THE CAUSE AND CURE OF A VVOVNDED CONSCIENCE.

By THO: FULLER, B. D.

PROV. 18. 14.

But a wounded conscience who can beare?

LONDON, Printed for John Williams, at the Crowne in S. Pauls Churchyard. M D C XLVII.

TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE, And Vertuous Lady, Frances Mannours, Countesse of Rutland.

Madam,

BY the Judicial Law of the Jewes, if a servant hadExod. 21. 4. children by a wife which was given him by his Master, though he him­selfe [Page] went forth free in the seventh yeere, yet his children did remain with his Master, as the proper goods of his possession. I ever have been, and shall be a servant to that no­ble Family, whence your Honour is extracted. And of late in that house I have been wedded to the pleasant embraces of a private life, the fittest wife, and meetest Hel­per that can be provided for a Student in trouble­some [Page] times: And the same hath been bestowed upon me by the bounty of your Noble Brother, EDW: Lord MONTAGUE: Wherefore what issue so­ever shall result from my mind, by his meanes most happily marryed to a re­tired life, must of due re­dound to his Honour, as the sole Proprietarie of my paines during my present condition. Now this Booke is my eldest Off-spring, which had it [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] beene a Sonne, (I mean, had it been a Worke of Masculine beauty and bignesse) it should have waited as a Page in De­dication to his Honour. But finding it to be of the weaker sexe, little in strength, and low in sta­ture, may it be admitted (Madam) to attend on your Ladiship, his Ho­nours Sister.

I need not mind your Ladiship how God hath measured outward hap­pinesse [Page] unto you by the Cubit of the Sanctua­rie, of the largest size, so that one would be posed to wish more then what your Ladiship doth en­joy. My prayer to God shall be, that shining as a Pearle of Grace here, you may shine as a Starre in Glory hereafter. So resteth

Your Honours in all Christian offices, Tho: Fuller.

To the Christian Reader.

AS one was not anciently to want a wedding gar­ment at a Marri­age feast; So now adayes, wilfully to weare gaudy cloathes at a Funerall, is justly censurable as unsuit­ing with the occasion. Wherefore in this sad sub­ject, I have endeavoured to decline all light and luxu­rious expressions: And if I be found faulty therein, I cry and crave God and the Reader pardon. Thus [Page] desiring that my pains may prove to the glory of God, thine, and my owne edifi­cation, I rest,

Thine in Christ Jesus, Thomas Fuller.

THE CONTENTS of the severall Dialogues.

1. Dialogue. What a wounded conscience is, wherewith the godly and reprobate may be tortured.
page 1.
2. Dial. What use they are to make there­of, who neither hitherto were (nor haply hereafter shall be) visited with a wounded conscience.
p. 7.
3. Dial. Three solemne seasons when men are surprised with wounded consci­ences.
p. 14.
4. Dial. The great torment of a wounded conscience, proved by Reasons and Examples.
p. 20
5 Dial. Soveraign uses to be made of the [Page] torment of a wounded conscience.
page 30.
6. Dial. That in some cases more repen­tance must be preached to a wounded conscience.
p. 36.
7. Dial. Onely Christ is to be applyed to soules truly contrite.
p. 43.
8. Dial. Answers to the objections of a wounded conscience, drawne from the grievousnesse of his sins.
p. 50.
9. Dial. Answers to the objections of a wounded conscience drawn from the slightnesse of his Repentance.
p. 59
10. Dial. Answers to the objections of a wounded conscience, drawn from the feeblenesse of his faith.
p. 72.
11. Dial. God alone can satisfie all objections of a wounded conscience.
p. 76.
[Page] 12. Dial. Means to be used by wounded con­sciences, for the recovering of com­fort.
p. 81.
13. Dial. Foure wholsome counsels for a wounded conscience to practice.
p. 95.
14. Dial. Comfortable meditations for wounded consciences to muse upon.
p. 102
15. Dial. That is not alwayes the greatest sin whereof a man is guilty, wherewith his conscience is most pained for the present.
p. 111.
16. Dial. Obstructions hindring the speedy flowing of comfort into a troubled soule.
p. 118.
17. Dial. What is to be conceived of their finall estate who die in a wounded conscience without any visible com­f [...]rt;
p. 124.
[Page] 18 Dial. Of the different time and manner of the comming of comfort to such who are healed of a wounded consci­ence.
p. 134.
19. Dial. How such who are compleatly cu­red of a wounded conscience, are to demeane themselves.
p. 140
20. Dial. Whether one cured of a wounded con [...]cience, be subject to a relapse.
p. 147.
21. Dial. Whether it be lawfull to pray for, or to pray against, or to praise God for a wounded conscience.
p. 152.

THE CAUSE & CURE OF A wounded Conscience.

I. Dialogue. What a wounded Conscience is, wherewith the Godly and Re­probate may be tortured.

Timotheus.

SEeing the best way ne­ver to know a woun­ded Conscience, by wofull experience, is speedily to know it by a sanctified consideration thereof: Give me (I pray you) the description of a wounded Conscience, in [Page 2] the highest degree thereof.

Philologus.

It is a Conscience frighted at the sight of Psa. 38. 3 sin, and weight of Gods wrath, even un­to the despaire of all pardon, du­ring the present Agony.

Tim.

Is there any difference be­twixt a broken Psal. 51. 17.spirit, and a wounded Conscience, in this your acception?

Phil.

Exceeding much: for a broken spirit is to be prayed and laboured for, as the most health­full and happy temper of the soule, letting in as much com­fort, as it leakes out sorrow for sinne: Whereas a wounded con­science is a miserable maladie of the mind, filling it for the pre­sent with despaire.

Tim.

In this your sense, is not the conscience wounded every time that the soule is smitten with guilti­nesse for any sinne committed?

Phil.

God forbid: otherwise [Page 3] his servants would be in a sad condition, as in the case of Da­vid 1▪ Sam. 24. 5. smitten by his owne heart, for being (as he thought) over­bold with Gods Anointed, in cut­ting off the skirt of Sauls gar­ment; such hurts are presently heal'd by a Plaister of Christs blood, applyed by faith, and never come to that height to be coun­ted and called wounded c [...]nsci­ences.

Tim.

Are the godly, a [...] well as the wicked, subject to this malady?

Phil.

Yes verily: Vessels of ho­nour as well as vessels of wrath in this world, are subject to the knocks and br [...]ises of a wounded conscience. A patient Job, p [...]ous David, faithfull Paul may be vexed therewith no lesse then a cursed Cain, perfidious Achit [...] ­phil, or treacherous Judas.

Tim.

What is the difference betwixt a wounded conscience [Page 4] in the godly, and in the repro­bate?

Phil.

None at all; oft times in the parties apprenensions, both (for the time being) con­ceiving their estates equally de­sperate; little, if any, in the wide­nesse and anguish of the wound it selfe, which (for the time) may be as tedious and torturing in the godly, as in the wicked.

Tim.

How then doe they differ?

Phil.

Exceeding much in Gods intention, gashing the wic­ked, as Malefactors, out of Justice, but lancing the godly, out of love, as a Surgeon his Patients. Likewise they differ in the issue and event of the wound, which ends in the eternall confusion of the one, but in the correction & amendment of the other.

Tim.

Some have said, that in the midst of their pain, by this mark they may be distinguished, because [Page 5] the Godly, when wounded, com­plain most of their Sinnes, and the wicked of their sufferings.

Phil.

I have heard as much; But dare not lay too much stresse on this slender signe, (to make it generally true) for feare of fai­ling. For sorrow for sin, and sorrow for suffering, are oft times so twisted and interwoven in the same person, yea in the same sigh and Groane, that some­times it is impossible for the par­tie himself so to separate and di­vide them in his owne sense and feeling, as to know which pro­ceedeth from the one and which from the other. Onely the All­seeing Eye of an infinite God is able to discerne and distinguish them.

Tim.

Informe me concerning the Nature of Wounded Consci­ences in the wicked.

Phil.

Excuse he herein: I re­member [Page 6] a Passage in S. Angelicū vulnus ver [...] me­dicus qua­liter factū sit indicare noluit, dum illud postea cu­rare non destinavit. De mirab. Scrip [...]. lib. 1. c. 2. Augu­stine, who enquired what might be the cause that the fall of the Angells is not plainly set down in the Old Testam. with the manner and circumstances thereof, re­solveth it thus: God, like a wise Surgeon, would not open that wound which he never intended to cure: Of whose words thus farre I make use, that as it was not ac­cording to Gods pleasure to re­store the Devils, so it being a­bove mans power to cure a wounded conscience in the wicked, I will not meddle with that which I cannot mend: Onely will in­sist on a wounded conscience i [...] Gods children, where, by Gods blessing, one may be the instru­ment, to give some ease, and re­medy unto their disease.

II. Dialogue. What use they are to make there­of, who neither hitherto were (nor haply hereafter spall be) visited with a wounded Conscience.

Tim.

ARe all Gods Children, ei­ther in their life or at their death, visited with a wounded Conscience?

Phil.

O no: God inviteth ma­ny, with his Golden Scepter, whom he never bruiseth with his r [...]d of iron. Many, neither in their con­version, nor in the sequell of their lives, have ever felt that paine in such a manner and measure, as amounteth to a wounded consci­ence.

Tim.

Must not the pangs in their Travell of the new-birth be [Page 8] painfull unto them?

Phil.

Painfull, but in different degrees. The Blessed Virgin Mary (most hold) was deliver'd with­out any paine; `as well may that child be borne without sorrow, which is conceived without sin. The women of Israel were spright­full and lively, unlike the Egypti­ans. Exod. 1. 19. The former favour none can have, in their spirituall tra­vell; the latter some receive, who though other whiles tasting of legall frights and fears, yet God so Psal. 21. 3. preventeth them with his bles­sings of goodnesse, that they smart not so deeply therein as other men.

Tim.

Who are those which com­mo [...]ly have such gentle usage in their conversion?

Phil.

Generally such, who never were notoriously profane, and have had the benefit of god­ly education from pious parents. [Page 9] In some Corporations, the sons of Free-men, bred under their Fathers in their Profession, may set up and exercise their Fathers Trade, without ever being bound Apprentices thereunto. Such chil­dren whose parents have been Citizens of new Gal. 4. 26. Jerusalem, and have been bred in the mysterieEph. 2. 19. of godlinesse, oftentimes areHeb. 12. 22▪ entred into Religion without any spirit of bondage seizing upon them, a great benefit and rare blessing, where God in his good­nesse is pleased to bestow it.

Tim.

What may be the reason of Gods so different dealing with his owne Servants, that some of them are so deeply, and others not at all af­flicted with a wounded consci­ence?

Phil.

Even so Father, because it pleaseth thee. Yet in humility these Reasons may be assigned, 1. To shew himselfe a free Agent, not [Page 10] confined to follow the same pre­cedent, and to deal with all as he doth with some. 2. To render the prospect of his proceedings the more pleasant to their fight, who judiciously survey it, when they meet with so much diversity and variety therein. 3. That men being both ingorant when, and uncertaine whether or not, God will vi [...]it them with wounded Con­ciences, may wait on him with humble hearts, in the worke of their salvation, looking as the Eyes of the Psa. 123. 2▪ servants to receive Orders from the hand of their Master, but what, when, and how they know not, which quickens their daily expectations, and diligent depen­dance on his pleasure.

Tim.

I am one of those, whom God hitherto hath humbled with a wounded Conscience: give me some instruction for my behavi­our.

First be heartily thank­full to Gods infinite goodnesse, who hath not dealt thus with e­very one. Now because Repen­tance hath two parts, Mourning, and mending, or Humiliation, and Reformation, the more God hath abated thee, in the former, out of his Gentlenesse, the more must thou increase in the latter, out of thy Gratitude. What thy Humiliation hath wanted of other men, in the depth thereof, let thy Reformation make up in the Bredth thereof, spreading into an uni­versall Obedience unto all Gods Commandements. Well may he expect more work to be done by thy Hands, who hath laid lesse Weight to be borne on thy Shoulders.

Tim.

What other use must I make of Gods kindnesse unto me?

Phil.

You are bound the more patiently to beare all Gods rods, [Page 12] poverty, sicknesse, disgrace, captivi­ty, &c. seeing God hath freed thee from the stinging scorpion of a wounded conscience.

Tim.

How shall I demeane my selfe for the time to come?

Phil.

Be not high minded, but feare; for thou canst not infalli­bly inferre, That because thou hast not hitherto, hereafter thou shalt not taste of a wounded con­science.

Tim.

I will therefore for the future with continuall feare, wait for the comming thereof.

Phil.

Wait not for it with ser­vile feare, but watch against it with constant carefulnes. There is a slavish feare to be visited with a wounded conscience, which feare is to be avoided, for it is opposite to the free spirit of Grace, derogatory to the good­nesse of God in his Gospel, de­structive to spiritull joy, which [Page 13] we ought alwayes to have, and dangerous to the soule wrecking it with anxieties, and unworthy suspitions. Thus to feare a wounded conscience, is in part to feele it, antidating ones misery, and tormenting himselfe before the time, seeking for that he would be loth to finde: like the wicked in the Luke 21. 26. Gospel, of whom it is said, Mens hearts failing them for feare, and looking for those things which are comming. Far be such a feare from thee, and all good Christians.

Tim.

What feare then is it, that you so lately recommended unto me?

Phil.

One consisting in the cautions avoiding of all causes and occasions of a wounded con­science, conjoyned with a confi­dence in Gods goodnesse, that he will either preserve us from, or protect us in the torture there­of; and if he ever sends it, will [Page 14] sanctifie it in us, to his Glory, and our Good. May I, you, and all Gods servants, ever have this noble feare (as I may terme it) in our hearts.

III. Dialogue. Three solemne seasons when men are surprized with wounded consciences.

Tim.

WHat are those times, wherein men most commonly are assaulted with woun­ded consciences?

Phil.

So bad a guest may visit a man at any houre of his life: For no season is unseasonable for God to be just, Satan to be mischievous, and sinfull man to be miserable; yet it happeneth especially at three principall times.

Of these, which is the first?

Phil.

