THE ANATOMIE OF INFIDELITIE. OR, An Explication of the Na­ture, Causes, Aggravati­ons, and Punishment of UNBELIEF.


LONDON, Printed by J. D. for Jonathan Robinson, at the Golden-Lion in St. Paul's Church­yard. 1672.


IT is the Supreme Wisdome, Interest, and Perfection of Man, who is an intelli­gent Being, to understand, & adhere unto his last End, and whatever means conduce thereto: This is stiled, Luke 19. 42. To know the things that belong unto our peace. And the supreme end of our Great Lord, in espousing Human Nature, was, to acquaint Sinners with the things that belong to their peace, and bring them into an immediate Capacitie for the Fruition of them. Is it not then the highest piece of Folie, and Madnesse, for rational Creatures, to shut their Eyes, and Hearts against that, which is their supreme Happinesse? Is there so much Beautie in the Deformi­tie of Sin? So much Pleasure in the [Page] Chains and Fetters of Satan? So much Libertie in the Vassalage, and Bondage of Lusts? So much Content in the embraces of an heart-distracting World? So much peace and ease in the stings, and troubles of a tormented Conscience? So much life in the death of Sin, and Hel torments, as to make a rational soul amorous of, and in love with them? If not, how comes it to passe, that men mind not more the things that belong unto their peace? Was it ever known that any, but mad men, would take delight to see their own heart-bloud gush out? Would any but blind fools spurne at food, the most delicious, satisfying food, when offered to their famished souls? May we not count such be­witched Sots, who plot, and contrive, by al means possible, to ruine them­selves? And yet, Lo! is not this the Case of al such, who wil not know, and embrace the things that be­long unto their peace, when offered to them? Alas! What a world of such mad, and blind fools are there? Yea, how many great Professors, yea [Page] how many Churches, fal under this black brand of Folie and Mad­nesse? Was not this Jerusalem's sin and folie, for which she has paid so dear, for 1600 years? And has Je­rusalem been alone in this sin? Has not England also dranke very deep of this venimous, intoxicating Cup? And what may we expect but Jeru­salem's prodigious Ruines, unlesse we al make haste, to know and embrace the things that belong unto our peace, before they are hid from our eyes?

The designe therefore of this en­suing Discourse, is to awaken, and provoke secure unbelievers, and slumber­ing Professors, deeply to consider, and chearfully to embrace Evangelic offers of Life, and Grace, before it be too late. And our First Book is wholly spent in the explication of our Lords dole­ful Lamentation, Luke 19, 41. over Jerusalems Sins and Ruines. Where­in we have endeavored to explicate, What were Jerusalem's Church-wa­sting Sins, and Ruines, which our Lord here laments; in order to a Con­viction of, and Lamentation over our [Page] own Sins, and approching Ruines, if not prevented by a timous Repen­tance, and closing with the things of our peace.

And because Jerusalem's main Sin was Infidelitie, this therefore is the chief subject of what follows Book 2. Wherein we have endeavored to ex­plicate the black and prodigious Na­ture of Unbelief, in the several parts thereof; and that in opposition to Faith, whereof it is a Privation. Wherein we have also opened the Nature, and main essential Ingredi­ents of Faith: which indeed compre­hends the chief vitals of Christianitie; and therefore requires our most dili­gent Attention, and curious Inquisi­tion.

The next great and commun Head to be explicated is the Causes of Infideli­tie: which wil open to us, what a great Mysterie of Iniquitie lies at the Root of Unbelief. Hence we are to procede to its Aggravations, which wil discover to us the monstrous Magni­tude of this sin. And thence follows the severe Punishment, and Vengeance, [Page] which the righteous God inflicteth for this Sin of Infidelitie. These things wil, if Providence favor, and assist our desires, be the subject of several Discourses. Only, that I might not at present wholly frustrate the Readers expectations, I have in the Corollaries, and Uses of the Second Book given some Hints and Intimations of the chief Particulars, which I intend to dis­course of under the following Heads. As for the Forme of the Discourse, I thinke I may with Sinceritie say, I have endeavored to suit it to my Ma­ter. I would hate sinful Affectation of Words, or Things, merely to please itching curious spirits, as much as Hel. Yet if any words occur that may give lustre and efficace to the Truths discoursed of, I cannot thinke myself obliged to reject them, because not so vulgar, as other words lesse proper are. Only, if thou meet with any word beyond thy capacitie to apprehend, remember that the follow­ing word usually explains the same.


Christ's Lamentation over Jerusalem.

  • An Explication of Luke 19. 41. Pag. 1.
  • THe Contexture of the words, Pag. 2.
  • And when he was come near, 3.
  • He beheld the Citie, 4, 5.
  • And wept over it. 6, 7, 8.
  • Chap. 2. The most solemne Profession without Sinceritie wil not satisfie Christ, 9-13.
  • Chap. 3. Previous, and General Observations, 13.
  • Chap. 4. Church-sins bring Church-ruines, 17.
  • Evil of doing brings the evil of suffering, 18.
  • Sin in itself the worst evil. 19.
  • Chap. 5. A numeration of Jerusalem's sins, 22.
  • 1. Ʋnbelief a Church-ruinating Sin, Ibid.
  • 2. Carnal Presumtion, 24.
  • 3. Spiritual Pride, 27.
  • 4. Carnal Securitie, 29-31.
  • 5. Carnal Confidence, 32.
  • [Page] 6. Earthly-mindednes, Pag. 33.
  • 7. Ʋnfruitfulnesse, 34.
  • 8. Persecution of the Prophets, 35.
  • 9. Want of Reformation, 36.
  • 10. Impenitence, 37.
  • 11. Apostasie, 38.
  • Chap. 6. Divine wrath the effective Cause of Jerusalem's Ruines. 40.
  • The effects of Divine wrath on Jerusalem, 43.
  • 1. Temporal jugements, Ibid.
  • 2. Spiritual jugements, 45, 46.
  • Chap. 7. 1. The Qualities of Christs tears, 47.
  • (1.) They are Divine, Ibid.
  • (2.) Rational. (3.) Free. (4.) Sincere, 48, 49.
  • (5.) Spiritual. (6.) Generous. (7.) Humble, 49-51.
  • (8.) Pathetic. (9.) Sympathetic, 52, 53.
  • (10.) Seasonable. (11.) Public, 54.
  • 2. The efficaces of Christ's Tears, 55.
  • (1.) Prophetic. (2.) Instructive. (3.) Exhortative. ib.
  • (4.) Threatning. (5.) Intercessorie, 56.
  • (6.) Influential. (7.) Exemplary, 57, 58.
  • Chap. 8. The Motives of Christs Tears, 59.
  • (1.) As a Father. (2.) As an Husband, ibid. 60.
  • (3.) As her Lord. (4.) As a Minister, 61, 62.
  • (5.) Christs natural relation to Jerusalem, 64.
  • Chap. 9. Doctrinal Corollaries, ibid.
  • 1. Christs Affections relative, ibid.
  • 2. Christs Affections most pure, 65.
  • 3. Christs real Wil to save sinners, ibid.
  • 4. The Aggravations of such as refuse Christ, 67
  • 5. Mans Ruine from himself, 68.
  • Use 1. Advice to studie Englands Sins, 69.
  • Use 2. Mourne over Englands Sins and Mi­series, 71.
  • [Page] Use 3. Caution against Church-sins, Pag. 74.

Wherein the Nature of Infidelitie consists?

  • Chap. 1. The Explication of Luke 19. 42. 76.
  • Chap. 2. Eighteen general Observations drawn from Luke 19. 42. 86-98.
  • Chap. 3. What the things of our peace are, which men disbelieve, 99.
  • 1. Ʋnbelief as to the Scriptures in general, 100.
  • 2. Ʋnbelief as to the Gospel, 104.
  • 1. As to maters of Grace, 105.
  • (1.) The Realitie of Evangelic offers, 106.
  • (2.) The freedome of the Covenant, 107.
  • (3.) The Ʋniversalitie of its offers. 108.
  • (4.) The Riches of Grace in the Covenant, 109.
  • (5.) The Immutabilitie of the Covenant, 111.
  • 2. Ʋnbelief as to maters of Providence, 112-115.
  • 3. Ʋnbelief as to future Glorie, ibid.
  • The formal object of Ʋnbelief, 117.
  • Chap. 4. Ʋnbelief as opposed to the Assent of Faith, 119.
  • 1. Rejection of Divine Truths, 120.
  • 2. Non-Attention to sacred Notions, ibid.
  • 3. Implicite Assent is Ʋnbelief, 121.
  • 4. When Assent is not supernatural, 123.
  • 5. When Assent is only superficial, 125.
  • 6. When Assent is not real, 126.
  • 7. When Assent is not Spiritual, 128.
  • 8. A general confused Assent, 129.
  • [Page] 9. A suspense douting Assent, 130-133.
  • 10. An inevident, obscure Assent, 133.
  • 11. A legal Assent, 134.
  • 12. A forced Assent, 135.
  • 13. A fluctuating Assent, 138.
  • 14. An undervaluing Assent. 140.
  • 15. A barren Assent. 141.
  • Chap. 5. The real Objects of Infidelitie, 142.
  • Infidelitie strikes at (1.) God himself, 143.
  • (2.) His Divine Attributes, Soveraintie, &c. 144.
  • (3.) Divine Providences. (4.) Ordinances, ib.
  • Ʋnbelief rejects Christ, 145.
  • Ʋnbelief rejects Heaven, 146.
  • The Acts of Ʋnbelief. 1. Rejection of Chirst, 147.
  • (1.) By open opposition of him, 148.
  • (2.) By Dislikes of him, 149.
  • (3.) By heart-Cavils against him, 150.
  • (4.) By not approving the reports of Christ, 151.
  • (5.) By Delays, as to a closure with him, 153.
  • Chap. 6. The Wils defective reception of Christ. 156.
  • 1. As to the Object 1. in receiving a false Christ, 158.
  • (1.) A compound Christ, Ibid.
  • (2.) A Divided Christ, 160.
  • 2. The true Christ under false respects, 163.
  • (1.) In regard of Motives, Ibid.
  • (2.) In regard of Christs Grandeur, 164.
  • (3.) When Christ is not received as offered, 165.
  • 2. The Defects of the subject. (1.) When the Wil is rotten, 166.
  • (2.) When the Wil is languid and faint, 167.
  • (3.) When the Wil is only terrified, 169.
  • Ch. 7. 3. Ʋnbelief as opposed to Adherence, 174.
  • [Page] 4. Diffidence and Distrust, Pag. 178.
  • 5. Dissatisfaction of heart, 182.
  • 6. The Disobedience of Ʋnbelief, 185.
  • 7. Non-application of Christs Grace, 189.
  • 8. Putting far off Christs coming, 190.
  • Chap. 8. Doctrinal Corollaries.
  • Cor. 1. Almost-Believers may procede very far, and yet remain Infidels, 195.
  • (1.) How far as to Assent, 196.
  • (2.) How far as to Consent, 197.
  • Cor. 2. There is a boundlesse difference betwixt Saving Faith, and Commun: As to 199.
  • (1.) Knowlege, 200.
  • (2.) Self-denial, 201.
  • (3.) A legal and evangelic spirit, 202.
  • (4.) The Bent of the wil towards Christ, 204.
  • (5.) Purifying the heart from Sin, 206.
  • (6.) Transformation of the heart into the Image of Christ, 207.
  • (7.) The use of means, 208.
  • (8.) The Foundation, 209.
  • (9.) The End and Rule, Ibid.
  • (10.) Gods Faithfulnesse, ibid.
  • Cor. 3. No middle 'twixt Faith & Ʋnbelief, ib.
  • Cor. 4. Saving Faith most rare, but Commun faith most cheap. 211.
  • Cor. 5. Believers have much Unbeief, 214.
  • Cor. 6. Unbelief is the greatest Sin, 217.
  • Cor. 7. This justifies God in his greatest seve­ritie against Unbelievers, 221.
  • Chap. 9. Practic Ʋses.
  • Ʋse, 1. Studie the Mysterie of Infidelitie, 224.
  • Studie the Causes of Infidelitie, 227.
  • (1.) Spiritual darknesse. (2.) Carnal reason, 228.
  • [Page] (3.) Carnal Securitie. (4.) Self-love, ibid.
  • (5.) Spiritual Pride. (6.) Short-spirited­nesse, 229.
  • (7.) Beloved lusts, Ibid.
  • Use, 2. Of Lamentation and Humiliation for the prevalence of Infidelitie, 230.
  • Motives to humble our selves for Ʋnbelief, 232.
  • Use, 3. Of Examination, whether our Faith be saving, or only commun; also how far we fal under Infidelitie, 233.
  • Heart-examens by way of Soliloquie, 236.
  • Use 4. Of Exhortation to deal with Infidelite, as our worst enemie, 238.
  • Use 5. Pursue after Faith; as the most ex­cellent and useful Grace, 245.
  • The excellent effects of Faith, 246.
  • The opposite Qualities of Faith and Ʋnbe­lief. 249

Scriptures Explicated.

32.34, 45.38.
2 Samuel.
2 Chronicles.
37.1, 7.187.
8.14, 15.32.
6.30, 31, 32.113.
19.20, 21, 22.159.
7.29, 30.152.
14.26, 33.185.
19.41.3, &c.
19.42.76, &c.
1.11.61, 161.
12.12, 13.10.
4.19, 20, 21.131.
10.15, 16.106.
1 Corinthians.
4.9, 21.184.
1.13, 14.191.
1 Thessalonians.
3.12, 14.175, 176.
12.38, 39.177.
2 Peter


PAge 11. l. 5. read pretensions.

P. 12. running title, r. without.

P. 23. l. 2. for ying r. lying.

P. 37. l. 28. r. [...].

P. 62. l. [...]. after his own, put a Colon.

P. 78. l. 7. r. particle

P. 85. l. 21. for thenc r. thence.

P. 111. l. 21. r. whereon.

P. 144. l. 18. after under adde the.

P. 178. l. 18. for me r. him.

P. 179. l. 11. r. [...]

P. 191. l. 7. [...]

l. 16. r. [...].

P. 192. l. 2. r. [...].

P. 193. l. 1. for has leaning, read hastening.

The Anatomie of Infidelitie.

A general account of Christ's Lamen­tation over Jerusalem.

Luke 19. 41.‘And when he was come near he beheld the citie, and wept over it.’

An Explication of the Text, Luke 19. 41.

AS Israels Temporal Benedicti­ons were Symbolic Images, or Types of Spiritual blessings, promissed to the believing seed of Abraham; so her Temporal Jugements, were also Symbols, or Typi [...] Sha­dows, of Spiritual Jugements, threatned to, and inflicted on Evangelic Unbelievers.

And to confirme this, 'tis worth our obser­vation, that most, if not al of those expressi­ons in Scripture, wherebySee Mede on Prov. 21. 16. pag. 91. Diatr. 1. the place of eternal punishment is represented, relate, and allude to some places, or stories, remarquable for Gods exemplary vengeance, executed on sinners, under the old Testament. Yea, the [Page 2] last Destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, here foretold, and lamented by our Lord, is, by a Jackson of the Script. fol. 91. learned Author, stiled a Map af Hel. The Contemplation whereof is that which inclines me to pitch on this Scripture, as the seat of our ensuing Discourse, touching the Nature, Ag­gravations, and Punishment of Ʋnbelief. And I no way dout, but that it wil appear, in the [...], to be a truth, beyond al question, that our blessed Lord, in this his sad Lamentation over unbelieving Jerusalem, had no smal re­gard to Evangelic Unbelievers, who should despise the things that belong unto their peace, in these last days. For [...] is a golden rule, given us, by a greatSir Fran­cis Bacon. Master of wisdome, That the Word of God has various complements, or fulfill­ings, in successive periods, and Ages of the Church. And that this text in particular, may not be confined to the Judaic Church; but al­so justly be applied to Evangelic Unbelievers in al Ages; and particularly in this, wil appear by what follows, in the parallel, or proporti­on between one and t'other.

As for the Contexture, The con­texture of the words. or coherence of our Text, with the precedent discourse, it deserves a particular Remarque, as it lies couched in the first particle, And; as also in that following expression, when he was come near: which evi­dently connecteth this historie with what pre­cedes. Our Evangelist had hitherto declared with what joyous Acclamations, and Congra­tulations, the vulgar Jews welcomed their pro­missed Messias; How chearfully they recognised him as their soverain Lord, and King; What [Page 3] loud Hosanna's, and Psalmes of praise they sang unto him: He now procedes to expound, with what a triste and pensive minde; with what a bleeding and melted Heart; with what a mournful and weeping countenance Christ re­ceived them. They rejoice in their new-found Messias, and King; but he weeps over them: They seem to Instal him, and lift him on his Throne; but he with tears laments their final Ʋnbelief, Contumacie, and Ruine not far off. This seems to be the natural connexion of the words, as it wil further appear by what follows.

As for the explication of the words,The Expli­cation. we shal be as brief as our mater wil permit.

That first particle [...],And. And, is usually taken copulatively, as it connects the following dis­course with what precedes: and so it describes to us a considerable Circumstance, of this Histo­rie, namely the Time of Christ's Lamentation over Jerusalem; which was immediately after their solemne Acclamations of joy, and Hosan­na's to him, as their Messias.

Hence it follows,When he was come near. When he was come near. This gives us another great circumstance of Christs Lamentation; and that is the place; which was the Mount of Olives; from whence Christ, being now in his descent, had a direct, and ful prospect of Jerusalem offered to his eye; which, amidst al the peoples joyous Salutati­ons, so far pierced, and affected his heart, as it brake forth into this doleful Lamentation. It is natural to the spirit of a man to break forth into a passion of grief, at the approche, and view of any grievous and displeasing ob­ject.

[Page 4] And that which makes this place the more remarquable is, that here it was that David, the Type of Christ, bewailed the re­bellion of his son Absolon; as 2 Sam. 15. 30. And David went up by the ascent of mount Olivet, and wept as he went up, &c. David, at every ascent, poured out a quantitie of tears, in la­menting the contumacie of his natural son Ab­solon; so Christ, the celestial David, at every descent, sends forth many tears, in bewailing the contumacie of his federal sons, of Jerusalem. And that which yet further aggravates this circumstance of place is, that (which Christ foresaw) on this very mount of Olives, where Christ now laments the sin and ruines of Jeru­salem, the Romans in their first siege against this Citie, began to pitch their tents, as Jose­phus, in his 6 Book of the Jewish war, Chap. 9. observes. So that wel might our blessed Lord make this place the seat of his Lamentation, which he foresaw would be the first seat of their National ruine. But it follows:

He beheld] The participle [...],He beheld. wants not its peculiar Emphase, in that it denotes a cer­tain person, viz. Christ; which gives us ano­ther notable circumstance, much conducing to the explication of the whole. O! What a Great, Illustrious HE is here? What Won­ders of Wonders lie wrapt up▪ in this HE? What tongue, or thought, of Men, or Angels, can expresse, or conceive, the infinite Dimen­sions of this little Pronoun? Who can declare his Generation? Is not this HE, he that first ga [...]e Being, and Welbeing to Jerusalem, as to [Page 5] althings else? Did not this HE, bring her out of Egypt, that house of Bondage? Was not this Noble HE her Protector, and Con­ductor in the Wildernesse? Was not this Sove­rain HE, her King and Lawgiver in Canaan? Did not this Infinite Eternal HE, descend down into the womb of a virgin, and espouse human Nature, thereby to put himself into an apt Capacitie, to be Jerusalem's Savior? Who was this Celebrious HE, but the Messias, a borne Jew, who had Judaic bloud running in his veins, a Judaic heart to pitie, Judaic eyes to weep over, a Judaic tongue to plead with, importune, and beseech impenitent unbelieving Jerusalem, to accept of the things that did belong unto her peace? This was that Heroic, Generous, and Illustrious HE, who here Beheld, not only with the eyes of his bodie, but also with the eye of his Omniscient Divinitie, the pre­sent impenitent, contumacious, unbelieving; and the future miserable, ruinous and desolate state of Jerusalem: for so it follows.

[...], THE Citie] with an Emphase; For the Article here points out a certain Citie, and that with a remarque, and accent.

THE Citie, The Citie which was his first Bride; but now an Adultresse; who plotted, how she might embrew her hands in her husbands bloud: THE Citie, wherein the Oracles of God, and Gracious Tokens of his presence were first loged, Rom. 3. 1. THE Citie, which did once oblige herself, by a firme Covenant, or oath of Allegeance and Supremacie, to sub­mit to him, as her crowned King, and Lawgiver, [Page 6] but now turnes her back upon him, and cries up no king but Cesar; who ere long would be her ruine. THE Citie which was sometimes the Beautie of Holinesse, and Seat of Divine Worship; but now is become the Sinke of al vices, and Satans Throne, or Synagogue. Last­ly THE Citie, to which he had in person preached the joyful sound, and glad tidings of Salvation; to which he had offered the first handsel of evangelic love, and Free grace; which he had been so long wooing, and court­ing to be happy in the embracement of himself, and al other things, that did belong unto her peace: But she would not. And what follows?

And wept.] What? the Lord of Glorie Weep! he that was God blessed for evermore drop tears! how comes this to passe? what a strange Accident is here? whence spring these Divine Tears? Surely it must be some prodigi­gious Cause, that draws this holy water, from those sacred eyes of God-Man. [...] &c. Some (o­therwi [...]e) Orthod [...]x, took away the word, [wept] not under­standing its force and strength. [...]piphani­us in An­corato. Some of the Ancients, otherwise orthodoxe, were so far struck with the sense of this prodigie, as that they thought it incredible, that the Son of God should weep: and therefore, not under­standing the sense, force, and efficace of these Divine tears, they left out this word, wept. But that Christ, God-man, was capable of weeping, is evident by the like passion else­where; as at his friend Lazarus's grave, John 11. 35. and on the crosse, or in the gar­den, as Hebr. 5. 7. But yet the rari [...]ie of this, or any other passionate emotion in Christ, argues some stupendous, and strange ground, or oc­casion [Page 7] thereof. Certainly nothing ordinary came from Christ: his commun words, and actions were not ordinary: much lesse may we conceive his tears, which so rarely dropt from him, to be of an ordinary tincture, and origine. No, they were the Tears of God, and therefore must have much of Divinitie in them, both as to their Rise, Mater, End, Occasiou, &c. They were wise, judicious Tears, not foolish, as ours usually are: They were spontaneous and free, not forced, and strained, as ours oft are: They were not sullen and pettish tears, as ours; but meek, the tears of the Lamb of God: They were not selfish and private tears; but generous, and public, for National sin, and miserie. These Tears were spiritual, not carnal; regular not inordinate: they had not so much of passion, as of compassion, and commiseration in them: Our tender-hearted Lord seems to forget his own Passion, which was near, whiles his bowels rolled with Compassions, towards an impenitent ingrateful Citie. They are the tears, of an affectionate Physician, bleeding over the wounds of his self-murdering Patient; of a gracious, generous Prince, bewailing the wilful Rebelli­on of his dying Subjects. In short, these Tears are very Amorous, precious, and efficacious; in­viting weary and heavy-laden sinners to accept of rest; forewarning the obstinate and impeni­tent of their danger; instructing the ignorant and weak in their dutie, of believing on him; encouraging the scrupulous and douting soul, to come unto him, and finally, interceding for such as belonged to the Election of Grace, [Page 8] though at present enemies to him. Such were the noble Qualities, and Divine efficaces of these sacred tears, as it wil appear by what fol­lows.

[...],Over it over it] or, for it; or by reason of it; which connotes, or hints to us the Ag­gravation, or Weight of the impulsive cause; what it was that excited, or drew forth this sacred passion; namely Jerusalems present sin, and coming miserie. As for her sin it lay chiefly in this: Our blessed Lord being ordained and commissionated, by God the Father, to gather in the lost sheep, of the house of Israel, nothing was more deeply fixed in his heart, than the execution of this his commission and office: Now drawing near to Jerusalem, and having a view of it in his eye, it could not but melt, and break his heart, to consider, that she, who was the sacred Seat of the Covenant; wherein the Di­vine Majestie had so long resided, with many significant Symbols and tokens of his presence; I say, that she should reject her Lord, and Husband, after so many importunate wooings, invitations, and offers made of the things that did belong unto her peace. As for her approch­ing Miserie, that also was mater of sad la­mentation; and that in many regards.

1. That henceforward al the great things of her peace should be, as a sealed book, hid from her eyes. 2. That she, who was the Beautie and Glorie of al Nations, should, within a few years, lie buried in her own ruines. 3. That (which is the worst of al) al her plagues and jugements, were sealed and subscribed by Di­vine [Page 9] wrath, and Vengeance. Oh! this was sad indeed, that al her Woes, must stand sealed with the Mediators black curse.

No wonder then, that her crowned King, and Mediator, who was a borne Jew, and Mi­nister of the Covenant, doth here, by virtue of his place and office; and also by reason of his near Alliance to Jerusalem, deplore and lament over her sinful forlorne state. Thus much for the explication of the Lamentation it self. Be­fore we procede to the mater of Christs Lamen­tation, mentioned in the following words, we shal make some brief Reflexions on, Observations from, and Ʋseful Improvemen [...]s of the words ex­plicated.

The most solemne profession without sinceritie wil not satisfie Christ.

FRom the contexture of this v. 41. with the precedent discourse, by comparing Christ's posture towards them, with their posture to­wards him,Doct. 1. we may Observe, That the most so­lemne profession of Honor and Subjection unto Christ, wil not satisfie him, without real Affecti­on, and Performance.

These awakened, convinced Jews welcome Christ with the highest profession of Joy, and the most solemne Rites, due to him as their Messias, v. 37, 38. where it is said, The whole multitude of the Disciples, began to rejoice, and [Page 10] praise God with a loud voice for al the mightie works that they had seen; saying, blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord, peace in Heaven, and glorie in the highest. If we com­pare this acclamation,John 12. 12. 13. with the same mention­ed John 12. 12, 13. We shal find many consi­derable circumstances, which confirme our observation. For (1) it is said, John 12. 12, 13. that the Multitude of Disciples, which sung Hosannas to Christ, came from Jerusalem to meet him: which argues, they were but a mixt multitude, who being struck with a sense of his mightie workes, could not but recognise him, as their crowned King and Savior: albeit many of them, as 'tis most likely, within a few days crie, with as loud a voice, Crucifie, cru­cifie him. (2) Its said, John 12. 13. that these awakened Jews, took branches of palme-trees in their hands, [...]] signum lae­titiae. Grot. which was a Symbol of their joy, as Luke 19. 37. Oh! how much were they overjoyed to see their long waited for Messias? Thence it follows, (3) and they cried Hosanna, (i. e. Save now, as Psal. 118. 25.) blessed is the King that cometh in the name of the Lord. This last clause is taken from Ps. 118. 26. and is appa­rently a solemne Rite or Ceremonie used for the inaugurating of their promissed Messias, Thus we see what solemne acclamations of joy, Titles of Honor, and profession of subjection they give to Christ as their Messias. But doth al this sa­tisfie Christ? Doth he fully acquiesce, in these visible Apparances of their professed obedience to him? No surely; notwithstanding al their seeming joy in him, yet he weeps over the [Page 11] most of them, with the rest of their brethren, as those in whom he fulwel saw (by the omni­scient eye of his Divinitie) there was not any one dram of saving faith or love towards him. Hence it is apparent, that Pretentons of Honor, Love, and Friendship to Christ satisfie not him, without real Intentions of the same: Verbal Pro­fession, and superficial transient Affection signifie nothing in Christs account, without a delibe­rate, resolute, complete, ponderous, deep, and inviolable Bent of wil towards him. Christs omniscient eye pierceth thorow our very Na­tures, and is more intimate to us, than the most intimate part of our selves; and there­fore, albeit we may delude others, yea, our selves also, with the vizard, and masque of an hypocritic Profession; yet we cannot delude Christ: He sees that the first principle of such feigned profession is but some commun Illumi­nation, or languid Affection: He knows who they are that crie him up in profession, and yet despise, or crie him down in heart, and preva­lent Affection: He considers that such mens forced subjection to him, procedes only from legal principles, and therefore wil ere long de­generate into secret, if not open Rebellion a­gainst him. He sees such mens light is a burden to them; their faith lies level with the Interest of self; their starcht holinesse is but an artifi­cial, Pharisaic sanctitie, or at best, but some light touches, or superficial Impresses of the Spirit of Grace. In brief, Christ has, as Isai. 11. 3. a quick sent, to distinguish betwixt commun illuminations, and the saving light of life; between legal Humiliation, and evange­lic [Page 12] Repentance; betwixt painted watered ho­linesse, and sincere Grace: and therefore many Almost-Christians, who passe for Sheep in their own, and the worlds eyes, are but altogether Swine in Christs eye.

Hence we may learne,Ʋse 1 That awakened sinners may procede very far in the owning of Christ, and yet be disowned by him: They may, as these poor souls here, embrace him with much seeming joy; submit to him as their King, with much pre­tended chearfulnes; crie Hosanna, (i. e. save now) with much seeming Faith and Depen­dence on him as their Savior; and yet al this while Christ not own them as his loyal Sub­jects.

This also teacheth us,Ʋse 2 That there is a vast difference between mans jugement and Christs. Alas! how many are justified by us, as also in their own consciences; and yet condemned by Christ? As on the contrarie, how many are condemned by the World, and peradventure by their own Consciences as Hypocrites; who yet are justified by Christ?

This further instructs us,Ʋse 3 That a christians main worke is to approve himself to Christ. It maters not who condemnes, if Christ justifies; who curseth, if he blesseth; who kils, if he makes alive; who troubles, if he speak peace.

As Christ doth curse the Blessings; so also he doth blesse the Curses of the wicked, when unjustly pronounced, against the Godly. Wherefore Christians should mind more, how they may approve themselves to Christ, than what may commend them to the world.

[Page 13] This also admonisheth us,Ʋse 4 mostly to intend, and look wel to Heart-work. For 'tis the since­ritie of the heart only that commends us unto Christ. Externe formes, and Apparences of pietie commend us to the Church, but unlesse there be an inward Power and Realitie of Grace in the Heart, al our visible formes do but render us more slie, cunning Hypocrites, and so more loathsome & abominable in the eye of Christ.

Lastly, this discovers to us, the desperate curse and plague that abides on self-deluding sinners; Ʋse 5 Such as extol Christ in profession, but yet con­tinue enemies to him in Affection; such as go forth with their Palme-branches of seeming joy, to welcome Christ, and yet secretly in their hearts crucifie him; such as sing Hosanna's to him, as their crowned King; and yet reserve the Bent of their hearts as a throne for some base lust. Certainly, such Almost-Christians, are no better than Almost-Devils: the white­nesse of their fair, but false pretences of honor to Christ, doth but aggravate the blacknes of of their sin in rejecting of him: the masque of their profession, serves but to concele a rotten heart: Their seeming Godlines serves but more effectually to oppose that which is such in truth.

Previous, and general Observations from the Text.

WE now procede to the bodie of our Text, and therein the first thing that occurs, is the circumstance of place, wherein our blessed Lord made this his doleful Lamentation over Jeru­salem, [Page 14] contained in that expression, [And when he was come near].And when he was come near. Doc. 2. Whence observe, That the approche of any afflictive, or miserable object draws forth grief & pitie, from a christian & gracious spirit.

What is grief, but the emotion or rolling of the bowels at the presence of some grievous object? and the nearer the object is to us, either by Natural, Civil, or, Religious bonds, the greater wil our grief be, at the approche thereof. Jerusalem was allied to Christ by the most intimate, and essential bonds both of Na­ture, and Religion: he was borne of a Jewish Womb, educated in the Jewish Land, the crowned King of Jerusalem; which was a fe­derate Citie, allied to him by al manner of Ci­vil and Religious obligations; and therefore approaching near it, his bowels melt and turne within him, to think, that this Citie, so near and dear unto him, should not understand, or embrace the things that appertain to her peace; but on the contrarie, be at this very very time meditating and contriving his death, and her own ruine. But this wil come under further consideration in what follows.

We passe on to the Act of Christ, which ushered in, and opened the dore to this his sad Lamentation, [He beheld,] Hence observe 1.He Beheld That the Lord of Glorie did so far condescend to sinners, Doct. 3. as to clothe himself with human Na­ture, and Organs, thereby the more feelingly to commiserate and pitie them. And oh! What an infinite Ocean of condescendent grace is here? What unparalled Dimensions of eternal Love and Mercie, are there in the bowels of [Page 15] this tenderhearted Redemer? What? Was he indeed content to assume a mans heart, to bleed over sinners; a mans tongue to plead with and persuade sinners to be happie; a mans eyes, to water his exhortations with tears; yea, a mans soul and bodie to die for sin­ners? O! what wonders of superlative love, and condescendent pitie are here? Who would ever question the affectionate re­gard of such a compassionate Redemer? How comes it to passe that the blessed Lord, should borrow human eyes to behold and pitie sin­ners, and yet they want an eye of faith to be­hold their Savior? O! what monstrous in­gratitude is this, that the King of Sion, should stand gazing on sinners, 'til his heart dissolve into tears; and yet they stand amusing them­selves with Idols of clay, and never mind the gracious Regards of their Lord? Fie, fie on such blind, Idol-lovers!

2. From this Act, He beheld, we may fur­ther observe,Doct. 4. That Christs eye affects his heart; his sight moves his compassions. There are no sterile, jejune, or barren speculations in Christs eye; but al his contemplations are warme, and heart-melting: they break forth into Affecti­on, and end in Operation. Christs eye is not dul or sleepy, but vigilant and watchful: He watcheth over sinners, when they sleep over him: He beholds them with an eye of pitie and compassion, when they behold him, with an eye of bloud, and revenge: He casts a wist eye of sympathie, and lamentation towards Je­rusalem, whiles she is looking and considering how she may pul out his eyes and heart. O! what a compassionate eye is this?

[Page 16] Hence follows the object of Christs contem­plation; THE Citie and that is [THE Citie] i.e. The Citie, which was so nearly related, and yet so vastly opposite to him: The Citie which was his first Bride, and yet now a commun Harlot for Idol-lovers: the Citie, which was the Seat of his Glorious presence; but now a den of thieves and robbers: The Citie, which had been the Glorie of al Nations, but was now next dore to ruine.

Hence observe,Doct. 5. That the prevision, or con­templation of imminent danger occurring to a place or people, nearly related to us, doth much affect a serious, compassionate heart. Al Relati­ons cal for Affections: And there is no Affecti­on more proper for Relates under present, or impendent miserie, than compassion. That mother must needs have the heart of a Tiger, who seeing her child boiling in a Caldron of lead, hath no emotion of bowels for it▪ Christ here, whiles he beheld the Citie with the eyes of his bodie, did at the same time, with the eye of his omniscience, behold al the sins, and future miseries of Jerusalem; al her con­temt of his Evangelic offers, Love, and Grace; al her covenant-breaking, and Apostasies from him; al her bloody and mischievous designes against his Person, Crown, and Dignitie; with al the curses, plagues, and shours of Divine wrath, which would ere long pour down, as a Deluge, on her. This could not but melt his heart into tears, and draw from him the dole­ful Lamentation which follows. To see a de­luge of sin, exhaled or drawen up into clouds [Page 17] of Divine wrath, ready to burst asunder, and fal down in shours of vengeance, on a profes­sing Citie, or people nearly allied to us, cannot but dissolve an affectionate gracious heart, into shours of tears, and christian Lamentations. That must needs be an heart desperately obdu­rate and hard, that is not affected and moved at such a sight. But more of this in what en­sueth.

Church-sins the moral Causes of Church­Ruines, and therefore the chief mater of our lamentation.

WE now come to the Lamentation it self, expressed in those termes [And wept over it] Which we may forme into this Proposition,Doct. 6. or Doctrine, That nothing was mater of greater Lamentation unto Christ, and ought to be such unto us, than to behold the Ru­ines, of a professing Citie or Church, which has been long the Seat of Gods gracious Presence and Worship. This Proposition, which takes in the spirit and mind of the whole verse, I intend, with the Lords assistance, to insist somewhat more largely on. And for the explication hereof three Questions occur, as fit to be exa­mined by us: (1.) Touching the Object or mater of this Lamentation, What Christ here doth, and what we ought to lament? (2.) As to [Page 18] the Act, what Christs weeping here implies? (3.) As to the motives of this Lamentation, What it was that moved Christ to lament over the Ruines of this professing Citie, or Church of Jerusalem?

1. Q. What Christ here doth, and what we ought to lament, in the ruines of a professing Citie, or Church, which hath been long the Seat of Gods gracious Presence and Worship? For the Reso­lution of this Question, we may consider the Ruines of a professing Citie or Church, (1.) In their Causes, (2.) In the Effects of those Causes. (1.) As for the Causes of these Ruines, they are either Moral, and Meritorious; or, (2.) Phy­sical, and Productive.

1. The moral, The moral cause of Church-ruines is Sin. or meritorious cause of Jeru­salems, as also of al other Church-ruins, is Sin. Sin is the fuel of Divine wrath: eternal ven­geance flameth out of guilt: Physical or na­tural evil, is but the consequent of Moral: the evil of Passion, or Suffering, is but the effect of the evil of Action, [...] Doing. Yea, Sin is in it self the worst [...] ▪ He that departes from God, executes on himself his last doom. The soul that loseth God, loseth its way, Life, and self; and the further it departeth from God, the more it is envelopped, and entangled in e­ternal chains of darknesse and miserie. No sin is so pleasing in the committing, as it is bitter in the issueMaxi­mum sce­lerum sup­plicium in [...]sis est. [...]ncea.. There is an inseparable con­nexion betwixt sin and punishment; and no­thing can dissolve it but the bloud of Christ: Every sin carries Hel in its womb: Lust is a pregnant mother with child of Death, and [Page 19] torments:Gen. 4. 7. Thus Gen. 4. 7. And if thou doest not wel, sin lieth at the dore. Sin, [...], by which someR. Salo­mo & Aben-Ezra. Hebrew Doctors understand the punishment of sin: So Gen. 19. 15. as elsewhere, Sin is used for punishment, by reason of that individual connexion that is between them. Hence the Greek Atee; which they feigned to be a woman cast out of Heaven, pernicious and hurtful to al. Oh! what an enemie is sin?

[Lieth,] [...], coucheth, a word usually given to Brutes, but applied sometimes to men, Job 11. 19. and here to Sin, which, as a hurt­ful beast, lieth in wait, ready to devour. What a slie Foxe is sin! Hence it followeth,

[At the dore] i. e. (1.) near at hand: for to lie at the dore, is to be near at hand, so Deut. 29. 30. the curses are said to lie, or couch on the Sinner. Or (2.) at the dore, may implie such a a certain place, in which it may be easily ex­cited; just like a chained Mas [...]ive, that lies at the dore, and albeit he seems to sleep; yet suddenly starts up, and sets upon such as are about to enter in: thus Sin, or the punishment of sin, lieth at the dore.

That Sin is in it self the worst evil, is evi­dent; because (1.) it was the First evil, and so the mesure of al evil: for, the first in every kind, is the mesure of al in that kind. Again, (2.) As sin was the first evil, so also the first moral cause of al other evils: Now a bad cause is worse than its effects: as a good cause is more noble, and perfect than its effects. It was Sin that opened the dore, and let in al other evils into the world, and therefore it must needs be the worst evil. (3.) Sin con­tains [Page 20] [...] [Page 21] [...] [Page 22] [...] [Page 23] [...] [Page 20] in it al the malignitie, venime, poison, stings, curses, and plagues of evil: al the de­grees of evil lie wrapt up in sin: (4.) The worst part of hel lies in sin: a sinlesse Hel would be comparatively, an easy Hel, to a rectified Soul: our blessed Lord suffered a sin­lesse Hel, and yet was, at the same time, infinite­ly happy, as to his essential Beatitude. By which it is most evident, that sin is in it self the worst evil and Hel.

Hence it naturally follows, That the first great Object, or Mater of our blessed Lords La­mentation, was Jerusalem's sins; which were her worst evil, and the main cause of al her other evils. Thus the Prophets, and People of God of old, in al their Lamentations over Church-ruines, they had a particular eye on their Church-sins as the procuring cause thereof. So Jeremie, in his Lamentations, layeth the great­est accent on their sins, which were the meri­torious cause of al their sufferings. Thus La­ment. 1. 5. For the multitude of her transgressi­ons, her children are gone into captivitie, before the enemie. Oh! here lies the sting of al Isra­els sufferings, that the multitude of her trans­gressions drew them on her: This was that which most deeply wounded, and pierced the heart of this holy man. So v. 8. Jerusalem hath grievously sinned, therefore she is removed, [as an unclean, loathsome thing] al that ho­nored her d [...]spise her; because they have seen her nakednes [i. e, her lewdnes and abominations] yea, she sigheth, and turneth backward, v. 9. Her filthines is in her skirts, &c. The like v. 14. 18. and Chap. 2. 14. Thus our blessed Lord [Page 21] here, in his Lamentation, the first thing he has in his eye, and that which did most deeply pierce, and wound his heart, was Jerusalems sin:Christus intertora ejus iniu etur, &-vidit cam esse senti­nam omni­um flagiti­orum. Gerard. ex Egesippi. l. 4. c. 6. He saw her to be a cage of al unclean birds, a sink of al manner of abominations; which would unavoidably involve her in ru­ine: this makes his heart to bleed, and his eyes to gush forth with salt tears over her. And this is the genuine Character of a true Christian heart, to mourne more for the Evil of doing, than for the evil of suffering; and for the latter only as the fruit and effect of the former. A Cain or Judas can lament and groan under the strokes of the rod; but a Peter, or a Christian mournes under the offense, that procured those strokes: without dout an hard-hearted Jew could not but lament to see Jerusalem sacked, and the Temple in flames about his ears; ay, but 'twas the Christian only that mourned kindly for the sins of Jerusalem, which were the fuel of those prodigious flames of Divine wrath. To lament over the Ruines of a renowned Citie, or Church, is facile; be­cause natural to an ingenuous, affectionate spirit: but to bleed over and bewail those sins, which were the cause of those Ruines, none can, in any mesure of evangelic sinceritie, per­forme, but Christ, and such as are animated and influenced by his Spirit.

But we procede to particulars; to explicate, what those Church-Sins are, which exposed Je­rusalem, and so by a paritie of reason, wil ex­pose any other professing Citie or People, to Church-ruines; and therefore ought to be ma­ter of Lamentation.

A particular enumeration of Jerusalems Sins; which were the moral causes of her Ruine; and so a chief mater of our Lords Lamentation.

1. THe first great Church-sin, Unbelief. which our blessed Lord here laments, as the mo­ral cause of Jerusalem's Church-ruine, is her Ʋnbelief; or, Rejection of the things that did be­long unto her peace. This indeed is a prodi­gious Church-wasting Sin, that which ever cost Israel very dear, even from her infant-state. Israel had signal tokens of Christs conduct, care, and providence, in the Wildernes; yet what passions of discontent; what disingenuous murmurs; what fits of Unbelief, doth she ever and anon, on the least approche of dan­ger, fal into? How doth her spirit sink, and despond under the least difficultie? This is evi­dent from Num. 13. 30, 33. and 14. 1, 14, &c. For which al that generation, save Caleb and Jesua, who were of another spirit, perished in the Wildernes. Thus also before their Babylonian Captivitie, the great Sin, the Israelites were guiltie of, and that which opened the dore to al their following Miserie, was their Ʋnbelief, or contemt of Gods word.Isa. 30. 8, 13. So Isa. 30. 8. Now go write it before them in a Table, and note it in a Book, that it may be for the time to come, for [Page 23] lver and ever. v. 9. That this is a Rebellious people, ying Children, that wil not hear the Law of the Lord. Now wherein lay this their Rebellion? Why, chiefly in their Unbelief, or despising of Gods word, as v. 12. Because ye despise this word, and trust in oppression, &c. Here lies their main sin: and what follows? v. 13. Therefore this iniquitie shal be as a breach ready to fal, swelling out in an high wal, whose breaking cometh Repente momento veniet f [...]a­ctura ejus] h. e. maxi­me subito, & repente. Adverbio­rum Syn [...] ­nymorum conjunctio empha­tice fit. Glass. Gram. S. suddenly, at an instant, i. e. exceding, exced­ing suddenly: for these two Synonymous Ad­verbs joined together, are very emphatic, and argue, that this their ruine should be extreme sudden, as also great. Great Unbelief brings great, and swift ruine to the most glorious Churches, if Repentance follow not. When Christ comes with Offers and Acts of Grace towards his Church, then for her to despise his word, turne her back on al his gracious offers. Yea, trample on them, this exposeth the most flourishing Churches to sudden, and inevitable Destruction. This God threatens Israel with­al in her first Churh-constitution, Lev. 26. 14, 15, 16, &c. this also we find threatned, and executed on her, in her last Church-destruction, Mat. 23. 37, 38. This therefore is the first, and as we may phrase it, the original sin of Jeru­salem, which our blessed Lord here bewails, as the womb of al her miserie.

