Sips of Sweetnesse; OR, CONSOLATION FOR Weake BELEEVERS. A Treatise, discoursing of the Sweetnesse of Christs carriage to­wards all his weake Members. Particularly to such as are weake either,

  • 1. Habitually; or
  • 2. Accidentally, by reason of
    • 1. Working.
    • 2. Sinning; or
    • 3. Suffering.

Being the summe of certaine Sermons Preached upon Isa. 40.11.

By John Durant Preacher of the Gospel in the City of Canterbury.

[...]

i.e. His fruit was sweet to my taste,

Cant. 2.3.

[...]

i.e. All of him is desirable.

Cant. 5.16.

London, Printed by M. S for Hanna Allen, and are to be sold at her shop in Popes-heed Alley, 1649.

TO THE Candid and Christian READER.

THou art here presented with some Sips of Christs, streaming through a poore crea­ture. If thou expect any puddle in them (as sure thou mayest) its by reason of the polluted breast through which they came, for the fountaine was cleare. Its our misery that pure flowings forth from Christ, become impure in their passage through us: As the water, which in its fountaine was as cleare as Christall, becomes muddy in its course through some kennell. I wish I were sensible enough of what a filthy kennell my heart is. Sure I am, if there be any clearnesse or com­fort [Page]in what is offered, its not mine, but Christs.

Twas a rainy day in which those thoughts were brought forth. My owne heart needed some resreshing; and Christs Spirit brought that Text to my hands, which is treated of in this Discourse. Concerning which, I have this to say.

If thou expect strong meat, tis not here: All that I pretend to (and oh that I may attaine that!) is to give milke to babes. If free grace have dignified me with that worthy name (Beleever.) I must adde to it this Epithite (weake.) Being such I so spake: And (as our Proverb is) I measured others corne by my owne bushell. I thought some might be as I was, and am, weak: And if thou art strong, I have nothing to say to thee but this; Be not high minded, but feare: Even the men in Christ, sometimes are as the children, weake. But if thou be either habitually or [Page]ac­cidentally weake: here is a Sip for thee, I promise no more: Neither wilt thou finde so much, if Christ doe not undertake (which I have desired and doe) to make my promise good.

That which incouraged me to ap­peare in Print, was this hope, that as Christ had made this, some way, sweet in the Pulpit, so he would also make it in the Presse. Some Lambs of Christ were refreshed in the preaching of this: and that made me hope, that some others might also be refreshed by its perusall. I must proclaime it to the glory of free grace, that my owne soul hath tasted some sweetnesse by what Christ gave in to mee in this Treatise: And because I would not eat my morsells alone, I was the wil­linger to this worke of publishing.

If I might be a meanes to give a Sip of consolation to some weake Beleever, I have my reward in this, and encouragement to the like.

Its Christs peculiar Prerogative [Page](and therefore Paul and Timothy would not pretend unto it) to have dominion over faith: Tis hard e­nough for any (too much for me) to be counted helping of his peoples joy. I have alwayes feared that Kingly­evill, which I see swell under the throats of some; while they rather Ma­gisterially presse things upon peoples consciences, then Ministerially helpe beleevers comforts. To this last I have aimed, and if I obtaine it not, I confesse I have missed my marke.

I have studied to be above offen­ces; therefore I shall not print com­plaints, otherwise I might sigh and say, that I knew what David meant, when he said, his soule was among Lions, &c. Psal. 57.4. Some have beene so weake as to deny, others worse, to endeavour to dis­grace my Ministery: But Christ (whom I blesse, who inabled me, for that he counted me faithfull, put­ting me into the Ministery) hath [Page]sweetned my endeavours, by causing some of his sheep (who know his voyce) to owne my Ministery, and vindicate me from being a stranger. Its my humble hope, that if thou be a Lambe of Christ, thou wilt in this (though through an oaten reed) heare his voice; which (if thou doe) follow it.

When I shall understand, that what is now Printed, either pleases, or profits any poor beleeving soul, I shall be en­couraged to publish something besides, of the like nature to this, viz. The sweetnesse of Christs carriage to beleevers under temptations: And also the tendernesse of his heart to­wards beleevers, with reference to their ignorance, unbeleefe, and inability to act.

At present I have done, when I have intreated thee (Reader) to pray for me, that I may finde grace to be faithfull, and wisdome to be skil­full in feeding the Lambs of Christ, [Page] the flock of God, over which the Holy Ghost hath made me over­seer; That in the day of my Masters comming, I may be able to give up my account with comfort.

If thou in this be my Remem­brancer to the Throne of Grace, thou wilt doe an office of charity for, and lay an obligation of service upon him, who is,

Reader,
The meanest of the Servants of Christ. John Durant.

[Page 1]Sips of Sweetnesse; OR, Consolation for weake BELEEVERS.

SECT. I. Declaring Christs sweet carriage to all his weake members.

Isaiah 40.11.

He shall feed his flocke like a shepheard; he shall gather the Lambs with his arme, and carry them in his bosome; he shall gently lead those that are with young.

CHAP. I. The Introduction to the Text, with the drift and scope of the words.

IT hath still been the de­signe of the Enemy of our salvation, Sathan; to keep soules from clo­sing with the Author and Captain of our salvation, Heb. 2.10. [...]. Jesus Christ. [Page 2]Now for the advancement of this his designe,Eph. 6.11. [...]. he doth still endeavour (a­mongst other his wiles) to raise and nourish in the hearts and mindes of poore soules very hard thoughts of Jesus Christ. If Sathan cannot keepe soules in his slavery (as he doth the Indians) by representing himselfe to them as terrible, he will (if possible) keep them from entring into Christs service, by perswading them that he is not mercifull. Indeed it is the De­vills maine designe, to detaine a poore soule alway under his owne yoake; and to this end he would faine delude the soule, by making it beleeve tis all golden; but if he misse in this, his next method is to disswade the soule from taking up Christs yoak; and therefore he endeavours to deceive, by pressing the soul that tis all iron: and if a soule desert him, and will serve Christ, he must look (so the Serpent insinuates) to meet with hard imployment, and a harsh Master, in whose service he must expect many sorrows, but few joyes, great worke, and little wages

But in all this Sathan acts like him­selfe, a lyar, and speaks of himselfe, [Page 3] lies. For surely never did poor soul give up its name (and with that its heart) to the service of Jesus Christ, but found both in the Master and the ser­vice incomparable sweetnesse. 'Twas but a slanderous, and slender excuse of him in the Parable,Luk. 19.22. [...]. that said he knew Christ was an austere master. The faithful servants found Christs boun­ty, fully confuting that slander. In­deed Christ is a Lion, and so knowes how to be angry, and teare in peeces such as forget him and themselves, & forsake their owne mercies, by heark­ning to lying vanities, preferring Sathans slavery, before his service. But Jesus is also a Lamb (and so fitted to be kinde) and he knows how to follow such poore soules with em­braces of love, as love themselves by loving him; and cleaving to him for­sake all things else. True it is, Christ is great, and if sinners stubbornly stand out, they shall feele that he is severe; but with all he is good: and if soules sincerely come to him, they shall taste that he is sweet. Indeed the Lord Je­sus is a flame of fire to consume those that obstinately refuse to hearken to [Page 4]the Gospell: but withall he is a sea of love to comfort all those that cordi­ally obey it, by taking him. However Goats out of his fold shall finde him dreadfull; poore Lambs within the fold both doe, and shall finde him merci­full. This is that which this great Prophet in this place prophesieth concerning Jesus Christ. Where speaking of Christs carriage towards all his members, he saith that, before time, which beleevers seale to in time. viz. That never did any soul, which recei­ved Christ as tendred in the Gospel, miscar­ry either through want or weaknesse: For Christ still fed and carried it, &c. This I conceive to be the scope of this Propheticall speech concerning Christ: namely, that his carriage should be full of sweetnesse towards all his members, especially such of them as are weaker then the rest.

CHAP. II. The Context, with the Division of the words and the Doctrines arising from them.

IN the beginning of the Chapter, the Prophet brings in God, com­manding to preach comfort to his peo­ple. Comfort ye, comfort ye my people saith your God. The cohe­rence and depen­dance of the Text. Its Gods mercy that he hath provided; and Ministers duty they should preach comfort to the godly.

Being commanded to preach com­fortably, he brings in the Baptist, ushering in of Christ, v. 3. If comfort be to be preached, Christ is to be the Text.

Speaking of Christ he presents him comming with a strong hand, v. 10. In­deed such a Saviour doth the soule need, who hath a strong hand able to rescue the poore Lamb, out of the mouth of the devou­ring Lion. And that Christ might be seen to be a suitable and sweet Saviour, the Prophet addes; that as he was powerfull, and so able to rescue the poore sinner: in like manner he was merci­full, and so willing to feed the soule when it hungred, and to gather it in [Page 6]case it wandred, and in case of weak­nesse, to carry it in his bosome. So that in these words Christ is held out, under the similitude of a Shepherd, carrying himselfe in all things, as a Faithfull and mercifull shepherd to poor souls. In generall 'tis said he should feed his flock; and answerable to particular necessity of the weake of the flock, he is also particularly described to be carefull: As in case the soule wander, (as sometimes the best sheep doe) It is said, he shall gather it, the word is, [...] which signifies a carefull gathe­ring, and therefore so used, Gen. 41.48. Joseph was not more carefull in ga­thering up the food of the seven years, then Jesus is in gathering wan­dring beleevers. And in case of weak­nesse (as Lambs will be) Christ is said to carry them; the word is, [...] from [...] which is not onely to car­ry, but to take up, (as supposing they may be fallen) and carry. And lastly, in case of breeding, or being with young. It is prophesied of Christ, that he would lead them. Yea and that all [Page 7]these acts of Christ might be set out in their full sweetnesse; every one of them is hightened by its manner of performance. He will gather the wan­dring with his arme, and carry the weakling in his bosome, and lead the breeding gently in his hand, for so the word [...] signifies, as I shall shew hereafter. So that now the words holding out, Christs sweet carriage to­wards his members, doe easily divide themselves into these particulars.

  • 1. The Generall carriage of Christ to­wards all his, he shall feed them.
    Division of the words.
  • 2. The speciall carriage of Christ to­wards the weake; held out in the
    • 1. Substance, which (as the golden apples) is set down in three particu­lars.
      • 1. For the wanderers; he will gather them.
      • 2. For the weak ones, the Lambs, he will carry them. And
      • 3. For the Ewes (as I may so say) he will lead them.
    • 2. Circumstance, which sets out the golden apples in pictures of silver. He will doe all these in a sweet [Page 8]and safe way gather with his arme, carry in his bosome, and lead (Jacob-like) very gently, those that are with young.

I might observe divers Doctrines from these words; As,

  • 1. Jesus Christ is the great Shepherd of the souls of all Gods Elect.
    1 Pet. 2.25. [...].
  • 2. As God the Father hath made Christ chiefe Shepherd of our souls; so be did, doth, and will discharge his trust carefully, faith­fully, and tenderly.
  • 3. There are diversities of formes in Christs fold: some are Lambs, weak; some Ewes, big with young.
  • 4. Jesus Christ carrieth himselfe in a suitable way to all the soules that be in his flocke.

These, and many such I might note, but I passe them as not aiming at any thing in this Discourse from this place, but onely the carriage of Christ, as it is described with reference to his weake ones

CHAP. III. The maine Doctrine propounded and opened.

THe chiefe thing which I aime at, being the comfort of weake Saints, in observing the carriage of Christ towards such: I shall hold it out in this Doctrine.

Jesus Christ carries himselfe very weetly, and tenderly, The Doctrine. as towards all his mem­bers, so towards his weake members especi­ally: Or,

Christs carriage, is specially sweet and tender, towards every poor, weake beleever.

I suppose it lyes fully and cleare in this place, as I shall shew hereafter. For the opening of this Doctrine,Explicati­on. it being a Theologicall Proposition; I shall first explaine the subject, and then the predicate thereof.

1. The subject of the Doctrine, and discourse, is the carriage of Christ. What Christs carriage is And this is nothing else, but the way, or manner of Christs manifesting of himselfe through sundry, and various dispensations towards the soules of his.

2. The predicate, or the thing [Page 10]which we affirme of this demeanour of Christ, is, that it is sweet and tender; now although the full meaning o [...] these words, as they relate to Christ carriage, cannot be sufficiently [...] ­pressed (which is its glory) yet I shal [...] offer what I intend in two steps.

1. Negatively, Christ doth not carry himselfe in harsh, sowre, severe manner, [...] some doe: Indeed the wicked servan [...] said, that be, Christ, was an auste [...] man (the Syriac signifies a hard man.) But however he said; those that hav [...] tasted Christs carriage, can confut [...] this slander. None of his have any just ground to complaine of Christ, as he in the Poet of a self-conceited servant-despising-Master.Aristopha­nes, [...]. Howeve [...] Nabals carriage gave just occasion to his servants complaint, that he wa [...] such a sonne of Belial, that they kne [...] not how to speake to him, as 'tis, 1 Sam. 25.17. Christs carriage was never such He forbids his under-shepherds sever [...]-lording over his flocke, and he (who is the chiefe Shepherd) abhors that, [...]. 1 Pet. 5.3. which he forbad them. Beleeve it, (Christian) Christ's carriage was not, is not crabbed.

[Page 11]2. Positively. Jesus Christ demeanes himselfe softly, sweetly towards his. In e­very manifestation he discovers himselfe meeke, and milde. He speakes so, as if his designe were (as 'tis) to tye the hearts of hearers to his lips with silken threds (as 'tis phancied of the French-Hercules) he acts so, as one that makes good Platoes counsel, i.e. to tye his servants by love-necessities to his service. [...]. In this Titus (if the Historian do not hyperbolize) was a type of Christ, who carried himself so, as that none ever went sad from him. As he came to Jerusalem meekly, so he carries himselfe towards his members still; Love is his name, and love is with him; tis his nature, as well as his name. This all the members of Christ can seale to, as a sure experienced truth; but especially such of them, as are, or have been weake. And this I am to prove.Proofe of the Do­ctrine. All the servants of Christ can witnesse for their Master. All his Epi­thites speake him sweet. Lamb is a name of love. Husbands carriages are (or should be) sweet, and tender. How­ever they (as men) may forget them­selves. Christ (as God) is unchange­able. [Page 12]He bore his people of old,Exod. 19.4. as on Eagles wings. And of late, and still, in his owne armes. Indeed he comman­ded the Angels, Psal. 81.11 12. to beare his people in their armes, but (as if they were not soft enough) he takes them into his owne. He bare their sins on his backe, and their soules in his bosome. If the soule walke abroad, Christ walks with it, and carries himselfe kinde. All the way shall be paved with love under their feet,Cant. 3.10 that it may be soft; and over their head he will spread a banner of love, Cant. 2.4. that they may be safe: If the soul be sicke, and must lye downe, he wil [...] make the bed, Psal. 40.1. and sit by; and that he may shew himselfe tender and sweet, he will put one hand over, and the other hand under. Cant. 2.6. But what need I hold up a candle to let you see the Sun. God the Father undertooke for him, He should not cry, Isa. 42.2.3. nor lift up, &c. i.e. (not to exclude other senses) he should not be lofty and majesticall, but lowly, meeke, and mer­cifull. Bruised reeds, and smoaking flaxes i.e. weake and feeble soules, should not be broken, nor quenched by him, i.e. they should tenderly, and gently be dealt withall; in a sweet way (answerable to [Page 13]their weake condition) should they finde his carriage. Search (soul) the Annals of his life: See, did not all his actings towards weake ones, speake love? Inquire of those with whom he did converse? this will testifie to this truth concerning his carriage; that he was indeed very tender, and sweet to all, but especially so, to such soules as were feeble. All the flocke, but especially the weake of the flocke, found him a surpassing carefull, kinde Shepherd, in all his carriage.

CHAP. IV. A more full explication of the point, and a generall demonstration of the truth thereof.

BEcause the Text chiefly (in my eye) carries out the sweetnesse of Christ towards weake beleevers; and as I said, this was my sole designe in the discourse to hold out comfort for such (as being indeed most suit­able to my owne state) I shall there­fore more amply open the point,The point amplified. and il­lustrate it in three particulars, viz. by shewing.

  • 1. Who these weake ones are.
  • 2. Wherein the sweetnesse and tender­nesse of Christs carriage to them doth appeare.
  • 3. Why Christ doth carry himselfe in such a way, especially towards them.

Who are weake.First, that it may be knowne who these weak beleevers are (with reference to whom this Tract is chiefly pend) you may be pleased thus to distinguish of weake beleevers.

  • 1. Some there are, who are habitu­ally weake.
  • 2. Others there are accidentally weake.

Habitually weake.Of those that are habitually weake; I shall speake under this first generall Doctrine and speak to the other, parti­cularly by themselves, and that also, out of this Text.

Now I call such soules habitually weake, who by reason of their age in Christ, or the forme and ranke in his Schoole, have not attained to any great strength in Christ, or any full measure of the graces of the Spirit. In whom, the life, and habits of grace (which I humbly conceive might in [Page 15]more apt phrase be called the brea­things, or fruits of the Spirit) are but yet, in a low, feeble, scanty measure, or de­gree. And these I suppose may be re­duced to two heads, for illustrations sake.

1. Beginners, or under-graduates in Christs Schoole: Grace at first being but little (and therefore compared to the least of graines, mustard-seed.) And Saints at first being but feeble (and in that respect likened to the feeblest of creatures, Lambs.) These are the first ranke of weake persons, whom I call beginners (who yet are in a capacity of more strength, as they prove in time, proficients in the Schoole of Christ; but) for present are but weake, as all beginners are.

2. Babes in Christs house, (called in the Text, Lambs in Christs fold) such as were so a long time, as those 1 Cor. 3.1. Or alway, as some are, 1 Joh. 2.12.13. for it is in Christs house, as in yours, many that are borne there, Psal. 87.5. [...] live not beyond the age of babes and children, but dye (as it were) in their infancy; who albeit they attaine to the measure appointed them, yet [Page 16]they come not up to the measure of a full age in Christ, [...] as the word signifies, Eph. 4.13. But as babes dye; having indeed the truth of life, and the divine nature; and so the breathings, or fruits of the Spirit; yet (infant-like) in a very feeble degree, all their dayes.

Under these heads, I thinke all may not unfitly be considered, whom I call habitually weake, to distinguish them from others, who are accidentally so: of which hereafter.

Now both these rankes are weake in a threefold respect.

First, in respect of life; in whom in­deed the Spirit breaths but faintly, Some weake in respect of life. whose pulse beats but feebly, whose heart pants but weakly, in whom the very principles of Religion are laid, in­deed sure (being upon the foundation Christ) but yet the practise of Religion (which is as the superstructure of that foundation) is not high, nor sublime, whose soules are alive, but whose actions are not lively; who pray, and read, and heare, &c. from a true internall principle, or power of spirituall life; but yet so, as it plainly appeares to them (yea and to others) that [Page 17]they are rather the pantings, lispings, essayes of beginners, and babes, then the performances of Graduates, and men in Christ Jesus.

Secondly, in respect of light; for there is not in every beleever the same knowledge, Some there be, who are weake, in respect of know­ledge. i.e. not the same measure of know­ledge, 1 Cor. 8.7. Indeed the Sunne of wisdome (Christ the wisdome of God) shines in them, but through many clouds, very dimly. In them there is the knowledge of the Alphabet, that Christ is the first letter, Alpha, and the last, Omega. They understand the rudiments of Religion, and some maine axioms, or conclusions, they are able to read and heare, to interpret, and understand some plaine, and necessary places, and truths; but yet so, as that they can rather apprehend, then hold out divine truths, & can better dye, then dispute for Christ, so as that they are still rather lovers of knowledge, then masters; [...] whom you may call learners, but not learned, and to whom the life of the Gospell is come, but not in a measure stretched out (that I may elude to that Psal. 19. [...] and 2 Cor. 10.13, 14. and Rom. 10.18.) souls who in truth are schollers, [...] but not [Page 18] Doctors in Christs schoole,Heb. 5.12. who know rather how to learne themselves, then how to teach others.

Thirdly,Some souls weak in faith. [...] in respect of faith; for there are some true beleevers, and yet weake in faith, Rom. 14.1. Indeed they doe receive Christ, and free grace, but 'tis with a shaking hand. They have (as Divines say) the faith of adherence, they will sticke to Christ as theirs; but they want the faith of evidence, they cannot see themselves as his. They are beleevers, [...] Mat. 16.8. but of little faith. They will trust, though he kill them: But they doe not know fully that he will save them. They hope that Christ will not cast them off, but are not sure that he will take them up. They would beleeve that Christ will not reject them, because he commands others to re­ceive them, Rom. 14.1. but cannot conclude that Christ will imbrace them. Beleevers you may call them, and indeed they are Abrahams children, but yet they are but Babes, not (as their Father was, strong in faith, Rom. 4.20. Indeed Abraham (their father) was not, (but they as children) are weake in faith as 'tis, Rom. 4.19.

Thus you see the first thing, who they are that I call weake members of Jesus Christ.

For the second head: wherein doth the carriage of Christ appeare to be sweet, Demon­strations of the truth of the Do­ctrine from the Text. and tender toward these. I shall (if God will) in a particular Tract shew it, with reference to each of these sorts, by declaring that Christ [is] sweet, and [how] to those whose life, and light, and faith, is but weake and little; onely from this Text, I shall hold it out in a generall way, how Christs carriage, is tender towards all these, and such as are thus, for (at least) distinctions sake, habitually weake; whom the Prophet calls his Lambs in this place.

Now this appears from the Text in two things.

  • 1. He will gather them, and that with his arme.
  • 2. He will carry them, and that in his bosome.

First, Christ carries himselfe very ten­derly towards his weake Lambs, is that he will gather them. Lambs, all the flock are but weake, and so apt to wander, if not looked to. Now Christ he will [Page 20] gather, and that with much care (for so the word signifies) his poor weake members, that are apt to wander. Christ, thou (poore weakling) will care­fully look to thee. That thou mayest not wander (at least too far) he will make bare, and stretch out his arme to ga­ther thee. The poore soule saith I am weake: which is worse; I am wicked; I have a stragling heart. I shall goe astray like a lost sheep; Psal. 119.176. will Christ seek me? Yes poore soule, he hath a tender heart, and he will seeke thee carefully, and he hath a long arm. He will gather thee surely. Thou dost not forget him (as David intimates) and he doth not for­get thee, nor himselfe. He is thy soul-shepherd, hee will therefore gather thee; O thou weakling of his flock!

Secondly, Christs carriage is very tender, for he will carry those that cannot goe. The weake Lamb lyes downe, it can­not goe; the Shepherd takes it up, and bears it. The weake beleever cannot walke with Christ: Now Christ will stoop downe, and take it up, and carry it, so the word signifies. Oh, saith the weake soule, I would follow Christ, but I cannot; I would, walke with him hand [Page 21]in hand, but I am weake. Well be­leever, thou art weake, and Christ is kinde; thou lyest along, and he will take thee up. Thou canst not goe, he will carry thee. Oh but how! will he put me on his backe, expose me to wind and weather? No poore soule, he will carry thee in his bosome, and keepe thee warme and safe there; True, he will lay thy sinnes upon his backe, and beare all the lashes of his Fathers wrath for thy wickednesse; but he will carry thy soule (O beleever) in his bo­some, and cherish thee there with the warmth of his love, because of thy weaknesse.

Dear soul! I hint things but briefly, that I be not burthen some; read the Prophet, thinke of what is said; tell me, doth not Christ carry himself tenderly, and sweetly, towards weak be­leevers, in gathering them with his arme, and carrying them in his bosome.

CHAP. V. Six particulars further setting out Christs tender carriage towards his weake members.

HAving in a generall way hinted the sweetnesse of Christs carriage towards his weake members, as 'tis held out in this Text by the Prophet; I shall now endeavour, in a more par­ticular manner, to acquaint you how sweetly and tenderly Christ carries himselfe to weake beleevers; and,

1. The sweetnesse of Christs carriage ap­pears in this, that he is ready to entertain any poore soule (though never so weake) that comes unto him. He stands with open armes, yea and heart also, to give those, sweet embraces, that desire to embrace him. He proclaimes it, [...] Joh. 6.37. that he would not cast off, or out in any wise, any that come to him. Though the approaches of the soule to him be in much weaknesse, yet he accepts of the approach, and em­braces the soule with much tender­nesse. Never did any that came to him, finde him harsh. If their comming were but sincere, his entertainment was [Page 23]alway sweet. Thou poore soule! who hast a desire to come to Christ, because thou seest thou shalt perish without him; and yet dost doubt whether thou shalt be entertained by Christ, because thou findest thy self (as thou thinkest) unfitting for him: why, goe and try; Taste and thou shalt see, that Christ is sweet and tender; he will not cast thee off, if thou wilt come to him. His invitation is generall, If any thirst let him come to me, and (not doubt,Mark. 10.46, 48, 49. but) drinke. Aske blinde Bartemeus, who sate by the high way begging, when Christ went by; and he will tell thee, though men were harsh, and bid him hold his peace, and would not let him cry to Christ; yet Jesus was sweet, and not onely let him cry, but bid him come to him. Thou weake beleever, that sayest I would goe to Christ, but I doubt whether he will embrace me be­ing blinde: Arise and goe, and thou shalt finde the Lord Jesus, tender, and ready to entertaine thee sweetly, yea and so far, from rejecting thee, for thy blindnesse, that he will receive thee to give thee sight. One would have thought that if ever Christ would re­ject [Page 24]any, he would have surely rejected Nicodemus, Joh. 3. who was so weake as be­ing either afraid or ashamed (or both) to owne Christ in the day, he comes to him in the night. What might (as one would thinke) Christ have said, Nico­demus is thy desire after me so faint, as that thou fearest to come to me in the day time? or am I so unworthy, as I am not to be owned but out of sight? Hast thou either so low an esteem of me? or bearest thou so little love to me, as that thou commest thus now in the night? Go, returne as thou ca­mest, I will not accept thee in the dark, who wouldst not acknowledge me in the light. I will not entertaine thee in the night, who wouldst not embrace me in the day. No, No, Christ hath not a syllable of these sad sayings. But presently (knowing him to be but a beginner in spirituall, though a Dr. in literall Israel) he entertaines him, embra­ceth him, instructs him; gives him leave to reply to what he spake: beares with all the ignorance, and absurdities that were in his questions; stoops low to his capacity, that he might lift him high in Spirit: And in all things [Page 25]carries himself as a sweet tender-hearted shepherd, to a poor, weake faint hear­ted Lamb.

