XXIX CHOICE SERMONS On severall Texts of Scripture. Preached By that Reverend and Faithfull Minister of Gods Word, WILLIAM FENNER, B. D. sometimes Fellow of Pembroke Hall in Cambridge, and late Minister of Rochford in Essex.

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LONDON, Printed by E. T. for John Stafford, at the Signe of the George at Fleet-Bridge. 1657.

The Epistle to the godly Reader of these pious SERMONS.

THE Author of these ensuing Sermons, Master William Fenner, was so deservedly fa­mous in the Church of God, and so well knowne unto me in parti­cular, and one to whom I was so much obliged, when he was li­ving, as that I could not thinke it sufficient to give a bare Imprimatur unto his Sermons, but have added this Testimony also, that thereby all good People might be encouraged to read these Workes of his, whose life and conversation was a continuall Sermon, and who spent himselfe in Studying and Preaching, and whose memory will be ever precious unto

Your loving friend Edm. Calamy.

TO THE READER.

Good Reader

THE Author of these Sermons, having served his time, and being fallen asleep, The lot is fallen upon me to appear in their behalfe, and to seale unto their worth and usefulnesse for publick ser­vice, as farre as thou pleasest to seal unto my judgement and faithfulnesse in such a case, with thine opinion and approbation. For the truth is, that the strength and value of my testimony concerning them, is like to extend no further, than thine doth concer­ning me: So that if I adde any thing to their credit and esti­mation in the world, by my recommendation, it is by the mediation of thine ingenuity and fairnesse towards me. But if thou shalt please to be at any reasonable cost in the rea­ding of them, and lay thy judgement and conscience as close to the spirit, as thou must thine eyes to the letter of what thou readest, I make no question but I shall be the gainer, and not they, by this engagement of my selfe for them. True worth, especially when it overcomes and breaks out of the cloude of obscurity, alwayes returnes more than what it receives from any mans testimony: neither is there any method or trade so proper or certain, whereby to raise an estate of ho­nour and reputation to a mans selfe, as the bestowing or [Page] casting honour and reputation upon other, so he be carefull and dexterous in the choyce of his subject. John Baptist by giving testimony only to one, Jesus Christ, out-grew the common stature of those that are borne of women; in true greatnesse, Matth. 11. 11. And yet there was little or no­thing (in effect) added to Jesus Christ himselfe by his Te­stimony, John. 5. 34. It is an ingenuous and inoffensive way to serve our selves out of other mens excellencies, by advancing them: neither doe the generality of men in their practice, more generally consent upon any principle of reason and equity, than this, To recompence such men with terms of honour, who are unpartiall and free in sub­scribing and acknowledging the worth and eminencie of others. And as many that are but of meane condition in the world otherwise, yet maintaine themselves comforta­bly, by trimming and dressing the Gardens and Orchards, and Vineyards of rich and wealthy men; so many men that want other personall abilities and excellencies of their own, subsist upon termes of a convenient reputation, only by vin­dicating, adorning, and setting forth the endowments and gracefull parts of other men.

The subject or argument of diverse of these Sermons, is partly that Noble and high importing straine of Christian devotion; Preparation for that solemne enterview of Jesus Christ in his death, at his Table; The great seve­rity of Gods proceedings against despisers of admoniti­ons and reproofe. Both theames of savoury conside­ration for all those that love not death; and more espe­cially for those, who desire not onely to bee saved, but to bee saved upon sweeter, and more comfortable terms than as by fire, 1 Corinthians 3. 15. Those that were chastened with weakenesse, and sickenesse, and death amongst the Corinthians, 1 Corinthians 11. 30. were yet saved, verse 32. but this was as by or through fire; though they did not perish, were not consumed by the flames of Gods displeasure against them, yet they were sorely scorched with them, the smell of this fire was [Page] strong upon the garments of their flesh; They discerned not the body of his Sonne Jesus Christ, in his Ordinances; but in stead of that holy, reverend, and deepe-dyed beha­viour, which was due unto it, both from their inner and outward man, as being a creature of the highest and deepest sanctification that ever God sanctified; Sanctified not one­ly to a more excellent and glorious condition, but also to many ends and purposes of farre higher and dearer con­cernement, both for the glory of God, and benefit of Men themselves, than all other creatures whatsoever, whether in Heaven or in Farth; They handled and dealt by it in both kind [...]s, as if it had been but a common or unsan­ctified thing; thus they diserned not the Lords body. And as they discerned not his body, so neither did God (in some sense) discern theirs; but in those sore strokes and heavy judgements which he inflicted on them, had them in no other rgard or consideration, than a if they been the bo­dies of his enemies, the bodies of wicked and sinfull men; thus drawing the model and platforme of their punish­ment (as usually he doth) from the structure and propor­tion of their sinne. And if the morall or spirituall seeds and originals of our outward and bodily afflictions, as sicknesses, and weaknesses, either upon our selves o [...] ours, declining estates, losses, &c (which still lye deeper than the naturall) were but carefully and narrowly sought out, it is much to be feared we should finde a great part of them (at least) in the bowels of the same Sinne, so frequent a­mongst us, I meane, of Not discerning the LORDS Body. The just and righteous God builds up the breaches that we make upon the honour belonging to the body of his Sonne, with the runies of that Honour, which he had given unto ours in health, strength, life, and many other outward comforts and supports. But thou wilt heare more of these things in the Sermons themselves; the wholesome Admo­nitions and Reproofes wherein contained, with the rest of that heavenly provision for thy Soule, which shalt finde here gathered together, and laid into thine hand, I hear­tily [Page] wish may be sanctified unto thee by the highest hand of the Sanctifier: that so thy sinnes and corruptions may flye seven wayes before that Spirit of power which here pursueth them, and thou never presume to returne backe again unto them more. The God whom we serve, is able to performe this great petition, by Jesus Christ. To whose grace the peace of thy soul is faithfully and feelingly com­mended, by

That poor and unworthy ser­vant of Christ and his Church, T. Goodwin.

THe learned Author of these Sermons (now with God) hath given much proof of his cleare knowledge, and great experience in the Myste­ry of godlinesse by his labours al­ready published: yet, if any shall de­sire a further Testimonie of either, these Sermons will give it in full measure, pressed down, and running over; and therefore I subscribe their publication for common good.

Joseph Caryl.

The Authors Preface upon these ensuing SERMONS.

THe cause of that little Heavenlinesse which is in the profession of Christiani­ty, is the want of Meditation. Many can meditate cursorily, but that is not enough: it must be a sticking meditation that must affect the heart That place in a Pet. 2. 8. is marvellous pregnant, it was the meanes why Lot was so touched with the abominations of Sodom, That righteous man dwelling amongst them, in seeing and hearing their ungodly deeds, vexed his righteous soul from day to day. Many heard and saw too besides Lot, and were not vex­ed: Why? Other matters stuck in their thoughts, they ne're throughly meditated on it; but he vexed himself, that is, the meditation of those evils, and bringing them home to his Soul, vexed him.

The word is a fit word, implying two things▪

First, the searching and examining of a thing, his meditating heart examined their sins: how many they were, how grievous, how damnable, how likely to pul down some vengeance or o­ther upon them.

[Page]Secondly, the wracking or vexing upon tryall; so it was with Lot, he observed all their evills, and weighed them in his soule, and then he wrack'd his spirit with the considertaion of them. The Evangelist useth this very word for tossing; this word that is here put for vexing, he puts for tossing a ship on the seas, Matthew 14. 24. The ship was tossed with the waves: so meditation did tosse his soule with vexa­tion, sometimes down to the deep; O miserable wretches that we are! or, How brutish, host beastly, and how hellish are our sins? Sometimes up; O that the Lord would humble us and spare us! Sometimes over head and ears in the storm; O fool that I was to chuse my dwelling amongst such men.

These meditations vexed his soul: Many have studied me­ditations, and yet yet are not acquainted with this cordiall meditation: many Ministers that study Divinity all the day, that study the Word all the week, that study their Sermons all the yeare, may yet for all this, be carnall Ministers: why? Because their meditation is but inventing and mentall me­ditation; this meditation is a practicall meditation, the thing meditated feeds the heart: that meditation is like a flutte­ring Pheasant, that flutters before their eyes, it feeds their eyes indeed, but never feeds the stomack, as long as they neither catch or eat it. The saving mystereis of God flutter before their eyes, and before their understandings, they feed their eyes with knowledge, but never feed their soules unto everlasting life, unlesse they fowl for it, dresse and digest it in their hearts.

There is an apt word, Genesis 24. 63. Isaac went out to meditate in the field: the originall hath it, to signifie [...]nall conference, his minde conferred with the truth, and the truth with him, a mutuall working he wrought upon the truth, by meditating of it, and it wrought upon him by leaving an impression upon his soule: this is a rare pra­ctice in the world, and yet as necessary as most, it is the art of the soule in being heavenly, it is the inuring of thee to every good duty; for by meditation a man comes to have [Page] his minde and heart fixed upon every thing that he would; would he pray? he that hath inured his heart to meditate, his minde is fixed in his prayer. Would he receive the Sacrament? He that hath inured his heart by meditation, his minde is fixed in the Ordinance. Da­vid that was excellent at meditation, had a fixed heart, Psalm. 57. 7. Psal. 112. 17.

The Contents and Heads of the following SERMONS.

The Contents of the first SERMON, Haggai 1. 5.

  • THe Preface, shewing the usefulnesse of Meditation, together with the danger in neglecting it.
  • The opening of the Te [...]t in severall particulars, page 1.
  • Doctrine, Serious Meditation of our sins by the word, is an especiall means for to make us repent, 2.
  • The definition of Meditation, in four particulars, ibid.
  • 1. It is an exercise of the mind, ibid.
  • 2. A setled exercise of the mind, ibid.
  • 3. It is to make a further enquiry into all the parts of the truth, ibid.
  • 4. It labours to affect the heart, 3.
Two Reasons.
  • 1. Because Meditation presseth all Arguments home to the heart, ibid.
  • 2. Because Meditation fastens sin close upon the soul, and makes the soule to feel it, 4.
  • 1. Use. For the reproof of several sorts of men that are loth to put in pra­ctice this so necessary a duty, 5.
Four lets of Meditation.
  • 1. Vaine company, 6.
  • 2. Multitude of wordly businesse, ibid.
  • 3. Ignorance, 7.
  • 4. That naturall aversnesse that is in the heart of man unto it, ibid.
This aversenesse of heart consisteth in three things,
  • 1. In the carelesnesse of the heart, ibid.
  • 2. In the runnings and revings of the heart, ibid.
  • 3. In the wearisomenesse of the heart in meditation, 8.
  • 2. Use. For terror unto all those that dare sit down in security, never at all regarding this soule-searching dutie, ibid.
[...]
Four means or helps to Meditation.
  • [Page]1. With all seriousnesse tell the soul that thou hast a message from the Lord unto it, 9.
  • 2. Observe fitting times for meditation: viz,
  • 1. The morning, ibid.
  • 2. The night, 10.
  • 3. The evening, ibid.
  • 4. When the heart is after some extraordinary manner touched with Gods word or providences, ibid.
  • 3. Call to mind what evill thou hast done ever since thou wast born, ibid
  • 3. Rouse up thy heart, and thoughts as high as heaven, ibid.
  • 3. Use. For reprehension of those that meditate upon their sins, and how they may with the more freenesse to commit sin. 11.
Four grounds upon which Meditation must be raised.
  • 1. Meditate on the goodnesse, mercy and patience of God, that you have oft abused by your sins, 12.
  • 2. Meditate on the justice of God that you have so oft provoked, 13.
  • 3. Meditate on the wrath of God that you have so oft kindled, ibid.
  • 4. Meditate on the constancie of God, who is a constant hater of all sin, 14.
Four directions how to carry Meditation home to the heart.
  • 1. Weigh and ponder all the foregoing things in thine own heart, 15.
  • 2. Strip sin, and look upon it stark naked, and in it's own colours, 16.
  • 3. Dive into thine ownsoule, and search thine heart to the quick, ibid.
  • 4. Prevent thine own heart by meditation, and tell thy soule that it will one day wish, that it had not neglected this so necessary a duty, 17.
Four duties to be discharged that we may put life to Meditation.
  • 1. Let Meditation haunt and dog thy heart with the promises and threatnings, mercies and judgements of God, 18.
  • 2. Let Meditation trace thy heart in the same steps, and run over all thy du­ties discharged, 19.
  • 2. Let Meditation hale thy heart before Gods Throne, there to powre out thy complaints before the Almighty. p. 20. And let thy complaint be
    • 1. Full of sorrow, 21.
    • 2. A full complaint of all thy sins, ibid.
    • 3. A complaint aggravating all thy sins by all their circumstances. ibid.
    • 4. A self condemning complaint, wherein the complaint of Ezra is illustrated in eight particulars, 22.
  • 4. Let meditation when it hath searched out thy case, and made it appear how wofull it is, cast thee down before God, 23.
Four Motives to stir up the soul to Meditation.
  • [Page]Consider it is the part of a fool not to meditate: It is madnesse for a man to walk on in a course, and not to consider whither it will tend, 24.
  • 2. Consider, not to meditate is the brand of a Reprobate, ibid.
  • 3. He that meditates not, robs God of his honour, 25.
  • 4. All the service that a man performeth unto the Lord, will be abominable, if he meditate not before it, and after it. ibid.
  • The reason why we have so many vain thoughts in our holy exercises, is, because we prepare not our hearts thereunto by meditation.

The Contents of the third SERMON; Proverbs 1. 28.

  • 1. THe opening of the context in five particulars, 29.
  • 2. The opening of the words of the Text in four particulars, 30.
  • 1. Doctrine. Those that will not hear the Lord when he calleth upon them by the ministry of his word, and voyce of his Spirit, the Lord will not heart them, when in their misery they call upon him. 21.
Three Reasons of the point.
  • 1. The law of Retaliation, of rendring like for like, requires it. ibid.
  • 2. Because Gods two Attributes of Mercy and Justice, have their season in this life, and when Mercy hath acted her part, then cometh Justice upon the stage for to act her part. 32.
  • 3. Because it is Gods manner for to do so in temporall things, and there­fore much more in matters of grace and salvation. 33.
  • God giveth to men a day; and no Man nor Angel knoweth how long this day lasteth, or when this season of grace shall have an end, 35.
  • And as there is a personall day, so there is a Nationall day, 36.
  • Objection 1. A man may be called at the eleventh or twelfth hour of the day, 37.
  • Answer, Those that were called at the first hour, came in at first hour; those that came in at the twelfth hour, were not the same that were called at the first hour, ibid.
  • Objection 2. The day of grace lasteth as long as the day of life. ibid.
  • The Objection is cleared under three particulars,
  • Answer, And it is answered, that the day of grace may end to a particular man long before his death,
  • 1. Because God may harden a mans heart, 38.
  • 2. Because God may sear mens consciences. ibid.
  • Objection 3. Suppose I go on in my sin, and repent upon my death bead, will God hear me?
  • [Page]Answer, The answer is negative, 39.
  • Objection 4. Suppose I humble my self by fasting and prayer, will not God hear that?
  • The answer is negative, if thou neglect the day of grace, ibid.
  • Object. 5. At what time soever a sinner repents, he shall find mercy.
  • Ans. It is true if he repent from the bottom of his heart, but a man may have many a degree of repentance, and yet never repent from his heart, ibid.
  • Self▪ love may make a man do much, ibid.
  • 2. Doctrine. It may be this very day, even this particular Sermon, this instant hour may be thy day, that art now in th [...] sins, that if thou repent not at this very one Sermon, thou neglectest eternal life for ever, 40.
Four Reasons of the point.
  • 1. Because Gods patience is in his own breast, and who can tell how long it will last? ibid.
  • Wherein Joel 2. 12. is opened in five particulars, ibid.
  • 2. God usually giveth some signes of death beforehand, 41.
  • But the day of grace may end, and a man never have any warning of it,
  • Because Gods patience giveth no marks or inkling of its ending before it ends, ibid.
  • 3. Because God keepeth a strict account how many opportunities he hath vouchsafed, 42.
  • 4. Consider, it is a wonder that the day of grace is not ended already, and that thou art not now in hell. 43.

The Contents of the fourth SERMON, upon upon Philip. 3. 18, 19.

  • 1: AN Explaination of the severall parts of the Text in five particulars, 43.
  • Doctrine. That those whose minds and thoughts run habitually on earth and earthly things, their end must needs be destruction, 44.
  • 6. Reasons. 1. The curse of God is the desert of vain thoughts, ibid.
  • 2. The curse of God is the event of vaine thoughts, ibid.
  • 3. The man whose thoughts are habitually on the things of the world, can ne­ver truly repent, 47.
  • 4. Because that man whose thoughts run habitually on earthly things, hath no part in Jesus Christ, 48.
  • 5. Because so long as a mans thoughts run habitually on things of the world, that man hath no true love of God in him, ibid.
  • 6. Because so long as a mans thoughts run after the world he can never de­part from his sins, 49.
  • 2. Uses. 1. For humiliation, because these vain thoughts bearing sway in the heart, they make that mans end to be destruction. 50.
  • 2. For the terrour of those men who suffer their hearts to be taken up with vain thoughts. 51.
  • [Page]Objection. But I think of God and of Christ, of faith and repentance, 52.
  • Answ. 1. Consider whether thy good thoughts be meerly cast into thy heart, or whether they be raised by thy heart, ibid.
  • A wicked man may have a thousand good thoughts, and yet goe to hell in the midst of them. 53.
  • 2. Thou hast good thoughts, but consider whether they be fleeting or abiding thoughts, 54.
  • There are two kinds of vaine thoughts: 1. vaine, because the matter and substance of them is vaine; 2. vaine, for want of durance and lasting, though not vaine for the matter of them. ibid.
  • 3. Thou thinkest of God, but consider whether thy thoughts be studied or ac­cidentall thoughts, 55.
  • A godly man not only thinketh of God, but he studieth how to think of God, ibid.
  • 4. Thou thinkest of God, but consider whether thy thoughts of God be profita­ble, or unprofitable thoughts, ibid.
  • Thoughts how free, and not free:
  • Free from mens knowledge and mens Courts:
  • Not free
  • 1. From Gods knowledge, ibid.
  • 2. They are not free from Gods word, ibid.
  • 3. They are not free from the wrath of God, 57.
Three meanes, in the use whereof we may rid our selves of vain thoughts.
  • 1. Love the word of God, ibid.
  • 2. Go unto God by prayer, ibid.
  • 3. Consider, thou hast not so learned Christ, 58.
All vaine thoughts arise from these three Heads,
  • 1. From the variety and abundance of the thoughts of the world, ibid.
  • 2. From the Fountain of corruption that is in mens hearts, ibid.
  • 3: From the damned malice of Satan, and his temptations both within and without. ibid.
Thoughts become vain four manner of wayes.
  • In respect of the Matter.
  • In respect of the Forme.
  • In respect of the Efficient.
  • In respect of the End.
  • 1. Thoughts are Meterially vain,
  • When the matter of them is vain, ibid.
  • Such are the thoughts of the world, our calling or recreation: these are evil,
    • [Page]1. When we think of them primarily, that is, before we think of God, 59.
    • 2. When we think of them too usually, too often, ibid.
    • 3. When we think of them too savourily, 60.
    • 4. When we think of them without counsel, ibid.
    • 5. When they are thoughts needlesly, ibid.
  • 2. Thoughts are vain formally, when though the matter of them be never so good, yet the manner of thinking them is evill, 61.
  • It is possible for a man to go to hell, though he perform the same things for the matter of them that a godly man doth, ibid.
  • 3. Thoughts are vaine efficiently, when the heart that thinketh upon them is earthly and vaine, 62.
  • 4. Thoughts are vain, when the drift and end of the soul in thinking on them is vain. 63.
  • Wicked men will be thinking of God,
  • 1. To make God amends for their dishonouring of him by their wicked thoughts, ibid.
  • 2. To collogue with God, and to flatter him, 64.
  • 3. To smoother and choak their own consciences. ibid.

The Contents of the fifth SERMON; 1 Corinth. 6. 2.

  • 1. AN Explanation of the Text, together with the veses foregoing and following, 67.
  • Doctrine, The Saints shall judge the world, 68.
  • Objection. How shall the Saints judge the world? 69.
  • Answer. 1. By their consent unto Christs Judgement. ibid.
  • 2. By their applause to Christs judgement, ibid.
  • 3. By their Majesty; then shall they shine as stars in the firmament, and the wicked shall be amazed at the sight of them. ibid.
  • 4. By their lives and conversations, their accepting of the Lord Jesus Christ, they shal judge the worlds rejecting of him. ibid.
Three Reasons of the point.
  • 1. First, because of that mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Saints, so when Christ judgeth the world, the whole body of Christ may be said to judge the world. 70.
  • 2. In regard of their sufferings with Christ; as they are judged by the world, so they shall be judges of the world, ibid.
  • 3. For the greater terror to all wicked men at the day of judgement, ibid.
  • [Page]4. Because the mouthes of wicked men may bee stopped, and that they may have no excuse for themselves. ibid.
  • Use 1. For information in five particulars.
  • 1. Hence we may learne that the Saints by their now being Saints, do now judge the world. 71.
  • Wherein, Heb. 11. 7. is cleared from an Objection.
  • 2. Hence let the world learne, that when any one sinner is converted, there is one Judge more to sit upon them. 72.
  • 3. Hence we may learn, that it concerns all the world to take notice of every grace in Gods children, because there is never a grace in any of the Saints, but it shall make for the condemnation of them that want it. ibid.
  • 4. Learne hence, that if the Saints, then much more the word that begets them, shall judge the world. 73.
  • 5. Learne hence also, that the Ministers of God by every Sermon they preach, shall judge the world. ibid.
  • Use 2. For to condemn the world, who see not an amiablenesse in the faces of the Saints, who shall one day be their Judges, who shall judge both Saints and Angels. 74.
  • 2. This sheweth the folly of the wicked, who prepare not for these Judges. ibid.
  • Lastly, it condemnes all those that do not see glory and majesty in the face of. Gods Saints, he that revileth the Saints, revileth his Iudges, ibid
Who shall judge the World.
  • 1. God the Father by way of authority, all judgement is originally from him. 75.
  • 2. God the Son by way of dispensation. ibid.
  • 3. God the holy Ghost by way of conviction. 76.
  • 4. The Word of God by way of form, it being the platforme, according to which Christ will judge the whole world. ibid.
  • 5 All the Ministers of God shall sit as Justices in common. 77.
  • 6. All the Saints from one end of the world to the other, shall assist the just Iudge of Heaven and Earth. ibid.
  • So that the wicked shall not be able to plead: ibid.
    • 1. Their Ignorance ibid.
    • 2. Nor their Poverty. ibid.
    • 3. Neither their sinning at their masters command, 78.
    • 4. Neither Callings or Trade. ibid.
    • 5. Neither the sinfull times they live in. ibid.
  • Use 3. First for the just reproof of many of the Saints of God, because they are not so circumspect over their wayes, as they ought; how will they be able to rise up in judgement against the wicked for such sins as they them selvs live in? ibid.
  • 2. It may serve to condemne some of the Saints of God in regard of that lit­tle difference that is to be found betwixt the wicked of the world, and them in their lives and manners, it is hard to tell which is a Saint, and which is a Re­probate, by their conversations.
  • 3. It may serve to condemn the scandalousnesse of many persons in their behaviour and actions. 80.

The Contents of the sixth Sermon, on 1 Cor. 11. 30.

  • Doct. 1. FRom the 18. v. that whosoever will come to the holy Communi­on, they must examine themselves, that so they may come war­thily. 83.
  • The Apostle gives three Reasons of it.
  • 1. From the end of the Sacrament.
  • 2. From the wrong men offer to Christ, if they come in their sins. ibid.
  • 3. From the wofull wrong that a man doth to his own soul, that cometh with­out preparation. ibid.
The Uses of the point are these.
  • 1. For the reproof of those, that coming unpreparedly, get no spirituall strength thereby. ibid.
  • 2. For terrour to unworthy receivers. 85.
  • 3. To shew they make themselves liable to Gods temporary plagues. ibid.
  • 4. For instruction to examine our selves. ibid.
  • 5. He concludes with an use of exhortation. 86.
An Explanation of the Words.
  • Doct. 2. God doth most severely punish the unworthy receivers of the Lords Supper. 87.
Foure Reasons hereof.
  • 1▪ Because Christ himselfe instituted it. ibid.
  • 2. Because Christ is the matter of it, and therefore the more heynous the de­filement. 89.
  • 3. Because Christ is the forme of it, wherein confirming grace is sealed to the soul. 90.
  • 4. Because Christ is the end of the Sacrament. ibid.
  • Use 1. For Instruction; shewing whence sicknesse, weaknesse, &c. come. 91.
  • From whence comes hardnesse of heart, &c. 92.
  • Use 2. For comfort unto every poor afflicted soul, &c. 93.
  • Use 3. For terror to those that come unpreparedly. 94.
  • Object. Do all that come unworthily eat and drink their own damnation?
  • Answ. A man may eat and drink his own damnation three ways.
  • 1. In regard of guilt and liablenesse to Gods wrath, 96.
  • 2. In regard of the seal and obligation in the conscience, ibid.
  • 3. In regard of the sigillation in heaven. ibid.
  • Lastly the conclusion, denouncing terror to all those that dare rush upon this holy ordinance, 205.
  • But for comfort to all them, who with all diligence set upon the preparing of their souls for this great Ordinance. ibid.

The Contents of the seventh SERMON, on 2 Cor. 11. 28. The words of the Text explained.

  • Doct. 1. WE must not rush upon the Sacrament. 102.
  • There are none of the Ordinances of God that a man may rush upon without examination. ibid.
Three Reasons hereof.
  • 1. Naturally we are not invited guests to the Sacrament. ibid.
  • 2. Though we are invited, yet it may be we are not disposed: for, natu­rally we are strangers to God and the covenant of God; all this indisposition must be wrought off before we can come comfortably to the Sacrament. 103.
  • 3. This is a solemn Ordinance, and therefore an Ordinary disposition will will not serve the turn, ibid.
  • Many a reprobate may eat and drink in Christs presence, ibid.
  • Use. To forewarne men lest they unpreparedly rush upon any of Gods Or­dinances, especially upon the Sacrament of the body and bloud of Christ. 104.
    The text divided into four parts.
    • The matter of the duty. ibid.
    • The manner how to be performed. ibid.
    • The rule of direction concerning it, ibid.
    • The benefit of following that rule. ibid.
  • Doct. 2. There is a necessity that we should receive the Lords Supper, and receive it often, 105.
  • Doct. 3. The manner of performance of duties is to be regarded, ibid.
Five Reasons hereof.
  • 1. The Lord commands the manner as well as the matter, 106.
  • 2. Circumstances overthrow actions, if they be not rightly and duly observed, ibid.
    Its instanced
    • 1. In grayer, ibid.
    • 2. In preaching, ibid.
    • 3. In receiving the Sacrament, 107.
    • 4. In brotherly reproof, ibid.
    • 5. In eating, drinking, and marrying, ibid.
  • 3. Because only the manner of doing duties gets the blessing, 108.
  • 4. Because Christ himself is an example unto us in this, he did not only obey his Father in the matter of his commands, but in the manner of them, ibid.
  • 5. Because otherwise we cannot glorifie God, ibid.
  • Use. 1. First, to condemn that natural Popery that is in the hearts of men, &c. 109.
  • Use 2. For discovering why people are so willing to doe duties for the matter and not for the manner. 110.
The Reasons of it are these.
  • 1. Because the matter of duties is easie, but the manner is difficult. ibid.
  • 2. Dutres for the matter of them may be done with a proud heart, 111.
  • 3. They may be done with an unholy life, 112.
  • [Page]4. The matter of duty bringeth not the crosse; and may zealous for the mat­ter, and persecutors of goodnes [...]e, ibid.
  • Use 3. To exhort men to labour and perform duties aright. 113.
Three Motives to perswade people to perform duties after a right manner.
  • 1. Because no Ordinance at all else can be effectuall unto us, ibid.
  • 2. All is but hypocrisie, if the manner be not regarded, ibid.
  • 3. It is only the right manner of duing, duties that pleaseth God, 114.
  • Doctrine. 4. Every man mast prepare himself before he come to the Lords Table, 115.
Four Reasons hereof.
  • 1. Because the Sacrament is Gods ordinance, ibid.
  • 2. Because the Lord Christ hath made great preparation in providing it, 116.
  • 3. Because Christ in this ordinance offers to come into the soule, and he looks for good entertainment, ibid.
  • 4. Because the Sacrament is a part of Christs last will and Testament, there­fore when we know our Lords will, we must prepare for the doing of it, 117.

The Contents of the eighth SERMON, upon Proverbs 29. 1. 1. A double exposition of the Text.

  • Doctrine FRom the first exposition, viz, He that reproveth another, and is guilty himself in the same kind, or in any other kind, and har­deneth his own heart in it, that man shall be destroyed without remedy. 122.
Seven Reasons hereof.
  • 1. Because the office of a reprover bindeth him to be blamelesse, ibid.
  • 2. Because such a reprover as is guilty himself, can never reprove to a right end, ibid.
  • 3. Neither can he doe it in a right manner, 123.
  • 4. Such a reprover is an hypocrite, ibid.
  • 5. Such a reproving of another mans sin, makes him inexcusable in his own, 124.
  • 6. It is an absurd thing for a person to reprove another for that whereof he is guilty himself, ibid.
  • 7. Such a reproving is a sign of impudency, ibid.
  • Objection. Shall not a wicked Magistrate or Minister reprove others, &c? 125,
  • Answ. He is bound to reprove, in regard of his office, but it bound in consci­ence to amend himself first, ibid.
  • Use 1. For instruction: first, Let every reprover take heed lest he make him­self inexcusable, ibid.
  • 2. Let him endeavour to walk unblameable and inoffensive, ibid.
Two Doctrines from the second Exposition of the Words, viz.
  • [Page]Doctrine 1. The Lord doth not not destroy man willingly, but for sinne. 127.
  • Doctrine 2. It is a great mercy for man to be reproved for his sinne. 128.
Three Reasons of second Doctrine.
  • 1. Because reproofs primarily come from love, ibid.
  • 2. They tend to the good of a mans soule. 129.
  • 3. Its brutish not to take reproofs in good part. 130.
  • Use 1. First for information, that God is bringing destruction upon a King­dome, when he takes away reprovers from them: ibid.
  • Use 2. For the reproof of those that despise the reproof of the wise; they despise not men, but God. 131,
  • The grievousnesse of their sin who stand out against reproof, is aggravated under severall heads. 132.
  • Doctrine 3. The Lord proportions punishments to mens sins. ibid.
Three Reasons of the third Doctrine.
  • 1. Because hereby a mans punishment appears to be so much more equal and worthy. ibid.
  • 2. This stops mens mouths, and convinceth their consciences. ibid.
  • 3. All the standers by may see the equity of it, when the punishment is accor­ding to the sin, 133.
  • Use 3. For instruction.
  • 1. To teach men notto complaine of Gods dealing with them, if their punish­ment be (for the the kind of it) according to their sin, but rather let them learn to see Gods immediate hand in it. 134.
  • 2. To teach men to consider how God many times proportions punishments to sin,
    • 1. For Kind, ibid.
    • 2. For Quantity, ibid.
    • 3. For Quality, 135.
    • 4. For Time, ibid.
    • 5. For Place, ibid.

The Contents of the ninth SERMON, Isaiah 55. 7▪

  • Doct. 1. THose whose minds, or thoughts, run habitually on earthly things, are yet in the state of misery. 139.
Four Reasons.
  • 1. Because a man is in the state of misery till he hath repented, and untill a man hath forsaken his vaine thoughts, he hath not repented. ibid.
  • 2. Because a man is in a state of misery untill he is in Christ, and a man is not in Christ till his thoughts be sanctified. ibid.
  • 3. Because a man is in the state of misery that doth not love God, and a man can never love God untill he forsake his vaine thoughts. 140.
  • 4. Because that man is in a state of misery that doth not forsake sin, and a man can never forsake sin till he leave his vaine thoughts. ibid.
    • 1. Because vaine thoughts are great sins, ibid.
    • 2. They are sins of the highest part of man, ibid.
    • 3. They are the breach of every Commandement, ibid.
    • 4. Because they are the strength of a mans soule, the first born of originall corruption, ibid.
    • 5. Because they are the dearest acts of man. 141.
  • Doct. 2. It is hard for men to forsake their sinfull thoughts. ibid.
    • 1. Because it is hard for to reforme the inward part, ibid.
    • 2. Because thoughts are partiall acts, and run on in every action. ibid.
    • 3. Because thoughts are inward, in the heart. 142.
  • Use. 1. For men to examine their thoughts, ibid.
  • A man may know whether he be a child of God, or of the Devil, by his thoughts. ibid.
  • 1. Because mens thoughts are the free acts of the heart, ibid.
  • 2. They are the immediate acts of the heart, 143.
  • 3. They are continued acts of heart, ibid.
  • 4. They are the univocall acts of the heart, ibid.
  • 5. They are the swiftest acts of the heart, 144.
  • 6. They are the peculiar acts of the heart, ibid.
  • 7. They are the greatest accusers, or excusers of the heart. ibid.
  • Use 2. For direction, If sin in thought be so great, how horrible then is sin in the act? 145.
  • Use 3. For exhortation, to consider
  • 1. What great reason we have to set our thoughts on God. 146.
  • 2. What thoughts they are that God calls for. ibid.

The Contents of the tenth SERMON on Luke 9. 23.

  • THe words of the text unfolded and opened in severall particulars. 151.
  • Doct. The first action to be performed of every Christian is to deny him­selfe ibid.
  • Reason 1. From Christs example, he denied himselfe, 152.
  • 2. Christ denied himselfe for us, therefore we must deny our selves for him. ibid.
  • 3. This Christ enjoyns to all that will come after him, ibid.
What is meant by a mans selfe.
  • 1. A mans corrupt will, wit and reason, 153.
  • 2. All his lusts and corruptions, ibid
  • 3. Not only a mans corrupt selfe, but a mans good selfe in some respects, 154.
  • Selfe-denying is opposite to selfe-seeking, ibid.
There are five things in selfe-seeking.
  • 1. It is an head lust. ibid.
  • And that appears,
  • 1. Because it is a leading-lust to all lust ibid.
  • 2. Because selfe is the cause of all other lusts of the heart, 155.
  • 3. Because selfe is an in lust, it runs along through all the lusts of the flesh. ibid.
  • 4. Selfe is a make-lust, a man would never break out into lust, were it not for selfe, ibid.
  • 5. Selfe is a lust that is in request. ibid.
2. Selfe-seeking is a selfe-conceited lust, that is,
  • 1. When a man hath a conceit of himselfe, 156.
  • 2. Of his own gifts, ibid.
  • 3. Of his own actions. ibid.
  • 4. Of the state that he is in. ibid.
When as a selfe-conceited man
  • 1. Hath no reall worth in himselfe, 157.
  • 2. He will not stand to the judgement of those that can judge him. ibid.
  • 3. He hath too high a conceit of himselfe, ibid.
  • 4. He resteth in the judgement of himselfe. ibid.
And the Reasons of this are these▪
  • 1. Because sinners are fools. 158.
  • 2. Men are borne fooles, ibid.
  • 3. Men are well-conceited of their own estate. ibid.
  • [Page]4▪ The Lord gives up many to a spirit of slumber. 159.
The wofull case of a selfe-conceited men.
  • 1. Because the Scripture calls selfe-concei [...]
    • 1. Only a thinking. ibid.
    • 2. A superstition. ibid.
    • 3. A shadow. ibid.
    • 4. An Imagination. ibid.
    • 5. An Appearance. ibid.
  • 2. So long as a man is well conceited of himself, Christ hath no commission to call him. 160.
  • 3. Christ rejoyceth that he hath no commission to call such. ibid.
  • 4. The self conceited man is in the broad way to hell. ibid.

The Contents of the eleventh SERMON, upon Luke 11. 9.

  • THe opening of the Context.
  • The words of the Text opened. 164.
  • Doctr. Importunate prayer is a restlesse prayer▪ 165.
  • Reason 1. It will take no privative deniall, it must have some Answer. ibid.
  • 2. Not a positive deniall, not a contrary answer. ibid.
  • 3. It will take no contumelious repulse. 166.
  • 4. It is in a holy manner a kind of impudent prayer. ibid.
3. Reasons why we must pray importunately.
  • 1. In regard of Gods Majesty, God respects it. 167.
  • 2. In regard of Gods mercie, it is a disgrace to Gods mercy to beg it coldly, 168.
  • 3. In regard of our selves, else we should never esteem mercy. 169.
4. Reasons why men are not importunate in Prayer.
  • 1. Because men account prayer a penance. ibid.
  • 2. Most men content themselves with formality. ibid.
  • 3. Men are Gentlemen beggars. 170.
  • 4. Men have wrong conceits of prayer. ibid.
    • 1. They have high conceits of their own prayers. ibid.
    • 2. They have mean conceits of their sins▪ 171.
    • 3. They have base thoughts of God. ibid.
    • 4. Thee have wrong conceits of Importunitie. ibid,

The Contents of the twelfth Sermon, on Luke. 11. 9.

6. Signes whereby we may know whether our prayers be importunate.
  • 1. IMportunate prayer is evermore the prayer of an importunate man. 175.
  • 2 It is the prayer of a pure conscience. 176.
  • 3. It is a prayer that is full of strong arguments, 177.
  • 4. It is a stout prayer, ibid.
  • 5▪ It is a wakefull prayer, ibid.
  • 6. It is an assurance-getting prayer, ibid.
7. Marks of Prayer that is not importunate.
  • 1. It is a lazie prayer. 178.
  • 2. It is not powred out from the heart, ibid.
  • 3. It is a praying only by fits, ibid.
  • 4 It is a silent prayer, he is silent in that he should most insist upon. 179.
  • 5. A seldome prayer. ibid.
  • 6. A lukewarme prayer. 180.
  • 7. By-thoughts in prayer keep prayer from being importunate.
By-thoughts in prayer arise,
  • 1. From corrupt nature. ibid.
  • 2. From nature as it is curbed, ibid.
  • 3. From Satan. ibid.
  • 4. From spirituall sluggishnesse, 181.
8. Motives to Importunate Prayer.
  • 1. Because praier enables a man for duties, ibid.
  • 2. Prayer is the compendium of all divinity, 182.
  • 3. Prayer is a mans utmost refuge, ibid.
  • 4. Prayer is that which Gods people have, though they have nothing else. ibid.
  • 5. Prayer hath the command of mercy, ibid.
  • 6. Prayer is Gods delight. 183.
  • 7. Importunate praier is a willing prayer. ibid.
  • 8. Importunate prayer is the only faithfull prayer. ibid.
6. Helps to importunity in Prayer.
  • 1. Labour to know thine own misery. ibid.
  • 2. Be sensible of thy miserie, ibid.
  • 3. Observe how Gods people pray, ibid.
  • [Page]4. Get a stock of prayer. ibid.
  • 5. Labour to be full of good works, 184.
  • 6. Labour to reforme thy houshold. ibid

The Contents of the thirteenth SERMON, upon Col. 1. 10.

  • THe words explained according to a double sense, 187.
  • Doctr. Those that professe Christ, must walke worthy of Christ. 188.
  • Reason 1. Because it is Christ that calls us to be Christians, ibid.
  • 2. Because it is the Gospel of Christ whereby we are called, 289.
  • 3. Because by the Gospel we are called to repentance, ibid.
  • 4. Because if we walk not worthy of Christ; God will not hold us to be his servants. ibid.
  • 5. If we walke not worthy of Christ, then it will be for the glory of God to ca­shiere us, 190.
  • 6. If we walk not worthy of Christ, we put an indignity upon him. ibid.
Five Motives to walke worthy of God.
  • 1. If we do walke worthy of God, then we shall answer all the labour and cost that God hath been at, 193.
  • 2. Then we shall walk with God in white, 194.
  • 3. Then we doe not disappoint Gods account, ibid.
  • 4. Then we shall be importunate beggers, and so worthy of mercy. ibid.
  • 5. Then we shall adde humiliation to every duty we do performe, ibid.
2. If we do not walke worthy of God, then
  • 1. We walke worthie of destruction, 195.
  • 2. Then we are guiltie of the death of Christ, ibid.
  • 3. Then we shall be condemned. ibid.
  • Use. We must be as it were even of the very nature of God. 192.

The Contents of the fourteenth SERMON; on Col. 1. 10.

  • IT is possible to walk in all manner of pleasing unto the Lord, 200.
  • Reas. 1. Because God is not a rigorous God, ibid.
  • 2. There is a way, wherein if we walk, we shall please God. ibid.
  • 3. The Lord hath shewed us this way, ibid.
  • 4. Many have walked in this way before us, ibid.
  • Doct. It is a fit duty to please God. ibid.
  • [Page]Reason 1. Because God is a great King. 201.
  • 2. His pleasure is a good pleasure. ibid.
  • 3. Christ who is our better did th [...]se things that pleased God. ibid.
  • 4. If we do not please God our consciences will condem us. ibid.
  • 5. It is a duty most sutable to humane society. ibid.
  • Doctr. Pleasing of God is a large duty. 202.
  • Reason 1. It is the end of all our duties, ibid.
  • 2. It is the most acceptable of all duties, ibid.
  • 3. It is unconfinable to place or time, ibid.
  • 4. It is in all things without limitation, ibid.
  • 5. It is an everlasting duty, 203.
  • 6. It is the whole duty of the new man, ibid.
  • Doctr. It is a necessary duty to please God, ibid.
  • Reas. 1. Because▪ we have no saving grace unlesse we labour to please God▪ ib.
  • 2. We are in a woful case if we do not please God, ibid.
  • 3. If we doe not please God, we are continually in danger of the wrath of God.
  • Use. To condemn, 1. Those that please not God, ibid.
  • 2. Those that please men, ibid.
  • 3. Those that please themselves. 205.

The Contents of the fifteenth SERMON, on Luke 23. 42.

  • EXtraordinary cases never make a common rule. 209.
  • That a wicked life will have a cursed end, this is the ordinary rule. ibid.
  • Yet in some extrtardinary cases it may be otherwise,
  • 1. When God is pleased to shew his prerogative royall. ibid.
  • 2. When a sinner hath not had means of salvation in his life, but only at his death. 210.
  • 3. When a sinner shall be made exemplary. ibid.
  • 4. When the Lord may be as much honoured by a mans death, as he hath been dishonoured by his life.
  • This repentance of the thief was extraordinary: as is proved by five argu­ments.
  • 1. Because it was one of the wonders of Christs passion. ibid.
  • 2. We read not of any other that was converted at the last hour, as the thief was, 211.
  • 3. Because of the suddennesse of it. ibid.
  • 4. In regard of the Evangelicall perfection of it. Containing, 212.
  • 1. His penitentiall confession, ibid.
  • 2 His penitential profession, ibid.
  • 3. His penitentiall satisfaction, ibid.
  • 4. His penitentiall self-deniall, ibid.
  • 5. His penitentiall faith. ibid.
  • 6. His penitentiall resolution. 213.
  • 7. His penitentiall prayer. ibid.
[...]
  • 5. This repentance was extraordinary in regard of the incomparablenesse of it. ibid.
  • Use. To condemn those that rely upon this example. 214.
  • This example is once recorded that none might despaire, and but once that none might presume. 215.
  • None, because of this example should defer their repentance.
  • 1. Because this thief had not the means of life and grace before. 216.
  • 2. Because we never read that this thief put off his repentance till the last. ibid.
  • 3. Because at that time God was in a way of working miracles, 218.

The Contents of the seventeenth SERMON, on Psal. 147. 3.

  • THe words of the Text opened, 223.
  • What is meant by wholenesse of heart, ibid.
  • What is meant by brokennesse of heart, 224.
  • Doctr. Christ justifies and sanctifies, Or heals the broken-hearted, 226.
Four Reasons.
  • 1. Because God hath given grace unto Christ to heale the broken-hearted, ibid.
  • 2. Christ hath undertaken to do it, ibid.
  • 3. Christ hath this in charge to bind up the broken-hearted, ibid.
  • 4. None but the broken hearted will accept of Christ, ibid.
  • Severall objections are answered, 227. 228, 229.
Three Reasons why Christ will heale the broken-hearted.
  • 1. This is the most seasonable time to be healed, when the heart is broken, 232.
  • 2. It is the most profitablest time, ibid.
  • 3. It is the very nick of time, the heart can never be healed untill it be bro­ken, ibid.
Three signes of a broken heart.
  • 1. A breaking from sin, 234.
  • 2. A breaking in it self with sorrow, ibid.
  • The history of Zacheus conversion is opened in seven particulars, ibid.
  • 3. When the heart is broken, then it will stoop to Gods word in all things, 237.

The Contents of the eighteenth SERMON, on Isaiah 57. 1.

The words of the Text explained.
  • Doct. ALl men must die, 241.
  • Reason 1. Because God hath so appointed it, 242.
  • 2. Because all men and women are of the dust, ibid.
  • 3. Because all have sinned, ibid.
  • 4. Because as death came into the World by sin, so sin might go out of the world by death, ibid.
  • Two Objections against this are answered. ibid.
  • Use 1. Let no man look to be exempted from death for his righteousnese, 243.
  • 2. Hence we should learn to draw our hearts from this present world, ibid.
  • 3. To teach us to prepare our selves for a better life, ibid.
  • Doct. The death and losse of good men must be laied to heart as an especiall cause of grief and sorrow, 244,
  • Reason. 1. Because the instruments of Gods glory are taken away, ibid.
  • 2. Because of the great losse that others have by their death, ibid.
  • 3. Because of the evill to come; for while they live, they are as a wall to keep off the wrath of God, ibid.
  • Use 1. To reprove those that rejoyce at the death of the righteous, 245,
  • 2. To informe us what a losse it is when the righteous are taken away, ibid.
  • Doct. When God will bring any great judgement upon a people or Nation, or­dinarily he takes away his faithfull servants from amongst them, 146.
  • Use 1. To inform us of Gods extraordinary love to his Children, ibid.
  • 2. To inform us that when the righteous are taken away, we are certainly to expect some great judgement from God to fall upon us, ibid.

The Contents of the nineteenth SERMON; on Jeremiah 14. 9.

  • THe opening of the context in many particulars. 251.
  • Doctr. God many times doth cast off a people, 252.
Four Signes of Gods casting off a people.
  • 1. When he takes away his love and respect from a people, 253.
  • 2. When he takes away his providence from them. ibid.
  • 3. When he breaks down the wals of Magistracy and Ministry. ibid.
  • 4. When he takes away the benefit of both these helps. ibid.
  • [Page]Use 1. To teach us to cast off security. ibid.
  • Doct. It is the importunate desire of the Saints of God still to keep God present with them. 255.
  • The presence of God is the particular favour of God, which he expresseth in his ordinances, ibid.
  • 1. This question is answered, Whether a man may be saved without prea­ching, 256.
  • 2. This question is answered, who they are that are weary of God, 257.
  • Use. To rebuke Gods people for their neglect, in not striving to keep God, who seems to be departing, 258.
  • Quest. How may we keep the Lord amongst us. 260.
  • Answ. 1. We must be sure to prepare a room for him. ibid.
  • 2. We must give him content. 261.
  • 3. We must make him welcome. ibid.
  • 4. We must be importunate with God to tarry, and account it a great favour if he will stay. 262.

The Contents of the twentieth SERMON, on Lament▪ 3. 5. 7.

  • THe opening of the words, in which are three properties of effectuall Prayer. 165.
  • 1. The unsatiablenesse of it till it be heard. ibid.
  • 2. The sensiblenesse of it whether it be heard or no▪ ibid.
  • 3. The supply it hath against danger, and discouragement. 166.
  • Doct. 1. An effectuall prayer is an unsatiable prayer. ibid.
  • Quest. Must a man alwayes pray?
  • Answ. A man must give over the Act of prayer for other duties, but he must never give over the suit of Prayer. 267.
  • Rules to know whether our Prayers be unsatiable or no,
  • 1. It it an earnest begging Prayer, ibid.
  • 2. It is a constant prayer, 268.
  • A godly mans prayer is not out of his heart, till the grace he prayed for be in, ibid.
  • 3▪ It is a prayer that is ever a beginning▪ ibid.
  • 4. It is a proceeding prayer, it winds up the heart higher, and higher. ibid.
  • 5. It is a prayer that purifieth the heart, ibid.
  • It is more and more fervent. 169.
  • And more and more frequent. ibid.
  • It will take time from lawfull recreations, and from the lawfull duties of our calling. 270.
  • And it will adde humiliation and fasting to prayer. ibid.
  • Use. To condemn those who pray for grace, and yet sit down before grace is obtained. ibid.
  • Such prayers are
  • 1. Endlesse. 271.
  • 2. Fruitlesse. ibid.
  • [Page]Doct. 2. A godly soule is sensible of Gods hearing or not hearing his prayer. 272.
  • Quest. How can the soul know whether it speed in prayer or no▪
  • Answ. 1. When God gives a soule further and further ability to pray, it is a signe that God hears it. ibid.
  • But if the soule have no heart to continue its suit, it is a signe that God ne­ver meanes to hear that mans prayer. ibid.
  • 2. The preparednesse of the heart to prayer, is a sign that God means to heare. 273.
  • 3. Gods gratious looke is a signe that he will heare: for sometimes God an­swers his people by a cast of his countenance. ibid.
  • 4. The conscience of a man will answer him, whether God hears his prayer or no. 274.
  • But a mans conscience may be misinformed. 275.
  • A wicked man may have a truce, though no true peace in his conscience. ibid.
  • 5. The getting of the grace that a man prayes for, is a signe that God hears his prayer. ibid.
  • But God may give many temporall blessings, and common graces, yet not in love, but in wrath, 276.
  • 6. If à man have Faith given him to beleeve, it is a signe that God heares him, ibid.
  • Good works are good signes of Faith, but they are but rotten grounds of Faith. ibid.
  • Object. Every Promise runs with a condition. ibid.
  • Answ. 1. The Promise is the ground of Faith, and the way to get the con­dition. 277.
  • [...]. Faith is the enabling cause to keepe the condition, ibid.
  • Two things do much hurt in Prayer,
    • 1. Groundlesse incouragement.
    • 2. Needlesse discouragement. 278.
    • Doct. 3. God would not have any Christian soul to be discouraged in prayer. 279▪
    • A definition of discouragement, ibid.
    Four Reasons why we should not be discouraged in prayer.
    • 1. Because discouragement hinders the soul in prayer. ibid.
    • 2. Discouragement takes away the strength of the soul in prayer, 280.
    • 3. If we have fearfull apprehensions of our sins, so as to thinke they will ne­ver be forgiven, we can never pray aright. ibid.
    • 4 If we have any secret despaire▪ we can never pray to any purpose, ibid.
    • There is a double desperation,
    • 1▪ Of infidelity▪ which draws the soul from God.
    • 2. Of extremity, which puts life into a mans prayers and endeavours. 282.
    • A man never prayes well till he feele himselfe undone. 283.
    • [Page]We should take heed of discouragements; for
    • 1 Discouragements breed melancholinesse in the soul. 285.
    • 2. They breed hard thoughts of God, ibid.
    • 3. They will cause a man to think that God hates him, 286.
    • 4. They will bring a man to despaire. ibid.
    • Ministers should not preach the pure law without the Gospell, 287.
    • Secret discouragements in the heart,
    • 1. They take away the Spirit in the use of the means, 288.
    • 2. They drive us from the use of means, ibid.
    • 3. They make a man continually to pore on his sins, so as he shall never be a­ble to get out of them. 289.
    • 4. They breed nothing but sorrow. ibid.
    • 5. They leave the Soul in a maze, that it knowes not whither to turne it selfe. 290.
    • They whisper into a man a sentence of of Death, and an impossibility of es­caping. ibid.
    • The conclusion of the whole. 291.

The Contents of the one and twentieth SERMON, on Rom. 8. 22.

  • EVery creature hath a threefold goodnesse in it,
  • 1. A goodnesse of end. 295.
  • 2. A goodnesse of nature, ibid.
  • 3. A goodnesse of use. 296.
  • There be four evils under which every Creature groaneth.
  • 1. The continuall labour that the Creature is put unto, ibid.
  • 2. The creature sometimes partakes of the plagus of the ungodly. ibid.
  • 3. The Creature hath an instinctive fellow-feeling of mans wretchednesse. 297.
  • 4 Because they are rent and torne from their proper Masters, ibid.
  • Doct. Every creature groaneth under the slavery of sin. ibid.
  • Not only under the slavery of sinfull men, but so farre as they minister to the flesh of the Saints, they groan under them, ibid.
  • Object. Did ever any man hear any unreasonable creature groane under sinne?
  • Answ. It is spoken Hyperbolically, to declare the great misery the creatures are into serve sinfull man. ibid.
  • 2. Analogically in regard of a naturall instinct of blind reason; that is in all the creatures. ibid.
  • 3. It is spoken by way of supposition, if they had reason, they would groane 298.
  • 4 Intelligently, because a man cannot wrong the creature, but he wrongs God in the creature. ibid.
  • 5. Specifically, because the Godly come before God in the behalfe of all the creatures, and mourne for the abuse of the creatures; 299.
Foure reasons why the Creatures groan.
  • [Page]1. Because they are distracted in their service. ibid.
  • 2. Because of the unprofitablenesse of their service. 300.
  • 3. Because of uncessantnesse of their service, ibid.
  • 4. Because of that misery and woe the creatures lye under▪ ibid.
  • Every creature hath,
    • 1. A specificall end, 301.
    • 2. An ultimate end. ibid
  • A wicked man hath no right unto the creature. ibid.
  • But he hath.
    • 1. A civil right. ibid.
    • 2. A providentiall right, ibid.
    • 3▪ A vindicative right, 302.
    • 4. A Creatures right as he is a creature, ibid.
  • But he hath no filiall right, no son-like right in Christ. ibid.
  • Use. To shew that wicked men have little cause to be merry at any time, because there is nothing neare them, but groaneth under them, 303.
  • All creatures groane to God for vengeance to be poured upon the wicked ibid.
  • And these groanes are
    • 1. Upbraiding groans, 305.
    • 2. Witnessing groans, ibid.
    • 3. Accusing groans, 307.
    • 4. Judging and condemning groanes, ibid.
  • Use. For exhortation.
  • 1. To take heed how we do abuse the Creatures of God. ibid.
  • 2. Take heed of sinning against God by the Creatures, ibid.
  • 3. Take heed of setting thy heart upon the Creature. ibid.
  • 4. Use all the Creatures in humility and thankfulnesse. 308.
  • 5. Use the Creatures as so many Ladders to helpe thee to climb up towards heaven, ibid.

The Contents of the two and twentieth SERMON; on John 2. 6.

  • THE opening of the words in foure particulars, 313.
  • Doct. A true Christian walkes as Christ walked 314.
  • A man must first bee in Christ, before hee can walke as Christ walked.
  • Object. Can any man walk as Christ walked? 315.
  • Answ. None can walk as Christ walked in regard of equality; but in re­gard of similitude they may. ibid.
  • The life of Christ should be the Example of our life, ibid.
  • Christ came into the world to redeeme us for our justification, and to be an example of life unto us for our sanctification. 316.
  • [Page]This Question answered. viz.
  • What it is to Walke as Christ walked, 317.
  • Foure reasons of the point.
  • 1. Because as Christ came into the World to justifie the ungodly, so he came to conforme them to his Image, ibid.
  • 2. Because in vain we are called Christians, if we be not imitators of Christ, and live as he lived, 318.
  • 3. Because all that are in Christ, are Members of his body, therefore they must have the same life, and bee quickened by the same Spirit. 319.
  • 4 Because of that neer relation that is betwixt Christ and every one of his Members. 320
  • Use 1. To shew that all men that live not the life of Christ, do blaspheme the name of Christ. 321.
  • Of all sins under Heaven, God cannot endure the sins of them that take the name of Christ upon them. ibid.
  • Doctr. Every Minister is bound to preach home to men in particulars. 322.
  • . Reas. 1. Particulars are most operative. ibid.
  • 2. Particulars are most distinct, and most powerfull. 324.
  • 3 Particulars are most sensible. ibid.
  • Doctr. Every Minister is bound to preach so as to make a difference be­twixt the pretioas and the vile. 325.
  • Reas. 1. Because, otherwise a Minister prophanes the holy things of God. ibid.
  • 2. Otherwise he cannot be the Minister of Christ. 326.
  • 3. Otherwise he is like to doe no good by his Ministery. ibid.

The Contents of the three and twentieth SERMON, on John 3. 20.

  • THe Context opened in foure particulars.
  • 1. What mans naturall estate, and condition is without Christ. 331.
  • 2. Gods gracious provision for mans salvation. ibid.
  • 3. The condition required, viz. Faith, 332.
  • 4. The reprobation of the world if they do not believe. ibid.
  • But Christ is neither the efficient, nor deficient cause thereof▪ ibid.
  • But the cause of their damnation is from themselves, proved
  • 1. By their own conscience. ibid.
  • 2. By experience, ibid
  • 3. By reason, 333.
  • In the words are two parts,
  • 1. The wickeds rejection of the word of grace. ibid.
  • 2. The cause of that rejection. ibid.
  • viz 1. First from the qualification of their persons. ibid.
  • 2. From the disposition of their Nature, ibid.
  • [Page]Doctr. A wicked man hates the word of Gods grace, yea grace it selfe. ibid.
  • This hatred is
  • 1. An actuall hatred. ibid.
  • 2. It is a passion of the heart. ibid.
  • 3. It causeth the heart to rise up against an union with the word, 334.
  • This union of the word is set in opposition
  • 1. To generall preaching. ibid
  • 2. To mercifull preaching. 335.
  • 3. To preaching, when the minister is dead. ibid.
  • If the World doe not hat [...] a righteous man, it is either
  • 1. Because he is a great man, 337.
  • 2. Because he is a man of admirable wit, and knowledge. ibid.
  • 3. Or because God gives him favour in the eyes of the world, ibid.
  • 4. This hatred causeth the heart to rise against that which is repugnant to its lust. ibid.
  • A wicked man may love three kinds of preaching.
  • 1. Eloquent preaching, that savours more of humanity then of Divinity,
  • 2. Impertinent preaching, ibid.
  • 3. Now and then some preaching, to satisfie the cravings of his Conscience, ibid.
  • Reason 1. A wicked man hates the word, because he hates all truth, even the very being of the word. 339.
  • 2. Because he hates the very nature of the word. 340.
  • Because he cannot endure the knowledge of the word. ibid.
  • All naturall men hate the word.
  • 1. Because no entreaties, no beseeches can possibly reconcile them. 341.
  • 2. Because neither money, nor price can make them friends. ibid.
  • 3. Because all the love in the World cannot unite them together. 343.
  • 4. Because neither the love of God, nor the bloud of Christ will soder them together. ibid.
  • Every naturall man had rather be damned then leave his sinnes, rather go to Hell then be a new creature. 344.

The Contents of the four and twentieth SERMON, on Isaiah 42. 24.

  • THe words contain five things.
  • 1. The Author of the destruction. 350.
  • 2. The causes of it. ibid.
  • 3. The judgement it self. ibid.
  • 3. The people on whom it was inflicted. ibid.
  • 5. The effects of it, ibid..
  • Doctrine 1. God is the Author of all judgements that befall a Nation, 351.
  • [Page]Use 1. For comfort to Gods children, seeing God is the orderer of all events, ibid.
  • Use 2. For terrour to the wicked, that God whom they hate shall be their judge. ibid.
  • Use 3. To learne in all calamities to look up unto God, 352.
  • Doctrine. 2. Sinne and disobedience against the Law of God, is that which brings down punishments, and judgements, upon a Nation, Church, or People, ibid.
  • Use 1. To discover the weaknesse of our Land, in what a poor condition it is by reason of sinne, 353.
  • 2. To shew who be the greatest Traytors to a kingdom. ibid.
  • 3. To teach all of us to set hand and heart, Prayer and tears on work against sinne, ibid.
  • Especially it concernes th [...]se that are in places of Authority. 354.
  • Doctrine 3. The Lord often times brings fearfull, and unavoy­dable judgements, and punishments, upon his own professing people, 335.
Four signes of Judgement a coming.
  • 1. When the Ministers of God with one voyce, foretell judgements to come, 856.
  • 2. When sins of all sorts do abound, ibid.
  • 3. When the Divell and wicked men cast in bones of dissention, ibid.
  • 4. When all mens hearts begin to faile, 357
Three Directions, what is to be done in such times.
  • 1. Let us shake off the love of all things here below. ibid.
  • 2. Let us lay our heads upon the block, and be willing that God should doe what he will with us, 358.
  • 3. Let us pray and cry mightily to God before we dye, even all the time we have to live, for mercy, peace and truth, ibid.
  • The Church of England like the ship of Jonah, 359.
  • The Authors Admonition to the People, ibid.
  • More then ordinary Faith requisite for these times of danger, ibid.

The Contents of the five and twentieth SERMON, on Heb. 11. 28.

  • THe Coherence of the text with the context, 363.
  • Doctr. 1. That it hath heen the property of wicked men, and is still, to think whatsoever the godly have, is to good for them, 364.
  • Reasons 1. Because God hath chosen them out of the world, ibid.
  • 2. Because the wicked know not the godly, ibid.
  • 3. Because the wicked measure others by themselves, ibid.
  • 4. Because there is, and ever will be a contrariety between the seed of the woman, and the Serpent, 365.
  • Use 1. This should teach godly men when they are hardly dealt with, not to be discouraged, ibid.
  • Use 2. Though the world deale hardly with you, yet see that you doe not measure like for like, ibid.
  • Doctr. 2. The world and the things of the world are of little worth,
  • 1. In respect of God,
  • 1. Because they can not make us the better esteemed with God, 366.
  • 2. They cannot assure us of Gods love, ibid,
  • 3. They do not make us the more mindfull of God. ibid.
  • 2. In respect of themselves,
  • 1. They cannot enrich a mans soul with grace, 367.
  • 2. They are not able to free a man from any spirituall evill, ibid.
  • 3. They cannot give any solid content, ibid.
  • 4. We can hove no assurance of them, 368.
  • Use. To teach us to take off our hearts and affections from pursuing the things of this life. 369.
  • Doctrine 3. True beleevers vre persons of great worth, ibid.
  • 1. In respect of the worthy names that are given to them, ibid.
  • 2. In respect of the great prince that is paid for them, ibid.
  • 3. In respest of the consciences of the wicked, 370.
  • 4. In respect of the priviledges that God hath been pleased to dignify them withall, ibid.
Which are these,
  • 1. Their Royall descent, ibid.
  • 2. Their Royall attendance, ibid.
  • 3. Their hig places, ibid.
  • 4. Their extraordinary fare, ibid.
  • 5. Their Royall apparell. ibid.
  • 6. Their freedome from debt, ibid.
  • 7. Their free accesse to the throne of grace, ibid.
  • 8. All thigs work together for their good, 371.
  • 9. They are Gods beloved ones, ibid.
  • [Page]10. They have the free use of Gods Creatures, ibid▪
  • 11. They are a safeguard to the places where they live, ibid.
  • 12. Great things are reserved for them in the world to come, ibid.
  • Use 1. This serves for terror to the wicked who wrong the children of God, ibid.
  • Use 2. To teach us to esteem such men as are persons of so great worth. 372.
  • Use 3. To direct us how we may be honoured of God, scil. by honouring such as he honours, ibid.
  • Use 4. This serves to comfort the godly, however disgraced here, ibid.
  • Use 5. To teach us, that if we account our selves of that number, we be care­full to walk worthy of the Lord, 373.

The Contents of the six and twentieth SERMON, on Gen. 6. 3.

  • THe words opened. 377.
  • Doctr. 1. The Lord doth mightily strive with a company of poor rebels, 378.
  • Doctr. 2. There is a time when God will strive no more with men, ibid.
This handled in six particulars.
  • 1. Proved by testimonies of Scripture, 379.
  • 2. The manner shewn, h [...]w God is wont to deale with rebellious people, ibid.
  • 3. God at length gives men over to their lusts, 380.
  • 4. God hardens such men as he hath given over, ibid.
  • 5. God lets such men build upon false bottoms, 381.
  • 6. God witholds such means as he had formerly afforded them. ibid.
What persons they are whom God thus deals with; shewn in four particulars▪
  • 1. Those that have lived long under the means of grace, and have not pro­fited by them. 372.
  • 2. Those that have had much means and many secret workings of the Spirit, and have not made good use of them. ibid.
  • 3. Those that have much grieved the good spirit of God, in bringing in some sin contrary to the light of conscience, and the suggestions of the good spirit, ibid.
  • 4. Such as have a vile, and contemptible esteem of the Gospell and the Mi­nisters thereof, 383.
The grounds of this point▪ or why God gives men over, and will strive with them no more, are taken▪
  • 1. From the justice of God. ibid.
  • [Page]2. From the wisdom of God, ibid.
  • Severall Objections propounded and answered. 386.
  • Use 1. Seeing that God strives with some men and at length gives them over, go home and blesse God that he hath not dealt so with thee, ibid.
  • Use 2. Take heed there come not a time when God will strive with thee no more, 387.
  • Use 3. Wo to the wicked who are thus left, ibid.
Their case is miserable in three respects.
  • 1. Because if God forsake thee, all forsakes thee, 388.
  • 2. When God goes, restraining grace goes. ibid.
  • 3. If God leaves thee, common protection leaves thee, ibid.
The Authors Exhortation.
  • Redeem the time and yeeld to the good motions of Gods spirit,
Four Motives to it.
  • 1. Consider the fearfull condition of such as are given over▪ 389.
  • 2. Consider the great danger of putting off, ibid.
  • 3. Consider the time past and present, ibid.
  • 4. Consider that though God shouldbe all the day long calling, and egging [...]s on, yet our lives are but short. ibid.

The Contents of the seven and twentieth SERMON; on Colos. 3. 5.

  • THe Text explained and divided. 394.
  • Doctr. 1. If we look to have any benefit by, or interest in Christ, we must mortify our sins and corruptions. 396.
Three Reasons.
  • 1. Because Christ is a Saviour, to save us from our sins, 397.
  • 2. Because it is impossible for sin and grace to subsist in one subject, 398.
  • 3. Because it is impossible to enter into the kingdom of Heaven, if we mor­tifie not our sins. ibid.
  • Use 1. To condemne all such as goe on in their old courses of deadnesse and se­curity, 399.
  • Use 2. To teach us that it is not enough to let sin dye in us, but we must kill it, 400.
  • [Page]Use 3. To teach us that the work of our Redemption is no easy worke, as many men thinke it, ibid.
  • Use 4. To teach us to examine our selves, whether we have mortified our sins or no, 402.
Which may be known by these markes,
  • 1. They that have mortified their sinnes, doe live in the contrary graces ibid.
  • 2. They that are mortified indeed and in truth, are dead to every sinne, 403.

The Contents of the eight and twentieth SERMON, on Isaiah 58. 4.

  • TWo things mainly considerable in the Chapter,
  • 1. The prophets Commission,
  • 2. The execution of his duty, 407.
Three divine truths in the Text and context.
  • 1. Hypocrisie in a day of fasting and prayer▪ takes away the life of the duty. 408.
  • 2. False and slight Hypocrites will be frequent in fasting and prayer, 409.
  • 3. Fasting rightly performed, will put an edge upon every duty, especially upo prayer. ibid.
  • Doctr. 1. Hypocrisie in any duty takes away the life of the duty, ibid.
Arguments to prove that it is so▪
  • 1. Because all falsenesse and hypocrisie is directly against the nature of God, 410.
  • 2. Hypocrisie gives a blow to the ordinances of God, 111.
  • 3. Hypocrites do pervert the ordinance, ibid.
  • Use 1. For reproofe of those aery and outside duties that we performe ibid.
  • Use 2. For information, to teach us how to fast aright, 412.
Motives to fast in sincerity.
  • 1. Consider your selves as upon your death-beds, when duties hypocritical­ly performed will be corrosives in stead of cordials. ibid.
  • 2. Because if you bring any duty to God without sincerity it is nothing. 413.
    Three Rules tending to this.
    • [Page]1. Consider, whether the work you this day come about, do spring from li­ving principles. ibid.
    • 2. Whether your opposition to sin be carried on strongly and unchangeably. 414.
    • 3. Whether you more mind how God accepts you, then what he gives you ibid.

The Contents of the nine and twentieth SERMON, upon Iob 30. 31. 32.

  • Doctr. REsolution to reforme should be upon the hearts of them that smart under the rod of the Lord. 417.
  • In the prosecution of this doctrine three things are treated of,
  • 1. What kind of reformation it must be, that we are to resolve of, under the rodde. 418.
  • 2. What arguments should prevail with us to bring us to this resolution, ibid.
  • 3. What course we should take in reforming, ibid.
For the first, we are to consider those six particulars.
  • 1. That our reformation must have reference to God▪ who useth the rod▪ ibid,
  • 2. Our work in reforming must be guided by God himself. 419,
  • 3. We must reforme in one particular as well as in another. ibid.
  • 4. We are not only to reforme what we our selves know to be amisse, but to inquire and be willing to be informed by others. ibid.
  • 5. We should so resolve to reforme, as to binde our selves by solemn covenant for the future, ibid.
  • 6. We are not only to do it joyntly with a Family, a Town, a City, but severally every one by himself alone, 420.
For the Second, take these Arguments or Reason to perswade you to reforme; and they are of two kinds▪
  • Some in relation to God.
  • 1. Because God calls for Reformation under Correction, ibid.
  • 2. Because it is for our sins that God corrects us. 421.
  • 3. God is just and gratious in every stroke that he layes upon us. ibid.
  • 4. He knows our frame and how much we can beare. ibid.
  • 5. God is no respecter of persons, 422.
  • 6. Our reformation is the end that God aymes at in correcting us, ibid.
  • 7. God counts himself honoured in his peoples reformation. ibid.
  • Others in relation to our selves, and they are either driving,
  • 1. Because not to reforme under the rod, is a signe of unspeakable foolish­nesse, 423▪
  • [Page]2. It is a signe of extraordinary brutishnesse. ibid.
  • Or drawing arguments,
  • 2. Because to reforme; is the way to gaine the comfort of the Lord, 425.
  • 3. If we reforme, our sufferings will turne to our joy and everlasting com­fort. 425.
For the third, the course we are to take in reforming.
  • 1. We are to informe, our selves from Scripture concerning the sinfulnesse and uglinesse of that from which we are to reforme, 426.
  • 2. We are to be deeply humbled for what ever we can discover to be out of order, in our minds or actions, ibid.
  • 3. We must enter into a Covenant with God, that having reformed, we will sin no more. 427.

The Titles and Texts of the several SERMONS contained in this Volume.

  • THe Use and Benefit of Divine Meditation. HAGGAI 1. 5. ‘Now therefore saith the Lord of Hosts, consider your wayes.’ page. 1.
  • Another sermon upon the same Text, HAGGAI 1. 5.
  • The Danger of deferring Repentance. PROVERBS 1: 28. ‘Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer: they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me.’ p. 29.
  • Vain Thoughts Arraigned at the Barre of Gods Justice. PHIL. 3. 18. 19. ‘For many walke of whom I have told you often, and now tell you weeping, that they are the enemies of the crosse of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose belly is their God, whose glory is their shame, who mind earthly things.’ p. 43.
  • The Judgement of the World, by the Saints at the last day. 1 COR. 6. 2. ‘Know ye not that the Saints shal Judge the world?’ p. 67.
  • The Punishment of unworthy Communicants. [Page]1 COR. 11. 30. ‘For this cause many are weake and sick among you, and many sleep.’ p. 83.
  • The Duty of Communicants. COR. 11. 28. ‘But let a man examine himself, and so let him eate of that Bread, and drink of that Cup.’ p. 101.
  • The Duty of Reprovers, and Persons Reproved. PROV. 19. 1. ‘He that being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.’ p. 121.
  • The Misery of Earthly Thoughts. ISAIAH. 55. 7. ‘Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him returne unto the Lord, &c.’ p. 139.
  • The Necessity of Self-denial. LUKE 9. 23. ‘And he said unto them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, &c.’ p. 151.
  • The Efficacy of importunate Prayer. LUKE 11. 9. ‘Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and you shall find, knock, and it shall be opened unto you.’ p. 163.
  • Another Sermon on the same Text. LUKE 11. 9.
  • The Necessity of Gospel-obedience. COLOS. 1. 10. ‘That you might walke worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitfull unto every good work.’ p. 187.
  • Another Sermon on the same Text. COLOS. 1. 10.
  • A Caveat against late repentance. Lu 23. 42. ‘And he said unto Jesus, Lord remember me when thou comest into thy Kingdom.’ p. 209.
  • [Page] The Soveraigne Vertue of the Gospel. PSAL. 147. 3. ‘He healeth them that are broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.’ p. 223.
  • A Funerall Sermon. ISAIAH 57. 1. ‘The Righteous perish▪ and no man layeth it to heart, and mercifull men are taken away, none considering that the Righteous are ta­ken from the evill to come.’ p. 241.
  • The Signes of Gods forsaking a People. JEREM. 14. 1: ‘And we are called by thy Name, leave us not.’ p. 251.
  • The Sacrifice of the Faithful. LAMENT. 3. 57. ‘Thou drewest nigh in the day that I called upon thee, thou saidst, Fear not.’ p. 265.
  • The Misery of the Creatures by the sin of man. ROM. 8. 22. ‘For we know that every Creature groaneth with us also, and travel­leth in paine together unto this present.’ p. 295.
  • The Christian, his Imitation of CHRIST. 1 JOHN. 2. 6. ‘He that saith he remaineth in him ought even so to walk as he hath walked.’ p. 313.
  • The Enmity of the wicked to the light of the Gospel. JOHN 3. 20. ‘For every man that doth evill, hateth the light, neither cometh he to the light, least his deeds should be reproved.’ p. 331
  • Gods Impartiality in his Judgements▪ ISAIAH. 42. 24. ‘Who gave Jacob to the spoile and Israel to the Robbers? Did [...] I the Lord?’ [...]
  • [Page] The great dignity of the Saints. HEB. 11. 28. ‘Of whom the world was not worthy.’ p. 363.
  • The time of Gods grace is limited. GEN. 6. 3. ‘And the Lord said, My spirit shal not always strive with man, be­cause he is but flesh, and his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.’ p. 377.
  • A Sermon for spiritual Mortification. COLOS. 3. 5. ‘Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth, fornica­tion, uncleannesse, inordinate affection, evill concupiscence and co­vetousnesse, which is Idolatry.’ p. 393.
  • The sinfulnesse and danger of Hypocrisie. ISAIAH 58. 58. 4. the later part. ‘Ye sha'l not fast as ye do to day to make the voyce to be heard above.’ p. 407.
  • Reformation under Correction, the way to prevent desolation. JOB 34. 31. 32. ‘Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisements, I will not offend any more, That which I see not, teach thou me, if I have done iniquity I will do it no more.’ p. 417.
A SERMON OF The uſe …

A SERMON OF The use and benefit of Divine MEDITATION.

HAGGAI 1. 5.‘Now therefore saith the Lord of Hosts, Consider your wayes.’

THe Prophet reproveth the people because they could find in their hearts to mind their own houses, and yet were careless of the house of the Lord: the Lord had sent a drought & a fa­mine, and sundry punishments upon them for [...] this thing, and yet they laid it not to heart; and therefore he sends Haggai the Prophet unto them to call them to repentance; and (which is an admirable course, and little thought of in the world) he begins with holy meditation and consideration: Now therefore thus saith the Lord, consider your wayes; that is, both in regard of the course of them, your wicked wayes; and also in regard of the bitter fruit of them, your wretched and unprospe­rous wayes. Here be two things very remarkable according to the Text;

1. The repetition and inforcing of it again; for he urgeth it again, Con­sider your wayes, in the seventh verse.

2. The benefit that came by it; it brought them to repentance; for they [Page 2] all obeyed the voice of the Lord, and the words of the Prophet, verse, 12. So that the Doctrine from hence is this, That

Serious meditation of our sins by the Word, is a speciall means to make menDoct. 1. repent.

Meditation is a setled exercise of the mind for a further inquiry of the truth, and so affecting the heart therewith, and therefore their be four things in meditation.

The first is an exercise of the mind, not barely closing with the truth,1 and assenting unto it, and seeing it, and there rests, but it looketh on every side of the truth: I thought upon my wayes, and turned my feet unto thy testi­monies, Psal. 119, 59. saith David; that is, I looked on my wayes on both sides, above and beneath; it's taken from curious works, which are the the same on both sides, so that they which work them, must often turn them on every side; used Exod. 38. 33. as being works with two faces, as one well observes, so it was with David, I turned my wayes up-side down, and looked every way upon them: thou never meditatest, unlesse thou look on thy wayes on both sides with all circumstances. An ele­gant phrase we have, Dan. 12. 4. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall abound, and be increased, [Run to and fro] what is that? It is not the bodily removing of man from one place to another so much, as busie stirring of the mind from one truth to another, so that it seeth the whole selvedge and compasse of the truth: thou wilt never get the truth to be meditated of, till thou run to and fro in it, meditate it on this side, and meditate it on that side, look on it in every nook of it. Meditation is like perambulation, when men go the bounds of the Parish, they go in every part of it, and in every skirt of it: so meditation is the perambulation of the soul, when the soul looks how far sin goes, how far the flesh goes, how far the wrath of God against it goes.

Secondly, as it is an exercise, so it is a setled exercise, it is not a sudden 2 flash of a mans conceit, but it dwels upon a truth. When a man is in a deep meditation upon a thing he neither sees, nor hears, nor attends any thing else; the stream of the heart is setled upon the truth received; The word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the world, 1 John 2. 14. How came these young men to overcome Satan? not by looking into the word, or only thinking of the word; but by letting the word abide in them. When a man hath been offered an injury, his heart is alwayes setled upon it, when he eats, his mind runs on the injury; when he walks, and talks, still his mind runs on the injury: so thy heart must go on the truth, 2. Tim. 3. Continue in things thou hast learned: that is, take up thy man­sion house in them. A wicked man may turn into the word sometimes to think of it; but it is as a man goes into another mans house: there is not his dwelling.

3 Thirdly, it is to make a further inquiry. Meditation doth not only set­tle upon the truth known, but it also would fain know more of those truths, that are subject to it; as a man without may see the out-side of the house, but he cannot see the rooms within, unlesse he come nigh, and draw the latch, and come into the house, and go into the rooms, and look about them; Meditation pulls the latch of the truth and looks into [Page 3] every closet, and every cupboard, & every angle of it. Here is my sin, here is my uncleannesse, and here is Gods anger, here is the woful evil that will follow upon it, and here is a remedy against it. Meditation searches into all the lofts and closets of the truth. The entrance of thy word giveth understanding unto the simple. Ps. 119. 30. The ingress (as one expounds it) or going into thy word, gives understanding; the wicked stand looking upon the truth without the doors, but it is the ingresse, or going into the truth, that gives understanding. Indeed the truth is like a neat Palace, (saith Chrisostome) the Spirit of God is like the light of the Sunne that shineth into it; the wicked they stand without, like fools peeping in at the windows, and there be many thousand of pearls that are not mani­fest unto them: the house seems dark to them that stand without. Thou must enter into the word, and into every particular truth in it, and go up stairs, and down stairs, and have an eye into every room. There thou shalt find humility, there contrition, there conversion, there Christ and his Spirit in one closet, there all his Jewels in that, and that box; all is manifest within doors.

4 Fourthly, it labours to affect the heart; it doth not only labour to know more and more of the truth, but also it labours to bring it home to the heart. The good woman considers a field and buys it, Prov. 31. 16. This is (saith Ambrose) the good Christian soul, if in civility, then much more in Divinity, he considers the truth and buyes it, he taketh it as his own, and appropriates it▪ unto himself; Lo this (saith Eliphaz) we have searched out, so it is, hear it, and know it for thy self, Iob 5. 27. When thou canst say of the truth, lo this is it, we have searched it out; I have dived into it, perused it, so it is, even so indeed: all this is, that thou mayest apply it unto thy self, and know it for thy good.

The first Reason is, because meditation musters up all weapons, and ga­thersReas. 1. all forces of arguments for [...] presse our sins, and lay them heavy upon the heart: This usury is [...] good, when meditation, like usu­rers, who grind and suck [...] of the needy, and are not content with their Principal, bu [...] [...] have consideration for every pound they lay out; yea for every shilling, and that for every week, and every moneth, and every quarter, and every yeer: the poor man could be content to pay the principall; but to exact use upon use, this kills him; so meditation exacteth upon the soul, and holdeth it to use upon use. You have committed evil in a corner, but you shall [...]t carry it away so. Item, it was against the knowledge of God revealed▪ Item, against many mercies received▪ I­tem, against many Judgements threatned, against many checks of conscience, against many Vows and Promises; remember that, O my soul, Item for that, and Item for this; Item for every lust, and every circumstance, thus oft, and in this place, and at that time, in that manner So meditated the prodigal. LookLuke. 5. 17. as it is in warrs, were there but many scores come against an Army, they might be conquered; or many hundreds, they might be resisted; but if many thousands should come against a smal Army, it would be in danger indeed. Meditation leadeth a whole Army of arguments, a whole Army of curses, miseries, judgements, commandments against the soul, how ever one misery or plague will not knock it down, but the soul may [Page 4] brook it, and goe away with it: but meditation brings a great Armado of arguments, and tels the soul, God is against thee, and against thy wayes: God is against thee where ever thou art, or what ever thou doest. Then the heart begins to cry out, as Elisha his servant did, Master, what shall we do? 2 Kings 6. 15. So many horses against us, so many charets, and so many men against us? Master what shall we do? so many sins, and so heinous; so many judgements and so heavy; and so many evils, and spiritual maladies! Oh, what shal I do to be saved! that I should commit sin against a God that hath damned innumerable Angels, millions of Kings, Princes, and Nobles! that I should commit it against this God, so mercifull to me, so gracious, so patient, so good to my soul! that I, wretched rebel, should for a cup of drink refuse heaven! for a lust not worth a straw under my foot, cast off Christ, and grace, and all! how shal I do? Then the soul stands in a maze.

The second Reason is, because meditation having hundled up all Items against the soul, and brought it in all bils of account, it fastens s [...] upon the soul; I mean it makes the soul feel it, so that it must needs be convin­ced without any evasion. Meditation deals with a man as Elisha dealt with the messengers of the King Joram; the murderer he was coming to do mischief to the Prophet, and the prophet did shut the door, and held him fast at the door, 2 Kings 6. 32. and then he made him know that the evill was from the Lord, before he could stirr: so meditation, when the soul would fain out of doors into its old course again, it shuts the door upon it, and holds it fast: Meditation tels the soul, this evil is from the Lord upon thee, O my soul, if thou stirr in or out upon this or that lust any more, this evill, that course, that vengeance and damnation; if ever thou stir forth, thou losest thy mercy, thou losest Christ, thou losest all possibility of comfort. Stir not out, if thou dost, thou wilt rue it. Sometimes when men hear the Word, they go away touched, they re­solve not to commit sin again as they have done; yet when they are gone, it works not, but the heart recoyls again, and turns to its old passe, The reason is, because they meditate not upon the Word, they fasten it not upon their consciences.

It is with the word as it is with a salve: if a man that hath never so good a salve, that will heal any thing in four and twenty hours, if a man should do nothing but lay it to the wound, & take it off, lay it on and take it off, it will not heal the wound: and no marvel, Why? he will not let it lye on, the best salve will not heal the soare, nor eat out the corruption, unlesse it be bound on and let lye: so it is with the Word, many a soul hears it; heart, conscience, affections, all toucht: but when he is gone out of the Church, all is gone, his affections dye, his heart dyes, and his conscience becomes unfruitful: Why? he is still removing of the salve, and will not let it lye on, and therefore the Word over-powers not his corruptions; the Word is like the salve; conviction of conscience is like the laying on of the salve; meditation the binding of it to the soare.

St. James compares a slight hearer to a man that looks into a glasse, who soon forgets his visage, but a good hearer doth two things: First, he stoops down and looks into it, to take a perfect view of his estate; Se­condly, [Page 5] he continues looking into it, Iames 1. 25. he doth not leave the glasse behind him, but he carrieth away the glasse with him: This man shall be blessed in his deed.

If the pills be never so bitter, yet let a man swallow them speedily, there is no great distaste; but if a man chew a pill, it will make him deadly sick. Thy sins are like those pills, they go down very pleasing­ly, because thou swallowest them: thou swallowest down thine oaths, lies, ignorance, pride, thou swallowest down the threats of the Lord, but if thou wouldest chew these bitter pills, and meditate and ruminate, and chew the cud, drunkennesse would be as bitter as hell; swearing and security, and Saboath breaking, would be as bitter as wormwood; thou durst not go on in them, they would make thee look sourely upon them for ever: like a man that hath chewed a pill, he can hardly ever see a pill, but his stomack riseth against it. Behold, I wil hedge up thy way with thorns, Hos. 2. 6. I wil not be so precise (saith the heart) I wil go on as I have done, I wil go after these and these courses; I will hedge up thy way with thorns (saith God,) meditation is Gods instrument, and sets a thorn in the way to every sin, to bring the heart back again. Would the heart lash out into luke-warmnesse? Meditation sets a thorn in the way; God will spue thee out of his mouth. Would the heart sally forth into any sin? Meditation sets a thorn in the way, Cursed art thou if thou dost err from Gods Commandements. The heart cannot step forth into any lust, but meditation meets it with a thorn, this curse, and that curse, this plague, and that plague. Would the heart reach at mercy in its sin? Meditation pricks it; mercie is venge­ance unto thee, so long as thou hankrest after sin. Would the heart reach after Christ in his sin? Meditation pushes it back with a thorn: no Christ for thee, but a severejudge, so long as thou itchest after thy vanities.

What shal we think of them then, which are loth to practice this duty? Most men are loth, though they be willing enough to meditate on theirUse [...]. worldly affairs. The Mariner meditates and considers his course by his Compasse, or else he might soon runne on the quick-sands; a Pilgrim is full of thoughts, what? am I in my right way? He never comes to a doubtfull turning, but he stands in a study and muses, O which is my right way? The Merchant meditates, and his mind runs on his Count­book, or else he is soon bankrupt: The voluptuous man his thoughts run on his pleasure: the drunkard on his cups, the proud man on his cre­dit. But it is one thing to look to that which is thine, and another thing to look to thy self, Take heed to your selves, saith the Lord, Deut. 11. 16. Deut. 12. 30. Deut. 4. 9. Exod. 34. 12. as if he should say, think on thy self, & of thy poor soul; let thy Meditation run on thy poor soul. The heart is untoward unto this duty, and as unwilling as a Bear to be brought to the stake: the Bear would rather be rambling abroad then be baited: so men had rather let their hearts ramble about any thing, then bait them for their sins; yea men scoff at it, saying, shall we alwayes be poring on our sins? shall we run mad? shall we drive our selves to despair? can­not men keep themselves well while they are well?

The poor man he hath no time for this tedious duty: the rich man he needs it not, the wicked they dare not; so no man will, No man re­pented [Page 6] him of his wickednesse, saying, What have I done? Jer. 8. 6. no man would meditate and think with himself, what is my case? how stands my condition before God? what evil have I done? in the Ark and in the old Law if there were any beast that chewed not the cud, it was a sign of an unclean beast: the word implies the bringing up of their meat in­to their mouths again, and sitting down to chew it again. But now men like unclean beasts, swallow down the food of their souls unchewed, and will not meditate thereof, that it may turn to good nutriment; but like Cormorants, they take it down by whole-sale, and are never the better? So the Word is to them as the Quails to the Israelites, while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord was kindled against them, and smote them them with a very great plague, Num. 11, 33. So the Word of God sticks in their teeth, ere they chew it, or meditate upon it, the wrath of God falls upon them, and strikes them with a very great plague of hardnesse of heart, and leanness of soul. But the truth is: you that will not now see your sins nor me­ditate on them, you shall see them, and meditate on nothing but on fear, Lord when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see, but they shall see and be asha­med, Isaiah 26. 11.

Now the Lets of serious meditation are, First, vain company. WhenLet. 1. Peter saw the people touched, Acts 2. 37. he said unto them, Save your selves from this untoward generation, verse 40. as if he should say, If you love your selves, God hath touched your hearts, suffer not Satan and these wicked instruments, to steal away these impressions of terrour from your Souls If ever you love your souls. sort not your selvs with this un­toward generation. See, as it humbles you, so let meditation follow upon it, so that it may still humble you. Ill company brings a man to the gal­lows (as the proverb is) and ill company will bring a man to hell (say I:) and meditation cannot be admitted to it. David would not have a wicked man to abide in his sight, when he was to meditate: he wisht that there were never a wicked man in the world; much less would he keep compa­ny with them My meditation of him shall be sweet; let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more: Bless thou the Lord, O my soul, ps. 104. 35.

The second Let is, multitude of worldly businesses. A dream (saith So­lomon)Let 2. comes through multitude of businesses, Eccles. 5. Multitude of busi­nesses causeth the mind so to run on them, that they do even dream of them in their sleep, as Lucretius, Seneca, Claudian, and many others of the hearthens haue observed. He that over-imploys himself, his meditations of heaven are dreaming meditations; his thoughts, dreaming thoughts, he can never seriously meditate on the good of his soul. Many ingrosse busi­nesses into their hands never thinking they have enough, they are so gree­dy after the world, and so carelesse of heaven. So they make their hearts like high-way-ground: the word sown in their hearts, is like seed sown in the high-way, where is such a throughfare, and a broad Carriers road of earthly affairs, that all the word and meditation thereof is trodden down as the grasse in the high-way, which cannot grow, so neither meditation in a busie-bodied heart. For a good meditating mind, (Nemo ad illam per­venit [Page 7] occupatus, saith Seneca) no man ever came to it surfeited with im­ployments. David although he had abundance of State-affairs, both his hands ful, yet he would not to be over-charged, but that he might medi­tate in Gods word: My hands also (not all down to businesse only in the world, but also up to thy Law) will I lift up to thy commandements, which I have loved, and I wil meditate on thy statutes. Psal. 119. 48. Take not too much upon thee, like those grasping worldlings, that wil have a finger in a hundred things: Martha, Martha, thou art cumbred about many things, but one thing is needfull, and Mary hath chosen the better part, Luke 10. 41. [...] and what was that one thing? Mary was sitting and meditating in, and pondring Christs words, not (as Theophylact expounds it) as if we would say, Martha, Martha, thou art cumbred about many dishes, but one thing is needfull only, only one dish, though indeed so it be, yet he here speaks not only of one dish, but of many cares which hin­der that one necessary duty of hearing and meditating of the word of God.

Thirdly, ignorance. A man cannot meditate of a thing he knows3▪ not; nor thou of thy sins, if thou be not skilful in Gods Catalogue of thy sins; nor of mercies and promises, if thou beest not verst in them; nor of his Precepts, if thou be not expert in them. the Psalmist proveth that he had more knowledge than all his teachers: Why? because he used to meditate. I have more understanding then all my Tutors, for thy testi­monies are my meditation, Psal. 119. 99.

Fourthly, aversnesse of the heart: The heart is like the swine, medi­tation4▪ is like the yoke: the Hogge would fain get into forbidden fields for to grub them; the yoke that hinders him; but he cannot abide it, eve­ry step he takes, he lifts up his foot to strike it off if he could; so the heart would fain break through hedges, and get into forbidden wayes, and if thou wouldest meditate, it would every moment lift up it's heel to put thee besides it. If it cannot put thee besides it, it wil mar it if it can, and therefore David praid to God to settle his heart upon the right, and put his yoke upon him, or it would never be stedfast else upon meditati­on. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart be ever accepta­ble in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my▪ redeemer; Psal. 19. 14.

This aversnesse of the heart consists in three things: First, in the care­lesnesse 1 of the heart, the heart prizeth not meditation, nor the things of grace that are to be meditated on; it will not be at the cost and charge, nor at the pains for them. To what end is a price in the hands of a fool, see­ing there is no heart to get wisdom? Prov. 17. 16. The heart will not be brought to Gods price? it would fain have the wares at a cheap rate.

Secondly in runnings of it: the heart is like a vagrant rogue, he would 2 rather be hanged, than tied to his parish. Thou canst not bring it to prayer, but it will be a gadding on by thoughts: thou canst not bring it to a Sermon, but it will be roving after wandering imaginations; thou canst not bring it to a meditation, but it will be a gossipping forth. When Christ came to bind men with his blessed cords, and bind their hearts to him, Psal. 2. they fall a meditating afterwards, but [Page 8] it was meditating and imagining vain things, verse 1. and when they saw they were to be tyed up, Tush (say they) let us break their bonds asun­der, and cast their cords from us, verse 3. What, do Ministers call us to such strictnesse, thinking to imprison our hearts in their stocks? away with their bonds, no, we will have none of it.

Thirdly, in the wearisomness of the heart: It is as weary of meditation, as 3 a Cur is of the whip, and the chain; Oh how it barks and maunders till it be loose! yea, though it be never so eager upon it at the first, it's jaded presently. When God called the Jews to sanctifie his Name, they thought in their hearts; O, what a wearinesse is this I and ye have snuffed at it (saith the Lord) ye brought which was lame, and torn and sick, Malac. 1. 13. What a wearinesse is it to meditate? saith the heart; it snuffs, it is unto­ward; it is lumpish; it would fain tear off a piece of the duty, or bring it wanting a leg, or without soundnesse and sincerity; yet some of them (saith Calvin) were so humbled, that they thought on the name of the Lord, Malac. 3. 16. they thought, and meditated, and forced their hearts to con­sider throughly.

This may serve for terror unto all those, who for all this that hath beenUse 2. spoken, dare sit down without it; yea, the world will not beleeve these things, nor meditate therein▪ yea, they blame Gods messengers, that call so sore upon them. Habakkuk was so served; he preached the mer­cies of God to the humble, and the judgements of God to the wicked: they ask him why he was so mad? well (sayes the Prophet) I will stand upon my watch, and see what the Lord sayes unto me, that I may answer to them that reprove me, Hab. 2. 1. What did the Lord tell him? Write the vision, and make it plain upon Tables, that he may run that reads it, verse 2. Will they not beleeve? Will they rove? Will they not meditate steadily upon these things? Will they not let their hearts stay and meditate and consider? The vision shall be so plain, that he that runs may read it. If thou wilt not stay, and meditate herein, the word is so plain to thy con­demnation, that if thou didst not but think of it with a running thought, thou maist read thine own vengeance, thine own woes, in regard of the multitude of them. He that runnes by a way full of holes and pits, though he stand not meditating where are the pits, yet he may run and see them. The book of God is full, leaves and cover, and all, of woes a­gainst thee, Lam. 2. 10. It is written without, there thou maist read thy sins written; it is written likewise within, there thou maist read thy plagues.

Secondly, in regard of the greatnesse of them, he that runnes along, and loe a great town on fire, though he stay not to meditate on it, what or where it is, yet he may run and read it: so is the curse of sinners a great curse, Zeph. 1. 10. he that runs may read it.

Thirdly, in regard of the proximitie and neernesse of them. He that runnes, if a sword come out at his throat, though he doth not stop to meditate, what is this at my throat, yet he cannot but see it. Behold the Judge standeth before the door, James, 5. 9. Take heed how thou grudg­est, or sinnest in any particular; behold the Judge standeth before the [Page 9] door; behold it and meditate on it with thy heart; if not, he is nigh e­nough, thou canst not step out of doors unto any sin, but though thou runnest, thou must needs see the Judge that will Judge thee, I [...]eming thy sins, noting thy wayes, observing thy courses, ready to unhasp the door on thee, to hale thee unto hell in thy sins. Whose end is destruction? Why? Even those that mind earthly things, Phil. 3. 19. If thy mind and meditation run more on thy ground, cattel, goods, kitchen, house busi­nesse, earthly talk, discourses, thoughts, more than of heaven, thy end is destruction. If thy thoughts will not stay here, do but runne, and thou maist read it: Think not that I am come to destroy the Law or the Prophets, I am come to fulfill them, Matthew 5. 17. Some (saith Chrisostome) might think now Christ is come, it is no matter though we not be so strict, Christ is enough. Think not thus (saith Christ) but rather think and meditate that I am come to fulfill it may self, and to see it fulfilled in those I mean to save, so as to make it a rule of their lives. Themistocles said, he could not sleep in his bed for continual thinking and meditating on Miltiades his Tryumphs; And how canst thou sleep in thy bed, if thou wouldest but meditate on these places of Scripture? Retire thy self apart, there is no casting up of mans account in a croud: Let me alone, I am busie; so we use to say, when we would be private.