Oh! what a world of miserie hath Unbe­lief brought on many flourishing Churches? When a professing people reject the Gospel of Christ, is it not just with Christ to reject them? What a Hel of plagues, both spiritual and [Page 24] temporal, doth a despised Gospel bring on Professors? how oft doth Christ cut off his own covenant-people from promissed, and ex­pected mercies for their unbelief? what sore jugements doth unbelief expose men unto? Whence sprang that deluge of confusion, and Barbarisme, which drowned the Easterne Chur­ches, but from their contemt of the Gospel? Yea, had not the floud of Antichristianisme, which has so long overwhelmed these Westerne Churches, its rise from this envenimed spring of Unbelief? this is evident from 2 Thes. 2. 10. Because they received not the love of the truth, &c. And 'twas a prophetic persuasion of a great di­vine, That God would shortly take away peace from the whole World, for despising the peace of the Gospel. This Conclusion we no way dout but to make good, That al the great plagues, and jugements of God upon the profes­sing World or Churches, have been for the contemt of his Word by unbelief. For albeit other sins have had their share, yet this of Unbelief has been the main spring of al Church-ruines. But this wil be the subject of our following discourse.

2. Another prodigious,2. Carnal presumti­on. Church-wasting sin, which Jerusalem was notoriously guilty of, is groundlesse Presumtions, and self-flatterie: Self-flatterie, wherever it is predominant, brings self-ruine: A mere forme of godlines without the power, is a grosse delusion, which carries millions of souls to destruction, in a golden dream: A fond presumtion of being a true Church, or member of Christ, is the great­est [Page 25] delusion. This was ever the great sin of Jerusalem, in her declining state, and that which exposed her to great ruines, & calamities. Thus before the Babylonian Captivitie,Jer. 7. 4. Jer. 7. 4. Trust ye not in lying words, saying, the Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord are these. As if Jerusalem had said: Alas! why doest thou threaten us, with Captivitie and ruine? Have we not the Tem­ple of God amongst us? And are we not, upon this account, his federate people, his darlings and chosen ones? Is not the Shekinah, or pre­sence of the Divine Majestie seated amongst us? Are not al the Promisses appendant to this Temple? May we imagine that the holy, and faithful God wil quit the place of his Residence, and glorious rest? May we not then grounded­ly assure our selves, that our faithful Lord wil conserve and maintain his own Temple, and People that worship him therein? Thus they trusted in lying words, saying, The Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord, &c.Junius & Glassius Some refer the last word [...] These, to the works of the Jews, relating to the externe worship of God; and so they render, the Temple in the Genitive Case, These are the works of the Tem­ple of Jehovah: As if they had said: ‘What doest thou reprehend, O Prophet, in our works? or, Why doest thou cal in question the most constant promisses of God? We are so greatly confirmed concerning al these things, which thou allegest against us, as of nothing more: For, are not these our works of Jehovah's Temple, commanded by his [Page 26] Law? As for the Promisses, are they not appendant to this Temple? And thence are they not as firme, and constant towards us, as the Temple is firme? This Temple is Gods resting place for ever, Psal. 132. 14. Wherefore we are most confident, that the faithful God, wil, for his own Temple sake, conserve our Countrie, and we his worshipers.’ Which ever way we take the words, it comes much to one; and clearly discovers to us the fond presumtions, and foolish self-flatteries of this people, grounded on their commun Church-privileges. And therefore this holy Prophet puts this their groundlesse presumtion, as a main ingredient into his Lamentations over the Ruines of Jerusalem. So Lament. 2. 14. Thy prophets have seen vain and foolish things for thee, Lam. 2. 14 and they have not discovered thine iniquitie, to turne away thy captivitie; but have seen for thee false burdens, and causes of banishment. Je­rusalem's false prophets soothed her up in groundlesse presumtions of peace and quietude, which proved the cause of her captivitie. That which we read, causes of Banishment, is in the original, [...] Expulsions, or banish­ments, i. e, they have proposed to thee such glavering Doctrines, and presumtuous per­suasions of good times, as have been the cause of thy ruine and banishment: where, the effect being put for the efficient cause, or action, it gives us the true rise of their Captivitie, name­ly those fond presumtions, and false persuasi­ons of peace, which their false prophets had infused into their hearts. This the Prophet [Page 27] sadly laments. And was it not thus also in our blessed Lords days? Is not this one chief in­gredient of his Lamentation over Jerusalem, that, she did not know, in that her day, the things which did belong unto her peace? What doth that import? Surely, in part, thus much; she flattered herself into a fools paradise, of being Abrahams seed, and thence under the Messias's Wing; and this her self-flatterie was the greatest ob­stacle and bar to her closing with him, the true Savior, and alone foundation of her peace. Thus much also our Lord declares, John 8. 39, 44. where he endeavors, to beat them out of their fond presumtion, and groundlesse per­suasion, of being Abrahams seed; whereas in­deed they were, as he tels them, v. 44. Chil­dren of the Devil, and near to ruine. And certainly this is mater of sad lamentation, to see persons or churches, lift up to Heaven in their own presumtuous conceits, and yet dropping down to Hel in realitie: such vio­lent presumtions, if not cured by medicinal Grace, bring inevitable ruine, to the most flou­rishing Churches. So Rev. 3. 17, 18. Because thou saiest I am rich, &c.

3.3 Spiritu­al pride. Another Church-sin, which was a great moral cause of Jerusalems ruine, is spiritual Pride: This indeed is a proper Church-sin, arising out of Church-privileges, or other spi­ritual excellences vouchsafed by Christ. Thus it was with Jerusalem, in the days of old, which God promiseth to cure, Zeph. 3. 11. I wil take away out of the midst of thee, them that rejoice in thy pride, and thou shalt no more be haughtie be­cause [Page 28] of my holy mountain. It seems there were a people who did much pride themselves, and grew very haughtie, by reason of the holy Mountain, which was a visible Symbol, or to­ken of Gods presence: ay, but God promiseth, in evangelic days, to cure this tumor and Tym­panie. As it is with single persons, so with whole Churches; there are some sins of infir­mitie, which God connives at, and wil passe over, upon a general Repentance; but this sin of spiritual pride, is of such a deep tincture, malignitie, and antipathie against God, as that, if it be not timely repented of, and turn­ed from, 'twil prove the Gangrene, and bane of the most flourishing Churches. There is no sin so opposite to our receiving Grace from Christ, as spiritual pride: Oh! What a burden is this to Christ, that they who are nothing, have nothing, can do nothing of themselves, should be proud of what they have received from him? As they who are most abased in themselves, are most exalted by God, and nearest to him; so they who most exalt them­selves, are most abased by, and estranged from God, Luke 18. 14. For every one that exalteth himself shal be abased: and he that humbleth himself shal be exalted. Pride, it is the cancer of parts, the moth of privileges, the rust of com­forts, the poison of duties, the sting of crosses, the reproche of Professors. None so much fa­vored, and enriched with grace and comfort by Christ, as humble souls, and Churches; but he resisteth the proud, Jam. 4. 6. and Psal. 138. 6. God knoweth the proud afar off: i. e, God knows [Page 29] him as an enemie, and loves not to come near him. God has an old grudge against spiritual pride, as one of his most ancient inveterate enemies, borne in Heaven, in the bosome of Angels, and therefore resists it most. Wel therefore might our Lord weep over this sin, as a cause of Jerusalems ruine.

4.4. Carnal securitie. Another Sin, which morally hastened Jerusalems ruine, was her carnal Securitie. This seems evidently comprised in Christs fol­lowing Bil of Indictment, v. 42. If thou hadst known, i. e, considered. Our gracious Lord makes loud, and solemne Proclamations of peace; but Jerusalem was fast asleep. Again he threatens vengeance and wrath; but she has no ears to hear. At last, flames of divine wrath break forth upon her; but al this while she [...] Hebewails therefore the insen­sibility of Jerusalem Theophy­lact. in locum. awakes not, 'til scorched and burned to ashes. So that the great sin Christ bewails is her securitie. Ah! what a cursed sin is securitie? This desperate securitie of Jerusalem our Lord also foretels, Luke 17. 26, 30. And as it was in the days of Noah; so shal it be also in the days of the son of man; they did eat & drink, &c. Here Christ foretels what wretched securitie should seize on carnal professors, at the coming of the Son of man; whereby we may under­stand, not only his final coming to jugement, but also his coming to judge Jerusalem; which was but a prologue, and preamble to the last jugement; and therefore we find them both promiscuously inserted in this Chapter. The same is mentioned, Mat. 24. 37, 38. Our bles­sed Lord considering how stupid and secure [Page 30] Jerusalem was, notwithstanding the near ap­proche of her ruine, it made his heart dissolve into a passion of tears. This was Jerusalems sin of old, and that which had a great influ­ence on her first captivitie. So Isai. 42. 18, 19, 20,Isa. 42. 25. 21, 22, 23, 24. Where he shews, how blind and deaf they were both Priests and People: and then concludes, ver. 25. Therefore he hath poured upon him the furie of his anger, and the strength of battle; and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart. What a strange, prodigious securitie is here? Divine wrath flames about his ears, like an old house, and yet he knew it not; yea, it burned him, lying asleep on the bed of carnal securitie, and yet he laid it not to heart. Oh! what a dead sleep is this? how inevitably doth ruine follow such dead sleeps? That this was a main cause of Je­rusalems first Captivitie is evident from Jere­mies Lamentation over it,Lam. 1. 9. Lam. 1. 9. Her fil­thinesse is in her skirts, she remembreth not her last end: she was grown wilfully blind, and sottishly secure; notwithstanding al Gods Di­vine Admonitions and threats, she dreamt of nothing but peace and prosperitie. Her approching ruine was not laid to heart. And what follows? Therefore she came down wonderfully. Descen­det mira­bilibus] i. e. mira­biliter, q. d. multo­rum cum admirati­one, &c. Glassius Gram. s. There is a great elegance in the original, [...] with wonders, i. e, won­derfully: as if he had said, she came down with the admiration of many, who cannot find out the reason of her being thus cast down. We have here a Substantive, which being ad­ded to a Verb, is, and that not without an em­phase, [Page 31] put for an Adverb. Oh! what a won­der was it, that Jerusalem should thus descend into captivitie? But yet he that considers what filthinesse was in her skirts, and how extremely secure she was, may not wonder at it. Thus Jeremie puts in this her securitie, as a main ingredient of his Lamentation, over fallen Jeru­salem. Yea, this sin of carnal securitie is that, which our blessed Lord foretels would happen to virgin-churches, in these last evangelic times, Mat. 25. 5. While the bridegroom tarried, they al slumbered, and slept: not only the foolish, but also the wise virgins are said to sleep: which argues that carnal securitie is the great universal sin of Virgin-churches, in these evan­gelic last times. And surely, 'tis not so much the forces of forrain, professed enemies, as the venime and malignitie of this domestic sin, that brings desolation to Virgin-churches. The sleeping Devil doth more mischief in the Church of Christ, than the roaring Devil. To sleep in Satans lap, is much worse than to rore in Egypts, or Babylons furnace. While Jerusalem sleeps, her jugement sleepeth not: her carnal securitie determines in dreadful awakenings: How easily doth she fal into the Romans hands; yea, into the fire of Divine wrath, while she is asleep in her sin? Did not Jael, a poor silly woman, pierce thorow great Sisera's head, when he was asleep? And may not, in like manner, smal tentations bring ru­ine to the most flourishing Churches, when asleep, on the bed of carnal securitie? This therefore is great mater of Lamentation.

[Page 33] 5. Carnal confidence. Another Church-sin, that exposed Jeru­salem to Church-ruine, was her self-fulnesse, and carnal confidence. She was ful of her self, her own Contrivements, Sufficiences, and De­pendences; wherefore no wonder if she reject her Messias, and al his offers of peace. This Christ every where upbraids the unbelieving Jews with, as the main spring of their ruine, Luke 18. 9—14. Was not this also the great sin, that brought old Jerusalem under the Baby­lonian captivitie? Doth not the Prophet Isaias, by a witty Sarcasme, upbraid her with this sin,Isa. 2. 10. as the cause of her rune? Isa. 2. 10. Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the Lord, &c. The Prophet here, by a Sarcasme, doth aggravate the proud con­fidence of this people, from the consi­deration of Gods inevitable jugements: as if he had said: Flie, if thou canst, the ter­rible aspect, and severe hand of thy God: but al thine attemts shal prove abortive: al thy proud confidences are insignificant. The like Jerem. Jerem. 8. 14, 15. 8. 14, 15. Why do we sit stil? assemble your selves, and let us enter into the defenced Cities, and let us be silent there: Here you have the vain confidence of the Jews: they thought to secure themselves against Divine wrath, in their fenced Cities: What follows? For [or rather, But] the Lord our God hath put us to silence, and given us the waters of gal to drink; because we have sinned. This is an Ironic an­swer of the Prophet, as a rebuke to their carnal confidence: and oh! what an Hel lies in it? They boast of securing themselves, and ob­taining rest in their fenced Cities: Yes, saith [Page 33] the Prophet Ironicly, you shal be secure, and quiet: but how? not, as you dream, in your fenced Cities; but in being made drunk with the Lords waters of Gal, (or rather poison) whereby you shal be deprived of al counsel, and exposed to violent Destruction: this is the silence the Lord wil give you, as the reward of your carnal confidence.Hos. 12. 1. So Hos. 12. 1. E­phraim feedeth on the wind, and followeth the eastwind: he daily increaseth lies, and desola­tion. The later is the effect of the former; his Desolation is but the fruit of his lying con­fidences: Ephraim by multiplying lies, i. e. car­nal confidence in the Assyrians, and Egyptians, doth but multiplie Desolation. When ever any professing People, or Church, begin to be self-strong, or confident in an arme of flesh, they are the next dore to some great danger. What ever we make the bottome of our con­fidence, that we make our God: and our jelous God wil never bear it, that we place an Idol in his room: if he intend mercie to us, he wil break al such Images of jelousie, which would otherwise break us.

6.6 Earthly­minded­ness. Another great sin, which promoted Je­rusalem's ruine, was her Earthly-mindednesse. She preferred her clay-Gods, and temporal In­terest before her Messias and the great concernes of eternitie: State-peace was more regarded by her than peace with God: Cesar's crown was more adored by her than Christ's; and therefore deservedly did she perish by Cesar's hand. How justly did our Soverain Lord suffer Jerusalem to fal by Cesar's sword, when [Page 34] as she prefer'd Cesar before her Lord? She, forsooth, would have no King but Cesar: Was it not just then with God, to suffer her to perish by no hand but Cesars, whom she preferred before her Messias? This was also the temper of the Gadarenes, (a companie of Apostate Jews:) who prefer'd their swine before their Messias, and his spiritual offers of peace, Luke 8. 37. And is not this mater of sad lamentation, to see Professors prefer back and bellie, externe Pompe and Grandeur, before Christ and his Gospel? Surely such swinish Gospellers are not far from ruine, if timous Repentance prevent it not.

7.7 Vn [...]ruit­fulnes. Again, Vnfruitfulnes and barrennes un­der al gracious Influences, Vouchsafements and Indulgences, was a pregnant cause of Jeru­salems ruine, and so further mater of Christs Lamentation. This is evident from that Pa­rable of Christ, Mat. 21. 33, 43. where Christ having proposed, and represented the barren condition of the Jews, by the Parable of certain idle Husbandmen, who had received a Vine­yard to dresse and til; but instead of rendring the Lord fruits in their season, they took his servants, and abused some, and killed others; yea, at last killed the Heir: Our blessed Lord gives us the Reddition, or application of this Parable, v. 43. Therefore I say unto you, the kingdome of God shal be taken from you, and gi­ven to a nation, bringing forth the fruits there­of. Where he plainly shews, that their Un­fruitfulnes, together with their Rejection of Christ, was the main cause of their Rejection [Page 35] by God. The same is confirmed by the fore­going Parable of the Figtree, v. 19. And when he saw a figtree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only; and he said unto it, Let not fruit grow on thee hence­forward for ever. And presently the figtree wi­thered away. This infructuous Fig-tree was an Embleme of the unfruitful Jewish Church, which was near unto cursing. This also was the sin of the Judaic Church, before their Ba­bylonian captivitie, as we find it mentioned by Esaias, Chap. 5. v. 1—7. touching Gods un­fruitful vineyard, which was situated on a fruitful hil, under the warme Influences of the Sun, and planted with the choicest Vine, &c. But when he looked it should bring forth Grapes, it brought forth nothing but wild grapes: Where­fore he layes it wast, &c. v. 4, 5, 6. Fructi­fication is the last end of a vineyard; and therefore if this fail; for what use serve the trees, but to be cast into the fire? Unfruitful Churches, or Professors, serve for no other use, but to make fuel for divine wrath to feed upon.

8.8 Perse­cution of the Pro­phets, &c. Another Church-sin, which greatly ad­vanced Jerusalems ruine, was her continued Persecution of Gods Prophets, and Apostles, sent time after time unto her. This our bles­sed Lord expresly mentions in that forecited Parable, Mat. 21. 35, 41. where 'tis said, They took his servants, and beat one, and killed ano­ther, and stoned another: yea, at last, they took the heir and killed him. And what follows, but the miserable destruction of these wicked [Page 36] men, v. 41? The like we find, Mat. 22. 1, 8. in the parable of the Mariage-feast, which the King made for his son: where 'tis said v. 6. And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. This remnant were the unbelieving Jews, who took the A­postles, and Messengers of Christ, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. And what fol­lows? v. 7. But when the King heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed these murderers, and burnt up their citie. Oh! how deservedly do such perish, by the hand of Christ, who take his Ministers and Messengers of peace, and entreat them spite­fully, and lay violent bloudy hands on them? Al this our blessed Lord pronounceth in plain naked termes, Mat. 23. 37, 38. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee—Behold your house is left unto you desolate, &c. For a pro­fessing Citie to stone the Prophets and Christs Messengers of peace, is that which brings swift destruction.

9.9 Want of Reforma­ [...]ion. Further, Want of Reformation is a great Church-sin, which had a mightie influence on Jerusalem's ruine. Christ had given her many [...]erious Admonitions, and forewarnings of her approching miserie unlesse she did reforme: but al would not avail, and therefore now he mournes over her obstinate perseverance in her sin. God layes in a provision of threats against this sin, in the first constitution of the Judaic Church, Lev. 26. 23, 24. And if ye wil not be reformed by these things, but wil walk contrary [Page 37] unto me; Then wil I also walk contrary unto you, and wil punish you yet seven times for your sins, &c. Want of Reformation in Churches is that which puts a bar to al Church-Delive­rance, and opens the dore to al Church-miseries. This was the great challenge, which Christ had against the Church of Pergamus, Rev. 2. 14. 15. as also against the Church of Thyatira, v. 20. for which he threatens them with great Tribulations, if they reformed not speedily.

10.10 Impe­nitence. Impenitence, and want of Humiliation under al Church-provocations, was a sin that much conduced to Jerusalem's Church-ruine. Jerusalem was not only defective in point of Reformation, but grown obdurate, contuma­cious, and hardened in her sin; so that neither Christs gracious, nor his severe visitations did any way move, or affect her. Impenitence addes a Seal unto al other sins, and miseries: impenitent hearts are incurable: When Pro­fessors, or Churches go on to sin with an high hand, notwithstanding al Gods Chastisements, and kind Admonitions, what can be expected but speedy ruine? Thus it was with Ahaz, 2 Chron. 28.2 Chron. 28. 22. 22. And in the time of his distresse did he trespasse yet more against the Lord. This is that king Ahaz. [...] THAT; Here is a De­monstrative Pronoun, subjoined to a Noun, instead of a Verb Substantive, which carries in it a singular Elegance. That King Ahaz, i. e. Such a Monstre as cannot be melted by the rurnace of Divine wrath.

11. The last Church-sin, I shal mention, as [Page 38] that which had a malignant influence on Je­rusalems Destruction,11 Apo­stasie. was her open Apostasie from, and Rebellion against God. This is a sin of such a deep tincture and guilt, as that it inevitably brings ruines on the most flourish­ing Churches, if long continued in. This was Jesuruns sin,Deut. 32. 34, 35. Deut. 32. 15, 16, 17, 18. Jesurun (or Israel) waxed fat and kicked— They sa­crificed to Devils, and forgot God, &c. What follows? v. 34, 35. Is not this laid up in store with me, and sealed up among my treasures? to me belongeth vengeance and recompence, their foot shal slide in due time: for the day of their calamitie is at hand, &c. Gods treasures v. 34. are to be understood of his vindictive wrath, and vengeance: For so it follows v. 35. To me belongeth vengeance and recompence. Whereby is denoted, (1.) The justice of God: for Gods Treasures of wrath, are but the effect, and due recompence of Mens treasur [...]s of Sin: whence its called here Recompence: which is explicated Rom. 2. 5. But after thine hardnes, and impe­nitent heart, treasurest up to thy self wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous jugement of God. The Treasures of wrath are but the revelation of the righteous jugement of God, against the treasures of sin; which impenitent sinners lay up. (2.) By Gods Treasures here, may be understood the certi­tude of Divine wrath: For what is laid up in store with God, as in a Treasure, and more­over secured with a Seal, is most certain. Al the wits and forces of Heaven, and Earth cannot break open this Divine Seal, or make void [Page 39] Gods Treasures of wrath. (3.) Hereby also is intimated Gods Longanimitie, or Long suffe­rance: for what is laid up in a treasure, is not of present use, but for the future, [...]. So the Greek Verb to treasure up, signifies to lay up for to morrow. So it follows v. 35. their foot shal slide in due time. The Lord forbears long, til sinners have filled up their mesure; and then opens his treasure of wrath. (4.) These treasures of wrath implie Gods severitie at last against impenitent sinners, which go on in ways of Apostasie and Rebellion. The longer God waits for Jesurun's returne to him, the more fierce wil his indignation be against her, if she returne not: patience abused turnes into multiplicated furie. When God comes to open his sealed treasures of Indignation, against con­tumacious, rebellious Jerusalem; Oh! what flouds of wrath break forth against her? Thus Psal. 106. 39. Thus were they desiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions. Here you have Jesuruns Apostasie from God: and then follows Gods severitie against Jesurun, v. 40. Therefore was the wrath of the Lord kindled against his people; insomuch that he abhorred his own inheritance. When a professing People or Church begin to grow weary of God, He begins to abhor them, as as an unclean thing, or that which is abomi­nable.

Thus I have dispatcht the Church-sins, which brought ruine on Jerusalem, and there­fore were the chief mater of our blessed Lords Lamentation: and I have insisted the more [Page 40] largely and particularly hereon, that so, by having a view of those Church-sins, that usu­ally bring Church-ruines, we may, so far as we are guiltie, lament over the same, and re­forme for the future; lest we, in like manner fal under Jerusalems condemnation, and ru­ines.

Divine wrath, and the effects theref on Jerusalem, further mater of Christs Lamentation.

HAving finisht the Moral cause of Jerusa­lems Ruine, The wrath of God the effective cause of Jerusa­lems ruine. we now procede to the pro­ductive cause thereof; which was chiefly the wrath of a sin-revenging, jelous God. As sin was the fuel, so Divine wrath was the fire which consumed Jerusalem. And this was another great, and moving object, which drew this sad Lamentation from our gracious Lord. Jerusalem was now in a prosperous, tranquil, or quiet state: Oh! how beautiful and goodly was her Temple to the eyes of Beholders? Do not Christs Disciples cry out,Luk. 21. 5. Mark 13. 1. Ma­ster, see what manner of stones, and what buil­dings are here? Very good: Ay, but what replie doth Christ make, Luk. 21. 6. As for these things, which ye behold, the dayes wil come, in which there shal not be left one stone on another▪ [Page 41] that shal not be thrown down. Our omniscient Lord saw divine Wrath smoking against Jeru­salem, and this made him to weep over it, whiles others gloried in its beautie. Our poor shallow apprehensions contemplate Causes in their Effects; but Christs omniscient eye saw the Effect in its Causes; and therefore laments over it, as being actually present to him. And ah! What doleful mater of Lamentation is here; to see the dreadful fire of Divine wrath flameforth against Jerusalem, the place of Gods gracious Redsience? A spiritual heart can see al the plagues and curses of Hel wrapt up in Divine wrath. A carnal heart can apprehend and feel the effects of Gods wrath, especially such as are more visible and sensible; as the ra­ging Pestilence, London's prodigious Flames, or the like: Ay, but how few are there who take notice of that Divine wrath, which animateth and feedeth all those National judgements? Where is that soul, or at least how rare is he to be found, who laments the fiery indignation and wrath of God, which spirits al Church-ruines? But this was the posture of our tender-hearted Saviors spirit: the great thing he be­wails was the wrath of God, which hung, by a smal thread, over Jerusalem: This was the sword which pierced his heart, and made his eyes gush forth with tears. The like we find in Jeremie's Lamentations over captive Jeru­salem, Lam. 1. 15.Lam. 1. 15. The Lord hath troden the virgin, the daughter of Judah, as in a Wine­presse. The treading of Judah as in a Wine­presse argues her extreme oppression and affli­ction▪ [Page 42] and therefore we find the same expressi­on of Christs passion, Isa. 63. 3. But who is it that treads Judah, as in a Wine-presse? He tels you, The Lord hath troden, &c. Here lies the sting of al: Gods Wrath visible and ap­parent in their captivitie, was that which most­ly wounded his heart. Ah! saith Jeremie, 'tis not so much the Babylonians furie that toucheth me, as the Lords indignation which appears in our sufferings: 'tis the hand of God that cuts mine heart; 'tis his wrath that makes me so sad.Lam. 2. 1. So Lam. 2. 1. How hath the Lord covered the daughter of Sion with a cloud in his anger, and cast down from Heaven unto earth the beautie of Israel, and remembred not his footstool in the day of his anger! The Lords obnubilating, or co­vering with a cloud, the daughter of Sion▪ ar­gueth his great indignation against her: Some conceive, that the Prophet, by a tacit Anti­thesis, alludes to the Cloud of glorie, which over­shadowed Jerusalem, at the Dedication of the Temple, 1 Kin. 8. 1. But now, alas! a contrary, dark, calamitous cloud of wrath covers her, which was great mater of Lamentation.Lam. 4. 16. Thus v. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. So Lam. 4. 16. The anger [or face] of the Lord hath Cum di­cit dissipa­tos fuisse à facie Domini, vult ut nolit am­plius ipsos aspice [...]e. Calv. divided them, [or, dissipated them] he wil no more regard them, [or, he wil not adde to regard them,] i, e, he wil not give them one favorable regard, one gracious aspect more. And, oh! What an heavy doom was this? How many Hels lay wrapt up in these direful tokens of Divine wrath? This therefore was that which our blessed Lord greatly laments in Jerusalems ruines, that al [Page 43] was the effect of an angry displeased Deitie.

As for the Instrumental Causes of Jerusalems Destruction, there was somewhat also in these, that gave our compassionate Lord some mater of Lamentation. To consider that the Roman Ce­sar, whom the Jews now so much crie up, and prefer before himself, their only Messias, should ere long, in his successor, prove the great instru­ment of their Desolation; and that he should first pitch his Tents in this very place, where our Lord now stood; Oh! What abundant mater of Lamentation did this afford to our tender-hearted Lord, who was so nearly allied to Jerusalem?

We come now to the effects of Jerusalems sins,Sect. 2. The ef­fects of Gods wrath a­gainst Je­rusalem. and Gods wrath inflamed thereby; which yield fresh mater of lamentation to our dear Lord. The effects are proportionable to the causes: Sin and wrath cannot but produce pro­digious jugements on Jerusalem. Tempo­ral juge­ments. The temporal effects of Gods wrath against Jeru­salem were very prodigious and lamentable. (1.) Is it not a sad and lamentable sight to see Jerusalem, a Citie so populous, become deso­late and without Inhabitant? as Mat. 23. 38. Be­hold your house is left to you desolate: Was not this one great part of Jeremies Lamentation over old Jerusalem? Lam. 1. 1. How doth the Citie sit solitary, that was ful of people? How is she become as a widow? (2.) Was it not also a doleful thing, to see Jerusalem, which was the wonder of the world, for beautiful edifices and structures, laid even with the ground, not a stone remaining on another? As our Lord foretels, [Page 44] Luke 19. 44. And shal lay thee even with the ground, and shal not leave in thee one stone upon another. This seems an hyperbolic expression, denoting extreme destruction. Hag. 2. 15. To lay a stone upon a stone, signifies to build: Wherefore not to leave a stone upon a stone, sig­nifies utterly to destroy. And that this pro­phetic description of Jerusalems utter ruine, was fulfilled to a tittle, historie informs us. Scaliger in Euseb. Chro. 194. Its said, that Jerusalem was so far demo­lisht by Vespasian, that there was no footstep of the Citie left remaining: yea, afterwards it was by Musonius the Prefect plowed up; so that it not only ceased to be a Citie; but more­over it was not lawful for any to build on that soil for the future: For, according to the Roman-law, that Citie which had a plow passed over it, ceased to be such: and it was a capital crime for any to build so much as a Cot­tage in that place. Such were the miserble ruines of Jerusalem here foretold. And oh! what a sad contemplation was this to our dear Lord? how did it make his heart to bleed, as his eye to weep. They who have seen London buried in its own ashes, cannot but remember what a sad spectacle this is. Ah! who would not lament at such a sight?

(3.) Is it not also a lamentable case, that she, who was the Glorie, and desire of Na­tions, should become the derision, reproche, and scorne of al? Was not this also great mater of lamentation to Jeremie, Lamen­tat. 2. 15. They hisse, and wag their head at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying, is this the citie, [Page 45] that men cal the perfection of Beautie, the joy of the whole earth?

2. But the most dreadful,2. Spiritual jugements. and lamentable effects of Divine wrath on Jerusalem, were spiritual jugements; the prevision whereof greatly afflicted our tender-hearted Lord. (1.) Oh!1. With­drawment of the means of Grace. what a bleeding contemplation was it to our gracious Lord, to view that dismal breach, which Divine wrath was about to make on Jerusalems Church-state? To con­sider, that now al the great things that did belong to her peace, were to be as a sealed book, altogether hid from her eyes: ah! how doth this pierce, and wound the heart of her Messias? That she, who had been dignified and adorned with such rich marques of Di­vine favor, beyond al Nations in the world, should now be divested and stript naked of al: what an heart-breaking was this to her graci­ous Lord? Did not this consideration fil Jere­mies heart with sad lamentations over old Jeru­salem? Lam. 1. 4. The ways of Sion do mourne, be­cause none do come to the solemn feasts, &c. So Lamen. 2. 6, 7. And he hath violently taken away his Tabernacle, as if it were of a garden, he hath destroyed his places of the assemblie.

(2.) The withdrawment,2. With­drawment of gracious Influences. not only of the means, and Symbols of Grace, but also of al gracious Influences from Jerusalem, afforded further mater of sore Lamentation unto her Lord. It is a dreadful curse to want al special Means and Tokens of Grace: but yet, if in the want of these the Lord vouchsafeth his Grace to improve commun means of Grace, [Page 46] or particular deprivements of special means, this is no smal divine Benediction: But, alas! our Lord foresaw it would be quite otherwise with Jerusalem: she was like to be deprived, not only of al special means of Grace; but also of Grace it self, without which she could not improve commun means, or her particular deprivements of special means: and, oh! how greatly doth this afflict her compassionate Lord? A Christian, though he be sometimes deprived of the means of Grace, yet the Lord gives him grace to improve those very deprive­ments, in order to his humiliation, spiritual povertie, hunger and thirst after the means, and a more complete life of faith, and depen­dence on Christ. And thus his deprivements of the means of Grace, become a means of Grace unto him: his want of Ordinances is, as sanctified by Grace, a great Ordinance to him. Ay, but was it thus with Jerusalem? No; she was not only to be deprived of al means, and Symbols of Grace; but also of Grace it self, without which she could not make any improvement of these withdraw­ments, or be humbled under them. This Paul sadly laments, 2 Cor. 3. 14. For 'til this day remaineth the same veil untaken away, in the reading of the old Testament. He speaks of the veil on the hearts of the unbelieving Jews.

(3.) Another spiritual jugement,3. A spirit of slumber. which Christ laments, as that which hung over Je­rusalem, was Gods pouring out on her a spirit of slumber, and delivering her up to judicial [...]ccecation and obduration, or hardnes of heart. [Page 47] So Rom. 11. 8. God hath given them the spirit of slumber. And this indeed was the curse of Curses; the Plague of Plagues; the Hel of Hels; which contains in it al manner of spiri­tual jugements; as being left to the plague of their own hearts, 1 King. 8. 38. being given up to the enchantments of a bewitching world; having al commun mercies and providences cursed to them, Rom. 11. 9, 10. being deli­vered up to Satan, the god of this world, 2 Cor. 4. 6. &c. But of these in their proper place.

The eminent Qualities, and Efficaces of Christs sacred Tears.

HAving finisht the Object, He wept. or Mater of Christs Lamentation, comprised in that notion [over it,] We now procede to the Act [Wept.] Wherein we find two considerables, (1.) The Qualitie. (2.) The Efficaces of Christs Tears over Jerusalem.

Sect. 1.1. The Qualities of Christs tears. As for the Qualities of these Tears, they are very Rare and Admirable, clothed with many eminences, which render them in­finitely more excellent than al other tears. For (1) they are Divine tears: 1. They are Divine. dropt from the Heart and eyes of him, who was as truely God, as man. And oh! What an admirable, yea infinite Perfection doth this give to these [Page 48] Tears, that they flow from the Divinitie? What! doth the Son of God, who is eternally blessed, in the beatific Vision and Fruition of his own Glorie, drop tears; and that over an ingrateful, contumacious, rebellious Citie? Oh! Who could ever have imagined, that this could be, had we not ocular and evident demonstration thereof? Surely these Tears must be no vulgar, commun tears, which have so much of the Divinitie in them. Oh! What precious tears were these, that dropt from God-man? What sweet and delicious wine were these tears to the Angels that at­tended on Christ?

(2.) These tears of the Son of God were po [...]derous, 2. Ratio­nal. weightie, or rational Tears: they were not, as ours usually are, foolish, irratio­nal tears; but very judicious, and wel­grounded. O! What infinite Reasons, what rational motives had Christ to induce him to weep over Jerusalem? How oft do our tears flow from false imaginations, or some feeble­nesse of Nature, without any grounded rea­sons? But was it thus with Christ? Had he not massie, ponderous Inducements, to induce him unto this sacred passion? Were not Jeru­salem's sins, and approching Ruines, forcible and binding reasons of our Lords weeping over her?

(3.) These Tears of Christ were most spon­taneous, 3. Sponta­neous and [...]ee. or voluntary and free; not forced, and strained, as ours frequently are. Oh! how naturally did this holy water flow from that sacred fountain, Christ's eyes? What [Page 49] bleedings of heart, what inward compassions were the main spring of this sacred passion, vented by his eyes? Christs tears had a divine Fountain in the heart, by which they were fed and maintained: they were as the sweat of an anguished, troubled spirit; as the bloud of an heart lively struck with the sense of Je­rusalems coming miserie.

(4.) Hence also these Tears of Christ were most Sincere and Cordial. 4. Sincere. The best of our Tears, have too deep a tincture of Hypocrisie: Naturalists say, that there is no pure element of water, to be found in this lower Region: This is most certain as to our tears; there are none so pure but they have some concretion, or commixture of Sin and Hypocrisie. But 'twas not so with Christs tears: every tear that dropt from him was as pure as Crystal: There was not the least tincture of guile, or hypocrisie in his tears: Every tear was a lively glasse and image of his heart: There was an exact con­formitie between the passion of his eye, and compassion of his soul.

(5.) Again,5. Spiri­tual and regular. these Tears of Christ were Spi­ritual and Regular; not Carnal, or exorbitant. We seldome weep, but there is much of car­nalitie, and exorbitanc [...] in our tears; either in regard of the Motives, Mater, or Manner of their emanation. But oh! how spiritual as to their Motives; how regular as to their Ma­ter; and how ordinate and harmonious as to their Manner were al Christs tears? Alas! how impossible is it that there should be any irre­gular [Page 50] or inordinate passion in Christ, who was a masse of pure Grace? Our blessed Lord was not a mere Patient, but a wise judicious Agent in al his passions: Hence that which is ex­pressed by a Passive Verb, John 12. 27. [...], my soul is troubled, is expressed by an A­ctive, John 11. 33. [...], and he troubled himself; which clearly shews that Christs troubled affections were governed, and influenced by his jugement; every tear that dropt from him was perfumed with Grace: his eyes were as a fountain of Rose-water; every drop gave forth a sweet smel of Heaven.

(6.) Christs tears were generous and noble: 6. Gene­rous. he seemed to forget and disregard himself, whiles he minded and regarded Jerusalem. His own crucifixion was very near, yet he seems to overlook that, and mournes chiefly for Je­rusalem's Ruines. Alas! how selfish, private, and narrow are our tears, for the most part? We oft weep for the evils we suffer: but oh! how rarely do we weep for the evils we com­mit; or, for those which the Church suffers? The evils that touch us affli [...]t us; but how little are we afflicted with the evils that touch the honor of Christ, or his concernes? But was it thus with our great Lord? Whence sprang his tears? was it from the prevision of his own sufferings? Or, was it not rather from the intuition of Jerusalem's sins and suf­ferings? Jerusalem, is at this very time, plotting the death of her tender-hearted Savior: But lo! what affectionate tears doth he shed over [Page 51] Jerusalem's apprehended Destruction? Oh! what generous and noble tears are these? how much self-denial is here?

(7.) These tears of Christ were also meek, 7. Meek and hum­ble. and humble. Our tears, if they have any thing of a noble and generous tincture in them, then usually they are proud and obstinate: but these tears of our blessed Lord were not lesse meek and humble, than great and generous; and oh! how rare is such a conjunction among men? Some Heroic and generous Romans, have dropt some tears over their vanquisht enemies: but how much pride, how much triumph, have they discovered therein? But it was not thus with Jerusalems King: his tears flowed from an humble, contrite, meek, and broken spirit: They were the tears of the Lamb of God. No proud murmurs; no sullen pettish humors; no revengeful thoughts were min­gled with these his sanctified tears; as usually there are with ours.

(8.) These tears of Christ were Amorous, 8. Amo­rous and Pathetie. and Pathetic. What a great Pathos and emo­tion of Affection lay wrapt up in Christs tears, is evident by his broken and imperfect lan­guage, v. 42. Saying, if thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day! &c. How broken and imperfect is his language? his heart was so ful of Affection, as that he wanted words to give vent thereto: He drops now and then a word, and now and then a tear: yea, his tears swallowed up and drown­ed his words; which argues a mightie pathos and ebullition of Affection. Those who were [Page 52] present at Lazarus's grave, and saw our bles­sed Lord to water his grave with tears, con­clude, John 11. 36. Behold, how he loved him! And may not we in like manner, from Christs tears over Jerusalem, crie out also, Behold, how he loved it? Julius Caesar beholding the head of Pompey his slain enemie, could not but drop some tears over it; which was an argument, not only of a generous heroic spirit, but also of some affection towards Pompey. But oh! what tend [...]nesses of love, what warme bowels of affection lye wrapt up in the tears of our gracious Lord, over impenitent and ingrateful Jerusalem? Doth it not argue an high degree of love in those [...]ars of our Lord, that, for­getting al the past injuries done unto him, and al the future cru [...]lties he was to suffer from this rebellious Citie, he could notwithstanding weep over her coming miseries? So amorous and pathetic were these tears.

(9.) These tears of our affectionate Lord were also Dolorous and Sympathetic: 9. Dolo­rous and Sympa­thetic. there was not only Love, but also Grief, Sympathi [...], and Compassion in these tears. This addes a further excellence to Christs Lamentation: For grief and sympathie with others in their afflictions, is an afflictive passion; and therefore rarely ex­ [...]rted in any eminent degree, but among inti­mate Confidents and Friends; who are knit to­gether by such an intimate, essential bond of Amitie, as that they can espouse each others ils, as their own, Sympathie argues an high degree of Amitie: And oh! What Sympathie, Commiseration, and Compassion do Christs tears [Page 53] argue? Are they not as the bloud of a wounded heart, to use Cyprian's phrase? Doth not the Romans sword, which ere long was to be sheathed in Jerusalem's bowels, pierce thorow the very heart of her Messias? How is his Spi­rit wounded by the sword of Divine wrath, that hung over Jerusalem? Al tears are the Legats, or Ambassadors of Grief; but none argue more grief, than such as are dropt over our nearest Relates, in deepest miserie. And O! what passionate grief and sympathie was there in Christs tears, over bleeding Jerusa­lem? Thus Theophylact on this Text: [...]. Theophyl. He wept over the Citie as a man-loverHe therefore discovered by his weeping bowels of pitie. What a sacred prodigious passion is here? Oh! how warme and bleeding with com­passions are these sacred bowels, which em­brace a Citie so impenitent, so ingrateful, so ful of bloudy and mischievous contrivements against so gracious a Savior? Joseph, when his bowels waxed warme▪ could not choose but break forth into a passion of tears, in the presence of his brethren, who had been so in­jurious to him: But O! Joseph's compassions were infinitely short of these in our Lord, to­wards ungrateful Jerusalem. Its reported of Scipio Africanus, that when he beheld Carthage mount up in flames, he could not but weep: which argued some commiseration in this no­ble Heroic Spirit▪ who was an enemie. But, alas! what is this to those unparalled com­passions, which flowed forth from the heart of Christ, together with his tears over Jerusa­lem?

[Page 54] (10.) Another Qualitie appendent to Christs tears regards their season, 10. Seaso­nable. which was a day of public Rejoycing: This sad Lamentation of Christ, was in a day, wherein they made so­lemne Acclamations of joy, and sung Hosanna's unto him. This argues the weight of Christs tears: Surely there must needs be some weigh­ty reason and cause of these tears, which were so plentifully poured out, by our Lord, in a day of such solemne Triumph. Ay, but our Lord did, by the eye of his omniscient Divi­nitie, discerne a world of Hypocrisie, Ʋnbelief, Ingratitude, and Treacherie in their hearts: He foresaw that some of these very men, who now sang Hosanna's to him, as their crowned Messias, would, within few days, crie out, at least in heart and consent, Crucifie, crucifie him. He had a clear prevision of al Jerusalems Treasons, and bloudie designes against his Re­gal Person, Crown, and Dignitie, with al the sad effects hereof; and this sad prospect drew tears from him in this day of solemne Joy.

(11.) Lastly,1 [...]. Pu­blic. These tears of Christ were public, in the view of al standers-by; which gives some accent to them. Had he wept in a corner, where no eye could have seen it, sure­ly it had been very much, for a person of his Qualitie and Dignitie: But oh! to shed tears in such a public manner, what burning Affe­ctions; what a fermentation of boiling Com­passions; what sympathetic Tendernesses doth this argue to be in the heart of our Lord? Thus much for the eminent Qualities of Christs Tears.

[Page 55] 2. We come now to the Effic [...]ces and In­fluences of these sacred precious tears;The effi­cace of these tears which were; 1. Omi­nous and prophetic. which also admit several Regards. (1.) These Di­vine tears of Christ were very Ominous, and Prognostic: they did foretel dreadful Accidents, and prodigious Disasters, which would befal Jerusalem. These tears proceded not from a sick brain, or phantastic Imagination of Chi­meric, or impossible dangers; No, they were prophetic tears, issuing from a judicious eye, which had an hypostatic union with the omni­scient Divinitie.