Secondly, The carriage of Christ is discovered to be tenderly sweet to weake beleevers, in that he cherisheth and preserveth those little buddings of grace that are in them. Oh! saith the weake beleever, my fire is so litle (such a litle sparke in so many ashes) that I feare 'twill out. My candle gives so litle light (and burnes so weakly in such mighty winds,) that I doubt I shall be in the darke: my pulse beats so faintly (there is such little vitall strength under so many mortall sinnes) that I thinke I shall ere long give up the ghost, and dye. But stay weake soules! why say ye thus? Christ is sweet and tender; what he hath begun, he will preserve. Thy spark of fire shall not be extingui­shed, thy dim light shall not be blown out; thy weake life shall not decay. No, No, Christ will preserve, maintaine, che­rish these true (though weake) begin­nings of grace that are in thee. 'Twas the Priests office to keep the fire in the Sanctuary from going out. And 'tis Christs worke to doe the same in thy [Page 26]soule. Christ is this Priest, and that spirituall sparke of fire, which God from above hath laid upon thy heart (the altar) in the Sanctuary of thy soule, he will looke to, that it goe not out. Though thou be fearfull, remember Christ is faithfull; he will be tender of thee, and thou shalt finde his carriage sweet, in cherishing those weake graces that are in thee. Maries faith was very feeble; and when she was secking sorrowfully her Lord in the garden,Joh. 20. her faith was like to fire that is going out; yet she seems to doubt whether Christ were God, and able to raise himselfe, and speaks as if he were but Man, Ver. 13. and that some had stolne him away. Sir (saith she) if thou hast borne him hence (as if Christ could not goe without car­rying) tell me where thou hast laid him, Ver. 15. and I will take him away (as if she were stronger then he;) Maries faith you see is weake: surely this sparke will out, if not presently blowne: why marke now, Christ discovers himselfe to be sweet and tender; and therefore that he might cherish her faith in him, he speaks to her, Mary. The like car­riage you see in Luke 24. towards [Page 27]those weake Disciples, who discourse doubtingly concerning his Deity, Luke 24. and begin to speake, as if they questioned, whether he were the Messias, the Redeemer, yea or no. Their faith be­gan to flag (said they) ver. 19. Wee trusted it had been he, that should have re­deemed Israel; and besides all this, to day is the third day since these things ver. 20. were done. Weake hearts; three dayes delay makes them distrust; surely their faith is almost out. But marke, how sweetly Christ speakes (indeed ver. 25. he checks their doubting, as arguing folly; and though their heart was sincere,See v. 26, 27. he intimates 'twas but slow to beleeve, &c. yet) he cherisheth and preserveth their faith from dying; and carries himselfe very tenderly in arguing from Moses and the Prophets, to keep their faith alive. That place in the Prophet discovers Christ as sweetly carefull to preserve the least buds of grace in his, Esa. 65.8. Thus saith the Lord, as the new wine is found in the cluster, as one saith, destroy it not, for a blessing is in it, so will I doe for my ser­vants sake. Calvin in locum. How ever some seem to carry the meaning of this place, as if [Page 28]it related to Gods sparing and pre­serving the righteous, while he is punishing the wicked; yet I think, we are rather to understand it, as relating to the tendernesse of Gods carriage, for Christs sake, to elect Israel. God found them indeed weake. Rather as having wine in them potentially, then as being wine actually, as the wine in the cluster, i.e. they had some few faint buddings of grace: And Christ said (for he was that One) Doe not destroy it Father, there is a blessing in it; though it be but yet weake, 'twill in time be strong: cherish it, preserve it, there is a blessing in it. You see Christ is very tender over his weake members. He is carefull to preserve their blos­somes, their buds. Take us the foxes, the little foxes that spoyle the vines, Cant. 2.15. for the vines have tender grapes, Cant. 2.15. Christ will have a tender care of che­rishing the tender graces, that he sees in weake beleevers.

But thirdly, Christ discovers a sweet carriage not only in preserving the weake beginnings of grace, in the hearts of beleevers, but also in strengthning their weaknesse every day. [Page 29]Its note-worthy, that Christ doth not onely not breake the bruised reeds, nor quench the smoaking flaxes, i.e. cherish the faint graces which are in feeble Saints, but he strengthens & increases them. He makes an augmentation, brings forth judgement unto truth, Esa. 42.3. The meaning is saith (Dr. Sibs sweet­ly) That the gracious frame of holinesse, set up in our hearts by the Spirit of Christ, shall goe forward, or increase, till all contrary power be brought downe. My feet (saith the poore soul) are so feeble, that I am ready to stumble at every straw. Sure, I shall never be able to stride o­ver a log, to goe over a mountaine. Doubt not, O thou of little faith. Christ will carry himselfe tender towards thee; and though thy feet be now weake as Lambs feet, that thou art scarce able to goe over a mole-hill, without sliding, he will make them strong as Hindes feet, that thou shalt be able (ere long) to leap over a mountaine. He maketh my feet like hindes feet, saith David, Psal. 18.33. Christ is very carefull to carry on the soule from strength to strength, Psal. 84.7. He therefore gave some Apostles, some [Page 30] Prophets, &c. that they might be for the perfecting of the Saints; that weake be­leevers who are but Infants, may grow stronger and stronger, till they come to mens age, as tis Eph. 4.13. Ah saith the poore soule, my light is but little; will it ere be bright. Tis but as the dawning of the day. I thinke the day of grace is risen in my soule, but 'tis but glimmering as the early morne, will it ere shine glori­ously? shall it ever be noone? shall it be in my bosome as the Sunne in the me­ridian? will it ever rise so high? Yes poore soule; stay a little, and it will be lighter. The path of the righteous is as the shining light, and shineth more and more to the perfect day, Prov. 4.28. Christ will make it day and a perfect day in thy heart; though it be morning now, and but even Sun rising. Oh how sweet is Christs carriage to his weake mem­bers! that thus he strengthens their weake graces every day. He will cherish thee O beleeving babe, till thou grow bigger, in his bosome.

Fourthly, weake beleevers have found Christs carriage very sweet, in that he hath borne with those many infir­mities which he hath found in them. Weak [Page 31]soules are apt to slip, and Christ sweet­ly smiles, notwithstanding those slips. Lambs are feeble, and sometimes they fall, but the shepherd passes it by. Christ rather pities his members for their weaknesse, then casts them off. Peter was weake in refusing Christs tender of washing. Joh. 13. But Christ was sweet; Ver. 7. he knew Peter was rather igno­rant then obstinate. Christ tells him (and in that excuseth his weaknesse) that he did not know what his inten­tion was in that action; What I doe thou dost not know, and therefore though Peter carryed himself weakly, in refusing the washing; yet Christ carried him­selfe sweetly, and passing by that weak­nesse, comes and washeth his feet.Cant. 1, 2.3. 'Twas an infirmity of largest allowance in the Spouse, to put off Christ with such a poore excuse after he stood so long waiting, I have put off my coat. Childish, as if she could not put it on againe: And because she could not rise to let him in; Christ must go away in the morning, though he had stood knocking all night. Yet Christ bears all. And (though the Spouse might feare, he would take the businesse so hey­nous [Page 32]as never more to come to her house) he came againe afterward. Indeed he permitted some lordly watch­men to whip her for her lazy weak­nesse. (and it was kindnesse thus to fetch it out) But carried himselfe tender still,Chap. 6.2, 3. and admitted her into his garden sweetly, albeit she kept him out of her house sluggishly. Surely Peter, and James, and John failed much, to sleepe while their Lord sorrowed; and not to regard his sorrow, though he chose them out (as it were) on purpose, to watch with him. Indeed, Christ sighs to see them so weake, as not to be able to watch with him one houre; yet he car­ries himselfe sweet, and instead of chi­ding their unwatchfulnesse, he excuseth their weaknesse. Mat. 26.41 The spirit is willing, saith he, but the flesh is weake. Our children sometimes doe faults, break glasses, &c. but we say, alas poore hearts, 'twas their weaknesse. Christs children are as weake as ours; onely he is kinder to his, then we can be to ours. He beares with more infirmi­ties, and passeth by more faults then we doe or can. Poore Thomas is very weake, hee'l not beleeve except he [Page 33]may open Christs wounds afresh, and put his fingers in the print of the nailes. Christ is very sweet, beares with all this, and is willing to have his wounds opened afresh, to helpe Tho­mas his faith;Joh. 20. surely Thomas saw Christs heart through his wounds; I will put in my fingers, saith Thomas, or else I will not beleeve, v. 25. Ah poor weake soule! come and thrust them into my side (saith Christ:) Oh tender Saviour!V. 27. surely Christ will punish me (saith the poore soule) I am so wicked. No, Christ (poore heart) will pity thee, because thou art so weake. Ah Lord! how many frailties, infirmities, nay inormi­ties dost thou passe by in thy poore weake Lambs? verily thou carriest thy selfe like a tender, loving, sweet shepherd towards us.

Fifthly, Its easie to discover in Christs carriage, much sweetnesse and tendernesse to weake beleevers, in that he puts them upon no duties above their abi­lity. As he will not permit them to be tempted above their abilitie, 1 Cor. 10.13. so neither doth he put them upon any businesse which is above their power. Though Christ hath many workes, [Page 34]about which he will put his mem­bers, yet he will tarry till they are able for them. I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot beare them now, Jo. 16.12. Because they were not able to beare, Christ was not willing to speake. Alas, I see great works to be done, hard lessons to be learned; sure I shall never be able to doe that one, or learn the other, saith the weake soule, at least, not yet; for I am but a babe, very weake: why, Christ is content to stay till thou shalt be stronger. As yet thou art unable, and as yet he is unwilling. Fasting, it was a weighty worke; and Christs disciples were as yet but weake: He therefore forbears them, and puts them not upon it. And when some wondred (who indeed knew not the weight of the worke) that Christs disciples safted not at all, Luke 5.33. when Jesus did often, Christ excuses his disciples, and by two parables apologizeth for them; and the drift of both is this, the worke was as yet too high for them; they were weake, and that was weighty. Its worth noting, Christ would not have the Apostles goe from Jerusalem, till they had received [Page 35] power from on high. He would not leave them while (at least compara­tively) low, to go about a worke which was superlatively high, i. e. Apostolicall. Never trouble thy selfe poore soule! about this or that worke, which is too high for thee, a­bove thy power, thy ability, if thou canst cleare that sincerely, Christ will carry himselfe sweetly, never call thee to it, never put thee on it.

Sixtly, Its apparent enough, and one that runs may read sweetnesse, and tendernesse, in the carriage of Christ toward his weake members, in that be kindly accepts of what they doe in his service, though accompanied with many failings. What the poore soule doth sincerely, that the precious Saviour takes sweetly; and though it be done but ill, yet he accepts it well. Christ remembers himselfe, if he gave the soule but two talents, and he looks not for ten. And Christ considers the poore soule, that it hath not much; and therefore he is pleased with a little. The poore creature works but bunglingly, and Christ accounts the worke brave; he accepts the prayer, [Page 36]though imperfact; and yet that the Fa­ther may look upon it as perfect, he mingles his incense with our prayers, Apoc. 8.3. and so imperfect prayers from us are put up perfect by Christ to the Father. The weake childe cannot speak articulately, and yet the indulgent mother accep­teth, with much love, its poor prattle; so doth Christ: [...] Let me heare thy voyce (saith he) for it is sweet, Cant. 2.14. the word signifies any sound, such as bruits or birds make. Christ accounts stammerings as sweet: Meih, Meih, saith the little one, and the mother accounts it musicke. The poore soule, many a time, at best, and most, when it comes to pray can but sigh; and the Lord Christ takes it as a sweet song, and is pleased with it. Our drinke offerings have much water in them, and but litle wine, and Christ accepts of the little wine, though mingled with much water. Some thinke there were many fai­lings in the womans obtruding of her selfe into the Pharisees house,Luk. 8.37. and troubling Christ while he sate at meat. However Christ saw much love in the action, and not onely pas­seth by, but excuseth the womans [Page 37]seeming failings, Luke 7.37. Woe be to me saith the poore soule! my gold is mixed with much drosse! my righteous­nesse, with much unrighteousnesse; surely Christ will reject all, and me too. No, Christ is kinde, and albeit thou carriest thy selfe, in thy choisest performances very weakly; yet he will carry himselfe, even towards thy failings, very sweetly; and will accept of that which thou dost kindly, although done in much in­firmity. Ah could I but worke neater, pray better, sing, read &c. better, I could thinke Christ would accept. But alas! I doe all that I doe so badly, and every prayer, &c. is mixt with so many infirmities, that I feare if Christ do not cast them backe with anger into my face, yet sure be will not take them up with love into his hand. I were therefore as good sit still, and doe nothing. Say not thus, O weake creature! up and be doing. Carry thy selfe but with sincerity, and thou shalt finde that Christ will carry himselfe sweetly; and accept of little actings with great love, and be pleased with thy performances, though accompanied with many infirmities.

CHAP. VI. Containing some reasons of the point.

HAving shewed some particulars in which Christs carriage ap­pears sweet and tender towards weak beleevers. I shall now give some rea­sons why Christ carries himself thus to them.

First, God the Father who did appoint him to be a shepherd, did also appoint him to be sweet. 'Twas the Fathers will that Christ should take the care of his flocke, and that he should manage the care with much tendernesse, especi­ally towards the Lambs. Looke as Christ, though he had a singular care of all the flock (and therefore bid Peter feed them all) yet he had a speciall care of the weake of the flocke, i. e. Lambs, and therefore especially he commanded Peter to have a care of them; and as ever he would declare his love to himselse,Joh. 21. he should be ten­der over the Lambs, and be sure to feed them (which might be another instance of the speciall care and tendernesse of Christ to weak beleevers.) In like man­ner [Page 39]God the Father, when he gave Christ his commission, in which he committed the whole flock of the E­lect to his care, did put in as it were a singular clause, that he should be very tender of, and very indulgent towards the weak of the flock. I looke upon the Text not onely as a Prophesie of the carriage of Christ, what it would be, but also as the commission of Christ, wherein the Father gives him (as it were) instructions what his carriage should be towards the Lambs, i.e. the weake soules of the Saints. It may not be passed by slightly, that the tender carriage of Christ towards bruised reeds, and smoak­ing flaxes, is built upon this, that he was Gods servant, as it were for that purpose sent by God, Esa. 42.1. Christs sweetnesse to weake beleevers, is his service to his Fathers appointment. God the Fa­ther did appoint Jesus Christ to this car­riage, when he gave him his commis­sion. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, and he hath anointed me to preach good ty­dings to the meeke, Esa. 61.1. he hath sent me to binde up the broken in heart. The Father charged Christ in speciall to carry [Page 40]himselfe kindly towards them. In­deed the great thing (next to the sweetnesse of his owne nature, which set him on to undertake the office) that moves Christ, either to take free­ly any poore soule into his care; or to demeane himselfe sweetly in his car­riage towards it,Joh. 6.38. is his Fathers will, which he came to fulfill, Joh. 6.38. Now it was the Fathers will that Christ should be very tender in his carriage towards the weak.

Secondly, The very weaknesse of be­leevers, workes a tendernesse in Christs bowells, which he cannot but expresse in his behaviour. Weaknesse, is a word in it selfe speaking for tendernesse. And a sweet disposition (such as Christs is) needs no other Oratory to move pity, but necessity. Jesus Christ knows how to heare the cry of the soules of his.Exod. 3.7. Affliction hath a cry that can be heard as high as heaven. Thou weake be­leever thy secret sighs come up shril­ly to thy Saviour. If thy bosome breath, Christs bowells heare. And the very weaknesse that is in thee is argu­ment enough with him (such is his sweetnesse) to declare himselfe very [Page 41]pitifull, and tender towards thee, in his carriage. The head takes care of the whole body, and every member in particular; but especially of the weake; and that, because such; Belee­vers!1 Cor. 12.27. Christ is the head of his body, and ye are members (yea ye weake little ones) in particular: And doubtlesse the bead, because wise, will have a tender care of the toes, because weake. I feare I shall breake saith the weake soule; surely if Christ be not the kinder to me, I shall dye; my spirit will faile very soone, if his carriage be not very sweet. Christ knowes thy feare, O thou feeble soule! and 'tis his feare too. His language seems to be such.Esa. 57.17. The spirit would faile before me, and the soules which I have made. Adam marr'd thee poor soule, Christ made thee; and surely he will not suffer his worke to fall, which would, if thy spirit should faile. We let our bigger boyes run by them­selves, while we lead our little ones in our hands, and shew much tender­nesse to them; and this we doe, be­cause our least is the weakest. Christ is that, and more then that (in point of under carriage) to his children, that we [Page 42]are to ours. Surely if we who are evill, know how to be tender in our carriage to­wards our weake children: How much more doth Christ (who is the everlasting, yea and ever-loving Father) know how to ex­presse much sweetnesse and tendernesse in his carriage towards his children, and that upon this very ground, their weak­nesse.

Thirdly, Christ will carry himselfe thus, that his carriage may be convincing. Evill men have hard thoughts of Jesus Christ, and sometimes they speake as they thinke. Wretches thinke that Christ is like them, because they want bowells, they conclude that Christ wants too. Their bowells are brasse, and they will not beleeve that Christs are better. Now Christs sweet carriage towards weake beleevers, confutes all this, and might convince, that his nature is as his name, love: (weak (be­leevers) Christ will make you his witnesses. And that you may testifie his carriage to be sweet to all his ser­vants, he will be sweet to you who can doe him but little service. Christ resolves to make his Lambs beare him witnesse against the Wolves. His car­riage [Page 43]shall beare him record, that he would have gathered softly and sweet­ly, like as a hen gathers her chickens. Mat. 23.27 Mat. 25.44. And because he knows Goats will be apt to word it (as at the last day) he will appeale to the experience of his Lambs, to testifie for his carriage. He that had but two talents and used them as well as he could, shall be evidence enough against the evill servant, that Christ is not an austere man. That Christ may stop their mouthes that are idle, and will not worke, he will fill their mouths that are sincere, though weake. Thy little cisterne (O weake beleever) shall be filled with sweet­nesse, because Christ will use thy cisterne as an evidence of his sea. Christ will at once evince, and con­vince others wickednesse, by the sweetnesse of his carriage towards thee, notwithstanding thy weak­nesse.

CHAP. VII. Some Ʋses of all this.

I Am loath to let so precious a point goe without its application. It may be of singular use, if Christ will be so sweet as to helpe; I hope hee will, and therefore,

First, this might informe us in the difference between Christs carriage and the creatures. We have a proverb, The weakest is turned to the wall; but men practise otherwise, cast them into the kennell, and trample upon them there. Ah Lord! how unlike are men to Christ? He is very tender to wards his weake members; they are very harsh. Christ carries weake Saints in his bo­some, and men will not let them be in their land. O England, England, thy unkinde carriage to Christs weake ones, makes me much feare lest he de­stroy thee! How darest thou be cruell to them to whom Christ is kinde. Verily Christ will destroy thee if thou cease not from these unkinde (that I say not unmercifull) carriages of thine towards his. Those that he embraceth, [Page 45]thou persecutest. Feare lest he teare thee like a Lion, for mis-using of his Lambs. I have sometimes wondred, that ever any who pretend to be shepherds under Christ, should preach, or presse a non­bearing ☜ with those in the Kingdome, whom Christ beares in his bosome. Surely these sub-shepherds differ very much from the supreme-shepherd, who is kinde and tender to all; but especially the weake of his flocke.

Secondly, This doctrine, might beget in us lamentation over many, who are indeed Christs Lambs, but are apt to utter unkinde and untrue speeches of their shepherd. It makes me sad to heare a Lamb of Christ, sigh, and say, Surely Christ will cast off me; I am so feeble that I can do no­thing that is good, and so foule, that I doe much which is bad. I am so weake that I cannot come to him; and therefore I cannot thinke that he will be so kinde to come to me. Ah poore soules! when did you ever finde Christ so unkinde in his carriage, as to make you speake thus? when was Christ a wildernesse to thee? what harshenesse hast thou ever found in him, that thou speakest thus hardly of him? Surely I lament to heare [Page 46]thee saying, 'tis in vaine to wait on Christ. But I bleed to heare thee cry­ing (as they Jer. 23.1.) Thou wilt never more come at him: why poore soule? why? is not Christ sweet? is not his carriage tender? doth he not ga­ther with his arme? doth not he carry in his bosome? I, he doth so by some, but he will not so by me. Yes by thee (O poore soule!) 'tis his custome to be sweet, in his carriage, to his weake members, such as thou art: verily I lament to heare any speake other­wise of Christ, then he is, and they shall finde.

Thirdly, the sweetnesse of Christs carriage, reproves the sowrenesse of ours, towards his weake members. The Pro­phet asketh the question (as if it were strange) who hath despised the day of small things? Zach. 4.10. Though few, or ra­ther none should, yet many do despise; shall I say, or discourage, or both, or worse, such, as in whom the day of grace is but dawned. But be reproved ye rugged spirits; Christ beares much with his weak ones, and you bear but little. Thou darest not deny, but that such are in the faith: but thou wilt [Page 47]say, they come not up to beleeve all that thou dost, they are weake: what then, wilt not thou beare with them? shall the elder son beat the little childe, his brother, because he is not so big as he? shall the Dr. in Christs Schoole disdaine, and abuse the under-graduate, because not so profound as himselfe? should the strong beat the weaks, be­cause they are not so strong as they?Rom. 15.1. [...] i.e to beare upon our sh [...]ulders. should not they rather beare with them? what? because some of the Lambs can­not follow so fast as the strong of the flock, shall they be cast off for that? Ah Lord! shall children be whipped, and scourged, for not going as fast as men? Did you ever read of such a thing in Christs commands? did you ever see such an instance in Christs carriage? Surely we must rejoyce to hear some speaking in Jacobs voice, sweetly for u­nity, &c. but we must reprove them, when we feel them with Esau's hands, hand­ling weake ones roughly, for want of uniformity. Christ reproves (and then 'twill be to purpose) those that carry themselves contrary to that carriage, which they see in him, to wards weake beleevers.

Fourthly, Christs carriage being thus, towards weake beleevers; it must needs comfort them to thinke of it. Ah Lord what a weake creature I am! why, be of good comfort; thou art weake, and Christ is sweet to such as thee.

Ob. The dugs of divine love are full; but I am very feeble: I cannot sucke, though Christ open his bosome, and I must needs dye, my weaknesse cannot live.

Answ. Be of good comfort poore creature! Christ will not onely open his bosome, but thy mouth. He will take thee up in his armes, and carry thee in his bosome; will not this refresh thee?

Ob. Yes: But I cannot fetch out the milke that lies in his breast; I want a strong faith to draw, I am but weake.

Answ. Be of good comfort (weake soule) Christ is sweet, and with his fingers he will force out the milke of mercy, into thy mouth (as the mo­ther doth to the weak infant) if thou canst but open thy mouth, though thou be without breath (i.e. strong faith to draw) Christ will fill thee. Psal. 81.10.

Ob. My feet are so feeble, that wheras I should run the way of Christs commands; [Page 49]I can hardly goe; I am fain to creep upon all foure to follow Christ, and yet am faint when I doe but thus. Ah Lord! saith the poore soule, I shall be left behinde.

Answ. Say not so. Jesus Christ will tarry, and take thee in his hand; and rather then he will leave thee behinde, he will carry thee in his bo­some. Remember it, and rejoyce O beleevers. Christ is very sweet in his car­riage, towards his weake members.

But ere I proceed further in this Use, its meet I put in some signes of those soules, to whom I chiefly intend this comfort. We must muzzle the dogs, while we feed the Lambs.

First, This may comfort thee, O poore heart, whose griefe it is to thinke how much sin thou hast, and how litle grace; who mournest to see selfe high, and Christ low in thy heart. Me thinks I heare thee cry, O wretched soule that I am! my corruption is strong, it makes me doe the evill which I would not; my grace is but weake, I cannot doe the good which I would. O woe unto me! my heart is hardned to Christs wayes? I cannot fetch a turne in them, but my feet are swift to evill. Verily thus 'tis with me; and I am ready to [Page 50]dye to thinke that it should be thus: What a little sparke of fire is my grace? but what a vast sea of water is my corrupti­on; my heart breakes with feare to think least Christ will cast me off, and have no­thing to do with me. If I pray, or rather lispe, tis with much deadnesse, and little life. If I read, hear, &c. 'tis with little sincerity and much infirmity.

