THE TRYALL OF A CHRISTIANS GROWTH IN Mortification, OR Purging out Corruption. Vivification, OR Bringing forth more fruit.

A Treatise handling this CASE, How to discerne our Growth in GRACE: Affording some Helps rightly to judge thereof, BY Resolving some Tentations, Clearing some Mistakes, Answering some Questions, About Spirituall Growth.

Together with some Observations upon the Parable of the Vine, John 15. 1, 2. verses.


2 COR. 7. 1.
Let us cleanse our selves from all filthinesse of flesh and spirit, per­fecting holinesse in the feare of God.

LONDON, Printed by J. G. for R. Dawlman, 1650.


THis following Treatise [The Tryall of a Christians Growth] was formerly printed during the time of my absence out of my na­tive Country: and by reason thereof had many imperfections and incongruities both in style and matter; which, now being againe (through the good hand of God upon me) returned, I have endea­voured to amend. So as partly through some alteration in the method and frame of it, partly by cutting off some re­dundancies, I have reduced it to some better shape, and neerer proportion to its fellowes.

The scope and way of handling this subject [Growth] is not Doctrinall so much, nor yet Hortatory, as either perswading to, or discoursing of a Christians growth in generall, (concerning which much hath been already writ­ten by others) But the more proper aime of this is to resolve A Case of Conscience, (like as those two other preceding Tractates of mine have done) namely this, How to discern our growth, and to answer more usuall temptations about it: And so these three Treatises being of like sort and kinde, and properly belonging to that part of Theologie which we call Case Divinity; I have therefore in this new Edition of the whole ordered to put them together, (which is all the alteration I have made) although in their first and single publishing some other came between.

If in the performance this falls short of many more [Page] raised experiments of Growth which are found in such as the Apostle John calls Fathers, elderly Christians, who with Enoch have walked long with God; yet I have hoped that you that are young men (as he also styles the middle sort of Christians) that you may finde many things help­full to your right understanding and judging of your growth, and which may free you from many mistakes in mis-judging thereof, and so consequently of many tentations about it, which that Age of Beleevers are more peculiarly incident unto. I dare not say, I write these things to you Fathers, I never presumed it in my thoughts; I my selfe wrote and preached it when I was but young in years, and for the time far younger in grace and experience. And I dare not (if the great Apostle would not) stretch my selfe beyond that measure which God hath distributed to me. 2 Cor. 10. 14. A measure, which, yet, may reach you that are young men, though more eminent grown Christians are gone far beyond the line of it.

The God of grace and peace grant us and all his children spirits endeavouring to speak the truth in love (in these dividing times) that we may grow up into him in all things,Ephes. 4. 15. who is the Head, even Christ.

April 26. 1643.
Tho: Goodwin.


Some OBSERVATIONS premised upon this Parable of the VINE,

JOHN 15. 1, 2.‘I am the true Vine, and my Father is the Husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit, he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.’
The summe and division of the words, and subject of this Discourse.

A Faire and fruitfull Parable this is, spread forth into many Branches. In which, under the plea­sant shadow of a Vine, (upon occasion they had but newly been reall partakers of his blood in the fruit of the Vine) Christ elegantly sets forth himself in his relation to his visible Church, and the estate of his Apostles, and in them, of all visible Professors to the end of the world: Shewing withall under that similitude, [Page 2] what his Father meant to doe with Judas, now gone out to be­tray him; as with all other unfruitfull branches like unto him, even cut them off, and throw them into the fire. But on the con­trary, encouraging them, and all other fruitfull branches, that they should still continue to abide in him, with promise, that they should yet bring forth more fruit.

The Parable hath three Parts:

1. A Vine here is, of all the fairest, ver. 1.

2. A Husbandman, of all the carefullest.

3. The end of planting this Vine, fruitfulnesse.

1 First, this Vine, as all Vines else, hath two sorts of branches:

1. Such as (though greene) bring forth no true fruit, nought but leaves.

2 2. Such as bring forth fruit, ver. 2.

The Husbandman hath answerably offices of two sorts to­wards them both, [...], which is a witty Paranoma­sia, Amputare & Putare, to Lop and Cut off. First, clean to cut off those that are utterly unfruitfull, which thereupon are cast out, doe wither, and are gathered and cast into the fire: So ver. 2. & 6. And thus now he meant to deale with Judas.

But 2. to Purge, and but lop off the luxuriancies, and too much runnings out of the fruitfull branches into springs, which they are subject to.

3 Thirdly, his end in all is, that fruit, and more fruit might be brought forth. This is his end of planting this Vine, this is the end of purging these branches of it, which he being fru­strated of, in those other, is the cause why he takes them cleane away.

And to exhort these unto fruitfulnesse, was one main end of Christs using this Parable, and unto this tends all in the fol­lowing verses, either as meanes or motives unto fruitfulnesse.

First, as meanes,

1 1. He assures them of their being in the state of grace, verse 3. Assurance is a means of fruitfulnesse.

He speaks of Purging them by his word, in the same verse; Ye are cleane through the word I have spoken to you: This is a means he further useth.

[Page 3] 3. He inculcates into them the sense of their owne inability to doe any thing without him, ver. 5.

4. Therefore to abide in him, and suck from him, ver. 5.

5. And to let his Word abide in them, by which himselfe shall also abide in them, and by which they may still be purged, and so be fruitfull.

The motives are,

1. If not, they know their doome, to the fire with them,2 ver. 6.

2. If they doe, their prayers shall be granted, ver. 7.

3. Hereby his Fathers is glorified, ver. 8.

4. They shall shew themselves his Disciples, ver. 8.

5. They shall continue in his love, who loves them as dearly as his father doth him, ver. 9, 10.

And so you have the summe of all this Parable.

The principall subject I aime at in this Scripture, is this maine case of Conscience, which useth to be the exercise, and inquisi­tion of many good souls, How a Christian may discerne his growth, both in purging out corruptions, and increase of grace, and the fruit of it.

Therefore what ever other spreading fruitfull observations grow upon this stock, (and this Vine affords many) wee will but shortly, and as men in haste, view and take notice of, but as in our way to that other which I principally intend, and onely so far stay upon the observation of them, as the bare opening this similitude here used, doth give sap and vigour to them.

The first Observation, how Christ is a Vine, and onely the true Vine.

First, Christ, he is a Vine. To explaine this first. Adam indeed was a Vine, planted in Paradise, to beare all Mankinde upon, but he turned a wild one, he proved not the true Vine. God planted him (to allude to that, Jer. 2. 21.) A noble Vine, a holy and right seed, but he degenerated, and so have all engraffed on him, and so bring forth nothing but grapes of Sodome, as Isaiah speakes.

But 2. God the Father having many branches of chosen ones, that grew by nature on this cursed stock of Adam, whom yet, [Page 4] as ver. 16. he had ordained to bring forth fruit, that is, to spring and spread forth in the earth in all ages, and then to be tran­splanted unto Heaven, the Paradise appointed for them; the earth being but the nurserie of them for a while: Hence there­fore he did appoint his own Sonne to be a new root, as into whom he meant to transplant them, and ordained him to be that bulk, and body, and chiefe branch which they all should grow out of, who is therefore called The roote of David, Rev. 22. and that Righteous branch, Jer. 22. 6.

Whom therefore 3. he planted as a roote here on earth with us, and cloathed with a humane nature, a weak and mean bark and body, and a rind and out side, such as ours is; that so both roote and branches might be of the same nature, and Homoge­neall: which nature of ours in him, he likewise filled with his Spi­rit (as with juice and sap) without all measure, that so he might fructifie, and grow into all those branches appointed to be in him, by communicating the same spirit to them.

And 4. although he was of himselfe the fairest Cedar that ever the earth bare, yet in relation to those multitude of branches, he was to bear, chuseth to be a Vine, which is of all trees the lowest, the weakest, and of the meanest bark, and out-side of any other, onely because of all others it is the plentifullest of bran­ches, and runs out and spreads its bulk in branches; and those, of all branches else of any other trees, the fruitfullest, it is there­fore called The fruitfull Vine, Psal. 128. 3. and for that reason onely doth he single out this comparison, as suiting with his scope, shewing therein his love; that as he condescended to the lowest condition, for our salvation, so to the meanest resem­blances for our instruction, yet so as withall he tells us, that no Vine, nor all the Vines on earth were worthy herein to be com­pared, nor to be so much as resemblances of him.

For he,2. Obser. and he alone is the true Vine, That Christ is onely the [True Vine▪] that is the second Ob­servation.

For take those choicest excellencies in a Vine, for which the comparison here is made, as more particularly, that of fruitful­nesse either in boughs or fruit, and it is but a shadow of that which is in him. As God onely is [I am that I am,] and all things else have but the shadow of Being: so Christ alone hath [Page 5] onely all the excellencies in him in the true reall nature of all things to which he is compared. So in like manner he is said to be Bread indeed, John 6. 55. and ver. 32. The true bread from heaven. Manna, and all other meat, and all that sweetnesse which is in meat, is and was but a shadow to that which he affords. He excells and exceeds all things he is compared to, in what they have, and they are but shadowes to him, Heb. 10. 1.

First therefore, never any Vine so fruitfull. All our fruit is found in him, Hos. 12. If you abide in me, you shall bring forth much fruit. He hath juice to supply you with every grace, to fill you with all the fruits of righteousnesse, which if the branches want, it is for want of faith in themselves, to draw from him, not want of sap in him.

Secondly, this he is at all times, hath been in all ages, thus flou­rishing; this root never withers; is never dry or empty of sap, it is never winter with Christ. Every branch, saith the second verse, that is, every one that hath born fruit in any age, beareth all its fruit in him: branches in him fear no drought, Jer. 17. 8.

Thirdly, for largenesse of spreading, no such Vine as this: He (as the Psalmist sayes, Psal. 80. 11, 12.) sends out his boughes unto the sea, and his branches to the rivers: all the earth is, or hath been, or shall be filled with them.

Is to perswaded us to take Christ alone,Ʋse. and make him our All in all, because in him all excellencies are supereminently found. All creatures are not enough to serve for comparisons to set him forth, and when they doe in part, for some particu­lar thing that is the excellentest in them, yet therein they are but shadowes, Heb. 10. 1. He onely is the truth, he is the true light, John 1. The Baptist, Moses, and all lights else were but as twilight, but a shadow: So he is the true bread, the true Vine, he hath really the sweetnesse, the comfort, the excellencies of them all. The like may be said of all those relations he hath taken on him; so he onely is a true Father, and Husband, &c. and the love and sweetnesse in all other Fathers and Husbands are but a shadow to what is in him.

Obser. 2. How the Father is the Husbandman.

As CHRIST is thus a Vine, so his Father is the Husband­man, [Page 6] and as strange a Husbandman as Christ a Vine.

For first, he is the very root of the Vine it self, which no Hus­bandman is to any Vine; therefore he that is the Vine calls the Husbandman his Father, My Father is the Husbandman. This Vine springs out of his bosome by eternall generation, for this is the derivation of our Off-spring, Chap. 14. 20. I am in my Fa­ther, and you in me. And Chap. 5. 26. The Father, He hath life (originall) in himselfe, and gives it to the Sonne, and the Sonne to us, and thence spring living fruits, the fruits of righte­ousnesse.

2. He is the ingraffer, and implanter of all the branches into this Vine. Esay 60. 21. he calls them his righteous people, [the branch of my planting] the work of my hands. Other Husband­men doe but expect what branches their Vines will of them­selves bring forth, but God appoints who, and how many shall be the branches, and gives them unto, and ingraffs them into his Sonne.

3. He appoints what fruit, and what store of fruit these bran­ches shall bring forth, and accordingly gives the increase, which other Husbandmen cannot doe: Paul my plant, and Apollos may water, but God onely gives the increase, 1 Cor. 3. 7. Though Christ merited, yet the Father decreed every mans measure of fruitful­nesse.

4. He is the most diligent Husbandman that ever was; for he knowes, and daily views, and takes notice of every branch, and of all their fruit: for sayes the Text, Every branch that brings not forth fruit, he takes away, &c. therefore knowes who beareth fruit, and doth not. He knowes their persons, who are his, and who are not, 2 Tim. 2. 19. not so much as one man could come in without a wedding garment, but he spies him out.

5. The most carefull he is daily to purge his Vine: so says the second verse. And of all possessions, saith Cato, Nulla possessio majorem operam requirit, Vineyards need as much care, and more then any other. The Corne, when it is sowne, comes up, and growes alone, and ripeneth, and comes to perfection, the Hus­bandman sleeping and waking, he knowes not how, saith Christ: But Vines must be drest, supported, sheltred, pruned, well-nigh every day.

[Page 7] And of all trees God hath most care of his Vines, and regards them more then all the rest in the world.

Is to honour the Father in all the workes tending to our sal­vation, Ʋse 1. as much as we honour the Son: If Christ be the Vine, his Father meanes to be the Husbandman: and indeed it may teach us to honour all the three Persons in every work that is saving, for in all, they bear a distinct office; the Father hath not onely a hand in Election, but also in Sanctification, con­cerning which this Parable was made. If Christ be the roote that affords us sap, whence all fruit buds, the Father is the Hus­bandman that watereth the Vine, gives the increase, purgeth the branches, and is the root of that life which Christ affords to us: and then the Spirit also comes in to have a work and influence herein also; for he is the sap, though not here mentioned, yet which is implyed, which lies hid in this Parable of the Vine, and appeares in all the fruits that are brought forth, therefore called, Gal. 5. Fruits of the Spirit. None of the three Persons will be left out in any relation, or in any work, that is for our salvation. That ever three so great Persons should have a joynt care of our salvation and sanctification, and we our selves neglect it! That they should be so carefull, we so negligent and unfruit­full! If they doe all so much for us, what should not we endea­vour to do for our selves?

Be carefull of your words,Ʋse 2. thoughts, wayes, affections, de­sires, all which are the fruits of your soules; for God takes no­tice of all, he walkes in this his garden every day, and spies out how many raw, unripe, indigested performances, as Prayers, &c. hang on such or such a branch, what gum of pride, what leaves, what luxuriant sprigs, what are rotten boughs, and which are sound, and goes up and down with his pruning knife in his hand, and cuts and slashes where he sees things amisse; he turnes up all your leaves, sees what fruit is under; and deals with men ac­cordingly.

When the Church is in any distresse or misery,Ʋse 3. goe to him that is the Husbandman; such is the usuall condition of this his Vine, spread over the face of the earth. Complain as they, Psal. 80. 12. Why hast thou broken down her hedges, so as all they which passe by doe pluck her? the boare out of the wood doth waste it. [Page 8] Complain to him that the hogs are in his Vineyard, and doe much havock and spoile therein; and tell him that he is the Husbandman, who should take care for it. So they go on to pray, Returne, we beseech thee O God of Hosts, looke downe from heaven, behold and visit this Vine, and the Vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, v. 14, 15.

3. Obs. Two sorts of branches in this Vine, fruitfull and unfruitfull: and the difference between temporary and true Beleevers, as they are laid downe in the Text.

We see this Vine hath branches of two sorts, fruitfull and un­fruitfull, which is the third thing to be observed.

And herein our Saviour followeth the similitude; for expe­rience shews the like in Vines. And writers of Vines observe it, and accordingly distinguish the branches of Vines into Pampi­narios, which bring forth naught but leaves, and Fructuarios, which bring forth fruit.

The unfruitfull they are such as make profession of being in Christ to themselves and others, and receive some greennesse from him, but no true fruit: for their profession they are bran­ches, for their emptinesse, unfruitfull ones.

The onely question is,Quest. How such as prove unfruitfull, are said to be branches, and to be in Christ; Every branch in me, &c.

Many comparisons there are of Christ,Ans. How the un­fruitfull are in Christ. as he stands in various relations to his Church: whereof some serve to expresse one thing concerning him, some another. That of a Vine, here pre­sents him onely as he was to spread himselfe into a visible Church on earth, in the profession of him: and so considered, he may have many branches that are unfruitfull. That other of An head over all the family in heaven and earth, which imports his rela­tion onely to that invisible company of his Church mysticall, which together make up that generall assembly spoken of in Heb. 12. which are his fulnesse, Eph. 1. ult. And agreeable to this meaning, in comparing himselfe to a Vine, in this large and common relation of a root to both sorts of Professors, true and false, is that other expression also, whereby he sets forth his Fa­thers office, when he calls him not [...], a Vine-dresser, or [Page 9] a tiller of a Vineyard, in a strict sense, as Luke 13. 7. but [...], (as it were at large,) the Husbandman: As thereby denoting out, not simply and alone, that peculiar care that he hath to true be­leevers onely, that are branches of this Vine, (though including it) but withall importing that common care and providence which he beares to others of his creatures; and this because some of these branches of this Vine, are to him but as others out of the Church and of no more reckoning with him. The Fathers rela­tion herein, answering to, and in a proportion running parallel along with that which Christ beares towards them: Those that Christ is head unto, those he is a Father unto: Those whom Christ is but as a Vine unto, Christ he is but [...], an Hus­bandman unto, whose office is seene, as well in cutting off such branches, as in pruning and dressing of those other.

These unfruitful ones are not in Christs account,2. Ans. reckoned as true branches here: For in the 5. verse, he calls those Disciples of his that were there and then present with him, (when now Judas was gone forth afore, as appears Chap. 13. 30.) them onely The branches: and therefore repeats it there again, I am the Vine, with this addition, Ye are the branches. Implying hereby, that as he is the true Vine, so that these onely were the true branches; the other he calls but [ [...]] as a branch, ver. 6. Hee is cast forth (as a) branch, giving them the name of branches, thereby the better to expresse his Fathers dealing with such, that as they that are dressers of a Vineyard, use to doe with such branches, so my Father with them: but they themselves are but Tan­quams, Quasi palmites, As branches; not really and in truth such.

That expression which seems most to make for it,3. Ans. is that in the second verse, when he sayes, Every branch [in me] that beareth not fruit, but those words [in me] may as well, yea rather be under­stood to have reference to their not bringing forth fruit [in him] then to their being properly branches [in him:] so as the mean­ing should be, they are branches that bring not forth fruit in me. Though they doe some good, yet it is not fruit; if so [not in me:] though from mee, and from my assistance. And so his meaning is not so much to declare tha [...] they are branches in him, as that they bring not for fruit in him. Which indeed is one of [Page 10] the characteristicall differences between true and unsound bran­ches, and one maine scope of the parable; and this the Syriack translation makes for also, and confirms it, Omnem palmitem qui in me non fert fructum, Every branch which in me bringeth not forth fruit. And there is this reason that this should be his mea­ning, that He never reckoned them at all true branches; Be­cause that is the difference God puts betweene these and those other, that Those that bring forth fruit, his Father purgeth, that they may bring forth more fruit. He lets them not run so far out into sin, as to become altogether unfruitfull: But these he takes away: So as true branches were never unfruitfull.

The Use is to stir up all that professe themselves to be in Christ,Ʋse. to examine whether they be true genuine branches of this true Vine or no. Here in this Kingdome, Christ is spread forth into a faire and pleasant Vine in shew, as this earth affords: But if we Ministers were able with this Husbandman here, to turne up the leaves of formall profession, and looke with his eyes, we should discerne that there are but a few true branches indeed to be found in flourishing Congregations, as Isaiah foretold there should be in Israel, Isa. 17. 5, 6. Like the gleaning grapes, two or three in the top of the uppermost bough, foure or five in the out­most fruitfull branches.

Now for a generall help to discerne whether you be true branches,The severall sorts of bran­ches that prove unfruitfull. consider, that union with Christ is it that makes men branches, that is, men are accounted branches of Christ in re­gard of some union with him: and such as their union is, such also is their communion with him, and accordingly such branches are they, and such their fruit.

1. Some (and indeed the most) are united to him but by the externall tye of the outward Ordinances, such as their obligation made in Baptisme: and are knit to him thereby, no otherwise then many graffs are, that do not take or thrive in their stocks, onely stand there as bound about by a thread; and sutable is their communion with him, even wholly externall: they continu­ing to partake of the outward ordinances, but without any sap or inward influence derived, without any inward work of the Spirit, or stirring of affection: And answerable also is their fruit, when no other are found on them, but such as you shall finde [Page 11] grow in the waste of the wildernesse among Heathens, which ingenuity and modesty, and naturall honesty and naturall con­science do bring forth: but not any such, as an inward sap from Christ useth to produce. Civill men are not true branches; for look on Christ the root, and see what fruits abounded in him most, as fruits of holinesse did; and therefore if such were true branches, the same would abound in them likewise: for every tree brings forth according to its kind.

2. You have some (they living in the Church) Christ begins to shoot some sap of his Spirit into their hearts, quickning them with many good motions, and stirring up some juicenesse of affections in the administration of the Word and Sacraments, which causes them to bud forth into good inward purposes, and outward good beginnings: but this being not the communica­tion of the Spirit, as sanctifying and changing the branch into the same nature with the root, therefore it comes to passe they are still nipt in the bud, as the stony ground was, and the sap stricken in again, like rath ripe fruit; which looking forth upon a February Sun, are nipt againe with an April frost. Many, when young, and their affections are green and tender, are wrought upon, and bud, but the scoffes of men nip them, and their lusts draw the sap another way, as hopes of preferment, and the pleasures of sinne, and so these buds wither and fall off, and the Spirit withdrawes himself wholly in the root a­gaine.

Againe, 3. some there are, as the thorny ground, in whom this inward sap communicated to them, though not spiritually, changing and renewing them, yet being communicated in a fur­ther degree, abides in them longer, shoots up farther, and these prove exceeding green branches, and are owned for true, even by the people of God themselves, as Judas was by the Apostles, and therefore are outwardly like unto them; for how else are they said to be cast out? ver. 16. who therefore had once some fruit to commend them, for which they were accounted of by the people of God, and received amongst them, who judge of trees by the fruit. Neither are their fruits meerly outward, like Solomons apples of gold, in pictures of silver, meerly painted, but they have a sap that puts a greennesse into what they doe, and by [Page 12] reason of which they bear and bring forth; for how else are they said to wither also? ver. 6. (which is a decay of inward moisture, and outward greennesse:) and these also have some kind of union with Christ as with a Lord, 2 Pet. 2. 1. he ascending to bestow gifts, even upon the rebellious also, Psal. 68. 18. so far to enable them to doe him some service in his Vineyard: They are not united unto Christ as unto an Head. Neither is it the spirit of adoption which they doe receive from him; and such a branch was Judas, who was not onely owned by the Disciples, who knew him not to be false, but who surely at the first had inward sap of gifts derived from Christ, to fit him for the Ministery, he being sent out as an Apostle to preach; whom therefore Christ here aimed at in this place.

Now for a more particular differencing of these branches and their fruites,Some differen­ces of branches fruitfull and unfruitfull. it is not my scope to ingraffe a large common place, head of all the differences, between temporaries and true beleevers, upon this stock; this root is not big enough to bear them, those differences being many; Onely I will explain those differences which the Text affords, because they are in our way, and will further open the words.

1. That which they doe bring forth,1. Difference. How the good works of Hy­pocrites are not true fruits. is not true fruit, the holy Ghost vouchasfeth it not that name, They are said here, not to bring forth fruit. That speech in Hosea 10. 1. will give clear light to understand this; with the ground of it also; Israel is, there called, an empty Vine, which brings forth fruit to her self. It im­plies a seeming contradiction, that it should be called an empty Vine, and yet withall to bring forth any fruit. And these bring forth not leaves, good words onely, but good works, good actions, and those green, and therefore Jude 12. their fruit is said to wither, as themselves are said to wither here, ver. 6. And as there Israel is said to be an empty Vine, though it hath fruit, so here these are said not to bring forth fruit at all. Now the mea­ning of both, is one and the same: For a thing is said to be empty, when it wants that which is proper to it, and ought to be in it; as Wells are called empty, when are not full of water, they are full of ayre: for Non datur vacuum. So they are called an empty Vine, and these branches to have no fruit, because not such as ought to grow upon them, such as is proper to the root they [Page 13] seem to grow upon. Therefore in Heb. 6. 7. that Epithet is ad­ded, [Meet] hearbs, or fruit; that is, such as should grow there. So Luke 3. 8. They are to bring forth fruit [worthy] amendment of life, or else they were to be cut down: that is, such as became true repentants, as were answerable, suitable therunto. As we say a man carries himself worthy of his place, when answerably to to what is required of him in it. That place fore-cited out of Hosea further acquaints us with the true ground, why their fruits (though green, which Chap. 6. 4. is called goodnesse also, yet) were not to be accounted meet fruit, and so not fruit at all; even because of this, that it brought forth all its fruit, whether good or bad, to it selfe: That is, those ends that did draw up the sap, and did put it forth in fruit, were drawne but from themselves, they bring them not forth principally to God. and for him. All their prayers, all their affections in holy duties, if they examine the reason of them all, the ends that runne in them all, and whence all the motives that doe actuate all they doe in these, they will finde they are taken from themselves: And though the assistance wherewith they are enabled to doe what they doe, is more then their own, yet their ends are no higher then themselves, and so they employ but that assistance God gives them wholly for themselves. Now the end for which a true branch brings forth fruit, is, that God might be glorified. Thus Rom. 7. 8. when married to Christ they are said to bring forth fruit to God; which is spoken in opposition to bringing forth fruit to a mans self. Thus also Christ here useth this as the great and main motive to fruitfulnesse in ver. 8. Hereby is my Father glorified, that you bring forth much fruit. Now whom will this move, into whose affections will such an argument draw up sap, and quicken them? None but those hearts who doe make Gods glory their utmost end, and so all true branches doe or else this motive should have been used by Christ in vaine unto them. And as this end makes their performances to be fruit, so this being wanting, all that is brought forth deserves not the name of fruit, for it is not fruit worthy, as the Baptist sayes, not meet fruit for the dresser to receive, (as was noted out of the Hebrews) not such as ought to grow on that tree. They should be trees of righteousnesse, the planting of the Lord, that he might be [Page 14] glorified, Esay 61. 3. Again, not fruit meete or suitable for the roote it seemes to grow upon, that is, such as Christ did bring forth; for he did all, that his Father might be glorified: and therefore sayes he, exhorting them to fruitfulnesse, ver. 8. of this Chap. If you doe likewise, ye shall bee my Disciples. Againe, otherwise it is not such as is meet for the Husbandmans taste and relish▪ it being equall that He that planteth a Vineyard, should eate the fruit of it, 1 Cor. 8. 7. And in fruit you know above all we regard the taste, and esteeme the relish of it. Eve first conside­red the fruit was good for food, then pleasant to the eye, Gen. 3. It is not the sap that is in fruit only makes it acceptable; Crabs are as full of sap as apples: Not is it the greennesse, or colour, or bignesse, but the relish that is the chiefest excellencie in it, though those other, when joyned with a good relish, do make it more desirable: So though thy performances be full of life and affection, and green, and long, and many, yet if they relish and taste of none but self-ends, God regards them not, they are not ad gustum suum; it is the end that gives the relish, and makes them fruits, and acceptable to God.