(2.) Hence also they were Instructive Tears: 2. Instuu­ctive. every tear dropt a lesson; yea, preacht a Ser­mon to impenitent, unbelieving Jerusalem. Oh! what sacred Instructions, what sage Do­cuments, what deliberate Counsels, what sea­sonable Admonitions, what useful Cautions, did every tear carrie in its bowels? How happy might Jerusalem have been, had she but under­stood, and entertained the holesome Doctrines, which these tears preached to her? Did not every Tear instruct her, what a tender-hearted Savior she had to deal with? How unwilling he was to reject her? How glad he would be, to receive her into the bosome of his Grace? What a bloudy sin unbelief was? &c.

(3.) These Divine Tears were not only In­structive, 3. Exhor­tative▪ but also exhortative. They carried in them efficacious and binding Arguments, to persuade impenitent Jerusalem, to mind, and embrace the things that did belong unto her peace. What more efficacious to prevail on an ob­stinate wife, than the tears of her affectionate [Page 56] husband? What more powerful charme may there be, to win the obedience of a rebellious child, than the tears of affectionate parents? Can there be a more forcible motive to gain the consent of a sick patient, than his Physi­cians tears? What wil move the hearts of desperate Rebels, to returne to their liege Lord, if his tears wil not do it? And, Lo! here the King of kings, by his pathetic tears, ex­horts, persuades, and invites his obstinate spouse, his rebellious children, his sick pa­tients, and his rebellious subjects to returne unto him, and embrace the things that be­long unto their peace. So Ezech. 18. 23. Have I any pleasure at al that the wicked should die, saith the Lord God? &c. More particularly, these tears of Christ exhort, and invite Jeru­salem to Repentance: Christ weeps for her sins, that so she might thereby be induced to weep for her own sins. Doth it not argue an heart desperately hard, when Christs tears wil not dissolve or soften it? Drops of rain wil in time make a rock hollow: Oh then! how obdu­rate is the heart of Jerusalem, when the effi­cacious tears of the Son of God wil not move, or work upon it, to consider the things that belong unto her peace?

(4.) These Tears of Christ were also com­minatorie, 4. Threat­ning. or threatning: every tear speaks a curse, and direful threat to the impenitent Jews. As patience, so tears rejected, or abused, become furious. Those are the most dreadful curses, which procede from the Mouth of Blessednes it self. If Christs affectionate tears [Page 57] prevail not on sinners to come unto him, and partake of his blessings; they then fal down in shours of Divine threats and curses. And oh! what an astonishing curse is this, to be cursed by the Mediators mouth, which is the fountain of al Blessednes? O! what a deplora­ble case is Jerusalem in, when every Tear of her gracious Lord drops a threat, and curse on her? How has Jerusalem for more than 1600 years layn under this curse here dropt, and min­gled with our Lords tears?

(5.) These sanctified tears of Christ were also Intercessorie: 5. Inter­cessorie. As they threatned curses on the reprobate Jews; so in like manner did they intercede for mercie on the elect Jews in Jerusalem. Christs tears, as wel as his bloud and prayers, were a part of his Intercession: they had an articulate language and voice, which God the Father wel-understood. And look as Christs intercessory prayer for his Church, Joh. 17, includes also a curse on their enemies; so also these his tears, albeit they threaten curses to those who persevere in their impenitence; yet they intercede for mercie on the elect seed.

(6.) These Tears of Christ were very in­fluential and fructuous. 6. Influen­tial. Every tear dropt Grace into the hearts of Christs penitent believing Disciples. Christs tears, as they were a De­luge of curses on the impenitent Jews; so also were they a floud of mercies towards his elect seed. Without dout, those Christs Disciples, who saw him shed these tears, were not a little moved, and influenced thereby. Christs [Page 58] tears were a soverain means to mollifie and soften their rockie, stonie hearts: How could they refrain to mourn, when they see their Lord weep over Jerusalem? What grief and shame might they wel have for their own sins, when they behold their great Lord, thus to weep over Jerusalem's sins? How much ought these Sympathetic tears of their Lord move them, to sympathise also with Jerusalem in her miseries?

(7.) Lastly,7. Exem­plary. these sacred tears of our blessed Lord were also exemplary. Without al per­adventure, our blessed Lord intended these his public tears, not only as a Demonstration of his affectionate regard towards sinners, but also as a great exemplar, or patterne for his Saints. Christ, the natural Son of God, hereby gave al the adopted sons of God, a fit patterne for their tears. Christ wept for Jerusalem's sins, thereby to give us a patterne of mourning for sin, both in our selves and others: Christ seems to forget his own sufferings, whiles he laments the sufferings of Jerusalem, now contriving his death: Oh! what an admirable exemplar is here for Saints to bleed over the sufferings of others, yea of enemies more than their own? But how far Christs tears ought to be imi­tated by us, we intend to shew in the Appli­cation.

The Motives, that induced Christ to weep over Jerusalem, from his Relations to her.

HAving dispatcht the Object and Act of Christs Lamentation, we now passe on to our third Question, What it was that moved Christ to weep over Jerusalem? As for the Motives which refer to the object, they have been sufficiently explicated, in what pre­cedes, Chap. 4, 5, 6. I shal now only mention such as lie wrapt up in the Subject, Christ, and his Relation to Jerusalem.

Relations,The Mo­tives which in­dued Christ [...]t weep over Jerusalem from his Relations to her. as we al find by experience, car­rie in them the most moving Considerations: Nothing so efficacious to draw forth commi­seration and pitie, towards an object in mi­serie, as our Relation natural or spiritual to it. The strongest Motives to compassion spring from Relations. Now our blessed Lord stood in many near relations unto Jerusalem; which greatly moved him to commiserate her sinfu [...], and ruinous state.

(1.) Christ bore the Relation of a Father to Jerusalem: 1. As a Father. Israel was his first-borne Church: as Luke 15. 25. where the Jewish Church is wrapt up in the Parable of an elder s [...]n. Now its wel-known what binding motives to pitie lie wrapt up in the bowels of a Father. Was [Page 60] it ever known, that a Father saw his Child burning in the fire, and yet wanted bowels of pitie for him? Can we imagine, that the heart of our tender Lord, which was made up of such tendernesses, could forbear to bleed o­ver dying Jerusalem? We find this lively ex­emplified, in the movings of Christ affectionate Bowels towards Ephraim, Jer. 31. 20. Jer. 31. 20. Is E­phraim my dear son? is he a pleasant child? For since I spake against him, I do earnestly re­member him stil: therefore my bowels are trou­bled for him. The bowels are said to be the seat of the most tender Affections: and it is certain, that in great acts of commiseration the Bowels are most deeply affected. Though this be spoken of Christs compassions towards penitent Ephraim, yet in some proportion it holds good, in respect of back-sliding Jeru­salem: For a prodigal rebellious son is a son, and therefore the object of commiseration, as it appears in the storie of the prodigal, Luk. 15. 20. Though Jerusalem was now turned prodigal, yet Christs bowels could not but melt towards it, with tender commiseration.

2.2. As an Husband. Christs relation to Jerusalem as an Hus­band, is yet a deeper motive to stir up his bowels of pitie towards her. Jerusalem was Christs first-Bride: she got his first virgin­love: she first subscribed with her hand to the conjugal contract; and thence became Ho­linesse to the Lord. Jer. 2. 2, 3. Jer. 2. 2, 3. Go and crie in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, thus saith the Lord, I remember thee, the kindnes of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, &c. So v. 5. What [Page 61] iniquitie have your father's found in me, that they are gone far from me? Ah! this breaks Christs heart, that Jerusalem, who had, by a solemne mariage bond, joined herself to him, should now turne her back on him, as a commun Harlot, and lie in commun for every Idol-lust. How could this tender-hearted Savior, ch [...]ose but weep over Jerusalem, his Apostate-Spouse, who never found iniquitie in him, or any just cause for such a grand Apostasie? Would it not break the heart of a tenderhearted husband to see his wife bid defiance to him, and lie in commun for every base miscreant? This Christ sadly laments,Jer. 31. 32. Jer. 31. 32. Which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband to them, saith the Lord. As if he had said: O! this breaketh mine heart, I cannot bear it, that Israel should break with me, who have been so kind, so affectionate, so indul­gent an husband to her: who could ever have imagined that Israel, would have dealt so un­kindly with me, who have been so kind to her? What prodigious disloyaltie is this, that Jerusalem should prove so false to me, who have been so faithful an husband to her? Yea, what monstrous folie is this, that Jerusalem should be so cruel, so bloudie-minded, so much an enemie to her self, as to reject me, her best friend and husband?

(3.) Christ was nearly allied to Jerusalem as her Lord and Soverain, 3. As Lord. Joh. 1. 11. which gives him a fur­ther inducement to mourne and weep over her. This we find insisted on, John 1. 11. He came unto his own, and his own received him [Page 62] not. His own Jerusalem was Christs own pro­per house; a Palace, which he had built, for his own regal Residence; a Temple, which he had erected and consecrated, for his own Di­vine worship: And was it not al the reason in the world, that Christ should be received as Lord into his ownEst au­tem [...], tan­quam in domum su­am. Grot. House and Temple? Docent Juriscon­sulti, id maxime natura­liter no­strum esse, quod nos ut existe­ret effeci­mus G [...]ot. Is there any thing more naturally our own, than that which we give Being and existence unto? Was not Jerusalem then most properly, yea most naturally Christs own, in that he gave Being to her, both in her Politic and Religious capacitie, as a State and Church? And yet, Lo! it followes, and his own received him not, i. e. as Lord and King: Our blessed Lord comes and knockes at Jerusalem's Gates; but could not be admitted into his own house. Oh! how greatly doth this pierce and wound his heart? Who could ever have thought, that the Lord of Glorie should have been denied entrance into his own royal Palace? What stupendous Rebellion is this? Surely, wel might this draw tears from our Lord.

(4.) Christs Federal Relation to Jerusalem, 4. As Mi­nister of the Cove­nant. as Minister of the Covenant brought him under an essential, and deep obligation to lament over her sinful, and ruinous state. Christ was invested with an Aptitude and Facultie to preach glad tidings of Salvation unto Jeru­salem: Yea, the Jews, just before this La­mentation, Luke 19. 38. recognise him as Mediator, and supreme Minister of the Cove­nant: This toucheth him to the quick, to consider that he, who was their alone Media­tor, [Page 63] and had, with so much Fidelitie and Af­fection, preached the everlasting Gospel to Jerusalem, yea was, by some of them, so­lemnely avouched to be their Crowned King, should yet be rejected by them, together with al the great things that did belong to their peace. Christ tels us, that it was his meat and drink to performe his office as Mediator, namely to gather in the lost sheep of Israel: There­fore when he considers their contumacious ob­stinacie and rejection of him, Oh! how doth this wound his heart? What a doleful con­templation was this unto him?Quatenus ergo huic populo mi­nister in salutem, pro officii sui ratione illius exi­tum deplo­rat. Calv. Thus as he was Jerusalems supreme Minister, he doth, by virtue of his office, deplore its wilful impenitence, and approching Ruine.

Alas! what an heart-bleeding consideration is it, to a faithful Gospel-Minister, after al his indefatigable and unwearied labors with his flock, to see them persist in open defiance a­gainst God, to the ruine of their souls? And may we imagine, that our tender-hearted Lord, who was Jerusalem's chief Bishop, or Minister, and had preached so long, with so much affection to her, should not be deeply afflicted, at the consideration of her wilful un­belief, and ensuing miserie? Surely the con­sideration of this his Office and Relation added much weight to his Lamentation. Would it not grieve a tender-hearted Physician, to see his Patient to spil his Physic, which alone can cure him, and so run into desperate courses, which wil unavoidably bring death to him? Just so it was here, Christ was the good Sama­ritan, [Page 64] Jerusalem's most affectionate Physician, and therefore it could not but prick him to the heart, to see her wilfully rejecting al the good things that belonged to her peace and health; to run her self into inevitable ruine.

(5.) Christs natural Relation to Jerusalem, 5. Christs natural re­lation to Jerusalem. as he was a borne Jew, and so her elder bro­ther, added many ingredients to this his sad Lamentation. Our blessed Lord was borne of a Judaic Mother; he had a Judaic heart loged within him; Judaic bloud running in his veins, Judaic bowels and compassions; and therefore no wonder that he weeps over his impenitent brethren, who were on the brink of ruine. But so much may suffice for the Motives which induced our Lord, thus to weep over Jerusalem.

Doctrinal Corollaries, and practic Uses, drawn from this Christ's Lamentation over Jerusalem.

HAving gone thorow the explication of the Proposition,Doctrinal Inferences. we come now to the Im­provement thereof; and that first by Doctrinal Inferences.

(1.) Doth Christ weep over the Sins and Ruines of impenitent Jerusalem? Chrsts Affections Relative. Hence then Infer,, That Christs Affections are Relative: his [Page 65] sorrow stands in relation to the sinners miserie; as also his joy to the sinners good. Al Christs Affections, whiles on earth, were very gene­rous and public: he discovered little or no­thing of private Interest and Passion: Al his Affections, Actions, and Passions were relative. Yea, the whole of Christ as Mediator, is Re­lative: He espoused human N [...]ture not for himself, but for sinners: He lived not for himself, but for his people: He died not for himself, but for sinners: Thus here he wept not for himself, but for Jerusalem.

(2.) This a [...]so discovers to us,Christs Affection [...] most pure. The Heroic, and pure▪ strain, or temperament of Christs Af­fections. Doth he, indeed, shed tears over Jerusalem, who is now meditating, how she may shed his bloud: Has he so much pitie and bleeding compassion for her, who hath so little pitie and compassion for herselfe? Oh! what incomparable generous Assections are here? What an unparalled sweet humor is there loged in the heart of this great Emmanuel? Who could ever have imagined that human Nature had been capable of such pure, and des­interessed Affections, had we not so real an experiment thereof in this Soverain Messias?

(3.) Hence likewise we may collect,Christs wil to sav [...] sinners. How really and chearfully willing Christ is to save sin­ners. Certainly, he that makes such bitter Lamentation over the foreseen Ruines of Jeru­salem, must needs have a very cordial, and un­feigned wil and desire of her salvation. This we find expressed to the life,Mat. 23. 3 [...] Mat. 23. 37. O▪ Jerusalem, Jerusalem—How oft would I have [Page 66] gathered thy children together, even as an hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and ye would not? What a pathetic expostulation is here, which carries in it notices of vehement Affections? Oh! how willing is Christ to give unto sinners the things that belong unto their peace? Yea, is he not more willing to to bestow great things than smal? Doth not his willingnesse to give, infinitely excede the sinners willingnesse to receive? Is not Christ more glad to receive poor and weary souls, than they are to come unto him? May sinners come too soon to Christ, or before they are welcome? Has Christ set any bars or rails a­bout his Throne of Grace? May not who­ever wil, come and drink freely, and deeply of this living fount [...]in? Is not every thing about Christ mighty drawing, alluring, and invi­ [...]ing? How drawing and [...]ncouraging is his Gospel? What alluring and inviting Argu­ments are there in his bloud and passion? Has not Christ removed al groundlesse cavils and objections, which foolish sinners are apt to make against coming to him for life? Doth not Jerusalem first break with him, before he breaks with her? And when that unhappy breach is made, doth not his weeping over her sufficiently argue, how fain he would be re­conciled to her? how much 'twould please him to see her but cast half an eye towards him? how much his heart would leap within him, to behold her, in the Prodigals posture, returning towards him? Did Christ ever cease to make tenders of Grace to her, 'til she [Page 67] ceased to accept or desire the tenders of his Grace? Yea, is not Christs forwardnesse to give, beyond the Sinners forwardnesse to re­ceive? Did Christ ever refuse to give, til sin­ners refused to aske what they wanted? Oh! how o [...]t doth Christs kindnesse overcome the Sinners unkindnesse? Did he not frequently expresse great love and pitie, when he had the greatest cause to expresse severe wrath? Oh! what infinite pleasure and satisfaction doth Christ take, in his gracious effusions and com­munications to sinners? Doth he not thinke himself sufficiently paid for what Grace he hath given forth, if he may but obtain the souls desires after more? How industrious is he in seeking sinners, when they have lost themselves? Oh! what a sad consideration is it, that Christ should be so boundlesse and large in his offers, and we so narrow in our receiv­ings?

(4.) Christs weeping over Jerusalem in­structs us further,The Ag­gravations of such as refuse Christ. What a dreadful sin it is to reject Christ, and al other concernes of our peace. Christs gracious invitations unto, long wait­ings for, and at last tears over Jerusalem, do greatly aggravate her impenitence, and unbe­lief towards him. For the lower Christ con­descends to sinners, the nearer he comes to them, and the more importunate he is in the offers of his Grace; the greater is their sin in rejecting such gracious and sweet offers. What? doth Christ come unto his own; his own chil­dren, spouse, subjects, brethren, and friends? and wil not his own receive him? Doth he [Page 68] so freely open his gracious heart to sinners, and wil they shut their hearts against him? Is he so forward to give, and shal we be so back­ward to receive? Doth Christ offer such great things to sinners, and shal they prefer such poor toys before them? Yea, is Christ in him­self so incomparably excellent, and wil sinners yet so much disdain him, and so proudly shift themselves of him? Can there be a more hai­nous sin than this, to meet Christs bowels and pitie with kicks, and contemt? Oh! studie the weight of this sin.

(5.) This Lamentation of Christ over im­penitent Jerusalem teacheth us also,Mans ru­ine from himself. That mans Ruine is from himself? If after al Christs gra­cious▪ Invitations; al his unwearied forbearan­ces; al his bitter and salt tears, Jerusalem wil s [...]il persist in her rebellious contemt of his gra­cious offers, how inexcusable is her sin, and inevitable her ruine? What wil prevail upon her, if Christs Tears, and Intreaties wil not prevail? What can save her, if her Redemers Grace and Mercie save her not? What is it that keeps Evangelic sinners from being saved? is it any defect in the Object, or its Revela­tion? is it mere simple Ignorance, or Impotence in the subject? No; but it is wilful blind­nesse and impotence: they shut their eyes and wil not see; they bolt their hearts and wil not open to Christ, who knocks at the dore of the soul, by many gracious Invitations of his Gospel and Spirit. And do not such deserved­ly perish, who electively embrace their own ruine, and wilfully reject the things that be­long [Page 69] to their peace, Mat. 23. 37? Surely this wilful Impotence, or rather impotent wilful­nesse evidently demonstrates, That impeni­tent sinners frame their own Hel.

(6.) Hence also infer,Grand unkindnes. That the greater pri­vileges, and marques of favor Christ doth confer on any People or Church, the more sorely doth he resent any unkindnesse from such. The resent­ment of a smal unkindnesse, from such as have been obliged by special favors, is more affli­ctive, than greater unkindnesses from others. For Jerusalem, who lay under so many, and essential obligations, to reject Christ, and al his gracious tenders of mercie, Oh! how much doth this break his heart? What swords and spears to pierce thorow his soul is this? For Jesurun, when she is made fat with Di­vine mercies, to kick against those bowels, whence her mercies flowed, how much doth this wound and grieve the heart of Christ?

(7.) Lasty,Christs tears the exemplar of ours. Hence also we may collect, That Christ's tears are the best Exemplar, or Patterne of ours. He that wil mourne in a Christian manner, needs no better Idea, or exemple than this Christs Lamentation. Al Christs Affections, Actions, and Passions, so far as they are imitable by us, deserve a great Remarque: But nothing cals for a more exact imitation from us, than this Christs Lamentation: E­very branch thereof deserves great Considera­tion, Admiration, and Imitation.

1.Use 1. Advice to studie En­glands sins, &c. We procede now to some more practic Application of our Proposition; and that first by way of Admonition, and Advice, That we [Page 70] al studie wel, and consider deeply Jerusalems Church-wasting sins, how far they may be found amongst us. Was Jerusalem guiltie of reject­ing Christ, and the things that did belong unto her peace? And have not we been, in an high mesure, guiltie of the same? Doth not this sin lie involved in Londons Ashes and Ruines, as wel as in Jerusalems? Did Jerusalem fond­ly flatter herself, and ungroundedly presume of peace, when Christ threatned nothing but Wars and Desolations? And has not this also been Englands Sin? Do not men crie Peace, Peace, when God speaks nothing but Wrath? Was Jerusalem puffed up with Spiritual pride, and Carnal confidence in her Church-privileges, and the tokens of Gods presence? And have not English Professors been notoriously guiltie of the same sins? Did Jerusalem sleep securely under al Christs Divine Comminations, Mena­ces, or Threats of approching Jugements? And has not England also slept securely under al Divine premonitions of coming jugements? Had earthly-mindednesse a great place in Jeru­salems black Catalogue of Church-desolating sins? And have not English Professors been dreadfully guiltie of this sin also? Have not Back and Belly, Trade, Pompe, and Pleasures, been the great Diana's, which have captiva­ted the hearts of too many Professors? Was Jerusalem infructuous and barren under al gra­cious Appointments, Vouch [...]afements, and Influences? And has not this also been En­glands great sin? Did Jerusalem persecute Gods Prophets and Apostles? And may we [Page 71] exemt England from the guilt of this sin? Was the want of Reformation Jerusalems Church-depopulating Sin? And is England free from this Sin? Lastly, was Jerusalem guiltie of Impenitence, want of Humiliation, and open Apostasie? And let al judge, whether England has not been fouly guilty of the same sins. O that English Professors would spend some time, studie, and pains, in completing this parallel between Jerusalem and England, in point of Church-wasting sins, thereby to break their hearts, and make them bleed forth bitter La­mentations over Englands sins, and approching miseries, if she repent not.

Hence also we are furnisht with mater of Exhortation to English Professors,Vise 2. Exhorta­tion to mourne o­ver En­glands sins, and feared mi­series. That they would, by al means possible, endeavor, both in themselves and others, an exact imit [...]tion of this our Lords Lamentation over Jerusalem? Did our gracious Lord, who was himself void of the least spot, weep so bitterly over Jerusalems sins? Oh then! how much should We, poor sinful We, weep over Englands sin, where­unto we have contributed so great a share? Doth our blessed Lord, who was free from al sin, so much lament the sins of others, where­in he had no share? O! What an high degree of impenitence is it then for us, not to lament over our own sins, or National sins, wherein we have had our share? If we mourn not over National, or Church-sins, do we not hereby make our selves partakers in them; and so by consequence, in those jugements that follow? Oh! What a sad contemplation is it, to think [Page 72] how many great Professors make themselves guilty of National, or other-mens sins, by not lamenting over them? How much Blasphemie, Atheisme, Profanesse, Idolatrie, Sensualitie, Securitie, Contemt of the Gospel, and other Na­tional sins, are by the Righteous God, charged on the account of many great, yea some good Professors, because they never mourned over these National sins? And may not these Pro­fessors expect to be involved in National juge­ments, who thus, by their defect of humili­ation, involve themselves in National sins? Yea, may not the great want of Mourning, and Humiliation for other mens sins, give too many great Professors cause to suspect, that they never truely mourned, or were humbled for their own sins? For he that mournes for his own sins as he ought, mourns chiefly for the dishonor that comes to God thereby: Now if this be the principal Motive of our mourning for sin, then we shal mourn for the dishonor that comes to God by other mens sins, as wel as by our own. But the bottome-reason why some Professors mourne for their own sins, and not for other mens sins, is self-love: they think their own sins wil draw juge­ments on themselves, and therefore they mourne for them, thereby to avert Gods wrath from themselves: Whereas true godly sorrow is chiefly afflicted for the offence given to God: It is grieved, not so much because self, as because Christ is grieved. Certainly a soul truely humbled for his own sins, wil also be humbled for, and mourn over National sins [Page 73] and jugements. How much then are we con­cerned to imitate our great Lord in this his Lamentation? Do not his tears accuse, and condemne our impenitent, secure, and hard hearts? He weeps for other mens sins; but alas! how little do we weep for our own? May not Christs tears fil us with soul-confu­sion and shame, to consider, how much we are strangers to such Christian Lamentations, over sinful and ruinous England? Has not this been the practice of Saints in al ages, to la­ment over the Sins, and Ruines of their Church or State? Was not this the temper of Lots spirit? Is it not said, He was vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked, 2 Pet. 2. 7. 2 Pet. 2. 7. [...], oppressed as with a burden, or dispirited and weakned, as with a tedious sick­nes, as the word imports; so v. 8. Vexed his righteous soul, [...], he cruciated, or tormented his soul as upon a rack: such was his grief and anguish for their sins. And was not this likewise the gracious posture of Da­vids spirit, Psal. 119. 53, 136, 158? Oh! what Lamentations did the good Prophets of old make over Jerusalems first captivitie, and her sin, which was the cause thereof? Again, has not God made many gracious promisses to such, as mourne over the sins of the places they live in, as Ezech. 9. 4? Its true, peradventure they may not be exemted from commun cala­mities; ay, but doth not God sanctifie, and sweeten al unto them?

But to speak a little of the Qualification of our Lamentation: We are to imitate, as much [Page 74] as may be, the Qualities, or manner of Christs weeping. Were Christs tears Rational, Spi­ritual, and voluntarie? Such should ours also be. Was Christs Lamentation generous and public? did he seem to forget his own private sufferings, whiles he bewailed Jerusalem's? Oh! how ambitious should we be of the like pure sorrow? Were his tears Pathetic, and Sympathetic? Did every tear flow from a broken bleeding heart? How much then should we affect such Tears? Again, were his tears so efficacious, so influential? What a shame is it then for us, that our Lamentations are so barren and fruitlesse? Alas! how far short do our Lamentations come of Christs? Do not we grieve more for the evils we our selves suffer, than for the sin, we or others commit? Sense of pain, or losse afflicts us: but how little are we afflicted with the sense of guilt and sin? We mourn over the Ruines of a burnt Citie, or impoverished Nation: but how little do we mourn over our sin, and the wrath of a sin-revenging God, which were the causes of those Ruines?

Lastly,Ʋise 3. Caution against Church-sins. Christs Lamentation, doth admi­nister to us a serious Caution against al those sins, which may draw down jugements on a Citie, State, or Church. Is not this the great end and designe of al Divine Lamentations, to obviate and prevent the like Sins and Ruines? Was not this one main end, why Christ here breaks forth into so sad a passion of weeping over Jerusalem, thereby to lay in a Caveat for us, that we run not into the like Sins and Ru­ines? [Page 75] O then let us keep our spirits, and lives, at the greatest distance that may be, from these or suchlike Church-sins, which bring with them such stupendous, inevitable Church-ruines. Reformation is the supreme end of al sacred Lamentation: and albeit National juge­ments may surprise us, as wel as others, yet if we can keep our selves from National, and Church sins, which are the causes of such juge­ments, they wil in the issue prove no juge­ments, but perfumed mercies to us. What ever burdens lie on our backs, if sin lie not on our spirits, they wil be very tolerable, easy burdens to us.

A. General Consideration of the Text, Luke 19. 42. With a particular Re­solution of that first Question, What it is not to know the things that belong unto our peace? Or, Wherein the Nature of Unbelief consists?

The Explication of Luke 19. 42.

HAving given some general account of Christs Lamentation, both as to its Mater and Forme, we now pro­cede to a more exact considera­tion of the chief particulars thereof contained in v. 42. Saying, if thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. These words carrie in them an extreme Pathos, or moving Affection: every word is Pathetic, and Emphatic: Christs heart seems so ful of bleeding pitie, as if he wanted words to give it vent: every expres­sion is so broken, as though his heart were [Page 77] quite broken to pieces: Yea, doth he not seem to drop a tear between every word? to speak, and weep; to drop a word, and then a tear? So ful of Affection and Commiseration is every expression, as it wil appear by each parti­cular.

Saying,]Saying, Christ doth not only weep, but speaks, he mingles words very emphatic with tears; which addes much efficace, and weight to his Lamentation. If,] [...]: Illud [...]. Osten [...]it enim reddi a Christo causam fletus. Grotius. Some understand the the first Particle, [...], as Aitiologic, or Causal; and so they suppose it to discover to us the cause of Christs weep­ing. Beza, Gerhard. But others, upon more grounded reasons, make the Particle [...] to be redundant, and expletive; according to the Greek Indiome and Luke's wounted Pleonasme, wherein it usu­ally stands as a note of Asseveration, and so serves for a Mimesis. For they are wont to premit it before a sentence, which being spo­ken by some one, is recited; whence it is no more than an Enarrative, and Expletive Parti­cle. Neither doth the Syriac version impede this construction: for [...] there is not Causal, but a note of Exclamation.

As for that next Particle [...], rendred, If, it is variously explicated: [...] hic est utinam. G [...]ot. Some conceive there is no defect in this discourse of Christ, and thence they expound [...] in an Optative sense, by Ʋtinam, Would to God thou hadst known: So they make it to be the same with [...].

Because (1.) This is not improper, or un­usual in the Greek. (2.) The Syriac, [...] Illu, [Page 78] is also Optative. (3.) In this sense [...] is also used by the LXX. for [...] Jos. [...]. 7. [...], would to God we had remained.

But I rather incline to the jugemeut of Cal­vin, Beza, and others, who make this Ora­tion of Christ to be Elliptic, or defective; and so refer the Partible [...], If, to the Subjunctive Mood. (1.) Because the Particle [...] is rarely, if ever, found used in the New-Testament, for Vtinam, would to God. (2.) Because it is here premitted, as introductive to a pathetic exclamation, drawn from most intimate Bo­wels, and such a torrent of melted Affections, as seem to shut Christs mouth, and interrupt his words.Si cog­novisses tu. Pathetica Oratio, ideoque ab­rupta. Calv. And indeed experience testi­fieth, that such, in whose bowels are loged burning vehement Affections, are not able to expresse their minds, but by abrupt and broken words. And that which confirmes this reason, is, that we find here, in Christs expressions, two mixed affections; 1. A great mesure of commiseration and pitie, as to Jeru­salems approching miserie. And 2. a great degree of Indignation▪ by reason of her pro­digious Ingratitude, Contumacie, and Un­belief; which were the cause of al her miserie. Thus a learnedBudaeus prioribus in Pandec­tas Anno­tationibus. Author observes, That this Oration of Christ is defective; as of one, who partly commiserates Jerusalems approaching De­struction; and partly upbraids h [...]r unheard-of perfidie, and contumacie. Thus it seems evi­dent, that the Particle [...], If, here notes Christs speech to be very defective, abrupt, and pathe­tic. But yet there remains a difficultie, how [Page 79] this pathetic Interruption, or defect in Christs Oration, is to be filled up; concerning which we shal speak in the Explication of that clause, even thou.

It follows,Thou hadst known. [Thou hadst known,] i. e. Belie­ved, embraced: For it is a general rule among the Hebrews, That words of sense implie Af­fection. Faith is oft in Scripture expressed under the notion of knowlege; because Assent is the first essential Ingredient of faith; whence follows Consent: and albeit the former may sometimes be found without the later, as in historic faith; yet the later is never found without the former. There can be no Con­sent, without Assent, although there may be sometimes Assent without Consent, as in the Devils. Yea, may we not affirme (which we dout not but to demonstrate in its place) that al true, Divine, Spiritual, deep, prevalent, ef­ficacious Assent, to the things that belong unto our peace, is ever attended with a sincere Con­sent to the same? For, albeit Divine saving Assent, and Consent, may differ as to their for­mal Acts, and Objects; yet are they not the same, in regard of their effective principles, ends, and effects? Is not the Wil under the Tuition of the Understanding? Can it move regularly towards any object, without the con­duct of the mind? Yea, have not the Mind and Wil mutual, reciproeal Influences each on other? And lastly, What if we should assert, that the Mind, which is the seat of Assent, and the Wil, wherein the consent of faith is seated, are not essentially different Faculties; but [Page 80] one and the same soul, receiving different De­nominations, according to its different Acts, and Objects? This is no Novel opinion, nei­ther do we want reason, or sacred Authoritie to confirme the same, as we may prove hereafter. This gives us the reason why our blessed Lord expresseth Faith by Knowlege; and Jerusalems unbelief, by not knowing the things that belong unto her peace. But we are also to remember, that it is not simple Ignorance, that Jerusalem is charged with; but a perverse, stupid, vo­luntarie, affected Ignorance; which is so far from excusing, as that it aggravates the sin of those who are guiltie of it.

Even thon,]Even thou. [...]. The Vulgar Latin and Erasmus render the Particle, [...], Et, And; supposing it to be Copulative; as if our blessed Lord should deplore and lament, that Jeru­salem did not receive the Gospel, as other Ci­ties had done. Thus some wil have the de­fect of this Elliptic discourse filled up by a tacite indication of some other persons, or Ci­ties, who knew the things that did belong to their peace; whose exemple our blessed Lord would fain have Jerusalem to follow, in know­ing the things that did belong to her peace. These persons, some wil have to be the com­mun people, which immediately before make such solemne Acclamations of joy, and sung Hosanna's to Christ, v. 38. Others understand thereby other Cities of Judea, which had re­ceived the Gospel: Others understand it inde­finitely, of al such Cities as had at any time repented, and turned to God. As if our Lord [Page 81] should have said, Other Cities, as Ninive, &c. have acknowleged their sins, and understood the things that belonged to their peace; Would to God thou also hadst known the things that belong to thy peace: Thus some. But we are not necessitated to introduce any per­sons, for the filling up this defective Ora­tion: Particu­la [...] hoc loco non est Copulati­va, sed ponitur pro saltem, Gerhard. For the Particle [...] in this place is not Copulative, but put for vel, even, in this sense: If even thou, which art the Metropolis of Judea, the chief seat of the divine Shekinah, or Habitation, and adorned with such singular privileges, beyond al places in the world, If, I say, thou hadst known, &c.Vel tu, Urbs illa supra om­nes terrae urbes, Deo dilecta, Urbs Da­vidis, Deo dicata. Grot. Thus that which Christ here laments is not; that Jeru­salem had not known the things that did be­long unto her peace, as other Cities had done; but this is the great thing he bewails, that Jerusalem, which lay under such deep and essential Obligations, to receive her Messias, even she should so unworthily reject him. So that the simple, and natural sense seems to be this: If even thou, whom it so nearly concernes, hadst known, &c.

At least,] [...]. The Repetition of the Conjunction [...] is not uselesse; but carries with it a singular Elegance, and Emphase: [...] bis re­petitum Emphaticè ponitur pro latino, vel, saltem Glass. for the first [...], and, refers to the Citie; the last to her day, which follows: as if he had said; If thou, Jerusalem, hadst known, even thou, whom it so greatly concernes to know these things, at least in this thy day, in which I, thy promissed Messias, am come unto th [...]e. Ergo hic quoque Particula [...] [...]ccipi­enda est, ut paulo ante [...] quod eti­am liquet ex Parti­cula [...] ad­juncta. Bez Thus the Particle [...] is to be understood, as before [Page 82] for vel, even, or, saltem, at least; which is evident from the Particle [...] annext thereto. Whence it follows.

In this thy day] [...]n this thy [...]ay. There is a great Pathos, and Emphase in this notion, This thy day; whereby we must understand, according to the Hebraic Idiome, that space of time, or the last period of that time, which our Lord had so graciously vouchsafed to Jerusalem, for her Repentance. Every word is very significant and weightie. (1.) The word Day, has much in it: as if he had said; The day of Grace yet shines on thee: Thy Sun is not as yet set: but the night wil follow, Joh. 9. 4 This is termed, the Time of thy Visitation, v. 44. (2.) The Epithet thy is also very emphatic. Thy Day, i.e, That day, which thy Lord has, in much singular favor, vouchsafed to thee, beyond al the world besides, which as yet lies in dark­nesse. Thy day, wherein thy Messias has given thee such public and manifest Demonstrations of his sacred Mission, and Commission from God: Thy day, wherein I have been wholly taken up in preaching to thee, the great things of thy peace; wherein I have given thee so many so­lemne Invitations, so many gracious Allure­ments, so many bland and friendly Intreaties, to accept of me as thy Savior. And (3.) There seems yet to lie a farther Emphase in that first Particle [...], This; which seems to be both Restrictive and Emphatic: In This thy day, wherein I now make my last Application and Addresse to thee. ‘As if he had said: I sent my Prophets to thee; but alas! how were [Page 83] they abused, and slain? I have in person made many Addresses and Supplications to thee; but have I not received as many Re­pulses from, as ever I made Applications to thee? Lo! now I make myErat haec ultima [...]uasi oc­casio ad salutem Judaeis ob­lata, ut Messiam sibi obla­tam reci­perent, & ita salva­rentur. Glass. Significat voce diei adesse, ex­tremum tempus, &c. Gerhard. Quamvis hactenus sceleste & impiè con­tra Deum fueris con­tumax nunc sal­tem resi­piscendi est tempus. Calvin. last Appli­cation to thee: every word is watered, and bedewed with Tears: O! That thou wouldest, in THIS thy day, thy last Day, receive the things that belong unto thy peace. Albeit thou hast hitherto rejected al my gracious offers; yet even now, at least now in THIS thy day, be persuaded to listen to me.’Thus some understand by This thy day, the ultimate and extreme occasion, and season, wherein Christ made offer of Salvation to Jerusalem. Yet we may not exclude the former Seasons, and offers of Grace, which Christ gave to Jerusalem: For this pathetic Oration includes in it, not only an Invitation for the present, but also an Exprobation, and Indignation against Jerusalem, for her former contemt, and rejection of the things that did belong unto her peace: so that we may not exclude any part of that time, which was af­forded to Jerusalem, by her Messias; although the last period of this time may, possibly, be chiefly intended. [...]. Hactenus nunc saltem, cum illa dies illuxit qua dictum est, Dicite filiae Sionis, Zachar. 9. 9. Grot. Hence it is thought, that these words refer to that Zechar. 9. 9. Re­joice greatly O daughter of Sion: shout O daugh­ter of Jerusalem; behold thy King cometh to thee. But this coming of Christ, may not, [Page 84] as I conceive, be confined to this last coming of Christ to Jerusalem, but extends to the whole Oeconomie, or Dispensation of his Grace, before his crucifixion. But it follows.

The things which belong unto thy peace] [...] [...]; [...] thy peace. This is evidently an He­brais [...]e: For the Hebrews under the notion of Peace include al manner of Beatitude, and Prosperitie. The things that belong unto our peace, are either Complexe and Notional; or Simple and Real: The Complexe, Notional maters of our peace, are the Evangel, or words of peace, promulgated by Christ and his Apo­stles: The simple and real things of our peace, are (1.) Christ himself, the great Mediator of our peace, with al his merits. (2.) The Spi­rit of Christ, who makes Application of al our purchased peace. (3.) God the Father, the original fountain. (4.) Heaven, &c.

But now] Here we have (1.) an Aposiopesis, But now. or an abrupt breach in the course of the Ora­tion; whereby a principal part thereof seems to be left unmentioned. This argueth the depth of Christs grief, and the vehemence of his La­mentation▪ which wanted words to give it vent. This Aposiopesis, or breach in Christs words, may be thus filled up: If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things that belong to thy peace, [Oh! how chearfully, how greedily wouldest thou have em­braced them? or, Oh! how happy wouldst thou have been?]B [...]a, Gerard. Others incline rather to re­fer the Aposiopesis to the last clause of the fol­lowing words, But now they are hid from thine [Page 85] eyes [to thine unspeakable damage, and eternal ruine.] The difference is not material: we may take in both.

(2.) But now] As if had said: Time was, O Jerusalem, when thou hadst the bright, warme beams of my Gospel-Grace shining on thee: But now, thy day of Grace is gone, thy Sun is set: thou hast had many wooings, and importunate offers of Grace from me: But now I am come to give thee my last Adieu: Adieu, Jerusalem, Adieu. Thou hast had many strivings of my Spirit vouchsafed to thee: But now my Spirit bids thee farewel: farewel Jerusalem. Thence it follows,

They are hid from thine eyes,]They are hid from thine eyes. Here is an Hebraic Ellipsis, wherein the Consequent is also expressed by the Antecedent: for those things which are hid, are removed out of sight: whence the later is also expressed by the for­mer: Ellipsis est Hebraea, qua ex An­ [...]eceden [...]e intelligi [...]ur simul Con­sequens. quae enim abscoudun­tur, [...]ea à conspectu removen­tur. Gerna [...]d. So that the meaning is, The Go­spel is hid, and thenc removed from thee. Or peradventure, it may allude to the Veil on Moses's face, whereby the Glorie of God was hid from the Jews; which was a Symbolic shadow of their blindnesse, as it is explicated by Paul, 2 Cor. 3. 13, 14. For until this day remianeth the same veil, &c. This continues in use among the Jews to this very day: For in their Synagogues, whiles the Law is read, they have a Veil on their faces; which is a black marque, though little considered by them, of the veil of Ignorance, and Hardnesse on their hearts. Thus Christ threatens here, that, for the future, The things of their peace, [Page 86] should be hid from their eyes. And it deserves a particular remarque, that their jugement bears proportion to their sin: They wilfully shut their eyes against the Gospel; and Christ judicially shuts the Gospel, and hides it from their eyes: [...]] Ignorantia inexcusa­bili quia lucemobla­tam imo ingestam fastidiose respuis. Grot. They reject the things that belong to their peace; and the things that be­long to their peace reject them: Their hearts are sealed up by unbelief against the Gospel; and the Gospel becomes as a sealed Book to them: They bid Adieu to Christ; and he bids Adieu to them: They prefer Cesar be­fore Christ; and Christ deservedly leaves them, to be ruined by Cesars hands, whom they prefer before himself.

Eighteen general Observations drawn from the words of the Text, as before explica [...]ed.

THe words being thus explicated, they of­fer to us varietie of choise Observations. As from that first notion,Doct. 1. Saying, we may observe (1.) That Christs expressions of pitie do spring from the deepest Affections. Every word is attended with a tear: every saying is a lively image of a wounded heart.

(2.) That Christs Sayings and doings are the same. Doct. 2. Every word of Christ carries omnipo­tence [Page 87] in its womb: As his Promisses, so his Threats are omnipotent: and Jerusalem found, by dreadful experience, this Threat fulfilled to a Tittle. Yea, to this very day she lies under the dreadful arrest of this Threat. The Me­naces, and Threats of men, even of the great­est of men, are oft but smoke and wind: they threaten and storme much; speak big words; but alas! how little can they do? But oh! What energie and efficace is there in every saying of Christ? Hath not poor Jerusalem layen 1600. years under the prodigious curse of this one dismal saying? O! then dread every saying of Christ.

It follows:Doct. 3. [If] Hence observe (1.) That Christ is very real, serious, and pathetic in al his offers of Grace unto sinners. Every word of the Gospel is but a chariot, that conveighs Christs heart to Sinners: If ever he be in good earnest, it is in his evangelic Invitations. His Bowels are never more warme, and rolling; his af­fections never more bleeding, than in inviting and drawing Sinners to himself. Oh! how low doth Christ stoop? unto what mean termes doth he condescend, to win his ene­mies to be reconciled to him? How studious and industrious is he, to remove al Heart-ca­vils, against the offers of his Grace? Doth he ever break with us before we break with him?

(2.) This Particle [If] as explicated gives us yet this further Observation,Doct. 4 [...] That nothing doth more deeply provoke Christs indignation a­gainst sinners, than the wilful rejection of his [Page 88] Gospel, Grace, and Person. For this Particle, If, as was noted, implies not only commisera­tion, but also Indignation and Exprobation: Christ by this abrupt manner of speech doth sorely upbraid Jerusalem, with her contuma­cious contemt of himself, and his evangelic offers of Grace. Now to upbraid another, is to lode him with reproches, disgraceful and biting words; thereby to aggravate his ingra­titude, and the foulnesse of his fact; as also to manifest what a just ressentiment, and sense we have of the injuries done to us, by the person upbraided. So that Christs upbraiding Jeru­salem with her wilful impenitence and un­belief, argueth his deep ressentiment thereof, and just indignation against her for it. Thus Christ upbraids his own Disciples with their unbelief, Mark 16. 14. which argues that the least degree of unbelief is greatly ressented by, and sorely offensive to Christ. But of this here­after, in the Aggravations of unbelief.

