CONCIO AD MAGISTRATU …

CONCIO AD MAGISTRATUM A Nations Honour, AND A Nations dishonour OR A Kingdoms Prospective-Glass. Discovering who are the most faithful friends, and who the most dangerous enemies to the Peace and Pros­perity of a Kingdom. Written by P. Fullwood M. A. R. of South-Normanton in the County of Darby.

LONDON, Printed by John Lock for E. Calvert at the Black-spread-Eagle at the West end of St. Pauls. 1673.

To the Worshipful FRANCIS REƲELL Esquire; Mine honoured Patron, all health and happiness.

THere are two sorts of People counted worthy of Honour, quibus obtigit aut legenda scribere, aut scribenda a­gere, either to write things worthy to be read, or to do things worthy to be written, were I as succesful in the one, as you are in the other, I need not fear a fair ap­probation of these my labours, but a Sermon once delivered go­eth afterward to the Press as to the execution; there are man [Page] things that in Elocution aurem praetereunt (as St. Ambrose speaks) that escape the ear, which when they come to publick view are more strictly observed, and many times weighed in the false weights, of misprison; therefore it was good counsel of that reverend Father: before we deal our poor endeavours, tructi­nare & discutere omnes scrupulos malevolentiae ponderate & discusse, to try and prove every grain against which the envi­ous may except, but this labrur I leave to those that have lei­sure to be more curious, it shall suffice me to trace the steps of that great Doctour of the Gentiles, who delivered what he had, received not in the entising words of mans wisdom but in de­monstration of the spirit and truth: I hope your wonted can­dour will apply an Antidote to expel the poyson of malig­nant spirits, and with the industrious Bee gather honey out of those herbs, whence the venemous spider sucks poyson: but that the porch prove not too large for the building: I conclude in theJacob benediction of the Patriark, the Lord bless you with the blessings of Heaven above, blessings of the deep the deep that lyeth under, blessings of the breast and of the womb.

So prayeth SIR,
Your humble servant Peter Fullwood.
Prov. 14. V. 34. Righteousness exalteth a Nation, but Sin is a reproach to any People.’

HOW Transcendent are those Sacred Oracles and Superla­tive perfections of holy writ! because of the savour of her Oyntments, her name is as oyntment poured forth; therefore the Virgins love Her, all her garments smell of Myrrhe, Aloes and Cassia; here are set the Topez, the Jaspire, the Emerauld, and every pretious Stone. This is a pillar of a Cloud to go before us in the hottest day of persecution, and a pillar of Fire to lead us in the darkest night of errour; it is the surest Basis of our faith, the most sxact rule of our actions, it is such savoury meat wherein our Soul delighteth, and to every one that thirsteth a well of water springing up unto everlasting life; nor is there greater variety in the use then in the Method; some Scriptures being like the Curtains of the Tabernacle which all hang [Page 2] together, others of a different temper, where to draw an in­ference from a context is as to enforce a marriage being without consent, of which sort seem these words I have read unto you at this time.

The whole Book of the Proverbs seems to be a Garden of sweet and fragrant Flowers, holy and divine fited for the use of all Christians, amongst which none more pregnant, none more profitable then these words, none more pregnant: Ʋbi quot verba tot sententiae, so many words, so many sentences, quot dictiones, tot lectiones, so many sayings, so many lessons; none more profitable, profitable to the Converted that they may retain righteousness which exalteth a Nation, profitable to the unconverted, that they may abandon sin which is a shame or a reproach to any People.

Righteousness exalteth a Nation, but sin is a shame to any People. I shall divide the words, as Jacob divided his flocks into two bands: heres a Nations honour, and a Nations dishonour,

  • 1. A Nations honour, Righteousness exalteth a Nation.
  • 2. A Nations dishonour, sin is a reproach to any People.

in the first here is,

  • 1. The efficient, viz. Righteousness,
  • 2. The effect exalteth.
  • 3. The Object a Nation.

In the second here is,

  • 1. The indictment thats against sin.
  • 2. The sentence, sin is a reproach.
  • 3. The extent to any People.

Of these in their order, circulo theologico, by Gods assistance and your Christian patience, leaving Curiosity to its courtiers, and first of the first, Righteousness. To open this Scripture, because all Scriptures are not open unto all as St. Gregory speaks, where the Lamb may wade and the Ele­phant swim; by the word of God let us divide the waters as with Elijahs mantle, that we may pass over unto the genine sense of this Scripture, Righteousness admits of several ac­ceptions in holy writ; but for method sake, I shall rank [Page 3] them into two heads, first particular Righteousness, and that is a point of moral justice which contributes to every one that which by any just account may appear due to them; render to all their dues, tribute to whom tribute is due, customRom. 13. v. 7. to whom custom, fear to whom fear, honour to whom ho­nour: justice is compared to the pulse, the pulse if it beat equally, it is a sympton of perfect health, if unequally it sig­nifyes a sore distemper, if it beat not at all, it portends immi­nent death, and as it is in the body natural: so also in the bo­dy politick, if judgement come down like a stream, and righteousness flow like many waters, it is a true Prophet of the peace and prosperity of a Kingdome: but if judgement be turned into wormwood, and righteousness into gall, it is an evident note of destructions making that Kingdome like that house which was built upon the Sand, when the rain descended, and the floods came, and the wind blew▪ it fell and great was the fall of it. When God rains upon the ungodly, fire and brimstone the portion of their Cup, when the floods of Gods judgements have lift up their heads, when the wind of Gods displeasure drives away the wicked like chaff, then let the unrighteous Nation tremble for her judgment slumbreth. Behold the Lord hath a controversie with theHos. 4. v. 1. Inhabitants of the Land, because there is no truth; mercy, nor knowledg of God in the Land: but swearing and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing Adultery, they break out and blood toucheth blood: therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, &c.

Secondly, there is universal righteousness which consists in a general conformity to the golden rule of Religion in all our actions.

He that hath walked in my Statutes, and kept my judge­mentsEzek. 18 v. 9. to deal truly, he is just, he shall surely live saith the Lord God, if ye believe the witness of men, the witness of God is greater.

Some there are that seem pure in their own eyes, and yet are not washed from their filthyness, others wash the out­side [Page 4] of the cup and platter and like painted Sepulchres ap­pear beautiful before men, but within are full of Hypocrisie and Iniquity, but all such Righteousness is as filthy rags in Gods sight, that which is accounted for righteousness in Gods sight, must be void of offence towards God and to­wards man.

This was the Encomium of Zachariah and Elizabeth thatLuk. 1. v. 16. they were both righteous before God walking in all the Commandements of God blameless; and this shall in no wise loose its due reward. The proceedings of the World is like a Tragedy which begins with Musick and ends with Mourning; or as the progress of the Prodigal Son, who went forth with plenty and returned with Penury; but the way of Righteousness is like learnings paths, whose root is bitter, but the fruit is sweet▪ Peace and Prosperity which leads me to the second step of this first General. Righte­ousness exalteth, &c,

