[...]. THE REVIVAL OF GRACE, IN THE Vigour and Fragrancy of it.

By a due Application of the Blood of Christ to the Root thereof. OR Sacramental Reflections on the Death of Christ a Sacrifice, a Testator, and bearing a Curse for us; particularly applying each for the exciting and increasing the Graces of the Believing Communicant.

By Henry Hurst, M. A. formerly Fellow of Merton Colledge Oxon: Now Domestick Chaplain to the Right Honourable Arthur Earl of Anglesey, Lord Privy Seal.

[...], Gal. 2.20.
Domine! cum te in ara crucis suspensum video, quod­cunque oculis meis spectandum objicitur, me in ame­rem tui inducat! Signum, Figura, Mysterium, vul­neraque tui corporis, & prae caeteris, intimus ille af­fectus clamat ut ad Amorem tui properem, nec tui obliviscar. Did. Stella meditat.

LONDON, Printed, and are to be sold by Tho. Parkhurst, at the Bible and Three Crowns, the lower End of Cheapside, and the Bible under the Gate at Lond. Bridge. 1678


Guil. Jane.
Jan: 9. 1677.

TO THE Right Honourable ARTHUR, Earl of Anglesey, Lord Privy Seal, &c.

May it please your Lordship,

THese Papers (which humbly offer themselves to your fa­vourable acceptance and Pa­tronage) were conceived and form­ed, but laid aside some years before you did me that great honour to command my attendance on you and your Family, since which time by unusual accident, they have fallen into a hand kinder than my own, who judging them worth the publishing, and perswading me to it, they claim a Right to this Ho­nour [Page]of appearing in the world un­der your Lordship's Patronage; if I had refus'd to let them be made publick, perhaps I should have been culpable; since they are thus publisht, I am sure (without omit­ting a part of my duty) I could not but tender them to Your Lordship, which I do with a sense of their meanness and disproportion which they bear to your Lordships Great Abilities, Learning and Judgment. Yet herein this will be somewhat of an Apology for me, though some have owned their obligations and duty to Your Lordship in Pieces less disproportion'd, none have done it, or are likely to do it in a Piece equal to Your Lordship's Learning and measures of Judgment. The small summs of chief Rents are too poor to be made a Present to any whose abundance would refuse such an Offer; but when tender'd as their Right, they give a kind acceptance [Page]and acquittance for few shillings or pence. In this humble offer I wave all pretence but this, That Your Lordship hath the best Right to any Publick Acknowledgment I can make of my obligations to You, of which I pray Your Lord­ship's favourable resentment


Your Lordship's most Obe­dient Servant, and Do­mestick Chaplain, H. Hurst.

To the Reader.


THOU art presented here with a Subject of which very many have treated, and of which perhaps it may be thought more need not have been spoken; and of which, what I have written, must now run the hazard of thy judgment or censure; if it profit and please thee, the thanks is due to me, but in Partnership, with a Learned and Judi­cious Divine, who by an unthought of ac­cident came to the knowledge of the two latter parts of what is here publisht: some­what also will be due to the Book-seller, who adventured the uncertainty of the Gain or Loss, which will be more or less, as the Subject and Manner of handling it appears to the Peruser. The good success of thy Reading I commend to the Divine [Page]Benediction, which can make it contribute to the increase of thy Grace and Comfort: The Defects in Composing I submit to thy Christian Candour and Ingenuity which will cover them, and excuse the Author. Those mistakes of the Printer which are most material, may be charged on him, and I with him will joyntly desire they may be mended with a little labour bestow'd on the places where the Errata's are marked. Finally, I pray no labour of mine in Writ­ing, no labour of thine in Reading, may prove waste of time to either of us in the day wherein we both must account for our selves unto the Lord, to whose Guidance and Blessing thou shalt be commended


The meanest Servant of the Best and Greatest Lord, our Lord Jesus Redeemer of Thee, and of thy Soul's Friend, H. Hurst.


There is in the Press one Hun­dred Sermons on several select Texts of Scripture, Preached by Tho. Horton, D. D. left perfected under his own hand.


LUKE 22.19.
Do this in remembrance of me.

The Introduction.


I will for once suppose thou art able on thy own view of these words, and their con­text to discern what Christ is treating of; how he instituteth and ordaineth the holy Sacrament of his Supper, and for what end he ordaineth it. I suppose thou wouldst not look over these lines if thou didst not alrea­dy understand that Christ would have us use and celebrate this Sacrament to the end we might renew the remembrance of his Dying for us, in which the matter of fact, viz. that [Page 2]he did die for us is professed, yet so as the manner how he did die is (I think) more prin­cipally to be attended and considered, as be­ing the chief primary thing in effecting our salvation, and as affording the greatest and sweetest comforts; and finally, as binding us most strongly to Gospel Obedience. I shall therefore recommend unto thy thoughts what is the ( [...], modus, ratio moriendi) par­ticular manner of thy Saviour's Dying. And am bold to say the words of the text, (Do this in remembrance of me,) do the like. Let my Death be the subject of your thoughts at a Sacrament. Let the manner of my Death be the mould into which your thoughts are cast. At a Sacrament shew forth the truth and certainty of your Redeemer's Death; shew forth the singular and peculiar manner of it also. Renew the thoughts of this, what kind of Death it was which could have such a mighty salvisick vertue in it to deliver us and save us. Set before you at the the Lord's Table, Plutarchus in Conviv. Sept. Sapier­tum. not such a Death's-head as Plutarch reports Ptolomaeus was wont to set before his guests, to admonish them; but such a Death as none but Christ would or could undergo for us. Our Lord will have his own Death set forth to the eye of his friends and guests at his Table, and he commands them to re­member it. The Lord's Supper is a com­memoration of the Lord's Death; there we may view him on the Altar dying a Sacrifice for us, to atone the divine displeasure: there we may view him in the unparalleld address of himself for Death, disposing his vast trea­sures of Grace, Peace, Comfort and Glory un­to [Page 3]his indigent friends for whom his love brought him to die, and the same love and care makes him die a Testator, giving them rich Legacies. At a Sacrament we may and should view Jesus Christ, the Blessed One, nailed to the Cross, loaded with a Curse, and dying an accursed Death, that we might escape it. Thus we owe our Peace to his Sacrifice, our spiritual treasure to his will and testament, our blessed hope and life to his accursed Death; and by particular re­flections on these we should awaken, exercise and improve our graces. The facilitating this work, and the attaining this effect, is the de­sign of the following Discourse, which doth first endeavour to promote grace by a parti­cular improvement of Christ's Dying a Sacri­fice for us, let us then (the other two having their due place) begin with this great truth.

Our Lord Died a Sacrifice for us, and under this notion ought we to commemorate his Death, and in meditating thereon we may make an improvement of grace.

That I may proceed distinctly, I resolve the whole subject into these following par­ticulars.

1. The general proof and confirmation of his DYing as a Sacrifice, or Victim for us, Cap. 1.

2. How this could be that a man should be a Sacrifice for us, Cap. 2.

3. What particularly is contained in this being made a Sacrifice, and so dying, Cap. 3.

4. That these are fit foundation to lay for [Page 4]Sacramental graces, and how our graces may be increased, awakened, confirmed, and acted, in due meditation on Christ our Sa­crifice, Cap. 4. & seq.

CAP. I. Christ died a Sacrifice for us prefigured.

THE Holy Scriptures do abundantly te­stifie to us, that Christ our Lord died our Sacrifice and Victim, and so do the writings of all Christians, who have treated of our Redemption and Salvation by Christ; if you would have forein testimonies, you require what is not needful, and should we attempt to seek them, we should lose our time and labour; for no other Pen maketh mention of this but the Scriptures, and the Pens which write after this Copy. Now among other arguments the Scripture afford­eth us these five for proof of Christ's Dying a Sacrifice. 1. The Type. 2. Prophecies. 3. Promises. 4. Historical declaration of it. 5. Assuming it as a matter unquestionably true; and certain of all which briefly in their order.

Sect. 1.

This manner of Christ's Death, viz. as a Sacrifice was prefigured, and foreshewn in the Type thereof. The very enemies of this Doctrine do not quite deny this, though they doubt, Socin. lib. 2. c. 8. de Ser­vatore. or deny some particular places to re­fer hereto. Let us however look to some few places of Scriptures, where we may find Christ our Sacrifice in his Death typified out to us. 1 Cor. 5.7. Christ our Passover is slain for us. The allusion used by the Apostle proves that the old Paschal Lamb was a type of Christ, and that Christ was the Antitype of the Paschal Lamb. Again, Joh. 1.24. The Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world; whether in reference to the Lamb daily offered, or whether to the Paschal Lamb, it altereth not the case: It is a Lamb, and a Lamb that must be slain in Sacrifice; yea in an Expiatory Sacrifice to take away the sin of the world. We are assured, Heb. 9.22. that without sheding of blood there is no remission; and we are sure 'tis not every sheding of blood, but it is the sheding of the blood of a Sacrifice which procureth remission of sins, and this blood-sheding was not by opening and breathing a vein, but by dying to take away sin. The Baptist then applying unto Christ that antient and lively type, telleth us, that Christ was prefigured in his state, life and death, by it. And that Heb. 9.23, 24. tells us of patterns of things in the Heavens, v. 23. and of figures of the True, v. 24. yea v. 8, 9. the whole Tabernacle, and the service of it [Page 6]were a figure for the time then present. Among other services, that of Sacrifices is specified as a figure serving for the present, until Christ should come and enter into the Holy Place without blood of Bulls and Goats, but by his own blood, v. 11, 12, 14. In a word, the whole of Mosaical positive instituted service was a figure and type. This part of the Law had the shadow of good things to come, Heb. 10. v. 1. In Sacrificiis id manifestissi­mum quae Sacrificium, & ex­piationem Messiae praesigni­ficabant. Joh. Hoornbeek [...], de con­vertend. Judaeis, lib. 7. c. 1. pag. 452. This very thing is most manifest in the Sacrifices which did presignifie the Sacrifice and Expiation of the Messiah, as the Learned Hoornbeek hath rightly observed to our hands; from all which I do not ill to conclude, that he died a Sacrifice to take away sin, who was praesignified by the Dying Expiatory Sacri­fices under the Law.

Sect. 2.

Secondly, It was foretold, and by the Pro­phetick impulses of the infallible Spirit of God revealed to the Church of old, that the Messiah should die, and particularly that he should die a Sacrifice to expiate sin; in this cause we have, among others, the testimo­nies of the Prophet Isaiah, Isa. 53.7.cap. 53.7. He is brought as a Lamb to the slaughter; where possible may be more than a general symbo­lizing between the Innocency, Humility and Sufferings of the Lamb slain, and Christ typi­fied thereby; like enough there is a parti­cular symbolizing between them both as they [Page 7]were Sacrifices; the footsteps whereof I might trace out somewhat in 1. the word slaughter, which Prov. 9.2. seemeth to be determined to the slaying of a Sacrifice: And 2. in the word, he is brought, which Isa. 18.7. expresseth the bringing of a present to the Lord. But much more in the word 3. Lamb, [...], [...] used, Lev. 5.7. & 12.8. & 22.28. Deut. 18.3. which is the very word that expresseth the Paschal Lamb, Exod. 12.3. & 5. which was a Lamb to be sacrificed, Deut. 16.6. And 4. from the place which parallel to this, Act. 8.32. He was led as a Lamb to the slaughter ( [...]) what kind of slaying this was, A pecudum mactatione 72. alio nomine [...] vocarunt. Amos 5. v. 25. Cloppenb. Schol. Sacrif. pag. 3. let Rev. 13.8. de­termine where it is, the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world. Isa. 53.10. If this be not full enough to our purpose, yet the 10th verse affordeth a plain and express Prophecy of the Messiah's dying a Sacrifice; Thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin. In­deed the Hebrews read it conditionally (if or when) but then adds a promise what shall be the fruit and effect of his Dying a Sacrifice. Now we do see the promise fulfilled in the numerous seed of Christ; therefore with rea­son we conclude the condi­tion performed. [...], Si posuerit hostiam pro peccato & reatu [...] proprie est d [...] ­lictum per Metonymiam sig­nificat oblationem pro delicto, Lev. 5.6, 7, 15. Joh. Hoornb, Socin. Confut. Vol. 2. l. 3. c. 1. p. 562. The words of the Learned Hoornbeeck cited in the margent, shall suffice for clearing the text to Scholars, and the true read­ing of the words of the text in our translation, shall suffice the unlearned. In a word or two, if thou believest that this Chapter foretels the suf­ferings [Page 8]of thy Saviour; if thou believest that this text speaketh of his death; if thou be­lievest that he is come so long ago, and died so long since, thou needest only read plain English; He hath then in his Death made his soul an offering for sin; and this was foretold by the Prophet, not in this verse only, but al­so in the 11th and 12th verses: He shall bear their iniquity, Ita in caput Hostiarum olim reatus offerentium quasi ma­nibus imponebatur luendus caeremonialiter ibi, in Christo vere. Joh. Hoornb. lib. 3. vol. 2. Socin. Confut. c. 1.and he shall bear the sin of many. So of old, the guilt of those who brought the Sacrifices, was as it were laid on the head of the Sacri­fices by their hands, that it might be punished. Observe then how Sacrifices of old times did bear the iniquity and sin of those that brought the Sa­crifices: So did Christ dying bear our iniqui­ty and our sin; He did bear them truly, they ceremonially, as the learned Author noteth.

To these passages of Isaiah, let us farther add those of David and Paul compared toge­ther, and we shall there find David fore­telling what Death Christ should die, and Paul explaining what Death he did die, Psal. 40.6, 7, 8. with Heb. 10.5, 6, 7, 8. When he (i. e. Christ) cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and Offerings thou wouldest not, &c. putting the very words of the Psalmist, and thereby assuring us that the place was to be understood of Christ, who was hereafter to be born, and die, whenas David wrote this; and who was now born, and had died whenas Paul wrote this, or rather interpreted these words of Dau [...] leading us from the Sacrifices under the Law, to Christ our Sacrifice, and [Page 9]from the Death of those ceremonial and in­efficacious Sacrifices, to this real and meri­torious Sacrifice, ver. 10th and 12th. Now the whole discourse of Christ's dying a Sa­crifice for us, had been mislaid on David's words, if he had not prophesied that Christ should die a Sacrifice for us. Either this kind of Dying must be in the Prophetick words of David, which are the Apostle's premisses, or it could not Logically be put into his Conclusion.

Sect. 3.

Thirdly, Christ to die for us a Sacrifice was promised to the Church; and if it were promised, it may well be concluded that it either shall be accomplished (which is as little as an unbelieving Jew will gather from the promise,) but not so much as a believing Christian must gather, who is verily per­swaded that our Jesus, the true Messiah, is al­ready come, and hath died for us, and died a Sacrifice fo us according to the promise which is made to Sion, Zech. 9.11. As for thee by the blood of thy Covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the Pit wherein is no water. In the words you have a relation of a double deliverance, set forth in figurative expressions.

1. First, A relation of their deliverance out of the seventy years Captivity, which God wrought for them for the Covenant sake he had made with them in Christ: this was a temporal deliverance. The

2. Second deliverance is spiritual, and [Page 10]wrought by the Lord Jesus dying and sheding his blood for us. Now it is plain, This [1.] Blood denoteth a death, whoever it be that it is spoken of. [2.] Blood of a Cove­nant speaketh the Death of a Sacrifice in the blood whereof the Covenant was confirmed and ratified, and it is therefore called the Blood of the Covenant: this I will a little far­ther treat and clear. It was a very ancient rite of making and confirming Covenants in the blood of Sacrifices offered up at the time when the Covenants, and their terms or con­ditions were assented unto, and approved. Possibly the Feast we read of Gen. 26.30. made by Isaac, was after a Sacrifice offered, when he made a Covenant also with Abime­lech, and confirmed it by Oath. However, we are assured it was a rite among the Poli­ter Nations of the Earth, as in Homer, who brings in his Graecians and Trojans making a covenant ( [...]) Iliad. 3. Carm. 94. & 105. and confirming it by Sacrifice; [...] but these are alien and forein we have surer testimony, Exod. 24.7. where a Covenant is mentioned, and this Covenant wrote in a Book, and read to the people, who therein heard the terms God proposed, and to these the people an­swer, All that the Lord hath said, we will do, and be obedient; they give their assent to the Covenant, on which Moses forthwith sprinkleth the people with the blood of the Sacrifices which were offered on the Altar mentioned ver. 4. and were brought by young men of Israel, ver. 5. This blood is called eminently, the blood of the Covenant, ver. 8. applied by St. Peter, 1 Ep. 1 cap. 2 ver. to [Page 11]Christ. So then the Covenant confirmed in blood, leadeth us to a Sacrifice dying and sheding its blood, in which sprinkled, according to the Rite or Custom, the Covenant is con­firmed. So that to me there remaineth no farther scruple in this point. If any would have it cleared, that this blood is to be un­derstood of the blood of Christ, I shall refer them to the context, viz. ver. 9. and 10. and unto Isa. 61.1. where the like delivering of the like prisoners is mentioned, and unto the Heb. 13.20. where this blood of the Cove­nant is called the blood of the everlasting Covenant: And let them who desire farther satisfaction, consult Commentators on the place.

Sect. 4.

Christ's Death was the Death of a Sacri­crifice, for so it is historically declared and asserted in the history of his Life and Death, and in the writings of his Apostles penn'd on this subject since his Death and Resurrection. They that have wrote the story, and they who have improved it, assert the same I do. Heb. 9.26. Now once in the end of the world hath he (i. e. Christ, ver. 24.) appeared to put away sin by the Sacrifice of himself. And again, ver. 28. Christ was offered to bear the sins of many, places so full and clear, that nothing needs be subjoyned for explication, Christ expresly named, and he is offered a Sacrifice, and this an Expiatory Sa­crifice, and he that offered it up was the same with the Sacrifice. He offered up himself [Page 12]a Sacrifice, &c. So again Heb. 7.27. this [speaking of the Sacrifices offered up often underthe Law] viz. offering for the peoples sins he did once, when he offered up himself. What the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly reiterated Sacrifices of the Levitical Priests could not effect, though they were continu­ally offered, that Christ by one offering hath effected. This man (saith the Apostle) after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, sat down on the right hand of God, Heb. 10.12. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified, ver. 14. He needed no more to offer any Sacrifice, forsomuch as he had obtained Eternal Redemption by that one Sacrifice of himself; and it was necessary he should once offer himself a Sacrifice, because no other Sacrifices could purifie the con­science, and clear from guilt; Christ there­fore did what was necessary, and having done it, sate down on the right hand of God, ex­pecting till his enemies were made his foot­stool, and interceding that his Redeemed might be blessed with a full deliverance. In one word, the Apostle Ephes. 5.2. tells us what Christ did, and what acceptance it found with the Father. Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling sa­vour. Thus express is the Scripture in this point.

Sect. 5.

Lastly, It is more than once assumed and taken up as an unquestionable truth, and of indisputable certainty. So Heb. 8.2. we have [Page 13]such an High Priest who is set on the right hand of the Majesty in the Heavens. Here it is assumed without particular proof, that he had offered a Sacrifice before he sate down, &c. and so ver. 3. makes it necessary he should have somewhat to offer; and ver. 4. assures us, that the Levitical Priesthood and Sacrifices, were examples and shadows of this our High Priest, and the Sacrifice he hath offered which was more excellent than those typical ones were; to this add Heb. 5.5. Christ made an High Priest, and ver. 6. a Priest for ever, and after the order of Mel­chisedeck, ver. 10. Now whoever is an High Priest, is ordained for men in things pertain­ing to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins, ver. 1. Christ then our High Priest as such, and because he is an High Priest for us, must offer some sacrifice for us. Now the blood of Bulls and Goats, and in a word, all corruptible things, are secluded from being this sacrifice; and the Lord Jesus in his own person is supposed and taken un­doubtedly to be this sacrifice. Without dis­pute, the 9th chap. 25th verse, speaks this truth; for the Levitical High Priest went into the holy place with the blood of others, but Christ did not so enter when he en­tred, for he entred not in by the blood of Goats and Calves, but by his own blood, cap. 9. ver. 12. did he enter into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. These, with many more which might be added, comprize what we affirm, That the Scriptures do in many places assume it as a thing certain in it self, that Christ died a Sa­crifice [Page 14]for us. To conclude this Chapter, and this general head of our discourse in a few words, thou who professest thy self a Chri­stian, either professest thy self a Chri­stian, either professest this truth, or knowest not what a Christian is made up of, and needest to be catechized in the principles of thy Religion; to which I recommend thee for better instruction.

CAP. II. Christ a Man, yet a Sacrifice for us, and how this could be.

OUR next undertaking must be, what stan­deth second in our Promise, a discovery how this can be, that a Man should be a Sa­crifice. Is it not an inhumane cruelty to of­fer a reasonable creature in sacrifice to God? Are not the Nations abhorred as barbarously salvage and bloody who used it? and hath not God expresly forbidden it? How then could Christ so excellently and transcendently holy, pure and innocent, be made a sacrifice for us? This I shall endeavour to answer in these following particulars.

Sect. 1.

There is no doubt to be made whether sacrificing of men were abominable in the sight of God and sober men; God infinitely [Page 15]detested it, and sober men have unanimously condemned it. This was, and ever will be, a bloody murthering of the creatures, never an acceptable worshiping the Creatour.

He that was a murtherer from the begin­ing, and delighteth in the death of man, put his Idolatrous worshippers upon this diaboli­cal practice; and they who exercised their pretended Religion in such sacrifices, did sa­crifice to Devils, not to God, Psal. 106.37. and shed innocent blood, ver. 38. In which passage you see whom such sacrisicers wor­shipped, and in what account they and their worship was had with God; the Lord tells you truly who it was these men worshipped, and what truly was the thing they did, it was murther. Israel had a strict prohibition against this practice, Levit. 20.2, 3, 4, 5. and God doth dreadfully threaten him that shall dare to do so. The blood of Bulls or of Goats could not by their own worth please the Lord. The blood of man could not but by its cry to the Lord awaken him to an abhor­rence of the deed, and punishing the doer.

Sect. 2.

Albeit none may shed the blood of man in Sacrifice, yet the life, strength and whole of man should be Sacrificed, that is, conse­crated to, spent for, and offered unto God, which in a borrowed or figurative manner of speech is called, and well may be so called, a Sacrifice. The scripture gives this name where there is neither life of Beast or Man ta­ken away. The Contrite heart is a Sacrifice [Page 16]which God will not despise Psal. 51.17. In this sense the Apostle would perswade the Romans to give up themselves, their bodies Sacrifices unto God, Rom. 12.1. And conver­sion of the Gentiles was an Offering or a Sa­crificing of them unto God, Heb. 13.15. Rom. 15.16. The praises we offer to God; but much more the whole Duty of a Christian is a Sacrifice. 1 Pet. 2.5. This Metaphorical Sacrificing our selves and ours, is both our duty, and acceptable to God. Al­though none may in Sacrifice take away the life of another man or of himself; yet every man ought to make his life a sacrifice unto God: This kind of Humane Sacrifice is our Reasonable service.

Sect. 3.

When the Scripture is expresse in any point, I have noe reason to be doubting whether it were so, nor liberty allowed to my curiosity to enquire how it could be so, or to Dispute that it either could not be, or that it ought not to be so. My Faith tells mee, and my Reason consenteth to it, That it is so, because God saith it, and that it might well bee so, because God hath done it. God sent his Son in the likenesse of sinfull flesh; this speaketh the In­carnation of Christ our Lord, and for sin, this speaketh the end why God sent him, viz. that by a Sacrifice for sin hee might condemne sin in the flesh, Rom. 8.3. ver. And the same Apo­stle informeth mee 2. Cor. 5.2. That God hath made him to be sin for us, and if you enquire how Christ was made sin, I shall answer in the words of a learned pen, viz. Hee was a Sa­crifice [Page 17]not for his own sin, but for our sin. Nimirum hostia fuit pro peccator non suo, sed nostro. Joh. Hoornbeek. Socin. Conf. Vol. 2. l. 3. cap. 1. Or if these places seem to be more obscure than to be clearly discerned by you who read them; yet when you read that he is our High Priest, Heb. 8.1. a minister of the true Tabernacle which the Lord pitched, ver. 2. That he was ordained to offer sacrifice (an­swerably to the type) ver. 3. and all this by God's appointment; either find me out a more likely sacrifice, or conclude with me that he did by divine ordination offer up himself a sacrifice for us. In the Apostle's words Christ being come an High Priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect Taber­nacle not made with hands, &c. Neither by the blood of Goats and Calves, but by his own blood he entred in once into the holy place, &c. Who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, &c. Heb. 9.11, 12, 14. In these words, I say, my doubts find a full answer. My God tells me it was done, and if my reason do not com­prehend why it should, or how it could be done, yet it subscribeth the certainty which is revealed, and the congruity of it, because he hath done it, who doth all things with wisdom and holiness.

Sect. 4.

I answer, that whoso will compare Christ with others in this case, compareth those who cannot be found just equals, there is a very great disparity between our Lord Jesus and any other who shall be compared with him, and therefore I doubt not to averr, that [Page 18]there must be allowed as great disparity in the thing debated, as there was disparity be­tween the persons; albeit none else might, yet he might do this extraordinary thing. There are four things wherein he excelled all o­thers. As

First, He was absolute Lord of his own life, he had power to lay it down for his, if he so pleased, John 10.18. I have power to lay it [life] downe. This is more than an or­dinary person can say of his owne life, which he is accountable for to many others, as to Governours, Relations, and such as he may benefit, for whom he should live. Christ therefore might manifest by an unusual and Extraordinary disposall of his life, how he was, more then ordinary men can be, Master of his life.

Secondly, He had power in his own hand to raise himself from the dead, which is more then the combined power of created Agents could do, for any man that should yield himself a Sacrifice for others. He had power to take up his life again, John. 10.18. now this doth alter the case much, others may not because they cannot rescue them­selves from Death. He might, for having laid down his life and died for his, he might resume his life and live as he doth to the un­speakable good and safety of his.

Thirdly, He had special commission from God to do this, Joh. 10.18. Now undoubt­edly where the authority of the Father con­curreth with the authority of the Son, there can be no reasonable question asked why Christ might become a sacrifice for us, when [Page 19]we may not become sacrifices for others. The case is infinitely different.

4. Fourthly and lastly, Christ was Sacrificer as well as Sacrifice, and that no ordinary per­son could say for himself; if any other be made a Sacrifice, the Sacrificer must be some other man who is under a strict law of God, not to lay his hand on the life of his Brother; so that if a strong impulse moved me to be Sacrifice for other, yet as strong Prohibition lay on him not to touch my life. But in this extraordinary Person both do concur, he is the Lamb of God slain, and he the great high Priest to offer it unto God.

Next I am engaged to enquire what is comprized in every such Sacrifice, dying for him that offereth it, and so what particularly is comprized in Christ's dying a Sacrifice for us. In answer, to this I conceive that every such sacrifice doth comprize really or inten­tionally these six things, of which briefly.

Sect. 1.

1. Substitution or being set in the stead and room of the person or persous for whom it was to be offered Lev. 1.4. who brought the sacrifice, was required to put his hand upon the head thereof, and it should be accepted for him. And Levit. 4.15. They must put their hand on the head of the Bullock, &c. by which ceremony was denoted the substitution of the sacrifice in the stead of him who brought it. As in the substitution of the Levites for the service of the Temple instead of the first­born of all Israel, Numb. 8.10. The children of Israel shall put their hands upon the Le­vites, [Page 20]for they are wholly given unto me from among the children of Israel, instead of such as open the womb, even instead of the first-born of all the children of Israel have I taken them unto me, ver. 16. Here the sub­stitutions of these persons is signified by lay­ing on of the hands of Israel; so also in sacrifices.

Sect. 2.

A second thing contained in a Sacrifice, was the imputing or transferring of guilt and crime, the Sacrifice stood charged with sin and guilt. The Hebrews had the same name for sin and sacrifice, as it is well known to every sinatterer in their tongue or cu­stoms; and the Apostle doth imitate them when he affirmeth that Christ was made sin for us, Lev. 10.16. 2 Cor. 5.21. & Rom. 8.3. for sin (Gr. [...]) i.e. a sacrifice for sin, Levit. 16.16. The sin-offering did bear iniquity, viz. the iniquity of the Congregation; and the Scape-Goat had the sins of Israel put upon it, Hazazel— [ [...]hircus pec­cati] atque omnes ini­quitates Is­raelis super illum sunt juxta illud, & feret, &c. Rabbi Elie­zer. and the Goat did bear the iniquity, and carry it away into a land of forgetfulness, Levit. 16.21, 22. Whatever sacrifice for sin either the superstition and will-worship of men without direction from God did substi­tute in their own stead, and did offer for their own sins, on it they thought they did transferre both their crime and its guilt, and hence promised an impunity to themselves. And whatever Sacrifice by God's own appointment was offered for expiation of sin, had certain ceremonies pre­scribed, [Page 21]whereby was signified this transfer­ing of guilt, this imputing of the crimes of the offerers.

Sect. 3.

3. The Substitution & Imputation were fol­lowed by a confession of the offerer acknow­ledging his offence against his God whom he did tacitly (at least) justify as one who was injured by the offence, and who might ju­stifiably destroy the offender. Every one con­fessed his guilt who brought an Expiatory Sacrifice. There needs no other evidence of my crime, than my own entreaty, that my Sacrifice may expiate for me, who prays for a pardon, confesseth by his guilt he needeth a pardon. If the Poet had not spoken of transgressors, and who had offended, he would not have brought in the person speak­ing thus—Sanguine placavi Divos, Cum sis ipse nocens mori­tur cur vi­ctima pro te. by blood of Sacrifice I have appeased the incensed Dei­ties. He was nocent for whom a Sacrifice died. In a more lofty strain the Prophet Micah, cap. 6. ver. 6, 7. ascertaineth us that the Sacrifice, whether Rams or Calves, or fruit of the body, in what exuberance of measure can be imagined, it is all for trans­gression, for the sin of the soul. In the so­lemn offering on the day of Expiation, God commanded that the iniquities of the house of Israel should be confessed over the head of the Scape-goat, Levit. 16.20, 21.

Sect. 4.

4. Then must the Sacrifice be slain, the Penal­ty due to the offence, and the execution there­of hanging over the head of the offender, are thus derived upon the head of the offender his Sacrifice. That creature which was made a sin-offering, was sure tody for it. I might exceed in prosecuting this particular, but I will not; you read the Generall rule, Lev. 1.2. The offering of the cattell, herd or flock, God required, if a Bullock it must be slain, ver. 5. If of the flock, whether Sheep or Goat, it must be killed, v. 10, 11. If a Fowl be offered, it must be killed; also ver. 15. Sacrifices were ever next door to death, Nay Scripture spea­keth concisely, calleth Sacrifice the Killing of an oxe Jsai. 66.3. And the Author to the Hebrewes speaking to them in their owne dialect concerning matters of their own inti­mate acquaintance, compriseth all in one word [...], shedding of blood Hebr. 9..22. Which must not be understood of the shedding of a little blood by opening a veine or giv­ing a wound, but of that shedding of blood which was in use in slaying their victimes which bled all out of their veines, and which blood [the Horns of the Altar being sprinkled with some small portion of it] was wholy poured out at the side of the Altar, Lev. 4.34. This was so in separable to Sacrifices that when Superstition had devoted a child [though to an idol] the Fathers will spare the dearest pledges of their love, They could see, they must kill their Sacrifices, they could not see, they ought not Sacrifice their Children. Na­tural [Page 23]affection was not able to divert them from cruelty and unnatural inhumanity when Idolatrous superstition had engaged them in a Murtherous vow. But the Ignorance of these salvage brutes may somewhat enervate the testimony I bring from them; be it so, yet hear one that cannot be excepted against in this point: when Abraham was commanded to sacrifice his Son, he obeyed the command, and shewed at once how he understood God's command, and wherein his own obedience consisted when he put out his hand to slay his Son Gen. 22.10.

Sect. 5.