Thou hadst known] Hence note (1.) That sanctified Notions are the root of saving Faith, Doct. 5. and the divine life. To speak a little what san­ctified Notions import; and then what con­nexion they have with saving faith, and the divine life. These sanctified Notions, are a divine Light of life, John 8. 12. an unction from the holy One, 1 John 2. 20. proceding origi­nally from the Father of light and life, Joh. 6. 45. whereby Believers know things as they ought, 1 Cor. 8. 2. For the Spirit of God impressing a Divine Glorie on Supernatural objects, it openeth the same to the mind, and also open­eth [Page 89] the mind to receive the same; and thence implanteth a supernatural Instinct, a divine Sa­gacitie, and intuitive light; whereby the soul not only sees spiritual objects, but also has a particular, experimental tast, and feeling sense thereof; which kils beloved idols and lusts, turnes the Bent of the heart towards Christ, and proves the dore to communion with God in Christ, and the Divine life. And oh! how clear and distinct; how deep and solid; how sweet and delicious; how efficacious and active, yea transformative are these sanctified Notions, which lie wrapt up in the Light of Life? What a mighty conformitie has the renewed mind, clothed with these Divine notions, to al Divine truths? How is al the glorie of this lower world eclipsed, and al carnal delights made to lose their relish here­by? What Satisfaction in God, what fervent Affections towards Christ, what vigorous Ex­ercices of Grace doth this Light of life worke in believers? But it hath a more peculiar so­verain influence on faith, and al its vitals. Inward, spiritual, deep, feeling, affective and practic Notions, of God in Christ have an huge soverain influence on faith: so the Psalmist assures us. Psal. 9. 10. And they that know thy Name wil put their trust in thee. Psal. 9. 10. A clear, di­stinct, particular, stedfast, divine, operative knowlege of Christ breeds Confidence in, Re­cumbence on, and Adherence to him. None are more tenacious, and resolute in adhering unto Christ, than such as are baptised with his Spi­rit, and Light of Life. Yea, according to [Page 90] the Quantitie and Qualitie of our light, such wil be the Quantitie, and Qualitie of our faith: If our light be Spiritual, Divine and Saving, such wil our faith be: Again, if our light be not only spiritual for the kind; but also intense, prevalent and strong as to degree; then wil our faith be also mightie intense, prevalent and efficacious: such an individuous, yea, essential connexion is there betwixt saving knowlege and divine faith. Hence,

(2.) Observe,Doct. 6. That Ignorance is the original, and most pregnant parent of Vnbelief. The Pa­pists tel us, That Ignorance is the mother of Devotion. And it holds true, as to their own Devotion, which is but Superstition, and Wil-worship: For Ignorance is both the Mo­ther, and Nurse of al Idolatrie, and Superstiti­on; and so by consequence also of Unbelief: and therefore it is no wonder that the Papists require only an ignorant, credulous, implicite faith of their Devoti: For such a blind faith suits best with their blind Devotion, and Su­perstition. But surely such an Implicite blind faith wil not suffice a Christian: yea is it not the worst kind of Unbelief? To believe only as the Church believes, without a right under­standing of the objects we believe, what is it but to believe nothing as we ought? He that pins his Faith on the Churches sleeve, without ever considering what he believes, what doth he, but at once part with, and bid Adieu to his Faith, Religion, Reason, yea, and his Hu­manitie too, as we may shew hereafter? Such [Page 91] are the malignant Influences, and Qualities of a blind, ignorant Implicite Faith.

Even thou] i. e.Even thou. Si vel tu, quae singulari privilegio in toto orbe praecellis, si tu, in­quam, quae e [...]eleste es in▪ terris sacrarium, cognosce­res. Calv. Thou Jerusalem, who hast been the Seat of the Divine presence, dignified with such splendid marques of Di­vine Favor, and adorned with such rich disco­veries of evangelic Grace, &c. Hence observe (1.) That, as to externe marques of Divine favor and benediction, the richest that a People, or Church can be made partaker of, is to be made the seat of Gods gracious Presence, and Evangelic Administrations. Out of Heaven there may not be expected a greater externe privilege than this, for a people to be espoused by God, as his visible Church, the place of his Gracious Residence,Doct. 7 [...] and Evangelic Administrations. This was Jerusalems privilege: she was Christs first bride: the Covenant of Grace was first loged in her bosome: Christ was her first crowned King, and Lawgiver: The Oracles of God were first laid down in pawn with her: Her Land and Citie was adopted by Christ, as Symbols of his Church: Her Tem­ple was a Type of Christs Natural bodie; wherein he dwelt by visible tokens of Glorie, and Grace: Her Males bore somewhat of Christ in their flesh: Yea, Christ himself was borne of Judaic flesh and bloud: Jerusalem had the first tenders of Gospel Grace: Christ long waited for, and as Minister of the Cove­nant, endeavored after her conversion. Such were her privileges.

But in this pathetic Expression, even Thou, there lies couched not only an intimation of [Page 92] Jerusalems Privileges; but also an Exproba­tion of her sin; and that with vehement In­dignation. As if he had said: What! Jeru­salem serve me so! Even thou, who hast been so dignified by me! Oh! what an hainous odious sin is this? who can bear it? Hence observe,

(2.)Doct. 8. That by how much the more any People o [...] Church is dignified with Divine privileges, or gracious vouchsafements; by so much the more hainous is their sin, if they improve not those means and privileges. The more excellent gifts we are invested with, the greater punish­ment do we deserve, if we abuse the same: So Isai. 5. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

At least in this thy day,] These words, as before explicated, afford to us several practic Observations.Doct. 9. (1.) That Evangelic sinners have a day of Grace afforded to them. Where­ever the Sun of Righteousnes comes, he brings healing under his wings, (i. e. beams) or a day of Grace.Doct. 10. That it is the supreme wisdome and interest of Professors, to fil up their day of Grace, with the Duties of their day. Oh! What deep engagements did Jerusalem lie under, to improve her day of Grace? How happie might she have been, had she but per­formed the same?Doct. 11. (3.) Hence also observe, That the day of Grace wil have its period. Though Christ wait long, yet he wil not wait always: the longest day of Grace hath its night: and usually the clearer, brighter, and warmer the day of Grace is, the shorter it is: where Christ vouchsafeth the greatest [Page 93] means of Grace, if they are not improved, but contemned, there usually the day of Grace is shortest.Doct. 12. Think of this. (4.) Hence also observe, That the nearer Christ comes in the offers of his Grace; and the longer he waits for our acceptation of those offers, the more inex [...]u­sable shal we be, if we reject, or neglect the same. This observation lies wrapt up in that first expression, at least. Our blessed Lord oft came very near, and close to Jerusalem, in the tenders of his Grace: Oh! how oft did he knock at her gates? how long did he wait for her Reception of him? What sacred, and sweet Importunitie did he use, to persuade, and prevail upon her, in that her day, to accept of the things that did belong unto her peace? But alas! she would not; she rejects al his gracious offers, 'til at last her day was expired. And oh! how much doth this aggravate her sin? Who is worse than he, who hath a clear day of Grace vouchsafed him, and yet electively embraceth darknesse before light?

The things which belong unto thy peace] i.e. my self, who am thy Peace-maker, the King and Mediator of thy peace; with whom is thy covenant of peace &c. Doct. 13. Hence note, (1.) That Christ alone is the great Mediator of our peace: Out of him there is no peace: take away Christ, and you take away the chief corner­stone, the main foundation of our peace. The Sin-revenging God is nothing but wrath, and everlasting burnings out of Christ. But he that hath Christ, hath peace with God, and with al the creation besides. Nothing can [Page 94] hurt him, who is under the wing of Christ, the Prince of peace. Al peace of conscience, which is collected either from holy conversa­tion, or from evangelic Promisses, or from the sense of Gods love, or any other way, is al resolved into Christ, as the proper source, and spring thereof. Therefore he that knows not Christ, knows not the things that belong un­to his peace.

(2.) Hence also observe,Doct. 14. That Ʋnbelievers are the greatest enemies to their own peace, and welfare. Al the enemies of Jerusalem did not so much obstruct her peace, as her own Unbe­lief. Satan and al his powers of darknesse are not so prejudicial, and destructive to the peace of souls, as their own unbelieving hearts. How feeble is Hel? How insignificant and unable are its iron Gates, to prevail over the weakest believer, that adheres to Christ? But as for sinners, that are under the Dominion of Un­belief, oh! what a world of enemies are they exposed unto? How doth every Tentation prey upon them? What wars, what commo­tions, what confusions doth every lust raise in their hearts? Yea, how much are such ob­noxious to the wrath, and rage of the Righ­teous God?

(3.) Hence also we may observe;Doct. 15. That it addes much weight to the Aggravation of Ʋnbe­lief, that it is a rejection of the things that be­long unto our peace. The excellence of the ob­jects, which are offered to sinners in the Gospel of peace, greatly aggravates their sin, who refuse them. Was it ever known that a [Page 95] conquered enemie refused termes of peace? Is there any record to be found of a captive Re­bel, that rejected a gracious pardon from his Prince? And yet, Lo! this is the Unbelievers case: Christ comes with gracious offers of peace and life; but alas! how are they re­jected? Oh! what an hainous sin is this? Yea, Unbelief is not a mere simple refusal of the things which belong unto our peace; but it carries in its bowels, much Enmitie, Opp [...]sition, Antipathie, Blasphemie and Contumelie against God, and Christ, and al the great things of our peace, as hereafter.

But now they are hid from thine eyes] Hence observe,Doct. 16. (1.) That when God puts a period to the day of Grace, al means of Grace are insigni­ficant, and ineffectual. Although God may sometimes continue the means of Grace, yet doth he not withdraw his Influences of Grace from those means? And then how inefficaci­ous are they? What is Christ but a veiled face? What is the Gospel, but a sealed Book? What are Ordinances, but broken Cisternes? What are Promisses, but dead letters? What are duties, but barren Wombs, when the day of Grace is gone? Yea, are not al these so far from becoming means of Grace, as that they are indeed, by reason of mans wilful impeni­tence, means of hardening? Yea, is not Christ himself a stone of offense, and stum­bling to such, as are deprived of the day of Grace? Thus are the things of their peace hid from their eyes.

(2.) Hence also observe,Doct. 17. That when God [Page 96] Puts a period to the sinners day of Grace, then begins his day of jugement. Jerusalem's day of jugement began from this very moment, that Christ pronounced this dreadful sentence a­gainst her: For henceforward al Christs Di­spensations towards her were in jugement. There was a curse upon her Blessings, wrath and revenge mixed with her sweetest Privi­leges, and mercies. What Christ speaks in general of Satan and his kingdome, Joh. 12. 31. Now is the jugement of this world, &c. the same may be in particular applied to Jerusalem, and al other impenitent sinners, who are passed their day of Grace. Thus when the day of Grace ends, the day of Jugement begins: For when al the things that pertain to thy peace are hid from thine eyes, what remains, but chains of darknes, and beginings of Juge­ment?

(3.) Hence also we may observe,Doct. 18. That there is an exact proportion between the unbelie­vers sin and jugement. The wilful unbeliever shuts his eyes against al the things that belong unto his peace; and then the righteous God comes and claps a seal of judicial occecation, or spiritual blindnesse on his eyes, that so he ne­ver see them more: Joh. 9. 39. For jugement am I come into this world,—that they which see might be made blind. There is ost an exact conformitie betwixt mans sin, and Gods juge­ment: What a visible character, and stampe of Jerusalem's sin is here impressed on her jugement? What is it that she suffers from the righteous mouth and hand of Christ, but what [Page 97] she voluntarily inflicts on herself? She wil not see the things that belong unto her peace; and therefore saith Christ, she shal not see them; they shal be hid from her eyes. She wil not open the Gates of her Soul, that the King of Glorie, her Messias, may enter in; and there­fore saith Christ, let her heart be shut under the curse of judicial obduration. This was Gods usual method in punishing Israel, even from her Infant-state. And oh! how much doth this illustrate the justice of God, when visible Ideas and stampes of mens sins, are to be seen in the face of their jugements? How must this needs cut, and wound the heart of an awakened penitent sinner, to see his guilt in the face of his punishment? This Analogie, and Affinitie betwixt the unbelievers sin, and jugement leaves him also without the least shadow of excuse. Alas! who but the Un­believer himself may be blamed, if the good things of the Gospel be hid from his eyes, seing he himself first shut his eyes against the dazling glorie of those bright beams, which shone so long on his eyes? What cause have Unbelie­vers to complain, that the Gospel is a veiled, or sealed book unto them, seing their hearts are veiled, and sealed with unbelief against it? Oh! what a vindication wil this be of the righteous jugement of God, but confusion to wilful unbelievers, to consider the exact pa­ritie, and Analogie which there is between their sin, and their punishment? How wil this confound them to al eternitie?

The Notional Object of Unbelief: or, What are those Notional things, that be­long unto our peace, which unbelief as­sents not unto?

THe precedent Observations furnish us with singular mater of Discourse: each Observation deserves a particular examen, and Remarque: But we shal cast al into the mould, or forme of this one general Proposition, or Doctrine: Doct. That Ʋnbelief, or the not knowing the things that belong unto our peace, is a sin of the deepest tincture, or most hainous Aggravations; and that which exposeth the sinner to the most severe wrath, and jugements of God. This Proposition contains the spirit and mind of the Text; as also the sum and substance of al the former Observations; which, in the explica­tion hereof, wil have their particular consi­deration. And, for our more regular, and methodic procedure herein, we shal resolve the Proposition into these four grand Questi­ons. (1.) What it is not to know the things that b [...]long unto our peace? Or, Wherein the genu­ine Idea, or Nature of Ʋnbelief doth consist? (2.) Whence this Ʋnbelief springs? or, What are the seminal Roots, the original Causes of this si [...]? (3.) What are the Aggravations of this [Page 99] Ʋnbelief? (4.) What severe wrath and juge­ments from God, attend this sin of Ʋnbelief? The Examen, and Resolution of these Questions wil give us the ful Explication of our Proposi­tion, as also of the Text.

Q. 1.The Na­ture of Unbelief▪ What it is, Not to know the things that belong unto our peace? or, Wherein the Nature of Ʋnbelief doth consist?

For the more ful Resolution of this Questi­on, we shal consider Unbelief (1.) with rela­tion to its Object. (2.) In regard to its Act. 1.What the things that belong to our peac [...] are. The Object of Unbelief is here expressed, under this comprehensive notion, The things that belong unto thy peace: These are (as we before intimated) either (1.) Complexe and Notional: or (2.) Simple and Real▪ The Complexe, or Notional Things that belong unto our peace, are al those divine Axiomes, Ma­ximes, Canons, or Notions, loged in the sa­cred Scriptures, which any way conduce to our peace. The simple, or real things that be­long unto our peace, are the good things them­selves, which lie wrapt up in those Divine Axiomes, or Notions of sacred Scripture; namely, God in Christ, Heaven, &c. The for­mer are the Object of Faiths Assent; the later of its Consent, Election, and Choice. Again, the Notional things that belong to our peace, which are the complexe Object of Faiths Assent, may be considered by us; (1.) Materially; (2.) Formally. The Material complexe ob­jects of Faiths Assent are the Scriptural Noti­ons, which Faith assents unto: The Formal Object of Faith's Assent is the Formal Reason, [Page 100] Proper Motives, or principal Grounds of its Assent; that which induceth, or draws our minds to assent unto sacred Scriptural Notions; as also constitutes, specifies and distinguisheth Divine saving Assent. Lastly, The Notional, Material Object of our Assent is either General, or Particular. The General Object is the whole Word of God: The Particular is the Gospel, or Covenant of Grace, which gives us a more par­ticular and expresse Idea of the things that belong to our peace. The things that belong unto our peace▪ being thus distributed, accord­ing to their several Constitutions, and Regards to Faith, we may with more Facilitie, and Perspicuitie determine and resolve our Que­stion, What it is not to know the things that be­long unto our peace? But before we enter on the explication of Unbelief, we must premise, that our Intendment is to treat of it in its ge­neral, and abstract Nature, and not as it re­lates to this or that subject: For albeit our Text speaks of the Unbelief of persons irre­generate; yet inasmuch as the unbelief of persons regenerate differs not totally, from that in persons irregenerate, we may very wel and properly treat of both, under one general Idea; though with different Reflexions on, and Applications to this, or that subject, Thus much being premised, we procede to the ex­plication of our Question.

First,The first part of Ʋnbelief in respect of its object, is, Not to assent to the Word of God. we shal begin with the Notional, Ma­terial, General things that belong unto our peace, [Page 101] which are the sacred Scriptures, or Word of God in the General; which not to know, or, truely assent unto, is the original, and no smal part of Unbelief. Oh! here lay the the bitter Root, and Spawn of al Jerusalems sin, and miserie: she did not understand, at least not practicly assent unto the sacred Scri­ptures, in which al the things that belonged to her peace lay wrapt up. Moses, and the Pro­phets were a sacred Map, wherein Jerusalem might have viewed the celestial Canaan, her Messias, his glorious Names and Titles of Ho­nor, his Person, and Offices, with al other things that did belong to her peace: But alas! Jerusalem wanted spiritual eyes, to contem­plate such glorious objects. This our bles [...]ed Lord upbraids the carnal Jews with,Joh. 5. 39. Joh. 5. 39. Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testifie of me. [...], to search, signifies here, by a sacred sagacitie, and unwearied studie to hunt, or inquire into the Scriptures, as dogs hunt after wild beasts: but oh! this the unbelie­ving Jews were strangers to; and therefore no wonder, if they were strangers to al the things that did belong to their peace. The Scriptures are the Oracles of God, the Glasse wherein his glorious perfections shine: neither can there the least ray of true Religion shine on lapsed man, but what is reflected from this celestial Miroir of the Divine wil. The Splend [...]r of Divine Majestie is but as an inexplicable La­byrinth, unlesse we are conducted thereinto by this thread of sacred Scriptures. God is [Page 102] nothing to us, but what he testifies of him­self. God is nothing, saith Tyndal, but his Law and his promisses, i. e, That which he bid­deth thee to do, and believe, and hope; and to imagine any other thing of God, is grosse, and damnable Idolatrie. The Sacred Word is the Spirits Schole, in which he teacheth al the things that belong to our peace: so that we may be contentedly ignorant of what is not here taught.

Hence it is apparent, that one main, and fundamental part of Unbelief consists in not yielding a real, firme, distinct, certain, affecti­onate, deep, and practic Assent to the sacred Scriptures. And oh! what an Epidemic, Universal sin is this, even in the professing world? How many are there, among the croud of knowing Professors, who never gave an explicite, actual, chearful, spiritual, and stedfast Assent to the Word of God, and its sacred Autoritie? Are not the most of Professors extreme partial in their credence, or belief, of the divine Scriptures? Do not they pick and choose, what may correspend most with their Lusts, or carnal Interests? This word that pleaseth them they can believe, but that word which disgusts them they cannot assent unto: Do not many, in their prospe­ritie disbelieve the Threats, and in their Adver­sitie the Promisses? And what is this, but not to know the things that belong to their peace? For he that doth disbelieve any one part of Scripture, may he not be justly re­puted to disbelieve the whole? Is not the [Page 103] Reason and Autoritie of a part, the same with the Reason and Autoritie of the whole word? Wherefore, doth not he who rejects a part, also reject the Autoritie of the whole? Its true, al Scriptures are not alike Fundamental, or equally necessary to salvation; yet may we not justly conclude, that al are equally neces­sary to be believed, if we consider their origine and Autoritie; as they are al inspired by the Spirit of God, and clothed with Indelible Characters of Divine Majestie? O then! how many knowing Professors are in this point guiltie, of not knowing the things that be­long to their peace? How few are there that yield a rooted, welgrounded, operative Assent to the whole Word of God; who have an ear to hear, wherever, and whenever God hath a mouth to speak? O that Professors would seriously ruminate on this, That so far as they disbelieve the Truth, Certaintie, and Autoritie of any one word of God; so far they disbelieve, or know not the things that belong to their peace. And whence is it, that many Professors are so averse from assenting to the whole Word of God? Is it not from the prevalence of some lust in their hearts, which turnes them strong­ly another way? They disbelieve some Scrip­tures; and why? Is it not because they lie not level with their lusts? Oh! what a deep Mysterie of Iniquitie is this disbelief of the Scriptures, as loged in some carnal hearts? What malignant, and venimous effusions doth it transmit into their lives? Is it not the great Stratageme, and plot of Satan to dispi­rit, [Page 104] and weaken mens Assent to the sacred Scriptures? And doth he not hereby create, in many sincere Believers, much unbelief, con­cerning the things that belong to their peace? May not the most of our tentations be re­solved into some disbeliefe of the Scriptures? And on the contrary, hath not a real, fixed, supernatural, and saving Assent to the Sacred Scriptures, a mighty soverain, efficacious In­fluence on al our Graces, and Duties? Doth not the vigor, strength, beautie, and improve­ment of al Grace depend on our belief of the Scriptures? O that men would then look wel hereto!

2.Disbeliefe of the Gospel or Covenant of Grace. We procede now to the Particular noti­onal Maters, or Things belonging to our peace, which Unbelief rejects: and those are the Gospel, or Covenant of Grace, with al the branches thereof. The Gospel is Grace's of­fice; the shop where the sinner may find both food and physic. The Covenant of Grace is faiths Magna Charta; the Epistle of Christ writ with his own bloud; the Cabinet, where­in al our Jewels of Grace, and Peace are laid up by Christ; yea, the words of life, wherein Christs heart lies wrapt up, and is conveigh­ed unto sinners. The Promisses of the Gospel are the Element in which Faith lives and moves: they are the Air, which Faith sucks in, and breaths forth: they are the food, on which Faith feeds. There is no diet so natural, so delicious, so restaurative, so corroborative, or strengthening, so nutritive, so satisfying as the promisses spirited by Free Grace: Faith [Page 105] relisheth no food like this. Faith never re­poseth herself so securely, never sleeps so sweetly, as when she doth lean her head on the bosome of some promisse: If she hath but a promisse to cast Anchor on, she can ride con­fidently in the greatest stormes; and laugh at al the proud waves, that beat against her. Now this being the temper and spirit of Faith, hence it necessarily follows, That not to assent to the Gospel, or Covenant of Grace, and the Promisses which lie wrapt up therein, takes in much of the vital spirit of Unbelief. This wil be more evident if we consider, the chief material parts of the Covenant of Grace, and the evil aspect which Unbelief casts thereon.

The Covenant of Grace contains in it;The Co­venant of Grace contains. (1.) Maters of Grace. (2.) Maters of Provi­dence. (3.) Maters of coming Glorie: Now in al these regards Unbelief may be said, Not to know the things that bolong to our peace. 1. The Covenant of Grace contains in it Ma­ters of Grace. 1. Maters of Grace. The Law tels us what we are by Nature; but the Gospel tels us what we are, or may be by Grace: The Law discovers to us our sin and miserie, but the Gospel discovers our remedie; and so opens a dore to Faith: Yea, the Gospel doth not only declare to us the Objects and Maters we are to believe, but also furnisheth us with many gracious en­couragements, and incentives to believe: yea further, the Gospel doth not only afford us maters and motives of Faith; but also it be­comes a sanctified Instrument in the hand of [Page 106] the Spirit to conveigh Faith, and al other Gra­ces to us. For it is an infallible Maxime in Theologi [...], that Evangelic Promisses of Grace, on such, or such conditions, without Grace to performe those conditions, are as little avail­able to beget faith, as the law is. Thus we see how ful of gracious Maters, Motives, and Of­fers the Covenant of Grace is. But yet the more fully to anatomise the Bowels of Unbelief, as to Maters of Grace offered in the Covenant, we shal a little, though but cursorily, touch on those offers of Grace, which the Covenant makes, with their Proprieties.

(1.) The offers of Grace made in the Go­spel,Unbelief questions the Rea­litie of the offers of Grace. or Covenant of Grace, are very Real, and Cordial: There is never a line, no nor a word of the Gospel, but it carries Christs heart wrapt up in it: Every promisse is a love-letter sent by Christ, to assure the sinner, how affectionate his heart is set towards him: There is not an expression that drops from the mouth of Christ, but is ful of bleeding Affecti­on: Every promisse gives the sinner a good Law right to Grace, provided that he accept of it when offered: If Christ be real in any thing, he is so in the offers of Grace to sin­ners. But now Unbelief looks on al these of­fers of Grace, as mere Romances, Fables, or fine-spun stories. This was the case of the unbelieving Jews, as Paul assures us, Rom.Rom. 10. 10, 16. 10. 15. How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! Oh! what good News is here? who would not chearfully assent [Page 107] to such glad tidings of peace? Is there any so sotish, as to refuse such good things? Yes, addes Paul, v. 16. But they have not al obeyed the Gospel: For Esaias saith, Lord who hath believed our report? As if he had said: ‘True, we preach the great truths of Gospel-peace unto sinners; but alas! how few have o­beyed, or assented to the truth of the Gospel? Do not the most of men look on these things as too good news to be true? Where is the man, that really assents to the Realitie of these Glad-tidings? May we not then justly crie out with Esaias, Who hath believed our Re­port? Thus Unbelief cals in question the Realitie of Evangelic offers of Grace.

(2.) The offers of Grace in the Gospel are very Gratuitous and Free: Unbelief questions the free­dom of the Covena [...]t. and this draws on Faith freely to close therewith: For faith be­ing a federal Instrument influenced, and acted by the Covenant, the more it apprehends the freedome of the Covenant, the more freely it wil embrace the same. Now the Covenant instructs Faith fully in this point: It teacheth us, that the Grace of the Covenant expects no foundation in us, no Condignitie, no Con­gruitie, no moral Capacitie, or Condition in us, but what itself intends to confer. The Cove­nant informes us, that Free-grace is moved by nothing without it self; that it gives, because it wil give, or because it hath given: That the poorer we are, the more willing he is to inrich us; the nakeder we are, the more ready Christ is to clothe us: Yea, the Covenant as­sures us, that Christ intends much good for [Page 108] them, who intend no good to him, nor yet to themselves; yea, to such as intend evil to him, and to their own souls, even for such rebellious souls he intends gifts and Grace, as Psal. 68. 18. Thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwel among them. Now this freedome of the Co­venant, and the Grace of God offered therein, gives a mighty foundation, and encourage­ment to build upon: For the great obstacle and bar to Faith is this, that we are not fit for Christ: This is one of Unbeliefs greatest pleas, against closing with the good things of the Covenant: What? may poor I presume to believe? I, who am so unworthy? I, who have so long spurned at Christ, and al the things that belong to my peace? I, who have so oft broken with Christ, plaid fast and loose with him? What? may I presume, that Christ wil have any regard to me; poor, sin­ful▪ backsliding, rebellious me? Oh! how can this be? What a presumtion would it be in me, to cast an eye towards Christ, and the good things that belong unto my peace? Thus Unbelief opposeth, or at least demurs at the freedome of the Covenant and its Grace.

(3.)Unbelief strikes at the Uni­versalitie of the Co­venants offers. Another proprietie of the Covenant is the Ʋniversalitie of its gracious offers. Though the Covenant of Grace be, as to its interne Spirit, Mind, and Dispensation particular, definite, and absolute; yet as to its externe offers and Dispensation it runs in conditional, indefinite, and universal termes; inviting al that wil to come in. It sets no bars or rails [Page 109] about the throne of Grace? but gives free Admission to al, that wil come for mercie, Rev. 22. 17. The Covenant excludes none, but such as exclude themselves by Unbelief: and why should sinners exclude themselves, before God excludes them? But alas! this is the il-humor of Unbelief, because it cannot see the sinners Name in particular written on the Covenant, therefore it questions al the grounds of Faith. Oh! saith the unbelieving sinner, here are rich offers indeed; but, alas! I, what am I the better for al this? May such a wretch as I come to Christ, to be embraced in his sa­cred armes? What? I, who am in such a nastie pickle; so polluted with sin? Oh! I may not, I cannot believe that such an hai­nous sinner as I, shal find Christs armes open to receive me. Thus Unbelief questionsthe Ʋ ­niversalitie of Christs offer, and puts a bar to its▪ own mercies; whereas the Gospel puts none; but saies, John 7. 37. If any man thirst, let him come to me and drink, and Rev. 22. 17. Whoever wil, &c. There lies no Restriction, or bar on the Covenants part: al the Restriction and bar is in mens wils. Wilful Unbelief is the only bar.

(4.)Unbelief limits the Riches of Grace. Unbelief sets limits to the Plenitude and Richesse of Grace, held forth in the Cove­nant. We find the Richesse of Grace in the Covenant expressed under the Symbol of a sumtuous feast, Mat. 22. 4. Tel them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed; and althings are ready: come unto the mariage. Here we see [Page 110] what a bountiful Lord sinners have to deal with: how much his infinite Grace excedes al our sins. Now what reception is given to such a magnificent rich Treat? That follows v. 5. But they made light of it, and went their way, one to his farme, and another to his mer­chandise, &c. Oh! what mo [...]strous unbelief, and ingratitude is here? O! what infinite Treasures of Grace are there wrapt up in the Covenant? How much do those Treasures of mercie and goodnesse, loged in the heart of Christ, excede al the treasures of sin, loged in the hearts of poor sinful we? Is Christ such a liberal Savior for sinners? And shal they be ashamed, or afraid to beg at the dore of such a liberal Savior? Was not this the very end why God gave the Law, That Sin might appear ex­ceding sinful; to the intent that Grace might appear exceding gracious, Ro. 7. 13? So Ro. 5. 20 [...] Moreover the Law entred, Rom. 5. 20. that the offence might abound. As if he had said: This is the very reason, why God delivered the Law on Mount Sinai, in such a terrible manner, that so thereby men might behold, as by a magni­fying Glasse, the proper Dimensions, and Me­rits of their sins: Ay, but what was Gods end in making Sin thus to abound? why, that follows, But when sin abounded, Grace did much more abound: Here saith Paul, lay Gods bottome-designe, in permitting sin thus to a­bound, that thereby Grace might superabound; yea, that at that very time, when sin so much abounded, Grace might superabound; at that very time, when we appeared to be so great [Page 111] enemies to Christ, he might appear to be so great a friend to us. Thus Mercie in God is more merciful, than sin in us can be sinful. And oh! what a foundation and encourage­ment for faith is here? But alas! how doth Unbelief spurne at, and despise, at least limit these Richesse of Grace?

(5.)Unbelief questions the cer­tainty of the Cove­nant. Unbelief cals in question, the Immu­tabilitie, Certaintie, and Fidelitie of the Co­venat. David gives us an excellent character of the Covenant, and its Immutabilitie, 2 Sam.2 Sam. 23. 5. 23. 5. Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting Covenant, ordered in althings and sure: For this is al my salvation, and al my desire; al­though he make it not to grow. Notwithstand­ing al Davids care for the settlement of his familie on the Throne, yet he foresaw, by a spirit of prophesie, how fragile, and instable his Throne was: only herein he solaceth him­self, that the Covenant, wherein his faith and main hopes were bottomed, was most stable and sure: and oh! how doth this, amidst al his prophetic fears, touching the instable and tottering state of his familie, revive and chear up his spirits? For this is al my salvation, and al my desire. Let althings else sink or swim, it maters not, so long as the Covenant is sure and inviolable: Hence Covenant-Grace is stiled, the sure mercies of David. The blessed God has obliged himself by Covenant, confirmed by Oath and Sacrifice, which are the most essen­tial ties, and therefore he cannot but be true and faithful to his word: otherwise he were [Page 112] not true to himself. And yet, lo! how je­lous, how suspicious, how captious is Unbe­lief, touching the certaintie of the Covenant. Men are ready to confide in those who are sufficient and faithful; specially if they have their Bond: But yet Unbelievers dare not trust the Faithful, Alsufficient God, albeit they have his Bond, or Covenant, and that confirmed by oath. So much for the Grace of the Covenant.

2.Unbelief as to Pro­vidence. The Covenant of Grace is furnished with Promisses, not only of Grace, but also of Providence, which Unbelief is very apt to cavil at. The Covenant of Grace is the Be­lievers Charter, not only for Spirituals, but also for Temporals: it extends to the very hairs of their heads, the most inconsiderable things. Surely they can want nothing, who have Alsufficience engaged for their supplie. Its true, Means sometimes fail? Ay: but cannot, doth not their wise Father feed them without means, when he sees it necessary? And are not such supplies, by so much the more pure and sweet, by how much the more immediate they are? The lesse there is of the creature, is there not the more of God in al our provisi­ons? Doth not our omnipotent God oft bring the greatest Triumphs out of the greatest extre­mites? It's true, He doth not alwaies keep his people from the crosse; ay, but doth he not always keep them under the crosse? Have not the most black, and seemingly confused Providences, an admirable beautie, and har­monious order in them? Did ever Believer [Page 113] need any thing, but what he could better need than have? Are not those Needs blessed that secure us from sin, and make way for greater mercies? Are not al Gods Providences spiri­ted by mysterious wisdome and paternal love? Is it not then the Believers Wisdome, and In­terest, to suffer his Father to be wise for him? How comes it to passe then that Believers themselves, should be so unbelieving as to Gods paternal providence towards them? Oh! what a mysterie of iniquitie is there in Unbe­lief, as to this particular? This Christ much cautions his Disciples against, and upbraids them with very oft, and that with sharp Rebukes.Mat. 6 30, 31, 32. So Mat. 6. 30. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grasse of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shal he not much more clothe you, [...], Hebraeis etiam vo­cantur hi, qui cùm in praesens habeant sat is futu­ri in erti­tudinecru­ciantur. Grot. O ye of little faith. As if he had said: Doth God clothe the grasse of the field, which is so fading, with so much beau­tie and glorie? And wil he not much more clothe you, O ye short-spirited ones? That which we render, O ye of little faith, is ex­pressed by the Hebrews in such termes, as im­port the anxious, cruciating, vexatious cares of such [...] who, though they have enough for the present, are stil ful of inquietude, and distrust about future supplies. Whence he addes v. 31. Wherefore take no thought, saying, what shal we eat, &c. i. e, be not anxiously so­licitous, or incredulously thoughtful about these viati [...]s, or necessaries of life? And why? v. 32. For after al these things do the Gentiles seek. As if he had said: Is it not a shame, that [Page 114] you, who are my Disciples, should be as un­believing, as anxiously inquisitive about these things, as the poor Gentiles, who know no­thing of my Covenant? Thence follows ano­ther Argument, or branch of the former: For your heavenly Father knoweth that you have need of al these things. i. e, Alas! Why do you concerne your selves so much about these poor things? Have you not a Father in Heaven, who is mindful of, and provident for you? Doth he not wel understand al your needs? And is he not engaged by Covenant to supplie you with al necessaries? And hath he not pro­missed in this very case, Psal. 111. 5. To give meat to them that fear him, and to be ever mind­ful of his Covenant? Why then wil you not believe? We find the like character of Unbe­lief, as to the Providence of God, Luke 12. 22. Take no thought for your life: Luke 12. 22—29. [...], give not way to anxious, distracting, distrustful thoughts, about the necessaries of life. And then our blessed Lord gives the reason of this his Admonition, v. 24. Consider the Ravens, &c. Luke makes a special mention of the Ravens, because God has a particular providence, and care of the young Ravens, as both Job, and the Psalmist observe. The Hebrews have ma­ny observations about Gods care of the young Ravens:A istotle, Pliny, Aelian. The Philosophers also note, how the young Ravens are neglected by their parents. Hence Christ argues (a minori) How much more are ye better than fouls? i. e, surely if he be so much concerned for fouls, how much more wil he concerne himself for you his Children. [Page 115] Then he addes another Argument against Un­belief, v. 25, 26. And which of you, with taking thought, can adde to his stature one cubit? &c. Other Arguments are urged, v. 27, 28. Then he concludes v. 29. and seek not what ye shal eat, or what ye shal drink; neither be ye of doutful minds: [...], Let not your Minds hang, as Meteors in the Air, ful of suspense about future supplies; be not of an anxious, thoughtful Mind; Let not your thoughts be distracted, and as it were racked with carking cares. The word signifies, such an Anxietie, as fluctuates 'twixt hope and fear. Such is the suspicious anxious temper of Un­belief, as to Providential maters of the Co­venant.

3.Unbelief as to fu­ture Glo­rie. The last branch of the Covenant con­cernes maters of coming Glorie; wherein also Unbelief may be said, Not to know the things that belong unto our peace. The chief concernes of our peace, are those invisible Glories of the other world: Al our present spiritual Suavi­ties, and Delices are but dreams, in compari­son of that formal Beatitude, in the Beatifi [...] Vision of God face to face. Alas! how far short is our present vision of God in Evangelic Sha­dows and Reports, of that immediate Intuiti­on of God, as he is, 1 Joh. 3. 2, 3? Whence the main worke of a Believer here is to live by faith, in the daily contemplation, and expectation of that approching Glorie. For the more we eye our home, the more industrious, lively, and pressing wil we be in our journey thither: Faith maketh things absent, present. So [Page 116] Heb.Heb. 11. 1. 11. 1. Faith is the substance of things hoped for: [...], that which gives a substantial Essence, an actual Existence, a solid Basis or Foundation, the First-fruits; yea, a real pre­sence, to those Good things hoped for of the other world: So much is wrapped up in that Notion. Then it follows. The Evidence of things not seen: [...], the Argument, the Demonstration, the Meridian Light, the legal conviction, the spiritual eye, whereby invisible Glories are made Visible. Such is the miracu­lous efficace of faith, as to approching Glorie: such a clear, real, fixed sight of Heaven has it here on earth. Ay, but now Unbelief draws a veil on al these invisible Glories, and makes them to disappear: what fantastic dreams, what carnal and grosse Notions, what base and unworthy thoughts has it of future rest? How studious is Unbelief to obliterate, and rase out the Idea of Eternitie, fixed in the heart? How apt is it, yea, industrious to re­move far from conscience, the second coming of Christ, and ensuing Jugement? How fain would it build Ma [...]sions here, and take up with something short of God? Oh! how lit­tle doth Unbelief regard those Mansions of Glorie, which Christ is preparing John 14. 1, 2? How seldome or never, doth it take a view, with Moses, on mount Pisgah, of the celestial Canaan, the new Jerusalem, where is the Lambs Throne? Yea, what low, cheap, un­dervaluing thoughts hath Unbelief of that promissed Land? Thus it is said of the unbe­lieving Jews, Psal. 106. 24. Yea, they despised [Page 117] the pleasant Land, (or the Land of desire) and believed not his word. This pleasant land Ca­naan was a type of Heaven; and in despising it they despised Heaven: and al this lay wrapt up in the bowels of their Unbelief. They did not yield a real, supernatural, firme, certain, practic Assent to the word of promisse touch­ing Canaan; and therefore they despised it, and not only that, but also the celestial Cana­an; which made God swear in his wrath against them, that they should not enter in, Heb. 3. 11. So much for the Material Notions, both ge­neral and particular, which Unbelief is igno­rant of.

2.The for­mal Ob­ject of Unbelief. I shal treat a little of the formal Object of Faith, and how far Unbelief is defective therein. The formal Object of Faith, as it comes under the Notion of Assent, is the Di­vine Veracitie, or Autori [...]ie of God, appendent to his Word. For look as in the Workes of God, there are certain Divine Characters, Ideas, Im­presses, or Notices of Gods Wisdome, Power and Goodnesse; which a spiritual heart con­templates, and admires; so likewise in the Words of God, there are certain Stampes and Ideas, of the Veracitie and Autori [...]ie of God; which the Believer contemplates and assents unto, as the formal object of his faith. Thus 1 Thes. 2. 13. Because when ye received the word of God, 1 Thess. 2. 13. which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men; but (as it is in truth) the Word of God. [Not as the word of men.] As here notes a Reduplication, i. e, the formal reason, proper motive, or principal ground [Page 118] of their assent to Gods Word, was not any Human Autoritie; but the Divine Autoritie, or Veracitie of God. And here lies the main spe­cific, essential Difference, betwixt divine, and human faith: Divine faith receives the Word of God, as the Word of God; under that Redupli­cation, i. e, as it is clothed with Divine Auto­ritie; but human faith receives the Word of God, as the word of men, i, e, as clothed with some human Autoritie, Church-Tradition, or the like commun Motives. Now this human faith, as to the Word of God, is no other than real unbelief: For he that believeth the Word of God, only as commended to him by the Church, doth really disbelieve the same. It is not the Objects believed, but the formal Rea­son of our belief, that distinguisheth a Divine from a human faith: He that assents to divine Truths merely on human Grounds or Reasons, can have but an human faith, which is real unbelief: as he that assents to natural Truths, reveled in the Word of God, as reveled, and clothed with Divine Autoritie, has a Divine faith. So that albeit the mind assentes to the whole Word of God; yet if the principal ground, or formal reason of its assent be not Divine Autoritie, its Faith is but real Unbe­lief. And here lies a main plague of Unbe­lievers, its possible they do assent to the whole Word of God; ay, but yet they see not those sacred Characters, those Divine stampes of Gods Autoritie, and Truth, which are appendent to his Word; the chief ground of their belief is only some human Tradition or Autoritie. [Page 119] Such was the Faith of those Samaritans, John 4. 40. who believed merely for the saying of the woman, &c. whereas afterward ver. 41. Many more believed, because of his own word. This is a Divine faith, there was a sound of Heaven in Christs own voice; a little Image, or Stampe of Divine Majestie, which the be­lieving Samaritans could discerne. O! Re­member this, If the Autoritie of God be not the chief bottome of your Assent, your faith is but Ʋnbelief. So much for the Notional object, both Material and Formal, of Unbelief.

An Explication of Unbelief, as it opposeth, or is defective in the first Act of faith, namely Assent to the good things that belong to our peace.

WE now procede to the Act of Unbe­lief, comprised in that Notion, If thou hadst known. This knowlege must be commen­surate to,The seve­ral grada­tions of Dissent from the sacred No­tions of our peace. or as large as its Object; which (as we have shewn) is either Notional, or Real: As it refers to its Notional object, so its termed Assent; as to its Real object, so Consent. We shal begin with the first; namely, What it is not to Assent to the Notional maters, or things, that belong to our peace? Now this dissent from the things that belong unto our peace, implies [Page 120] sundrie Gradations, or Ascents; which tend much to the Explication of Ʋnbelief.

1.1. Rejecti­on of Di­vine truths. Not to know, or assent to the sacred Notions of our peace, is to reject them. This was the case of Jerusalem; she rejects al Christs gra­cious offers of peace: she wil not so much as lend an ear to them. Thus also it was with those obstinate Unbelievers, mentioned Prov. 1. 30. They would none of my Counsel: they d [...]spised al my Reproof. To reject the counsel of Christ, and to despise his Reproof, is the height of Dissent, and Disbelief: So Jerem. 8. 9. Lo, they have rejected the Word of the Lord, and what wisdome is in them? The Rejection of Gods Word is the highest degree of Ignorance and Unbelief. The like Hos. 4. 6. Be­cause thou hast rejected knowlege, I wil also re­ject thee. This Rejection of the Word of God, is a kind of total Infidelitie; yea, such a Dissent, as implies an aversion in the mind from the sacred Notions of its peace: Wherefore it denotes the dregs of Unbelief; and a mind principled with enmitie against divine Truths. For Truth is the most beautiful thing that is: and of al Truths, Divine are the fairest. Now then to reject such, argues a mind very much debauched and distempered by sin.

2.2. Not to attend to sacred Notions. Not to know the sacred Notions of our peace, is not to give diligent Attention to them. Many Evangelic Unbelievers dare not openly reject the things that belong to their peace; but yet they do not attend with diligence unto them. The first step of saving Faith is dili­gently to attend to the Reports of the Gospel; [Page 121] to bow the ear to divine Truths, as Pro. 5. 1. My Son attend unto my wisdome, and bow thine ear to my understanding. This Attention, and bowing the ear to Divine Truths, is the first step to the obedience of Faith. Whence, by Consequence, not to attend, or listen with diligence to the Reports of the Gospel, takes in much of Unbelief. This also was the case of many unbelieving Jews, they did not at­tend to Christs Evangelic offers of peace. Thus Psal. 81. 13. O that my people had hear­kened unto me, &c. i. e, given diligent Attention to my Word. Attention is the Contention of the soul to understand: and that which drawes it forth, is the admirable Greatnes, Sweetnes, and Suitablenes of Reports: Unbelievers want an inward sense of the wonderful greatnesse, suavitie, and fitnesse of Evangelic gladti­dings, and therefore no wonder that they at­tend not to them.