In the twilight of a mans conversion, in the very conflict and combat betwixt nature and Innitiall grace. For then he that formerly slept in carnall securi­ty, is awakened with his fearfull condition: God, as he saith, Psal. 50. 21. setteth his sins in order be­fore his eyes. Inprimis, the sin of his conception. Item, the sinnes of his childhood. Item, of his youth. Item, of his mans estate, &c. Or, Inprimis, sinnes against the first table. Item, sins against the second; so many of igno­rance, so many of knowledge, so many of presumption several­ly sorted by themselves. Hee committed sinnes confusedly, hudling them up in heaps, but God sets them in order, and me­thodizeth them to his hand.

Tim.

Sins thus set in order must needs be a terrible sight.

Yes surely, the rather because the Metaphor may seem taken from setting an Army in Battell array. At this conflict in his first conversion, Behold a troup of sinnes commeth, and when God himself shal marshall them in Rank and File, what guilty con­science is able to endure the fu­rious charge of so great and well order'd an Army?

Tim.

Suppose the party dies be­fore he be compleatly converted in this twilight condition, as you term it, what then becomes of his soule, which may seeme too good to dwell in outer darknesse with devils, and too bad to goe to the God of light?

Phil.

Your supposition is im­possible. Remember our dis­course onely concerneth the godly. Now God never is Fa­ther to abortive children, but to such who according to his ap­pointment shall come to perfe­ction.

Can they not therefore die in this interim, before the work of Grace be wrought in them?

Phil.

No verily: Christs bones were in themselves breakable, but could not actually be broken by all the violence in the world, because God hath fore-decreed, A bone of him shall not be broken. So we confesse Gods children mortall, but all the power of de­vill or man may not, must not, shall not, cannot kill them before their conversion, according to Gods election of them to life, wth must be fully accomplished.

Ti:

What is the 2. solemn time, wher­in wounded cōsciēces assault men?

Phil.

After their conve [...]sion cō ­pleated, and this either upon the committing of a conscience-wa­sting sin, such as Tertullian calleth Peccatum devoratorium salutis, or upon the undergoing of some heavy affliction of a bigger stan­dard and proportion, blacker hu [...] [Page 18] and complexion then what be­falleth ordinary men, as in the case of Job.

Tim.

Which is the third, and last time, when wounded Consci­ [...]nces commonly walke abroad?

Phil.

When men lie on their death-beds, Sathan must now roare, or else for ever hold his peace: roare he may afterwards with very anger to vex himselfe, not with any hope to hurt us. There is mention in Scripture of an evill day; which is most ap­plyable to the time of our death. We read also of an houre of Revel. 3. 10. temptation; and the Isa. 58. 7. Prophet tells us there is a moment, wherein God may seeme to for sake us. Now Sathan being no lesse cunning to finde out, then carefull to make use of his time of advantage, in that moment of that houre of that day, will put hard for our Soules, and we must expect a shrewd [Page 19] parting blow from him.

Tim.

Your dolefull prediction disheartens me, for feare I be foild in my last encounter.

Phil.

Be of good comfort: through Christ we shall be vi­ctorious, both in dying and in death it selfe. Remember Gods former favours bestowed upon thee. Indeed wicked men, from premisses of Gods power collect a conclusion of his Weaknesse, Psal. 78. 20. Behold be smot the Rock, that the waters [...] out, and the streames over-flowed: can he give Bread also? can [...]e provide Flesh for his people? But Gods children 1 Sam. 17. 36. by better Logick, [...]rom the prepositions of Gods former preservations, inferre his power2 Cor. 1. 10 and pleasure to protect them for the future. Be assured, that God which hath beene the God of the Mountaines, and made our Mountaines strong in time of our [Page 20] prosperity, will also be the God of the valleys, and lead us safe Psa. 23. 4 through the valley of the shadow of death.

IV. Dialogue. The great torment of a wounded conscience, proved by Reasons and Examples.

Tim.

IS the paine of a wounded Conscience so great as is pretended?

Phil.

God Prov. 18. 14. saith it, we have seene it, and others have felt it: Whose complaints, [...]avour as lit­tle of dissimulation, as their cries in a fit of the Cholique, doth of counterfeiting.

Tim.

Whence comes this wound to be so great and grievous?

Phil.

Six Reasons may be as­signed thereof. The first drawn [Page 21] from the Heavinesse of the hand which makes the Wound; namely, God himslfe, conceived under the notion of an infinite angry Judge. In all other afflictions, man encountreth only with man, and in the worst temptati­ons, only with Sathan, but in a wounded Conscience, he enters the Lists immediately with God himselfe.

Tim.

Whence is the second Rea­son fetcht?

Phil.

From the Heb. 4. 12 sharpnesse of the Sword, wherewith the wound is made, being the Word of God, and the keen threat­nings of the Law therein con­tained. There is mention Gen. 3. 24. of a Sword turning every way: parallel whereto is the Word of God in a wounded Con­science. Mans heart is full of windings, turnings and dou­blings, to shift and shunne the [Page 22] stroke thereof if possible, but this sword meets them whereso­ever they move, it fetcheth and finds them out, it hants and hunts them, forbidding them during their Agony, any en­trance into the Paradise of one comfortable thought.

Tim.

Whence is the third Reason derived?

Phil.

From the tendernesse of the Part it selfe which is wounded; the Conscience being one of the eyes of the soule, sensible of the smallest hurt. And when that Callum, Schirrus or Inerustation drawn over it by nature, and hardned by custome in sinne, is once [...] off, the Conscience becomes so pliant and supple, that [...]he least imaginable touch is painf [...]ll [...] it.

Tim.

What is the fourth Rea­son?

Phil.

The Folly of the Patient: [Page 23] who being stung, hath not the wisedome to looke up to Christ, the Brazen Serpent but tormen­teth himselfe with his owne activity. It was threatned to Jer. 20. 4. Pashur, I will make thee a terrour to thy selfe: So fareth it with Gods best Saint during the fit of his perplexed Conscience; Hea­reth he his owne voice, he think­eth, this is that which so often hath sworne, lyed, talked vainly, wanton, wickedly; his voice is a terrour to himselfe. Seeth he his own eyes in a glasse, he presently apprehends, these are those which shot forth so many envi­ous, covetous, amorous Glances, his eyes are a terrour to himselfe. Sheep are observed to flye with­out cause, scared, (as some say) with the sound of their own feet: Their feet knack, because they flye, and they fly, because their feet knack, an emblem of Gods [Page 24] Children in a wounded Conscience, selfe-fearing, selfe▪frighted.

Tim.

What is the fift Reason which makes the paine so great?

Phil.

Because Sathan rak [...]s his clawes in the reeking blood of a wounded Conscience. Belzebub the devils name fignifieth in Hebrew the Lord of flyes; which excel­lently intimates his nature and employment: flyes take their se­licity about sores and galled Backs, to infest and inflame them. So Sathan no sooner discovereth (and that Bird of Prey hath quick sight) a Soule terrour-struck, but thither he hasts, and is busie to keepe the wound raw, there he is in his throne to doe mischiefe.

Tim.

What is the sixt and last Reason why a wounded Consci­ence is so great a torment?

Phil.

Because of the impotency and invaliditie of all earthly receipts to give ease thereunto. For there [Page 25] is such a gulfe of disproportion be­twixt a Mind-malady and Body­medicines, that no carnall, cor­porall comforts can effectually work thereupon.

Tim.

Yet wine in this case is pre­scribed in Scripture, Prov. 31. 6. Give wine to the heavy hearted, that they may remember their misery no more.

Phil.

Indeed if the wound be in the spirits, (those cursiters be­twixt soule and body) to reco­ver their decay or consumption, wine may usefully be applyed: but if the wound be in the spirit in Scripture phrase, all carnall, corporall comforts are utterly in vaine.

Tim.

Me thinks merry com­pany should doe much to refresh him.

Phil.

Alas, a man shall no longer be welcome in merry com­pany, then he is able to sing his [Page 26] Part in their Joviall Consort. When a hunted Deere runs for safeguard amongst the rest of the Herd, they will not admit him into their company, but beat him off with their hornes, out of principles of selfe-preser­vation, for feare the Hounds, in pursuit of him, fall on them also. So hard it is for Man or Beast in misery to find a faithfull friend. In like manner, when a knot of Bad-good-fellowes perceive one of their society dogg'd with Gods terrours at his heeles, they will be shut of him as soone as they can, preferring his roome, and declining his company, lest his sadnesse prove infectious to others. And now if all six rea­sons be put together, so heavy a hand, smiting with so sharp a sword on so tender a part of so foolish a patient, whilst Sathan seeks to wi­den, and no worldly plaister can cure [Page 27] the wound, it sufficiently proves a wounded conscience to be an ex­quisite torture.

Tim.

Give me I pray an exam­ple hereof.

Phil.

When Adam had eaten the forbidden fruit, he tarryed a time in Paradise, but tooke no contentment therein. The Sunne did shine as bright, the Rivers ran as cleare as ever before, Birds sang as sweetly, Beasts played as pleasantly, Flowers smelt as fra­grant, Herbs grew as fresh, Fruits flourisht as faire, no Puntilio of Pleasure was either altered or a­bated. The objects were the same, but Adams eyes were other­wise, his nakednesse stood in his light; a thorne of guiltinesse grew in his heart, before any thistles sprang out of the ground; which made him not to seeke for the fairest fruits to fill his hunger, but the biggest leaves to cover his [Page 28] nakednesse. Thus a wounded consci­ence is able to unparadise Paradise it selfe.

Tim.

Give me another instance.

Phil.

CHRIST JESVS our Saviour, he was blinded, buffet­ed, scourged, scoffed at, had his hands and feet nailed on the Crosse, and all this while said no­thing. But no sooner apprehen­ded he his Father deserting him, groaning under the burthen of the sins of mankind imputed un­to him, but presently the Lambe, (who hitherto dumb before his shearer opened not his mouth) for paine began to bleat, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Tim.

Why is a wounded con­science by David resembled to Ar­rowes,Psa. 38. 2 Thine Arrowes stick fast in me?

Phil.

Because an Arrow (espe­cially if barbed) rakes & rends the flesh the more, the more met­tall [Page 29] the wounded partie hath to strive and struggle with it: and a guilty conscience pierceth the deeper, whilst a stout stomach with might and main seeketh to out-wrastle it.

Tim.

May not a wounded con­science also work on the body, to hasten and heighten the sicknesse thereof?

Phil.

Yes verily, so that there may be employment forCol. 4. 14. Luke, the beloved physitian, (if the same person with the Evangelist) to exercise both his professions: But we meddle onely with the malady of the mind, abstracted from any bodily indisposition.

V. Dialogue. Soveraign uses to be made of the torment of a wounded consci­ence.

Tim.

SEeing the torture of a wounded conscience is so great, what use is to be made thereof?

Phil.

Very much. And first, it may make men sensible of the intollerable paine in Hell fire. If the mouth of the fiery Fornace into which the children were cast, was so hot, that it burnt those which approached it, how hot was the Fornace it selfe? If a wounded conscience, the suburbs of Hell, be so painfull, oh how ex­treame is that place, where the worme never dyeth, and the fire is never quenched?

Did our roaring Boyes (as they call them) but seriously con­sider this, they would not wish GOD DAMNE THEM, and GOD CONFOUND THEM so fre­quently as they doe.

Phil.

No verily: I read in Theodoret of the ancient Donatists, that they were so ambitious of Martyrdome, (as they accounted it) that many of them meeting with a young Gentleman request­ed of him, that he would be pleased to kill them. He, to con­fute their folly, condescended to their desire, on condition, that first they would be contented, to be all fast bound: which being done, accordingly he took order that they were all soundly whipt, but saved their lives. In applica­tion: When I heare such Riotous youths wish that God would Damne or Confound them, I hope God will be more mercifull, [Page 32] then to take them at their words, and to grant them their wish; only I heartily desire that he would be pleased, sharply to scourge them, and soundly to lash them with the frights & ter­rours of a wounded conscience. And I doubt not, but that they would so ill like the paine thereof, that they would revoke their wishes, as having little list, and lesse de­light to taste of hell hereafter.

Tim.

What other use is to be made of the paine of a wounded Conscience?

Phil.

To teach us seasonably to prevent, what we cannot pos­sibly endure. Let us shunne the smallest sinne, lest if we slight and neglect it, it by degrees fe­ster and gangrene into a wounded conscience. One of the bravestSir Tho. Norris, President of Mun­ster, ex le­vi vul [...]ere neglecto sublatus. Cambdens Elizab. An. 1641. spi­rits that ever England bred, or Ireland buried, lost his life by a light hurt neglected; as if it had [Page 33] beene beneath his high minde to stoop to the dressing thereof, till it was too late. Let us take heed the stoutest of us be not so served in our Soules. If we repent not presently of our sinnes commit­ted, but carelesly contemne them, a scratch may quickly prove an Ul­cer; the rather, because the flesh of our minde, if I may so use the Metaphor, is hard to heale full of cholerick & corrupt humors, and very ready to rancle.

Tim.

What else may we gather for our instruction from the torture of a troubled mind?

Phil.

To confute their cruelty, who out of sport or spight, wil­lingly and wittingly wound weak consciences; like those uncharita­ble1 Cor. 8. 12. Corinthians, who so far im­prove their liberty in things in­different, as thereby to wound the consciences of their weake brethren.

Are not those Ministers too blame, who, mistaking their message, instead of bringing the Gospell of Peace, fright people with Legall terrours into de­spaire?

Phil.

I cannot commend their discretion, yet will not condemn their intention herein. No doubt their d [...]sire and designe is pious, though they erre in the pursuite and prosecution thereof, casting down them whom they cannot raise, and conjuring up the Spirit of Bondage which they cannot allay againe: Wherefore it is our wisest way, to interweave promises with threatnings, and not to leave open a pit of de­spaire, but to cover it again with comfort.

Tim.

Remaineth there not as yet, another use of this poi [...]t?

Phil.

Y [...]s, to teach us to pitty and pray for those that have af­flicted [Page 35] Consciences, not like the wicked, [...]sa'. 69. 26. who persecute those whom God hath smitten, and talke to the griefe of such whom he hath woun­ded.

Tim.

Yet Eli was a good man, who notwithstanding censured 1 Sam. 1. 13. 14. Hannah, a woman of a sorrowfull spirit, to be drunke with Wine.

Phil.

