The Former tending to the awakening the Consciences of secure Sinners, unto a lively sense and apprehension of the dreadfull condition they are in, so long as they live in their Natural and Un­regenerate Estate.

The Latter tending to the directing and per­swading of the Godly and Regenerate unto several singular Duties.

As also a Word to Housholders stirring them up to the good old way of serving God in and with their Families, from Ioshuah's resolution, Josh. 24.15. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Set forth especially for the Use and Benefit of the Inha­bitants of St. Sepulchres Parish, London By Tho. Gouge, Late Pastor thereof.

LONDON, Printed for George Sawbridge, living on Clerkenwell-Green. 1668.

To my dearly beloved Friends the Inhabitants of St. Sepulchres Parish, London.

Beloved Friends,

TO further the salvation of mens souls, as it is a most excellent work, so it ought to be the stu­dy, and endeavour both of every Christian in his place and calling, and especially of the Mini­sters of the Gospel, whose office and function calls upon them more [Page] importunately to labour therein. Now since Regeneration is absolutely necessary to Salvation, and that there can be no entrance into the new Ie­rusalem, without a new birth. I have according to that ability which the Lord hath given me, set forth in this small Treatise the nature and necessity of Regeneration, together with the Means on your part to be performed for the better attaining thereunto.

Most of these truths have been Preached in your hearing, and now they are presented to your sight; that thereby you may be put in re­membrance of them, and more thorowly affected with them. Though I cease to be your Minister, yet I shall not cease to do what in me lyeth to further your eternal happiness. It was my hearty desire of your everlasting welfare that first put me upon Preaching on this Sub­ject: and the like desire hath in­gaged me to present the same to your view.

[Page]Herein have I set before you Heaven and Hell, Happiness and Misery. Oh that you would be so wise as to choose Heaven rather than Hell, Happiness rather than Misery.

That I should adventure these Notes into the World, is not out of any conceit that there is any thing extraordinary in them, being Con­scious to my self of much Weak­ness: but meerly out of that strong affection I bear to your souls wel­fare. For my hearts desire for you is that you may be saved. And will the Lord but bless this small Treatise to the Regeneration, or Edificati­on of any of your Souls, I have the end of all my pains and cost.

Avoiding all affectation of Words, I have used plainness of speech: it being alwayes my chief design in the whole course of my Ministry, to affect the Hearts and Consci­ences of my Hearers, rather than to tickle their Ears, and please their Phansie.

[Page]That I may not detain you longer, I shall close this Epistle with three requests unto you,

  • 1. That you kindly accept of this small Book which treats on a subject so necessary to your everlasting hap­piness.
  • 2. That you would be pleased as to peruse it your selves, so to take some time to read it to your Families. If you cannot find leisure on the week dayes, than to read some part thereof on each Lords day, till you have read it through.
  • 3. That you would not lock it up in your closets, but suffer it to lye in your houses, where your Chil­dren and Servants may peruse it as they find opportunity. Who know­eth how successfull and fruitful this plain Treatise may prove, if the Lord shall be pleased to accompany it with his blessing?

That the Lord therefore would so bless these my poor and weak endeavours, that such as are yet in their natural state may be con­verted, [Page] that Converts may be im­proved and built up in that grace wherein they stand, is the unfeigned desire and hearty Prayer of

Your Servant in the Work of the Gospel, who hath been, and still is desi­rous of your Spiritual welfare. Tho. Gouge.


THE Exposition of the first verse.
Page 1.
The Observation thence raised, The greatest of sinners are oftentimes received to mercy.
The Exposition of the second verse.
The Observation thence raised, True faith may be exceeding weak.
The Exposition of the third verse, where­in Christ declareth to Nicodemus the Necessity of Regeneration
The Observations thence raised,
1. Christ is ready to entertain those that in truth, and uprightness seek unto him, though their weakness and infirmities be many.
2. Regeneration is necessary to Sal­vation.
For the Explication of which point, is shewed,
1. The Nature of Regeneration, what it is.
2. The Parts of Regeneration.
1. Mortification.
2. Vivification.
3. The causes which concurr to the work of Regeneration, which are four.
1. The Efficient. 2. The Material. 3. The Formal. 4. The Final.
The Reasons proving Regeneration ne­cessary to Salvation.
Vse of Exhortation, 1. To the Vnre­generate. 2. To the Regenerate.
1. To the Vnregenerate, that they ear­nestly desire and industriously labour after a saving change in the use of all means God hath sanctified thereunto.
Quickning Motives thereunto, drawn
1. From the Excellency of Regenera­tion.
2. From the Vtility of Regeneration.
[Page]3. From the Necessity of Regeneration.
The Means to be performed for the better attaining thereunto, brought to two heads,
1. The Embracing some truths.
2. The Practising some duties.
The Truths to be Embraced are these,
1. That every man in his state of unre­generacy is in a miserable estate, and dreadfull condition.
2. That there is hope of mercy for the greatest sinners.
The miseries of the Unregenerate in this life.
1. They are Servants to their Lusts.
2. They are slaves to the Devil.
3. They are under the curse of God which continually hangeth over their heads.
4. They are under the guilt of all their sins.
5. They are lyable to all sorts of Iudge­ments, viz. Temporal, Spiritual, and Eternal.
The miserable condition of the Vnrege­nerate at their deaths, in several par­ticulars.
[Page]The dreadful estate of the Vnregenerate after their deaths in several particu­lars.
Of the particular Iudgement that imme­diately followeth after death.
Of the General Iudgement at the end of the World.
The Person who shall be the Iudge.
The Manner of Christs coming to Iudge­ment, which will be, As in great Glory and Majesty,
So in great terrour to the wicked and impenitent.
The Order of Christs proceeding in Iudgement.
The dolefull condition of the Vngene­rate after the Day of Iudgement, which in general, is most cursed.
That Cursed estate is manifest,
1. By privation of all felicity.
2. By subjection to all misery.
Which misery is set out,
I. By sundry resemblances, as
1. Darkness, yea, outer Darkness.
2. Torment, which is the extremity of pain.
[Page]3. Fire, which is the fiercest kind of torment that is, and most intol­lerable.
4. A Worm, which setteth out the sting, or torment of an evil Consci­ence, which shall lye eternally gnaw­ing, and griping the hearts of the damned.
II. By the place where the Damned abide, which is Hell.
III. By the Perpetuity and Eternity of their torment there, which is the very Hell of Hells, that which most of all breaks the hearts of the damned.
II. Another truth to be embraced in or­der to the work of Regeneration is, That there is hope of mercy for the greatest Sinners.
Which appeareth from a due conside­ration,
1. Of Gods Power to save the worst of Sinners.
2. Of Gods willingness to save them.
3. Of the all-sufficiency of Christs Sacri­fice.
4. Of Christs readiness to embrace all Sinners who will come unto him, and [Page] receive him upon the terms of the Gospel.
The Duties to be practised in order to Re­generation.
Several Objections of carnal, and unre­generate men, against the use of the formentioned Means, answered.
The second branch of the use of Exhor­tation unto the Regenerate, which consisteth of divers heads,
1. To admire and adore Gods special mercy and goodness in the work of Regeneration.
2. To be thank full unto God for the same, with Arguments thereunto.
3. To walk worthy of that dignity, by liv­ing singular and exemplary lives.
The singular duties incumbent upon the Regenerate,
1. To make Conscience of their precious time, and to improve it to the best advantage.
2. To embrace every opportunity of do­ing, and receiving good.
3. To be carefull of the manner of per­forming good duties.
4. To walk circumspectly and exactly, [Page] which consisteth,
1. In walking by rule.
2. In having respect to the inward and spiritual part of the Law, as well as to the outward and external.
3. In a careful avoiding all occasions of evil, and temptations thereunto.
4. In abstaining from appearances of evil, as well as from apparent and direct evil.
5. In a moderate use of lawfull things.
5. To beware of Covetousness, and over­loving the World, as being the root of all evil.
6. To live by faith.
7. To be spiritually minded by a frequent contemplation of Spiritual and Hea­venly things.
8. To labour in the use of all good Means for the mortification of the whole body of sin, with all its affections and lusts, especially those which are most praedominant.
John 3.1, 2, 3.

1. There was a man of the Pharisees, named Ni­codemus, a ruler of the Iews.

2. The same came to Iesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these mira­cles that thou doest, except God be with him.

3. Iesus answered, and said unto him, Verily, Verily I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.

CHAP. 1. The Exposition and Observations arising out of the first and second verses.

FRom the beginning of this third Chapter to the 22. verse is set forth the confe­rence between our blessed Saviour, and Nicodemus. In which are three things observable.

  • 1. A description of Nicodemus, verse 1.
  • 2. The occasion of the conference, which was Nico­demus his coming unto Christ, expressed verse 2.
  • 3. The conference it self, from verse 3. to 22.

I. Nicodemus is thus described, verse 1. There was a [Page 2] man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Iews: He is here set forth,

1. By his name, Nicodemus, which is distinctly set down as for the truth of the history, so for the honour of the man. It is observable that in the holy Scriptures there is most care of setting' down the names of good men, that have in their life time, some way or other, set forth Gods glory, and made themselves examples worthy of imitation. [...] Sam. 2.30. For God will honour such as honour him, he will have their memorial blessed. As therefore we desire to have our memorial blessed, let us now labour to honour God in our several places, callings, conditions and relations, by a conscionable discharge of the duties belonging to them: and then we may rest assured, God will some way or other honour us.

2. By his Sect, He is expresly said to be a man of the Pharisees: who were a select Sect among the Iews, of highest account for their seeming sanctity and strict profession. Whereas in truth they were very hypocrites: for they did all to be seen of men. Mat. 6.1. Which because Christ discovered, and made known to the people, they proved his greatest enemies and persecutors.

3. By his Office. It's in general said, that he was a ruler of the Iews. Which is not to be taken, as if he, were the only, or chief governour of the Jews, but to shew that he was none of the common sort, but one of those who had authority and government amongst the Iews.

It is observable, that few of the Pharisees and Rulers received Christs Doctrine, and believed on him, as ap­pears by their own expression,Joh. 7.48. Have any of the Rulers, or of the Pharisees believed on him? which interrogation im­porteth a strong negation; implying, that none or few of the Rulers or Pharisees believed on Christ. They were so puffed up with the pride of their high-places; so swoln with conceitedness of their strict profession and seeming sanctity; and so possest with prejudice against the spiritual and heavenly doctrine of Christ, that their hearts boyled with much envy and indigna [...]ion against [Page 3] him: and thereupon sought many wayes to entrap, and ensnare him. Yea out of very malice they thirsted after his blood, and never ceased till they took away his life. Yet here we find one who was both a Pharisee and a Ruler become a Disciple of Iesus Christ, whom Christ instructeth as in the doctrine of regeneration, so in other main principles of Religion, and thereupon be­came a true believer; whence we may observe:

Observ. That the dew of Gods grace often falleth on the most graceless. That the greatest of sinners are ofttimes recei­ved to mercy, and embraced in the arms of free grace.

This God doth, as for the magnifying the riches of his grace, so for the encouraging great and notorious sinners to return from their sins, and to look up unto him for mercy. For are the greatest sinners ofttimes re­ceived to mercy? then there is hope of mercy for thee, how many and heinous soever thy sins are. St. Paul speaking of Gods mercy to him, who was not only an heinous sinner, but the chief of sinners, declareth how God shewed mercy to him, that he might be a ground of hope, and encouragement unto other great and heinous sin­ners, For this cause, 1 Tim. 1.16. saith he, I obtained mercy, that in me first, Iesus Christ might shew forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. Intimating, that one special end Christ aim­ed at, in shewing mercy to such a sinner as himself, was to stir up and encourage other great and heinous sinners to go unto Christ, and that with hope of acceptance, cast­ing themselves and the burden of their sins upon him. Yea questionless the conversion of so many notorious sinners is recorded in Scripture, not only as a memo­rial of what God hath done for others, but also as a sign and token what he is now ready and willing to do for the greatest sinners, upon their turning from their sins unto him by unfeigned repentance, and closing with Jesus Christ by a true and lively faith. Oh there­fore let those admirable and s [...]upendious patterns of mercy held forth in Scripture, be encouragements unto thee, to abandon thy sins, to turn over a new leaf, and [Page 4] to close with Jesus Christ upon the terms of the Gospel.

II. The Occasion of the conference betwixt Christ and Nicodemus followeth in verse 2. and that was his coming unto Christ; which is farther amplified by the time when he came, and that was by night: The same came to Iesus by night. Nicodemus his going unto Christ for farther instruction in the way and means of salvation, did evi­dence the truth of his faith; but his going by night, did evidence the weakness of his faith. He believed upon the hearing Christ Preach, and seeing the mira­cles which he wrought, that he was a Teacher sent from God. Yet because he was a Pharisee and a Ruler, thought it a disgrace to go openly unto Christ, to be instructed by him: but went by night, and thereby discovered the weakness of his faith; whence we may observe:

Observ. True Faith may be exceeding weak. This title, Mat. 6.30. Mat. 8.26. Mat. 14.31. O ye of little faith, [...]. wherewith Christ often upbraideth his Disciples, is an evident proof thereof. So likewise that expression of the poor man, who cryed out unto Christ, Mark 9.24. Lord I believe, help thou my unbelief. The for­mer word, I believe, sheweth the truth of his faith; but the latter word, unbelief, sheweth the weakness of his faith, which was so weak, that he calls it un­belief.

Art thou conscious to thy self of the weakness of thy Faith?

1. Be thankfull unto God for that measure and degree which thou hast, though it be but as a grain of mustard-seed for quantity; for the least dram of true faith is of greater value than Mountains of Gold and Silver.

2. Content not thy self with a small measure of faith, for contentedness with a weak faith is an argument of no faith: and besides the greater and stronger thy faith is, the greater and stronger will be thy comfort and consolation. For the stronger thy faith is, the clearer will thy apprehension be of thine interest in Christ, and of the pardon of thy sins, in and through the merits [Page 5] of his death and passion: The more vertue and strength wilt thou draw from Christ for the mortifying thy lusts, and for the quickning thy graces; yea with the greater cheerfulness wilt thou go on in thy Christian course.

3. Labour and strive after a greater measure and degree of faith, to grow from faith to faith, from one degree of faith unto another, till thou attain unto the high­est degree thereof, even to a full assurance. To this end be earnest with God in prayer for the increase of thy faith. For every grace depends upon him, not only for birth, but also for growth and increase: but of this grace of faith, he is in a special manner stiled, as the author, Heb. 12.2 [...] so the finisher thereof.

Though thy faith at present be weak, yet know for thy comfort, That the weakest faith, if true and sin­cere, is sufficient to salvation. For though God giveth not to all believers a like measure and degree of faith, but to some more, to others less: yet he giveth to none of his less than may suffice to their salvation. So that the least faith hath this in it, that it is sufficient to sal­vation, in that it doth interest us in Christ, and in all the promises of the Gospel.

III. The Conference it self follows, which is a Dialogue between Nicodemus, and our blessed Saviour; wherein Nicodemus begins, saying Rabbi, we know that thou art a Teacher sent from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Wherein we may Observe,

I. The Title be giveth to our Saviour, [...] Rabbi, which signifieth Master, and so our Evangelist expoundeth it, Ioh. 1.38. [...] Qui multis prae­fectus est, aut multos doctrinâ & dignitate antecelli [...]. It is a compound word, and signifieth, my Master, For RAB implyeth a man of excellency, one that excelleth others in knowledge and learning, and therefore may well be accounted a Master, or Teacher.

This being a title of great esteem and renown, the Pharisees did exceedingly affect it: whereupon their flat­tering followers to please them would double the word, [Page 6] and call them Rabbi, Rabbi. Hence it is that Christ upbraids to them th [...]s their ambitious affectation, and reckons it amongst the badges of their pride, Matth. 23.7. where speaking of the Pharisees, he saith, they loved to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.

The truth is, that this title rightly taken in its proper sense, is due only to Christ, who is the great Prophet and Teacher that came from God, as Nicodemus here acknowledgeth. Whence we may observe:

Observ. That Iesus Christ is the great Prophet, and Teacher of his Church: being alone able to declare his Fathers will, and to open the mysteries of the Gospel. And indeed all other Prophets were but types of this great Prophet. Joh. 1.18. He lay in the bosome of his Father, and so understood the mind and will of God; and was thereby enabled to make known the Oracles of God, and the mysteries of Salvation. Yea as the Apostle ex­presseth, In Christ are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Col. 2.3. Not only wisdom and knowledge are hid in him, but treasures of wisdom and knowledge: yea all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hid in him. And all these graces he hath in the highest de­gree; in which respect he may well be termed the great Prophet and Teacher of his Church.

To him let us give ear and hearken, preaching unto us both in his Gospel, and by his Ministers, who make known unto us the mysteries of the Gospel.

II. The next thing that followeth in the conference, is the profession which Nicodemus maketh of Christ, we know, saith he, that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. In which we may observe,

1. The Profession it self, we know that thou art a Teacher come from God.

2. The reason thereof in the next words, For no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. As if he had said, whoso­ever worketh Miracles, cometh from God, but thou workest miracles, therefore thou comest from God. [Page 7] This clause, these miracles that thou doest, carryeth a great Emphasis, and sheweth that they were very great miracles which Christ did, and so confirm the argument the more. This reason is sound, and afford­eth this point of doctrine.

Observ. Miracles cannot be wrought but by divine power. For miracles alter the order and course of na­ture; which none can do, but he which hath appointed, and set that order, namely God. I will not insist on this, that I may hasten to that which I mainly intend in this Treatise.

CHAP. II. The Exposition and Observations arising out of verse 3.

IN verse 3. follows Christs answer to Nicodemus ▪ which is continued to verse 22. In which Christ first declareth the necessity of Regeneration, in these words, Ve­rily, verily I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he can­not s [...]e the Kingdom of God.

Before we come to the substance of Christs discourse, observe we his manner of entertaining Nicodemus.

You have heard from the foregoing verses, that Nicodemus was both a Pharisee and a Ruler; both which sorts of men most of all opposed Christ. And you have heard of his weakness, how through fear and shame he went to Christ by night; being loth to be seen with him. Yet Christ re [...]ects him not, but kindly enter­tains him, and instructs him in such points, whereof he was ignorant, though they were fundamental points necessary to salvation. Whence we may observe:

Observ. Christ is ready to entertain those that in truth, and uprightness seek unto him, though their weaknesses and in [...]rmities are many. He rejecteth not such as are [Page 8] weak in faith for their weakness. We read in the Histo­ry of the Gospel, that when Christ lived upon the earth, he rejected none who came unto him in upright­ness of heart. Some indeed went away of themselves, but he turned away none. Only he seemed once not to regard the Woman of Canaan, But why? Surely not out of any purpose or intent to reject her, or turn her away, but only to make known the greatness and strength of her faith. For in the close Christ saith unto her,Mat. 15.28. O Woman great is thy Faith. And can any imagine, that now Christ is in Heaven, he hath not the same bowels of compassion towards those that come unto him, which he had, when he was upon the earth! Questionless though he be there free from passion, yet not from compassion towards weak belie­vers. That which was long before Phrophesied of him by Isaiah, ever was, and will be found true in him, namely, A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoak­ing flax shall be not quench: Isa. 42.3. that is, He shall not deal roughly and rigorously with weak Christians, such as are weak in grace, but mildly and gently.

Luk. 19.10.For the end of Christs coming was to seek and save that which was lost. And can we imagine that Christ who seeketh after those who go away from him, will reject any who do in truth seek after him?

Yea Christ is naturally very merciful and tender: as he hath beams of Majesty, so likewise bowels of mercy, pitty and compassion. His tenderness over weak Christians is set forth in Scripture, by a Mothers com­passion over her sucking child, Isa. 49.15. the Son of her Womb: and by a fathers pittying his children. Psal. 103.13. So that I may upon good ground conclude; that Christ will not cast away or reject such as are weak in faith, because (but) chil­dren; but most willingly and readily embrace them, because Children.

What encouragement should this be unto all poor believers, how weak soever their faith is, to go unto Christ, as for the strengthning their weak faith, so for the subduing their strong lusts, and for the reviving [Page 9] their drooping souls? For your further encourage­ment, you have Christs gracious invitation, come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Mat. 11▪28. Hath he bid thee come, and will he reject thee when thou comest? Hath he called, come ye holy ones, come ye righteous ones, come ye strong ones, and you only shall have rest? Hath he not invited the weak, and the weary also, the drooping and fainting soul? Go poor weak soul, go unto Christ, behold he calleth thee, go unto him, and thou mayst expect thy cure. Question­less, one special reason why Christ shewed himself so willing and ready to hearken unto the cry of those who came unto him for the cure of their bodily distempers, when he was upon the earth, and to heal the same, was to stir us up to go unto him for the healing of all our spiritual maladies and diseases. For Christ came not into the world to heal bodies, but souls. And there­fore when the name Iesus was given him, the reason is said to be this, Because he shall save his people from their sins. Mat. 1.21. Not their bodies from sicknesses, but their souls from sins.

Art thou bound under any spiritual infirmities? Do as those sick and diseased persons did, when Christ was upon the earth, who are said to go unto him in faith, believing he was both able and willing to cure them; whereby they drew vertue from him for their healing.

Art thou troubled for the weakness of thy faith, com­plaining thou hast no assurance of thine interest in Christ, no assurance of the pardon of thy sins? Go unto Christ by prayer for encrease of faith, believing that he is as able, so willing to strengthen thy weak faith. And fear not, thou shalt find such measure of strength added to thee, as Christ seeth best, and as shall be suf­ficient for thee.

Art thou sensible of the working and stirring of cor­ruption in thee, fearing lest it should get dominion over thee?Rom. 6.14. Lay hold on that promise, Sin shall not have dominion over you. And in confidence of his faith­fulness that spake it, apply thy self to Christ by prayer, [Page 10] for his making good that good word to thee: and then stand still and see the salvation of God. Lust as strong as 'tis, will not be able to stand before the prayer of faith: only be carefull that when thou hast made thy Prayer, thou set a watch. Art thou assaulted with the temptations of Satan, and fearest that he may get the victory over thee? Go unto Christ by prayer for strength and support against them, believing there is as a power in Christ, so a willingness in him to suc­cour, and strengthen thee; and thou shalt be sure to find, if not deliverance from temptations, yet grace sufficient to resist them, and power to overcome them.

Lastly, Art thou troubled with an hard and obdurate heart? with a filthy and unclean heart? with a world­ly, and covetous heart? with a proud and barren heart? Go unto Christ by prayer, believing there is as a power, so a willingness in him to mollifie thine hard and obdurate heart; to purifie thy filthy and unclean heart; to spiritualize thy worldly and covetous heart: to humble thy proud heart; to make fruitfull thy barren heart. And doubt nor but thou shalt find thine hard and obdurate heart in some measure softned, thy filthy and unclean heart in some measure purified, thy world­ly and covetous heart in▪ some measure spiritualized, thy proud heart in some measure humbled, and thy barren heart in some measure made fruitfull.

And certainly one special reason why many go droop­ing and groaning so long under the bondage of cor­ruption, under the weight and burden of their spi­ritual maladies, and diseases, is, because they do not go unto Christ by prayer for freedom from the same: or through the weakness of their faith, they do not believe Christ is, as able, so willing to help and deliver them. For what Christ said to the poor man who came unto him in behalf of his possessed child, the same he saith to thee,Mark 9.23. If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

Obj. Some are apt to say, I have often gone unto [Page 11] Christ by Prayer, earnestly begging of him to strengthen my weak graces, to subdue my strong lusts and cor­ruptions, to mollifie my hard heart, &c. but I cannot pray in faith: I cannot believe that he is, as able, so willing to grant my requests.

Answ. 1. Thou mayest pray in faith, even then when thou thinkest thou dost not believe. Weak Christians are often mistaken here, supposing that if they be not confidently perswaded that God will hear them, they do not pray in faith. Whereas it is not a confidence that God will hear us, but a dependance upon Christ in hope of audience, that is our s [...]et evidence of faith in prayer. Thou sayest thou prayest, and prayest, but canst not be perswaded that the holy God will hear the prayers of such a vile and unworthy wretch, and thereupon concludest that thou dost not pray in faith. But let me ask thee, Dost thou offer up thy prayers in the name of Christ? dost thou depend upon him in hope of an answer for his sake? this is praying in faith.

2. Mourn and weep for the weakness of thy faith.

3. Be earnest with God in prayer that he would strengthen it.

4. Know that thy corruption neither is, nor will be utterly destroyed, so long as thou livest here in this World; nei­ther will thy spiritual maladies and diseases be quite cured, but they do and will continue in some mea­sure and degree; partly to bring down thy pride, which of all sins is the most odious and abominable unto God; and to advance thy humility, which of all graces is most pleasing and acceptable unto God: and partly that thou mayest have frequent occasion of going unto God by prayer for help and strength against the power of thy lusts and corruptions.

5. Know, that power against sin, increase of grace, an hum­ble, tender, clean heart, are mercies as worth the praying for, so worth the waiting for. Christs delays are no denials: thou canst not say, he will not, because yet he hath not given thee thy desires. Be not weary of seeking; in due season thou shalt reap, if thou faint not.

[Page 12]Before I leave this point, I shall add one word by way of caution. Beware thou mistake not thy self.

Take not thy self to be one of little faith, whilest thou hast no faith. Let not unbelievers catch at the comforts and encouragements that belong to the least of Saints; that which is their meat, will be thy poison. Comforts falsely applyed, though they be sweet in the mouth, will prove curses in the belly. Hast thou no faith? Oh tremble, this is the word that belongs to thee,Mark 16.16. He that believeth not shall be damned. Though to him that hath shall be given, yet to him that hath not, shall be taken away, even that which he seemeth to have.

He that hath the least faith, is a resolved enemy of all sin, a resolved friend of holiness, is resolved to hang upon Christ, to cleave unto Christ, to follow him to the death in righteousness and holiness of life, though he still do question whether Christ be his or no.

Is it not thus with thee? Beware how thou catch at the forementioned comforts. Yet this let me say to thee also, if thou hast not faith, wilt thou go to Christ for faith? If thou canst not go to Christ as a Be­liever, wilt thou go to him as a Sinner? If thou art not yet in a state of salvation, art thou willing to be saved? Art thou willing to learn of Christ, to ask his counsel, what must I do to be saved? wilt thou go thus to Christ, Lord camest thou not into the world to save sinners? to make intercession for transgressors? to seek and to save them which are lost? Oh wilt thou save this sinner, my sinfull soul, Lord? I fear I am none of thine, but wilt thou make me thine? I come to thy door, I lye at thy feet, a poor lost soul, an undone creature; Oh wilt thou take me in, and make me one of thy Disciples? Wilt thou thus come to Christ? Even thou also art one of those that he calls to;Ma [...]. 9.13. He came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Thus much of Christs entertaining Nicodemus.

Come we now to the first general point whereof Christ [Page 13] discourseth with Nicodemus, and that was the Doctrine of Regeneration, in these words, Verily, Verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the King­dom of God. In which we may note,

  • 1. The manner of propounding it.
  • 2. The matter and substance of it.

For the manner it is propounded with a double asse­veration, Verily, Verily, I say unto thee. In the Greek it is Amen, [...]. Amen, which in the Hebrew signifieth truth. The asseveration is doubled, to stir up attention in Nicodemus, who being yet in great measure ignorant of the fundamental principles of Religion, might happily have lightly esteemed this doctrine of Regeneration, and therefore to stir up his attention, Christ useth this dou­ble asseveration, verily, verily, I say unto thee. Which was a form of speech often used by our Saviour when he would solemnly avouch any weighty truth. He ne­ver used it but in matters of great moment. By it therefore our Saviour giveth us to understand, that the truth here delivered is a weighty truth, not lightly to be regarded, and slightly passed over. For he who gave this commandment,Mat. 5.37. Let your communication be yea, yea, nay, nay, would never have added this double asseveration, if there had not been need thereof. Christ therefore having prefixed this preface to the following truths, doth thereby stir us up to give, as the more credit, so the more diligent heed thereto. Yea and thereby shews the doctrine of Regeneration to be a most important point; necessary to be known and learned of all.

The matter or substance of the Doctrine of Regene­ration, as Christ hath sayd it down, followeth in these words, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.

For the more profitable handling whereof, I shall,

  • 1. Clear the words by giving you the sense and meaning of them.
  • 2. Raise and prosecute such points of Doctrine as they afford unto us.

For the clearing of the words. Except a man. [Page 14] In the Greek it is, [...] Except any. This indefinite parti­cle joyned with an exclusive hath the force of a gene­ral. As if our Saviour had said, No man can enter into heaven except he be born again; so as he speaketh not only of notorious sinners, as adulterers, drunkards, swearers, &c. but of all who are in their natural con­dition, though they live never so unblamably, free from all scandalous sins, if they be not born again, their civil righteousness will do them little good, for they shall never see the Kingdom of God.

Be born] Except a man be born, This is spoken meta­phorically and spiritually, in allusion to our natural birth, which Nicodemus not observing, clean misconstrued Christs words.

Now this word born, or begotten, is used to shew that the whole nature of man must be changed, and in a manner new framed, not in regard of the substance, but of the qualities of it.Secundum qualitates [...]o [...] secun­dum ipsam vel ani-nae, vel corporis [...]. The natural essence and sub­stance either of the soul or body is not destroyed, but still remaineth, only it is divested of the old, and in­vested with new qualities. He that is regenerated hath a renewed understanding, a renewed will, renewed affections, yea new desires and a new conversation. So that the meaning is, No man can enter into heaven unless by the spirit of God he be first altered and changed from what he was, even brought out of the state of nature into the state of grace, and so become a new creature, as in regard of his new manner of creation, so in regard of his new manner of conversation, leading another manner of life than he did before.

Born again] The original word translated again, is as well attributed to place, as to time, and signifieth above, as well as again, as vers. 31. [...] And indeed this is the most usual signification of the word, and therefore some translate it so here, [...] except a man be born from above, as it is in our old translation. And though our new translators of the Bible have altered it, yet have they put in the Margin from above.

But questionless in this place the word signifieth [Page 15] again: [...] here signi­fieth as much as [...] for so Nicodemus taketh it, verse 4. how can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his Mothers Womb, and be born? So that the word here hath respect to the time more than to the place, and implyeth the necessity of a second birth, that a man be born of the spirit, as well as born of the flesh, otherwise it had been better for him, he had never been born at all.

He cannot see the Kingdom of God] Kingdom is here taken for that happy estate whereunto God bringeth his elect in Christ, the entrance thereunto is in this life, which is commonly called the Kingdom of grace. The full possession, is in the life to come, called the King­dom of glory. These are not two distinct Kingdoms, but two degrees of one and the same Kingdom. Now whereas Christ faith, He cannot see the Kingdom of God, it's in effect as much as, He cannot enter into the Kingdom of God, as our Saviour clearly explaineth, verse 5. Except a man be born of water, and of the spi­rit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God, that is, He cannot be saved.

Having thus cleared the words, by shewing you the sense and meaning of them; They afford unto us this point of Doctrine:

Doct. Regeneration is necessary to salvation: Or, To make a man a member of the invisible Church, and so a [...] heir of Gods Kingdom, it is necessary that he be regenerate and born again, and thereby brought out of the state of na­ture into the state of grace.

This very Doctrine for substance is again inculcated, verse 5. Verily, Verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. Now our Saviours twice repeating this Doctrine, both in verse 3. and verse 5. and in both places prefixing a double asseveration, Verily, Verily, doth notably confirm the truth of it, and therefore there needs no farther proof thereof.

But for the better conceiving, and right applying this Doctrine, I shall shew you,

  • 1. The Nature of Regeneration, What it is.
  • [Page 16]2. The Parts of Regeneration.
  • 3. The Causes which concurr to the work of Regeneration.
  • 4. The Reasons proving the necessity of Regeneration to Sal­vation.
  • 5. The uses of the point.

CHAP. III. Of the Nature of Regeneration, What it is.

I. REgeneration, is that grace whereby a natural man is made a spiritual or new man. Even he that by sin was a Child of the Devil, is made a Child of God. For as by vertue of our natural birth, that which was no man is made a man, or Son of man. So by this Spiritual birth, he that was a natural man is made a new man, even a spiritual man, a child of God, So that to speak properly, Regeneration is another birth after the former. A spiritual birth after our natural birth, whereby a man is as it were another man. As it is said of Calch, that he was a man of another spirit. So may it be said of a regenerate man, 1 Cor. 6.11. that he is of another spirit, being quite altered and changed from what he was before.

[...], Regeneratio.The notation of the Greek and Latine words imports as much. Not unfitly called regeneration, because by it we are restored to that image of God, wherein we were at first created.

Now this regeneration, or new birth cannot be meant of a birth after the flesh, Secundum carnem. for no natural or carnal thing is to be conceipted in regeneration. But regeneration is a spiritual birth, a birth of the spirit, as is evident by those words,Joh. 3.6. that which is born of the spirit is spirit. So as by the work of Regeneration flesh is turned into spirit, that is, the carnal, corrupt disposition of man, is changed and altered into a renewed and sanctified disposition; whereby it appears that Regeneration is as it were a new creation, and a regenerate man is called a new-creature, [Page 17] being renewed throughout, both thorow his soul with all the powers and faculties thereof; and thorow his body, with all the parts and members there­of. So that the blind understanding is in some measure inlightned with the knowledge of God, and the know­ledge of Jesus Christ. The stubborn and contumacious will is in some measure obedient and conformable to the will of God. The seared and benummed conscience is now quickned and awakened. The hard heart softned, the unruly affections crucified: And the body with all the parts and members thereof are made ready instruments to put in execution the good intentions of the mind. Thus by Regeneration men are wrought upon throughout, being wonderfully altered and changed from what they were before: in relation to which alteration they are said to be born again. Which may inform us of the won­derful depravation of our nature, which was such, as mending and repairing would not serve the turn, but God must new make, and new create us, we must be born again, made new creatures.

Which consideration should me-thinks take away all ground of boasting from any man, and stir up every regenerate person to give unto God the praise and the glory of his happy change, saying, Not unto us, not unto us, but unto thy name be the praise and the glory of this great work.

Quest. Doth Regeneration admit any degrees?

Answ. Yes verily. For Regeneration may be considered in the beginning, and progress of it: or in the consumma­tion and perfection of it.

It is begun and increaseth in this life; it is consum­mate and perfect in the life to come.

In this life there is spirit mixed with flesh, that is, grace with some corruption of nature, as is evident by the Apostles complaint in these words,Rom. 7.21, 22, 23. When I would do good evil is present with me. For I delight in the Law of God after the inward man; But I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind, and bring­ing me into captivity to the law of sin, which is in my [Page 18] m [...]mbers. So that sin and corruption doth remain in all the regenerate,Habitat sed non regnat, manet sed non domi­natur, de­jectum sed non ejectum tamen, &c. Benard. in Serm. 10. on Psa. 90. as long as their souls remain in their mor­tal bodies, it remains though it doth not raign in them. It is in this life cast down, but not cast out.

And this God in great wisdom is pleased to permit, to keep us humble and low in our selves, and to drive us unto Jesus Christ, that as long as this flux of blood runneth, we should alwayes be desirous to touch at least the hem of his garment.

But at death that corruption will be utterly consumed, and body and soul clean freed from it: insomuch as at the resurrection when body and soul shall be again united, the regeneration begun in this World, will be mani­fested to be most perfect. Whereas in this life the most regenerate are imperfect, through the Reliques of sin and remainder of corruption, which will abide in them so long as they abide, and continue in this World.

Now seeing the work of Regeneration is imperfect in the very best here in this life, and that there remains flesh and corruption in them, so long as they remain in this World, Do not thou look too high, I mean, after a greater measure and degree of grace than here is to be had. Many there are who being regenerate by the spirit of God, and so brought out of the state of nature into the state of grace, presently look for a freedom from all sin and corruption, which because they find working and stirring in them, thereupon question the work of Regeneration and truth of grace in their souls. But let such know, that they look for more than here is to be found, or than God expects from them.

For God doth not expect or require of us here, free­dom from sin and corruption, but that we should en­deavour to subdue and mortifie it more and more, ac­cording to the measure of grace and strength which we have received from him. He doth not require of us that we be without sin, but that sin do not rule nor raign in our mortal bodies,Rom. 6.12. according to that of the Apostle, Let not sin raign in your mortal bodies. Neither [Page 19] doth the Lord require of us exact and perfect righte­ousness, which is impossible to our corrupt nature, but only that we strive and labour after it, that we sincerely endeavour to serve him after the directions of his Word. And that for our failings and imperfections we do in an humble confession bewail the same, and then beg the pardon and forgiveness of them, in and through the me­rits of Jesus Christ. And this God will accept of, for he esteemeth more of our affections than of our actions, and accepteth the will for the deed, according to that of the Apostle,2 Cor. 8.12. If there be a willing mind, it is accepted ac­cording to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.

CHAP. IV. Of the Parts of Regeneration, and Causes con­curring thereunto.

HAving shewed you what regeneration is, and how it doth admit degrees. I shall shew you the Parts of Re­generation, which are two: 1. Mortification. 2. Vivi­fication.

Mortification is implyed under the phrases of casting off, Eph. 4.22. Rom. 6.6. and crucifying the old man, and destroying the body of sin. This is a duty expresly enjoyned in these words, mortifie your members which are upon the earth. Col. 3▪5. By mem­bers on the earth, he meaneth all sorts of lusts and sins whereunto a natural man is given, as is evident by the particular instances which he himself reckoneth up in the words following, as fornication, uncleanness, &c.

These must be mortified, that is, put to death. It is not enough to curb, and hold in sin, but the life of it must be let out. And indeed it is not possible to put on the new man, till the old man be cast off. Therefore there is a necessity of mortification first, before vivifica­tion. [Page 20] For the bringing in of one form presupposeth the putting out,Inductio unious formae est destru­ctio alterius. or destroying of the other. Wherefore af­ter Mortification followeth Vivification.

2. Vivification is the begetting of the life of grace in us, whence we live in holiness and righteousness. It is set forth in Scripture by Gods quickning us, and by our walking in newness of life. Eph. 2.5.

Vivification then implyeth a new spiritual life, which God by his spirit worketh in us, which is clean contrary to our former natural,Rom. 6.4. corrupt course of life. For the effects of this life are holiness and righteousness, and all manner of good works.

Now it is absolutely necessary that this part of rege­neration, namely Vivification, be added to Mortification, which is the other part, even as necessary as that Christ being dead should be raised. Where had been the bene­fit of Christs death, if he had not risen from the dead? And what can be imagined to be the profit of mortifi­cation without vivification? It is therefore the ac­customed course of Sacred Scripture to infer the follow­ing of holiness, upon the flying of sin: the doing of good, upon eschewing of evil. Now the things which God hath joyned together, let no man put asunder.

Let us therefore prove our regeneration not only by ceasing from sin, but following holiness, and working righteousness. Content not thy self to say, I am not what I was, unless thou canst also add, I am what I was not. It will be but little boot to thee to say, I am no drunk­ard, nor swearer, nor covetous, nor a walker after the flesh: unless thou canst also say, By the grace of God, I now walk after the spirit, in faith and love, and holy obedience, watchfull unto, and endeavouring after a fruitfulness in every good work. Thou art not un­just, (thou sayest) but doest thou shew mercy? Thou art no longer earthly; but art thou heavenly minded? Thou art no longer contentious, or quarrelsome: but art thou a peace-maker? Thou hast no longer fellowship with the ungodly, but art thou a familiar of the Saints? Thou wilt not now curse, or swear, or lye, or scoff, but dost [Page 21] thou pray and bless? Dost thou hear and read, and meditate on God? Dost thou study thine heart, and govern thy thoughts and affections? Dost thou bridle thy tongue; set a watch over thine eyes, and ears, and steps? Is it thy care to please, and in all things to walk worthy the Lord? Look to thy self, that thou be not deceived. Cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light. Cast off the old man, and put on the new man, which as it is created after the image, So will it carry thee on ac­cording to the will of God in righteousness and true holiness.

Having shewed the Nature of Regeneration, and the parts thereof. I come now to shew what Causes concurr to the work of Regeneration.

1. The efficient Cause, or primary Author is God. For in this respect we are born of God. 1 Pet. 1.3. God hath be­gotten us, Jam. 1.18. Even God the Father of our Lord Iesus Christ.

2. The procuring causes are Gods will, and Gods mercy. There could be nothing out of God to move him. It must needs therefore arise from his own meer will.Jam. 1.18. So faith the Apostle Iames, Of his own will begat he us. And there could be nothing in man to move God hereunto; for man by nature is most miserable. It must needs therefore arise from Gods meer mercy. For misery is the proper object of mercy. On this ground it is justly said that God according to his abun­dant mercy hath begotten us again. 1 Pet. 1.3.

3. The immediate worker of Regeneration is Gods Spirit: Joh. 3.4. In this respect we are said to be born of the spirit; Tit. 3.5. and regeneration is stiled the renewing of the holy Ghost. For it is a divine work above humane ability.

4. The ordinary instrumental cause is Gods Word. Of his own will begat he us by the word of truth, Jam. 1.18. whereby is meant the Gospel. In this respect the Word is stiled incorruptible seed. 1 Pet. 1.23. The Gospel is that part of Gods Word which is most effectual hereunto, [Page 22] and it is thereupon stiled the Gospel of salvation. Eph. 1.13. And the power of God unto salvation. Rom. 1.16.

5. Ministers and preachers of the Gospel are Mi­nisterial causes of Regeneration, who are in rela­tion to their Ministery said to beget us, 1 Cor. 4.15. and stiled Fathers.

Philemon verse 10.All these are comprised under the Efficient cause, and are so far from thwarting one another, as they sweetly concurr to produce this divine work of Rege­neration, being subordinate one to another, and may in this order be placed together. It being the will of God to shew mercy to man, he ordained Ministers to cast the seed of his Word into mens souls, which being quickned by the Spirit, men are thereby born again.

II. The material cause of Regeneration, is the parts whereof it doth consist, which are two,

  • I. Mortification.
  • 2. Vivification, of both which I have spoken in the fore-going Chapter.

III. The formal cause of Regeneration is Gods Image planted in us, which consists in holiness and righteousness. After this Image we are said to be re­newed. This makes an essential difference betwixt a natural and a regenerate man.Eph. 4.24.

IV. The final causes next and subordinate to the glory of Gods free-grace and rich mercy, are especi­ally two;

1. To make men able to do good: namely such good as may be acceptable and honourable to God, profitable to other men, and truly advantageable to themselves. The Apostle therefore speaking of Regeneration (which we have shewed to be a kind of Creation) thus ex­presseth this end,Eph. 2.10. we are created in Christ Iesus unto good works.

2. To make men fit for glory. For corrupt flesh can­not partake of Coelestial glory. Whereupon faith Christ, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the King­dom of God: Joh. 3.3. So far shall he be from being admitted into it, as he shall not come so near as to see it. God [Page 23] will not take a sinner reeking in his lusts, and pre­sently invest him with a Crown of glory. And therefore that we may be fitted for Heaven, the Lord is pleased by his spirit to regenerate us, mak­ing us new-creatures,, and thereby making us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the Saints in light.

Behold the Riches of Gods mercy and goodness, that he not only created us at first in a most happy estate, even after his own image and likeness: But when we wit­tingly and willfully fell from the same, and plunged our­selves into misery, wherein he might justly have left us, as he did the evil Angels. Yet he hath not only re­stored us again to that former estate, by renewing his image in us: but thereby fitted us for a more glori­ous and excellent estate: wherein his goodness appear­eth to be as his greatness, infinite, incomprehensible. Who can sufficiently set it forth?Psal. 103.11. For as the Heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy towards them that fear him.

CHAP. V. Sheweth the Reasons why Regeneration is ne­cessary to Salvation.

HAving spoken of the point by way of explication; I come now to speak of it by way of confirmation, To this end I shall shew you the reasons of the point, why Regeneration is necessary to Salvation.

Reas. 1. From the immutability of Gods purpose. God who hath chosen us to life, hath chosen us also to ho­liness, as our way to it. We are bound to give thanks to God for you, 2 Thes. 2.13. brethren, beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to Salvation, through the Sanctification of the Spirit. Whoever will pass into [Page 24] glory, must take grace in his way. You ask, why may I not be saved, unless I be regenerated? Why! be­cause God is resolved on the contrary.1 Thes. 4.3. This is the will of God, your sanctification first, and then your salvation. Now the purposes of God shall stand. With him is no variableness nor shadow of turning. All the world shall sooner be damned, then the purpose of God shall be made void. The Lord God must cease to be the unchangeable God, if thou ever be saved, who wilt not be sanctified.

Reas. 2. From the stability of Gods Word. God hath said, Except a man be born again, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. Is the word of God yea and nay? doth he say and unsay?Mat. 24.35. Heaven and Earth shall pass away, but his word shall not pass away. Count upon it sin­ner, as sure as God is true, thou shalt never see the salvation of God, unless thou be first made partaker of the renewing of the holy Ghost.

Reas. 3. From the respect that Regeneration hath to Salvation. Regeneration is a degree and part of Sal­vation. Grace is glory begun, holiness is the begin­ning of blessedness, the perfection whereof will be in Heaven hereafter,Eph. 4.24. where the image of God, which con­sisteth in knowledge, holiness, and righteousness will be perfected in our souls, where we shall perfectly love God, and delight in him, and be ever praising him with the Heavenly host. Now, how canst thou expect the participation and enjoyment of this blessed estate without regeneration and renovation here? Unless the image of God be renewed upon thee in holiness? and thou dost truly love God, and delight in communion with him here? Canst thou expect the consummation without a beginning! to be perfectly holy hereafter, and not initially holy here! to live with God in glory hereafter, and yet here live and lye in thy filthiness and uncleanness! Canst thou expect hereafter to live in the everlasting love of God, and yet here have no true love to him at all? Canst thou expect hereafter ful­ness of delight in the presence of God, and yet here [Page 25] have no delight in him at all? But takest thy whole de­light either in satisfying thy covetous humour by heap­ing up riches, or in gratifying, thy sinfull lusts and af­fections, by yielding to the solicitations of the flesh?

Be not deceived, as I said before, so I must say it again, Grace is a necessary beginning of glory; As sin is death begun, and hell begun, so is grace the first fruits of life and glory. And as certain as it is, that he shall never find an hell hereafter, who is purged from his sins here; so undoubtedly certain is it, that he shall never come into the divine presence hereafter, who is not here made partaker of the divine na­ture; he shall never enter into the Kingdom of glory, who is not first born into the Kingdom of grace. Be a convert in this World, or thou wilt be a reprobate in the other World. Thou mayest as well expect a birth where there hath been nothing formed in the Womb; a Noon-tide where there hath been no dawning, as ever look to see the day-light of glory, who hast never known the morning of grace.

Reas. 4. From that corruption of mans Nature in which he is brought into the World. For our first Parents having by their fall defaced that image of God in which they were at first created, and being thereupon cor­rupted and polluted, in every power of their soul, and part of their body; all that come from them are in like manner corrupted and polluted, an unclean off­spring from unclean progenitors.Job 14.4. For who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one, as Iob speaketh. And saith our Saviour, That which is born of the flesh is flesh;Joh. 3.6. that is, Every one that is born of man, every mothers Child is carnal and corrupt: every man by his first birth is polluted and unclean: Now no unclean person can enter into Gods Kingdom. Rev. 21.27. Believe it Sinner, God will never take thee from the dunghill reeking in thy Lusts, and set thee down by him in the Throne. The holy land was never intended for a Sepulchre, to bury the dead in, to be filled with filth and rottenness, it's no den for Dragons, nor nest for Serpents and Vipers, [Page 26] nor was ever designed to be peopled with Dogs and Swine.Rev. 22. Without shall be Dogs. Corruption shall not in­herit incorruption, nor shall flesh and blood inherit the Kingdom of God. Bastards may not inherit. Thou must first be a child, and have the spirit of a child in thee, and then thou art an heir, an heir of God, and a joynt heir with Christ.

Reas. 5. From the holiness of Gods nature, which is such that no unclean person can stand in his presence. The Prophet Habbakkuk sets him forth to be of purer eyes than to behold evil, Hab. 1.13. neither can be look on iniquity. And saith the Psalmist, Evill shall not dwell with thee, nei­ther shall the foolish stand in thy sight. Psal. 5.4. Where by the foolish may be meant the wicked and profane, as it is often taken in Scripture; (wicked men are fools) and such shall not stand in the sight and presence of God. There is a contrariety between the holy nature of God, and the unholy nature of carnal and unregenerate men. And therefore what communion can there be be­tween them? Between an holy God, and unholy crea­tures? Between a pure God, and impure creatures? Surely none at all. So much the Apostle expresseth where he saith,2 Cor. 6.14. what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? Or the righteous God with unrighte­ous men? What communion hath light with darkness? which interrogation implyeth a strong negation. Be­lieve it sinners, if ever you look to enjoy communion with God in glory, you must have union with him in grace; you must here be regenerate, and become new creatures: yea holy as he is holy, that you may be such as he may dwell withall, and delight in. For as the Apostle speaketh,Heb. 12.14. Without holiness no man shall see the Lord. He shall be so far from enjoying the presence of God, that he shall not so much as see him.

Lev. 10.3. Saith Moses to Aaron, God will be sanctified in them that come nigh him, that is, that draw near unto him in any of his Ordinances. Now to the sanctifying God in his Ordinances, there is required;

  • [Page 27]1. That his Nature be renewed and sanctified. An un­sanctified heart cannot sanctifie God.
    Psal. 50.5.
    Gather my Saints together unto me.
  • 2. That he have holy and awfull apprehensions of God. God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of his Saints; and to be bad in reverence of all them that are about him.
    Psal. 89.7.
  • 3. That he bring holy affections. Every ordinance of God, as it requires our affections to be employed and exercised in it, so holy affections: such affections as do arise from an holy heart, and are suitable to an holy God.

Now can carnal men thus sanctifie God? they pol­lute and profane his holy name, they cannot sanctifie it. Can they not sanctifie God, and can they be accepted of God? or find any pleasure in his presence? If God be not sanctified in them, he will be sanctified upon them: his wrath will break forth upon them, so far shall they be from enjoying any comfortable communion with him.

Now if such sanctity and holiness be necessary in those who draw near unto him in his ordinances: How much more to the enjoying immediate communion with him in Heaven? will not God meet thee at a prayer, and will he suffer thee to meet him in Paradise? will he not let thee see his face at his Table, and will he let thee sit down with him in his Kingdom? Maist thou not come into his Courts, and shalt thou enter into the holy of holies? Was the man without a wedding gar­ment thrust out from his presence here below, and shall he be received into his mansion above? How can these things be?

CHAP. VI. An Vse of Exhortation to endeavour after Rege­neration; with quickning Motives thereunto.

HAving thus done with the Explication and Confirma­tion of the point; Come we now to the use and Application thereof.

I. The first may be an use of Exhortation, both to the unregenerate and to the Regenerate.

First to the unregenerate: Is Regeneration absolutely necessary to Salvation? Oh then how doth it concern you who are yet in your sins, and under the power of corrupt nature, earnestly to desire, and industriously to labour after this saving change, in the use of all mea [...]s God hath sanctified thereunto? Let y [...]r outward con­dition be what it will, be ye never so rich, never so honourable, yet far be it from you to sit down satis­fied in any condition, till you be renewed, and sanctified by the spirit of God. A [...]as, how many be there in the World; who though in their natural and carnal estate, yet live as securely and merrily, as if their condi­tion were as safe and good as the best! Ask them one by one, Whether the work of Regeneration be wrought in their souls? and some will answer, they hope it is, others that they never doubted it; though none of them know what Regeneration is, nor ever minded any such thing. And yet these men have not only read, but do likewise believe the words of our Saviour, who hath told them,Joh. 3.3. that except they be born again, they cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Ah sinner, I beseech thee for the sake of thy precious and immortal soul, to stir up in thy self an hearty desire, and sincere endeavour after this blessed work. [...]. As it is the one thing necessary to salvation, so let it be the main thing [Page 29] of thy desire and endeavour. There is nothing deserves precedency in thy thoughts, aims, and labours before this.Psal. 132.4. David resolved not to give sleep to his eyes, nor slum­ber to his eye-lids, till be found out an habitation for the Lord. The habitation which pleaseth God most, is thine heart, but it must be a renewed heart. Oh how darest thou sleep a night in that house, where God doth not dwell? and he dwells not in thee, unless thou beest Re­generated by his holy Spirit. In the fear of God therefore, see thou give no rest to thy soul, no ease to thy mind, till thou find a blessed change wrought in thee, till thou findest thou art brought out of the state of nature, into the state of grace. Neither sit down satisfied in the enjoyment of any worldly comfort, with­out the enjoyment of this mercy. And indeed how canst thou live merrily or sleep quietly, so long as thou livest in thine unregenerate estate? in which if thou shouldest die, thou wouldest perish for ever, even to all Eternity. Especially considering the uncertainty of thy life, whether thou shalt live a day, or an hour longer.

For the more profitable handling this Use, I shall,

  • 1. Give you some Motives to quicken up your desires and endeavours after the work of Regeneration.
  • 2. Shew you the Means to be performed for the better artaining thereunto.

The Motives may be drawn to these three heads:

  • 1. The Excellency.
  • 2. The Utility.
  • 3. The Necessity of Regeneration.

I. For the first, the Excellency thereof will appear from these four particulars:

1. Regeneration doth enoble a man, raise him up towards his Original perfection. Man was made the noblest of all creatures in this visible World, in the image and likeness of God. Sin defaced the Image of God, and stamped the Image of the Devil upon him. A sinner is a man de­generated into a beast;Psal. 49.12. Man being in honour abideth not, but is like the beasts that perish. He lives like a beast, and dies like a beast, not knowing whither he goeth. Every man is brutish in his knowledge. Jer. 10.14. He hath a brutish [Page 30] heart, lives a brutish life. By grace man comes to him­self, is raised up from a beast to a man again, renewed after the Image of God; The spirit of glory and of God shines forth in him. There's more of the glory of God seen in a Saint, than in all the works of God under the Sun: nay than in the glorious Sun in the Heavens.In illis tan­tum sunt opera Dei, in hac est imago D [...]i. Aug. The Sun, Moon, and Stars fall short of the glory of the new-creature.

2. The Excellency of Regeneration appears, in that it makes a man a true Christian. A man is not really a Christian, because he hath been Baptized, beareth the name, and frequenteth the ordinances of Christ: but because he is Regenerated by the Spirit of Christ, and thereby tran­slated out of a state of sin and death, into a state of life and peace.Rom. 2.28, 29. For as under the law, he was not a Iew, who was one outwardly, being circumcised in the flesh. But he was a Iew who was one inwardly, being circumcised in his heart and spirit, as the Apostle expres­seth. In like manner, he is no true Christian, who is only outwardly Baptized, but he who is inwardly Baptized by the Spirit, and whose heart is changed and renewed.

3. The Excellency of this new birth appears in this, that it is the beginning of eternal life and happiness: even of the same life which we shall live hereafter in Hea­ven with the Saints, and glorious Angels to all Eternity. Grace here is not only an evidence of glory hereaf­ter, but it is the beginning of that glory, which here­after we shall more fully enjoy in Heaven: Grace and glory differ only in degree: for grace is glory begun here, and glory is grace consummated, and perfected hereafter. Now considering that this is such an ex­cellent state, how doth it concern you as earnestly to desire, so industriously to endeavour after it, in the use of all means God hath sanctified.

II. Another Motive may be taken from the Utility of Re­generation. If it be demanded What is the profit thereof? we may answer [...] the Apostle did of Circumcision, Much every way. 1 Tim. 4.8. For this is that Godliness, which is profitable unto all things, having promises of the life that now is, and [Page 31] of that which is to come, that is, it hath Heaven and Earth entailed on it, and therefore must needs be profi­table. The Regenerate therefore are called heirs of the Promises. Heb. 6.17. Jam. 2.5. Such only have the true riches, being rich in faith, as the Apostle Iames calleth them. As Laodicea was poor, though abounding in outward ful­ness. So these are truly rich, though destitute of ma­ny outward things, having an interest in God, who is the fountain of all blessings. How should the consideration hereof stir you up, as earnestly to thirst, so sincerely to endeavour after this blessed state!

III. Another Motive may be taken from the necessity of Regeneration. It is absolutely necessary to Salvation. It had been better for thee never to have been born, than not to be born again. It is as necessary as Heaven and happiness. For saith our Saviour himself, Except a man be born again, he cannot see, much less enter into, the Kingdom of Heaven. So that there is no hope of the Salvation of any unregenerate man, or woman: but if they live and die in that estate, their portion will be death and damnation with the Devils and damned to all Eternity. And in regard of the uncertainty of their lives, they are not sure to be out of Hell one day longer.

Ah sinner! What dost thou mean then to conti­nue in thy carnal and unregenerate estate? As sure as the word of God is true, if thou dye therein, thou art shut out of all hope of mercy for ever: and shalt pass into easeless, and endless misery. In the fear of God therefore, when thou risest up in the Morning, consider with thy self, that thou art un­certain of being out of Hell till the Evening. And when thou lyest down, consider how uncertain thou art of being out of Hell till the next morning. Surely this consideration is enough to amaze any poor Chri­stian who is indeed Regenerate, but maketh some question thereof in himself. How much more should it amaze, and startle thee who art yet in thy car­nal and sinfull estate; and stir thee up without any [Page 32] farther delay to escape for thy life, and make out in hast after thy Redemption from this dreadful con­dition.

I would ask thee this question, Whether if thou shouldst put off thy seeking after the great work of Regeneration and conversion till another year, week, or day, thou art sure to be then on this side the grave, or on this side hell? Certain it is, thou hast no assurance of thy life for one day longer. Nay, I dare boldly say, thou thy self knowest and believest as much. Ah sinner, what folly, yea what madness is it then for thee wilfully to live one day longer in such an estate, in which if thou shouldst dye, thou art, without hope of recovery, undone for ever.

Obj. Haply thou wilt say, though I am not sure to live another day, yet I am likely, being in good health and strength of body.

Answ. How many as strong and healthfull as thy self, have suddenly by death been snatched away? And why maist not thou be as soon taken away, ha­ving no Lease of thy Life? who then but a fool or a mad-man would adventure his eternal happiness upon such an hazard? Oh therefore as thou tenderest the everlasting good of thy precious soul, put not off this great and weighty work a day longer:Prov. 27.1. for who knoweth what a day may bring forth?

Hadst thou been taken away in the state thou art in, how sad had thy case been? where hadst thou been at this hour? Certainly thou art not able to conceive the dreadfulness of that misery thou shouldst now have been in. And hast thou lived all this while in so great danger, and wilt thou live in it still? God forbid! Hath a miracle of mercy kept thee out of hell so long? and wilt thou yet continue securely in such danger of it? Oh ungratefull wretch! Questionless if thou hadst any ingenuity in thee, thou wouldst be ashamed thus to abuse the patience, and long-suffering of God to­wards thee; which should have led thee to repen­tance. Thou shouldst rather take up a resolution, [Page 33] and say, though I have hitherto abused the patience and long-suffering of God, I will abuse it no more. Though I have often slighted and rejected the gracious invitations of Jesus Christ, yet through the grace of God, I will reject them no more, but close with them, and give up my self unto Christ from henceforth to be ruled and governed by him.