5. Expiation made in order to setling a Peace between God and the offender, was a fifth thing comprized in a Sacrifice. It is not much to my present purpose to discourse on the Na­ture of this Peace, and the connexion of it unto sacrifices which do's depend primarily on the institution and warrant we have to offer them. He rested in a false Peace, who offer­ed up a Sacrifice without a warrant from Heaven; and he found no true Peace, who offered otherwise, with other heart, affections and design than God required. The Sacrificer aimed at an expiation of his crime, [...]. Homer. Il. 10. car. 495, 496, 497. a setling of that peace which his offence had disturbed, and a reconciling himself to an incensed Deity, which I might trace out in the Victims of Ido­latrous Heathens; but I shall chuse a fairer, and a more sure path to follow, [Page 24]until I have given you view of this thing. Levit. 1.4. He shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt-offering, and it shall be ac­cepted for him to make atonement for him. Here is the main end of Sacrifice and Sacrificer, viz. that the Sacrifice may be accepted, and an atonement may be made for the Sacrificer. So the sin-offering was to make atonement, that the sin might be forgiven to the Sacrifi­cer, Levit. 5.20, 26, 35. In like manner Sa­crifices for sins of ignorance were appointed of God himself to take away guilt, to make atonement, and to procure forgiveness of the errour, Levit. 5.17, 18. lest farther displea­sure broke out against him.

Sect. 6.

6. A recovery of the favour of God, or the restitution of the offender to that good opi­nion and esteem which he had before he of­fended. The Sacrificer hoped that his errours being expiated and forgiven, he should regain the Love of his God, who justly might be displeased with him for his offences. The conscience once set upon removal of guilt, judgeth his work but half done, unless it re­cover the Favour and Love of its God, on better principles, and stronger desires it sueth [as Absolon] for a sight of the King's face. 2 Sam. 13.32. And this seemeth to me the chief and ultimate end of Sacrificers, who know what they go about when they sacrifice unto God; and in­deed it seemeth contain'd in the Hebrew phrase, which we render accepted, Lev. 1.4. [...], and I am sure is contained in the [Page 25]promises God hath made of accepting the Sa­crifice of every one who offereth to him ac­cording to his mind and will. The benevo­lence or good will of God which is his [...], and [...] satisfieth the soul, and the soul seeketh it in its sacrifice. Wherewithall shall I come before the Lord? Mich. 6.6. seemeth the proper and natural enquiry of each Sacri­ficer. How shall I meet the Lord as my friend and favourer [so the Heb. [...] importeth] and so the other part of the que­stion importeth, Neh. 13.2. Deut. 22.4. will he be pleased, &c. ver. 7. [...]. The recovery of the Divine Favour is worth our best and costliest sacrifices, and may well be made our aim in sacrificing. In brief therefore, Christ a Sacrifice for us was substituted in our room, was charged with our guilt, recognized our faults, submitted to their punishment, made our atonement, and recovered the Favour of God for us. This great atchievement is comprized in this small and short phrase, Christ Died our Sa­crifice. Each of which particulars might easily be shewed in Christ's Sacrifice; but when we have shewed they are contained in all sacrifices, it cannot be reasonably doubt­ed whether they are contained in the Sacri­fice of Sacrifices. This most excellent and transcendent Sacrifice could not want what was found to perfect less worthy Sacrifices. He that was the completion of all Mosaical Sacrifices, must in reason be supposed to comprehend all perfection typified in those which were shadows of him. And so I pass unto the fourth proposed General.

CAP. IV. Particular Graces hereby Improvable.

THE consideration of Christ dying our Sacrifice, will afford us arguments well suited to excite our languishing graces, and to strengthen our infirm graces, which ought to be more especially found in us, and acted by us in our approaches to the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, as shall particularly be be shewed in these that follow.

Sect. 1.

Repentance is unquestionably a Sacramen­tal Grace. None is fit to commemorate the Death of Christ, who repenteth not of the sin which occasioned his Dying. The weeping eye, and mourning heart, are exceeding lovely to the Lord at his Table. A Repenting soul is a welcome guest there. Now let me trace Repentance through these paths. and see as we go how it may be suitably fitted with im­proveing arguments from Christ our Sacri­fice.

1. Repentance beginneth ordinarily in a conviction of sin, not in general only, but par­ticularly in the convictions of our owne sin. The righteous need no repentance, Mat. 9.13. it is the Sinner which is called to repent; so long as a proud Pharisaical opinion of our own Righ­teousness is maintained by us, we shall never embrace the practice of Repentance.

2. Apprehension of danger either attends or flows from this conviction of the sinner, and this forwardeth his repentance; the shameful, cursed death sin deserveth, and the sinner fear­eth in the midst of his sorrows, hath strong influence upon the soul to grieve for self­undoing sin. Although a secure unconvinced sinner blesseth himself, and feareth no danger, the awakened convinced Penitent apprehends greatest danger from his sin.

3. Consternation of mind, or Amazement at the sight of sin and danger unavoidable, for ought the man can do of himself for his own help, this I might call [if none will be of­fended at it] a seasonable and profitable des­pair of our selves, while we consider our selves and observe what we have done, what we de­serve what God hath threatned, and what millions do, and must for ever suffer for sin.

4. A mixture of Hope that there may be, and of Desires that there should be, and of enquiry whether there be not some effectutal help & remedy to be obtained. The awakned soul doth as it were look about to see what or whence it's help may come. Enquireth what shall I do to be saved? How shall I escape? &c. Now when it descryeth mercy to be had upon it's Humbling of it self before God, upon condition of sorrow for what is past, and of hatred of sin for time to come, the Penitent soul set's it self to exert all these, and in a vigorous, constant, uniform exerting these, consisteth the whole life and Practice of Repentance: And I hope I shall cleare it. Christ considered Dying, our Sacrifice will be an awakening consideration preparatory to, [Page 28]and promoting of this Repentance in its farther Exercise and Growth.

Sect. 2.

Christ Dying a Sacrifice well considered, will conduce much to the Convincing us of a state of sin, and that we were in particular in­volved in it, we were sinners, and the righ­teous Law of God imputed the sin to us, and the righteous Judge [whose it was to execute the Law] accounted thee and me, and every one of the children of Adam [as we are] transgressours of the Law; if thou seest not this, look to the Lord Christ a Sacrifice for sin, and ruminate what answer thou canst make to these few Questions.

1. What need had there been of a Sa­crifice for sin, if there had been no sin to ex­piate by Sacrifice? There is certainly sin committed where 'tis necessary to take away wrath by a Sacrifice. There is sin of the soul, wheresoever an offering for sin is ap­pointed. Tell me then, seeing Christ was made an offering for sin, what was thy state and mine? and what was the state of all men for whom he became a Sacrifice?

2. Couldest thou escape the imputation of sin, when Christ a Sacrifice for sin could not escape it? Could he not be a sacrifice for sin by a voluntary susception of our cause, but he must bear our guilt? and shall we judge it likely, reasonable, or indeed morally pos­sible, that our wilful transgressings of the Law should be passed over, not imputed? If thy sins were imputed to thy sacrifice, doubt­less [Page 29]they had been imputed unto thy self, if thou hadst not had a sacrifice. Stand then a while, and view this: No need of Sacrifice to expiate where no sin is; but alas I needed such a Sacrifice: No need of Sacrifice where no guilt is imputed; but I see my sin, I see 'tis imputed, I must not delay or trifle in this matter; my sin is evident, its imputation is certain; it will be laid on my own head, or on my Sacrifice, and oh how impossible is it I should escape the imputation of it, if I care­lesly neglect this great Sacrifice! For,

3. Whose is the guilt? is it his? or is it mine? who deepest in the guilt? he who did no guile, or I who am full of guile? who nearest the crime? he who never did it, or I who very wickedly committed it? Did God impute it to him, and can an unhumbled sin­ner think God will not impute it unto the committer of the sin?

4. With whom was God angry? who was it against whom offended justice was most in­censed? was it against him that was the Sa­crifice, or against him that needed the Sa­crifice and brought it? undoubtedly the Sa­crifice can bear no other displeasure than what it bears for him whose Sacrifice it is, and for whom it is offered. And canst thou hope guilty offenders may escape, when guiltless victims are charged with another's guilt, and suffer another's punishment?

5. Who hath greater share in the Love of God? had Christ, thy Sacrifice for sin, or hadst thou, for whom he became a Sacrifice? I know thou wilt not pretend a comparison with Christ the only begotten of the Father; [Page 30]thou darest not think but his share was grea­ter in his Fathers love, as his love, obedience and likeness to his Father was greater, infi­nitely more excellent than thine was, or could be. Tell me then, if God imputed sin to the Son of his Love, when his Son had undertaken to bear the fault and punishment of offenders, will he, thinkest thou, spare those who hate him, and might justly be hated of him?

6. Would God admit his Son, his eternal Delight, to be thy Saviour on no other terms than that he should as a Sacrifice take upon him, and bear the sins of his people imputed to him, that they might not be imputed unto them; and dost thou not believe, canst thou perswade thy self to imagine that thou mayest, though a sinner, yet not be charged with thy sin? Dost thou not clearly discern that God will charge sin either on the sinner, or on his Sacrifice?

In a word or two, whoever knows that Christ was made a Sacrifice for sin, knows also that they were under a state of sin, for whom he was made a Sacrifice; and if thou art a Christian, and professest that Christ was thy Sacrifice, thou dost thereby confess that thou wert under a state of sin; that unless mercy toward thee impute thy sin to Christ, justice will impute it unto thy own self. View these these things, and weigh them impartially, possibly they may prevail to the convincing of the heart of its sinful state, and of the cer­tainty of a future imputation of sin, unless it be prevented by repentance. And lest thou shouldst flatter thy self that there is little or [Page 31]no danger in appearing before God under im­puted sin, I advise thee to consider

Sect. 3.

The greatness of thy danger, as it will ap­pear in thy Sacrifice. See if thou mayest not descry

1. Death as certainly following thy Sacri­fice, as imputation of sin did follow the sub­stitution of a Sacrifice. He must die who took thy sin upon him; he cannot escape who is thy Sacrifice. If Christ taking thy sin on him, could not have the Cup pass from him, thinkest thou there can be any thing but death awaiting thee under thy sin? is not here danger? is not here great danger? I know not what may be accounted danger, if death be not; I know not what is greatest danger if death under imputed sin be not.

2. Was not the Death of Christ thy Sacri­fice full of sorrows and grief; he was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, Isa. 53.3. and if his life were spent in sorrows, I am sure his death was full of them. Look on him his in agony in the garden; explain me the meaning of those unparalleld drops of blood; tell me the story of his enemies cruelly buf­fetting, spitting, crowning him with thorns, and forcing those into his tender temples, his blessed head: These were preparatory griefs; was ever grief like this? this thy sin deserved; this thou must if Christ had not suffered; thou must have been the scorn and triumph of Devils, who forever would tor­ment and wrack thee. What then judgest [Page 32]thou of death thus aggravated? what thinkest thou of the grief and pain of his soul when hands and feet were nailed to the Cross? when he hanged there under the sharp pains of a lingriug death? what grief was that breath'd out it self in that, My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me? I speak not of the acuteness of his pains, which the School-men speak of. Let me obtain thy sober thoughts of the sorrows of our Dying Saviour and Sa­crifice, and then say whether there is danger, and how great the danger of thy sin is? then say, canst thou think of thy danger without fear and astonishment? what will become of sinners under the burthen of sorrows which their sins deserve, and God will heap upon them?

3. View the person who thus suffered, view him, I say, in all his Interresse in the Father's love, in all the Priviledges of his nature, person and office, in all the perfe­ction and excellency of his obedience; and see whether any one, or all these could exempt him from, or defend him against that flame thy sins had kindled, and which his blood alone must quench, or it will burn for ever; and when thou hast thought of this, then tell me thy danger.

4. Was not his power and strength, the power and the strength of a God, united to the Humane Nature, to support it, and yet for all this his Fears, Dangers, Sorrows, were enough to try all his power; and albeit he conquered, yet not without a bitter conflict. How then couldest thou have escaped or born these dangers? Thus make an unconvinced [Page 33]heart look on sin in it's Sacrifice, make a self flattering, secure, fearless heart look on the certainty, and greatness of it's own danger in the sorrows and grief which fell upon Christ our Sacrifice; when thou hast proceeded thus far in this Matter, bring thy self to determine these two things, (1.) whether thou canst bear all the misery which sin deserved, and all the sorrows this Sacrifice did sustain? Canst thou bear the displeasure of the Almighty? if thou think'st thou canst, I pity, and mourn for thee; if thou thinkest thou canst not, then (2.) say, canst thou find out a way for thine escape? if the infinit wise God hath not found out any expedient beside this; dost thou think thou canst find it out? well then, if it be intol­lerable, and thou canst not bear it, if unavoid­able, and thou canst not fly from it; what re­maineth but being shut up under sin [as the Scripture speaketh] thou shouldst also be shut up in Prison, reserved for the day of Execu­tion, without any hope in thy self, for thou readest thy guilt in the Imputation of sin to thy sacrifice, thou readest thy death and danger in the death of thy sacrifice, thou rea­dest despair in the unsupportableness of the misery, and in the unavoidableness of it's ap­proaches; thou art undone, and miserable in thy self, which cannot but end in consterna­tion of mind, and amazement, and likely may break out into such enquiries, who can dwell with devouring Fire, with everlasting Burnings? who shall deliver us from wrath to come? how shall I escape such great misery? what shall I do to be saved? Is there not yet Balm in Gilead? is there not a Physician [Page 34]there? may not this wound be healed? dost thou begin thus to fear and enquire? I send thee to this Sacrifice for hope and help.

Sect. 4.

4. Although the death of thy Sacrifice did preach thy danger, and thy helpless state in thy self, yet doth it also preach help for thee in another; it proclaimeth hope of escape; for here is a Sacrifice for sin, and where a Sacrifice is admitted, the offence may pos­sibly be remitted, and the offender may be reconciled. They that sought out and pre­scribed their own sacrifices for their Gods, maintained their false hopes by this mean. And the carnal Jew mistaking the nature of his sacrifices, kept up his presumptuous hopes by the same means, concluding his peace was made, because the sacrifice is offered: But he among the Jews who understood the In­stitution, Nature, End and Use of the Propi­tiatory Sacrifices, did obtain at first, and did maintain unto the last a sound peace between his God and his soul. Where there is an ap­pointed sacrifice, there is an open and plain declaration of our apprehensions, that 1. Our sins are expiable. 2. That sacrifice is the way of expiation. And 3. That this sacrifice is be­lieved by us, fit to expiate our offence. These are the common, if not universal suppositions of all sacrificing offenders. Now beside these common inducements of our hopes, let me acquaint my Reader with two things.

1. That God hath admitted this sacrifice whose Death we commemorate in the Sacra­ment. [Page 35]Albeit he checked the formal Jew, and rejected the Idolatrous Heathen and their sacrifices witha Who hath required this at your hands? yet he never will discourage any one who tenders to him by a hand of faith this Propitiatory Sacrifice: He will admit this, if thou canst present it to him by faith. Lift up therefore the feeble hands, the droop­ing head, the fainting heart; there is hope, nay assurance that sins may be expiated. For

2. This Sacrifice is of God's own appoint­ment, he provided it; when we were at a loss, and could not find wherewith we should come before the Lord, and bow our selves before the most High God; when the fruit of our body could not expiate the sin of our soul; when finite wisdom was non-plus'd, then the Lord discover'd his Grace and Mer­cy, and chose out a sacrifice for us; he pre­pared this sacrifice: We may (as Abraham said, [...]) varying the tense say, God hath provided himself a Sacrifice. This he sha­dowed out to us by prescribing all his Sacri­fices. This he telleth us when he saith, He prepared a body for Christ, when he saith, He sent him, and gave him to be a propitia­tion for us, and sealed him, &c. and such like expressions. He, the Lamb of God, because ordained of God, was our Sacrifice. These two things considered, let the guilty, con­vinced, fearing and almost desponding soul, debate the case against his own fears and di­strusts. Put such Questions to an issue.

1. Shall I despair when I have a ground to hope? Let him embrace his desponden­cies who cannot see a ground for hope; my [Page 36]heart breaks not while my hope is whole and unbroken.

2. Are not those hopes well bottom'd which are built on the assurance that sins (my only dangers and fears) are pardonable? Cain perhaps would have hoped if he had appre­hended his sin pardonable. And I am bound to hope, because God assureth me by this sacrifice, that my sins are expiable, and may be pardoned.

3. Why is there an Expiatory Sacrifice admitted, nay provided by God himself, who is the supreme vindex culpae, and who alone had jus poenae, the power of executing punish­ment on the offenders? Hath he appointed a Sacrifice to expiate my sin, and can it be that my sin remaineth inexpiable, unpardon­able? Is not that sacrifice sufficient which God himself sindeth out? Away with unrea­sonable fears! banish forever sinful distrust! Here's a Sacrifice to atone my offended Lord, of his own providing, and will he not accept it? I will tender it, I will mention it; he will not refuse his own choice.

4. Can any one be found who missed the benefit of a pardon, that sought it in the blood of this Sacrifice? Oh that I could believe and hope until I heard of one so dis­appointed! then should I never be ashamed. Hath he not put away sin by once offering of himself? and hath he not by one sacrifice for­ever perfected those that believe, that are sanctified?

5. Am I not one who may betake my self to this sacrifice? What should more hinder me than others? Am I excepted out of the [Page 37]Act of Oblivion? Why may not my sins be laid on this Sacrifice? Do I not read that he liveth for ever to make intercession for those that come to God by him? Oh glorious hope! Intercession for all that come to God by him! Then cheer up doubting heart, here is a sacrifice for all that come to God by him; for this Intercession is an act or exercise of Christ's Sacerdotal Office subsequent to, and dependent upon his foregoing Sacrifice. He sacrificeth for as many as he intercedeth; if then the Intercession of Christ can impetrate and obtain favour, it is because the Sacrifice of Christ hath expiated thy sin and crime.

Sect. 5.

5. Thus far Guilt, Danger, and Feares may by eyeing the Sacrifice, convince the sinner how seasonable a good hope would be, and this Sacrifice sheweth how good the belie­ver's hope is. Now would it well become the soul to humble it self, and if thou find thy heart remain still proud and unhumbled, ask it these Questions over thy Sacrifice.

1. Canst thou be proud, and yet be found worthy to die in thy Sacrifice? can this be born? wilt thou confess death is thy desert, and yet bear up as if thou wert innocent, and in no deserved danger?

2. Canst thou be proud of any thing so long as thy life is the fruit of an Expiatory Sacrifice? Thou livest by the death of another, and wilt thou pride thy self as if thou need­edst not any ones help?

3. Canst thou confess guilt, and yet pro­fess [Page 38]a thought of worth in thy self? How shameless is that pride which at the bar con­fesseth it's Guilt against the Law, and advan­ceth it self against the Law-giver! It is a most unseemly thing to behold a heart rising with pride, and falling in a Sacrifice. Let thy humility then sute thy state as it appeareth in thy Sacrifice, and I dare say it will sute the state of thy soul in it's repentance, and mourn­ing for sin.

Sect. 6.

6. Fountains and Springs lye deep, & where the soul is laid thus low, if it doth not freely and spontaneously weep, bring it's Sacrifice into sight, let that be viewed; see it standing before an offended and displeased God, who was provoked by thy sin, look on it loaded with imputed guilt. Alas my sin lyeth upon it; observe thy Sacrifice falling before the Altar, and say, alas! was not this for my sake? should not I have fallen thus if he had not? He bled, and out of excess of love to me, poured out his life for me; he groaned, sighed, breath'd out his soul for my sake, and could he do more? alas! have I brought my Sacrifice to this? was ever man more un­happy to his friend, to his Brother? how hard are those stony Rocks? how dry that flinty heart which gusheth not out with tears in Remembrance of these things? My dearest Lord pity unrelenting soules, and oh! give a mourning heart that may be more equal in it's griefes, and sorowes, in it's teares and sympathies! how many eyes weep at newes of an endangered, troubled, imprisoned and [Page 39]wrackt friend! How many hearts are softned, melted, and broken with the sweats, burning — fits and Agonies of a dying man? yea how many melting hearts, and weeping eyes? how many compassionate discourses on the death of some one deserving more than Law inflicts for his breach of the Law? But how few over a suffering, bleeding, dying Saviour and Sacrifice? whither are the compassions of men and women fled? where may they be found? where shall we seek? or how shall we wooe and prevail with them? Lo! their friend and Lord charged with their guilt, sweating under its weight, groaning under its penalty, sighing with sobs that drew blood out of his veins, bleeding, dying a Sacrifice, loaded with our deserved punishment. And few alas! very few grieving hearts, weeping eyes, or mourners for their want of tears Lord! give more, that I may give some tears, to wash thy bleeding wounds.

A second grace requisite to a Christian in the commemoration of the Lord's Death at the Lord's Supper, 2d. Grace, Faith exer­cised and improved. and improveable on con­sideration of Christ dying a Sacrifice is Faith, a grace indisputably necessary to him that will come duly to that Ordinance; and there­fore I lay not out any time or pains on the proving thereof; a grace well improveable, by consideration of Christ dying our Sacrifice, on which I intend to insist next.

The Death of Christ under the notion of the Death of a Sacrifice, will improve the Believer's Faith; which I hope will be ma­nifested when we have viewed the grand concern of Faith in these three particulars. [Page 40]1. It's Expectation, or the things it waiteth for. 2. The grounds of its Expectation and waiting. 3. The present actings of Faith, whilst it is assured there are such things to be expected, and whilst it is perswaded and re­solved to wait for them. Of all which in order.

Sect. 1.

1. Faith hath its expectation, and looketh for things that are not seen. Things hoped for, as Heb. 11.1. And these are great things. As,

1. A publck, solemn, full and clear absolu­tion from the charge of sin and guilt, which Satan, Conscience or the Law might load us with. Faith looks to that word, John 5.24. He that believeth shall not come into condem­nation. Faith waits for that day, 2 Thes. 1. v. 10. When the Lord shall come to be glorified in his Saints, and to be admired in all them that believe. Faith hearkneth for that awakening voice, Matth. 25.6. Behold the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him. The Believer expecteth a justification from all things from which he could not be justified by the Law of Moses, Act. 13.38, 39. when he shall be declared blessed, when he shall be accounted righteous; and as such shall enter into the pos­session of a Kingdom of Righteousness, Mat. 25.34, 37. with 46. ver.

2. The Believer expecteth, Totus mun­dus expectat illud tempus quo illi qui sunt Filii Dei manife­stabuntur. and with Faith waiteth for a publick declaration or mani­festation of his Adoption and Sonship, Rom. 8.19. The whole world expecteth that time wherein they who are the children of God [Page 41]shall be made manifest; as Vatablus noteth on the place. And this I take to be the Apostle's meaning, Col. 3.4. You shall appear with him, i. e. you shall be publickly declared the chil­dren of God through Christ. And though it do not appear what Believers shall be, yet when the Lord appeareth, they shall appear his Sons and daughters also, 1 Joh. 3.2.

3. The Believer looketh for a publick and glorious inauguration or coronation. Come in­herit the Kingdom, Matth. 25.34. is the hap­py investiture which Faith expecteth. Now there is a Crown laid up for us, then it shall be set upon our heads, 2 Tim. 4. ver. 8. It is already intended and promised, then it shall be given. Faith expects that joyful day of rewarding the Spiritual Champions. Here they run, there they are crowned. Now the Believer warreth, then Faith triumpheth, 1 Cor. 9.24.25.

4. The Faith of a Believer looketh after a reward for all its obedience, whether active, conforming to the Precepts and Rule of Christ, or passive, bearing the Cross of Christ. It is one of the excellencies of the Law of Faith, that as it commands no more than it enableth us to do; so it rewardeth no less than we have done. The distribution grace doth make, is first so much as we need to work, and next, so much as we have wrought, the Believer receiveth according to his works, Matth. 25.35, 36. And when grace hath thus distributed to each, then shall we find our labour was not in vain, 1 Cor. 15. v. 58. That the Lord was not unrighteous to forget our labour, Heb. 6.10. Then shall we [Page 42]fully understand that the Believer is blessed, for that his works do follow him, Rev. 14. v. 13. Faith expects that the light and mo­mentany asslictions should work for him a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 2 Cor. 4.17, 18. We expect a glory to be revealed, with which these light afflicti­ons of this life are not worthy to be compa­red, Rom. 8.17. Such are the expectations of Faith, and may well be confirmed as ra­tional and justifiable, by the consideration of their being built upon the Death of Christ our Sacrifice. For

1. Doth a Believer expect absolution? why should he not? Christ his Sacrifice hath born his guilt and punishment. Or Secondly

2. Doth a Believer expect a declaration of his adoption to be a Child of God? this is no more than the promise of the Covenant ra­tified in this Sacrifice, God will be his Father.

3. Doth the Believer expect an investiture into a Throne, Kingdom and Crown? why all these are by Christ our Sacrifice procured for us, after they were forfeited by us.

4. Doth the Believer expect a reward for all his obedience both active and passive? well. He may; For all his obedience is advan­ced in it's worth by this blood sprinkled on it. This Sacrifice hath merited it, albeit our obedience could not; this, [in the Apostle's words] one Sacrifice hath for ever perfected them that are sanctified, Heb. 10.14. Faith exceeds not its bounds when it expects con­sumate, and full Perfection of happiuess. These are the Grand expectations of faith, let us view how justifiably faith may expect all [Page 43]these since that the foundation and ground of faith's expectation is secured and made good by the Death of Christ our Sacrifice.

Sect. 2.

2. The Foundation or ground of Faith's ex­pectation is the promise and covenant of God; upon this Faith builds it's hopes: before God promiseth we may repose some kind of trust that he will do good for us, but we cannot firmely and properly believe: the Mariners Jonah. 1.6. had some hope and trust that God would shew them mercy, but this amounted not properly to a degree worthy the name of faith, it rested still upon the Divine Goodness; possibly God will think on us, but it had no promise on which it might conclude, God will think on us for good. But now when once God hath promised, and given out the word of Grace and Mercy, the soul findeth a fit ground to build it's faith upon, thus God spake to Abraham, and gave him the promise, so shall thy seed be, Gen. 15.5. Then did Abra­ham believe God, ver. 6. And he believed in the Lord, and he had no ground for faith be­fore the promise. And he gave no ground to unbelief after he received the Promise. Hence the Apostle speaking of the greatness of Abra­ham's Faith, tells us, that it was against hope in hope, Rom. 4.18. it was against all hope, [...]. in Natural and Second Causes, but it was in hope, ( [...]) according to what was spoken to him by his God, who could make good his word what ever he spake. It is a blind and bold presumption, not Faith which builds [Page 44]on other foundation than what God layeth; Behold I lay in Sion for a Foundation, a stone, a Tried stone, &c. Isa. 28.16. On this we may build our faith and not be confounded, [...]. 1. Pet. 2.6. The word of promise is the word of faith, Rom. 10.8. And when we hear that word, we ought to believe it; for it is the word of God, who is [...], out of possibility of failure. And it is our happiness that we do believe the word of which there shall be an accomplishment, Luk. 1.45. Now this pro­mise the foundation of our Faith is greatly confirmed to us in the Death of Christ Dy­ing a Sacrifice; so that as it confirmeth the foundation of our Faith, it cannot but add strength and stability to our Faith. As what­ever strengthens the foundation of the build­ing, addeth stability to the whole super­structure. Now Christ Dying a Sacrifice, giveth us assurance

1. That the promise is the word of a God re­conciled to us, who hath in a most tender compassion to us forgiven us our sins, and given his woad of promise to be our claim of further mercy. In Christ our Sacrifice we may read remission of sin, a Propitiation for us, and a gracious acceptance of us with our God. Now what is there which a believing soul may not rationally expect from the love of his reconciled God? He will heal back-slidings, he will love freely; he will be as the dew unto Israel, when Israel is reconciled to him, Hos. 14.3, 4, 5. God will then have mercy upon such as had not obtained mercy, and be their God, Hos. 2.23. So then, let Faith see what foundation for its expectation [Page 45]it can find in the love and kindness of a recon­ciled God, and see how God becometh recon­ciled to it; and certainly this Sacrifice will appear the effectual means of reconciliation and atonement.

2. Christ offered a Sacrifice for confirma­tion of the Promise, assureth us the Promise is cast into the mould of a most solemn Cove­nant, which may not be violated. In this man­ner were the Eastern people used to confirm and ratifie conditions of Peace, and the pro­mises of Friendship, by the solemn offering up sacrifice and feasting together; as Gen. 26. v. 28, 29, 30. between Isaac and Abimelech, and between Jacob and Laban, Gen. 31.44. with 54. who ratified the covenant of their friendship by Sacrifice, Eorum more qui foedus pepigerant. According to the man­ner of those who had made covenant; as Vatablus glosseth the words. According to this sense I suppose is that of David, Psal. 50.5. Ga­ther my Saints, those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. Quirappor­tent les Sa­crifices a leur droit fin. Qui est de seeler & confermer Palltance d'adoption qui dieu a fait avec les fideles. Gal. 3.17. Rightly paraphrased by a French Annotatour; Who refer Sacrifices to their right end, which is to seal and to confirm the Covenant of Adoption which God hath made with the faithful. Lo then promises of friend­ship between God and a Believer reduced to the form and certainty of a Covenant by this Sacrifice! And were it but a man's covenant once ratified, none addeth to it, or taketh from it: who then shall dare to alter a Di­vine Covenant? How unmoved might our Faith stand on the Covenant thus confirmed? View thy bottom on which thou standest, poor doubting Believer, and tell me whether it be not in thine judgment, like a Rock that cannot be shaken?

3. To these is also added the oath of God which was wont still to attend every alliance or league, which of old was confirmed by Sacrifice as is evident from the places cited concerning Abimelech, Gen. 26.28, 29, 30, 31, 44. & 54. and Isaac; and Iacob, & Laban. Yea the Lord who is not a man that he should lye dealing with the sons of men, who are ready to suspect his Truth, is pleased to give them his promise, his Covenant, his oath, Luk. 1.72, 73. Luk. 1.73. So when God made the promises to Abraham, by the Sacrifice of the Ram, Gen. 22.13. In stead of his son Isaac and in the Typical resemblance of Christ our Sa­crifice. He confirmed the Promse of the co­venant by oath, ver. 16.17. & 18. Which the Apostle citeth and enlargeth on, Heb. 6.13, 14. & seq. Strongly arguing the immutability of the covenant from the oath of Confirmation, ver. 17, 18. When thou lookest to Christ thy Sacrifice, look also to the oath which God hath interposed, and then tell me thythoughts what thou apprehendest of the Foundation of thy Faith? and what thou apprehendest of it's stability? come with me, let us view our grand hopes, full absolution from guilt, publick declaration of our Adoption, Glorious investi­ture which a Crown and a proportioned reward of all our obedience. Thess are the grand expectations of faith; will it's founda­tion bear them? sure it will, be thou judge thy self in the case; what is there in any of the particulars which thy interresse in the Friendship of thy reconciled, God may not warrnnt thee to expect? which of them all is not comprised in the covenant, thy God hath made with thee? which is there not procured [Page 47]by Christ's Sacrifice? which of them is not confirmed by the Oath of the Almighty? if the Friendship of God can afford them, if the Covenant hath promised them, if the oath of an immutable God hath ensured them, if a most immaculate Sacrifice hath procured them, what can intercept them? what can shake such a foundation of Faith? hast thou not all assurance given that reason or religion can devise? and tell me (1.) would you not trust a man under hand and seal con­firming articles of agreement, and ratifying them by oath? wouldst thou not say, I have him fast enough? And wouldest not thou rest secure? (2.) couldst thou allow thy self to be worse than thy promse? wouldst thou not performe thy covenant with others? wouldst thou be perswaded or frighted into a falsify­ing of thy oath? wouldst thou not judge him unreasonably distrustful, who were not satisfied with this assurance from thee who meanest plainly and uprightly? (3.) Wilt thou not much more trust and believe thy God who hath condescended to bind himself unto thee by all that is inviolable? by all the bonds that men account sacred? Hath he not removed whatever difficulties lay in the way to hinder his entring into Covenant with us; and difficulties being once removed, hath he not power enough to keep them still from returning and interposing? Our sins lay a bar on our part, making us unfit to enter Co­venant. These are done away by this Sacri­fice. The Justice of God, honour of his Law and Government, might be obstacles on [Page 48]God's part. But this Sacrifice hath satisfied Justice, advanced the honour of God's Law and Government, and so prepared a way for our being received into Covenant with our God, whose wisdom is so perfect he could not entangle himself in his Covenant, or make it so that he should see a necessity of break­ing or altering it; and whose riches of grace and mercy are such, he will never fail frankly to give what he hath faithfully promised he will give. He will never think any mercy too good to give, which he did not think too great to promise. This is the foundation of Faith, and thus surely and immovably laid for us to build on; which is the second part of the grand concern of Faith.

Sect. 3.