Imitate not Eli in com­mitting, but amending his fault. Indeed his dimme eyes could see drunkennes in Hannah where it was not, & could not see Sacriledge & Adultery in his own Sonnes, where they were. Thus those who are most indulgent to their owne, are most censorious of others. But Eli afterwards perceiving his Errour, turned tho condem­ning of Ha [...]nah into praying for her. In like manner, if in our passion we have prejudiced, or injur'd any wounded Consciences, in cold blood let us make them the [Page 36] best amends and reparation.

VI. Dialogue. That in some cases more Repen­tance must be preached to a wounded Conscience.

Tim.

SO much for the Maladie, now for the Remedy. Suppos [...] you come to a wounded Conscience, what counsell will you prescribe him?

Phil.

If after hearty prayer to God for his direction, he ap­peareth unto me, as yet, not truely penitent, in the first place I will presse a deeper degree of Repentance upon him.

Tim

O miserable Comforter! more sorrow still! Take heed your eyes be not put out with that smo­king Flax, you seeke to quench, and your fingers wounded with the splin­ters [Page 37] of that bruised Reed you goe about to breake.

Phil.

Understand me Sir. Better were my tongue spit out of my mouth, then to utter a word of griefe to drive them to despaire, who are truly contrite. But on the other side, I shall be­tray my trust, and be found an unfaithfull dispencer of Divine mysteries, to apply comfort to him who is not ripe and ready for it.

Tim.

What harme wol [...]d it doe?

Phil.

Raise him for the pre­sent, and ruine him, without Gods greater mercy for the fu­ture. For comfort dawbed on, on a foule soule, will not stick long upon it: And instead of pouring in, I shall spill the precious oyle of Gods mercy. Yea I may justly bring a Wounded Conscience upon my selfe, for dealing de­ceitfully [Page 38] in my stewardship.

Tim.

Is it possible one may not be [...]oundly humbled, and yet have a wounde [...] Conscience?

Phil.

Most possible: For a wounded Conscience is often in­flicted as a punishment for lacke of true Repentance: great is the difference betwixt a mans being frighted at, and humbled for his sinnes. One may passively be cast downe by Gods terrours, and yet not willingly throw himselfe downe, as he ought, at Gods foot-stoole.

Tim.

Seeing his pain is so pitti­full as you have formerly proved; why would you adde more griefe unto him?

Phil.

I would not adde griefe to him, but alter griefe in him; making his [...]orrow, not greater, but better. I would endeavour to change his dismall, dolefull dejection, his hid [...]s, and hor­rible [Page 39] heavines, his bitter excla­mations, which seeme to me much mixed in him, with Pride, impatience, and impen [...]tence, into a willing submission to Gods pleasure, and into a kind­ly, gentle, tender Gospell-re­pentance, for his sinnes.

Tim.

But there are some now a­dayes who maintaine that a Child of God after his first conversion, need­eth not any new repentance for sinne all the dayes of his life.

Phil.

They derend a grievous and dangerous errour. Consi­der what two petitions Christ coupleth together in his Prayer: When my Body which every day is hungry, can live without Gods giving it daily Bread, then and no sooner shall I believe, that my Soule, which daily sinneth, can spiritually live, with­out Gods forgiving it its Trespas­ses.

Tim.

But such alledge, in proof [Page 40] of their opinion, that a man hath his person justified before God, not by pieces and parcels, but at once and for ever in his conversion.

Phil.

This being granted doth not favour their errour. We confesse God finished the Creation of the world, and all therein in six dayes, and then rested from that worke, yet so, that his daily preserving of all things by his providence, may [...]till be accounted a constant and continued Creation. We ac­knowlege in like manner, a Child of God justified at once in his conversion, when he is ful­ly and freely estated in Gods favour. And yet seeing every daily sinne by him committed, is an aversion from God, and his daily Repentance a conversion to God, his justification in this respect, may be conceived in­trirely continued all the dayes [Page 41] of his life.

Tim.

What is the difference be­twixt the first Repentance, and this renewed Repentance?

Phil.

The former is as it were the putting of life into a dead man, the latter the recovering of a sicke man from a dangerous swound; by the former, sight to the blind is simply restored, and eyes given him; in the latter, only a filme is removed, drawn over their eyes, and hindering their actuall sight. By the first we have a right title to the King­dome of Heaven: by our second repentance, we have a new claime to Heaven, by vertue of our old title. Thus these two kinds of repentance may be dif­ferenced and distinguished, though otherwise they meet and agree in generall qualities: both having sinne for their Cause, sorrow for their Companion, [Page 40] [...] [Page 41] [...] [Page 42] and pardon for their consequent and effect.

Tim.

But are not Gods Children after committing of grievous sinnes, and before their renewing their re­pentance remaine still heires of Hea­v [...], married to Christ, and citizens of the new Hierusalem?

Phil.

Heires of Heaven, they are, but disinheritable for their m [...]demeanour. Married still to Christ, but deserving to be di­vorced for their adulteri [...]. Citi­zens of Heaven, but yet out­lawed, so that they can recover no right, and receive no benefit, till their out-lawry be rever­sed.

Tim.

Where doth God in Scrip­ture injoyne this second Repentance on his owne Children?

Phil.

In severall places. He threatneth theRev. 2. 5. Church of Ephe­sus (the best of the seaven) wich removing the Candlesticke from [Page 43] them, except they repent: and Christ telleth his own disciples, true converts before, but then guilty of Ambitious thoughts, thatMat. 18. 3 except yee be converted yee shall not enter into the King­dome of Heaven. Here is con­version after conversion, be­ing a solemne turning from some particular sinne; in relation to which it is not absurd to say, that there is justification after justification; the latter as follow­ing in time, so flowing from the former.

VII. Dialogue. Onely Christ is to be applyed to Soules truly contrite.

Tim.

BUt suppose the Person in the Ministers apprehen­sion heartily humbled for sinne, what then is to be done?

No Corrosives, all Cordialls; no Vineger, all Oyle; no Law, all Gospell must be presented unto him. Here bles­sed the lippes, yea beautifull the feet of him that bringeth the tidings of peace. As2 Kings 4. 34. Elisha, when reviving the Sonne of the Shunamite laid his mou [...]h to the mouth of the Child. So the gaping orifice of Christs wounds must spiritually by preaching, be put close to the mouth of the wounds of a conscience: happy that skil­full Architect, that can shew the sick man, that theZacha. 4. 7. Head stone of his sprituall building, must be laid with shouts, crying Grace, grace.

Tim.

Which doe you count the Head-stone of the Building, that which is first or last laid?

Phil.

The foundation is the Head-stone in honour, the top­stone is the Head-stone in height. [Page 45] The former the Head-stone in strength, the latter in stature. It seemeth that Gods spirit, of set purpose ▪made use of a doubtfull word, to shew that the whole fabricke of our salvation, whe­ther as founded, or as finished, is the only worke of Gods grace alone. Christ is the Alpha and Omega thereof, not excluding all the letters in the Alphabet interposed.

Tim.

How must the minister preach Christ to an afflicted consci­ence?

Phil.

He must crucifie him before his eyes, lively setting him forth, naked, to cloath him; wounded, to cure him; dying, to save him. He is to expound and explaine unto him, the dig­nity of his person, pretiousnesse of his blood, plenteousnesse of his mercy, in all those loving re­lations, wherein the Scripture [Page 46] presents him: A kind Father to a prodicall Child, a carefull Hen to a scatter'd Chicken, a good Shepherd that bringeth his lost Sheep back on his shoulders.

Tim.

Spare me one qnestion, why doth he not drive the sheepe be­fore him, especially seeing it was lively enough to lose it selfe?

Phil.

First, because though it had wildnesse too much to goe astray, it had not wisedome enough to goe right. Secondly, because probably the [...]lly sheep, had tired it selfe with wandring; Habbabuk 2. 13. the people shall wearie themselves for very vanity, and therefore the kind shepheard brings it home on his owne shoulders.

Tim.

Pardon my interruption, and proceed, how Christ is to be held forth.

Phil.

The latitude and extent of his love, his invitation with­out [Page 47] exception, are powerfully to be prest; every one that thi [...]t­eth, all ye that are heavy laden, who­soever beleeveth, and the many promises of mercy are effectually to be tendered unto him.

Tim.

Where are those promises in Scripture?

Phil.

Or rather, where are they not? for they are harder to be mist, then to bee met with. Open the Bible (as he1 King: 22. drew his bow in Battle) at adventur [...]s▪ If thou lightest on an Historicall place, behold Precedents; if on a Doctrinall, Promises of com­fort. For the larter, observe these particulars, Gen. 3. 15. Exo. 33. 6. Isa. 40. 1. Isa. 54. 11. Mat. 11. 28. Mat. 12. 20. 1 Cor. 10. 13. Heb. 13▪ 5. &c.

Tim.

Are these more principall places of consolation, then any other in the Bible?

Phil.

I know there is no choo­sing, [Page 48] where all things are choi­cest: Whosoever shall select some Pearles out of such a heap, shall leave behind as precious as any he takes, both in his owne and others judgement; yea which is more, the same man at seve­rall times may in his apprehensi­on preferre severall promises as best, formerly most affected with one place, for the present more delighted with another; and afterwards conceiving com­fort therein not so cleare, choose other places as more pregnant, and pertinent to his purpose. Thus God orders it, that divers men (and perchance the same man at different times) make use of all his promises, gleaning and gathering comfort, not only in one furrow, Land, or furlong▪ but as its scattered clean through the whole field of the Scripture.

Tim.

Must Ministers have vari­e [...]y [Page 49] of severall comfortable pro­mises?

Phil.

Yes surely: such Ma­sters of the Assembly being to enter and fasten consolation in an af­flicted soule, need have many nailes provided aforehand, that if some for the present, chance to drive untowardly, as splitting, going awrie, turning crooked or blunt, they may have others in the roome thereof.

Tim.

But grant, Christ held out never so plainly, prest never so powerfully, yet all is in vaine, ex­cept God inwardly with his spirit perswade the wounded Conscience to beleeve the Truth of what he saith.

Phil.

This is an undoubted Truth, for one may lay the Bread of Life on their trencher, and cannot force them to feede on it. One may bring them downe to [Page 50] the spring of life, but cannot make them drinke of the wa­ters thereof; and therefore in the cure of a wounded Conscience, God is all in all, only the touch of his hand, can Deut. 32. 39. heal this Kings Evill, I kill and make alive, I wound and I heale, neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.

VIII. Dialogue. Answers to the objections of a wounded Conscience drawne from the grievousnesse of his sinnes.

Tim.

GIve me leave now Sir to personate & represent a wounded Conscience, and to alledge and inforce such prin­cipall objections wherewith gene­rally they are grieved.

Phil.

With all my heart, and [Page 51] God blesse my endeavours in answering them.

Tim.

But first I would be satis­fied how it comes to passe, that men in a wounded Conscience have their parts so presently im­proved. The Jewes did question concerning our Saviour, John 7. 15.How knoweth this man letters being never learned? But here the doubt, and difficulty is greater; How come simple people so subtile on a sud­den to oppose with that advantage, and vehemency, that it would puz­zle a good and grave Divine to answer them?

Phil.

Two Reasons may be rendred thereof. 1. Because a man in a diste [...]per, is stronger then when he is in his perfect health. What Sampsons are some in the fit of a Feaver? Then their spirits, being intended by the violence of their disease, push with all their power. So is [Page 52] it in the agony of a distressed soule, every string thereof is strained to the height, and a man becomes more then himselfe to object against himselfe in a fit of despaire.

Tim.

What is the other Rea­son?

Phil.

Sathan himselfe, that subtile sophister assisteth them. He formes their Arguments, frames their objections, fits their distinctions, shapes their evasi­ons; and this discomforter (Aping Gods spirit the Comforter, John 14. 26.) bringeth all things to their remembrance, which they have heard or read to dishearten them. Need therefore have Ministers, when they meddle with afflicted men, to call to Heaven afore-hand to assist them, being sure, they shall have Hell it selfe to oppose them.

To come now to the ob­jections, which afflicted Consci­ences commonly make: they may be reduced to three principall Heads. Either drawne from the greatnesse and grievousnesse of their sinnes, or from the slightnesse and lightnesse of their repentance, or from th [...] faintnesse & feeblenesse of their faith. I begin with the objections of the first forme.

Phil.

I approve your method I p [...]ay proceed.

Tim.

First Sir, even since my conversion, I have beene guilty of many grievous sinnes, and (which is worse) of the same sinne many times committed. Happy G [...]. 38. 36. Judah, who though once committing incest with Thamar, yet the text saith, that afterward he knew her again no more. But I vile wretch have often re-fallen into the same of­fence.

Phil.

All this is answered in [Page 52] [...] [Page 53] [...] [Page 54] Gods Promise in theIsaiah 1. 18. Prophet, Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them as snow. Consider how the Tyrian scarlet was dy­ed, not overly dipt, but through­ly drencht in the liquor, that co­loured it, as thy soul in custome of sinning. Then was it taken out for a time, and dryed, put in againe, soakt, and sodden the se­cond time in the Fatt; called therefore [...], twice dyed; as thou complainest thou hast been by relapsing into the same sin. Yea the colour so incorpora­ted into the cloath not drawne over, but diving into the very heart of the wool, that rub a scarlet rag on what is white, and it will bestow a redish tin­cture upon it: As perchance thy sinfull practice, and president, have also infected those which were formerly good, by thy badnesse. Yet such scarlet sins [Page 55] so solemnly and substantially coloured, are easily washt white in the blood of our Saviour.

Tim.

But, Sir, I have sinned a­gainst most serious resolutions, yea against most solemne vowes which I have made to the contrary.

Phil.

Vow-breaking, though a grievous sinne, is pardonable on unfaigned repentance. If thou hast broken a Vow, t [...]e a knot on it, to make it hold together a­gaine. It is spirituall thrift, and no mis-becomming basenesse, to piece and joynt thy neglected promises with fresh ones. So shall thy vow in effect be not broken, when new mended: and remain the same, though not by one intire continuation, yet by a constant successive renovation thereof. ThusCompare Gen. 28. 20. with Gen. 35. 1 Jacob renewed his neglected vow of going to Bethel; And this must thou doe, re-inforce thy broken vowes, if [Page 56] of moment, and materiall.

Tim.

What mean you by the ad­dition of that clause, if of moment and materiall?

Phil.