Q. What will Christ be kinde to me?

A. Yes poore Lambe, he will: His carriage was, is, and will be very tender, and sweet to such weake ones as thou art.

Secondly, Thou that canst doe but little for Christ, and weepest to thinke or see, any doe much against Christ. Ah Lord! what a poore worme am I, that cannot kisse Christ, while others spit upon him; others can, and doe crowne him with thornes; but woe is me! I cannot crowne him with gold. Others can, and doe buffet him, but poore I cannot em­brace him. It goes to my heart, to see some putting a reed into his hand, while I want a Scepter to put there (which is a thousand times more fitting.)

Q. Will ever Christ regard me that cannot cry Hosanna, while others cry cruci­fige? [Page 51]what will Christ kisse me that do not, cannot give him wine, while others give him vinegar. Other wretches thrust him through with a speare, and I wretch cannot embrace him that while. I beseech you Sir, will ever Christ owne me, look upon me?

A. Yes, yes, poore heart, Christ loves thee that thus weepeth for him: he takes it well that thou goest in mourning, while he is in sackcloth: though thou cannot take him downe from the crosse, yet he accepts of thy weeping while thou standest by, and canst but look on. If thou hast but a Lamb-like love to mourne while thou seest thy shepherd smitten, Christ hath a shep­herd-like sweetnesse to pity thy weak­nesse, though thou cannot rescue him.

Thirdly, This comfort is for thee, that albeit thou mournest that thy grace is but little, yet thou prizest it so much as that thou wilt not part with it for a thousand worlds. Ah Lord! my life saith the poor soul, is but weake: I am rather dying every day, then alive at any time. My faith is so weak, that you may better call it a painted hope, then a powerfull beliefe. My light is so dim, [Page 52]that it is more like the gloworme in the bedge, then a star (though of the least magnitude) in the firmament. Be it as thou sayest, O weake soule.

Q. What wilt thou take for thy life?

A. Not a million of Rocks of Dia­monds.

Q. Wilt thou part with thy faith?

A. No, not for all the riches of the crea­tures.

Q. Shall I buy thy light?

A. No, if you would give me the light of Moon and Sunne, and the Stars to the bargaine too. Well, comfort thy selfe, O thou poor Lamb. Thy Shepherd is very tender to all, but especially to such as thee. His tendernesse will take the advantage of thy weaknesse to a­bound the more. As thy weaknesse shall abound, so shall his sweetnesse also towards thee. O consider this text and truth, you weak of the flock; yee who are weake in your life, that can hardly stir, and weake in that light, and can scarce see; and weake also in your faith, and can hardly beleeve. Be of good comfort, the Lord Christ, who is the Shepherd of your soules, will have a speciall care [Page 53]of you his Lambs. He is sweet and tender in his carriage to all, but espe­cially his weake members. Comfort ye one another with these words.

Fifthly, This doctrine serves to in­courage you to duty. Work O poor souls, though weake. Christ will be sweet in his carriage towards you; pray, read, beare, &c. doe all that Christ calls for; though thou be weake, yet stand not out; Christs kindnesse will passe by thy weaknesse. If thou be sincere, remember he is and will be sweet. Let this grace make thee to abound with, and to overflow in actings of duties, as demon­strations of love. If thou act from love, Christ will receive in love.

Sixtly, This doctrine calls for imitation. Christ is tender in his car­riage towards his weake members; so should we. Doe not dishearten, but incourage weake soules. Be ye full of bowells of love, as Christ is. His carriage is sweet, let not ours be sowre. Christ deales tenderly with weake be­leevers: O my Brethren, Be ye follow­ers of Christ as deare children.

Ob. But these, & these differ from me.

Q. But in what? in fundamentals?

A. No, they hold all there as I do, Christ is my foundation, and no other foundation doe they lay.

Q. Doe they differ from thee in practise?

A. No, as to the maine, both of worship, and walke, we are alike; I pray, read, expound, heare, &c. and they do so too. I walk godly, and they labour in all things to have a good conscience.

Q. Wherein then is your diffe­rence?

A. Its in government.

Q. What, will not they be gover­ned by Christ? will they have any o­ther ruler, as to spiritualls, but Jesus? or do they deny lawfull obedience to civill power?

A. No, but yet in matter of Church, order, and government, they will not doe as I; they doe not hold as others.

Q. Is it out of wilfulnesse, or weaknesse, that they doe thus?

A. I feare the first; sure I am, 'tis by reason of the second, their weak­nesse. O friends, I beseech you then, remember, Christ beares with weake [Page 55]Lambs; doe ye the like: His carriage was sweet to all weake beleevers: let ours be so too, for they are our weak brethren: You that are strong, ought to beare with them that are weak, Rom. 14.1.

Lastly, This doctrine cryes loudly to such as yet wander from Christ, that they would come in. Friend, Christs carriage is, and 'twill be sweet. Absoloms car­riage was seemingly sweet, and 'twas strongly perswasive; many followed him in the simplicity of their hearts, be­cause of the appearing sweetnesse of his. Beleeve it, that which was but a shew in Absolom, 2 Sam. 15. is a substance in Christ. He kisses every soule that comes to him. And when he takes the govern­ment in any heart, he carries himselfe uprightly, and tenderly too. You all love a mild government. You hate tyranny,Psal. 75.2. Talis Rex eft Chri­stus. Mollerus in locum. and its your desire to be un­der a Scepter managed with sweet­nesse. Every one would serve a Lord whose name is love. O that you could but beleeve this truth. Christ is a most gracious Sovereigne. Sweetnesse is his Scepter. Alphonsus won much upon the people, by taking a sheep out of [Page 56]the ditch. Jesus Christ takes not one, but all his sheep out of the ditch. He gathers them, though dirty, with his arme, and carries them in his bosome. Will not this, win yet thy heart to serve Christ? If this will not, then think of the severity of Sathan, whose sheep thou art, all the time that thou keepest off from Christ. When God would disswade the people of Israel from that kinde of government, which it seems, his soule liked not, and under which, he was unwilling they should be, saith God by his mouth to him. He will take your sonnes, 1 Sam. 8.11, 12, 13, &c. and appoint for himselfe; for his chariots, and to be his horsemen, and some shall runne be­fore his chariots; and be will take your daugh­ters to be Confectionaries, and to be Cooks, and to be Bakers, &c. so goeth on to shew how that in all things he would seek himself, & not them, so that they should cry out, &c. It seems, God fore­seeing the misery of such a condition, that they would be in, if they should come under that government which they foolishly (and sinfully too) desi­red; would disswade them, by telling them of that before, which he knew [Page 57]they would feele afterward. In like manner, let me tell you, if you will serve Sathan (and you must serve him if you will not serve Christ.) Sathan will be a cruell King to you. He will ride thy soule and body too. He will make thee onely to serve his lusts (though thou thinke it be thine owne.) Ah poor soule! me thinkes I see the Devill sitting upon thy shoulders. He lasheth thee cruelly; though thy brawny backe doe not feele it; he will ride thee off thy legs, and he is on the way to hel; and when horse Thou, and rider Sathan, fall into that pit, thou wilt cry out. But O then 'twill be too late. Therefore be wise now. Kisse Christ to day, and he will presently kisse thee. Enter into his service, and thou shalt experience his sweetnesse. His carriage is very kinde in sundry particulars, and upon all occasions as you have heard. Come, taste and see; and you shall finde Christs carriage to be sweeter to thy soule, then thou canst expresse. He gathers his Lambs with his arme; he carries them in his bosome. He is the faithfull, yea and the mercifull shepherd of his [Page 58]flocke. This is his name, this his na­ture. Because of the sweetnesse of this name, which is as an ointment powred forth, the virgins love him, doe thou too. Oh that in the savour of this odour, thy soul could run after him. Oh that these cords of love might draw thee to Christ, and binde thee to him. Verily who ever thou art, if thou come into Christ, and embrace him, thou shalt finde his carriage to be ex­ceeding tender; and though thou mayest see much weaknesse in thy self, yet thou shalt experience much sweet­nesse in Christ; for 'tis his office, his charge, his care, his carriage, to be sweet and tender towards all his, especially those of his that are weake.

SECT. II. Christs sweet carriage to such as are weake accidentally; and who they are that are so.

Esa. 40.11.

He shall gently lead those that are with young.

CHAP. I.

HAving in the former Section discovered (in some mea­sure) the sweetnesse of Christs carriage (in a generall way) towards such of his as I did call habi­tually weake. I shall now come to shew that his carriage is the same in sweet­nesse, towards those who are acciden­tally weake. And as in the former part, I spake of Christs sweet carriage, to those that are habitually weake, by what is said to his demeanour to his Lambs: In like manner, I shall set out the [Page 60] carriage of Christ as sweet to those that are accidentally weake, by what the Prophet speakes here of his carriage to those that are with young.

He shall gently lead those that are with young.

Now as a foundation I shall lay this position, which is clearly dedu­cible from these words of the Pro­phet, viz.

The carriage of Christ is very sweet, to­wards all his members, who are accidentally weake.

I call some members accidentally weake, to distinguish them from such as are so habitually. And I use this phrase of accidentally weake, Acciden­tall weak­nesse, what it is. because I would by it note those, in whom in­deed the habits of grace are strong, and so they are not liable (as the others were) to a constant weaknesse; onely at some times upon some occasion (as it were by accident) they become weak and feeble. As now, Men who are (that I may so say) habitually strong, and so not liable unto that constant weaknesse which is in children; may yet some­times be accidentally weakned by some great worke, which they are to doe, [Page 61]some great sorrow or sicknesse under which they lye; or else by some great and desperate fall which they have had. In like manner, beleevers who are growne up to Men in Christ Jesus, and so freed from that habituall weak­nesse which is in babes, yet notwith­standing, sometimes come to be acci­dentally weake, by reason, either of great services, to which Christ calls them, or sharpe sufferings, unto which Christ doth bring them; or else by some falls into sin, which through in­firmity (and as it were by accident) they have taken. Now of Christs sweet carriage unto such, I suppose the Prophet doth speake here under the metaphor of a shepherds sweet carriage, towards those that are with young. Even the strong of the flocke (such as the Ewes) may be, and sometimes are weake (especially when with young) or (as the word will also beare) when they give sucke. For bearing, and giving of sucke, doe (as it were accidentally) much weaken. And thus Christs carriage is sweet to his who are not onely weak habitually, as Lambs; but also who are accidentally weake, as Ewes that give [Page 62]sucke, or else are with young, for so the Rabbins, Solomon Jarchi, and David Kimchi, with other our late Expo­sitors, doe glosse this place of the Pro­phet.

Now for the better proceeding in this point; and so for a clearer disco­very of the sweetnesse of Christs car­riage toward his weake members; I shall doe two things.

  • 1. Discover who those are which I thus call accidentally weake.
  • 2. Demonstrate how Jesus Christ is sweet in his carriage towards such.

For the first of these, viz. who are weake beleavers accidentally. Who are accidental­ly weake.

Besides what I have already hinted concerning such, I shall adde this ge­nerall description of them, viz.

They are such, as in whom the light, and life of saving and sanctify­ing grace are, in some good degree and measure: And who for the most part in the generall way, and order of their life, are fit, and able both to undertake, and goe through (strongly and successefully) those common, and ordinary duties of Religion, in which Christ doth for the most part exercise [Page 63]his members; so as that you may ranke them with those, who are in the highest forme of Christs Schoole, not onely above little children, but even above the young men, with the Fathers: And of whom you may conceive the Apostle speakes, when he saith, wee that are strong: But yet notwithstand­ing, by reason of some occurrences in their Christian course; and some passages which providence doth (as it were by accident) now, and then, per­mit to befall them, they are much debilitated and weakned thereby; so as that they doe in that respect, at some times lye and groan under some weaknesse.

But because it were too large a field to goe out into; if I should in­quire after all the severall sorts of beleevers, who in this sense, at some seasons, or upon some occasions are weake: I shall instance onely in three particular kindes of that which I call accidentall weaknesse, and shew how Christs carriage is sweet to those who labour under such weaknesse. A three­fold weak­nesse by accident.

  • 1. There is weaknesse, which comes by worke or labour.
  • [Page 64]2. There is weaknesse which c [...]mes by sicknesse or falls.
  • 3. There is weaknesse which comes by griefe or sorrow.

With reference to this threefold weaknesse, I shall speake of Christs sweet carriage of himselfe unto three sorts of weake beleevers.

  • 1. Such as are weake by reason of some great work unto which Christ doth call them, or about which Christ doth set them; and about which Christ doth not (at least commonly) set all his mem­bers.
  • 2. Such as are weake by reason of some falls or slips into sin; either through their owne inward corruption, or some outward temptation.
  • 3. Such as are weake by reason of great sorrow or griefe, which they may happily take, because of some suffe­rings, or trialls, whereunto Christ (in a more then ordinary way) doth bring them.

Of the sweet carriage of Jesus Christ to each of these, I shall speake parti­cularly, and by themselves: And so much the rather I shall speak of these, because I conceive that the phrase [Page 65]here used by the Prophet, may al­lude, or be applied to either, or all of them.

The phrase is, those that are with young; which Translation I thinke is better then that of giving sucke, because the word in the Hebrew is, [...] which is used Gen. 33.13. and so ren­dred there, [...] the flocks and the herds with young; and 'tis used thus, and so ren­dred, Ps. 78.71 and there 'tis expressed by Ewes great with young. The Hebrews, when they doe speake of giving suck, do use another word, [...] and that more proper for it, i. e. [...] from [...] suxit, which fignifies to give sucke; so that the phrase being thus. Those that are with young. I thinke it may al­lude to those three sorts mentioned, viz.

1. It may allude to those that are weake by worke. Thus Paul sets out his worke for the Lord Jesus towards the Ga­lathians, as if he were big with them, as an Ewe is big with young: My little children of whom I travell in birth, Galat. 4.19. Paul in the worke of his Ministery, was as it were big with [Page 66]young. In like manner any beleever called out to, or set about more then ordinary worke, may be said to be big with young. And so much the rather, because the worke of child-bearing, or of being big with young; and to bring forth, is a worke which doth weaken more then ordinary; to this the generallity of Expositors ap­ply this place.

2. It may allude also unto such as are weake by reason of falls into sin. So thou shalt finde the phrase of being with childe, or young, often in a parti­cular manner applied to such as are big with sinne. Vox significal (saith Ilyricus upon the word) tum poenam, tun culpam. And so 'tis used both in a sense of sinning, and of sufferings: sometimes sinne and temptation (through the incogitancy of the best belee­vers) may commit as it were a spiri­tuall rape upon the soule; and the be­leeyer may be (as it were) big with young, in a sinfull sense. For when temptation cornes, and in a manner forceth the soule, there is something within us (which was not in Christ) and that may concur, and conduce to [Page 67]a sinfull conception; and the soule may be big (as it were) with sinne. The Apostle hath a phrase which is to this purpose, When lust hath conceived it bringeth forth, Jam. 1.15. It is an allu­sion to a naturall conception and birth. So that we shall not, I suppose over-much straine the place of the Prophet here, by applying this phrase to this thing also. Sad experience tells us: that the chastest soules of the Saints, are sometimes in this respect, guilty of spirituall adultery. Beleevers are some­times big of illegitimate births and conceptions. Lust sometimes may conceive, and they may be big with young, in that respect also.

3. It may allude unto those that are weake by reason of sorrow and suffe­rings. And thus the Holy Ghost doth often use the Metaphor of being big with young. As Esa. 26.18. We have been with childe, and been in paine. And thus the great sorrow and trouble, unto which God threatens to bring his people, is set out by their being as it were big with young, and holding their hands upon their sides, Jer. 30.6.

CHAP. II. Christs carriage to such as are weake by worke, demonstrated to be sweet.

THe first branch, or kinde of that accidentall weaknesse, unto which beleevers are lyable, is (as in the for­men Chapter I noted) weaknesse by worke. So that now according to the method which I propounded, I am to shew and make good this Propositi­on, viz.

The carriage of Jesus Christ, is very sweet to every beleever that is weake, by reason of worke.

Sinners are sometimes big with young in regard of wicked workes, where­unto Sathan excites them. Hence is that phrase, Psal. 7.14. He travelleth with iniquity, and conceiveth mischiefe. Now towards such, God carries himselfe severely, and is (as the Psal­mists there notes) angry (i.e. with them) every day, v. 11.

Saints are sometimes big with young, in regard of good workes, unto which the Spirit doth stir them. And towards these Christ carries himselfe [Page 69]sweetly. For (as the Prophet here speaks) he leads them gently.

The expression notes two things, as proving the Proposition.

1. That Jesus Christ is so sweet to those that are weak (while in or about some holy worke) that he is with them, and leads them. As he said to his Apo­stles; Behold I am with you to the end of the world (that was, in regard of strength and assistance) so he doth to all his working members. Hee doth assist them. He is with them. And he leads them. Beleevers are sent about some worke of Christ sometimes as it were a long way; and Christ (that he may shew himselfe sweet) goes with them and leads them. The Ewe big with young, is unweldy, and it is paine unto it to goe. Now the shepherd that is sweet leads it. And the belce­ver big with young (i.e. bent, resolved upon some good businesse for Christ) is weake, and in paine it is, while in travell, till it be delivered: Now Jesus Christ to shew his sweetnesse to such a soule, takes it by the arme (as it were) and leads it.

2. That Christs carriage may ap­peare [Page 70]to be sweet, he is not onely present to lead; but tenderly present, to lead [gently.] He leads softly, that he may lead sweetly. I know there is but one word in the originall, but it includes both these, viz. the act, and the man­ner of the act. The word is [...] from [...] which signifies as Hebrici­ans know, commode & leniter ducere, i.e. to lead commodiously & softly. David Kimchi glosfeth it, he shall lead them according to their quiet or commo­dity, [...] i.e. so as may suit best with their quietnesse and ease. Jesus Christ doth not drive furiously, but tenderly. He doth not (as the same Rabbin notes) over-drive his flocke; but gently, softly, and sweetly, he leads all his weake-working members. He will lead you, O ye working beleevers! according to your weaknesse, step by step,Pedeten­tim. as Vatablus glosseth the place. Christ will not first lay a heavy bur­den upon your backe, and then come after lashing, to make you runne, when it may be you can hardly goe. But he will come and lead you, and walke with you, your owne pace: [Page 71]As he will assist, so he will assist sweetly. He will lead [gently.]

Thus as Jacob (the most faithfull and mercifull man that ever was a shepherd) said of his flocks and herds with young; he would not over-drive them, but (said he) I will lead on softly according as the cattell that goeth before me, can be able to endure; or (as it is in the Hebrew) according to the ease of their feet, Gen. 33.14. In like man­ner, Jesus Christ he will softly lead (for the word is the same in both places) his Ewes big with young; he will gently lead those that labour in any worke of his. Thus sweet is his carriage towards those that are weake, by reason of any great worke, about which he sets them at any time, and with which they are big by the Holy Ghosts over-shadowing of them. Working beleevers, minde it. Your work (you say) is hard, it over­powers your strength, and it makes you weake: remember Christs car­riage shall be sweet: He will be with you in your worke: And that it may appeare he is tender, and mindfull of your weaknesse, he will lead you, and [Page 72]that very gently; so saith the Prophet, He shall gently lead those that are with young.

CHAP. III. Six pariculars shewing Christs carriage to be sweet to all weake-working Beleevers.

THat you may yet more clearly see the sweetnesse of Christs car­riage, towards all such members of his, as are weake in regard of worke; I shall declare it in six particulars.

1. Christs carriage appears to be sweet and tender towards his weake-working members, in that he puts them about no other worke then such as himselfe both done. Masters and Sovereignes carry themselves sweetly to servants,Nihil lege ulla sanci­ret in alios cu jus non ipse pri­mus in se daret do­cumentū. Dan. Par. in Hist. Univers. medull. p. 40. and subjects, when they imploy them in no worser workes then themselves would doe. Its reported of Lycurgus (the great Law-maker) that he im­posed nothing by Law upon others, of which he did not first shew a pat­terne in his owne practise. 'Tis true of Jesus Christ, you read of no work which he requires of his, which him­selfe [Page 73]did not while in the flesh. Doth he require beleevers to resist Sathan, fight with the Devill? Jam. 4.7. He did the same himselfe, Matth. 4. Doth Christ call upon beleevers to pray al­wayes 1 Thess. 5.17. and strive in prayer? Rom. 15.30. He did as much himselfe while on earth. He prayed often, he prayed long, all night, Luke 6.12. and fervently, with strong cryes, and teares, Heb. 5.7. Are beleevers called to fast? (an extraordinary worke, and such as is not for every day, no nor for every Christian, as Divines gather from Luke 5.36, 37.) why consider Jesus Christ in this worke went before them. He fasted, and that longer then he requires us, even forty dayes, as tis Matth. 4. Must Ministers preach, dispute, contest for the truths of the Gospel? they are to doe no more then what Christ hath done before them. Be­leevers, did Christ ever call you to any service about which he would not go himselfe, if need were? Servants you have good Masters, who put you a­bout no worse worke then they would doe themselves. And belee­vers you have a sweet Saviour, who [Page 74]did doe that himselfe about which he sets you, and never will lay that bur­den upon your backes, which he would not if need were, beare him­selfe. Oh how tender and sweet is Christ to all his working members, in not setting them about any ser­vice but what he is willing to doe himselfe. Oh beleevers, you may comfort your selves in any service to which Christ calls you, with this thought, what though the businesse be burdensome? what though the worke be weakning? yet still Christ is sweet, kinde, tender, in that he hath set you about no other, then what himselfe hath done.

2. Its easie to see sweetnesse in the crrriage of Christ towards his work­ing members, in that he hath provided, and accordingly gives incouragement unto them, answerable to all the discouragement they doe, or can meet withall. Ezekiel was to go out upon some design for Christ; and such was his weaknesse that he falls at the appearance of Christs coming to command him: But mark what Christ saith to him, Son of man stand upon thy feet, Ezek. 2.1. Christ loves [Page 75](saith a late Commentator upon this) to incourage man to his duty. Its the weaknesse of beleevers, when set about any worke, they are apt to dispond and be discouraged: But its the sweetnesse of Christ, he is ready to raise up your spirits, and to take off their discouragements.

Three things usually discourage beleevers when they are to set about any businesse for Christ; and Christ is so sweet as that he hath provided, and doth give out incouragements an­swerable to them all. 1. Internall reluctancy in your owne spirits. I would,Saints are unwilling­ly willing, and wil­lingly un­willing. and I could doe this or that (saith the beleever) but I finde such reluctancy within, my heart is so backward, my spirit so unwilling, that it discourageth me much; why Christ hath said he will make thee willing. His people shall be a willing people, Psal 110.3. Christ hath provi­ded a voyce behinde to put thee on to that, whereunto thou art backward. Thine eares shall heare a ward behinde thee (because of the reluctancy that is in thee) saying this is the way walke in it. Esa. 30.21 I will put my Spirit within you (which [Page 76]is a free Spirit) and because you are backward, and unwilling, he shall make you forward and willing, and cause you (sweetly) to walke in my wayes, Ezek. 36.28. Christ hath provided an incouragement answerable to this discouragement of thine (Oh Belee­ver.) Thy spirit is unwilling, and doth resist, his Spirit shall rake that away.2. Disgrace, and opposition from man, is a great discouragement to working beleevers: and Christ hath provided incouragement suited thereunto. Men will deride me, and oppose me if I do this or that: The disgrace of the proud, and the opposition of the violent, do mightily weaken my hands in worke, saith the beleever sometimes. But know, O soul! Christ hath provided incouragement answerable to this. Thou sayest men oppose thee, Christ saith he is with thee; Feare not, I am with thee (said the Vision to Paul) Act. 18.10. Men thou sayest disgrace thee, O weake-working soule! The Fa­ther (saith Christ) will honour thee. If any man serve me, him will my Father honour, Joh. 12.26. strengthen thy [Page 77]weake hands (O working soule!) with these words: Here is suitable incouragement unto thy discourage­ment in this particular also.

3. Doubt of successe discourageth sometimes those who are upon worke for Christ. The hands of the beleever begin to fall downe in the midst of his worke when he doubts of successe. I shall labour in vaine (saith the soul) this discourageth me. Your labour shall not be in vaine (saith Christ) let that incourage thee, 1 Cor. 15.58. Moses be­ing to goe to Pharoah about a gallant worke (Israels freedome) He doubts the successe, But behold they will not be­leeve me (saith he) Exod. 4.1. That dis­couraged him; Christ therefore takes off that discouragement. If they will not beleeve at the voice of the first signe, they will or shall beleeve the voice of the latter, saith the Lord. I would fight and resist Sathan: Shall I be succesfull? Yes, O beleever! Christ hath said so. He, i.e. Sathan shall flye, Jam. 4.7. and the God of peace shall tread down Sathan under your feet, Rom. 20. Thus, answerable to all those discouragements which beleevers are liable to meet with, [Page 78]Christ hath provided incouragements; and this clearly argues Christ to be sweet in his carriage towards his working members. But,

3. In as much as Christ gives abi­lity, and strength to performe whatsoever he calls any beleever to; it is cleare, that his carriage is sweet to those which worke; Christ gives power to doe what ever he sets beleevers about; Ezekiel must stand on his feet; alas! he is weake, and cannot. Christs Spi­rit therefore enters into him that hee may. Stand upon thy feet, Son of man (saith Christ) and the Spirit entred into him, and he stood up, Ezek. 2.1. I thanke our Lord Christ who hath inabled me, saith Paul unto Timothy, 1 Ep. 1.12. the Apostles must preach to all Nations, and Christ gives them tongues to in­able them so to doe. Ah! saith the poore soule, the worke is weighty, and I am weake. True ▪ but Christ will make thee strong and able, O weake soule. If the burthen be big, thy back shall be strengthened. Christ will not lay a heavy burthen upon weake shoulders. Doubtlesse he will strengthen thy shoulders, O beleeving [Page 79]soule, according to the weight of that he layes on. I must answer before Kings, and Councellors, and States for Christ (saith the beleever.) But alas! the worke is weighty, and I weake. Feare not O beleever! Christ will be with thee, and will give thee a mouth, and wisdome, which all thy adver­saries shall not be able to gainsay, nor resist, Luke 21.15. I am to goe a long jour­ney for Christ, but I have but weake legs (saith the soul) why Christ will strengthen thy legs, O soule! ac­cording to the length of thy jour­ney. I am to lift a great weight (saith the soule) and have but weake hands. Christ will strengthen thy hands ac­cording to the weight which thou art to lift, O poore soule! what ever the worke be, about which Christ sets any soule; if the soule carry it self sin­cerely in doing, Christ will shew him­selfe sweetly in helping. Howsoever hard-hearted Pharaoh may command the number of brickes, and not give straw to helpe: yet tender-hearted Christ will not. If he command the soul to work, he will send the Spirit to helpe with strength suitable to that worke.