3. The third and last concern of Faith is, its present actings or fruit which it doth in some measure sustain the soul by; whilst it waiteth for those great things to come; for Faith is not all taken up with expectation; it doth now possess much, though it expect more; all is not in reversion, though the most, though the best be. Faith looks unto things hoped for, [...]. Ʋt igitur [...] signi­ficat ali­quando sisto, sic [...] significare potest actum habitumve fiducialem habentem vim non tantum statuminandi spe­rantem, sed & sistendi rem speratum. Capellus in Heb. 11.1. yet in some sort gives them sub­sistence; not only confirmeth the person who hopeth, but sets before him as a thing pre­sent that good he hopeth for; as the learned and judicious Divine Jacobus Capellus ob­serveth on the word the Apostle useth, Heb. 11.1. Indeed it seeth what is far off, [Page 49]yet brings that which it seeth so near, that it embraceth what it seeth, Heb. 11.14. Faith is of very great and present advantage to the soul, and exerts its power and vertue on the soul; in these four particulars.

1. Faith doth by the improvement of the Promises ratified in the blood of Christ our Sacrifice, quiet and settle the soul in some good measure of peace and assurance. This is one of the sweet and first-fruits of Faith, that it quieteth the heart, and pacifieth it, where­as unbelief doth fill the heart with fears. And a convinced soul under doubts, is as restless as fears can make it; for it is full of them. Where there is little Faith, there are usually on every awakening alarm (as in Peter's case) great fears. Let not your hearts be troubled [saith Christ] cast out disquieting thoughts; for, saith he, Ye believe in God, Joh. 14.1. And indeed the Believer may well be quiet, for he believeth on Christ, of whom the God of Truth hath said, That whoso believeth on him shall not be confounded, 1 Pet. 2.6. Now this greatly pacifieth the soul; it knows it shall not be confounded; it hath received the earnest of a glorious inheritance, and is sealed with the holy Spirit of Promise upon its believing, Ephes. 1.13, 14. Amidst the many and great troubles the Apostle met with for the Gospel, his Faith kept his heart in a very quiet and pacate frame. I know, saith he, whom I have trusted, 2 Tim. 1.12. He speaketh of himself as of one whom no troubles could much disquiet; for he did both know that he believed, and he knew whom he believed. Hence it is that when [Page 50]he prayed for Peace and Joy to fill the be­lieving Romans, cap. 15.13. He makes ex­press mention of their Faith as the means of their Peace; Pax acqui­ritur fide. Vatablus in loc. Now the God of Hope fill you with all Joy and Peace in believing, &c. Peace and sedateness of mind is one of the first-born of Faith; as on the contrary, disquietude of mind is the first-born of despondency and un­belief. So David's experience assureth us, who found his quiet of mind decrease, and the disquiet thereof to increase, as his trust in God did decrease; therefore he rowseth up himself to trust in God, that he might reco­ver the calm of his spirit: Why art thou cast down, oh my soul! and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God, Psal. 42.11. This then is one of the present great businesses of Faith, to quiet the heart, and bring it into a peaceable state.

Now what can give the heart rest, if such glorious things expected and secured to us do not? The Believer may see all his hopes most inviolably, and under the most sacred seals, confirmed to him in the Death of Christ by Sacrifice; and certainly if greatness of hopes, accompanied with immutable assu­rance of a future enjoying them, do not sa­tisfie and quiet for present, nothing ever will be able in this world to compose the spirit of any man. How quietly doth an expectant a­bout Court wait for his preferment and ad­vance upon the promise of his Friend and Pa­tron who possibly may fail! How well will it become us to wait quietly for our great ad­vancement on the Promise, Covenant, and [Page 51]Oath of our God, in which it is impossible he should fail us?

2. Faith doth at present revive and refresh the soul; it administreth cordials to it: I had fainted if I had not believed, saith David, Psal. 27.13. And he prescribeth waiting or be­lieving as an excellent preservative against such faintness and despondence of spirit, v. 14. on which he resolveth, at what time he is afraid he will trust in God, Psal. 56.3. No support, no reviving comparable to that Faith doth aford. That Peace and that Joy which the Apostle, Rom. 5.2. hath annexed unto Faith, is a Peace with God, and a Re­joycing in hope of the glory of God, viz. That God will make us glorious in that glory which he hath prepared for all that believe. Now they that expect on unfailing promises such Glory, may justifiably say, that their in­ward man is renewed [not in strength only, but in comfort also] day by day, 2 Cor. 4.16. We faint not, ver. 16. though our outward man perish; why, what kept up their spirit? did any thing but Faith? The Apostle men­tioneth nothing else; For our inward man is renewed day by day, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen, v. 18. While we look, i. e. with an eye of Faith. [...], &c. Grotius pa­ralleleth it with Heb. c. 11. v. 1. [...] if from [...], or [...], Syr. Laetari, &c. if from Arab. it is either amicum se praebuit, or else quievit, quietavit. So Grotius paralleleth the place with Heb. 11.1. And the Syriack, whe­ther it use a native or a forein word in its translation, doth use a word which implieth an eminent act of Faith. When the heavy burthen of guilt overloadeth the heart; when [Page 52]the violence, strangeness and frequency of temptations sadneth the soul; when fierce, long and wasting persecutions make havock of the Church; when spiritual dulness and deadness of soul afflicteth a Believer, what but his Faith can or doth comfort and revive him? Faith carrieth him to his Sacrifice in the blood whereof he seeth his God atoned and reconciled, who then shall condemn? A Covenant of grace and mercy, what grace then can he want? In this Sacrifice he seeth, Christ hath perfected all that are sanctified and done, all that which Legal Sacrifices shadowed out, but could not work out, viz. Perfect Reconciliation to God, and full paci­fication of Conscience. This revives the heart; God speaks peace, and Conscience speaks peace, and Faith doth at present em­ploy it self in ensuring and improving both these for the comfort of the Believer. And this part of the life of Faith is so evidently maintained upon the Death of Christ, as our Sacrifice making our peace with God, con­firming the promises of grace and glory, en­suring to us the grand expectations of this and the other world, that I think it needless to insist farther on this particular Christ dying our Sacrifice is the great reviving comfort of an awakened, convinced, fainting, yet be­lieving soul.

3. The third thing in the present Actings of Faith, while it on good and sure grounds waiteth for the great things which are to be revealed, is the active diligence of Faith to do the whole work which is appointed for it to do. Faith giveth not a discharge from [Page 53]any one degree of our required industry in good, nor doth it release to us any one of the Moral Precepts of the Law; no, Faith maketh not the Law void, Rom. 3.31. The Apostle assureth us that the Faith of a belie­ver engageth him to walk and to labour, so as to be accepted with God; so 2 Cor. 57. &9. We walk by Faith not by sight [saith S. Paul] ver. 7. Wherefore we labour that whether pre­sent or absent we may be accepted of him. ver 9. It is but the counterfeit of Faith which lieth unactive and regardless to do the will of God; when once the soul can judg [which carri­eth in it both an act of discerning, and an act of beliveing or assenting to the truth] That one [viz. Christ] died for all, it doth pre­sently conclude that henceforth they who live, should not live to themselves but to him that died for them, 2. Cor. 5.14, 15. It is the rational conclusion Faith draweth from the Grace of God toward us in Christ dying for us, that our life which we have of mercy, must be laid out in duty; and the reward we expect should animate us to the service God expecteth. Mark the Apostle St. Peter's man­ner of arguing, 2 Pet. 3.12. Since, saith he, We look and hasten to the comming of the day of God; and again, ver. 13. We according to his promise, look for new Heavens; and ver. 14. seeing Beloved that ye look for such things. For as much as we are verily persvaded of the truth of these future things, and for as much as we do by Faith expect an assured fulfilling of them; Be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace without spot and blameless; so the Apostle intimateth to us, nay presseth it upon [Page 54]us as the proper business of Faith as it's whole imploy to be pure, and without blame, and to be diligent herein. Now what can be thought will excite and animate a believer unto this, if the great things purchased and ensured to him by the Death of Christ his Sacrifice do not? The Apostle well knew the weight of the argument, your labour you know, shall not be in vain in the Lord; there­fore see that ye abound in the work of the Lord, 1 Cor. 15.58. When thou art back­ward or sluggish, take thy heart, and discover to it what a Kingdom, what a glorious Re­ward thy Lord hath secured to thee, and ask if it be not worth thy greatest diligence, and thy most active industry?

4. The fourth concern of Faith in its pre­sent deportment, and the influence it now hath on the heart, is to strengthen and sup­port it under all kind of sufferings and affli­ctions, be they common to us as men, or pe­culiar to us as Christians. Our Faith is our life in the midst of these deaths. Hence we find Faith joined with patience, Heb. 6.12. When Abraham had received the promises, Heb. 6. ver. 13. which God made to him when he be­lieved God would do all that for him which God had promised to him he did patiently endure, and so obtained, v. 15. The Apostle re­counteth his many and great sufferings which with others he suffered for Christ. Troubled on every side, 2 Cor. 4.8. Perplexed ver. 8. Persecuted, cast down, ver. 9. Always bearing about in the body, the dying of the Lord Jesus, ver. 10. Alway delivered unto Death; for Jesus sake, ver. 11. These were their suffer­ings [Page 55]and troubles; now see their support, which was a spirit of Faith, ver. 13, 14, &c. Read over the 11th chapter of Hebrews, see what afflictions those faithful ones did through Faith undergo; and it will be past contro­versie with you, that for the present Faith doth mightily sustain the spirit under the variety and sharpness of afflictions and suffer­ings, which it doth among other helps princi­pally, by looking to the greatness of its ex­pected reward and glory, secured unto it by the most immutable Covenant and Oath of God, ratified in the blood of Christ our Sa­crifice. So the Apostle directeth us to look to Jesus, &c. Heb. 12.2, 3. enduring the Cross, and despising the shame; to Jesus who endured contradictions of sinners against him­self, ver. 3. This will be a means to prevent the fainting of our minds under our troubles and sufferings. The reconciliation between God and us, his Promise to us, his Covenant with us, his Oath and Christ's Sacrifice all assure us he is faithful who hath promised us our pardon and absolution from guilt and pu­nishment, our adoption and right of children to a glorious Inheritance; our solemn and publick investiture and admission into posses­sion of a Crown and Kingdom. He is faithful who hath by means of most sacred obliga­tions, assured us a reward for every duty, active and passive; therefore let us hold fast our Profession without wavering, Heb. 10.23. And who will not hold his Profession fast, when he is assured that the Sacrifice Christ hath offered, hath reconciled us to God; so that our sufferings are not expresses of his vengeance, but necessary exercises of our [Page 56]graces, and proofs of the Love of God to us? who would be weary of bearing, who is perswaded that his sufferings are but light and momentany; and that they do infallibly work out a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory? How do things infinitely less valuable, and extremely uncertain, pre­vail with men to undergo hardships; to ad­venture through fire and water, to bear watchings, toil, nakedness, hunger and thirst? How patiently doth the Husbandman, Mer­chant, Souldier and Courtier, submit to ut­most hazards at utmost uncertainties to ob­tain their hopes, which often do make them ashamed? But now, who looketh to the establishing of the Promise, and to the great­ness of the things promised, and vieweth them in the Death of Christ as a Sacrifice, expect­eth greatest joys, rewards and glory on the surest ground, and most infallible certainty; and therefore resolveth neither to yield to fainting, or to sit down under weariness; he will look to Jesus the Mediatour of the New Covenant, and see what he may expect after sufferings, and will suffer that he may enjoy what he doth expect.

Thus Faith may be confirmed and impro­ved as to each part wherein it is concerned, by duly considering Christ's dying our Sacri­fice, ensureth on most inviosable bonds, the most desirable good things for future, and doth for present sufficiently influence our Faith to quiet, revive, quicken and support the soul under fears, languishings, dulnesses and sufferings. Go then aside, and take a view of the particulars, and meditate on them in [Page 57]the certainty which Christ suffering and dy­ing our Sacrifice, hath given to us concern­ing them; and when thou hast so done, ob­serve well whether thou art not perswaded to believe in hope against hope; and whe­ther thou art not enabled to believe the Pro­mises without staggering, and to say, thou faintest not, because thy afflictions are light, and yet do work out for thee a far more ex­ceeding and eternal weight of glory, while thou art able to look to, and see both him that is, and the things that are invisible? such a Faith will be our victory, by it we shall more than conquer. Having dis­coursed somewhat on the Improvement of our Divine sorrow, and our Faith in the Commemoration of Christ Dying our Sacri­fice, I have made way for the Improvement of our Peace and Quiet of soul likewise; 3d. Grace improved, viz. Peace of Soul. for this is a sweet fruit of our sound Repentance and sincere faith, and carry's a proportioned dimension with the increase of those Graces. But I purpose to attempt a more particular discovery of the influence Christ's Death our Sacrifice hath upon the Tranquillity and Peace of the soul of a Communicant, who discerneth this Death as it was a Sacrifice, and under that notion improveth his Redee­mer's love to him. Now if I can shew my Reader that there is in this Sacrifice som­what sufficient to remove all that disquiet­eth the soul, I need take no further care to perswade an opinion that Peace will follow, Let the storm cease, and a calm will follow; if the Earthquake end, the old Foundations will stand firm, and well setled, Let that be [Page 58]removed, which alarmed the soul, and all will be in Peace. Amongst other (lesser which I pass over) there are four grand dis­quietudes of the soul.

1. Danger of divine displeasure and wrath in condemnation for our sin. The drawn sword of Divine vengeance hanging over the head, is enough to affright all peace out of the heart, and to fill it with amazing hor­rour, and overwhelming terrours. How did Adam's fears seize him, when his sin had laid him open to that threat, Thou shalt die the death? Gen. 2.17. then his guilty conscience did chase, Ea [conscientia] est quae fil­gat, terret, accusat & dam­nat Parentes nostros: Certis­simum testimonium. Deum tandem ultorem futurum om­nis mali. Fagius in cap. 3. Gen. 8. af­fright, accuse & condem him, forebode a severer Judge and Avenger, whom he could not escape or shun, whom he could not stand before, whom he feareth and flieth. The Apostle elegantly expresseth the disquietude of a self-condemning heart by the trouble of bondage, Heb. 2.15. The fear of death kept them in bondage all their life; the ex­pectation of death was death to them or ere they died, and they scarce lived, because they continually tortured themselves with the preapprehensions of a hastening death, [...]. Aristot. which to secure nature, is the greatest of terrours, though ignorance of what is consequent to death, did hide the most dreadful part of death from the eyes of nature, Psal. 55.4. Psal. 116.3. yet in David's phrase, terrours of death will make the heart sigh under pain, and fill it with trouble and sorrow too, unless the heart be assured of the the removal of guilt, the freedom from con­demnation; [Page 59] Joh. 8.21, 24. Rev. 2.11. that the man dieth not in his sins, nor shall be hurt of the second death. No man's heart was strong under the appre­hensions of the wrath of an Almighty and Eternal God; nor can the greatest cheats of the world [I mean hypocrites, who can coun­terfeit almost every thing] put on the coun­terfeit of boldness, Isa. 33.15. when they see the ever­lasting burnings, and the devouring fire, they are then surprized with fearfulness.

2. Loss of the wonted sweetness of Divine favour, and the refreshing expresses which God by his spirit did formerly give to the soul. When once the soul hath been favoured with an acquaintance and knowledg of a Hea­ven upon earth it cannot without disquietude live on earth, without it's Heaven. Darkness cannot but greatly afflict the soul which en­lightned, once did rejoice in the light of God's Countenance shining on it. What is said of the great darkness which fell on Abraham in his sleep, Gen. 15.12. may be verified of all the desertions which fall upon the children of Abraham; they are attended with horrour and trouble. When God hid his face from David, he was troubled, Psal. 30.5. and his soul refused to be comforted, Psal. 77.2. his spirit was overwhelmed, ver. 3. so troubled he could not speak, ver. 4. All which pro­ceeded from the spiritual desertion he then lay under. God hath cast off, and he feared it was for ever, ver. 7. that he would be fa­vourable no more, &c. verse 8, and 9. So that when David had lost the sense of God's love, he could find peace or joy in nothing about him. An Idolater once expostulated with a [Page 60]great deal of trouble, you have taken away my Gods, and do you ask what aileth me? But whilst we deride or pity his blindness, we should resent the real troubles of the soul, which hath lost the sense of the Love of his God and Father; and indulge him in a more than usual trouble for the suspence or inter­mission of his desired rest and peace, wherein he found, though imperfect, yet a growing happiness; and in David's words expressed his felicity, He heard the joyful sound, and walked in the light of God's countenance, Psal. 89.15. but now feareth his misery will re­call his former happiness only to prove him as much sunk in woes, as he was exalted in joys above other men; Miserrimum est fuisse fe­licem. this disquieteth the soul, that it hath been what now it is not, blessed.

3. Sense of sinful weakness, and suspition of worse insincerity, and want of uprightness in its duties, and the exercises of its Devotion towards God, are a trouble to the soul in its reflections on its services and examina­tion of it self; it seeth sin adhere to every one of its best workes, and it seeth imper­fection still dwelling in its perfectest graces; so that when he findeth to will, yet how to per­form he findeth not, as Rom. 7.18. On which observation of his defects, he judgeth him­self in a miserable perplexity, and under ap­prehensions hereof crieth out wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me? &c. ver. 24. This worthlesness of persons and performan­ces is the subject of the Church's com­plaints, Isa. 64.6. We are all as an unclean thing—And our iniquities, as the wind, have [Page 61]taken us away: iniquities (saith David in his complaint) prevail against me, Psal. 65.3. And elsewhere prayeth God would search him, and try him, and see whether there be any way of wickedness in him, Psal. 139.23, 24. It is that which giveth a trouble to God's Children, that they are not perfect that their heart retaineth too much of its native guile, and is deceitfull above all things, Jer. 17.9. [...] Isa. 6.5. In brief, with the Prophet they cry ont each one in sight of his Pollution, wo is me I am of Polluted heart and lips. When David saw the Divine jealousie breaking out on Ʋzza, 2 Sam. 6.9. He was afraid and durst not bring up the Ark of the Lord, whither he first intended. He was afraid of the Lord that day, and said how shall the Arke of the Lord come to me? he feared, and fears are troubles, and question­less disquiet the mind; his fears, and the trouble of them arose from his foreseen un­meetness to entertain the Arke of so holy a God; he was not, as he desired, a meet and prepared Receiver, and lodger of that glori­ous guest. This David's trouble, this the dis­quieting thought of every good heart, it cannot offer a Sacrifice pure enough, imma­culate, and perfect, as becometh the purity, perfection, and Majesty of his God.

4. A Fourth and the last I shall now men­tion, is a succession of doubts and jealousies lest guilt and unworthiness should hinder his acceptance with God, and at last cut off his hope of every desireable blessing from God. For although the believer is delivered from danger of condemnation, and hath had often experiences of the favour of his God, and is [Page 62]made upright and without prevailing guile in all his services, which might in very reason be sufficient ground of a constant peaceful hope, confidence and assurance that God will ever accept him, and delight to bless him, and at last reward him; yet for all this, many doubts, and the same frequently returning, do disquiet the soul, putting it to suspect the worst, and what shall never befall it. Oh saith one, my sins make me doubt, lest that be my sad state which was Israel's complaint, or should have been in Jeremiah's words, Sins have hidden good things from me, Jer. 5.25. And another is ready to suspect, though I might be establisht, yet my unbelief suggest­eth apprehensions that I shall not; for I have not been obedient, I have been guilty of much unbelief. A third complains of back-slidings, and what doubts arise thence. And almost every one hath his peculiar doubts, or a peculiar ground for those which disquiet others as himself. Now it is, I judge, need­less to exemplifie the troublous nature of doubts, and endless to enumerate the parti­cular doubts of Christians, or the easie re­turns they make on the souls who have fre­quently removed them, and have thought sure now they should no more be disquieted with them. I shall rather address my thoughts to the second thing I suggested, viz. that there is in the Sacrifice of Christ for us some­what which may remove these disquietudes of the soul. And so

Sect. 1.

1. In the first place, for removal of the danger of condemnation, the first disquietude mentioned there, is sufficient in Christ dying our Sacrifice to effect this, as will appear on these Considerations.

1. Christ dying our Sacrifice, was pleased to stand in our stead; he was substituted in our room, for us, in this he became what is necessary in every Sacrifice, a representative of us for whom he made himself a Sacri­fice; so the Sacrifice doth vices ejus, qui reus agitur subire, take the place or turn of the guilty, of which substitution I have already spoken somewhat, cap. 3. sect. 1. This Substi­tution of the Sacrifice was so generally re­ceived an Opinion, and an inseparate appen­dage to every Sacrifice expiatory, that thou shall easily discerne it both in the writing of Heathens mentioning their Sacrifices as also in the writings of Moses relating the particu­larities of Jewish Sacrifices, if an ordinary care be used in reading. But I do not farther insist on that, come we rather to see what quiet this substitution may afford to the soul, how full of peace may the soul be which can carry all that is laid to it's charge to Christ, which can say Christ stand's for me, is substituted in my stead; and if there be ought of danger, it first falleth on him, in whose hand never did any one miscarry who had Christ undertaking for him. Christ now substitute for us stands between us and danger, who are thus in Christ [to allude to that of the Apostle, Rom. 8.1.] [Page 64]Are exempt from condemnation. For in this substitution of our Sacrifice there is.

2. A due, sufficient and full transferring our guilt on our Sacrifice, so that the guilty soul may now say; mercy hath transmitted my guilt from me upon my substitute, and he hath voluntarily taken that upon himself, to answer it before my Judge against all accu­sers; and how then can condemnation be justly feared when no guilt is found lying upon the person? what servant, or child, needeth fear a chiding for that fault which the Master, or Father, hath on the interposing of a Mediatour transferred from the servant, or child? solicitous fears may de facto dis­quiet the soul, for whom Christ made himself a Sacrifice; but were such fears arrested, exa­mined and discovered, they would be checkt, discarded and cast out as groundless; for it would then appear that they come intruders on innocent, acquitted, and imputatively guilt­less soules. Doth any such feare of future condemnation perplexe? look to thy Sacri­fice, consider, guilt (which onely can con­demne) is by thy Judge in a valid, sufficient form transferred from thee to thy Sacrifice, and certainly thy Judge will as justly acquit the from thy guilt, as he did mercifully transferre it, he whose mercy so contrived to make thee innocent, that thou mightest not be condemned. His Justice will find thee what mercy made thee, and thou shalt not be con­demned. Read that text, 2 Cor. 5.2. He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Certainly then the danger of Condemna­tion [Page 65]is over when we are made Righteous in Christ, and he our Sacrifice made sin for us. The Righteous Judge of Heaven and earth will do so justly, that he will not codemn one whom grace hath made Righteous. Though all we like lost-sheep have gone a­stray, yet there is hope, for the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all, Isa. 53.16.

3. Christ our Sacrifice standing in our stead, & admitting the transferring of our guilt from us upon himself by his dying our sacrifice did undergo that punishment, and did bear that wrath which our sin deserv'd that we might be absolved and acquitted; so that now either we must doubt an after-punishment will be inflict­ed on us for the sin Christ hath born and suf­fered, and we shall be condemned, though he died to the end we might not be condem­ned, which how little consistant with either the justice of God or his mercy, any one may easily discern who will consider. It is a mat­ter of justice not to condemn a person for whom satisfaction hath been made; and it is matter of mercy to acquit him through ano­ther's sufferings, who stood condemned for his own offences; or if we judge, as fit we should, that neither the justice or mercy of God will permit he should be condemned for whom Christ died a Sacrifice, we can conclude no less from such a death, than the absolution & future acquittance of a Believer, whose Sa­crifice Christ died, who hereby hath (as Isa. 43.4.) born our griefs, and carried our sor­rows, i. e. the punishment due to our sins, for the which he hath suffered and made satis­faction. Say the Generva Notes in loc. yet [Page 66]what follows ver. 5. is fuller, Ʋt integrae essent res nostrae, & nobis bene esset, &c. pla­cuit, &c. verbera & plagas quas nos commeriti eramus filius susciperet, &c. Castiga­tione & verberibus filii re­conciliati sumus Patri & ef­ferbuit ira Patris. Fozerius in loc. He was wounded for our trans­gressions—the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed. The strokes and blows which we deserved, the Son took upon him, to the end that our affairs being restor'd, it might be well with us, &c. by the chastise­ment and stripes of the Son, we are recon­ciled to the Father, and the anger of the Fa­ther hath asswayed and ceas'd towards us. Whoso can look with the eye of faith on Christ thus dying, Chrîstus Dominus pro peccatis nostris dolore affectus est ergo peccata nostra deleta, ergo ira Dei remisit conseditque ergo reconciliatus enim nobis ergo pax, integritas, salus, & omne bonum in nos dimana­vit. Fozerius. may in the words of the late mentioned Commenta­tour triumph; Christ the Lord was grieved for our sins, there­fore our sins are blotted out, the wrath of God is appeased and ceaseth; God is reconciled to us, therefore peace, restitution, sal­vation, and every good thing hath flowed in to us. But one thing possibly may be suspected, viz. Albeit such an atone­ment and reconciliation be made now, yet may not wrath at last break forth in fury to the utter condemnation of the soul, which now hath its pardon? To this I shall answer by subjoyning

4. That Christ Died a Sacrifice, which he himself offered through the Eternal Spirit, to the end that he might purge our conscience from dead works, that we might serve the Living God; as Heb. 9.14. By which one of­fering, he hath perfected forever them that [Page 67]are sanctified, Heb. 10.14. Which great Truth the Apostle confirmeth by an Argu­ment drawn from the very letter of that Covenant which is confirmed in this Sacrifice, according to which Covenant God promiseth remission of sins; so ver. 17. Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more of­fering for sin, ver. 18. The ground whereof is the perfect Reconciliation wrought for those to whom God doth grant remission of sin; so that hence I may justifiably argue from the real expiation made at first to the perpe­tual continuation of it, by the blood of this most perfect Sacrifice. Let our Faith there­fore be directed to fetch our absolution from guilt and condemnation, let us en­sure this to our selves through Christ dying our Sacrifice, and take that comfort to our selves; he hath by one offering for ever perfected them that are sanctified. And he is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him, Heb. 7.25.

Sect. 2.

2. The second Disquiet of the soul I men­tioned, was a fear lest it should lose the re­freshing apprehensions, and sweet enjoyments of the Divine Favour; how much this would disturb the peace of the soul, I am not here to discourse, having said all I intended alrea­dy on it. But now it is my business to shew that Christ's Death as our Sacrifice is suffi­cient to prevent this fear, or to secure unto the soul an enjoyment of the Divine Fa­vour, [Page 68]which I now attempt to shew.

1. In that this Sacrifice duly apprehended by us, doth very much abate of the ground of our fears, of the withdrawing the Divine Favour from us. Now the apprehension of the dread and terrour of spiritual desertions ariseth from our doubts, that they are but precursory to a final and eternal displeasure, that they are but the Primordia dolorum, the beginnings of sorrows; that the full mea­sures will be at last for everlasting poured out upon the soul: Oh this afflicts! This, Will God be gracious no more? is the sword which wounds to the heart? and whilst this fear abides on the soul, it can take no rest. Now see Christ our Sacrifice hath atoned vindictive displeasure, reconciled us to God, delivered us from wrath to come; so that undoubtedly these present seasons of darkness are but seasons. These sorrows may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. Christ in the merit of his blood doth ever ap­pear for me with God; though God appear not to me now as of old, yet I shall enjoy him.

2. Christ Dying a Sacrifice for us, hath now changed the nature of all our afflictions, and turned them into wholsom corrections, and into necessary exercises of our graces, not onely our outward afflictions are so changed, that there remaineth not any deadly poyson in them, but our spiritual troubles among which this I speak of, is to be accounted chief, these are much more altered in their nature, as indeed it was expedient they should; for as they sink deeper into the soul, [Page 69]and do more speedily seize the spirit, and have an immediate influence on the soul, so they would be of more dangerous conse­quence, if they retained an unrebated poyson in them; These would undo the soul, whereas outward afflictions can approach to the soul but intermediately, and being kept still a­bout the outworks, can only disquiet & alarm cannot kill the soul nor its comforts. Now we are beholden to the excellency of this Sacri­fice for this. By this sacrifice our afflictions are rendered only corrections whatever is vindi­ctive, and which the soul cannot beare is deri­ved upon our Sacrifice, being hereby secured from wrath. For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life, Rom. 5.10. The Apostle argueth from our reconciliation once effected, unto our salvation in due time to be accomplisht. And happy they who have Christ once dying a Sacrifice to make their peace, but ever living a merciful and a faithful High Priest to maintain their peace with God. Such he is to all for whom he is a Sacrifice.

3. In midst of spiritual desertions Christ our Sacrifice preserveth inviolate the state of our peace, though we have not the sense and sweetness of that peace. The Covenant of peace between God and the soul standeth unaltered still; and this in the vertue of this blood of Christ our Sacrifice, (for so were Co­venants of old made & confirmed, as hath been observed) a very pregnant place to our pre­sent purpose we met with in Psa. 89.30. & seq. If his children forsake my Law, Psal. 89.30, 31, 32. [...].and walk not in [Page 70]my Judgments; if they break my Statutes, and keep not my Commandments, then will I visit their transgressions with a Rod, and their ini­quity with stripes. 2 Sam. 7.14. Virgâ homi­num, i.e. mo­deratâ cor­rectione, & in eorum commodum. Poli Sy­nops. Crit. This Rod, 2 Sam. 7.14. is the Rod of men; that is, with moderate cor­rection, and for their good. But, or Never­theless my loving kindness will I not utterly take from him: Here's a rich Cordial to the drooping soul which smarteth under the di­divine corrections. God hath not, nor will he take away his loving kindness, nor suffer his faithfulness to fail, ver. 33. My Covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Now then when thy sin, whe­ther of folly or frowardness, is corrected, and thou mournest under sense of divine displea­sure, call to mind the Covenant made in Christ thy Sacrifice, and be comforted; sense of thy peace may, but the Covenant of thy peace shall not be broken.

4. Under the apprehension of divine dis­pleasure and present dereliction, yet this Sa­crifice may soon quiet and sufficiently sup­port the soul, in that it will be its present refuge against the violence of this trial; still the soul may interpose the Propitiatory ver­tue of this Sacrifice between it self on the one part, and God's displeasure with its own fears on the other part; hitherto this Altar may the troubled, and the trembling soul fly as Joab to the horns of the Altar, and cer­tainly when the blood of this Sacrifice is found sprinkled on the soul, God will speak a present peace, or support with a se­cret infused hope of life, and at least season­ably let the Believer know he will never take [Page 71]him from the Altar that he may die; but yet as a Father he may correct his offences, with­out violating the priviledge of sanctuary. And indeed this is the utmost God intends in the exercise of his Sons and Daughters, who are reconciled to him through Christ their Sa­crifice. In vertue whereof all Believers might, and I believe the most of them do one time or other in this life, after such spi­ritual troubles, recover some degree of spi­ritual peace and joy in the favour of God; however, seldom go off the stage without the joy of good old Simeon, departing in peace, because they have seen the salvation of God. But they never fail to see and rejoyce in God through Christ, when they receive the peace which after death is to be obtained with God by vertue of this Expiatory Sacrifice, the truth hereof they firmly believe, and hope for it also. Rom. 5.11. We may then joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the atonement. Joy in God is a fruit of atonement, and this an effect of the Sacrifice of Christ: So near alliance there is between our Joy in the Divine Favour, and Christ procuring and maintaining it for us in the vertue of his Sacrifice. Much to the same purpose is that of the Apostle, Heb. 10. v. 19. Having boldness to enter by the blood of Christ. Now at least this boldness is a fruit or consequent of our perswasion, and hope that God beareth a gracious respect to us, And ver. 21. and 22. Having an High Priest (and consequently a Sacrifice) let us draw nigh with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, &c. If any complain notwithstanding all [Page 72]this, I must assure them their own inability to improve the vertue of Christ our Sacrifice, is the reason why they draw not out the ex­cellent Oil which would make their face to shine; it is not want of excellency in him, or in his death our Sacrifice.

Sect. 3.

3. A third thing a soul is disquieted at, is the sinful imperfections of duties; weakness of graces, and unworthiness of his person; all which concurring, do oftentimes occasion a doubt, whether such shall be accepted with a God of infinite holiness, and glorious Majesty. Can God indeed take pleasure in such? will such persons be accepted, such graces allowed, such duties approved? and if not, where shall the troubled soul seek rest?