The second difference this Text holds forth,2. Difference. How Hypo­crites bring not forth their fruit [in Christ] is, That they bring not forth their fruit in Christ: for so the Syriack Transla­tion reads it, as making the sense to be, that they bring not forth fruit in me: and so this particle [In me] referreth not so much to their being branches in him, as to not bearing their fruit in him. Which indeed seems to have been Christs meaning, for his scope in this Parable is to shew how that he is the root of Sanctification; and how not the habituall power onely, but every act of grace, and the performance, comes from him; Without me ye can doe nothing, ver. 5. And thereupon he exhorts his Disciples to fetch all from him, and to abide in him; and therefore also, when he speaks of these unfruitfull branches at ver. 6. that which here he calls bearing not fruit in me, he expresses there, by not abiding in me, as the cause of their not bringing forth fruit in him. Yea, and the principall scope of that phrase, Abide in me, is, (as evidently appeares by ver. 4, 5.) to depend upon him for bring­ing forth of fruit, and to fetch strength from him by faith. There is therefore this essentiall defect in the worke that is upon such, that they doe not doe all in that dependance upon [Page 15] Christ, such a dependance as a branch hath upon the root, in bring­ing forth its fruit. For, my brethren, this you must know, that as it is essentiall to Evangelicall▪ Sanctification to doe all for ano­ther, as your end, namely, to God; so to doe all in the strength of another, as your sole assistant, namely Christ, who works all in you, and through whose strength, saith Paul, I am able to doe all things, and nothing without it. The life we leade is by faith, and it is not I, but Christ who lives in me. Therefore we finde both these joyned, Phil. 1. 11. The fruits of righteousnesse by Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of God. The latter [To the glo­ry of God] is mentioned as the finall cause; the other [By Jesus Christ] as the efficient cause:What it is to bring forth fruit [in Christ] ex­plained. Both these are necessary unto true Sanctification. For as we are to honour the Husbandman by ma­king him our end, so also the root, by doing all in him, and from him. Now temporarie Beleevers, as they do all principally for them­selves, so also all as from themselves: and as they do not make God their end, so nor Christ their root. And so some expound that phrase in the Parable of the stony ground, Luk. 8. 13. when it is said they have no root, (though I think he means also inherent ha­bits of grace infused, for it is added, no root [in themselves,] which Job call the root of the matter which was in him) it is because they fetch not their strength to doe all they doe from Christ by faith, and from their union with him. And the reason is this, because they are never emptyed of themselves, (which is the root we all doe grow upon) either in regard of their owne ends, or of their owne efficiencie of working. Whereas we must all be brought to nothing in our selves, both in regard of self-aymes, and also abili­ties of working; and till our hearts are inwardly taught that lession, that we are not sufficient, as of our selves, we will not goe out of our selves, to doe all in Christ. And therefore there was nothing which Christ endeavoured more to engraffe upon their hearts then this Principle now at his departure, as it is ver. 4, 5. And indeed it is as hard a thing for nature to live out of its selfe, and fetch all from another, as not to live to its selfe, but to another. We are full of our owne strength, as well as of our owne ends. And although these unfruitfull branches they do in­deed receive all their strength from Christ, and so all they doe in what is good, is from him: yet they doe no honour Christ [Page 16] in receiving it, by doing all as in his strength, and so do not do it as in him. But though they receive all, yet they work with it, as if it were their owne stock, and so glorie (as the Apostle sayes) as if they had not received it. And thus though the sap and livelinesse which stirs them, is really, and all efficiently from Christ, yet they may be said to bring forth fruit in themselves, because both they neither fetch not receive it by faith, nor act by faith that strength received, as men that were acted by Christ, and as working all in Christ, but they doe all, as if all proceeded from their owne root: Even as the Ivie, though it clasping a­bout the Oake, receives much sap from it, which it digesteth and turneth into it selfe, yet it brings forth all its be [...]ries by virtue of its owne root, rather then as in the Oake, which yet sustaines and supplyes it with juyce and sap; whereas a true Be­leever brings forth fruit in Christ, as a branch that is in and of the Oake it selfe, as its owne root, and so from him all their fruit is found, Hos. 14. 8. he fetcheth his assistance from him: where as the inward assistance of another unsound branch is strengthened and supported by pride, and selfe sufficiencie of gifts and parts, and not derived by faith, and maintained by con­fidence in Christs strength to act all in them; so that, as it is said of the Corinthians, that they raigned, but without us, sayes Paul. So I may say, Temporaries performe duties, and pray, but as without Christ. But all true Beleevers are emptied first of their owne strength and ability, and so walk as those who can doe no­thing without Christ, as those who are not able to love, beleeve one moment more without him. So Phil. 4. 13. I am able to doe all things, but through Christ that strengtheneth me. And this they lay for a principle in their hearts which they walk by, which therefore Christ presseth upon his Disciples here, as the maine requisite and fundamentall principle of Evangelicall Sanctifica­tion, Without me ye can doe nothing. And therefore such an one is sensible of that cursed selfe sufficiencie in him, and hum­bleth himselfe, checks himselfe for it, as for as great and foule a sin as any other; and humbleth himselfe not onely for the want of what life, and stirring, &c. should have been in the duty fell short of, in performing it; but also for that he sanctified not Christ, in the strength he received to doe it with: But another [Page 17] doth not so; if he finds strength, and power, and vigour to per­forme, and quicknesse in the performance, he lookes no fur­ther. That poore man in the Gospel, as he acknowledged his want of faith, that he had much unbeliefe in him, so he goes out to Christ for the supply, Lord h [...]lp my unbeliefe, for he knew that it was he was to be the worker of every degree of faith in him. And again, a true beleever being thus sensible of his own unability, doth (when he is any thing assisted) attribute all to Christ when he hath done; and honours him as the Author of it in himselfe; confesseth in his heart, between Christ and himselfe, that it was not he, but Christ that strengthned him: It is not I, (sayes the Apostle) but the grace of God in me, though I have laboured more then they all. But another, though he receives all, yet not being emptyed of himselfe, boasteth as if he had not received it. As the Pharisee, though he thanked God in words, yet in his heart at­tributed all to himselfe; such an one is the more full, and lift up when he hath done, but the true branch more empty and humble. A true beleever glories not of himselfe as in himselfe, but onely as he is a man in Christ; and that as a man in Christ, he did thus or thus; as Paul did, and no otherwise. So 2 Cor. 12. 2. I knew a man in Christ, &c. of such a man I will glorie, but of my selfe I will not glorie. And yet it was himselfe he spake of, but yet not in himselfe as of himselfe, but as he was in Christ.

And if it be asked,Quest. whether in every act a Christian doth thus?

I answer,Answ. It is in this as in that other parallel to this,Whether in e­very act a Be­leever doth all in Christ. The making God a mans end: Now as it doth not require, that in eve­ry action a man should actually think of that his end, whilst yet habitually he makes it his aime: (as a man in his journey, doth not think of the place he goes into every step he takes, yet so ha­bitually hath it in his thoughts, as he keeps in the way to it.) Pa­rallel to this is it in doing all in Christ, it cannot be supposed that in every act a man hath such a distinct thought of recourse to Christ; but at the beginning and entrance of greater actions, he still hath such actings and exercise of faith; And also often, in the progresse he reneweth them, and in the conclusion, when he hath performed them, he doth sanctifie Christ in his heart, by ascribing the praise of all unto him.

[Page 18] If in the second place,2. Quest. the question be,Whether all Beleevers doe distinctly fetch vertue from Christ by faith. Whether, every true beleever doth from his first conversion thus distinctly and know­ingly (to himself) fetch thus all power from Christ, and doe all in him?

The answer is, 1. That to all beleevers this principle of ha­ving recourse to Christ for acting their Sanctification,Answ. 1. may (hap­ly) not presently be so distinctly revealed as it hath been to some; this indeed is common and absolutely necessary to all beleevers, to constitute and make them such; namely, that their faith should have recourse to Christ, and to take him for their Salvation, in the large and generall notion of it, as it infolds all under it that is to be done to save them; and thus many more ignorant doe, when yet they have not learnt explicitely in every particular that concerneth their salvation, to have frequently a distinct recourse unto him: it is probable that these very Disciples of Christ (who yet savingly beleeved) had not this particular principle of bring­ing forth all their fruit of holinesse in Christ, as their root, untill this very time and Sermon whereby Christ enformed them in it, so clearly revealed to them, nor till then so clearly apprehended by them; for ignorant they were of, and negligent in having re­course to Christ in many other particulars, and making use of him therein, which are of as much concernment as this. They had not so distinctly and explicitely (as would seem) put their prayers up in Christs name, Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name, John 16. 24. Neither had they so frequently exercised faith on Christ in all things as they had upon God. Therefore John 14. 1. he calls upon them, Ye beleeve in God, beleeve also in me.

2. Many sorts of principles beleevers hearts may secretly have been taught, which also habitually they practice, and yet they may be exceeding hidden and latent in them in respect of their own discerning them; as was the case also of these Disciples, John 14. 4. sayes Christ, The way (namely, to heaven) ye know: and yet, ver. 5. Thomas sayes, How can we know the way? and then, ver. 7. Christ sayes of them againe, that They knew him and the Father; and yet ver. 8. Philip again saith to him, Lord, shew us the Father, speaking as if they were ignorant of him, for Christ re­bukes him, ver. 9. and tels him he had both seen him and his Father. Those principles of Atheisme and unbelief, (as those sayings in [Page 19] the heart, that there is no God, &c. of which the Scriptures speak so much) they are the principles that act and work all in men that are wicked and carnall, and are the encouragers and counsellers to all the sins committed by them, and yet they are least of all dis­cerned by them, of all other corruptions, for they are seldome or never drawn forth into distinct propositions, or actually thought upon; but doe lie as common principles taken for granted, and so do guide men in their wayes. And thus it is and may be long with some of the contrary principles of faith, they may act all secretly in the heart, and yet not be discerned; untill called forth by the ministery of the Word, or some distinct informati­on, when it comes more distinctly to clear such a practice to them.

Neither 3. is union with Christ presently cleared up to all be­leevers; Union with Christ is not cleared up to all in Christ. which whilst it is darkly and doubtfully apprehended by them, Christs communication of his grace and strength to them in every action, remains doubtfull also, and is not discerned by them. Of these Disciples Christ sayes, John 14. 20. That in that day (namely, when they received the Comforter more fully, of the promise of whom he there speaks) they should know that they were in him, and he in them: But not so clearly was this as yet appre­hended by them; and so likewise that intercourse betwixt Christ and them, both for grace and comfort, &c. was not so clearly discerned by them, though continually maintained by him in di­spensing all grace and power to them.

And yet 4. in the mean while take the lowest and poorest beleever,Yet every Be­leever doth five things which are real­ly to bring forth fruit in Christ. and he doth these five things, which put together, is really and interpretatively a bringing forth their fruit in Christ, though not in their apprehensions.

1. In that their hearts are trained up in a continuall sensiblenes of their own insufficiencie and inability for any good thought or word, as of themselves; for poverty of spirit, to see their own nothingnesse, in this respect is the first Evangell grace, Mat. 5. 1. and and if the contrary would arise in them, to think through habitu­all grace alone received, they were able of themselves to doe good, it is checked soone, and confuted by their owne expe­rience, both of their owne weaknesse, being sure to be left to themselves, (as Peter was) when confident in his own strength; [Page 20] as also by those various blowings of the Spirit in them as he plea­seth; with which when their sailes are filled, they are able to doe any thing, but when withdrawn, they lay wind-bound, (though all habits of grace be hoyst up and ready) and not able to move of themselves. Now this principle of self emptinesse habitually to live by it, no carnall heart in the world hath it, or doth live by it.

And 2. for this assistance, they are trained likewise up (from the first) to have a continuall dependance, from a power from above, (without which they find they are able to do nothing) to come from God, and from the Spirit of Christ; with a renun­ciation of themselves, which implicitely is the same with this immediate intercourse with Christ, and is really equivalent there­unto, though they hit not at first haply on the right explicite no­tion thereof (as having not been taught it by the Ministery of the Word, or other wayes) in that distinct manner that o­thers doe: and yet in honouring the Spirit of Christ dwelling in them, they honour Christ, who sends that Spirit into their hearts, even as in honouring the Sonne, Christ sayes, that we honour the Father also: although our thoughts may sometimes more di­stinctly be exercised towards one of the three Persons more then to another.

And thirdly, when they are once taught from the Word, that it is the duty of a Christian, and part of the life of faith, to live thus in Christ, and to bring forth all in him and so come di­stinctly to apprehend this, as requisite to a right bringing forth of fruit, then their hearts instantly doe use to close with the truth of it, as being most suitable and agreeable to that holy frame of their own spirits, which are Evangelically wrought to glorifie Christ all manner of wayes that shall be revealed; there is an in­stinct, a preparednesse in their faith to make Christ their All in all, as any particular comes to be revealed to them, wherein they ought to exalt him in their hearts; and so this being once revealed to be one way whereby they are to honour him, if they have gone on afore in a confidence on their own graces, henceforth they doe so no more, yea they humble themselves as much for so robbing Christ of glory, or neglecting of him, in not having had that di­stinct recourse to him, as for any other sin.

[Page 21] And 4. though haply after all this, yet still their union with him is not cleared to them, and so their communion with him herein (as must needs) doth still remain dark also, they therefore neither discern that they have any true communion with his per­son, nor can say how strength comes from him; yet having bin thus taught to fetch all from him, as was formerly explained, they do in a continuall renunciation of their own strength, deny all offers of assistance from any other strength, as namely that which their gifts and parts would make; (even as they deny un­lawfull lusts or by-ends) and they still have their eyes upon Christ, to work in them both the will and the deed, and so by a faith of Recumbencie, or casting themselves on him for strength in all, (such as they exercise towards him for justification, Gal. 2. 16.) they live by faith on the Son of God, and have thereby such a kind of faith, a continuall recourse unto him. Upon which acts of true faith being exercised by them towards him, He (as he is pleased to dispence it) moves them, and works and acts all in them; although still not so sensibly unto their apprehensions, as that they should discern the connexion between▪ the cause and the effect; nor can they hang them together, that is to say, know how, or that this vertue doth come from Christ, because their union with him is as yet doubtfull to them; and also be­cause the power that worketh in Beleevers is secret; and like that of the heavens upon our bodies, (which is as strong as that of physick, &c.) yet so sweet and so secretly insinuating it selfe with the principles of nature, that as for the conveyance of it, it is in­sensible, and hardly differenced from the other workings of the principles of nature in us: and therefore the Apostle prayeth for the Ephsians, That their eyes may be enlightned to see the power that wrought in them, Eph. 1. 18. 19.

Yet so as 5. their soules walk all this while by these two prin­ciples firmly rooted in them; both 1 That all good that is to be done, must and doth come from Christ, and him alone; and 2 That if any good be done by them, it is wrought by him alone, which doe set their souls a breathing after nothing more then to know Christ in the po­wer of his resurrection: And having walkt thus in a selfe-emptines and dependance upon Christ by way of a dark recumbencie, when once their union with him comes to be cleared up unto them, they then acknowledg as they Es. 26. That he alone hath wrought all [Page 22] their workes in them, that they are nothing, and have done no­thing; and though before this revelation of Christ, (as Christ said to Peter, What I doe now thou knowest not, but thou shalt know, so) they knew not then that Christ had wrought all in them, yet then they know it, and when they doe know and discern it, they ac­knowledge it with the greatest exaltation of him, they having re­served, even during all that former time of their emptinesse, the glory for him alone; staying as Joab did for David, till Christ come more sensibly into their hearts, to set the crown of all upon his head.

This I thought good to adde, to clear this point, lest any poor souls should be stumbled.

Doct. 4. In the most fruitfull branches there remain corrupti­ons unpurged out.

The 4. Doct. is, That in the most fruitfull branches there remain corruptions that still need purging out.

This is taken but as supposed in the text, and not so directly laid down, and I shall handle it but so far as it makes way for what doth follow. What shall I need to quote much Scripture for the proof of it? Turn but to your own hearts, the best will find proofs enough of it.


1 That God might thereby the more set forth and clear unto us his justifying grace by Christs righteousnesse, and clear the truth of it to all our hearts. When the Apostle, long after his first con­version, was in the midst of that great and famous battail, chro­nicled in that 7. Rom. wherein he was led captive to a Law, and an army of sinne within him, warring against the law of his minde, presently upon that wofull exclamation and outcry there men­tioned, Oh miserable man that I am, &c. he falls admiring the grace of justification through Christ, they are his first words after the battail ended, [Now] (sayes he) there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ: Mark that word [Now] that now after such bloudy wounds and gashes there should yet be no condem­nation, this exceedingly exalts this grace, for if ever (thought he) I was in danger of condemnation, it was upon the rising and re­belling of these my corruptions, which when they had carried me [Page 23] captive, I might well have expected the sentence of condemna­tion to have followed, but I finde, sayes he, that God still par­dons me, and accepts me as much as ever, upon my returning to him; and therefore I doe proclaim with wonder, to all the world, that Gods justifying grace in Christ is exceeding large and rich. And though there be many corruptions in those that are in Christ, yet there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ, that walk after the Spirit, though flesh be in them: And this at once both clears our justification by Christs righteousnesse alone, and also magnifies and extols it.

It clears it, therefore how doth this remaining of corruptions afford to our Divines that great demonstration against the Pa­pists, that we are not justified by works, nor are those workes perfect, (which they so impudently affirme against their own ex­perience) even because corruption stains the best, and our best righteousnesse is but as a menstruous cloth.

And as it clears it, so likewise it extols it: For how is Grace magnified, when as not only all the sins and debts a man brought to Christ to pardon at first conversion are pardoned, but after many relapses of us, and provings bankrupt, we are yet still set up againe by free grace with a new stock; and though we still run upon new scores every day, yet that these should still be paid, and there should be riches of love enough, and stock e­nough, that is, merit enough to hold out to pardon us, though we remained in this mixt condition of sinning, to eternity, this exceedingly advanceth the abounding of this grace.

2. It serves exceedingly to illustrate the grace of perseverance, and the power of God therein; for unto the power of God is our perseverance wholly attributed. 1 Pet. 1. 5. Ye are kept (as with a garrison) as the word signifies, through the power of God unto salvation. And were there not a great and an apparent dan­ger of miscarrying, such a mighty guard needed not; There is nothing which puts us into any danger, but our corruptions that still remain in us, which fight against the soul, and endeavour to overcome and destroy us. Now then to be kept maugre all these; to have grace maintained; a spark of grace in the midst of a sea of corruption; how doth this honour the power of God in keeping us? As much in regard of this our dependency [Page 24] on him in such a condition, as hee would otherwise be by our service, if it were pepfect, and we wholly free from those corruptions. How will the grace of God under the Gospel, tri­umph over the grace given Adam in his innocencie? when Adam having his heart full of inherent grace, and nothing inwardly, in his nature, to seduce him, and the temptation that he had, being but a matter of curiosity, and the pleasing his wife, and yet he fell: When as many poore souls under the state of grace, that have but mites of grace in comparison, and worlds of cor­ruption, are yet kept, not onely from the unnecessary pleasures of sin in time of prosperity, but hold out against all the threats, all the cruelties of wicked persecutors in times of persecution, which threaten to debar them of all the present good they enjoy? And though Gods people are foyled often, yet that there should still remaine a seed within them, 1 John. 3. 9. this illustrates the grace of Christ under the Gospel. For one act in Adam expelled all grace out of him, when yet his heart was full of nothing else. Were our hearts filled with grace perfectly at first conversion, this power would not be seen. The Angels are kept with much lesse care, and charge, and power then we, because they have no bias, no weights of sin, (as the Apostle speaks) hung upon them to draw them aside, and presse them downe, as we have.

Neither 3. would the confusion of the devill in the end be so great, and the victory so glorious, if all sin at first conversion were expelled. For by this meanes the devill hath in his assaults against us, the more advantages, faire play, (as I may so speak) faire hopes of overcomming; having a great faction in us, as ready to sinne as he is greedy to tempt; And yet God strongly carries on his owne worke begun, though slowly, and by degrees, backeth and maintaines a small partie of grace with­in us, to his confusion. That as in Gods outward goverment towards his Church here on earth, he suffers a great party, and the greater still by farre, to be against his Church, and yet up­holds it, and rules amongst the midst of his enemies, Psal. 110. ult. so doth he also in every particular beleevers heart. When grace shall be in us but as a sparke, and corruptions as much smoake and moisture damping it; Grace but as a candle and that [Page 25] in the socket, among huge and many winds, Then to bring judge­ment forth to victory, that is a victory indeede.

Lastly, as God doth it to advance his owne grace, and con­found the devil, so for holy ends that concerne the Saints them­selves: As,

1. To keep them from spirituall pride. He trusted the Angels that fell, with a full and compleat stock of grace at first, and they, though raised up from nothing a few dayes afore, fell into such an admiration of themselves, that heaven could not hold them, it was not a place good enough for them; [They left] (the text sayes) their owne habitation and first estate, Jude, ver. 6. Pride was the condemnation of the devill, 1 Tim. 3. 6. But how much more would this have beene an occasion of pride to a soule that was full of nothing but sin the other day, to be made perfect pre­sently? perfectly to justifie us the first day by the righteousnesse of another, there is no danger in that, for it is a righteousnesse without us, and which we cannot so easily boast of vainly; for that faith that apprehends it, empties us first of our selves, and goes out to another for it. But Sanctification being a work wrought in us, we are apt to dote on that, as too much upon excellencie in our selues; how much adoe have poore belee­vers to keepe their hearts off from doting upon their owne righteousnesse, and from poring on it, when it is (God wot) a very little? They must therefore have something within them to pull downe their spirits, that when they look on their fea­thers, they may looke on their feet, which Christ sayes are still defiled, John 13. 10.

2. However, if there were no such danger of spirituall pride upon so sudden a rise, (as indeed it befalls not infants, nor such soules as dye as soone as regenerated, as that good thiefe) yet however God thinkes it meet to use it as a means to humble his people this way: even as God left the Canaanites in the land, to vexe the Israelites, and to humble them. And to have beene throughly humbled for sin here, will doe the Saints no hurt a­gainst they come to heaven, it will keepe them Nothing for ever, in their owne eyes, even when they are filled brim full of grace and glory.

For 1. nothing humbles so as sinne. This made him cry out, [Page 26] Oh miserable man that I am! He that never flinched for outward crosses, never thought himselfe miserable for any of them, but gloried in them, 2 Cor. 12. when he came to be led captive by sinne remaining in him, cryes out, Oh miserable man!

And 2. it is not the sinnes of a fore-past unregenerate estate, that will be enough to doe this throughly: For they might be lookt upon, as past, and gone; and some waies be an occasion of making the grace after conversion the more glorious: but present sense humbleth most kindly, most deeply, because it is fresh, and therefore sayes Paul, Oh miserable man that [I am.] And againe, we are not able to know the depth, and height of corruptions at once; therefore we are to know it by degrees: And therefore it is still left in us, that after we have a spirituall eye given us, we might experimentally gage it to the bot­tome, and be experimentally still humbled for sinne: And experimentall humbling is the most kindly, as pity out of experi­ence is.

And 3. God would have us humbled by seeing our depen­dance upon him for inherent grace; And how soone are we apt to forget we have received it; and that in our natures no good dwells? Wee would not remember, that our nature were a step­mother to grace, and a naturall mother to lusts, but that we see weeds still grow naturally of themselves.

And 4. God would have us not onely humbled by such our dependance on him, but by a sense of our continuall obnoxious­nesse to him, and of being in his lurch; and therefore leaves cor­ruption still, that we might ever acknowledge that our necks doe even lie on the block, and that he may chop them off, and to see that in him, we should not onely live, and move as crea­tures; but further, that by him we might justly be destroy­ed every moment, this humbles the creature indeed, Ezek. 36. 31, 32.

3. As thus to humble them, so that they might have occasion to deny themselves: Which to doe is more acceptable to God, then much more service without it; and therefore the great promise of having an hundred fold, is made to that grace. It was the great grace, which of all other Christ exercised. Now if we had no corruption to entice and seduce us, what opportunities [Page 27] were there for us, thus of denying our selves? Christ indeed had an infinite deale of glory to lay downe, not so we: unlesse there be a selfe in us, to solicite us, and another selfe to deny those soli­citations, wee should have no occasions of self-denyall, or the exercise of any such grace. Therefore Adam was not capable of any such grace, because he had no corruption to seduce him. And therefore a little grace in us, denying a great deale of corruption, is in that respect, (for so much as is of it) more acceptable then his obedience. Though we have lesse grace, yet in this respect of a higher kind in the exercises of it.

To be meek and charitable to those who fall into sin,Ʋse. 1. as know­ing corruption is not fully yet purged out of thy selfe. This is the Apostles admonition upon this ground, Gal. 6. 1. If a man be overtaken in a fault, (he speaks indefinitely, that any man may) if it be but an overtaking, not a sinning wilfully, and obstinately, but a falling by occasion, through rashnesse, suddennesse, and vio­lence of temptation, &c. ye which are spirituall, restore such a man with the spirit of meeknesse, considering thy selfe, lest thou also be tempted. He would have every man be meek in his censure, and in his reproofe of such an one, and restore him, and put him in joynt againe, as the word signifies; for still he may be united to Christ, as a bone out of joynt is to the body, though for the time rendred thereby unusefull; and do this, sayes he, with tender­nesse and pity, with the spirit of meeknesse, which a man will not doe, unlesse he be sensible of his owne frailty, and subjection to corruption; unlesse he reflect on himselfe, and that seriously too: [considering] saith the Apostle there, as implying more then a slight thought, (I may chance to fall also) but the seeing and weighing what matter of falling there is in thine own heart, if God but leave thee to thy selfe a little then; this works a spirit of meeknesse towards such an one: For meeknesse and pity is most kindly, when we are sensible of the like in our selves, and make it our owne case. And this he speakes to the most spirituall Christians, not to those who are as yet but as carnall, (as he speaketh of the Corinthians) Christians newly converted, who (finding their corruptions at the first stounded with that first blow of mortification given them, and though but in part killed, yet wholly in a manner for a while laid asleep, and having not as [Page 28] yet, after their late conversion, had a fresh experience of the dan­gers and temptations a man after conversion in his progresse is subject to) are therefore apt to imagine they shall continue free from assaults, and think not that their lusts will get up againe, and so are prone to be more censorious of the falls of others: But you, who are more spirituall, to you I speak, sayes the Apo­stle, for you are most meekned with a sense of your owne weak­nesse; and even you, (sayes he) if you consider your selves, and what you are in your selves, have cause to think that you also may be tempted.