To deale plainly. I dislike many vowes men make, as of reading just so much, and pray­ing so often every day, of con­fining themselves to such a strict proportion of meate, drinke, sleepe, recreation, &c. Many things may be well done, which are ill vowed. Such particular vowes men must be very spa­ring how they make. First, be­cause they savour somewhat of will-worship. Secondly, small glory accrews to God thereby. Thirdly, The dignitie of vowes are disgraced by descending to too triviall particulars. Fourth­ly, Sathan hath ground given him to throw at us, with a more steady aime. Lastly, such vowes, instead of being cords to tie us [Page 57] faster to God, prove knots to intangle our Consciences: Hard to be kept, but oh! how heavy when broken? Wherefore set­ting such vowes aside, let us be carefull with David, to keep that grand and generall vow,Psal. 119 106. I have sworne, and I will performe it, that I will keep thy righteous judge­ments.

Tim.

But Sir I have committed the sinne against the holy Ghost, which the Saviour of mankind pro­nounceth unpardonable, and there­fore all your counsells and comforts unto me are in vaine.

Phil.

The devill, the father of lyes, hath added this lye to those, which he hath told be­fore, in perswading thee, thou hast comitted the sinne against the holy Ghost. For that sinne is ever attended with these two symptomes. First, the party guil­ty thereof never grieves for it, [Page 58] nor conceives the least sorrow in his heart, for the sinne he hath committed. The second (which followeth on the former) he never wisheth or desireth any pardon, but is delighted, and pleased with his present conditi­on. Now if thou canst truely say, that thy sinnes are a burden unto thee, that thou dost desire forgivenesse, and wouldest give any thing, to compasse and ob­taine it; be of good comfort, thou hast not as yet, and by Gods Grace, never shalt, com­mit that unpardonable offence. I will not define how neere thou hast beene unto it. As David said to Jonathan, there is not a haires breadth betwixt death and me: So it may be thou hast m [...]st it very narrowly, but assure thy selfe, thou art not as yet guilty thereof.

IX. Dialogue. Answers to the objections of a wounded Conscience drawne from the slightnesse of his Re­pentance.

Tim.

I Beleeve my sinnes are pardonable in themselves, but alas my stony Heart is such, that it cannot relent and repent, and therefore no hope of my Salva­tion.

Phil.

Wouldest thou sincere­ly repent? thou dost repent. The women that came to em­balmeMark 16. 3. Christ, did carefully forecast with themselves, Who shall role away the stone from the doore of the Sepulcher? Alas their fraile, faint, feeble Arms were unable to remove such a weight. But what followeth? And when [Page 58] [...] [Page 59] [...] [Page 60] they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away, for it was very great. In like manner, when a soule is truly troubled about the massie mighty burden of his sto­ny heart interposed, hindring him from comming to Christ; I say when he is seriously and sincere­ly solicitous about that impedi­ment, such desiring is a doing, such wishing is a working. Doe thou but take care it may be re­moved, and God will take order it shall be removed.

Tim.

But Sir I cannot weep for my sinnes; My eyes are like the pit wherein Joseph was put, there is no water in them, I cannot squeeze one teare out of them.

Phil.

Before I come to ans­wer your objection, I must premise a profitable observa­tion. I have taken notice of a strange opposition betwixt the tongues and eyes of such as [Page 61] have troubled Consciences. Their tongues some have known (and I have heard) complaine that they cannot weepe for their sinnes, when at that instant their eyes have plentifully shed store of teares: not that they speake out of dissimulation, but distra­ction. So somtimes have I smi­led at the simplicity of a Child, who being amased, and deman­ded whether or no he could speake? hath answered, No. If in like manner at the sight of such a contradiction betwixt the words and deeds of one in the agony of a wounded Conscience, we should chance to smile, knew us not to jeere, but joy, per­ceiving the party in a better con­dition, then he conceiveth him­selfe.

Tim.

This your observation may be comfortable to others, but is impertinent to me. For as I told you I [Page 62] I have by nature such dry eyes that they will afford no moisture to bemoan my sinnes.

Phil.

Then it is a naturall de­fect, and no morall default, so by consequence a suffering and no sinne, which God will pu­nish. God doth not expect the cock should runne water, where he put none into the Cisterne. Know also, their hearts may be fountaines whose eyes are flints, and may inwardly bleed, who doe not outwardly weep. Be­sides Isa. 61. 3: Christ was sent to preach Comfort, not to such only as weep, but mourne in Zion. Yea if thou canst squeeze out no liquor, offer to God the empty bottles; in­stead of tears, tender and present thy eyes unto him. And though thou beest water-bound, be not wind-bound also, sigh, where thou canst not sob, and let thy Lungs doe what thy eyes cannot performe.

You say something, though I cannot weep, in case I could soundly sorrow for my sinnes. But alas, for temporall losses and crosses, I am like R [...]chell, [...]amenting for her children, and would not be com­forted. But my sorrow for my sins is so small, that it appeares none at all in proportion.

Phil.

In the best Saints of God, their sorrow for their sinnes being measured with the sorrow for their sufferings, in one respect, will fall short of it, in another must equall it, and in a third respect doth exceed and goe beyond it. Sorrow for sins falleth short of sorrow for suf­ferings, in loud lamenting or violent uttering it selfe in out­ward expressions thereof; as in roaring, wringing the hands, rending their haire, and the like. Secondly, both sorrowes are equall in their truth and sinceri­ty, [Page 64] both farre from hypocrisie, free from dissimulation, reall, hearty, cordiall, uncounterfei­ted. Lastly, sorrow for sinne ex­ceeds sorrow for suffering, in the continuance and durable­nesse thereof: the other like a land-flood, quickly come, quick­ly gone; this is a continuall dropping or running river, kee­ping a constant stream. My sins, saith David, are ever before me; so also is the sorrow for sinne in the soule of a child of God, morning, evening, day, night, when sicke, when sound, fea­sting, fasting, at home, abroad, ever within him: This griefe beginneth at his conversion, continueth all his life, endeth only at his death.

Tim.

Proceed I pray in this com­fortable point.

Phil.

It may still be made plainer by comparing two dis­eases [Page 65] together, the tooth-ache and consumption. Such as are troubled with the former, shreek and cry out, troublesome to themselves, and others, in the same and next roofe; and no wonder, the mouth it selfe be­ing plaintiffe, if setting forth its owne grievances to the full. Yet the tooth-ache is knowne to be no mortall maladie, having kept some from their beds, seldome sent them to their graves; hin­dred the sleep of many, hastned the death of few. On the other side, he that hath an incurable consumption saith little, cryes lesse, but grieves most of all. Alas, he must be a good husband of the little breath left in his broken lungs, not to spend it in fighing, but in living, he makes no noise, is quiet, and silent; yea none will say, but that his in­ward griefe is greater then the former.

How apply you this Com­parison to my objection?

Phil.

In corporall calamities, thou complainest more, like him in the tooch-ache, but thy sorrow for thy sinne, like a Consumption, which lyes at thy heart, hath more solid heavinesse therein. Thou dost take in more griefe for thy sinnes, though thou mayest take on more grievously for thy sufferings.

Tim.

This were something if my sorrow for sinne were sincere, but alas, I am but a hypocri [...]e. There is Isa. 14. 23 mention in the Proph [...]t of Gods besome of destruction; now the trust of a hypocrite, Job 8. 14. is called a Spiders web, here is my case, when Gods besome meets with the cobwebs of my hypocri [...]e, I shall be swept into hel-fire.

Phil.

I answer, first in gene­rall: I am glad to heare this ob­jection [Page 67] come from thee, for selfe-suspition of hypocrisie, is a hopefull symptome of since­rity. It is a David that cryes out, As for me I am poore and needy; but luke-warme Laodicea that brag­geth, I am rich and want nothing.

Tim.

Answer I pray the objecti­on in particular.

Phil.

Presently, when I have premised the great difference, betwixt a mans being a Hy­pocrite, and having some hy­pocrisie in him. Wicked men are like the Apples of Solinus Polyhi­stor in Ju­dea. Sodome, seemingly faire, but nothing but ashes within, the best of Gods Servants, like sound Apples, lying in a dusty loft, (living in a wicked world) gathering much dust about them, so that they must be rubb'd or pared, before they can be eaten. Such not­withstanding are sincere, and by the following marks may [Page 68] examine themselves.

Tim.

But some now adayes are utter enemies to all markes of since­rity, counting it needlesse for Prea­chers to propound, or people to ap­ply them.

Phil.

I know as much; but it is the worst signe, when men in this nature hate all signes: But no wonder if the foundred horse, cannot abide the Smiths pin­cers.

Tim.

Proceed I pray in your signes of sincerity.

Phil.

Art thou carefull to or­der thy very thoughts, because the infinite searcher of the heart doth behold them? Dost thou freely and fully confesse thy sinnes to God, spreading them open in his presence, without any desire or endeavour to deny, dissemble, defend, ex­cuse, or extenuate them? Dost thou delight in an universall [Page 69] obedience to all Gods Lawes, not thinking with the superstitious Jewes, by over-keeping the fourth Commandement, to make reparation to God for breaking all the rest? Dost thou love their persons and preaching best, who most clearly discover thine owne faults and corrup­tions unto thee? Dost thou strive against thy vindicative na­ture, not only to forgive those who have offended thee, but also to wait an occasion with humility to fasten a fitting fa­vour upon them? Dost thou love grace and goodnesse even in those, who differ from thee in point of opinion, and Civil con­troversies? Canst thou be sor­rowfull for the sinnes of others, no whit relating unto thee, meerly because the Glory of a good God, suffers by their pro­fanenesse?

Why doe you make these to be the signes of sincerity?

Phil.

Because there are but two principles, which act in mens hearts, namely, nature and grace; or, as Christ distinguisheth them, Flesh, and Bloud, and our Father which is Heaven. Now seeing these actions, by us pro­pounded, are either against or above nature, it doth necessarily follow, that where they are found, they flow from saving grace. For what is higher then the roofe, and very Pinnacle, as I may say, of nature, cannot belower then the bottome and beginning of grace.

Tim.

Per [...]hance on serious search, I may make hard shift, to finde some one or two of these signes, but not all of them in my heart.

Phil.

As I will not bow to flatter any, so I will fall down as [Page 71] farre as truth will give me leave, to reach comfort to the humble, to whom it is due. Know to thy further consolati­on, that where some of these signes truly are, there are more, yea all of them, though not so visible and conspicuous, but in a dimmer and darker degree. When we behold Violets, and Prim-Roses, fairely to flourish, we conclude the dead of the winter is past, though, as yet, no Roses, or July-flowers appeare, which, long after, lye hid in their leaves, or lurke in their rootes; but in due time will disco­ver themselves. If some of these signes be above ground in thy sight, others are under ground in thy heart, and though the former started first, the other will follow in order: It being plaine that thou art passed from death unto life, by this [Page 72] hopefull and happy spring of some signes in thy heart.

X. Dialogue. Answers to the objection of a wounded Conscience, drawne from the feeblenesse of his faith.

Tim.

BUt faith is that which must apply Christ unto us, whilest (alas!) the hand of my faith hath not only the shaking, but the dead Palsy; it can neither hold nor feele any thing.

Phil.

If thou canst not hold God, doe but touch him and he shall hold thee, and put feeling into thee. Saint Paul saith, Phil. 3. 1 [...] If that I may apprehend that, for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. It is not Pauls ap­prehending of Christ, but Christ [Page 73] apprehending of Paul, doth the deed.

Tim.

But I am sure my faith is not sound, because it is not attended with assurance of salvation. For I doubt (not to say despaire) thereof. Whereas Divines hold, that the Essence of saving faith consists in a certainty to be saved.

Phil.

Such deliver both a false, and dangerous doctrine; as the carelesse mother 1 Kings 3 19. killed her lit­tle infant, for she over-laid it: So this opinion would presse many weak faiths to death, by laying a greater weight upon them then they can bear, or God doth impose; whereas to be assured of salvation, is not a part of eve­ry true faith, but onely an effect of some strong faiths, and that also not alwayes, but at some times.

Tim.

Is not certainty of salva­tion a part of every true faith?

No verily, much lesse is it the life and formality of faith, which consisteth onely in a re­cumbency on God in Christ, with Jobs resolution, Jo [...] 13. 15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him. Such an adherence, without an assu­rance, is sufficient by Gods mercy to save thy soule. Those that say that none have a sincere faith without a certainty of sal­vation, may with as much truth maintaine, that none are the Kings loyall Subjects, but such as are his Favourites.

Tim.

Is then assurance of sal­vation a peculiar personall favour, indulged by God, onely to some parti­cular persons?

Phil.

Yes verily: Though the salvation of all Gods servants be sure in it selfe, yet is onely assured to the apprehensions of some select people, and that at some times: For it is too fine fare for [Page 75] the best man to feed on every day.

Tim.

May they that have this assurance, afterwards lose it?

Phil.

Undoubtedly they may: God first is gracious to give it them, they for a time carefull to keep it, then negligently lose it, then sorrowfully seeke it. God again is bountifull to restore it, they happy to recover it, for a while diligent to retaine it, then againe foolish to forfeit it, and so the same changes in ones life time often, over, and over a­gaine.

Tim.

But some will say, If I may be infallibly saved without this As­surance, I will never endeavour to attaine it.

Phil.

I would have covered my flowers, if I had suspected such spiders would have suckt them. One may goe to heaven without this Assurance, as certainly, but [Page 76] not so cheerfully, and therefore prudence to obtaine our owne comfort, & piety to obey Gods Command, obligeth us all to give diligence to make our calling and election sure, both in it selfe, and in our apprehension.

XI. Dialogue. God alone can satisfie all objecti­ons of a wounded Conscience.

Tim.

BUt, Sir, these your An­swers are no whit satis­factorie unto me.

Phil.

An Answer may be sa­tisfactorie to the Objection, both in it selfe, and in the judgement of all unprejudiced Hearers, and yet not satisfactorie to the Ob­jecter, and that in two cases: First, when he is poss [...]ssed with the spirit of peevishnesse and [Page 77] perversnesse. It is lost labour to seeke to feed and fill those, who have a greedy Horseleach of ca­villing in their heart, crying Give, give.

Tim.

What is the second case?

Phil.

When the bitternesse of his soule is so great and grie­vous, that he is like the Exo. 6. 9. Israelites in Egypt, which hearkned not to Moses, for anguish of spirit, and for cruel Bondage. Now as those who have meat before them, and will not eate, deserve to starve without pitty: so such are much to be bemoaned, who through some impediment in their mouth, throat, or stomach, cannot chaw, swallow or digest comfort presented unto them.

