongst the rest? And the goodly fabrick of the Church would go up with the shoutings, and acclamations of Grace, Grace, and quickly be at the top of its spiritual glory. O how should every one with the consideration of so happy a time have [...], as Eunapius [Page 20] speaks most elegantly; a sweet Chorus of well tun'd affections, and a spirit tripudiating for joy, as Abraham did [...], when he foresaw Christs day, though that were afar off, and this neer at hand.

Thirdly, Schismes, and Divisions give great advantage to the enemies, and set up the kingdome of Satan, the Prince of the Aire. The Church thus becomes militant against her self, and the enemy becomes triumphant. The devil danceth at discord; and as St Chrysostome observes, when he heard that so goodly, and populous a City as this of Corinth, [...] was like to entertain the Gospel; he knew no better way to hin­der the successe of it, then by presently planting a spirit of discord amongst them; as well knowing, that a Kingdome divided against it self, could not long stand. And all his agents that are subordi­nate to him, nihil spei nisi per discordias [...]abent, as Tacitus saith notably of some in his time; and as he of others, they do per abrupta inclarescere, sed in nullum Reipublicae commodum. We might learn more wisdome of them that are wiser in their gene­ration, then the children of light; what a strict union and con­federacy have they among themselves, as that in Job is usually allegorized: These seales of the Leviathan are shut together, as with a close seal, in respect of their secrecy, and combinings; and if they chance to be at variance, and jarre amongst themselves, they have a sure way of meeting, and reconciliation by a joynt opposing of the Church. But then as it gives this generall ad­vantage, so more specially, as it is the Original of all errors, and the inlet of all heresies. When men by a strange [...] shall set up some one as an oracle, and perpetual Dictatour in Di­vinity; If such a one broach an errour, O how greedily do they drink it as if 'twere pure Nectar, some saving truth! when at the best it is but the poyson of aspes, a deadly, and desperate errour. The devil thus serves them as Agrippina did Claudius; he mingles poyson in their delicate meat, and they fall to 't with an appetite. As that great Schollar hath well observed; they were alwayes learned men, which have been haereticorum Cory­phaei: So withall they have been such, as by some deceitful carria­ges have won the hearts, and esteem of men, and thus could spread their infection farther. And though 'tis true, that Paul, and Apollo here mentioned in the Text, were in a manner pri­viledg'd [Page 21] persons, acted by an extraordinary spirit; no fear of this in them: yet some that are admired as much, or more then ever they were; we can't tell how to secure them from it. And this is the third respect why 'tis carnall to glory in men, because it breeds Schismes and Divisions in the Church, which hinder the communion of Saints; stop the progresse of the Gospel; give great advantage to the ene­mies, they being bolder to oppose, and that being weak­er to resist▪ and then in a more speciall way, 'tis laid open to all er­rours, and heresies.

Fourthly, As it drawes evil out of good; and surely this if any thing else argues a carnall Spirit. Gods attributes shine very gloriously, his wisdome and power more especially and eminent­ly in extracting good out of evil; the least touch of providence turnes all to gold, even sinnes that seems to be all drosse, a meere obliquity, a transgression of the law; yet even this by the over-ruling hand of an infinitely wise God, becomes a clear illustration of his glory, and the crucifying of the LORD of Life, shall tend to the salvation of the Church: And a Christian thus far participates of the divine Nature, as that he can draw good out evil too, sweetnesse out of the worst condition, and gain strength by his corruptions. What then, must it needs shew but a divelish, and envenomed spi­rit, that assimilates to it self, to t [...]rne every thing to poyson, and this is the nature of corruption. Every thing that a car­nall man toucheth, is defiled; he soyles every Ordinance, and discolours every blessing▪ turnes the grace of God into wanton­nesse, he fights against God with his own weapons, with his most precious favours, [...], by a most strange Chymistry; he extracts drosse out of the purest refined gold; [...]legme out of quintessence; dregs out of the purest spirits; a savour of death from that which breaths out nothing but life, and happinesse. 'Tis cleare in the Text. What a choise and magnificent gift was this a [...], to adorne the Church with all variety of excellencies? These made up the [...], they are the Needle-worke in the Spouses Garment, the opus ocellatum, Gods [...], I and his [...] abundantly displayed themselves in them: [Page 22] These were the Donaria which Christ gave at his Triumph; when he led captivity captive, he have gave gifts unto men. And see what use, and improvement they make of them. O how quickly do they become [...]. Strifes and Divisions, Bitternesse and Contention, these are the best fruits they gather from so great a mercy. They that glory in some excellencies, vili [...]ie meaner; nay, they vi­lifie choise ones too: For such as glory in Paul, slight Apollo; and such as admire Apollo, disesteem Paul, and both rend the Church in pieces. Do you thus requite the LORD, O ungratefull People, and unwise? [...]. Lucian though an Atheist, could say so much. No gift coming from above is so mean, as to be despis'd, none so great, as to be gloried in. Me thinks the diversity of gifts in severall men, hath some resemblance with the diversity of colours in severall bodies. Some bodies you see are cloathed [...], in bright, and orient colours. Nature took a Sun-beam for her Pensil, and flowrish't them most gloriously; they have [...], as the Philosopher speaks, a greater collection, and condensation of light, and are varnish't over: other sullen, and discontented bodies in sad, and dusky colours, drawn with a coale [...]. Now the bright­est colours they have aliquid umbrae; and the darkest they have aliquid lucis. And some bodies they are content with one colour; others have a pleasant variety, and are set out with a rich Embroidery. See the same in the excellencies of the minde: These [...], these interni colores, as I may so call them; which are divine light, severally distributed unto soules, where some have a fairer glosse set upon them, a twinkling, and glittering soul, all bespangled with light: o­thers have more sad, and darke-coloured spirits. Now the brightest they have somewhat of a cloud; darknesse and im­perfection enough to take them off from boasting; and the darkest they have somewhat of a beam, some light, and excel­lency; enough to keep them from discouragement. Some are apparently eminent in one gift, others have variety of colours, [...], animam variegatam. They that glory in some one excellency; what do they but as if a man [Page 23] should refuse to look only upon some one colour most pleasant to him; when as all are suitable to the eye, though some more de­lightful. All those tend to the beauty of Nature, and all these to the beauty of Holinesse. Every one that is serviceable to the Temple, is not a Bezaleel and Aholiab, cunning to work in gold; and many that can build up the Temple, yet know not how to carve it. That which Philostratus has in the life of Apollonius, may be moraliz'd into very good counsel, [...]. Etiam Analecta deorum sunt colligenda; the least gift to be received with a most thankful acknowledgement, a [...] (as Eunapius calls a mean Schollar) a drop of Helicon, even that's precious; It is a notable speech of one of our Prelates, I think it honour enough to be vouchsaf'd to bring but one pin to the decking up of Christs Spouse, whil'st others adorne her with her costly Robes, and rich Medals. And thus 'tis carnal to glory in men, as it drawes evil out of good.

We should now spend a word or two in reference to Paul, and Apollo, that they would disclaime all glory, and ascribe it unto God. I know they did so; but I speak of such as have the like gifts, and excellencies: as Paul here in the Text, he chides the Corinthians for siding with him, and glorying in him; whil'st one saith, I am of Paul, &c. and this is the most likely way to take them off from their vanity, when they shall see such a one as they glory in; not lightly, but sharply reproving them for it: and then in a reall way men should so aime at the glory of God, as that wholly denying their own aimes, and excellencies; all the world may see, that they only seek the advancement of the Gospel. And this should be done in a suitable way, chiefly improving that excellency which God hath intrusted them with­all, and in a proportionable way; for to whom much is given, of them much is required. As God doth [...], dispense his gifts in proportion; so he looks for an improvement of them according to a geometrical proportion. Two men may give up their account, the one that has done lesse good with greater joy, because he did answerable to his Talent; when as the other en­trusted with some golden, and precious excellency, may have done more good; but yet nothing so proportionable to his abi­lity. [Page 24] But if men would thus lay out themselves, and unite their severall gifts▪ and excellencies in one general aime, and faithfully improve them for the advantage of their Master, and good of their fellow-servants (which is a thing sull of reason, and equity, as might be shewed at large;) what glorious times should we then see? How would knowledge begin to cover the face of the Earth, as Waters do the Sea? How would the Tree of Knowledge be so laden with fruit, as that 'twould stoop down, and children might pick off the Apples that were ready to drop into their mouthes? How would the world be­come (as he speaks) terebratus, & patens; full of fair win­dowes, and goodly prospects, and all guilded over with light? And we should walk from strength to strength, till we appear'd before GOD in Glory.

THE ACT OF Oblivion.

ISAIAH 43. 25

I, even I am he that blot out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sinnes.

EVery Promise is a breast full of Consolation, that would faine be drawn: and as Job speaking of the breasts, calls them very elegantly, the milk-pales of the breast, they are as it were Carnea Mulctralia; So there are the Evangelica Mulctralia, receptacles of that [...] which is stor'd up for Babes in Christ, where the thirsty soul may come and fill it self with most precious sweet­nesse. In the whole Word of God there is most sincere milke; but the Promises they are the creame, the flos lactis, the purest and sweetest of all.

Here's one of the Ʋtres coelestes, a bottle fill'd with heaven­ly dew, which will never fail like that of Hagars; but cherish the soul, till it come to a well of life. Here's a pure emanation of Gods sweetest love, which would fain communicate it self to a sinful creature; and therefore puts on the most amiable expres­sions [Page 26] that the wisdome of God himself can cloth it withall, while he breathes out free grace by the mouth of his Prophet to a diso­bedient and rebellious Israel, and beseeches them to be recon­cil'd unto him.

And if you look but upon the foregoing words, you will wonder how this Verse should come in; 'tis somewhat a strange con­text, an unusual kinde of coherence. For God there complaines by his Prophet, how that his people of Israel had done nothing at all for him; He took them indeed for his pleasant plant, but they were a very barren and ungrateful plant; He had made them a choise and a spreading plant, but not one delicious cluster to be found upon them. In the verse immediately before, Thou hast bought me no sweet Cane with money; 'tis meant of that Cane which was to be a chief ingredient into the precious oyntment, as you may see in Exod 30. The Septuagint they render it [...]; Neither hast thou made me to drink the fat of thy sacrifices; or as the words flow in the fountaine, [...] Thou hast not moystened me abundantly with thy sacrifices: Not that the Jewes did neglect these duties of Gods worship, which were so strictly enjoyn'd them in the Law; no, they were very punctual and accurate in observing that; but the force of the complaint lyes in this, thou did'st them not unto me; For

1. Thou did'st them not with that alacrity and chearfulnesse of spirit which I required of thee, and might well expect from thee. Love should have drop't oile into the wheels, and thy [...]oul should have mov'd like the chariots of Amminadab, with a nimble spontaneity; but thou went'st on heavily, and lookedst upon my service as an hard taske and yoke, more intolerable then that of Egypt.

2. Thou trustedst in thy legal performances, and thought'st to be justifi'd by thine own righteousnesse; thou did'st them not for those ends which I aim'd at, for I intended only to raise thy thoughts higher to that great salvation which I had stor'd up for thee in the Messias.

3. Thou did'st them not to me, for many of thy sacrifices were offer'd up to idol-gods; thou did'st not make me taste of them; I but thou did'st make them drunk with them; thou did'st even cloy and [...]urfet them with the fat of thy sacrifices.

4. Thou did'st them not to me, while thou restedst in a faire [Page 27] flourish of outward formality, and thou thought'st to put me off with a mock-worship, with a meere outside and surface of de­votion; in giving me a shell, and nothing of the kernel: Thou could'st sin against me when thou list, and then thought'st to ap­pease me with a sacrifice. They were white as milke, and ruddier then rubies, in their glorious profession, but within they were blacker then a coale; When you fasted, did you fast unto me? I hate your burn't offerings, my soul nauseates your solemne assemblies; [...], Bring me no more vaine oblations; Odi Danaos & dona ferentes. He that will be my servant, let him seal up every spiritual service with integrity of heart. A pure soul that's the only present fit for a God, [...], a gift that may be united to God himself, as Hierocles speaks; Sa­crifices and burnt-offerings he would not have, then thou should'st have said; Lo, I come, to do thy will, O my God. Thou should'st have presented thy self a living and a reasonable sacrifice; for without this, all others were no better then [...] ignis pa­bulum, as the Pythagorean hath it; A sincere spirit that should have been [...], Thou did'st not make me to drinke the fat of thy sacrifices. Well, but they stay not here; Thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, and thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities; thou hast made me to serve with thy sins; that's either

1. Thou hast so abus'd my patience, and long sufferance; and has heap't sin upon sin, as if I had been a very servant, that was bound to endure all these thine iniquities; Or else

2. It is a more prophetical passage looking upon Christ, who took upon him the forme of a servant, and bore our sinnes in his body upon the tree; And thus the Septuagint.

3. Thou hast made me to serve with thy sinnes, whil'st thou do'st these things under a shew of strict holinesse, and care of pleasing me, by vertue of my law in reference to my command; as a peculiar people that served an holy God, and had righteous lawes; and yet while thou neglectedst the more weighty things that I require of thee, thou do'st dishonour my Name, and wrong my Law, and degenerate from those noble Principles that I had planted in thee. For what will the Heathen say; that I am a God that delight in the bloud of bulls and goats, and give thee liberty in other things to do what thou list? Thou hast made me to serve with thy sinnes. And consider what a strong indignity this is offer'd [Page 28] to the great God of Heaven and Earth to make him a servant, and then to serve sin which he so much hates and abhorres, that he can't endure to look upon it, as that which strikes at his very being; Thou hast made me to serve with thy sins. And thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities; All outward performances though never so pompous, they do but wearie Almighty God, unlesse they flow from a sincere spirit: They thought they had pleas'd him with sacrifices; but he tells them, they weary him with iniquities. And see here how the mighty God of Jacob, the Rock of ages; Omnipotency it self is wearie; he is press't with sinnes, and wea­ried with iniquities. Well, what followes upon all this? I, even I am he that blot out thine iniquities for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. Surely Israel could not look for this in the next vers. It must needs come in, [...]. One would have thought it should have been, I, even I am he, that will re­venge these thine iniquities: Thou hast made me to serve with thy sinnes, and I'le make thee to serve with my plagues; Thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities, and I'le wearie thee with my judgements: Mine indignation shall flame out against thee, and I'le poure out the dregs of my wrath upon thee; it is I, even I am he, that will set thy sinnes in order before thee. One would have thought it should have run thus; but God, he comes in the still voice, I, even I am he, that blot out thine iniquities. Thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, and I'le make thee a servant to my self: Thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities, and I'le load thee with my mercies: Thou hast blotted out my Testimonies, and I'le blot out thine iniquities: Thou hast not remembred my Cove­nant, and I'le not remember thy sins. Thus doth Gods goodness contend with a sinful Nation, thus doth he conquer rebellion, and triumph over sinne. Indeed his very drift is to make a glorious illustratiou of freegrace; and therefore he first discovers his peoples sin, and then displayes his own mercy. He first shewes you Israels stiff neck and iron sinew, and then opens his own ten­der bowels, and dearest compassions; He bids you take notice of the blacknesse of the Etheopian, and then tells you how white he will make him. He would have you consider well the deep dy, the bloudy dy of the Scarlet, and then see it become as white as snow. Look upon the vastnesse of the Egyptian [...] Army, and see them all drown'd in a Red-Sea. Cast a sad eye upon a large [Page 29] volume of iniquity, and behold them all blotted out in a moment. The sinfulnesse of sin sets a glorious lustre upon freegrace; when sin becomes exceeding sinfull, then grace becomes exceeding glorious. I, even I am he, that blot out thine iniquities. There's much Emphasis in redoubling the words, and it stills many ob­jections that might rise up in a wavering soul. And

1. I, even I, whom thou hast offended: For what might the distrusting soul object and say; Is it thou O God, that wilt blot out mine iniquities? It is thy sacred Majesty, which I have pro­vok'd; and 'tis thy glorious Name which I have profain'd; 'tis thy righteous Law which I have violated; and 'tis thy Covenant which I have broken; and is it thou, G God, that wilt blot out mine iniquities? [...], 'tis I, even I am he that blot them out for mine own sake. Gods goodnesse runs over to a sinful creature; and where sin hath abounded, there grace doth superabound. Consider

(1.) There is not so much evil in sin, as good in God. Sinne indeed is thus infinite, as it is against an infinite being; I, but there is an absolute infinitenesse in God. And this is no extenua­tion of sin to advance grace above it.

(2.) There is not so much sin in man, as there is goodnesse in God. There is a vaster disproportion between sin and grace, then between a sparke and an Ocean. Now who would doubt whether a sparke could be quench't in an Ocean? Thy thoughts of disobedience towards God have been within the compasse of time; but his goodnesse hath been bubbling up towards thee from all eternity. He hath had sweet plots of freegrace, and gracious contrivances of love towards thee from everlasting. The devils themselves though irreversibly seal'd up to destruction; yet they are not so bad as God is good. There can't be a Summum malum, as there is a Summum bonum. I, even I am he that blot out thine iniquities; even I whom thou hast thus offended.

2. I, even I, whose royal Prerogative it is to pardon transgressi­on; and to blot out sin; for otherwise the soul would still be left rolling and fluctuating. I, this were welcome news indeed to hear of iniquitie blotted out, and they were Messengers of beautiful feet, that could bring me such Gospel-tidings; but O 'tis not so easie a matter to have sin remitted, and pardoning mer­cy is not so soon obtained: Who is it that can wash off guilt from [Page 30] the soul, and set at liberty a captivated Spirit? Why, 'tis God himselfe that undertakes so great a work; 'tis I, even I am he that blot out thine iniquities, and it includes these two parti­culars.

(1.) God, he can blot out iniquities. For (first,) the offence is wholly against him, and therefore he can freely passe it by: Sinne is so farre an evil, as it opposes his will, the rule of Good­nesse, and as it prevaricates from his Law, the expression of his Will, and that the Supreme Law-giver can pardon.

(2.) Christ he hath made full satisfaction to his justice, so that now 'tis but dipping the pen in the blood of Christ, and dash­ing out of iniquity: Nay, Christ himself hath blotted out, even this hand-writing that was against us, and nail'd it to his Crosse. Christ on the Crosse had a spunge given him dipt in Vineger, and a Christians sins do incumbere in s [...]ongiam, that I may speak in Augustus his phrase. And hence there are such wooings and beseechings of soules to come in and be subject to the Scepter of Christ; for God hath more satisfaction to his justice by every Beleever, then by the damned thar lye roaring in hell to all eter­nity, for they are never able to discharge the debt; but every Beleever by his surety hath paid the utmost farthing.

2. Only God can blot out iniquities. I, even I am he, and none else. A poor creature may soon involve it self in sinne and misery, there is none but hath power enough to damne himself; Thy de­struction is of thy self, O Ephraim. But 'tis beyond the sphere of men or Angels activity to blot out the least sin, or to disentangle the soul of the least corruption; they can neither take off the guilt of sinne, nor yet subdue the power of sin. There's none but knows how to wound himself; I, but he must have skill that knowes how to cure him; 'tis easie enough to run into debt, and many finde it hard enough to discharge it: There's none but can heap up sin, and treasure up wrath, and wound conscience: I, but who is there that can appease wrath, and calme conscience, and screen a soul from a consuming fire? Sin is an offence against an infinite justice, so that infinite being can either dispense with it, or satisfie for it. It is not the blessed Virgins milke can wash out so deep a staine, it is not this can whiten the soul; no, if the Saints Robes be wash't white, it must be in the blood of the Lambe. And the power of the Keys can't reach thus farre; A [Page 31] Minister can no more by any way of efficiency remit a sin, then he can create a world. And I know not what a Popes indulgence should do, unlesse it be to send some ignorant people to hell with more chearfulnesse and alacrity, that they may in Coelum de­scendere, as the Satyrist said Nero did; when they look for heaven, drop into hell irrecoverably. The mighty hand of God himself must be put to the blotting out of iniquities; 'tis I, even I that blot out thy transgression, even I whose royall prerogative 'tis to pardon transgression, and to blot out sin.

3. I, even I that have manifested mine anger against thee, in punishing thee for thine iniquities; even I am he that will blot them out, for the soul will still be doubting and mi [...]giving; why, 'tis thou, O God, that hast shot off so many threatnings against us, and spent all thine arrowes upon us: Thou hast hewn us by thy Prophets, and slaine us by the Words of thy mouth: Thou hast dipt thy Pen in gall, and writ bitter things against us: Thou hast follow'd us with an whole Army of judgements, and every way showne thy self an angry God against us; and wilt thou now blot out our iniquities? The Text hath the same answer ready for this too, 'Tis I, even I am he, that will blot them out; and it speaks these two things.

(1.) God, he is not long angry. [...] as 'tis in the 54. of Isaiah, vers. 8. In a littl [...] wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindnesse will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer. God as he is not [...], quickly provok'd, so neither is he [...], long displeas'd. God is Love, saith the Apostle; now Love is hardly provok'd, and 'tis quickly reconcil'd; God is Love. He writes not injuries in Mar­ble, his Law indeed he writes in stone; I, but the breach of the Law, he writes that in the dust. All the wrong hath been done to him, and yet he beseeches us to be reconcil'd; Hee's farre more ready to offer mercy, then the creature is to embrace it; and more willing to speak peace then man is to hear it. Where will you meet with a man so propense to put up a wrong, and so am­bitious to forgive an injury? But as far as the heavens are above the earth; so far are his thoughts above our thoughts; He writes not our sins in so deep a character, but that they may be easily blotted out.

(2.) God requires no more humiliation, then to bring a soul [Page 32] unto himself, and make it capable of mercy. Many a weak Chri­stian questions his condition, because he hath not fill'd Gods bottles so full of teares as others; he hath not had such rendings of heart, such breakings and piercings of spirit, such scorching pre-apprehensions of hell, and wrath as others have had: I, but let such a one consider, that God is very gracious in his dealings, and we must not look for the like degrees of humiliation in all; some have a quicker delivery, and are sooner freed from the pangs of the new birth; some hearts are more wrought upon in a more winning and melting way; others are beat in pieces by a stroke of Omnipotency. But this we are sure, that soule's humbled enough that's brought to a sight and sense of his sinne, so as to see the necessity of a Saviour; and to prize him, and love him as the fairest of ten thousand. When God hath made a soul to see his sins, hee's ready then to blot them out; 'Tis I, even I am he that blot out thine iniquities; even I that have punish't thee for them, aud shewne mine anger against them.

I might adde, that 'tis a note of Gods complacency in his own goodnesse, he doth even glory in the riches of his free grace; and therefore 'tis so often repeated, I, even I am he, that will do it for mine own sake; but I hasten to the next words.

Blot out thine iniquities,] There are many things wrapt up in this expression, I'le be more brief in them then to promise brevity. And

(1.) Blotting out of iniquities, implies that they were all written, and took notice of.

1. They were written in Gods book▪ God, he is not only [...], and knowes all things; every idle word, every vaine extravagant thought, every glance of the soul; the least tendency to sin, the first bublings up of Original corruption, they are all took notice of; In his Book are all thine iniquities written.

2. Thou hast a book within thine own breast, and Conscience hath the pen of a readie writer; it can write as fast as the soul can dictate. Calamum in corde tingit, and with an accurate pencill, it can give thee a full pourtraicture of thy most closetted behaviour, of thy most reserved actions, of thy most retired motions; and though there be a curtaine drawn over them here, yet then they shall be made very apparent. God shall give conscience an [Page 33] Imprimatur, and such works as thou would'st have supprest, shall be publish't to the eyes of men and Angels, and the [...] shall passe censure upon them; Sinnes of the smallest print, of the most indiscernable character, shall be made clearly legible, and become as Atomes in the presence of a Sun beam. With what a furious reflexion wilt thou then read over thine own sinful life; when all thine iniquity shall stare thy soul in the face to all eternity? When as a Christians life shall be set out in a new E­dition, Multò auctior & emendatior; for all Errata shall be cor­rected, and with an happy Index expurgatorius. Every iniquity shall have a Deleatur, and all Desiderata shall be suppli'd; the Book shall become perfect, and be look't on as a faire object to all eternity. This is the first thing impli'd in blotting out of iniquity, that they were all written and took notice of.

(2.) Every transgression leaves a blot. For even remission of sins is exprest by blotting out of iniquity. Although the blot was here greater, before 'twas blotted out; for blotting out of iniquities, is the wiping out of a blot. Besides the guilt of sinne, and the power of sin, there's the Macula peccati too; the staine of sinne.

(3.) You see here the nature of Justification, and how in it Re­missio est imputativa; it doth not take away the being of sin, but takes it away from being imputed, and laid to the charge of the soul. Sinnes in Scripture-idiome are [...]: Now in ju­stification there's a crossing of the Book, a blotting out of the debt, so as it can't be requir'd of the soul. And the justifi'd per­son in the 32. Psalme, is stil'd [...], one whose sinne is cover'd, which supposes the being of it; and though our adver­saries urge the force of the other phrase [...], one whose sinne is took away; yet 'tis sufficiently clear'd by the following words, [...], God will not impute iniquity unto him; and 'tis render'd in the New-Testament by [...], which cannot be possibly meant of taking away the being of sin; for it is attributed to men, when they are bid to forgive one another their trespasses; now they can't forgive sin so. And they do meerly wrangle, when they tell us that [...] and [...] signifie putare and not imputare; for we deny not but [...], signifies putare; but [...], must needs be imputare; and so [...]. as might appear by many instances, as the learned Chamier hath observ'd.

[Page 34] 4. Look upon the fulnesse of the discharge. The soul may rest satisfi'd, and rolle it self upon the free grace of a God in Christ, and lay all the stresse of its salvation upon it; the debt is blotted out, and 'twere injustice to ask it twice: And shall not the Judge of all the world do right?

5. Consider the easinesse of it. The hand was longer a wri­ting, then 'tis a blotting out; the hand was wearier with writing, then 'tis with blotting out: I have blotted out thy transgressions as a thick▪ cloud, Isa. 44. 22. Now, how is a cloud blotted out? Nay indeed, what is a cloud but a blot upon Natures fairest and well-flourish't letter? A Sun-beam comes, rushes in upon't, wipes away the cloud. The Sun fights against it; [...], it raises a glorious army of beams▪ which quickly puts the enemy to flight, they scatter the cloud. And I'le blot out thy transgressions like a cloud. An act of grace, a beame of mercy shall blot out a whole cloud of transgressions; which o­therwise would have prov'd a cloud of witnesses against the soul. [...]

6. Here's the extent of Remission, a great debt may be blotted out as well as a lesse; a great summe may be blotted out as well as a small one, though not so easily, though not so suddenly.

7. This explaines that, how God sees not iniquity in Jacob, nor sin in Israel: He looks upon his people as in state of grace, and reconciliation; now as the Arabick proverb pithily, Favoris oculus velut nox est ad omnem labem. He sees not iniquity in Jacob, for hee sees it blotted out, he sees it cover'd; that he sees it not at all, makes Omniscience blinde.

Thine iniquities,] (1.) Thine, very heinous in their own na­ture, as the Prophets continually complaine; it turnes every Pro­phecie to a [...], Onerosa prophetia.

(2.) More heinous, because thine. The sinnes of Israel pierce deeper, grieve God most: [...]; It was a notable speech of Cosmus Duke of Florence, I have read (saith he) that I must forgive mine enemies, but never that I must forgive my friends; The sins of Gods friends, of his people provoke him most. Every sinne is took notice of; I, but the sin of Judah is writ with a pen of iron, and the point of a Diamond, [...] with the claw of an Adamant. They are against beames of strong­er light; against bowels of tenderer mercy, against neerer and [Page 35] sweeter relations, against greater expectation; God look't for grapes, and they bring forth wilde grapes. Yet, I will blot out thine iniquities. Not only some of the lesse, and call thee to account for the greater; no, such as are the most deeply aggravated, the most frequently reiterated, thine iniquities indefinitely. God never blots out one iniquity, but he blots out all; Justificatio est simul & semel, and it doth extendere ad futura pec­cata. For

1. It puts a man into a state of grace and reconciliation, and within the Covenant of Grace, so that his person and services are accepted.

2. Suppose a man had all his sinnes remitted, and only one, the least retain'd; yet such a one were still [...], a vessel fitted, and fram'd, and fashion'd for destruction, seeing the guilt of the least sinne bindes over to eternal punishment.

For mine own sake,] (1.) Exclusively, for nothing at all in you; as in that Twin-place, Ezek. 36. 22. There you have a clear com­ment upon the words; Thus saith the Lord God, I do not this for your sakes, faith the Lord God; but for mine holy Names sake, which ye have profain'd amongst the Heathen. Marke under what notion it runnes, for that holy Names sake which you have profain'd. And in this Chapter we have in hand, in those Verses that are pre­paratory to the Text, we shew'd you how strangely Israel be­hav'd themselves, vers. 22. Thou hast not called upon me O Jacob. Why, one would have thought that they might have open'd the mouth for mercy, that they might at least have petition'd for grace; surely, 'twas worth the asking: No, but I was found of them that sought me not. The learned Chamier goes on, and shewes how there is an exact removall of all such works as the Papists make satisfactory.

(2.) For mine own sake, it includes for my Christ his sake, and that eternall Covenant of love and peace which I have founded in him. For God in himself is an holy, and a just God; and now by reason of sin, an offended and provoked God; and would quick­ly prove a punishing, and revenging God; did not a Jupiter [...] step in and asswage an angry Deity.

(3.) For mine own sake, for my Names sake, and for mine Honours sake; lest the Heathen triumph, and say, Where is now [Page 36] your God? O the infinite goodnesse of God, that by a most gra­cious and free act of his own will, hath knit and united his own glory, and the salvation of his people together! He hath wrought Israels name in the frame of his own glory, so that now 'tis for his Honours sake to save Israel; he blots out iniquities for his own sake. God will not suffer the lustre of his Crowne to be dimm'd and eclips'd; he will be sure that none of his Jewels shall fall off from it, 'Tis as impossible for Israel to perish, as for God to lose his glory.

And will not remember thy sins,] The sinful soul is full of doubts and suspicions; Certainly saith he, if God should let me alone now, he will call me to acount for them hereafter; If he seem to blot them out now, he will write them again sometime or o­ther. No saith God, I'le blot out thy transgressions, and will not remember thy sins. 'Tis an ordinary speech in the mouth of some silly ones, they will forgive, but never forget, it had need have a very candid construction, a grain of salt is scarce enough to make it savory; but God never forgives, but he doth forget too; when he blots out iniquities, he remembers them no more. When the sins are laid upon the head of the scape-goat, they are then car­ried into a land of forgetfulnesse.

I suppose you recall the usual rule; Verba Memoriae denotant affectum, & effectum: He will not remember them so as to call thee to account for them, so as to upbraid thee with them, so as any way to punish thee for them.

Guilt and punishmeat are correlates, such Twinnes as live and dye together, when the one's remitted, the other's never re­tain'd. For

1. 'Twere injustice to punish where there is no fault. God in­deed may out of his absolute dominion and sovereignty, inflict an evill upon an innocent creature, but then it falls not under the formal notion of a punishment; and doth inflict evils upon his own people, which flow from a fatherly castigation, and not from a judicial proceeding.

2. 'Tis against the very nature of remission. Do you call that forgiving of a debt, to cast a man into prison for not dischar­ging it? or is that pardoning of a Traitour, to behead him for his treason?

3. 'Tis injurious to the full satisfaction of Christ; who drunk [Page 37] up the whole cup, all the dregs of wrath, not a drop of that bitter cup left for a Christian; no [...] there; they do indeed pledge him, but 'tis in a sweeter draught, and not at all in satis­faction to divine justice. 'Tis an impious speech, and fit for the mouth that spoke it; worthy of a Jesuite, that calls Christians sufferings, Fimbrias meritorum Christi; but he may touch this hemme of the Garment, and finde no vertue coming out from it. Christs Resurrection was a full and plain aquittance, a clear and apparent signe that iniquities were all blotted out.

Quest. But doth not God revive former sinnes, and reprint such iniquities as he hath once blotted out?

Answ. He doth indeed, but in abundance of love and bowels of free grace: not as an angry and revenging God; but 'tis to make thy tepentance for them, more deep and serious. And though God remember them no more; yet there's good reason that the soul should still remember them, (First) to make it more thankful to him that he blotted them out. (Secondly) to walk more humbly. (Thirdly) more watchfully and accurately, [...].

Observ. And thus we have took a brief survey of the Text; wee'l now strain the quintessence of all into one observation. Justifying grace, is free grace; He blots out iniquities for his own sake: Every justifi'd person is a monument of free grace, or in the Psalmists language; he's crown'd with loving kindnesse and tender mercies.

The grace of God is free grace; and that

First, If you look to the Spring from whence it flowes: That Originall goodnesse, that fountain-mercy in Election, when he singl'd out a peculiar people to himself; there were beamings out of his love, and blossomings of his grace towards thee from everlasting; He was plotting and studying thy happinesse, long before thou hadst any being. Thou wert Gods Jewel from all eternity, his [...]; he casts a propitious glance upon thee, And thy time was the time of love; He took thee as the Jewel out of the rubbish of ruinated mankinde, out of the Massa corrupta, and in his due time he means to polish thee, and to set a glorious lustre upon thee. Now what was there that God should smile on Jacob, and frowne on Esau from all eternity? What was there in thee to perswade him to all this? What were the motives? [Page 38] Where were the arguments? What was the Rhetorick?

1. It was long before thou hadst any being, thou wert hid in the barren wombe of nothing; thou hadst no desire, no thought of happinesse, and I can't well understand the merite of a non-entity.

2. God might have had great revenues of glory out of thy eternall ruine; now that he should choose to glorifie the riches of his mercy in thy happinesse and salvation, was most free grace. Two books were before him, he might have writ thy name in his black book, with fatall and bloudy characters, and made his justice glorious in thy miserie and damnation; I, but he took the book of life, and with the point of a Diamond writ thy name there, thus to make his love wonderful in thy salvation.

3. Consider how few God then chose unto himself. Out of those many worlds which he might have made, out of that which he did make; he pickt out a few here and there, they all make up but [...], a little diminutive flock, a little, little flock, [...]. The major part of the world [...], it lyes drench't and drown'd in wickednesse. How comes it now that thou dost not go with the generality; but art one of the little number, is not this free grace? God hath riches of grace for many more, and yet he would spend it all upon a few; he would contract and concentricate his love in them, Et quantò pauciores filios habet, tantò cariores. 'Tis St Pauls reason, that he might make known the riches of glory upon the vessels of honour; this was the very end, that they might admire his goodnesse the more, and tell stories of free grace to all eternity.

4. Don't think that this was out of any prevision of worth and excellencie in thee more then in another. For

1. This makes the prime wheeling cause wholly dependent up­on inferior movers. The great Creator of Heaven and Earth, must wait upon mans liberum arbitrium; if the creature please to determine thus or thus, then he must copy out his decree ac­cordingly.

2. They speak as if they had never seen the nineth to the Ro­mans. What was it that prevail'd with the Potter, to make one vessell to honour, and the other to dishonour? Was it because this was the more refined Earth, and so fitter for a vessell of Honour? No saith St. Paul, of the very same lumpe, he made [Page 39] one a vessel to honour, and the other to dishonour. And God lov'd Jacob, and hated Esau, before they had done either good or evil; Now if Jacob would certainly have done good of his own accord, 'twas all one as if 'twere done already in respect of Eternity, all things being equally present to that.

3. This takes away all method, and order of prosecution, for the end is alwayes in intention before the means. God first re­solves to save Jacob, and then provides means accord­ingly.

4. It quite demolisheth the goodly and faire structure of grace; no discriminating grace, 'tis no longer for his own sake, but for your sakes now. A man now makes himself to differ, free will must be set on the throne, 'tis a Roman and must not be bound; and free grace must lye at the footstool▪ and be tramp­led on as they please. But all they that know what grace is, and have had any gracious impressions upon their own spirits, will easily tell you who 'twas that made them differ, even he who chose them; not because they were any better then others, but he chose them, and so would be sure to make them better; and if they be lovely, it is with the comlinesse which he hath put upon them. Grace is free if you look to the fountaine of it, the primitive goodnesse of God in election, bubling out from all Eternity.

Secondly, If you look to the severall streamings out of the fountaine, you must admire the riches of free grace: For

1. Gods giving of his only Sonne, and founding and eternal Covenant of love and peace in him; the richest and preciousest stream that ever flow'd to the sons of men. Now if there were an assembly of those bright and intelligent creatures gathered toge­ther, the most glorious Cherubims and glittering Seraphims, and if this mystery which they now pry into, were fully unseal'd, and explain'd unto them; O how would they stand gazing up­on the riches of free grace, how would they think eternity it self too short for the admiring of it; and what could they resolve it into but meere love. God so lov'd the world, so freely, so fully, so unconceiveably, that he gave his only Sonne, &c. What was there in thee to draw a Saviour down from heaven? was there such an attractive and magnetical vertue in an undone and bank­rupted creature? How didst thou perswade him to disrobe him­self [Page 40] of light, as of a garment, to cloud and eclipse the lustre of his Divinity, by the interposition of a pale mortall body! What was it that mov'd him to take upon him the seed of Abraham, and not the nature of Angels, to let passe those faire and eminent beings, and to advance a poor crauling worme! Out of what Topicks didst thou fetch an ar­gument that prevail'd with him, to espouse thee to himself in mercy and truth, and so to love thee as to dye for thee? I know they thoughts are swallowed up with the consideration of so boundlesse and bottomlesse a love, and desire some time for astonishment.