Righteousness is the high way to preferment: goodness and greatness like Hippocrates twins will live and dye toge­ther; the one makes the Tomb, the other the Epitaph: Righteousness is the Jacobs ladder whereby we ascend to the highest pinacle of promotion. His salvation is nigh themPsal. 85. v. 9. that fear him that glory may dwell in our Land▪ Righteous­ness exalteth from a Land of Egypt, an house of bondage to be as Jerusalem, which above that is free with her children, this is an Ark that will keep us from sinking when a deluge approacheth, a Rampart that fears not the Batteries of the common Enemy, we have a strong City, Salvation willIs [...]. 26. 1, 2. God appoint for Walls and Bulwarks▪ open the gates that the righteous Nation that keepeth the truth may enter in, though the Sea roar and make a noise, or the billows there­of lift up their heads, yet the righteous shall be like Plinies Vine, fear neither wind nor weather, or like Mount Zion, which cannot be removed but stands fast for evermore. Which made that Kingly Prophet cry out, let integrity and upright­ness preserve me. Righteousness seems to bespeak us as Epimo [...]das did his shield defend me, & defendam te; defend [Page 5] me, and I will defend thee, suitable to that of the wise-man, the righteousness of the Upright shall deliver him: the Bi­shopProv. 11 v. 6. of Monte Pulciano told Charles the fifth in the council of Trent, that one of the chief instructions he had received from the Pope, was to commend to that Assembly, that principalities cannot be preserved if Religion be lost: but not to authorize so sacred a truth, from a Romish Assidavit, we may have it from Gods own mouth, at what time I shallJer. 8. 17. speak concerning a Nation, or concerning a Kingdome: to pluck up, pull down, or destroy it, if that Nation against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil wayes, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. It was a saying of a Philosopher going to fight, Non sic Deos colui­mus, aut sit viximus, ut illi nos vincerent, we have not so served the Gods, or so lived that they should overcome us. Therefore it was a good Law made by one of our Danish Kings, that the Bishop of the Diocess should ac­company the Sheriff of the Shire at every Court the own to maintain Gods law, the other the law of the Land; Then trust in the greatness of your Enemies, or the multitude of your Forces, there is no King saved by thePsal. 33. v. 16. 17. multitude of an Hoast, a mighty man is not delivered by much strength, an Horse is but a vain thing to get a Victo­ry, &c. These are Cloudes without water, Trees whose fruit withereth, we have a better ammunition provided forIsa. 26. v. 4. us: Take unto you the whole Armour of God; that ye may be able to stand in the evil day: stand therefore having your loines girt with truth, and having the breast-plate of righteousness, trust in the Lord for ever, for with the Lord God J [...]h [...]vah is everlasting strength: the whole World is the Sinners Babylon, and every Creature is his Tormentor, but the righteous are girt about with Armour of proof and are out of the rea [...]h of danger, for righteousness delivereth from Prov. 10. v. 2. death.

Again Righteousness exalteth from a dry and barren Wilderness▪ to a Land of Canaan, a land flowing with Milk and Hony: unrighteousness doth kindle Gods heavy [Page 6] wrath and indignation against a Nation, causing to break like fire which shall devoure the Palaces thereof, but the righteous Nation shall flourish like the Cedars in Libanus, or be as the Tree planted by the waters side which bring­eth forth his fruit in due season, whose leafe also shall not wither, but whatsoever he doth shall prosper; whilst man sleeps in sin, God sleeps, his ear heavy that he will not hear, his hand shortned that he cannot help, when man awakes to righteousness, God awakes his wisdome awakes to direct us, his power awakes to protect, his mercy awakes to relieve us, If thou wert pure and upright, Job. 8. 6. surely now he would awake for thee, and make the habita­tion of thy righteousness prosperous: that our Souls may grow up as Plants, and our Daughters as corner stones of the Temple, that our garners may be full and plen­teous, affording all Manner of store, that our sheep may bring forth thousands in our streets, that our oxen may be strong to labour, that there be no breaking in, nor no going out, that there be no leading into Captivity, nor complaining in our streets.

Here then as in a glass we may behold the procreant and conservant cause of a Kingdoms happiness: as also who are the most faithful friends to the Peace and prosperity thereof; i. e. The righteous, the best Christians are the best common-wealths-men, who stand in the gap to avert Gods judgments, and appear at the Throne of grace, to make blessings flow like many waters amongst us: thePsal. 84. v. 11. Lord is a Sun and a Sheild, and no good thing will he with-hold from them that walk uprightly, which made the Spouse in the Canticles break forth into this pathetical acclamation; How much better is thy love then Wine, and the smell of thine Oyntments then all Spices! should the Heavens drop new Wine, and the Hills flow with milk, might not be intituled to that Inventory of all those seve­ralEccl. 2. delights of the Sons of Men? they are not worth the owning in comparison of the favour of God extendedPsal. 4. v. 6. 7. to the Righteous: Lord lift thou up the light of thy coun­tenance, [Page 7] thou hast put gladness in mine heart, more then in the time that there Corn and Wine and Oyl increased. In all the pleasures of Pharaohs Court, you cannot find a Parrellell: how transient is all that is in the World, the lust of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life, it is a peculiar priviledge of the Saints, (the foun­tain of whose happiness is sealed up and locked in the ca­binet of Gods favour) to be out of the reach of worldly power or policy: the gates of Hell shall never prevail a­gainst them, Righteousness likewise exalteth us from being an astonishment, and a proverb, and an hissing to all the Na­tions round about us, to become a praise and a renown, and a glory of all Lands: God hath reserved the blood of the grape, the choicest mercies for the Righteous, Majora erunt S. Chrys. praemia quam desideria Sanctorum, the Society of the Saints shall be more than their Hunger, their happinessDeut. 28. v. 1. shall outreach their desires, If thou shalt hearken diligent­ly to the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and do all his commandements which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all Nations of the Earth. So then we may see wherein the glory of a Kingdome consists, not in outward Pomp and Ostentation, but in the Establishment of Righteousness not with Dives to be arrayed in purple and fine Linnen of the Saints, that is Righteousness; this the Apostle accounted the chiefest1 Pet. 3. v. 3. ornament, whose adorning let it not be outward adorning, or wearing of gold, or putting on apparel, but shew out of a good conversation, our works with meekness of wisdome, when the Mountain of the Lords house is ex­alted above the rest of the Hills, when his Sabbaths are duly observed, his faithful Ministers highly esteemed, the preaching of the word, and other sacred institutions of the Church duly observed then the glory of a Kingdome springeth forth. So I come to the last step of this first general, a Nation, Righteousness exalteth a Nation.

Consider what beames of favour shine upon an House or Nation for the righteous sake, was not Lebanus house [Page 8] blessed for Jacobs sake? Aegypt fared the better for Josephs goodness, no sooner Noah entred into the Ark but God opened the Flood-gates of Heaven and drowned the World; no sooner Lot was taken out of Sodome, but the Lord rained fire and brimstone upon them and burnt the City: what lamentation when good Josiah the blessing of the Coun­try was taken from them: methinks I see our Kingdome weeping Raehel like for her children that have been lost, some by forraign invasions, some by domestick differences, others by the plague and pestilence, and were it not for those Righteous Persons amongst us, whose entire devoti­ons have out cryed the screeching of our sins, we might justly fear the ruine of our Kingdome approacheth. I shall wind up all with an exhortation to such as are in authori­ty over others, that they not only be Patterns but Pa­trons of Religions: Rulers are a looking-glass according to which most men dress themselves. Zenophon would have his Cyrus to go before others in industry and wisdome, the common people are like a flock of Cranes, as the first flies all the rest follow after, then authority is truly ar­rayed when the superiority of the civil Power, is for the good of inferiours, and therefore you must countenance Religion as well as practice it. It is not enough to pull down Dagon, unless you secure the Ark. The main of your Authority is to make Religion to flourish, keep as the Apple of thine eye, and under the shadow of your wings, against all those malignant spirits that wish all to our Sion: so the Lord shall be your reward, and crown your endeavours herein with the crown of righteousness in his Heavenly Kingdome.