Tim.

Such is my condition, what then is to be done unto me?

Phil.

I must change my precepts to thee into prayers for thee, that [...]od would Psal. 90. 14. Satisfie thee [Page 78] early with his mercy, that thou mayest rejoyce. Ministers may endeavour it in vaine, whilest they quell one scruple, they start another, whilst they fill one corner of a wounded Consci­ence with comfort, another is emptie. Only God can so satis­fie the soule, that each chink and cranny therein, shall be filled with spirituall joy.

Tim.

What is the difference be­twixt Gods, and mans speaking Peace to a troubled spirit?

Phil.

Man can neither make him to whom he speakes, to heare what he saith, or beleeve what he heares. God speakes with authority, and doth both. His words give hearing to the deafe, and Faith to the Infidell. When, not the Mother of Christ, but Christ himselfe, shall salute a sicke soule with Peace be unto thee, it will leap for joy, as John [Page 79] the babe sprang, though impriso­ned in the darke womb of his Mother. Thus the offender is not comforted, though many of the spectatours, and under-offi­cers tell him he shall be pardoned, untill he heares the same from the mouth of the Judge him­selfe who hath power and place to forgive him; and then his heart reviveth with comfort.

Tim.

God send me such comfort: meane time, I am thankfull unto you for the answers you have given me.

Phil.

All that I wil adde is this. The Lacedemonians had a law, that if a bad man, or one dis­esteemed of the people, chanced to give good counsell, he was to stand by, and another, against whose person the people had no prejudice, was to speake over the same words, which the for­mer had uttered. I am most [Page 80] sensible to my selfe of my owne badnesse, and how justly I am subject to exception. Only my prayer shall be, that whilst I stand by, and am [...]ilent, Gods Spirit which is free from any fault, and full of all perfection, would be pleased to repeat in thy heart, the selfe-same ans­wers I have given to your ob­jections: And then what was weak, shallow and unsatisfying, as it came from my mouth, shall and will be full, powerfull, and satisfactorie, as re-inforced in thee, by Gods Spirit.

XII. Dialogue. Meanes to be used by wounded Consciences, for the recove­ring of comfort.

Tim.

ARe there any usefull meanes to be prescri­bed, whereby wounded Consciences may recover comfort the sooner?

Phil.

Yes, there are.

Tim.

But now adayes some con­demne all using of meanes, let Grace alone (say they) fully and freely to do its own worke: and thereby mans mind will in due time return to a good temper of its ow [...] accord: This is the most spirituall serving of God, whilst using of meanes, makes but Dunces, and Trewants in Christs Schoole.

Phil.

What they pretend spi­rituall, wil prove ai [...]ry and emp­ty, [Page 82] making lewd and lazie Chri­stians: Meanes may and must be used with these cautions. 1. That they be of Gods appointment in his word, and not of mans meere invention. 2. That we stil remem­ber they are but means, and not the main. For to account of helps more then helpes, is the high­way to make them hindrances. Lastly, that none rely barely on the deed done, which conceit will undoe him that did it, especially if any opinion of merit be fixed therein.

Tim.

What is the first meanes I must use, for I re-assume to personate a wounded conscience?

Phil.

Constantly pray to God, that in his due time he would speake peace unto thee.

Tim.

My prayers are better omit­ted then performed: They are so weak they will but bring the greater pu­nishment upon me, and involve me [Page 83] within the Jer. 48. 10 Prophets curse, to those that doe the worke of the Lord negligently.

Phil.

Prayers negligently per­formed, draw a curse, but not prayers weakly performed. The former is when one can do bet­ter, and will not; the latter, is, when one would do better, but alas, he cannot: And such failings as they are his sinnes, so they are his sorrows also: Pray there­fore faintly, that thou maist pray fervently; pray weakly, that thou mayest pray strongly.

Tim.

But in the Law they were forbidden to offer to God any lame Deut. 15. 21.sacrifice, and such are my pray­ers.

Phil.

1. Observe a great diffe­rence, betwixt the materiall Sa­crifice under the Law, and spiritu­al Sacrifices (the calves of the lips) under the Gospell. The former were to be free from all blemish, [Page 84] because they did typifie and re­semble Christ himselfe: The lat­ter (not figuratively representing Christ, but heartily presented un­to him) must be as good as may be gotten, though many imper­fections will cleave to our best performances, which by Gods mercy are forgiven. 2. Know that that in Scripture is accounted lame, which is counterfeit, and dissembling, (in which sense 1 Kings 18. 21. Hypocrites are properly called halters) and therefore if thy prayer though never so weake, be sound, and sincere, it is ac­ceptable with God.

Tim.

What other counsell do you prescribe me?

Phil.

Be diligent in reading the word of God, wherein all comfort is conteined; say not that thou art dumpish and un­disposed to read, but remember how travellers must eat against [Page 85] their stomach; their journey will digest it: and though their Palate find no pleasure for the present, their whole body will feele strength for the future. Thou hast a great journey to go, a wounded conscience is farre to travell to find comfort, (and though weary, shall be welcome at his journeys end) and there­fore must feed on Gods word, even against his own dull dis­position, and shall afterwards reap benefit thereby.

Tim.

Proceed in your appointing of wholsome dyet for my wounded conscience to observe.

Phil.

Avoid solitarinesse, land associate thy selfe with pious and godly company: O the blessed fruits thereof! Such as want skill or boldnesse to begin or set a Psalme, may competently follow tune in consort with others: Many houses in London [Page 86] have so weak walls, and are of so slight and sl [...]nder building, that were they set alone in the fields, probably they would not stand an houre; which now ranged in streets receive support in them selves, and mutually re­turne it to others: So mayst thou in good society, not only be reserved from much mis­chiefe, but also be strengthened and confirmed in many godly exercises, which solely thou couldest not perform.

Tim.

What else must I do?

Phil.

Be industrious in thy calling; I presse this the more, because some erroneously con­ceive that a wounded conscience cancels all Indentures of service, and gives them (during their affliction) a dispensation to be idle. The inhabitants of the Bishoprick ofCambd. Brit. in Durham. Durham pleaded a priviledge, that King Edward the [Page 87] first had no power, although on necessary occasion, to presse them to go out of the Country, because▪ forsooth, they termed themselves Haly-worke-folke, on­ly to be used in defending the holy Shrine of S. Cuthbert. Let none in like manner pretend, that (during the agony of a woun­ded conscience) they are to have no other imployment, then to sit moping to brood their Me­lancholly, or else only to attend their devotions; whereas a good way to divert or asswage their pain within, is to take paines without in their vocation. I am confident, that happy minute which shall put a period to thy misery, shall not find thee idle, but employed, as ever some se­cret good is accrewing to such, who are diligent in their cal­ling.

Tim.

But though wounded [Page 88] consciences are not to be freed from all worke, are they not to be favoured in their worke?

Phil.

Yes verily. Here let me be the Advocate to such Parents and Masters, who have Sonnes, Servants, or others under their authority afflicted with wounded Consciences, O, doe not with the Egyptian task-masters, exact of them the full tale of their bricke, O spare a little till they have recovered some strength. Un­reasonabl [...] that maimed men, should passe on equall duty with such Souldiers as are sound.

Tim.

How must I dispose my selfe on the Lords day?

Phil.

Avoid all servile work, and expend it only in such acti­ons, as tend to the sanctifying thereof. God the great Land­lord of all time hath let out six da [...]s in the weeke to man to [Page 89] farme them; the Seaventh day he reserveth as Demeanes in his owne hand: If therefore we would have quiet possession, & comfortable use of what God hath leased out to us, let us not incroach on his Demeanes. Some Popish Ifitrains on Sunday before Messe, it will raine all weeke more or lesse. A Popish old [...]ime.people make a super­stitious Almanacke of the Sunday, by the fairenesse or foulenesse thereof, guessing of the weather all the weeke after. But I dare boldly say, that from our well or ill spending of the Lords Day, a probable conjecture may be made, how the following weeke will be imployed. Yea I con­ceive, we are bound (as matters now stand in England) to a stricter observation of the Lords Day, then ever before. That a time was due to Gods Service, no Christian in our Kingdome ever did deny: That the same was weekly dispersed in the [Page 90] Lords Day, Holy dayes, Wednes­dayes, Fridayes, Saturdayes, some have earnestly maintained: Seeing therefore, all the last are generally neglected, the former must be more strictly observed; it being otherwise impious, that our devotion ha­ving a narrower channell, should also carry a shallower streame.

Tim.

What other means must I use for expedition of comfort to my wounded Conscience?

Phil.

Confesse2 Sam. 12. 13. Mat. 3. 6. that sinne or sinnes, which most perplexes thee, to some Godly Minister, who by absolution may pro­nounce, and apply pardon unto thee.

Tim.

This confession is but a device of Divines, thereby to skrne themselves into other mens secrets, so to mold, and manage them with more ease to their owne profit.

God forbid they should have any other designe, but your safety, and therefore choose your confessour, where you please to your owne con­tentment; so that you may finde ease, fetch it where you may, it is not our credit, but your cure we stand upon.

Tim.

But such confession hath beene counted rather arack for Sound, then a remedy for wounded Consciences.

Phil.

It proveth so, as abu­sed in the Romish Church, requi­ring an enumeration of all mor­tall sinnes, therein supposing an error, that some sinnes are not mortall, and imposing an impos­sibility, that all can be reckoned up. Thus the conscience is tortu­red, because it can never tread firmly, feeling no bottome, being still uncertain of Confession, (and so of Absolution) whether [Page 92] or no he hath acknowledged all his sinnes. But where this ordi­nance is commended as conve­nient, not commanded as neces­sary, left free, not forced, in ca­ses of extremity, soveraigne use may be made, and hath been found thereof, neither M [...]gistrate nor Minister carrying the Sword or the Keyes in vaine.

Tim.

But, Sir, I expected some rare inventions from you, for curing wounded consciences: whereas [...] your receipts hitherto are old, stale, usuall, common, and ordinary; there is nothing new in any of them.

Phil.

I answer, First, if a wounded conscience had been a [...] disease, never heard of in Gods Word before this time, [...] perchance we must have been forced to find out new remedies. But it is an old Malady, and there­fore old Physick is best applyed unto it. Secondly, the Receipts in­deed [Page 93] are old, because prescribed by him, who is theDan. 7. 9. Ancient of dayes. But the older the better, because warranted by experi­ence to be effectuall. Gods ordi­nances are like the cloathes Deu. 29. 5. of the Children of Israel, during our wandring in the wildernesse of this world, they never wax old, so as to have their vertue in ope­ration abated or decayed. Third­ly, whereas you call them com­mon, would to God they were so, and as generally practiced, as they are usually prescribed. Lastly, know we meddle not with curious heads, which are pleased with new-fangled rari­ties, but with wounded consciences, who love solid comfort. Sup­pose our Receipts ordinary and obvious; If2 Kings 5 12. Naaman counts the cure too cheap and easie, none will pitty him if still he be pain­ed with his leprosie.

But your receipts are too loose and large, not fitted and appro­priated to my malady alone. For all these, Pray, reade, keep good company, be diligent in thy cal­ling, observe the Sabbath, con­fesse thy sinnes, &c.) may as well be prescribed to one guilty of pre­sumption, as to me ready to de­spaire.

Phil.

It doth not follow that our physick is not proper for one, because it may be profita­ble for both.

Tim.

But Despaire and Presump­tion being contrary diseases flowing from contrary causes, must have con­trary cures.

Phil.

Though they flow im­mediately from contrary caufes, yet originally from the common fountaine of naturall corruption: And therefore such meanes as I have propounded, tending towards the mortifying [Page 95] of our corrupt nature, may ge­nerally, though not equally be usefull to humble the presu­ming, and comfort the despai­ring; But to cut off cavills in the next Dialogue, wee'l come closely to peculiar counsells un­to thee.

XIII. Dialogue. Foure wholsome counsells, for a wounded Conscience to pra­ctice.

Tim.

PErforme your promise, which is the first coun­sell you commend unto me?

Phil.

Take heed of ever re­nounceing thy filiall interest in God, though thy sinnes deserve that he should disclaime his Paternall relation to thee. The Prodigall Luk. 15. 21 returning to his Fa­ther [Page 96] did not say, I am not thy sonne, but, I am no more worthy to be cal­led thy sonne. Beware of bastar­dizing thy selfe, being as much as Satan desires, and more then he hopes to obtaine. Other­wise thy folly would give him more then his fury could get.

Tim.

I conceive this a need full c [...]tion.

Phil.

It will appeare so if we consider, what theEphes 6. 12. Apostle saith, that we wrestle with princi­palities and powers. Now wrestlers in the Olympian games were na­ked, and anointed with oile to make them slick, and glibbery, so to afford no hold-fast to such as strove with them. Let us not gratifie the Devill with this ad­vantage against our selves, at any time to disclaime our Sonne­ship in God: If the Devill catch­eth us at this lock, he will throw us flat, and hazard the breaking [Page 97] of our necks with finall despair. Oh no! Still keep this point; a Prodigal sonne I am, but a sonne, no bastard: A lost sheepe, but a sheepe, no goate: An unprofitable servant, but Gods servant, and not absolute slave to Sathan.

Tim.

Proceed to your second counsell.

Phil.

Give credit to what grave and godly persons con­ceive of thy condition, rather then what thy own fear, (an in­competent Judge) may suggest unto thee. A seared Conscience thinks better of it selfe, a wound­ed worse, then it ought: The former may account all sinne a sport, the latter all sport a sin: Melancholy men, when sick, are ready to conceit any cold to be the cough of the Lungs, and an ordinary Pustle, no lesse then the plague sore. So wounded consciences conceive sinnes of infirmity to be [Page 98] of presumption, sins of ignorance to be of knowledge, apprehend­ing their case more dangerous then it is indeed.

Tim.

But it seemeth unreasona­ble that I should rather trust ano­thers saying, then my own sense of my selfe.

Phil.

Every man is best judge of his own selfe, if he be his own selfe, but during the swound of a wounded conscience, I deny thee to be come to thy own selfe: whilst thine eyes are blubbering, and a teare hangs before thy sight, thou canst not see things cleare­ly and truly, because looking through a double medium of aire and water; so whilst this cloud of pensivenes is pendent before the eyes of thy soule, thy estate is erroneously represented unto thee.