Never set thy selfe any stint or measure of mortification,Ʋse. 2. for still thou hast matter to purge out: Thou must never be out of physick all thy life. Say not, Now I have grace enough, and health enough, but as that great Apostle, (Not as if I had as yet attained, For indeede, thou hast not) Still presse forward to have more vertue from Christ. If thou hast prevailed against the out­ward act, rest not, but get the rising of the lust mortified, and that rowling of it in thy fancie; get thy heart deaded towards it also: and rest not there, but get to hate it, and the thought of it. The body of death it must not onely be crucified with Christ, but buried also, and so rot, Rom. 6. 4, 6. it is crucified to be destroyed, sayes the Apostle there: that is, to moulder away more and more, after its first deaths wound.

Obser. 6. That branches that have brought forth true fruit, God takes them not away.

The 6. Doctrine is, That those who are true branches, and bring forth any true fruit pleasing to God, though they have many corruptions in them, yet God takes them not away, cuts them not off: The opposition implies this, he speakes of Taking away the other, not so of these, But purgeth them. It is an elegant Paranomasia, [...], which the holy Ghost here useth.

For an instance to prove this, (wherein I will also keepe to the Metaphor here used) I take that place. Esay 27. where this his care of fruitfull branches, with the very same difference put be­tween his dealing with them, and the unfruitfull that is here, is ele­gantly [Page 29] expressed to us. God professeth himselfe the Keeper of a Vineyard his Church, ver. 2, 3. I the Lord doe keep it, and ver. 6. He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root, Israel shall blossome and bud, and fill the earth with fruit. But Israel having corruption in him which would hinder his growth, he must be lopt and cut. And so in the next verses, God is said to deale with him; but not so as to cut them off, as he doth others that are both his and their enemies. Hath he smitten them as he smote those that smote him? No. For in measure when it shooteth forth, thou wilt debate with it. When Israel is but a tender plant, and first shooteth forth, he doth but in measure debate with it, that is, in such a proportion as not to destroy it, or cause it to wither, but that it may blossome more, he measures out, as it were, afflictions to them, but stayes his rough wind, as it followes; that is, such afflictions as would shake that his plant too much, or quite blow it downe; but such a wind as shall make it fruitfull, and blow away its unkindly blossomes and leaves: so much and no more will He let out of his Treasury, even he who holds the winds in his fists, and can moderate them as he pleaseth. For his scope and purpose is nothing lesse then to cut off Jacob, both root and branch, because of corruptions and sinnes that doe cleave to him. But this is all the fruit to take away the sinne, sayes he, ver. 9. that is, this is the fruit of that winde, and of all these his dealings with them: and it is [All] the fruit, that is, all that he intends thereby, even to purge them.

But doth he deale so with others? No, for the boughs of the most fenced City wither, and are broken off and burned, ver. 10, 11.

First,Reas. 1. because in Christ God accepts a little good, and it plea­seth him more, then sin in his doth displease him: And therefore as in nations he will not destroy the righteous with the wicked, so nor in men will he cast away their righteousnesse that is in them for a little wickednesse sake, but will rather purge out the one, and so preserve the other. This we have expressed under the same Metaphor, Esay. 65. 8. we have in hand, Thus saith the Lord, as the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: That is, looke as when a man is about to cut downe a Vine, and his axe is even at the root of it, and [Page 30] one standing by, spyes a cluster upon it, that hath new wine in it; which also argues there is sap still in the roote, which may yet bring forth more; Oh sayes he, destroy it not: even so sayes God of nations and men that feare him: of nations, where he hath many holy ones: So there it followes, So will I doe (with Israel) for my servants sake I will not destroy them all; so it fol­lows there: and thus he likewise sayes of particular men, there is a blessed work in such a mans heart, though mingled with much corruption, Oh destroy it not. Take away the sin if possible, but cut not off the man: why should his grace perish with his wickednesse? every dram of grace is precious, it cost the blood of Christ, and he will not suffer it to be destroyed.

Because he hath ordained,Reas. 2. that all the fruits of his children should remain, John 15. 16. Now if they should be cut off, their fruit would wither, their work must perish with them; now no mans work shall prove in vaine in the Lord, 1 Cor. 15. ult. But though the world, and all works, and lusts of the world will with their makers come to nothing, Yet he that doth the will of God en­dureth for ever, 1 John 2. 17. As the works of Christ in himselfe are eternall, so his works in us are eternall also, because they are the fruits of what he did: He that soweth liberally, and gives to the poore, his righteousnesse remaines for ever.

Thirdly,Reas. 3. because he loves the person, and hates only the sin, therefore he preserves the one, destroyes onely the other. This is all the fruit to take away the sinne. Thus Psal. 99. 8. He forgave the persons, and tooke vengeance onely on their inventions. The Covenant that is made with us in Christ, is not a covenant made with works, but with persons: And therefore though the works be often hatefull, yet he goes on to love the persons: And that he may continue to love them, destroyes out of them what he hates, but cutteth not them off. A member that is leprous or ulcerous, a man loves it as it is his owne flesh, Ephes. 5. 29. though he loathes the corruption and putrification that is in it: and there­fore he doth not presently cut it off, but purgeth it daily, layes plaisters to it to eate the corruption out: whereas a wart or a wen that growes to a mans body, a man gets it cut off, for he doth not reckon it as his flesh.

Fourthly,Reas. 4. therein God shewes his skill, that he is able to deale [Page 31] with a branch which hath much corruption in it, so artificially, as to sever the corruption, and let the branch stand still; utterly to cut downe, and make spoile of all, there is no great skill re­quired to it; but to lop the branches in the right place, and due time and season, so as they may become fruitfull, this is from the skill of the Husbandman. Come to unskilfull Surgeons with a sore leg or arme, and they seeing it past their skill, they talke of nothing but cutting it off, and tell you it is so far gone, that there is no way else; but come to one that is skilfull indeed, that dis­cerns it is not so perished, but it may be cured, and he will try his art upon it: And so doth God with branches and members that have much corruption in them, he tryes his skill upon them, makes a great cure of a leg or an arme, where he discerns some sound flesh, though much corrupted; he can cut out the dead flesh, and let the sound remaine, and so makes it whole in the end.

Of comfort to those who are true branches,Ʋse. 1. and continue to bring forth fruit in the midst of of all the tryals that befall them, that God will not suffer them to be cut off by their corruption: if any thing in them should provoke God to doe it, it must be sinne: Now for that, you see how Christ promiseth that God will take order therewith, and will purge it out of them. In the 89. Psal. ver. 28, 29, 30. this is the covenant made with David, (as he was a type of Christ, with whom the same covenant is made sure and firme) That if his seed forsake my Law, and walke not in my judgements, What, presently turne them out of doors, and cut them off, as those he meant no more to have to doe with? What, nothing but utter rejection? Is there no means of reclaiming them? Never a rod in the house? Yes, Then will I visit their transgressions with a rod, and their iniquity with stripes, whip out their stobbornnesse and sinfulnesse, but my loving kindnesse will I not take from him as I did from Saul, as it is 1 Chron. 17. 13.

Let the Saints consider this, that they may return when they are fallen, and submit to him and his nature, and suffer him to doe what he will with them, and endure cutting, and lancing, and burning, so long as he cuts them not off; endure chastning, and all his dealings else, knowing that all the fruit is but to take [Page 32] away the sinne to make them partakers of his holinesse, and if by any meanes, as Paul speakes of himselfe, as Phil. 3. be the means what it will, it is no matter; And God, if at any time he seemes to cut thee off, yet it is but as the incestuous Corinthian was cut off, that the flesh might be destroyed, and the spirit saved.

Of encouragement to goe on still to bring forth more fruit to God:Ʋse. 2. For if you doe, God will not cut you off, he will spare you as a man spares his sonne that serves him; he will not take ad­vantage at every fault to cast one off. It was his owne Law, Deut. 20. 19. that such trees as brought forth fruit fit for meat, they should not destroy when they came into an enemies coun­trey. Doth God take care of trees? No, it was to teach us, that if we bring forth fruit, he will not destroy us, if it be fruit in­deed, fit for meat: Oakes bring forth apples, such as they are, and acorns, but they are not fit for meate; such treees they might cut down: So if thou bring not forth such fruit as is for Gods taste and relish, wherein thou sanctifiest not God and Christ in thy heart, thou maiest and wilt be cut downe, but else not; If thou beest betrothed to Christ, and he hath begotten children on thee, feare not a bill of divorce, he will not lightly cast thee off: And it is a good argument to use to him, de­sire him to spare thee by all the children he hath begotten on thee: Children increase love between man and wife, so between Christ and us.

Doct. 6. That unfruitfull branches, God in the end cuts off, and the severall degrees whereby he cuts off professors that are unfruitfull.

That unfruitfull branches God in the end takes away: As he did Judas, who was here especially aymed at. For proofe, take Psal. 125. It is a Psalme made of purpose to shew the different estate of the professors of Religion: Those that are upright, ver. 4. he saith, God will continue to doe them good, and They shall be at mount Sion, and all the gates of hell shall not be able to remove one of those mountaines: But because there are many, that like Planets goe the same course with the other Orbes, and yet have some secret by-way besides of their owne, of these he sayes, Those that turne aside into crooked wayes, God will lead them forth [Page 33] with the workers of iniquity: That is, in the end he will discover them to be what they are: And though they goe amongst the drove of Professors, like sheep, yet God will detect them, either in this life, or in the life to come, to be Goats: Though they did not seeme to be workers of iniquity, yet God will leade them forth with them.

Reasons why God dealeth thus with them.

First, because they dishonour the Root which they professe themselves to be graffed into; they professe themselves to be in Christ: Now he is a fruitfull root, full of sap, and for any to be unfruitfull in him, is a dishonour to him. When you see un­fruitfull branches upon a tree, you blame the root for it; so doth the world blame the grace of Christ, the profession of Christ, yea even the root it selfe, for the unfruitfulnesse of the branches. Therefore that they may dishonour the root no more, he takes them away, cuts them off from that root they seemed to stand in, and then they run out into all manner of wickednesse.

Secondly,Reas. 2. because the Husbandman hath no profit by them: Heb. 6. The ground that bringeth forth thorns, and not fruit meet for him that dresseth it, is nigh to cursing. In the 8. of the Cant. it is said, Solomon had a Vineyard, and he let it out to Keepers, &c. He speakes this of Christ, of whom Solomon was a Type, and of his Church; and his comparison stands thus: Solomon being a King, and having many Vineyards for his Royalty, (for the riches of antient Kings lay much in husbandry) he let them out to Vine-dressers, and they had some gaine by them; But Solomon must have a thousand, and they but two hundred; the chiefe gaine was to come to Solomon. So the Vineyard that God had plant­ed here below, he lets it out to men, and they shall have some profit by it, you shall all have wages for the work you doe; yet so as the chiefe gaine must returne to God, he must have a thou­sand for your two hundred. But when men will have all the gains that is in what they doe, set up their owne ends onely, and the Husbandman shall have none, such branches he takes away, because they are not for his profit, for it is made a rule of equity, 1 Cor. 9. 7. That he that planteth a Vineyard, should eate of the fruit of it.

Because of all trees a Vine is good for nothing else but to [Page 34] bring forth fruit;Reas. 3. as we see it expressed to us, Ezek. 15. it is good for nothing but the fire when it becomes unfruitfull: O­ther trees are good for building, to make pins of, but not the Vine: And this similitude God chose out, to shew that of all trees else, Professors, if unfruitfull, are good for nothing, their end is to be burned.

Now if you aske,The degrees of Gods cutting off unfruitfull branches. How God taketh them away? The degrees he doth it by are set downe here, ver. 6. If a man abide not in me, &c. that is, fall away, then 1. They are cast out, and 2. They wither, 3. They are gathered, 4. They are burned.

First, they are cast forth, that is, out of the hearts of Gods peo­ple, out of their company, out of their prayers, yea and out of their society by excommunication often, and many times they cast out themselves, being given up to such errors, as discover them to be unsound: As Hymenaeus and Philetus, they were for­ward Professors, so that their fall was like to have shaken many of the fruitfull branches, in so much that the Apostle was faine to make an Apologie about their fall, Neverthelesse the foundation of God remains sure, 2 Tim. 2. 18. God gave them up to such opini­ons and heresies, as discovered their hearts to be rotten and un­sound: So also he gives these carnall professors up to such sinnes as will discover them. This was the case of Cain, he brought forth some fruit, for he sacrificed; yet because not in sincerity, he envied his brother, and was given up to murther his brother, upon which it is said, that He was cast out of the sight of the Lord, Gen. 4. 16. that is, cast out of his Fathers family, and from the Ordinances of God there enjoyed, and made a vagabond upon the face of the whole earth, which of all curses is the greatest: or else, as was said, they of their owne accord forsake the assembly of the Saints. The Apostle makes this a step to the sin against the holy Ghost, Heb. 10. 25. he saith, That when men forsake the assemblies and company of the people of God, publique and pri­vate, and love not to quicken and stir up one another, or begin to be shye of those they once accompanied, they are in a nigh de­gree to that which followes in the next verse, To sin wilfully after they have received the knowledge of the truth.

Secondly, being thus cast forth, they wither; that is, the sap of abilities which they once had, begins to decay; that life in holy [Page 35] duties, and in holy speeches, begins to be withdrawn, and their leaves begin to fall off, they cannot pray nor speake of holy things, as they were wont. Thus it is said of such Professors, Jude 12. That their fruit withereth, even here in the eyes of men; for when God casteth them out, then he withdrawes his Spirit from them; and then, although they come to the Ordinances, yet they have no breathings; they come to Prayer, and the Spi­rit of God is departed, and so by degrees God withdraws sap from them, till they be quite dead. Thus he dealt with Saul, when he had discovered himselfe by sparing the Amalekites, and by persecuting David, it is said, The Spirit of God departed from him, and he withered ever after, all his gifts vanished, and the spirit or frame of heart he once had, departed from him. So likewise they that had not gained by their talents, Mat. 25. 26. their talents were taken from them, even in this life,, and the Spirit of God, which rested upon them, rested upon some other that were more faithfull.

Thirdly, lying long unfruitfull, in the end it is said they are ga­thered. Our Translation hath it, Men gather them, which either respects a punishment in this life, that when they are cast out from the society of Gods people, wicked men gather them, they fall to those that are naught: Popish persons, or profane Athe­ists take them, as the Pharisees did Judas, when he cast himselfe out of the society of the Apostles. Or else it may in a Meta­phor refer to the life to come; the Angels, they are the Reapers, they gather them in the last day, and bind them in bun­dles for the fire.

So lastly, it is said, They are cast into the fire, and they burne. A man would think he needed not to have added that, for being cast into the fire, they must needs burne: but his meaning is, that of all other they make the fiercest, hottest fire, because they are trees most seared, and fuell fully dry, as the Prophet speaks.

You then that professe the name of Christ,Ʋse. 1. take heed that you be fruitfull branches indeed. I say to you as the Apostle saith, Rom: 11. 19, 20. Because of unbeliefe, they were broken off: Thou standest by faith, be not high minded, but feare. Take heede that it be fruit that you bring forth, doe all for GOD, [Page 36] make him your end in all, bring forth more fruit every day, let your fruit be riper, and more spirituall daily, labour to spread, and root your selves as much downward in inward holinesse, as you do upward in outwardprofession, and purge your selves continually, lest that which is threatned here, befall you, which are fearfull things to be spoken, and yet concerne many a soule. The Apostle compares such to trees twice dead, and pluckt up by the roots. You were borne dead in Adam; since that you have had perhaps some union with Christ by common graces; if your wither againe, then you are twice dead, and therefore fit for no­thing but to be stubbed up, and cast into the fire. And if any soule begin to forsake the assemblies of the Saints, or be cast out from them, let him looke to himselfe lest he wither in the end, and be twice dead, and so he never come to have life put into him againe, that is, repent, and return againe: And know this, that if you being cast out by the Church and people of God, break your hearts, so that you mourne for your sinne, as the in­cestuous Corinthian did, it is a signe you are such branches as God will yet make fruitfull; but if beingcast out you begin to wither, as here, the end will be burning.

Of Growth in VIVIFICATION, and bringing forth more fruit.

JOHN 15. 2.‘—He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit,’

That all true branches in Christ doe grow.

GRowth in Grace is the main thing held forth unto us in these words; and therefore I make in the chief subject of this Discourse.

Now as in the work of Sanctification at first there are two parts, Mortification and Vivifica­tion; so our progresse in that work hath two parts also apart to be considered, and both here in the Text:

1. A growth in Mortification, or purging out of sinne, He purgeth it.

2. A positive growth in holinesse, and all the fruits of it, That it may bring forth more fruit.

And my purpose is accordingly to treat of these two, distinct­ly [Page 38] and apart by themselves: And although purging out of sinne is here first mentioned, yet our growth in fruitfulnesse shall have the first place in the method of handling of them; both because growth in positive holinesse, and bringing forth more fruit, is the end and perfection of the other, and so chiefly intended; the other but subserving unto this, and is accordingly made menti­on of here by Christ, He purgeth it, [That] it may bring forth more fruit.

Now in handling this first Head, I shall doe three things:

First, in generall, shew, That all true branches do grow in grace and fruitfulnesse, and the reasons of it.

Secondly, propound such considerations by way of explicati­on, as may conduce to satisfie the tentations of such Christians as discern not their growth herein.

Thirdly, explicate more largely by way of tryall, what it is to bring forth more fruit, thereby further to help Beleevers to discern and judge aright of it.

My scope in this discourse being not so much to give meanes or motives unto growth, as helps to judge of, and try our growth, and prevent such mistakes herein, as Christians are apt to fall into.

First, in generall, to demonstrate, that all true beleevers doe grow more or lesse in fruitfulnesse. I shall give both proofes and reasons of it.

For proofs out of Scripture, those two places Hosea the 14. 5. compared with Psal. 92. where the holy Ghost singleth out the choicest trees and flowers in the world, on purpose to expresse the Saints fruitfulnesse, and their growth therein.

As first, to shew the sudden springing up of the new creature, as it falls out upon some mens conversions, or upon the Saints recovery again after falls, he compares them to the Lillie, Hos. 14. 5. whose stalk, though long hid in the earth, when once it begins to feel the dew, growes up oftentimes in a night. But yet a Lilly is but a flower, and soon decayes.

Therefore secondly, so shew their perpetuity, and stability, to­gether with their growth, the Prophet there compares them to the Cedar, whose wood rots not, proverbially put to expresse immortality; Digna Cedro: And which is not onely most du­rable, [Page 39] but of all trees the tallest, and shoots up the highest.

But yet thirdly, suppose the new creature be kept under, and oppressed with tentations and oppositions, yet to shew that still it will grow and flourish again: therefore he further compareth them to a Palme tree, which useth to grow, the more weight is hung upon it, and sprouts again, even when it is cut downe to the roots.

Fourthly, to shew that they grow with all kinds of growth: therfore the Prophet expresseth their growth both by the spread­ing of their root, and also of the branches, and so in a growth both upward and downward, He shall cast forth his rootes as Le­banon: that is, grow inwardly in habituall grace in the heart, and then outwardly spread forth their branches, and so grow in the outward profession of Gods wayes and truth, and externall ho­linesse in their lives.

Neither fifthly, is it a growth meerly in bulk, but also in fruit­fulnesse, and therefore he compares them to the Olive and the Vine, (so in that place of Hosea) which are of all trees the fruitfullest, and most usefull to God and man, Judg. 9. 9, 13.

But yet sixtly, trees have a flourishing time of it but for some while, during which, although they may be thus green and fruit­full, yet in their age they wither and rot, and their leaves fall off, and their fruit decayes: The holy Ghost therefore as pre­venting this exception to fall out in the Saints growth, he addes, Psal. 92. They bring forth fruit still in their old age: When nature begins to decay, yet grace renewes its strength; which if it be wondred at, and how grace should grow and multiply, the soile of our hearts being a stepmother to it, From me, sayes Christ, is thy fruit found, ver. 8. of that 14. of Hosea. It is God that gives this increase, and I will be as the dew to Israel, ver. 5.

The reasons why Christians doe thus grow, are drawn

First,Reas. 1. Drawne from Christs being our head. from Christ his being our Head, and we his members. Now although clothes though never so gorgeous, grow not, yet members doe. This similitude the Apostle useth in two places, to expresse the growth of the Saints, Ephes. 4. 15, 16. and Col. 2. 19. where he saith, Christ is a head, from whom the whole body grows up to him in all things. Now the consequence of this reason will many wayes appear.

[Page 40] First, if no more but that there might be a conformity of the head and members, it was meet we the members should grow, for we are predestinated to be conformable to the Image of his Sonne, Rom. 8. Now Christ did grow in wisdome, Luke 1. ult. and 2. 40. and 42. and therefore so must we.

But secondly, as he is our Head, he hath received all fulnesse to that every end that we might grow even to fill all in all, Ephes. 1. ult.

Now we are empty creatures, at his first taking of us, Joh. 10. 10. I came, sayes Christ, that they might have life, (and not on­ly so much as will keep body and soul together, as we say, but) that they might have it more abundantly. Why is grace called life, and of lives the most excellent, but because it containeth all the essentiall properties of life in it? Now the main proper­ties of life are to move and grow. The Stars they have a moving life, but they grow not; the Sun increaseth not, for all its tum­bling up and down, as snow-balls doe: Plants they have a grow­ing life, but they move not out of their place; but in Grace there is both. It is an active thing, and it is a growing thing also; and because the more it is acted the more it grows, therefore its growth is expressed by its motion.

Yea thirdly, as his fulnesse is for our growth, so our growth makes up his fulnesse, even the fulnesse of Christ mysticall, though Christ personall is full without us: therefore the stature that every Christian growes up to, is called, Ephes. 4. 13. The stature of the fulnesse of Christ. In like speech to this, Eph. 1. 23. it is said, that his body is his fulnesse: and Eph. 4. 13. the growth of these mem­bers is said to be the fulnesse of Christ: so that as Christ should be an head without a body, if he had no members, and his body a lame body, if he wanted any of those his members: so it would be found a disproportioned body, as it were, if any of these members should not grow to that stature God hath appointed them: So that as there will be plenitudito partium, a fulnesse of parts, no member lacking; so also plenitudo graduum; no degree of growth wanting in any part, that so Christ who filleth all in all, may be fully full. And as there would be a deformity if any one should not grow, (as to have a withered member were a dishonour [...]o the head) so to have any one grow in immensum, to too great a stature, would breed as great a deformity on the [Page 41] other side: therefore he addes, that every member hath its mea­sure. The hand grows according to the proportion of a hand, and so the rest; and so in the 13. ver. he hath it, that there is a mea­sure of the stature of the fulnesse of Christ, that every one attains to.

The second reason is taken from God the Father.

Who first hath appointed,Reas. 2. From God the Fathers ap­pointment. as who shall be members, so also what growth each of these members shall attaine to: therefore it is called an increasing with the increase of God, Col. 2. 19. Other parents appoint not what stature their children shall attaine to, but the Lord doth, that when they meet in heaven, there may be a proportion in the body: as all Christs members were written in Gods book, so the growth of them also.

Secondly, he hath promised that they shall grow: therefore it is said, Psal. 92. They so all bring forth fruit in their age, to shew the Lord is faithfull, which respecteth his promise; for faithful­nesse is the fulfilling a promise.

Thirdly, God the Father hath accordingly appointed meanes to that end, principally that they might grow.

As first, Eph. 4. it is said, he hath given gifts unto men, not that they may be converted only, but also to build them up for the edifying of the body of Christ: he speaks as if that were one maine end. Therefore the Word is not onely compared to seed, that begets men, but to milke also, that so babes may grow, and to strong meat, that men may grow, and thus that all sorts of Christi­ans may grow. So also Sacraments, their principall end is growth, and not to convert, but to encrease; as meat puts not life in, but is ordained for growth, where life is already.

2. He gives his Spirit, which works growth in the hearts of his people; and by him they have a nutritive power conveyed from Christ: For it might be said, though there be never so much nou­rishment, if they have no power to concoct it, still they cannot grow; therefore the Apostle says, that there is an effectuall working to the measure of every part, Eph. 4. 16. the same power working in us, which raised up Jesus Christ from death to life, Eph. 1. 19.

The last reason is taken from the Saints themselves;Reas. 3. From the Saints them­selves. they could not otherwise enter into heaven; which I take from that place, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye cannot enter into the Kingdome of Heaven. He speaks this to his [Page 42] Disciples, who were converted before; but saith Christ, unlesse ye grow, (there being a farther measure appointed you of my Father) you cannot enter into heaven. There is therefore as great a necessity to grow, as to be borne againe, or else we cannot enter into Heaven.

An explication how the Saints doe grow: many conside­rations to satisfie those that discern not their Growth.

HAving given you the reasons, I will now explicate the point.

And that chiefly for the satisfaction of those whose maine doubts and troubles about their estate, are occasioned by their want of discerning themselves to grow, and so call into question the work begun, because not carryed on so sensibly unto perfecti­as they expect and desire.

Their objections are many and divers.

They say, when they were young, they then had more spiri­tuall enlivenings, and quicknesse of affections, more joy in du­ties, &c. that formerly they had more zeal in what they did for the good of others, and more fruit of their labours; that here­tofore they have spent more time in duties, in conference, and hearing, &c. that others start up, who have more grace the first day, then they have been getting many years. Yea they are so far from discerning that they grow, that they rather think that they fall back, and therefore fear even the truth of grace in them, because all beleevers grow.

Now the scope of all which I shall speak of this argument, will tend to this, to help such to discern and judge aright of their estates herein, and to free them from such mistakes and errours as their objections are usually founded upon.

And first,1. Considerati­on in generall. concerning this kind of tentation and trouble, let me premise this one Observation, concerning what sort of con­verts this temptation is aptest to seize on.

You all know, that there are two more eminent and conspi­cuous [Page 43] manner of conversions of Gods people usuall in the Church. The conversion of some is more sudden and apparent, like the bringing of Joseph out of a dungeon, into a marvellous glorious light. It is with a sudden change, which therefore is ac­companied with a mighty violent inundation, and land-floud of humiliation for sinne, encreased with many gracious enlarge­ments and dews from heaven, which afterwards abating, and the stream setling and growing lesse, and comming to an ordi­nary channell, and falling but unto so much as the naturall spring of grace (as I may so call it) will serve to feed, they then begin to call all into question for their want of growth. Others on the contray, whose conversion hath been insensible, and carryed on with a still and quiet stream, and have had a more leisurely, gentle thaw; and their change from darknesse to light hath not been sudden; but as the breaking forth of the morning, small at first, and not discernable at what time day began then to break; these on the contrary are exercised rather about the truth of the work begun, about the work of conversion it selfe, and the right beginning of all at first; but their tentations arise not from a want of growth so much, for this to them is more evident and sensible, being like the morning light which growes clearer and clearer to the perfect day, Prov. 4.