Thou must do with thy soul as Ehud did to Eglon, who said, I have aMeanes 1. secret errant to thee, O King, and so all went out, and he said: I have a mes­sage from God to thee, and so stabd him at his heart, Judges 3. 19. So (for Ehud was a type of Christ, saith Lavator) I have a secret errant to thee, O my soul, and so let all go forth: I have a message from God to thee, a message of wrath for thy Pride, a message of wrath for thy vain hopes: Thus, saith the Lord; Cursed art thou, O my soul▪ stab it to the heart with this spirituall Dagger, wound it with the blade and haft and all, till thou have let out the fat and the dirt, the filth and iniquity all out. The Prophet speaking of mens looking on Christ whom they have pier­ced, this meditating and laying to heart that they have crucified the Lord Jesus, saith that they shall mourn every one in private, the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; the house of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; every family a­part, and their wives apart, Zach. 12. 2.

The second meanes, if thou wouldest meditate aright, observe theMeanes 2. times of privacy,

First, the morniug, that is the best time for study: David chose the morning for meditation, Psal 5. 1. 3. Let them hear this, (saith Chri­sostome) that arise betimes in the morning to serve their Hoggs and their Doggs, their bellies and their backs, before they serve God in medita­tion or prayer, unlesse it be the mumbling and roaring a few [Lord have mercy upon us] that pray not till after many other businesses, it may may be, not then neither. David prayed and meditated in the morning. In the morning thou washest thy face and thy hands, but thy soul hath more need, which thou washest not: in the morning thou puttest thy cloathes on thy body, but thou puttest not on afresh the new man upon thy soul; in the morning thou shakest off sleepinesse from thine eyes, [Page 10] but thou shakest not off drousinesse from thy soul. Thou lookest into the glasse in the morning, to see if thy face be as it should be; but thy soul is not composedly looking into the glasse of Gods word. In the morning loook up in prayer, look up in thansgiving, look up in medita­tion.

Secondly, the night too; O Lord, I meditate on thee in the night wat­ches,2 Psal. 93. not as carnall ones doe, when they cannot sleep, then their mind runs on their Cow and their Calf, their markets and vanities, this neighbour and that neighbour, like Petronius his dogge, that was hunt­ing while he lay asleep in his kennel.

Thirdly, In the evening; I prevent the night watches, that I might medi­tate,3 Psal. 119. 148. he did not as wicked men doe, sleep like a horse in the stable on his litter, with his neck tyed to the manger: they did go to bed with their hearts roped to the world, worldly thoughts, this thought and that thought, and God knows what.

Fourthly, when the heart is touched at a Sermon or Sacrament, or obser­ving 4 of any judgement or mercy, or act of Gods providence, it is best striking when the Iron is hot; David, when his heart was touched at the reproches of the wicked, then he meditated, Psall. 119. 23. When the Instrument is in tune, then it is good playing upon it; when a Churl is in a good mood, then it is fittest to deal with him. Oft will thy heart be out of tune, oft churlish, and in an ill mood: if thou lettest the good op­portunity goe; thou knowest not when thou shalt have such another. When the fish is nibling at the bait, then it is good twiching at the angle­rod, when the heart is a nibling at grace, then gave a pluck at it by me­ditation. See Acts 17. 11. now while the time lusts, see thou maist get into heaven.

Thirdly, Rub up thy self and thy memory; call as much to mind as thouMeans 3. canst, what evill thou hast done ever since thou wast born, what in the womb, what in the cradle, childhood, youth, age; what a servant, what a Master; what as a servant, what as a son, what as a neighbour, what as an inferiour, what as a superiour; either in thought, or word or deed; how of­ten thou hast omitted good duties, or done them by halvs; Item for this; and Item for that. They shall remember themselves and turn unto the Lord, Psal. 22. 27. First, they shall remember themselves, and say, what have I done. O wretch! how carelessely have I lived! Secondly, so medita­ting, they shall turn unto the Lord. Many say, Oh! they cannot remem­ber their sins. They lye in a thousand particulars: for they can re­member to commit them well enough. See Lam. 3. 19. 20. 21. our Greek translation turns it, I spake to my self, and meditated: as if they should say, O what a rebell have I been! how unthankfull, how unprofi­table under all the means of grace! I may thank my sins for all the plagues of the Almighty that are upon me: if he had damned me, I had been well served. What follows? The heart bowed, and was humbled, as it is in the text.

The fourth means. Rouze up thy heart. As it is with the eye of theMeans 4. body, so it is with the eye of the Soul: when a man would look wistly upon a thing, as if he would look thorow it, he sets his eye on it, as [Page 11] Paul set his eyes on Elymas, Ah thou child of the Devill, thou, &c. Acts 13. 9. Meditation is the setting of the eye of the soul upon a thing: set thine eye upon thy selfe, and say, Ah thou childe of the wicked, why hath Satan filled thy heart! O wretched heart! whence hadst thou thy selfe-love? hadst thou not it from the Devill? God might do well to send thee to the Devill, if thou lovest so to be his Broker. Set thine eyes stedfastly upon thine own wayes, and thou shalt see infinite hellish evils in thy sins.

The third Use is for Reprehension. What is more usual than this,Use 3. that men make slight account of their sins? Nay, when God tels them in their hearts, Thou shalt not do this, thou shalt not doe that, yet they meditate and think, Why may I not? Samuel bid Saul stay for directions from him, before he sacrificed unto God. It seems that God spoke to his heart. Stay till Samuel comes to direct thee: yet Saul forced him­selfe to disobey, and to do Sacrifice, 1. Sam. 13. 12. he was bold, as Va­table turns it; he confirmed himselfe, as Pagnin translates it: he thrust himselfe upon the doing of it; God forbad him, he would do it: God urged him in his conscience not to doe it, yet he would do it: God a­gain whispered to him not to do it, yet he forced himselfe to do it; as if he should say, I hope I may do it, I have stayed seven days wanting an hour, or a piece of an houre; and a little piece breaks no square: No? God rejected Saul for that venture; God would have forced him by meditation, O no, doe it not by no means: he made him think, Oh, it is against Gods commandements, I may not do it. No, but never­thelesse he forced himself to do it. Thus God deals with thousands and millions in the world: Be not a drunkard; God flings the meditation into the conscience, yet a drunkard thou wilt be. Be not a drunkard a­gain; a drunkard notwithstanding thou wilt be: Be not again; they force themselves, they will go to the Ale-house. And so of all other sins. If men will cast off this work of meditation darted into their souls, they cast off their own mercy. God tels them, pray not, hear not, offer not with­out directions from me; they dread not the commandment, they will: I trust prayers are good, I will say them. Thus they will not meditate, or if they do, they break it off before it comes to any strength or perfecti­on: yea, Gods own servants, that desire to look towards Sion, is not this your complaint oft? I cannot finde sinne heavy: I confesse the word discovers it to me, but I cannot be troubled for it. Look as it is with men in the world, if five hundred pound weight be laid upon the ground, if a man never pluck at it, he shall never feel the weight of it. Your sinnes are not many hundreds, but many thousands, yea many ten thousands: selfe-love, security; hardnesse of heart▪ base fears, &c. it is impossible to reckon them. The least vain thought that ever you imagined, the least vaine word that ever you uttered, were weight e­nough to presse your souls down to hell; Therefore what are so many sins and so great, and so often committed? What are they? they are as heauy as rocks and mountains; yet ye feel them not so heavy. Why? Ye weigh them not; if ye did, yee should finde them heavier than the sand, as David did when his sinne was ever before him (Psal. 51. 3.) that [Page 12] is, his sinne was ever in his thoughts, and in his meditation, his sin was ever like a huge Milstone before him, and he was ever tugging and pul­ling to remove it out of his way.

Object.I, but you will say, How shall I come to feel my burden?

Answer.I answer, three things are here to be discovered;

First, the ground upon which our meditation must be raised.

Secondly, the manner how to follow it home to the heart.

Thirdly, how to put life and power into it.

The ground I referre to these foure heads:

First, meditate on the goodnesse, patience, and mercy of God, that hath 1 been abused by any of your sins: the greater they have been to you, the greater is every sinne: this maketh them out of measure sinfull, because God is out of measure mercifull. There are many sinnes in one, when a man sinnes against many mercies, See Judg. 2. 2, 3. Why have ye done thus? I, have done thus and thus mercifully unto you, why have yee done thus unthankfully to me? Why was my mercy abused? Why was my goodnesse sleighted? Why was my patience despised? as if the Lord should say, I speak to your owne conscience, think of it, meditate of it, why have ye done this? Doe ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people and unwise? Is not he thy Father? Meditate of it first, and tell me then. For it is a question put to thy meditation to answer. Do ye thus requite the Lord, ye foolish people? Wert thou ever in want, but God supplyed thee? Wert thou ever in weaknesse, but God strengthe­ned thee? Wert thou ever in straits, but God delivered thee? When thou wert in sicknesse, who cured thee? when thou wert in poverty, who relieved thee? when thou wert in misery, who succoured thee? Hath not God been a gracious God to thee? Every soul can tell, never poor sinner hath had a more gracious God, than I poor sinner have found to my soul. All my bones can say, Lord, who hath been like unto thee? This heart hath been heavy, and thou hast cheered it: this soul hath been distressed, and thou hast eased it: many troubles have befallen me, and thou hast given me a gracious issue. This poor man (saith David, pointing to himselfe,) this poor man cryed, and the Lord heard him, Psal. 34. 9. And shall I thus reward the Lord? shall I sinne against his good­nesse? Then what shall I say? Hear, O heavens, and hearken, O earth; Sunne, stand thou still, and thou Moon be amazed at this, and be aven­ged on such a heart as this. The Oxe knows his owner, and the Asse his Ma­sters Crib; but here is a heart that will not remember to know the Lord. Hear, O heavens, this villany cryeth so loud, that your ears may hear it. Hear all ye Angels add be astonished, here is villany to make your ears glow: yea, hear hell, hear Devils, if ever there were worse committed by you. When men are but ingenuous, if they haue received any kindenesse from a friend, they were never in want but he relieved them: never harbourlesse, but he housed them; never to seek, but he found them: Let a man deal thus kindly with a man, if this man should deny him any ordinary favour; he will be ashamed of himselfe, asha­med to come into his presence. What will he think? his house was mine, his cupboard was mine, and his purse was mine, and his friends [Page 13] were mine, and that I should deal thus unkindly with him, even nature rebukes me. This serious meditation will help to break thy heart.

The second ground of meditation is to mediate on the justice of God: God is a just God as well as mercifull. Speak all ye Devils in Hell, Doe ye not feel that he is a just God? Speak Sodome, Speak Gomorrah, your fire and brimstone can testifie that he is a just God: Speak Adah, Zillah, and all ye that were drowned in the old world, your deluge can testify he is a just God, His judgements are all in the world, 1. Chro. 16. 14. What is become of drunken Nabal, and swearing Saul, and co­vetous Ahab, and proud Jesabel, and mocking Jehu, and envious Shimei? What is become of all blind Jebusites, and parting, cavilling Diotre­pheses? Justice hath taken hold on them. What is povertie? What is nakednesse? What is famine, sicknesse, the gout, the stone, Feaver, plague? These are the little arrows of Gods justice. What is shame, disgrace, crosses, afflictions, unseasonable rains, dangerous weather, wars, rumours of wars? What are all the evils under the Sun? They are the little finger of Gods justice. Thou spiest them here and there, in e­very Town, and in every Parish, in every Country: do they not all wit­nesse that he is a just God? Read Psalm 7. 11, 12, 13. God hath bent his [...]ow already (saith David) the arrow is ready to flie out of the string: It wil not be long before it hit thee, if thou meditate not upon amendment: God is angry with the wicked every day, as an angry man useth to say, I will be revenged on thee. Wilt thou not give over thy sins? I will be reven­ged on thee. Read Psal. 11. 5, 6, 7. Meditate on this; he will neither spare King nor subject, nor rich, nor poor, nor noble, nor base, nor Jud­ges, nor Justices: yet Judges and Justices may spare, but God will not spare: they may be bribed to pardon, but God will not be fee'd to spare them that go on in their wickednesse; and do I think to escape? Nay, my soul, thou canst never escape, except thou obeyest.

The third ground is, Meditate on the wrath of God; O! what wrath is it? Can I stand against it? It burns like an oven, and all the proud, and all that doe wickedly shall be as stubble, and the day of wrath shall burne them up. Behold this, saith the Text, Malac. 4. 1. Behold it, and meditate on it. Can I goe naked in a hot fiery Oven? Can I lift up my hands against it? My hands will be scorched. Can I kick against it? My legs will be baked. Can I blow upon it with my mouth? My mouth is fie­red. Did I ever see lime burned? were I in the limes room, could I en­dure that boyling? and yet if I live in my sinnes, I shall be as the burning of lime, I say 33. 12. Let thy heart meditate terror: Who among us shall be able to dwell (that is the meaning of it, as Montanus sheweth) who a­mong us shall dwell with devouring fire? who among us shall burn with e­verlasting burning? verse 14. Gods mercie shall say, Take him wrath: I would have converted him, but he would not. Gods goodnesse shall say, Take him wrath I would have been kinde unto him, but he hath abused me; Gods patience shall say, Take him wrath: I have suffered him a great while, that he might have time of repentance, but he repen­ted not in that time. God smote Aegypt in their first born: Why? For his [Page 14] mercy endureth for ever. God overthrew Pharaoh and his hoast: Why? For his mercy endureth for ever. Psal. 136. 15. He smote great Kings, Sihon a King, and Og a King: for his mercy endureth for ever. So will God damn thee that art a drunkard: Why? for his mercy endureth for ever. God will confound thee that art a worlding: Why? for his mercy endureth for ever. God will be revenged on thee that art a Luke-warmling: Why? for his mercy endureth for ever. This may well make thee [...]eare the hair off thy head, rather than let thee go on in thy sinnes. See Ierem. 7. 29. Meditate on this.

The fourth ground: Meditate on the constancy of God. As the Lord 4 was an enemy to wicked men, so he continues the same God still, a con­stant enemy to them still. As the Lord would not endure sinne hereto­fore, so he is constant, he still will not endure it. Did the Lord once say, Weep and howl ye drunkards? Joel 1. 5. he is constant, so he saith still. Did the Lord say, he would burn up sabbath-breakers? Jer. 17. 27. he is constant; so he saith still. Who ever hardned his heart against the Lord, and prospered? Job 9. [...]4. as if he should say, I put it to thee to meditate of it: canst thou shew me a president? did ever any man harden his heart against Gods Word, in his sinne, that prospered? Did Senacherib pro­sper in his will-worship? Did Judas prosper in his covetousnesse? Did Jeconiah prosper in his stubbornnesse? Where is the Scribe? Where is the disputer? Where is he that counted the towers? Your fathers, where are they, saith Zachariah? Did not my words take hold of them? and are they not all now in hell, that have ever lived and died in their sin, from the beginning of the world? Thou canst not shew me one drunkard, or one mocker, or one prophane person, or one formall professor, from the day that man was created upon the earth, that is not now in hell, if he be dead. Meditate on this, how canst thou expect to be the one onely in all the world that shall escape, if thou livest and dyest in thy sins? If hell were opened, and the bottomlesse pit were lookt into, thou should­est see every soul that ever lived, and died in their sins, even every soul; there is not one soul missing. Meditate on this; when I dye, do I think I shall not be there? nay, I shall be there too, unlesse aforehand I enter in to the strait gate, and walk in the narrow way of newnesse of life.

The Second SERMON OF The use and benefit of Divine MEDITATION.

HAGGAI 1. 5.‘Now therefore thus saith the Lord of Hosts, Consider your wayes.’

NOw follows the manner, how to follow Meditati­on home to the heart. Here are four things to be practised.

First, weigh and ponder all these things in thy heart. It's said of Mary, she pondred, Luke 2. 19. and kept all these sayings in her heart: verse 51. The words signifie two things: First, she com­pared these things together, Secondly, she cast them in the scales together. Dost thou know God is mercifull? ponder it with his justice. Dost thou know that Je­sus Christ dyed for sinners? ponder it with the true drift of it, how that it is not to let men go on in their sins, but to save them from their sinnes. Dost thou obey God in this or that Commandement? O ponder thy life with the rest, Ponder the path of thy feeet, and let all thy wayes be establi­shed. Prov. 4. 26. A man that eats his meat well, forty morsels well, yet one crum going awry throttles him. Thou walkest in these and these Commandements; yea, but there be other Commandments besides these: dost thou walk in them too? thou must, if thou meanest to have [Page 16] thy ways to be established. The Jews had their continers, talents, minaes, sicles, which were greater weights; so they had also their gerahs, and aga­rahs, smaller measures, and smallest of all: so have thou greater and lesse weights; great ones to ponder the great Commandements, and less to weigh even the least of Gods Commandements: and see thou make true Evangelical weight, or else all will not be well. Suppose a man were to pay a 100 pound of good and lawful money, and in weight, up­on forfeiture of all that he hath; if he weigh it not, but the Creditor doth, and finds it light, he is undone. If thou ponderest not thy wayes, God will ponder them: Prov. 5. 21. the word signifies, he weighs and ponders them in a ballance, or scales; he puts the word of his Gospel in the one, and thy goings and obedience in the other. Thou art weigh­ed, and art found too light, thy kingdom is departed from thee, saith God to Belshazzer, Dan. 5. 27. So if thou be light, thou shalt be weighed, and so found▪ thou shalt lose the Kingdom of heaven for ever.

Secondly, strip sin, and look upon it stark naked sin covers and dis­guiseth it self with pleasure, profit, ease, and many a whorish garment, and so inticeth the heart. Even a toad, if she were covered over with gold, those that saw only the gold would pocket it up; if it were naked they would fling it in the kennel. Why doe men love covetousnesse? Why? its hooded with profit▪ Why carding, dicing, hunting, hawking, tabring, piping, and more than the word alloweth? Why? they are cloa­thed with pleasure, and delight. Its the duty of Ministers to unmask and uncase sin, and pluck off he vail that covers it from appearing un­to men. The not doing of this is the cause that men do not meditate on the vilenesse of their sin, never are humbled, never escape Gods wrath, even because they [...] discover [...] iniquities, Lam. 2. 14. Alas the profit of thy sins shall cease the pleasure cease, the ease cease, and all these goodly suits shall vanish away; when the soul comes to dye, or to stand before the judgement seat of Christ: sin will remain, but thy sil­ver, and thy gold; where will that be then? thy laughter, and thy mer­ [...]iment, what will become of that then? thy delight will be gone. Medi­tate therefore with thy self, my sin is now gainful, and easie, and plea­sant▪ but what will my sin become, when I come to lye on my death­bod▪ what good will it do me, when I have most need of succour? I will never acknowledge him my friend, that will turn against me, when I have most need of him. Alas, I must dye, I must come to judgement, I, I must go either to heaven or to hell: the profit that I get now by my sins, will it bestead me then▪ the pleasure, the ease that I now find in sin, will it help me there? Alas no it will then be my break neck, it will be a Devil unto me the more I have been delighted with it, the more it will gall [...]e: the more I have gotten by it the more it will damne me: the sin which I most of all loved▪ will most of all torment me. Eccles. 11. 9. look thus upon sin▪

The third means▪ Dive into thy own soul and heart. There is a tough brain over thy heart, that it feels not its sins. Now Meditation must look through▪ and come to the heart at the quick, and cause the truth to dive into the deep places of the soul. When the timber is hard, the [Page 17] workman cannot thrust in the nail with the weight of his hand: no, he must hammer it in. Meditation is the hammering of the heart. It's a pertinent phrase, Jer. 23, 24. Is not my word like a fire (saith the Lord) and like a hammer that breaketh the rocks in pieces? There be two simili­tudes, first, of a hammer: the Word of God is the hammer; meditation is the hand that taketh this hammer, and knocks the nail into the rocky heart, and makes it enter: Wilt thou not feel? I'le make thee feel (saith Meditation) wilt thou not take notice of thy wretched estate? Medi­tation comes with blow after blow, and makes us take notice. Secondly, of fire; the word is like fire; Meditation kindles it about the heart. A man benummed with cold is senselesse; the water frozen with cold, though the least pebble would have sunk in it before, now a great mil­stone is able to lye upon it, and not sink; the water is able to bear it: so is the heart, be it's sins never so heavy, as the hill of Basan, yet it bears it and feels no weight: but Meditation thawes the heart, and then eve­ry sin pincheth and oppresseth. Is not my word like fire? as if he should say, think of it, and muse of it, and meditate of it, and thou shall feel it as a fire. Meditation is the often smiting of the heart with this hammer: so did Ephraim smite upon his thigh, Jer. 31. 19. like a man in a misera­ble agony, he thumps his own breast, and in a vexation strikes his hand on his thigh. Oh miserable wretch that I am! So did Ephraim, Oh what an unruly Oxe am I? how unwilling am I to bear the yoke of the Lord? Oh, and oh the hardness of my heart! oh that I could tell how to beat thee black and blue! Many men smite their hearts, but they smite them not often enough. When Elishah bad Joash smite upon the ground, he smote thrice, and stayed; The man of God said to him in anger, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times, for then thou hadst smitten Syria, till thou hadst consumed them, whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice. 2. King. 13. 19. So men smite their hearts twice, or thrice, or so; but they will not smite their sins dead: it may be they break the head of their sins, but they recover again, and grow strong upon them, as at first. Thou must smite five or six times, yea fifty times five times, till thou hast quite broken the impostume of thy heart. Meditate on the mercies of God, and with them smite it often, and often: Meditate on the justice of God, and with it smite it again, and again: Meditate on the wrath of God, which is as a consuming fire, and with it smite it soundly. Meditate on the truth of the Lord, this threatning and that threatning; this comman­dement and that commandment this promise and that promise; and with all these smite it to powder.

The fourth means, Anticipate and p [...]ventthine own heart: meditate what thy heart will one day wish, if it be not humbled: and tell thy Soul as much; thou wilt one day wish, Oh that I had been humbled under the reproofs of the Lord! Oh that I had been wise to have under­stood my own mercy! Cursed be the day that ever I neglected the means of grace; so the Lord brings in a foolish obstinate sinner, cursing and banning his own soul, sobbing and howling at the last. O how have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof! and have not observed the voyce of my Teachers, nor inclined mine care to them that instruct me? [Page 18] Prov. 5. 12, 13. I had Ministers to preach to me, but I would not come at them: or if I did, I cared not for their doctrine, I had friends that ad­vised me well; but woe is me damned wretch! I heeded them not. Thus thou wilt cast the fool into thine own teeth, and fling a thousand curses into thine own face, because of thy madness. I might have learned but I would not; I might have been humbled, but I would not: I was al­most in an evill in the midst of the assembly of the congregation, verse 14. I lived where the Saints of God were in whole assemblies, but I mockt them, I hated them, I misliked them for being too precise. I was not a­shamed of my security, no not in thy sight. Thus thou wilt cry out one day, if thou wilt not yeeld unto meditation, which must make this as present with thee. Know thou, O my soul, the time of thy visitation is at hand, thou wilt curse thy selfe hereafter, if thou dost not now be mo­ved by Gods mercies, thou shalt never see mercy more: Now be awa­ked by Gods judgments, or else thou shalt feel them for evermore; now or for ever thou shalt [...]oar for them. Then thou shalt curse thy gains and thy profits that bewitched thee, thou shalt curse thy pleasures and de­lights that besorted thee, curse thine one heart, and thine own soul, and thine own conscience that have damned thee. Meditation may tell thee, thus it will be with thee, unlesse thou obeyest now. Hear ye me now, Oh yee Children and depart not from the words of my mouth, verse 7. hear the word now, and obey it, let it not depart out thy meditation. Now be humbled with grace, or then thou shalt be humbled with horrour: then thou shalt wish, Oh that I had been ruled! When thou art in hell, then thou shalt meditate, Oh it was good counsel that such and such a Minister gave me; good counsel that such a friend, and such a brother gave me; but wretch that I was, I had not grace to follow it. I had more mind of my pleasures, more mind of my vanities than of grace. Oh if it were to do again, I would not do so for a thousand worlds: but alas, it is now too late. Therefore let Meditation presse this upon thee before­hand.

Now follows the third thing, how to put life to Meditation. Four 3 duties are to be done to this purpose.

1. Let Meditation haunt the heart, let meditation dog thee with the 1 hellish looks of thy sinnes, and follow it with the dreadful vengeance of God, haunt it with promises, haunt it with threatnings, haunt it with mercies, and haunt it with judgements, and haunt it with Command­ments, The heart is like the Beaver, when it perceiveth it cannot pos­sibly escape from the Huntsman, it cuts off the Member for which it is hunted, and flings it down, and so escapes (saith Aesop:) So pursue thy heart with its sins, with the hue and cry of Gods mercies; pursue it with the bubbub of Gods judgements; let meditation haunt it, and let thy soul see it shall never be rid of the haunt; at last it will be content to part with its lusts. Let Meditation say, Wilt thou forsake thine own mercies? If thou livest thus and thus, If thou prayest thus and thus, dead-heartedly, thou kickest against thine own mercy, wilt thou rush upon the prick [...]. This mercy thou mayst have, if thou wouldst amend, that vengeance thou shalt have, if thou do not amend: Either cut off thy [Page 19] sins, or else God will cut off thy soul. Return, O Shulamite, return, return, its the voice of Christ to thee: Let Meditation say, Return, O my soul, return, return, and thou mayst be saved; return, or else thou shalt be con­demned. Now what was the effect of this haunting meditation▪ Or ere I was aware, my soul made me like the Chariots of Aminadab. verse 12. That is, my soul musing and meditating on these and these commandments, it so humbled my soul, that it made me yeeld; yea, and made me run as fast as the Chariots of Aminadab, freely and willingly to Christ.

Deal with thy heart as Iunius his father dealt with him: he seeing his Son was Atheistical, he laid a Bible in every room, that his son could look in no room, but behold a Bible haunted him, upbraiding him, Wilt thou not read me, Atheist? Wilt thou not read me? And so at last he read it, and was converted from his Atheisme: So let meditation haunt thy heart, hold forth the commandements, promises, threatnings of the Lord, that thy heart may see them; let meditation haunt thee in thy luke-warmnesse: prayest thou thus luke-warm? This prayer will break thy neck one day. Repentest thou? This luke warm repentance will cause God to spue thee out of his mouth. Hearest thou, speakest thou, thinkest thou? These lukewarm duties wil confound thee ere long, if thou lookest not to it.

Let meditations haunt thee, as they haunted Nehemiah with war­nings, ten times (saith the Text) they sent to Nehemiah, they will be upon thee, Nehem. 4. 12. Beware of the danger, the enemy will be upon thee: ten times they warned him, never giving over till Nehemiah looked a­bout him, verse 13. So do thou haunt thine own heart: they will be up­on thee, this curse, this wrath, that hardnesse of heart, this security wil be upon thee. Ten times, yea, a thousand times ten times, never give over thine own soul, untill thou hast made it to submit. Indeed there be some, let God send Meditations to haunt them, and follow them, saying, Repent, leave this or that sin? why wilt thou be damn'd with this sin? Oh forsake it, presently they will gagge the mouth of meditation, and of conscience, and strike them stark dead: as Abner, when Azahel would haunt him and follow him, and turn neither to the right hand, nor to the left, but follow him at the heels. Turn aside (saith Abner) but he would not turn aside from following him. Turn aside from me (sayes Abner again) or I will kill thee, but he would not turn aside, he would follow him close: Then he up with his Spear and slew him, 2. Sam. 2. 19. 20, 21, 22, 23. So many deal with the Meditation of conscience, when con­science would dogg them, and weary them out of their sins, they will not, when conscience would haunt them, they will not be haunted therewith; when conscience would follow them up with their despe­rate wilfulnesse, they gall, and wound, and murder conscience to be qui­et. But David haunted his heart, and would have it haunted.

The second duty: Let Meditation trace thy heart, as it should haunt thee, so also let it trace thee in the same steps. So would the Church, Let us search and try our wayes, and turn again unto the Lord: Lam. 3. 40. The word (in the originall, sayes Buxtorf) signifies, track her steps, step by step: [Page 20] this step was in the ditch, that in the mire, that step awry: track them all, that we may undergo them all again, and turn unto the Lord. Never pray but let Meditation track thy prayer: this passage was right, that passage was amis. Never keep a Sabbath but let Meditation track thy keeping of it; this duty was sincere, that was rotten: Never do any thing, but let Medi­tation track it. This thought, this word, this action was warrantable; that was out of the way: track thy heart, as the Lord tracked Eliah, he trackt him in the wildernesse, he trackt him under the juniper tree, he trackt him in the cave; What dost thou here Eliah? go forth: 1. Kings 19. What dost thou here Eliah, go, return. He tract him in the Mount, Go, return, what dost thou here Eliah? this is not a place for thee. So let Medita­tion wait thee; what dost thou here, O sinner? what dost thou here, drunkard? in thy Cupps, or in thy prophanenesse, what dost thou here? this is not a place for thee, unlesse thou mean to perish. It may be thou art now scar'd out of these sins, and art run into civil honesty, let Medi­tation still track thee. What dost thou do here, O sinner? Civilitie is not a case fit for thee, unlesse thou wert better, thou shalt be torn in pie­ces. It may be thou art driven out of thy civility; and art gone further, to the profession of Religion, though it be without the power of it; let meditation still wait thee. What dost thou do here, O sinner? this sorry kind of profession is not a race fit for thee: unlesse thou be godlier than so, thou shalt be devoured with everlasting fire.

Meditation is like the coursing of a Hare in the snow; the Hare fear­ing to be taken by the dogs, Here she stops, there she leaps, here she inter­leaps, there she goes backward, and forward, upward and downward, and all to deceive the dogs, that they may not find her; but they goe, smelling, winding and turning, and track her step by step, till they find her: so meditation is the coursing of the soul, the heart hath a thousand fetches, a thousand Meanders and labyrinths, a thousand crosse win­dings, and compassings, and deceits, and all to puzle Meditation. But Meditation must track the heart, as God dealt with Job, he counted his steps, step by step, Iob 14. 16. Meditation is the souls bloud-hound, it will never leave howling the wrath of God; till he hath taken the hearts sin for a prey, Meditation haunts it out of one sin, and it runs into ano­ther; Meditation haunts it out of that, and it runnes into a third: Me­ditation is a good pursevant, it prosecutes the sinner, and attaches him.

Now because the heart is most cunning, and hardest to be trackt by its sent, when the heart hath taken up abundance of good duties, and attained unto sundry graces, these good duties and common graces drown the sent of the hearts wickednesse. As Huntsmen observe, that the hounds cannot well hunt in the Spring, as Theophrastus, and Pollux, and others observe: the sweet odors of the flowers and herbs (sayes Oppian) hinder the hounds from smelling the hare: so it is with Me­ditation; it is hard for it to track the heart in the green Spring-time of civill honesty and formality. And therefore let Meditation make deli­gent search, saith he.

The third duty: hale thy heart before God, and let Meditation bring it [Page 21] before his throne, and there powre out thy complaint against it before God, out with all thy villany there, and article against thy self, and bring as many complaints against thy self before heaven, as there be drops in a bucket full of water. So doe the godly: I powred out all my complaints before him (Psal. 102. in the preface) I powred out my complaints as a man powreth out water out of a vessel; generally men are willing to call for mercy, but they are not so willing to bring complaints unto God against themselves: ye shall have them whisper after the Minister, as he is begging for pardon and mercy, but they will not do so, whiles he is complaining of their sins, the hellish and develish abominations of their heart. These are men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith, and shall never have mercy, till they be as forward to complain of their sins, as to be plaintiffs for mercy.

When a man in Meditation meets with a hard matter, that he cannot sufficiently dive into, he breaks it to another: so do thou to God; break all thy heart to God, tell him of thy hardnesse of heart, of the pride of thy heart, of the desperate prophanenesse of thy heart: but take these rules with thee;

1 First, thy complaint must be full of sorrow. Psal. 55.

2 Secondly, it must be a full complaint of all thy sins, and of all thy lusts; Lam. 2. 18, 19. Poure aut thy heart like water before the face of the Lord. Water runs all out of a vessel, when you turn the mouth downward; never a spoonfull will stay behind. The wicked, will not complain of their sins fully: they make hypocriticall professions. If it be a sin, I am sorry for it; (says one) if it be naught, I cry God mercy; (saith another) when their own consciences tell them it is is a sin, yet they will not com­plain of it absolutely.

3 Thirdly, thy complaint must be with aggravation: thou must aggra­vate thy sins by all the circumstances, that may shew it to be odious, as Peter did: When he thought thereon, he wept, Mark 14. 72. the Originall hath it, he cast all these things one upon another. Wretch that I was, Christ was my master, and yet I denyed him; such a good master, that he called me before any of my fellow-Apostles, and yet I denyed him; I was rea­dy to sink once, he denyed not me: I was to be damned once, he denyed not my soul, and yet I denyed him; he told me of this sin before-hand, that I might take heed of it, and yet I denyed him. I said, I will not com­mit it, nor forfake him, and yet I denyed him: yea, this very night, no longer ago, did I say and say again, I would not deny him, and yet I de­nyed him; yea, I said, though all others denyed him, yet would not I; and yet worse than all others, I denyed him with a witness before a maid, before a damsel; nay, more filthy beast that I am, I said I did not know the man; nay more, I sware I did not know him; nay more than all this, I did even curse my selfe with an oath, that I did not know him: nay more, all this evill did I, not above five or six strides from my Lord and Saviour: nay more, even then, when if ever I should have stood for him, I should have done it then, when all the world did forsake him. O wretch that I was, I denyed him! he cast up all these circumstances together, and meditating on them, he went out, land wept bitterly.

[Page 22]Fourthly, thy complaint must be a selfe-condemning complaint: thou must condemn thy self, and lay thy selfe at Hell gates, and set the na­ked point of Gods vengeance at thy throat. Thus and thus have I lived, damned, cast-away, as I have deserved to be! So did Ezra in the behalfe of the Jews, Ezra 9.

For 1. He fell on his face; he did not bow down on his knees; but like a man astonished, he fell on his knees, ready to fall on the ground in amazement.

2. He spread out his hand unto the Lord, verse 5. as if he should say, here is my heart-blood, Lord here is my breast, Lord we deserve thou shouldst stab us with thy wrath.

3. He blushes to looke Heaven in the face, verse 6. so vex­ed to think on the sins of his people, that he is even confounded to beg mercy.

4. He is (as it were) dumb and speechlesse before God: And now our God, what shall we say after all this? for we haue forsaken thy commande­ments, verse 10. Shall I excuse the matter? alas! it is inexcusable. What shall we say after all this? Shall we call for thy patience? Wee had it, and yet were little the better. Shall we call for mercy, Why? we had it, and yet our stubborn hearts would not come down; I know not what to say for our selves: for we have sinned against thee.

5. He declares Gods truth, that he had warned them by his Prophets, (vers. 11, 12.) but no warning can better us.

6. He shews how God had punished them, yet they would not be humbled: for all that God had brought upon them lesse evils than they deserved, and wrought deliverance for them, wich they could not have expected; What shall we say, should we for all this break thy commandements? verse 13, 14. What can we expect but hell and confusion?

7. He is sensible of Gods Judgements and righteousnesse: O Lord thou art righteous: as if he should say, How canst thou spare us for this sinne? How can it stand with thy righteousnesse? How is it that such hell-hounds as we are, should live above ground, when thou art so righteous a God? It is a wonder that the earth opens not her mouth for to swallow us up quick: for, O Lord thou art righ­teous.

8. He layes down his soul, and all the peoples souls at Gods feet; as if he should say, here we be, thou maist damn us if thou wilt; Behold we are all here before thee in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before thee, because of this, verse 15. Behold here are we: rebels we are: here are our heads, and our throats before thee, if now thou shouldst take us from our knees unto hell, and from our prayers unto damnation, we cannot ask thee, why thou doest so: Oh it's mercy, it's mercy indeed, that we have been spared. Thus Meditation must bring our hearts before God, and there complain against them before heaven.

Meditation should deal with the heart, as the Father did with his posses­sed child, who carried him to Christ; saying, Master my child is possessed

[...]
THE DANGER Of Deferr …

THE DANGER Of Deferring REPENTANCE DISCOVERED In a SERMON preached at Maidstone in Kent. By that Reverend and Faithfull Minister of the Word. WILLIAM FENNER, B. D. Sometimes Fellow of `Pembroke Hall in Cambridge, and late Pastor of Rochford in Essex.

London, Printed by E. T. for John Stafford.

A SERMON OF M. WILLIAM FENNERS at Maidstone.

PROVERBS 1. 28.‘Then shall they call upon me, but I will not an­swer: they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me.’

THere is a good English Proverb among us, that he that neglects the occasion, the occasion will neglect him. Solomon wisely begins his Proverbs with it: for he bringeth in the wisdome of his Father in these five particulars.

1 First, making a generall Proclamation in the 20. verse, Wisdome crieth without, she uttereth her voice in the streets. He compareth God unto a Cryer going up and down the City from street to street, and from door to door, crying his commodity, even the richest that ever was, which is a Christ, a Christ for redemption, a Christ for san­ctification, a Christ to enlighten those that walk in darknesse, and in the shadow of death. Ho, every one that thirsteth, here is a Christ for you.

2 Secondly, here is a mercifull reprehension, in the 22 verse, O ye foolish, how long will ye love foolishnesse, and ye scorners take pleasure in scorning? Foolish indeed to be without Christ: foolish to be without grace, foo­lish [Page 30] to chafer away our souls for sin, How long ye scorners, will ye take plea­sure in scorning? will you still persist in your wickednesse, and never have done with your sins? will you never turn back again, but damn your souls for ever? O ye foolish, how long will ye love foolishnesse?

3 Thirdly, here is a gracious exhortation in the 23. verse: turn you at my correction, lo, I will pour out my mind unto you, and make you to understand my words. As if he should say, Do you not see how you are going a pace to confusion; and that the way you take, leadeth unto destruction? turn ye therefore, turn ye back again, for there is a Christ behind you: O turn ye; for if ye go on in your sins, you perish for ever.

4 Fourthly, here is a yearning promise made unto the world, in the end of the 23. verse, Lo, I will pour out my spirit unto you, and cause you to un­derstand my words. As if he should say, Return back again with me, and you shall have better welcome than you can possibly have if you go on in your sins: the Devil will never let you gain so much by your living in your lusts, as you shall do by repentance for them, and forsaking of them. For behold, I will prour out my spirit upon you, whereby you shall be farr greater gainers than you shall be by your sins.

5 Fifthly, here is a gratious threatning against the world, even all those that have loytered out the day of grace. As time and tyde will stay for no man, no more doth the day of grace: Because I have called, and you refused; I have exhorted, but you have not regarded; I have denounced judgements against you for your sins, but you have hardened your hearts; now a day of woe and misery shall come upon you, a time of vengeance and desolation shall over▪take you; there will a day come wherein there will be weeping, and crying, Mercy (Lord) mercy; but I tell you beforehand what you shall trust to: let this be your lesson, now I call, and you will not hear; now I stretch out my hands, but you will not regard: you shall seek me early, but you shall not find me: and shall cry, but you shall not be heard.

The words are underclapt against all those that procrastinate their repentance, and returning home unto God, wherein note, first, the parties them selves that do prolong this day of grace, they: that is, they who when God cals on them, will not hear; when God invites them by his mercies, patience, and forbearance, by his Ministers and servants, by his corrections and judgement, by all fair means and foul means; yet withstand the means of grace, they are the men, they shall call, but God will not answer.

2 Secondly, here is their seeking after God? they shall call upon me.

3 Thirdly, here is their earnest and diligent seeking after God; they shall not only call, but seek too, and not only seek, but seek as to labour to find: nay they shall seek me early: even strive to go about it with all haste, and flye to repentance, but they shall not find me.

4 Fourthly, here is the unseasonablenesse of the time of their seeking, then: that is a demonstrative, then; even a time which the Lord appoints at: as if he should say, you shall see then these men will be of another [Page 31] mind, then they shall be glad to be converted, then they shall be glad to come out of their sins, then they shall be glad to get grace, and seek re­conciliation with God: but alas! they saw not this then, but God fore­saw it well enough; then shall they call, but I will not answer, they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me.

Lastly, here is the frustration of their hope, which hath two things in it. First in regard of themselves, in regard of the flaw in their seeking, it being not aright. Secondly, in regard of the Justice of God, who rewards every man according to their works, But I will not hear them. Whence ob­serve this point of Doctrine.

Those that will not hear when he calleth them; God will not hear them, when they call unto him. Those that will not hear the Lord when he cal­leth upon them by the ministery of his Word, and voyce of his Spirit, the Lord will not hear them, when in their misery they call upon him.

Thus the Lord dealt with the people in Ezekiels dayes; the Lord called them to repentance and obedience: but when they stood out; and neglected the opportunity of grace, and seasons of conversion, see how God deals with them: though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet I will not hear them (saith the Lord.) When men have gone beyond the time of Gods mercy, and out▪rowed the tyde of Gods forbearance, and will not returne, the Lord sets it down with himselfe, that his wrath shall return upon them, he will no longer forbear they had a time where­in the Lord did pity them, and offered grace, and mercy unto them, but they neglecting this season, and withstanding this proffer of grace; God resolves with himselfe they shall never have it again. There was a time wherein God did pity them, but now he will not pity them any more; twenty five years he called unto them, and sought to bring them home; but because they stood out and refused, the Lord saith, I will love Ephraim no more.

Beloved, there is a double day, a white day, and a black day; there is a day of salvation; Isa. 49. 9. this is the day in the which the Lord said to the prisoners, Come forth: and to those that lye in their sins, repent and beleeve. Now if any man will come forth and humble his soul before the Lord, let him come and welcome, for it is a day of salvation. But there is another day of damnation, which is a dark day, a black and a duskie day, wherein the Lord will visit the sinnes of the world, and revenge the quarrell of his Covenant. Hos. 9. 7. The day of visitation is come, yea the day of recompence; the people shall know it; the Prophet is a fool, and the spirituall man is mad. Beloved, we are fools, and all the spi­rituall men under heaven are mad, that lay not this day to heart. For the day of the Lord is a day of visitation, and all the world shall rue it, though now men sleep in securitie. If once mercie be rejected, and God turn away his ear from a man, then grace shall be no more, the door of life shall for ever be shut up against him: and when once this day comes, he hath lost his own place, and deprived himselfe of eternall happinesse.

Now there are three reasons of this point, the first is the law of retaliati­on, [Page 32] of rendring like for like, which is the justest law that can be made with man, for to give unto every man according to his works, to make him take such as he brings (as the Heathen calls it) to give a man quid for qu [...]. Now if God call upon thee, and thou wilt not hear; it is righ­teousnesse with God, yea equity with God (that is more) that when thou callest on him, he should not hear thee. For thus runs the tenor of Gods Word, Prov. 28. 9. He that turns away his ear from hearing the Law, euen his prayers shallbe abominable. He that turns away his ear from Gods Law, God will turn away his eare from his prayer. He that turns, it is spoken in the present tense, that is, he that now turns away his ear, his prayer shall be abominable (in the future tense) that is, the Lord marks what master or servant, what father or mother, what husband or wife, what man or woman it is, that turns away the ear of his head or the ear of his heart, from hearing his will, and obeying of his Com­mandements, the Lord takes speciall notice of it, and sets it down in his Calendar, and records it in his Memoriall; keeping a strict account thereof: as if God should say, Well, is it so: I now call, and will not this man or that woman answer? Do I now stretch out my hands; and will not they take care to obey me? Well, let them alone (saith God) there is a day coming, that I shall be a hearing of them, times of sorrow and misery will take hold of them, and then they in their affliction will cry unto me, but I will not hear; they will beg for mercy, but I will not regard: they will seek me early, but they shall not finde me.

It was one of the Articles of high Treason brought in against Cardi­nall Woolsey, that he had the pox, and a stinking breath, and yet durst come into the Kings presence: So it shall be an Article against thee of high treason before the King of heaven, if thou come into his presence with the stinking breath of thy sins, living in thy lusts and wallowing in thy filthinesse, all thy prayers are but as so many stinking breaths in the nostrils of the Lord; and every dutie that thou performest unto the Lord, shall be as so many Articles of high treason against thee, to con­demne thee, because thou livest in rebellion, and a Traitor against God.

His prayer shall be abominable: he doth not say, I will turn away mine ear from hearing his prayer, which turns away his ear from hearing my law (that is the true exposition of the words) no, but, like for like is sometimes injustice: for if a man should strike a Magistrate a box on the ear, it were not justice for him to give him another: for, it is a grea­ter sin to strike a Magistrate than any other common person; and there­fore a greater punishment the Law requireth: So God doth not say, he will turn away his ear from hearing his prayer, but will serve him in a worse kind, he will count it abominable, yea abomination, (in the ab­stract) it shall be loathsome, yea lothsomnesse it selfe in the worst man­ner. Galat. As a man soweth so shall he reap, if thou sow sparingly; thou shalt sparingly: if thou sow a dull ear to Gods Word, thou shalt reapa [...]dull ear from God to thy praier: for God will reward every man according to his works.

Secondly, because of the time of Gods Attributes, both mercy and justice,Motive 2. [...]

VAIN THOUGHTS ARRAIG …

VAIN THOUGHTS ARRAIGNED At the Barre of Gods JUSTICE. SET FORTH In a SERMON preached at Linton in Kent. By that Reverend and Faithfull Minister of Gods Word, WILLIAM FENNER, B. D. Sometimes Fellow of `Pembroke Hall in Cambridge, and late Pastor of Rochford in Essex.

London, Printed by E. T. for John Stafford.

A SERMON OF M. WILLIAM FENNERS, Preached at Linton, September 9. 1629.

PHIL. 3. 18, 19.‘For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you weeping, that they are the enemies of the Crosse of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose belly is their God, whose glory is their shame, and who mind earthly things.’

THE Apostle in the closure of this Chapter, set­teth out unto us a two-fold kind of life: First, the life of the Godly, and that 1. by way of Ex­hortation, verse 17. Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as you have us for an example: 2. By way of declaration, verse 20. But our conversation is in heaven, whence also we look for the Saviour, even the Lord Jesus Christ. Then secondly he sets forth unto us the life of the wicked, which walked otherwise than the Disciples and Apostles of Christ walked, in these words read unto you. The Apostle warned those wicked men again and again; but they would not take warning, neither did they think themselves so bad as he made them, and therefore they thought they should speed well enough; he preached to them in [Page 44] the Pulpit, and wrote unto them, though he were six hundred miles and more distant from them (and that weeping too) that they were enemies to the Crosse of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, who mind earthly things.

These words may be construed two waies; either as being meant, 1. Of severall wicked men, as first of Heterodox walkers, such as walk contra­ry to the Apostles: or, 2. Of wicked persecutors of the Gospel, enemies to the Crosse of Christ: 3. Of Drunkards and Hypocrites, whose God is their belly; 4. Of Ambitious and proud persons, whose glory is their shame: and 5. Of covetous and carnal-minded men, who mind earthly things: or as Chrysostom expounds the words (and so it seems is the meaning of them) to be meant of one sort of men, who mind earthly things, they are such as walk otherwise than the Apostle walked. Who are they that mind earth­ly things? they are enemies of the Crosse of Christ: Who are they that mind earthly things? Whose hearts and affections run more after the things of this life, than after the crosse of Christ; Their God is their belly. Who are they that mind earthly things, and think only how to increase their li­ving and enlarge their estate, and make them sure unto themselves? their glory is their shame. Who are they that mind earthly things? that give their hearts (the flower of man) and their affections (the flower of their Souls) unto the world, and unto the base things of the world, still they are they that mind earthly things, which set either their loving thoughts, or their raking and caring thoughts, or their fretting and vexing thoughts, or the eager, covetous and vain thoughts on earthly things, they are they that walk otherwise than the Apostles of Christ walked; These are are those that are enemies to the Crosse of Christ, whose God is their belly, whose glory is their shame, who mind earthly things, whose end is destru­ction.

Hence then will we observe this point;

That those whose minds and hearts run habitually on earth, and earthly things, their end must needs be destruction.

Jeremiah 9. 19. Hear O earth (saith God) behold I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkned unto me, but rejected my Law. Wherein we may see three things, 1. That the curse of God is the desert of cursed evil and vain thoughts: 2. That the plague and curse of God is the event of evil and vain thoughts; evil thoughts do not not only deserve Gods plagues, but also bring them: 3. Here is notice given to all the world; Hear, O earth: as if he had said, here is a reckoning that you little dream of, I will bring a plague upon you, not only for your idolatry, for your whoredom and fornication, but even for your vain thoughts, Prov. 24. 9▪ The thoughts of the wicked are sin; The Lord doth not only condemn the actions and courses of of wicked men, but sets his curse upon their very thoughts. Sin is of an homogeneal nature, of which every part of a thing is the whole; every piece of a stone is stone, for it hath the nature of the whole: even so it is with sin, the least part of sin, the least thought of sin, the least shiver of sin, is sin, and abominable before God.

The reasons why those whose hearts and thoughts run habitually onReason. 1. [Page] earth and earthly things, must needs end in destruction, are 1. That mans end must needs end destruction, that never repents: Now, so long as a mans thoughts run usually and habitually on the things of the world, that man never repents▪ repentance not only cleanseth the out-side of man, but the inside also, even the heart; repentance goeth as far as the Law of God [...] ­eth: where the word of God begins, there repentance must noeds begin; now the word of God begins and strikes at the heart, as saith the Apostle, The Word of God is sharp & powerful, sharper than any two edged sword, peircing to the dividing asunder of the soul and Spirit, the joynts and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts of the heart, Heb. 4. 12. Now then, if the word of God strike at the thoughts of the heart, then repentance must go and teach so farr to reform and amend the things of the heart, or else he ne­ver repents. Let a man sweep his house never so much, yet it is not clean so long as there remains one Cob-web in it: so if thy heart be swept from drunkennesse, whoring, and swearing, and yet if the old Cob-web of vain thoughts remain in any corner of thy heart, not wa­shed out, nor swept down, thou hast not as yet repented Oh Jerusalem (faith God to his Prophet) wash thy heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved: how long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee? Jer. 4. 14. Mark how the Lord inforceth his exhortation: see how he backs his counsell [that thou maiest be saved:] as if he had said, thou canst not be saved, unles thou wash thy heart from vain thoughts: how long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee? He doth not say, why do vain thoughts come into thee? for they will come into the best and most holy heart; but how long shall they lodge within thee? If vain thoughts do lodge in man, and take up their nest in his heart, if a man let his thoughts dwel upon vain things, and he give away unto them, and use them as his market, trade and re­creations, he cannot be saved; it is an emphaticall kind of speech: as if the Lord should say. O Jerusalem, thou never considerest this, and thus he doth as it were pitty and compassionate them in their blindnesse and ig­norance, and horrrible befottednesse, that think that thought is free. Beloved, when the Lord comes to reckon with the world, he will not only reckonwith them for their pounds and shillings, for their hundreds and thousands of sins; for their murders, whore domes, blasphemies, &c. but he will call them to an accompt for their least sins, the pence and far­thing sins, even their very thoughts: agree with thine adversary quickly▪ while thou art in the way, lest he deliver thee up to the Jayler, and thou be cast into prison: thou shalt not come out untill thou hast paid the utmost farthing; thou must deliver up thy farthing as well as thy pound sins, or else thou never agreest with thine adversary. When the Lord by his prophet calls upon his people, exhorting them to repentance, he willeth and exhorteth them to change their thoughts, Isa. 55. 7. Repentance is the change of the thoughts▪ according to the English Proverb (I have changed my thoughts:) [...] to thy feet when thou'goest into the house of God, Eccles. 5. 1. Thou [...]ast ne­ver go into the House of God without thy feet, the thoughts and [...]ffecti­ons of the heart, are the feet of the soul; and thou canst never go to God without them; and therefore if thy heart and affections run habitually on earthly things, thou didst never repent, and so thine end is damnation▪ [...]

[Page 48]The second reason is, that mans end must needs be destruction that hath no Christ in the world: now so long as thy thoughts run habitually on earthly things, thou hast no Christ. It is not enough for a man to hang on Christ, for many a man doth so, and yet is cut off from Christ, and perisheth for ever: thou must not onely hang upon Christ, but thou must also get into Christ. As in the old world, when the deluge came, and the waters increased so greatly, that the mountains and high hills were covered with them, and the people could not save themselves by getting unto the tops of the mountains, no question but many seeing the Ark swim above the water, did climb up and hang upon the sides of the Ark, thinking to save themselves, yet none of them were saved, but those that were gotten into the Ark: so, many a man will catch hold of Christ, but his hold will be gone, and he perish for ever, unlesse he get into Christ. Now a man can never get into Christ, unlesse his heart be purged from vain thoughts, For Christ when he entreth into a man, cleanseth his heart from vain thoughts, 2 Cor. 10. 5 If Christ once come into the heart, he will set up his throne there: he will hold his Scepter of Righteousnesse in it: when Christ cometh, see what a work he will make in the heart, he will not suffer a proud thought to remain there to upbraid him; but he will cast down every imagination, and all high things that exalt themselves, and he will bring every thought into subjection unto himself. Therefore if thy thoughts run after the lusts of thy own heart, thou hadst no Christ in thee: for Christ (beloved) will never dwell in a foul house: I know there is no wheat without some darnell, no gold without some drosse, no wine without some lees; so there is no man but hath some sin; no man so clean, but hath some defilements of sinne upon him; yet if a man have not this cleansing grace of Christ in him, cleansing the heart from vain things, there is no Christ in him: for Christ wil never dwel in a foul heart. Now beloved, the very vain thoughts of a man defile him: as Christ faith, Mat. 7. 21. 22. 23. Out of the heart proceedeth evill thoughts, and they are they that defile a man. Allthese, not only murder and adulteries, and uncleaness, and all other abominable sins, which mens consciences startle at, but evill thoughts defile a man: Assure thy self, that so long as the league of these evill thoughts is not broken, thou hast no Christ as yet, within thee. Hence is that exhortation of the Apostle, Col. 3. 12. If you be risen with Christ, then seek those things that are above.

Brethren, you must remember that there be two kinds of exhortations, in the Scripture: the one, if a man do them, blessed and happy is he: the other, if he do them not, yet he may find mercy; it wil be a grief and a sorrow to him, but it follows not that he shall miscarry. But there are exhor­tations that tie to obedience, that must be obeyed, or else there is no salvation; as this exhortation of the Apostle, it is not left to our choice to do, or not to do, but if a man be risen of Christ he must do it: he must seek the things that are above: that man, then, that hath his thoughts run habitually on the world, that man hath no Christ in him, and therefore his end must needs be destruction.

Thirdly, that mans end must needs be destruction that loves not God; now so long as thy thoughts run habitually on the things of the world, [Page 49] thou hast no true love of God in thee. For thus runs the Commande­ment of love, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy might, Matth. 22. 37. It is as if Christ should have said, thou shalt love God, with all thy heart, and with all thy heart, and with all thy heart: for the soul, mind; and heart, are all one; that no man might dare to keep any part of their heart from God. Every one will say, I love God with all my heart, I go to Church and serve God with all my heart; I hear the Word and pray with all my heart, I receive the Sa­raments with all my heart: Dost thou so? and yet let thy thoughts run upon the world? dost thou pray, and yet let vain thoughts lodge with in thee? dost thou hear the Word, receive the Sacraments, and yet letrest vaine thoughts distract thee? Dost thou walk in thy calling, and yet let­test vain thoughts steal away thy heart, and yet sayest thou, I love God with all my heart, when thou takest away thy heart from God? How dost thou think thy thoughts? with thy heels, or with thy heart? Surely thou sayest, with thy heart: Why then if thou lovest God with all thy heart, thou must give thy thoughts unto God; God that cals for thy heart, cals for all thy heart: now the heart is nothing but all a mans heart; all the affections and desires, all turnings and windings, all thoughts that are in the heart do but make up the heart: and therefore when God calls for thy heart, he calls for all the powers and faculties of the soul. And therefore, the Prophet David would blesse God with his soul and all that was within him. Psal. 103. So thou must give thy thoughts, and all that is within thee to God, or else thou givest God nothing; therefore that mans end must needs be destruction that loves not God.

Fourthly, that mans end must needs be destruction, that never gives over his sinne: and so long as thy thoughts run after the world; thou canst never forsake sin: thou maist resolve and think on the contrary, yet so long as thy thoughts run habitually on the things of the world, thou dost not forsake sin. Wicked and carnall men may have the eyes of their consciences opened, and their hearts awakened, whereby they may see their sins, and the hellish evill and danger of them: whereupon they may resolve and purpose to forsake them, and then they will make a co­venant with God that they will not do thus and thus; I have been tou­chy and cholerick, but I will be so no more; I have been a prophane swearer and blasphemer of the name of God, but I will be so no more; I have been a drunkard, and an unclean person, but Lord thou shalt see a reformation in me. Nay it may be he will tell his minister of it, and his father and his mother, his wife, his children, and all his friends too of it: but when he comes to his cold blood again, and these cold graces which flattered so, come to be cold in him, so that his heart comes to it selfe again, then vain thoughts rest in his heart, and he returns to his old sins again, as the dog to his vomit, and the sow being washed, to the wallowing in the mire.

The Apostle excellently describes a man that can never depart from his sins: They have eyes full of adultery, which cannot cease from sin: 2. Pet. 2. 14. where the Apostle speaks not only of that adultery which is a breach of the seventh Commandement: but of such an adultery which is a [Page 50] perfect breach of every commandement, when the heart runneth a who­ring after every sin and vanitie: when the eye of the soul is full of adul­tery, the heart cannot cease from sin; when the eye cannot see an object of gain or profit, but the mind is presently engaged and runs after it, when it cannot see an object of delight and pleasure, but it is straightway caught by it: when he cannot see any wrong or injury done unto him, but presently he is inflamed with revenge, and his heart runs after it: I say, that if thy eye be thus full of adulterie that thou canst not see the occasions, and hints of sin, but presently thou art insnared; and thy soul is taken by it; thou art the man that canst not cease to sin: therefore un­till thou turn the eye of thy soul, which is the thoughts and affections of thy heart, another way, thou wilt never cease to sin. For wheresoever thou lookest, thou wilt be insnared, so long as thy thoughts are evil and vitious; either upon pride, or covetousnesse, or ambition, or envy, or de­lights; thy soul will look asquint on God: and untill these vain thoughts of thine be crucified, thou wilt only look upon the satisfying of these vain lusts of thine.

Prov. 3. 6. In all thy way wayes acknowledge God, and he shall direct thy paths. In all thy waies think on God, or else thou maiest go to many du­ties in Religion, but never be direct in thy going; thou maiest pray a thousand times, but never be established in thy prayer: thou mayest go from Lecture to Lecture, and yet never be established in thy service: thou mayest go about many things, and never be established in any thing, unlesse God be in all thy thoughts: a man may go on in a course of Religion, but it is a hap hazard he is inconstant, and unsteady in his his course, unlesse in his heart he think upon God, and therefore his end must needs be destruction.

This then may serve, first, for humiliation to the godly: secondly, for matter of condemnation to the wicked.

First for humiliation; Are vain thoughts thus damnable, that when they bear sway in the heart, they make that mans end to be destruction? How then ought this to fill the faces of them that have the Spirit of Christ, with shame and confusion, and to make them in a holy man­ner to be confounded in themselves, and to think of the emptinesse, naughtinesse, and vanities of their hearts? Beloved, thou canst not go to prayers, but abundance of vain thoughts will be about thee, like wasps to assault thee; thou canst not go to the Word, but these vain thoughts will be a humming in thy ears; thou canst not go about the works of thy calling; but vain thoughts will haunt thee, and creep into thy meditations, and take away the main burthen of the work all the day long. Beloved, this should make a godly man ashamed, and confoun­ded in himself, in the consideration hereof. The Prophet David was so confounded and ashamed hereat, that had not God poured in mercy and comfort into his soul, he had been distracted, and should have des­paired, considering the company of vain thoughts that lodged within him, Psal. 94. 19. where he shews what abundance of distracting thoughts he had; that if God had not sustained him with comfort after comfort, he had been overwhelmed in despair by them.

[Page 51]Augustine saith, a mans thoughts are not in his own power: the heart of man is like tinder; and if the Devill cast a spark into it, thou canst not hinder it from taking fire; but thou mayest hinder it from burning fur­ther. A ship may have leakes in her, and thou canst not hinder the com­ing in of water into her; but by thy pumping and industry thon mayest save her from drowning in the water; even so evill thoughts, though they be rooted out, yet they will come in again; a mans heart is like to to the fig-tree that grew out of the stone wall, which Epiphanius spea­keth of; the branches were lopt off, and it grew again; the boughs were lopt off, and it grew again; they cut down the body of it, yet it grew again; they pluckt up the roots of it, yet it grew again: till at last the stone wall and all was fain to be pulled down: Even so it is with vain thoughts in the heart; a man may lop them off by godly sorrow; he may cut them down, and root them up by mortification, and yet they will be sprouting up, and rising up again; till the whole body of sin be pul­led down, and destroyed in a man. Gregory speaks of them, and saith man may pluck them up, but yet not so, but that they will rise again.

The consideration hereof should humble us, and make us low in our own eyes. Oh then think with thy self and say; Oh that my thoughts should be so base, eartl [...]y and vain! what, have I not a God, a Christ, a heaven to think upon? have I not excellent Commandements of God, and thousands of sweet and precious promises in Scripture to think upon? and must I be thinking on every bable? of every straw, not worth the thinking on? Take the Apostles exhortation, Whatsoever things be true; whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, what­soever things are pure, whatsoever things are of good report: if there be any vertue, if there be any praise, think on these things, Phil. 4. 8. what, are there so many vertuous things, so many holy and pure things; so many ad­mirable and glorious things, so many heavenly graces, and divine promi­ses; so many blessed passages of holy Writ to take up my mind? and shal I spend my thoughts and time upon such vain and cursed things as will yeeld me no profit? this should astonish the hearts of Gods people, and greatly humble their souls.

The second use may serve for matter of condemnation unto the wick­ed: let this doctrine strike terrour into the hearts of those men, that suffer their hearts to be taken up with vain thoughts: as Peter said unto Simon Magus, so let me say unto them, Repent of this thy wickednesse, and pray unto God (verse 8) that if it be possible, the thoughts of thy heart may be forgiven thee. The Apostle doth not only wish him to repent of his simony and bribery, but also of the least vain thoughts of his heart: pray pray unto God, if perhaps the very thoughts of thy heart may be forgi­ven thee: for, beloved, the very least vain thoughts that thou thinkest, without repentance are impardonable▪ there is an impossibility of re­mission of vain and idle thoughts without true repentance.

Oh what fearful news is this to the world of men that lay not this to heart! Beloved, may we not run into the ears and hearts of all earthly men with this point, whose minds and thoughts are earthly? Is it so that [Page 52] he whose thoughts run habitually on the world, his end is destruction? Then they that make no conscience what their thoughts are, what their imaginations are, what they think of as they go up and down, how can such escape the vengeance of hell? Tell me then what thy thoughts are; are they not of thy hawks and hounds, of thy cattel and grounds, of thy gardens and orchards, rather than of Christ? When thou walkest in the streets, whereon run thy thoughts, but on thy pleasures, and profits, and earthly delights? yea of every vanity, and every delight canst thou think, rather than of God and his Commandements. Thou comest to Church, thou prayest, and hearest the Word of God; but do not vain thoughts come along with thee? thou goest home again, but do not vain thoughts haunt and dog thee?

It is the brand of a wicked man, not to have God in all his thoughts, Psal. 4. 10. when goods and cattel, plough and cart, pleasures and outward contentments are in his mind and thoughts; when ruffs and cuffs, houses and dishes, tables and fair hangings, or any thing but God can take up their thoughts; they can have thoughts of every thing, but of God they can think none; this is the brand of a wicked man, that he hath no blood of a Christian in him.

It is a true description of a Pagan and Infidel, that hath no knowledge of Christ, to be vain in his imaginations: Rom. 1. 21. When they knew God, they glorified him not as God; but became vain in their imaginations: vain in their disputes, vain in their reasonings, vain in their thoughts, in their carriages and disputations; so then though thou knowest God, and hast things enough in thy mind, that convince thee that this God is to be worshipped; and understandest the worship of God and the com­mandements of Christ: yet if thou glorifiest him not as God, giving thy heart and affections to him, but art vain in thy imaginations, thou disho­nourest God. Hear what God saith unto such, All the day long have I stretched out my hand unto a rebellious and gain-saying people, which walk in a way that is not good, but after their own thoughts, a people that provoke me continually to my face, Isa. 65. 2, 3. As if God had said, I sent Prophet af­ter Prophet, Minister after Minister, to instruct them in the knowledge of my wayes, I laboured to convert them, and to bring them home unto my selfe, and to work better thoughts in them; but still they are a people that walk after their own thoughts, that provoke me continually unto my face. There is never a thought of thine, but it is in the very face of God, both thought and imagined.

But some man may say, I think of God, and of Christ, of faith, and re­pentance, and of calling on God, of mending of this and that course; I think of death, and of my last account, and every foot I have holy thoughts in my mind.

But beloved give me leave, I pray you, to speak something unto you, which, it may be, may stick upon you while you live: I will propound these four things, and distinctions unto you, which I will use:

First, What? doest thou think of God and of heaven? then tell me whe­ther thy thoughts be injected thoughts into thy heart, or thoughts raised by the [Page 53] heart; for there is a great deal of difference betwren thoughts injected and thoughts raised: God casts good thoughts into a godly mans heart, which being fit soyl, it fructifies, and brings forth fruit. Again, God casts good thoughts into a wicked mans heart, but because his heart is not sanctified, and therefore no fit soyl to harbour in, they dye and vanish: God casts in, and they cast out, God casts in again, and they cast out again; therefore if thou hast good thoughts, examine and try whether they be thoughts raised from the heart or no; see whether thy heart be a renewed heart, a sanctified, an holy heart, fit to bring forth good thoughts every day. Beloved, a wicked man may have a thousand good thoughts, and yet go to hell in the midst of them all. God cast a good thought into the heart of the King of Assyria to go against Judah and Je­rusalem to punish his people for their sins, and to avenge himselfe on them for the breach of this Covenant: but what saith the text? Howbeit he thought not so Isa. 10. No, his onely aim was how to get honour, how to inrich, to enlarge his territories, and to bring down the Nations un­der him, and to make his name and fame to be spread, and declared through all the world. So God casts many good thoughts, into many a wicked mans heart to repent, and to leave his drunkennesse, his pride, his swearing and whoring, to be holy and religious: howbeit he thinks not so, but he thinks how to eat and drink, how to be proud and haugh­ty; how to be rich and great in the world; how to be vain and licen [...]ious, yea his thoughts are vile and vain all the day long.

Oh that men were wise, truly to understand this! the want whereof is the cause why many thousands go to hell and are damned for ever. I will make it plain to you: a wicked man reasons thus with himselfe; I confesse, and it is true, I sinne every day against God, and sometimes drink a pot with my friend, though sometimes I let fall anoath, and am overtaken with my infirmities, yet I thank God, he hath sanctified my heart; For I think of God and of Christ, and I oft call upon his name, and let my thoughts runne on good things; God and heaven are many times in my mind, and I am sorry when I do amisse, and the Lord hath blest me with a large portion of outward things. Besides, I see these and these signs of grace in me, and therefore I think my case to be hap­hy. And thus securely they live, and so they go on, and so they dye, and so go to hell and perish for ever and ever. Here is the misery of it many think of God, and of Christ, of death, and of their last account, of hea­ven, of hell, of faith and repentance, of leaving sinne, of crucifying their lusts, and practising of holiness. Now men think that their thinking of these things, is a part of their discharge, when indeed they are Additions to, and pieces of their talents, which increase their judgements. God casts in a though of repentance, holinesse, of the remembrance of death, and last account▪ Dost thou find thy heart never the better, and holier by them? Then know, it is only Gods haunting of thy heart, and Gods calling upon thee, and Gods inviting thee unto repentance, to leave thy sinnes, to come out of thy deadnesse and formality, to prepare for thy death and judgement; and therefore I say, if thy heart now think not so, if thy heart do not repent, beleeve, and grow more zealous, and [Page 54] thou art not drawn the neerer to God; I say then, that the more of these good thoughts that thou hast had, the greater thy doom will be: if thou hast had ten thousands of them, if they have been only Gods haunting of thy heart, think thou then now of grace, of God, of thy poor soul, which is not bettered by them, nor made holy, then know they are pieces of thy talent, and it doth make thy torments in hell the greater.

Secondly, thou hast good thoughts, but the question is, whether they be [...] fleeting or abiding thoughts: Many think of God, of grace, of heaven, of the word of God, and when they hear a Sermon, they will think of God; but these thoughts, though they come into their minds, yet they go a­way presently, they are in and out at an instant, in a trice, they passe a­way and are gone. Beloved, there are two kinds of vain thoughts, 1. vain, because the substance and matter of them is vain, and so all worldly thoughts are vain: 2. or else for their want of durance and lasting, and so are all thoughts of heaven, of God and grace, and of Christ, if they va­nish away, they are all vain thoughts, though they seem otherwise. Hear what God saith Gen. 6. 5, God saw that the wickednesse of man was great upon the earth, and all the imaginations of the thoughts of his heart were only evill continually: [all the imaginations] great is the emphasis of this word [all] all the thoughts: yea all universally, are only evill continually.

But you will say unto me, Doth not a wicked man think that there is a God? why, that is a good thought; doth not he think that this God is to be observed and worshipped? why, this is a good thought; doth he not think that sin is to be forsaken▪ that is a good thought; doth he not think of heaven, and of Christ? how then are their thoughts only evil and that continually?

I answer, Because all the thoughts of a wicked mans heart are vain, that is vanishing thoughts; not vain for the matter, which sometimes may be good and Holy; but vain because they soon vanish away; thoughts that come and carry [...]ot, that leave no impression in their hearts behind them, these are all vain thoughts, according to that of the Apostle, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise that they are vain: 1 Cor. 3. 20. Belo­ved in a godly mans heart, when a good thought comes, it abides and dwells a good while in him, and when it goes away it leaves a good impression behind it, it leaves a sweet smell and favour in the heart after it is gone, its made more holy and sanctified by it. When a good thought comes into a godly mans heart, it leaves the print of it behind▪ when a wicked man hath a good thought, he [...]osseth it up and down, and suffers it not to stay, but presently puts it away: let a thought of the world come in, and he can give it entertainment for seven days, yea for seven years, yea all his life he sets his heart as a wide gate open to re­ceive them and to entertain them: but if a thought of God, or of repen­tance, of holinesse and salvation come into his mind, he is tyred out with it, and it soon vanisheth away; therefore so long as thy thoughts are thus vain, though for the matter good, if thou hast never so many of them, yet if they abide not, but thou thinkest and unthinkest them again; [Page 55] if they come and give thy Soul a jog, and so away; the more I say thou hast of them, though thou hast many millions, the greater will be thy doom at the last day.

Thirdly, Thou thinkest of God, but the question is, whether thy good thoughts be studied, or accidental thoughts. A wicked man that runs gad­ding in his thoughts here and there, over the whole world, upon this and that, and I know not what, in the midst of a lottery of thoughts, he cannot chuse but stumble upon some good: he thinks on God, he thinks on Christ, he thinks on Heaven; but it is by the by-gone, these thoughts of his are not naturall; but if he think of the world, of his pleasures, of his outward delights and contentments, these thoughts arise naturally out of his heart, they are his own. Now it may be a thought of God comes by the way; But a godly man not only thinks of God, but he sta­dies how to think of God; it is his continuall endeavour to bring his mind to be fixed upon God; it is his whole care to have good thoughts to dwell habitually in him. There is an excellent phrase used to set it forth, Malac. 3. 16. They that feared the Lord spake one unto another, and the Lord hearkned and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him of all them that feared the Lord, and thought upon his Name. Where I pray you to mark, that thinking upon Gods Name, and the fear of God are joyned together: for thinking on God, comes from the fear of God; a godly man thinks upon God and fears him; he thinks that God is alwayes with him in every place, and he trembles before him: he thinks God beholds all his thoughts and affections, and trembles at him: he thinks as he walks up and down in his way, as he he is imployed in his calling, as he is performing of any duty of Religi­on, that Gods eye is upon him and beholds him: and therefore he fears to offend and displease him. A wicked man will swear and blaspheme the Name of God, and by and by it may be he will cry God mercy, and so he thinks of God. The man breaks out it may be into wrath and ma­lice, fury and passion; and then it may be a thought will come into his mind to cry God mercy for it, and thus he thinks of God. The man is carelesse, earthly, dead, and lukewarm in the performance of good du­ties, and because his Conscience tells him it is not good, he will aslo God forgivenesse: he will be proud, vain and rotten in his speeches, and then it may be a thought will come into his mind to ask God forgivenesse, and so he thinks of God; he will think of the world, of his pleasures, profits, of his lusts and sins, and then it may be a good thought will come into his mind, and then it may be he will think a little of God too. Beloved, this is carnal and devillish thinking of God, thy thoughts then of God must be joyned with the fear of God.

Fourthly and lastly, thou thinkest of God, but the question is, whether thy thoughts of him be profitable or unprofitable thoughts: a godly man thinks of repentance, and repents upon it; he thinks of calling on God more faithfully and fervently then he did before, and he accomplishes his thoughts: for he goes a bout it, and his heart is the better for it. Thus it was with David when he said, I thought on my way ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies, Psalm 119. 59. I thought on my wayes (there was [Page 56] his good thoughts) and turned my feet unto thy testimonies (there was the profit of his good thoughts:) but on the contrary thou thinkest of God, but God hath never the more service of thee; thou thinkest of leaving of thy good fellowship, and merry companions, but for all thy thought, thou retainest them still: thou thinkest to give over all thy deadnesse and luke-warmnesse, and so get more zeal & fervency: yet day after day, and year after year, thy heart is as dead, vain and secure as before, as ever before. Examine thy self and see, thou hast good thoughts (thou saist) but where is the profit of them? thou thinkest of leaving thy wrath, and of bridling thy filthy passions, but art thou enabled by thy thoughts, to put up an injury the better? it may be thou thinkest of death; but is thy life the more holy and sanctifi­ed by it? Thou thinkest of Christ and his blood; but is thy heart pur­ged by it? Oh the wretched misery of the most men in the world, be­cause of the unprofitablenesse of their thoughts! they have many good thoughts, but they want the profitable use of them, they get no good by by them.

There is an excellent description of the thoughts of wicked men (though it be Apocrypha,) The heart of the foolish is like a Cart-Wheel, and his thoughts like the rowling Axeltree. As the Cart-wheel goes round all the day, and yet remains on the Axeltree; so is it with wicked men, their thoughts wheel, and wheel them up and down a thou­sand thousand times, their thoughts run upon this thing, and then upon another thing, and so they rowl up and down continually, yet their heatt is at the same passe it was still; an earthly heart it was, and so it is still, a prophane heart it was, and so it is still; a carnall proud heart it was, and so it remains still; But let these know, that the time hastens wherein God will judge them, even for their very thoughts.2

Where are they then that say thought is free? It is true indeed, it is free from mens knowledge, and from mens Courts, but not from Gods, they are not free from Gods all-seeing eye and knowledge, Thou hast tryed and known me (saith the Prophet) thou understandest my thoughts afar off, Psal. 139. Beloved, as you are in the Ale-house, or gaming house, as you walk abroad in the fields, as you are imployed in your callings, or about any holy duty, God seeth all thy thoughts, what is going in, and what is coming out there is never a thought in thy heart, but God sees it; how then can thoughts be free? God will weigh the thoughts of men, Prov. 16. 2.

Beloved, what a fearfull day will that be, when God shall take his Scales and weigh (not mens bodies and estates, for then in may be that rich men, and fat, and grosse men will out-weigh them that are better:) but he will take mens thoughts and weigh them, he will weigh their souls: he will take mens good thoughts, and put them in one scale, and their bad, earthly, carnal and unprofitable thoughts, into another scale, and to try which weighs heaviest: Now if thy earthly and sinfull thoughts weigh heaviest, then down thou goest into eternall damna­tion.

Secondly, as thoughts are not free from Gods knowledge, so are they not free from Gods Word; for Gods Word can meet with them; for it is lively [Page 57] and mighty in operation, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, Heb. 4. 12. Doth the word of God discern the thoughts of mens hearts? Then much more doth the God of this word, and therefore how can thoughts be fee?

3 Thirdly and lastly, they are not free from the condemnation of hell and and damnation. I am he (saith God) that search the heart and reins, and I will give to every one of you according to his works; or as some translations have it, according to your thoughts, Revel. 3. 23. Now if God will so se­verely punish thoughts, take heed then, how thou retainest any evil thoughts.

I should here give you some meanes in the use, that so you might rid your selves from vain thoughts.

First, love the word of God, if ever thou wilt come out of them; prizeMeans 1. the truth of God, and labour to get thy mind and thoughts to be set on better things; and then the thoughts of the world, and all vain things will vanish away. This course the Prophet David took, Psal. 119, 113, I hate vain thoughts, but thy Law do I love, How came it to pass that he hated vain thoughts? namely, by loving Gods Law: if he had not loved Gods Law, and those excellent things therein, and set his heart on them; he could never have hated vain thoughts. The way then to break off thy league with vain thoughts, is to be in league with good thoughts. Dost thou complain of vain thoughts in prayer, in hearing the word, in recei­ving of the Sacraments, and art thou stuffed and filled with them, that thou canst not think upon God and holy things? thou dost hereby be­wray thine own rottenesse and corruptions. And therefore know, that if thou lovest the Lord and his Word, and didst set thy thoughts upon him, thou wouldest never have them so much imployed about such base things.

Secondly, if ever thou wouldest rid thy heart of vain thoughts, espe­cially when thou art in holy action, thou must go unto God by prayer; there is no greater bridle to restrain a man from vain thoughts, than this con­sideration, that he is to goe to God. I speak not this to the men of this world: Carnal men, who can rush into Gods presence hand over head, without any fear or reverence, they can set upon any duty without any preparation: but I speak it to the godly man, whose heart dreads and stands in awe of God: Wilt thou let thy mind rove and run all the day on worldly things? how then wilt thou call upon God? Dost thou not know that this is the cause of thy dulnesse, thy deadnesse, and wandrings of thy heart, when thou art about any good duty? namely, because thou sufferest thy heart to be lashing out, and roving abroad on the world all day, no marvell if it keep his haunt at night, and therefore thy heart be­ing vain, God will never hear thy prayer, Job 35. 13. God will never hear vanity. Comest thou to God with a vain prayer? God wil never hear it. Comest thou with a vain ear to the hearing of the Word? God will never hear it; or with a vain heart to the Sacrament? God will not regard it. Lay this seriously to thy heart, if ever thou wouldesst have thy heart to the duty thou art about, busie thy mind upon good things; for if thy heart be accustomed to vain and worldly things all the [Page 58] day, it is no marvell if it return to its hau nt again at night.

Thirdly, consider that you have not so learned Christ. It is the Apo­stles argument, Ephes. 3. consider then what you have learned of Christ; hath Christ taught you so? hath Christ taught you such a love, and gi­ven you such a liberty, that you should love the world more than him, and imploy and bestow all your thoughts wholy in seeking after vain things? Hath Christ taught you such a faith as this? Hath Christ taught you such a repentance as this, to have your thoughts more upon the world than upon Christ? to repent of sin, and yet never forsake sin? Have ye so learned Christ? Hath he not taught you such a faith as purifieth the heart? such a sanctification as cleanseth the soul and the mind? such an obedience as bringeth every thought into subjection unto himself? Therefore, if now thou shouldest still retain thy vain, dead, earthly and carnall thoughts, it is not to learn Christ: Christ teacheth thee no such doctrine, nor giveth thee any such licencious liberty; but thou learnest of the Devil, and of thine own heart: for all evil and vain thoughts arise from these three heads;

First from the variety and abundance of the thoughts of the world, which 1 our Saviour calls the cares of the world.

Secondly, from the fountain of corruption in mans heart, the heart of man 2 being alwayes like a sink, naturally running with filthinesse, or like a li­ving quickset, always bearing: so it is with the heart of man, always ima­gining vain thoughts.

Thirdly, from the damned malice of the Devil, and his fearful suggesti­ons 3 and temptations, both within and without: the Devil is fitly cal­led a tempter and tryer; for by his suggestions and temptations he feels and tryes mens hearts; and thereby knowing to what they are most inclined, and which way they are soonest overcome, accordingly he fits his temptations to intrap them. Now these thoughts are infinitely varia­ble, according to the constitutions, place, quality, passions, affections and con­ditions of men: as of the poor man in his beggary, of the rich man in his abundance, of the Minister in his calling, of the Majestrate in his, and so of all other men. Now the whole world is not able to fill the heart; how then shall we number the thoughts of it? But for the better under­standing, we will rank them into these four heads, to shew how thoughts become vain;

1. Materially, mens thoughts are vain, when the matter of them is 1 vain.

2. Formally, when though for the matter they are never so good, yet 2 the manner of thinking them is evil.

3. Essentially, when the man that thinks them is vain.3

4. When it is a thought that might become the best Saint upon the 4 earth, or a glorified Angel in heaven; yet the drift of the soul being carnall and vain, the soul thereby becomes vain also.

First, then material vain thoughs, are all thoughts of the world, of the 1 works of thy calling, of thy recreations, eating, drinking, sleeping, thoughts of thy wife and children, and the like; they are vain thoughts, not sinful necessarily, yet they may come to be sinfull five manner of ways;

[Page 59]First, when we think of them primarily, that is, in the first place, whenManner 1. we think of them before we think of God. Tell me then, what are thy first thoughts in the morning? Hereby a man may know his thoughts whether they be good or evill. Consider, I say, what is that first pre­sents it selfe unto thy thoughts: certainly, that which the heart is most haunted withall, and most taken up with, is most naturall unto it: If the heart be carnall and earthly, it will have carnall and earthly thoughts; if it be a godly and gracious heart, it will labour to make God the first in his thoughts. I know the godly man fails in many things, and many unruly thoughts in him may rebell; but it is the very grief of his soul, and he will never rest nor be at quiet, till he hath got Balme from Gilead, strength from Christ for the subduing and crucifying of them, even of those vain and sinfull thoughts that stick closest unto their hearts, and are most prone unto them naturally: so that it is the practice of a godly man first in the morning to lift up his heart with his hand unto God; and when he is up, his thoughts are wholly upon God. See this in David, who considering that the Lord was present every where, made this use of it, When I awake, I am present with thee, Psal. 139. 18. His heart was lifted up to God, he did endeavovr to shake hands with God (as it were) in his holy meditations, worshipping and adoring God with his first thoughts; he would be sure to give God the flower and Maiden­head of his first service and thoughts: as soon as ever he was awake, his heart was in heaven. This shews, that the thoughts of men that live in their sins, are damnable thoughts; Thou that art a drunkard, a swearer, a prophane person, a carnall worlding, that never hast repen­ted, I tell thee, that the very thinking of thy meat and drink is damnable, the very thoughts of thy recreations and of thy sleep, are damnable thoughts: to think of the works of thy calling, yea of setting thy foot upon the ground, or of any thing that God hath commanded thee to doe, are all damnable thoughts. Why? Because thou givest not God thy first thoughts. Wilt thou think of thy belly, and back, before thou thinkest of God, and how to be converted unto him? Wilt thou think of thy Markets and Faires, before thou thinkest of thy reconciliation with God? The first thing that every soul is bound to doe, is to get in with God: First seek the kingdom of God (saith our Saviour) and the righteousnesse thereof, Matth. 6. 35. Where our Saviour doth not for­bid our taking of thought for the things of this life, but that they should not be sought after in the first place, so that our first thoughts and endea­vours should be after the Kingdom of heaven. Therefore all thoughts whatsoever, which are conceived before a man be converted, and so thinks of God, are all damnable thoughts.

Secondly, all worldly thoughts are sinfull, when we think of them too u­suallyManner 2. (as Chrysostome speaks) because we think of the universality of them. Beloved it is lawfull to think of the world, and to think of our trade and imployments, to think of our corn, of our cattell, fields, barnes, wives, children: For if God have commanded or commended these things unto us, then surely he gives us leave to think on them, that so we may accomplish our businesse the better; but let us take heed they be not [Page 60] too usuall with us: for we have souls as well as bodies, and there is a hea­venly as well as an earthly businesse to think upon: thou art not to live here alwayes, therefore take heed that thy thoughts be not too usuall and common upon the things of the world, let not earth and earthly thinhs have too much of thy thoughts. As the Prophet David seeing the thoughts of wicked men wholly to runne after the things of the world, he tells them, all their thoughts perish; and so I tell you; if that your thoughts on the world run together with heap and croud, and then you bundle them in bundles (as it were) they all prove damnable, and shall perish.

Thirdly, worldly thoughts are sinfull and damnable, if thou think­estManner 3. of them too savourily: a carnall-minded man thinks savourily of the things of the world, the thoughts of earthly things are savoury unto him: a wicked man wil think of God and of the world; but which is the savouryest thought to him? He wil think of Christ, of Heaven, and of the Word of God, and of such a Sermon he heard, but alas, he finds no sa­vour, tast, nor rellish in them; he finds no sweetnesse, joy, or delight in them; but when he thinks of the world; of his gold and silver, of his lands and livings, Oh these are merry thoughts unto him, these are sweet unto him, and pleasant to him, and his heart is now at home in his own nest; He can think of these, seven dayes, nay seven moneths, nay seven years together, and yet never be weary, but his thoughts as full and as fresh as at the first: But bring him to a Sermon, or to a Pray­er, and he is jaded presently, his heart is empty, and his thoughts are at an end. For (saith the Apostle) they that are after the flesh, savour the things of the flesh. Rom. 8. 5. It is a true note of an earthly, carnal, fleshly heart, to be thinking on earthly and vain things savourily. Thou maist think on the world, but it must be only with a cast of thy thoughts, as one that looks upon a thing with a squint eye; but when thou art to think on God, or on the things of God, then thou must gather all thy thoughts and affections, thou must lay all the powers of thy soul together, and thou must imploy them only to this work.

Fourthly, worldly thoughts become sinfull, when we think of themManner 4. without counsel; then (faith Solomon) they come to nought; when a man considers not afore-hand what thoughts are necessary and needfull, and so restreines and keeps off all impertinent thoughts, then his thoughts will prove distrustfull, carking thoughts, caring for the mor­row, contrary to the rule of Christ, Matth. 6. 33. Take no care for to morrow, let to morrow care for it selfe. He doth not forbid here Chri­stian provident thoughts; for, godly, honest, and sober thoughts are fitting and necessary; but he seems hereby to cut off all distrusting cark­ing thoughts.

Fiftly, worldly thoughts come to be sinfull, when they are thoughtManner 5. needlesly: And here I will shew how far a man may think of the world; namely, so far as his necessary businesse requires. Suppose a mans busi­nesse be upon merchandise, it is lawfull to think of it, and of his shop and wares; but if thou wouldest know how far; why, so far as it is for thy businesse; But if thou hast so many of them, that thy heart is taken up [Page 61] with them, and thy mind still on them, then they are sinfull thoughts. There is many a man that in following of his businesse bestowes more thoughts upon it than his businesse requires, he hath ten thousands of superfluous thoughts; but let such remember the exhortation of the Wise man, establish thy thoughts by counsell, counsel wil tell a man when he hath thought enough, and what thoughts are fit for his imployment. Not that any man can carry himselfe alwayes in that golden mediocrity or mean; but a Christians care must be dayly more and more to pare off all superfluous thoughts of earthly things.

Now we come to the second thing: 2. Thoughts are vain formally; 2 when though the matter of them be never so good, yet the manner of thinking them is evill. It is possible that a wicked man goe to hell, though he performs the same things, for the matter of them, that a godly man doth; a godly man comes to Church, so doth a wicked man: a god­ly man prayes in his family, so doth a wicked man; a godly man reads the Scriptures, so doth a wicked man; a godly man repeats Sermons, and conferres of good things, so doth a wicked man. There is no work that comes to the outward act, that a godly man doth, but a wicked man may doe the same; here only is the difference, in the manner of working. I will set it out to you by a place of Scripture; In a great house (saith the Apostle) there are not onely vessels of gold, and of silver, but also of wood and of stone, some to honour, and some to dishonour, 2 Tim. 2. 20. Mark how the Apostle here sets out the reprobate and the elect, comparing them to vessels of honour, and dishonour the vessels of dishonour are of the same matter that the vessels of honour are of: suppose it be pewter, or silver, cast it into an honourable form, and it wil be a vessel of honour; but cast it into a dishonourable form, and it wil be a vessel of dishonour, for base and mean service; even so it is between a true Christian and a meer formall professor, the matter of their service is one and the same; suppose it be hearing the Word, or receiving of the Sacraments, prayer, or the like, the substance and action is the same; but take the same prayer, and let a godly man cast it in his form, and it is ho­ly and prevails with God: let a wicked man take the same prayer, and cast it into his dishonourable form, and it becomes sinfull, not regar­ded, and abominable in Gods eyes. For hearing of the Word of God, the godly man [...] hears, and the wicked man hears; the matter in both is the same; the godly man he casteth the Word into a godly mould, he hears the Word, and he trembles at it; he hears the Word, and be­leeves it; he hears the Word, and his heart bowes to it, and resolves to practise it: a wicked man he hears the Word too, but he casteth it into a dishonoura [...]le mould, he hears it with deadnesse and dulnesse, with­out trembling, without faith and obedience. So a godly man may think thoughts of God, and so may a wicked man think thoughts of God, the matter of both is good; yet the thoughts of the wicked are vain; though he thinks of God, yet, because he casteth it into his disho­nourable frame, he fears not God, his heart trembles not at God, but his heart is as full of dead earthly affections as before; he thinks of hearing the Word, but it is after this own fashion, he thinks of pray­ing, [Page 62] but he prayes with his own spirit, and not with the spirit of Adop­tion.

The Psalmist tells us, that the whoremaster, the drunkard, and the thief thinks of God, it is after his own fashion: Psal. 50. 21. These things hast thou done (saith God) and I held my tongue, and then thoughtest that I was even such a one as thy self. A wicked man goes on in his sins, and thinks that they are not so devillish and abominable, as some say they are, and he thinks that God thinks so too; he is earthly, carnall, luke­warm, and dead-hearted, and if he repent at the last, he thinks all will be well, and he thinks God is of the same mind too; he goes on in his drunkennesse, swearing, pride, and hypocrisie, and he thinks if he do but remember to ask God mercy, and to cry, Lord receive my soul, when he is going out of the world, he thinks he shall not go to hell, but be carried to the joyes of heaven, and he thinks God is of his mind, that God thinks so too: But mark what the Lord saith; I will reprove thee, and set thy sins in order before thee. O consider this you that forget God, lest he tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver you.

Thirdly, mens thoughts are vain, when the heart that thinks upon them is earthly and vain; wherefore if all the wicked men in the world should lay their heads together to think a good thought. yet they can­not: for their hearts are vain hearts, sinfull hearts, they may think of excellent propofitions concerning God, his worship, his word, and service; but so long as the heart that thinks upon them is carnall and vain, they cannot speak that which is good, as saith our Saviour: Maithew 12. 34. How can you speak good things? Why, may some men say [...] may not a wicked man read a Chapter in a Bible, are the wordsObject. so hard to be understood, and pronounced? cannot a wicked man take a Sermon and read it, and hear a Sermon and repeat it? What? are Letters and syllables so hard to be pronounced?

I answer, (beloved) that is not the meaning of our Saviour, [How canAnswer. ye that are evill speak good things:] no, no, a wicked man may read Gods word, and propound good questions as well as a true Christian: but he cannot speak good words, that is, he cannot speak them from a good heart; and therefore his heart being carnall and vain, good words in his mouth are as a Jewell in a swines snout: it is a word indeed, but not a speech, when he reads or pronounceth Gods word. Aristotle saith, that speech is nothing but the expression of that that is within the heart. Now then, if the word and truth of God be not ingraffed in thy heart, if thy heart be not heavenly when thou speakest of heavenly things, thou dost pronounce them, but not speak them. But when thou speakest of earthly things; then thou speakest to the purpose; be­cause thy heart is set upon them, and thy mind and thy tongue go to­gether, there is no jarre not discord betwixt them: but if thy heart be not pure, though thou speakest good things, or holy things, yet in Christs sense thou speakest them not: For (say I) how can a vain, evill, corrupt heart think good thoughts? An evil tree cannot bring forth good fruit, (saith our Saviour) he doth not say, that an evill tree cannot be made good, for it may be grafted into another stock; divers ways [Page 63] there are to make it good: but so long as it is a corrupt tree, it cannot bring forth good fruit; Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Dost thou go to a drunkard, and thinkest there to find any religion in him? or to a whore-master to find grace in him? Dost thou go to a swearer or a prophane person, and thinkest thou to finde any fear of God in them? Indeed sometimes there may be some morall good found in them, but they are as a pearl in a dunghill, out of its place.

Fourthly, all mens thoughts come to be vain when the drift and end of the heart and soul in thinking of them is vain.

But thou wilt say unto me, The end of my thoughts is Gods glory. What? is it not to Gods glory that we go to the Word and Sacrament, that we pray and give almes?

I Answer, The end of every good work in it selfe is Gods glory; but is it the end of the worker, speaker, or thinker? I make no question but the end of a good action in it selfe is the glory of God; so, the end of prayer is the glory of God, the end of all preaching and Sermons is the glory of God, the end of giving of almes, and of all good thoughts, is the glory of God, but the end of the man that prayes and preaches, what is that? the end of the hearer and giver of almes, what is that? the end of him that speaks well, what is that? Beloved, most men have false and corrupt ends, which we will branch out into these three heads;

For the first, men will be thinking and plodding from morning till night of their wordly businesses: Now because they know they must think on God, to make God amends, perhaps they will think on him at night, when they have dishonoured him all the day. So men will swear and swagger, drink and be drunk, and when they have done, say, Lord have mercy upon me, and so they think to make God amends. What (beloved) will yee swear, swagger, drink, be drunk, and lye, be secure and worldy, and and then ask God forgivenesse to make him amends? This is to break Priscians head, that you may give him a plaister. Will you trespasse your neighbour, that you may ask him forgivenesse? This is a damned and devillish religion; yet this is the religion of many men in the world, you shall have them keep daies and weeks and years in the observation of the times of Gods worship; they will keep the Sabbath in coming to Church, and they will hear Sermons, pray and think of God▪ but all this is to make God amends for the wrong that they have done him: they know they have offended God, and therefore they will doe some­thing to make him ameds like those wicked men in Jeremies time, who did steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsly; and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after the Gods they knew not, and then come and stand before God in his house, which is called by his name, and said, We are delivered though we have done all these abominations. As if God should say unto wicked men, What, will ye swear, steal, lye, and be earthly, giving up your selves to all manner of lewdnesse, in the breach and contempt of my commandements, and then think by making a prayer unto me and by lifting up your eyes unto me, and by giving your ears to hear my [Page 64] word, thereby to make me recompence? No, no, I have shewed thee, O man, what is good, Micah. 8.