Tim.

What is your third coun­sell?

In thy agony of a troubled conscience alwayes look upwards unto a gracious God to keep thy soule steady, for looking down­ward on thy selfe, thou shalt find nothing but what will encrease thy feare, infinite sinnes, good deeds few, and imperfect: It is not thy Faith, but Gods faithful­nesse thou must relie upon; cast­ing thine eyes downwards on thy selfe to behold the great di­stance betwixt what thou deser­vest, and what thou desirest, is enough to make thee giddy, stag­ger and reel into despaire: Ever therefore Lift up thine eyes unto the Psal. 121 1. hils, from whence commeth thy helpe, never viewing the deepe Dale of thy own unworthines, but to abate thy pride when tempted to presumption.

Tim.

Sir, your fourth and last counsell.

Phil.

Be not disheartned as if [Page 100] comfort would not come at all, because it comes not all at once, but patiently attend Gods leisure: they are not styled the swift, but theIsa. 55. 3. & 58. 8. Sure mercies of David: And the same Prophet saith,1 Kings 18. 43. The glory of the Lord shall be thy Rere­ward, this we know comes up last to secure and make good all the rest: Be assured, where grace patiently leads the Front, glory at last will be in the Reare. Re­member the prodigious pati­ence of Eliahs servant.

Tim.

Wherein was it remarke­able?

Phil.

In obedience to his ma­ster: He went severall times to the Sea; it is tedious for me to tell what was not troublesome for him to doe, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. times sent down steepe Carmel, with danger, and up it again with difficulty, and all to bring newes of nothing, till his last [Page 101] journey, which made recom­pence for all the rest, with the tydings of a cloud arising. So thy thirsty soule, long parched with drowth for want of cōfort, though late, at last, shall be plen­tifully refreshed with the dew of consolation.

Tim.

I shall be happy if I find it so.

Phil.

Consider the causes why a broken Leg is incureable in a Horse, and easily cureable in a man: The Horse is incapa­ble of counsell to submit him­selfe to the Farrier, & therefore in case his Leg be set, he flings, flounces, and flies out, unjoynt­ing it again by his mis-imployed mettle, counting all binding to be shackles & fetters unto him; whereas a man willingly resign­eth himselfe to be ordered by the Chyrurgeon, preferring rather to be a prisoner for some dayes, [Page 102] then a Cripple all his life. Be not like a Psal. 32. 9. Horse or Mule, which have no understanding; but let patience have its perfect worke. In thee▪ When God goeth about to bind up the James 1. 3. Isa. 61. 1. broken hearted, tarry his time, though ease come not at an instant, yea though it be pain­full for the present, in due time thou shalt certainly receive com­fort.

XIV. Dialogue. Comfortable meditations for wounded Consciences to muse upon.

Tim.

Furnish me I pray with some comfortable me­ditations; whereon I may busie and imploy my soule when alone.

Phil.

First consider that our Saviour had not only a notio­nall, [Page 103] but an experimentall and meritorious knowledge of the paines of a wounded conscience, when hanging on the Crosse: If Pau [...] conce [...]ved himselfe happy being to answer for himself, before King Agrippa, especially because he knew * Acts 26. 2 him to be expert in all the cu­stomes and questions of the Jewes; How much more just cause hath thy wounded conscience of comfort and joy, being in thy prayers to plead before Christ himself, who hath felt thy pain, and deserved that in due time by his stripes thou shouldst be healed?

Tim.

Proceed I pray in this com­fortable subject.

Phil.

Secondly, consider that herein, like Eliah, thou needest not complaine that thou art left alone, seeing the best of Gods Saints in all ages have smarted in the same kind; instance in David: Indeed sometimes he boasteth [Page 102] [...] [Page 103] [...] [Page 104] how he lay in green Psa. 23. 2 pastures, and was led by still waters; But after he bemoaneth that he sinks in Psa. 69. 2. deepe mire, where there was no standing. What is become of those greene pastures? Parched up with the drowth. Where are those still waters? Troubled with the tempest of affliction. The same David compareth himselfe to anCompare P [...]al. 102. 6 with Psa. 102. 5. owle, and in the next Psalme resembleth him­selfe to an Eagle. Doe two fowles flie of more different kind? The one the Scorne, the other the Soveraigne; the one the slowest, the other the swiftest; the one the most sharp sighted, the other the most dimme-eyed of all Birds. Wonder not then, to find in thy selfe sudden, and strange alterations. It fared thus with all Gods servants, in their agonies of temptation, and be confident thereof, though [Page 105] now run aground, with griefe, in due time thou shalt be all afloate with comfort.

Tim.

I am loath to interrupt you in so welcome a discourse.

Phil.

Thirdly, consider, that thou hast had, though not grace enough to cure thee, yet enough to keep thee, and conclude that he, whose goodnesse hath so long held thy head above water from drowning, will at last bring thy whole body safely to the shoare. The Wife of Manoah, had more faith then her husband, and thus she reasoned; Judg. 13. 23. If the Lord were pleased to kill us he would not have received a burnt and a meat offering at our hands. Thou mayst argue in like man­ner: If God had intended finally to forsake me, he would never so often have heard and accepted my prayers, in such a measure as to vouchsafe unto [Page 106] me, though not full deliverance from, free preservation in my affliction. Know God hath done great things for thee already, and thou mayst conclude from his grace of supportation hitherto, grace of ease, and relaxation hereafter.

Tim.

It is pitty to disturb you, proceed.

Phil.

Fourthly, consider, that besides the private stock of thy owne, thou tradest on the pub­lick store of all good mens prayers, put up to heaven for thee. What a mixture of Lan­guages met in Hierusalem at Pente­cost, Acts 2. Parthians, Medes, and Ela­mites, &c. But conceive to thy comfort, what a medley of prayers, in severall tongues dai­ly, center themselves in Gods eares in thy behalfe, English, Scotch, Irish, French, Dutch, &c. insomuch, that perchance thou [Page 107] dost not understand one syllable of their prayers, by whom thou mayst reap benefit.

Tim.

Is it not requisite to inti­tle me to the profit of other mens prayers, that I particularly know their persons which pray for me?

Phil.

Not at all, no more then it is needfull that the eye or face must see the backward parts, which is difficult, or the inward parts of the body, which is impossible; without which sight, by sympathie they serve one another. And such is the correspondency by prayers, betwixt the mysticall members of Christs body, corporally un­seen one by another.

Tim.

Proceed to a fift Medita­tion.

Phil.

Consider, there be five kinds of Consciences on foot in the world: First, an ignorant conscience, which neither sees nor [Page 108] saith any thing, neither beholds the sinnes in a soule, nor re­proves them. Secondly, the flattering conscience, whose speech is worse then silence it selfe, which though seeing sin, sooths men in the committing thereof. Thirdly, the seared conscience, which hath neither sight, speech, nor sense, in men that ar [...] Ephes. 4. 19. past feeling. Fourthly, a wounded con­science, frighted with sinne. The last, and best, is a quiet, and cleare conscience, pacified in Christ Jesus. Of these the fourth is thy case, incomparably better then the three former, so that a wise man would not take a world to change with them. Yea a woun­ded conscience is rather painfull then sinfull, an affliction, no of­fence, and is in the ready way, at the next remove, to be turned into a quiet conscience.

Tim.

I hearken unto you with [Page 109] attention and comfort.

Phil.

Lastly, consider the good effects of a wounded con­science, privative for the pre­sent, and positive for the future. First, primative, this heavinesse of thy heart (for the time being) is a bridle to thy soule, keeping it from many sinnes it would otherwise commit. Thou that now sittest sad in thy shop, or walkest p [...]sive in thy Parlour, or standest sighing in thy cham­ber, or lyest sobbing on thy bed, mightest perchance at the same time be drunke, or wanton, or worse, if not restrained by this affliction. God saith in his Pro­phet to Judah, Hos. 2. 6. I will [...]edge thy way with thornes, namely, to keep Judah from committing spiritu­all fornication. It is confest that a wounded conscience, for the time, is a hedge of thornes, (as the mes­senger of Satan, sent to buffet S. [Page 110] Paul, is termed a 2 Cor. 12 7. thorne in the flesh.) But this thornie fence keeps our wild spirits in the true way, which otherwise would be strag­ling: and it is better to be held in the right road with bryars and brambles, then to wander on beds of roses, in a wrong path, which leadeth to destruction.

Tim.

What are the positive be­nefits of a wounded conscience?

Phil.

Thereby the graces in thy soule will be proved, appro­ved, improved. Oh how cleare will thy Sun-shine be, when this cloud is blowne over? And here I can hardly hold from envying thy happinesse hereafter. O that I might have thy future Crowne, without thy present Crosse; thy Triumphs, without thy Tryall; thy Conquest, without thy Com­bat! But I recall my wish, as im­possible, seeing what God hath joy­ned together, no man can put asun­der. [Page 111] These things are so twisted together, I must have both or neither.

XV. Dialogue. That is not alwayes the greatest sinne whereof a man is guil­ty, wherewith his conscience is most pained for the pre­sent.

Tim.

IS that the greatest sin in a mans soule, wherewith his wounded con cience, in the agony thereof, is most perplexed?

Phil.

It is so commonly, but not constantly. Commonly in­deed, that sin most paineth and pincheth him, which commands as principall in his soule.

Tim.

Have all mens hearts some one paramount sinne, which rules [Page 112] as Soveraigne over all the rest?

Phil.

Most have. Yet as all Countries are not Monarchies, governed by Kings, but some by free-States, where many together have equall power; so it is pos­sible (though rare) that one man may have two, three, or more sinnes, which joyntly domineer in his heart, without any dis­cernable superiority betwixt them.

Tim.

Which are the sinnes that most generally wound and afflict a man, when his Conscience is ter­rified?

Phil.

No generall rule can exactly be given herein. Some­times that sin, in acting where­of, he took most delight, it be­ing just, that the sweetnesse of his corporall pleasure, should be sauced with more spirituall sad­nesse. Sometimes that sinne, [Page 113] which (though not the foulest) is the frequentest in him. Thus his idle words may perplex him more, then his oathes or per­jury it selfe. Sometimes that sin (not which is most odious be­fore God, but) most scandalous before men, doth most afflict him, because drawing greatest disgrace upon his person and profession. Sometimes that sin which he last committed, be­cause all the circumstances ther­of are still firme and fresh in his memory. Sometimes that sin, which (though long since by him committed) he hath heard very lately powerfully repro­ved; and no wonder, if an old gall new rubbed over, smart the most. Sometimes that sinne which formerly he most slight­ed and neglected, as so inconsi­derably small, that it was un­worthy of any sorrow for it, and [Page 114] yet now it may prove the shar­pest sting in his conscience.

Tim.

May not one who is guilty of very great sinnes, sometimes have his conscience much troubled onely for a small one?

Phil.

Yes verily: Country Patients often complaine, not of the disease which is most dange­rous, but most conspicuous. Yea sometimes they are more trou­bled with the symptome of a disease (suppose an ill colour, bad breath, weak stomach) then with the disease it selfe. So in the soule, the conscience oft-times is most wounded, not with that of­fence which is, but appeares most, and a sinne incomparably small to others, whereof the party is guilty, may most mo­lest for the present, and that for three reasons.

Tim.

Reckon them in order.

Phil.

First, that God may [Page 115] shew in him, that as sinnes are like the sands in number, so they are farre above them in heavi­nesse, whereof the least crum ta­ken asunder, and laid on the conscience, by Gods hand, in full weight thereof, is enough to drive it to despaire.

Tim.

What is the second rea­son?

Phil.

To manifest Gods ju­stice, that those should be choa­ked with a gnat-sinne, who have swallowed many Camel-sinnes, without the least regreat. Thus some may be terrified for not fasting on Friday, because indeed they have been drunk on Sunday: They may be perplexed for their wanton dreames, when sleeping, because they were ne­ver truly humbled for their wic­ked deeds, when waking. Yea those who never feared Babylon the Great, may be frighted with [Page 116] little Zoar; I meane, such as have been faulty in flat superstition, may be tortured for commit­ting, or omitting a thing, in its owne nature, indifferent.

Tim.

What is the third rea­son?

Phil.

That this paine for a lesser sinne may occasion his se­rious scrutiny, into greater of­fences. Any paltry curre may serve to start and put up the game out of the bushes, whilst fiercer, and fleeter Hounds are behind to course and catch it. God doth make use of a smaller sinne, to raise and rouze the conscience out of security, and to put it up, as we say, to be cha­sed, by the Reserve of far grea­ter offences, lurking behind in the soule, unseene, and unsorrowed for.

Tim.

May not the conscience be troubled at that, which in very [Page 117] deed is no sinne at all, nor hath tru­ly so much, as but the appearance of evill in it?

Phil.

It may. Through the er­ror of the understanding such a mistake may follow in the con­science.

Tim.

What is to be done in such a case?

Phil.

The parties judgement must be rectified, before his con­science can be pacified. Then is it the wisest way to perswade him to lay the Axe of repentance, to the Root of corruption in his heart. When reall sinnes in his soule are felled by unfained sor­row, causelesse scruples will fall of themselves. Till that root be cut downe, not onely the least bough, and branch of that tree, but the smallest sprig, twig, and leafe thereof, yea the very empty [...]hadow of a leafe (mista­ken for a sinne, and created a [Page 118] fault by the jealousie of a mis­informed judgement) is suffici­ent intollerably to torture a wounded conscience.

XVI. Dialogue. Obstructions hindring the speedy flowing of comfort into a troubled soule.

Tim.

HOw commeth it to passe, that comfort is so long a comming to some wounded consciences?

Phil.

It proceeds from several causes, either from God, not yet pleased to give it; or the Pati­ent, not yet prepared to receive it; or the Minister, not well fit­ted to deliver it.

Tim.

How from God not yet plea­sed to give it?

Phil.

His time to bestow con­solation [Page 119] is not yet come: now no plummets of the heaviest humane importunity can so weigh downe Gods Clock of Time, as to make it strike one minute before his houre be come. Till then his Mother her selfe could not prevaile with John 2. 4. Christ to worke a Miracle, and turn water into wine: and till that minute appointed approach, God will not, in a wounded conscience, con­vert the water of affliction, into that wine of comfort, which maketh glad the heart of the soule.