3.3. Not to yield an explicite assent to Divine Truths. Men know not the things that belong to their peace, when they yield not a discrete, ex­plicite Assent thereto. True saving Faith im­plies an expresse, judicious Assent: it carries with it the highest, and purest Reason; yea, the flour, and Elixir of Reason. What more rational, than to assent to the First, supreme Truth, Truth it self? Surely, Believers are no fools: they know who it is they believe, and for what: So Paul 2. Tim. 1. 12. I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded, that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him. Paul was not a­shamed of his sufferings, because he knew [Page 122] whom he had believed: he did not content himself with a Popish implicite faith; but un­derstood wel the object, and reasons of his Faith. Alas! what is implicite Faith, but implicite Unbelief? Can he that understands not the Propositions he assents to, rationally believe the same? Is this to believe, to under­stand nothing of what we believe? Doth not this implicite faith destroy the very formal Na­ture of true faith? What! may we suppose, that Divine faith consists in ignorance? If we pin our Faith only on the Churches sleeve, without ever understanding what we believe, is not our faith worse than that of Devils, who know what they believe, and therefore tremble? Yea, doth not this Implicite faith strip us, not only of our Christianitie, but also of our Humanitie? For, is not every rational Being so far a Debtor to truth, as to examine wel the reasons and grounds of his Assent? Yea, doth not this implicite Popish faith carrie in it much of Atheisme, and Blasphemie? For, to believe only as the Church believes, with­out examining the Articles, or Motives of our faith, what is it but to make the Church our infallible God, and our selves but mere Brutes, divested of reason? So that can there be any thing more destructive to the Notion, and Na­ture of true faith, than such an Implicite faith? And yet, alas! how commun is it a­mong a great number of Christians? How many are there who pretend to be Believers, and yet understand little, or nothing of the main Articles, or grounds of their faith? It [Page 123] stands on sacred Record, as a noble character of the Bereans, Act. 17. 11. That they searched the Scriptures daily, whether these things were so. Hence surely we may conclude, that an implicite faith is no better than virtual Un­belief.

4.4. Not to give a su­pernatural Assent. Not to know the things that belong unto our peace, is, not to give a supernatural, Divine Assent to them. The things that belong unto our peace, are supernatural and divine; and therefore they cannot be truely apprehended by a Natural, Human Assent. To yield a na­tural, human Assent to things Supernatural and Divine, is no better than real Dissent. Now men yield not a supernatural Divine Assent to the things that belong to their peace. (1.) When the principal Grounds, Formal Reasons, and proper Motives of their Assent are only natural and human, i, e, when mens assent is grounded only on some human Auto­ritie, or Argument. Al faith is by so much the more firme, by how much the more firme and infallible the Autoritie of him that reports the mater is: If the Autoritie be only human, the Assent can be but human, and so fallible; the Assent to the Conclusion being founded on the strength of the Premisses, as the edifice is on the foundation: Now the strength of a Testimonie consists in the Autoritie of him that testifies: For such as the principal ground and Foundation of the Assent is, such wil the Assent be: and if there be any defect, or im­perfection in the Foundation of our Assent, the same wil diffuse it self throughout the [Page 124] whole: If Church-tradition, or human Argu­ment be the only, or main ground of our As­sent, it can never be supernatural and divine, as before. (2.) Men yield not a supernatural Divine Assent to the Gospel, when the pro­ductive Principle, or Efficient of their Assent is not Supernatural and Divine, i. e, when their Assent is not infused by the Spirit of God. A natural Facultie can never, of itself, produce a supernatural Assent. And the reason is most evident, even from the commun nature of al Assent; which requires some Adequation or Agreament betwixt the Object, and the Fa­cultie: Now what proportion is there betwixt a natural mind, and supernatural Truths.? Are not Divine Mysteries above the reach of a human Understanding, unlesse the Spirit of God come and clothe it with a divine Light? Is not the natural mind shut against superna­tural objects, until Christ, by his Spirit open the same?Luk. 24. 45 Thence it is said, Luke 24. 45. Then opened he their Ʋnderstanding, that they might understand the Scriptures. They had some ha­bitual Light before; but Christ now extendes and stretcheth their minds to a more ful com­prehension of the promisses: To every degree of saving light, there is required a fresh In­fluence, and Assistance of the Spirit. Its said, He opened their Ʋnderstandings: Men may open supernatural Truths, and Promisses to our minds; but none can open our minds to take in supernatural Truths, save the Spirit of Christ: such therefore as are not illuminated by the Spirit cannot know the things that be­long [Page 125] to their peace. The Believer hath a Di­vine light, a supernatural instinct, whereby he understands, and assents to the voice of Christ in the Gospel; John 10. 27. My sheep hear my voice: just as the simple Lamb, by a natural instinct, discerneth the voice of her Dam from the rest in the flock.

5.5. Not to give a deep Assent. Men know not the things that belong to their Peace, when the Truths and Promisses of the Gospel take not deep root in their hearts. Our Assent ought to be commensurate, or pro­portionable to its Object: great and weighty Truths, must have a rooted and deep Assent: A superficial, indeliberate Assent to the great things of the Gospel, is but interpretative Dis­sent. This was the great defect of the High­way, and stonie ground, Mat. 13. 19, 20, 21. The seed sowen by the way-side, was lost assoon as received: But the word sowen in stonie hearts, was received with some joy, i. e, the Novitie, and greatnesse of the things offered, made some superficial Impression on their hearts; but yet there wanting a depth of earth, an hot day of persecution, soon blasted al. There is no Assent stable and firme, but what is deep and rooted. Thus much our blessed Lord assures us, in his Parable of the sandy foundation, Mat. 7. 26. whereas the sound Believer, who digs deep into the heart, and builds his assent on rooted, welgrounded Principles, though windy, stormy tentations beat against it; yea, albeit he hath a thousand objections against what he believes, yet his assent is firme and stedfast; because the bot­tome-Principles [Page 126] on which it is grounded re­main firme. A superficial, precipitated, and rash assent is very staggering and mutable: when men judge according to the apparences of things, without solid deliberation, and deep inquisition into the grounds and reasons, they never arrive to a fixed Assent. Thence saith Christ, Joh. 7. 24. Judge not according to the apparence, but judge righteous jugement. A su­perficial assent is soon turned into dissent.

6.6. Not to yield a re­al Assent. Such as yield not a Real, but only Notio­nal Assent to evangelic Truths and Promisses, know not the things that belong to their peace. For things may then only be said to be truely known, when they are received as offered: Now the things offered in the Gospel are pra­ctic, or things referring to practice: Thence to yield only a notional assent to them, is re­ally to dissent. Many of these unbelieving Jews, whom Christ condemnes in our text, had a very great Forme of knowlege, or No­tional assent to the things that belonged to their peace,Rom. 2. 17, 18, 19, 20. as 'tis evident from Rom. 2. 17, 18, 19, 20. Behold thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, and knowest his wil, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law, &c. i, e, Thou art an accurate Critic in the law, thou canst exactly distinguish between things clean and unclean: and then he sums up al in one expression, ver. 20. Which hast the forme of knowlege, and of the truth in the law. [...] here signifies [...]. O [...]cum. an Artificial Image, Scheme, Figure, or Picture of know­lege▪ [Page 127] and its opposed to a substantial, solid, real knowledge; which is stiled, Prov. 2. 7. Sound wisdome, or Essential knowlege. These unbe­lieving Jews had a notional Idea, an artificial Scheme, a curious picture of knowlege; but they wanted the real, substantial, essential contemplation of those things, that belonged to their peace. Now as there is a vast diffe­rence between the contemplation of things in pictures, or shadowes; and the contemplation of them in their own proper substances: So here, the Unbeliever that views the things of his peace only in Pictures, Systemes, or No­tions, comes far short of the Believer, who views the same Intuitively, as they lie wrapt up in Evangelic promisses. Faith is described Hebr. 11. 1. The substance of things hoped for, i. e, it hath a real, substantial contemplation of things hoped for, as if they were actually present, before the eyes: and then it follows▪ The evidence of things not seen; The invisible things of celestial Canaan become visible to an eye of faith: whence it is apparent that he who has only a notional knowlege of the things that belong to his peace, is really igno­rant of them. Mere Speculative Assent to things practic, is no better than real dissent: For our Assent is then only true, when it is agreable to its object, formally considered. The things of our peace are most substantial and real; but the Unbeliever assents not to them as such: he sees them only in Words, Notions, and Imaginations; and therefore counts them but mere conceits, fine-spun [Page 128] Notions, and curious Pictures: His forme of knowlege is but real Ignorance.

7.7. Not to give a spi­ritual Assent. Men know not the things that belong to their peace, when their Assent to them is Carnal, not Spiritual. The things that belong to our peace are most spiritual; they admit not the least commixture of what is carnal; and therefore a carnal mind never truely assents to them. Things Spiritual cannot be apprehended by any but a spiritual facultie: Carnal assent to things spiritual, is real dissent. How can he assent truely to any sacred Truth, who un­derstands nothing truely of that he assents unto? Thus the Apostle argues strongly, 1 Cor.1 Cor. 2. 14. 2. 14. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishnes to him: neither can he know them, be­cause they are spirtually discerned. (1.) By this Natural, or Animal man, we must understand every irregenerate man, who has not his mind imbued with saving Faith. (2.) Of this man its said, he receiveth not; [...]: its a Metaphor assumed from narrow­mouth'd vessels, which cannot take in things too big for them: The things of the Spirit of God (which are the same with the things of our peace) are too big for Animal, Natural Minds. Yea, (3.) He addes, Neither can he know them: there is a moral Impossibilitie that he should know them: and why? that fol­lowes (4.) because they are spiritually discern­ed: As if he had said; Alas! how is it possi­ble that he should know them? What propor­tion is there betwixt spiritual Objects, and a [Page 129] carnal Subject? Must not every visivè facultie have some agreament with the object visible? And is there any agreament betwixt a carnal mind, and things spiritual? Is not every thing that is received, received according to the nature of the Recipient? Doth not then the carnal heart receive things spiritual car­nally; as on the contrary, the spiritual heart things carnal spiritually? Thence saith Christ to the unbelieving Jews, Joh. 8. 15. Ye judge after the flesh, i. e, ye judge of me, and of my Gospel, only in a carnal manner, by carnal Reason, and therefore no wonder ye believe not in me.

8.8. A gene­ral confu­sed Assent. Such as content themselves with a general confused Assent to evangelic Truths and Promisses, know not the things that belong to their peace. The more particular, and distinct our knowlege is, the more certain it is: General Notions are more confused and fallacious: a particular Dissent may wel stand with general Assent. Therefore he that has some general confused Notions of the things that belong to his peace, lies under a particular ignorance of the same. This was the case of these unbelieving Jews; they had some general notices of the Messias; some rude confused Ideas of Heaven and God; but alas! How imperfect, how grosse, how insignificant were their Notions? Hence our blessed Lord exhorts them, that they would, in order to the procurement of a true saving faith,Joh. 5. 39. Metaphor. A canum sagacitate sumta, &c. Strigel. Search the Scriptures, John 5. 39. [...]. Its a Metaphor drawn from the sagacitie of Dogs; which with their noses closely fol­low, [Page 130] and search into the sent of their prey. These unbelieving Jews had much general confused knowlege of the Scriptures: ay, but they wanted this Divine sagacitie, to inquire and search into them, as Dogs do into the sent of their prey: they could not sent the things that belonged to their peace, because they made not a narrow scrutinie, a particular, distinct, exact inquisition into evangelic Truths, and Mysteries. As if Christ had said: ‘Ah friends! You pretend to believe Moses and the Prophets: You conceit your life lies wrapt up in them: But how comes it to passe then, that you believe not in me? Do not al the Scriptures testifie of me? Oh! here lies your sin, you wil not search into the Scriptures: you content your selves with some general confused Notions; without any particular, distinct Inquisition into the things that belong to your peace.’

9.9. To su­spend our Assent. Men know not the things that belong to their peace, when they suspend their Assent, or yield to any prevalent dout, touching the truth of them. I shal not dispute, what mesure or degree of certaintie is essential to true saving Faith; but that it cannot consist in a mere opinion, or probable conjecture, without some degree of certitude, I think, is most certain from the current of Scripture. This is evident by the character Paul gives of Abrahams faith, Rom.Rom. 4. 19. 4. 19. Being not weak in faith, i. e, his mind did not hang in suspense, or under some prevalent dout, touching the truth of the pro­misse. This is illustrated by another notion, [Page 131] ver.ver. 20. 20. He staggered not at the promisse through unbelief. [...] here signifies to he­sitate, or remain under varietie of anxious douts and opinions: his mind was fully per­suaded of the truth of the promisse,ver. 21. as it is expressed v. 21. being fully persuaded, [...]: its a Metaphor borrowed from Navi­gation: as sails are filled with a good wind; so his mind was filled with a fulnesse of assent, to the truth of the promisse: there was no room for any suspense, or prevalent dout. And this indeed seems essential to al true sa­ving Faith, that there be a prevalent certitude, or certain persuasion touching the truth of the object; albeit many sincere Believers may be altogether uncertain touching their Title to, or Interest in the Object. My meaning is this: There ought to be a plenitude, or fulnesse of Assent to the Truth of the Promisse; albeit there may be wanting, in many Believers, an assurance of their interest in the things pro­missed. Now this certaintie of Divine assent ariseth partly from the certitude of the object, but more immediately from the Demonstration of the Spirit, elevating, or raising the mind unto this certain persuasion, touching the truth of the promisse. And herein true saving Faith is differenced from that which is com­mun and human: The Unbeliever may yield some feeble, staggering, instable Assent, to the good things that belong unto his peace; but stil he hangs in suspense; his doubts are greater than his faith. Its true, the true Be­liever hath oft great douts touching the Pro­misses; [Page 132] but yet his douts are not so much of the truth of the Promisses, as of his interest in them; or, whether his apprehensions of them be true: whereas Unbelievers dout of the truth of the Promisses, albeit they may be presum­tuously confident of their Interest in them. Thus it was with the unbelieving Jews, Joh.Joh. 10. 24 10. 24. How long doest thou make us to dout? or, [...] hic est quod [...], Luc. 12. 29 Suspensum tenere. Grot. how long doest thou keep our souls in suspense? They hung, as it were, 'twixt Heaven and Hel; under much suspense, whe­ther those things Christ preached were true or false: They did not totally dissent, and yet they could not fully assent to Christ. Thus they hung in suspense: for suspense is a mid­dle, twixt Assent and Dissent: Though as to Divine Assent, every such prevalent suspense, or dout touching the truth of the promisse is real unbelief: she that assents not fully, doth really dissent. Therefore Christ addes, v. 25. I told you, and you believed not: they seem to lay the blame on Christ, the darknes of his Reve­lation; but he resolves al into their unbelie­ving hearts.Luk. 12. 29 The like character of unbelief we find, Luke 12. 29.. Neither be ye of doutful minds. [...], Graecis non cum modò declarat qui positus est in sub­limi, sed etiam cum cujus ani­mus velu [...] ina [...]re suspensus, modò huc modò illuc inclinat. Beza. [...], in its primary Notation signifies to be carried up aloft in the Air, as Meteors, Clouds, or Birds; which wanting a firme foundation, are tossed to and fro with every blast. So it signifies the same with [...], to wander; or with [...], [Page 133] John 10. 24. to lift up the mind, or keep it in suspense. Hence also it is used to sig­nifie an anxious suspense, hesitation or dout, touching the truth of things. This is the condition of many awakened sinners, they ar­rive at some anxious suspense or doutfulnes of mind, and that is al: They hang in the air of commun conviction, between Heaven and Hel; for a little while til the prevalence of lust make them fal down again on the earth; where they lie buried in the ashes of their own con­victions and profession: They dare not, they cannot yield a ful, and prevalent assent to the Gospel of Christ: al that they attain unto, is a mere opinion, a suspensive faint Assent. Thus every unbeliever hangs, as a Meteor in the Air, under prevalent suspense, and hesita­tion, touching the truth of the promisses. Thence Mark 11. 23. We find douting in heart, and believing opposed. They that yield only an opinionative, doutful Assent to the things of their peace, do really dissent: a suspensive faith is no faith in Gods estime.

10.10. An i [...] ­evident obscure Assent. To yield only a cloudy, inevident, obscure Assent to the things that belong unto our peace, is not to know them. Divine Faith carries with it not only Certaintie, but also Evidence: Thus Hebr. 11. 1. Faith is the evidence of things not seen. Evidence implies a ful, clear, manifest apprehension of things present: among which such are most evident, as are most visible: Thence the Sun is most evident, because most visible. Its true, the objects of Faith are al­together absent, inevident, and invisible, as to [Page 134] Sense or Reason; whence they are stiled, Things not seen: ay, but yet they are present, evident, and visible to an [...]ye of faith. So the Scholes determine,Verita­tes fidei sunt evi­denter cre­dibiles. Aquin. That the truths of Faith are evidently credible. Oh! what a manifest, clear, intuitive vision doth Faith afford? But the Unbeliever sees nothing evidently and clearly: [...]he has only obscure, misty, dark no­tions of the things that belong unto his peace: So 2 Pet.2 Pet. 1. 9. 1. 9. And cannot see far off: Like one that is purblind, or in a mist. The Unbelie­ver has no evident conviction, or discoverie of the great things of the other world: he sees only things next to him, Objects of sense or reason; and therefore he knows not the things that belong to his peace. Some thinke the Original [...] is used to represent the image of a false faith, under the Similitude of a blind man, who moving his eye-lids, may take in some confused obscure shadow of light; which yet is altogether unuseful, and infructuous.

11.11. A le­gal Assent. Such as receive the things that belong to their peace with a legal Assent only, may be justly said not to know the same. The main things that belong to our peace are evangelic; and therefore such must our Assent be, if right. To receive evangelic Truths only, with a legal faith, is really to disbelieve the same. Many convinced sinners, yield a very strong assent to al the terrors of the law: This, and that, and t'other threat, belongs to me, saith the poor Sinner: I am he, to whom this sentence of the Law, and that curse doth appertain, &c. Its [Page 135] strange to consider, how far awakened sinners may procede, in such a legal assent to Law­threats, and yet never attain to an Evangelic faith. This seems to be the case of those un­believing Jews,Heb. 4. 2. mentioned Hebr. 4. 2. But the Word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. [...], not being incorporated: it seems to be a terme borrowed from meats; which being received into the stomach, and mingling with that acid ferment, or juice, which is loged there, are by the assistance thereof digested, and so turned into good nutriment, bloud, and spirits: just so the Word of God, being received into an honest heart, and incorporated with an evangelic faith, doth nourish and strengthen the Believer. Ay, but now these unbelieving Jews wanting this acid juice of evangelic faith, the word received profited them not. They yielded a legal assent to the threats of the Law; but yet, being void of an evangelic assent to the promisses of the Gospel, they received no profit from the Word preached. Legal assent to the threats of the Law, if it procede no fur­ther, usually ends in greater unbelief, and se­curitie.

12.12. Forced Assent. Such also may be said not to know the things that belong to their peace, who yield only an involuntarie, forced Assent thereto. This follows on the former; For a legal Assent is only forced, and strained; whereas an evan­gelic Assent is affectionate and free: whence it is made a character of those primitive Belie­vers, Act.Act. 2. 41. 2. 41. Then they that gladly received [Page 136] his Word. What word doth he here mean? The word of promisse, v. 39. For the promisse is to you, and your children, &c. Its said v. 37. They were pricked in their heart, &c. i, e, They were wounded with the sense of their sin, in crucifying the Lord of Glorie: and having now the promisse of life and pardon preached to them; O! how gladly do they re­ceive this word? What welcome News is this? How are they overjoyed at such glad-tidings of Salvation? What content, what satis­faction, what pleasure do they take in this▪ Evangelic word of life? How greedily do they receive, or assent to it, even as a voluptu­ous man receives his food, or a condemned malefactor his pardon? So much the word [...], gladly, doth import. Again, As many as gladly received the word: Here is a restrictive and distinctive note: For gladly here doth confine and restrain the sincere re­ception of the word, to these here specified, in distinction from the rest of the Auditors; of whom also many received the word, but not gladly: So that this note seems to be characte­ristic, and descriptive of true saving Assent, which hath joy and gladnesse mixed with it: They receive the word, and they receive it gladly: they assent to it, and they assent chearfully; they would not for a world but assent to it. As the eye sees the Sun, and sees it gladly; the ear hears Music, and gladly hears it: So faith assenteth to the Word of God, and assents with gladnesse: Though there be much obscuritie, and seeming contra­rietie [Page 137] to carnal reason, in some parts of Gods word; yet, so far as it appears to be the word of God, faith willingly assens to it: the mind is captivated to divine Testimonie. Though perhaps the poor Believer cannot ra­tionally discourse, or reason touching the truths he assents to; yet he hath a divine In­stinct, a spiritual Sagacitie, an interne Sense, whereby he tasts Divine words; and so can distinguish them from al human words, though sugared over with never so much spiritual Rhetoric. Thus he receives the word gladly. So also [...], signifies such a reception as an Host gives his Guest, or a man his intimate friend. Al which fully▪ demonstrates, with what an affectionate Assent they received the Word of life. The like is mentioned of the Bereans, Act. 17. 11 Act. 17. 11. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with al readinesse of mind, [...], i. e, with an affectionate chear­ful Assent. Indeed al true saving faith con­notes a pious inclination in the soul: For the things that belong unto our peace being purely dependent on the Testimonie of God; if there be not a pious affection in the heart towards God, the sinner wil never assent to, & close with the promisses, and offers of life made to it. Af­fection to any person, makes us very credu­lous, or apt to receive his report: Love makes our Assent quick and chearful: it puts the best interpretation upon whatever is spoken: and if there be but an half-promisse, or a word hinted, that may be for encouragement, the [Page 138] lover is apt to applie it to himself, and improve it. Thus every word of God is an infallible oracle, to such as have a pious affection for him. Thus David describes his faith, by his delight in the statutes of God, Psal. 119. 16. I wil de­light my self in thy statutes. Psal. 119. 16. The original im­ports, to behold with delight, or to contemplate with pleasure. Oh! What satisfaction did Davids faith find in the Statutes of God? But oh! how melodious and sweet was the joyful sound of the Gospel to Davids faith? If the Law be so delightful to a Believer, because he sees therein, as in a Glasse, al the spots of his soul; Oh! how delightsome then is the Go­spel to him, which discovers the face of God, and Christ to him; yea, and transformes his heart into the same glorious Image? Hence it appears, that if our Assent to the Reports of the Gospel be not affectionate and chearful, it is not saving. The Devils believe and tremble; but because they do not gladly assent, there­fore their faith is not saving. So essential is an affectionate inclination to divine Assent. Whence it naturally follows, that such as af­ford only a forced assent to evangelic Truths, do really dissent from them: such an intimate connexion is there between Divine Assent▪ and pious Affection.

13.13. Not to retain the things of our peace. Not to know the things that belong unto our peace, is not to retain the same, when once received. This also is a consequent of the former: For things forced are not durable: when our Assent is only compelled by legal convictions, it lasts no longer than that com­pulsion, [Page 139] which gave foundation to it: whereas an affectionate Assent is very adhesive: it sticks fast unto its object: every thing delights to adhere to what it likes: If the heart be chear­fully inclined towards God, it wil delight in its assent unto his word. But when our As­sent is grounded only on legal Threats, and forced convictions, how soon doth it wear off, and die away? This was the case of many unbelieving Jews: they had now and then some stounding convictions, such as produced in them a great Assent to the words of Christ: Oh! What Attention, what Reverence, and Respect do they give to Christs word? But alas! how soon is their Assent turned into Dissent? Thus John 5. 38. And ye have not his word abiding in you. [...],Jo. 5. 38. [...], Johanni est infigi Grot. to abide signi­fies with John, to dwel, or take up its fixed habitation: The Word of God now and then sound some place in their minds, as v. 35. ay, but it did not inhabit there: it loged there, but as a Traveller in an Inne, for a night only. There are many Professors, who en­tertain the glad tidings of the Gospel for a sea­son, but they retain them not: Whereas Da­vid saith,Psal. 119. 11. Psal. 119. 11. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. There seems to be an elegant Metaphor in the word hid, drawen from those, who having found a choise Treasure, they hide it, thereby to secure it. Thus David hid Gods word in his heart. Luk. 11. 28 Whence Christ pronounceth a blessing on those that hear his word and keep it, Luk. 11. 28. Hence that exhortation, Hebr. 2. 1. Therefore [Page 140] we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things that we have heard, lest at any time we should let▪ them slip. [...], i. e, let them slide away as water through a Mil, which never returnes more. He that lets evan­gelic Truths slide away, out of his heart, can­not be said to know the things that belong unto his peace: Al true Divine Assent is per­manent and lasting: he that ever dissents from, never yet truely assented to Evangelic Notions of peace. We find this Divine Retention of Gods word wel expressed by Moses, in his exposition of the Law, Deut. 6. 6, 7, 8, 9.

14.14. Low estime. Such as have not a transcendent estime, or great and sublime thoughts of the things that belong to their peace, may also be said not to know them. For an object or thing is then only known truely, when its worth and value is in some mesure known: He that has only poor, unworthy, base thoughts of great things, may be said not to know them. The efficace, vigor, and strength of every Assent, ariseth from the right valuation of the object: For the minds adherence unto truth is more or lesse prevalent, according to the ap­prehension it has of their value: unto several truths equally apprehended, the minds assent, or adherence is not equal; but greater or lesse, according to the estime it has of their worth. Thus the prevalence, vigor, and efficace of our assent, and adherence to supernatural Truths, doth naturally arise from the apprehension we have of their value: and thence a true assent to divine Notions, and Promisses alwaies car­ries [Page 141] admiration in its bowels: he that doth entertain the great Mysteries of the Gospel with a cheap, mean estime only, doth really disestime the same: An undervaluing low assent to divine Truths, is real dissent: Cer­tainly such know not Christ, who estime him not as the Worlds wonder. This Christ Ironicly upbraids the unbelieving Jews with, John 7. 28.Joh. 7. 28. Ye both know me, and know whence I am, &c. He speaks Ironicly in replie to the Jews reprocheful speech, v. 27. Howbeit we know this man whence he is, &c. As if he had said: You neither know me, nor yet the Messias, as you pretend: for if you knew me and whence I am, you would highly estime me as your Messias, sent by God, &c.

Lastly,15. A bar­ren Assent. They know not the things that belong to their peace, who give only a sterile, dead, un­active assent to them. True Divine Assent is ful of Life, Virtue, and Activitie: A barren dead faith is real Unbelief: the end of saving knowlege is Practice: Unprofitable knowlege is one of the worst kinds of Ignorance. Al sacred Sciences are Affective and Effective: That Assent which doth not kil sin, wil never give life to the sinner: Divine Assent leaves suitable Impresses, and sacred Stampes on the Heart. Doth thine Assent to the things That belong to thy peace fil thy soul with Admi­ration of, and Love unto them? Is there an agreament twixt thine heart, and the things thou believest? Thou saiest, thou assentest to the Truths of the Gospel; ay, but doth not thine heart dissent from the Duties of the Go­spel? [Page 142] and is not this a strong argument that thy faith is but a dead Assent? Jam. 2. 26. So Jam. 2. 26. For as the bodie without the spirit is dead; so faith without works, is dead also. Though works are not the cause, which gives life to faith; yet they are necessary products, which argue life in faith. A living faith is ful of vital spi­rits and operations: he that wants these, has only a dead corps of faith, or the name of a Believer. David gives us a better account of his faith,Psal. 119. 11. Psal. 119. 11. Thy word have I hid in mine heart: and why so? that I might not sin against thee? He gave a deep, firme, pra­ctic Assent to Divine truths, such as kept him from sin. So much for the first part of Unbe­lief, as opposite to the assent of faith.

The Explication of Unbelief in reference to its Real Objects; and its first main Act, consisting in the Wils rejection of Christ.

HAving finisht the Notional Objects, and Acts of Unbelief, it remains that we procede to the Explcation of its simple, real Objects, and the Acts which answer thereto. 1. The simple Objects of Unbelief. (1.) As for the simple, real Objects of Unbe­lief, they wil, as before, be best explicated by considering, what are the simple, and real Ob­jects [Page 143] of Faith: For Unbelief being but a pri­vation of faith, it has one and the same object therewith. Now the simple, real Objects of Faith regard either our Present, or Future state: As to our present state, the object of Faith is either Remote and Ʋltimate; or Next and Immediate: The Remote and Ʋltimate object of Faith is the Deitie, or Divine Essence: The Next and Immediate object of Faith is Christ, God-man, and Mediator, betwixt God and Men. The object of Faith, as to our fu­ture state, is approching Glorie, Heaven; or, al those good things hoped for, Heb. 11. 1. According to this distribution of the real Ob­jects of Faith, we may, with facilitie, deter­mine, what are the objects of Unbelief? or, what are those Simple, Real things, that be­long to our peace, which Unbelief refuseth? Of these we shal treat but very concisely; because they wil again fal under consideration, when we come to the Aggravations of Ʋnbelief.

1.Unbelief refuseth. 1. God. 1. His Be­ing. Unbelief is a Rejection of God, his Divine Essence, Attributes, Providence, Workes, Or­dinances, and Glorie: which are al great In­gredients of our Peace. Unbelief strikes at the Deitie, or Divine Being, which is the alone ultimate foundation of al saving Faith, Heb. 11. 6. Oh! what a world of practic, if not speculative Atheisme, lies wrapt up in the womb of Unbelief?2. His At­tributes, Wisdome. Again, how are al the divine Attributes struck at by Unbelief? Doth not Unbelief reject the Wisdome of God, by preferring carnal wisdome before it,Faithful­nes. Luk. 7. 30? Is not the Fidelitie and Veracitie of God op­pugned [Page 144] by Unbelief, in that it receives not his Testimonie, and so makes him a Liar, 1 Joh.Soverain­tie. 5. 10, 11? How much is the Soveraintie of God opposed by Unbelief; in that it cannot, because it wil not, submit, either to his secret, or reveled wil? How doth Unbelief quarrel at, and murmur against the soverain pleasure of God, both Preceptive and Providential? It can neither yield Active obedience to the former, nor Passive to the later: It can do but little, and suffer lesse for God. Again, Doth not Unbelief offer much violence to the Love, Mercie, Mercie. and Compassions of God? Is not Mer­cie clothed with the rough garment of Seve­ritie? Is not the ugly vizard of Hatred, and Revenge, put on the beautiful face of Divine Love? Doth not Divine Benignitie, or Boun­tie, fal under censure of illiberalitie, when Unbelief▪ sets in the chair?Justice. Further, Is not Divine Justice impleaded, or masqued with the face of Injustice by Unbelief? Doth it not put light for darknes, and darknes for light; good for evil, and evil for good? Is not the Righ­teous God accused, as one that justifies the wicked, and condemnes the Innocent? More­over how doth Unbelief narrow Divine Omni­potence; yea,Omnipo­tence. look upon it as mere Impotence, and weaknes? Doth not Infidelitie also pre­scribe bounds to Gods Omnipresence, Exo­dus 17. 2-7? Is not Gods Omniscience also blinded by it,3. Provi­dence. Isai. 40. 25? So also, for al Gods works of Providence, how doth Unbelief draw a Veil on the most glorious of them?Ordi­nances. Lastly, as for al Divine Ordinances and Insti­tutions, [Page 145] are they not dispirited, and made in­effectual by Unbelief? Is not prayer no pray­er, Hearing the Word no hearing; are not Sacraments no Sacraments to the Unbeliever?

2.2. Unbelief rejects Christ. Unbelief refuseth Christ, the next im­mediate object of faith, and the great Media­tor of our peace. Oh! what a large heart has Christ to give, but how narrow-hearted is the Unbeliever in receiving the things that belong to his peace? Is not Christ the great Ordinance of God, constituted, designed, and adapted to be the Mediator between God and man? And yet, Lo! how doth Unbelief sleight him, yea slander him, reproche him, plunder him, grieve him, provoke him, and crucifie him day by day? Is not Christ extreme liberal towards Sinners? Doth he not meet them half way; yea, prevent them in the offers of Grace? And yet, oh! how backward is Unbelief; how unwilling to come to him for life? What Distances, Shinesses, and estrangements from Christ, doth it continually delight in? Doth not Infidelitie attemt to turne the whole of Christs Mediatorie office, into a mere shadow, or Romance? What rare experiments hath Christ given of the efficace of his bloud, the energie and power of his grace to redeme sin­ners? and yet how doth unbelief question, and cavil at al? What wonders are there in Christs love to sinners? how omnipotent, and invincible is it? What sweet charmes to con­quer hearts has it? and yet how doth Unbe­lief cover al, with the masque of hatred and crueltie? Oh! what incomparable beauties [Page 146] are there in Christs person? how amiable and lovely was he, even in his lowest condition; in the Womb, Manger, and on the Crosse? Do not al the lines of Gods grace, and our duty meet in Christ as Mediator? how inglo­rious are the most excellent things in the world, if compared with Christs glorious perfections? and yet lo! how doth Infidelitie disgrace, and reproche Christ? What low, mean, scanda­lous, yea cruel thoughts has it of him?

3.3. Unbelief refuseth Heaven. Unbelief rejects not only God and Christ, and the Holy Spirit, but also approching Glo­rie, and al those good things hoped for of the other world. Oh! what grosse, and car­nal conceptions has Unbelief of al those invi­sible, and coming Glories? How doth it turne al the great and glorious enjoyments of Heaven into mere insignificant Fancies, Notions, Fa­bles, and Sick-dreams? Yea, doth not Un­belief despise and contemne those rich delices of future Glorie? Are not the sensual enjoy­ments of the flesh, the pleasures of Egypt, pre­ferred before the ravishing delights of the ce­lestial Canaan? Do not sensible goods weigh down the invisible weight of Glorie in the Unbelievers heart? But thus much for the real objects of Unbelief, of which more largely hereafter.

Sect. 2.The Acts of Unbe­lief. We now procede to the several Acts of Unbelief, in relation to these real Objects; which may be also distinguished according to the several acts of Faith, whereof they are Privatives. The first and general act of Faith, in relation to Christ, its next and most imme­diate [Page 147] object, is Consent, Election, or Recepti­on of him as tendred in the Gospel: And op­posite hereto, the first and great act of Unbelief is Reprobation, 1. Reje­ction of Christ. or Rejection of Christ: and this indeed is the most fundamental, and vital Act of Unbelief; that which our Lord doth most directly strike at, in this his doleful Lamen­tation, over Jerusalem: If thou hadst known the things that belong to thy peace, i. e, If thou hadst embraced, and received m [...] thy King, and Mediator of peace, oh then! how happie hadst thou been? But alas! alas! thou hast rejected me thine alone Messias; and therefore, Lo! al the the things of thy peace are hid from thine eyes. And that this not knowing the things that belonged to her peace, connotes Jerusalems Rejection of Christ, is further evi­dent, if we consider the Hebraic Idiome, that lies wrapt up in this notion: For its a com­mun rule among the Hebrews, That words of sense, or knowlege implie Affection: so that not to know, is not to elect, or embrace the things belonging to our peace. Whence its very ma­nifest, that the Rejection of Christ, is the main thing which our blessed Lord intends, in this his black character of Jerusalems Unbe­lief. But seing this Rejection of Christ is a comprehensive large notion,This Re­jection of Christ Im­plies, which admits a great latitude of degrees; we shal, as the Lord inables us, distinctly explicate its par­ticulars.

(1.)1. Open opposition. The beart rejects Christ, when it openly opposeth him, and al the wooings of his grace. This was the case of the unbelieving Jews for [Page 148] the most part: Our blessed Lord comes with offers of Grace and Peace: But oh! how is he sleighted? how much is he contemned? what opposition is made against him, by the most and chiefest of them? Thus much our Lord himself complains of, under the Parable of an Householder, who planted a vineyard, &c. Mat. 21. 33, &c. whence he concludes, v. 42. The stone which the builders rejected, the same is be­come the head of the corner: This is the Lords doing, and it is marveilous in our eyes. Oh! what a Marvel is this, that the very Builders, the Elders and Rulers of the people, should re­ject their Messias, the chief corner-stone of their Salvation? The like Mark 8. 31. And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the Elders, and of the chief Priests and Scribes. What? the Elders reject him? the chief Priests and Scribes oppose him? Oh! what a prodigious piece of Unbelief is this? And is this the sin of unbelieving Jews only? Are there not mul­titudes, who would fain be estimed good Chri­stians, and yet thus oppose, and resist Christ to his very face? What shal we think of the sensual Professor, who rolleth himself in the delices of Egypt, and cannot part with a lust for Christ? Where may we place the sleepy Christian, who logeth his head in the bosome of the Times, and sleepeth sweetly on the bed of carnal securitie, without the least attention, to the loud and repeted knocks, and cries of Christ? And may not also many terrified a­wakened sinners be reckoned among the oppo­sers [Page 149] of Christ; even such, who though they see their sin and miserie, yet flie from Christ, as from an enemie; and choose rather to take refuge in their own carnal confidences, than accept of Christ as their Mediator? May not al these, and many more seeming Christians, be justly reputed Opposers, & Rejectors of Christ?

(2.) Such may be said to reject Christ, Dislikes of Christ. who, albeit they do not openly oppose him, yet maintain secret soul-disgusts, and heart-dislikes of Christ. Faith lies much in a wel-inclined Affection, or affectionate Inclination towards Christ: it supposeth a good liking, or pious propension towards Christ. For, while the sinner looks upon Christ as an enemie, or as a severe, au­stere Lord, he minds not going to him. Un­belief is very apt to take offense at Christ: it is il-minded towards him, and therefore on every trifling occasion offended at him. This was likewise the temper of the Unbelieving Jews,Mat. 11. 6. whence saith Christ, Mat. 11. 6. And blessed is he, [...] significat propriè ti­gillum in instrumen­tis quibus capiuntur Lupi, aut Vulpes, aut Mu [...]es: Hesychius expressè inquit, [...] & Commentarius Aristophanis inquit, [...], sunt curva ligna in decipulis. Strigel. in Rom. 11. 9. whosoever shal not be offended in me. The word [...] signifies to set a gin, trap, or snare; to put an obstacle or impedi­ment in mens way, that so they may not pro­cede on. Some derive the word from [...], to halt, and so a scandal signifies originally a sharpe stake, or stone, that makes men to halt: others derive it from [...], a crooked piece of wood, whereof they made gins, or snares to catch wild beasts: (b) whence a scandal natu­rally [Page 150] signifies a gin or snare. The word scan­dal sometimes also signifies a stone, or block in the way, at which men are apt to stumble, and fal: and thence in the old Testament it is taken for a Fal, and so sometimes for Sin, as Judg. 8. 27. where it is rendred a Snare. The meaning seems this: Blessed is he, whose conscience shal not be scandalised at me; whose mind shal not be possessed with black scandalous thoughts of me; by which the heart stumbles, and fals into many snares and gins. Oh! what lies, and scandals doth the unbeliving heart raise of Christ? Thus Un­belief fils the heart with disgusts, and offenses against Christ, which are as so many gins, or snares; as so many sharpe stones, or bars to keep the heart from Christ. Faith breeds a good liking to Christ, and therefore it puts a good sense, a candid interpretation on al that is spoken by Christ: But oh! what a world of offenses and scandals against Christ are there in this unbelieving heart? how proneisit to quarrel with Christ? What is this but to reject Christ?

(3.) Such as do allow themselves in secret, Heart ca­vils against offers of Grace. Heart-cavils, and Disputes against the offers of Grace, made by Christ, do interpretatively re­ject him. Some poor awakened sinners there are, who, peradventure have not any deep disgusts, and dislikes against Christ; yet they studie what they can to raise objections against the tenders of life made by Christ. Its strange to consider, how the hearts of some lie at catch, and studie how they may evade the offers of Grace. Thus it was with the [Page 151] unbelieving Jews; whose cavils for the most part arose, not so much from any desire of satisfaction, as from the bitter root of inve­terate prejudices against Christ.Luk. 20. 5. So Luke 20. 5. And they reasoned with themselves, saying, if we shal say from heaven, he wil say, Why then believe ye him not? The chief Priests and Scribes are here brought to a great Dilemma: They must either disown John to be a true Prophet; or they must own Christ for their Messias: Now they reason with themselves, how they may evade this forcible Argument. And is it not thus with a great number of awakened sinners? When Christ comes with a close conviction, and makes them see their necessitie of believing on him; Oh! what secret Cavils and Disputes are there against Christ? How artificial, and witty is Unbe­lief, to shift off Christ, and al his tenders of life? What stout Logic has every unbelieving heart against believing in Christ? What is this but to reject Christ?

(4.)4. Not approving the reports of Christ. The wil may be said, at least virtually, to reject Christ, when it doth not justifie, or ap­prove those Reports that are made of Christ, by the ministerie of the word, or in conscience. This is a more refined degree of rejecting Christ, very commun among many great Professors. Some convinced Sinners are not so disinge­nuous as to be alwaies cavilling at Christ, yet they do not approve the Reports made of Christ as they ought. They have no conside­rable objections against evangelic offers; and yet the heart is unwilling to entertain them. [Page 152] They are unwilling to grant what they can hardly denie. This Christ cals being slow of heart to believe, Luke 24. 25. O fools and slow of heart to believe al that the Prophets have spoken. This is the first part of faith in the wil, to justifie, recognise, or approve that Assent which is wrought in the jugemen [...] touching Christ: And when Christ has ob­tained the Wils approbation and consent, he soon gains its affiance, or confidence. As a carnal heart, that approves of the offers of sin, is soon overcome by it: So an awakened heart, when once it comes to approve the offers of Christ, and the Assent made thereto by the mind, how soon is it induced to yield its consent to Christ? But oh! here lies the root of Unbelief, the wil doth not fully ap­prove and allow, of what the mind is oft forced to assent unto. This was also the condition of many unbelieving Jews: So Luk.Luk. 7. 29. 7. 29. And al the people that heard him, and the publicans justified God, being baptised with the Baptisme of John. The commun people and publicans are said to justifie God, i. e, they approved of what reports were made touching Christ: though its likely ma­ny of them, did it but with a temporary faith. But then it followes ver. 30. But the Pharisees, and Lawyers (o) rejected the counsel of God against themselves, o. v. 30. [...], rec [...]è ver­titur reji­cere: id enim opti­mè op­ponitur verbo [...], quod est approbare & Iaudare. Gro [...]. being not baptised of him. How did the Pharisees, and Lawyers reject the counsel of God? Why it was by not justify­ing or approving, what God reported touch­ing [Page 153] Christ: So that when the wil doth not justifie, approve, or commend, what God in his word, or by the dictates of conscience doth report touching Christ, it may be said to reject the counsels of God, and Christ. As the wil by approving the Assent of the juge­ment turnes it into Consent; so by disappro­ving the same it declares its rejection thereof. This holds true both in maters of Sin, and Grace.