2. What should I tell you of those free expressions and mani­festations of this his love; those fresh eruptions and ebullitions of it in the Gospel? I mean those precious promises, that are so many several sproutings and branchings out of the Covenant. The Gospel's like a sweet and precious honey-combe, these are the se­verall droppings of it, that flow freely from it. Indeed the whole Gospel like the midst of Solomons bed in the Canticles, is pav'd with love.

3. Think upon those free offers of grace, and tenders of recon­ciliation; how he woes you to receive mercy, how he beseeches you to be happy, how he intreats you to be sav'd, to accept of him and of heaven, of grace and of glory. So that if you looke to the streamings out of the fountaine; you see they all carry with them the riches of grace.

Thirdly, Consider the severall conveighances of it; how God diffuses this his goodnesse to thy soul; and thou shalt see how thou hast liv'd upon the expences of free grace all thy dayes. And for this, observe how he tun'd all circumstances in a sweet and harmonious way, so as they did all sweetly agree and consort in thy happinesse; and how all providentiall passages did joyn for thee, and [...], work together for thy good: As

1. 'Twas out of the riches of free grace, that he planted thee in a place of light, when he shut up and imprison'd the rest of the world in palpable darknesse. The Gospel shines out but upon a little spot of ground which God hath enclos'd for himself, and stiles it his Garden. Paul plants it▪ and Apollos waters it, and he himself gives it an increase: The rest of the world lyes like a [Page 41] barren and desolate wildernesse, the word of the Gospel never dropt upon it; nothing but briers and thornes fit for the fire. Now, how fell thy lot in so faire a ground; and who is it that gives thee so goodly an heritage? Who is it that shines thus upon thy Tabernacle, and fixes it in a land that flowes with milke and honey? Give a reason if thou canst, why thou wert not plac't in some obscure corner of America, and left only to the weak and glimmering light of nature? Prethee, tell me who that was that open'd for thee so many wells of salvation, and feasted thee with all those spirituall dainties and delicacies that are disht out in variety of Ordinances? I would fain know who that was that crush't the honey-combe on purpose, that it might drop upon thy soul? Prethee, tell me, if thou can'st, who that was that bespoke a place for thee in the Church, among the assembly of the Saints? Hath God dealt so with every Nation, or have the Heathen knowledge of this Law? Ascribe this then to free grace.

2. That salvation should wait upon thee so long, and when thou hadst repuls't so many rich offers of grace and mercie; that still it should be importunate with thee: If mercy had knock't once or twice, nay according to the rule, Si ter pulsanti, &c.; if it had then bid thy soul farewell, thou hadst dropt into hell ir­recoverably. How many years hath free grace stood at the door, and begg'd for some admission, and thou hast not so much as bid it welcome? Free grace followes thee and pursues thee, and will not let thee go till thou hast a blessing. Would any friend have given thee so many invitations after thou hast rejected them? Are there not many of the damned that must lye roaring there to all eternity, that never tasted of so much goodnesse, and long­sufferance as thou hast done? O, why wert not thou sent thither amongst the rest? that that Spirit which thou hast so much griev'd, and so often vext, should still breath upon thee, and follow thee with secret whisperings, and gentle solicitations to entice and allure thee to goodnesse; what canst thou call this but free grace?

3. Consider in what state thou wert all the while; and Enemy, a Rebell, studying how to be damn'd; galloping to hell and de­struction with full careere, a scholars pace: who was't now that stopt thee in thy course? who bridl'd in the proud [Page 42] waves and said, Hither ye shall go, and no further? Saul when he is breathing out of slaughters, and making havock of the Church, even then he becomes a Paul. When the soul is even ripe for judgement, then mercy shines out upon it. And that which would seeme the most reasonable time for vengeance, is made a blessed opportunity of shewing mercy.

4. Consider the efficacious and overpowering work of grace; he must force thee to be happy, and necessitate thee to salvation, and compell thee to come in. It is not enough to provide the meanes, but he must strongly apply them; unlesse the arme of the Lord be reveal'd, there's none will beleeve our report. It may be thou cam'st occasionally to hear a Sermon; well, God hath the two-edged sword in his own hand; he brandish't the glittering sword, he fought against thee, he wounded thee, and frighted thee out of thy sinnes. Well, thou wentest away with groans, and sighes, and teares; like a Hart stuck with an arrow, panting and breathing, and faine would'st have some refreshment; Ere long, he met with a faithful Messenger, and sent thee some balme from Gilead; he began to let in some of his love to thy soul, and to cheere thee with Gospel-cordials; and were not they all bought with the riches of free grace? Or it may be, thou cam'st into a Church with a minde, to smile at Religion, to laugh at Goodnesse, to mock at Piety; or else to guesse the best, thou cam'st for flowers and not for fruit, to crop an Elegancy, to take acquaintance of a Notion, or a fine expression; as he once to hear an eloquent Ambrose. Thou cam'st for a bait, but met'st with an hook, and 'twas happy for thee that thou wert so caught; Thou thought'st only to see the flourishing of the sword, but thou felt'st the edge of it, and 'twas well for thee that thou wert so wounded.

5. Remember the manner how he thus wrought upon thee; it may be 'twas with softer and gentler impressions, in a winning, in a melting way; he drew thee with the cords of a man, and sweetly dissolv'd thy stony heart. 'Tis true, the Law had its work, and strook thee with the flaming edge of a curse, but the Gospel presently brought oile and powr'd it into the wounded spirit. The love of Christ was the powerful Suada; Heavens Rhetorick; there was Demosthenes his double Deity in it, [...], [Page 43] it constrain'd thee to obedience: And was it not mercy to be dealt withal in so milde a way? Well, but what if thou wert a more knotty and obdurate piece, and 'twas not a little matter would tame thy unruly spirit? God came in a more victorious and triumphant manner, and led captivity captive, when he gave gifts unto thy soul: He was fain to batter down strong holds, and bring to the ground towering imaginations. Thou had'st a rocky and flinty spirit, and was not his word an hammer? did not he take it into his own hand? he smote the stony rock indeed, so as the waters gushed out: Well, and had he no bowels all the while? was it not abundance of mercy to take pains with such an obstinate sinner? Referre it you to what you will, we'le put it under the head of free grace.

6. Think upon those mountains of opposition that were beaten down, when this goodly fabrick of the Temple went up with the shoutings and acclamations of free grace. The strong man was dispossest, all the plots and stratagems of Satan were frustrated. God crush't his designes, and blasted his enterprises, and broke his snares, and rescu'd thee out of the paw of the Lion. 'Twas much love and grace to set a silly bird out of the snare, to ransome a poor captive, to break the chaine, and beat off the irons, to disentangle a soul, and set it at liberty. And then he arm'd thee against the disgraces and frownes of the world, and forti­fi'd thee against the smiles and blandishments of the world, and carried thee against the potent stream of examples, which all ran another way; free grace hid thy soul under the shadow of its wings.

7. Hast thou not fresh supplies of free grace flowing in con­tinually upon thy soul, and maintaining it to all eternity? If God in this new creation had given thee, as he did at the first, a stock of grace, and left it to thine own improvement, thou would'st have spent it immediately; Thou hast somewhat of free grace, every moment of thy spiritual being. God feeds and pre­serves the humidum radicale of the soul, or else 'twould quickly waste away. He sends thee in rich influences and Auxiliary for­ces, and keeps thee by his mighty power through faith unto sal­vation. And this is no small work of grace; Conservatio, you know, 'tis continuata creatio.

8. Compare thy self with those that have had none of all this [Page 44] kindnesse shown unto them, such as God hath left to themselves in the severity of his justice, and this will set a goodly glosse up­on free grace.

1. Many of them are such as have improv'd their present strength far better. Many Heathens have liv'd more accurately and exactly then some Christians in their unregenerate condition, and yet one out of all ordinary possibility of salvation, and the others ef­ficaciously called. He may do with his own what he will, and he hath mercy on whom he will have mercy. Thus Publicans are before Pharisees and swelling Justitiaries; that free grace may be more apparent and conspicuous.

2. Some have desired more strength, and in their way pray'd for it too, and it may be have had the prayers of others too, and yet have gone without it; but thou hast not call'd upon me, O Jacob; I was found of thee, when thou sought'st me not.

3. He past by men of most admirable endowments, most rare accomplishments; that in all probability would have done him a great deal more honourable service, then thou art like to do. Would not an Aristotle have made a glorious convert, and fill'd the world as full of Divinity as he did of Philosophy? but God passeth by these stately Cedars of Lebanon, and chooseth a few contemptible Shrubs, and this is the good will of him that dwelt in the bush; he hath chosen the [...], the meere non-entia of the world, to bring to naught the things that are.

So, that if thou look to the fountaine, or the streames, or the conveiances, you meet with nothing but free grace.

Fourthly, I might draw an head of arguments, à Minori ad Majus, common and restraining grace is free grace, how much more justifying and saving grace, that one is not so bad as another is meere grace, &c.

This truth is full of Use: Richly laden with fruit, if we had time to gather it; I'le but point at it.

Ʋse. Ʋse. Let none dare to abuse the grace of God; to still malig­nant and venomous consequences out of so sweet and flowery a truth. C [...]m gratia Dei sit mellea, ne comedas eam totam. There's none but love to hear of free grace; O this is a soft and downy Doctrine, a silken Truth: O 'tis a gentle breath that fans the soul, and gives it sweet refreshment. O 'tis a pleasant thing to sit under the shadow of free grace, and see Gods goodnesse [Page 45] streaming out before thee! But take heed who e're thou art, of turning this grace of God into wantonnesse; and know, that 'tis free grace in another sense too, God may take't away when he pleaseth, thou know'st not which is the last offer: Believe it, he that neglects this very present offer, venters eternity. And know withall, that as there are more liberal aspersions of grace in time of the Gospel, so there are larger viols of wrath too. Vineger you know 'tis [...] filius vini, and the sweetest wine dege­nerates into the sharpest vineger. Grace abus'd, turnes to fury. What, to sin against God; because he is good? therefore to of­fend him, because he is merciful? to multiply iniquities, because he blots them out for his own sake? To kick against bowels of mercy, and to rebel against the golden Scepter, when 'tis stretcht out, and motions of reconciliation propounded? truely this will be the very sting of hell, the Emphasis of damnation, this will heat the furnace seven times hotter; 'twill teach the worme that never dies to gnaw more cruelly, and put new stings into the eternal scorpions; 'twill prepare flaming ingredients for the cup of wrath, and fill it up to the very brim. O how fain would'st thou then change places in hell with a Turke or an Infidel, and be ambitious of ordinary damnation. But truely there is no stronger argument against sin to an ingenuous spirit, then free grace. Because God is so prone to pardon, therefore the soul is so loath to displease.

THE Childs Return.

PROV. 23. 26.

My Son, give me thine heart.

THere have been such noble, and generous spirits in some of the people of God, as that they have been frequent in such enquiries as these: What shall we render the Lord for all his mercies? And, what shall we returne him for all his goodnesse? And he in the Prophet Micah (though he be of a different temper from these) yet he seemeth to be very solicitous, and desirous to know what he should bring unto the Lord. For thus you may hear him speak in the 6th of Micah: Wherewithall (sayes he) shall I appear before the Lord? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of Rams, &c.? No, saith the Prophet; He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good, and what doth the Lord require of thee, but that thou should'st do justly, &c. He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good, and what doth the Lord require of thee, but that thou should'st give him thine heart, and that thou should'st love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength. And therefore he here askes it of thee. [...], My Sonne, give me thine heart.

These words are spoken by Solomon, but not in his own Name. It had been too much for Solomon to have askt it for [Page 47] himself. It doth not become the mouth of any Creature to ask the heart to it self. But Solomon speaks it in the name of Wisdome, and so in the name of God himself, the eternal fountain of Wis­dome. It is he that calls unto the sons of men, and bids them to give him their hearts.

And though I know that the Hebrew Idiom sometimes by gi­ving the heart, doth imply no more, then the serious considerati­on, and pondering of a thing, the laying it to heart, as we use to speak; yet I shall take the words here in a fuller sense, as the heart in a special manner is due unto God.

Now as in Proverbial speeches there useth to be, so it is here. There is abundance of rich variety, a great deal of Treasure lockt up in a few words; we will open some of them to you. And

I. For the Relation, My Sonne. Five things are very considerable.

1. He speaks here to a Son, and to not a Stranger. No wonder that Strangers give not the heart unto God; no wonder that a Pagan gives not the heart unto God. Such as are aliens from the Com­mon-wealth of Israel, and Strangers to the Covenant of grace. Such as are at a great distance from him; nay, that live without God in the World; such as lye like the dry heath, and the barren wildernesse, the word of the Kingdome never dropt upon them: but thou art a Sonne in neer relation to him; He reveales his minde to thee; he manifests, and displayes himself to thee; he makes his goodnesse passe before thee. Thou hast the continual droppings of the word upon thee; his Prophets are sent to thee earely, and late; thou hast the happy Sun-shine of his presence with thee, enough to warme, and soften a stony heart; and out of such stones to raise up children unto Abraham. Though an Indian, though an American do not give the heart unto God; yet a Christian should. Though a Stranger do not give him the heart; yet a Son should.

2. A Son, and not an Enemy. God doth not expect the hearts of Enemies; such as are in open hostility, and opposition against him; such as are said to be haters of him, and hated by him; such as bid him depart from them, for they not desire the knowledge of his wayes: he doth not look for the hearts of these. He doth indeed many times turne the heart of an Enemie, meet the heart [Page 48] of a Saul, while he is breathing out slaughters against the Church: but whil'st he is in a state of enmity, he doth not look for the heart from them. Nay, if an Enemy could give the heart unto God, it would not be accepted by him. He will not accept of a Traitors heart. But thou art reconciled to him, so far from being an Enemy, as that thou art a Son. Thow hast all expressions of love from him: and thine heart it is expected by him, and it will be accepted of him. Though an Enemy do not give the heart unto God; yet a Son should.

3. A Sonne, and not a Slave. A Slave doth a great deal of work, and drudgery, more work then a Sonne; but he doth not give the heart all the while. He workes out of fear, he looks upon it as a task, as a burden; he watches an opportunity for shaking off the yoke. But now Religion doth not come thus to enslave men, but to enlarge them, to ennoble them; it comes to beat off the chaines, and fetters, to beat open the Prison doors; it brings a perpetual Jubilee, a perpetual Triumph along with it. Religion it floweth out of filial principles: My Son, hear my words; and My Sonne, give me thine heart. If the Son make you free, why then you are free indeed; and if you be free like Sons, why then you are free indeed. The Gospel brings with it a filial Liberty, a filial Plerophory; an Evangelical yoke is a soft, and pleasant yoke; a Saviours burden is onus alarum, it do's no more load the soul, then wings do a bird, which advance and promote its flight toward heaven. In Sinne there is nothing but slavery; in Religion there is perfect Liberty. Though a Slave do not give the heart unto God; yet a Son should.

4. A Son, Non sic olim. Thou wert not alwayes so. There was a time when ye were Sons of wrath, as well as others; children of disobedience, as well as others. Adopted Sons, were not alwayes Sons; now the Sons of God, are sons by Adoption. And let it suffice you (saith the Apostle) that in those former times of your ignorance, of your folly, and vanity▪ that then you gave your hearts unto other objects; but now that you are come into a state of Son-ship, now that ye have this great, and honourable Gospel-priviledge, to be called a Son of God; now withdraw your hearts from former objects. Let them not be bestowed upon former vanities, do not embase them so much; fix them only upon your God. Though once thou didst not give thy [Page 49] heart unto God; yet now thou art a Sonne, thou should'st.

5. A Sonne; and so in way of mutual affection, thou art to give the heart unto him. He hath given thee his love, and his heart, and his bowels are towards thee; and wilt not thou return some affection to him again? Relations they consist in a mutual [...], in a graceful and reciprocal respect which they have one to another. Is there the love of a Father in him, and shall not there be the obedience of a Son in thee? Is there a flame in him, and is there no spark in thee? Is there no reflecting of a Sun-beam? Is there no repairing of the streams into the Ocean? As Bathsh [...] ­ba speaks very affectionately to her Son Solomon: What my Son? and what the Son of my Wombe? and what the Son of my Vowes? Wilt thou give thy strongth unto Women? So here. What my Son? and what the Son of my loves? and what the Son of my hopes? Wilt thou give thine heart unto another? Wilt thou give thy strength unto a Creature? [...], wilt thou thus dishon­our, and provoke thy God? Cor it is magn [...]s Cordis; If love will not draw thee, what will? and if a preventing love will not pre­vaile upon thee, what love will? And if God have not the hearts of Sons where shall he have any hearts to praise him? Who will admire him, and adore him, if his Sons will not? And then he hath given thee his only Son, he hath given thee a Saviour, that hath given his heart to thee, that hath given his life for thee, that had his heart pierc't through for thy sake; and is there no attra­ctive power in all this? That is the fifth thing, thou art a Son, and so in way of gratitude, and mutual affection thou art to give thine heart to him.

II. The Manner of yielding up the heart unto God, which is here exprest by way of giving; which includes several things in it.

1. Give it Cheerfully. God loves a cheerful giver. Religion should be full of alacrity; it doth not come to extort the heart, to hale men to obedience, but to lead them by a sweet, and easie manuduction; it doth not rapere Cor, but allicere▪ It doth not storme the Castle, but hath it fairely yielded up upon termes of agreement. That efficacious work of grace in conversion, doth indeed overpower the hearts of men; but it is by making them willing, not by drawing them whil'st they are unwilling; but it takes away that Nolence, and reluctancy that is in the hearts of [Page 50] men, and thus compells them to come in. What freer then a Gift? Now the heart it is to be given unto God. The Will hath never more freedome, then when it moves towards God. And those heavenly duties, and spiritual performances are to flow freely from the soul, like those voluntary drops, that come sweat­ing from the Honey-comb of its own accord, without any pres­sing, without any crushing at all. It is only the dregs of Obedi­ence, that comes forth with squeezing, and wringing. The bet­ter any thing is, the more freely doth it diffuse it self. There should be no need now of binding the sacrifice with cords unto the Altar, unlesse it be with the cords of love; those soft and silken knots of affection. Cheerfulnesse puts a glosse, and lustre upon Religion, and makes it amiable, even in the eyes of the world. And truely I cannot tell how any one can give the heart to God, unlesse he serve him with alacrity.

2. Give it presently. You know, Bis dat, qui citò dat. Give it him now, he calls for it; it must be donum hodiernum. Now that it is called to day, harden not your hearts. Give him a tender hear [...] Ʋdum, & molle lutum es. Now give thine heart to be framed, and fashioned by him; to be stamp'd, and sealed by him. Da primitia [...] Cordis. Give him the first fruits of thy time, the first fruits of thy strength: He is the Alpha, the first of beings; and therefore whatsoever hath any priority, and superiority belongs to him. And truly Grace it is very sweet, and pleasant in the bud [...]. O how pleasant is it to see a Virgin-light, a Morning-light of education shining out upon the soul, and in some measure preparing, and predisposing the heart for the wayes of God. O this is an happy prejudice, an earely pre­possession of the soul. And this is that which the wise Man here intends, when he speaks to a Son▪ to one of tender age. And do but consider it; can you give your heart unto God too soon? Why should'st thou deferre thine own welfare? or is it comely then to offer thine heart unto God, when thou can'st give it to none else? Da [...]lorem, nonfacem Give it presently.

3. Give it, do not lend it only. In giving there is an alteration of the propriety, which is not in lending. When thou hast given thine heart unto God, thou art no longer thine own then. There are some that will lend their hearts unto God, upon some special occasions, for an houre at a Sermon, for a little while in prayer; [Page 51] lend it him upon a Lords day, upon a day of Humiliation, and then call for the heart again, and bestow it upon their lusts. But so great a Majesty will not borrow of Creatures; he will not re­ceive hearts, unlesse they be wholly given to him.

4. Give it, do not sell it. 'Tis very sordid, and odious to be hirelings in Religion. They sell their hearts unto God, that serve him only for by-ends, and self-respects. This is Donum Hamatum, a gift with an hook in it; they give somewhat, that they may catch more. They sell their hearts unto God for some tempo­rall ends. Hence it is, that the Church hath so many friends in prosperous dayes. There are many that sell their hearts unto God. You know in the Gospel, there were some that followed Christ for the Loaves, and not for the Miracles. There are some that love the Additionals in Religion, more then the Principals. Successe, and Victories are the only Arguments to convince some of the rightnesse of a Cause. Esteeme of men, worldly advan­tages, and accommodations; these make many men take a little tincture of Religion, who otherwise would not have so much as a shew of it. Whereas Religion should be loved for her beauty, and not for her dowry. God should be loved for those excellen­cies, and transcendencies that are in himself; for those treasures of goodnesse, and wisdome, that are stored up in his own glori­ous Essence. Thou should'st love him, though he did not love thee again. Why should'st not thou love a thing truly amiable, though thou hast no benefit by it? For thy happinesse is but an inferiour, and secondary thing, and is not to have so much of thine heart as he is to have. Thou art only to love thy self, as thou art somewhat of him; thou art to love Heaven▪ as the en­joyment of him; thou art to love the Gospel, as the great ex­pression of his love, and all the promises of the right hand, and the left, as the various manifestations of his goodnesse. Thou art first to give thine heart unto thy God, and then to other things in such measure, and proportion as they are subordinate to him.

5. Give thine heart, do not keep it to thy self. Would'st thou be trusted with thine own heart? Would'st thou be left to thine own deceitfull spirit? The best upon earth may very well put up that prayer; Domine, libera me á malo homine m [...]ipso. Lay up thine heart in the hand of a Saviour. Leave it there as a sacred depositum. [Page 52] Can'st thou lay up thy Jewel in a safer Cabinet? Let him keep thine heart by his mighty power through faith unto falvation,

6. Give it. God is pleased to call that a Gift, which is indeed a Debt: All thy Esse, and thy Posse and thy Possidere is due to him, yet that thy heart may come in a way of freenesse, and that he may shew thee, how it is accepted by him; he calls it a Gift, such a gift as do's enrich the Giver, not the Receiver. It is an honour to thee, 'tis no benefit to him; His glory doth not shine with borrowed beams: 'Tis neither in the power of a Creature to ec­lipse the brightnesse of his Crown, nor to adde one sparke to it. If thou doest ill, what hurt hath he by it? or if thou dost well, what good flowes unto him? any otherwise then as he hath joyn­ed his own glory, and the welfare of his People together. Thy goodnesse may profit thy self, and it may extend to men like thy self, but it can make no additions to that which is already per­fect. Thy heart is due to him, and 'tis thine honour that thou mayst give it him.

III. To whom the heart must be given.

1. Not to any created being. No creature can be a centre for the heart to fix in. The heart was not made for any creature, nor proportioned to it. Wilt thou set thine heart upon that which is not? Wilt thou give thine heart to vanity, and vexation? Wilt thou set thine heart upon that which hath wings, and can flye a­way when it listeth? Riches have wings; honours, and pleasures have wings, all creature-comforts have wings, and can flye away when they please. And therefore

2. Give not thine heart to the world. Give it not to the smiles, and blandishments of the world: Let it not be broken with the frownes, and injuries of the world: Let not your hearts be troubled, (saith Christ) for I have overcome the world. And be not over­careful for the things of the world; [...], a Pythagorean would render it, Cor ne edite.

3. Give it not to Satan. The Devil that old Serpent would faine be winding, and insinuating into hearts; he seeks them, and desires, and would faine by any means obtain them; and we see how many give their hearts unto him. But what, wilt thou give thy Darling to the Lion? Wilt thou give thy Turtle as a prey to the Devourer? wilt thou give thine heart to the Destroyer?

[Page 53] 4. Give it not to Sin, to Lust. Give it not to a Dalilah. To give it to sin, is to give it to a Privation, to a Non-entity. Give not thine heart to that which will weaken it; to that, that will defile it; to that, that will wound it; to that, that will sting, and disquiet it. O! keep it calme, and serene; keep it pure, and unspotted; keep it in its proper freedome, and enlargement.

IV. We come to consider the gift it self, what it is that is to be given unto God: The heart,

1. Not thine outward man only, not thy body only. God dwells not so much in these Temples made with hands, as in bro­ken, and contrite Spirits. For he himself is a Spirit, and the Fa­ther of Spirits, and he will be served in Spirit, and Truth. He do's not ask for a shell, but for a kernel: He do's not ask for a Casket, but for a Jewel. Give him the kernel, give him the Jewel, give him thine heart. No question, but the body also is to be presented to him, but it is no otherwise accepted of him, then as it is animated, and enlivened by an obedient heart. For how else can it be [...], as the Apostle there calls it. Give me thine heart, (1.) Not thine eare onely. Though it be very commendable to encline an eare unto Wisdome, and to receive the gracious words that flow from its mouth; yet the eare is only to be a gate, and entrance to let it into the heart, and to hear in Scripture-Language is to obey. The word of God must not hang like a Jewel only in the eare, but it must be cabinetted, and lockt up in the heart as its safest repository. (2) Not thy tongue only. Religion is not only to warme thy mouth▪ but 'tis to melt the heart; it do's indeed season the discourse, so as savoury words come out of such a mouth. It do's set a watch before the lips, and bridle that same unruly evil; but can you think that it reacheth no farther then thus? Can you think that Religion dwells here? Is it only a Lip-labour, only a matter of discourse? Nay, are there not many that draw near unto God with their lips, and yet their hearts are far from him? (3.) Not thine head only. Reli­gion 'tis not a meere notion, it doth not consist only in specula­tives. You see many times that men of the vastest Intellectuals, are most defective in Practicals. Who of the heads of the world beleeved in Christ? Who of the Scribes and Pharisees beleeved in him? There may be precious pearly truth's in a venomous head. And indeed the head can never be given unto God, till the heart be given him also.

[Page 54] 2. The heart: not appearances not only: Not a surface, not a colour, not a shadow only; but a Reality. God is a pure Act, pure Entity, and Reality; and therefore Appearances, that do meerely pretend to entity, must needs be very remote from him. And this is the weaknesse of Superstition, it gives him only a complement, a ceremouy. They tell him, they are his servants. What more ordinary complement in the mouthes of men? they give him outward adoration; they bow the knee to Christ, and so did they that crucified him: What do you do more then they? And this is the vanity of Popery, it do's not give God the heart. That spiritual Jezabel gives him only a painted face, she do's not give him the heart. She is clothed in Scarlet; but she embraces a Dunghill. She puts on an outward meretricious bravery; but within there is nothing but rottennesse. But the Spouse of Christ is all glorious within. When the shadowes are multiplied, God called for the heart then in the times of the Law; much more now in the times of the Gospel.

3. The heart, the whole heart. Not a piece of it, not a corner of it only. The true Mother would not have the Child divided. God indeed loves a broken, and a Contrite heart; but he won't accept of a divided heart. This is that Royall Law, the great commandment: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart:


But the Devil observes the other rule: Divide, & impera: He would seem to be very moderate, to be content with a piece of the heart only; but 'tis because he knowes by this means he shall have all. For God won't have any of it unlesse he have it entire. And this is one great happinesse, that comes by Religion; the heart is thus united, and fixt upon one supreme object. Lusts, they do divide the heart, and distract it:—duplici in diversum scinderis hamo (as the Satyrist speaks very elegantly). The soul do's as it were, bite at two baits at once, and is caught with two several hooks; this pulls that way, and that pulls another way. Pride calls for this thing; but Covetousnesse forbids it: which must needs breed a great confusion▪ and tumultuation in the soul. But when the heart is given unto God, and yields to his Scepter, [Page 55] then other Lords shall no longer rule over it. When a Saviour comes into the soul, the windes, and thestormes, and the waves obey him.

4. Give thine Heart; that is, all the powers and faculties of thy soul. Give him thine understanding; set open the windows of thy soul, for the entertaining of such Light as shines from Heaven. Give thine understanding to be enformed by him, to be captiva­ted by him: Give it as wax to the Seale, to receive such stamps, and impressions, as he is pleased to put upon it. Give him thy will, that which glories so much in its own liberty, let it be sub­ject to him. Give him thine affections, those ebbings, and flow­ings of the heart; Fluxus, & reflux [...] Cordis: Let thy joy be in him; let thy trust and confidence be upon him; Let all that is withiu thee, blesse his holy Name.

And thus we have run over the words in a way of Explica­tion, and we shall give you the summe of all in one Ob­servation. That

The Heart is to be consecrated unto God.

I. Because 'tis due to him. Look upon the Heart, see whose Image and Superscription it hath: if the Image of God be upon it, (as sure you cannot but see that, though it be much defac't) Give then unto God the things that are Gods. If thou wilt not give men their due, yet sure thou wilt not with-hold from him his due. It is due unto him upon a foure-fold account.

1. As he is the Maker of Hearts; the Creatour of them. All the strength of created beings is due to him; and the nobler any being is, the more strongly it is engaged to him; for it hath re­ceived the more from him. Now the heart of man it is a chief piece of Gods workmanship, 'tis [...]: 'tis due to him, as it was made by him, and 'twas made upon this condition, that it should returne to him.

2. As he is the Lord, and [...]ul [...]r of Hearts; [...]. His Throne 'tis in the hearts of men, and 'tis he only, that hath Do­minion, and Sovereignty over them. It is the great usurpation of Popery, that it would tyrannize over the hearts of men. That proud Antichrist would sit in the Temple of God: but there is none Lord of the Conscience, but God alone. And he can frame them, and fashion them, and dispose of them as he pleaseth▪ [Page 56] He can rule those hearts that are most large, and unlimited, and unrestrained. The hearts of Princes he can winde them, which way he will, even as the Rivers of waters.

3. As he is the Judge, and searcher of hearts. We only can see the outward surface, and appearance of things, as the Opticks say, Solae superficies videntur: but God he sees into the depth and bottome of things. We look only to the fruit, and branches▪ but he searcheth to the Root, and foundation.

4. As he is Sponsus Cordis: 'Tis the Prophet Hosea' [...] expressi­on, I have espoused thee to my self in mercy, and goodnesse, and faith­fulnesse; so that it is an Adulterous heart that now goes after creatures: Ye Adulterers, (sayes the Apostle) know ye not that the love of the World is enmity against God? And the Apostle speaks of presenting Virgin-hearts unto Christ.

II. 'Tis very pleasing, and acceptable to him. For

1. He askes it of thee. He knocks at the door, he wooes thine heart, and invites it to himself; and what is the whole minde of the Gospel, but to draw hearts unto God with all Arguments of love?

2. 'Tis thy Totum posse. Now saith the Apostle, he accepts according to what a man hath. Thou thus castest all thou hast into the treasury; and if thou had'st more, thou would'st give it him.

3. 'Tis a pregnant gift, a comprehensive gift, and containes many other things in it. As the Apostle saies, He having given thee his Son; how shall he not with him give thee all things also? This is the spring of motion, that sets the wheeles on working. When this Royal Fort is taken, all the rest will be yielded up presently. When the Heart ondites a good matter, then the Tongue will be like the Pen of a ready Writer; then thy Glory will awake, thy Tongue will praise his Name, and encourage others in his wayes; then thy bowels will be enlarged, and thy hands open to the necessitie of the Saints; then there will be a Covenant made with the eyes, and a watch set before the door of thy lips; then thy feet will run to the place where his honour dwelleth; and all the mem­bers of the body will become instruments of Righteousnesse unto Holinesse. Which shewes the vanity of those ignorant ones, who thank God, though they cannot expresse themselves, yet their hearts are as good as the best; though there be not one [Page 57] beam of light in, nor one spark of love in them; whereas a good heart never wanted for some real expression. He in the Comaedian was very deservedly laught at; who would seem to be angry, but could expresse it no otherwise, then by saying Irascor; whereas true anger would soon have shewne it self in its proper colours▪ in its sudden, and extemporary sparklings, in its vehement, and furious flamings. They that can shew a good heart no otherwise then by saying they have a good one; they do even desire us not to believe them

They that offered up sacrifices were wont to judge of them most according to the inwards, and God doth thus judge of per­formances. For

1. The least performances, if the heart accompany them, are accepted by him. That Persian Monarch was famous for accepting a little water from the hand of a loving Subject: And doth not Christ accept of the same? He that shall give a cup of cold water to a Disciple, in the name of a Disciple, shall not lose his reward. What though thou canst not bring such costly sacrifices, thou canst not offer up Hecatombs? Well then, bring thy Turtle-Doves, and young Pigeons; and these shall be accepted by him. Thou hast no Gold, nor Jewels; thou canst not bring any Silk, and Purple to the Tabernacle: yet bring thy Goats haire, and Bad gers skins, and these shall be welcome to him. Thou canst not bring Cedars to the Temple, thou canst not polish, and carve, and guild the Temple; Well, but canst thou be any way serviceable to it? even that shall be rewarded by him. A few broken sighs▪ if they arise from a broken heart, are very potent, and Rhetorical. A few teares▪ if they flow from this fountain, are presently botled up; he puts your teares in his Bottle.

2. God accepts of your intentions, if they flow from a pure heart, though they be blasted in the bud, though they be crusht in Ovo, though they never come to the birth.

In magnis voluisse sat est.—

It was in Davids heart to build a Temple, that's enough. The Schoolmen do very well determine, that Tota bonitas moralis, & malitia est in Voluntate. God judgeth of the souls complexion by those inward productions, though men judge only by outward expressions. That two-edged sword of God doth thus pierce to the marrow, to the very intentions of the heart. The Law of [Page 58] God it reacheth intentions, as our Saviour in those heavenly Ser­mons of his upon the Mount doth Spiritualize it, and parapbrase upon it. And God doth in especial manner punish naked inten­tions, because men cannot punish them. The venome of the seed of the Serpent doth most shew it self in intentions. God restrains the outward acts for his people sake. But the strength of sin is most vigorous in its first eruptions, and ebullitions, and so the strength of goodnesse too.

3. When the heart is entire. Though there be obliquities, and irregularities, yet they are past by, and not so much attended to. No doubt but Abrahams faith staggered, when he was put to an equivocation, and we cannot easily excuse Jacobs supplantings, and Rebekka's deceits, and Rahabs dissemblings; and the piaefraudes of the Fathers. There was so much frailty, and imperfe­ction in all these, as did plainly spot, and blemish them; and yet the heart being right, God accepts of that, and covers the rest with his pardoning love.

4. Hence it is, that God looks not to the outward lump, and heap of performances, but looks to the manner of them, and the Spirit from whence they come. This might spare many a Papist his beads, which he thinks so necessary for the numbring of his prayers.

The glimmering light of Nature taught the Heathen thus much, that the gods did not expect any benefit from them, but only a grateful acknowledgment. And this is the reason they give, why they consecrated to their gods barren trees, which indeed were green, and flourishing, but brought forth no fruit at all, as the Lau­rell to Apollo, the Ivy to Bacchus, the Mirtle to Venus, the Oake to Jupiter, the Pine to Neptune, the Poplur to Hercules; and so in ma­ny of the rest. And they will tell you, that the gods did not look for any fruit from their worshippers, but lookt for homage, and obedience, and thankfulnesse. And it is that which ingenuity teacheth men, not to look to the quantity, and value of a gift; but to respect the affection of him that gives it▪ Away then with those vaine ones, that think to bribe Heaven with their gifts, and to stop the mouth of Justice with their performances. All duties and per­formances they are but to comment, and paraphrase upon the heart. In prayer God expects a flaming heart; in hearing of the Word, he looks for a melted heart; in fasting, rend your hearts, and not your clothes; in thansgiving he listens to hear whether [Page 59] ye make melody in your hearts. Religion it doth spiritualize per­formances, and doth shell them, and take the kernel; it doth ex­tract the spirits, and quitessence of them.

5. Hence it is, that without this, the most pompous perform­ances are scorned, and rejected. A sacrifice without an heart is an abomination to him. I hate your burnt-offerings, my soul nau­seates your solemne assemblies. Odi Danaos, & dona ferentes. Bring me no more vain oblations; [...]. A corrupt heart, it soiles every Ordinance, it stains and discolours every Duty, it envenoms every mercy. If such a one pray, 'tis e­steemed houling; if he mourne, 'tis hanging down the head like a bul-rush; if he sacrifice, 'tis cutting off a dogs neck; if he rejoyce, 'tis but a blaze, a crackling of thornes under the pot.

6. In Heaven when outward performances shall vanish, yet then God shall have thine heart, and thou shalt have his face; thy well-beloved shall be thine, and thou shalt be his. When Preaching shall cease, and Prayer shall cease, when Sacraments shall disappear, yet then thy naked heart shall be offered unto God; it shall twine about the chiefest good, and by a neer, and immediate union shall enjoy it for ever.

III. The Heart is to be given unto God, because thou hast promised it him. Remember that Primitive, and Original vow in Baptisme. God then may take possession of the heart, if he please; for he hath the key of all hearts; he hath the key of an Infants heart, and can open it if he please. But however there is an en­gagement upon thee by this to give him thine heart. And sure there are few, but sometime or other, have given him severall o­ther promises of their hearts. Did'st thou never offer thine heart unto him in a storme? in a judgement? in a sicknesse? Well then, withall remember that God takes no pleasure in fools, that make vowes, and break them. His promises to thee are sure, why should thine be deceitful?

IV. Give thine heart unto him, that he may make it better. It may be thou hast a flinty, and unmalliable heart; give it to him, and he will melt it, and dissolve it. It may be thou hast a barren, and unprofitable heart; give it to him, and he will make it fruitful; he will bid it increase, and multiply. It may be thou hast an unquiet, and discomposed heart; give it to him, and he will tune it. It may be thou hast a narrow, and contracted heart; give it to him, and [Page 60] he will enlarge it. It may be thou hast a drossy, and corrupt heart; give it to him, and he will purifie, and refine it.