[Page 80]4. Christs carriage appeares to be sweet to working Beleevers, in that he will perfect their worke by his owne strength, wherein it was deficient by their weaknesse. Thou workest all our workes for us, and in us, Esa. 26.12. The beleever workes, and leaves that which hee doth, very imperfect, because of his weaknesse: But Christ comes, and per­fects that imperfection, because of his sweetnesse. Lord (saith the Psalmist) thou wilt perfect that which concerneth me, Psal. 138.8. The beleever is set on the worke of prayer, and Christ sends the Spirit to helpe his infirmities: And at the end of prayer, he takes it, and mingles with it his own incense, and so pre­sents it perfect to the Father. His pure water perfects the soules puddle. Looke as the writing-Schoole-Master, not onely holds the hand of the learner, in every letter, but after al, takes the pen and perfects the whole: So Jesus Christ holds the hand all the while the beleever is writing (sup­pose a love-letter to Heaven) and be­cause of the shaking of the beleevers weake hand, there are after all, many imperfections, he takes the golden [Page 81]pen of his owne grace, and perfects every letter, that it comes to the Fa­thers hand perfect. O the darke, and deformed lines, that beleevers draw, when set about some curious peece. How imperfectly doe they performe that, about which they are set some­times. But oh the sweetnesse of Christ! who comes with his owne pencill, and after all, perfects those imperfecti­ons. Beleevers carry themselves weak­ly in all their workes, and almost mar all, about which they are set; but Christ carries himselfe sweetly, and comes and mends all that they doe a­misse, making their botched and bungled workes very brave with his owne hand. Surely, beleeving soules, you have found this. How many times did Christ set off that duty richly, which came from thee poorly? How oft hath he perfected thy im­perfect performances? when thy weaknesse came short, hath not his sweetnesse made it up? Beleeve it friends, Christ carries himself sweetly toward working beleevers.

5. The carriage of Christ appears to be sweet towards, &c. in that he [Page 82]comes in often to the soules of his working members with refreshing in the midst of their labours. Beleevers are weake, and (while at worke) are apt to be weary and to faine: But Christ shews him­self sweet, in that he visits them, and refreshes them in their worke. 'Twas the praise of Boaz, and 'twas a sweet carriage of his, when he went into the field, where his servants reaped, to incourage them in their work. And its the praise of Christs sweet carriage toward working beleeevers, that he visits them frequently, and incoura­geth them sweetly while they are a­bout his worke. Baruch was at worke for Christ, when he had written the words of Christ at the mouth of Jere­miah; but he began to flag and saint: And Christ gave a particular Prophe­sie to the Prophet, to comfort and re­fresh Baruch. Jer. 46. Christ gives power to the faint, to them (who by working have as it were) no might, Esa. 40.29. he refresheth, and gives strength. Daniel was at a great worke, and his strength was al­most gone while he fasted, and there came like the appearance of a man (that was not Christ, but an Angel from [Page 83]Christ) and he strengthned him. Oh the sweet refreshings which Christ, by his Spirit, brings into the soules of weak Saints, even when they are ready to saint and sinke in their work. How oft (O beleeving soul!) hath Christ refreshed thee, by his sweet spirituall smilings on thee, even in the time of duty, and while thou wert about his worke? Surely, thou must needs say, Christ carries himself sweetly toward working beleevers; doth not thy ex­perience in this particular, seale to this truth?

6. It is evident, that the carriage of Christ is sweet to the working Saints, in that at the end of their worke be gives them rest and reward. Its sweetnesse in Christ, that he should accept any worke of the beleevers, but more, that he should reward. Christ will deale sweetly with his working servants, he hath made beds of rest for them in glo­ry. Sathan deals not so;They shall rest in their beds. Esa. 57.2. his servants never rest to eternity. I am weary (saith the working beleever) Thou shalt rest anon, oh weak soul! There remains a rest to the people of God, Heb. 4.9. The word is a keeping of a Sabbath. [...]. [Page 84]There is a sweet and a long Sabbath remaines for you, O working Saints! and the morning thereof is ready to dawne; or about morn, and 'twill be day. You shall rest from your labours, Apoc. 14.11. Christs will is sweet to thy soule (O weak beleever) and he hath provided rest for thee. There is a Sabbath appointed for your soules▪ Working Paul shall have that rest; yea, and weake thou too, when the day shall dawne. You who are thus troubled shall have rest with us (saith the A­postle) when the Lord Jesus shall be re­vealed from heaven with the Angel, of his power, 2 Thes. 1.7. And if rest be not enough to declare Christ to be sweet to his working members; they shall haue reward also. You shall not lose your labour, yee working Saints: Christ comes, and his reward is with him; Apoc. 22.12. you shall not worke all day and all night too, Beleevers. You shall rest at right, and have reward in the morning. The upright shall have dominion in the morning, Psal. 49.14. For a dayes work, you shall have eternities rest. For a little labour in this world, you shall have an everlasting reward[Page 85]in the other world. Oh sweet Christ! that givest long rest for a little labour, and great reward for little worke. Surely, when you shall in the end of your dayes-work go into Immanuels land, and there rest your soules upon the rosie bankes that are by the Chry­stall streames which runne there, you will cry out oh! How sweet is Christ towards his working members, that gives such ravishing rest to them after all their works for him; when the day shall be in which Christ shall come with Crownes of glory, to put upon the heads of working Saints, and you shall feel the weight of that glory, with which you shall then be crowned; then you will say, oh! the sweetnesse of Christ towards work­ing beleevers, who gives such an eter­nall weight of glory, for such light and tem­porall works as the best Saints do. Con­clude (O thou beleeving Ewe, who art big with young) that the day comes in which thou shalt travell, and bring forth; and then thou shalt see that Christ deals sweetly with such as thou art, when for the joy of that rest, and reward which thou shalt [Page 86]have hereafter; thou shalt forget thy worke, and thy weaknesse under which thou didst groan, and travell here. The shadows apace flye away, and the day begins to dawne; in which Christ shall give both sweet, glorious, ravishing, eternall rest, and reward to all his working members; and then shall the fulnesse of this truth be sung, viz. that Christs is very sweet to all weak-working beleevers.

CHAP. IV. Some reasons of the point.

YOu have seen both [that] and [how] Christ carries himselfe sweet to working beleevers. I will now adde a word why Christ doth thus. And there may be (to omit others) three reasons given of this.

1. Christ loves to make his carriage answerable to himselfe. He is sweet in himselfe, and therefore will shew it by being so to his. As he will declare sweetnesse to those who are weak and cannot worke at all; so will he shew sweetnesse to those who worke, and are weake therein, or thereby. As [Page 87]Christ sees our condition, he is moved with compassion. He hath yerning bowells towards working beleevers, and he cannot refraine, (such is his sweet­nesse) but he must shew it. Men love to shew themselves (as we say) what they are. Christ doth surely love to carry himselfe sweetly, that belee­vers may say, As we have beard, so have we seen in the Saviour of our God. Others, by their words told us, that Christ was sweet, and in our workes we finde it so. When Christ spake to the man sicke of the palsie, Thy sinnes be forgiven thee: He did it, that men might know the power of his God-head (saith he giving the reason of that speech) that ye may know the son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, Mat 9.6. As Christ speakes in such a manner, as that he may be knowne to be what he is; so he acts also, he leads his working mem­bers gently, and carries himselfe to­ward them sweetly, that he may de­clare himselfe to be as he is.

2. Christ sees that those that worke for him, cannot worke without him: There­fore it is that he carries himselfe so sweetly to them. The strongest [...]aint [Page 88]is too weake for any worke if left by Christ. Indeed Christ cannot have his worke done by any soule, in case he deale not sweetly with it. The big Ewe cannot goe if not let gently; and the working beleever cannot act, if not dealt withall sweetly. Without me ye can do nothing, Joh. 15.5. This Christ sees, and therefore it is that he is thus sweet. [...]. Phil. 4.13. Because Christ knowes our weaknesse, as that without him we can doe nothing, therefore he shewes his sweetnesse, that by him we may be able to doe all things by his strength.

3. Christ is thus sweet in his car­riage to wards his working members, that he may leave all without excuse. Christs carriage to his shall condemne wret­ches at the last day, that will be none of his. Sinners will be ready to say, we did not serve thee because there was harshnesse in thee: Thy worke was hard, and thou wert austere: Thy servants went for the most part in sackcloth, while others wore filke, &c. Now Christ will stop their mouthes by his sweet carriage. Wretches that will not worke for Christ, shall be left without all excuse, when they [Page 8]shall be told, and convinced of the sweetnesse of Christ, to his working members. Christ is resolved to stop all mouthes in that day. His sweet­nesse to labourers, shall silence loyterers. His gentle leading of workers, shall condemn the idle-living of wanderers. The Ewes that have been big with young, shall wit­nesse against those, that would not have Christ to be their Shepherd; Christs sweet carriage to the one, shall convince and condemne the obstinate standing out of the other. Wretches, Christ cals upon you to work for him; he hath given you talents, and he bids you imploy them; you are fearfull and sluggish, you hide your talents, and spare your pains; you do not, will not act, or work for Christ. Consi­der you shall be without excuse, at the great day: It will be foolish and false to plead, Christ was a hard master. His working members by their expe­rience shall confute you, and Christs sweet carriage to them shall leave you without apology, or excuse.

CHAP. V. Some uses of the point.

HAving seen the sweetnesse of Christs carriage towards all his Ewes, and such as are big with young, i.e. those who work for him. I shall offer some thing by way of applica­tion in some uses. As,

1. It serves to discover the difference between Christs service, and all other ser­vice, and between his carriage of himselfe towards those that worke for him, and the carriage of all others towards any that worke for them. If men serve the world, they do not finde (alway at least) sweet carriage. Its often seen among men, after their worke is over, the work­man is oft forgotten. It stands upon record, as one of the greatest stains of the Roman State, that after Scipio Afri­canus had sincerely and successefully served that Commonwealth (when it was almost spent and ready to dye) and had thereby raised it up: he was banished, or forced to inhabit in a poor waste desert. Insomuch that when he dyed he commanded this to [Page 91]be ingraven over his sepulchre, Ingra­ta patria, ne ossa quidem mea habes. The Commonwealth was so base, as not to have his bones, who saved their blood: Solomon tells us, of a poor man, who had been very serviceable to a distracted State, when it was warred against by a great Prince. The poore man delivered the City by his wisdome, but no man did so much as remember that same poor man, Eccles. 9.15. And it is reported of Cardinall Woolsey, that upon his death-bed he should say in much sadnesse of spirit, If I had so faithfully served Jesus Christ as I have done my Master (Hen. the 8.) he would not have cast me off, as my Master the King hath. Oh! that men could but see the difference that is between the service of man, and the service of Christ: How ever the sons of men will deale (like themselves) with their servants sordidly; the son of God will deal with his sweetly.

2. This Doctrine may also reproove these, who deale not with Christs working members as Christ doth. Oh how cur­sedly and coursely do many deal with Christs workmen! How doe they de­ride, [Page 92]ride, disgrace, oppose, and persecute the Ewes of Christ, i.e. those that are big and travell in work for him. How did a company of vile persons vilifie Paul, who yet was as an Ewe, ready to bring forth, who was in travell with the Galathians, as with Christs Lambs. And then those that were borne after the flesh did persecute him, that was both borne, and [bearing] after the Spirit, even so it is now. But neverthelesse, what saith the Scripture? what saith the point? Christ deales sweetly with his working members. Are not they then to be reproved that deal harshly? Be reproved therefore all of you (especially you that pretend to the worke of Christ) for not dea­ling kindly with his working ser­vants; seest thou a person, or prea­cher that doth the worke of the Lord, that preacheth Christ, worketh for Christ, be reproved for thy unkinde, unchristian dealing with him, as knowing that in that thou art very unlike to Jesus Christ. Be reproved therefore, O ye rugged spirits, who deale ruggedly with any of Christs working members; what though they differ from thy way, if they doe [Page 93]Christs worke, Christ deals sweetly with them, and so should you.

3. The truth of this Doctrine falls heavy upon those, who being both inabled for, and called to the worke of Christ in any kinde, and yet refuse it. Friend; how is it that Christ hath given thee a talent and thou wilt not occupy it for his use? How is it that Christ hath gi­ven thee parts, and set thee in place, and afforded thee opportunities to serve him, and yet thou wilt not worke? Darest thou say, either that he is a hard Master, or that his work is unreasonable, or his carriage un­kinde. Be convinced ye loyterers that will not labour for Jesus Christ: At the day of account you will want an excuse, when all the working mem­bers of Jesus Christ shall come and say, The worke that we did for Christ, was honourable; the incouragement which we re­ceived from Christ was unspeakable, and his carriage to us all along, was passing sweet and amiable; then will you be dumb and speechlesse, as not having any thing to say for your selves why you stood out from his worke and ser­vice.

4. The Doctrine speakes incou­ragement to all those who labour for the Lord, who are at worke for Christ. You that are in Christs Vineyard; that labour (though in the heat of the day) who sweat in the service for your Saviour: consider, his carriage is, and will be sweet towards you. Goe on, hold on, give not out: you are in his service who is very sweet: what ever the carriage of the standers by be, his will be like himselfe, i.e. loving.

Ob. But yet (will you say) we find harsh usage in the world, meerly for being in this worke. We thinke wee should be dealt better withall by men if we did do so much for Christ▪ Surely, if we were onely Lambes our selves, we should finde kinder carriage: But this renders us hatefull, and makes men harsh that we are Ewes big with young, i.e. that we are indeavouring to bring forth somewhat for Christ, that we would have others Lambes as well as our selves, and that we can never be well, but when at work.

Ans. Well be it so, yet be not dis­couraged: It is your glory to be Christs Ews. Christ hath dealt wel with [Page 95]you, in making you able to work for him, and he will carry himselfe kind­ly to you, while you worke for him. What though the travellers by the way, curse and revile the labourers in the field, so long as the Lord of the harvest (Boaz like) blesse you, and speake kindly to them, the Lord be with you. Verily (ye working Saints) who are labouring for the Lord Christ, you have no just ground of discouragement from all the unkinde usage of the creature, so long as you have the kinde carriage of Christ: Oh! be not discouraged so as to give out, but be rather incouraged so as to goe on in the work of the Lord, for as much as you know your labour shall not be in vaine, and that Christs carriage to you-ward, shall be sweet.

5. Lastly, the Doctrine speakes comfort to all the working members of the Lord Jesus. You Ewes that are big with young, here is a point big with comfort. You goe on heavily; you groan while in travell; you cry out (as the Prophet in another case) My belly, my belly! well he of good comfort, Christ is with you, and will be sweet in his carriage [Page 96]to you, while you worke Christ can? not be away; Christ is not absent and idle, while you are travelling in his worke; no, he is present, and will be helpfull; he will be with you, and lead you gently.

Q. What is thy worke (O blessed Ewe?) what art ready to bring forth?

A. (will some say) my worke is wofull. I am working too, not to bring forth any great good, but to cast forth great evill. Christ hath set me on worke to cleanse a kennell, to carry out a dunghill: I meane to conquer corruption, and to cast out lusts! and the very smell of my lusts is ready to choak me; and which is worse, I can scarce master my worke; nay it almost over-masters me; yea and I have cryed more then once and a­gaine: thrice have I besought Christ, and yet I labour in this worke, and can doe but little at it.

Be it so (O working soule!) yet Christ is and will be kinde. His grace shall be sufficient for thee, and his strength shall be perfected in thy weaknesse, as 'tis 2 Cor. 12.9. He will inable thee in time to master thy worke. Sinne shall [Page 97]not have dominion over thee, Rom. 6.14. Thou shalt be made Lord over thy lusts. There is a blood of sprinkling which shall cleanse thy kennell. Thou resistest thy sinne unto blood, and thou dost bleed while at worke against corruption, yet it remaines (thou sayest.) But know still Christ is sweet, and his car­riage to thee shall be so. And there­fore, though all thy blood and sweat will not cleanse thy soul, nor do away thy sinne; yet the blood of Christ shall, as 'tis 1 Joh. 1.7.

Ob. But oh! (saith another soule) I am at harder worke then this: Its my worke to war with the Wolfe: I am labouring against Sathan. Many temptations daily beset me. Not any messenger of Sathan, but Sathan himselfe doth beset me. Surely (you will say) my worke is grievous; is it not?

Resp. True, but thy Lord is gracious. Christ is with thee all this while (O working soule!) He hath promised thee to make away for thy escape, 1 Cor. 11.12. you may expect kinde carriage even while you are in this worke, and know that he will helpe you to goe [Page 98]through with it. The very God of peace will (or shall) shortly tread down Sathan un­der your feet, Ro. 16.20. It may be Sathan doth stand ready to devour that blessed birth, wherewith thou travellest; but know, Christ is near also, and he will help thee. Build upon it (O thou working beleever!) Christs carriage shall be kinde unto thee.

Ob. Nay but (saith another work­ing soule) I have been labouring a long while; the work about which I have been set is almost over, but first I want a little strength to perfect it; and secondly, I am in much feare whether when 'tis done it shall be ac­cepted. Now this grieves me, this troubles me.

Resp. Well, but hear O soul! thou art at worke for a kinde and sweet Master, who will helpe thee with strength to perfect thy worke, and crowne thy worke with acceptation when perfected.

For helpe: Know he will worke all our workes for us, and in us, Esa. 26. 12. He will worke in you both to will and to doe, and that of his good pleasure, Philip. 2.13. yea the Spirit of Christ (which [Page 99]is the power from on high) shall helpe our infirmities, Rom. 8.26. This is the sweetnesse of Christ whom ye serve, that never did any servant faile in his worke, for want of his helpe. And

For acceptance. Be confident O be­leever! Christ will accept of every endeavour of thine in his worke. Its Christs nature to accept of what we have, and not to looke for what we have not. Pigeons are welcome, where Lambs are wanting. Sighs are sweet, and groans are acceptable unto him. Yea in Christs worke, Voluisse sat est. A wil­ling minde is accepted. [...] 2 Cor. 8.12. Trouble not thy selfe, O working soule, about ac­ceptance. Doe thy best, be thou sin­cere; and be of good comfort, as knowing this, that Christ is sweet. His carriage ever was, ever will be, passing tender to all his Ewes big with young; very sweet to all those that worke for him.

Ob. But alas! will some say, my case is comfortlesse. For 'tis true, Christ is sweet to his members that worke for him; but what is he to those who sinne against him. Woe is me, I have been big, but 'tas been [Page 100]with badnesse; and I have brought forth, but oh, 'tas been wickednesse; what will the carriage of Christ be unto me?

Answ. Why for such soules; I say at present no more but this. Jesus Christ is a mercifull high Priest; Hee knowes how to have compassion on the ignorant, and them that are out of the way, Heb. 5.2. He is a shepherd, that can be kinde even to the Lambs that wander, and goe astray. Its his grace (and therefore his glory) that he can be sweet, even to you (O poor beleevers!) that have been sinfull. And this is that which I am to make out in the next Section.

SECT. III. Christs sweet carriage unto Beleevers weake by sinnes.

Esa. 40.11.

He shall gently lead those that are with young.

CHAP. I.

GOD in Nature hath prov [...] ­ded a salve for every sore: And Christ in Grace, hath provided a cordiall for every beleever. Its your Saviours glory, that he is furnished with suitable sweet­nesses (O beleevers!) unto your weak­nesses. And its his grace that he is as (nay more) ready to give them forth, then you can be to need them. In this Scripture is held out Christs sweetnesse unto weake beleevers, who are such (as I distinguished) acciden­tally. Now these I divided into three ranks, viz.

  • 1. Such as are weake through worke (unto which I spake in the foregoing Section.) And
  • 2. Such as are weake through falls: un­to which I am to speake now. And
  • 3. Such as are weake through sufferings: which will be the subject of the last Section.

So that now the businesse here is to shew the sweetnesse of Christ unto those members of his, who are weakned by falls into sinnes, which I said might al­so be couched under this Metaphor of being big with young. The word [...] comes from [...]

The Scripture tells of a conception of sinne, James 1.15. When lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin. And the same Apostle tells in many things we sinne all, James 3.2. Yea John tells that if we (i.e. those whose fellowship is with the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ, and who walke in the light, and have fellowship one with ano­ther) If we say we have no sin, we de­ceive our selves, and the truth is not in us, 1 Joh. 1.8.

So that there being in Saints the seed of sinne; there may be a sinfull conception sometimes in them; and they [Page 103]may be big with young in that sense. In­deed all our steppings aside from Christ (especially unto sin) is called in the Scripture a whoring, and adultery. So that it will be no straining of the Metaphor in the text; I am sure 'twill be no deviation from truth, to say that Christ carries himselfe sweetly, and deales gently, even with those, who have beene, or are weake, by their being big with young in a sinfull sense.

The thing therefore which I shall now speake unto is this, That

Christs carriage is sweet even to those members of his who are weake by their falls into sin.

CHAP. II. Some things premised for the right under­standing of the point, and the proof of it.

THat I may the more clearly pro­ceed without mistake, and make good the Doctrine. I shall premise three things.

1. That the best beleevers are liable unto falls into sinne. Even the choisest [Page 104]Saints, may sometimes either by more violent rapes, or secret temptations, be big with young with sinne. Solomon tells us, that a just man falleth seven times, Prov. 24.16. In the case of Bathsheba, David himselfe did conceive, and he was big with young by sinne. Its true, Saints by reason of that immortall seed of grace within them, doe not, indeed cannot make a trade of this; they are not (as I may say) common Strumpers; they doe not make this spirituall (as David did not that literall) adultery their trade: yet still I say 'tis possible that sometimes they may, and indeed are overtaken this way. Albeit grace doe sometime render the conceptions of sin abortive, and mostly doth kill them as soon as borne; dashing the brats of sinne (while young) against the stone, breaking them upon crucified Jesus (that I may allude in a spirituall sense to that Psal. 137. ult.) Notwithstanding all this I say, yet so it too, too often is, that even Saints, and true mem­bers of Jesus Christ doe fall into sin, or as the phrase is doe conceive and bring forth that which is sinne. Expe­rience, and conscience witnesse unto [Page 105]this, that even such as are borne of God, doe sometimes beare sinne. That is one thing which I premise.

2. Beleevers by falling into sin, do become weak: Their being big doth render them feeble. As breeding and bearing in a na­tural sense do much weaken; so doth it also in a spiritual sense. Sorrow and con­ception go together, and every bringing forth is with pain. Sin is the greatest weakner that can be. The soul is most unhealthfull when, and while sinfull. Sin makes feeble hands, and weake knees. The very habits of grace (which are our new birth strength) are exceedingly de­bilitated by the acts of sin. David after his lying in with Bathsheba, was much weakned; there was no health in his bones by reason of that breeding. Any fall wea­kens in a degree.Psal. 38.3. Saints sinnings are their fallings: David broke his bones by sin. Strong men are oftentimes weak by fals which they have taken, and Saints otherwise strong, are yet very weak af­ter their falls into sinne. Indeed wickednesse is weaknesse. How weake is the soule after sin! How little a push of temptation throwes it down! How easily is David being weakned with [Page 106] adulterous conceptions, overthrowne by murderius suggestions! And how long was it after that ere he could worke againe? Till Nathan came to visit him (as is gathered from the title of the 51. Psalme) David had made no song. He was so weake, as till then he could not worke: Nathans visit was (as we say) Davids up-rising. It seemes he lay in long upon that sin, and was so weake thereby, as that he could not worke, till the Prophet rouzed and raised him up. Surely his sinne did make him very weake. Beleevers! I thinke you will seal to this; that sin­nings make you feeble; wickednesse renders you weaklings: your fighings say tis true. This is the second thing I would premise.