God hath allotted to every man who lives in the bosome of the Church a certain day of grace, and time of repentance; which whosoever neglects, can never be saved. Ah sinner, as therefore thou wouldst not neglect thine own Salvation, neglect not the day of grace, neither let slip the season of mercy; but as the Apostle exhorteth,Heb. 3.15. To day if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. Behold now is the accepted time, now is the day of Salvation; if that be once past there is no recovering it.

CHAP. VII. Sheweth the miserable and dreadfull condition of the Vnregenerate in their life-time.

HAving given you some Motives to quicken up your desires and endeavours after the work of Regenera­tion. I come now to shew you the Means on your part to be performed for the better attaining thereunto; which may be brought to these two general heads;

  • 1. The Embracing some truths.
  • 2. The Practising some duties.

The Truths to be embraced are these;

  • 1. That every man in his state of unregeneracy is in a miserable state, and dreadfull condition.
  • 2. That there is hope of mercy for the greatest sin­ners.

That you may the better understand the miserable [Page 34] condition of men in their state of Unregeneracy, I shall shew you their miseries:

  • 1. In this life.
  • 2. At death.
  • 3. After death.

Their miseries in this life are briefly these;

I. They are Servants to sin, and slaves to their lusts; making it their main work and design to serve their sinfull flesh with its affections. The baseness of this slavery under sin will appear the more, if we shall consider,

1. What it is we do inthrall thereby, even our precious souls, which at first were created after the Image of God, and fitted for his noble service, and communion with himself. Now for this immortal Being to be a drudge to base pleasures and profits, to the vain and vile things of this World, is a most sad degeneration.

2. What are the fruits of this spiritual bondage and slavery.

1. At the best a little seeming pleasure, or profit, that lasts but for a moment, Heb. 11.26. which the Apostle calls, the pleasures of sin for a season: they are but of little worth, and but of short continuance. And sure it must needs be a point of folly eagerly to pursue these sinfull lusts and plea­sures, which are but light and temporary, which do but appear and vanish, to the hazard of those durable riches and eternal pleasures which are at Gods right hand.

2. Another fruit which usually follows upon our sla­vish subjection to our lusts,Rom. 6.23. is death eternal; according to that of the Apostle, the wages of sin is death, and that eternal, as appeareth by the opposition of eternal life: for saith the Apostle, The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. So that as eternal life followeth an holy life, so eternal death followeth a sinfull life. This is the reward, sinner, that thy God whom thou servest will pay thee at last, thou must dye the death.

Oh the folly and madness of this sensual enslaved [Page 35] World! Surely were there nothing in sin but the pre­sent slavery, it were enough to disswade any ingenuous spirit. Who would be a slave? a slave to a lust? at the command of every unclean motion? at the beck of every brutish affection? But if the vileness of the work will not deterr thee, will not the dreadfulness of the wages neither? which is eternal death and condem­nation. Oh consider this you who make so light a matter of sin, and take such pleasure in obeying the lusts thereof.

II. All men in the state of unregeneracy are servants and slavos to the Devil. Which necessarily followeth upon the former, for such as are in subjection to their lusts, must needs be under the bondage and slavery of Satan, in that the chief power he hath over us, is, by lust to allure us unto sin. I know all men are apt to say, that they hate and defie the Devil, and abhor to be his slave or servant: but yet in the mean time, they obey his sinfull commands, and thereby declare them­selves to be his servants, for as the Apostle speaketh, Know ye not, Rom. 6.16. that to whom ye yield your selves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey. And saith the beloved Disciple,1 Joh. 3.8. He that committeth sin is of the Devil, that is, he who gives up himself to the com­mitting of sin, is a servant and slave to the Devil, for he doth his drudgery.

Oh that the eyes of poor sinners were opened to see who it is that puts them upon all manner of sin and wickedness! Certainly they would not then be so ready and forward thereunto. Oh that they did but know in what a miserable bondage and slavery they are! Certainly then they would not be so merry, and jovial, neither would they sleep one night quietly in such a state and condition, but they would be casting about, how they might be freed and delivered from the same.

III. All men in their state of unregeneracy are under the curse of God, which continually so hangeth over their heads, that they are cursed in every thing,

[Page 36]1. In their estate. Wealth and Riches are in themselves good things, even the good blessings of God: but yet all the wealth of carnal and unregenerate men are accursed unto them; their very blessings are turned into curses, as the Lord threatneth by his Prophet Malachy, saying, I will curse their blessings.

Cursed they are, and shall be in the City and in the Field; in their Basket and in their Store; in the increase of their Kine, and in the flocks of their Sheep, as you have it ex­pressed, Deut. 28.17, 18. Though thou enjoyest abun­dance of this Worlds goods, yet so long as thou livest in thy wicked and ungodly courses, be it of lying, swear­ing, couzening, whoring, drinking and the like, the curse of God is in thy store and abundance, which makes way for thine eternal misery.

2. In their names. Their very name is cursed, for as the Wise man speaketh,Prov. 10.7. The memory of the just is blessed, but the name of the wicked shall rot; that is, the just and righteous shall leave a sweet scent behind them, so that they shall not be mentioned without some com­mendation. But the wicked shall leave a stinking sa­vour behind them; so that their very names shall be loathsome and abominable; like a rotten carcass they shall for [...]a while stink above ground, and at last be utterly forgotten.

3. In their houses. For as the Wise man speaketh, The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked. Though their houses be never so well furnished,Prov. 3.33. yet what comfort and content can there be found therein, when the curse of God is in them? which is enough to blast the beauty and glory, and to eat up the timber and the stones thereof.Zech. 5.4.

4. In their religious exercises. The word which they hear, is cursed unto them. That which to others is the savour of life unto life, to them is the savour of death unto death, being a means to ripen their sins, and hasten their ruine. The prayers which they make are accursed unto them: oft-times bringing down a curse rather than a blessing. Yea the Table of the Lord is likewise [Page 37] accursed unto them, so that instead of feeding on the body and blood of Christ, they eat and drink their own damnation. Oh how sad and lamentable must thy condition needs be, when those things which are not only blessings in themselves, but likewise blessed unto others, should be cursed unto thee, and heighten both thy sin and sorrow. And if thy blessings become curses, O what will thy curses be!

IV. As the ground and foundation of the curse, All men in their state of u [...]regeneracy are under the guilt of all their sins, which must needs make their condition sad and dreadfull.Psal. 32.1. For as the man is blessed whose ini­quity is forgiven, and whose sin is covered: So is he most wretched and miserable, who lyeth under the guilt of sin without pardon: His Conscience b [...]ing oft­times tormented with such restless horrours and perplexities, that though life be most sweet, and hell most dread­full, yet it makes a man wilfully to cast away the one, and willingly to embrace the other, that he may be freed from the horrour of his guilty conscience. Thus Iudas sought ease by an halter, and preferred hanging, yea the torments of Hell before the anguish of his guilty conscience. Now thou maist make light of un­pardoned sin, thinking it no great matter. But the day is coming, when thou wouldst give all the world, (if thou hadst it) for a pardon, wh ich then cannot be had. Therefore as ever thou wouldst stand before Christs judgement seat with comfort, and not be cast into everlasting burnings, now turn from thy sins, and be earnest with God in Prayer for the pardon of them in and through the merits of Christs bloody death and passion. Art thou a sinner, and not a pardoned sinner? O tremble! What conscience hast thou that can let thee sleep, and sing and laugh in such a dismal state?

V. Every man in his state of unregeneracy is liable to all sorts of judgements.

1. To temporal judgements, as pains, sicknesses and diseases, losses, crosses, and the like. Haply for the [Page 38] present thou maist be without them, but thou canst not promise thy self freedom and exemption from the same, no not for one day: for they are con­tinually hanging over thine head, ready every moment to seize upon thee: and they oftentimes come sud­denly when they are least expected. It is expresly noted, that when the Lord rained Fire and Brimstone upon Sodom and Gomorrah, at that time the Sun was risen from the Earth. Little did the Sodomites expect so strange a showr after so fair a Morning. Believe it, this dayes ease, and rest and mirth may be turned into pangs and anguish, and groanings, and roarings before tomorrow.

2. They are lyable to spiritual judgements, as blindness of mind, hardness of heart, vileness of affections, hor­rour of conscience, and the like. The Prophet Isaiah doth elegantly decipher the miserable condition of an unregenerate man in this respect, The wicked, saith he,Isa. 57.20. are like the troubled Sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. The Sea is not only oft­times outwardly tossed up and down with winds and tempests, but also inwardly disquieted, even with her own motions, casting up continually mire and dirt. Even so the heart of a carnal man is not only many times outwardly troubled with crosses and afflictions; but also inwardly disquieted with the impetuous vio­lence of filthy lusts, and the restless terrours and tor­ments of a guilty Conscience, which are far soarer than any outward afflictions, as seizing upon the tenderest part, namely the Soul and Spirit of a man.

3. They are lyable to eternal judgements. What can they expect if they dye in their state of unregeneracy, but after this momentary life is ended, to be cast into that everlasting fire, which God hath prepared for them, as well as for the Devil and his Angels? which is the most dreadful condition of all: that judgement can­not be accounted small which is eternal. An eternal Feaver, or but an eternal tooth-ache, were a misery un­speakable. But what are these to the lying in that lake [Page 39] which burneth with fire and brimstone to all eternity? Oh me-thinks, the name of eternal judgement should, if not fright him out of his wits, yet awaken eyely unregenerate man out of his security; and stir him up without further delay to abandon his wicked and ungodly course of life, and to set upon the practice of all holy and religious duties, and to labour therein, to get the work of Regenera­tion wrought in his heart, that he may become a new creature. It may be thou hast a plentiful por­tion of this Worlds goods, enjoying what thine heart can wish or desire; But oh what will it pro­fit thee to live plentifully and prosperously here, and to be eternally miserable hereafter? Thy for­mer happiness will serve only to make thee more sensible of future miseries. And therefore when thou art tempted to any unlawfull pleasure, or profit, reason thus with thy self, Shall I for a short momentary pleasure, that will soon have an end, run the hazard of an eternal judgement, that will never have an end? shall I for a little profit here, loose my soul to all Eternity? What greater folly, yea what greater madness can be imagined?

Thus much of the miseries of the Unregenerate in this life: Come we now to shew their miseries at death.

CHAP. VIII. Sheweth the miserable and dreadfull condi­tion of the Vnregenerate at their death.

IF the life of an unregenerate man be so miserable, as hath been shewed. How dolefull think you, will be his death? surely his misery then will be much in­creased, [Page 40] As will appear from the consideration of these particulars.

I. When death shall appear unto thee, and tell thee, it hath a message from the Lord, who hath sent an habeas corpus for thy body: Then comes in Con­science, if a little awakened, with her books of ac­counts, her black and bitter roul, and shews thee thy old reckonings and arrears, setting before thee the follies of thy youth, the sins of thy riper years, and the iniquities of thy whole life.

Ah sinners, thou who goest on impenitently in thy wicked and ungodly course of life, consider with what a ghastly countenance thou wilt look upon that black and hellish Catalogue of all thy sins: thy lyes and oaths, thy railing and rotten speeches, thy scoffings at Gods people, thy goods ill gotten, thy time ill spent, thy profanation of Sabbaths, thy speculative wantonness, yea thy many actual filthi­nesses, and uncleannesses, thy pride, worldliness, and covetousness, thy sensual revellings, and jovial meetings.

Ah sinner, sinner; what horrour will then possess thy soul, no heart of man can conceive, nor tongue of men and angells can express. Indeed many there are, who upon their death-beds have little right or sense of their sins, neither do they think of judgement, or eternity, but drop into hell before they consider any thing. But yet upon the approach of death, com­monly there is some terrour and trembling upon the consciences of carnal men: and if ever any sin did formerly sting, it will then especially. Oh, me­thinks a serious apprehension, and sensible fore-thought of these things, even at hand, for ought any man knows, should make the hardest heart to trem­ble, and melt into tears of unfained sorrow.

II. The Devil will not be then wanting to aggravate thy sins, and to set before thee the curses and the judge­ments due unto thee for the same, thereby to drive thee to despair, For when death layeth siege to the body, [Page 41] then doth he most violently assault the soul. And the shorter he perceiveth his time to be, the more eagerly doth he bestir himself. And when through pain of body, and perplexity of mind, thou art least able to make resistance, then will he most fiercely assault thee. Whereas formerly his great design was to [...]ull thee fast asleep in a presumptuous security, by per­swading thee that thy state and condition was as good as the best, and thy salvation sure enough: at thy death (if he be not then also pursuing the same design) if he can no longer hold thee under thy sleep, it will be his great work to perswade thee, that thy sins are greater than can be forgiven, that there is no place for thee in Heaven, and that it is impossible thou shouldst be saved. He that hath made the way to Heaven so broad, and the en­trance so easie all thy life long, will at thy death do his utmost to shut the door against thee.

III. Death puts an end to all thy Worldly comforts, and contentm [...]nts, which must all die with thee, as to thy use and comfort; It salutes thee with this sad word, Thou hast received thy good things, Now an end of thy Heaven and joy. Particularly,

1. Then thou must part with all thy carnal pleasures and delights, which thou hast loved so dearly. Yea then thou wilt find little comfort remaining of all thy former pleasures, wherein thou tookest so much con­tent and delight: and for the enjoyment whereof thou dispensedst not only with the duties of thy call­ing, but likewise with the duties of piety. Yea it will be a very hell unto thee upon earth to consider what eternal torments thou art like to endure, for those poor and perishing pleasures which thou enjoy­edst here for a season. Are these the things for which I dye? Are these the price of my soul, of my blood, of my peace?

Ah sinner! the remembrance of thy past pleasures will then possess thee with a double passion. First, with grief, because thou art parting with them: [Page 42] And then with d [...]t [...]station, because they have brought upon thee such bitter sorrows and torments in hell with the Devils and damned to all eternity. O the tayle of these Locusts, whose fair faces have here­tofore bewitched thee! O the sting, the sting that they carry in their tayles, which is now all that re­mains to thee!

2. Thou must part with thy nearest and dearest re­lations, as thy dear Wife, or dear Husband, with thy beloved Children. Death will separate thee from them all. Ah sinners, sad will it be to part with these here, to live for ever with the Devils and damned in hell. And how will it torment thee when you must part, to remember to how little good purpose you lived together!

3. Thou must part with thy wealth and riches, car­rying nothing away with thee of all thy enjoyments. We brought nothing into the World, 1 Tim. 6.7. and it is certain, we can carry nothing out, as the Apostle speaketh. But as we came naked into the World, Job 1.21. so we shall go naked out of the World. And therefore when rich men dye, they are said to leave a good estate behind them. And indeed they may well be said to leave it, because they cannot carry it away with them. Ah sinner! I know it will be a death to thee to part with thy wealth, which was thy life; but to consider how thou hast damned thy soul for the getting thereof; this will be an hell to thee.

4. Thou must part with all the means and opportuni­ties of grace. Now thou enjoyest the ordinances of Christ, as the Word, Prayer, and Sacraments, which whilest thou enjoyedst thou hadst hope: But death puts an end to these, and thy hopes must give up their Ghost. Now Christ calls upon thee, Sabbath after Sabbath, by his Ministers and Ambassadours, woing and beseeching thee to abandon thy lusts, to cast away thy sins, and to cast thy self into his arms, to accept of the reconciliation purchased by his blood. But ere long thou shalt hear no more of [Page 43] these things, not a Sabbath more, not a Sermon more, not a promise, not one word more of grace, of mercy, of hope for ever. When thou wouldst give, if thou hadst them, ten thousand Worlds, for one moment of that mercifull time of grace, which thou hast so long abused; for a drop of that pre­cious blood, which thou hast so long trampled un­der thy feet: yea for one Sabbath more, to have Christ once more tendred to thee in the Mini­stry of the Gospel; but alas it will not be granted.

Ah sinner! Then wilt thou cry out of thy sins, and cry for mercy: mercy, mercy Lord to a dying soul, that am just sinking, perishing under the load of mine iniquities. Then wilt thou begin to wish; when it is too late, that thou hadst spent thy precious time to better purpose; that thou hadst minded more the things of Eternity: that thou hadst closed with the tenders and offers of Jesus Christ, and that thou hadst better improved the means and opportunities of grace, which thou didst once enjoy.

Thou wilt then say, Oh if the Lord would be plea­sed to add a few years more to my life! How would I contemn the World and the vanities thereof? How ex­actly would I order my conversation? How carefull would I be of duty, how watchfull against sin? How would I bestir my self to work out mine own salvation? But ah sinner! the time of thy departure is at hand, and there is no hope of a reprieve for one day lon­ger; and therefore all these good wishes and purposes come too late.

There are two things especially which will aggra­vate a sinners misery at his death.

1. To think what possibility of making his peace with God he hath had all his life time; to remem­ber how often he hath been invited to accept of Je­sus Christ, and yet would not.

2. To think that now there is no hope of mercy, [Page 44] having by his sins shut Heaven-gate, and hardened Gods heart against him. Ah sinner! then wilt thou in the bitterness of thy soul cry out, and say, The God of mercy hath utterly forsaken me; and the De­vil, who knows no mercy, waites for to take me. Ah! then which way soever thou lookest, thou wilt find nothing but matter of bitter weeping and lamen­tation. If thou look backward, what canst thou behold but all the filthy and abominable lusts of thy youth unrepented of? yea multitudes of hor­rid sins which thou hast committed in the whole course of thy life; for which thou never hast been humbled, nor shed one penitential tear: the guilt of the least of them is enough to sink thee body and soul into everlasting burnings.

If thou look forward, what canst thou behold but sudden destruction ready to seize upon thee? Yea Gods strict Tribunal, before which thou art just making thy appearance, there immediate­ly to be sentenced to endless torments and mise­ries of the other world; the sting and terrours of which thou shalt never be able either to avoid, or abide.

If thou look within thee, what canst thou behold, but thy conscience polluted and defiled, yea accusing and condemning thee? If without thee, what canst thou behold, but the wicked World which thou hast too much loved? and thy relations which stand weeping about thee? a company of miserable com­forters, that cannot delay the separating stroak of death one day or hour: neither can they afford thee the least dram of true comfort.

If thou look downward, what canst thou behold, but hell deserved? with her mouth open ready to swallow thee up quick; and the Devils ready to re­ceive thy soul, and carry it to that dungeon of dark­ness. If upward, what canst thou behold but a pro­voked, enraged God? whom because thou refusedst to hear in the day of his merciful visitation, he will now [Page 45] laugh at thy calamity, and mock when thy fear cometh upon thee, as himself threatneth, Prov. 1.24, 26. and in verse 28. saith the Lord, Then shalt thou call upon me, but I will not answer, thou shalt seek me, but thou shalt not find me, for that thou hatedst knowledge, and didst not choose the fear of the Lord. And verse 30. Thou wouldst none of my counsell, but despisedst all my reproofs. Ther [...]fore shalt thou eat the fruit of thine own way, and be filled with thine own desires; that is, the wickedness which thou hast sown, shalt thou reap with all fullness. Thus thou wilt look every where for help, yet findest thy self every way help­less, and hopeless.

Haply thou wilt then look unto Jesus Christ, in hope that he will appear for thee, and his blood make thy Attonement: But sinner know, that though his blood be a fountain opened to all poor penitent believers, to wash away the filthy spots and stains of their sins; Yet to thee, who hast all thy life long, suffered Christ to stand knocking at the door of thine heart, by the Ministery of his Word, by the motions of his Spirit, and by the checks of thine own conscience, and wouldst not open unto him: to thee his blood will be then a fountain sealed; so that thou shalt not partake of the least benefit thereof, because in thy life time thou hast so often slighted it, yea and crucified him afresh by thy bloody sins.

Ah sinner, sinner, whither wilt thou flee for com­fort in the midst of thy distress? It will then be too late to cry out, Oh that the time I have spent in Taverns and Ale-houses, in sports and pastimes, in carnal pleasures and sensual delights, I had spent in Prayer and fasting, in humbling and repenting! It will then be too late to cry with Balaam, Oh that I might dye the death of the righteous, when thou hast, neglected to live the life of the righteous. For look as the life is, so commonly is the death; and as death leaves a man, so the last judgement shall find him.

[Page 46]And now, sinner, thy last sand being run out, thy day past, and the Devills long looked for day being come, who waits for thy soul, so soon as it goeth out of thy body. Oh what a direfull screech will thy soul give when it passeth out of thy body into the Devils clutches, to be carryed by him into the bot­tomless burning lake!

Oh how should the consideration of these unspeak­able miseries, which are the portion of natural and unregenerate men at their deaths, startle and waken all such worldlings and sensualists, who so they may encrease their wealth, and satiate themselves with worldly pleasures and delights, take no thought now, nor make any provision against this dreadfull day of reckoning, I mean, the day of their deaths. Sure­ly did they know and feelingly apprehend, or would they be brought to believe what horrour and astonish­ment, what terrour and anguish is like then to seize upon them; they would count it the greatest point of wisdom in the World speedily to labour for an interest in Jesus Christ, who alone can free them, as from the sting of death, so from these horrours and astonishments which accompany the same; and would now ply all the blessed means of salvation, as reading, hearing, praying, fasting, and the like; which are now their burden and bondage; yea the matter of their mocks and scorns, would then be their daily delight and exercise.

CHAP. IX. Sheweth the miserable and dreadfull conditi­on of the Vnregenerate after their deaths.

IF this were the conclusion of Unregenerate men, that death did put an end to all their miseries, happy were it for many. But this is their grief and sorrow, their woe and misery, that all this is the beginning of their sorrows: that after all this, there is a reckoning to be made for what is past.Heb. 9.23. For as it is appointed to men once to dye, so after this cometh the judgement. Where by the Iudgement that immediately followeth after death, the Apostle meaneth the particular judgement, which is at the end of each mans life, as is evident by this phrase, [...]. after this, which intendeth the time of a mans death. For as there is a general judgement at the end of the world; So there is a particular judgement that passeth upon each man at the end of this life. Ah sinner! so soon as thy breath departeth out of thy body; it fareth with thy soul, as with that man of whom the Prophet Amos speaketh,Amos 5.19. who did flee from a Lion, and a Bear met him. In like manner thy soul is no sooner escaped out of a miserable World, but in a moment it is plunged into another and greater misery.

Herein lyeth a main difference between the Chil­dren of God, and the wicked. The course which God taketh with his Children is this. When the soul is set at liberty from the prison of the body, it is in­stantly conveighed by the Angels into Abraham bosome, Luk. 16.22. as is expresly noted of Lazarus. And being cloathed with the long white robe of Christs Righteousness, Rev. 6.11. Heb. 12.23. is joyned to the spirits of just men made perfect.

But with the souls of wicked and impenitent sin­ners, [Page 48] it is far otherwise; for so soon as they depart out of their bodies, they are seized upon by wicked Angels, and presently brought before Gods Tribunal-seat, where receiving their doom, they are instantly sent down into the Kingdom of darkness, and bot­tome of the burning lake, there to be reserved in everlasting chains unto the judgement of the great day.

For the better awakening the Consciences of wick­ed and impenitent sinners, I shall briefly shew you the manner and degrees of this particular judgement.

1. As the Iaylor at the Assizes brings forth the Prisoner out of Prison, and sets him before the Judge. So, Sinner, the Devil as thy Iaylor brings forth thy soul out of the Prison of thy body, and sets it before the glorious presence of God; the sight of whom will strike thee with such hellish horrour and astonish­ment, that thou wouldst be glad to have the greatest rock to fall on thee, and mightiest mountain to cover thee, Rev. 6.16. and there to lye hid everlastingly from the face of him that sitteth on the Throne.

2. As when the Prisoner is come before the face of the judge, then his accusers bring in their evidence. So sinner, thou art no sooner set before the face of the Almighty Judge, but thy Conscience joyning with the Devil brings in evidence against thee. And then all thy filthy thoughts and impure imaginations, all thy lyes and oaths, with all thy rotten communica­tions, and all the secret impurities and villanies of thy whole life will be set before thee, and charged upon thy soul. And how dismally will all thy mirth, and thy pleasures, the houses that thou hast built, the lands thou hast purchased, the money thou hast hoarded up by iniquity, how dreadfully will these look on thee in that day? Now thou boastest thy self in thy wealth, and blessest thy self in thy pleasures, and sportest thy self in thy sins, but in what a grim countenance will all these ap­pear, when they meet thee before the throne of God? Ah sinner! What wilt thou then do? whither [Page 49] wilt thou fly from the revenging hand of God? what mountain canst thou get by entreaty to fall upon thee. Truly, in this case one would not have thine heart in his breast one hour, for all the riches, honours, and pleasures of the World.

3. Then will the Lord hereupon proceed to the sentence of condemnation, (though haply not vocally, yet effectually,) upon thy soul; and say, Depart thou cursed into everlasting fire, there to be reserved to the Iudgement of the great day. Ah sinner! what hor­rour and astonishment will overwhelm thy soul upon that dreadful sentence.

4. As the Judge having pronounced the sentence of death, delivers up the Prisoners to the Jaylors: So then shall God deliver up thy Soul into the hands of the Devils, who being thy Jaylours must keep thee to the great day of account. Whereupon they will instantly hurry thee into that horrible dungeon, and fiery lake, where is nothing but weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. Where thou shalt have no other comforter, but the cursed Devils, who will be continually insulting over thee with hellish spite for slighting and rejecting the offers and tenders of Jesus Christ, for neglecting so great Salvation all thy life long, and losing Heaven for thy base lusts.

II. Besides this particular judgement on the souls of the unregenerate at their deaths; there will be a ge­neral judgement on their souls and bodies re-united at the great and last day.

For the fuller clearing and opening of this great and fundamental principle of Religion, I will shew you;

  • 1. That there will be a day of Iudgement.
  • 2. The Person who shall be the Iudge.
  • 3. The manner of Christs coming to Iudgement.
  • 4. The order of Christs proceeding in Iudgement.

I. For the first, that there will be a day of Iudge­ment, is clear from that of the Author to the Hebrews, [Page 50] Chap. 6.2. where he reckoneth it amongst the funda­mental principles of Religion. And Act. 17.31. The Apostle Paul speaking of God, saith, He hath ap­pointed a day in which he will Iudge the World in righ­teousness. Yea in 2 Cor. 5.10. he puts a MUST upon it, We must, saith he, all appear before the judgement-seat of Christ, which implyeth the necessity thereof.

And truly there is a necessity of a general Iudgement, as for the declaration of the equity of Gods parti­cular Iudgement on each man at his death; in which respect it is called the day of the revelation of the Righte­ous Iudgement of God. Rom. 2.5. So for a clear manifestation of the justice of God.Psa. 145.17. Though God be most just in all his wayes, yet in this World it is not so evidently discerned. Because God in Wisdom oft suffereth the wicked to prosper; yea and to domineer over the Righteous. Here the best men are ofttimes the worst used, and most wronged. Here the true Pro­phets of God are fed with bread and water in their Caves; whilest the false Prophets of Baal fared plen­tifully at Iezabels Table.Luk. 16.19, 20, 21. Here Dives sits in his Pa­lace, cloathed richly, faring sumptuously every day; whilest Lazarus lyeth at his gate, naked and hungry. But then God will reader to every one according to his deeds. Rom. 2.6. In die judi­cii cum justi introducen­tur in reg­num Dei, injusti au­tem abjici­entur for as. Aug. in Psal. 72. When as Heaven and everlasting happiness shall be the lott of the righteous: So hell and eter­nal horrour shall be the portion of the unrighte­ous. Thus you see, there will be a day of Judge­ment.

Oh how terrible will this day of Judgement be unto the unregenerate, and wicked! To them it will be Zeph. 1.15. a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of darkness and gloominess; Then shall the drunkard drink deepest of the cup of Gods wrath; the for­nicator and adulterer, who burned with the fire of lust, burn in the fire of Hell. Then shall the glutton who gave himself up to the satisfying of his greedy appe­tite, be pinched with hunger and parched with thirst, not having a drop of water to cool his flaming [Page 51] tongue. Then shall the worldling and covetous wretch feel his loads of ill-gotten goods sinking and drown­ing him in perdition and destruction, pressing him down to the bottom of the infernal lake.

Ah sinner! How doth it concern thee to retire into some secret place, and there seriously to ponder on this day of judgement? Ask thine heart this questi­on, Is it certain there will be a day of judgement, or no? If it be certain; Oh then why do I not pre­pare for it, by breaking off my sins, and making my peace with God, before that day come upon me? why do I not labour for an interest in Christ, by whom alone I can be freed from eternal death and condemnation?Rom. 8.1. why do I not now give all diligence to make my Calling and Election sure? Oh sinner, rea­son thus with thy self; thou knowest not of what advantage a few such serious thoughts may be to thy soul.

When Paul Preached to the Athenians, he urged them to repent and turn from their sins, from this very ground and reason,Act. 17.30, 31. Because the Lord had appoint­ed a day in which he will judge the World in righteous­ness. Oh repent therefore, and turn ye from your wicked wayes, for why will ye dye and perish eternally in your sins? Seek unto the Lord while he may be found, and call upon him while he is nigh. Christ now stands knocking at the door of thine heart, by the Ministers of his Word, the motions of his Spirit, and checks of thine own Conscience. Oh give him speedy and willing entertainment. The time will come when thou wilt knock with the foolish Virgins, and shalt not be heard: and repent with Iudas, and not be accepted. For the Lord will have his day when thine is past, and a day of Iudgement for thy punishment, that didst slight and reject the day of mercy for thine amendment.

II. For the Person who shall be the Iudge, It is Christ that shall be Iudge: who shall in a visible shape both judge and pronounce sentence upon all [Page 52] men, as the sentence of absolution on the elect, so the sentence of condemnation on the wicked.

Indeed judging the World, being a work ad extra, which is terminated upon, or respects the creature, it is common to the whole Trinity; So that neither the Father, nor the Holy Ghost are excluded: but yet it is in Scripture more especially appropriated to the Son. And that partly as a recompence of his humiliation; and partly because the proceedings of the judgement being visible, it seemed convenient, that the Iudge himself should be conspicuous. And therefore Christ in his humane nature shall judge the World, and de­nounce the doom of condemnation against the wicked ones: yet shall he do all as Immanuel, God and man.

Oh, how terrible will the sight of Jesus Christ as Iudge be unto all carnal and impenitent wretches? who when they shall see him sitting upon the Throne, whose gracious invitations they have slighted; whose Ministers and Ambassadours they have wronged and contemned; whose ordinances they have neg­lected, and whom they have often crucified by their sins: how then will their hearts be appalled with dread and terrour? entreating the rocks and moun­tains to fall on them, Rev. 6.16. and hide them from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.

A poor believer on that day seeing Christ sitting upon the Throne, may with comfort say, Loe yonder is he who dyed to save me, who shed his blood for my redemption, and rose again for my justification, and is now come to judge both the quick and the dead.

But thou who dyest in thy sins, canst not but with much anguish of Spirit in that day cry out and say, Loe yonder is he, who came from Heaven to save poor lost sinners, and who did Sabbath after Sabbath, even all my life long, by his Ministers, wooe and b [...]seech me to abandon my lusts, and to receive him as my Lord and Saviour, to yield subjection unto him, and his laws, and [Page 53] to rest upon him alone for life and salvation: who now would have received me into eternal bliss and happiness. But I miserable wretch that I was, did slight his woings, and beseechings, turning a deaf ear to the calls of his grace, and preferred my lusts and corruptions b [...]fore the Lord, and his salvation: yea and all my life long op­posed his Kingdom and government, as quite contrary to my carnal heart, and sensual pleasures, wherein I took much content and delight. This is the Iudge who now sits on life and death, and from whom I must now re­ceive my se [...]tence. And oh what a fearfull sentence must I expect from such a wronged, cont [...]m [...]ed, c [...]raged, righ­teous Iudge? What will he award me? whether will he se [...]d me? Oh my sins, my sins have cloathed his soul with fury against me. O my soul, what Talents of wrath and vengeance will this righteous provoked Iudge lay upon thee? how will he bind thee in chains of dark­ness, and setters of eternal fire?

Oh therefore that we were so wise, as now in this our day and time of grace, so to renounce bo [...]h our own wickedness, and righteousness, as to joyn our selves to our Lord, resigning up our souls to the go­vernment of his holy laws, adventuring and relying upon the merit of his blood, resolving to follow him in holiness, that hereby we may make him sure to us against that terrible day.

III. For the Manner of Christs coming to Iudgement, it will be as in great glory, so in great terrour to the wicked and impenitent.

1. Christ will come in great glory a [...]d Majesty, Mat. 24.30. even in the glory of the Father. Mat. 16.27. This is the most glorious work that Christ ever did, or will do in his humane nature. He will therefore in doing it be ar [...]yed with as much glory and Majesty, as his humane na­ture is capable of:Tit. 2. [...]13. and therefore the Apostle calls it the glorious appearing.

Q. If you ask wherein the glory of Christ shall appear?

A. His face shall shine as the Sun. Mat. 17.2. Bright clouds [Page 54] as a Canopy shall be over him. Mat. 24.30. A loud sound of a Trum­pet shall be heard before him, He shall sit on a glori­ous Throne. Mat. 24.31. He shall be attended with all the glorious Angels, who are ready to do him service in this judge­ment.Mat. 25.31. These are present as so many Sheriffs and other officers, attending on the Judge of that great assize.

If it be so terrible to guilty prisoners to behold an earthly judge in his scarlet Robes, attended up­on with the Iustices, and Sheriff and other Officers. Oh how fearful and terrible will the sight of this Judge be, manifesting himself from Heaven with such a mighty host, and glorious array of Angels! cer­tainly no tongue can express, no heart can conceive that terrour of soul, and horrour of conscience, that fear and amazement, which will seize upon thee, when thou shalt see Christ in his glory, sitting upon his Throne.

2 Thes. 1.7.2. As Christ will come in great glory, so in great terrour. For he shall come in flaming fire. Yea the terrour of Christs coming to Judgement is noted in this, that thereupon the very Sea shall quake and trem­ble, and in its kind, cry out and roar, making a most dolefull and dreadful noyse. Oh what shall become of the roaring Boys of the earth, when all their rude roarings, and rufflings, and rantings on their Ale­bench shall be drowned and swallowed up of this ter­rible roaring of the Seas? oh then what shall become of swearers, drunkards, whore-masters and such like in that dreadfull day? Surely they will seek to creep into an auger-hole to hide their heads: and will cry out in the bitterness of their souls, Woe and alas, that ever we were born, surely it had been better for us, if our Mothers wombs had been our graves, and that we had never seen the Sun.

When Foelix heard Paul preach of this Iudge­ment-day, and the terribleness thereof, the text noteth that he trembled. Act. 24.25. And sinner, dost not thou trem­ble, who goest on impenitently in thy wicked and [Page 55] ungodly courses? in thy lying, swearing, drinking, whoring, Sabbath-breaking, and other like abomina­tions? Ah sinner, either thou knowest not, or thinkest not as thou shouldst of this dreadfull and terrible day. And therefore it is that thou goest on in the ca­reer of thy lusts, giving thy self up to the gratifying thy sinfull affections, and satisfying thine own hearts desire. Oh that thou wouldst seriously weigh that advice of the Wise man,Eccl. 11.9. Rejoyce, O young man in thy youth, and let thine heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the waies of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes. As if he had said, Ah young man, do what thou pleasest, take thy fill of plea­sure, satisfie thy Lus [...]s, deny not thy self any thing that heart can wish; which expressions are to be taken as spoken ironically, by way of derision, as appeareth by the following words, But know thou, that for all these things, God will bring thee into judge­ment; as if he had said, Though thou put from thee the thought of death, and of judgement, yet assure thy self, that for thy mispent youth, and for all thy sinfull lusts, dye thou must, thou knowest not how soon; and after death thou shalt be brought before Gods Tribunal, there to receive the just reward of all thy sins. A serious consideration whereof would be an excellent means to abate the heat of lust, and cause the hearts of young men to tremble at the thought of that great and terrible day, when Christ shall come to judgement in glory and great Majesty, with his mighty Angels in flaming fire.

CHAP. X. Sheweth the order of Christs proceeding in Iudgement.

IV. FOr the order of Christs proceeding in Iudgement at the last day.

I. There will be a Citation of all both dead and living men with the Devils, to come to Judgement. We must all appear, 2 Cor. 5.10. saith the Apostle. All without ex­ception of any must make their appearance, high and low, rich and poor, King and beggar, male and female.

Oh what a great day will that be, when the whole world shall be cited and summoned to appear together at once!

Q. If you ask how they shall be summoned?

A. By a shout from Heaven, and the sound of a Trumpet, which shall alarm this sleeping earth, and at which Hell shall shake, all graves shall open, and yield up their prisoners, which they have fast kept in the chains of death, from all ages since the beginning of the World.Rev. 20.13. Yea the Sea shall give up her dead which are in it.

A dreadfull summons it will be unto all the wicked and ungodly, whom this sudden noise will no less asto­nish, than confound. We read, that when the Lord descended upon Mount Sinai, for the delivery of the Law,Exod. 19.16. with the sound of a Trumpet; the people of Israel quaked and trembled. Oh then how will the wicked and ungodly quake and tremble when the Lord Christ shall descend from Heaven with the sound of a Trumpet to punish the transgressours of that Law?

II. Upon this Citation and summons there will be a resurrection, from the dead, and such a change of the [Page 57] living, as if they had been a long time dead, and were rai­sed to life again. And as the graves shall then give up their dead bodies; so hell shall give up her living souls, which shall enter into their old Carcases to re­ceive a greater condemnation. Oh, what woful sa­lutations will there be between that body and soul, which living together in the height of iniquity, must now be reunited to suffer the fulness of their misery?

III. After the resurrection follows a Collection, and gathering together of all men and Devils in the World; but with this difference. The Elect being gathered toge­ther by Angels,Mat. 24.31. shall with great joy be caught up into the air to meet the Lord. But the reprobate together with the Devils and his Angels shall with extream hor­rour and confusion be drawn and dragg'd into his presence.Rev. 6.15, 16. Ah sinner, What terrour and amazement will then seize upon thee, when like a malefactor thou art brought against thy will before the Judgement­seat of Christ?

IV. After this follows a separation of the good from the bad, of the elect from the reprobate. For Christ at the first appearing of all before his Judgement­S [...]at, to testifie his gracious favour, and good re­spect to believers, separates them from others, and sets them on his right hand, as a flock of sheep, whom he intends to take for his own. And then will he set the wicked and unbelievers on his left hand, to testifie as his rejecting them, so his purpose to pass a terrible doom upon them, as himself expresseth, Mat. 25.32, 33. Yea in Luke 17.34, 35. I tell you, saith he, in that night there shall be two in one bed, the one shall be taken and the other left, Two men shall be in the field, the one shall be taken and the other left. So that at the day of judgement there will be a sepa­ration of the nearest and dearest relations that may be: as between Husband and Wife, yea Father and Child. Oh! what a sad separation will that be? when the Husband shall be separated from the Wife, [Page 58] and the Wife from the Husband: the Father from the Child, and the Child from the Father. You have often seen what a sorrowfull parting it is, when the Wife buries her Husband, and layeth him in the cold grave. How she goeth home weeping and la­menting her sad loss; though she hath hope of meet­ing him again in Gods Kingdom. Oh, but what an heavy parting and separation will there be, when the one shall be set at the right hand of Christ, the other at his left? the one taken into Heaven, and the other cast down into Hell? Oh, that all Husbands and Wives, all Parents and Children, all Masters and Servants would seriously think of this dreadfull separation; and be thereby stirred up, so to live together here in the fear of God, that they may not be separated at the day of judgement, when this sad and fearful se­paration shall be.

V. After this follows conviction of the wicked, and a dis­covery of all their works; Which is proper to go be­fore giving of sentence. For in all Courts of Justice, there is no man condemned till he be convicted. And therefore this Court of Christ being the most exactest Court for equity and justice, we may well conclude, that there will be no man condemned, till he be convicted, and his offences laid open be­fore all. And therefore at that day there will be,

  • 1. A conviction of the wicked and ungodly.
  • 2. A discovery of their sins to all the World.

Touching the conviction of the wicked, two things are to be considered;

  • 1. The matter of their conviction, or what they shall be convinced of.
  • 2. The means of their conviction, or what they shall be convinced by.

I. The matter of their conviction shall be twofold, they shall be convinced,

1. Of their state. That enquiry shall be made af­ter this is evident, Rom. 14.12. Every one of us shall give an account of himself to God, that is, what he is, [Page 59] whether a sheep or a goat; whether a believer, or an unbeliever; regenerate or unregenerate; in Christ or out of Christ; under the power of corrupt nature, or sanctified by the grace of God. Here in this world, if carnal men make any enquiry after them­selves at all, it's only after their outward wayes and actions, not asking themselves, What am I? whose am I? Am I of God or the Devil? Am I in Christ, or in my sins? But for the most part enquiring only, What have I done? What life have I lived? What course have I run? 'Twere well if there were more such enquiries as this now in this day. Oh how seldome do we hear carnal men asking,Jer. 8.6. What have I done? But in that day the great enquiry will be, What art thou? A Saint or a sinner? A believer or unbeliever? What charge hath been made upon thy nature? Hath there been a work of grace wrought upon thee? And as this will be the grand inquiry, so this will be the great matter of conviction in that day. Now men easily take themselves to be converts, to be believers; but then shall they be convinced of their mistakes, and shall be made to acknowledge, that they are still in their sins, have rejected Christ, and are strangers from the life of God.

2. Of their actions: as those that shall evidence what their state is. All the wickedness of their lives shall be brought forth to light, and made to stare them in the face: and with such unquestionable evidence charg­ed upon them that they shall stand speechless be­fore their Judge, not having a word to say to excuse and acquit themselves of this dreadful charge.

II. Touching the means of conviction, know that this conviction will be by the opening of two books, which we find mentioned in Scripture.

  • 1. The book of Gods Remembrance.
  • 2. The book of every mans Conscience.

The former we find mentioned, Mal. 3.16. A book of Remembrance was written before God. God hath a book of Remembrance, as of the goods works and [Page 60] actions of the godly, so of the evil works and actions of the wicked, wherein their most secret abomina­tions are registred and recorded. Sinner, all the wickednesses of thy life, the secret villanies that thine heart hath been privy to, which no eye of man ever saw, or suspected: all thy chamber sins, all thy twilight sins, all thy works of the night, and of dark­ness, yea secret and open, which thou hast long since forgotten and buried out of thy sight; all these are written and booked up before the Lord against that terrible day.

The latter book, namely the book of Conscience, we find mentioned Jer. 17.1. The Sin of Judah is writ­ten with a pen of Iron, and with the point of a Dia­mond, it is graven upon the Tables of their hearts. That is, their sins are so fixed in their hearts and consci­ences that they cannot be forgotten, but the memory of them all shall be revived. And with the Apostle, Their conscience also bearing witness, Rom. 2.15. and accusing them in the day, when God shall judge the secrets of men by Ie­sus Christ. In this book of conscience, which God hath given to every man and woman, as in Gods book, so in this also are written all their thoughts, words, and actions; yea their sinful omissions, as well as their sinful commissions; their secret impurities, as well as their open impieties.

Now many mens consciences are, as it were, asleep, so that though they are guilty of manifold sins and transgressions, yet their consciences do not accuse them for the same: but their iniquity is still mark­ed, and at that day every mans conscience shall be awakened, bring forth its black roule, even all his sins, and so shall be as a thousand witnesses against him. Then the Covetous Shop-keeper shall remember all his deceits in trading, his false weights and mea­sures, his lying and dissembling. Then shall the un­clean person remember all his watchings for the twi­light, all his speculative wantonnesses, and contem­plative as well as practical uncleannesses. Then shall [Page 61] the proud man remember all his phantastick fashions. The malicious man all his envious wishes, all his plots and stratagems to ensnare and mischief the godly. Yea then shall every one read in this book the hell of his nature, as well as the hideous abominations of this life: then shall he see all his former sins, which he had forgotten, to be written in his conscience, with indelible characters, never to be blotted out. That work of accusing, which the conscience here doth in some men imperfectly, it will at that day do most perfectly.

Some have found by woful experience what an in­tollerable burden one sin is to the conscience, when the Lord hath been pleased to set it home. When Iudas had betrayed his Master, and his conscience began to accuse him for the same, it was such an in­tollerable burden to him, that he was not able to stand under it, but went and hanged himself.

Now if one sin proves so intollerable, who then can stand under the weight of the many millions of sins, which he hath committed in the whole course of his life? especially when God shall set them all home together upon his conscience. Ah sinner, If the reading one leaf of this book was so dreadful to Iudas; how dreadfull and terrible will it be to thee? when thou shalt read not only one leaf, but the whole book from the beginning to the end, and therein see the millions of sins committed by thee, whereof as thy whole life, so thy whole book will be filled within and without, and interlined with lamentation, mourn­ing and woe. Ah, in what a woful case will thy heart then be? what horrour and astonishment will then possess thy soul? when all thy lies and oaths, all thy raylings and rotten speeches, all thy filthy and un­clean thoughts, thy mispent time in Taverns and Ale­houses, thy worldliness and covetousness, the vani­ties and rebellions of thy whole life, shall be brought to thy remembrance, and at once charged upon thy graceless soul.

[Page 62]2. At the day of Iudgement there will be a discovery of thy sins to all the World. For as the Apostle speak­eth,1 Cor. 4.5. Hidden things shall on that day be brought to light. They shall not only be called to remembrance, by the sinner himself, but likewise exposed to the view and censure of others. There is no sin so secretly and closely committed, but then shall be discovered to the view of all. There is scarce a wicked man in the World, though never so formal, but he hath at some time or other committed some such sin in secret, which he would not have others to know for all the World. But know for certain, that at the day of judgement, all the World shall hear thereof. For then all thy secret sins, and close villanies shall be discovered, and layd open before Angels, Men and Devils; thy secret Whoredomes and close Adulte­ries, thy Pilfrings and stealings, thy false Weights and Measures, thy Hypocrisies and Dissemblings shall be discovered to the view of all, and that to thine eter­nal shame and confusion. And therefore the day of Judgement is called the day of revelation, Rom. 2.5. when ma­ny Murthers, Thefts, Adulteries, and other abomina­tions, which come not to light here, shall at that day be made known, and discovered to the view of all. The Husband shall then behold the Whoredomes of his Wife, and the Wife the Adulteries of her Husband: the Master the Pilferings of his Servant, and the Ser­vant the deceitfulness of his Master. Yea then not on­ly thy words and actions, but also thy secret thoughts and imaginations, how vain and wanton, how filthy and abominable soever they have been, shall appear to the view of all. Never therefore adventure upon the committing of any sin in hope of secrecy, be­cause thou seemest safe from the eyes of men. For suppose thy sin lyeth undiscovered unto the last and great day: yet then shall it out with a witness, and be made manifest to the view of all.

Q. If any shall ask, how their sins shall be discover­ed to all the World at the last and great day?

[Page 63]A. 1. By their own confessions and complaints extorted from them by the power of God. For then will they cry out in the bitterness of their souls, with these or such like expressions, Woe and alas, that ever I slighted the manifold gracious invitations of Iesus Christ, and pre­ferred my base lusts and corruptions before him; that I have opened the door of my heart to every sinful tempta­tion, but never would open it to let in Iesus Christ; that I so often rejected the motions of Gods spirit stirring me up to turn from my sins unto God; and hearkened more unto the solicitations of the Devil, than to the mo­tions of Gods spirit: that I neglected the many opportu­nities and means of grace afforded unto me, and trifled away my pretious time in vanity and pleasure, yea sin and wickedness; spending that time in the Ale-house, and in following my sinful lusts and pleasures, wherein I should have been praying in my closet, or attending upon the Mi­nistry of the Word, or reading the Scriptures with other good books: that I should prefer [...] my Wordly business be­fore the service of God; that the World should have more of my heart and time, than my maker and Redeemer.

2. By the cryes and complaints of those whom they have wronged and oppressed. Then Abels blood will cry out afresh against Cain; and the hungry bel­lies of the poor will cry out against those hard­hearted rich worldlings, who would not afford them the least comfort or relief. And starved souls will then cry out against their ignorant, scandalous Mini­sters, for not giving them the bread of life. The Wives and the Children of Gamesters, Drunkards and Whore-masters, being impoverished by their sins, will then cry out against them for spending their small means in the satisfying their sinfull lusts. The poor Tenants will then cry out against their covetous un­merciful Land-lords, for raising and racking their rents to such an height, as they could not earn their bread by all their care and labour.

3. By the testimony of Gods spirit, who will then come in as a witness against thee, saying, at such a [Page 64] time I shewed thee the evil of thy sins, and how sad the issue of them would be, and thereupon per­swaded thee to turn from thy sins unto God, but thou wouldst not: at such a time I shewed thee thy misery without Christ, and thy need of him, how thou wouldst be undone for ever without an inte­rest in Christ; and how willing Christ was to receive the worst of sinners unto mercy upon their coming in to him; but thou hearknedst to the Devil more than to me, to his suggestions, rather than to my mo­tions.

4. By the testimony of the Devil, who is now a tempter, but will then be an accuser; whose chief de­sign in tempting us to sin is that he may have where­withall to accuse us in that great day; that so he might drive us into the same condemnation with himself.

Thus you see there are several wayes of discovering the sins of the wicked and ungodly at the day of judgement, even to the view of all.

Now I know no better way to prevent the disco­very of your sins at that great day, than here in this time and day of grace to call your selves to an ac­count, to search and examine your own hearts and lives, and th [...]n to judge and condemn your selves for your manifold sins and transgressions; for as the Apostle speaketh,1 Cor. 11.31. If we judge our selves, we shall not be con­demned of the Lord. Oh therefore let us here often keep a day of judgement in our own souls and con­sciences, by a serious examining of our selves con­cerning our sins, and judging and condemning our selves for the same: and then let us in all humility prostrate our selves at the Throne of grace, pleading the mercy of God and merits of Christ for the par­don and forgiveness of them all; giving no rest to our souls, till we have some comfortable evidence and assurance thereof, which will cause us to lift up our heads with joy at the great day of ac­count.

[Page 65]VI. After conviction and manifestation of all their sin­full actions, follows the sentence of condemnation; and what it is, our Saviour himself hath shewed, Matth: 25.41. Depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his Angels. O dreadful sen­tence! every word whereof carryeth much terrour in it, and breatheth nothing but woe and misery, yea fire and brimstone. So terrible is this sentence that the first hearing thereof will make all ears to glow and tingle.

Depart from me] that is, from Iesus Christ, the foun­tain of bliss and happiness. This the wicked make light of at present: for taking more delight in their sinful lusts and pleasures than in Christs presence, they are willing to depart from him. Whereas in truth it is a most grievous misery; for, as the Psalmist speak­eth, in his presence there is fulness of joy, Psal. 16.11. and pleasures for evermore. So to be cast out of his presence, is to be cast away from the fountain of all joy and pleasure, yea from glory and Salvation: for if from Christ, then from all that is his, even his glory and salvation.

Ah sinner, What a terrour, what a torment will this be unto thee at that great day? This will be a great part of thy torment, that thou shalt be excluded, and that from Christ and his glory, when others shall be admitted; as our Saviour speaketh, There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, Luk. 13.28. when ye shall see Abra­ham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the Prophets in the Kingdom of God, and you your selves thrust out. Oh the fears and distractions! the horrour and confusion! the tearing of hair, and gnashing of teeth! the wring­ing of hands and dashing of knees! that these words will produce, Depart from me. Oh that sinners would lay this to heart! You that now bid God depart from you, you will have none of his knowledge, none of his commands: God will requite you in your own kind, he will then command you to depart from him.

Ye cursed.] To depart from Christ were hell enough, [Page 66] but thou must also go with a curse, even a curse that comprehends all woes and miseries under it. This curse will be a thousand times more grievous than the cursed and bitter water was to the defiled woman, Numb. 5.18, 27. which caused her belly to swell, her thigh to rot, and made her accursed among her people. For upon the pronouncing of this curse, not only the belly and thigh, but like­wise head and heart, yea body and soul of the wick­ed shall be filled with rottenness and bitterness, and become accursed before God, men and Angels. Now thou cursest every one that stands in the way of thy lusts; and that crosseth thee in thy designs. But at the great and last day all the curses of Hea­ven and Hell shall meet in thee, so that thou shalt be cursed with a witness. And truly to be under Gods curse is the quintessence of misery.

Into everlasting fire.] What! into fire, and into ever­lasting fire? Ah wretches! cursed indeed. For as the Prophet Isaiah speaketh,Isa. 33.14. who can dwell with de­vouring fire? who can dwell with everlasting burnings? which shall not be quenched night nor day, but fed continually with Rivers of brimstone, and kept still in flame and fierceness by the unquencheable wrath of the just God to all Eternity. The torment of the wicked in hell will be, as without any intermission, so without any end. After they have there been tor­mented hundreds, thousands, millions of dayes, years and ages, their torments will be as far from ending, as if they were then beginning. And is not this mi­sery enough? to lye in fire? in everlasting burnings? this is even beyond the expression of men or Angels. If a man knew he must lye in a flaming fire but one day or hour, Oh what fear and horror would possess his soul? But what is a day, or an hour, or an age, to eternity? Oh then what stupidity and senselesness hath possessed the hearts of sinful men, who by all this are not frighted from their sins? The fear of Ne­buchadnezzar's fiery Furnace made men do any thing to avoid it. And shall not the fear of everlasting [Page 67] fire in hell, make men do any thing to escape it? this methinks should awaken them, and cause them not only to humble themselves for their sins, and to beg the pardon of them: but also to cast away their transgressions, to strive against them, watch against them, pray against them, begging power and strength from Christ, to keep down the power of their lusts, that hurry them on in their sinfull wayes. It is one of the wonders of the world, how men who do be­lieve the word of Christ to be true, that the wicked shall go into everlasting fire, can wittingly and wilfully adventure upon sinfull wayes, the end whereof they know will be so dreadful and astonishing.

Prepared for the Devil and his Angels] That is, you shall not only be cast into a lake of fire and brimstone, but you shall there dwell with those hel­lish Fiends, the Devil and his Angels, who are the best company you are like to have. Sad company for distressed souls! and yet in that dismal dungeon, you shall have no better company, or comforters: who will be continually insulting over you with hellish exprobrations for neglecting so great salvation of­fered unto you time after time; and being so foolish as to loose the joys and pleasures of Heaven which last to all Eternity, for the enjoyment of some base lust, which lasted but for a season.

It was a dreadful punishment which was executed upon Nebuchadnezzar, when he was cast out of the society of men,Dan. 4.33. and turned a grasing with the beasts of the field. But what was that in comparison of this? to be cast out of the presence of Christ, and society of Saints, and to have only the company of the Devils, and damned in hell?

We read in the Gospel of a Woman who came unto Christ,Mat. 18.22. and said unto him, Have mercy on me O Lord, for my daughter is grievously vexed with a Devil. Now if it were such a grievous misery to be vexed with one Devil; what is it to be vexed and tormented with all the Legions of Devils in Hell?

[Page 68]Oh what terrour and trembling, what horrour and amazement will seize on their souls that have re­ceived this dreadful sentence? When King Bel­shazzar saw his sentence written upon the wall, though he could not read it,Dan. 5.6. it is said, his countenance was changed, his thoughts troubled him, so that the joynts of his Loyns were loosed, and his knees smote one against another. How much more shall the wicked tremble and quake, and their knees smite one against another for fear, at the great day, when they shall hear the sentence of condemnation pronounced by Jesus Christ? How will they then run like men distracted to the Mountains and Hills for covert and shelter? How will they then beg and yell again for mercy to a judge that is justly inexorable? I say, justly inexorable to them, having scornfully rejected his many loving in­vitations, and earnest beseechings by his Ministers, to accept of that peace and reconciliation which he hath purchased by his blood. Oh that men would consider, that one tear or sigh of a penitent heart will now more prevail for attainment of mercy, than all their bitter and importunate yellings in that day of Gods wrath!

VII. After the promulgation of the sentence, follow­eth the execution, and sending of the persons judged to their everlasting estate;Mat. 5.46. as it is written, And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: So that now comes the eternal separation from Christ, and possession of those torments, which are easeless and endless. For then shall they be hurried by the Devils as their Iay­lors out of Christs presence, and dragged into the bottomless lake of outer-darkness, that perpetually burneth with fire and brimstone. Oh the hellish cryes and horrible shrieks that then will be heard! no heart can conceive or imagine what an hideous cry it will be. When the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah felt the fire and brimstone falling from Heaven upon their heads. And when the earth open­ed her mouth to swallow up Corah and his company, [Page 69] and they saw themselves going down quick into the pit: Oh the cryes which were then heard? Oh the shrieks which then filled the air? But alas what were these to the outcryes which will be made? and to the scrieches which will be heard? when the Devils and reprobate men and women shall be vio­lently driven into Hell, never, never to return again. For though they houl and cry to the judge for mercy and redemption; pitty and compassion; yet will they find no answer, but too late, too late. Mercy, and par­don and peace have been preached to thee, but thou wouldst not hearken, thou wouldst not accept. Thy day is over, the things of thy peace are hid from thine eyes: henceforth no more for ever.

Ah sinner, hadst thou now an heart to turn from thy sins unto God by true and unfaigned repentance, and to pray unto him for mercy in and through the merits of Jesus Christ, there were hope of mercy. But at the day of judgement thy repentance and thy prayers will nothing avail: The judge will not then be intreated by thee; and no marvel, seeing thou wouldst not hearken to him in the day of his mer­ciful visitation. But though he sent unto thee mes­senger after Messenger, Ambassadour after Ambassa­dour to woe and beseech thee to abandon thy sins, and to accept of him for thy Lord and Saviour; yet wouldst thou not leave one beloved sin, nor deny one fleshly lust for all his intreaties. And therefore on that day will he not be intreated by thee, notwith­standing thy manifold cryes and prayers. If thou wilt not believe me, hear Christs own words to this pur­pose, Because I have called, Prov. 1.24, &c. and ye refused, I have stretch­ed out my hand, and no man regarded. But y e have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I will also laugh at your calamity, I will mock when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction as a whirlwind, when distress and anguish cometh upon you: then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer: they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me. [Page 70] Ah sinner, time was when he called to thee, turn from thy sins, cast away thy transgressions, accept of grace, submit to mercy, be wise, be happy, thou maist if thou wilt; but thou wouldst not, but hast sold thy mercy and thy peace, and thy Saviour, and thy soul for thy lusts, and the pleasures of sin. And therefore though in thy greatest extremity thou cry unto him for mercy, he will tell thee, that thy day of mercy is past and gone, and the day of vengeance is come; wherein he will no longer entreat, nor no more be entreated.