V. Give it him, that he may make it happy, that he may fill it with his love, that he may satisfie it with himself, that he may seal it with his Spirit. It hath toiled already sufficiently, and wea­ried it self among vanities; it hath gone from flower to flower, and can extract nothing but bitternesse; and still Desire, which is hiatus cordis opens it's mouth wide, and cries aloud, Give, give. Go then to the Fountaine, to the Ocean, and there fill thy self. Dost thou think thou canst suck any sweetnesse from the breast of a Creature? no, but go to the fulnesse, and exuberancy of a Deity, and then stretch thy desires to the utmost compasse, widen thine heart as much as thou canst, yet there will be enough to make thee run over with happinesse.

That's the first thing, why the heart must be given to God? We'le consider in the next place, when the Heart may be said to be given to him?

(1.) When thou actest out of a principle of love toward him▪ What's love but a giving of the heart? As Dalilah speaks to Samp­son; How canst thou say thou lov-st me, when thine heart is not with me. A lover not only, quaerit costam suam, as the Jewes speak, sed quaerit cor suum, for he hath given that to another. And where there is mutuall love, there's a mutual exchange of hearts. God loves himself in thee, and thou findest thy self in God. His thoughts are for thy well-fare, and thy thoughts are for his glory. In love there is a mixing and blending of beings; 'tis fibula animarum; nay, it knits, and weaves souls together. Knit my heart unto thee, O God, sayes the Psalmist.

(2.) Then thine heart is given unto God, when thou dost act out of sincerity, when thou art an Israelite without guile. This is Evangelicall perfection: it is that Evangelical allowance, which is put into the ballance of the Sanctuary, so as a Christian is not found too light. As for keeping every jot, and apex of the Law, let them speak of it, that could ever do it. Thy Saviour hath kept it for thee in the full rigour, and exactnesse of it, and those spots which thou findest in thine own heart, thou must wash them out in the blood of the Lamb; thou must whiten thine heart in that Fountaine, which is set open for the house of David, and for the in­habitants of Jerusalem, for sin, and for uncleannesse. If thou beest sin­cere, [Page 61] and cordial, and faithful with thy God, then thine heart is given to him.

(3.) Then thou dost give thine heart unto God, when thou dost fully comply with him in those glorious ends, in those great interests, and designes which he doth propound to himself; when thou dost submit thy will unto his, and conforme thy desires unto his; when thou dost wholly resigne up thy self unto him, and sweetly close with his providence, though never so mysterious, and unsearchable: when thou dost pluck out thy right eye for him and cut off thy right hand for him; when thou thinkest not thy life too dear for him.

(4.) Then thou dost give thine heart unto God, when thou dost serve him with vigour, and intention. Luke-warme Laodicea could not give the heart unto Christ. Ephesus when she falls from her first love, her heart is unbended presently, performances come dropping from her in a weak, and languishing manner. Whereas spiritual productions they should be strong, and masculine, spring­ing, and rushing forth with a sacred impetus, as Gods love comes streaming to thee with an irresistible fulnesse. Thine heart should boyle up a good matter, as the Psalmist speaks. But some are so cold, and flat in performances, as that you would wonder where the heart was all the while; and to be sure whereever it was, it was an heart of stone, a Nabals heart, an heart sunk within them▪ Poperie layes much stresse upon the intention of the Priest, but the people in the mean time may be as remisse as they please. As implicit faith, so implicit prayers, and implicit performances must suffice them. But if they had but a Bible, or such a one as they could understand, they might turne to that same place; Cursed is every one, that doth the work of the Lord negligently. Offer such blinde, and lame sacrifices; offer them to thy Prince. Offer such imperfect obedience to the Pope. See whether he will accept of it. I remember I have read of one of them, who when his Catho­lick Creatures desired a further latitude, and dispensation in some matters of Religion that were of lesse consequence, he returned him a favourable, and indulgent answer; but withall, he enclosed this very Text; O fili mi, praebe cor tuum mi [...]i. Thus Popery would rob God of the heart, and give it to a Creature.

(5.) Then thou givest thine heart unto God, when thou givest it unto the people of God. In asmuch as you did it unto one of these, [Page 62] you did it unto me, saith Christ. There's an union between God and his people; and therefore if thine heart be united to them, it is united to him also. And how sad is it, that those hearts should jarre amongst themselves; who yet harmoniously meet in the close in the union with their God!

And thus we have seen why the heart must be given unto God, and when it is given to him. We will now shut up all in a word of Application.

1. See then how powerfull Religion is, it commands the heart; it seizeth upon the vitals. Morality that comes with a pruning knife, and cuts off all sproutings, and wilde luxuriancies; I, but Religion layes the axe to the root of the tree. Morality looks that the skin of the Apple be fair; but Religion searcheth to the very core. Mo­rality chides outward exorbitancies: but Religion checks secret inclinations. Or at the best in Morality there is but a polishing, a guilding, a carving of the heart; but in Religion there is a new framing, a new modelling; nay, a new creating. That's the power of god linesse, it changeth the heart.

2. See also the odiousnesse of an Hypocrite. He doth not give God the heart; and yet will give any thing else; I, and will seem to give that too. He hath [...], which the Apostle renders by [...]. Now an heart, and an heart, 'tis as odious as a weight, and a weight, as a ballance, and a ballance. Treachery, and perfidiousnesse is that, which is so much detested by men, as that which cuts the sinews of humane Society: and though there be some that will practise it, yet there are scarse any that will in expresse termes patronize it;

[...], &c.

as he there speaks. Now as perfidiousnesse hinders commerce, and intercourse with men; so hypocrisie must needs hinder communi­on with God. Can you think that a painted Sepulchre is a fit place for his Spirit to dwell in? This is that which Christ doth so much upbraid; Thou blinde Pharisee, thou that never reflectest upon thine own heart, thou that keepest a continual poring on the outside only, and lookest to the painting, and whiting, and daubing of that; dost thou think thus to please the pure, and bright, and piercing eye of Omniscience? Thou hast not the black skin of the Ethiopian; thou hast not those eminent spots of the [Page 63] Leopard: I, but thou hast the plague of the heart, thou hast the Leprosie within, and is not that more deadly and dangerous? The heart of a Publican is far whiter then thine.

3. See then the bitter root of Apostasie. There are some that never gave their hearts unto God, no wonder if they fall from him. Hypocrisie 'tis the seed of Apostasie. Take heed (sayes the Apostle) lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbeliefe, so as that you de­part from the living God. He that hath a Judas his heart in him will at length betray a Saviour: he that hath a Demas his heart in him will at length embrace the present World. An Apostate did but lend the heart unto God for a while, and now he calls for it again.

4. Yet see the security of a weak Christian, he hath an heart as well as others, and he hath given that to his God. He hath a vital Principle, an immortal Principle within him. What though the sturdy Oakes of Basan be broken? what though the stately Cedars of Lebanon fall? what though the green Bay-trees vanish, and disappear? what though men of vast abilities, of rare accomplish­ments, of fair flourishes in Religion, what though these draw back from God? yet a weak Vine may stand all this while leaning upon his beloved laden with fruit, chearing both God, and men; a bruised Reed may last all this while, if it be but bound up in the Bundle of Life. The smoaking flax may be kindled into so pure a flame, as that it may outshine a blazing Professour. A worme may consume Jonah his Gourd, but a Whale shall not consume Jonah himself. Outward profession may wither, but nothing shall sepa­rate a Sincere soul from his God.

5. Such as have not yet given their hearts unto God, let them with-hold them no longer. Put up thy weak desires, and pray him to give thee such an heart, as may returne it self to him. Doth God ask thine heart of thee, and dost thou refuse to give it him? What do'st thou ask of him that he denies thee, if it be good for thee? and do but think how easily do'st thou give thine heart unto any other but thy God. When the World knocks, when Satan knocks, thou openest presently; nay, it may be before they knock; and must a Saviour only be excluded? Is there no Rhetorick in the love of Christ? Is there nothing that can draw thine heart to him? Are all the cords of love too weak? Do'st thou break them all? Will not the influences of the Gospel soften thine heart? [Page 64] Will not the blood of a Saviour dissolve it? will not importunate wooings, and beseechings move thee? Out of what Rock wert thou hewen, O obdurate Soul? Doth a greater then Moses smite the Rock, and will not it gush out with water? Dost thou say, thou can'st not give it to him? this answer is ready for thee; Non velle in causa est, non posse praetenditur; if thou hadst a will to give it him, thou would'st have a power to give it him too. However as thou hast some faint velleities, so make some weak endeavours; when he moves thee, then offer it to him as well as thou canst, though but with a weak, though but with a trembling hand, and his hand will meet thine, and will presently take it of thee.

6. Such as have given their hearts unto God, here's matter of praise, and thankfulnesse. Blesse thy God that would receive such a vaine, and contemptible thing, as thine heart was, when first thou gavest it to him. Was it not infinite love to espouse such an heart to himself; to beautifie it, and enrich it, and prepare it for his Love; to guide it, and teach it, and rule it; to steep it in all precious sweetnesse; to amplifie it, and dilate it, that it might be more capable of his Love; to set a guard about it, and to keep it against the subtlety, and vigilancy, the malice, and fury of spiritu­all enemies? How canst thou enough admire the greatnesse of this his Goodnesse?

THE Panting Soul.

PSAL. 42. 1.

As the Hart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God!

HEre's one of the sweet straines of Davids harp: one of those bright and sparkling expressions, [...], which not only carry a Majesty with them, but even include a Deity: one of those holy and strong ejaculations, with which he was wont è corporis pharetra (that I may allude to that of the Prophet Esay's) to take his soul (that polished shaft) out of the quiver of the body, and to dart it up to heaven, the place of his treasure and hope, and the dwelling place of his God. And truly every Psalme may well say, as the Psalmist himselfe sayes in the 139. Psalme, I am admirably made, I am curiously wrought: [...], so ti's in the Original, Acupictus sum. I am wrought with a needle. There's a spiritual imbroidery, a most rare and sacred needle-worke in every Psalme: they are all wrought by the fin­ger of the Spirit: and they are like the Kings daughter in the 45. Psalme, Their clothing is of wrought gold, their rayment of nee­dle-worke, and they are all glorious within. We doubt not but that there's a most divine Emphasis in all Scripture-eloquence, and every jot and tittle in holy writ, as it has eternity stampt upon it, so it has a Majesty shining in it; But yet never did heavenly [Page 66] eloquence ride in more solemne and triumphant pomp, then in this book of Psalmes: As if the voice had been here contrary to that in other triumphs, Memento te immortalem esse. And as for that prophane Polititian, that said he found more sweetnesse in Pindars Odes, then in Davids Psalmes: he might as well have said (if he had pleased) that he found more fragrancy▪in noysome weeds, then in the Rose of Sharon, or Lilly of the valleys: that he found more sweetnesse in a dunghill, then in a garden of spi­ces, then in an Eden, even a garden of God. Happy Pindar! If instead of his [...], he had thought of these water-brooks, and he might have hop't for a better Crown, then either he or any of his worthies were like to obtain; if he could have reach't this heavenly tune, set by so holy a Lyrick, the sweet singer of Israel, [...], &c. as the Septuagint render the words. And yet their [...] speaks not loud enough to expresse the Hebrew [...]; for though [...] may signifie a strong and earnest desire, and though [...] may intimate a desire upon a desire, which by redu­plication must needs be stronger: and granting that [...], do still adde to the vehemency of it: yet the word in the Original is more appropriated to the panting hart, and may seem to be borrow'd from that very noise which it makes in its bray­ing after the water-brooks, and the Latin glocitat is answerable unto it. Now as for the hart, alas 'tis but a melancholy timerous creature at the best▪ a panting creature, [...] You know who 'twas upbraided it to Agamemnon, Thou hast an impudent eye, and a panting heart: and no more usual Periphrasis, of a coward, then [...]. But that which the text chiefly aimes at, is the drynesse of temper in the Hart, which at some times of the year, (in Autumn chiefly) as Aristotle notes in his Historistia Animalium, is very excessive, especiall in those hot and dry Countreys, and being usually in the desert, doth more discover it selfe, by reason of the scarcity of waters there. To let that alone which yet divers tel us of its drawingup, & devouring of serpents, and how that when 'tis enflam'd with the venom of them, it then breaks out into those strong anhelations & violent breathings after the streams of water, and when it hath satisfied it self with them, it then casts off all that was burthensom in the body before, and thus renews its age again▪ Epiph▪ adds, that [Page 67] if within the space of three houres it can't quench its thirst, it presently dies: but if it satisfie it selfe with the streames of water, it usually lives fifty yeares longer. 'Tis likely here in the text, 'tis meant of the Harts panting, when 'tis chased by the hunter, and yet not as some understand) when that after its many [...] and [...], it can finde no place of safety, it then pants after the water-brooks, as the only place of refuge: but rather [...] (as Aristotle briefly) for the quenching of its thirst, as the following words clearly intimate, My soul is athirst, &c. Haeret lateri lethalis arundo, the arrows of the pursuer stick fast in it, & the venom thereof drinks up its spirits. Why now water-brooks can hardly quench its thirst, with Behemoth in Job, it can drink up rivers, and sup up the Ocean at a draught, there's a combustion in its bowels, nothing but fire, fire; nature's on fire, and would fain be quencht, and those little reliques of strength that it has, it spends in panting after the streames of wa­ter. Thus does the Hart pant after the water-brooks, and thus did Davids soul; thus does every devout soul pant after the li­ving God; and thus ardently. Religion is no matter of indif­ferency as vain man would imagine. It is [...], as he said of love. It requires the very flower and vigour of the spirit, the strength and sinews of the soul▪ the prime and top of affections. It is no empty wish, nor languishing endeavour, no still-born prayer, nor abortive resolution will serve the turne. He that's but almost a Christian, shall but almost be saved, and that will be the very Emphasis of damnation, to have been within a step to heaven. But there is a grace, a panting grace, we know the name of it, and thats all, 'tis call'd zeal, a flaming edge of affection, and the ruddy complexion of the soul; which argues it sound▪ and shews it lovely. This is that, that makes a Christian an ho­ly sparke, a sonne of the coal, even of the burning coal, that was fetcht from the Altar. Nay, we need not go so low as this, a zea­lous Christian is an incarnate Seraphim, what should I say more? he's just of his Saviours complexion, white and ruddy, the fairest of ten thousand. This was that, that set a lustre upon those shining Rubies, that adorn'd the Noble Army of Martyres, pur­puratus marty [...]um exercitu [...]; And indeed they were [...] in a better sense, then e're▪ it was meant of Antipater. [...], 'tis true indeed, their soul was a thirst even for the living [Page 68] God, they enter'd into heaven panting, and there they rest them­selves to all eternity. [...], There remaines therefore a rest, a sabbatism, unto the people of God. And yet there are a generation in the world that are all for a competency in good­nesse, and are afeard of too much holinesse; Mediocrity, even here is golden, a Laodicean temper shall go under the name of moderation, and a reeling neutrality shall be stil'd prudence and discretion, what needs this breathing and panting? this forward­nesse and eagernesse? this vehemency and violence in the way of Religion? quorsum haec perditio? And they look upon such ex­pressions of affection as this in the text, as upon strong Hyperbo­le's, or pretty Rhetorical flourishes. Ieremy surely was strangely me­lancholy, when he wisht his head a fountain▪ that he might weep day and night; and 'twas meer fondnesse in the Spouse in the Canticles, to be sick of love. Thus do's the serpent hisse at the wayes of godlinesse, and thus do's the [...] argue. But go vain man, look upon the panting hart, wonder why it breaths so strongly after the streames of water; bid it pant moderately after the water-brooks, and when thy empty breath can abate its fervency, then and not till then, nay hardly then, wonder at the strength of a Christians desire after communion with his God: for as the Hart pants after the water-brooks, so panteth his soul after his God, so strongly.

2. So panteth my soul after thee, O God! so unsatisfiably: And that in a double sense.

1. 'Tis satisfied with nothing else. 2. 'Tis not satisfied with a little of this.

1. Nothing can still the weary and thirsty Hart, but the streams of water, and nothing can content the panting soul, but the fru­ition of his God: God never rested till he made man, and man never rests till he enjoyes his God. He ha's a soul within him of a vast capacity, and nothing can fill it to the brim, but he that's fulnesse it selfe. Desire is hiatus voluntatis, and such as nothing but happinesse can fill it: that indeed is (as he sayes) Mors desiderii, silentium appetitûs, claustrum cupiditatis, modestia ambiti­onis, quoddam satis.

Nature hath taught us all to pant after a summum bonum; And 'tis the voice put into every ones mouth, Who will shew us any good? indeed 'tis the errand for which we are sent into the [Page 69] world, to finde out happinesse, and yet we seek it so as if we were loath to finde it. [...], As Lucian followes the metaphor most elegantly. And happi­nesse may well have that inscription, which Plutarch tells us, was upon the temple of Isis, [...]. We knock at every creatures door, but there's nothing within, no filling entertainment for the soul; no creature can bid it wel­come. Would you know what they all amount to? if you'l be­leeve Solomons reckoning, the very summa totalis is, vanity of va­nities, all is vanity and vexation of spirit. Vexation is the very quintessence of the creature, and all that can possibly be extract­ed out of it. Now if vanity can satisfie, or if vexation can give content, if you can gather grapes of thornes, or figs of thistles, go on then to dote upon the creatures, and to be enamour'd with a shadow of perishing beauty. The Prophet Esay tells us, that all the creatures they are but as the drop of a bucket; when the water's empty'd out of a bucket, perhaps there's a drop stayes s [...]ill behinde, a weak drop, which recollecting all its forces, yet has not strength enough to fall. And will such a drop (think you) satisfie a panting heart? The creatures are weigh'd in the ballance of the sanctuary, and they are found to be lighter then the dust of the ballance, and this will enflame the thirst, rather then quench it. To speak in the Epigrammatists language, they are [...], meer nothing. And surely man's the vainest of all the rest, the index of all the volumes of vanity; that by sinne has subjected the creatures unto the bondage, under which they groan, and waite to be delivered, and yet dreames of di­stilling I know not what felicity out of them, so that (me thinks) 'twas a notable expression of him, that styl'd the Orators very ambitious of empty applause [...], we may surely translate it thrice miserable: And 'tis one of the Encomiums that Eunapius gave of Longinus, [...]. And as for that sup­posed being and excellency, which we fancy in the creatures, 'tis really to be found after a farre more pure and eminent man­ner in God himselfe. The load-stone can't draw the iron when the diamond's in presence, and shall earthly vanities draw the soul, when the pearle of price is in presence? Dulciùs ex ipso fon­te bibuntur aquae▪ Surely that's no panting soul, that forsakes the [Page 70] fountaine of living waters, and digs to it selfe broken and empty cisterns that will hold no water. The Hart pants unsatisfiably after the water▪brooks, and the soul as unsatisfiably after com­munion with its God, 'tis satisfied with nothing else. But

2 'Tis not satisfied with a little of this, not a drop nor a taste will suffice the thirsty heart, it does not come like Canis ad Nilum, a lap and away, a drop can no more quench its thirst, then it could cool Dives his tongue, though indeed he begg'd for no more. That short sweetnesse and briefe refreshment, which is shut up in a drop, does but bespeake a stronger panting after somewhat more full and satisfactory, and 'tis true if ever of the waters of life, Quò plus sunt potae, plus sitiuntu [...] aquae. Bonum as 'tis sui diffusi [...]um in respect of others, so 'tis sui multiplicativum even in that subject where it is: when it has once engratiated it selfe with the soul and wonne upon its affections, when the soul begins to eye the beauty of it.


When the understanding once sees it, O how sweetly? how presently does the will embrace it? and it becomes the wel­beloved of the soul. O how does it enlarge it selfe, for the enter­tainment of it? And how does it delight to expatiate in so choise a happinesse. He that has tasted but a little of Gods goodnesse, thinks he never has enough of it, to be sure, he can never have too much▪ there's no feare of surfetting upon happinesse. 'Tis true, the least glimpse of Gods favourable presence is enough to support and cherish the soul, but 'tis not enough to satisfie the soul: O how pleasant is it to see Christ flourishing through the lattices? and yet the spouse will never leave longing till she see him face to face. There's sweetnesse indeed in a cluster of Canaan▪ but yet such as sets the teeth on edge for more The thirsty hart pants [...], and the Christian after fulnesse of communion with his God: Dulcissimo Deo totus im­mergicupit & inviscerari, as Carthusian speakes; So panteth my soul after thee, O God! so unsatisfiably But

3▪ So pant [...]th my soul after thee O God! so uncessantly until it be satisfied. The thirsty hart never leaves panting while it has any being; delay here does but whet desire, and give it time for [Page 71] stronger forces. And what else is a Christians whole life, but a continued anhelation after his God? and though this may seem very wearisome and tedious, to be alwayes a panting: yet the Christians soul findes far more incomparable sweetnesse [...], solid and massy joy, beaten joy, like beaten gold, so much [...] imports; he findes more of this in the very panting after his God, then any worldling can, when with the greatest complacency he takes his fill of his choisest delights, and when he enjoys the smiles and blandishment of fortune, his so much adored Deity.

And this is that which notably differencies a Christian from an hypocrite; Will an hypocrite pray alwayes? sayes Job, or will he pant alwayes? no, he keeps the rule, Si ter pulsanti, by no means knock at heaven too often. What nothing but breathing after the water-brooks? better take up some muddy contentment by the way, and see if that will quench his thirst: Indeed he ne're tasted the sweetnesse of the fountaine, no wonder that he so easily parts with it. His strongest panting was but [...] as the Moralist sayes of passion, fraus inflammata: the motion was meerly violent, and therefore not likely to last long. Me thinks the Greek Epigram speaks to him


[...], The painters eye steales a little beauty from the face, and perhaps his hand makes restitution, restoring it again in the picture; and this is all you can look for of him, nay 'tis well if he performe so much: As for the expression of vitals, or the representation of essentials, 'tis ultra penecillum, so that he must let this alone for ever. The most accomplish't hypocrite, the cunning'st painter of Religion that sets it out, in the finest and freshest colours [...], he does but steal a forme of godlinesse, the Apostle has some such phrase, [...]. He can't reach to the vitals of Religion, nor expresse the essentials of holinesse, sincerity can't be painted, they de­ny the power of it: And 'tis just with God, [...], as they can't expresse the life of a Christian, so they should not taste the joy of a Christian: no stranger entermeddles with his joy. As no man can paint the essence of a thing, so no man can [Page 72] paint the sweetnesse of a thing. Whoever could paint the sweet­nesse of the honey-combe? The joyes of an hypocrite as they are groundlesse and imaginary, so like his services, they are vanish­ing and transitory. But a Christian as he's alwayes breathing after his God, so he's alwayes drawing sweetnesse from him▪ And here 'twere easie to shew, how in every condition the soul breaths after its God, when it sees the vanity of the most flou­rishing condition, it pants after fulnesse in its God: when it sees the vexation of a cloudy condition, it pants after contentment only to be found in its God. But I shall instance only in these two, as having some neerer acquaintance with the text, the strong pantings of a tempted soul, and the secret pantings of a languishing and a deserted soul. And

1. In temptations the soul pants after its God. They that are skill'd in those termes tell us, that an Hart is properly a stagge which has escap't a King in hunting: And there are some such Christians, that have escap't the Prince of the aire (that Nimrod the mighty hunter) and all his fiery darts. God he has set his bowe in the clouds as a token of peace and reconciliation (the rain-bowe, the lace of Peaces coat:) And the devil he must set his bowe in the clouds too, in the troubled and cloudy spirit, and there are arrows in the hand of the mighty— [...]. And how shall the soul escape these fiery darts, but by panting after its God as the only place of refuge, a strong Tower and a rock of defence, and by breathing after Hea­ven, as a place where 'tis sure to be free from them? [...], as he said in the Comedy. A crowned Christian is [...], and Satans fiery darts can by no means reach Hea­ven. And thus the soul pants.

Arise O Lord, and save me O my God, from the mouth of the Lion that's ready to devour me, lest he teare my soul and rent it to pieces, while there is none to deliver. Lo, the enemy has bent his bowe, and made ready his arrow upon the string, that he may secretly shoot at the upright in heart: But compasse me, O God, with thy favour as with a shield; keep me as the apple of thine eye, and hide me under the covert of thy wings: Deliver me from my strong enemy, and from him that hateth me, for he is too strong for me. O send me help from thy Sanctuary; and strengthen me out of Sion! And thus when with a sure recumbency it leanes upon its God, it has leasure then with [Page 73] an holy triumph to out-brave the enemy: And as for thee that would'st make a partition between me and my God, see if thou can'st teare me from the bleeding wounds of my dying Saviour, rend me (if thou know'st how) from the bowels, the tenderest bowels of Gods dearest compassions: see if the gates of hell can prevaile against the rock of eternity. If thou, O God, be with us, if the God of Jacob be our refuge, we will not feare what all the powers of darknesse can do against us: [...], We are more then conquerours. These are the strong pantings of a tempted soule.

2ly, In desertions, even then the soule pants after its God; [...], when the soul is ready to perish in the dark, it pants after the water▪brooks and can meet with nothing but waters of Marah and Meribah; God dips his pen in gall, and writes bitter things against it. [...] ▪ the soule is athirst, and like its Saviour it can have nothing but gall and vineger to drink, yet still it pants after its God. 'Tis under a cloud indeed, but even these clouds shall drop fatnesse, they shall drop upon the dwellings of the wildernesse, and the barren soule shall rejoyce: like John the Baptist, it feeds upon honey in the desert, not [...], wilde honey, such as is the worldling's joy, but honey out of the rock, upon the tip of the rod like Jona­thans, to open the eye and to refresh the heart. A soule in a deser­tion▪ is as it were a soule in a Consumption, and one only taste of Gods sweetest love in Jesus Christ, is a sure Restaurative for such a languishing soule. Now in the greatest Eclipse of Gods favour, in the total Eclipse▪ when there is not so much as a secret light, yet there's a strong influence, nay stronger then at another time, for his strength is proportion'd to our weaknesse: And they are Pauls own words, When I am weak, then I am strong. And even now there is [...], as Homer calls those sparkles that seem'd to be buried in the ashes, and a Christian in time may [...]; nay, there is [...] too, Light is sowen to the righteous, there's a door of Hope open'd in the val­ley of Ach [...]r; and now the soul pants after God, as a Father of mercies and a God of Consolations. A God of Consolation? what higher, what sweeter strain? All the balme of Gilead seems to be wrapt up in this expression. A God of Consolation; that's one, who in the strangest exigences and greatest repug­nances, [Page 74] when comforts faile, can create new comforts, for that's to be a God of Consolation; Creation is his properly, can raise them out of the barren wombe of nothing, for that's Creation; can do it with a word, for Omnipotency useth to put it self to no greater expences: Imperatoria brevitas▪ the very commanding word, let there be light in such a soule, is enough to make it more glorious then the Empyrean heaven. And now the soule pants thus, as you may heare David panting almost in every Psalme: How long wilt thou forget me O Lord, for ever? And how long wilt thou hide thy face from me? Hath the Lord forgotten to be gracious? And hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Is the hand of Omnipotency abbreviated, that it cannot help; and his arme shorten'd, that it cannot save? Or is his mercy clean gone for ever, and does his promise faile for evermore? Weeping hath endured for a night, why comes not joy in the morning? When wilt thou satisfie the longing soule, and fill the thirsty with thy goodnesse? when wilt thou lead me into thy green pastures, and refresh my soule with sweetnesse? When, O when! shall I en­joy an Ordinance in its Orient lustre, in its heavenly beauty, in its full and purest sweetnesse? When, O blessed Saviour! wilt thou become the lily of the valleys? the beauty and the orna­ment of the humble soul? And when shall these valleys stand so thick of corne, as that they may laugh and sing? And then it breaks it self into some such expression, as that of a sweet singer in our Israel. 𝄁 Ah my deare God, though I be clean forgot, 𝄁 Let me not love thee, if I love thee not. These are the se­cret pantings of a languishing soule.

Thus you see how the soule pants after its God, even as the Hart pants after the Water-brooks. We are to discover in the next place, what manner of Communion with its God it is, that the soule thus pants after, and that either mediate Communion with him here in his ordinances, or immediate Communion with him hereafter in glory. And

First, It strongly desires acquaintance with him here in his or­dinances Chry [...]ostome's very Rhetorical upon the text, and tells us, how that David, like a Lover in absence, he must expresse af­fection: As they have their dainty sighes, and passionate com­plaints: their loving exclamations, and sundry discoveries of af­fection; they can meet with never a tree, but in the bark of it [Page 75] they must engrave the name of their darling; [...]; 'twill twine upon e­very opportunity, as the Moralist speaks; 𝄁 [...] 𝄁 [...] 𝄁 [...] 𝄁 [...], as Anacreon sings. And the true Lovers of God, they are alwayes thinking upon him, sighing for him panting after him, talking of him, and (if 'twere possible,) would ingrave the name of the Lord Jesus upon the breasts of all the men in the world; Look upon David, now a banish't man, and fled from the presence of Saul, and see how he behaves himself: not like Themistocles or Camillus, or some of those brave banish't Worthies. He does not complain of the ungratefulnesse of his countrey, the malice of his adversaries, and his own unhappy successe; No, instead of murmuring he falls a panting, and that only after his God. He's banish't from the Sanctuary, the Palace of Gods nearest presence▪ and chiefest residence, he can't enjoy the beauty of ho­linesse, and all other places seem to him but as the tents of Kedar. He's banish't from the Temple, and he thinks himself banish't from his God, as 'tis in the following words, O when shall I come and appeare before the face of God? The whole stream of Exposi­tors run this way, that 'tis meant of his strong longing to visit the Temple, and those amiable Courts of his God, with which his soule was so much taken, and so 'tis equivalent to that in the 63. Ps. My soul thirsteth for thee, to see thy glory and thy power, so as I have seen it in the Sanctuary, there to appear before the face of God. In the ordinances extat Dei facies, as Calvin speaks, and the Gospel, in 2 Cor. 4. 6. is call'd [...], as suppose a glasse, ('tis one of our own Divines illustrations,) when a man hath look't into it, should keep a permanent and unvanishing species of his face, though he himself afterwards were absent, we might well say there were the face of such a man. The Gospel is such a glasse, representing Christ unto us, 'tis [...], that I may borrow that expression in the Hebrewes, so that when we shall come to see him [...] in Heaven, we may be able to say, Surely this is the very Saviour that was describ'd to me in the Gospel, sic ille manus, sic ora ferebat: God ha's made himself very conspicuous in his own ordinances.

No doubt, but that even now God was a little Sanctuary un­to [Page 76] David, and he had a private Oratory in his own breast, where he could mentally retire, and shut up his thoughts and affecti­ons in that interiour Closet, and yet he pants after the publick worship of his God. Musick in Consort is sweetest▪ And some have took it for mysterious in nature, and one of its Magnalia, that affections are wrought upon in publick more strongly then in private. The ordinances, these are the water-brooks Davids heart pants after, [...], bubling up to E­ternity. And yet 'tis not the out-side of an Ordinance that the soul thus breathes for; alas! there's little sweetnesse in a shell. [...], as the Apostle sayes in another case, the super­ficies the surface of it soon passes away, and 'tis practical Pope­ry to rest in an Opus operatum. You may heare David panting in another place, O who will give me to drink of the water of the Well of Bethlehem? It was not the outward water that he so much long'd for. You see when that was brought him by the ha­zard of mens lives, 'twas but water spilt upon the ground: No, 'twas a Saviour to be born in Bethlehem that his soul thirsted after: O who will give me to drink of the water of the Well of Beth­lehem? Thou hast open'd thy mouth wide (O blessed Prophet!) and thy Saviour hath fill'd it▪ thou hast tasted of the water which he ha's given thee to drink, and thou shalt never thirst any more: but 'tis a Well of water springing up in thee to eter­nal life. A soule breathes after an Ordinance as an opportunity of having freer entercourse with its God; [...], to have an heavenly tincture upon it, to breath in so sweet an aire, to be steep't in a divine nature, to have some foretastes and prelibations of happinesse, a prepossession of heaven, and some dawnings of glory. And then it enjoyes it in its orient lustre, in its heavenly beauty, in its full and purest sweetnesse, when it meets with its God there, and increaseth its acquaintance with him. And would you see how the soule thus breaths after its God in every Ordinance.

1. In the Word, there it desires the [...], as the A­postle speaks. Homer tells us of a People, that he termes [...]; and Eustathius there tells us, that the same were wont to be called [...], both names very well agree to them, that desire this sincere milk of the Word that they may grow thereby. Faith pants after a promise, a breast of consolation. [Page 77] The soul lies panting at the poole of Bethesda, and waits for the stirring of the waters.

2. Baptisme, that's a water-brook the Infants soul pants after; for even that's envenom'd with a Serpent. There are Errata's in these Carnea Encheiridia, though they be the fairest Copies of innocency that are now extant. Indeed many of the fathers ap­ply this text to Baptisme: And Aquinas quotes it out of Jerome, that these verses were wont to be sung at those solemn times, when Baptisme was publickly celebrated.

3. As for the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, why there are mellita flumina, streaming brooks of butter and honey, as Job speaks: and O how welcome is the panting soule hither! God ha's sent a messenger to invite him. O! every one that thirst­eth, let him come and drink freely: Drink; yea, drink abundantly O beloved! 'Tis most true here that which Trismegistus feign'd, God sets a great Cup full of Celestial liquor, with this Procla­mation, [...], Up soul, and drench thy self in this Cup of the Spirit; Calix ebrius est, as the force of the Origi­nal is in Psal. 23. we render it, The Cup overflows. Here if ever, the soule is comforted with flagons, and Christs love is [...], sweeter then wine.

4. What should I tell you; nay, how can I tell you the strong pantings of the soule in Prayer? The Apostle calls them, Rom. 8. 26. [...], groanes unutterable, when the soul be­comes, as the Syriack Idiom calls the thuribulum, domus aroma­tum, breathing up sweet odours unto the Throne of grace, and Heaven it self is thus perfum'd; Domus orationis, is Domus aroma­tum. In all these you see how the soule breathes after Commu­nion with its God, mediate Communion with him here. But

2dly, it pants after immediate Communion with him in glory and the following words will well bear this sense, though not so properly and genuine, O when shall I appear before the face of God in glory. Thus Paul pants, I desire to be dissolv'd, and to be with Christ. Thus the soules pant in the Revelation, Come Lord Jesus, come quickly. Hîc pitissamus, illic deglutiemur: Here we sip of the water of life, but there we shall drink it up, though there be eternity to the bottome▪ Here we are sons of hope, and that's a panting grace▪ Spes indeed is aurora gaudii & ma­tutina laetitia, early joy: but when grace shall be ripen'd into [Page 78] glory, then hope shall be swallowed up in fruition; And thus we (as 'tis in 2 Cor. 3. 18.) with open face [...] You see that [...] here denotes a clear vision, whereas quite contrary in 1 Cor. 13. to see [...] is to see [...], we see in a glasse darkly. A learned Critick hath well observed, that the Hebrew [...] includes both, for it sig­nifies vision and speculation: we clearly beholding the glory of God, are chang'd into the same image from glory to glory, that's either, from his glory we become glorious, or else [...], that's from grace to glory, for grace is glory in the bud, as glory is grace at the full. Surely glory is nothing else but a bright Constellation of graces; and happinesse nothing but the Quintessence of holinesse. And now the soule by an holy gra­dation ascends higher, from those first-fruits and earnest-penies of joy here, to the consideration of the fulnesse of glory which it expects hereafter.

𝄁 [...], 𝄁 [...], 𝄁 [...] 𝄁 [...] 𝄁 [...], as the Lyrick straines sweetly, when the soule shall be unsheath'd from the body, (that I mayallude to the Chal­dee Idiom,) how gloriously shall it then glister? or to speak in Plutarchs expression, [...], when the soule shall be unclouded from the body, in what brightnesse shall it then appear? what? did Davids soule, his panting soule, here leap for joy, when he remembred thee, O Si­o [...]? O how triumphantly then does his glorified soule now sing in the new Jerusalem! Did his soule sing so sweetly in a cage of clay? what melody (think you) does it now make, being let loose to all eternity? Is there such deliciousnesse in a Cluster of grapes, cut down in the brook E [...]hcol, what look you for in the Vintage of Canaan, the Land of Promise? Is but a Prospect of that holy land upon the top of Mount Pisgah so pleasant and delightful? surely then their lot is fallen to them in a fair ground, and they have a goodly heritage, that enjoy the sweetnesse of that land that flowes with milk and honey. Ha's but a glimpse of Gods favourable countenance, such a powerful, such a satisfying influence upon the soul? O think (if you can) how it shall be ravish'd with the fulnesse of the Beatifical Vision! when the clarifi'd soul shall drink in the beames of glory, and be fill'd with joy to the very brim. When the panting soule shall rest it self in [Page 79] the bosome of a Saviour, and fix his eye upon the brightnesse of his Majesty to all eternity; nay, when eternity shall seem too short for the beholding and admiring of such transcendent ex­cellencies, and for the solemnizing of those heavenly Nuptials between Christ and his most beloved Spouse: where all the powers of heaven shall dance for joy, while a Consort of Sera­phims sing an Epithalamium. Beloved, (sayes the Apostle) now are ye the sons of God, but it appears not as yet what ye shall be. This choice Prerogative of adoption does but shadow out your future glo­ry, for it appeares not as yet what ye shall be. Now ye are sons, but in your minority; sons, but yet insulted over by servants. Now ye are sons, but then ye shall be heires, heires of glory and co-heires with Christ. Now you see in a glasse darkly, [...], in a riddle, and that book which is call'd the Revelation, is most vail'd with obscurity; but then you shall see face to face, [...]—as God promises to manifest to Moses; And some think, that this place of the Apostle al­ludes to those very words, taken out of Numb. 12. 6. The riddle of summum bonum, that hath pos'd so many, shall then be expli­cated, happinesse shall be unmask'd, the book shall be unseal'd, the white stone shall sparkle most oriently, you shall behold with open face the glory of God, you shall know as you are known: not as if a finite creature could comprehend an infi­nite essence, (as some of the Schoolmen seem fondly to imagine,) but the words will easily bear a double Hebraisme. You shall know as you are known, that is, either you shall know as you are approved, or else you shall know as you are known, that is, you shall know as you are made to know; [...], that is, [...], sayes Beza, [...], sayes Heinsius: for indeed [...], is the same with the Hebrew [...], and if it be rendered Hellenistically, he tells us the words will run thus, [...]: I shall know, so as God is pleased to be known by me, to manifest himself unto me. O let every pious Panting Soul, with its apprehensions rais'd and its affections advanc' [...], wait and long and breath for so glorious a time, when the Panting Soul shall become an enjoying, an embracing Soul. When water-brooks shall be turn'd into rivers of pleasure, ever springing from Gods right hand, who is the foun­tain of being, where the glorious rayes that flow from the face of [Page 80] Christ shall gild those pleasant and crystalline streams, and there shall be fresh and eternal ebullitions of joy, so that the pure soul may bathe it self in blisse, and be for ever steept in unexpressible, in unconceivable sweetnesse.