Thus having set you upon Mount Pisgah, to shew you the glory of the Land that is righteousness; I come now to set you upon Mount Ebal to shew you the sinfulness of sin, or the curses against it, which leads me to the second general: Sin is a reproach or a shame to any People,

1. Heres the Indictment, and thats against sin.

2. The Sentence, Sin is a reproach or a shame.

3. The extent, to any People, Sin is a shame to any People of these in their order, and first of the first. Sin, If any shall start the Question that started touching S. John baptism, is it of heaven or of men, touching sin is it from hea­ven by Gods creation, or of men by mans defection? The wiseEccles. 7. v. 24. man determines the Question; God made man upright, but they have sought out many inventions. Man by creation was of a Royal and Princely extract, chara Dei soboles, the off­spring of the Highest; beautifyed with choicest ornaments of wisdome, righteousnes and holyness, but those conditi­ons which God made him being not observed, and his title forfeited to Justice by disobedience, God re-enters,Gen. 3. 34. and makes seizure of his Charter of happiness until the debt of Adam, and those weighty arrears of disobedience were discharged: So that by one man Sin entred into the Rom 5. 12. World, and Death by Sin, and so death passed by all men, for that all men have sinned: we all who have our de­scent from unclean seed, are from our birth infected with the spreading Leprosy of sin, who can bring a clean thing Job. 14. v. 4. out of an unclean? not one; but besides that Primitive sin of Adams disobedience, there are other derivations daily brought forth by actual transgression which seem so in­finite as could we cast up the stars of the firmament or the sands of the Ocean, we might pose all the numbers of Arithmetick, yet we should come far short of an ex­act survey of our daily impieties: and so is this guilt of this spreading evil as may make us lyable to the greatest mults and punishments: for let guilt go before, punishment will follow it at the heels, which leads me to the second step of this second general, sin is a reproach or shame, re­proach and contempt make such a deep wound in all those who have not whored their fore-heads, as makes them cry out with Cain, my punishment is greater then I can bear, for a wounded spirit who can bear? how many to avoid this, have chose the worst of evils, nay death rather than life, It is better to dye honourably than to [Page 10] live ingloriously: now this is the fruit that this tree bears: what fruit had you of those things whereof ye are now ashamed. Such are Subjects in Sin, must be Ob­jectsRom. 6. 21. of reproach and shame: It it not the gibbet, the gallows or the worst of deaths that can ecclipse the me­mory of an innocent life; nor the vizard of outward profession can take away the obloquies of a sinful life: it was a brand upon Jeroboam (which neither age nor time can take away) that he made Israel to sin: the memory of the just is blessed, but the name of the wicked shall rot and stink in the nostrils of God, and all good men; then if any shall revive that old complaint, what is the cause that the former times were better than these? the Text gives Resolution it is sin: sin is the snuff that dimmes all our light, the leaven that defiles our passe­over, and renders us a Proverb, and an hissing, and astonishment to all our Neighbours Nations round about which to prevent, currat paenitentia ne praecurrat sententia: let us hasten our repentance, that judgement do not o­vertake us before we be aware: sin is of a shameful birth, It is of the spurious race of Sathan, the Father is an Amorite, the Mother an Hitite; ye are of your Father the Devil, and his lusts will ye do, he was a murderer from John 8. 44. the beginning and abode not in the truth because there is no truth in him, when he speaketh a lye he speaketh of his own for he is a lyar, and the Father of it. Selivius the great Turk upon revenge of his loss received of the Battel of Lepanto was resolved to put to death all the Christians within his Dominions: and such is the Devils malice against all mankind for the loss of the favour of God and eternal happiness, he seeks the ruine and de­struction of them all: your Adversary the Devil as a roar­ing 1 Pet. 5. 8. Lion walks about seeking whom he may devour. An A­thenian Curtizan boasted she could get all Socrates Schollers from him, and he could never recover one of them again, such as are the Schollars of Christ School had need take heed they be not drawn from God to sin, for it is as [Page 11] hard to get out of his claws, as for the Israelites to get out of Aegypts Bondage. Again sin is a shame to our Profession, Religion never suffered greater ecclipse then by the interposition of the enormities of Christians: ex­amples are the greatest load-stones to draw our Souls, and of all none more prevalent that those that are evil. This was the aggravation of Davids sin, urged by the Prophet Nathan: by this deed thou hast given great oc­casion 2 Sam. 12. v. 14. to the Enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the enormi­ties of Christians was a main [...]ause of the Mahometan Religion if the light be darkness how great is that dark­ness▪ if the Salt have lost his savour, that there is little hope that the unsavoury lives of Heathens, Pagans or In­fidels should ever be reformed, Hell is not more con­trary to Heaven, than such prodigious impieties as swarm amongst Christians are to the inlargement of the King­dome of Christ, to purge out these evil humours which endanger the mystical body of Christ, let us take out the Apostles direction, let your conversation be such as becometh Phil. 1. 27. the gospel of Christ. Sin likewise brings men to shame­ful ends, what became of Pharaoh the tyrannical, Achit­tophel the crafty, Ahab the covetous, Nebuchanezzar the ambitious, Judas the treacherous, their end was bit­ter as Wormwood, and sharp as a two edged sword suta­ble to that of the Prophet, thou dost set them in slippery Psal. 73. v. 18, 19, 20. places, thou castest them down into destruction: how are they bronght into desolation as in a moment, as a dream when one awaketh: Which made the Apostle break through the cloud of his sinnes into this Emphatical exclamation: O wretched man that I am! who sholl deliver me from Rom. 7. 24. the body of this death. O death how bitter is the re­membrance of thee to the impenitent, when this Serjeant arrests them: all the flowers of their Paradise fade a­way; they that go out of this World without Christs pass-port shall go into another World without his well­come, shall be delivered up into the hands of that fearful sentence: Depart from me ye cursed into everlasting flames [Page 12] prepared for the Devil and his Angles. Consider with what shame and confusion of face impenitent sinners shall then appear before Christs Tribunal.

The Kings of the Earth and the rich men, and the Revel. 6. 15, 16. chief Captains and the mighty men: and every bond man and every free-man hid themselves in the Dens, and in the Rocks of the Mountains: and said to the Rocks and Mountains fall upon us and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the Throne; and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of the Lord is come and who may abide it? Sin is like an old Bond that hath long lyen uncancelled, when it comes to be called for the full will be exacted, and use upon use: therefore very season­able was that advice of our Saviour: agree with thine adversary quickly whilst thou art in the way with him, least Mat. 5. 25. the adversary deliver thee to the Judge, and the Judge to the Officer, and thou be cast into Prison, thou shalt not come out till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.

Then let us be as fearfull of the commission of sin, as of the shame and punishment of it, and take heed of the love of sin as well as the commission of it. Take away the cause, the effect will fall of it self, this was the Antidote werewith holy Joseph expelled the poysonGen. 39. v. 9. of his wanton Mistress temptation; how can I do this great wickedness and sin against God? Sustinere as well as abstinere was a resolution becoming a Christian if the fear of sin be once laid aside, we shall not want allure­ments to invite us to it, Eve shall have an Apple, Esau a mess of pottage, Achan a golden wedg, Jonah a ship, Judas thirty pieces of silver, but let us say to such as Luther did to the Pope when he sent Cardinals to tempt with promises of promotion, valde protestatus sum me molle sic satiari, I said flatly I would not be satisfied with such things. So I come to the third and last step of this second General viz. The extent to any People, sin is a shame to any People. No Person of what quality or de­gree soever hath any toleration for sin, nor exemption [Page 13] from the shame or punishment of it: the revolting JewsJer. 1. v. 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. having tasted a full draught of Gods tender love, fall in­to the praemnuire of his sharpest censure. I will plead with you saith the Lord, and with your Childrens Children, will I plead, pass over the Isles of Chittim and see, and send unto Kedar and consider diligently, and see if there be such a thing. Hath a Nation changed her Gods for them that are no Gods: but my People hath changed her glory for that which doth not profit, be astonished O yee Heathens at this and be horribly afraid, be very desolate saith the Lord; my People have committed two evils, they have forsaken me the Fountain of living waters and chosen to them selves broken Cisterns that will hold no water. Mans falling into sin is like the Children of Israels going into Aegypt, they had all the favour that Pharaoh could ex­tend to them, all the furtherance that Joseph could con­tribute to them, the best of the Land, the Land of Goshen to invite them, and to draw us into sin we have all that Pharaoh the God of this World can doe, all that Joseph our own flesh can doe, the best of the Land, the glory of the World to invite us; no wonder then if Noah, Lot, David, Peter fall like starrs from Heaven; the purest Diamonds is not without its flaw, the sweetest Rose not without its prickles, the fairest Flowers not without their witherings; but external priviledges as they cannot exempt from the guilt: so neither from the punishment of sin; to prove this let us call in the evi­dence of John the Baptist, who hath for [...]warned you to Mat. [...]. 8, 8, 9. flee from the wrath to come? bring forth fruits meet for Repentance, and think not to say within your selves we have Araham to our Father.