Tim.

How may the hindrance be in the Patient himselfe?

Phil.

He may as yet not be sufficiently humbled, or else God perchance in his provi­dence fore-seeth, that as the prodigall child, when he had re­ceived his portion, riotously mis­spent it; so this sick soule, if com­fort were imparted unto him, [Page 120] would prove an unthrift and ill husband upon it, would lose and lavish it. God therefore con­ceiveth it most for his glory, and the others good, to keep the comfort still in his owne hand, till the wounded conscience get more wisdome to manage and employ it.

Tim.

May not the sick mans too meane opinion of the Minister, be a cause why he reaps no more com­fort by his counsell?

Phil.

It may. Perchance, the sicke man hath formerly slight­and neglected that Minister, and God will not now make him the instrument for his comfort, who before had beene the object of his contempt. But on the other side, we must also know that perchance the parties over-high opinion of the Ministers parts, piety, and corporall presence, (as if he cured where he came, [Page 121] and carryed ease with him) may hinder the operation of his ad­vice. For God growes jealous of so suspicious an instrument who probably may be mistaken for the principall. Whereas a meaner man, of whose spiritu­alnesse the patient hath not so high carnall conceipts, may prove more effectuall in com­forting, because not within the compasse of suspition to eclipse God of his glory.

Tim.

How may the obstructions be in the Minister himselfe?

Phil.

If he comes unprepared by prayer, or possessed with pride, or uns [...]ilfull in what he undertakes; wherefore in such cases a Minister may doe well to reflect on himselfe, (as theMat. 17. 19. Disciples did when they could not cast out the Devill) and to call his heart to account, what may be the cause thereof; par­ticularly [Page 122] whether some unre­pented-for sinne in himselfe, hath not hindred the effects of his councells in others.

Tim.

However you would not have him wholly disheartned, with his ill successe.

Phil.

O no; but let him com­fort himselfe with these consi­derations. First, that though the Patient gets no benefit by him, he may gain experience by the patient, thereby being enabled more effectually to proceede, with some other in the same disease. 2. Though the sickman refuseth comfort for the pre­sent, yet what doth not sink on a sudden, may soake in by de­grees, and may prove profita­ble afterwards. Thirdly, his unsucceeding paines may not­withstanding facilitate comfort for another to worke in the same body, as Solomon built a [Page 123] Temple with most materialls formerly provided, and brought thither by David. Lastly, grant his paines altogether lost on the wounded Conscience, yet his1 Cor. 15 58. La­bour is not in vaine in the Lord, who without respect to the event will reward his endea­vours.

Tim.

But what if this Minister hath beene the means to cast this sick man downe, and now cannot comfort him againe?

Phil.

In such a case, he must make this sad accident the more matter for his humiliation, but not for his dejection. Be­sides, he is bound, both in ho­nour and honesty, Civility and Christianity, to procure what he cannot performe, cal­ling in the advice of o [...]hers more able to assist him, not con­ceiving out of pride or envie, that the discreet craving of the [Page 124] helpe of others, is a disgracefull confessing of his owne weak­nesse; like those malitious Mid­wives, who had rather that the woman in travaile should mis­carry, then be safely delivered by the hand of another, more skilfull then themselves.

XVII. Dialogue. What is to be conceived of their finall estate who die in a wounded Conscience without any visible comfort.

Tim.

WHat thinke you of such, who yeeld up their ghost in the agony of an af­ flicted spirit, without receiving the least sensible degree of comfort?

Phil.

Let me be your remem­brancer to call or keep in your mind, what I said before, that [Page 125] our discourse onely concerneth the Children of God: This no­tion renued I answer. It is possi­ble that the sick soule may re­ceive secret solace, though the standers by doe not perceive it. We know how insensibly Satan may spirt and inject Despaire in­to a heart, and shall we not allow the Lord of heaven to be more dextrous and active with his Antidotes, then the devil is with his Poysons?

Tim.

Surely if he had any such comfort, he would shew it by words, signes, or some way, were it onely but to comfort his sad kindred, and content such sorrowfull friends which survive him; Were there any hidden fire of consolation kindled in his heart, it would sparkle in his looks and gestures, especially seeing no ob­ligation of secrecie is imposed on him, as on the Mar. 8. 26. blind man, when healed, to tell none thereof.

It may be he cannot discover the comfort he hath received, and that for two rea­sons: First, because it comes so late, when he lyeth in the Merches of life and death, being so weak, that he can neither speak, nor make signes with Zechariah, be­ing at that very instant▪ when the silver cord is ready to be loosed, and the golden bowle to be broken, and the pitcher to be broken at the foun­taine, and the wheele to be broken at the cisterne.

Tim.

What may be the other reason?

Phil.

Because the Comfort it selfe may be incommunicable in its owne nature, which the party can take, and not tell; en­joy, and not expresse; receive, and not impart: As by the as­sistance of Gods Spirit, he sent up Rom. 8. 26. groanes which cannot be utte­red: so the same may from God [Page 127] be returned with comfort, which cannot be uttered; and as hee had many invisible and privy pangs, concealed from the cog­nizance of others, so may God give him secret comfort, known unto himself alone, without any other mens sharing in the no­tice thereof. Prov. 14. 10. The heart knoweth his owne bitternesse, and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy. So that his comfort may be compared to the new name given to Gods servants, Rev. 2. 17 which no man knoweth, save he that receiveth it.

Tim.

All this proceeds on what is possible or probable, but amounts to no certainty.

Phil.

Well then, suppose the worst, this is most sure, though he die without tasting of any comfort here, he may instantly partake of everlasting joyes hereafter. Surely many a de­spairing soule, groaning out his [Page 112] last breath, with feare and thought to sinke downe to hell, hath presently beene counter­manded by Gods goodnesse to eternall happinesse.

Tim.

What you say herein, no man alive can confirme or confute, as being knowne to God alone, and the soule of the party. Only I must confesse, that you have charity on your side.

Phil.

I have more then cha­rity, namely, Gods plain & posi­tive Promise, Mat. 5. 4. Blessed are such as mourne, for they shall be comforted. Now though the particular time, when, be not expressed, yet the latest date that can be al­lowed, must be in the world to come, where such mourners, who have not felt God in his comfort here, shall see him in his glory in Heaven.

Tim.

But some who have led pious and godly lives, have depar­ted, [Page 129] pronouncing the sentence of con­demnation upon themselves, having one foot already in hell by their owne confession.

Phil.

Such confessions are of no validity, wherein their feare bears false witnesse against their faith. The finenesse of the whole cloath of their life, must not be thought the worse of, for a little course list at the last. And also their finall estate is not to be construed by what was dark, doubtfull, and desperate at their deaths, but must be expounded, by what was plaine, cleare, and comfortable, in their lives.

Tim.

You then are confident, that a holy life, must have a happy death.

Phil.

Most confident. The Logicians hold, that, although from false premises a true con­clusion may somtimes follow; yet from true propositions, nothing but a Ex veris possunt, nil nisi ve [...]a sequi. truth can be [Page 130] thence inferred, so though sometimes a bad life may be attended with a good death, (namely, by reason of repen­tance, though slow, sincere, though late, yet unfaigned, be­ing seasonably interposed) but where a godly and gracious life hath gone before, there a good death must of necessity follow; which, though some­times dolefull (for want of ap­parent comfort) to their survi­ving friends, can never be dan­gerous to the party deceased. Remember what S. Paul saith, Col. 3. 3. Our life is hid with Christ in God.

Tim.

What makes that place to your purpose?

Phil.

Exceeding much. Five cordiall observations are cou­ched therein. First, that God sets a high price, and valuation on the soules of his servants, in [Page 131] that he is pleased to hide them: None will hide toyes, and trifles, but what is counted a treasure. Secondly, the word hide, as a re­lative importeth, that some seeke after our soules, being none other then Sathan himself, that roaring Lyon, who goes about 1 Pet. 5. 8 SEEKING, whom he may de­vour. But the best is, let him seeke, and seeke, and seeke, till his malice be wearie, (if that be possible) we cannot be hurt by him, whilst we are hid in God. Thirdly, grant Satan find us there, he cannot fetch us thence: Our soules are bound in the bun­dle of life, with the Lord our God. So that, be it spoken with reve­rence, God first must be stor­med with force or [...], before the soule of a Saint-sinner, hid in him, can be surprized. Fourth­ly, we see the reason, why so many are at a losse, in the agony [Page 132] of a wounded conscience, concer­ning their spirituall estate. For they looke for their life in a wrong place, namely to finde it in their owne piety, purity, and inherent righteousnesse. But though they seeke, and search, and dig, and dive never so deep, all in vaine. For though Adams life was hid in himselfe, and he intrusted with the keeping his owne integrity, yet, since Christs coming, all the originall evidences of our salvation are kept in a higher office, namely, hidden in God himselfe. Lastly, as our English proverb saith, he that hath hid can finde; so God (to whom belongs the Psal. 68. 20. issues from death) can infallibly finde out that soule that is hidden in him, though it may seeme, when dy­ing, even to labour to lose it self in a fit of despaire.

Tim.

It is pitty, but that so [Page 133] comfortable a doctrine should be true.

Phil.

It is most true: Surely as Luk. 2. 48 Joseph and Mary conceived, that they had lost Christ in a crowd, and sought him three dayes sorrowing, till at last they found him beyond their ex­pectation, safe and sound, sit­ting in the Temple: So many pensive parents solicitous for the soules of their children, have even given them for gone, and lamented them lost (be­cause dying without visible comfort) and yet, in due time, shall finde them to their joy and comfort, safely possessed of ho­nour and happinesse, in the midst of the heavenly Temple, and Church Triumphant in glory.

XVIII. Dialogue. Of the different time and man­ner of the comming of com­fort to such who are healed of a wounded conscience.

Tim.

HOw long may a servant of God lye under the burden of a wounded conscience?

Phil.

Act. 1. 7. It is not for us to know the times and the seasons, which the Father hath put in his owne power. God alone knows whether their griefe shall be measured unto them, by houres, or dayes, or weeks, or moneths, or many yeeres.

Tim.

How then is it that Sain [...] Paul saith, that God will give us the [...] Cor. 10. 13. issue with the temptation, if one may long be visited with this malady?

Phil.

The Apostle is not so to [Page 135] be understood, as if the tempta­tion and issue were twins, both borne at the same instant; for then no affliction could last long, but must be ended as soone as it is begun; whereas we Act. 9. 33 read how Aeneas truly pious, was bed­rid of the Palsie 8. yeeres; the woman diseased with a Mat. 9. 2. bloody issue 12. yeeres; another woman bowed by infirmity Luk. 13. 11. 18. yeers; and the man Joh. 5. 5. lame 38. yeeres at the poole of Bethesda.

Tim.

What then is the meaning of the Apostle?

Phil.

God will give the issue with the temptation, that is, the temp­tation and the issue bear both the same date in Gods decreeing them, though not in his applying them: At the same time, where­in he resolved his servants shall be tempted, he also concluded of the means and manner, how the same persons should infallibly be [Page 136] delivered. Or thus: God will give the issue with the temptation; that is, as certainly, though not as suddenly. Though they goe not abreast, yet they are joyned successively, like two links in a chaine, where one en­deth, the other doth begin. Be­sides, there is a two-fold issue; one, through a temptation; ano­ther, out of a temptation. The former is but mediate, not finall; an issue, to an issue, onely suppor­ting the person, tempted for the present, and preserving him for a future full deliverance. Under­stand the Apostle thus, and the issue is alwayes both given and applyed to Gods children, with the temptation, though the temp­tation may last long after, before fully removed.

Tim.

I perceive then, that in some, awounded conscience may con­tinue many yeeres.

So it may. I read of a poore widdow, in the Land ofMelchior Adamus in vita Theo­logorum [...] pag. 198. Limburgh, who had nine chil­dren, and for 13. yeares toge­ther, was miserably afflicted in mind, only because she had at­tended the dressing and feeding of her little ones, before going to Masse. At last it pleased God, to sanctifie the endeavours of Franciscus Junius, that learned godly Divine, that upon true in­formation of her judgement, she was presently and perfectly comforted.

Tim.

Doth God give ease to all in such manner, on a sudden?

Phil.

O no: Some receive comfort all in a lump, and in an instant they passe from Mid­night, to bright day, without any dawning betwixt. Others re­ceive consolation by degrees, which is not poured, but dropt into them by little and little.

Strange, that Gods dealing herein should be so different with his servants.

Phil.

It is to shew, that as in his proceedings there is no Jam. 1. 17 va­riablenesse, such as may import him mutable or impotent, so in the same there is very much va­riety, to prove the fulnesse of his power, and freedome of his pleasure.

Tim.

Why doth not God give them consolation all at once?

Phil.

The more to employ their prayers, and exercise their patience. One may admire why Ruth 2. 8 Boaz did not give to Ruth a quantity of Corn more or lesse, so sending her home to her mo­ther, but that rather he kept her still to gleane; but this was the reason, because that is the best charity, which so relieves ano­thers poverty, as still continues their industry▪ God in like man­ner, [Page 139] will not give some consola­tion all at once, he will not spoil their (painful but) pious profes­sion of gleaning; still they must pray, and gather, and pray and gleane, here an eare, there a handfull of comfort, which God scatters in favour unto them.

Tim.

What must the party doe when he perceives God and his com­fort beginning to draw nigh unto him?

Phil.

AsJoh. 11. 20 Martha, when she heard that Christ was a comming staid not a minute at home, but went out of her house to meet him: So must a sick soule, when consolation is a comming, haste out of himselfe, and hie to enter­tain God with his thankefullnes. The best way to make a Homer of comfort encrease to an Ephah, (which isExo. 16. 36. ten times as much) is to be heartily gratefull for what one hath already, that his [Page 140] store may be multiplyed: He shall never want more, who is thankefull for, and thrifty with a little: Whereas ingratitude doth not only stop the flowing of more mercy, but even spils what was formerly received.

XIX. Dialogue. How such who are compleatly cured of a wounded conscience, are to demeane themselves.

Tim.

GIve me leave now to take upon me the person of one recovered out of a wounded conscience.

Phil.