Now observe the different condition of these two sorts; The former of these hath a more apparent work at first, to shew, as the evidence of their estate, but are apt through desertions, neglects, and carnall presumption to call into question their progresse in it, and from thence to question the truth of that first work begun. The other on the contrary sees a constant spring and stream increasing, but cannot shew the Well-head, or when or where the spring began. So that so apparent a worke of grace begun, would become matter of assurance to the one, but is checked with want of discerning growth answe­rable to such beginnings. But an apparent growth, and fast go­ing up of the building, comforts the other, but yet so as they still are apt to question whether the foundation of such a building be well and surely laid; that they are going on further to per­fection, this they clearly see, but whether they come in at the right gate, or no, that is the scruple which exerciseth their spirits. [Page 44] Thus hath our wise God, as in the work of his providence, so of his grace, set the one against the other, as Solomon speaks, that unto both these there might be occasion of excercise left, that neither might confide in any workes wrought upon them, but flie alone to Christ; and that neither should rejoyce against the other, or be discontented with that way, wherein God hath dealt with them.

In the second place,2. More parti­cular conside­rations. there are some considerations to be added concerning a Christians discerning his spirituall growth, which will be profitable to the thing in hand.

As first,1. Consid. that our growing in grace is a mysterie to be apprehen­ded by faith, rather then by sense; our spirituall life it selfe is carryed along by faith, much more the discerning the increase of it. Yea and it being carryed on by contraries, as by falls and desertions, and even by our own opinions of our decrease; there­fore it is rather discerned by faith, then sense, for faith is the evi­dence of things not seene.

Secondly,2. Consid. the eager desire that many Christians have to have more grace, together with them, their going on to discerne more and more their wants, (which in some respect is a growth) these doe keepe them from thinking that indeed they doe grow. There is (as Solomon sayes) that maketh himselfe poor, and hath great riches, Prov. 13. 7. because he enlargeth his desires still, therefore still he thinks himself poor. So hungry and greedy Christians, looking still to what they want, and not to what they have, are still complaining and unthankfull. If thou wouldst discern thy growth, doe not compare the copie with thy writing, but rather thy writing now with thy writing at the first: For this is a sure rule, that the better thou learnest to write, the better copie doth God daily set thee; that is, gives thee to see more strictnesse in the rule, and so still mayst think that thou wantest as much, and art as far short as at first, if thus thou comparest thy self with nothing but thy sight of the rule it selfe.

The third Consideration,3. Consid. that if growth at any time be made sensible, and be discerned by sense, yet so as after a while it is not so discernable as that great change was which was made upon a mans first conversion: the reasons whereof are,

[Page 45] 1. For at first conversion, the change was specificall, wholly from want of grace, unto beginnings of grace: but the change in our growth afterwards is but graduall, that is, but addition of more degrees onely, of something of the same kind still: and therefore it doth not so eminently affect the heart, as the change at first conversion doth. To be translated out of a Prison to a Kingdome, as Joseph was, would affect more, then to have new Kingdomes added to one that is a King already, as Alexan­der had.

2. Because then the newnesse makes a great impression: One that begins anew to study any Art, his growth is sensible, be­cause every thing he reads is new; when as afterwards in his reading he meets with the same thing againe and againe, and with new notions but now and then, and yet he studies, it may be harder, and learns what he knew before more perfectly, and adds new to his old.

A fourth Consideration to discern thy growth,4. Consid. there must be time allowed; For the time, sayes the Apostle, they might have been teachers, Heb. 5. 12. implying, they must have had time to grow up to perfection. Christians doe not grow discernably till after some space. The Sunne goes up higher and higher, but we discerne not its progresse, till after an hours motion. Things most excellent, have the slowest growth; but rushes grow fast, but they are weaker kind of plants; herbs, and willows, and alder-trees grow fast, but full of pith; Oakes more slowly, yet more solidly, and in the end attain to a greater bulk.

Fifthly,5. Consid. consider the growth it selfe; there may be a great difference thereof in severall men: You heard that every man hath a measure appointed to which he must grow, but men are brought to this fulnesse severall wayes, which makes a difference in their growth.

First, Some have the advantages of others, at first setting out; God gives them a great stock of grace at first, and that for these causes:

1. When there is a present use of them; Paul was the last of the Apostles, borne out of time, as himself complaines, as one that was set to schoole long after the rest of the Apostles, and yet came not behind any of them in grace, because God was to use [Page 46] him presently. To some God gives five talents, to others but two; so that he that hath five, hath as much given him at first, as he that had but two had with all his gains, all his life time.

2. When a man is converted late, as he that came into the Vineyard at the eleventh hour, was furnished with abilities to doe as much as the rest, for they all received but a penny.

Secondly, in the manner of their growth, some have advantage of others.

1. Some grow without intermission, as that great Apostle, and the Colossians, who from the first day they heard of the Gospell, brought forth fruit, Col. 1. 15. Others have rubs, and for some time of their lives stand at a stay: And thus some doe, presently after their first conversion, as the Church of Ephesus, who fell from her first love: Heb. 5. ult. Others in old age, as the Hebrews, who when for the time they might have taught others, were so far cast behind, that they had need be taught againe the first principles of Religion. Measure therefore not so your growth by a piece of your lives, but by comparing your whole life together.

2. Some die sooner, and therefore God fits them for heaven sooner. Dorcas dyed rich in good workes, Stephen dyed full of the holy Ghost, Act. 9. It is with severall Christians, as with severall, Planets: the Moon goes her course in a moneth, the Sun in a yeer, the rest in many years, so as often they that live shortest grow fastest.

What it is to bring forth more fruit, explicated Nega­tively by removing many mistakes.

LEt us now see what it is wherein Christians may be said to grow, that so you may be able to discerne what it is to bring forth more fruit.

And this I will explicate two wayes. First, negatively, what it is not to bring forth more fruit really, though in appearance and in shew it be a growth in fruit, which occasions many mi­stakes.

[Page 47] Secondly, positively, what it is truly to bring forth more fruit.

For the first. First, to grow is not onely or chiefly to grow in gifts, or abilities, as to preach, and pray, &c. but to encrease in graces: in gifts onely, so Reprobates may grow; yea, and so true Beleevers may grow, and yet not bring forth more fruit: The Corinthians grew fast this way in respect of gifts, they were enriched in all utterance and knowledge, and came behind in no gift, 1 Cor. 1. 7. and yet he tells them, that they were babes and carnall, Chap. 3. 2, 3. And therefore in the 12. Chap. after he had spoken of gifts, and endeavouring to excell therein, (as they did) he tells them that indeed they were things to be desired, and therefore exhorts them to covet the best gifts; but, yet, sayes he, I shew unto you a more excellent way, in the last ver. of that 12. Chapter. And what was that? It followes in the 13. Chap. even true grace, charity, love to God, and love of our brethren: A dram of that is, sayes he, worth a pound of the best fruit of gifts. And so his discourse, Chap. 13. doth begin, ver. 1. Though I speak with tongues of men and Angels, yet if I have not charity, &c. Gifts are given for the good of others, to edifie them especially, 1 Cor. 12. 7. but Graces, as love, faith, and humility, these are given to save a mans own soul; and therefore therein is the true growth: Yet as concerning this, I will propound a Caution or two.

Indeed,Caution 1. growth in gifts, together with growth in Sanctification running along with it, will increase our account, for God will crown his own gifts in us, if as they come from Christ, so they be used in him, and for him in our intentions; but otherwise they puffe up and hinder. They serve indeed to set out, and gar­nish the fruit, and to help forward the exercise of graces; they are good fruit dishes, to set the fruit forth: But if grace grow not with them, we bring not forth much fruit, for at best they are but blossomes, not fruit.

Again,2. men are indeed to indeavour to grow in these gifts of memory, and instructing others, and conferences, &c. As was said to Timothy, Let thy profiting appear to all, 1 Tim. 4. 15. and to the Corinthians, Covet the best gift, especially whilst you are young; yet we are not simply thereby to take an estimate of our growth.

[Page 48] Though this let me withall adde,3. that often by increasing in grace, a man increaseth in gifts, and for want of increasing in grace, gifts also doe decay. The Talents being used faithfully, were doubled, and unfaithfully, were lessened.

And this consideration may help to answer some doubts and objections which some Christians have about their growth, as because they cannot pray so well as others, nor doe so much service to the Saints as some doe, therefore they bring forth lesse fruit. Thou mayest bring more fruit for all that, if thou walkest humbly in thy calling, and prayest more fervently, though lesse notionally, or eloqùently. By how much the more we are humble, prize our selves lesse by them; and use them in Christ, and for Christ, seeing they come all from him: the more we are contented to want them, and not envie others that have them; so much the more fruit we bring forth, even in the want of such gifts.

Againe, decay in gifts, as in old age, doth not alwayes hinder men from bringing forth more fruit. As, although they cannot remember a Sermon so well as they had wont, nor preach with that vigour, and vivacity, and quicknesse when they are old, nor be so active, stirring, forward, it followes not that they bring not forth more fruit. David when he was old, could not governe the Kingdome, nor doe the Church that service he had done formerly, yet true fruit he might grow in, in regard of his perso­nall carriage towards God for his own salvation. A Musitian when he is young, is able to sing sweetlier then when he is old; or when his vigour decayes, his joynts grow lame, he cannot play as he had wont; yet still he may grow a better Musitian, and have more skill, and set better. Affections, the quicknesse of them de­pends much upon bodily spirits.

Secondly,2. our bringing forth more fruit, it is not to be measu­red simply by our successe towards others in the exercise of those gifts (though that be called fruit also: so Jer. 17. 10. they are called the fruit of our doings: there are our doings, and the fruits of our doings; that is, the successe which our examples, or gifts, or graces, have upon others; and so the conversion of the souls of men by the Apostles is called by Christ their fruit, John 15. 16.) yet simply by this we are not to reckon our growth: for in suc­cesse [Page 49] towards others in the exercise of those gifts (though that be called fruit also: so Jer. 17. 10. they are called the fruit of our doing: there are our doings, and the fruits of our doings; that is, the successe which our examples or gifts, or graces, have upon others; and so the conversion of the souls of men by the A­postle is called by Christ their fruit, John 15. 16.) yet simply by this we are not to reckon our growth: for in successe and exer­cise of gifts, a man may decrease when he growes older, and so see lesse fruit of his labours them formerly, or haply he may be laid aside; so sayes the Baptist of himself, I must decrease, John 3. 30. John, when Christ came to preach, had lesse commings in: And in this respect, old Christians, and ancient Ministers, may decrease, and young ones increase, and yet they decay not in grace; for there are Gods workes in us, and Gods workes with us: Now Gods work with us in doing good to others, may be lesse, when yet his workes in us may be more: for as there are diversi­ties of gifts, so of operations, 1 Cor. 12. The holy Ghost may use one of lesse grace to doe more good then one of more, though herein this caution is to be added, that he delights usually to ho­nour those of most sincerity, with most successe; as in that emi­nent Apostle, Paul, the grace of God was more in him, and so wrought more with him in doing much good to others, 1 Cor. 15. 10. and God also will reward according to the fruit of our do­ings, as Jer. 17. 10. when our desires are enlarged to doe much good, and we intended and aimed to doe that good which is done: there it is added there, in that Jer. 17. Whose heart thou knowest. When he sees the heart clearly enlarged to doe much good, then the fruit that is done is reckoned him as his; other­wise what ever it be he doth by us, he will reward but according to our workes, as concurrent with his. So 1 Cor. 3. 8. the Apostle upon this occasion intimates, that seeing it is God that gives the increase, he sayes, that God will reward men according to their [own labours;] not simply according to his workes by them: as if God doth not goe forth with a Minister, whose heart is much set to doe good, and to convert soules, to doe so much good by him as with another, who is in his own spirit lesse zealous; yet if his heart was large in desires, and his endeavours great to doe good, God will reckon more fruit to him then to ano­ther [Page 50] that had fewer endeavours, though more successe.

Thirdly,3. this growth in grace, and bringing forth more fruit, is not simply to be reckoned by the largenesse or smallnesse of those opportunities which men have of doing more or lesse good, and so, By the bringing forth of more fruit, in respect of more opportunities vouchsafed. Some that have more grace, and better gifts, have their shop-windowes shut, night overtakes them, and the power of darknesse, as it did Christ himselfe in the end, and then they cannot work. Others have lesser shops to work in, and yet have more grace; yea, the same man may have larger opportunities when young, and lesser when he is old, and yet growes, and brings forth before God more fruit, because he accepts the will for the deed: So the Baptist was hindred in his latter time in prison, when yet he brought forth more fruit, and therefore he envied not Christ that got all his custome, his hea­rers and Disciples, but rejoyced that the work went forward, though not by himself: here was as much grace expressed, as in many Sermons. So Paul, he was much of his time in prison, yet then he ceased not to bring forth more fruit that should tend to his salvation, for Phil. 1. 15, 16. when as he being in prison, he heard others preached, and that out of envie to him, others out of good will, I in prison rejoyced, sayes he, that Christ is preached, though I cannot doe it my selfe: and I know, sayes he, that this shall turn to my salvation, ver. 19. These fruits were as much, and would bring him in as much glory as his preaching. Indeed when a man shall prize opportunities of doing good, and for them voluntarily let goe all opportunities of advancing himself and his credit, or ease, or carnall advantages, then the more fruit he brings forth in those opportunities, the more is reckoned on his score.

Fourthly,4. it is not alwayes to be measured by accessary graces, as joy, and spirituall ravishment, &c. which tend to the bene esse, the comfort of a Christian: but it is to be estimated rather by those substantiall graces, as faith, humility, love, strong and solid affections to what is good. The other may decrease, when these that are more substantiall doe increase. These sweet blooms may fall off, when fruit comes on; though the glosse wear out, no matter, so the stuffe be strong and substantiall. Young Chri­stians [Page 51] grow like new instruments; they have more varnish then old, but not so sweet a sound. Yea, often the decreasing of those superadded graces are a means of the encrease of the other: want of feeling causeth more exercise of faith, as taking away bladders exercise a man to swim: One that hath bladders, and the stream with him, seemes to swim as well and as fast as one that hath learned long, and hath more skill and strength, but wanteth these, and swims against the stream, yet not so fast. Spirituall withdrawings cause more humility, more cleaving to God. A man, as the Leper cleansed, haply at the first leaps more, but goes as fast afterward.

Fifthly,5. it is not increasing in outward professing, and a seeming forward, but especially in inward and substantiall godlinesse; the other is but as increasing in leaves; but in growth, there must be a bringing forth more fruit. When the root strikes not deeper downward, and farther into the earth, but spreads much up­ward in the branches, this is not a true growth; though look where there is more rooting, there will be more spreading also above ground. Growth, it lies not in this, That men should thinke of me above what I am indeed, 2 Cor. 12. 6. Many at first grow into so great a profession, as they cannot fill up, and grow up to all their dayes; make bigger cloathes then they can grow to fill: As they say of Elephants, that the skinne is as big at first, as ever after, and all their life time their flesh growes but up to fill their skinne up. True growth begins at the vitalls, the heart, the liver, the bloud gets soundnesse and vigour, and so the whole man outwardly; this heart Godlinesse is the thing you must judge by.

And yet sixtly,6. even in inward affections many be deceived: even there the party for Christ in appearance may be greater then in truth. So often in a young Christian, there is a greater army of affections mustered, but most of them but mercenaries: his affections are then larger, his joyes greater, his sorrowes vio­lenter then afterwards: More of his heart joynes in duties at first; but afterwards, though lesse, yet more spiritually and truly. The objects being then new, draw all after them; not onely Spirit, or that new principle of grace is stirred then, but flesh also. The unregenerate part becomes a Temporary Beleever [Page 52] for a time, hath a work upon it per redundantiam, as an unrege­nerate man hath who is a Temporary: which work on the unre­generate part doth decay, as in Temporaries it doth, and grows lesse: not onely godly sorrow is stirred to mourne for sinne, but carnall sorrow being awakned by Gods wrath, joynes also, and so makes the streame bigger. Infidelity it selfe, like Simon Magus, for a while beleeves. Whilst the things of grace are a wonder to a man, (as at first they are) presumption joynes and eekes out faith; a great party in the heart cleaves by flattery, (as the phrase is in Daniel) and for by-ends, which after some progresse fall off and faint in the way; and those lusts that over and above their true mortification were further cast into a swoune, begin againe to revive. All this was resembled to us by the comming of the Children of Israel out of Egypt, when by those plagues in Egypt, and Moses his call, not onely the Israe­lites, but even many of the Egyptians were wrought upon, and began out of self-love to feare the Lord, Exod. 9. 20. and so a mixed multitude, it is said, went out with the Israelites, Exod. 20. 38. to sacrifice to the Lord; but ere long, as Numb. 11. 4. this mixt multitude began to murmur, and to fall off: So at a mans first setting out, at his first conversion, mixt carnall affections, the un­regenerate part, through the newnesse of the objects, and im­pression of Gods wrath, and heavenly ravishments, are wrought upon, and goe out with the new Israel to sacrifice, but after a while these fall away, and then the number is lesse; but the true Israelites may be encreased. Hence it is, that young Christians, (if they know their hearts) complain more of hypocrysie, and old Christians of deadnesse. So in times of peace, presumption eeks out faith, and makes it seeme a great deale, which in times of desertion and tryal, falls off; and then though the beleeving partie be lesse, yet more sincere. When the fire is first kindled, there is more smoke, even as much as fils the house; but after the flame comes, that contracts all into a narrow compasse, and hath more heat in it: So it is in young Christians, their affecti­ons, (which Christ compares to the smoaking flax) their joy in duties, their sorrow for sinne, their love of God is more, but exceeding carnal; the flame after, though lesse, growes purer, and lesse mixt with vapours of corrupt self-love.

[Page 53] Seventhly we must not measure our bringing forth more fruit by one some kind or sort of duties,7. but by our growth in godli­nesse, in the universall extent and latitude of it, as it takes in and comprehendeth the duties of both callings, generall and particu­lar, and all the duties of a Christian. Thus it may be when grown up we are lesse in some sort of duties, then we were when we were young Christians: Haply we were more then in praying, in fasting, and reading, and meditating, yea spent the most (if not the whole) of our time in these; But because now we spend lesse time in these, we must not say therefore that we are fallen, or decayed: for there are many other duties to be done besides these, which haply then we neglected, but now make conscience of. So that take all sorts of duties in the latitude of them, and we may be growne more, and do bring forth more fruit. Per­haps we bring forth lesse fruit of some one kind then afore, but if we be filled with all variety of fruits of the first and second table of our generall and particular callings, this is to bring forth more fruit. Men at their first conversion are necessitated often for to spend their whole time in such duties wherein they immediately draw nigh to God: Paul then spent three whole dayes in fasting and prayer: And then we allow them to doe it, because their estates require it; they want assurance, and esta­blishment, they see grace to be that one thing necessary, and there­fore we give them leave to neglect all things for it; they are new married to Christ, and therefore they are not to be pressed to war the first yeare, (as I may so allude) as for young marryed persons it was provided in Leviticus; and parents and masters are to give allowance to such, then in their travell of their new birth to lye in, and not to be cruell to them, in denying them more time then ordinary. So also when they are in desertion, (which is a time of sicknesse, and in sicknesse you allow your ser­vants time from their work) as the Church, when she wanted her Beloved, Cant. 3. 2. no wonder if she leaves all to seek him: As your selves, when you want a child or a servant, you cry him in every street, and leave all to find him, as he left ninety nine to find one lost sheep. And they then come new out of prison, out of their naturall estate, and out of the fresh apprehension of the wrath of God, and therefore no wonder if they run so fast to [Page 54] haste out of it, and salute none by the way, stay to doe no busi­nesse; but when once they are gotten to the City of refuge, then they fall about their businesse and callings againe. Hence young Christians are apt to be more negligent in their particular cal­lings, and are all for the duties of Religion, for their present di­stresse and estate requires it: Ancienter Christians are apt to abound more in the duties of their particular calling; but he that hath learnt to be conversant in both aright, to be conversant in his calling, so as to keep his heart up in communion with God, and so attend upon God without distraction, and to be conver­sant so in duties, as to goe about his calling cheerfully, and to doe with all his might what his hand therein finds to doe, he is the best Christian: And therefore 1 Thes. 4. 10. when he had exhorted them to encrease more and more in grace, he goes on, ver. 11. to exhort them also to doe their owne businesse, and to work with their hands, that they may walk honestly towards them without: for to neglect our callings, gives offence to them without; and there­fore masters stumble at young Christians: but both, you see by the Apostles exhortation in that Epistle, may stand together, in­creasing in holinesse, of which he had spoken afore, Chap. 3. 12. and Chap. 4. 1. and ver. 10. with diligence in a calling, of which he speaks, ver. 11. &c. To be conversant all day in holy duties, is indeed more sweet to a mans selfe, and is an heaven upon earth: but to be conversant in our callings, is more profitable to others, and so may glorifie God more: And therefore as when Paul would gladly have been with Christ, (for that is best for me, sayes he) yet sayes he, To abide here is more profitable for you, Phil. 1. so to injoy immediate communion with God in Prayer, and to meditate all the week long, is more for the comfort of a mans particular; but to be employed in the businesse of a mans calling, the more profitable for the Church, or Common-wealth, or Family. And therefore it is to be accounted a bringing forth of more fruit, when both are joyned, and wisely subordinated, so as the one is not a hindrance to the other: though the child out of love to his mother, and the sweetnesse he hath in her com­pany, could find in his heart to stay all day at home to look on her; yet it pleaseth her more for him to goe to schoole all day, and at night, to come home and be with her, and play with her; [Page 55] and she then kisseth him, and makes much of him. Children when they are young, they eate often, and doe little, and we alllow them to doe so; afterwards you set them to work, and to schoole, and reduce them to two good meals, and they thrive as well with it.

What it is to bring forth more fruit, explicated positively, wherein many direct tryalls of Growth are given.

THus I have shewne you negatively, what this growth is not to be measured by, and so by way of intimation wherein it consists; I will secondly do it more positively, and directly, and affirmatively.

First,1. Tryall. we grow, when we are led on to execise new graces, and so to adde one grace to another, as the Apostle Peter exhorts; as when in our knowledge we are led into new truths, and have answerable affections running along with those discoveries to­wards the things revealed. At first a Christian doth not exercise all graces, though all are radically in him: But as a man lives first the life of a plant, then of sense, then of reason, so is it in Graces. There are many formes Christians go through, as scho­lars at schoole doe, wherein their thoughts are in a more especiall manner taken up about divine objects of an higher or inferiour nature. The first forme is to teach them to know their sin­fulnesse of heart and life more; and so they goe to schoole to the Law, and are set to study it, even oftentimes a good while after conversion, and faith begun: and then after they have learned that lesson throughly, they are led up higher to have their faith drawn out, and to be exercised about free grace more, and towards Christ his person, union with him, and about the art and way of drawing vertue from him, and doing all in him. And herein it falls out with particular Christians, as with the Church in generall; that as although the most infant dayes of the Church from Adams time in the old world had the know­ledge of all Fundamentals, necessary to salvation, yet God went [Page 56] over [...], piecemeale, Heb. 1. 1. Age after Age, to instruct his Church in a larger knowledge of those Fundamentals: So is it in Gods dealing with particular Christians, though a Beleever in his conversion hath the substance of all these taught him, yet he goes over them by piecemeale againe, throughout his whole life; and hath often such a distinct apprehension renewed of them, as if he had not knowne or minded them afore: And sometimes his thoughts doe dwell more about the emptynesse of his owne righteousnesse, sometimes about that fulnesse is in Christ, sometimes more about the spirituall strictnesse he ought to walk in: And because some are apt to give up the old work, when they have new; hence that which is indeed but growth in grace in them, many account to be but their first conversion; though every such eminent addition be to be accounted as a con­version, as Christ speaks to his Disciples, Except ye be converted; yet they were converted afore. Now the purpose I speak this for, is an help to discerne our growth; for when God thus is leading us with farther light and affection to a larger apprehen­sion of spirituall things, or to the trying new graces, so long we grow. Therefore Cant. 7. ult. the Church is said to lay up for her beloved [fruits new and old:] And Rom. 5. from patience a man is led to experience, from experience to hope. As wicked men are led on from one sinne to another, and so grow worse and worse; so godly men from one grace to another: and when it is so with us, then we encrease.

Secondly,2. Tryall. when a man finds new degrees of the same grace added, and the fruits of them grow bigger and more plentifull; as when a mans love grows more fervent, as 1 Pet. 4. 8. when faith, from mans casting it selfe on Christ, comes to find sweet­nesse in Christ, which is to eate his flesh, and drink his blood; and then from that growes further up to an assurance of faith, which is an addition to it: When any thing that was lacking in faith, (as the Apostle speaks, 1 Thes. 3. 10.) is added. So when a man grows up to more strength of faith in temptations, and is lesse moved and shaken in them, more rooted in faith, as the Apostle speaks. Thus in godly sorrow, when from mourning for sin as contrary to Gods holinesse, we goe on to mourn for it as con­trary to him who loves us, which followes upon assurance, as they [Page 57] mourned over him which once they had pierced: not onely that we mourne that we should offend a God hath so much mercy in him, but out of a sense of it to us, which many cannot finde: so when our motives to hate sinne grow more raised, more spiritu­all, these are additions of the same degree. So in Prayer, when we finde our prayers to grow more spirituall, as in that part of Prayer, Confession, when more spirituall corruptions are put into our confessions; and so in like manner, stronger grounds of faith put into deprecation, and petitions for pardon; more en­largednesse to thankfulnesse; more zeale to pray for the Churches; when we go on to pray with all prayer more, as the Apostle speaks, Ephes. 6. 18. Or in obedience, when we abound more and more in the work of the Lord, as Rev. 2. 9. it is said of that Church, that their last works were more then the first; so as the boughes are laden, and we are filled with the fruits of righteous­nesse, Phil. 1.

Thirdly,3. Tryall. when the fruits and duties we performe grow more ripe, more spirituall though lesse juycie; that is, lesse affectio­nate: and though they grow not in bignesse, nor in number, that is, we pray not more, nor longer; yet they grow more savoury, more spirituall, more compact and solid. It is not simply the multitude of performances argue growth: When one is sick, and his body is decayed, he may be lesse in duties; but it is the spiritualnesse, the holinesse of them: One short Prayer put up in faith, with a broken heart, is in Gods eye more fruit then a long one, or a whole day spent in fasting; even in the same sense that the widows mite, is said to be more then they all cast in, Luk. 21. 3. Young Christians performe more duties at first, and oftner, then after; as young stomachs eate more and oftner. As in nothing Sermons, so in performing duties, some will note more words, but not more matter, because with lesse understand­ing; young Christians performe more duties, and withall spoile more duties; young Carpenters make many chips: But the more spirituall your performances grow, the more fruit there is to be esteemed that there is in them. It is not the bignesse of the fruit, or juycinesse of them, for then crabs were better then ap­ples, but the relish it is that gives the commendation: And it is the end you have therein, that puts this relish into them: when your [Page 58] ends are raised more to aime at God, and to sanctifie him more, and to debase your selves in a sense of your owne vilenesse, and emptinesse, and unability; and when your obedience proceeds more out of thankfulnesse, and lesse out of the constraint of con­science. As the greatest growth of wicked men is in spirituall wickednesse, (in which the Pharisees grew, and sinners against the holy Ghost doe grow, when yet it may be they leave more grosse evils) so the greatest growth of grace is in spirituall holinesse, in sanctifying God much in the heart, and worshipping him in spirit and truth.