To hold up sin was more than Atlas could do, who (as the Poets feign) underprops Heaven; Heaven could not hold the Pride of Lucifer, nor Paradise Adams dis­obedience, Citties, Gates and Walls were to week to keep the Old World from the Deluge: or Sodom or Gomorrah from Fire and Brimstone; Sin changed the [Page 14] Government at Rome, destroyed our Abbies, Frieryes and Nunneryes, and without Repentance it is to be feared will destroy us. Here then as in a glass we may be­hold who are the greatest Enemies to the peace and prosperity of a Kingdom: such as draw humility with cords of vanity, and sin as with a cart-rope. In the dayes of Eli, Phineas Wife being with Child bowed her self and travailed for pain came on her: and being near the time of her death she named the child Icabo [...], for said she the glory is departed from Israel, it is our national sins that makes our Kingdome bring forth Ica­bods Sons of shame and contempt, Davids Adultery, So­lomons Idolatry, Ahabs oppression, Belt [...]shazars Luxury▪ Nebuchadnezzars pride proves fatal to the subversion of their Kingdomes. When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab saith unto him, art thou he that troubleth Israel? and he an­swered I have not troubled Israel, but thou and thy Fa­thers house in that ye have forsaken God and served Ba­laim: we need not fear all our Enemies without▪ us, were it not for sin within us, though the Sea roar and make a noise, and the billows thereof arise: let us stop the current of our sins before they overflow the Banks, and become a sad and fatal Deluge, and over-run the Territories of our Kingdome.

Hear ye this then all ye People of high and low, rich and poor, one with another; let the reproach and shame of sin invite you to amendment: how long ye simple ones will ye love simplicity, and fools delight in scorning, turn you at my reproof: break of your sins by repentance: arise from the sink of sin, and dun­geon of Death and wash you in the Laver of Repen­tance, if the tears of a penitent soul cannot cleanse you, behold the Rivers of blood and the Cataracts of Heaven stand open, there is a fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness wash there and you shall be clean; through this red Sea all our Fathers were wont to pass to the promised Land, having their Enemies, their sins all [Page 15] swallowed up in those waters, unless these Vipers be shaken off, God regards not your offering; repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be done away when times of refreshment shall come from the presence of the Acts 3. 19. Father.

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and present you faultless before the presence of his Fa­ther, to the Eternal, invisi [...]le and only wise God: be ascrib­ed as is most due, all Honour, Glory, Might, Majstey and Dominion, now and for ever.

CONCIO AD CLERUM Pre …

CONCIO AD CLERUM Presbiteri onus & honos. THE Ministers Duty, AND THE Ministers Due. OR The Church Mans looking-glass, wherein he may behold the face of his Office and the beauty thereof. As it was delivered in a Visitation Sermon, preached at Chester-field in the County of Darby, April the 14th. 1671. Written by P. Fullwood M. A. R. of South-Normanton in the County of Darby.

LONDON, Printed by John Lock for E. Calvert at the Black-spread-Eagle at the West end of St. Pauls. 1673.

1 Tim; 5, 17; Let the Elders that rule well be count­ed worthy of double honour especialy they who labour in the word and Doctrine.’

VVE cannot without honour look back on the lines when Userpers pretend to Moses rod; committed the crime that K [...]rah designed destroying the mirrour of Prin­ces, and seeing that pleased a generations of factious and seditious spirits, proceeded further to lay violent hands on the primitive order of the Church, indeavouring to exter­pate their Authority, and swallow up their revenues, doom­ing likewise the rest of that sacred orders, perpetual silence: who would not worship that golden Image they had set up? Thus have we fallen amongst Thieves that have stript us, wounded us and left us half dead, this blessed Apostle with that good Samaritan, seems to pour in oyl into our wounds [Page 20] and to set us upon our own Beast again, and this he doth in these words I have read unto you.

Let the the Elders that Rule well be counted worthy of double honour: especially such as labour in the word and doctrine.

The Text Rebceca like brings forth Twins, heres Presby­teri onus & honos, The Elders duty, and the Elders due: First the Elders duty, let them rule well, let them labour in the Word and Doctrine: and this I shall divide into the Parts of a Demonstration; first the Elder subject Per­sons Presbyteri the Elders. Secondly Affectione's, hear, what, let them rule, let them labour, how, let them rule well, let them labour in the word and doctrine: secondly the Elders due, let them be counted worthy of double honour. And this like the River of Paradise runs into four heads. First, Honour. Secondly, double honour. Thirdly, why they are worthy. Fourthly, how? let them be counted worthy; of these in their order by Gods assistance and your Christian Patience leaving curiosity to its Courtiers, and first of the Pres­byteri, the Elders, Presbyteri seems to be a Title annext to the holy order of Priesthood, as appears by this subsequent clause who labour in the word and doctrine: and this is signed with a Scriptum est, v. 18. The scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the Oxe that treadeth out the Corn, and the labourer is worthy of his hire. Now that the truth hereof may appear as clear as the Sun, let us take a view of their Ordination; When they had ordained Elders in every Church, they commended to the Lord, suitable to that prayer in our Churches Liturgy or the initiation of Infants by Baptism; grant O Lord that whosoever is here dedicated to thee by our Office and Ministry, may be endued with Heavenly Vertues, &c.

To which may be added the elder Induction into the1 Pet. 5. v. 1. & 2, 3. & 4. Church by St. Peter viz, The Elders which are among you, I exhort who am also an Elder, and a witness of the [Page 21] sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed. Feed the Flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly, nor for filthy lucre but of a ready mind: neither as being Lords over Gods heritage, but being examples to the flock, and when the chief Shepherd shall appear ye shall receive a Crown of glory that fadeth not away. This then being confirmed we may infer that the Elders are the Sons of the Church invested with the holy order of Priesthood.