For removal of this Disquietude from the soul, there is sufficient in Christ dying our Sa­crifice. For,

1. It is that which procureth an accepta­tion of our persons; it restoreth us to the Favour of God, who delighteth in every one who hath by faith a real interess in this Sa­crifice. The Grace of God through Christ looketh to our persons, Quâ gratos nos sibi red­didit per il­lum dile­ctum. Vatab. [...], &c. So that he maketh us accepted, Ephes. 1.6. He hath respect to our persons, and this through Christ our Sacrifice; as ver. 7. By whom we have redemption through his blood. Expounding the material cause, how we are made acceptable to God in Christ, for it is he only, whose Sacrifice by the mercy of God [Page 73]is imputed to us for forgiveness of sin; as some note on these words. It is the order observed in the New Cove­nant, Semper igitur sentiendum est nos consequi remissionem pec­catorum. Et personam pro­nunciari justum, i. e. gratis acceptari propter Christum per fidem postea vero placere etiam obedientiam erga le­gem, & reputari quandam justitiam, &c. Augustan. Confess. Ar. 6. confirmed in the death of this Sacrifice, to look to the person first through the precious blood of his Sacri­fice, and next to the perfor­mance of his duties subse­quent. As God is said to have had respect to Abel first, and then to his Sacrifice. So here, the person of the Believer is through Christ accepted with God; thus the fears lest our unworthy persons be rejected, are removed. God valueth them not as in themselves, but in the superadded favour which for Christ's sake he beareth to them.

2. Secondly, The excellency of this Sacri­fice removeth the fears which arise from the weaknesses and perfections of our gracious works too: For the excellency of this Sa­crifice ennobleth every spiritual Sacrifice we offer unto God by faith, Rev. 8.3. And ano­ther Angel came and stood at the Altar, having a golden Censer, and there was given him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the Saints upon the golden Altar which is before the Throne, On which words Junius hath this passage among others; This is that Great Emperour the Lord Jesus Christ our King and Saviour, who maketh intercession to God the Father for the Saints, filling the heavenly Sanctuary with most sweet odours, and offering up their prayers, &c. in such sort as every one of them (so powerful is that sweet savour of [Page 74]Christ, and the efficacy of his Sacrifice) are held in reconcilement with God, &c. You see then our duties are compared to incense; and if the native scent of our duties cannot be plea­sing to God, yet the superadded sweetness of Christ's incense will render them very accep­table to our God; though their savour be un­pleasing which ascends with them out of our hands, yet the savour which they carry with them ascending from the golden Altar doth delight the Lord; do not give way then to discouraging fears, that imperfect duties, and unsavoury offerings will estrange God from thee. God hath removed this fear also; the Sacrifice of Christ will perfume thy Sacrifices, which now become acceptable to God by Jesus Christ, 1 Pet. 2.4.

3. Thirdly, That there may remain no scru­ple or fear beside what he doth reconciling our persons to God, and ennobling our Dutyes through the excellency of this Sacri­fice, he hath by the same Sacrifice made an atonement or expiation for the sinful defects of all the duties of Believers. Although it is true, so many culpable defects adhere to our duties, that God might in the strict examina­tion of them, justly reject them; yet he will not impute these defects to the persons, nor for them reject the duties of his Saints, be­cause in Christ's Sacrifice he hath received an atonement, and will pardon those defects an atonement, and will pardon those defects to his children. Let us then hold fast our pro­fession of particular hope, and delight in du­ties as of the general Doctrine of the Gos­ple, Seeing we have a great High Priest, who is passed into the Heavens Jesus the Son of God, [Page 75]Now the Apostle presents us with Chrst as having Sacrificed, and with the blood of that Sacrifice entring into Heavens, i. e. to inter­cede for us in the vertue of that excellent Sacrifice; so that we may well take boldness to draw unto God with hope, that neither unworthiness of persons, nor the worthles­ness of duties shall ever be able to divert divine acceptance, seeing that if the interces­sion of a High Priest, of a Great High Priest, in the Heavens, in the presence of God, if the intercession of Jesus the Son of God, can prevail for the removeal of whatever might possibly impede our acceptation, both we and our obedience shall be acceped. In sum, art thou a believer? dost thou by faith commemorate the death of Christ thy Sacrifice? dost thou believe there is vertue and worth in this Sacrifice? how much ver­tue thinkest thou in it? certainly either there is enough to reconcile thy person, to recom­mend thy services, to pardon thy sins, or else Christ died in vain; for as good not at all, as not to purpose, will be verified in this case, he died a Sacrifice that he might bring these to good effect, viz. That we might be recon­ciled, that our duties might be a sweet smelling Sacrifice, that our sins also might be pardoned, which either are attained by the vertue of this Sacrifice, or else Christ doth not attaine his purposes of love towards true believers, which who but an infidel dares to surmise?

Sect. 4.

4. The fourth and last disquietude of the believing soul, I mentioned to be the return of his doubts and fears, lest God should with-hold the most desirable mercies and comsorts of this present state, and hide good things from him who hath forfeited them all. Many are the fears of those who shall never be condemned, who have enjoy'd the light of God's countenance, who are perswaded God accepteth their persons and duties also unto all the purposes of rewarding them hereafter, who yet are apt to sear over­much the stroakes of a smart rod here, or the darkness of this present condition. Now the Sacrifice of Christ well considered would remove all such fears and perplexing jealou­sies for.

1. This Sacrifice removing sin, removeth what would hide good things from us. When the blood of this Sacrifice hath effected our reconciliation, God will not think any mercy too good or great for us. He that spared not his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how shall he not with him give us all things also, Rom. 8.32. Facilius enim dare amicis factis quam adbuc hostibus; & facilius omne quam filium dare. Grot. in loc. It is easier to conceive, he should give to us made his friends then when we were enemies; and it is easier to give every thing then to give a Son. On a just stating matters it will appear that the Sacrifice of Christ re­moving guilt, removeth the ground of all perplexing, tormentful fears of what nature soever. I do not say it removeth them actu­ally; I know the contrary by observation: [Page 77]But I say, there is no justifiable ground for such wracking fears of future occurrences in our life; for the Believer hath through this Sacrifice a Covenant of Promises, 2 Cor. 1.20. with 1 Tim. 4.8. both of this life, as of that to come, ratified and con­firmed to him.

2. This Sacrifice gives the believer a justifi­able title to every mercy whether temporal or spiritual, that he is capable of receiving, and enjoying with safety, and good to himself, as with gloty to God; and if any one particular mercy, notwithstanding the believers desire of it, and earnest labour after it, be with-hol­den, it is because his weak foresight, and small scantling of wisdom cannot discern what the All-seeing Eye of God doth see, and what his Infinite Wisdom knows, viz. that it is fittest for the present to with-hold that particular desired mercy, and to reserve it unto a season wherein it will be a choicer mercy, and more advantageous. Now a small measure of patience might quiet the heart in the absence of such blessings, if the man would reflect upon his condition so well setled by Christ his Sacrifice, that he hath by this a title to every good, and that the time and the manner of entring on the possession of this good is assigned by the Lord in grea­test love to us, that we should not by our haste snatch an unseasonable blessing, nor by our sloth lose a seasonable mercy. It cannot enter my thoughts what may pacifie the soul, dispel murmuring discontents, and prevent perplexing fears, if these will not, viz. Christ by his Sacrifice hath reconciled me to the Eternal God, and wrought me into such fa­vour [Page 78]with God, that he hath made over him­self to me, to be mine for ever; and he hath assigned me (with his Elect) a portion in his alsufficiency: and because I know not what measure, and what season is fittest for me, he doth employ his own Wisdom to de­termine both; so that I know he hath love enough to give more, if his Wisdom saw it not greatest love to give but so much.

3. The hovering fears and doubts from uncertainties whether we shall enjoy our de­sired mercies for this present state, might be scattered, did we consider that this Sacrifice of Christ was not only expiatory of guilt, but al­so a Peace-Offering. In which kind of Sacrifices, [...], portio Domino Deo, [...], portio Sa­cerdoti, & [...], portio viro, qui attulit. as the Priest who offered had his share, so the person who brought them had a share in them likewise; tacitly intimating that there was a purchase, or procurement of good blessings (shadowed to the bringer under the portion he carried away to eat and feast on) made by this Offering, whence they had the name [...], Peace-Offerings, Dr. Cudworth's Discourse concerning the true Notion of the Lord's Supper. because they brought Peace to the Altar to the Priests, and to the owners. These Sacrifices were also called by the name [...]] a Sacrifice of ful­nesses or plenties, Quod repleret voluntatem omnium. Sic P. Fag. ex D. Kimchi. being offer­ed pro beneficio obtento vel obtinendo a Domi­no, as Mercer. for a benefit as obtained, so for one to be obtained. Let then the natural tendency of the Sacrifice of Christ, as it was [Page 79]a (Sacrificium postulationis) Peace-Offering for all blessings to be obtained from God, be considered, and see what reason Faith hath to rest confidently and quietly, assured it shall not be left destitute of any blessings, which the efficacy of this Offering could procure, the friendship of God reconciled can afford, and the enlarged regular desires of the soul can demand. I need as little prove that Christ's Sacrifice was vertually all kind of divinely instituted Sacrifice, as I need to prove to a considerate Christian, that as an Eucharistical Sacrifice and Euchtical jointly it was designed [pro obtinendis bene­ficiis] to obtain blessings, whereof certainly it hath no whit failed; as I might at large prove if it were needful. The promises are made to godliness, 1 Tim. 4.8. and these promises confirmed in Christ, 2 Cor. 1.20. It is for his sake we may ask what we will in Faith, and receive it when we ask, or better than that we ask. Ʋt illa in­serviant vo­bis in ve­strum com­modum & salutem. Vestris in­serviunt commodis. Clar. in loc. Deredias li­cet, ingentis spiritûs res est cum— tantam co­piam rerum quas natura beatissimè fundit aspexeris emittere hane vocem—Haec omnia mea sunt. Sic fit ut nil sapiens cupiat quia nihil est extra omnia. Seneca l. 7. c. 3. Lauda. Jac. Cappello. When God gave us his Son, with him he gave us all things also. And whoso hath by Faith a title to Christ as his, the same man hath by Christ a title to all things. Note well that of the Apostle, Whether things present, or things to come, all are yours, for you are Christ's, and Christ is God's, 1 Cor. 3.21. So all is yours; away then with those disquietudes which a Philosopher would controll; which a Christian should conquer. Let not their reason outgo our Faith. Though thou mayest deride, it is the [Page 80]business of a great spirit, on view of that abun­dance which nature happily poureth forth to say, all these things are mine. So comes it to pass that a wise man covets not any thing, because more than all (which is his) there is not any thing. Banish therefore thy disquieting thoughts, and turn thy cares into a stream of diligence, to secure to thy self that Christ is thy Sacrifice, that he is thy Passeover, and then this as consequent of thy interess in Christ, will be thy comfort and thy peace, whatever I can need bonâ fide, whatever I can desire sanâ mente, I may expect from the recovered Favour of my God, and the tran­scendent worth of Christ's Sacrifice. And truly I would be content to miss what I can­not find in these jointly; nor would I seek what others have to their loss gained out of Christ. Let my portion be what this un­parallel'd Sacrifice hath procured for me in the Eternal world among Saints and Angels, and let mine allowances in this transitory world, be the additionals which the wisest love, and the safest moderation can give and receive. It is not possible we should want any one mercy which is but a few degrees removed from the least and lowest, after God hath given one which is infinitely greater than all we enjoy beside. Who gave him who is more than all, will not fail to give every one that we can ask, seeing such are infinitely lesser than that he hath given alrea­dy. Well may I blush at my own unreason­able fears and doubts which return upon me, and disquiet me when I compare my self and my deportment after this expiating, pacifying, [Page 81]perfecting Sacrifice offered to God for me, with the Heathen or a Jew and their deport­ment after the offering up of their Sacrifices. They would rejoyce, rest content, and con­fidently promise themselves a wisht for pros­perity, and abundant confluence of good things: They promised themselves great things on sleight or no gronnds, and oh di­strustful heart of mine! I can hardly believe and expect conveniencies from God on the highest assurances. But hereafter I will en­deavour my Faith and Hope with Joy and Peace, shall exceed theirs as much in its con­stancy and sweetness, as it doth exceed theirs in the ground and foundation, i. e. as a sub­stance exceedeth a shadow which was Jews, or nothing which was the Gentiles Sacrifice.

The End of the First Part.

REVIVAL OF GRACE: FROM Consideration of Christ Dying a Testator. PART II.

Among some other Considerations of Christ's Death, let me acquaint you with this, that Christ Dyed a Testator; one peculiar, and sin­gular circumstance in his dying was this, that he was to die, and by death confirm his last Will and Testament; and this is very fit, sea­sonable and proper for a Sacramental medita­tion; this is a very fit and seasonable object, and matter for our meditations at a Sacra­ment, and from whence our graces may be [Page 84]actuated and improved. In order whereunto I shall do these five things.

1. I shall shew that Christ did die as a Te­stator, as a loving careful friend, making his Will. Next,

2. That the Remembrance of this kind of Death of our Lord, doth well suit with a Sacrament. Next,

3. That such a Remembrance will advance grace in its growth; this more general. Next,

4. What particular graces the renewed Remembrance of Christ dying, and ordaining his last Will or Testament, will advance and improve. And Lastly,

5. What are the singular motives proper to each of the forementioned graces, and peculiarly arising from this kind of Death, which improve grace. All which I will with what brevity and plainness I can dispatch in so many Chapters.


THE First thing which I stand bound unto, is the clearing of the truth of this Posi­tion, or Foundation of my discourse, viz. That Christ Dying, did Die as a loving and careful Friend, considering the state, and providing by Will for the future good of his kindred and people; Christ Dying, died as a Testator, as one ordaining his last Testament. Let there­fore these things be considered. As,

Sect. 1.

1. That he died seized, and possessed of a great and vast estate of which he had the abso­lute disposal. He was Lord of Heaven and Earth; and could give what ever he pleased of the one or other unto his peculiar people. It is true, he acquired a new title and right by his death, but it is as true that he had an un­questionable title and right to all, both the Glory of Heaven, with the grace that pre­pares and fits for it, and to the goods of the Earth with power to give to best pleased him. He did veil his glory, and in the daies of his flesh forewent the exercise of that glo­rious royalty which was his due equally with his Father; but he never did disseize, or dispossess himself of that inheritance which by the right of eternal generation from the Father, and which by the right of creation jointly with the Father he was, and will be still seized and possessed of, thus the Heavens were his, the Earth also; Heb. 1.2. He was heir of all things. Now could it be likely or indeed ima­ginable that so great an heir, seized of such an estate, should die and not dipose of it? had it not been wisedom to dispose of it to some or other, if he had had no dependances that needed it? the worth of the estate would have advised this if the indigency and want of the kindred had not perswaded to it. But Indeed,

Sect. 2.

2. This great heir had a very great kindred and alliance, Psal. 2.8.who were even poor enough; for the greatness of his kindred, they were scat­tered over all the earth, Rom. 15.11 Psal. 110.3. Rev. 7.9. Heb. 11.12. he hath some of all Nations; they were as the dew from the womb of the morning, an innumerable company which no man could number; as the sand on the sea shore, so was his kindred to be. And as they were many, Rev. 3.17. so likewise were they exceeding poor; they wanted much, for they had by prodigality spent all; they had wasted their goods, God gave them a good portion, did set them up bravely furnished, but all was gone unless a little which the mercy of their Creditor spared to them to live upon. There was a Judgment taken out, only mercy for­bore the Execution. Now could such a mul­of poor needy kindred be forgotten and neg­lected think you by such a Dying Friend? and how should he have shewed himself of the kindred, but by giving them legacies at his death? If their unworthy deportment was such as would disengage any other, yet it could not disengage him, who would do what best became his affection, not what best suited with their deserts. Take there­fore this farther into consideration.

Sect. 3.

3. That this great Heir had a most hearty and unparallel'd affection of pity and love for all his poor kindred. He loved them with a [Page 87]love greater than the love of women; he did bear the love of a friend, a father, of a husband; his love to his was so great, none could have greater; for it was that caused him to die for them. Now having thus loved his own, he loved them to the end; and love hath a good memory, it will not easily forget. I am sure Christ did neither abate of his love, nor forget them he loved, which perswadeth me to conclude, that this great Heir so dearly loving his poor kindred, would certainly provide for them, and leave a Will or Testament behind him, which they should all be the better for; which I the rather in­cline to believe he would do, because

Sect. 4.

4. His poor kindred needed some such due, lawful, and valid Act or Deed to convey his estate unto them. For Christ knew, and he hath given us to know, that we were not his Heirs at Law; nor could we have claimed or recovered any part of it by the Law; we had lost all our right, made forfeiture of all we once were possessed of, and God the great Governour and Lord of all, had (as we know Kings sometimes do) given all the estate of the condemned Traitors to his Son, and by especial gift had estated him in it. Ask of me, Psal. 2.and I will give thee the Heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. And we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in him. Our sin was our death, and cut off all our claim and title to [Page 88]every desirable good. Peccatum abolevit Natura­lem eam communionem quae Creaturam cum Creatore con­sociabat. Thes. Salm. de trib. Foeder. sect. 33. Sin abolished that Natural Com­munion which joined the Crea­ture in friendship with the Creatour; as the Learned Pro­fessors of Saumur observe. And God hath set forth this emblematically in the dispossessing and ejecting Adam out of Paradise. What­ever God bestow's now, he bestow's it in, and through Christ with him he giveth all things also. This being the case of Christ's poor friends, what more likely way of be­friending them than by Will? what surer way than by ordaining his last Will and Testament? since they had no title by Law preceding his gift; nor could they have any title any other way. He gave it therefore by Will, that it might be sure to come to them.

Sect. 5.

5. This great Heir died in perfect memory, and with wisedom that excelled the measures of the wisest men who set and keep their houses in order; he died not (as some men do) of a disease that should disable him to ordain his last Testament, but was his own man unto the last; he manifested this in his care of his mother, his charity towards the sinful mur­therers, for whom he prayed &c. I would add more proofs, but that it would wrong your Christianity, and call that into question. He is not worthy the name of a Christian, that is so much a stranger to the Death of Christ. In a word, he as well knew his friends needed he should give to them, as he [Page 89]knew his enemies needed he should forgive them; as he did in pity pray for the one, so he did in love and care provide for the other. And dying friends usually do provide in their last Will or Testament, especially if they have what Christ had.

Sect. 6.

6. Time enough to dispose of his estate. Some wise men leave their friends whom they dearly loved ill provided, because the sur­prize and suddenness of death preventeth them. But our Lord, this great Heir of all things, could not be surprized; he knew when his hour was, how it approached; he knew all that concerned others; he knew what was in Man, and therefore could not but know all that concerned himself, and his Death. Out of all which circumstances I do adventure to conclude, That Christ did be­fore his Death ordain his last Will and Testa­ment, and in it provide for his poor kindred, out of that vast estate which he was seized of, which he possessed and inherited in the right of his infinitely Excellent Nature, his Primogeniture, his Powerful Creation, and the Donation of his Father, when Man had for­feited all, and all estreated unto God the King and Soveraign of Man. In sum, Christ had time enough wherein to do this; he had good will enough to move him to it; he had estate enough to furnish and enrich them, and his poor kindred had need enough. And what then think we could hinder him from making his Will; or what should disswade us from believing it?


from his humiliation unto death. He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, &c. Wherefore God hath given him a name, &c. that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Christ who died, and because he died, hath this title given him, He is Lord, and this title is given to him of God himself, ( [...]) God hath exalted him, and given to him a glorious Title: Now this is not a swelling Title without power, or riches to befriend and help his people; such vain Titles are sometimes given by man to man, but never unto any by God himself; for he ever invests power with the Title he conferreth; and such a power or Autho­rity as became both the greatness of the giver, and the greatness of the receiver could not be less then a full uncontrolled, and law­full power of making a Will or Testament, giving out legacies to his indigent kindred and friends; suitable to all this is that of John 10.17. Therefore doth my Father love me, be­cause I lay down my life &c. Note well how Christ's laying down his life, i. e. Dying for his sheep, is is set down as one cause why the Father did so love him. Now because the Father loved him, he hath given, or put all things into his hand, John 3.35. Left them all to his disposal. These two places of St. John do in effect speak this very language, That the voluntary Death of Christ should procure his Father's love to him, and this love of his Father should bestow a power and right on Christ to dispose of all things. All which was exactly, and punctually per­formed to Christ after his Death, as well as [Page 93]largely promised, and contracted for, upon condition that he should die; the promise was made on condition he would die, and the right to all contained in the promise, was conferred upon him, because he died, and this right is expressed by St. John thus, he hath put all things into his hand, because he loved him, and he loved him because he laid down his life. Thus Christ acquired a right over all by his Death, and at his Death disposed of it for the good and benefit of his people, whom he made his Heir by Will or Testa­ment, which is yet farther confirmed by these two places, viz. Luk. 22.29. I appoint unto you a Kingdom. I appoint (so we read it at large) but the Greek doth point out an ap­pointing by Will or Testament: on which passage the Learned Beza hath this Note (beside what is cited in the Margent) These words being the words of Christ, [...] vulg, dispono, alii, Lego. Ex illa formula d [...], Lego in Testamentis usitatâ. Nomen enim [...], pecu­liariter de Testamento dici­tur. Beza in loc. Haec Christi ad mortem pro­porantis verba speciem habent Testamentariae cujusdam dis­positionis quo allusit Aposto­lus, Heb. 9.17.approaching now to his Death, do carry the form and shew of a certain Testamentary Disposition, to which the A­postle alludeth, Heb. 9.17. More might be added to clu­cidate and clear the word in this its most proper and na­tive signification but I for­bear that now. Vox Testamenti Latina, Grae­cam vocem [...] restrin­git ad Foederis gratiae oeco­noniam Testamentariam — &c. Joh. Cloppenb. de V.T. Disput. 1. sect. 2. [...], notat declarationem voluntatis ultimae, &c. Joh. Cocceius de Foeb. c. 13. sect. 470. Let it suffice that Christ useth a word in this place, which naturally imports the making of a Will, and so leadeth us to consider him as a Testator, as one be­fore [Page 94]his each appointing and ordaining his ast-Testament.

The second place is that of St. Paul, Latinis auribus nota erat. (Vox Testamentum) signifi­care—in rebus oivilibus ex­tremam voluntatem de rebus quas post mortem quis fieri velit, &c. Bened. Aretius in prologum. ad Nov. Test.Heb. 9.16, 17. For where there is a Testament, there must of necessiity be the Death of the Testator: For a Testament is of force after men are dead, otherwise it is of no strength at all whilst the Testa­tor liveth. In which words the Apostle doth argue the certainty and perfection of the Covenant or Promises in Christ, and proveth it by this known Argument. They are the Testament or last Will of Christ, which Christ the Testator hath by his death confirmed beyond possibility of a change. Est Oeconomia Testamenta­ria cui confirmandae mors intercedit Testatoris, Heb. 9.16, 17. Joh. Cloppenb. de Test. Vet. disp. 1. sect. 2. That look how sure and firm the last Will is when he who made it is dead; so sure and firm are the Promises to us; Voluit Foe­das suum— babere ra­tionem Te­stamenti propriè dicti — Jacob. Cappellus in soc. for they are the Testa­ment of our Lord confirmed to us by his Death. For Christ would have his Covenant cast into the mould of a Testament or last Will properly so called.

On these places I conclude this first point; Christ did not die intestate, but did ordain his last Will ere he died; and so his Death may be considered by us as the Death of a Testator, who being our friend, made his last Will for our good and benefit; for by Will he hath bequeathed very great things to us.

CAP. II Christ a Testator proper Object to medi­ditate on at the Sacrament.

HAving in the Former Chap. Proved what I undertook or at least done so much, that we may without errour in our medita­tion consider Christ Dying a Testator. I am in this Chapter to shew that the meditations of Christ's Death, as it was the Death of a Te­stator, do very well suit with the Sacrament.

Sect. 1.

1. First such thoughts are suggested to us by Christ himself in those expressions which he used in the first appointing and administring of this Ordinance when he chose to speak of it at a Te­stament. Among many names wch. might have been used, and which are gotten into use since, none so much pleased our Lord as this; Mat. 26.28. Mark 14.24 Luk. 22.20. It is the blood of the New Testament, and it is The New Testament in my Blood, Now a Testament leadeth our thoughts to the Testator; and indeed primarily, or in the first place though secondarily it signify a Covenant; And though now the frequent use of it in the notion of a Covenant makes us the labour to prove this, [...], Testament to signify a Testamen­tary Disposition or Will, yet we can prove it from the Scripture, as from Heb. 9.16, 17. Where beyond doubt it denotes a last will. And the Third of the Gal. ver. 15. If it be buta Man's Covenant (or Testament) (for it [Page 96]is [...], may with very good sense be un­derstood of a Testamentary Disposition, Paraeus in loc. Crellius in loc. or last Will as it is also intrepreted by some. Hu­mane testimony both from Historians and Lawyers pleading this use of ( [...]) Testa­stament might be added. But I refer you to the foregoing Chap. latter end. In one word, we may well suit our thoughts to Christ's words. His words may very well be both the matter, and the rule of our meditations; so that we need not fear that we erre in our thoughts at a Sacrament, when our thoughts do not wander from Christ's own words; we do surely entertain right, and seasonable me­ditations, when we entertain such as Christ suggesteth, who no doubt did purpose to lead our minds by his select phrases and words. For,

First, This beares an uniform analogy, this exactly suiteth with the manner of Antient Sa­craments which afforded seasonable matter of meditations in the Sacramental phrases, and ex­pressions then used as circumcision of the fore­skin &c. Directed them to think of circum­cising the heart, and the cutting off the lusts of the flesh, the Passeover by it's very name led the thoughts of the Jewes to meditate on the Angels passing over their Houses, [...] Tran­sivit per intervalla, Transilire unde [...], Agnus mas­cnlus qui mactabatur 15 die mensis primi—quo admonebantur Israelitae libera­tionis quae ipsis contigerat per saltum quem Deus fecerat, &c. Conr. Kitcher. in verbum. when he did smitethe Aegyptians. This, Pesach, spake, the Angels observing Israel's habita­tions, and his leaping as it were over them, but laying his hand on the Aegyptians. The mercy remembred is Israel's escape, for as [Page 97]much as the sword of the Angel rebounded from Aegyptians to Aegytian, still flying over Israel, and the name of the Memorial is Passeover. In like manner God hath set his Bow in the Clouds, a sign which he hath ap­pointed to mind us of his Covenant promise, no more to destroy the VVorld by Water; such Analogy between Sacraments and Things exhibited under them was of old; and there is not any reason why it should not continue still.

Secondly, Each Sacramental action doth lead us, and guide our thoughts to Meditations that befit the Season, and suit well with the Or­dinance. The taking, giving Thanks, break­ing, the Bread, pouring out of the VVine, Giving, &c. these all have their proper sig­nifications, and suggest suitable and seasona­ble Meditations. And no doubt if each action do so offer matter for our meditation; every expression will do it as well, especially con­sidering.

Thirdly, [...] That words and expressions are the most proper and natural signs of things, They represent things to our thoughts more lively than actions do words are the Candles which light you; things are the rare pieces which should entertain your thoughts; words are but like glass Cases through which you may discern, and view, and recreate your thoughts in beholding the curious Needle­work, or Pensil of exactest Artist. Such are the words of Christ; here they shew us what kind of love he bare toward us, what tender care he had of us, what full, sure and seasonable Provision he made for us, &c. [Page 98]This is that admirable and unparallel'd piece which lieth within the Glass of his words, and which we may seasonably meditate on any time, and most seasonably when we shew forth his Death.

Fourthly, The words and expressions of o­ther places of Scripture, and in other matters, have been the guide and matter of the Saints Meditations. So David meditated on the word of God. Psal. 119.148. Daniel thus employed his thoughts. Dan. 8.15, 19. And the blessed Virgin laid up the words which were spoken, and ponder'd them, Luke 2.19. Now if there be any special exception a­gainst the like entertaining our thoughts in weighing the words of Christ in this case, let it be produced.

Lastly, Debuit ejus oratio cum ipsa re con­sentire ut vera esset & Christo dig­na, qui sese ip [...]am veri­tatempraedi­caverat. Thes. Sal. de usu &c. Caenae, &c. Sect. 14. Plain, significant, instructing words do hardly awaken, raise, keep up, and strengthen our Meditations, and Considerations suitable to the nature, end and solemnity of this ordinance; and Christ who knew our great dulness, who pitied us under it, and who purposed to help us against it, would never puzzle and perplex our minds with words and expressions Aliene, unsuitable, and far remote from the things we ought to consider; Christ would rather make it a more easy thing, than a more difficult, to fall into seasonable meditations by following the drift, meaning and design of of his words, which containing a Testament or last Will, lead us at a Sacrament to consider Christ dying as a Testator, as our Friend in love, care, bounty and fidelity providing for us by Will, such thoughts well suit the Or­dinance of the Lords Supper.

Sect. 2.

2. Secondly, In his (lib. Novi Test.) verè expri­mitur extre­ma Filii Dei voluntas quam ratam voluit inter nos post mor­tem suam. Eam habe­mus expres­sam in Caenae dominicae institutione. &c. D. A­retius in Prolegom; ad Matth. Such thoughts well suit the Sa­crament of the Lords Supper. For then our thoughts, and the things themselves agree; there is an harmony between the things themselves contained in the Sacrament, and the thoughts of the Communicants. The nature of the things and our thoughts do then center and meet together; and there is most suitableness, where there is nearest agreement. Now I have sufficiently proved, that Christ did make his last Will, and that he died a Testator; the Sacrament of his last Supper is a shewing forth this Death; and unto this do your thoughts agree, when they run out into Me­ditations on Christ dying and making his last Will. So that more needs not be added to this Second Argument; by which it appeareth how suitable such thoughts are, agreeing well with what is represented to us, and how seasonable our thoughts are, being drawn out at such time, as these things are represented to us.

Thirdly, Meditations on Christ dying and making his last Will and Testament, do well suit this Sacrament; for they do well suit with the ends of this Sacrament. There are among others four eminent and unquestionable ends of this Sacrament; to all which, these thoughts exactly agree, of all which in as few words as I may, I do purpose to speak. And so,

1. First, A publick and solemn Declaration or Profession of this great Truth, That Christ Jesus the Messiah hath died according to the Scriptures, and is risen again living in the glory of his Father, with whom we have [Page 100]Communion in every Sacrament until he take us to the Glory of the Father, or come again to us in the Glory of the Father. E­very Sacrament is a taking out a Certificat that Christ died, and was buried, but that he is risen from the Dead. [...] Isa. 53. Every time the Bread is broken in a Sacrament, we tell the world that our Lord was cut off out of the Land of the Living. The pouring out of the Wine speaketh his powring out his blood unto death; and for proof hereof, we pro­duce his Testament and last Will; the last Will of our great Commander, who made it (In Procinctu) when he was girt, and in his Ar­mour just ready to enter the conflict, where­in he laid down his life for us. The excellent Moralist and Historian Plu­tarch tells us, [...], &c.it was the cu­stome with the Roman Soul­diers to make their Wills when they stood in Battel-aray. Facientibus Testamenta in procinctu veluti ad Certam mortem eundum foret. Velleius Paterculus. lib. 2. I am sure when they went on a hard and dangerous de­sign, the more considerate a­mongst them, made their last VVill, as the Roman Historian reports of their Souldiers as­saulting Trebonia in Spain. Our great, and Glorious Captain knowing that his hour was come and that he must dye for us; disposed thus his estate by VVill or Testament, which proveth the truth of his Death as fully as any VVill duly proved by course of Law proveth that the Testator is dead. Now certainly good evidence to the truth of Christ's death must needs be very suitable to our publick declaration and Profession of his death and so [Page 101]must suit with this first End of the Sacra­ment, which is to shew forth his Death until he come. The valid and irreversible Testa­ment proveth the Death of the Testator. Now such a Testament we have exhibited in the Sacrament; and who employs his thoughts on this meditation, employs them so as they agree with the End of the Sacra­ment.