Ah sinner, how will it then wound thy very soul to remember thy folly in neglecting thy season, and refusing so great salvation? How will it make thee with anguish of heart to cry out, Ah silly wretch, where was thine understanding, to sleight such gracious invitations? to preferr every base lust before the Lord of life? to turn aside from him that spake unto thee from Heaven, and to turn after thy companions, and the pleasures of this earth? to put off the turning from thy sins, and making thy peace with God till it was too late? Oh now would I give a World, if I had it, for one offer of Christ more, for one Sabbath more to make my peace with God, and to make sure of Christ, but alas it is now too late.

Oh the fears and distractions, the tearing of the hair, and wringing of the hands, the gnashing of teeth, and dashing of knees: the weeping and wail­ing, the crying and roaring that this will produce! especially when thou shalt consider, how God every Sabbath called upon thee by his Ministers to turn from thy sins unto him: but thine ear and thine heart were shut against him. And how Jesus Christ was offered and tendred to thee only upon these terms, that thou wouldst cast away thy sins, and cast thy self into his arms, and yet thou wouldst not go unto him, but refusedst, and rejectedst him and his grace. This sad reflection of thy soul upon its own wilful folly in neglecting and outstanding thy day, will be [Page 71] the everlasting worm that will gnaw on thy heart, World without end.

Oh the folly and madness of all wicked men who go on securely and impenitently in their sins, till they drop into hell-fire! Is this thy Wisdom to sin awhile, and burn for ever? to laugh a while, and howle for ever? for a little momentary pleasure here, to suffer the vengeance of eternal fire?

Ah sinner, that thou wouldst now forethink of this dreadful time, and woful misery, which hangs over thine head! that when thou art alone, thou wouldst seriously consider with thy self as the certainty and dreadfulness of this day, so what thy condition is like to be▪ that thou mightest thereby be stirred up to make out after Christ, by whom thou maist escape the wrath to come. Now whilest Christ is Preach­ed to thee in the Ministry of the Gospel, mercy and salvation is offered, and now if ever is the time to accept it. Oh therefore that now, even now in this thy time and day of grace, thou wouldst know the things that belong to thy peace; that thou wouldst now resolve for Christ, resolve for holiness: and henceforth bid adieu to all thy vain and sen­sual wayes which are hastily carrying thee down to that place of darkness, from whence there is no redemption.

CHAP. XI. Shewing the miserable and dreadfull condi­tion of the Vnregenereate after the day of Iudgement.

HAving shewed you the miserable estate of the un­regenerate at the day of Judgement. I shall pro­ceed to shew you, their dreadfull estate after the day of Iudgement: Which in general is most cursed, and there­fore saith our Saviour unto them,

Mat. 25.41. Depart from me ye cursed. That cursed estate is ma­nifest,

  • 1. By privation of all felicity.
  • 2. By subjection to all misery. Which misery is set out;
    • 1. By sundry resemblances.
    • 2. By the place where they abide.
    • 3. By the perpetuity thereof.

Of these in their order,

I. The miserable and cursed estate of the unrege­nerate consists in their privation of all that happiness which believers do enjoy in the presence of God, Psal. 16.11. in whose presence there is fulness of joy, and at whose right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Were there no posi­tive sensible misery, this privation of Gods presence were enough, (if they understood it) to make the damneds future estate most accursed, to make Hell to be Hell without any other fire. For as fulness of joy and pleasure is had by the enjoying of Gods presence; so fulness of grief and sorrow doth pos­sess the hearts of all those who are deprived thereof. Couldst thou but for one moment be wrapt up into Heaven, and see a glimpse of that infinite glory [Page 73] which God hath prepared for all that love and fear him, thou wouldst soon acknowledge as much.

Now, I know, thou art little affected with the ap­prehension of loosing Gods presence, and all the hap­piness the godly do enjoy in Heaven. But then thine understanding will be more cleared, and thine appre­hension more enlarged to conceive so much of the glory of that happiness which thou hast lost, as will ex­ceedingly increase and aggravate thy misery and tor­ment: especially when thou shalt call to mind the fair opportunity which once thou hadst of obtaining that heavenly happiness: and on what easie terms it was tendred to thee, only upon the abandoning thy lusts, and the accepting of Christ for thy Lord and Saviour, and thy submitting to his gracious govern­ment, walking in the wayes of holiness and righte­ousness.

It is said of Enoch, Gen. 5.24. that he walked with God, and it is immediately added, that he was no more seen, for God took him into his presence. If thou in like manner wilt walk before God in the wayes of holiness and righteousness, thou shalt be taken up into Heaven with Enoch, there to enjoy fulness of happiness in the presence of God, with the blessed Saints and Angels to all eternity. It is the judgement of many Divines, both ancient Fathers, and modern Writers, that this privation of happiness is the greatest of Hells mi­sery; that the pain of loss is greater than the pain of sense; I mean the loss of happiness is greater than the positive torments. Sure I am, that the loss of all that this World affords is not comparable to the loss of the least degree of the future bliss. Oh what a foolish and mad bargain art thou now making, who art selling such blessedness for bubbles of vanity!

II. Besides this privation of felicity, there is a sub­jection to all misery. Besides the pain of loss, there is a pain of sense, which the damned endure: which is in it self intolerable, unutterable, and unconceivable. It were misery enough to be tormented with the [Page 74] gout, collick, stone, tooth-ache, or the like: but should all these, together with the most exquisite tortures that the wit of man could invent, meet together in one man, at one instant, yet would they come in­finitely short of these. All pains and torments, all racks and tortures whatsoever, which men are capa­ble of suffering here, are but sparks in comparison of the flames of Gods wrath: and flea-bits to the stings and scorpions beneath, where there is torment with­out ease, sorrow without solace, darkness without light, horrour without comfort, justice without mercy, wrath without pitty, misery without end. There are no sorrows like to the sorrows of the damned, wherewith the Lord afflicteth them in the day of his fierce wrath; when he will pour out all the Vials of his fury upon them, and will make them at once to pay for all the wrongs they have done to his name, for the contempt of his mercy, their affronts to his justice, for the abuse of his patience and long-suffer­ing, for their mispent time, for their swearing and cursing, for the [...] whoring and drinking, for their pro­phaning his Sabbaths, for their hating and persecuting his people.

Oh! What weeping and wailing? what sighing and groaning? what cursing and banning will there then be heard?

The extremity of the torments of hell further ap­peareth in this, that they are universal. Not only this or that part of thy body shall be tortured and tor­mented, but every part and member thereof. As all have joyned in sin, so must they all partake of the torment.

Thy wanton eyes which were wont to please them­selves in beholding beautiful objects, shall then see no­thing but what is dreadful and terrible. If thou look above thee, what canst thou behold but an angry judge, and Saints and Angels, whose bright beauty will make thy deformity more ugly and loathsome? If thou look beneath thee, what canst thou behold [Page 75] but the bottomless pit into which thou art fallen, and still falling lower? If thou look round about thee, what canst thou behold, but Devils and hellish furies, vex­ing and tormenting thee? Thine ears which took great delight in pleasant songs and melodious sounds, shall then hear nothing but cursing and banning, howl­ing and blaspheming. Thy nostrils which were wont to be filled with sweet perfumes, shall then be filled with the noysome stench of fire and brimstone. Thy throat which was too much delighted with strong drink, even to excess, or was an open Sepulchre to give vent to the filth of thine heart, shall then be parched with un­quenchable thirst; so that with Dives thou wouldst give a World, if thou hadst it, for one drop of water to asswage thy thirst, and canst not obtain it.

The pain which men here endure is for the most part particular, some pained in their head, some in their back, and some in their feet. And some of these pains are oft-times so extream, as thou wouldst not willingly undergo them to gain a World. But for a man to be tortured and tormented in every part and member of his body at once, must needs be very grievous, which is the condition of all the damned in Hell.

By this you may a little conceive the extremity of their torments. But if I had the tongue of Men and Angels, I could not express it to the full. For as in Heaven there is such a fulness of joy as the heart of man is not able to conceive, much less the tongue of man able to express. So in Hell there is such a ful­ness of sorrow and torment, as is both beyond expres­sion or conception.

Oh the folly and madness of the men of this World, who notwithstanding the punishment of sin is so intollerable, yea and they believe it to be so, yet do suffer themselves to be carryed away down into this lake for things of nought: they will dye rather than be wise: they will fry and roar and howle in the other World, rather than not sing and laugh, and be vile [Page 76] and abominable in this World. Ah sinner, should not the bitter sting in sins tayle deter thee more, than the false beauty of its face allure thee?

Certainly didst thou but seriously consider the ex­tremity, and burning heat of that furnace below, it would make thy sin to be too hot for thee above ground. This fire would quench thy lust, and cool thy fleshly affections, and fetch thee off from those wretched wayes in which thou hast so long, and so resolvedly walked.

Oh sinner, wouldst thou never come into this place of torment? descend into it daily: look into the pit often, if thou wouldst not fall into it. If Heaven and all the joy and glory there will not afford argu­ments enough to draw thee on after thy God; see if Hell and the torments thereof will not yield thee ar­guments enough to withdraw thee from thy sins. Wouldst thou not be enticed to sin? Let a thought of hell, of death and wrath meet every temptation. In all temptations unto sin, consider the fearfull issue and effect thereof: and though it seem never so delightfull and agreeable to thy natural humour, yet ask, But what comes after? Let the dreadfull consequence thereof, which (without true and unfained repen­tance) is no less than eternal fire, deterr thee from the same. Ah sinner, sinner, when thou art bathing thy soul by the fire of [...]ust, consider how for the same thou maist burn in the everlasting flames of Hell. When thou art drenching thy self with the voluptu­ous draughts of thy carnal pleasure, think what a drench, what a poysonous and bitter cup is prepared for thee below. And this may be a special means to kill that lust which will otherwise kill thy soul. Want of consideration of the fearful issue and effects of sin is questionless the cause of so much sin and wicked­ness in the World.

III. The misery of the damned is set forth in Scripture by sundry resemblances, as,

Mat. 8.12.1. Darkness, yea outer-darkness. But the children of [Page 77] the Kingdom shall be cast into outer-darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. As light is one of the most comfortable things that man can enjoy;Eccl. 11.7. (it is a pleasant thing to behold the Sun) So darkness, is most horrible and terrible. Darkness was one of the Aegyptians plagues, which were all fearfull effects of Gods wrath. It is counted a great severity of pu­nishment to cast men into dark dungeons. For dark­ness doth much affright men, especially if they hear hideous and terrible noyses. What then will be the darkness of hell? where shall be nothing but weeping and wailing, howling and gnashing of teeth, with such like effects of fearful terrour. This is called outer-darkness, because it is out of the place of bliss, the place of light, which is no small aggravation thereof.

2. Torment. As Luke 16.23. And in hell the rich man lift up his eyes, being in torment. Now torment is an extremity of pain, whereof man is very sensi­ble, and which is highly grievous unto him. Many torments which men inflict, cause such as are torment­ed to cry and howle, and wish they were dead, ra­ther than to live in such torment. Oh then what is the torment, which God in his fierce wrath inflicteth on the damned in hell? whom he will make to feel his heavy hand to be the hand of a mighty God. All tortures and torments considered together are not comparable thereunto. Take the pains of all diseases incident to our nature, as stone, gout, collick, cramp, or what other can be named. Add hereunto all the most exquisite tortures that cruel men have inflicted upon others, as rack, strapado, boyling in lead, pulling the flesh from the bones with hot pinsers, and such like. Add also hereunto all the anguish, horrour, and ter­rour, that ever any man felt in his soul, mind and con­science: let all these be joyned together, they are but a flea-bite in comparison of hell-torments. The reason is evident, because all the fore-mentioned tor­ments here endured, may stand with Gods love, and [Page 78] are off inflicted on his dear children. But that tor­ment is a fruit of his wrath, wherein he sets him­self to make the sinner feel the weight of his in­dignation.

O foolish sinner, thy pleasures are tormenting pleasures: thy gains, and thine ease, that now thou blessest thy self in, they are tormenting gains, a tor­menting ease. Now thou drinkest the sweet, but be­ware, whatever they are in thy mouth, they are tor­ment in the belly. Buy not an hours ease, or plea­sure, at the price of an eternity of torment.

3. Another resemblance whereby the misery of the damned is set forth, is Fire, as Matth. 18.9. This of all other metaphors is most frequently used; and of all others it is the fittest. For fire is the fiercest kind of torment that is, and the most intolerable. Great question is made about the kind of it, Whether the fire of hell be material and corporeall fire, or no. Surely it is such a fire as shall torment both body and soul, and that much more intolerably than any fire here below. Brimstone mingled with fire, makes it burn more fiercely:Rev. 19 20. therefore brimstone is oft added to hell-fire, to aggravate the torment there­of. Yea it is said to be a lake of fire and brimstone, Rev. 20.10. which implyeth a great quantity thereof, to make it the hotter.Isa. 30.33. The Prophet Isaiah saith, That the breath of the Lord like a stream of brimstone doth kindle it. The breath of the Lord must needs make the fire that is kindled with it, burn more fiercely than all the bel­lows, or all the wind in the World can make any fire here below to burn.

Fire here below useth to burn most fiercely in a furnace, where it is kept in. Therefore hell is said to be a furnace, Mat. 13.42. 2 Thes. 1.8. and that of flaming fire. The Furnace into which the three Children were cast, was exceed­ing fierce, being made seven times hotter than it was wont to be. But how fierce and dreadfull will this Furnace be, whose fire is unspeakably hotter, than that was at the hottest?Jer. 33.14. Oh who is able to dwell in this de­vouring [Page 79] fire? who amongst us shall dwell in those ever­lasting burnings? There was a fearful crying and shrieking when the Lord sent a deluge of water to drown the old World. How did the poor creatures run up and down for shelter in that deluge? Oh but what bitter crying and shrieking will there be in hell?Dan. 7.10. When a fiery stream shall go out from the throne of God, and poor damned creatures shall run hither, and thither, and not get a drop of Water to cool their scorched tongues.

Ah sinner, sinner, how canst thou but quake and tremble at the thought of this fire? at which the very Devils do quake and tremble. Suppose thou wert condemned to be cast (as many of the Martyrs were) into a boyling Caldron, or flaming fire? oh how dreadful and terrible would the apprehension thereof be unto thee? and how wouldst thou cry and roar through the extremity of the torment? But alas, what is a boyling Caldron to that boyling Sea of fire and brimstone? And what is a flaming fire of Wood and Coal here, to the fire of hell kept in highest flame by the breath of Gods wrath: Surely this as far sur­passeth that in heat, as our Chimney fire doth exceed the fire painted on the Wall.

This me-thinks should sowre the pleasure of all thy sinful lusts, and provoke thee forthwith to set upon that stricter course of life, that more serious circum­spect conscientious walking, whereby thou maist escape these heavy things.

Ah sinner, look about thee while it is called to day, run over to Christ, lay hold on his righteousness, stoop to his Scepter, beg of God, that whatsoever he deny thee, he would not deny his Son to thee, by whom alone thou canst be freed from this tormenting fire. Otherwise woe and alas that ever thou wert born.

But oh how wonderfully prodigal are we generally of our souls! when that for the vile things here be­low we are so ready to prostitute them to the lust of [Page 80] Satan, and to expose them to the torments of hell-fire. Whereas alas, What is it to gain the World, and to lose our Souls? What, to spend our dayes in mirth and jollity, and in a moment to be cast into hell? It is easie for a secure unbelieving soul to read and hear of this fire. But woe and ten thousand woes to all such who shall feel and endure, and prove by their experience how hot it is.

4. Another resemblance whereby the misery of the damned is set forth,Isa. 66.24. is a Worm; Their Worm shall not dye, neither shall their fire be quenched. Which very words Christ applyeth to the damned in hell; Mark 9.44, 46, 48. This metaphor of the Worm, setteth out the sting of conscience, and anguish of soul,Mark 9.44, 46, 48. and sheweth that hell pains go through a man without and within.

In the forementioned place, there be two especial things in the torments of hell, which are thrice re­peated together, namely the Worm, and the fire; the Worm that dyeth not, and the fire that is not quenched. And it is observable, that in all the three verses, the Worm is set in the first place, as it were to teach us, that the principal torment in hell is the Worm, rather than the fire. And what is the Worm? but the sting, or the torment of an evil conscience, which shall lye eternally gnawing and griping the hearts of the damned in hell.

As of the putrefaction of the body, there breedeth a worm which eates and consumes the body: so from the corruption of the soul tainted with sin, there ariseth the Worm of Conscience, which gnaweth and vexeth the soul with continual anguish. Men talk much of hell-fire, and it were well they would talk more of it. But yet there is another torment that would be thought on too, and that is this Worm of an evil con­science, which whilest the fire burneth, this will bite, and sting the soul with torment intolerable.

This Worm of Conscience consisteth especially in two things.

1. In bringing to remembrance thy former sinfull lusts and pleasures, of which nothing remaineth but thy pre­sent shame and pain. Then shall thy conscience gnaw thee by bringing to thy remembrance thy former oaths and cursings, thy mispent time, thy cozenings and defraudings, yea all thy secret impurities, as well as thine open iniquities: as also thy sinful omissions of good duties, how seldom thou prayedst with thy fa­mily, or in thy closet: how little care thou hadst of thy precious soul, slighting the opportunities and means of grace. Ah sinner, the remembrance of these things will exceedingly pierce thy soul, and af­flict thine heart with bitter grief and sorrow.

Soul how camest thou in hither? ah! this was mine own doing, t'was my negligence, and carelesness, and wilfulness and wickedness. A little care, a little wis­dom, a little labour and pains might have prevented all this. If I would have hearkened to God, hearken­ed to conscience in time, none of all this misery had ever come upon me. Oh wretch that I was, oh foolish, sottish wilful wretch, how have I undone my self? what ever I now feel, and roar under, I have none to blame but my self, t'was mine own doing that I am fallen headlong into this place of torment.

2. In despairing of freedom and deliverance from thy present misery. This is one special thing which will very much add to thy present torment, that thy condition, though most sad and dreadfull, yet is hopeless. Didst thou con­ceive any hope of deliverance after thousands and millions of years, hell would not be hell unto thee. But this is that which will lye like a mountain of lead upon thee, that there is no hope of deliverance: In the consideration whereof consisteth the gnawings of the Worm of Conscience. These are the resemblances whereby the misery of the damned is set forth.

IV. The misery of the damned is further fet forth in Scripture by the place where they abide, which is [...]ell. For that is the most usual word attributed to the place of the damned.

[Page 82] Isa. 30.33. 2 King. 23.10. [...], non videns. Neh. 11.30. [...]. Mat. 5.29, 30. Rev. 9.11. Rev. 20.10.In the old Testament that word which properly sig­nifieth the grave, is oft translated hell, and by way of resemblance Tophet is taken for hell, because in the place called Tophet, great fires were made, wherein they Sacrificed their Children. In the New Testa­ment there are two words ordinarily used to express hell. One implyeth a place of darkness. The other translated from the name of the place where the fore­mentioned Tophet was, called Gehinnom, the valley of Hinnom, whence hell is called Gehenna.

The place of the damned is also called a bottomless pitt, by reason of the unsearchable depth of it, and a lake.

These and other like names of terrour are attributed to the place where the damned are tormented: but where that place is, in Scripture is not expresly re­vealed, and therefore cannot be defined, only we may know that it is out of Heaven, even below it. It is the most fearful place that ever was, or can be: and it is a great point of wisdom in this World so to carry our selves, as we may never come by our experience to prove where, and what it is.

V. The misery of the damned is likewise set forth in Scripture by the perpetuity, and eternity of their tor­ment. Their Worm dyeth not, and their fire is not quenched, Mark 9.44. but continueth to burn without end. And therefore is called unquenchable fire, Mark 3.12. Mat. 18.8. and everlasting fire. As the Salamander is said to live in the fire: So shall the wicked live for ever in the fire of hell. Though they seek for death, yet they shall not find it: though they be alwayes burning, yet they shall not be con­sumed: though they be alwayes gnawed upon by the Worm of Conscience, yet they shall never be de­voured. Which makes the misery of the damned in hell most exquisitely miserable.

Men in misery comfort themselves with hope of an end. The Prisoner with hope of Goal-deli­very: the Apprentice with hope of a freedom and li­berty: the Gally-slave with hope of a ransome: only [Page 83] the poor wretches in hell have no hope of freedom and liberty at all: they are as far from an end of their torments, as at their first beginning and entrance thereinto.

If there might be any end of their torments, though it should be after so many millions of years, as there are Sands on the Sea-shore, or Stars in the Firma­ment, it would be some comfort to those who endure them. But Eternity is the very hell of hells, and that which most of all breaks the very hearts of the damned. The present sense of pain being not so grievous to the damned, as it is to think that after thousands, yea thousand thousands of years, they shall be as far either from end or from ease, as they were the first hour of their falling into it. Surely if to a man tormented with the gout, stone, or collick, one night seemeth exceeding long; Oh how long do you think eternity (that night which shall never know morning) will seem to those who shall lye tormented and roaring in a bed of flame, with wicked fiends, and Devils about them, daily and hourly adding to their torment? If one short nights pain be so tedious and grievous, what will that eternal night be?

Ah sinner, thou art not now able to endure the sud­den scorch of a fire, nor to hold one of thy fingers over the flame of a Candle for a quarter of an hour. How wilt thou then endure to lye in a fiery flaming Furnace, not only an hour, or a day, but years, yea millions of years? Some have thus represented the eternity of hell-torments. Suppose, say they, that all the vast space, which is between Heaven and Earth, were filled with Sands: and God should command an Angel once in every thousand years to fetch away one small grain; what an innumerable number of years would be spent before all those sands would be fetcht away? yet shalt thou abide thus long in hell­fire: and when they are expired, continue as long again and again, and a thousand times told, for Eternity knows no beginning, no middle, no end: but after a [Page 84] thousand thousand millions of years, there are still as many more to come: and when these many more are come, and gone, thy torments are as far from the last, as they were at the first.

What heart can think of these things without hor­rour and amazement? Suppose that for some high­treason against the Kings-person, thou wert condemned to be cast into a fiery flaming Furnace, or Caldron of boyling lead, and there to continue a thousand years, how sad would thy condition be? yet this were a mercy to hell-torments. For after thou hast layn ten thousand, thousand years in a Furnace of fire, kept up in the highest flame by the breath of Gods wrath, there is full as much behind, as there was on thy first-day.

Thou sinnedst in thine eternity, and therefore must suffer in Gods eternity. Thou sinnedst against an infi­nite God, despising his infinite grace and mercy, and the infinite merits of Christ, and wouldst have drawn out thy sin to the length of eternity; and therefore must suffer an infinite, eternal punishment. Thou ne­ver heartily repentedst of thy sins, and therefore God will never repent him of thy sufferings. This is the day of Gods-long-suffering, and that will be the day of thy long-suffering, when thou shalt suffer long for thine abusing the long-suffering of God.

Ah sinner sinner, what stupidity hath seised on thee that thou shoulst be lyable to eternal torments in hell, and yet live as carelesly and prophanely, as if it did no way at all concern thee? Know for certain, that though thou dost not as yet feel these torments, yet thou art every moment subject, and hasting thereunto. A cloud of fire and brimstone hangeth over thine head, and the Lord knoweth, how suddenly it may fall upon thee. It is certainly decreed in Heaven, that if thou turn not here from thy sins unto God, by true and un­faigned repentance, and turn over a new leaf, leading a new course of life, thou shalt lye in a lake of brim­stone to all eternity; and thou knowest not how soon God may seal the warrant for thine execution.

[Page 85]Oh sinner, that I could prevail with thee once a day to steep thy thoughts in a serious meditation of the Eternity of hell-torments. Certainly it would abate the heat of thy lusts, and take off the edge of thy love to thy most pleasing vanities, and stop thee in the eager pursuit of thy carnal pleasures. For wouldst thou be content to run the hazard of such torments for thy pre­sent ease? of such plagues for thy present pleasures? of such thick darkness for the light of thine own sparks? of such an Eternity for a few jocund hours? Oh when wilt thou awake from this folly?

Thou who now givest thy self up to the gratifying of thy sinfull lusts, to the satisfying of thy brurish plea­sures, who art sowing daily to the flesh, sowing oaths, and curses, and lyes, and adulteries, &c. without con­sidering what a bitter harvest thou shalt have after such a black seed-time: should I but ask thee, how much pleasure thou wouldst take to lye but one day in such a burning Furnace, as Nebuchadnezzars was, after it was heated seven times more for the three Children? I dare boldly say, thou wouldst not lye therein one quarter of an hour for all the pleasures and riches in the World. How is it then, that for a little pleasure, which endureth but for a moment, thou dost so little regard the lying in the Furnace of hell-fire to all eternity?

In the fear of God therefore often think as of the extremity, so of the eternity of hell-torments. Me-thinks the very thought thereof should forthwith call off the drunkard from following the Ale-house with his vain companions: and the swearer from taking the name of God so often in vain: and the voluptuous person from his sensual delights, and wanton dalliances: and the worldling from his immoderate seeking after earthly riches and treasures; and cause every of them out of hand to set upon another and a wiser course, to mind the good of their immortal souls, and bethink them­selves in earnest how they might escape the wrath to come; to cast away sin, to cry after mercy, to run [Page 86] over to Jesus Christ, with their tongues, with their eyes, with their hearts full of prayers, Lord save me or I perish: Lord teach me what I must do to be saved. Lord pardon me, Lord turn me, Lord sanctifie me. Lord help me that I come not into this place of torment. But when will the folly of fools depart from them? Oh the stupendious brutishness of this mad and sensu­al World! though they know these things, and have been forewarned of them, yet they have not the heart to fly from the wrath to come.

Thus much for the clearing and setting forth of the first truth to be embraced towards the working of re­generation in mens souls, namely, That every man in his state of unregeneracy is in a miserable and dreadful condition. Wherein I have the longer insisted, that thereby I might startle and awaken unregenerate men out of their carnal security, unto a lively sense and apprehension of the dreadful danger they are in, so long as they live and lye in their unregenerate estate: and so countermine the great design of the Devil against their souls, which is to keep them blindfold and ignorant of their wretched miserable state, by per­swading them that their condition is as good and safe as the best. For certainly were they but sensible of their present condition, how they were lost and undone for ever, if they should dye in their natural and un­regenerate estate, the Devil with all his skill and cun­ing would be hard put to it to perswade them to live another day therein, left they should suddenly be snatcht away to hell: would they then turn such a deaf ear to the Voice of the Gospel? would they then make such excuses, and make such delayes when Christ calls them to repentance? I cannot be at the pains, I cannot bear the labour, and the sorrow of a penitent life. I cannot part with mine ease, my pleasures, my friends and companions, at least, not yet awhile. Oh the sense of an hell would silence all such excuses, and shake off all such delayes. To day, to day, O my soul, hearken to thy Lord, left it be too late by to morrow.

[Page 87]Now stand sinner, stand and pause awhile on what hath been hitherto spoken. Look back and consider, Is this thy state? Is this thy portion which hath hitherto been described? Art thou a sinner, a willfull and im­penitent sinner, and doth not all this belong to thee? search the Scriptures, believe the Scriptures, and then say if this be not the place of them that know not God, and obey not the Gospel of Christ. But what saift thou, is it good for thee to be here? Is this a state to ac­quiesce in? to be at ease and secure, to be so merry and jolly in? Is this the state thou art so loth to be de­livered from? Dost thou hang over the burning fur­nace by the small thread of thy life, which as soon as it is snapt off, thou tumblest headlong into this bot­tomless gulf, and dost thou scoff and scorn at the poor Ministers and Ambassadours of Christ that come to thee only to snatch thy soul out of this amazing danger?

But hearken sinner, wilt thou escape? wilt thou the redeemed? wilt thou be delivered from all this? would he be a messenger of good tydings, wouldst thou bid him welcome that should bring thee news of redempti­on from all this? why, is there any hope of that? hope of deliverance, hope of salvation? what for such a sinner, what from so great destruction? what is there any hope for such a great sinner? such an hardened sinner, such an old sinner, that hath even one foot alrea­dy in hell? why, wilt thou hearken? consider, con­sider, what shall further be spoken, and thou shalt see that there is yet hope for thee, even for thee, concerning this thing. As great as thy sins are, as great as thy danger is, if thou wilt yet hearken, there is hope that thou maist be saved.

CHAP. XII. Sheweth that there is hope of Mercy for the worst of Sinners.

II. ANother truth to be embraced in order to thy Regeneration, is this, That there is hope of mercy for the greatest sinners.

Though the condition of men in their state of un­regeneracy be very deplorable, yet it is not desperate: there is hope of mercy for the worst of them, which will appear from a due consideration,

  • 1. Of Gods powers and willingness to save the worst of sinners.
  • 2. Of the all-sufficiency of Christs Sacrifice.
  • 3. Of Christs readiness to embrace all poor sinners, who will but, come unto him, and receive him upon the terms of the Gospel.

I. For the Power of God to save the worst of sinners, it doth appear;

1. From the infiniteness of his mercy, which is compa­red to the depth of the Sea. Mich. 7.19. Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depth of the Sea, saith the Prophet Micah. The Sea is of such a vast capacity, that it can swallow up the highest mountain, as well as cover the lowest mole-hill. In like manner the mercy of God is of such a boundless extent, that it can pardon the great­est and grossest sins, as well as the least. In which respect he is said to be plenteous in mercy, Psal. 86.5. and rich in mercy: Eph. 2.4. admire it we may, but no man is able to ex­press how great the mercy of the Lord is, being as him­self infinite without any limits or bounds.

Ah sinner, far be it from thee, either to straighten the mercy of God, or so to aggravate thy sins, as to conclude that thy sins are greater than can be for­given: [Page 89] do not so aggravate thy mighty sins, as there­by to derogate from infinite mercy. Is not the mercy of God infinite? Is it not the mercy of a God? thy greatest sins are but finite, as being the sins of a creature: but his mercy is infinite, being the mercy of a God. As there is no proportion between that which is finite, and that which is infinite: So neither is there any proportion between the greatest of thy sins, and the mercy of God.

2. The power of God to save the worst of sinners appeareth from the unlimited extent of his promises. What ever God promiseth, sure he hath power to perform. Now the promises of God exclude no sin­ner, nor any sin (except the sin against the Holy Ghost) nor any time of coming unto him: for in all these respects are the promises of God wondrous large, and of great extent.

1. They exclude no sinner. For they run for the most part in the generality: promising mercy and forgive­ness to all who turn unto him in truth, and sincerity, as Isa. 55.7. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, and he will abundatly pardon. Here the Prophet speaks to the wicked and unrighteous indefinitely, even to all and every one of them, and assures them that upon their repentance, they shall be received to mercy.

2. They exclude no sins, no not scarlet and crimson sins, as Isa. 1.18. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool; that is, though your sins be never so great and hainous, yet upon your repentance, through the mercy of God in Christ, they shall be so abolished, as if they had never been committed.

3. They exclude no time for the sinners coming unto God, but whensoever, sooner or later, first or last, so that he come in truth, he shall find mercy and for­giveness, Ezck. 33.12. The promise lyeth in the day that the sinner turneth. Seeing therefore, oh sinner, [Page 90] God hath not excepted thy person, nor thy sins, no thy time of coming, do not thou except thy self, say­ing, thy sins are greater than can be pardoned, and thy day of grace is past. Oh do not so great an injury to God, as to set any bounds or limits either to his mercy, or to his promises.

3. The power of God to save the worst of sinners appeareth from his actual receiving the most heinous sin­ners to mercy. The greatest sinners that we read of in Scripture have obtained mercy. Who greater than Mannasseh? 2 Chron. 33.3, &c. who was a Sorcerer, an Idolater, a Mur­therer, and what not? and yet was received to mer­cy. And who greater in the New Testament than Paul? 1 Tim. 1. 13, &c. who was a Blasphemer and a Persecutor of the Saints and People of God; and yet was received to mercy. Now what God hath done formerly, he is still able to do, he is still the same God, his power is no whit lessened, nor diminished.

Oh sinner, what ground hast thou then to question the mercy of God to thy soul, if thou dost in truth turn from thy sins unto him, and earnestly beg the pardon and forgiveness of them? I know indeed that before God giveth a sight and a sense of our sins, we are too too apt to presume: but our understandings are no sooner inlightned to see our sins, and our consciences awakened to feel the burden of them, but we are very apt to despair: it being the great design of our adver­sary the Devil either to make us dye in a senseless calm, or else to perish in a desperate storm. Oh saith the awakened sinner, my sins are many for number, and heinous in their quality, having aggravated them by many amplifying circumstances. Certainly there is no hope of mercy for such a wretched, sinfull creature as I am, whose sins are greater than can be forgiven. But take notice, I beseech thee, of these two things.

1. Though in thy self there is nothing but ground and matter of despair, yet in the mercy of God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, there is ground enough of comfort, and encouragement.

[Page 91]2. How many and heinous soever thy sins have been, yet if thou canst find an heart to turn from them unto God, and in good earnest set upon the practice of an holy life, and so become a new creature, God will receive thee to mercy.

But still beware thou abuse not mercy by making it thy encouragement to sin: turn not this cup of Salva­tion into a cup of deadly poyson: let not the doctrine of infinite mercy be thy damnation: abuse not mercy as thy encouragement to sin, but improve mercy as thy encouragement to repentance.

2. For the Willingness of God to save poor sinners, even the worst of them; it doth appear,

1. From Gods description of himself, Exod. 34.6, 7. The Lord God, merciful, and gracious; long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thou­sands, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin. Why should the Lord proclaim himself merciful and gra­cious to forgive all manner of sins? but for the en­couragement of poor penitent sinners to come unto him with hope of acceptance.

There is not a letter in this name of God, not a word in this description of him, but fully and ade­quately answers all the objections which may be made by poor sinners against their own souls.

Obj. 1. Wilt thou say that thy condition is as bad as the worst? having been as great and hainous a sin­ner as ever lived upon the face of the earth.

A. To answer this, God here declareth himself to be the Lord, merciful. The Lord, therefore able to save thee to the utmost: Though thy sins be never so many and hainous, yet he is able to save thee from them all. And he is merciful, therefore willing to save thee; for in him there are bowels of mercy, pitty and compassion, and he delights in mercy.

Obj. 2. Wilt thou say, thou art in thy self most un­worthy to partake of any mercy from God, having nothing in thee to commend thee to him, or to move him to extend his mercy unto thee?

[Page 92] A. To this the Lord answers in the next place, that he is gracious: and therefore what he doth, he will do freely, without any respect of works or worthiness in us; for grace is to shew mercy freely. The mercy God ever shewed to any of his people, was originally founded in himself alone, in his own goodness and loving-kind­ness. The Apostle therefore calleth it [...] 2 Thes. 1.11. the good plea­sure of his goodness. Whereupon saith the Lord him­self,Exod. 33.19. I will be gracious to whom I will be graci­ous, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.

Obj. 3. Wilt thou further object and say, thou hast mispent the flower of thy youth, and the strength of thy age in vanity and pleasure, thy whole life hath been a continued course of sinning against God; so that thou hast cause to fear that God hath given over looking after thee, and that his patience towards thee is expired, and thy day of grace past.

A. To this the Lord answers in the following words, that he is long-suffering. Not only merciful and gracious, but likewise long-suffering to thee-ward,2 Pet. 3.9. not willing that thou shouldst perish, but that thou even thou shouldst come to repentance. He still waiteth, for thy repentance and reformation,Isa. 30.18. that he may be gracious unto thee.

Obj. 4. Wilt thou say that though the Lord hath shewed himself merciful, gracious and long-suffering unto others, yet thou art so destitute of all grace and goodness, that thou hast little hope of partaking thereof?

A. To this the Lord answers in the next words, that he is abundant in goodness; as he hath extended his grace, mercy and patience unto others, so he hath enough and enough for thee: his store is no whit diminished by what he hath given out: but as he is an ever-flowing, so an over-flowing Fountain of all grace, mercy and goodness for the supply of his people; he is abundant in good­ness.

Obj. 5. Wilt thou say, that though the Lord be [Page 93] abundant in goodness, yet thou art fearfull whether he will extend his goodness unto thee?

A. To this the Lord answers, that he is abundant as in goodness, so in truth. God having in his word promised to receive all poor penitent sinners unto mercy, who will in truth turn from their sins unto him; his truth and faithfulness ingageth him to shew mercy unto thee, and to receive thee into the arms of his free grace, upon thy true and unfeigned re­pentance.

Obj. 6. Wilt thou say, God is indeed abundant in mercy and goodness, but it is only for a few.

A. To this the Lord answers, in the next words, That he hath mercy for thousands, yea he keeps it by him for all that will but come in, and partake there­of, for so it is expressed, keeping mercy for thousands. Where a finite number, thousands, is put for an indefi­nite, multitudes, innumerable multitudes. Therefore if thou with thousands wilt come in truth, un­feignedly hating thy former lewd courses, and resolve for the time to come upon new courses, company and conversation: know, that God hath mercy in store for thee, yea as large a portion as ever any found, or were made partakers of.

Obj. 7. Wilt thou say, Thy sins are both many and hainous, more for number than thou canst possibly reckon up, and more hainous than thou canst suffici­ently aggravate.

A. To this the Lord answers in the next words, That he is a God forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin, that is, sins of all sorts, from the least to the greatest. As if he had said, That he would pardon; as all sinners who truly turn from their sins unto him, and close with Jesus Christ, So all their sins, of what kind or degree soever. For the learned generally conceive, that under these three terms, iniquity, trans­gression, and sin, all manner of sins are comprehended. Thus much for the opening, and applying the fore-mentioned description of God, which sets [Page 94] forth his willingness to save poor lost sinners.

2. Gods willingness appeareth from his commands to the worst of sinners to repent and believe. For the former, that God commands them to repent, and turn from their sins unto him, we have abundant proof in Scripture. As Isai. 1. we read that they who are stiled Rulers of Sodom, and p [...]ople of Gomorrah, v. 10. being like them for all manner of abominable wick­ednesses, even as bad as they, or rather worse; and whose sins ar [...] called scarlet, and crimson sins, v. 18. yet in v. 16. are they called upon to repent. Wash ye, make ye clean, put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes, cease to do evil, learn to do well. Which are exhortations to repentance. And Ier. 3.1. We read that they who had committed spiri­tual Adultery, having forsaken the true God, and worshipped Idols, even stocks and stones; yet are they called upon to repent, and turn unto God. Though thou hast played the Harlot with many Lovers, yet return again to me, saith the Lord; and I will be reconciled to thee again, and receive thee into my grace and favour.

And for the latter, that God commands poor sin­ners to believe in Jesus Christ, we have a clear proof, 1 Joh. 3.23. This is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Iesus Christ. Now Gods commanding all poor sinners, even, the worst of them to repent and believe, is a clear demonstra­tion of his willingness to have them saved, by putting them upon the use of those means he hath appointed and sanctified thereunto.

Ah sinner, how should this prevail with thee to abandon thy sins, and to adventure on Jesus Christ as thy Lord and Saviour? The command of God to re­pent and believe should me-thinks out-weigh all the suggestions of Satan, and carnal reasonings of thine own heart; it should swallow up all scruples, fears and doubts. Abraham we read upon the command of God was willing to offer up his own Son, his beloved [Page 95] Son Isaac, us a Sacrifice. And wilt thou refuse to Sacrifice thy beloved Lust, and to embrace the belo­ved Son of God with the arms of thy faith, when thou hast the command of God for both? Oh there­fore resolve, as to cast away thy sins, so to cast thy self into the arms of Jesus Christ, and to give up thy self unto him, and his Laws, to be ruled and govern­ed thereby, and thou shalt live.

3. Gods willingness to save poor penitent sinners, appeareth from his many gracious promises to re­ceive the very worst of sinners upon their repentance. Let the wicked fo [...]sake his way, Isa. 55. and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and l [...]t him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. Or, as the Original word signi­fieth, he will multiply pardon and forgiveness; Though the wicked multiply their sins, yet if they turn from them unto God by true and unfaigned repentance, he will multiply pardon and forgiveness. And saith the Prophet Ezekiel,Ezek. 18.21, 22. If the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my Statutes, and do that which is lawfull and right, he shall surely live, he shall not dye: All his transgressions that he hath com­mitted, they shall not be mentioned unto him, in his righteousness that he hath done, he shall live. These and such like gracious promises of God in his Word for the encouragement of poor sinners to turn from their sins unto him, cannot but strongly argue his willingness to have them saved.

4. As if this were not enough to set forth Gods willingness; to his promises he hath added his [...]ath. As I live, Ezek. 33.11. saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Here the Lord sweareth by him­self, there being no greater to swear by. As if he had said, As sure as I am the true and living God, so certainly I have no pleasure in the death of the wick­ed, but that he should turn from his wicked wayes, and embrace my mercy in Jesus Christ. Because [Page 96] wicked men are so hardly perswaded of Gods wil­lingness to save them, therefore to convince them thereof, and to encourage them to turn from their sins unto him, he takes his oath on it, that he is in­finitely more willing that wicked men should repent, and be saved, than that they should perish in their sins, and be damned.

5. The Lord to shew his willingness to save poor sinners, pleads with them in the words following, Turn ye, turn ye from your evil wayes, for why will ye dye, Ezek. 33.11. O house of Israel. Here the Lord condescends to reason the case with poor sinners, Why they will dye and perish, and not rather turn from their sins unto him, that they may live in bliss and happiness to all Eternity: And then exhorts them with all earnest­ness to repentance, saying, turn ye, turn ye; which ingemination denoteth the vehement affection and de­sire of God, to have sinners turn from their sins unto him, that they may not perish, but have ever­lasting life.

6. Gods willingness appeareth from his free offer and tender of Christ to all who will but receive him by the hand of faith; as none are named, so none are ex­cluded. The Angel that brought from Heaven the tydings of Christs birth, saith, that it was for all people, Ezek. 2.10. Behold, saith he, I bring you tydings of great joy, which shall be to all people. And saith our Saviour, God so loved the World, Joh. 3.16. that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Where by the World is meant in­definitely mankind, of what Nation or Condition, Sex or State, Age or other Difference soever they be. And therefore the offer of Christ is indefinitely to all, without exception of any: there being no state or condition of men which God hath excluded from Salvation by Christ, which doth clearly evidence his willingness to save poor sinners.

Oh sinner, seeing God doth freely offer Christ to all, without exception of any, do not thou except [Page 97] thy self, limit not where God hath not limited; say not I am unworthy, or my sins are many and heinous, cloathed with many aggravating circumstances; but stir up thy self to adventure thy soul on Christ, upon the general offer of him in the Gospel. The first work of faith in many hath been to adventure their souls on Christ upon the free offer of him to all inde­finitely. Do thou in like manner adventure to cast thy self upon the free grace of God in Christ, with re­solution to abandon thy lusts for the time to come, and to take Christ for thy Lord and Husband, as well as for thy Priest and Saviour. This is that which God requireth; and if he hath perswaded thine heart to this, it is a good sign that mercy is intended for thee.

7. Gods willingness appeareth from his beseeching poor sinners to be reconciled to him, as the Apostle expres­seth, We are Ambassadours for Christ, 2 Cor. 5.20. as though he did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christs stead be recon­ciled to God. Ah sinner, rather than thou shouldst perish in thy sins, God himself, who is the God of mercy, doth as it were, kneel down before thee, and beseecheth thee, for the Lord Jesus Christ his sake, to pitty thy poor soul, and to accept of the reconcil [...]ation which Christ hath purchased by his bloody death and passion. Oh the depth of the incomprehensible love of God to poor sinners, that he should not only command and invite, but likewise beseech and intreat them to turn from their sins unto him, and accept of the reconciliation purchased by the blood of his Son Jesus Christ. Surely this must needs evidence his great willingness to save poor sinners.

8. His willingness further appeareth by his sending Ministers as his Ambassadours unto poor sinners, upon terms of peace and reconciliation, as the Apostle expres­seth in the forementioned place,2 Cor. 5.20. We are Ambassadours to beseech you to be reconciled to God. As if he had said, We are commanded by the Lord our Master, to offer you terms of peace and reconciliation, to profer you [Page 98] peace and pardon, if you will heartily turn from your sins unto God. We are sent as Ambassadours to acquaint you, what Christ hath done and suffered for your redemption, how he hath fulfilled the Law for you, and offered up his life as a Sacrifice and satis­faction to Gods justice for your sins, and how you may be happy for ever, if you will rest upon Christs perfect righteousness and all-sufficient Sacrifice for life and salvation, and give up your selves unto him, to serve and obey his laws and commandments. I do here therefore as Gods Ambassadour, in his name, proclaim to the worst of you, to the greatest and oldest sinner; that you may have mercy and Salva­tion, if you will abandon your lusts, and close with Jesus Christ, upon the terms of the Gospel, receiving him for your King, Priest and Prophet.

Oh how can we but stand amazed at the riches of Gods mercy and goodness, that when we, upon the knees of our souls, should have sought unto him for peace and reconciliation, yet that he, being the great Lord of Heaven and of Earth, should condescend so far as to send Ambassadours unto us, sinfull dust and ashes, to intreat us to be reconciled to him, to ac­cept his grace and favour? Oh how doth this evidence his great willingness that poor sinners should not perish, but have everlasting life? Certainly if God had taken more pleasure in your damnation than in your salvation, he would never have sent his Ministers as Ambassadours to shew you the way and means of salvation, by receiving Christ as your Lord and Saviour, and giving up your selves unto him; he would never have perswaded you by so many arguments, and beseeched you to turn from your sins unto him, that your souls might live in glory to all Eternity.

9. Gods willingness doth likewise appear from the great­ness of his patience in bearing with sinners. For the Lord having used all means for the conversion of poor sinners, he waits with much patience and long-suffering for their repentance; to see whether they [Page 99] will turn from their sins unto him or no. He waits upon the Swearer, the Drunkard, the Whore-Master, the covetous Worldling day after day, week after week, year after year, crying after them, as he did after Ierusalem, Jer. 13.17. Oh will ye not be made clean? Oh when will it once be? When wilt thou leave thy Swearing, thy Drinking, thy Whoring, thy Covetous­ness, and the like? And when will thy prophane heart be sanctified? thine unclean heart be purified? and thy carnal heart spiritualized? oh when will it once be? oh sinner, who art now grown old in sin, how long hath the Lord waited on thee? for shame, let him wait no longer, but turn thee, turn thee from thy wicked wayes and courses, that thou maist receive mercies from him. This patience of God towards sinners, must needs evidence his willingness to have them sa­ved. For if he had not been willing, he would have cut them off long agoe, and have dealt with them as he did with the Devils, who had no sooner sinned, but he clapt his chains upon them, and still reserves them to the great day in chains of darkness.

10. Gods willingness appeareth in that he hath made the way of salvation as easie as can stand with his honour. For the way of salvation now is only be­lieving in Iesus Christ, for so runs the covenant of grace, believe and ye shall be saved. Whereas the Covenant of works ran thus, Do this and live. So that now whosoever believeth in Iesus Christ shall be saved, that is, whosoever receiveth Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour, giving himself up to be ruled by him, and resteth upon his perfect righteousness, and all-sufficient Sacrifice, for the pardon of his sins here, and for eternal salvation hereafter, Shall not pe­rish, but have everlasting life.

The covenant of works required perfect obedience in every mans own person. But the Covenant of grace requireth only our sincere endeavour to keep the Commandements of the Lord; and accepteth the obedience performed by our surety Jesus Christ for [Page 100] us. For we being disenabled by the fall of Adam for performing obedience to the law; Jesus Christ the only begotten Son of God, came down from Heaven, took our nature upon him, and therein became our surety, and as our surety, in our steed, for us, subjected himself to the Law, perfectly ful­filled the same; and his obedience is by God ac­cepted for us, and imputed unto us, as if we our selves, in our own persons, had kept the whole Law of God, and perfectly fulfilled the same. In­deed personal obedience is required under the Go­spel of believers, but not as the matter of our justi­fication, but as an evidence and fruit of our justi­fication. I say as an evidence of our justification, that we may make it manifest both to our selves and to the World, that we are justified and made righteous by Jesus Christ. And also as a fruit of our justification, that by our good works we might glorifie God,Mat. 5.16. Joh. 15.8. for God is much glorified by the good works of his people.

Now in that God hath made the way of salvati­on so easie to poor sinners, accepting of their sincere endeavour to keep his Commandements, for perfect obedience; And of the obedience and righteousness of Jesus Christ their surety for personal obedience; it must needs evidence his willingness to have poor sinners saved.

11. Gods willingness to save the very worst of sin­ners is most lively represented in the Parable of the Pro­digal, as it is recorded, Luke 15.20, &c. where we read how the Prodigal no sooner resolved to go to his Father, and acknowledge his offences, but his Father prevented him, for when he was yet a great way off, Luk. 15.20. his Father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kiss'd him. Where there are several passages very observable in the Father of the Prodigal.

1. His quick observation, For when he was yet a great way off, his Father saw him. Before he espyed [Page 101] his Father, his Father saw him. Though God is many times unwilling to see the sinner, yet is he at all times very willing to espy the penitent. Yea, no sooner doth a sinner resolve to turn from his sins unto God, but he spyes him and pit­tyes him.

2. His present commiseration, His Father saw him and had compassion on him. Though God looks on obstinate sinners with indignation, yet he looks on the penitent with commiseration. When the heart of a sin­ner is penitentially touched, then the bowels of Gods mercy are moved within him.Jer. 31.20. When Ephraim re­pented and turned, the Lord saith, My bowells are troubled for him, I will surely have mercy on him.

3. His sp [...]edy readiness to embrace him. It is said, the Son went to his Father, but the Father ran to meet his penitent Son, shewing how ready and swift the Lord is to shew mercy to a penitent returning sinner. There is a great difference betwixt Gods coming to punish a sinner, and his coming to shew mercy to a penitent.Nah. 1.3. He is said to be slow to wrath, but he is f [...]ist to shew mercy. As soon as ever Ephra­im said,Jer. 31.19, 20. I repented, instantly it follows, I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord. David had no sooner said, I have sinned, but Nathan had com­mission presently to reply,2 Sam. 12.13. the Lord hath done away thy sin. A sinner no sooner turnes from his sins unto God by repentance, but God turns unto him in mercy.

4. His wonderful tenderness. The Father fell on his neck. To have taken him by the hand had been much, but to fall on his neck and embrace him, and that as he was in his loathsome stinking rags, was a greater favour than could be expected. How open are the arms of mercy to embrace a penitent returning sinner?

5. His strong affection, expressed by kissing his penitent Son, for as it follows, He kissed him. He did not only embrace him, but he likewise kissed him. [Page 102] And as St. Austin observeth,Nondum uno verbo audi­to, squali­dum & de­formem am­plectitur, &c. Aug. Before the Son had spoken one word unto his Father, the Father falleth upon his neck, and kissed his ragged and deformed Son; which sheweth Gods willingness to receive and embrace all poor penitent sinners, that have but a thought of turn­ing from their sins unto him. Yea, the Fathers kissing of his returning Son, was to make him know that he was truly reconciled to him, notwithstanding his former wicked and l [...]d courses;I [...] signum reconcilia­tionis & laetitiae. and to shew that he rejoyced as much at his peniten­tial return, as he had grieved at his sinfull de­parture.

Oh sinner, What an encouragement should this be unto thee to turn from thy sins unto God, who hath as an eye of mercy to espye a returning sinner; so an heart full of mercy and compassion to pitty a returning sinner; and feet of mercy to meet a returning sinner; and arms of mercy to em­brace a returning sinner; and lips of mercy to kiss a returning sinner, in token that he is reconciled to him. Oh therefore let me prevail with thee, who­soever thou art, how many and hainous soever thy sins are, to turn from them unto God by true and unfained repentance, and that with hope of mercy and acceptance, in and through the merits and inter­cession of Jesus Christ.

CHAP. XIII. Of the all-sufficiency of Christs Sacrifice.

III. THat there is hope of mercy for the worst of sinners, appeareth fro [...] the all-sufficiency of Christs Sacrifice offered upon the Cross, and the fulness of satisfaction that was ther [...]by made to the justice of God for the sins of the whole World. So much the Apostle expresseth, where he saith, He is able to save them to the uttermost, that come unto God by him. The word translated, able, doth imp [...]y power to do a thing. And the word translated, [...]. uttermost, is of a very large extent, it extends so far that we cannot look beyond it, no not in our [...]houghts: for let a m [...]n imagine his case to be never so desperate, his sins to be never so many and hainous, yet Christ by his death is able to save him from them all.

And therefore this we must lay as a foundation-truth, that Christs Sacrifice was a full sa [...]isfaction to the justice of his Father for the sins of the World; it being the Sacrifice of the Son of God, even of him who was God as well as man. For this is that which added an infinite value to what Christ did and suffered for our redemption, that it was the obedience and the sufferings of the Son of God, of him who was God equal with the Father: whereupon the blood of Christ, 1 Pet. 1.19. whereby we are redeemed is called precious blood: being of infinite price and merit, able to countervail and answer for all our sins, and to free us from the punishment due unto us for the same.

B [...]sides, Christs resurrection from the dea [...] is an evi [...]nt demonstration that his death was an all-suf­ficient Sacrifice and full satisfaction to Gods justice [Page 104] for our sins. For God having seized on Christ, as our Surety, and cast him into the prison of the grave, for the debt of our sins, he could not have come forth till he had payed the uttermost farthing. But by his rising out of the prison of the grave, we are assured that Gods justice is abundantly satisfied by the death of Jesus Christ.

Labour therefore to get thine heart truly satisfied in the all-sufficiency of Christs Sacrifice, that his death was a full satisfaction to Gods justice for thy sins; for otherwise when either thy conscience or the Devil begin to aggravate thy sins, and to set before thee the number and the hainousness of them, thou wilt be at a loss, and even ready to sit down in despair: whereas if thou didst cleerly apprehend what a full satisfaction the death of Christ was to Gods justice for all thy sins, thou wouldst not fear what either thy con­science or the Devil could object against thee. In Rom. 8.33. We read how the Apostle from the consideration of Christs all-sufficient Sacrifice and full satisfaction to Gods justice by his death, did triumph over sin, and Satan. For having treated thereof in the former part of the Chapter; In the latter part thereof, ver. 33, 34. he speaks as one ravished with abundance of comfort: yea, challengeth the Devil and all the World to object what they could against the pardon of his sins; Who, saith he, shall lay any thing to the charge of Gods elect? It is God that justifieth; Who is he that condemneth? it is Christ that dyed. As if he had said, let Conscience and carnal Reason, let Law and Sin, let Hell and Devil ob­ject what they can; let them object the number and hainousness of my sins, what is that? seeing Christ hath dyed, even Christ the Son of God, hath offered up his own life, as an all-sufficient Sacrifice, and thereby abundantly satisfied Gods justice for my sins. Beloved, the case between God and us and our Saviour Jesus Christ, is not much unlike the case of a Creditor, a Debtor, and a Surety. Though the debtor be altogether unable to satisfie his debt, or to contribute any thing [Page 105] thereunto; yet if his surety have fully discharged the debt, and cancelled the bond, the debtor is safe enough from imprisonment, or danger of arrest. In l [...]ke manner though we were much indebted unto God, and were no way able to make the least satisfaction for our sins; yet seeing our surety Jesus Christ hath taken upon him the debt of our sins, and fully satisfied Gods justice for the same, by offering up his own life as an all-sufficient Sacrifice upon the Cross, we shall not need to fear the accusations of Conscience, or of carnal reason, or of all the Devils in Hell, if we do apply the merits of Christs death unto our own souls comfort.

IV. That there is hope of mercy for the worst of sin­ners, appeareth from Christs Willingness to receive and em­brace all poor sinners who will but come unto him, and re­ceive him upon the terms of the Gospel.

1. Christs Willingness appeareth from his frequent perso­nal invitations of all sorts of sinners, even the worst to come unto him for life and salvation, as Matth. 11.28. Come unto me all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. In which we find no exception either of persons or sins: but whosoever thou art, rich or poor, male or female; how many and hainous soever thy sins are, if thou art but sensible of them, thou art invited to go unto Jesus Christ, and to cast thy self, and the burden of thy sins upon him. And Rev. 22.17. Let him that is a thirst come. And whoever will, let him take the Water of life freely; That is, in whomsoever there is but an earnest will, and longing desire to par­take of Christ, and of the benefits of his death and passion, they are invited to come unto him. Now these gracious invitations of Jesus Christ unto poor thirsty sinners to come unto him, that their souls might live, must needs argue his incomparable willingness to have them saved.

2. Christ knowing our backwardness to come unto him, to the forementioned invitations adds his awa­kening excitation, or proclamation, crying out, Ho every one that thirsteth come ye to the Waters, Isa. 55.1. &c. [Page 106] And because many poor souls are apt to say, Alas there is nothing in me to commend me unto Christ, I have no goodness, no righteousness of mine own, therefore Christ adds, He that hath no money, that is, he who hath no goodness, no righteousness of his own, which is there meant by money, let him come. And indeed they are the fittest to go unto Jesus Christ, for it is the empty soul that is most capable of Christ, the soul emptied of all self-righteousness, and self-goodness. Whereas that soul which with the Church of Laodicea, is rich and full with a conceit of its own righteousness, hath no room for Christ.

3. Christs Willingness appeareth by the many sweet and gracious promises which he hath made in his Word unto all those who by faith come unto him. As that known promise,Mat. 11.28. Come unto me all ye who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, that is, I will ease you and refresh you, I will comfort you with the assurance of the pardon of your sins, I will give you peace of Conscience here, and eternal peace and rest with me for ever in my Kingdom. And questi­onless, one special reason why many find so little peace and comfort in their souls, is because they go not unto Jesus Christ, they cast not themselves and the burden of their sins upon him, who is the fountain of peace and comfort, and from whom alone it is to be had.

And Mark 16.15, 16. saith our Saviour, He that be­lieveth shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned; that is, He who goeth out of himself unto Christ for life, shall be saved, from the wrath of God, from the curse of the Law, from the guilt and power of sin, yea from eternal death and condemnation, and shall inherit eternal life and salvation. But he that believeth not shall be damned, that is, He who refuseth to go unto Jesus Christ, preferring his lusts and corruptions before him, shall be cast into that burning lake, where is nothing but weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Oh how earnestly doth Christ press sinners to come unto him that they might have life, promising Heaven, [Page 107] and salvation upon their coming: and threatning hell and damnation upon their refusing. And what more prevailing argument could he use, to perswade sinners to come unto him? Which must needs evidence his ex­ceeding great willingness to embrace them with the arms of his mercy upon their coming.