Nor without due consideration was the imposition of this name, but upon the account of those qualifications which are entailed upon that holy order: maturity of years as well as of Judgment be required in those that wait at Gods Altar. Such blossomes as over-run the spring1 Tim. 3. 5. are usually knipt before the knitting; and how can those those that venture before they know either Coast or Com­pass, avoid those dangerous Rocks against which their own and Peoples Souls are subject to be split. The An­tient Romanes had a law called Lex annalis or Lex anna­rie, which prescribed a certain age, before which none was admitted to bear office, the ground whereof was be­cause t [...]meritatem adoliscentiae verebantur, this Age it is less experienced, so prove to rash and heady passions: which Edict was for a time so duly observed that neither Birth nor Friends, Favour, nor affection could procure any dispensation, which tended not more to the honour then benefit of the State; nor were there wanting provisions wanting for the Church of the like Nature, we read of many Decrees of Antient Counsels, that none should at­tain to the Order and Degree of a Presbyter before a certain age but Canons at the first were duly observed; but yet through the rust and canker of times miserably neglected, and violated to the great detryment of the Church: as woe to the Land where the is King is a Child, so woe to the Church where the Priests are children, St. Bernard in one of his Epistles complains [Page 22] that even in his dayes, Scholares pueri, & nuberbes Juvc­nes, School boyes and beardle [...]s youths were promoted to Ecclesiastical dignityes, and from the Ferula to bear rule over others; Baroni tells us that Pope John the twelfth was preferred to the Popedom in his non-age: and Be­nedict the ninth puer fere decennis, scarcely ten years of age. But we need not travaile into forraign parts to revieu this complaint, sad experience in our own King­dome makes it too evident; how many dayes, nay how many years were we without a King, without a Prince, without an Ephod; without a Teraphin? during which time Jeroboam set up his golden calves in Dan and Be­thel, he makes Priests of the lowest of the People, nay children tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine, an inlet to all Sects and Factions; but now the Sun is risen, those shaddows must flee away: let these with Da­vids men first go to Jericho till their beards be shaven, first let them learn to speak before they presume into publick Auditoryes; to such as these the Apostles advice to Timothy is very seasonable, let them give attendance unto reading that their profiting may appear unto all, lest they fall into the praemunire of the Churches cen­sure, who shall visit their iniquity with rods, and their sin with scourges: so I come to the second step of the first general let them rule. Let the Elders that rule well &c.

Rule or Government is the Pillar of the Law, the Pedestal of Religion, the Nurse of the Arts and Sciences: without which Bethel will turn to Babel, and the house of God to a den of Thieves; When there was no Judg. 21. v. 25. King in Israel, every man did that which was right in his own eyes. Amongst the Persians after the death of their King, a lawless liberty was granted to all Persons during the inter regnum, Oh! how Murder, Rapine and Plunder swarmed amongst them like the Locust of Egypt, so that men were inforced to hide themselves in the Caves of the Earth to secure them from the Violence [Page 23] of the Enemy, and if we consider what myseries we en­dured whilst Annarchy usurped the Crown and Mitre; what Violence to Churches what Indignity to the Mi­nistry, what Contempt of all Sacred and Divine Institu­tions, we may very well take up the complaint of the Church: Behold and see if ever sorrow were like unto my Lam. 1. v. 12. sorrow wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger: but now the Rod of Aaron for the house of Levi is budded with [...]uds, bloomes, blossomes, and brings forth perfect Almonds: and so I pass to the third step of this first general, the modus regiminis: let them rule well.

First, let them rule themselves well, let them rule their hands that they be no strikers, let them rule their tongues well that they be no brawlers, let them rule their affections well that they be vigilant, sober, given to hospitality, apt to teach, and be examples to the Believers in word, in doctrine, in conversation, godli­ness.

Secondly, let them rule their houses well, that their houses may be the houses of God, wherein lodgeth wis­dome, righteousness holiness: where the word of God dwelleth plentifully, instructing the ignorant, re­proving the obstinate, convincing the erronious, confirm­ing the weak. Vttium primae concoctionis vix corrigitur in secundae. That harm which is contracted in the first concoction is scarcely cured in the second; and want of care to restrain enormityes in the Family, Is a main cause that so many exorbitances appear in the Common-wealth; those diseases that at first might admit of an easie cure, by long continuance prove incureable: nor is this do­mestical rule more necessary than profitable; Theodosius religious carriage in his Family made his whole court a seminary of Religion; let us then take up the resoluti­on of holy Joshuah, As for me I and my house, we w [...]ll serve the Lord.

Thirdly, let them rule the house of God well: the [Page 24] best things being perverted prove most hateful. The best Wine soonest turns to the tartest Vinegar, mans body that is compounded of the purest Elements, being cor­rupted proves most distasteful, the word of God which is the power of God to salvation, being sophisticated by the cunning devices of Teachers, becomes the savour of death unto death; and the Church of God which is the pillar and ground of the truth, being out of order opens a gap to let in the Foxes to destroy the Vines, which to prevent let the Elders besides the ruling of their own houses, rule the house of God well.

First, respectu habito prudentiae, the Argo was only com­mitted to Typhis children, and such as are not acquainted with the Map, are not fit to guide the Stern. Ezekiel must first eat and concoct the Roule before he be sent to Prophesie, it was the direction our Saviour gave to his Disciples before he sent them to preach. Behold I send as Lambs among Wolves, be ye therefore wise as Serpents, but innocent as Doves; The Prophet David fought first with a Lion, then with a Bear, then with a Phillstine: but we must wrestle with Principallities, Powers, the Rulers in dark places, here is the great Lucifer of the Church of Rome, together with other evil Angels that have fallen the Church by Apostacy: therefore let us walk in Wisdome toward them that are without.

Secondly, respectu habito justitiae, It is a principle in moral Policie, that corrupt execution of Law is as dan­gerous as unjust violation, it is a mercy to have such in Authority: modo audeant quae sentiunt saith Cicero, the Aegyptian Kings usually and solemnly presented this Oath to their Judges, not to swerve from their consciences, though they should have a command from them to the contrary; such an heart without affection, a mind with­out passion, a treasurer which keepeth for every man what he hath, and distributeth to every man what he ought to have.

Thirdly, respectu habito charitatis: the rigour of [Page 25] Justice is not to be exacted without the sweet commix­ture of Mercy, Rulers must be like Cherabins to have wings to shelter the innocent: as well as a flaming sword to drive out offendors; he that is Judge of the whole world, his mercy like Nebuchadnezzars tree spreads over the face of the whole Earth, or Davids Sun which runs from one end of the Earth to the other: therefore as God said to Moses see thou do all things according to the pattern shewed thee in the Mount.

So I come to the last step of this first general, let them labour in the word and doctrine.