3. The next is this, Jesus Christ is displeased with beleevers sinne. Adultery is displeasing to the husband. Christ is your husband (Beleevers) and he cannot but be angry with your sin­nings, for they are your adulteries. Christ cannot smile upon your sinfull brats. 'Twere unhusband-like in him, not to be offended at them. The Lord Jesus loves chaste soules. To be spiritually barren, [Page 107]or sinfully big are both alike displeasing to Christ. As he is angry, when we con­qeive, not by him, so he is offended if he see us conceive by sinne. Not to abound in good fruit is a failing; but to have any bad fruit is a fault. You who have at any time been big with young in a sinfull sense; tell me, dare you say Christ ever liked it? nay was he not offended at it?Omnis amor continet in se aliquid odii. Jesus Christ must needs loath bad conceptions, and bringings forth, because he loves good ones. Its certainly the weakenesse and wantonnesse of some that thinke and speake otherwise. Christs anger and sin goe together. Thou wast a God that forgavest, though thou to okest vengeance of their inventions. 'Tis spoken of Christ (who is Immanuel, God with us, or the Lord our God) Psal. 99 8. This there­fore I premise in the third place, that Jesus Christ (though well pleased in the maine with beleevers, yet he) is displeased with them, when they have rendred themselves weake by sinne. Christ likes not to see corruption rocked in the cradle. He loves not to see David in Bathshebas bosome; Christ though he loves sinners, yet loaths [Page 108]sins; he is displeased with the sinnes, though pleased with the persons of his people. Thus being premised, I shall now prove the point, viz.

That Christs carriage is sweet, even is those members of his, who are weake by falls into sin.

Peter will be a proofe to this. Deare soule! Sathan got leave to winnow him, and he weakned him. Yet Christ was very sweet for all that. I suppose you know his fall, 'twas great. He denies Christ, and sweares he knew him not. There's one degree. He stands to the de­niall, and is not ashamed of what he had said, but lyes, and sayes, he was not one of them that belonged to Christ. Ah Lord, how he tumbles downe! yet he falls a step lower: He begins to curse himselfe ( [...]) i. e. to exe­crate and anathematize himselfe, if he were, &c. what a fall is here! Surely Peter brake his bones (though Christ which was his sweetnesse kept his necke) with this fall. How weake was he by his wickednesse? The Damosell that looked upon him, and spake to him, surely raped his soule. He conceived sinne, and brought forth a [Page 109]lye: and he was very big with young, for the lye was very great. Well, yet Christ led him gently: He looked on him graciously. Christ was sweet, though Peter was sinfull. Doubtlesse Peter felt his bones broken by that fall, surely he was weake, and that made him weep bitterly: yet notwith­standing Christ was very sweet in his carriage towards him: And there­fore he left speciall word with the Angell, to bid the women tell his Disciples, and Peter (specialliter dicit & Petro) of his Resurrection, and going to Galilee to meet them, and him. Christ prayed for him before he fell, in an especiall manner (I have prayed for thee, saith he) and looked upon him after he fell. Mindes him at the Resurrecti­on, confers sweetly with him before the Ascention, Joh. 20.) Shall I need to adde more, to let you see how sweet Christ is to beleevers, weakned by falls into sin.

'Twas singular sweetnesse in Christ towards those seven Churches that fell, and were much weakned by their falls. He looked upon them all, and wrote to them all; and however some [Page 110]passages in his Epistles to them were severe, yet the very writing of them, and the end thereof was sweet.

I will adde but on Scripture to prove this point, yet more. 'Tis, Isa. 57.17. For the iniquity of his covetousnesse I was wroth and smote him (Christ I said before, is displeased with his members sinnings) and be went on frowardly in the way of his heart. Ah Lord! what weak­nesse is here, to grow worse for whip­ping? yet see Christ is sweet for all this. I have seene his wayes, and I will heale him: I will lead him also, v. 18. Just almost as 'tis in the text; he will gently lead those that are with young. Covetous­nesse is Idolatry; to be big with this, is abominable (Christ was wroth to see it) but to harden the heart under chastisements is worse: Surely a soul thus fallen, is very weak; yet even to such soules Christ is sweet, his car­riage kinde; for even those he heales, these he leads, and to those he restores comforts.

CHAP. III. One generall demonstration of the sweet­nesse of Christs carriage to sinning Beleevers.

HAving cleared the point a little in the intent thereof; and having also offered something for the proofe thereof, I shall now further demon­strate the tendernesse of Christ bowels unto sin-weakned soules, in his car­riage unto them both generally and particularly.

Generally. Consider how that Jesus Christ takes much paines, and lets out mer­cifull power for the raising of fallen belee­vers, and for the gathering of wandring Lambs: And this considered, demon­strates Christs sweetnesse at first sight. Sinning soules, Christ will not lose you. Though you through weaknesse wander from him, hee'l not let you goe: Hee'l walke after you, while you wander; and because hee's sweet, hee'l gather you from your sinnes. He that gathers weake Lambs with his great arme, will gather also wandring Ewes with his shepherds crooke. You know [Page 112]the parable of the lost sheep, Luke 15. it concernes you who have gone astray from your Lords fold. Beleever, thou sayest thou hast wandred in the wayes of sinne, and art a lost sheep (that is lost in thy owne sense) know thy Shepherd is sweet, and will not lose thee, hee'l seem rather for a while to leave others, that he may seek thee. When Antigonus a King passing by a ditch into which a sheep was fallen, the Historian saith, he pulled it out (though dirty) with his own hands: and for this he was exceedingly be­loved and commended of his subjects. Heavenly sheep, your King is kinder. Hee'l not onely stoop to filthy ditches of sinne into which you fall, and take you out with his armes, but hee'l lay you in his bosome, that he may wash you with his bloud. He deales not thus with all sinners; but hee'l deale thus with you. Judas falls into one ☞ ditch, he betrayes his Master. Peter falls into another, he denyes his Ma­ster. Christ lets Judas lye, but takes up Peter. Minde this, O ye poore of the flocke! Though Christ let Judase's fall and perish, Hee'l gather his Peters [Page 113]Say now, is not Christ sweet in his carriage towards his owne, even when they sinne? It may be thy soule hath been stragling abroad (Dinah like) and some corruptions or temptations (Schechem like) have humbled thee, so that thou art big with young: Now how is it with thy soule? It't not very weake? Doth not joy faint, and faith flag? Art not ready to say, Christ will whip me for my wandring? Hee'l be sorely displeased with me. I dare not say Christ is not displeased at this: In­deed his Spirit is grieved (Jacob like) at this; yet let me tell you, he is sweet, and so will be notwithstanding this. Adde not weaknesse to weaknesse: say not, Christ will never be sweet more, be­cause I have sinned now: But know, he is and will be sweet in this, that hee'l be avenged on the head of sin, for de­filing thee. Hee'l take thee into his heart, and cast that whereof thou art big out of thine: Say beleevers, after sinnings, hath not Christ made you most out of love with sinne? Have not you hated it after, more then ever you loved it before? Ephraim shall say, what have I any more to doe with Idols, Hos. 14.8. Hath not Christ made you, to [Page 114]defile that which defiled you? and have not you cast it away as a menstruous cloath; saying unto it, Get thee hence? as 'tis Esa. 30.22. How hath Christ shewed all his severity against your sins of which you were big? and how hath he meane while been good unto your soules: He hath, and doth deale grievously with your sinnes, destroy­ing them; but he deales graciously with you, gathering you. Witnesse to the sweetnesse of your Shepherd, O ye sinning Ewes, who have been big with young: Hath not he gone after you, and found you, and laid you on his shoul­ders rejoycing? Hath he not dealt with you as with David: when you went astray like lost sheep, did not he seeke you? Psal. 119.176. And when he found you, did he deale with you according to your finfulnesse? Did he whip you all the way home? Rather did he not lead you gently? Now doth not this de­monstrate undeniably, Christs sweet­nesse to you, O ye sinfull beleevers! If Jesus Christ, after lust hath conceived in us, and brought forth sin, should leave us to our selves, till sinne being finished, should bring forth death, as 'tis Janes 1.15. [Page 115]If Christ I say, should deale thus with us, could we deny his Justice? But now for Christ, even when we have been big of sin, to lead us gently; not to leave us to our sin, but to gather us out of it, and to raise us after it; surely this doth declare his sweetnesse. But this is onely a generall demonstration; I shall therefore adde some particular ones.

CHAP. IV. Some particular demonstrations of Christs sweet carriage unto beleevers weake by sinning.

THe first thing wherein Christ de­clares his sweetnesse unto sinning beleevers is, his chastening of them for their sinnings. Solomon tells us, that he that spareth the rod [hateth] his son, but he that [loveth] him, chasteneth him betimes, Prov. 13.24. Chastisement for sinne is a priviledge peculiar to Saints: Its childrens bread; Bastards go without it, and this bread (as I may say) of affliction doth Christ give his members after sinning. And that this is sweet dealing will appear, if you consider,

1. Its Covenant priviledge, promise­mercy, so saith the Text. If thy children forsake my Law, &c. If they breake my Statutes, &c. [Then] I will visit their trans­gression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes, Psal. 89.30, 31, 32. Beleevers, Christ deals sweetly with you, when he chastiseth you after falls into sin. Hee'l chastise you with the rod: Its true, hee'l not cast you off for your sinnes; no, nor whip you with Scorpions; yet hee'l chastise you (for every one whom he receiveth after fals, he deals so with for the most part) His rod (not of iron but) of men, shall be upon you; and those stripes wherewith hee'l cha­sten you, shall be the stripes of the children of men, as 'tis 2 Sam 7▪ 14. where that in the Psalme is taken. So that Christ deals sweetly with you, when after your sinnings he chastiseth you for his Covenant priviledge. And,

2. 'Tis denyed to others: Christ deals not thus sweetly with all sinners. They sinne, and are not in sorrowes as o­thers. Its the thundring voice of wrath (as Origen observes) that saith, I will not punish your daughters when they commit whoredome, Hos. 4.14. Sinners com­mit [Page 117] whoredome, and are not punished; Saints are but big with young, and cha­stised. Indeed those onely hath Christ knowne of all the families of the earth, Amos 3.3. [...] Chasti­sings for sin are Christs visits of the soule. and therefore he punisheth them, that is (as the Hebrew word signifies) visits them. Beleevers, Christ lets others sinne, and comes not neare them: Its his wrath. But you fall and sinne, and Christ visits you, take it as his love. He does more for you, then for them; and its sweet dealing. This then is the first particular. Christ carries him­selfe sweetly unto sinning beleevers, in that he chastiseth them for their sins.

Indeed his chastisements are their meltings, they serve to purge them from their sinnes; and how else, or what else should he doe for the daughter of his people, as 'tis Jer. 9.7. Its the care and tendernesse of the husbandman to lop and cut corrupt branches: And its Christs care over you (and when he declares it, he shews sweetnesse to you beleevers) to cut you, either when you are not fruitfull in good, or when your buddings are bad. And this is the fruit of all to take away sin, Isa. 27.9. Now surely this is sweer. There [Page 118]is a difference between [...]. Its one thing to cut, another thing to cut off. Its maternall and sweet to give the sicke childe a Pill (though bitter) to purge out corrupt bumors that hinder health. Beleevers! Christ should not be as tender as a mother (and yet he makes himselfe more, Esa. 49.15.) if he should not purge you, after sinnings, i.e. chastise you, For by this is the iniquity of Jacob purged, Esa, 27.9. And how sweet doth Christ deal with sinning Saints in purging them from their sinnes, while he lets others lye, and rot, and perish, for want of punish­ing purges. But.

2. Christ deals sweetly with sin­ning beleevers in that he doth not cast them off for their sinnes. As sinnes before beleeving could not make him to re­ject them; so sinnings after beleeving, doth not cut off love from them. Though he visit their sin with stripes; yet neverthelesse his loving kindnesse will he not utterly take from them; nor will he suffer his faithfulnesse to faile, Psal. 89.33. you breake your faithfulnesse in sinning (souls) and that is weaknesse enough; But if you thinke that Christ for [Page 119]your sinning will take away his love; you make him unfaithful too, and this is greater weaknesse. Though you forsake the guide of your youth, and wander till you are big with young, forgetting the Covenant of your God; yet Christ will not forsake you, nor breake his Covenant with you. Christ should breake Covenant if for [your] sinnes (O beleevers!) he should cast you off from love. Dinah had weakly walked abroad, and upon Shechems ravishing of her, comes home big with young: But Jacob turnes not her out of doores. It may be thou hast beene weakly wandring from thy Fathers house (O beleeving soule!) and cor­ruption in the time of thy wandring hath ravished thee: thou art big with young, and art afraid to goe home. Thou sighest, I have sinned; and if I re­turne, will Christ accept of me? Fear it not, goe and try. Hee'l not cast you out of doores: Though you come with big bellies, (to keep to our Meta­phor) hee'l deal gently with thee (though with young) Though thou hast play­ed the barlot with many lovers, yet returne unto me saith the Lord, Jer. 3.1. What though a man would not be so sweet [Page 120]to his wife, yet Christ will be to you. Onely acknowledge thine iniquity, (and what a poor recompence is that?) and feare not to returne, for Christ is marri­ed unto thee, Jer. 3.13.19. Happily thy sins have eclipsed love: but know love remaines still, and in due time it shall shine againe. The thicke cloud will blow over, and the light of love will arise (in time) on thy heart. Christ is sweet that he calls you, though weary, and heavy laden. He bids you to take unto you words, and turne to him, and say take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously Hos. 14.2. How parent-like doth Christ deale! Say (saith the mother) to the offending childe (after she hath in love whipped it) Pray mo­ther forgive me, &c. Christ it may be hath whipped thee in love (O belee­ver) for thy offence. Now he puts words into thy mouth, and tells thee what to say. His love surely is not gone. Is not his carriage sweet? For,

3. Christ in due time smiles upon beleevers after sinnes. As their sinnings did not cut off his love totally, so neither can they keep off the manifestations there­of. [Page 121]Finally, is not Christs carriage sweet to you (Oh ye sinning soules!) that smiles notwithstanding your fins: Speak comfortably to Jerusalem: Com­fort ye, comfort ye my people, saith (Christ who is) your God, Esa. 40. How sweetly doth the mother take up the childe, after she hath corrected it, and dandle it, and kisse it, &c. so sweetly deales Christ with his members after their sinnings. Is his mercy cleane gone (saith the fallen-Saint) for ever? Will he be favourable no more? Hath he forgotten to be gracious? Why remember, O soul! surely Christ hath heard thee thus be­moaning thy self; Thou hast chastised me, and I was thastised, &c. Yea it may be so, wilt thou say, Christ hath heard me thus; but what of that? why, He hath said of thee, Is not he or she my deare childe, since I spake against him, I doe earnestly re­member him, therefore my howells are troubled for him: I will [surely] have (i.e. shew) mercy towards him. Christ can­not hold his love alway in: It must, it will burst out at last. Goe and tell Pe­ter. Christ cannot hold. I will restore comforts to him, Esa. 57.17. Christ must be sweet. Doe you, dare you, can you [Page 122]deny it O yee sinners of the stock! Is not this sweet carriage, to [...]ning beleevers? well,

4 Christ is very sweetly and tenderly affected towards sinning beleevers, for his is sad for them, even all the while that he af­flicts them. The mothers heart is sad, even while she whips her childe: and some­times she turnes away, and weeps to see the childe weep, whom yet she made to weep. Its so with Christ. He chastis­eth for sin, and when he seeth the soule weeping under that chastisement; hee weeps too. My soul (saith he) was trou­bled for him, Jer, 31.20. [...] i.e. Thus: thus my bowells founded for him. The word signifies to sound as the aroubled waters, or tumultuous people▪ looke as the waters after some storme sound loudly, or as a tumultuous peo­ple under some great oppression (for that is mostly the ground of tumults) are much troubled. Even so was Christ trou­bled at Ephraims bemoaning of himself you have not an High-Priest who cannot Sympathize (as the word is) Heb. 4.15. No. but hee is so sweet, that he sympa­thizeth with you in all those sadnesse of [Page 123]yours, under those sufferings which he brings upon you for your sins. God had afflicted Israel for their sin, but when they cried out under that affliction, deliver in this [once], (it seemes a deliverance then would be so acceptable as that it would countervaile a destruction af­terward) its said, his soule was grieved (as it were cut short with sorrow (so the word there signifies) for the misery of Israel Judg. 10▪ 15. Oh how sweet is Christs carriage to his sinning members! [...] The same word is used Jud. 16.16. and rendred, vexed. who sympathizeth with them in those sorrows under which they lie for sins. Christ sighs and weeps with you; O ye sighing and weeping soules. Is not this sweet carriage?

5 Christ carries himselfe sweetly unto sinning Beleevers. In speaking to the father to pardon those sinnes. When the mother hath whipped the childe her self, hus­band faith shee, pray forgive it, And thus Christ he fees his children (for he is the father of beleevers (therefore he is called the everlasting father, and they are called his children. Compare I say 9 6. and Heb. 2.13.) I say Christ fees them fall in the dirt of sin, he takes them up, whips them indeed: but faith Father [Page 124]forgive them, for my sake. If any man sin we have an Advocate with the father, Je­sus Christ the Righteous: and he is the pro­pitiation for our sins, 1 John 2.1. Christ is both our [...] that is, our patron who takes our cause upon him (as Beza glosseth it well) and our [...]. That is, our propitiatory offering, to reconcile the father to us after our sins. What can hee bee more to shew himselfe sweet? [...]deed beleevers he therefore lives, and is at the right hand of the Father, that for your daily sins, he may make daily sur­plications, and intercede with the fa­ther, in your behalfe for your failings. And if this be not sweet, tell me what is.

6 Singular sweetnesse shines in the carriage of Christ toward finning belee­vers, in that he takes notice of all that good which is in them notwithstanding their sins. Its a mighty failing among the sons of Adam, that they so mind mens vices as they forget their vertues. A little evill makes men sometime forget a great deal of good: But its not so with Christ, for he remembers, though but a litle good, not­withstanding a great deale of evill. Un­skilfull men throw away gold, because [Page 125]of the oare mixed with it, so do not ar­tificers. The Lord Jesus (o beleevers!) knows how to discern your gold, though covered with much oare, he can see the least of your sparklings (ye Divine Dia­monds) while ye are in the dirt. Its ob­servable how sweetly Christ in all his Epistles to those 7 lapsed Churches, takes notice of all the good that was in them, and records it. Ephesus had forsaken her first love. Yet this she had, and note, it 'twas but a [...] a this, some one thing: and what was that? she hated the works of the Nicholaitans, which Christ also hated.

Observe: it was but (as I may say) a negative goodnesse. Thou hatest the workes of the Nicholaitans, which I also hate, Apoc. 2.6. Heere is but a little good, hating bad deeds, and this Christ for­gets not, but observes, although mingled with a great evill, viz. the leaving of first love. Christ O ye sinning soules, forgets not your graces though weak, when he corrects your corruptions though strong. 'Twas not a litle unbeleif which appea­red in the Disciples, when they were af­raid of perishing in the Sea, by reason of a tempest, Mat. 8.24, 25. 'Twas I say, not a little, but a great deale of unbeleif, [Page 126]which discovered it selfe, in that deed, what reason had they to feare, who car­ried Caesar, as the Historian said: why should they cry out we perish, when they had saving presence with them? yet note it, Christ doth not so eye their feare, as to forget their faith: No, he thinds, and mentions their faith though but little: And he speakes of their faith while hee chides their fear, Why were ye searefull, O ye of little faith? When you sin against men, they'l bee sordid, and forgetting al your good, they'l blazon your blame: But when you sin against Christ, he is sweet, and albeit he may secretly tel you of your lault (in your owne conscience) to humble you, yet he'le still remember the grace that is in you. Sining Sardis hath but a few good names (amongst many bad) and Christ records them. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis Apoc. 3.4. And falling Philadelphia hath but a little strength, and yet Christ eyes it, and bla­zons it, thou hast a little strength (there tis eyed) and hast kept my Word (by that lit­tle strength) and hast not denied my name. Thus tis blazoned, You say sometimes poor souls! we have much evills but lit­tle good, and strong corruptions, but [Page 127]weake grace: And is not this sad? Tis true: but Christ is and will be sweet, Hee'l not so mind your evill, as to for­get your good, Hee'le not forget thy weak grace, though mixed with strong corruption. Though you are weak (O soule) by sin, yet Christ will and doth remember your little strength, here is sweetnesse indeed.

Lastly, The brightnesse of this truth that Christ is sweet unto sinning belee­vers, shins in this beam, viz. in that he turns all their sins to their good, Christ makes Sampson [...] riddle: truth in beleevers souls. Out of the eater there comes forth meat, and out of the strong sweetnesse, Judg. 14.14. Christ makes the devouring corruptions in beleevers, to become meat for their faith to feed upon, while by killing one he gives ground to beleive the ruine of another, And he brings forth sweetnes out of their strong sins, in making grace to super abound, wher sin did but abound Be­leevers, is not this truth? cannot you in­terpret the ridle of Sampson in the carri­age of your Saviour towards you after sin. Hath not Christ helped you, to suck honey (Bee like) from Worme-wood. Have not you O Beleeving Bee been taught by [Page 128]Christ to suck the honey of sinne-hatred, from the Worme wood of sin-acted! How sweetly doth Christ kindle the Spouses love even by her coldnesse? Doth he not cause her sleeping, while he knocked, to end in a healthfull fit of love-sicknes, when she awaked, Cā. 5.2.8. did not Christ make Peters cowardize in denying him to a Maid, turne into courage of owning him before a Magistrate? compate Luke 22.56. with Acts 4.8. How did Peter by the lamenesse which he tooke in his fall of denying Christ, even after (as the Athenians mother told him) learne well to own Christ, and that as the Speaker for all the rest, Acts. 2.14, and 3 12 sure­ly Christ is sweet in his carriage towards ye, Oye sinning Souls! have not you lov'd the fold more by your wandrings? have not you (A [...]iah-like) learnt to hate your sinnes, were then ever you loved them? As children▪ have not you been taught to hate the fire that burnt you? Speak, O ye Ewes that, by the rapes of sinne have been big with young. Hath not your Shepherd taught you to loath those sins which ravished you? And to keep closer to him, since your straying from him? Thus you see how Christ carries himself [Page 129]towards his sinning Members; And tel me now if in all this carriage there be not singular sweetnesse.

CHAP. V. Some Reasons of the Point,

IF now any aske whence it comes to passe that Jesus Christ is thus sweet unto beleevers, even notwithstanding their sinnings: The answer is easie, and the reasons are.

First, Because of the sweetnesse of his na­ture, as God. Its the nature of God (for his name denotes his nature) to be mer­cifull and gracious, i. e. to sinners (for mercy and grace allude to sin, there be­ing no place for either, where sin is not) God is said to keep mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and sin Exod. 34.7. All the sorts of sin are in­cluded under these three termes, iniquity, transgression, sinne, [...] and God is said to keep mercy to forgive these, as if his mercy were kept on purpose for pardon, and sweet dealing with sinners. Your Christ is God O beleevers. This pardoning fullnesse of the God-head dwells in him, for in him dwelleth [All] the fullnesse of the [Page 130]God-head bodily, Col. 2.9. Christ (as God) is mercifull to all sinners, but (as your Shepherd) he is sweetly mercifull towards you. But,

2. Christ is therefore thus sweet unto sinning beleevers, because of all his members these are the weakest. Sicke men are weaker then healthy children. Many times the mother lets the childe cry in she cradle, while she looks unto the sicke-one in the bed. Christ is wise, and therefore most tender of the weakest. Christ knowes your weak­nesse, O soules under sinne! And he will therefore be sweet to you, be­cause you are weake. Poyson causeth paine, and paine proportionates pity. You have a pitifull high Priest (Belee­vers) who measures on his pity, accord­ing to your paine. [...]. Heb. 5.2. And because your falling into sinne, is to you, most pain­full, hee'l be most pitifull Naughty conceptions (say some) are most pain­full and dangerous: sure I am, sin full conceptions are. Beleevers are never worse then when big with finne, and Christ is still kindest to those that are weakest.

3. Sathan is most busie with beleevers [Page 131]when under sinne; and therefore Christ hath the more care of them then. Sa­than would faine tempt the soule to despaire upon its sinning, and should not Christ be very sweet, so it would. Christ came to destroy the workes of the Devill, 1 Joh. 3.8. Christ by his sweet carriage will destroy this worke of the Devill, viz. desparation, which he specially endeavours in beleevers, after sinnings. How bitter is Sathan to the soule after sinne? How sadly doth he buffet it? In what blacke and bloody colours doth he set sinne before the soule? How home doth he lay it? And how high doth he aggravate it? In all this he drives to despaire. Now Christ is at hand to destroy this work of Sathan, which he will do, by ma­nifesting to the soule his sweetnesse, for that alone keeps the soule from sinking. Beleevers would sinke under sinne, but Christ prevents it by sweet­nesse.

4. Christ knowes this to be a sad state for the soule to lye under sinne, and there­fore hee is sweet to beleevers under theirs. Hee was tempted unto sinne (though without sinne) and so knows [Page 132]the sadnesse of that (as a City that hath been besieged, though not taken, knows the misery of a siege) and hee experimentally knowes the bitternesse of being under sinne (being made sinne for us, Haud igua­ra mali miseris sus­currere dis­co. Dido a­pud Virg. and forsaken of God for that) so that Jesus Christ knowing the sad­nesse of being under sinne, doth there­fore especially shew sweetnesse to his members in this condition.

CHAP. VI. Some uses and application of this.

I Would faine that the Proposition thus proved, should be improved. Its a cleare truth you see, That Christs car­riage is sweet and tender toward his sinning members. Now there is speciall use which may be made of this. I will onely touch at foure, viz.

An use

  • 1. Of Reproofe.
  • 2. Of Comfort.
  • 3. Of Incouragement.
  • 4. Of Counsell.