4. Christs Willingness appeareth from his e [...]d of com­ing into the World, which was to save poor l [...]st sinners. He left his Crown, and Throne, his Royal Court, and glorious Robes, and cloathed himself with the rags of our humanity, for no other end but to seek and to save that which was lost;1 Tim. 1.15. as the Apostle expresseth, This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Iesus Christ came into the World to save sinners. So that the Salvation of poor lost sinners was his great design in com­ing into the World. He came from Heaven to Earth for this very end, that he might send us from Earth to Hea­ven. The Son of God became the Son of man, that we the sons of men might become the Sons of God. Cer­tainly that Christ should come out of Heaven, to keep us out of hell, that he should uncrown himself to Crown us, must needs argue a wonderful willingness in him to have poor sinners saved.

5. Christs Willingness appeareth by his rejecting of none who sincerely go unto him, though never so weak and worth­less in themselves. Never did any sinner go to him, but he accepted of him,Joh. 6.37. as himself expresseth, All that the Father giveth me, shall come to me, and him that [...]ometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out; but receive him to mercy. Hath Christ promised this, and will he not be as good as his Word? Did he ever break his word with any poor soul, though never so unworthy? Did he ever cast away any who came unto him?Heb. 13.8. And is he not the same yesterday, to day, and for ever?

Go sinner, fear not, go upon the credit of this word, which he hath spoken, I will in no wise cast them out. Though the Devil say, go not, though thy misgiving heart say, go not, he will not regard thee, he will never look on such a vile wretch, he will cast thee out; yet [Page 108] since he hath said, He will not, go and thou shalt find mercy.

Thus have I by several demonstrations proved, as God the Fathers willingness to save the worst of sinners; So Christs readiness to embrace all poor sinners who will but come unto him for life and salvation; Wherein I have the longer insisted, because I know no better ar­gument to prevail with sinners, to turn from their sins unto God by true and unfeigned repentance, and to close with Jesus Christ by a true and lively faith, than a serious consideration as of Gods readiness to save the worst of sinners upon their turning unto him; so of Christs Willingness to embrace all poor sinners, who will come unto him, and receive him as their Lord and Saviour.

I have read a story of a Gentle-woman who was con­demned to dye for killing her own child; whereupon divers Ministers came to visit her, and perceiving her little affected with her sin, and sad condition, they la­boured to set before her the hainousness of her sin, and the dreadfulness of her condition, without hearty and deep repentance. All which little moved her, seeming rather the more hardened in her sin. But at last another Reverend Divine hearing of her obdurate hardness, notwithstanding all that was said unto her; went and preached to her the abundant riches of Gods mercy in Christ, how ready he was to embrace with the arms of his free-grace, every penitent sinner; and how willing Christ was to receive all poor sinners, who would go unto him, and cast themselves into his arms, how many and hainous soever their sins were, and thereupon told her, there was hope of mercy for her, if she were heartily sorry for her sins, and would ad­venture her soul upon Christ, notwithstanding the greatness and hainousness of her sin, What! mercy for me? said she, that is impossible, &c. Whereupon the Mi­nister proceeded further to set forth the freeness of Gods grace, and riches of his mercy to all penitent and believing sinners, declaring unto her, how God [Page 109] delighted in mercy, and that where sin had abounded, there his grace and mercy would much more abound, or to that purpose. And thereupon she presently fell a weeping, wringing her hands, and cryi [...]g for mercy, and dyed very comfortably, as it is related, having had the mercy of God abundantly revealed to her before her death.

And truly, sinner, as it was my design, so my hearts desire, in s [...]tting forth Gods willingness to save the very worst of sinners upon their repentance; and Christs readiness to embrace them with the arms of his mercy, that it might have the same effect in thee, as it had in the forementioned Gentle-woman. And oh that the consideration thereof would melt thine heart into tears of unfeigned sorrow for thy sins past, and stir thee up to turn from them unto God by hearty repentance, and to close with Jesus Christ upon the terms of the Gospel. Oh that I could prevail with thee, as to give a bill of divorce to thy lusts and corruptions, so to give up thy self unto Christ, and to adventure thy soul upon him, rest­ing upon his perfect righteousness, and all-sufficient Sa­crifice for the pardon of thy sins here, and for eternal life and salvation hereafter! If Christ be so willing to receive thee, why shouldst not thou be willing to go unto him, and that with confidence of acceptance? Salvation is this day offered unto thee, the golden Scepter is held out unto thee, Oh stretch forth the hand of faith to lay hold and embrace the Lord Jesus Christ; so shalt thou be happy to all Eternity, For who­soever believeth in Iesus Christ shall not perish, Joh. 3.16. but have everlasting life. Thus much of the truths to be embraced in order to your Regeneration.

CHAP. XIV. Sheweth the Duties to be Practised in order to your Regeneration.

HAving shewed you the truths to be embraced in or­der to your Regeneration. I come now to the Du­ties on your part to be practised, and performed.

I. From the consideration of the dreadfulness of thy condition, so long as thou continuest in thine unrege­nerate estate; and of the hope thou hast of a blessed change; stir up in thy self an earnest longing, restless desire after the new birth, that thou maist in truth say, ‘O that I were Regenerate and born anew! Oh that the Image of the Devil might be razed out, and the Image of God imprinted in me! O that a blessed change were wrought in my soul, a change from na­ture to grace, from darkness to light, from the Kingdom of Satan to the Kingdom of the Lord Je­sus! Oh that I might become a new creature, re­newed throughout, in all the faculties of my soul, and all the parts of my body!’

As Rachel cryed, Give me Children, or else I dye. So do thou cry out and say, Give me this new birth, let me be born again by the spirit, or else I shall dye, not only the first, but likewise the second death, and be un­done for ever. And know for thy comfort, if thou canst find any such longing desire in thy soul, thou art not far from this new birth, from the work of Regeneration in thy soul. For this longing desire after this new birth, will put thee upon the use of all ordinances and means God hath sanctified for the at­taining thereof.

II. Labour to get thine heart deeply and throughly af­fected [Page 111] with a sense of thy miserable condition by nature. It is not sufficient to know thy condition to be sad and deplorable so long as thou continuest in thine unre­generate estate: but thy care and endeavour must be to get thine heart throughly affected therewith. If you look into the Scriptures you shall find this qualification required in the persons whom Christ came to save, and whom he invites to come unto him. Our blessed Saviour speaking to Zacheus saith, The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which is lost. Luk. 19.10. Where by the lost, whom Christ came to save, are not meant every sinner, who indeed are lost men, but such as have a spiritual feeling of the woful plight and condition wherein they are by rea­son of their sins. And again saith our Saviour, I am not come to call the righteous, Mat. 9.13. but sinners to repentance. As by the righteous are meant such as are so in their own opinion, and conceit, so by sinners are meant such as are sensible of their wretched, miserable condition, and groan under the weight and burthen of their sins; whom Christ especially invites to come unto him,Mat. 11.2 [...]. saying, Come unto me all ye who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

1. The more sensible any are of their miserable condition by nature, the more sensible will they be of their need of Iesus Christ. Mat. 9.12. They that are whole, saith our Saviour, need not a Physitian, but they that are sick. In like manner, such as are whole and sound in their own conceit, see no need of Christ; but such as are sick of their sins, and sensible of their miserable and lost condition, they feel a need and necessity of Christ, who is the only Physitian that can help them, and without whom they look upon themselves as undone for ever.

2. Sense of our miserable condition by nature, will stir us up to seek after Iesus Christ for help and deliverance. As the man-slayer under the Law, being pursued by the avenger of blood, betook himself to a City of r [...]fuge for shelter and defence. So the poor sinner pursued [Page 112] by the Hue and Cry of his sins, betakes himself unto Jesus Christ, who is a true City of refuge to all who fly unto him. Yea the more sensible any man is of his misery by sin, the more will he hasten after Jesus Christ. And certainly one special reason why Christ is so little sought after by many; and his gracious invitations so slighted and neglected, is because they are not sensible of the wofull plight and condition wherein they are by nature.

3. Sense of our miserable condition will make us more highly to prize Iesus Christ, and to preferr him before all things in the World besides. The truth is, the more sensible any of us are of our unregenerate estate, the more highly shall we prize Jesus Christ. In what measure we can discern the heighth and depth, the beadth and length of our miserable condition by na­ture, in the same measure shall we discern the heighth and depth, the breadth and length of the worth and excellency of Jesus Christ, and accordingly shall we prize and value him.

Q. If any shall ask, how may I get my heart deeply affected with a sense of my miserable condi­tion by nature?

A. 1. Steep thy thoughts frequently in a serious me­ditation of thy sad and deplorable condition, so long as thou continuest in thine unregenerate estate. How thou art no better than a servant to sin, and slave to thy lusts, under the bondage and command of Satan, doing his drudgery: yea and under the curse of God, and guilt of all thy sins; and lyable to all sorts of Judgements, both temporal, spiritual and eternal. Consider likewise the miseries which will accompany thee at thy death, and after thy death, even at the day of Judgement, and after the day of Judgement; when thou shalt not only be deprived of all happiness, but exposed to such miseries, as neither the tongue of man can express, nor the heart of man conceive, and that to all Eternity, if thou dyest in thine un­regenerate estate. Ah sinner, if thou wouldst but [Page 113] frequently chew this bitter pill, it would not only purge thee of thy sinful corruptions and noysome hu­mours, which now are praedominant in thee, but like­wise exceedingly make to thy spiritual health and welfare.

2. Be earnest with God in prayer that by his spirit he would convince thee of thy miserable condition by na­ture, and make thee truly and throughly sensible thereof. Consider that it is the office of the spirit of God to convince thee, and so to affect and afflict thy heart for sin. Ioh. 16.8. He shall reprove or convince the World of sin. It's true his chief work is to convince of righteousness, whereby he becomes a Comforter as he is there called: and it's therefore said, ver. 14. He shall take of mine and shew it unto you: he shall take of my blood, of my bowels, of my righteousness, of the pardons which I have procured, of the peace which I have purchased, he shall take of mine, and shew it unto you. This is his great work, but his first work is, He shall take of your own, and shew it unto you: he shall set your sins, and your guilt, and your miseries before you. Look thee here soul, see what thou art, what a vile thing, what an unclean thing, what a wretched thing thou art; what an hell thou hast within thee: what a Devil thou art become: what a treasure, what a portion thou hast laid up for thy self, even wrath, and fire, and brimstone, this must be the portion of thy cup. This sad and dismal sight the spirit of God presents to the soul, and therewith affrights and afflicts it.

O beg this spirit, God hath promised to give it those that ask it: how much more shall your heavenly Father give his spirit to them that ask it of him? Beg for this work of the Spirit, his convincing work, as well as his comforting work; resist not this holy Spirit, shut not thine eyes against this light, but be wil [...]ing to see and feel the worst of thy case, to know and be deeply affected with thy abominable wickedness, and the intolerable misery that it's bringing upon thee.

[Page 114]III. Labour to be truly humbled for thy sins as the cause of thy present sad condition. It is not sufficient to get thine heart in some measure affected with the sense thereof, but thy care must likewise be to get thine heart into an humbled and broken frame for the same. Having spent many years in sinning, what caust thou do less than spend some hours in mourning and sorrowing for the same? Having all thy life long broken the most holy and righteous Laws of God, what canst thou do less, than to get thine heart bro­ken for the same? which usually goeth before, or at least accompanyeth our new birth. For as no Child is ordinarily born without some throws, so no man is ordinarily regenerated, and born anew by the Spi­rit, without some pangs of sorrow and humiliation, though not all with a like measure: it being san­ctified by God to be the entrance into the state of grace.

Humiliation is as necessary to salvation, as faith: and you may as well think of being saved without faith▪ as without repentance and humiliation, which like Iohn Baptist, prepareth the way for Christ, and therefore is the most immediate disposition that God usually worketh in the soul, before he worketh faith to close with Jesus Christ. For untill thou beest truly humbled under a sense and apprehension of thy sins and misery, it is not possible thou shouldst heartily desire Christ, much less cordially embrace him, as thy Saviour and redeemer. Oh therefore labour, in the use of all means God hath sanctified, to get thine heart kindly humbled and broken for thy sins. To this end,

1. Look back into thy life, and call to mind as many of thy sins as possibly thou canst; the sins of thy youth, as well as of thy riper years; thy sins of omission as well as thy sins of commission; yea the sins of thy holy services. Especially call to mind the greatest and grossest of thy sins, though they were committed long ago. Thus did the Prodigal begin his humili­ation [Page 115] and repentance, by a serious examination of his former course of life, calling to remembrance his departure from such a gracious Father, his own wandrings in the wayes of wickedness, in which he had lost himself,Luk. 15 13. and then as the text noteth, He arose and came to his Father, and with tears said unto him, Father, I have sinned against Heaven and against thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy Son. To acknow­ledge thy self in the general to be a sinner, works but a formal kind of repentance and humiliation, if any at all. But if thou wouldst be truly humbled, thou must descend to thy special, and particular sins, say­ing, this evil have I done, and that good have I left undone.

2. Consider together with the number, the hainousness of thy sins. To this end call to mind the aggravating circumstances of them, as how thou hast sinned against the motions of Gods Spirit, the admonitions of his Ministers, the checks of thine own conscience, against the light of nature, against the patience and long-suffering of God, which should have led thee to repentance.

3. Seriously consider the fearful threatnings against sin and sinners, which are all judgements and plagues here, and eternal death and condemnation hereafter; and apply them to thy self, reasoning thus, If the least transgression of the Law deserveth the curse of God, yea all judgements and plagues here, and eternal condem­nation hereafter: then how many curses and plagues? what and how great condemnation have I deserved? who have committed sins innumerable for number, and hainous in their quality. And withall consider the truth and faithfulness of God in making good his threatnings as well as his promises.

4. Beg this great Mercy of an humbled heart from God. For it is he who must strike our stony hearts, these hard Rocks of ours, before they can yield any water of true repentance: it is he who must pour out of the spirit of grace upon our hard hearts, before we can pour out any penitent tears, or lament as we [Page 116] ought for our sins. It is he that must thaw our frozen hearts, before they can dissolve into kindly sorrow. To him therefore alone thou must go for this great work of humiliation. And that thy prayers may be the more prevalent,

1. ‘Confess unto God the hardness of thine heart, how it is grown to such an adamantine hardness, that neither the thundrings, nor threatnings of the Law, nor the sweet showers, the promises of the Gospel can make it relent, or dissolve. Confess unto God, that Though thou hast broken his holy and righte­ous Laws ten thousand thousand times, yet the consi­deration thereof hath not broken thine heart. Oh this rock, this rock, when shall it be pierced? Oh this hard heart, I cannot break it. I would melt, I would mourn, but cannot. I can mourn for a lost friend, for a lost estate, but I cannot mourn for a lost soul. Oh what groanings and sighings, and la­mentations will afflictions press out of me: but my sins, my sins, how little do they move me? The pains of my body I can feel and roar under, but O what a stock am I under, the plague of my heart? Lord smite this rock. My plaints are before thee: mine eyes are towards thee. I cannot weep, but I can cry for a broken heart, Lord hear me.’

Ezek. 36.26.2. In thy Prayers plead that gracious promise of God, to take away the stony hearts out of our flesh, and to give us hearts of flesh. Hath God promised, and is there no hope in the promise? Is there hope, and wilt thou not lay hold on that hope? plead with thy God upon his own word. Is not this thy Word, O Lord? Hast not thou said, thou wilt make this stone flesh? will it ever be done, if thou dost it not? wilt not thou do what thou hast said? Is it not thy will that I should believe thou wilt? Oh perform thy word unto thy Servant, wherein thou hast commanded me to put my trust.

3. Be importunate in this request of thine unto God, often renewing thy prayers, and never give over till thou find thine hard heart brought into a mourning [Page 117] and melting frame. Though God for a while seem­eth deaf to thy prayers, yet be not thou dumb, many petitions he cannot deny.

IV. Resolve to give a present bill of divorce to all thy sinful lusts and pleasures, utterly to renounce and forsake thine old sinful course of life, and to set upon a new course, to serve God in holiness and righteousness all the remaining part of thy life. Its vain for thee to la­ment and bewail thy past sins, if thou wilt not give over thy sinning trade. For as the Apostle adviseth, Thou must first put off the old man with▪ his corrupt-lusts, before thou put o [...] the new man. Thou therefore who hast accustomed thy self, to swearing and cursing, to whoring and drinking, to scoffing and railing against the people of God, resolve to swear and curse no more, to whore and drink no more, to scoff and rail no more; but cast them away with detestation, avoiding the places and occasions of these sins. For it is a vain thing to think thy self strong enough to abstain from any sin, when thou canst not withdraw thy self from the occasions thereof.

Ah sinner, if thou hast any regard to thy precious soul, it will be thy wisdom speedily to resolve to leave thine old course of life, and to turn over a new leaf. Think not of peace with God, whilest thou art at peace with sin. Think not that thine old scores are crossed, whilest thou art so freely scoring up a new. Deceive not thy self, thy divorce from sin, and thy marriage with Christ must be both on the same day. And count not thy self divorced, till thou and thy sins be parted. Resolve this day to have done with thy old wayes for ever. At once give Christ his welcome, and thy lusts their farewell. There is no true humiliation for sin, where there is not a resolution against it. Say not thou art not humbled enough, how little soever thy sorrow be, if thou art sincerely resolved against iniquity. And say not thou art humble enough, how deep soever it hath been, if there follow not this resolution. Thy Furnace hath [Page 118] not yet been hot enough, if thy sin be not too hot for thee. Resolve for Christ, resolve against the De­vil, and all his works. And that thy resolution may hold, observe these following directions.

1. Be sure thou do not ground thy resolutions upon any confidence in thine own strength, but in the strength of Iesus Christ: without whose assistance thou canst do nothing, as our Saviour himself expresseth, Iob. 15.1. But through Christ strengthening thee, thou wilt be enabled to do any thing. As David therefore when he was to encounter with Goliah, 1 Sam. 17.45. went not out in his own name, but in the name and strength of the Lord of Hosts. So must thou resolve to fight against thy lusts and corruptions, not in thine own name or strength, but in the name and strength of Jesus Christ. Other­wise thy lusts may reply to thee, as the Devil did to the Sons of Sheva, Act. 19.15. Iesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are ye? And know that the more sensible thou art of thine own weakness, and insufficiency, the more ready Christ is to help thee, and the more strength shalt thou receive from Christ. Which the Apostle Paul found true in his own experience, for saith he, when I am weak, then am I strong, that is, when I am weak,2 Cors 12.10. and insufficient in my self, in mine own apprehension, then do I most of all feel a graci­ous supply from Christ.

2. Back thy resolutions with Prayer. As thou dost resolve in the grace and strength of God to abandon thy lusts, to forsake thy former wicked and ungodly course of life: so be earnest with God in prayer for power and strength against the power and strength of sin. For as it is Gods power by which alone thou canst keep down the power of thy lusts; so prayer is the means sanctified for the obtaining thereof. Oh therefore pray, and pray earnestly, yea add fasting to thy prayers. For old sins to which thou hast been long accustomed, are like those Devils which possessed the man from his youth, which could not be cast out without fasting and prayer.

[Page 119]3. Second thy Prayers with thy diligence and faith­ful endeavours, striving against thy lusts and corruptions, though never so sweet and dear unto thee. For these are vain and insignificant resolutions which promise great matters, but do nothing. Whereas true reso­lutions are active and stirring, putting men upon the work. Hast thou resolved, through the grace of God, to abandon thy lusts? up then and be doing, set on it presently without any farther delay. For shouldst thou consecrate the prime and strength of thy dayes to the service of Satan, and gratifying thine own carnal lusts, and reserve thy decayed strength, and decrepit old age, the dregs of thy dayes, for God and his service? Canst thou think God will accept thereof? Surely no. For mark what the Prophet Malachy speaketh, Cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flo [...]k a male, and voweth and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing. What then can they expect who dedicate the prime and strength of their dayes to sin, and reserve only the lees, their old age full of sores and corruptions unto God?

4. Frequently call to mind the resolutions thou hast made of a speedy and through reformateon, which will be an especial means to keep them fresh in memo­ry, and a fresh remembrance of them will stir thee up to a conscionable performance of them.

5. Often renew thy resolutions. It is not suffici­ent frequently to review thy resolutions, but thou must likewise frequently renew them. For a reso­lution renewed is as new made, and thereby becom­eth fresh and vigorous. And truly there is great power in a resolution, when it is fresh upon the heart; new cords are strong.

V. Having resolved to give a bill of divorce to thy sinful lusts and pleasures, make choice of Christ for thy Lord and Husband, as well as for thy Priest and Saviour. Take him as the Bride doth her Bridegroom for better for worse, for richer and poorer, with his cross as well [Page 120] as with his Crown, resign and give up thy self un­to Christ, to be ruled and governed, ordered and disposed in all things by him: and resolve as to cast thy self at the feet of Christ in subjection to him, so to cast thy self into the arms of Christ, and upon his shoulders for Salvation from him: adventure thy soul upon him, rest upon his perfect righteousness, and all-sufficient Sacrifice for the par­don of thy sins here, and for eternal life and Salva­tion hereafter.

Let the consideration of those many melting in­vitations of Jesus Christ unto poor sinners to come unto him, stir thee up to go unto him, to cast thy self into the merciful and meritorious arms and embracements of thy Crucified Saviour, to throw thy self upon his grace and mercy. As God hath laid thy help upon him, so do thou lay thy hope up­on him, both for the pardon of thy sins past, and for power against sin for the time to come: for grace here, and glory hereafter, saying, If I perish, I will perish in the arms of Iesus Christ. And if thou canst bring up thine heart to this, then is the match made between Christ and thy soul; so that thou maist with confidence say, Christ is mine, and I am his.

And oh what a joyful day will this be unto thee? In this consisteth thy new birth, and work of Rege­neration, whereby thou art become a new creature. This day is salvation come into thy heart: All other things are but preparatives unto this.

Oh therefore let me prevail with thee, above all things to make this choice of Christ for thy Lord and Saviour: to resign up thy self unto him, and his Laws, as well as to expect salvation from him. For no man can take Jesus Christ savingly, who takes him not wholly, as his Lord, and husband to serve and obey him, as well as his Priest and Saviour to free him from the guilt and punishment of all his sins [...] He is the author of eternal Salvation only to those who obey him.

[Page 121]Many I know are willing to accept of Christ up­on their own terms. Some are willing to accept of Christ, provided that together with him, they may enjoy their sinfull lusts and pleasures. Others are willing to accept of him, provided that together with him, they may enjoy their worldly riches and trea­sures. But he who will take Christ savingly, must take him upon his own terms. He will be all to thee or nothing: he will rule thee, or else he will not ran­some thee. Away then with thy sins, be divorced from thine old Husband, let sin no longer rule in thee; if thou wilt be marryed to the Lord, and have any part in his righteousness.

Ah sinner, whosoever thou art, how many soever thy sins are, this day in the name of the great God, I do tender Jesus Christ unto thee. And as thou tendrest the life and happiness of thine own soul, re­fuse him not, but stir up thy self to accept of him, both his person and in all his offices. Say the Lord Jesus Christ shall be my Prophet, I will in all things labour to be taught and instructed by him. And he shall be my King, I will give him the Supremacy, I will resign up my self wholly to his Dominion, in all things to be ordered and governed by him. And he shall be my Priest, he shall answer to God, and make an atonement for me. I will rest upon his perfect righteousness, and all-sufficient Sacrifice of­fered upon the Cross for life and salvation.

Though thou hast hitherto been a great sinner, yet if now thou wilt abandon thy sins, and thus em­brace Jesus Christ, thou shalt have him given to thee, and all thy sins freely forgiven thee. Oh why wilt thou neglect so great salvation? Oh do not deferr the doing it one day longer. But to day, even now that Christ is freely offered unto thee, resolve to re­ceive him.

And be not discouraged out of fear, that because thou hast so long refused to choose and embrace Jesus Christ, therefore now the time is past. But know [Page 122] that so long as the Lord continueth calling, and in­viting thee by his Word and Spirit, so long the day of grace lasteth. The golden Scepter is this day held forth unto thee: Christ and Salvation are now offered unto thee: O therefore embrace him by faith; which if thou refusest to do, know assuredly that everlasting fire prepared for the Devils, will be thy portion to all Eternity. For as our Saviour speak­eth, This is the condemnation, Joh. 3.19. even the soarest and surest condemnation, that light is come into the World, that Jesus Chrst, and salvation by him is offered in the Gospel, and yet men love darkness more than light, preferring their deeds of darkness, their sinful sensual wayes before the Lord of life, who is the light of the World. Oh that any should be so foolish and unwise, as to choose darkness rather than light, and death ra­ther than life.

CHAP. XV. Other Means on our part to be performed for attaining of Regeneration.

VI WIth patience wait upon Christ in the use of his Ordinances, especially the Word and Prayer.

1. Frequent the Ministry of the Word, where the Spirit of God useth to breath. The Spirit is the principal worker of this great work, as our Saviour expresseth. And the Ministry of the Word is the ordinary Means and instrument,Joh. 3.5, 6. which the spirit of God useth for the effecting hereof. The Spirit of God breaths not in an Ale-house, or in a Tavern, or Play-house, but in the Ministry of the Word. Whereupon the Apostle Paul calls it the Word of life, Phil. 2.16. by which our souls are quick­ned: And the Apostle Peter, the seed of Regeneration, by which we are new born.1 Pet. 1.23. Being born again, saith he, [Page 123] not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God; this seed being sown in the heart, doth by little and little grow up to a new creature. In this respect the Preachers of the Gospel are called spiritual Fathers, because by their Ministry they beget men unto God, 1 Cor. 4.15. as Paul told the Corinthians, that he had begotten them through the Gospel. So that it is clear that the Ministery of the Word is the ordinary means whereby the Holy Ghost doth usually work in us that great work of Regeneration.

But we must take heed that we do not attri­bute our new birth unto the Word Preached, as having in its own nature any inherent power to give life and grace, but as it is the Word of God, and his holy ordinance, which he hath instituted and san­ctified for working grace in us. Attend therefore unto the Ministry of the Word as the Ordinance of God, unto which his blessing is promised; use it in obedience to his command, in hope of his blessing, and with desire to profit thereby.

And for thine encouragement know, that as dead a soul as thine, hath been quickned by the spirit of God, as it hath been attending upon the Ministry of the Word: as hard an heart as thine hath been soft­ned: as prophane an heart hath been sanctified: as carnal and corrupt an heart hath been changed and re­newed. And who knoweth, but while thou art at­tending upon God in his way, his spirit may breath upon thee, and so quicken thy dead heart, mollifie thine hard heart, sanctifie thy prophane heart, yea re­new and change thy totally corrupted and carnal heart, wherein consisteth the work of Regeneration.

This I press upon all, knowing that a carnal, unre­generate man may give outward attendance unto the Ministry of the Word. Though thou art spiritually dead, yet hast thou feet to carry thee to the house of God, and ears to hear the outward Ministry of the Word, and understanding to know in great measure what is said. Thou maist come to the Pool, and lye [Page 124] by it, though thou canst not put thy self in. And truly it is good lying in the way where Christ useth to come.

Oh therefore frequent the Ministry of the Word, where the Spirit of Christ useth to move, yea▪ and to breath a spirit of life into dead souls. Take all occa­sions of hearing the Word both in season and out of season. Let nothing but necessity keep thee at home; for thou knowest not what Sermon may be most suta­ble to thy condition. And when thou hearest, attend to it, as to a message sent from God concerning thine everlasting salvation. And be often calling it to re­membrance, whereby it will take the deeper impres­sion upon thine heart. And though for the present thou find not that benefit thou expectest, yet wait still up­on the Ordinance. The lame man who lay long at the Pool of Bethesda, at last was cured.

2. Be much in reading the Word of God, and such practical books as may help thee in understanding and applying it. This must not thrust out Preaching, yet is it an excellent means of grace in its own time and place, as very many have found by their own expe­rience. For as the Psalmist speaketh,Psal. 19.7. The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. So that the word read is sometimes the power of God to Regeneration and Salvation, as well as the Word Preached. As the E [...]nuch was a reading a portion of Scripture in his Chariot, the Spirit of God commanded Philip to go near unto him, to teach him the meaning thereof, and to instruct him in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, whereupon he believed and was baptized.

And Luther confesseth of himself, that he was chang­ed and renewed upon reading the Scriptures; and therefore professed he would not part with one leaf of the Bible for all the World. For in the Scriptures there is a clear revelation of the way and means of Salva­tion by Jesus Christ; therein is contained the Cove­nant of grace, and the Laws of Heaven according to which we must square all our actions.

[Page 125]Oh sinner, as thou desirest to partake of the new birth, and to be made partaker of the grace of God, be careful and conscionable in reading the Scriptures. Spend not that time in reading of play-books and un­profitable pamphlets, which thou mightest spend in reading the Word, which is able to make thee wise unto Salvation: to this end carry it about thee as Alexander did Homers Iliads for his fellow and companion in the Wars. Histor. Ec­cles. lib. 6. cap. 2. Oh that every one of us were ambi­tious of that commendation which Eusebius gives of St. Origen, That he could repeat all the Scriptures at his fingers ends.

3. Pray unto God for the change of thine heart; beg of him that he would be pleased by his spirit to re­generate thee, to plant his image in thy soul, that thou maist become a new-creature. What the Apostle Iames saith of wisdom, Jam. 1.5. is true of all grace, If any one lack it, let him ask it of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him.

Oh therefore beseech him to open thine eyes, and shew thee how sad and deplorable thy condition is, so long as thou continuest in the state of unregeneracy, that thou maist be truly sensible thereof; that he would shew thee the excellency and necessity of a new birth, that thine heart may be raised up in some ear­nest, longing desires after the same: that he would vouchsafe unto thee his Holy Spirit, which may quicken thy dead soul, and renew it after the Image of God, in righteousness and true holiness. And in thy prayers plead the promise of God,Luk. 11.13. to give his Spirit to those who ask him. That thy Prayers for a new birth may the better speed;

1. Be earnest therein. Pray withall thine heart, and with all thy might, with the highest intention of affe­ction. If thou wouldst be a prevailing Israel, thou must be a wrastling Iacob; wrastle with God in prayer; for it is the fervent prayer only that is ef­fectual.

2. Be un [...]ssant in thy Prayers, as one that will take [Page 126] no nay, nor give over till thou find the work wrought in thy soul. Be as importunate with God, as the Wid­dow was with the unjust judge. For God loveth importunity. If the unjust Judge was overcome with importunity, how much rather will the righteous God, who is compassionately affected towards those who seek unto him. Resolve with Iacob, I will not let thee go except thou bless me. Lord help me, Lord break me, humble me, change and turn me: I can­not turn my self, Ministers cannot, Ordinances can­not, afflictions cannot turn me. If thou wilt, thou canst: turn thou me, and I shall be turned, draw thou me, and I will run after thee. O suffer thy self this once to be overcome by a poor Worm. I cannot be denyed: I dye, I am undone, if thou deny me. I cannot be denyed, I will not be de­nyed, I will not let thee go untill thou bless me. Lord hear, Lord turn me.

Obj. But some are apt to object and say, how can I pray without the Spirit?

A. Put thy self upon the duty of prayer, and who knoweth but thou maist soon feel and find the as­sistance of Gods spirit in the performance, though thou findest it not in the entrance of the duty. Go therefore unto God in prayer, spread before him thy wretched, miserable state and condition, plead thy miserable necessity, the dreadfulness of thy present state, how much better it had been that thou hadst never been born, than not to be born again. And then waiting for the assistance of the Spirit, be ear­nest and importunate with God, that he would not let thee live a day longer in thine Unregenerate state, least death should find thee therein, and then thou perish everlastingly.

Obj. Some I know do question whether carnal and unregenerate men may be put upon that duty of pray­er, because the Scripture saith,Prov. 15.8. that the Sacrifice of the wicked is abomi [...]ation to the Lord, and that God hear­eth not sinners.

[Page 127] A. 1. The Scriptures give us warrant to press car­nal and unregenerate men upon the duty of Prayer. For at the time when Peter told Simon Magus that he was in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of i [...]iquity, then he pressed him to pray unto God,Act. 8.22. saying, Re­pent of thy wicked [...]ess, and pray unto God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.

2. We do not exhort men to pray and still hold themselves resolved to continue in their wicked and ungodly courses; such prayer indeed would be an abomination: but to resolve upon turning, and so to go unto the Lord for his grace to assist and accept them. And therefore saith Peter to Simon Magus, Re­pent of this thy wickedness, and so pray for pardon.

3. The young Ravens cry for want of food, and God is said to hear them. Why may he not then hear the cryes and Prayers of carnal and unregene­rate men? especially when they pray unto him for changed and renewed hearts; which prayers cannot but be agreeable to the will of God. How graciously did God reward that petition of Solomon, when he asked not for riches or long life, but for a wise and understanding heart. So may God say unto them, because ye have not asked temporal blessings, as health, wealth or the like, but a renewed heart, a new birth; be it according to your desires, your natural carnal heart shall be changed and renewed.

And to thine own Prayers call in the help of other mens prayers, beg of them that in their Prayers they would be mindfull of thee, and of thy condition; that they would be earnest with God on thy behalf, that he would make thee a new creature by endow­ing thee with true, saving, sanctifying graces. Thus Simon Magus begged the Prayers of the Apostles, ap­prehending their prayers to be more prevalent than his own. For it is possible that God may hear the Prayers of Iob for his friends, when he will not hear them for themselves. And the Iaylors Conversion is set down as the Consequent of the Apostles Prayers. [Page 128] Not only their deliverance out of his prison, but his deliverance out of the Devils prison, is set down as a fruit of their prayers. To thine own prayers there­fore, call in the help of other mens Prayers.

VII. When either in hearing, reading, praying, or at any other time thou feelest any motions of Gods spirit in thy soul and conscience, make much of them, surrender up thy self thereunto, presently turn those motions into reso­lutions, and those resolutions into endeavours. Let not the motions of Gods Spirit be nipped in the bud, but nourish and cherish them, that they may bring forth good fruit.

Ah sinner, as thou tendrest the good and happiness of thy precious and immortal soul, slight not the mo­tions of Gods Spirit in thee, but labour to improve them to the ends for which they are sent. Are they motions tending to the working in thee a loathing and abhorring of thy former sinful lusts? second those motions with strong resolutions to leave and forsake them for the time to come, at least so to strive against them as they may not rule and raign in thee, as for­merly they have done. Are they motions tending to the stirring thee up to any good duty omitted? oh turn these motions into performances, and presently fall upon the practice of those duties, whether it be praying in thy closet, or in thy Family, or such like.

Doth the Spirit of God beam any light from the Word into thine understanding, whereby thou art more throughly convinced of thy miserable condition by nature, of the excellency of the new birth, of the necessity thereof unto Salvation? Labour to improve this light to the stirring up in thee an earnest, long­ing desire after the work of Regeneration. Hath the Spirit of God in a Sermon so convinced thee of some grofs, scandalous sin, or sins, that thou art pricked at the heart, and deeply humbled under the sense and apprehension of them? oh content not thy self with some sudden pangs of affection, but forthwith go into [Page 129] some secret place, and there take the advantage of thy present relenting frame of heart, for the more free and full confessing of thy sins unto God, and ingaging thy self by a solemn covenant unto him to be more watchfull over thy self, as against thy former lend and wicked courses, so against the occasions leading thereunto.

Ah sinner, it will be thy Wisdom carefully to ob­serve, and diligently to improve all the motions and stirrings of Gods Spirit in thy Soul and Conscience, by seconding the work of this holy Spirit in thee. Lose not the Wind and Tide, the Wind may lye, the Tide may turn, and where art thou then? 'twill be hard Rowing against Wind or Tide. Thou little thinkest what advantage such motions wisely im­proved may be to thy soul: and what prejudice the slighting, and neglecting of them may be unto thee: for ought thou knowest, thine eternal happiness or misery may depend upon the improving or slighting the same.

VIII. Be much in the company of the godly, walk with them who walk with God. He that walketh with the wise, shall be more wise: he that walketh with the humble, shall be more humble: he that walketh with the holy, shall learn holiness. As there is no greater hinderance to the work of Christ, than the society of the wicked; So there is no greater furtherance to it, than the society of those who fear God. For there is none will be so ready to pitty and compassionate you, to counsel and direct you in the way to Heaven, as these: none so ready to provoke and egg you on unto godliness, to encourage and cheer you up when you do well, and to reprove you when you do amiss, as these: none so ready to communicate their experiences to you, O come, say they, and we will tell you what the Lord hath done for our souls. So that in the company of the godly there is much good to be got; they be­ing like Lanthorns which disperse their light round about. If thou beest much in their company, thou [Page 130] shalt hear much of God, much of Christ, and much of Heaven: they use to be talking much of the riches of that Countrey, and the glory of that holy City, whether they are travelling. They will be opening to you the excellency of Jesus Christ, the riches of his love, the all-sufficiency of his Sacrifice, his willingness to receive all poor sinners, who will go unto him, and adventure their souls upon him. And who knoweth how much their discourse may warm thine heart, and raise up thy desires after Christ. Agrippa was almost perswaded to be a Christian, whilest he was talking with St. Paul. And the Ennuch was not only almost, but altogether perswaded, whilest he was conversing with Philip. As therefore thou desirest to further the work of grace begun in thy soul, be much in the compa­ny of those who are gracious; who will be exceed­ingly helpfull to thee therein, as by their prayers, so by their counsel and good example. For their lives tell thee what it is to walk in the Spirit, what to mortifie the flesh, and to live abo [...]e all the alluring va [...]ities of the world.

Oh Christians, encourage poor sinners to come among you; let your discourses be practical Sermons; let your wayes be living copies of that holy doctrine which you have received; let your conversation be full of love, life, pitty, compassion towards them: be ready to teach, counsel, encourage and help them on after the Lord. Teach not sinners to say (by the barrenness, and unsavouriness of your lives) there is no more of God to be gotten in the dwellings of the Righteous, than in the tents of Wickedness.

Thus have I shewed you the Means on our part to be performed for the furthering the new birth, and the work of Regeneration in your souls. And now give me leave to propound one Question to you. Are you resolved with the grace and assistance of God, speedily to put your selves upon the practice of these Directions or no? If you think these things more than necessary, and are ready to say, What need so much ado, as if without [Page 131] so much hearing, so much reading, so much praying, and the like, there were no hope of Regeneration, and Salvation! you may then sit down and take your ease. But know for certain, that without a consciona­ble use of these Means, you are like to fall short, as of Regeneration here, so of Salvation hereafter. For where God hath appointed Means, he doth not ordi­narily work without them; and therefore if you will not use Gods Means, no wonder if you go without his grace.

Ah sinners, I beseech you for the sake of your precious souls, do not willfully refuse to be happy, do not, wit­tingly plunge your souls into everlasting miseries. Be willing to be happy, awaken your sleepy, stir up your lazy hearts to be doing. Heaven is not gotten with a wish, everlasting glory is worthy your utmost pains, and will not be gotten without it.

What say you, after all that hath been said? Are you willing to be converted? to become new men, and to take up a new course? If you are not yet, when will you? Are you content to dye in your present state? If you were now breathing out your last, and just passing into another World, would you not wish you had hearkened to counsel? Though thou wilt, live the life, yet art thou content to dye the death of the obstinate and hardned? Be not Brutes, and mad men. If Christ be best at death; if holiness will be best at last; if you know and believe, that when you come to dye, you shall wish you had made Christ sure: then sure your standing out against Christ now, your refusing grace now, is the first-born of follies. O be wise, consider what's before you; Christ and the World, holiness and sin, life and death, choose now for your selves; and if you will be advised, let your this dayes choice be the same, which you are resolved shall be your dying choice. If you would not choose to dye in your sins, to dye Drunkards, to dye adulterers, to dye Scoffers, to dye unbelievers, live not out this day in such a dread­full state.

CHAP. XVI. Several Objections of Carnal and Vnregenerate men against the use of the forementioned Means, Answered.

HAving shewed the Means; I come now to answer the Objections which many carnal men pretend against the use of them in order to a new birth.

Obj. 1. Some are ready to object and say, These are indeed likely means, but they find neither strength, nor ability to set upon the practice of them.

A. 1. I would ask thee, whether thou canst in truth say, thou hast not been wanting to thy self in such things as were within thy power and strength? Hast thou not as much power to go into the house of God, as into an Ale-house? to read the holy Scriptures, as Play­books and Pamphlets? to associate thy self with the Godly, as with the Wicked and Prophane? canst not thou take up a resolution, to abandon thine old sinfull lusts, and to set upon a new course of life? Certainly if thou hast been wanting to thy self in these and such like things, this objection taken from thine own inabi­lity, is but an idle excuse; and argues rather thine unwillingness, than disability: and know that in the last and great day, thou wilt be damned not so much for thy want of power, as for thy want of will.

2. If thou wilt but put thy self upon the use of Means, thou▪ dost not know what strength thou maist receive from God, Act. 10.44. and what may be the issue thereof. While Peter was Preaching; the holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the Word. And for ought thou knowest, whilest thou art attending upon the Ministry of the Word, or pray­ing unto God; the Holy Ghost may fall on thee; and [Page 133] make that Ordinance effectual for thy Regeneration and Salvation. And therefore put thy self upon the use of Means: wait at the Pool; thou knowest not how soon the Spirit may come and move upon thy soul. For God doth usually meet with those who seek him.

Obj. 2. I fear I am not elected, and therefore con­ceive it altogether fruitless for me to labour in the use of any means for this new birth. Oh could I be assured of my election! then should I with comfort and confi­dence labour after it.

A. 1. Election is a secret thing and belongeth unto God; according to that of Moses, Deut. 29.29. Secret things belong unto the Lord our God, but things which are revealed belong unto us. And therefore trouble not thy self [...] with Gods secret will, but follow his revealed will. Apply thy self seriously and cordially to the use of the means God hath sanctified for thy Regeneration; and from thence thou maist gain some comfortable evidence of thine election.

2. Consider though it be the duty of every Christian to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure: yet no man can know, and be assured of his election, till he be Regenerated by the Spirit of God: therefore the not knowing thine election should be so far from keep­ing thee off from applying thy self to the means of Regeneration, as it should rather be an argument to press thee thereunto: for by thy Regeneration thou maist know thine election. The eternal decrees of God are only made known à posteriori, from their effects, o [...]e whereof is Regeneration: find this and thou needest not doubt of thine election.

3. Wilt thou not plow nor Sow because thou know­est not whether God hath determined thee an Harvest? Thou wilt say, I am sure I shall not reap, if I sow not; there's hope of an Harvest, if there be a Seed-time: and therefore I will adventure to sow what ever the issue may be. And wilt thou not be as wise for thy soul, as for thy body? Because thou art not sure of thine electi­on, wilt thou make thy damnation sure?

[Page 134] Obj. 3. Ah! I am too unworthy to partake of so great a mercy: there is nothing in me to move God to work grace in me, and therefore why should I trouble my self about it?

A. 1. Consider Gods grace is every way so free, that the mercy which he vouchsafeth to any of his Creatures, is altogether of himself, and from himself. He respecteth his own goodness, not our worthiness, in the mercies which he conferreth. If none shall obtain grace but the worthy, who then can be saved?

2. Consider that no man before his Regeneration could ever find any worthiness in himself why he should par­take of that mercy. What was there in Manass [...]h? Or in Zacheus? Or in Mary Magdalen? Or in Paul before their conversion? Surely none at all. Nay there is never a child of God on Earth, or in Heaven, but had as much personall unworthiness before his Regenera­tion, as thou now hast. Why then doth the sight and ap­prehension of thine unworthiness put thee out of all hope of obtaining the same?

3. Consider that the sense of thine unworthiness is some degree of worthiness: yea it is the greatest worthiness thou canst attain unto. And none ever found greater mercy from God, than they who have been most sensible of their unworthiness. Instance the Centurion, who speak­ing unto Christ,Mat. 8.8. said, I am not worthy that thou shouldst come under the roof of my house. And yet Christ grant­ed his desire in healing his servant. So likewise the Woman of Canaan, who acknowledged her self to be no better than a Dog, yet received this answer from Christ, Oh Woman, Mat. 15.27. great is thy faith, be it unto thee even as thou wilt. So likewise the Publican, who was conscious to himself, of so much unworthiness, that he stood afar off, and durst not lift up his eyes unto Heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. Luk. 18.13. Yet as the text noteth ver. 14. He went away justified rather than the Pharisee, who was puffed up with a conceit of his own righteousness.

4. It is to be feared that this objection of thine un­worthiness [Page 135] ariseth not so much from true humility, as from the pride of thine own heart, who art loth to be be­holding unto God for any mercy; but wouldst rather discern something in thy self which may deserve it at his hands. But we are to root out of our hearts this spiritual pride, and be humble; and then we may rest confident, that though we are most unworthy in our selves, yet God will accept of us in and for the worthi­ness of Jesus Christ.

Obj. 4. Some object the number and the heinousness of their sins. Oh they are such vile and wretched sin­ners, having mispent the best of their time, the strength of their youth in the service of sin and Satan, and in gratifying their own carnal lu [...]ts and affections; and as they have grown in years, so they have grown in sin and wickedness; and therefore cannot expect so great a mercy from God, as of a Son of Belial to be made a Son of God, by the work of Regeneration.

A. 1. Know for thy comfort that God hath embraced with the arms of his free grace, as great and heinous sinners as thy self. For hast thou been an Idolater, or Murderer? 2 Chron. 33.4, 13. 1 Tim. 1.13, 16 so was Ma [...]asseh, yet was he received to mercy. Hast thou been a Blasphemer or a Persecutor of the Saints and servants of God? So was Paul, and yet he obtained mercy. Hast thou been a Filthy, unclean person, wallowing and delighting like a Sow, in the filth of sin, and mire of sinfull filthiness? So did Mary Mag­dalea, and many of the Corinthians;1 Cor. 6.11 yet were they wash­ed with the blood of Iesus Christ, justified and sanctified. Hast thou been an Oppressor and Extortioner, who hast got thine estate by over-reaching thy neighbours, and grinding the faces of the poor? So did Matthew and Zacheus, who yet found mercy. Why then is there not hope of mercy for thee? when grace hath embraced such great and heinous sinners.

Q. Wilt thou say, thou art a greater sinner than any of these forementioned?

A. 1. This is scarce credible. But suppose thy sins do exceed the proportion of any one thou canst find par­doned [Page 136] in Scripture! yet this were no just ground of despair: because the depth of Gods mercy was never yet fathomed; God never acted his mercy so far, but he is able to act it farther. Greater sinners, than ever yet were pardoned, may be pardoned. And therefore though thy sins were more and greater than the sins of others, yet there is hope of mercy for thee, unless by thine infidelity thou dost exclude thy self from the same.

2. Consider that there was no more in Manasseh, Mary Magdalen, Paul, nor any of the Saints now in Heaven to move God to have compassion on them, than there is in thee.Rom. 3.23. The Apostle saith, that there is no dif­ference, for all have sinned. The true cause of any mans Regeneration is the free grace, and love of God. For saith the Apostle,Eph. 2.3, 4. we were all by nature the Children of wrath, even as others. But God who is rich in mercy, for his great love, wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickned us. And immediatly addeth, By grace ye are saved. Now seeing the free grace and love of God is the true cause of mans Rege­neration and Salvation, why shouldst thou imagine there is less love in God for thee, than there was for them?

Obj. 5. Others object, they fear their time and day of grace is past and gone, having long stood out, and rejected many offers of grace, and that it is now too late to seek after the grace of God.

A. To this I answer that the slighting and rejecting the many offers of grace, is very sad, yea an heinous sin, which calls for thy deepest sorrow and humiliation. This made our Saviour to weep over Ierusalem, because they neglected the day of their visitation. But yet know,

1. Though thou hast often refused and rejected the offers of grace, yet is not thy condition hopeless, in that it is not the sin against the Holy Ghost, which alone can­not be pardoned: but it is a sin, though heinous, yet pardonable. Many have obtained mercy even for this, [Page 137] and so mayest thou, upon thy true humiliation and re­pentance. For such is the mercy of God, as he both can and will pardon even sins against mercy.

2. It's a question whether there be any Saint on Earth or in Heaven, who before their closing with Christ by faith, did not stand out against, and reject many of his gracious invitations, excepting such as were sancti­fied from the Womb. 'Tis the Devil that puts it into thy mouth to say, I have slighted many offers of grace, therefore my day of grace is past and gone. Do we not see by daily experience, how Christ brings home some to himself in their old age? who questionless in their youth and riper years turned many a deaf ear to his gracious invitations. And that Christ is still willing and ready so to do, appeareth by this, that he conti­nues his offers of grace, though formerly neglected. How oft would I have gathered thee? Mat. 23.37. saith Christ of Ierusalem.

3. Christ hath several seasons of Conversion, and Regeneration; all come not in at the first hour of the day, nor at the sixth hour. Christ brings home some to himself in the latter end of their lives, who have all the former part slighted and rejected his gracious invitations. And therefore he will have them often renewed, and tendred to poor sinners; because though the time of some be to come in at the first offer, yet the time of others is to come in upon renewed and multiplyed offers: so that often renewing thy refusals is not an eternal prejudice.

4. If thou art heartily sorry for thy former refusals, and dost now unfeinedly desire to close with Christ, I may with confidence say, thy day of grace is not past. For those affections wrought in thee by the Spirit of God are gracious hints that he intends thee good, if yet thou wilt accept. Such who have outstood their day, are usually given up to a feared Conscience, and reprobate mind, and are hurried by the Devil to the committing of all manner of sin and wickedness, and that with greediness and delight.

[Page 138]5. Thou who fearest thy day of grace is past, know this, that if thou now findest in thy self a willingness to abandon thy former lusts and corruptions, and to become a new creature; to cast off the Devils service, and to become the servant of the Lord Jesus, thy day of grace is not past.

6. It is evident thy day of grace is not past, because the Lord hath not yet given over to strive with thee. Is he not yet woing and beseeching thee by the Ministry of his Word, by the motions of his Spirit, to accept of the reconciliation purchased by the blood of his Son? And doth not Christ himself stand knocking at the door of thine heart,Rev. 3.20. telling thee, that if thou wilt open to him, he will come in and sup with thee, and thou with him? It is yet the acceptable time, and day of Salvation, if thou wilt accept, thou maist be ac­cepted. Say not foolishly, my day is past, but prove it is not so, by coming in this day. Harden not thine heart this day, and thou shalt find God will not harden his ear against thy cry.

7. Though thou hast long stood out, yet know that God will not presently take the forfeiture of thee: neither will Christ suddenly take his advantage against thee. If the Lord were as hasty to punish sinners, as they are forward to commit sin, there would suddenly be an end of all. And if Christ should be as forward to reject sinners, as they are to reject him, what hope of mercy were there? But Christ is not so severe, he is of great goodness, and of great patience, he makes tenders of grace and peace over and over again, and waits our acceptance. In which respect he is said to stand at their door and knock. Rev. 3.20. As knocking is usually a repetition of strokes, so standing at the door and knock­ing, implyeth his waiting for our opening.

Ah sinner, doth Christ continue to renew his offers of grace and mercy unto thee, and wilt thou thereupon continue to refuse them▪ know assuredly that though renewed offers are doubled mercies, yet renewed refusals are tr [...]bled sins, which will exceedingly aggravate thy con­demnation.

[Page 139]I speak not these things to encourage any to deferr, and put off their turning from their sins to farther day, upon a presumption they shall have mercy at last. Beware of that madness. Thou that wilt not to day, thy soul may be in Hell before to morrow. But I speak this to encourage old sinners to a speedy turning. Old sinner, it is the last time with thee, for ought thou know­est, thou art just come to thy Now or Never. And two things I would speak to thee.

1. It's a great doubt whether thou who hast stood it out so long wilt come in now, fear and tremble; few very few of those that stand it out to the last hour, do come in at the last hour, yet,

2. If thou wilt thou maist; if in this thy day, thy last day, thou wilt come in, thou shalt be saved.

Obj. 6. If once I be Regenerate, and become a new creature, I shall never live one merry day more: then farewell all delights, and pleasures; for the life of a godly man is full of uncomfortableness, and sadness.

A. 1. True it is, every Regenerate man ought to re­nounce all sinfull delights, to bid adiew to all unlaw­full pleasures: which in truth is no bondage, but ra­ther a spiritual liberty. The bondage of a Christian is in being a servant to his sinfull lusts: and his li­berty in being delivered from them. The Apostle bewails the time when himself, and other Saints were foolish, Tit. 3.3. serving divers lusts and pleasures. And reckons it amongst the prime benefits, they received by the grace of the Gospel, to be delivered from that slavery and bondage.

2. Though every Regenerate man ought to renounce all sinfull pleasures, and delights, yet he may in some measure enjoy any lawfull pleasures, which the Crea­ture affords. Yea none doth or can enjoy the sweet­ness of the Creature more, than the new creature. For he hath not only a fleshly palate like other men, whereby he relisheth the carnal pleasure which the Creature affordeth; but he hath likewise a spiritual [Page 140] palate whereby he tasteth the sweetness and goodness of God in the Creature. So that this Objection is a meer slander, which the Devil and his Agents have raised to fright men from looking after grace.

3. The work of Regeneration is so far from depri­ving a man of all delights and pleasures, that there are unspeakable delights peculiar to the Regenerate: they have dainties which their spirits feed upon, that the World knows not of;Prov. 14.1. a stranger doth not intermed­dle with their joy. As they have higher, and more noble principles than other men: so they feed upon higher and more noble comforts. Their comforts are spiritual, administred unto their souls by a special work of the Holy Ghost; who is designed by the Fa­ther and the Son to be the Comforter, to cheer and revive the spirits of his servants. And certainly the com­forts and delights which he conveyes into the souls of the Regenerate, must needs be soul-satisfying, and soul-ravishing consolations. What Blasphemy is it to af­firm, that the joyes of the World are better than the joyes of God?

Oh how sweet and delightfull must it needs be to know, that we are brought out of the state of nature into the state of grace! that we are the Children of God, beloved of him! the members of Christ, and dear to him! that our sins are pardoned in and through the merits of his bitter death and passion! and that so soon as our earthly Tabernacles are dissol­ved, we shall have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens; and there raign with him in everlasting bliss and happiness! Oh what a comfort must it needs be seriously to fix our thoughts on those joyes and pleasures, which here­after we shall enjoy at Gods right hand to all Eter­nity!

Ah sinners, What folly then hath bewitched you to think it greater pleasure to live in foolish sports, and fleshly delights, than in the sense of Gods love, and in the believing thoughts of glory? Did you but [Page 141] know the peace and the comfort; the pleasure and the joy, which springeth from the apprehension of Gods love, and walking in the wayes of holiness, you would soon be of another mind, and take another course than you do. Much good may do you with your crackling thorns: walk in the light of your fires, and the sparks which you have kindled: make the best of your pre­sent pleasures, till that vanity and vexation, which is all you are like to reap from them, bring you to a bet­ter mind.

The new birth is the very beginning of a life of peace and comfort: and the greatest pleasantness is to be found in the wayes of holiness. Would you but make enquiry of those who have tryed both stares, both that of sin, and that of grace, they will tell you, that their first state was a state of trouble and misery: and that they never found any true peace and comfort in their souls till they were brought home to God, and came to be acquainted with an holy life. Yea that they have enjoyed more sweetness and delight in one hours communion with God, than ever their flesh brought them in, in all their lives. Solomon who had experience of all other pleasures, yet saith of the wayes of godliness,Prov. 3.17. Her wayes are wayes of pleasantness, even soul-satisfying pleasantness.

If you will not believe the reports of the people of God, yet hearken to what God himself speaketh in his word,Rom. 5.1, 2, 3. Being justified by faith, we have peace with God thorow our Lord Iesus Christ: and not only so, but we glory in tribulation. 1 Pet. 1.8. And saith St. Peter, Be­lieving ye rejoyce with joy unspeakable, and full of glory. And the Psalmist often calleth upon the righteous to rejoice,Psal. 97.12. Rejoice in the Lord ye righteous, and shout for joy all ye that are upright in heart. And saith the Apostle,Phil. 4.4. Rejoice in the Lord alwaies, and again I say rejoice. Will you believe God? this you see is his testimony, that true joy is proper to the Regene­rate, the Children of God are the only heirs of joy and glory.

[Page 142] Obj. 1. But some are ready to object and say, how can the state of the Regenerate be so comfortable, and joyful, when as none are more afflicted and per­secuted than they?Joh. 16.33. In the World, (saith our Saviour speaking to his Disciples) ye shall have tribulation. And saith the Apostle All that will live godly in Christ Iesus shall suffer persecution: Qui non est crucianus, non est Christia­nus, Luther in Gen. 29. which made Luther to say, a Christian is a Cross-bearer.

A. 1. True it is none are more afflicted and perse­cuted than they: but their afflictions and persecutions do not alwayes deprive them of true spiritual joy and comfort. For saith the Apostle, Being justified by faith we have peace with God, and we rejoice in tribulation. And saith our Saviour,Rom. 5.1, 3. Mat. 5.11, 12. When men shall revile you, and perse­cute you, and say all manner of evill against you falsely for my sake, rejoyce and be exceeding glad.

2. Gods Children in and under great afflictions do oft-times feel and find the greatest joy and comfort. As their sufferi [...]gs abound, so their consolation aboundeth in and through Christ. 2 Cor. 1.3. When doth a Christian stand in more need of the comforts of God, and when doth he enjoy more of them then when outward comforts do most fail him? When David was sorely distressed, being plundred of his goods, and robbed of his Wives and Children, he encouraged himself in the Lord his God, and received much comfort from him.1 Sam. 29.6.

Obj. 2. How can the state of the regenerate be joyful, when as the grace of God teacheth, Tit. 2.12. and requireth them to deny all ungodliness, and worldly lusts, and to [...] live, as godly and righteously, so soberly in this present World?

A. 1. True it is, the Regenerate ought not to live ac­cording to the course of the World, satisfying their own carnal lusts and pleasures, but according to the strict rule of Gods Word.

2. But yet this strict walking is no hinderance to true joy, but rather a furtherer thereof; which made the Prophet David to say,Psal. 119.165. Great peace have they who love thy Law, that is, they shall enjoy much peace of Con­science, and quietness of mind. It is said of the pri­mitive [Page 143] Saints, that they walked in the fear of the Lord, Act. 9.31. and in the comfort of the holy Ghost, because they walked in the fear of the Lord, therefore they found the joy and comfort of the Holy Ghost. And indeed the strictest walk­ing hath procured the swe [...]test joy: and the loosest walk­ing the greatest sorrow. Ask the people of God, whe­ther any of them, have ever found more soul-re [...]oyci [...]g, than when they have walked most closely and exactly with God. Nay I dare appeal to thine own Consci­ence, whether it be not more comfortable to serve God, than the Devil? to please God, than to gratifie thy sinfull lusts and affections? Dost thou make no­thing of the joy of a good Conscience, and the sweet­ness of uprightness and integrity?

Obj. 3. Doth not daily experience tell us, that ma­ny Godly Christians, notwithstanding their close walk­ing with God, live very uncomfortably; their spirits are heavy and sad, and they are oftner in tears and groans than others.