2. Secondly, Christ intended the renewal of our lively affections toward him Dying for us as another end of the Sacrament of his body and blood. He did therefore appoint this Ordinance to continue after his Death, that it might keep the affectionate remem­brance of his love alive in our hearts. He would not have his Death forgotten, neither would he have it kept in memory without the vi­gour and strength of our love. His friends were dead in sin and misery; at that time he remembred these dead friends with life of affections, and now his living friends must not remember him with dead affection. A lifeless affection is next neighbour to no affection; and to remember with such affection, is very little more than quite to forget. Now none of us should so forget our Dying Lord; we could not see him dying as they did, Luk. 23. v. 27. who followed him to Mount Calvary, and saw him with their bodily eyes; yet in every Sacrament of his Supper he is evident­ly set forth dying among us; and so every one of us must remember him; every place in the Church may put us in mind of our Lord; but the Table and the Cross do more particularly and lively set our remembrance [Page 102]on work, Sic oculos! Sic ille manus! &c. Let me ask the question, did you ever lose a dear friend who made you a Legatee in his Will? or appointed you Executor of it? how did your affections stir, move, yea melt your heart when you read over the Will? when you came to demand your Legacy, did you receive it with dry eyes? Let us bestow our affections in reading over Christ's Will, as we would bestow them in reading over the Will of a tender careful Friend, and then I am sure we shall frame our hearts to this second end of the Lord's supper, and demean our selves as Christ expects we should at his table. We shall remember him with love for his loving remembrance of us; we shall remember him with desires of his return and coming in glory to make good all that he hath bequeathed to us, to put us in possession of all that which the Sacrament representeth and sealeth to us, we shall say make hast come quickly oh! Lord.

3. Thirdly, A solemn, publick and constant return of Thanks and Praise to the Lord, is a third end of this Sacrament. Christus voluit sacram suam coenam esse mortis & passio­nis suae, nostraeque per eam à peccato morte & diabolo liberationis perpetuum [...], & nostrae ea propter gratitudinis & observantiae publicum Testimonium. Ludoy. Cappel. Thes. Salm. de Liturg. & Ling. Ignot. part 1. th. 5. Christ would have his holy Sup­per be a perpetual remembrance, as of his Death and Passion, and as of our deliverance from sin, death and the Devil, so of our gratitude and observance would he have it be a publick Testimony; as that Learned Professor hath expressed his sense and apprehension of this matter. We can scarce meet with any one [Page 103]person amongst the lowest and meanest Pro­fessours of Christian Religion, so little instru­cted in the nature and end of this Ordinance, as not full well to know and openly profess it is an Ordinance appointed for continuing a thankful Remembrance of our Dying Lord. We cannot read any Writer Popish, or other, but in their writings of the Sacrament, every page is full of it; the most usual name of it is Eucharist, [...], and the Syriack Version hath borrowed this Greek word to express it self, in Act. 2.42. & 20.7. where [...] is rendred by [...] which soundeth out Gratitude and Thankfulness; so some render and translate Bread, in Acts 2.42. & 10.7. broken in the Sacrament, and call it the Breaking of the Eucharist; but I will spare my time, pains and paper, and appeal to thy pretences and professions who goest to the Lord's Table: I know thou canst not acquit thy self to thy Brethren with whom thou communicatest, nor to thy own Pro­fession, unless thou declarest thy desire to remember thankfully the Death of thy Lord.

Now the Love of Christ remembring thee by Will in his Testamentary disposition, hath in it very many strong and prevailing per­swasives to thankfulness, and will certainly a­waken the sober considerate soul unto grati­tude, and so will excellently well suit with the season and the duty of feasting with our Lord. Of which more shall be said in our fol­lowing discourse if the Lord give leave. Mean while the greatness of our legacy, the free­ness of love in the legator, the unworthiness of the legatees, the certainty of our future re­ceiving [Page 104]it, the present enjoying more if so be we would set our selves with more diligence and search to enquire into the deed of gift our Lord hath made to us. These I say will cer­tainly perswade us to constant acknowledg­ing our debt of thankfulness to our dying Lord.

Our life should be a perpetual thanksgive­ing to Christ, but a Sacrament is the solemne day of Thanksgiving which Christ hath ap­pointed. He did find the Jews keeping the Passeover, so he hath ordained the Christian Feast of his supper in the stead thereof, and so to be kept: the Apostle tells us that he re­ceived of the Lord what he delivered to his Corinthians, [...], 1 Cor. 10.16 and he delivered unto them this cup of Blessing: this minds you of the grea­test gift God could give, and must not be lookt on without your heart in your eye. Go too then, think as you can of him who hath made you heirs by his will, speak of it as you can. Inusitatâ & incognitâ quadam fe­licitate. I mistake if you do not think & say (this came to pass by an unusual and wonderful happiness) as the Historian said of that will which made the people of Rome heir to a Kingdome. Be you as just to the Remem­brance of your Lord, and shew it in your thankfulness.

4. Fourthly, Another great End of the Sa­crament, and which Christ intended in ap­pointing, Coena in eum finem comparata est, ut sit communioris & charitatis Christianonum vinculum inter ipsos. Th. Thalm. de usu coen. Dom. dis. 1. sect. 42. it was, that union and communion might be preserved and continued among Be­lievers. It doth therefore bear the name of a Communion; and Christ hath prepared this [Page 105]Spiritual Feast to keep up spiritual friendship. Christ would have but one Table for Belie­vers, that Believers might have but one heart for each other. Christ hath put them all together at his table, that they might keep all together in love, and be but one. Mark well with what text the Apostle urgeth this Union and Communion among Saints, 1 Cor. 10.17. We being many are one bo­dy, for we all partake of one bread. But now alas! that is made a cause of contention and separation, which was appointed a means of union and Christian friendship; of which I might justly complain, were this fit time and place. But I conclude this in the words of the Learned Professours; Sacra Synaxis est dilectio­nis fidelium inter se contes­seratio quaedam. P P. Salmur. de usu & neces. coen. Dom. Disp. 1. Sect. 42. The holy Commu­nion is a certain signal mark of the love of the faithful one to another. Now I say, the last Will of Christ dying a Testator, conduceth unto this; and therefore the meditations of Christ dying a Testator, will suit with the Sacrament, and do well become a Communi­cant. View but a while, oh ye quarrelling Believers, how you have all one common great friend! ought you not be one in him? Have you not all one title? and may you overthrow your Brother's hope without overthrowing your own? are all men care­ful to preserve unity, whose welfare is en­dangered by discord? and will you be less than men? In one word, Christ hath put you all into his own Will, and made you Legatees, Joint-heirs: how well doth one Will become them, who are thus one in the Will of Christ! [Page 106]oh divide not in your wills and affections, you are undivided in the Will of Christ! suit your considerate thoughts to the blessed ends your Dear and Dying Lord intended to pro­mote; enlarge your thoughts on the parti­cular considerations and respects in which he died; draw down these respects unto the several graces and duties which they will awaken and strengthen, and I hope in a Sa­crament you shall find your Profession and Faith confirmed, your Affections enlivened, your Thankfulness enlarged, your Union and Communion with Saints strengthened and secured, by a due application of your medi­tations to the Death of Christ dying a Testa­tor, and so will find by experience what I have said, that these thoughts well suit a Sa­crament, because they well suit the ends of the Sacrament.

CAP. III. Christ's Testament Influenceth our Graces.

I Am now to treat my Reader with the en­tertainment of his thoughts on the third proposal which pretends to make it appear, that due considerations of Christ's dying a Testator, making his will, and comprising all his friends in it, may improve the growth of grace; such reflections on this kind of death do well comport to the communion; they do also well advance the graces of the commu­nicant; they do befit the solemnity; they be­nefit the solemnizer, which I shall attempt to illustrate and prove in the genetal by these following arguments.

Sect. 1.

1. First. 1 Argument That which awakens the soul to a diligent search and enquiry into the word, and into its own state, will advance the growth of grace. Grace is of such a nature, it growes best when most searcht, as health by medicines which penetrate the secretest places of the disease, and expel the most hidden, hurtful humours: our spiritual Balm healeth best when self-examination openeth our wounds and ma­keth way that the Balm may sink and soak to the bottom. Now the consideration of Christ dying a Testator, and making his Will or Te­stament, will awaken us to such a search & en­quiry. It is almost natural to us when our rich friends dye to enquire what Will they made, and who are remembred, and what they are remembred in, especialy when they hear that all the kindred and all the friends are re­membered in the Will, and have somewhat given them; upon this the considerate Chri­stian begins his search of these two things at least.

1. The last Will of Christ which is con­tained in, and to be gathered out of his word. And next, He

2. Searcheth his own Pretences to the Friendship and Kindred of Christ; for the word assures him that the Lord Christ hath bequeath'd all to his Brethern and Friends, Hence

3. A Third thing is concluded by the con­siderate Christian viz. The strengthning his alliance to Christ, and making it more firm [Page 108]and sure, which is most effectually, and only done by adding grace to grace, and bringing forth fruits of grace; thus will this search occasioned by this Death of Christ improve grace.

Sect. 2.

2. That which answers the doubts, and which removes the disquieting fears of the gracious soul doth improve grace in the soul. Doubts are the souls earth-quakes, which shake the foun­dations, and weaken the superstructure; these doubts once well removed, and these fears once well blown over; the soul resteth on a good, strong, solid foundation; and all that is laid upon it standeth the faster and steadier. These disquieting fears are Languores animae, The consumptive decaies of weak grace, let these be taken away, and grace recovers to a healthful vigorous and strong habit; they are part of that spirit of bondage which attends a weaker, and less grown grace; and as these fears are dispelled, and the prevalence of the spirit of bondage abateth, so (the Pharrhesia) that boldness and child-like confidence of grown grace increaseth with an increasing measure of the spirit of Adoption, from which springeth an universal increase of grace: At (que) adop­tionis illius vim sense­runt in Spi­ritu Sancti­ficante, PP. Salmur. de Sp. Adop. Sect. 12. so they who are sealed with the spirit of Adoption, have still found the power of that Adoption by the spirit of Sanctification. Now, I say, Christ Dying a Testator, and lea­ving us his last Will or Testament to medi­tate upon, hath left us a good answer to our doubts, and the due meditations of the soul on the last Will of Christ, will much dispel [Page 109]our fears, and quiet the soul. For whereas there are two sorts of fears which afflict a gracious soul.

1. A fear it shall miss of Glory. And

2. A fear it doth want truth of grace. Christ by his last Will hath secured the belie­ving soul against both these fears; against the first by giving a Kingdom and Glory to such by Will; he appointed them unto a Kingdom, to a Glorious Crown. Against the second by bequeathing the spirit of Truth and Grace unto them, to lead them in holiness unto the end; and this Will of our best Friend who Died to confirm it, is a very sure Title on the sacred reverence & authority of last Wills and Testaments, Legum servanda fides, suprema voluntas Quod mandat, fieri (que) subet parere necesse est. Aug. Imper. de vol. Virg. which must be sacred and inviolate when the man is dead; Command of Laws must duly be fulfill'd And so must that our dying friend last will'd, how much more when he who died once, hath for ever con­quered death, and lives for ever to see his own Legacies both bestowed and enjoyed, which peculiar to Christ our dying friend, gives greatest encouragement against such doubts, and might very well ease us of all such fears, and so be an excellent defence and prop to weak grace; whence will soon fol­low a considerable growth in grace.

Sect. 3.

3. That which confirms the truth, certainty and immutability of the promises, improveth Grace. I need not give long Proofs of so [Page 110]known a Truth, Praecipuum & maximè proprium ob­jectum Fidei situm est in promissioni­bus. PP. Salm. de Fide. sect. 7. the promisies are the objects of our faith, the good things contained in the promises are the object of our hope, the grace and mercy making the promises is the Load-stone of our love. In one word, we are made partakers of the Divine Nature, we do purify our selves, and perfect holiness through these promises. Grace is as the vine, the promises are the frame which beareth up and carrieth the vine which thriveth best when it resteth on the surest and stedfastest frame. Grace is a spiritual building which needeth a sure Foundation. [...]. Such is the pro­mise which, as the word of God, is in it self sure and stedfast, for it is impossible that God should lie, Tit. 1.2. & Heb. 6.18. Yet to this the Lord hath superadded the confir­mation and certainty of a Testamentary dis­position, or last Will, making, all the promises in Christ, and making them all sure, and un­changeable by the death of Christ, whereby they become to us ( [...]) yea and Amen, 2 Cor. 1.20. that we might have such assurance as should render it next to a moral impossibility for us soberly and deliberately to doubt them. Now all this is excellently effected by resolving and moulding the promises into a last Will or Testamentary disposition, which is of such a nature, that it becomes unalterable on the Death of the Testator; Heb. 9.17. for a Testament is of force after men are dead, and so the law maxim ensureth us, In publicis Lex, in pri­vatis Testa­mentum fir­missimum habetur. that what the law is in publick concerns, that a last Will in private concerns is for ensurance and firmness. In brief therefore, the last Will of Christ Dying confirms the Promises to us, what confirms [Page 111]the promises confirms our faith and hope with other graces, faith and hope confirmed do greatly tend to purifying and sanctifying our hearts, and making our life fruitful: in these things lieth the growth and improve­ment of grace; so that due reflections and right manage of our thoughts on Christ dying a Testator do as is said, improve the com­municants Graces.

Sect. 4.

4. That improves grace which doth soften the heart, and as it were ripen it unto a mellow temper, as the showers which soak into the earth in the spring time, which soften the earth do both prepare the way that ten­der roots of trees and plants may spread a­broad and root deeper; and also do afford nourishing moisture and sap whence the verdure, blossom and the fruit it self; so it is here a hard and rocky heart is as unkind, a soil for grace as stony ground is for Corn; neither can take root to any good purpose. Trees of righteousness are planted by the ri­vers of waters, which is a tender soil, [...] where the water courses divide themselves and run out into many branches, gently and kindly softening the ground. And though some vines of the Lord are planted in high Moun­taines naturally hard and barren, in proud and hard hearts, yet these hearts are like plowed ground, laid a fallowing and mel­lowing, and so prepared for the seed time every high Mountain is laid low before Christ. In one word, the pleasant Lillies do grow in the Valleys, low and softned grounds; [Page 112]so grace thrives best in the humble and tender soul. Now there are in the last Will of Christ many, both common and ordinary, as also Sin­gular and extraordinary motives and induce­ments to tenderest affections towards Christ. Whatsoever cause any true friend, any kind Brother, any dutiful Child can see in the care, love and bounty of his Dying Friend, Brother or Father, expressed and contained in the por­vision made by such one for him, that, all that, and more, may the meditating and con­siderate soul see in the last Will of Christ to melt him into affections for Christ, in whose Death he may see love living, and growing strong when life fainted and grew weak. And as his veines, and heart grew empty of blood, both grew full of love to you and me. So he loved his own to the end. What in particular these common and speciall motives are, I shall not now specify, but reserve them to another more fit place, thus you have the sum of this fourth argument before you in the next place.

Sect. 5.

5. That improves our graces which endea­reth the Lord Jesus to us; what increaseth our love to Christ doth increase our holiness, and addeth to our graces; love will long for a more close union; love will study the most intire complyance; it will ambitiously strive to ad­vance, and honour; it will without ceasing endeavour to please. That soul is most en­deared to holiness and most studious of holi­ness, which is most endeared to Christ, and most in love with him; such a soul keeps his Commandments.

Now the view and consideration of Christ▪s last Will and Testament will surely endear Christ unto the soul; there the soul seeth the real Testimonys of his Saviour's love. Last Wills or Testaments are those in which we profess all our affection. Quibus af­fectum om­nem fate­mur. Brisson. de Form. After this men can do no more, at this time therefore they will do what they can for their beloved Friends. This love is an immortal love attempting to fill the cistern & to leave it full when the spring head dryes up; it is a love surviving Death, when the lover cannot, a peice of Friendship rescu­ed from the hand and power which kills thy Friend. When Jacob could live no longer to love his Joseph, his love could not die but fleeteth from his feeble dying heart, and re­poseth it self in the sacred and unviolate treasury of Jacobs last Will, where it doth, and shall still survive both the Lover, and the Be­loved, [...] Gen. 48.22. 1 King. 1. in this you discover Joseph had a dou­ble share in Jacobs love. When David was to make his last will you may see which of all his Sons had most of David's heart; so true is it that last Wills are open windows of the heart through which we may see the living affection of our Dying Friend. This is undeniably true of the last Will of Christ, who looks into it shall see the dearest love, the tenderest affection, the faithfullest friendship, the seasonablest care, and the fullest provision, and who seeth this can do no less than wish he had a more dear affection to return for that which is so incom­parably grater than all other.

Sect. 6.

6. That improves Grace which shakes off security and awakeneth out of sloth; security is the lethargy of the soul; and it must be cured or the soul Dyeth, sloth is that scorbutick disease of the soul which weakens all its gra­ces, and takes off the edge of them, and this must be removed by a vigorous exercise of that strength and life which yet remaineth in Grace, or Grace will decay, wither, and dye; rid the soul of these two, and Grace will suddenly recover it self and grow. Now it is unquestionable that the last Will of Christ carrieth in it sufficient considerations to a­waken the soul out of pernicious security and to quicken it unto vigorous diligence. For all the legacies of Christ are conditional, requi­ring either precedent conditions, or enjoining subsequent conditions of love and obedience; and this love with obedience will be found such as will take up all thy time and strength; set to it so soon as thou wilt, here will be work enough for thy Christian care. Thou wilt find life short, love long, work weighty, strength weak. The Philosopher rowsed him­self with this, Vita brevis ars longa, life is short, Art is long. Christian, look over Christ's expectation expressed in his Will and Testa­ment, and write this presently as thy moni­tory, Vita brevis, Fides longa, The time of Life is short, the work of Faith is long; and rowse up thy self both from security and sloth; make haste to do thy Lord's will, that thou mayest have large share in the last [Page 115]Will of thy Lord. When a very rich gist is given by Will upon conditions and reserva­tions, and all revoked from every claimer who performeth not those conditions, and disposed to others who will do, and have done and performed the conditions; how great care and diligence doth this awaken? how speedy is the considering Legatee! what haste doth he make to perform! lest non-performance of his duty should disap­point his hope, and cut off his claim. Chri­stian, thou hast the Inheritance given by Will, and that Will prescribes thee thy duty; and if ever thou intendest to put in claim for it, look thou put thy hand speedily to the doing of what is there enjoyned thee. For I tell thee, thy Lord who made the Will, who prescribed the terms, who enjoyned thy per­formance, and before whom thou must make thy claim, is not now dead, but liveth; is not far off, but near to thee, seeth and ob­serveth all thy sloth and laziness, and will re­ject thy suit, and dash thy pretences, and con­found thy hopes, unless sight of his Will quicken thee to do his will.

CAP. IV. Graces enumerated Improvable by the last Will of Christ.

I Have performed, [...], at potui [...]amen. if not as I would, yet (as Bernard said) as I could the three first parts of my Promise. I shall now en­deavour the performance of the fourth, viz. in a particular enumeration of those graces which I apprehend may be much improved by the consideration of Christ's last Will or Testament renewedly remembred at the Communion of the Lord's body. And

Sect. 1.

1. First, Faith is one Grace which is im­provable by due managing our thoughts of Christ's ordaining his last Will ere he died, and dying, to ratifie and make his last Will firm and irrevocable. This gives us greatest assurance of the truth of the Promises, and so addeth to the evidence of things that are not seen. Man verily believeth, and boldly pleadeth his title and right to the Legacy which his dying friend bequeathed to him.

Sect. 2.

Secondly, Hope and Expectation of enjoying the good things promised, is another grace im­provable by the application of Christ's Death dying a Testator and ordaining his last Will. [Page 117]The certainty of future enjoying, and the goodness of the thing to be enjoyed, is the life of hope, the root and strength of it. Now, the goodness of that we expect, [...], & [...]. and the cer­tainty of our future enjoyment, are jointly contained and declared in the last Will of our Lord, to which in more particular manner we hope to speak.

Sect. 3.

3. Longing desires of surer interess in the Covenant or Testament of Christ, and desire of nearer union unto Christ, is improvable up­on the reflections of our serious thoughts on the Death of Christ dying and making his VVill. Every one who needeth, would wish himself of the kindred, and affinity of that rich, bountiful and kind friend, who enricheth all his kindred by his large Legacies at his Death; and he will desire to be so related unto Christ, who duly considers what may be obtained by Christ.

Sect. 4.

4. Love to the Lord, and a high prizing of his person and concernments is an other Grace of the believer improveable by this meditation of Christs Death as the Death of a Testator. Every one honoureth the remembrance, and speaketh well of him who doth liberally, and wisely provide for his indigent and needy relations; strangers do value such an one, and much more doth his ingenuous and conside­rate Friend.

Sect. 5.

5. Zeal to his glory and honour, a spiritual fervency of heart in all that such a Friend is any whit concerned in is another qualification of a believer and this also is improved by the due manage of our knowledge of Christs last Will and Testament. Were there but little cordial Friendship in the heart of a believer toward Christ, yet a little Friendship would kindle much Zeal for such love and bounty as is expressed by Christ in his Will and last Testament, to us.

Sect. 6.

6. Joy and Gladness in the Lord the heart will rejoice in its own interess in Christ, and glory in Christ, when the great and good things done for it by Christ, and setled upon it by the last Will of Christ, are known and duely considered. It is a vanity yet common among men to glory and rejoice in their rich Relations, and in their ample estates given to them by the will of such Friends; but it is no vanity in a believer to rejoice and glory in his large Legacyes bequeathed to him by Christ for the greatness and goodness of these things (with the unbeleif and vilifyings which others cast upon believers) their hopes and their Lord do warrant, yea call for it.

Sect. 7.

7. Thankfulness and gratefull return of praise unto him who hath so remembred us, is another grace improveable upon the consi­derate observance of Christ making his last Will; and upon our meditating on his will it is so apparently due, that every one doth usher in the mention of a Legacy or great gift by will with thanks to the Giver; I thank him he remembred me. &c.

Sect. 8.

8. Humility and a lowly temper of soul, a so­ber esteem of our selves (who have what we have, and do hope for all that we can expect, of free gift) is another grace or Christian ha­bit improvable by due and serious consider­ing Christ's last Will and Testament made by himself before his Death, and confirmed by his Death. We had been all poor sheaks, and pitifull beggars, if it had not been for this rich and great Friend of ours. I have heard men blow down the pride of some, (who were set up as we are by anothers bounty,) with one blast such had not been worth one groat if his Friend had not put him into his Will; so do thou Christian consider, and so say.

Sect. 9.

9. Patience in suffering for Christ's sake; nay Patient bearing all the afflictions of our [Page 120]whole life, is another grace which may be much increased by our due observing and ap­plying our thoughts unto Christ's last Will or Testament. He can never suffer too much for Christ, who hath so much given to him by Christ; nor may he be at any time weary of the labour he undergoeth for Christ who un­derstandeth what is his legacy in the Testa­ment or Will of Christ.

Sect. 10.

10. Sorrow for doing so little for him, and grief for doing any thing at any time against Christ, is another effect of our meditations and due observations of the love of Christ manifested to us in his last Will. This part of repentance is improveable by these like re­flections on Christ Dying a Testator, and put­ting us into his last Will. If there be any in­genuity lest among the Friends of a Dying person who giveth largely to them all, though they all did slight reproach, oppose and wrong him, this gift will draw out tears for their former carriage toward him.

Sect. 11.

11. Setled purpose to live in future dayes more worthy of, (at least with endeavours after a carriage and deportment which may be more answerable to) the love of Christ Dying for us, and so carefully and bountifully remembring us before he died. Renewed obedience is another effect which will be promoted and advanced by such thoughts.

Sect. 12.

12. A loving and peaceable disposition to­wards believers, our joint Legatees, who were in the heart of Christ as well as we, and who are by the Will of Christ made joint-heirs with us. Charity and Brotherly-kind­ness is a grace improvable by these sweet influences of Christ's love equally providing for them and us by his Will; we shall be con­strained to love those whom we know Christ so loved. And thus you have in this Chapter the brief Summary of what graces may be increased. Now the special influence which the last Will of Christ dying hath on the soul for the increase of each of these graces, will occasion the resuming of them in the order I have here laid down, and so will be our employment, and your farther enter­tainment in the next Chapter.

CAP. V. Faith Improved by the last Will of Christ.

IN this Chap. I foresee I shall be much lon­ger than in all the former; and its length will necessitate me to cast it into more branches: for I must discourse particularly and distinctly on those twelve Graces men­tioned in the fourth Chapter. I shall allot therefore a particular Section to each parti­cular [Page 122]Grace, in which Sections I hope to clear it, That the last VVill of Christ hath a special Influence on the considerate medi­tating soul to improve its Grace.

Sect. 1.

1. The believing, meditating and conside­rate Communicant may improve his Faith by the consideration of Christ's last VVill: there lye hidden many inducements unto Faith, and very strong supports of Faith; all which consideration will draw forth, and likely enough in some such order as this some of them may be drawn out.

Now the Scripture tells me, that Faith is the substance of things hoped for; a perswa­sion of the certain future accomplishment of those things which are pro­mised to the Believer. Credere est persuasum esse de veritate alicujus rei. PP. Sal­mur. de Fide, sect. 15. To be­lieve, is to be perswaded of the truth of any thing proposed to be believed. So that the more, the clearer, the surer our perswasives and arguments are to believe, the stronger will be our Faith and Assent to the Truths which are proposed and argued; the stedfaster and more un­moved will our perswasion be, Persuasio non fit aliterquam admittendo aut introducen­do in intellectum eas rationes caque argumenta quibus u­naquaeque res sese veram esse demonstrat. PP. Salmur. de Fide Disp. 1. sect. 15. Which is wrought in no other manner than by admitting or letting into the understand­ing those Reasons and Argu­ments whereby each thing de­monstrateth it self to be true: VVhich passage of the Learn­ed Professours is a very fit Exposition of the [Page 123]Apostles words. [...]. Heb. 11.1. Faith is the evidence of things which are not seen, it is the conclusion of the soul, arguing with it self from the evidence of truth, and from the certainty of those reasons which are dis­cussed, and throughly pondered; as then, there is more or less evidence and certainty in the promise or word on which our faith and per­swasion is built; so there is more or less strength in our faith or perswasion, Confirmat— fidem quod magis ac magis per­suadet vera esse promis­sionem, &c. P.P. Sal. de Sacram. in gen. sect. 54 and a certainty which grows greater and greater, will produce a saith which grows greater and greater like wise. Let us then see what increase of our perswasion and faith, may be made by the last Will and Te­stament of our Lord. In which thou hast.

First, All the common inducements of a firm perswasion which are as much in this as in any. No man's last Testament, can have more grounds for the ensuring us it is firm and stable, than his last VVill of Christ. He was in strictest propriety, a Person who might optimo jure, in best right make his VVill. He had wealth and riches, spiritual Riches, fulness of Grace and merit; Testes suntin primis disci­puli ejus A­postoli sancti man tyres quoque testes sunt.-Testes etiam bom ministri om­nes Testes e­tiam Angeli omnes (que) Pii. Ben. Are­tius in Pro­legem. ad Matth. he had large demeasnes, was heir of all things, he could sua legare, bequeath his own; he did also make his VVill by his death; he confir­med all the promises, and made them the Legacy of every Believer. He did condere Testamentum, ordain his Testament. To which he added sufficient VVitnesses: to him give all the Prophets and Apostles witness, that whosoever believeth in him hath good title and right to eternal Life; he bequeathed it by VVill, and adhibuit testes, * call'd in [Page 124]Witnesses. And farther, he publish'd his Will, sent out his Apostles, who declared Christs death, and the Believers life. Every Minister of Christ is one by whom Christ still pub­lisheth this Will of his. Now if thou who readest this, hadst such a Ground of Plea for an inheritance; wouldst thou not say, thou hadst a good Title? wouldst thou fear to claim thy Legacy? wouldst thou not sue the Execu­tor rather than lose thine inheritance? when thou shouldest read what thy dying Friend commanded to be written, what witnesses are to it, how plain and full he made every thing be written & publisht, would not thy perswa­sion grow as thou readest? So then it is in this case, every promise is reduced into the form of a will, and the more thou readest and con­siderest, the more wilt thou discern the sta­bility and the certainty of the promises. The words which thou believest, & on which thou may'st claim, and make good thy claim to any promise, it is the Legacy thy dying Lord hath bequeathed thee. Say then before thou goest to the Lords Table, I am now prepa­ring to renew the memorial of Christs death, and what thoughts am I to entertain? ought they not to be thoughts of the precious promises which are comprised in the Lord Jesus, in whom they are all yea and amen, made to us in him before he died; made most sure to us by him when he died. And who dares go about to reverse what he hath so consirmed? who shall presume to annul and make void his will? I see others believe their interest in the last will of their Friends: I know I am the Friend of Christ, and in his Will, what then should make me doubt? [Page 125]Nay I will endeavour to have as inviolatam fidem, inviolate and unshaken Faith as I have inviolate and Sacred ground of Faith in the last Will of my Lord.

Secondly, The Believer hath yet more to increase his faith, and to confirm him in the perswasion that there shall be a performance of all that is promised. For it is all made sure by the last Testament of him who could not exceed his own treasures; he hath not given larger Legacies than his estate will bear; though his Gifts are great, yet his Estate will make them good. He is heir of both Worlds, with all that is in both: he is heir of the world to come; and he is pro­prietary of all grace which fits for Glory; and he is also Proprietary of all Glory fitted unto Grace, that is prepared and apportio­ned unto Grace. He is Lord of this present world: although we do not yet see all things put under him, yet he is the man of whom David spake, Psal. 8. witness the Apostle, Heb. 2. He shall inherit all Nations: he is a King, whose dominion is over all. In one word, the greatest wants, the largest de­sires, the highest expectations of his kindred could not be too much for his Treasures. Though none ever gave as he hath given; yet none ever did or ever shall be put to a­bate or to forgo any part of his Gift. This oh believing soul is! peculiar to thy Lord; his Riches will pay all his Legacies.

Say then to thine unbelief, what is it thou stickest at? where lieth the difficulty? are the promises so rich, they exceed the Estates and Treasures of this world? do they a­mount [Page 126]to more than all the world can make up? why still they are not greater than the Riches of both worlds: and remember thy self; he hath both this, and that world which is to come, at his disposal, and his Bequests are to be disbursed and paid out of both: [...] which the Arab. reads Quicquid est in ea. will both be enough? cannot the ful­ness of the Earth fill thy emptiness? why the Earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; the World is his, and they that dwell therein. Banish thine unbelief which ordinarily stumbles most at the wants and streights of Christians in this life; and look to the last Will of Christ which is unto Godliness. [...]. He bequeaths all the promises of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. Oh now where is thy faith? what forbids thee to be perswaded of the truth of the promise of Christ; 1 Tim. 4.8. he hath not laid it on an uncertainty, much less on an un­truth: he hath not given so much, if his Goods will amount to it. He hath not as that beggarly Cardinal, given much, but his Legatees must find it out. No, but he had enough to give what he hath given; and e­very one shall in due time have all that Christ hath given; there are Assets to pay these debts; believe, than that thou may'st receive. See how much greater cause thou hast to believe, than any man can have to expect from the Testamentary disposition of a mortal friend who may possibly out give his Estate, but Christ thy Friend, did not, could not out-give his.