Secondly, the end of mens thoughts is commonly to collogue with God. Let a man be under the crosse, in calamity, pain, and misery, then God will hear of him often, then he will think of God, and of his sinnes: Nay, the beastliest wretch in a whole Parish, upon his sick bed, then, Oh how will he call upon God, then send for the Minister, let him pray for me, read a chapter or some good book; then God shall have service upon service, then he shall have the first, second, and third course. But all this is but to be raised up again; and then when he hath received a little strength, he falls off again: like the Jews, who when God slew them, they sought him: and they returned and enquired early after God; neverthe­less they did but dissemble with him with their mouths; and flatter him with their double hearts, Psal. 37. 34. There is many a man that seeks to God, yea, that seeks to him with tears, and performs many a good duty, and yet he doth but flatter with God, he doth it but to curry favour with him; is afraid of sicknesse, crosses, plagus, and death, and curses upon him, if he should not do so: and therefore to prevent this he will dissemble some service to God.

Thirdly, to smother and choak their own consciences; their hearts think and tell them, they must think of God, their consciences tell them, that they must have some holinesse, some religion, that they must keep the Sabbath in some sort, that they must pray and go to Church: and hence it is, that the drunkard, swearer, whoremaster, will sometimes have thoughts of God, and wil be performing some outward acts of Re­ligion. Why? his conscience otherwise would not let him be at rest, but is as the Devils ban-dog to drive him to it.

Thus when the Prophet commanded the people to worship the Lord; to reverence his name, to hallow his Sabbaths; their conscien­ces told them that they must do so, or else all the threatnings of wrath, and vengeance donounced by the Prophets would come upon them. Hence it is that the Lord by his; Prophet exhorts, saying, Arise ye, and depart, for this is not your rest; your mind hath another haunt, you have this and that black lust, this is not your rest. Doth thy heart rest on God and good things? If thy heart be good and holy, so that it takes up its rest in God, and in Christ, then it is well; but if thou only turnest aside to good duties, and fallest, as it were, by chance upon holy things, a­way, away (saith God) this is nor your rest. Aristotle saith, that the be­ing of a thing consists in the end of a thing. Therefore if the end of thy thoughts and courses be earthly and vain, then certainly thy religion is earthly and vain. Thou goest up and down; what is it that thou lookst after? Is it that thou maist have grace, or that thou maist follow thy calling, and get thy living? is it this that thou wouldest have, for which thou keepest such a digging and scraping, and such a laying up? Then thy end is carnall and vain, and thy drift and end declareth the truth of thy soul, that it is carnall and vain.

THE JUDGEMENT OF THE …

THE JUDGEMENT OF THE WORLD By SAINTS at the last day. DELIVERED And learnedly discovered in a SERMON preached By that Reverend and Faithfull Minister of Gods Word, WILLIAM FENNER, B. D. Sometimes Fellow of Pembroke Hall in Cambridge, and late Pastor of Rochford in Essex.

London, Printed by E. T. for John Stafford.

A SERMON OF M. WILLIAM FENNERS, Upon this ensuing Text.

1 Cor. 6. part of the 2d. verse.‘Know ye not that the Saints shall judge the world.’

THE Corinthians, though Paul had converted many poor mean men amongst them, Chap­ter 1. 26, 27. God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and the weak things of the world, to confound the things that are mighty: yet the Nobles, the Lawyers, the Counsellors, the chief men in the City▪ the Apostle had not converted one of them, or at the least very few. Brethren, you see your calling; who they are that be converted to the obedience of the Gospel of Christ from the evill of their wayes: not many wise men after the flesh, not many rich, not many nobles, some few there be, here and there one; but for the most part they are a com­pany of poor beggarly Christians: now (it seems) these poor Christi­ans have controversies one with another, went to Law among them­selves, and that before unbeleevers. The Apostle condems this their going to Law, and would have them cease their suits and quarrels, one against another, before the unjust and unbeleevers, and that by four Ar­guments.

[Page 68]First, by the shamfulnesse of it, verse 5. I speak it to your shame; as it he 1 should say, Are you such fools, that you cannot take up these matters among your selves? that you cannot make references of your wrongs to mediate one to another, but that you must goe to Law before unbe­leevers?

Secondly, from the scandalousnesse of it. It is a thing so scandalous and 2 offensive to those that are without, that I wonder any of you dare be so bold as to goe to Law one with another. What will the world think▪ What? Are these the men that professe the Gospel? Are these they that have the Wisdom of God in them, and that are led by the Spirit of God? And have they no more understanding in them, than when they have any matter of controversie, they cannot end it among themselves, but must goe to Law before the unjust and unbeleevers? (as they term them.)

Thirdly, from the unseemlinesse of it, in the second verse. Doe you not 3 know that the Saints shall judge the earth? What? hath God made you Judges of the world, and do you go to be judged by the world? Or as Ambrose speaks, hath God appointed you to be Judges of the men in the world, and are you not fit to be Judges of the things of the world?

Fourthly, from the strangenesse of it; Dare any of you? He speaks inter­rogatively 4 (verse 1.) It is a strang thing that you should come to that im­pudency against the Gospel of Christ; one would think that you would tremble and quake at such a thing as this is. What is there never a wise Christian amongst you? never an understanding Professor, that is able to take up a controversie, or decide and judge between his bre­thren? what a strange thing is this? Then he backs it with four Ar­guments.

1. Because they were brethren, verse 6. Brother go to Law with bro­ther?1

2. Because it was about things of this life. What? hath God made you 2 Judges of heavenly things, of Angels, and are you unfit to judge of the things of this life?

3. It was about smal matters (verse 2.) whereas you shall sit upon men 3 and Angels, and the weightiest matters in the world, the greatest things of Gods Law, judging them to the greatest penalty and punishment, even to eternal damnation: and are ye unworthy then to judge even of the smallest matters?

4. And lastly, Because it was about such things; as the meanest Christian 4 in the town might have taken up, and have ended: Set up them that are least esteemed.

Do you not know that the Saints shall Judge the world?

I need not go far for a point, the word affords it; The Doctrine is, That the Saints shall judge the world.

It is an old truth. yea as old as the World it self: you may read it inDoctrine. the fourth verse of Judes Epistle. That Enoch the seventh from Adam prophesied, saying, Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his Saints. God will not only come to judgement himself, but he will come [Page 69] attended with all his Saints, even with all the godly, to execute vengeance upon all the world, So our Saviour told Saint Peter, and not only him, but all that follow him in the regeneration: They shall sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel, Matth. 9. 18. They shall judge the Nati­ons, and have dominion over the people, Wis. 38.

Object.And now because doubt is the best way to attain unto knowledge, let me answer a doubt, that may creep in by the way, How shall the Saints judge the world?

Answer.Ans. Not by pronouncing of judgement upon the world, for that Christ only shall doe, Then shall the King say to them on his left hand, De­part ye cursed, Matthew. 25. But the Saints shall judge the World these four wayes:

1. They shall judge the world, by their consent unto Christs judgement.1 God trains up his children in this world, and educates them, and teach­eth them how they may judge the world hereafter; he teacheth them in this life how to assent with his proceedings in the world; to that they are able to say, Righteous art thou O Lord, and just are thy judgements, Psal, 119. 137. Now if the Saints be trained in this life to assent unto Gods proceedings with the world; much more then will they be able to know and consent unto Cstrists judgement, when he shall come with his Saints to judge the world: Now the Law saith, that consenters are a­gents, and therefore because the Saints shall consent to the judgement of Christ, therefore they are said to judge the world.

2. The Saints shall judge the world by their applause of Christs judge­ment:2 they shall not only give consent unto the judgement of Christ, but they shall also applaud it and commend it: when God shall say to all drunkards, swearers, lyers, Sabbath-breakers, and to all unbeleeving impenitent and gracelesse sinners, Depart ye cursed into hell fire, then though it was his own father that begat him, or his mother that bare him, though it were his own brother or sister, wife or child, that hath been as dear as his own life and soul to him, yet they shall clap their hands for joy, and applaud the most righteous sentence of God upon them; and they shall sing Hallelujah, salvation, and honour, and power, be to the Lord our God, for true and righteous are his judgements. Rev. 19. 1, 2. Let them go accursed as they are; for it is a righteous sentence passed on them.

3. They shall Judge the world by their Majesty; they shall not only stand 3 against the wicked, and consent to, and applaud that sentence that Christ shall passe against the wicked, but they shall be invested with robes of majesty, and with a diademe of glory: then shall the righteous shine as the stars in the firmament, and the wicked shall be amazed and asto­nished at the sight of them: as you may read in the platform of judge­ment, Matthew 25. where Christ sets his Saints over against the world, that so the world may look upon them, and be confounded at their sight.

4, They shall judge the world by their lives and conversation; (as Ambrose 4 saith rightly) then is the world judged by them, when as the courses and manners of the world are not found upon them. Therefore it is a [Page 70] pretty observation of Hilary (if it be the meaning of the Text) (I will not say it is) upon the 2 Ps. Be wise ye judges: God hath appointed you to be Judges, to sit on his bench with his Sonne, learn then to be wise, get to be indued with spirituall wisdome and understanding, and to shine in all integritie and righteousnesse; and then turning his speech to the wicked, he says, Kisse the sonne le [...]t he be angry. However it be, yet this is a truth, that by the lives of his Saints, he wil judge the world, their faith shall judge the worlds infidelity: their repentance shall judge the worlds impenitency; their accepting of, and taking the Lord Jesus, shal judge their rejection and neglect of Christ Jesus; their zeal shall judge the worlds luke-warmnesse, and their holiness shal judge the worlds prophanenesse.

1. Because of the mysticall union that is betwixt Christ and his Saints; HeReason 1. is the head and they are his members; now that which the head doth, we ascribe it to the whole body; when the head speaks, the whole body speaks; when the head sees, the whole body sees: so when Christ judgeth the world, the whole body of Christ may truly be said to judge the world. In as much as you did it unto one of these (saith Christ) you did it unto me: so, in as much as Chhist passeth sentence, even all the members of the mysticall body of Christ judge with him.

Secondly, in regard of compassion: I speak not of the word [compassion]Reason 2. as it signifies [pity] but of compassion, of suffering with Christ, seeing that Christ was reproached, contemned, hated, misused, and condemned by the world, the Saints are likewise with him; seeing they partake of the afflictions, humiliations, and debasements of Christ here, they shall also be made partakers with Christ in his glory. Here the wicked judge the Saints, and call them hypocrites, and dissemblers, and laugh and scoff at them, and wonder at them, as the Prophet brings in Christ speaking, Isaiah 8. Behold, I and the children that thou hast given me, are for signs and wonders in Israel: The wicked count them for won­ders and monsters in the world, judging them hypocrites and lyers, which have nothing in them but rottennesse and dissimulation. Now the rule of like for like shall take place here, and as they were judged by the world, so they shall be Judges of the world.

Thirdly, for great terror to all wicked men at the day of judgement: forReason 3. as it is with a thief, not onely when the Judge shall command to hang him, but all the Justices, and all the Country shall cry out, Hang him, hang him, he is judged the more terribly; so God will not only say of all wicked and ungodly sinners, Damn them, damn them, but he will have all the Saints in heaven, and all the Saints on earth to cry out, Away with them, away with them, let them be damned, Psalm. 50, 4, 5. This will make their judgement so much the more terrible.

Fourthly, The Saints shall judge the world because God shall so convinceReason 4. them, that their mouth shall be stopped, they shall have never a syllable to to excuse themselves withall, when they shall see men, flesh and bloud as themselves are, when they shall see men and women, that have lived in the same town, enjoyed the same Ordinances of God, lived in the same family▪ that did partake of the same blessings, and of the same [Page 71] crosses and afflictions with themselves, subject also to the same corrup­tions and sins as themselves, when they shall see these at Christs right hand, they shall have never a word to excuse themselves withall as when the Apostles had healed the creeple (Acts 3.) if the people had judged them for wicked and pestilent men, the creeple would have con­vinced them, and shewed that they were of God; if they should have cryed, Root them up, the creeple would have condemned them, and told them, that they did good. And when the wicked shall see the Saints at Gods right hand, would they call them hypocrites and dis­semblers▪ they themselves shall see, that they are sincere; will they call them Puritans? why, they shall then see that their purity stands them in good stead: then the ungodly shall not stand in judgement, nor the sinners in the congregation of the righteous, Psal. 1. 6. Thus the point is clear.

The first Use then is for instruction, whereby we may learn, that the Saints by their now being Saints, doe now judge the world: if by the lives of Saints then God doth judge the world, then there is never a Saint in a Town, or Citie, or Parish in all the Countrey, but he judgeth all the wicked that are about him: How? By living godly, by hating the sinnes of the times, by keeping his or their garments clean from the pollution of the world: For by doing this he judgeth the world. See it in Noah, Heb. 11. 7. By faith Noah being warned of God, as yet moved with fear, prepared an Ark for the saving of his house, by which he condemned the world.

Object.But some men will say, Could Noah be said to condemne the world by making the Ark? all the world did not see him when he did it.

Answer.Beloved, Noah was making the Ark an hundred and twenty years, though it was not seen of all, yet all the world must needs hear of it, it being such a strange thing. Now he condemned the world in that the whole world did not come unto Noah to inquire of him in sober sad­nesse, but rather mockt him for building the Ark; they thought him to be a peevish melancholy man, and not well in his wits, and so scoft at him, saying, Will he make an Ark to swim upon dry land? whereas they should have ask'd him soberly the cause why he did it; and if they had done so, Noah no question would have told them, that the wrath of heaven was upon the World, and that the floods of God's vengeance were shortly to be powred down upon us: and, because my heart hath been naught, and I have sinned and provoked the Lords wrath, I fear if I get not into this Arke which the Lord hath commanded me for to make, I shall perish. Now because they would not come unto Noah to ask him this reason, therefore the world was condemned by him: even so the Saints, by making an Ark for their poor souls, even by getting into Christ, (as the Ark was a type of Christ without whom none can be saved) the Saints, I say, by getting into Christ, doe judge the whole world, when they hear there be men that be no swearers, and no drunkards, and that there be men that will pray, read, hear the word, confer of God and of Christ, and that weep and mourn for their sins, that spend their times in mortification of [Page 72] their lusts, and endeavour after holinesse and sanctification; the whole world, I say, is judged by them. How? why, they should say: Sirs, what is the matter that you do so run after Sermons? that you keep such a stirr about getting faith and repentance, more than other men? that you pray, weep, fast, and mourn, and are so strict in your works? If thus men would but come unto Gods Saints, and ask them the reason of all these things, the Saints of God would tell them, that the wrath of God would come upon them, if they did not thus, they would never be saved; if they did not thus beleeve, and thus repent, and thus pray, and walk thus holily and precisely, they should be all damned. But the world it falls a mocking and a scoffing at them, and never seeks to prevent the wrath of God; but it suddenly seiseth on them to their destruction.

Secondly, this teacheth us, that when there is one sinner converted from the wickednesse of his wayes, and is become a Saint, then all the world may know that there is a new judge come to sit upon them. Seest thou a drunkard, a swearer, a prophane person converted from his sinnes, and now walks soberly, holily and purely? seest thou a man or a woman struck at a Sermon? Then know, that unlesse thou comest out of thy sinnes, unless thou doest repent, and walk holily, there is a new judge added to the rest, that shall judge thee. As our Saviour told the Pharisees, If I through Beelzebub cast out Devils, by whom doe your children cast them out? There­fore they shall be your judges, Matthew 12. 27. where Christ tels them, that their children who were his Disciples, (for some of the Phari­sees children did beleeve in Christ and follow him, and had power from Christ to do the same works that Christ did;) Now they liked it well enough in their owne children, but they could not endure it in Christ: and therefore he tells them, that their children whom God had converted, and to whom he had given power to do the same works that he did, even they shall be their Judges to condemn them: and even so may it be with thee, thou art a father or a mother; God having converted any of thine owne children, that childe shall bee thy Judge and condemne thee, if thou repent not. It may be God hath conver­ted thy brother and sister, and thou art not not converted; thy own bro­ther and sister shal condemn thee, ifthou do not repent and come out of thy sins.

Thirdly we may learn, that it concerns all the world to take notice of eve­ry 3 grace in Gods children; There is never a grace of God in any of his Saints but it shall condemn the world if it be voyd of it. The wayes of the Lord are all judgements, because they judge them that will not walk in them. Every grace, yea the very thoughts of the righteous are called Judgements by Solomon, Prov. 12. You may know a crooked thing by laying it to a straight line, and by that it is judged to be croo­ked: so the thoughts of the righteous which are right, holy, and pure, shall judge the impure, unholy and crooked thoughts of wicked men. Is the child of God humble? His humility shall judge thy pride. Is the child of God meek and patient in suffering wrong and injuries? His meeknesse and patience shall judge thy choler and revenge. Hath [Page 73] the child of God faith given him to beleeve in the Lord Jesus: his faith shall judge thy infidelity. Hath the child of God the Spirit of prayer given him? it shal condemn thee that prayest only with thine own spirit. Hath he zeal? His zeal shall judge thy lukewarmnesse. Doth his speech and communication administer grace to the hearers? It shall condemn thee that speakest of vain and idle things. Yea, all the actions of thegodly shall judge the wicked: and hence the Saints are said to do Gods judge­ments, Zep. 2. 3. that is, they do according to Gods judgements whereby he wil judge the world: Thus they that do mourn, do judge them that do not mourn; they that bewayl their wickednesse, and the sins of the times, judge them that do not: they that fast, weep, pray, and humble themselves for the miseries of the Church in these dreadful daies, they judge them that make no good conscience of their duties.

Fourthly, learn hence, that all the texts of Scripture, all the whole word 4 of God, that is it that begets these Saints, and therefore they must needs judge the world, the word of God begets mens hearts unto sanctification and holinesse, whereby they become Saints: and therefore if they, then much more shall the word it self judge the world: and hence it is that all the words of God in the Scripture, are called Judgements, Psal. 105. 5. And our Saviour saith, The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge you in the last day, John 12. 48, The word that I have spoken, where mark, he doth not say, The word which you have heard: No, there are many swearers, and drunkards, and prophane ungodly wretches, that will not come to Church to hear the word; there are many wicked men, and dead-hearted worldlings, and rotten livers, that will not be brought to heare Gods word: it may be at this present, there are many whore-mongers, drunkards, and wicked persons, that wallow in their filthinesse; in the Ale-house, Game-house, or Drab-house; or in the fields, or beds, or at their sports. Well, this word that is now a prea­ching, whether they will hear it or no, shall judge them at the last day. Now all the wicked in Ashford, that hear the word of God calling upon them to repent, and to come out of their sinnes▪ but will, not or out of contempt of Gods word, will absent themselves from it; this word shall judge and condemn them. There is never a drunkard, swearer, or pro­phane person, though his pew be empty, but this word of God that de­nounceth the eternal wrath and vengeance of God upon them, if they come not out of their sins, this word shall rise up in judgement against them, and condem them eternally. Oh that they could but hear it! but the word that I have spoken shall judge you, whether you hear it or not.

Fifthly and lastly, hence it followes, that all the ministers of the word 5 of God shall also judge the world. Son of man (saith God to the Prophet Eze­kiel) wilt thou judge the bloody City? Yea, thou shalt shew her all her abomina­tions, Ezek. 22, 2. as if he should have said, Sonne of man, they are drun­kards, wilt thou not tell them of it? They are whoremasters, wilt thou not tell them of it? They are filthy idolaters, wilt thou not tell them of it? They live in their sins, and in their abominations, and wilt thou not tell them of it? Son of man, tell them of all their abominations, and [Page 74] tell them that they shall goe to hell, if they repent not, tell them that they are damned men if they go on, and come not out of their sinnes: Wilt thou judge them (son of man?) Beloved, there is never a Minister in England, nor ever a Sermon that is preached by them, but it judgeth every Parish, and every man and woman in the congregation, that do not labour to do what is commanded them, and leave undone what is forbidden them: I say, it judgeth them, or else it is a judgement unto them.

This then serves to condemn three sorts of men in the world: First,Use 1. All those that despise the Saints, and that see not amiablenesse in their faces. All the Countrey doth reverence the face of the Judge, when he rides his circuit; Let the Judge come into the Countrey, and all the Knights, Justices, and Gentlemen in the Countrey will go out to meet him, and bow unto him; yet these Judges are but Judges of a few rogues, male­factors, and peasants in the Country: Alas, they are far from the dig­nitie of the Saints? for the Saints shall judge Saints and Angels: All the world, Kings and Queens, Lords and Nobles, and Captains of the Earth, the poorest Saint in Christendome shall judge them. The Apo­stle, or rather, our Saviour saith, To him that overcometh, and keepeth my words unto the end, to him will I give power over the Nations, Rev. 2. 26. Whatsoever he be, if he do the works of Christ, and walke in the ordi­nances of Christ, he shall have power over the Nations, not only to condemn their pomps and vanities, their lusts and corruptions, but also to convince their consciences, and to condemn their souls for ever.

2. Shall the Saints judge the world? Then what fools are the wicked 2 that prepare not for these Judges? When the Judge comes to an Assise, all men prepare for him; the Constables make ready their Presentments, the Juries are warned, and the Clerks make ready their Bills, &c. lest the Judge should clap a fine upon them: and shall the Saints be Judges, and dost thou not prepare thy heart by grace? Dost thou not get purity and holinesse against that day? Surely, if thou dost not, the very Saints will judge thee unmeet for heaven, and fit only to have thy portion in hell. When Christ said, To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my Throne, Rev. 3. 21. He adds, Let him that hath an ear, hear: Will God make his Saints to judge the world? Then let all wicked men give ear and hear what God saith of his Church: The Saints shall judge the world: Therefore let all men take notice of it, and prepare themselves for their judgement.

Lastly, It condemns all those that do not see glory and majesty in the faces 3 of Gods Saints. There is majesty in the face of a Judge; yea a man may discover in them a kind of soveraign majesty. Even so the Saints of God have a majesty in their courses, in their looks, in their thoughts, and in all their wayes? and in all these they shall judge and condemn the wicked. The wicked may give the Saints nick names, and scorn, flout, condemn, and deride them now in this life, but let me tell them, that how lightly soever they esteem of them, they shall be their Judges: They may cry out against the Saints, as long since the wicked Sodomites did against good Lot, Gen. 19. 9. This fellow (say they) will be our [...] [Page 75] Why, what had Lot done with them? Alas, he did nothing, but when they would have done that Sodomitish villany against the two Angels that came to him, Lot went to them and said, I pray you my Bre­thren do not so wickedly. So let the godly be in the company of wicked men, that abuse the good creatures of God; say, I pray you my brethren, do not so wickedly, be not drunkards, be not swearers; brethren I pray you do not so vainly, nor so prophanely use the name of God in your mouths; I pray you my brethren, do not prophane Gods Sabaths; do not lye, do not cheat, nor cozen, if you do these and these things, the wrath of God will plague us for it; Oh then presently they cry out, Who made you our judges? As once the Hebrews did of Moses, Acts 7. 39. Dost thou call Saints hypocrites and dissemblers, men that judge before the time? Thou fool, wert thou not as good to suffer the Saints to judge thee now, whereby thou maiest see thy wretchednesse and miserie, and by faith and speedy repentance prevent that doom, which otherwise they tell thee will come upon thee, as hereafter, when if thou hast not repented, thou shalt never escape that doom and vengeance, to which the Saints will judge thee? What▪ wilt thou not suffer them to call a drun­kard, a drunkard? or an adulterer, an adulterer? a blasphemer, a blas­phemer? a carnal man, a carnall man? or a worldly man, a worldly man?

It is a pretty observation out of Cyprian, that because Christ did re­prove all sorts of religions, and spared none, he reproved the Scribes, the Pharisees, the Lawyers, the Souldiers, &c. and yet doth not re­prove the Priests, because they were Judges of the people, not because he durst not, but he would not: If thou revilest the Saints, thou revilest thy Judges. Take heed then, how thou cast the least aspersion upon the Saints; do not say, they are rash Judges, uncharitable censurers, dis­sembling hypocrites; for they shall be your Judges. O that the people would hearken and be admonished in time, to prevent this judgement. Our Saviour saith, that this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men hate it. Joh. 3. 19. But the children of God, whom God calls the light of the world, these lights are come into the world, and men love darknesse more then the light. How can the wicked escape dam­nation that have so many thousand Judges to condemn them? If the malefactor that is indicted for murther or felony, cannot escape con­demnation, that hath but one Judge to sit upon him: thou that art a wicked man, living in thy sins without Christ, how canst thou escape, that hast so many millions of Saints to judge thee, yea from Adam the first, till the last Saint that shall be upon the earth? Surely the wicked shall never escape condemnation: for,

1. God the Father, who judgeth by way of authority, he will con­demn thee; all judgement cometh originally from him; he that hath often commanded thee to repent, and come out of thy sins, he shal con­demn thee, because thou hast not obeyed him.

2. God the Son, he will judge thee, who judgeth by way of dispensation, Acts. 10. First, Christ preacheth to thee repentance and remission of sins, to which if thou yeeld not, then know, that there is a day appointed, wherein he will judge thee. That Saviour that thou sayest thou desirest, if thou part not with thy lusts, he himselfe will be thy Judge that will con­demn thee.

[Page 76]3. God the holy Ghost will judge thee; that Spirit that now strives and wrestles with thee, that suggests good motions into thy heart, that puts thee in mind of repentance, bidding thee leave and forsake thy sins, and live holily, but if thou wilt not, this Spirit shall judge thee by way of conviction.

4. The word of God shall judge thee, and that by way of form, it being the platform, according unto which Christ will judge the whole world. Now suppose there be forty prisoners in the Jaile together, one in for murder, another in for theft, another for treason, (that man that knows the Law, if there be equity and Justice in the Assise) he, I say, that knows the Law, knows who shal be hanged or quartered, or burned, or set free; even so, Beloved that man that looks through the Scriptures, that reads this or that Chapter, this or that sentence, may know that or this man will to hell, if he repent not. Say I this of my selfe? or saies not the Scripture as much? The fearfull, and unbeleeving, and all that love and make lies, shall be cast into that lake that burneth with fire and brimstone for ever, Rev. 12. 8. By this text the Lord Jesus will come and judge the world: and therefore for all such as live and dye in their sins, we may all know, that they shall be all damn'd in fire and brimstone for ever. Hereby I know that all they that make no conscience of idle, vain and earthly speeches, and reproachfull words, they shall give an account for them by this Text. Mat. 12. 56. Doth the Scripture say, that all the wick­ed shall be turned into hell, with all the Nations that forget God? I know it shall be so by the text. Psal. 10. For all things shall be done according to the Scriptures. Romans 2. 16. In that day (saith the Apostle) when God shall judge the secrets of mens hearts by Jesus Christ according to my Gospel; that is, just as Gods Ministers preach, just as you find it written in the same Scriptures, so will he judge at that day.

Beloved, there is never a Text throughout the whole Scripture, that commands you to leave and forsake your sins, but it shall judge you, if you do not: there is not one Text of Scripture, that commands perfor­mance of any holy duty, but it shall rise up in judgement against thee, if thou perform it not. Doth the Scripture say, Be not drunk with wine wherein is excesse? Ephe. 5. 18. It shall judge and condemn the drunkard that drinks excessively. Doth the Scripture say, Mortifie the members which are upon the earth, fornication, uncleannesse, inordinate affection, evill concupiscence, and covetousnesse, which is Idolatry? Col. 3. 5. If notwith­standing these sinnes live in thee, this Text shall rise up and condemn thee to hell. Doth the Text say, That the father to the children shall make known Gods truth. Esay 28. 9. Eph. 6. 4. Parents bring up your children in the nurture and information of the Lord? It shall rise up in judgement and condemn those parents that have not instructed their children to fear God. Doth the Text say, Thou shalt teach the word of God unto thy children, and that thou shalt talk of it when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou goest by the way, when thou lyest down, and when thou risest up? Deut. 6. 7. It shall judge thee, because thou makest no conscience of holy conference. All these and the like Texts of Scripture, shall rise up and stand in rank to condemn thee, that hast not swayed thy heart, and framed thy life ac­cording to the Scriptures.

[Page 77]5. All the Ministers of God shall sit as Justices in common, from the first preacher of righteousnesse unto the last; Moses shall judge thee, Jo­shuah, David, Esay, Jeremy, Hosea, Daniel, Paul, Peter, &c. they shall all judge you: just as Gods Ministers judge you here, so will God; he will take all his Sermons and clap them upon the heads of all rebellious hea­rers, and so damn them for ever.

Lastly, The Saints shall judge you; yea, all the Saints from one end of the world to the other, they shall assist the just Judge of heaven and earth, and they shall be interpretative Judges.

Beloved, how can the wicked escape condemnation, that have so many thousands of judges, so many thousand exhortations and reproofs, so many thousand admonitions and invitations, so many thousand mer­cies and proffers of Christ? When God the Father, Sonne, and holy Ghost, shal judge them, when heaven and all the Angels in heaven, and all the Saints on earth, shal judge them, and condemn them? How canst thou escape? Is there never a drunkard in this congregation? is there never a swearer? never a prophane person? never a mocker? never a railer in this town, that refuseth to hearken to the word? the men of Niniveh shall rise up in judgement against them and condemn them, because they still live in their sinnes, notwithstanding they have had not three daies preaching, nor forty dayes space only for repentance, but many years of grace calling upon them. The Queen of Sheba shall condemn many that live in their sinnes, who went many hundred miles to hear the wise­dom of Solomon (for going and coming it was well-nigh two thousand miles) but you have the word of Christ preached in your ears, and say­ing, The Kingdome of God is come among you; but you will scarce step out of your doors to receive it, or take any pains for it. This one wo­man shall judge them. There will be no way for the wicked to put off their judgement: then the sonnes of Eli shall have none to advocate be­tween God and them, none to cloak or cover their wickednesse; they shall then have no excuses for themselves: for, would they excuse them­selves? the Saints shall judge them: would they send out excuses? the Saints shall cut them off.

Would they in the first place say, Alas! I was ignorant, I knew not how to pray, or to read, or to meditate on the Scriptures, nor to cate­chize my family; I was dull and blockish to conceive such points as were taught me; and if I did live in sinne, it was ignorance that taught it me, I was never book-learned? Saith Augustine, this Ignoramus that was as ignorant and as little book-learned as thou, he eschewed those sins that thou livest in, got the anointing of Gods Spirit to anoint his eys, to see and know the things of God, which thou hast neglected to get; he shall condemn thee.

A second excuse is poverty. I have no means to live on; if I should run after Sermons, I should beg my bread: I have a great charge to keep, and nothing but my labour to maintain them: and therefore I cannot spare time, for meditation; I have no while to study the Scrip­ture, to pray and to mourn for my sins, and to get grace. Well, the poor Cobler that liveth next door to Saint Anthony, shall rise up and con­demn thee, he was as poor as thou, and had as great a charge to keep as [Page 78] thou: yet he mourned and wept, he got grace, and he set time apart for prayer, reading, meditation, holy conference; he shall judge and con­demn thee.

Thirdly, they shall have no excuse by imployment; I am a servant, I am commanded to doe this or that, I find so much businesse to follow, that I cannot find any time for such things. Another saith, I have great imployment, I have many Irons in the fire, and therefore God, I hope, will be mercifull unto me. Well then, Cornelius that had as many and as great imployments as thou, and Eleazar (Abrahams servant) who was a servant as well as thou, yet in as much as they wal­ked with God, and waited upon him in his ordinances, they shall judge thee.

Fourthly, they shall have no excuse from their callings and trades, I [...] am an Inne-keeper, and if I should not suffer drinking, and swearing, and gaming, I should not live. Another saith, I am a tradesman, and if I should ask at first just so much as I could take, I should never bring customers to my price, and so I should not live of my trade. Well, Rahab was an Inne-keeper, as well as thou, and yet she lived by faith, and did not suffer such wickednesse in her house. So many a tradesman, that had the same trade, and the same imployment with thee, and as great a trade as thou, and yet have avoyded these sins and evils that thou fallest into: they shal judge thee.

Fifthly, they shall have no excuse from the times they live in; Alas (saith one) I live in wretched times, all the world is given to sin. There­fore if I should be so strict and precise in my wayes, if I should run af­ter sermons, pray, sing Psalms &c. all the world would be against me. There are no professors of religion but are reproached and miscalled, I should lose all my friends, I should be hated and opposed; yea, it may be (the time being such) I should be accused to Councils, and have my life questioned; there is nothing but disgrace and reproach, and persecuti­on; wherefore I was afraid, and did dispense with my conscience. Ah wretch! that man that lived in those wicked times, in the same town with thee; that had the same hatred and reproach that thou wast afraid of, that hath endured all the rebukes of Christ that thou wast asha­med of, yet he went on, and continued unto the end; he shall judge thee.

The use is for the just reproof of many of the Saints of God, because theyUse 3. are not so circumspect and watchfull over their wayes, as they ought. Dost thou judge others (saith the Apostle) and yet dost the same things thy self? Romans 2. 2. So may I say to all such, Will you give way to sin? will you suffer your lusts and corruptions to sway you, and not endea­vour to root out or kill them rather? how wilt thou then judge the world? How wilt thou then be able to rise up in judgement against the wicked, to judge them for such sinnes wherein thou allowest and livest thy self? Surely God will never account thee for a Saint, if he cannot judge the world by thee. Oh this should rend the heart and bowels of those that go for Christians, that go for Saints, yet live not as Saints should live. If God cannot take thee, and judge the world by thee; if he cannot take thy life, and judge the life of the Pagans, infidels, all luke­warm earthly and secure sinners, he will not account thee for a Saint. [Page 79] This then first condemns all unholinesse in the lives of them that be Saints. Beloved, if we did but live like the Saints of God in holinesse and purity in the ways of God, the Lord would put such splendor and glory upon us, that would even daunt the very face of our enemies, and make them stand amazed at Saints. But it is the contrary with us, the glory of God is departed from us, Spain, France, and other Nations fear us not: Why? the righteousnesse and purity of Religion is departed from us. For you shall have a Saint come into the company of a wicked man, and yet the swearer will not be afraid to swear before him, the drunkard will not be afraid to be drunk before him, the filthy speaker will not be afraid to utter rotten speeches before him, the lyer will not be afraid to lye before him, the worldly man will not be afraid to discover his vani­ties before him by his carnal and filthy conference. Beloved, all this is, because the Saints have lost their glory; if they did live as Saints ought to live, the wicked would tremble to work wickednesse before them. Though a wicked man be a drunkard, & abuse the good creatures of God when no Saint is in his company, yet if a Saint were present, he would tremble and not dare to do it. Though he were a swearer, a filthy talker, a vain worldling amongst his companions, yet if he come in the Saints com­pany, and the Saints stand in Gods councel, then would the wicked trem­ble and quake to do such things: then would they lick in their tongues, and not dare to speak any such blasphemous oaths, such vain and unpro­fitable words, filthy lyes and slanders; It is said of those that gladly re­ceived the Apostles words, and were added to the Church, that the fear of them came upon the world, Acts 2. 41. Why, did the Disciples go with swords and guns, &c. to keep men in awe thereby? No, they continued in the Apostles doctrine and fellowship, and did live according thereto, and this made all the world afraid of them.

Secondly, this condemns the little difference that is betwixt the wicked of the world, and some Saints, in their lives and manners: Beloved, is there so little difference between the Judge and the prisoners, that any one need to come and say, I pray you Sir, shew me which is the Judge, and which is the malefactor? is there not a plain difference both in apparell and carriage? the one is in rich apparell, and the other in stinking and filthy cloaths, having his hands manacled, and his legs chained. But it is to be feared, that many of the Saints have neglected holinesse and purity in their carriage and actions which they perform, that one can hardly tell which is a Saint, and which is a reprobate. If a man deal with a Saint, and deal with a wicked man, he seeth no difference betwen them. Let a Saint do any action, either pray, hear, or conferre, let a wicked man do the like, there is such dead­nesse, such carnality, such worldly-mindednesse, such lukewarmnesse of affection, that one can hardly tell which is the Saint, and which is the hypocrite. Beloved, if the Saints did live like Saints, there would be as plain a difference between a Saint and a wicked man, in in their lives and behaviour, as is betwixt the Judge and the Rogue that is to be judged by him. Hast thou not considered my servant Job, (saith God) how there is none like him in all the earth? Job 1. 4. 8. If [Page 80] a man come to be a Saint indeed, there is never a wicked man in the Town and Countrey, that lives and doth as he doth, and walks as he walks, nor prayes as he prayes, nor hears the word as he hears it, nor that confers or meditates as he doth, that beleeves and repents as he doth, that strives against his lusts as he doth: there is none like him in all the world.

Thirdly, it condemns the scandalousnesse of many Professors in their be­haviours and actions. Oh how do wicked men insult and exclaim here­upon, to see a Professor led away and overcome by some lust! What (say they) are these they that are led by the Spirit of God? are these your devout men? Why they can covet and scrape as well as others; they can cousen and lye as well as others. I, those that are your great Professors, and hot-spurrs, they are as coveteous, as worldly, as cru­el as others, though they will not be drunk, nor swear, yet they will cousen and lye, as well as others. The consideration whereof, made the Prophets heart to bleed in him, and to pray, O purge me from my murder and adultery, and all other my secret sinnes, lest I cast mire and dirt in the faces of thy children, causing them to bear the re­proches of my sinns. Oh let not those that seek thee, be ashamed for my sake, Psalm. 69. For thy sake that livest scandalously and offen­sively, for thy sake that livest covetously, and scraping after the world, that art so unjust in thy dealings and promises, mire and dirt, scandals and reproaches are cast upon the children. For thy loosenesse, yea for thy carnal liberty it is that the true professors of Religion are reproached, suspected, and hardly censured in the world. What did Jacob when he was to walk with the people of the Land? Genesis 35. 5. 6. he purged his house, and (saith the Text) the terror of God was upon all the City, he made them all to tremble at him. I tell you, all the wicked in Ashford would tremble at the Pro­fessors that live therein, if they did live and carry themselves like Saints indeed. Oh if all those that did professe themselves to be Chri­stians, were Christians indeed; and that professe themselves to be Saints, were Saints indeed, living in the power and sanctification of holinesse; then men would say of themselves, of a truth God is in these men, Christ dwels in them, and the Spirit of God leads and governs them indeed. If thou wouldest judge the world, take heed how the world judgeth thee, lest thou with the world be con­demned eternally. It was said that Herod feared John, because he was a just man, Mark 6. 23. So if all thy neighbours did know that thou were a just man, a holy and conscionable man in all thy wayes, and in all thy actions, and that cannot endure swearing, lying, and deceit, but did see that thou wast just, and one that feared God truly, they would all fear thee.

THE PUNISHMENT Of Un …

THE PUNISHMENT Of Unworthy COMMUNICANTS AT THE TABLE of the LORD: DELIVERED In a SERMON preached, By that Reverend and Faithfull Minister of the Word, WILLIAM FENNER, B. D. Sometimes Fellow of Pembroke Hall in Cambridge, and late Pastor of Rochford in Essex.

London, Printed by E. T. for John Stafford.

A SERMON OF M. WILLIAM FENNERS, Upon this ensuing Text.

1 Cor. 11. 30.‘For this cause many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.’

THE Apostle, in this Chapter, taxeth two abuses which were then amongst the Corinthians: First, the unseemly habit of women in the congregation, from the 1 verse to the 17. Secondly, the prophane usage of the holy Communion, both by men and wo­men, from the 17 verse to the end of the Chapter: and herein, from the 23. verse to the end of the 25 he sets down the Institution of the Lords Supper; and thence raiseth a point of Doctrine;

That whosoever would come to this holy communion, they must examineDoctrine 1. themselves, that so they may come worthily; else it were better that they never came.

So we may read in the 28 verse; But let a man examine himselfe, and so let him eat of that Bread and drink of that Cup: As if the Apostle had said, Unlesse a man examine himself, and search his own heart, and find out his sins, and dive into the secrets of his soul, to bring out his hidden corruptions, confessing them, and judging himselfe for them be­fore the Lord, let them never presume to come to the holy Sacrament.

[Page 84]And then he proves it by three Reasons.

The first is taken from the end of the Sacrament; for it is the remem­branceReason 1. of the death and passion of Christ: so it is in 26. verse. So oft as you Eat of this Bread and Drink of this Cup, you shew forth the Lords death till he come. It is a reason that the men of this world are not acquainted with­all, and therefore it was a good wish of a Reverend Father, that the Sa­crament should never be ministred but there should be a Sermon, to teach men the nature of it, and to instruct them in the Mystery thereof. We approach unto the Sacrament hand over head, living in our sinnes, not shewing by our coming that Christ is dead; we say, & we profess that Christ dyed for our sins, and yet not withstanding our sins live in us, as if Christ had not died for us, or as if we would proclaim, that his death had no effect in us. For were we dead with Christ, then sin and the living occasions of sin, would be dead in us also. My beloved, we should never come to this Sacrament, but we should shew forth the Lords death thereby, that is, that Christ is dead (or rather dyed) for sin, and that sin is also dead in us.

The second reason is taken from the damned wrong we offer unto Christ,Reason 2. if we come in our sins, for we are guilty of the body and bloud of Christ, as it is in the 27▪ verse; nay, thou sinnest against the Lord Jesus Christ not a jot lesse, than Pilate that condemned him, than Judas that betrayed him, and the Jews that cryed out, Crucifie him, crucifie him: yea thou art as much guilty, as if thy own hand in thy own person had been imbrued in his bloud. Now we know it is a horrible sin to be guilty of the blood and murther of an ordinary man, yea of a very rogue; how much more is it a great and fearfull sin to be guilty of the body and bloud of the Lord Jesus Christ, the onely and eternall Sonne of God? Yet comest thou to this holy Communion, and bring­est no lesse than the guilt of the Body and bloud of Christ upon thy soul?

The third Reason is taken from the wofull wrong and injury that manReason 3. brings upon his own soul, that comes unpreparedly without examination of him­selfe; in the 20. verse, he eateth and drinketh his own damnation; that is, he maketh himselfe guilty of, and lyable to the same vengeance that the crucifiers of Christ had inflicted on them. Good had it been for that man (saith Christ of Judas) if that he had never been born: So may I say, Good had it been for that man and that woman, if they had never been borne, who come unworthily unto the Table of the Lord: for when they eat of that Bread, they eat their own bane; and when they drinke of that Cup, they drinke their own damna­tion.

Then commeth he to make some uses of this point; and first he con­demnsUse 1. those that as they come, so they goe away from the Sacrament; no more holy, no more gracious, than before; but as they come in their sins, so they go away in their sins; they came drunkards, and they go away drunkards; they came worldlings, and they go away worldlings; they came mockers, and they go away mockers, they came in their wrath, anger, malice, deadnesse, hypocrisie, and luke-warmnesse, and so they [Page 85] goe away still, never the better, but living in them as they did before▪ As in the [...] ▪ verse. You come together (saith the Apostle) not for the better, but for the worse. Whereas [...]f they would have come worthily, they should have gone away the better, they should have received more grace and holinesse to walk with God, more power and strength against sin and corruption; yea, the Lord would have ratified and confirmed his Covenant with them; whereas living in contention, and not coming with preparation, they grow the worse by the Sacrament. The Corinthi­ans thought that the Apostle would have praised them for their coming to Church, and receiving the Sacrament: Shall I praise you? (saith the A­postle) in this I praise you not.

Secondly, He makes an use of terror against all those that dare come inUse 2. their sins unto this holy Sacrament of the Lord▪ for that man that com­eth in his sins unto the Table of the Lord, 1. Though he may think he receives the Communion, yet he doth not: for this is not the Table of the Lord, but the Table of devils. It is true, thou receivest the Sa­crament of the body and blood of Christ; but yet coming in thy sins, thou receivest not his body and blood, as of a Saviour to save thee from thy sins: Indeed thou receivest the body and blood of Christ sacramen­tally; but it is as the Judge to condemn thee unto the pit of destruction, for thy damned impudency in coming so unworthily unto this holy Sa­crament. For that man cannot eat the body of Christ, that is not a mem­ber of Christ; therefore thou must be a limb of Christ, if ever thou wilt receive worthily.

2. If a man come unto the Sacrament, and come in his sins, he com­eth to his own destruction: for though it be a sweet banquet to re­fresh an humble and weary soul, and to make it walk more cheerfully in the wayes of God, all the dayes of his life: yet he that cometh unto it in his sins, and receiveth it in his uncleannesse, speedeth thereby, his own damnation, and receiveth it as his v [...]aticum to hell. The Apostle compares Baptisme to the Red Sea, 1. Cor. 10. from which place Cryso­stome saith, that as the Red Sea was a way for the Israelites to passe through to Canaan? so it was as a grave to swallow up the Egypptians to their destruction: So the Lords Supper is as a grave, an open pit whereby many plunge themselves into eternall destruction; but as a cha­riot to the godly to carry them to heaven.

Thirdly, by coming in thy sinnes, thou makest thy selfe lyable to GodsUse 3. temporary plagues and judgements; as appears in my Text, For this cause many are sick and weak among you, and many are fallen asleep, [For this cause] which is not only a note of conclusion, but of the cause: For this cause, namely, because they examine not themselves, but come in their sins and receive it unworthily. One man hath a disease in his body, that he liveth not out halfe his dayes; another is sick and weak neer unto death; a third is fallen asleep. Wherefore? why (saith the A­postle) for this cause of receiving unworthily the Sacrament of the Lords Supper.

Fourthly, for instruction, that because the people of God as wellUse 4. as wicked men, are guilty of unworthy coming to the Lords Table, [Page 86] therefore he exhorts them, that if they would not have the Lord judge them, that they would judge themselves, as in the 31. verse. For if we would judge our selves, we should not be judged of the Lord. If we would sit down and search our own hearts, and try our own spirits, and pry into our owne bosomes, and out with our old corruptions, and unclean lusts, and enter into a new covenant with God, of holy walking before him for after-time, if we would thus judge and condemn our selves, and mortifie our sinnes, comming with grace unto this holy banquet, that we might come with comfort unto this blessed Sacrament, assuring our selves that we shall escape the judgement of the Lord. For those of the Corinthians whom God struck with sicknesse, weaknesse, and death, it was to instruct others that are well and in health, that they venture not to enter upon these holy mysteryes with unholy hearts, and unclean hands.

Fifthly, he concludeth with an use of exhortation in the 33, and 34. verses: Wherefore brethren when ye come together to partake of the holy Com­munion, tarry one for another: As if he should have said, Away with all your disorders, and come not with a temporall, but with a spirituall appetite; provide not thy teeth, but thy heart for these dainties: for this is not a feast for the body, but for the soul; therefore away with all your disorders and unseemly coming unto this blessed Sacrament, take heed and repent of this sin among you, and of all other sins which you know your own conscience to be guilty of, and so come unto this holy com­munion.

Now, the verse that I have read to you, is a part of that use of terror which the Apostle makes against the unworthy receivers of the Sacrament; and it con­tains Gods severe hand and punishment against those that come unwor­thily: wherein note three things.

First, the cause of their punishment, which is the unworthy eating of the 1 Communion: For this cause many are sick and weak among you and ma­ny are fallen asleep.

Secondly, the punishment inflicted for this sin, weaknesse, sicknesse, and 2 mortality: For it seems (saith Peter Martyr) that the Lord sent a sore plague and pestilence among them, to revenge himself of them for their abuse of the Sacrament, for this cause.

Thirdly, there is the Delinquents, which are you Corinthians: Many 3 are sick and weak among you, and in them all others that come unprepared­ly to the Sacrament.

Chrysostom notes here, that our Apostle doth not fetch here an Argu­ment or example of judgement from others, as he had done in the former chapter; but he brings it from themselves, who sensibly felt the wrath of God upon them for this very sin: As if the Apostle should have said, How is it, O Corinthians, that you dare venture to come unto the Com­munion so unpreparedly, and that you have no more regard of so weigh­ty a businesse as is the receiving of the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ? See you not the wrath of God upon your dwellings, and the curse of heaven to take hold of your town? you see it this very time, that some are weak and very sick amongst you, near unto death, and [Page 87] others have been struck with death before your eyes, and the wrath of God is not removed; but lies yet upon you: What, will you alwayes goe on, and never cease to provoke the Lord to indignation and wrath a­gainst you for your sins, until his jealousie hath utterly consumed you, and clean cut you off? and howsoever many of you may think that this sicknesse, weaknesse, and mortality comes upon you by chance, as from the infection of the ayr, or other secundary causes, I tell you nay, but it is for this cause onely, even your unworthy coming to the Supper of the Lord. Whence we may observe this point of instruction:

That God doth most severely punish the unworthy receivers of the Sacra­ment of the Lords Supper.

He punished the Corinthians here with sicknesse, weaknesse, feavers, pestilence, death temporall, and God knows how many with death e­ternall. Theodoret observes, that the Apostle told them of a thing that was acted amongst them, for if he had told them of such judgements as had been hid from them, and not manifest before their eyes, as if they had not felt the sicknesse in their bodies, and heard the bels tolling day­ly in their ears, they might have thought that the Apostle had but lyed unto them. So the people of Israel, as we may read in 1 Cor. 10. 2, 3. verses▪ they were baptized in the Cloud and in the Sea, and they did all eat the same spirituall meat, and drink the same spirituall drink; yet, as it is in the fifth verse, with many of them God was not well pleased. Nay God was so wroth with them, that within the space of forty years, many thou­sands of them were destroyed by death here, and God knoweth how many thousands of them in hell. For God speaketh of hell, as well as of death, and their sin was so great, that it made God confirm it with an oath, that they should never enter into his rest. And Saint Cyprian saith, that the Lord hath shewed many miracles, and declared many fearfull judgements upon the unworthy receivers of the Sacrament.

Judas, who Ambrose thought received the Sacrament (though Hilary and others that he did not, but only that he did eat the Passeover, and was coming to the Sacrament also) but see his doom, John 13. as soon as ever he received the sop, the Devil entred into him; and so it is with all such as come to the Communion in their sins without repentance, and unfeigned resolution of walking ever after worthy the Sacrament, I say unto all and every one of them, that as soon as ever thou receivest the Bread and Wine into thy mouth, thou receivest the devil together with it; as soon as ever it goeth down into thy bodie▪ the Devill goeth after it, and taketh more full possession of thy heart and soul.

Now the reason why the Lord doth so severely punish both with temporall judgements and with spirituall curses, the unworthy receivers of the Sacrament, is, in regard of the author of the Sacrament, who is Christ: and that not only as he was man, (as the Papists would make us be­leeve) but Christ as he was God did institute the same. So saith the A­postle in the 23. verse, The Lord Jesus Christ in the same night that he was betray'd, took bread and brake it, when he had given thanks, and said, Take ye, and eat ye, for this is my body which is broken for you. Now if the Lord Jesus did institute it, what an accursed thing is it for any to defile it, and [Page 88] so sin against Christ? it is a damnable thing to sin against God; but to sin against God, as he is God in Christ, is damnably damnable. The ho­ly Ghost in the second Psalm exhorts to kisse the Son lest he be angry, and so thou perish: as if he should say, Adore the Son, Adore the Lo [...]d Jesus Christ, and so come and eat of this bread, and drink of this Cup: for if he be angry, thou wilt surely perish: If thou sin against God and so go out of the way, Christ upon thy repentance will set thee in again; but if thou sinnest against God in Christ, who is the Way, the Life, and the Truth, thou shalt surely perish from the right way: for there is no other way to bring thee in again, Acts 4. 12. Therefore wofull is thy case, and miserable is thy condition, if thou sinnest against Christ, prophaning his holy Ordinances which he himselfe hath instituted, and abusest and despisest that blessed Spirit of his, that comes to seal unto thee the re­demption that he hath purchased by his bloud. Better had it been for thee that thou hadst never been born: for if he be wroth, blessed only are all they that put their trust in him, and come preparedly unto his holy Ordi­nance, and that by faith imbrace the Lord Jesus Christ, but woe unto all prophane persons that live in their sins: if his wrath be but a little kindled, then woe to all drunkards, swearers, and unclean persons; but blessed is that man that is come out of his sins. For if his wrath be so terrible when it is but a little kindled, O how much more fearfull will it be when it is deeply incensed! Therefore if thou comest unto this holy Sacrament in thy sins, without due preparation and examination, what doest thou but even set the wrath of God burning upon thy soul and bo­dy from the very bottom of hell?

When the Lord delivered the Law upon Mount Sinai, he comman­ded the people to sanctifie themselves; yea if a beast did but touch the mountain, he must dye for the same, even be stoned to death, or thrust through with a dart, Heb. 12. Much more then now, when the Lord doth deliver the Gospel, especially the ground-work and master-peece thereof, the Lord Jesus Christ, and that in the most blessed manner that ever God exhibited himselfe unto man; how much more doth God require purity and holinesse, that all such as come to receive the Lord Jesus Christ in the blessed Sacrament should be sanctified, purging their hearts▪ and cleansing their souls from all their sin and uncleannesse? Should not a beast touch the mountain where God did appear, and da­rest thou touch the body of Christ, and drink his blessed bloud in thy sinnes? The very angels of heaven will curse thee, and the clouds of hea­ven will pour down showers of vengeance upon thee: for God hath more severe punishments to inflict upon sinners under the Gospell, than he used under the Law, though then he struck them with more visible and sensible plagues and judgements than ordinarily he bringeth upon men now: as Gehazi for his covetousnesse was strucken with leprosie; Corah, Dathan, and Abiram, the earth opened her mouth and swallowed them up quick for their rebellion against the Lord: Er and Onan were strucken dead for their wickednesse; Jeroboam had his hand withered for stretching of it forth to strike the Lords Pro­phet. And though the Lord bring not such sensible punishments now [Page 89] as he did then, yet he knows how to punish the world a thousand times more than he did then, at this time▪ As a father hath other kinds of punishments for his son, when he is grow [...] up, than he had when he was in coats, and but a child; then a twig or two would serve the turn; but if he come to mans estate, and then rebell against his father, it may be that he will disinherit him, and cast him out of his family: So in former time God did scourge and whip his people when they sinned against him: but now he hath drawn out his Church to this age, even to the age of the Gospel, he hath severer strokes of plagues and curses, wherewith to confound all prophane and impenitent sinners, that dare to abuse that blessed Sacrament of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The second Reason is, in regard of the matter of the Sacrament, which is Christ also; who as he was the efficient cause, so in regard of Sacra­mental relation, he is the matter of the Cummunion, 1 Cor. 10. 16. The Cup of blessing which we blesse, is it not the Communion of the bloud of Christ? and the bread which we break, is it not th [...] Communion of the body of Christ? Now the better matter any thing is of, the more heynous is the defilement of it▪ A master will not be so angry for casting his earthen vessels into the mire, as he will be for casting his rich jewels. The Bread and Wine in the Sacrament, are the blessed Communion of the precious body and bloud of Christ, and darest thou defile them? knowest thou not that thou dost greatly encrease the wrath of the Lord against thy soul thereby? That soul whatever it was from Dan to Beer­sheba, that came in his uncleannesse to partake of any of those holy things which the children of Israel hallowed to the Lord, whether he were man, or woman, rich or poor, that person was to be cut off from the pre­sence of the Lord, Levit. 12. whereto the Lord sets his Seal for the con­firmation thereof (I am the Lord:) and as sure as I am the Lord, so will I see it accomplished. So my beloved, let me say unto you of England, from Dover to Newcastle, or from the one end of the town unto the o­ther, that soul who toucheth any one of these holy things with an impure heart, and cometh to partake of them with his uncleannesse upon him, living in his sinnes, and wallowing in his lusts, casting off the fear of the Lord, and making no conscience to walk in Gods wayes, that soul shall surely be cut off that cometh so unworthily unto the Table of the Lord; not only the hand that taketh it, and the mouth that eateth it, but even the very soul of him that cometh, shall perish from the pre­sence of the Lord. So Levit. 7. 20. That soul that eateth of the flesh of the Sacrifices of peace offerings, that pertain unto the Lord, having his un­cleannesse upon him, even that soul shall be cut off from his people. Now you know that all those sacrifices had relation unto Christ; but yet under the Law they were but shadows, and typicall relations, and were not so▪ lievly and effectuall means for the exhibiting of Christ, as the Lords Supper is. And therefore if such as came in their uncleannesse unto them, were punished with no lesse punishment than a cutting off from fel­lowship with the Lords people; what wrath and vengeance will the Lord bring upon thee that comest with thy uncleannesse upon thee unto this holy Communion? Augustine saith, that man that receiveth the [Page 90] Sacrament unworthily, receiveth a great plague to his own soul, and a great torment to his own conscience, yea and heapeth up a store of wrath unto himself against the day of wrath. Me thinks thou that livest in thy sinnes, and wilt not come out of them; when thou hea­rest these words [This is my body] and seest the bread broken before thy face, it should even make thee tremble and quake to look upon it, more to touch it, and most of all to tast it: for it is the Communion of the body and bloud of Christ; and how darest thou come in thy sins to defile it?

A third Reason is, in regard of the form of the Sacrament, which is Christ too, for as he is the efficient cause that instituted it, and as he is also the matter of the Sacrament, so in the third place Christ is the form of the Sacrament also, wherein the confirming grace of God is sealed up unto thee: Now as it is treason for a man to offer contempt unto the Kings broad Seal; so certainly is it high treason against this King of Kings, to contemn this blessed Sacrament, which is the Seal of the righteousnesse of faith. If thou shouldest clip the Kings Coyn, I will say that thou art a Traitor. Oh what a traytor art thou then, yea, accursed traytor in the account of God and Christ, if thou clippest his holy Communion, if thou clip it of thy examination, and due preparation, and so come hand over head, not regarding so holy an Ordinance. Thou sinnest against the Court of heaven. That which Saint James speaks in general of the whole worship of God [Draw near unto God] let me apply it in particular unto this drawing near unto God in his holy Communion, James 4. 8. Cleanse your hands ye sinners, and purifie your hearts ye double-minded. Draw near unto God in the hearing, reading and meditating on Gods Word; draw near unto God in Prayer, and in his holy Sacrament, and receive it for your a­mendment of life. [Draw near unto God] I, that I wil, (saith the wicked man) I wil come to Church, and draw near unto the holy Communion. Will you so? (saith the Apostle:) No, first, Cleanse your hands ye sinners, and purge your hearts ye double-minded: As if he should say, never think of drawing near unto God, or setting foot on this holy ground, and handling those holy mysteries of Christ, unlesse thou first purge thy heart, and cleanse thy soul from all thy filthy lusts and cursed corrupti­ons, lest otherwise, thou coming in thy sins with thy uncleannesse on thee, and so receiving unworthily, thou eatest and drinkest thine own damnation (as our English translation hath it) damnation to thy self, and not to another. No, God forbid, that thou shouldest by thy unworthy coming, eat and drink condemnation to another, for thou that art a child of God, and comest unto the Table of the Lord with repentance, and a sound measure of preparation, though others that sit in the same pew with with thee, for their prophanenesse eat and drink their own damnation, yet thou shalt be sure to receive the seal and assurance of thy reconciliation and salvation, with free acceptance of God, through the Lord Jesus Christ, for every man shall bear his own burden.

The last Reason is, in regard of the end of the Sacrament, which is Christ also: For as he is the efficient, material, and formal cause, so Christ [Page 91] is also the final cause of the Sacrament: So it is in the 26 verse, As oft as you eat of this Bread, and drink of this Cup, you shew forth the Lords death until he come. Not that Christ may be eaten with the teeth, or corpo­rally received in the Sacrament, or as if he were there productively, or transubstantially, (as the Papists say;) no, the Apostle shews, that the end of the celebration of this Sacrament, is to shew forth the death of Christ untill he come.

Object.I, but (say the Romists) unlesse we eat the body and drink the blood of Christ really; and not the consecrated bread and wine, how can any man by this unworthy communicating, eat and drink his own damnation, and make himself guilty of the body and blood of Christ?

AnswerI answer, a man cannot bring this guilt upon himselfe by eating a peece of bread, or drinking a cup of wine; but the Apostle hath an an­swer so fitted for this, as that all the Papists in the world shall never be able to gain say; and therefore I pray you to mark it: for he hath joy­ned these two verses together; as oft as you eat of this bread and drink of this cup, you shew forth the Lords death till he come: Wherefore whosoever eateth this bread or drinketh this cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord; even for this cause, because it is the shew­ing forth of Christs death till he come. Therefore if thou eatest and drinkest unworthily, coming in thy sins, and resolvest to go on in them, that as thou wert proud before thou camest to the Sacrament, so thou art still; as thou wert cholerick, angry, and impatient before, so thou art still; as thou wert luke-warm and dead-hearted in Gods service be­fore, so thou remainest still, remember I pray thee, that as oft as thou hast come unto the Communion in those thy sins, thou hast made thy selfe guilty of the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore I beseech you to look to it, and in time to repent, and pray with the Pro­phet David Ps. 51. Deliver me from blood-guiltinesse, O Lord, even from the blood of thy Son, lest one day it be laid unto thy charge and required straitly at thy hands. For, for this cause many are sick among you, and many weak.

Is it so then, that the Lord doth so severely punish the unworthy re­ceiver of the Sacrament? Take notice (I pray you) then from whence co­meth all sicknesse, weaknesse, and mortality, and the reason why the Lord doth send so many kinde of sorrowes, crosses, and miseries upon men; namely, because of the unworthy receiving of the Lords Supper. So saith Master Calvin, why do you wonder to see such wars, and ru­mours of wars, that there is so many blood-sheds, so many Towns and Cities ruinated, and so many Countries sacked and depopulated, so many calamities come upon the Churches abroad, and so many plagues and scourges to over-run Christendome at this day, is not the cause plain enough? men come unto the Table of the Lord careles­ly and unworthily. And, beloved, we shall never see the Lord take a­way his judgements here from the earth, until we betake our selves to a more diligent and holy receiving of the Sacrament. For this very cause there are so many strange diseases amongst us, never formerly known or heard of untill these dayes, as, the French-Pox, the English sweat (as [Page 92] they call it) that even the Physitians themselves are blunted at them, and (as Peter Martyr well observs) hence are all diseases, as plagues, pe­stilences, (which were late amongst us) dropsies, bloody-Flux, Agues, Apoplexies, Convulsions, burning-Feavers, and Impostumes, &c. and all for this cause. One man hath fallen into a Feaver, and we won­der at the cause whence he took it; but in truth the communion hath cast him into his Feaver, and the Lord will avenge himself on him for the same. Another is sick, and he thinks that a cold hath brought it upon him; but it is the unworthy receiving of the Sacrament that is truly the cause of it. A third man dyeth before his time, even in his full strength, before in the course of nature he hath ended half his daies; but the cause is unworthy coming to the Communion, which hath taken hold on him, and cut off the thread of his life.

Many there be that expound these words in a spirituall sense, Many are sick and weak and many are fallen asleep, that is to say, many have their consciences seared, and their hearts hardened, &c. and this is true also, that because men come unpreparedly, they have their hearts har­dened, and their consciences seared, and their soul plagued with ma­ny spirituall plagues. But it is as true also in temporall judgements, thou hast had many afflictions, and much sickness laid unto thee; but thank thy selfe for it; namely, because thou hast come unworthily unto the communion, thou hast had much weaknesse in thy body, which hath cost thee much money, and weakned thy estate; but thy unholy coming unto the Sacrament, is that which thou maiest thank for it. Thou hast been reproched and contemned, and endured much shame; but take no­tice of it, that it proceeds from the fore-going cause, and that is a spe­ciall reason why the Lord hath brought these and many other evils up­on thee. Thou canst say the Commandements (for the most part) by rote; but thou didst never know the mysterie of this one Commande­ment, Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. Behold, the Communion is one of Gods own names, and how many thousands are there in the world that take this name of God in vain? Is there never a drunkard here in this congregation, that hath been at the Sacrament? Is there never a whoremonger, never a covetous worldling? Where is the man, whosoever he be among you all, that is such a one? He is in the state of damnation. Is there never a luke-warm and carnal Christian, that contents himselfe with a formall worship, and a dead performance of holy duties, that hath no zeal for God, nor courage for his truth, but is carelesse of all Gods commandements? whosoever amongst you are guilty of these sins, or any other, and hath come unto this holy Commu­nion in them, they are the persons, that how oft soever they have recei­ved, so oft they have taken this name of the Lord in vain: And if I should examine this Congregation from the one end of it unto the other, I fear that every pew would yeild some one, if not many that have taken a Communion (which is one of Gods names) in vain. Should I but examine thee that comest unto the Communion this day, how by the last Sacra­ment thou receivedst, and the last Sermon thou hast heard, thy faith is strengthened, thy repentance renewed, and thy obedience is increased, [Page 93] and thy care doubled for to walk with God? whether thou art made by them more zealous for God, more forward in his worship and ser­vice; and every day more holy and heavenly-minded; if not, then t [...]o [...] hast taken this Name of the Lord thy God in vain, and the Lord will not hold thee guiltless, that is, the Lord will not take away the guilt from thy con­science, but he wil let thy sin lye open, and thou shalt not be cleansed from it, nor justified by the very blood of Jesus Christ, but it shall rest upon thee to thy utter ruine and destruction, unlesse thou forsake thy sins, and so come preparedly unto this holy Table and banquet. I know there is a convenant of grace, a sweet refreshing for every humbled soul that is hungry and broken for his sins, and for every poor distressed con­science; let all such come and lay their sin upon Christs crosse, and wel­come: But if there be any that come in their sins, and will not reform their lives, but be as they came sinners, and so they mean to continue, the Lord himself will lay this mans sins upon his own head, and they shall never be taken away from him, but Christ shall at the day of judgement pronounce him a guilty person, to his eternal condem­nation.

King Belshazzar that abused but the holy Vessels of the Temple, and the Cups thereof, what a small plague befel him for it? Dan. 5. 27, 28. God hath numbred thy Kingdome and finished it, thou art weighed in the ballance, and art found too light, thy kingdom is departed from thee, and is given to the Medes and Persians. So (beloved brethren) if any of you shall abuse this Cup of the Lord, coming to it with a filthy unclean heart, and polluted conscience, and earthly affections, there is a hand-writing against every soul that thus cometh this day unto the Table of the Lord: thou art numbred and weighed and found too light: Thou O man and woman, whosoever thou art that prophanest and contemnest these holy things of God, thou shalt be found out, and the Lord will keep thee out by his spirituall plagues, and thy sin shall never be done away, but be required at thy hands, and stand in everlasting record against thee; O my brethren, that you would but seriously consider it, and look about you, it being so weighty a thing that so nearly concerns every one of you.

But I would not have any poor broken heart and humble Soul to mi­stake me, and so thereby be discouraged: but give me leave (I pray you) to use the words of the Prophet, though spoken in another sense, Psal. 115. Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy Name give the glory: So let me apply this doctrine unto the comfort of all poor broken-hear­ted sinners, and beate off all carnal prophane wretches that live in their sins; not unto you, O drunkards, & swaggerers, not unto you whore­masters and unclean persons, that wallow in ungodlinesse, I say not unto you, but unto the poor afflicted soul and contrite spirit that lieth bleeding and gasping under the weight of his sin, and that trembles and fears being opprest with the sense of its own unworthiness, panting and breathing after Christ Jesus, and suing earnestly unto the Throne of grace for mercy and forgivenesse: unto thee only belongs this com­fort, and therefore take it home to thee, and know it for thy self. Art [Page 94] thou troubled with a hard heart, and an unbeleeving soul, and art even wearyed and tyred out with thy many sins and infirmities? Come thou with comfort unto this holy Communion: for thou shalt be sure to find saving good by it; to thee it shall be a spirituall medicine to heal all thy diseases, and to cure all thy strong and prevailing corruptions; and if thou come unto this holy Table of the Lord, it shall make thee, as it is recorded of Saint Laurence, able to suffer Martyrdom, and to get victory over all thy unruly affections; yea at last thou shalt tread Satan thy arch-enemy under thy feet. Thefore be not dismayed, for the Lord Jesus invites thee to come. What if thy infirmities be many, yet the mercies of God, which he tenders to thee in this Communion▪ are many more. Samson who was the strongest Souldier and Companion in his time that was in Israel to overcome the Philistims, he yet began his strength in weaknesse, being at the first overcome by a woman: So though the Lord intend to make thee a strong Christian, he will make thee to begin in weaknesse to perfect thy power, to begin in sin and mi­sery, that he may make thee to end in glory. I know Gods children here may receive temporal punishments, and bring temporal scourges upon themselves, as we may see amongst the Corinthians here, but it shall be for their good and amendment, namely, for their correction, and not for their ruine and destruction; that so being chastened by the Lord, they might not be condemned with the world. Therefore if thou com­est carelesly and unprofitably, God will chastise thee with the rods of men, as he did Peter, who receiving the Sacrament with his Master over night, yet the next day thrice denyed him; but God whipt his soul, and scourged his conscience for it, and beat him black and blew, so that he went out and wept bitterly. Nay he could scarce with off that sin, and re­cover himself again whilst he lived.

Wherefore let us take heed of unprepared coming to the Sacrament; for God will not hold such guiltlesse: Yea, if his own sonnes or daughters transgresse thereby; he will make them to feel the smart of it. But now to come to all such as come moneth by moneth, hand over head, without any examination and repentance, in their uncleannesse and abomination, making no conscience of their reformation, let me tell them, that it shall be one of Christs demands of them in the day of judgement, How oft hast thou been at my Table? How oft hast thou been partaker of that holy Communion which I gave unto thee? Hast thou come preparedly, or received worthily, or no? Hast thou eat bread at my Table with me, and lift up thy heel against me? Did I command▪ and thou wouldest not obey? Did I send my Ministers to thee to re­form, but thou wouldest not be reformed? Did I check and reprove thee for thy pride, blasphemies, drunkennesse, covetousnesse, anger, wrath, malice, fornication, hypocrisie and prophanenesse in the matter of my worship? and yet wouldest thou still live in these sins? Where are all the Sacraments that thou hast received? How hast behaved thy self? Where are the sins that thou hast forsaken, and pleasing corruptions that thou hast abhorred? What grace and holinesse hast thou received by the means thou hast enjoyed? and how hast thou manifested the same [Page 95] through thy whole conversation? Oh! woe, woe unto thee, yea and a world of woes unto thee, and unto all such as shall be silent and speech­lesse to those or the like demands of Christ: for they cannot say they have come out of their sins, and have been reformed by the means of grace, and have received spirituall nourishment and refreshing from the heavenly banquet of the Communion of the body and bloud of the Lord Jesus Christ.

A man will especially regard the last words of a dear friend, who is as a mans Soul, when he is to speak upon his death-bed, and will be care­full to remember them; and dost thou not more regard the last Will and Testament of our Lord Jesus Christ? we count it a horrible sin to al­ter the last Will of a man that is dead. Beloved, the Lord Jesus, before he left this world, instituted this blessed Sacrament as his last Will and Testament, and hath given us a charge, that as we would not eat and drink our own damnation by bringing the guilt of his body and bloud upon our Souls, so that we should discern the Lords body, and not come unpreparedly in our sins and abominations, without reverence and re­spect of such holy and high mysteries, as if there were nothing more to be received and looked for after, then the bare and naked element of bread and wine, or as if we did come to communicate with unclean De­vils. O my brethren, if you had but faith, you would be able to discern Christ in the Sacrament▪ and therefore when thou comest unto it, thou must prepare and sanctifie thy selfe to communicate with him in those holy Ordinances and heavenly mysteries of his most pretious body and bloud: for if so be that thou retainest thy sins, and so come unworthily unto this holy Table of the Lord, thou art a great Covenant-breaker with God: For thou never comest unto the Communion, but thou ma­kest and renewest thy covenant with God, wherein thou promisest thus much, or the like in effect; Lord, I have been formerly a drunkard, but now I promise to give it over, and never to be a drunkard more; I have been a scoffer at Religion, and a mocker and derider of thy children, but now I faithfully promise (Lord) that I will never do so any more. I have been wicked and sinfull, disobeying and rebelling against all thy holy commandements, and respected not thy judgements and thy pro­mises, and have been carelesse of thy glory: But now (Lord) as I eat this bread, and drink this wine; so I covenant unto thee, and promise to thee, that I wil amend all my sinfull ways, and become a reformed Chri­stian. And as I ever look that the body and the bloud of the Lord Jesus Christ, represented in the elements, should nourish my soul unto eternall life, so I promise to be disobedient unto the Devill, but faithfull and obe­dient unto thee. I will stop my ears against the alluring inchantments of the world, and wicked suggestions of the Devil; but I wil open them wide to hearken to thy voice, that I may obey thy commands. But now as thou hast made it, so if thou hast broken this thy covenant with God, retur­ning to thy former courses of sin and disobedience against him, know thou, that this covenant of thine which thou hast broken, shal stand in full force against thee: for God will assuredly require it at thy hands: and all the Sacraments which thou hast received, thou hast received [Page 96] them but as so many seals and pledges of thy just deserved condemnati­on.

Object.But some man may object and say, Do all that come unworthily unto the Sacrament, eat and drink their own damnation▪ Then many hundreds, yea thousands are damned: Are all damned that have eat and drunk unworthi­ly?

Answer.Ans. No, but a man may eat and drink his own damnation three ways: First, in regard of guilt and liablenesse unto Gods wrath: and so he that eateth and drinketh his naturall food, his dinner, supper, or break­fast in his sinnes, eateth and drinketh his own damnation: yea, whoso­ever thou art, that comest unto this holy banquet in thy sins, in thy pride, choler, malice, wrath or revenge, covetousuesse, hypocrisie, and deadnesse in Gods service, thou never eatest a bit of bread, but thou eatest and drinkest thine own damnation; that is, thou eatest and drink­est that which will witnesse against thee another day, Deut. 28. 16, 17, 18, 19. ver. &c. If thou [...]ilt not hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, to ob­serve and do all his commandements, then all these curses come upon thee and shall overtake thee: Cursed shalt thou be in the City, and cursed in the field, cursed shall be thy basket and store. Now if thy bread be cursed, then thou art cursed also that eatest it. Secondly, in regard of the seal and obligation in the conscience; so he that eateth and drinketh the Sacrament in his sins, eateth and drinketh his own damnation; that is, he eats and drinks that which seals up his damnation against the great day of account. And thus many amongst us, and I fear the most part of this congregation, have eat and drunk their own damnation. But this seal may be broken off, and God grant it may.

Thirdly, in regard of sigillation in heaven, and so he that eats and drinks unworthily, and will not be reformed, he that receives the Sacra­ment time after time, yet still retains his sins, and will not be humbled for them, nor forsake them, he setteth a seal in heaven upon his own dam­nation, that all the whole world can never break off, but such an one most certainly is a damned creature.

And now (my brethren) God forbid there should be any such here, but that this seal may be broken off: And O that God would put some strength into this word, that it may be broken off by your godly sorrow for your sin, and forsaking of them all: for if this seal be set on your damnation, why do I yet speak unto you, and intreat and beseech you in the name of Christ to come home and be reconciled to him? and I desire to stand here, as Jehoiadah set Porters at the gates of the City, and of the house of the Lord, to keep off all those that come in their uncleannesse, 2 Chron. 23. 19. So I stand this day as the Porter of the Lord, to keep the Lords watch, that no prophane wretch, no proud hear­ted sinner, that means not to enter into a new course of life, that no such one come unto this holy communion, I charge you as you will an­swer the guilt of Christs bloud before Gods Throne, that you meddle not with it. But now if there be any that would absent himself be­cause he will the more freely go on in his sins, let him know that such an one excludes himself from the benefits and merits of Christs death, and [Page 97] shall never have the benefit of a Redeemer at the day of judgement; but shall perish in his sins for his carelesse neglect, and fearful contempt of so effectual and powerful means of salvation and purging, as is the bloud of Christ, truly and really offered in the Sacrament. Wherefore, if thou comest, or comest not, woe is thee, if so be thou livest and continuest in thy sins, and goest on in thy unholy courses.

And now to conclude; as the Cherubin stood before Paradise with a naked sword to keep Adam out, that he might not enter and so eat of the tree of life: so I bring with me the sword of God, to run it up to the hilt in the heart and bowels of every ungodly man, every rebellious and im­penitent sinner this day, that dares presume to rush upon this holy Ordi­nance of God, with a polluted and an unclean heart. Therefore let me exhort thee, that as thou tendrest the eternall good of thy soul, so thou be careful not to eat the body of Christ, nor drink his blood in thy sins, lest thou eat thine own bane, and drink thine own curse: Nay, so doing, thy misery wil be so great, as a good man wel weighing and considering of it, said, I professe I had rather have all my veins cut open, and my bloud spilt on the ground, than deliver the body and blood of Christ unto a prophane sinner: for why should I deliver his own bane and de­struction unto him? But now (my brethren and beloved) come out of your sins, come and welcome, if you part with your lusts, and so come, you shall be sure to have his bloud to wash your heart, and cleanse you, his righteousnesse to clear you, and cloath you, his graces to strengthen you, his spirit to heal and to sanctifie your hearts and natures; & the Lord Jesus Christ to supply all good that is wanting in you. But if yet not­withstanding all this that hath been said, you will go on in your sins, and live as you did in your swearing, whoring, lying, and drinking, and all manner of filthinesse; and as you came to it unclean, so you depart away from it more unclean, and never make any conscience of any reformati­on: I pronounce this day before God and his elect Angels, that thou shalt surely perish, and thy soul and body be damned and tormented in the scorching flames of hell for evermore. Therefore hearken unto in­struction, and give ear unto councel, now whiles that the Lord offers it unto you, that so you may not harden your hearts any more, but may hear and obey, that your souls may live, and so coming together to this holy and blessed Communion for the better and not for the worse, you may return home with the blessing of children.

THE DUTIE OF COMMUNI …

THE DUTIE OF COMMUNICANTS: OR, Examination required of every COMMUNICANT. In a SERMON preached, By that Vigilant and Painfull Minister of the Word, WILLIAM FENNER, B. D. Sometimes Fellow of Pembroke Hall in Cambridge, and late Pastor of Rochford in Essex.

London, Printed by E. T. for John Stafford.

EXAMINATION Required in every COMMUNICANT A SERMON preached by Master WILLIAM FENNER Minister of GODS Word.

1 Cor. 11. 28.‘But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that Bread and drink of that Cup.’

IN the later part of this Chapter the Apostle treats of the Sacrament of the Lords Supper: and first he reproves the Corinthians for their unworthy coming to it, as we see in verse 18. There were Errors, and Schismes, contempt of the poor, drunkennesse, excesse, disorder, and unprofitablenesse in the duties of God, they wa­xed worse and worse by the Sacrament. All these, and sundry other abuses were among them; so that they did not eat the Lords Supper aright as they ought.

Secondly, he reduceth them back to the first prime institution of it by Jesus Christ, as we see in verse 23. that hereby they might both see how grie­vously they had abused the Sacrament, and likewise see how they might sanctifiedly use it.

Thirdly, he shews the danger of unworthy receivers: and this he sets out two wayes.

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[Page 102]First by the grievousnesse of the sinne; such a person makes himself guil­ty of the body and bloud of the Lord, as we see, verse 27.

Secondly, by the doleful consequence that follows upon it; He eats and drinks damnation to himself, as we see verse 29.

Now in this verse (that I may not trouble you with speaking of anyThe sum of the Text. more matter than what is necessary for the present Theme) he shews how we may prevent, escape, and avoyd this danger; how we may take an order that we do not fal into this grievous sin, that we do not plunge our selves into this grievous misery: Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that Bread, and drink of that Cup. A man must examine himself, sift his own soul, and labour to prepare himself, before he dare to venture on this sa­cred businesse. In these words, before we set upon the particular hand­ling of them, we may observe, that

Observation 1. We must not rush upon the Sacrament. We must not rush upon the Sacrament.

There must somewhat be done before we can receive it. Let a man ex­amine himself, and so let him eat of that Bread, and drink of that Cup. There are none of the Ordinances of God, that a man may safely rush upon. Wouldest thou offer any sacrifice to God? but thou must stay first, and examine thy self, whether there be not something yet undone. It may be thou hast offended God in something or other; It may be thou art out with thy brother; thou must first go and be reconciled to thy brother, and then offer thy guift, Matth. 5. So wouldst thou reprove thy neigh­bour? It may be there be somewhat out of order, some indisposednesse in thee, thou art not yet in case to set on this duty; it may be thou art faul­ty, and guilty thy self; it may be thou hast a beam in thine own eye, First (saith the Text) pull the beam out of thine own eye, and then thou mayest see clearly to pull the moat out of thy brothers eye, Matth. 7. 5. So would'st thou reform thy outward man? But it may be thy inward man is not refor­med; there is some lust in thy heart, some pride in thy will, some stub­bornnesse in thy spirit, some Idoll in thy bosome; First, cleanse the inside of the platter, Matth. 23. 26. There is never an ordinance of God that can be done, but there must be somewhat done first, a man must do some­thing before. As in the choice of officers, as Ministers, as Deacons, other Officers in the Church, first, they must be proved before they be cho­sen: so in all the Ordinances of God. Would we come to the Sacra­ment? There is somewhat must be done first, we must examine our selves, and root out all unsanctifiednesse, and indisposition, that cannot stand with the right communicating in the Lords supper. And so in eve­ry other good duty.

The reasons of this are;

First, because naturally we are not invited guests, we are not such as areReason 1. Naturally we are not invited guests. invited to the Lords Supper; we are children of wrath, and as long as we are in such an estate, we cannot come aright to the Communion. This is childrens, bread, and it cannot be given to dogges. Christ, whensoever [Page 103] he sets his dainties before his people, he tels us for whom they are, Take eat, this is my body that is broken for you. This is the supper that is made for you, as it is in this Chapter, verse 24. First we must prove our selves invited guests.

It is true, the Lord Christ invites every man to the Lords Supper; but he invites him methodically, he must be in such an estate: but every man is not so fitted: a man must be a member of Christ that means to par­take of Christs death, he must be one that is in Christ, he must be able to prove that he is ingrafted into Christ, he must be able to shew the mark of the Lord Christ on him. As it is with the some of your great dinners,Simile. and feasts in this City, you have tickets and all that are admitted to the feast, must shew their ticket before they are admitted; So thou must be able to shew thy ticket, that thou hast an invitation from Christ, thou must have a mark, and token from Christ that thou comest, and comest with his warrant.

A second reason is, though thou be invited, it may be thou art not disposed.Reason 2. We are indis­posed. If a man will do a thing that he is naturally indisposed to, there must be somewhat done before of necessity: So the Lords supper, it is a thing that naturally we are indisposed unto, therefore somewhat must of ne­cessity be done first. Naturally we are unholy, we are unthankfull, and carnall, we are in our sinnes, strangers from God, and the Covenant of God, and from the seal of the Covenant: all this indisposition must be wrought out before we can comfortablely come hither. If Christ would have the very Chamber first trimmed, before he instituted the Passeover, and the Sacrament; much more will he have the soul disposed for him, and the heart cleansed from all filthinesse. If he that was of the Peace-offering being indisposed, having his uncleannesse upon him, was to be cut off from his people, Levit. 7. 20. what will God doe to such people as come hither in their uncleanness and indisposition, unsan­ctified and unqualified?

Thirdly suppose we were both invited and disposed, yet this it not enough:Reason 3. Solemn prepa­rations requi­red to the Sa­crament. This is a solemne Ordinance of God, and an ordinary disposition will not serve the turn. Though every child of God be ordinarily disposed to every good word and work, to pray, and to hear the word of God, he is prepared and furnished to every well-doing ordinarily and ha­bitually? but a man must be disposed farther; There is a solemne preparation required to the Communion, as in Deut. 16. 15. there were solemn feasts in the Law▪ so there is this solemn feast in the Gos­pel, and there are solemn preparations required thereto. When we come to the Communion, to eat the Lords Supper, it is not eating and drinking in Christs presence; for so may any reprobate do, and yet Christ may say to him, Depart from me, thou worker of iniquity. It is not to come and sit in your Pewes, and wait till the Bread comes, and take it; and till the Cup comes, and drink it, so many a Reprobate may doe, as the Corinthians did, that did eat and drink their own dam­nation. But there must be a solemn preparation to it, to be sealed with the Spirit of Promise, to be righteous by faith in the body and blo [...]d of Christ; For a man to be humble and empty of his sin, to be [...]s [...]y a [...] [Page 104] the precious bloud of Christ; to be fed and built up in the promises; It is a weighty thing to come to the Communion: a man must be a worthy man, or else he hath nothing to do here. As Solomon said of Ado­nijah, if he be a worthy man, not a hair shall fall from his head; but if wic­kednesse be found in him, he shall dye, 1 Kings 1. 52. So, if we be worthy men and women, not a hair of our heads shall fall to the ground, none of the curses shall light on us, that light on unprepared persons: but if wic­kednesse be found in us, if we be guilty of any sin, if we live in any lust not mortified, if there be any prophanenesse in our lives, in our families, in our courses and callings, though we catch hold of the horns of the Altar, though we partake of these holy mysteries, yet we shall be so far from having any mercy, as that we shall hasten our own ruine, we set a seal on our own judgement, and make our case worse than it was before.

Let us take notice of it, and never dare to rush on any of Gods Ordinan­ces.Use. To take heed of rush perfor­mance of du­ties. You know what became of the foolish man in the Gospel, that when they were invited to come to the marriage supper, he thought it was no­thing but to come with them that came, to crowd in with them, and sit down among the rest; he considered not what he went about, that he might be prepared accordingly; the event was this, he was cast out into utter darknesse, Matth. 22. 13. It is dangerous rushing on any of Gods ordinances. To rush upon prayer, for a man to fall down upon his knees, and to utter any thing before the Lord hastily with his mouth, not considering that God is in heaven, and he on the earth. A mans word may damn his own soul, and pull vengeance on his own pate, his prayers may prove a curse, his prayer for mercy may be turned into ven­geance: So the higher the service, the greater the danger. As the ser­vants2 Sam. 15. 17. of Abigail said to her, Consider what you do, when evill was deter­mined against them: so consider what you do when you come to the Sacrament, you come to a weighty thing, to that, that will either set you neerer to the Kindome of God, or hell and condemnation. But I let this passe, and come to the words themselves.

Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that Bread, and drink of that Cup.

In these words observe;

First, the matter of the duty commanded; that is to eat of that bread, andParts of the Text. drink of that cup.

Secondly, the manner of doing the duty; not only to eat of that bread; but so to eat; and not only to drink of that cup, but so to drink.

Thirdly, the rule of direction how to come in a right manner to partake of it, that is, by examining of our selves, Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

Fourthly and lastly, the benefit following that direction, and that is in this word, But let a man examine himself. He had said before, He that eats and drinks unworthily, is made guilty of the body and bloud of the Lord: and, he discerneth not the Lords body, verse 27. But, saith he, as if he [Page 105] should say if a man would prevent this, if a man would take order that he be not guilty of the body and bloud of Christ, that he do not come undiscerningly to these heavenly mysteries, but with comfort, and title to the promises, with hope and confidence and speeding there of the benefits of Christ exhibited, then, let a man examine himselfe, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

Now I will passe over some of these points, namely that we are to eatNecessity of receiving the Lords Supper. that bread, and drink that cup. There is a necessity that we should receive the Lords supper. I need not stand on this, you know it sufficiently proved by the Sacrament of the Law, which was the fore-runner of this Sacra­ment, that soul that did not partake of that, was to dye the death, he was to be cut off from Gods people, Num. 9. 13. If the Lord was so care­full of those Sacraments that were inferior to these (and yet they were of the same substance as these) that the man that neglected to come to them, to partake of them, was to be cut off, to be excommunicated from the people of God, and to be rent off from the congregation of the Saints, then how much more for these heavenly, and weighty, and glorious Ordinances of the Gospel, which are farr more glorious than them of the Law? But I will not stand upon that.

I might here take notice too of the frequency of the duty: for so it hathThe Lords Supper to be received often. dependence on those words formerly, As oft as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye shew the Lords death, and so, that is, as oft as ye eat, do it in this manner. This is the command of God, that we oft receive the Lords Supper. In the Primitive times St. Basil observes, that they eat it three or four times in a week, on Wednesdays, Frydays, and on the Lords day; but that was a time of persecution, I will not stand upon that. I think it not neeedfull; But it should be often, we should not thurst it on­ly upon Easter and Whitsuntide. and Christ-tide, three or four times in the year.

Again, I might observe here from this mystery received, in that he calls it Bread, I might observe against the Papists Transubstantiation, that the bread received, is not transubstantiated, but is bread still; and a­gainst that of receiving in one kind; So let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup: he doth not say, let him eat of that bread only, but he directs the commands in both kinds. But I let this passe, and come to the second rhing, that is the manner how we should do this duty.

So let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

It is not, first let him examine himself, and then let him eat of thatObserv. The manner of performance of duties to be regarded. bread, and drink of that cup: But, let him examine himselfe, and then, SO, let him eat: implying, that examining a mans selfe helps or ought to help a man to a right manner: and when he hath gotten a right manner, then to eat that bread, and drink that cup; that he may do, not only for mat­ter, that which the Lord commands, but, for manner, as the Lord com­mands. Beloved, the Lord stands on circumstances as well as on duties: we are all racers, we run, we must so run that we may obtain, 2. Cor. 9. 29 So pray that we may speed, so hear that we may be converted, so re­prove that we may be edified; so behave our selves in our places and cal­lings, that we may glorifie God. It is not enough for a man to runne, [Page 106] but he must so run, if he mean to obtain. Every man will be speaking and doing good things; but so speak, and so do, Jam. 2. 12. The Lord calls upon us to have a care of the manner of duties, as well as of the matter of du­ties. It is not enough that a man come to eat of that bread, and drink of that cup, but so to eat, and so to drink of it, he must partake of the Lords Table, and so as the Lord enjoyns.

Now the Reasons of this are;

First, because the same Lord that commands the matter, commands the man­nerReason 1. The Lord com­mands the manner as well as the matter. too. The Lord will have his service well done, as well as done, he will have the work well performed, as well as performed. It is not only the thing that the Lord stands upon, but the right manner and kind of doing it.

When David perswaded his son Solomon to worship the God of his Fa­thers, he bids him not only do the thing, but to do it in a right manner, And thou my son Solomon, know thou the God of thy Fathers, and serve him, Is that all? No, but with a perfect heart, and a willing mind, 2. Chron. 28. 9. He commands him to do it, not only for the matter of it, but in the right manner of it. A man may serve God, but if it be not with a perfect heart, and a willing mind, and with a chearfull spirit; if he be not ready to every command, if he doe not open his ears to every rebuke, a man doth not serve God at all. The manner either makes all, or marres all.

Secondly, another Reason is, because circumstances overthrow actions,Reason 2. Circumstances overthrow acti­ons, as in Prayer. if they be not rightly and duly observed. As for example in Scripture, prayer is an action commanded of God: the Lord commands us to pray, that we call upon his name duly, every day, in all our needs and necessi­ties, upon all occasions continually. But now if we pray not aright, not in that manner that the Lord hath prescribed; if we pray either with a guilty defiled conscience, with cold affection, with a dead spirit, or without departing from iniquity, or without a pure heart: if a man pray without the right manner of prayer, he marrs all his prayer, it is a howling, and not a prayer. They did not cry to me (saith God) when they howled on their beds, that is, when they prayed, because they did not pray in a right manner, the Lord calls it howling, and not a prayer. We roar as Bears, in Isaiah 59. 12. the Prophet nicknames it, speaking in the person of the people, he calls it the roaring of Bears: The Lord had as lieve hear the barking of a Dog, or the grunting of a Swine, as a man that doth not pray aright, with a bleeding heart, with contrition of soul and spirit, with a spirit of grace and supplication. When a man prays, and prays not aright, his prayer leaves that name, it is no more a prayer in Gods account.

And so preaching, it is an admirable action; but if a man do not preach2 Preaching. aright, if it be flattering with the entising words of mans wisdome, or beating the ayr, and to shew his own learning, this overthrows the action of prea­ching, he preacheth not Christ, but himself; not the Gospel, though the Gospel be in his Sermon all over, yet himself he preacheth, the action is marred, the circumstances marre it.

[Page 107]So in the Lords Supper, if a man come not prepared, that he have3 Receiving the Sacrament. not the Wedding Garment, that he be not aright qualified according to the requisites of the Gospel, this is not to eat the Lords Supper; Saith the Apostle, When ye come together, this is not to eat the Lords Supper: you think you eat the Lords Supper, you take the bread and the cup, and can say, Blessed be God, and I pray God to blesse me: you may come and do these actions, but the action is altered, the action is diversified when it is not done in a right manner.

So if a man come to reprove his brother, if he himself be faulty, do you4 Brotherly re­proof. think this is sufficient reproof? No, it is hypocrisie. Thou hypocrite, Matth. 7, 5. his reproof of his brother is hypocrisie.

So, for men to tell one another of their faults, and to tell them with a Spirit of bitternesse; this is not Christian dehortation, but biting one ano­ther, Gal. 5. 15.

And so for eating and drinking, beloved, eating is lawfull, and drink­ing5 Eating and drinking. is lawfull, and marrying and giving in marriage, all these are lawfull, yet if a man eat not aright, and drink not aright, and marry not in the Lord, eat and drink without title to the Lords creatures, that he have not interest in the Covenant of God, if Christ be not in it, how shall he have comfort? Nay, that very nature of his eating is altered, his ea­ting, and drinking and marrying is a sinne. As our Lord Christ shews of the old world, They did eat and drink; and were marrying and giving in mar­riage, till Noah entred into the Ark, and the flood came and swept them away, Mat. 24. 37, he reckons their eating and drinking among their sins, among the reasons and causes why the flood came upon them, they did eat and drink, and marry and give in marriage.

You will say, was that the reason the flood came? And was that an argu­mentObjection. of their security? Did not Noah eat and drink and marry? And were not his sonnes married that were in the Ark, and he a grand-father?

But he did it aright; therefore his eating and drinking is not broughtAnswer. as a sign of security, but of the old world, that were carnal and wretched people, it was because they did not eat and drink aright.

There be Rules in eating and drinking, in talking and discoursing, in doing the duties of our callings: There be Rules how you ought to buy and sell, and to do every good word, and work. If these Rules be not observed, the Rules of Gods blessed word, the actions themselves are al­tered; though the things be commanded of God, yea they are cursed and abominable things, when the true form and fashion of them is not regar­ded, though they be never so godly.

A garment though it be never so good, if the Taylor handle it notSimile. well, it is marred in the making, if he bring it not to a right form, and make it in a right manner, the man that is to have the garment, is disap­pointed. So Timber, though it be never so excellent, though it be all Oak, or Elm, or whatsoever tree, though it be never so fit for building, if the Artificer deal not well in handling it, the inhabitant that comes there, may curse the day that ever he came there: if it be not well built, it may fall on his head and kill him, and all that belong to [Page 108] him. So it is in all the Ordinances of God, and the matters of Religion, we must not only do them for matter, but for manner too: for that either makes or marrs them.

Thirdly, another Reason is, because only the right manner of doing dutiesReason 3. The right manner of do­ing duties gets the blessing. gets the blessing. A man may pray a thousand times, and never be heard, he may hear a million of Sermons, and never be converted, a man may come to all the Sacraments in the year, all his life long, and never be sea­led against the day of redemption. A man may do the things, and never get the blessing; all the blessing lies in the right manner of doing. Bles­sed is that servant, whom, when his master comes, he shall find so doing, Matth. 24. 48. He saith not, Whom when his master cometh, he shall find doing. Christ when he cometh to judgement, shall find many doing; it may be he will come in prayer time, it may be he will come in the mor­ning, when many thousands shall be at their prayers in their families: it may be he'l come at night when all are at prayers in their houses; it may be he will come on the Sabath, when all the country is at Church, hea­ring of Sermons, he shall finde many thousands doing, and praying. But blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when he comes, shall find so pray­ing, so hearing, so receiving the Sacrament: He shall find many belie­ving, but so beleeving gets the blessing: many professing, but it is so pro­fessing that gets the comfort, I say, all the blessings of God are promised to the right manner of doing. Now, what is it, when we do duties, what do we look for? Is it not for a blessing? Why do we do the duties, if we doe not do them so as we may get the blessing? Now except we observe the right manner of doing them, all is to no purpose.