Mount Ebal.

JUDGES 5. 23.

Curse ye Meroz, (saith the Angel of the Lord) Curse bitterly the Inhabitants thereof, because they came not out to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the Mighty.

THis Chapter is fill'd with a Triumphant Song, that was made by Deborah, that glorious Nursing-mo­ther in Israel, after a great and famous Conquest, which God had given her and Barak over Jabin and Sisera, and all their mighty Hostes. She pre­sently after the victory breaks out into a Psalm of Thanksgiving, she stirs up her soule to the praise of her God, and excites Barak▪ to bear her company in this her joy: Awake De­borah, Awake &c. Deborah in the Hebrew Language signifies a Bee; A Bee by them is call'd [...], a working, industrious creature; And this Song may well be look't upon as Deborahs Honey-combe, a sweet and precious Song, dropping from her gracious lips, Deborahs Honey-combe; I but withal this Bee, it ha's a sting. Curse ye Meroz, saith the Angel of the Lord, Curse ye bitterly, &c. These words they are the sting of Deborahs Song, [Page 81] which strikes through all such as maintain not the cause of God against his enemies, that come not out to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the Mighty.

If you look but upon the foregoing words, you may see there how this holy Prophetesse takes an exact view of the behaviour of the several tribes in this time of war and commotion, when the People of Israel were now opposing the Canaanites, such enemies as God had devoted to destruction, and had given the Israelites full Commission to destroy them. And after special no­tice taken, she gives just Encomiums and commendations of all such as were forward and active in the Lords cause, and with­al, sharp reproofs and cutting reprehensions, to all such as were remisse and negligent in this their duty. And first she begins with the praise of them that deserv'd it.

Out of Ephraim was there a root of them against Amalek.] This tribe sent in aide to Israel, and the root that sprang from hence against Amalek was Deborah her selfe, who judged Israel, dwel­ling under a Palme-tree, between Ramath and Bethel in Mount Ephraim, and by her charge and authority the war was under­taken, it was she that whetted Barak, and encourag'd the Is­raelites against their enemies.

After thee Benjamin, among thy People.] Against thee, O A­malek; some of this tribe also adjoyned themselves to De­borah.

Out of Machir came down Governours.] The tribe of Manasseh branch't it self into two noble families, that of Machir, and the other of Jair; And out of Machir there came worthy men to help in the battel.

And out of Zebulon they that handle the Pen of the Writer.] Learned men, and skilful Lawyers, such as handle the Pen, these help't forward in the War both (1.) By their Counsel and Advice: and this is none of the smallest aides: One Ʋlysses better then many an Ajax. Or (2.) By weapons and outward aid; Such as were wont to handle the Pen of the Writer, they now handle the spear of the Souldier.

And the Princes of Issachar were with Deborah,] choice and worthy ones, Heads of the People.

And Issachar.] Not only the Princes, but the rest of the tribe. And also Barak.] He was the Captain, chief in the War, the [Page 82] primum mobile. He was sent on foot into the valley.] He was the Leader of the foot-men in the valley. Thus far she commends, in the next words she reproves.

For the Divisions of Reuben there were great thoughts of heart; why abodest thou among the sheepfolds, to hear the bleatings of the flockes? for the divisions of Reuben there were great searchings of heart.] There were great wonderings why Reuben came not out to help their brethren; for the divisions of Reuben, that they should hold back and not accompany the rest of the tribes, many searchings and enquiries why Reuben came not. This tribe dwelt beyond Jordan in fat and goodly pasture; and they too much minded their Cattel, and neglected the care of the Common­wealth. They were hearing the bleatings of the sheep, and the bellowings of the oxen, when their brethren heard the Alarum of War, the noise of the Trumpet, the beating of the Drum. Why abodest thou among thy sheepfolds? hast thou no care of Is­raels troubles, of the bleeding condition of thy brethren? dost thou take more care of thy sheep then of them? see how the fierce enemie like a Wolf, comes to devoure them, and proud Sisera is ready to tear them in pieces? wilt thou not take as much care of them as of thy sheep?

Gilead abode beyond Jordan.] Both the families of Manasseh, Machir and Jair dwelt in Gilead, and possessed it; Now the family of Machir was commended before, so that here is meant of Jair. Or else the words are to be took thus, as an answer to Reuben, why could'st not thou come from beyond Iordan as well as Gilead; Gilead abode beyond Iordan, and yet he came, and so this tends to Gileads praise, and to Reubens dishonour, the first sense is most genuine.

And why did Dan remain in ships?] Either 1. To shelter them­selves from the enemies, when they heard of Iabin and Sisera's coming they slipt themselves away. Or else 2. Dan remained in ships, he minded his own businesse and merchandise, his traffick and commerce. And why did Dan remaine in ships, when all Israel was almost suffering shipwrack?

Asher continued on the sea-shore, and abode in his breaches.] The words include a double excuse which Asher had, why it came not to help Israel; 1. They dwelt afar off by the Sea-shore. 2. Their townes and cities were ruinous and not well fenc't, and there­fore [Page 83] they stayed at home to defend and fortifie themselves, they abode in their breaches; I but there was another breach that Asher might have thought of, a breach of Gods Law and Com­mandment, which enjoyn'd his People mutual love, and a joynt opposition of their enemies.

Zebulun and Naphtali were a People that jeoparded their lives unto the death in the high places of the field. After a more general commendation of some tribes, and reproofes of others, she then comes to a special Encomium of these two, as most eminent in their service, and a more stinging reproof of such as were in­excusably negligent.

Zebulun and Naphtali reproached their lives, so 'tis in fonte: they esteemed them not worth the having with Israels ruine: they preferr'd Gods cause before their lives. They reproached their lives.] For it seem'd a strange thing to others, and little better then ridiculous, for a small number, a little handful of men, to go against a vast army, enemies cloath'd with terrour, that might even blow them away in lesse then an houre: And yet they go out against Jabin and Sisera, they feare not his nine hundred chariots of iron. What means Sisera to brandish his glittering sword, to bend his bowe, and prepare his deadly arrowes? No weapon against them shall prosper. Zebulun and Nephtali, if they were lesse then they are, they would adventure their lives, and if they perish they perish.

In the High places of the field.] On Mount Tabor, where they might have a view of Sisera's army, a terrible prospect for Ze­bulun and Nephtali one would have thought. And yet they march forward with an undaunted courage and resolution. Ze­bulun and Nephtali, more eminent in their forwardnesse and obe­dience, and so have a more singular commendation given them.

And Meroz ha's a more bitter curse then any of the rest. God took notice of all the others remissenesse, and hath left it upon record to the view of all Posterity; I but Meroz ha's a Curse with a greater emphasis.

Curse ye Meroz.] The Jewes have a Proverbe, we must leap up to Mount Gerizim, but creep into Mount Ebal. You know upon Mount Gerizim all the blessings were pronounc't by Moses, as upon Mount Ebal all the Curses; So then, you must leap up to Mount Gerizim, be forward and ready to blesse; but creep [Page 84] into Mount Ebal, be slow and unwilling to curse; I but where God gives a special command to curse, there you must leap up to Mount Ebal too.

Gurse ye Meroz, saith the Angel of the Lord.] This does not come out of any revengeful thoughts, or private respect that Deborah had, but she ha's a special command to curse them Saith the Angel of the Lord.] Expositors are dubious, [...]:—it may be rendered Nuncius Jehovae, and so some take it to be Barak▪ who call▪d out (as is very like,) this City to the War, but they refused to come; But whether it be meant of an Angel properly, or of any that had a Prophetical Spirit, Gods Messen­ger, his Angel; this we are sure, the drift is to shew that this Curse comes by divine authority, by heavenly mandate, by the dictate of the Spirit, Curse ye Meroz; saith the Angel of the Lord.

Curse ye bitterly.] Curse ye with Cursings, an usual He­braisme. Object. But how comes Meroz to have a more bitter and sharp Curse then any of the rest that came not? This City was Resp.very near the place where the battel was fought, it was very nigh Mount Tabor, the inhabitants were within the noise of the Trumpet; other tribes had excuses, this City none. And no doubt but they were requested by Barak to help, and yet they came not out.

Because they came not out to the help of the Lord.] Why? does the Lord need any aid? And does the God of Hostes need the help of Meroz? Is the hand of Omnipotency abbre­viated that it cannot help, or his arme shortened that it cannot save? Do's the mighty God call for help, and the great Jehovah need auxiliary forces? what meanes this holy Prophetesse, when she sayes and repeates this, They came not out to the help of the Lord, &c.

They that help Israel are said to help the Lord. What is done to the Church, God reckons as done for himself, Inas­much as ye did it to one of these little ones, you did it unto me; O the infinite goodnesse of God, that hath conjoyn'd his own glory, and the salvation of his People together! He hath wrought Israels name in the frame of his own glory; it is for his honour to save Israel; They that come not out to help Israel, they come not out to help the Lord.

[Page 85] God needs not the help of men, he can save his people mira­culously, he did so here; The Starres fought in their courses against Sisera; He can raise a glorious Army of Stars, and can order them as he pleases; they shall all keep their ranks, they fight in their courses against Sisera. How did the Stars fight against him?

Their beams and influences were their weapons; they wrought impressions in the Aire, and rais'd meteors raine, haile, lightning, thunder; The Stars like bright and eminent Commanders, lead under them an Army of meteors, their train'd Souldiers, they set them into their severall postures, like the Centurion they say to one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he comes. If they bid the clouds discharge, they instantly dart out lightning­flashes, and present a volley of thunder-claps; They'l try what they can do with proud Sisera: And if Israel be too weak for them, the Hoast of Heaven shall fight against them, The Starres fought in their courses against Sisera; I, but all this is no thank to Meroz; nay, it rather aggravates their sinne, and so embitters their curse; shall inanimate creatures more sympathize with Israel, then their fellow-brethren? Shall the Stars fight in their courses, and shall not Meroz stir a foot to help them? And the river Kishon sweeps them away (as dung) that ancient river, the river Kishon, now swelling by reason of the excesse of raine, and drowning many of the Canaanites, as the Egyptians were once drown'd in the Red-Sea; they sinke like lead in the mighty wa­ters. Stars and Rivers fight for them, but Meroz will not help them.

Against the mighty,] Jabin and Sisera, [...], potent, pu­issant enemies. The Church of God ha's had alwayes mighty opposers, great enemies; Satan the Prince of the Aire, Anti­christ and his forces. These and many such like observations lye scatter'd in the words, and might be gather'd out of them, but we will unite them all in this one truth, which is directly aim'd at, and intended in them.

Doct. Doct Every Christian should be of a publick spirit; he is bound under paine of a bitter curse, (as much as in him lyes, to promote the cause of God, and to help Israel, to help the Church of God against its mighty enemies.

Wee'l branch it into these two particulars.

[Page 86] 1. 'Tis a thingfull of reason and equity, that every one that professes himself an Israelite, should help Israel, that Christians should be of a publick spirit; it is but just that Meroz should aid Israel.

2. How every one may help the Lord against the mighty, and stand for the peace of Sion; by what means they may do this.

(1.) A Christian should be of a publick and enlarged spirit not seeking only himself and his own ends, with a narrow and con­tracted heart; but he should seek the glory of God, and the good of Sion, of his Church and people.

1. It is the very nature of goodnesse to diffuse it self abroad in a spreading and liberal manner; for it do's not thus lose any thing, but augments, and increases its being by communicating it self.

2. You may see some prints and foot-steps of this in Nature, some obscure representations of this truth there. The Sun, it do's not monopolize its beams, and engrosse its light; but scatters them abroad, gilds the whole world with them; it shines more for others then it self, it is a publick light.

Look on a fountaine, it do's not binde in its streams, seale up it self, and enclose its waters, but spends it self with a continual bubbling forth; it streams forth in a fluent, liberal, and commu­nicative manner; it is a publick spring.

Nay natural bodies will part with their own properties, leave their motions; nay, crosse their own inclinations for a general good. The Aire, a light and nimble body, that mounts upwards, and do's naturally ascend; yet for an universal good, rather then there shall be a breach and rupture in nature, a vacuum, it will descend for the stopping of that hiatus. In the body of man, the inferiour members will venter themselves for the good of the whole; The hand will be cut off, and lose its own being, rather then the head shall be endanger'd; you see some shadowes of this truth in Nature.

3. And the weak and glimmering light of Nature shews thus much, that a man is not borne for himself alone; he is a sociable [...]reature, and sent into the world for the good of others. The [...]oice of an Heathen, A mans countrey, and his friend, and others challenge great part of him. It is a miserable [...] to make his own self the centre of all his actions.

[Page 87] 4. Consider, that every mans private welfare is included in the publick. The welfare of Meroz depended upon Israels safety; what would have become of Meroz, if the rest of their fellow­brethren had perisht? So that it was a part of great folly in Meroz, not to come out to the help of Israel. When the disease seazes upon a vitall part, as the head, or the heart, or the like, so as to endanger the whole; then every member is in danger, though for the present they may be free from paine. The well-being of every private man, depends on the publick good. A single drop is soon dry'd up and consum'd; I, but a drop in the Ocean when 'tis united to a multitude of other drops, 'tis there more safe; and a drop by it self is weak, and can make no resistance: I, but a drop in the Ocean is terrible. Men have a more safe, and a more honourable being, as joyn'd to the whole, then taken single by themselves. A single drop can do nothing; but a multitude of drops joyn'd together, will make a stream, and carry all before them: A single beame is obscure; but in the Sun the centre of rayes, meeting in the publick point, they are glorious.

And these arguments may prevaile with you as men, living in common society; but then as Christians.

I. Consider, that Gods children have been alwayes of this disposition, of publick spirits, seeking the glory of God, and the good of Sion. Exod. 32. 32. If not, blot me I pray thee out of thy Book; Moses out of a pang of vehement zeale, would part with his own happinesse, rather then Israel should perish; If it would make more for the glory of God, he would be content to be damn'd, or at least to have the beams of Gods favourable presence withdrawn from him. Rom. 9. 3. I could wish, that my self were accursed from Christ, (or separated) for my brethren, my kinsmen, according to the flesh, for the Jews, Israelites; which is meant of the poena damni: I could be content to have the face of Christ hid from me for my brethrens sake, as Gods face was once hid from Christ upon the Crosse; My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? A most strong affection and zeale for the publick good. Paul knew what the face of Christ was; how glorious a sight it was, to see God face to face: And he knew what answer God had given to Moses too; Him that sinnes, him will I blot out of my Book: And yet out of a most ardent desire of the salvation of the Jews, he will part with the face of Christ, so they may be [Page 86] saved; here were publick spirits indeed.

What should I tell you of Ʋriah that famous Souldier, his brave and heroical resolution; how he would take no complacen­cy in outward things? and marke his reason, 2 Sam▪ 11. 11. The Arke, and Israel, and Judah abide in tents, and my Lord Joab, and the servants of my Lord are encamped in the open fields; as if he should say, What shall the Arke be in danger, and shall Ʋriah be secure? Or shall my Lord Joab be more forward then I am in Israels cause? As thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing; He raps out an Oath like a Souldier, which he might have well spar'd, but yet he shews a most generous and publick spirit; And this was no small aggravation of Davids sin.

137. Psalme; See how the Psalmist and the rest of Gods people behave themselves. By the rivers of Babylon; we sate down and wept, when we remembred thee, O Sion! We hanged our Harpes upon the Willows in the midst thereof; If I forget thee, Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. David had a most delicate touch upon the Harpe, a soft and silken touch; He could still Saul's evil spirit with his Musick; but if I forget thee, Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.

And when did Jeremy make his Lamentation, that whole book of mourning; but when the glory of Sion was laid in the dust; when Ierusalem, the Lady of Nations was made desolate? Gods people have been alwayes of publick spirits, and have sympathiz'd with the Church.

II. That you may follow so good example; think whose cause it is: The cause of Israel, is the cause of God; To the help of the Lord, &c. Can you have a better cause? The good of the Church, and the glory of God are knit together by an act of Gods gracious will. So that he that seeks the good of the Church, do's in the same act seek the glory of God: And he that helps not Israel, comes not out to the help of the Lord. Now you are bound to maintaine the cause of God, and to help the Lord.

1. By many and severall engagements; As creatures at his beck, he has a sovereignty and dominion over you. Not to obey the great God, is to deny his supremacy. You are bound in a way of thankfulnesse, to stand for him and his cause, by those sweet mercies, those precious pledges of his love, which he every moment heaps upon you; by those many blessings that come [Page 89] swimming to you in the blood of a Saviour.

2. By many Promises, Vowes, Protestations. Your first and Originall vow in Baptisme, obliges you to maintaine the cause of God, and of his Church, against all the enemies thereof. And you have often repeated this Vow, and seal'd it again in the Lords Supper, for you know that's a sealing up of the Covenant; Now what's the Covenant but this, That he shall be your God, and you shall be his people? And then you can't but remember a late Vow that you have made too; the very summe of which was this, to stand for the publick good.

3. Certainty to prosper; it is the cause of God; A Christian is of the surest side, of the winning side. There's none but has a minde to prosper, then pray for the peace of Ierusalem, they shall prosper that love thee. There's none can eclipse the glory of God; it's beyond the limited power of a creature, to dimme the lustre of his Crown; God will maintaine his own cause, or else he should lose of his glory; his mighty Arme will get himself the victory. Christ is the Captain of this Church, and he is the chief­est often thousand, (the Ensigne-bearer.) And this is comfort enough for a Christian, the enemies must conquer Christ, before they can overcome his Church. Christ the head of the Church is impregnable. This is the second ground why Christians must stand for the cause of the Church; because 'tis the cause of God, to which they are bound. (1.) By engagements, many and great. (2.) By Vows. (3.) Encouraged with certainty of suc­cesse.

III. A Christian's bound to be of a publick spirit, by vertue of the communion of Saints. Every Christian's a member of Christs mysticall body, and so must take care for the good of the whole. He that is united to Christ the Head, must be knit also to the other members; He that do's not sympathize with the Church, is not of the body; He that can hear of the breaches of Sion, and the decayes of Ierusalem; He that can see the apples of Gods eye pierc't through, and not be affected with it, will ye call such mem­bers of Christs body? He that is not truely affected with the bleeding condition of the Christians in Ireland, do's virtually and in effect deny this Article of his Creed, The Communion of Saints.

IV. It is against the Mighty: Christians had need have publike [Page 90] spirits, because they have publick enemies; the Devil, a publick enemy; Antichrist, a publick enemy: They are private enough in respect of their malice, and subtlety; but publick in force, and opposition. As there is the paw of the Lion for strength, so there is the head of the Serpent for wisdome; but yet the head of the Serpent is broken, their wisdome infatuated: He that is in heaven, can counterplot them, and laugh them to scorne: But yet thus much you may learn of the enemies of the Church, to study the publick good: They seek the ruine of the whole, and why should not you seek the welfare of the whole? If they be so sedulous and industrious, so forward and active in a bad cause, will you be negligent and remisse in the best cause, in the cause of God, in the helping of the Lord? All that they do, they'l tell you 'tis for the Catholick cause, they are for the publick. What won't a Jesuite do for the Catholick cause? Hee'l compasse Sea and Land to gaine one proselyte. They do publick mischiefs, and have a malignant and venomous influence into all places where they come; and why should not Christians do as publick service for God, as they do for the Devil? Come out therefore against the m [...]ghty to the help of the Lord. That which was Meroz his excuse perhaps, because the Canaanites were mighty ones, therefore they durst not come out against them; this God makes the very aggravation of their sin; for if the enemies were mighty, Israel had more need of their help and aide, Curse ye Meroz, saith the Angel of the Lord, &c. And Meroz might have consider'd, that as there are mighty enemies, so there is a mighty God too, an Al­mighty God, that can crush proud Sisera, and dash in pieces the strongest enemy. And now by this time you have seen that 'tis but fit and equall for a Christian to be of a publick spirit, to come out to the help of the Lord.

(2.) The manner, how every Christian may promote the pub­lick good. And here by way of premisall;

1. It must be in a lawful and warrantable way They that come out to help the Lord must help him in his own wayes, such wayes as his word allowes, or else, they do not help the Lord, but of­fend the Lord in breaking his commandments; Job 13. 7. Will you speak wickedly for God, and talk deceitfully for him? Do's Gods glory depend upon mans sin? do's he allow any man to sin for the advancing of his glory? Nay, do's he not forbid it, and detest [Page 91] it? It is a clear and undenyable truth of our Saviour; You must not do evil, that good may come of it. A speech of one of the Anci­ents; You must not tell the least lie, if you could save the whole Church by it. You remember the clause in the Protestation, as far as lawfuy I may; he that seeks the publick good in an unlawfull course, breaks his Protestation. To the right conducting of an action, besides the intention of an end truely, there must be also the choice of just direct means for the accomplishing of it.

2. In a prudent and orderly way. They that come out to the help of the Lord, must keep their ranks; The Starres fought in their courses against Sisera. Christians must keep their severall stations; if there be confusion, you can't tell a Canaanite from an Israelite, a friend from a foe. Let every Christian that studies the publick good, keep his own place; The Magistrate his; the Ministers theirs; and the people also theirs. And now there are some wayes very good and warrantable, by which Christians may come out to the help of the Lord, and to the aiding of Israel.

(1.) By Prayer. To be sure this is a lawful meanes; I, and 'tis a prevalent means too, and has great influence upon the publick good; Exod. 17. 11. When Moses held up his hand, then Israel prevail'd. 'Tis a speciall benefit that Christians have by the com­munion of Saints, the prayers one of another. There's a stock of prayers the Church has, and the weakest Christian has a share in it. Thou hast the benefit of many Christians prayer, whose face thou never sawest, whom thou never heard'st of; perhaps he lives in America, or some remote corner of the world; but wheree're he be thou hast the benefit of his prayer, as a member of the mystical body. For there's no prayer put up to God for his Church, but it encludes every particular member of the Church in it; so that prayer do's wonderfully promote the publick good. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, pray for it, that's the way to have it. And many an one that can use no other means, yet may use this. There's many can't help the Christians in Ireland; but there's no Christian but may pray for them. There's many that can't fight against the Rebels; and yet they can pray against them, to have them restrain'd and subdu'd. Many a weak and aged and sickly one, unfit for warre, and yet powerful in prayer. And these weapons of our warfare, they are not carnal, but mighty. [Page 92] You can't encounter an enemy; I, but you may thus wrastle with the Almighty. You can't batter down a strong hold; but yet ye can besiege▪ the throne of grace with concentred abilities. You are not fit to be set in a Watch-tower, to spy out the approach of an enemie; but yet you may watch unto prayer. And this is a great advantage that Christians have over their enemies; The enemy knows not how to pray; they know how to curse, and swear, and blaspheme the name of God; but they know not how to pray: Or if they do pray, and tell their prayers with their beads, that they may know the number of them; yet their prayer is turn'd into fin, The prayer of the wicked is an abomination. Let them cry aloud to their Idols, and see if they will hear them; they can't look that God should hear them: For, If I regard ini­quity in my heart, the Lord will not hear my prayer. O then let Christians know their own happinesse, and make use of this spiri­tuall weapon of prayer, that opposes the enemy more then all other weapons whatsoever: Let them brandish the glittering sword, &c.

And this is the chief use you are to make of all the news you hear, to know how to order your prayers accordingly. No que­stion more ordinary in mens mouth, then, what news? And I finde no fault with the question, it is good and fitting: But news are not to be enquired after only for the satisfying of mens mindes, and curiosity; as the Athenians spent all their time in en­quiring for some news: But this is the main end of it, to know how to send up your prayers for the good of the Church; and your praises for such mercies as God bestowes upon it. All news heard by a publick spirit, will stir up prayer or thanksgiving. This is the use you are to make of news; if sad news of the Churches misery and desolation, then send up more fervent prayer, that God would repaire the breaches of it, and settle it in a flourish­ing condition; if welcome news, then praise God for his free goodnesse, and desire him to perfect the great work which he has begun. This is one special means to promote the publick good, the prayer of the righteous. And God alwayes when he intends any great mercy, he poures upon his people a spirit of prayer, he stirres up their hearts in this way; he opens their mouth wide, be­fore he fills it.

(2.) Self-Reformation. This has great influence upon the pub­lick [Page 93] good. And how can you expect a publick and glorious Re­formation, unlesse first you reforme in private? Look upon the grievances of your own soul; hearken unto those many petitions that are put up to you by the Ministers; who beseech you to be re­concil'd unto God. Every sin addes to wrath; it provokes God, pulls down his judgements, and ripens a Nation for destruction, and has a malignant and venemous influence upon the whole. So then the turning from sin, and reforming your wayes, is the means to divert judgements, to bring down mercies, and bring down publick good. If there were more private Reformations in mens spirits; there is no doubt, but God would blesse the publick Reformation. Sinne puts more rubs in the way, then any ene­my or opposer whatsoever. This is the great Mountain that hinders the going up of the Temple; if this one were but took a­way, all other would quickly become a plain. They are very in­jurious to the publick good, that go on in a course of sinning, a­gainst so gracious a God, that do's such great things for us. One sinner destroyes much good, as the wise man speaks.

(3.) Ʋnited spirits, and a sweet harmony of Affections, graci­ously consorting together, would help forward the cause of Israel. Jarres and dissensions amongst Christians themselves, sound very harshly: For the divisions of Reuben, there were great thoughts of heart. What is there can give greater advantage to an enemy, then to see Israelites fall out amongst themselves? You may learn more wisdome of them that are wiser in their generation, then the children of light; what a strait union and confederacy have they among themselves? Gebal, and Ammon, and Ama'ek, the Philistines, with them that dwell at Tyre. These scales of Levia­than (as that in Job is usually allegoriz'd) are shut together as with a close seale. And if they should be at variance, and dis­cord among themselves; yet they have a sure way of reconcilia­tion, by a joynt opposition of the godly. Ephraim against Ma­nesseh, and Manasseh against Ephraim, both against Judah. He­rod and Pilate made friends in crucifying Christ. If wicked men can agree in opposing of goodnesse, why should not Christians in helping forward goodnesse?

All ye that come out to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the Mighty; come with united hearts, and agreeing spirits. Why should there be strife [Page 94] between you, seeing you are Brethren?

And then consider; What will not united forces do, when you shall joyn to the work of the Lord with one consent, with one shoulder? What is it that this union won't bring to passe? It will strike terrour to the Churches enemies, and strengthen the hearts of friends: It will mightily promote the publick goood, and tend to the glory of Ierusalem. If men would but lay out themselves, and their several gifts and abilities in one general aime for the advantage of their Master, and good of their fellow-ser­vants; what glorious times should we then see?

This is one clause in the Protestation, to stand for the union of the three Kingdomes.

(4.) I might adde that, with outward aide too, you are bound to promote the publick good; with liberal contribution to relieve the necessity of the Christians, as the Church of Macedonia gave above her abilities. And also such as by authority shall be sent forth against the Popish-Rebells, they are to fight with courage, and alacrity, for 'tis for the cause of God; They come out to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the Mighty.

And now for a word of Application.

Ʋse. 1. It is for the just reproof of most men, that minde not at all the publick good: How do they think to avoide the curse of Meroz, seeing they come not out to the help of the Lord, &c.? There is a principle of corrupt self-love in men, that makes them of narrow and contracted spirits; All their aimes are for themselves, and their own ends; they do not minde the good of the Church. If they hear but of a worldy losse, some ship cast away, and their estate be weaken'd, this will pierce and affect their spirits; 'twill sad and darken their joy: But they can hear of ruines of the Church, the breaches of Sion; that the Church has many rol­lings, and commotions, and not be wrought upon, not be much mov'd with it. Men are more affected with their own private good, then with the publick; and more mov'd with private mi­series, then publick. If they themselves be in the least danger, or some of their neer friends, then you shall have mourning, and sighing, and lamentation: But if the Church lye a bleeding, the Saints, (those precious ones) be kill'd all the day long, and ac­counted as sheep for the slaughter; they can be merry enough for all this. How many are there that have not shed a teare for [Page 95] Ireland! That have not spent a sigh for them, nor put up a pray­er for them! God he has a Bottle for your teares, and he knows how many you have put into it; I am sure it will hold a great ma­ny more then you have shed. I speak not so much for outward weeping, there's many perhaps can't shed a tear upon any occa­sion: But I call for a spirit of mourning, a sympathizing spirit; a spirit took up with the publick good, as its best employment O how many are there, that this bitter curse of Meroz will fall hea­vy upon! And upon your dayes of humiliation, be sure to humble your selves for this; your want of a publick spirit, your not praying for the peace of Ierusalem. How do you know but that, if you had sent up more prayers to heaven, God might have free'd the distressed Christians by this time? As they are guilty of the Christians blood in an high degree, that shed it in a most inhumane manner; so I know not, how they can excuse themselves from some guilt of it, that do not help them by pray­ers, and endeavours as much as in them lyes.

2. It is against all such as are in a kinde of indifferency, and neutrality; they neither are for one nor other. What is this but the very same case with Meroz? Meroz did not fight against Israel, it did not fight for the Canaanites; no, but it did not come out to the help of Israel, and therefore it has this bitter curse. Vain men that think to content themselves with this, that they do not hurt: but every man that do's not good, do's hurt, he most do either one or other; the soul is not idle, it is either doing good or evil.

Suppose that a man did no hurt, yet this is not enough, unlesse he do s good too: for there are sins of Omission, as well as of Commission. Not doing of publick good, is a publick hurt.

3. By way of Gradation à majori ad majus. If there be such a bitter curse upon Meroz for their negligence, and remissenesse in duty, for not coming out against the Mighty, what severe judgments and dregs of wrath shall be pour'd out upon all them that come out against the Lord, that are against the publick good, that wish ill to Sion, that would fain see her in the dust, that hate and persecute Christians, that oppose the power of Religion, and the life of the Gospel, that are in the very gall of bitternesse? All the curses that are written, and not written shall [Page 96] flame against them; and the vials of Gods fiercest wrath shall be emptyed upon them. Meroz's curse is bitter; but in respect of theirs, sweet and easie.

Blesse God for men of publick spirits; for Zerubbabels and Je­hoshuah's, Ʋse. 2.such as are building God a Temple; Pray God to en­crease the number of publick spirits, such as may come out to the help of the Lord. As there's a great and bitter curse lay'd upon Meroz, for being negligent in the cause of God, so there are choice and eminent blessings for such as are forward and active in it. God will abundantly recompence all the la­bour of love, which any shall shew for his name; Their la­bour shall not be in vaine in the Lord.

THE White Stone: OR, A Learned and Choice TREATISE OF Assurance: Very useful for all, but especially weak BELIEVERS.

2 PET. 1. 10.

Wherefore the rather, Brethren, give diligence to make your Calling and Election sure.

ASsurance of salvation is a truth of great and preci­ous consequence, of sweet and comfortable influ­ence into the whole life of a Christian: A truth which has scarce had liberty to unmask and shew it self in former times, and so has seldome or never been fully treated of: A truth which could never be more wel­come and seasonable then in times of danger and uncertainty; [Page 98] when all other things are in a doubtful and wavering condition, then to make our calling and election sure; to set up a spiritual Militia, and to put the soul in a posture of defence, in such an heavenly preparation, as it may be fit to meet with all conditi­ons; He shall not be afraid of evil tidings, his heart is fixed trust­ing in God: He is just like the Philosophers good man [...], four-square, that, cast him where you will, like a Dy, he falls al­wayes sure and square; He's built upon the same foundation that the whole Church of God is; He's built upon a Rock, and though the Waves dash, and the windes rise, though the storme encrease, and the floods beat in, yet the house stands, the foundation's sure, 'tis built upon a Rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I'le make him a pillar in the Temple of my God, as Christ pro­mises to the Church of Philadelphia; even like one of those Pil­lars in Solomons Temple: The name of the one was Jachin, and of the other Booz; nothing but stability and strength, as the words imply; Christian Assurance fortifies the soul, and pre­pares it against all conditions.

Now, as for the drift of our Apostle in this chapter, 'twas to perswade the Christian Churches of [...]onous, Ga [...]atia, Cappadocia, Asia, Bithynia, to whom he wrote that they would be fruitful and abundant in the graces of God, that they would grow in grace, and adde grace to grace, and so to increase in them all, till they came to a full and perfec [...] stature in Christ For [...]e that lacks these, (saith the Apostle, is blinde, and cannot see afarr [...] off▪ he is pore­blinde, and cannot see so farre as heaven and heavenly things: And theu he is forgetful too of the very first principles and ru­diments of Grace; he forgets that he was purg'd from his for­mer sins in the Lavour of Regeneration, in Baptisme, when he first enter'd into Covenant with God.

Wherefore do [...]e rather give diligence▪ to make your calling, &c. You that have a spiritual eye, and an enlight'ned soul, and can disce [...]ne the things of God, and you that are mindful of the Co­venant made with him, do you, brethren, give, &c. for this if any thing will make you fruitful in the works of Grace; for by these you must maintain your Assurance; these are the fruits and eviden­ces of your solvation; the fruits of the Spirit, and the first fruits of eternal life. Christians that make their Calling and Election sure▪ will and must be fruitful in good works. The Papists inter­pose [Page 99] [...] in this verse; and Beza saies indeed that he found it in two ancient copies, but though it be left out in the letter, yet we enclude it in the sense; good reason to leave it out in the text, because all the Greek copies do, two only excepted; but yet we take it in in the interpretation, and freely acknow­ledge that no Christian can be assur'd of his salvation, who is not fruitful and abundant in good works, as Fulke and Carthwright do very well satisfie the Rhemists Translation.

In the words you have (1▪) An usual compellation, Brethrer. (2.) An Apostolical exhortation, and that to a double duty, one subordinate to another.

The (1.) and principal in intention, to make your calling and election sure▪ The (2.) (which is a meanes to the former,) to give diligence. And if you look upon the first again, you shall finde in it. (1.) A propriety, your calling and election. (2.) A method and order, first your calling▪ and then your election.

As for two of the particulars, we'l but point at them, because they are not so properly intended in the words. For

The compellation is frequent and obvious in every Epistle; and 1 shews

1. An Apostolical Sua [...]a, by which they were wont to winde and insinuate themselves into the affections of the people, to en­g [...]atiate themselves with them; for affection does strongly en­gage the judgement. And all Rhetorick is little enough to win hearts and prevail upon some mens spirits.

2. An Apostolical meeknesse: Peter a Star of the first magni­tude, yet calls the lesser Sporades his brethren; A glorious and eminent Christian, a tall Cedar in Lebanon, yet acknowledges the meanest and lowest Christians his brethren. He learnt this of his Lord and Master, who was not ashamed to call them brethren; And shall the disciple be above his Lord? 'Twere well if the Pope▪ who will needs be Saint Peters successor, would follow him in this. And who art thou, O prophane Ismael, that scoff'st at the children of the promise under this very name and notion of brethren?

And then as for the propriety, [...], your calling and 2 election.

[Page 100] 1. None can be assur'd of another mans salvation, unlesse it be of such whom the Scripture tells us were in the state of Grace; whose sincerity is made famous to all the world; to whom the Spirit has set its broad seal, and given them a publike Testimony that they were within the Covenant: for others we know in ge­neral, that there are a select and peculiar company whom God has chosen out as his jewels, but we cannot say certainly and infal­libly of such a particular person, of any Individuum, that he is a chosen vessel. Of some 'tis evident and apparent, that for the present, they are not in the state of Grace; we are sure that as yet they are not efficaciously call'd, but we know not whether they be chosen; for others we have great hopes, and an high de­gree of probability, that they are truly born again, but yet we have no absolute certainty; for Hypocrisie will go so farre, as that the best Criticks may be deceived. And a man can never tell certain­ly another mans sincerity, unlesse he could supply the place of Conscience. An Hypocrite may spin so fair a thred, as that it may deceive his own eye, he may admire the cobweb, and not know himself to be the Spider; how much more easie may he deceive a stander by? And as for any extraordinary spirit of dis­cerning, I know no ground for it, nor any promise of it in the Scriptures.