(5.)5. Delays as to a thorow closure with Christ. The Heart may be justly said to reject Christ, when it admits of demurs, and delayes, as to a complete closure with him. This is a more subtile, and refined degree of Unbelief. Some there are, who seem to justifie, and ap­prove the Reports made of Christ, and their own Assent thereto: they have nothing to object against Christ: they seem wel-satisfied in the offers he makes: But yet al this while there is a secret dilatorie, procrastinating, de­laying spirit in them: they would fain close with Christ, but not as yet: they have a wil for hereafter, but not for a present choice of Christ: they cannot as yet bid Adieu to their beloved lusts: a little slumber, a little sleep more they must have, in the lap of their De­lilahs. This was the case of some tardy Disciples of Christ, among the Jews, as Luke 9. 59.Luk. 9. 59. And he said unto another, follow me: but he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. He hath nothing to object against Christ▪ but seems abundantly satis­fied in Christs offers; only he desires to be excused for a while, til he had buried his Fa­ther. [Page 154] Again ver. 61. And another also said, Lord, I wil follow thee: but let me first go bid them farewel, which are at home at my house. Thus awakened sinners put off Christ, as Fe­lix did Paul, with delays: If Christ wil but wait a while their leisure, wel and good; they are then content to espouse him for their Lord: but at present, they have no leisure, because they have no heart, to close with Christ. Yea, is there not much of this dila­torie humor in many wounded souls, who con­ceit they are not yet humbled enough, and therefore not meet to go to Christ? Whereas indeed there is no such way to get an humble spirit, as to come to Christ for it. Certainly, al such delays argue much unwillingnes to believe: A Wil for hereafter only, is a pre­sent Nil: An election for the future, is no better than a present Reprobation: If you con­sent only for hereafter, you at present reject Christ. So long as you defer to do, what you know you ought to do, so long you wil not do it. Yea, what are these delays to em­brace Christ, but a more slie rejection of him? May not Christ justly estime your delay to embrace him, a refusal of him? Are not such put offs a kind of denial? When Christ wooes thee long, by many sweet Inspirations, both of Word and Spirit; for thee to stifle al these good motions, by continued delayes, doth not this argue a mightie unwilling heart to believe? Hast thou the least shadow of Reason for thy delays to believe? Thou saiest thou wantest Grace: ay, but mayest thou not, by [Page 155] believing, receive Grace for Grace? Is not Grace both in being, and degrees the effect of Faith in Christ? Do not thy sins greaten much by delays to believe? Are not thy debts to Justice multiplied by not believing? The longer thou forbearest to believe, wil not thy heart be the more averse, and backward to believe? Peradventure thou conceitest Christ wil not receive thee, if thou comest to him: ay, but whence springs this prejudicate con­ceit, but from the unwillingnes of thine own heart to receive Christ? Has not Christ de­clared himself to be more willing to receive thee, than thou canst be to come unto him; as 'tis evident from the Parable of the Prodi­gal, Luke 16. 22-28? Are not al thine ob­jections against believing presently, but the forgeries, and figments of thine unwilling heart? Remember, there is as great hazard in thy loitering delays, as in down-right re­jection of Christ: For, albeit thy delays may be painted over with some apparent colours of humilitie, and fears lest thy faith would be presumtion, yet Christ is as effectually opposed, and excluded thereby, as by manifest oppo­sition. Thou hadst as good say it in down right termes, thou wilt have none of Christ; as thus put him off, time after time, with dilatorie answers: Though the Acts differ in degrees; yet the Principle and root is the same in one and t'other; namely an unwilling heart: and this Christ sees ful wel; and therefore thy demurs, suspense, and seeming caution, or delay to believe, greatly provokes [Page 156] Christ; and is by him interpreted no better than a flat refusal of him. Al the relief thou hast is this, thou hopest to embrace Christ hereafter, when thou art more humble, and fit for him: But oh! what a poor shift is this? Tel me, mayest thou not be in Hel, be­fore this hereafter come? or, Wil not thine unwilling heart be more fortified against Christ by delays? canst thou ever hope to be better, or more humble but by believing? Oh! consider what a world of Unbelief lies at the bottome of such an unwilling heart; and how much Christ is rejected by such de­lays? So much for Unbeliefs rejection of Christ.

The Explication of Unbelief, as to the Wils defective Reception of Christ▪ wherein is considered its essential de­fects, both as to the Object, and Sub­ject.

HAving fininisht the first great Act of Unbelief,The Wils defective Reception of Christ. which consists in the Wils Rejection of Christ; we now procede to a se­cond, namely the Wils defective reception of Christ. Though indeed this second Act of Unbelief, differs from the former, not so much in Essence, and Degree; (for every de­fective [Page 157] Reception of Christ, is a kind of Re­jection of him) yet we may thus distinguish them: The former Rejection of Christ we may look on as a more expresse and manifest piece of Unbelief; but this defective Recepti­on of Christ is more subtile, and refined Un­belief: The former is more commun, and belongs, for the most part, only to carnal, secure sinners: But this later is more proper, and confined to close Evangelic Hypocrites: The former is more Total and Ʋniversal; this later more partial Unbelief. How many awakened sinners are there, who dare not openly oppose Christ; yea, that would not seem to have any Dislikes against his person; or cavils against his offers; yea, that seem ready to justifie and approve the reports, and convictions they have of Christ; and not only so, but also to close with him presently, without any demurs, and delays; I say how many such are there, who are thus far free from the Rejection of Christ, and yet guiltie of some essential Defect, or flaw in their Re­ception of him? Wherefore for the more ful explication of the nature of Unbelief, it is apparently necessary, that we inquire into the several essential defects, which Unbelievers are guiltie of, in their pretended, partial re­ception of Christ; for which they may be justly said, not to know the things that belong to their peace.

Now these essential Defects,The De­fects of Unbelief as to its object in receiving. which many evangelic, refined Hypocrites are guiltie of, in their seeming reception of Christ, may be [Page 158] considered, either in regard of the Object, or of the Subject of this Reception: As for the Object of this defective Reception, mens seem­ing Faith is no better than real Unbelief; (1.) When they receive only a false Christ in­stead of the true: or, (2.) When they receive the true Christ under false respects, and consi­derations.

1.1. A false Christ. We shal begin with the defects of Un­belief as to its object, in receiving only a false Christ. Oh! what a world of splendid, glit­tering Professors are there, who, notwith­standing their pretended faith in Christ, receive only a false Christ, a formed Picture, or Idol of their own sick phantasies, in the room of the true Christ? Unbelievers may be said to re­ceive a false Christ, (1.) When they compound, or adde any thing to Christ: and (2.) When they divide, or take any thing from Christ.

(1.)1. A com­pound Christ. Such as compound Christ, or adde any thing to him, do thereby make him, as to them­selves, a false Christ. And are there not a vast number of refined Hypocrites, who are guiltie of this defective Reception of Christ? Do not some compound their carnal Interest with Christ? They would, forsooth, receive Christ;Christ compoun­ded wi [...]h the world. ay, that they would, as they con­ceit, with al their hearts; but they must have the world too. They need Christ to re­lieve their burdened consciences; and they need the world to relieve their sensual hearts. Was not this the very case of the young man, who came so confidently to Christ, with what lack I yet, Mat. 19. 20? What lack I yet? poor [Page 159] man!Mat. 19. 20, 21, 22. thou lackest the main, saith Christ [...] ver. 21. If thou wilt be perfect, go and sel that thou hast, and give to the poor, &c. Christ saw his pretended reception of him was very de­fective; he knew what his beloved Idol was, and therefore pincheth him in that: and what follow,?Sup [...] dum tristis Est enim composita dictio, ex Adverbio intendendi [...], quod semper per Paroxyto­num est; Et signifi­cat admo­dum, ex­cellenter, valde ni­mis, Schmidius in Mat. 26. 38. v. 22. He went away sorrowful, [ [...], be [...]ieged with sorrows, or ra­ther, beyond mesure sorrowful: for [...] here is not a Preposition, but an Adverb, and signifies excedingly, eminently; as our Latin per, (which is supposed to be derived hence) in perquam, &c. Oh! what a deluge of sor­rows pressed in on him? and why?] for he had great possessions. He had a moneths mind to be one of Christs Disciples: he seems very forward to give him a chearful reception; provided, that Christ would be content to loge with his swinish Idol, the world: But if this may not be; if Christ wil not be content to have the world for his corrival, then with a pensive sorrowful heart, he bids farewel to Christ. And is not this the very case of a world of rotten-hearted Christians; who could be content to give Christ good recepti­on, would he be but content to admit of the world for his corrival? But if Christ wil not admit of a partner, then farwel to him; he is not for their turne. Yea, how many are there,Christ compoun­ded with lust. who compound Christ with some pre­valent beloved lust? Christ they must have to satisfie conscience, and lust they must have to satisfie their heart: hence they mediate a league between Christ, and their darling lust; [Page 160] which seems to be the case of those forward Professors, Luke 13. 26, 27. who pretended to much acquaintance with Christ, but al the while were but workers of iniquitie; such as joined some bosome-lust with Christ. What is this but to make Christ a Servant, yea, a Pander and Caterer to lust?

Lastly,Christ compoun­ded with spiritual Idols. Do not the best of refined Hypo­crites join a world of Spiritual Idols with Christ? What shal we think of the politic Hypocrite, who joins his own carnal prudence with Christs wisdome? Where may we place the gifted Hypocrite; who places his Evan­gelic gifts in the room of Christ? May we not rank the whining, affectionate hypocrite among Unbelievers; since that he makes his Tears, and melting affections, in part, if not wholly, his Christ? What shal we conclude of the devote, legal Hypocrite, who makes his Du­ties and self-righteousnes a part, if not the whole of his Christ? Where may we rank the self-dependent, self-confident Hypocrite; who takes the commun Assistances and Influen­ces of the Spirit, vouchsafed to him, and placeth them in the room of, or equal with Christ? Are not al these so many false Christs, or imaginary Idols, joined with Christ; which render the reception of him defective?

2.2. A di­vided Christ. Such as divide Christ, make him a false Christ, and so their reception of him defective. As they who adde to Christ, so also they that take any thing from Christ, transforme him into an Idol of their own sick brains. And oh! what a multitude of close Hypocrites are defective in their reception of Christ, as to [Page 161] this particular? How many are there, who seem content to receive our blessed Lord, un­der the notion of Jesus, a Savior; but dare not receive him as Christ, an anointed King, and Lord, to rule over their Persons and Lusts? This seems to be the case of the unbelieving Jews, John 1. 11. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. Joh. 1. 11. What? [...], i, e. ut Domi­num, Grot. Not receive their Messias? Do they not oft flock after him, and sing Hosanna's to him, as a little before our Text, Luke 19. 37? Yes, they were content to receive him as a Savior, (so Hosanna imports, Save us now) ay, but they would not receive him as King and Lord: So long as he preacheth glad tidings of Salvation, oh! how welcome is he? what chearful treatment do they give him? who but Christ▪ ay, but when he comes to king and lord it over their lusts; to rip open their hypocritic, rotten hearts; to pinch and wring their lusts; oh then! how do they kick, and throw at him? Again, how do others divide between Christ and his yoke? The wages of Christ is sweet, and pleasing: but, oh! how cumber­some and irksome is his worke? This was Israels, temper, Hos. 4. 16. But Israel slideth back as a back-sliding beifer, i. e,Lori impatiens. [...]n heifer im­patient of the Yoke. Israel loved to tread out the corne, Hos. 10. 11. because that was plea­sing work, there was wages in the work: but O! how averse is Israel from plowing worke? What a burden is the yoke to her effeminate, tender neck? Further do not many seeming Christians divide betwixt the [Page 162] Crown and Crosse of Christ? The Crown is very beautiful in their eye; but, oh! what a black ugly thing is the Crosse of Christ? How pleasing is it to reigne with Christ? but how displeasing is it to suffer with him?

Lastly, do not the most of Professors divide betwixt those good things that are in Christ, and those good things that flow from him? Al would gladly share in the Benefits of Christ; but how few desire to have share in his Person? How forward are awakened sinners, to catch at the Righteousnes, and Merits of Christ, thereby to screen off the scorching heat of Divine wrath? But how backward are they to close with the Person of Christ, as the ob­ject of their fruition? Thus Unbelievers pick and choose; take so much of Christ as as wil serve their turne, and no more: There is some one thing in Christ they like wel; but some other thing they as much dislike: They like the Bloud that came forth of his heart, to wash their guiltie Conscienc [...]s; but oh! how do they dislike the Water that came forth also, to wash their filthy hearts? His smiling coun­tenance, and gracious Pardons are very grateful to them; but oh! how ungrateful is his royal Sceptre of Righteousnes; his Sove­rain Autoritie, and Laws? Thus Unbelievers diminish and take from Christ, in their seem­ing reception of him: which indeed is but to turne Christ into an Idol: For a divided Christ, as wel as a compound Christ, is but a false Christ; no true Christ.

2.The D [...] ­ [...]cts of Unbelief as to the respects under which Christ is received. Another branch of Ʋnbelief, as to its de­fective [Page 163] reception of Christ, is, when men receive the true Christ, in a false manner, or under false Considerations and Respects. There are many who seem willing to take Christ only, and completely, without Composition, or Divi­sion; but yet there remains stil some essential defect, or flaw in the manner of their receiv­ing, or in the formal Reasons, proper grounds, and fundamental considerations, on which they receive Christ. Though this may, in something, agree with the former, yet we may conceive this difference: in what pre­cedes Christ is considered Materially; but now we are to consider him, as the Formal Object of Faith, and Ʋnbelief: and so the first thing we are to consider herein, is the Motives and Grounds on which Christ is received.

1. As [...] Motives. Ʋnbelievers are defective in their man­ner of receiving Christ, when the principal Grounds and Motives of their receiving him, are only false, or at best but commun. To re­ceive Christ only on false, or commun Motives, is in truth, not to receive, but refuse him. And, O! what a world of Professors are greatly defective herein? Are there not a vast number of seeming Christians, who receive Christ only on carnal Motives, and Grounds? How many are there, who receive Christ, as the way to a terrestial, or earthly, not to a celestial, or heavenly life? Do not some re­ceive him, as the most compendious way to Riches? Others, as the way to Honors? &c. Was not this the case of many carnal Jews, who followed Christ only for the Loaves, and [Page 164] Miracles, he wrought for them? Thus Joh. 6. 15. They were al in hast to make him King: and why? The reason you have, ver. 26. Be­cause ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. O! how sweet was it, to be fed by Miracles? Again how many are there, who receive Christ merely out of Noveltie, to please their Phantasies, and satisfie their Curiositie? And do not such soon grow weary of Christ? Thus it was with Herod, Luke 23. 8. he longs to see Christ; and why? to gratifie his cu­rious eye, with the sight of some Miracle: and therefore when Christ would not humor his curiositie; how doth Herod deride, and set him at nought, v. 11? Yea further, do not many receive Christ on Hellish grounds, mere­ly to concele a rotten heart, or some base pra­ctices? Lastly, are there not amany con­vinced, terrified sinners, who seem to receive Christ in good earnest, but tis only to quiet conscience; to allay the scorching heats of Divine wrath, which torment conscience? Surely this, albeit it be good in its kind, yet 'tis but a commun Motive, and therefore no firme Foundation for the reception of Christ. He that wil receive Christ as he ought, must take him, not only to ease conscience of the burden of guilt, but also to ease his heart of the Burden of lust. So much for the false, or commun Motives, which render some mens reception of Christ, no better than real Un­belief.

2. As to the Gran­deur of Christ. Vnbelievers are defective in their man­ner of receiving Christ, when they receive him [Page 165] not in his Grandeur; or, in that State, and Greatnes, which is due unto him. A Prince is then received aright, when he is received ac­cording to his Dignitie. Should a subject re­ceive his Prince, and entertain him no better than he would entertain a Peasant, or Coun­trey-neighbor; would not this be interpre­ted a contemt, rather than a kind Reception of his Prince? So Christ, if he be not receiv­ed in some degree according to his Grandeur, Dignitie, and State, he counts it a contemt, rather than a good Reception of him. Christ must be received as Christ, i. e, as Supreme Lord, and alone Mediator, or he is not true­ly received at al: He wil be a King, or no­thing. This was the great sin of the Jews, they could be coutent to receive Christ as a great Prophet, (as the Mahumedans do) but they did not receive him according to his Grandeur, or that Greatnes and Glorie which he was invested with; and therefore they are said not to receive him, John 1. 11. whereas John saies of the believing Jews, those who received him indeed, ver. 14. That they be­held his Glorie, the Glorie as of the only begot­ten of the Father, ful of Grace and Truth: i. e, They received him in al his Grandeur, Splendor, Majestie, and Glorie. The unbe­lieving Jews stumbled at the meanesse of his Person, Kingdome, and Glorie. Christ wil be received as King, or not at al.

(3.)3. When Christ is not rec [...] ­ved as offered. Christ is received in a false manner, when he is not received as offered in the Gospel. Christ is never received as he ought, unlesse he [Page 166] be received as he is offered, i. e, on his own Termes and Conditions, without any Limi­tations, Restrictions, Impositions, or Laws, from such as receive him. If men come to indent with Christ, or impose termes on him, beyond what the Gospel allowes, Christ thinkes it dishonorable for him, to enter into such a soul. So much for the defects Unbe­lievers are guiltie of, as to the object of their Reception.

Sect. The De­fects of Unbelief as to the subject of its Rece­ption. 2. The Nature of Unbelief may be further explicated, from the many essential Defects that attend the Subject of this Recepti­on? Refined Hypocrites may be guiltie of no­torious Unbelief, not only in receiving a false Christ, or the true Christ in a false manner; but also in receiving the true Christ, with a false, or defective Heart: If the wil be naught or defective, the Reception can never be good, or perfect. For every thing is received ac­cording to the Qualitie or condition of the Recipient. Now Christ may be received with a naughtie, or defective Wil several waies.

1.1. A rot­ten deceit­ful Heart. A rotten, [...]ollow, deceitful Wil, is a base, naughty Wil. He that truely receiveth Christ, receives him with a sound sincere heart: If there be any prevalent degree of guile and hy­pocrisie loged in the Bent of the Wil, that renders it a rotten, hollow, hypocritic heart, such an one as Christ wil never delight to dwel in. A believing heart is a single heart: it has single Aims, single Ends, single Regards to Christ: Wherefore a double heart is a false, [...]re [...]cherous, lying heart: What over its pre­tensions [Page 167] to Christ are; yet stil it has some oblique Regard, some squint eye on some be­loved Idol: Such have, as Psal. 12. 2. An heart and an heart; one heart for Christ, and ano­ther for some darling lust. Oh! What adul­terous hearts have many glittering Professors? notwithstanding their pretences of Virgin-love to Christ, yet what secret Hants have they for some other lovers? What private Dallian­ces with inferior goods, are they guiltie of? How are their hearts distracted, and torne, as it were to pieces, between Convictions of sin, and yet Affections to sin; between Assent to Christ, and yet Consent to lust? What adul­terous hearts are these! Such we find wel characterised, James 4. 4. Ye adulterers, &c. A true Believer receives Christ with an up­right, strait heart: he hath a strait end, and a strait rule: But oh? what perversitie, what crookednes is there in many mens hearts, who pretend to a reception of Christ? What secret turnings and windings are there? Surely such divided hearts are very faultie, as the Scripture tels us, Hos. 10. 2. Their heart is divided, now shal they be found faulty. A divided heart, or Wil, is a naughty, adulterous, rotten, lying, perverse heart, and therefore can never make a good subject for the reception of Christ. The faith of such is but rank Unbelief.

2.2. A lan­guid, faint Wil. The Wil is defective in the reception of Christ, when it is only incomplete, languid, and faint. Saving Faith is the act of a Wil strong­ly bent, and determined for Christ. If the heart be not firmely resolved and fixed for [Page 168] Christ, al our faith is but mere fancie. So many degrees as we have of a bended wil to­wards Christ; so many degrees we have of saving Faith. Remisnesse argues division of heart, and this argues hypocrisie: Christ counts not himself duely received, unlesse he possesse the sanctified Bent of the Wil. And herein therefore lies the Soveraintie of effica­cious Grace, in bending the Wil, to a cor­respondence with Christ: Til the bent of the Wil be purged from Idols, and opened to Christ, he never enters into, or inhabits any soul. Christ is too pure a Spirit, to loge with Swinish lusts, in one and the same Bent of Wil: he wil be al in al there, or none at al. So that they who give not Christ the en­tire Bent of their Wil, give him not that place which is due unto him; and therefore such may not expect his companie. May it be imagined that the Lord of Glorie wil take up his logement in that soul, where base nasty lusts have the same, or better room than he? Is this, even among men, counted good Reception, to entertain a person of honor­able condition, in some out-loge, or in the same place with the Swine? And do not a world of great Professors thus receive Christ? How many are there, who loge Christ only in some out-Affections; in some faint, im­perfect Desires? or, if some others are more civil to him, and afford him some room in their more inward Affections; yet is he not stil loged with the swine? have not some base lusts as good, if not a better room in the heart [Page 169] than Christ? Surely this is not to receive Christ: He that has not a stronger wil for Christ than for sin, is really unwilling for Christ, but willing for sin. If the heart be bent for lust, it is unbent for Christ: He that is only in a faint mesure willing to receive Christ, is habitually unwilling: such as are not prevalently resolved for Christ, are pre­valently resolved for sin; and so consequently, and virtually unresolved for Christ. Yea, a faint and languid willing of Christ, is a virtual and implicite, though not formal nilling of him: Imperfect, weak volition, or willing­nes to receive Christ, is implicite, and real no­lition, or unwillingnes to have him. Hence that sad complaint of God against Judah, Jer. 3.Jer. 3. 10. 10. And yet for al this, her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned to me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the Lord. Ju­dah gave God some imperfect Reception; but it was not with her whole heart: the Bent of her wil was not turned towards him, and therefore she is said to embrace him but feignedly, or in falsehood; as it may be ren­dred. A languid, partial wil is but a feigned false wil, in point of faith: He that gives not Christ the whole heart, or the prevalent bent of his wil, (which in moral estimation passeth for the whole wil) gives him nothing but a civil refusal, or denial. Such as the Bent of the wil is, such is the man, as to Sin, or Grace.

3.A terrified forced Wil. The Wil is defective in the Reception of Christ, when it is only terrified, and forced; [Page 170] not free, and chearful in closing with him. Many awakened sinners, while under dread­ful Terrors, and Horrors of conscience, seem strongly inclined to receive Christ: who but Christ? Ay, but how little have they of a chearful ready wil? Are not al their closures with Christ wrung, and forced from them, merely by the violence of a tormented terrifi­ed conscience? Do they not come to Christ only as a wounded person to his Chirurgeon, for a Plaister to heal conscience? They re­ceive Christ, but is it not only, as a Bankrupt entertains a rich Suretie, to pay their debts to the Law? Surely, such involuntary, con­strained Receptions of Christ, if they do not end in a more chearful Election, are but more modest Refusals of him: Involuntarie electi­on is a degree of real Reprobation. Albeit every Election hath something of the wil in it; yet that may be termed an involuntary forced election, when the Wil, might it with securitie use its own freedome, would not elect, what it now closeth with. And oh! how many terrified souls do, with such an involuntarie, forced Wil, receive Christ? They see no beautie, or worth in Christ; only they make use of him to serve a turne, to quench the flames of Divine wrath in conscience; and when that is done they lay him aside again, as an uselesse servant: What is such an un­willing choice of Christ, but a more courtly rejection of him? Do not such forced con­sents passe for real dissents, among more civil persons? Such as entertain Christ in ther [Page 171] extremities, and perplexities of conscience, with such an involuntary Wil, how soon do they lay him aside, when the storme is over? Was not this the very case of the unbelieving Jews, even from their infant-state in the Wildernes? So Psal. 78. 34. When he stew them, Psa. 68. 34. then they sought him, and they returned, and inquired early after God. When God awakened their consciences, by terrible juge­ments; Oh! how early do they inquire after their Messias? what chearful Reception do they seem to give unto him? Ay, but this was but a terrified, affrightned wil; they did but flatter him with good words: their heart was not right, as it follows, ver. 36, 37. A forced wil, is but a false lying wil; it is no real Wil, but Nil. When there is nothing on the Wil but more compulsive terrors, it never gives a fiducial reception to Christ: Til the wil be in faith, it's never saving. Con­victions of sin, seconded by legal Terrors, may compel some to believe; but if there fol­low not a Spirit of Adoption and libertie, that faith proves only legal, and temporary. We find a good character of evangelic faith in Zacheus's reception of Christ,Luk. 19. 6. Luke 19. 6. And he made haste, and came down, and re­ceived him joyfully: His wil was in his faith: he received Christ, and would not for a world, but receive him: He believed, and would not but believe: His heart was in the work: it was his joy and delight to entertain Christ, not only in his house, but in his heart also. But is it thus with al that pre­tend [Page 172] to receive Christ? Are there not many who receive Christ, under dolors and rackings of conscience, who yet have no liking to him; yea, who would gladly shift themselves of him, were their troubles of conscience once wel over? Do not the hearts of such secretly draw back from Christ; yea entertain an in­veterate, old grudge against him, while they seem willing to draw near to him, and make use of him in their extremitie? Have not such soon enough of Christ? are they not soon weary of him, and therefore turne him off again, assoon as he hath served their turne? Do they not secretly wish that they might be saved by their own doings, rather than by believing in Christ? Its true, they, in a sort, receive Christ; but how is it? Is it not as a wounded captive receives his enemie with fair words, to save his life; whiles yet he hates him in his heart, and is grieved, that he should need his enemies favor? Surely this is not to receive Christ gladly: For to such it is a burden to be beholding to Christ for Salva­tion: They had rather be saved any other way than by Christ: Oh how glad would they be, if God would but accept of their own goods works, instead of Christs merits: whereas a true Believer would to choose, be saved by Christs merits, rather than by his own: he is abundantly satisfied in Christ, and the way of Salvation by him: his wil doth electively hug and embrace Christ, as his best friend. Thus Zacheus received Christ joyfully. [Page 173] Its true, many sincere Believers, at first, whiles under a Spirit of Bondage, have only a terrified, affrightned wil: yea, after they have received a Spirit of Adoption, and Christ, by saving Faith, how much of an unwilling heart do they find mixed with their faith? What legal, selfish regards have they oft towards Christ? Ay, but this is the distemper, and therefore the burden of their souls: They are never better pleased, than when their wils are most chearful, spiritual, and forward in closing with Christ: How greatly do they approve of, and delight in the way of salvation by Christ? What contentement, and pleasure do they take in believing? How much rather had they have their Grace, peace, and comfort in Christs keeping, than in their own? But is it thus with Unbelievers, such as receive Christ only with a terrified, legal Wil? Is it not a burden to them, that they should be driven to such streights, as that none but Christ can relieve them? Is there not a secret displeasure, and dislike against Christ, even while they are forced, by reason of their extremities, to make use of him? Would they not be glad to be eased of Christ, were their consciences eased of their trouble? Such is the temper of a ter­rified wil. And so much for the Unbelievers defective Reception of Christ.

Unbelief explicated as to its Defects, in Adherence to, Recumbence on, Sa­tisfaction in, Obedience to, Appli­cation of, and Waiting for Christ.

3.3. The Wils De­fects as to adherence unto Christ. HAving explicated the Nature of Un­belief, from its defective Reception of Christ, we now procede to those defects which attend the Consequents of such a Re­ception. And we shal begin with the Wils Adherence to Christ; which seems to be an immediate consequent of the foregoing Re­ception of Christ. Adherence is an essential branch of Faith; and that which naturally follows upon al reception of Christ: So that he, who doth not firmely, yea, inviolably adhere to Christ, may be justly said, never to have received him aright. [...]. Faith is defined a firme & rooted Dispositon, or Habit: Moses, in his Exhortation to the unbelieving Israelites, adviseth them to cleave unto God, Deut. 10. 20. The Original, in its primarie notion,Deut. 10. 20. signifies a conjugal adherence, such as is between Man and Wife, as Gene­sis 2. 24. and so it denotes here that conjugal adherence which the soul ought to maintain towards Christ, as its husband; which Paul also expresseth by the similitude of Mariage, Ephes. 5. 25—32. and 1 Cor. 6. 17. by cleaving to the Lord. This conjugal adherence of the Believer to Christ, is wel illustrated by Ruths [Page 175] cleaving to her Mother, Ruth 1. 14, 16. The like Job 41. 17. They are joined one to another, they stick together, that they cannot be sundred. Such ought to be the inviolable adherence of the soul to Christ. So Act. 11. 23. Barnabas exhorts them, with ful purpose of heart to cleave unto the Lord. Faith is a mighty adhesive and tenacious Grace: it adheres to Christ as the Needle to the Loadstone: yea, it follows hard after Christ, though he may seem to run from the soul; yea, to turne against it as an enemie.Psal 63. 8. Thus Psal. 63. 8. My soul followeth hard after thee. Christ had deserted him, but he could not desert, or leave Christ: his soul cleaves fast to Christ, albeit Christ seems to shake off his soul: for so [...] signifies; and so it is rendred by some, My soul adheres to thee. Such is the temper of Faith. But now Unbelief is alwai [...]s drawing back from Christ: Though it may, under a storme, shelter it self under Christs wing, and give him some forced reception; yet it soon has enough of Christ; and therefore cares not how soon it be rid of him, when its turne is served. This backsliding temper of Unbe­lief is wel expressed,Heb. 3. 12. Hebr. 3. 12. Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. An unbelieving heart is a backsliding heart: Unbelief is one of the greatest cowards in the world: every shadow of danger makes it draw back from Christ. Whereas true faith is ful of Masculine, undaunted courage: it can follow Christ through a sea of bloud: [Page 176] yea, it dares not let go its confidence in Christ, though he seem to shake the soul over the flames of Hel, or drag it through the lake of fire. The weakest believer, at his greatest straits, keeps his Reversion of Christ: Though Christs Divine Suavities, and spiritual con­solations forsake him, yet he doth not totally forsake Christ, nor yet his dutie: He may fal into sin, and fal backward unto backsliding, yet he dares not lie in his fals: His soul is rooted in Christ, and the Covenant; and therefore never dies: The spirit of Christ abides in him, and that causeth him to abide in Christ, radically, and habitually, even under the most severe Winter of Tentation.Heb. 3. 14. So it followes ver. 14. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confi­dence stedfast unto the end. The word [...], rendred here Confidence, signifies, in its primary notion, a firme basis, or foundation; a subsistence, and substance. Faith gives a firme foundation, subsistence, and stabilitie to the soul; so that it keeps stedfast in adhering unto Christ, even in the most unstedfast times. But now Unbelief has no foundation, and therefore no subsistence: It is stable in no­thing but Instabilitie. Oh! how fluctuating, staggering, unstedfast is the unbelieving heart, even in the most stedfast times? How apt is it to draw back from Christ, on the least apparence of difficultie? Unbelievers do, as the Philistines, 2 Sam. 5. 21. forsake their God, when their God forsakes them. And this drawing back is so essential, and natural [Page 177] to Unbelief, as that they are reciprocally used one for the other.Heb. 10. 38, 39. So Heb. 10. 38. Now the just shal live by faith: but if any man draw back, i. e, believes not in, or adheres not to me. Thus again ver. 39. But we are not of them that draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe, to the saving of the soul. Where drawing back is opposed to believing, and so expressive of Unbelief, its most natural genius and disposition; which is to draw back from Christ. Now this drawing back of Unbelief has a double Object; (1.) God in Christ, the supreme end, and object of faith: and (2.) Divine Institutions, and Appoint­ments, which are the Means, in and by which Faith adheres to God in Christ. This later, seems chiefly (though not exclusively) intend­ed in this place; as it appears by the whole scope of the precedent discourse; wherein the Author gives the Hebrews a strict Admo­nition, To beware how they did forsake the assembling of themselves together, as the manner of some was, to avoid persecution, v. 25, &c. So that to draw back from the Institutions, and Ordinances of Christ, is here, as it may justly be interpreted, a drawing back from Christ. And this is grounded on a great Maxime in Nature, which teacheth us, That he who forsakes the means, forsakes the end. For he that firmely wils, and adheres to an end, doth also firmely wil, and adhere to the means, which have an intimate, and essential connexion therewith. Yea, the more diffi­cult the means we undertake for Christ are, [Page 178] the firmer is our adherence to him, as our End. Whence it is evident, that so far as any soul forsakes the Institutions, and Ordi­nances of Christ, so far he forsakes Christ: Withdrawment from the means of Grace, ap­pointed by Christ, is a withdrawment from himself: and herein much of the spirit of Unbelief discovers itself and its maligne influ­ences. This was the great iniquitie of the un­believing Israelites, as we find them cha­racterised, Hos. 11. 7. And my people are bent to back-sliding from me. Hos. 7. 11. Their backsliding lay, chiefly, in forsaking the Institutions and Appointments of God, and giving up them­selves to Idolatrie, and superstitious Worship. This also was their sin, in the Wildernesse, as it appears,Psal. 78. 37 Psal. 78. 37. For their heart was not right with me, neither were they stedfast in his Covenant. Albeit they had engaged them­selves to Christ, by a solemne League and Co­venant; yet what a crooked, perverse, lying heart was there in them? How unstedfast were they in his Covenant? how did they play off and on, fast and loose, to and fro, up and down with Christ? Such is the nature of Unbelief: whereas our blessed Lord instructs us Luke 9. 62. That no man having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdome of God, i. e, He that doth not persevere in adhering to Christ, never truely believed on him: A temporary faith is no better than real Unbelief: That faith was never real, which is not lasting.

4.4. Diffi­dence and Dis [...]rest. Another branch of Unbelief consists in [Page 179] Diffidence and Distrust, as it is opposed to the Recumbence of faith. Faith is the most passive Grace: it can do or suffer nothing without Christ: and therefore its force, and strength consists in Recumbence on Christ. Faith never knows better days, than when it goes most out of it self, and rests on Christ. Hence we find the Nature of Faith oft described, by its Recumbence: Psal. 37. 5. So Psal. 37. 5. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him, and he shal bring it to passe. Commit, [...] i. e, Devolve, or Rol thy way, i. e, thine Affairs, thy cares, from thy self, or thine own heart, upon thy Lord. So Psal. 22. 8. He trusted on the Lord: or according to the Hebr. He rolled (himself, or his burdens) on the Lord. It seems to be a Metaphor, borrowed from Porters, who ex­onerate, or unlode their Burden on some place fit to receive it. Faith rols off al the sinners burdens, whether of Guilt, or Filth, or Ten­tations, or Duties, or Civil concernes on Christ. Thus the Spouse is described Can­tic. 8.Cant. 8. 5. 5. Who is this that cometh up from the Wildernesse, leaning on her Beloved? Faith is a Recumbent Grace: when it cannot honor Christ, as it would, by Obedience, yet then it honors him by Dependence: it fetcheth al from Christ, and so gives al glorie to him: Yea, the more Grace it receives from Christ, the more sense it has of its need of Christ: The more it acts for Christ, the more it con­ceives itself obliged to Christ. Though it doth never so much for Christ, yet it dares not trust in any thing it doth or hath; but [Page 180] wholly in Christ. Such a mere passive, de­pendent, Recumbent thing is faith; as we find it described, Isai. 10. 20. Let him trust in the Lord, and stay upon his God. Though the Believer may, by Stormes of Tentation, be now and then beaten off from Christ his Rock and Centre; yet he comes on again, and casts Anchor afresh on Christ: He counts not him­self safe, til his heart fixe here: al his Inter­ruptions and Assaults do but bring him to a more absolute, and complete Recumbence on Christ: His faith finds no sure bottome but here: It counts itself secure no where, but on Omnipotence. Yea, the stronger Faith is, the stronger usually is its recumbence on, and confidence in Christ. And this, in al deser­tions, keepeth the Believer from sinking, in that he swims by faith on the Covenant, and in recumbence on Christ.

But now it is quite contrary with Unbelief: How natural is it to corrupt Nature to trust in, and depend upon its own forces? Yea, are not Divine Assistances, and Influences a­bused by unbelief, unto carnal confidence? Oh! What an absolute Independence, and Self-sufficience doth Unbelief affect? How fain would every Unbeliever Deifie himself, by making himself the first principle of his Dependence, and Trust? Was not this the sin of our first Parents, to affect a self-suffi­cience; that so they might derive from them­selves, what they ought, by a natural Depen­dence, to derive from God? And do not al their lapsed seed naturally follow their steps [Page 181] herein? As fallen man affects to seek him­self, as his last end; so doth he not strongly desire to depend on himself, as his first cause, and supreme efficient? And if the Unbelie­ver cannot find a sufficience in himself to de­pend on; then how doth he hunt, and seek out among the creatures, for some bottome to recumbe, and fixe upon? So Hos. 5. 13. When Ephraim saw his sicknesse, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assy­rian, and sent to king Jareb. Israel had ra­ther go any where, for relief, than unto God. How natural is it to Unbelievers, to trust in any sorry Idol-God; of their own making, rather than in the God, that made Heaven and Earth? How unable are Unbe­lievers to trust God, in the want of althings? But how much lesse are they able to trust him, in the fulnesse of althings? Doth not mens depending so much on themselves, or the creature, argue their little, if any dependence on Christ? Its true, some refined, evangelic Hypocrites may now and then seem to depend on God; ay, but do not they, al the while, secretly depend on themselves? Is not their Recumbence on God, as hypocritic, as their false hearts? Do they not seem to depend on God, but mean while shift for themselves? Is their confidence in God universal? Can they trust God in al conditions, difficulties, emergences, seasons, and things? True con­fidence, as wel as obedience, must be uni­versal: But alas! how unable are unbelievers to confide in God, in a stormy day? What a [Page 182] poor Affiance in Christ have they under the abundance of althings? How little do they regard, and depend on Christ in smal con­cernes? This self-dependence was the great sin of the unbelieving Jews, which Christ every where upbraids them with: So Luke 11. 41.Luk 11. 41. But rather give Almes of such things as you have: and behold althings are clean unto you. Our blessed Lord here seems Ironicly to upbraid the Pharisees, with their self-confidences: They conceited, that their Almes and other externe good works, would expiate for al their sins; albeit their hearts were ful of al manner of wickednes: Christ sharply taxeth, and rebuketh their folie, with this smart Ironie: And behold althings are clean unto you. As if he had said: You presume, by your Almes, to purchase Heaven; but, alas! how are you deceived? what smal support wil this yield you at the last day? Thus Augustin: ‘Christ seems smartly to taxe the vain persuasion of the Pharisees, who albeit they had spirits obnoxious to the vilest lusts, yet by giving Almes, they tru­sted they were half-Gods.

5. Another branch of Unbelief consists in a certain Dissatisfaction of heart: 5. Dissa­tisfaction. opposite to that Acquiescence and Rest, which the Believer finds in Christ. Faith brings with it a Divine con­tentement and satisfaction: the more expe­rience it hath of Christ, the better pleased it is in adhering to him: if it were to choose again, it would make no other choice than Christ. There is no Doctrine, no Discourse [Page 183] so pleasing to Faith, as that which exalts Christ: It loves to hear Christs excellences displayed. Oh! how sweet is it to Faith, to see Christs face, to hear his voice, to smel his sweet Savors, to taste his Delices in the Gospel? How glad is it to be stript of al fond presumtions, carnal confidences, and false bottomes, that so Christ alone may give rest to the soul? So Paul, Phil. 3. 3.Phil. 3 3. And rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. How doth he insult over al his former vain confidences? what satisfaction doth he take in Christ, and in him alone? How glad is he that Christ takes any course to break his carnal confidences, that so nothing but Christ himself may support his heart? Such Acqui­escence, Satisfaction and Rest doth Faith find in Christ.

But now Unbelief is of a quite contrary humor: Though it may, being forced by the importunitie of a clamorous conscience, give Christ some reception for a while; yet how il satisfied is it with Christ: what a burthen­some guest is he? How soon doth the unbe­lieving soul hanker again after its beloved Idols? Oh! what reachings forth of heart after this, or that, or t'other secret Idol? what Disquietments, and repining Discon­tents are there, at the deprivement of such, or such an inferior good? What secret desires and inclinations are there towards the Law, that old husband? At least how fain would the heart admit the Law, as a Covenant of works, to share in that Conjugal Faith and [Page 184] Affection, which is due only to Christ? Thus it was with many unbelieving Galatians; Gal. 4. 9.Gal. 4. 9. But now after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turne ye again to the weak and beggerly elements, where­unto ye desire again to be in bondage. [How turne ye again?] What doth he mean by this? Were the Galatians ever under the legal ceremonies, here stiled beggerly elements, as ver. 10? No, The Galatians were never be­fore under those Judaic ceremonies: only they are said to turne again unto them, because they affected aVocula [...] non [...]m ean­dem, sed similem vo [...]picit. Idem [...] Glass. Gram. Sacr. similitude, or ressemblance to the Jews herein. Oh! how fain would they Symbolise or agree with the Jews, and so mingle something of the Law with Christ? So it follows: [whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage,] [...], ye desire, or, [...], i. e, qui ultro & perindè appetitis, velle ali­quando pro cupidè optare. Glass. G [...]am. Sacr. ye greedily covet, ye greatly wish and long to be under the Law: oh! how much do you de­sire, what strong wishes have you to join the Law with Christ? the like ver. 21. Tel me, ye that desire to be under the the law, [...], i. e, ye who are so hungry, and greedy after the law. This was the temper of many Ju­daising Galatians; they would fain compound the Law with Christ: they could not rest satisfied in Christ alone, as the mater of their justification, but must needs join the law with him; which Paul tels them, Gal. 5. 2, 3. Was to make Christ of none effect. For he that rests not in Christ alone, as the mater of his justi­fication, trusts not at al in him.

So also in point of happinesse, he that doth [Page 185] not acquiesce in Christ alone; as the object of his rest and satisfaction, doth not re­ally believe in him:Luk. 14. 26, 33. whence saith Christ, Luke 14. 26. If any come to me, and hate not his father, &c. i. e, if he be not satisfied in me as the fountain of his life, he hath no share in me: [...], est minus amare, Grot. For to hate here, is to love lesse. Christ doth not injoin his Disciples simply, & absolutely to hate Parents, &c. No, that were sin: But he means comparitively, i.e, whoever doth not love Parents, Wife, &c. lesse than me, cannot be my Disciple. So ver. 33. Who­soever he be of you that forsaketh not al that he hath, he cannot be my Disciple. What doth Christ mean by this? Doth he expect that, when we turne Christians, we bid Adieu to al outward comforts? No surely: This com­mand of Christ doth not so much respect the Act, as the Affection: we are not commanded to cast away al, but to love Christ above al.

6. Again, 6. The Disobedi­ence of Unbelief. Ʋnbelief is ful of murmurs, Dis­obedience, and Reluctance against the soverain Wil of God. Faith is the most obsequious, obe­dient, and dutiful Grace: Oh! how ful of Resignation, and Submission is the believing Wil, so far as it is believing? When Christ enters into any soul, he expects, that every proud imagination, every high thought stoop unto him: That the whole soul bow before him, and adore his soverain wil and pleasure. Thus Job 1. 20.Job. 1. 20. Then Job arose,] This notes his speed, courage, and resolution in complying with the divine Wil. [And rent his mantle and shaved his head,] these were Symbols, or [Page 186] tokens of great sorrow, and humiliation under the hand of God. Faith doth not destroy natural affections; but it regulates and spiri­tualiseth them. When the hand of God is on us, our hand should be on our hearts, in order to a deep sense, and humiliation under Gods visitation. Then it follows: [and fel down upon the ground, and worshipped] The He­brew words do both signifie a bowing to the ground. Because in their worship, they usu­ally fel to the ground, or bowed their head, knee, or whole bodie; therefore the same word, among the Hebrews, signifies both to [...]ow, and to worship: What then doth Jobs falling to the ground, and worshipping import? (1.) A sense of Gods hand in this visitation. (2.) An Adoration of, or bowing before the Divine wil as most righteous. (3.) A satis­faction in the present issues of the divine Wil. In short, it implies a melting or dissolving of his Wil into the Divine wil, as most holy and best. Hence v. 21. its said, That in al this Job sin­ned not, nor charged God foolishly. i. e, Jobs faith brought his wil to correspond with the Divine wil. O! What a sweet harmonie was here? But this unbelief cannot endure: Oh! what ri­sings of heart are there against the Truths, Grace, Wil, Waies, and Crosse of Christ? How doth unbelief strugle, and fret against the supreme pleasure of Christ? Hence the same word in the Greek signifies both Unbelief and Disobedience; as John 3. 36.Joh. 3. 36. He that believeth not the Son. [...], which signi­fies also,Qui in­obsequiens est filio. Grot. He that is not obedient to the Son: Al faith carries something of obedience [Page 187] in it, or a subjection of the mind, and wil to the Word, and Grace of Christ: whence Unbelievers are stiled, Ephes. 2. 2. [...], Children of disobedience, or un­persuasible, untractable children; such as can­not bring their hearts to bow and stoop to divine Truths, Grace, and Commands. And indeed much of the nature of Infidelitie is lively exprest by this notion of Disobedience: Thus the Israelites unbelief is set forth to us, Act. 7. 39. To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again to Egypt. How did they disobey Christ, and thrust him from them? Was it not chiefly by their murmurs and Un­belief? So in like manner we find unbelief set forth by fretting against God, (which is an high degree of Disobedience) Psal. 37. 1.Psal. 37. 1. Fret not thy self because of evil doers. [Fret not thy self,] or, be not angrie, chide not. Unbelief is very prone to be angrie; yea, to chide God; because of the prosperitie of wicked men: whereto is opposed vers. 3. Trust in the Lord, ver. 7. &c. This trusting in God is opposite to that fretful spirit, v. 1. The like Antithe­sis, or opposition we find ver. 7. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently; fret not thy self, be­cause of him that prospereth in his way. Rest in the Lord: Hebr. [...] be silent unto the Lord: Don't let one murmur, or impatient word drop out of thy mouth, but wait patiently, or expect, with much silence and patience, re­lief from the Lord: beware, how thou doest fret, and repine against his Soverain pleasure. [Page 188] So that a fretful, murmuring spirit is quite opposite to that silence and obedience, which faith implies: What is faith, but a free and chearful resignation of al concernes to God; with a complete subjection to his Soverain Wil, Grace, and Spirit for the accomplish­ment of al? Faith subjugates, and captivates our wisdome, to divine Wisdome; our con­sciences to the divine Law; our whole heart and life, to the divine Wil, either preceptive, or providential. A Believer, as such, lives no longer, than he lives in the divine Wil and Grace: and no thing is so fit a subject for such a Divine life, as a broken heart: and what so effectually breaks the heart as faith in Christ? Oh! what meeknesse is there in faith? How silent is it? How flexible to the Divine Wil? Certainly the lower the wil lies in sub­jection, and submission to God, the higher faith riseth: The highest faith is that which lies lowest in subjection to the foot of God. Such was Abrahams faith, Isai. 41. 2. Called him to his foot. Faith yields up it self to Christ, to be acted as he pleaseth; to do or suffer as he thinks fit: it leaves the soul with Christ, to be wrought upon as he seems good. So Paul Act. 9. 6. Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? Paul makes Christ master of his wil, and al: he is content to be wholly in­fluenced by Christs Soverain wil and Spirit. Whence faith is compared to a Mariage-cove­nant; whereby the wife gives over, and re­signes al right to her husband: So the Belie­ver gives up himself to Christ, that he may [Page 189] be his. Hence the more resistance there is a­gainst the Wil and Grace of Christ, the more Unbelief: An unbelieving wil is an inflexi­ble wil: its mighty stiffe and hard. Unbe­lievers are extreme covetuous and greedy of their own wils: to part with their wils is death to them.