Fourthly,4. Tryall. when a man grows more rooted into Christ, that is the true growth; and that which makes the fruit to be more in Gods sight and esteeme: therefore Eph. 4. 15. we are said to grow up in him; that is, to live the life we lead, more out of our selves and in Christ: as when for the acceptation of our persons we are emptied of our owne righteousnesse; so for strength to performe duties, we are emptied of our abilities, seeing without him we can doe nothing: So when for acceptation of our perfor­mances when we have done them, our hearts have learnt habitu­ally to say more and more with the Apostle, Not I, but Christ in me; when we interest Christ more and more in all we doe, as the efficient and also the finall cause. And therefore I observe when growth of grace is mentioned, it is still expressed by grow­ing in the knowledge of Christ: So 2 Pet. 3. 17. Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of Christ; as if to grow in grace without him, were nothing, as indeed it is not. So in the Ephesians we are said both to grow up in him, and for him. Philosophers did grow in morall vertues, but not in Christ; so doe Civill men and others; Temporaries doe duties from him, but yet as in them­selves; as the Ivie that hath sap from the Oake, but concocts it in its owne roote, and so brings forth as from it selfe. To doe one duty, sanctifying Christ and free grace in the heart, is more then a thousand: young Christians, it may be, doe more works, but not as works of grace: and the more men think by duties to get Christ, and Gods favour, the more in duties they trust, and so they become as works of the Law; but the more dead a man grows to the Law; and to live to Christ, and Christ in him; and the more free grace is acknowledged in all, trusted in above [Page 59] all; the more Evangelicall our works are, and the more to God, (for that is the end of the Gospell, to honour Christ and free grace) the more we grow. We are of the Circumcision, sayes the Apostle, who rejoyce in the Lord Jesus, worship God in the spirit, and have no confidence in the flesh, Phil. 4. As these are the surest signs of true grace, so of true Growth.

Fifthly,5. Tryall. the more we learne to bring forth fruits in season, the more fruit we may be said to bring forth: For the seasonable per­formance of them makes them more. All the fruits in their sea­son, how acceptable are they? which out of season, they are not. In the first Psalme a righteous man is said to bring forth his fruits in due season: and in the Proverbs, Words in season are as apples of gold and pictures of silver. In Ezek. 41. they are said to bring forth pleasant fruits in their moneths; as in reproving he is not so much to reprove, as to reprove in season; to have our senses exercised to know fit seasons, and to consider one another to provoke to love, as it is Heb. 10. Young Christians doe more, but more out of season, and the devill abuseth them, putting them upon duties, when they would be at their refreshings, at their callings; he deceiving them with this, that holy duties in themselves as alone simply compared, are better then to doe any thing else; when as the season adds the goodnesse to our actions: Thus to recreate thy self at some seasons is better then to be a praying. A righteous man orders his conversation aright, Psal. 50. and order gives a rectitude, a goodnesse to things.

Sixthly,6. Tryall. when we grow more constant in performances, and more even in a godly course, and setled in spirituall affections without intermission, it is a signe we grow. It argues that our in­ward man is more renewed day by day, when we can walke closely with God a long while together. A righteous man is compared to the Palme tree, whose leafe never fades, Psal. 1. whereas other trees bring forth by fits: And by fits to be much in duties, is not a signe of growth, but weaknesse; it is out of inordinacie; and of such a frame are young Christians hearts, like new lute strings, which when they are wound up high, are still a falling ever and anon; whereas strings setled long on an instrument, will stand long, and not slip downe.

Seventhly,7. Tryall. a man may be said to grow and bring forth more [Page 60] fruit, when although the difficulties of doing duties become greater, and his means lesse, yet he continues to doe them, and this though it may be he doth no more then he did before. For a tree to bring forth much fruit in cold weather, or standing in the shade, is more then in summer, or when it stands in the sun. I know thy work, thy labour, [and thy patience] Rev. 2. 13. When a man though he doe fewer works, yet with much labour, having it may be now a body growne weake; or holds out in the pro­fession of the wayes of God, with more scoffes, and hazarding more, in a place where Satans throne is, this makes a little done for Christ a great deale: So when a man thrives with a little trading, with small means of grace, and yet exceedeth those that have more; to pray, and to continue to doe so, though the streame is against us, and gales cease; to pray and to continue to pray, when we heare no answers but the contrary. It is noted of Daniel, that he did the Kings businesse after he had been sick, Dan. 8. 27. and so he prayed (you know) when he ventured his life for it: when we have lesse straw to make the same number of brick with; lesse wages, lesse encouragements, and yet doe as much work with chearfulnesse.

8. When a man though he doth lesse for the outward bulk,8. Tryall. yet grows more wise and faithfull to lay out all his opportunities and abilities to the best advantage, this is to bring forth more fruit. Thus Moses who at first began to heare himselfe all causes both small and great, but in the end he gave over the lesser cau­ses to others, and reserved the hearing of the greater to himselfe, Exod. 18. 10. yet still he continued to doe more, and laid him­selfe out to the greater advantage: His former course would in the end have killed him; Thou wilt wear away like a leafe, saith Jethro to him: So the Apostle who strived to preach the Gospell where Christ had not been knowne, Rom. 15. 20. When a man for­beares lesser things to lay out all for the Churches advantage; lesse ventures himselfe in a smaller course (unlesse particularly called to it) not out of fearfulnesse but faithfulnesse, and will lay all the stock on it in a greater: Young Christians are as young Fen­cers, they strike hand over head, downe right blowes: whereas if they would consider their brother, or a wicked man whom they would reprove, as skilfull fencers do, and at an advantage hit [Page 61] them a good blow, is it not much better? when a man watcheth in all things, as he exhorts Timothy, 2 Tim. 4. 5. and serves the season, as some reade it, Rom. 12. 11. that is, waits for the best advantages of doing good, both which may stand with fervencie of spirit, and enduring afflictions, for so the next words are in both those places. A man is no lesse liberall that studies how to lay out his money to most charitable uses, though he gives lesse to fewer particulars. We live in a wicked world, and godly men cannot do what they would, as wicked men also cannot. When therefore a man looks about him, and studies to improve him­selfe to the utmost advantage for God in his place, to lay out his credit, his parts, and all for God, as a faithfull Factor in the best wares, though he deales in fewer particulars, he may not­withstanding bring forth more fruit. And thus much for matter of Tryall about the first thing, positive growth in fruit­fulnesse.

Of Growth in MORTIFICATION, or Gods purging out Corruption, —He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

The Observation out of the Text propounded, That God goes on to purge corruptions out of true branches: Bounds set to this discourse about it, according to the scope of the Text: The reasons of the point.

I Come now to the Tryall of our Growth in that other part of Sanctification, namely, the Morti­fication of lusts, and purging out of corruptions, which the Text also cals for; Christ here saying not onely that they bring forth more fruit, but that God purgeth them that they may bring forth more fruit.

The Observation from which words is clearly this, That God chuseth true branches to grow, in a purging out of their corruptions, as in true fruitfulnesse.

[Page 63] In the handling of this point, I shall doe these foure things:

First, set the bounds and limits of this Discourse about it, ac­cording to Christs intendment, as here he speaks of it.

Secondly, give some reasons of the point.

Thirdly, shew the wayes which God useth to carry on the progresse in this work.

Fourthly, give some helps of Tryall about it.

Now for the first, the explication and limiting this point unto Christs intendment here, that so I may onely so far handle it as the scope of the words will beare, I premise these three things about it.

1. That purging here intended, (which is indeed all one with Mortification, and emptying out sin out of our hearts and lives) is to be restrained here to the progresse of a Christian in that work, and not as taking in with it that first work of mortification wrought at a mans first conversion: so as I intend not now to lay open to you the nature of mortification, and what it is, by way of Common place, but onely intend to speak of Growth in it: for of that Christ speaks, because it is such a purging, as is after bringing forth some fruit, and whereof the end is to bring forth more fruit.

Neither 2. are we so much to speak of it here, as it is a duty to be done by us, (though it be so) but as it is a work of God upon us, which he takes care to goe through with, and perfect in all those who are fruitfull: for he speaks here of it rather as an act of Gods, He purgeth, then as it is to be an act of ours, that we ought to purge our selves; though both doe goe together, as in that speech, Rom. 8. We by the Spirit doe mortifie the deeds of the flesh; so as that which is proper to the point in hand, for the ex­plication of it, (as here in this place it is laid downe) is not so much to give you motives or meanes of purging your selves, as to shew you the wayes and courses God takes still one way or other to purge his children by, that they may be more fruitfull.

And yet 3. in this work of Mortification, considered thus in the progresse of it, we are not meer passives, (as at that finall per­fecting and finishing of it, and carrying away all sin at death we are, and are at that first habituall beginning of it, at conversion) but therein we are workers together with God: (We being purged [Page 64] from sinne, as the body is by physick from humours; though the physick work, yet nature joynes with the physick, being quickned and helped by it, to cast out the humours: For give a dead man physick, and it carryes not any humours away:) So as those meanes whereby God purgeth us, are not to be imagined to doe it as meer physicall agents, like as the pruning hook cuts off branches from a tree, or as when a Surgeon cuts out dead flesh; but these meanes doe it by stirring up our graces, and quickning them, and by setting our thoughts, and faith, and affections awork, and so God assisting with the power of Christs death, he doth purge us daily, by making his word, afflictions, and the like, to set our thoughts awork against sinne, and so to cast it forth. It is certaine, that unlesse our thoughts work upon the meanes, as well as the meanes work upon us, and so doe mingle themselves with those meanes; that unlesse faith and Christs death be mingled in the heart, it purgeth not: And therefore it is said as well that we purge our selves. So 2 Tim. 2. 20. and also 1 John 3. 3. and Rom. 8. that we by the Spirit mor­tifie the deeds of the flesh, as it is said that God purgeth us, (which is the thing affirmed here) because God still in going on to purge us, doth it by stirring up our graces, and useth therein acts of our faith, and love, and many motives and considerations to stir up our graces so to effect it.

Now 2. for the reasons that move God thus to goe on to purge corruptions out of his children.Reasons.

First,1. because Jesus Christ hath purchased an eternall divorce betweene corruption and our hearts: He hath bought off all our corruptions, and redeemed us from all iniquitie. Titus 2. 14. He gave himselfe for us, that he might redeeme us from all iniquitie, and purifie unto himselfe a peculiar people, and God will have the price of Christs bloud [...]ut.

Secondly,2. because God desires more and more to have delight in us, and to draw nigh to us, and therefore he more and more goes on to purge us; For though he loves us at first, when full of corruptions, yet he cannot so much delight in us as he would, nor have that communion with us, no more then a Husband can with a wife, who hath an unsavoury breath, or a loathsome disease. They must therefore be purified for his bed, as [Page 65] Hester was for Ahasuerus. Draw nigh to God, sayes James, and I will draw nigh to you, James 4. 8, 9. but then you must Cleanse your hands, and purifie your hearts, as it follows there; God else hath no delight to draw nigh to you.

Thirdly,3. he daily purgeth his that they may be fit for use and service; for unlesse he purged them, he could not use them in honourable imployments, such as to suffer or to stand for him, in what concernes his glory, they would be unfit for such uses, as a vessel is that is unscoured. Therefore 2 Tim. 2. 21. If a man purge himselfe from these, he shall be a vessell unto honour: that is, he shall be used in honourable employments, and not laid aside; and he shall be meet for his masters use, as vessells kept cleane; when on the sudden the master hath occasion to use them, and to have them served in.

Fourthly,4. that as our persons, so that our services may be more and more acceptable; that our prayers and such perfor­mances may savour lesse of gifts, and pride, and selfe-love, and carnall desires: So Mal. 3. 3, 4. it is said, He shall sit as a purifier of silver, and he shall purifie the sonnes of Levi, as gold is purified, from their drosse, that they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousnesse, and then shall their offerings be pleasant to the Lord. The more the heart and life is purged, the more acceptable your prayers are, and your obedience, and all you doe.

The wayes God useth to purge out our corruptions: and meanes whereby he causeth us to grow therein.

NOw in the third place, for the wayes whereby God goes on to purge us, there are many and divers, he blesseth all sorts of meanes and dealings of his to accomplish it.

First,1. Occasional. he useth occasionall meanes to doe it, and blesseth them, as even falling into sins. Thus it was with David when he fell, thereby God set him anew upon this work, as by his prayer ap­pears, Psal. 51. Oh purge me, make me cleane.

Secondly, by casting them into afflictions. So Dan. 11. 35. They [Page 66] shall fall to purge them, and make them white. What the Word doth not purge out, nor mercies, that afflictions must. These Vines must be cut till they bleed. Summer purgeth out the out­ward humours that lie in the skin by sweating, but winter con­cocteth the inward by driving in the heart, and so purgeth away the humours that lye in the inward parts, and so what by the one, what by the other, the body is kept in health. Thus mercies pre­vaile against some sins, and afflictions against others. Moses neg­lected to circumcise his child, (as we doe our hearts, it is such a bloody work) till God met him, and would have killed him: and in like manner God sometimes puts us in the feare or danger of losing our lives, casts us into sicknesses, and the like, making as if he meant to kill us, and all to bring us off to this work of pur­ging, to circumcise our hearts.

As these occasionall, 2. Instrumen­tall. so also instrumentall instituted helps, as his Word: So Eph. 5. 26. Christ is said to cleanse his Church with the washing of water by the Word: by the Word spoken, either in prea­ching, or in conference. So in the very next words to my text, Now ye are cleane through the words I have [spoken unto you:] they had then received the Sacraments, and had heard a good Ser­mon. The Word at once discovers the sin, and sets the hearts against it; It was ignorant, till I went into the Sanctuary: There goes a light with it to see sin after another manner, although a man did know it afore, and then the Word sets out the vilenesse of a sinne; and to heare a sinne declaimed against, and reproved, sets an exasperation upon the mind against it, and so a man goes home, and sets upon it to kill it and destroy it. Or else by the Word meditated upon, as by keeping some truth or other fresh and sweet in the mind, which the mind cheweth on; God fastens the mind upon some new promise, or new discovered signe of a mans estate, and these cleanse him, 2 Cor. 7. 1. or upon some Attribute of his, and that quickens the inward man, and over­comes the outward: some consideration or other every day God doth make familiar to a mans spirit, to talk with him, (as the phrase is Pro. 6.) and to keep him company, and usually some new one; God leading us through varieties of sweet truths to chew upon, one this day, and another to morrow, and these have an exceeding purging vertue in them, they keep the purging [Page 67] issue open, even as those that have issues made in their armes or legs, use to have a pease, or some such small thing, to lie in the orifice of the issue to keepe it open; and so doth such a new truth with spirituall light discovered, still keepe the purging issue of sinne open, and drawes out the filth, and keeps the heart; so sayes Salomon Pro. 6. 21, 22, and 24. observe the coherence there, and it is as if he had said, Keepe this command fresh in mind, and it shall keep thee.

God useth also the examples of others as meanes to provoke a man to purge himselfe.3. Examples.

Example of those that have been Professors, and falne away; they provoke a man to set fresh upon this worke, lest that the like sins should prevaile against him also, and cause him to fall▪ There­fore the Apostle, when he heard of Hymenaeus and Philetus their fall, 2 Tim. 2. [...]9. Let every one, sayes he, that calls upon the name of the Lord, make this use of it, to depart from iniquity: And it fol­lowes. If you [purge your selves] from these, ye shall be vessels of honour. It follows upon that occasion.

Examples of holy men: To heare very holy men speak what victory over lusts may be attained here, doth much provoke ano­ther to purge himselfe, who else would content himselfe with a lesser degree: So Phil. 3. 17.

In the last place,4. Inward wor­kings. there are many inward workings upon the heart, whereby God goes on still to purge us.

First, by a further discovering of corruptions unto us; either a greater filthinesse in the evils we saw afore, or to see more of them, and by what one sees to suspect more. God never disco­vers lusts to his, but to carry them away; he stirs the humours, to purge them: Thus when David saw his sinne, he sets anew up­on cleansing himselfe in the 19. Psal. comming new from taking a view of his heart, and having seen such volumes of corruptions, so many Errataes in all that he did, he cryes out, Who can under­stand his errors? and withall, Oh cleanse me from secret sinnes. He then saw secret evils, and suspected more then as yet he saw; and this made him cry out, Oh cleanse me, and so to use all means, and to goe to God to cleanse him. So when in the 15. Psal. God let downe a light to let him but see the corruption of his nature afresh, that he was borne in sinne, and had no truth there, [Page 68] more falshood then he could ever have imagined, Oh purge me, sayes he upon it.

Secondly, he sets the heart on work to make it a businesse to get ones lusts mortified more and more, and not to rest in the measure attained. Phil. 3. 1. Paul forgot what was behind, he did still desire to have more fellowshig with Christ in his death and sufferings, in the death of sinne; when a mans heart is set upon the worke, as that [...], he came into the world for, as David, who took up a resolution, I said I would look to may wayes; so when a man hath said unto himselfe, I will grow in grace, as they say, I will be rich, 2 Tim. 6. and so looks at it as his businesse, being as much convinced of this, that he should be more holy, as he was at first that he was to be new borne; when growth of grace is as much in a mans eye, as getting grace at first was, and as great a necessity made of the one as of the other. This con­viction many want, and so take no care to grow more holy and more pure. Phil. 3. 15. If any be otherwise minded, (sayes the Apostle) that there is no such absolute necessity of going on still to perfection, God shall reveale it to him. God doth reveale and set on this upon every godly mans heart at one time or another, and so goes on to purge them. And this is also expressed to us, 1 Pet. 4. 1. For as much as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, [let us arme] our selves with the same mind; namely, to mortifie our lusts: for it follows, He that hath suffered in the flesh, that is, hath mortified his lusts, hath ceased from sinne. That same arming there, is Gods putting into the mind a strong and invincible reso­lution to go through with this worke; when he armes and steeles it against all difficulties, all encounters. This is meant by arming us with the same mind; That as Christ looked upon it as his bu­sinesse why he came into the world, even to suffer for us; so for us to look upon it as our businesse, to crucifie our lusts. When therefore we intend all our indeavours upon this worke, and mind nothing in comparison, pray for nothing more, receive Sacraments for this purpose, and heare and performe all other duties with an eye to this, prosecute this businesse as the main; when God hath put such a resolution into a man, and preserves it, then he goes on to purge him.

Thirdly, God doth it by drawing the sap and juice of the [Page 69] affections of the heart more and more into holy duties, and into obedience; when that intention of mind, as our morning thoughts, and the like, which we formerly spent upon vanities, are now drawn into prayer and holy meditations, then lusts doe wither; and when our care is how to please God more, and our hearts are more in the duties of obedience, then doth corrup­tion shale off more and more; and thus by diverting our inten­tions, doth God worke out corruptions. And looke, as the Sun doth draw up the sap out of the root, so doth Christ draw out the heart at some times more then at others to holy duties, and unto communion with himselfe in the duties: this killeth sin, and causeth it to wither, namely, by taking away the sap, that is, that intention of mind which doth usually nourish it: Thus 1 Pet. 1. 22. We purifie our hearts by obeying the truth.

Fourthly, by bringing the heart more and more acquainted with Christ his Sonne: (which is the Fathers work to doe, for none comes to the Son, but whom the Father draws) Now how ma­ny soules are there, who have gone puddring on (as I may so speak) in the use of other meanes, and though in the use thereof Christ hath communicated some vertue to them, yet because they did not trade with him chiefly in those duties, they have had little in comparison to what afterwards they have had, when he hath been discovered to them, as that great ordinance who is appointed by God to get their lusts mortified. Afore this they have washt, and washt, but they have washt without sope, untill Christ hath been thus revealed to them, and the ver­tue of his death, and rising againe, which is compared, Mal. 3. unto Fullers sope, &c. In the 13. Zach. 1. it is said, that God opens a fountaine to the house of David, for sinne and for uncleannesse: that is, for the guilt of sinne, and the power of sinne. Now by that opening is not meant the promise of sending his Sonne into the world to be crucified, but the discovery of him to beleevers after his being crucified: For Chap. 12. 10. he is supposed to be crucified already, for they there see him whom they have pierced; therefore that opening there is meant the discovery of him to his people, and him to be the great ordinance of cleansing them. Now the more distinctly a man understands Christ, and how to make use of him, (who is already made Sanctification to us) the [Page 70] more easily he gets his lusts purged; such an one that trades im­mediately with Christ, will doe more in a day, then another in a yeare; for seeing that the power of purging us lies immediately in him; and that he is the purging drug which mingles it selfe with the Word, and all meanes else, and sets them all aworke: therefore the more of him we have, and the more immediate application we have of him to us, and of his power, the more recourse our hearts have to him, the more our lusts are purged; as it is in drugs or minerals, if the infusion and steeping of them in liquors will worke; how much more if the substance of them be taken downe inwardly and immediately? now this comes to passe, as God doth goe on to open our faith to see him, and know him, and to be acquainted with him: for so the Apostle ex­presseth it, Phil. 3. That I may know him, and the power of his re­surrection. The more we look upon all means else in the use of them as ineffectuall without him, the more power we shall find from him.

Fiftly, by assuring the soule of his love, and shedding it abroad in the heart, and by working spirituall joy in the heart, doth God also purge his people: And to work all these is in Gods power immediately and solely; I am Crucified with Christ, Gal. 2. 20. And how? by beleeving that Christ gave himselfe for me, and loved me. This deads a man to the world, makes a man crucifie that which Christ was crucified for, and this makes a man hate sinne, the more he loves Christ, or apprehends his love; And it doth this in a double relation or respect, not onely because sin so displeaseth him, nor onely as it is contrary to his will, but because it did afflict him so much once, and because to take sinne away was the intent he came into the world: for so 1 John 3. ver. 4. although a beleever is said to mortifie sinne upon this conside­ration indeed, that it is the transgression of the Law; yet much more upon this other, because Christ was manifest to take sinnes away: and the more assurance I have of another life and a better, and of being like Christ hereafter, the more a man purgeth him­selfe to be fit for that condition: He that hath this hope in him, purgeth himselfe as he is pure; so in the 2. ver. of that 3. of John. The more joy a man hath in Christ, the more deaded he must needs be to the world; the one eats up the other: for the ground [Page 71] of all sinne is but the love of pleasure; now if I find it in God, and Christ, it deads me for seeking it in the world: For Omnis vita gustu ducitur, All life is maintained by a taste of some sweet­nesse. Now when the sweetnesse of sin, the relish of it is spoiled by the taste of a greater, it must needs die and abate; and though that sweetnesse from God doth not alwayes remaine in the pre­sent taste and relish of it, yet it leaves such an impression behind it, that whatever a man tasts after, it hath no relish with him, in comparison; still he sayes the old is better: and though the taste of one sinfull pleasure may take us off from another, yet none but a contrary pleasure doth kill the sinne, and the pleasure in it.

The tryall of Mortification: and that first by Negative signes; or such as argue much corruption yet remaining unpurged out.

I Will now come to that third thing which was propounded, namely, Helps whereby you may discerne what progresse hath been made in this work: And as I said at first, that my purpose was not so much to handle Mortification in the common place of it, as onely growth therein; So those things I shall now de­liver about discerning the measure of it, I intend them not so much for Signes of mortification, as Rules whereby we may judge how this worke goes forward in us, and how far we are still short in it.

And first, I will handle it negatively, and give you such symp­tomes, as argue much corruption, a great deale of humours yet remaining to be purged out: Such as argue little proficiency in this worke, though such as withall true grace may be supposed to be in the heart.

1. When a man doth magnifie, and sets a high price upon 1 worldly and carnall excellencies and pleasures; is much taken with outward things, and carryed away with them: Or when (though we restrain our selves from the eager pursuit after them, [Page 72] yet if) in your eyes and opinions they seeme glorious and goodly things, and oh we secretly think the enjoying such a pleasure, the obtaining such an excellencie, or such or such a condition of life, accommodated with such and such conveniences and circum­stances, would be so great an addition of happinesse to us; this argues a green heart, much want of mortification, though truth of grace be there. These Apostles, to whom Christ spake this Parable of the Vine, (and unto them especially) how were they affected, and transported with a trifle? Even that very night that Christ was to be attached, they strive for precedencie, and who should be the greatest amongst them▪ Luk. 22. who should be chiefe of that noble order: And it was such a precedencie which they affected, as Noblemen have in Kingdomes, as appears by the following words: they shewed themselves but Gentiles in it, (as ver. 25. Christ insinuates) who stand upon their blood and their outward priviledges: It was not for nothing Christ tels them in this Parable, they needed purging; but the reason was, they were but children yet, and babes in Christ, now in their mi­nority, and were not weaned from rattles and trifles, Christ was not yet crucified, not they so throughly crucified with him, as they were afterwards: The holy Ghost had not yet come upon them, as fire to burne up their lusts, and to consume this their drosse. That other Apostle, Paul, (who sayes of himselfe, that he was borne out of time, in comparison to them) had attained to a greater measure, he glorying in this as his highest title, that he was the least of the Apostles. This magnifying of outward things in our conceits and opinions, is indeed but knowing things after the flesh, as the Apostle speaks, 2 Cor. 5. 16. because the flesh doth fascinate and corrupt the judgment, in judging our selves by such things. And this argues exceeding much want of mortification, for it is lust that puts that lustre, and glosse, and varnish upon the things of the world; for the things in themselves are vaine, and we have had experience that they are such; How comes it then we should esteeme them, and be taken with them, that we should have such high conceits of them? It is by reason of our lusts un­purged out, which represent them falsely: and therefore it is observable, that John, 1 Epist. 2. 16. speaking of the things of the world, he puts the lust which is in us to expresse the things [Page 73] themselves: He sayes not, riches, and preferment, &c. (though he speaks of them) but the lusts of the eye, and pride of life, (so he expresseth them) because they are these lusts, makes the things so glorious to us, and sets a price upon them. And therefore so much magnifying and high esteeme of outward things as there is in us, so much inordinate lust there is in the heart after them, and so much want of mortification; and when these lusts boiling in us fume up so high as to intoxicate and corrupt our esteeme and judgments (which though grace should keep us from pursuing these vanities) that yet we look upon them with a wanton eye, and thinke great matters in them, and think our selves as it were debarred and restrained of so much of our happinesse, whilst we want, and cannot enjoy them, this argues an unmortifyednesse: for herein lies the power of mortification, even to count all things drosse and dung, to looke upon them as crucified things, to have them seeme all as withered flowers, as small things, as he speaks of mans esteeme, 1 Cor. 4. 3.