You'l say, this takes much from the communion of Saints, and from the sweetnesse of Christian society, if we cannot tell who are true members of the Mystical body, fellow-brethren and fel­low-heirs of the same promise.

1. Though we cannot tell absolutely and infallibly, yet we may know very probably; we know there are such a peculiar peo­ple, a chosen generation, a Royal Priest-hood, and we know that such and such are the likeliest in the world to be of this number, so as we have no reason to distrust them.

2. We must commend much of this to Gods providence, who very seldome suffers Hypocrites to go undetected; he that is the great searcher of hearts will be sure to meet with them: he hates a rotten heart, and will be sure to make it odious.

3. 'Tis fitting that this and many other priviledges should be reserv'd for heaven, that so we may long after that the more. There shall be a pure and unmixt communion, the perfect beauty of holinesse. Nothing shall enter there that makes a lie, nothing [Page 101] of Hypocrisie; but glorious Angels and glorifi'd Saints sunning themselves in the presence of God, shall keep company together to all eternity.

2. [...] ▪ Christians are chiefly to look to their own calling and election. They are indeed bound to promote the good of others, and to look upon their lives with such Rules as Christianity allows; but they must be sure to dwell at home, and be acquainted with their own breasts, to make their own calling and election sure▪ for they cannot be sure of another mans conditi­on, so as they may be of their own.

And thus we have dispatch't those two particulars which lay more collateral in the words, and were not directly intended in them. We now come to the very minde and drift of the Text, which branches it self into these four propositions▪ that will ful­ly explain the nature of Assurance, though we keep within the bounds of the Text: It streams into these four particulars.

Observ. 1. 1. A Christian may be assur'd of his salvation.

Observ. 2. 2. Assurance of salvation requires all diligence.

Observ. 3. 3. Assurance of salvation deserves all diligence, both im­ply'd in Give diligence.

Observ. 4. 4. The way to make our Election sure, is first to make our calling sure.

And now you may look upon the Text, as on a pleasant Vine, situated in a fruitful place, [...], i. e. in the horn of the Son of Oile or fatnesse, as the Prophet speaks, you may sit un­der the shadow of it, and its fruit will be sweet unto you. For you see how it has spread it self into spacious and goodly branch­es, such as are all laden with fair and swelling clusters▪ clusters of Canaan, that are ripen'd with those heavenly Sun-beams that shine out upon them; and richly fill'd with all spiritual sweet­nesse. And this fruit of the Vine will chear the heart of man to all eternity. As for us, we'll be sure to prune off all such sprout­ings and luxuriancies of style▪ as may any way steal from the sap and strength of so great a truth in hand, as the Hebrews call those sproutings, [...], i. e. little Epicures, alwayes feast­ing upon the sweetnesse of the tree, and putting the root to con­tinual expences: we'll prune off all these. And if there be any clusters lie lurking under the leaves, truth's not so obvious to eve­ry eye, we'll (if we can) spy them out. The Vintage will be long, [Page 102] we shall gather but a cin ster at a time, and presse it in the Appli­cation.

Observ. 1. A Christian may be assured of his Sa [...]ation, for Saint Peter would never exhort them to give diligence, for an impossibility, for that which could not be obtained. We'l move in this order, and shew

1. What Assurance is.

2. Arguments for Assurance.

3. The manner how Christians are assur'd.

4. The special times of assurance.

5. Make Application.

I. And here first, what Assurance is.

'Tis a reflex act of the soule, by which a Christian clearly sees, that he is for the present in the state of grace, and so an heire apparent to glory; or in the words of the text, by which he knows his Calling and Election.

'Tis a reflex act, and so

1. Assurance is situated in the soules most noble, most closet­t [...], most private▪ and most spiritual operation.

1.) Reflex acts are the most noble and most royal operations, the most rational and judicious acts of a most intelligent Spirit. Reason is now in its exaltation, it sits upon the Throne, and ex­ercises a Judge-like power; all the faculties of the soule must appear before its Tribunal, and give up a strict account, [...], as the Pythagoreans were wont to pose and catechize themselves: your inferiour sensitive creatures can go poring on upon a present object, and blunder on in a direct way, but are far enough from any reflex acts; al­though some talk of reflexivenesse in sense too, (as to see that they see, or the like) but 'tis but a fancy of their own; Sensitive Creatures could never reach so high as a reflex act; and indeed sensual men know not what belong unto it, but the reasonable soul can retire into it self, and take a view and survey of its own actings.

2.) It is the most secret and retir'd operation; the soule with­drawes and bids the body farewel, and even here becomes an anima separata: it retires into its Closet, and bolts its selfe up, where none can peep in, none can evesdrop it.

3.) The most refin'd and spiritual working of all, this is most [Page 103] abstracted from matter. The soul here does not commerce with outward drossy objects, but looks upon it self, fixes its eye upon its own face. This is the most spiritual employment of the soule, which does most strongly argue its immortality, and shewes it to be a spark of Divinity: How does the prime and fountain Being spend all Eternity, but in looking upon his own transcendent and glorious Essence? in viewing the bright Con­stellation of his Attributes, & seeing some shadowy and languish­ing Representations of himself in the glasse of the Creatures? 'Tis one of the chief works of a Christian, to reflect upon himself, Vita est in se reflexio; as the grave Moralist Seneca speaks. The Prodigal came to himself, when he came to reflex acts▪ so 1 King▪ 8. 47. When they shall turne to their own hearts, &c.

II. But yet this working of the soul is but weak and transient, 'tis fleeting and desultory, it quickly vanishes; which shewes a great disorder and irregularity in the Spirit, that that which is the noblest and most proper operation, that borders upon Di­vinity, men are least ver'st in it. How rare is it for men to reflect upon their own conditions, to enter into an exact trial and ex­amination of their own wayes? Radius reflexus languet, as the Opticks speak; The beam begins to be weary, and is ready to faint, it gives a weak and languishing Representation: 'tis true of intellectual beames too, radius reflexus languet. O how quick­ly are men weary of serious thoughts and considerations? They look upon them as melancholy interruptions, turbida intervalla. You had need of good arguments to perswade men to entertain a serious thought; outward objects, these divert the minde, and take it off from its greatest work. As a man that sees his natural face in a glasse, (as St. James speaks) goes his way, and presently forgets what manner of man he was. The soule scarce knowes its own visage, it looks abroad and is a stranger to it self. Many a mans soule ha's scarce look't upon it self all his life­time.

III. It consists in a reflex act, (1 Joh. 2. 3. [...].) and so differs from faith; it is one thing to believe, & another thing to know that I believe. Our Divines go somewhat too far, (Cal­vin, Perkins, &c.) when they put all justifying faith in a full perswa­sion. Ames sayes, 'tis when they deal with the Papists, who put it in a bare assent: but (me thinks) they should rather be more [Page 104] wary there, lest they give the enemy too much advantage. I ra­ther think, that being men eminently pious, it was as they found it in their own soules, but all are not so strong in Christ▪ Assu­rance is the top and triumph of faith: faith, that's our victory, by which we overcome the world: but assurance, that's our tri­umph, by which [...], we are more then Conquerours. 'Tis flos fidei, the very lustre and eminency of faith. Faith that's the Root, Assurance is the Top-branch, the flourishing of faith, faith with a glosse upon it. Justifying faith, that does not only dwell in the understanding, in nudo assensu, but requires an act of the will too, which must embrace a promise: indeed it calls for an act resulting from the whole soule, which must receive Christ offered unto it: but now assurance consists only in the minde, and so there you have the difference between faith of Adherence, and faith of Assurance. The first is an act of the whole soule, the latter is a work of the minde only; it ariseth è sensu quodam spirituali; whereby we know and perceive that we beleeve. And when I say every beleever may be assur'd of his sal­vation: I don't say that every beleever is assur'd of it; No, eve­ry one is to labour for it, to give diligence, as our Apostle speaks: but every one ha's not yet obtained it: Assurance is not of the Essence of a Christian [...]; A man may be a true childe of God, and certainly saved, though he have not Assurance; He can have little sweetnesse and comfort without it, little joy and peace, but yet he may be in a safe though in a sad condition. 'Tis requir'd to the bene esse, not to the esse of a Believer.

1. For the Promise is made to the direct act, and not to the reflex. Believe, and thou shalt be saved, that's the voice of the Gospel: Not, know that thou dost believe. Now there is many a weak Christian that ha's faith, and yet does not know that he ha's it; Faith like a grain of mustard-seed, lies hid for a while, but it ha's a vigorous and operative spirit, and will work out in time, and spread it self into goodly branches. The least degree of faith, if it be true, brings salvation, but it does not bring assurance.

2. Many true Christians are in a state of desertion: all their light is eclipsed▪ their joy and comfort is put out. Nay, they look upon God as an enemy; they are so far from being as­sur'd of their salvation, as that they verily think themselves in a [Page 105] lost condition, and yet all this while are in a true state of grace. Their condition is cloudy and dark, and very uncomfortable for the present, but yet 'tis safe; they are true believers, and yet far enough from assurance. An excellent place in Isaiah for this, Isa. 50. 10. Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that walketh in dark­nesse and hath not light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God; some may truly fear God, and yet walk in darknesse, and have no light, not the least glimpse of assurance no beame of Gods favourable countenance, yet let him trust in the Lord, and stay himself upon his God. He may do this though he ha's no light, he may multiply direct acts, though he ha's no reflex acts. And here he may lay all the stresse of his salvation, leane upon the grace of God in Christ, and with a sweet recumbency rest himself upon his God.

And this consideration may strengthen many a bruised reed, and revive many a drooping Spirit, who for the present do not know that they believe, their case may be good for all this. Thou mayest be a true believer, though thou art but a weak be­liever, nay, though thou think thy self no believer; I do not speak this that any should rest in this condition; no, this were against the text; All must give diligence to make their cal­ling and election sure: And a Christian can have little or no quiet, till he attain to assurance.

And thus you have seen the nature of Assurance, we shall in the next place prove, that a Christian may be assur'd of his sal­vation.

1. Ab esse ad posse. Many a Christian ha's been, and is assur'd of his salvation. Scarce any eminent Christian in the whole Book of God, but ha's set his Seale to this truth by his own particular experience. This is so clear as the adversaries themselves cannot deny, but that many choice ones have had a full and satisfying light springing in upon their soul, and clearing their eternal con­dition to them. But they say 'tis by way of extraordinary Reve­lation, a special Priviledge vouchsafed to some few of Gods choicest Worthies by a rare indulgence. But this is spoken gratis, and is contrary to the present experience of many thousands of Christians; 1 John 5. 13. The very drift of St. Johns Epistle, is that Christians might have assurance. And besides, those medi­ums by which Christians attain to Assurance▪ are common to all: [Page 106] All of them have the Spirit dwelling in them: all have the fruits of the Spirit, and a sweet testimony of their own Spirits; though some have it in a weak measure and cannot reach to a Plerophery: all come not to this full assurance; but yet these are the usual wayes, by which men attaine to it, which have no­thing in them of extra ordinary Revelation: they are via Regia, and yet via trita too. Adde to this the scope of the text. St. Peter exhorts all to give diligence to make their Calling and Election sure, which, to what purpose were it, if it came only by special & extra­ordinary Revelation, which does not depend upon their diligence?

2. Search into the nature of faith it self, and you will see that it does much tend to assurance, and ha's some vicinity with it. There's a double act of faith, as the most acute Ames observes▪ (1.) The actus primus, by which I beleeve in Christ for the re­mission of my sins, and justifying of my person, which is proper­ly justifying faith▪ (2.) Actus ex fide emanans, by which I believe that my sins are remitted, which does necessarily presuppose the former act: for thou hast no more reason to beleeve that thy sins are remitted then any other, till thou hast first received Christ for the Remission of thy sins. And this is contain'd in the Article of the Creed, I beleeve the remission of sins; not only in gene­ral, for this the devils beleeve & yet tremble: but the Christian pe­culiarizes it, and draws sweetnes out of it, I beleeve the forgivenes of my sins▪ And of this latter 'tis meant, that fidelis certus esse potest [...]ertitudin [...] fidei de Remissione peccatorum, Rom. 5. 1. Being justified by faith, [...], a sweet [...], and holy security of Spirit, for Assurance is nothing but apex fidei, the highest degree of faith. And 'tis the speech of Aquinas, Quicunque habet scientiam vel fidem, certus est se [...]abere, nam de ratione fidei est, ut homo sit certus de his quorum h [...]bet fidem. Faith does of its own accord raise and advance it self to As­surance, and that by reason of the applying and appropriati [...]g vertue which is in it; 'Tis faiths Idiom, My Lord, and my God: by a sweet Monopoly it engrosses all to its self; and yet leaves enough for others. Now a man that strongly grasps a Jewel in his hand, knowes that he ha's it; The hand of faith layes hold on Christ, and knowes that it receives him: so the want of Assurance in a Believer does meerly flow from the weaknesse of faith, for though it be true, that to believe, and to know that I [Page 107] beleeve, be two distinct acts: yet this you must know and ob­serve, that the strength and clearnesse of a direct act, will neces­sarily infer a reflex act. Those truths which I do clearly and evi­dently know, I also know that I know them. And that which I strongly believe, I know that I believe it: So the want of assu­rance comes from the imbecillity of Faith. And the Papists that place Faith only in a meere assent, may well deny Assurance; for they take away that clasping and closing power by which it should unite it self with its object.

3. From the nature of the promises: for this is the drift of the promises, (as 'tis Hebr. 6. 18) that the heir [...] of promise might have strong consolation: Now a believer can have but weak and un­stable comfort without Assurance. What if all the clusters of Canaan were laid on an heap? What if all the Cordials of the Gospel were strain'd into one cup? were the soul any thing the better if it must only Tantalize, see them and want them? What sweetnesse can a Christian draw from a promise till he knows that it belongs unto him? Will this enrich a man, to know that there are Pearls and Diamonds in the world? Will this satisfie a faint­ing Israelite, to know that there is a Canaan, a land that flowes with milk and honey, although (it may be) he shall ne're come neer't? Nay, is it not a greater sting and vexation for the soul to think I know there are pure fountains and pleasant streams, but yet I may die with thirst? there are spiritual dainties, and preci­ous delicacies, but I am not sure to have one taste of them▪ many a promise looks with a pleasant and propitious eye, but 'tis not fixt upon my soul; so that take away a Christians interest and pro­priety in a promise, and what becomes of his consolation? God has given his word, his oath, his seal, his earnest, and all to this very end, that a poor Christian may be assur'd of his salvation, that he might have strong and vigorous consolation; so that to deny him this, is to annihilate the word of God, to frustrate the oath of God, to evacuate the seal of God, and as much as in them lies to make him lose his earnest, and to leave the soul in an intri­cate and perplext condition.

4. From the nature of Christian hope; There's a vast diffe­rence between the Moralists hope, and that which is the Theolo­gical grace, and yet this is scarce took notice of; they require these three ingredients into the object of hope: that it must be (1) bo­num▪ [Page 108] (2.) futurum, (3.) incertum; but Christian hope is certain & in­fallible, it looks upon good as to come, and as certain to come; in­deed 'tis nothing but [...], as Clem. Alexand. elegantly, blood running in the veins of Faith; if hope expire, Faith will pre­sently bleed to death. That good which Faith sees, Hope waits for; Faith eyes it as present, but yet at a distance, and Hope tarries for it till it come. Christian hope is nothing but a waiting and ex­pectation of a certain good; you have a pregnant text for this in Hebr. 6. 19. Which Hope we have as an Anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast. Hope were but a poor Anchor if it should leave the soul to the courtesie of a wave, to the clemency of a Rock, to the disposing of a storme. Hope were but a weak Anchor if it should let the soul be lost with uncertainties, if it should leave it in danger of shipwrack. I, but this Anchor is [...], and it pierces within the vaile, it will be sure to have fast hold, 'twill fix upon heaven it self, upon the sanctum sanctorum. See another, Rom. 5. 2. [...]; Now that's a poore glory to triumph in uncertainties▪ to triumph before the victory; little cause of joy and exultation, till the soul be provided for e­ternity. I can tell you the very possibility of being damn'd, is e­nough to extinguish joy; so that till the soul come to be in a safe condition, safe for all eternity, and till it know it self to be in this safe condition, 'tis so farre from being joyful, as that it cannot tell how to be quiet. A probable hope will bear up and support the soul, a door of hope in the valley of Achor: but it will not quiet and satisfie the soul. The least dawning of hope in the initials of grace, does mightily cherish and encourage the soul. O how pleasant are the eye▪lids of the morning! how welcome is the day-break after a dark and disconsolate night! Nay, the ve­ry possibility of being sav'd was that which first drew us all to look after heaven; the very consideration, that there was Balme in G [...]lead; But the weary soul will ne're rest here; the Dove will ne're take this for an Ark: No the beams of Gods love will shine out stronger and brighter upon the soul, and ripen his hope into assurance. Christian hope when 'tis in its full vigour, is all one with assurance, Rom. 5. 5. [...], but if hope could be frustated, it then might make asham'd: disappointment would cause a blush; hope differr'd will make the heart sick, and uncertain hope will scarce make the soul well; a Christians hope [Page 109] is not like that of Pandora, which may flie out of the box, and bid the soul farewel: no, 'twill ne're vanish, till it be swallow'd up in fruition. The hope of the Hypocrite, 'tis as his righteous­nesse, like the morning-dew: but the hope of a Christian 'tis like the morning-light, the least beam of it shall commence into a compleat Sun-shine, 'tis Aurora ga [...]dii, and it shall shine out brighter and brighter till perfect day. We shall further clear this truth, if you consider the manner how Christians are assur'd of their salvation, the third thing we propounded.

1. By the graces of God which are in them, those precious seeds of immortality, and the Prints of the Spirit, by which they are sealed to the day of Redemption. Grace is the Spirits stamp by which it marks the soul for its own; The first-fruits of the Spirit, the least grace, if true and sincere, is sufficient to salvation, and therefore the sense of the least grace is sufficient to As­surance.

Object. But how shall the soule know that it has these graces in truth, and not in shadow and colour only? how shall it be certain that these are not counterfeit and painted?

Sol. There might be given many signes and characters of true grace, that it must flow from a principle of sincerity, from a principle of love, that it must be conformable to the grace of Christ; But all this will not satisfie, for the soule will still questi­on, how shall I know that my graces are such? so then that which we must ultimately resolve it into, is that in Rom. 8. 16. For in the mouth of two or three witnesses every thing shall be esta­blished; Now we have here two witnesses omni exceptione ma­jores, we have a double Testimony, a twin-Testimony. The same Spirit beareth witnesse with our Spirits that we are the Sons of God; [...], he confirmes what the other sayes; both the witnesses do fully agree, and make up one entire testimony, the soul may say here, as Paul, Rom. 9. 1. I speak the truth, I lie not, my Conscience bearing me witnesse by the Holy Ghost.

The whole work of Assurance is summ'd up in this Practical Syllogism, Whosoever beleeves shall be saved: but I beleeve; and so shall certainly be saved. The Assumption is put out of doubt.

1. Conscience comes in with a full testimony: And if natu­ral Conscience be a thousand witnesses, then sure an enlight'ned and sanctifi'd Conscience can be no lesse then ten thousand▪ [Page 110] 1 John 3. 10. He that beleeves has a witnesse in himself, a Certi­ficate in his own breast, [...]: for as the same Apostle, 1 John 3. 2. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence towards God. [...] here is the same with Conscience, for the Hebrewes have no other word for Consci­ence but [...]. So then, if our heart acquit us, [...], we have as much liberty as we can desire. It feares not now the edge of the law, nor the fiery darts of Satan: it doth not stagger with sense of its own weaknesse and unworthinesse, but comes with confidence to the Throne of grace.

Object. 1. Jer. 17. 9. [...]. Supplantativum Cor prae omni­bus, so Arias Montanus, [...], & inscrutahile, desperabile, so Hierome and our Translation, desperately wicked: 'tis properly insa [...]abile. Some think Paul alludes to this place, and does explain it in Rom. 2. 5. [...]. The Seventy reade the words, [...] ▪ & translate it accordingly.

Sol. 1. 1. Now as for the mind of the place: I finde Expositors of great name and worth, understanding it of the unregenerate heart, of the heart of man, that is in the state of corrupt nature, of whom 'tis said, that All the imaginations of the thoughts of mans heart, are altogether evil continually.

Sol. 2. 2. The drift of the text is to shew the deceitfulnesse of mens hearts in respect of others, for 'tis brought in by way of Objecti­on. The Jewes they are cunning and subtile, and can delude the Prophets, and so think to evade the Curse. No; but I the Lord search the hearts: I have a faire window, an open prospect into the most reserved Spirit: 'tis as clear as Crystal to my eye.

Sol. 3. 3. Yet 'tis true, that the most sincere heart is very deceitful, the heart of a David, of a man after Gods own heart, is ful of windings and turnings, and many deviations, such secret passages as him­self knowes not of. For who hath known the errour of his wayes? No man yet had such a piercing insight into his own soule▪ as to be acquainted with every motion of it. None can so anatomize his own Spirit, that it shall be [...], so as every veine and nerve and muscle shall be obvious and apparent to his eye; But what does this hinder, but that the general frame and bent of the Spirit, the byas and inclination of the soule may be clearly known? The soule knowes which way its faculties stream with most vehemency. Conscience cannot be brib'd, 'twill [Page 111] give in true judgement, especially an illight'ned Conscience. There's none, but if he search and examine his own soule in a strict and impartial manner, may know whether he be sincere and cordial or no. There's none but may know the general frame and temper of his Spirit, 1 Cor. 2. 11. Who knowes the things of a man, but the Spirit of a man that is in him? The Testimony of Con­science is certain and infallible. Many a wicked man by this is as­sur'd, that for the present he is in a miserable and damnable con­dition; he knowes certainly that as yet he is out of the Cove­nant; and hence many times there are lightening flashes of ter­rour flie in his face, the very sparks of hell compasse him about. Does not thy Conscience often tell thee, O prophane wretch, that as yet thou art a childe of wrath, and galloping to dam­nation with a full Cariere? why then may not the heart of a Christian tell him as certainly▪ that he is a childe of God by A­doption and an heire of Promise? nay, speak, O Christian, where e're thou art, and speak aloud that we may heare thee, does not thine own soule tell thee that thou art in a sure and happy con­dition? so sure as nothing shall be able to separate thee from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Why are Christians so often enjoyn'd, [...], to try their own hearts, to search their Spirits, if that after all their diligence they can't tell what to think of them? All uses of examination were vain and frivolous, which yet are the very life and spirits of preaching▪ And Ames tells▪ us of a donum discretionis▪ which Christians have, by which they can discerne true grace from counterfeit. There are certain [...] ▪ by which they may distinguish them, and judge of them in themselves, though not in others certainly.

Object. 2. If all thus by the Testimony of Conscience may know their own frame of Spirit whether they be upright or no; why then are not all true Christians assur'd of their salvation? what have they not their consciences and hearts about them?

Sol. 1▪ 1. Many are not sufficiently acquainted with their own Spirits, they do not keep▪ so strict a watch over themselves, they are not verst in their own hearts▪ they don't try and search their wayes, they have riches and a treasure, and do not know of it.

Sol. 2. 2. It is in so great and weighty a matter▪ Eternity does so a­maze and swallow up the thoughts, as that they are ready to tremble▪ where they are certain and secure; A man on the top of [Page 112] a tower knows that he is safe enough, and yet when he looks down, he is afraid of falling.

3. Conscience sometimes gives a dark and cloudy testimony, when 'tis disquieted and charg'd with new guilt, the soule can't so clearly reade its evidences. And then it begins to question its condition. It may be it has dealt hypocritically in some one par­ticular; and now it begins to question all its sincerity.

We do not say then that Conscience does alwayes give a clear and full Testimony, but sometimes it does, and that with absolute certainty.

2. Now comes in the second witnesse, and the great and su­preme testimony of the Spirit himself, witnessing with our Spirits that we are the Sons of God, Rom. 8. 16. we render it, the same Spirit, but in the fountain it is the Spirit it self, not [...], but [...], not only the gifts and graces of the Spirit, but the Spirit it self.

Object. This Testimony seems to be coincident with the other, for a man can't tell his own sincerity: 'tis the Spirit that must reveal a man to himself; The soule can't see its own face unlesse the Spirit unmask it; The Spirit is more present and conversant with the soul, then the soul is with it self. He does not only know our hearts, but he is greater then our hearts, and knowes all things.

Sol. We'l easily grant, that to the least motion in spirituals, there is necessarily requir'd the concurrence of the Holy Ghost; but withal, we say that there's a mighty difference between the work­ing of the Spirit, and the Testimony of the Spirit. There's a pow­erful and efficacious work of the Spirit, when faith is wrought in the soul: but yet there is not the Testimony of the Spirit, for eve­ry believer has not presently the Seale set to him; so that though the Testimony of our own spirit cannot be without the help and influence of the Spirit, yet 'tis clearly distinct from the Testimo­ny of the Spirit; for here the Spirit does enable the soul to see its graces by a present light, by the soules light; But when it comes with a Testimony, then it brings a new light of its own, and lends the soule some auxiliary Beames, for the more clear and full revealing of it, so that you see according to that plain text in the Romanes, There are two distinct Testimonies, the Spirit wit­nessing with our spirits; And St. John is most expresse, Beloved, if our hearts condemne us not, then have we confidence towards God. Now the Testimony of the Spirit is

[Page 113] 1.) A clear Testimony, a full and satisfying light springs in upon the soule, scatters all cloudes, all doubts and questions; 'tis as evident as any demonstration; 1 John 3. 2 [...]. By this we know that he dwells in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us. Christ when he went to heaven, he left the Comforter, not only to the Church in general, but to every particular soule that be­lieves, to print his love upon the soule, [...], &c. Chrysost▪ If a Creature, though never so glittering, should tell men so, there might still be some hesitancy; I, but the Spirit witnesses. The secret and inward Testimony of the Spirit is as strong and efficacious; nay, more powerful then if 'twere with an outward voice. If an Angel from heaven were sent on purpose to a Christian by Christ himself: Go tell him that I love him, that I shed my blood for him, &c. 'twere not so certain.

2.) A sure Testimony, for 'tis the witnesse of the Spirit, who can neither deceive, nor be deceived, [...], sufficientissimum Testimonium, as Cajetan.

1▪ He can't deceive, for he is Truth it self.

2. He can't be deceived, for he is all Eye, Omniscience it self: And he does [...], he dwells in the breast and bosome of God: he is fully acquainted with the minde of God, and he reveales it to the soule. The Papists make the Spirits Te­stimony to bring but a conjectural certainty. But the most re­nowned Perkins answers them, (1.) That 'tis such a certainty as makes them Cry Abba Father: not only think so, and speak so, but with all courage, confidence, intention of Spirit, Cry Abba Fa­ther. (2.) It is opposed to the Spirit of bondage, and therefore takes away doubtings and tremblings. (3.) The very end why the Holy Ghost comes to the soul, is to make all sure, and there­fore is call'd a seal and an earnest. God has given us the earnest of the Spirit, and he will not lose his earnest. Now he assures the soule

1. By a powerful Application of the promise, for as faith does appropriate the Promise on our part, so the Spirit applies it on Gods part. As Satan, that lying Spirit, casts in doubts, and feares, and tremblings, and working upon the remainder of corruption, plots against the Peace and well-being of the soule; so this ho­ly Spirit, by the comforting working upon that principle of [Page 114] grace, which he himself hath planted in the heart of a Christian, do's study and contrive the welfare of a Beleever. And as the Spirit of bondage do's strongly apply wrath and the curse; so this sweet Spirit of Adoption applyes grace and mercy. The Spirit of bondage strikes terrour into the soul, by a mighty Application of wrath; this curse flames against thee; this threatning is shot off against thee; these vials of wrath are prepar'd for thy soul: So the Spirit of Adoption do's set on strong and vigorous apprehen­sions of mercy; this pear [...]e of price, 'tis to enrich thee; these E­vangelical cordials, are to revive thee; this balme in Gilead is pre­par'd for thy soul. The Spirit of Adoption speaks love and peace & pardon; and that by particular Application of the Promise to us; As when the Promise of remission of sins, and life everlasting by Christ is generally propounded in the Ministery of the Word; the holy Ghost do's particularly apply it to the heart of such a one, and do's seale up the Promise to the soul; That when Faith sayes, this Promise is mine, this belongs to me; the Spirit do's strongly apply it; this is thine indeed, and this do's belong to thee: These are the secret [...], the whisperings and breathings of the holy Spirit, the secret [...] by which it converses with the soul; The Spirit of God has free, and often entercourse with a beleeving spirit. And this is far enough from any vain Enthusiasme, any extraordinary Revelation; 'tis no imaginary thing, but such as many a soul is acquainted with, and has tasted of.

2. By a bright irradiation beaming out upon the soul▪ and clearing its evidences, discovering its graces, and shewing them to be true and genuine; not only by giving the soul a spirit of discerning, (for that we referr'd to the former Testimony;) but the Spirit brings in its own light, and makes those graces, which were visible before, more eminently conspicuous; The spirit of a man, was the Candle of the Lord, (as the wise man speaks) which gave a weaker and dimmer light▪ but yet such as was enough to manifest the Object: I, but now there are glorious Sun-beams come rushing in upon the spirit, the Spirit shines in the soul with [...]ealing under his wings. The graces of the Spirit these flow, like a pure and Crystalline stream; and the light of the Spirit shines out upon them, and gilds the water. See a plain Text for this, 1 Cor. 2. 12. We have received the Spirit which is of God, that we [Page 115] might know the things which are freely given us of God: Light sets a glosse upon all the world, and this spiritual light gives a lustre and oriency to graces: it puts a beauty upon them, such as the soul is much taken with; We have received an heavenly light, that we may see heavenly things: Now thou know'st thy Faith to be lively, and thy Repentance to be sound; thy Sorrow to be inge­nuous, and thy Obedience sincere; thy Love to be unfeign'd, and thy fear to be filial: for the Spirit has set his seale to all thy graces, and has acknowledg'd them for his own.

Object. 1. O but many have thought they have had the Spirit, when they had it not: and the Divel, that foule spirit, can trans­forme himself into an Angel of light.

Sol. But 1. One mans self-deceit do's not prejudice anothers certainty. What if one man flatter himself in a false light, and please himself in a meere shadow of Assurance; must all men needs follow his example? A man that is in a dream, thinks him­self awake, when he is not: I, but (I hope) for all this, a man that is awake, may certainly know, that he is so. Many a traveller has thought himself in the right way, when he has been out of it: and yet this do's not hinder, but that he, that's well acquainted with the road, may know that he is in his way. What if one man take Copper for Gold, must all men do so too? One mans folly and vanity does not at all hinder anothers Assurance.

2. The Spirit comes with a convincing beam; Light shews both it self and other things too; the Sun by its glorious beams do's paraphrase and comment upon its own glittering Essence; and the Spirit displayes himself to the soul, and gives a full manifesta­tion of his own presence. The soul knows the aspect of the Spi­rit, better then we do the face of a friend. The light of a pre­sumptuous wretch, is like a blazing Comet, and do's but portend his ruine: it carries a venomous and malignant influence in it; and the light of an hypocrite is but a flash, and coruscation, very brief and transient. A man may sooner take a glow-worme for the Sun, then an experienc'd Christian can take a false delusion for the light of the Spirit.

3. There is a twin light springing from the word and the Spirit. Try the spirits; To the Law, and to the Testimony: if they speak not according to this rule, it is because there is no morning in them.

The Scripture was all endited by the Spirit, and the Spirit can­not [Page 116] contradict himself: You do but grieve the Spirit, (whoer'e you are) that pretend to any Revelation, that agrees not with the Word; Nay, the Spirit has reveal'd his whole minde in the Word, and will give no other Revelation, any otherwise then we have spoken of. And whoever he is that rebells against the light of the Word, he fhall never have the light of the Spirit. Whil'st thou dost not follow the directing light of the Spirit, thou shalt never have the quickening and cherishing beames of it.

And thus you have heard the double Testimony: the Spirit witnessing with our spirit, and now you must know, that

1. The Testimony of Gods Spirit is alwayes accompanied with the Testimony of our own spirit: and so that word, Rom 8▪ is signi­ficant, [...] which is properly of one, that do's only con­firme what the other sayes: But then

2. A man may have the testimony of his own spirit, that has not the witnesse of Gods Spirit. The Spirit as it breaths when it pleases, so it shines when it pleases too: Well then the question is, whether the Christian, who has but the single testimony of his own spirit, may be assur'd of his salvation?

Mr. Perkin's propounds the case, and resolves it thus: If the testimony of the Spirit be wanting, then the other testimony, the sanctification of heart, will suffice to assure us. We know it sufficiently to be true, and not painted fire, if there be heat, though there be no flame; thus he: And his meaning is as indeed the thing is, that it is a true Assurance, though not so bright an As­surance. I may see a thing certainly by the light of a candle, and yet I may see it more clearly by the light of the Sun. And for my part, I think that certainty do's not consist in puncto, but may ad­mit of a latitude; and receive magìs and minús: And the con­trary principle do's delude many. There's an absolute and in­fallible certainty in faith, and by this I know the creation of the World: well, but besides this I know it by reason and by un­questionable demonstration, and I think this addes to my cer­tainty. So here; though one testimony be enough for Assurance, yet a double testimony makes it more glorious. Certainty ad­mits of degrees, and a man may be more certain of a thing, that he is already certain of. Take two Christians, both may be assur'd of their salvation; and yet one may have a clearer assurance then [Page 117] the other has: One may have a double testimony, and another but a single. Nay, the same soul may have at one time a double testimony, and at another but a single. The light of the Spirit may, and do's often withdraw it self, and leave only the witnesse of our own spirit; and yet then the soul has Assurance. But yet the soul should aime at the highest Plerophory, at the top of Assurance: Then quench not the Spirit, lest you put out your own joy; grieve not so sweet an inhabitant, that comes to com­fort you, give him no cause to withdraw his light.

Quest. But what if the soul have not the witnesse of Gods Spi­rit, nor of its own spirit neither? What if it have no present light, no certain evidence?

Answ. There's one way left yet; have recourse to former Assurance. Do'st thou certainly know and remember, that once thou had'st a sweet serenity of soul? that an inlight'ned consci­science upon good grounds, did speak peace unto thee? Did'st thou never see the light of the Spirit crowning thy soul with satis­fying beames? Art thou sure that once he did bear witnesse with thy spirit, that thou wert the childe of God? Why then, be sure still, that thou art in the same condition; for there's no totall falling from grace. Thy light (it may be) is put out for the pre­sent: Conscience do's not speak so friendly to thee, as 'twas wont. And thou hast griev'd the Spirit, and he has took it un­kindely, and has held off his-light for a while: But now canst thou remember the dayes of old, when the Rock pour'd out Oile unto thee, when thy branch was green and flourishing? Canst thou certainly recall thy former Assurance? Canst tell the time when the Spirit did set his Seale unto thee▪ and confirm'd all thine Evidences? Well then, lay down but perseverance for a ground, and thou art still assur'd of thy salvation. The Spirits testimony is of an eternall truth: And heaven and earth shall sooner passe away, then one beam of this light shall vanish though now it be not apparent to thy eye When the soul for the present is cloudy & darke, it may cherish it self with former Assurance. Now that a soul may have no sensible Assurance for the present, and yet may remember former Assurance, is clear in that holy man Da­vid, Psal. 51. 12. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and up­hold me with thy free Spirit. Davids joy was extinguisht, and he would fain have it lighted againe: Three things imply'd in the [Page 118] word Restore. 1. That for the present it was taken away. 2. That once he had it. 3. He remembers that he had it, and therefore prayes, Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free Spirit; that was the spring of Davids joy, the testimony of the Spirit witnessing with his Spirit, was that which did uphold and staffe up the soul. Davids own spirit was now very unquiet, and Gods Spirit did withdraw himself; and now the best refresh­ment that David has, is from former Assurance. 'Tis true, there is some sadnesle and bitternesse in this consideration, when a Christian shall think what he has lost. O, my soul was once a beautiful Temple, full of fair windowes, and goodly prospects, and glorious light; I could take a prospect of Canaan when I pleased, but now I dwell in the tents of Kedar, nothing but black­nesse and darknesse. There is trouble and a sting in these thoughts; but yet there is some honey and sweetnesse too: Was I not once a friend of God, and do's he use to forsake his friends? Did he not once speak peace to thee, and do's he use to recall his words? Did not he shed his love in thy heart, and is not his love immor­tall? Did not his Spirit seale up thy soul, and is not the print of that seale indelible? Speak, did not he once shew thee thy name written with his own had in the Book of Life, and do's he use to blot out what he has written? Do'st not thou remember; did not he smile upon thee in such and such an Ordinance, and are his smiles deceitful? O no! rest satisfy'd, O Christian soul▪ and quiet thy self in those rich expressions of his Love, which he has formerly bestow'd upon thee; O quesion not his goodnesse, but prepare thy self for receiving of it. The streams are dry'd up, but yet the fountaine's full; thou hast had some tastes of it, though now thou art dry and thirsty: and thou shalt have in time fresh bubblings up of his grace towards thee: in the interim, take this for a cordial. Those former drops which thou hast tasted of it, will cherish thy soul to all eternity. The least drop of grace shall never be exhausted, the least spark of true joy shall never be ex­tinguisht; all the floods that the Dragon can vomit out of his mouth, shall never be able to quench it. But then

4. Put the case thus, that there be no Sun-light, nor Starre­light, nor reliques of former light; neither the testimony of Gods Spirit, nor of our own spirits, nor any recalling of former assu­rance; what must the soul do now? Now look to the dawning [Page 119] of the day, to the first Crepusculum; look now to the initials of grace, to the preface of Sanctification. Thou canst not, it may be, shew any faire and lively pourtra [...]cture; I, but hast thou the first draughts, and rudiments of holinesse? Thou hast not any goodly and delicious clusters of Canaan; O but see if the tender grape do bud. There are not any ripe fruits of the Spirit, but yet are there some blossomings of holinesse? They graces don't flow out in fo full and faire a stream; but canst thou see any bubblings up of goodnesse in thee? Thou hast not yet the strength of a well grown Christian; well, but is there the vagitus of an Infant? Look now to the souls prizing of a Christ, to the whimperings after the breast, to the breathings and longings after its Beloved, thoughts upon him, desires for him, endeavours after him; there's much comfort and sweetnesse in these: I, and some kinde of As­surance. For

(1.) Be sure, that God that has begun this great work in thee, will never give over till it be full and compleat; he do's not use to leave his work imperfest. The least tendency to goodness, is cherished by him; The very first motion▪ 'tis of his own plant­ing, and it shall lack for no watering, and he himself will give it an increase.