In the first place, I must heartily congratulate thy happy condition, and must rejoyce at thy upsitting, whom God hath raised from the bed of despaire: welcome David out of the deepe, [Page 141] Daniel out of the Lions Den, Jo­nah, from the Whales belly: Wel­come Job from the Dunghill, re­stored to health and wealth a­gaine.

Tim.

Yea, but when Jobs bre­theren came to visit him after his recovery, every one gave him a piece of Job 42. 11money, and an eare-ring of gold: But the Present I expect from you, let it be I pray some of your good counsell, for my future deport­ment.

Phil.

I have need to come to thee, and commest thou to me? Faine would I be a Paul, sitting at the feet of such a Gamaliel, who hath been cured of a wounded consci­ence, in the height thereof: I would turn my tongue into eares, and listen attentively to what ti­dings he bringeth from Hell it selfe. Yea, I should be worse then the brethren of Dives, if I should not believe one risen from [Page 142] the dead, for such in effect I con­ceive to be his condition.

Tim.

But waving these digressi­ons, I pray proceed to give me good advice.

Phil.

First, thankfully owne God, thy principall restorer, & Comforter Paramount. Re­member that of Luk. 17. 17. ten Lepers, one onely returned to give thanks; which sheweth, that by nature, without grace over-swaying us, it is ten to one if we be thankful. Omit not also thy thankfulnesse to good men, not onely to such, who have been the Architects of thy comfort, but even to those, who though they have built nothing, have borne bur­thens towards thy recovery.

Tim.

Goe on I pray in your good counsell.

Phil.

Associate thy self with men of afflicted minds, with whom thou mayst expend thy [Page 143] time, to thine and their best ad­vantage. O how excellently did Paul comply with Aquila and Priscilla! As their hearts a­greed in the generall professi­on of Piety, so their hands met in the trade of Act▪ 183. Tent-makers, they abode and wrought together, being of the same occupation. Thus I count all wounded conscien­ces of the same company, and may mutually reap comfort one by another. Onely here is the difference: they (poore soules) are still bound to their hard task and trade, whilst thou (happy man) hast thy Indentures cancel­led, and being free of that Profes­sion, art able to instruct others therein.

Tim.

What instructions must I commend unto them?

Phil.

Even the same comfort, wherewith thou thy selfe was 2 Cor. [...]. 4. com­forted of God: with David tell [Page 144] them what God hath done for thy soule; and with Peter, being strong Luk. 22. 32. strengthen thy brethren: conceive thy [...] like Joseph, therefore sent before, and sold into the Egypt of a wounded conscience, (where thy feet were hurt in the stocks, the irons entered into thy soule) that thou mightest provide food for the fa­mine of others, and especially be a purveyor of comfort for those thy bretheren, which afterwards shall follow thee down into the same dolefull condition.

Tim.

What else must I doe for my afflicted bretheren?

Phil.

Pray heartily to God in their behalfe: When David had prayed, Psal. 25. 2. O my God I trust in thee, let me not be ashamed; In the next verse (as if conscious to himself, that his prayers were too restrictive, narrow, and ni­gardly) he enlargeth the bounds thereof, and builds them on a [Page 145] broader bottome; yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: Let cha­rity in thy devotions have Recho­both, roome enough: beware of pent Petitions confined to thy private good, but extend them to all Gods servants, but especi­ally all wounded consciences.

Tim.

Must I not also pray for those servants of God, which hither­to have not been wounded in con­ence?

Phil.

Yes verily, that God would keepe them from, or cure them in the exquisite torment thereof: Beggars when they crave an almes, constantly use one main motive, that the per­son of whom they beg may be preserved from that misery, whereof they themselves have had wofull experience: If they be blind, they cry, Master God blesse your eye sight; if lame, God blesse your limbs; if undone by ca­suall [Page 146] burning, God blesse you and yours from fire. Christ, though his person be now glorifyed in heaven, yet he is still subject by sympathy of his Saints on earth, to hunger, nakednes, imprison­ment, and a wounded conscience, and so may stand in need of fee­ding, cloathing, visiting, com­forting, and curing: Now when thou prayest to Christ, for any favour, it is a good plea to urge, edge, and enforce thy request withall, Lord grant me such or such a grace, and never mayst thou Lord, in thy mysticall members, never be tortured and tormented with the a­gony of a wounded conscience, in the deepest distresse thereof.

Tim.

How must I behave my self for the time to come?

Phil.

Walke humbly before God, and carefully avoid the smallest sinne, alwaies remem­bringJoh. 5. 14. Christs caution; Behold [Page 147] thou art made whole, [...]inne no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.

XX. Dialogue. Whether one cured of a wounded Conscience, be subject to a re­lapse.

Tim.

MAy a man, once per­fectly healed of a wounded con [...]cience, and for some yeares in peaceable possession of com­fort, afterwards fall back into his for­mer disease?

Phil.

Nothing appeares in Scripture or reason to the con­trary, though examples of reall relapses are very rare, because Gods servants are carefull to a­void sinne, the cause thereof, and being once burnt therewith, ever after dread the fire of a wounded conscience.

[Page 146] [...][Page 147] [...][Page 148]
Tim.

Why call you it a relapse?

Phil.

To distinguish it from those relapses more usuall and obvious, whereby such, who have snatcht comfort, before God gave it them, on serious consideration, that they had usurped that, to which they had no right, fall back again into the former pit of despaire: this is improperly termed a relapse, as not being a renewing, but a con­tinuing of their former malady, from which, though seemingly, they w [...]re never soundly reco­vered.

Tim.

Is there any intimation in Scripture of the possibility of such a reall relapse in Gods servants?

Phil.

There is, when David saith, Psal. 85. 8. I will heare what God the Lord will speake, for he will speake peace unto his people, and to his Sain [...]s, but let them not turn a­gain to folly: this importeth, [Page 149] that if his Saints turn again to fol­ly, which by wofull experience, we find too frequently done, God may change his voice, and turn his peace, formerly spoken, into a warlike defiance to their importeth.

Tim.

But this me thinkes is a diminution to the majesty of God, that a man, once compleatly cured of a wounded conscience, should again be pained therewith: Let [...]ounte­banks palliat cures break out aga [...]n, being never soundly, but superfici­ally healed: He that is all [...]n all, never doth his worke by halves, so that it shall be undone afterward.

Phil.

It is not the same indi­viduall wound in number, but the same in kind, and perchance a deeper in degree: Nor is it a­ny ignorance, or falshood in the Surgeon, but folly, and fury in the Patient, who by committing fresh sins, causeth a new pain in the old place.

In such relapses men are only troubled for such sins, which they have run on score since their last recovery from a wounded conscience.

Phil.

Not those alone, but all the sinnes which they have com­mitted, both before, and since their conversion, may be started up afresh in their minds and me­mories, and anguish and per­plex them, with the guiltinesse thereof.

Tim.

But those sinnes were for­merly fully forgiven, and the pardon thereof solemnly sealed, and assured unto them, and can the guilt of the same recoile again upon their consci­ences?

Phil.

I will not dispute what God may do in the strictnes of his justice: Such Seales, though still standing firm & fast in them­selves, may notwithstanding breake off, and fly open in the feeling of the sick soule: He will [Page 151] be ready to conceive with him­selfe, that as 1. Kin▪ 2. 44. Shimei, though once forgiven his railing on David, was afterwards executed for the same offence, though upon his committing of a new transgres­sion, following his servants to Gath, against the flat command of the King: So God, upon his committing of new trespasses, may justly take occasion to pu­nish all former offences; yea in his apprehension, the very foun­dation of his faith may be sha­ken, all his former title to heaven brought into question, and he tormented with the considerati­on that he was never a true child of God.

Tim.

What remedies doe you commend to such soules in relapses?

Phil.

Even the selfe-same re­ceipts which I first prescribed to wounded consciences, the very same Promises, Precepts, Comforts, [Page 152] Counsels, Cautions. Onely as Jacob the second time that his sonnes went downe into Gen. 43. 12. Egypt, commanded them to carry dou­ble money in their hands; so I would advise such to apply the former remedies with double diligence, double watchfulnes, double industrie, because the malignity of a disease is riveted firmer and deeper in a relapse.

XXI. Dialogue. Whether it be lawfull to pray for, or to pray against, or to praise God for a wounded conscience.

Tim.

IS it lawfull for a man to pray to God to visit him with a wounded conscience?

Phil.

He may and must pray to have his high and hard heart, [Page 153] truly humbled, and bruised with the fight and sense of his sinnes, and with unfained sorrow for the same: but may not expli­citely, and directly pray for a wounded conscience, in the highest degree, and extremity there­of.

Tim.

Why interpose you those termes explicitely and directly?

Phil.

Because implicitly, and by consequence, one may pray for a wounded Conscience: Namely, when he submits himselfe to be disposed by Gods pleasure, re­ferring the particulars thereof, wholly to his infinite wisedome, tendring, as I may say, a blank paper to God in his Prayers, and requesting him to write therein what particulars hee pleases; therein generally, and by con­sequence he may pray for a wounded Conscience, in case, God sees the same, for his owne glo­ry, [Page 154] and the parties good; other­wise, directly he may not pray for it.

Tim.

How prove you the same?

Phil.

First, because a wounded Conscience is a judgement, and one of the sorest, as the resem­blance of the torments of hell. Now it is not congruous to na­ture, or grace, for a man to be a free, and active instrument, purposely to pull downe upon himselfe, the greatest evill that can befal him in this worl [...]. Se­condly, we have neither directi­on, nor president of any Saint, recorded in Gods word to justi­fie and warrant such prayers. Lastly, though praying for a wounded Conscience may seeming­ly scent of pretended humility, it doth really and rankly savour of pride, limiting the holy one of Israel. It ill becoming the pati­ent to prescribe to his heavenly [Page 155] Physitian, what kind of Physicke he shall minister unto him.

Tim.

But we may pray for all meanes to increase grace in us, and therefore may pray for a wounded Conscience, seeing thereby, at last, piety is improved in Gods Ser­vants.

Phil.

We may pray for and make use of all means, whereby grace is increased: Namely, such means, as by God are ap­pointed for that purpose; and therefore, by virtue of Gods in­stitution, have both a proporti­onablenesse, and attendency, in order thereunto. But properly those things are not means, or or­dained by God, for the increase of piety, which are only acciden­tally over-ruled to that end, by Gods power, against the inten­tion and inclination of the things themselves. Such is a wounded Conscience, being alwayes actu­ally [Page 156] an evill of punishment, and too often occasionally an evill of sinne: The Byas whereof doth bend and bow to badnesse; though over-ruled by the aim of Gods Eye, and strength of his Arme, it may bring men to the marke of more grace, and good­nesse. God can, and will ex­tract light out of darknesse, good out of evill, order out of confusi­on, and comfort out of a wounded conscience: And yet darknesse, evill, f [...]sion, &c. are not to be pray­ed for.

Tim.

But a wounded consci­ence, in Gods children, infallibly ends in comfort here, or glory here­after, and therefore is to be desired.

Phil.

Though the ultimate end of a wounded conscience winds off in comfort, yet it brings with it many intermediate mischiefs and maladies, especially as ma­naged by humane corruption: [Page 157] Namely, dulnesse in divine ser­vice, impatience, taking Gods name in vaine, despaire for the time, blasphemy; which a Saint should decline, not desire; shun, not seek; not pursue, but avoid, with his utmost endeavours.

Tim.

Is it lawfull positively to pray against a wounded consci­ence?

Phil.

It is, as appeares from an argument taken from the lesser to the greater. If a man may pray against pinching poverty, as wise Pro. 30. 8 Agur did; then may he much more against a wounded conscience, as a far heavier judge­ment. Secondly, if Gods ser­vants may pray for ease under their burthens, whereof we see divers particulars in that 1 Kings 8. 33. wor­thy prayer of Solomon; I say, if we pray to God to remove a lesser judgement by way of sub­vention, questionlesse we may [Page 158] beseech him to deliver us from the great evill of a wounded con­science, by way of prevention.

Tim.

May one lawfully praise God, for visiting him with a woun­ded conscience?

Phil.

Yes verily. First, be­cause it is agreeable to the1 Thes. 5. 18. Ephes. 5. 20. Psal. 103. 22. & 145. 10. will of God, in every thing to be thank­full; here is a generall rule, with­out limitation. Secondly, be­cause the end, why God makes any work, is his owne glory; and a wounded conscience being a work of God, he must be glori­fied in it, especially seeing God shews much mercy therein, as being a punishment on this side of hell fire, and lesse then our de­serts. As also, because he hath gracious intentions towards the sick soule for the present, and when the maladie is over, the patient shall freely confesse, that it is good for him that he was so af­flicted. [Page 159] Happy then that soule, [...] in the lucid intervals of a wounded conscience can praise God for the same. Musick is sweetest neere, or over Rivers, where the Eccho thereof is best rebounded by the water. Praise for pensivenesse, thanks for teares, and blessing God over the flouds of affliction, makes the most melodious Musick in the care of heaven.

The conclusion of the Author to the Reader.

ANd now God knows how soon it may be said unto me, Physitian heale thy selfe, and how quickly I shall stand in need of these counsels, which I have pre­scribed to others. Herein I say with Eli to1 Sam. 3. 18 Samuel, It is the Lord, let him do what seem­eth him good: With2 Sam. 15 26. David to Zadock, Behold here I am, let him do to me as s [...]emeth good un­to him. With theActs. 21. 14. Disciples to Paul, The Will of the Lord be done: But Oh how ea [...]ie it is for the mouth to pronounce, or the hand to subscribe these words! But how hard, yea without Gods garce, how impossible, for the heart to submit thereunto! Only hereof I am confident, that the making of this Treatise, shall no wayes cause or hasten a wounded conscience in me, but rather on the contrary (especially if as it is written by me, it were written in me) either prevent it, that it come not at all, or deferre it that it come not so soon, or lighten it, that it fall not so heavy, or shorten it that it last not so long. And if God shall be pleased hereaf­ter to writeJob. 13. 26 bitter things against me, who have here written the sweetest comforts I could for others, let none insult on my sorrowes: But whilst my wounded conscience shall lye like theActs 3. 2. Criple, at the Porch of the temple, may such as passe by be pléased to pit [...]y me, & permit this Booke to beg in my behal [...]e, the charitable prayers of well disposed People; till divine Providence, shall send some Peter, some pious minister, perfectly to restore my maimed soule to her former soundnes.

Amen.

FINIS.

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