The office of an Elder as it is a work of great im­portance, so not to be done negligently: such deserve not this double honour, but a curse rather, cursed is every one that doth the work of the Lord negligently: the El­ders are compared to Planters, Builders, Soldiers, Hus­bandmen: the Husbandman is never out of work, redit Agricolae labor; but especially in time of Harvest: now is the Lords Harvest, there is need of painful labourers to gather Gods wheat into his Barn: but do I stand upon comparisons: there is no labour saith St. Chrysostome is comparable to the labour of the faithful Pastour: hence the Apostle here adds [...] (as some take the word) not in apposition but in composition, plurimum laborantes, la­bouring most earnestly, they must not [...] take an easie and light yoke, but [...] use double diligence, they must labour in the word and doctrine, they must labour but not in the affairs of this life, with which they must not intangle themselves, that they may please him who hath called them; the inordinate cares of this World are a great distraction to any Christian much more to such as are called to wait at Gods Altar: the Prince of Phi­losophers hath given this precept, let no Husbandman or Handy-crafts-man be a Priest, it is a maxime grounded up­on the Law of Nature, It stands not with the honour of God that they that are imployed in his service should be manuary Trades. Such mechanical imployments with-draw [Page 26] their minds from their holy function and are repugnant to that knowledg, and other gifts that are required in that holy order, they that spend more time amongst bea [...]ts then amongst books, are fitter for the plough than the Pulpit: let us fix our thoughts on a more noble object, let us labour in the word and doctrine, let us not labour for the meat that perisheth, but for the m [...]at that endureth unto everlasting life. Theodorus Beza in one of his Polemical Treatises, upon these two, Word and Doctrine: hath found a ground of upholding their new distinction betwixt Pastours and Doctours, which he think­eth so manifest as he saith, quis not videt? and yet never any before him could find it out: duae istae voces (saith Calvin) rem unam significant, as Joseph said of Phara­oh [...]s two dreams they are both one: Carthusianus starts another distinction upon these two, Word and Doctrine, they must labour in the word of exhortation, and in the doctrine of instruction for the enlightning of the under­standing, the word of exhortation for the regulating of the affections, the one to dispel the darkness of the mind, the other the rebellion of the heart, the doctrine of in­struction with the word of exhortation doth commonly produce a cold and speculative knowledg without practice, the word of exhortation without the doc [...]rine of instructi­on begets a blind and pernitious zeal without knowledg. Other distinctions betwixt these two, Word and Doctrine, have been noted in verbo scientibus, in doctrina ignorantibus: so Aus [...]lmus in the word to them that know already, in doctrine to them that are yet to learn, he must labour in verbo scientibus, in the explication of obscure and difficult peeces of Scripture called by the Apostle [...] which he that cannot unfold is like the ridiculous builder, of whom it is said caepit ad ficare & no [...] potu [...]t consummar [...], this man began to build and was not able to finish. He must labour likewise in doctrina ignoranti­bus, in catechismes gathered from easie and plain places of Scripture, which were in u [...]e in the Apostles time, [Page 27] and called a form of sound words, and the principles of the doctrine of Christ and since the Apostles time both in the Greek and Latine Church, the neglect of catechizing is the cause why so little good is done amongst us by Preaching, Preaching without Catechizing seems Ra­chel like beautiful but barren, making the Hearers like Pharaohs lean kine that devoured the fat ones, and were never the fatter: Be we then like those Olive branches in the Prophet Zacharie which through these two golden pipes empty the holy oyl out of our selves.

Thus at the length we have measured the waters of this golden sea, viz. the Elders duty: Oh! let the waves thereof beat a while upon your affections, and then they will bring you to the Haven, to that honour, that double honour which is intailed upon us. Let the Elders that rule w [...]ll be counted worthy of double honour: especially such as labour in the word and doctrine. So I come to the se­cond general, the Elders: heres first, Quale? honos ho­nour. Secondly, Quantas! double honour. Thirdly, Quar [...]? they are worthy. Fourthly, Quomodo how? let them be counted worthy: of these in their order, and first of the first.

The Heathens directed by the divine light of Nature e­ver had and still have their Priests in great estimation; amongst the Romanes, none were created Pontificies but such as were of noble blood by the Mahometan law if a­ny outrage be done to a Priest, if he be a Turk that so doeth, he looseth his right hand; if a Christian or Jew that so doeth, he must be burnt alive: there is no greater blemish to us that Divines are less regarded amongst them in any Nation in the World either Christian or Heathen.

And so I pass from thee quality of the Elders due, to the quantity, double honour: a due answerable to the duty, as the reward to the merit, their duty is double ruling and labouring, their labour double in the Word and Doctrine, so that all these respects double honour is due [Page 28] to them, besides the honour of reverence, their is the honou [...] of maintenance due to them. as St. Chrysost [...]me and others upon these words. See what a large patrymo­ny God conferred upon those that Ministred about holy [...]eut. 18 things under the Law: no less hath ordained under the Gospel, the Apostle by seven irrefragible arguments provesCor. 1. [...]. 9. from [...]. 9 to [...]. the maintenance of the Ministry, is not a beggarly almes given to them only in charity or by way of [...]enevolence, hut an honourable stipend due to them in Justice for their workes [...]ake. And as we have an entail from the Lord of all, so have we the continued usage of the Church time out of mind if we search into former ages we shall find that this homage hath been ever paid to the Church, we cannot say of this, as our Saviour said of the divorce; from the beginning it was not so; M [...]lchesidick was tempore antiqui [...]r, without Father, without Mother, without deseent, [...]. 14. 20. [...]at. 23. [...] 23. King of Salem, and Priest of the most high God, and he received tythes of Abraham. And this attested by our Saviour to be paid in his time and approved by him; nor can the Enemies of the Church plead any prescrip­tion since that. I have read of a lamp that burnt a thou­sand years and afterward went out, but these with theMat. 25. wi [...]e Virgins shall have oyl in their vessels with their lamps, so long as the Sun and Moon endureth.

Thirdly, dign [...] they are worthy.

First dignitate offic [...], by the worthyness of their Office: in the Scripture they are called Starres, Angels, Pastours of the Church, the Am [...]assadours of Heaven, nihil in hoc l [...]o exc [...]ll [...]tius sac [...]rdot [...]bus. They that be wise shall shineChr [...]. as the [...]rightness of the firmament, and they that turn ma­ny to righteousness as the Stars for ever and ever.

Secondly, dign [...]ta [...] [...]peri [...], the worthyness of the work; this work is to work out mans salvation, honour the Physi­tian because of thy need saith the wise man, now these are only conversant about the body in saving it from death temporal, much more should be h [...]noured these spiritual Physiti [...]ns who are conversant about the Sou [...] in saving it [Page 29] death eternal. The more excellent a thing is in Nature, the more acceptable is the preservation of it, now the soul is the express Image of God▪ the free-born child and heir of eternal, it is Gods choicest jewel, Christs pur­chase and therefore what an honour is it to save this soul from death, and therefore not without good cause was the Apostles exhortation, We beseech you Brethren to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the 1 Thes. 5 v. 12. & 13. Lord, and admonish you▪ and to esteem them very highly in love for their work sake.

Thirdly, dignatione Dei by Gods vouchsafeing mercy. The Saints shall be all cloathed with honourable robes, white robes shall be given unto them, duplicibus vestientur, stola prima saith St. Bernard: ipsa est fel [...]citas & requies animarum, happiness and rest of Souls; secunda vero est immortalitas & gloria corporum. Immortality and glory of Bodies, such honour have all his saints: but as the elder Brother the beginning of strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power, had sundry pre­heminences above the rest, he was Lord over all his Brethren: he had a double portion and succeeded in the double Office hoth Kingly and Priestly; so the Elders that rule well and labour for the rest of their Brethren in the Church Militant shall have double honour, a double portion in the Church tryumphant. The wise and faith­ful Steward whom his Lord maketh ruler over his hous­hold here, him will he make ruler over all that he hath hereafter; and of this they are worthy dignitate dei, non St. Ber. dignitate sua, by Gods acceptance not their merit.

Fourthly, Quomodo? How? let them be counted wor­thy of double honour Here give me leave to turn the Apostles direction into an exhortation.

First, I shall direct my speech to my Brethren of the Ministry, si qua coelopictas quae talia curat. If there be any comolation in Christ, any comfort of love, any fel­lowship of the Spirit, &c. mind ye not every one your own things, but the things of the Church: let the honour [Page 30] of the Church and the Ministry thereof be dear in your sight, he that toucheth it let him touch the Apple of your eye. Gregor Nazienzen, Jonas like, de­sired to be cast into the Sea so all might be calm and well in the Church, and let us labour to hold up the great Authority of the Church and the honour of the Mini­stry against the unjust censures and machinations of the common Enemy: and take we up that noble resolve, If I Psal. 137 v. 4. forget thee O Jerusalem, let m [...] right hand forget her cun­ning, If I do not remember thee, let m [...] tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth.