First, this point is profitable for re­proofe, and it serves to reprove those whose dealings with sinning beleevers are not like Christs. How sharpe and severe [Page 133]are the dealings of some with belee­vers for their sin s. If a beleever be overtaken with sinne. What unchri­stian carriage doe they meet withall from some. How unbrotherly are the exclamations? And how bitter are the aggravations thereof? Thou seest thy brother sin: Its doubtlesse his weak­nesse. But dost thou deale roughly with him? Is thy carriage sowre? Dost thou make the most of every fai­ling? Dost thou spread it abroad to his shame? Be reproved: for now walkest thou contrary to Christ. I professe I feare some will inherit Chams curse, for they take his course of uncovering the nakednesse of fathers and brethren. Ah Lord! was it ever heard, that any who professe the name of Christ, should make it their study, to defame and publish the failings and faults of the godly, to shame them, and professi­on in them, yea and Christ too at once.

Ob. I but that which we report is true? Shall they doe evill, and not heare of it?

Resp. Be it so, that 'tis true, yet your dealings are not Christ-like with [Page 134]them. Tell him between thee and him alone, thats Christs command, Matth. 18.15. And be sweet to him, in dealing with him, that's Christs carriage; know you not what the Apostle saith? Bre­thren if any one be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spirituall restore him in the spirit of meeknesse, &c. Gal. 6.1. Is railing, re­viling, publishing, and proclaiming errours, and failings of brethren, [...], i.e. Tenderly put his bone in joynt. restoring in the spirit of meeknesse? Hath thy brother broke his bones in falling, and wilt thou breake his heart by severe and harsh dea­ling? Hath he an errour, and wilt thou forget al the truth that he holds, to exclaime of that? Must thou for­get all his graces, because of some corruption? What, because thy bro­ther failes, wilt thou be foule? Be­cause once he did evill, shall he never hears well? Be reproved, O ye whom it may concerne: you deale not as Christ doth with sinning soules, your reproofes of brethren should be excel­lent oyles, which should not break their heads, as tis Psal. 141.5. so should you declare kindnesse to them: And so would Christs carriage appear in yours, your dealing even with offending and sin­ning [Page 135]beleevers, should be in the week­nesse of the spirit, and in the sweetnesse of Jesus; and if not, you sin in your dea­lings, for you are unlike to Christ, and to be reprooved for it.

This point is precious, and it may be as a cordiall to falne soules. Christs car­riage hath been, and is to be sweet to such as you. You cry out, I have sin­ned, I have sinned, and what shall I doe? I have faild in this duty, and fallen by that sin. I have been overtaken with such an infirmity, overpowred by such a temptation, conquered by such a corruption: And woe is me, I am un­done! I have gone astray from the Shep­herd of my soule: I have played the harlot with many lovers, and I am big with young: Lust hath conceived, and it hath brought forth sin.

Q. Now what shall I doe? will not sin bring forth death? I have deserted Christ, will not he desert me? Say man of God, whither shall I goe? what shall I doe?

Ans. Stay thy selfe (O poore soule) upon this point as upon a pillar. Christs car­riage will be sweet even to sinning soules. You have a gracious Lord: A [Page 136]mercifull high. Priest. A sweet Shepherd, who can have compassion on them that are out of the way, Heb. 5.2. Hee'l gather thee, O weake wandring soule! Hee'l restore thee to himselfe, and comfort to thee. His rod and staffe shall comfort thee; with his Shepherds crooke hee'l fetch thee in from wandrings, and with his staffe, hee'l support thee under weaknesse. Bear up, O ye fallen Saints, Christ will bee sweet unto you; for hee'l heale your backslidings, and love you freely, Hos. 14.4.

Foure sorts of soules in speciall I aime at in this use of comfort.

1. Such as are fearfull to sin. You that stand in awe and would not sinne; you whose soules were afraid before sinne, and are now much more afraid after sinne. Take you this comfort. 'Tis yours, Thou sayest, before I sin­ned I was afraid: Its sight was sad to me, my heart trembled for feare lest I should be overtaken with it. Now that I have sinned, I am more afraid lest I be kept in slavery by it. Be not afraid, onely beleeve: Christ will deale sweetly with you: Hee'l subdue thine iniquilies, I and cast all thy sinnes into the [Page 137]depth of the Seas, Micah 7.19.

2. Such as are sorrowfull under sinne. You beleevers, who goe in blacke; I speake to you, Christ is sweet to sin­ning soules. Why mourne you so much as if you would not, could not be comforted? That spirit which is now in thee, as a mourning dove, will ere long bring an olive branch of peace from thy beloved. He that now con­vinceth of sinne, will speedily comfort thee notwithstanding sinne. You weeping Peters; Christ is sweet, though you have sinned in denying him; hee'l smile shortly upon you. Heare, O ye groaning Pauls! you cry, wretched men that you are; Christ came into the world to save sinners, of which you are chiefe: And you shall finde sweet­nesse in his carriage, though there hath been sinfulnesse in yours.

3. You who mourne under the filth of sinne, as much as under the guilt of it. This comfort is yours: you grieve to see your soules so defiled; and you say what though I am free from damna­tion, I am pestred with defilement. I have a filthy hand, and a more filthy heart. My conversation is dirty, but [Page 138]my disposition is more dirty. Ah Lord! will a pure Christ own such an impure wretch as I?

Q. Will the Lamb without spot owne me who am nothing (as it were) but a great scab and botch?

A. Yes O soule! know thy Saviour is sweet. He that loved Lazarus, when he lay at the gate of Dives full of soares, will love thee; though thou hast been in thy blood, and hee'l wash away the filth of thy botches with the purity of his blood. He hath loved thee, and given himselfe for thee; and he will sanctifie thee, and cleanse thee, by the washing of water, and by the word, that be may present thee glorious to himselfe, not ha­ving spot or wrinckle, or [any such thing] Ephes. 5.27. Rouze up thy selfe oh beleeving Soule! who groanest at the filth of sin. Christ will be sweet in his carriage towards thee. But,

4. Its your comfort also, who doe mourne under sins might: who are afraid, now sin hath you downe, it will keep you under its dominion. Jesus Christ will be sweet unto you: And sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the law, but under grace, Rom. 6.14. [Page 139]Thou sayest, Ah Lord! I am afraid since my fall into sin, that I shall get such a haunt, as I shall never leave. I question since I have been big with sin once, that I shall be so ever. And which is as bad, if not worse: I feare lest that since I have done evill, I shall never learne how to doe well. Say not thus, O beleeving soule! Jesus Christ is sweet in his carriage towards his sinning members. Hee'l not cut off his little toes, because they have been out of the way; but rather make them streight, and keep them in the way.

Saints under sin remember this point for your comfort; Christs car­riage is sweet to his sinfull mem­bers.

Q. May not we mourne for falls into sin. Is it not lawfull to be sor­rowfull, since we have been, yea and are sinfull?

A. Yes, you may mourne, but not to desparation; you may be sad, but not over-sad. There may be a failing even in mourning for sin.

Q. Why, when doth the soule faile that way?

A. Then when it hinders us from [Page 140]seeing and tasting Christ as sweet. So much sorrow for sinne (said an experien­ced Preacher) is sufficient as brings us to Christ. Dr. Sibbs souls con­flict, p. 380. And I may say that which ob­structs this is too much. Its one of Sathans stratagems, to make us pore so long upon sinne, as to make us neglect looking to Christ: sin is too bitter, when it makes you forget that Christ is sweet. That weeping is too much, which makes the eyes blinde, and dis-inables the soule from seeing Christs smiles.

Ob. Oh! but alas, I may well give way to sorrow, for my sin is of the greatest size.

Rep. Why what is thy sin, O soule!

A. Its forsaking of first love, wan­dring from my beloveds bosome.

Rep. But know though thou hast for­saken thy first love, Christ keeps his. He changeth not in his affection, as men doe. Having loved his own, he loveth them to the end, as tis, Joh. 13.1.

Ob. But alas! I shame to speak out my sin, for 'tis worse.

Rep. Why what is it bleeding heart? Its well thou art ashamed of it; but yet speake, what is it.

Ans. Why, Its adultery, spirituall a­dultery. I am guilty of going a whoring from Christ: Alas! sin hath conceived, and I am big with young, &c.

Resp. Notwithstanding know, O soule! that Jesus Christ leads gently those that are thus with young: His carriage hath been kinde to others in your case, and it shall be so unto you: Thou hast played the harlot with many lovers, yet returne againe to me saith the Lord, Jer. 3.1. You wandring Ewes, hearken to this sweet call of your Shepherds pipe, and goe returne unto him.

Oh. But alas, if I could return with weep­ing, and supplications, it were somewhat:

Ans. Why what were it, O soule? It were but sweet, not satisfactory. And Christ knows how to be kinde, though you know not how to cry. Hee'l love you, and that love shall melt you. Besides, what meane those sighs of thine? those groans of thine? these dolorous questionings of thine? Surely they are the breathings of his Spirit in thee, and surely Christ will be, nay is sweet unto thee.

Thus you see how usefull for com­fort this point may be unto beleevers [Page 142]overtaken with sinne. Therefore

3. Let it be for incouragement unto you (O beleevers, who are weake by sinnings) let it incourage you to goe unto Christ, in consideration of the sweet­nesse of his carriage to such as you. Jesus Christ calls you, and saith, Re­turne unto the Lord your God, for you are falne by your iniquities, Hos. 14.1. Go and say, Behold we come unto thee, for thou art the Lord our God, Jer. 3.22. What though you have sinned, yet hee's a Saviour: As all your sinnes before conversion, did not keepe Christ from comming to you; so neither let your sinnes since, keep you from go­ing to him. He is still the same in sweet­nesse, be you the same in faith. Why tarry you, O wanderers! why enter you not the folds of Jesus? call out some one that was once in your case, and en­quire whether Christ did deal kindly with him. Doubt not, Oh ye of little faith! but he will be so to you. He u­seth to be sweet to all the weake of his flocke, and in particular to such as you who are weakned by sins. Consi­der this your Saviours sweetnesse, and be incouraged to goe to him, O ye sin­ning souls.

Lastly, Let this doctrine perswade Japhet to dwell in the tents of Shem: my meaning is, that those who as yet are altoge­ther strangers unto Christ, should come in unto him; you who as yet never knew what it was to be infolded in the bosome of Jesus, who as yet were never Lambs nor Ewes in Christs fold. Con­sider the sweetnesse of this Shepherd, and come into him. Sathan deales seemingly sweet, that he may draw you into sin, but in the end he will be really bitter to you. Christ indeed is seemingly bitter, to keep you from sin, hedging up your way with thorns. But hee'l be really sweet, if you come into his flock, even notwithstanding your sins. Thou lookest into Christs fold, and thou seest it hedged, and fenced all about to keep you in from sin, and this keeps thee from entring: But oh! let it not. Christ indeed is unwilling that any of his should wan­der, and if they be unwilling too, its well. And if they wander, hee'l fetch them in, it may be with his Shepherds dog (some affliction) but yet hee'l not be (as we say) dogged himselfe: No, he is, and will be sweet. It may be [Page 144]now Sathan smiles, and is pleasant to you while you sin, but know hee'l be bitter in the end: He that sings Cyrene-like now, will devoure Lyon-like at last. Hee'l torment you and vexe you, and be burning and bitternesse to you. Oh come in therefore to Jesus Christ, let him be now the Shepherd of thy soule: And know then, hee'l be sweet in endeavouring to keep thee from sin, before thou commit it; and hee'l be sweet in delivering thee from sin after thou hast committed it. Oh that this thought that Jesus Christ is sweet in his carriage unto all his members, unto all of his flocke, espe­cially the sinning ones; might per­swade the hearts of some sinners to come in unto his fold.

SECT. IV. Christs sweet carriage, sweet unto Be­leevers weake by sufferings.

Esa. 40.11.

He shall gently lead those that are with young.

CHAP. I.

THe sharpnesse of the aire in the field makes us keepe within; and the harsh usage which children finde a­broad, causeth them to minde home. The sordid dealings of men with Saints, occasions them to thinke of the sweet dealings of Christ; and then we are most desirous to see Christ smiling, when we behold men as frowning.

Its a hard time abroad: And some that call themselves brethren, are yet bitter in their behaviour. Open ene­mies strike, and seeming friends chide: [Page 146]Its but meete therefore to looke up to Christ, to see how he stands affected to us, and will deale with us in such a time.

Holy Soules! who indeavor to keep your selves from sinne: you meet with suffering: and that upon this ground, because you feare to sin, You are not of the world, and you are therefore hated by the world. Christ hath freed you from the evill of the worlds polution, and therefore it followes you with the evill of its persecution. You find heavy hands, and you feare hard hearts in the world. I know where your thoughts bee. You think how doth Christs heart stand to­wards us now.

For this, know: Christs heart towards you is very sweet. His thoughts to you­ward are very precious. His dealings with you will be very kind. In the midst of your saddest sufferings, expect sweet­est carriage from your Saviour. Its his nature to shew pitty, especially when he sees any in misery.

I am now to speak unto the third sort of such beleevers, as I call accidentally weak, viz. to those who are weak through sufferings: And I am to shew how [Page 147]Christs carriage towards them also is sweet as it is to others.

The Prophet tells us. He shall gently lead those that are with young. The words may (as I have opened) be applyed unto suffering Saints. Its a metaphor in which the Scripture doth much delight it selfe to set out sufferings by. The voyce of the daughter of Zion bewailing her selfe (under tribulations) is as of a woman in travaile bringing forth, Jer. 4 31. And Christ speaking of the sorrows, and per­secutions, which his Disciples should meet withall; speakes of them in this phrase, they should be as a woman in tra­vail, Joh. 16.21. I am loath to make a Scripture bleed (as Austins phrase was) by straining it too hard: And I hope if I apply this Scripture unto suffering soules 'twill be milke, not blood. I am [...]pt to thinke it a safe way where Scrip­ [...]ures admit of many (but not contrary) significations to take all, least I misse the meaning. Bleeding heart for Christs sake! here is milke to comfort you, in [...]his Scripture, It represents Christs car­ [...]iage very sweet to such as you, He will [...]ently lead you. Your way is rocky; full of briars and thornes: persecution is a [Page 148]prickly path: Your feet bleed, yea, and it may be your hearts too. Well, be of good comfort, Christ wil lead you gently. The truth which I would a little insist upon from this interpretation is this, viz.

Jesus Christ carrieth himselfe exceeding sweetly to his suffering members.

CHAP. II. Somethings premised, and the poynt gent­rally proved.

I will in some steps ascend to the truth in hand. Two things I shall premise as preparatory to the proof, by way of pre­vention of objections.

1 This first I premise, viz. Christ permits his choicest members many times to meet with sharpe sufferings for his sake, and the Gospels. Sometimes hee gives the dearly beloved of his soul into the hands of her enemies Jer. 12.7. 'Twas a speech spake by Christ himselfe unto his disci­ples, that in the world they should have tribulations, Job. 16.33. The pastor prophecied to all his flocke, when he said, ye shall be hated of all Nations for my names sake, Mat. 24.9, John was the bosome-beloved, of Jesus, yet hee must to [Page 149] Patmos, and there be a companion (with suffering Saints) in tribulation, Apoca. 1.9. Your Shepherd (O ye heavenly flock!) may permit you to walke in the vallie of the shaddow of death. Christs lambs are sometimes worried by the dogs. I shall not need to expatiate. Surely Saints, its no mystery unto you. Suffer­ings every where meet with you. This Paul knew, that the Holy-Ghost wit­nessed every where, that bonds and afflicti­ons did waite for him, Act. 20.23. What a bloody bed-role is that? 2 Cor. 11.23.24. And Stripes, Prisons, Rods, deeps, Perills of all sorts, and from all sorts, these and the like Paul met almost eve­ry where, This is the first word I pre­mise.

2. The second is this, That this is consistent with Christs sweetnesse. Belee­vers you may be precious in Christs eies though in persecutions. Iesus is a belov­ed, though you are in blood: Though he permit you to suffer, yet he is sweet. Himselfe was the deare-one of the father, yet he suffered, and his father was still deare. Christs sufferings were consist­ent with his fathers sweetnesse; and yours are with his. To you it is given, not [Page 150]only to beleeve on him, but also to suffer for his sake, as it is Phil. 1.29. Affliction is a gift of love even as faith is. Its grace as wel to bleed for, as to beleeve in Christ. It may be fair over head, when, & while foule under foot. In a bad way a man may have good weather. A faire skie, and a filthie way may consist. The Shepherd may pipe, though the dogge barke. Build upon it ye suffering Saints! Christ may be sweet, though you suffer. Though your cup be bloody, he dranke first, and surely for the servant to drink of no worse then the Master, its not hard. Admit men are unkinde, yet Christ abideth kind, yea, although hee suffer men to deale harshly with you, he is mercifull still. Their malice doth not make voide his mercy. Its a fallaci­ous way of arguing, because you suffer, therefore Christ is not sweet. No, your sufferings, and Christs sweetnesse may stand together.

If you aske how can this bee? I an­swer, well enough. And this I shall prove.

The phrase in the Text includes two things, tending to consume this truth, [Page 151]viz,

  • 1. Presence,
  • 2. Supportation.

1 Presence, Christ is with his Mem­bers in all their miseries (he could not else lead them). Saints in their saddest sufferings, in their sorest persecutions, have Christs presence, when thou passest thorow the waters I will be with thee, and Isay 4 [...].2. When the three children were in the furnace, Christ was there to make the fourth. I see foure men loose, walking in the middest of the fire, and the forme of the fourth is like the son of God. Dan. 3.25. Christ you see was so sweet as to be in the fire with those Saints. And it seems he led them there, for tis said they walked. Iohn was in the Isle called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Ie­sus, Apoc. 1, 9. And Christ was there too, vers. 13. David knew well this sweet­nesse of Christ his Shepherd: and there­fore hee assures and comforts himselfe with this: That though he were in the vale of the shadow of death, yet Christ would bee with him, Psal. 23. But

2 Christ is not only present, but sup­partingly present with his in their suffer­ings. Christ leades his gently, while they suffer grievously. This David also knew [Page 152]and therefore he saith, thou art with me, thy rod and thy staffe they comfort mee. Saints are weake in sufferings; so weak that they cannot swim (at least) long. But Christ will keep them from sink­ing. Feeble feete can hardly goe upon rockie ground, If some bodie doe not support, they will fall. That the feet of the Saints may not slide, and they fall under, or in sufferings, Christ will be present (for hee keepeth the feet of the Saints) and lead them. Paul tells Ty­mothy, though men were so weak as to desert him, when he was to answer be­fore Nero, yet Christ was so kind as to be present with him, and to support him. He speaks of it with a notwithstanding as if he should say, though all shamefully shrunk back, and forsook me, yet notwithstanding Christ the Lord (sweetly) stood by me, and supported mee, 2 Tim. 4.17. Speak Saints! in your sufferings to have Christs compa­ny, and support, is it not sweet? When you passe through fire and water (as the Psalmist speakes, Psal. 66.12) to have Christ to go along with you, and to lead you gently, is it not glorious? why, this others have had; and you shall have, to let you see this as true, that Christ car­ries [Page 153]himselfe sweetly to suffering Saints.

CHAP. III. One great instance to prove the point.

I Desire to let you see the truth of the point fully: Therefore I shall lay be­fore you one great instance in which you may see it plainly.

I will instance in Christs carriage to­wards his Disciples (who were to suffer upon his departure.) And you shall see how sweet it was.

There are five particulars in which Christ did sweetly declare himselfe to­wards his Disciples, with reference un­to those sufferings, that hee knew they would meet withall, for his sake, in the World, as soone as he departed.

1. He gave them not onely reall, but royall testimonies of his love. In that he washed their feet, and serves them: In that he instituted his supper, and feasts them. And in that forgetting his owne sufferings, he comforted them. When Iesus knew that his houre was come (faith the Scripture) Christ knew that this was the hour and power of darkenesse (as he else­where [Page 154]calls it). He knew that hee was now to suffer: and that upon this, his Disciples would be scattered, yet even now; Having loved his owne he loves, them to the end. He doth not withdraw from them to spend this houre in prepa­ring himselfe: but he spends it in loving them. Have you ever heard of one who being ready to suffer death himselfe, and who had but one night, ere he should be taken, and yet did spend that one night, and all that night in washing, feast­ing, comforting some others. Why Be­leevers: Jesus Christ was such an one, when the houre was come, and he knew it, that he must be taken and dragged to suffering: he forgets (as it were) him­selfe. And spends all the time in feasting and chearing his Disciples, as if he were rather sensible of theirs then of his own sufferings. All this is clear out of Ioh. 13 and 14. But

2. He fore-warnes them of all, even the worst of those evills that they should suffer. There was not a pricke, a Stone in the way in which they should go, but hee acquaints them with it. He tells them how that the world would hate them, persecute them, excommunicate them [Page 155]yea, kill them. How sweet is hee? to tell them the saddest things before-hand that when they meet with them they might not bee offended, that is (as the word John 1.16. will bear) so scandaliz­ed as to fall. Christ tells them all the rubs in the way, that when they meet with them, they might not falover them.

3. Christ (having forewarned them of the sufferings they should meet withall) he gives them comforts to sweeten those suf­ferings.

As

  • 1. He assures them that (though he left them) they should not bee as Or­phans, without a Tutor, or Guardian.
  • 2. That therefore, hee would send them the holy Ghost, who should both com­fort and take care of them, Iohn. 14.16.18.

To this he addes, that they were near to him, even as neare as the branches to the Vine. And that therefore they should suffer no worse then himselfe did, Iohn 15.1.20. Lest they should bee borne downe with the thoughts of the length of their suffer­ing, he tells them that it should be but short, and though the sense might bee sharpe, yet the issue should be sweet. To this end he tells them that their sorrow should be turned into joy: And that they [Page 156]should bee but as a woman in travaile, whose sorrow is measured by an houre (as is hinted in that expression, when her houre is come) but whose joy should bee such, as that it should swallow up that sorrow, and make her forget it, Ioh. 16.16. To this he joynes, that as their sorrow should have an end, so their joy should have none, for it should be such as none could take from them, vers. 22. Thus hee cheares their hearts against that feare of sorrow which had filled them.

4. After all this, He bends his knees to his father, and prays for them, Ioh. 17. And how far-passing sweet was he in his pray­er! Observe, he intreates the father to keep them from the sting of sufferings, i.e. the evill of the world. vers. 15. And that the father would grant them that, which is the mystery of glory, i.e. union to him­selfe, that they may bee one as thou father art in mee, and I in thee; I in them, and thou in mee, vers. 21.23. And (as if all this were not enough) he wills it: That they might have as glorious a Mansion as himselfe, and that they might have the same glory that he had with the father be­fore the World was, vers. 24. Thus he powres out his heart in prayer for them [Page 157]And which is considerable, this he did in their audience (as the context shewes) O how were the Disciples hearts ravished thinke you all the while!

5. Lastly, that he might yet shew them more sweetnesse: He actually sub­mitteth himselfe to sufferings, and be offereth himself to free them. If ye seek me let these goe their way, Joh. 16.8. So he suffers, that they might not; he takes the blows on himselfe, to keep them off from them. And this still he doth spiritually; for all our sufferings are rather the remainder of Christs afflictions, as 'tis Col. 1.29. then our owne.

So that now put all this together, and parabolically (yet plainly) it speakes thus, There was a great Captaine to fight a bloody battell (in which by being conquered, he would get the day) he knew that himselfe should be taken in the first onset, and that afterwards he should be slaine; yet for all this, some few houres before the enemy fell on, he feasts his Soul­diers, and serves them himselfe in that feast. Tells them of all the worst the enemy would, or could doe; spends [Page 158]his oratory in making a long and sweet speech to incourage and com­fort you: Tells them plainly that he should be taken and slaine; yet assures them of another Comforter and Cheiftaine. In the midst of them lifts up his eyes to heaven: And (as if he minded them more then himselfe) prayes more for them, then for him­selfe. Having done this, he prepares to meet the enemy. And as soone as they appeare, he approaches; and by giving himselfe up as their prisoner, makes way for his Souldiers escape. Tell me, was not this a sweet Captain? was not this sweet carriage? Why be­leevers, the Parable is concerning the Captaine of your salvation, Jesus Christ. The prementioned particulars open and make good the Parable in all its parts; and doth not this parable prove the point? viz. That Christ is very sweet to his sorrowfull, suffering mem­bers.

CHAP. IV. Eight particulars instancing and declaring the truth of the point.