Fourthly, another Reason is, the example of Jesus Christ, Christ hathReason 4. Christs example given us an example that we should do as he did: Now he did not one­ly do that which his Father bid him do, for matter but for manner, both in all the words he spake, and in all the deeds that he performed. For the words he spake, As the Father hath said unto me, even so speak I, John 12. And in John 14. 31. As the Father hath given me commande­ment, even so do I. Mark, he did not only obey his Father in the matter of his command, but in the manner of it. And as Christ hath done thus, so all that are Christs, all the servants of God in all ages, they have been very carefull, especially of the right manner of obeying God. As it is said of Noah, Gen. 6. 22. As the Lord commanded Noah, even so did he, just as the Lord commanded him, he did not only make an Ark, but so he made all the rooms: so he made it in the same form and figure, and in the same similitude, just as the Lord set him down in the pattern, even so did he. So the Lord sets down the pattern of every good word and work, of all our prayers, and Sermons, and hearing; and conference, and keeping the Sabath, and speaking holily: all our actions have their pattern set down in the word of God. Now as we are to do the things, so we are to do them in the same manner as the Lord commands, even so must we do.

Fifthly and lastly, except we do it in a right manner, except as we comeReason 5. From Gods glory. to the duty, so we come to the right manner, we can never glorifie God; The glory of God lies in the manner of doing of things. So let your [Page 109] light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorifie your father which is in heaven, Matthew. 5. 16. Mark, the light must not shine only in our lives and conversations; but so that the duty must be a means to the glorifying of God. Now the means must have i'ts proporti­on and likenesse, and nature, and mold, and frame, from the nature of the end. Look how the end is that the dutie looks unto, so must the frame and fashion of the duty be: Now if the end of all our actions be, that God may be glorified, that must put a form and fashion upon every duty, that it may be so, that he may have glory. Suppose a man pray every day in his family and call all his housbold, his servants, and wife and children, and all under his roof about him every morning and even­ing: he may dishonour God by prayer every day on this fashion, if a man pray coldly, and carelesly, for form and fashion, without saith, and life, he makes all the ordinances of God vile, and all the works of God contemptible: his houshold sleeps, one snorts it may be; another is infinitely prophane it may be, and though there be divers that would fain be quickned, and wakened, yet his prayer is so cold, there is no life, or heat, nor warmth in it, that God is exceedingly dishonoured, and all are thereby rather worse than better. So for a mans preaching, though it be never so good a duty, yet he must labour to preach so, as the Apostle speaks of his preaching and labour in the work of his Mini­stery, how he may edifie others, and save his own soul. So fight I, not as one that beats the ayr; but so as I may get the mastery: We must so preach, that we may attain the conversion of the people, or else we may rather do as Hophni and Phineas, the sonnes of Eli, that made the table of the Lord contemptible, and the Sacrifice of the Lord loathsome in the eyes of the people: So may we do with the ordinances of God.

Take any duty of religion, if it be not done aright, God hath no glory by it. Suppose thou wouldest reprove thy brother, and tell him of his fault, and check him for his back wardness, or omission of some duty, and for the commission of some sin; if thou do it, do it with a spirit of com­passion, and bowels of Jesus Christ, with an humble heart, with a feeling and a pure conscience; I say thou gettest a blot to thy own self, & causest God to be ill spoken of, and the very way of his name to be dishonoured. This wil be the effect of it; and so in every other duty. And so I come to the use.

It is so, that we must not only come to the Sacrament, but come a­right;Use 1. To reprove those that bare­ly do duties, without loo­king to the manner. or do any duty, but we must do it in a right manner? This serves to condemn that naturall popery, that is in mens hearts, that is of opus opera­tum, of the deed done; this is the religion of the Church of Rome, that so man do the duty (indeed it is better if it be done in a right manner,) but if it be done, there is somewhat a man may look for by that. If a man come to the Sacrament, the very eating of the Host, the very par­taking of the body of Christ, they make it meritorious: so the very hearing of so many Sermons, the very saying of so many prayers; the very performance of so many duties: the very thing it self, nakedly con­fidered, it is of some validity. This is rooted into the hearts of men, we see it up and down; people do the dutie, and think all is well [Page 110] enough, when they consider not how it is done. People pray, but not with zeal; they hear, but not with reverence: People come to the Sa­crament, not for the better, but for the worse, they come not in a right man­ner; and yet every one hopes to speed, and builds himselfe on this, that God accepts of him. But this is the folly of mens hearts; it is an e­vident argument that men go foolishly to work in the ways of God. It is the brand of a fool not to be able to observe circumstances. Aristotle the heathen, he saith, it is the part of a wise man to think of, and understand the manner of actions; as a wise man saith, he observes circumstances. It is the part of wisedome to observe the right circumstances of every action, as it is, Ephes. 5. 15. Walk circumspectly, that is, accurately, as it is in the origi­nal, not as fools, but as wise. Mark, he perswades them to a right manner of walking; not onely to walk in a good course, in praying, and hearing, in obedience, and sobriety, in temperance, faith and diligence in our callings; but do it accurately, in a right manner; do it as wise men, and not as fools, who do it in a wrong manner. It is the part of a fool, I say, to do a thing, and to leave the right manner of doing it. Now this is no­thing with God, the Lord doth not esteem any action though it be never so frequently done, except it be done with his own stamp, except it have his own character upon it.

I remember a story in 2 King. 17. 26. The Assyrians there observed, that God sent Lions among them, because they did not observe the right manner of the God of Israel: they worshipped the God of Israel; but because they observed not the right Manner of his word, he sent Lions among them, to tear and devour them in pieces. So though we pray, and hear, and read, and professe, and have a name that we live; and though we be taken for good people and heap up duties from day to day, and vie performances, and though we do them as many times as the children of God; nay, though we could do them ten thousand times oft­ner than they, yet if we do them not in a right manner, if we know not the manner of the God of heaven and earth, with humble hearts, and selfe­denying spirits, with holinesse of affection, and with purity of heart: if a man do them not in a right manner, the Lord wil tear him in pieces, and he shall have no deliverance for all that.

Another use shall be, what may be the reasons why people are so willingUse 2. The reason why men re­gard the matter and not the manner of du­ties. generally, to do duties for the matter, and care not to do them in a right manner. It shall not be amisse a little to shew the mystery of this thing: for we see every man is willing to do duties, every man will be praying and co­ming to Church, many reprobates, and God knows how many carnall hearts are in this congregation, some drunkards it may be, some adulte­rers, some it may be that committed whoredome the last night, some that have been swearing even now, and deceiving in their shops, there are many carnall hearts; yea every man is willing to do duties, to hear, and to pray; Now what may be the reason that people are willing to do good duties, and yet are loath to come off with their carnall hearts? There are four reasons.

The first is this, Because the matter of the duty is easy, but the manner isReason 1. The matter of [...]. difficult. It is an easie matter to pray, to say, Lord I have sinned against hea­ven [Page 111] and against thee. Lord, I have sworn, I have been a drunkard, I have disallowed the Sabbath, I have done this and that, I pray thee pardon and forgive me, and give me thy grace; it is an easie matter to do this. It is easie for a man to come to Church, and mark what the Minister saith, and follow him from point to point, and it may be he go over it to his fami­mily. This is good, there are few that come thus farr. And so it is easie to come to the Sacrament, to take the Bread and the Cup, and to pray for a blessing, this is easie; but when a man comes to do a duty in a right man­ner, here is difficulty, when a man doth it with a How; Take heed how ye hear. He doth not call upon people to hear, that is not the matter; there needs no great diligence for that: but, if you will consider How you hear, take heed to that. Here must be a great deal of circumspection; the soul must be marvellous painfull, a man must offer violence to his own soul; a man must fight against his own will, a man must beat down his own spirit, he must crucifie his own thoughts, must mortifie his own mind, and beat down his own soul. It is a hard thing to do in a right man­ner, as the Lord commands, if we consider how to do it. This is cer­tain, flesh and blood cannot abide to take pains; if it can serve God with ease, and pray with ease, that it will do; but for a man to weep before God, for a man to indict his heart before the throne of grace, to rend his bowels before his maker, to tear the caul of his heart upon his kees, for a man to vow to God and pay them; for a man to rid his hand of all the wages of iniquity, for a man to purifie himselfe as Christ is pure, for a man to wrestle with God, and to take grace according to the covenant of grace, with life and power; to do it in a right manner, here is religion, and this man cannot abide.

And so for the Sacrament, for a man to come in a right manner, Oh it is difficult to flesh and bloud; for a man to go and examine all his life, to reckon up all his conversation, to anatomize himselfe from his cradle to this moment; to consider how he hath sinned in his calling, in his family, in his shop, in his company, in his speech, and in his life; to go and judge him­selfe of these, and condemn himselfe, and to accept of his own punishment, to go and rack his own thoughts, and crucifie his own soul: Oh! this is hard, men cannot abide this: therefore they go and take the mat­ter, they observe that, and leave out the manner.

Secondly, another reason is this, because the matter of duties may beReason. 2. The matter of duties may be done with a proud heart. done with a proud heart; there is no duty but a man may do it with a proud heart, and never be humble. A man may pray, and use good words, and make good petitions, and have marvellous good language, and Scripture phrase, and terms, and passages, and an admirable sweet tone, and yet have a proud heart. A man may come and Preach a Sermon, he may preach so as that he may strangely affect the hearts of the people, and may make all the people wonder and admire at the gracious words that come from his mouth, and yet have a proud heart.

A man may hear, and hear oft, and hear the best Preachers in the Ci­ty; and delight in hearing, and yet have a proud heart. A man may come to the Sacrament, and sit, to ones thinking, as devoutly as any in the Church, and pray when the people pray, and give thanks when others [Page 112] give thanks, and have a kind of morall faith in the Covenant, and a moral application of the promises, and yet have a proud heart. It is the manner of doing duties that humbles the soul, as Saint Paul saith, Acts 20. You know in what manner I have been with you. Why, what was the manner? In all humility of mind, saith he, being among the Ephesians; preaching to them in a right manner, leaving them the example of his own pattern, doing all this in a right manner, he did it in all humility of heart. It is the right manner of prayer that puls down the heart be­fore God. It is the right manner of hearing the word, that makes a man melt at it. It is the right manner of coming to the Sacrament, that makes a man feel the comfort of God, and the promises of the Gospel, and to seek and find the admirable things contained in it. It is the right man­ner that makes a man walk lowly with his God.

Thirdly, another Reason is, Because the matter may stand with an un­holyReason 3. The matter of duties may be done, and yet a man be unholy. life; A man may do a duty for the matter of it, and yet be unholy. This is plain; how many thousands are there that pray, and yet are vain, and covetous, and carnall? How many thousands hear Ser­mons, and yet are unprofitable? Ever hearing, and never come to the know­ledge of the truth. If they were injurious before, they are injurious still; if they were cousners before, they are so still; if they were drunkards before, they are so still. A man may receive the Sacrament every moneth, and yet may have his lusts, and roll them as a sweet morsell under his tongue; he may delight in his secret lusts, and go on in his deadnesse of heart. It is the right manner of worshipping God, that purgeth the conscience, and purifieth the soul, and makes a man that there is no room for his corruptions, as you may see, 1 Thess. 2. 10. You your selves know (saith the Apostle) how holily, and unblameably we walked among you. He speaks there of his manner of walking, and he saith to them, because it was in a right manner, it was an holy manner; such walking as ex­cluded all unholinesse, and prophanenesse. Flesh and bloud cannot abide this. Men, they love to pray, and be proud; they love to hear sermons, and to have their profit; they love to professe religion, and still to carry their secret lusts in their bosomes. People love this alife, to go to Gilgal & trans­gresse, to offer sacrifice every new moon, and every morning and to find the la­bour of their hands, this is right; but for a man to part with his iniquity, that is the thing that goes against the hair.

The last reason is, because the matter of duties brings not the crosse uponReason 4. The matter of duties brings not the crosse. a man. A man may do all the duties of Religion, and never be persecuted for it: a man may be as devout as the devoutest man under heaven, & yet no body hate him for it, except he be devout in a right manner, and worship God in a right manner. One man may reprove another that is wicked; A drunkard may suffer a drunkards reproof, and be never the worse: A whoremaster may serve his quean so, he may call her so, and yet not be spited, because it is not right. It is the right doing of it that brings the crosse; as in 2 Tim. 2. 10. Thou knowest thy manner of life. It was that that brought afflictions and persecutions.

We may see to this very day many thousands that seem devout men in the Church; they will pray, and will hardly misse any time of prayer, [Page 113] morning or evening; and yet they are farre from being persecuted: nay, many of them are main persecutors of the Gospel of God, enemies to the crosse of Christ, and adversaries to the Saints of God. We see it plain in Acts 15. 5. we read there of devout women that raised persecution against Paul. Mark, they were devout, and because it was not in a right manner, they persecuted the Apostles, and set themselves against them that were truly faithfull. Though wicked men do not love to pray aright, yet ma­ny of them are much for praying, they care not how much praying they have, and when they are at prayer, they will pray over from the begin­ning of the book to the end, they love it alife. But if they come to a prai­er that moves the heart, that rifles the conscience, that dogges a man into his bosome that lays a man flat on his face before God, they gnash their teeth at such a prayer. So they love Preaching too; I, it is true, if it be preaching that is flaunting, and glosing, with the enticing words of mans wisedome: but if a man preach to the conscience, if he preach the pure naked word of God, and carry it home to mens souls, this makes them gnash their very teeth, and they could eat the Minister of God for his labour. It is the right manner of duty that is accomdanied with the crosse.

Thirdly, if we ought to be carefull to perform duties in a right man­ner,Use 3. To labour to do duties aright. Let us be exhorted in the fear of God, to go and quicken all our duties, to bring a soul into so many bodies; we have bodies of praying, and bodies of hearing, and bodies of receiving the Sacrament, and of good duties, let us get a soul into them, labour to do them in a right manner. The bare duty is like a carkasse. It is a Proverb of the Jews, Prayer without prepara­tion it as a carkesse without the soul, that is, a loathsomething; so is pray­er without life, and without a right manner of powring it forth. Let us labour therefore in the fear of God, to pray, and pray aright, to hear, and to hear aright; to seek God, and to seek him with all our hearts, aright, and to do every thing in the right way.

Let us consider, first, wee doe not pertake of any ordinance at all,Motives to perform duties in the right manner. except wee doe it in a right manner. I remember a fit place for this in Numbers 11. 14. It is said there, The stranger shall eat the Passeover, and partake of of it according to the ordinance, and the manner of1. Motive it. Where the text puts in the Ordinance of the Passeover, and the manner of it. For it is all one, they are Synonima's. So the Ordinance in every duty, Gods ordinance in praying, in hearing the Word, in the Sacramement, in reproof, in every good duty, it is all one; as the self-same thing. So that if we pray, and do not pray in a right manner, we have not prayed, we do not partake of the ordinance. So when we come to the Sacrament, the ordinance and the manner of it is all one; it is one compleat concrete action, we do not partake of it, except we partake of both.

Secondly consider, it is nothing but hypocrisie, when a man prayes, and2. Motive. doth not pray in a right manner; when a man doth any dutie to God, and not in right wise, it is nothing but hypocrisie. Mark how our Saviour Christ sets forth the hypocrisie of the Pharisee, Luke 18. 11. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himselfe, hee marks this manner [Page 114] of prayer; hee doth not say, Hee stood and prayed this, these words, but, Thus he prayed; he did not pray in a right manner, there was his hypocrisie, and that was the reason he went home not justified.

Thirdly consider; it makes the ordinance of God of no effect. Thus they3. Motive. make the Conmandements of God of none effect, Matthew 15. 6. Hee speaks there of their duties that they did in a wrong manner, and their expounding the Scripture, that they did in a wrong wise; and their sacrifice, their offerings, and tithings, their precepts, and many things that were all done after another fashion than God had commanded; therefore saith Christ, Thus they make the Commande­ment of God of none effect. So we make all the duties of Gods worship of none effect. Wee know there is never an ordinance of God, but it hath great effect if it be rightly performed. Prayer is of great effect, it is able to rend heaven, it is able to pull down God to the soul, it is able to wrastle out a blessing, to quicken the heart, to obtain of God e­very thing we want: but if a man pray not aright, a man may pray and go away never a whit the more holy, nor more quickened, nor nee­rer to heaven, nor comfort. So, preaching and hearing, they are admi­rable Ordinances, what powerfull effects have they wrought when they have been done in a right kind? People have cryed out and been converted at them; and many a man hath been pulled out of the power of Satan to the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. They had royall glorious effects upon many thousand souls. But what is the reason that our hea­ring is so uneffectuall? Because we hear not in a right manner, this makes the Ordinance of God of none effect, it makes prayer of no effect, the Word of no effect, the Sacrament and Sabbaths of none effect; you see people partake of these things, and are never the wi­ser.

Lastly, it cannot please God, it is onely the right manner of doing du­ties that pleased God, as in 1 Thessalonians, 4. 1. As ye have received of us, How ye ought to walk, and to please God; Marke, there is the man­ner, That we may know HOW to walke, and by that to please God: It is not enough for a man to walk in good duties, that a man may do and not please God, but (saith he) ye haue received the manner HOW to walk and to please God. It is the manner how that pleaseth God. A man may walk to hell upon heavens ground, he may go to hell in the wayes of God, it isSimile possible. Suppose a man should go and take (if it were possible) all the surface of ground between this place and York, and lay it between this place and Dover, a man might go to Dover upon York ground▪ So many a man lays the Ordinances of God in hell way: he walks in the way to hell, and there he lays his prayers, and there his hea­ring, and his good duties; he prayes every day, and hears every day, and doth good duties every day, and yet walks to hell: he goes to hell on heavens ground; The reason is, because he doth the duty, and doth not observe the manner how he doth it.

The third thing is, the rule of direction, how we may come to the right manner of receiving the Sacrament, that is, by preparing of a [Page 115] mans self: and the preparation is here set down by the specification of it, namely, in examining himself, Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that Bread, and drink of that Cup.

The general scope of the words, and the Apostles meaning in them, is this, That,

Observation 1. Eevery man must prepare himself before he come to the Lords Table.Every man must prepare himself before he come to the Lords Ta­ble.

I cannot stand on this; I will only name it.

As in the Sacrament of the Passeover, there was preparation for the Passeover. In John. 19. 14. it is said of the Disciples of Christ, that they made ready the Passeover. In Matthew, 26. they made the Lamb ready, and the room ready, and themselves ready, and the Table rea­dy, and every thing ready. So in the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, wherein Christ is the true Pascall Lamb, when we come to eat of him, we must make every thing ready, faith ready, and repentance ready, and interest in the promise ready, and hunger and thirst after these spirituall dainties ready, every thing must be ready. Or else like a man that comes into the field to battell, that hath not gotten his sword, nor his weapons ready, that is the way for himself to be killed; so it is when we come to the Communion, and have not all things ready, it is the way to be damned.

The Reasons of this are;

First, because the Sacrament is an ordinance of God: Now all the Ordi­nancesReason. It is Gods ordinance. Simile. of God require preparation, they are all spirituall, and naturally a man is carnall, and therefore cannot be prepared. As it is with wood, there is never a tree in the wood, but it is unprepared for buil­ding; Is there any tree in the wood of the fashion of a Chimney, or of a Lintell, or a Door? It must first be prepared, as it is in Prov. 24. 27. First prepare thy work without, and then build thine house. So every ordi­nance is to build a man up in the fear of God, in the grace of God, and in Religion: Now man is naturally unprepared for it; First, a man must fell his wood, and then cut it, and hew it even, and carve it, and plain it fit, and prepare it, before he build: So a man must hew down his own heart, he must humble his own soul, and qualifie all within him, and so be sancti­fied, before he be fit.

As for example: in prayer, a man must be prepared to prayer before he pray; he must prepare his heart, and then Gods ears will hearken to it. In Psal. 10. 17. The Lord will have the heart prepared before he hear the prayer. So it is with the word of God, a man must be prepa­red before he hear it: As a man that preacheth must be prepared before he preach, as Ezra is said to prepare his heart. Ezra. 7, 10. He prepared his heart to do the Law, and to teach it: So a Minister cannot preach, except he be prepared beforehand, with a commission from God, with preserving knowledge, with a coal from Gods Altar, with a spirit of wisdome and understanding, with a Law of kindnesse in his lips, with meditation, and with a Theme fitted in his mouth for the people, he must be prepared with a burning and a shining light; or else he shall not edifie the congrega­tion: So it is with all other Ordinances. For humbling of a mans soul, a [Page 116] man cannot humble his heart, except he be prepared to it, Amos 4. 12. Prepare to meet thy God, he speaks of humiliation. If a man would humble himself before God, if he be not prepared, if his heart be not prepared to let go the world, his worldly profits, and vain pleasures, and carnal ac­quaintance, his wonted lusts, and former delights. If he be not prepa­red to let these go, when he comes to keep a Fast, or to afflict his soul, and goes along to do the duty, to lay himself down before Almighty God, some lust or other will stick in his teeth, and intercept his heart, he shall never be able to do it: as Samuel said to the people; If you will turn to the Lord, prepare your hearts to do it, 1 Sam. 7. So it must be in all the ordinances of God, and much more in the Sacra­ment.

Secondly, another Reason is, because the Lord Christ hath made greatReason 2. Christ hath made prepara­tion for us in the Lords Sup▪ preparations to provide the Lords Supper; therefore we must be prepared to eat it. You know what a great deal adoe there was before the Supper was made. Christ must be incarnate, and fulfill all righteousnesse, he must conclude it upon his suffering; he must tread the wine-presse alone, and suffer himself to be beaten and rejected of God, and men, and suffer death, the cursed death of the Crosse, all these things were concluded upon, before this holy and blessed Supper was provided. Come (saith he) I have prepared my dinner, Matth. 22. Mark, Christ is fain to prepare his dinner; he makes a great Feast: there was great preparation for it; so there must be great preparation of our souls before we can come to this holy banquet. It is true among men, there may be great preparation for a feast, and little or nothing for the eating of it. Sometimes there are two or three dayes preparation for a feast, and is eaten presently. The reason is, because man naturally hungers after meat and drink, and he al­wayes provides twice or thrice in twenty four hours, for eating and drin­king: But the Lords Supper is a spiritual banquet, a man is every day, and hour, and moment naturally unfit for it, and there is much adoe to put an edge upon mens appetites, and a keennesse upon mens desires, that they may be fitted and prepared for it.

Thirdly, another reason is, Because the Lord Christ, when he administersReason 3. Christ looks for good enter­tainment. himself in this heavenly mystery, he offers to come into the soul, and he looks for good entertainment; and therefore of necessity there must be prepa­ration for it. You see when a mortall man, an earthly Prince, or a Noble man comes to another mans house, what a deal of preparation there is to provide for him: there is meat made ready, and purging the house, and sweeping the yard, and trimming up the very pales, and every thing, and making clean all the Chambers, and ridding out whatsoever fills it, and every thing that is out of order it set in tune. And what will my Lord think? and what will his Majesty think? he wil think he is slighted and contemned; And when he comes in, it may be, his own children shal serve, and his own wife wait at the Table; and there is running up and down of errands, and a great deal of adoe to give such a one entertain­ment. There is preparation to entertain a man, as Saint Paul said to Phi­lemon, I will that you prepare me lodging: how much more when the eter­nall God shall come under a mans roof, and dine with him?

[Page 117]Lastly, Because the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, is a part of Christs last will and Testament. Now it is a terrible thing when we know our Lords will, and prepare not for the doing of it. Look in Luke 12. 48. he that knew it not, did things worthy of stripes; but in verse 47. That servant that knew the Lords will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes, that man shall be damned with much damnation; he shall be damned deeper than any body. Dost thou know the Lords Table, that this blessed Sacrament is part of Christs last Testament? and wilt thou not prepare thy self for it, to get an humble heart, and labour for a holy life, and seek for a thir­sty soul, and vow upon new obedience, and enter into Covenant with the Lord Jesus Christ; for a better kind of conversation for the time to come? Wilt thou not go and examine thine own soul, and go and re­form whatsoever is amisse in thy family, in thy place and calling? Wilt thou not do these things to prepare for this holy will of Jesus Christ? thou shalt be damned deeper than any body else, because this is a part of Gods last Will and Testament, and thou knowest it, and therefore woe unto thee, if thou prepare not for it.

THE DUTIE OF THE REP …

THE DUTIE OF THE REPROVER, And the Persons Reproved. SET FORTH In a SERMON preached, By that Reverend and Faithfull Minister of Gods Word, WILLIAM FENNER, B. D. Sometimes Fellow of Pembroke Hall in Cambridge, and late Pastor of Rochford in Essex.

London, Printed by E. T. for John Stafford.

THE DUTIE OF REPROVERS, And Persons Reproved. A SERMON preached by Master WILLIAM FENNER Minister of GODS Word.

PROV. 29. 1.‘He that being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shal suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.’

THese words, by reason of the ambiguity in the Hebrew tongue, doe bear two expositions, and our English can suffer but one.

The first exposition is this, He that reproveth another, and hardneth his own neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. The other is, as we have it here translated, He that being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be de­stroyed, and that without remedy.

I desire to speak of both these expositions, for fear I should misse the true sense of this Text.

For the first, it is a truth of God every where confirmed in the Scirip­tures, that he that reproves another, and yet hardeneth his own heart, he doth but make a rod for his own back, he puls sudden destruction upon his own self.

[Page 122]Then Secondly, there is no hinderance from the context, but that this may be the meaning of the text: you know the Proverbs have little or no coherence, except two or three chapters. Indeed there is a coherence in them, but generally through the Proverbs there is none; so that if the text it self will bear one exposition as well as another indifferently, the meaning none can tell, but only as it is h [...]t.

Thirdly and lastly, the Text it self favours this exposition: for so the word in the Hebrew is, A man of reproofs, that hardens his own neck▪ shal sud­denly be destroyed, and that without remedy.

Now the Question is, Whether the wise mans meaning here be of the actuall reproof, the reproving of another; or of passive reproof, this is un­determined which of these is meant.

A man can have no light from the coherence, none in the world; and from the text it self, there is as much reason why we should expound it one way (even almost) as the other. So that I say, for fear I should let go the true meaning of the wise man. I desire to speak a little of the active sense. He that often reproves another, and yet hardeneth his own neck, shall sud­denly be destroyed, and that without remedy. From hence I may observe, that

Observation 1. A guilty har­dened reprover, shall be de­stroyed.A reprover (whether a master or a Minister, or a Magistrate, or a Fa­ther, or a private Christian, be he what he will be) that reproveth another, and yet is guilty himself (either in the same kind or else in another, or in a­ny kind) and hardneth his own heart in it, that man shall suddenly be destroyed without remedy.

Take a Preacher that preacheth strict doctrine to the people, that is very zealous against their sinnes, he is up with hell and damnation a­gainst their filthy courses: he preacheth for quickning, but himself is not quickned; be threatneth [...]udgement against hardnesse of heart, and yet he hath a hard heart himself; this man puls destruction upon his own pate. He is like the Pharisees, that imposed upon others grie­vous burdens, and heavy to be born, but would not touch them with one of their fingers themselves, Matth. 23. 4.

The Reason of this is; because

Reason 1. It is against his office.

First, such a reprover of sin, does it against his office: the office of a repro­ver, binds him to be blamelesse, as the Apostle speaks, A Bishop must be blamelesse, 1 Tim. 3. 2. Every Christian should be blamelesse; how much more Ministers that bear the office of reprovers? they should be blame­lesse. Nay, if a man, though he take not the office of a reprover, yet if he bear the person of a reprover (as every private Christian must, when God calls him to it: for every man may be called to reprove) though he have no authority over another, though he be a private man, he may bear the person though not the office of a reprover. Now a man must be unculpable, and unblameable himself, or else he sins against his person. If a man reprove another for being carnall, himself must be spi­rituall, Gal. 6. 1. If any man be overtaken with a fault, ye that are spirituall, re­store him. The reprover, the exhorter, and admonisher must be spiritual,Reason 2. He cannot re­prove to aright end. if he would draw another to be spirituall.

Secondly, such a reprover as is guilty himself in that kind, or in any [Page 123] other kind, he can never reprove to a right end. Why seest thou a moat in thy brothers eye, and considerest not the beam in thine own eye? Matthew 7. verse 3. Why (saith he) to what end? what is that thou lookest at? thou art severe to espye faults in thy brothers eye; To what end doest thou reprove him? What is the reason? What is the thing thou wouldest have, that thou findest fault with him? Why seest thou a moat in thy brothers eye? As if he should say, thy end can never be good, it cannot be to doe thy brother good: for then thou wouldest do thy selfe good first. It is not because thou hatest sin; for then thou wouldest detest thine own sinne. It cannot be out of a good principle, or to a good end. It is either because thou art a busie body in other mens matters, or thou art censorious, thou lovest to be medling; or because thou hatest thy brother, and wouldest wreak thy malice on him; thou wouldest fain shame and disgrace him, and by beating him down, get thy self up; or thou wouldest get a cover to thine owne conscience; it must be some such end, it cannot be a good end. Christ puts it to a mans conscience, why he reproves his brother, when he is faulty him­selfe.

Thirdly, another Reason is, such a reprover can never do it in a rightReason 3. Not in a right manner. manner, as Christ saith, Matthew 7. 4, How wilt thou say to thy brother, let me pull the moat out of thine eye, when behold a beam is in thine own eye? How wilt thou do it, in what fashion, or sort? How wilt thou be able to bring this about? A man that is a reprover, had need to have a very clear sight of his own, that sees another mans faults, and will set another to rights, he had need to have a good judgement, to see all the circumstances of reproof, and rebuke, that deals with another. As long as a man hath a beam in his own eye, as long as he hath lusts in his own heart, that will blind his judgement, and darken and cover his eyes, and make him that he shall not be able to see to goe about it. How canst thou possibly say to thy brother, let me pull the moat out of thine eye when there is a beam in thine own eye?

A man that is to reprove another, a Master that will reprove his ser­vant, or a Father his children, or a Minister that will reprove his people, or a Magistrate that will reprove those that are committed to his charge, or any brother that will reprove another, he must do it with a spirit of compassion, with bowels of pity, with a sense and feeling: there is a great deal of wisedome and discretion to be observed in this act. Now when a man hath a beam in his own eye, how shall he be able to doe it? That man that is faulty and guilty himselfe, either he must reprove too harshly, and rigorously, or too sparingly, or too insultingly, he must doe it in a wrong manner, it can never be sincerely and truly done, as long as a man hath a lust in his own heart, and he himselfe is guilty and faulty that is a reprover of his brother. Nay the party reproved, is holpen to retort on him, How dost thou tell me of pride, and worldlinesse, and covetousnesse? Who is proud and covetous as thou? Thus a man shall be ready to be hit in the teeth.

Fourthly, such a reprover is an hypocrite. It is no Christian reproof forReason 4. It is hypocrisy. a man to do so. Wilt thou goe and find fault with thy servant for his [Page 124] lazinesse of thy service, when thou art lazie in Gods service? Wilt thou find fault with thy brother for his pride, and thou art full of fashi­ons? Wilt thou condemn the sinnes of the times, and thou livest in some lust? This is nothing but hypocrisie. Thou makest as if thou didst stand so much for obedience to God, and oh! there is this and that sin against God, when thy selfe, art a sinner in that or in another kind; this is hypocrisie, as Christ saith here, Thou hypocrite first cast the beam out of thine own eye, and then thou shalt see clearly to cast the moat out of thy bro­thers eye. Thou hypocrite: Mark, it is an act of hypocrisie when a man goes to find fault with another, before he has gone to redresse his own soul, to purge his own conscience and have shook hands with the wages of i­niquity his own selfe, before a man hath done this, it is hypocrisie to deal with another. For when a man reproves another he takes a form upon himselfe of one that is zealous against sin, and an enemy to all sin­full practises: Now what is this but hypocrisie, when a man hath not this in him that he pretends? when a man finds fault with anothers pride, as if he were humble forsooth, with anothers worldlinesse, as if he were li­berall; when a man doth so, he incurres the guilt of hypocrisie in repro­ving another.

Fifthly, another reason is, because such a reprover is inexcusable, hisReason 5. It m [...]kes inex­cusable. reproving another mans sin, makes himself inexcusable if his own, as the A­postle speaks, Romans 2. 1. Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art, that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou con­demnest thy selfe, for thou doest the same thing. Mark, thy own mouth shall condemne thee; thou findest fault with another mans pride: it seems, he is to be condemned for it, then God condemnes thee for thy pride: Thy pride is a fair mark for Gods justice, because thou con­demnest another. Dost thou find fault with anothers hardnesse of haart, and ill will and backwardnesse to any thing hat was good, and yet thou art backward? Thou exposest thine own soul to the judgement of God; thou hast taught (as it were) Almighty God how to condemn thee for thy own lusts and corruptions.

Again, sixthly, another Reason is this, because such a reprover is an ab­surdReason 6. It is absurd. person. It is absurd to reprove another, and be faulty ones self, as it is, Rom. 2. 21. Thou that teachest another, teachest thou not thy selfe? Thou that preachest another should not steal, dost thou steal? This is a strange absurd thing, this reproof doth not sound well in thy mouth: thou stea­lest, and forbiddest stealing; thou preachest against adultery, and com­mittest it; thou speakest against such and such sinnes; thou findest fault with them in the children of God, and art guilty thy self, or in thy chil­dren or servants, or neighbours, and art obnoxious to them in thine own practice: this is an absurd thing: these rebukes and reproofs sound not well in thy mouth.

Lastly it is a sign of impudency, Psalm 50. What hast thou to do to takeReason 7. It is impuden­cy. my covenant into thy mouth, when thou hatest to be reformed, and hast cast my covenant behind thy back? And to the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to take my statutes or covenant, into thy mouth, since thou hatest instruction? What hast thou to doe to reprove thy brother? [Page 125] If he be proud, what is that to thee, as long as thou art proud thy selfe? thou goest and flingest stones at him, fling them at thine own heart first. It is a sign of impudency.

But it may be objected, Shall not a wicked Magistrate punish sinne, and a wicked minister preach against the corruptions of the times, and a wicked Master rebuke his servants, and a wicked Father correct his Children? Be­cause he is wicked himself, shall he make himselfe more wicked, and contract more guilt upon his soul?

I answer, that such a man is in a dilemma; for the man is bound to re­prove, in regard of his office, and yet he is bound in conscience to go and amend himself first. I say, he is bound to reprove all those that God calls him to reprove, in regard of his office: but in regard of conscience he is bound to go and amend his own fault first. Therefore if he be a Magistrate, such as sit upon life and death, Nifi prius, or any action between man and man, if he condemn a malefactor, and there remember himself guilty, he is bound in conscience to arise from the Bench, and go and amend his own sin. And we that are Ministers, when we preach to the people, and remember our selves guilty, let us lay our hands upon our mouths, at least in votis, before ever we have the face to go and find fault with the people; it is necessary it should be so. Therefore, I say, a man is in a dilemma, if he do not reprove sinne, it is against his office, and the person he bears, when God calls him to it; and if he be reproved, then he sinnes against the command of God, that binds him to be blamelesse, this is to bear the place of a repro­ver.

The Use of this is, first, to let us see that a man that reproves (I speakUse 1. not of Ministers only or of Magistrates, or Fathers, but of every man that reproves either by tongue, in word or in thought, if he find fault in his thought with another man for his sinnes, and his strange do­ings,) Let him take heed, he doth but pull a judgement upon his own head; he makes himselfe inexcusble, as in Rom. 2. 3. the Apostle there spea­ing of this very point, Thinkest thou O man, that judgest him that doth these things, and doest them, that thou shalt escape the judgement of God? A man that judgeth another and doth the same things, that man certainly shall not escape the judgement of God, as his brother doth not escape his judgement.

Secondly, another Use shall be for councell to every man and womanUse 2. To be unbla­mable ere we reprove. (for it is every ones case) God hath called every one of us to reprove one another, Ministers to reprove the people, and Magistrates to judge between man and man, and every neighbour is to reprove, when he is called thereto. Now let us mark and observe this rule, let every one of us labour with all care and conscience, to be unblameable, unoffensive, to humble our own souls, to cleanse our own consciences, that we may be able to perform this duty. Beloved we wrong our own souls, if we find fault with others, and suffer our selves to be faulty.

When Paul was to preach to the people, knowing that his office of preaching required reproving, you see, lest he should wrong his own soul, how he laboured to bee unblameable, saith he, I beat my bodie [Page 126] down, when I preach to others, lest I become a cast away.

Again as a man wrongs his own soul, so he dishonours God. It cannot be unknown what an unthankfull office, the office of a reprover is, the world cannot abide reproof. The wicked hate the reprover in the gate, Isa. 29. 21. The world is full of scorners, that hate reproof. Prov. 15. 12. Though some men be not so wicked as to hate reproof, yet at least they think hardly of them that reprove; they think they usurp authority over them; and crow over them, or they undertake to be their betters; as a reprover undertakes in that thing to be a mans better. Now when a man is reproved, he is apt to think that his neighbour crows over him, and excerciseth authority upon him, as if he would grow on him, and be his Judge. You see Lot, when he reproved the Sodomites, though as gently as ever he could, My brethren do not so wickedly, presently for all that, they thought hardly of him; What, will this fellow be a judge that came but the other day to sojourn? Gen. 19. Presently they thought hardly of him. So we see, the Prophet doth but find fault with Amaziah for his fault, and presently the Kings eyes are blinded, and his heart heardened, Who made you of the Kings counsell? 2 Chron. 25. 15. he thought him a medler, that pried into State-affairs, and into the Court and Kingdom. A man cannot reprove his brother for his sinne, but it is a thousand to one if his brother be not ready presently to pry into him, and to look nar­rowly into his wayes, to espy a hole in his coat if he can, or to make one if he cannot: all mens eyes are upon him, and they look strictly and straightly, and if any thing in the world be amisse, they will be sure to mark it, and to make more of it, to make mountains of Mole-hills. When the blind man did but find fault with the Pharisees, and reprove them a little for persecuting of Christ, what say they? Art thou altogether con­ceived and born in sin, and wilt thou teach us? John 9. 34. Presently they looked on his blindnesse, and birth, Certainly he is a viler sinner than o­ther men, and shall he go find fault with them? If we mean to reprove another, let us labour to be unblameable, to be Godly and holy, to reform our own wayes; let us be sure to purge our own families, to cleanse our own souls, to rid our own hands of all the wayes of sinne and iniquity, lest God be dishonoured. The word of God will be flung in his own face back again, and the reproof, if it be never so sweet, and never so wise, it wil be retorted in a mans own teeth, if he be not unblame­able himself. And a man had need to be humble, and lowly, and gentle, and meek, and to put on all bowels, and gentlenesse of heart, if he will reprove.

All sins are not to be reproved alike, some with sharpnesse, some with lenity. He is a Mountebank, that will open a vein for every wheal and pimple. The reprover is like them in Isaiah, when they deal withSimile. the Cummin and Fetches, a little rod will beat them out, but when they come to the Corn, Wheat, and Rye, they beat them out with the Cart-wheel: So when we meet with a hard-hearted spirit, we must use stronger corrosives to them, and gentler admonitions and re­bukes towards others that sin with a lesser and a weaker hand. But this is [Page] a thing that a man must be marvellous carefull of, that reproves. Nay, let a man be unblameable for the present, if he have been faulty before if it were seven, or ten, or twenty years before, if it be known, it is a thousand to one, but he shall be hit in the teeth with it, when he re­proves: you committed adultery, and you did steal at such a time, if it were never so long agoe. Therefore St. Paul would not consent to take Mark with him in the ministery, Acts 15. because he had been offensive to the Church before. We had need to be marvellous careful and wary, if we will reprove.

I had thought to have named other Uses, but I leave this exposition, and take it as it is passively interpreted.

He that being often reprov'd, hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.

THough it may be expounded the other way, yet I rather incline toThe second exposition. this.

The Reason is;

Because this is the constant current of all interpreters generally. I meet but with one or two that expond it the other way; but all passively, He that being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, &c.

Secondly, because the word in the original is, A man of reproofs that harden­eth his own neck. Now, though it be indifferent whether it be active or passive, yet look in the scripture, and you shall find it more often passive then active. A man of reproofs, that is a man often reproved, in the pas­sive. As in Isaiah 53. 3. Christ is a man of sorrows, not making others sorry, but made sorry passively. And so in Dan. 9. 23. It is said Daniel was a man of desires, that is, not a man desiring other men, or other things, not actively desiring, but passively, desired, beloved of God exceedingly. So it is said of Jeremiah, Jerem. 15. 10. he was a man of strife, not a man striving with others, but a man striven with. So in 1 King. 2. 26. A man of death, that is, not killing others, but to be killed himself. It is taken more frequently in the passive sense; and we may more boldly take it so. A man of reprofs, that is, reproved again and again, that hath recei­ved divers reproofs, and yet hardeneth his own neck, shall suddenly he de­stroyed and that without remedy. Here I might observe by the way, this point of Doctrine, That,

The Lord doth not destroy man willingly.

He saith not, A man shall be destroyed without remedy; but a manThe Lord doth not destroy men willingly. God destroys not but for sin. when he hath sinned against God, when he had committed sinne, and not only so, but when he is reproved for his sin, and goeth on. The Lord doth not destroy a man nakedly, but upon consideration of sin. Willingly the Lord doth not afflict any, Lament. 3. Mercy and punishment they flow from God, as the honey and the sting from the Bee; the Bee yeildeth ho­neySimile. [Page 128] of her own nature, but she doth not sting, but when she is provoked: So the Lord is gracious, and good, and favourable, and kind, and blesseth his people from his own nature, but he doth not punish, and plague, and destroy, but being provoked by sin and iniquity. I will not stand to fol­low this point, I let it go.

The text it self contains the great mercy of God in lending a man a re­proof.Observation 1. A great mercy to be reproved

And what a great sin it is, what a great ill it is for a man to sin against his reproof. The greatnesse of the ill is set down two wayes.

First, by the great sinfulnesse of the thing, it is called the hardening of a mans own neck.

Secondly, by the greatnesse of the punishment that God inflicts upon this sin, and that is, he will destroy him, and that without remedy.

For the first, namely, what a great mercy it is for God to let a man be re­proved for his sins. It may be proved by many places of Scripture only, I find Scripture is to be brought as an aggravation of sin, when they sin­ned against reproof, Hosea 5. 1. saith he, they are profound to commit sin, though I have been a rebuker of them all. As if he should say, Though I have been so mercifull, as to shew them the danger of sin, to tell them what would be­come of their wretched courses; though I have called them to repen­tance, and have given them warning what would be the issue of these things; yet for all this, for all my mercy, they have gone on in their sinnes, though I have reproved them. This Though is a word of aggra­vation, as we see in the speech of Daniel to Belshazzar; Thou, O King, hast not humbled thy self, though thou knewest this: as if he had said, though the Lord let thee know the punishment upon thy father, and the plagues of Nebuchadnezzar thy grandfather, though the Lord have let thee under­stand what it is for thee to exalt thy self against him; yet thou art not humbled; he aggravates his sin; So, this aggravates a mans sin, when he goes on, notwithstanding he is reproved.

The Reasons are;

First, because when God reproves a man of sinne, the reproof primarily comesReason 1. Reproofs come from love. out of love; therefore when he reproved Laodicea, and told her she was luke-warm, and said, I would thou wert either hot or cold, and since she was neither, he would spue her out of his mouth; he tells her whence the reproof flowed; because I love, I reprove: As many as I love, I rebuke, Revel. 3. 19. It is not out of ill will that I tell thee of thy luke­warmnesse, and threaten to spue thee out of my mouth; I tell thee these things that thou mayst avoid that ill; I say, Gods reproofs flow prima­rily from love to men, whereby he would have them lay aside their wretched courses, and avoyd the judgements. Nay, it is an argument of hatred, when a man doth not reprove his brother of sin. If God let a man go on in sin, and never tell him of his drunkennesse, nor never find fault with his pride and security, never convince him, or wound, or touch him, nor deal with him about his unsetled estate, and his rotten con­ditions, It is a sign God hates the man: But when God reproves a man from day to day, Man thou art a proud creature, thou shalt to hell for thy pride, and hypocrisie, and security, and hardnesse of heart: [Page 129] When the Lord reproves a man from day to day, this is an argument of love; the other is an effect of hatred, not to reprove; Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thy heart, saith Moses, but shalt in any wise reprove him, and not suffer sin to be upon him, Levit: 19. 17. Thou hatest thy brother when thou seest him sin, and doest not warn him; and knowest he is guilty of sinfull courses, and doest not reprove him; and when thou hast time, and place, and opportunity, and fit circumstances to reprove, and yet thou wilt not do it, it is a sign thou hatest thy brother; it is the greatest degree of hatred on them. If a man deny food for the body, and let a man rather dye of hunger, than he will give him meat, or let a man fall into a pit, rather than he will prevent the mischief, a man is guilty of bodily murder: but thou art guilty of the soul of thy brother, if thou let him fall into sin. Thou thinkest thy brother is harsh, he will not bearProv. 10. 17. with thee, he is hasty and testy: no, thou art in an error, That man that hates reproof, erreth, saith Solomon. Indeed a man should not be too sharp, but first tell his brother in private that he is in an error: for, reproof is a means of grace, it flows from great love, it is the providence of God that hath cast it about, that thou shouldest have reproof given thee; if thou have a heart to take it. It is an argument of love.

Another reason is taken from the primary end of reproof, which is to bringReason. 2. They tend to good. a man to good, to reduce him into a right way, to convert a man, to save his soul, that is the primary end of reproof aud admonition: there­fore to go in sinnes contrary to it, must needs be a great evill. As Solomon brings in the wisdome of the Father, Jesus Christ, calling up­on people, O yee fools, how long will ye love folly? turn at my reproof. Mark what follows, to what end; I will pour my spirit on you. There is the end he tells them, O ye fools, wretched people without understanding, that go on in sinne, and harden your own hearts, that repent not, nor turn not to God, that will not submit to his wisdom, nor imbrace his word: yee fools, that wrong your own souls, Oh turn at my reproof. Why? This is the reason that God reproves a man on this fashion, it is, that a man may have the Spirit of God granted him. If thou have an ear to hear reproof, and a heart to drink it in, and to wear it as a crown of gold on thy head, and as a chain about thy neck, thou shouldest have the Spirit of God for thy labour: the Lord reproves thee that thou mightest return back, and have the Spirit, and have mercy and forgive­nesse. This is all the ill-will that Gods Ministers bear thee, and all the hatred that reprovers shew, when they tell thee of thy sinnes whatsoever they be, that they may stop thy steps from going down to Hell.

When the Lord sends thee Sermon upon Sermon, Preacher after Prea­cher, thou art called on day by day, (as you hear in this place) This is the infinite goodnesse of God towards your souls; therefore your sin is infinite great if you do not amend, as the wise man saith, He that hates reproof shall surely dye, Prov. 15. 10. there is no remedy for that man. That man that puts off repentance, God reproves him from day to day, on the Sabbath day, and on the week dayes; he goes to this man and here he is reproved, and to another, and there he is reproved, and yet [Page 130] he goes on in his deadnesse and formality in the ordinances of God, that man shall surely dye, there is no remedy, he sins against the infinite mer­cy of God.

Thirdly, there is no reason in the world why reproof should be takenReason 3. It is brutish to reprove them. otherwise than with all willingnesse, and thankfulnesse, and chearfulnesse. If a man have but the reason of a man in him; he must needs take reproof in good part; he must be a beast that doth not judge well of him that reproves him▪ There is an excellent place, Prov. 12. 1. He that puts off reproof is brutish; he that hates reproof is the brute, that man hath no reason in him. Art thou a swearer, and art reproved for it? thy brother tells thee thou wilt be damned for it; Dost thou chafe at that man? thou art a beast, thou hast no more understanding than an Oxe orSimile. an Asse. As it is with a horse, when the Ostler comes to rub him, he kicks with his heel, when he only beats of the dirt, he lifts up his hinder leg on him, and it may be wounds him so thou hast no more understanding than a beast, that finds fault with one that reproves thee for thy sins. So that whatsoe'r thy sin be, he that tels thee of it, there is no reason in the world but that he should be a dear man to thee. Me thinks of all men under hea­ven, godly Ministers that are faithfull in their place and calling, should be the dearest men to you upon the face of the earth. Why? because they reprove you, and tell you of your sins, and what will become of your souls, what will be the issue and Catastrophe of all you wayes. You that come to Church every day, may read a Lecture in the Word of God, what will be your doom at the last day: you are told of your pride, and adultery, of your whoredom, and oaths, carnall Gospellers of their secure and carnal condition, and common professors of their formality, and o­ther lusts that men are given to; you are told of all: I say, the feet of Gods messengers should be beautifull, you should hug the messengers, and put their reproofs in your bosomes, and let them have power and efficacy on your souls; and go and put them in practice.

The Use of this is;

First, is it so, that it is the infinite mercie of God to reprove men of their sins, to tell them of whatsoever is amisse in their hearts and lives?Use 1. The misery to want reprovers. let me tell you, First, see here what an infinite punishment God is bring­ing upon that kingdom when he is taking away reprovers from them: when God takes away reprovers, he takes away all mercy and loving kindnesse. Therefore God when he threatned to deliver up Judah, to curse that Kingdom, to plague them for their rebellion, and ut­terly to give them over, he saith, he will take away the reprover; saith he to the Prophet, Thou shalt be dumb and not open thy mouth, thou shalt not be a reprover to this people, Ezek. 2. 26. When the Lord would curse that people; and bind them over to a reprobate sense, and deliver them to wrath, the Prophet shall not be a reprover, he silences the Prophet. Or as Piscator thinks, the anger of God silenced him, or confin'd him to hisOr Angel. house, that he should not prophesie. So when God silences his Mini­sters, that he takes them from a place, or threatens to take them away, [Page 131] it is a sign of heavy vengeance towards such a people. It may be wic­ked people laughed at them, and made it a matter of nothing, they were glad that Ezekiels mouth was gagged, and it were no matter if the coun­try were rid of a company of Puritans; though they had no such word then, they had as bad, they think all is well: but the time will come, that they will curse the day that ever they provoked God to take away their Ministers, we enjoy them by the mercy of God, other places have lost them God knows how soon we may lose ours. In Hosea 4. 4. the Lord, there, when he would set out the desperate estate of the children of Ephram delivers them up to such a state and condition, that none should reprove them, Let none reprove another. If they will sinne, let them: if they will go on in Idolatry, let them; If they will harden their own hearts, let them; if they will dye in sinne, let them; if they will perish, and be damned for ever, let them. Let no man reprove another. It is a lamenta­ble state.

Generally, people are glad when the Land is swept of all the good Ministers, and the good servants of God: they had rather hear a fine song in a pulpit, of one that preacheth morally, or it may be preacheth his own selfe, or the like; but the time will come, when they shall say as Solomon saith, It is better to hear the reproof of the wise than the song of fools, Ecclesiastes 7. 5. people love alife to hear the song of fools. When a fool comes up and preacheth, At what time soever a sinner shall repent him of his sinne: And, be not just overmuch; and what need such a do? Here is more puther than need, and abuse places, and wrest Scripture. As for ex­ample, the thief on the Crosse was saved at the last with a word or two; and they bring the example of the Publican, that cryed, God be mercifull to me a sinner, and went justified to his house rather than the Pharisee that made long prayers. And rush, what need men be so zealous, and precise, and puritanicall? Whosoever calls upon the name of God, shall be sa­ved: people love alife such songs of fools: but the time shall come when peoples eyes shall be opened, and their consciences awakened, and then they will wish, O that we had heard the reproof of the wise!

The second use makes against those that despise the reproofe of the wise, yeUse 2. Against despi­sers of reproof. despise not men but God; ye have despised me, Prov. 1. 30. You thinke you despise a poor Minister, he is strict, and harsh with your souls, and presseth these things upon your consciences, and it may be, more than he hath warrant to do: so you think you do not despise God, but only the Minister: Nay, saith Christ, you have despised my reproof. When you despise them that Christ sends, you despise him. This is an expresse and an explicite sign of a mans everlasting destruction, when he despiseth reproof, as in that speech of the Prophet to Amaziah, I know that the Lord hath determined to destroy thee: because thou hast not hearkened to my reproof, 2. Chron. 25. 16. So I may say, I know that God hath determi­ned to destroy a Nation, a City, or people, when they will not take coun­sell of Gods Messengers, when they will not hearken to instruction. They have been called upon, nationall sinnes have been ripped up, pa­rochiall sinnes have been spoken of, yet when they are told, they [Page 132] will not be reproved. We that are the Ministers of God, know that God will destroy as many as turn not at reproof. I let this pass.

I should now shew the grievousnesse of this ill of standing out against reproof: it is expressed two ways;

First, in the sinfulnesse of it, to harden a mans heart.The grievous­nesse of stand­ing out against reproof.

Secondly in the punishment; He shall be destroyd without remedy. And in the destruction you may see here,

First, the unexpectednesse of it, He shall be destroyed suddenly.

Secondly the totalnesse of it, He shall be destroyed. The word signifies to shatter all in pieces.

Thirdly, the irrecoverablenesse of it, without remedy.

Fourthly, the suitablenesse of it, his punishment is according to his sin. Mark, as he hardened his own heart against God, so God will harden his heart against him; as no remedy would turn him from his sin, so no remedy shall turn God from his wrath: As his sin was in hardening his heart like a stone, so God shall deal with him as a stone is dealt with, he shall destroy him. The word in the originall signifies broken to peeces as a stone is broken, that is, the Lord will deal with him just in his own kind. Hence I might observe this doctrine, that,

The Lord proportions punishments to mens sins.

Just as a mans sin is, so is the punishment. David sinned in numberingDoct. God proporti­ons punish­ments to sins. the people 2 Sam 24. 15. and God punished him in that; Pharaoh sinned in destroying and drowning the males of the Israelites; God smote his first born: He drowned their babes, and he himselfe was drowned in the sea. I might bring abundance of examples.

Now the Reasons of this are

First, because hereby a mans punishment appears to be so much the more equall and worthy. Retaliation is a most equall punishment to the sinne;Reas. 1. To shew the e­quity of pu­nishment. there is no inequality in it but this, that it is too mercifull, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth, burn for burn, wound for wound. You know an eye is equall for an eye: so when God punisheth a man just in his own kind, quid for quo, that as there was no remedy would turn him from his sin, so there shall be no remedy shall turn God from his wrath. Here­in Gods punishment appears the most equall, Revelations 16. 5. 6. Thou art righteous, O Lord, in that thou judgest thus, for she hath shed the bloud of thy Saints, therefore thou hast given them bloud to drink, for they are worthy. Thou thirstedst after blood, there it is for thee: so this is most equall, when men have dealt thus and thus with God, when God shall deal so and so with them, they cannot find fault. When a man drinks as he brews, and reaps as he sows, and finds as he brings, what inequality is here? It shall come to passe, that as when I called they would not hear, so when they call I will not answer, Zach. 7. When God calls upon thee, and thou wilt not hear, afterwards when thou callest for mercy, if he do not hear thee, it is just.

Secondly, another reason is, because this stops a mans mouth, it convinceth a mans conscience; when a mans conscience finds that he is served in his own [Page 133] kind, that he is paid in his own coin, it stops his mouth Adonibezck, he had cut off the thumbs and toes of 70 Kings: afterwards he was served just so as he had dealt with others; he had cut off their thumbs and toes, & made them gather orts under his table, so afterwards his thumbs and toes were cut off. Now mark what his conscience saith, Judg. 1. 7. As I have dealt, so God hath dealt with me. As if he had said, God knows wherefore the children of Judah have done this: they know not why they cut off my thumbs, and the reason why they cut off my toes: God knows what they looked at in punishing me thus: but Gods just providence hath dealt thus with me, in this kind I served others. This is so palpable a pu­nishment, so equall and just, that though the sin were committed twen­ty years agoe, yet a mans conscience will find out his sin twenty years after. As Josephs brethren sold him, and after cast him into a pit, two and twenty years after, when Joseph was harsh with them, see what their conscience saith; Doubtlesse we are guilty of our brothers blood, when we saw the anguish of his soul, and he besought us, and we would not hear. As if they had said, What is the matter why the man is thus harsh? He never saw us before, why should he be so harsh, and we be strangers? Nay, saith conscience, you are well served, remember you were harsh to your brother, if you dealt so with him, marvell not if you be dealt so with. And after, when they came to their Inne, and found their money, they wondred, What is this that God hath done? Their consci­ence, I warrant you, hit them in the teeth: without doubt they thought the money that they took for selling of their brother had haunted them as a Ghost; did not we pay the man money for his corne that we bought? Nay, saith conscience, you are rightly served, here is the money you sold your brother for, (though it were not so) without doubt conscience upbraided them. Naturally we are apt to find fault with Gods judgements, and quarrell, but when conscience sees the equity of them, we have nothing to say.

Thirdly, all the standers by may see the equity of it, when the pu­nishment is according to the sin: Nay, Divinity makes this Argument; that there is a God to judge the earth, because men are punished in their own kind. I will shew you one example of Abimelech, that wretch, that slew seventy of his brethren upon one stone, Judg. 9. 7. afterward when he came to stand under the Tower of Abel, a woman flung a piece of a milstone upon his head, and killed him: This was strange, all the standers by might say, that Abimelech should be killed with a stone: no question the woman thought nothing, she flung the stone because she had nothing else to fling; it was strange that it should hit him so pat, it might have hit another as well as him, the stone might have fallen to the ground as well as on him; and that it should be by a woman, and a mil­stone too: Milstones are not used on the top of a Tower, and a milstone broken that a woman could lift it, and that he should be killed by a milstone and not with a sword, nay, might all the standers by say, This God hath done, he was the son of a strange woman, and a woman hath killed him; he killed his brethren upon one stone, and now a stone hath killed him; all the world might be able to say; This God hath done.

[Page 134]The Use of this is,

First, let no creature in the world complain of Gods dealing, if he punish us according to our kind: he that kils with the sword shall be killed with the sword. He that stops his ears from hearing the poor, what shall his punishment be? He shall cry and not be heard. He that shews no mercy, how shall he be punished? He shall receive no mercy, James 2. 13. Wo to thee that spoyledst, and wast not spoyled▪ when thou ceasest spoyling, others shall spoyl thee, Isa 33. 2. Judge not, (saith Christ,) what if I do? Then thou shalt be judged. Thus God recompenceth the fruit of a mans doing. Here is no Momus can complain; no Aristarchus, that can find fault with the justice and judgement of God.

Secondly, It is not amisse to consider and see how God proportions punish­ments to sins.

In

  • Kind,
  • Quantity,
  • Quality,
  • Time,
  • Place, and other Circumstances.

In Kind; He shall eat the fruit of his own wayes, that is, he shall be puni­shed in kind. It is a similitude from a tree, every tree brings forth accor­ding to its own kind; if it be an Apple-tree, it brings forth Apples; if a Crab-tree, Crabs; a Pear-tree, Pears; So every sinner shall be punished in their kind, a Minister shall be punished in his kind, wicked Masters in their kind, Servants in theirs, Rich in theirs, poor in theirs: If a man be a drunkard, he shall be punished in one kind; if he be an adulterer, in ano­ther: Every man shall eat the fruit of his own wayes. Every sin brings an homogeneal punishment, according to the nature of it. I cannot stand to follow this, though it he very clear in Scripture.

Secondly, it is in Quantity God proportions the punishment accor­ding to the sin; he that sowes sparingly, shall reap sparingly; but he that sowes bountifully, shall reap bountifully. Little sins, little punishments; and great sins, great punishments. There are little sins, moat sins, gnat sins, and there are Camel sins; so there are little and great punishments, some meet with many, some with fewer stripes. Just according to a mans sins, so the Lord shapes out the punishment, for great sinners, great plagues, and for every one according to his own measure. God hath a pair of bal­lances that he means to weigh men in: As he weighed Belshazzar, so he will weigh thee, and look how much sin thou puttest in one scale, so much punishment God will put in the other; He will not abate thee one oath, not one idle thought, not one breach of the Sabbath, not one neg­lect of hearing the Word, or of other duties: the Lord will put wrath in one ballance, as thou puttest sin in the other; he will make the scales e­ven to a haire: as he dealt with Belshazzar, He will lay righteousnesse to the line, and judgement, to the plummet, and weigh thee out in the scales, and thou shalt have just according to thy sins.

[Page 135]As the Lord deals with his own people, he will not abate so much as a cup of cold water, but it shall be rewarded; he will reward all, from the greatest to the least: so he will deal with the wicked, there shall no sinne passe unpunished.

Again, there is a proportion in the Quality. If Adam sin in eating, he shall be punished in eating; if the women of Judah sin in apparel, they shall be punished in apparel, Isa 3. 24. In Wis. 11. 16. A man shall be puni­shed in that that he sins in. If Absalom sin in his hair, he shall be punish­ed in it; Nebuchadnezzar might find his sin in his brutish condition, and the Prodigall might find his sinne in the Hog▪trough: so if thou find thy self in want, consider if thou hast not wasted thy means: if thou hast not been vain in building, and prodigal in spending, or gaming or unnecessary bounty, and im moderate liberality beyond thy means: Art thou punished in thy Trade, or Children? &c. see if thou hast not sin­ned in them, for where there is sin, God will proportion the punishment to the sin.

Fourthly, God proportions the punishment to the sin in regard of the time. The same hour that Belshazzar was drinking and quaffing in the Temple, the same hour the hand of God was upon him; if it be not upon thee the same hour, it may be to morrow at the same hour. It may be thou hast sinned this day at such an hour, it may be God may strike thee to morrow at the same time, or this day seven-night, it may be the next year. Nebuchadnezzar was warned of his pride this year and the same time twelvemoneth the Lord drove him from among men. So in Acts 13. 42. one Sabbath day the Jews heard Paul preach and went out before the Sermon was quite done, they were not able to stand to the blessing; the same day seven-night the Lord made the Apostles shake off the dust of their feet against them, and leave them to a reprobate sense.

Fifthly, the Lord proportions his punishments to the place. It is strange many times, that the drunkard should get his death in the same Alehouse where he got his liquor. In Judg. 7. in that story of Oreb and Zeeb, Oreb at the rock Oreb devised against the children of Israel, and upon the same rock he was killed; And Zeeb another persecuter of the Children of God; so the Psalmist calls them, he at the Wine presse of Zeeb took vi­ctuals from the children of Israel, and in the same place his own life was taken away.

Just as Judges and Magistrates at this day, they hang up men where they have done the villany. As they do with Dogs and Cats, they car­ry them to the place, to the Cellar or the Buttery where they do the mis­chief. But the beasts themselves though they have no reason, are able to pick out the meaning of it. The Lord punisheth sinners in the same place. Here where thou hast been deaf to hear the word of God, when thy heart riseth against the Preacher, in the same place, it may be the Lord wil de­liver thee up to a reprobate sense. In the same place, at the Lords Table, where thou comest unworthily, thou shalt eat and drink thine own dam­nation.

THE NECESSITY OF SEL …

THE NECESSITY OF SELF-DENIAL. In a SERMON By that laborious and faithful Messenger of CHRIST, WILLIAM FENNER, Sometimes Fellow of Pembroke Hall in Cambridge, and late Mi­nister of Rochford in Essex.

London, Printed by E. T. for John Stafford.

Practicall DIVINITIE: OR, GOSPEL-LIGHT: Shining forth In severall choyce SERMONS, on divers Texts of Scripture.

Viz. 1. The Misery of earthly thoughts, on Isa. 55. 7.

Viz. 2. A Sermon of Self-denial, on Luke 9. 23.

Viz. 3. The efficacie of importunate Prayer, in two Sermons, on Luke 11. 9.

Viz. 4. The necessity of Gospel-obedience, in two Sermons, on Colos. 1. 10.

Viz. 5. A Caveat against late Repentance, on Luke 23. 24.

Viz. 6. The Soveraign vertue of the Gospel, on Psal. 147. 3.

Viz. 7. A Funeral Sermon, on Isa. 57. 1.

Preached by that laborious and faithful Mes­senger of CHRIST, WILLIAM FEN­NER, Sometimes Fellow of Pembroke Hall in Cambridge, and late Mi­nister of Rochford in Essex.

[figure]

London, Printed by E. T. for John Stafford.

THE MISERY OF Earthly Thoughts.

ISA. 55. 7.‘Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighte­ous man his thoughts and let him return unto the Lord, &c.’

I Have heretofore begun the Doctrine of the Thoughts of men; Now I desire to finish it. Whence we had this Point: that

Those whose minds run habitually on earthlyDoctrine: things, are yet in the state of misery.

First, Because a man is in the state of misery till he hath repented: Now, untill a man have forsaken his old thoughts, that man hath not re­pented. Oh Jerusalem, wash thy heart, Jer. 4. 14. A man must not only [...]id himselfe of vain thoughts, but he must wash his heart clean, with this Emphasis, That he may be saved: No salvation without this. How long shall vain thoughts lodge within thee?

2. As a man is in the state of misery, till he have repented, so also till he is in Christ. Now when a man is led by his own vain thoughts, his thoughts being not sanctified; so long that man is not in Christ. If he were in Christ, Christ would sanctifie his thoughts. I but, may some man say, He hath wronged me, ergo, I will think thus and thus▪ Nay, but [Page 140] Christ casteth down the strong holds, and if thou wilt not yield, Christ will cast thee off; but if thou belong to Christ, he will cast all down be­fore thee.

3. That man is in the state of misery, that doth not love God, that walks not with God in his thoughts, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, &c. Mat. 22. 37. So I do, sayes one, and yet I think on my vanities too: And thus carnal men think they love God. But if thou love God with all thy heart, thou lovest him with all that is in thy heart; for what is a mans heart, but the purposes of his heart? Now if a man give not over vain purposes, he loves not God with all his heart.

4. That man that cannot forsake sinne, is in the state of misery, and can never enter into life, (see the Text) the wicked must forsake his wayes. A man must deny his own words, and speak according to Gods own warrant: the actions of mens lives are the wayes of their thoughts; the Tongue must not only forsake his way, but the Heart his way also; else a man is a wicked man, Prov. 13. 26. He is wicked whose thoughts are not sanctified. But what will men say? shall we be condemned for a thought? words are small sins, and thoughts are lesse: Must a man then so strictly look to his thoughts? I will make it plain, that for a man to be vain­thoughted, is a grievous sin;

1. Because if the sin of vain thoughts be pardoned, it will ask abun­dance of mercy.

Mark the Text, Abundantly pardon: No repentance, no mercy, no abundance of it; ergo, it is not so small as the world takes it to be.

2. Thoughts are the sins of the highest part of a man; for they are the sins of the heart; and surely the sins of the chiefest part are greater then any other. A King counts it not much for a Rogue to steale by the wayes side, but for a Knight or a Noble-man it is a foul matter: So the Lord would not have the lordly part to sin against him; He would not have the tongue, much lesse the heart, that is, the Kingly part of a man, to transgresse. And this is the reason why Deborah calls them great thoughts of heart▪ Judg. 5. 15. Sins in thought, are great sins: the Heart is the Lady, the mistresse, or highest part of a man; and He that hath made us, looks that we should serve him with the Master-part; That must be afforded him.

3. Because thoughts are breaches of every Commandement; Other sins are but against one, but all the Commandements condemn vain thoughts. The first Commandement saith, Thou shalt have no others Gods but me; But thou set [...]est an Image up in thy heart, when thou thinkest of thy pleasures, &c. So, Thou shalt keep holy the sabbath day: Now if thou think thine own thoughts that day, thou breakest this commande­ment; and so of all the rest: The sinne of thought is therefore a hainous sinne.

4. Because they are the strength of a mans heart and soul, the first­born of originall corruption. A man by nature is a child of wrath, a soul and a body of death. Now what doth the heart first break out in? It first shews it self in its thoughts; and if it be the first-born, it must needs [Page 141] be the strengh: as Jacob said to Ruben his first-born, he was his strength; and therefore all Lord-ship lies in the heart; A man may more easily part with all other sins then with this, because the bent of the heart runs this way; the heart will part with any sin, rather then with his pernicious thoughts.

5. Because they are the dearest acts of men. We count a man prefer­red, when he is preferred to the thoughts of a man, Gen. 40. 14. Think on me, saith Joseph to Pharoahs Butler: I count it thanks enough, if thou pre­ferre me to thy thoughts. We prize that most, which we think most o [...]; That which a man scorns, he scorns to bestow his thoughts on; but that which a man sets his heart on, that is his dearling. Now that any thing should be dear to a man, save God, this is a horrible sin; when a man makes his dogs his dearling, his whore his dearling, &c. For look what thou most thinkest on, that is thy dearling: Why? Because thou dandlest it in thy heart; therefore it is a horrible sin for a man not to set his heart upon God.

Objection.But can a man live without thoughts? doth Grace call us to leave thinking? then a man must cease to be.

Answer.Non tollit, sed attollit naturam; it takes them not away, but it takes them up. He doth not say, Let the wicked forsake thoughts, but his thoughts; let him set them on other matters. When God cals men unto him, he is so far from taking away mens thoughts, as that he will rather increase them. If thou be a new creature, thou must have more thoughts; Thou art full of thoughts now; but then thou wilt be fuller. Psal. 119. 59. When David turned to God, his heart thought upon his wayes; the word in the original is, He thought on his wayes on both sides. The curious work of the Sanctuary was wrought on both sides; Common works are wrought only on one side, but on the other side are full of ends and sh [...]eds. So the Prophet looks on his way on both sides; he strives to walk curiously, precisely, and accurately to turn himself to Gods testimonies. Ergo, God cals not to forsake thoughts, but our thoughts; it is a hard duty for men to forsake their own thoughts. I will make it appear thus:

First, Because it is a hard thing to reform ones self; one thing may re­form another; but here is the difficulty, for a thing to reform it self: it is an easie matter for a mans heart to reform his tongue, but it is hard for the heart to reform it self, in correcting its own thoughts: it is hard for a man to deny himself. Ahel-hound may reform his tongue; but here is the difficulty, for his heart to reform it self, for thoughts are the heart, Phil 3. 19. who mind earthly things; thoughts of earthly things are called the mind; a mans thoughts and his mind are all one, so that if it reform thoughts, it must reform it self.

2. It is hard to reform thoughts, because they are partiall acts; if they were full acts, a man might reform them, rather then being partiall acts: my reason is, because they are in every action he doth; thoughts run on all mens actions; if thoughts were alone, men might mend them: but they busie themselves about all actions; if a man pray, thoughts run along with him in prayer, nay men pray with twisted thoughts, so that before [Page] he comes to an end of his prayer, he shall have abundance of glancings on other things. See it in old Eli, 1 Sam. 1. Hanna was praying; Old Eli saith the Text, thought she had been drunken. Either he was, or should have been praying also; yet you see he had wandring thoughts ꝙ mark the lips of his neighhours. So, as John was preaching, Mat. 3. there came a thought into his hearers hearts, that they were the seed of Abraham. What did make them think so? John spake of no such matter; but he said, Every tree that brings not forth good fruit, &c. They had, it seems, by thoughts in the duty of hearing; therefore seeing thoughts do thus twist them­selves about mens actions, hence it is that they are so hard to be rooted out.

3. It is hard for men to forsake their own thoughts, because they are in mens hearts, Their inward thoughts, Psal. 49. 11. Every man hath two kind of thoughts, inward, and outward; explicite, and implicite; implicite thoughts are those that never shew themselves in the heart, but at some desperate attempt; Explicite, are those which are in the heart every day: as in Psal. 49. 11. They think their houses shall continue for ever. Would you think that men should have such thoughts? their outward thoughts were, they were mortall; Wee see (saith the Text) that men die, &c. and yet they they think inwardly that they shall live for ever. Now according to these inward thoughts men act; and hence it is that men neglect repentance, and other holy duties, as if God would never call them to an account; they have not these thoughts above-board, but they are inward, and these spoile the heart, and these are the cause why men cannot forsake their own thoughts. Ephiphanius speaks of a fig-tree which grew in a wall, &c. Bad thoughts will be alwayes seizing on a [...] he dies, and then all his thoughts perish. But so long as a man is alive in old Adam, these thoughts are rooted in the bottom of the [...], which hinder good duties; aud this is the cause why vanity of mind sprouts up.

Examine your selves then; for it is one of the best wayes for a man toUse. try his estate by, even to examine his thoughts. If a man would see whe­ther the sea be salt, he need not drink all the water that is in it; one drop will serve his turn. So a man may see whether he be a child of God, or of the Devil, even by his thoughts. I will make it appear by these Rea­sons:

First because mens thoughts are the free acts of their hearts. Many times you speak not as you would, you do not as you would, but a man thinks alwayes as he will. Favour of great men, and desire to please them, makes men do many times what they would not; but thoughts are free. I may say so, and so, but I will think what I list: Ergo, if thou wilt judge a man, judge him by that he does freely, and not by that which he does by compulsion. But now thy thoughts are free, they are thine own act; nothing can force thy thoughts but thy self: ergo, in them thy heart shews it self whether it be carnal or spirituall.

When Peter denied his Master, could a man have judged him by that, then he might have judged him in Apostate: but that was his passion; he discovered what his fear was, not what his heart was; For if a man might have but looked into Peters heart (though it was a fearfull sin, and [Page 143] without Gods mercy might have damned him) Yet there you might have heard him say, Oh it is my Master! Oh that I had never come hither! It is my Master and Saviour, I have none but he. It was for fear of his life, that he denied him: For, Prov. 23. 7. As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. A covetous Usurer may make a rich feast, and say with his tongue, Sir, you are welcome; he must give good words, the shame of the world and speech of people will make him do it; yet his thoughts it may be are not towards thee. So try thy selfe, how go thy thoughts, at home or abroad? Are thy thoughts on heaven or heavenly things, or are they below? Sure I am if a mans thoughts were on heavenly things, then his heart would be there also; for as a man thinks, so is he, Prov. 23. 7.

2. As they are the freest acts, so they are the immediate acts of the heart. Can a man judge of the fountain by the water that runs seven miles off, as well as by that which runs immediately from it? The water seven miles off, may have tincture from the soyle, and so it may be bad there, though good at the fountains head; ergo, judge of the fountain by the water which comes immediately from it. Now, thoughts come immediately from the heart, nothing is between them and the heart, and out of the heart (saith our Saviour) proceed evill thoughts, &c. Mark 7. 21. Other sinnes come from the heart too, but it is at the second, third, or fourth hand; abundance of circumstances come between them and the act; as in the act of murder, it may be, there were base words offered, yea and blows too, &c. but thoughts come immediately from the heart: Ergo, if thy thoughts be proud, carnall, &c. so act thou; if thy thoughts carry thee away in the cares of this life, so is thy heart, &c.

3. Thoughts, they are the continued acts of the heart, a man is alwayes doing them. Can a man judge of an Usurer, and say he is liberall, be­cause he makes one great feast unto his neighbours? No; but he may say it is a Usurers feast, a great feast.

By what a man doth alwayes, by that judge him; Thou art not alwayes praying &c. or in good company; but thou art alwayes thinking good or evill thoughts, thy thoughts are continued acts of thy heart. Can a man judg a horse for stumbling once in a long journey? At such a place he went well and at such a time, and alwayes; yet perhaps once in a year he may stumble: Can you, or will you judge him by that? No, rather judge him by that which hee is alwayes doing. Thou art alwayes thinking; now that is thy God which thou art alwayes think­ing on: If on riches, then that is thy god; or whatsoever it be, then that is thy god.

Examine then thy heart by thy thoughts; for out of the abundance of thy heart thy mouth speaketh: yea, for one word, there is abundance of thoughts, for one good duty, there is abundance of thoughts; ergo, if thou wilt examine thy heart, examine thy thoughts.

4. Thoughts are the Univocall acts of the heart, such as wherein the heart shews its own nature. As for example, the Univocal act of Light is to lighten the room, but now you cannot judge of the Light by the [Page 144] heat, so well as you may by the shining. So an ill savour must be judged of by the stinking, which is the univocal act of it: It causeth abundance of other effects, but this is the proper act whereby it shews it self. So the thoughts of men are the univocal acts of their hearts; therefore in Scrip­ture called the way of the heart: just as the heart is, so are the thoughts: if the heart be proud, so are the thoughts: just according to the nature of the heart, so are the thoughts.

5. They are the swiftest acts of the heart. If I judge of a Scholar, I will judge him by that which he doth extempore: if a fool study, he may speak to purpose; but look what a man doth by his own inclinati­on, that a man discovers himself to be. Thoughts are the extempore acts of the heart; if thy heart be heavenly, it will scatter out heavenly medita­tions; if carnal, then thy thoughts are carnall: thoughts are as the visions in the night, ergo we use this proverb, his thoughts are gone a sutering. If then they be the swiftest acts of mens hearts, then are they most [...]it to expresse the nature of the heart.

6. Thoughts are the peculiar acts of the heart, peculiar to God only: the world may see what thy outward life is, but thy thoughts God only sees; neither Angel, Devil, nor Man can see them: and as they are peculiar to Gods eye, so he most regards what mens thoughts are; and therefore the best way for a man to judge himself, is, to judge himself that way which God doth, even by his thoughts. The The Lord knows the thoughts of man, Psal. 94. 11. Examine your selves in this then, concerning your thoughts, whether they be metamorphosed, or no: a man may say, he hath good thoughts of God; but let him examine himself whether it be so or no.

7. Thoughts are the conscionable acts of the heart; they are the grea­test accusers, or excusers of the heart: they are Consciences Nose, as we may so speak: True it is, the words of the tongue, and the actions of the hands, are all in the light and [...]ight of the conscience; but the neerer a thing is unto the conscience, the more able it is to judge of the con­science: And therefore St. Paul puts the accusing, or excusing, especially on the thoughts, Rom. 2. 15.

We grant, a wicked man may have good thoughts, but they are thoughts descending, not ascending; they are cast into the heart by God, not raised out of the hear. Moses thought in his heart to visit his brethren, Acts 7. verse 23. Good thoughts grow out of the heart of the godly, they come from the bottom of it: a wicked man may have good thoughts cast into his minde, but he will fling them out again.

Secondly, we grant wicked men may have good thoughts; but exa­mine whether they close with the heart or no; all the proper thoughts of a man, are the possessions of the heart, Job 17. 11. They take hold of the heart, and they are at home in the heart. Here then examine thy heart, whether the thoughts of God close with thy heart: Doth repen­tance close with thy heart? dost thou think of death, and do the thoughts thereof make thee die daily? Or dost thou think of death, and dost thou not love to be holden with that thought? Dost thou think of hel, and wilt thou not be holden with that thought of hell, but thy thoughts are on thy pleasures? So then, if thy thoughts close not with thy heart, it is no­thing to the purpose.

[Page]Thirdly, there may be good thoughts in thy heart, but tis questio­nable whether good thoughts, or no; if they come out of due season, it is nothing to the purpose: If a Printer print never so well, and make never so good letter; yet if he place one word where another should stand, he marrs all: So, good thoughts, if they be seasonable, and in their proper place, they are the effects of the Spirit; but if out of season they may be the thoughts of reprobates: As if thou be at at Prayer, and then to be thin­king of a Sermon, is nothing to the purpose. They must be seasonable, and bring forth fruit in due season, Psal. 1. 3. When thou art at prayer, thou must have thy thoughts suteable to thy prayer; for if thy thoughts be never so good, yet if they be not seasonable and sutable to the action thou hast in hand, they are not actions of grace; grace cannot away with them.

Fourthly, thou hast good thoughts in thy heart, but the question is whether they be counselled thoughts, such as thou hast determined to think on. Thoughts are called the counsels of a mans heart, 1 Cor. 4. 5. it may be thou maiest stumble on a good thought now and then, it may be when thou art swearing, thou w [...]lt say, God forgive me: when thou hast been drinking all the day, it may be a good thought steps in and cries God mercy, but thou goest not to schoole to learn the art of meditation, or the science of holy thinking, or to say with David, O God my heart is fixed.

Now, if that sin in thought be so great a sin, this should teach us what a hor­rible sin it is to sin indeed; therefore thoughts are the smallest sins, in re­spect of scandal, and the Psalmist makes it an argument of Gods quick­sighted power to see thoughts, thou seest my thoughts afar off, you will say that man is quick-sighted that can see a pins head a 100 myles off: even so God sees thoughts; if a pins point can stab a man, then a sword can much more. Now if thoughts be so haynous and capitall a sin, how fearfull a sin is it to commit sinne in deed? for thee to swear, to lye, to commit adultery, to keep wicked company, to mock at Gods people, to live in coveteousnesse, &c. this is to commit in deed; if small sins be so damnable, what then are the greatest? If the chockatrice in the egge be such poyson, what will it be when it is hatcht? thought sins are imper­fect compared with words or acts following them: yet are they perfect in their kinds.

Tis a wicked distinction to say that some sins are Contra legem or Praeter legem; for all sins are against the Law, as St. James saith, when lust is con­ceived it bringeth forth sin, and [...]in when it is finished it bringeth forth death: thou that art a drunkard, thy sin is finished: thou art a true sinner in deed, if thou livest in the execution of any sin.

Again, sins in thought are simple sins: but sins in deed are compounded, if after thoughts follow sutable act; but when it is in deed, it may be the cause of a 1000 sins: for a man to think too much of his bellie is a sin: but for a man to be drunken, this is abundance of sins: for it is an abuse of Gods creatures, a spending of his substance, a weakning of his parts, a scandall to others, &c. Sin in deed is a sin with an addition: sin in deed is an impudent sin [...] see Isaiah 65. 2, 3. &c. that man is impudent with a [Page 146] witnesse that will commit sinne in deed, for he is neither a­shamed of Gods nor mans presence; if any man be a desperate sinner, this is he.

Object.But it may be objected, how then can thoughts be said to be such sins, e­ven sins of the highest part of a man?

Sol.I answer, a Thiefe or Rogue hath burnt a mans dwelling house, yet he may proceed further and burn his stable too; a 1000 pound and a shilling are more then a 1000 pound; Sins in thought are included within sins in deed. The souls part of sinne is the greatest part of sinne; Now thoughts are the souls part of sin; yet sins in deed must needs be worse in regard of the progresse of sinne, and also because thoughts are included in them; thoughts and deeds, are more then thoughts alone.

I exhort and desire you therefore to consider;

First what great reason you have to set your thoughts on God. God him­selfe merited this dutie at your hands, God hath taken a number of thoughts for us. Innumerable are thy thoughts O God to us ward. Ps. 40. 5. the Lord thinks on us from the Cradle to the Crosse; If the Lord should have intermitted his thought of thee, thou couldst not subsist; when thou wast up, the Lord thought how to feed thee; when thou wast in bed, he thought how to preserve thee; he doth not use to think of thee at one time and not at another, but he thinks on thee when thou art sick, and when thou art in health, asleep or awake; the Devill else would seize on thee. I am poor and needy, yet the Lord thinks on me, saith the Psal­mist, Psal. 40. 17. And Nehemiah saith, O Lord think on me; shall we call to God to think on us? then surely it is our duty to think on him, yea and he may call to us for that duty.

Secondly, consider with your selves what thoughts they are which God calls for; my son, saith he, give me thy heart. Prov. 23. 26. He would faine have thy heart, he lets thee labour with thy hands for thy living, and he lets thee have thy feet to walk, and the rest of thy members for thy severall uses, but the Lord requires thy heart, and therefore give him the thoughts of thy heart; for if thy neighbour come to thee for fire, thou canst not give him fire, if thou take away the heat thereof; so give the Lord thy heart, and the thoughts of it will follow.

The Devill calls for thy heart also; ergo, reason as Joseph did when he was tempted, how can I doe this and sinne against my God? my Master hath delivered into my hands all that he hath, thee only excepted, and shall I take thee? how can I doe this? So the Lord hath with-holden nothing from thee, but thy heart; my sonne (saith he) give me thy heart, yet wilt thou deny it him with the thoughts thereof?

Tell me you that are rich, would it be any disparagement unto you to be Gods servants, to set your thoughts on God? True, it is the greater ill men of this world thinke it some disparagement to think on these things. But I tell thee, thou that art a Gentleman, if thou have grace, it makes thee more than a Gentleman; grace takes not away mens honor and ri­ches, but if he be a Knight, it makes him more than a Knight; And as Paul said to Philemon, receive him now a servant and more than a ser­vant; he was a servant when he was carnall, but now being a Christian [Page 147] he is more than a servant; if you have grace, it is an addition to your riches; riches and more than riches; ergo, give your hearts to God, and it will be the better for you.

Thirdly, the Lord hath made thy thoughts thy Jewels, thy thoughts are precious, the Lord keepeth them under lock and key, he will not let any see them; if all men should observe a man, and look into him, yet they cannot see his thoughts; no; God hath lockt them up and made them thy Jewels; wilt thou then cast them into the myre? wilt thou pre­ferre Haukes and Hounds in thy thoughts before God? canst thou sit at dinner, and not once think of God, but alwayes on base pelfe? why, thy thoughts are thy Jewels.

Again, A man that is wise, will be wary what companions he keeps▪ your thoughts are your only companions; you never go out nor in, but your thoughts go along with you: and for this cause Solomon would have us place the word of God in our thoughts, Prov. 6. 22. See Psal. 139. 15. 16. when I am awake, I am present with thee.

Men will be carefull what meat they eat, because such meat as they eate such is their blood; and as their blood is, so is their body; now as the body feeds on meat, so doth the soul on thoughts; if we look not to our thoughts, they will be subject to abundance of corruptions; a man must give an account of every idle word he speaks, and thoughts are the intrinsecal words of the heart: now if men must give an account of every idle word, then of every idle thought also.

Let this then teach all and every one of us in the fear of God to con­sider our thoughts, else our end will be destruction.

[...]

A SERMON OF SELF-DENIAL.

LUKE 9. 23.‘And he said unto them all, If any man will come af­ter me, let him deny himself, and take up his crosse daily and follow me.’

THis Text contains the first action performed of every Christian, viz. to deny himself; concerning which you may here see,

First, the grounds of it.

Secondly, the reasons of it.

Thirdly, the occasion of it.

Fourthly, the parts of it.

Fifthly and lastly, the necessity of it.

I intend to handle these words as they are in relation to the context.

First, the grounds of this truth, viz. that every man must deny himself. And it is here expressed to be twofold, viz. the contrariety that is be­tween Christ and a mans self, me, and himself, these two terms are contra­dictory one to the other; if any man will come after me, let him deny him­self; these two cannot stand together.

Secondly, the contrariety that is between self and self; if a man be in Christ he hath two selves; he hath a self in himself; and a self out of him­self [Page 152] the self in himself is old Adam; the other in Christ, which is the new man; there is the self-denying and self-denyed; if a man will find him­self, he must lose himself. Paul must not be found in Paul, having his own righteousnesse, but he must find himself in Christ; for salvation belon­geth unto the Lord, Psal. 3. 8. And ergo, let him deny himself.

Secondly, you may see the reason of it; wich is threefold.

First, Christs own example, verse 22. the son of man must suffer, must be rejected. Christ himself denies himself, he might have comman­ded himself, he might have demanded credit, honour, or riches, &c. he might have done thus; yet though he had no wicked self, but good self, yet he denyed himself; and therefore if we will goe after Christ, we must do so too.

Secondly, here is Christs merit, he hath merited this duty; Christ did not humble himself for himself, but he did it for us, and therefore we may well deny our selves for him. This is included in this word And. And if I have done this for you, I would have you do the like for me.

Thirdly, here is Christs command too; Let him deny himself; Christ enjoynes this to all that will come after him, Let him deny himself.

Now follows the occasion, and that is threefold.

First, Peters offence; when Christ had told Peter and the rest of his Apostles how that he must suffer; Peter was offended, saying, Master, favour thy self; even like a servant that out of love to himself would be loth his Master should be troubled, because then he thinks himself shall be troubled also; oh saith Christ, art thou offended at this? I tell thee, nei­ther thou nor any other can come after me unlesse you deny your selves. If any man will come after me▪ &c.

Secondly, as Peter was offended, so also were the rest of the Apostles. They were very sorrie, Matth. 17. 22. they thought to have gotten cre­dit in the world, and riches and worldly preferment, and it grieved them to hear that they must have a suffering kind of trade of it; ergo, Christ said not only to Peter, but to them all, If any man &c.

Thirdly, like as his Apostles, so likewise he did foresee that all the world will be offended at this; for man [...] would faine have Christ and their self­will too; but Christ gives a watch-word before-hand, If any manwill, &c.

Fourthly, The parts of it. The whole duty is this, Let him deny him­self. Chrysostome on the text saith, not onely deny himself, but in the origi­nal deny away himself; nor onely deny credit, &c. but abhorre it; if it can­not be had but with the losse of Christ, we must not only barely deny self-respects, but abhorre them, and trample them under our feet.

The parts of this duty are two;

First, let him take up his crosse.

Secondly, let him deny himself and follow me.

The first is opposed to self-favouring, the second to self-do­ing.

First, let him take up his crosse, let him not favour himself, he must be [Page 153] content to part with selfe-means and maintenance, and selfe-ends too; he must be content to part with all these; he that will come after me, must lose many good friends, and many a good bit and sweet morsell to the flesh: he that will come after me, must not stand upon these termes: sup­pose a crosse of disgrace come, take it up and wear it as thy crowne, nay thou must be willing to take a crosse before it is offered, and when thou hast it, thou must be willing to bear it.

Secondly, he must follow me too, ones selfe will do as ones selfe would have him; that is true; but you must follow me, not your selfe; look to me, and frame your selves to walk in my steps, take up my crosse, &c.

Lastly, here is the necessity of it. It is absolute true, a man may go to hell if he be so minded, he may follow himself to hell; but if a man tender his salvation, then here is an hypotheticall necessity, a necessity with an if.

First, if he mean to come after me, he must take up his crosse and deny himselfe.

Secondly, if a man would save his life, he must lose it: if he will lose it, he shall save it. If a man will keep his old relation, he may; but if he will find credit and life in heaven, he must deny all selfe­respects.

Thirdly; if a man will gain himselfe, let him deny himselfe. But what say some, how shall we live then? how then shall I hold up my head? These men would faine have the gaine of the world, but what is a man profited, if he win the world and lose his soule? &c. verse 25. If you stand upon these termes, if you can baulke a commandement for selfe-respects, you may lose your soules, but if you will save your souls, thus you must doe. Again the text saith, if a man be ashamed of me and of my word, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed; ergo, if ever you look that the Son of man should not be ashamed of you, deny your selves.

Now for the Exposition.

Deny himselfe; there is the difficulty. A man cannot deny himselfe, 2. Tim. 2. 13. so affirmare & negare are contradictions; ergo, somewhat must be meant by ones selfe: yet by ones self is not meant the Devill, as Macarius would have it; for since man hath sinued, saith he, the Devill is got into him, and is as neer unto him as himself, he is another selfe within his own self, another heart within his own heart: ergo, if he will come after Christ, he must forsake the Devil; though this be true, yet, this is not the meaning of the text.

But first, a mans corrupt will, wit, reason and all a mans corrupt selfe must be put off. Put off concerning the former conversation the old man, &c. Ephes. 4. 22. which is a mans self. Viz. thou must lay aside the man that thou art, thou must not be the same man, if thou wilt follow Christ, thou must be a new selfe in Christ.

2. Here is not onely meant a mans corrupt will, wit, reason, and affe­ctions, but also all mens lusts and corruptions, all sinnes that cleave so close as if they were himselfe, as fornication, uncleannesse, evill concupis­cence, [Page 154] &c. mortify therefore your earthly members, Colos. 3. [...]. The Apostle accounts a mans lusts as close to him as his members; for untill a man be brought home to Christ, he and his sins are all one, he must deny himself, viz, all his lusts.

Thirdly, By selfe is not onely meant a mans corrupt selfe as sinne and iniquity: but also a mans good selfe in some respects; not only sin [...] but al­so Father, Mother, Children, Friends, &c. yea, life it selfe, all, if they be hinderances to him from Christ, so farre he must deny all these nay grace it self; for a man may make a God of grace, or of prayer, &c. a man I say must deny all these, so farre as they are stumblings and offences in his way to hinder him from Christ.

But oh sayes one, my father will disinherit me, I must humour him, he cannot endure a Puritan; If I must live as you would have me, I shall never have foot of his land; so the servant sayes, I have a prophane ma­ster and he will turne me out of doors, if I be so precise; yea, but what sayes Christ? If you will come after me, you must deny Father and Mo­ther and all; better it were that thy Father disinherit thee, then that Christ should reject thee; therefore you must deny all and take up his crosse, and make it thine own.

And so I come to the words, Let him deny himselfe. It is necessary to shew what self-seeking is, before you understand what selfe deniall is.

By selfe-seeking, I mean a man that hath a head-lust whereby he is selfe conceited of himself.

There are five things in selfe-seeking.

For first, selfe is a head-lust.

Secondly, its a lust of selfe-conceit.

Thirdly, of selfe-will.

Fourthly of selfe-wit.

Fifthly, of selfe-confidence.

1. Selfe is a head-lust, it is the main lust that keeps'men from coming unto Christ; all seek their own, not that which is Jesus Christs, Philip. 2. 21. What is the reason? Why, because they seek self, they follow their own thoughts; and because they are ruled by their own selves, therefore they are not ruled by Christ.

That it is a head-lust, I prove it by five arguments.

1. Because it is the leading lust to all lusts; no lust in the world but selfe leads the dance; why is man proud, but because selfe would get cre­dit? Why is a man covetous, but because selfe would have means and maintenaince? Why is a man revengefull, but because selfe will not put up wrongs? Christ bids us of all lusts to take heed of selfe, Luke 21. 34. Christ knowing what a deceitfull thing selfe is, he bids us have a care of selfe-beguiling; Take heed to your selves (saith he) for if you do not, selfe will bring you into many noysome lusts, as surfetting, and drunkennesse, and the cares of this life, &c, and so that day will come upon us una­wares▪

[Page 155]2. Self is the cause of all other lusts of the heart; it is the plotter and the ruler of all, it is the master of Arts; it was self that found out all lusts. Self found out pride, security and coverousnesse, and all other noysome lusts; self is loth to take the paines that God would have it, and therefore self sets his wits on the tainters, and hence it is that Solomon saith, God made made man upright, but he (viz. self) hath found many inven­tions, Eccles. 7. 21. Man was upright, and God was the cause. He became wicked, how? why, self found out many inventions. Self is the inventer of all, and when self cannot get meanes enough by that way which God hath allowed, then self seeks out for credit, wealth, pleasure, &c. then it devises wayes of it selfe to get reputation, so that selfe is the cause of lust.

3. Selfe is an inlust, it runs along through all the lusts of the flesh, there is in every lust of the flesh an ounce of selfe. There would be no security in man but that selfe would faine live at ease. So that as David said un­to the woman of Tekoah, Hath not Joab a hand in all this? so may I say, hath not self a hand in all this? Aquinas saith it is called self out of an in­ordinate love that a man bears to himself, and to those things which seem good to a mans selfe: A man hath not onely lust to pride, pleasure, &c. but a man looks also to things for self, either for some profit for self, or credit for self; self is alwayes an inlust. See it in the wicked Steward, Luke 16. he said within himself, &c. he was to be turned out of his stew­ardship. Now, what did he? he said to himself, or within himself; what said he? why, he said to begge he was ashamed, and dig he could not; self was too lazie to work, and to proud to beg, and so he brought his masters two hundred pounds to fifty; and what was his reason for it? why, saith he, that they may receive me into their houses, verse 2. &c. and it is said, the Lord commended the unjust Steward, not as if he had commended the sin, but as if he should say, I commend his wit.

4. It is a make-lust; a man would never break out into lust if it were not for self. Doeg had a lust of confidence in his riches, Psal. 52. 7. and this made Esau comfort himself against Jacob; he had a murthering lust to comfort himself, Gen. 27. 42. The Jewes had a lust of formality to pray, to hear, to bring offerings, to observe all the new Moons, and Or­dinances of God, yet they had no delight in these things; no, their mind was on their imaginations, they loathed the word of God; why then would they not do this? why self was the cause, and they thought thereby to stay themselves upon God, Isaiah, 48. 2. And for this cause many a­mongst us come to Church; this is a damnable lust.