Secondly, a word or two to the Officers of the Church, the Church-Wardens and Sides-men, you are the eyes and ears of the Church and Court. Be ye not as the Scripture speaks of the Idols that have eyes and see not, ears and hear not, mouths and speak not, let not your presentments be like the Spiders where Hornets break through and smaller Flies are catcht, but search Jerusa­lem with candles, find out all those that have ill will at our Sion, and bring them to condign punishment. YouLam. 1 v. 1. shall not need to seek a knot in a Bulrush: I wish there was no cause to renew the Churches complaint, how doth the City sit solitar that was full of People? Besides theAct. 10. Ata [...]ie and disorder by reason of several gestures; make­ing the Church seem like the sheet knit at the four cor­ners where were all manner of four footed Beasts, wild Beasts and creeping things, and Fowles of the air: or the Altar at Athens whereon was this inscription, to the un­know God: Let not these Beasts of prey lurk within your Parishes to rent contumelies against the Church and the holy order of the Ministry. I shall wind up all with an exhortation to all in general: look not with an evil eye upon the dues and rights of the Church; nei­ther withold them from those to whom they are due: which of you by unjust deteinure can adde one Cubit to your statute, hereby your riches shall be corrupted, and your garments moath eaten, your gold and your silver [Page 31] ankerd, and the rust of them shall be a witness again [...]t [...]on, and [...]hall eat your flesh like fire: the hire of those a [...]ourers who have laboured in the word and doctrine [...]ryeth and their cries are entered into the ears of theProv. 3. 9, 10. [...]ord of Sabboth; to such as these I shall say no more [...]hen what hath been said before: honour the Lord with [...]hy sustenance, so shall thy Barns be filled with encrease. Consider of these things and the Lord give you under­standing in all things.

Deo trinuni gloria.

CONCIO AD PLEBEM OR …

CONCIO AD PLEBEM OR THE Christians Guide Chalking out the way that leadeth to Eternal Happiness. Written by P. Fullwood M. A. R. of South-Normanton in the County of Darby.

LONDON, Printed by John Lock for E. Calvert at the Black-spread-Eagle at the West end of St. Pauls. 1673.

Col, I. V. 10. That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitfull in every good work.’

IUST Lot though he was vex­ed with the filthy conversa­tion of the wicked Sodomites, yet how loath was he to de­sert those Tents of wicked­ness, or bid adieu to those Sons of Belial, till God by his Angel leads him forth; and such is our fondness of our darling lusts as though they warre a­gainst our Souls, and provoke Gods heavy wrath and displeasure, yet we are as loath [Page 36] to leave them as the Raven was to return to the Ark hence therefore this blessed Apostle seems to lead us out by the hand like Lots Angel; who like a wise master builder having laid the foundation of repentance from dead works and faith towards God, makes his address to the throne of grace in the behalf of the Colossians that they might go on to perfection, and this he doth in these words precedent, we do not cease to pray foryou, and desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding: that ye walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work.

The Text presents you with two general heads.

First the way to walk in, that ye walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing.

Secondly, The provision for the journey; being fruitful in every good work.

In the First, Quid, what? walk.

Secondly, Q [...]omodo, how? worthy of the Lord.

Thirdly, Qu [...]m ad finem, for what end? unto all pleasing.

In the latter here is first, Quid, what? being fruitful.

Secondly, In quibus, in every good work, of these in their order.

And first of the first, that ye walk, walking is a Meta­pher drawn from Travellers, signifying the right ordering of our lives and conversations; for the better explication of this Metapher, I shall present you with these three consi­derations:

First, which is the way we ought to walk in.

Secondly, what diligence is required in walking.

Thirdly, what is the end we should propound to our selves herein.

First consider what is the way we ought to walk, it is the way of Gods commandement: blessed are the und [...]filed in the way that walk in the law, in the law of the Lord; they are much out of the way who so live as if there were no God to direct them, coun [...]ing the Law of God as a strange [Page 31] thing and cry out with those depart from us for we desire Job. 21. 14. not the knowledge of thy wayes: others there are that look for new visions or revelations, to such as these I may say in the words of the Prophet, this is the way walk in it. Isa. 30. 21. 2 Pet. 1. 10.

Secondly, what diligence is required in walking: give all diligence to make your calling and election sure; if the clouds be full they will pour rain upon the Earth to make it fruitful, if the spring be good, it will send forth pure waters into the Cistern, good motions as they are stirr [...]d by the Spirit of God, so they are fostered by practice, the good husband orders his land in due season: fools and ding-thrifts trifle away the time, but wise-men imploy it to the best advantage: see then that ye walk circumspectly, Eph. 5. 15, 16. not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil.

So I come to the third consideration, what is the end we should propound to our selves, viz. the salvation of1 Pet. 1. 9. Souls: receiving the end their fa [...]h, the salva [...]on of their souls: the seventy returned with [...]oy, saying Lord, even devils are s [...]ject unto us through thy Name, if Moses and Mi­riam, L [...]k. 10. 17. if D [...]borah and David did so shout and sing at their corporal conquests, how in conceiveable is the joy of such as tread down Sathan under their feet, yet behold I shew you a more excellent cause of rejoycing; notwithstanding in this rejoyce not, that the spirits are subject unto you, but in this rather rejoyce that your Names are written inAug. Heaven; cum accepta fuerit in [...]ff [...]bilis illa l [...]titia, perit quo­dammodo mens humana & sit divina: so soon as we re­ceive this inconceiveable joy, our mortality is swallowed with immortality, our humain soul is made caelestial andPsal. 16. 11. Psal. 37. 25. divine, in thy presence is fulness of joy, at thy right hand are pleasures for ever more, to which may be added this pathetical expostulation▪ whom have I in heaven but thee? there is none upon earth I can desire in comparison of thee.

Now that you may ascend this Jacobs ladder that will bring you to eternal happiness, take these few directions,

First, begin betimes, now is the fittest season, it is dangerous [Page 32] to deferr it, the time past is gone we cannot recall it, the time to come, is not in our power, we know not whether we shall ever enjoy it, the time present is only our own, there­fore we should improve it, in the Pool of Bethsada lay a mul­titude John 5. v. 3, 4. of impotent folk, waiting for the moving of the wa­ter, forth▪ Angel went down at a certain season and troubled the water, whosoever then after the troubling of the water first st [...]pped in was made whole. Religion must have its seed time, the seeds are sown, the harvest is hereafter, they that seek me early shall find me.

Secondly keep the way, such as are out of the way areEph. 2. 12 [...] Aliens from the Common-wealth of Israel, strangers from the Covenant of the Promise without hope without God, in the World: but as for Christs innocent Lambs that keep the fold the eyes of the Lord are alwayes over them, and his ears are open to their prayers. He commands his Angels to be t [...]eir Guardians to keep them in all their wayes, and those that offend them, it was better that a milstone was hand d about their necks and they drowned in the depth of the Saa: Oh that our wayes were so directed that we might walk in Gods statutes.

Lhirdly, persevere unto the end, it is the evening crowns the day, not he that puts on his armour, but that puts it off1 Cor. 15 v. 58. may vaunt: be ye stedfast unmoveable, allwayes abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as you know that your la­bour is not in vain in the Lord, other servants may change their master, but the served of the Lord with him in the old law must be bored through the ear to ferve him for ever: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of Rev. 2. life. If you want any further direction the Text suggests it in the words following, worthy of the Lord which is the next step of this first general, that ye walk worthy of the Lord? here worthyness according to the current of inter­preters, seems to note a correspondency of one thing to ano­ther, God is the most exact copy for us to follow: Jesus ChristEphes. 5. v. 1. came into the world to be an example as well as a Saviour, be ye followers of God as dear children, and walk also in love [Page 33] as Christ also hath loved us: other examples may be fol­lowed so far as they follow God without this lunitation, they will prove but an ignis fatuus to lead us out of the way: Lu­cius Aemilius looking upon the Image of Jupiter at first stood amazed, afterward burst forth into this expression: solus pro­fecto Jupiter Phidae Jovis Homerici expressit imaginem: we make the applycation to God Almighty, such is his eternal weight of glory, as the tongue of Men and Angels is not able to express it, yet we may behold him in his back parts with Moses: so far as he hath revealed himself to us in his holy word; he becomes an exact copy not only for admiration but imitation: there are four things wherein Gods example is set forth to us for our imitation.