AS a further demonstration of the truth of the Doctrine. I will adde some particulars in which the sweet­nesse of Christs carriage towards his suffering members doth especially ap­peare. And

1. It appeares in this, That he secures your choisest jeu ell in your sorest suffering. Saints have a pearle of great price, which if they have secure, they feare no losse. This pearle is their soule; and this Christ secures in all their sufferings. Upon this ground it is that he bids them not to feare. Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do, Luke 12.4. This he spake in the beginning of his Sermon, and that was intended to his Disciples, as appears v.i. Tunde capsum Anaxarchi, said the Martyr. Beleevers, all the threshing of your enemies, can but beat away your huskes. The worst that sufferings can, or shall doe, is but on the worst part, your vile body: Christ [Page 160]still secures your best part, your soule. I know your cry in suffering: Is it not that, Deliver my soule from the sword, my [Darling] from the power of the dog, Psal. 22.20. Why beleevers, Christ will do this. He alway keeps that in his owne hand, and none can, or shall pull it thence. Ye shall be hated of all men for my names sake; But there shall not a haire of your bead perish, Luke 21.17, 18. Some expound this thus, you shall suffer much, but not in the maine; not a haire of your head (which may be an Hebraisme for that which is the chief) shall perish. Sure I am of this: That which is a Saints chiefe, is secured in the midst of sufferings. Beleevers, your enemies shall but bruise your heel, your worser part, Christ will secure your head, i.e. your precious, prime, chiefe part. Your wood, and bay, and stubble; your poore, base, drossie part may suf­fer losse, but your precious things shall not. Your Soule, your God. your joy in God, these things Christ will have and hath a care of; and what ever your sufferings are, these be safe. In­deed if in afflictions and persecutions, yo [...]r soul, your salvation, were in danger, [Page 161]'twere sad, but 'tis not, because Christ is sweet. Your sufferings shall be so far from indangering those things, that they shall rather turne to your salvation, as 'tis Philip. 1.19. But

2. Christ carries himselfe passing sweet unto his suffering members; in that he gives them cordialls suitable to all their sufferings. Its worth the noting, that as those cordialls which▪ Christ gave to his Disciples were sweet, so they were suitable to what they should suffer, Joh. 16.2. The nature of their sharpest sufferings is held out by ex­communication, and killing, They shall put you out of their Synagogues and kill you. The terme [...] (which is here used) answers unto that degree of excommunication which the Hebrewes call [...] which was a solemne kinde of excommunication (above that which they called [...]) published in the fight of the whole congregation; in which they did totally cast out of the congregation, reading and de­nouncing the dreadfull and horrible curse of the Law. This was one thing that they should suffer. Now as suitable [Page 162]unto this, Christ had told them, That he went to prepare mansions for them in his Fathers house, Joh. 14.2. In which he comforts them thus; Though you shall be cast out of the Jewes Synagogues, yet you shall not be cast out of my Fa­thers house; I have prepared mansions for you there, be not therefore troubled at that. And for that suffering unto death (which was hinted in this, that men should thinke they served God in klling them, esteeming belike your slaughter his service) Christ! gives them a cordiall suitable unto this, Job. 14.19. where he assures them, that their lives should be as sure as his: For because he lived, they should live al­so. And however they might be killed, yet he would raise them up againe, as it is Joh. 6.44. Thus Christ gives cordi­alls suitable to all their sufferings. Beare up your hearts, ye bleeding be­leevers! there are suitable cordialls for you in your Saviours bosome, and he will give them forth. If men frowne, he hath smiles: Doe men disgrace, he hath honour? Doe you lose perishing riches, he hath unsearchable? Doe men deale with you as foes? He hath cal­led [Page 163]you friends; what ever you suffer losse in, he will make it up. If you lose life, you shall finde it. Doe your sufferings abound, his consolation shall a­bound also: If you suffer for him, you shall reigne with him. What can he? what would you more? Say, is not this sweet carriage, thus to provide, and give forth suitable sweetnesses to all your sufferings?

3. In all the sufferings of Christs members, Christ carries himselfe sweetly to them in that he sympathiseth with them in all. In all their affliction, be was afflicted, Isa. 53.9. Beleevers, suffer where, or when you will, Christ suffers there and then with you. Had per­secutors eies, they would see this, But though they are blind, yet doe you beleeve. Paul thinkes he onely per­secutes men, and women at Damascus. But in them he persecutes Jesus. And though he knew it not at first, yet he did afterwards. Saul, Saul, why perse­cutest thou me, Act. 9.4. If we perish, Christ perisheth with us (said Luther.) Suffering Saints, Christ is so sweet to you, as that he suffers with you. Are you in dungeons? Christ is there too. Is [Page 164] John in Patmos, banished for the testi­mony of Jesus? Christ is there too. Do you bleed? Christ bleeds with you: Are you reproached? Christ is reproach­ed in you. When enemies smite you, they smite Jesus, and he feels it. While you mourne, he weeps. While you sigh, he is sad. He sits on your dunghills by you. And if you weare sackcloth, hee'l not weare silkes. Every drop of blood that you bleed, goes to his heart. All those afflictions that Paul reckons up in 2 Cor. 11.25, 26. &c. he puts them upon Christs score, Coloss. 1.24. The Baptisme of affliction wherewith you are baptised, is Christs. Count not, call not that yours, which is his. Surely he rather suffers in you, then you for him: or if you will say you suffer for him, yet know he sympathiseth with you in that suffering. Surely this sympa­thie is sweet. Have you ever a frienp, that while you fast, refuseth to eat; that while you are in the field, neg­lects his bed; that while you watch, will not sleep; that weeps with you, sigh s for you: Tell me, what is this friends name? what call you this carriage? Christ is this friend, this is his car­riage; [Page 165]sweet is his name, and sweetnesse is with him. Is it not apparent in this carriage?

4. The carriage of Christ is sweet unto his suffering members, in that he orders all their sufferings, for quality, quan­tity, and duration. Persecuted Saints! Christ is the supervisor of all your suf­ferings; whether thy sufferings are, or shall be cruell mockings, bonds, stoning, sawing asunder, &c. what kinde soever, Christ is to order it, not thy foes. And he will see what suffering will best suit thee, and thy strength. Some (saith the Martyrologie, Heb. 11.) were stoned, others sawne asunder, some slaine with the sword, others wandred, &c. Christ orders all your sufferings. He tels Peter by what death he should glorifie him, Joh. 20.19. And so for quantity Christ orders all; Thou tellest my wandrings, &c. Psa. [...] i.e. Thou numbrest as with a pen. 56.8. He meanes his wandrings while persecu­ted (such as the Apostle meanes, Heb. 11.37.) not a step more, then Christ would, did David wander. Beleevers, you shall not weep a teare, not bleed a drop, not beare a stripe more then Christ will number out. As hee'l appoint your sufferings for the quality, so for [Page 166] quantity too. No other, nor no more affliction then he will, no, nor no lon­ger neither: for he orders the duration also. Ye shall have tribulation ten dayes, Apoc. 2.10. The Gentiles shall tread the holy City under foot forty and two months Apoc. 11.2. The Witnesses shall lie in the street three days and a halfe, ibid vers. 9. So many dayes, so many months, Christ orders all. Oh how sweet is this! should Christ leave the ordering of our suffer­ings to our enemies, how sadde were it! might they doe what, how much, and how long they would, 'twere grievous. But they shall do no other, no more, no longer then Christ will. Beleevers Christ will order all your sufferings. Because he is sweet, he'le not leave it to your selves for you are simple, you know not what, or how much, or how long you are fit to beare. But Christ doth, and he'le chuse and order for you. You would bee ex­ceeding disorderly, were your selves to order your sufferings: and your ene­mies would be more extream: you would thinke no affliction too little, no measure too scanty, no time too short: And your enemies would account no affliction too great, no measure too much, no time [Page 167]too long. But Christ will order them, and you too, and this because he is sweet. Hee'le carry the businesse so as that your affliction both for quality, quantity, and duration, shall neither bee contrary to your State, above your strength, nor beyond your patience. And bee yee now Judges your selves, is not this carriage sweet?

5 Jesus Christ lets out much sweet­nesse unto his suffering members, in giving them most glorious visions in their most grievous sufferings. Christians; what see you in your Sufferings? are there not beamings-forth of glory on you? What a vision had John in his banish­ment? I saw (saith he) seven golden can­dlestickes: and in the midst of the seven gol­den candlestickes (one like unto the Sonne of man) cloathed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle: his head and his haires were white like wooll, as white as snow, and his eyes were as a flame of fire, &c. I but where did John see this, and when? Why, in Patmos, when he was there a companion (with sufferers) in tribulations, Apoc. 2.9.12, 13. Its reported of one Theodorus that while he was on the racke, suffering, [Page 168]he was noted to continue smiling, and being asked how, or why, he smiled so, He answered, he saw a young-man all in white wiping from him his sweat, &c. Moses endured, as seeing him who is invisi­ble, Heb. 11.27. The invisible God ap­peares very visible to Saints in sufferings, and this helps them to endure. When was it that Stephen saw the glory of God, and Iesus standing at the right hand of God? was it not when his Enemies gnashed their teeth on him? Act. 7.54.55. There be divin comforts which are felt under the crosse and not at other times (said Dr. Sibs) The spirit of glory is to rest on us, while reproa­ched, as tis 1 Pet. 4.14. How have the Mar­tyrs spake of such spiritual visions, and incomes, which they have had in prison, the like unto which they never found, nor felt at other times. The childe hath never so many fine things when well, as when ill: We give our Rings, Jewels, chaines, neat workes, &c. to our children if they be in paine, which we lock up in Closets, and Cabbinets at other times. Christ gives Cabbinet-comforts, lock up, and unusuall discoveries to his members in Prison, and Dungeons. And this Christ doth, that he may declare his sweetnesse to his in sufferings.

6 Christ discovers singular sweet­nesse to his suffering Members in that he makes them (even while they suffer) glo­rious in their enemies eyes Bazil tell us (in his oration of the 40 Martyrs) that one of those that did watch them saw a strangesight ( [...]) &c. viz. cer­tain powers as it were descending from heaven, [...] and bringing Kingly gifts unto them: His meaning is, that the man saw the Angells descending upon them with Crownes to Crown them. Christ is able to open Balaams eyes, and let him see the (otherwise invisible) glory of Israel. The Scripture tells, that Stephen was made very glorious, even while he stood in the councell of his foes; and this al­so in their eyes; for tis said all that sat in the Councell, looking stedfastly upon him, saw his face as it had beene the face of an Angell, Act. 6.15. Christ often lets out a convincing glory in his members, even while they suffer, Tell mee suffering souls, is not Christ sweet to you in ren­dring you glorious in your enemies eye? But

6 Christ is sweet in avenging his Martyrs on their enemies, for all their suf­ferings. 'Twas Gideons kindnesse to his [Page 170] Brethren: when he avenged them upon Zeba, and Zalmunna: Its said, he slew them, and took away their ornaments: and this out of respect to his brethren whom Zeba, and Zalmunna had slaine: for he protested; As the Lord liveth if ye had saved them alive, I would not slay you, Jud. 8.19. Its a signe of favour, and Christ is sweet, when he suffers not our enemies to triumph over us: as 'tis Psal. 41.11. But its more sweetnesse for Christ in avenging us to triumph over them. It is the fathers sweetnesse unto Christ (and therefore promised) that he would cloath all his enemies with shame, Psal. 132. ult. And its Christs sweetnesse that hee will doe that for his suffering Saints which his Father did for him. Therefore rejoyce, for God hath aveng­ed you, Apoc. 18.20. That Scripture Isay 63. presents Christ not suffering (as hath been mistaken and mis-applied) but triumphing, in avenging his redeemed ones. And observe 'tis woved up thus: I will mention the loving kindnesses of the Lord, vers. 7. Its loving kindnesse to you (yee Sufferers) that makes him execute ven­geance on your enemies.

Lastly, the sure remembrance, and the [Page 171]great reward for all the sufferings of Christs suffering Members, is a declaration of his sweetnesse to them, Christ will not forget neither your labour, nor sufferings of love. To you that have continued with me in my temptations, i.e. afflictions and inter­preted, if you compare, Luke 8.13. with Mat. 13.21.) I appoint unto you a Kingdom, as my father hath appointed unto me, Luke 22.29, 30. your light affliction worketh for you, a far more exceeding eternal weight of glory, 2 Cor. 4.19. A sweet Lord gives a weighty reward, for a light suffering. Paul was good at reckoning, and yet he saith, I reckon that the sufferings of this pre­sent time, are not worthy to bee compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us, Rom. 8.18. Romanes may forget Marius both in service and sufferings, in worth and wounds. But Christ alwayes remem­bers his servants sufferings, and rewards them, not for any worth that is in them, but for the sweetnesse which is in him. And beleevers, when you shall bee ta­ken up into glory, and see those weighty Crownes, which shall then be given to sufferers for Christs sake, you will say, and sing: Oh how sweet is Jesus [Page 172]to those that out of love to him underwent sufferings for him.

CHAP. V. Some reasons of the point

I Hope by this that hath been hinted, its cleare enough that it is so, viz. that Christ is very sweet to his suffering Saints. I will now shew some grounds why tis so. The reasons are Either

  • 1 More Generall, or,
  • 2 More Particular.

Generall, if wee consider, either the law of equity, the nature of relation; or the power of love, wee shall see that which is the ground of this point. 1. Its but equal that Christ should carry him­selfe thus to them, who suffer for him. Chri­stians would bee as free from sufferings, as others, were it not for their Saviour. Did not they love him, none would hate them. They are hated for his sake, Luke 21.17. Men reproach them, because they honour him. When as you are re­viled, persecuted, and have all manner of e­vill spoken against you falsly; Christ knows its for his sake, as tis, Mat. 5.15. Now [Page 173] Equity requires, that Christ should deale sweetly with them, who suffer thus sharpely for him. Could, or would Saints desert their service of Christ; if they would but joyn with others to cru­cifie him; they should not need to feare any sufferings themselves, were it not that they observe his lawes, make con­science of his ordinances, stand to his truth, maintaine his Gospell, and alas, were it not for those things; they might be as secure as others. They are good people, but they are Puritans, they are to be mis-liked for nothing, but that they are precise. They might bee free from the curse, would they renounce Christ. Hence it is that Jesus Christ carries him­selfe thus tender to them, because they are true to him: He cannot but sweet­en their sufferings, by his carriage to them, since they suffer for conscience to him. How did the persecutors of old, indeavour to perswade Christians, to deny Christ! what Serpentine subtlety with Sugered-poison-rhetoricke was used to make them deny him! what high ho­nours, vast wealth, alluring pleasures were laid before them? And how did their adversaries say, All these will wee give [Page 174]you, if you will not worship Jesus. But a­las! how little did this prevaile; how gallantly and graciously did they deny these, and own Christ! how Christianly-couragious, did they scorne all profers, and hold fast their profession. How round­ly, did the forty Martyrs reply unto the flatterings of the Governour, [...] &c. i.e. What, or why (said they) doest thou go about (O thou fighter against God) to entice us to forsake the living God, &c. But why doe I dilate you? your selves know, would you but crucifie your Lord your enemies would crown you: would you dishonour Jesus by sinning, men would honour you. But you cannot, will not, dare not deny Christ in any thing; and therefore it is that you suffer in every thing. Surely beloved: Christ is not unrighteous, to forget your work, and labour of love: Sith you cannot be unfaithfull, he will not be unkind; and sith you suf­fer for him, he will (indeed cannot, but) be sweet to you.

2 Where there is relation between par­ties, there wil be kindnes shewed in sufferings. Christ and the Saints are related neerly, as neer as friends, for so he called them, [Page 175] Joh. 15.15. yea as neer as brethren. For he is not ashamed to call them Brethren, Heb. 2.11. Bleeding beleevers, Christ is your brother. And a brother is borne for adver­sity, Prov. 17.17. Should not Christ be sweet and kinde to you in your ad­versity, he should forget (but sure he will not) why he was born. If you say there is a third friend that sticketh closer then a brother, Prov. 18.24. I tell you Christ is your friend: and hee'l prove himselfe so in your sufferings. Jobs friends were friendly in their visit, and compassion, though faulty in their charge. Christ will as friendly visit you, and sympathize with you, as they did; and be more sweet in his carriage then they were. Hee'l not blame, but blesse you. Hee'l not adde affliction to affliction by his censures, as they did: but hee'l be sweet in his carriage; for he knowes, that to him that is afflicted, pity is to be shewed by his friend, as 'tis Job 6.14. Suffering Saints, remember you are related to Christ, and that relation may be a reason, why you may conclude that hee'l carry himselfe sweetly to you in all your sufferings. But

3. Love constraines: Christ loves his owne, and his love to them will constraine him to be tender over them in their suffe­rings. The mothers love will open her bosome to give the childe her breast at any time, especially when it cryes. Ye Martyrs in life (for there is a slaying all the day long, Rom. 8.36.) remem­ber your Masters love. 'Tis very strong, therefore hee'l be very sweet. Christ is bound with cords, in all your bonds. The cords of love are on him, they'l pull him to you, while you are pulled by perse­cutors; if you are in prison, his love will make a key to open the doore to visit you. If you be in banishment, his love will invent wings to flye after you, what ever be your sufferings, his love will sweeten them. Jonathan was pas­sing sweet to David, especially while David was in his sufferings: And Da­vid expressed patheticke love to Jonathan alwayes, but he was most passionate, when he heard of his slaughter. The reason was, their love was wonderfull, passing the love of women. Christ (O yee suffering soules!) loves you with a love passing the love of Jonathan and David; and the power of this love will [Page 177]appeare (and indeed most) when you are in sufferings, and appointed unto slaughters. You see the reasons in the generall; I will adde but some more particular ones briefly, to let you see Christ is, and will be sweet in his carriage unto suffering beleevers.

Consider him in his offices, of King, Priest, and Prophet, and you will see it in all grounds of the point.

1. As King, Christ is your King, and he will be kinde. Hee'l neither tyran­nize himselfe nor suffer others. If he doe, hee'l be sweet and tender, while they be swore and tyrannize. The Psalmist expostulates cheerfully with reference to the Churches affliction; thus, Why hast thou cast us off for ever? How long shall the adversary reproach? why with-drawest thou thy hand, even thy right hand? pluck it out of thy bosome. For God is my [King] of old, Psal. 74.11.12. Observe the Church was bold to ex­pect Christ to be kinde, because he was King. Heathen Princes have been very kinde to their subjects, especially such as suffered in their Wars. Surely you may be confident Christ your King will be kinde to you, (O ye Martyrs) [Page 178]for you suffer in his warres. Write it in golden letters, King Jesus is sweet to all his subjects, especially his suffering ones. In­deed Christ were not your King, if he were not kinde.

2. Christ as Prophet cannot but be sweet to Saints in sufferings. It was his command to the Prophets, which he set as under him, that they should Prophesie sweetly to his people in their sufferings, Strengthen ye the weake bands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearfull heart, be strong, &c. Isa. 35. The Spirit of the Lord, (which anointed Christ as Prophet) was upon him to this end, [...] i.e. That bewaile Zion. as well as others: To appoint unto them that mourne in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oyle of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heavinesse, &c. Isa. 61.3. Musculus and Oecolampadius understand this of those that mourne for Zion: The originall will beare it, and the context seems to favour it; without doubt Christ the Prophet (as well as the King) of Zion, was annointed to preach glad tydings to the Martyrs, as well as to the meeke. Your Saviour (O ye sufferers!) will, and must be [Page 179]sweet unto you under your persecuti­ons, as he is your Prophet. But

3. As a Priest, Christ cannot but sympathize with, and be sweet unto his people in their sufferings. The Priest (in the Parable, Luke 10.) forgat his office of Priesthood, when he passed by on the other side, v. 31. and neither looked upon, nor shewed kindnesse to the wounded man; but though he did, Christ will not forget himselfe; but hee'l be sacerdotall, and sweet to you (O ye wounded soules for his sake) Some thinke, and that groundedly, that the watchmen (mentioned, Cant. 5.7.) were the Priests and Presbyters of the Church: If so, you will say, surely they were strangely metamorphized; for its said, they did beat and wound the Spouse, v. 7. Its a sad truth, that some that pretend to be in a peculiar manner Priests, do sometimes forget themselves, and turn persecutors. But yet comfort your selves with this (beleevers) though they persecute, Christ will be kinde: he is, and will be very sweet unto you in your sufferings: And this as your Priest.

You see now the grounds of the [Page 180]point both generally and particularly: There is one speciall ground in the Text; I will onely adde that, and come to some improvement of the point. The speciall ground is this, Christ is a Shepherd. How tender, how care­full is the Shepherd to, and of all his flocke, but especially of such as the dog hath bit; or the wolfe torne? What washing of the wound, what binding up of the limb, &c. How hastily doth he runne to it, and how tenderly doth he drive it, and all because 'tis hurt. Christ is your Shepherd (suffering beleevers) and he heares how the dogs bark and snarle at you; he sees how they go about the streets, and about the City, and make a noise like a dog (as 'tis Psal. 59.6.) Christ observes all the goings of the wolves, that walke about you, and he takes notice of the Lyons among whom you lye; and doubtlesse hee'l see if they bite you, and if they doe, hee'l come, and Shepherd-like, hee'l be sweet unto you. Oh that you did but see your Shep­herd in your sufferings! how would that sight support you? Marke how angry Christ is with those shepherds that did not strengthen the diseased, nor [Page 181] healed that which was sicke, nor bound up that which was broken, nor brought againe that which was driven away, &c. Ezek. 34.4. And marke moreover, how he saith, that in regard of their neglect, He would seek the lost, bring again that which was driven away, and bind up that which was broken, and strengthen that which was sick, &c. ibid. v. 16. O belee­vers! your chiefe Shepherd is, and will be sweet unto you. Hee'l in all cases apply himselfe suitably kinde unto you. Hee'l poure in oyle and wine into all your wounds (which the dogs and wolves of this world make in your names, States, persons, &c.) Hee'l wash and supple them all. Hee'l kisse you with the kisses of his lippes. Hee'l imbrace you in his armes. In all things, hee'l shew him­selfe to be a sweet Shepherd to you in your sufferings.

CHAP. VI. Containing some uses of the point, and the conclusion of the whole.

YOu have now seen the point pro­ved, I desire it may be improved. Christ you heare is sweet in his disposition towards, and in his dealing with his suffering members. Will you make these uses of it.

1. Let this keep you from being over-afraid of sufferings for Christs sake. Be not like Jonah; so to feare, as to flinch from the worke of Christ. You are bid not to feare the faces of men: and why should you? For admit they be cruell, Christ is kinde: If they afflict you, hee'l com­fort you. Sufferings were never disad­vantagious to Saints, but when dreaded: Desert not the wayes of Christ for feare of the crosse; Flye not from him out of feare of men. Sanctifie Christ in your hearts, and let him be your feare. What if sufferings come from men, sweetnesse shall come from him. Its a shame to see it, and a sorrow to speake of it: Many people for fear of perse­cution flye from the worke of Christ. [Page 183]They leave the dwellings of Jacob, out of dread of Esau; and because they feare the crucifyings of Pilate, so it is as that they forsake their Saviour. I beseech you fence your heart against these feares, with this truth, Christ is, and will be sweet to suffering Saints. But

2. Let this keep you from sinking un­der sufferings: Christ will be sweet un­to you: why should you sinke under that which Christ sweetens, though the thorny crown prick thy head, the love of Christ shall refresh thy heart. Its for persecutors to shrinke upon Christs frowns: The persecuted may rejoyce, for Christ lookes on them with smiles. Let them sink in sorrow that do evill; Its for you to sing with joy, who suffer evill. Paul and Sylas may sing Psalmes in prison, while the high Priest and the Rulers feare the people. Minde this (ye that suffer in any kinde) Jesus Christ useth to shew much sweetnesse to his people in their sufferings: Do not you therefore sinke in your spirits.

3. This sweet truth is a sharpe re­proofe unto those that deale otherwise with beleevers under sufferings then Christ doth. [Page 184]How ready are men to censure Chri­stians that are in troubles, and suffe­rings for Christ. O this is your headinesse, your rashnesse, your incon­siderate, zeal your being too forward, &c. Had you been sober, you should not suffer, you have brought misery upon your selves: As you brew, so drinke, none doe pity you: eat the fruit of your owne folly, &c. Thus doe some deale sordidly with those, that Christ will himselfe, (and would have us too) deale sweetly with. O how are these to be reproved: What for men to be wifer then Christ; for them to call that headinesse, which the Spirit counts holinesse; for men to condemne those as fooles, who are so wise as to suffer, rather them to sinne. And to take up a crosse, rather then not to follow Christ. Is this to be like unto Jesus? Is this to have the spirits of Christians? Nay is not this to be like to the Jews who mocked at Christ upon the crosse, and gave him vinegar and gall to drinke. Surely you who censure, slight, scoffe, or the like, at the godly, in prisons, or pillories, or under any suffe­rings for Christ; you are sharpely [Page 185]to be blamed, severely to be reproved, for dealing thus sordidly with those, to whom Christ is so sweet: Its true they are not the worse for this, neither need they to care, but you are the worse, and you need care for being so unlike to Christ in your carriage.

4. Sith Christ is, Oh let us be also sweet to suffering Saints. Let the same disposition be in us, that is in Christ, and let us deale with Christians who are in affliction, as he doth. To this end.

1. Let us owne them, why should we be ashamed of them, whom Christ ownes; and who owne Christ so much, as that they are not ashamed to suffer for him.Nil magis aequum quam con­sulem de­fendi à con­sule said Cicero. Sure Nil mag is ae­quum quam Christia­num defen­di à Chris­tiano. It stands on record as the glory of a good, and great man, that when the Christians were brought to answer for themselves before the Heathen Emperor, he (that was Vectius Epagathus,) stood up, and demanded to be heard in the defence of the brethren. Oh that in suffering seasons you would owne suffering Saints! Doe not looke away from those that suffer for the testimony of Jesus. 'Twas sordid­ly done by those that forsooke Paul, [Page 186]when hee was brought before Nero, 2 Tim. 4.16. why should we desert those by whom Christ stands; let the world know that you allow of Christs wayes, by owning those that suffer in them, and for them: Take notice of those that are in rags for righteousnesse sake, and let not those who suffer for Christ, have occasion to complain that your carriage is not like his.