7. Infidelitie, 7. Non­applicati­on of the Grace of Christ. or Ʋnbelief, implies also an unwillingnes to appropriate, or applie the Pro­misses, and Grace of Christ, for the sinners be­nefit. Faith is a mighty appropriating, appli­cative Grace: although it be very silent, pa­tient, and submissive, as to mesures, degrees, seasons, and the manner of receiving Grace; yet it is very ready to applie al Promisses, or intimations of Grace given it: Yea, if it has but a general promisse, yet it can make parti­cular application of it to the soul: yea, some­times, though it has but an Item, an half-promisse, or nod from Christ, yet it can applie and improve it for the sinners encouragement. As by the acts of Adherence and Recumbence the soul goes forth to Christ; so by this appro­priating applicative act of faith, it sucks in, and applies to itself the Grace of Christ, accor­ding to its several needs, and indigences. Is the poor sinner laden, and pinched with the guilt of sin? O then! how doth faith applie thereto a Plaister of Christs bloud? Doth some powerful lust, or tentation assault the soul? then faith goeth to Christ for fortifying, cor­roborating Grace? Is the Believer called to any difficult piece of service, either active or passive, for Christ? then Faith applies to itself [Page 190] the Divine assistance and direction of Christs Spirit. Thus it receiveth out of Christs ful­nesse, Grace for Grace, Joh. 1. 16. But now unbelief is altogether unacquainted with this Divine Art, of appropriating, and applying the Grace of Christ: It doth want, not only legs, or an active power to go to Christ; but also hands, or a passive power to receive from Christ. Oh! what a prodigiously proud begger is Unbelief, in that it scornes to re­ceive an Almes from Christ? What! not re­ceive Grace when offered? Doth Christ offer an Act of Indemnitie unto sinners; and wil not they receive it at his hands? Oh! what a proud, bloudy sin is Unbelief? Alas! many convinced sinners think it too much Presumtion and Arrogance for them to appro­priate, and applie the Grace of Christ to themselves: They think it better becomes them to applie nothing but wrath and con­demnation to themselves: So modest and humble do they seem to be: But, oh! what a world of pride doth there lie at the bottome of this seeming Modestie and Humilitie? Is it not rank pride for sinners to refuse that Grace, which is freely offered? When Christ comes to pour in Grace freely into the soul, then to refuse that Grace, because we have no monie to purchase it, what egregious pride is this?

8. The last act of Infidelitie,8. Putting far off Christs second coming. or Unbelief, is, A diffident removing, or putting far from the soul, the second coming of Christ, and al the great things of Eternitie, which ensue thereon. [Page 191] Faith has such a miraculous efficace, as that it can make things absent, present; things in­visible, visible, Heb. 11. 1. It gives a preliba­tion, and foretast of approching Glories, Ephes. Ephes. 1. 13, 14. 1. 13, 14. Here Paul tels them, That after they believed, they were sealed, [...]: It is a Translation borrowed from Seals, by the impression or stampe whereof we distinguish things true from false, things au­thentic from uncertain. The stampe of a Seal impressed on an Instrument, renders it indu­bitable and unquestionable. The Jews had the externe seal of Circumcision; and the Grecians were sealed with the marque of their Idols; ay, but saith Paul, Ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promisse; [...]: The Article here is treble; which carries in it a great Emphase; and demonstrates some extraordinary work of the holy Spirit; It seems to refer to the great Promisse of the Spirit, Luke 24. 49. as elsewhere. But what is meant by this seal of the Spirit? I know some understand it of the Seal of Assurance; whereby they were assured of their eternal possession: and we need not altogether exclude this sense: yet I humbly conceive, that this Seal is primarily to be un­derstood of the Stampe, or Impresse of Grace at first Regeneration, which is communicated to al Believers: whence it is said, they were sealed with that Holy Spirit, i. e, the Spirit of Sanctification. Now this Impresse, or stampe of the Spirit of Sanctification after their first believing is said to be, ver. 14. the earnest of [Page 192] our inheritance, &c. [...], comes from the Hebrew [...], which in the general signifies al that which is given for the confirmation of a promisse; and particularly among the Phe­nicians, (whence the Grecians seem to have derived the word,) it notes earnest-money. So that the sense is this: Ye, who have believed, have received the earnest of the Spirit of Grace, whereby you have hopes and expectation of glory; Hence Faith has the Bridegrooms coming fixed on its eye; the sound of the last Trumpe ever ringing in its ear. Ay, but Un­belief removes al these far from the soul: it says, in the language of those secure sinners, 2 Pet. 3. 4. Where is the promisse of his coming? do not althings continue as they were? Unbelief is possest with a kind of sleeping Devil: it dreams of nothing but building Tabernacles here: What a stranger is it to eternitie, and the concernes thereof? If the secure sinner be now and then a little awakened, and startled at the apprehensions of future jugement; how restlesse is Unbelief, til it has got the soul asleep again? How are the eyes shut, and the wil bolted against al foresight, and expectati­ons of Christs second coming? Oh! what a torment is it to the Unbeliever, to lie under awakened apprehensions, expectations of, and approches towards future jugement? What would he give, if eternitie were buried in oblivion? There is nothing in the world that the Unbelievers heart is more alienated from, and averse to, than the second coming of Christ. Faith breeds a great expectation [Page 193] of longing for, and has leaning unto that great day: But oh! how doth Unbelief en­deavor to choke and stifle al awakened appre­hensions thereof? And if the spirit of Bon­dage worke any lively sense and convictions of that terrible day, what dreadful stormes and tempests of legal fear doth unbelief raise in the soul, whereby it is indisposed, and hindered from any effectual endeavors, and preparations for that day?

And oh! how commun is this piece of In­fidelitie? Did not our great Lord foretel, that it should be the main sin of these last days, Luke 18. 8. Yea, is it not foretold, Mat. 25. 4. That the wise Virgins, as wel as the foolish, should, in these last days, be over­taken with spiritual slumber, and removing far from them the coming of their Lord? But oh! what a dead sleep are the foolish Virgins under, who mind not at al the com­ing of Christ? And whence comes the Sen­sualitie and Luxurie of secure sinners, but from this great piece of Infidelitie, in not waiting for Christs coming, as Mat. 24. 36-39? What makes many knowing Professors so formal, dead-hearted, loitering, and lazy in al the great duties, and services of Christia­nitie, but their not expecting this great day? Fiducial expectation of Christs coming makes Christians active and vigorous in al gracious exercices, as we find it exemplified in Paul, 2 Cor. 5. 9. Phil. 3. 12, 13. Again, whence springeth the excesse of unlawful passions, and the prev [...]lence of domineering [Page 194] lusts, but from unbelief as to Christs second coming? Lively apprehensions and expecta­tions of this glorious day, are most efficacious to kil lusts, and remove tentations, as 2 Pet. 3. 10, 11. How comes it to passe that men are so carelesse and regardlesse of a good conscience, but from want of such lively expectations of Christs coming? What made Paul so exact in keeping a good conscience, but his faith in eying this great day, as Act. 24. 15, 16? How little do men mind, affect, or do any thing as they ought, so long as they put far from them the coming of their Lord? Doth not the peace, comfort, grace, strength, beautie, and flourishing of a Christian depend on this piece of faith? Doth it not argue a desperate, hard, unbelieving heart, not to regard this day? Do not such Professors, as neglect this piece of Faith, live below their principles▪ and profession? So much for the nature of Infi­delitie.

Doctrinal Corollaries deduced from the precedent Idea's, and Notions of Infi­delitie.

HAving dispatch [...] the formal Idea, or Na­ture of Ʋnbelief▪ before we passe on to the remaining Questions, it wil be not a little [Page 195] Ʋseful, that we make some Improvements of what hath been laid down, both by Corolla­ries, and more practic Ʋses. Corolla­ries. As for Corolla­ries, various great truths may be deduced from the precedent Explication of Infidelitie. As,Corol. 1. Almost-be­lievers may pro­cede far and yet continue Infidels. 1. That awakened Sinners may procede very far in Assent, and Consent to the things that belong unto their peace, and yet remain Infidels, or Ʋnbelievers. This Corollarie doth natu­rally flow from the former description of Un­belief; and we need go no further for the exemplification hereof, than those unbelie­ving Jews, over whom our Lord here weeps, and laments. Alas! how far did many of these awakened Jews procede in their Assent, and Consent to Christ, as their long-waited-for Messias? Do they not immediately before v. 37, 38. solemnely recognise him as their crowned King? Oh! what joyous Hosanna's, and Psalmes of Praise do they sing unto him, as John 12. 13, 14, 15. which refers hereto? And doth not this argue a great conviction in their consciences; as also some faint, and lan­guid inclination in their wils towards him? And yet, Lo! our blessed Lord weeps over them as those, who knew not the things that did belong unto their peace. Oh! What a soul-astonishing consideration is this, to con­sider how far many poor, awakend sinners have gone in owning Christ, and yet at last have been disowned by him? How many self­deluding souls assent to Christ in their juge­ments, and yet consent to lust in their hearts? If we make some brief reflexion on the fore­mentioned [Page 196] particulars of faith, what a strange concurrence shal we find to make good this Corollarie?

(1.) Did not the unbelieving Jews of old,1 As to As­sent. (as a world of false Professors now) assent un­to the Scriptures, as the Oracles of God, wherein al the good things of their peace were loged; and yet never arrived unto a real, particular, fixed, evangelic, prevalent, and vigorous credence thereof? How many assent to the things which belong to their peace in notion, but yet dissent in heart and practice? Do not too many assent to the pleasing, and sweet offers of the Gospel, but yet dissent from the displeasing, and self-cruci­fying duties thereof? Oh! how far have many convinced Sinners gone in Attention to, and Reception of the things of their peace? What great and amazing Conceptions have they had thereof? Yea, how much have they approved of things most excellent? Yea, what strong legal assent have they yielded un­to the terrors of the Law? Yea, have not some been as it were ravisht with joy in their contemplations of approching glories? Yea and have not these convictions wrought their hearts to a great mesure of alienation, and a version from sensible goods; as also closing with the good things that belong to their peace? And yet al this while, what strangers have they been to a saving assent to the things that belong to their peace? Have they not given a mere natural, human Assent to super­natural Divine truths? Its true, they have [Page 197] received the Word of God, but was it not as the word of men, as clothed with some hu­man Autoritie, or excellence? Oh! how many have their consciences awakened by the Word, who yet never subject their Consciences to it? How many receive the word of Faith, and yet mixe not faith with the word they receive? Alas! what a dismal contemplation is it to consider, how far many awakened Professors have gone, in a professed, and partial assent to the things that belong to their peace, and yet al the while really dissented from them?

(2.) May not also convinced sinners pro­cede very far in their Consent, 2. As to Consent. to the good things that belong unto their peace, and yet remain Infidels? Did not many of these unbelieving Jews, whom our Lord here weeps over, approve of, and consent to him, as their crowned King and Messias? and yet how soon do they spit in his face, and bid defiance to him? Is it not said, John 2. 23, 24. that many believed in the name of Jesus, whom yet he did not believe, or confide in? They commit themselves to him, but he dares not commit himself to them; knowing them to be rotten­hearted. Alas! how many seem willing to take Christ hereafter, provided they may for the present solace themselves some while in their lusts? And do not al such demurs, de­lays, and Wils for hereafter, argue a present Nil, or unwillingnesse to embrace Christ, as Luke 9. 59, 61? Yea, are not many terrified Wils, under the stings and gals of conscience, oft inclined to a present, and speedy closure [Page 198] with Christ, who yet never arrive to a saving election of him? Oh! how many are there, who elect a compound Christ, or a single Christ with a compound heart? Do not too ma­ny awakened sinners choose a divided Christ, or a whole Christ with a divided heart? Oh! what a world of legal consciences bottome their faith on some false Christ, of their own framing; or on the true Christ with a false rotten heart? How few, yea very few em­brace Christ, and the other good things of their peace, in the greatnesse of their glorie? Do not many seem willing to adhere to Christ in a storme of legal terrors, who yet, when the storme is over, returne again to their lusts, and adhere to them, as their best friends? How many also elect the good things that belong to their peace, but yet reject the means, without which these good things can never be obtained, as Luke 14. 15, 18? And is not such a languid, incomplete, feeble Wil, and Consent, a real Nil, and dissent? Far­ther, have not many almost-Believers been brought to some mesure of Recumbence, and Dependence on Christ, who yet have stil se­cretly and insensibly depended, and leaned on something in themselves, as Isai. 48. 1, 2? How many also have seemed very forward to resigne up al concernes, both of soul and body to Christ, who yet have stil retained secret Reserves, and Hants for some beloved Lust, or Idol, as Ananias and Sapphira, Act. 5. 1, 2, 3? Yea, have there not been some, who have not only applied themselves to Christ, [Page 199] but also applied, and appropriated Christ to themselves, in some mesure; and yet never [...] had a real union with him? Doth not this seem to be the case of those carnal Professors, Luke 13. 26, 27? How forward are they to appropriate and own Christ, and yet he wil [...] not own, but reject them, as workers of mi [...] quitie? Yea, have not many been content to give some kind of feigned subjection unto Christ, and yet al the while continued volun­tary Slaves and Vassals of their lusts, as Psal. 72. 9? Here Christs enemies bow before him, and lick the dust, which in those orien­tal parts were Symbols, or Signs of great ho­mage and subjection. Again, have not some illuminated Professors seemed to acquiesce, and take up their rest in Christ, and the other good things of their peace, and yet secretly rested in something below Christ, or at least not alone in Christ? Lastly, is it not said of the foolish Virgins, Mat. 25. 1. That they ex­pected the Bridegrooms coming, yea went forth to meet him; who yet never had interest in him, or the good things of his Kingdome? Oh! What a dreadful consideration is this, to thinke, how far many awakened sinners have proceded in the main acts of Faith, and yet after al determined in final Unbelief?

2.Coro [...] The [...] twi [...]t saving faith and comm [...] Albeit Ʋnbelievers may procede very far in some Acts of Faith, yet there is a boundless [...] difference between saving faith, and commun; as also between Believers, and Believers. I can­not persuade myself, as some, that saving faith and commun differ only in degrees: I conceive [Page 200] the difference to be specific, or in kind▪ though I affect not contention, and therefore wil wave Controversies: Only that there is a vast difference between the saving faith of true Believers, and the commun faith of Unbelievers, wil be evident from the following Propo­sitions.

(1.)1. As to knowlege. The commun faith of Ʋnbelievers ariseth only from some traditional Notions of the Gospel, or commun Illuminations; but the saving faith of Believers ariseth from the Light of life▪ Joh. 8. 12. And is not the difference between saving light and commun, as great, as that be­tween the light of the Sun and of a candle? Is there not a vast difference between the un­ction of the Holy one, 1 John 2. 20. which Be­lievers have, and the commun notions of Un­believers? Oh! what mistie and confused notions of the good things that belong to their peace have Unbelievers, 2 Pet. 1. 9? But how bright and distinct are the Believers no­tions, proceding from the Light of life, Jo. 8. 12? Is not the Unbelievers candel-light mere dark­nesse, if compared with that intuitive real sight of things invisible, which the Believer enjoys, Heb. 11. 1? Oh! how superficial, and fleeting are al the Unbelievers Notions? But how solid and deep are the Believers concepti­ons of spiritual Mysteries? The Believer has a divine Instinct, and spiritual sagacitie, as to the good things of his peace: but alas! what is al the unbelievers knowlege thereof, but a mere natural Notion, or commun hearsay, or forced conviction? How doth the Believers [Page 201] light of life, kil his Lusts, darken the Worlds glorie, melt his Affections, turne the Bent of his wil towards al the good things of his peace; yea, transforme his soul thereinto, by stamping an Image of God thereon, as Col. 3. 10? But oh! how dul and lazy▪ how dead and lifelesse, is the Unbelievers faith and knowlege, Jam. 2. 1926?

(2.)2. As to selfdenial. The commun faith of Vnbelievers ariseth from self-love, self-flatterie, and carnal presum­tion; but the saving faith of believers ariseth from self-jelousie, and self-denial. How apt is self-love to frame a faith of its own, such a faith as wil easily correspond with its lusts? Is it not the grand designe of Self-love, where­ever it is predominant, to come to Christ on its own feet of carnal confidence? But how much doth the self-denying Believer abjure himself, and al his own self-sufficiences to win Christ, Phil. 3. 7, 8? Spiritual povertie is the next capacitie to saving Faith: the more sensible the humbled soul is of his own needs, the more ready is he to go to Christ. But is it thus with Unbelievers? Do they not seek in themselves what they should seek in Christ? And when they have found any imperfect good in themselves, how much do they re­cumb and rest on it, as the main bottome of their confidence? Oh! what a pregnant cause is self-fulnesse of commun faith; as self-emti­nesse of saving faith, Luk. 18. 12, 13, 14? So also for carnal presumtion, and self-flatterie, what a seminal root is it of false, or commun faith? What a world of faith consists in mere [Page 202] fancie? How many Professors have no other bottome for their faith, than a fond pre­sumtion that they have faith? Thus men baptise their carnal presumtions into the name of faith. Oh! how prone are presumtuous Unbelievers to plung their nasty defiled hearts in the precious Bloud, and Promisses of Christ, and then fondly conclude Christ is theirs; al­beit they never were deeply sensible of their sin, and need of Christ? And are not such presumtuous conceits, or rather deceits, the main spring of most mens commun faith? But is it not quite otherwise with the true be­liever? Doth not his faith spring mainly from self-jelousie? Its true, he can justifie God and Christ, though it be in his own ruine; But oh! how much doth he condemne him­self day by day? He can be indulgent to o­thers; but is he not very severe against him­self? Is not every one nearer to Christ than he in his own apprehensions? Oh! what self-accusations, and self-condemnations doth he, or ought he to passe on himself every day? And are not these his self-jelousies, and self-jugements a great spring of his faith in Christ, 1 Cor. 11. 31?

(3.)3. As to a legal and evangelic spirit. The commun faith of Ʋnbelievers ari­seth from a legal Spirit of Bondage; but the saving faith of Believers from an evangelic Spirit of Adoption. And oh! what a vast difference is there between commun faith, and saving, in this regard? A legal faith, arising from a spirit of Bondage, may worke dreadful terrors, but never solid peace of conscience: It brings [Page 203] men under a legal Covenant, but cannot keep men stedfast therein, Psal. 78. 8, 10, 37, 57. It workes in men legal preparations for Christ, but it cannot worke a thorow conversion to him: It divorceth the heart in part from sin; but marries it to the Law, not to Christ: It plows up the fallow ground, but cannot sow the seed of Grace. It makes a deep wound in Conscience, but cannot heal it: It may drive men into despair, but it cannot, of it self, drive to Christ: It may restrain from sin, and con­strain to dutie, but it gives no strength for, or love to dutie: It may kil, but it cannot make alive: It may rend, but it cannot melt the heart: It may make sin bitter, but it cannot make Christ sweet: It may be an Advocate for the Law, but not for Christ. Such is the commun faith of Unbelievers. But now the evangelic faith of Believers, arising from a Spirit of Adoption, doth not only kil, but also make alive in the bloud of Christ: It doth not only divorce the heart from sin, self, and the Law; but also espouseth it to Christ: It improves al legal preparations in order to an evangelic closure with Christ: It workes godly sorrow for sin, not only that it may be pardoned, but because it is pardoned: It is not only compelled to dutie by legal motives; but also allured thereto by evangelic persua­sives: It doth much for Christ, and yet rests on nothing but Christ: It workes not only evangelic Actions, but also evangelic Princi­ples and Dispositions: It urgeth the Law [Page 204] much, but on Evangelic grounds, and designes: It destroies not Moralitie, but perfects it▪ It frees men not from dutie, but in and for du­tie. Such are the different postures of a legal, and evangelic Faith.

(4.)4. As to turning the Bent of the Wil to Christ. Saving faith turnes the main Bent of the Wil towards Christ, and al other good things that belong unto its peace; but commun faith affords Christ, and al those good things only some imperfect desires. The [...]rue Believer makes a free, and complete Acceptation of Christ, and Resignation of al unto him: He takes the whole of Christ, and gives Christ the whole of his heart: He goes to Christ with a pleni­tude or fulnesse of wil, and receives from Christ a plenitude of Grace, John 1. 16. He is so amorous of the good things that belong unto his peace, that he can part with althings for them; yea his wil is carried with a vio­lent propension towards them, as the Iron to the L [...]ad-stone. But is it thus with the Un­believer? Doth he not ever adde something to Christ, or take something from Christ? Alas! what is his commun faith, but a mere faint velleitie, a languid imperfect desire after the good things that belong unto his peace? How unable is he to go to Christ, with a ple­nitude of wil? How little is he allured, or ravished with the incomparable Beauties of Christ? perhaps he has some good liking to the good things of his peace; but oh! what a violent lust has he after other things? He may have some evanid or dying wishes after the divine life; but oh! what a peremtorie [Page 205] obstinate wil has he towards present goods▪ Every smal tentation makes him let go Christ; but oh! how tenacious, how strong is his holdfast of the creature? An Unbeliever is the greatest Monstre in the world; he hath two hearts, an heart for God, and an heart for the world, Psal. 12. 2. and yet when any difficulty approcheth, he hath no heart at al: Such a coward is he, & so far from true faith. A true believer, the more difficult his worke & tentations are, the stronger is his Adherence to Christ, and al the good things of his peace: yea, though Christ may seem willing to part with al Interest in him; yea, to turne against him as an enemie; yet oh! how un­willing is he to part with his interest in Christ; or to do any thing unworthy of that friend­ship he professeth to Christ? But is it thus with the commun faith of the Unbeliever? Alas! on what easy termes can he part with al claim to Christ? How unsteadfast is he in al his covenants with Christ? How little can he resigne up himself wholly to Christ, or re­ceive whole Christ, as offered in the Gospel? In times of soul-troubles he seems willing to elect Christ, but in times of competition be­tween Christ and lust, how soon doth he pre­fer lust before Christ? What are al his good wishes towards the things of his peace, but broken half-desires? Doth he not at the same time, when he layes hold on Christ, se­cretly also catch at the world, or some beloved lust? How unable is he to wil and nil the same things, to be constant to his own electi­on [Page 206] of Christ, and reprobation of sin? Though he sometimes looked towards Christ, yet how little doth he follow that look? What a lati­tud [...], and libertie doth he leave for idols in his heart; and thence how little room for Christ? So little is his wil fortified, and armed with Resolution in adherence unto Christ.

(5.)5. As to purifying from sin. The true Believers saving faith is a pu­rifier from sin, Act. 15. 9. But the Ʋnbelievers commun faith is a Protector, and Promotor of Sin. And oh! what a vast distance is here betwixt saving and commun faith? How im­possible is it that the unbelievers heart, which is the spouse of sin, should be married to Christ? Wil Christs jelousie, which is so se­vere, admit any Corrival, or equal lover into his conjugal bed, the heart? Must not his royal love have a throne al alone in the heart? Is it not then impossible, that sin, in its domi­nion, should dwel in the same heart with Christ? Yet, lo! is not this the grand de­signe of the unbelievers commun faith, to re­concile Christ and sin, two opposite Lords? How oft doth commun faith go to Christ for life, that so the sinner may live more securely in si [...]? The Believers very fals into sin, are, as managed by faith, a sanctified means to purge out sin: But, oh! the Unbelievers par­tial departure from sin, and closure with Christ, is, as improved by his commun faith and lust, made a blind and engine for the pro­tection, concelement, and improvement of sin. Saving Faith makes the Believers ver [...] [...]efects, and neglects serve for the promoting of some [Page 207] spiritual good: how is he humbled for, and by his very sins and negligences? But the com­mun faith of an Unbeliever makes his best duties; and performances serve to promote spiritual sins: How do al his Covenants and Resolutions against some grosser, visible s [...]s, serve only to hide, strengthen, and foment secret, invisible lusts; as spiritual pride, car­nal confidence, Hos. 7. 16? Or at best, doth he not make use of al his covenants against sin, only as a balsame to heal the wounds of his conscience, not as poison to kil the lusts of his heart. Such is the curse, and plague of com­mun faith.

(6.)6. As to transfor­mation into the image of Christ, and conforma­tion to his life and Laws. Saving faith transformes the heart into the Image of Christ, and thence makes the Be­liever conforme to his Life, and Laws; but com­mun faith workes neither. Saving Faith brings the heart near to Christ, and so stampes the Image of Christ upon the heart: It cannot make men Christ, but yet it makes them like unto him, and that not only in one particular excellence, but in al: It changeth the last end, and disposition of the wil, and thence the whole soul and life: It infuseth a divine plenitude, or fulnesse of Grace into the soul, answerable to that fulnesse of sin, that was there before. And as Christ is one with his Father, by personal union; so Believers are one with Christ, by faith: Hence much of the life of Christ appears in their lives: The love and spirit of Christ prevails with them▪ to live the life of Christ, and conforme to his Laws: And oh! what a sweet harmonie and [Page 208] conformitie, so far as Faith and Grace prevails, is there between the Spirit and Life of Christ, and their spirits and life? How much do their hearts, and lives answer to the primitive Pat­terne of puritie, in the heart and life of Christ? But can the Unbelievers commun faith worke such rare effects? Its true, sometimes his Actions are changed; but are not his vital Principles, and Dispositions unchanged? He may sometimes conforme to the Laws of Christ in appearance; but doth he not stil hate them at heart? Whereas the Believer, whiles he breakes the law of Christ in Action, he con­formes to it in Affection and desire, as Ro­man. 7. 22. The Unbelievers commun faith may lead him to please Christ in shew, but is it not al to please himself in truth? Doth he not wholly live on self as his spring, and to self as his last end? Oh! how impossible is it for him to live by faith on Christ, and to Christ, which is the Believers life?

(7.)7. As to the use of means. Saving faith makes Believers diligent in the use of means, and yet keeps them from trusting in them: commun faith makes Ʋnbe­lievers negligent in the use of means, and yet to trust in them. Oh! how industrious is Faith in the use of means, as if there were no Christ to trust unto? And yet doth not faith trust wholly in Christ, as if there were no means to be used? Yea, doth it not trust Christ as much in the fulnesse of means, as in the want of them? But oh! how much doth unbelief trust in means, though it be very negligent in the use of them?

[Page 209] (8.)8. As to the foun­dation. Saving Faith is alwaies bottomed on a Promisse, and by it workes up the heart to God: But commun faith is alwaies bottomed either on false persuasions, or self-sufficiences, and by them turnes the heart from God.

(9.)9. As to end and rule. Saving Faith walkes in Gods ways, by a strait rule, to a strait end. But commun faith is always stepping out of Gods way: its rule and end both are crooked. True Faith looks both to its end, and rule; it wil not do good that evil, or evil that good may follow: But commun faith wil do both.

(10.)10. As to Gods faithfulnes. Lastly, Saving Faith values an half­promisse, yea a mere peradventure from God, more than the best promisse the creature can make: but commun faith depends more on the rotten, and false promisse of its own heart, or of the creature, than on al the promisses of God.

3.Corol. 3. No middle twixt faith and unbe­lief. Hence we may further infer, That there is no medium, or middle, between true Faith and Infidelitie. Commun faith is but real Unbelief: He that is not a sound Believer, is a real Infidel: He that receives not Christ on his own termes, rejects him: Not to trust in Christ with al the heart, is not to trust him at al in truth: A forced election of Christ, is a real reprobation of him: A mere human, or notional, or general, or confused, or instable, or inefficacious Assent to Christ, is real Dis­sent. Not to rest in Christ alone as our Me­diator, is not at al to confide in him: He that cannot part with al for Christ, wil soon part with Christ for any thing: If faith purifies not the heart from sin, and fortifies it against [Page 210] tentation, it deserves not the name of faith, Acts 15. 9. If Faith gives not a substantial be­ing to things not in being, it doth nothing; Heb. 11. 1. If you can believe nothing but what you have reason, and evidence for from the things themselves, you believe nothing as you ought: for though reason may assist faith as an instrument, yet it destroyes faith as a principal ground or argument; because faith is of things inevident, Heb. 11. 1. Faith takes nothing for its formal reason, or prin­cipal ground, but increated Autoritie: and therefore it is not the mere evidence of reason, but the testimonie of God, that makes men believers. And if so, then▪ oh! what a world of that, which passeth for faith among men, wil one day appear to be real Unbelief? What may we judge of those who hang up Christ in their phantasies, as pictures in an house, but yet never really adhere to, or re­cumb on him? Is not this mere fancie rather than faith? What shal we conclude of the presumtuous believer, who presumes God wil shape his mercie according to his humor? Is not his faith mere Unbelief? Yea, can there be a more cursed piece of Unbelief, than a fond groundlesse presumtion that we do be­lieve? Again, what shal we say of the dead­borne sleepy faith of secure Sinners, who lay their head in Satans bosome, and sleep se­curely on the pillow of his rotten peace? Is not this a piece of Unbelief, which Devils and damned Spirits are not guiltie of? For they believe and tremble at the apprehensions of [Page 211] their approching jugement. And oh! how soon wil these their sweet sleeps end in dread­ful hellish awakenings? Again, may we not judge the same of legal faith; which sets up the Law in the room of Christ; or at least yokes the Law and Christ together? Do not such▪ by joining the Law with Christ, dis­join their hearts from Christ, Rom. 7. 1-4? Is it not as bad a piece of Unbelief, to set up the Law instead of Christ, as to set up lust in­stead of the law? Yea, is there not much of Idolatrie in such a legal faith? for do not such as depend on their own legal perfor­mances for life, make themselves their God and Christ? Oh! how oft doth such a legal faith, or carnal confidence end in black de­spair? Were it not easie to shew, if opportu­nitie served, how al the false, or commun faiths in the world are indeed but real Infide­litie, colored over with a tincture of faith? O then! what a world of Infidels and Unbelie­vers are there, who walk up and down under the masque and vizard of Believers? Surely if al these pretended fancied faiths are real un­belief there can be no middle betwixt Faith, and Unbelief; and then, how many great Professors wil fal under the black character of Unbelievers, albeit they may now passe for good Believers?

4.Corol. 4. 4. Saving faith rare, but com­mun faith cheap. Hence also we learne, That solid sa­ving Faith is most rare and difficult; but com­mun faith most cheap and easie. Its no difficult mater, in these knowing times, to gain the Notion of Faith: but oh! how difficult is it [Page 212] to attain unto the thing faith? A general, im­plicite Assent to the things that belong unto our peace is very commun; but oh! how rare is it to meet with a particular, explicite, real Assent to the things of our peace, formally con­sidered? Do not the most of Professors yield only a human, natural, or traditional Assent to Divine, supernatural Truths and Mysteries? Multitudes now adays receive the Word of God; but how? is it not as the word of men, i.e, as clothed with human Au­toritie, or the evidence of reason; not as the Word of God, 1 Thes. 2. 13? A confused, suspense, reeling assent to evangelic Doctrines is very commun; but is not a distinct, fixed, deep, welgrounded assent as rare? Oh! how superficial, and feeble is most mens assent to the good things of their peace? Or if some a­wakened consciences arise higher, to a more complete and deep assent; yet, alas! how le­gal is their assent, even to evangelic Truths? How hard is it even for true Believers, much more for those who have only commun faith, to see sin as sin, and not to fal under a legal spirit of Bondage? To assent to the truths of the Gospel, when Conscience is fired with the terrors of the Law, is no great pain: but oh! how painful a thing is it, to assent to Gospel truths, from an inward feeling appre­hension of their own worth and excellence? To assent to the Doctrines of the Gospel is commun: but is it not as commun to dissent from the duties of the Gospel, which in divine estimation is but a dead faith? How few have [Page 213] impressions suitable to their faith? How few are there among the croud of Believers, who have an admiring assent, an high estime, and right valuation of the good things that belong unto their peace? It is indeed very facile to yield a barren, lazy, dead assent to Evangelic Notions; but oh! how difficult is it to arrive unto a fruitful, vigorous, lively, efficacious, practic assent, such as may forme, and trans­forme the heart into the very image of those good things we assent unto?

So also for Consent, it is very commun and easie for convinced sinners to be induced to make some indeliberate, involuntary, partial, imperfect election of Christ, and other good things that belong to their peace; but oh! how rare and difficult is it to attain unto a chearful, speedy, complete and fixed closure with Christ, on his own termes, as offered in the Gospel? Is it not commun with many to adhere to Christ in Profession, but to lust in Affection? How many commun Believers give Christ good words; but give their hearts to some Idol-lover? Do not too many also pretend subjection to Christ, and his soverain pleasure; but really intend subjection to no other Lord than their own Lusts? How many seem to depend wholly on Christ for Grace, who yet secretly lean on their own understandings, and good wils? O that men would believe, what a difficult thing it is to believe aright? Alas! how violent is the motion of Faith? How much against corrupt nature are the supernatural acts of Faith? [Page 214] Was there ever a greater miracle under Hea­ven, excepting the Incarnation of the Son of God, than the working of faith in an unbe­lieving heart? Is not every saving faith a standing Miracle? Oh! what a contradiction is it to carnal wisdome, and corrupt Nature, to assent and consent to the imputed righte­ousnesse of Christ? What a painful thing is it to carnal hearts, to part with right eyes, and right hands, every beloved lust for Christ? How many thousand ways are there to Unbe­lief or commun faith, but oh! how narrow, yea indivisible is the way to saving faith? Commun faith growes among roses, but Sa­ving faith among tho [...]es. What a grand deceit therefore is it, to conceit Saving faith easie and commun? Certainly he never yet believed aright, that has not in some mesure had experience, What a difficult thing it is to believe aright.

5.Corol. 5. Believers have much of Unbe­lief in them. Hence likewise we may conclude, That Believers themselves, have many Reliques and Remains of Vnbelief in them, Alas! how much darknesse is there mixed with their No­tions, of the good things that belong to their peace? How much dissent is there in their assent to Evangelic truths? Its true, they dare not, when they are themselves, reject the good things of their peace; ay, but do they not too oft neglect, and undervalue the same? Are their Apprehensions, and Impressi­ons suitable to the worth of those objects they believe? How then comes it to passe, that on the interposure of some tentation, [Page 215] they turne aside to lying Vanities? Are not Be­lievers themselves oft very confused, and in­stable in their assent to evangelic Mysteries? Yea, have they not sometimes many preva­lent suspensions, hesitations, and douts touch­ing the sacred Scriptures, and their Divine Autoritie? How oft have many sincere Be­lievers been violently assaulted with Atheistic thoughts, that there is no God? What a sea­led Book, and dark saying is the whole Gospel, to many afflicted Consciences, in times of De­sertion? In times of distresse, how oft doth their Faith question the realitie of the Pro­misses? Whats the reason why many true Believers are so much shaken, in some difficult cases, but because they do not bottome their Souls on the immutable faithfulnesse of God in his Promisses? Are not the gracious offers of the Covenant most rich, abundant, and free? How then comes it to passe, that Belie­vers are so poor and low in Grace? Is it not from their want of Faith, to draw out that fulnesse that is contained in, and offered by the Covenant? Have not Believers Gods im­mutable Word, Oath, and Fidelitie to con­firme his Covenant? And yet, lo! How backward are they to trust him in any straits? How frequently do Believers stagger in their adherence unto Christ? How much are they off and on, up and down, fast and loose with Christ? How little are they acquainted with the applicatorie, appropriating Acts of Faith? What great things might Believers receive from Christ, had they but a great faith to [Page 216] expect and receive them? How seldome are the most of Believers in realising believing views of approching Glories? What obscure, and strained notions have they of Eternitie? Had we eternitie in our eye and heart, how would the view thereof darken the glorie of this lower world? Did Believers eye much their home, how vigilant, active, and vigo­rous would they be in their way thither? Life and death are the same thing to one that daily expects the coming of his Lord: But oh! How apt are Believers themselves to put far from them that great day? Were not the the wise Virgins overtaken with fits of slumber aswel as the foolish? Again how little can the most of Believers acquiesce and rest satis­fied in Christ, as the alone spring, and mater of their life? Do they not sometimes conceit, that there is some grace, or other good, to be found out of Christ? And are they not here­by oft inveigled to wander from Christ? Ought not the heart to be where the treasure is? And is not the Believers treasure in Christ? How then comes it to passe, that he is so little satisfied in Christ, but for want of faith in him? Moreover, how short-spirited and impatient are many Believers? What confined and narrow hearts have they under the crosse? Do not the length, and weight of their burdens oft make them extreme short-spirited, as Exod. 6. 9. for shortnesse of Spirit? So Num. 21. 4. its said, They were short-spiri­ted, because of the way, i.e, the length of their sufferings shortned their spirits; they could [Page 217] not in patience possesse their souls: and many of them were true Believers for the main. Oh! how soon do such short-spirited Believers despond, and sink under their bur­dens? What faintings under duties are they obnoxious unto? How straitned are their spirits as to present, or expected mercies? What murmurs and discontents have they a­gainst the Yoke, and Crosse of Christ? Yea, how dissolute, soft, and feeble are they in resistance of Tentations? How timorous and faint-hearted at the approche of difficulties? Whence procede Believers black and dismal Imaginations under Desertions, but from their Unbelief? Is is not hence also that they are so humorous, and il-minded towards Christ; so apt to raise black lies and slanders of him? Do not their unbelieving hearts change Christ into another Christ, by cover­ing his face with a masque of hatred and dis­pleasure? Oh! How much are the sinews of many poor believing souls shrunk; how much are their spirits cramped and dispirited by Unbelief, specially in cases of soul-trouble or tentation? So great is the prevalence of Un­belief in many sound Believers.

6.Corol. 6. Infidelitie the great­est sin. Hence we may further collect, That Ʋnbelief is a sin of the first Magnitude, a great mysterie of Iniquitie; the greatest Monster that ever was. This naturally flows from the for­mer Idea and explication of Unbelief: For if the character and nature of Unbelief be so comprehensive; if it seize so much on the vitals of the soul, then certainly it must needs [Page 218] have a very maligne and venimous influence on al sin; yea, it must contain in it the malig­nitie, and poison of al sin. Oh! What a prodi­gious Sin is Unbelief? What Abysses and depths of iniquitie are there in the bowels of it? We have seen how it infuseth itself into the whole [...] soul, and dispirits al the faculties thereof; Oh! what darknesses and mists doth it infuse into the mind? How foolish and sottish doth it make sinners? What grand mistakes and prejudices doth it breed, touching al the good things of our peace? How stupid and senselesse doth it make conscience? What a world of securitie, and false peace doth it produce? What made the old world so se­cure before the Deluge came, and swept them al away, but their Unbelief? How comes it to passe that both wise and foolish Virgins slumber, before the coming of the Bridegroom, but from their Unbelief? What makes sinners so stout-hearted and opposite to the righ­teousnesse of Christ, but their Infidelitie, Isai. 46. 12? How comes it to passe that Sin­ners are so inflexible as to al Chrsts gracious offers, but flexible towards sin, and its allure­ments? What is it that fortifies the heart so much in its adherence to Idols, and false ob­jects of trust? What makes mens wils so re­bellions against Christ, yea destroyeth obe­dience in the principal root thereof? Are not al these the fruits of Unbelief? Oh! What a lazy, slothful, remisse, and softnatured thing is Unbelief, as to al that is good? And yet how vigorous and active is it in, and for [Page 219] the production of al sin? Yea, is not Un­belief virtually al sin? Doth it not breed, preserve, foment, incourage, actuate, and spirit al sin? Whence procede the great errors of mens minds, hearts, and lives but from Infidelitie? How comes it to passe that sin­ners are so hasty in snatching at present goods, but so slow-hearted and backward in closing with the good things of their peace? Surely it is from Unbelief. Whence spring mens confusions, and distractions of heart in times of trouble, but from their Unbelief? Whence also springs al that formalitie, and deadnesse in duties, but from Unbelief? Is not this also the cause of mens hypocrisie both in heart and life? Oh! what a world of irregular and ex­orbitant passions doth Unbelief worke in mens hearts? What makes the sensual world so te­nacious in adhering to sensible good, but their Unbelief, as to good things hoped for? May not then every sin deservedly cal Unbelief, father? Is not this sin of Infidelitie to be found at the end of every sin? Whence spring the main exorbitances, and distempers of mens hearts and lives, but from Infidelitie? Men discourse variously what was the first sin by which Adam fel; but have we not much rea­son to believe, that Unbelief was Adams first sin, which opened the dore to al sin and mi­serie? For had not Adam disbelieved the Word of God, which threatned him in the day that he did eat of the forbidden fruit he should die, he had not believed Satan. And as Unbelief at first opened the dore to al sin, [Page 220] so doth it not stil hearten, and improve al sin? Yea, is it not the prodigious womb of al sin? Yea, has it not more of sin than any, or al other sins? Its true, scandalous sins have more of Infamie; but has not Infidelitie more of obli­quitie, and guilt in it? Is not that the greatest sin, which is against the greatest Laws, and Obligations? And is not Infidelitie against the greatest Obligations that ever were, even a Covenant of Grace; which makes such free, such ful, such rich, such suitable, such ge­neral, such importunate, such heart-satisfying offers of Grace? And can there be a greater law, than the Mediators evangelic law; which is composed of such sweet alluring pre­cepts, and promisses? and yet lo! how doth Unbelief oppose the royal Law of Christ? Oh! what a world of rebellion lies wrapt up in the bowels of Infidelitie? How doth it scorne, reject, yea spurne at bowels of evan­gelic Love, and Grace? Yea, is it not ex­tremely opposite to al the principles of obe­dience? Is there not also abundance of Ido­latrie in Infidelitie? Can there be a worse Idol than self idolised? And doth not every Unbeliever idolise his own carnal wisdome, his proud wil, his commun gifts, his self­sufficience, his legal Righteousnesses, and seeming good duties? Is not the Unbelievers self-dependence the worst piece of Idolatrie? Doth not every Unbeliever by depending on himself, as his first principle, and last end, make himself his God? Again is there not an Hel of Blasphemie in Infidelitie? Doth not [Page 221] every Unbeliever, by his secret, or open mur­murs against God raise many black lies, and scandals on God? Yea, what are the Unbe­lievers discontents against God, but, in the Scriptures account, a cursing of God, as Job 1. 11, 22? Lastly is there not a world of Atheisme in al Infidelitie? Doth not Unbe­lief, at one stroke, take away the Scriptures, God, and Christ, and al the good things of our peace? As the Unbeliever doth by his self-dependence deifie himself, so doth he not also by the same undeifie the true God? Thus we see what a prodigious monstrous sin Unbelief is.