A. 1. It may be their sadness is not a real, but a seeming sadness, they only seem to be sad unto wicked and prophane men;2 Cor. 6.10. As sorrowfull, yet alwayes rejoycing. Where the Apostle bringeth in the sorrow of the Godly with a quasi, as it were sorrowful, not that it is sorrow in­deed. But when he speaks of their joy, there's no quasi, but true joy: which is grounded upon so sure founda­tions, viz. the free grace of God, and the merits of Christ apprehended by a true and lively faith, that it continueth for ever, and never utterly vanisheth away. When the Countenance of a Christian seemeth sad, there is many times much peace and joy in his heart: and therefore his joy is called hidden Manna, Rev. 2.17. as being inward and se­cret, to which worldly men are meer strangers.

2. Though their sadness be real, yet is not their god­liness the cause thereof, no more than the Sun can be the cause of darkness.

But the grounds and causes of a Christians sadness are these,

1. Haply he hath lately fallen into some great and [Page 144] heinous sin, and if so, no marvel if he walk sadly and uncomfortably, till he hath got some comfortable evi­dence of the pardon and forgiveness thereof. For guilt makes a man a terrour to himself.Psal. 32. and 51. What made David walk so heavily, yea roar out for grief? but the guilt of his Adultery and Murther. What made Peter go out and weep so bitterly? but the guilt of his cowardize in denying his Lord and Master.

2. Haply he hath some deep apprehension of the corruption of his own heart, which he oft-times findeth working and stirring in him. This made Paul to smite himself upon his breast,Rom. 7.24. and cry out, O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of sin and corruption! Thou thinkest much to see a godly man walk sadly and uncomfortably. Whereas if thine eyes were but opened to see the vileness and wretchedness that is in thine own heart, thou wouldst presently sink down in dismal sorrow and desperation.

3. He may yet be in the travel of his new birth, or but newly delivered; so that he is hardly freed from the spirit of bondage. And therefore no marvel that he still walks with a sorrowful heart. But this sorrow will soon end in full joy. For Christ the Sun of Righteous­ness is rising upon his soul with healing in his Wings, who will dry up his tears, and fill his heart with joy.

4. Or if he be a through Convert, yet he may be under some soar temptation from the Devil, whose main design is to keep men in slavery and bondage to himself; but if he fail therein, then his next design is to weaken their comforts. And therefore so far as God will give him leave, he will be sure to set upon them with his fiercest, temptations, and to cast into their minds many Atheistical and Blasphemous thoughts: the venom of which is ready to drink up their spirits: and it is no marvel if they walk uncomfortably at such times, for joy and rejoycing attends not the combate but the conquest. Think not the worse of the wayes of God for that the Devil is so much against them, and straws them with such thornes.

[Page 145]5. It may be he is of a melancholy constitution, and then it cannot be expected he should walk joyfully. For joy hath no greater enemy than melancholy. And know, that though the disposition of the soul is changed by the new birth, yet not the constitution of the body.

6. It may be God hath hid his face, and favour from him, withdrawn himself in respect of the manifestation of his love to his soul, so that he doth not enjoy that comfort which he was wont to have in God; and if so, no marvel if he walk heavily and uncomfortably. For what Christian can rejoice when God deprives him of all sense and feeling of his loving favour? and shuts up those sweet streams of refreshment which were wont to flow into his soul?

Surely the chief work of a Christian in such a case is heartily to bewail his present sad condition, and to be earnest with God in prayer, that he would lift up the light of his countenance, and shine in comfortably upon his soul, that the bones which he hath broken may rejoice.

Now for any to argue, because some godly men have ofttimes occasion of sorrow and mourning, therefore the lives of all the godly are full of sorrow and sadness, is a very absurd and false kind of reasoning; and yet this is the reasoning of many carnal men and wo­men in the World. Whereas we may more rationally argue, the lives of all carnal and prophane men to be uncomfortable, because all the causes of uncomfortable­ness are found on them as guilt of sin, death in sin, enmity against God, alienation from Christ, and therefore lyableness to all judgements and plagues here, and to eternal death and condemnation hereafter. Surely if carnal men understood themselves throughly, they would find all both within and without them, like Ezekiels roul, nothing but lamentation, mourning and woe.

CHAP. XVII. The second branch of the Vse of Exhortation unto the Regenerate.

HAving done with the first branch of the Use of Exhortation unto the Unregenerate: Come we now unto the second which concerneth the Regenerate, and consisteth of divers heads;

1. Admire and adore Gods special mercy and goodness in thy Regeneration. Let thine heart be ravished with the consideration of his love to thee in Christ Jesus, the bottom whereof cannot be fathomed by any Angel in Heaven. And therefore well maist thou cry out, Oh the heighth, and the depth, the length and the breadth of the love of God unto thy soul! If David upon the consideration of the goodness of God to man in his Creation,Psal. 8.4. cryed out so affectionately, Lord what is man that thou art mindfull of him? and the son of man that thou visitest him? Surely upon the considerati­on of Gods mercy unto thy soul in this work of new Creation, hast not thou cause to say the like, Lord what is man that thou art mindfull of him? and the son of man that thou visitest him? Lord what am I among the Sons of men, that thou shouldest have respect to me? That the Lord should pluck thee as a brand out of the fire, that he should take thee into his special grace and favour, when he left many mil­lions of Men and Women to perish in their sins: that he should make thee an heir of Heaven, when he left so many to be fire-brands of hell: that thy na­ture should be renewed and sanctified, when others are left in their filth and pollution, hast not thou un­speakable cause to sit down and admire the freeness of Gods grace, and riches of his mercy towards thee? [Page 147] Surely nothing but free Grace hath put this honour upon thee, and put such a difference between thee and others. For what did God see more in thee than in others, to move him to set his special love on thee?

Oh cast thine eyes round about thee, look upon thy neighbours, who live under the same Ministery, partake of the same Ordinances as thou dost, and yet never felt the power and sweetness of them in their souls. Let the abominable wickedness which thou daily seest in others, fill thee with wonder at the lo­ving kindness of the Lord to thee. That the dew of his free Grace should fall upon thy soul, when the hearts of so many about thee should be dry, not ha­ving one drop of that dew upon them, is not this a mercy to be admired? Oh consider it, and adore it, and say, Lord, how is it that thou shouldst bestow thy grace on me, and deny it to so many, who in many respects are better than I?

That thy heart may be the more raised up in ad­miration of the mercy and goodness of God unto thee herein, take notice of the manifold priviledges which do follow and accompany such as are Rege­nerated.

1. The love and favour of God wherewith they are embraced. Love is weighty and falleth downward from Father to Child. Yea love in God is as a Foun­tain and spring-head, and the channel or pipe in and through which it runneth, is Christ: now that spring continually floweth forth through that pipe to every Regenerate person. Observe the love of earthly Pa­rents to their Children, how great, how constant it is: withall consider how far God exceeds them in his love, even as far as he doth in greatness, which is infinitely. So as every Regenerate person may with assurance rest on the love of God his Father, which cannot be but most sweet to the soul, and exceeding comfortable. For in Gods fatherly favour consisteth our happiness.

[Page 148]II. Union with Christ. For Christ is the head, and by Regeneration we are his members. The Apostle writing to the Corinthians, who were born again by the Spirit,1 Cor. 12.22. saith, Now are ye the body of Christ, and mem­bers in particular, meaning of the mystical body of Christ. This Union of the Regenerate with Christ, is one of the great mysteries of our Christian faith: [...], Eph. 5.32. Joh. 20.17. Heb. 2.11, 12. Heb. 1.14. and it is a Mysterie of an unspeakable comfort and consolation. For by vertue of our Union with Christ, God is our Father; Christ is our Brother, and our Hus­band and Head; Heaven is our inheritance: Angels are our attendants and guardians, who are sent forth to mi­nister for them, who shall be heirs of Salvation. These Angels are those Horses and Chariots of fire, which were round about Elisha: and which are also round about every member of Christ in all their dangers, though they see them not. If the eyes of the Regenerate were but opened to see their glorious attendants, how would their hearts be comforted and cheered in all their distresses.

III. Adoption. Such as are Regenerated are there­by the adopted Sons of God. Whereas by natural pro­pagation they were the children of wrath; by this Re­generation they are the Children of grace, being translated out of the Family of Satan into Gods own Family, and in and through Christ they are made the adopted Sons of God. Oh that the Lord would open our eyes to see this priviledge!1 Joh. 3.1. Behold, saith St. Iohn, what manner of Love the Father hath bestowed on us, that we should be called the Sons of God. The Apostle not be­ing able to express the greatness of Gods love to us therein, he breaks forth into an admiration thereof. And truly well might he say, Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed on us. For here is not only love, but love to admiration, that we vile, wretched, sinfull creatures,Eph 2.1. Col. 1.21. Eph. 2.3. who were dead in sins and trespasses, enemies to God by wicked works, yea and children of wrath as well as others, that we should be thus ad­vanced in and by Christ, as to be accounted not [Page 149] only servants which is much; nor only friends which is more; but also Sons, and consequently heirs, and co-heirs with Christ, which is most of all.

IV. Christian freedom. As it is the great unhappi­ness of the unregenerate, that they are in a state of vasalage: so it is the great happiness of the regenerate, that they are in a state of freedom, being freed,

1. From Satan. Though not from the assaults and temptations of Satan, yet from the power of Satan. For our Saviour Christ by his death hath destroyed him that had the power of death, Heb. 2.14. that is, the Devil. He hath now broken the Serpents head, so that though he may hiss against us, yet he cannot sting us: though he may assault us, yet he cannot overcome us: and though he goeth about like a roaring Lion, 1 Pet. 5.8. s [...]king whom he may devour; yet Christ hath him in a Chain, and he cannot go one link thereof farther than he pleaseth.

2 From si [...]. Though the Regenerate are not freed from the in-being of sin, which doth and will live in them, so long as they live in this World: yet are they freed both from the guilt of sin, and from the power and dominion of sin.

1. From the guilt of sin, that is, from that wrath and punishment which is due to sin: so that none of our sins shall be able to condemn us. For Christ as our Surety, Saviour and Redeemer, did bear all our sins in his body upon the tree, and there offered up his life as an all sufficient Sacrifice, and full satisfaction to Gods justice for the same. So that God being fully satisfied by the death of Christ for our sins, he will not, nay he cannot in justice require satisfaction again from us. Well therefore might the Apostle make this bold challenge,Rom. 8.33, 34. who shall lay any thing to the charge of Gods elect, seeing Christ hath dyed, and by his death fully satisfied Gods justice for their sins?

2. From the power and dominion of sin; which cometh to pass by the Spirit of Christ conveighed to [Page 150] them, whereby their sins are in some measure morti­fied and subdued, so that they do not rule, nor raign in them as formerly. Sin shall not have dominion over you, saith the Apostle, and why? because you are not under the Law, but under grace. In our unregenerate estate, sin had not only possession of us, but dominion over us, so that we did yield a willing subjection unto the command of sin. But since we are regenerated by the Spirit of God, we are freed, though not from the in-being, yet from the dominion of sin. So that though sin may tyrannize over us, yet shall it not raign in us. We shall not yield a free and willing obe­dience to the command thereof.

This is the great comfort of Gods Children, that though sin be not removed, yet it is subdued. Though they oftentimes feel the workings and stirrings of cor­ruption in them, which make them to have many a sad heart, and wet eye, yet are they freed, through Christ from the dominion of sin.

3. The Regenerate are freed from the Law, not only from the Ceremonial, and Iudicial Law, which were peculiar to the Jews, and dyed with the decay of their Common-wealth; but likewise from the Moral Law, (which concerns all men, at all times, in all places) yet not as it is a rule of Obedience, and Christian walking, for so it still remains in force even to the Children of God even after their Regeneration; But,

1. As it was a Covenant of works, or as the Co­venant thereof was works. We are not absolutely bound to such rigour, and exactness as that required. Indeed we ought to endeavor after the most perfect obedience, and to be humbled for our defects and failings therein; but not to despair because of them: for all failings not allowed are pardoned. Besides Christ our surety hath in all things fullfilled the Law, and performed perfect obedience thereunto. So that the strictness of the Law being fulfilled by our surety, its not expected, that it should be performed by us in our own persons.

[Page 151]2. We are freed from the Curse and condemnation of the Law. Gal. 3.13. Christ, saith the Apostle, hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us. So that although we do not perform it in that exact manner and measure which it requireth: yet our transgressions shall not be imputed to us to condem­nation. The Law may condemn the actions, but not the persons of the Regenerate, it hath nothing to do with them;Rom. 8.1. therefore the Apostle saith, There is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Iesus.

V. Provision of all needfull good things is another priviledge of the Regenerate, who have a right to all good things through Christ, and the possession of all things God seeth good for them. It is observable that when God was with Israel in the Wilderness (where nothing was to be had) they lacked nothing. Deut. 2.7. It is naturally engrafted into all Parents to provide for their Chil­dren: what then can they want who have God for their Father? who as he is all-sufficient, so a most lo­ving Father to his Children, whose love far surpasseth the love of natural Parents to their Children. Art thou a Child of God by Regeneration? then look up to thy Heavenly Father for a supply of all good things. For can they that are evill, know how to give good gifts to their Children? saith our Saviour. And shall not your Heavenly Father give to you the things whereof ye have need? He feedeth the Fowls of the air, and the Beasts of the Field; and he that is carefull to provide for his Hawks and his Hounds, will he suffer his Children to beg and starve, who must one day be his heirs?Matth. 6.31, 32. Be not then faithless, but believe, and say not, What shall we eat? or what shall we drink? or wherewithall shall we be cloathed? For your Heavenly Father knoweth whereof ye have need, and shall re­lieve you.

VI. Acceptance of their Services though full of weak­nesses, infirmities and imperfections. Natural Parents are not more ready to accept of the weak Services performed by their Children; than God is to take in [Page 152] good part the imperfect services of his Children. How maimed and broken are our prayers many times! yet coming from a broken heart they find ac­ceptance with God. Though he regardeth not the glorious works of hypocrites, yet he graciously ac­cepteth of the weak Services of his Children done in sincerity. When we cannot pray with that affection and fervency as we desire: yet if we set upon it with an honest and sincere heart, doing it in obedience to the command of God, with a desire to approve our selves unto him therein, and grieving for our failings and imperfections, God will overlook our fail­ings, and crown our weak endeavours with ac­ceptance.

VII. Protection from things hurtfull, is another pri­viledge of the Regenerate. They are here subject to manifold casualties, and contingencies, from which the Lord in mercy protects them, keeping Watch and Ward for them.Zech. 2.5. Yea he is said to be a wall of fire round about his people. A wall to defend them, and of fire to consume those that rise up against them.Psal. 112.7. So that they shall not be afraid of evil tydings, for their hearts are fixed trusting in the Lord. I deny not but the Chil­dren of God may be wronged, oppressed, spoiled of all they have, and unjustly stain, yet in all these shall they not be hurt, for God will turn all to their good. Note what David said of Shimei's cursing him,2 Sam. 16.12. The Lord will look on my affliction and requite good for his cursing this day. Heb. 10.34. On this ground the Hebrews took joyfully the spoyling of their goods.

VIII. Support under all afflictions is another privi­ledge of the Regenerate. For God is present with them in all their afflictions, supporting their weakness with his might; and manifesting his greatest power in their greatest impotency. Yea though sometimes he seems to leave them in their distress, yet he giveth such suf­ficient strength as they are thereby enabled to bear it, and well to pass it through.2 Cor. 4.8, 9. This is evident by the Apostles holy triumph in this case, We are perplexed, but [Page 153] not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken: cast down, but not destroyed. The ground hereof is the assistance which God affordeth us, and the strength which he communicateth to us.

IX. All things shall work together for the good of the Regenerate. Rom. 8.28. And God will do them good by all in the latter end. Deut. 8.16. He will turn their losses into gain, their crosses into comforts, their sorrows into joy, their cursing into blessings. Those afflictive providences which seem to be most prejudicial unto them, will in the issue prove most beneficial. As we see in Ioseph, The evil which his brethren intended against him, Gen. 50.20. turned to his good. Their selling him as a slave to the Ishmae­lites, proved the means of his advancement. How did Ma [...]asses imprisonment work for his good? For the text saith,2 Chron. 33.11, 12. When he was in affliction, he besought the Lord, and humbled himself greatly, and the Lord was entreat­ed of him. To know that nothing shall hurt a child of God, is ground of exceeding great comfort and con­solation. But to be assured, that all things, even all cross-providences shall work together for his good, is enough to fill the heart with joy. Oh then how great is the happiness of every Regenerate person! who may be assured that whatsoever befalleth him, shall be for his good, and doth work together for the best. Certainly, he may truly say, Soul take thy spiritual ease, for here is much spiritual good treasured up for thee.

X. A blessed death. Rev. 14.13. For so saith the Spirit, Blessed are the dead which dye in the Lord; that is, in the faith of Christ. Who are blessed, both because then they rest from their labours, from all their toyl and pains, from all their griefs and sorrows. As also because their works do follow them, through free-grace in glorious rewards.

The souls of the Regenerate, so soon as they are by death separated from the body, go immediately into Heaven, as is clear from that speech of our Saviour to the converted thief on the Cross,Luk. 23.43. This day thou shalt be with me in Paradice, which place the Apostle ex­poundeth [Page 154] to be the third Heaven. 2 Cor. 12.24. The word in the Original translated, this day, implyes, that immedi­ately after the breathing of his soul out of his body, [...] his soul should go to Heaven. And thus it is with all the Regenerate, unto whom death is like the red-Sea to the Israelites, even a passage, and thorow-fair into the Heavenly Canaan.

XI. An happy Resurrection. For at the sound of the last Trumpet all the Regenerate shall arise out of their graves, like so many Iosephs out of Prison. Whatsoever imperfections were before in their bodies (as blind­ness, lameness, crookedness) shall then be done away. Though the body was sowen in corruption, yet it shall be raised in incorruption, 1 Cor. 15.42. not to be subject to any man­ner of aches, pains, diseases, or imperfections. Though it were sowen in weakness, it shall be raised in power. And though it was sowen in dishonour, it shall be raised in glory. Here it is many times deformed, but then all deformities and defects shall be removed, and the body made more glorious, through the admirable beauty thereof. Certainly if the Beauty of all the Men and Women in the World were concentred in one, it would be far short of the Beauty of the Saints in Heaven, whose bodies shall shine more gloriously than the Sun in the Firmament.

XII. The last and highest priviledge of the Rege­nerate is, That they shall have an Heavenly inheritance. Fathers on earth use to provide inheritances for their Children.1 Pet. 1.3, 4. And the Apost [...]e Peter, Blesseth God, who hath begotten us to an inheritance incorruptible, and unde­filed, and that fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven. The Regenerate in this life poss [...]ss Heaven in Christ,Coelum in Christo pos­sidetis. Ter­tullian de Resurrecti­one. but hereafter they shall enjoy it in their own persons. When they come to enjoy this heavenly inheritance, they shall not only be freed from all evils, both bodily and spiritual: but likewise replenished with all good. Their minds shall be inlightned, their wills reformed, their memories made blessed treasures, their consciences purged, their hearts purified, their affections rectified, [Page 155] their bodies glorified, and all these perfectly. There shall be a blessed communion of all the Saints together, who shall enjoy the society of Angels, and fellowship with Christ himself, whose surpassing excellency they shall cleerly behold, and partake of that glory where­with he is arrayed. What tongue can express? what heart can conceive the excellency thereof?

If Peter, Iames and Iohn seeing but some small glimpse of Christs glory and Majesty in his transfigura­tion, were so ravished therewith, that setting aside all worldly desires, they wished only the continuance thereof. Then how shall the Saints in Heaven be ra­vished with joy and comfort, when they shall conti­nually behold their Saviour Jesus Christ sitting at the right hand of his Father, like a triumphant Conquerour, having subdued his, and his Churches enemies.

Thus have I shewed you some of the glorious priviledges of the Regenerate. Oh happy day may that Man or Woman say, as long as they live, when God by his Spirit Regenerated them, and made them new creatures! Many keep their birth day, as a day of rejoycing and feasting. But they who know the day of their new-birth, may well make that a day of re­joycing while they live, in regard of the many glori­ous priviledges whereof they are thereby partakers.

CHAP. XVIII. An Exhortation to bless God for the work of Regeneration. And to walk worthy thereof.

II. A Second branch of the Use of Exhortation unto the Regenerate, is To be thankfull unto God for this great mercy. Admire the grace of God, and bless his name for ever. Art thou made alive? Is the life of God begotten in thee? And hast thou evidence of it? O bless God whilest▪thou hast any being. Let thine heart and mouth and life be filled with his Praises. Take up the Psalmists words,Psal. 103.1, 2. Bless the Lord O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name: Bless the Lord O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Wilt thou be thankfull unto God for thy natural birth? And wilt not thou be thankfull to him for thy spiri­tual birth? wilt thou bless him for that he hath made thee a reasonable creature? And wilt thou not bless him for making thee a new-creature? wilt thou bless him that thou art not a Toad? And wilt thou not bless him, that thou art not a Devil? Is not Regeneration of all mercies the most necessary? And wilt not thou be thankfull for that which is the one thing necessary? If the Children of Israel praised God for their deliverance from the Aegyptian bondage; how much more cause hast thou to praise and magnifie the name of God for thy deliverance from a greater than Aegyptian bondage? It being a deliverance from Satan, the worst of all Tyrants: from hell, of all prisons the most loathsome: yea from sin, death, and the curse of the Law.

[Page 157]The more to stirr up thy self to this duty of thanks­giving for this mercy,

1. Consider the specialty of Gods love, and goodness unto thee therein, in singling thee out from the multitudes that perish, and setting thee apart for life, Hath he dealt by all, as he hath dealt by thee? Oh how many millions of Men and Women hath he suffered to live and dy in their sins, when thy soul liveth? How ma­ny for birth more noble, for policy more wise, for riches more wealthy, are let run in their sins, till they fall into wrath, when thou art escaped? when thou considerest that he should pass by them, and set his special love upon thee, if this do not fill thee with love, and with praises, the very stones may cry out against thee. The Psalmist speaketh of it as a great mercy to a godly man, that in a time of Plague and Pestilence a thousand should fall on his right hand, Psal. 91.7. and on his left, and yet it should not come nigh him. But what is that to this mercy, that many thousands should fall into hell on thy right hand, and on thy left, and yet thou preserved?

2. Consider how sad thy condition was before thy Regeneration, being a Child of wrath, a bondslave of Satan, and an heir to hell. And then compare it with thy present state. Behold of a child of wrath, thou art made a Son of God: of a slave of Satan, thou art become Christs freeman: of an heir of hell and dam­nation, an heir to Heaven, and salvation. And doth not this call for thankfulness?

3. Consider that this mercy is unspeakably greater than all other mercies in the World. This new birth makes a man an ho [...]ourable person, one of the royal seed, a King and Priest to God. This makes him a rich man; the least degree of this grace is better than all the wealth in the World: this is the true riches, the durable riches, a treasure that faileth not, nor can it be valued. This makes him a joyfull man: there's joy in Heaven at thy conversion, and a foundation of everlasting joy laid in thine own soul: thou maist rejoyce, its meet [Page 158] that thou make merry, for this thy soul was dead, and is alive; was lost, and is found. Theodosius gave God greater thanks that he had made him a member of the Church, than head of the Empire. So bless God more for this mercy, that he hath made thee a mem­ber of Christ, than if he had made thee an heir of all the Earth.

What though God hath not abounded to thee in outward honours and estate; yet if he hath abounded to thee in grace, this alone will be matter of eternal praises. Luther hath a notable story which may be useful to this purpose, In the time of the Council of Constance, he tells us there were two Cardinals riding to the Council: and in their journey they saw a Shepheard in the field weeping. One of them pit­tying him, could not but ask him, why he wept? At first he seemed loth to tell him, but being urged, he told him, that upon the beholding that Toad, which was before him, he considered, that he had never praised God, as he ought, for making him such an excellent Creature as a man: that he had not made him such a deformed Creature as that Toad. Upon hearing whereof the Cardinal was much affected, considering how he had received grea­ter mercies than this poor man, and yet had not re­turned unto God that praise which was due unto him. And will not this poor man rise up in judge­ment against many of us? yea have not the best of us cause to be greatly humbled before the Lord, who do not so affectionately remember the grace of God in making us Christians, as that poor Shepherd did, in making him a man. O friend prove thy self to be born again, and then go thy way rejoycing, leaping, and praising God.

III. Hath God by his Spirit Regenerated, and made thee his Child, then walk worthy of this special mercy and dignity, This worthy walking is much pressed in Scripture, as Col. 1.10. walk worthy of the Lord. And Eph. 4.1. walk worthy of the Vocation wherewith [Page 159] y [...] are called. In these and other-like places the word worthy importeth no matter of m [...]rit, or condignity, but only a meer meetness, and congruity, or answerableness. The Greek word translated worthy, [...] is in other places turned meet, or as becometh, as Rom. 16.2. Phil. 1.27. And where Iohn Baptist saith, Bring forth fruits wor­thy of repentance, [...] our new Translations turn it, meet for repentance. So that the meaning of the foresaid duty is, that ye carry your selves in some measure suitable and answerable to your new birth and high dignity. To which agreeth that of the Apostle Peter, 1 Pet. 2.9. Ye are a chosen generation, a peculiar people, that ye should shew forth the praises of him, who hath called you out of darkness into his marv [...]ilous light. As the Regenerate are more excellent in their state and relation than the carnal and unregenerate: so [...]ought they to be singular and exemplary in their lives and conversations.

This Christ requireth of every true Christian: for, saith he,Mat. 5.47. speaking to his Disciples, What do ye more than others? As if he had said, you who will approve your selves to be sincere Christians, and the true Disciples of Jesus Christ, must be of a more holy, and heavenly frame, of an higher strain than the rest of men:Phil. 2.15. you must be singular, and shine as lights in the midst of a sinfull, and crooked generation, by living exemplary, and convincing lives; that it may be said of you,Job 1.8. what God said of Iob, There was none like him in all the earth, as for wealth, so for piety, he being by many degrees the highest for grace in his age.

Hath God shined upon your souls by his grace, let your light so shine before men, Mat. 5.16. that they may see your good works, and glorifie your Father which is in Heaven.

The more to quicken you up to a singular and ex­emplary life, to a life above the rate of carnal and unregenerate men,

I. Consider thy high birth and noble parentage. For being born of the Spirit, thou art thereby made par­taker of the divine nature, and art become a Child of [Page 160] God, a member of Christ, and hast blood royal running in thy veins. Thy life ought to be suitable to thy birth, and breeding, aspiring after higher things, than worldly men do, or can do: and avoiding those base and filthy actions wherein carnal men take their chief delight. For know that thy sins go nearer the heart of God, and provoke him more, than the sins of other men. [...] And thou my Son Brutus, art thou one of them? said Iulius Caesar to his Son, when he saw him to be amongst them, that murthered him: that went deeper to his heart than the swords of all his enemies did, or could. In like manner the sins of Gods Children are greater in his sight, and do more grieve him, than the sins of other men.

II. Consider thine high and holy calling. Thou art called out of darkness into light: out of the King­dom of Satan into the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus. Shall there be no difference betwixt the Children of the Kingdom, and the Children of the wicked one? betwixt Gods servants, and the Devils slaves? Art thou one of the called of God, oh how doth it con­cern thee to follow the counsel of the Apostle to the Ephesians, namely to walk worthy of the Vocation wherewith thou art called, that is, suitable to the dignity and purity of it?

Phil. 3.14.1. Thy calling is an high calling. And therefore as men called to high places, carry themselves answera­bly thereunto. In like manner thou being called to be a Christian, it is thy duty (that thou maist not disgrace thy holy profession, and that worthy name by which thou art called) to carry thy self becomingly, and suitably to it, by hating every sin, labouring daily in the mortifying every lust and corruption, keeping thy self unspotted of the World.

2 Tim. 1.9.2. Thy calling is an holy calling: the end thereof is holiness,1 Thes. 4.7. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. Now an holy calling ought to be accom­panied with an holy life and conversation. Being called from darkness to light, from sinfulness to holiness, [Page 161] from the flesh to the Spirit, from Satan to God, is it not most meet thou shouldst cast off the unfruitfull works of darkness, and walk as a Child of light? That thou shouldst no more give thy members as Ser­vants unto sin, but as Servants unto righteousness? That thou shouldst no more fulfill the Lusts of the flesh, but walk in the Spirit, after the motions thereof? This is to walk worthy of the vocation whereunto thou art called.

III. Consider the many great and singular priviledges God hath vouchsafed unto you. Being raised above the condition of other men, it beseemeth not you to act as the men of the World, but to live above their rate, to be more Holy and Heavenly in your conversation, more zealous for God, more fervent in the perfor­mance of holy and religious duties. The Lord expects greater matters, and other manner of Service from you than from other men, for he hath done more for you, and bestowed more on you, than upon all the World besides. When you call to mind your priviledges, reason thus with your selves: Hath God made us par­takers of such and such special mercies, and singular priviledges,2 Pet. 3.11. Oh then what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and Godliness! How ought we to walk worthy such singular priviledges, by singula­rity of actions! doing some singular things for God who hath dealt so singularly well for us. As God hath abounded to us in his choicest mercies, so he expects we should be abundant in singular duties.

CHAP. XIX. Sheweth the singular good things which the Regenerate ought to do aboue others.

I. TO make Conscience of their precious time, and to improve it to the best advantage. Carnal men make little or no conscience of spending their time to any good advantage. Oh the many golden hours, and dayes, and weeks, and years, that thousands of them spend, who yet cannot give the least account, wherein they have done any thing which tends to the glory of God, the good of others, or the farthering their own Salvation! Their minds are so much set upon their carnal lusts and pleasures, that their chief care is, not so much how to improve their time; as how they may pass it away in mirth and jollity. That which when it is once gone, all the World will not buy it back, what a cheap thing is it accounted? But oh how doth it concern such, whom God hath called, to prize the time which he is pleased to afford unto them! and to be carefull in improving the same to some good advantage! yea to gather up the frag­ments of time, every inch of it, that nothing may be lost. We cannot well spare one spare hour. O make the best of thy day. To this end,

1. Consider that thine everlasting state depends upon thy well, or ill spending of thy time. Many make light of their time, and thereupon play and sport it away. Yet there is no moment which thou dost mispend, but for ought thou knowest, it may be the very time, upon which thine eternal state doth depend. Oh what a madness must it needs be for an hour or dayes plea­sure to hazard the loss of everlasting happiness, and to [Page 163] incurr the danger of eternal misery! And yet how few think of the passing away their time, or that any great matter depends thereupon!

2. Consider the preciousness of time, which is of more worth than all the riches and treasures in the World: for they cannot purchase one minute of time. Should the Lord be pleased to vouchsafe unto a damned soul in hell, but one weeks time to live again upon the earth, for tryal how he would improve the same to his souls advantage. Oh how highly would he prize it; how carefully would he improve every moment thereof! how serious would he be in every holy duty, and in all the concernments of his soul! how conscionable in spending of the Sabbath! how watchfull would he be on that day over his thoughts, words and actions! Should he hear Christ tendred in the Ministry of the Gospel as a Saviour to poor sinners, oh how readily would he close with the offer of Jesus Christ! how heartily would he embrace him! Should he be tempted by some carnal friends to spend one day with them in mirth and jollity, how would he answer them! Alas the time on which my everlasting condition doth depend is very short: and must it not be egregious folly in me to trifle away part thereof? Shall I implunge my soul into eternal flames for a little pleasure and short delight? Oh, God forbid. And hereby may you see how precious time is. Surely lit­tle reason have any to be so sparing of their wealth, and so prodigal of their time: when as all the wealth in the World (as before is said) cannot purchase one hours time.

3. Consider how much precious time you have already lost; how many hours and dayes, and weeks and years you have trifled away in vanity and pleasure, yea in sin and wickedness. Though in likelihood the greatest part of your time is past and gone, yet it is to be feared that little of your work is done. Is it not meet then now to begin to make Conscience of your precious time, and to improve it better? The time which you have already lost can never be recalled? O [Page 164] let no more of it run out in vain. Oh think it too much, that you have spent so much of it already to so little, or such evil purpose. And now at length resolve to be thrifty, to be more watchfull over your selves, and more provident for hereafter. You have but a little time to live, yet much may be done in that little. Throw not away that inch which remains after the many years that are gone, and can no more be recalled.

4. Consider the shortness of thy life: it is but a moment to eternity. And is it not pitty to lose any thing of that which is precious and short?

5. Consider as the shortness, So the uncertainty of thy life. You know what was said to him who promised life to himself for many years, Thou fool this night thy soul shall be taken from thee. And it may be thou maist this next night receive the like doom. And if thy time be ended, and thy work to be begun, oh how sad is thy case like to be!

6. Consider as the shortness and uncertainty of thy time, So the greatness of the work to be performed therein: thy Lusts must be mortified, thy graces strengthned, thine evidences for Heaven cleared up, &c. Here is a great deal of work to be done in a little time. Doth it not then concern thee speedily to bestir thy self, and not to lose a minute?

7. Consider the present time is only thine to improve. Behold now is the accepted time, 2 Cor. 6.2. now is the day of Salva­tion. Oh then, why wilt thou trifle away the time which is properly thine; and promise to thy self great things in a time which is none of thine? For even the next hour, yea the next minute thou maist be cut off by the stroak of death: and then all opportunities of doing and receiving good are taken away.

II. Another singular thing which the Regenerate ought to do above others, is, To embrace every opportunity of doing and receiving good. By doing good, I mean not only beneficence to the poor, but also a conscionable perfor­mance of all Christian duties: whether they concern the [Page 165] glory of God, the edification of our brethren, or the Salvation of our own souls.Eccl. 9.10. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might, saith the Wise man, that is, whatsoever opportunity of doing good is afforded unto thee, do it vigorously and speedily, not deferring it till it be too late. Mark his reason in the next words, For there is no work in the grave, whither thou art going. As if he had said, In this life thou hast many opportunities of doing good, but in the grave, thou shalt have nei­ther power, nor opportunities: When thy night com­eth there is an end of working; therefore while it is day, and while thou hast an opportunity, up and be doing.

Doth the Lord afford unto thee any opportunity ei­ther of laying up for thine own soul, or of laying out for the good of thy brothers soul, be carefull to embrace the same, yea and to improve it to the best advantage. Having a price put into thy hands, oh let it not care­lesly slip away, left thou full dearly repent thereof; saying, Oh what an opportunity have I lost of benefiting both my self and others! how might I have furthered both mine own, and others Salvation, by building up one another in the most holy faith! But fool that I was, I have care­lesly neglected these precious opportunities, which will never never be regained. Oh how will the thought thereof one day or other gall thy Conscience!

That thou maist be the more stirred up to embrace and improve every oportunity God by his providence affordeth unto thee,

1. Consider how worldly men hugg their opportunities for the World; and wilt not thou embrace thy opportuni­ties for Heaven? The tradesman neglects not his op­portunity of buying and selling, but carefully attends the same. The Merchant will not lose his Exchange-time, nor the Marriner his Wind and Tyde; The Lawyer will not lose his Terms; Nor the Husband-man his Seed-time, or Harvest. If thou lose thy Seed-time of grace, thou thereby losest the Harvest of glory.

2. Consider how few thy remaining opportunities may be. [Page 166] For ought thou knowest, the time is near at hand, when thy praying opportunities, and hearing opportunities, and receiving opportunities, and relieving opportunities, with the like will be past and gone. How then doth it concern thee to improve them whilest thou hast them, and to use thy present as if it were the last sea­son, and opportunity would be afforded unto thee?

If thou art in the company of a godly experienced Christian, thou hast then an opportunity of gaining much spiritual good and advantage to thine own soul; as by observing his graces, so by propounding thy doubts and scruples unto him. Oh let not such an opportunity pass away without some spiritual improvement.

If thou art called to visit a dying friend, or neighbour, oh what an opportunity hast thou put into thy hand to do his soul good! by advising him to think of death, and to prepare for it, to make his peace with God, to cast himself and the burthen of his sins upon Christ, to build the hope of his salvation only upon that rock the Lord Jesus Christ.

If in walking abroad or travelling on the road, thou fall into company, what good maist thou do by some savoury and spiritual discourse of God, or of mans miserable condition by nature, or of the state of redemption by Jesus Christ, or the like? oh how much might thy care this way abound to thy account? Re­member the words of the Apostle, Exhort one another daily while it is called to day.

If the Lord hath given thee a Family, and furnished thee with abilities for their instruction and edification, let not the souls that are with thee be lost through thy neglect. Thou hast daily opportunities to be sowing thy seed in their souls, which may spring up to their eternal life. And for thy neighbours that live about thee, let them find thee a good neighbour to them; and that they will best do, if thou endeavour to help them to be good Christians.

CHAP. XX. Of performing good duties after a right manner.

III. ANother singular duty incumbent upon the Regenerate, is, To be carefull of the manner of performing good duties. Not only to be conscionable in the use of Ordinances, but likewise to work up their hearts to a conscionableness in the manner of doing them.

1. For therein especially is our respect to God mani­fested. As for the duties themselves, many respects may induce us to the outward performance of them: as obedience to authority, desire of a good name, hope of meriting thereby, or the like. But it is re­spect to God (who searcheth the heart) that moveth men to do the good duties they take in hand, after a right manner, so as they may be pleasing and accepta­ble unto him.

2. The most holy duties we take in hand are clean per­verted and depraved through our failing in the manner of per­forming them. Yea holy duties are thereby turned into sin,Isa. 66.3. as the Prophet Isay implyeth, He that killeth an Ox, for Sacrifice, is as if he slew a man: he that Sacrificeth a Lamb, as if he cut off a dogs neck. Though the Sacri­ficing of Oxen and Lambs, were good, and command­ed by God himself: yet because they failed in the man­ner of performing them, they were no more acceptable to God, than the killing of men, or cutting off a dogs neck, which things were forbidden by the Law, and abomination to the Lord.

3. Failing in the manner of performance makes God not only to reject our duties, but to pronounce a woe and a curse [Page 168] against the performers of them. Jer. 48.10. Cursed be he that doth the work of the Lord negligently. Though it be the work of the Lord, that work which the Lord appointeth to be done, yet notwithstanding if it be done negligently, not after a right manner, cursed is he that doth it.

4. It is the right manner of performing duties, that ob­taineth a blessing from God. It may be thou hast heard much, and prayed much, and fasted much, and yet hast found little good, or benefit thereby. Examine whether thou hast not been dead and dull, formal and perfunctory in them, doing them as if thou didst them not. If so, no marvail that thou hast received so lit­tle good by them. As therefore thou wouldst be loth to pray in vain, or hear in vain, or fast in vain: as thou wouldst be loth to lose the things which thou hast wrought, see to it that thou be as carefull of the manner, as of the matter of them: how thou dost them, as that thou dost them. Do what thou dost with all thy soul, yea and with all thy might, and then thou maist expect a plentiful and gracious return.

For the right manner of performing good duties, take these few directions;

I. Be sure you take Christ with you both for as­sistance, and acceptance.

1. For assistance. For without me, saith Christ, you can do nothing. That is, without Union with Christ, and Communion with him, you cannot perform any ac­ceptable service unto God. You may fall upon the duty of prayer, and attend upon the Ministry of the Word: but without assistance from Christ, you can neither do the one, nor the other as you should. Whensoever therefore you set upon any good duty, in the first place beg strength and assistance from Christ, and rest and lean upon him for his help, go not to pray or hear but in the strength of the Lord.

2. Take Christ with you for acceptance both of your persons and services. Christ is the beloved Son of God, with whom he is so well pleased, that likewise in him he is well pleased with all those that come to God by [Page 169] him? and look for neither audience nor acceptance, but upon his account alone. The truth is, as our per­sons are vile and wretched, and all as an unclean thing: so our Services, even our most holy Services are all polluted and tainted, with the corruption of our na­tures: and therefore they are odious and abominable in the sight of God, who may justly reject both us and them: and will do it, unless covered with the worthi­ness of our Lord Jesus Christ; but in him we shall not fail to obtain gracious acceptance.

Whensoever therefore we go unto God in prayer, or in any other ordinance, let us carry Christ with us in the arms of our faith. Plut arch in the life of Themistocles reports, that it was the usual custome of some of the Heathens, namely, the Molossia [...]s, that when they would seek the favour of their King, they took his Son in their arms, and so went unto him. And questionless it would be the wisdom of Christians, in seeking the face and favour of God, who is the King of Heaven and of earth, to take the holy Child Jesus with them, with­out whom they may not see his face.

II. Stir up thy self and all thy strength, put forth thy self to the uttermost, strive to be lively, active, and stirring in Spirit. Get the Spirit of faith, and of power, this will be oyle to the wheels, and wind to the Sails, which set all a going: let this be wanting and thy best services will be lifeless and dead Services, in which the Lord takes no delight.

There is a threefold strength we should labour to put forth in all our holy duties,

  • 1. Strength of Intention.
  • 2. Strength of Affections.
  • 3. Strength of Body.

1. We must intend our work, as if it were for our lives, for so it is, whether it be the work of praying, hearing, meditating, or the like. We must put forth the strength of our intention, as well as of our at­tention, not giving way either to drowsiness of body, or distractions of mind. But oh what light matters are apt to steal away our minds and thoughts in the perfor­mance [Page 170] of holy duties? If one of our superiours were talking with us, he would expect that we should mind what he saith, and not turn aside to talk with every one that passeth by us. But when God is speaking to us in the ministry of his Word: or we are speaking unto him by prayer, how ordinarily do we turn aside to every vain thought, and trifling business, which offereth it self to us! Intend God more earnestly, and this will fire your thoughts.

2. Strength of affections is required in every good duty.Eccl. 9.10. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might, saith the Wise man. This may especially be applyed to the duties of Gods worship and service, that we do them vigorously, with all the strength of our affections. Which the Apostle requireth, where he bids us,Rom. 12.11. be fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. The word in the Greek notes an ebullition, or boyling up of our spirits to the height. [...]. Psal. 69.9. There is nothing in the World more unbecoming the Worship of God than flatness of spirit, and coldness of affection, when a man serves God as if he served him not. It was Davids com­mendation, that the zeal of Gods house did eat him up. Which expression sheweth the vehemency of his zeal, and strength of his affections, as in reforming Gods house, so in performing the duties of his Worship and service. For this was Iacob honoured, and called Israel, because he prayed with the strength of his affe­ctions, Gen. 32.28. and is therefore said to wrestle with God in pray­er, whereby he prevailed. As thou desirest to prevail with God in Prayer,Hos. 12.3, 4. thou must with Iacob, wrestle with him, putting forth the strength of thine affections which will be a special means to keep away vain wandring thoughts. So long as honey is boyling hot, flies will not venture on it. So if the heart and affections be boyling hot in prayer, vain thoughts are not apt to en­ter in.

3. Strength of body must likewise be put forth in every good duty. For Col must be worshipped as with our spirits, so with our bodies. And blessed is the [Page 171] strength which is put forth in the service of God. Carnal men are apt to lay out the strength of their bo­dies upon their lusts. Why then should not we be as ready to lay out the strength of our bodies in the Ser­vice of God? Then may we have occasion to bless God, and say, Lord, thou mightest have left me to have spent my strength in sin, in the gratifying my carnal lusts; but blessed be thy name, who hast made me willing to spend, and be spent in the service of my God.

III. Labour to keep close to God in holy duties. It were well if in the performance of holy duties we did keep close to the duties themselves: few go so far. But it must be our care not only to keep close to the duties, but likewise to keep close to God in the duties. We must labour not only to mind what we are about, but likewise have an eye upon God, and to hold com­munion with him therein. In the use of every ordi­nance let our main desire, care and endeavour be, to find God therein: and not to rest satisfied without meeting him, and conversing with him. Let us never go from God without God. Never go from the ordi­nance of God, without some special communion with God therein, without finding our hearts raised and affected in the duty, and revived and refreshed in his presence.

IV. In regard of our great inability, and insuffici­ency for the performance of any spiritual duty after a right manner, In the first place, let us beg of God, that by his Spirit he would enable us thereunto. For it is the Spirit of God only that can help our infirmities: he can soften our hard hearts, quicken our dead hearts, enlarge our straightned hearts, &c. And in praying for the assistance of the Spirit, let us plead the promise of God, saying, Lord thou hast promised in thy Word, that thy Spirit shall help the infirmities of thy Servants; Oh make good that promise unto me; let me feel and find the sweet breathings and actings, the lively quick­nings and enlargements of thy Spirit upon my heart, carrying me forth with much life and vigour in the [Page 172] duty I am now going about. This pleading the pro­mise of God puts a strong ingagement upon him, to perform what he hath said.

CHAP. XXI. Of walking Circumspectly and Exactly.

IV. ANother singular duty incumbent upon the Regenerate is, To walk circumspectly and exact­ly, according to that of the Apostle, See that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise. The word in the Original translated circumspectly, [...]. Mat. 2.8. [...]. cometh of two words, which signifie to go to the extremity of a thing. We must be willing to go to the utmost of every com­mand. The same word is used by the Evangelist St. Matthew, when Herod charged the Wise men to search most diligently and narrowly, to make a close and a thorow search for the young Child Jesus. So that by this Phrase is intended great accurateness and exact­ness in our Christian conversation, which the Spirit of God accounteth the greatest point of wisdom, as ap­peareth from the following words, not as fools, but as wise men. It is no part of folly, but a great point of wisdom to be circumspect in the whole course of our lives. I know the men of the World count preciseness of life the greatest folly that may be: and therefore often call those precise fools, who endeavour to live soberly, righteously and Godly in this present World. But at last it will appear the greatest point of Wisdom.

For the better clearing and pressing this duty, I shall shew you, wherein this exact walking doth consist;

1. In walking by rule. As the Carpenter when he would do his work exactly, doth all by rule. So must [Page 173] the Christian that would walk accurately, he must walk by the Word of God, which is the only adequate rule of holiness: He must eat and drink, and buy and sell, and work and rest, and all by this rule. There­fore saith the Apostle,Gal. 6.16. As many as walk by this rule, peace be on them, and on the Israel of God. Let our walking be never so specious and glorious, yet if it be not strait and according to the rule of Scripture, as it will afford no true solid comfort at the last, so nei­ther will it find acceptance with God. For as no­thing is a sin (how great a shew of evil soever it bear­eth) but that which swerveth from the direction of Gods Word. So nothing is a good work, (how great a shew of goodness soever it beareth) but only that which is according to the direction of his Word. Therefore Moses giveth this in express charge to the Israelites,Deut. 5.32. Ye shall observe to do, as the Lord your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand, nor to the left.

2. Our exact walking consisteth in having respect to the inward and spiritual part of the Law; as well as to the outward and external. In every command of God there is both an outward and external part, and also an inward and spiritual part. The former I may call the letter of the Law: the latter the Spirit of the Law. This our Saviour excellently clears in his Ser­mon on the Mount, where reciting the sixth Com­mandment,Mat. 5.21, 22. he saith, Thou shalt do no Murther, there is the letter of the Law, And then adds by way of Explanation, But I say unto you, whosoever is angry with his Brother without a cause, shall be in danger of Iudgement; there is the Spirit of the Law. So after­wards reciting the seventh commandment saith, Thou shalt not commit Adultery, there is the letter of the Law,Mat. 5.28. And then adds, But I say unto you, that who­soever looks on a Woman to Lust after her, hath commit­ted Adultery with her already in his heart. There is the Spirit of the Law, or the Spiritual part thereof. The most diligent observation of the letter or external [Page 174] part of the Law, without a care of the inward and spiritual part, is as a body without a soul, a dead thing, which is no way acceptable unto the living God. Hence our Saviour spent so many words to convince the Pharisees, who were many of them punctual in their outward observations, that they were yet horrible Hypocrites, violating that Law in their hearts, which they so boasted of, and pleaded for with their mouths, being Murtherers in heart, Adulterers in heart, though they committed no such wickedness in the outward man.

And hereby is the hypocrisie of many professors of Christianity discovered, who reach no farther than the outside of Religion; whose Godliness is nothing but carnal service, and bodily exercise. Whereas the Law is spiritual, Rom. 7.14. as the Apostle speaketh, reaching to the very inwards of the Soul. And saith our Saviour, God is a Spirit, Joh. 4.24. and will be worshipped inwardly with the spirit, as well as outwardly with the body. Who­soever therefore walks exactly, contents not himself with the externals of Christianity, but labours to bring up his heart to the inwards thereof; striving to suppress evil thoughts, to mortifie unclean lusts, and all inordinate affections; to abhor and watch against secret impurities, as well as open impieties. This is to walk exactly and accurately indeed: for so the word in the Greek seemeth to import in its proper notion, [...]. viz. A going from the bottom to the top of the rule.

3. Our exact walking consisteth in a carefull avoid­ing all occasions of evil, and temptations thereunto. Ha­ving by sad experience found such and such things to have been snares, and occasions of sin unto us, it is our duty, and will be our wisdom carefully to shun and efchew the same. Especially considering that by running into temptations, we tempt the Lord, and provoke him to give us over to our weakness, and to the power of our corruptions; that so by our falls we may for the time to come be more wise and wary.

[Page 175]Every man by nature is like dry wood, which is apt to kindle so soon as fire is put to it. There needs not any Devils to tempt us. Dry stubble will take fire without any bellows to blow it. Let the least occasion that is be offered unto us, how easily doth it take? every spark will catch upon our tinder hearts. The first sin that proved so fatal to mankind came by temptation. The Devil prevailed with Eve to go and see the forbidden fruit, telling her, that though she might not eat it, yet she might lawfully look on it, and that became the occasion of her fall. For from sight and view she proceeded to touch and taste, to the taking in of that which proved the bane both of her and hers.

By the like means how sadly doth the Devil pre­vail upon souls daily? what windows doth he make our eyes and ears, to let in temptation first, and then iniquity? what snares doth he make of our vo­luptuous tables? our vain and loose companions? our gorgeous apparel? our vain and wanton fashions? even forming our hearts into the image of those va­nities, and leading us out to all iniquity. As our Saviour therefore taught us to pray, that we enter not into temptation. So it will be our wisdom to see to it, that our practice be according to our prayers. What a mockery is it, this hour to pray against temptations, and the next hour to be running into them. Pray against temptations, and watch against them. Watch against all temptations, but especially such as are most taking with thee: and such as have a tendency to thy bosome and best beloved sins. For from them is most danger to be feared, they having most strength from our natures. The Devil knowing full well, which are our bosome and beloved sins, and most predominant lusts, unto them especially, and with greatest success doth he apply his temptations.

4. Our exact walking consisteth in abstaining from appearances of evil, 1 Th [...]s. 5.22. as well as from apparent and di­rect evills. As there are some things apparently [Page 176] evil, so there are other things in shew and appear­ance only evil. He who walks circumspectly and exactly will as carefully shun the one as the other. He will not adventure upon any thing that looks like sin, or that hath the least affinity with it. If the thing be doubtfull whether it may, or may not be done, he will do that which is most safe, and leave the other undone. Yea though he know a thing to be lawfull in it self, yet if it may prove a stumbling block in the way of another, and so be an occasion of sin unto him, he will carefully avoid the same.

Upon this account St. Paul resolved to avoid the eating of flesh, though he might lawfully do it: yet when it was like to be a stumbling-block to his weak Brother, in regard it had an appearance of evil in it,1 Cor. 8.13. he said, If meat make my Brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world stand­eth. Upon this ground likewise the Apostles and Elders in the first general Council at Ierusalem im­posed upon the Gentiles abstinence from meat offered to Idols, Act. 15.29. from things strangled, and from blood. Not for that these meats were in themselves unclean and unlawfull; but because they were apprehend­ed to be so unto many of the Iews, who were kept off from Christ, because those meats in which they supposed to be such uncleanness were ordi­narily eaten by the Christians. Hereupon it con­cerns us in all our actions to be satisfied, not on­ly of the lawfullness but likewise of the expediency of them.Sicut non [...]mne quod libet, licet: sic non omne quod licet, statim eti­am expedit. Bern. Ep. 25. For many things in themselves may be lawfull, which yet in some respect may not be ex­pedient, because they have some shew of evill in them, or are lyable to some mis-construction, or may be occasions of sin unto our selves, or of scandal and offence unto our weak Brother, or may strengthen and confirm wicked men in their ungodly courses, and the like. [Page 177] But herein this cau [...]ion is to be observed,Scandalum quod oritur ex rebus per se bonis, & necessariis, non licet evitare: quia non est faciendum malum, ut eveniat [...]o­num, &c. Cameron. in Matth. 18.7. that all ne­cessary duties commanded by God, ought to be performed by us, though our Brother be offended at them, and though to the World they have some appearance of evil. Christs Doctrines, Works and Conversations were an offence to many in his dayes, yet he went on therein, and pronounced them blessed who were not offended in him. We may not therefore shun profession of holiness, and the practice of Godliness, because unto Worldly men it appeareth but brain-sick peevishness, and an irratio­nal precis [...]ness. But being commanded by God in his Word, ought to be endeavoured after. I may not wound mine own Cons [...]ience to secure my Brothers.

5. Our exact walking consisteth in a moderate use of lawfull things. That overmuch liberty which some men have given to themselves in such things as are in their own nature lawfull, hath proved great occasion of sin unto them. Our Saviour seemeth to blame the men of the old World, that when the Flood came upon them,Luke 17.27, 28. they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. Things no doubt in themselves lawfull to be done: but by over using those lawfull things, and setting their hearts upon them, they laid aside all care of Heavenly things; and increased their pride and covetousness, neglecting the threatnings of a Flood,Jude v.12. and so drowned themselves in perdition.

The Apostle therefore tells us,1 Cor. 7.29, 30, 31. that they who marry, must be as if they marryed not: and they who buy, as if they bought not: and they who use this World, as not abusing it. There is a lawfull using the com­forts of this life, and an unlawfull, an abusing of them. We lawfully use them, when we en­joy them with moderation, and with subordinati­on to spiritual grace, and heavenly glory, when we use all we have for God. We abuse the comforts of this life, when we use them too much, even ex­cessively [Page 178] in respect of the measure, and inordinately in respect of the manner; when letting out our hearts too much upon them, the things which should lead us to God, withdraw us from him.

To spend some time in honest recreations, for the refreshing of our minds, and strengthening our bodies is lawfull. But to waste too much of our precious time in sports and pastimes, making a vocation of our recreations: or to give up our hearts unto our pleasure, to use those delights for them­selves and not for God: or to use them more for gain than for refreshment, they are thereby turned into sin.

In like manner sometimes to feast with our friends and neighbours is lawfull: but to be too frequent therein; or intemperate, feeding with­out fear, Jude v. 12. as the Apostle Iude hath it; never tasting the sweetness of God in the Creature, nor having respect to that communion which should be amongst Saints, is to abuse Gods good Creatures.

So to be diligent in the works of our calling is in it self both lawfull, and commendable. But when we shall be so diligent in our particular calling, that we neglect the duties of our general calling, as Christians. I mean when we are so taken up with our Worldly businesses and imployments, that we can find no time for serving God, either secretly in our Chambers, or privately with our families, is to make our lawfull calling sinfull unto us. Much more when we mingle fraud and deceit with our deal­ings, and cannot be content with that gain that comes in by righteousness, and honesty in all our wayes, this is to turn our lawfull calling into a mysterie of iniquity.

The best of Gods Children are apt to use the law­full things of this World unlawfully, and to abuse them by their excess therein. Did not our Saviour warn his Disciples that they should take heed of abusing as their meat and drink unto surfetting and drunkenness, [Page 179] so their callings to worldliness and covetousness?Luk. 21.34. Take heed to your selves, lest at any time your hearts be over­charged with surfetting and drunkenness, and cares of this life. Who would not have thought the Disciples of Christ far enough from these sins? yet they must take heed to themselves therein. If the green Tree may so easily take fire, what will not the dry do?

Oh then how doth it concern us to set bounds to our selves in all lawfull things! not to exceed either in our recreations, or in our vocations, or in our eating, drinking and the like: but to observe the golden mean: the rather because the Devil in nothing more prevaileth with Gods people than in their immoderate and inordinate usage of things lawfull. Knowing full well that the Godly will not easily be drawn to the committing of such things as carry wickedness in their foreheads, he therefore layeth his snares for them in the use of things lawfull; as their meat and drink, their apparel and recreation, their trading and traffick with the like. Wherein his snares being not so visible, he oftentimes prevaileth with them. The Apostle declaring what a cruel, crafty, and malicious adversary the Devil is, whom he setteth forth to be as a roaring Lyon, 1 Pet. 5.9. that walk­eth about seeking to devour: he thereupon adviseth us to be as sober in the use of things lawfull and indiffe­rent, so watchfull over our selves, lest we be foyled therein.

For your better help herein, take these few di­rections,

1. In the free use of lawfull things be ever jealous of your selves, lest you abuse them to intemperancy and excess. This hath been the folly of many, that pre­suming too much as on their Christian liberty, so up­on their own strength, have adventured upon such temptations, as have occasioned their fearfull falls.

2. Labour to make a spiritual improvement of all those lawfull comforts which God hath afford [...]d to you for your delight. And so whilest you refresh your bodies, you will cherish your souls. Thus in your eating [Page 180] and drinking, often meditate of Gods bounty in pro­viding so plentifully for you: and not only take in meats, but likewise give out gracious discourses and in­structions. For what can it be but egregious folly, when you are feeding your bodies, to neglect your souls? In putting on your cloaths, meditate on the robe of Christs righteousness; which alone can make you amiable in the sight of God, desiring with the Apostle to be found cloathed therewith at the great day.

3. Consider that to use your lawfull comforts to the utmost extent, is the next door to sin. He who will go to the utmost extent of what he may lawfully do, is in danger to go beyond it; and to do also that which is unlawfull. He who will walk upon the brink of a River, may fall into the Water. And he who will take the utmost liberty he may, is very near fall­ing into sin.

CHAP. XXII. Of the danger of Covetousness, as being the root of all evil.

ANother singular duty incumbent upon the Rege­nerate is, To beware of Covetousness and over-loving the World, as being the root of all evil. I do not say, that our hearts being changed and renewed, we ought thereupon wholy to abandon the World, and give over all Worldly businesses and imployments. For grace and a worldly calling may very well stand to­gether: yea a man may be a sincere, holy Christian, and yet a great dealer in the World: nay grace ingageth a man to be a good husband, to improve the estate God hath bestowed on him. But yet we ought not in­satiably to desire, and inordinately to hunt after riches, as if they were the only things, or the great things [Page 181] to be sought after; this is Covetousness. It is not the having of riches, but the immoderate desiring and lo­ving of them, and overvaluing them, which denomi­nates a man Covetous. A man may have much of this Worlds goods, and yet be no Worldling. And another may have little, and yet be covetous. This sin is especially in the heart.

Q. May not a Godly man desire riches, seeing they are often in Scripture termed blessings, which God hath promised as a reward of his Service?