2. Incourage them, write letters of love to those that are in Banishment for the Lord. Hearten them by word and writing, that stand it out in a storme for truth. Blesse them as the beloved of the Lord, who are the hatred of the world. Parents incourage your children, not onely in well-doing, but in evill-suffering; say you are glad that ever you begat any, to bleed for Christ. Friends, in­courage your friends that do, & dye for the Lord Jesus: tell them its their honor to be counted worthy to suffer for his name. While men revile them, doe you praise them: and as others seek to make them desert truth, to avoid suffering; so doe you strengthen them in the truth, not­withstanding suffering. Its Christ-like to write an Epistle to a suffering, and a [Page 187] not-fainting Ephesus: To write, that you take notice of their works, their pa­tience, and sufferings for the Gospell, &c. This will be sweet to them. Discou­ragements unto Martyrs are sinfull; Paul counts and cals dehortation from sufferings a heart-breaking, Act. 21.13. But incouragements in sufferings are divine, and to hearten those who bleed for Christ is very Christian.

3. Sympathise with them. Next to suf­fering our selves, is sympathizing with others. To rejoyce over the children of Ju­dah in the day of their destruction, is sordid, and argues the prophane spirit of Esau, Obad. 12. but to weep with them that weep, is sweet, and it argues the Spirit of Jesus. He was, and we should be persecuted in the persecutions of those that suffer for his sake, Act. 9.4.Compatior, fignifies to suffer with 'Tis Apostolike exhortation, Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them, and them which suffer adversity, &c. Heb. 13.3. your mournings with them, will sweeten theirs: And your compassion, will be their consolation. By sympathizing with those that suffer for Christ, we doe at once give them present, Note this. and secure to our selves future comfort. Rejoyce with joy, (i.e. be [Page 188]exceeding joyfull) for Jerusalem all ye that mourne for her, Isa. 66.10. Your mourning with Saints is their comfort in band, and your owne in hope. Either be on the crosse with Christ suffering, or be by the crosse with Mary weeping. 'Twas Nero's shame that when Troy was on fire, he sang, but 'twas Jere­miabs glory, while Jerusalem lay an heap, that he knew no tune but lamentations. Its Antichristian to insult over Martyrs, and to cry, aha, aha, but its Christian to say, ah my brother, and ah my sister! let that be your sweetnesse to Christs friends, which was the sweetnesse of David (even to his enemies) that hee afflicted himselfe with fasting and was bowed downe heavily whilst they were sicke, &c. Psal. 35.13, 14. Certainly 'twill be a cordiall to them; (and O let it!) I beseech you, while they are in the travail and pain of persecution, doe you afflict your soule by sympathie; Fast, bow down, pray for them, 'twill be a sin­gular discovery of your love to your fellow-members, and also of your likenesse unto your head Christ.

4. Adde to all the rest this, viz. Re­leeve them, let not those perish, who are [Page 189]in prisons for Jesus. To visite them, and relieve them, is so pleasing to Christ, that he both registreth, and rewardeth it. Paul speakes of the sweetnesse of Onesi­phorus, this way, as being much refreshed by it, and affected with it, The Lord give mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chaine. But when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently: And in how many things be ministred to me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well, 2 Tim. 1.16, 17, 18 See how he sets out the sweetnesse of Onesiphorus in his carriage to him while he suffered, you communicate with Martyrs in the glory of their afflicti­ons, while you relieve them; and you doe well if you do so, Phil. 4.14. all your supplies that you give, or send to suffe­rers, are precious presents unto Christ: The things (Paul speaks of supplies sent him in prison) were an odour of a sweet smell, a Sacrifice acceptable, and well-pleasing unto God, Phil. 4.19. To pour out of your bagges upon those that poure out their blood for Christ, is a sweet sacrifice: To give a cup of consolation in reliefe, to those that pledge Christ in the cup of suffering, is a divine drinke offering; And as its a [Page 190]refreshing to those that suffer, so its pleasing to Christ. Its Angelicall to com­fort Christ in his agony, Luke 22.43. In this you may be like to the Angels; for what you doe to any of Christs Mar­tyr-members, he takes it as to himselfe, and will one day tell you so, Mat. 25.45. For as much as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren (i.e. in tribula­tion) you did it unto me.

I will contract this use, and con­clude it with this word: while others as Instruments of Antichrist persecute, do you as imitators of Christ be sweet to suf­fering beleevers. Let your owning, in­couraging, fellow-feeling, and reliefe, be as sweet droppings unto those who travell for the testimony of Jesus. But,

5. Let this Doctrine be improved for Consolation. Comfort your hear [...]s ye suffering Saints with this, that Christ will carry himselfe sweetly to­wards you. Methinks I hear some suffering Saint sigh, and say 'tis nothing (for so it may read) to all that passe by, &c. Lam. 1.12. and I weep sore in the night, and among all my lovers there is none to comfort me; All my friends have dealt treacherously with me: [Page 191]They have heard that I sigh, and there is none to refresh me. I stand for Christ but there is none stands by me; I owne him, but none ownes me, &c. Well, bleeding beleever, beare up. Though men forsake thee treacherously, Christ will yet owne thee, and though they'l not comfort thee, he will; what though men, as Swallow (and as one said well) shallow friends leave thee in the Winter of thy affliction, yet Christ as a constant friend abides. Its your glory that you suffer for Christ; and its his grace hee'l refresh you. Rejoyce (as Paul did) in your sufferings, sith in them you fill up that which is behinde of the afflictions of Christ, as 'tis, Collos. 1.24. And know this for your comfort, you that suffer with him, shall also reigne with him. Its the misery of those that deny Jesus Christ, hee'l deny them. But for you who doe continue with, and follow him in his sufferings, he hath appointed you a Kingdome, and ere long hee'l inthrone you in it. Suffering souls! I ask you what Sips of sweetnesse have you from Christ? See you not heaven cleare over you? Doth not Christ lead you gently? Its your privi­ledge [Page 192]that you may, and I hope you do expect more then ordinary sweetnesse from Christ. The cup that you have in your hand, though flesh taste it bitter, doth not the Spirit make it sweet? what's that in the bottome of your bloody cup? It's not love? are not your draughts of suffering, sweeter and sweeter? What glory is that which rests upon you? Say, Is not Christ with you in the fire, and doth not he passe with you through the water?

Q. Soul, Why weepest thou? sayest thou, Christ is absent, in this thy storm of wind, and rain, and blood, doth not the Sun shine?

A. No, ah n̄o, I suffer for Christ, and yet I am without Christ; could I but have his presence, I should sleight per­secutions, did he smile, I should laugh at my foes frownes; were I but in the light of him, I could sing in this darknesse: And did I but injoy the least of his love, I could triumph in the flame of their wrath. But ah, alas, wo, &c.

Rep. Stay, O soul! speake not out thy sorrow too speedily: Christ can­not be long away. Harke! He comes leaping over the mountaines. See how the clouds flye away: Surely the Sun will [Page 893]shine presently: he cannot be long a­way, your sins shall not, thinke not then, that your suffering can seperate between him and you, Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, my way is hid from the Lord: Hast thou not heard? hast thou not knowne the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, he fain­teth not? he giveth power to the faint. Sing ye sufferers, rejoyce ye prisoners of hope! the Lord whom you looke for, and long after, he is with you, he cannot be ab­sent from you. Christ is in your prisons (though it may be you are not aware of it.) However cast not away your confidence, for be that shall come, will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith. ('Tis spoken to sufferers,) Heb. 10.31. Live, (Oh live) by faith, ye that dye daily for the faith. In the faith of this truth refresh your spirits, Christ is, and will be sweet in his carriage to suffering Saints. Therefore,

6. Be ye incouraged, O beleevers, to bee willing to suffer for Christ.

But because (as the Apostle saith) 'tis good to be zealously affected alwayes in a good thing: and in as much as experi­ence seales to this Scripture truth, [Page 194]that some have a zeale of God, but not ac­cording to knowledge. Therefore ere I pro­ceed to presse this use, I shall premise this: that foure things are to be wise­ly heeded by all such as expect Christs sweetnesse in their sufferings. If you therefore look to experience the truth of this doctrine in your owne soules; minde them. You must look in all your sufferings, that

  • 1. Your cause be good.
  • 2. Your call be cleare.
  • 3. Your carriage meek. And
  • 4. Your end be right.

1. Looke that your cause be good: Its not for every cause that a Christian should ingage unto sufferings. Neither will Christ let forth sweetnesse to eve­ry sufferer. Let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a theife, or as an evill-doer, or as a busie-body in other mens matters, 1 Pet 9.15. To suffer in these or the like cases, is not Christian, neither will it be comfortable. Some men suffer ra­ther as malefactors, then as Martyrs. To suffer, either for disturbing a States tran­quillity, or for endeavouring the introduction, or setling a peoples slavery, is so far from having a Divine, that it wants a morall ap­probation. [Page 195]And certainly such sufferers have little reason to expect Christs sweetnesse. As ever therefore you would, that in your sufferings you should be able to say Christ is sweet; make sure of this, that your cause be good.

2. See also that your call be clear. Christ calls not all to Martyrdome, no more then he doth to Ministery: The one is a gift, as well as the other. To you its given to suffer, Philip. 1.29. As preach­ing, so likewise suffering without a call will have little comfort. I am perswaded both the reason why some have been in the Pulpit without suc­cesse by Christ, and others have been in the prison without sweetnesse, hath been this, viz. want of call. Its true, sometimes one called to preach, may want successe, and also one called to suffer may not presently finde comfort (as in godly Glovers case.) But cer­tainly without a call either to the one or the other, a soule hath no just warrant to expect comfort. As false prophets of old, ran before God sent them, Jer. 29.9. So some false Martyrs of late, have suffered ere Christ▪ called [Page 196]them. Be therefore wise to cleare your call: If that be sure, you need not doubt, but Christ will bee sweet. Indeed when truth suffers by our silence, we are called to speake: And when our life will be Christs de­niall, we are called to dye. When I am before a Magistrate for Christs sake: He then calls me not to be ashamed of him: And when sin and suffering sur­round me so, as that I am necessitated to take the one, if I will leave the o­ther, then without doubt I may con­clude that Christ calls me to suffering, and that in it, his carriage towards me shall be sweet. But

3. Let your carriage be as your Saviours in your sufferings; if you'l have his sweet­nesse, i.e. let it be meek: Its possible to be sinfull in ones carriage, when one is righteous in his case. And if so, its no wonder, if Christ be not found sweet. To be feirce and and raging, to raile, and revile in suffering hath more of a Beast, then a Man: Surely its not be­seeming humanity, and unworthy of Christianity. Christians should be as Lambs in their sufferings. Sheepishnesse in this is Saint-ship: Its true the Apo­stles [Page 197]rejoyced, that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for Christs name, Act. 5.41. But they never reviled the powers under which they suffered. It becomes Christians to give blessings for curses; all manner of evill speaking is to be put away, Ephes. 4.31. Satyri­call invectives are not becomming Saints, (especially) in sufferings. Christ was a Lamb dumb before the shearers, so (saith the Scripture) opened he not his mouth, Act. 8.32. Surely the more we have the likenesse of his Spirit; the more may we expect the tastes of his sweetnesse, in all our sufferings for his sake, and the Gospels.

4. Lastly, eye your end in all your sufferings. If thy end be either selfe or Schisme, how canst thou expect Christ should be sweet to thee in thy suffe­rings. Some have dyed that their names might live. Many I fear venture and act unto sufferings, rather to main­tain their own tenets, then Christs truths. Socrates dyed to justifie that there was but one God; but whether he dyed not for his owne opinion, ra­ther then for Gods sake is no great scruple. 'Tis sure one may (I wish [Page 198]none did) suffer as much for selfish as sublime respects. Some suffer as they doe, i.e. for their own glory. A Roman spirit can hold to suffering and death. An opposing spirit will put on some to dye, rather then to yeeld. The Apostle hath left it a cleare thing, that 'tis possible to give ones body to be burnt, [...] signifies strong love and sincere Charitas, signifies spirituall love and sublime. and yet to want true divine love (for so I render that place, 1 Cor. 13.) I beseech you to minde Christs glory, truths propagation, the maintenance of equity and righteousnesse, in all your sufferings, if you expect Christs sweetnesse.

Having therefore premised these things, let me onely intreat you to minde them. Indeed it is, and must be your wisdome to see your cause be good, your call cleare, your carriage meek, your end right: And if then, go on, fear not, flinch not, let sufferings come when, where, how they will, Christ is, and will be sweet unto you in them. But If you draw back, his soule will have no pleasure in you. Nor can your soules ex­pect any from him. Certainly, if you draw backe from persecution, you draw on to perdition. Christ is not so sweet in [Page 199]his dealing with Martyrs, but he is as dreadful in his discoveries to Apostates. Aske Spira, how dolefull a condition denying is? hee'l tell you, that he could feel no comfort enter into his heart, and that there is no place there, but onely for torments and bitter vexings of spirit. Hee'l sadly re­late to you, that he knew that justifica­tion was to be expected by Christ, but he de­nied it, to keep his fraile life from adversity, his wife and children from poverty: But now behold how bitter is this life to me, &c. There is no punishment so great, but I have deserved it, for this so heynous offence; I as­sure you, it is no small matter to deny Christ and yet 'tis more ordinary then commonly men doe conceive it, &c. Well, I beseech you beloved, take heed of denying Christ, for feare of sufferings. 'Tis sweet to suffer for Christ, and if you doe, you will finde it so. Hee'l (as one said) pour out love upon the soul, when the body pours out blood upon the truth. But in case the soule to keep its blood, deny Christs truth: it may (as Spira did) wish, O that I might feele, but the least sense of the love of God to me, though but for one small mo­ment, as I now feele his heavy wrath that burnes like the torments of hell within me, [Page 200]and afflicts my conscience with pangs un-ut­terable, &c.

To winde up all, I beseech you doe more then thinke, i.e. O meditate of these things. And let this whole (though little) Tract of Christs sweet­nesse, prevaile with your hearts to en­ter, and to continue in the fold of Christ. Remember while you are with­out Christ, you are without God in the world: you wander in a wildernesse of sin and sorrow: you are but (at best) among wild-beasts: you can expect nothing but dangers and devourings. But when once you are returned to the great shepherd of your souls; when once you are brought to, and walke with Christ, you are safe and sweet. For if you are weake, hee'l carry you, and that in his bosome: If you wander hee'l gather you, and that with his arme, while you are lambs hee'l carry you safely, and if you are Ewes great with young, hee'l lead you gently. Say not, sin is sweet, and suf­fering bitter, ease is pleasant, and labour painfull: But know, that if Christ take you, into his Fold, you will say, sin is bitter; and persecutions for his sake (though unto bloud) are sweet, you [Page 201]will then conclude, the yoake of Christ is easie, and his worke is full of sweet­nesse. Beleevers, beare witnesse to this truth: To the rest I say as Philip to Nathanael, Come and see.

Let me end all with Calvins Com­ment upon my Text.Calvin in locum. ‘In these words is expressed the singular indulgence of God, by which he is not onely led forth with a common affection towards his whole flocke, but by which he declares according to the weaknesse of any; his solicitousnesse in taking care, his humanity in nourishing, and his patience in bea­ring. In which he omits nothing belonging to the office of a good Shepherd. For all the sheep must be taken care for, especially they are to be borne with, or relieved, if they be weak.’ O taste and see, that the Lord is good, Psal. 34.8. Sit downe under Christs shadow with great delight,Cant. 2.3. and you shall finde his fruit sweet unto your taste.

THE ANALYSIS, OR The Table of the chiefe things in this Treatise.

SECT. I.
  • CHAP. I. AN Introduction to the Discourse, hold­ing forth,
    • 1. The fallacy of Sathan to keep soules from Christ. page 1. 2
    • 2. The sweetnesse of Christ to such as come into his service. page 3
  • CHAP. II. An entrance upon the Text, shewing,
    • 1. The dependance of the words. p. 5
    • 2. The division of the words. p. 7
    • 3. The doctrines of the words. p. 8
  • CHAP. III. The maine Doctrine propounded, setting forth Christ as sweet in his carriage to all [Page]his weake members, which is,
    • 1. Explicated, opening what
      • 1. Christs carriage is. p. 9
      • 2. Sweetnesse of that carriage. ibid.
        • 1. Negatively. p. 10
        • 2. Positively. p. 11
    • 2. Proved. ib.
  • CAHP. IV. A clearer explication of the point by discove­ring,
    • 1. Who are weak members of Christ. p. 14
      • 1. Habitually, whose weaknesse is described,
        • 1. Generally, by what it is.
        • 2. Particularly, by what they are. ibid.
          • 1. Beginners in Christs Schoole. p. 15
          • 2. Babes in Christs house. ibid.
        • 3. Specially, by the things in which it is, as namely, they are such as be weake,
          • 1. In their life. p. 16
          • 2. In their light. p. 17
          • 3. In their faith. p. 18
    • 2. Wherein Christs carriage is sweet to them, held out from the Text in two particulars, viz. [Page]
      • 1. In that he gathers them with his arme, when they wander. p. 19
      • 2. In that he carries them in his bosome while weake. ib.
  • CHAP. V. Particular discoveries of Christs sweetnesse, in
    • 1. His not casting them off when they come to him. p. 22
    • 2. In his preserving the weake graces which are in them. p. 25
    • 3. In strengthning and increasing the said weake graces. p. 28
    • 4. In bearing with the infirmities of their weaknesse. p. 30
    • 5. In not putting them upon any work for which they are too weake. p. 33
    • 6. In accepting that little which they doe, though accompanied with many failings. p. 35
  • CHAP. VI. Reasons of all this drawne from the conside­ration of
    • 1. God the Fathers Commission which he gave to Christ. p. 39
    • 2. The weaknesse it self which is in weak beleevers. p. 40
    • 3. The intention of Christ to convince such as have hard thoughts of him. p. 42
  • [Page]CHAP. VII. Application of all in
    • Ʋses of 1. Information. p. 44
    • Ʋses of 2. Lamentation. p. 45
    • Ʋses of 3. Reproofe. p. 46
    • Ʋses of 4. Comfort, p. 51
    • Ʋses of 5. Incouragement. p. 51
    • Ʋses of 6. Imitation. ib.
    • Ʋses of 7. Exhortation. p. 5. 5
SECT. II.
  • CHAP. I. THe point, that Christ is sweet in his carriage to such beleevers as are acci­dentally weake. p. 59
    • 1. Proposed from the Text. p. 60
    • 2. Explicated, in shewing who are said to be accidentally weake. ib.
      • 1. Generally, hinting what accidentall weaknesse is. p. 62
      • 2. Particularly, instancing in such as are so, viz. such as are weak. p. 63
        • 1. By works. ib.
        • 2. By Sins. p. 64
        • 3. By Sufferings. ib.
      • 3. Specially, applying the said things to the metaphor in the Text. p. 67
  • CHAP. II. Demonstrations from the Text that Christ is [Page]sweet in his carriage to such as are acci­dentally weake by worke. p. 68
    • 1. Actually being with them in all their worke. p. 69
    • 2. Tenderly leading them about their worke. ib.
  • CHAP. III. Instances clearing the point of Christs sweet carriage unto working beleevers by his,
    • 1. Putting them upon no other worke then himselfe hath done. p. 72
    • 2. Giving suitable incouragements to the discouragements of their work. As to the discouragements,
      • 1. Of Reluctancy. p. 75
      • 2. Of disgrace. p. 76
      • 3. Of doubt of successe. p. 77
    • 3. Affording ability to do what ever work be sets them about. p. 78
    • 4. Perfecting their workes himselfe, with reference to their imperfections. p. 80
    • 5. Refreshing by incomes when in their worke they grow weak and weary p. 81
    • 6. Bestowing eternall rest and reward in the end of their worke. p. 83
  • CHAP. IV. Reasons of the point, taken from the consi­deration of [Page]
    • 1. Christs desire to declare himselfe to be as be is. p. 86
    • 2. His knowledge, that soule working for him, cannot worke without him. p. 87
    • 3. His designe to leave loyterers without excuse. p. 88
  • CHAP. V. Application of this, in uses of
    • 1. Information. p. 90
    • 2. Reproofe. p. 91
    • 3. Conviction. p. 93
    • 4. Incouragement. p. 94
    • 5. Comfort. p. 95
SECT. III.
  • CHAP. I. THe doctrine that Christ is sweet to be­leevers weake by sins. p. 101
    • 1. Proposed in its truth. p. 102
    • 2. Founded in the Text. ib.
  • CHAP. II. The point further offered,
    • 1. By premises to open it, viz.
      • 1. That beleevers fall sometime into sin. p. 103
      • 2. That such falls render them weak. p. 105
      • 3. That Christ though sweet to their persons, is yet displeased with their sins. p. 106
    • 2. By proofes. p. 108 [Page]
      • 1. In the examples,
        • 1. Of Peter. ibid.
        • 2. Of the seven Churches. p. 109
      • 2. By that of Isa. 57.17. which is likened to the Text. p. 110
  • CHAP. III. One generall demonstration of the Doctrine, viz. In that Christ loses not, nor will the soule for all his sin, but seeks it, and ga­thers it Shepherd-like. p. 111
  • CHAP. IV. Particular demonstrations of Christs sweet carriage to beleevers weake by sins. p. 115
    • 1. In chastening them, which is shewed to be sweet in its effect; and
      • 1. In that its promise-priviledge. 116
      • 2. In that its denyed to others. ib.
    • 2. In not casting them off for sin. p. 118
    • 3. In revealing love notwithstanding after his chastisement. p. 120
    • 4. In mourning for them even while he chastiseth them. p. 122
    • 5. In interceding to the Father to pardon them. p. 125
    • 6. In observing their graces, notwith­standing of their sins. p. 126
    • 7. In turning their sins to the good of their soules. p. 127
  • [Page]CHAP. V. Application of this Doctrine. p. 132
    • 1. In reproving the rugged carriage of men to sinning beleevers. ibid.
    • 2. In comforting beleevers weakned by sins especially. p. 135
      • 1. Proposed unto,
        • 1. Such as were fearfull of sin before committed. p. 136
        • 2. Such as are sorrowfull after sin committed. p. 137
        • 3. Such as sorrow for the filth of sin. ibid.
        • 4. Such as feare the weight and tyranny of sin. p. 138
      • 2. Pressed upon these in the answer of sundry objections. p. 139
    • 3. In incouraging beleevers under sin to go to Christ. p. 142
    • 4. In perswading all to come unto Christ. p. 143
SECT. IV.
  • CHAP. I. THe Doctrine of Christs sweetnesse unto beleevers under sufferings. p. 145
    • 1. Proposed in its summe. p. 146
    • 2. Grounded on the metaphor of the Text. p. 147
  • [Page]CHAP. II. The point prosecuted further,
    • 1. In some cautions premised, preventing objections. As, p. 148
      • 1. That Christ permits his dearest members to meet with sufferings. ib.
      • 2. That this permission is consistent with his sweetnesse. p. 149
    • 2. In two things offered from the text to prove the truth, viz. by shewing from it, that Christ gives to his suffering mem­bers. p. 150
      • 1. His presence in their sufferings. p. 151
      • 2. His support under their sufferings. p. 151
  • CHAP. III. The demonstration of the truth of the Do­ctrine, in the instance of Christs carriage towards his Disciples at his departure from them, in relation to their sufferings thereupon, which is discovered,
    • 1. By his feasting of them. p. 153
    • 2. By his forewarning of them. p. 154
    • 3. By his giving cordialls fitted for their sufferings, shewed in divers things. p. 155
    • 4. By his praying for them. p. 156
    • 5. By his submitting to suffer himselfe, and freeing them. p. 157
    All which are wound up in a Parable, and applyed. ibid.
  • [Page]CHAP. IV. Particular demonstrations of the point.
    • 1. By Christs securing their choisest part in their soarest sufferings. p. 159
    • 2. By Christs giving in sweetnesses, sui­table to their sufferings. p. 161
    • 3. By Christs sympathizing with them in their sufferings. p. 163
    • 4. By Christs ordering all their sufferings for kinde, quantity, and time. p. 165
    • 5. By Christs giving of them glorious visions in their sufferings. p. 167
    • 6. By Christs rendring them glorious in their enemies eyes. p. 169
    • 7. By Christs avenging of them on their persecutors. ib.
    • 8. By Christs sweet remembrance, and sin­gular reward of all their sufferings. 170
  • CHAP. V. Reasons of the point held forth.
    • 1. Generally, drawne from
      • 1. The law of equity. p. 172
      • 2. The nature of relation. p. 174
      • 3. The power of love. p. 176
    • 2. Particularly, built upon the offices of Christ, as
      • 1. King. p. 177
      • 2. Prophet. p. 178
      • 3. Priest. p. 179
    • 3. Specially taken from the metaphor in [Page]the text, of Christs being a shepherd. 180
  • CHAP. VI. The application of this point concerning Christs sweet carriage to suffering Saints.
    • 1. In dehortation from being over-afraid of sufferings. p. 182
    • 2. In disswasion from sinking under suf­ferings. p. 183
    • 3. In reproving such as deale sordidly with suffering beleevers. ibid.
    • 4. In pressing of all to imitate Christs carriage towards sufferers,
      • 1. By owning them. p. 185
      • 2. By incouraging them p. 186
      • 3. By sympathizing with them. 187
      • 4. By relieving of them. p. 188
    • 5. In comforting of such as suffer for Christ. p. 190
    • 6. In incouraging soules to sticke close to Christ notwithstanding sufferings, es­pecially to take heed of drawing backe. p. 193
FINIS.

Errata.

The Authors absence from the Presse hath occasioned these faults in the Print; which candour I hope will beare with, and care correct.

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