(2.) The least seed of grace, as 'tis choice and precious; so 'tis very vigorous and operative, it will never leave working till Christ be formed in thee. Who hath d [...]spised the day of small things? Thy spark may spread it self into a flame, and thy tender bud may flourish, and bring forth much fruit. He that is richest in grace, began with as little a stock. He that is now a tall Cedar, was once a tender plant. Improve but present strength, and God will send thee in fresh supplies Auxiliary forces, and thou shalt walk from strength to strength, till thou appearest before God in glory. Thy light shall shine out brighter and brighter till per­fect day, Donec stabiliatur dies, according to the Syriac, till thou com'st to a firme and well establisht Assurance. The least peeping out of light, the least dawning of the day is pleasant and comfortable.

5. If thou canst not spy out any grace in they self, borrow light of another. Lay open thy soul to an Interpreter, one of a thou­sand, he may explain they condition, and paraphraze upon thy soul better then thou thy self canst. This Interpreter, one of a thou­sand [Page 120] may more exactly analyse thy condition, and shew the con­text and coherence of it. 'Tis the speech of Elihu, Job 33. 23. There meets him a messenger, an Interpreter, one among a thou­sand, to shew unto him his uprightnesse; Hee'l shew thee, here's grace, and there's grace; here's a true pearle, and there's a spark though in ashes, and there's an evidence. A discerning and ex­perienc'd Christian may shew thee cause of joy, when thou canst finde none thy self. 'Tis no shame to borrow light, especially spiritual light.

6. One step further. What if after all this there be not the least glimmering of light, nothing of a spark, nothing of a beam; a totall eclip [...]e, all clouds and blacknesse and darknesse and the very valley of the shadow of death? yet even here will we fear none ill.

1. When reflex acts are wanting, be sure to multiply direct acts: when there is no certainty of Evidence, yet even then have a certainty of Adherence and Recumbency. Now grasp a Promise, take fast hold of that precious offer, rolle thy self up­on the free grace of a God in Christ; lay all the stresse of thy sal­vation upon it, with a gallant and heroical resolution; If I perish, I perish. Thus Job, Though he kill me, yet will I trust in him. Thus our Saviour, My God, my god, why hast thou forsaken me? And this must needs be a strong act of faith, even then to rely upon God when he seems thine enemy; to trust in an angry and displeas­ed God, and when he frowns on thee, yet then to lean upon him. Like men ready to be drown'd, be sure to take fast hold; cast Anchor, though in the dark.

2. Study self-denyal, and though thou long and breath after Assurance; yet resigne up thy self wholly to his will, and be con­tent to want Assurance, if he see it best for thee. Take heed of murmuring in the wildernesse, in the saddest and most deserted condition. Throw thy self at his feet, with this resolution; O my God, I'le blesse thee for those eternal treasures of sweetnesse that are in thy self, though I should never taste of them: I'le blesse thee for those smiles of thy face, which thou bestowest up­on others, though thou wilt not cast one gracious look upon my soule: I'le blesse thee for those rich offers of grace thou makest unto me, though I have not a heart to lay hold of them.

[Page 121] 3. Put thy soul into a waiting posture, and stay till he please to display some of himself unto thee, and make some of his good­nesse passe before thee. One beam of his countenance, one gracious smile, one propitious glance of his eye, the least crumb of the hidden Manna; 'tis worth waiting for all thy life-time. And when I speak of waiting, I mean not that the soul should stand still, and do nothing; no, this were against the Text, Give diligence, &c. improve all present strength; waite upon him in prayer, beg one glimpse of him, be earnest for a taste, for a relish of the hidden Manna; and wait upon him in his Ordinan­ces, here the Spirit breaths, here Manna's rain'd down, here God shews his face; here's the sealing place, the Spirit confirmes the word, and prints it upon thy soul. Thus waite upon him in his own way; I, and waite upon him in his own time too, don't think time tedious; He that beleeves, makes not haste, which St. Paul renders; He that beleeves, is not ashamed; as if to make haste and be asham'd, were all one. God will wonderfully prepare the soule, that he means to fill with his love. Assurance is too precious a thing to be pour'd into every spirit: He won't put new wine into old bottles. God is all this while making thee more ca­pable of his love; and though for the present thou hast no Assu­rance, yet thus trusting and waiting upon him, thou art in a great tendency to it. And put the worst that can be imagin'd, that thou should'st dye under a cloud; yet thy condition were safe, and thou shalt come then to a full Assurance; nay, to a full possession of thine inheritance; and thou shalt see the glorious Sunne­shine of the face of God, a beam of which thou did'st so much long for here.

We come now to the fourth particular; those special Seal­ing times, when Christians have their Assurance and Plero­phory.

1. Many times at their first conversion, God do's then seale up the work of grace in the soul. When the Spirit of Bondage has past upon the soul, and by a strong conviction, has apply'd par­ticularly guilt and wrath unto it; the fatal sentence is pronounc't, and the soul is fill'd with the scorching pre-apprehensions of hell and damnation, and trembles at the very thought of eternity: Now for the Gospel to bring thee wellcome newes of a pardon, and for the Spirit of Adoption to apply grace and mercy unto the [Page 122] soul: for the prison-doores to be broken open, and a poor cap­tive set at liberty; to have all the chaines and fetters beaten off, and to be brought into a marvellous light; to have all the balme of Gilead pour'd into him, Evangelical fruitions and cordials pre­par'd for him, and which is the very extraction and quintessence of all, the love of a Saviour shed into his heart: What strong impressions of joy, think you, must there be in such a soul? What precious infusions of spiritual sweetnesse? What secret springings and elevations of Spirit? What triumphs, what Ju­bilee's, what love-raptures? I am my Beloved's, and my Beloved is mine. I must appeal to your breasts that have found this great and heavenly work wrought upon your soul; 'tis you only that have tasted the joy of the holy Ghost, that is glorious and un­speakable. And do you tell us, had not ye then the first relish of the hidden Manna? was not it very sweet and delicious? hadst not thou then the first glimpse of the White Stone? and was not it very bright and orient? hadst not thou then the Spouse kisse, and was not it precious and more worth then a world? didst not thou t [...]n first hear the soft language and whisperings of the Spi­rit, and was not his voice lovely and pleasant? I know your souls dance within you, with the very recalling of so happy and golden a time, and you pant and breath after more of this com­munion with a Saviour, and truly he deserves an Anathema, that do's not preferre the very possibility of having of it before all the world. Hosea 11. 1. When Israel was a childe, then I lov'd him; I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their armes, [...]: I taught him to foot it on the wayes of Religion, [...]; I drew them with the cords of a man, all gentle and perswasive sollicita­tions, with bands of love, I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them. The yoke of bondage the soul was under, God freed the soul, brought him to an ea­sie, pleasant yoke, to an Evangelical yoke. God has a speciall care of tender plants; when Israel was a tender vine, O then he fenc'd it, and hedg'd it, and shone out upon it, &c.

Now Christ is thus pleas'd to reveal his love, to unbosome him­self unto the souls of young Converts, for their greater incourage­ment in the wayes of grace: At the first step to heaven, he gives them a viaticum. If after the soul had been steept in legall hu­miliation, and possest with feares and terrours and amazements, [Page 123] compass't with clouds, and now at last it has been drawn by a mighty work to receive a Saviour; If after all this it should have no Sun-shine, 'twould droop and languish, and be ready to pine away; 'twould be very unfit and unserviceable, the wheels of the soul would move heavily▪ God therefore oiles the wheels, poures the Oile of gladnesse into the soul. And now it moves like the chariots of Aminadab, with a nimble spontaneity. Christ be­gins to flourish through the Lettices, lets in some of his love in­to the soul; I, and gives it a sense of this love too, and this con­strains it to obedience; and sets the soul a longing for more of this love, and for more sense of this love; and so it will never leave longing, till it have a full fruition of it in heaven. This is Gods method, this is the usuall progresse of grace in the soul.

And hence you may see why young Converts are usually so act­ive in the wayes of Religion, so forward and vehement. O, they have fresh apprehensions of the love of a Saviour; with an emi­nent alteration he has wrought in them; how they are rais'd from death to life? O, they can tell you long stories of his good­nesse; what great things he hath done for their soul. So that their affections are rais'd; there's a flush of joy, the soul runs o­ver, and knows no banks, no bounds. Thus God does many times seal up the work of grace in the soul, and gives a satisfying light at the first conversion: but yet I cannot say that this is al­wayes so, for there are diversities of workings, and grace some­times wrought in the soul after a more still and undiscern­able manner; as we shall have occasion to speak more hereafter.

2. Sacrament-times, are sealing times. I speak of the Sacra­ment of the Lords Supper; for as for those secret breathings of the Spirit upon Infants in that other Sacrament of Baptisme, they are altogether unsearchable, and past finding out. Now in the Lords Supper you have the New Covenant seal'd up unto the soul; the soul has not only his graces increased, but they are printed clearer; that seale of the Spirits does print a Christians e­vidences with a clearer stamp. You have plaine and visible re­presentations of the love of a Saviour; and you have the sense of this love pour'd out into you. A Christian feeds not only upon Sacramental bread, but upon hidden Manna too, and has tastes [Page 124] of that love that is sweeter then wine. Here's a feast of fat things; The soul is satisfied as with marrow and sweetnesse; spiritual refresh­ments like fat things, they are sweet, and they are filling too; yet not like other fat things, that have a cloying fulsomenesse in them; no, these carry a delicious relish with them, such as the soul takes present complacency in them, and has a longing appe­tite for them. The soul never nauseats the feast of fat things; but the more it feeds upon them, the more it hungers after them. Now the two grand ends of this Sacrament in reference to a Chri­stian, are (1.) Growth of Grace. (2.) Sense of Grace. 'Tis a Sacrament of Augmentation by which a new-borne-infant-soul may grow up to its just proportion and full stature in Jesus Christ; and 'tis a Sacrament evidencing this his condition to the soul. Christians come hither ad corroborandum Titulum; the smoaking flax comes hither to have some light, and the bruised reed comes hi­ther to have some strength; the worme Jacob crawl's into the presence of a Saviour, and is sent away with an encouraging voice, Fear not, thou worme Jacob. Many a tender babe in Christ, has stretcht out its weak and trembling hand, to lay hold of a Sa­viour, and has found vertue coming out from him. Many a thir­sty soul has come breathing and panting after the streames of wa­ter; 'thas open'd his mouth wide, and he has fill'd it. The long­ing and affectionate soul has come with vehement and enlarg'd desires, and has found full expressions and manifestations of his love towards her. Many a cloudy soul has come hither to see if he could spy out one beam, and has been sent away brighter then the Sun in all its glory. You that come hither with the most am­ple and capacious souls; tell us whether you ben't fill'd up to the brim, whether your cup don't overflow? O what heavenly en­tercourse is there between you and a Saviour? what pleasant a­spects? what mutual love-glances? what smiles and blandish­ments? Don't you finde in your own souls▪ a full Paraphrase up­on the book of the Canticles, that book of Loves? He comes with an earthy and drossie soul, that is not rais'd and advanc't with such glorious mysteries.

And yet my meaning is not, as if every true Christian that had received this Sacrament, must needs have Assurance; No, we know

1. Beleevers themselves may receive unworthily, as the Chri­stian [Page 125] Corinthians, (when Paul tells them) they came together for the worse, and not for the better, he speaks it of such as were truly in the state of grace. Thus he concludes his discourse, You are chastened of the Lord, that you might not be condemned with the world. And thus the soul may go from a Sacrament with lesse comfort then it brought thither.

2. Many that have much joy and sweetnesse from a Sacrament, real and spiritual joy, I and strengh and vigour too, yet it may be have it not in so great a proportion, in so high a measure; their cup is not so brim-ful, as that it should reach to Assurance. All that do truly partake of these heavenly delicacies, yet don't go away equally satisfied. Some have but a taste which is enough to cherish them, others a full draught which does mightily enliven them. So then, all we say is this, those Christians that have as­surance, have it usuall at these times, and some Christians that have wanted assurance, yet here have found it, which should strongly engage all to come hither with great and solemn pre­paration, quickening and exciting their graces, emproving all present strength, breathing and longing after these pleasant streams, widening and enlarging their affections, opening their mouths like a dry and thirsty land that waits for some satisfying showers, and would fain be fill'd.

3. Times of employment are sealing times. When God intends a Christian for great and eminent service, he first makes his goodnesse passe before him, he sheds some of his love into his heart, which does both constraine him to obedience, and encou­rage him in it; his smile makes the soul go cheerefully about his work, his presence gives life and vigour to a performance. The servants of God wait on him, fix their eyes upon him, look whe­ther he gives them a propitious glance, they walk in the light of his countenance, they follow the directions of his eye; they won't move unlesse he breath on them. Moses won't stir without As­surance of his presence. All the clusters of Canaan shall not en­tice him, he had rather dwell with briars and thornes in the wil­dernesse with the good will of him that dwells in the bush: He had rather be in a barren, and desolate, and howling wildernesse: then in a pleasant and fruitful land, in a delicious land without the presence of his God. He knows there's no sweetnesse in Ca­naan without him; there's more sting then honey in the land of [Page 126] Promise, unlesse he be there; and Canaan it self will prove a wildernesse if he withdraw himself. The beames of his gracious Presence, these gild a place: they can turn a desert into a Para­dise, and can make a prison glorious. The love of God in Christ 'tis attractive and magnetical, and drawes the soule along when 'tis once touch▪t with it, this will draw Moses to the land of Promise, this will carry him through all difficulties. God sheds some of this love into Moses his heart, and then he goes on with cheerfulnesse and alacrity. And so 'twas with his Successour Jo­shua. God calls him to an honourable employment, to be the Shepherd of his little flock, to guide and govern his People Is­rael. Now how does he prepare him for so great a work? why, he strengthens him, and heartens him with a Promise of himself, with assurance of his love; Feare not, but be of courage, I am with thee: Thou hast my presenee, thou shalt have my blessing; I have done much for thee, and I will do more for thee; be faithful in my service, and be couragious, and don't doubt of the love of God towards thee. Thus God when he call'd Abraham to that great expression of obedience in the sacrificing of his Isaac, he first warmes his heart with his love, and seals up the Covenant of Grace to him: he spreads before him ample and comprehensive Promises, I am thy God All-sufficient; I am thy Buckler, and thine ex­ceeding great reward; and this will beare up and support Abra­ham, though the staffe of his old age be taken away, and by his own hands cast into the fire.

And this was his usual dealing with the Prophets, when he sent them with great and weighry messages. He first reveales his goodnesse to them, before he reveales his minde by them; he as­sures them of directing mercy, of protecting mercy that shall beare them company, that shall go along with them: and this puts a generous undauntednesse upon them, that they feare not the frowns of men, nor the threatnings of men, nor of the greatest of men: this makes Jeremy to set his face like a flint, and Esay to lift up his voice like a Trumpet, to tell Israel their sins, and Judah their transgressions.

And this is that which prepares the Martyres for their suffer­ings. God tempers and allayes that Cup, he drops some of his goodnesse into it, and sweetens it to them. He first sets his seal to their soules, before they set their seal to his truth; he diets [Page 127] them with the hidden Manna, and gives them before-hand the White Stone, as a sure pledge of victory. What is it but this that makes them devoure torments, and come to them with an appe­tite? 'tis this that softens the flames, and turnes them into a bed of Roses; 'tis this that fills their souls with joy, and their mouths with praises: that makes them more chearful in their suf­ferings, then their Saviour in his; for they usually have the face of a reconciled God shining out upon them, which was wholly with drawn from him, when he cry'd out, My God, my God, Why hast thou forsaken me?

4. Praying times are sealing times. The same Spirit that endites the Prayer, seales it up. When Hannah had put up her Prayer, 1 Sam▪ 1. 18. the text sayes expressely, ▪that her countenance was no more sad. As 'tis the great Priviledge of Assurance. that Chri­stians may then with confidence cry Abba Father, so also 'tis a great meanes to Assurance. The hearing of Prayers is a mighty strengthening to faith; and the strengthening of faith does strongly tend to Assurance. Besides, Christians may pray for As­surance; they may be importunate for a glimpse of his face, for one beam, for one smile, and his bowels won't let him deny them. Hence you shall finde it, that such as are most frequent in Prayer, are most blest with Assurance. Praying Christians have much entercourse and communion with their God. And thus there may be a National kinde of Assurance, I say a National plerophory; when God shall poure out a Spirit of Prayer and Supplication upon his people, and they with united and concen­tricated abilities shall besiege the Throne of Grace; there is no doubt, there can be no doubt, but at length he will yield up such a mercy to his praying People.

5. Times of outward exigencies are sealing times, 2 Cor. 4. 16. Though our outward man decay, yet our inward man is renew'd daily; that feeds upon hidden Mannah, a precious restaurative for a fainting Christian: Manna you know was rain'd down in the wildernesse; and when the Israelites provision failed them, then Manna was rain'd down. When the water-pots are fill'd up to the brim, then water presently turn'd into wine: and so this hidden Mannah is provided for sad and cloudy conditions. We except only the case of total desertion, when the soul has not the least light shining in upon it▪ which is the severest judge­ment [Page 128] that a true Christian is capable of: but in other distresses, especially outward and temporal distresses, he does reveal him­self more immediately to them. And though the creature frown, yet he will smile upon them. Believers they are the friends of God, and 'tis no part of friendship to forsake them in the sad­dest times. St. John, when a banish't man in the Isle of Pathmos, then God shewes him that glorious Revelation. Paul and Silas, when in prison, then brim-full of joy, which breaks out into Psalmes of Praise. In the fiery trial, as there is some scorching, so there is some light too. And God does prepare his People for the seal of the Spirit, by thus melting and softening their heart; for the softer the heart is, the clearer will the Print of his love be. When God had brought that great sicknesse up­on Hezekiah, and thus had dissolv'd and soft'ned his heart, he presently prints his love upon it: [...], Thon hast lov'd my soule from the grave. God does then most ex­presse his love, when they have most need of it. The white Stone sparkles most oriently in the darkest condition. O how glorious­ly does God shine in upon the prisons of Martyrs? what fre­quent visits does he give them? it might even make men ambi­tious of their sufferings, that they might have some such expressi­ons of his love towards them.

6. Times of Victory and Conquests over lusts and temptati­ons are sealing times. God after such victories will give his Peo­ple a triumph. This is exprest in that text of the Revelation, Rev. 2. 17. [...], To him that overcomes will I give to eate of the hidden Mannah, &c. Thus when Saint Paul was wrastling with, and conquering that great temptation, whatever it was, that is mentioned in 2 Corinthians 12. God then gives to eat of the hidden Mannah, and strengthens him with this, My grace is sufficient for thee. He gives him the white Stone with that Motto graven in it, My grace, &c. Thus that noble Christian, and famous Convert of Italy Galeacius Caracciolus, when he had scorn'd the pomp and lustre of the world, and had trampl'd upon all relations for the love of a Saviour: when Sa­tan that cunning Angler of souls had spent all his baits upon him, and he had refus'd them all: O then what a deal of precious sweetnesse slides into his soul? what rushings in of glorious joy? he had never such joy at Naples, as he had at Geneva. You may [Page 129] hear him pronouncing an Anathema to all such, as shall prefer all the gold and silver in the world before one dayes sweet Com­munion with Jesus Christ. As none have more dregs of wrath then relapsing and apostatizing Spirits, (Remember but Spira's case;) so none have sweeter and choicer mercy then the faithful Servants of the Lord Jesus, that follow him in the houre of tem­ptation. Apostates are seal'd up to a day of vengeance, but these are seal'd up to a day of Redemption. Thus the Mourners in Ezekiel, that would not yield to the abominations of the times must have a seal set upon them. Thus that Virgin-company in the Revelation, that would not prostitute their soules to Antichri­stian folly, have the seal of God in their foreheads. This is the happinesse of a Christian, that he has a sweet satisfaction in self­denyal; in denying sin, in repulsing lust, in conquering tem­ptation, in pulling out his right eye, in cutting off his right hand, in mortifying the body of death, he has a sweet satisfaction in all these. And thus you have seen those special sealing times when Christians have this high plerophory, these riches of Assurance: we come now to speak of them in a more Applicatory way.

1. Times of Assurance, they should be times of humility and dependance upon God. When Moses had been so long in the Mount, and had a lustre upon him by conversing with God him­self, presently at the foot of the Mount he meets with matter of humiliation. The Israelites have made them a golden Calfe; Thy People, sayes God to Moses, they have done this. And the Apostle Paul, when he had been rapt up into the third Heaven, and had heard there some of Arcana Coeli, things that neither could nor might be utter'd; for both are imply'd in [...]: there then comes a messenger of Satan to buffet him, he must be put in minde of himself by a thorne in the flesh, and that lest he should be exalted above measure with abundance of Revelations. A creature can't [...] ▪ a little thing will puffe up a bubble, a small happinesse will swell up the sons of men. Pride as it twines about the choicest graces, so it devoures the sweet­est comforts. But yet there is nothing tends more to soule-abase­ment and self-examination, then the beholding of Gods face, then the seeing of his glory, this will make the soul abhorre it self in dust and ashes. The more God reveals himself unto the [Page 130] soul, the more will the soul see that huge disproportion that is be­tween it self and a Deity. There's none here below that ever saw more of Gods face then Moses and Paul had done, and there were none that ever had lower apprehensions of themselves. They knew well enough what the Sun-shine of his presence was, what a glorious sight it was to behold his face, and yet they had rather part with this, then he should part with his glory. They are like men amaz'd with the vastnesse and spaciousnesse of the Ocean, and make nothing of a little inconsiderable drop of Be­ing. They that know not these treasures of love and sweetnesse, those heaps of excellencies that are stor'd up in God, these are the grand admirers of themselves. But when the soul comes to have a prospect of heaven, and fixes its eye upon an object of the first magnitude, the creature disappears, self vanishes and loses it self in the fulnesse of God. And if God do assure thee of this his love, thou canst not but wonder at the greatnesse of his good­nesse, especially when thou shalt recollect thy self, and think upon thine own unworthinesse. Thou that didst not deserve a beam of his face, what does he give thee a full Sun-shine? Thou that could'st not look for the least taste of his love, what does he give thee a whole cluster of Canaan? Thou that didst not deserve the least crumb of the hidden Mannah, does he fill thee an Omer full of it? Nay, yet higher▪ Thou that didst deserve a brand from his Justice, does he give thee a seal of his love? he might have given thee gall and vineger to drink, and does he flow in upon thee with milk and honey? he might have given thee the first flashes of hell, and does he give thee the first-fruits of heaven? what could'st thou have look't for but an eternal frown, and dost thou meet with so gracious a smile? O then fall down and adore his goodnesse, and let all that is within thee blesse his holy name. Tell me now, is there any ground for pride in such a soul? Does not Assurance bespeak humility; and speak a meet dependance?

2. Times of Assurance, they should be times of trampling up­on the creature, and scorning of things below. Dost thou now take care for corne, and wine, and oile, when God lifts up the light of his countenance upon thee? is this same▪ Angels food, this same hidden Mannah, is it too light meat for thee? Now thou art within the land of Promise, feeding upon the grapes [Page 131] and pomegranates of the land, dost thou now long for the gar­lick and onions of Egypt? Now thou art within thy fathers house, and the fatted Calfe is slaine, wilt thou now still feed upon husks? Art thou cloth'd with the Sun, and canst not thou trample the Moon under thy feet? O let them scramble for the world that have nothing else to live on. Pray give room to the green Bay-trees to spread themselves abroad; but don't thou lose thy fatnesse and sweetnesse to rule over these. Art thou sure of heaven, and would'st thou fix thy Tabernacle upon earth? Is it good for thee to be here? or would'st have any more then the light of Gods countenance? is it not enough that thou art sure of happinesse? is not a fountain enough for thee? why wilt thou drink in muddy streames? and thou that art fill'd with the love of a Saviour, canst thou tell how to spend a thought up­on the world? is not there more beauty in a Christ then in the Creature? is not he the fairest of ten thousand? Away then with adulterous glances, for why should'st thou embrace the bosome of a stranger?

3. Times of Assurance they should be times of watchfulnesse, and more accurate walking with God. To sin against revealed love, is a deep and killing aggravation. To sin against light is too too much, but to sin against love is a great deal more: this height'ned Solomons idolatry, (1 Kings 11. 9.) that he turn'd from the God of Israel which had appeared to him twice. What wilt thou with Jeshurun wax fat and kick, and kick against bow­els too? To provoke God in a wildernesse is not so much as to provoke him in a Paradise. What could he have done more for thee then he has done! and what couldst thou have done more against him then thou hast done! and wilt thou still requite him thus? wilt thou provoke him with Mannah in thy mouth? Does he give thee the sweet clusters of the land, and dost thou return him wilde grapes? that which is the strongest engagement to obedience, dost thou make it an encouragement to sin? art thou so willing to dash thy joy, to lose thy peace? And O how will it please the powers of darknesse to see thee abuse a beam? The devil has several designes against the welfare of a soul. First, if it were possible he would keep thee from having any grace at all. But secondly, if he can't do that, he would keep thee from strength of grace, from growth in grace; he would break the [Page 132] bruised reed, and he would quench the smoaking flax But then if he can't prevaile here neither; then in the third place, he would keep thee from sense of grace, in a sad and cloudy condition: he envies thee one beam, one smile, one glance of his eye. But then if the riches of Gods goodnesse do so run over, as that he will give thee a sense of his love; then fourthly, in the last place, he would have thee abuse his grace, and turn it into wantonnesse. But when God has planted thee in so happy a Paradise, don't thou listen to the whisperings of the Serpent. Thou that art seal'd by the Holy Spirit, don't attend to a lying spirit. The de­vil that great plunderer of soules, would faine rob thee of thy Jewels, of thy joy, and peace, and happinesse: but do thou hide them in a Christ, in the wounds of a Saviour; and take heed of blotting thine Evidences; thou that art a Childe of light, be not rul'd by a Prince of darknesse. If God give thee a sense of his love, walk more stedfastly, walk more accurately with thy God.

4. Times of Assurance they should be times of inviting and en­couraging others in the wayes of grace. Thus the Psalmist, when his Cup overflowes, he calls others to taste of it, O taste and see how gracious God is, that ye may trust in him. Thou mayest now bring a good report upon the land of Canaan, thou mayest shew them the goodly fruits of the land, that were cut down at the brook Eshcol. Men look upon Religion as a rigid and austere thing, that comes to rob them of their joy, they must never have a smile more, they must never have a Summers day after it; but thou canst tell them of the sweetnesse and deliciousnesse that is in the wayes of grace, thou canst assure them that all the wayes of wisdome are pleasantnesse; thou canst satisfie them, that grace does not mean to take away their joy, but only to refine it; that it does not mean to put out the light, but only to snuffe it, that it may burn brighter and clearer. There's no such joy to be found in the wayes of sin, there's no such joy to be ex­tracted from the Creature; no, the sweetest and purest honey 'tis suck'd from a flower of Paradise. Spiritual joy 'tis the most clari­fi'd joy; I, and 'tis solid and massy joy, beaten joy, like beaten gold, [...]. I, and 'tis lasting and durable joy. All the Creatures make but a blaze, but the least spark of this 'tis immortal. Can there be a sweeter Sabbatisme of Spirit? can there be a happier composednesse of soul, then to be provi­ded [Page 133] for eternity; to be sure of heaven, of happinesse and glory; to have the revealing of Gods love, the displaying of himself, the beamings out of his face? is not the least appearance of his love more worth then a world? are not the gleanings of spiri­tuals better then the vintage of temporals? Me thinks an assur'd Christian, like a Caleb or a Joshua, should be able and ready to confute all the false intelligence of the Spies, and to answer the weak objections that they bring against the land of Promise. Awake O sluggard, and arise, there is no Lion in the way, or if it be it has honey in it: There are no sons of Anak, or if there be, before Israel even these mountaines shall become a Plain.

5. Times of Assurance they should be times of store, [...]. Now treasure up beames, heap up light, store up hid­den Mannah. To be sure, this Mannah won't breed wormes. Then thou mayest confidently applaud thy self, Soul, take thine ease, thou hast goods laid up for many yeares. Happy thou, if this night thy soul be taken from thee▪ Storing up of former evi­dences, is a good provision against a cloudy day.

6. Times of Assurance should be times of breathing after full possession. The espoused soule should long for the Nuptials, for the full consummation of its joy: and by a heavenly gradation it should ascend in its thoughts. Is there such sweetnesse in one cluster of Canaan, what shall there be in the full vintage? is there such pleasantnesse in a prospect of the land upon the top of Mount Pisgah, what happinesse shall there be in enjoyment of the land? is there such glory in a beam of Gods face, what shall there be in an eternal Sun-shine? is there such a sparkling lustre in the white Stone, what then shall there be in all those pearles that garnish the soundations, and make up the gates of the New Jerusalem? is there so much in the preface of glory, what shall there be in the inlargements and amplifications of it? is there so much in the Aenigma, what is there in the explicati­on? can you see so much beauty in happinesse, when her Mask is on, how glorious then will she appear when she is unveil'd? does the soul sing so sweetly in a Cage of clay, what melody▪ think you, shall it then make when 'tis let loose to all Eternity?

We now come to winde up all in a word of Application.

Now the more pure and delicious a truth is, the more do the [Page 134] men of the world disrelish it: the more bright and shining it is, the more offensive to their eyes. The more orient the Pearle, the more do they trample upon it. Evangelical discoveries meet with the fiercest oppositions. The Serpent will be sure to winde into Paradise, and the seed of the Serpent ever knew how to still ve­nemous and malignant consequences, out of sweet and flowery truthes. 'Tis the devils work to imprison all truth, but the no­bler and more precious truthes must be sure to be put in the low­est and darkest dungeons. As here now, Assurance of salvation, 'tis the very Crown and joy of a Christian; the Flos lactis, the Cream of that [...], that is to nourish soules: 'tis the budding and blossoming of happinesse, the antedating of hea­ven, the Prepossession of glory; 'tis the very Pinacle of the Temple, the [...]; how fain would he throw Christians from thence? how would he blast glory in the bud? how faine would he pull down the suburbs of the New Jerusalem? how would he stop all the fresh springs that are in these? how would he seal up the luscious influences of the Pleiades? how fain would he Lycurgus-like, cut up all the vines of Canaan, that no Spy might ever bring one Cluster of the Land of Promise? He him­self must feed upon nothing but dust, and how does he envy them their hidden Mannah? That Son of the morning is now bound in chaines of darknesse, and how does he envy them their light and liberty? how faine would he cloud and eclipse their Sun, and stop it in its race? nay, set it ten degrees backward? How does he envy them one beam of Gods face▪ a grape of Canaan, one smile, one glance of Gods eye? Now he could finde out no fitter instrument to rob Christians of their joy, then Antichrist that grand enemy of the Church, that spiritual Nero, that Ty­rant of soules that vice-Beelzebub, that Prince of darknesse that rules in the children of disobedience. He rules them, and yet they are children of disobedience for all that. This Bestian Em­pire, (for so 'tis still'd in the Revelation,) delights only in sensu­als, and strikes at spirituals. It strikes at the vitals of Religion at the power and essence of godlinesse. Here are the men that must cry down Assurance under the names of presumption, security, an heap of Enthusiasmes, as if this hidden Mannah would breed all these wormes. If men do but dip in the honey-combe, and take some of these voluntary drops that sweat from it freely▪ of [Page 135] their own accord, as Saul told Jonathan, they must certainly die for it. O this were a way to open their eyes, as it did Jona­thant. They are loth to let men taste and see how gracious God is, lest they might trust in him.

There are therefore two things which I shall here endeavour by way of Application.

First, to give you a brief discovery of those grounds that ne­cessitate the adversaries of this truth to deny Assurance.

Secondly, to take off that vain and frivolous cavil, that assu­rance is a Principle of Libertinisme, and that if men be once as­sur'd of their salvation, they may then do what they list.

And first for the grounds that make them deny Assurance. And though I might here shew at large, that all Popery, the Quintessence of it is extracted out of guesses and conjectures, their whole Religion is but a bundle of uncertainties, a rude heap of contingencies, built upon the thoughts of others, upon the intentions of a Priest; yet I shall let that passe now, and give you these foure considerations that prevaile with them to deny Assurance.

1. They lay too much stresse upon good works. Now Assu­rance is too goodly a structure to be built upon such a foundati­on. They part stakes between grace and merit, and so leave the soul in a tottering condition. There is so much pride bound up in the Spirits of men, as that they are loth to depend upon an­other for their happinesse▪ they would have an innate and do­mestick happinesse within themselves. But alas, self-bottomings are weak and uncertain, and they that build upon their own good meanings, and their good wishes and good resoluti­ons, upon their good endeavours and goodworks, when they have done all, they have built but the house of the Spider. These that spin salvation out of their own bowels, their hope 'tis but as a Spiders web▪ And there are many that neither thus spin nor toile; and yet I say unto you, that a Pharisee in all his glory is not cloth'd like one of these If men do but enquire, and look a little to the ebbings and flowings of their own spirits, to the waxing and waining of their own performances: surely they will presently acknowledge, that they can't fetch a Plerophory out of these▪ Believe it, the soul can't anchor upon a wave, or upon its own fluctuating motions. So that 'tis a piece of ingenui­ty [Page 136] in them, to tell men, that whilest they build upon the sand; they can have no great security that their house will last long: they may safely say of the Spider, that it can have no certainty that its house shall stand. Whilest they lean upon a reed wee'l al­low them to question whether it won't break or no; nay, if they please, they may very well question whether it won't pierce them thorough. They can be sure of nothing unlesse they be sure of ruine. Assurance cannot be founded in a bubble, in a creature, for the very essence of a creature is doubtful and wa­vering, it must be built upon an immutable Entity, upon the free love of God in Christ, upon his royal word and oath, the sure expressions of his minde and love, upon the witnesse of the Holy Ghost, the seal of God himself. Here the soul may rest, and lean, and quiet it self, for with God there is no variablenesse nor shadow of turning. The creature is all shadow and vanity, 'tis filia noctis; like Jonah's gourd, man may sit under its shadow for a while, but it soon decayes and dies. All its certainty is in dependance upon its God. A creature, if like a single drop left to it self, it spends and wastes it self presently: but if like a drop in the fountain and Ocean of Being, it has abundance of security. No safety to the soul, but in the armes of a Christ, in the embra­ces of a Saviour. No rest to a Dove-like spirit, but in the Ark of the Govenant, and there's the pot of hidden Mannah. You know that dying Bellarmine was faine to acknowledge, that the nearest way to Assurance, was only to rest upon the free grace of God in Christ. And they that cry down duties so much, if they would mean no more then this, that men must not trust in them, nor make Christs of them, nor Saviours of them, (as they use to express it) wee'l easily grant them this if they'l be content with it.

2. They take away that clasping and closing power of faith it self, by which it should sweetly and strongly embrace its own object. They would have the soul embrace clouds and dwell in generals; they resolve all the sweetnesse and preciousnesse of the Gospel, either into this Universal, Whosoever believes shall be sa­ved: or else, which is all one, into this Conditional, If thou belee­vest thou shalt be saved Now this is so farre from assurance, as that the Devils themselves do thus believe and yet tremble. The thirsty soul may know that there is a fountaine but it must not presume to know that ever it shall taste of it. The wounded [Page 137] soul (with them) may take notice that there is balme in Gilead, but it must only give a guesse, that it shall be heal'd. They won't allow the soul to break the shell of a Promise, so as to come to the kernell. They silence Faith, when it would speak in its own Idiom, My Lord, and my God. O what miserable comforters are these: How can they ever speak one word upon the wheels, one seasonable word to a wearie soul; when as all they can reach to, by their own acknowledgement, is to leave the soul hovering betwixt heaven and hell? And as they say in matter of Reproof, Generalia non pungunt: so 'tis as true in matter of Comfort, Ge­neralia non mulcent. Yet to see how abundantly unreasonable these men are; for in the matter of their Church, there they re­quire a particular appropriating faith, a Monopolizing faith, that the Church of Rome is the only true visible Church: and this is no presumption with them. Thus they can embrace a dull Errour, and let go a precious Truth. But the true Church of Christ, as 'tis it self built upon a Rock; so every Member of the Church has the same security. And the soul with a Spouse-like affection, do's not only conjecture who is her Well-beloved, but is in his very armes, and breaks out into that expression of love and union; I am my well-beloved's, and my well-beloved is mine. But how strangely do's their conjectural certainty take away the sweetness of such Relations? Christians with them must only conjecture that they are the Sons of God, the Spouse must only guesse at her beloved husband; the sheep must hope that this is the Shepherds voice. O how do they emasculate and enervate Religion! how do they dispirit it, and cut the very sinews of the power of god­linesse! But all you that would finde rest to your souls, must know that you can never apply a Christ too much, that you can never appropriate a Saviour enough, that whole happinesse is in union with him.