A. There is a moderate desire of riches, which is lawfull: and an immoderate, or inordinate desire, which is unlawfull. Then is our desire of riches moderate, when we desire no more than is needfull, and can be content to want that, when God will have it so.

Q. What may be accounted needfull?

A. 1. That which is meet for the state and calling wherein God hath set us.

2. That which is requisite for the charge committed to us. As if a man have Wife, and Children, and Servants, or Kindred lying upon his charge, what is needfull and sufficient for them, may be desired and sought after.

3. That which is needfull for the future liveli­hood and maintenance of Wife and Children, may lawfully be desired and sought after. The Apostle lay­eth it down as a duty,2 Cor. 12.14. that Parents ought to lay up for their Children.

Besides this moderate desiring and seeking after riches, there is an immoderate desiring, and inor­dinate seeking after them. As when a man is not content with that portion which God by his Provi­dence doth afford unto him, but insatiably thirsts after more. And rather than fail of his desire, will both neglect his God and his soul; and also ven­ture on the use of any unlawfull means, as lying, swearing, false weights and measures, with the like, for accomplishing the same; which is wickedness [Page 182] in any, but especially in such as make a profession of Religion.

Yet how many professors are there in our dayes, who though they pretend much love to Christ, yet by their practice it appears, that their love of riches is greater and stronger than their love of him?

1. For how are their thoughts more upon the World, and the things thereof, than on Christ? No sooner are they awake from their sleep, but the World pre­sently takes possession of their hearts: and their thoughts are upon their estate, how they may encrease the same, and that with unwearied care and labour; when every little that is done for Christ is a weariness to them.

2. How do their discourses run out more upon their riches, than on Christ? Yea with what freedom and delight do they talk of their wealth, and of the means of getting and increasing the same? And scarce a word of Christ all the day long. Which doth clearly discover the covetousness which lyeth in their hearts: for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speak­eth. Mat. 12.34. Mat. 26.69. As the door-keeper said unto Peter, Thou art surely of Galilee, for thy speech bewrayeth thee. So who­soever shall make the World the whole matter, and subject of his discourse, it may be truly said of him, He is a Citizen of the World, for his speech bewrayeth him.

3. How eager and keen are their desires after the riches of this World? or at least after a further portion, and provision for themselves, Wives, and Children?

4. How do they toyle and labour, spending their sweat and strength in seeking after riches? think­ing no care and study too much, nor pains too great for encreasing their wealth and store. How do they rise earlyer for their Worldly busines­ses, than for their Prayers, or any spiritual exer­cises?

5. How do they suffer the World to take up so [Page 183] much of their precious time, that they can scarce find any leisure either for closet devotions, or family Pray­ers? but make their Religion give place to their Worldly businesses. And when at any time they fall upon the performance of holy duties, how are their hearts in that very time taken up with Worldly thoughts, and imaginations? So that in­steed of conversing with God in his holy Ordinan­ces, and enjoying communion with him therein, they converse with the World, and hold communion with the Devil.

O what a shame is it for such as are brought out of darkness into marvelous light, having their understandings inlightned with the knowledge of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ, and are able to discern the mysteries of Godliness that they should set their hearts and affections upon base and transi­tory things! that they should lay out themselves so much in the pursuit of them! and never think they have laid up sufficient of these earthly treasures! What a shame is it for such as profess themselves the Sons of God, to live like Sons of men! as if their portion and happiness were only in this life. That they who profess themselves Heirs to an Hea­venly inheritance, should so much dote upon earth­ly things! what a shame is it for such as have rea­sonable souls, capable of an everlasting life, and of communion with God both here and hereafter, should so far debase their natures, as to live like Moles and Worms in the Earth, and to root like Swine in mudd and dung!

Oh how doth it concern you, daily to humble your selves for this sin, and to loath and abhorr it, and watch against it for the time to come! For as every evill is to be abhorred, so especially such as are disgracefull to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to the Religion which you profess. Let us all therefore who have given our names unto Christ, labour to mortifie this sin in us. Let us use this [Page 184] World, and the things thereof, as if we used them not; neither in our judgements esteeming, nor in our hearts affecting, nor in our practice seeking them be­fore spiritual grace and Heavenly glory.

That we may be the better quickned up thereunto, let us oft consider the manifold mischiefs that do usually follow and accompany this sin of cove­tousness,

1 Tim. 6.10.I. It is the Root of all Evil. There is no evil which a covetous man will forbear: his covetousness will put him upon the acting and committing all man­ner of sin, that will serve his greedy design. It will make a man turn the day of Sacred rest into a day of bodily labour. It will make him use wicked bal­lances, and deceitfull weights.Mich. 6.11, 12. For this they are full of violence and lyes, saith the Prophet Micah. It oft­times raiseth Warrs, and sets the World together by the ears. It occasioneth the neglect both of our own and others souls. It enticeth us into Hell for the sake of living plentifully on earth. It causeth Parents to neglect the souls of their Children; and Children to wish the death of their Parents. It maketh people to hate their Ministers, and Ministers to neglect their People.

II. Covetousness alienates the soul of man from God, and that several wayes, as

Psal. 10.4.1. From the thought of God. For God is not in all his thoughts. When he awakes in the night, his mind is wholly taken up with worldly matters, without a thought of God, or of any good thing. When he is fol­lowing the works of his calling, how is he wholly drowned, and swallowed up therein!

2. It alienates the soul of man from the love of God: For if any man love the World, 1 Joh. 2.15. the love of the Father is not in him.

3. It alienates the soul of man from attending upon God in his Ordinances. As you may see in the invited guests in the Parable,Luk. 14.18. whose eager desire after the things of this World, kept them from coming to the wedding feast.

[Page 185]III. Covetousness makes a man unthankfull for his present state and condition, though in it self an estate very full and comfortable. His mind is so much upon what he hath not, that he neither takes notice, nor tastes the sweetness of what he hath. His full vessel in his own apprehension is an empty bottle. Finding no contentment in what he hath, he is full of mur­muring and repining, that he hath not what he would have. Many a gracious poor man, that hath little of this Worlds goods, hath oftentimes more satisfa­ction and contentment in his little, than he that hath the greatest earthly revenews, in all his abundance.

IV. Covetousness works the heart to a mean and low esteem of things spiritual and heavenly. From such as love the World, and the things thereof over-much, Christ to be sure hath love little enough. Their eyes are so blinded, that they see not his beauty: and their pallat so distempered, that they taste not his sweetness. And therefore, with Esau, preferr a mess of pottage before a birth-right: and with the men of Shechem preferr the bramble before the Vine, the Olive, and the Figg-tree. Worldly men preferr these poor empty things, the Brambles of the World before Je­sus Christ the true and living Vine; yea and above the blessed birth-right of Gods new-born Children.

Covetousness depriveth a man of the comfort of what he hath, and possesseth. For the having of all is as nothing to him, that hath an immoderate desire after more. Ahabs Crown and Kingdom yielded him no comfort after he had set his heart upon poor Naboths Vineyard. The want of this did more molest and vex him, than the enjoyment of his whole Kingdom did solace and comfort him.1 King. 21.4. For this he came heavy and displeased to his house, laid him down upon his bed, turned away his face and would eat no bread.

V. Covetousness exposeth men to manifold temptations, making them ready to yield to Satans wicked suggestions. They that will be rich, 1 Tim. 6.9. fall into tempta­tion and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtfull lusts [Page 186] which draw me [...] into perdition. As if he had said, They who set their hearts upon their riches, whose hearts run after their covetousness, are fit for any temptation, ready to yield to any of Satans wicked suggestions, for the satisfying their covetous humour. Iudas (as Tertullian thinks) was pretty honest till he carryed the bag, and that gave him occasion to discover the rottenness that was in his heart.

CHAP. XXIII. Of living by faith in Gods promises.

ANother singular duty incumbent upon the regene­rate is, To live by faith, casting themselves upon God in Christ, and upon his gracious promises in all their straights and dangers, for such needfull and use­full things as they stand in need of. To live by faith is not only to believe in Christ for salvation, but also firmly to rest and rely upon God, and his gracious promises expressed in his Word, for support under all our tryalls, for succour in all our distresses, for as­sistance against all assaults, for deliverance out of all our dangers, and for supply of all our wants, whe­ther temporal or spiritual.

Thus did those ancient Worthies mentioned, Heb. 11. Where we read that into whatsoever trouble or straight they were brought, they so lived by faith in Gods promises, that nothing could dismay them, much less overthrow them. And if thou in like manner couldst but quietly rest upon God and his gracious promises thou wouldst in thy greatest tryals and troubles be more than Conquerour, as the Apostle speaketh.

When therefore thou art troubled for thy sins, [Page 187] groaning under the weight and burden of them, then throw thy self upon the merits and righteousness of Jesus Christ, and there let thy soul rest it self in hope of the pardon of thy sins here, and of eternal life and salvation hereafter; venturing upon that comfortable promise,Mat. 11.28. Come unto me all ye who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

When thou art assaulted with the temptations of Satan, and fearest left thou shouldst be overcome by them: then look up unto God, trusting in him for deliverance in due time, and for support in the mean time,1 Cor. 10.13. relying upon that gracious promise, God is faithfull, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able: but will with the temptation make a way to escape that ye may be able to bear it.

When thou art under any spiritual desertion, sitting in darkness, without any spark of comfort, th [...]n look up unto God with the eye of faith for the light of his countenance, and the assurance of his loving fa­vour, resting and refreshing thy drooping soul with that comfortable promise,Isa. 54.8. In a little wrath have I hid my face from thee, but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer.

When thou apprehendest thy self weak and insuffi­cient for the performance of duties, then look up unto God who hath promised to help the weaknesses and infirmities of his Servants: and trust upon the power of Jesus Christ; then wilt thou be able to say with the Apostle,Phil. 4.13. I can do all things through Christ which strengthneth me.

When thou feelest thy corruptions strongly work­ing and stirring in thee, then look up unto God, who is able; and hath promised to subdue thine iniqui­ties, and to keep down the power of thy lusts, lay­ing hold on that good word,Rom. 6.14. Sin shall not have domi­nion over you, for ye are not under the Law, but under grace.

When thou art reviled and persecuted by wicked, and ungodly men, then look up unto God with the [Page 188] eye of faith, trusting in him for help and strength, comforting thy self with that gracious saying of our Saviour, Bl [...]sse are ye when m [...]n shall revils you, and persecute you, Mat. 5.11, 12. and shall say all manner of evill against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in Heaven.

When thou art streightned in these outward things, and thereupon art full of Worldly fears and cares, what to eat, and what to drink, and what to pro­vide for Wife and Children: then look up unto God, and by faith cast all thy care upon him, who careth for thee, 1 Pet. 5.7. Psal. 34. resting upon that comfortable promise, The young Lyons do lack, and suffer hunger, but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing. Though thou maist not have that abundance and afflu­ency which some others do enjoy, yet thou shalt not want that which God seeth good for thee,Phil. 4.19. who will supply all thy need according to his riches.

Thus in all thy streights and distresses thou maist by the Soveraign power of faith, working upon the gracious promises of God, exceedingly revive and refresh thy troubled Spirit. For all the promi­ses of God set down in his Word for thy com­fort and support, being sealed with the blood of Christ, are all yea and Amen, as true as truth it self, and therefore shall assuredly in their due time be accomplished.

For thy better encouragement to this Christian duty of living by faith, seriously weigh these few things,

I. The Properties of God, more especially,

1. His Almighty power, whereby he is able to strengthen thee in all thy weaknesses, to support thee under all thy tryals, and temptations, in a word, to perform whatsoever he hath promised. This made Abraham with strong confidence to rest upon the promise of God,Rom. 4.20, 21. which the Apostle thus setteth forth, He staggered not at the promise of God through [Page 189] unbelief, but was strong in faith, being fully perswaded, that what he had promised, he was able to perform. Abrahams eying the power of God was it that made him so confidently to rest upon his promise. The power of God is often in Scripture mentioned to move Saints to live by faith in Gods promises, and to rest upon them. When Sarah made some doubt of Gods promise concerning Abrahams having a Child by her; this question was by way of expro­bration propounded to her,Gen. 18.14. Is there any thing too hard for the Lord? To like purpose said God to his Prophet Ieremy for the strengthening his faith,Jer. 32.27. Be­hold I am the Lord of all flesh, is there any thing too hard for me? implying there is nothing too hard for God.

2. His truth and faithfulness in performing what he hath promised. For faith the Apostle to the Hebrews, faithfull is he that promiseth. Heb. 10.32. We read how under the Law God commanded by Moses concerning him that voweth or promiseth any thing to the Lord,Deut. 30.2. that he shall not break his word, but shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth: And shall the Lord say, and not do it? Shall he promise and not perform it? Surely it is as possible for him not to be, as not to keep his word, and not to perform what he hath promised.

Indeed the Lord many times maketh his Chil­dren wait long for the accomplishment of his pro­mises: Yet he never faileth to be as good as his Word. Which duly considered cannot but strengthen our faith in the firm expectation of all good things promised, and enable us quietly and con­tentedly to rest and repose our selves in God for the accomplishment of what he hath promised, and not to doubt thereof, though he seem long to deferr the performance of them.

3. His infinite Wisdom, whereby he dispenseth the good things contained in his promises, in their fit­est time and season, whenas they shall make [Page 190] most for his own glory, and his Childrens good. Farr be it therefore from us to prescribe unto God the time and season for the performance of his promises. But let us rather resolve with patience to wait his appointed time and season, who is in­finite in Wisdom, and so knoweth what is best and convenient for us, even better than we our selves. Thus did the Church,Psal. 123.4. Our eyes wait upon the Lord our God untill he have mercy upon us. Therefore as the Lord speaketh by the Prophet Isay, Isa. 28.16. He that believ­eth shall not make haste, because he is assured by faith, that though he have not the thing he de­sireth at his own time, yet he shall have it in that time which God in his Wisdom knoweth to be best for him, whenas it shall make most for his good.

II. Consider the good success believers have found up­on their living by faith, how things have fallen out according to their hope and expectation. It is record­ed of Abraham, that he lived by faith in Gods pro­mise to him of a Son; being fully perswaded that what he had promised, he was able to per­form. And God accordingly did perform the same unto him. Look into the Histories of the Kings of Iudah and Israel, and you shall find that according to their trust in God, and faith in his promises, was their success and deliverance.Psal. 22.4, 5. Our Fathers trusted in thee, they trusted, and thou didst deliver them: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded. And saith David of himself, The Lord is my strength, and my Shield, my heart trusted in him, and I was helped. What an encouragement must this needs be un­to us, to trust in God, and live by faith in his pro­mises? Seeing he never failed such. Faith in the promises being like the bow of Ionathan, and Sword of Saul, which never returned empty: but all­wayes finds what it seeks, and enjoyes what it desires.

[Page 191]III. Take notice of the particular fruits of liv­ing by faith recorded in Scripture, some whereof are these,

1. Protection from things hurtfull. Though Daniel was cast into a Den of Lyons, yet it is said, that no manner of hurt was found in him. Dan. 6.23. And this reason is rendred thereof, Because he believed in Gods Word: by faith relying on his power, whom he knew was able to deliver him.

2. Provision of needfull good things. Therefore the Apostle exhorteth to trust in the living God, and that on this ground,1 Tim. 6.17. he giveth us richly all things to en­joy: namely all such things, as he in his Wisdom seeth to be needfull for us. And to set out Gods bounty in providing for such as live by faith in his promises,Prov. 28.25. the Wise man faith, He that putteth his trust in the Lord shall be made fat, that is, he shall not only have such a competency, as is absolutely necessary to preserve life, or to keep body and soul together; but also such plenty, and abundance, as will make him fat, and well-liking.

3. Comfort in every condition, is another fruit of living by faith in Gods promises. The promises of God in his Word are the Christians Cordials, to cheer up his fainting spirits, when he is ready to sink. They are his aqua-vitae, to revive him when he is ready to swound. They are breasts of consolation, full of sweet nourishment for the faint and weak. They are Sacred and sure Anchors, in the tempestuous seasons of trouble and affliction, to stay and six be­lievers amidst all tossings whatsoever. They are roses that blow in the Winter, which with their fra­grancy revive drooping and dejected souls, in the sad Winter of their desertion, when the verdure of all other comforts wither, and drop like leaves that are bitten with the frost. This David found in his own experience, for faith he, thy promises are my com­fort in my affliction, Psal. 119.50. for thy Word hath quick­ned me.

[Page 192]Whereas the best of the Worlds comforts are on­ly applicable to some particular condition: the comforts of the promises are universal, such as agree with every estate, and suit every malady; and therefore apt to relieve the soul of a believer in every condition, though never so sad and dis­consolate. So that the Christian who lives by faith in Gods promises, many times walks more cheer­fully under sore, fiery troubles, than others in the Sun-shine of Worldly prosperity. The three Chil­dren walked to and fro with more joy in the fiery Furnace, than Nebuchadaezzar in his stately Pallace.

4. Contentment in our present state and condition, is another Fruit of living by faith. [...]. Arist. Homo qua­dratus. Erasm. A Believer is like a dye that hath four squares, throw it which way you will, it falls upon a bottome. Let God cast a Believer into what condition he pleaseth, he still falleth upon his bottom of contentment, he will be contented with his present state, believing it to be ordered by God as in Wisdom, so in much mercy and goodness unto him.

CHAP. XXIV. Of Heavenly-mindedness.

ANother singular duty incumbent upon the Regenerate is, to be spiritually minded by a frequent contemplation of spiritual and Heavenly things. It is not some few, slitting, transient thoughts on God or Heaven, where­in this duty consists: but thoughts resting and fixing on some spiritual subject. The truth is, the thoughts of all men fly up and down like birds in the aire, or chaff in the wind: and some of these may light sometimes on God, or Heaven: but they are soon off and fixed on some worldly matter, or some im­pertinencies or other: and therefore cannot denomi­nate a man to be spiritually-minded; which is ano­ther manner of business than many are aware of. It's a thinking with thought upon thought, a reiteration and multiplication of the thoughts of the mind upon God, and the things of God, and this in order to the affecting the heart deeply with them.

It is not sufficient to think and think oft of the love and goodness of God, but we must labour to get our hearts inflamed with a love unto him again. It is not sufficient to think and think often of sin, and the mi­sery it hath implunged as in; but we must so think thereof, as to work our hearts to an hatred of sin, and a fear of that wrath of God it hath exposed us, and made us lyable to, and to a looking after Jesus Christ, who alone can free us from the guilt of our sins, and from the punishment due unto us for the same.

This is a work of so great concernment and advan­tage, as none can truly apprehend, but such as have [Page 194] made tryal therein. David who was a man full of Holy and Heavenly affections, was full of Heavenly meditation. And from the experience of that abun­dant sweetness and comfort he found therein, doth often in his book of Psalms commend it unto others; and pronounceth that man blessed who meditates in the Law of God day and night. Psal. 1.2.

Let thy soul full often soar aloft upon the wings of divine contemplation. Let not any solitary season pass away without some spiritual meditation, and confe­rence with thy God. Either take a sorrowfull survey of thy manifold sins, which may draw from thee as hearty grief for the same, so hearty ejaculations for the pardon and forgiveness of them. Or take a view of Gods blessings and favours towards thee; and let this inlarge and raise up thine heart in praises and thanksgivings unto him. Or bath thy self in an ad­miring commemoration of the meritorious blood of the immaculate Lamb Christ Jesus, which was abun­dantly shed for the washing of thy body and soul from the filthy spots and stains of sin. Seriously think what he hath done and suffered for thee; how he hath full­filled the Law, and undergone the punishment due to thy sins; and now in Heaven maketh intercession for thee, by presenting himself an allsufficient Sacrifice unto his Father for thy sins. Oh think with thy self, what thou must have suffered for thy sins, if he had not suffered for them. What thou hadst been, if he had not redeemed thee, even a bondslave of Satan, and fire-brand of hell.

Especially, let thy soul full often meditate on the glorious things which the Lord hath reserved in Hea­ven for such as here do sincerely serve him, and obey the Gospel of Iesus Christ. Oh think with thy self what a blessed thing it will be, to live in the vision and fruition of God himself: in whose presence there is fullness of joy, and at whose right hand there are plea­sures for evermore. As also what an happiness it will be to behold the glorious body of Iesus Christ, shining [Page 195] there with such incomprehensible beauty, as shall infi­nitely delight the eyes of the beholders, and that to all Eternity, without satiety: for the longer the Saints be­hold Christ, the more they will be ravished with joy and delight. Ponder likewise as on the excellent qualities wherewith thy soul and body shall be adorned in Heaven, so on the excellency of that place, which is set forth in Scripture by Pearls and precious stones.

And the more to set off this glory and blessedness, oft consider with thy self the deplorable state of the dam­ned in hell, who feel nothing for the present but wrath and vengeance: and can expect nothing for the future but the fuller Vials of Gods indignation to be powred on them to all Eternity.

Such considerations as these will serve as notable helps to draw and keep thine heart Heaven-ward, and to turn all the streams of thy desires and longings to­wards the God of glory. But oh how many Christi­ans are there who having an hope towards God, and some confidence of their interest in things above, do notwithstanding converse but very little with them? Their thoughts are seldome on Heaven or Heavenly things; that notwithstanding all their confidence, they may well question whether their treasure be there.

Consider, Reader, As before the Lord, whether this be not thine own case. Thou canst not be ignorant that an heart estranged from Heaven, hath little evi­dence that he hath any part or place therein. And wilt thou yet perswade thy self that God is thine, when thou carest no more for him? Dost thou highly prize an Heavenly mind, and account them the best and the happiest Christians, that are much in Heaven? and yet is it not grievous to thee to find that thou didst never in all thy life, it may be, or but very seldome fix thy thoughts thereon for a quarter of an hour together? but hast many and many a time suf­fered the Devil to run away with thy thoughts, and to detain them on this dunghill below.

Certainly it were better the Devil had power to [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page 196] run away with thine estate, than with thy thoughts, and to order their motions at his pleasure. Oh the multitude of Worldly and covetous thoughts! of wanton and unclean thoughts! of proud and ambi­tious thoughts! of wicked and prophane thoughts! yea of blaspheamous, and atheistical thoughts that lodge in the hearts of most of us, and there Revel it day and night! Oh the speculative filthiness, and contemplative uncleanness that not only harbours, but likewise find hearty wellcome and entertainment there!

Surely friend thou hadst best look to thy self, and get thy heart cleared of these evill guests, thy vile and vain thoughts: drive away these birds of prey, and then the thoughts of God will be more familiar and precious to thee. That thou maist get up to this Heavenly-mindedness; take these directions.

1. Humble thy self unfeignedly for thy great strangeness to God, and Heaven, that thou hast so rarely set thine heart on things above. And for the time to come let it be thy special care and endeavour to habituate thy self to Spiritual, and Heavenly Meditations, fre­quently to steep thy soul in Heavens delights.

2. When thou findest thy mind and thoughts to be rid­den, by the Devil, and carryed away from God, lift up thine heart by earnest and fervent prayer unto him, who is the Father of Spirits, and hath power over Devils; and begg of him, that as by his permission he hath suffered the unclean Spirit to enter into thee: so he would command him speedily to depart from thee, that thy mind might be free for its proper work. For he only can cast down imaginations, 2 Cor. 10.5. and every thing that exalteth it self against the knowledge of God, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

3. Work thy heart to a perfect detestation of all vain and wicked thoughts, that thou maist be able to say with David, Psal. 119.113. I hate vain thoughts. This will highten thy resolutions to a greater watchfulness against them [Page 197] for the time to come, and to use thine utmost endeavour to drive them away, so that though they may arise in thine heart; yet they may not lodge there. And know this for thy comfort, that those vain and wicked thoughts, which thou dost from thine heart hate and detest, shall not be laid to thy charge, at the great day of account.

4. Above all things keep a watch over thine heart; according to that counsel of the Wise man,Prov. 4.23. Keep thine heart with all diligence. As if he had said, Above all keep­ing keep thine heart: which is like a City lyable every moment both to outward assaults and inward com­motions. Not only Satan thine arch-enemy is ever watchfull for an opportunity to cast thereinto his fiery darts, and sensual objects: but there are also many rebellious stirrings within, which spring from the fountain of original corruption, over which thou must especially watch; and dismiss them with loath­ing and detestation. If vain and wanton thoughts be not st [...]fled in the conception, what monstrous wickedness may they not bring forth? How great a fire may these little sparks kindle?

5. [...] thy heart and affections more and more from worldly, cares and pleasures, which clog the soul that it cannot mount aloft. As a Bird whose wings are Limed, is not able to take her flight on high. So the man whose heart is intangled with the cares of this life and the pleasures of sin, will not be able to get above ground: the wings of holy meditation will not raise it on high. Yea such a carnal and earthly mind is altogether unfit for Heavenly medi­tation, and very backward and unwilling to it. What better reason can be given why many think so little of God, his Word and Works, or of any good thing, but because their hearts are so full of the World, and their affections set so much upon the same: where their treasure is, there will their hearts also be.

6. Be often lifting up thine heart to Heaven in some spiritual ejaculations, especially in the morning. Such as [Page 198] find themselves subject to wind in their stomachs through emptiness, use before they go forth, to take a mornings draught. And as great need is there for such as are subject to vain, wanton, worldly thoughts, every morning to prepossess their hearts with the thoughts of God, of his glorious Majesty, his omni­presence, and omniscience, his purity, justice, and the like. And not only mornings, but throughout the day when ever thou findest vain or wicked thoughts to arise at any time within thee, meet them presently with a Prayer; lift up thine heart in some short eja­culatory request unto God, for power and strength to keep down and suppress the same.

7. Labour to spiritualize every outward occurrence by raising Heavenly meditations from the same. There is not any creature thou beholdest, or any thing that befalls thee, but thou maist make some spiritual use, and improvement thereof. As the Bee sucks honey out of every flower; so maist thou extract spiritual and holy thoughts from every thing thou seest, and beholdest: yea from all occurrences and emergencies; which will be a special means to prevent the Devil and Lust, and to keep out those vanities and wicked­nesses which otherwise would fill thine head and heart withall.

8. Labour to get thine heart furnished with the know­ledge of God and his word, which will take up thine heart with better things, and leave no room for these unclean birds. As the emptiness of the stomach maketh it subject to windiness; so it is the emptiness of our hearts that makes them so full of vain, foolish thoughts.Mat. 12.35. A good man, saith our Saviour, out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth good things. A good man having his heart furnished with a treasure of many precious truths, bringeth forth good thoughts, as well as good things. When thou art walking or riding alone, call to mind some spiritual subject or favoury truth whereon to meditate: bring forth out of thy treasury, and let thine heart be continually [Page 199] working upon those good things thou hast there laid up.

9. So often as thou goest unto God in Prayer, let one petition be for mortifying grace, to conquer those sinfull Lusts and vile affections, which are apt to steam up into thine head with answerable thoughts; and that he would make thee more heavenly minded, by work­ing in thine heart better affections. Nothing but the power of God can cure us of the vanity of our thoughts, and make them such as may be acceptable unto him.

In regard that the best of Gods people do find a great backwardness, and untowardness in themselves to the performance of this Heavenly duty: I shall give you some Motives thereunto, which if seriously weighed, may through Gods blessing prove effectual to perswade you to be more spiritually minded.

I. May be taken from the possibility of the work. In­deed the work is somewhat difficult, yet is it possible; it's that you have power to do. Though you have not that command of your affections, you cannot love what you will, or hate what you will, or grieve when you will; yet can you not think of what you will? And by how much more able you are to it, by so much the greater your sin is, if you neglect it.

II. Consider the necessity of this duty. The mind of man being active, if it be not exercised on spiritual, and holy things, it will be on things earthly and car­nal. The truth is, whosoever doth not accustome himself to fix his thoughts on God, or his Word, or some spiritual subject, will be sure to find them taken up with things of less concernment, yea of dangerous and sad consequence; from which they will reap nothing but corruption, and defilement. By how much our minds stray from God, and pitch upon other things, the more will they grow into the form of the Devil.Jer. 2. [...]. They are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain.

[Page 200]III. Consider the manifold benefits which usually follow thereupon.

1. God will be sure to mind them, who mind him. Then they that feared the Lord, Mal. 3.16. spake often one to another, and a book of remembrance was written before him, for them that feared the Lord, and thought on his name. Not a thought of God but it is registred in his book of re­membrance. The more we look up unto God, the more he will look down upon us for our good. When thoughts of God are stirring in us, God himself is not far off, he will come and enter. Oh how happy are those souls in whom God comes, and takes up his habitation!

2. A clearer apprehension of divine truths. Though we hear often, and read much, yet if we digest not those truths we meet with, by meditation, we shall still con­tinue in the dark. Our knowledge at the best will be but weak, and inefficacious. Whereas by a frequent thinking of those truths which we hear or read, we shall have a clearer apprehension of them, and they will be concocted into better nourishment.

3. An Heavenly conversation. The mind being the fountain of actions, such as the mind is, such is the life, and conversation. If the mind be holy and Hea­venly, such will the life be. But if the mind be car­nal, and unclean, the conversation will be thereafter. Wouldst thou have an Heavenly conversation? then must thou be Heavenly minded. Thoughts are the seed and conception of all our actions, and such as the seed is, such will be the fruit. As evil thoughts bring forth evil actions, so Heavenly thoughts bring forth an Heavenly conversation.

4. Readiness to discourse on divine mysteries. As they who have layed up much riches, have sufficient by them, to bring forth on all occasions: so such as by frequent meditation have treasured up many precious truths, have sufficient by them to produce, for the benefit of those they converse withall. Whereas others who have spent much time in reading, and hearing, [Page 201] and have not by meditation made it their own, we see how barren they are.Psal. 77.12. I will meditate, saith David, of all thy works, and talk of thy doings. It is there ob­servable, how good conference follows upon holy me­ditation.

5. Cheerfulness of Spirit. To be much in Heaven by a frequent contemplation of things above, will exceed­ingly cheer up our Spirits, and make us walk comforta­bly. For the proof hereof I dare appeal to the ex­perience of any Heavenly-minded Christian. When is it that your hearts are most cheerfull? but when you have been walking with God, and beholding his face, and looking to those things that are within the vail. Certainly this will leave such a savour upon the heart of a Christian, that he cannot but confess, that one hour thus spent, doth afford more true real joy and sweetness, than all the riches and pleasures in the World.

Hereupon David cryed out,Psal. 139.17. How precious are thy thoughts unto me, O God! As if he had said, How de­lightful and comfortable are the thoughts that I have of thee! yea saith he, when I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches, my soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness. And who is there that hath seriously experimented this divine ex­ercise, who doth not find abundance of sweetness and comfort in it? Certainly no comfort, no joy is to be compared with it.

No marvail then that many Christians walk so un­comfortably, when they live at such a distance from Heaven. Where is joy? where is comfort? but in Heaven? Who are like to taste of these Heavenly comforts, but those who go often thither? Strangers shall not meddle with this joy. How can Heaven be matter of joy to them who are never there? nor consi­der the glorious things, which God hath there prepa­red for those who love him?

6. Another benefit of divine contemplation, is a profita­ble improvement of time. For thereby all the chinks, [Page 202] and crevices of our time will be filled up. There need be no vacuity, when we have work that is so proper for every season; yea and that will whet and quicken us, to what ever other work God hath for us to do. The most contemplative Christians are the most active. Our holy thoughts will set us upon our holy work; the thoughtless are usually the most fruit­less of men.

7. Victory over our lusts and corruptions, is another benefit of divine contemplation. It is recorded of Noah, that though he lived in wicked and corrupt times, yet he was a just and upright man. Gen. 6.9. The reason thereof is rendred in the next words, He walked with God, con­tinually eying him, and meditating of him. By his frequent conversing with God, he kept himself from the iniquities of the times, as well as from the cor­ruptions of his own heart. And certainly there is no better preservative against sin, than to have our minds and thoughts thus holily imployed about spiritual things. For,

1. By looking into our selves, and considering our own hearts and wayes, we discern the evils that are there: we see such Worldliness and Covetousness in our hearts, the very sight whereof will make us look the better to our selves.

2. By spiritual meditation we come to have such an insight into the evil of sin, the vanity of the Creature, the folly of fleshly sensual delights: that temptations unto sin will have the less power over us.

3. Divine contemplation is a preservative against sin, because it keeps the heart imployed. When the heart is taken up with better things, it hath no leisure to hearken to temptations; no leisure to be lustfull and wanton;Quem dia­bolus inve­ [...]it inoccu­patum ipse [...]ccupat. to be Worldly or ambitious. When we are idle and empty of God, we are sure to be pestred with evil thoughts: whilest we are well employed, we are safe. When the vessel is full, you can put in no more. And when the heart is filled with Heaven, there is no room for Earth and vanity. What's the reason [Page 203] most mens hearts are so full of wicked wanton thoughts? but because God is not in all their thoughts.

4. Divine contemplation is a good preservative against sin, in that our understandings are thereby cleared, to judge rightly of our sinfull lusts, and pleasures. When a Christian hath been seriously musing either on those everlasting joys, which are prepared for the Godly in Heaven: or on those everlasting torments, which are prepared for the wicked in hell, what then are his ap­prehensions of his lusts and iniquities? Oh how doth he befool himself for them, when he sees what he is like to lose and suffer by them! How could he even tear his very flesh, and take revenge on himself, for his earthly mindedness, and fleshly pleasures! for his mis-spent time, that he hath so prodigally lavished, and wofully wasted his golden and precious time, in vani­ty, and pleasure, in sin and wickedness! How verily doth he think there is no man in Bedlam so truly mad, as they, who for the short fruition of a momentary pleasure, and delight here, do plunge themselves in­to everlasting burnings in hell, where is nothing but weeping and wailing, and gnashing of teeth!

CHAP. XXV. Of Mortification.

ANother singular duty incumbent upon the Regene­rate is, To labour in the use of all good means, for the mortification of the whole body of sin, with all its af­fections and lusts, especially those we feel most predomi­nant in us. True mortification extendeth it self to the whole of sin, body and members, root and branch; even every sinfull lust.Col. 3.5. Mortifie therefore your members which are upon the Earth, saith the Apostle. Where by Members on the Earth, are meant the sinfull lusts and affections, which are as the Members of that monstrous body of sin; which is evident by the particular in­stances in the Words following, namely Fornication, uncleanness, inordinate Affections, and the like. These must be mortified, that is, killed and destroyed. The Regenerate by the Spirit of God are enabled as to re­strain the actings of sin, so by degrees to deaden the root. Indeed this is not done to the uttermost while here we live, I mean, sin is not here so mortified and destroyed, that it hath no residence, nor activity in our hearts: yet may it be so weakned and subdued, as to lose its vigor, power and strength, and languish away more and more. Though corruption keep possession in us, after we are Regenerate, yet hath it not dominion over us, though we may be sins Captives, yet shall we not be sins subjects, to yield a voluntary subjection of our selves unto the commands of sin.

Q. How may we know when corruption is mor­tified in us?

A. When it is not only restrained, and kept from such ordinary breakings out into actual sins: but the [Page 205] lusts and motions that issue from it, are a grief to us: yea we hate and detest them, and groan under the bur­den of them: we watch against them, fight against them, earnestly desiring to be delivered from them, crying out with the Apostle,Rom. 7.24. O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of sin and corruption.

For the more profitable pressing this so necessary and difficult a duty, I shall,

  • 1. Shew you some Motives and arguments to enforce the same.
  • 2. Some Means whereby it may be effected.
  • 3. The Manner how it ought to be performed.

The Reasons forcing this work of Mortification upon the Regenerate are these,

1. After Regeneration there remaineth a body of sin and corruption in the best, which if we endeavour not, by the help of Gods Spirit, to mortifie and sub­due, will gather strength, and become mighty to the great hinderance of our duty, and darkning all our comfort.

2. Corruption doth not only remain in us as long as we live in this World, but it is alwayes in continual work: either stirring us up to evil, or keeping us from that which is good, or defiling our best actions. In which respect,Gal. 5.17. saith the Apostle, the flesh lusteth against the Spirit: And from his own experience he cryeth out,Rom. 7.23. I see another Law in my members, warring against the Law of my mind, and bringing me into capti­vity to the Law of sin, which is in my members; so that I cannot do the good which I would, but rather do the evil which I hate. How doth it then concern us, daily and hourly to fight, and strive against these lusts, which are continually working, and warring in our members, hindering and spoiling all our duties, break­ing our peace, undermining all our hopes and com­forts, and seeking our lives? we must either kill or be killed.

3. By a conscionable performance of this duty, we [Page 206] shall be freed from those hainous and scandalous sins, into which other mens lusts do carry them. Should corruption have its way and course without resistance in the best of us, it would soon break forth into the most loathsome and disgracefull sins, that are com­mitted by the very worst of men; as we see in David, Solomon, and others. Is it not then needfull for us to keep down, and withstand the first motions and risings of sin in our hearts, before it break forth into such wick­ed and disgracefull acts, which will blast our cre­dit and reputation, and bring a scandal upon our Re­ligion and profession?

4. Mortification of sin was one special end of Christs death; who dyed to save his people from their sins: not to save them in their sins, but from their sins: as from the guilt and punishment, so from the power of them. And indeed whom Christ delivers from the damnation of sin, he first delivers also from the dominion of sin. Whom he intends to save from hell, he first saveth them from iniquity: he saves their souls by killing their sins.

If thou findest any lust to remain unmortified in thee, bearing rule in thine heart, and sway in thy life, thou hast just cause to question thy interest in Christ, and his salvation.Gal. 5.24. They that are Christs have Crucifi­ed the flesh, with the affections and lusts.

II. The Means whereby the work of Mortification may be effected by us, are these,

I. When thou feelest corruption working in thee, and stirring thee up to evil, then call to mind, and lay to heart the ensuing considerations.

1. Consider the shortness of the pleasure of sin, with the length of the punishment following thereupon, without true and unfeined repentance: The one for a moment, the other everlasting. The pleasure is but short, but the punishment is for ever and ever. The torments of the damned in hell are intensively most grievous in themselves: but that which mainly and infinitely adds to the greatness of them is, because they [Page 207] are eternal. Rev. 20.10 They are tormented day and night for ever and ever. The Worm is alwayes gnawing, and the fire continually burning,Mat. 3.12. therefore called unquenchable fire. Oh what a folly must it then needs be▪ yea and madness beyond admiration, for the short fruition of these perishing pleasures, and transient contentments here, to implunge our selves into everlasting burn­ings!

Oh how terrible is the thought of eternity in those tormenting flames? where the damned would think themselves happy, if after they had endured them so many thousand years, as there are Sands on the Sea-shore, or Stars in the Firmament, they might then be assured of enlargement. But when all that time is past, and innumerable millions of years, and ages are run out, they are as far from an end, as at their first entrance. Why wilt thou then purchase a little sen­sual delight at so dear a rate? for a moments pleasure to incurr everlasting woe and misery? O the fire of hell, if thou wouldst send down thy thoughts thither, would burn up thy Lusts, which otherwise will be the fuel to burn thy soul.

2. Consider thy extream folly in gratifying thy sinfull Lusts: thereby thou hast chosen and preferred thy fleshly pleasure, thy carnal content, before the glory of God, the everlasting joyes of Heaven, and the pre­cious blood of Jesus Christ. Oh monstrous mad­ness, and unconceivable folly! at which the An­gels blush, and Heaven and Earth cannot but stand amazed.

3. Call to mind and consider some of the threatnings in Gods Word, as against sin in general, so against that particular Lust, which thou findest most working and stirring in thee, and unto which thou findest strongest incli­nations in thy self.

First, Call to mind and consider s [...]me of the threat­nings against sin and sinners in general.Psal. 11.6. Upon the wick­ed, saith the Psalmist, God shall rain fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their [Page 208] cup. Rom. 2.8, 9. And saith the Apostle, Indignation and wrath, tri­bulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doth evil.

Secondly, When thou findest any inclination in thy self to a particular sin, as unto drunkenness, seriously consider that of the Wise man,Prov. 23.29. who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions, &c. they that tarry long at the Wine, they that go to seek mixt Wine. When thou findest any inclination, or temptation un­to uncleanness, seriously weigh that of the Apostle, Be not deceived, 1 Cor. 6.9. neither Fornicators, nor Idolaters, nor Adulterers, nor Effeminate, shall inherit the Kingdom of God. Heb. 13.4. And again, Whoremongers, and Adulterers God will judge. When thou findest any inclinations unto Covetousness, call to mind that of the Prophet Isaiah, Wo unto them that joyne house to house, Isa. 5.8. and lay field to field, till there be no place: and that of the Apostle, The love of money is the root of all evil, 1 Tim. 6.10. which while some have coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves thorow with many sorrows. As God hath in his Word denounced severe threat­nings against many sins, so a serious consideration of them will be a special means to mortifie the same, and keep them at least from raigning in us.

4. Call to mind the fearfull judgements God hath exe­cuted upon sinners; as the drowning of the old World; the raining fire and brimstone from Heaven upon Sodom and Gomorrah; the rejection of the Iews: the destruction of those famous Churches of the Corinthi­ans, Galathians, Ephesians, with divers others. Con­sider likewise the remarkable judgements of God ex­ecuted upon notorious sinners in thine own dayes, for their swearing, sabbath-breaking, whoring, drinking, and the like; which (through Gods blessing) may prove a special Means to keep down all sinfull lusts, and inordinate affections, that they break not forth into outward gross acts.

5. Consider the deceitfull nature of sin, which allu­reth thee with shews of pleasure, profit, credit, ease, [Page 209] and the like? but in the end it bites like a Serpent, and stingeth like an Adder; and then thou wilt perceive how thou art beguiled, and deceived. Horrour of Conscience, and hellish torment is all it will pay thee instead of the pleasure it promiseth thee: loss instead of profit, even the loss of Heaven and happiness: shame and disgrace instead of credit: anguish instead of ease:Rom. 2.9. tribulation and anguish shall be upon every soul of man that doth evil. Iacob complained of Labans deceit about his wages: and what wilt thou think of thy wages when the pay-day comes? The wages of sin is death, wilt thou not then say, the Serpent hath be­guiled me, this sin hath deceived me. Be not such a fool as to take the word of a known deceiver; away with it, crucifie it, for it intends thee mischief. Be undeceived betimes: how dreadfull will it be, if nothing but fire and [...]mstone will bring thee to thy wits? If thou wilt no [...] see the treachery of sin till it be too late to escape it?

6. When thou feelest corruption working and stirring in thee entising thee to sin, seriously consider the manifold sufferings and bitter death of our blessed Saviour Iesus Christ on the Cross: whereof our sins were the cause. These were they that lay heavy upon his soul, and made him exceeding sorrowfull even unto death. These were the thorns which pricked his Temples; the whips which scourged his innocent body: and the nails which fastned his hands and feet to the Cross. And can we love our sins which kil'd our Saviour? we complain of Iudas, and of the Iews for Cruci­fying him; and seem to hate them upon that account. But behold the Iudas in thy heart, and in thy life, thy sins, these are the betrayers and murderers.

Oh never leave looking up to a Crucified Christ, till thou feel and find, both arguments enough to en­gage thy heart against them, and vertue flow from him to the Crucifying of them. To this end, rea­son thus with thy self. Hath Christ paid for my Re­demption his most precious Blood, and shall I sell my [Page 210] soul to sin again for this fleshly pleasure, or base pro­fit? what is this but to Crucifie the Lord of life afresh? For know assuredly, so many sins as thou committest wittingly, and with delight, so many thorns dost thou again fasten upon his head, so many nailes dost thou drive into his hands and feet, so many spears dost thou thrust into his heart. Certainly a serious conside­ration of these things cannot but be a special means to set thee heartily upon this work of Mortifi­cation.

7. Consider how frail and mortal thou art, subject to death every moment; and woe be unto thee if thou dye before thy sins be slain. How darest thou adventure upon thy Lusts, and the pleasures of sin, when as thou maist suddenly be taken out of the Land of the living, and cast into hell, while thou art acting thy wickedness? Even then when thou art blessing thy self in thy pleasures, or the gains of unrig [...]eousness, thou maist hear that voice, Thou fool [...] night thy soul shall be taken from thee. Didst thou but seriously consider, as the cerrainty of thy death, so the uncertainty of the time thereof, thou wouldst not but be afraid of sin­ning once more, lest God should strike thee dead in the very act, and thou have no time left for repen­tance. Oh pray with the Psalmist,Psal. 90.12. that God would teach thee to number thy dayes, and this will make thee apply thine heart unto Wisdom.

8. Consider that sin will be thy destruction, and no­thing besides it can harm thee. It is not in the power of all the men and Devils in the World to destroy the soul of any man. Temptations can do nothing but by the advantage of corruption; 'tis that wounds mortally our immortal spirit, and brings it into that cursed state, where though it never dyeth, yet is it alwayes dying; though never quite dead, yet ever in the pangs of death.

Oh what prodigious cruelty must it then needs be, for such things of nought, to betray thy precious soul to an eternal loss! when if thou wouldst be [Page 211] perswaded to secure this enemy, Sin, thou mightest live and be blessed, in spite of men and Devils. And wilt thou yet be in league with it? wilt thou let it live? Shall not thy soul be avenged of such an ene­my as this? Arise, arise, set upon thy sins, upon them all, let not thy soul spare any one of them, give no quarter to them, let not any iniquity lodge in peace with thee one night more, lest thou be a dead man be­fore the morning.

Thus have I commended to thee several conside­rations to restrain thee from sin, which by the help of God may serve to imbitter the sweetest bait that draws thee to it, and to cool the heat of the most furious inticements. When therefore thou feelest cor­ruption working, and stirring in thee, call to mind the forementioned considerations, fix thy thoughts on them, let them not go off, untill they begin to have a pow­erfull influence upon thy soul.

II. Another means on our part to be performed for the mortifying our sinfull Lusts is, carefully to eschew all occasions of sin, and temptations thereunto. He who will dally with occasions of sin, is in danger of falling. He who will venture upon temptations unto wickedness, is not far from commission of it. Observe therefore what occasions and opportunities, what means and com­pany, have at any time given advantage to thy Lust, to exert and put forth it self; and flie from them as from Hell. This is a point of true spiritual wisdom, to see sin afar off in the occasions of it; and by eschew­ing the one, to prevent the other.

III. Observe the first working of corruption in thine heart, and carefully suppress the same, not suffering it to get the least ground. Do not say, thus far it shall go and no farther. Give sin an inch, and it will soon take an ell, as the proverb is. Lustfull thoughts have oft-times ended in outward uncleanness, and actual Adultery.Mat. 15.19. From the heart, saith our Saviour, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, &c. Noting evil thoughts to be the cause of the uncleanness in the life. [Page 212] In Athaliahs Massacre of the blood-royal, young Ioash was hid in the bed-chamber, there he was nurst, and afterwards came to be King, and ruled in the Throne. Save any Lustfull thought, nurse it in the bed-chamber of thy heart, hide it there, and it will in time come to be King, and rule over thee.

So soon therefore as any lustful or exorbitant thoughts begin to arise in thine heart, speedily reject the same: quench the fire in the thatch; crush the Cockatrice in the Egge: stifle the first conception of sin. Cer­tainly as it is a dangerous neglect not to observe and embrace the first motions of Gods spirit in us: so likewise not to take notice of the first thoughts and rising of sin in our hearts. He who slights sinfull thoughts,Gal. 5.24. is in a fair way to sinfull actions. They that are Christs, saith the Apostle, have Crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. The very affections and lusts of the flesh must be Crucified, if we would prevent the works of the flesh.

IV. Sir up in thy self an earnest desire to have thy lusts mortified and subdued. The reason why no more is done against sin is, because we are too well contented to let it alone; when nothing but the death of sin will satisfie thee, thou wilt then use thy Weapons: when once thou desirest in earnest the destruction of thine iniquities, there's hope they will not be long liv'd. For God hath promised to satisfie the desire of those that fear him, he will hear their groanings and deliver them.

Mat. 11.28. Come unto me, saith Christ, all ye who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you case, and rest. Cer­tain [...]y one special reason why many complain so much of the strength and prevalency of their corruptions is, because they are not heartily willing to have them mortified and subdued. They will indeed profess a willingness to part with their sins, that they may be freed from the guilt of them, and punishment due unto them; but unwilling they are to part with the pleasure they find in them. Thus Austin acknowledgeth of [Page 213] himself; I prayed, said he, that my sins might be forgi­ven and mortified: but yet I was afraid l [...]st my prayer should be heard and answered, If therefore thou wouldst have thy sins mortified indeed, stir up in thy self a wil­ling mind thereunto.

V. Complain unto God of the prevalency of thy lusts, and by prayer beg strength from him against the power of th [...]m. From God it is that strength must be had, it is his power alone that can support us against the power of sin. And Prayer is the means of obtaining it. This was the course that Paul took, when he was trou­bled with that thorn in his flesh, 2 Cor. 12.7, 8. which expositors gene­rally enterpret to be, some strong motions and inclina­tions in him to some foul sin. For this, saith the text, he besought the Lord thrice, that is, oftentimes. And though he did not presently obtain a full deliverance, yet did he receive strength sufficient to resist them, so that he could not be overcome by them.

If we in like manner shall go unto God by prayer for his help, laying open our condition, and complaining to him thereof; we shall for the present receive strength sufficient to resist, and in Gods due time deliverance from our iniquities.

VI. Act faith in Christ for the mortifying thy sinfull lusts, and corruptions. To this end,

1. Be sensible that thou art in thy s [...]f weak, and un­able to grapple with thy Lusts. Thou must despair of thine own strength, ere thou wilt take hold on the strength of the Lord. Thou must be beaten out of thy self-confidence, ere thou wilt go unto Christ. When thou seest thou art weak, thou wilt turn to the strong hold.

2. B [...]lieve that Christ is able to succour and help thee. In him doth all fullness dwell. As he hath a fullness of grace in his heart, so fullness of power in his hand, whereby he is able to kill all thine enemies. Sin is mighty, but Christ is mightier. The Devil is strong, but Christ is stronger than he.

3. Believe that Christ is as able, so willing to subdue [Page 214] thine iniquities. Thine enemies are his enemies, and he will have their death: if thou be a believer, he hath undertaken for thee. He is thy great High-Priest, and thy Lord and King; and hereupon not only by his mercifulness, and kindness; but by his office and interest he stands ingaged to pitty and relieve thee: he will not be unfaithfull to his trust, nor deaf to his own bowels, which plead with him to save and help thee.

4. By faith cast thy self upon Iesus Christ, rest upon his power, and goodness for his help and strength. 'Tis here in regard of Christs power, as in regard of his promi­ses. As our resting and relying upon his promises in a time of danger and distress, makes them our own: So our resting and relying upon Christs power for help and support, doth make it our own.

5. By faith wait upon Christ in expectation of relief, and succour against the working and stirring of thy cor­ruptions. Though relief come in but slowly from him, yet wait for it, because it will most surely come in the most seasonable time. Hereby wilt thou ingage Christ to appear for thy help. For as nothing doth more in­gage the heart of a man to be helpfull to another, than an expectation of help from him: So certainly the raising up thine heart to an expectation of relief from Christ, must needs be a great ingagement unto him to assist thee accordingly.

When Christ cured many of their bodily diseases and distempers while he lived upon the Earth, we find their cure is still ascribed to their faith. Now what was their faith? They believed that Christ was both able and willing to cure them, and thereupon with confi­dence went unto him for cure, and so drew vertue from him accordingly. This you may see in the poor Wo­man that had an issue of blood twelve years, who came behind Christ and said, If I may but touch the hem of his garment, I shall be whole. To whom Christ replyed,Mat. 9.20. Daughter be of good comfort, thy faith hath made thee whole. This is written as all other Scripture is, for our learning, to teach and instruct us: what course [Page 215] to take for the curing of our spiritual maladies and diseases.

Hast thou any foul issue of Worldliness and Cove­tousness, of pride or frowardness, of passion or envy, or the like running upon thee? And wouldst thou be cured of them? Do as that poor Woman did: go unto Christ, set thy faith at work on him; believe his power and willingness, let thy faith touch but the hem of his garment, lay hold on him, cast thy self on his blood and bowels, wait at his door, resolving not to return with­out a gracious answer, and then see if this be not his answer, Son be of good comfort, thy sins are forgiven, be thou cleansed of all thy corruptions, thy faith hath made thee whole.

Having shewed the Means whereby the work of Mor­tification may be effected. I come now to shew the Manner how it ought to be performed.

1. Our Mortification must be speedy. Begin to day, let the ax be presently laid to the root of these trees; and whenever you feel the Devil at work, blowing up the Coals of Lust, be instantly in arms, give not time to sin to get head upon thee, resist it in its first motions and risings. Delayes herein are very dange­rous. That Lust which at first may easily be overcome, afterwards will hardly be kept under.

Why should we not be as wife for our souls, as we are for our bodies? who having fire cast into his bosome or house, will not presently cast it out, and quench it? Woe to those fools who let alone these hellish fires, and trifle so long, till it hath gotten the mastery. You whose Lusts are through your own neglects gotten up into a flame, fear le [...]t it be too late to quench them: fear lest these fires having been neglected so long, should now burn to the bottom of Hell.

Vain, wicked, wanton thoughts are evil seeds sown in our hearts by our adversary the Devil, which if they be let alone, will insensibly grow up first into a blade, then to an eare, and so bring forth a dismal harvest of wickedness and wrath. And therefore our wisest [Page 216] course must needs be, so soon as they are sown, speedily to weed, and pull them up by the roots. To which agreeth that of an ancient,Vitia cor­poris non sunt sinenda coalescere; sed in exor­diis statim enecanda sunt. Hillar. Enarrat. in Psalm 36. We must not suffer those fleshly vices to grow and increase, but rather destroy them in their first beginnings.

2. Our Mortification must be willing and voluntary, not forced and constrained. The Marriner in a storm, casteth away his goods, because he dares keep them no longer; yet still his heart goeth after them. And this is all the mortification of the most, they will cast off their transgressions because they dare do no other. Then only are we sincere in this work, when our hearts are the first in all that opposition we make against our sins: when we pray against them heartily; when we watch and wrestle, and strive, and resist them with all our hearts: when our very souls long to see the blood of our Lusts; and if it were possible we might with safe­ty, yet our hatred against them would not suffer them to live. They are like to do something to purpose against sin, whose hearts do give the first charge upon them.

3. Our Mortification must be universal, extending it self to all our sinfull Lusts, with a sincere purpose not to bear with our selves in any known sin. For most cer­tain it is, that true mortification, and an advised re­maining in the practice of any known sin cannot possi­bly stand together. Therefore the Prophet David, to testifie the truth of his Mortification, saith, I have re­frained my feet, Psal. 119.101. not from one or two, but from every evil way: he did not willingly bear with himself in the practice of any one sin; well knowing every sin to be a transgression of the Law. [...], & [...]. These two words, Sin and transgressio [...] are convertible. Whosoever committeth sin, saith the beloved Disciple Iohn, 1 Joh. 3.4. transgresseth the Law, for sin is the transgression of the Law; yea, every sin, and so makes us lyable to the wrath of God, to all judgements and plagues here, and to eternal dam­nation hereafter. God will not spare that soul, that will have any one of his sins spared to him. He that [Page 217] would have one sin spared, would have another and another if it served his turn. He that would not have all of Christ, would in truth have none of him. And he that would not be rid of all sin, has no sincere mind to be rid of any.

Christ will have all or nothing: every duty must be done, or as good you did none; [...]very sin must be left, or as good you kept them all. Canst thou let all sin go but this one? even this must go too, or thy life must go for it. O friend, set thy self against every sin, great and small, open and secret, carnal and spiritu­al. Set thy self against them heartily, be willing to prosper and overcome; and set upon them speedily, let no iniquity live a day longer, nor sleep a night more in quiet with thee, (only remembring to go forth against them in the strength of the Lord) and then we shall quickly find thee to be one of Christs mortified ones, who as thou art dead with Christ, shalt certainly live with Christ, and raign with Christ to all Eter­nity.

Josh. 24.15.

As for Me and my House, we will serve the Lord.

CHAP. I. The Parts of the Text, and Observation thence arising.

THe summ of these words is, The good mans godly r [...]solution, to serve the Lord with his houshold.

In which we may observe these particulars,

  • 1. The person resolving, viz, Ioshua, he it is who makes this resolution.
  • 2. The order of his resolution, first himself will serve the Lord, and then his house.
  • 3. The extent of his resolution, viz. his whole house, as for me, and my house.
  • 4. The matter resolved on, and this is, to serve God.

Each of these might afford unto us a distinct point of Doctrine. But I shall wave them all, and insist up­on one, which as it comprehendeth the main scope of the words, so it best suiteth with the scope of my in­tention in this discourse; which is to press all Parents, Masters, and Governours of Families to a constant and [Page 220] conscionable performance of holy, and religious duties in and with their Families.

The point of Doctrine is this,

Observ. It is a duty incumbent upon Parents and Masters of Families, to be carefull, that not only themselves, but also all under their charge, even their whole houshold, do faithfully serve the Lord.

It is not sufficient for Governours of Families to be good Christians themselves, but they ought to be Christi­an Governours. Not enough to be themselves Religious, but they must train up all under their charge in the knowledge and practice of Religion. And the truth is, good Christians they cannot be, who are not Christian Go­vernours: He hath little Religion himself, that doth not faithfully endeavour to propagate it in his Family. Thus Ioshua as a Master of a Family undertaketh not only for himself, but also for his whole houshold, that he with them, and they with him should serve the Lord. Yea and in all ages such as have been most eminent in grace, have been most exact in their Family-duties; instance Abraham, the Father of the fa [...]thfull, of whom God himself giveth thi [...] testimony,Gen. 18.19. I know Abraham, that he will command his Children and his houshold after him, that they shall keep the way of the Lord, &c. And Iacob his Grand-child walking in the steps of his Father Abraham, was not content at Bethel to worship God sincerely himself,Gen. 35.2. but he chargeth his Family to put away the strange Gods which were among them, and to serve the true God according to the prescribed rule of his Word. David, though he were a King, and so had the care of an whole Kingdom upon him, yet thought his State-affairs no priviledge to exempt him from the Religious ordering, and governing of his Family. And therefore he professeth,Psal. 101. That he would walk within his house with a perfect heart, that is, sin­cerely discharge the duties belonging to the Go­vernour of an house. Yea under the Law, we find that the Fathers amongst the Israelites were commanded to teach their Children the mean­ing [Page 221] of the Passover, Exod. 12. & 13. and of the Feast of unleavened bread.

And that we may not think this a legal precept abolished in the time of the Gospel; the Apostle giveth a general charge to all Christian Parents, to bring up their Children in the nurture, Eph. 6.4. and admonition of the Lord. Yea by the practice of the primitive Christi­ans, who lived in the dayes of the Apostles, it doth appear, that so soon as any Governour of a Family was converted and professed the Christian faith, he still ingaged his Family to serve God;Act. 10.2. It is said of Corne­lius, that he was a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house. Act. 16.15. And it is recorded of Lydia, that she was baptized and her Houshold. And it is said of the Iaylor, ver. 34. that he believed in God with all his house. Yea the houses of the faithfull in the primitive times were stiled Rom. 16.5. Churches, which implyeth that their pri­vate families were so piously ordered, and religiously instructed,1 Cor. 16.19. that they seemed to be little Churches, rather than, ordinary houses; having taken up Ioshuah's reso­lution, As for me and my house we will serve the Lord. Col. 4.15. Philem. v. 2.