Secondly, when our minds are carried out to superfluities, and 2 more then needs, and are discontented with our own condition, though it be such as might content us, this argues a great want of purging, this is from superfluity, of humours abounding in the heart. When they in the wildernesse, though they had Manna, yet they must have Quails also; when there are such extrava­gant affections in us, that we thinke any other condition would please us better then our owne, this argues much unmortifyed­nesse, though it run not out into acts; it is the superfluity of naughtinesse, the excesse of corruption that thinks stolne meate sweet, as in the Proverbs. When our longings are wild and hu­morous, like the longings of women with child, whom nothing but some one odde thing they have set their fancie on, will please; like sick mens stomachs, with whom nothing will down that is provided for them, but still they have a mind rather to something else; so nor we with what God allots us. And when we are environed about with comforts, yet all are nothing, if some one be wanting. Such unmortifyed lusts we see in Sampson, though a good man, yet none of the daughters of Israel could please, but he must have one of the Philistims, Judg. 14. 3.

Thirdly, when our minds are so glued to any thing, as we can­not 3 [Page 74] tell how to part with it, how to lose such a friend, or such a conveniencie, we would think our selves halfe undone if such or such a thing should fall out; Davids heart was full of humours, and needed purging, when he ventured so much of his com­fort in his Absalom alone, that when he was cast away, he wisht he had dyed for him. It is good often to try our hearrs, by sup­posing the worst that can befall us. What if a change should come, such a thing I should be put to; to see how the heart can beare it. When some men have a losse in their estates and riches, it is as it were raked out of their bellies, as Zophar speaks, Job 20. 15. and a piece even of their very heart goes with them.

4 Fourthly, when a man is still distempered under variety of con­ditions and businesses, and is inordinate in them all, it argues much unmortifiednesse: As if he be to recreate himselfe, he is in­ordinate in it, and knows not when to end, and fall to his calling againe; if to study, then he is also as violent in it, and entrenches upon the duties should keep up his soule in health, as also upon the necessary refreshings his body requires. Broach the vessell where you will, if still it runs muddy and thick, it is a signe the vessell is full of ill liquor. To be distempered in some one particular is lesse, but when in every vein that is opened, much corrupt bloud comes forth, it is a signe the body is full of hu­mours, and needs purging. A man that is in an ague, and when the cold fit takes him, he is extreme cold, and when the hot fit comes, he is on the contrary as extreame hot, it is a signe he is full of humours, which as they are purged out, one or the other abates, or both; if when a man abounds, then he is commonly confident, and forgets God; if when he wants, then he is as much on the other side distempered, and grows solicitous, distrustfull. Sound bodies can beare sudden altera­tion of heat and cold, but distempered weak bodies cannot. Nature cannot beare a sudden alteration, but much Grace can; I know how to want, I know how to abound, Phil. 4. 12. He was much therefore mortified; he could work hard in Summer, without much sweating, and he could undergoe the cold of Winter without catarrhs and such weaknesses as others are subject to; his soule was well purged of humours. And so Job had learnt to blesse God when all was gone; he was a man throughly [Page 75] mortifyed before, he had carryed himselfe in his best estate with­out security and carnall rejoycing; thus he sayes of himselfe that he made not gold his hope, nor his confidence, nor had rejoyced be­cause his wealth was great, Job 31. 25. and answerably he behaves himselfe in his worst estate with patience and thanksgiving.

Fiftly, the more carnall confidence we have in the creatures,5 and beare our selves upon them, and have our spirits strengthned and upholden by them, the more want of mortification. The Corinthians, though godly, yet they were very unmortifyed, therefore the Apostle sayes, they were rather carnall then spiri­tuall, 1 Cor. 3. 1. Now this their carnall mindednesse, among other things, was expressed in their carnall confidence they had in outward things; they had riches, and gifts, and learning, and they did swim in these; and reigned and domineered in their owne thoughts, and excelled all other Churches in their owne opinions and so despised others in comparison, they were car­ryed aloft by these waxen wings, which I take to be the Apostles meaning, 1 Cor. 4. 8. Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned: they had riches, and gifts, &c. and they thought them­selves as Kings, full of happinesse, having the world afore them, and were filled with conceits of it; and I wuold to God you did reigne, sayes he: that is, that it were not regnum in capite, in your owne conceits onely; and that there were indeed such reall cause to applaud your own conditions. We are of the Circum­cision, sayes the Apostle, and have no confidence in the flesh, Phil. 1. 3. The more the heart is truly circumcised, (of which he there speakes in opposition to those who rested in outward circumci­sion) it trusteth not, nor beareth not it selfe upon outward things, priviledges and endowments, as riches, bloud, credit, learning, righteousnesse; these, when the heart is not circumcised, doe puffe it up, but we, sayes he, have no confidence in the flesh, either for comfort, or for justification, or any thing else; but we rejoyce in Christ Jesus.

Sixtly, the more full of envyings, and heart-burnings against 6 others, and of breakings forth into strife our hearts are, and of strivings and contentions to get the credit, or riches, or victory a­way from others, &c. the more unmortified are our hearts, & the more need of purging. These overflowings of the gall and spleen, [Page 76] come from a fulnesse of bad humours. Whereas there is among you envying and strife, are ye not carnall? 1 Cor. 3. 3. That is, this argues you to be such, for envie and strife are not onely lusts in themselves, but further they are such lusts, as are always the children and fruit of some other; they are rooted in, and spring from inordinate affections to some things which we contend for; and accordingly if this fire of envie or strife prove great, it argues the fuell, that is, the lusts after the things we envie o­thers for, to be much more: For envie is but an oblique lust, founded on some more direct lust: these are but the outward flushings, that shew the distemper to be much more within: Jam. 4. 1. From whence comes wars and fightings amongst you? come they not hence, even of your lusts which fight in your members? There is something the heart would have, as it follows in the 2. ver. Ye lust and have not, &c. A contentious spirit is an unmor­tifyed spirit; If ye bite and devour one another, Gal. 5. 15. This I say then, walk in the spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Mark the coherence, it comes in upon biting one at another, for such walke not in the spirit, flesh doth prevaile in them, that is his meaning.

7 Seventhly, the lesse able we are to heare reproofs for the breakings forth of our lusts, the more unmortifyed it argues our hearts to be: it is a signe we love those much, whom we cannot endure to heare spoken against: therefore sayes the Apostle, Be swift to heare, but slow to wrath; take heed of raging when you are toucht; And it follows a verse after, Casting away all super­fluity, receive the word with meeknesse, for it is your lusts uncast out, unpurged, that cause that wrath and heart-boiling against reproofe. That good King was in a great distemper of spirit, when he cast the Prophet in prison that reproved him, for he oppressed the people also at the same time, as is said, 2 Chron. 16. 10. he was then taken in the spring-tide, and swelling of his lusts of covetousnesse and oppression; they brake downe all that with­stood and opposed the current of them: and if (as he in this fit at this time, so) we be found in such passionate tempers upon such occasions of reproof ordinarily, it argues the habituall frame of our hearts to be much unmortifyed, as this argued him at this time to have beene actually much distempered.

[Page 77] Eighthly, the more quick and speedy the temptation is in 8 taking, the more unmortified the heart is: When an object at the first presenting makes the lust to rise, and passeth through at the very first presenting of it, and soaks into the heart, as oile into the bones, and runs through all; when a man is gunpowder to temptations, and it is but touch and take, so as there needes not much blowing, but the heart is presently on fire, as Prov. 7. 22. it is said, He went [straight-way] after her. A man will find that when his heart is actually in a good temper, a temptation doth not so easily take: his heart is then, though tinder, yet as wet tin­der, that is more slow in taking. As there is a preparednesse to good works, so there is a preparednesse to evill; when the heart is in a covetous humour, and will be rich, then a man falls into tempta­tions and a snare, 1 Tim. 6. His lusts will nibble at every bait in eve­ry thing he deales in; they will take presently: when the heart is thus bird-limed, then it cleaves to every thing it meets with. It is a signe that the heart is not awake to righteousnesse as the Apostle speaks, but to sin rather, when a little occasion awake­neth a lust, and rouzeth it; as when on the contrary, if a great deale of jogging will not awaken a mans grace.

Ninthly, the more our lusts have power to disturb us in holy 9 duties, and the more they prevaile with the heart then, the more unmortified and profane the heart is; as to have uncleane glan­ces in hearing, and worldly thoughts then ordinarily to possesse the heart, and to take it up much; They are prophane (sayes God, Jer. 23. 11.) for in my house I have found their wickednesse. If the heart be carryed away, and overcome with uncleane and worldly thoughts then, this argues much unmortifyednesse, and that the flesh is indeed much above the spirit: For why, then a man is in Gods presence, and that should overcome and over-awe the un­regenerate part, if it were not impudent and outragious; and besides, then the regenerate part hath the advantage, for the Word and the Ordinance is a stirring of it up, and provoking it to holynesse: And therefore that at such a time a mans lusts should be able to tempt and seduce a mans heart, it argues sinne hath a great part in the heart, when it affronts God in his throne, when grace is in Solio, where it would be; for the Disciples then to be talking who should be greatest, when Christ had made [Page 78] so long a Sermon to them, and had administred the Sacrament to them, this argued much want of mortification in them; even as it were a signe that the orthodox party were but a weak party in a Kingdome, if whilst they are at Sermons, Papists durst come in and disturb them, and put them out.

10 Tenthly, when the recalling former acts committed by a man, prove still to be a snare to him; and being suggested by Satan as a means to quicken his lust, the thought thereof doth rather stir up his lust afresh, it is a signe of an unmortifyed frame. Thus is it laid to the charge of that Nation, Ezech. 23. 21. That she multiplyed her whoredomes in calling to remembrance the dayes of her youth, wherein she had played the harlot in the land of Egypt: The remembrance of them was a snare to her, as appeares by the 8. verse▪. It is a signe a man is deeply in love, when as he falls in love with the picture; when the remembrance of whence he is falne, should make him repent, that it should on the contrary cause him to commit the same sinne againe, it is a signe flesh hath much the better. To have the mind stirred with new objects and new temptations, may stand with far lesse corruption, and more grace, then to have it stirred afresh with the remembrance of the old; to find sweetnesse in a lust twice sod, which we have also often steept (as I may so speak) in godly sorrow and hatred of it, and so boiled it in sowre hearbs; yet still to find sweetnesse in the remembrance of such an act, this argues much corruption. As the Apostle argues the sinfulnesse and strength of corrupt na­ture in him, that the law which was holy and good, should stir up his lust whilst unregenerate: So may we, when the thought of a sin which should stir up godly sorrow, should provoke and tickle corrupt nature againe. Indeed that the new scent of meat should have moved the Israelites, would not have been so much; but that the remembrance of their flesh-pots should doe it. That speech Rom. 8. where we are commanded to mortifie the deeds of the flesh, may admit among other this interpretation also, that not onely the lusts, but even former deeds and acts committed, which may prove an occasion of sin to us, and have a fresh ver­dure in our eye, are to be mortifyed.

Positive signes of Growth in Mortification, and Gods pur­ging of us.

AND so now I come to the second sort of signes, namely, Positive signes of growth in Mortification, and of Gods purging of us.

First, the more insight a man hath into spirituall corruptions, together with a conflict against them, the more growth he hath attained unto in purging out corruptions: So as that now the chiefest of his conflict is come to be with spirituall lusts, not worldly lusts and grosse evils; it is an evidence of his progresse in this worke. These ordinarily are sure rules, that whilst a mans conflict is with more outward grosse evills, as uncleannesse, worldly mindnesse, &c. so long and so much he is kept from the sight of those inward, hidden, close corruptions, which sit nighest to the heart: As also on the contrary, the more a man is freed from, and hath got victory over such more outward evills, the more his thoughts and intentions are bent inward to the discove­ry of the other more spirituall wickednesses. And the reason is, for these spirituall lusts, as pride, carnall confidence in a mans owne graces, self-flattery, presumption, and the like, these cor­ruptions lie (as I may so expresse it,) more up in the heart of the countrey; but those other of worldly lusts, lye as it were in the Frontiers, and skirts of it; and therefore, untill such time as a man hath in some good measure overcome those that encounter him at the Borders, he comes not to have so through a discovery, and constant conflict with those that lie higher up in the heart; Let us cleanse our selves from all pollution both of flesh and spirit, sayes the Apostle, [...] Cor. 7. Which implyes, that there are two sorts of corruptions, one of the flesh, or body; the other, of the spirit, or soule: for so the opposition there is to be taken, for else all lusts are lusts of the flesh, that is, of corrupt nature. Againe, such corruptions cause a blindnesse that a man cannot see afar off, as 2 Pet. Chap. 1. Whilst a scholar that learnes a Tongue, hath not learned to escape all grosser faults in Grammaticall con­struction, [Page 80] he cannot be supposed to have come to know the Ele­gancies of the Tongue, nor see his errors therein; so nor doe men come to be Critiques indeed, and cunningly skilfull in the more curious Errataes of their hearts and spirits, till they have attained to such a degree of mortification, as to be free from grosser evils. And indeed, those who are grown in grace, have attained ordinarily some freedome from such sinnes; therefore sayes John, 1 Epist. 2. 14. You young men are strong, and have overcome that evill one: they have attained so much strength as to overcome the grosser evils, those evills. So as to allude to what the Apostle sayes in another case, they then come to con­flict not so much with flesh and blood, and outward evils, as with spirituall wickednesses within, (that is) with affections and dispo­sitions contrary to the worke of grace, and therein lies their chiefest exercise, which is not till they have some free­dome and victory over the other, and so are at leasure to view these.

2 Secondly, we may discerne our victory over our lusts, by our ability more or lesse to deny our selves; the more we grow up to a readinesse, willingnesse, and freenesse, and cheerfulnesse of heart to deny our selves when we are called and put upon doing of it, the more are lusts purged out: for the reason that our hearts consult so much with carnall ends in businesses, that we have so much adoe with them ere we can bring them off to part with such and such things, as God and our owne consciences doe call us unto, is through want of purging: For all want of self-denyall is from an adhaesion to outward things. Were we free and un­married men to the world, were our hearts loosned from all; and were all the secreat fibrae, those stings of lusts that shoot into things, cut, it would be nothing to us to part with them: this was in that great Apostle, how ready was he to lay downe his life? My life is not deare to me, so I may fulfill my ministration with joy; and so when the time of his departure was at hand, sayes he, I am ready to be offered, 2 Tim. 4. 6. He speaks it in the present tense, [...], I am offered, it was done in his heart already: As in like phrase of speech it is said, Heb. 11. that Abraham offered up his son, because in his heart he fully purposed it. When men must be forced by terrors of conscience, as [Page 81] Pharaoh with plagues, to let their credits or estates goe by resti­tution, or for God and good uses, &c. it is a signe of want of purging. The more loosned a man is from the world, and the things of it, the more prepared that man is for all works of self-denyall, and the more purged. So when a man parts with all without sticking or higling, as Abraham is said to beleeve without staggering, it is a signe he hath attained to a good degree: even as that argued a strong faith, Rom. 3. When a man hath an open and a large heart to God, (as a liberall man hath an open hand to men) as Abraham had when he was willing to let God have his onely sonne, it was a signe he was much weaned; when God can command any thing thou hast at an hours warning, as we say; Abraham stood not long deliberating, Shall I, Shall I, but went early in the morning, even the next morning, God having called for his sonne that very night, as it is likely by that in the 22. Gen. 3. For the night was the time when God used to reveale himselfe by visions, and the next morning he went forth early.

Thirdly, the more constancie there is in our hearts and wayes,3 the more eaven, stable in well-doing, and the more lasting, du­rable frame and temper for holinesse we find our hearts to abide in, the more we are purged; for in that we finde such sudden flowings and re-flowings in our hearts, that when a corruption seemes to be at a low ebbe, and our hearts in a good frame, within an houre or so a mighty tide comes in, and we find our hearts overflowne with a sea of filth, such sudden alterations from the better to the worse, doe come from those vast seas of corruptions that are still within us, that tumble and float up and downe in our hearts: So the Apostle intimates, Purge your hearts, ye double minded: That their hearts are of so unequall a temper, sometimes in hot fits, sometimes in cold, and so suddenly altered, this cannot be but from much corruption. This double minded­nesse comes from want of purging. The Galatians were surely very weak, and foolish, as he tells them, when they were so soone transported. He marvails not so much that they were removed, as that so soone, [...], so suddenly, Gal. 1. 6. and brings it in as an evidence of their weaknesse, that they who would have gi­ven him their eyes, should now so much be altered and carryed [Page 82] away: So much mortifiednesse, so much constancie: therefore in the 5. Gal. 15. 16. when in the 15. ver. he had said, Those that are Christs have crucified the affections with the lusts, he addes in the 16. ver. If we live in the spirit, let us walke in the spirit: the word imports a being constant in the spirit. Then when lusts are cruci­fied, then the holy Spirit will rule us in our wayes, and a holy frame of heart will be discovered, in a constant tract of holinesse we shall walk in the spirit, keep our selves long in a spirituall frame and course, and not be biased aside: that we step out so much, is from strong lusts unmortified.

4 Fourthly, the more a man comes to a spirituall taste of the spirituall Word, and that which is most spirituall therein, the more it is a signe that corruption is purged out: when a man comes to his stomach, it is a signe he is growing out of a sicknesse, and that the humours are much purged out. So 1 Pet. 2. 1. Lay­ing aside all malice, &c. as Babes desire the Word, that ye may grow thereby, if so be ye have tasted: therefore the more corruption is laid aside, the more we taste the Word, and God in it; the more we taste, the more we desire it; the more we desire it, the more we grow.

5 Fiftly, when we are ashamed of former carriages and wayes, as seeing and discerning those weaknesses we saw not afore, as Scholars use to be of their exercises a yeare or two after; so if we be ashamed of former prayers, hearings, &c. as that great Proficient, discerned in himselfe, who looking back upon his first dayes of conversion, sayes, When I was a child, I spake as a child: He speaks it, applying it to his growth of grace.

6 Sixtly, when in ordinary times of temptation a man finds a lust not so violent and raging as it was wont, but more impotent and weak. Look to your fits of sinning whether they become greater or lesse, for then a mans strength or weaknesse is discerned most; as the bodily strength is, when a man either goes about to put himself forth, or is assaulted and set upon. Many that are sick, whilst they lie still in their beds, think they have a great deale of strength, but when they attempt to rise, and walk, they sink down againe. As a mans weaknesse to good is discerned, when he comes to doe and to act it, Rom. 7. To doe I am not able; so a mans weaknesse to sinne, or strength against it, is then also best [Page 83] discerned. The weaknesse or strength of a Kingdome is best seene and discerned in time of war, when a [...]l forces are mustered up. Now God sometimes appoints some more frequent assaults, and on purpose suffers the law in the members to warre, and to muster up all their force, that (as it is said of Hezekiah) a man might know what is in his heart; now if then a man finds that the motions of sinne in his heart do every temptation after other meet with an hotter encounter then they had wont; that the resistance against sin grows quicker, and stronger; that sinne cannot advance, and carry on his army so far as formerly, but is still encountred and met withall at the Frontiers, and there overthrown even at the first setting out, so as it cannot carry it through the camp, (as Zimri did his mistresse Cosbi) as some­times it had wont, when as Grace stood at the Tent doore, as Moses weeping, yet unable to resist it; and although assaults and temptations doe continue, that yet there is ground kept and won upon the encroachments of a lust, in so much that at least the out­ward forts are kept by grace, that is, outward acts are abstained from; Now so far as the lust is not fulfilled as it had wont to be, and not onely so, but the inrodes of it are confined and contract­ed also to a narrower compasse, and to have a lesser ground and space in regard of inward acts; also so far it is purged more forth: As for instance, be it a lust of fancie, when it cannot boile up to such grosse fancies as it had wont; be it a lust of pride, or uncleannesse, or grosser acts, when it falls from bringing forth fruit, to bring forth but blossomes, but inward burnings, and from blossomes onely to bring forth leaves, it is a signe then it is withering more and more. When the intention of mind in the temptation (which is as the fire that makes it to boile) grows lesse and lesse; when the inordinate thirst is not so great in the time of the fit; when the inward acts are grown in their re­quests more modest, the lustings themselves pitch upon lower and inferiour acts then it had wont; when their Armies depart with lesser spoile, are content with them, when as before they flew at the first on-set, to the highest kinds of villanies and out-rages; when thus the overflowings of a mans lusts doe abate, and fall short, the tides lessen, over-flow lesse ground, over-spread lesse every day then another, this is another probable signe of a growth herein.

[Page 84] 7 Seventhly, the more ability to abstain from occasions and op­portunities of satisfying a mans lusts, as Job, a man much mor­tified, made a covenant with his eyes not to behold a maid, and kept to it, Job 31. 1. When a man hates the very garment spotted with the flesh, it is a signe of a strong hatred; when a man cannot en­dure to come where one he loves not, is; cannot endure the sight of him, any thing that may put him in mind of him, not so much as to parley or to speak with him.

8 Eighthly, when our hearts doe not linger after such objects as may satisfie our lusts, when absent; but when out of sight, they are out of mind, this is a good degree of mortification. We may find it in our selves, that when objects are not presented, that yet there is in our hearts oftentimes a lingring after them, and this from themselves without any outward provocation that is far worse; many a man, when he sees meat, finds he hath a stomach to it, which he thought not till it was set afore him; but when a man longs after meat he sees not, it is a signe he is very hungry; as we see against rainy weather, before the raine begins to fall, the stones will give, as we use to say, and grow danke; so a man that observes his heart, may find before ob­jects are presented, or actuall thoughts arise, a giving of his heart to such and such a lust, an inclination, a darknesse, a moistnesse, a sympathizing with such an object, that is a signe of unmorti­fiednesse. David was as a weaned child, he had no thoughts of the dug, no longings after it, I have no high thoughts after the Kingdome, sayes he, Psal. 131. A child that begins to be wean­ed, it may be at first cryes after the dug, though he sees it not; but afterwards, though it may be when he sees it he cryes after it, yet not when absent. Objects present have a far greater force to draw, when absent lesse; therefore this is a farther degree of mortification attainable: it was in Joseph, when his Mistresse tempted him from day to day, opportunity was ready, the ob­ject present, but he denyed her. So in Boaz, a woman lay at his feete all night. So in David, when he had Saul in his lurch, might as easily have cut off his head, as the lap of his garment; and was egg'd on to doe it, but he was then weaned indeed, and did it not; When a man can looke upon beauty, and preferment, and truly say they are no temptations to me. It is a signe of an un­sound [Page 85] temper, when upon eating such or such meats, a man is presently put into the fit of an ague; a healthfull man is not so. The Prophet calls them, the stumbling block of their iniquity; When a man is going on his way, and though he did not seeke occasions of falling, yet meeting with them, he cannot step over them, but is caught, and stumbleth, and falls, it is a signe of un­mortifiednesse.

Some Cautions to prevent misjudging by false Rules: This case resolved, Whether growth in Mortification may be judged by the ordinary prevailings of corruption, or act­ings of Grace.

BEsides these rules both these wayes given, I will in the third place adde some cautionall considerations, to prevent misjudg­ing of our growth in Mortification, by such false rules as men are apt to be deceived, in judging worse or better of our selves by, then the truth is, or then there is cause. Which considerations will also further serve as directions to us, as well as the former have done.

First, men may deceive themselves when they estimate their progresse herein by having overcome such lusts as their natures are not so prone unto;1. Not to judge by some sins, but the decay of thy bosome sin. the surest way is to take a judgement of it from the decay of a mans bosome sinne, even as David did estimate his uprightnesse by his keeping himselfe from [his ini­quity,] Psal. 18. 23. so a man of his growth in uprightnesse. When Physitians would judge of a consumption of the whole, they doe it not by the falling away of any part what ever, as of the flesh in the face alone, or any the like; such a particular a­batement of flesh in some one part, may come from some other cause; but they use to judge by the falling away of the brawne of the hands, or armes, and thighes, &c. for these are the more solid parts: the like judgments doe Physitians make upon other diseases, and of the abatement of them from the decrease in such symptomes as are Pathognomicall, and proper and peculiar to [Page 86] them: In like manner also the estimate of the progresse of the victories of a Conquerour in an enemies Kingdome, is not taken from the taking or burning of a few villages or dorps, but by taking in the Forts and strongest Holds, and by what ground he hath won upon the chiefe strength, and by what forces he hath cut off of the maine Army. Doe the like in the decrease of, and victory over your lusts.

Secondly,2. Not judge by ex [...]raordinary assistances or temptations. you must not judge of your Mortification, by extra­ordinary assistances or temptations: As you doe not judge of the strength of a Kingdome by auxiliary forraigne forces, that are at extraordinary times called in. A young Christian shall for his encouragement even in the heat of the battaile, when he is ready to be overcome, and carryed away captive, find the holy Ghost breaking in, and rescuing of him, (as Jehoshaphat was, (to allude to it) when he cryed to the Lord) when as a Christian of much standing is left to fight it out hand to hand: Now it doth not follow that the other, because thus freed, hath the more strength. Againe, on the other side, a man is not to judge of himselfe by his weaknesse in some one extraordinary temptation. A man that is very sick, and nigh unto death and dissolution, may through much heat, and stirring up of all his spirits, have the strength of five men in him, and much greater then when he was in health: And so a godly man, whose corruptions are weak, and more neere to dissolution, yet in a fit may have all the cor­ruption that is within him mustered up, and blowne up by Satan, and so it may for the present appeare to have more strength then ever in all his life, and yet he may be much mortified: Even as Sarah may by an extraordinary means have pleasure in her old age, and bring forth a child, when she had left child-bearing long, and yet her womb was dead, Rom. 4. 19. And as it may be true, that one of small grace may have that little grace drawne out, and wound up to a higher straine, for one fit, brunt and exercise; all the strings wound up to a higher note for some one lesson, then one haply of more grace ever felt, to higher acts of love to God, and of rejoycing in God, and purer strains of selfe-denyall; yet take the constant strains of ones spirit that hath more grace, and the strings will ordinarily endure to stand higher, and continue so: So on the contrary, one of much mortification, may have [Page 87] his lusts spurred on faster, and boild up higher by Satans fires, then one of lesse. The estimate of our growth must not there­fore be taken by a step or two, but by a constant course; for as a mans sincerity is to be measured, so is his growth: even as a mans health is to be measured by the constant tenor of his temper.

Onely,This Caution explicated by three things. 1. I will adde three things to give further direction con­cerning such extraordinary cases of temptation.