3. Next consider, as he had wealth both spiritual, eternal and temporal sufficient to discharge his leagacies, so he had wisdom [Page 127]which could not, and love in sincerity which would not err in the ordaining of his Will that so any Legatee should lose through the ambiguity or defect of his last Will. He need­ed none to direct him how to make a will which should hold good, and be valid to all the intents and purposes of his love towards his poor Friends. He is that [...], that one Law-giver whose wisdom directeth to the making Laws good, profitable and sea­sonable for his Church. He is that Lawgiver whose soveraign authority gives validity, and warranteth his word for a law to his Church. He is the King of his Church, and his Church knows not a law beside the word of his mouth. And the words of his mouth are right; there is nothing forward or perverse in them, Prov. [...] Prov. 8.7. 8.8. Now then see what farther ground of firme perswasion thou hast. Oh believing soul, to assent to, wait for all that he hath promised! all which he hath comprised and ratified by his last Will. Read over the promi­ses, weigh them duly, and say to thy self at a Sacrament, all these promises were confirmed by the last Will of my Lord. Whose death I am to remember and consider with respect to the nature and notion of his Death; and this his Death was the Death of a Testator, of one who made his Will so wisely, so con­sonantly to the law, viz. Of grace and mercy, so agreable to the holy will of God, so plainly and fully for the consolation of his poor Friends, that no one of his poor Friends shall ever be defeated, disappointed, or inju­red in their claim, and plea, their title by gift and will is so good, that nothing but a narrow [Page 128]desire, a straitned heart a scanty apprehension of it can lessen their portion in it; the fullest apprehension, the largest heart, and the vast­est desire according to Christ's own Will, shall have the best and greatest share in these gifts: get then apprehensions suited to these excel­lent mercies: enquire and learn what mer­cies are offered, represented confirmed and sealed in the Sacrament, what priviledges are there, (by God's charter and grant) given, and conclude of them; all these were put into Christ's hand. He hath disposed of them to his, as they need, as they desire, as they want, or wish. And that they might be sure, hath ordained them by his last Will a Legacy for all who understand, desire, seek and wait for them; and lest any doubt should discou­rage you, I pray you remember; Christ the wisdom of his Father could not want suf­ficient skill, and Christ Dying for us could not want good will to ordain his Testament, so that none should disappoint or defeat it in part or in whole. Consider then how little cause you and I have to doubt; consider how great cause we have to be fully peswaded of the truth and certainty of the promises. Nay farther, yet

4. All the Promises thus confirmed, by the last Will and Testament of Christ, are Legacies given by one who now doth, and ever shall live to be his own Executor. This Testament is not the Testament of a man who dieth and must entrust others to see his Will perform'd; but it is the Testament of one who was once dead, but behold he liveth, Rev. 1.18. For ever­more. O happy soul who art Heir of those [Page 129]Promises which he made who lives to perform what his love hath bequeathed to thee! [...]. Thou art surer to enjoy the Crown which he bequeaths thee, than ever was the child of any dying Emperours, or Kings, whose last Wills have been wickedly viola­ted because they were dead, and could not prevent the violence of such Traitors, nor avenge the wickedness of the Treason. But behold here's a friend who lives after death, and wilt thou know why he doth? Amongst others, this is one reason, Heb. 7.25. That he might save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him; and to intercede for them, viz. that they may enjoy what he hath given, that they may possess what he hath purchased. Now then, compare the grounds of other mens perswa­sions and confidences, upon the Will of their dead friends; see what is in them, weigh them, and write upon each of them Tekel, Dan. 5.27. thou art found too light to be weighed a­gainst the confidences and perswasions of a Believer; for all other Legacies are the gifts of the dead, but the Believers Legacies are the gifts of him who was dead, but is alive, and liveth for ever more. Others may have the assurance of an unchangeable Testament, and ordination of their will, but yet want an assurance of just and faithfull execution of it. If their Friend be dead, the Legacy is due and cannot be recalled. But their Friend is dead, & possibly the Legacy may never be paid: here's that defect which makes it too light to be weighed with the believers confidence, which is as sure, for his Friend was dead to confirm, and is yet surer than all others, for his Friend [Page 130]doth live. Christ will make all sure (as we say) his own eyes shall be overseers, and his own hands executors of his own Will.

Now then at the Lords Table view the riches of the promises, take a particular of what is contained in them, a particular of what grace, what consolation, what glory, say, All these are (by the last Will of my Dy­ing Lord) bestowed upon me. I may claim them, I may sue and plead for them, I may avow my title to them; for they are a Le­gacy given to me by my Lord: and who then can change or alter his VVill which hath been ratified by his Death? or who shall dare to violate it, and defeat me? or any other Believer? So long as my Lord liveth to prevent the attempt, and to avenge himself for the violence; Oh that our per­swasion of the truth of the Promises were firm and stedfast as the Promises themselves! Oh that we could give more credit to the Promises, as God hath given us more argu­ments and inducements to credit them! well Reader, I know not how my weak and dark reasoning with thee doth prevail; but I as­sure thee, there is in the Promises a most sure and unfailing truth asserted and declared to thee by this, That they are the bequests of Christ Jesus, who ever lives to make them good. Remember this at the Sacrament, where the Promises are all tendered to thee in Christ, I doubt not it will strengthen thy Faith.

5. Fifthly, Consider, the Promises are the Legacies of thy friend, who would not alter his Will, and dispose of them otherwise than he [Page 131]hath already disposed them. He is yesterday,Heb. 12.8.to day and for ever the same, in his love, care, wisdom and bounty; were he now to make his last VVill, he would not alter any thing; he would not blot out one name, nor abate any one Legacy. I stand the less to prove this, because nothing can fall out to change infinite wisdom; and such was the wisdom of Christ who is the Testator, and disposed all as you see them disposed. And in this appeareth a certainty in Divine Promises, which is (seldom? nay) never found in the promises of men, although confirmed by an irrevocable Testamentary disposition; for it seems past doubt, that if any one of the rich and wealthy Princes, or Grandees of the world, were to live again, and to ordain their VVills anew, they would alter much, leaving out some, abating to others, &c. Ei­ther upon discovery of unworthiness in the Legatees, or upon discovery of other persons and uses more excellent; all which would proceed from experience, and after­knowledge; the least of which cannot be supposed, or found in Christ. He would do what he hath done, were it all to be done over again. Now this doth add new evi­dence of the certainty of the Promise, and ought to add new degrees of strength to our Faith. How sure must those Promises be which are the Promises of one unchangable, and who repenteth nothing which he hath spoken! Away then with unbelief and doubts banish them all from thy soul. If thou wouldst but love thy Lord in truth of heart; if thou grievest for thy deadness and non­proficiency; [Page 132]if thou strivest to walk more worthy of thy relation unto Christ, and of his love to thee; be not too much dejected. Thy Lord foresaw this, and hath provided a pardon for, and help against it; and notwith­standing all the baseness thou confessest and bewailest in thy self, Christ would make the same VVill if he were to make it anew, and give thee as much as he hath done. Raise up thy Faith therefore, and at the Sacrament be think thy self; Here are the Promises re­duced to the form of a last VVill, that they might be sure; and they are so disposed by my Lord who foresaw all that can discourage me, and who would not change any thing, were all to be new done. Surely he intends as he speaketh; is in very good earnest; he will perform that at last, which he would not change or alter in the least. Oh then! I must perswade my self it is all truth which is in these Promises, and I should believe them more stedfastly if I did understand them more clearly. None can have such equal ground of believing his friend; none shall equal me in be­lieving Christ my friend and Lord.

6. Lastly let it be considered for ensuring the promises, they are the legacies of one who is sole, and supreme judge of all pleas and causes which can arise concerning our Right and Title to them. Symbol. Nicen. John 5.25. We believe that he shall come to be our Judge, is an article of our faith, and the Father hath committed all judgement to the Son, ha­ving appointed a day wherein he will judge the world by the man whom he hath ordained, Acts 17.31. who was adjudged by man unto death, died and was buried, but rose again, and shall [Page 133]come to judge Quick and Dead; whose sen­tence shall stand for ever good, so he hath a Prerogative Royall, peculiar to himself; for others last wills are by other men decided, if any thing of controversy arise concerning them. No man is judge in the case and plea of right between those he hath made joint Le­gatees, but one is the Testator, and dieth; another is the Judge and interpreter of the Testament whence it doth not seldom fall out that the Legatees are defeated of their right, and lose the gift of their Friend; and the mind of the Testator is not fulfilled because it is either not understood by the judge, or because it must not be understood (although indeed it is well enough known) this there­fore leaves some uncertainty in a man's claim, and the event upon trial is sometime a disappointment. But here is no such uncer­tainty in the event, for he is Judge who is Testator, and he is to declare his own mind, of whom we expect the gift, and who cer­tainly doth well understand his own mind. Besides, in expecting and claiming, the Legatee shall assuredly have all the favour shewed him that hee needeth. It is a rule in law, that wills should be interpreted in the more favoura­ble sense. That love which was so great to give the Legacy, will be great enough to adjudge it to the Legatee. Moreover it is not possible that a case should arise between the Legatees of Christ wherein the one should gain, and the other lose, for such are the gifts of Christ that they are intire and whole to each one; none hath the less for any ones having much; so the controversy shall never be but be­tween [Page 134]the soul and its unbeleif, fears, and doubts: between the soul, and Satan accusing and impleading it. And in this case Christ being Judge of his own Will, you may soon say what favourable, gracious and merciful judgement he will give; and how surely he will adjudge their title good, whose faith, love and desires sue for it to him. Awaken thy self then! and look on what sure ground thou standest! who hast Promises so full of certainty and unchangeable truth. Let thy soul admit no more unbelief than the Promi­ses, (confirmed by Christ framing them into his last VVill and Testament,) do admit un­certainty. Let not unbelief enter until thou seest uncertainty attend thine expectation from the Will of Christ. Reason with thy soul; pro­pose the case to thy serious thoughts. At a Sacrament I do remember the Death of my Lord Dying, and making his VVill, wherein is given to me all that which the Sacrament representeth to me; remission of sin, peace in believing, strength to walk with God, and after, my drinking this wine with his people at his Table. Luke 22. The drinking it new with him in his Father's Kingdom. This Ordinance is (as all other Ordinances of Christ are,) ex­ceeding full of grace for every one that heartily willeth it; and this fulness of grace is bequeathed by VVill; this VVill valid, and to be judged, (if any case arise) by him who made it. Come then! Will Christ think you enervate his own Will? Can it be imagined that he will not see it performed, who lives to be his own Executor? who would make no other if he were now to die and make his [Page 135]VVill again? Fear not oh believing soul! thy claim will be adjudged good; doubt not thy Plea of right, he is Judge who gave thee the right; stagger not through unbeleef. He did designedly give thee all assurance possible, not to prevent any unfaithfulness in himself but, to pre­vent all infidelity in thee. Not to confirm his own word by any new arguments, or new bonds which might be sure to hold if others did break; for his word, and promise is faith­fullness and truth; but to confirm thy faith, and that if unbeleef broke through some, yet it might not break through others; if it did prevail with the soul against any one, it might not prevail against every one of the encouragements and perswasives to believe. Weigh well the certainty of those promises which are confirmed by the last will of such, (I say, of such) a Testator who changeth not, who cannot be overruled by any superiour Judge, and then say how great your perswa­sion of the truth of them should be. It should be great faith that hath such great assurance, and strong perswasion which hath such per­swasives. Oh that our faith were porporti­oned to the ground of faith laid down before us in this very matter! there can be no colour of doubt where these grounds and perwa­sives of our belief are rationally considered. Bring therefore to the Sacrament an extract of the promises, set them in order before your eyes, see them all summarily contained in that one clause ( [...], Luc. 22.20.) This is the new Testament in my blood this is a Testament which bequeaths to every believer the [Page 136]whole purchase of grace, comfort, glory, and every good thing, which the blood of Christ was the price of. And he that bequeath'd all this, would not alter it, if he were to make his will anew; if any one will controvert my Ti­tle, Christ the Testator is to be Judge; if any would defraud and detain my part, or any par­cel of it, Christ lives to be his own Executor, and to give the possession of all, as well as to give me title unto any. Thus sure are the Promises of the New Testament, the Legacies of every Believer. Here are many Arguments, and each of them I think apt enough to perswade, were they duly improved. Reader, let thy thoughts, and deeper meditation add strength to thy Perswasion and Faith, by drawing out the strength of these Arguments, which may be truly called Arguments, put into thy hand, rather than handled for thee. I hope thou wilt find thy Faith taking deeper root whilst (like a tree) it spreads its roots among these firm reasons. I hope thy experience will, as thy judgment must, subscribe the truth of that Observation.

Look how many more are the good and fit Arguments which do perswade us of any thing; Quô autem plura sunt argumenta bona illa atque Ido­nea, quae no­bis aliquid persuadent, eô persuasio altiùs in mente radices agit. PP. Salmur. disp. de Sacra. in Gen. Sect. 46. — Quanto plura sunt & illustriora documenta quae ad unius rei cognitio­nem vel persuasionem ingenerandam concurrunt tanto natu­raliter sit in nobis vel rerum cognitio clarior vel persuasio certior ac minus dubitabilis, Iidem de discrim. Sacram. Sect. 6.so much the deeper rooting should the perswasion take in the mind.

How fit the arguments appear I know not, but certainly if they seem weak, it is from the weakness of the handler. They are of great force in themselves, and will be mighty to the deligent, deliberate soul, who is willing to perswade his faith to an increase.

CAP. V. Sect. 2. Hope Improved on Christ Dying a Testator.

A Second Grace improvable by our serious and meditative remembrance of Christ dying a Testator, is our hope. Whosoever doth employ his thoughts on the last will of the Lord Jesus, and duly reflects upon it, will find an addition to his hope, and ex­pectation of that good which is bequeath'd to the believer, by his Lord. Bishop Rey­nold's of the Passions, cap. 24. Hope is an earnest and strong expectation of a great good future, possible and difficult. Hope is ( [...]) an expectation of things that are good, and it springs, grows up, and flou­risheth with Faith, being grafted on a branch of the same stock on which Faith is grafted. The Promise which the Lord makes to us (for I speak of a Divine hope) in which Promise there is (ratio veri) undoubted truth, and there is (ratio boni) desirable good. The former St. Paul expresseth thus; The Pro­mises are Yea and Amen, 2 Cor. 1.20. the [Page 138]lattet St. Peter expresseth thus, Exceeding great and precious Promises, 2 Pet. 1.4. And the Royal Prophet hath excellently joyned both together, 2 Sam. 7.28. The word of God (which was the Promise made to David by the Lord in the mouth of Nathan the Prophet) is true and good. Now as Faith springs up and flourisheth on the truth of the Promise; so Hope springs up and flourisheth on the goodness of the Promise; or in the words of the Learned PP. of Saumur.

Indeed Faith embraceth the Promise as it appears, Nimirum Fides Promissio­nem amplectitur sub ratione veri, spes verò Promissionem considerat sub ratione Boni futuri. Disp. de Sacram. in Gen. Sect. 47.and is true; but Hope considereth the Promise as it is, and as it ap­peareth to be good and future. And this notion of Hope is warranted by the Sciptures. The Apostle speaking of Hope, determines it unto good as its proper object, Rom. 8.24. By Hope we are saved, salvation is a great good, and to this the Christian Hope applyeth it self. It is a Blessed Hope, that is a Hope of Blessedness at the glorious appearing of Christ our Saviour, Titus, 2.13. Thus the Apostle describeth the object of a believers Hope as it is good, and in both places he includes the futurity of this good, and makes it a con­dition of good as it is hoped; for Hope that is seen is not Hope, Rom. 8.24. saith the Apostle, &c. So then let the notion of Hope be remembred, that we may see the influence of the last Will of out Dying Lord giving life, and growth to our Hopes. If our hopes are an expectation, we may expect what Christ hath given, if an expectation of great good, Christ's gift by [Page 139]will cannot but be a great good: if this great good must be future and possible, it cannot but be yet to come, for we cannot receive all in this present life; but what is future is possible, yea sure, (though unseen and to be attained with difficulty). Christ will invest every believer with that which he hath bequea­thed to him in his last Will. But I pass from this general discourse unto the particular discussing of the strength and growth of our Hope when it is acted on Christ's last Will and Testament, in which the considerate soul observeth.

Sect. 1.

1. That there is an exceeding great benefit and advantage offered and proposed to it. Christ hath bequeathed most transcendent blessings to the believing soul; the Legacies he hath given are not few, small, dying or fading, but they are many, great and eternal. All which will appear by these following considerations.

1. The greatness of his mind, it is not to be doubted whether Christ were of a large and noble heart. He did excel all men in true magnanimity and greatness of mind, as much as he excelled all men in holiness, and free­dome from sin. Now let this be noted, and we shall see ( [...]) as was the man, so were his gifts. A great mind accounts small gifts below its grandeur. When a King (I think it was Alezander) gave a gift that was complemented with, because it was too great for him who was to receive it, answer [Page 140]was made. It was not too great for a King to give. The Scripture gives us a ghess at the greatness of Araunah's mind by the greatness of his gift, [...] 2 Sam. 24.24. Indeed they do mutually declare, and shew themselves unto men, so that the boons and Gifts of Christ unto believers do, (and could not but) bear a proportioned greatness and a richness com­mensurate and suited to the greatness and largeness of his heart.

2. Let it farther be noted as was the great­ness of his heart, so was the greatness of his interess estate and treasures. Men somtimes have hearts too large for their houses, and minds over-grown, and exceedingly too large for their meanes, and where this discord happens, there ever is a great deal less in performance than in purpose, farre less in execution than in design, and intention. But where a great heart possesseth an estate, car­ryeth an interess, and enjoyeth opportu­nities, large as its self; there are ever great designs, rich promises, vast expectations; and these give being to a hope that maketh not ashamed. The favorites of Kings enlarge their hopes to the greatness of those gifts their Princes use to give. It were a dishonour to a Prince if his Friend and favourite should hope for a mean and poor gift, such as every or­dinary man bestows upon his Friend. 1 Sam. 22.7. Saul spake more like a King bestowing gifts, when he talked of olive-yards, and vine-yards, and making them Captains over thousands. And the ambitious mother measured her hope and request for her sons, by the greatness of their masters state, when she begged that [Page 131]they might sit the one on the right hand, the other on the left hand of their Lord in his Kingdom. So let our hopes eye the riches and treasures of our Dying Lord, and grow great as his mind and good will, as his means and ability to enrich us, to satisfy us with most excellent Legacies, with Royall gifts.

3. As his mind and means were great, so was his love and affections toward us. Jonathan's love to David was a love that exceeded the love of women, but fell short of the love of Christ to believers. It is hard to find a love that may shadow out the love of Christ, but it is impossible to find out a love that can equal it, or set it forth to us in its gaeatness. It is greater than the love of a Friend, a Bro­ther, a Father, a wife; greater than all these, could we compound them all into one. Now where so great love to us, in so great estate in the hands of so great mind, there out hopes cannot but exceed the hopes of a man who hath the largest hopes from his Friend, his Brother, or Father. He knows not the heart of Christ, nor the riches of Christ, nor the love of Christ, who contents himself with small hopes, or doth not enlarge his heart towards a hope, great as the love of Christ. See then what thou mayest expect should be thy legacy; think what it likely should be that Christ Dying would bestow upon thee; would he not give the greatest he could? should you not hope the greatest you are ca­pable of? do not men (close handed, narrow hearted, and loath to leave what they have), do they not give the most they can to those they love most at their death? have not they [Page 142]largest gifts by will who were greatest sharers in their good will? is not this the standard by which waiting, hoping Heirs measure their hopes, and expectations from a Dying Friend let it be thine also, and at a Sacrament re­member thy hope is justifiable when exceed­ing great; for so much as it is raised upon so great love of so great a mind in so great estate and meanes, that none can equall, or justify it self in a comparison with it, none (I say) though it were the grandeur of a King, of the greatest King ever the Sun did shine upon, for if more crowns than one are at his disposal yet can he not bequeath a crown to every loyal subject, to every faithful coun­cellour, to every dear Friend, to every du­tiful child; Christ thy King, thy Friend (oh believing soul) could alone do this and indeed hath done it by will; Luk. 22.29. [...]. this thou shouldest remember, and consider at the Sacrament. The renewed memorial of Christ thy Friend Dying a Testator, and renewed thoughts of thy Friends greatness who is thy hope, will be a renewing of thy hope, and an addition to its greatness.

Sect. 2.

2. As the greatness of our expectations, so in the next place, the goodness and real loveli­ness of what we expect either doth add, or might justly add to the growth and increase of our Hopes. Their Hope may well be a growing Hope which is animated, and quickened by such growing goodness. Among many cross occurrences which may, this often doth lessen our Hopes, their greatness may possibly [Page 143]want commensurate goodness; the quality and rellish of it may not be sweet enough, though the fruit may be larger then we expe­cted. The massy bulk may be too great whilst the usefulness, and profit of it may be to little. David speaks of some who had more than heart could wish but this overgrown increase, adds to their pride and atheism, and proves a snare to them, Psal. 73.4, 5, 6. With the 8. & 9. verses. Their vices increase as do their riches; This a poysonous quality of all worldly greatness, and this venom frequently emb [...]tters the considerate man's Hopes, and this ialwayes empoysoneth the inconsiderate man's enjoyments. But on the other side, the believers Hope, (through the death and Testament of Christ) hath in it goodness as well as greatness; goodness to sweeten our Hope, and to sanctify our enjoyment; the unbelievers Hope and acquisition, makes the estate greater, and the person viler; but this of the believer makes his estate more great, and his person more gracious; it makes him happier in his possessions, and holier in his af­fections, and so betters both the man and his condition. In this the believers Hope excel­leth all other which will, I hope clearly appear, if at a Sacrament we meditate on.

1. First the Moral goodness and excellency of those things which Christ hath willed to us, they are full of purity, and therefore full of loveliness. If Moral vertue were so desirable in the eye of the Philosopher that he could say every one would fall in love with it, if it were, or could be set forth in its native beauty to the eye, what then will the Holiness of [Page 144]Christ's Legacies be to a gracious soul? what will Moral vertue (whereof Christ's Legacies are full) enhaunced, and dignified with the addition of grace (which Christ doth adde to his Legacies) Joh. 14.16. I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter that he may abide with you for ever, & ver. 16. The spirit of truth. Behold here a Legacy which bequeaths all Moral vertues, and all sanctifying graces at once; in this one gift you have greater and choicer gifts than all the world can give. Here is greatness, and riches; here is goodness, and righteousness. In one word, the great gifts of dying friends have corrupted many a fair and well tem­pered nature, but lo! here's a Legacy greater then all those, and which hath rectifyed and beautifyed many a crooked and vitiated nature. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them fom the evill, Joh. 17.15.

Now as he praies it may be so with them, he powerfully worketh upon them, and it is so with them, they are kept from the evil: For he imparteth those internal operative excellencies to his living Friends which first filled his pure soul; of him we receive grace for grace; And he becomes a quickening spirit. and as he took upon him our Nature that he might suffer for us, so he imparteth his Holy Spirit, maketh us partakers of the Divine Nature, that we might reign with him; and in all this he excelleth: for only Christ can by Will and Testament make over, and impart the endowments which adorn the mind. Thy learned Friend may bequeath to thee his [Page 145]estate, his bookes, but he cannot give thee his learning; thy Christian parent may dispose an ample estate to thee, but he cannot be pri­viledged to dispose a drachm of his grace unto thee. But here is such a Friend who might warrantably, and who hath graciously said, Because I live, ye shall live also, Joh. 14.16. For he can give a spiritual life in holiness, and grace, and he can preserve and finish it; he can at last also give an eternal life in glory and happiness; this he giveth to all who are given to him by the Father, Joh. 17.2. This is the Moral spiritual goodness of his gift which renders not onely the condition of the person, but the disposition of the mind better, and which excels no less than vertue excels wealth, no less than the mind excels the body, or grace and Heaven, excel gold and earth.

2. A goodness of rest, peace and Satisfaction attends the greatness of this Legacy. (I do wittingly change the terms which the school­men would here have used, and do rather chuse to call it as I have done, a goodness of rest, or peace, or satisfaction.) 1. The possibility that our great hopes may be attended with great anxieties and dangers. 2. The danger lest they should turn to troubles and disquietudes as great as our Hopes. 3. The uncertainty which will be most, our happiness that we meet with, or our unhappiness that we miss of, our great worldly expectations and Hopes. 4. Finally the most undoubted certainty that our great worldly Hopes shall not, and that indeed they cannot, afford us a commensurate rest, and that our largest expectations shall (like rivell'd half withered fruit) give the [Page 146]lye to the fair blossom, and ripen into a sowre, and ungrateful fruit, and set the teeth of him who feedeth upon it (like swore Grapes) on edge; Miserrimum est fuisse fe­licem. and make the man for e­ver most miserable, because he was once most mistakenly accounted happy. These four attendants of our worldly Hopes, like the four winds, do interchangeably toss us, and at last, dash us on those rocks which have wrackt others. Now the believers Hopes are of a contrary Nature, and do give great rest whilest they are expected, and greatest satis­faction when they are attained. There is no­thing in the greatness of a believers Hope to abate the goodness of it; for it is a Hope which at last will give an everlasting rest. It shall never make ashamed. It is bequeathed to us in those words of our Lord; These things have I spoken to you that in me ye might have peace, Joh. 16.33. Oh desireable gift! peace in Christ! were it no more than peace, yet would it be more than our richest, mighti­est, wisest Friends could give us: their Lega­cies are often an occasion of trouble, jarrs, and bitter contention, seldom a cause of peace to us in our outward affairs; never a cause of peace to us in our soul. The peace of soul must be sought in Christ, and behold here it is bequeathed to us! farther yet, it is a peace or rest with Christ in glory, 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. Where we shall be like him both in his rest, and in his glory into which he is entred to take possession for him­self, and for believers. Blessed they who have [Page 147]such great, who have such good things to Hope for! look then upon the greatness and goodness of thy Hope and expectation from such a Testator, from such a Friend whose last Will thou dost, or shouldest consider at a Sacrament, there thou wilt see that thine are, or might be, the best and greatest Hopes which are,

Sect. 3.

3. Thirdly and Lastly, Enhaunced and rai­sed yet higher by the certainty and assurance of possessing, enjoying and living upon them at last after we have conquered the difficulties which lye in our way. As the greatness, and goodness of our Hope so the assured certain, future possessing, and enjoying the great good we Hope for, sublimateth our Hopes. This certainty of our future possessing them is like the root of a faire and spreading Tree on which all the branches, leaves and fruit de­pend for sap and beauty, with growth and life; Great Hopes without this root are but great presumptions. And expectations of good without this future certainty, are but waking dreams, and self-abusing flatteries: such Hopes shall no more grow and flourish than the stock and branches of a Tree whose root is cut off from the body; such is the Dying Hope of hypocrites; but the Hope of a hungring, meditating, believing, communi­cant is a living Hope; a Hope that hath a good, vigorous and juicy root, which though it spread among difficulties, yet taketh the faster hold, and standeth (like Trees on rocky [Page 148]grounds much more firm. It is this future certainty which gives both the being and the name to Hope which maketh not ashamed; a wise man will be ashamed of a Hope that hath little or no probability, and the con­fident self flatterer shall be ashamed of a Hope that hath no truth in it. The wise man lays such Hopes aside among unexpected pos­sibilities, Si rueret Caelum, &c. looking not for them before the sky falls, a net to catch larks; only the rash and inconsiderate accounts them promising Hopes until they prove lying vanities; of this kind are almost all our Hopes of great success and prosperities in worldly affairs; they are very uncertain, or not very probable, or else very unprobable, and next to impossible. But that Hope which a believer buildeth upon the Death of Christ dying, and making his Will, is not clog'd with impossibility, or with impro­bability nor with uncertainty. The difficulty which lieth in our way of attaining our hope, is intended and proportioned to whet and set a sharper edge on our desires and dili­gence. We may conquer those difficulties, and if we conquer we shall assuredly enjoy our Hopes. Nay the enjoyment and living on our Hopes, are not more certain than the conquering of the difficulties which kept us at distance from our Hopes; we shall over­come those difficulties, & conquer those ene­mies of our rest, and at last enjoy our victory in our rest. And I pray who can say half so much for his worldly hopes? if these are great, are they not uncertain? doth not their un­certainty grow as doth their greatness? of all men he is most doubtful, & uncertain who fix­eth [Page 149]his thoughts upon hopes that are most lofty and ambitious. Not so in these hopes of the Believer, whose greatest hopes are commended to him by their certainty. A Believer is more certain of a Crown and a Kingdom, than he is of his Friends, Estate or Honours on Earth. Vid. supra this stability, the ground of a Christians Faith, c. 5. sect. 1. &c. Now this certainty lyeth upon the stability and firmness of the Testament of Christ the Testa­tor, who died to give validity and confirma­tion to the Testament, and who liveth to give out the Legacies which he hath be­queathed. Thus the Testament is become of force by the death of the Testator, and the gifts become sure by the life of the Testator, who ever liveth to bring us into the possession, and to continue us in the Possession of those great and good things which we hope for by vertue of his bequest and gift. In few words, look over the (Bona legata) good things bequeathed, Pooro bona legata—sunt illa, vita aeterna, remissio pecca­torum, dona Spiritûs Sancti, &c. Ben. Aret. Prolegom. in Matth.Life Eternal, Remission of sins, gifts of the Holy Ghost, &c. Ex­amine the Will of Christ, which is yet to be read in the Scriptures of the New Testament, especially search the several Promises; see what they contain, and then say of them, All these are the legacies my blessed Lord hath given me by his last Will; All these Promises are now Yea and Amen. Were they only the Will of a man, yet no man should add to them, or disannul them; they are sacred, and must not be violated: how much more inviolable should the Testament of Christ be kept. The [Page 150]Testament of the true and faithful Witness, is faithfulness it self. Until Faithfulness de­generate into Perfidiousness, until Truth turn into a Lye, or until Darkness be Light, not sooner, nor more unexpectedly shall the Be­lievers interesse in the last Will of Christ de­ceive and fail his expectations. Oh glorious Hope, whose bright beam may well turn the illustrious hopes of the worldling into a dark­some and undesired anxiety or despair! Oh blessed soul! which can despise the promising confidences of worldly hopes, and cast them off as unquestionable uncertainties (such they are) and instead of these can pitch upon, per­sue after, and long for those sure Promises, the rich Legacies, the lively Hopes, and heavenly Treasures, which Christ maketh the firm, valid, and unchangeable Interess and Estate of every Believer.

Before thou come to a Sacrament (oh my soul!) look better to thy hopes, survey their Greatness, weigh their Goodness, and duly consider their certainty; and discern whe­ther any hopes are comparable with them in either Greatness, Goodness or Certainty; or in any thing that is a part of the best and truest hope; and when thou hast viewed the precellence and matchless worth of thy hopes, I dare warrant thine increase and growth in this grace shall bear a proportion to thy consideration, and weighing of those forementioned excellencies. Remember, I confine not thy thoughts to these particulars, I mention them as those which did first and easiest offer themselves to mine own thoughts; if thou who readest with better [Page 151]judgment pitchest upon more quickening and improving meditations and arguments, bless God who gave, and pray for me and others who would desire as lively and awakening arguments, and help us in our need. In the mean time, this certainty of these great and good things, doth according to the measure of their clearness and strength in my serious meditations raise in me, and improve a long­ing desire of an assured interess in him who hath given these things by Will, of which Desire and the Improvement thereof I pur­pose to treat in the next Section.

CAP. V. Sect. 3. Christ Dying a Testator, Improves De­sires of Union to Christ, and Commu­nion with him.

THERE is certainly as little doubt that Desire after Union to Christ, and long­ing for intimate Communion with Christ, is needful and requisite in every Communicant; as that the soul is not fit for either Union or Communion which desireth them not; and I suppose thou art no Christian if thou art so ignorant as to presume on fitness, or to flat­ter thy self into expectation of any spiritual Improvement by the use of the Sacrament without these Desires and Longings of Soul after Christ: Fames opti­mum omdi­mentum. these Desires are the soul's [Page 352]hungrings after Christ, and they add sweet­ness to this Bread of Life. A man that hath lost his stomach, who can tast no sweetness in the choicest food, is as fit to be a guest at a Royal feast, as a soul without desires of Union to, and Communion with Christ, is fit to feast with the Lord at his table in the holy Sacrament. He that is the desire of all nati­ons, Hag. 2.9. will be sought after, and found out by those of every nation which desire him. Thou who dost not desire him, dost re­ject him and despise him, and hidest thy face from him, as the Prophet Isaiah, 53.2.3. hath ranked thee. And can rejecters of Christ be fit for communion with Christ? can despi­sers of Christ Hope for a welcome entertain­ment with Christ? will he disclose the secrets of his love to such as hide their face from him? either thou must desire him, or thou shalt never discern him or delight in him at a Sacrament. Christ is that carcass to which the soul, as the Eagle, gathers; but desires are the wings which carry the soul to Christ. He desires to draw us to himself, these de­sires appear in this, that Christ doth lay open his excellency for us, and our need of him, and so attempts to raise our desires, nay gives some strength that we may desire; If we ei­ther supinely neglect, or prophanely reject him, we shall be sure to miss and go without him. Luk. 14.24. Not one of the invited guests which put him off with an excuse did taste of the prepared feast. They desire no such feast, and Christ at last lets them know he expects better guests. Who ever will be a guest at the table of the Lord; must unfeignedly desire [Page 153]an interess in the Lord, so as the Lord de­clares himself willing, and ready to admit his guests to a communicating and partaking of benefits by him. Now among many o­ther habitudes, and relations he admits us as a Dying Testator admitteth Legatees to par­take of the benefits bequeathed by will. And in this there lye many prevalent inducements or motives to quicken our desires after the interess of a Legatee, in the Will of Christ the Testator. As

Sect. 1.

1. The goodness of those gifts which Christ giveth by Will, these Legacies are not stained with the tincture of vice which would deflower the innocency of the mind, and render the person culpable; nor have they any tincture of unplea­santness that might distate the soul. There is neither poison in them to kill, nor any gall in them to embitter; they neither distate, nor destroy. They are incomparable, spiritu­al, eternal goods which assimilate, and ren­der our persons like unto God in holiness; goods which render our state like to his in happiness, in both which we are not straitned by the narrowness of the gift, but by the narrowness of our natures; we might have more given, could we receive it; we are straitned in our own selves, as the Apostle said in another case. What the goodness of the gift is to allure and wooe us to desire it, I shall not here repeat, but refer you to the foregoing sect. sect. 2. pag. 67. and seq. Hoping you are able to apply goodness (the object [Page 154]of your Hope) unto your desires that it may be the object of them. He can do but litle that cannot desire that were his possession which is the Hope of every Christian. I never knew any Hope which could not easily run out into desires, especially if attended with this.