The point being thus proved by Scripture and Exam­ples; come we now to the Reasons for the farther con­firmation thereof.

CHAP. II. The Reasons of the point.

R. 1. MAy be taken from the command of God, who hath commanded as much, saying,Deut. 6.7. Thou shalt teach my Laws diligently unto thy Children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, &c. And God hath manifested his approbation thereof by com­mending Abraham for commanding his Children, Gen. 18.19. and houshold to keep the wayes of the Lord. So that to whom­soever [Page 222] the Lord hath given this honour to make him a Father of Children, a Master over Servants, a Governour over an Houshold, of them he requireth this duty, to teach, and instruct all under their charge.

R. 2. Every mans house is his private charge which he must oversee, it is his flock which he must attend. You will all acknowledge that every Ministers flock is his charge, and that it is a most dreadfull thing for any to neglect them. And have not you as great a charge of your family, as the Minister hath of his flock? Yea doubtless, I dare boldly say, that every Parent, and Master of a Family, is as deeply charged with the souls of their Children, and Servants; as the Minister is with the souls of his flock. If therefore your Chil­dren and Servants live and dye in their sins through your negligence, their blood will be required at your hands.

Yea let Parents, and Masters of Families know and consider, that those Children, and Servants, who by the neglect of their duty to them, shall perish in their sins, will curse them for ever hereafter, amongst the fiends, and damned in hell; crying out, woe and alas that ever we were born of such irreligious Parents; and served such wicked, and ungodly Masters, that had no care of the Sal­vation of our souls; but suffered us to run headlong into these everlasting flames. Oh that all Parents and Masters of Families would seriously consider these things, and in time labour to prevent them, by a conscionable dis­charge of the duties belonging to their places, and relations.

R. 3. Justice and equity requireth this at your hands, to do your utmost endeavour to train up your Chil­dren, and Servants in the fear of God; and to instruct them in the wayes of Godliness; that as they help you in many things, so you should be a means to help them in this; that as God of his goodness hath made them your Children, and Servants, so you in way of gratitude, should strive to make them his Children, and Servants. And truly though you feed them well, [Page 223] and cloath them well, and provide well for them, yea and teach them how to live another day, to live as men; yet if you teach them not withall the fear of God, whereby they may live as Christians which will make them live for ever: wherein do you differ from Heathenish Parents, and Pagan Masters? for even they will not be wanting in the former things; which the Apostle implyeth,1 Tim. 5.8. where he saith, He that provideth not for his Family, is worse than an Infidel. And if you go no further, than to make outward provision for the bodies of your Children, and Servants, you are no better than Infidels and Heathens.

And therefore how doth it concern you who are Parents, and Masters of Families, to have a special care of the souls of your Children, and Servants, by a con­scionable performance of holy, and religious duties amongst them, as Praying, Reading, Catechising, and the like; whereby you will not only go beyond all the Heathens in the World: but likewise gain an hopefull evidence to your own souls, of the truth of grace in you; and of the sincerity of your profession, that ye are Christians indeed.

R. 4. The curse of God hangs over those Families in which Religious duties are alltogether neglected; yea it abideth in their houses; as the Wise man expresseth, The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked. Prov. 3.33. Howsoe­ver they may seem to abound, and flourish in all Worldly wealth, and riches; yet the curse of God is upon all that they enjoy. For as the Lord speaketh by his Prophet Malachy, Mal. 2.2. He will curse their blessings, that is, whatsoever outward good things they did enjoy, should be cursed to them. Whereupon saith Eliphas, in Iob, I saw him taking root, Job 5.3. but I cursed his habitation, that is, I saw him seemingly setled in his outward prosperity, but by the eye of faith I likewise saw a curse hanging over his house, and family, over his wealth and riches.

R. 5. Another Reason may be taken from the mani­fold benefits and commodities, wich usually follow upon a conscionable performance of these duties,

[Page 224]1. Religious duties consciensciously performed, will bring down Gods blessing upon your selves and your relations; upon your estate, and all your undertakings. As God blessed Obed-Edom, 2 Sam. 6.11. and all his houshold, for the Arks-sake. So questionless will the Lord bless those Families wherein holy duties are faithfully performed. For Godliness is profitable unto all things, 1. Tim. 4.8. having the pro­mise of this life that now is, as well as of that which is to come. Prov. 14.11. Whereupon saith the Wise man, The house of the wicked shall be overturned; but the Tabernacle of the upright shall flourish. And therefore the Psalmist pro­nounceth them blessed who thus fear the Lord saying, Blessed is he that feareth the Lord, Psal. 128. 1, 2, 3, 4. and walketh in his wayes, for thou shalt eat the labour of thine hand, hap­py shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. How then can such expect a blessing from God, either up­on themselves, or upon their relations, or upon their pains and endeavours, who do not set up God and his Worship in their houses, seeing it is that whereby Gods blessing is entailed.

2. Those Children and Servants who are religiously educated and principled, are likeliest to prove comforts to their Parents and Masters. What a comfort must it needs be to thee, who art a Master of a Family, to see thy houshold (through the blessing of God on thy care and pains) to be walking Heaven-ward? Yea when thou comest to lye upon thy death-bed; Oh what a comfort will it then be unto thee, that thou hast good ground to believe, that thy Children are Gods Children, and the Servants of Jesus Christ? thou maist then with stronger confidence commend them unto Gods Fatherly care and protection, and with greater assurance expect Gods blessing upon them after thy death.

3. There is no such means to make your Children loving and dutiful unto you, and your servants faith­full in the discharge of their duty; as to instruct them in the principles of Religion, and to plant the fear of God in their hearts. In which respect [Page 225] Solomon saith,Prov. 15.20. A godly Son maketh a glad Father, viz. by his dutiful and respectfull carriage towards him. And that servant who shall find true grace either first wrought, or further increased in him by his Masters means, will endeavour with the utmost of his power to do him what faithfull service he can, in way of thankfulness.

So that if Parents and Masters of Families, respect either that charge God hath laid upon them, whereof they are to give an account to him at the great day: or that good and benefit, which themselves may reap thereby; they will see good and just ground to be dili­gent and constant in the discharge of holy duties with their Family.

R. V. Another reason may be taken from the mani­fold mischiefs, which usually follow, and accompany the neglect of family duties.

1. From hence come all Domestick brawls and con­tentions; hence it is that the house is divided against it self; Husband against Wife, and Wife against Hus­band; Master against Servant, and Servant against Master; Parent against Child, and Child against Pa­rent; which would be prevented were the Lord better known, and more duly worshipped amongst them. For where God is served with perfect purity, there is per­fect peace. But where God is not served, there is no peace, but jarrs and contentions, strife and debate; which giveth great advantage unto Satan the arch­enemy of mankind,1 Pet. 5.8. who like a roaring Lyon walketh about continually seeking whom he may devour.

2. From hence it is that Magistrates are enforced to execute the penalties of the Laws upon so many; name­ly, because they are not Religiously educated, but suf­fered to have their wills in their youth. Which ap­peareth from the sad complaints of many malefactors, at the place of Execution, against their Parents and Masters, for their careless omission of their duty to­wards them; saying, if they had had any care or con­science of our education, if they had corrected and restrained [Page 226] us betimes from our wicked courses, we had never come to this dogs-death, and shamefull end.

3. From hence it is that so many Families are so dis­solute and prophane, abounding with all manner of sin, and wickedness, as lying, swearing, Sabbath-breaking, drinking, whoring, and the like: as if there were a semi­nary of little Devils, an houshold of fiends. And truly when Families leave God in not doing the good they should, God leaves Families to do the evil they should not. So that sin hath there free place, where Gods service hath no place. And sins of commission do usually follow sins of omission: it being ordinary with God to punish one sin with another; to punish the neglect of duty, with the committing of sin, by leaving men so to themselves, that they break forth into the committing of great, and hainous sins. A general complaint there is in these dayes of the undutifulness, and disobedience of Children; of the negligence and unfaithfulness of Servants, yea and of the loose, lewd lives of both in many Families; whereof if we would search the true ground and cause, we shall find it ra­ther in the superiours, than in the inferiours. For how­soever inferiours cannot be excused, yet questionless the fault is chiefly in superiours, and Governours, because they are careless and negligent in the discharge of their duty towards them, not praying with them, nor Ca­techising, and instructing them, as they should. For where religious duties are shut out of any Family, there usu­ally the door is set wide open to looseness, and profaneness.

4. The neglect of Religious duti [...]s in thy Family will make thee guilty of Murther, even of Soul-murther, which is the greatest of all. For whereas the Souls, as well as the bodies of thy Children, and Servants are com­mitted to thy care and charge; if any of them should perish through thy default, thou art deeply guilty of their eternal death and damnation, and their blood will be required at thy hands. As Iacob was account­able to Laban, for the [...]oss of every Lamb, or Sheep; at his hand was it required. Gen. 31 19. So is every Master of a [Page 227] Family accountable to God, for every soul under his roof. If any of them perish through his default, God will require it at his hands. God will require the blood of thy Child, the blood of thy Servants at thy hands one day. If therefore you will be free from the blood of your Children, train them up in the fear and nur­ture of the Lord: pray for them and with them: Ca­techize them, &c.

The Point being confirmed by Scripture and Reason, come we now to the Uses thereof.

CHAP. III. The Vse of Reproof of those Masters who make no Conscience of Family-duties.

Use 1. SEeing it is a Duty incumbent upon Parents, and Masters of Families, to be carefull, that not only themselves, but also all under their charge, even their whole Family do faithfully serve the Lord; then they are greatly to be reproved who are neither carefull to serve God themselves, neither take they any care of their Family: but as there is no fear of God in their hearts, so neither is there any fear of God in their Families. Yea instead of Gods service, there is all manner of wickedness and prophaneness; so that their houses are as so many filthy cages of unclean birds, so many styes of all manner of abominations. Of whose houses we may say what Solomon said of the Harlots house, Prov. 7.27. 'Tis the way to Hell, that is, the high and ready way unto eternal death and condemnation. These men howsoever they would be esteemed good Masters, and good Governours, yet are they far from such; in that they neglect the main duty belonging to good Governours, which is to take care of the souls of those under their charge, and willingly suffer all manner [Page 228] of wickedness, and prophaness, to rule and bear sway in their Families, and that without any check or controul.

I dare boldly say, it were much better for a man to put his Child into a P [...]sthouse, than into such a Fami­ly: in that wickedness is more infectious than the Plague, spreading infinitely, polluting every one it comes near.Peccatum adeo facile alios inva­dit, ut nulla pestis tan­topere aërem inficere po­test. Chem. Har. And whereas the Plague and Pestilence can but kill the body, the contagion of sin is apt to destroy both body and soul. And therefore what is usually written upon the doors of such houses as are visited with the Plague (Lord have mercy upon us) may far better be written upon the doors of such houses, where through the neglect of Family-duties, sin and wickedness doth abound.

I know there are very many both Parents, and Masters, who having provided for the bodies of those under their charge, think they have sufficiently discharg­ed their duty towards them. But I would demand of such, if their care be only to provide for the bodies of their Children and Servants, what do they more to them then to their beasts? If they only cloath them, and pay them their wages, what do they more to them, than the Turks and Infidels (who know not God) do to their Children, and Servants? If their care be only to provide for them an earthly inheritance, without any care to make them Heirs of an Hea­venly inheritance, what do they more to them than Iews (who are ignorant of Christ, and his Gospel) do for their Children?

Let such know, that it is their duty to provide not only for for perishing Carcasses, but also for the im­mortal souls of all theirs. And it is a vain, and foolish imagination for any to think, they have done their du­ty, when they have apparelled, nourished, and brought up their Children and Servants; consider­ing they have a far greater account to make be­fore God for their souls: of which if any should perish through their negligence, and unfaithfullness, how dreadfull will their account be? oh what [Page 229] answer will they be able to make, when the blood of their Children, and Servants souls shall be required of them?

CHAP. IV. An Exhortation unto all Parents and Masters of Families to make Conscience of Family-duties.

Use 2. LEt the second Use be an Use of Exhortation to stir up all Christian Parents, and Masters of Families, to be carefull that their whole house do faith­fully serve the Lord,Officium pii patris fami­lias est, li­beros & familiam educare ad pietatem, &c. Piscat. in Gen. 18.19. as well as themselves; that they take up Ioshuah's resolution, as for me and my house we will serve the Lord. As you would not be guilty of the blood of your Children, and Servants souls; and as you would not have them cry out against you in ever­lasting fire, see that you bring them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord.

Every Governour should be that in the body politick of his own house, which the heart is in the natural body of man: as it communicateth life, and vital spirits to the rest of the members. So must the Master of the houshold endeavour to impart the spiritual life of grace, to all that are members of his body politick. And his house by a constant, conscionable performance of holy and religious duties there, should be a little Church. For the maintaining the Worship of God makes every house to become a sanctuary, an house of God. Hence divers pious Governours in the new Testament are said to have Churches in their houses,Philem. v. 6. as Philemo [...], Aquila, and Priscilla, and Nimphas, whose houses were called Churches, 1 Cor. 16.19. as in respect of the Saints in their houses, so in respect of the worship of God among them.Col. 4.15. Oh what an honour will this be to us, [Page 230] when upon this account, our habitations shall be called rather Churches than private houses! Temples of God, ra­ther than the dwellings of men!

For the more profitable pressing of this Use, I shall shew you, what be the duties and services which are especially required of Parents and Masters of Families in reference to those under their charge.

CHAP. V. Of Family Prayer, with quickning Motives thereunto.

I. PRayer, which is one principal part of the service of God in all Families, and therefore ought to be performed by the Governour thereof; who as he is a King to govern his Family, so a Priest to offer up a Morning and an Evening Sacrifice of Prayer and praise unto God in and with his Family. This we find com­mended to us in the practice of the Patriarchs, who when they removed to any place, they builded an Al­tar, where God was to be called upon by the whole Fa­mily. Thus did Abraham, Isaac, and Iacob. David though a King, yet prayed with his Houshold as their Governour:2 Sam. 6.18. for it is recorded of him, that having offered burnt-offerings, and peace-offerings before the Lord, he returned to bless his houshold, that is, say Expositors, to bless God with his Family, and to beg Gods blessing on them.

In the New Testament the Apostle writing to Masters of Families concerning their duties, adjoyneth this, con­tinue in Prayer, Col. 4.2. implying it to be one special duty in­cumbent on them to be constant in Family-prayer. Of Cornelius it is said,Act. 10.2. that he was one who feared God with all his house, which gave much Almes to the people, and prayed to God alway; which implyeth, that he prayed [Page 231] daily with his Family. These examples are recorded by the Holy-Ghost as Copies for us to write after.

But for your more full conviction of that obligation that lyes upon you for the performance of this duty, let the following arguments be duly weighed.

Arg. 1. The first Argument shall be drawn from that trust that is committed unto governours of Families. Here observe,

1. That Governours of Families are intrusted with the souls, with the Religion of their Families: not that they may prescribe unto them, or impose upon them what way of Religion they please: or that inferiours may be excused by the errours or neglects of the Superiours: but it is committed to their care, and they have re­ceived a charge from the Lord, to look diligently to all that are under them; that they duly worship God, observe his ordinances, and keep [...]s statutes.

That there is such a care incumbent on them is evi­dent under the Law, the Master of the Family was by the appointment of God, to look to the circumcising of all the Males of his house,Gen. 17. 10, &c. both those that were born in his house, and those that were bought with his money. In the fourth commandment, the Master of the Family is charged, not only to keep the Sabbath in his own person,Exod. 20.10. but to look to his family also. Thou shalt do no work therein, that's not all, nor thy Son, nor thy Daughter, nor thy Man-servant, nor thy Maid-ser­vant, &c. Suitable to this charge is the care and holy resolution of Ioshua in the Text, I and my house will serve the Lord. Choose you whom you will serve, saith he, to the rest of the people, I have not so much to do with that, but as for me and my house, I must and will look to that, we will serve the Lord. Hence this first thing appears, that governours of Families are to take care of the Religion, and therrefore of the souls of their Families. When a Child is brought forth, when a Servant is brought into thine house, God sayes to thee as the man in the Prophets Parable,1 King 20.39. Keep this man, look to this Child, look to this Servant, look to their souls, [Page 232] if they miscarry, or be lost through thy neglect, Thy life shall go for their lives, thy soul for their souls, and so shall thy judgement be.

2. Governours of Families have never faithfully dis­charged their trust till they have used all means which God hath appointed, that may be for the advantage of the souls under their charge, and the furtherance of them in Religion. If there be any thing you might have done that you have neglected, you are therein unfaithfull.

3. Their joyning in Prayer with their Families, is according to Gods appointment, and of great advantage to souls.

1. Ioynt-prayer is an ordinance of God. Thus much is hinted clearly enough in that form of Prayer, which Christ taught his Disciples, which runs in the plural number,Act. 12.12, &c. Our Father, Give us this day our daily bread. And from the practice of the primitive Christians. Now if Christians in general, such as were not of the same Family are by Gods appointment to joyn in Prayer; then much more Christians of the same family. Conjunction in the same Family-relation cannot hinder or discharge from any part of Christian communion. Families as well as greater assemblies should not forget their joynt-prayers.

2. Conjunction in Prayer, as it is Gods Ordinance, so 'tis of great advantage to souls. The joynt prayers of the several persons in a Family, are more acceptable to God, and more prevalent with him, than the Pray­ers of the same persons apart.

There's the same reason for the prevalency of the joynt-prayers of Christians of the same Family, as of the joynt-Prayers of Christians not of the same Fami­ly; of the same City, or Town, or Country. Now we find in Scripture from the practice of the people of God, that this was their concurrent judgement; that their coming together to pray, would prevail more with God, than their praying apart, as Act. 12.12. be­fore mentioned. Many were gathered together in Maries [Page 233] house praying for Peter. If it had been all one as to the probability of the success, If the Lord had been as likely to have been prevailed with, for Peters enlarg­ment, by their separate as by their joynt Prayers, they would never have run that hazard, as they did, by their coming together. They knew well enough what danger it would have been, had they been taken praying. Many instances might be brought of the like practice of Christians in all ages, who especially in cases of great exigencies and necessities did thus assemble. Whence is a clear foundation of this argument. That way of Prayer which the people of God did choose, and be­take themselves to in cases of any special exigencies, that was in their judgement the most acceptable and prevailing. But joynt Prayer is such, in the case of greater societies, and therefore also in the less.

Besides, joynt-prayers will be of this advantage, It will be a great help to those that are less able, to teach them to pray apart. Governours should teach theirs to pray,Longum iter per precepta, breve per exempla. as Christ taught his Disciples. And how should they teach them? by instruction only! We may learn more of the skill, and Spirit of Prayer, by a few instructions exemplified, than by multitudes of counsels alone. The Nurse teaches the Child to speak by speaking in its hearing. By this Christian practice we shall suggest matter of Prayer to them, put words into their mouths, yea kindle desires in their hearts. Who that hath any experience knows not, how our affectio­nate enlargements, and importunate pleadings, and wrestlings with God in Prayer, do often warm and en­large the hearts of those that joyn with us.

Arg. 2. Its the will of God that Christians should take and improve all opportunities, advantages, and occasions of Pray­er. This proposition if it need proof, [...]. Per omni­modam pre­cationem. A. Lapid. is sufficiently evident from 1 Tim. 2.8. I will that men Pray every where, and Eph. 6.18. Praying alwayes with all Prayer. Alwayes, or as it is in the Greek, on every opportunity; with All Prayer, with all manner of Prayer: in pub­lick, in private, in secret, alone, together, as opportunity [Page 234] is offered and occasion requires. Now have not go­vernours of Families, as such, special opportunities for joynt-Prayer? Their cohabitation, upon which they may meet more easily and frequently, than those that live at a greater distance; their authority by vertue whereof they may command the attendance of their families, puts opportunities into their hands.

And have they not also, as such, special occasions of joyning in Prayer? there are Family-mercies which they are joyntly concerned to pray for when wanted, and to acknowledge when received: There are Family-afflictions and crosses which they are in common con­cerned to pray against: there are Family sins which call for joynt-confessions, and humiliations. Those that have sinned together, or suffer together, or are sharers in the same common mercies, ought also to joyn together in the same confessions, petitions, and thanksgivings.

Arg 3. From the example of Christ, who not only taught his Family to Pray, but pray'd with them. His Disci­ples were his Family. The Passeover was to be eaten by the several Families apart, a Lamb for a Family. And if you would know who were Christs Family, en­quire with whom he are the Passo [...]ver, these are his [...]isciples,Matth. 26.18, &c. Luk. 9.18. and with these he prayed; As he was alone praying, his Disciples were with him. But how was he alone when his Discipl [...]s were wi [...]h h [...]m? the meaning only is, he was withdrawn from the multitude; he and his Disciples were privately together, and with them he prayes.

Now to gather up all together. If the example of Christ be obliging to his followers: if governours of Families have opportunities and occasions of joyning in Prayer with them; and it be the will of God that they take, and improve all opportunities and occasions: if governours of Families be intrusted with the souls of their Families, and this trust cannot be discharged, where this exercise is neglected, then must it be ac­knowledged that it is a duty incumbent on them from [Page 235] the Lord, and that they sin against God, who make no conscience of it.

To what hath been said, let me farther add these two things,

1. Consider the manifold benefits which usually fol­low and accompany this duty of Family-prayer.

1. It is a sanctifying Ordinance: thereby the Husband is sanctified to the wife, and the wife to the husband, so that they prove blessings and comforts each to other. Children likewise are blessed and sanctified to their Pa­rents; and Servants to their Masters. Yea Family-prayer produceth Gods blessing upon their callings, and en­joyments, upon their losses and crosses, both are thereby blessed and sanctified unto them.

2. Family-prayer, as it is a sanctifying ordinance, so it is a seasoning ordinance; it seasons the whole house with the fear of God. It is recorded of Cornelius, that he was a devout man, one that feared God with all his house, who prayed to God alwayes: his constant course of praying with his Family, questionless did season his whole house with the fear of God. As Prayer-less Families are for the most part destitute of the fear of God: so in those Families where a constant course of Praying is kept up, there the hearts of many are sea­soned with the true fear of God.Gen. 24.11. As Abraham was a Praying-master, so he had praying-servants. For in­feriours are very apt to write after the Copy of their Superiours, and to follow their example. Thus by a praying Master, Children and Servants are taught to Pray.

3. Family-prayer is a special preservative against com­mon calamities. Polanus in his Syntagm, relateth how in the year 1584. there was such a terrible Earth-quake that overthrew all the houses in a whole Town in Switzerland, save one, wherein the Master of the Family was at the same time praying with his Wife, Children and Servants. If God doth not preserve praying-fami­lies from those common judgements and calamities which befall others, yet he will so sanctifie those cala­mities [Page 236] unto them, that they shall turn to their good; ac­cording to that gracious promise,Rom. 8.28. All things shall work together for good, to them that love God.

V. Consider the manifold mischiefs that usually sollow and accompany the neglect of Family-prayer. As,

1. Neglect of Family-prayer is usually accompanied with the neglect of all other Religious duties, which is found true by sad experience. For, whoever heard that the Scriptures were read, or Catechising used in any Fa­mily where Prayer was omitted? So that Prayer-less houses are as Sepulchres wherein all Religion lyes buried.

2. Neglect of Family-prayer expos [...]th the whole houshold to the wrath and fury of God, as the Prophet Ieremiah implyeth,Jer. 10.25. where he saith, Pour out thy fury upon the Heathen that know thee not, and upon the Families that call not upon thy name. Where by the fury of God, is meant his wrath in the highest degree, his anger boyled up to the height. Oh who can abide this scalding wrath? And by pouring out Gods fury, is meant Gods inflicting his fierce wrath in the greatest measure, in the highest degree. The words though they are set down in the form of a Prayer, yet they are a prediction (as well as a petition) of Gods dreadfull wrath and fury, to be undoubtedly inflicted upon all Prayerless-families. For the Prophet put up this Prayer unto God, as foreseeing the certain ruin and destruction of such Families, as called not upon the name of the Lord: He knew that God would assuredly pour out his fury upon their Families, who did not pour out their souls unto him. Oh that all Masters and Gover­nours would seriously think, and meditate on this fear­full imprecation of the Prophet against all Prayerless-families; that so they might dread the omission of so necessary a duty, as much as the scorching wrath and fury of God; yea as the scorching fire of hell: for what is hell it self, but the feeling of this wrath and fury of God?

I shall close this with answering three Questions, and as many Objections.

[Page 237]1. Q. How often should we Pray with our Families?

A. 1. Every day. For first our Saviour hath intimated so much unto us in his plat-form of Prayer, by teach­ing us to Pray for our daily bread, in these words, Give us this day our daily bread; that is, bread needfull for the present day. And in regard we daily stand in need of bread, therefore our Saviour would have us pray daily for the same.

2. Have you not daily wants to be supplyed? wants for your selves, and wants for your Children, and Ser­vants? Have you not daily infirmities in your Family to be healed? Are you not daily subject to dangers and temptations? And do you not daily sin against God? Is it not necessary then that you daily Pray unto God, for the supply of all your wants, for the healing of all your infirmities, for the preventing of the dan­gers you are daily subject unto, for the strengthning you against all your temptations, for the pardoning of all your sins. Surely our daily wants, our daily infir­mities, our daily dangers, our daily temptations, and our daily sins, do all call upon us for daily prayers.

And as you and yours daily partake of Gods mer­cies, is it not just and equal, that you all should daily bless God for the same? The truth is, every day sup­plyeth new matter both of Prayer and praise, and therefore there is just cause daily to offer up our Sacri­fice of Prayer and praise unto God.

2. Q. How oft in each day are we bound to pray with our Families?

A. Family-prayer ought to be performed twice at least, viz. In the Morning and in the Evening.

1. For first this is commended unto us by the Morn­ing and Evening Sacrifice under the Law,Exod. 29.38, 39. which we find given in command unto the Jews. And are not Christians under the Gospel, as well as those under the Law, obliged to offer up their Morning and Evening Sacrifice?

2. Equity requireth this duty at your hands; as the mercies of God are renewed upon you and yours every [Page 238] Morning, and the showres of his compassion fall down upon you every night, so you should not forget to offer up both a Morning, and an Evening Sacrifice of Pray­er, and praise unto him, who is so continually mindfull of you.

3. Q. What time in the Morning and Evening is fittest for the performance of Family-prayer?

A. For this no certain rule can be prescribed, in re­gard of the several occasions which may fall out in a Family; and by reason of age, sickness and the like in the Governours thereof. Yet it were to be wished that the Morning Sacrifice (if possibly) may be be­times in the Morning, before Servants go about the works of their calling; as being the fittest time for holy exercises, when the Spirits are freshest, and freest from Wordly thoughts and distractions.

And it were to be wished, that the Evening Sacrifice may be before Supper, in regard that afterwards we are generally more heavy and sleepy; and will find it more difficult to keep up our hearts, and spirits in the duty.

Having thus resolved the Questions, come we now to the Objections raised against the duty of Family-prayer.

CHAP. VI. Objections against Family-prayer, Answered.

1. Obj. SOme Object their inability to pray, they know not how to perform the duty.

A. 1. Let the sense of thine own weakness drive thee unto God for power, and strength. Beg of him that he would by his Spirit help thine infirmities, teaching thee to pour out thy soul unto him in Prayer. For it is he alone that can teach thee,Rom. 8.26. and endue thee with this Heavenly gift.

[Page 239]2. Be constant in thy secret devotions, which will be a special means to embolden thee to pray with thy Family. For when thou findest that thou canst express thy self in any competent measure in secret, thou wilt then the better adventure to Pray in private, with thy Family. And know this for thy comfort, that if thou sincerely endeavourest to do what thou canst, God will enable thee to do what thou shouldst.

3. Rather than the apprehension of thine own in­sufficiency to pray, should occasion a constant omissi­on of the duty, I would advise thee to use the help of a form of Prayer for a while, till by Gods blessing, thou hast attained some ability therein, and boldness thereunto.

2. Obj. Some against this duty object their multi­tude of business, and little spare time for Family-prayer.

A. 1. The more and greater thy businesses are, the more and greater need thou hast of Family-prayer, for the obtaining Gods blessings thereon: without which all thy pains and endeavours may signifie little, yea prove succesless. Assure thy self that the time spent in Prayer, both in thy closet, and with thy Fa­mily, will prove no let, but rather a great furthe­rance to thy business.

2. Dost thou put off praying with thy Family for the multitude of business? Know that therein thou art penny-wise, and pound-foolish, hazarding the loss of thy precious and immortal soul for the gaining of a little Worldly pelf, which will be soon taken from thee, or thou from it: Oh that such Wo [...]d [...]ngs would seriously consider that expression of our Saviour▪ Mark 8 36. What shall it profit a man, if h [...] shall gain the who [...]e World, and lose his own soul?

3. Dost thou put off Family-prayer for the multitude of Worldly bu [...]inesse [...], thereby to encrease thy wealth? Know that that wealth is cursed, which is thus gotten; that substance which is the price of a Prayer may for ought thou knowest be the price of blood.

[Page 240]Well, beware thou neglect not this great duty upon any pretence whatsoever. Neither let it be performed after a cold, formal, and perfunctory manner: but be very serious, and fervent therein, stirring up thy self to an active, lively performance thereof, which the Apostle intimateth, where he saith, Be fervent in Spirit, serving the Lord; and that for two reasons.

  • 1. Such Prayers only are acceptable and pleasing unto God, these are the Sacrifices wherewith he is well-pleased.
  • 2. Such only have the promise of being heard. And thereupon saith the Apostle St. Iames,
    Jam. 5.16.
    The effectual fer­vent Prayer of a right [...]ous man availeth much. The word in the Greek translated effectual, properly signifi­eth a prayer excited,
    or stirred up: and so implyeth both the efficacy and influency of the Holy-Ghost, and the vehemency of an earnest spirit and affection, which is the only prevailing Prayer.

CHAP. VII. Of Reading the Holy Scriptures in Families, with quickning Motives thereunto.

II. ANother duty incumbent upon Parents and Masters of Families, is frequently to read the Holy Scriptures, or to cause them to be read in and with their Families. Though this be a distinct exercise from the former, of Prayer: yet do they mutually help one another, and therefore are fit to be joyned together.

Exod. 30.7, 8.We read how the Priest under the Law was daily to light the Lamps, and to burn incense; as the Lamp signified the Word of God, so the incense signified Prayer. And as the Lamp was daily to be lighted, and the incense daily to be burned, so are we thereby taught, daily to joyn the Word and Prayer together; for as the Apostle speak­eth, By the Word and Prayer every thing is sanctified. 1 Tim. 4.5. Yea this duty of reading the Word we find given in [Page 241] command unto housholders under the Law, for saith the Lord,Exod. 11.28. Ye shall lay up my words, (meaning the words of the Law) in your heart, and in your soul. And ye shall teach them your Children, speaking of them when thou sit­est in thine house, when thou lyest down, and when thou risest up, which implyeth a diligent reading of the Word in their houses. Yea the old people of the Iews were so diligent in teaching their Children the Word of God, that Iosephus saith,Nostrorum quilibet de legibus in­terrogatus, facilius quam nomen suum recitat universas, Josephus lib. 2. con­tra Appio­nem. Every one of our people being asked concerning the Laws, rehearseth them more easily than his own name.

In the New Testament we have the Apostles com­mand for this duty, for saith he, Col. 3.16. [...]. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly. The Word is sometimes taken for Joh. 1.1. [...]. Christ himself, and so it is true, that we should labour that the word Christ should dwell in us. But by the Word of Christ is here meant the written Word of God, which is here called the Word of Christ, both because he is the author of it, and because he is the chief subject of it. And whereas the Apostle saith, Let the Word of Christ dwell in you, it is a Metaphor taken from such as dwell under one and the same roof with us, and noteth two things,

  • 1. That we must get it into our hearts, and houses as well as into our Churches.
  • 2. That by our frequent reading of it, and causing it to be read in our houses, it should be as familiar with us, as one that dwells with us under the same roof.

For the better pressing of this duty upon the Consci­ences of Parents and Masters of Families; I shall hint only two Motives to quicken you up thereunto.

1. The knowledge of the Scriptures will be an excellent means to keep up your authority in your Families, over your Children and Servants. For therein they cannot but hear, and understand, it is their duty to be obedient to you in all things. Your own commands and threatnings may per­haps cause them to serve you with eye-service, as men­pleasers [...]; but to hear the commands and threatnings of God in his Word, may cause them to serve you in single­ness [Page 242] of heart. So that if nothing else, yet policy, me­thinks, should prevail with you to cause the Word of God to be read frequently in your houses.

2. Some by reading the Scriptures, others by hearing it read in the Family, have been converted from the state of nature, to the state of grace. For faith may be wrought in us by hearing the Word read, as well as hearing it Preach­ed. St. Austine reports of an Aegyptian Monk who liv­ing in a Christian-family,August. Prolog. lib. 1. de Doctrina Christi. where the Word of God was frequently read, was thereby converted to the Christian faith.

And indeed there is a greater vertue in the holy Scriptures, than in any other book, for the working of conversion in the hearts of natural Men and Women. Oh what an encouragement should this be unto Pa­rents and Masters of Families, to cause the holy Scri­ptures to be frequently read in their houses! for what know they whether some under their charge may not thereby be converted.

And that your reading may be the more profitable, observe these few directions.

1. Before you read, lift up your heart unto God in some short Prayer, beseeching him who is the Father of light, to enlighten the blind eyes of your understandings, that you may understand what you read, so to strengthen your memories, that you may remember it, and that he would give you. Wisdom to apply, faith to believe, and grace to practise what you read.

Which Prayer is necessary before reading, because as the Apostle speaketh,1 Cor. 2.14. Naturally we understand not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can we know them, because they are spiritually discerned. And it is only the Spirit of God that revealeth them unto us, which we have no hope to attain, but by fervent Prayer.

2. The Word must be read and heard with all holy reverence and attention, as being the Word of the great God, whereby he revealeth himself and his will cleer­ly unto us, for the building us up in all grace and Godliness.

[Page 243]3. In reading every one ought to take special notice of such passages as are either more weighty in themselves, or proper to them, for their particular cases, use and occasion.

4. In reading, or hearing any portion of Scripture, let every one apply it to himself as spoken to him. By this means may every one be much edified by every part of the Word of God.

CHAP. VIII. Of Family-Catechising with quickning Motives thereunto.

III. ANother duty incumbent upon Parents, and Masters of Families in reference to those un­der their charge, is to instruct them in the principles of Religion in a Catechistical way. [...], rudi­menta Reli­gionis do­cere. For to Catechise is to teach the first principles of Christian Religion, where­by they who are young may be acquainted with God betimes.

This we find given in command unto Housholders under the Law,Deut. 6.6, 7. for saith the Lord, Th [...]se words which I command thee this day shall be in thine heart, and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy Children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walk­est by the way, and when thou lyest down, and when thou risest up. Where by Children are not meant only natu­ral Children, but likewise servants, it being usual with the Hebrews by Children to understand all under sub­jection. We have a Prophesie that there shall be,Psal. 72.17. as it were, a succession of Christs name from generation to generation; His name shall end [...]re sor ever, his name shall be continued as long as the Sun, Filiabitur nomen ejus, sive propa­gabitur. or as the phrase im­ports, His name shall pass from Father to Son. Every Father then must by Christian instruction declare the name of Christ to his Son, that so the name of Christ [Page 244] may pass from Father to Son, from generation to gene­ration: which prophesie concerns the time of the Gospel,Eph. 6.4. [...]. wherein Parents are commanded to bring up their Children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; or to nurture them up in instruction, as the word in the Greek properly signifieth.

This duty is commended to us by the example of Godly Housholders in all ages. I know, saith God of Abraham, Gen. 18.19. that he will command his Children and his Houshold after him, to keep the way of the Lord. We likewise find David often instructing his Son Solomon, 1 Chron. 28.9.

And that this was the practice of the Saints in the time of the Gospel, appeareth from the expressions of the Apostle,Heb. 5.12. Heb. 6.1. Ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the Oracles of God. And leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ; which imply a form of Catechism, which was used by the Christians in those dayes. And oh that all Christian Parents, and governours of Families in our dayes, would make con­science of instructing, and teaching their Children, and Servants in the principles of Religion, out of some good Catechism, Observing these two Caveats.

  • 1. That this duty be done frequently, on some day or dayes every week.
  • 2. That it be done by little at once, for to be too long, or tedious therein is apt to dull the understanding, and to cause wearisomeness in the learner.

For the better pressing this duty I shall add a few motives or arguments,

Pro. 22 6. Quo semel est imbuta recens ser­vabit odorē Testa diu. Horat. ad Lollium Epist. lib. 1. Ep. 2.I. The first Argument or Motive may be taken from the benefits which will follow thereupon;

1. Timely instruction will season their hearts that they are like to be better for it all the dayes of their lives; and there­fore saith the Wise man, Trai [...] up (or as the Word signifi­eth, Catechise) a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. But as a Vessel will retain long the savour of that liquor it was seasoned first withall. So will men, the instructions they have learned in their youth.

[Page 245]2. It is an excellent means to keep them from the errours and heresies of the times: For Children well Catechised, and instructed in the principles of Religion, are in great measure antidoted against the danger of sedu­cing doctrines.1 Cor. 11.19. Mat. 16.6. The Apostle saith, There must be here­sies, which are of a spreading nature, and therefore by our Saviour compared to Leaven.

What better preservative against the infection of false doctrines, errours, and heresies, than to be well Catechised? Observe who they be that are easiest se­duced by false teachers, who they are that have em­braced their erroneous tenets, and you shall find, that they were such, who were never well Catechised, nor grounded in the principles of Religion. As therefore you would not have your Children, and Servants poy­soned with the erroneous Doctrines of false teachers, do your endeavours to get them well rooted and grounded in the knowledge of the truth.

3. It is an excellent means to make them hear the publick Ministry of the Word with more profit. For thereby they will be enabled to Examine the Doctrine which they hear, by the analogie of faith. It is foretold, that in the latter dayes there shall be false teachers, 2 Pet. 2.1. who shall privily bring in damnable heresies; And therefore we are not to re­ceive all for truth, which is delivered in the Pulpit, but as the Apostle exhorteth us,1 Thes. 5.21. to prove and try all things, and to hold fast only that which is good, which we shall never be able to do, unless we be first well Catechised, and instructed in the principles of Religion; as also well acquainted with the Scriptures.

If therefore you who are Parents, and Masters of Fa­milies would discharge your duty herein: how would Errours vanish? Religion flourish? and how would knowledge and grace abound in your Children and Servants?

II. Another argument may be taken from the mani­fold damages, which usually follow a neglect of Family Catechising.

1. It is the ground of that ignorance, and spiritual [Page 246] blindness which overfloweth this Nation. For as dark­ness proceedeth from the want of light, so ignorance must needs proceed from the want of teaching.

2. It is the ground of that looseness and prophaneness that is in many Families. For where Gods service hath no place, there sin will be sure to have free place. Where the light of knowledge is not set up by Catechising, there the deeds of darkness will be sure to break forth. Where there is no sp [...]aking to God by Prayer, nor speaking of God by Catechising, you may be sure, there will be speaking against God, and all the wayes of holiness.

4. It is the ground of that barrenness, and unfruit­fulness under the Means of grace, that is to be found amongst many in these dayes. For were Children and Servants better Catechised, they would better under­stand the mysteries of the Gospel; and much more profit by the Ministry of the Word, than they do. It is found by experience that the most intelligent and best practised hearers are such, as have been well Catechised, and instructed? The seed which thou thus timely sowest, will spring up to a plentifull harvest.

4. Such Parents, and Masters as neglect this duty, do what in them lyeth to damn their Children, and Servants as well as themselves. For how can it be ex­pected but that those Children and Servants, who through want of the light of knowledge walk in dark­ness, should unavoidably stumble into hell? Oh that so many Parents and Masters should be so cruel and unnatural to their Children and Servants, as to neglect this duty! the blood of souls is upon you.

Obj. Against this so necessary a duty, some are apt to object and say, To what purpose should we Cate­chise our Children, considering that through the ten­derness of their years, they are not capable of the Mysteries of Salvation?

A. 1. Though Children are not so capable of appre­hending cleerly the mysteries of salvation, as they will be afterwards: yet none can deny them to un­derstand so much as to be capable of the seeds of grace, which daily experience confirmeth.

[Page 247]2. It is found by sad experience, that Children un­catechised, as they grow in years, so they grow in sin and wickedness: whereby they become more backward and untoward to the learning of any thing that is good, yea and opposite thereunto. If you do not, the Devil will Catechise them betimes, and of him they will quickly learn. O prevent as much as may be that enemies sow­ing his tares: be before hand with him: take the first season to cast in your good seed. The first season is the fittest season.

Obj. Should we constantly observe these Religious exercises in our Families, which you thus press upon us, we should hinder our servants work, and thereby hazard our estates, and so shew our selves worse than Infidels.

A. 1. This is a meer delusion of Satan to keep you from the discharge of your duty. For know assuredly that the time spent in religious exercises with your Family, is so far from hindering your servants work, that it will rather further it, and bring such a blessing upon it, that shall return upon your selves. For profit, and increase is the gift of God, who will give it to such as fear him, and observe his commandments. Oh then say not of Family-duties, as Iudas did of that oyntment, which Mary poured on our Saviours feet, why is this waste? Think not that time waste and lost, which is spent in the service of God, and in the performance of the du­ties of your places and relations.

2. A wilfull neglect of Family-duties is like to bring the curse of God upon your estates, yea upon your selves, and all that belong unto you. Read what Moses saith in Deut. 28.15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20.

3. Who can produce the man that did really suffer in his estate by the loss of that time, which he spent with, and for God? Surely as the whetting of the Sythe is no hinderance, but rather a furtherance of the Workman: So the exercises of Religion can be no hinderance to your Family-affairs, but rather a great furtherance,Psal. 127.1, 2. unless you think this an hinderance, to stay to take Gods blessing along with you; without which [Page 248] what are all your own and servants pains but vain, and fruitless?

4. Suppose you should suffer somewhat in your estate by the loss of that time which you spend upon Religi­on: you will have no cause to repent thereof. For whilest others with Martha, Luk. 10.41, 42. are carefull and troubled about Worldly things, thou with Mary hast chosen the better part. Thou hast lost a little of thy Temporals, to gain Spiri­tuals and Eternals for thy self and thine.Quae insa­nia est, ô miserrimi! ut haeredes alios faciatis, vos ipsos exhaeredetis: ut alios relinquatis vel brevi divites, vos ipsos aeternâ mendicitate dam [...]ctis? Salv. How wise are those men who prefer Temporals before their Eter­nals, and will advance their estates upon the ruines of their souls?

CHAP. IX. Of Sabbath sanctification in Families.

IV. ANother duty incumbent upon Parents, Masters, and governours of Families is, To look to the sanctification of the Lords-Day, to see that the Christian Sabbath be sanctified as by themselves, so by their whole Family, even by all under their charge. This is expressly enjoyned in the fourth Commandment, which is di­rected not so much to Children and Servants, as to Parents and Masters of Families, who are there com­manded, not only in their own persons, to keep holy the Sabbath day; but to see that their Children, and Servants do it also. For thus the Commandment runs, The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God;Exod. 20.10. In it thou shalt not do any work, Thou, nor thy Son, nor thy Daughter, thy Man-servant, nor thy Maid-servant. Which Phrase (as Zanchy well noteth) implyeth that it is the duty of Parents, Zanch. in 4. Praece­ptum. and Masters of Families to see, that their Children, and Servants do not any way prophane the Sab­bath-day, but that they keep it as an holy rest.

[Page 249]The sanctification of the Sabbath consists,

  • 1. In a resting upon the day.
  • 2. In a consecrating that rest to the Worship and ser­vice of God.

Therefore it is the duty of all Parents, and Masters of Families to take care, that both themselves, and all under their charge, do keep it,

  • 1. As a day of rest.
  • 2. As an holy rest.

I. As a day of rest, resting in special from all the works of their ordinary calling. The very name Sab­bath (which in Hebrew signifieth rest) and the express prohibition in the fourth Commandment of doing any work on that day, do shew that it is a day of rest.

How blame-worthy then are some Masters, who contrary to the express command of God, do set their Servants about the ordinary work of their calling on the Lords day. Let such know that what is got by their Servants work on that day, is but the gain of wickedness, which will prove their loss at last.

II. It is the duty of Masters to take care, that their Families keep the Lords day as an holy rest, by conse­cratng that time which they set apart from their Worldly business, to the worship and service of God, in the duties belonging to such an holy-day. For the Sabbath was not simply ordained, that we, and our servants should rest from our bodily labour, but that we should in a special manner worship God on that day. So much is implyed both in the first and last words of the fourth Commandement. In the beginning it is said Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. And in the close it is added, The Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it, that is, sanctified it, and set it apart to be wholly consecrated to him, and to his worship and service.

That Parents and Masters of Families may the bet­ter discharge their duty herein, observe these di­rections,

1. Look that your Children and Servant go with you [Page 250] to the Ministry of the Word, and let none be left be­hind, without necessary and urgent occasion; It being the ordinary means God hath sanctified for the re­forming of their lives, and the saving of their souls. When Iacob went to Bethel to Worship,Gen. 35.2, 3. he took his whole houshold with him. When Elka [...]ah went up to offer unto the Lord his Sacrifice,1 Sam. 1.21. all his house went with him. In like manner do thou carry thy houshold with thee to the house of God.

2. After the publick Ordinances be carefull to call together all under thy charge, and let there be a repetition of the Sermons Preached, either by thy self, or some one of thy Family, who can write best: And then examine them one after another, What they remember of the Sermons they have heard, labouring to make them plain unto them, and to apply them also. Thus did our blessed Saviour with his beloved Disciples, for after his Preaching, when he was come home, he said unto them,Mat. 13.51. Have ye understood all these things, which ye have heard.Mark 4.34 And Mark saith, When they were alone, he expounded all things to his Disciples. Whereupon one observeth,Christus suo exem­plo, &c. Chemnit. exam. That Christ by his example doth instruct every Master of a Family how to carry himself in reference to those under his charge, on the Lords dayes, after their de­parture from the publick Congregation.

And truly much good will hereby redound, as unto your selves, so likewise unto all under your charge. For,

  • 1. It will make them give better attention unto the Ministry of the Word, when they know they shall be called to an account, and examined what they have heard.
  • 2. It would much help and confirm as your selves so your Children and Servants in the understanding and believing of what hath been delivered publickly by the Minister, if you would repeat and search the proofs of Scripture, which were brought for the con­firmation of the doctrine.

III. Another du [...]y to be performed in and with [Page 251] your Families for the better sanctification of the Lords day, is singing of Psalms, which as it was much practised by the Saints and people of God of old under the Law; so is it both a lawfull and a meet thing to be used by Christians now under the Gospel, and that as publickly in the Church, so privately in the Family.

  • 1. We find it was an ancient custome of the people of God to sing Psalms in their Families, according to that of the Psalmist,
    Psal. 118.15.
    the voice of rejoycing is in the Taber­nacle of the righteous: that is, in the dwelling places and houses of good men.
  • 2. We have our Saviour herein for a pattern, of whom it is recorded, that after the eating of the Passeover,
    Mat. 26.30.
    which was in a private house, he sung a Psalm with his Family.

IV. Another duty to be performed in and with your Family, for the better [...]anctification of the Lords day, is Reading some part of the holy Scriptures, whereof before Chap. VII. As also some good Sermon, or Treatise of practical truths.

V. Another duty is Family-prayer. Whereof be­fore Chap. VI.

VI. Another is, Catechising those under your charge, whereof see Chap. VIII. A conscionable performance of these will exceedingly help forward the sanctification of the Lords day, and that without tediousness.

VII. Another duty incumbent on Parents, and Masters, is godly conference. Conferring before your Children and Servants about some good and profitable matter, especially of the Sermons you have heard. The counsel which the Apostle giveth concerning our words, and discourses, as it ought to be carefully ob­served and followed by us at all times, so especially on the Lords day.Eph. 4.29. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouths, but that which is good, to the use of edi [...]ing; that is, to the winning of them who are not con­verted, or to the further building up of those who are already converted.

And the Prophet Isaiah forbiddeth the speaking our Isa. 58.13. [Page 252] own words on the Sabbath day, that is, all discourses which are meerly Worldly, and about earthly things, more than charity and necessity requireth; Under which prohibition, of not speaking our own words, is imply­ed a direction to speak the word of God, or those things which tend to the honour of God, and the spiritual good of others.

VIII. That you may the better discharge your du­ty in looking to the sanctification of the Lords day; Be sure you suffer none under your roof to spend any part thereof, either in idleness, or in sports and pastimes.

1. Not i [...] idleness, it being not a day of idleness, but of spiritual action.

2. Not in sports and pastimes, especially such as tend to carnal and sensual delight. For the Lord hath for­bidden every man the following his own pleasure on his holy day. Isa. 58.13. And the truth is, sports and pastimes are greater impediments to the worship and service of God, than the ordinary works of our calling, in that they do more subtilly steal away the heart from holy duties than those do.Quanto melius est arare quam salt are in Sabbato. Aug. in Enarratio­ [...]em tituli Psalm 91. Whereupon St. Austin thought it better to plow on the Lords day, than to dance and sport.

Obj. Some Object and plead the hard la­bour their servants have undergone the week before, and thence think they may be allowed a little recrea­tion on the Lords day.

A. 1. The rest of the Lords day is the best and fittest recreation for the refreshing of their bodies who have been tired with labour the six dayes before. And if they be spiritually minded, the best and fittest recreation for the refreshing of their souls is singing of Psalms, the perusing their spiritual evidences for Heaven, the solacing themselves in the meditation of Christ, of what he hath done and suffered for them, holy confe­rence, and the like.

2. If you think bodily recreations necessary for your servants health, why do you not rather allow them some part of your own time on the week-dayes, than to rob God of any part of his day, which he hath [Page 253] wholly appropriated to the duties of his Worship and service. Whereas the Lord might have reserved six dayes for himself, and allowed but one unto us, he hath dealt so bountifully and graciously with us, as to re­serve but one to himself, and leave six for our business. And shall we be so ungratefull as to encroach upon it, and Sacrilegiously steal away some part of that small time which he hath reserved to himself, for our Servants recreation?

CHAP. X. Of Exemplary lives in Parents and Masters of Families.

V. ANother duty incumbent on Parents, and Masters of Families is, To shew themselves patterns of pi­ety, and Godliness unto their Children, and Servants by an holy, and righteous conversation; That they may say unto them,Judg. 7.17. as Gideon did to his followers, look on me, and do likewise. This we find practised by Abraham, of whom God himself giveth this Testimony,Gen. 18.19. I know Abraham, that he will command his Children, and his houshold after him to keep the way of the Lord. Where­by is implyed, that Abraham would go before his houshold, in keeping the way of the Lord, and they would follow after him. And Ioshua testifieth as much of himself,Josh. 24.15. As for me and my house we will serve the Lord; He would be a pattern of piety and Godli­ness unto his houshold, and they should follow his good example. And David likewise resolveth as much for himself,Psal. 101.2. for saith he, I will walk within my house with a perfect heart, intending to become a pattern of piety and Godliness to his houshold by an holy and righteous conversation.

The better to quicken up Parents and Masters of Fa­milies hereunto. I shall hint a few Arguments, and Mo­tives.

[Page 254]1. Your lives are looked upon as Presidents, your ex­amples as rules, by your Children and Servants: and there­fore you ought to be exemplarily holy, and religious. What the Wise man saith of one sin in a Ruler, If a Ruler hearken to lyes, all his servants are wicked, is true in other sins: If a ruler, or master of a Family be a swearer, a drunkard, a Sabbath-breaker or the like; his servants are so too, or will quickly become such. For patterns are very prevalent both to Vice, and Vertue; especially the patterns of Superiours. Inferiours are very apt to follow the example of Superiours, and to tread in their steps. How ordinary is it for wicked Parents to have bad Children, and prophane Masters to have wicked Servants; And no marvel, seeing Children and Servants are apt to follow the evil example of their Pa­rents and Masters, and to write after their copy. How carefull then should Parents and Masters of Families be of their lives and conversation, that they be holy and righteous, and not loose and scandalous, lest their Chil­dren and Servants should follow after them to Hell.

2. Your holy and righteous lives will draw honour and reverence from your Children and Servants. For, the Image of God, which consisteth in true holiness and righteousness, carryeth such a Majesty in it, that it commandeth honour and reverence from others. If therefore you who are Parents and Masters will with David, walk within your houses with perfect and up­right hearts, shewing your selves patterns of piety, and Godliness, your Children, and Servants cannot but honour and respect you;1 Sam. 2.30. For them that honour me, saith God, I will honour, that is, I will make them to be held in honourable esteem by others. I grant indeed some are therefore despised, because they walk holily and unblameably. Yet such, as they are truly honourable in themselves, so are they honourable in the eyes and esteem of many others. For there is more true worth in the least grace,Isa. 43.4 than in all earthly glory. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, saith God of his despised people. Such Parents there­fore, [Page 255] and Masters, as by their Godly lives and conver­sations are precious in the sight of God, they shall be honoured by their Children and Servants. But on the other side such Parents and Masters of Fami­lies as by their wicked li [...]es and ungodly conversations are vile in the sight of God, they shall be despised, and lightly esteemed by their Children and Servants. For if Children and Servants perceive their Parents and Masters to be Lyars, Swearers, Drunkards, Sab­bath-breakers, and the like; How can they honour and respect them?Lam. 1.8. That which is said of Ierusalem, All that honoured her, despised her, because they have seen her nakedness; may be applyed to wicked and prophane Parents and Masters of Families; Their Children and their Servants who should most have honoured them, cannot but despise them; because they have seen their nakedness. And this questionless is one special reason why most Parents and Masters have so little reverence and honour from their Children and Servants.

3. Such is the infectious property of sin, that if a Parent, or Master of a Family be a Swearer, Drunkard, Scoffer at Religion, &c. he is like by a contagious insinuation and evil example to inf [...]ct his whole Family, even his own Children and Servants. And therefore sin is not unfitly resembled to the Leprosie, which quickly over-spread­eth the whole house. And it is observable that the more publick the persons are, the more dangerous are their sins. Private mens sins are but like the er­rours of a Pocket-watch, which usually misleads only the keeper of it. But the sins of a Master of a Fami­ly are like the errours of an house-clock, which is apt to mislead the whole Family. Oh how carefull then ought Parents and Masters of Families to be of their lives and conversations, lest by their evil example they corrupt and poison their own Children and Servants.

4. What will it avail Parents, and Masters of Fa­milies, to teach their Children, and Servants the fear of God, to walk in his wayes, when they them­selves [Page 256] manifest little fear of God in their lives and conversations; but contrariwise are loose, and wan­ton; wicked and prophane. For certainly as good ex­amples are the life of instruction, to make it profita­ble and effectual: so evil examples are the death, and bane of good instruction, to make it unprofitable and ineffectual. That Parent therefore or Master who reproveth sin in his Child or Servant, must be free from that sin himself;Mat. 7.5. otherwise it will be said, Thou Hypocrite first cast the beam out of thine own eye, and then thou shalt see clearly to cast out the moat out of thy brothers eye. Yea and he must be free from all other scandalous sins, otherwise the Child may say, My Father reproveth me for lying, but he himself will Swear. And the Servant may say, my Master reproveth me for Drunkenness, and he himself is Covetous. That therefore thy Family-reproof and admonition may be profitable, thou must be sure to be, at least, un­blameable in thy life, and conversation; that thou maist not be guilty of that sin, which thou condemn­est in thy Child, or Servant. For thereby thou wilt pass a sentence of death, and condemnation upon thine own soul.


A Morning Prayer for a Family.

BLessed Lord God, who art great and glorious in thy self, good and gracious in and through thy beloved, Jesus Christ. A God glorious in thy justice to execute vengeance upon the wilfull, and impeni­tent; but gracious in thy mercy to pass by the offences of poor penitent sinners. Lord, hadst not thou been exceeding good and gracious unto us, we might this night have slept the sleep of death: and from the dark­ness of the night been sent away into outer darkness. But such hath been thy mercy and goodness unto us, as to add another day unto our lives: most meet therefore it is that we should consecrate the same unto thee, by offering up a Morning Sacrifice of Prayer and thanksgiving. Lord we acknowledge our great un­worthiness to come into thy presence, to present our Prayers and supplications unto thee. But though we are unworthy, yet Christ is worthy. We beseech thee therefore for his sake to look graciously upon us; to pass by our unworthiness, and to strengthen our weak­ness. To this end as we draw near unto thee, so be thou pleased to draw near unto us, enabling us to pray as with humility and sincerity; so with zeal and fervency of spirit, and with faith in Jesus Christ, looking for audi­ence and acceptance in and thorow him. Blessed Lord God, we cannot but acknowledge, thou didst at first create us in a blessed and happy estate, even after thine [Page] own image, endowing us with true knowledge, ho­liness, and righteousness. But we soon fell from that state of innocency and blessedness, in the loynes of our first Father Adam; and implunged our selves with him into a dreadfull gulf of sin and misery. For, O Lord, besides the guilt of Adams sin, we have con­tracted from him a Mass of corruption, which hath poysoned our very natures: polluted and defiled all the faculties of our souls, with all the parts and mem­bers of our bodies. So that we may more truly in regard of our spiritual uncleanness, cry out Vnclean, Vnclean, than the Leper under the Law in regard of his bodily uncleanness. And O Lord, to this cor­ruption of our natures we have added many many actual sins of our own: which as they have been hai­nous in their quality, so in their number and multitude have far exceeded the hairs of our heads, and the sands on the Sea-shore, which cannot be numbred. The which we have committed through the whole course of our lives, from our infancy to this present time. So that we are now grown old in sin, and overgrown with corruption. Though the time thou hast allotted us here to live is very little, even as a moment to Eter­nity; yet, alas, how little of this little have we lived to thee our God, or to the good of our own souls, having mis-spent the greatest part of our dayes in vanity and pleasure. We have continued ignorant of thee: how much means of knowledge have we had, and yet how little knowledge have we gotten? oh how little have we done for our souls, or the other World? We have not considered what is like to become of us hereafter. [Page] How little care and pains have we taken to make sure for Eternity? we have taken the course to undo our selves for ever. We have broken every one of thy most holy and righteous Laws ten thousand, thousand times. Yea we have sinned against thy Gospel in slighting the offers of grace. Though thou hast sent unto us Ambassadour after Ambassadour, to wooe and beseech us to abandon our sins, and to receive Jesus Christ, yet alas, how have we slighted thy messengers, and turned a deaf ear to all thy gracious invitations. Though we are willing to take Christ for our Saviour, to preserve us from hell and damnation; yet, alas, how unwilling are we to take him for our Lord and King, to yield obedience and subjection unto him. Lord we cannot but acknowledge our great unthank­fulness under those manifold favours and mercies thou hast in a plentiful measure conferred on us; as also our unprofitableness under thy Fatherly chastis [...]ments, laid upon us in love and for our good: our discon­tentedness at our present state and condition. And oh how careless and negligent have we been in the discharge of the duties of our places, callings, and relations! Oh the multitude of worldly and covetous thoughts, of proud and ambitious thoughts, of wicked and prophane thoughts, of wanton and unclean thoughts, yea and of blasphemous and atheistical thoughts that lodge in the hearts of most of us, and there revel it day and night. And O Lord, we can­not but acknowledge the deadness of our hearts, the distractions of our minds in the performing holy duties. We are active and lively about our worldly businesses, [Page] but oh how dull and flat are we in our religious exercises! praying as if we prayed not, and hearing as if we heard not. Lord, make us truly apprehen­sive of our sins and misery, that we may humble our selves under a sense of them, and turn unto thee by true and unfained repentance. Turn us, O God, and we shall be turned, draw us, and we will run after thee. And, O Lord, whilest we are returning unto thee, meet us, we pray thee, in the way: and like a tender Father, embrace us with the arms of thy mercy. Our sins, we confess, are many and hainous, yet we know and believe thy mercies are far more, and the merits of Jesus Christ are far greater: and therefore we are resolved to adventure our souls, as upon the mercies of the [...] our God, so upon the merits of Jesus Christ, into whose arms we here cast our selves.