3. They deny perseverance, and so long may very well deny Assurance. And yet the Arminians have an Art of reconciling Assurance, and Non-perseverance. They allow men a little brief Assurance for one moment, a breve fulgur, a little corruscation of joy, that only shews it self that it may vanish and disappear. The summe of their meaning amounts to thus much: For that moment that thou art in the state of grace, thou may'st be sure on't, but thou canst not be sure that the next moment thou shalt [Page 138] be in the state of grace. As if a Christian were only a Ball of fortune to be tost up and down, at her pleasure. And indeed they make grace as voluble and uncertaine, as ever the Heathen did fortune. And if they would speak out, grace with them is [...]es vitrea, quae dum splendet frangitur. And vasa gloriae with them are little better then vasa fictilia: they can dash them in pieces like a Potters vessel. And then make no more of it then Epictetus at the breaking of a pitcher. [...], 'tis but a usual thing; Hodie vidi fragilem frangi. Vain men that think the grace of God as mutable and unconstant as they themselves are, that can re­move men from heaven to hell as often as they please, that with a daring Pen can blot names out of the book of Life, and reverse the seale of heaven when they list. This must needs strike at the root of Assurance, and leave the soul in such sad doubts as these. 'Tis true, I am now feeding upon the milk and honey of the land of Canaan; but I may returne to the wildernesse again, to the bondage of Egypt again. 'Tis true, I am now a Temple of the holy Ghost; but how soon may I become a prison, a dungeon, the receptacle of every unclean spirit? What though I be now a vessel of honour, how soon may I become a vessel of wrath? and though I be for the present in the loving hand of a Saviour, yet I may be to morrow in the unmerciful paw of the Lion. Pray tell us now, has the soul any great security all this while? are the friends of God no surer of his love then thus? 'Tis happy for Christians, that 'tis not in the power of these men; no, nor of all the powers of darknesse, to put a period to their joy; no, not to put the least comma or interruption to it. No, they may assoon dethrone the Majesty of heaven it self, they may assoon pluck the Crown from his head, and wrest the golden Scepter out of his hand: nay, they may assoon pluck out the Apple of his eye, they may assoon annihilate a Deity, as pull thee out of his hands, as rob him of one of his Jewels. Thou art kept by the mighty power of God through faith unto salvation. We can't close up this better then with that heavenly [...], those triumphant expressions of the Apostle Paul: For I am perswaded, that neither life, nor death, nor Angels, nor Principalities, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, &c.

4. They never had any Assurance themselves, and so they would willingly deny it to others. There is so much pride and envy in [Page 139] the spirits of men, as that they are very loth, that others should have more happinesse, or be more sensible of happinesse then themselves. They do here Calamum in Corde tingere; they tell you what they finde in their own hearts, nothing but conjectures, and shiverings, and tremblings, nothing but slavish doubts and feares. But the voice of Assurance, 'tis a still voice, the Spirit speaks; [...]. That soul only hears it, to which it speaks. The sparklings of the White Stone are secret and undiscernable to a carnal eye: No man knows it, but he that has it. 'Tis Manna [...]; not the visible and obvious Manna that was rain'd down by the tents of the Israelites, but that that was reserv'd, and laid up in Ʋrna aurea. Spiritual tastes and relishes, spiritual experiences, they are wholly unexpressible, they are altogether unimitable. There are two things which the most refined and accomplisht Hypocrite can't possibly reach unto. (1.) He can't expresse the life and power of a Christian. (2.) He can't expresse the joy of a Chri­stian. As no man can paint the Being of a thing, so no man can paint the sweetnesse of a thing. Who ever could paint the sweet­nesse of the Honey-combe? the sweetnesse of a cluster of Canaan? the fragrancy of the Rose of Sharon? the sweet voice of a Lute? [...], &c. The Painters eye steals a little beauty from the face; and perhaps his hand makes restitution, re­storing it again in the picture, and that's all you can expect of him; nay, 'tis well if he performe so much: As for the expres­sion of vitals, or the representation of essentials, 'tis Ʋltra Pene­cillum▪ so that he must let this alone for ever. Beleeve it, Since­rity can't be painted. The joy of the holy Ghost can't be painted. 'Tis easier painting of faces, then of hearts. Men in an unrege­nerate condition, can't know what Assurance is, till their hearts be changed, or unlesse they could read the hearts of Gods people. Men will deny the most certain and unquestionable things, if they themselves have no experience of them. Upon this account many a fool has said in his heart, There is no God; because he had no communion with him, he did not attend upon him. Thus others deny that there is any such sweetnesse in the wayes of God, be­cause they were never acquainted with them.

In Musick, what though there be never such variety of graces, such inarticulate elegancies, such soft and silken touches, such [Page 140] quick stings and pleasant relishes, such musicall amplifications, and flourishes, such nimble transitions and delicious closes; you'l scarce convince a deaf man of all this, till you can give him his hearing. Or suppose a blinde man should obstinately deny that there were a Sun; truly I can't tell how you could well convince him, unlesse you could give him an eye, or else perswade him that he is defective in somewhat which others have. To speak of As­surance, and the voice of the Spirit to some, is but to speak Riddles and Paradoxes. Here I have told you much of Light, and Beams, and Glory; I had as good told some of you, of clouds, and sha­dows, and darknesse. I have spoke much to you of the fruits and clusters of Canaan; had I not as good have set before some of you briars and thornes, would you not have had as much sweetnesse in them? I ner'e promis'd to shew you the Manna; for I told you 'twas hidden: yet we have told you the things which we have seen and known, and what we have tasted of the Word of Life; and that which I doubt not, but many of you can set your seales unto.

We come now to take off that vaine and frivolous Cavil, that Assurance is a principle of Libertinisme; that the Apples which the Spouse longs for in the Canticles, will breed too much winde; that hidden Manna will breed wormes, that those flaggons full of wine, which the Spouse would so faine be comforted withall, will fume up too much into the head. O, say they▪ if men be once assur'd of their salvation, they may then do what they list. But

1. God won't put now wine into old bottles. God never prints his love upon the heart, till the heart be renew'd and prepar'd with Evangelical meltings; and the same Seale that prints his love, prints his Image too. A flinty heart won't take the seale of the Spirit The sparkling White Stone is never given, till the heart of stone be taken away. The new name is not given, till the new creature be fram'd. God will not distill one silver drop of such precious sweetness upon the soul, till it be enclos'd for his own garden. And though the outward Sun-shine with liberal and undistinguishing beams, shines both upon the good and the bad, upon the Rose and Nettle; yet the light of Gods countenance beams out only upon the Apples of his own eye: the Sun-shine of his gracious presence, gilds only the vessels of Honour, and [Page 141] puts a lustre upon none but his own Jewels. And though the pourings forth of ordinary goodnesse fall upon a wildernesse sometimes, as well as on a Paradise; yet these more choise and luscious influences of heaven, slide only into the hearts of Gods peculiar ones. Beleeve it, thy soul must first become an Arke of the Covenant, before thou shalt ever have a Pot of hidden Man­na in it.

'Tis true, that if God should thus display his goodnesse, and seal up his love to the soul, whil'st it were still in an unregenerate condition, whil'st it did still hanker after its lusts and corruptions, 'twould then indeed sport it self more securely in this Sun-shine of mercy, and turne this grace of God into wanto [...]nesse. Thus men of sordid and ignoble spirits, will trespasse more upon a friend, then upon an enemy; an injury will keep them in better order, then a courtesie. Thus nettles will sting most violently, when they are handled most gently. Thus the wretched Indians adore the Devil, because he is their enemy, and neglect the Majesty of heaven, because 'tis so propitious. When God shines out upon ungrateful dunghils, they returne him nothing but venomous and malignant evaporations. We'l easily acknowledge, that if these men should have the White Stone, they would trample upon it: For you see how they deal with ordinary mercy, which the boun­ty of heaven heaps upon their heads.

There are such Pleonasms of love in God, such runnings over of goodnesse, as that much falls upon these. God breaks the box of common mercies, and fills the whole world with the sa­vour of it. But what tribute and Revenues of glory has he from them for all this? Why, they violate his Lawes, and profane his Name, and fight against him with his own weapons, [...], with his most precious mercies, gifts and parts, and all they have shall oppose him that gave them. Of their Jewels they make a golden Calfe. Do you think now that God will trust these with his more speciall mercies, with his viscera and tender mercies? He try'd the vessel with water, and 'twont hold that. Do you think he will poure wine into it? No, God re­veals his love to none but to his friends; he sets his Seale to none, but to such whom he sets as a Seale upon his heart and on his arme; such as have an happy conformity to him, and a full complyance with him; such as have the same interests, and the same glorious [Page 142] ends with himself; such as delight in his Law, and feed upon his precepts▪ as upon an honey-combe. Do you think he mayn't trust these with his minde; such as have a plain antipathy against sin, against the very picture and appearance of sin; such as pre­ferre Hell it self before it; such as loath it, even as himself loaths it; men that are ready to pluck out their right eyes for him, to cut off their right hands for him? Do you think he mayn't ma­nifest his love to these? What sayes the Apostle John? He that is borne of God cannot sin; 'tis a plain impossibility that he should so far put off his filial affection, as to make it his work to displease him: much lesse can he take so strong an advantage of his good­nesse, as therefore to provoke him, because he knows that God loves him. These men only tell us what they would do if they had Assurance; but truly they are not like to have it, till their hearts be chang'd, and then they'l be of another minde.

2. Love is a sweeter and surer and stronger principle of obe­dience then feare. So that God did infatuate the counsel of that Achitophel, Machiavel I mean, when he still'd that venom into the hearts of Princes, that they had better rule their Subjects with a Rod of iron, then with a Scepter of gold; that they had better enslave them by feare, then engage them by love. The truth is, he had given them such Rules, that he knew if they follow'd them, they could not possibly be lov'd; and therefore he would faine perswade them, that 'tis better to be fear'd. And though this may seem to adde some sparklings to Majesty, and to brighten the Crown of Sovereignty; yet it leaves it farre more tottering, more unfixt and unsettled upon their heads. There is such a virulency mixt with fear: such a tincture of hatred in it; both these affections are much of a colour, sad and pale. And therefore that Tyrant was so wise yet as to expect hatred; Ode­rint dum metuant, sayes he, he knew whilest they fear'd him, that they would hate him; And then there is a reluctancy and Aver­sation in fear; And those workings upon the soul, that come only from terrours, they usually prove Abortive. And what though a body be pull'd and hal'd and scar'd into obedience? the soul is not conquer'd with all this. A slave do's but watch an opportunity for shaking off the yoke. And then there is a de­pressing and disenabling power in fear, it contracts and freezes up the motions of the soul; it clips the wings, it takes off the wheels, [Page 143] it unbends the bowe. Trembling and Paralytick motions are weak and languishing. Indeed fear 'tis nothing but Praecox tristitia, a crude and indigested kinde of sorrow; and 'tis the sowrer, because it is not ripe. And therefore God himself that is a most absolute Monarch, and has a boundlesse and infinite supremacy over all things; yet has far more glory from them that love him, and only passive obedience from them that fear him. Indeed he never goes about to rule any by fear, but those that have first trampl'd upon Love, and are no longer Subjects, but profest Rebells. 'Tis love that glews and fastens the whole Creation together. Those seeds of love which God himself, (who is love) has scatter'd a­mongst Beings; those sparks of love which God himself, (who is love,) has kindled amongst Beings, and those indeleble prints of love which God himself, (who is love,) has stampt upon Beings, maintain the whole fabrick of the world in its just beauty and pro­portion. The harmonious composure of Beings▪ the tuning of the several strings, makes them sound out his praise more melodi­ously. O how comely is it to see the sweet context and cohe­rence of Beings, the loving connexion and concatenation of causes: one being espous'd to another in faithfulnesse and truth; the mutual claspings and twinings, the due benevolence of entities. Behold, how goodly a thing it is and pleasant to behold Beings, like Brethren to dwell together in unity: It calls to minde those preci­ous drops of love, that fall from the head of the first Being, and fell down upon the skirts of inferiour entities. And is not there as much of this love to be seen in the new Creation, in the work of grace in the soul? Is not the foundation of the second Temple laid in love? is not the top and pinacle of it set up by a hand of love? Are not the polishings and carvings of it, the works and expressions of love? the witty inventions of love? Is not the structure maintain'd and repair'd at the constant expences of love? Is it not inhabited by a Prince of love? one more loving then Solomon is there; nay, what is the whole Gospel else, but [...], a cluster of Redemption, as some render it; what is it else but a bundle of love?

The Law that was an hammer to break hearts; I, but the Gospel that's a key to open hearts. And truly all the terrours of Mount Sina, the thunder-claps and the lightning flashes, the earth-quakes and the smoaking of the Mountain, and the voice of [Page 144] the Trumpet, have not so much power and prevalency in them, as one still drop that falls from Mount Sion. You are now come to the Mount of Olives, a Mount of Peace and sweetnesse, a Mount that drops fatnesse, and in this Mount will Christ be seen. And he comes to restore all things to their Primitive love: he restores the powers and faculties of the soul to their first and original con­cord; he knits his gifts and graces in the bond of love: he comes to reconcile Beings, to make antipathies kisse each other. The Wolfe and the Lambe must be at peace, the Leopard and the Kid must lye down together. The whole Gospel like the midst of Solomons bed in the Canticles, [...], 'tis pav'd with Love. Now sure you can't question whether this be the more prevailing way: For, O think but a while, what a potent ora­tory there is in love, what a wellcome tyrannie, what a silken bondage, what a downy and soft necessity. Glorious things are spoken of thee, thou Lady and Queen of Affections! thou art the first-borne of the soul, and the beginning of its strength. Who would not be captivated by so sweet a Conquerour? Who would not be mel [...]ed in so delicate a flame? What heart would not en­tertain so pleasant an arrow? The Psalmist was struck through with one of thy darts, when he panted so after the streams of water. The Apostle Paul had another of thy arrowes sticking fast in him, when he cryed out, The love of Christ constrains me▪ Vulnus [...]lit venis, & S [...]cro carpitur igni. Beleeve it, the strongest arguments are fetcht out of Loves Topicks. We need not use many perswasions to such a soul, it has a fountain of Rhetorick within. There is a present expansion and amplification of spirit for the wellcomming of so happy an object. O how will such a soul twine about a Precept, suck sweetnesse out of a Command, catch at an opportunity, long for a Duty! How do's it go like a Bee from flower to flower, from Duty to Duty, from Ordinance to Ordinance, and extract the very spirits and quintessence of all, [...], crop the very tops of all. There will be in such a soul, the constant returnings and reboundings of love. 'Twill re­tort the beams of heaven, 'twill send back the stream of its affe­ction into the Ocean. So that now as the soul is assur'd of the love of God, so God also has a most absolute certainty that the soul will [...]. And thus is compleated the sweet and per­fect circle of Love. Now there cannot be a more strong and a [Page 145] more mutual security, then that which is thus founded▪ And therefore nature chooses to maintain her self by these impressions. We see this plainly in filial and conjugal relations, where the sweetest and surest obedience flowes from principles of love. And where is there more certainty then amongst friends; where there is a borrowing and lending of souls, a mutual exchange and trans­migration of souls? Now you know all these Relations are clari­fi'd and refin'd in grace; you are the friends of God; nay, you are the Sons of God, you are the Spouse of Christ. And the A­postle John, that speaks so much of Assurance, and tells you that a Christian can't sin; consider but a while, who he was. Why, he was the Beloved Disciple, he that lay in the bosome of love, and breathed out nothing but pure love. I, and his reason, 'tis founded in a relation of love: He cannot sin, because he is borne of God. He resolves it into the [...], that same impressi­on of love that abides in him.

3. Consult a while with your own experience and observation, and then tell us whether ever you knew any to walk more accu­rately with their God, then such as were assur'd of his love. If you look up to heaven, there you see glorious Angels, and glorifi'd Saints, that have not only a full Assurance, but a full possession of the love of their God: that are no longer taking a prospect of Canaan, but are now feeding upon the fruits and clusters of the land of Promise: that have not only some scatter'd, and broken beams of glory, but a constant and an eternal Sun-shine. And O how do they [...] only, but [...]. They have not only as we here below, some drops and sprinklings of happinesse; but they are at the very Fountain, and have fresh bubblings of joy, full streamings out of sweetnesse, and can swim in the rivers of pleasure. Surely these men will allow the Angels somewhat more then only to conjecture that they are happy. What must glorifi'd Saints still dispute about their Sum­mum Bonum, lest they be too secure; and must Angels only be of opinion, that they are in heaven? must they only guesse at the face of God? What▪ will they clip the wings of the Cherubims too? Where has God more cheerful obedience then from these? How joyfully do these ministering Spirits runne about their glori­ous errands? How do's he bid one▪ Go, and he goes, and another, Come, and he comes. And that which sets a faire glosse upon hap­pinesse [Page 146] it self is this, that they are out of all possibility of dis­pleasing their God. And so they are held forth as patternes of obedience; Thy will be done in earth as 'tis in heaven.

Well, but then if they tell us that there is more danger of fraile men that dwell in houses of clay, and carry the body of death about with them.

1. We must bid them entertain honourable thoughts of the Ex­cellent ones of the Earth: for though it be true that they are not yet [...]; yet God has made them little lower then the Angels, and he has crown'd them with glory and honour. They walk with little coronets upon their heads: Though the most massy and brightest crown be reserv'd for a day of Inauguration. They now feed upon Angels food. God steeps them in his own nature, and in his own love; he gradually prepares them for heaven. They are Inceptours in happinesse, they are Probationers for glory.

2. What though there be some unworthy dealings with their God, yet these flow only from those reliques of slavish principles that remain in them, some fragments of the old Leaven that was not throughly purged out. And not by vertue of a Gospel-Ple­rophory. What do's the knowing that they are Sons of light, do's this dispose them to works of darknesse? Do's the knowing that they are the Spouse of Christ, do's this bespeak adulterous glances? 'Tis true, the Sons of God may provoke him, but must they therefore needs do it under this very notion, because they know they are his Sons? nay, must they do it the more for this? This were the extreamest malice that were imaginable; more ma­lice then the devils themselves are capable of. What bold blas­phemy then is this against the Sons of God, and against the seal­ing Spirit. I, and it envolves a flat contradiction too, it puts an esse and a non esse simul; because they know they are friends, there­fore they'l deal like enemies; and because they know they'r Sons, therefore they'l deal like slaves. O what fine repugnancies are these? Thus would they not only veile and cloud, but also spot and deface so beautiful a Truth; but that it shines out with such victorious and triumphant beams. But if any can yet doubt, whe­ther Assurance do advance obedience, let them but a while com­pare men assur'd of their salvation: (1.) With others in the state of grace that want Assurance, or with themselves when once [Page 147] without it: And then let them tell us, whether they don't differ as much as a bruised Reed, and a stately Cedar in Lebanon? The doubting Christian do's but smoake, when the assured Christian flames. What faintings and shiverings and paleness in the one? what vigour and liveliness, what a ruddy complexion of soul in the other? How is the one left to the pleasure of a wave, when as the other lies safe at Anchor. The one can scarce lift up his weak and trembling hands in prayer, when the other is wrestling with Omnipotency. The one comes behinde and touches the hem of his Saviours garments, when as the other is in his very armes and embraces. The one dares scarce touch a Promise, scarce cast an eye upon a Promise; when as the other claimes it, and grasps it, and appropriates it. The performances of the one are green, and crude, and unconcocted; the others are ripen'd, and mellow'd with a stronger Sun-beam of Love. The one like a Lute with his strings loose and languishing; the other is tun'd up to its just height of affection. The one like a Bowe bent, sends forth his arrows very vigorously; the other do's but drop them, and let them fall. How do's Satan wound the one with many a fiery dart, that the other quenches! How do's the one fear the roaring of the Lion, which the other tramples under his feet! (2.) If you should compare them with men in an unregenerate condition; O what a [...], what a vaste gulfe is there between them? Sure you don't question, whether God has more service from Israelites that feed upon hidden Manna; or from Egyptians that feed upon Garlick and Onions? Men that are under the damning and do­mineering power of lusts, and are only kept a little in awe, by some thundrings from Mount Sinai: Though they spend a few sighs sometimes, and drop a few teares sometimes; yet when they are thus washt, how soon do they returne to their wallowing in the mire? The chaining of a Wolfe, do's that meeken and soften him? or the putting a hook into Leviathan, do's that trans­forme him? Though wicked men by feares and terrours have their bounds set them, like the Sea, which they cannot passe; Yet they are still like the raging Sea, they swell and foame and cast out their mire and dirt. And who more wicked then they that are desperate? Those black and damned Potentates of hell, because they are out of all possibility of mercy; how do they act ad extremum virium in all expressions of malice and wickednesse? [Page 148] And therefore God out of his infinite goodness, though he do's u­sually seal men up to life and happinesse, and lets them make their Calling and Election sure; yet he do's scarce ever, or very rarely so seal men up to ruine, so as to let them know certainly that they are Reprobates: for this would make them desperate; there would be no living with them in the world. Or if he do's shew them this, he do's withall let them run into some act of violence, that presently frees the world from them. That hope which wicked men have of being sav'd, though it be groundlesse, yet it keeps them within their bounds and compasse. Though it be but like the Spiders web; yet the very spinning of that web, keeps them in the mean while from a full expression of their venome. And that same shadow of obedience which God has from Hypo­crites, 'tis founded in some shadow of hope that they please them­selves in: and when this hope of their own framing vanishes and deceives them, then they back-slide and apostatize.

4. Are there not other judgements enough to waken them out of a sinful security? are there not Rods? are there not Scorpions? is there nothing but present disinheriting? Sure you cannot but remember that famous place where God speaks to David, and points at Solomon, Psal. 89. 32, 33. If his children break my statutes, &c. God will make his own people know that 'tis a bitter thing to depart from him, and to forsake their first love. Nay, this is most certain, that wicked men themselves are not capable of such severe temporal judgements as the Sons of God are. That which is here done to the green tree, cannot be done to the dry. For

(1.) They may fall from Assurance. Though they can't lose the seed and the root of grace, yet they may lose the flourishing and fragrancy of it. Though the foundation of God remaine sure, yet they may fall from their top and eminency. Though they be built upon a Rock, yet they may be dasht with waves. Though the Seale of God be of an eternal efficacy, yet they may deface the Print and sculpture of it, so as that it may not be visible to their eye. Now what a sad alteration will this be? Thou must not look for any more stroakings, for any more smiles▪ for love­glances any more. Thou must bid thy fountaines of joy farewell. Thou must not look to see thy Spouse flourishing through the Lattices any more. Thou must expect clouds, and shadows, and [Page 149] veils, and curtaines, and walls of separation. The fig-tree of Canaan shall not blossome, and there shall be no fruit in the Vines, and the labour of the Olive shall faile. Thou must passe many a day without one Sun-beam; God will seal up his sweetest influ­ences, he will shut up the windows of heaven and stop the bottles of heaven; he will rain down no more Manna upon thee. Go to thy husks, and see if they I feed thee. Nay

(2) They may not only fall from Assurance, but even in a total desertion look upon God as an enemy, and instead of a filial Plerophory, may come to afearful expectation of the fiercest wrath of God. Now this I say is more judgement then wicked men are capable of here; in this respect that they never had his love once revealed to them: Whereas these are thrown down from the very pinacle of the Temple. And God do's not only eclipse the lustre of their former joy; but dips his Pen in gall, and writes bitter things against them. He was wont to shoot nothing but the fiery darts of Love; I, but now his envenom'd arrowes stick fast in them. They did once furfet of the Grapes and Clusters of Canaan; but now he hedges them in with briers and thornes. They were wont to taste of a cup of sweetnesse, a cup of love; but he has now prepar'd for them a cup of trembling and astonish­ment. They had once a Spring-time, a budding, a blossoming-time, the dew of heaven dropt on them, the beams of heaven vi­sited them: But now comes a sad and disconsolate Autumne, a fading and withering time. Their glosse and greennesse is gone; Heaven reveales it self in thunderings and lightning flashes against them, so as they shall even envy green Bay-trees, then men of the world that are free from all this. Now is not this enough to keep a soul in awe? The Psalmist was very neer this which we speak of; He often tells you, that his joy was put out, that his peace was gone, that he was even ground to powder, that he was banisht from the face of his God; that he was excommunicated from that happy and heavenly intercourse with God, which once he had. These are frequent complaints; And yet he was one▪

1. Of a pleasant and cheerful Temper. The Scripture paints him out as one of a Sanguine complexion, the men of the world would have said he had been melancholy else. He was one that was like a green Olive-tree in the house of his God; a most flourishing [Page 150] and fruitful Christian. As if he had been one of the Church triumphant, he was alwayes singing fresh Hallelujahs. He had a soft and delicate touch upon the Harpe, he could still Sauls evil spirit with his musick; I, but he could not thus tune and compose his own troubled and distemper'd spirit. He was faine now to hang his Harpe upon the willows; and the voice of his Lute was turn'd into sighing. And if he do's sing sometimes with a thorne at his breast, 'tis some penitential Psalme or other.

2. And yet all this while he was a King upon the Throne, he wanted not the pomp and bravery of the world. I but a Scepter won't conquer fears, and a Crown of gold will not cure an aking head, much lesse an aking heart. The smiles of the world they brought him to all this, and therefore he can't take much com­placency in them. And then for when he do's so often envy the men of the world, and is ready to stumble at the prosperity of the wicked; it was not so much for the outward things of the world which they enjoy'd, for those he had himself too in a plen­tiful measure; but it was for the quietnesse of their spirits, they were calme and serene, if compared with him, not in such fears and doubts as he now was: they had not such conflicts and Pa­roxysmes and tumultuations of soul as he now had. And yet he was one that once had the face of God shining out upon him. And therefore he desires him to restore the joy of his salvation: Lu­cem redde, abes jam nimiùm diu; Instar veris enim vultus u [...]i tuus affulsito, populo gratior it dies & soles meli [...]s nitent, as he once spake to Augustus.

So that you see here are wayes enough to keep men from a car­nall security. And thus we have took off that bold calumny, so as we hope that, Nihil adhaerebit.

Having laid open at large the nature of Assurance; we now come to handle briefly the second observation; And that is

Observ. 2. Christian Assurance requires and calls for diligence.

Sure I need not tell you, that the most precious things are Ca­binetted and lockt up under difficulties. If you look to Nature, you see how she reserves her Jewels in secret repositories; she sets them in her own bosome, and enhances their price by rarity. There is, indeed, a veine for silver, as Job speaks; but Nature is not so profuse to open it, to let it run waste, and exhaust her self. [Page 151] she hides her treasures, and puts them out of the reach of an or­dinary Plunderer.

Or, if you look to Arts: There are indeed some things which float at the top, [...], those that are but initiated into them, are presently acquainted with them; Hence some be­ginners, when they have but tasted these, think they have a pre­sent kinde of Omniscience. O but stay a while, there are most mysterious things, which lurke at the bottome, and require a profounder search: they must dive deep before they fetch up these Pearls. Thus 'tis in Languages, the choicest elegancies many times are coucht in Idioms, those arcana linguarum, you may see them like so many Pearls glittering amongst the rubbish of the Tower of Babel. Thus 'tis in civil affairs, some things are vi­sible and obvious to a vulgar eye; the rude heap and masse of people can take notice of them: some wheels move so plainly, as that they can see them. I, but there are more secret springs of motion, more intimate contrivances, politick riddles, which they onely can read that are à secretioribus. Every designe must not have a window in it, 'tis comely sometimes to see Moses with a Veile upon his face.

And thus 'tis in the wise Oeconomy and dispensation of the Gospel. 'Tis true, the whole Gospel is pregnant with heavenly mysteries: 'Tis like that heavenly [...], the milky way, which the wise ones of the world take for a Meteor only, a brief [...]; I, but those that are enlightened from above, know that 'tis made up ex flore lucis, 'tis compounded of Stars lesse discern­able; and even here one Star differs from another in glory. There are Mysteria primae magnitudinis, such transcendent and dazling mysteries, as that the Eagle must be faine to shut her eye, and the Seraphim must be glad to wink. And there are not only intel­lectual, but practical depths in the way of Religion: And Chri­stian Plerophory is one of these. For a soul to be fill'd with the breathings of the Spirit; And to move with full sail in the O­cean of Gods love; And when it pleases to lie safe at Anchor; I, and to be sure of comming safe to the haven, certainly the soul must needs cry out all the while [...], O the depth of the good­nesse, and love of God! how mysterious are his wayes, how are his mercies past finding out!

(1.) Now for a Christian to arrive to so full a sense of Gods love, hic labor, hoc opus est:

[Page 152] It requires diligence; For

1. There are but few that have any right and interest in the love of God in Christ, at all.

2. Of those few that have a share and portion in his love, yet all of them have not assurance of his love. There are but few that enter into the Temple; I, but there is only some Aaron that en­ters into the sanctum sanctorum, and casts his Anchor within the Veile. And

First, there are but few upon whom God bestoweth his love. 'Twas alwayes a principle in Morality, that sweet and intimate friendship cannot be extended to many. Friends usually go by paires. Now God, though he be of vast and boundlesse love, and has love enough to satisfie a multitude of worlds, yet he has chose [...]o concentricate it all in a few pickt out of the world: that he might thus engage them the more to himself. His large and precious love is kept for his only Spouse.

Secondly, of those few whom he loves, some are not assur'd of his love. He lov'd them all from everlasting, yet none of them could be then assur'd of his love. A non-entity cannot reach to a Plerophory. Well, but when they peept out of their first no­thing, truly they were not any rare objects of love: much lesse could they then be assur'd of the love of their God; when they were in a state of enmity and opposition, and the children of wrath as well as others: Well, but when he put them into a state of love, and made them lovely with that beauty and comelinesse, with those jewels and bracelets, which he had put upon them: when he lov'd them as his new creatures, as his vessels of honour, that were now cast into their just mold and fashion: When he lov'd them, as his new-born sons: yet these babes in Christ could not presently cry Abba Father. They were his Epistle, written in a fair and goodly character, dated from eternity, folded up and kept secret, at length sent into the world: the superscription was writ in time, in Vocation: Well, but all this while they were not seal'd, till the spirit comes and stamps a clear impression of Gods love upon their soft'ned and melted spirits. 'Tis true, they were seal'd as soone as they were written, in Gods eternal Decree, but they were not visibly seal'd, till now. Now what pantings and breathings? What longings and entreaties? What prepa­rations were there in the soul, before it could obtaine this?

[Page 153] Secondly, it requires diligence to keep assurance. O take heed of wasting and crumbling away thy hidden Manna. God may break the staffe of bread, and what will thy weary soul do then? Take heed of losing the White Stone, take heed of forgetting thy new name. O maintain the Oile of gladnesse in the Cruse. Thou that art a Vine of Canaan laden with generous fruit; would'st thou willingly part with thy sweetnesse, and fruifulnesse? Thou that art a green Olive-tree flourishing in the house of thy God; would'st thou be content to part with thy fatnesse, and pleasantnesse? Thou wert wont to stay and Anchor thy soul up­on thy God; And would'st thou now be left to the courtesie of a wave? What? Art thou in love with the Tents of Kedar? They are black indeed; And do'st thou think them comely too? Art thou weary of the Sun-shine? And would'st thou coole thy self in the shade? Do'st thou begin to loath thy hid­den Manna, and would'st thou returne to the Garlick and Oni­ons of Egypt? Art thou cloy'd with the clusters of Canaan, and do'st thou nauseate the Honey-comb? O remember, thou did st not so soone obtaine assurance, and wilt thou so soone lose it?

Thirdly, give diligence to recover assurance, if lost: O when will the winter be past? when will the raine be over and gone? that the flowers may appear, and the time of singing may come: That the Vines of Canaan may flourish again, that the tender Grapes may appear. Awake O South-winde, and with thy gentle breathings, blow upon the Garden, that the Spices thereof may flow out! Never leave till thou find'st thy Spouse again, thou that art sick of love: Tell him that thou long'st for a cluster of Canaan; That thou art even famish'd for want of hidden Manna. Desire a new edition of his love, with all the enlargements of affections. Lay thine heart before him, and desire new stamps & impressions; tel him that though thou hast lost the print, yet he has not lost the Seal: Tell him that thou wilt now prize his love more then thou ever did'st or could'st do before. Give him no rest, till he give thy soul rest, and fill it with himself. Surely thou would'st not willing­ly set in a cloud: thou would'st not go out of the world with thine Evidences blotted and blurr'd: Surely thou would'st not willing­ly be tost and dasht with waves in sight of the haven. Had'st thou not rather go to thy grave in peace? O desire himto shine out upon thee a little before thou goest hence, and be nomore seene.

[Page 154] (2.) Now surely, we need not tell you, why Assurance does thus require diligence, For

1. You know the hearts deceitfulnesse, how it loves to please it self in a shadow, in a painted joy, to flatter it self into an ima­ginary happinesse. Most men in the world are so confident of heaven, as if they had been borne heirs apparent to the Crown of glory: as if this new name had been given them at their baptism, or as if they had been born with hidden Manna in their mouths. They never knew what a question or a scruple was, nay they won­der that others trouble themselves with them; as for them, they have a connate kinde of Plerophory▪ These fabri fortunae suae▪ have a key to heaven of their own making, and can go to it when they please. These crown themselves with their own sparks, and think them more glittering and precious then the White Stone. As if they were Custodes sigilli, they can [...]eale themselves to the day of redemption when they please. Thus do vaine men cheat their own souls: when as 'twere their wiser way, rather to commune with their own spirits, to criticize upon their own hearts, to see what a false print they are of, what false glos­ses there be, what variae lectiones? what corruptions and dege­nerations from the Original? whether there be any spiritual I­dioms? what are the genuine works of the Spirit? what are spuri­ous and supposititious?

2. Give diligence, because thou hast a diligent enemy that would so faine quench thy joy, and keep it from flaming into As­surance. He envied the graine of Mustard-seed, when 'twas first sown: how then does it vex him to see it now spread into such goodly branches▪ that the soul can build its nest there? He envied thee the first blushes of the day, the buddings of the Rosie morn­ing; that those fair and Virgin eye-lids should open and glance their light upon thee: how then is he scorch't with thy fuller Sun-shine? How do his eyes water at thy noon-day brightnesse? He that would have broke thee when thou wert a bruised Reed, how would he triumph in thy fall, now thou art a stately Cedar? If he could, he would have dispirited and took off the vigour of that immortal seed, by which thou wert born again; He would fain have spit his venome into that sincere milk, which fed thy infant-soul; how then does he envie thee those flagons of wine, with which thou art now quickened and enflam'd? He would [Page 155] fain have hindered the foundation of the second Temple, and now he would fain demolish the structure, and down with it even to the ground.

That son of the morning fell himself not only from a com­pleat Assurance, but from a possession of glory; and that into the most extreme darknesse that was imaginable, into a total im­possibility of ever being happy; and now he would very faine (as much as he can) envolve others in the same condition: But certainly it does adde much of hell to him, in that he perceives that the sons of God are now fixt in an immutable condition; whereas he was left in so voluble a state, so that now all that he can possibly do is this, to damp their joy for the present▪ to raise clouds, and stormes, and tempests; And in this that Prince of the aire does his endeavour to the utmost. And yet Christians may frustrate him here too, and by a strong and clasping hand of faith, may lay such fast hold of a God in Christ, as that they may even make the Devill give over: and to all his former, may adde this new despair of ever eclipsing their glory: and may send him away as weary as he would be, if he should go about to interrupt the joy of a glorifi'd Saint, or of one of those Angels that still dwel in glory. So that the more frequent his Alarms are, the more should Christians stand upon their watch, the more should they fortifie themselves, and look to their spiritual Panoply: they should flie to the name of the Lord, which is a strong Tower.

3. Give diligence, because 'tis in a matter of so great conse­quence: and to be deceived here will prove the most stinging ag­gravation of misery that can be. The house that was built up­on the sand, great was the fall of it. There is a counterfeit Ple­rophory, a blazing kinde of Assurance, a bragging kinde of con­fidence, you know the name of it, 'tis called Presumption, that great devourer of souls, that uses to slay its ten thousands; 'Tis so farre from being an Anchor, as that 'tis but a swelling and im­postumated wave, which tosses up the soul a while, that it may sink the deeper. And can there be a greater Emphasis of mise­ry then this? Thou took'st it for granted, that thou wert in the ready way to heaven, and now thou art dropping into hell irre­coverably: Thou expected'st no lesse then a crown of glory, but canst finde nothing but chaines of darknesse and a gnawing worme. How golden was thy dream of happinesse? did'st thou [Page 156] not fancy the light and beams of heaven ripening the fruits of Canaan for thee? did'st not thou think thy self upon the top of Mount Pisgah, refresht with soft and delicate breathings, taking a full prospect of the beatifull land of Promise? Nay did'st not thou think that some of the milk and honey of the land flow'd into thy mouth? That thou wert plucking off green Apples from the trees? Nay, that thou had'st the very tastes and relishes of the Olives, and Figs, and Pome-granates, and Grapes in thy mouth? But behold, thou wak'st, and art in a Wildernesse, a­mongst Briers and thornes, amongst fiery Serpents, in a dry and thirsty land, where no sweetnesse is▪ Thou took'st that for the whispering of the Spirit, which was but the hissing of the Ser­pent. Thou thought'st thy self in the very Suburbs of the new Jerusalem, in the Temple, in the sanctum sanctorum; when as thou wert all this while but in an Egypt, in a Babylon, in a Pri­son, in a Dungeon. Thou did'st exalt thy self like the Eagle, and build thy nest in the Stars: But with what indignation wert thou swept from thence? How thou art fallen, O Lucifer, son of the morning!