First, that it is certaine, that so much corruption as at such a time and in such a fit a man felt a stirring in him, so much indeed and in truth there is of corruption in his heart; for the devill can put none in, but onely acts, and doth improve what is there already: for as that speech of Christ implyes, Satan can work but according to the matter he findeth in us: (He commeth and findeth no matter in me) the wind adds no water to the sea, onely can make the waves to rise, and surge; the fire adds nothing to the water, when it is set upon it, but attenuates it onely, and causeth it to boile. And so in Hezekiah when he was cast into that fit of pride, the Text sayes, That it was that he might know all that was in his heart, 2 Chron. 32. 31. It was in his heart be­fore.

Secondly,2. I adde, that yet hence it cannot be infallibly inferred, that a man hath comparatively either to himselfe more corrup­tion in him then he had twenty yeeres afore, because more is stir­red up; or that comparatively to others he hath more corrup­tion then they, because more is now for a fit drawne forth: So that it follows not from hence, that others which are kept free from such a temptation, that they have lesse mortification, be­cause they were never cast into so hot and burning a fit. One whose body is lesse full of humours, and naturally of a more moderate temper for heat, may yet through some accident or other, or disease, suppose the Plague, be cast into hotter fits of a burning Feaver, then one whose temper is more fiery, and hu­mours more abounding in him. To have recourse to the for­mer instance. Hezekiah surely had more corruption twenty yeeres before his recovery out of his sicknesse, then at that time, and yet it wrought not so, that we reade of, as it did then; not that the barrell was then fuller, but that now it was broached [Page 88] lower, and a greater vent given, and so it came more gushing out, dregs and all. That a man after he is growne up to his full strength, falls into so great a sicknesse, such an one as he never had when he was a child, which maketh him weaker then when he was ten or twelve yeeres old, doth not argue but that he is a man grown for all that. David after a long growth, had a time of great sicknesse, whereby he lost the exercise, the lively vigorous use of his graces: enfeebled by that sicknesse, he lost his taste in Gods Ordinances by it, and the joy of Gods salvation, as appears by the 51. Psal.

And the third thing I would adde is this, that such an one as is indeed much mortified,3. if it happens he falls into such a fit, yet the greater measure of his mortification will apeare after­wards, in that the lust will be weaker after his recoverie againe. It is in this, as with a man that is in a hot fierie fit of a feaver, though he have at that instant the strength of two men in him, (as was said) yet afterward, when the spirits are ebbed and setled againe, his body is the weaker for it: so is the body of sin, upon the resurrection of grace, after such a fall. Many grow more after sicknesse. For Gods end being but to discover his weak­nesse, (and what he is in himselfe) and to rouze him out of his security, he then loves to manifest his power when once we have seene our weaknesse; and so makes his strength perfect in our in­firmities, when they are not ordinary, but beyond the ordinary temper and dispositions of our spirits.

But then the Question may be concerning the more ordinary passages of a mans life,Question. Whether an estimate may be taken from the ordinary passages of our lives. whether a man may measure and take a sure estimate of the inward root of corruption left in him, by the ordinary risings and stirrings of it, and his fallings into sin more or lesse. I speak not now of extraordinary fits, but of ordinary qualms and weaknesses.

To this I answer,Resolved. that ordinarily men may conclude from the more or lesse busie they find corruption to be in them, that the more or lesse there is of corruption in them; and so thereby measure their growth: for grace and corruption are as two roots, (and therefore the actions of them both are called their fruits, Gal. 5. 17, 22.) Now Christ elsewhere gives us this rule of nature, to judge of the tree by the fruits, to proceed by, in matters [Page 89] of grace also; And as by the fruit we may know of what species and kind the tree is of, so likewise what plenty of sap there is at the root, by the plenty, or bignesse, or fairenesse of the fruit it doth bring forth: the more inward corruption at the root, ordi­narily the more fruit thereof appears in the life: and proporti­onably also of the tender fruits of the the spirit. And therefore Christ here sayes, that the Vine is to be purged, that it may bring forth more fruit; because the more corruption is emptied, the more holinesse will appeare in your inward and outward fruit­fulnesse. And the reason hereof is, because ordinarily as a thing is in being, so it is in working. Laesa principia habent laesas opera­tiones. Children, the weaker, the more falls they have in their ordinary walkings; bodies, the more sickly, or the weaker and more unhealthy the [...] and constitution is, the more qualmes; and as they recover strength more and more, they find they out­grow such weaknesses: and therefore ordinarily according to what activenesse a man finds of grace or sin in him, according to what activenesse a man finds of grace or sin in him, according are the inward principles of either of them more or lesse in him: for the soule of man, as it is an active thing, so being left to its ordinary course, it acts according to the sway, and bias, and in­clination of the habits that are in it, which are also active, as both grace and sinne are. As a bowle, when the force of the hand that threw it begins to decay, it is swayed by the bias, and lead that is in it; and so the lesse grace, the lesse ordinarily it acts graciously, and the weaklier; and then also the opposite cor­ruption must needs be so much the more active: for the soule being active, abates not of its mettle, but it will still shew it selfe one way or other. The flesh will lust against the spirit so much the stronglier, as the spirit is weaker, for they are contrary; yea and thus God judgeth of the principles of grace in us, accor­ding as they act in us; he will judge of our mortification, by the fruits of it in our lives and hearts; the more the fruits of sin grow on in us, the lesse morrified he will account us; as he will judge of faith by the works, so of mortification by the fruits: and therefore it is observeable, that he bids us mortifie the deeds of the body, as well as the body of sinne, Rom. 8. 13. for God will judge of the one by the other. Therefore the objects of mortifi­cation [Page 90] are the deeds of the body, as well as the inward principle of corruption, because the mortification of the inward principle will be seene and appeare in the deeds.

But it may be objected,Object. that Grace is acted, or lusts doe stir, accordingly as the Spirit of Christ, who is a voluntary Agent, doth act Grace, or will leave a man, so that if he be pleased to stir that little grace in a weak Christian, he shall act it more, and if he leave a strong Christian to himselfe, he shall fall more.

But to this it is answered,Answ. 1.

First, that though the holy Ghost be a voluntary Agent, and blowes when and where he pleaseth, for his times of working, yet ordinarily he acteth grace in us, (take our whole course) ac­cording to the proportion of grace given us, so as he that hath more habituall grace, shall be more assisted and enlivened, which falls out according to that rule, which in this case will hold, Ha­benti dabitur, Mat. 25. 29. To him that hath shall be given, if it be a true talent: Hence therefore he that had five talents, gained more then he that had but two; for he gained his five more un­to his two; the other but two more to his former two: though he that had but one, is said to have gained none, because indeed it was not a true talent, for he seemed but to have it, the Text sayes. And the reason hereof is, because those habits of grace which God hath infused, are his owne worke, and are or­dained by him to be acted, and he delights still to crowne his owne works in us with more. And as he proportions glory to works, so he promiseth to act according to the principles of grace infused, which else would be in vaine, they being ordained to that end: As the Apostle sayes of gifts, that they are given to profit withall; so are graces to work, and therefore ordinarily God draws them out, where he hath bestowed them, as he doth gifts also, according to their proportion: and thus è contra it is for leaving a man to sin; the more corruption a man hath, the more ordinarily he lets it vent and discover it selfe, that so men that have many corruptions in them, might know what is in their hearts; and so when God doth mortifie them in them to thanke him the more, the grace of which else would be to them lost, if God should mortifie their lusts in them, without their seeing and [Page 91] bewailing them, and crying to him, Oh miserable man that I am; and ordinarily see and discerne them, men would not, unlesse left to them. As in case of humbling a man, though God some­times doth humble a man that hath lesse sinnes, more then one that hath greater, to shew that he can give a spirituall light to see more sinne in a little then others in much; yet ordinarily those are most humbled that have beene greatest sinners, as Manasses humbled himselfe greatly, and Mary Magdalen loved much, and the Apostle thought himselfe the greatest of sinners: And thus it is in acting grace, or letting forth corruptions, it is according to their principles within.

And secondly, that very acting grace doth increase habits: so as the increase of habits and inward mortification is proporti­oned according to the acting of grace by the holy Ghost; for every abstinence doth mortifie, as was said, and every act of grace doth through the blessing of the Spirit further sanctifie and increase the habit, Rom. 6. You have your fruit in holinesse. When they doe any duty, it makes the heart more inwardly holy: so as indeed the one cannot be without the other; but the more a man doth abstaine out of right principles, by the assistance of the Spirit, the more he grows: so as in the end all comes to one; he whose holinesse is acted most, hath in the end most habituall grace, and thereby often it comes to passe, that he that is first, comes to be last, Two limitati­ons. and he that is last, first.

Yet there are two limitations to be put in about this.

First, I grant, for some times of mens lives, that God doth 1 act some mens graces more, who have yet lesse grace, and leave those to sinnes who have more grace. So he left Peter who in all appearance had more grace then any of the twelve, yet God left him to deny Christ more foulely and falsly then any of the other.

But then let the ends of God be considered why he doth it.

First, in case of too much confidence upon inherent grace, and the strength of it: When we trust to habituall grace received, then Christ, to shew that it is a new grace, to assist that grace, and to the end that it may be acknowledged that he that gives one grace, is not bound to give another, may in this case leave one that hath indeed more grace to the prevailing of cor­ruptions [Page 92] more. It falls out sometimes that when men are young Christians, and new borne, God adds much assistance, and this for their encouragement; and as you carry young children in your armes, and so they are kept from falls more then some more elderly that are let goe alone. Thus Hos. 11. 3. God takes them by the armes when a child, ver. 1. but then they acknowledge it not, as it follows there, and are apt to think that that strength and life they have, is from themselves, and so God afterwards leaves them, when grown men more elderly. Those Christians who walk most sensibly of their owne weaknesse, and observe God his keeping them from sin, and attribute this to him, such God delights to help, though for the present they have lesse ha­bituall grace: And so those Christians that sooner come to the knowledge of that way of dependance upon Christ, (some come to see it the first day, and make use of it; others not so clearely a long while) they shall be more assisted then another. To many that way so soone is not so clearly opened.

Again, secondly, sometimes God will magnifie this his acting grace, (as I may call it) more in one man then in another, seeing it is a grace. That one Apostle of the Gentiles, Paul, did more then all the Apostles, shall we thereby infallibly conclude he had more inherent grace then they all? but that he had more assi­stance. As God sometimes useth men of weaker gifts to doe more then men of greater, so men of weaker graces, and lesse growth, to shame the other. As there are diversities of gifts, so of operations and exercise of those gifts, 1 Cor. 12. 6. the Spirit di­viding as he will, ver. 11. God casts aside one of eminent gifts into a place or condition wherein they are not usefull, and so he may one of much habituall grace.

Thirdly, he acts often according to actuall preparation; the habituall preparation lies in habits, and is more remote; as strings may be good, yet out of tune, and so not plaid upon.

Againe, fourthly, God may leave a Christian of more grace and growth, to more stirring of corruptions, in case he means yet to bring him to a higher pitch of humiliation, and that by sins. It is in this his dealing of leaving men to corruptions, and the vigorous conflicts with them, as it is in his leaving his people sometimes to those other evils of afflictions. God humbleth [Page 93] his, either by afflictions or by sins, and his manner in both is sometimes alike; you shall see one who hath attained to a great measure of grace already, and that by affliction, and yet never to be out of the fire, but God still followeth him with one affliction or another; whereas one of lesse growth and grace, who in that regard hath more need, shall have fewer afflictions in his course: And what is the reason of this difference? it is not that the grown Christian hath simply more need of affliction then the o­ther, but because God intends to bring him on yet to a further degree of grace. As refiners of sugar taking sugars out of the same chest, some thereof they melt but once, and another part of it they melt and refine againe and againe; not that that which they refine twice, hath more drosse in it, but because they would have it more refined, double refined. And as God deales thus in afflicti­ons, so also in leaving of his people to the stirring of corruptions, which of all afflictions is the greatest to humble a holy heart. And thus in experience it is found, that he doth sometimes leave a grown Christian to conflict with corruptions more then a weaker Christian; not that he hath more in him, but because he means to bring on that grown Christian to a further degree of humili­ation, he is not humbled as he meanes to have him yet. And whereas God humbleth some men by afflictions, he humbleth others by sins; and nothing humbleth more then sins, for crosses doe but humble by revealing sin, as the cause; and nothing will humble a grown Christian more then to see such shamefull foule corruptions still stirring in him, the greatest aggravation of which to him will be in this, that after so long a time, such lusts should be so lively in him, to have such grosse faults in his exercises after he hath been so long at schoole, this shames him; For a growne Christian to be disguised with a corruption; and when his haire is growne, to have it shaven off, as Davids messengers were a­shamed of it; so how doth it shame him, and humble him? Thus Hezekiah, though he was much humbled by a sicknesse to death, but because he was not humbled enough, and so far as God meant to bring him: therefore God let loose Pride on him, and then he further humbleth himselfe and all Israel, as it is 2 Chron. 32. 26. Upon some men God shews his free grace in keeping them from sinne; upon others he spends it in pardoning [Page 94] them: These are but two severall wayes he hath of laying it out: And so sometimes he shewes his grace in keeping those of lesse grace, and againe in letting those of more to struggle with their lusts: and such sicknesses are not to death, or to weaken them, but for the glory of God, and their further growth; for this will be the effect and consequent of such stirrings in growne Christians, that as their fits of corruptions stirring are great, so their humblings will be greater: Grace being much in them, will shew it selfe that way; great fits of sinning have intermin­gled with them great exercises of repentings; and the growth of their grace will shew it selfe in them, and appeare in them; even as in men that are cheerfull naturally, but sometimes op­pressed with melancholy; when those pressures are over, they are most merry, their spirits breaking forth being at liberty, they shew themselves as much on the contrary in mirth: so is it here, when grace gets above againe. As it is in the body, when the spirits are not weak, but onely are kept under by humours, when they doe once get up, they then shew their strength in causing the body to grow the more: as in many young men, after a sick­nesse where strength of nature is; and so thereby they become after often the better, and more lively; but if the naturall spirits be weak, it is not so.

A second limitation is,2. Limitation. that though one of lesse growth in mor­tification may sometimes by watchfulnesse keep under his lusts more, and act that little grace he hath, more then haply he doth, who hath yet radically more grace: therefore sayes the Apostle, Stir up the gift that is in thee: To Timothy he speakes it, and he exhorts, Gal. 5. even young Christians to walke in the spirit: that is, to have the spirit kept above the flesh, so as a man shall have great hand over his corruptions, that they breake not forth: Now I say, that this exhortation doth belong unto, and concern­eth the youngest Christians. For he speakes to all that have spi­rituall life begun in them, ver. 25. If we live in the Spirit, let us, sayes he, walke in the Spirit, and then we shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh, ver. 16. A weake body, thouh weake, yet if he useth care, may keepe himselfe from distempers, as much as some man who is strong, but grows carelesse, and neglects his health. But yet though one of lesse grace be thus actually more [Page 95] watchfull, ye he may discerne the want of growth by this:

First, that still his lusts rise oftner, and that with delight; and are apter to catch fire presently, although they be smothered as fast as they catch; his case then is as if there were an heap of straw in a roome where fire is, where sparks fly about still taking fire upon every occasion, but he that keeps the straw, is carefull still to put it out.

And secondly, in this case they shall find the strength of their corruptions in privative working against grace, and distracting and disturbing them, deading their hearts in duties: and there­fore when the Apostle had exhorted such to walk in the spirit, so as not to fulfill the lusts, marke what follows, Yet, sayes he, the flesh will discover it selfe in lusting against the spirit. Take what care you will; so as a man shall not be able to doe what he would, Gal. 5. 16, 17. and the more strong it is, the more it will shew it selfe strong in disturbing; so as Christians not growne up that are very watchfull over their hearts, doe keepe as it were but ne­gative Sabbaths, and are therein like unto those watchers and keepers of good rule in great Churches, where there are many sleepers, they have so much to doe to watch those boyes that sleepe, and are idle at Church, as they cannot attend the Ser­mon. For though by reason of watchfulnesse corruption may be kept from discovering it selfe in open unrulinesse much, yet it can never by all the watchfulnesse in the world be brought on to duties, but so much as is in the heart will discover it selfe either in opposition to them, or an hypocriticall joyning in them: although the Papists may be kept by a waking State from vent­ing that malice of their hearts in rebellion, yet they cannot be brought to joyne with us in holy duties; no more will corrup­tion, unlesse in hypocrisie, and therefore so much as is, doth still discover it selfe in them.

Five Cautions more to prevent such mis-judgings.

A Third Caution to prevent mis-judging; if a man will not be mistaken in judging his growth in Mortification compa­ratively with others, or with himselfe, he must consider his oc­casions and opportunities to draw him out, thus: A man when he had more corruption, yet lesse occasions and provocations to sinne, may have corruption lesse stirring in him, then when he is more grown up in grace, if his temptations were then greater: The same tree standing in the shade, where also the raine comes not to it, when transplanted, where both sunne and raine fall upon it, may be more fruitfull then formerly. David, when un­der afflictions in the wildernesse, and wanting opportunities, how strict was he,Psal. 18. and kept himselfe from his iniquity? but when he came to the delicacies of a Kingdome, though he was grown up still more and more in grace, yet how did he fall? As to aggravate the sinne of not growing more, the proportion of meanes every one hath had is to be considered; and for one who hath had much meanes to grow much, for him is lesse, then one who hath lesse meanes: So in the stirring or declining of sinne, opportunities and occasions are also to be considered; as if a man be transplanted out of a full condition into an empty, if then many of his lusts doe not stir so much as afore, no wonder. Even as if a man when cast into a sweat by reason of multitude of cloathes, it is no marvaile, if when cloathes are taken off, he sweat lesse.

4 A fourth thing to be considered, to keepe us from mistakes herein, is, that he whose spirit is naturally active, his lusts, though weaker then another mans whose spirit is slower, may be yet more quick and apt to break forth more then his. Peter was of a bold spirit, and so spake often rashly, and vented corruption more then the other Disciples, in so much as he once provoked Christ to call him Satan, not that he had lesse grace, but a more active spirit; yea he might have more grace, and lesse of corruption stirred in him, onely a more forward naturall spirit, that was apt to put it selfe forth. As an angry man, whose spirit [Page 97] is quick, may soone be stirred, and in the forwardnesse of his spirit to action, give a man a blow, when one given to malice will scarce give you an ill word, whose lusts of revenge yet burne inwardly more. Gunpowder will take and fall into a blaze sooner then Lime, yet lime hath more innate heat, and burns more within; some have speeder vent. Those two brethren, John and James, sonnes of Thunder, as Christ calls them, how soone was their choler up? They had quick and hot spirits, as Christ tels them, Ye know not what spirit ye are of Luke 9. 55.

Fiftly, if we would judge aright, what measure of true morti­fication 5 is in us, we must not take into the reckoning what re­straining grace doth in us, but observe that apart, and cast that up in a summe by it selfe. For this you must know, that even in the regenerate, all their abstinence from sins is not from meere mor­tification, but restraining grace continues even after regeneration to contribute to it, and so make mortification seeme the greater. It was not meerely and onely mortification of the lust of Anger that made Moses so meeke; for at another time, when he was left, what a chafe was he in, when he called them all Rebels and said in an heat, that he must fetch water out of the rock for them? It was his temper and disposition of nature, helpt to make him so eminent in ruling that passion above any other, that he is said to be the meekest man on earth. It was not sim­ply, meerly mortification, that made that great Apostle Paul so eminently chaste; but over and besides what morti­fication helpt him in it, he had a peculiar gift, as he calls it, 1 Cor. 7. 7. he speaks of it as of a gift, not a grace, such as might be in Reprobates; For, sayes he there, Every one hath his proper gift. So it was not meere mortification that made Luther never trou­bled with covetousnesse, but the freenesse and generousnesse of his spirit that helped him in it.

Now if all these would have cast up what grace and mortifica­tion they had attained to, they must have reckoned restraining grace by it selfe, (which may be observed by what our vertues were before conversion) which though now sanctified, that is helping forward Sanctification, and making the abstinence easier, yet is not to be reckoned true Sanctification; as Goldsmiths mingle in all the silver they work some other metals to make it [Page 98] more malleable; so are those common graces mingled with true in this life, where Sanctification is imperfect, which doe help them and eeke them out. Grace set in a good nature, seemes a great deale more, and goes farther then in a bad. Wine that is of it selfe somewhat pleasant, a little sugar will make it sweeter to the taste, then a great deale of sugar will doe sowre wine. There­fore let every one consider, what naturall ingenuity, and mo­desty, and education did in him before conversion; and let him know, that now he hath true grace; these help him still, and stand him in stead as much as ever, although he hath a further new principle of grace in him, beyond these. Grace in this life, and whilst imperfect, takes not away such common gifts, but sancti­fieth and useth them as the reasonable soule doth a quick fancie or memory, which are sensitive faculties, and doe make his abili­ty to abstaine from such and such sins more easie: indeed all such gifts will be swallowed up in glory: And therefore many who have lesse grace, yet seeme in many carriages more mortified then those who have more grace; they will be lesse impatient in a crosse, lesse stirred and provoked with an injurie. A man who hath beene lesse helpt by restraining grace before conversion, and had his lusts more outragious, if he hath them now under, it is a signe he hath much more mortification in him then one who was naturally civill. And I appeal to every godly mans con­science, it is not only simply mortification that makes him always to abstaine from sins, but shame, modesty, terrors of conscience strike in at a pinch, when strength of mortification had failed him else; and many accidentall things, ordered by Gods pro­vidence, hinder and keepe Gods people from sinning: and as David was faine to make use of Goliahs sword, and take in dis­contented persons that had not the same ends that he had to strengthen himselfe against Saul; so is grace faine to take in fleshly dislikes and discontents against sin, to help it in a pinch, till it hath got the victory. For instance, it was not Judahs grace so much kept him from killing Joseph, for then he would not have consented to sell him; but nature wrought in him, and made him abhor the killing him: Is it not our brother, and our flesh, and what profit is it to kill him? Gen. 37. 26. So God pre­vented David in his murthering Nabals family by an externall [Page 99] meanes, when as his grace else had not kept him from revenging himselfe causelesly upon his family, (for they were in no fault) his grace alone had not done it, for his passion was up, and he in a rage, and fully resolved to doe it; but God used another meanes, and sent Abigail submissively to meet him; and her lowly submission, and elegant oration, won him, and cooled him; though this David acknowledgeth Gods hand in it, and was glad he was so kept (as a godly man will, and hath cause, when he is hindred of his purpose in sinning, as he sayes, I rejoyce that Christ is preached, though out of envie; so if sin be abstained from, though by any meanes) yet God did rather by his meanes restraine him, then by his feare of God, or the grace in his heart; but God kept him by her comming: 1 Sam. 25. 34. For in very deed, sayes David, as the Lord liveth, which hath kept me back from hur­ting thee, except thou hadst hasted and met me, surely there had not beene left a man unto Nabal. So shame moved Judah; feare of being destroyed moved Jacob to reprove the sin of his sonnes, and is all the argument he useth, Gen. 34. 30. So that in an evening, when thou castest up thy abstinences of that day, think not how much thou hast abstained from sin, or denyed thy selfe, but how much out of hatred of it, and the spirit of mortifica­tion; how much of that there is in thy abstinence, and accor­dingly measure thy growth in it.6

Sixtly, another false rule is, when men judge of their morti­fication, and the measure of it, by their present listlesnesse of the heart to sin; which though it be true, that where true mortifi­cation is, there is a listlesnesse, and a deadnesse; and so much mortification, so much deadnesse, Rom. 6. 2. How shall we that are dead to sinne, live any longer therein? And indeed, to live in it, is to take pleasure in it: But yet this you must know, there are many things which in a godly man may adde to his deadnesse to sinne, besides true mortification, and so make it seeme greater then it is in truth: And therefore it may be a false rule to judge by, if it be not warily considered and distinguished. Sicknesse breeds a listlesnesse; when we are sick, our lusts are sick together with us; and as we gather strength, they gather up their crums againe, Job 33. 19. 20. then his soule abhors dainty food. Suppose he be a glutton: Old age brings a listlesnesse. Eccles. 12. 1. [Page 100] When the evill dayes come, wherein a man sayes, he hath no pleasure in them: as Barzillai had no taste in his meat, by reason of old age. So when our expectations or desires are crossed, or are like to be, and we begin to faile of those maine props of the comfort of our lives, we are apt to have a listlesnesse to all other plea­sures: when some one thing that was a sawce to all the rest, is gone or like to goe, we then have no stomach to all the rest, and we are weary of living, as David was when Absalom was gone, would I had dyed for thee. Some great crosse comming, may like thunder sowre all our joyes and delights, and make them stale to us, and as dead drink to the stomach. Terror of conscience may like an eclipse overspread our spirits, and then all things lose their beauty and lustre, as things in the dark use to doe: as Job sayes of himselfe in his desertion, that his soule had no more sweet­nesse in all comforts, then in white of an egge: For such oc­casions as these doe draw the intention another way, and doe take the mind up about Gods wrath, or the afflictions we are in, so as it cannot run out to sin; and intention, you know, is the cause of all pleasure. As therefore when by study the spirits are drawn up to the head, a mans stomach decayes to that meat he most loved; so when terrors drinke up the spirits, as Job speaks: but when that heat is over, and intention dismissed, a man reco­vers his stomach againe; and so doe men their appetites, to sinne, when they come forth of terrors. And this will help you to find out the true reason, why that young Christians are often more dead to all pleasures of sinne, then those who are grown up, or then themselves are when grown up: they are often then altogether dead to all mirth and other contentments, and yet they are not more mortified then afterwards: For then legall humiliation adds to their deadnesse. And besides that first deadly blow which Christ gave their lusts then in part, the Law also and the bitternesse of sinne did lay that part of their lusts which re­mained unkilled, in a sw [...]e, that one would think all were dead. Sin revived, saith Paul, and I dyed, Rom. 7. He speaks of that time when he lay humbled for sinne; during which time, we reade in the Acts, he fasted: He had no mind to meat nor drink, for three dayes, he forgot all. And againe, as then they are usually so taken up about pardon of sinne, and the obtaining [Page 101] thereof, that all the spirits retire to the heart to relieve it, and to encourage it to seeke out for pardon; and so sinne is left in a swoune, and it seemes quite dead: but by degrees men come out of that swoune, and sinne revives, and then men think they decay in mortification. Againe, young Christians sometimes, and o­thers afterwards for some hony-moones of their lives, are enter­tained with raptures, and ravishments, joy unspeakable and glo­rious, and then they seeme in a manner wholly dead to sin, and walk so, but as the other are in a swoune, so they are in an ex­tasie; but when they are out of it, then sinne comes to it selfe againe: Those joyes whilst they last, make a mans actuall pre­sent deadnesse to sin seem more then habitually and radically it is indeed: As a man that hath tasted some sweet thing, whilst the impression upon his palate lasteth, he hath no relish of meat; so whilst the impressions of spirituall joy: but when their mouthes are washt once, and their sense of that sweetnesse gone, they find their wonted relish of them. Thus spirituall joyes doe, for the time they are upon the heart, much alter the taste; but yet much of that alteration is adventitious and not wholly ra­dicall, or altering the sinfull faculty it selfe (though it doth adde much that way) yet not so much as they seeme to doe at that pre­sent, the sense of that sweetnesse is fresh in his heart.