Haman would not have vaunted of being invited to the Queens ban­quet, but that the Queene invited none but himself with the King; he would not have been so willing to answer to Ahashuerus's question, but for himself; whom doth the King delight to honour more then my self, thought he? self makes a man covetous, injurious, and full of wrongs, &c.

5. As it is a make-lust, so it is a requesting lust; Other lusts are with some men out of date; many reprobates cannot abide drunkennesse, nor pride, nor usury; these sins are out of date; why, doth a man love a [Page 156] niggard? why, because self is not the better for him; he cannot get so much as a dinner by him; many other sins may be out of date also with men▪ but self is never out of date, it is alwayes in request, and so long as men do well unto themselves, they shall be praised, saith the Psalmist. Psal. 49, 18. he hath none to make much of himself but himself. Every man for himself and God for us all, saith self. But sometimes self is out of love; but how? why he will do no good but unto himself; this men can­not abide; this they say is self out of his wits; but self with the wis­dome of the flesh is alwayes in request, viz. when men will be kind to others, that they may be kind to them again; this self the world loves alife.

2. Now I come to the second, which is self-conceit; self-seeking sup­poseth self-conceitednesse. There is a bird called S. a fair bird, in French it is called the Devils bird, it is a black bird, and yet it is con­ceited with it self that it is fair. By▪ S. I meane first the conceit a man hath of himself. What, shall I (saith self) be disgraced by one that goes to plough and to cart, and shall I put it up? No, I am a Gentleman, &c. Another saith, I am such and such a Scholar, and shall I be contented with such a poor living? these men will bear no reproof, they will none of my counsel, Prov. 1. 30. and therefore they shal eat of the fruit of their own way, &c. verse 31.

Secondly, when a man is conceited of himself, and of his own gifts, as commonly women are of their beauty, and scholars of their learning. A handsome man, and I warrant you he knowes it; diligent at Church, and he knowes it is so, &c. and he thinks his case the better; nay, you shall have men so conceited of their parts, as that they will be concei­ted of their wicked parts, as Simon Magus was of his Sorcerie, Acts 8. 9.

Thirdly, when a man is self-conceited of his actions; he doth as Sisera's mothers Ladies did, when they had given their verdict of Sisera's staying; they were presently conceited, oh what a wittie answer they made her! see Judges 5. 29. 30. as if they should say, we have answered very wisely; so a man cannot make a Sermon, but presently he is conceited, oh what a learned Sermon it was! he cannot break a jest, but straight he is con­ceited, oh what a wittie one it was! nay of wicked actions; you shall hear many an old man tell what prettie pranks (as he calls them) he played in his youth, and he tells it laughingly, which is a sign that he is self­conceited, or else surely he would speak it with shame and grief of heart.

Fourthly and lastly, self-conceit is when a man is self-conceited of the estate he is in. Many a man though he be the child of hell, yet he is conceited that he is the child of God; who with the wretch in the Gospel have conceits that they love God and Christ, and therefore with him they will come to the Sacraments; but Christ will say to such as he did to him, friends how came you in hither? can you conceit your selves to be friends? get you gon into utter darknesse (i.e) into hell, saith our Sa­viour.

[Page 157]Now if you would know what self-conceit is, you must remember that it containes four things.

First, where there is self conceit, there is no real worth at all; he that is self-conceited is a base man▪ take that for a rule. A self-conceited fel­low is a base fellow, as we use to say; there is no real worth at all in a conceited man; all the worth that he hath, is either reall as he thinks, or conceitable▪ now what reall worth can self have? You know what Scrip­ture saith, tis only in imaginations of their hearts. Luke 1. 43. They it may be do imagine that they are Gentlemen, or that they have faith, and yet God scatters these men in their imaginations.

Secondly, as he hath no reall worth in himself, so he will not stand to the judgement of those that can judge him. God can tell the worth of every thing, but they will not be judged by him; Gods Ministers out of Gods word can tell him, that he hath no reason to think his case good; but he will not stand to the judgement of Gods Ministers. If a Minister should come to a man and say unto him, Sir, you are conceited that you are a good Christian, I pray what signes have you for it? you pray, so do Reprobates; you hear the word and receive the Sacraments, so do Reprobates; hast thou no better signes than these? no better arguments than these? Why, I tell thee that a Reprobate hath these, and more than these too. A self-conceited man will be judged by none but by himself; A sluggard is wiser in his own con­ceit then seven men who can give a reason, Prov. 26. 19. The sluggard is loth to take more pains; why, he thinks he takes pains enough, and so he is conceited, and more he will not do; let seven men come and tell him that he must take more pains; yet he will not, and that because he is conceited that he doth enough. Even so it is with the sluggish Christi­an, he is wise in his own conceit; for let seven Ministers come and tell him that he must take more paines for heaven, or else he will never come there; yet he will not beleeve them, he is wiser then so, they are fooles, as he thinks, though he have no reason so to think; he indeed is not as he should be, and Gods Ministers can bring reasons out of the Scriptures to prove it; for wisdom is profitable to direct, Eccles. 10. 10. But every conceited man is a blinde man.

Thirdly, A self-conceited man as he will not stand to the judgment of those that can judge him, so he hath too high a conceit of himself; be he never so little godly, he is presently conceited he is a child of God; so if a man have never so little humility or patience, if he come to Church, pray or doe but a few good duties in religion, he thinks presently it is as a high wall unto him, and he shall go to heaven cock-sure; and let other men be never so holy, strict, religious, and pious in their wayes, yet they are apt to think them Reprobates. If he see never so little slips among them, he is presently ready to say they are all naught; if any be false among them, he is ready to say they are all hell-hounds; but if himself be con­ceited that he have never so little faith, oh presently he thinks that is a high wall.

Fourthly and lastly, he resteth in the judgement of himself; and this is the case of thousands in the world; they think well of their own cases, when they dye they shall go to heaven, there is no question but Christ [Page 158] will save them, and from this conceit they will never be put; let all the Ministers in the world come one after another, and discover unto a wic­ked man his estate, yet he wil not come from his own censure; for though you bray a foole in a morter among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishnesse depart from him, Prov. 27. 22. So, if you should bray these men with the threatnings of the law, with the plagues contained in the Bible, making their consciences black and blew (as we use to speak) yet they will not leave off their conceitednesse.

Now the Reasons hereof are four;

1. Because all sinners are fooles; and the foolish shall not stand in Gods sight, Psal. 5. 5. All that work iniquity are fooles; a self-conceited fool is a proverb; and our Saviour who knew the combination of all sinnes, joynes pride and foolishnesse together, Mark 7. 22. a proud conceited man and a fool are put together by our Saviour. And this is the cause why so many thousands in the world are conceited of themselves, that their case is good, when tis nothing so, even because they are fools; none but fools will look more after pelf, than jewels, and preferr transi­tory things before heavenly; yet such are the wise men of this world. That man is a fool that cannot eat his meat; and such is every sinner; his soul hath no food but Christ, the word, and his promises; yet he knows not how to feed on them; he hath no cover to hide his naked­nesse but Christ, &c. yet he knows not how to put on Christ; therefore he is a fool.

Secondly men are born fools; of all fools none so self-conceited as the born-fool; one that hath been a wise man, knows how to hold his peace, but a born fool is invincible; vain man would be wise, though he be b [...]rne like a wild Asses colt, Job 11. 12. Of all creatures the foal of the Asse is the simplest; needs then must the wild Asses colt be most simple. So al­though a man be born a fool, yet he would be counted wise; he is con­ceited that all the Ministers in the world cannot direct him; no, he is wise enough for that matter; this folly is bred and borne in him, he hath it by kind, and that is the reason that it is hardly clawed off, but they are ready to say, they are as wise as the Ministers themselves.

I call not into question the wits of many; I know many of you are understanding men and women; but I speak now of the Wisdom of the Spirit, and how you may understand to save your souls. What is it for a man to be worldly-wise, to get riches and honour, and to behave him­selfe like a Gentleman, and yet a fool in seeking his salvation? this is to be penny-wise; but here is the question, are you not pound-foolish? can you go on in your sinnes, swearing, &c? then surely you are pound­foolish; all your wisdom and mony avails nothing; alas you are butpenny Gentlemen. The Sodomites, Gen. 19. were blind, they could not find the door, they could see well enough else, they were only blind in this; so man is stultus ad hoc, wise enough for any thing in the world but this; take him for husbandrie, and his knowledge is good; for matter of carri­age, he can behave himselfe as well as the wisest; he is only stultus ad hoc, for salvation he is a fool, a born fool, and selfe-conceited.

3. Men are selfe-conceited of their own estate; those that praise them­selves [Page 159] we use to say have ill neighbours; so if a fool had a good neigh­bour to tell him of his folly, and to laugh at him for it, he would not praise himselfe; so he that praiseth himselfe, it is certain he hath ill neighbours: so the reason why men are well-conceited of themselves, is because they have ill neighbours, they think they are honest, and so do their neighbours, but now if a drunkard could go no where but that everie one would tell him that he were a hel-hound, he would not be drunk, but an ill neighbour he tells him he need not fear, by the grace of he shall do well enough, he is a good Christian, and hence it is that when fools are not answered according to their folly, that they are conceited of themselves; when men are soothed up, others think well of them, and they also think their own cases good; for say they, if I were no at good Christian, such and such would not be acquainted with me.

Fourthly and lastly▪ because the Lord delivers many up to the spirit of slumber, Rom. 11. 8. Black poppy seed will cast a man into such a sleep as that his eyes shall be broad open▪ and yet he not see; so the Lord hath cast men into a slumber like a man between sleeping and waking; of all sleep none like to slumber, because it is full of imaginations; never is a man so full of dreams as then when he is in a slumber. If a man were a drunkard and in the deep of all evil, and [...]uld in the deep sea of security, he could not be so well-conceited; but now that his eyes are halfe open, halfe shut, halfe awake, halfe asleep, halfe out, halfe in, he thinks his re­pentance is good, his case good, and he hopes he shall find mercie at the hands of God, as well as the best Puritan in the purish; they are like the dreamer (as Josephs brethren termed him) singular, in Hebrew the Master dreamer; they dream they shall have mercie, and they shal not be dam­ned, the [...]e men are in a slumber they have eyes and see not &c. Isa. 28, they see the judgement of God, but perceive it not.

Consider what a wofull case these men are in, and how the Scripture calls this selfe conceit.

First, it calls it nothing but a thinking; if a man think himselfe to be something, he is nothing. Gal. 6. 3. to think thy self a Christian, is a vain thought.

2. The Scripture calls it supposition: what a vain thing it is for a man to be a supposing? they suppose they shall go to heaven, they suppose they are better then others, better then those on whom the Tower of Si­loam fell; and so many suppose they are not in the gall of bitterness nor in the bond of iniquity.

Thirdly, it calls them shaddowes; they walk in a vain shew, Psal. 39. 6. viz. their repentance shews as if it were good repentance. They can speak lowly, there is a shew that they are humble. Man walks in a vain shew, like a Tradesman who hath abundance of things which he makes shew of, yet are none of his own: so he talks of grace which was never his own.

Fourthly it calls them imaginations; Acts 4.

Fifthly, it calls them appearances, Matth. 6. 16. So men appear all at a Sermon, but their hearts neverly down before the Word, there are no­thing but seemings, 1 Cor. 3. Thus you may think your selves or suppose [Page 160] your selves to be in good case, when as it were better thou didst appear to be a hel-hound then a Christian, and not be so indeed; for then there were some hope that thou wouldest look out. If a man be sick, yet if he seem to be well, none will look out for him, as they would do if he seemed to be sick indeed; and therefore this is the most dangerous sick­nesse; so if men did seem to be damned wretches, that they were born and continue in sin, and when they dye, they must be damned, if men feared thus, they would look out.

Secondly, consider so long as thou art well conceited of thy self, Christ hath no commission lo call thee; and Christ wil do nothing but what he hath com­mission to do, he wil not run into a Praemunire; Christ doth protest to all the world that he hath no commission from his Father for such; I am not come to call the righteous, &c. Matth. 9. 3. viz those that are righteous in their own esteem and thoughts, but are not; if a man tell them that they are fitter for hell then for heaven, they are better-conceited of themselvs then so; if a man tell them for all their profession they may be hel­hounds, yet they concei [...] better of their profession then so; now then con­sider what a case thou art in, if thou be out of Christs road.

Thirdly, as Christ hath no commission, so he is glad he hath not, and he gives thanks to his Father that he put him not into commission, I thank thee O Father, &c. Luke 10. 21. q. d. thou dost not convert those that are selfe-conceited, those that think they shal not be damned, such as conceit that they need no summons, that are righteous enough; Father I am glad of it, &c. and it is said there that Jesus rejoyced, &c. I rather rejoyce that thou hast sent me to poor souls, such as are the off-scouring of the world, &c. but he that is selfe-conceited, is wiser forsooth then so; Christ tels thee that thou must take up his crosse; but thou thinkest that thou hast more wit, thou canst go a wiser way to work; thou hast an easier way to heaven, thou wilt none of the Crosse; and I tell thee then that Christ wil none of thee, but he will be glad to see thee damned.

Fourthly and lastly, he is in the broad way to hell that is selfe-conceited; there be many wayes to hell; the covetous goes one way, the Drunkard goes another, there are a thousand wayes to hell; though there be sundry wayes to hell, yet they all meet in selfe-conceit there is the broad high way where all meet; selfe-conceit is not only the way to hell but it is the brood way where all wayes meet. There is a way (saith the wise man) that seems right, &c. Prov. 14. 12. but the end of it is death; there is the wages, there all the wayes meet. Oh then examine your selves. I should give you signes and tokens to make it appeare unto you; but the time will not give me leave. I will only name one or two. That man that selfe-swears, is conceited of himself, that is one sign; As I am an honest man, As God shal help me, by my faith and troth, As I look that the Lord should save my soul, &c. these men are highly conceited of themselvs, they think that their salvation is sure, yea so sure that they may swear by it, but these are devillish and damnable self conceits; it is Gods prerogative only to sweare by himself, Heb. 6. 13. 14. I speak this because I know it is a common pra­ctise among men, and a hellish brand of a cursed self-conceited man.

THE EFFICACIE Of Imp …

THE EFFICACIE Of Importunate PRAYER, In tvvo SERMONS By that laborious and faithful Messenger of CHRIST, WILLIAM FENNER, Sometimes Fellow of Pembroke Hall in Cambridge, and late Mi­nister of Rochford in Essex.

London, Printed by E. T. for John Stafford.

THE EFFICACY OF Importunate Prayer.

LUKE 11. 9.‘Ask, and it shall be given unto you; Seeke, and you shall finde; Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.’

OUr Saviour CHRIST being demanded by one of his Disciples, how they should pray; He here teaches them these two things. First, a Platform of prayer, in the 2, 3, 4. verses; Say, Our Father, &c. Secondly, he teaches them the Importunity of Prayer; which he sets forth by the similitude of a man who having a guest come to him at midnight, and had nothing to set before him, he went to his friend to intreat him to lend him three loaves, and at the first he nakedly intreats, Lend me three loaves: The door is shut, sayes his friend, and I cannot open it now. Secondly, he falls to intreat and to beseech him to do him this fa­vour. He had a guest come to him, and he knew not what to do: Why 'tis midnight saies he, is there no other time to come but now? Thirdly, he begins to knock, he must needs have them, though it be at an unreaso­nable [Page 164] hour. Why, I tell you I am in bed. Then he intreats him as a friend. Friend me no friends, sayes he again. Yet the man would not leave knocking: at last with much adoe the man rises, saying, Will you never be answered? and he lends him three loaves, because of his impor­tunity. Now, saith our Saviour, I say unto you, though he would not give him as a friend, yet because of his importunity he will.

The similitude is this: Thou art that man, oh Christian soul, this guest is thy self: Now then, come home to thy self with the Prodigall, who when he was come to himself, goes to his father and friend. This friend is Christ, that thou art to pray unto; these three loaves are grace, mercy, and peace: These thou art to pray for; it may be Christ answereth thee in thy conscience, It is midnight, thou commest too late, there is no mercy for thee. The soul prayes still, Oh Lord awaken and help me: it may be the Lord will answer thee by terror in thy soul, The door of mercy is shut, thou shouldest have come rather. Yet Lord, open unto me, sayes the soul: Nay saith the Lord, all my children have mercy already; now mercy is asleep, I have converted them already; they came in due season, thou commest at midnight, there is no mercy for such a hell-hound as thou art. Up Lord, have mercy on me, sayes the poor soul, and look on me, &c. Look me no looks, saith the Lord; I came to save the lost sheep of the house of Israel: there was a time when I would have converted thee, when I called unto thee early and late: But now I am asleep, and my mercy is asleep, it hath been awake as long as it could well hold open its eyes; and comest thou now? Oh the soul cries still, and will never give over: if mercy be to be had at the throne of grace, he will have it. Even as a begger being at a gentlemans door, they bidding him be gone, there is nothing to be had: nay, sayes the begger, I will not be gone, here is something to be had, and I will have something, or else I will die at the door: The gentleman hearing him say so, thinks it would be a shame for him if he should die at his door; and gives him somewhat: So when the soul is thus importunate, because of importunity it shall be granted. Veri­ly I say unto you, if you thus ask, it shall be given unto you.

These words contain in them the main duty of importunate prayer. Ask; if asking wil not serve turn, seek; if seeking will not serve turn, then knock: try all meanes.

Another parable our Saviour put forth, Luke 18. 1, 2. that men ought alwayes to pray, and not to faint. There was a poor woman wronged by her adversary, and there was no Judge to right her but a wicked one, so that she had but poor hopes; yet she resolves to go, or else she shall be undone; therefore if she perish, she will perish at his feet. He cals her all to naught. Oh; for Gods sake help me, sayes she. I care not for God nor man, sayes the Judge: Nay, good my Lord, saith the woman. The Judge seeing her thus importunate, said, I shall be troubled with her if I do her not justice. How much more (saith the text) shall not God avenge his elect that cry day and night?

Obj. But some man may demand, what is importunate prayer?

Ans. I answer, it is a relstess praier, which will take no nay, nor contume­lious repulse, but is in a holy manner impudent until it speed; and there are in it four things:

[Page 165]First, it is restlesse: he that is importunate, cannot rest till he speed in his suit before God as the poor woman of Canaan, she sought the Lord God of Heaven and earth, (she was of the cursed stock of Cham whom the Lord commanded to destroy; yet she repented, and became of the faith of Abraham) to see if the Lord would own her: but the Lord seemed to reject her, and suffered the devil to possess her daughter. Now, what, might not this poor woman think she had made a sorry change of religi­on, seeing that God the author of it would not own her, but suffered the devil to possesse her daughter? But see the importunity of this woman, she would not be quiet untill she had found Christ, Mark 7. 24, 25. Christ could not be hid. No? What, could he not hide himself in some corner? No. no, thinks she, there is a Christ, and if he be to be had under the cope of heaven, I wil have him. Even so it is with the soul that is importunate in prayer, it is restlesse. What if Christ do hide himself in the Word, &c. and will not own a poor soul, yet the poor soul knowes there is a Christ, and if he be to be found in the whole world, he wil have him: I wil, saith he, turn over all duties, I will go to all the Ministers that are neer, I will use all the means. Now Christ cannot be hid from such a soul that is thus importunate.

Now as it is a prayer that will take no nay, so first it will take no pri­vative nay of silence; Secondly, no possitive nay of denial.

First, no privative nay of silence: A man that is importunate in pray­er, must and will have some answer; he is not like Baals Priests, that could get no answer, 1 King. 18. 26. nor like wicked men that pray in their pewes, they know not what, nor whether God hears them or no: but an importunate prayer will have an answer, like the woman of Canaan: Have mercy on me O Lord (saith she;) but Christ answered her not a word. Hath she done then? No, she cries so much the more, Have mercy on me O Lord: yea she was so importunate, that his Disciples were ashamed to hear her; yet she cried, Have mercy on my daughter; the devil hath my daughter, and misery will have me, unlesse thou wilt have mercy on us. Christ an­swered her never a word. It was much trouble to her to have her daugh­ter vext with a devil; but this troubled her much more, that Christ in whom all her hope was, would not hear her, nor lend her one look. What might she think, Is this the merciful Saviour, that is so ful of pitty & com­passion? Is this he that hath made proclamation to all the world, saying, Come unto me all ye that are weary, &c? and I am tyred and wearied by rea­son of the devil that possesses my daughter, &c. yet he regards me not. Thus she might have said: yet these discouragements could not put her off, but she cried so much the more, yea so that the Apostles were ashamed that Christ should let her stand on that fashion; yet she stood it out, and prevailed.

Secondly, it will take no positive nay of deniall: For when she had an answer, and that flat against her, it was like bellowes to the fire, she was so much the more inflamed, she doubles her forces, Have mercy on me O Lord, &c. Chist put her off with a deniall, I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel; I come for sheep, not for goats; you are of the Cana­anites, on whom I have set a brand of damnation, a servant of servants, a [Page 166] slave of hell and darknesse: These are all of your blood; but I come to save them of the house of Israel. But the deniall of an importunate soul is like the stop in a passage of water; the more it is stopt, the more vio­lent it is▪ so this poor woman is so much the more eager with Christ; she did but cry before, now she worships him, verse 24. 25. as if she should have said, Lord help me now, I am one of thy lost sheep; I confesse I am a Canaanite, I am of that damned blood; yet Lord help me; I am per­swaded that thou canst take a course whereby to help me, Thou canst cast some mercy on a Canaanite.

Thus you see, an importunate soul will take no deniall, but will renew its forces at the Throne of grace.

Thirdly an importunate Prayer will take no contumelious repulse; suppose God should answer never a syllable of thy prayer, yet thou wilt pray; suppose he do answer, and that against thee, yet still thou wilt pray. Nay suppose he call thee all to naught making thy conscience tell thee of all thy sins and abominations, making thee think that heaven is shut up against thee, and God hath shut his ears, calling thee Dog hell-hound, and wretch, &c. yet nothing can break thee off if thou be importunate in­deed. So this woman was not beaten off with Christs sending the Devill into her Daughter, nor with Christs hiding himselfe when she sought him; nor with Christs answering never a word, nor with the Apostles frumps, nor with his deniall, nor contumelious repulse, for he called her dog, vers. 26 Hence dog▪ I had as lieve [...]ling my mercy on a dog, as on th [...]e. What creature but an importunate one, could have gone so far? But see here the nature of importunity, it gets within Christ and takes advantage: she confest the cause, saying, Truth Lord, thou hast hit me right, I am a dog, or a wicked woman; let me then have the priviledges that dogs have; though dogs may not be equal with children at the cable, yet they may wait under the table: I acknowledge that thy children are so plentifully fed, that some crummes fall from the table, therefore let me have the priviledge of a dog. Naaman the Syrian was a dog, as well as I; Rahab the harlot was a dog, as well as I; Ruth a dog, as well as I; yet these got c [...]ums: truth Lord, I am a dog, yet thy mercy can metamor­phose a dog: Of these stones thou canst raise children to Abraham. Thus it is with an importunate soul, though God call it all to naught, and cast all ignominious terms upon it, as I had as lieve thou shouldest offer me swines blood, as to speak in my hearing, yet if thou be importunate, thou wilt bear any contumelious repulse.

Fourthly, an importunate prayer is impudent in an holy manner: And as an impudent begger that is needy, counts it no manners to hold his peace from begging, although he be bidden; Or as a poor petitioner to the King, the King bids him hold his peace, yet he will not, but still he goes on, The officers say, Thou filthy fellow, wilt thou never have done? dost thou not see that the King is angry? Yet he still cries, Help me Lord, ô King. So the Canaanitish woman, or an Importunate prayer, is an im­pudent prayer, yet in a holy manner.

I remember a story of a poor woman in Essex condemned to die: she falls to crying and screeching, as if she meant to pierce the heavens; the [Page] Juge and those on the bench bid her hold her peace: O my Lord, said she, it is for my life I beg, I beseech you, it is for my life. So when a soul comes before God, and begs for mercy, he must consider that it is for his life, O Lord it is for my life. Now though the Lord will not answer, and though he call the soul all to naught, letting it go up and down with a heavy heart; yet the soul crying out, 'Tis for my life; If I must go to hell, I will go to hell from the throne of grace, weeping and wa [...]ling for my sins, and catching hold on the horns of the altar: this soul shall finde mercy.

I have wondered at the story in the 5. chapter of Luke, it is a strange passage, where this godly kind of impudencie was seen. Our Saviour Christ was preaching in the house to the people, and there was a poor man that could not tell how to come to Christ; so the poor man got some to lift him up to the top of the house and to untile it, and so to let him down; now the rubbish could not choose but fall either on Christs head, or on the heads of some of his hearers; Was not this an impudent action? could not this man have staied until the sermon had been ended? But importunity hath no manners: And although he did interrupt Christ, yet Christ ask'd him not why he did so, but says, Man be of good comfort thy sins be forgiven thee. Let us therfore come with boldness unto the Throne of grace, Heb. 4. 16. with freedom to talk any thing; Not as if God had given us leave to be irreverent, but as to a loving generous man of whom we use to say, He is so kinde, you may say any thing unto him; come to him at dinner, he will rise up and hear you, or what businesse soever he be about, yet he will hear you. Even so it is with God: he is such a God: that all poor souls may be bold before him to speak what they will, they may lay open their cases, and shew their estates. Now when souls come boldly, and give the Lord no rest till he establish them, Esai. 62. 7. then saith God, How now, cannot I be at rest for you? &c. This holy kinde of impudencie is in prayer, and it will give the Lord no rest.

Reasons why we must seek importunately, are three.

First in regard of Gods majesty, he loves to be sought unto, and it is fit he should be sought unto. Among men, we account it a matter of too much statelinesse to be much intreated; and we use to say he loves to be in­treated; this is a fault among men; yet for all this, Quis vestrum, &c as Seneca speaks, what man of us can be content to be but once, or slightly intreated? when a man comes to intreat a kindnesse of a man there is I sing and Anding and shall I &c. nothing but importunity can get a kindnesse of a man; and this is a sin among men, because men are bound to do good; but the Lord is not bound to us. If we sin, he is not bound to pardon us therefore; the Lord being a God of majesty, lookes to be sought unto of us for his mercy, and he lookes that we should be impor­tunate; and hence it is that God saith, I will give you a new heart, Ezech. 36. I will vouchsafe you all these favours, yet I will look to be inquired for of you. verse 76. I will look that they shall send to me for these things.

[Page 168]Suppose a man should need a 1000 pound; What, saith the gentle­man, doth he think a thousand pound is nothing? I will have good se­curity for it. So when we come for such high mercies as these, for such infinite compassions; these are somewhat, and God looks to be sought unto for them; and Christ the Son of God is a great heir, and those that are faulters to him, must be importunate with him, if they mean to be at peace with him.

If one will marry a rich heir, who hath all the preferment and dignity that the country can afford, he looks to be well sued unto. So the Lord Jesus is a great heir, heir of the whole world; if thou goest to be marri­ed unto him, thou must sue unto him, and he looks for prayer, he loves to heare his children crie: this is one of his titles, though he be a God, yet he is the hearer of prayer▪ Psal. 65. 2.

Again, we have wronged his Majestie. Suppose thy servant wrong thee, thou wilt say thou wilt pardon him, but first thou wilt make him humble himself unto thee, he shall and must know that he hath wrong­ed a good master: So God is willing to pardon thee, but yet he will make thy bowels know that thou hast sinned against a good God; he will make it appear by thy prayer, he will make thy spirit melt, he will fill thy face with shame and confusion, he will make thee know what a pa­tient God thou hast rebelled against, or else the Lord will never pardon thee. Doest thou think to pacifie God with a lazie prayer, with coming to Church and saying, Have mercy upon me, most mercifull Fa­ther? Doest thou think that the Lord will have mercy upon thee for this? No, no, he may send thee quick to hell for all this; he will make thee cry and cry again with groans; he will make thee cry out and pray on another gates fashion, and he will make the soveraignty of his mercy to be seen in thy salvation: therefore in regard of Gods majesty, he loves men should be importunate.

Secondly, in regard of Gods mercy; it is a disgrace for Mercy to be begged frigidly; 'tis a disgrace to Gods bounty, for a man to beg it with lukewarm importunity. What makest thou of the mercy of God? dost thou think that it is not worth a groan, with the running over of a Pa­ter-noster? dost thou make Gods mercy of such base reckoning? this is a disgrace to Gods goodnesse, to be so cold or frigid in prayer. Thou hast offered many offerings, yet I scorn them, saith God, Isaiah. 43. 23. Thou hast not honoured me with them, thou hast not called on me, thou hast been weary of calling on me, thou hast too short a breath in thy prayers, thou carest not how soon thou comest to an end? Do you come and lay lazie prayers upon my altar? Thou hast not ho­noured me.

It was a custom among the Romans, when any was condemned to die, if he looked for mercy, he was to bring father & mother, and all his kins­men and acquaintance, and they should all come with tears in their faces, and with tattered garments, and kneel down and beg before the Judge, and cry mightily; and then they thought Justice was honoured. Thus they honoured justice in man, for a man condemned to die; and so the Lord loves his mercy should be honoured, &c, and therefore he will have prayer [Page 169] to be importunate, that it may appear by groans how highly we esteem of grace; our soules must pant and gasp after grace, the breath of the Lord being the soul of our souls, our hearts will die without it: This is to the honour of mercy, therefore the Lord will have us Impor­tunate.

Thirdly, as importunity must be in regard of Gods mercy, so it must be in re­gard of our selves, else we cannot tell how to esteem it: Soon come, soon gone; lightly gotten, suddenly forgotten; I have it, come let us be jovial and spend it, when this is gone, I know where to have more; But if he had wrought for it, and also must work for more, if he mean to have more, he would better esteem it. The world little esteems Mercy; what's the reason? The greatest covetous men are they that once were poor; when a poor man hath gotten store of riches, he is more coverous than he that was born to hundreds or thousands; they are carelesse of it, and spend lavishly, whilst a covetous mans teeth water at it; and the reason is, because they come lightly by it. Therefore the Lord loves that we should come hardly by our mercy; not as if he sold mercy for our pains, but for our good: yet we are not capable of it. See Jer. 31. 9. where the Lord speaks thus to his people: They come with weeping, and with supplication will I lead them. This is a fine phrase, God leads a soul up and down with supplication, before he grants his request; just as a begger on the high-way, a gentleman coming by, he begs of him, the gentleman goes on his way as if he took no notice, but the begger goes on crying, For Gods sake (sir) bestow something on me; yet he goes on still, till at last the gentleman comes to his house, and then he gives him his desire. Even so God leads a soul up and down, from one good duty to another, till he have brought the soul to that passe that he would have it to be, and then he hears it, and sayes, What is thy suit? I will par­don thee.

What then is the reason, may some man say, why so few are importu­nate in prayer?

I answer, first, because men count Prayer a penance: there is a naturall kind of Popery in mens breasts; the Papists, when men sin, their Priests enjoyn them penance, as pilgrimages and scourgings, so many Pater no­ster's, and so many Ave-Marie's, where they reckon Prayer to be a pen­nance. This naturall Popery is in mens breasts; they count Prayer la­borious unto them, and they are weary of it, they are not eager upon prayer, they look not on Prayer as a blessing, but as a yoak; behold what a wearisome thing it is, Mal. 1. 13. They were weary of the ser­vice of God; Oh, sa [...] they, that the Minister would once had done! they had rather be in an Ale-house, or about their busines; all good duties are as penance unto carnal men. If a man be to do penance, he care not how little he does of it; a Rogue cares not for to much whipping.

Secondly, men content themselvs with formality. Many men pray, as Haman spake the Kings words before Mordecai, for he had rather have led him to the gallows, than to have said, Thus shall it be done unto the man whom the King wil honour: but he thought it would be the worse for him if he spake them not, and therefore he only spake them for forme. And so men for the [Page 170] most part go to Church, to hear the Word, to Pray, to receive the Sa­craments &c. even for forme, or because it is the fashion, and they think, if they do not thus and thus, they shall not be saved.

You shal have the Drunkard say, I am sorry for my drunkenesse; but he lies; for the next day he will be at the Al [...]house again: so the Whore­master sayes, Lord I am sorry that I have sinned against thee; but he lies; for the next Quean that he meets with, having opportunity, he falls to whoreing again: So the Covetous man will say, I am sorry I am sor­ry I am so full of earthly thoughts; yet he lies; he is not sorry; for you shall have him carking and caring all the day long, and he hath a thousand proclamations in his head; He only prayes for forme with the rest, they only say prayer, they pray not. I deny not saying of pray­er, if they pray; Our Saviour Christ saith, When you pray, say Our father; The proud man dishonours Gods name, saying, Thy will be done; where­as he should be humble, for that is Gods will; it is Gods will he should be zealous, yet he prayes not: He sayes, Forgive us our trespasses, &c. but he prayes not so; for he wrongs his neighbour, and his neigh­bour wrongs him, and he does not forgive those that trespasse against him. He sayes, Lead us not into temptation; but he prayes it not; for he runs presently into temptations, and hath no care to avoyd them. And this is the reason why men are not importunate; viz. because they do make formality of it.

Thirdly, because they are gentlemen-beggers. Of all the beggers in the world, I would be loth to meet with a gentleman begger, for he is prou­dest of them all; if a man tell him that he hath been an ill husband, and hath abused himself, presently he sets his hands to his side, saying, I am not as every begger, I am thus and thus descended, am as good a man by birth as your selfe: a gentlemen-beggers heart will not stoop. So men [...] gentlemen beggers to God, they were (say they) borne of Christian parents, and they have been baptized the children of God already; What are none the children of God, but a company of Puritans? We are des­cended as well as the best of you all. These are proud, and not as yet brought to a sense of their own miserie.

When John did preach to, and baptize the Scribes and Pharisees, he calls them all to nought, O ye vipers and full of poison, who hath fore­warned you to flee from the anger to come? Vipers, saie they? Viper in thy teeth; we are the children of Abraham, we are better descended then so; we are Believers, and do you call us vipers? then indeed we might crie out, Oh we are damned! then we had need crie for mercie. And in this sense, men are Gentlemen-beggars.

Another reason why men are not importunate, is, because they have wrong conceits of Prayer. I will tell you the sundrie conceits of men.

First, they have high conceits of their own prayers; they cannot pray in a morning, between the pillow and the blankets, halfe asleep and halfe awake, but they think that they have done God good service; so that he cannot afford to damne them: At night he saies, Lord have mercy upon me, and so goes to sleep, and then he thinks God must keep him untill the morning: So when he goes to dinner, he sais, Lord bless these creatures unto [Page 171] us, and so falls aboard, and he thinks that God must needs sanctifie them unto him; and after supper he goes to prayer, and so to bed, and thinks that he shall be heard for his much babling sake, Mat. 6. they think God will have mercy on them. But poor souls, if they knew how unseemingly they prayed, how unfitly, and what want there is in seeing their own e­state, they would say, is this to pray for my soul, for such infinite mercy? Lord, how do I abuse the throne of grace? how do I abuse thy sabbaths, thy house, thy name, and all the holy ordinances which I go about? A man that is importunate in prayer, is ashamed; but when they think high­ly of their prayers, they are insolent, their prayers are damned, and they too.

Secondly, as men have high conceits of their prayers, so they have mean conceits of their sinnes, they think not their sins so bad as they are. These men are like Abner, who said, Let the young men arise and play before us, 2 Sam. 2. 15. They account murder a sport, and dancing and musiking lit­tle worse then Davids playing on the harp; Amos 6. 5. And if they commit adultery, they say▪ that's but a trick of youth; if they tell a lie, it is only at a dead lift when they have no other shift. That man that doth not think of every sin he commits, as David did of his, even to make his heart to ake for it, that man shall never speed well before God.

Thirdly, as men have mean thoughts of their sins, so they have base thoughts of God. They cannot think that God should damn a man for drinking a pot with his friend; I cannot think God will be so strict; No, no, I love God with all my heart, say they; and they think that God is of their mind; and if they were as God, they would not be so strict. So, Psal. 50. They thought I was such an one as themselves; they think God will pardon [...]em, and therefore because of this, men are not importunate with God. God hath sent me a crosse (saith one) but I hope to rub it off well enough. Why? God will not keep his anger for ever, Jer. 3. 5. Suppose a man be ab­sent from Church, or break out into some unsavoury speech, will God be angry for this? Suppose a man be negligent in a good duty, will God require every dayes work? Tush, tush, God will not, Psal. 10. 13. A com­pany of Puritans say he will, but I know he will not: and hence it is, that men will not be importunate.

Lastly, because they have wrong conceits of importunity. If a man knock once or twice, or thrice, and none answer, presently he will be gone; this is for want of manners; thou wilt knock seven times, if thou be importu­nate with them: They within may say, Hold thy peace, be gone, &c. but thou wilt not so be answered.

Beloved, men are close-handed, they are loth to give; and they are close-hearted too, they are loth to take the pains to ask of God; they are loth others should be importunate with them, and therefore they are loth to be importuate with God. Examine your selves then in this duty; for importunate prayer is evermore the prayer of an importunate man.

THE EFFICACIE Of Imp …

THE EFFICACIE Of Importunate PRAYER. The Second SERMON By that laborious and faithful Messenger of CHRIST, WILLIAM FENNER, Sometimes Fellow of Pembroke Hall in Cambridge, and late Mi­nisters of Rochford in Essex.

London, Printed by E. T. for John Stafford.

THE EFFICACY OF Importunate Prayer.

LUKE 11. 9.‘Ask, and it shall be given unto you; Seeke, and you shall finde; Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.’

TO proceed then: There be six signes to know whether our Prayers be importunate or no.

First, importunate prayer is evermore the prayer of an importunate man; and the man is importu­nate, if his praier be importunate, but how can a man importune God for mercy, when his person importunes God for vengeance? It must be the prayer of a godly heart; Preserve my soul, for I am holy. Psal. 86. 1, 2. David makes a prayer, and he was holy when he made it; his prayer could tell him that he was one that laboured to work in holinesse. Therefore when thou goest to God in praier, consider whether thou canst say, Lord hear me, fo [...] I am holy and I would fain be holy: but if the saying of these words ch [...]ak thee, t [...]en thy prayer condems thee.

[Page 176]Of all begging, it is a great matter who it is that begs at the door: Who is that, saith the indweller? and when he opens the door and sees it is a thief; &c. Oh, is it you? saies he; you may stand long enough, you shall never have alms of me. So in praier, it is all in all, who it is that prays.

The woman in the Gospel having an issue, touched our Saviour; he looking about, asked who touched him, and when he saw the woman, Oh is it you? saies he, be of good chear, Luke 8. 48. So when a man praies to God, Who is that, saies God, that would have these mercies? And when the Lord sees it a Drunkard, or a covetous man, &c. is it you? saies the Lord; you may stay till Dooms day, and yet never find mercie. The spirit of supplication and the spirit of prayer, is called the spirit of grace, Zach. 12. 10. If them thou hast not the spirit of grace, thou canst not pray. The text saith not, Whosoever asketh the Father in my name, but, whatsoever you ask the Father in my name? there is many a man may use the name of Christ at the throne of grace, but certain it is, none but those that are in Christ, can pray; and with them every thing ope­rates. A man that will walk with God in obedience to his lawes, must be a holy man: hence is that saying of our Saviour, John 15. 7. a place fit for the purpose; If you abide in me, and my word abide in you &c. as if he should have said, You may ask what you please, and intreat God all the daies of your life; yet unlesse you abide in me, you cannot speed. That man that walks not in holinesse of life, can never be an importunate orator, as was Moses the man of God; but a wicked mans prayer (as Augustine speaks) is tanquam latratus canum, &c. no better then the barking of dogs, or the grunting of swine: therefore you whose consciences tell you that you live in sin, your prayers never speed at the throne of grace for eternall mercy.

Secondly, an importunate praier is the praier of a pure conscience. Sup­pose a man doth not see that he lives in sin, yet if his conscience crie guil­ty, if he have a foul conscience, his prayer never prevails with God. If I regard wickednesse in my heart, the Lord will not hear my prayer, saith David, Psal. 66. 18. that is, If I can say, or my conscience can tell me, that I regard iniquitie in my heart, the Lord will not hear me. A man must have a pure conscience, 2 Tim. 1. 3. else let him not look God in the face; beg he may, but he shall never speed as long as he goes on with a conscience that can tell him he regards iniquitie.

There be many pray, (for indeed their conscience wil make them pray) but they may pray till they come to hell, yet they shal never be delivered, if there be but one sin unrepented of.

I remember a story of a poor woman being troubled in consci­ence, and many Ministers using to visit her, at last came one which (after much talking and praying) hit upon one sin which she was guilty of, and loth to part with; Then the woman cried out, till now you have spoken to the post, but now you have hit the mark, my conscience tels me I have been loth to part with this sin, but I must leave it, or else I cannot be saved.

Mala conscientia bene sperare non potest. The Pagans had so much divi­nitie, as to say, The gods must be honoured with purity; therefore they wrote on the doors of their temples, Let none having a guilty conscience enter this place.

[Page 177]Thirdly, Importunate prayer is evermore a prayer that is full of strong argu­ments. And hence it is that Job saith, I will fill my mouth with arguments, Job 23. 4. like an importunate man, who will bring all reasons and argu­ments to effect his cause; even so an importunate man at the throne of grace, will bring all argu,ents to perswade God. If a man be to pray for any particular grace, he will bring all the arguments he can devise to get it; as, Lord, it is a grace of the Covenant, for the want whereof I en­dure many temptations; thou hast made me a Minister, I cannot worke on mens consciences untill I have it, he presseth all arguments he can de­vise. A good orator before God, must be a good logician. It was noted of the High-Priests that were to pray before God, they were to have Urim and Thummim, and that was two parts of Logick, viz. knowledge and perfection: such an one should a Minister be, he must be a good Lo­gitian at the throne of groce.

Fourthly, importunate prayer is a stout prayer; Continue in praier, saith the Apostle, Col. 4. 2. a weak-hearted praier is a cold prayer, a prayer without a spirit; yet these men that have weak spirits to pray, have strong enough to sin; and wit enough to sin, and knowledge enough to sin; but bring them to grace, then they have no strength. Thou canst not strive to prevail with God, unlesse thou stand to it. How came Jacob to prevail with God, but by wrestling? Prayer is called fighting, it is a holy kind of violence. Thou canst not obtain a mercie at Gods hand, unlesse thou lay all thy force on it. Even as a Father who hath an apple in his hand, and his child would fain have it; he first opens one finger, then another, till the aple drop out. So is it with a poor soul at the throne of grace: the Lord opens his hands, and fills all things living with plenteousnesse; What is the means that is used? why, the praiers of his children; they by their prayers open Gods hand, and so make the blessings to descend. Go for grace; why, the Lord will say unto thee, Thou art proud, thou must be humble, and so open that finger; Thou art carelesse, thou must go quicken thy self, and so open that finger: God saies, thou wilt not make much of this grace when thou hast it, but thou wilt turn it into wanton­nesse; then thy soul must learn to mortifie its members, and so open that finger; thou canst not get grace at Gods hand, unlesse thou do open all his fingers, and then it will fall down. There is a severall power in all Gods children, some have more, some have lesse, yet all must be powerfull, else none can prevail with God.

Fifthly if thou pray importunately, thou prayest wakefully; he must be deep­ly awake that praies; his soul, his heart, his understanding must be a­wake: that man that praies drowsily, praies not powerfully; Watch there­fore, saith Christ, and pray, Luke 21. 36. Watch to pray. q. d. for as there is a sleepy head, so there is a sleepy heart. As a Begger who is beg­ging, is all awake, head, feet, hands, &c. all is awake to beg; so must that soul be that means to speed in praier.

Sixthly, importunate prayer is an assurance getting prayer; a prayer that will not be quiet till it have got assurance that God hath heard it. Wick­ed men pray, and presume that God hears them, but God hears them not; nay, many of Gods dear children pray many times, and are not [Page 178] heard. How long wilt thou be angry with thy people that praieth? Ps. 80. 4. Not only with their persons, but with their prayers also. How then, think you, is the prayer of such as live in their sins taken? who pray, but their praiers vanish away in the air like clouds: these may pray and pray, but they get nothing.

Behold he praies, saith the voice to Saul, Acts 9. 22. What, did he not pray before? Yes, he had made many a long praier, else he could not have been a Pharisee; but now he did not only pray, but he praied unto God as David did, who did lift up his heart to God, Psal. 25. 1. or else his heart could not have praied; and then in the next verse David begins his prai­er. Our hearts are just like a bell, which so long as it lies on the ground will make no musick, till it be lifted up; Our hearts are not like the bell of Rochea, which (they say) will ring of its own accord; but our hearts must be lifted up, else they will make no delightfull musick in the eares of God. Wherefore if you pray, and labour not to bring your hearts home to God, that so he may hear them in mercy, he will (it may be) hear them, but it will be to your condemnation, as he hears the praiers of wicked men: therefore if thou praiest, pray fervently.

There be six or seven marks of Prayer that is not importunate, and he that praies so, may go to hell, for ought I know.

The first is a lazy, prayer; An importunate man works hard to bring up hi [...] suit; his understanding, his counsell, and all his po [...]icie works: so if the soul he importunate, then it is a working prayer. Prayer is a la­bour, 2 Cor. 1. Labour with me in prayer. That man that plowes his field, and dig [...] his vineyard, that man praies for a good harvest; if a man pray to God never so much, yet if he do not use the means, he cannot obtain the thing he prayes for. Even so it is with grace; A man may pray for all the graces of Gods spirit, and yet never get any, unless he labour for them in the use of the means. God cannot abide lazy beggers, that cannot a­bide to follow their calling, but if they can get any thing by begging, they will never set themselves to work. So, many there be, that if they can get pardon of sin for begging, then they wil have it; but let such know that the Lord will not give it for such lazie kind of praying; but if thou wilt have pardon of sin, thou must labour for it, thou must get it with thy fingers ends; God gives not men Repentance, Faith, &c. by miracles, but by means: Thou must then use the means, and keep watch and ward over thine own soul, that so thou maist get the grace thou praiest for.

Secondly; a praier that is not a full praier, never speeds with God; but an importunate prayer is a full praier, it is a pouring out of the heart, yea of the whole heart, Psal. 62. 8. the Psalmist saith, poure out your hearts before him, trust in him at all times, poure out your hearts (the addition is made in the Lamentations of Jeremy) like water. It may be thou powrest out thy praier like tar out of a tar-box, halfe sticking by the sides; but when thou praiest, thou must out with all before God. When thou givest thanks, dost thou labour to remember all the blessings of God? when thou dost petition to God, dost thou poure out all thy heart before him? dost thou cast all thy care on God?

Thirdly, Snatch-prayer is no importunate prayer; when men pray [Page 179] by snatches, or peecemeals, by breaking off a limme of their prayer, be­cause of sluggishnesse, or because their hearts are eager about other bu­sinesse; it is not good to trust fits of devotion; 'tis a base kind of praying, when men gallop over their prayers, that so they may come to an end quickly. Should I accept this at your hands, saith God by his Prophet? when they brought a sheep, it wanted a lim, they were loth to give God a whole offering, Mal. 1. 13. Many pray a peece of a prayer in the mor­nig, and then they go after the world, he down's on his knees, and gives God a rag of a prayer, a companie of ragged ends; And God counts it an indignitie; shall I accept this (saith he?) What, a lame prayer? No, no, the Lord looks for a prayer that hath its full grouth; it is a shame to speak in the congregation what men do in secret before God, which many have confessed after they have been converted, how they have gone into Gods presence, and have shuffled over their prayers, thinking every hour seven, untill they had done.

Fourthly, Silent prayers are never importunate. I mean by silent prayer, when a man is silent in that which God looks he should most insist upon. David made a prayer, Psal. 32. and the Lord looked that he should stand much upon his adultery and murther, which he had committed, to see what shame he took on him for it; but he shuffled it over: and what saith the Text? When I kept silence; what, did the Prophet roare, and yet keep silence? these are contradictions. Yea, the Prophet roared and kept si­lence; as if he should say, the Lord counted his prayer but roaring, so long as he laid not open that sinne, which the Lord lookt he should have stood on; the Lord let him roare, and roare he might long enough, but (saith he) I brake my silence, I said, I will confesse my transgressions, and then thou forgavest the wickednesse of my sin. So, many go to God, and tell God they must needs have mercy, and fain they would have mercy, and yet they are silent in confessing the sinne they should. I say, the Lord will never hear that man; he may pray to God all his life, and yet go to hell in the end. Hast thou been a drunkard, and dost thou think that the Lord will forgive thee for crying, Lord forgive me, &c? No, no, thou must insist on it, and say, Against thy word I have been a drunkard, my con­science told me so, but I would not hear; I have felt the motions of thy holy spirit, stirring against me, and I regarded not, Now if thou shouldest turn me into hell, I were well requited; so many Sermons have I neglected; I have wronged others in this kind, and I have been the cause why many are now in hell, if they re­pented not. I have prayed for mercie, yet with the dog to his vomit have I retur­ned, and therefore for all my prayers thou mayest cast me into hell for ever; and now I have prayed, yet it is a hundred to one but I shal run into my old sin again; yet as I expect forgivenesse, so I desire to make a covenant to give over all my sinful courses, and I am justly damned if I go to them again. Such a kind of prayer the Lord loves.

Fifthly, Seldome-prayer is no importunate prayer; when the soul contents it self with seldome coming before the throne of grace; an importunate soul is ever frequenting the way of mercie, and the gate of Christ; he is often at the threshold before God, in all prayer and humilia­tion.

[Page 180]The reeling'st Drunkard in the world sometimes can do so too; the basest Adulterer in the world sometimes can be chast: the Devil is qui­et so long he is pleased, and the wicked may sometime have a fit in pray­er. But this is the condition of an importunate heart, he is frequent at the throne of grace. The Prophet David prayed seven times in a day; and Hannah continued in prayer night and day.

Sixthly, Lukewarm prayer is not an importunate prayer; when a man prais, but is not fervent, when a man labours not to wind up his soul to God in prayer. That man that prayes outwardly only, that man teaches God how to denie his prayer. Though you make many prayers, saith God, yet I will not hear you; why? Your hands are full of blood. Qui frigidè or at, docet negare. They are like luke warme water, that never boils out the blood: So they have been guilty of murder and abundance of other sins, and they did indeed pray against them, but they were never but luke-warme, they have never boiled away the blood of their sins. Thou must pray fervently, with a seething hot heart, if thou meanest to get pardon for all thy sins, as securitie, and deadnesse of heart, &c. And as it is in Jonah 3. let every man crie mightily unto the Lord.

Seventhly and lastly, Bie-thoughts in prayer keep prayer from being impor­tunate; as when a man prayes, and lets his heart go a wool-gathering. I remember a storie of an unworthy O ratour, who being to make an ac­clamation, O earth! O heaven! when he said O heaven, he looked down to the earth; and when he said O earth, he looked up to heaven. So, many when they pray to God in heaven, their thoughts are on the earth: these prayers can never be importunate. When a man praies, the Lord looks that his heart should be fixed on his prayer; for our hearts will leake, and the best child of God, do what he can, shall have bie-thoughts in prayer.

And that,

First, from corrupt nature.

Secondly, from nature curbed.

Thirdly, from Satan.

Fourthly, from a mans own sluggishnesse.

For the first; The best children of God have corrupt natures, and when they have done what they can, distractions will fasten on them. They would perform good duties better, if they were able, saying with Paul, The good which I would I do not, &c.

Secondly▪ from nature, as it is curbed; The more grace binds nature to its good behaviovr, the more rustling it keeps. Even a Bird being at liberty keps no stir, but being in a cage, it flutters about, because it is abridged of its libertie: so when thou hast curbed thy corrupt flesh, it will be skittish in every good dutie thou goest about; and hence it is that the Apostle useth this phrase, viz. I find another law in my members re­belling against the law of my mind, &c. When grace curbs the law of sin, then nature rebels.

Thirdly, from Satan; as in Job, Satan stands at his right hand as a Plantiffe, as Aegidius compares it, which puts in all Cases to hinder the Defendant; Even so the Devil puts in all bie-thoughts that he can devise, to hinder a mans suit for going on before the throne of grace. But thou [Page 181] must do as Abraham did, when he was sacrificing; when the birds came, he drave them away; so must thou do by thy bie-thoughts, if thou wilt have fruit of thy supplications before God.

Fourthly, they come from spiritual sluggishness, that creeps on the best, if they take not heed: And this was the reason the Apostle cryed, O wret­ched man that I am, &c.

I speak not now to the children of God, who are troubled with bie­thoughts in their praiers; For they, the more bie-thoughts they have, the more earnest they are in prayer; they mourn with David, in their prayer. Consider O Lord (saith he) how I mourn, Psal. 55. There was something in the Prophets prayer that did vex him, and that made him so much the more to mourn before God.

But as for you that can have bie-thoughts in prayer, and let them abide with you, your praiers are not importunate; the Heathen shall rise up a­gainst you and condemn you.

I remember a storie of a certain Youth, who being in the temple with Alexander, when he was to offer incense to his god, and the Youth holding the golden Censer with the fire in it, a coal fell on the Youths hand and burnt his wrist; but the Youth considering what a sacred thing he was about; for all he felt his wrist to be burnt, yet he would not stir, but continued still to the end.

This I speak to shame those that can let any thing, though never so small, to disturb them, yea (if it were possible) lesser things then nothing; for if nothing come to draw their hearts away, they themselves will employ their hearts. Baals Priests shall condemn these, who did cut themselves with knives, and all to make them pray so much the more stronglie. What a shame is it then▪ that we should come on life and death to pray for our souls, and yet come with such loose and lazie prai­ers! Think you that a male factor when he is crying at the Bar for his life, will be thinking on his Pots and Whores, &c? Was it ever heard of, that a man at deaths-door, should be thinking on his Dogs? can he then think on them? Do you think that Jonah prayed on this fashion, when he was in the Whales belly: or the Thief on the crosse, or Daniel in the Lions den, or the three Children in the fierie furnace, or Paul in Prison? Do ye think that these prayed thus? What, shall I be at praier, and my mind in the fields? No, no; if I will pray, I must melt before God, and bewail my sins, and be heartily affected in prayer. But as long as I pray thus, I pray not at all. And as God said to Adam, where art thou? so may he say to thee, Man, where art thou? art thou at prayer, and thy mind at mill? is thy mind on thy Oxen, and art thou at prayer before me? what an in­dignitie is this? Should a man come to sue to the King, and not mind his suit? will not the King say, Do you mock me? know you to whom ye speak? The Lord takes this as a haynous sin, when men come into his presence with such loose hearts.

Now seeing these things are thus, take a word of exhortation to la­bour for importunate Prayer.

Prayer is the art of all arts; it enables a man to all other duties, it is the [Page 182] art of Repentance, &c. Samuel confessed, if he had not had the [...] Prayer, he could not have had the art of preaching, 2 San. 12. 2 [...] ▪ See the antithesis between these two words. God forbid; as if he should say, God forbid that I should cease to pray for you, for then I should not teach you the right way. A Minister can never preach to his people, that prayes not for his people. It is the art of Thanksgiving; a man cannot be thankful, if he cannot pray. Psal. 116. 12. It was the means whereby the Prophet David would be thankful to God; he would take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord. A man hath not a good servant, unlesse he can pray for his master; see the story of Abrahams ser­vant, Gen, 24. Prayer helps to perform all other good duties. How dost thou think to have benefit by the Word, unl [...]sse thou be fervent in prayer with God to get a blessing upon it? We can do nothing but by beg­ging.

Secondly, as Prayer is the art of all arts, so it is the Compendium of all divinitie. Therefore to call zealously on the name of the Lord, is to be a Christian; Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord, &c. It includes re­pentance, humiliation, sorrow▪ for sin, joy in Gods goodnesse, thanksgi­ving for mercies, obedience to his commandements, yea the whole du­tie man; therefore we must labour to be importunate in prayer. A Rea­sonable soul is eminently all souls; so Prayer is eminently all good duties▪ Psal. 72. The prayer of David the son Jesse; that is, all his repentance, in all passages; he did humble himself before God; all Davids duties are inclu­ded by the name of the prayer of David the son of Jesse. And therefore thou hadst need to make much of Prayer; for thou canst never repent, unlesse thou pray well.

Thirdly, Prayer is a mans utmost refuge; a man cannot have Christ, but only by Prayer. 'Tis bad enough for a man to be a Drunkard, or to live in any other sin; but yet after all this, if a man have the spirit of pray­er, there is hope of this man; if after all his sinnes committed, he can pray to God, there is hope. But for a man to sinne, and not to be impor­tunate in prayer, is dangerous. What saith the Psalmist? They are corrupt and become abominable, they have not called on the name of the Lord, Psalm 14. 4. Oh fearfull condition▪

Fourthly, Prayer is that which Gods people have, though they have no­thing else; it is the beggers dish (as I may so call it.) A begger hath no way to live, but by begging; therefore he had need beg hard: so we have nothing to live on, but praying; I mean nothing that is to be done on our side; all the promises of God are to be gotten by prayer. Suppose a man have nothing to live on but his fingers ends, no house nor land, nothing left to maintain his wife and children, but his fingers ends; will he not be toyling all the day? he is a day-labourer, as we use to say. So, to pray earnestly, is a Christians fingers ends. When a house stands but upon [...], will not a man be fearful and carefull of that pillar? why, [...] falls all the hope of salva­tio [...] [...] [Page] unprofitable servants, that Mercie will not meddle with us, unlesse it be commanded. Patience is loth to bear; we have so provoked God, that Mercie is loth to make or meddle with us; for unlesse it have command from God, it will not admit of any soul. When David begged for loving kindnesse, he was importunate; else mercie and loving kindness would not look on David, Psal. 42. 8.

Sixthly, Prayer is Gods delight. The supplication of the wicked is abo­m [...]ation to God, but the prayer of the upright is his delight, Prov. 15. 8. The Lord must have something to please him; Kings (you know) must b [...] [...]leased; so the King of heaven would be pleased by all that come un­to [...]im. Now nothing is more pleasing unto him than prayer.

Seventhly, Importunate prayer is a willing praier. There be many that p [...]y to God for mercy, and yet they are loth to have it; why? because t [...]y are not importunate. When a mans lust runs on the world and world­l [...] pleasures, &c, he speeds not. When the woman of Canaan was importu­n [...]e, Christ saith unto her, Woman, be it unto thee as thou wilt: she had a [...]l to grace, Matth. 15. 28.

Eighthly, Importunate prayer is the only faithfull prayer. A begger never [...]es away from a gentlemans door, so long as he believes he shall have [...]alms: so, as long as a soul is importunate with God, it is a signe that it [...] a believing soul. O woman, (saith Christ) great is thy faith. Why? Be­cause her importunity was great, therefore Christ concludes her faith was [...]eat.

The means to get importunity in prayer, are these,

First, Labour to know thine own misery. See Ephes. 6. 18, 19, 20. They [...]ould not have praied importunately, unlesse they had known how it had stood with Paul; so unlesse thou know thy misery, thou canst not be [...]mportunate. If a Drunkard, or Whoremaster, or Sabbath-breaker, or Swearer, &c. knew that they should be damned, they would get out of their sins.

Secondly, You must be sensible of your misery. Simon Magus knew his miserie, yet because he was not sensible of it, he sayes, Pray ye to the Lord for me, Acts 8. 24. If he had been sensible, he would himselfe have fallen down before the congregation, and he would have confessed how he had committed that sin, in a more apprehensive manner.

Thirdly, Observe the praiers of Gods people, as here the disciples of Christ did; they hearing Christ pray, say unto him, Master, teach us to pray; they were so affected with Christs prayer, that they said, Oh that we could pray thus! Oh that we had such a spirit! Master, teach us to pray So I say, consider Gods people, how they pray; they can pray as if they would so [...]re up to God in supplication; they pray as if they world read the heavens. If men did but consider this, it would quicken them.

Fourthly, Get a stock of prayer. That man must needs be rich, that hath a rock in every market. So if a man have a stock of prayer, it is a signe he is [...]ke to speed, as 1. Cor. 4. 2. If God did lend his ears to the Corinthi­an when they were crying for Paul, then certainly Pauls prayers were importunate.

[Page 184]Fifthly, If thou wilt be importunate, labour to be full of good works Qui benè operatur, benè erat; as Acts 10. Cornelius his alms and prayers were come up to God: now if he had committed drunkennesse, that had ome up to God with his prayer; therefore was it happy for Cornelius t [...]at he was full of good works; so thou canst not be importunate, unlesse th [...]u be full of good works; take heed that swearing, and lying, &c. crie no lou­der in Gods ears then thy prayers.

Sixthly, If thou wilt be importunate in prayer, labour to reform thy [...]ous­hold. When Jacob was to call on God, he said to his houshold, Put away your strange gods, Gen. 35. [...]

THE SOVERAIGNE VERTU …

THE SOVERAIGNE VERTUE OF THE GOSPEL. In a SERMON By that laborious and faithful Messenger of CHRIST, WILLIAM FENNER, Sometimes Fellow of Pembroke Hall in Cambridge, and late Mi­nister of Rochford in Essex.

London, Printed by E. T. for John Stafford.

THE SOVERAIGNE VERTUE OF THE GOSPEL.

PSAL. 147. 3.‘He healeth them that are broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.’

HEre are two things contained in this Text: the Patients, and the Physitian.

First, the Patients; the broken in heart.

Secondly, the Physitian, Christ, it is he that healeth and bindeth up their wounds.

The Patients here are felt and discerned to have two wounds or maladies; First, brokenness in heart; Secondly, wounded­nesse: He binds up such.

Brokennesse of heart presupposeth wholenesse of heart: Wholenesse of heart is twofold; either wholeness of heart in sin, or wholenesse of heart from sin.

First, wholenesse of heart from sin, is, when the heart it without sin; and [Page 224] so the blessed Angels have whole hearts, and so Adam and Eve, and we in them before the fall, had whole hearts.

Secondly, wholenesse of heart in sin; so the devils have whole hearts, and all men since the fall from their conception, til their conversion, have whole hearts; and these are they that our Saviour intends, The whole need not a physitian, but they that are sick. The hearts that are whole, need not the physitian, but they that are broken and sick. Sinne is in the god­ly, and they are sick of it; even as when poyson is in a man, it makes him sick; why? because the poyson is contrary unto him. But sinne is in the wicked, and they are not sick of it; as poyson is in a toad, and the toad is not sick, because a toad is of that nature which the poyson is; and therefore he needs not a Physitian. Will a Physitian go to cure a Toad? surely no, he will rather kill it, he will not cure it. So as long as a man is not sick at the heart of his sin, Christ will rather kill him than cure him. When a man sayes he is sick, and yet can sleep, eat, drink, and work, and look as well as ever he did, feels no pain, nor any thing to trouble him, what need hath this man of a Physitian? So when a man lives in sin, yet never breaks his sleep for it, but minds his pleasures, his profits, hath never the more pain nor anguish in his soul▪ he is soule-whole, and heart-whole, what need hath he of a Physitian? This is a man whole in his sins.

The wholenesse of the heart is called fallow ground, Jerem. 4. 4. for it is like an unbroken field, not tilled nor manured; there can be no harvest, because the ground doth lie fallow; so there can be no har­vest of grace in that man, whose heart is fallow and unbroken; and therefore to repent and to break the heart, in Scripture is called the put­ting of ones hand to the plough, Luke 9. 62. to plough up the fallow ground of the heart.

Brokennesse of heart may be considered two wayes; First, in relation to wholenesse of heart in sin: so brokennesse of heart is not a maladie, but an inchoative cure of a desperate maladie.

Secondly, in relation to wholenesse of heart from sinne; and so it is a maladie or sicknesse, and yet peculiar to one blood alone, namely Gods elect; for though the heart be whole, yet it is broken for its sinnes: as a man that hath a barbed arrow shot into his side, and the arrow is pluckt out of the flesh, yet the wound is not presently healed; so sinne may be pluckt out of the heart, but the scar that was made with plucking it out, is not yet cured. The wounds that are yet under cure, are the plaugues and troubles of conscience, the sighs and groanes of a hungring soule after grace, the stinging poyson that the blow hath left behind it; these, are the wounds.

Now the heart is broken three wayes.

First, By the Law: as it breakes the heart of a Thief to heare the sentence of the Law, that he must be hanged for his robbery; so it breakes the heart of the soule, sensible to understand the sen­tence of the Law: Thou shalt not sin; if thou do, thou shalt be damned. If ever the heart come to be sensible of this sentence, Thou [Page 225] art a damned man, it is impossible to stand out under it, but it must break. Is not my word a hammer that breaks the rocks in pieces? Jer. 23. 29. that is, Is not my word, my Law a hammer? Can any rock heart hold out and not be broken with the blowes of it? Indeed thus far a man may be bro­ken, and yet be a reprobate; for they shall be all thus broken in hell, and therefore this breaking is not enough.

Secondly, by the Gospel; for if ever the heart come to be sensible of its blow, it will break all to shatters. Rent your hearts for the Lord is gracious, &c. Joel 2. 12. When all the shakes of Gods mercy come, they all cry, rent. Indeed the heart cannot stand out aginst them, if it once feel them: Beat thy soul upon the Gospel: if any way under heaven can break it, this is the way.

Aristotle observes, that a hammer may easily break a hard stone a­gainst a soft bed; but if it be laid on an anvil, which will not give way underneath, strike it as hard as you will with the hammer on the top, the anvil underneath props it from breaking, or if it do break, it will not break into shatters; for the anvil below helps the stone to hang fast toge­ther: but if you smite it against a soft bed, it breaks it all to shatters. So, smite thy soul upon the Gospel; preach the law as much as as you will, preach hell and damnation as much as you will, let that be the hammer; but then be sure lay thy soul on the Gospel, drive it to the Gospel, smite against this soft bed, and then (if ever) it will break. If you strike a stone against a hard anvil, though the parts thereof would fall asunder, yet how can they flie off, when as the hard anvil will not give way? the hard anvil on the one side, and the hard hammer on the other side, stop up its way from falling asunder. So, strike the soul with the blows of Gods wrath as much as you will, and let it be upon the Law; alas whi­ther should the Law open it self that it might break? the Law doth but fear it on the one side, and the wrath of God doth terrifie it on the other, yet all this while it is not broken; the soule all this while knows not what it shall doe: but smite it on the Gospel, and this, with the Law, rents it, and breaks it indeed. So Joel he preached hell and damnation to the people of the Jews, and laid their hearts upon mercie, and then the hammer crie, rent; for he is merciful, &c. he laid them on the soft bed of the Gospel, and then he smites them.

Thirdly, the heart is broken by the skill of the Minister in the handling of these two, the Law, and the Gospel: God furnisheth him with skill to presse the Law home, and gives him understanding how to put to the Gospel, and by this means doth God break up the heart: For alas, though the Law be never so good a hammer, and although the Gospel be never so soft a bed, yet if the Minister lay not the soul upon it, the heart will not break; he must fetch a full stroke with the Law, and he must set the full power of the Gospel at the back of the soul, or else the heart will not break.

It is a pretty observation of Aristotle, Lay (saith he) an axe upon a block, and a great and mighty weight upon it, yet it will not enter into the block to cleave it; but if you lift up the axe and fetch a full blow at the block, then it enters presently. So if the Minister have not skil to fetch [Page 226] a dead blow at the heart, alas he may be long enough ere he break it; but let him fetch a full blow at the soule, then doth he break it, if ever. I took unto me two staves, saith the Prophet, the one I called beauty, the other I called bands, and with these I [...]ed the flock, Zach. 11. 7. There is the course of a true feeder of the flock, he feeds them with the Law and the Gospel; he takes his two staves, and he layes about him, till the hearts of his hearers feel him: and this is the way to feed them, and to breake them off from their sins. Thus you see the meanes that God useth to bre [...]k your hearts. He healeth the broken in heart. Hence observe

That Christ justifies and sanctifies. For that is the meaning.

First, because God hath given Christ grace to practise for the sakes of the broken in heart▪ and therefore if this be his grace, to heal the broken­hearted, certainly he will heal them. The spirit of the Lord is upon me, &c. He hath sent me to heal the broken in heart &c. Luke 4. 18. If he be created master of this art even for this purpose, to heal the broken in heart, he will verily heal them, and none but them. He is not like Hosander and Hippocrates, whose father appointed them both to be Physitians; he appointed his sonne Hippocrates to be a physitian of Horses, yet he proved a physitian for men, he appointed Hosander to be a physitian for men, and he proved a physitian for horses. He is not like these no, no, he will heal those whom he was appointed to heal: now God ap­pointed him to heal thee that art broken in heart, and therefore without doubt he will do it.

2. Because Christ hath undertaken to do it. When a skilfull Physitian hath undertaken a cure, he will surely do it: indeed sometimes a good physi­tian may fail, as Trajans physitian did, for he died under his hands; on whose tomb this was written, Here lies Trajan the Emperour, that may thank his Physitian that he died. But if Christ undertake it, thou maist be sure of it, for he tels thee that art broken in heart, that he hath underta­ken it, he hath felt thy pulse already. Thus saith the high and holy one whose name is holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, and with him that is of an hum­ble and broken spirit, &c. Isa. 57. 15. He doth not onely undertake it, but he saith he will go visit his sick patient; he will come to thy bed-side, yea he will come and dwell with thee all the time of thy sicknesse; thou shalt never want any thing▪ but he will be ready to help thee▪ thou nee­dest not complain and say, Oh the Physitian is too far off, he will not come at me. I dwell in the high places indeed, saith God, but yet I will come and dwell with thee that art of an humble spirit. Thou needest not fear, saying, Will a man cure his enemies? I have been an enemy to Gods glory, and will he yet cure me? yea, saith Christ, if thou be bro­ken in heart, he will bind thee up.

Thirdly, because this is Christs charge, and he will look to his own cal­ling; To this man will I look, even to him that is of a broken heart, Isa. 66. 2. Mark, I will look to him, I will tend him and keep him. Neither needest thou fear thine own poverty, because thou hast not a Fee to give him; for thou maiest come to him by way of begging, he will look to thee for nothing; For, to him will I look that is poor, &c.

Fourthly, none but the broken in heart will take Physick of Christ. Now [Page 227] this is a Physitians desire, that his Patient would cast himself upon him; if he will not, the Physitian hath no desire to meddle with him. Now none but the broken in heart will take such Physick as Christ gives, and therefore he saith, To him will I look that is of a broken heart, and trembles at my words, Esai. 66. 2. When I bid him take such a purge saith God, he trembles, and he takes it. I bid him take such a bitter Potion, or such an untoothsome vomit, to feare him from sinne; he trembles at my word, and he dares not but off with it: But when a soul doth not tremble, then the Physitian may say, let him blood; but he cares not for being let bloud; he cares not for cor­rosives, he cares not for his advice and counsell, he trembles not at his word; Christ will never come at such a one, Christ bids thee follow such a diet as to watch, to pray, to fast, to mourne, &c. to keep in and to take heed to catechizing, grow not cold by being lukewarm, &c. If thou tremble at his word, well, if not, but that thou wilt go on in thy sinnes, and be damned for ever, then thank thine own wilfulnesse. But if thou beest broken in heart. Christ will assuredly heal thee. Suppose thou shouldest come unto Christ, be his physick never soveraign, and thou shouldest take it: yet if thy heart be against it, the physick cannot work. Imagination or fancy is a great thing in the good or ill successe of physick. If thou carpe at his precepts, as too strict, and except against his word as if he had an ounce of wormwood too much in it; If thy imaginations thus run against the physick, Christs physick will never cure thee; why so? thou art not broken in heart, to tremble at his word; he will help thee without faile; but then thou must tremble at his word, and take his directions, though he prescribe thee to eat thine own dung, and drink thine own pisse; take it I say what ever it be, and I will warrant thee health.

But thou wilt reply, I have but a little faith.

I answer, so had Peter; O thou of little faith wherefore didst thou doubt? saith our Saviour, Matth. 14. 13. There is a little faith, and there is a great faith; O woman great is thy faith, Matth. 15. 28. whether it be a little faith or a great faith, so it be true saving justifying faith, it is good phy­sick, and it will assuredly cure thee. It is not the quantity of faith that saves a man, but the quality of faith. True it is, a great quantity of faith, because it hath more of the quality, more of the truth, it heals more strongly and more steadily; But faith whether it be great or small, so it be true, that doth the deed. Shall the Patient doubt of his recovery be­cause of the small measure of physick that the Physitian gives him, the Physitian gives but a dram of such a powder, but perhaps the Patient would have a pound, when as it may be the state of his body will not bear it. The Physitian observs his measures in prescribing so many oun­ces of this, so many scruples of that; therelies his skil in giving the true measure, so there is the true measure of faith, Rom 12. 3. one man hath so much, and another man hath not so much faith. Abraham had more faith than Lot; the reason is, because the state of Lots soul would not bear so much as Abrahams. It is one of Hippocrates Aphorismes, Not too much at once.

[Page 228]A Physitian finds it dangerous sometime to empty the body at once, or to fill it all at once, or to heat it, or to coole it all at once; it is the safest way to give by little and little; so God by little and little deals with thee; now he gives thee some faith, and then a little more.

Object.O but my faith is smothered; how then can I expect to be healed?

Answer.I answer, a man is sick, and Violets will cure him; now the Physitian makes a compound confection, so that the Violets doe not appeare, but onely in oyle; Now, will the Patient thus argue, I cannot see one leaf of a Violet, no nor yet so much as colour, therefore I will none of it, it wil not heale me? So God gives many a soul unguentum fidei, an oyle of faith, now it may be the soul cannot see one jot of faith in himselfe, yet he shal be cured, because there is faith in a confection, a mixed faith though there be none in manifestation. Thou weepest, mournest, doubtest, and complainest, and thou canst not beleeve as thou sayest; yet thou never givest over crying, my God my God; well, here is faith in a confection, but it may be it is so compounded with other ingredients that thou canst not perceive it; for you must know that there is faith so great it breakes out into a flame, and there is faith which is so smal that it does but smoke out a little; now whether thy faith be an inflamed faith or a smoking faith, be of good comfort, thou shalt be healed. The bruised Reed shall not be bro­ken, Mat. 12. 28.

Object.But I am broken all to shatters, and I have no faith at all, how then can I hope to be cured?

Answer.I answer, as thy heart may be broken, and yet be a right heart; so thy faith may be broken, and yet be a true faith: For it is sometimes bound up in the whole, sometimes it is broken, and all to pieces. A man that is broken in heart, although he have no faith bound up together in one act, yet he hath it broken in sunder; never a part is missing, though no part closing one with another. The one whole act of faith is this, I beleive that God is my God in Christ. Indeed it may be thou hast not this faith in the whole, but if thou beest broken in heart, thou hast this whole broken in pieces.

First, thou beleevest that God is a God, there is one piece.

Secondly, thou beleevest that whomsoever God is a God unto, it is only in Christ.

Thirdly, thou beleevest that he that truly repents, may say that God is his God in Christ.

Fourthly, thou believest that repentance is a true hatred of sin as it is sin.

Fifthly, thou beleevest, and thy conscience tels thee it is so indeed that thou hatest sinne, not only as it is able to damne thee, but also as it is sin, and dishonourable to God; now these are the parts of faith in the whole. Thou hast all the parts of the whole, though thou hast not these parts in the whole. Well then, thou hast all the parts of true faith; as thou c [...]nst not deny if thou beest broken in heart. Totum non differt realiter a partibus simul sumptis. All the parts and the whole doe not differ really, sayes the Philosopher; he that hath three groats, cannot complain he wants a shilling; he that hath ruffe and stock and string, can he be farre to seek for a band? so then if thou have faith in the parts on this fashion, it is cer­taine [Page 229] thou hast faith in the whole, though it appeare not yet to be whole.

Aristotle asketh this question, whether the parts be before the whole or no; as for example, whether a man or a finger be first. I will not stand here to determine this question; but this is certain, that the whole is a rela­tive thing, spoken in relation to its parts, and it is like the relation begins in the whole; for first, we say that a whole is that which consists of parts, and then the parts are they that make up the whole, and therefore if thou verily beleevest in part, thou verily beleevest indeed. Thus Da­vid was a beleever in part, my very soul saith he is consumed with grief, Psal. 31. 9. my strength faileth me because of mine iniquity, &c. verse 10. I am forgotten as a dead man, &c. verse 12. he was a vessel of ele­ction, but yet you may see he was a broken vessell; he could not beleeve in the whole, for he was afraid that God had cast him out of his mind, like a dead and an undone man; neverthelesse he was a beleever in part, he was Gods broken vessel.

Obj.But I am sure I have no faith, I go whining and crying up and down, I look upon my sins with horrour, I look upon Christ with horror, not a minime of faith that I have, how then can I be healed?

Answer.Hast thou a grounded resolution to seek after God come what can come of it? Dost thou desire and long to be united with Christ? Then let me tell thee, suppose thou hast no faith yet in being, yet thou hast some­thing to secure thee from wrath; there is difference between Fides credi­tura and Fides credens, between faith about to beleeve, and faith that doth already beleeve. It is beliefe beleeving, that saves a man: But belief about to believe, cures a man from being a reprobate. Though the fruit in the womb be not yet quickened with a reasonable soule, yet it growes in the womb, feeds in the womb, and yet it hath no other life in it than may be in a beast; yet because it is in fieri a man, the Mother complains not, say­ing, Oh I am afraid I have a beast in my womb; no, she will wait Gods leisure to quicken it; it is secure enough from being a beast; for it hath such dispositions as will not long be without the soul of a man in the same, though as yet there be nothing in it, but what may be in a beast; But yet the Mother is secured because she is perswaded she bears a babe in her womb. So many poor souls are too hasty to censure themselves; for grant thou hast no faith as yet, yet if thou beest broken in heart, thou art about to have faith; only let the word have his full work on thee, unto which thou must diligently attend, and then fides in fieri will be quickly fides in facto esse. Thus the blind man in the Gospell was about to beleeve before he believed; he had a time of a fieri of faith; he was no beleever at this time; for he had as yet no faith; neither was he an unbeleever; for he was about to beleeve. Dost thou believe on the Son of God? saith Christ, John 9. 35. he answered, who is he Lord that I might beleeve on him? verse 39. Beleeve? yea that I would with all my heart, who is he, and where is he that I might beleeve? I have been hated for his names sake, I have been cast out of the Synagogue for his sake; Lord thou knowest I would beleeve on him; but who is he and where is he [...] and he is vanished away from me, I have sought him, but I cannot finde [Page 230] him. Then Christ told him, I am he that now talketh with thee; and then he beleeved; and Saint Chrysostome observes that this blind man was about to beleeve, before he did desire it in his soul; and so it may be it is now with thee; dost thou beleeve in Christ? Who is he? sayest thou, where shall I find that Christ is in me that I may beleeve in him? I weep and hunger, and I thirst after Christ; but who and where is he? I have sought him in the word; but I find him not; I have sought him in prayer and in all other his ordinances; but I find him not; I would be­leeve with all my heart if I could find him. Thus the soul may be about to beleeve, though it doe not already beleeve; hast thou gotten this same about to beleeve? be not thou dismayed, the plaister is come; and it will heal thee.

Conceive these words aright I beseech you; a speech is not as it is taken, I mean only the broken in heart; for otherwise a man may be about to beleeve, yet never beleeve; about to be healed of his sins, yet never be healed. Even like the wretch that Zophar speakes of, who shall be about to fill his belly, and not be able to fill it Job 20. 23.

There is a twofold about to be; First, either such a thing as is about to be, and that is the nature of it, and it will never be otherwise; but still only a­bout to be. Secondly, or else such a thing as is about to be, and that is the progresse of it, and not to rest there, but at the last to be indeed.

Feare you then, all you that are vain, and as yet in your sins; you are about to beleeve, and that is the nature of your faith; it is only about to be­leeve; like the officers of the next year, who are about to be officers and yet are not. Beloved, never look to be healed, if you be not broken in heart; It may be thou art broken from some of thy sins; but if thou be not broken from them all, it is nothing; and thou canst not be hea­led. Alas thou maist be broken in some sence, and yet never be healed. There is a double breaking, saith Aristotle, either breaking into great parts, as wood is broken into logs; or breaking into small parts, as a stone is broken into powder; it may be thy stony heart is broken, but it is only into lesser stones, thou art fallen from greater sins to lesser, from bou­sing and company keeping, to drinking and sipping; from playing and gaming on the Sabbath, to talking of worldly affairs on the Sabbath, from praying not at all, to pray coldly. Alas, alas thou hast a hard heart still; when a great stone is broken into lesser stones, the lesser stone is as hard as a great stone; thy heart must be broken to powder, if ever God heale thee.

First, because Physick will never cure a man, unlesse it may enter and run into the veines; and when it is entred into the body, and diffused up and down through all the diseased parts thereof, then it cures; now if thy heart be not broken, the Physick cannot enter; give a purgation to a stone, it may moysten the outside, but it cannot soak in, to soften the stone; why? because the stone is close, but if the stone were broken into pow­der, then it would soak even into the heart of the stone.

God opened the heart of Lydia, and then the word entred▪ Acts 16. 14. Brethren, you have been under the hands of Christs Physitians ever since you were born; but where is the heart that is broken? all the Physick is [Page 231] lost the word hath no entrance, it hath skinned the wound; seared the outside indeed; but the hardnesse of the heart is not cured. How long have you been under Physick for the curing of your earthlinesse and va­nity? how long have you lion by it for your anger and malice, &c under the means, yet never the neerer? whose hearts are broken? I fear the phy­sick doth not soake, it comes no neerer than the outside. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart, Psal. 34. 18. why? because their hearts are open and broken; and Christ and his word comes neer, yea so neere that it toucheth them to the quick. But if ye be not broken in heart, no Balme, no Physick can come neare enough to cure you.

Secondly, thou canst never be cured, unlesse Christ cure thee; now Christ will never take thee in hand till thou be broken in heart. A Physitian wil not meddle with a desperate cure, such a one who is not capable of Phy­sick. Let not any Physitian saith Hippocrates set upon a fruitlesse cure. Now it is fruitlesse to give thee any Physick, it is fruitless to poure grace into thee, or to vouchsafe pardon to thee; this Physick will never heal thee so long as thou art not broken in heart; and therefore Christ scorns to take thee in hand. True it is if thou wert broken in heart, God would not despise thee▪ for the sacrifice of God is a broken spirit; so saith the Psalmist, A broken and a contrite heart O God shalt thou not despise, Psal. 51. 17. so then if thy heart be not yet broken, it is yet incurable. Indeed if we consider Christs absolute power, no heart is incurable; for he can heal it what ever it bee, for all is at his command. But God doth not go accor­ding to his absolute power, but according to his expression and meaning of, and in his word; now the method that God sets down in his word; is thus; first the heart must be broken, and then it must, or may be healed; so then so long as thou art not broken in heart, thou art incurable.

Thirdly, suppose Christ should begin to heal thee, thou being not broken in heart, wilt alwayes be taking off the plaister before thou be cured; sometimes God terrifies thee with the [...]aw, and then thou pullest off that plaister; Even like unto a dainty Dame, who having taken physick, and feeling it begin to wamble in her stomack, puts a feather in her throat to cause her to vomit it up, before it have its full working. And thus many take hopes and comforts and promises before the set time.

In some physick, a quarter of an houres difference may cost one his life; when a man is to be cut of the stone, and he be bound hand and foot, yet if he doe but stir or struggle before the Chirurgion hath quite done with him, it is a thousand to one but he dies for it; so they in the second Psalme had a stone in the heart; Christ would have cut them for the stone, but they would not be bound, they would not endure their cutting, no let us break his bonds asunder, & cast away his cords from us, Ps. 2. 3. men cannot be smitten at a Sermon, but oh they must presently have comfort; as soon as once the physick begins to make the head to ake, and the stomack to be sick, and the man to be exceeding ill, it is a signe that the physick doth now begin to work; but if this man should devise how to vomit it up, or to clyster it out, he looseth all the benefit of the physick; keep this plaister on as long as thou canst, if ever thou mean to be hea­led. If the wound be throughly whole, the plaister will fall away of it [Page 232] self. Should a man have never so good a plaister and should every foot be taking it off, it would never do him any good. If God have shot an arrow into thy heart, bind the plaister to the sore, and let it there rest till the malignity of the sore and venom of the wound be put out. But if thou be not broken in heart, it is in vain to minister or to say any thing unto thee, because thou wilt not abide the physick within thee, nor suffer the gripes that thou must suffer if ever thou be healed. And therefore all you that are broken in heart, in any measure or manner, be of good cheer, the Lord will heal you; he healeth the broken in heart.

See here these particulars.

First, for the seasonablenesse of it, when it is a seasonable time to be hea­led, and that is when the heart is in need, and it is in need when it is bro­ken; as a man is in need of meat, when he is hungry; so a man is in need of healing, when he is broken in heart: God will give thee that which thou needest, and that in due season sayes Augustine▪ In an acceptable time have I heard thee, I saiah 49. 8. God looks when it will be most sea­sonable to give grace, and then he gives it; therefore wait, never com­plain of Gods delaying hand; if he do, it is but for a better season; I have need of healing already sayest thou; but if God do not yet heal thee, then thou must know it is not yet seasonable, and the more need thou art in, the better welcome is help when it cometh.

Secondly, when it is most profitable for thee; when he is broken in heart, it will do him good to be healed▪ but if God should heale thee before, it would hurt thee; when the Corrosive hath wrought out his work, then it is good to have a Cordial; now the Cordial will help the man; but if the Physitian should give him a Cordial first, it would helpe the disease, and endamage the man. Comfortable Cordials, before the time, have been the damnation of many soules. Oh thou wouldest faine have comfort for thy soul; what? before the Corrosive hath eaten out the sin? thou wish­est thine own poyson; If God let thee wait for thy healing, understand that he doth it for thy good; only let his Corrosives work their full course, and then he will heal thee. Wait on the Lord saith David, Psal. 27. 14. give not over waiting, how long so ever it be, and he will heal thee assu­redly when it shall be best for thee.

Thirdly, in puncto, even just in the very nick of thy brokennesse in heart will his healing come. It is well observed that the word in the originall is put in the participle, indifferent to any time, whether past, present, or to come, he doth not set down any time, because he will doe it punctually, just at the pinch, when thou art broken in heart; Oh then if thou be not yet healed, know then that thou art not yet come to this punctum; but when thou art come to it, then thou shalt be healed. What if thou dost lie under the heavy and frowning hand of God? doe not shake it off, but kisse that rod, and humble thy self the more: Sometims God lets a broken heart shake off his hand a little to soon, sometimes again he will not let them. David would faine have shaken it off; but he could not; God would not let him. Lord rebuke me not in thine anger, saith he, &c, Psal. 38. 1, 2. How did he know that Gods arrows stuck in him fast? It seemes that he had been pulling at them; he would faine have had them out, he [Page 233] would have been comforted all on the suddaine, but he could not; God would not let him. Lord rebuke me not (sayes he) in thine indignation, &c. Rebuke me as much as thou wilt, but let it not be in thine indig­nation; chasten me as much as thou wilt, but let it not be in thy heavy displeasure. Oh pluck ou [...] thine arrowes, take off thy hand; I pluck at them, but they stick fast; I shake and rub to get off thy hand, but it presseth me so [...]re that I cannot get it off▪ Beloved, it is necessary that some while Gods own people should bleed under Gods wrath; for by this meanes the corruption of sin is purged out. Thus you see in some God will not let them shake off his hand; others, if they will needs have it off, they shall, that they may afterwards see their own folly. Thus many a poor child of God, in conflict of conscience and sense of Gods wrathful displeasure, scrapes comfort too soon, and God lets them take it before he gives it: he would have had them first throughly cured, but they were loth to be humbling their souls so long: but see the event of it, the sore is only skinned over, and at the last the wound it breaks forth a fresh, and then it may be they lie seven years rogether and get no comfort, yea sometimes twenty yeares, yea, I have known some that have lived so thirty years. Now they may thank their own folly; for if they would have been ruled by Christ, and been humbled altogether at the first, they might have escaped this scouring; but now they repent it every veine in their hearts, and can hardly claw it off untill death. I call these the children of God, because they have layen a long while under Gods hand, and yet still cry after God, it is a signe they are his children; for Gods children are many times in affliction a long while; see it in Job, &c. Neither can I beleeve but that all those that lie sundry years on this fashion still crying after God; are the children of God; or at the least, it is so to be hoped: for if they were reprobates, and had shaken off Gods hand, pluckt out his arrows, and scraped after comfort, he would either let them fall into a perpetuall fools▪ paradise of presumption or security, or else let them moulder away in despaire, not caring to seek after God in the meanes at all. And therefore, beloved, pluck not out Gods ar­rowes too soon: I speak not to all, for some will not pluck them out when they should; but I speak to all such as are over hastie for to get Cordials before the Corrosive have had his full working▪ If men be ne­ver so little humbled, reformed, or wrought upon, presently they think they be in very good case: the very Heathen could say, we are commonly deceived with seeming vertue and grace; and hence it is that wicked men are humbled by halves, They think they are throughly humbled, when their hearts are broken by halves; they think they are broken in heart. And as a stick that is half in the water, and half above the water, seems to be broken or bent in the midst; so these men when they are half in their sinnes, and half out, seem to themselves to be broken hearted: But if the stick were either all in the water, or all out, it would appear as it is: it seems to be broken, when as it is not: so, many being half in their sinnes, and half out, seem to be broken-hearted, when indeed they are not.

But (beloved) before I can give you the healing here in this text, it [Page 234] is good reason that I examine you whether you be broken in heart, or no. Prognostica praecedunt Therapeuticen, sayes Argastus; Prognostiques, and telling the signes and symptomes of the disease, are before the hea­ling of the disease. When we believe a thing to be so, we have a pro­verb to say, 'tis a signe' tis so. Doest thou say thou art broken in heart? 'Tis a signe 'ris so, they carriage is so mortified; A signe 'tis so, thy com­munication is so heavenly; A sign 'tis so, thy companions so holy, &c. If a man cannot cast thy water on this fashion, thou art not broken in heart. And therefore Signa tibi dicam, &c. I will help the signs and symptomes of a broken heart, that so thou mayest examine thy self.

The signes I reduce to these two heads.

First, A breaking from sin, as a rotten member is broken from the bo­dy; so that the heart is then said to be broken indeed, when it is broken off from sin.

Secondly, a breaking in it self, so that the heart is said to be broken when it is broken with sorrow and self-deniall, so that nothing can peice it up again, but the favour of God. These two make up a broken heart, and therefore they shall be the heads of examination.

First then, doe thy sins go thick away from thee? when the cold is once broken we use to say, now it is going away, not in the rheume as before, but in thick fleam. If thou be broken in heart, then thy pride, thy earthli­nesse, thy selfe-love, thy deadnesse to good duties, and all thy sins go thick from thee. It may be thou hast some poares in thy heart, and thy sins fall away from thee in the rheume, but if they go not away from thee in thick fleame, the cold of thy frozen heart is not yet broken. The sins of Zaccheus were injustice and oppression, &c. but as soon as ever he was broken in heart, these sins went away thick from him, not dropping as if he were loth they should part, but in great flakes, Zaccheus stood (says the text) and said unto the Lord, behold half of my goods I give to the poor, &c. Luke 19. 8. see how his sins went away; every word voids thick fleam.

First, he stood; before he clymed and gazed after Christ, but being broken in heart, he stood ready prest to doe whatsoever Christ would command him.

Secondly, he said unto Christ; before Christ might have said unto him what he would; what cared he? but now that he is broken in heart, here is hardly a word that Christ said unto him of any such matter, yet he said to Christ.

Thirdly, Behold, before his behold was carnall, he did what he did to be seen of men, if ever he gave ought, he loved that men should be­hold, but now all his care was that Christ would behold it.

Fourthly, I give. Before he thought, I will give was enough, I will give when I dy, I will build hospitals when I am dead; but now that he is broken in heart, he gives it forthwith.

Fifthly, the halfe of my goods; before he counted a penny o [...] a farthing to a poor body, a great matter, a great dole, if given now and then; but now that he is broken in heart, the halfe and not only of the superfluity, but also of his very substance and goods, as it is in the originall, I give to the poor, not as men commonly doe, light come, light go; it may be [Page 235] they feast their rich neighbours, but he gives halfe his substance to the poor Saints of God.

Sixthly, And if I have taken any thing wrongfully, though it were not much; If I have taken any thing, though not from the rich and great ones, but from any, rich or poor, young or old, stranger or not stranger, no matter who; if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, not only against Law, where the Law binds me to restitution, but if I have taken any thing by forged cavillation, though the Law will boulster me out, yet I restore him; he did not say, I give him, as many wil do, calling that which should properly be called restitution for wrong, a gift, I give, say they; he sayes not so; but he casteth off the thought of a gift, and doth what he doth by way of restitution.

Seventhly, If I have taken anything; before he could swallow down the known wrongs that he did; but now that he is broken in heart, he makes amends for the wrongs which peradventure he did not, to be sure, If I have taken, I restore, his restitution goes absolute; although his wrongs go upon ifs, I restore him saies he; and that not nigardly or scant­ly, or no more than needs must, but four-fold. Thus he reasons; now he is broken in heart; his sins go thick away from him.

The text but even now called him little Zaccheus, before he had seen Christ; merito adhuc pusillus quia nondum viderat Christum; Justly might he be said to be little Zacheus, because then he had not seen Christ; but as soon as ever he had seen Christ whom he had wronged by these wrongs; as soon as ever he was broken in heart, he became a great re­penter, his sins ran thick away from him. As soon as the boyle is broken, out comes the matter; As soon as the vein is broken, out comes the bloud, true it is a drop of blood may come though the vein be not broken; if the finger be but rac'd a few drops may come, but if the vein be once broken, out comes the blood thick and threefold; If thou dost but crop off thy sins now and then, thy heart was never broken; for if thou wast once bro­ken in heart, thy reformation would come apace, thy repentance and thy amendment would come thick and threefold; but if we preach and ex­hort, and yet see but thin reformation in thee, as a sigh or so, thou wast never yet broken in heart: if thy heart be yet full of thy selfe-love, full of thy pride, lusts, &c. if thy affections be yet full of earthly desires, world­ly delights, vain hopes, carnall fears; if thy back be yet full of thy garish and humerous apparell, thy heart is not yet broken; why? because the filthy matter runs not out.

Zaccheus when he was broken in heart, his corruptions ran out apace; both his unreadinesse to good duties, and his deadnesse and dulnesse to holy duties: Christ need not say much unto him, for he said un­to Christ, his desire of the credit of the world ranne out, for he gave the halfe of his goods to the poore, his backwardnesse and de­laying ranne out, for he made present dispatch, I give, his very secret unknowne iniquities ran out, if I have taken, &c. All his sins ran thick away from him. Why? because a broken heart can hold no sin, this is the first signe of a broken heart from sin, if it be broken from its sinful course.

[Page 236]The second is, if it be broken from its wildnesse: the Hauk is then bro­ken when it is made fit for the I [...]e, and the colt is broken when made fit for the saddle, if he be not broken, he will not be willing the rider shall come on his back man is borne like a wild Asse colt, Job 11. 12. so thou wast borne, and so thou hast been, and art thou not as yet broken from it? if thou be broken in heart, then thy heart is [...]ame to every com­mandment, to every truth, and thy affections are tame to every precept. It is Calvins similitude, thou art not yet (saith he) fit for Gods saddle, if thou let the Devill, the world, or any lust ride thee, thou must be broken from thy wildnesse, or else thou art not broken in heart; it may be thou art a little bridled from thy lusts, alas so thou maist be, yet be wild for all that. Be not like those beasts Psal. 32. 9. For though they be bridled and held in, yet they are wild still, Be not like horse and mule, saith Ambrose, for though they suffer bit and bridle, yet had they rather be at rack and manger, or at grasse in the field, they delight not to be sadled.