Sect. 2.

2. A fair possibility of grasping our desired good. I know a naked possibility makes Good the object of my desire; I may desire what I may obtain, but a fair possibility or promising probability commands my desire.

Desire, and a supine negligence is as cul­pable as a desponding backwardness when such an invitation awakeneth our diligence, and encouragerh our Hope. It was the possibility of the attempt which made blind Bartimaeus to cry, Mat. 10.47. this gave life to his desire, and his desire groweth as the possibility grew to a probability; his mind was quicker than his body, and he rose the sooner when he heard he was called for; the like motive prevail'd with the woman who had a bloody issue; it were no hard task to illustrate this farther, but I must descend to veiw what particular possibility there is of interessing the longing, desiring heart. What fair promising likly­hood of satisfaction to our desires after a portion and share in the Legacies of Christ.

Now there are four things which clear up the possibility of thy success, 4 Evidences of a possible success. whoever [Page 155]thou art that dost desire and long after a share in these great and good things.

1. 1. Others have suc­ceeded. The success of others who once were as unlikely as thou art; there is not one among the heires and Legatees, but at first was as far off, and as unlikely to speed as thou. They were at as great distance from Christ, cared as little for him, saw as little of their need of him, were as secure in their po­verty as thou art, and yet many such have been admitted to a share in the riches and goodness of these Legacies. And why shouldest thou bar thy self? why shouldest thou not try with Hope, what others have tried and effected with success? the desire of persons (as bad as thou art) have been gran­ted when they have wished, desired, prayed for the sanctifying, beautifying, pardoning saving gifts of this great Testator. O then wish heartily, desire unfeignedly, pray fer­vently and thou shalt certainly speed, for such desires have the promise.

2. Desires, such as we speak of, 2. Such De­sire are heirs of the Promises.are the heirs of the promises. Christ hath engaged himself by promise to be their riches, their righte­ousness, their happiness, who thus desire him; this the seeking which shall find; this the knocking which will at last prevail for admission. Christ who seldom, or indeed never I think humoured the curiosity of any man's desire, yet did graciously lay his journey by the Sycamore Tree that Zacheur might have what he desired, a sight of the Messiah, and that he might meet with salva­tion too; which I doubt not was part of his desire mixt with a small portion of curiosity. [Page 156]He would see the person of that wonder­worker whose works bespake a beleif that he was the Messiah, and this Messiah gave all that Zacheus desired, and as much as he could Hope.

3. 3 Christ is very wil­ling they should suc­ceed. The willingness of Christ to satisfy such desires evinceth the possibility of thine attaining an interess in his last Will. Never was any soul so willing to receive the Legacy as Christ is to give it; Christ gives the desires after the Legacy, and then gives the Legacy to those de­sires; wert thou to treat with one who were hard to be intreated, thou couldst have but a faint possibility. Now thou treatest with one that is easy to be intreated, thou hast fair probability to encourage thy desires. Christ willingly came to seek thy good when thou didst not desire it; and surely he wil­lingly, and readily will shew it, and cause thee to find it when thou desirest to seek it. He will be found of them that seek him, since he was so gracious as to be found of them that sought him not.

4. 4. Christ delighteth to distri­bute his riches to Desires. The delight which Christ taketh in divi­ding his riches among such as thus desire them, proves thou art within a possibility of getting a share in them; he delights to give more than thou canst delight to receive. The giving them pleaseth him as much as the gifts can please thee. A Dying Friend never made his last Will, nor disposed rich Legacies to his best beloved, and highest prized Friend with that delight which was in the heart of Christ towards such as thou art (if thou desirest him) and it will now highly please him to give thee investiture, and possession of all that which [Page 157]he designed for the Desiring soul. Now if Christ do delight to give what thou desirest to receive, mayest thou not rather triumph and glory in a certainty of receiving, than languish under the fears of impossibility to obtain them? what can restrain thee from doing what thou delightest in, and hast power to do? or dost thou think more hardly of Christ than thou wouldest have thy Friend think of thee? dost thou who art but a cistern delight to satisfy the desires, and to se­date the thirst of thy Friend, and will not the fountain, the ocean of goodness delight to sa­tisfy thy desires, and to cool, allay, and re­move the heat of those desires which are the torture of the soul, until they are satis­fied? Whilest Christ is what he is, thy de­sires have a possibility to animate them, and to draw thy soul into rational expectations of finding admission with the rest of those who seek their treasures in him. These two grand primary, and choicest ingredients of what is desireable, (goodness to satisfy our expectations, and possibility to encourage our endeavour) are we find in this project. Now there is a third external requisite in that which is desirable, and that is

Sect. 3. The Object of the De­sires, qua tale, is ap­prehended as absent and distant. Dr. Reynolds of Passions. c. 16.

3. A partial absence or distance of that pos­sible good from the soul desiring and pursuing it. What we desire must not be too far distant lest it seem impossibile; desires are the wings of the soul by which it travels toward its rest; if the journey seem too long the soul is [Page 158]likliest to sit down, and rust in sloth, and despair of attaining; if the good be present, and at no distance, desires will change nature, and turn into enjoyment, and delight; or if any thing of the nature of desire do re­main, it expatiateth it self in wishes and longing, not for the thing it self (which is present, and enjoyed) but for the continu­ance, and abode of it. So then a mixture of these two, absence from what is desired, and nearness, or convenient neighbourhood of it to our industrious diligence, is the tempera­ment of what is properly desireable, or the object of our longings and desires. Now this also may easily be discerned in this Will or Testament, which proposeth, promiseth, encourageth, and ensureth most excellently desireable good, and in doing this it sets them at convenient distance that our Desire might do (as the Patriarchs Faith did in like case) see them afar off, [...]. be perswaded of them, and embrace them. We are not kept wholly strangers to these rich gifts, and Legacies, then we could not desire them; but we have possession of some part of them which feed's our desires, which increaseth our longings, as a spare diet doth both feed the body, and strengthen appetite. It is reported of the Gauls, that they had no desire to possess Italy until they had tasted the sweet grapes of the Italian Vines; so soon as they had tasted, they strongly desire, suddenly resolve, and vigorously attempt the conquest of it; so is it here, total absence and ignorance quencheth our desire, but a partial knowledg, and taste enflameth it. They desire more who [Page 159]have tasted any thing of Christ, and they long for full possession of the whole inheritance who have found the advantage, joy and comfort of a smaller allowance. Just so it is here, Christians have their present allowances both in justify­ing mercy, sanctifying graces, and in refresh­ing consolations. But indeed, these are now small to what they are to be hereafter. These present disbursments are from Christ execu­tour of his own will, as the disbursments of an executour entrusted with orphanes whose breeding must be paid for out of the im­provement, but the Legacy must be paid into their owne hands at full age. Oh how doth such one desire, and long for these two things (1.) that he had greater interress in the affections and favour of such an execu­tour, and (2.) that his full age were accom­plisht that he might have the full state in his own hand. So doth the present enjoyment of Christ's allowance set the soul on de­sireing more interess in Christ, that his allow­ance of grace, peace and comfort may be greater; And then, That which is absent, (which indeed is far the grater and better part) that which the soul is fetching in by desires, that (which it wisheth because it wanteth,) doth make it wish for that full age which alone shall receive the full, rich and glorious Legacies. These are the common incentives of desire which usually prevail with us to wish and desire. These are to be found as much, nay more in these bequeathed gifts than in the best objects of natural, or meer moral, or unsanctified rational desires. Are the objects of such desires thought to [Page 160]be good? yet are they not comparable in goodness with the gifts Christ bequeaths to us.

Are those possible? and may they be at­tained? so are these: And somewhat more then possibile, they are fairly, and promi­singly probable.

Are those well tempered with some pre­sent taste and with a greater sweetness to be delighted in for future? yet in this they infinit­ly fall short of future sweetness to be tasted in the gifts of Christ. And this brief compa­rison of the different degrees of desireableness in these different objects should lead me to a larger discourse of the transcendency of the one above the other, but I will content my self to shew in as few words as possibly I can this one thing, viz. That whereas other men are content to desire good upon the un­certainty of obtaining, or with perplexity in desiring, and withall at last do possess with unsatisfied minds. The desiers of the belie­ving soul excelleth in all these.

1. In the certainty of obtaining a portion in the rich Legacies of Christ, he shall be sure to have his portion in them who is sure he doth desire them for his portion. No soul ever desired Christ so earnestly as Christ doth desire it; he is willinger to bring, than we are to be brought to glory. His willingness makes it certain; But I mention three things more;

1. The form of his Will and last Testament, which is so made, that there is room for all desirous, longing soules, the Invitations, the Call, the perswasives, the promises, the com­mands of the Gospel run so general, that [Page 161]he is no Christian who knows not that there is room for the desires of every believer; other mens wills framed, sealed and publisht, exclude all but those which are mentioned in them. Christ's will is so framed, that thou, and I, and every hearty willing soul may en­ter our names for a Legacy, and receive it; and farther, though none else, yet

2. All the kindred of Christ are comprised in his will, which kindred are not by naturall generation, but by gracious Adoption, and so it may be enlarged by new additions of new Friends. Thus thy hearty desires will surely enroll thee among the kindred of Christ, so thou mayest certainly (if the fault be not thine own) be of the alliance, kindred and family of Christ, and as certainly be sharer among others of the Legacies given by Christ, who lastly hath left

3. Assets to pay every Legatee; he hath grace enough to make good the Legacies of grace; He hath merit enough to make good the Legacy of justification; he hath the fulness of the spirit of holiness to satisfy the claim of every one who would perfect holiness; he hath glory great enough, and crowns many enough to crown and glorify; and so to make good all his Legacies which concern the glorifying of believers. This is the certainty of thy future obtaining thy desires, if thou dost heartily desire. And who would not pray, and strive after those desires which shall certainly be so fullfilled? uncertainties awaken other mens desires, and shall thy desires oh Christian! sleep and dye when they have such encouragements? nay farther yet.

2. Other desires are attended with perplexing anxieties and cares. They grow among thorns, and pierce the very heart; it is not easy to discern whether they disquiet most in the failure, and disappointment at last; or in the solicitous longings of the heart whilest they are expected; there is trouble more than enough in both the wracking desire, and in the killing disappointment: Now thy desires (O christian!) after a portion in these Legacies of Christ excel in these two things; first when they commence and turn into enjoyments, they do not disappoint, and next, whilest they are desires, they afford and give some good measure of satisfaction to the soul. For they are desires fixed upon a good which is in some degree already enjoyed; Christ and his benefits are ever enjoyed whilest sincerely desired. These messengers of the soul seeking for Christ are sent by Christ himself who is with the soul, much as he was incognito with the Disciples before he made himself known in breaking of bread. The soul desireth Christ absent, but these desires are raised in the soul by Christ present. And as a Friend in a disguise sometime visits and feasteth with his Friend cheering, and comforting him, and minding him of his absent Friend, and raising wishes and desires after him as absent (who indeed is present with him, and entertaineth him; so doth our blessed Lord satisfy the desires of them that love him, and that long for him. He is enriched by Christ who truly desireth the riches of Christ. These the advantages of the Christians desires, oh then let out thy desires, fear not to set thy soul in a longing fit for [Page 163]Christ whilst thou longest thou shalt enjoy, and ere long thou shalt see how much thou hadst of him all that time wherein thou thoughtest thou hadst no more of him than an empty desire, or hungring wish for him: thy desires are like the Mariners approaches to the spicy Islands; the sweet and delicate odours assure them they are not far off and delight them untill they set foot upon the shore, so Christ assures and delights the desirous soul; so Christ sends abroad the sweet per­fumes of grace and glory. These refresh the soul untill its arrival where it shall live upon full satisfactions, which is a

3. Third excellency in which the believers desires after these Legacies of Christ do exceed all the best desires of other men, who must ever write over them, lesse in hand than in Hope: Minuit praesentia famam.the believer on the contrary must write this as the motto of his possessed desires, great in Hope, grea­ter far in hand; or as the Queen of Sheba said in another case, 1 King. 10.8 It was a true report which I heard in my own land, but the one half of their glory was not told me. These things which draw out the desires of other men are like the Apples of Sodom, beautiful, and please the e [...]e at distance, but they moulder into ashes when the hand gathers them, and they who feed on them, feed on ashes. Such are honours, such are pleasures, such are the riches of this world, and of men of this world fully uncertain when we purpose to seek them; fully vexatious whilst we are seeking them, fullest of torment and disappointment when they are grasped, and possessed; yet our de­sires after them are passionate and earnest, our [Page 164]contrivances to obtain them are solicitous, and secret, our pursuit vigorous and unwea­ried. But Christian! here is honour, a crown bequeathed; here is joy, an eternal feast on the fruit of the true vine, in the Kingdom of thy heavenly Father; here are treasures bequeath'd, an inheritance, a Kingdom, and all proposed to thy desires with transcendent advantages; they are certain that thou may­est pursue them with Hope; they do refresh whilest thou art pursuing that thou mayest not languish and faint; they satisfy fully and eternally, that thou mayest never repent thy labour. Look on these, and let them have but as much of thy desire, as there is of desire­ableness in them, above all other things, and then I am sure thou wilt desire them above all, and rest in them after all. Awake! Awake! oh my soul! and before thou make thy approach to the Lord's table, look over the last Will and Testament of Christ thy Lord; see there is pardoning mercy to take away death which is the desert of sin; there is purifying mercy to take away the filth of sin, to dry up the poisonous fountain of sin; there is pacifying mercy to take away inward distracting trou­bles; there is interceding mercy to procure acceptance of all the good thou dost; there is preserving mercy to keep thee from falling away and perishing; there is crowning mer­cy to encourage thy expectations, and satisfy thy best and largest desires. In a word, here is Christ's Spirit, his Righteousness, his King­dom with eternal life given by Will and last Testament, and all these tendered to thee as Christ's Minister tenders the body and blood [Page 165]of Christ to thee: all these things are delivered to thee in the copy of Christ's will, sealed unto thee at the Sacrament; and thy desires are now expected. Good things, and possible, yea certain, and ensured to thee, (if thou wilt but heartily desire them.) Awake there­fore a sincere wish, a strong longing after them that they might statisfy thee. All these are thine if thou wilt be Christ's; oh then de­sire he would unite thee to himself that thou may'st be one among them that are one with Christ; these shall be heirs to these great things; these must be of Christ's kindred and alliance; this alliance is not by natural consanguinity, it is by a foederal covenant Uni­on, and this Union is effected by us for our part by willingness and desire; say then, art thou willing to lose and miss these great things? or dost thou think them unworthy of thy desire? or rather dost thou not wish thou couldest desire them? dost thou not feel thy heart kindly bubling forth such affectio­nate desires as these after Christ? oh that I were of that happy family which are so blessed with Christ! oh that my name were written in the will! oh that there were a blank where I might secretly or openly write mine own name there, then I would as Jacob (yet without offence) steal a blessing! oh that there were some would shew me how I might imbody my self with this houshold and kindred! why now if such desires stir, behold here is a short, but a sure method: Longings and desires after nearer Ʋnion and closer conjunction with Christ, heary desires of communion with Christ will do this great work, [Page 166]and ensure this exceeding rich blessing to thee. Blessed are they who thus hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be satisfyed. Thus renewed meditations on the common in centives of desires, and renewed medita­tions on the peculiar, and extraordinary in­centives of our desires, in likely-hood can do no less than increase our desires after this most desireable Union to Christ.

CAP. V. Sect. 4. Love and esteem of Christ, Improved by his Dying a Testator.

A Fourth Grace improveable by the medi­tation of Christ's Death as such a loving and bountiful Legator,Love and Esteem of Christ 4th. Sacramen­tal Grace improved.is love and high esteem of his person and concernment. There are some graces which may be better spared in part, or in whole, others that are more needful for a communicant at the Lord's table; joy in believing may be little, perhaps none, yet the soul not unfit for the Sacrament. But the grace of love to Christ, with an high esteem of the person and concernments of Christ, is so needful, that whosoever either loves him not, or loves him not for his own sake, is unworthy of this great ordinance. It is disputed whether Judas did partake of this Sa­crament, but it is not disputable whether a heart like his, whether a man or woman who loves Christ no more than Judas did love him, be fit for the Sacrament. It is a feast for Christs [Page 167]Friends, it is an entertainment for his beloved ones, if that invitation, Eat O Friends drink yea drink abundantly O Behold, Cant. 5.1. Be not in­tended principally for a solemn bidding to this feast, yet the general equity, or congru­ity of it warranteth the Friends and lovers of Christ, and none else to come. The enemies of Christ must expect other kind of entertain­ment; it is bring those mine enemies and slay them before me. In one word, that heart which is not full of love to God, is full unfit for any approach to God in any ordinary and com­mon duty; much more unfit for this extra­ordinary and solemn access to the Lord. Now in the Testament or last Will of Christ we may discern most evidently

1. A love which deserveth to be very highly prized, a love toward us wich none but Christ ever did or could bear and express toward us: A love which entitled us to a participation of a Kingdom, for as the Father hath given a Kingdom to him, so hath he given a King­dom unto us; herein appeareth the largeness of his love to us; what he hath given decla­reth how much he loved, and the time when he gave sheweth the constancy of his love to us; he loved us to the last. Now ingenuity sets a value upon men according to the love men bear to their Friends, and I am assured who ever readeth the last Will of Christ rea­deth the greatest, the constantest love; and why then should it not be esteemed their du­ty to set the highest price on Christ?

2. The incomparable excellencies which he was master of. The Legacies which he giveth manifest what surpassing treasures he was [Page 168]possessour of; these for kind are spiritual, for duration eternal, for suitableness full and satis­factory, for use sweet, safe and pure, for cer­tainty unchangeable; of all which somewhat hath already been spoken, therefore no more shall now be said. The vast riches of some men have been kept close until their last will hath discovered them, and how then have some men admired them? indeed we cannot understand the full treasures of our blessed Lord until we come to read his last Will and Testament in the light of glory with eyes of immortality, and then he shall be admired in all them that believe, 2 Thes. 1.10. The believing soul when he views the treasures of grace, comfort and glory made over to him by Christ's will, cannot but admire the incomparableness of his per­son; and although the believers estimate of Christ be so ingenuous as to prize Christ for his own worth, yet it cannot be unthankful, or not prize him for his gifts bestowed on us. Whenever thou art going to a Sacrament (if other more quickening motives do not offer themselves) think on that which Christ hath given thee by will; and consider how glorious and excellent a person he is! who bequeathed these great and good things; and who can, and will bestow every one of them upon thee.

3. Read over the will of Christ, and ponder well what he hath given and bequeathed, then reflect upon thy self and see what thou art now, what thou wast when he gave, and what thou art like to be so long as thou livest upon earth. And when this is well considered, thou wilt [Page 169]have cause to say, that among all bene­factours none can compare with Christ, in the noble generous and free disposition of his mind. And indeed the excelling beneficence of Christ toward believers doth win an excel­ling esteem and price in believers toward Christ; who

1. Gave these great things of pardon and life; of grace and holiness; of peace and comfort; of victory and glory; (contained in his Legacies) to strangers, disesteemers, rejecters; and in a word, enemies of the giver and the gifts. Now 'tis a generous mind which will do good to mise­rable, forlorn men and women who knew not their misery, who undervalued their re­covery, who rejected the motion, who decla­red their enmity against their deliverer. He is a Physician of excellent temper, who can and will, pass by all these, and cure a Dying body because he delight's to heal.

Our Lord noteth in the parable, Luk. 10.30. That a man went down from Jerusalem, (a Jew) whom thieves robbed, and left wounded and half dead, insensible of his dan­ger, and unable to ask for help, The enmi­ty of the Jews against the Samari­tanes arose on occasion of that Schism which the Samaritanes were guilty of, and maintained against the Jews concerning the Worship of God, Joh. 4.20. Our Fathers worshipped in this Mountain, and ye say that in Jerusalem is the place, &c. This quarrel began soon after the Captivity of the Ten Tribes by Salmanesar 700 years before Christ was born, and it had been countenanced by a High Priest and a Temple in a continued Succession of 300 years, and somewhat more, be­fore the birth of Christ: So old was this enmity. whom a Sama­ritan pittied, ver. 33. Now observe, there was a very rankerous enmity in the Jewes against the Samaritanes, as appeareth from Joh. 4 9. & 8. v. 48.

But this generous compassion of the Sa­maritan checks the old quarrel, and lendeth a helping hand; such noble compassion is the compassion of our Lord to us, to whom God commendeth his love, that when we were enemies Christ dyed for us, Rom. 5.8. However disingenious sinners slight and undervalue the person of Christ, and his love toward them, whilest they were very enemies, yet whensoever grace appeath, it changeth their minds, and maketh sinners cease from sin, and become Saints; they shall at once both admire the excellency of Christ's person and love to­wards them, and comdemn all their former low, & unbeseeming apprehensions of Christ & his love. As the compassion of Christ was thus generous in pittying of an undone enemy.

2. So secondly it appeareth a noble and excellent compassion if it appear to thee what thou now art; either thou dost not know why self and state, or must confess, Christ incom­parably excellent in mind and disposition. There is not now any worth in thee but what thou hast by vertue of Christ's Legacy; where had others? where hast thou thy grace? but from the spirit of grace? and note how the Apostle argueth this, Gal. 3.14, 15. by an argument drawn ( [...]) from the Testament, and Will of Christ. Men do chose persons for some excellency or other, and therefore do many times make them their heires. But here's a compassion and love that maketh us excel others, by giving us what we could never have expected, (ex con­digno), by worthiness of our own. The least Saint is more excellent than the eminentest [Page 171]carnal man: this the Saint hath from Christ by whose Testament he is heir to a Crown, yet the excellentest Saint is less than the least of the Legacies of his Lord. In our present state there is nothing to commend us which doth not more commend our Lord who bestowed it; By the grace of God we are what we are, whether children, heirs or Le­gatees. And if we know as St. Paul did know we shall account all things as he did, loss and dung, Phil. 3.8. [...], which the Syriack [...], Penuria defectus, who hath all without Christ is [...], Poor. 'Tis loss when he computeth the product of all his hopes that are short of Christ, and the things which Christ freely gives, and in­stead of ought gained, he must writ much lost. Such then is the excellency of Christ that without him nothing can be gain, with him no­thing shall be loss: And

3. When thou hast viewed the great Lega­cies of thy Lord, look on thy self what thou wilt most certainly be so long as thou art on earth; and this will commend the noble, excellent temper of thy Lord. He knew that thou wouldest repine, be unthankful, live much below his Royal gifts, and in many things dishonour the free giver: Yet all this never could discourage, or change the resolutions, and purpose of thy most bountiful, loving, and tender Friend and Lord. Behold here is love as the Apostle hath it 1 Joh. 4.10. Not that we loved God, but he loved us, &c. here love is Triumphant indeed! In a word or two, either we must conclude the Chri­stian a most disingenuous person, or else con­clude that the survey of the great Legacies [Page 172]his Lord hath given him will raise the Chri­stians esteem of Christ, it will enlarge his affections toward Christ. Thus the love of Christ discovered in his last Will and Testa­ment will draw out love to him again, and love will find whereever the excellency of what is loved doth lye; rather than want an excellency to justify the passion, we see men will phancy, and make an excellency, and then value it. Spiritual love needs no such help to esteem Christ, it may find an infinite worth in him, and indeed doth judge him the chief of ten thousand. None but he would dye; none but he dying would make such provision for us.

4. This great Testator was brought to his end (as we say) by the faults, and through the folly of us whom he did so highly befriend. We sinned and he died; our wickedness brought him to the Cross. Isa. 53. Now whilst we like sheep went astray, and the Lord laid on him the iniquity of as all: the precious life of the shepheard ransomed the life of his wandring sheep; what would have been the manner of men in this case? would it not have been? I'le cross them out of my will; I intended a bounteous Legacy, but be it now as far from my mind as I was from theirs; this would have been the resolution of man. But this was not the mind of, Christ, (more excellent than man) No no, but this his Noble disposition; I will do the most my Friends need from me, though they have done the most they could against me; I'le conquer their unkindness, and they (cap­tives to my love) shall set an eternal Crown of triumphant glory and praise on my head; [Page 173]I know whither to bring them, and where they shall be of another temper and disposi­tion towards me for my love. I will be­queath them a Crown of glory, though they have pierced me with a Crown of thorns; I know when they shall look on me and mourn; when they shall heartily resent their unkind­nesses, and in requital of my love, shall prize me higher than their own life.

So let my soul ever say, thy love, oh Lord! surviving death, and conquering my ingratitude deserveth a higher esteem, and larger affections than a narrow heart and low apprehensions can offer thee.

CAP. V. Sect. 5. Zeal for Christ Improved on Christ's Dying a Testator.

A Fifth grace suiting to the Sacrament, 5th. Sacra­mental Grace im­provable.and improveable by considering Christ a Testa­tor making his will when he Died, is Zeal to his glory and honour. I think it not needful to prove the suitableness of this grace to the Sacrament. The heighth of love to Christ, the indignation against former sins, fervent, setled, resolutions to oppose, suppress and o­verthrow all lusts, and the stirrings of lusts, which, as formerly they have risen up, so now would afresh rise up against Christ (all which, as they are in every prepared commu­nicant, [Page 174](and which are the constitutives of Zeal) so they would clearly prove this, but I take it none will deny (or doubt) that Zeal to the glory and honour of Christ doth well suit with the constant ordinary course of the Christians conversation; how much more doth it beseem him in his nearer accesses to Christ? The people which are his peculiar must be Zealous of Good works, Tit. 2.14. Rom. 12.11fervent in spirit serving the Lord. Now beside what arguments arise from the common professed Friendship of the Christian to Christ, As

1. The candour and humanity which we shew to every man who is dead, of whom either nothing ought be said, or nothing but good; an ingenuous person is moved with Zeal for the name and credit of the dead, when they are traduced, especially

2. When the innocency of the person was in his whole life well known to all who in any degree of acquaintance knew him we should not take up the buried miscarriages of of the dead, nor may we disguise the good workes of those that are not by to plead for themselves.

3. When our Friends were useful to all that needed and would make use of them, we endure not they should be traduced by survi­ving rancor and envy.

4. When all this Friendship, innocency usefulness, and generous beneficence of our Friend met with nothing almost but causeless vexations and troubles, and of these one succeeding the other without Rest: we think it hard (as indeed it is very exceeding hard) measure, that it neither meet with rest in [Page 175]life, nor death that it should be defamed where all men have a priviledg securing them from piercing censures, and envious re­proaches: these and such like motives of Zeal for the honour of our dear Friend who Dy­ing from us left his love to live with us, are equally applicable to any such Friend, if any such may be found among the sons of men. But over and above all these in cen­tives there are some special incentives to Zeal for the honour of our Lord on this very account, that he dyed a Testator making his Testament and last Will.

1. Hereby we are embodied into the family whereof Christ is the head and cheif; so that our zeal for his honour, is a zeal for the honour of our whole family. That we are of his family, is a very high ennobling us, a very great en­riching us, it doth exceedingly enhance our worth & honour, & we therefore are highly obliged to contend for his honour; we rightly judge the son bound to plead the honour of his dying Father, and we do as rightly judge the Christian much more bound to plead the honour of his dying Lord, whose Testament hath made him a Son, and gave him a share both in the honour and wealth of the family.

2. In the last Will of our Dying Lord we read his Zeal and strength of affection for our peace, our comfort, our safety, and our happi­ness; all which falleth to the ground and va­nisheth: if the Legacies of our Lord fail us, we had need therefore with Zeal contend for his honour; not as though our plea would in any thing ratify, or confirm, for (as we cannot give) so neither needs he to de­rive [Page 176]ought of his authority from us; he hath received all power from his Father. But yet (after the manner of men be it spoken) we are bound to assert and defend the glory of his authority and power of disposing and be­queathing to us, and to others, whatsoever he hath by Will and Testamentary disposition left to us and to them. If he had given what was not his to give, we must either soon have parted with it, or for ever have missed of it; but herein lieth our advantage and comfort, that the large Legacies of our Lord to us, are as the fruit of so much Zealous love for us; so they are the Acts of Soveraign power delegated to Christ by the Father, as our Lord himself intimateth to us, Luk. 22.29. As the Father hath appointed unto me, so I appoint a Kingdom unto you.

Our Zeal then for the honour of Christ doth as well maintain our hope, comfort and interess, as it doth maintain his autho­rity; and what man would suffer the power to be nulled which gave him a rich and in­estimable Legacy?

3. The least degree of good bequeathed to us by the Will of our Testator in his will (remem­bred by us in the Lords supper) doth greatly surpass all the Zeal we can bear to his glory and honour: read over his will, and see there is justification in his blood shed for remission of sin, assurance of peace with God secured by the frequent remembrance of the blood of sprinkling, Sanctification, consolation, and future glory; all these promised by him, who being Mediator of the Covenant, hath redu­ced the whole to the form of a Testamen­tary [Page 177]disposition, and confirmed it by his death. Now when thou art going to a Sacrament, consider and judge with thy self, should I not be very Zealous for his honour who hath given many inestimable gifts to me? am I not less than the least of grace bequea­thed? is not remission of my sin greater love than my love can requite? is not Hope of glory greater than mine obedience can ever equall? shall I then ever think I have affection enough? or have done enough for his honour by whom I have received what I have already, by whom I shall receive what I hereafter ex­pect? No! No! I must be ever blowing my love into a greater flame of Zeal for his ho­nour, and yet his love and Zeal for me will outshine and overpower all mine for him.

4. View the Will of thy Testator, be perswaded to remember that he is now living in glory, and beholdeth all that Love and Zeal which thou carriest in thy breast, which thou expressest in thy life toward him: he is not like other men, who dying, know no more of the deport­ment and behaviour of befriended survivours: thou canst not bury the knowledge (for dust hath not blinded the eye) of the Lord; he lives for ever, and he knows how thou recei­vest, improvest and resentest his Love and Zeal for thy good, and with what face wilt thou appear before him one day if thou hast not been hired (shall I say?) or bought with so great price into the love of, and into a Zeal for thy beneficent, liberal and incom­parable Friend and Lord? I observe Jacob dying, recommended the care of his burial to Joseph above all his sons; it was likely be­cause [Page 178]cause Joseph more than any of his sons was debtor to the love and care of his Father for a double portion bestowed on him: of all men we who have a double portion by Christ, a portion of blessings on earth, and in Heaven, should zealously perform his will; we must account it sacredly inviolable, and shew it in shewing forth his praises, 1 Pet. 2.9.

CAP. V. Sect. 6. Joy Improved on Christ Dying a Testator.

A Sixth grace well suiting the Lord's sup­per,6th Sacra­mental grace Im­provable, Joy.and Improveable on account of the Lord's Dying a Testator, is joy and gladness in the Lord, and in his goodness. It is confessed by all, that it well suiteth with feasts of love, that the guests should joy together, and re­joice in their Friend, who is equally Friend unto them all. The soul which cometh bur­thened with sins and sorrows, confesseth he should rejoice in the Lord, and is well pleas­ed that others do it whilst he cannot: it is a spiritual joy which well becometh this spiri­ritual feast. I do not say the heart is unfit for it who doth not rejoice; I know the spiritual hunger and thirst of the soul speaketh the soul fit, and such may, such indeed ought to come; yet when hunger and thirst after the Lord are accompanied with joy in the Lord, [Page 179]the soul is better, is more throughly prepa­red for this feast, this commemoration of their Dying Lord.

Now the Christian's joy, beside the gene­ral motives of joy arising from the general nature of the object of delight and joy, as goodness in the thing enjoyd, propriety whereby it becomes ours, and possession, or presence of it with us according to our present capacity and exigency, whether re­freshing, repairing, or filling us, or in what other manner of operation it affecteth, in which the Christian joy, and the delight of other men do agree. The spiritual joy of the Christian hath great advantages from the last Will and Testament of his Lord; As

1. First the transcendency of them. If there were any blessings better than others in the possession, and at the disposal of their Lord, surely these should be given among the be­loved Friends. Servants, attenders, comple­mental visiters, and such like common Friends possibly may be put off with common gifts, but the best shall be distributed unto the best Friends. A Kingdom in glory, the spirit of Adoption, remision of sins, increase of all grace, and consolations through faith &c. are the choice blessings bequeathed to belie­vers in Christ's Will, and represented, ensured, and in praelibations, or foretast conveyed to believers in the right reception of the Lord's Supper; let it be therefore throughly consi­dered, and when either of those forecited mercies appear contained in his Will, ask your selves whether the least of these do not deserve the highest pitch of your joy? are [Page 180]they not better worth your delight than all the worldling can delight in; how much do spiritual mercies excel temporal? how far do Heavenly priviledges excel earthly? so much certainly may the joy of believers in their Lord, excel the joy of carnal men; for whilest the common bounty of a Dying Lord gives sensible, outward, and temporal good to mankind, the special grace and love of their Dying Lord and Saviour, giveth be­lievers all spiritual mercies in heavenly things. Oh my soul! believest thou there is love e­nough in the good will of Christ to make thee a Legatee? and dost thou not believe there was treasure enough in the hand of Christ to make thy Legacy worth thy de­lights and joy?