7.Corol. 7. God justi­fied in his severe pro­cedure a­gainst Ʋn­believers. This Notion of Infidelitie, as before ex­plicated, Justifies God, in his most severe proce­dures against al Ʋnbelievers. Alas! what blame may be laid upon the holy God, for hiding the things of his peace from the Unbe­lievers eyes, when as he wilfully shuts his eyes against them? Has the Unbeliever any thing to object against Christ, for not healing his wounded soul, seing he wilfully rejects the Medicinal Grace, and Bloud of Christ, which are the only remedies for his healing? If sinners wil justifie their unbelief, which is so much condemned by God, is it not just with God to condemne them for it? So long as Unbelievers despise Gospel-love, and Mercie, is it not just that Gospel-vengeance take hold of them? What more equitable than that such perish in their sins, who resist al the sweet attractives and allurements of Grace, by which Christ endeavors to draw them out [Page 222] of sin and miserie? Doth not Infidelitie dispi­rit and make void al Ordinances, and means of Salvation? Who then can be blamed, but the Unbeliever, for his own damnation? Is not Infidelitie the highest Treason against Heaven? Can then any punishment be too severe for it? Doth not Unbelief, as has been intimated, darken al the glorious Attributes of God? Is not the wisdome of God estimed mere folie by it? Doth it not rebel against the Soveraintie of God, by placing the sinners wil above it? Doth it not make the Faithfulnesse of God unfaithful; Yea, give the lie to it, by questi­oning the truth of his Promisses, 1 John 5. 10? Oh! how warme, how large, how tender, how rolling are the Bowels of Free-grace to­wards sinners? But doth not Unbelief spurne at those bowels, by shutting the heart against them? Is not the Omnipotence of God li­mited, yea counted mere Impotence by Infi­delitie, Isai. 40. 27, 28, 29? How doth it like­wise trample on the patience, and forbearance of God? Is it not then most righteous, that the great God, who is thus injured, and a­bused by Infidelitie, should revenge his own quarrel thereon? Again, how doth Infideli­tie slander, reproche, and undermine Christ, the great Mediator of Life and Salvation? Is not Christ the greatest Institute and Ordinance of God? Is he not appointed by God as the alone Savior of Mankind? And yet, lo! how do Unbelievers reproche and oppose him? Is not Christ greatly undervalued, when his gracious offers are rejected? Can we abuse [Page 223] Christ more, than by opposing the good things offered by him? Is it not a bloudy crime to meet Christ's Grace with resistance? Oh! what an Hel of Iniquity lies in this sin of Un­belief, in that it is a despising of Christ's bleed­ing, drawing Love? Is any sin a greater burden, and pain to Christ than Infidelitie? Is he not hereby wearied, Esa. 7. 13? Yea, is not Christ greatly mocqued, and slandered by Unbe­lief? Yea, doth not Infidelitie rob Christ of al his Mediatorie Offices, and Perfections? Yea, is it not the sorest Crucifixion of Christ? Did not Judas, the Jews, and Pilate pierce Christ more sorely by their Unbelief, than by their acts of betraying, and condemning him? Now if Infidelitie be so injurious to Christ, is it not just with him to vindicate such injuries? Yea, indeed, What are al the Unbelievers jugements and torments, but such as he e­lectively, and voluntarily draws upon himself? Are any Evangelic Unbelievers damned, but such as wilfully elect Death before Life? Do not al they that reject Christ, electively embrace Death, Prov. 8. 36? And has the Unbeliever any reason to complain against God for con­demning of him, seing he is unwilling to be saved? Is not this the main that Christ ex­pects from evangelic Unbelievers, that they willingly accept Grace offered to them? And if they wil not, who is to be blamed, but their own perverse stubborne wils? Do not they deservedly perish, who wilfully perish? If sinners wil be so cruel, so bloudy-minded, as to murder their own souls by unbelief, [Page 224] they must blame none but themselves for their ruine: the righteous God is sufficiently vin­dicated from any imputation against him. Oh! how wil this silence, and seal up the lips of Unbelievers unto al eternitie, that Grace and Life was offered to them, but they voluntarily chose death before life? What pleas can such have, why they should not be damned, seing they wilfully rush into ways that lead to damnation?

Practic Uses. 1. Studie the Mysterie and Causes of Infidelitie. 2. Lament over the prevalence of it. 3. Exa­mine how far it prevails. 4. Abjure it as the worst Hel. 5. Pursue Faith as the highest Interest, and Spring of the Divine Life.

WE now procede to a more close,Ʋse 1. Of Advice to studie the Nature and Influ­ence of Infidelitie. and practic Application of these general Notions of Infidelitie. And the first Ʋse we shal make of this Doctrine, is, by way of general Advice unto al, both Believers and Unbelievers, to studie much the black nature, and venimous Influences of Infidelitie. Cer­tainly, if Sinners were but wel acquainted with that Mysterie of Iniquitie, that is wrapt [Page 225] up in the bowels of Infidelitie; and how pernicious this sin is to their souls, were it possible that they could please themselves in it as they do? Alas! Can we imagine, that Unbelievers would sit down so quietly under the chains & fetters of their unbelief, were they but in a serious manner apprehensive of it? But ah! here lies the great damning sin, and miserie of the Unbelieving World, men are not deeply and feelingly sensible of the burden, and stings of an unbelieving heart. How few are there, who observe and mourn under the secret veins of Infidelitie, that loge in their hearts? Where is that soul that lamentes, day by day, his want of a particular, supernatural, spiritual, distinct, certain, firme, evangelic, ful, prevalent, affective, effective, and transformative Assent to the good things that belong to his peace? Do not many great Professors seem to assent to the Mysteries of the Gospel, but yet really dissent from, or, at least not live up to them? Have not many the name of Believers, who yet ne­ver felt the virtue, and efficace of faith? Do not many pretend to a kindnesse for Christ, who yet secretly hate him in their hearts? How few, yea very few, among the croud of pro­fessed Believers, live under the vital power of Faith? May we not, without breach of Cha­ritie, judge those to be under the power of Un­belief, who were never truly sensible of the power of it? Is not Infidelitie, as it has been shown, the greatest sin, and therefore ought to have the greatest sense? What is the main and first worke of the Spirit of Bondage but [Page 226] to convince the unbelieving world of their un­belief, as John 16. 9? And can men be con­vinced of it, unlesse they studie, and observe the nature and workings of it? Why is it that the most of men do account Infidelitie so smal a sin, but because they never inquired into its black ugly Nature and Aggravations? How comes it to passe, that many take part with their Unbelief, but because they are not sen­sible, what a mischievous pernicious thing it is? Alas! Did men studie, and believe what an hainous sin Infidelitie is, how would they abominate and loath it? What speed would they make to be rid of it? Yea, why is it that Believers themselves are so much under the prevalence of Unbelief, but because they have not that sense of its indwelling, and prevalence, which they ought to have? Did Believers meditate much of, and mourne under the evils of an unbelieving heart, surely they would not be so much troubled with it as they are. Oh! What a rare thing is it for Believers to have a quick sense of Unbelief? What better argument and marque can we have of a sound Believer, than a daily sense of, and humiliation for Unbelief? Yea, is it not a good signe of much growth in Faith and other Graces, to be inwardly ac­quainted with, and troubled for the remains of Infidelitie dwelling in us? Do not the best and most improved Christians usually complain most of this sin? Oh! What an invisible, slie, and subtile sin is Infidelitie? How long doth it lie lurking in the soul, be­fore [Page 227] it be observed? Doth it not, like some cunning Politicians, animate and encourage every sin, yet concele itself in al its actings? Doth it not then greatly concerne al, both Be­lievers and Unbelievers, to studie wel the Na­ture, Causes, and maligne Influences of Un­belief? Oh! how much of Infidelitie might we find in every sin, were we but wel-skilled in the nature, and workings of it? But, alas! what Mysteries and Riddles are Unbelievers to themselves? How unacquainted are they with the spiritual, cunning, and subtile turnings and windings of their unbelieving hearts? Is it not then the great concerne of al, to be greatly intent on the studie of, and inquisi­tion into the Nature, Operations, and Effects of Unbelief?

But above althings we should much con­template,Studie the Causes of Infideli­tie. and inquire into the Causes of Infi­delitie. Is not he the wisest Philosopher, who contemplates, and understands best the causes of things? And do not men account him the most able Physician, who gives the best con­jecture at the Causes of a Disease? So in like manner may we not repute him among the most understanding Believers, who is best skilled in discerning the Causes of Unbelief? Surely althings are best known in and by their Causes: O then! if thou wilt understand the black nature of Infidelitie, studie and inquire narrowly into its Causes: Inquire into that Soverain, 1 Spiritual darknesse. venimous, black darknesse, which dwels in Conscience, and makes al the good things of thy peace to disappear. Oh! What a Veil doth this thick spiritual darknesse draw [Page 228] on al the excellences of Christ? How doth it stain al the Beautie, and Glorie of Evangelic offers, made to the unbelieving Soul? Oh! what an efficacious influence hath the dark­nesse of Conscience, on the darknesse of Infi­delitie? Studie also how much carnal reason doth promote Infidelitie.2. Carnal Reason. What more con­trary to Faith than carnal reason? When men endeavor to mesure the Promisses, or Providences; the Words, or Workes of God by carnal wisdome; what black jealousies, and suspicions of Gods love, care, and faith­fulnesse procede thence? How is the Unbe­lievers heart filled with black ugly prejudices against Christ, and al the offers of his Grace? The lesse of carnal reason, there is mixed with Faith,3. Carnal Securitie. the more pure it is. Again ob­serve how much carnal Securitie doth foment, and promote thine unbelief. Is not a secure Conscience ever an unbelieving Conscience? When men consider not the things that belong to their peace, how can they understand, or believe them? What made the old World so much disbelieve the approching Deluge of Gods wrath, but their wretched securitie? Its true, Unbelief is oft the cause of carnal secu­ritie, but is it not also as oft the effect of it? Is not the Securitie of the wise and foolish Vir­gins, made a cause of their Infidelitie, Mat­thew 25. 5? Is not faith maintained by an inward, tender, feeling sense; and Unbelief by the want of such a sense? Further, take notice how much self-love doth feed,4. Self-love. and nourish thine Unbelief? What self-dependence and self-secking it workes in thee? How soft-natured, [Page 229] and faint-hearted as to Dutie, but stout-hearted and resolute against Christ, and al his gracious invitations, it makes thee? Oh! Studie how much self-love fortifies thy heart against al the good things of thy peace; but exposeth and layes it open to al the ten­tations of Sin and Satan. Consider also how much Spiritual Pride contributes to thine In­fidelitie:5. Spiritual Pride. Oh! how craftie and cunning is the pride of Infidelitie? and how much are the Unbelievers bands strengthened hereby? Me­ditate also on thy short-spiritednesse, 6. Short-spiritednes. and its venimous influence on thine unbelief: How contracted and narrow is the Unbelievers heart? And how much is his unbelief pro­moted hereby? A confined, short, straitned spirit is alwaies pusillanimous, feeble, and un­believing, as Exod. Lastly, Beloved lusts. 6. 9. Lastly, Examine if there be not some base, darling lust lurking at the bottome of thy wil, which secretly feeds, and fortifies thine unbelief. Oh! what large provision doth any beloved lust make for Infidelitie? How much is its Throne main­tained by it? What stout arguments do dar­ling lusts urge against Christ, and al his gra­cious offers? These with some other are the principal causes, and most bitter roots of In­fidelitie, the observation and discoverie of which, wil be of great use for the subduing of this sin. But the more ful Inquisition into the Causes of Infidelitie wil be the entire Sub­ject of the second part of our Discourse touch­ing Unbelief.

2.Ʋse 2. Another practic Improvement we may [Page 230] make of this Doctrine,Of lamen­tation and humiliati­on for the prevalence of Infide­litie. is by way of sad La­mentation, and Humiliation for the prevalence of Infidelitie in the world, even among Profes­sors. Is the Idea, or visage of Unbelief so black and ugly? Are its Influences so veni­mous, and contagious? How then comes it to passe, that this knowing world is enamored, and fallen in love with it? Could any sober mind imagine, that a thing so deformed, and pernicious, should seem so amiable and de­sirable in the eyes of men? Was it ever known, that the Leper was amorous of his Scabs; or the Begger in love with his Rags; or the Prisoner with his Fetters; or the wounded Person with his bleeding Wounds? How then comes it to passe, that the Christi­an world is so much amorous of, and deligh­ted in Infidelitie; which is the worst leprosie, povertie, deformitie, and miserie, that the Soul partakes of? Yea, how comes it to passe, that Believers themselves have such reliques and remains of Unbelief in them; and that in such days as these are, wherein Evangelic Light, Love, and Grace so much abound? Hath not our blessed Lord taken al the courses and means that may be, to cure men of their Infidelitie? As to the encouragements and motives to believe, doth he not shew himself as kind as kind may be? Has he not given al manner of warrants, yea commands for men to believe? Doth not the Covenant of Grace give as good law-right, as may be, for al that wil to come and embrace the good things that belong to their peace? Are not the offers of [Page 231] the Covenant general, free, abundant, and most affectionate? Is not Christ more willing to save, than sinners are to be saved? As to means, what can God do more, than he has, in saying, Here is my Son, my Spirit, my Gospel, and al the good things of My peace; take al, and welcome? And are not the termes on which al these good things are offered, most easie to any that is but really willing to be happy? Yea, are not the means vouchsafed by God, to cure our Infidelitie in these light­some days, much greater, than in former days? Whence then is it, that men continue in their Infidelitie, and that with so much delight? Has Christ condescended so low in the offers of his Grace, and do sinners stil persist in their rejecting, or not improving such rich and gracious offers? Oh! What mater of sad contemplation, and Lamentation is here? How ought every eye to weep apart, and every heart to bleed apart, for personal, do­mestic, Ecclesiastic, and National Infidelitie? Alas! how true, too true, is that prediction of our Omniscient Lord, touching these last days, Luke 18. 8. Neverthelesse when the Son of Man cometh, shal he find faith on the earth? Who knows how near this coming of the Son of Man may be? May we not conjecture, that some great coming of the Son of Man cannot be far off, because faith is so much departed from the earth? Was there ever, since the coming of our Lord in the flesh, more light, and yet more Atheisme in the world? Is not the disbelief of the main Articles of our faith, [Page 232] the only faith and belief that is to be found among some? Are not al the great fundamen­tals and vitals of faith struck at by some, who would count it an high affront to be judged Unbelievers? Yea, to come nearer home, have we not cause to fear, that many, who passe for shining Believers, wil one day appear to be rotten-hearted Unbelievers? Yea, to leave others to their supreme Judge, have we not al cause to lay our hands on our hearts, and condemne our selves of much Infidelitie? If thou art not sensible of much Unbelief in­dwelling in thee, is it not a sad Symtome, that thou hast nothing, or at best, but very little of true Faith in thy heart? May we not safely say, That he never truely mourned for any sin, who never mourned for Infidelitie, which is at the end of every Sin? Oh! what lamentable ruines has Unbelief brought on many flourishing Churches? And may we expect to be exemted from the like strokes of Divine justice, unlesse we lament, and mourn over our Unbelief, which deserves the same? Take these Motives to provoke thine heart to a deep Lamentation and Humi­liation for thine own, and other mens unbe­lief. (1) Unbelief is, as has been said, the greatest Sin, and therefore ought to worke in us the greatest sense and humiliation. (2) If thine heart be not deeply humbled for thine Unbelief, thou wilt soon be overcome by it. (3) The more thy soul is melted under the sense of Unbelief, the more evangelic and spi­ritual it is. What better marque is there of a spiritual, yea of a believing heart, than a [Page 233] deep sense of, and humiliation for Unbelief? It is a great proof of our Faith, yea, of an eminence in Faith, to mourne greatly under Unbelief. (4) A little unbelief in Believers is much worse than much unbelief in others, because Believers have greater Obligations, Encouragements, Assistances, and Means to believe. (5) Not to be humbled for the Un­belief of others, whether Churches, or State, is to partake with them in their sin; and so to expose our selves to their approching juge­ments, at least temporal.

3.Ʋse. 3. Of exami­nation, whether thy faith be saving, or only commun. This lays a deep and essential obligation on al, to examine accurately, how far they fal un­der the Guilt and Power of Infidelitie. If the Nature of Unbelief be such, as hath been de­scribed, then surely it concernes al to examine how far it prevails in them. Doth not the great Ressemblance that there is between sa­ving Faith and commun, oblige al to trie of what stampe, and make their faith is? Alas! how much commun Assent is there, which passeth for saving? What a great verisimili­tude, or likenesse is there between the notional Assent of Unbelievers, and real Assent of true Believers? Do not many knowing Professors seem to receive the Word of God, as the Word of God, who yet indeed receive it only as the word of men? Have not many con­templative Professors sublime, and raised Ap­prehensions of spiritual Mysteries, and yet al the while their assent to them is but carnal and natural? Do not some seem deeply con­vinced of, and confirmed in evangelic reports, [Page 234] who yet yield but a legal, staggering assent thereto? Doth not the vig or and strength of many mens assent arise from some transient worke of the Spirit of Bondage, rather than from a deep apprehension, and valuation of Evangelic objects, which they assent unto? Again, how easy is it for men to be mistasten in their Consent to the good things of their peace? Do not many seem very forward in electing of Christ, who yet retain secret re­serves for some beloved Idol? Are not too many, from the force of legal convictions, com­pelled to close with Christ, who yet secretly hate him at heart? How many adhere to Christ in Profession, and yet adhere to the world, or lust in Affection? Are there not many, who seem to recumb and lean on Christ for life, but yet really recumb, and lean upon self? Oh! what a world of con­vinced sinners take up with a spurious or com­mun faith instead of saving? How dreadfully do millions of Unbelievers delude themselves with a sick dream, and shadow of commun faith? Alas! what an easie mater is it for Professors, in these knowing times, to mi­stake commun faith for saving? to deceive themselves and and others with a forme or picture of faith, and yet to remain under the real power of Unbelief? It is indeed very diffi­cult to gain a true solid divine Faith: but oh! how easie is it to take up with a seeming faith; which yet shal look as much like sav­ing faith as may be? Oh! how securely doth Infidelitie lurke in many poor souls, under [Page 235] the vizard of Faith? Doth not commun faith oft look so demurely, as that you can very hardly discerne its difference from saving? Are not the most of Professors too soon satis­fied in their own faith? Do not multitudes of awakened sinners lay their consciences asleep, or amuse themselves with the apparences of faith? Is not every Unbeliever, yea Believer also, a mysterie to himself? How much then are we al concerned to make a narrow scruti­nie into our hearts, and to examine whether our Faith be of the right kind? Oh! What a foolish and dangerous thing is it, for any to deceive themselves with false Images and Apparences of Faith? Is not the least error here fundamental? Alas! What a poor feli­citie is it, to steal silently to hel, in a fond persuasion of being Believers, when as our faith hath no foundation, but in our own sick dreaming Phantasies? Of what use wil a Forme of Faith, without the Power of it be, unlesse to sinke us deeper into Hel? To have a Notion of Faith, and yet to live under the practice of Unbelief, what wil this serve for, but to concele, and fortifie hypocrisie, and al manner of spiritual lusts in the heart? Doth not this then further oblige us, to examine strictly what we are as to Faith and Infide­litie? Again, if after al this men wil not ex­amine and use the means to discover their state, are not such willingly deceived? And if men are willingly deceived in this particu­lar, do not they willingly perish? And oh! What a sting wil this be to torment wilful [Page 236] Unbelievers in Hel, that they were so willing, and took so much pains to deceive themselves with a mere semblance, and shadow of faith; but were no way willing, and took no pains to examine their hearts, thereby to undeceive themselves, and lay a foundation for saving Faith? Wil not this make the Evangelic Un­believers Hel seven times hotter than al other Hels, that he took so much pains to deceive and ruine his soul; but was not willing to take a little pains to undeceive, and save his soul? Oh! What cruel self-murder is this? Doth it not then nearly, and greatly concerne us al to make a very curious examen, and strict research into our hearts, touching our faith, whether it be saving, or only commun? O that Professors would put such Questions as these, unto their Consciences, and never desist, til they have brought the whole to some good issue.

Its true, I have a Notion and Forme of faith;Heart ex­amens by way of Solil [...]quie. but have I indeed the real Power and Virtue of Faith? Am I not rather under the Dominion and Prevalence of Infidelitie? I assent to some words of God tha [...] are agreable; but do I not dissent from some other which disagree with, and crosse my lusts? I do receive the word of faith; but have I Faith mixed with the word I receive? Mine awakened Conscience attendes to the joy­ful sound of the Gospel; but doth not my lustful heart attend as much to allurements of lust? The Peace of the Gospel is pleasing to my wounded Conscience; but are not the duties of the Gospel displeasing to my rebellio [...]s heart? [Page 237] My mind hath some estime for the good things of my peace; but has it not as great estime for the good things of this world? Have I a right va­luation of those things I hope for? Mine assent to Evangelic truths, and Mysteries seems firme and strong; ay, but doth it leave suitable im­pressions on mine heart? Is it vigorous, affective, and active? Doth it kil my lust, and give life unto my soul? Moreover, O my soul, thou seem­est to have a good liking to Jesus, the Savior; ay, but hast thou as good a mind to Christ, i. e, as anointed by the Father to be King over thy lusts, person, and goods? Art thou brought over to a voluntarie, free, cordial, complete, and fixed closure with him, as offered in the Gospel? Canst thou take a whole Christ, with thy whole heart, and that for ever? Doest thou give Christ that place in the Intention and Bent of thy Wil, which belongs to him? Hath his lave and Grace the Soverain dominion over thy Wil? And is thy wil bended to a correspondence with his Divine Wil? Canst thou be content to be nothing▪ that Christ may be althings to thee? Is his Glo­rie thy last and utmost end? And is it thy joy to see althings to suit with his end, though they may crosse thine own private ends? Wil nothing but Christ content thee? Art thou restlesse 'til thou attainest to the enjoyment of him? Is this the grand motive of thy seeking after Christ, that thy good is laid up in Him, and not in thy self? And art thou wholly for Christ, as he is wholly for thee? Doest thou adhere to Him with a plenitude of Wil, as the Iron to the Load­stone? Canst thou do much for, and yet trust in [Page 238] nothing but Christ? Art thou obsequious and obedient to the Spirits dictates, as to thy supreme Conductor and Director? And when thou comest short of honoring Christ by Obedience, doest thou honor Him by humble acknowlegement, and De­pendence? Canst thou wait on, and adhere to Christ in his Ordinances, albeit thou feelest no sensible impartments of comfort, peace, and quickening? These, or such like questions; which take in the spirit and life of Faith, thou shouldest frequently put to thy soul, and never desist from urging of them, 'til thou hast brought the question to this Conclusion, Whe­ther thou art a true Believer or not? If thou desirest more expresse rules to examine thy state by, then take those mentioned in the foregoing Chapter, Corollarie 2. touching the Differences between saving Faith and commun: Whereby thou mayest, with the concurrence of Divine illumination, arrive to a wel­grounded persuasion, Whether thy faith be only commun, or saving.

(4.)Ʋse 4. Of Exhor­tation to deal with Infidelitie as our worst enemie. This also affordes mater of exhortation unto al, to abjure and abandon Infidelitie, as the worst enemie in the world; yea, worse than Satan, or Hel itself. Can there be a worse enemie, than that which deprives us of our chiefest good? And is not this the grand de­sign of Infidelitie? Yea, doth it not put a bar to al Mercie, but open the dore to al Sin and Mi­serie? How sottish, and foolish doth it make Sinners? What a dul, lazy, remisse, loitering spirit doth it breed in Men? Yea, how ne­gligent, slow-hearted, and backward to what­ever [Page 239] is good, are Believers themselves, so far as Unbelief prevails on them, Luk. 24. 23? O! how doth it slug mens spirits in whatever good they are about? What a clog is it to the soul in al its spiritual Exercices? How doth it crampe, and dispirit the Affections, those feet of the Soul? What stubbornesse, rebellion, and obstinace doth it infuse into the Wil? How much doth it distract, deaden, and harden the heart in al duties? How lean, poor, and barren in Grace, and gracious fruits are many Believers, by reason of their prevalent Unbelief? Doth it not also take off the Beau­tie, Lustre, and Sweetnesse of Mercies re­ceived, or expected? Oh! how bitter are many sweet Mercies when mixed with Infide­litie? Yea, doth it not turne al Mercies into Curses, to those who are under the complete dominion of it, as Rom. 11. 9? And how many choise Mercies are Believers deprived of by reason of their Unbelief? Whence spring their groundlesse troubles of Consciences; their misjugements, and mistakes about their state; their heart-faintings, sinking discou­ragements, and despondences under Deser­tion; their hard and scandalous thoughts of Christ, his Heart, and Dispensations towards them, but from their Infidelitie? Oh! What a sting doth it put into al afflictions? How burdensome, and irkesome is the Crosse of Christ to the unbelieving heart? How sweet and easy is the bitter, heavy Crosse so far as Faith prevails? But, oh! What a troublesome, vexatious neighbor is Infideli­tie? [Page 240] How doth it torment the heart, and cause it to pine away, and consume to no­thing, even under groundlesse expectations, and needlesse fears of trouble? May it not become a true Proverb, Much Infidelitie, and much Sorrow? How do afflictions pinch, and gal unbelieving spirits? How unable are such to see any good in afflictions? What need have afflicted persons of Faith? Again, how soon doth Infidelitie betray us into the hands of every Tentation? Faith hath Omnipotence engaged for its assistance: but oh! what a poor, impotent thing is Unbelief? How una­ble is it to to conflict with smal Tentations? Satan is oft the father, but is not Unbelief the mother of al Tentations? What made Adam and Eve yield to Satan's tentation, but their Infidelitie? Was not this also that which made Judas betray, Peter denie, and the Jews crucifie the Lord of Glorie? Its true, when the Tentation is asleep, the unrighteous man is righteous; the unclean person is chaste; the passionate man is meek; the in­vidious man is kind; the avaricious man is liberal; the unfaithful man is faithful: but oh! when the tentation is awakened, how soon doth Unbelief betray the heart into the hands of these, or the like corruptions? Thinke not thy self secure from the prevalence of any Tentation, so long as thou art under the prevalence of Infidelitie. Alas! how soon is Tentation fired by Unbelief? but oh! How is the believing soul, that by faith ad­heres to Christ, strongly fortified, and armed [Page 241] against the most violent Tentations? More­over, how are the main breaches of our lives maintained, and improved by Infidelitie? What departures from God, what turnings aside from, or remisnesses in Duties are Un­believers exposed unto? Doth not Unbelief cut the Sinews, and Nerves of al evangelic Obedience? Doth it not let out the vital spi­rits, & heart-bloud of al good Inclination and affections? Is not the very root, and seminal virtue of good Intentions withered and blasted hereby? How much beneath the least evan­gelic dutie is the unbelieving soul? How doth Unbelief poison many good Inclinations? Oh! what a venimous maligne thing is Unbelief? How doth it infuse a malignitie, and poison into al the parts of the Soul? Is not the spirit of the mind, the most noble part of the soul, envelopped, or wrapt up in contagious black darknesse by it? Are not al the faculties of the soul spoiled of their vigor, beautie, harmo­nie, order, and exercices by Unbelief? Oh! What a bloudy, hard-hearted, soul-murdering sin is it? How doth it compel the Sinner to embrew his hands in his own bloud; to sheath a sword in his own bowels, by a wilful rejection of Evangelic offers? How welcontented is it to see the Unbelievers sentence of condemnation subscribed, and sealed with the Mediators dreadful curse, John 3. 18? What flames of vengeance; what treasures of wrath doth In­fidelitie treasure up against the day of wrath, Rom. 2. 5. 2 Thes. 1. 7, 8, 9? How patient is it▪ whiles Satan claps on the chains, and [...]etters [Page 242] of spiritual slumber, and hardnesse of heart on the Sinners legs? How willing is it to see the poor Unbeliever famished and starved, amidst the rich and sumtuous feasts of evan­gelic Grace, and Mercie? Has not Christ made a plentiful, and costly feast for Sinners? And is he not extreme free, and cordial in his Invitations? How then comes it to passe that Sinners come not to it when invited? Why, is it not Unbelief, that keeps them back, and that as it were by hairs, namely some poor and foolish excuses, Mat. 22. 1-6? Oh! how studious, and ready is Infidelitie to shift it self of Christ, and al the good things of its peace, offered to it? What silly excuses, and pretences doth it make, to put off Christ, and his evangelic offers? What little reason, or cause have Unbelievers to object against Christs gracious offers? Are not Christs armes open to receive them, when they come? Yea, Doth he not, day by day, cal upon, and importune them to come unto him, Prov. 1. 20-25? Did he ever refuse, or look strangely on any that came unto him? Yea, is he not more willing to receive Sinners, than they are to come unto him? or, are the flames of Hel more elegible, than the joys of Heaven? Is the Vassalage of Satan more desirable, than the Libertie of the Sons of God? Is there so much Beautie in Sin, as to make men desire it before the Beauties of Holinesse? Are the Re­morses, and Stings of the worme of Consci­ence more agreable, and pleasing, than peace of Conscience, and the smiles of Divine Love? [Page 243] If not, how comes it to passe, that Sinners choose the evil, and refuse the good offered to them? Oh! is not Infidelitie the cause of al this miserie? Is not Christ's hand, and heart open towards Sinners; but are not their hearts shut against him by Unbelief? Is there any thing in Christ, or his evangelic offers that keeps men from believing? O then! What an irrational, sottish, perverse, cruel sin is Unbelief? What a world of miserie doth it bring on Sinners? How justly doth Christ pronounce a sentence of death against them, who wilfully reject his offers, and means of life? Alas! how is it possible that Salvation itself should save such, so long as they wil­fully spurne at the offers of Salvation? Is there any sin that doth more directly oppose Salvation by Christ, than Unbelief? Christ comes, by his Evangelic offers of Grace, to draw the Unbelievers heart unto him; but oh! how doth he draw back? Yea, how doth his unbelief oppose Christ, as He comes clothed with Grace, Love, and Pitie? And can Unbelievers expect, that Christ should passe by such affronts, and indignities, with­out severe punishments? Doth any thing more provoke Christ, than to have his bowels, and compassions towards Sinners spurned at? Can­not he put up any injuries better than this? Is not Unbelief the most cruel, and bloudie enemie in the world, in that it takes away not only the active power of doing good, but also the passive power of receiving good, when offered? Is not this the language of Infideli­tie, [Page 244] Lord, I need not, I desire not thy Grace; keep it to thy self: I have wherewith of mine own, to supplie my needs; I can make a shift with mine own righteousnesse, to clothe my naked­nesse; with the balsame of mine own good workes to heal my wounds, &c. And as Infidelitie thus puts a bar to al Grace and Mercie; So also doth it not open the dore to al the jugements of God? Are not the most severe Plagues of God entailed on Infidelitie? Doth not this sin provoke God to curse mens blessings? Doth it not also cut us off from many promissed Mercies? Yea, how severely hath God pu­nished this sin in his own people? Was not Moses an holy man, deprived of entring into Canaan for one act of unbelief? Oh! how deep doth Gods wrath sinke into the unbe­lievers soul? How many flourishing Churches have been deprived of the Gospel, and means of Grace for their Infidelitie? Or suppose, that God continues some means of Grace, yet doth not Unbelief turne them into means of hardening? When men wil not believe the Gospel, how oft doth Christ leave such to a spirit of error, to believe lies? Yea, doth not Infidelitie continued in, oft cause Christ to give up such to their own lusts; which break forth sometimes into scandalous sins? Yea, how oft doth Christ deliver up impenitent, obstinate Unbelievers, to a spirit of slumber, judicial hardnesse, and al manner of Divine vengeance? Are these the effects of Infideli­tie? Is there so much sin, and self-murder, wrapt up in its bowels? and are there so ma­ny [Page 245] Curses and Plagues, both temporal, spiri­tual, and eternal, entailed on it? May we not then, without any injustice, conclude, that Unbelief is the worst enemie we have in the world? Doth not our Infidelitie give us more pain and trouble than al other enemies? Oh! then how should we, with fire and sword, persecute Unbelief, as our most mortal enemie? Can we be too severe against such a deadly enemie? Is not al pitie and compassion that we shew towards Unbelief, the greatest crueltie that may be to our own souls? Why should we then cease our Indignation and Re­venge against Unbelief, 'til we have let out its heart-bloud? Remember, the more you pitie, & spare it, the more cruel you are to your selves.

5.Ʋse 5. To pursue after Faith as the most excellent & power­ful Grace. This also layes an essential and strong obli­gation on al, both Believers and Ʋnbelieve [...]s, to put an high value on Faith; and to pursue after it, as their supreme Interest, and Concerne. Surely, if Infidelitie be so prodigious, and pernicious a Sin; then, by a paritie of reason, Faith most be the most useful, and excellent Grace. Contraries much illustrate and set off each other: And oh! how doth the black deformed nature, and venimous qualities of Infidelitie set off the Beauties, and excellent qualities of Faith?Faiths efficace. What a strange, and mi­raculous power, and efficace has Faith? How doth it make things absent▪ present; the in­visible glories of the coming world visible; as the visible glories of this world invisible and disapparent? Yea, doth not faith appro­priate to itself the whole of Gods Alsufficience [Page 246] and Omnipotence; and so may, in a sober humble sense, be said to be in some sort al­sufficient, and omnipotent? For al that is in God, Faith, by a strange magnetic virtue, can applie to it self; and thence it can do althings, so far as it has a Promisse to bottome on. Doth not the great God make himself a debtor to such as trust in Him? [...] How doth Faith [...]end a man from himself, without violence, or pain? What more effectual to break al our Idols, and Images of jelousie, than saving Faith? How doth it make al the beautie of the Creature to fade away, as a Sun-burned Flower? Doth it not also dismount the Be­liever, and make him walke on foot, in al manner of self-abasement? How soon doth the bottome of al sensible good fal out, when Faith comes into the Soul, and takes the Chair? What doth more elevate and refine reason,2. The ele­vation of reason. than saving Faith? Have not those that believe most, the deepest, and soundest reasons? Who is the wiser man, The Believer that adheres to the First truth and chiefest good; or the Unbeliever, who rejects the same, and adheres to Idols of time?3. The fortifying of the Wil and Af­fections. How doth Faith corroborate, and fortifie the Wil in what is good, by uniting of it to Christ, and the Divine wil? What a sweet harmonie, and order doth it inspire into the Affections? How doth it make the Believer to fear God under smiles, love him under frowns, hope in him under difficulties, wait for his returne under desertions? Yea, when our affections are under the greatest disorder and confusion, [Page 247] doth not Faith oft draw peace and order out of it? Is not Faith both food and physic? Doth it not as wel feed Grace, as purge out sin? Whence springeth the Christians union with Christ,4. Union with Christ. but from Faith? Could Christ and Sinners ever come together, unlesse Faith did unite them? Can things contrarie be united, but by some efficacious bond of Union? Was it ever known that there was a mariage be­tween the living and the dead? How then comes it to passe that the dead Sinner is espou­sed to a living Christ? Is not this happy match, the alone miraculous effect of Faith, wrought by the Spirit of God? And hence doth not Faith make God thine,5. Sancti­fication. as surely as thou art thine own? And Faith having united the person to Christ, doth it not thence, by Grace derived from him, purifie the nature also, Acts 15. 9? And doth not Faith hence worke a miraculous change in the whole disposition of the soul, and conversation? And as the member is naturally subject to the head, so doth not Faith subject the whole soul to Christ? Whence also doth not the Believer entirely give up himself to Christ, as Christ gives up himself to the Believer?6. Adhe­rence to Christ. Oh! how doth the believing Soul follow after, and ad­here to Christ, by ineffable groans, and acts of Faith, though Christ may sometimes seem to depart from him? How inquisitive is Faith to understand al the virtues of Christ, and to receive from him Grace for Grace? What a violence is it to Faith to live, act, breath, speak and walke out of Christ? What [Page 248] is it that keeps the heart, as a chast Virgin for Christ, but Faith? Hence also Faith gives the soul solid peace in and with God:7. Peace and Com­munion with God in Christ. and oh! How satisfying is this peace, which Faith gives? What child-like confidence, and boldnesse ensues hereon? And thence, how much is the soul satiated in communion with Christ, so far as Faith prevails? What sola­ces, and delicious suavities doth the believing Soul, at times, receive from Christ? What an active application is there on Christs part towards the Believer; and passive application on the Believers part towards Christ? How much is Faith delighted in trading with Heaven and Christ? Is not this the main bu­sinesse of Faith to enjoy Christ, to live and die in him? What is it that gives the soul an abode in Christ, and Christ in the soul, but Faith, as John 15. 5? Oh! What strong desires, and thirsts after Christ doth Faith worke in the soul? Doth it not make the ab­sence and presence of Christ, the mesure of bitter and sweet,8. The exercise of Grace. of good and evil? What more efficacious to draw forth every Grace in its exercice than Faith? Unbelief is the spring of spiritual sloath and lazinesse; but oh! how vigorous, and active is Faith? There is no Grace, or Dutie but it is made easy by Faith: How easy is the worke of Humiliation made by Faith: What makes divine Love more spriteful, and vigorous than Faith? Yea, is not the whole of Christianitie con­tained in the bowels of Faith? Is there any Grace required to the Divine life, which Faith [Page 249] cannot supplie us with?8. Al Spi­ritual goods. Yea, Faith is so good a Chymist, as that it can extract riches out of povertie, strength out of weaknesse, glorie out of shame, peace out of trouble, Grace out of sin, life out of death, something out of nothing. Oh! how miraculous are the vir­tues of Faith? It makes a man able to do al­things, an yet it makes him see he is nothing, and can do nothing: It makes a man content with any thing that God gives, and yet un­satisfied 'til he can enjoy althings in their fountain.

Again,The oppo­sition be­twixt faith and Unbe­lief. If we consider Faith in its parallel Antithesis, or opposition to Infidelitie, we shal then see more fully the excellent qualities of it, as also the mischievous Influences of Infidelitie. (1.) Faith breeds jealousie of our selves, but confidence in God; it reckons it cannot believe God too much, nor self too lit­tle. But oh! What self-confidence, & jelousie of God doth Infidelitie produce? How much doth it trust self; and thence how little can it trust in God? What mutual Influences, and Reciprocations are there between self-confi­dences and jelousies of God? (2) Faith keepeth the heart close to God, his Word, and Ordinances; and so keepeth God close to the heart: It follows Christ in ways of Dependence, Adherence, Subjection, Sub­mission, and Conformitie; and so Christ fol­lows it in ways of gracious Communications, Consolations, Manifestations, and Commu­nion. But is it thus with Unbelief? Doth it not depart from God, his Word, and Ways? [Page 250] And thence doth not God depart from the Unbeliever? (3.) Faith prepares for, quick­ens in, and sweetens every Dutie: It sets Prayer on foot, Meditation on the wing, and drawes forth the Attention, and Intention of the Soul in hearing and reading of the Word. But oh! How doth Infidelitie hinder, deaden, and embitter the Soul in al gracious exercices? How doth it clip the wings of Meditation, stifle and choke the breathings of Prayer▪ &c? (4.) Faith fixeth and establisheth the heart, by knitting of it to Christ, who is an immu­table Rock. But oh! What a mutable, va­riable, inconstant thing is Infidelitie? How doth it make the heart to stagger, and reel, by dividing and taking it off from God, Isai. 7. 9? (5.) Faith makes a livelyhood out of Divine Promisses, Engagements, Relations, and Influences: It sucks sweetnesse out of Promisses, and so is nourished by them: It feeds on Divine Relations, and Influences; and so finds a livelihood in the greatest famine of spiritual injoyments: It is long-handed, and reacheth to Heaven for supplies, when al means below fail. But oh! how short-handed is Infidelitie? It's true, it has a long hand to reach forth to the Creature; yea, sometimes to Hel; but it has no hand to reach after Christ, or his Promisse: how doth it suffer the poor hungry soul to starve amidst al evan­gelic Promisses and Dainties? Whereas Faith takes the Soul by the hand, and leades it from one Promisse to another, from one Attribute to another, and so suckes gracious Influences [Page 251] from al, as it need requires. (6.) Faith con­quers the whole Soul to God; and thence althings else are conquered to the Soul: It subjects the heart to Christ, and so makes al­things subject to it. But Infidelitie captivates the heart to lust, and thence it becomes capti­vated to every thing else. Oh! What a vassal is the unbeliever to every base lust, Yea, to him­self? (7.) Faith fortifies the Soul against al the Blandissements, Allurements, and eye-pleasing Delights of this lower world: It blasteth al the fair promisses of created good, by out­bidding of them. But alas! how soon is Unbelief entangled, and overcome by every inveiglement, and snare of sinful pleasures? It can fortifie the heart against nothing, but the convictions, and good motions of the Spirit. Faith is the shield of the new crea­ture, to repel al the poisoned darts of the World and Satan; but Infidelitie is the shield of the old man, to repel al the Convictions of the Spirit, darted into the Sinners Conscience. (8.) Faith prepares the heart for, and pre­serveth it under every difficultie, frown, and afflictive crosse: It prepares for the worst times, yet hopes for, and expects the best: It takes out the sting and poison of every crosse; and infuseth into it a medicinal, healing vir­tue. But can Infidelitie do such marvels? doth it not unfit us for every difficultie, and then betray us into the hands of it? Faith never leaves us at a losse; it clotheth the mind with a divine light, whereby it is in­abled to see, and passe thorough al dangers. [Page 252] But oh! How doth Unbelief darken the eye of the Soul; and so create black visions of carnal fear, and heart-rending troubles? Difficulties and distresses are the element of Faith; but how unable is Infidelitie to live, or breath in such a sharpe Air? (9.) Faith opens the dore to promissed Mercies and De­liverances: It keeps the condition of the Pro­misse, and so keeps the soul under the blessing of the Promisse. But is this in the power of Infidelitie? Doth it not rather put a bar to promissed Mercies; as Num. 20. 12. Heb. 3. 19? Yea, doth it not open a dore to al the threats and curses of the Law? Yea, doth it not bind the Unbeliever fast under a sentence of condemnation, as John 3. 36? Whereas Faith on the contrary stops the mouth of al legal Threats and Curses, and locks the soul fast under a state of Salvation, John 6. 47. (10.) Faith improves Mercies received, and so makes way for more: It giveth God the honor of his Mercies, and man a sanctified and comfortable use of them. But can In­fidelitie thus improve Mercies? Doth it not rather, by its murmurs, and misimprovments, destroy former Mercies, and so hinder future? Was not this the temper of the unbelieving Jews in the Wildernesse, as we find it descri­bed, Psal. 78. 11-40? Oh! how doth Unbe­lief rob God of al the Glorie, and so man of al the comfort, and right use of Mercies re­ceived? How unthankeful, how discontented is the Unbeliever under Mercies received; and thence unfit to receive more? Whereas [Page 253] the Believer is content under the want of Mercies, and thence fit to receive them: He can trust God with his soul, and al other Mercies; and thence God trusts him with Mercies needful. But the Unbeliever, not­withstanding the receipt of former Mercies, cannot trust God for the future; and there­fore God wil not trust him with any special marque of Love and Mercie.

These and suchlike being the admirable Qualities of Saving Faith, how much doth it concerne al to labor, with al possible vigor and activitie, after this so noble and useful a Grace? Art thou an Unbeliever? Oh! how much then doth it concerne thee to labor af­ter Faith, that so thou mayest partake of these admirable Privileges and Advantages, which hereby thou wilt be invested with? Art thou a new Convert, and Beginner in Christiani­tie? Oh then! how much doth it concerne thee, to get much Faith, that so thou mayst be strong? Art thou strong, and wel grown in Grace? and art thou not then engaged to act Faith much, that so thou mayst continue strong, and grow more strong in Grace? A­las! What canst thou do or suffer without Faith? How much art thou beneath the least dutie or suffering farther than thou art acted by Faith? And oh! be sure thy faith be of the right make and stampe: Dread being deluded with a false, or commun faith, more than Hel. Make a curious inquisition into the Nature, Causes, and Workings of thy faith: see that it be wel-grounded, and duely [Page 254] qualified. This advice doth more nearly con­cerne young Converts, whose eternal welbeing depends chiefly on the right constitution o [...] their Faith at first Conversion. For if thy Faith in its first framing be naught, thine heart and life wil never be good: Thou mayst build a beautiful and goodly structure of Profession on a commun faith; but let me tel thee, a storme of Tentation wil come, and wash al away: If thy Profession be bottomed only on a Commun faith, it is begun in Hypocrisie, and wil end in Apostasie. O that men would be wise before it be too late, and endeavor To know the things that be­l [...]ng to their peace, before they be hid from their eyes.


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