Dost thou not despise to be curbed by the word, to be bitten by re­proof, wouldst thou not rather be free? God casteth in good motions into thy heart, and thou casteth them out, and they vanish; God puts in good purposes into thy heart, but thou flingest them off, and dost not fulfill them, like a wild horse that flings off his rider. Thou canst not be crost a little but presently thou art wild with choller and anger; thy flesh and blood cannot endure it, and dost thou yet say that thou art broken in heart? no, no, thou wast born a wild Asse Colt, and so thou art still. Thou wert born a wild olive, and so thou art still. Thou wast never yet broken in heart, never yet broken from sin; if thou wert broken from thy wildnesse, then every exhortation would tame thee; then thou wouldst be glad to be reproved, and controuled by the word; Thou wouldest leap at every commandement, were it never so strict; But if thou count it precisenesse and too much strictnesse to be holy and zealous, I say thou art yet but a wild colt. Oh my brethren we have many amongst us who are like Ishmael, who was a wild man, Gen. 16. many wild men, who pray wildly, and think wildly, and hear wildly; their hearts are wild gadding hearts, while the word is preachiug, they follow their own ima­ginations.

Darest thou venture upon any sin against the Gospel of Christ, and da­rest thou live in it till thou art a wicked Bedlam? The Psalmist brings all such in as if they were mad Bedlams, saying; why do the heathen so furiously rage, &c. Christ would have bound them, but they forsooth were too wild; they would not be bound, but say they let us break his bonds, and fling off his cords: they will not be bound to such strictnesse: darest thou swear and lie and covet, and be drunk? &c. alas man thou art in a mad vaine. Darest thou break the sabbath, live in thy lusts, &c. a fury hath taken thee, thou art a mad-man, God must break that wilde heart of thine, else thou canst not be tamed, it may be thou art bridled from sin, but dost thou bridle thy selfe, if not, thou art wild for all the bridling thou hast: you never saw a horse bridle himself, no, no, it is wild, peradventure thou dost bridle thy selfe when thou art not much tempted; [Page 237] but if thou beest broken in heart, thou wilt refrain all provocations what­soever. I will keep my mouth, &c. Psal. 39. 1. while the Devill was before him, as Hierom expounds it, or while Shimei was before him to tempt him with wicked reproches and disgracefull speeches, as Baz [...] and The­odoret expound it, then would David keep his tongue as with a bridle, when he was greatly tempted to sin. Here then is all the [...]ri [...]ll; canst thou bridle thy self from sin when thou art tempted to sin? if thou be bro­ken in heart, thou canst; but if thou canst not, thou art wild unto this day. The wild beasts are tame enough till a prey comes before them, and so thou maist be tame when temptations are down; but art thou tame when a temptation is before thee. This is a second sign of brokennesse of heart, if thou be broken from thy wildnesse.

Thirdly, if thou be broken in heart, then thou art broken from thy pride, and thou wilt stoop to Gods word in all things. A broken heart is an humble heart, I dwell with him, saith God, Isaiah 37. 15. p [...]idei, the root of all sin; what is the reason that any da [...]e sin, but because they think better of themselves in their sins then they do deserve? for did a man but think he were accursed and a damned wretch in sinning against God he durst never sin, or did a man feele that every sin, maks a man filthy? yea more filthy then a toad; did a man feele his own damned condition, he durst not live in sin? a man thinks better of himself th [...]n he deserves whenso­ever he sins against God Heare and give eare and be not proud, for the Lord hath spoken it, Jer. 13. 15. If the Lord speak, and thou do not hear and obey, thou a [...]t proud. Oh but I am not proud, then thinkest thou, for I will hear the poorest body in the street, when they spea [...] to me yea and I will, and do give the wall to my betters wilt thou so? wilt thou give man the wall, and take the W [...]ll of God? is not this pride? swear not sayes God; yet thou wi [...]t take the wall of that commandement, and swe [...]est. Let not the Sun go down upon thy wrath sayes God; thou takest the wall of that commandement too; and canst remember an ill turn, a moneth af­ter, so, &c. This is execrable and abominable pride. Thou seekest after thy profits and pleasures more than after the glory of God. I cannot live else, sayes one; I cannot be merry else, sayes another; and I must tell a lie now and then, and must suffer bousing and swearing in my house, or else I cannot live. Thou proud wretch, what must [...]hy mirth and thy credit pe [...]ke above the commandement of Christ? The wicked through the pride of his countenance will not seek after God, Psal. 10. 4. It is wicked pride indeed, when thou seekest thy selfe more than God. I tell thee, the word hath not broken the heart, untill it hath broken the neck of this pride of thine; never tell me that thou art not proud in thy apparell; if a servant goe never so meanly in apparell, yet he is proud if he obey not all his Masters lawfull and good comman­dements; never tell me thou bowest to God or thou kneelest in prayer to God; cluck and crouch, bow and bend thou never so much, yet thou art proud, if every corruption of thine will not yield to every com­mandement of God; thou art not broken in heart; for if thou wert broken in heart, thou wouldest stoop to all Gods commandements. Dost thou mock at preaching, &c. Tush, thou wilt not be so precise, If [Page 238] ever thou be one of his, thou wilt not only obey him, but also be cir­cumspect in all thy obedience; nay if thou be broken in heart, thou wilt not only stoop to every commandment of God, but also count it thine honour and glory, though it be the meanest office in his service. Thou art my glory sayes David, David that was broken from his pride, counted it his glory to obey God, his glory to serve God, yea his glory to be repro­ched for his sake. Thou art not broken in heart till thou count it thine ex­cellency to serve God. We use to say such a ones excellency is in his lear­ning or wit, &c. but he is too precise and too holy, as if it were not a mans excellency to be pure and zealous, and to serve God: But I tell thee if thou count it not thine honour to be forward for God and to be nickna­med for Christ, thine excellency to lie in this, that thou art godly and heavenly, thou art a proud fool; when John Husse was to write upon the Epistle of Saint James, he counted it such an high office of dignity that he was confounded at his own indignity, saying unto God, Hei mihi lau­dare te contremisco; he counted it such an honour to doe any thing for God, that he was ashamed at his own vilenesse. O my brethren God is called the excellency of Jacob; it was not their valour nor wisedome, but this was their excellency, that God was their God; thy riches are proud riches if thy excellency lie in them more than in God; if thou dost not go about every commandment as thine excellency, thy obedience is proud. This is a third signe of a heart broken from sin, if it be broken from its pride.

A Funerall SERMON Pr …

A Funerall SERMON Preached By that laborious and faithful Messenger of CHRIST, WILLIAM FENNER, Sometimes Fellow of Pembroke Hall in Cambridge, and late Mi­nister of Rochford in Essex.

London, Printed by E. T. for John Stafford.

A Funerall SERMON.

ISAI. 57. 1.‘The righteous perish, and no man layeth it to heart, mercifull men are taken away none conside­ring that the righteous are taken away from the evill to come.’

IN the end of the former chapter the Prophet re­proveth the speciall sin of Idol-shepheards who followed their own pleasures and profits, not regarding their flock. Now he reproves the generall sin of security in the people, and namely in this, that whereas the righteous perish, yet no man layeth it to heart, and mercifull men are taken away, none considering &c.

This verse is a complaint of the Prophet touching the people in generall, for that they considered not the Iudge­ments of God upon them in taking away the righteous from among them.

In the words themselves we are to consider,

First, the work of the Lord, viz. the righteous perisheth and mercifull men are taken away.

[Page 242]Secondly, the peoples sin in not considering it, not regarding this work of the Lord, which is, that the righteous may be delivered from the e­vill to come.

By righteous is here meant not such as are legally righteous by the works of the law; for so no man is righteous, but by righteous is here meant such as are Evangelically righteous, by the righteousnesse of faith in the Gospell.

Perisheth, that is, from the earth, for otherwise the righteous perish not.

No man considering, that is, no man lamenting, mourning, or grieving for the loss of them.

The first thing then to bee considered, is from the first part; and it is plain out of the words of the text, That all men must dye; even the most holy and most righteous; for they are all subject to the stroak of bodily death as well as the wicked. There is no remembrance saith Solomon, of the wise more than of the fool; and how dyeth the wise man? even as the fool, Eccles 2. 16. so zachar. 1. 5. Your fathers where are they? and the Prophets [...]o they live for ever? so that we sce Prophets and fathers dye as well as other men; yea those Worthies recorded in the Scripture, Noah, Abraham, David, &c. they are all gone the same way, they are all dead.

The first reason is, because it is appointed unto all men once to dye, and af­ter that comes the judgement, Heb. 9. 27. God hath thus decreed it, and therefore it must be so.

Secondly, because all men and women are of the dust; and therefore must return to the dust again; dust thou art, saith God, and unto dust thou shalt return, Gen. 3. 19.

Thirdly, because, all have sinned, even the most righteous man; now the wages of sin is death, Rom. 6. 23. The most righteous man must dye.

Fourthly because, as death came into the world by sinne, Romans 5. 12. so sinne must goe out of the world by death; and therefore it is needfull that the righteous dye, that so they may be freed from sin.

But some may object and say, Hath not Christ abolished death? why then do the righteous dy?

I answer he hath abolished death; as he hath abolished sin; now he hath not taken sin quite away from us, for we see it doth still remain in us; neither hath he quite abolished death from the righteous, for we see they all dye; but he abolished the dominion of sin, so that it doth no longer reign in us; and so he hath taken away the dominion of death, so that it doth not rage as a Tyrant over us, so that it is not hurtfull unto us as a punishment, but as a means to convey us into a better life. Christ hath taken away the sting both of sin and death; though not the things them­selves away from us; yet he will one day free us from them both; so then the righteous must suffer death as well as the wicked, though not in the same kind.

Let no man then look to be exempted from death for his righteousnesse, nor [Page 243] from any outward miseries that may befall the sons of Adam; nay if we are the servants of Christ, we must look for a greater share in these than o­ther men; greater crosses, greater afflictions, greater sicknesse and harder pangs of death do oft befall the righteous, as [...] did unto this our bro­ther, who though he were old and stricken [...] yeers, yet the pangs of death were strong upon him. Those whom [...] will make heirs of Eter­nall life, he suffers them to have a greater po [...]on in these afflictions. But the wicked are fat and full, and die with [...]eir bones full of marrow, as Job speaks; they commonly have little sicknesse, and an easie death; but the godly do ordinarily undergo greater pangs; let none therefore think that for his righteousnesse he shall be free.

Secondly, consider we here how few amongst us have learned this Arith­metique, namely to number our dayes, and they are but short, even a span long; who is there almost that thinks on death? who prepares himself for it? and yet all, even the most righteous must die; for God hath placed that fiery blade of death at the entrance into the Paridise of heaven, so that none can enter before they tast of death, and all must taste of it, yea the most righteous are not exempted from the stroak of death. This then should teach us to labour to draw our hearts from the love of this present life; and what can better perswade us and wean us from the love of this world, than a due consideration of death? we know we must all die, and therefore we should prepare our selves for it. If any pro­phane person amongst us knew that this night must be his last night, and that now he had no longer to live, would not this amaze him, and make him bethink himself, and to prepare for death? If rich covetous men which spend the whole course of their life in providing for the things of this life, did truely consider of death, and that their end draweth nigh, would they doe as they do, when this life and all the things of this life, and all our joyes and pleasures of this world shall shortly have an end? for when death comes, they shall all be taken from us, or rather we from them. Oh how excellent a thing is it then for us to be drawn from the things of this life, unto a due consideration of death, and of those heavenly Joyes and happinesse to come! Oh you that look for these things, what manner of men ought you to be in holy life and conversa­tion?

Thirdly, seeing we all must die, and this present life must come to an end, this should teach us to prepare our selves for a better life; to pro­vide for a surer building, a better estate which shall never perish. Philo­sophers who were but heathen men, could meditate on death, setting it always before their eyes. But this is not enough for us that are Christians; we cannot truly prepare our selves for it unlesse we first build a surer foundation in providing for a better life, which shall never have an end; and this no heathen or wicked man can ever do. Oh how wofull would that message be unto a wicked man, that was brought unto good King Hezekiah, Come, set thy house in order, for thou must die, and not live; and why should it be terrible unto him? surely because he hath no hope of a better life, he hath not provided for a better habitation. Consider then with what comfort thou couldest entertain this message; with wh [...] [Page 244] comfort canst thou meet with death? for he is no Christian that cannot in some measure willingly meet with death, for by it we pas unto a better life: for as this our brother spake often, he that would have comfort in death, must look beyond death; he must not fix his eyes on the terrors of death, but he must look beyond, to that glorious inheritance, to which we are passing through death, and there shall he behold his Saviour put­ting forth his hand ready to receive him; there shall he see the blessed Saints and Angels, whose company he shall enjoy, besides an infinite heap of Joyes and happinesse that is prepared for him also. O my be­loved, nothing will make us willingly to entertain the message of death, but only the comforts of the life to come. Oh let us labour then for these comforts, that so we may be provided against death; were it not a foo­lishnesse for a man who being a tennant at will, and shortly to be tur­ned out of his house, never to take care for another until he is cast out of doors? Beloved we are all tennants at will, and we are very shortly to be cast out of our dwelling houses of clay, and shall we not provide for a surer habitation? Death is at hand, and our life must shortly have an end; let us therefore labour to be assured of a better life, when this is en­ded, that so with comfort we may meet with death.

Now we come unto the second point, which is here to be considered; taken from the complaint of the Prophet, that the people did not consi­der nor lay it to heart, viz. the death of the righteous, whence I note, That the death and losse of good men must be laid to heart, as a speciall cause of grief and sorrow.

We ought justly to be grieved at the death of a righteous man, when God taketh him from amongst us. How did the Prophet Jeremy, and the people lament the death of that good King Josiah? 2 Chron. 35. 23. so devout men made great lamentation for the death of Stephen, Acts 8. 2. so all Israel lamented the death of Moses Deut. 34. 8. And Joash the King of Israel wept for the death of the Prophet Elisha, 2 Kings 13. 14. and thus we should lament and sorrow for the death of any righte­ous man, yet not in respect of themselves, as if their case were worse now then before, for they are now more happy.

But first, in regard of Gods glory, whereof they were instruments to set it forth; for since they were taken away, Gods glory is impaired; because there are the fewer left which doe truly serve and worship him; for as David saith, the dead praise not the Lord, &c. Psal. 115. 17. so then they be­ing dead, do not praise the Lord among the faithful on earth any longer.

Secondly, in regard of the great losse that others have by their death, who have alwayes received much good by them in their life; for the godly doe so order and behave themselves in all their wayes that they do good wheresoever they come; therefore when they die, it must needs be a great losse unto such who might, if they had lived, been bettered by them.

Thirdly, We ought to lament the death of the righteous in regard of the evil to come; for while they live, they are as a wal about us to keep Gods judg­ments from us; If there had been but ten righteous men in Sodome, it had not been destroyed, Gen. 18. 32. If there be any messenger one among a [Page 245] thousand, saith Elihu, to shew unto man his uprightnesse, then is God graci­ous unto him Job 33. 23. Run ye to and fro in the streets of Jerusalem saith God, and see if you can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgement, and seeks the Lord, and I will pardon it, Jer. 5. 1. so that if there had been but one righteous man among the people in that city, the Lord would have spared them even for that ones sake; and therefore the Lord speaking of the righteous, saith, I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place, he shall be as a glorious throne unto his fathers house. Esay. 22. 23. Oh consider then what a losse we have when the righteous dye; we are like to perish, when the naile that was in the sure place is remo­ved, cut down and falls; for then the burden that was upon it, shall be cut off, Esay 22. 25. You therefore of this Congregation, consider, and lament for this your losse, in that this good man is taken from among you; for who knowes whether God spared this congregation even for this good mans sake? for it is the righteous only that God respects, and for their sakes he will spare a whole people; therefore surely as So­lomon saith, the righteous is better than his neighbour, yea though never so poor and despised in the eyes of the world, yet are they precious in Gods account; when I make up my Jewels (saith God) I will spare them, Mal. 3. 17. so that the righteous are Gods Iewels, the excellent of the earth are precious in Gods sight; and have we not great cause then to lament for the losse of such?

Seeing then it becometh all Gods children to lament the death of the righteous; O how farre then are all such from the spirit of God, who are so farre from lamenting that on the contrary they rejoyce at the death of the godly man, because he stood in their way? they could not follow their works of darknesse as they would, but he hindered them, he stood in their light, they could not run on in sin and wickednesse, but he would be reproving, admonishing, and telling them of their faults, and this makes them long for the good mans end, and to rejoyce in it when it doth come; these do not consider that when the righteous is ta­ken from the earth, then they lie open unto the judgements of God; But as the Sodomites thrust out just Lot out of their city, that so Gods ven­geance might fall the sooner upon them; for till he was gone, the Lord would not destroy them, Gen. 19. 21. Even so doe these men desire to be rid of the righteous, and rejoyce when they are taken away from them, not considering that they are open to Gods vengeance, which hangeth o­ver their heads ready to devour them.

We ought then to be most grieved for the death of the righteous, when any of the Saints are taken away by death. Oh what a comfort is a righteous man to the children of God? what a feeling of grace is there in such a one? what comfortable words come there from the mouth of such men? how full of comfortable speeches was this poor man; alwayes ministring comfort to those that came to visit him? what a loss is this then unto us? it is more than if thousands of the wicked had gone together; and shal we not mourn for the loss of such a one? If one of our family or friends dye, we can mourne for them; and good reason; and shall we not mourne for the losse of one of Gods Saints, one of the spirituall family, one of our fellow-members?

[Page 246]In this then examine thy self how it is with thee; when thou hearest of any of the faithfull that are taken away, art thou grieved for it? dost thou lament and mourn for it? if thou doest not, surely thou art no true Christian; for the children of God cannot choose but lay it to heart and lament, when any of the righteous is taken from among them. As Israel lamented the death of Samuel, 1 Sam, 25. 1.

Now concerning the sin of the people in not regarding nor laying it to heart, this was a great sin of security in them, in that they did as it were rest on their pillows, and cryed peace unto themselves, notwithstanding Gods judgements upon them, in taking away the righteous, and freeing them from the evill to come, we note that,

When God will bring any great judgement upon a People or Nation, he will [...] ordinarily take away his faithfull servants from among them, that so they may be freed from the evil to come. Thus good Josiah must perish in his young years, that so he might not be taken with the evill to come; I will ga­ther thee unto thy fathers saith God, and thou shalt goe to thy grave in peace, and thy eyes shall not see all the evill that I will bring upon this place, 2 King, 22. 20. So when God told Abraham of the bondage and captivity whereunto he would bring his posterity, he saith, thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace, Gen, 15. 13. And thus it was with the ancient Father, St. Augustine; when the cruel Vandals besieged his crity, he prayed that the Lord would either take him away, or cause them to leave the siege; and the Lord heard him, and took him a way, and presently after the Van­dals destroyed the city. So Luther writing upon this text, saith that the Lord after his death would bring great affliction upon Germany, and two years after, it so fell out indeed. Thus ordinarily God takes away his ser­vants from the evill to come.

See here the mercy of God unto his children in that he takes them away from among the wicked, he calls them out of this world that they may not partake of the evill to come; shall any one then think it a curse to be taken away betimes in his young years? nay happy is he that is ta­ken away from these miserable and fearfull times, wherein the judge­ment of God, for our sins, hangeth over our heads; and is ready every day to seize upon us.

Secondly, seeing that God when he means to bring any heavy judge­ment upon a people, doth ordinarily take away the righteous from the evil to come, this shews that when the righteous are taken from amongst us, we are certainly to expect some judgement of God upon us. For these are they which stood in the gap, and kept off the fire of Gods wrath from us, that it should not consume us: but now being gone, we lie open to the judgements of God; and therefore when any righteous men are taken from us, the losse of them ought to drive us to repentance, least Gods judgements come presently upon us and consume us, therefore we must forsake our sins and evil wayes, and performe new obedience unto God, so will he be mercifull unto us, yea he will be a shield of de­fence unto us, and a wal of fire about us, and he will turn away his judge­ments from us. [...]

THE SIGNES OF GODS f …

THE SIGNES OF GODS forsaking a People. Preached By that laborious and faithful Messenger of CHRIST, WILLIAM FENNER, Sometimes Fellow of Pembroke Hall in Cambridge, and late Mi­nister of Rochford in Essex.

London, Printed by E. T. for John Stafford.

THE SIGNES OF GODS forsaking a People.

JER. 14. 9.‘And we are called by thy Name; leave us not.’

TWo things (Brethren and beloved in Christ Je­sus) are intended and expressed by the holy Pro­phet, from the first verse to the 13. verse.

There is first a denomination of a judgement, and that is dearth or famine from the first verse, to the seventh.

Secondly, the sword is threatned, to the thir­teenth verse; he will send the famine, then the sword, and he will not be intreated.

Then in the eighth and ninth verses, we have the importunate prayer of the Church to turne away these judgements: And the praier is marvellous sweet, in confession, where they confesse their sinnes, and seek to God for suc­cour.

First, they desire God that he would not take his providence from them, why stayest thou but for a night? verse the 8. as if they should have said, [Page 252] it is marveilous strange, that thou behavest thy self so like a stranger; thou seest our sorrowes, and dost not help us; thou perceivest our trou­bles, and thou regardest us not; It is strange, it is strange; that the God of Israel stands as a man astonished; that thou that hast hereto­fore received us, should'st now stand as a man amazed, and astoni­shed, as if thou wert weary of this thy work, and couldst do no more, as if thou should'st say, Jerusalem cannot be saved, and Judah cannot be succoured.

Secondly, they desire that God would not take away his presence from them; leave us not to our selves, say they; let us see thy face; though we die, yet let it be in thy presence; yea though thou help us not, yet it doth us good to look upon our Saviour, and thou canst help us; and thus you see the arguments where with they presse the Lord, how sweet they are, viz.

First, thou art the hope of Israel; Alas if thou forsake us we are all lost; our hope is not in the meanes only; but our hope is in thee, leave us not, for thou art the hope of Israel, it is the task that thou hast taken upon thee, leave us not therefore.

Secondly, thou hast made thy self a Saviour, and now is the time of trou­ble, therefore now performe what thou hast undertaken.

Thirdly, thou art in the midst of us, that is, thou art a great Commander amongst us; always ready to succour us, and wilt thou now see us perish? thou art more neer to us, than the Ark in the midst of the Campe, 1 Sam. 4. 6. As if they should say, he lives in the midst of us, and will he not save us?

Fourthly, we are called by thy name, and therefore we have interest in thee, to whom should wives go, but to their husbands? to whom should children go, but to their fathers? to whom should servants go, but to their Masters? to whom then should we go, but to thee our God and Saviour? leave us not therefore, and we will meddle with none but thee.

Secondly, though God might leave them, yet they beg that he would not; that is the Amen to their praiers; though thou stand and wilt not help us; yet let us die in thy presence; and this is the great request of the Saints, they de­sire not to be left of God, although God might leave them; whence learn that God might cast off a people.

Israel did fear it, and it is that which they prayed against, God might leave them: I doe not say that God will cast off his elect ones eternally, but those in outward covenant, see Isaiah 1. verse 2. &c. Heare O Hea­vens, Hearken O Earth, I have nourished and brought up children, but they have rebelled against mee; The Oxe knoweth his owner, and the Asse his Ma­sters Crib, but Israel hath not known my People have not understood, &c. and verse the seventh; see the judgement; your cities are burnt with fire, strangers devour your land in your presence, and it is desolate like the overthrow of stran­gers.

There is an out ward Calling, as well as an effectuall Calling; God may reject; for many are called, but few chosen, saith our Saviour. My brethren cast your thoughts afar off, and see what is become of those famous [Page 253] Churches of Pergamus and Thyatira and the rest mentioned, Rev. 1. verse 11. And who would have thought that Jerusalem should have been made an heap of stones, and a vagabond people? and yet we see God hath forsaken them, shewing us thereby that although God wil never forsake his own electones; yet he may forsake such as are in outward covenant with him.

The Lord is said to dis-church or discharge a people, Hosea 1. 9, there God saith, call his name Loammi, for ye are not my people, and therefore I will not be your God. And as I may so say, he sues out a bill of divorcement; as it was in the old Law, they that had any thing against their wives, they sued out a bill of divorcement against them, and so doth God, see Hosea 2. 2. Plead with thy Mother, tel her she is not my Spouse, nor my beloved; but let her cast away her fornications out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her beasts, lest I make her as at the first, that is, as she was in Egypt, poore and misera­ble. As if God should now say to England, plead, plead with Eng­land, all ye that are my Ministers in the way of my truth and say unto her, let her cast away her rebellions, least I leave her as I found her in the day of Captivity and bondage under the blindnesse of popery and su­perstition.

Ob. But how doth God cast off a people?

Sol. I answer, first when he takes away his love and respect from a people; and as his love, so the token of his love, which in his word and Sacraments, the means of salvation.

Secondly when he takes away his providence, I mean when he takes down his walls; that is, his Magistracy, and Ministery.

Thirdly, when in stead of Councelling, there comes in Bribing; and in stead of true teaching, there comes in daubing with untempered mortar; when God takes away the hedge thereof, Isaiah 5. 5. or the stakes grow rotten, and are not renewed, then is God going a­way.

Fourthly, when God takes away the benefit of both these helps, they are signes of Gods departure.

Use. May God un▪chu ch or discharge a People, and cast a Nation off? Oh then let this teach us to cast off all security; for miseries are night at hand in all probability; when we observe what God hath done for us, all things are ripe to destruction, and yet we feare it not, but we promise to our selves safety, and consider not that England is ready to be harrow­ed, and yet we cannot entertaine a thought of Englands desolation; when there are so many prophesies in it of its destruction, yet we cannot be perswaded of it, but in our Judgements it must not be, it must not be as yet; as if it were unpossible that God should leave England; as if God were a cockering Father over lewd children; God may leave a Nation, and his elect may suffer, and why may not England? Englands sins are very great, and the greater, because the meanes are great, and our warnings are and have been great; but yet our mercies are farre greater; England hath been a mirrour of mercies; yet now God may leave [...] make it the mirrour of his justice. Look how God spake to the [Page] people that did brag of their temple, Jer. 7. 4. saith God, Trust not in [...] words, saying, the Temple of the Lord, this is the Temple of the Lord but [...] saith the Lord by the Prophet in the twelfth and fourteenth verse▪ [...] now to my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the beginn [...] and behold what I did unto it for the wickednesse of my people Israel, [...] Even so England, thou hast the Temple and the Priests; and yet [...] not God that destroyed Shiloh, destroy thee? Goe to Bohemia, [...] from thence to the Palatinate, and from thence to other parts of Ger [...] Doe but imagine that you were there, or do but mark what trave [...] say. Gods Churches are made heaps of stones, and those Bethels w [...] in Gods name was called upon, are now defiled Temples, for [...] and superstition to raigne in, you cannot goe three steps but you [...] see the head of a dead man; And go a little further, and you shal [...] the heart pickt out by the fowls of the ayre, or some other sad specta [...] and then surely you will say, Tydy hath been here or there; now are [...] Churches become desolate, and may not England? Doe but goe [...] their Cities and Towns, and there you may see many comp [...] about with chains of Captivity, and every man bemoaning him [...] Doe but look under a tree, and there you may see a poor fathe [...] [...] child sending out his breath and crying unto his helplesse Mother; [...] but a little further, and you shall see the helplesse Wife, the sad [...] bemoaning her husband, and this is her misery, she cannot dye [...] enough, but she shall see greater misery; for either she shall ( [...] thinks) see her little ones dasht against the stones, or tossed upon [...] Pikes, or if they live, that then they shall be brought up in Popery, [...] then she weep again, and thinks that if her Husband be dead it is [...] But it may be he is upon the rack, or put to some other torment, [...] then she dies an hundred times before she can die; Thus if yo [...] [...] set your soules in their soules stead, and imagine you were in thei [...] [...] dition, and say, may not this be the condition of England, and [...] knowes but it may? O my beloved, be not high-minded, but [...] as we have Gods bounty on the one side, so (for ought I know [...] may have his severity on the other side, Pranck not then your [...] with foolish imaginations, saying, who dare come to hurt [...] the Spaniard hath his hands full, and the French are too weak▪ [...] beloved be not deluded; who would have thought that Jerusale [...] [...] Lady City of all Nations, whither the tribes went up to [...] should become a heap of stones and a vagabond people? but ye [...] [...] see it was, and is to this day; And I pray, why may it not be [...] case? Learne therefore, hear, and fear God, for assuredly God [...] God without Englands prosperity; Doe not say here are many [...] Christians; doe you think that God is beholding to you for yo [...] [...] o [...] ▪ surely not: For rather then he will preserve such as [...] name, and yet hate to be reformed; he will raise up of these [...] Abraham, he will rather go into Turky and say unto [...] are my people▪ and I wil be your God.

But will [...] God goe▪ England▪ are you so [...] Christ [...] no▪ [...] [Page 255] as they did upon Paul; every one of you lay hold, on him and say thou thou shalt not go from us, for we are called by thy name, therefore leave us not; And for my part I will pray that he doth not take his leave of us. Do you think that Rome will forsake or part with her Gods? no, they will rather lose their lives; and wilt thou let thy God goe, O England? plead with thy God and let him not depart, but part rather with thy re­bellions.

We are called by thy Name, leave us not.

You see the Church is very importunate to keep God with them, they lay hold on God with Coards of arguments; O thou hope of Isra­el, do not leave us; they beset God with their prayers, and as it were they watch him at the townes end, that he should not go away; and they say, Thou shalt still abide with us, they are importunate that he do not leave them: whence observe, Doct. That it is the importunate desire of the Saints of God, still to keepe God present with them. They cared not so much for sword or famine, as they did for the losse of Gods pre­sence; O Lord, leave us not say they; this was their prayer; and blame them not; for consider what a greif it is that God should stand by and not help them. Good Lord (say they) leave us not, wee cannot abide to thinke that God should leave us, much lesse can we endure to feele it or taste it; thus they did, and thus the Saints of God should do, Exod. 33. 14, 15. Moses saith if thy presence goe not with us, carry us not hence; alas, Moses might have gone upon fair termes; ye shall (saith God) pos­sesse the land in peace with prosperity; But what saith Moses? though wee might have Ganaan and all the delights there, yet carry us no [...] hence unlesse thy presence goe with us; this is the stay and the strength that he stickes too. So Psal. 80. 18, 19. Turne us again O Lord of hosts, make thy face to shine upon us; here is a man, a David, a heart worth gold, hee makes not many suits, but hee comes home, he sues to the purpose, make thy face (saith he) to shine upon us; as if he should have said, that is prosperity enough, for it endureth for ever.

But what is the presence of God? In a word, it is the particular fa­vour of God which he expresseth in his ordinances, it is all the good and sweetnesse that flowes from the purity of Gods worship, whereby God reveals himself unto us. It is not gold, wealth, nor prosperity, that makes God to be our God; for there is more gold in the West Indies than in all Christendome, but it is Gods ordinances purely administred that brings Gods presence to a people. God forsooke Shiloh because his ordinan­ces were not purely kept there; when the people left the Arke (viz▪) his pure worship, then God left the people; when the Arke of Gods presence was among them, the word in the purity of it, then his face was there, and there God was principally present; hence it was that [...]ai [...] is said to be cast out of Gods presence; because he was cast out from the Church, he was cast out from Gods ordinances; if a people do out­wardly reforme, and sincerely worship God, they may remain. If Sodom and Gomorrah had qut legally repented, they had remained, they had not [Page 256] been destroyed; And hence it is that the Saints are so, urgent for Gods Ordinances in the purity of them: But the wicked say, once a Sabbath is enough and once a week is too much; by this we may see that Eng­land is ripe; and is she not weary of God? nay, she is fat fed to the slaugh­ter. But it was not so with the Saints and people of God in former times; it was Davids grand request, that he might dwel in the house of the Lord, Psal. 27. 4. And Psalme the 42. and the first verse, he said, his soul did pant for Gods ordinances. Thus you see that the Saints of God are marvellous importunate to keepe God in his ordinan­ces.

Quest. But may not a man be saved without preaching?

Answ. I answer, the argument is clear, the Saints maintain God in his ordinances, the want of which is under the penalty of death and damnation▪ because we have more need of God in his ordinances than of all the gold in the world; for all the gold in the world will not sa­tisfy a hungry man; It is bread that he must have, because he hath need of it; so the Saints have most need of God, and of Christ, for though they have but ragged coats, and their bodies pincht with hunger, yet God is he that they stand most in need of. In Psalme the 73. and the 25. verse, David fretted at the prosperity of the wicked; but at the last he breaks off kindly, saying, whom have I Heaven but thee? As if he should have said, let them have what they will, I will have nothing but th [...]e And why so? why? thou art my strength and my portion for ever, mark, he saith that God is his strength, yea the strength of his heart, hereby shewing that all the helps in the word cannot help the heart of man, if God and Christ bee wanting; you were as good offer a journey to refresh a weary man, or the ayre to feed a hungry man, as to offer riches, honours and ease to help a distressed soul. These will never help a man; he may well dote upon them, but his soule and conscience will be galled and troubled still; it must be the God of peace that must speak peace to trou­bled soules. It must be the God of peace that must speak peace to a di­stressed soul, to a soule that is damned in it selfe; it is he that must say, I will be the strength of their hearts, and their portion for ever; no marvel then if a poor soul cryes to God, when happily the heart is full, when the soul gnaws and cries within it selfe, I am damned, I am dam­ned, happily the palate is pleased with delicates, when the poor soul for ought it knows must goe down to hell; oh then beloved, if you will have safety, goe where God is; for every good gift comes in with him; if once a man hath got God into his company, he hath all good things with him. God blessed Obed Edoms house for the Arks sake; now the Arke was a type of Christ, and where it came, many blessings came with it; even so when God comes unto a people, they are married unto him in righteousnesse, in judgement, in loving kindnesse and in mercies for ever, Hosea, 2. 9. When a man is married to a wife, all is his; so get Christ and all is thine, and then what wouldst thou have more?

God speaks to the raine, and it heares; God speaks to the corne, and it heares; but if thou be in Christ, hell and death are thy servants; but they that have outward things only, as profits, pleasures or [Page 257] the like, they have their ruine, unlesse they have Christ with them; get Christ therefore, for if he be wanting, all outward and inward dangers befall that man, or that Nation; woe be unto him or them that are with­out God. For though they bring up their children, yet will I bereave them, that there shall not be a man left; yea, woe also to them, when I do depart from them; Ephraim, as Tyrus, is planted in a pleasant place: but Ephraim shall bring forth his children to the murderer, Hosea 9. 12. 13. True indeed, woe be unto that heart, County or Kingdome, that God is departed from; when God who is the God of mercies and all consola­tion, is departed away, who can but pitty that soule, County or King­dome who will not submit to Gods peace, consolation, and salvation? When God parts, all miseries follow; for that man that makes no consci­ence in outfacing God in the congregation, mark what the text saith, Deut. 28. 15. I will forsake them, and many miseries shall overtake them, and when the floud-gates are once up, then come in all evils; And then they shal say, are not these things come upon us, because God is not with us? If therefore we would avoid woe and sorrow, slaying and killing one ano­ther; if the wife would not see her husband killed before her tender eyes, and the man see his wife snatcht out of the world by the hands of wick­ed men, then leave not God, but hold him fast, and then evil dayes will depart from us; It is our holding of God that keeps miseries from us; oh then what shall we think of them that are weary of God, and that say to the Almighty, Depart from us? Job. 22. 17.

Ob. But are there any amongst us that are weary of God? I hope there are none such amongst us.

I answer, Thou art a servant, and rejectest the Command of thy Ma­ster, in it thou doest reject God, and all such as have a mean conceit of the worship of God, and the word of God, and think that prayer or preaching is continued too long; I say, these men know not what they think or say, but certainly it is because they would be freed from the Ordinances of God: well, God will free thee from them one day, I will warrant thee, and then thou wilt be in a miserable condition; oh that thou wouldest pitty thy poor condition; but thou art weary of Gods ordinances, and of his mercies, his presence and patience, know thou that thou shalt be deprived of Gods goodnesse, and thy portion shall be with those that hate God in this life here, and after this life (if thou repent not) thy portion shall be with them in Tophet, where the worm dyeth not, and where the fire goeth not out, and then crying will not availe, God will be God over thee in destruction, yea when he hath spurned thousands and ten thousands into hell, such as thou art, then shalt thou be the everlasting object of his never dying wrath, then notwith­standing all thy shrill cries, though thou couldest be heard out of that dungeon, yet were thy help never the near; for God is God still. I advise thee therefore what to do, whilst thou art here in this life, make thy peace with God in Christ, and lay thy self low before him, and beare patiently his hand in his wrath which thou hast deserved. And mark what I say, thou hast deserved to be in hell an hundred times, that is the least; and therefore be contented with thy condition; [Page 258] for thou hast chosen death rather than life: and God should wrong him­self and thee also, if he should not let thee have thy choosing.

Will not these things move you, my brethren? Me thinks I see your colours rise, I am glad of it, I hope it is to a good end; you may be wise, and happily so wise as to choose life rather than death: Now the Lord grant it, for he delights not in your destruction.

I w [...]dde one word more, to leave the more impression in your hearts; my desire is the health of your souls; though my meat seem soure, yet my mind is the will of God. Thou man or woman, that canst not abide so much preaching, but standest upon thorns whilst it is preaching: Too much of one thing (you say) is good for nothing; You do as much as say you will not have God with you; you will have a little of God, but you will have more of your pleasures: Is this your desire, your delights? Know then, whosoever thou art, that hast an ill will to God and his Or­dinances, and wilt not have the gospel in the purity of it; thou shalt have thy desires: Thou sayest, depart Preaching, and so it shall, thou shalt have thy desires. When thou shalt hear the trumpets sound, and when thine eares shall tingle with the sound of war; then depart for ever, you that are weary of God, get you down to hell for ever: Fulfill your base lusts, (then will God say) for I have fed you on earth this twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, nay sixty years and upwards, and my mild Word could not rule you, nor prevaile with you, and therefore now get you to hell, and there remain for ever. Think thus with your selves; will God serve me thus? yea that he will, for he hath prepared a place for the proudest Kings, Princes, Monarchs, Captains, &c▪ that are, or ever were in the world, if they will not be ruled nor guided by God, and his word. See Isa. 30. 33. the Text doth as good as say, he delighteth to make bonfires about their ears: And must this be the way to glorifie God?

But some may say, Surely Kings and Monarchs are exempted, they need not fear that such torments shall come upon them.

To this I answer, that God will say unto them, Raign there if thou wilt▪ and then they shall know that there is a King that laughs at their destru­ction. Take notice of this I beseech you, and reason thus with your own soules: I he a good son that cannot abide the presence of his own father? is she a good wife that cannot abide the company of her husband? and is he a good Christian that cannot endure the company of Christ in his ordinances?

This may serve to rebuke Gods people for their neglect. You see the gospelUse. is going, Christ is departing, he is going to seek better entertainment. (But I marvaile you give no better attendance; I pray hearken what I say, and have to say, stand up and hear, and the Lord give you grace to beleeve.) I will deal plainly with you; as sure as God is God, God is go­ing from England. Shall I tell you what God told me? nay I must tell you on pain of my life; Will you give eare and believe me? I am a poor Ambassador sent from God to do his message unto you; and although I be ow, yet my message is from above, and He that sent me is great, and from above; and oh that He would grant that this my message might be believed! What if I should tell you, what God told me (yesternight) [...]

THE SACRIFICE OF THE …

THE SACRIFICE OF THE FAITHFUL, OR, A TREATISE shewing the nature, pro­perty, and efficacy of Zealous Prayer: Together with some Motives to Prayer, and Helps against discouragements in Prayer. By WILLIAM FENNER, Minister of the Gospel, Fellow of Pembroke Hall in Cambridge, and late Lecturer of Rochford in Essex.

London, Printed by E. T. for John Stafford.

A DISCOURSE OF The nature of Prevalent Prayer: Together with some helps against discouragements in Prayer.

LAMENT. 3. 57.‘Thou drewest neare in the day that I called upon thee, thou saidst fear not.’

THis Book of the Lamentations doth plainely shew what miseries and distresses sin is the cause of. As in this people of the Jews, who because of their Idolatries, their contempt of Gods Or­dinances, their slighting and misusing the Pro­phets, &c.▪ Had their Cities taken, their Temple burned, their liberties confiscated, themselves carried captive out of their own countrey, and deprived of the ordinances of their God, and the signs of his presence; before they were rebellious: but now they sought God a long time; they prayed, but God would not hear. Insomuch that many poor soules amongst them were discouraged, and almost ready to despaire; That had not the Lord put in some inklings of hope, they had [Page 266] utterly fainted. Now whilst these poore soules were praying, and cry­ing, and groaning, and now ready to give over for discouragement that God will not heare them, presently the Lord flings in comfort, and bec­kens to their hearts not to be discouraged, but to pray on, and feare not. Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee, thou saidst fear not; the words containe in them three properties of effectuall prayer:

First, the unsatiablenesse of it; All the prayers of this people though 1 they had been of many yeares, yet they counted them as the prayers of one day; in the day that I called upon thee. They account all their thousands of supplications and praiers as one suite; never had they done their prai­ers till God did heare them.

Secondly, the sensiblenesse of it, whereby it is able to know whether 2 God doe heare it or no: Thou drewest neare in the day that I called upon thee.

Thirdly, the supplyes it hath against dangers and discouragements; 3 God flings in comfort into their hearts, giving them inklings of hope to support them against their discouragements, thou saidst fear not. From the first of these, observe

That an effectual prayer is an unsatiable prayer; A man that praies effectu­ally,Doctrine. 1. sets down this in himself as his first conclusion never to cease, nor to give over praying till he speed: This the first and prime thing that a godly heart looks at, as David in his prayers: He begins in this manner, Heare my cry O God, attend unto my prayer, Psal. 61. 1. So, Give eare unto my prayer O God, and hide not thy self from my supplications, Psal. 55. 1. Heare my voyce O God in my prayer, Psal. 64. 1. As if he should say, Lord, now I come to call upon thee, now that I come to thee, to begge these and these graces that my soule wants, I beseech thee to heare me: for I am resolved never to give over my suit, never to give thee rest, but for to continue my prayers and supplications, til thou give a gratious answer to my soul and heare me.

This is the first and prime thing that the soule looks after, it being the very end of prayer to be heard; it is not with prayer as with Oratory; for in Oratory; a man may use all the perswasive arguments that the wit of man [...], and speak as cuttingly, and as perswasively as may be, and yet th [...] heart may be so intractable as not to be perswaded; it is not so with prayer.

The end of prayer is to prevaile with God. Beloved, there is diffe­rence between the end and office of prayer; the office of prayer is to pray, the end of prayer is to prevaile. There is many a man that doth the office of prayer, and yet never gets the end of prayer. A man hath never gotten the end of his prayers, till he hath gotten that he pray­ed for. It is not with praier as with a Physician, that may give the best physick under heaven, and yet the Patient may die under his hands; and therefore one gives counsel that a Physician never meddle with a despe­rate man.

But if the soul be an effectuall suitor with God, it can never faile of its suite, because it is an unsatiable Suitor, that never leaves his prayer till it terminates the end of it. I cryed unto the Lord with my voyce, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah. Jerom translates it for ever. [Page 267] Psal. 3. 4. never doth a child of God pray, but he prayeth so as that his praier and Gods eare may be joyned together; I cried unto the Lord, and the Lord heard me: This also sheweth how the Prophet cried and pray­ed, namely so as his crying and Gods hearing were coupled toge­ther.

Object.But some may object, How can a man be unsatiable in his prayers till he speed? must a man be alwaies a praying? God calls men to other du­ties of his worship, and of his own particular calling; after morning I must have done till noon, after noone I must have done til night: whether God hear me or no; must I be alwaies a praying till I speed? then I should doe nothing else but pray? how then are we to continue our praiers till God hear us and give the grace that we pray for? to this I answer.

Ans.A man must give over the words and times of prayer for other duties, but a man must not give over the suit of prayer. A poor begger comes to a house-keepers gate, and begs, but none hears him; now he being a poor man, hath somthing else to do, and therefore he sits down or stands, and knits or patches, and then he begs or knocks, and then to his work again; though he do not alwayes continue knocking or begging, yet he alwaies continues his suite: O that my suite might be granted me, or that I might have an almes here; so when the soul is begging of any grace, though it doth not alwaies continue the words of praier, yet it alwaies continues the suite of praier. David he would dwell in the house of the Lord for ever, Psal. 23. 6. A wicked man it may be will turne into Gods house and say a prayer, &c. but the Prophet would (and so all godly men must) dwell there for ever; his soul lyeth alwayes at the throne of grace, begging for grace. A wicked man he prayeth as the cock croweth; the cock crows and ceaseth, and crowes again and cea­seth again; and thinks not of crowing till he crowes again: so a wicked man praies and ceaseth, praies and ceaseth again; his mind is never bu­sied to think whether his praiers speed, or no; he thinks it is good Reli­gion for him to pray, and therefore he takes that for granted that his praiers speed, though in very deed God never hears his praiers, nor no more respects it, than he respects the lowing of Oxen, or the gruntling of hoggs. He is found in his praiers as the wilde Asse in her moneths: Jer. 2. The wild Asse in regard of her swiftnesse cannot be taken but in her months, she hath a sleepy moneth, and all that while she is so sleepy and dumpish that any man may take her; in her months you shall find her; so a wicked man hath his prayer moneths, his praier fits: it may be in the morning, or in the evening, or day of his affliction and misery you shall have him at his prayers, at his prayer fits then you shall find him at it, but otherwise his mind is about other matters. But the child of God what ever he ailes, he goes with his petition presently to the throne of grace, and there he never removes till he hath it granted him, as here we see the praiers of the Church consisting of many years, yet are counted but one suit. The application follows.

Use 1. Try therefore and examine whether thy praiers be unsatiableUse 1. praiers yea or no; and for helpe herein take these markes; first, if thy prayers be unsatiable praiers, then it is a begging prayer; thou praiest as [Page 268] if thou hadst never praied before, as if thou hadst never begun to pray, and thou never thinkest that thou hast done any thing till thou hast done the deed. As a hungry man eats as if he had never eat before, so the unsatiable soul praies as if he had never praied before, till he hath obtained that he hath praied for; but a wicked man he prayes not thu. Job speaking of carnal professors, Job 27. 10. Will he call upon God at all times? seest thou a wicked man go to a good duty, go to praier, do you think that he will hold out alwayes? he will never do it; for a wicked man he reasons with himselfe, I have called upon God thus and thus long, I hope I need not pray any more for this thing, and so he gives over.

But a godly man he will be alwayes calling upon God. Beloved, there is a beginning to an action, and a beginning of an action; thou never beginnest to lift up a weight till thou stirrest it from the ground; indeed thou maist begin towards the action by pulling at it, by reaching at it; but thou never beginnest the lifting up of the weight till thou stirre it from its place: thou mayst give a pull at prayer, and tugge at a grace, but thou hast not so much as begun that duty, till thou seest God begin to hear thee, till thou seest the grace a coming; therefore the Prophet David when he prayed and had not that he prayed for, his praiers retur­ned into his own bosome, Psal. 35. 13. there to lie to be a continuall suit unto God. A wicked man praies, and he leaves his praier behind him in his pew, or in his hall, or chamber; but a godly man praies and his prayer is in his heart, his prayer is not out till the grace be in.

Secondly an unsatiable prayer it is evermore a proceeding praier; you 2 would think that these are two contraries and one opposite to the other, but they are not, only they are two severall things as it is ever a begin­ning praier, because in his own thoughts he reckons or thinks that he hath nothing till he speeds: so the soule that is unsatiable in prayer, he proceeds, he gets neer to God, he gains something, he windes up his, heart higher: As a child that seeth the mother have an apple in her hand, and it would fain have it, it will come and pull at the mothers hand for it: now she lets go one finger, and yet she holds it, and then he pulls again, and then she lets go another finger, and yet she keepes it, and then the child pulls again, and will never leave pulling and crying till it hath got it from his mother: So a child of God seeing all graces to be in God, he draws neer to the throne of grace begging for it, and by his earnest and faithfull praiers, he opens the hands of God to him: God dealing as parents to their children, holds them off for a while, not that he is unwilling to give, but to make them more earnest with God, to draw them the neerer to himselfe. A wicked man praies and his praiers tumble down upon him again; and his heart is as dead as ever it was be­fore, as sensual as ever, as carnal and earthly as ever, as hard, as impe­nitent and secure as ever.

A godly man when he praies, though he have not gotten the thing totall that he desired, yet he is neerer God then he was before; his heart grows every day better than other by his praiers; he obtains still some­thing [Page 269] as the Prophet Hosea speaks of knowledge, Hos. 6. 3. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: so I may say of prayer, and of all other good duties, then we pray if we proceed on wards in prayer.

A man may know and know, and yet never know the Lord, till he go on in knowledge; so a man may pray and pray, yet if he goe not on­wards in his prayers, his prayers are nothing. A godly man prayes as a builder builds; now a builder he first layeth a foundation, and be­cause he cannot finish in one day, he comes the second day, and finds the frame standing that he made the first day, and then he adds a second dayes work, and then he comes a third day and finds his two former dayes work standing; then he proceeds to a third dayes work, and makes walls to it, and so he goes on till his building be finished. So prayer is the building of the soule, till it reach up to heaven; therefore a godly heart prayes and reacheth higher and higher in prayer, til at last his pray­ers reach up to God.

It is a signe of a wicked man to pray and to let his prayers fall down again upon him. And here I appeale to the consciences of wicked men, if it be not so with them; they pray and pray, but their hearts are as dead and deceitfull, as proud and vaine, as ignorant, blockish and rebellious, as if they had never prayed.

Thirdly, it is more and more a fervent prayer; if a little prayer will 3 not serve the turn, if he speeds not to day, then he will pray more ear­nestly to morrow; and if that will not serve the turne, he will adde more.

As a man in winding up of a bucket, if two or three windings will not fetch it up, he will winde it up higher and higher, till it comes up; for if he should onely winde up once or twice and no more, but hold it just at the same pin, the bucket would never come up; So if a man prayes and prayes, and windes not up his heart higher, but holds it just at the same pegge it was, prayes in the same fashion he did, grace will never come up. Mark then how thou prayest, examine thy heart; dost thou pray to day as yesterday, with no more zeal, nor feeling affection, nor sensible desire? thou prayest not unsatiably.

No, thou restrainest thy praying from growing; an excellent descri­ption of an hypocrite, Job 1 [...]. 4. though falsly applied to Job, Thou re­strainest prayer before God; in some translations it is, Thou keepest thy pray­ers from growing, thou restrainest thy prayers as a dwarffe is restrained from growing, so thou restrainest thy prayers from being more and more earnest and effectuall and fervent, unsatiable prayer is growing in zeale and affection.

Fourthly, it is a more and more frequent prayer, so that if twice a day 4 will not serve the turne, he will pray three times a day, Psal. 55. 17, and if that will not prevaile, he will pray seven times a day, Psal. 119. 164. and when that is not enough, he will be even ever a praying, hardly bro­ken off day or night, Psal. 88. 1. he cares not how often he prayes, it may be that thou hast been a suitor for strength and grace against cor­ruptions, and hast put up many prayers to the same purpose: It now thou [Page 270] stickest at any prayers, thy prayers are not unsatiable; an unsatiable soul never resteth, though it have made ten thousand prayers, till it have got­ten the grace; it is so with other things, and therefore we need not won­der at it, when a man doth not finish his work one day, he will do it ano­ther, and so on as long as he lives, till his worke be done; so must we do for heaven and for grace.

Fifthly, it is ever more and more a back'd praier: if ordinary praiers will not serve the turne: a godly heart will cut off time from his recrea­tions and pleasures, though in themselves lawfull. Beloved, it may be with thy soul in its wrastlings and strivings for grace and power against corruptions, that ordinary praiers will not satisfie it, but it will be ne­cessry to give over even lawfull delights, and give that time to praier; so a man will do for the world, if he have a businesse of importance, that will bring him in gaine, he will be content to part with his delights, and recreations, and pleasures, to follow after it; so a man must do for his soul, and if that be not enough, then lay aside the duties of thy cal­ling, to take time from that. If a man have two houses on fire both to­gether, the one his mansion dwelling house, the other some back room or stable, if he can, he will save both; but if he see that by spending his time on quenching the fire on the stable, that his great mansion house will burne downe, he will then neglect the other and let it burne if it will, and imploy himselfe about his house; So when the soul is in mi­sery under the want of grace, that it cannot live under, but must perish eternally if it have it not, then the soule being better than the body, ra­ther than that the soul miscarry, we will neglect the body sometime. And if this will not serve, abstain from meat and drink, fast it out; thus the people of God are faine to do many times; their lust and corrupti­ons being even as the devill himselfe, which cannot be cast out but by prayer and fasting; there is an excellent place, Joel 2. 12. Therefore now turn unto the Lord with fasting, weeping and mourning, rent your hearts, &c. Therefore now, now your sinnes are so divelish, now your sins are so deepely rooted in your soules, now your corruptions are come to be such plague sores within you, do you not think that your ordinary repentance, and ordinary praiers and humiliations will serve the turne, but now backe them with fasting and mourning. Here now thou maist examine thy soul whether it have praied effectually, unsatiably yea or no; hath it ever a begging praier, that thou praiest as if thou hadst never praied before? is it evermore a proceeding prayer, that thou dost every day draw neerer to God than other? is it more and more a back'd prai­er, a fervent and frequent praier? hast thou taken from thy recreations, from thy calling to give to it, yea from thy belly and back, and used all meanes for a prevailing with God? then are thy praiers effectuall and unsatiable.

This then condemnes the praiers of most men in the world, they pray and pray for grace, and their praiers come to an end, and cease be­fore they have it, the angry fretful man praies for patience and meekness, and yet sits down without it; the covetous worldling praies to be wea­ned from the world, and his praiers are done before he is so; so the [Page 271] luke-warmling, deadhearted and vain thoughted professor praye; for better thoughts, for more zeale, and yet comes to his so be it, before he have it; and so every wicked man prayes, and he is come to his Amen before the grace is given; let all suchmen know that such prayers, first they are endlesse, secondly they are fruitlesse.

First, they are endlesse: The Philosopher said that for which a thing is, that is the end of the thing: now prayer is for the speeding with God: and therefore he whose prayers speed not with God, his prayers are endlesse: thou hast prayed against thy pride, but a [...]t as proud still: thou hast prayed against thy choler and art as teachy still: thou hast prayed against earthlinesse and worldlinesse, and art earthly and worldly still: thou hast prayed against security and deadnesse of heart, and luke­warmnesse in Gods service, and art luke warm, deadhearted and secure still: to what end are all thy prayers, when thou enjoyest not the end of thy prayers? to what end is the worke of thy servant, if thy businesse be not done, and dispatched when all is done? As good ne­ver pray, as pray to no end, a good that thou never hadst begun to pray, as to cease, and to giue over thy prayers before thou hast obtained the grace thou prayest for: The prayers of the wicked are an abomination unto the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is his delight: Prov. 15. 8. that is, the prayers of a wicked man that continues in his wickednesse, when his prayers are done, hi prayers are an abomination to the Lord: but the prayers of the upright though he were before he prayed never so wic­ked, yet if it be the prayer of an upright and godly man, when his pray­ers are done, that his prayers rid him of his sin, and make him an upright man, his prayers are Gods delight.

Beloved, many pray against distrust in Gods providence, Infidelity in Gods promises, Impatiency under Gods corrections, &c. and yet have never the more trust and affiance in God, never the more patience under the hand of God, all these praiers are endlesse.

Secondly, thy praiers are fruitlesse: to what purpose is a beggers beg­ging of an alms? if he be gone before the alms be bestowed, his begging is fruitlesse; so all thy praiers are lost, if thou art gone from the Throne of grace, before grace is given thee; for if such a praier be endlesse, then is it also fruitlesse: it will never do thee any good; what is a fruitlesse tree good for, but to be cut down? what is a fruitlesse Vine good for, but to be burned? So all thy praiers are lost, all thy beginnings of grace are lost, we know, saith the man that was borne blind, John 9. that God heareth not sinners, we know it: Why may some say, how do you know that God heares not sinners? why, we know it by experience, by examples.

A drunkard prayeth to God to cure him of his drunkennesse, and yet he doth not leave his ill company; all the world may see that God hears not the drunkards praier, because he cures him not, but lets him go on in his sinne; and so for all other sinnes: seest thou a man go on in his sins? thou mayest see that God heareth not his praiers. If a man should be sick on his death bed, and send for the Physirians; and Apothecaries in the Country, and send for his father, Mother, and for all his friends to [Page 272] come to him to minister unto him: yet I know he is not cured by them so long as I see his deadly disease remaines upon him; so if I see a mans pride, hypocrisie, security, deadnesse of heart, his lust, anger, &c. lie up­on him: notwithstanding all his prayers, I know God heares not his prayers; he prayes to be cleansed from his sins, and to be purged from his lusts, and to be redeemed from his vaine conversation: if now God let his sins continue in him, and lets him go on in them, we see plainly God hears not him. O what a pittiful and miserable case are such men in, that pray and pray, and yet all their prayers are endlesse and fruit­less! is not that man in a pittiful case, and all physick, all cost and charges is lost upon him; when his eating and drinking, his sleeping, and winding and turning from this side to that side do him no good? do we not say of him that he is a dead man? so if a mans prayers and supplications to God be endlesse and fruitlesse: that man must needs be a dead and a damned man, so long as he goeth on in that case.

Now we come to the second part of the text, the sensiblenesse of the2 Gen. godly soul, whether it speed or no, the soule that prayes aright, that prays unsatiably, it is able to say, the Lord doth hear me, the Lord doth grant me the thing that I prayed to him for; Thus saith Jonah, I cried unto the Lord and he heard me; out of the belly of Hell cryed I, and thou heardst my voice, Jonah 2. 2. How could Jonah say, God heard his voice, if he had not known it? therefore he knew it. But against this some may object,

Object.How can this be? how can the soule know that God hears it? we have no Angels, nor voices from Heaven now to tell men, as the Angel told Cornelius, that his prayers were accepted, and come up before God; or to say as Christ to the woman in the Gospel, Be of good comfort thy sins are forgiven thee; I know God heares me with his All-hearing eare, and therefore I have a good belief in God: but how shall I know that God heares my prayers in mercy, so as to grant that I pray for?

Answ.There be six wayes to know whether the soule shall speed in prayer, yea or no.

The first is, the having of a Spirit of further and further praying. When 1 God gives the soul a further and further ability to pray, when God o­pens a way for the soule to the Throne of grace, and gives him a free accesse to the gate of mercy, and a spirit to hold out in prayer: It is a signe that God meanes to hear it. When a Petitioner hath accesse to the King, and presents his Petition, If the King imbolden him in his speech, and let him speak all that he would speak, it is a signe that the King means to grant that man his petition, because otherwise the King would never have endured to have heard him so long, but would have com­manded him to be gone. So it is with the soule at the Throne of grace; if it come with a petition and prayer to God; if God dispatch the soul out of his presence, so that the soul hath no heart to pray, nor to continue its suit; but prayes deadly and dully, and is glad when he hath said his prayers, and hath done: it is a fearful sign that God never means to heare that mans prayers: but if thou prayest and prayest, and ha [...]t not done in [Page 273] thy prayers, but God by casting in a spirit of praier and zeal, and fer­vency in prayer, imboldens thy heart in its petition, it is a sign that God will hear thee, and grant thee thy prayers.

Blessed be God saith the Prophet, that hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me, Psal. 66. 20. How could the Prophet say that the Lord did not turne away his mercy from him? How! because he turned not away his prayer from him. Many Expositors expound it of not turning away his prayer from his heart; as if he should say, Lord, thou continuest my heart to pray, thou hast not taken away my prayer from my heart; therefore I know that thou continuest thy mercy unto me.

Secondly, the preparednesse of the heart to pray, is a sign that God means 2 to hear. When the Merchant stretcheth his bagge wider and wider, it is a signe that he means to put something in it: so when God opens the heart of a poor soul, it is a signe that he means to fill it; when God pre­pares the soule with more hunger and thirst after grace, with more lon­gings and breathings; it is a sign that God hath already prepared his eare to hear that prayer: it is a signe that heart shall speed with God in pray­er: Psal. 10. 17. Lord thou hast heard the desire of the humble, thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine eare to heare First, God prepares the heart to pray, and then he bows his eare to hear.

Examine thy soul then; art thou more and more prepared to pray? hath God spoken with a powerfull voice to thy soul to open it selfe wide? it is a signe that God meanes to fill thy soul with his graces. But if thou canst rush into Gods presence, and leave thy preparednesse behind thee; leavest thy soul and thy thoughts, and thy affections be­hind thee; and comest with a straightned heart in thy deadnesse and luke warmnesse; this is a fearefull signe that God will not heare thee.

Thirdly, Gods gracious looke is a signe that he will hear thee: for some­times 3 (beloved) God answers his people by a cast of his countenance, with a gratious smile of his face. Psal. 22. 24. He hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, neither hath he hid his face from him, but when he cryed unto him he heard. Hereby was the Prophet able to know that God did hear his prayer, because he did not hide his face from him; when his poor soule saw God smile on him, and set a fa­vourable eye upon him, this made him say that God heard his cry.

This is a riddle to the world.

If you should ask the men of the world what the meaning of Gods gratious countenance is, or what they see of it? alas, they can say nothing of it; they know not what it means; onely the godly man understand­eth, Psal. 34. 15. The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his eares are open unto their cry. These two go together, their prayers enter in Gods eares, and they know it; why? because they see it in his countenance up­on them, as a Petitioner may read his speeding with the King by his countenance towards him; so a poor soul may see how prayers prevaile by Gods countenance and look upon him.

[Page 274]If thou then art a stranger to Gods countenance, if God never admit­ted thee into his presence to see his face and countenance; it is a signe that God little regards thy prayers, and hath no mind to hear thee. A wicked man is like a varlet that stands without dores and begges an almes, but is not suffered to go into the Gentlemans presence, and there­fore knowes not how he speeds, whether the Gentleman will give him an almes, or whether he be providing a cudgell to beat him away: so a wicked man prayes and puts up his petitions to God, but he is not able to come before God: he cannot see whether God look as if he meant to hear his prayers, yea or no; he knows not but that God may be provi­ding a curse and plague for him in stead of a blessing. But a child of God comes within the list of Gods countenance; he can tell when God smiles on him, and when he takes another looke: he is able to come in­to Gods presence, Job 13. 16. He also (saith Job) shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him. A strange verse. Job saith, God is his salvation: and he gives this reason why he was able to say so, for an hypocrite shall not come before him. One would think that this were no reason: but yet it is an undeniable reason, as if Job had said, I come in­to his presence, and he lookes like a Saviour, a Redeemer upon me, but an hypocrite shall not come before him: he stands like a rogue and begs without the gate.

Indeed a wicked man comes into Gods presence, in regard of Gods Omnipresence: but this is not enough, thy Oxe, and thine Asse stands in Gods presence: yea so, the very Devils themselves are in Gods pre­sence. But if thou come not into Gods presence of grace, if God do not admit thy soule into the list of his Throne, it is a sign that God hears thee not. Men should therefore examine their consciences, what face or presence of God they come into or see: when they pray in their pray­ers, whether they come before God, yea or no.

Beloved, no wicked man under heaven can come before God: this is made the marke of a godly man onely▪ Psal. 140. 13. The upright shall dwell in thy presence, (mark here) dwelling in Gods presence is onely de­termined to the righteous: the upright shall dwell in thy presence. And here I appeale againe to the hearts and consciences of wicked men, what presence of God doe they find in their prayers? they see their Pews, and the walls or hangings, &c. before them: they see the hea­vens and the clouds above them: they know nothing within dores. Do they see Gods presence and countenance? no: it is the upright man onely that dwells in Gods presence: He sees how God lookes on him, how his face smiles on him: and therefore, it is not a wicked mans co­ming to Church, and falling on his knees, and uttering the words of prayer that is a coming into Gods presence: then, this would be a false saying of the Prophet. For a wicked man may go to Church and fall up­on his knees, &c. but never come before God.

This presence, is, to see the face of God.

Fourthly, the conscience of a man doth answer him whether God hear him yea or no. As it was with the high Priest, whensoever the high Priest came into Gods presence to inquire of him, though God did not ap­pear [Page 275] visibly unto him, yet he might read Gods answer in his Urim and Thummim; he might there know Gods mind: so a mans conscience is his Urim and Thummim. When he comes before God his own conscience gives him an inckling whether he speed or no: 1 John 3. 20, 21. If our hearts condemne us, God is greater than our hearts, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our hearts condemne us not, then have we confidence towards God. If a mans conscience tell a man his prayers are rotten, that his humilia­tion is rotten, that his heart is [...]o upright, that yet he is not purged from his sins, that his seeking of God is fained and hypocriticall; it is the very voice of God in his soule: and if our consciences condem us, God (saith the A­postle) is greater than our consciences.

There is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus. Rom. 8. 1. as if he should say, those that are in Christ, God doth not condeme them; they have not▪ that condemnation: nay their own conscience doth not condemn them: so that, that man whom any condemnation either from God, or from his own conscience condemns, that man is not in Christ; being not in Christ, he can never be heard.

Indeed, a mans conscience may be mis-informed by Satan under a temptation; as you may see in the verse before my text: Thou hast heard my voyce: s [...]op not thine eare from my cry. Here the Church being exami­ned, their consciences told them they were heard in their prayers: but being under a temptation, their consciences were afraid that God heard not. So many a poor soule, examine it, and it cannot deny but that these and these tokens of grace and fruits of Gods Spirit are in it; yet their con­sciences are afraid that the Lord will not give them these and these other graces that they want: that the Lord will not hear them for such and such blessings.

I meane not neither a truce of conscience: for there may be a truce of conscience in wicked men. A truce may be between mortall enemies: but no peace but amongst friends. Wicked mens consciences are like the Lion, 1 Kings 13. who when he had killed the Prophet▪ stood by the Corps, and by the Asse, and did not eate the body, nor tear the Asse; so a wicked mans conscience, it is as the devils ban-dogge or roaring Lion, till it hath slaine the sinner, it stands stone still, and seemes neither to meddle nor make with him, but lies as seared or dead in him I mean not this conscience. But when God hath sprinkled the conscience with the bloud of Christ, and made the conscience pure: this is a signe that God heares his prayer.

I mean not the stammering of conscience, when it is dazelled, or overwhelmed: but when it speaks down right as it means. A go [...]y mans conscience sometimes may judge otherwise then the thing▪is▪ But, exa­mine what thy conscience tells thee in sober sadnesse, deliberately, convincingly, and then, know that the Lord tells thee. If thy consci­enceVox conscienti [...] est vox Dei. sayes peremptorily that thy heart and wayes are rotten, and unsound; then know that the Lord tells thee so, and that the Lord sayeth so to thy soule.

Fifthly, the getting of that grace that a man prayes for, is a signe that God heares his prayers. But this is not a true signe alwayes but with distin­ction.

[Page 276]When the grace given, and the good will of God the giver, cannot be seve­red, then it is a true signe. But when the gift and the good will of the gi­ver may be severed, then it is not a true signe.

Thou mayest pray unto God, and God may give thee many tempo­rall blessings, and many common graces of his Spirit; God may give thee good parts, a good memory: he may give thee a good measure of knowledge and understanding, even in divers things; he may give thee some kinde of humility, chastity; civility. thou mayest be of a loving and flexible disposition so he may give thee a good estate in the world, houses, lands, wife and children, &c. God may give thee all these, and yet hate thee, and never heare one prayer thou makest; thou maist pray for a thousand blessings, and have them: and yet never be heard, so long as the good will of the giver is severed from them; all outward blessings and common graces may be severed from Gods good pleasure to a man.

Therefore in temporall blessings, or in common graces, if thou wouldst know whether God hear thee or no: know whether God hath given thee a sanctified use [...]f them or no. If God hath given thee many common graces, or temporal blessings, and a heart to use them to his glo­ry; then every blessing thou hast (there is not a drop of drink, nor a bit of bre [...]d that thou hast,) but it is a signe of Gods everlasting love to thee. Why? because this, and the good will of the giver can never be severed. But on the contrary, if a man have not a sanctified use of that he hath, then it is the greatest severity of God, and the most eminent plague and curse of God upon the soule to give it; for a mans parts may be his bane, his civility may be his curse, and means of the finall hardnesse and im­penitencie of his heart.

Sixthly faith▪ if a man have faith given him to believe, it is a signe that God heares him; be it to thee (saith Christ to the man in the Gospel) ac­cording to thy faith; so goe thou to God, and be it to thee as thou belee­vest. Dost thou pray for grace? according as thou beleevest, so shalt thou receive.

Object.I have no signe that God will heare me; I have so many corruptions of my heart against me, and so many threatnings of Gods frowns against me; I have no signe that God will heare me.

Ans.Wouldst thou have a signe? An evil and adulterous generation seeketh a signe this is a tempting faith, to seek for signes to believe. Thomas▪ said Christ, John 20. 29. Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen and yet believe. That man that believes because he feels grief in his heart, teares in his eyes, groans in his spirit, because he prayes long and earnestly, and sweats in his prayer, or mourns in his humiliation, I suspect his humiliation, his teares, his griefe, his prayers, and all that he hath. Why? these are good signes of faith: but rotten grounds of faith: the word and promise of God must be thy ground. But against this the soul may object,

Object.That every Promise runs with a Condition: and therefore if I have not the condition, how can I beleeve the promise? God hath promised, Bles­sed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousnesse, for they shall be satis­fied. [Page 277] There is a Promise of filling, but it is with a condition of hungering. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God, &c. If I have not the condition annexed to the Promise, how dare or how can I beleeve the Promise?

Answ.The Condition is not the way to get the Promise; the Promise is the ground of faith, and the way to get the condition; because the promise is 1 the Motive cause that moves the soul to get the condition. Now, the Mo­ver must be before the Moved, then if beliefe of the Promise move thy soul to get the condition of the promise, then beliefe of the promise must be before that the soule can keep the condition of the promise.

Saul made a promise to David, 1 Sam. 18. that he should be his son in law in one of his two daughters, upon condition that he should give him an hundred fore-skins of the Philistins. Now, David did first be­lieve the promise; and therby he was allured to fight valiantly, to keep the condition, to get a hundred fore-skins of the Philistins. So Psal. 116. I believed, and therefore did I speak. He beleeved Gods promise, and then he spake with condition. So we believe saith the Apostle, and there­fore do we speak. First, the soule believes; and then every action of a Chri­stian wherein it moves to the keeping of the condition, springs from this root▪ nay beloved, a man cannot keep any condition in the Bible without faith; he must believe.

Secondly, faith is the inabling cause to keep the condition. Dost thou 2 think to get weeping, mourning, and humiliation for thy sins, and then thereby to get the promise to thy self? then thou goest in thy own strength; and then, in Gods account, thou dost just nothing, John▪ 15. 5. Without me ye can do nothing, saith Christ; therefore first lay hold on me, beleeve in me, abide in me.

What, doe you first think to pray, to mourne, to lament and bewaile your sinnes, to do this and that in turning your selves, and sanctifying of your selves? Indeed you may fumble about these things: but you can never do any of them in deed and to the purpose: without me ye can doe nothing. I had fainted saith the Propher, unlesse I had beleeved to see the goodnesse of the Lord in the land of the living, Psal. 27. 13. where we may see three things,

First, the Promise that he should see the goodnesse of the Lord: other­wise he could not have beleeved.

Secondly, the Condition: if he do not faint.

Thirdly, The method the Prophet went by, he beleeved to see the good­nesse of the Lord. As if he had said, if he had not first laid hold on the Promise, if I had not beleeved to have seen the goodnesse of the Lord in the Land of the living, I had fainted.

Beloved, it is true that the keeping of the Condition, is before the fruition of the Promise: but not before beleeving the Promise: because the doing of the Condition is effected by beleeving the Promise.

This is the cause that many fumble about grace, but never get it: they are ever repenting, but never repent: ever learning, but never learne the knowledge of the truth everlasting: ever striving, but never get power over their corruptions, &c. because they fumble about it in their own [Page 278] strength, and take it not in the right method.

Let the soul come with faith in Christ, and believe it shall speed and have grace, and power from Christ his grace, and from Christs power: and then it shall speed. Christ hath promised (John 14.) that whatso­ever we aske the Father in his name, he will give it us. Christ (beloved) is an excellent Surety. Indeed, our credit is crackt in Heaven: we may think to go and fetch this and that grace in our own names, and misse of it: as the servant may go to the Merchant for wares in his own name, but the Merchant will not deliver them to him in his own name, unlesse he come in his Masters name and bring a ticket from him: and then when the servant sheweth his Masters ticket, the Merchant will deliver him what wares he asketh for in his Masters name. So when a soul goeth to the Throne of grace with a ticket from Christ; if he can say, Lord, it is for the honour of Christ: I come for grace and holinesse, and strength against my corruptions; Lord, here is a ticket from Christ: most certain­ly he shall speed.

But, men must take heed that they foyst not the name of Christ: that they foyst not a ticket to say that Christ sent them, when it is their own selfe-love, and their own lust that sends them; it is not enough to pray and at the end to say through Christ our Lord, Amen. No: for this may be a [...]eer foysting of the Name of Christ. But, canst thou pray and shew that Christ sent thee, and say as the servant, I come from my Master, and he sent me? Lord, it is for Christ that I come; it is not to satisfie my owne lust, nor to ease and deliver me from the galls of my conscience, nor to free me from hell; but for Christ; Lord, I begge grace an [...] ho­linesse, that I may have power to glorifie Christ. It is for the honour of my Lord Christ that I come. When the soul comes thus in Christs name, beleeving it shall speed, then his prayer shal prevail. Whatsoever (saith Christ) ye shall aske the Father in my name, he will give it you.

We come now to the third and last part of our Text: to wit, the sup­plies they had against danger and discouragements. The Lord upheld their hearts from being dismayed in prayer; thou saidst, feare not.

There be two things that do much hurt in prayer.

First, groundlesse incouragements.1

Secondly needlesse discouragements.2

First, I say, groundlesse incouragements; and these the wicked are most subject to especially, who because they pray, hear the Word, and perform many duties of religion; therefore they incourage themselves in the goodnesse of their estates, judging themselves happy, though notwith­standing they go on and continue in the hardnesse of their hearts and re­bellions against God.

We have abundance of sayings amongst us, that if they were exami­ned would prove false and unsound; As, that the vipers dye when they bring forth their young; for (say they) the young eat out the old ones bowels; that beares shape all their young by licking of them; that the Swanne singeth sweetest at her death; that the Adamant stone is soft­ned by Goats blood, &c. These things are not so, as may be shewn out of ancient Writers.

[Page 279]So beloved, there are abundance of sayings, that goe up and down a­mongst men concerning Divinity, which if they were examined, will prove to be rotten sayings; as, He that made them, will save them. It is not so, saith the Prophet, Isaiah 27. 11. He that made them, will not have mercy on them, and he that formed them, will not pitty them. It is commonly beleeved, if men come to Church, heare the Word, and call upon God, that then presently they are good Christians. Beloved, it is not so, Mat. 7. 21. Not every one that saith, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdome of Heaven.

Men are ready when they can but call, Lord have mercy on me; O sweet Saviour pitty me, most mercifull Lord Jesus, have compassion on me: if they can pray in their families, and pray at Church, &c. to think, now, all is well with them, and Christ cannot but save them, and give them the Kingdome of Heaven: but our Saviour puts a not upon it, and saith, not every one that saith, Lord, Lord: it is no [...] a Lord, a Lording of Christ with the tongue onely: it is not a taking up of an outward profession of Christ only, that is sufficient for a man that shall inherit the Kingdome of Hea­ven: no saith Christ: but he that doth the will of my Father which is in Heaven. But, of this by the by.

Secondly, there are needlesse discouragements which doe much hurt 2 in prayer. Nee lesse discouragements do much hurt to many a poor soule, that hath forcible wouldings, and wracked desires after grace and holinesse, and yet is held by discouragements: yea, many a Christian heart lieth a long time under it, wrestling and striving under its wants, and yet, kept out from grace, and from growing in grace because of dis­couragements: yea, the best and strongest of God▪ Saints, have been kept off, and have hung much on discourage­ments.

Fear not, saith God to Abraham, Gen. 15. 1. So, fear not Joshua, saith God, to Joshua, Josh. 1. 9. Intimating that both Abraham and Jo­shua were afraid of discouragements: they were afraid that many evils would befall them, that they should meet with many rubs and difficul­ties, that would be too hard for them: therefore the Lord calls to them, fear not, be not djsmayed nor discouraged. I [...]ou saidst, fear not. Hence observe.

That God would not have any Christian soul to be discouraged inDoctr. prayer. Thou saidst, fear not.

For our clearer prooceeding herein, first, let me shew you what dis­couragement is: and secondly, how it comes to be dangerous and hurtfull in prayer.

What is discouragement?Quest.

It is a base dismayment of spirit below or beneath the strength that isAnsw. in a man, under the apprehension of some evill, as if it were too hard for him to grapple with it.

There be foure things in this diffinition.

First, I say, it is a base dismayment of spirit; and so I call it to distin­guish it: for there is an humble dismayment which a Christian is com­manded. A man is bound to be dismayed for his sinnes. I say. 32. 11. [Page 280] Tremble ye carelesse women that are at ease, be troubled ye carelesse ones: these carelesse ones went on in their sinnes, and feared not. God calls to them and bids them to be dismayed. But the dismayment and the dis­couragement I speak of, it is a base dismayment of spirit; which is ei­ther when he is dismayed that ought not: or he is dismayed at that where­at he ought not to fear: where no cause of fear is.

As he that riding along upon the high way, spying a mans shape, thought it was some Spirit: and thereupon he sickened and died. So many a poor soul looking in the perfect Law of God, and seeing his own uglinesse and filthinesse, he is discouraged, and thinks himself un­done; his heart waxeth cold within him, and he begins to fear that he is but a dead and damned man.

Secondly, it is down beneath the strength that is in a man: that man is 2 properly said to be discouraged, not that he hath no strength at all in him nor no courage at all (for such a one is an infeebled man, not a man discouraged) but a discouraged man is a man put besides the courage that is in him; when a man hath strength enough to grapple with the e­vill before him, but through dismayment, of spirit he cannot put it forth.

Have not I commanded thee? saith God to Joshua. Be strong and of a good courage, be not afraid, neither be thou dismaied, Iosh. 1: 9. God had given Joshua strength enough, whereby he was inabled to observe and do according to all that Law which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded him; God had now doubled his Spirit upon him: yet he commands him, be not afraid▪ neither dismayed: as if he had said, Joshua, if thou beest dismayed and discouraged, though thou hast strength and power to go through the businesse that I have called thee unto, yet thou wilt not be able to use it, nor to put it forth, if thou beest discouraged.

Thirdly▪ it is at the apprehension of some evill. I say not at the sight of 3 some evill: for a man may be dismayed at the apparition of good, as Ma­ry when she saw nothing but a good Angell, Luke 1. 29. she saw no­thing but a glorious Angel: neverthelesse she was afraid, and discoura­ged. Why? because she had a secret apprehension of some evill, either of some evill proceeded in the salutation, or some unworthinesse in her selfe to receive such a gracious salutation: it cannot be the apprehension of any good that discourageth a man, but the apprehension of some evill.

Fourthly, not of every evill neither; for if the evill be but small, cou­rage 4 will stand it out; but it is of such an evill as he fears he is not able to grapple withall. If the evill before him be inferiour to him, he scornes it as the barking of a toothlesse Dog. If it be but an evill equall to his strength, then he makes a tush at it, because he knowes, or thinkes him­selfe able to encounter with it.

But if it be an evill above his strength, then his spirit melts and droops before him. See this in Saul 1 Sam. 17. 11. and his people. When they saw the Champion of the Philistims coming against them, when they saw him so hugely and marvelously armed, and heard him speake such bigge words, they thought they were not able to stand and [Page 281] to encounter with him; and therefore saith the Text, when Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistim, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.

Thus you see what discouragement is;

Now we come to the second question, to shew how discourage­ments come to be hurtfull in prayer: such discouragements the Lord would not have our hearts to be in, when we pray unto him.

For first, God cannot give ear to that man that is out of heart in his pray­ers. Thou canst never pray if thou beest dismaied in prayer. When the soul begins to feare and reason, O I am so unworthy that God will not looke at me; I am so sinfull, so blockish, so dead, and dull to all good, that God will never regard me. Thou canst never pray, Rom. 10. 14. How shall they call on him in whom they have not beleeved? If thou dost not beleeve that God will hear thee, if thou dost not believe that thou shalt prevaile, that God will deliver thee out of these corruptions and that lust that thou praiest against; that God will give thee this grace o [...] that grace: if thou dost not beleeve that God will own thee: if thou hast these doubt­full discouragements, O, he will not grant me, I shall never get this or that: how canst thou call on him? thou mayest call so and so: but never canst thou call to any purpose, if thou dost not beleeve in him.

A begger though he be never so well able to begge, yet if when he comes to the House-keepers dore, he be perswaded that he shall not speed, that let him beg as long as he will, he shall get nothing: this blunts his begging, and makes him give over his suit without any great impor­tunity: So, it is impossible that ever a soul should hold out and pray that is discouraged in prayer.

Secondly, thou canst not pray unlesse thou use all thy strength in prayer; If thou bee discouraged, thou canst not use thy strength.

A discouraged man, his strength melts into feare; and whatsoever strength he hath, he cannot put it forth. How came Jacob to prevaile and to have power with God? Why, he used all his strength with God, and so prevailed, Hosea 12. 3. Thou canst never prevaile with God by thy prayers, unlesse thou putrest forth all thy strength in prayer.

If Jacob had reasoned I am but dust and ashes; how can I strive with God? I am sinfull and evill, how, can I contend with my Maker? and so have been discouraged in his wrastling, he could not have used all his strength with God, and so had never prevailed with God. No, Jacob he gathers all the arguments that he could make; he gathers together all the promi­ses he could finde in Gods Book, or that he could heare of; he dis­plaies all the wants that he could shew; he petitions all the graces that he could name; he used all his strength, and by his strength he had power with God.

If thy confession of thy sins be strengthlesse; if thy petitions, and thankesgiving for grace be strengthlesse; if thou use not all thy [Page 282] strength in prayer, thou canst never prevaile, nor have any power with God. For how can that man prevail and have power with God that hath no power with himselfe?

Thirdly, thou canst never pray, and have a fearfull apprehension of evill in prayer; thou canst not. It is good to have a deep apprehension of thy sinnes: apprehend them to be as many hells as thou eanst, thou canst ne­ver apprehend them deeply enough: but if thou hast a fearfull appre­hension of them, thou canst never pray.

When the Apostle would exhort the Philippians to continue in one Spirit, and in one minde, fighting together through the faith of the Go­spell, he exhorts them that in nothing they fear, Phil. 1. 27, 28. For if a man be terrified with his adversary, with the power of his adversay, and fears he shall never be able to withstand him, but must fall before him through his subtilty, that he can never be wary enough for him: Alas, he can never strive with hope and courage against him. So, beloved, if we have a fearfull and discouraged kind of apprehension of evill, we can never pray so as to prevail.

Apprehend thy sinnes to be as hellish, and as damnable as thou canst: Feele even the fire of hell in every one of them: but take heed of a fearfull apprehension of them, so to apprehend the evill of them, as to thinke with thy selfe that because thou art guilty of these and these sinnes, that thou shalt never get in with God again, God will never be reconci­led to thee: these will eate out thine heart in prayer.

Fourthly, we can never pray if we have any secret despair, that there is any difficulty too hard for us to grapple withall, or to get through in our prayers. Howsoever a man praies, yet if he have any spice of these fears in him, to think now I have taken a great deale of paines, but am never the better; I have prayed and prayed, but have got no good: I may goe on and doe thus and thus, but shall never prevail or speed; all my labours, all my prayers and indeavours will be lost, this takes away the very spirit and life of a mans prayers.

Judas after he had betrayed the Lord Jesus, he was discouraged from ever praying for mercy. Why? because he thought it was impossible for him to get it; I have betrayed innocent blood, saith he. Matth. 27 3. as if he should say, I shal never outwrastle this sin; this sin is my death: I have brought the blood of the Son of God on me, I shall never claw off this sin: now Judas thus despayring, we never read one letter of any prayer that he made to God to get out of it; no, he thought it too hard for him to get mercy. Despaire drives a man from that he did hope for; because now he thinks there is an impossibility in getting of it.

Beloved, mistake me not; there is a double desperation:

First, there is a desperation of infidelity; and that deads and drawes the soule from God.

Secondly, there is a desperation of extremity; And if ever you mean to come to God and to get any grace from God, you must come with desperation of extremity, this desperation puts life into a mans prayers and indeavours,

As a Souldier, when he seeth nothing but to kill or be killed, that he [Page 283] sees his state desperate; why, this will compell a very coward to fight; this will make a coward fight (as if he would kill the Devil, saith the Proverb) it will make him fight like a spirit; he will be afraid of no­thing. Take a Souldier that fights desperately for his life, with a kill or be killed; he feares nothing; neither Pike nor Sword, nor Gun; why? he fights for his life. Therefore one notes that sometimes it is the nearest way to victory to be desperate in attempts and in fight. Therefore when William the Conquerour came first into England, at Hastings, he sent back his Ships again, that so the Souldiers might have no hope of saving themselves by flying back. And so at Battle, at one encounter, a little Ar­my of the English slew a great Army of the French. Why? they grew desperate.

So, could men pray desperately, could they pray with a pray or be damned: begge with a begge or be damned; seek to God for grace that you want with a speed or be damned; then would their prayers be more earnest and powerfull to get grace. O, did men pray thus, they would pray otherwise then they doe.

Men pray, but they pray deadly, coldly, and lazily, as if they had no need of prayer, or as if they had no need of the grace they pray for; they pray for grace but get it not; they pray for zeale, but have it not; for re­pentance and holinesse, but obtaine it not.

Beloved, either get zeale and holinesse, or else there is no mercy: ei­ther get grace and repentance, or else there is no mercy for thee. Pray then when thou prayest for grace, with a speed or be damned; say unto thy soul, either we must speed and get grace Soule, or else we must goe to hell. If men would pray thus, with a speed or be damned we should never see, nor God should never heare so many cold and dead prayers as now we pray.

Despaire makes a man a Munke saith the Papist: but this despaire makes a man a good Christian I say: never doth a man pray indeed till he feels himself in extremity, hopelesse and desperate in regard of him­selfe; so that he seeth no remedie at all but get Christ, get grace or be damned for ever. Get power and strength over these corruptions: otherwise they will destroy and damne thee; this would make a man pray for life. Men pray coldly and faintly: why? because though they see they have no grace, no zeale, no holinesse, no repentance, no evidence of Christ: yet they hope to be saved notwithstanding. O belo­ved, the divell hath blinded these men to the intent they may be dam­ned.

But if men would pray desperate prayers with a pray or be damned; seek with a find or be damned: men would then pray other prayers than they doe. Such prayers did David pray, Psal. 130. 1. Out of the deep places have I called unto thee O Lord, Lord heare my prayer: as if he should say, Lord, I am even in the depth of misery, plunged over head and eares, so that now I sinke and perish if thou help net: Lord, hear my prayer. This desperation a Christian must have, this quickens up his Spirits, and puts life into him: but take heed of the desperation of Infidelity: Saint Austin saith it is the murtherer of the soule: the spice of it will eate out [Page 284] the heart of a man, and kill the strength of all his endeavours.

I should now come to apply this Doctrine; but I feare me there be many amongst us, that never come so farre towards Hea­ven as to know what these discouragements meane. This is lament­able.

It is true, discouragements are hideous cases in prayer, and a man may perish and goe to hell that hath them: but yet they are somewhat profita­ble signes that a man doth at the least look a little towards God, or else he could not know what they are. But there are abundance that never have attained so farre in religion, as to understand what they meane: but goe on in drinking, whoring, carding and dicing, hating and malicing, fretting and chafing, mocking and coveting, swearing and blaspheming, in security, in heardnesse of heart and impenitency: they are more care­full for their doggs, for their potts, and for their tables, and for their shops, than they are of their souls: And which is enough to astonish any that is godly, these men scarce find any discouragements in prayer: O, they have a good courage to pray at all tims: O, say they, God forbid that any man should be discouraged in praier: I thank God I have a good hope in God; God hath given me a good heart of grace to call upon him, and I make no question but that God heares me: God would never bid us to pray if he did not mean to hear us.

Beloved, these men that are so bold in the goodness of their hearts to call upon God, they never as yet prayed in all their lives: all the prayers of the wicked are indeed no prayers.

Daniel confessing the sinnes of wicked Judah, saith, Though all this e­vill be come upon us, yet made we not our prayer to turne from our wicked ways, Dan. 9. 13. all the time of those seventy yeares, Daniel saith they never made prayer to God; yet they fasted every year, and prayed every day, twise every day at the least, which would amount in that time to 50000 and 100 prayers: how then could Daniel say they never made one pray­er? I answer, (and pray mark it) because they never did quite turn from their evill wayes. Though thou makest never so many prayers, though thou boastest of the goodnesse of thy condition, and snatchest at the Promises of God: yet if thou turnest not from thine iniquities, thou ne­ver as yet mad'st any prayer by the Judgement of God himself. Paul made many thousand prayers before his conversion, he could not have been a Pharisee else; but they were never accounted prayers to him: therefore as soon as ever he was converted, behold saith God, he prayeth, Acts 9.

A wicked man, a carnall Christian, though he have the righteousness of Saint Paul before his conversion, of living blamelesse, unreprovea­ble in respect of the outward righteousnesse of the Law: yet he can never make an acceptable prayer, till he be truely converted; his prayers are no better than howling of dogs, or lowing of Oxen, yea the Lord abhorrs them. O what poor incouragements canst thou have, seeing the Lord never tallies down any of thy prayers? wicked men are like Ulysses, who wept more for the death. of his dogge, than of his wife; so wicked men weep and mourne for the losse of their corn and their [Page 285] cattle, hawkes and hounds, cardes and dice: but never for the losse of their praiers. So long as thou continuest in thy prophanenesse and im­penitency, thou losest all thy praiers: there is not one of them that God tallies down, or reckons for a praier. Here we minht have a great deale of matter, if time would suffer me. But it will not, onely let me tell you, I speak onely to those whose hearts God hath awakened out of their sins, but who are oft discouraged: take heed of these discourage­ments.

For, first, they will drive thee to melancholy. Beloved, there are a great 1 many melancholy men in the world, and this is the cause of it; men are contented to be converted by halves: because they are discouraged in the worke. If thou suffer thy selfe to be discouraged, it will ea [...]e up thy spirit and thou wilt be like a silly dove without▪ a heart, Hosea 7. 11. A dove is a melancholy creature, that hath no heart to any thing; so E­pharaim hath no heart to call upon God, no heart to returne unto God: and this is the cause that men and women goe whineing and mourning under the burden of sin, and are not able to come out, because of discou­ragements: all the policy of hell is lesse than this policy of the divell, in driving men to despair or discouragements: this doth more hurt than all the rest of hell besides.

Secondly, if you do not take heed of them, they will bring you to 2 speake against God, I have prayed, but the Lord will not heare me: I have called, and the Lord will not answer, but hath turned away his eares from me. Now, thou speakest against God. Num. 21. 4. 5. The soule of the people was much discouraged, and the people spake against God and against Moses, saying, Wherefore have you brought us out of Egypt, to die in the wildernesse? for here is neither bread nor water, and our soule loatheth this light bread. So, beloved, if we suffer our soules to be discouraged, we shall soone come to murmure against God: wherefore hath he brought me up to this strict­nesse, and precisenesse? when I was a drunkard, a worldling, when I followed the lust of my flesh and liberty, then I enjoyed onions, gar­lick, and the flesh-pots of Egypt: pleasures and delights for my soule: then I had a good hope in God, and a good perswasion that my soul should goe to heaven: and then Preachers told me that if I would give over such and such sinnes, and look after Heaven a little more and doe such and such things; O then I should come to a Land flowing with milke and honey; then I should not misse of glory and salvation. But alas, I see nothing but Gyants and A­nakims; I am in a wildernesse; now, now I see a man may have a great deal of repentance, and yet be a cast away; A man may have a great deal of faith and yet be but a reprobate; A man may give over a great many sins, and yet perish in hell; now I see a man may live civilly and well, and have and do a great many good things, and yet be damned when he hath done all: A man may even go to Heaven Gates, and yet the gates be shut against him, and he turned into hell. Alas, my poor soul is in a wildernesse; now I know not which way to goe; I am ready to lose my selfe, I see nothing here now but huge Gyants, the sons of Anack, strong corruptions, inclining and forcing me to evill; [Page 286] most fearefull and violent suggestions and temptations of the Devill, ready to thrust me into the gulfe of wickednesse and despaire.

And now, the soule begins to thinke that it is good for it to returne again into Egypt, to fall to its old courses again: for certainly God looks for no such matter, he requires no such strictnesse and precisenesse: And so it falls a whining and repining at the Word and Ministers of God that have call'd men to it, and laid it upon them: and hath no heart now to do thus and thus any longer. And thus it falls into discouragements because of the way, and into a thousand quandaries whether it may not go back again or no. And all these murmurings and repinings are be­cause men suffer themselves to be discouraged.

Thirdly, discouragements will cause thee to think that God hates thee. When the soul like Baals Priests, 1. Kings 18. 26. hath been crying from morning to noon; ten, twenty, thirty yeeres, it may be, and yet hath no answer; now it will begin to think, if God did love me, then he would grant me my petitions. Then hereupon comes into a mans secret thoughts and feare: that God hardly loves his soule. So was it with Israel; when they were discouraged, they said, because the Lord hated us, there­fore he brought us out of the Land of Egypt, Deut. 1. 27. Because that they were discouraged, and because that their Brethren that went for spies, had disheartned them; therefore they were apt to say the Lord hated them.

Beloved, it is a miserable thing when the soule calls the love of God into question. Consider that as thou canst not have a friend if thou beest suspitious and jealous of his love to thee: So, thou canst never have the love of God settled on thy heart so long as thou art jealous of his love to thee.

Fourthly, If thou root them not out, it is to be feared that they will bring thee to despair. Melancholy thoughts and feares, and discouragements, drive the soul to despaire. For when the soul sees it selfe still disap­pointed of its hopes, at the last it growes hopelesse: If it have waited one day and the next day too: if it have prayed this weeke, this moneth, this year, and yet still it seeth it selfe held off and disappointed: it will at last grow hopelesse. Take heed therefore, I beseech you, of all need­lesse discouragements; to fear because that thou findest not that that thou wishedst or prayedst for, to day or to morrow, in thine own time, that therefore thou shalt never get it, that now thou shouldest for ever despaire of the grace and love of God, and think that now God will ne­ver hear thee, that thou shalt never get grace and power over thy corrup­tions.

Men think that the preaching of the Word of God brings men to despaire, the preaching of such strict points and the urging such precise doctrines makes men despaire: men are loth to be at the paines to root out their discouragements: It is rather a cold or dead preaching of the Word that is the cause of this: for when the soule is instructed by holi­nesse, humbled by holinesse, converted by holinesse, at the last when it comes to be thorowly awakened, when it sees that this and this is requi­red in a true conversion of the soule to God, that herein true repen­tance [Page 287] must declare and demonstrate it selfe by these and these fruits, or else it is but false and rotten: Why now, the soul must needs be brought to despaire, because it seeth that though it have been thus and thus hum­bled, though it have praied, fasted and mourned in this and this man­ner: yet it sees it hath not a soundesse of grace.

There is such a grace in it, such a worke and such a fruit of Gods Spirit in it, that yet he could never finde in himselfe: this makes the soule to despaire. Indeed Preachers may be to blame, if they speake and preach onely the terrours and condemnations of the Law without the promises of the Gospel: for these should be so tempered that every poore broken soule may see mercy and redemption for him upon his sound and unfeigned repentance and humiliation. But if men doe des­paire, they may thanke themselves for it, their owne sinnes for it, their owne discouragements for it, because they suffer these to continue in them.