Oh be pleased to make us partakers both of the merit of Christs death in freeing us from the guilt of sin, and of the virtue of Christs death in freeing us from the power and dominion of sin, that it may not rule and raign in us as formerly. Lord, work in us a loathing, and a true hatred of every sin, especially of such we have been most addicted to, and have most delighted in. To this end convince us what a folly, yea madness it is, for the short fruition of a momentany pleasure here, to implunge our selves into everlasting burnings. Oh convert every unconverted soul among us; bring us to Christ; make us adventurers for the other World: let us be resolved henceforth for an ho­ly and righteous life: instruct us in thy wayes, and teach us thy S [...]atutes. Break the power of our sins, [Page] subdue our rebellion, and make us willing to be the Lord's. Change our evil natures, and give us another Spirit. Help us sincer [...]ly to choose thee as our por­tion; to love, and fear, and trust in thee; and to walk humbly with thee all the dayes of our life. Help us to set our affections on things abov [...], and no longer on this earth: let us dye daily to sin, and this World: let us exercise our selv [...]s in keeping a good Cons [...]i [...]nce towards God and men: let us work out our Salvation with fear and trembling, and give all diligence to make our calling and election sure; and let not our labour herein be in vain. Keep us, O Lord, from our iniquities; keep us from the way of lying, from all unrighteous and unjust dealing, from wrath, and evil speaking; let us be true, temperate, peacea­ble, and mercifull, as the children of our heavenly Father. Help us to be serious, and savoury, and ten­der, and watchfull: and hold us on constantly in our holy course to the end of our dayes.

Lord, take us into thy keeping and protection this day: keep us from all danger, especially from sinning against thee. To this end make us watchfull both against the occasions of sins, and temptations there­unto. Keep us, we pray thee, from [...]dleness, as know­ing that our idle time is the Devils working tim [...], who is most busie with us, when we are most at leisure. And bless all our undertakings. So sp [...]ritualize our hearts and affections, that we may have heavenly hearts in earthly imployments, and so may serve thee our God, whilest we are serving our own necessities.

Together with us bless, we beseech thee, thy whole [Page] Church; Call thine ancient people the Jews; and bring in the fulness of the Gentiles. And particularly we pray thee for our own Nation, the Land of our Nativity: pardon the crying sins thereof. Showre down thy blessings upon it both temporal and spiritu­al. In special we pray thee so to bless our royal So­veraign, that under him we may live a quiet, and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. Bless like­wise all our Magistrates, and Ministers of thy holy Word. Thou the Lord of the harvest, send plenty of Labourers into thy harvest. And, O Father of mercy, look down with the eye of pitty and com­passion upon all thine afflicted ones: let thy mercies be suitable to their several needs and necessities. Bless all Christian families, this in particular; enrich every soul with all needfull, saving graces.

Blessed Lord God, according to our bounden duty, we offer up our Sacrifice of Praise and Thanksgiving unto thy blessed Majesty, in the name and mediation of thy beloved Son Jesus Christ. Blessing and praising thee for our health, wealth, food and rayment, for our preservation from our first being to this present time. We bless thy name above all for that gift of gifts the Lord Jesus. And for the Gospel wherein thou hast freely offered Christ, with all his benefits to us. We bless thee for whatever grace hath been wrought in any of us by the Gospel; and for that good hope thou hast given us through grace. We bless thy name for the last nights quiet rest, this dayes protection hitherto. Add, we Pray thee, this mercy, give us grace to live as in thy sight, who seeth all our wayes, and art privy [Page] to every secret thing which we do. And now, O Lord, accept our persons, though sinfull; and our ser­vice, though full of weaknesses, in thy beloved Son, with whom thou art well pleased. In whose name and words, we further call upon thee, saying, Our Father which art in Heaven, &c.

An Evening Prayer for a Family.

O Most great, and glorious Lord God, and in Je­sus Christ a loving and a gracious Father. We thy poor and unworthy Servants, being by thy good providence brought to the end of this day, desire to conclude the same with an Evening spiritual Sacrifice of Prayer and Thanksgiving. Lord we do here pro­fess, we come not in our own names, nor in our own strength, we are unable of our selves to perform any spiritual duty after an acceptable manner. But we come in the alone name, and strength of thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ: beseeching thee for his sake to pass by our unworthiness, to quicken our dead hearts, and to carry us forth with life and vigour in the duty we are now going about.

Blessed Lord God, we do acknowledge our selves to be vile, wretched sinners: Sinners by nature, sinners by birth, sinners in the whole course of our lives, ha­ving sinned as if we had come into the World for no other end but to sin against thee. Though thou hast been pleased to restrain us from many hainous, scan­dalous [Page] sins; yet Lord, thou knowest what evil thoughts do lodge in our hearts, and what Lusts bear rule and sway there. Blessed Lord God, though we are in some measure convinced of the need and neces­sity that we have of Jesus Christ, that we are undone for ever without an interest in him: yet how have we slighted and rejected the tenders and offers of him in the Ministry of the Gospel, and preferred our lusts, and the pleasures of this World before him. We have indeed outwardly made profession of the Gospel, yet have we disgraced the prof [...]ssion thereof by our carnal and sinfull conversation. Lord, we cannot but ac­knowledge, our desires, cares, and endeavours have run out more after the things of this life, than after the things of a better life. We have slighted thy judgements, abused thy mercies, prophaned thy Sab­baths, and polluted all thy holy Ordinances. When we have drawn near unto thee with our bodies, and honoured thee with our lips, then have our hearts been far removed from thee; when we have had com­munion with thine Ordinances, we have oftentimes had little communion with thee our God therein. Blessed Lord, our sins are many and hainous, yea there seemeth a kind of infiniteness in our sins: but we know and believe there is indeed an infiniteness in the mercies of thee our God, and in the merits of Je­sus Christ: and therefore with an utter disclaiming of all righteousness of our own, as filthy rags, we place our whole confidence for life and salvation upon thy mercies in Christ. As thou hast laid our help up­on him, so on him will we lay our hope for the pardon [Page] of our sins here, and for eternal salvation hereafter. Lord, be pleased to accept of his all sufficient Sacrifice, and perfect satisfaction thereby made to thy justice for all our sins. Pardon us, we pray thee, and free us as from the guilt and punishment, so from the power and dominion of all our sins, that we be no longer the servants of sin, but may be henceforth the servants of God. Lay hold on all our souls, and bring us in ef­fectually to Jesus Christ. Subdu [...] our reb [...]llion, take away our unw [...]llingness, answer all our objections and excuses, and work our hearts to a resolved adventuring upon him, an hearty acceptance of him, and a total resignation of our selves for ever to him, to his go­ver [...]ent and dominion. Lord, we beseech thee, not only to j [...]stifie us by thy grace, but likewise to sancti­fie us by thy Spirit, that we may be an holy people, serving thee in holiness and righteousness all the dayes of our lives. Mortifie our flesh with the affections and lusts: let us be proud no longer, nor covetous, nor envious, nor froward, nor m [...]litious. Let thy grace be sufficient for us both for the killing of our dearest lusts, and strongest corruptions; and for the quickning of us on in a conscionable discharge of the Duties of our places, callings, and relations; by which grace let us be carryed on throughout our whole course, in an holy, humble, and sincere conversation. Lord, let it suffice us, that we have spent so much of our precious time in seeking after earthly things: help us now in earnest to seek after spiritual and heavenly things, after spiritual grace and heavenly glory. We pray thee convince us thorowly, that upon the little [Page] inch of time in this life, depends the length and breadth of all Eternity: and that as we live here, we shall fare everlastingly hereafter. And O let the consideration thereof stir us up to a fruitfull improvement of our short time to the best advantage for the spiritual and eternal good of our poor souls. Help us to keep al­wayes upon our hearts a deep sense as of the certainty of our death, so of the uncertainty of the time thereof, that we may live as those who believe we must shortly dye. Lord take us into thy keeping and protection this night. Grant we may lodge in the arms of Je­sus, that we may rest in his bosome. Give unto us such sweet and comfortable rest and sleep, that our bodies may be refreshed, and we the better ena­bled to serve thee the next day in our several places and callings.

In mercy remember thine all the World over. And in special we pray thee for this sinfull Land and Nation. Pardon our sins, be reconciled to us in Jesus Christ. Let thy Gospel have a free passage therein. Pour the choicest of thy blessings upon the head of our King, that he may be a blessing unto us. Bless all our Ma­gistrates, with the Ministers of thy Word and Sacra­ments. P [...]tty the afflicted members of Jesus Christ. Bless all Christian Families, this in particular, giving unto every member thereof all needfull, saving, san­ctifying graces.

And now accept our Sacrifice of praise and thanks­giving which we offer unto thee for thy manifold fa­vours and mercies conferred on our souls and bodies: especially and above all, for that great gift of thine [Page] the Lord Jesus Christ, and for all those great things he hath done and suffered for our redemption. We bless thy name as for the enjoyment of the Gospel, so for any spiritual good we have received thereby: that any of us have fiducially and cordially closed with the tenders and offers of Jesus Christ. We bless thy name that thou hast withheld us from the company and wayes of those, who live without God in the World, giving themselves up to work all wickedness with greediness; and hast set our hearts to seek the Lord, and wait for thy Salvation. For every other good thing whether temporal or spiritual, concerning this life or a better, blessed and praised be thy great and glorious name. And now, O Lord, we beseech thee in mercy to overlook all the weaknesses and infirmi­ties which have accompanied this holy duty. Sprinkle both our Persons and our Services with the blood of that immaculate Lamb Christ Jesus. To whom with thee, O Father, and the holy Spirit, be rendred, as is most due, all honour, and praise and glory, both now and for evermore, Amen.

A Prayer for a single Person.

O Eternal and ever-living Lord God, the fountain of all blessing, the Father of Mercy, and God of all Consolation. I thy poor creature altogether un­worthy to appear in thy sight, to present my Prayer and supplication unto thee: do yet in the name and mediation of thy beloved Son Jesus Christ prostrate my self at the footstool of thy grace, looking for ac­ceptance and assistance in and through him. For his sake look graciously upon me, pardon my sins, which are many and hainous. Lord, I cannot but acknow­ledge, that besides the guilt of Adam's sin, there is in me a fountain of corruption, which I brought with me into the World: from whence hath plentifully flowed many poisonous streams of actual transgressi­ons, and that in evil thoughts, evil words, and evil actions; which I have committed through the whole course of my life, from my tender infancy to this pre­sent time. I have been alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in me. I have walked after the course of this World, fulfilling the desires of my flesh and of my mind, minding earthly things. I have broken thy Law, neglected thy Gospel, refused the offers of Christ, and am in great doubt that to this day there hath been no good work wrought upon me; but that I continue in the gall of bitterness, and the bond of iniquity. Lord, I cannot but acknowledge, I [Page] have shamefully abused the ric [...]es of thy goodness, for­bearance, and long-suffering, which should have led me to repentance; as also thy Fatherly corrections and chasti [...]ements, laid upon me in love, and for my good; oh how little have I been bettered thereby! How do I spend my time and strength for the getting of earthly riches; and satisfying my self with sensual plea­sures, and in the mean time am careless of my precious and immortal soul? Lord, I have often for my profit and pleasure sake omitted, and put off the holy exer­cises of Religion, which ought to have been performed by me; and have been exceeding dead and dull, lifeless and heartless in performing those good duties I have taken in hand. I have been unfruitfull under a plentiful dispensation of the means of grace, un­thankfull under those favours and mercies thou hast conferred on me, unfaithfull to those manifold vows and promises, I have made unto thee my God. Truth, Lord, my sins are many and hainous: but this is my comfort, that Jesus Christ came into the World to save sinners, and why not me? why not me? I acknow­ledge my self to be a great sinner: but yet again thy Word testifieth, That Jesus Christ came to save the chief of sinners. Therefore will I not despair of mer­cy, but am resolved to cast my self, and the burden of my sins into the arms, and upon the shoulders of Je­sus Christ. Be pleased to accept of what Christ hath done and suffered for me, and to accept of me in him. Turn me, O Lord, unto thee, and through him let me be reconciled unto thee. Slay the enmity, and subdue the rebellion of mine heart against thee. Wash my [Page] polluted soul with his most precious blood; cloath my nakedness with the long white robe of his righteous­ness, fill my emptiness out of that fulness which is in Jesus Christ. Enrich my soul with all needfull saving, sanctifying graces. Let the faith of Gods Elect, let the love and fear of thy name be shed abroad in my heart. Oh that every grace may more and more flourish in me, and my lusts more and more wither and decay in me. Let my covetousness dye, let my pride, and en­vy, and passion, and sensuality dye; let the whole bo­dy of death be destroyed, that I may no longer serve sin. Oh give me grace in this my day to know the things that belong to my peace, to make a right use of this time of my visitation. As Christ is now fre­quently tendred in the Ministry of the Gospel as a Saviour to poor sinners: So Lord, give me grace fi­ducially to close with the offers and tenders of him, that Christ may be mine, and I his. And as thou hast been pleased to afford unto me the means of grace, so I pray thee, help me to carry my self in some mea­sure suitable and answerable thereunto; that I may not be a shame, but rather a credit to Religion, and my profession thereof. To this end teach me to deny all ungodliness and Worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present World. Blessed Lord, seeing without thy blessing it will be in vain to put forth my own pains and endeavours, I beseech thee to help me to labour in the work of the Lord, and to crown my pains and endeavours with a blessing from Heaven. Make me more spiritual in Worldly businesses; and less wordly in spiritual busi­nesses. [Page] Be pleased to put good meditations into my mind, and holy desires into my heart. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of my mouth, but such as may administer grace to the hearers. Help me to re­deem time, let me not lose one day more, set me presently to work out my salvation with fear and trembling: let me choose the good part, and make sure for eternity: let me never venture my soul on false and deceitfull hopes, but let me make sure. Good Lord, let me not be deceived, and found an hypocrite at last: but let me be sound in the faith, that I may have rejoycing before thee in the great day.

Neither pray I for my self alone, but for thy whole Church wheresoever dispersed, or howsoever distressed upon the face of the whole earth. In special I pray thee, to bless this Land and Nation, with all blessings both temporal and spiritual. And herein our Sove­raign Lord and King: make him an instrument of bringing much glory to thy nam [...], and much good to thy Church and people. Bless him in his Relations, Counsels, and Forces. Bless the Magistrates and Mi­nisters, with the whole people of this Land: the af­flicted members of Jesus Christ; let thy mercies be suitable to their several needs and necessities. Vouch­safe to every one of us grace to live in thy fear, to dye in thy favour, and to raign with thee Eternally in Heaven.

And now, O Lord, in the name of Jesus Christ, I bless and praise thy glorious Majesty, for all those ma­nifold favours thou hast in a plentiful manner conferred on my soul and body; for my preservation as from [Page] manifold dangers whereunto I was subject, so from many sins wherinto the corruption of my flesh, and the perswasion of the Dev [...]l would have thrown me headlong. Blessed be thy name for thy good provi­dence over me through the whole course of my life; thou hast been my God from my Mothers womb, sup­plyed me with all needfull good things. But above all, blessed be thy name for that foundation of all other mercies, thy dearly beloved Son; for those great things he hath done and suffered for me, and those many good things, whereof in and through him I have hope, or am made partaker. Lord, pardon the manifold weaknesses and imperfections, which have accompanied this holy service, in and through thy beloved Jesus Christ. To whom with thee, and thy blessed Spirit, I do from my heart render all praise and glory, both now and evermore. Amen.


THE PRINCIPLES OF Christian Religion Explained to the Capacity of the Meanest.

By T.G. Minister of the Gospel.

John 17.3.

This is life Eternal to know thee the only true God, and Iesus Christ whom thou hast sent.

LONDON, Printed for Iohn Wright at the Globe in Little-Brittain. 1668.



Quest. WHo is the Maker of all things?

Answ. God. Gen. 1. 1. Col. 1.16. By him were all things Created that are in Heaven, and that are in Earth.

Q. What is God?

A. God is a Spirit of infinite perfection.

God is said to be a Spirit. 1. Negatively, to intimate that he is not a body or material substance. 2. Analogically, Spi­rits being the most perfect and excellent of all created beings are the fittest to represent the incomprehensible God to our nar­row conceptions.

God is said to be a Spirit of perfection, or perfect spirit, thereby to exclude all manner of imperfections, and including all man­ner of perfections and excellencies.

In that he is a Spirit of infinite perfection, thereby is implyed, that there is no measure or bounds set to his perfection. Where­by he is distinguished from the glorious Angels, and the souls of the Saints in Heaven, which though they are perfect spirits, [Page 2] yet their perfection is limited. Whereas Gods perfection is be­yond all measure, being infinite.

Q. How many Gods are there?

A. There is one only God.

1 Cor. 8.4. There is none other God but one.

Q. How many Persons are there in the God-head?

A. Three, the Father, the Son, and the holy-Ghost.

Though there be but one God in substance, and essence, yet there be three distinct Persons subsisting in that one God-head. This appeareth from Christs own testimony in Matth. 28.19. Where he gives commission to his Apostles to teach all Nations, and Baptize them in the name of the Fa­ther, of the Son, and of the holy Ghost. See likewise, 1 Ioh. 5.7. That God should be one in essence and three in per­sons, is a Mysterie not to be comprehended, yet ought to be believed, being so plainly revealed in the Word.

Q. How is God farther set forth unto us in his Word?

A. 1. By his Properties. 2. By his Works.

The Properties of God are certain excellencies attributed to him: as when he is said to be Eternal, Almighty, Merciful, just, &c.

Q. What are the kinds of Gods Properties?

A. 1. Incommunicable. 2. Communicable.

Incommunicable properties are such excellencies, which are so proper to God alone, as in no respect they can be attributed or communicated to any other. As Eternity, without beginning: Immutability, not subject to any change: All-sufficient, not only for himself, but for all others: Omnipotency, able to do all things: Ubiquity, to be everywhere present. These and such like are excellencies proper only to God, and cannot be communi­cated to the Creature.

Communicable Properties are certain excellencies in God, communicated also to creatures, as Power, Wisdom, Holiness, Iustice, &c. Thus Sampson was a strong man, Solomon a wise [Page 3] man, Noah a just man, &c. But yet there is a great difference between these communicable properties, as they are in God, and as they are in the creature.

  • 1. They are in God Originally, he is the primary foun­tain of them all, who hath what he hath in and from himself. Thus all these Properties in God are his very Essence.
  • 2. They are all in God infinitely, without any limits or bounds. He is infinite in power, wisdom, holiness, justice, &c. But in the Creature they are,
    • 1. By participation, they receive all their excellencies from God. What hast thou that thou didst not receive, 1 Cor. 4.7.
    • 2. By Measure. The Creature that hath the most, and best excellencies, hath but a stinted measure. Eph. 4.7.

Q. To what heads may the works of God be brought?

A. Creation and Providence.

Q. What is meant by Gods creating things?

A. A making them out of nothing.

To create is to give a being to things that never were, and that out of nothing. In this respect it is said, Gen. 1.1. In the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth, that is, when there was nothing at all, no not any matter out of which things might be made, then God Created all things. Which kind of making things out of nothing, is proper to God. Thereby the Lord sheweth himself to be the true God.

Q. What things did God so make?

A. All things.

This the Apostle expresly avouchet, Col. 1.16. By him were all things Created that are in Heaven, and that are in Earth, Visible and Invisible. If the excellency of many Crea­tures, the greatness of others, the multitude of all together, be duly considered, it must needs be granted, that herein the Lord sheweth himself to be a God indeed: the only true God. None else can do the like.

[Page 4]Q. By what did God make all things?

A. By his Word.

Gen. 1.3, 6. God said, let there be light, and let there be a Fir­mament, and it was so. And Psal. 33.6. By the Word of the Lord were things made. By Gods Word we understand the ma­nifestation of his will. For God is said to speak not properly, but after the manner of man. Men use most commonly to express their mind and will by speaking. When God did manifest and declare his will, that such and such things should be, instantly they were: and they were so as God would have them.

Q. What was that estate wherein God made all things?

A. Very good.

The holy Ghost expresly noteth, that at the end of every day, God took a thorow view of the particular works which he had made, and found them to be good, Gen. 1.4, 10, &c. This is to be noted to justifie God against all the evil that is in the World. Many Creatures are now evil. But as God made them, they were not so. All evil hath risen from the Creatures.

Q. Wherein consisteth the Providence of God?

A. 1. In preserving Creatures. 2. In well or­dering them.

For the preserving of Creatures, if God did not sustain, and maintain them, they would soon come to nought. In this respect it is said, In him we live, and move, and have our be­ing, Act. 17.28.

Q. What doth God by his providence order?

A. All things whatsoever. Psal. 113.6.

The providence of God extends as far as his Creation: as all things were Created by God; so all things are ordered by him. As the high and great things in the highest Heaven. So the greatest things on earth, (Dan. 2.21. He removeth Kings, and setteth up Kings) Yea, and the meanest things also, as the very colour of hairs, Mat. 5.36.

[Page 5]Q. What is that end whereunto God directeth all things?

A. 1. His own Glory. 2. His Childrens good.

Gods glory is the most principal and supream end of all. At that he aimed in giving the first being to his creatures. And at that also he aimeth in all things that are done at any time in any place.

Yea also, as at the next subordinate end, he aimeth at his Childrens good. In regard whereof, all things work together for their good, Rom. 8.28.

Q. In what estate did God make man at first?

A. In a very good and happy estate.

Gen. 1.31. It is said, After God had made man, he overlooked every thing that he had made, and behold it was very good.

Q. Wherein did mans happiness especially consist, in which he was at first made?

A. In that he was made after the image of God which consisted in perfect knowledge, true holiness, and righteousness, Gen. 1.26, 27. Col. 3.10.

Man at first had knowledge of all things necessary for the glory of God, and his own good; and was likewise made holy and righteous, and without sin.

Q Did man alwayes continue in that holy and hap­py estate.

A. No: he fell from it by transgressing that com­mandment of God, in eating the forbidden fruit, Gen. 3.3, &c.

The sin especially lay in disobeying the command of God: which commandment he gave him for the tryal of his obedi­ence. Many may possibly think this sin a light matter, and are apt to charge God with severity for punishing man so sorely for so small an offence. But if they shall consider the manifold sins infolded in that transgression, they must acknowledge it a ve­ry hainous sin, For

1. There was infidelity therein, in that they believed not [Page 6] Gods word. For though God had said, In the day thou eatest there­of thou shalt surely dye, Gen. 2.17. yet they believed not that they should dye, but made some question and doubt thereof.

2. Sottish credulity, in giving credit to the Devil: God had said, ye shall surely dye. And the Devil said, ye shall not surely dye. Yet the Woman, and so also the Man thorow her perswasi­on, gave more credit to the Devil, the Father of lyes, than to God the father of truth.

3. Horrible Idolatry in doting upon, and loving the creature more than God the Creator, who is blessed for ever. For this is one way of committing idolatry, namely by Deifying the Crea­ture, and loving it more than God.

4. Pride and Ambition, desiring to be as Gods. For when the Devil said, ye shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil, they were so puffed up therewith, that they transgressed.

5. Theft. For they took that which was none of their own, but by a special reservation kept from them. For God had expresly forbidden them to eat of that tree, Gen. 2.17.

6. Murther. Our first Parents by eating that forbidden fruit, brought death, not only upon themselves, but upon all their posterity. Yea, as much as in them lay, they thereby implunged themselves and all their posterity into hell fire. By these you may iudge of the greatness of the sin of our first parents.

Q. Is Adams posterity guilty of that sin?

A. Yea, Adams sin is imputed to all his posterity.

By one mans disobedience many were made sinners, Rom. 5.19. That is, by the transgression of Adam, the first man, many, even all that have or shall come from him, are justly accounted sin­ners.

Q. How can Adams posterity be guilty of his sin?

A. 1. Adam was a publick person in that busi­ness.

He stood not in his own room alone, but in the room of all mankind. He was the great representative of the world, so that he sinning, we sinned in and with him.

2. We were all in the loins of Adam when he sinned.

And so by the Law of generation sinned in him, and in him deserved eternal condemnation.

[Page 7]Q. What is sin in general?

A. Sin is a transgression of the Law.

Thus doth an Apostle expresly define it, 1 Ioh. 3.4. The law is a manifestation of the will of God, declaring what he would have man to do, or not to do: therefore to transgress the law, is to offend God, and to sin against his express will.

Q What are the kinds of sin?

A. Original and Actual.

Q. What is Original sin?

A. That corruption of nature wherein all are conceived, and born.

It is the immediate effect of Adams first sin, and the princi­pal cause of all other sins. In which respect it is called Origi­nal, because it is the spring from whence all actual sins issue and flow. Of this Original corruption did David speak in Psal. 51.5. Behold I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my Mother conceive me. Never was any that came from Adam (Christ only excepted, who was conceived by the holy Ghost) free from this sin. As every other creature receiveth the na­ture and disposition of their kind, and stock; thus Lyons a ravenous disposition, Doggs a doggish disposition: so the Children of sinfull man a sinfull disposition, an inclination rooted in their natures to all kinds of sin: which continueth in them as long as they live, and is never quite rooted out of any, so long as he continueth here on earth. Which the Lord in his wisdom hath so ordered,

  • 1. That thereby they may be the more humbled, and kept from spiritual pride.
  • 2. That they might have more frequent occasions of going to God by prayer for help and strength against the working of corruptions in them.

Q. What is actual sin?

A. A particular breach of Gods Law.

Q. How many wayes do men fall into actual sins?

A. 1. By omitting or not doing the good which God in his Word requireth.

[Page 8]2. By committing or doing the evil which God in his Word hath forbidden.

3. By a sinfull manner of performing that which is good.

The best duties we take in hand are exceedingly corrupted through our failing in the manner of performing them.

Q. What is the punishment of sin?

A. All curses and plagues in this life, at the end death, and after that, eternal torment in hell, Deut. 28.16, 17. Rom. 6.23. 2 Thes. 1.8, 9.

Q. Is any man able to free himself out of that wo­full plight whereinto he hath implunged himself by sin?

A. Surely No.

2 Cor. 3.5. We are not sufficient of our selves to think any thing as of our selves. Much less can we do any thing of our selves, to free our selves from so great a misery, as sin hath brought us into. We are dead in sin, Eph. 2.1. And dead men cannot raise themselves to life.

Q Can any other creature deliver man?

A. No meer Creature.

Psalm 49.7. None of them can by any means redeem his bro­ther, nor give unto God a ransome for him. This may be ap­plyed to all the Creatures in the World, to all the Saints and Angels in the World, none of them can by any means re­deem his brother. So that in regard of mans own power, or in regard of succour from any meer creature, there remaineth nothing but matter of despair.

Q. Is there any means to free man out of his cor­rupt and miserable estate?

A. Yes, God himself hath given unto man a Saviour.

Act. 5.31. When it was manifested none could help, God himself gave an helper, and a Saviour unto us.

[Page 9]Q. Who is mans Saviour?

A. Jesus Christ.

1 Tim. 1.15. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all ac­ceptation, that Iesus Christ came into the World to save sinners.

Iesus, is an Hebrew word, and signifieth a Saviour. The Angel that gave this name, addeth this reason thereof, He shall save his people from their sins,

The other name, Christ, is a Greek Word, and signifieth anointed, Iesus shews him to be a Saviour. Christ an able Savi­our, because anointed, that is, set apart by God and endowed with all fulness for the work of our redemption.

Q. What is Iesus Christ.

A. He is the eternal Son of God, who in the ful­ness of time took mans nature.

The only begotten Son of God, the second Person in the Tri­nity, who in the fulness of time took mans Nature upon him; This is Jesus Christ. He is called the only begotten Son of God, because he is the alone Son of God by nature. For though others be Sons of God by Creation, as Adam was, and the Angels. Others by adoption, and regeneration, as the Saints of God. Yet none is his Son by nature, but Jesus Christ, who is therefore called, the only begotten Son of God, Joh. 1.14. which is to be understood of an eternal▪ and incomprehensible generation, which would rather be admi­red than enquired into.

Q. Why must mans Redeemer be man?

A. 1. In general that he might suffer and dye for mans Redemption.

Heb. 9.22. Without shedding of blood is no remission of sin [...] Christ therefore that he might dye for our Redemption, took upon him our Nature, for as God he could not dye.

2. That he might satisfie the justice of God in the same manner wherein it was offended.

For the justice of God did require, that satisfaction should be made in the same nature which had sinned. Man therefore having sinned, it was requisite that man should dye, for the satisfying Gods justice, and appeasing his wrath. Whereupon [Page 10] saith the Apostle, Since by man came Death, by man came the Re­surrection of the dead, 1 Cor. 15.21.

3. That he might feel our frailties, and from sense and experience learn pitty and compassion.

Which reason the Apostle rendreth, Heb. 2.16, 17. He took on him the seed of Abraham, that he might be a merciful, and faithfull High-Priest, that is, that he might be merciful, as one man is to another. And in Heb. 4.15. We have not an High-Priest, which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Q. Why must mans Redeemer be also God?

A. 1. That he might be able and sufficient to en­dure that which for mans sin he undertook.

The burden which he underwent, was the wrath of an infi­nite God, and there was need of a divine power to support un­der the divine wrath. His humane nature would have been overwhelmed with the heavy weight of Gods wrath, had not the divine nature strengthned and upheld it.

2. That he might vanquish all the enemies of our Salvation, and overcome Satan, hell and death, which no meer creature could do.

Christ being God, by his death he overcame death, and him that had the power of death, that is, the Devil.

3. That his obedience and sufferings might be of an infinite price and value.

That which made the Obedience, and the Death of Christ to be of such an infinite value was, that it was the obedience, and the death of the Son of God, of him who was God, as well as man. The Deity being one nature in the person of our Redeemer, an infinite dignity accompanyed his person, and every thing that was done and suffered by him.

Which affords a singular ground of comfort to all humbled sinners, sensible of their sins, and misery, due unto them for the same; in that the death and sufferings of Jesus Christ is of infi­nite worth and merit, far above the merit of their sins; being the death and sufferings of him who was God as well as man. [Page 11] Oh what comfort, yea what matter of triumph did this afford unto the Apostle Paul, as appeareth in Rom. 8.33.34. For treat­ing of the fulness and a [...]sufficiency of Christs satisfaction by his death, in the former part of the Chapter; in the latter part, he speaks as one ravished with abundance of comfort, and thereupon presently challengeth a dispute with any, concerning the fulness of Christs satisfaction by his death. Let conscience, saith he, and carnal reason, let Law and sin, Hell and Devil bring in all their strength, object what they can, either the justice of God, or the number and hainousness of my sins, what are all these? Seeing Christ hath dyed, who is he, shall lay any thing to the charge of Gods elect? whom shall condemn? It is Christ that dyed. As if he had said, seeing Christ, the beloved Son of God, hath offered up his life as a Sacrifice, and satisfaction to the justice of God for my sins, I will not fear the accusations of Satan, nor the objections of mine own carnal heart.

Q. What hath Christ done for our Redemption?

A. 1. He performed that obedience which we did owe to the Commandments of God.

2. He suffered that punishment which was due unto us for our sins.

The former is called Christs active obedience, the latter his passive obedience.

Christs active obedience was most absolute, and perfect: for he perfectly performed whatsoever the Law of God did require; which himself intimateth in that speech of his to Iohn Baptist, (Matth. 4.15.) It becometh us to fulfill all Righteousness. And as we were made unrighteous by the first Adams disobedience: So are we made righteous by the obedience of the second Adam, Christ Jesus. This the Apostle expresly noteth, Rom. 5.19. As by one mans disobedience, meaning, Adams, many were made sinners. So by the obedience of one, namely Christ, shall many be made righte­ous, that is, all who belong unto him. And as Christ subjected himself unto the Law, and fulfilled the same for us, in our stead, whereby he purchased eternal life and salvation for us: So likewise he suffered that punishment which was due to us for our sins, and thereby redeemed us from death and hell. For as the Prophet Isay speaketh (Isa. 53.6.) The Lord laid upon him [Page 12] the iniquity of us all, that is, the punishment due to all our ini­quities. And verse 4. Surely he hath born our griefs, and carryed our sorrows. The sorrow and anguish that was due to us for our sins, he hath born it all, and every jot of it. And so having made full satisfaction to the justice of God for us, we are discharged. Therefore saith the Apostle (Eph. 1.7.) we have redemption through his blood, that is, through the bloody death and passion of Jesus Christ, we are redeemed from all our sins. But yet this is not so to be understood, as if we were re­deemed from the curse by Christs passive obedience, and had the inheritance of glory purchased for us by his active obedi­ence, separately considered; but by his active and passive obe­dience joyntly considered, we are both redeemed from the curse, and entitled to glory.

Q. What offices did Christ undertake to make us partakers of the benefit of that which Christ did and s [...]ffered?

A. Christ undertook three Offices, he became a (a) King, a (b) Prophet, and a (c) Priest. (a) Act. 5.31. (b) Deut. 18.18. (c) Psal. 110.4.

Q. What are the parts of Christs Kingly Office?

A. 1. To govern his Church.

Christs governing his Church is partly External, and partly Internal.

  • 1. External by his Word, wherein his Laws are revealed. And by his Officers, and Ministers, which he hath appointed to stand in his room; to whom he hath committed not only the word of reconciliation, but also the power of the Keyes, or a power to put his Laws and Orders in execution.
  • 2. Christ doth Internally govern his Church by his Spirit, where­by he so powerfully works upon them that he makes them wil­lingly to submit to him.

Q. What other part is there of Christs Kingly Office?

A. 2. To provide for his Church.

Christs providing for his Church extends to all things need­full [Page 13] for soul and body, even to all spiritual, and temporal blessings. He provides spiritual blessings for the souls of his members, by fur­nishing them with all needfull saving graces. He likewise provides temporal blessings for their bodies, so far as he seeth to be good for them. The young Lyons do lack and suffer hunger, but they that fear the Lord shall not want any good thing, Psal. 34.10.

Q. What other part is there of Christs Kingly Office?

A. 3. To protect his Church.

Christ protects his Church and Members from all enemies. Her enemies are Visible and Invisible. Her Visible Enemies are all manner of wicked men. Her Invisible ene­mies are the Devil and his Angels. Christ either keepeth these enemies from assaulting his Church, as Gen. 35.5. or weakneth their power, and restraineth it, as 2 Sam. 3.1. Or delivereth his out of their clutches, as Exod. 14.39. Or destroyeth their enemies, as 2 King. 19.35.

Q What is the chief work of Christs Prophetical Office?

A. To teach and instruct his Church.

Q. How doth Christ instruct his Church?

A. 1. Outwardly by his Word.

2. Inwardly by his Spirit.

First, Christ instructs his Church outwardly by making known his Fathers will, which he did by his own mouth, when he lived upon the earth. And by his Ministers, after his Ascension into Heaven, by their writings and Preaching.

Obj. Some may Object and say, Gods will was made known before Christ was born.

Ans. 1. It was indeed made known, but not so clearly, nor so fully as by Christ. It was obscured by Types.

2. It was not then made known altogether without Christ. For though Christ of old did not so visibly shew himself a re­vealer of his Fathers will, as after he was born and lived on Earth: yet did he reveal Gods will to the Children of men in those dayes. For wheresoever God is said to speak, the Son of [Page 14] God, the second person in the Trinity, is there meant. And when God is said in any visible shape to appear to men, the same person, the Son of God appeared. Yea, that which An­gels or Prophets made known to men, was first made known to them by the Son of God, Act. 7.38. In this respect, among others, Christ is often called the WORD, as Iohn 1.1, &c. For as men by word of mouth ordinarily declare their mind and meaning: So did God declare his will, and mind by his Son.

2. Christ instrúcts his Church inwardly, by causing his Spi­rit to work with the outward Ministry, which he hath or­dained, upon the souls of men. Christ speaketh now in Mini­sters, as he did in Paul, (2 Cor. 13.3.) though not in the same measure, yet in the same manner. Thus in and by those Ordinances which he hath prescribed to his Church, he en­lightneth the mind, mollifieth the heart, comforteth the Con­science, yea and worketh faith, hope, love, patience, new-obe­dience, and all other needfull graces:

Q. What are the parts of Christs Priestly Office?

A. 1. Satisfaction. 2. Intercession.

These two were th [...] principal works of the High-Priest under the Law. [...] did by offering Sacrifice. The other by entring into the most holy-place with Incense. Both these are joyned together, and applyed to Christ, Rom. 8.34. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that dyed, yea rather that 'is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Here we have both Satisfaction, and Inter­cession applyed to Christ. Satisfaction by his death, and In­tercession now that he is risen again, and sitteth at the right hand of God.

Christs Sacrifice on the Cross was of such efficacy, that Gods Justice was thereby abundantly satisfied, his wrath fully pacified, yea his face and favour, and all blessings following thereon, was purchased. The death of Christ is therefore said to be a Sacrifice to God, a sweet smelling savour, Eph. 5.2. And the Church is said to be purchased thereby, Act. 20.28. namely, from all that bondage under which it was, as sin, the curse of the Law, the Wrath of God, Death, Devil, Damnation. [Page 15] After Christ had offered up his Life a Sacrifice unto God, and thereby made satisfaction for the sins of his Church; he was buried, and laid in the grave, to sanctifie the grave to all his members. And the third day he arose from the dead. As he himself laid down his life, so he himself took it up again. And then he ascended into Heaven, there to make intercession for us, which is the second part of his Priestly Office. The for­mer was to make satisfaction: this latter to make intercession.

Christ may be said to make intercession for us two wayes,

  • 1. By a continual presenting of himself to his Father for us. Christ, saith the Apostle, Heb. 9.24. is entred into Hea­ven, now to appear in the presence of God for us. Christ presents himself our Sacrifice, and propitiation for our sins, whose very blood becomes our Advocate, to plead with the Father for us, Heb. 12.24.
  • 2. By manifesting his will to have all his made partakers of the vertue and benefit of his Sacrifice. Joh. 17.24. Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me.

The word Intercession properly signifieth supplication for ano­ther. It is attributed to Christ especially as he is now in Hea­ven, by way of resemblance. The resemblance may be taken from the Favourite of a King, who is alwayes at Court, in the Kings presence, and there presents his friends petition, and in­tercedes for the granting thereof. Christ, the great favourite of the Lord, stands before him continually to present our sup­plications, and procure our acceptance.

Q. How comes Christ, and those things which he did and suffered in his own person to be ours?

A. By Faith.

Rom. 3.22. Faith is called the faith of Iesus, because we thereby relying on Christ, are united to him, and so have a right to all that is his. In this respect whatsoever we re­ceive from Christ, is attributed to faith. By faith we are justified, Rom. 3.28. We are saved by faith, Eph. 2.8. By faith we have access to God, Rom. 5.2. In a word, As they, who in the dayes whilest Christ lived upon the earth, received cure of any malady from him, received it by faith. So every [Page 16] good thing that now we receive from Christ, we receive by faith. How needfull then is it, that we be well instructed in the nature of faith.

Q. What is faith?

A. True saving faith is a grace wrought in us by the Spirit of God, through the Ministry of the Word, whereby we receive Christ, as he is offer­ed in the Gospel, and rest upon him alone for life and salvation.

First, I say, True saving faith is a grace. It is not the work of nature; it being as impossible for a man by his own strength to believe, as it is to keep the Law. Faith therefore in Scripture is called, the gift of God.

It is added, wrought in us by the spirit of God, by whose effi­cacy (as the principal cause) it is begotten in us.

Through the Ministry of the Word, because that is the ordinary means whereby the Spirit of God doth work faith in our hearts. Its true, that the reading of the Scriptures, and of good books, may through Gods blessing be a means of working faith▪ but it is most sure and certain, that the most ordinary means is the Word preached, as Rom. 10.17. Faith cometh by hearing, viz. the Word of God.

For first, the Law discovereth unto us our sins and misera­ble condition by reason of them: That we are utterly lost in our selves, having deserved, and are lyable to all judgements and plagues here, and eternal death and condemnation here­after: and that we are altogether unable to free our selves out of this miserable condition, whereunto we have plunged our selves by sin.

And then the Gospel shews us, that in the fulness of time, Jesus Christ who was the Eternal Son of God, came into the World, took our nature upon him, and therein became our Surety; and as our Surety, hath taken our debts upon him▪ and by his obedience, and alsufficient Sacrifice of his own bo­dy, once offered upon the Cross, hath made full satisfaction to Gods justice for the same.

Yea, the Gospel farther sheweth, that God, in him, offereth [Page 17] grace and reconciliation, pardon of sins here, and eternal salva­tion hereafter, to all that believe in him.

The which truth being revealed to us by the Preaching of the Word; the Spirit of God inwardly worketh in us effe­ctual assent thereunto, upon which followeth an high prizing of Jesus Christ above all things, an hungring and thirsting after him, and a resolution of heart to receive him as our all-suffici­ent Saviour, and to rest upon him, and his merits alone for life and salvation.

And therefore it is added in the forementioned description, that faith is a grace whereby we receive Christ. And indeed thereby is Christ made ours. For what is more our own, than that which is freely offered us, and we have received. To receive Iesus Christ, is the same as to lay hold on him, or to embrace him, and apply him to our selves. But I have the ra­ther made choice of this word receive, because it is the very expression of the holy Ghost, Joh. 1.12. As many as received him to them gave he power to become the Sons of God, even to them that believe. This latter clause, to them that believe, is added as an explanation of the former clause, As many as re­ceived him; shewing what is meant by receiving Christ, namely a believing on him. Which two are very fitly joyned together. Believing is added to receiving, to shew what is meant by re­ceiving Christ. And receiving is added to believing, to shew what kind of faith it is, whereby Christ becomes ours, it is such a faith, whereby we accept of and receive Christ with the bene­fits of his death and passion.

It follows in the description of faith, How Christ must be received, namely, as he is offered in the Gospel.

Christ is offered in the Gospel In all his Offices, as Priest, Prophet, and King. And so he must be received, not only as our Priest, who hath made satisfaction for us, by his death upon the Cross, and now in Heaven maketh intercession for us. But likewise as our Prophet, to be taught and instructed by him, and as our King, to be ruled and governed by him: and we must as willingly cast our selves at the feet of Christ in subjection to him, as into the arms of Christ for salvation from him: we must be as willing to serve Jesus Christ, as to be saved by him. The purpose of God in freeing us from [Page 18] the spiritual bondage, in which we were by nature, being this, that we should serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness, all the dayes of our lives.

Vainly therefore do they deceive themselves, who are wil­ling to receive Christ as a Redeemer, but not as a Ruler: as a Saviour, but not as a Lord and King. Let such know, that Christ will be a Saviour to none, to whom he is not a Lord, and King. His subjects alone, and none other will he save, for he will not part his Offices.

In the last place is added, And rest upon him alone, for the par­don of our sins here, and for eternal life and Salvation hereafter. This resting on Christ we find is set forth in Scripture by sun­dry Phrases, as a trusting in Christ, Eph. 1.12. And a leaning on Christ, Cant. 8.5. A staying our s [...]lves upon him, Isa. 50.10.

Q What are those esp [...]cial benefits which believers receive from Christ?

A. 1. Justification. 2. Adoption. 3. Sanctifica­tion.

That justification is by faith, the Apostle concludeth, Rom. 3.28. We conclude that a man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the Law.

Q. What is Iustification?

A. Justification is an act of Gods free grace, where­by he forgives us all our sins; and accepts of us as righteous, in and for the righteousness of Jesus Christ imputed to us.

That justification is an act of Gods free grace, The Apostle expresseth, Rom. 3.24. Being justified fre [...]ly by his grace. And that God accepts us as righteous in and for the Righteousness of Jesus Christ, is clear from Rom. 5.19. As by one mans diso­bedience many were made sin-ers; So by the Obedie [...]ce, or righte­ousness, of o [...]e; namely Christ, shall many be made righteous: that is, perfectly righteous, so as God shall accept them for righte­ous. We are justified not by any inherent righteousness of our own, which is imperfect; but by the perfect righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and by God himself accounted ours.

[Page 19]2 Cor. 5.21. He made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteous [...]ss of God in him; that is, in Christ. In which words is expresly noted, that we are so made righteous before God in Christ, as he was made a sinner for us. Now how was Christ made a sinner for us? Namely, by imputation; according to that of the Prophet, Isa. 53.6. The Lord hath laid on him the i [...]iquity of us all. God accounted our sins his, and accordingly he was punished as a sinner. And so he accounts his righteousness ours, and in that respect we are righteous before God. The Lord ac­counting us as righteous through Christs righteousness, as if we had kept the whole Law. Admirab [...]e is the comfort which a believers soul receiveth from this point of his ju [...]tification before God. For so soon as he be [...]ieveth, even while he liv­eth in this World, he is thus justified in Gods sight▪ Hereby therefore is he upheld against the afflicting sense of the imper­fection of his own righteousness. For though his own righte­ousness be but as filthy rags, yet this is his comfort, that he is righteous in the sight and account of God, by the perfect righ­teousness of Jesus Christ imputed to him.

Q Which are the parts of Iustification?

A. 1. Remission of all our sins.

2. Acceptation of us as righteous through the imputation of Christs Righteousness, Rom. 4.6, 7, 8.

1. Our sins make us odious and abominable in the sight of God: yea they make us cursed, and lyable to eternal damna­tion: they therefore are first taken away: not that they are not, or that God seeth them not, but in that God imputeth them not to us, 2 Cor. 5.19.

2. God to make us glorious in his sight, imputes his Sons righteousness unto us, and therein accepts us. In which re­spect we are said to be made righteous by Christs righteous­ness, Rom. 5.19. and to be made accepted in the beloved, Eph. 1.6.

By laying these two parts of our justification together, the transcendent love of Christ to believers is clearly set out. For,

1. That which is our own, namely our sins, because they make us miserable, he taketh from us, and layeth on himself, He was made sin for us, 2 Cor. 5.21.

2. That which is none of our own, because without it we cannot be happy, he imputes to us, and accounts ours, and ac­cepts of us, as if it were our own, namely, his own perfect righteousness. For [...]aith the Apostle, We are made the righteous­ness of God in him, 2 Cor. 5.21.

Q. What is Adoption?

A. Adoption is an act of Gods free-grace where­by of Children of Wrath, and of the Devil, we are made the Children of God, Ioh. 1.12.

We are not only accounted Children, and taken into the number of the seed of God, but are invested with all the priviledges of the Children of God, Rom. 8.17.

Q. What is Sanctification?

A. Sanctification is a work of Gods Spirit, where­by a justified person is by degrees renewed through­out, according to the Image of God in holiness and righteousness.

First, Sanctification is said to be a work of Gods Spirit, because he is the principal author, and efficient cause thereof.

Whereby a justified person is renewed: I add a justified person, because Justification and Sanctification alwayes go together. Though Justification be before in Nature, yet are they both wrought at the same time. The Lord accounteth no man righteous, by imputing Christs righteousness unto him, but he makes him also righteous by a righteousness inherent in himself.

Is renewed; by the work of Sanctification a man is morally made a new man, and as it were, another man. All things are become new, 2 Cor. [...].17. He hath new thoughts, new desires, new dispositions.

This renewing is by degrees; that is, by little and little, and not all at once. Indeed we are justified at once, but we are [Page 21] Sanctified by degrees. In which respect Sanctification is com­pared to the light which shineth more and more unto the perfect day, Prov. 4.18. And Eph. 4.26. To the body of a man, which groweth and encreaseth in stature, and strength, till it be come to the perfection of it. Even so our Sanctification encreaseth by degrees; we go on from grace to grace, from vertue to vertue, till we be perfect men, of full growth in Christ Jesus.

This renewi [...]g as it is by degrees, so it is throughout, that is, within and without, in all the faculties of the soul, and parts of the body. And that according to the Image of God in holi­ness, and righteousness. So that a Christian by the life of Sancti­fication lives like unto God: at least he hath an holy disposi­tion and inclination; and heartily endeavours so to do, to be holy, as God is holy: and as the Apostle speaketh (Rom. 7.22.) He delighteth in the Law of God after the inward man.

Q. What other Grace doth the Gospel require be­sides faith?

A. Repentance, Mat. 3 2. and 4.17.

Q What is Repentance?

A. Repentance is such a change of the heart, as causeth a new Life.

Repentance chiefly consisteth in the change of the mind, and heart of a man. As for the new life, it is an effect and evidence of the new heart. A new heart causeth a new life. The outward change and renovation of a mans life is necessary. For Repentance must be in the whole man; and this latter giveth evidence to the truth of the former. And where the former is, there the latter will also be: where there is a renew­ed heart, there will be a reformed life. For the soul hath an absolute command over the body: and the body is wholy governed by the soul.

Q Whence ariseth Repentance?

A. 1. From a sight and sense of sin, with sorrow for it.

2. From a faith of the pardon of sin.

[Page 22]I. By sight of sin is meant, both a general, and also a par­icular knowledge of sin.

First, A general knowledge of the nature of it, what it is; and of the loathsome properties of it, how ugly and odious it maketh us in the pure eyes of God; and of the fearful effects of it, which are all miseries in this life, a cursed death, and eternal damnation.

Secondly, A particular knowledge of our own sins. Not only of those sins which are common to the nature of all men, as Original corruption, proneness to evil, dulness to good, &c. But also of such particular Lusts as we feel warring in our members, and such actual sins, as we have committed in our lives. As he that said, I was a blaspheamer, and a persecutor, and an oppressor, 1 Tim. 1.13.

By sense of sin is meant a spiritual feeling of the wofull plight, and condition wherein we lye, by reason of sin. When inwardly in our souls and consciences we are touched, and wounded for our sins.

II. Faith concerning the pardon of sin is that which most kindly and effectually bringeth a man to Repentance. The forementioned sight and sense of sin, and sorrow for sin, are excellent means to work in a man an hatred of sin, and to make him wish he had never committed it, yea and to make him think of turning from sin.

But faith in the pardon of sin, whereby the soul is per­swaded that all sins past shall be fully forgiven to him that re­penteth, and turneth from sin, is a strong Motive to draw him from his former wicked courses And the Repentance that is by faith in Gods mercy wrought, is most kindly wrought. For faith as it apprehends pardon of sin most freely through Gods mercy in Christ Jesus; so it works repentance by way of gratitude, because it is pleasing and acceptable to God to turn from sin: and because the good God is displeased, and disho­noured by committing sin, and continuing therein.

Q What are the outward Means appointed by God, for the working, and strengthning of faith, repentance, and other graces in us.

[Page 23] A. The Ordinances of God, especially the Word, Sacraments and Prayer.

The Ministry of the Word is the most necessary, both for the working, and encreasing faith and other graces. That which the Apostle saith of faith, That it cometh by hearing, may b [...] applyed to all other graces, They come by hearing the Word Preach­ed. And to shew that by it grace also is nourished, The Apostle Peter exhorteth, To desire the sincere milk of the Word, that they may grow thereby, 1 Pet. 2.2. How doth it then concern us, as to give diligent heed to the Ministry of the Word, So to mix faith with our hearing, as by giving credence to what is deli­vered out of the Word of God, so by applying to our selves those truths which the Word revealeth.

Q. What is a Sacrament?

A. An holy Ordinance instituted by Christ, wherein by outward signs, inward grace is signified and sealed.

So that there are three things necessary to the making up of a Sacrament.

  • 1. An outward sign.
  • 2. An inward or spiritual grace.
  • 3. Christs Instituiton.

Q. How many Sacraments are there?

A. Two only; Baptism, and the Lords Supper.

As the Jews of old had two ordinary Sacraments, which were circumcision, and the Passeover. So Christians now have two such as answer to them; Baptism to Circumcision, Col. 3.11, 12. The Lords Supper to the Passeover, Luk. 22.15, &c.

Q. What is Baptism?

A. A Sacrament wherein by the washing with water, in the name of the Fa [...]her, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, our Reg [...]neration is signified and sealed.

In that Baptism is a Sacrament of our Regeneration, it sheweth,

1. That by nature we are born in a cursed condition, who have therefore need to be new-born assoon as we are born. Re­generation [Page 24] is so absolutely necessary to our Salvation, as with­out it we cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, Iob. 3.3.

2. That Baptism is a means of our Regeneration. Gods Spirit in and by that Ordinance worketh this great work. In which respect we are said to be born of water and of the Spirit, Joh. 3.5. yet is not every one that is baptized really and inwardly regenerated. It is not the bare washing with water, but the working of the Spirit thereby, by which we are Regenerated. And the Spirit is a free agent, and worketh when and upon whom it listeth, Ioh. 3.8.

Q. What is the outward sign in Baptism?

A. Water, Act. 8.36.

There is nothing so fit to set out our cleansing from sin, as Water, whereby that which is filthy is clean.

Q What is the inward thing signified by Water in Baptism?

A. The Blood of Christ.

In relation hereunto Christ is said to have washed us from our sins in his blood, Rev. 1.5. As Water hath a cleansing vertue, so also hath Christs blood. The blood of Iesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin, 1 Joh. 1.7.

Q. What is the Lords Supper?

A. A Sacrament of our spiritual nourishment, wherein by receiving Bread and Wine, according to Christs institution, our communion with Christ is repr [...]sented, and sealed.

The Lords Supper is add [...]d to Baptism, as a needfull means to maintain that life of God which is begotten in us.

Q. What are the outward signs in the Lords Supper?

A. Bread and Wine, Mat. 26.26.

Q. What doth the Sacramental bread set out?

A. The body of Christ.

This is evident by Christs own words, who holding bread in his hands, saith of it, This is my body, (Matth. 26.26.) that [Page 25] is, by way of representation, as if he had said, This bread re­presenteth my body.

Q. What doth Sacramental Wine set out?

A. The blood of Christ.

This is evident by the words of institution, where Christ holding the Cup that had the Wine in it, and speaking of the Wine therein, he saith, This is my blood, Mat. 26.27.

Q What is signified by the Ministers breaking the bread?

A. That Christ was broken with torments for our sins.

The Apostle in 1 Cor. 11.24. Thus bringeth in Christ himself applying that rite, This is my body which is broken for you.

Q. What is signified by powring out the Wine?

A. The shedding of Christs blood.

Or his suffering unto death, and powring forth his soul an offering for sin▪

Q. What is signified by the Ministers giving Bread and Wine to the Communicants?

A. Gods giving and offering his Son to them.

In the Sacrament God doth offer and tender Christ to every Communicant: yea he doth, as it were, put him into our hands with his own hands.

Q. What is meant by those words of the Minister, Take, Eat, Drink?

A. Gods will for our applying Christ to our selves.

He doth not only in a dumb shew make offer of Christ, but by his Minister speaks unto us, and saith, I will and require you to take my Son, to apply him to your selves, that so you may live by him. What can we more expect on Gods part to move us to receive his Son?

Q. What doth the peoples taking the Bread and Wine set out?

A. Their receiving Christs body and blood.

That is, a spiritual receiving of Christ made man, and made [Page 26] a Sacrifice, to themselves, and that by faith. For faith is that instrument whereby we receive Christ, and all his benefits as they are offered to us in the Gospel, and sealed unto us in the Sacra­ment. Faith is to the soul, as the hand is to the body. That which is offered to a man for his good, the hand receives to be his own. Thus God offering his Son unto us, faith first per­swades the heart of Gods good will to man, and of his true in­tent to bestow Christ upon him, and thereupon applyes and takes Christ to himself, as his own. By faith the things signified are as truly received for the nourishment of the soul, as the signs are received f [...]r the nourishment of the body. Faith is not only our hand to take hold of Christ: but our mouth to take him in, to take him down into our hearts, whereby he becomes our nou­rishm [...]nt and streng [...]h.

Q. What is the duty of every Communicant before he goeth to the L [...]rds Table?

A. Examin [...]tion.

1 Cor. 11.28. Let a man examine himself, a [...]d so let him eat of that bread, and dri [...]k of that C [...]p. Concerning this, see my Di­rections for the worthy receiving the Lords Supper, Chap. 24.

Q. What is Pray [...]r?

A. Prayer is an offering up our d [...]sires to God in the name of Christ, for such good things as he hath prom [...]s [...]d to give, and we stand in need to receive.

Prayer stands not in the bare use of a form of good words, but is the pouring f [...]rth the soul, and the desire [...] thereof after God, and the good things he hath to bestow, Isa. 26.9.

In the name of Christ. God heareth not sinners, that is, com­ing in their own name. But sayes Christ himself, Joh. 15 16. Whatsoever ye shall a [...]k the Father, [in my name] he will give it you.

For such things as he hath promised to give, and we stand in need to receive. Our prayers must be according to Gods Will. And this is according to the will of God, that we ask what he hath promised, and what he knows we have need of. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask any thing ac­cording to his will he heareth us, 1 Joh. 5.14.

The Parts of Prayer are,

  • [Page 27]1. Confession, or the acknowledgement of our sins and trans­gressions.
  • 2. Petition, or the asking, or craving from the hands of God such things as we want.
  • 3. Thanksgiving, or the praising of God for the mercies we have received.

Q What shall be the state of men after death?

A. I. In general,

  • 1. The bodies of all men shall be raised out of their graves, and shall live again, 1 Cor. 15.
  • 2. All men shall be brought to Judgement, 2 Cor. 5.10.

II. In particular,

  • 1. Bel [...]vers shall go into everlasting life.
  • 2. U [...]believers and ungodly into everlasting fire, Mat. 25.34, 41.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.