Now therefore to give an help or two to difference what is reall and true Mortification, Two differen­ces betweene Mortification, and a seeming deadnesse or listlesnesse to sinne. from this seeming listlesnesse and deadnesse to it.

First, true mortification makes a man not onely listlesse to sinne, but to have a quick hatred against it, a hatred aiming at the destruction of it; but false listlesnesse takes but the heart off it, doth not set it against it; how often are these yoaked toge­ther in Psal. 119. I hate sinne, and every false way, with this, Thy law doe I love? the heart being quickned with love to God, and to his Law, is carried out against sinne, and not onely taken off from it to have no mind to it, but to have a mind against it, to destroy it. There is the same difference betweene mortification and listlesnesse, that there is between true patience and senslesnesse; senselesnesse is a dull, sullen, stupid bearing pains, but patience is joyned mith a quick sense of them, which ariseth from strength of spirits, that being quick and vigorous, are the more sensible of [Page 102] paine or pleasure; so true mortification is joyned with an active hatred that flyes out against sin; which come from livelinesse of affection to the contrary.

Secondly,2. Difference. true mortification is joyned with activenesse and life in the contrary duties, Rom. 6. 11. Reckon your selves dead unto sinne, and alive unto God. That false listlesnesse is but a dead palsey that doth take these members of sinne, but true mortifica­tion is with a new life, a resurrection, strengthning a man to walke so much the more nimbly in the wayes of God. Rom. 6. 4, 5. Young Christians, and such as have a false listlesnesse and dead­nesse, you shall find them complaine that their mortification is more then vivification, they will finde they are more dead to the world, then quickned to God. True mortification doth not dull the spirits, but sets them at liberty, as purging the humours out doth; it makes the body more light and nimble; whereas false listlesnesse causeth a deadnesse, a dulnesse to every thing else. Those false causes of listlesnesse contract the mind, as a bladder that is clung, and dryed, and hung up in the smoake, (as David compared his condition in terrors of conscience) but mortifica­tion empties it of the sinne, and fils it with grace, so as the mind is as full and wide as before, onely filled with grace now in stead of sinne.

7 Seventhly, a man is not to judge of his growth in mortifica­tion, simply by the keennesse of his affection against sinne, though that is good and blessed, but by his strength against it. As there is a fond love, which is not so strong and solid, which will not doe so much for one; or hold, if it come to the tryall, and be put to it, that yet hath a more seeming edge in it; so there is a keennesse of hatred, that hath not so much strength. A man that is angry seemes to have more keennesse of affection against him he falls out with, and in his rage vows never to be reconciled, and could eat him up; when as yet a malicious man hates more strongly: So doe young Christians their sins, having lately felt the bitternesse of them; and then many other inconveniences, besid [...]s the cont [...]arietie of them to God, doe egge on and pro­voke their spirits against them; but like as a sharpe knife that is weak, the edge is soone turned and blunted, so in a temptation, they are for all their edge soone overcome: for all those con­curring [Page 103] inconveniences and apprehensions of their hurt by them, makes their spleen indeed greater, but it adds not to their strength and courage to resist them: like a stomachfull boy, that cryes he cannot have the victory, yet is weak, and easily laid on his back, his stomach is more then his strength. The hurt that comes by sin to us at first lately felt, helps to sharpen the edge, but adds no metall, and so our weapons are beaten to our heads againe, when we use them. What an edge of spirit had Peter raised up against denying Christ? he would die rather; he spake then as he thought; and he would have dyed in the quarrell, for he draws his sword, but afterwards he wanted strength to his sto­mach, how easily was he overcome, being yet but weak in grace? therefore judge of your growth herein, by your strength to re­sist. Hence the Apostle prayes, they may have strength in the in­ward man, Eph. 3. and in Chap. 6. 13. he speaks of ability to stand in the evill day. Although this let me adde, that every man should keep up his heart in this continuall keennesse and edge of spirit against sin, and whet his heart against it: For that will cause a man to use his strength the more against it, and to put it forth. A man that keeps his heart in a revengefull, vext, spleen­full spirit against sin, he will easier cut through a temptation; and though if a Christian want metall, though he hath an edge, he may be foiled; yet when edge and metall both meete, a man walks above his lusts: if either be wanting, a man may be foiled.

Resolving some Questions concerning Growth in MORTIFICATION, VIVIFICATION.

Two Questions resolved concerning Growth in Morti­fication.

I Will now conclude this Discourse about Growth in Grace with answering some Questions which may be made concerning this our growth, both about Mortification, and about increase in positive Graces, which I did reserve to this last place, that I might handle them together.

The first Question concerning the purging out of sinne,Quest. 1. is, Whether every new degree of Mortification, and purging out of sinne, be alwayes universall, extending it selfe to every sinne? So as the meaning of this, that God goes on to purge, should be, not onely that he goes on first to purge forth one sinne, then ano­ther, but that he goes on to purge out by every new degree of mortification every sinne together; so as when any one [Page 105] sinne is more weakned, all the rest in a proportion grow weak also.

To this I answer affirmatively,Answ. that every new degree of mor­tification is universall.

First, because when the Scripture speaks of our growth there­in, he speaks of it as extending it selfe to every sinne. So Ephes. 4. 22. when he exhorts the Ephesians (who were mortified al­ready) to a farther progresse in it, he exhorts them to put off the old man, which is corrupt, according to the deceitfull lusts. It is not one lust that is the object of mortification, and the growth of it (although he mentions particular lusts afterwards) but the whole man that is corrupt, and all its lusts: and this he there speaks of daily growth therein: For of that he had spoken in the former verses, from the 12. verse, and goes on to speak of it, and exhort to it. Thus in like manner, Gal. 5. 24. it is called crucifying the flesh with the lusts: not one lust, but the flesh, the whole bundle, the cluster of them all: and in that it is called crucifying, it implys it also, for of all deaths that did work upon every part, it did stretch every nerve, sinew, and veyn, and put all the parts to paine: and this going on to mortifie sinne is called Rom. 6. The destroying of the body of sinne; of the whole body: It is not the consumption of one member, of the lungs, or liver, &c. but it is is consumptio totius, a consumption of the whole body of sinne, so as every new degree of mortifi­cation is the consuming of the whole. And therefore also Colos. 3. where in like manner he exhorts to his growth therein, he ex­horts to mortifie earthly members, every member. And the rea­sons hereof are, because

First, true mortification strikes at the root, and so causeth every branch to wither: For all sinfull dispositions are rooted in one, namely, in love of pleasure more then of God: and all true imortification deads a man to the pleasure of sinne, by bringing the heart more into communion, and into love with God; and therefore the deading to any sinne must needs be generall and universall to every sinne. It is as the dying of the heart, which causeth all the members to die with it; for that is the difference betweene restraining Grace, which cuts off but branches, and so lops the tree, but true mortification strikes every blow at the root.

[Page 106] Secondly, every new degree of true mortification purgeth out a sinne, as it is sinne, and works against it under that considera­tion: and if against it as sinne, then the same power that works out any sinne, works against every sinne in the heart also. Now that every new degree works against a sinne, as it is sinne, is plain by this, because if it be purged out upon any other respect, it is not mortification.

Thirdly, the Spirit, and the virtue that comes from Christ, which are the efficient causes of this purging out a sinne, doe also work against every sinne, when they work against any one; and they have a contrarietie to every lust; they search into every veyne, and draw from all parts. Physitians may give elective purges, as they call them, which will purge out one humour, and not another, but Christs physick works generally, it takes away all sorts of distempers.

And whereas the Objection against this may be,Object. that then all lusts will come to be equally mortified.

I answer,Answ. No, for all lusts were never equally alive in a man; some are stronger, some weaker by custome, through disposition of body and spirit; and therefore though mortification extends it selfe to all, yet there being an inequality in the life and growth of these sinnes in us, hence some remaine still more, some lesse mortified; as when a floud of water is left to flow into a field, where many hils are of differing height, though the water over­flows all equally, yet some are more above water then others, because they were higher before of themselves. And hence it is that some sinnes, when the power of grace comes, may be in a manner wholly subdued, namely, those which proceed out of the abundance of naughtinesse in the heart, as swearing, malice against the truth; and these the children of God are usually wholly freed from, and they seeme wholly dead, being as the excre­ments of other members, and being as the nailes, and the haire, they are wholly pared off, as was the manner to a Proselyte woman; the power of Grace takes them away, though other members continue vigorous: And therefore of swearing Christ sayes, What is more then Yea, yea, and Nay, nay, is [...], out of a profarie heart: As when a man is a dying, some members are stiffe and cold, and cleane dead long afore, as the [Page 107] feet, whilst others continue to have some life and heat in them; so in the mortification of a Christian, some lusts that are more remote, are wholly stiffe and starke, when others retaine much life in them.

The second Question is,Quest. 2. Whether when I apply Christ, and the Promise, with the vertue of Christ, for the mortification of some one particular lust or other, and doe use those right means, as Prayer, Fasting, &c. for the speciall mortification of some one lust, Whether that lust thereby doth not become more mortified then other lusts doe?

I answer,Answ. Yes, yet so as in a proportion, this work of morti­fication it runs through all the rest: for as in washing out the great stains of a cloth, the lesser stains are washt out also with the same labour, so it is here: Therefore the Apostle in all his exhortations to mortification, both Eph. 4. and Gal. 5. and Col. 3. though he exhorts to the putting off the old man, the whole body of sinne, yet instances in particular sins, because a man is parti­cularly to endeavour the mortification of particulars, as it were apart; and yet because in getting them mortified the whole body of sinne is destroyed, therefore he mentions both the whole body, and particular members thereof apart, as the object of mortification. And to that end also doth God exercise his chil­dren, first with one lust, then with another, that they may make tryall of the vertue of Christs death upon every one: And there­fore Christ bids us to pull out an eye, and cut off an hand, if they offend us: for mortification is to be by us directed against par­ticular members; yet so as withall in a proportion all the rest receive a farther degree of destruction. For as a particular act of sin, (be it uncleannnesse, or the like) when committed, doth increase a disposition to every sinne, yet so as it leaves a present greater disposition to that particular sin then any other, and in­creaseth it most in potentia proxima, though all the rest in potentia remota: so in every act of mortification, though the common stock be increased, yet the particular lust we aimed at, hath a greater share in the mortification endeavoured, as in ministring physick to cure the head, the whole body is often purged; yet so as the head, the party affected, is yet chiefly purged, and more then the rest.

Three Questions resolved concerning Positive Growth.

OTher Questions there are concerning that other part of our growth, namely, in positive graces and the fruits thereof.

As first,Quest. 1. whether every new degree of grace runs through all the faculties?

I answer,Answ. Yes; For as every new degree of light in the ayre runnes through the whole Hemisphere, when the Sunne shines clearer and clearer to the perfect day, which is Solomons com­parison in the Proverbs; so every new degree of grace runs through, and is diffused through the whole man. And there­fore also 1 Thes. 5. 23. when the Apostle there prayes for increase of grace, he prayes they may be sanctified wholly in body, soule and spirit. And every new degree, though it begins at the spirit, the understanding, yet goes through all: for so Ephes. 4. 23, 24. Be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new man: it runs therefore through the whole man, having renewed the mind. As the worke of grace at first, so after still continually leaveneth the whole lump.

Whether one Grace may not grow more then another?Quest. 2.

I answer,Answ. 1. first, that it is certaine, that when a man grows up in one grace, he doth grow in all; they grow and thrive toge­ther. Therefore in Ephes. 4. 15. we are said to grow up into him [in all things.] Growth from Christ is generall, as true growth in the body is in every part, so this in every grace. Therefore 2 Cor. 3. ult. we are said to be changed into the same image from glory to glory. Every increase stamps a farther degree of the whole Image of Christ upon the heart. So the Thessalonians, Their faith and their love did both overflow, 2 Thes. 1. 3.

Yet secondly,2. so as one grace may grow more then some other.

1. Because some are more radicall graces, as Faith and Love, therefore of the Thessalonians Faith the Apostle sayes, 2. Thes. 1. 3. that it did grow exceedingly; and then it follows, their love did overflow.

[Page 109] 2. Some grace are more exercised, and if so, they abound more; as though both armes doe grow, yet that which a man useth is the stronger and the bigger, so is it in graces; In birds, their wings which have beene used most, are sweetest to the taste. As in the body, though the exercise of one member maketh the body generally more healthfull, yet so as that member which is exercised, will be freest from humours it selfe, so it is here; so tribulation worketh patience, patience experience, Rom. 5. Many sufferings make patience the lesse difficult, and much experience, many experiments make hope greater.

Againe, thirdly, that some graces are more in some then o­thers, appeares hence; for what is it makes the differing gifts that are in Christians, but a severall constitution of graces, though all have every grace in them? as now in the body every member hath all singular parts in it, as flesh, bones, sinews, veynes, bloud, spirits in it, but yet so, some members have more of flesh, lesse of sinews and veynes, &c. whence ariseth a severall office in every member, according as such or such simular parts doe more or lesse abound in a member; the hand, because it hath more nerves and joynts in it then another member, though lesse flesh, yet how strong is it, and fit for many offices? the foot is not so: So in Christians, by reason of the severall constitution of graces, and the temper of them more or lesse, have they severall offices in the Church, and are fitted for severall employments; some have more love, and fit for offices of charity; some more knowledge, and are fit to instruct; some more patience, and are fitter to suffer; some for self-denyall, and accordingly doe grow in these more specially.

The third Question is,3. Quest. Whether this increase be onely by radi­cating the same grace more, or by a new addition?

I answer,Answ. that by adding a new degree of grace, as in making candles, which is done by addition, when a candle is put anew into the fat of boiled tallow, every time it is put in, it comes out bigger, with a new addition; or as a cloth dipt in the die, comes out upon every new dipping in with a deeper die. And this is done by a new act of creation, put forth by God. There­fore when David being falne, prayed for increase of grace, he sayes, Create in me a new heart. And therefore Ephes. 4. 24. [Page 110] when the Apostle exhorts to further putting on the new man, and speaketh of growth, he adds, which is created; for every new degree is created as well as the first infusion, which shews the difference between naturall growth and this: In naturall growth there needs not a new creation, but an ordinary concurrence; but it is not so in this, that God that begun the work, by the same power perfects it: And therefore Ephes. 1. 19. he prayes that the beleeving Ephesians might see that power that continued to worke in them, to be no lesse then that which raised up Christ; for though naturall life may with a naturall concurrence increase it selfe, because the terminus à quo, the terme from whence it springs, is but from a lesse degree of life to a greater: yet it is otherwise in this life, and our growth in this is from a greater degree of death, to a further degree of life: And therefore Phil. 9. the Apostle calls growing in grace, a going on to attaine the resurrection from the dead: And therefore the same power that raised up Christ, must goe along to work it. Hence also every new degree of grace is called a new conversion; except ye be converted, sayes Christ to his Disciples converted already; be­cause the same power that wrought to conversion, goes still to this. And therefore it is said that God gives the increase, 1 Cor. 3. 7. and it is called the increasing of God, Colos. 2. 19. so Hos. 14. shewing the ground why they grow so fast; Thy fruit is found in me, sayes God, ver. 7. although this is to be added by way of caution and difference, that therein God doth proportion his influence to our endeavours, which in conversion at first he doth not. Therefore we are said to be fellow workers with him, al­though it be he that gives the increase, 1 Cor. 3. 6, 7, 8. the same you have also, Rom. 8. We by the Spirit doe mortifie the deeds of the flesh. We, as co-workers with the Spirit.


A Table of the Contents of this Booke.

The Introduction. THe summe and division of the words, and the subject of this Discourse. Page 1 Some Observations premised of this Parable of the Vine:
  • 1. Obser. How Christ is the Vine, and the onely true Vine. 3
  • 2. Obser. How God the Father is the Husbandman. Declared in five things. 6
  • 3. Obser. Two sorts of Branches in the Vine, fruitfull and unfruitfull. 8
  • An interpretation of those words, [Branches in me that bring not forth fruit.] By three things. 9
  • Three severall sorts of Branches that prove unfruitfull. 11
  • Some differences betweene true Branches and Temporary Branches, grounded on the Text. 12
    • 1. Difference. Temporary Beleevers bring not forth true fruit. And
    • What it is that makes a good work to be true fruit. ibid.
    • 2. Difference. Temporary Branches bring not forth fruit in Christ. 14
    • What it is to bring forth fruit in Christ, explained. 15
    • This Question, Whether in every act a Christian doth all in Christ, by his fetching vertue distinctly from him? Resolved by 3. things. 18
    • That every Beleever doth five things, which are truly and inter­pretatively to bring forth fruit in Christ. 19
  • 4. Obser. In the most fruitfull Branches there remaine corruptions to be purged out. The reasons of it. 22
  • 5. Obser. That yet for their corruptions God takes not such away. 28
  • 6. Obser. Ʋnfruitfull Branches God in the end cuts off. Foure degrees of Gods cutting them off, founded on the Text. 34
The Tryall of a Christians Growth. PART I. Of GROVVTH in bringing forth more fruit.
  • CHAP. I. That all true Branches in Christ doe grow: Proved,
    • 1. By Scriptures, Reasons. 38
      • 1. Reas. From Christs relation to us as an Head, and we his members. And herein,
        • [Page]1. From our conformity to him. 39
        • 2. From his having received all fulnesse to fill us. 40
        • 3. From our growth making up his fulnesse, as he is mystically considered one with us. ibid.
      • 2. Reas. From God the Father, who
        • 1. Hath appointed every one their measure. 41
        • 2. Hath promised it. ibid.
        • 3. Hath appointed means for it. ibid.
      • 3. Reas. From the Saints themselves, who cannot be saved unlesse they grow. ibid.
  • CHAP. II. An explication how the Saints doe grow. Many considerations to satisfie the tentations of those that discern not their growth. 42
    • 1. Consid. more generall, shewing what sort of Christians this tentation doth usually befall. ibid.
    • 2. Consid. more particular, As
      • 1. That growing in grace is a Mysterie rather to be apprehended by faith, then by sense. 44
      • 2. The eager desire which many have to grow, and attaine to more grace, hinders them from discerning their growth. ibid.
      • 3. The progresse is not in many so discernable, as the change at their first conversion is, or as their first growth. The reasons of it. ibid.
      • 4. To discern of growth there must be time allowed. 45
      • 5. There are severall wayes by which men are brought to that measure ap­pointed them, in which some have the advantage of others. ibid.
        • 1. Some have a greater stock of grace given them at first: which is done in two cases. 46
        • 2. In the manner of growing, God puts much difference,
          • 1. Some grow without intermission.
          • 2. Some God sooner ripens for heaven. ibid.
  • CHAP. III. What it is to bring forth more fruit, explicated negatively, by removing many mistakes. 46
    • 1. It is not to grow onely or chiefly in gifts, as abilities to pray, and preach, or in knowledge, but in graces. 47
    • Three cautions herein. ibid.
    • 2. Our bringing forth more fruit is not to be measured by the successe of our gifts, the fruits of our doings, but by the Doings themselves. 48
    • [Page] 3. It is not simply to be estimated by the largenesse or smalnesse of our oppor­tunities of doing good, (which may vary) but by an heart to doe good. 50
    • 4. It is not alwayes to be measured by accessary graces, as joy, spirituall ravish­ments, &c. ibid.
    • 5. It is not be measured by encreasing in profession, and seeming forward­nesse, but by inward and substantiall godlinesse. 51
    • 6. How in the largnesse of the affections to good, there may be a decrease: And how young Christians may have more large affections; which yet are not so genuine and spirituall. ibid.
    • 7. We must not measure our growth, by our growing in some kind or sort of duties, but in the universall extent of godlinesse, and in duties both of our generall and particular callings. 53
    • How young Christians abound more often in holy duties for a time, and the necessity of this for their condition. ibid.
  • CHAP. IV. What it is to bring forth more fruit, explicated positively: Wherein many direct tryals of such a growth are given. 55
    • 1. Tryall. If we goe on to the exercise of new graves. ibid.
    • 2. Tryall. If we find new degrees of the same grace added. 56
    • 3. Tryall. If fruits and duties grow more ripe and spirituall, though not more in bulk. 57
    • What it is that gives a spirituall relish to this fruit.
    • 4. Tryall. If the heart grows more rooted into Christ. 58
    • 5. Tryall. If we learne more to bring forth fruit in reason. 59
    • 6. Tryall. If we grow more constant and eaven in a holy course. ibid.
    • 7. Tryall. If though our difficulties and oppositions be more, and means lesse, yet we continue to bring forth as well as when our meanes were more, and difficulties lesse. ibid.
    • 8. Tryall. If though we doe lesse, yet we grow more wise, and faithfull to lay out our abilities, and improve our opportunities to the greater advantages for Gods glory and the good of others. 60
The Tryall of a Christians Growth. PART II. Of Growth in purging our corruption.
  • CHAP. I. The Observation out of the Text propounded, that God goes on to purge out our corruptions. Bounds set to the Discourse about it.
    • [Page]The reasons of the point. 64
  • CHAP. II. The wayes God useth to purge out corruption out of his children, with the means by which he causeth them to grow to a further measure therein. 65
    • 1. Occasionall. ibid.
    • 2. Instrumentall. 66
    • 3. Examples. 67
    • 4. Inward workings, which consists in five things. ibid.
  • CAAP. III. The Tryall of Growth in Mortification.
    • 1. By negative signes, or such as argue much corruption remaining unpurged out. As 71
      • 1. If a man doth magnifie and set a high price upon worldly and carnall excellencies and pleasures. ibid.
      • 2. If our minds be carryed out to superfluities, and more than needs, and are discontented with our owne condition. 73
      • 3. If our minds be so glewed to any thing, that we know not how to part with it. ibid.
      • 4. If our hearts be distempered under variety of conditions, and are very inordinate in them all, whether they be prosperous, or adverse. 74
      • 5. The more carnall confidence we have in the creatures; and our spirits being up held by them. 75
      • 6. The more full of envyings and heart-burnings against others, as to get the credit from them, &c. ibid.
      • 7. The lesse able we are to bear reproofs for the breaking forth of our lusts. 76
      • 8. The more quick and speedy the tentation is in prevailing upon the heart. 77
      • 9. The more power our lusts have to disturb us in holy duties. ibid.
      • 10. If the bare recalling former sins committed, prove a new snare to entice the heart. 87
  • CHAP. IV.
    • 2. The Tryall of Mortification by positive signes, which argue a good degree of that work in the heart: As
      • 1. The more insight a man hath into spirituall corruptions, ioyned with a con­flict against them. 79
      • 2. The more we grow up to a readinesse, willingnesse, freenesse, and cheerful­nesse of heart to deny our selves. 80
      • 3. The more stable, [...]eaven, and constant we are in well doing, and the more durable an holy frame of heart in us is. 81
      • 4. The mnre spirituall taste and relish of the spirituall part of the Word we have. 82
      • [Page] 5. The more ashamed we grow of former carriages, and sensible of former weaknesses. ibid.
      • 6. The weaker we find our lusts to be in the time of tentation. ibid.
      • 7. The more ability we have to abstaine from occasions and opportunities of satisfying our lusts. 84
      • 8. If we linger not after the objects of our lusts, when they are absent, but are weaned from them. ibid.
  • CHAP. V. Some Cautions to prevent mis-judging by false rules. As also This Case resolved, Whether Growth in Grace may be judged by the ordinary prevailing of corruption, or the ordinary acting of mans grace. 85
    • 1. Caution. That men are not to estimate their progresse in grace, by having overcome such lusts as their natures are not so prone unto: but that a judgment hereof is to be made from the decay of the bosome sin. ibid.
    • 2. Caution. We are not to judge by extraordinary assistances, nor extraordinary temptations. 86
    • This Caution explicated by three things. 87
    • This Question resolved, Whether we may certainly judge of the degrees of our mortification to lusts, by the ordinary risings and prevailings of them, or by the ordinary acting and exercise of our graces. 88
    • Answered affirmatively. ibid.
    • An Objection, That the Spirit is a voluntary Agent, who may act a lesse degree of grace more then a greater.
    • Answered. 90
    • 1. That yet the holy Ghost ordinarily assists according to the propor­tion of grace given. ibid.
    • 2. That the acting of grace encreaseth the habits more and so it comes all to one. 91
      Two limitations herein.
      • 1. That God for some time of a mans life may leave a strong Christian to greater corruption then a weake, and act a weak Christians grace more. ibid.
      • God may have four ends in such a dispensation. ibid.
      • 2. Limitation. If a weak Christian be more watchfull over his lusts for a time, then a stronger Christian: yet his weaknesse is discovered by two things. 94
  • CHAP. VI. Five Cautions more added to the two former, to prevent such mis-judging.
    • 3. Caut. To take into consideration our severall occasions to draw out corrup­tions, and means to draw forth graces. 96
    • [Page] 4. Caut. To consider the naturall temper of a mans owne spirit; whether it be quick and active, or slow. ibid.
    • 5. To consider what force restraining grace hath in us, which often makes morti­fication seeme greater then it is. 97
    • 6. Not to judge from our present listlesnesse to sin; which may arise from other causes besides true mortification; and so may make that seeme to be much more at some times then in truth it is. 99
    • The difference betweene listlesnesse to sinne, and true mortification, in two things. 101
    • 7. Not to judge of the measure of mortification simply by the sharpnesse and edge of our affections against sin, but by our inward strength against it.
    • A discovery how that edge of affection against sin may deceive us, and how a young Christian may have a quicker stirring against sin, when he hath lesse strength. 102
The Tryall of a Christians Growth. PART III. Resolving some Questions about Growth in Mortification, Vivification.
  • 1. About Growth in Mortification, two Questions:
    • 1. Whether every new degree of Mortification be alwayes universall, extending it selfe to every sin. 104
    • Answer affirmative, and that for three reasons. 105
    • An Objection answered. 106
    • 2. Quest. Whether in the endeavours of a beleever to mortifie some one parti­cular lust, that lust becomes not more mortified then others.
    • Answered. 107
  • 2. About Growth in Vivification three Questions:
    • 1. Quest. Whether every new degree of Grace runs through all the faculties.
    • Answered affirmatively. 108
    • 2. Quest. Whether one grace may not grow more then another.
    • Answered by two Propositions. ibid.
    • 3. Quest. (Concerning the manner of this Growth)
    • Whether it be a deeper radicating the same grace in the heart, or by a new addition.
    • Answered. 109

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