Cain his heart grew sad, his conntenance fell, he was wroth and dis­quiered in his minde, and heavily discouraged; why? Gen. 4. Sin lay at the dore, (what dore?) the dore of his conscience, rapping and beating up­on his heart.

Beloved, when the soule lets sin lie at the dore: drunkennesse, pride and worldlinesse, security, hardnesse and deadnesse of heart lie at the dore: when a man lets his negligent and fruitlesse hearing of the word lie at the dore, when a man lets his vaine and dead praying, his tempori­zing and fashionary serving of God lie at the dore of conscience, to tell him that all his hearing of the word of God profits him nothing, that his praiers are dead and vain, that his mourning, fasting, and all his hu­miliation is counterfeit and rotten, and that he hath no soundnesse of grace in him, but that for all this he may fall into hell: when sin l [...]eth thus at the dore, thus rapping at the conscience, it is no wonder if the soule fall into desperation, as it was here.

Cain let his sinne lie at the dore, there it lay rapping and beating, and told him that his carelessenesse and negligent sacrificing to God was not accepted: and therefore no marvell if Cain be so cast down in his coun­tenance, and that he fall to despaire.

O beloved, when sinne lieth bouncing and beating at the doore of thy heart, when thy sinne (whatsoever it is, search thy heart and finde it out) lies knocking and rapping at the dore of thy conscience day by day, and moneth by moneth, and thou art content to let it lie, and art unwilling to use meanes to remove it, and art loth to take the paines to get the bloud of Christ to wash thy soule from it, or the Spirit of Christ to cleanse thee from it; then thy soule wil despaire, either in this world, or in the world to come. But let us take heede then, that our conscience condemne us not in any thing or course that we allow in our selves: for if that doe, then much more will God, who is greater than our consciences, and knows all things.

The Apostle hath an excellent Phrase: Rom. 8. 1. There is no condem­nation to them that are in Christ Jesus &c. As if he should say, there is [Page 288] not one condemnation; there is none in Heaven, God doth not condemne them; there is none in earth, their own heart and conscience doth not condemne them; to him that is in Christ Jesus, that walks not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, there is none, no not one condemnation to him; none, neither in Heaven nor in earth: no word, no commandement, no threatning condemns him. But if thy conscience condemn thee, and tell thee thou lettest sinne lie at the doore, rapping at thy conscience day after day, and moneth after moneth, telling thee that yet thou art without Christ, that yet thou never hadst any true faith in the Lord Je­sus, that yet thou hast not truly repented, and turned from thy sins: this will at last drive thy soul into heavy discouragements, if not into final des­paire.

O beloved, religion and piety, and the power of Godlinesse, goe down the wind every where. What is the reason of it, but because of these dis­couragements that men live and go on in? Men pray and pray, and their prayers profit them not: men run up and down and come to the Church and heare the Word, and receive the Sacraments, and use the meanes of grace, but to no end: they are unprofitable to them: they remaine in their sinnes still: the ordinances of God bring them not out of their lusts and corruptions: hereby they disgrace and discredit the ordinances of God in the eyes and account of the men of the world, making them think as if there were no more power nor force in the Ordinances of God than these men manifest.

There is no life in many Christians, mens spirits are discouraged; these secret discouragements in their hearts take away their spirits in the use of the meanes, that though they use the meanes, yet it drives them to despaire of reaping good; or profit by them.

Beloved, I could here tell you enough to make your hearts ake to hear it.

First, All your complaints, they are but winde, Job. 6. 26. Doe 1 you imagine to reprove words, and the speeches of one that is desperate, which are as winde? Jobs friends taking Job to be a man of despaire, they accounted all his words but as wind.

Doe thou nestle any discouragement in thy heart? thou maist com­plaine of sinne as much as thou canst: yet all thy complainings are but as winde: thou mayest cry out against thy corruptions, with weeping and teares, and pray and fight against them: and yet all thy weeping, mourning and praying is but as the winde: thou maiest beg grace, thou maiest seek after God, thou maist heare the Word, receive the Sacra­ments, and yet all will be to thee as wind: all will vanish, be unprofitable, not regarded.

Secondly, discouragements drive us from the use of the meanes. If ever 2 we meane to come out of our sinnes, if ever we meane to get grace and faith, and assurance, and zeale: we must constantly use the meanes, 1 Sam. 27. 1. David saith, There is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the Land of the Philistins, and Saul shall despaire of me to seek me any more. David thought in himself, if I can make him out of [Page 289] hope of finding me, certainly he will give over seeking of me. So when the soule hath any secret despaire of finding the Lord, that soul will quickly be drawn from seeking of the Lord in the use of the meanes.

What ever you doe then; O be not discouraged, lest you be driven from the use of the meanes: if you be driven from the use of the meanes, woe is to you, you will never finde God then. Be not driven from pray­er, nor driven from holy conference, nor driven for the Word, nor dri­ven from the Sacrament, nor from meditation, nor from the diligent and strict examination of thy selfe, of thy heart and of all thy wayes: for these are the wayes of finding the Lord. If you nourish any thoughts and fears of despaire in you, if you be discouraged, you will be driven from the use of the meanes, which is a lamentable thing; therefore be not discou­raged.

Thirdly, discouragements will make you stand poaring on your for­mer courses, This I should have done, and that I should have done, woe is me that I did it not: it will make a man stand poaring on his sinnes, but ne­ver able to get out of them. So it was like to be with them in the Ship with Paul, Acts 27. 20. In the tempest at Sea, they were utterly discoura­ged from any hope of safety: now indeed Paul told them what they should have done if they had been wise: Sirs, you should have hearkned to me, and not have loosed, verse 21. as if he had said, you should have done thus and thus: but now doe not stand poaring too much on that, you should have hearkned to me, and not have launched forth, &c but that cannot be holpen, now: therefore I exhort you to be of good chear, &c.

So beloved, when the soul is discouraged upon these thoughts, I should have prayed better, I should have heard the Word of God better, and with more profit; I should have repented better, I should have performed this and that religious and good dutie better; but ah wretch that I am, I have sinned thus and thus; it is alwayes looking on this sinne and that sinne, this imperfection and that failing, when now I say the soule is discouraged, it will be alwayes poaring upon sinne, but it will never come out of its sinne; alwayes poaring upon its deadnesse, and unprofitablenesse, but never a­ble to come out of it. O beloved, be of good cheare, and be not discou­raged; it is true you should have prayed better; you should have heard the word of God better heretofore, you should have been more carefull and circumspect of your wayes than you were; but now you cannot help it; these things and times are gone, and cannot be recalled: such a one hath been a drunkard, a swearer, a worldling, &c. but he cannot help it now. True, he might have helped it, and because he did not, his heart shall bleed for it, if he belong to God: but doe not stand poaring too much upon it, but consider now what you have to doe, now you are to humble your selves, now you are to strive with God in all manner of prayer for more grace, and more power of obedience and assurance, and be not discouraged.

Fourthly, If the soule be discouraged, it will breed nothing but sorrow.4 [Page 290] What is the reason that many Christians are alwayes weeping, and mourning, and sighing, and sobbing, from day to day, all their life time, and will not be comforted? because of these discouragements, 1 Thes. 4. 13. Sorrow not (saith the Apostle) as those that have no hope, as if he had said, sorrow if you will; but do not sorrow as they that have [...]o hope.

How is that? it is a sorrow with nothing but sorrow, from which they have no hope of inlargement or freedome.

O then my brethren, suppose you have dead hearts, suppose you want zeale, you want assurance; suppose it be so, yet labour to attain these grace; sorrow and spare not; weepe and mourne▪ and powre out whole buckets of teares for your sinnes, if you can: but, sorrow not with nothing but sorrow: be not discouraged: suppose that thou hast a dead heart, that thou art an hypocrite, that thou hast a rotten heart; it is a heavy thing, and a fearful case indeed, for which thou hast great cause of hu­miliation and sorrow; but yet sorrow not desperately as men without hope: be not wholly discouraged, but as you sorrow for your sinnes, so also labour with incouragement to get cut and be rid of your sinnes.

Fifthly, Discouragements breed and procure a totall perplexity. They 5 leave the soul in a maze, that it knows not whither to turne it self When men come to be discouraged, O what shall I do saith one? I am utterly un­done saith another: I know not what will become of me, saith a third: Oh I am utterly lost, I shall perish one day, one day God will discover me, and be avenged on me for this and that sin: I were as good go to he lat the first as at the last▪ for that will be the end of me. I have gone to prayer, but that doth not helpe me: I have gone to Sacraments, but I find no help: still my soule lies under the power of sinne still my sinnes are as strong in me as ever: Thus the soule is discouraged and cries out, Oh, what shall I doe? I know not what to doe. What shall I doe, sayest thou?

Alas, thou hast things enough to doe, if thou wert not discouraged. Utterly undone! No, man, thou mightest see that thou art not utterly un­done but that thou art discouraged. Dost thou not know what will be come of thee? yea, poore soule, there is mercy, grace and peace for thee, if thou wilt not be discouraged.

Sixthly, Discouragements whisper within a man a sentence of death, and an 6 impossibility of escaping. As far as the discouragement of life goeth, so far goeth the sentence of death. We despaired of life▪ and had the sentence of death in our selves, saith the Apostle, 2 Cor. 1. 8. 9. he despaired of life in himselfe, and therfore had the sentence of death in himself▪ this was good, but he did not despaire of life in God; for then he should have had likewise the sentence of death from God in his consci­ence.

If you despaire in the Lord▪ you have the sentence of death and dam­nation from God in your conscience▪ take heed of this my beloved▪ be not discouraged in God: do not despaire in the Lord: that will work a [Page 291] miserable effect in your souls: it will secretly whisper a sentence of dam­nation in your soules.

It is strange to consider how many poore soules rub on with these whispering sentences in their bosomes, suffering their con­sciences day by day, to tell them that they are rotten, to tell them that they were never yet converted, to tell them that they are yet in the state of damnation, and yet they will not root out these discourage­ments.

O goe to the Throne of grace, begge for grace and for mercie and for power against sinne, and bee not discouraged. What? wilt thou carry thine owne sentence of death in thy breast? if thou wilt not rouze up thy soule, and pray with more affecti­on and confidence, and shake off discouragements, take heed least thou carry the sentence of thine owne death and damnation in thy bowels. Oh therefore once more let mee beseech you to take heede of these discouragements, and now hearken unto the voice of God, which calleth upon you, Feare not. Thou drew­est nigh in the day that I called upon thee; Thou saidest, Feare not.

THE MISERY OF THE CR …

THE MISERY OF THE CREATURES BY The Sinne of Man. In a SERMON By WILLIAM FENNER, Minister of the Gospel, sometimes Fellow of Pembroke Hall in Cambridge, and late Lecturer of Rochford in Essex.

London, Printed by E. T. for John Stafford.

[Page 308] [...] They are accusing groanes.3

They are judging and condemning groanes.4

First, they are upbraiding groanes, Give ears Oh ye heavens, and I 1 will speak, and hear Oh earth the words of my lips. Deut. 32. 1. as if God had said, mark O ye heavens, and let all the whole world hear what I testify against this people: as if the heavens and the earth did up­braid them of their unthankfulnesse. God commands the Sun to shine, and it shineth▪ the earth to fructify, and it obeyeth: But this wicked peo­ple he commands to repent and forsake their sins, and they will not.

Chrysostome saith, wicked men although they have naturall rea­son in them, are more senceless than sencelesse creatures: the rocks, and the flints, the flye and the gnats may upbraid them; the rocks rent in sunder, but this people will not rent their hearts; swarmes of flies were hiss'd for to come, and they yielded obedience; and the livelesse creatures groan under the slavery of sin: but they will not obey, they will not be brought to groan for their sins. How do all the creatures upbraid man! Do ye thus requite the Lord O ye foolish people and unwise?

Beloved, how do the heavens and the earth upbraide thee for un­thankfulnesse; wert thou ever in sickness, and God did not deliver thee? wert thou ever in misery, and God did not comfort thee? wert thou ever in any straight, and God did not direct thee? in sickness who was life un­to thee? in poverty who supplyed thee? in danger who delivered thee? was it no [...] God that hath done all for thee? And shall the Lord com­mand thee obedience, and wilt thou not grant it him? doth he command thee to part with thy lust, and crucify all thy corruptions, and wilt thou not obey him? doth the Lord command thee to be meek, hum­ble, patient, and dost thou refuse? then, hear O heavens, and hear­ken O earth.

Secondly, the groans of the creatures are witnessing groanes. I call 2 heaven and earth to record against you: know that you shall shortly perish, said Moses to the Israelites. Deut. 4. 26. So beloved, let me say to you, I call heaven and earth to record against you, that woe and damnation shall be to that man that obeys not the command­ments of God; Cursed be that man, that goeth on still in his wicked­nesse. The heavens write his curse, and the whole earth do witness his vengeance, that will not give over his lust at the commandment of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

As Joshuah said unto all the people, Josh. 24. 27. Behold this stone shall be a witnesse unto us, for it hath heard all the words of the Lord, which he spake unto us; it shall be a witnesse, &c. so may I say unto you, the walls of this house shall cry, the tim­ber of the Church shall answer, this Sermon that you have heard, this doctrine that hath been preached unto you, if you will not re­pent, if you will not humble your selves and obey the voyce of your God, all these shall witnesse against you another day, that you had a time, that you had a day to repent in, you had the [Page 306] word of God calling you to it, but you would not.

Dost thou commit a sinne? and none by, but the stones in the streets? even they see thee, like Joshuah's stone with seven eyes, and they shall witnesse against thee. Dost thou pray thy lazie prayers unto God, thoughtlesse of God, and none by but the walls of thy Closet, or thy bed, or thy hangings? they shall witnesse against thee. Dost thou swear, and blaspheme the King of Heaven? though none were present, but the fowles of the aire, they shall carry thy voyce and declare the matter. Eccles. 10. 20. If the creatures groan against thee, then they are sensible in some sort, to witnesse against thee.

Beloved, mens hearts are so stubborne, that we the Ministers of God may do as the Prophet did, 1 King. 13. 2. who cried O Altar, Altar, thus saith the Lord. What? was the Prophet sent unto the Altar? had the Altar eares? No, he was sent unto Jeroboam, his message was to him; but he knew that he would not hear, nor believe, nor obey; there­fore he turned from the King, and spake to the sencelesse Altar. So may we say for all the hearing some will afford us; O walls, walls, thus saith the Lord, cursed is the man that obeyeth not. O House of the Lord, witnesse against this rebellious generation.

So Jeremy, he cried out, O earth, earth, earth, hear the Word of the Lord, this saith the Lord, write this man a cast-away, that shall never pro­sper, Jer. 22. 29. he meant wicked Jeconiah the King; but because he was a deaf Adder, he preacheth to the dead earth, as being more likely to listen than he.

O fearfull doom! When Jeconiah will not hear, God he roars so loud that he makes the dead and sencelesse earth to hear.

Beloved, in the fear of God, take heed, if there be any dead worldly-hearted Professor here, if there be any loose prophane sinner here, any impenitent wretch that hath not repented, if after the Lord hath sent his Ministers to thee, his Word and Gospell to thee, and thou wilt not hear; take heed lest the Lord direct his speech to the dead earth, and say, O earth, earth, earth, hear the Word of the Lord; write these men, men that shall never prosper: they will still covet and lie, they will still fret and chafe, they will still content themselves with forms of godlinesse, they will still be lukewarm or key-cold; they do still pray as they did, rub on as they did seven years ago; no more holy, no more zealous, no more heavenly, they will not be bettered; O earth, earth earth, hear the Word of the Lord, write them a people that shall never prosper, a people that shall never be converted; write them men dam­ned for ever; let them come and hear Sermon after Sermon, but write them men that shall never prosper; let them pray, and let their prayers never prosper; let them go on in their dead-hearted profession, but write them men that shall never prosper.

Beloved, God forbid that it should so be written against you, but woe be to you if ever it be! for if once the earth hath wrote this eternall decree of God upon thy soule, it can never be altered; I will warrant thee thy damnation sure.

[Page] [Page 307]Thirdly, they are accusing groanes; they shall accuse thee for casting 3 thine eye upon a creature, without taking notice of God. They shall accuse thee for thy touching, tasting, handling, using any of the creatures without adoration of God. Dost thou think of a creature, speak of a creature, meddle with a creature, or take possession of a crea­ture? they shall accuse thee, if thou dost not live to the glory of God the Creator.

Fourthly, these groans are judging and condemning groans. He 4 shall call the Heavens above, and the earth to judge his people, Psal. 50. 4. The creatures groan; why then dost thou not groan? the creatures account themselves oppressed and fore afflicted be­cause they are constrained to serve sinne; why then dost thou in­jure them?

If the King should build him a stately Palace, and one should wil­lingly deface it, or abuse it, or pull it down; would not the very Ravens judge him a Traytor? The creatures are Gods Palace, and thou demo­lishest their beauty, by making them the instruments, or abettors, or matter, or incentives of sinne; thou shalt be adjudged of High treason against the King of Kings, for we know that every creature groaneth with us; and travelleth in pain together untill now.

Now we come to a third use

Of Exhortation; doth the creature groan to serve sinne? take heedUse 3. then you do not abuse the creatures of God▪ There is not any one of them but if it be abused to sin or by sin, but it will presently make its complaint (like a little child to his Father) with groans unto God.

Labour to be a true Convert unto God; otherwise, if thou beest not 1 regenerate and a Convert, every creature that thou hast, is in bondage under thy hands, and it groans unto God against thee, till God recover it out of thy hands again.

I will recover my wooll and my flaxe, saith God, Hosea 2. 9. the creature groaned under thraldome, because it was possessed by them that were carnall; and therefore God sayes he would recover it.

Secondly, labour not to sinne against God. For, if thou sinnest against 2 God, thou canst not meet with a creature but it groanth against thee. When Jonah had sinned against God, the Sea roared against Jonah, and he at last knew it well enough: for when the Marriners askt what he was, I am an Hebrew saith he, and I fear God, the God of Heaven, which hath made the Sea and the dry Land, Ionah 1. 9. as if he should say, I fear the Lord, for now I see the Heavens are black against me: and the clouds mourn at me: and the Sea groaneth under me, seeing I am fled from the presence of the Lord.

Thirdly, labour never to set your hearts on any creature▪ for, then,3 you abuse it to worldlinesse, and covetousnesse. What greater injury can we offer to the creatures, than by making them occasions of turning from God, which were given us the more to oblige us to God?

If you be covetous and earthly, the creature must needs groan under this wrong. Covetousnesse is Idolatry, saith Saint Paul, Colos. 3. 5. [Page 305] thou turnest the creature into an Idoll: every creature is the workman­ship of God, but an Idoll is a thing dedicated to Divels.

Fourthly, labour to use all the creatures in humility and thankfulnesse.4 There is not a creature, but it hath this Motto engraven upon it, it is the gift of God. In every thing then give thanks, 1 Thes. 5. 8. A thing and a creature are convertible termes: if in every thing, then for every creature must we give thanks; why? because every thing that God doth for us, or doth bestow upon us, it is a gift: and a gift groans un­der unthankfulnesse: there is never a sicknesse that thou hast been delive­red from, but it groans against thee, if thou hast not had thine ini­quity purged by it▪ never a blessing but it will groan against thee, if thou serve not God the better by it: never an ordinance of life and grace but it groans against thee, if thou art not sanctified and made holy by it.

Fifthly, use them all as so many Bookes, and as so many Ladders or Rises 5 to climbe up with the soule to God. When thou seest how kindly and fa­vourably the Sun shineth on thee, think, are Gods creatures so comfortable! how comfortable is the light of Gods countenance? When thou tastest the sweetnesse of any creature, think then, O what infinite sweetnesse is there in God himself! still, from the creatures, winde up thy soul to the Crea­tor: use all the creatures as a rise to winde up thine heart to see and know, to meditate and conceive of some thing of God.

Saint Anthony being found fault withall for want of Books, answe­red, My Books are Gods creatures, and in them I may read, as in the silent Oracles of God; this is my Book, and it hath three pages, and as many Letters▪ Heaven, Water, Earth: they are the pages of this book: Stars, Fishes, Fowles, and all the Terrestriall▪ creatures, they are the letters of this book.

There are but three main Books in the world to be read: all other books are but Commentaries upon them.

The Book of the Creatures.1

The Book of the Scriptures.2

The Book of every Mans conscience.3

Read but these three, and meditate of them, and thou shalt have un­derstanding in the wayes of God, to know God in all thy wayes.

Beloved, this is rightly to use the creatures, and thus using them, thou shalt prevent their groanings against thee: to behold and see God present in them all.

It was the saying of an Ancient, that, that man is blind, deaf, senseless, brutish, that knows not God. Thou canst not see a creature, but thou mayest see God: thou canst not feel a creature, but thou mayest feel God: thou canst not smell, nor taste, nor meddle with a creature, but thou mayest smell and taste God in the creature: thou canst not behold a creature, but thou mayest behold God in the creature.

O saith one, if I could see God as he appeared to the Fathers, then I should obey him, and fear him, and trust in him, and love him.

[Page 309]I answer, God appeares now as he did then. How did God ap­peare to Abraham, Isaak, &c. and to all the holy Patriarches and Pro­phets? Did God appear to them in his own essence and nature? No, it is impossible that any should see God and live. When God appeared to them, and shewed himselfe to them, he did it in the creatures. And I pray you doth not God appeare thus amongst us now? God having made man to behold by sense, by sight, hearing, smelling, tasting, handling; that all the knowledge he hath, he must have it by these; God makes as it were a manifestation of himselfe in the Sunne, Moon, and starres, he takes the Cattle, plants, and therein he shewes some­thing of himselfe: thou never seest any creature but it is a manifestation of God to thee: the whole world is an apparition of God to thee; God appears in the heavens, in the earth, and in every creature. If therefore when thou lookest on any of the creatures, thou makest not an holy use of them, beholding God in them, using them as a rise to wind up thy heart and soule to God; then thou abusest the creatures, and makest them to groan against thee. For, we know that the whole creation groaneth and travelling in paine till this present.

THE CHRISTIAN HIS IM …

THE CHRISTIAN HIS IMITATION Of CHRIST. In a SERMON By WILLIAM FENNER, Minister of the Gospel, sometimes Fellow of Pembroke Hall in Cambridge, and late Lecturer of Rochford in Essex.

London, Printed by E. T. for John Stafford.

THE CHRISTIAN HIS IMITATION Of CHRIST.

1 JOHN 2. VER. 6.‘He that saith he remaineth in him, ought even so to walke as he hath walked.’

THis our blessed Apostle in the beginning of this Chapter, doth declare these four things,

First a generall proposition of an advocate for the sinnes of the world; If any man sinne we have an ad­vocate, verse 1. 2.

Secondly, an actuall application of this to all true beleevers, who may all know that Christ is theirs and that they are Christs, ver. 5. And hereby we know that we know him, if we keep his commande­ments. We know and are acquainted with this principle, that Jesus Christ is the propitiation for our sinnes, if we keepe his commande­ments.

Thirdly, here is the fantasticall presumtion of many men that hope and think and say that they are in Christ, when indeed they are not in Christ. ver. 4. [Page 314] He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandements, is a lyar, and the truth is not in him.

Fourthly, here is an universall direction to all men, whereby to try and ex­amine themselves, whether they be in Christ yea or no. He that saith he abideth in him ought himselfe to walk as he walked.

These words branch themselvs into a Thesis and an Hypothesis.

The Thesis is this, He that abideth in Christ, must walke as he hath walked.

The Hypothesis is this, If any man be conceited of the subject, that he abideth in Christ, he must be assured of the predicate, that he walk him­selfe even as Christ walked. If he say he is in Christ, he must be sure to walke as Christ walked.

To walke as Christ walked; there is a life of a Christian: if he walke not as Christ walked, it is a plain demonstration that he is not in Christ. He that saith he abideth in him, ought himselfe also to walke as he walked.

He that saith; as if the Apostle had said, If there be any that saith he abideth in Christ, he must walke as Christ walked.

Hence observe, That a true Christian he walks as Christ walked, if he be in Christ.

Before we make entrance hereupon, let me expound to you two things, le [...]t we meere with rubs in the way.

First, the conditionall, If.

Secondly, the exemplary As.

First for the conditionall, If. it is not a precedent condition of life, as a condigne preparation unto, or a previall disposition for Christ: for a man cannot first walk as Christ walked, and then be in Christ. A graft can­not live the life of the stock, and then be inoculated into the stock. No: but it is a subsequent condition; if ever a man be in Christ, Christ holds him to these termes, to live as he lived, to walk as he walked.

The first act is before the latter act: life before the actions of life; so walke as Christ walked, this notes the actions of life. Now, a man must first be in Christ, before he can walk as Christ walked.

Indeed this condition is first quoad cognosci, to our knowledge: but it is not first quoad esse, and in its own nature. So then, to walke as Christ walked, being a necessary consequent of being in Christ: we cannot be said to be in Christ, if we walk not as Christ walked: for, take away the necessary consequent and you take away the antecedent; take away the walking as Christ walked, and you take away the abiding in Christ. This condition is put in by our Saviour. John 15. 10. If ye shall keep my com­mandements, ye shall abide in my love, as I have kept my Fathers commande­ments and abide in his love. This was the walk of Christ, he kept his Fathers commandements, and abode in his love. This must be your walke too, that looke to abide in Christs love. If ye keepe my com­mandements, ye shall abide in my love. But if there be any commande­ment of Christ in all the Gospell that you will not conforme to, it is an evident signe, that ye abide not in Christs love.

Secondly, for the exemplary, As, even as he walked.

[Page 315]Can any man walke as Christ walked? is it possible that dust and ashes, that is corrupt with sinne, can walk as he walked?

This word, as, hath a twofold signification: there is a twofold as, ei­ther such an as, as importts an equality: or secondly similitude.

As this as imports an equality, so it is impossible that any flesh can walk as Christ walked: so purely, so unspottedly, so steadily, so effect­ually as he lived. No, for our Saviour Christ was filled with the Holy Ghost: and of his fulnesse have we all received grace for grace. John 1. 16. Marke, he doth not say that we receive his fullnesse: but, some of his fulnesse: so that none can walk as Christ walked with an as of e­quality: but there is an as of similitude.

A scholar writes as his masters coppy directs him: he begins every line as his master begins, he ends as he ends, he sets himselfe to frame every letter as his master framed it, to joyne letters and syllables toge­ther as his master joyned them together. Though there be no equality, he cannot write one stroke or dash with his penne so well as his master: yet he doth write as his master sets his coppy: his hand sollowes his masters hand. So it is said of all that are in Christ. Revel. 14. 4. that they follow the Lamb whither soever he goeth: they follow Christ in all du­ties, in all holiness, in all his commandments: they track Christ in all his steps, though they cannot walke with such long strides, so steadily, so purely, so constantly as Christ; yet they labour to track him with this as of similitude.

Doe all that are in Christ, walke as Christ walked? yea Beloved, this is a clause of the covenant of grace, so that a man cannot be in Christ, unlesse he walk as Christ walked. For, thus runs the tenour of the cove­nant of grace: Matth. 11. 29. Learne of me, for I am meeke and lowly of heart, and ye shall finde rest unto your soules. Marke, there is no rest to the soule, no grace to the conscience, no assurance of the pardon of sinne: Christ gives no comfort to the heart, unlesse the heart will learne of Christ, follow Christ his coppy, be holy as he is holy, pure as he is pure, walk as he walked.

This will the better appear, if we consider that Christ his life must be the example for our life, according to which we must live. Now, the exemplatum must be conformable to the exemplary, saith Aquinas; the draught must be according to the copy; so it Christs life be the pat­terne of our life, then our life must be conformable to his life, and there­fore Christ declares his wayes unto us, as our samplers; Christ was humble, and serviceable to all in the dayes of his flesh, with this Motto, John 13. 15. I have given you an example, that you should doe as I have done.

Thou art of thy master the devill, and his coppy thou followest, if thou account it an indignity to stoop, a disgrace to condescend to thy brother. Christ was willing to suffer disgrace with this Motto, 1. Pet. 2. 21. Leaving us an example that we should follow his steps.

Art thou loth to practice Religion for fear of the crosse? loth to re­proove sinne for fear of a flout, or of the displeasure of a great man: least thou shouldest procure his ill will? it is evident that thou fol­lowest [Page 316] not Christ, because he hath left us an example, that as he suffered, so also should we: Christ was obedient to the death of the crosse, not looking to his owne things so much as the things of others; so the Apostle warneth us, Let the same minde bee in you that was in Christ Iesus, 1. Iohn 2. 5. you that bee in Christ, must have the fame minde that Christ had. 1. Iohn 3. 3. Hee that hath this hope, purgeth himselfe, even as he is pure. Howsoever the world nick-names and reproaches purity, yet if any have this hope (indeed he may have other hopes, he may have vaine, rotten, dead hopes, and never seeke after purity) but he that hath this hope, a true saving hope to be redeemed by Christ, he purifyeth himself even as he is pure.

Thou then which art not pure, but makest a mocke of pure­nesse and of conscience of every sin: thou canst have no true sound faith in the Lord Jesus. Thou must be righteous even as he is righ­teous.

Thou happily saiest thou art righteous, thou doest this and that righ­teousnesse, this and that good action: take thou heed saith the Apostle, that thou deceive not thy selfe, thou must be righteous as Christ is righ­teous.

In a word, love is the fulfilling of the law, and Gualter carrieth it a­long through all the law which Christ walked in: Christ loved us, and gave himselfe for us with this injunction, A new commandement give I un­to you, that you love one another as I have loved you, John. 13. 34.

This was one of the main reasons of Christs comming into the world, to redeem us for our justification; and then to be an example of life to us for our sanctification; saith Saint Basil. Christ was set for a signe to all nations, I say. 11. 10. A land marke to all people, to take their aim, how to thinke, how to speake, how to walke, how to live.

As men at Sea, if they see a Land-mark, or the Pole-starre, thereby know how to guide the Ship; so Christ he is a signe to all Nations, a signe of zeale in prayer, a signe of reverence in the Temple, of perse­verance in holinesse, of piety in life, and of unspotted purity, and con­stancy in death.

Yea, to winde it up a little higher, to walk as Christ walked, is an As of participation. We must not onely walke as Christ walked with an as of proportion; for so the beasts may walk; every creature, the Sunne, the Moone, &c. walke according to their rule wherein God hath set them, as Christ did walke in his course that God set him in: but this is not enough; he that is in Christ, must walke as Christ walked with an As of participation; he must pattake of the same life, with Christ, and be led by the same Spirit of Christ, guided by the same grace of Christ.

Even as lesse white is like more white, though not alike in the same de­gree, yet in the same nature; there is the same nature in the lesser that there is in the bigger; So we must have the same life, obey the same commandements, be guided by the same rule, swayed by the same mo­tions, led by the same Spirit that was in Christ. If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, the same is none of his, saith the Apostle, Rom. 8. 9.

[Page 317]What saith one, can there be any man that is none of Christs? doth not he say that every beast in the field, and the cattell on a thousand hils, are his? Psal. 50. 10. and doth he say that there are some men that are none of his?

Yea, saith the Apostle, If any man be not led by the Spirit of Christ, the same is none of his. Indeed he is Christs as the beasts are his, by creation and preservation, &c. but thou art none of Christs by grace and redemp­tion, unlesse thou hast the same Spirit that was in Christ to live in thee.

What is it to walk as Christ walked? it is to contemne the same gain and pleasures and vanities of the world that he contemned; to yield to the same precepts that he obeyed; to yield to the same repproaches, ha­tred and persecutions that he endured; to take up the same duties, to preach the same truths, to live in the same rule, and in all to be led by the same Spirit.

Thus you see the explanation of the doctrine; come we now to the Reasons which are principally these foure.

The first reason is taken from the scope and end for which the Lord did 1 send his Son into the world; as to justifie the ungodly, so also to conforme all those that are justified, to the image of Christ.

You may read that this was Gods purpose, that he laid downe in himselfe from all eternity before the foundation of the world was laid; when he predestinated that his Son should come into the world, he pre­destinated that all that should be redeemed by him, should be confor­mable to the image of his Son, Rom. 8. 29. whomsoever he did fore­know, with the fore: knowledge of Love and predestination, them he did predestinate to be made like unto Christ; that looke what Christ was by nature, they might be by grace.

If this be the end of Gods predestination, then it is impossible that a­ny man should be in Christ, and not have the image of Christ; Chrysost­ome saith, that as Christ was holy by nature: so those that are predesti­nate, should be holy by grace.

God shall never be frustrated of his end and purpose. If God have purposed it, who shal frustrate it? Man indeed may be frustrated of his end, because of his weaknesse and inability to accomplish by himselfe what he purposeth; some other person or thing prevents him of his end. But God as he hath a purpose in himselfe, so he is powerfull and able to bring his purpose to passe.

We may conclude that that man that prayeth for mercy, and wish­eth, Oh that I might have redemption by Christ; Oh that I might go to hea­ven, and yet lives in his sinnes and slavery to his lusts: he prayeth to have benefit by Christ, and to goe to Heaven in spight of God, against the will and purpose of God.

Our owne consciences may tell us, that God cannot be frustrated of his end and purpose: but that thus we must be made conformable to Christ, or else we shall never have benefit or salvation by him: or else Gods purpose would be frustrated and in vain.

That thing must be frustrated, and in vaine, that attains not its end: if this [Page 318] be the end that God hath purposed in himselfe, in the giving of Christ for life and salvation to the world, that all that are redeemed and saved by him, should be made conformable to him: either all such as are not conformable to the Image of Christ, shall never be saved, but shall perish for ever without Christ: or else Gods purpose must be frustrated and in vaine.

The second reason is taken from the practice of Christanity (saith Leo) in vain are we called Christians, if we be not imitators of Christ, and live as he lived. The Disciples, are called Christians, Acts. 11. 26. The very name tells us that we must be followers of Christ, or else, we are not in Christ: if any man be in Christ, he must really be a Chri­stian.

As a man if he be of a trade, he must set up that trade, all his layings out and travell and pains must be in that trade: why? it is his profes­sion: so, if a man be in Christ, all his conversation must be Christian, his labours and endeavours must be in the trade of Christianity, he must walke as Christ walked. He must be a Christian in all his courses, in all his ways, or else he is not in Christ.

As the Pla [...]onists are denominated from Plato, so are Christians from Christ. The Franciscans from Francis, the Dominicans from Dominick; these were bound to follow the rules of their Order, or else superstition would not suffer them to be of that Order: much less canst thou be of the Order of Christ, if thou observe not his rules, if thou live not as he lived.

Christ hath given thee a law for thy mind, for to govern thy thoughts: Thou wilt not busie thy thoughts with holy meditations; thy heart is not christian. Christ hath given a law to thy affections: thou wilt be fretful and impatient, malitious, proud, and ambitious, and carnal; thy passions are not christian. Christ hath given a law to thy life, that thy life may be holy: therefore if thy life be not according to the Gospel of Christ, thy life is not Christian, neither will Christ own thee for his, but will slay thee with curses, as an enemy of his crosse, and not as a follower of his death; These mine enemies that will not that I should reigne over them, saith Christ, Luke 19. 27. Bring them hither and slay them before me.

Thou canst not look for a Saviour to have mercy on thee, if thou wilt not be ruled as a Disciple of Christ, but thou shalt be damned in the pre­sence of Christ. Slay them before me, saith Christ; Christ Jesus which is the Saviour of the World, will damne thee, and see thee confoun­ded before his face; he himselfe will see thee in hell: thou mayest cry for mercy, and for the blood of Christ; yet if thou wilt not live as Christ lived, but wilt rebel and sin against Christ, Christ will see thee in hell, and though he look on thee, yet he will destroy thee without mer­cy.

If ever thou beest in Christ, thou must walke as Christ walked; thou must be a Christian like to that good Martyr, who to all demands answe­red that he was a Christian. When they asked him what his name was, he answered it was Christian; his thoughts were Christian, his words and actions Christian; his countrey, his hopes, his aime, all [Page 319] that ever he did, they could get nothing out of him, but all was Christi­an, and so he gave testimony to the Lord Jesus. So I tell thee, thou must be a Christian all over, a Christian in thy thoughts, in thy words, a Christian in thy calling, and in all thy imployments, being swayed by the Gospell of Christ, or else thou art not in Christ.

The third reason is taken from the essentiall, or rather rather from the integrallReason 3. union that is between Christ and all these that are in Christ; they are all members of his most gracious body. Ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular, 1 Cor. 12. 27. now, we know that all the mem­bers have the same life, and are quickened by the same soule: the soule is whole in the whole body, and whole in every member of the body: so if Christ be our head, we are his members, and the christian life of Christ must be diffused thorough us, so that one man cannot be a drunkard, another a worldling, another an Epicure, another a swea­rer, another a whoremaster, another a lyar, another a lukewarme­ling, another a mocker, another a vaine-Jester, another a man-pleaser, and yet be a member of Christ. All the members of Christ must have one life.

As in a mans body, there be veines, arteries, and nerves, that are the channels to convey life, and motion and sense to every member, that all the members may have the same life dispersed through the body. So it is in the body of Christ▪ every member of Christ hath faith for his veines, to convey the same life, and the same spirits, and the same gra­tious motions to all the body, that it is not now the member that lives, but Christ that lives in it. Gal 2. I live not, saith the Apostle, but Christ liveth in me. As in the body, it is not the eye that seeth, if we speak pro­porly, but the man that seeth with the eye: it is not the ear that heareth, but the man that heareth with the ear: so in the body of Christ, it is no more the man that speaketh, but the truth of Christ speaking in him. We have the minde of Christ, saith the Apostle. 1 Cor. 2. 16. if we be in Christ, Christ thinkes in us, Christ speakes in us, Christ walkes in us, Christ doth all in us. As in the same body, the soule rules and quickens every member. The body of Christ cannot be a monster, like those Locusts spoken of, Revel. 9. 7. that had shapes like horses, heads as it were like crownes of gold, and their faces like the faces of a man, and had haire like women, and teeth like Lyons; this is a monster, and not a simple body: such a one cannot the body of Christ be; a mocker for one mem­ber, an ignorant sot for another, an hypocrite for another, a carnall gos­peller for another, a covetous worldling for another.

As in the body of a man, every member in this mans body, must be this mans member, and not the member of another man: As for exam­ple, Peter must have Peters legs, and not Simon Magus his legs: Peter must have Peters eys, not Alexanders eyes: Peter must have Peters hands, and not Judas hands: you cannot take the eye of an Horse, the leg of a Dog, and the paw of a Beare, and put them together, and say heres a man: no, this would be a monster: every perfect body must have its own members.

So it is in the body of Christ: every member in Christ his Body, [Page 320] must have Christ his Members: every member in a mans body acts with reason, so every member of Christ acts with direction of Christ, it is informed by Christ, his minde is quickened by Christ his life: so that a man cannot be a member of Christ, but he must walke as Christ walked.

I know, the best Christian may fall seven times a day, though he be in Christ: it doth not therefore follow that every particular action sa­vours of Christ: but, as every member in the body lives the life of the whole body, or else it is a dead member: so thou must live the life of Christ, or else thou canst never be saved.

You know that all the actions of a man are guided by reason: yet there are some particular actions that he doth, and not by reason: as it may be he shakes his head, or moves his hand, and jogs his foote, and considers not what he doth: they are the actions of a reasonable man, though not reasonable actions: so, there may be many actions that are the actions of Christians though not Christian actions. The sinnes of the godly, they are the actions of a Christian, but they are not Christian actions: there may bee stoppings in the body: though the same life and quickening runnes through the whole body, yet through the stopping of the liver and the pipes, distempers and ill humours may be raised in the body, so it may be in the body of Christ: and so many a Christian may fall through infirmity; but the course of a Christian, the life of a Christian, the ordinary trade of a Christian, the walke of a Christian, is to live with the same spirit that lived in Christ, to walke in the same way that Christ walked in.

The last reason, is taken from the neere relation that is to be betweene Christ and every member of Christ. They are not onely the Servants and Disciples of Christ, but they are the children of Christ, by his be­getting of them. If all that are in Christ, are the children of Christ, they must needs walke as Christ walked. Like begets the like. Indeed a godly man may beget a wicked child, a gracelesse sonne; the reason is because he begets his sonne not as he is a godly man, but as he is a man corrupt by nature with sinne: but Christ begets as he is God, and there­fore as he is without sinne in himselfe, so he never begets any but by an eternall spirit, and therefore they cannot but be like him. Be ye followers of God as dear children. Ephes. 5. 1. The Apostle grounds his exhortation upon a necessity in grace. Consider, if you be the children of God, it can be no otherwise but you must be followers of Christ as dear chil­dren. The begetter communicates himselfe to the begotten: if the be­getter be flesh, he begetteth flesh: so Adam begot a sonne after his own likenesse. That that is born of the flesh is flesh John 3. and is of a fleshly na­ture. That that is borne of the spirit is spirit. If we are begotten again by the Spirit of God, then are we spiritualized of God; so that a man cannot be in Christ, unlesse he be the child of Christ, and walke as Christ walked. Christ was perfect, Christ was mercifull; be you so, saith Christ, Matth. 5. Be you perfect as your Heavenly Father is per­fect; as if he should say, you cannot be the children of your Heavenly [Page 321] Father, unlesse you be perfect as he is perfect, mercifull as he is merci­full, holy as he is holy, righteous as he is righteous, walke as he wal­ked.

Is it so that all that are in Christ, walke as Christ walked? then all wicked men blaspheme the name of Christ, that do not live the life of the Lord Jesus.

These blaspheme the holy and sacred name of Christ. Oh saith one, I hope I am a Christian: yet the man is a drunkard, or a whoremaster, or a gamester, or a worldling, a proud man, a covetous man, What? was Christ a drunkard? was Christ a whoremaster? was Christ a gamester a worldling, proud, covetous? it were blasphemy for any to say so of Christ: and it is also blasphemy for thee who walkest not af­ter the Gospell, to say thou art a Christian. As I am a Christian, saith another: yet the man is a filthy speaker. Was Christ such a one? a swea­rer, &c.? Thou blasphemest the name of Christ. I hope we are all Christians, saith a third; and yet they are men that live in security and prophanesse. What? was there security in Christ? was prophanesse in Christ? Oh, what blasphemie is it for thee to stile thy self by the Name of Christ, to say thou art in Christ? Revel. 2. 9. saith Christ, I know the blasphemy of them that say they are Jews and are not: that say they are the children of Abraham, but doe not the workes of Abraham If a man did blaspheme God to stile himselfe a Jew, or a child of Abraham, that did not the workes of Abraham: what blasphemy then is it for thee to say thou art a Christian, and yet dost not the workes of Christ? could not a man take the name of Abraham, but he did blaspheme, unlesse he did the workes of Abraham? how then durst thou take the name of Christ upon thee, and not doe the workes of Christ, not walk as Christ walked?

Beloved, is any man a Christian? he hath holinesse engraven in his forehead to the Lord, in his heart, in his thoughts, in his words, and in all his wayes: he is one that gaspeth after holinesse.

Art thou a Christian? of all sinnes under Heaven God cannot endure the sinnes of a Christian that hath the name of Christ put upon him. When Gods materiall temple was defiled by buyers and sellers, Christ whippes them out, and after told them that the dayes would come wherein there should not be left of it one stone upon another. God would not endure the Temple because it was dedicated to his name, called his house, when it was made a den of theeves. Doth God care so much for stocks and stones, that are dedicated to his Name, will he not endure an unholy stone, and will he endure an unholy Christian? Thou that art dedicated unto God, and unto his service, thou that art de­dicated to prayer, to hearing, thou that art dedicated to an holy conversation, thou that art called the Temple of God, and the House of God, wilt thou make it a den of theeves, a denne of vain thoughts, a denne of wicked words, of dead and ungodly workes? wilt thou defile the Temple of the Lord? then know, the Lord will not let one stone lie upon another, but will cast thee down, and damne thee body and soule in hell for ever.

[Page 323]Thou sayest thou art a Christian; how so? thou saiest thou wast chri­stened: thy condemnation is the heavier, if thou saiest thou hast been baptized into the Name of Christ, and hast not put on Christ. Examine thy self: hast thou put on Christ? otherwise it is no matter for thy baptism.

Can I say that man hath put on his cloths, that hath not a ragge on his back, nor a shooe on his foote, nor a hatte to his head, nor a ring on his finger? so, when there is never a Christ in thy thoughts, never a Christ in thy speech and conference, never a Christ in thy walke, never a Christ in thy calling, in thy buying and selling, never a Christ shining forth in thy life and conversation, canst thou say thou hast put on the Lord Christ?

Can any man say that a beggar hath put on Royall robes, when he hath nothing but ragges and patches upon him? so, if I see a man with ragged thoughts of the world, with ragged speeches of the flesh, and a ragged course and conversation, according to the course and conversati­on of the world, I can never say that such an one hath put on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Dost thou say thou hast put on Christ? why then, shew me the signs of Christ in thee. Shall I see it by thine apparell? it may be that is ga­rish. Shall I see it by thy speech and conference? it may be that is earth­ly and carnall. Shall I see it by thy thoughts? it may be they are vaine, sinfull, and worldly. Shall I see it by thy company? it may be they are wicked and gracelesse. Shall I see it in thy course and conversation? it may be that is loose and prophane. How canst thou then demonstrate that thou art a Christian? it may be now and then thou wilt give a prai­er unto Christ, turne up the white of thine eye to Christ, it may be thou wilt look into the Church, and lend an eare to Christ in his word. Is this to be in Christ? if thou be in Christ, then thou must live the life of Christ in all thy wayes.

The life of a man is a continued thing. A man is not alive at his din­ner, and dead when he hath done: alive at his work, and dead when his work is done: so it is not enough for thee to prove that thou art in Christ, that thou art alive at prayer, or at preaching: life is a continued thing: thou must be alive after prayer as well as before, alive after Ser­mon as whilest thou art at it; if thou hast the life of Christ in thee, it is a standing life: it will not make thee alive at prayer, and dead when thou hast done: it will not make thee holy and Spirituall at a Sermon, and leave thee dead and carnall when it is done: not holy and heavenly in discourse and conference, and worldly and prophane when it is done: not to be holy and lively &c. in a good moode: and leave thee dead-hearted, secure and loose afterwards; this is not to be in Christ; no, the life of Christ is a standing and a continuing life: it will make thee alive af­ter all thy services; after every duty, as thou wast before or in the duty.

He that saith he abideth in him, &c.

In this word He; there are three Notes.

a note

  • Of Indignation
  • Discrimination.
  • Scrutiny.

[Page 322]First Indignation. The Apostle doth as it were point at a certain man in his congregation, as if there had been some m [...]n that he knew was not in Christ. What man soever, whether in this pewe, or in that pewe, whether on this forme, or on that forme, if he abide in Christ, he ought to walke as Christ walked.

Hence observe, That a Minister is bound to preach home in particular, so that he may summon this man and that man in the Church, as the A­postle doth here; (he that saith) if there be any one amongst the whole multitude, that saith he abideth in Christ, he ought also himself to walke as he walked. And this commission God gives unto all his ministers: Mark 16. 15. Go preach the Gospell to every creature: he doth not say preach the Gospell before every creature: so they may doe, and preach in generall: but to every creature, that every creature may feele the Go­spell bearing on his heart, that every creature may see his sins, that so the Gospell may be applyed to his heart.

All the names given to Ministers, shew thus much. They are called Seeds men; now a Seeds man doth not take a whole croppe, or a whole bushel of corne and throw it in a heap in his field; but he takes it and scatters it abroad that every place may receive some.

So, they are called Builders; now, a builder doth not onely frame the whole building, but he layes every particular bricke, and every particu­lar stone in his building.

So, they are called Shepheards; a Shepheard doth not onely looke to his flocke in generall, but to every Ramme, and to every Lamb in his flocke.

So, Preachers must not onely preach the word of God in generall, but they must preach in particular.

The ground of this will appear, if we consider three things in parti­cular.

First, particulars are most operative; it is not fire in generall, that burns,Universalia non operantur. but tis this or that fire, so it is not sinne in generall that will humble a man: it is not repentance in generall that wil turne a man: it is not faith in generall that will save a man: but, this fi [...]ne and that sin: this repentance and that repentance: this faith and that faith.

All actions they are of singulars. An universall man cannot reason, an u­niversall man cannot dispute, an universall man cannot see, nor hear. No, it is this man, and that man that seeth and hears, and disputes. Parti­culars are most operative: preaching to men in particular, is powerfull preaching: that workes upon mens consciences. How came the Pro­phet to preach powerfully to the people? He declared to Jacob his sinne, and to Israel his transgression, Micha 3. 8. I am full of power by the Spirit of the Lord, saith the Prophet; here was the way whereby the Prophet preached powerfully; so that the Spirit went and rent mens hearts and consciences, and made them tremble; how? why he made every soule see his sinnes: so, that Minister that would preach powerfully to the consciences of his people, he must make every one of them to see their sinnes against God, and his commandements, so that they may con­fesse, I see I have been a grievons sinner, and I am in the state of dam­nation: [Page 324] and I must repent, or else I shall be damned.

Secondly, particulars are most distinct; when the preacher preacheth 2 only in generall, it workes a confused knowledge, knowledge of sinne in generall: a confused repenta nce, a confused humiliation, and a confused faith in the generall; it may be, it may make a man see he is a sinner in the generall: but there are many thousand thousand sinnes in particular that he takes no notice of, but swallows them down in the generall: it may be his sinnes may be discovered in the generall: but alas, there are many, yea multitudes of deceits, of turnings and win­dings of the heart in particular, that are never discovered to them. All the religion of these men, is only generall: I love God with all my heart, sai [...]thone: and yet the man is grossely ignorant of God. Aske him any particulars, how he can prove his love to God, and the man cannot shew any. So, I serve God with all my heart: but goe to par­ticulars, and bid him manifest what he speakes; so, I feare God, I worship God: but bring them to the particular workes of these graces, and they aregone presently, they are lost, and know not what to an­swer.

Thus the people in Malachies time, they thought they had much knowledge while the Priest preached thus overly to them; but when the Prophet came to preach home, and to come with particulars to them, they thought the Prophet was madde, they knew not what he meant. You have despised the Lord, saith the Prophet; wherein? say they: Mal. 1. 6. You have prophaned the worship of God, You have polluted the table of the Lord, saith the Prophet: ver. 7. wherein? said they. You have wearied the Lord with your words, said the Prophet Chap. 2. ver. 17. wherein? said they. You have robbed God, Chap. 3. ver. 8. wherein? said they. See, your words have been stoute against the Lord, said the Prophet; yet they said, what have we spoken? ver. 13. they could not tell wherein, till the Prophet told them, herein have you robbed God, herein have you despised the Lord, herein you have prophaned the worship of God, &c.

So, should the minister of God come to men, and tell them in parti­cular, thou art an enemy to Gods grace, thou hast abused Gods pati­ence; wherein? sayest thou. Thou art one that scornest the word of God, and thou defilest all the Ordinances of God. Wherein? sayest thou. Thou art one that putst farre from thee the evill day, wherein? sayest thou.

Now, when the minister of God can come to particulars, and shew men wherein; then they cry out against them, and think they tell them lies, and preach false things to them: but the Ministers of God are bound to preach so as they may discover mens particular sinnes, not so as people may point one at another, but so as every conscience may feele its owne sinnes.

Thirdly particulars are most sensible. If the Minister preach home in particular, there is not a false heart then in the congregation, but he will find it out; if he preach in particular, he will discover every mans cor­ruption, fling wilde fire in every wicked mans face, and throw [Page 325] balme of comfort into every godly troubled spirit.

As King James said well of a reverend Prelate of this Land, Me thinks this man preacheth of death as if death were at my back; so should Ministers preach, as if Heaven were at mens backes, or as if hell were at mens backes. When he preacheth of mens sinnes and corruptions, he must preach so that their consciences may see that the word of God looks in­to the very thoughts and hearts; when he preacheth of the wrath of God, and of condemnation &c. he must preach so, that the conscience may feele even the fire of hell flaming in it; this is the way to teach the peo­ple the good knowledge of the Lord, as it is called, 2 Chron. 30. 22. every Minister may teach the knowledge of the Lord, but not the good know­ledge of the Lord.

There is great difference between teaching of the knowledge, and of the good knowledge of the Lord. Men may know God and his word, and their sinnes: but if they go on in their sins, it is not good knowledge: then indeed a Minister teacheth good knowledge when he makes his people so to know sin as to loath it, and to come out of it; so to know repentance as to repent indeed.

Secondly, Discrimination. As if he should say, there are some that are 2 in him, and some that are not in him: if any man say he abideth in him, he ought himselfe to walk even as he walked: so that here the Apostle would put a difference between the sound and the rotten-hearted in his congregation.

Hence observe this point, That every Minister is bound to preach so, asDoctrine 2. to make a difference between the precious and the vile.

Saint John preached so as that his hearers might say, the Spirit of Christ is in me: or, the Spirit of Christ is not in me: that themselves might know whether indeed they were true members of Christ, or but hypocrites. This is the duty of Ministers: Ezek 44. 23. They shall teach my people the difference between the holy and prophane, and cause men to dis­cerne between the cleane and unclean.

Here is two things.

First they shall teach them the difference between the holy and pro­phane.

Secondly, they shall not onely shew it before them: but if they will not see it, they shall cause them to see it; that is, they must beat it into them, and rubbe it into their consciences; it may be when men may see, they will not: then, he must make them to see. If there be any prophane per­son, any luke warme or dead-hearted professor, or close hypocrite in the congregation, the Minister must make him see his prophanesse, his deadnesse, and hypocrisie in Gods worship: or if there be any godly soule, or broken heart, the Minister must make them to see that they have a broken heart.

First reason, because else, a man defiles the pulpit, and prophanes the holyReason 1. things of God. Ezek. 22. 26. Her Priests have violated my law, and pro­phaned my holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and pro­phane, neither have they shewed difference between the cleane and unclean. Those Ministers prophane the holy place of God, when they make not [Page 326] mens consciences know which is holy and prophane; when prophane persons may come and go from Church, and have not their prophane­nesse discovered to them; a drunkard, a swearer &c. and hath not his sinnes laid open to him. Is there any prophane person here, that hath not an arrow shot into his heart, but he can goe away and not take any comfort from the Sermon? these men prophane the holy things of God.

When God gave Benhadad into the hands of Ahab, and Ahab spared him, and let him goe. 1 King. 20. the Prophet tells Ahab ver. 42. Thus saith the Lord, because thou hast let goe a man whom I appointed to utter de­struction, therefore thy life shall go for his life, &c: so, if there be any Minister over any congregation, in which there is any drunkard, any swearer, or whoremaster, or wordling, or lukewarmling, or any o­ther that lives in such sinnes, which God hath apointed and decreed to eternal destruction in hell; if we tell them not their sinnes, and make their consciences feele them, then our life shall goe for their life, our soule for their soule: for we might have given them such a wound as might have been a means to have cured their soule.

Secondly, We are not the Ministers of Christ, if we preach not so as thatReason 2. men may know that they are not converted, if they are not &c. God saith to to the Prophet Jeremiah, if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth, Jer. 15. 19. Jeremiah could not be Gods mouth to the people, unlesse he would divide between the precious and the vile. Unlesse Ministers preach so as to make the consciences of their hearers feele in what state they live in, they may be Ministers of Satan, Idoll­shepheards, but they are not the Ministers of Christ.Reason 3.

Thirdly, because otherwise they can doe no good: Ezek. 34. 17. and as for you O my flock, thus saith the Lord God, behold I will judge between cattell and cattell, &c. As if he should say, woe unto the shepheards; will they not preach so as to make a difference between cattell and cattell? woe unto the Priests; will they not preach so as to feede my flocke? I will require my flocke at their hands: and now saith God, will not the shep­heards of my people doe it? I will now doe it my selfe, I will convert those that are to be converted &c. I will feed and provide for my flock my selfe.

Austin notes, that after that Peter had smote off Malchus his eare, Peter came to be a shepheard, and an Apostle of Christ, after Paul had perse­cuted the Church, he came to be a Preacher, and an Apostle of Christ: so after Moses had killed the Egyptian, God made him the Captain and deliverer of his people. Austin observes from this, that God appoints none for his Ministers, but Smiters, such as be men of blows, men that will smite men home to the heart, men that wil wound the consciences of their hearers.

This I speak that you may not be offended at the ministers of Christ, when they apply the word of God to your severall consciences: and whensoever you have the truth of Christ preached to your soules, let your hearts make use of it; for if thou apply not the word of God to thy soule as it is preached, thou art guilty of thine own bloud. If you apply [Page 327] not the word, you put off the word of God; and then, what saith the Apostle? Acts 13. 46. It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but, seeing you put it farre from you, and judge your selves unworthy of everlasting life &c.

You that have heard the word of God, apply it to your soules, it is a blessed plaister: let it lie on your soules: go home and say, Lord, I have been told of this and that sinne, of my pride, hypocrisie, deadnesse, and distra­ction in thy worship and service, &c. I see they are against thy will, and thou commandest me to come out of them, and to leave them; Lord, I beseech thee inable me to leave them all; so, Lord, I have been told this day of such and such graces, which thou hast commanded me for to have, of such and such duties that thou wouldest have me to take up and performe; Lord, subject my heart to the power of grace, and to every commandement of thy word.

Take heed, if thou doest put off the word of God or any tittle of the word, and wilt not walke according to the same, thou puttest off eternall life from thy selfe. Doe therefore as Gods people did, who when Moses had preached the Law and Will of God to them, it is said▪ Exod. 12. 50. Thus did all the Children of Israel as the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they. So doe you goe home and apply the word to your soules, it was spoken for your good, make use of it, and the Lord be with you.

Thirdly, Scrutiny, it is not onely an outward word, but a word of the 3 heart: if any man say, that is, if any man think, that he is in Christ, he ought to walke as Christ did. Hence we might observe, That a Minister is bound to preach to mens thoughts. But time cuts us off.

THE ENMITIE OF THE W …

THE ENMITIE OF THE WICKED, To the light of the GOSPEL. In a SERMON By WILLIAM FENNER, Minister of the Gospel, sometimes Fellow of Pembroke Hall in Cambridge, and late Lecturer of Rochford in Essex.

London, Printed by E. T. for John Stafford.

THE ENMITY OF THE WICKED, To the light of the GOSPEL.

JOHN 3. VER. 20.‘For every man that doth evill, hateth the light, neither cometh he to the light, least his deeds should be reproved.’

THis is part of Christ his parly with Nicodemus concerning regeneration: wherein our Saviour doth declare four main points,

The first is, Mans naturall estate and condition without Christ. It is impossible that ever he should be saved, that ever he should get grace or come within the list of eternall life. Christ saith it, and bindeth it with an oath: ver. 3. Verily, Verily, I say unto thee, except a man be borne again, he cannot see the Kingdome of God: much lesse inherit it.

Secondly, here is Gods gracious provision which he hath taken with the world, that though man were in a way of damnation, invincibly; yet now he is put in a way of probability of salvation: ver. 16. though he were damnable by nature, yet now he is salvable by Christ.

[Page 332]Thirdly, here is a general proclamation upon the condition of faith, that this salvability may be attained, if a man believe. In the same verse, God so loved the world, that he gave his onely begotten Sonne, that whosoever beleeveth in him, &c. It is a condition of faith, put to all, none excepted. Whosoever he be that beleeveth in Christ, he shall be saved.

Fourthly, here is the reprobation of the world, he that beleeveth not, is 4 condemned already. The cause whereof cannot be cast on Christ, for, God hath not sent his Son to condemne the world, but that the world through him might be saved: It was Christs primary purpose, and the first end of his coming, to save the world: it is an accidentall end, or rather an e­vent of his coming, that the world is condemned. Christ is not the cause of it: he is not the efficient cause, for he is a Saviour: nor the deficient cause, for he is a sufficient Saviour.

That the cause of their condemnation, is from themselves, and not from Christ: is proved by three arguments,

First, from their own consciences: he that beleeveth not, is condemned 1 already. He cannot here speake of the condemnation of hell, for he is not in hell already. But he speakes of an apprehensuall condemnation in their own consciences: as Chrysostome observes, he meanes the condem­nation of their own consciences; he that beleeves not, his conscience tells him that it is his fault that he beleeveth not: though it be not in his power to be beleeve, yet God hath gone so farre, he hath so farre strug­led with mens consciences, that there is no default on his part: They cannot excuse themselves, saying, I have no power to beleeve: their own consciences will tell them that God hath knocked at their hearts, and offered them power to beleeve, but they rejected it. They cannot say, I know not how to beleeve; his own conscience will tell him that God hath offered instruction to him, whereby he might have been taught, but that he refused it: so that he that beleeves not, is condemned already; his own conscience riseth within him, and tells him that it is his own fault that he doth not.

Secondly, it is proved by experience; experience shews that men are 2 the cause of their own condemnation. verse 19. This is the condemnation that light is come into the world, but men loved darknesse rather then light; the meaning of it, is this, This is the cause of condemnation to the world; not Gods predestination, not their fatall destiny, not their breach of the first covenant, nor any other impiety, but this sinne of Infide­lity.

If the world stood guilty of never so many sinnes: yet, if it did beleeve in the Lord Jesus, it should be saved. So that it is not all the other sinnes that a man commits, that damnes him: but his infidelity that layes all his former sinnes that ever he committed upon him; here is con­demnation, that though light be come into the world, to pull men out of their darknesse, and sinnes; yea though Christ, though grace come to them, yet they will not come out of their sinnes; men will not have Christ, men will not have grace, men love darknesse rather then light.

[Page 333]Thirdly, It is proved by reason, verse 20. the verse now read unto you,3 For, every man that doth evil, hateth the light: neither cometh to the light, least his deeds should be reproved.

It is a strong argument to prove that if men be damned, themselves are the cause of it: for if light come into the world to instruct men, if Christ come into the world to pluck men out of their sins, if Christ come with his bloud and spirit to cleanse and sanctifie men, and men will not be san­ctified: Then, if they perish in their sins, they are justly guilty of their own condemnation.

The words comprehend in them two things.1

First, the wickeds rejection of the word of grace: which is set forth both positively, he hates the light: and then privatively or rather negatively, nei­ther cometh to the light.

Secondly, the cause of the wickeds rejection of the word of grace: which is 2 twofold.

First, the qualification of his person, he doth evill.

Secondly, the disposition of his male partnesse, that cannot indure to be reproved.

From the first of these, we observe this.

That a wicked man hates the word of God grace yea he doth not onely hateDoctrine. the word of Gods grace, but he hates grace it felfe: he doth not onely hate the Lanthorne that beareth the light, but he hates the light it selfe.

I choose not to stand to shew you how the word is called a light: but that which I take to be more necessary for this place, I will first shew you what this hatred of the word of grace and of grace it self is, and I thus define it,

It is an actual affection of the heart, whereby a man riseth up against an uni­on with that which seems to be opposite and contrary to his lust.

So that there be foure things in a wicked mans hatred of the word.

First, it is an actuall hatred: for there is an habituall hatred of the word,1 even in them that never heard the word; they doe not actually hate it, because they never had it; but they would hate it, if they had it; as sore eys hate the light of the Sunne even when it is down; for if they had it, they would twinckle at it. Thus all wicked men hate the word, and may be condemned for despisers of the word, though they doe not actually hate it, because they have it not; yet habitually they hate it; they would hate it if they had it. I speak not of this hatred, but of that which is actuall hatred, whereby though they have the word, yet they hare to be controled, and reformed by the word: Prov. 1. 22. O ye fooles, how long will ye hate knowledge?

Secondly, it is a passion of the heart, and so I distinguish it: for I know 2 a wicked man may love the word of God with his understanding and conscience; his understanding may love the word and say it is good; his conscience may love the word and say it is gratious; yet if he cuts not off his sinnes for the word, he hates it. Psal. 119. 70. Their heart is as fat as grease, but my delight is in thy law; as if he should say, my heart is a leane heart, an hungrie heart, my soule delighteth and [Page 334] rejoyceth in and loveth thy word: I have nothing else to fill it but thy word, and the comforts I have from it: but their hearts are as fat as grease, their hearts are fat hearts, fat with the world, far with lust, they hate the word.

As a full stomack loatheth meat and cannot digest it: so wicked men hate the word, it will not go down with them, it will not fetch up their lusts.

If thou partest not with thy sinnes, thy heart hateth the word: yet thou thinkest thou lovest the word: thou sayest thou lovest to hear the word, and thou lovest good Ministers, and good discourses, &c. it may be that this is nothing but the assent of thine understanding, and the ap­probation of thy conscience, and so a man may love the word in his understanding and conscience, and yet be a hater of the word of God.

The Devills have attained to so much divinity as this; they like the word in their understandings, and assent to the truth of it in their consciences; but though their understandings and consciences tell them that it is a good word, yet they hate it. This is a damnable and a most unnaturall hatred.

Indeed if a mans mind and conscience were against the word, it were naturall for him to hate it: it is naturall for a man to hate that which is against his mind: but when thy conscience shall tell thee, this is the word and the will of the Eternall God; and thy conscience shall tell thee, that it is a most true word, a righteous, a just, an holy commande­ment that commands thee to serve thy God onely, and so to part with all thy sinnes; if yet thou wilt not obey, but goe contrary to his word, thy hatred it is unnaturall and divelish. As it was said of Agrippa his dogge, he had a divell tyed to his collar: of another that he had a divell signed on his swords pummell: so I may say to every one that hates the word and to be ruled by it, and yet knowes it in his own understan­ding and conscience to be a true and good word; I may say, it is a divelish Hatred, and he hath a divell tyed to his heart, a divell in his heart.

Thirdly, this hatred is that whereby the heart riseth up against an union 3 with the word: hatred is a shunning of an union with a thing. A man doth not hate any evill naturally, but he hates an union with it. A man doth not hate poison it selfe, he hates no poison in a toade: let it be there as much as it will, he cares not; so the shepheard, be hates not the wolfe in the Forrest, but in the Flock. A wicked man hates not the word so long as it keeps within it self; he loves Epistles and Gospells, the first and second lesson so long as the word keeps in the Scriptures, he likes it; but if the word begin to take union with him, if the word begin to plucke sin from him, to pull his cupps from him, to pluck his pleasures and delights from him, and his lusts from him, then he hates the word, when it comes in this union to his heart.

I put this union of the word in opposition to foure things.

First against generall preaching; a wicked man loves generall preach­ing,1 though it be of all the truthes in the Bible while they take no union [Page 335] with his heart; he may heare a thousand Sermons and like them all well enough; so long as the word closeth not in with a mans con­science, so long as it grapples not with his heart, so long he may love and like it. But let the word come in particulars to him, and tell him, this is thy sinne, and thou must to hell for it, if thou givest it not o­ver: this hath been an old lust of thine which will be thy bane, if thou repent not: This thy old corruption, it will be thy breake-necke, if thou part not with it: if the word come in this union with his soule then he hates it.

So long as Iohn Baptist tooke his text, and dwelt on the reasons, and went no further, Herod heard him gladly: but when Iohn came to his use to apply it, and told him in particular, this reproves thee Herod, and all the evills that ever thou hast done, and in particular for thine un­lawfull marriage with thy brother Philips wife: when Iohn came thus, then Herod claps him up in prison; before he heard him with joy and gladnesse: but when he comes close to his conscience, and tells him that his marriage would condemne him, and his other sinnes would damn him, if he repented not; Herod cannot endure this preaching any longer.

Secondly, in opposition to mercifull preaching. A wicked man loves mercifull Preaching; why? it takes no union with his heart, it is like a Plaister that will never sticke. A mercifull Ser­mon can never sticke on a prophane heart; it is likened to a greasie paper that will never fasten, so mercifull Sermons, they will never fasten on his heart, they cannot take away his sinnes from him.

Ahab he loved his foure hundred meale-mouthed mercifull Preach­ers well enough; but when Micaiah came to him, O, I hate him, for he never Prophesieth good unto me but evill, he is alwayes upon hell-strings, he is alwayes preaching judgement unto me: I cannot claw off one of his Sermons in a moneth scarce, I cannot catch hold on any of his Points to comfort my heart; there is not one sentence in all his Sermons to re­fresh my conscience, he never prophesieth good unto me but evill; I hate him.

When a Minister comes to the conscience of a man, and tells him this is the truth of God, and this is thy sinne and damnation, and makes his Sermons sticke as a burre on his conscience, and as an arrow shot into his bowells, his heart riseth against it, and he cannot endure it.

Thirdly, in opposition to preaching, when the Minister is dead. A wicked man loves the word when he that preacheth it is dead. Why? then there is none to urge a union of the word with his conscience. A wicked man loves to read Saint Paul, Saint Peter and Saint Iohn, &c. why? these men are not alive to urge a union of the word with their conscien­ces; but if Saint Paul, or Saint Peter, &c. were alive to tell them, if this be the word of God, then thou art a damned man, if thou doest not obey it, if this be a grace, then thou art a cursed man, if thou have it not: if these men were alive now, their Sermons would cut to the quicke. So [Page 336] when the Ministers are dead, men love to buy their bookes; and to read their Sermons.

Now Master Perkins is dead, all the world honours him, and men buy up his bookes; but when he was alive, the drunkards made ballads of him, and profane Belials would make songs of him: why? they could not endure this union of the word. If the Minister be by, he cannot be drunk, but the Minister will preach condemnation to him for it, if he re­pent not▪ he cannot swear, or lie, or deceive, but the Minister will tell him that this will be a core to his conscience another day. Men cannot endure this. Saint Paul and Saint Peter, &c. being dead they like well enough, but if they were alive, they would hate them: why? they can­not endure an union with the word.

This was the religion of the Scribes and Pharisees: Matth. 23. 29, 30. they built the [...]ombes of the Prophets, and garnished the Sepulchres of the righteous, and said if they had lived in the daies of their fathers, they would not have been partakers with them in the bloud of the Pro­phets. You are the children of those men that killed the Prophets, saith Christ: ver. 31. Are not you the children of those men? doe not you do those sins which the Prophets cried out against, and for which the Prophets denounced such fearfull judgements upon them? I tell you if the Prophets were now alive, they would [...]ie hell and damnation, to you: if the Prophets were now alive, and did see those sinnes you com­mit, they would denounce woe and vengeance to you as they did to their fathers.

Oh saith one, if I had lived in the Jews time, I would never have op­posed Christ and his Apostles, I would have kissed the very ground that they trod on; then, wretch why doest thou not doe that which these men preached? look in the writings of these holy men, of Paul, of Peter, &c. Dost thou do that which Paul and Peter have wrote thou shouldest doe? dost thou look in their writings, and not obey what they have wrote? I tell thee, if Peter and Paul were alive, they would tell thee thou shouldest be damned, if thou repentest not: if John and Iames were alive, they would tell thee, that the wrath of God will take hold on thee, if thou yeeld not obedience to that word they preached to thee.

If Paul were alive he should have many a Tertullus to oppose him: if Iohn were alive, he should have many a Herod to imprison him: if Amos were alive, hee should have many an Amaziah to banish him and to silence him; but now they are dead, men can like them well e­nough.

A righteous man in the way, is an abomination to the wicked. Prov. 29. 27. he doth not say an upright man when he is dead, is an abomination to the wicked: for when he is dead, they may praise him, and love him, and love to have his picture amongst them: then they will speake well of him, and commend him. I speake that, because I would not be mis­construed.

Let a man be a godly man indeed, a Saint indeed, as long as he lives, the men of the world will hate him: I have chosen you out of the world, [Page 337] faith Christ, and therefore the world hates you, &c.

It hath been an old haunt and custome of the world to hate and ma­ligne the righteous, to reproach them, to call them Puritans, &c, though very heathens have acknowledged that there is no religion without pu­rity. Cicero, Horate, and others describing a man that is religious, say that he is an intire man, a man pure from sin.

If any man will not beleeve it, let him trie it: let him be holy and gra­tious, and shew forth the power of religion in his life, let him contemne the world, &c. and see whether wicked men will not hate him, re­proach and disgrace him what they can not as if a godly man could not be godly and religious, unlesse he be hated and reproached by the world: for it may be

First, when a man that is truly religious and godly, is a great man, and all the countrey are loth to lose his favour, or to purchase his ill will▪ then he may be free from hate and reproach.

Secondly, when he is a man of admirable wit and knowledge, that the world admires him for his learning, and for his understanding, and for his parts: such a one men will rather admire then revile.

Thirdly, it may so be that God may give a godly man favour in the eyes of the world: howsoever the world would hate, and reproach them, yet God may so strike their consciences that they cannot doe it. Other­wise, a godly man, especially if he be such a one by whose godlinesse and purity a wicked man is judged and condemned in his conscience for his ungodlinesse and prophanenesse, the wicked will hate him.

Lastly, I put it in opposition to now and then preaching: a wicked man loves preaching, though never so sharp and terrible, so it come but now and then: if the Minister preach never so powerfully never so terribly, if it give him a reproof and away, so it doth not stand digging in his con­science, and ga [...]ling his heart day by day; let the minister en [...]er a reproof into his heart againe, so it be but once or twice, he cares not. Why? he thinks he can recover himself again from it: but let the word of God come into him, and gall his conscience continually, that every Sabbath he is convicted for a condemned man if he live not otherwise: every Sermon the Minister finds him out in his closest and dearest sinnes; he can never goe to Church, but he heares the Minister reprooving him for some sinne or other, telling him that he must to hell for them unlesse he repent, and leade a new life; thus when the word followes him every Sabbath that he hath no breathing time to recover his lust; this makes him to hate the word.

Amos 7. The Prophet preaching the word of the Lord, and denoun­cing the Judgements of God to the people for their sins, Amaziah oppo­seth him ver. 12. and saith unto Amos, O thou Seer, goe flye thee away in­to the Land of Judah, and there eate bread and prophesie there, but prophesie not again any more at Bethell, for it is the Kings Chappel, and it is the Kings Court. He could like it well enough that Amos should prophesie once or twice: but if he did prophesie any more, he should spoile all thei [...] [...]th, he should gall all their consciences; go, saith he, prophesie in Ju­dah, and eate thy bread there. Amos should prophesie where he would, so [Page 338] it were not there; he might eat his bread where he would, so it were not there.

Lastly, as it is an actuall affection of the heart, whereby the heart ri­seth up against an union: so in the last place, it is against that that is dis­sonant and repugnant to his lust. For, as love is the consonancy of the af­fection to a thing that hath agreement therewith: so hatred must needs be dissonancy of affection to a thing that is repugnant and contrary to it. So, a wicked man he hates the word, because it disagrees and jarres with his lust. Indeed a wicked man may love the word so long as it oppo­seth not against his lust. Therefore a wicked man may love three kinds of preaching.

First, Quaint preaching that savours more of humanity then of divinity.1 As long as the Minister commeth with dainty phrases, acute stories, eloquent allusions, and fine transitions, they will like it well enough: it jarres not with their lust; and therefore you shall heare them when they come from Church, commend him, O he was a fine spokes man, a wir­ty scholar: what a learned and excellent Sermon did he make to day? so farre as the word opposeth not his lust, a man may love preach­ing.

The people they did love to hear Ezeki l preach, they did love to hear his pleasant words.

The Babylonians they did love to hear Davids songs: it was fine melody to them, though they hated the sense; so the Phylistins they did love to hear Sampson speak, they knew he was a witty man, and could speake fine riddles to them, but they hated his religion: so the people they did love to hear Christ preach, and would flock after him, they did, wonder at his authority, &c. yet they hated his doctrine, for they cried, crucifie him, crucifie him; so if a Minister speake onely of witte, lear­ning and memory, &c. a wicked man will love it, it opposeth not his lust.

Secondly, they may love Impertinent preaching: when though it be 2 never so pertinent to some in the Church, yet if it be not pertineut to him, he loves that. As the drunkard, loves to hear the Minister preach against hypocrisie, though never so sharply; The prodigall person loves to hear the Minister preach against covetousnesse. But if the word come to strike him under his fifth ribbe, to discover his corruptions, and the plagues of God due to him for his sinnes, then he hates it.

Thirdly, he may love preaching in [...]anto though not in toto; he may love 3 so, or so much preaching, but not preaching altogether. A wicked mans con­science tells him that he must have some religion, that he must per­forme some service to God: and therefore so long as the Minister onely calls for some preaching, some hearing, and some serving of God, why, his conscience calls for so much.

The vilest drunkard, and blasphemer, and swearer that is, will be content to hear of calling upon the Lord Jesus at his death: the vilest whoremaster, and prophane person, the earthly worlding, &c. will yeeld to some preaching, and to some hearing, and to some reading: why, otherwise their consciences would not be at quiet, but would be as [Page 339] the divells band-dogge, bawling and houting at him. But if the Mi­nister call for more religion then his lust will suffer, for more reli­gion then will subsist with his security, deadnesse, lukewarmnesse, hypocrisie, worldlinesse, that he cannot yeeld to, and [...]e [...]aine them: then he thinks there is too much of it, then he hates it, and cannot en­dure it.

Thus you see, that wicked men hate the word of God, I set it forth by three instances; Rom. 1. 30. Haters of God. They did not hate his being and essence, his goodnesse and mercy, but they hated him as he was a Lawgiver. The devils hate not God as he is God and hath a being, but they hate him as he is a Lawgiver and as he is their Judge: they cannot endure to be called by this God; to be controuled and judged by him. Thus was it with the Colossians, before they were converted: they were enemies to God, Col. 1. 21. Our Saviour takes away the whole doubt, and speakes it peremptorily and generally of all the world, they hated me; the whole world so long as they live in their sins, hate Christ, and hate his word.

First, a wicked man hates the word, because he hates the truth and the being of the word: he is sorry that the word of God is true, he would be glad that the Scripture might prove false: that things may not be as the word of God saith they are; he hates the being of the word. A man loves the being of that which he loves, and he hates the being of that which he hates; and were it in his power, he would destroy it. Now, though a wicked man cannot destroy the Bible from being in it self, yet he will destroy the Bible from being in his life.

For, beloved, the word of God should not onely be in the Bible, but the Bible should be in a mans life. A mans life should he a walking Bible: but a wicked man destroyes the Bible from being in his life. A civill man would be glad that Aristotles Ethicks were the Bible. A worldly man would be glad that the Book of Statutes were the Bible; he is sorry that that is the Bible which indeed is the Bible.

The young man that came to Christ, though he loved eternall life, and said that he loved the Commandements of God, yet when our Sa­viour told him one thing is wanting goe and sell all that thou hast, and giveMatth. 19. it to the poor, saith the text of him, he went away sorrowfull; as if he should say he was sorry that there was any such truth in the Scripture: he would have been glad that there had been no such text in the word of God.

The Prophets prophesie falsely, and my people love to have it so. Jer. 5. 31. they hated to have it so as the word would have it. But, when the false Prophets told them it was otherwise, O, they loved that.

Beloved▪ the men of the world would be glad that God would make another Bible, that drunkards and whoremasters might be saved: ano­ther Bible; that earthwormes and worldlings and proud persons might be saved. If God would raine down a new Bible, another Bible, I feare there are many thousands among us, that now say they love the Bible▪ yet would love to heare of it, and come from all places to seek af­ter [Page 340] it, after another Bible that would shew the way to heaven a little wi­der; men are loth to heare of so much holinesse; so much precisenesse, they love not to be beaten on that string, a signe that they hate it.

Can a man that is nothing but flesh and bloud, love the text of Saint Paul that flesh and bloud cannot inherit the Kingdome of God 1 Cor. 15. 50? Can an old filthy sinner love that text of Isaiah, An old sinner though he be an hundred years old shall be accursed, I saiah 65. 20? Can a Usurer love the 15. Psalme? Can a luke warmling love Rev 3. 16? no, he would be glad there were no such truth in the word, and therefore he hates it. Rom. 8. 7. A wicked man is such an enemy to the word, that all the Ministers in England cannot reconcile him to it.

Secondly, wicked men hate the word, because they doe hate the nature of the word. If men did love the word of God, they would will what the word of God wills, and nill what the word of God nills. It is a good proverbe amongst us, It is the property of lovers to will and nill the same things.

If men did love the word, then look what the word saith, they would doe: what the word commands them, they would obey. If men did love the word, they would comform their hearts and lives to the rules of the word. But the carnall mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. Rom. 8. 7.

A wicked man hates the law of God; why? the heart of a wicked man conceives the word of God to be against him: he cannot think a thought but the word is against it, he cannot speake a word, but the word of God is against it, he cannot pray his dead-hearted prayers, but the word of God is against him, &c. And as the word of God is against him, so his heart is against the word: he is of one mind, the word of ano­ther: he is of one minde, and the word of the cleane contrary mind against him.

Lastly, as a wicked man hates the being of the word, and the nature of the word in it selfe, so he hates the being of it in his understanding; he cannot abide the knowledge of the word: therefore they say unto God, depart from us, we desire not the knowledge of thy wayes. Job. 21. 14.

A wicked man would faine keep this and that lust: he is loth to depart with his old corruptions, his old sinnes; he hath lived in them so long, that he is loth to part with his old friends; he would faine goe on in his lust, and therefore he hates the knowledge of the word that would strippe him of his lust, saith Aquinas. Now he cannot be free for his sinnes, and be curbed by the knowledge of the word.

I will tell you, once it was my hap to preach a Sermon two or three hundred miles from this place, and when Sermon was done, I heard a man say, O what a beast was I to come to this Sermon, what a beast was I to come to it?

When the word of God comes to men, and tells them that their state is damnable if they live in their sins, when the word of God comes to the heart, many are sorry that they ever heard the word of God, that ever the word made such [...]hing known to them.

[Page 341]The drunkard, the wanton, the Usurer, and the worldling, how glad would they be that the Minister could prove by the word of God, that these sins were lawful, that usury were lawful, that covetousnesse were lawful? &c. But when the word goes flat against them, then they cannot endure that word: why? their conscience begins to pen them in, it puts their hearts in the stocks, as it were, they cannot have freedome in the pursuite of their lusts and sinnes: an evident signe that men hate the word.

Austin saith of a wicked man, He loves the truth shing, but he hates the truth reproving. As much of the word as you will, to make him skillfull in knowing: but he hates the word every dramme of it, checking and re­buking, girding and controuling him for his sins.

Beloved, what is all our preaching? doth it not shew that men hate the word? need any goe to the field and exhort the Husbandman to plough and sow his ground? need we goe to your houses to perswade men to feed, to eate and drink, and to cloath themselves? need we goe to the Alehouse and perswade the drunkard to drink, the swearer to sweare, the gamester to play? no; men love their backes, and their bel­lies, men love their profits and their pleasures, men love their lusts and sinnes. But they must be exhorted and intreated, and com­manded to obey, and to love the word of God, and all little e­nough.

Hence then is a reproofe to all the wicked amongst us. O beloved, itUse. is too true that abundance of us doe hate the light. Did we not hate the light, we would have shaken all our hands of our sinnes sheere ere now; did we not hate the light, we would have crucified our anger, and our wrath, and our pride ere now; we would have subdued our secu­rity, and our selfe-love, and our lukewarmnesse in good duties: did we not hate the light, we had all been children of the light ere now. Plato saith, He loves that hath a similitude of that he loves: but we have not a similitude and a likenesse of the light, and therefore we doe not love it.

Beloved, let me come a little neerer, and convince all that heare me of this point.

They must needs be said to hate one another whom no intreaties nor beseeches 1 can poss [...]ibly reconcile. That is irreconcileable hatred which cannot be taken off by all the intreaties of the world. Her [...]d hated Tyrus and Si­don, but his hatred was taken off by Blastus his intreatie. Acts. 12. 20. but that hatred is irreconcileable hatred that no intreaties can take off.

Oh, how often have Gods Ministers intreated you and beseeched you to give over your sinnes, and yet you will not! how often have they besought you to be zealous, and meek, and holy, and you will not? thou art techie and revengefull in speeches, how often hast thou been sought to leave it? thou art proude and stout-hearted, how oft hast thou been fought for to be humble? thou art carnall and world­ly, how often hast thou been besought to be spirituall and hea­venly?

[Page 342]Thou hast no assurance of Christ in thy soule: how oft hast thou been besought for to get him? Ministers beseech thee every Sabbath, Ministers intreate thee every week: They breake their braines, and breake their sleepe, and spend their lung, and all to invent and speake acceptable words to prevaile with your [...]oules: with heart-cutting intreaties they beseech you; if not withstanding all this; you will not be intreated to part with your sinnes, then it is evident you hate refor­mation.

If we did not hate a thing, we would doe it, though we were never be­sought to doe it; if thou didst not hate a reformation of thy sinnes, thou wouldest have been reformed without these beseeches but if beseeches and intreaties cannot wooe thee, thou hatest it indeed which beseeches cannot reconcile.

The Lord Jesus sent his Ministers in his Name; we are Gods Embassadours in Christ his stead, we pray you to be reconciled to God.

We have besought you by the bloud of Christ, we have intreated you by the Bowel; of Gods mercies to become new men: we beseech you in the Bowels of the Lord Jesus Christ to give over your sins. We beseech you as you love your soules▪ give over your sins: we beseech you as you are men, as you know what is what, give over your sinnes: we beseech you, let the drunkard give over his drunkennesse, the swearer his oathes and blasphemies, the Idolater his Idolatry and wilworship, let the idle talker give over his fruitlesse communication, the covetous person give over his covetousnesse, the secure Christian and luke warme professor and deadharted server of God come out of his security and dead-heartednesse, &c. I beseech you by the mercies of God saith Saint Paul, present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy &c. Rom. 12. 1. Sacrifice your tongues unto God we beseech you, and speake holy conference, sacrifice your hearts we beseech you, and use holy medita­tions; sacrifice your eares unto God, and suffer not idle language to be spoken in your hearing: we beseech you doe this; yea by all the mer­cies of Christ: we beseech as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ his stead; and will you not yet? Certainly, you hate the light, if all these beseeches cannot reconcile you; we have besought you that there be no disorders in any of your families, and yet there are: we have besought you that there be no losse of time in your meetings, that there be no root of bitternesse in your hearts, and yet there is: we have besought you to mend your repentance, and to better your obe­dience, and to repent of your rotten formality and to come out of your sandy and quagmire bottoms, and not to consent your selves with this beggerly form of religion onely, but as ever you love your soules and would be loved, to get the power of grace: and a thousand more things have we besought you. Is it done? no, God knows: all the beseeches and intreaties under heaven have not yet done it. Now therefore you must needs stand convinced in your consciences, that you hate the light, if all these beseeches cannot bring you to it.

They must needs be saide to hate one another, when neither money nor price [Page 343] nor any thing can make friends. That is inveterate cankerous hatred which can never be out-bought, which can never be hired to [...]ease. I make no question but that the D [...]mosels Master at the first did hate that his Maide should be possessed with a divell: but when he saw that it brought him in great gaine, he took off his hatred: he could then be content that the divell might have stayed in his house, so he might have gained by it: and therefore we read that he was angry at the Apostle for dispossessing the devill out of her; Act. 16. 19. It must be a grievous ha­ [...]red that profit cannot mollifie.

Brethren, you know that God offereth you pardon of your sins: he of­fers you mercy, he offers you a Kingdom, if you wil come out of your sins. If thou wouldst rather lose father, mother, wife and children, houses and lands, goods and livings, rather then shake hands with such a one as thou art fallen out with, I am sure thou hatest him with a witnesse: and if thou wouldest rather hazard thy owne mercy, hazard the love and favour of God, hazard the Kingdom of heaven, let Christ goe, and mer­cy goe, and heaven go, rather then let thy sinnes goe; surely thou hatest to be reformed. I will give you a kingdome, saith God, if you will be new men; I will give thee a Kingdome, if thou wilt take up Christ his Cross and be pure. I will give thee a kingdome, If thou wilt walk precisely and circumspectly. But you will not, though you might have a kingdome for it. Repent saith Christ, for the Kingdome of heaven is at hand, Matth. 3. 2. Repent, and here is a Kingdome at hand for thee. Down with thine old lust, thou knowest what I mean, and here is a Kingdome at hand for thee. Repent of your formall repentance, repent of your fashionary prayers, repent of your overly performances of holy duties, and behold here is a Kingdome for you. Wilt thou hazard the very Kingdome of grace, and of glory, rather then thou wilt steppe out of thy old wont? thou hatest repentance, if a Kingdome cannot hire thee to love it.

They must be said to hate one another, whom all the dearest love in the world can never unite and soder together. Love is able to burst all the hatred in the world if the divell be not in it: love is more forcible then hatred; and therefore that hatred is most cankerous that love cannot overcome. What is so pleasing or delightfull to the flesh of a man, but love may command it? the love of God hath given thee the bloud of his own Sonne: if thou wilt part with thy corrpptions, thou mayest have it. That is ha­tred indeed, which the bloud of thy owne Sauiour cannot disswade thee from.

The Apostle Peter thought he had used an excellent argument to perswade men to holinesse▪ when he setteth forth the love of God to us. 1. Pet. 1. 18. 19. For asmuch as you know, that you were not redeemed with corrup­tible things as silver and gold, from your vain conversation, received by tradi­tion from your fathers: but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb un­defiled and without spotte. What, doth Christ give his bloud to thee, to redeem thee from thy vain conversation? hath he given his bloud for thee, that thou shouldest part with thy sinnes, with thy drunk­kennesse, with thy oathes, thy pride, security, luke warmnesse, earthli­nese [Page 344] prophanenesse; from thy vain thoughts, thy vain words, and thy vain lusts, and wilt thou not? If God had redeemed us with silver, and gold, that were but drosse: no, he hath redeemed us with the bloud of his Sonne: if now thou wilt part with the bloud of Christ, rather then with thy sinnes, that the word of God commands thee to part with, how great is thy hatred of the word?

Bloud it is necessary to the life of every living creature. I am sure the Bloud of Christ is necessary to the life of a Christian; without it, a man can never be washed, nor never be sanctified, nor made acceptable to God. That man that will rather part with his bloud, rather then lay down his hatred of such an one whom he hates, he hates him for ever, he hates him to the death. Thou that rather then thou wilt part with thy evill courses, from those sinnes that Gods word would have thee to to give over and forsake, wilt part with the bloud of Christ, I say thou hatest the word, and thou hatest a reformation of thy wayes for ever, with an everlasting and damnable hatred.

That man that had rather be damned then leave his sinnes, that had rather goe to hell, then be a new creature, he hates the parting with his sinnes, he hates to be a new creature,.

It is truth, man is a reasonable creature, and therefore cannot reason so in expresse words, as to say, I had rather be damned then to give over my drunkennesse, my lying, my swearing, my lust; I had rather goe to hell, then be so pure, and so holy &c.

But every wicked man is so unreasonable in very deed; for the word of God tells that wicked men that live and die in such sins, and such sins shall be damned; yet, they will not give over their sinnes.

Doth not your own conscience tell you, that as long as you pray no better, as long as you walke no better in your profession, God abhorre [...] you, and all that you doe, and will damn you? doth not thy conscience cell thee, that yet thou hast no assurance of salvation, that as yet Jesu-Christ was never given to thee, that as yet you never had the Spirit of Christ to kill sinne in you? if that thou wilt goe on in thy sinnes, and not get Christ and his Spirit into thy heart, as the word of God com­mandeth thee, and thy own conscience perswadeth thee: I say, if yet thou wilt goe on in thy sinnes, then thou choosest to be damned, rather then to part with sin.

Doe we not say, such a rogue will be hanged, that such a hasty furious man will undoe himselfe? doe we not say of a rebellious child that he will be disinherited? not that any man reasons so in words, I will doe thus and thus and undoe my selfe, I will steale and be hanged, I wil be a rebellious child and be disinherited, I will goe on in my sinnes, let the world say what it will, and be damned. But when a man knows that the wages of sin is death, that the end of drunkennesse, of swearing, of lying, of pride, security, hypocrisie, formality in religion &c. is death: When a man knows that the end of that sinne which he lives i [...] is damnation, and yet will goe on in those sinnes, he wills to be damned. Ezek 18. 31. Turne you, turne you, why will you dye, O house of Israle? why? were any so madde as to be willing to dye, to perish for ever? yet saith [Page 345] the Prophet, why will you dye? as if he should say, why will you sin? that man that wills to sin, he wills to be damned; that man that will be damned rather then part with his sinne, that man loves sin for ever, and so hates the light.

Beloved, be ashamed to carry so many plague-tokens upon your hearts, so manny sinnes in your soules, so many oppositions and rebellious a­gainst the word. That man that hates and rebells against the word, can never be saved by the word. You that have had the preaching of the word, look that you give way to it; take heed that you withstand not the breath of it.

I could tel you one thing, & I pray God to send it home to your hearts: commonly when God sneds his word to a people, those that are wrought upon, for the most part are wrought upon at the beginning: generally it is so, I will give you a convincing place for it: Acts. 13. 48. And when the Gentiles heard, they glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life, beleeved. Paul and Barnabas were come to Antioch, and had preached one Sabbath day, and now had preached another: The Gentiles glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life, beleeved; as if he had said, all that were ordained to eternall life, beleeved at those Sermons; as if he should say again, all that beleeved not at those two Sermons, were reprobates.

Those that did belong to God, they did beleeve, and hearkened to the preaching of the word to them, on those two Sabbaths; All that were ordeined to life, they beleeved at these two Sermons: the rest that beleeved not, are branded and marked out for despisers and wonderers, Heare O despisers, and wonder and perish, &c.

Agree with thine Adversary, whilst thou art in the way. Matth. 5. Beloved, you are now in the way of salvation: your Adversary is the Lord himself, til he be reconciled unto you; you are in the way, while you are under the preaching of the word, you know not how soon God may take you out of the way, you know not how soon God may take his word away: or, if that continue, yet he may withdraw his Spirit: and then, if God once take away his Spirit, then you may seek to be converted, but shall never find it; you may seek for grace, but shall never get it: you may seek for Christ, but never obtaine him; if men stand out against the word and Spirit of Christ, while it is beating upon their hearts, and offering them grace, then Christ will be a swift witnesse against them. Malach. 3. 5. Doth Christ come to thee? now obey, now beleeve, now give over thy sins. Doth he bid thee now repent? &c. O give way to the Words of Christ, give way to the spirit of Christ; otherwise, Christ will come swiftly: I will be a swift witnesse.

I tell you, the Covenant of grace will not stay long: God is about to put up his wares. When no Customers come, the Merchant puts up his wares; so God will even close up all his graces; then Preachers may preach, but none shall be converted: People may heare, but never be turned; which the Lord deny from ever being amongst us; therefore, while it is called to day, hearken, and the Feare of God be with you.

GODS IMPARTIALITY IN …

GODS IMPARTIALITY IN HIS JUDGEMENTS. In a SERMON By WILLIAM FENNER, Minister of the Gospel, sometimes Fellow of Pembroke Hall in Cambridge, and late Lecturer of Rochford in Essex.

London, Printed by E. T. for John Stafford.

GODS IMPARTIALITY IN HIS JUDGEMENTS.

ISAIAH 42. 24.‘Who gave Jacob to the spoile and Israel to the Robbers? Did not I the Lord?’

THe Lord in this Chapter by the Prophet Esay doth foretell heavy things against the people; and by the way mark the Lords dealings, he ever gives warning before he sends any plagues: he lightens before he thunders; that the people might not say they did not hear of it, and that the wicked might be the more inexcusable, and that the godly might make an Arke to save them­selves in.

These words, and the following verse containe in them five se­verall things;

First, the Author of this destruction or judgement.

Secondly, the Causes of it.

Thirdly, the Judgement it self.

Fourthly, Who they were on whom this judgement was infli­cted.

Fifthly, The effects of it.

Now by Gods permission I will open these words in order unto [Page 350] you, And for the first, the Author of it.

It is laid down by question and answer.

Question, Who gave Jacob to the spoyle, and Israel to the rob­bers?

Answer, Did not I the Lord? was it not I the mighty God, which am a­ble to order every thing according to my own will?

But indeed we are ready to ascribe things to chance and fortune and lot; to prevent this saies God, Who did these and these things? did not I the Lord?