(3.) Consider what kinde of diligence is required. And

1. Be diligent in self-reflexion. A clean heart chews the cud, and ruminates upon its own actions: Give thy heart frequent visits, and see whether it keeps that print which the sealing Spirit stampt upon it: read over thine Evidences; if there be the least blot wash it out. Try thy graces by a Scripture-Sun-beam. Hast thou within a continual feast? Why then do'st not thou envite thy thoughts thither, that they may be satisfi'd as with marrow and fatnesse? Why do'st not thou compel them to come in? Let them drink sweetnesse out of their own fountain, let them blesse the womb that bare them, and the breasts that gave them suck.

Let them be afraid of entring into their hearts, that have no quietnesse within, unlesse like the Leviathan, they can sport them­selves in a raging sea, that foams out mire and dirt. But thou canst steep and bathe thy thoughts in a calme and composed spi­rit. Why do'st not thou listen to thine own musick? Why do'st not thou glance upon thine own beauty? Assurance consists in a [...]eflex act▪ and by such workings 'tis maintain'd, iisdem alitur, qui­bus gignitur.

2. Be diligent in Prayer. Beleeve it, assurance does not come [Page 157] with those weak wishes and velleities, that are so frequent in the mouths of many, O that we were sure of heaven, of happinesse! O that our souls were well provided for! O that we knew what should become of them to eternity! Truly these are but gaping and yawning desires, as if hidden Manna would drop into their mouths. This great blessing requires a wrestling prayer. The White Stone is given to none but a Conquerour. The Spirit won't set his seal to a faint and languishing velleity. An Echo won't answer a whisperer; a weak voice is not worth a re­bound.

The truth is, there is a great deal of Vicinity and friendship, nay I think I might say Consanguinity, between Assurance and Prayer. Prayer should be Plerophoria quaedam explicata. Assu­rance does mightily enliven and animate Prayer, and Prayer does [...], cherish and maintain Assurance.

Go then unto thy God, and be importunate with him: beg a smile, a glance, a beame of his face: desire him to take all world­ly things again, unlesse he will sweeten them with his love. Tell him, thou canst no longer feed upon huskes, and desire him to give thee somewhat that's fit for a soul to live on.

3. Be diligent and frequent in communion with thy God. Con­versing with God puts a lustre and radiancy upon the soul; de­scending to the creature, puts a Veile upon that former bright­nesse; sweet and familiar entercourse with thy God, puts thee into the number of his friends; and friendship brings Assurance and Confidence along with it.

Would God (do'st thou think?) admit thee into his most shining and beautiful presence? would he thus display himself to thee, and make known his most secret treasures of goodnesse and sweetnesse unto thy soul, unlesse he lov'd thee? would thy Saviour thus smile upon thee? would he thus unbosome and un­bowel himself to thee? would he thus flourish in at the latti­ces, unlesse he were thy Spouse? would he thus kisse thee with the kisses of his mouth? would he tell thee so much of his minde, unlesse his heart were with thee? would he accept of thy pray­ers and thy performances, thy spiritual sacrifices, if he meant to destroy thee? did'st thou ever know him deale thus de­ceitfully with any? would he give thy soul such frequent visits▪ such gentle breathings? would he so often whisper to thee, that [Page 158] which the world must not hear, if thou wert an enemy as well as they? canst thou think thy self▪ in darknesse, when the Sunne looks upon thee? Canst thou doubt of quenching thy thirst, when the fountain bubbles out, and flows upon thee? Canst thou doubt of liberty in the yeere of Jubilee? What is the Dove in the Arke, and yet can it finde no rest to the soale of her feet? Canst thou question thy safety under the wings of Christ? No, whatever it was that put out thy joy, it did first estrange and alienate thee from thy God. And couldst thou but recover thy former neernesse to him, thou need'st not doubt of the same af­fectionate expressions from him. Communion with God, 'tis that which gives an heavenly and eternal Plerophory; 'tis that which maintains the assurance of glorious Angels, and glorifi'd Saints. And that which takes away all hope from the damn'd is this, that they are perpetually banisht, irrecoverably excommu­nicated from the face of their God: Depart from me, I know you not: there is more in that then in fire and brimstone. But God has said unto thee, Seek my face, and let thy soul echo out its resolut [...]on, Thy face, Lord, will I seek: for all certainty flowes from God, from that fixt and unshaken Entity, from that Origi­nal immutability that is in him. And when God sets his seal un­to thee, he prints somewhat of this upon thee: And therefore the more God gives of himself to thee, the more Assurance he gives thee.

Go then to the place where his honour dwells, go to the place where his glory shines. You know that the Apostle Thomas, when he was absent from the Apostles meeting, he fell into a strange distrust of that which the others were very well assur'd of. Go then to those Ordinances, that drop golden Oile upon the soul, and make its countenance to shine. Hide thy self in those clefts of the Rock, that God may make his goodnesse passe before thee. God will there beame out upon thy soul, he will warme it with his love, and will then seal it to the day of redem­ption.

Observ. 3. Christian Assurance deserves diligence.

'Tis a miserable thing to toile for vanity and emptinesse; to sowe the winde, and to reap the whirlewinde. But to take pains for happinesse, who would not be willing to this? An Israelite [Page 159] that would be loath to spend his time in gathering stubble, would willingly spend it in gathering Grapes. A wise Virgin will cheerfully put in so much Oile, as will make the Lampe to shine. The soul will never be weary of gathering hidden Manna. Assu­rance is a very satisfactory thing; men take a present and com­pleat acquiescence in it.

1. Consider it in Temporals, what won't worldlings do to secure their lands, and goods, and estates? How do they seek for Bonds, and Seals, and Oaths, and Sureties; and yet think all this too little? They have set up an Ensurers Office, and will scarce venture a Ship at Sea, unlesse it can have an unquestionable Ple­rophory; unlesse one will secure it from warres; and another from rocks; and a third from windes and tempests. And this is one of those stings and vexations which God has put into tem­porals, that they are uncertain. Many a worldling has pin'd a­way under this very notion, that his riches had wings, and could flie away when they list. And this was the reason, why the E­picures were all for enjoying the present moment; because that was all they were certain of; and therefore they would have de­vour'd and soopt up the quintessence of all happinesse in a [...] if they could. Thus Anacreon sings [...]. And this was that which made the Heathen so an­gry with Fortune, a goddesse of their own framing, because she put them alwayes upon blinde uncertainties, This made the Stoicks to run into the other extreme, to fix themselves in an un­evitable certainty, in a sullen necessity, to anchor upon fate, ra­ther then to be left to a wavering contingency.

2. Assurance in Intellectuals is very satisfactory. There's no­thing that tortures the soule more then scruples and difficulties; it makes it to dwell like a lily amongst thornes.

The Scepticks were a perpetual wrack to themselves. Objecti­ons flie like dust into the soules eye, and sometimes 'tis faine to weep them out. How does it vex the Naturalist that his head is so non-plust, as that he must flie to the refuge of an occult quality? How impatient was Aristotle, what boylings and toslings in his breast more then in Euripus, because he could not give a full ac­count of the ebbing and flowing of that river? He threw him­self into it, as if he thought to finde more rest there then in his own spirit, discomposed only with this uncertainty. Every que­stion [Page 160] checks the understanding, and makes it remove a little from certainty, as the learned Verulam observes. Every question 'tis some grace to errour, and some repulse to truth.

But how sweetly does the minde relish those first and common notions, that carry a native light, and convincing evidence and certainty in them, and won't give the soule leave to doubt? and how does it bathe it self in those crystalline streamings out, those pure derivations of secondary notions, that freely bubble out from these fountain-principles, which for their certainty some­times are honoured with the name of axioms? And some give this rule for a trial and touchstone of notions: Whatsoever Propositi­on the minde does fully close with, that is unquestionably true, because the minde can't rest satisfi'd but with certainty. And that which it gives but an hovering and imperfect assent to, is but pro­bably true. Now though sometimes a falsity may come under the faire disguise of an apparent certainty, yet this is also sure, that the minde cannot so fully and sweetly acquiesce in an appa­rent certainty, as in a real certainty. As neither can the Will so fully close with an apparent good, as with a real good; for in realities there is a sure Entity at the bottom, which is a just foun­dation for appearance, whereas the other is a meer colour, a sur­face, a shadow. And the more perfect any intellectual being is, the more of certainty it has.

Our knowledge therefore here is but cloudy and enigmatical, shadowy and in a glasse. The nearer to God any being is, the more it has of certainty. And therefore the Angels and Spirits that see God face to face, are satisfied with his image. Truth then plucks off her veile, pulls off her mask, that the soule may salute her. And this is the great Prerogative of that infinite and supream Being, God himself, that he has an independent and eternal cer­tainty, and beholds all beings and motions of beings past, present, and to come, without the least shadow of variation. And those things which pose created beings, are more plain and obvious to his eye, then first principles are to ours. The very intimate formes of beings are naked and anatomiz'd before him. He looks down upon the sons of men, and sees them rolling and fluctuating, tost and tumbl'd up and down in uncertainties, sometimes even questioning him in his wayes and his dealings, while as he rests in a full and absolute Omniscience. And this is his great goodnesse, [Page 161] that he allowes us Certainty in those things that concern our wel­fare and happinesse.

3. In spirituals and eternals, Assurance is very satisfactory. Re­ligion should be above syllogismes & disputings▪ Spiritual notions should have the seale of God in their foreheads; they are not to be struck like sparks out of a flint: but are to spring like light from the Sun; they are to flow like streames from the Ocean. And Principles of Religion must be built upon a rock, upon the most sure and unquestionable grounds that can be. Men that build for eternity, had need to lay the foundation sure, and they must build gold and precious stones upon the foundation, that which has a solidity, and a firme Certainty in it. And if this were observ'd.

1. You would not have such jarres and divisions in the Church. You would not be so much troubled with the noise of Axes and Hammers. Imposing things questionable as certain, is agreeable to that spirit, which allowes no other Assurance but this; that their Church is the true Church.

2. The mixing and blending of Religion with uncertainties, is that which does emasculate, and dispirit, and endanger it; 'tis a dashing the wine with water; 'tis an adulterating the gold with drosse, so as it won't endure the fiery triall.

3. The taking up Religion upon uncertain grounds, does put men upon an odious luke-warmnesse and neutrality: for men can't be zealous for a thing they doubt of. It puts them upon variablenesse and unconstancy, upon the very brim of Apostasie; and (it may be) plunges them into it. Nay, it strongly tends to Atheisme: some do so long question, which is the true Re­ligion, as that at length they resolve to have none at all.

4. The leaving the successe of Religion uncertain, do's damp and coole the spirits of men. The learned Moralists amongst the Heathen, could never content themselves with a faire probabili­ty only of summum bonum, but did spin it out to an imaginary certainty. The Stoicks would have a domestick Plerophory, they must be unavoidably happy: A meere certainty won't suffice them, it must be condens'd into a necessity. A wise man with them must irreversibly seale up himself to happinesse: And so though he were in Phalaris his Bull, he must glory and triumph and sing Halelujahs. But the fairer Moralists, were willing to depend more upon the bounty of heaven, which yet they lookt [Page 162] upon as a sure and unquestionable thing; nay, they pleas'd them­selves not only in a Plerophory, but in a present possession. For you know vertue with them was Praecox [...]eatitudo, as grace with us is glory not fully ripe. And serenity of natural conscience was their hidden Manna; their White Stone. Thus were they fain to still their souls in some shadows and appearances of certainty. This sweetned Socrates his Cicute, and made him a cheerful Mar­tyr for Philosophy.

And all wicked men that go on merrily and securely in their wayes, do frame some imaginary certainty to themselves; which (it may be) they found upon sure principles, but falsly apply'd; as this, That God is merciful, or the like.

All this I bring to shew that the soul do's catch at certainty, and Assurance, and will rest satisfi'd with nothing else. For, for men to apprehend themselves uncertain of happinesse, what is it else but to be for the present miserable? Nay, would not some (do you think) choose rather to be certain of a tolerable misery, then to be in continual suspence of happinesse? And truly such men as have no Assurance of obtaining this great end of their being, they are of all creatures most miserable.

The Foxes have holes, and the birds of the aire have nests, and shall not the sons of men have where to lay their heads? Every being loves certainty: How do Naturals combine together and unite their forces, that they may secure themselves by an happy association? Nature will have a Plerophory, won't admit of a vacuum, the least schisme and rupture would prove fatal and put it upon uncertainties. Sir Francis Bacon spies this in those fallings down of water, that threed and spin themselves into such slender [...]tillicids, that thus they may preserve their continuity, and when they can reach no longer so, then they fall in as plump and round a figure as they can.

And if every Being loves Assurance▪ then surely such a noble Being as the soul of man, cannot be satiated with a changeable good; it can't fix it self upon a moveable centre. Immortality is neer a kin to Immutability. Besides, if it were only this, that the [...]oul did doubt of happinesse, it were a lighter burden; but there is necessarily conjoyn'd with this a fear of extreamest misery. Now for a soul to be perpetually hovering betwixt heaven and hell; nay, to have farre more ground to fear the one, then to hope [Page 163] for the other, and so to tremble at the very thoughts of eternity; is not this a piece of the gnawing worme? and must the soul live in this perpetual slavery? Is there no redemption from it? Did not Christ come to take away this sting among the rest? Did not he come to draw thee to himself, to quiet thee in his own bosome? Return thee to thy Rest, O my Soul! Return to thine Arke, O my Dove! And look upon this Gospel-Plerophory, as one of those great priviledges that were purchas'd for thee by a Savi­our. For

1. By this, thy Soul, thy darling, 'tis fully provided for, for eternity. Thy lot is falne to thee in a faire ground, and thou hast a goodly heritage; Could thy soul open its mouth any wider? Could thy soul desire any more then this, to be sure of being for ever compleatly happy? What would the damn'd in hell give for a possibility of happinesse? What would some wounded spirits give for good hopes and probabilities? when as thou in the mean time hast an overflowing Plerophory. What would the one give for a drop to coole their tongue? What would the other give for a pure stream to wash their bleeding foules? When as thou all the while art bathing in the fountain, art sailing in the Ocean, art swimming in the Rivers of pleasure. Thine understanding may well rest satisfi'd, for t'is sure to fixe its eye upon an eternal beauty; upon the face of its God. Thy will may rest it self in the embraces of its dearest object: for 'tis e­spoused to the fairest good, and is sure to enjoy it with an indis­soluble union. Thy purer and more refined affections may sport themselves in the Sun-beams of heaven. There may thy love warme and melt it self, and there may thy joy dance and exult. All that thou hast to do here below, is this; Thy Virgin-soul that is here assur'd and contracted, must wait a while for the Nuptials, for a full fruition of its God, for a full consummation of its joy.

2. This must needs sweeten all present conditions to thee. Eat then thy bread with joy; and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God accepts thy person, and smells a sweet odour in thy sacrifice. Are there any pearles in the Gospel? thou may'st lay claime to them▪ Is there any balme in Gilead? thou hast a share in it. Are there any Gospel-priviledges? thou know'st they are thine, and are intended for thee. Do's God bestow tempo­rals [Page 164] upon thee? thou know'st that he first dips them in love and sweetnesse. Mount Gerizim is thy portion▪ And how art thou above waves? when as some are shipwrackt, others are toss▪d and disquieted; thou hast an happy protection in all thy wayes.

1. Thou are secure against the srownes of the world, for heaven smiles upon thee. Thou may'st laugh at the false judging and esteems of men. It may be, the world brands; I, but the Spirit seales. It may be the seed of the Serpent hisses; I, but the holy Ghost breaths. What, though thou beest fourty years in a Wildernesse? Nay, what though thou beest seventy years in Babylon? Won't Canaan, and won't the new Jerusalem make amends for all?

2. Thou art secure in times of judgement. As Job speaks of the Leviathan, The sword of him that layes at him cannot hold, the speare, the dart, nor the habergeon. The arrow cannot make him flee, darts are counted as stubble; he laughs at the shaking of the spear. Who is like him upon the earth, one that is made without fear? When God thunders upon the men of the world, he speaks but in a still voice to thee; he darts lightning flashes in their faces, but he lists up the light of his countenance upon thee. Judgements are intended for the sweeping away of Spiders webs, not for the sweeping away of Gods own jewels. Or if they be en­volv'd in a common calamity, yet how is it roll'd up in sweetnesse to them? when as the other can taste nothing but gall and worm­wood. Their body may be toss'd a little in the world, but their soul lies safe at Anchor.

3. In the houre of death. Thou know'st that providence then, means only to break the shell, that it may have the kernel. Let them tremble at the knockings and approaches of death that know not what shall become of their precious soules: Men who through the fear of death have been all theirlife-time subject unto bondage? But thou may'st safely trample upon the Adder, and play in the Cockatices den. The Martyrs (you know) did thus, when they embrac'd the flames, and complemented with Lions, and devour'd torments, and came to them with an appetite. As­surance of the love of God in Christ, this and nothing but this pulls out the sting of death. 'Tis true, that death has lost its sting in respect of all that are in Christ; but yet such as know not [Page 165] that they are in Christ, fear death still as if it had a sting: Only an assured Christian triumphs over it; O death, where is [...]hy sting!

4. Assurance fills the soul with praise and thanksulnesse. The reall presence of a mercy is not enough, but there must be the appearance of a mercy, and the sense of it, before it fill thy heare with joy, and thy mouth with praise. A doubting Christian is like a bird entangled and in a snare, the soul has not its comfort, nor God has not his praise: But an assur'd Christian is like a bird at liberty, that flies aloft, and sings most cheerfully; It begins those Halelujahs in time, that must last for ever; It breaks out into the Psalmists language, Blesse the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, blesse h [...]s holy Name.

Observ. 4. The fourth and last Observation which we propounded out of the Text was: That the map to make our Eleation sure, is first to make out Calling [...]ute. And this is sufficiently warranted from the just order and method of this▪ Apostolical ex­hortation, Make your Calling and Election sure; First your Calling, then your Election; and by your Calling, your Election: Metho­dus Analytica best becoming creatures.

Many have handled this point at large; I shall do it very briefly, and I shall give you all that I intend to speak to it in these six particulars.

1. Election in it self is secret and mysterious▪ For (1.) it is from eternity, and so there was none could know it but God a­lone; none could know Election, but he that made an Electi­on. A Being that is spann'd by time, cannot reach to what was done from everlasting: You cannot imagine that Non-entity should listen and hear what▪ was whisperd in the Secret Councel of Heaven. Thou goest only by the clock of time; but those de­crees were written with an eternal Sun▪beam; thou turnest up thy houre-glasse of time, but these were measured by an infinite du­ration. Was it possible that Esau not borne should see God frowning on him; or that Jacob should perceive a smile? Thou art as far from meriting Election as a Non entity and thou art as far from knowing it as a Non-entity. (2) God has a minde to keep it secret, and therefore he has set a seale upon it; not only a seale of certainty, but a seale of secrecy. You know creatures [Page 166] themselves have their closet-determinations; men have their thoughts under lock and key; they have not windows into one anothers breasts, much lesse into the breast of a Deity. Thou caust not fathome sometimes a shallow creature, and do'st thou think to reach to the bottome of infinite depths? Has God given thee secret springs of working; has he made the wheeles and mo­tions of thy soul secret, and undiscernable, and may he not have the same priviledge himself? So then, if God has put a vaile upon Election, do'st thou think to see into it? When he has shut and clasp't the book of Life, do'st thou think to open it and read it?

II. Vocation comments upon Election. Gods decrees, that were set from everlasting, do bud and blossome, and bring forth fruit in time. Election buds in a promise, and blossomes in an offer of grace. The Book was written before the foundations of the world were laid; but it was not publisht till God himself gave it an Imprimatur. The Letter was dated from eternity; the Supersociption was writ in time, in Vocation. Now you know though the Letter be writ first, yet the Superscription is read first by him that receives the Letter. 'Twas decreed from eternity that Decrees should be known in time. And the [...], is [...], the fulnesse of time, is the time when Gods decrees are fulfilled. When the decrees of God are ripe, then he lets the soul taste them; and then they are sweetest. Then thou perceivest that thou art a vessel of honour, when God puts thee upon an honourable imploiment. That fountain of love which ran under ground from everlasting, bubbles up and flowes to thee in time. That [...] that was in Election, be­comes [...] in Vocation. Thus thoughts of men, when they would appear, they put on words; they take wings to themselves and flie away.

III. There is a strict and an inseparable connexion betwixt Election and Vocation. For who is there that can blast the de­crees of Heaven, or who can reverse the Seale of the Almighty? Who can break one linke of this golden chaine? To be sure, 'tis not in the power of created Beings to evacuate and annihilate the counsels of God. A creature, as it had no influence upon Election, so neither has it any power to alter it. A shadow does not alter the Sun, but rather shews you what time of the day it is. [Page 167] And then to be sure God himself will not reverse his own seale. Nulla est litura in d [...]cr [...]tis sapientum, say the Stoicks; A wise man will scorne to blot out any thing. Nulla sunt litura in libra vit [...]. God is so full of light, as that there is no shadow of change in him. Therefore, has God pickt thee out as a Jewel, and laid thee up in a secret repository, in the Cabbinet of his secret councel? He will then bring thee out, and shew thee in time; he means to polish thee, and put a lustre upon thee; he means to set thee as a Dia­mond in his Ring, and to put thee upon the band of a Saviour. Did God from all eternity resolve to set thee as a captive soul at liberty? Truely then thou needest not doubt, but that he will in time break open the prison-doors; and beat off thy chaines and thy [...]etters, and give thee full inlargement. God has been preparing a feast for thee from everlasting, a feast of sweet and fat things, a refined, an Evangelical feast: To be sure then he will invite thee in time; he will stand at thy door and knock; nay, he will compell thee to come into it. God glanced an eye of love upon thee, when thou layest hid in the barren wombe of nothing; to be sure then in time he means to wooe thee, and to winne thee, and to espouse thee to himself in faithfulnesse and in truth.

IV. Election and Vocation, though in respect of us they have gradual and climbing accomplishments; yet in respect of God they are equally present. For there is no succession in eternity. There can be no Pri [...] & posterius where there was no beginning. 'Tis true that our finite Beings, as they cannot sufficiently graspe an infinite Essence, so neither can they measure an infinite Du­ration. And therefore, our understandings put many times seve­rall periods there, where there ought not to be the least Com [...] because we span out things by our own narrow Duration.

For Duration is nothing else but permano [...]ia in esse, a continu­ation and abiding in Being, the spinning out of Entity: And therefore as the soul cannot see the face of God, so neither can it see the vastnesse of his Duration, which is adequate and commen­surate to the degree of his Entity. So that we being but of yester­day, are not competent judges of Eternity. And as the soul im­prisoned in a body, can but darkly conceive of spiritual Beings, and cannot behold the lustre and oriency of an Angel; nay, it cannot behold its own beauty, much lesse is it able to behold the [Page 168] glory of God himself: So being here conversant with transient things that have their Ortum & Occasum, their Fluxum & Reflux­um, their Spring and Autumne, their bounds and their bottome, and dwelling among temporals; 'tis not so well acquainted with the vast Duration of Eternity. And yet it can far better behold the back-parts of Eternity, then the face of it; Eternity à parte pòst, then Eternity à parte antè; because the soul it self is measured by that Duration. Whereas only that one Supreme Being, God himself has the compleatnesse and perfection of Eternity. No wonder then that our understandings put several periods there, where there ought not to be the least comma, because we span out things by our own Duration; that which bubbles from Eter­nity, comes flowing to us in time. But Vocation is as eternall as Election; In respect of God, Jacob was as soon call'd as he was chosen, and that not only in respect of the secret counsel and de­cree of God; but whensoever God does actually call Jacob, he calls him ab Aeterno; for Eternity is not at all spent and ex­hausted by continuance, but is alwayes in vigore viridi. 'Tis a flourishing Duration that never withers, nor decayes. Indeed Vocation is nothing else but Election pulling off her velle, and smiling upon the soul, and telling her that God loves her, and manifests and displayes his love to her.

V. It is altogether irregular and anomalous for the soul. 1. To prie into Election. 'Tis dangerous to tread on the highest round first; and here it is impossible. Thus the soul forgets that it is a creature, it forgets its own Duration, and would be measuring it self by Eternity. The windowes of the soul must be set open for the entertaining of such light as do's more immediately flow in upon it; and the understanding must close and comply with such objects as are best proportioned to it. Now you know that those things which are first intelligible in their own nature, yet are not alwayes first presented to the view and eye of the soul. For whatsoever is first in Being may first be known; Entity be­ing the root and just foundation of intelligibility. And yet sometimes secondary and junior Entity is faine to prepare the way like a John Baptist for one that comes after it, and yet was in worth and being before it. Thus sometimes the causes of things lurke, and lie coucht, they hide their heads, only a little flourish out at the Lattesses, peeping [Page 169] out of an effect or two. Thus the Text may be in Hebrew, when the Commentary is in Latine; many may understand the one, that cannot read the other. Election, it is the Original; Vocation, 'tis the interlineary glosse for the help of weak beginners. If God should let thee see into Election before Vocation, it were the only way to frustrate and disappoint his own decree. For if God should shew thee thy name in the book of Life, before thy heart were changed and re­newed; what would this but make thee sinne more secure­ly, and turne his grace into wantonnesse? Whereas the wis­dome of God never determines the end, but it also de­termines the means; and as the end is alwayes glorious, so also are the means powerfull and efficacious. Now thou canst not more clearly demonstrate that thou art in a good tenden­cy and proximity to the end, then by a thanfull use and sea­sonable application of the means. And what do they do but lay a snare for their own soules, that catch and entangle themselves with such a desperate fallacy as this is; If we be elected, we shall be unquestionably saved; and if we be not elected, we shall be unavoidably damned, and there­fore we may do what we list. O what a bold and blasphe­mous inference is this! What is this else, but to distill the rankest poison out of the richest and most sovereigne cordial? To kindle Hell out of a sparke of Heavenly truth, which if it were blown up gently by the Spirit that breathed it, and kept within its just bounds; 'twould only cheere, quicken and enliven the soul. Because thou dost not as yet know whe­ther thou art a vessell of honour, wilt thou therefore pre­sently dash thy self in pieces? because thou dost not for the present certainly know that thou shalt come safe to the Haven, wilt thou therefore court the waves, rush upon a Rock, and make Shipwrack of faith and a good conscience? would'st thou do thus in temporals? Why, thou dost not know how long thou shalt live, the number of thy dayes is cer­tainly fixt, and thy time is an appointed and determined time: wilt thou therefore refuse to leane upon the staffe of bread? Wilt thou not repaire thine earthly and decaying tabernacle? Wilt thou not maintaine the oile in the cruze? that Balsamum radic [...]le, with such fresh supplies as are [Page 170] afforded to thee? Wilt thou break thy glasse in pieces, because thou canst not tell how long it will run?

Is it not a mercy that God vouchsafes thee the means? Why should'st thou distrust of obtaining the end, more then any other? There is not a curtaine that hides Election more from thee then from any other; 'tis equally hid to all, till it shine forth upon some in the use of means, till the curtaine be drawne, and then it will equally shine out upon thee, if thou usest the same meanes. If all should argue as thou do'st, there would none be saved; if all men, because Election is absolute and uncertaine, should resolve to live as they list; who would then set his face towards Canaan? where would God have any glory in the world? What would become of his great Name? but he will root out such an unsavoury principle as this is out of the hearts of all that love him; and that truth which is made a fat all stumbling block to some, shall prove a solid foundation of joy and sweetnesse unto them. The very possibility of Election should banish all such thoughts as these. Who can tell but God may have been gracious unto thee, and have fixt an eye of love upon thee? Oh then breath after him, pant and long for him, desire him to expresse his minde to thee, to communicate his love to thee.

Besides, though thou dost not know Election, will meere love do nothing? Though thy God did not intend to glorifie thee; yet thou should'st intend to glorifie him; Though he do's not chuse thee for his servant, yet thou should'st chuse him for thy Lord. There is worth in him, though there be none in thee.

Resolve that into what condition soever he throw thee, though into hell it self, that there thou wilt love him, and there thou wilt praise him, and long for him; that there thou wilt adore and honour him, and wilt grieve only for this, that thou canst honour him no more; that thou wilt admire his goodnesse to o­thers, his justice to thee; I, and his goodnesse to thee too, that layes lesse upon thee then thou deservest. Such thoughts as these would make hell it self lightsome.

VI. As Election is secret and mysterious, so Vocation may be easily known. That Astrologer was deservedly laught at, that was so intensely gazing upon the Starres, so admiring their twink­ling beauties, as that unawares he tumbled into the water; where­as [Page 171] before, if he had but been pleased to look so low as the water, he might have seen the starres there represented in that crystall glasse. Such as will needs be prying into the starres, that will ascend up into heaven, and gaze upon Election; they do but dazle their eyes, and sometimes by this are overwhelmed in the depths of Satan: whereas they might easily see the starres in the water; they might see Election in Sanctification, in Regene­ration. Now Vocation does plainly and easily appear by that great and eminent alteration which it brings along with it. It is a powerful Call, 'tis an audible and quickening voice; the voice of the first trumpet that awakens men out of the graves, and makes them happy, by having their part in the first Resur­rection; great and sudden alterations they are very discernable. Now here's a most notorious, and signal change made; Old things are past away, and all things are become new: here's a change from death to life, from darknesse to light; and what more discernable then this? A living man may know that he is alive, and that without any further proofe or demonstration, whatever the Scepticks old or new would perswade us to the con­trary; Will you not allow a man to be certaine that he lives, till a jury of life and death hath past upon him?

Could not the blinde man in the Gospel (think you) perceive when his eyes were opened? could he not easily tell that now he could see and discerne variety of Objects? or must he only conjecture that he sees, and guesse at a Sun-beame? must he still at noon-day go groping in uncertainties. And is there not an easie and sure difference between those thick veiles and sha­dows of the night, between those dark and Ethiopick looks, and the virgin blushes of the morning; those beautiful eye-lids of the day? The smilings and flowerings out of light, much more the advancement of light to its Zenith and Noon-day-glory? And why then cannot an Intellectual eye discerne as well, that now it sees? that now it looks upon God with an eye of love, with an eye of faith, with an eye of confidence? and that now God looks upon him with an eye of tendernesse and compassion, with an eye of grace and favour, with an eye of delight and ap­probation? Who but an Anaxagoras will go about to perswade a man to disbelieve his eyes? and if a corporal eye deserve such [Page 172] credit, why may not a spiritual eye then expect as much? Say not then in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven, to bring down As­surance from above? who shall unclaspe the book of life that is sealed, and turne thee to thy name? or who shall bring thee a certificate that it is written there? Behold, it is nigh thee, even in thine heart: The work of grace there, the Law written on the tables of thine heart, by the finger of the Spirit is the exempli­fication and counterpane of that Decree; the safest way, the best way, the only way to make sure of Election, is first to make sure of thy Vocation; Make your Calling and Election sure.


SPIRITUAL OPTICKS: OR A GLASSE Discovering the weaknesse and im­perfection of a Christians know­ledge in this life.


LONDON, Printed by T. R. and E. M. and are to be sold by John Rothwel at the Sun and Fountaine in Pauls Church-yard.


To the READER.


I Here present thee with a little Mirrour, wherein thou mayest easily discerne thine own imperfections, unlesse they stand in thy light; and if thou wilt but use to re­flect upon thy self, a [...]a dwell at home, thou [...]ayest easi­ly finde that thou hast little reason either to admire thy self or contemne others. If thy knowledge puff thee ap▪ thou hast so much the lesse. He was counted a wise, man who said that he knew but one thing, and that was, that he knew nothing; though ano­ther durst not own so much; and a wiser man then both tells us, that he that is wise in his own eyes, is of all fools the most uncurable; and another, that if any man think that he knows any thing, he knowes nothing yet as as he ought to know. So that it seems to be agreed on by those who are best able to judge, that the first priece of wisdome is to be sensible of ignorance. Then I hope this Discourse may prove not unprofitable, truly nor unseasonable neither in this confident age, when every ignorant one is so prone to lean unto his own under­standing, that he thinks himself too good to be taught, whereas indeed he hath not yet wit enough to learne. But it is the Devils subtilty to dazzle them with new light (as Boyes do Geese) that they may wink conceitedly while he pulls them naked, and makes them become ridicu­lous. It is sad to think how he puts out mens eyes, and then makes him­self cruel sport with them; and the game of it is, that still they think themselves seers, and know not that they are blinde, and naked, and miserable. Now if this Glasse prove but instrumental to reflect so much old light upon them, as to discover to them their own blind­nesse, there will be some hope of cure. But Reader, I must intreat thee neither to condemne this piece because it is imperfect, nor yet con­temne it for being little. It is imperfect, I confesse: but so is all our knowledge here, which is the subject of it; and if we know but in [Page] part, no wonder if we prophesie also but in part; besides, if Saint Paul himself could not utter the words which he had heard, then truly we may very well excuse this Author for not expressing that in words, which neither ear hath heard, nor eye seen nor the heart of man conceived. But it may be what is here said▪ may at first seem but little: it may be the sooner read; Do but peruse it, and if it please thee, it is enough; if otherwise, too much. But indeed it was intended only for a tast, and to bear the Mace into the world before that learned and elegant Treatise, which this ingenious Authour hath left behinde him concerning The Light of Nature; Which now waits only to see what entertainment this will meet withall. Perhaps it may be expected that I should adde something in praise of the [...]uthour; but I am not ignorant that a friends testimony is prone to be suspected of partiality; and although such an one have most reason to know the truth, yet Cas­sandra-like, he seldome hath the hap to be believed. The best on't is, he needs it not, his works will commend him most effectually; which if I shall indeavour to bring into publick view, I hope thou wilt finde them such, that I shall not be thought either to have abused thy le [...]sure, or to have wronged the memory of my deceased friend.

W. D.
1 COR. 13. 12.

For now we see through a glasse darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am known.

PAUL that was of a piercing eye, and had as clear an insight into the mysteries of Salvation, as any other; whose soul was alwayes mounting towards that third Heaven, whither he had once been rapt, and had there heard words that neither could nor might be uttered (for so much is implyed in [...]) we finde him here granting the imperfection of his knowledge, those weak and shadowy apprehensions which he had of the Divine Majesty▪ while he saw through a glasse darkly; and encouraging himself with the consideration of the full and clear Vision, which we shall have of him hereafter, when we shall see God face to face in glory. Whithout any further preamble we'l open the words of the Text, that we may see this Glasse clearly, and not [...].

Our Apostle here advances charity to the highest pitch of com­mendation, as a triumphant grace, a grace that had eternity stampt upon it. It out-lives faith, for that gives place to Vision; it out-lasts Hope, for that is swallowed up in fruition; Prophe­cies they shall vanish, and Tongues shall be silenced, and Know­ledge shall passe away: for 'tis weak and imperfect here, it is in its minority; yea, in its infancy: When I was a childe, I spake as a childe. 'Tis cloudy and obscure here; For now we see through a glasse darkly.

NOW we see, &c. Now that the Gospel beams out upon us with a powerful and glorious ray. It was likely that at the first peeping out of Heavenly light, at the Evangelical day-break, be­fore the shadowes were fully scattered, that then there would be [Page 178] some obscurity; I, but 't has shin'd out brighter and brighter till perfect day, and yet still we see thus darkly.

Secondly, (which is the true and genuine meaning) Now whil'st we are in this house of our earthly tabernacle, whilest the understanding of a man, which the wise man calls The Candle of the Lord, while 'tis hid in the dark lanthorn of the body; Till this partition-wall be beaten down, we cannot see God face to face. There's no reaching of perfection here, 'tis treasur'd up for a better life. He that will shoot high may aime at a Star, but he must not think to hit it. Nihil est ab omni parte beatum. B [...]atum & perfectum are both one. Alas! Now when the soul does hut [...], try the wing, and flutter towards heaven, 'tis pre­sently pull'd down with an earthy body we carry▪ about with us; 'tis so deprest here, as it can hardly look up to heaven: how then shall it see God face to face?

Now WE see through a glasse, &c. We that have an holy [...] that teaches us all things; we that have many secret [...], the whisperings and breathings of the holy Spirit, that leads us into all truth; we that are acquainted with the minde of God, that have had many a gracious aspect from him, yet WE see but darkly. No wonder that the Sun's too bright for Owls, when Eagles are dazled with it, and become dimme-sighted; 'tis like that such as are aliens from the Common-wealth of Israel, will be wholly ignorant of these Magnalia, when they that are à secretiorsbus, know them but in part: if [...], the sonnes of the morning, the [...], children of light; if they see so darkly, then surely a childe of darknesse will see nothing at all: If Paul now a glori­ous Apostle see no more, what could he see when he was a furi­ous persecutor, before the scales fell from his eyes?

Thirdly, We that are no novices in Christianity, but have made much progresse in the wayes of Religion, yet we see but darkly▪ 'Twas likely at the first opening of the souls eye, at the first cast of it upon heavenly things, that then 'twould not see so clearly. I, but it hath been long fixt upon God, eying of his goodnesse, gazing upon the riches of his free grace, viewing all his wayes, looking at and prying into his several dealings; and yet still it sees thus darkly. And if a tall and eminent Christian see so little, what shall a Babe see, a new-borne Babe? If a vigorous and sparkling eye see no clearer▪ what shall a weak distem