First, his wisdome and knowledge, in him are hid all the Col. 2. v. 3. treasures of Wisdome and Knowl [...]dg: so glorious is this Suns lustre, as might dazzle the purest eyes to behold it in the per­fection of its beauty, yet in those beams descending thence it becomes obvious to our sight so pretious a Jewel is wis­dome, the splendour whereof makes the Angels out shine all the Worthies of the World it is the distinction betwixt man and man, and man from beast, but this is but the trapings of wisdome, the beauty whereof doth most clearly appear in the saving knowledg of God in Christ: this is life eternal John 17. 3. that they may know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.

Secondly, purity and holyness: it is the quintesence of the divine essence, the life of God, the character of his Laws, the qualifi [...]ation of his Subjects, he is so jealous of the least tincture of impurity, as he hates the garments spotted with the flesh, he that hath the hope purifyeth himself as he is pure. 1 John 3. 3. Joh. 1. 29. Mat. 11. 29, 30. 1 Kings 12. v. 14.

Christ himself comes into the World as a Lamb in all his [...]ermons he strives to work meekness and humility, propounds his own example the preservative of meekness and lawliness▪ take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and law­ [...]y, and you shall find rest unto your Souls, for my yoak is easy and my burden is light. It was Rehoboams answer to old mens counsel▪ my father made your yoake heavy, but I will add to your yoak, but Christs yoak is easy and his burden is light.

Fourthly, Love and Charity God is love, and is the fountain from whence all those rivelets of charity do flow: he spared not his own Son, that he might spare us, but delive­red Rom. 8. 32. him up for us, that he might deliver us from death: amor sine exemplo, charitas sine paralelo: love without an example, charity without a paralel and as he is the fountain of love, so he [...]ds us to draw water out of this well of salvation our blessed Saviour breathing out of the bosome of his Father his will to us doth stretch forth this duty like Davids SunPsal. 19. 6. from one end of the Earth to the other, not only to our friends and those that have done us good, but even to our very Enemies, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do Mat. 5. 44. good to them that hate you, pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you: how prone are we Elijah like to call fire from Heaven upon our Enemies, hence our Saviour seems to keep our mouth, as it were with a bit and bridle and to temper our language that we may bless them that curse us, and when our weening passion seems to bespeak us as God did Moses, let me alone that I may be avenged of this People, Christ binds our hands and turns our hearts to do good to them that hate us, and directs our prayers to pray for them that despitefuly use us and persecute us: and all this is per­fumed with the sweet odour of love.

So I come to the third step of this first general: quem ad sinem, to what end? unto all pleasing, and these words seem to be referred ad formale religionis to the right ordering of our actions so as they may please God: we must so guide the Stern of our actions as they may arrive at the Harbour of Gods acceptance: we must not rest in opere operato, in the deed done, but look at the modus agendi, let not formalityLuk. 12. 43. 1 Cor. 9. 24. 1 Cor. 11 28. Heb. 12. v. 1, 2. swallow up the crown of your endeavors, God is much de­lighted in Adverbs, blessed is that servan [...] whom his Lord when he cometh shall find so doing. So run that ye may obtain. Let a man examine himself and so let him eat of this bread and drink of this cup. Then let us run with patience the race is set be­fore you, looking unto Jesus the Authour and finisher of our faith.

So I come to the first step of the second General, being fruitful, The terms seems Metaphorical, a tree not only buds and blossomes but brings forth fruit: a Christians buds are holy thoughts, his blossomes godly words, his fruits is in the power of godliness, we must not only be budded with good thoughts, nor blossome in good words but bring forth fruit, the fruit of righteousness, yet how few such trees of righteousness are there, some bring forth no fruit, and fallMat. 20. 6. within the compass of our Saviours reprehension, why stand ye here all the day idle? neglect of duty lets in all suggestion and holds in all pollutions, idleness is a [...]horrent to Nature, the heart is alwayes thinking, the fancy alwayes working, the Earth doth bring forth herbs for the service of man, if all this will avail nothing, consider that heavy doom denounced against the unprofitable servant: cast ye the unprofitable ser­vant Mat. 25 30. into utter darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, others bring forth false fruits. How many such Je­zebels there be that can paint over a foul face with fair co­lours, and draw a fair glove on a foul hand; but the hope of Job. 8. 13. the Hypocrite shall perish. Others bring forth bad fruit this fruit Is not more antient than ominous, it entred into the world in the worlds infancy from whom she suckt that poy­sonGen. 3. 10. that proved the bane of her posterity, and the effects hereof appear as terrible to succeeding generations: this is a Comet that portends the ruine of whole kingdomes, the Plague, the Pestilence the Famine, the Sword, it turns Ri­vers into blood, a fruitful Land into barrenness O then let us have no fellowship with these unfruitful works of darknessEph. 4. 20, 21, 22 23, 24. but rather reprove them, ye have not so learned of Christ, if you have heard him and been taught by him as the truth is in Jesus, that ye put off toneerning the former conversation the old man which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renew­ed in the spirit of your mind, and that ye put on the new maen, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

So I come to this last step of his last General, in every good work, being fruitful in every good work: it is not enough to do some good works, but we must be fruitful in e­very [Page 36] good work, without our obedience be universal it is hypocritical. The grace of God which bringeth salvation hath Tit. 2. 11, 12. appeared unto all men, teaching us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, that we should live soberly and righteously in this present World, you deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, if you do no impiety to God, nor injury to man, yet inno­cency from ill, will not serve with negligence of good, as we may not be wicked, so we must be godly, indeed the law of God required both. He that keepeth the law of God and faileth in one point is guilty of all: our dutyes of piety toJam. 2. 10. God cannot exempt us from the offices of our charity to [...] with such sacrifices God is well pleased,: see then outward professions without sutable actions are in­significant: God requires that we be fruitful in every good work, if ye know these things happy are ye if yee do them good wine that is poured into stinking Bottles spoiles the wine.Joh. 13. 17. and makes it unsavoury, and good professions that are poured into a corrupt heart stink in the nostrils of God Almighty. External professions are like Nebuchadnezzars Image, whose head was of gold and the belly of brass; these cannot reach the bliss pronounced by our Saviour. The Pharises prayer, Cains sacrifice, Jizebels fast, Esau stears, Ananias offering avail nothing; though they profess that they know God, yet in works they deny him, being abominable and disobedient and to Tit. 1. 16. 1 Cor. 13. 1 2, 3 every good work Reprobate: would you a closer instance the Apostle suggest it, Though I speak with the tongue of Men, Angels and have no charity it profiteth me nothing: I am be­come as a sounding brass or a tinckling Cymbal; though I have the gift of prophesie and understand all Mysteries and knowledge and though I have all faith so that I [...]uld remove Mountains, and have no charity I am nothing, though I give all my goods to feed the poor and have no charity I am nothing, &c.

I shall wind up all with an exhortation: strive then to be perfect as your Father which is in Heaven is also perfect, let purity and integrity be the badge of your profession; and be distinguished from the common rank of this world, by your conquest over sin, and imbracing of virtue.

Now the God of peace that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ the great Shepherd of the sheep, make you perfect in every good work, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever, Amen.

FINIS,

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