Now, by Jacob and Israel is meant the people of the Jews, which were called by the name of Jacob. Who though they were his peculiar people, yet when they sinned, he gave them over. God saies, Who gave this people of mine to the enemies? did not I the Lord? therefore God, he is the Author of all punishment.

Secondly, the Cause why the Lord did this: for, some might say, why did the Lord overthrow this people, whom he did so tenderly respect for his, which were as the apple of his eye, and the strength of his right arme? because they sinned against the Lord, and would not walke in his wayes.

He sets down the Causes.

First, in generall, they have sinned.

Secondly, in particular, they would not walk in his way, nor be obedi­ent to his Lawes.

Thirdly, here is the Judgement it self, ver. 25. therefore hath he powred upon him the fury of his anger, the strength of the Battel, and hath set him on fire round about. He calleth it the anger of the Lord: not of a King, or of a great man, but the anger of the Lord, the fury of his anger; shew­ing the extremity of it: he doth not say that God doth drop down his anger; but▪ he poures out the fury of his indignation. Moreover he saith, the strength of battel; the Lord cometh like an armed man to fight a­gainst them, and to destroy them, as men in wa [...]res doe when they slay both young and old, and make no bones of it, and are glad when they have done it; And, as an armed man to slay them; so likewise, he hath set a fire round about them; the Lord hath inclosed them in with indignation, so that they could see no way to get out of it, or to escape it. So then this shews the unavoydablenesse of Gods Judge­ments.

Fourthly, who were these that were destroyed? Jacob and Israel, a praying and a professing and a fasting people.

Fifthly, the effect of all this, how it did work upon them. Yet, saith the Lord, they know it not, neither lay it to heart. Oh Lord, what mon­strous stupidity is this! though God did doe it; in his anger too; yet this poor Nation saw it not, nether regarded it, till the plague came and when it came, they never laid it to heart, neither were they humbled by it, but did beare the plague, and afterwards went down into hell, and never minded it.

Even so beloved; stands the case with us, The Lord plagues us, and we see it not: his anger burns round about us, and the fierrenesse of his [Page 351] wrath is gone out to battel: and yet we perceive it not.

From the first of these observe: namely.

That God is the author of all plagues and judgements that befall a Na­tion.Doctrine. It was he that drowned the old world, and delivered the Chil­dren of Israel to the spoylers. Shal there be any evill in the City, and the Lord hath not dont it? saith Amos in his third chapter and sixth verse. From whence observe this, That God ordains all punishments before they come. Acts 4. 28. for to do whatsoever thy hand and counsel determined before to be done. And as God ordaineth all thing before they come; so he ordereth them, and the time when they shal come; and they cannot come one moment of time before the Lord would have them. The Iews could not lay hold on our Saviour, because his hour was not yet come. John 7. 30. The wicked cannot pull down punishments upon a Nation when they wil; As its he ordaineth them, and the time when; so he doth appoint them how long they shall lie upon men. Revel. 1. 10. There the Lord had appointed the Church of Smyrna ten dayes tribulation; and there is measured how much God appoints us. The devill could go no further then his commission in afflicting Job. As he doth order all, so he doth order all for the good of his people, and for the confusion of his enemies; all things work for the good of those that feare God, Rom. 8. 28. and for the hardening and overthrowing of the enemies of the Church that are incorrigible.

This may stay and comfort the hearts of Gods Children, in anyUse. 1. heavie crosse that befals them.

Is God the orderer and disposer of all? then this may comfort thy soul O thou poor Child of God; I say comfort thy soul with this, that the Lord is the temperer of all things, and the Physician that stands by and sees how many drammes the Apothecary putteth in. The de­vill indeed may afflict thee, and wicked men may punish thee; but thou shalt have no more then the Lord sees good for thee. Therefore though thine enemies take thee and kill thee, and Rabshekah raile on thee, and Bonner burne thee, yet the Lord is a sweet loving Father, and ordereth all things, and cannot find in his heart to hurt thee. Though they be the Instruments, yet God he is the Author, and hath appoin­ted how long, and how much, and for what they shall afflict thee. There­fore though the Sword find thee, and faggot come: yea though thou beest banished or sawne asunder, yet the Lord ordereth all things. There­fore he saith to the sword, and to the the plague, as David said to Ioab, have a care of my deare sonne: onely subdue the rebell, but doe not hurt my sonne. So saith God, use my servants kindly for my sake: onely bring under their proud hearts, but do not hurt them. Therefore have an eye to Gods love, and let faith in him over-rule thy heart in spite of all that can come against thee.

This may terrifie the hearts of all wicked men that are out of Gods fa­vour.Use. 2.

Is God the Author of all punishments? then this may make their haire to stand upright upon their heads. That God whom thou hatest, is the punisher of thee even he whose Sonne thou despisest, and whose [Page 352] Sabbaths thou prophanest; He is able if his wrath be kindled, to con­sume thee in a moment. Oh, if thou haddest not an adamant heart, this would daunt it, and dissolve it into teares of bloud. God will infinitely punish thee, who is a consuming fire: but if thou wilt not be daunted, there is nothing but fearfull looking for of fire and brimstone for ever in hell. When God punisheth his children, it is in mercy: but to the wick­ed his wrath is in their punishments, and his Judgements are in anger and great wrath: and therefore when he punisheth thee, thou maiest say, A just Judge brandeth me in the hand.

Is it so? Then when Calamities come, let us not so much stand uponUse 3. men, or upon the help of them: but let us look to God as David did: it may be the Lord sent Shimei to raily on me; 2 Sam. 16. 10. and so did Job the Lord gives, and the Lord hath taken away. Iob 21. 12. The Calde­ans did it: but they were Gods Instruments. We should not do as dogs, that gnaw the stones that are throwne at them. God takes stones as it were, and throweth them upon mens heads: and sometimes whips them by wicked men. Now, the wicked are but Gods rod, and when he hath scourged thee, he will cast the rod into the fire. Therefore goe unto the Lord, make peace with him and he will remove it. The wick­ed I confesse are in fault, but God is the Author of all: and he will deli­ver you in his good time.

Secondly, wherefore will God deale thus with Israel? because they have sinned with a rebellious spirit, not by infirmity, but in disobedi­ence.

Whence you may learne this point of Instruction, That sinne and diso­bedienceDoctrine. against Gods Law is that which brings down punishments and judge­ments upon a Nation or a people or Church. All Sin in generall is the broo­der and hatcher of all judgements, and the very spawne of all punish­ments. Ah, this sinne and disobedience, and willfull rebellion against God, it will bring sword and famine amongst us, and let in the enemy, and send out God from amongst us, and stop the mouthes of his Mini­sters, and break off the Parliament.

A more particular cause why God sends punishments amongst us, is this, because Kings will not be subject to the Lawes of God, and Queens will doe what they list: when Bishops and all people will have elbow room to doe that which seems good in their own eyes: as giving tolera­tion for the prophanation of Gods Sabbaths, that the people may dis­honour the Lord, and runne headlong to hell: this and such like, sets up wickednesse, and brings the wrath of God upon us, and his vengeance upon our Land and Kingdome; when thus sinne gets the upper hand and day of the word, for which I cannot chuse but pitty our poor Land, neither could you do lesse if your hearts were not as hard as an ada­mant, and your eyes glued together. Ah poore Nation, now thou liest a bleeding and drawing to an end, and the bell now tolls for this Nati­on, and the Lord is a going from this Land: and her punishments and judgements are comming on apace, so that all Nations may say, Where­fore hath the Lord done this unto this Land, what meaneth the heate of his anger? then shall men say they have forsaken the Covenant of the Lord God of [Page 353] their Fathers, and served other Gods. Judges 4. 2. When they forgat the Lord their God, then he sold them into the hand of Iabin King of Canaan; this was the ground why the Lord drowned the old world. Genes. 6. 12. because they had corrupted all their waies; this was the cause why the Lord burned Sodome and Gomorrah with wild-fire from heaven: this was the cause the Lord destroyed Ierusalem forty years after Christ, be­cause they would have none of the offers of Christ, and of grace and mer­cic. And thus much for proof.

Good Lord, what a poor weake Land have we! if sinne and rebelli­onUse 1. be the cause of all punishments, then in what a poor case is England? how weake are we? our hearts may shake within us, and our knees may knock together to consider of it, having so many sinnes of all sorts, of all degrees, and committed with so high a hand, and in most fearfull man­ner.

We are sick from the Crowne of the head to the soale of the feete, there is no soundnesse in us: we are sicke in head, sick in heart, sicke in stomack; we have had peace, and that hath surfeited us: and now we have gotten the pleurisie, and nothing but letting of bloud will cure us. God grant, the Lord let us blood in our hearts also. God must purge and physick us, and fetch out the drosse which we have gathered by our dis­obedience. If sin and rebellion will doe it, we have given God cause e­nough so to plague us.

Is it so? Then we see who are the greatest traytors in the kingdome,Use 2. and what they are that pull down punishments upon a Kingdome; they are disobedient rebells and traytors, full of sinne.

I protest, the greatest traytors our land hath this day, are the propha­ners of Gods Sabbaths, and such as do give liberty to prophane them, and to swear and be drunke: these are the plague: sores of this Kingdome, and bring down heavie jugements upon us; yea, of what place or dignity soever they be. It is not onely poor drunkards, but silver and velvet-Coat drunkards, even the Lordly men of this kingdom, who give liberty to sin: for the greater are the men the greater are their sins, & they are the most dangerous, even as great Cut-purses doe more harm then little ones; for as Haman was hanged before the Jews saw good daies, and the seven sons of Saul were slain before they could have any peace in Israel: so while these rebells be not hanged, what peace can be expected? while Ionah was in the ship, there could be no quietness: so whilst these rebells and vile wret­ches live and have favour, and are respected, and goe on stil unpunished, they are in the land, as Ionah was in the shippe: and so long there can be no quietnesse in the land.

One Achan did plague a whole land; but here are many Aehans in this land. Oh poor land; thou art wonderfully laden by every ungodly person, both in Country and City. O let us beg of God that the wick­ed may be removed out of the land, or that God would turne their hearts.

Is it so, that sinne is the brooder of all punishments? O then let itUse 3. teach every one of us to set heart and hand and all to work, to joyne all our forces of prayers and tears against these enemies, and labour for the [Page 354] reformation of these: When Jonas was in the ship, the Marriners came about him and asked him, from whence comest thou? So if ever we would see good dayes, we must joyne our prayers and all our powers a­gainst our sins and the sins of others.

When the Philistins saw that the Arke was the cause of the punish­ments that befell them, then they never rested till they had sent it away; so let us ship and packe away our sins, if ever we would have our punish­ments removed from us. Say, O mine enemie, have I found thee, thou art the enemies of King, and Countrey, and Parliament, and Gos­pel, and thou art he that brake the last Parliament, thou art he that lost the day at the Isle of Ree, thou art he that sent so many poor Rochellers to the grave with famine, and thou art he that makes divi­sion between Kings and commons. The Lord give us power and cou­rage: for if ever we had need, now we have; and let us bestir our selves, and pray that God would be pleased to stirre up the heart of the King and other Magistrates against these sinnes. Oh that Magaistrates in their places, would set their hearts and hands against all these sinnes; but light execution is done, and most Magistrates stand for ciphers in their places, and onely take up a room, and do nothing. We cannot draw them with all the arguments we can use, to punish these sinnes. We have cause to mourne: for they stand like scrare-crowes, with a peice in their hands, but never shoote: and the birds may pick the strawes from their heads; so that Magistrates do nothing.

But to you I speake that are chiefe in Towns, and chief Officers: you should all joyne hand in hand, and heart in heart to pull down these ale houses, hel-houses, and nurseries of the devil, and to supplant wicked nesse. We must not be one for them, and another against them: for in so doing▪ we shall never see good dayes.

And you Gentlemen, when are your hearts and hands against them? when did you ever speak or write against them? when did you ever set foot in striving to have them supprest? men stand with their fingers in their mouthes, and their hands in their pockets, and dare not stand for God and good causes. The Lord be merciful unto us: we doe not joyne our forces, prayers and powers that we can make for Gods glory. Oh that the Lord would be pleased to put his Spirit into our hearts, that we may be all of one mind. So you Gentlemen, in your places, and we Ministers in our places, and all of us, we are with all the strength and courage and mettle that the Lord hath put into us, to cry, and pray, and preach down sinne. And all you Masters and Dames, you are to re­forme your Families: for these sinnes bring down punishments upon the Land. Therefore labour to find out the wickednsse of your Families, and admonish them, and reprove them plainly, and shew them from Gods word the punishments that are due to them. If you would doe these things, then there might be something done: and if reproof and admonishment will not serve the turne, then expell them and banish them, as Abraham did Hagar and Ismael. You Christians, mourne for your sins, and joyne your hearts and prayers against the sins of the place where you live.

[Page 355]If any house be on fire, others will come with water to quench it as if it were their own: so here is a flame of fire kindled in this Kingdome of England, and the wrath of God is like wild-fire coming down upon us from heaven: therefore let every one of us bring some water or other to quench this fire that is round about us in every place, and almost upon all hearts.

Let every man sweep his own doore, and the streets will be cleane; so if every one would purge his own heart, what reformation would there be in every place? then God and Christ and gospel might be here still, and the enemies might be kept out still: which if we doe not, who knows how soon the enemie may rush in upon us? but alas, we harbour these traytors in our bosomes.

I protest against every man that habours sin in his own house or soul, that he is a traytor to the Kingdom, whatsoever he be; if I knew the man, I would fasten mine eyes on him, and tell him, Oh thou vile Achan, doest thou harbour these sins, and traytors, and keep these sins, and then cry out of the dangerousnesse of the times?

If a man did know certainly, that the dogge that he keepes in his house, would one day pull out his throate, would he keep him fatte that he might the better doe it? no sure, he would rather hang him. Or if a man did know that the fire that burnes upon the hearth, would burne him, would he blow it? or if a man did know that the knife which he hath, would one day cutte his throate, would he sharpen it? no surely.

Beloved, this is the case of all us poor wretches that live in sinne: they will be the cause of all the punishments that God sends upon us all. Now therefore, I charge you all, men and women, and every one of you, to make a Covenant and enter into an oath and a curse, to search out eve­ry sin, and find them out in your families, wife and children and ser­vants; and do what you can to quench them. These Townes and Coun­treys are on fire, O that the Lord would be pleased to send his word home to every one of your hearts: you I meane that I love as well as mine own soule, my deare people. I would spend and be spent for you, if God would give me strength and though I speak plaine, it is for your e­verlasting good.

What are those punishments that he threatned to poure upon them in the furie of his wrath? He poureth full battails, and the strength of battails; all this was upon his own deare people Israel; even those people the Lord so severely threatens.

Hence observe this Doctrine, That the Lord oftentimes brings fearful,Doctrine 3. and unavoydable judgements and punishments even upon his own professing people: even they that offer sacrifice, and that pray, and call him Father, and fast and pray, even upon these people he doth often times bring these punissiments. Amos 3. 2. You onely have I known among all the Nations of the earth: therefore will I punish you for all your iniqui­ties.

See the whole currant of Gods word: did not the Lord punish the Children of Israel in the time of their Judges? they had many sore ene­mies, [Page 356] as Eglon and Sisera. The ten Tribes they sinned, and were carried into captivity: and these were Gods professing people. And afterward the other two Tribes, Judah and Benjamine, were carried away captive into Babylon, and there they were seventy years.

Forty yeares after Christs time, the Romans came against them, and burnt all their Cities. And these were Gods own professing people.

The Churches of Asia were famous Churches, but now they are o­verthrowne with Turkes. Now, our sins give God just cause to make him come against us, with punishments and judgements upon this Land.

If a man lie sick, and they see death in his face, they call it the foretel­ling signe: so the Ministers of God may foresee the death and destruction of a Kingdome. I am sure we have better grounds, then the Physicians can have. And therefore, why may not the Ministers which are Gods Physicians, doe it?

The signes of Gods punishments that are coming upon us, are these,

The first is of Gods Ministers which with one voice doe foretel judge­ments to come.

Then, this is a signe that God hasteneth to battel, Amos 3. 7. Surely the Lord will doe nothing but he revealeth his secrets to his servants the Pro­phets: but especially when they agree all in one thing; then the Kingdom is dangerously gone. Luke 1. 70. The Lord giveth one mouth, as he spake by the mouth of▪ all his holy Prophets.

I will say nothing in this, but let me appeale to your consciences, whether all good Ministers in the Church of England, have not declared by Gods word, that judgements are coming out against this Land and us for many yeares together: And as our Saviour saith, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, shall be bound in beaven.

Secondly, when sinnes of all sorts doe abound frequently, and with a bold face, and whorish forehead. For when the harvest is ripe, then cometh so many sickles to cut it down: so when the sinnes of a Kingdome are ripe, then it is time to cut that Kinddome down. Genes. 6. 12. The earth was filled with violence, all flesh had corrupted their wayes: therefore, make an Arke: for the end of all flesh is come, God will wash away their filthinesse. Consider whether it be not thus with England or no. Was ever drunkennesse and blasphemie, and scoffing at religion, and prophaning Gods Sabbaths, nay liberty gi­ven so to do, was it ever come to that height that now it is? were ever great ones, as Bishops and Ministers, so defiled, as now they are? our Land hath often been overcome: when men were grown desperate­ly wicked, then they were destroyed. Now, what sinnes, what blas­phemies, what hating of God lyeth raging in our times? I think there is none in this Congregation but sees and heares, how City and Countrey are venomed and benumned, and defiled with sinnes of all sorts.

Thirdly, when the devill and wicked men cast bones of dissention, that is a signe of ruine. When there was a dissention between Rehoboam and the people, then God pulled away ten Tribs, and much bloud [Page 357] was shed. So when King and Commons, and all are divided, Ephraim against Manasses and Manasses against Ephraim, but both against Judah, then it is a fearfull signe that that Nation shall be destroyed.

I say, to apply this, if ever a Kingdome were divided, then this is, if we could all accord, then we might expect something: but now, our best bloud is gone, and our hearts are gone: the Lord in mercie raise us up from dead ashes.

O consider this, I beseech you, and lay it to heart. Will God deceive his Ministers, and make them all blindfold? no, no. When God puts his Spirit into his Ministers, and makes them all with one mouth to call and cry desolation, and when all manner of sinnes so fearfully abound, and when there is such divisions in the State, then let us look for deso­lation.

Fourthly, the fourth signe of Gods anger on a Nation is, when all the hearts of men faile, then it is a signe that vengeance is at the door; when there is a kinde of Cowardise through the guilt of the conscience. Josh. 2. 11. It was a certaine signe of destruction when the peoples hearts failed them: thus it is with every man almost amongst us: every mans heart is faint and sick. Iudges 7. 13. When Gideon was to goe against the Midianites, being a wonderfull Army, one dreamed that a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host, and overthrew them: Then Gideon said, be of good courage: for I see that the Lord hath given them into our hands, because their hearts were feareful; so he took three hundred men, and put a trumpet in every mans hand, with empty pit­chers and lamps; and they cried, the Sword of the Lord, and of Gideon; and in the twelfth verse see what followed, All the host ran and cried and fled. Even so it is with us: we faint upon every occasion, Gods spirit is gone from England.

While Sampson had the Spirit of God upon him, he was too hard for the Philistins: but when the Spirit of God was gone from him, he had no heart, no spirit, no courage; then every man was too hard for him, and then he was taken, and had his eyes pulled out. So when the Spirit of God was with this Nation, we had courage and got the day; but now alas, every slavish Nation is too hard for us, and every bug-beare scares us. O poore England, heavy is thy case, therefore we may expect nothing but miserie one way or another.

Now I might set down a Comment or Theame with many teares for this cause, that every one may reade his own destruction from this point. I am not a Prophet, nor the sonne of a Prophet: but from the word of the Lord I speak this thing unto you, and upon these grounds I can say so; That where these signes are, destruction and calamities follow at the heeles of them. We having all these signes in our State, certainely destruction is at our heeles; therefore let me giue you some directions what to doe in these dangerous times.

First, let every man knock off the love of the world, of houses, ofUse. lands, and corne, and flockes; they shortly shall leave thee, or thou them. O therefore cast them quite out of thy heart. I would to God I could bring my heart and yours to this pitch, that we could give wife [Page 358] and children and all as lost. I confesse it is hard so to doe: but God will fire us out shortly from these things, if we part not from them, in these our deepest afflictions. Ier. 45. 5. Baruch was so much glued to the world, that he began to feather his nest: and therefore the Prophet said, seekest thou great things for thy selfe? seeke them not; for behold I will bring evill upon all flesh. So let me say to you as the Prophet said to Ge­hazi, Is it now a time to build? Therefore at night when thou goest to bed, take thy leave of thy wife and children, and of thy houses and all, and say, this house may be mine enemies before the morning, or may be set on fire; this is not my wife: these are not my children: As Doctor Taylor said when he was going to his execution, when he saw his wife and children, he embraced them and blessed them in the name of the Lord, and set them down again and made no bones of them: and so do you, pluck away your hearts from all these things here below, and give them all for lost.

Secondly, get divine submission to the will of God, let thy heart be contented that God should doe with thee what he will, and submit thy selfe to God in the hardest blows, and say, Good Lord, if thou seest no remedy to purge this land and Church, but by desolation, and the re­moving of the Gospell, good Lord, doe what thou wilt; if thou wilt have my liberty, take it, if thou wilt have my children spoiled by the e­nemy and pitched upon speares points, doe it: Lord, if there be no re­medy to purge a sinfull land but by taking the Gospell out of it, even I Lord submit my selfe unto it: good Lord sacrifice us, or burne our Cities; doe what thou wilt with us, onely save our soules at the last.

I have knowne some could have no quietnesse at all, till they came to this pitch, and then they had peace in their minds. When Isaac saw that he was to be bound, then he yeelded to it: and our Lord Christ did this in the garden when he did bear the wrath of God, then he said, if it be possible, let this cuppe passe from me: and this he did three times: yet not my will but thy will be done; if thou wilt have me to drinke of the cuppe, I will suck off the dregges and all.

Also come and lay thy head upon the block, and let God doe what he will with thee, Ezek. 20. 43. They shall loath themselves for all their a­bominations; and this is the practise of an humble soule, and this will bear through all.

Thirdly, pray and cry mightily to God before thou dyest, even all the time thou hast to live, for mercie and for the peace of the Church of God, and for the poor people and posterity. Esay. 62. 16. I have set watchmen upon the walles of Hirusālem, that never hold their peace day nor night. You that make profession of the Lord, keep not silence; let not God rest till he helpe and shew mercy unto our poore land, wives and children.

I am perswaded if dumbe Zachary were here, he would open his mouth to pray and crie for this miserable land. But, alas, poor soules, many of you are so bound in the chaines of your sinnes, that you cannot finde any leisure to pray; you save your prayers and teares till you [Page 359] come to hell, and then they will doe you no good; Oh, thy Mother lies a dying, and wilt thou not mourne for her? O dead and drie-hearted wretches, me thinkes the poor Church of England is like the shippe of Jonas, and he fast asleep in it; the Gospell and all are drawing into a sea of troubles: and thou poor wretch art asleepe and canst not pray. The Church is like a sick man upon his bed: and the Parliament is like a Colledge full of Physitians, they cast the state of the Kingdome, and then give it over for lost. The Lord knows how soon the bell may ring out; and yet thou canst not pray nor weep. Ah, the Lord be mercifull to the hardnesse of our hearts. Hast thou but one rear in thine eyes? but one prayer in thy heart? then spend them now for the poore Church of God. Make all sound within, and get sound faith in the bloud of Je­sus Christ, that may support and hold you up as the Ark did Noah in the floud.

O my dear people of this Parish, a fearefull floud is come upon this land: therefore make you an Arke of Gopher, and pitch it within and without: get in it, hang not about it; but, get into your Lord Christ, and shut up your selves in him, as Noah did in the Arke, and never come out. This is your safegard, if you be in him, you shall be supported a­gainst all troubles, and so shall the case go well with you. For as the Prophet said to Ahab, High thee hence, for here is a sound of much rain: and there came a shour indeed. So say I, high you away to Christ: for it may be you shall not hear many Sermons more: there is a sound of many punishments and stormes falling downe upon us. O thrice hap­py are we that have Christ upon good termes and good grounds: if a floud come, it doth me good to see how safe I am: for the higher trou­bles arise, the higher the Arke will arise, and the higher your faith and comfort will arise, and you shall sit like Noah in the Cabin. Isai. 26. 20. Come my people and enter into the chamber, and shut the doores about thee, and hide your selves as it were for a little moment, untill the indignation be over­past.

What? would Noah have been hired to come out of the Arke? no by no meanes: nothing would have got him out. I may even pitty you my people, that have no Faith. What will you doe and whither will you flie? all you that have not gotten into the Arke, and have not made sure worke, if the floud should come to morrow, you must certainly be drowned. If you look to God, he is your Enemy, if you look within, there your consciences dogge you; and if thou lookest for comfort to the Minister, there is none for thee in all Gods word; if thou hang on a Minister, he must say as Samuel said to Saul, since the Lord hath forsa­ken thee, I can doe thee no good. Oh thinke on this, and get all thy friends into the Arke with thee, as Noah did. Let me begge this at your hands; get a poor husband into the Ark with thee, with thy poor children, and shut them all up into the Arke with thee. Would it not grieve thee when thou sittest in the Arke, to see a poore husband or a child drowning in the floud, and going to Hell? For the Lords sake, O my deere Brethren, spare no paines to doe them good.

Fifthly and lastly, get a more strong faith then ordinary; deep dangers [Page 360] must have a stronger Faith; a man cannot row upon the maine ocean in a paire of scullers; but he must have a good ship well ballasted, and a good Pilot; so doe you think to row upon the maine ocean of Gods wrath in a paire of scullers? therefore labour to strengthen your Faith, and to get a good ship, wel pitcht and ballasted, and substantia'l Faith; for the wind will trie it whether it be so or not; a Summers dublet will not serve the turne in a winters srost; so a little strength and comfort will not serve the turne in the storms that are coming on us; but we must get winter garments; the East wind will try a mans clothes. Though a weak Faith may carry thee to Heaven, yet not with so much comfort as a stronger; especially if it be but a little before the downfall of the Pope; for then there will be the greatest combustions that ever was or ever shall be; and by all likelihoods, the time is now at hand. Then, thy Faith had need to be greater then ever it was. As the Angell said to the Prophet, up and eat, for thou hast a great journey to goe; so say I to thee, thou fainting soule, make a good meale of Faith, strengthen thy Faith upon the promises, for thou hast a great work to doe, and happily thou mayst goe six monethes, and not see the face of a good Minister, nor talk with a good Minister, when there shall be no more Rogers, Hookers, Beadles and Cottons to talk with; and you shall wander about in the woods; your faith will support you then, it will doe you some good. When all the people had lost Da­vid, Eleazer one of the Worthies, arose and smote the Philistines, 2 Sam. 11. 23. So when all Gods Ministers shall leave thee, and then to fight it out against thine own lusts, and the Divell, and his temptations, will be hard, and this Faith thou hast need of, when thy books and all helps shall be taken from thee. What need hast thou of strong Faith, when thou must fight against half a score Papists and an Army of temptations, and a world of Divils from Hell? then thou hast need of a stronger Faith then ordinarie. When you shall take your leave of your children and never see them more, then thou hast need of Faith to invest thee into the promises. Hebr. 11. 21. By Faith Jacob blessed both the sonnes of Joseph when he was a dying; so when thou art to leave thy wife and children, and never to see them more, what Faith hast thou need of to invest them into the Promises, and to say, I look to see you ano­ther day in Heaven? the Lord be with you my deare wife and chil­dren, I shall never see you any more here, but I beleeve that one day we shall meet together in a world of happinesse, where we shall be together in glory for ever and ever.

AMEN.

THE GREAT DIGNITY OF …

THE GREAT DIGNITY OF THE SAINTS. In a SERMON By WILLIAM FENNER, Minister of the Gospel, sometimes Fellow of Pembroke Hall in Cambridge, and late Lecturer of Rochford in Essex.

London, Printed by E. T. for John Stafford.

THE GREAT DIGNITY OF THE SAINTS.

HEB. 11. 28.‘Of whom the world was not worthy.’

COncerning the Author or Penman of this holy Epistle I will not now stand to discusse. But this is certaine who ever was the Scribe, the Spirit of God was the Inditer, and all Scripture is given by Divine inspiration, 2 Tim. 3. 16.

For the Coherence; the Spirit of God having exhorted the Believers how to continue in the Faith, and with patience to undergoe those trials which accompany the profession of it; and having back it with Arguments, he cometh in this Chapter to professe the same; And you shall find in this whole Chapter, he layes down Arguments to back the exhortations, which are taken from the Excellency of faith.

The holy Ghost discovers it two wayes. First, by a generall descripti­on in the three first verses; and after by the worthy examples of the faithful in the Church of old.

[Page 364]First, the generall description of Faith in the first verse, Faith 1 is the ground of things, &c. Faith makes things hoped for subsist to a Beleever.

Secondly, he describes the essentiall properties of it; It makes Beleevers to be well accounted of, both of God and man, verse se­cond.

Thirdly, he shews that Faith makes beleevers to understand and be­leeve things incredible to reason.

Secondly, he describes Faith by examples and patterns of Faith in the 2 Church of old; and those are set down severally, one by one, from the fourth verse to the 32, where he sets down the example of Moses and Abraham; and then from verse 32. to the end of the chapter, he sets down the example of the Saints together; and that because the number of them was infinite, Ergo he dispatches them, and passes by them with bare naming of them, as, what shall I make mention of Gideon, &c? and so he shews what great things they did by Faith; and then he brings in this verse, Of whom the world was not worthy.

To come to the words, they are brought in by the holy Ghost to an­swer to a secret Objection that the holy Ghost did foresee, that the wicked persecutors of the Church would conceive against the godly;

Ob.Viz. Why did they wander up and down? were beleevers cruelly dealt withal? yes: for alas what were they? they were and are baggage peo­ple, not worthy to live in the world.

Answ.Now the holy Ghost takes away this objection; as if he should have said, you are deceived in them; for the world is not worthy of them, they were and are too good to live in the world.

But before I come to the main, we will note something in general.

Viz. That it hath been the property of wicked men, and is still, to think what­soeverDoctrine 1. the godly have, is too good for them.

Ye shall be hated of all men, Matth. 24. And have not the saints of God found it so? what a hard conceit had the Iews of Christ? He is not worthy to live. So of Paul, Acts 22. They were accounted the off scouring of the world, 2 Cor. 4. 13. And as it was in the Apostles times, so it is now; and would you know the reason?

First, because God hath chosen them out of the world. John 15. 19.Reason. 1. For when Gods people were as she world is, carnal and sensual, &c. then the world gave them the right hand of fellowship. But when a change ap­peared in the godly, then the world changed too.

2. Because the wicked know not the godly. (viz.) they know them 2 not to be Gods children; so saith the Apostle, They speak evil of the things that they know not, Jude 10. They know him as he is rich, or as he comes of such and such a parentage; but as he is a child of God, they know him not. This world knows him not, because it knows not God. 1 Iohn 3. 1. And hence it is that Gods children are called sirangers, yea, and are used strangely; even because they know not God, and Ergo, they know not the child.

3. Because wicked men measure others by themselves; and because they 3 runne not into the same excesse of riot, ergo they speak evill of them, 1. Pet. 3. 5.

[Page 365]4. Because there ever was, and ever will be, contrariety between the seed of the woman, and the Serpent. Esau will deale very hardly with Iacob; they that are borne of the devil, will hate them that are born of God, 1 Iohn 3. 12.

First, This should teach the godly when they are hardly dealt with inUse 1. the world in any kind, not to be discouraged. Think it not strange; it hath alwayes been so, neither must you look for better dealing with wicked men.

Secondly, seeing the world deales so hardly with you, see that you2: doe not measure like for like; but pray ye unto God for them, to open their eyes.

Now we come to the words themselves.

Of whom the world was not worthy.

The holy Ghost in this place would discover two things;

First, the little worth of the world of wicked men, viz. how that they are not worthy to come into the presence of the Godly.

Secondly, the great worth of the godly.

Viz. They are too good for the world.

First, the world, (viz.) the wicked in the world, are very little worth; not worth one godly man or woman in it; whence ob­serve, that

Gods Children are worthy persons.Doctrine.

But before I handle this point, I will give the sence and meaning of the words.

1. This word World is diversly taken. Sometims it is taken for the whole Fabrick of Heaven and earth, Iohn 1. 10. He was in the world and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. So Acts 17. 24. God that made the world, &c.

2. Sometimes it is taken for all mankind, good and bad So Rom. 5. 12. As by one man sin entred into the world (viz.) sin entred into the men which are in the world.

3. Sometimes it is taken for the elect onely; so Iohn 1. 29. Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sinne of the world, (viz.) the elect in the world. Again, God so loved the world, &c. Iohn 3. 1. 16. (viz.) his elect in the world. Again, we beleeve this is the Saviour of the world, Iohn 4. 42. (viz.) of the elect in the world.

But why are the godly called the world? Object.

I answer, first because the world was made for them, and it is continu­edAnsw. yet for their sakes.

Secondly, they may be called the world, because they are scattered through the world, and that not onely among the Iewes, but even among the Gentiles also.

Thirdly, they may be called the world, because in themselves they are a world of people; but yet compare them with the Devils drove, they are few, even as the shaking of the Olive tree. Isaiah 17. 6. yet in themselves they are as the Starres in number. Genesis. 15. 5. And Balaam said, who can number the dust of Iacob? Numb. 22. 10.

[Page 366]Sometimes it is taken for the reprobates in the world. so John 15. 19. If you were of the world, the world would love its owne. It is plain also in the prayer of Christ; I pray not for the world, John 17. 9. And they may fit­ly be called the world; First because they are the worlds Citizens, they mind the things of the world, they follow nothing but the world. Se­condly, because they are the greatest part of the world.

Sometimes the world is taken for the things in the world, those things wherewith the Devill uses to draw men from God; as the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, the pride of life. 1. John 2. 16.

Sometimes for the happy estate and condition the godly shall enjoy after this life. So Luke 20 35. They which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world &c.

Now whereas the Apostle saith, of whom the world was not worthy; I take it, he means wicked men in the world, and those are they that are not worthy the company of the godly. And because I intend to shew the unworthinesse of the world, I will shew first that the things in this world are little worth. Secondly that the men in the world are little worth.

First I will shew you, that the things in the world are little worth; as Riches, Honours, pleasures &c. they are called deceitfull riches; and Christ calls them the Mammon of iniquity, Luke 16. 9. trash. Luke 8. 14. Snares, 1 Tim. 6. 9. They are called uncertain riches. Now these base titles must needs argue that they are little worth; for were they worth more, God would set better Titles on them. And Salomon who had best experience of them, yet hee termes them vanity. Eccles. 1, 2. and 11.

Secondly, they are little worth, because they are very unprofitable, they cannot pofit a man; It is plain by the speech of Samuel, 1. Sam. 12. 21. Vain things which cannot profit, &c.

Thirdly, they are little worth, because they cannot further a man in the main thing at which he should aime; they may further a man in some trifles, but not in the maine thing. There is no true good comes to a man by all the riches in the world; neither can they free a man from the evill day; neither can they make you better either in respect of God or your selves.

First, in respect of God, they cannot make you better esteemed with God: for he regards not the rich more then the poore. Job. 34. 19. He doth not account of a man according to his greatnesse, but according to his goodnesse, Prov. 20. 7, 8. Better is a poor man that walks in his inte­grity, then a King that is perverse in his wayes.

Secondly, they cannot better him in respect of God, because they cannot assure him of the love of God.

Thirdly, they cannot make a man more mindfull of God; nay they corrupt mens hearts, they make a man more forgetfull of God. It is thus with the greatest part of men in the world that are worldly rich; it is with them as it was with the Prodigall, who while he had money in his purse, never did he think on his Father.

[Page 367]Fourthly, the things of this world cannot make a man more thankfull to God, but rather the contrary, ut supra.

Fifthly, the things of this world cannot draw a man neerer unto God. You see that the more men have, the more negligent they are in Gods service.

Secondly, in respect of our selves; First, all the things of this life cannot in rich a mans soule with grace; they cannot make him humble, nor mer­cifull, nor constant in the profession of godlinesse and good duties; nay it rather makes them the more unmeet to any goodnesse; where there is gaine in the chest, there is losse in the Conscience; he that gets money apace, may lose Faith and a good Conscience; and they that most co­ver for abundance of the things of this life, are most backward in Grace; and this argues that the things of this life are little worth, even in respect of a mans selfe.

Secondly, they are not able to free a man from any spirituall evill; they may promise freedome, but when they come to the triall, they will be like a broken staffe; nay they cannot free thee so much as from an ague, much lesse will they help in the day of the Lords wrath, when the rich man shall be called to an account, and the Lord will recompence every man according to his wayes. So Prov. 11. 4. Riches profit not in the day of wrath. True it is, they may be as a wall of brasse to keep off the evil of this world; yet when the houre of death approacheth, they cannot free from that; when you are affrighted with the accusation of your owne Consciences, and with the apprehension of Gods wrath, when the Devill shall set upon you, and all your friends forsake you, shall the things of this life then doe you any pleasure? no, no. You wil say to them then, as Job to his friends, miserable comforters are you all; this argues their little worth: For God will not examine you, how rich you have been, but he will consider you as you have honoured him, and as you have made good use of your riches; if you have been faithfull, you shall en­ter into your Masters joy. He will not consider you as you are or have been in great Offices or places in the world, but as you have been faith­full in them; not as you had crouching and bowing to you, but as you have faithfully and frequenly bowed your knees unto the Lord in Pray­er; God will not account of you, a straw the better for your wealth, but he will passe sentence on you as you have used or abused your ta­lent.

Thirdly, they can give no content. He that desires Riches shall not be satisfied therewith. Eccles. 5. 9.

Object. O but, I desire but a competent living.

Sol. It is well done. A little spring running from the head, runnes shallow at the first, but at the last, many other falling into it, it is become great; so you may say, you desire but a competency; but the world comes on you, then there is craving and having, till your desires are as large as hell. Habbac. 2. 5. riches make men sick of a dogs disease; what is that? why dogs are alwaies eating, but never satisfied; so if a man immoderate­ly love the things of this life, he shall not be satisfied.

[Page 368]Lastly, the things of this world are nothing worth because we have no assurance of them: they are of no continuance, they either leave us, or we them: doe you not see that after a man hath risen earely, and late, ea­ting the bread of carefulnesse, and hath gotten a little pelfe, is he not thereof deprived in a moment of time? Prov. 12. 27. The slothfull man (viz.) the worldly man, rosteth not that which he tooke in hunting, (viz.) after all his travaile he is swept away, and taketh not the profit of them. Is not this then a worthlesse world? but suppose it doe stay with you, yet one day you must part with it. Psalm. 49. 6, 7. and you must carrie nothing with you, naked you came, and naked you must returne; even like a sumpter-Horse, which carries all the day abun­dance of Treasure, but at night it is all taken from him, and he is put into a stable for his labour; all the benefit he gets by the Treasure, is, he onely feeles the weight of it. Even so many rich men are Sumpter­horses to carrie the things of the world, who either for ill-useing, or ill-getting them, are put in a filthie stable, (viz.) Hell, and their pay is everlasting torment. These things shew the little worth of this world.

Now you shall see that worldly men are little worth: First it appears that they are little worth, because of the names and titles that the Spirit of God laies on them; it calls them Sonnes of Beliall. 1 Sam. 2. 12. Vile persons. Psal. 15. 4. Children of iniquity. Hosea 10. 9. 11. A reprobate stock. John 8. 44. Children of wrath. Ephes. 2. Now if there were any great worth in them, think you that the Spirit of God would not better stile them?

Secondly, they are little worth in respect of their actions; their best actions are but glittering sinnes, Isaiah 66. 3. If they pray, or heare &c. God accounts of it no better then the sacrificing of Swines flesh; they stink in Gods nostrils. Isa. 1. 13.

If then the men of the world, and the things of the world be little worth, how doth this discover the madnesse and folly of men in these dayes who so much mind the world? no paines nor travaile too great, or too dangerous to get the world; nay they will hazard life and health, even to the back-bone, to get the world; goe to bed late, rise early, not caring if they lose both body and soule, to get the world: and when their consciences are thus set on the tenters to get it, they set their hearts on it and keep it as their God.

Secondly, let this informe our Judgements, that seeing the world, and the men of the world are so little worth; let us judge of them no better then they deserve; it is a false glasse, or crooked rule that men goe by, who judge themseves men of worth if they be rich, and we use to say there is a man of good credit; let us see our folly in thus judging. I will discover it thus.

The things of the world are given to the worst men; wicked men have many times the greatest share in them. Esau hath foure hundred at his heeles, when Iacob had but a few; The Scribes and Pharisees sate in Moses chaire, when as the Disciples of Christ were carried before Ru­lers; [Page 369] so for Riches, proud Dives fared deliciously every day, when poor Lazarus was faine to snap at a crust; so the false prophets were fed at Iesabells table, when Elias was in commons with the Ravens. Now if the things of this life were of such great worth, think you that God would keep his children so sparingly with them? no, no; they are but gifts of Gods left hand. Prov. 3. 16. Length of dayes are in his right hand, and in his left hand riches and Honour.

Instruction, to teach us to take off our hearts and affections fromUse 3. pursuing things of this life. You see they are little worth; doe not in affection love the world, nor yet in action too much seek the world; but when Heaven and earth are laide in the ballance, esteem earthly things as dung in respect of Christ, and shew your little esteem of earth­ly things, by your seeking them in the second place, and Gods King­dome in the first place; Let wicked men account the things of this life as their summum bonum; but let us be crucified to the world, let us be as dead men to the world, and the world as dead to us; not that I would have you utterly to reject the things of this life, but not to set your affecti­ons on them; we must use the things of this life as Travailers doe their provision; if they have too much, it will hinder them; so let us be con­tent whether it be much or little; it is best to lay up treasure in Heaven, as Christ told his Disciples. Thus of the first point; the second fol­lows.

OF whom the world was not worthy, as if he should have said, they are too good to live in the world; hence observe; That true Be­leeversDoctrine. are persons of very great worth. The world is not worthy of them.

I need not spend much time to prove this; they are called excellent persons, Psal. 16. 3. Againe, the righteous is more excellent then his neighbour. Prov. 12. 26. againe, they are called the glory of God, Isaiah 4. 5. They are called a chosen people, a Royall Priesthood. 1 Pet. 2. 9. Now, wherin lies the worth of a godly man? not in the outward man; for alas the outward man of a child of God is the same with another man. Their chiefe worthinesse lies in the inward man which after God is created unto righteousnesse and true holinesse. Ephesians 4. 24. The Kings daughter is all glorious within. Psalm. 45. 13. Now Gods people are worthy persons, and that in these re­spects,

First, in respect of the worthy names they have. Doe they not, saith the 1 Apostle, blaspheme the worthy name by the which ye are called? Iames 2. 7. (viz.) the name of Christ.

Secondly, they are worthy, because there was a great price paid for 2 them; it adds much to the worth of a thing when there is a great price [Page 370] paide for it; so this adds to the worth of all true beleevers, that the price was great that was paid for them; they were not bought with corruptible things; not with two hundred fore skinnes of the Phylistines, as David bought Michal; nor with thirty change of garment, the reward of those that unfolded Sampsons Riddle; they were not bought with a great summe of Money, as the Romane Burgesse shippe was; I say, not with corruptible things, but with the precious bloud of Jesus Christ; for in him wee have redemption through his bloud. Colossians 1. 14.

Thirdly, they are worthy in respect of the Consciences of the wicked; for 3 it is for their worth, that they beare them malice; it is goodnesse that is persecuted in good men. I appeale to the Consciences of wicked men, whether their Consciences tell them not, that there is worth in the godly for which they beare them a secret grudge; but if their Consciences be sleepy; and tell them not so much, yet I am sure their practises proclaime it. The grace that is in the godly, is the eye-sore of the wicked.

Fourthly, Gods people are personages of great worth, in respect of their 4 Priviledges which God hath been pleased to dignifie them withall, which are infinite, if I should name them all; wherefore as out of a Garden, where are diverse sorts of flowers, I will gather some few.

The first Priviledge wherein their worth is manifest, is their Royall des­cent; 1 they are not basely borne; No, they have Kings for their nursing Fathers, and Queenes for their nursing Mothers; they are sonnes and daughters of the King of Heaven, and it is usuall in the Scripture to call them the Children of God.

Secondly, as they are Royally descended, so they are Royally attended.2 To speak reverendly, God attends them, he keeps them as the apple of his eye; and Christ is their Captain, he goes before them to conduct them; and under God and Christ we have Angels, they pitch round a­bout them that fear the Lord, Psal. 34. 7.

Thirdly, they are worthy in respect of their places. They that trust in 3 the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, Psal. 125. 1. which cannot bee re­moved.

Fourthly, in respect of their fare; they have Benjamin's Messe, which 4 is five times more then his brethren's; so the portion of Gods children is five thousand times more then the wicked's; Heaven is their inheri­tance.

Fifthly, they are worthy in respect of their Royall apparell; as a worthy 5 man is richly apparelled, so a godly man is clothed with the righteous­nesse of Christ. Rev. 3. 9

Sixthly, in this respect also, because they are out of debt, they need not 6 feare any Sergeant to arrest them, no not death: for Christ hath cancel­led the hand-writing Col. 2. 14.

Seventhly, in respect they may goe boldly to the throne of grace, with con­fidence 7 that they shal be heard in prayer. For whatsoever we aske, we re­ceive, &c. 1 John 3. 22.

[Page 371]Eightly, all things worke together still for them to the best. Romans 8 8. 28.

Ninthly, they are Gods beloved ones, his favourites, they have an inter­est in Gods peculiar providence. True it is he shews a generall provi­dence to all: but Gods people have a right in a more peculiar manner; for God will dwell with them John 14. 23. and he will keep the feet of his Saints. 1 Sam. 2. 9.

Tenthly, they have the free use of all Gods creatures; the Charter that 10 was given by the great Lord of all, was forfeited to him by the fall of our first parents. They are the sowre grape, and we their children, our teeth are set on edge. But Christ hath renewed this charter for his: all others are but usurpers: though a wicked man have never so much, and never so good a title in regard of the Law of man, yet in Christ he shall be condemned for an intruder. Oh what a happy thing is this then for the godly? for whatsoever they have, they are the right owners of it: all things are theirs, and they are Christs, and Christ is Gods.

Eleventhly, they are persons of great worth in respect of their presence 11 where they live, the places fare the better for them. Laban fared the better for Jacob, and Potiphar sared the better for Joseph. While Lot was in Sodome, the Lord could do nothing against the Sodomites: they keepe the judgements from the places where they live, they are the pillars of the Land.

Twelfthly in respect of their actions: a true beleever in his praier praies 12 for himselfe and for others. Abraham prayed for Abimelech, and God heard him. Gen. 20. 17. and Moses prayed for Pharaoh, and God remo­ved the plagues, as you may see in Exodus.

Thirteenthly in respect of the great things which are laid up and reserved 13 of God for them in the world to come, such as no eye hath seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entred into the heart of man to conceive.

Object.But are they such men of worth? why, they are not esteemed at all, neither are they at all well spoken of.

AnswerFirst, know this: you that are godly, be not discouraged; this takes nothing from your worth. For who are they that say thus? none but a 1 company of mad men and fools: and who regards such?

Secondly, If all should speak well of you, then woe be unto you.2

Thirdly, Envie is evermore the companion of vertue. Learne then,3 the more you are reviled, the more to make your light to shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorifie your Father which is in heaven. No man yet ever lived, though never so worthy, but of some he hath been despised.

Fourthly, Know this in conclusion, that you that are thus despised, it 4 is a part of your worth. For when all men speake evill of you, then bles­sed are you.

This speakes terrour to the wicked, who wrong the children of God, eitherUse 1. with tongue or hands: either by themselves or by others: either by nick­naming them, or by circumventing them; this I say speakes terrible things against them. Will you offer to speake against personages of [Page 372] great worth? against the children of a King? will the King endure that thou shouldest speak against the bloud royall? no no, he will be reven­ged on them that doe so; dost thou now wrong a godly man? thou shalt one day smart for it; for God is able to punish thee, yea and he will doe it, unlesse thou speedily repent. When Saul Acts 8. persecuted the Church of Christ, Christ called from heaven and said, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? I speake to those that are wicked men, and I speake in the bowels of Christ, if you did know them, you would not doe it; for had they knowne the Lord of life, they would not have crucified him. 1 Cor. 2. 8. so, if such as doe persecute Gods children, did but know their worth, and that they were his children, they would not do it.

Let us esteem godly men and women as persons of great worth: The Saints of God have alwaies done so.

Saint Lawrence being demanded by his persecutors, wherein the worth of the Church lay; the story saith, he gathered a companie of poor people together, and pointed at them and said, there lies the worth of the Church: so, I have read of an ancient King, who made a great feast, and invited a company of poor people which were Christians, and he bade his Nobles also, now when the Christians came, he had them up into the Presence Chamber; but when the Nobles came, he set them in his hall. Being of the Nobles demanded the reason, he answered, I doe not this as I am their Kyng here; for I respect you more then them; but as I am a King of an­other world, I must needs honour these, because God doth most ho­nour them, and then they shall be Kings and Princes with me: soe doe you esteeme of them according to their worth, and shew it.

If they be persons of such great worth, here you may be directed how toUse 3. get a name of worth in the world, to be honoured of God. This is the way; labour to be beleevers, serve God and close with the godly, be of one minde and of one heart with them. Honour is the thing that all desire, ac­cording to that of Saul to Samuel, Honour me before the Elders of my people: so we are all ready to say, oh that I could be honoured in the heart of those that I converse withall: I say then thou must labour to serve and honour God in thy heart, let that be thine honour. It is a meere folly for men to think to get honour by swearing, by lying, by cutting and slash­ing, and drunkennesse &c. The sweet ointment of a good name is not compounded of stinking ingredients.

That should serve to comfort the godly: that seeing they are of so greatUse 4. worth, what though they be disgraced here, let this suffice thee, God that knows the true worth of every thing, he accounts thee worthy: what though dogs bark and crie out against thee for thy holinesse? let them alone: and know thou this, that the time will come when never a curre of them all but will wish, oh that mine end might be like his, and that they might goe as thy dogge to heaven with thee, when they shall see thee sitte at his right hand where are pleasures for ever­more.

[Page 373]Lastly, you that approve your selves to be of the number of the godly, la­bour to walke worthy of the Lord. Colos. 1. 10. Doth God thus advance you? then strive you to honour him with inward and outward worship. God hath not done these things for you, that you may live as you list: no, you are a chosen generation, &c. 1 Pet. 2. 19. Ergo, you must shew forth the vertue of him that hath called you. You that are parents of children, the more you doe for them, the more you look they should honour you: the more God hath done for you, the more you ought to feare him. God hath drawn you out of darkenesse into a marvellous light, and will you yet walke as vassals of Satan? This was that kept Jo­soph from committing adultery, even the favour of advancement, and how then can I doe this great wickednesse, saith he? so thou art advanced to honour, from a childe of the devill to be the son of God, how then canst thou commit wickednesse? Consider I say how God hath advanced thee from being a slave of Satan to be his adopted son: and shall I now become a covetous person, shall I be a companion of Gods enemies? when you are enticed by the divell or wicked men to any sin, say, what shall such a man as I consent? shall I flie from my colours? what, a Kings son and flie? Consider this.

THE TIME OF GODS GRA …

THE TIME OF GODS GRACE Is limited. In a SERMON By WILLIAM FENNER, Minister of the Gospel, sometimes Fellow of Pembroke Hall in Cambridge, and late Lecturer of Rochford in Essex.

London, Printed by E. T. for John Stafford.

THE TIME OF GODS GRACE Is limited.

GEN. 6. 3.‘The Lord said, My Spirit shall not alway strive with man, because he is but flesh, and his dayes shall be a hundred and twenty yeares.’

IN this Chapter is continued the History of the decay of the World, wherein is described Gods purpose of destroying mankind; in which are these two parts:

First, the meritorious deserving Cause, wherein God gives an account what he doth, how inex­cusable the world is, and how just God is; unto the. 14 verse.

Secondly, a direction unto Noah to make an Arke; where we may see, that God in his judgement remembers mercy.

The meritorious deserving cause is described, first, from the quantity of those persons in those evill dayes; a great many, verse the first; men began to multiply in places populous; where there are some good, there are ma­ny bad.

[Page 378]Secondly by the quality of those persons; the Sons of God, when they 2 saw the daughters of men, the sonnes of God (viz.) the posterity of them that maintained Religion, they began to be carelesse and carnally confi­dent; they did looke after the profits and pleasures of this life, and then it was high time for God to enter into Judgement.

Thirdly, by the kind of sinne; They lusted after unlawfull Marriages 3 &c. and the root of this was originall corruption; the Imaginations of mans heart, were onely evill, and that continually. verse 5.

These words, are a Proclamation of Gods purpose, to bring it to an end; in which are four things.

First, the Lords complaint in these words, The Lord said.

Secondly, the proclamation it selfe in these words, my Spirit shall not al­wayes strive with man.

Thirdly the reason, because he is but flesh.

Fourthly, the limitation of the time, a hundred and twenty years; in which time if they repent, I will repent; but if they will not, my Spirit shall not alway strive. As if the Lord had said, I have tried all conclusions and used all means, partly by Mercies to allure them, partly by Judge­ments to terrifie them; partly by my word to recall them, and by all meanes possible to bring them to my selfe, yet they re­maine incorrigible; I now am resolved to strive with them no more.

From the words thus opened there will naturally arise these two points.

First, that the Lord of Heaven and earth doth strive mightily with a com­panyDoct. 1. of poore Rebells; and all to bring them unto himselfe, but on this I intend not to insist.

The seond is this, viz. that there is a time when God will strive with men 2 [...]o more, and that in this life; The scope of this aimes at the whole world; but what is said in generall, may also be said in particular. Well then, there is a time in this life, and not when we are dead and gone; for then it is certain there is no more comming unto God; but, in this life there is a time when God will strive with men no more, neither for their good here, nor for their everlasting happinesse hereafter. For, unto every thing there is an appointed time. Eccles. 3. 1. Now the Lord calls lovingly to allure us; but there will come a time of, Goe ye cursed; the good Spirit of mine which thou hast abused, shall never come to thee more; this is a marvailous troublesome truth: yet most true; for men now will have their wills, and God must be at their leisure, and come (forfooth) when they please. They will live as they list, doe as they list, and God must shew mercy on them as they list, and when they list &c. So there is a time when God will strive; but when that time is gone, God will strive no more.

To make this plaiue I will lay downe these six things;

First, I will let you see that it hath been so by Testimonies of Scrip­ture.

Secondly; I will shew in or after what manner God deals with a soul in giving it over. [...] [Page 385] these fashions, leave off cards and dice &c. saies the Spirit of God, and whatsoever is of evill report: yea, but I will not; for what will Sir John and my Lady say then? Turne you unto me saith the Spirit of God; no I will not, saith the stubborn walker. Put him on in a good course, yet he will not walk therein; speake the truth saith the Spirit of God, for all lyars shall be turned out: yea but not yet, I have got thus much wealth by lying, and I will not yet leave it.

Fourthly; Such as have a common, base, vile and contemptible esteem of 4 the Gospell and Ministers thereof. They mocked the Ministers till the wrath of God broke out against them, and there was no remedy. 2 Chron. 36. 16. A Minister cannot be plaine but wicked men will abuse him in their hearts. I called and cried saith Wisedome, but you set at nought all my counsell. Prov. 1. 24, 25. and going away they make a tush at it. I, saith one, Master Minister, you mette with mens hearts to day, but I beleeve yours is as bad as anothers, else how could you have hitte them so right? see what the Spirit of God saith of such, Isa. 22. 21. In that day did the Lord call to weeping &c. the text told them of a judgement, and nothing to be expected but misery: but they make a tush of it, and say, Come, we shall all die, ergo let us eate and drink and be merrie while we may; the Minister tells us we shall all to hell, then let us have the other pot and the other pipe, if it must needs be so. Oh my beloved, can the God of heaven indure to be thus disgraced in his Gospell and Mi­nisters? Another sayes, care I what the Minister saith? I will goe and drinke at every Ale-house, and see whether these judgements will come or no.

Now I come to the fourth thing, which is the grounds of it, (viz.)4 Why the Lord in this life doth give men over, and strive with them no more. This truth is troublesome, and cursed hearts cannot abide it.

The grounds of this point arise from these two Attributes of God, his Justice and his Wisedome.

First, from the Justice of God, God is a just God; and is it not just 1 that those who have rejected him, that he should reject them? I have called, but you answered not. Jer. 7. 13. &c. Now as it is just with God to fulfill every word that he hath spoken, and to fulfill all his promises to the faithfull, so is it just with God to bring judgement on them that have sleighted him, and to fulfill all his threat­nings.

Secondly, From the Wisedome of God and his long-suffering; and this 2 is because his compassious faile not: else, the first day of our sinning had been the first day of our rejection; yea it is his goodnesse that we have a­ny favour; but Oh our God is a wise God. A man that knocks at the dore, if he be wise, will not alwaies lie knocking, if none answer: he gives over and goes away; so the Lord knocks at our hearts by mercies to allure us, by judgments to terrify us: yet he can find no entrance. Is it not wisdom then to be gone? Why should I smite you any more, saith God? Isa. 1. 5. As if he should say, tis to no purpose: I know not what to do with you: [Page 386] with you it is wisedome to give over, when there is no good to be done on you: What could I have done more for my Vinyard &c? Isa. 5. There is no wise man that will alwayes water a d [...]y stake. And do you think that God wil alwayes be sending Paul to plant, and Apollos to water? No, our God is a wise God, and our mercifull God is a just God: you that will have your wayes and wills, take them, and get you to hell and perish everlastingly.

Now in the fi [...]t place we come to the Objections.5

Object. 1.Some say, If we shall be damned, then we must be damned: if we shall be saved, then we shall be saved; why then neede we pray and keepe such a quoile as the Minister speaks of?

Sol.Secret things belong to the Lord, but revealed things to us, and to our children. Deut. 29. 29. ergo doe thou use the meanes, and be thou humbled according to the word of God, and thou shalt be exalted ac­cording to the word of God: see what God hath said to thee in his word: for neither I, nor thou, nor the Angels of heaven can tell what the will of the Lord is concerning thee, if not revealed in the word.

Object. 2.Another saith, Why do you limit God? you take too much upon you, you sons of Levi. The Lord saith, At what timy soever a sinner doth re­pent, &c. yet will you limit God?

Sol.Tis true, at what time soever a sinner doth repent: but thy heart may be given over, as Rom. 2. 4, 5. &c. and what if thou then livest twenty years or more, and have not a heart to repent?

Object. 3.Another saith, But I hope my time is not past: for the Lord hath given me a tender heart.

Sol.Hath he so? it is well, and wilt thou then harden it? thou mayest re­pent when it is too late; and ergo I tell thee, that good and holy desires are joyned with honest endeavours: neede makes the old wi [...]e trot, as we say; so a soft heart will make thee use all good and honest means.

Seeing that God strives with many, and at last gives over, goe thou home, and blesse God that he hath not dealt so with thee; it is enough that the Lord hath brought thee home to himselfe; many may say with Paul, I was a persecutor, I was injurious, &c. 1 Tim. 1. 14. but I received mercy; so thou maist say, The Lord knowes what a deale adoe he hath had with me; this heart was as hard as the neaher mil-stone, but the Lord in some measure hath mollified it; this heart was as proud as the devill, but blessed be Gods name, he would let me see it at the last; goe home and say, Who am I, and what is my fathers house, that the Lord hath brought me hither? Oh that God should thus stoope to man! the Lord hath stood and knockt thus many yeares, and he might have given over, but blessed be his name, I have received mercie. I li­ved under the means, but that prevailed not with me: the Lord sent such and such sicknesse, but that wrought not on me: at the last I went to hear a Minister, and methought that Minister spake nothing but what he spake to me: and then the Lord set conscience on worke, and that affrighted mee. Looke to it: the Lord will either breake thy [Page 387] necke, or thy heart: doe not thinke to goe to heaven by good meanings: no, it will cost thee somewhat more before thou come there. Another time the Lord set on me, and then I set on good duties: I would have Christ to justifie and sanctifie me, and blessed be his name he was not wanting unto me in any meanes; the Lord make me thankfull &c. I tell thee thou wilt be in deede, and God shall have all: let the vo­luptuous man have his pleasures, &c. what is that to thee so thou have Christ?

For the just reproofe of all such as are yet in the gall of bitternesse andUse 2▪ in the bonds of iniquity; there will come a time when God will strive with thee no more; the old man thinks he hath time enough to re­pent in, and the young man thinks he needs not so much as enter into a Parley with godlinesse. Esau went away when he had eat and drunk, he esteemed not his birth-right; I have heard some goe away with this re­solution, when they are married then they will live thus and thus. &c. Suffer me first to go bury my Father &c. Master Minister, you speak well, I like your counsell; but I have a rich Uncle, and he hath no childe, and I am likely to be his heire; but he cannot abide a Puritan of all the men in the world, and if I do not humour him, I shall never have a Foot of his Land: let me bury him first; when Father and Friends are dead, then the children must provide for themselves; and then they will seek after God and repent; and by this time they grow old, and though they cannot make so good a shew as others, yet their hearts are as good as the best. But stay a while; all is not gold that glisters; alas poor souls, they were given over many years ago; this is also the sin of young men and women for the most part, and this is the great sin of England, the sin of many Gen­tlemen and Gentlewomen; God must pardon when they call, and that must not be till they be old, and then in all post-haste send they to and for master Priest, and he must bring God to them, or them to God▪ but the God of Heaven and earth cannot endure this mock­erie.

For terrour to all wicked and ungodly men, woe, woe, woe, that everUse 3. they were borne that are thus given over; and of these there are two sorts;

Some are insensible and some sensible. The insensible are they who die like stones as did Nabal; We have many King Harry Protestants. Others are sensible, God hath opened the eye of their soules, and hath let them read the red letters of the Gospell; It is a heavie thing for old friends to part, so Acts 20. 38. They grieved most in that he said, you shall see my face no more; so when soule and body part, it is heavie; but when the soul and God part, it is lamentable; when God takes his leave never to be seen more, then whether thou look upward or downward, there is nothing but amazement, and astonishment. If thou look upward there is the anger of God; if downward, there is the bottomlesse pit; if on the right hand, thou shalt see all his mercies, which could not allure thee; if on the left hand, all his Judgements which could not terrifie thee; if before thee, the black day, if behind thee, the Devils, this will be fearfull.

[Page 388]I remember a Story of an adulterate woman, her Conscience pricking her, she determined to repent, but God in the mean time did visit her so sore, that she lay crying out, oh my time my time!

Another time, a covetous woman her House being on fire, she to save her goods, left her child in the Cradle; but a neighbour of hers hearing it crie, tooke it away; she afterwards remembring her child, ran a­bout crying, Oh my childe, my childe, and would not be comfor­ted.

So when the fire and indignation of the Lord breaks out, if not now, yet at the last day it will; then the parties against whom it breakes, will crie, Oh my soul, my soul, what will become of thee my soul? It had been better I had never been born; for neither Mercies, Judgements, nor the Word could allure me; oh, woe is me.

Now the condition of such is miseracle in three respects.

First, because if God forsake thee, all forsakes thee; when thou liest a dy­ing,1 thou sendest for the Minister and thou wouldest faine have a word of comfort from him; but alas if thou dost not receive comfort from Heaven, how can the Minister comfort thee? If thy outward Estate faile, Friends may help; but if they faile, there is a God in Heaven, and he will help; but if he go away, then all help is gone.

Secondly, when God goes, restraining grace goes; this was Sauls case,2 and you may observe that such as have been enlightened and fall away, fall into one of these three sinnes; either into the hands of the world, and that is their Master, or else into the sinnes of uncleannesse, or into the spirit of malice to persecute them that are holy.

Thirdly, if God leave us, then common protection leaves us; we are left 3 to the clutches of all things, both in Heaven and earth; your houses are left unto you desolate. Matth. 23. 38. All the creatures are up in armes against us; the stiles we goe over, look up to Heaven, and say, Master shall we break his neck? the Horse we ride on, says, Master shall I throw him down to destruction? thou knowest that he hates thee and thine. So the aire we breath in, and all Creatures, are readie, when the Lord gives the watchword, to lay us in the goal. Conscience will witness against us; oh what will become of such men? I will tell you, either the world heales them up; or else some carnall companion saith, you have been a good neighbour, you have kept a good house amongst us &c. tush, tush, man, it may prove a lye for all this; I but the Minister tells me so; pish, pish, as if all were true the Minister speakes. I but the Scripture says it; Is all true that is in the Scripture? the Lord have mercy upon us; and thus like fooles they build with untempered morter; therefore, I exhort all such as are yet in the gall of bitternesse, to listen to what I say.

Redeeme the time, yeild to the motions of Gods Spirit, and blesse God for Mercy offered unto you in the meanes, and if any affliction be laid on you, in­treatThe Au­thors Ex­hortation. the Lord that he will doe you good by it. If thy Conscience speake, or the Spirit work, doe as Joseph did, who got him into a corner and there wept his belly full; so intreat the Lord that he will breake the Hea­vens and come downe on thee to thy comfort; put not off till thou art [Page 389] old. A gentleman will not alwayes wait at the gate; neither say thou as Felix to Paul, I will send for thee at another time, but say with Samuel, Speak Lord for thy servant heareth.

Meanes.

First, consider the fearfull condition of such as are given over; Suppose 1 one should come from▪ Hell with the fire about his eares, you would aske, what is the newes? the cry is, my time, my time. Oh my people sayes the Minister. Oh my Minister sayes the People. The young man cries, oh my time. Doe not make a tush at this, lest thou say, the word was preached, but I scorned it; the spirit said this is the way, walk in it; the means of grace was sent unto me, but I refused Mercie, and now for ever I am in Hell to be tormented.

Secondly, consider the great danger of putting off; If thy will be stub­borne 2 to day, it will be worse to morrow.

Thirdly, consider the time, 1. Pet. 4. 3. It is enough for the time of our 3 life we have lived, that we have wrought the works of the Gentiles, let us live no longer in sinne; it is too much that you have resisted the Gospell so much; say then, oh that the Lord would break this heart of mine.

Fourthly and lastly, though God should be calling and egging you all the 4 day long; yet your lives are but short, and therefore crie out with the Psal­mist, teach me O Lord to number my dayes that I may apply my heart unto wisdome; do not say it is too late, as one did once say of Prayer, doe you thinke that I can pray now, which never prayed in my life? I am sure it will be too late when God comes to Judgement; for then the Divell will stand on tip toe, and say, what, dost thou now thinke to goe to Heaven? the Lord did waite on thee untill he was weary; but here is a company of Drunkards, I did but hold up my finger, and they pre­sently followed me. Heaven came down to them, but they would none of it, they could not hear of that ear, and would you now go to heaven? Therefore goe now, for the Lord Jesus Christs sake, and when Mercie is offered, refuse it not, but blesse God for it.

A SERMON FOR Spiritu …

A SERMON FOR Spirituall Mortification, Delivered By WILLIAM FENNER, Minister of the Gospel, sometimes Fellow of Pembroke Hall in Cambridge, and late Lecturer of Rochford in Essex.

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London, Printed by E. T. for John Stafford.

A SERMON FOR Spirituall Mortification.

COLOS. 3. 5.‘Mortify therefore your Members which are upon the earth, Fornication, Uncleanness, Inordinate affection, evill Concupis­cence, and Covetousnesse, which is Idolatry.’

THE Apostle having in the Chapter foregoing shewed that the Colossians were buried together with Christ in his death, and that they were also risen with him, maketh two speciall uses thereof.

First in regard of the resurrection, if then yee be risen with Christ seeke those things that are above.

The second is in regard of their buriall with Christ, in these words; Mortify therefore your members &c.

There be many men that look for participation in Christ, yet not­withstanding mortifie not themselves; they would fain live with Christ: yet are loth to dye to sinne; but we may say to these men, as Paul to [Page 394] the Atheist, Thou foole, that which thou sowest is not quickened, unlesse it first die: so unlesse the seed of the word be sowen upon thy heart, thou canst not be quickned unlesse thou fist die.

The things to be mortified, are described two manner of waies; ei­ther in generall, the members; or else in particular, Fornication, unclean­nesse, evill affections &c. or as in the tenth verse, all the fruits of the old man.

The words containe in them these three parts, or truths.Parts.

First, He that ever means to have Christ, must have him with a there­fore.1 As if he should say, if you look to have benefit by the death of Christ, looke to have a therefore with it; for no man can have Christ without a condition.

Secondly, this condition consists in mortification; we must mortifie 2 our earthly members; this is the qualification of all those that partake of the death of Christ, even mortification.

Thirdly, those that are made partakers of the death of Christ, are en­abled 3 thereto; so as the Apostle may well put this exhortation unto them, Mortifie therefore your members &c.

He doth not say, civilize your members; many there be that civilize their earthlie members; as from mortifying to purifying of them; they come out of prophanenesse and enter into Civility and a formall kinde of profession; but the Apostle saith, mortifie, and not civilize your mem­bers; doe not pare the nailes of your corruptions, but cut them quite off, and give them their deaths wound, that so your sins may breath out their last breath in you.

Sin may be civilized five wayes.

First, when it is laid asleepe. Pharaohs sinnes were asleepe, but not dead.1 Many mens sinnes are asleepe in them, though they seeme to be dead in them for a time: A man, while he is asleepe is like a dead man, yet he is alive, yea and his sinnes are alive in him also; but when tempta­tion comes to awaken him out of his sleepe, though before he seemed to be patient and meeke, and hardly to be provoked: yet let a tempta­tion come and rouze him, then he will finde his old wrath, anger and impatiencie. So likewise for a covetous man, though he seeme to mor­tifie that sinne, yet it is but asleepe in him; for let a temptation come, and he will quickly finde out his covetousnesse again; so that here sinne is not mortified; but it is with these men as it was with Sampson, all the while he was laide to sleepe, the coards and fetters held him: but when they said, Sampson, the Philistines are upon thee, and awaked him out of his sleepe, the Pinne and Webbe was not strong enough to hold him. Thus it is with many men, when temptations are downe, and they are not provoked, all this while they seeme to have their sinnes mortified; and thus the devill is of a good temper when he is not stirred; so it is with many whom you would thinke to be good Christians, while the windes are downe, and the stormes doe not beate: but let them heare with Sampson, that the Philistines are coming upon them, that there is such a gaine, such a profit and reputation to be had in the eyes of the world, then all the Pinnes and Webbes are bro­ken, [Page 395] all their resolutions and all the strong coards of their former purpo­ses are but as fire and towe; they breake them all in pieces: so then they are but asleepe not mortified.

Secondly, Sinne may bee said to be civilized when it is laide in a 2 swound; a man lying in a swound, is dead for a while and you would thinke he could hardly be recovered; for he can neither heare, nor see, nor goe, nor speake; and yet notwithstanding he is not dead; onely his vitall heate is gone from his outward members unto the inward powers of the heart. Even so a mans sinnes seeme to bee dead, when the spirit of his lust is conveighed into a higher lust; as for ex­ample, Suppose here is one that is a covetous worldling, this man perad­venture is very moderate and temperate; he is not given to gaming, dicing, carding, wenching: he is not given to building, or glo­rious apparell: but what, are these sinnes dead in him? no, but the strength of them is carried up into a higher lust: for if he should follow whoring or gaming &c. the lust of his covetousnesse would be curbed, and his gaine would not come in with such a full Carreere unto him. Now all these sinnes forenamed are but attendants and slaves unto this one lust: so, many men it may be will give over a thousand sinnes, yea all except this one, yet all those thousand sinnes are not mor­tified, nay it may be hee scarcely thinkes upon any of them. Why? because they are taken up with a higher lust. Even so it is with many civill formall professors: they will come to Church, misse never a Sermon that they can come unto; they will talke of heaven, they will not omit any holie communication, they will reade the Scriptures, pray in their families, neglect no holy duties. Why then what is their sinne? It is not the omitting of these things, but the carelesse practise of them in their lives and conversation; for although these sinnes be in a swound, the strength of them is gone up to main­taine a higher lust; for suppose he went not to Church, how should he maintaine his profession? and if he could not now and then speake of heaven, it were impossible he should have his depth of selfe-deceit; therefore wee conclude these sinnes are not mortified, they onely are ci­vilized.

Thirdly, Sinne may be said to be civilized when the sap of sinne is 3 taken away, and no contrary Grace infused; as for example, Suppose a man give over drunkennesse, yet if this man be not filled with the Spirit, his drunkennesse is not mortified, though he live soberly afterwards all the dayes of his life. Again, suppose a man give over his intemperate anger, he is not touchy, nor cholericke, nor subject to passion, yet if he have not turned his anger against himselfe for every one of his cor­ruptions which breake out against God, his anger is not mortified. Sup­pose a man is not given over to worldly griefe, but hath given it o­ver; yet if his griefe be not turned another way, as to grieve for his sinnes, his griefe is not mortified. Again, suppose a man be not set up­on a merry pinne, ever jesting or telling forth merry tales, but now he hath given them over; yet if he have not set his joyes on the wayes of God and learned truly to be merry in the Lord, it is impossible [Page 396] we can say his carnall mirth is mortified. For as the schoole-men say, [...] there is nothing corrupted till another thing be produced; there is no dissolu­tion of wood until it be turned into ashes: so sinne is never taken away nor utterly dissolved, untill there be contrary grace brought into the heart in stead thereof; so then unlesse there be contrary graces wrought in the heart, as the contraries of all those sins foregoing, they are but onely civilized, and not mortified.

Fourthly, Sinne may be said to be civilized, when it is overwtharted by 4 a higher principle: as when a man is sensible of the wrath of God, and hath the flashes of an accusing conscience flying daily into his face, lying under the guilt of many horrible sinnes, it is impossible for him to goe on with rest and quietnesse in those his unholy courses wherein he useth to walke; he may forsake them for a while, but yet he cannot mor­tifie them: but as a schoole-boy that playes the trewant, while he is un­der the rodde, he will confesse his fault, and promise to doe so no more, and he verily thinketh so at that time, and desires heartily so to doe: but it is a desire that he is provoked unto for fear of the rodde, and not for love of dutie: for when once the rodde is gone, and the smart over, then he falls to his old trewanting courses againe. So we reade in the first of Jonah, that when the Marriners were in perill of their lives, then every one of them could call upon his God: but when the storme and danger was over, they quickly left off, and cared not for calling on God any longer.

Fifthly and lastly, Sinne may be said to be civilized by Gods giving of 5 positive common grace; which he gives unto wicked men, as in Mat. 25. God gave unto the unprofitable servant a whole talent, which is supposed to be an hundred and sixty and odde pounds: so the Lord gives unto wicked men many good graces, as softnesse of disposition, lovingnesse or easie to be intreated; and hereupon they come to Church, heare the word, and performe many other Christian duties: yet all these be but common graces, which a man may have, and yet his sinnes not mortified, and therefore the Apostle saith, Mortify your members &c. Whence observe,

That if wee looke to have any benefit by, or interest in Christ, weeDoctrine. must mortifie all our sinnes, and all our corruptions; As if the Apostle had said, make all your earthly members to be as a dead corpse: now we, knowin a dead corpse, the eyes are there but they cannot see: the feete are there also, but they want strength for to goe: it hath all the members, but it hath not life and power to fet them on worke: so though sinne be in you still, yet let it be like a dead corpse wanting life, like a dead Tyrant that can no longer rage: and hence it is that the Apostle saith, Let not sinne reigne in your mortall bodies: he doth not say, let it not be, but, let it not reigne. Sinne when it is mortified, is like a dead King that can call no more Parliaments: but a man may doe for him what hee listeth, because his strength lieth in the dust. If Christ be in you saith the Apostle, the body is dead because of sinne, but the spirit is life for righteousnesse sake. Rom. 8. 9, 10. Againe if a man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of Christs; now if [Page 397] Christ be in you, the body is dead, if you consider the body as it hath relation unto sinne. Again, if you live after the flesh, you shall dye, verse 13. as if he should have said, if your flesh be alive in you, if your pride live in you, and if your infidelity live in you, if your hardnesse of heart live in you, if your wrath &c, live in you, and if you walke after these, you shall surely die: he meaneth not a temporall death▪ for so they must doe howsoever they live; but his meaning is they shall die eternally; but if you mortify the deedes of the body by the spirit, you shall live; so then it is plaine, there is no life of Christ to bee had so long as you retain your sinnes, and therefore sinne must bee morti­fied,

First, because Christ is a Saviour, and hence he is called Jesus, Matth.Reason 1. 1. 21. for he shall save his people from their sinnes; if therefore Christ doe not save thee from thy sins, and if by the power of Christ thou mortifie not thy sinnes, and give them a deadly blow, assure thy selfe he will ne­ver be a Jesus unto thee. It is true indeed Christ dyed for sinners, but it was not to let them goe on in sinne; and therefore if thou goe on in sinne, it is for thy damnation, and not for thy salvation; for he will first save thee from thy sinnes, or else he will never save thee from hell: so then consider if thy sinnes bear sway in thee; if they doe, then know thou art delivered up unto the power of thy sinnes, and to everlasting darknesse. For Christ is the true Physitian of the soule: and you know that the Physitian doth not bring a potion to put it unto deaths mouth to kill death, and so to save the sicke person alive: no, but hee putteth it into the sicke mans mouth to kill the ill hu­mours that are in his body, that so hee might not fall into the hands of death: so Christ came not to quench the flames of hell by his spirituall Physicke, but to let his Physicke fall upon the heart and soule of man to save him from hell. Therefore unlesse the bloud of Christ doe mor­tifie thy sinnes, and crucifie thy lusts, there is no hope ever to get Christ to save thee from hell and everlasting damnation. This is a true saying saith the Apostle and worthy to be received, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. 1 Tim. 1. 15. This is a faithfull saying, and wicked men like it well indeede: For saith the drunkard, I am a wicked man, yet Christ came to save me. The whoremonger saith, I am an uncleane person: yet Christ came to save me. The swearer will say, Christ came to save sinners, and therefore I hope he will save me too. No, no: Christ came to save sinners, that is such as were sin­ners, but now are none: they have and doe repent. Jesus Christ came to save sinners (saith the Apostle) whereof I am chiefe. I was a blasphemer, and a persecuter, but now I am not. Hence then is the faith­full saying, Christ came to save sinners, not still sinning. No, before, Paul was injurious, a persecuter, and lived in ignorance, and unbeleefe: but now the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ was wonderfully abundant through Faith and love towards him: so that the grace of God hath appeared to draw men out of blindnesse and ignorance therefore to say that Christ came to save such as live in their sins, and will live in them, as in sins of drunkeness, prophaness, or uncleaness, [Page 398] is a rotten saying: and this onely is the faithfull saying, that Christ came into the world to save sinners in whom the power of sinne is broken: therefore if ever we looke to have benefit or interest by Christ, we must mortify our earthly members.

Secondly, because it is impossible for sinne and grace to live and subsistReason 2. in one subject: it is impossible that they should ever stand together, and be in a man at one and the same time: it cannot be that one and the same creature can have the life of a swine and the life of a man: for if he have the soule of a swine, he cannot have the soul of a man: for they are two contrary distinct lives: and where the one is, the other cannot be. It is like hot water and cold: if it be cold, it cannot be hot; if it be hot, it cannot be cold. Even so, the life of sinne, and the life of grace are two contraries: and therefore they that walke in their sinnes, walke contrary to God. Now the Lord saith, if you walke contrary to me, I will walke contrary unto you. Levit. 26. and two contraries we know cannot goe together. He that walks in sinne, walkes contrary unto God: but he that goes on in the waies of grace, he walks towards God. Now, it is impos­sible to walk towards Dover and towards London at one and the same time: for every steppe he goeth forward to the one, it carries him back­ward from the other: so then if ever we will have the life of grace, we must forsake our sinnes; as it was with the house of Saul and David, Sauls house grew weaker, and Davids stronger; so must it be with sin and grace, as grace growes stronger, so sinne must grow weaker: as grace goes up, so sinne must go down: And as Saul told David he would not give him Michal his daughter to wife, unlesse he brought unto him an hundred fore-skinnes of the Philistines; Even so the Lord saith that he will not marry the Lord Jesus Christ unto any soule, unlesse he bring the fore-skinne of every lust: hee must circumcise the fore­skinne of his pride, of his covetousnesse, of his prophanenesse: this must bee the offering and condition of marriage unto Christ; even the circumcision of the heart, and the mortification of all the corruptions.

Thirdly, because else it is impossible to enter into heaven, if we mor­tifyReasan not our sinnes: a man can never be capable of glory hereafter, that doth not mortifie his sinnes here in this life. Suppose a wicked man should enter into heaven, it is impossible that he should delight in heaven, if he were there. You will thinke this a strange point: but give me leave to explain it a little; I say that a wicked man if he were in heaven, he could finde no delight there. As for example, take a beast, for so is every man by his own knowledge, in regard of the life of grace, as saith the Prophet Jeremy, though a man take an Oxe or an Asse, and bring him unto the Kings table, and set before him all the delicates which appertain unto Kings: let him have a dinner before him that cost an hundred pounds, yet he had rather be in the fields among his fellowes eating grasse: or set a Crowne of gold upon a beasts head, he will not regard it, but cast it off into the mire: for so long as the beast is not transformed and made capable of the honour that is in a man; he cannot conceive of the pleasures and delights [Page 399] that doe belong unto man: Even so let a wicked man enjoy all the glo­ry of heaven, and what will he say? We may perceive a little by bring­ing him to the Word and Ordinances of God: tie him to the constant use of them, to meditate on heaven, and to walk circumspectly and pre­cisely in his whole course of life, and he will say, this is more then needs: this he thinks is too precise, too austere a life for him, he cannot away with such purity and strictnesse; but if he thinke this so strange which is nothing in comparison, and is but a shadow or poore resemblance of the holinesse and purity that shall be; what thinke you would he doe if he were in heaven, where there is nothing but continuall praysing and glorifying of God for evermore, where there shall not be so much as one earthly thought or word pertaining to the world or the affaires of this life, but a continuall sounding forth of the praises of God? there is nothing but grace and speaking of heaven, all their words are heavenly, their joies are heavenly and their whole delight is nothing but sounding forth uncessant Hallelujahs unto God for evermore. Now if a wicked man were there, what would he say? surely he would say, they are all Puritans, and would never endure it. Alas, in this life there is but a little praying, a little grace, a little holinesse, in comparison of that which shall be. Here we do but as it were peepe into heaven: now then, if this be so tedious that wicked men cannot endure it, how will they like to be in a place where there is perfection of all graces, where there shall be nothing but praysing God for ever and ever? Sure as I am the devill was once in heaven, and he cast himselfe out from thence: God did not though he did deserve it, and God would have done it, had he not been gone, as saith the Apostle; Jude verse 6. They left their first habita­tion, the originall saith, they flung it from them, that is, as soone as they had sinned against God, and changed their natures, away they went, heaven was no place for them, they thrust themselves out, and could not endure to stay there any longer: for having changed their natures, they changed their delights, and therefore to praise and yeeld glory unto God, was death unto them, they being now corrupted through sinne, and of an impure nature, heaven became a hell unto them. Is any man weary of grace and holinesse? wearie of well doing? weary of praying and of hearing the word preached? Is any man wearie of good duties? of the worshippe and service of God▪ Let him know then that he can never endure the Kingdome of Heaven; for if he be weary of a little, what will he doe when he shall come into a place where there shall be nothing but continuall praysing of God?

Is it so that sinne must be mortified if ever we meane to partake of Christ?Use 1. then this condemnes all those that goe on in their old courses, in deadnesse and in security, in ignorance &c. taking hand over head vaine hopes for true, feeding themselves with perswasions of sal­vation.

But the Apostle tells us, that the foundation of God standeth sure, The Lord knoweth who are his, and let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. A wicked man cannot name the name of [Page 400] Christ till he depart from iniquity: much lesse can he look for salvation, because he cannot be saved without Christ: nay he cannot be saved by Christ unlesse he depart from iniquity.

You say you hope to be saved; it is well; but God knoweth who are his: God goeth by his own rule; the foundation of God standeth sure. But who then are his? onely those that name the name of Christ, and depart from iniquity; those onely will he save, and none other: he will be no ba [...]d to thy sinnes or lusts, and wicked courses; for saith the Apo­stle, If any man be in Christ let him be a new creature; as if the Apostle in more words had saide: If any man hope hee is a Christian, let him see that he is a new creature; for there is no expectation of being in Christ, unlesse he be a new creature. All old things are passed away, and behold all things are become new; if thou be in Christ, all thy old praying is gone, all thy old hearing is gone, all thy old receiving of the Sacrament is passed away, and all things are become new with thee; thou must hear anew, pray anew, receive anew, beleeve anew, thou must live after a new sort; for all old things are passed away.

Instruction to teach us, that it is not enough for us to let our sinnes dyeUse 2. in us, but we must kill them; the Apostle doth not say, let your earthly members die of themselves, but, mortifie them; many there be that let their sinnes die in them; as for example, when one is an infant, the sinnes of his Infancie naturally fall from him, when he is a child of more capacity; and when he is a youth, the sinnes of his childhood naturally drop away from him; so when he is a man, his youthfull sinnes fall from him; and when he is old and dieth, all his sinnes naturally droppe from him: But he must not let sinne die in him, but he must kill it. Austin saith, if thou kill not sinne till it dyeth of it selfe, sinne hath killed thee, and not thou thy sinne It is with sinne as with a beast; if an Oxe fall into a pit [...]e and die of it selfe, it is good for nothing (the hide only excepted;) but if it be killed, it is good meate, and becom­meth profitable unto the owner; even so if sinne die of its own accord, it will doe thee no good, it is worth nothing, it may lessen thy condem­nation somewhat; but if thou kill it, then it will bee profitable unto thee.

In the fourth Chapter of Jeremy, we have a similitude taken from an Husband-man, where the Lord saith, plough up the fallow ground of your hearts, and sow not among thornes. Now, will a Husbandman say, there are abundance of thornes and bushes in my ground, but I will let them alone till they die of themselves, sure I am that they will one day die? no, no; the Prophet gives other counsell, plough up saith he the fallow grounds, and sow not among thornes; if thou dost not, they will grow up to that height and ranknesse that they will spoile the whole harvest. Even so if thou kill not thy sinnes, but suffer them to die of themselves, they will spoile all thy spirituall harvest, and quite banish thee out of Heaven for evermore.

The Third use may manifest unto us that the work of our Redemp­tionUse 3. is no easy work, as many men in the world think it to be. The Apostle saith, mortifie your members; now can a man stabbe his owne [Page 401] arme through with ease? can he cut off his Legg or any other member without feeling any geeat paine? no more can a man kill his sinnes and mortifie his lusts with ease; It is called mortification to shew that there is a great deal of misery and pain in it. The Apostle saith that those that are Christians, have crncified the flesh &c. Gal. 5. 24. and therfore Repen­tance is set out unto us by crucifiing, which is the hardest of all kinds of mortifying. Can a man set his flesh upon the Tenter, pierce his hands and feet with nailes, laying his whole weight upon the Tenter, and yet feele no paine? Cicero a wise Heathen saith, that crucifiing was a torment that cruelty it selfe had invented to put a man to death, it being the soa­rest kind of death that could be devised. And the Apostle to set forth Repentance what it is, shews it by crucifying. It is an easie matter to cut off the outward act of sinne, as of swearing or drunkennesse &c. this is an easie matter; but to crucifie a mans lusts and to mortify daily the body of death, which be beareth about him; this is a hard thing indeed. A Father saith it it is the hardest Text in all the Bible, and the hardest dutie in all Christianity that we can goe about; they that can do it, can doe all things; and therefore let a man resolve with himselfe, that unlesse he attain unto this, there is no Christ for him. How shall we, saith the Apostle, that are dead to sinne, live any longer therein? Romans 6. 2. The Apostle makes it a Paradox, and wonders that men should be so unreasonable as to thinke that they are crucified with Christ, and yet live in their sinnes. Is it possible that you can be dead with Christ, and yet live in your sinne? No, no, it can­not be.

Object.But some may object and say, what doth the Apostle meane to ex­hort the Colossians unto Mortification? were they not already mortified? did he not say a little before that they were crucified and buried together with Christ?

Sol.Yes it is true; but they that have mortified their earthly Members, must go on and persevere in this Mortification, and that for three Reasons;

First because the very same sinne that hath been killed, will live again un­lesse 1 it be continually mortified; for sinne is strong-hearted; it is not every blow that will kill sinne stone-dead; no, no, we may say of sin as some I say of Cats, they have nine lives; kill sin once and it wil revive again; kil it the second time and it will yet live; kill it the third time, it will yet have life; unlesse it be continually mortified, it will never be starke dead; and therefore the worke must be continued, as Christ said of his disci­ples, If you continue in my Word, then are you my Disciples in­deed: So if we goe on in mortification, then verily are we Christs Disciples.

Secondly, suppose the sinne mortified doe not rise againe; yet if wee goe 2 not on in the way of Mortification, there will arise another sinne in the roome of it. Sinne is like the Monster Hydra; cut off one head, and ma­ny will rise up in its roome; Even so it is in the body of sinne; there­fore thou must dayly mortifie it, or else it will grow again. There is a History that speakes of a Fig-tree that grew in a stone wall, and all [Page 402] means was used to kill it; they cut off the branches and it grew again; they cut down the body and it grew again; they cut it up by the roote and still it lived, and grew, untill they pulled downe the stone wall. Even so it is with sinne; lopp off the branches, it lives; cut downe the body, it will not die: digg up the rootes, and it will still revive, and will never leave growing untill God pull downe the stone wall of this our earthly Tabernacle, and lay it in the dust, and therefore we must still be mortifying of it.

Thirdly, because as we mortifie, so we mortifie but in part; as saith the 3 Apostle in another case, we know but in part &c. so may we say of this duty, we mortifie but in part; as we may say of a man breathing out his last breath, he is a dying, but not quite deade; so we may say of sinne, though it lie sprawling upon the ground, yet it is not dead, the last gaspe is not past. Nay, it may be sinne is more striving in the heart of a child of God converted, then it was before conversion. As an Oxe or an Asse when they have their deaths blow, will lash and struggle more then, then they did in all their life time before; but this is nothing but the pangs of death, being giving up their last breath. Hence it is that the Apostle saith, that the flesh lust [...]th against the Spi­rit, and the Spirit against the flesh. Gal. 5. So that they could not doe what they would, verse 17. as if he should say, sinne is so morti­fied that it hath his deaths wound in thee; else thou canst not be the childe of God; yea such a deaths wound, as it cannot possible recover again.

If a man that hath received his deaths wound, should send for all the Physitians in the world, and take all the Physicke hee could, and use all the meanes under Heaven, yet they can never recover him: So when a man is converted unto God, as soone as ever the worke is wrought in him, sinne hath his deaths blow; and although the Devill come as Physitian with all the Cordialls, Juleps and Balmes under Heaven, and use all the shifts and devises in the world, yet he shall never be able to recover it again; all will not doe, why? because it hath received its deaths blow; it may be, with his industrie and cost hee may make the face of sinne loke fresh and faire for a time, but it hath it deaths wound and it will down at the last.

The last Use may be of triall and examination whether sin be livingUse 4. or dead.

Now that we may know whether we have mortified our sins or no, let us observe these markes following.

First, they that have mortified their sinnes, live in the contrary Gra­ces.1 Hence it is that the Psalmist saith, that They worke no iniquitie, but walke in thy pathes, Psalme 119. 3. First, they crucifie all their sinnes, they doe no iniquity: Secondly, as they doe no iniquity, so they take up all the wayes of God, contrary to that iniquity; as they give up all the wayes of sinne, so they take up all the wayes of Grace; they walke in all Gods wayes. So that here is the question, if a man giving over his sinnes doe take up all the Graces contary to those sinnes. This is a rule in Divinity, that Grace takes not away nature; that is [Page 403] Grace comes not to take away a mans affections, but to take them up.

Suppose a man be subject unto anger, when he is a little moved, grace comes not to take away his anger, but to take it up from a worldly thing, and to set it against sinne which is truly evill, that so he may be angry and not sin. Grace comes to qualify his anger; and to take it from the waies of sin, and to set it upon Gods wayes.

Again, a man is subject to be merry; Grace comes to temper him, not to take away his mirth, but to set it upon a right object, as to delight in God, to be merry in Christ, to rejoyce in his Word and Ordinances, in his children, and in all the waies of Grace.

Another is given to impatiency; Grace comes not to take away his impatiency, but to set his impatience against his sins; so that when he sees his sins, he shall not be able to endure them, but his soule will groan for them, and his heart will rise against them.

Another is given to revenge: now Grace comes and takes him away from being revenged on his neighbour, to be revenged on his sinnes; so that with the Apostle we may call revenge a piece of Repentance, there­fore this is a true triall whether our sins be mortified, if our affections be taken away from the wayes of sinne, and fast set upon the wayes of Grace and godlinesse.

Secondly, if a man be mortified indeed and in truth, then he is dead unto every sin; if a man be killed, he is dead in every member; so if a man be dead to sinne, no sinne can ever raigne in him; not one lust nor bosome sinne, no not the sinne of his trade; no corruption though never so deare, though it be the sinne of his right hand, or right eye, yet it can never have dominion over him, if he be dead to sinne; therefore if a man live in any one sin or sweet lust whatsoever, he is a dead man and hath not one jot of Grace; if there be but one knowne iniquity in a man, that he lives and dies in without repentance, that one iniquity shall kill him to the put of hel, Ezek. 28.

The Schoolemen say, that if a Sow doe but wallow in one mirie or dirty hole, she is filthy; so if a soule wallow but in one sinne, it is abo­minable. If a man stab himselfe but with one knife so that he die, he is as truly killed, as was Julius Caesar, who was stabbed with three and twenty knives. So if a man should be free from an hundred diseases, and should die of one, what would it benefit him to be free from the rest in respect of his life? surely nothing at all. That man that hath his pride, his Co­vetousnesse, his usury, hatred, malice, deriding of Gods people, all these being dead in him; yet if selfe-love and security &c. be not dead in him, these argue his case to be naught; he is not yet qualified for Christ; for there is no mortification at all in him.

There be many sweet meanes to allure us unto mortification, but time will not permit us to speake of them; but this let every man take notice of, that so long as he liveth in sin, he is altogether uncapable of Christ. The Apostle saith, we know that the Law is not given unto a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sin­ners, for the unholy and prophane, and whatsoever is contrary to whol­some doctrine, the Law is for such men: But the first Doctrine of the [Page 404] of Christ, is, Repent of thy sins, deny thine own wayes take up Christs crosse, and follow the Lamb wheresoever he goes. Here the Kingdom of Heaven is laid open to all the world; Let mens miseries be what they can be, and although their sinnes be never so great, Christ cometh to redeem them; yea though they have a whole Hell of sinne in them, yet if they have a heart to entertaine Christ, his Grace is so rich and all­sufficient, that it will save every man that enterteineth him.

There is a Proclomation openly made in the Market place, Hoe, every one that thirsteth, come unto the waters Isa. 55. 2. As if he should say, Hoe, every one that hath a mind to Christ, come and have him; every one that hungers and thirsteth after Christ, let his sinnes be never so great, and the number never so many, here is hue and crie after him; Come un­to the waters; He saith not come unto the water, but, waters; not a lit­tle low brook or stream, which is not able to wash away all his sins, but there is an Ocean of waters ndefinitely: waters in the plural number, de­claring the fulnesse and sufficiency to cleanse the most leprous soule, be he never so much stained with corruption. It is said by the Prophet O­badiah, that the Lord will send unto his People Saviours, verse 21. not in the singular number, but Saviours in the plurall number; not that there were moe Christs then one; but to manifest the fulnesse of Christ, he is a rich Christ, full of salvation for all them that come unto him; Therefore if there be any man that mourns and laments for his sinn