2. Look over the rich gifts of thy Lord, and say, my propriety and title to all is as sure as they are needfull. There is nothing can pretend to equal them in either of these two; ne­cessary and certain, and therefore no joy can be warrantably equall with the joy of a believer, what ever our eye seeth here a­mong the visible ( [...]) things are but ( [...]) temporary, and every one of them can make themselves wings swift enough to fly out of our reach; but what Christ hath bequeathed ( [...]) among the invisible things are ( [...]) eter­nal, in his hand who can hold them, and in his right whosoever enjoyeth them shall never lose them. Look then on thy title and tenure in that title and right thy Lord had to what he gave thee, and then as thou mayst laugh with scorn and derision at the implea­dings [Page 181]of any of thy spiritual adversaries, so thou wilt surely laugh with delight, and joy in the love of thy Lord, and in thy inviolable propriety to every good thing he hath be­queathed. Fox. Act. and Monu. An. 1553. Entring of Qu. Mary. The will of a man may possibly be evacuated, and the Legacy lost. I know a Kingdom was once bequeathed by Will which did the Legatee no more service than to hasten the possession of what Christ hath given, which could not be lost, though the other was with the life which by a Royal will, should have enjoyd it. Such uncertainty and hazads attend other Legacies; those Christ gives are sure. No man shall take your joy from you, Joh. 16.22. The object of such joy will well justify the greatness of it; 'tis a de­light none can imbitter.

3. Note well the present possession of these gifts and Legacies; This will enhance thy joyes. No man can rationally rejoice in any thing which is not somewhat present to his Hopes, or to his hand; either the object of our de­lights must be in actual possession, or else ensured to us in reversion. Now in the actual possession of these good things given, and be­queathed to us, there is somewhat that excels the manner of possessing all other goods. As,

1. Other goods are present under a Law of mutability and change to the worse, these shall only change to the better.

2. Other goods are possessed with anxious cares lest they should, and with tormenting fears that they will fail us at our need. But the Legacies our Lord hath given are possessed with assurance that they shall best bestead us when we most need them.

3. Other goods present do but satisfy our sensitive appetite, or flatter the errours of our deceived reason; these satisfy the ne­cessary desires of a rightly informed mind and will.

4. Other goods present do often cloy, o­ver-load, impair, and weaken the possessors of them as we see it too often in voluptuous persons that are wearied with, and wasted by their own delights; the goods bequea­thed by Christ are never burthensome in their presence, possession or use.

Thou then who seest thy Lord's bounty, and who tastest the sweetness of the present possessed goods, (with these advantages over and above all the enjoyments of the world­ling,) enjoyn thy self to rejoice more a­bundantly in that thou dost so much enjoy; it is warrantable thou shouldst excell them in thy affection whom thou excellest in thy possession.

5. Other goods are evermore lessened by their presence and enjoyment; flowers the sweetest and beautifullest, do insensibly waste their sweetness is still expiring until all be gone, their beauty fadeth till they shrivel into uncomeliness: Not so here, for we do, or might daily draw out more sweetness, dis­cern more beauty, and find greater satisfa­ction in these excellent things bequeathed to us by our Lord. The more we are ac­quainted with them, the more we desire, delight in, and are satisfied with them; they grow upon us in the use, continuance, and search after them; what thou hast of them is a pledg of more thou shalt have; view then [Page 183]these particulars, and thy judgment will de­termine. That the excelling worth of the things; the excellency of thy tenure, and right; the excellency of the presence, and approximation of them, with immutability, security, satisfaction, renewed sweetness, and growing content, do call aloud for an ex­celling degree of joy and delight in them.

CAP. V. Sect. 7. Gratitude Improved, on Christ's Dying a Testator.

7. THE Seventh Sacramental grace I men­tioned, is Gratitude, and thankful re­turnes to the memory of our Dying Lord. In this point I labour not for a proof, it is con­fessedly owned by all who own any thing of the excellency, continued usefulness, and efficacy of the Sacrament. It is the Eucha­rist, and very unfitly, named if thankfulness be not required to fit us for it. 'Twere strange if the generality of Christians should mistake in a practical point of such daily oc­currence. It succeeded in the room of a Sacrament which required high measures of Gratitude; and it is the standing memorial of the greatest benefit obtained for us; it is a standing pledge of our greatest expecta­tion, viz. Of the blessed Hope, and glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour; [Page 184]for herein we shew forth his death until he come. It becometh us to be thankful, but why so particularly to Christ a Testator? what is in that more than ordinary? or if you shew not more than ordinary incentives to thankfulness, yet what particular sufficient juducements are there to this in Christ's Dying a Testator to confirme his last Will?

1. Look, see what he hath as a Testator done for you and me. He hath bequeathed to us a participation with himself in every excel­lent thing we needed, or are capable of. He hath conveyed to us by his last will, pardon and justification through his Death, and obedi­ence. He hath conveyed Sanctification, and purifying grace, through the spirit which he poureth out upon us, since he died, and rose again, ascended; and sitteth on the right hand of the Father: He hath conveied con­solation and joy through the spirit of Adop­tion; and will give the possession of that in­heritance of glory, which (as yet) is reser­ved for us in Heaven, and which is duely en­sured to us in the Sacrament. In one word, the whole Covenant of grace framed into a Testament, is confirmed by the Death of Christ the Testatour; so that thou, and I, are beholding to Christ a Testator for all the riches of grace, consolation and glory. Well worthy of thine and my praise, thanks, and hearty acknowledgments is Christ therefore for that he by his Death hath procured, and by will hath entitled us unto such great and glorious advantages and benefits.

2. Christ a Testator hath deserved thy most [Page 185]grateful resentments of his love for that he hath by this means removed all thy fears, and pre­vented all thy doubts, least at any time thou shouldst (by reason of thy weak faith and de­fective love,) fall short of the goodness and blessings thou expectest; for this (as other Te­staments) is of force now that the Testa­tor is dead, and since he is dead none may either null it, or alter it, but it must continue for ever in strength. And on this considera­tion of certainty and validity doth the A­postle, Gal. 3.15. advance the excellency of the promises made to Abraham, and to Abraham's seed. Now what ever doth ad­vance the excellency of the promises made to us, doth likewise advance our debt of thankfulness for the promises.

3. Christ a Testator is worthy of our highest Gratitude, for so much as he hath by his last Will and Testament disposed of his rich inheri­tance amongst us, so as we may duly expect, and constantly fetch in as much as we will of grace for our present help and comfort, reserv­ing the fullness of all unto the final consummation of the elect redeemed. Many a man loseth all, or else much of his thankes by an unseaso­nable caution in his will, that the Legatees shall have nothing of the gift until such a time to which it is uncertain whether he live; but Christ deserveth our admiration, as well as our thanks, for the present benefit, use, and advantages we have from his Testa­ment. He hath so given, that wee may now enjoy; we so enjoy now, that hereafter we shall receive; present enjoyments were not to be compared with future; the present improve­ment [Page 186]is sufficient to keep us handsomely; the future is far above mine and your thoughts.

4. Christ a Testator worthy of thy thanks for so much as he was thus mindful of thee at the last, when enemies insulted and vaunted against him; when sorrows and pains did seise him; when his Friends stood aloof off, and some of them denied him; when many were content not to be known of his ac­quaintance; when he foresaw what Friends we (in our several generations) would be to him; for what these persons were under Christ's Eye, was both an index, or discovery of them, and also a symptome, or prognostick what we after them would prove. And yet for all this his love continued firm to us, and made them and us Heirs both of his own, and of his Father's love also.

5. And lastly, consider this, Christ a Testa­tor, is Christ Voluntarily Dying that he might make all sure to us. He was not by nature under an unchangeable law of Death, as we are; if he had not loved us so much, he nee­ded not to have Died; here then is his plea and Title unto our Gratitude; he did Volun­tarily, and of choice put himself into a con­dition that he might dye, to procure and confirm the promises to us. And yet the kind and manner of Dying, and pains he did foresee in his Death, are the circumstances which, as they set off, and advance his love to us, so do they increase and augment our debt of a loving hearty resentment of his kindness. Sirs, Christ must dye a curse un­der the vindictive justice of God ere he [Page 187]could convey by will the Heavenly, blessed and everlasting Legacies, which we now ex­pect from him as a Testator. Whoso shall cast an Eye upon these particulars, if others more quickning do not occur, yet these will either perswade to thankfulness, or ren­der unthankfulness inexcusable. We do usual­ly pick out such circumstances as these to commend the worthiness of our Friends love towards us at his Death; he remembred me in what I most needed, provided for me as much as I need, or can receive, he (I thank him) setled it by will that I might be sure of it: And herein I am greatliest beholden to him, that as I was unfit to be trusted with all at once, and unable to subsist without any of it for present, he did in wise kindness to me provide that the main part should be reserved for me, and that the lesser be now given unto me. So Christ, that I might live, and rejoice in the present grace of my Lord to me; that I might be rich and happy in the possession of the whole, when I was fit for, and capable of it, did wisely bequeath me a portion of peace in him, grace from him, comfort through him, all which I needed, but hath reserved, fulness of Glory, the immarcescible Crown, the unchangeable Kingdom, the inconceiv­able, and unspeakable blessedness, until I should be prepared to enjoy them all: herein the love of Christ excelleth, insomuch as he did all this for us, when sorrows and troubles, greater than can be equalled were besetting him; nay, he put himself into a state subject to all those sorrows and trou­bles (from which by nature he was free) [Page 188]that he might be liable to dye, and make all this mercy sure to thee, and me (and such like us) by Testament: and thou, and I must thank him that he did it for us who by our folly and wickedness were the causes of all this sorrow, and trouble to him. Here is love to be owned with highest rensentments, and most enlarged affections; Christ is the greatest conquerour of hearts and therefore to be crowned with a triumphant wreath of enfla­med hearts; oh live, and dye in the grate­ful acknowledgments of his love. If (as some men will have it) his Table where thou sup­pest with him be an Altar, let not this Altar ever want a flaming Sacrifice. Let thine heart be offered to him; he deserveth more, thou canst not tender less; it were too little if thou had'st ought more; it will be sufficient if thou dost not think it too much. Oh my soul! thy present income is worth thy thanks; thy future full possession is fittest for an estimate and thanks in the highest Heavens.

CAP. V. Sect. 8. Humility Improved, on Christ's Dying a Testator.

8. THE eight Sacramental grace I did men­tion was Humility. The proud and lofty heart bearing it self high upon its own deceived opinion, is not fit for the Lords Table and Supper; the Lord stands (not as [Page 189]an endeared Friend to entertain, [...], Jam. 4.6. Psal. 22.26. but) as an ar­med man to oppose, the proud. 'Tis the meek shall eat and be satisfied, as the Psalmist in ano­case said, who come to the Lords Table rich­ly provided with their self-confidences are sent empty away, Luk. 1.53. 1 Pet. 5.5.whilst he filleth the hungry with good things. In this clothing must we appear, for however plain it may seem to be, 'tis re­ally a clothing of very great price in the account of God; 1 Pet. 3.4. to speak of the excellency of this grace is aliene to this place; and the seasonableness, and suitableness of it to the Sacrament, I think so apparent, that it needeth not any proof, I rather address my self to point out the incentives which from Christ Dying our Testator, do offer themselves to set forward and improve this grace of humility; It will teach us to judge of our selves as becometh us, and it will ever keep us lowly.

1. The Apostles motive to humility, 1 Cor. 4.7. offereth it self to us in the very entrance on this meditation; what hast thou which thou hast not received? look on either the beauty of thy renewed soul, or the comeliness of thy holy conversation, or the excellency of thy justified state, or the honour of thy A­doption, or look on the lustre of thy spiri­tual joyes, thy heavenly Hopes. And of all these in general, or of any of the particulars comprised in them; can'st thou say, this, or that is not received? I know thou can'st not deny the receiving, and if thou hast recei­ved, why dost thou boast? this Question, like a needle, opens the swoln bladder of pride, and letteth out the wind of vain opinion, which would either corrupt, or break us. [Page 190]Thou hadst had as little to pride thy self in as one who hath only his shame to glory in, if thou hadst not received what is now thy glory; it was the bounty of thy Rich, and Loving, Friend at his Death, to enrich thee; thou hast no reason either

1. To boast before God, who hath chosen and called thee, as others like thee, weak, foolish and base; Free and Rich mercy hath raised, made wise, and excellent; and now neither thou, I, or any flesh may boast be­fore God, 1 Cor. 1.26, 27, 28, 29. For what we are, we are in Christ, as v. 30. And the glory is due to God alone; as v. 31.

2. Nor to boast over thy brother who was every whit as Good as thou before Grace made the difference, and may ere long be as Rich in Grace as any, and more humble than thou art yet. He who hath adorned and blessed thee, might with the same freeness have adorned him whom thou despisest. Since then all that Good which is in thee was given to thee by thy Dying Lord, it is absurd and exceeding unseemly for thee to lift up thy self above thy brother, or to Glory in thy self before thy God. When thou intendest to approach the Sacrament, and when thou art there attending on the Lord, remember thou hadst been poor and destitute of all those blessings therein represented, if thy Lord Dying, had not by Will bequeathed all to thee;

2. The Second perswasive to Humility drawn from the Death of Christ as a Testator, lea­ving us such Legacies, may be our incapacity to serve him in any real service of advantage to [Page 191]him. We Never yet were, we never shall hereafter be in any capacity either of deser­ving what we have received, or of requiting the love which gave it to us. He that gave it, gave by Will, and Dyed to confirm his Will, and our goodness could not extend to our Friend in the other world. Our Lord nee­deth it not; wee are, when our best is done, unprofitable servants. These are two things which have kept better men in a humble, lowly thought of themselves. David's prayer, Psal. 16.1. was from a humble heart, and in an humbled state; and he maintained his Humility on the observation of his uselesness and unprofitableness to his Lord, his preser­ver, ver. 2, 3. My Goodness extendeth not un­to thee, &c. It is Elihu his argument, Job 35. ver. 5. with 7. &. 8. To perswade to hu­mility. And Eliphaz. Job. 22.2. lay's down man's unprofitableness first, and leaves us to conclude that unprofitable man must be a hum­ble man; thou mayest not be proud before one who needs thee not; thou must not boast in thy Best, seeing thy best is not good to him before whom thou boastest. Should a man boast himself in his smoaky cottage before his Soveraign in his magnificent pallace? or should a lame and decrepit fool boast of his wisdom and strength, and commend it to his Soveraign for the wars? In a word or two,

1. Were thy Lord but a man, yet his pre­sent state of Majesty and certainest coming in Glory confirmed, represented to thee in his Last Testament, mindeth thee that he needeth not thy help. Thou canst not say, He can [Page 192]be, but not so well without me.

2. The largeness of that state he was possessed of before he gave thee interess in it, and which he hath still in his possession since he gave thee a right to any part of it, doth clearly demonstrate that thou hast nothing to pride thy self in before thy Testator: a­mongst other causes of humility, we shall find that the wealth and Riches of those we ap­pear before, is one which perswadeth us to a demiss and lowly deportment and behavi­our; there is an appearance of Glory in Riches, Psal. 49.16. For with increase of Riches there is in common esteem an increase of Glory. Now in the gifts and Legacies of thy Dying Lord, thou mayst clearely see those true, precious, and lasting Treasures of grace, comfort and glory, which he was, and is still owner of; with him are Riches and honour, Prov. 8.18. To him therefore reve­rent carriage, and humble thoughts, (affe­ctions, and esteem) of our selves in his pre­sence is most suitable. And who is not affe­cted with humility and lowliness toward Christ, is so much the more injurious to him by how much more excellent and precious Christ's riches and wealth excel the Riches of men which are so highly esteemed, that they are judged sufficient ground of honour to the owner, and sufficient cause of com­manding humble carriage in the poorer.

3. In Christ Dying a Testator, thou may­est discern a dignity of dominion and Lord­ship over the things which are disposed of by will; A dominion which cometh near to an absolute and uncontrouled dominion, what a [Page 771]man may give by will to whomsoever he pleaseth, is more under the dominion of that man than the things which need a farther and more large conveyance. As the estate which may be devised by Will, and so con­vey'd to a Child, Friend, or stranger, is more under the dominion of the present owner, than is that estate which some law entaileth on the owners heirs, or Children. Now this being the case. Christ's dominion, and abso­lute soveraignty over the good things he hath given by Will, doth require and deserve a humble and lowly spirit in those who par­take of these gifts. Dominion is as a Ground of honour in those who are invested with it; so a Ground of humility in those who are inferiour to it. What would be esteemed Friendly familiarity in me towards my equal, and a commendable deportment, would be accounted insolent pride in me towards my Lord, or Soveraigne, and a carriage not to be endured. Joseph advanced to be Ruler over all the Land of Aegypt, must be saluted with a Bowing Knee, Gen. 41.43. Which was the outward and visible expression of that double apprehension, Gen. 27.29. Isa. 49.23. Esth. 3.2, 5. (1.) of his worth and honour, (2.) of the meanness and lowness of the rest who bowed. It is a very general and ancient signe of the respect we bear to the dignity and worth of any one we bow before. The insolent souldiers in their car­riage toward Christ when they bowed the knee, Math. 27.29. Shewed us what humi­lity becometh subjects, and what honour is due to Soveraigns. Look then on that abso­lute dominion and power which appeareth in [Page 194]Christ's last Will and Testament, be then Judge in the case, and say, What beseemeth thee in Receiving gifts from Soveraigne power, from an absolute Lord? will it not beseem thy low, abject, and poor state, to attend the presence, and receive the gifts of such a Lord (as Christ is) with a bended knee, and a humble heart?

What might be farther said in this parti­cular I shall leave to each ones larger medita­tions because I will hasten to an end of the Chapter and subject.

CAP. V. Sect. 9. Patience in Sufferings Improved, on Christ's Dying a Testator.

A Ninth Grace well suiting with the Lords Supper, and Improvable on consi­deration of Christ Dying a Testator, is strong and settled resolution with patience to undergo for him all hardships and sufferings which the Lord shall permit to come upon us. A praeme­ditated survey of all the sufferings for the Lord Christ and his Gospel, with advised purposes not to shrink from them, is requi­red of every Christian, and doth very well fit the thoughts of a Sacrament in which the Christian communicateth with a Lord who was in his whole life a Man of sorrows, and accquainted with griefs, for our sake. We celebrate the memorial of his sufferings [Page 195]we should confirm our resolutions not to shrink away from Christ for fear of suffe­rings. The antient Christians under perse­cutions, were wont to fortify their purposes and resolutions of adhering to their Crucified Lord in midst of all persecutions; in order hereunto they were wont to Celebrate the Lord's Supper often, thereby as often renew­ing their courage and resolution to dye (if need be) for him. And the ordinary name of this ordinance, viz. Sacrament, implieth so much: For it was the old Latine word expressing the Romane Soul­diers obligation to obey his Generall; Sacramentum Patres Latini, à militari jurejurando (uti opinamur) ad eam partem nostrae Religionis significan­dam, &c. Thes. Salmur. de Sacrament. in gen. disp. sect. 2. Now common sense telleth us, that who comes and listeth himself a Souldier under a Captain or Generall, either knoweth not what he doth, or else bringeth Resolutions to undergo all the hardships of the war he entreth on. I tell thee Christian, thou knowest not fully what thou art doing at a Sacrament, if thou doest not there add strength to thy resolutions of Enduring hard­ship, as a good Souldier of Jesus Christ. If thou dost only confirm thy Hope of, and thy wai­ting for the coming of thy Lord, and shewest this by shewing forth his Death untill he cometh, yet I must tell thee, since thou pro­fessest hope of, and waitest for the coming of thy Lord, it well becometh this hope, this faith, to have attendant the Resolution of Enduring all for Christ's sake. There are these Motives in it;

1. First in thy Dear Friends Will thou seest [Page 180]his Love to thee, and it is but endebted inge­nuity to be ready for, and patient in sufferings for one who sincerely Loved us: As the Love of our Friend to us increaseth, so should our readiness to suffer for our Friend. Christ did thus commend his Love above the love of all other friends, That he died for us, Rom. 5.8. And this Love constraineth us, 2 Cor. 5.14. It doth by a sweet and invincible power draw us into this conclusion; That we should live no longer to our selves, but to him who died for us, ver. 15. We ought not only to bear some, but all; not little only, but great; not common, but extraordinary dangers, distresses and afflictions for his sake. He is by a sacred right Lord of our life, and when he biddeth us venture it in hazards, or lay it down in unavoidable death for him, we must do it: His love ought thus to constrain us. The sacred story tells us, that Jacob served seven years for Rachel, Gen. 29.18. During which service he underwent Losses, Gen. 31.39. was consumed with drought in the day, and with frost in the Night: thus he served him fourteen years for his daughters; to the younger of which, he had such love, that seven years of hardship seemed to him but a few dayes, [...] for the love he had to her, Gen. 29.29. Either thy own Reason condemneth thy want of love to Christ who deserveth it, insomuch as he hath given thee rich Legacies by his Will, or thy Love will command thee resolvedly and patiently to suffer for him: Either thou must not pretend any interess in Christ's Gifts, or thou must intend to Love him for them, [Page 181]and resolve to suffer for him thou Lovest. In thy going to the Sacrament, view the kindness of thy Saviour in his Last Will and Testament, and judge with thy self what suf­ferings for him thou couldst reasonably re­fuse. He Loved not himself or life too well when it concerned thy life and Soul. He died for thee, and canst thou do less than venture life or estate for him? whilest thou readest his love in his Legacies, raise thy resolutions to face, stand out, and bear dangers, losses, reproaches, or Death for him. His love to thee deserveth it; for no man hath, Joh. 15.13. or can have greater than that Christ had for thee, and the rest of his friends.

2. Thy Testator hath provided by his last Will and Testament, that all thy sufferings should be recompenced to thee with a reward that surpasses all thy sufferings, If thou and I weigh the Sufferings for Christ, and our Gain by Christ, this will exceedingly outweigh those. The least degree of reward weighed with the heaviest burthen of sufferings, will praeponderate and outweigh them; [...]. for hea­viest burthens of afflictions are but light, 2 Cor. 4.17. But the glory they work for us is an exceeding and eternal weight of Glory.

And besides all that which shall hereafter be the recompence of sufferers for Christ, they are, 1. First honoured by God in that they are called to suffer for his Son. God puts an honour on such who are called to suffer re­proach for Christ, Acts. 5.41. & 1 Pet. 4.14.2. It is a gift which God doth not bestow on every one: however men judge of it, the Apostle tells us, it is Given, Phil. 1.29. And well [Page 198]might the Apostle so account it; for, 3. It fitteth us for the Kingdom of Heaven; our sufferings do not fit us with a fitness of worth, or of merit; but with a fitness of preparedness and of meetness, 2 Thes. 1.5. with Col. 1.11, 12. 4. It is very acceptable to God, 1. Pet. 2.19, 20. &. 21. [...] It is [...], it ingratiateth with God. 5. It is a Scrip­ture evidence of Grace and future Glory, Phil. 1.29. & Rom. 8.17. whoso suffer for Christ, shall in like manner be glorified with Christ. 6. And lastly, it is a condition ordinarily privi­ledged with great consolations in the inward man, and with an high degree of Heroick grace in the heart, expressed by the spirit of Glory and of God resting on the sufferer, 1 Pet. 4.13, 14. Though many other compen­sations of our sufferings might be mentioned as preponderating, and outweighing our Sufferings; yet because no one of these men­tioned can be reasonably doubted or denied to be more than sufficient present reward for our Sufferings, I judge it reason to add no more. Think then as the Love of thy Savi­our and Friend should make thee resolute in Suffering; so the present advantage and reward will warrant thee to desire opportu­nity of Suffering for him, if he shall see good so to try thee. Read then the promises made to sufferers for Christ, the Elogies given to them, the fruits of such sufferings, and then debate the case with thy self going to the Sacrament, or receiving it. There are pre­sent benefits annexed to sufferings for that Lord whose Death I celebrate; these benefits are made over to such as I am by his last [Page 199]Will; what then should make me unwilling, unresolved, or afraid to suffer for him? each particular blessing bequeathed, surpasseth all the sufferings I need expect, or fear. Seal therefore Lord thy blessings to me in the Sacrament, and help me to seal thy cause and truth (if need be) with my blood!

3. A third inducement to Resolution in suffering for Christ our Lord Dying a Testator deducible from his Last Will, is, That the greater these sufferings are, the greater the compensation shall be. Our Lord Dying hath so disposed his rich gifts that he shall have greatest share in them who is greatest suffe­rer for him: By a Christianlike bearing the Afflictions of the Lord, and the Gospel, thou mayest increase the Crown of Glory which Christ hath promised thee; if so be we suffer with him that we may also be glorified with him, Rom. 8.17. God allowes us to intend and aime at obtaining Glory with Christ as the end why we suffer with him, [...]. and for him. It is a very full expression of this which we meet with 2 Cor. 4.17. This Momentany and light affliction worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of Glory. Note the words, Affliction worketh for us, it effecteth, perfectly worketh, or as it is rendered, Phil. 2.12. Worketh out, or in a good sense causeth, as the word is rendred, 2 Cor. 9.11. The Temptation of afflictions doth as well increase the future Glory, as the present grace of the Saints, James 1.2. And they are blessed who endure such Tempta­tions, James 1.12. For when they are tryed, they shall receive the Crown of life. Gold and [Page 184]silver are purified, and get a greater measure of perfection by the refining fire

The Glorified Saints shine with greatest lustre who came out of the fires of persecu­tion. Those that were clothed with white robes, and had Palms in their hands, and stood before the throne, Revel. 7.9. Were the per­sons who came out of great tribulation, ver. 14. Therefore are they before the Throne, ver. 15. In a word, Christ hath prepared Thrones, on which they who did continue with him in his Temptations do sit, and whereon they shall sit hereafter judging the tribes of Israel; to these sufferers he hath disposed the King­dome, Luke 22.28.29. No man shall ever be loser by suffering for Christ. Mark well the answer given to Peter's Question, Matth. 19.27, 28. & 29. We have forsaken all, &c. What shall we have therefore? Ye (saith Christ) shall sit upon Thrones, ye shall re­ceive an Hundred fold, ver. 29. Judge there­fore with thy self whether the renewed Re­membrance of such a Will and Testament, in which the Testator gives most to him that doth suffer most for him, be not a very fit means to perswade thee to, and confirm thee in resolutions of patient suffering for Christ? In a Sacrament thou dost, or mightest see such encouragements to sufferings sealed to thee, and wilt thou not endure? wilt thou not bear and suffer for such Hopes? are our sufferings not worthy to be compared with that Glory which shall be revealed? Rom. 8.18. And is it not too much weakness which dares not suffer? will you thus render your selves unworthy to expect such Glory?

4. And Lastly Christ Dying a Testator li­veth and beholdeth what thou sufferest, and with what frame of mind thou dost endure thy suffe­rings. And this thou doest tacitely confess in the use of the Sacrament; for under what Notion soever thou dost remember thy Lord in the Sacrament as it is complex of thy Lord his Death, so of his future coming likewise. Thou declarest that though he died once, yet Death hath not Dominion over him, for he liveth, and knoweth what is designed against him by his enemies, what is laid upon his Friends and followers for his sake. He will be Judge of thy sufferings, and of thy reward also, Revel. 2.2. He that walketh in the midst of the Golden Candle­sticks, knoweth the patience as well as the La­bour of the Church. Now who knows the patience, must needs know the sufferings which exercise the patience of the Church. He knoweth the tribulation of the Church, Revel. 2.9. Christ is the great overseer and Judge of the combates which his Church maintaineth with his enemies who afflict, and trouble the Church for Christ's sake. He assigneth the reward and Crown to every one that overcometh, Revel. 2.7, 17, 23, & 26. with other places. Well then, so often as thou goest to the Sacrament, thou renewest the memory of thy Lord, whose Love deser­veth thou shouldest patiently bear; whose reward when least, will surpass thy sufferings when they are greatest; who will measure out to thee a reward proportioned to thy sufferings; who lives to see and observe all thou sufferest: thy Captain Generals Eye is [Page 202]upon thee, and will not this perswade to reso­lutions of bearing, and constant patience in bearing for Christ? these among other in­ducements to a Christian fortitude in suffering for Christ, may be drawn from the conside­ration of his Dying a Testator, and a larger improvement of them I commend to your private meditations. I proceed to what remaineth.

CAP. V. Sect. 10. Sorrow for unserviceableness to Christ Improved, on Christ's Dying a Testator.

10. THE tenth Sacramental grace I mention­ed as befitting us at the Lords Sup­per, was Sorrow for doing so little for him, with grief that we have done so much against him. This temper of mind is highly improveable by pondering what Christ hath as a Testator done for us. I know there are many other motives to Repentance which may be seaso­nably thought on at the Sacrament: there are also in this sufficient inducements to that Godly sorrow which becometh the memori­als of our Dying Lord, and loving Friend.

1. First the Christian as he is a man, as he is principled and swayed with the affections of Humane Nature, cannot but reflect with greif [Page 203]upon his carriages and deportment towards a Friend who loved him intirely, who was recom­penced with the disingenuous returnes of scorn; neglect, and hatred. When we have unadvi­sedly, or unwittingly sleighted any Friend we dearly loved, or should have loved, we cannot remember it without shame, sorrow, confessing, praying pardon, and excuse, with promise to be more heedful, more respectful for future. There is no love so tender and apt to distil into tears, as that which is won by a worthy, excellent, person conquering ungrounded prejudices, unreasonable neglects, and unjustifiable contempts; such affronted love, when it prevails at last, doth kindle the strongest fires, and heapeth up the coals which melt the hardest, and most stubborn metal. Many a hard heart hath by such flame been melted down to tenderness; Saul grew warm by it, 1 Sam. 24.17, 18, 19. And in the 1 Sam. 26.21. It breaketh out into a flame of affection toward David, and against himself, for his unreasonable usages toward David. Saul accuseth himself, but acquitteth David; he confesseth his sin, his folly and great errour in designing evil a­gainst one who did so well deserve his love. Though Saul were disingenuous (more than enough) against his Son David, yet the re­flection of his thoughts on David's kindness, drew him into tears, 1 Sam. 24.16. Wilt thou be more disingenuous to thy Lord than Saul to David? how long didst thou directly oppose, bitterly hate, scornfully reproach, and unreasonably reason against Christ's Law, ordinances, waies and followers? what kind [Page 188]of life didst thou in the days of unregeneracy live? if thou wast not a violent persecutor, yet thou didst long think hardly of Christ and the Gospel, yet then Christ did not cut thee off, nor leave thee to perish in thy con­tempt of salvation; wilt thou not say thou hast erred greatly? done foolishly? and sin­ned? canst thou do less than weep over the thoughts hereof? In the Sacrament thou commemoratest the most unparalleld love, and beneficence, triumphing over unkindness, and unthankfulness, a Testator bequeathing grace, comfort, glory and salvation to thee, and others like thee who undervalued, op­posed, hated, and persecuted him. Canst thou remember this and not grieve? canst thou review it and not be displeased with thy self? and condemn thy folly?

2. The Christian Sorrow is most highly In­genuous and excellently tempered, and therefore the Remembrance of such unkindness to such a Friend will work a deep impression of Sorrow and grief upon the heart of the Remembrancer. The Scripture tells us the People of God are a willing People, [...] or a People of Ingenuities indeed. [...]& [...] Psal. 51.12. Grace reneweth nature to some degrees of created and primitive generousness. Hence it is, Cant. 6.12. the Church is stiled Ami­nadib. God calls them my willing People, and Isaiah doth very particularly describe this frame of mind, and how it is wrought, Isa. 32.1, 2, 3, 4. & 5. By the power of Christ in the Gospel. Now where such a sweet, generous temper of mind is, there will be reflections of dislike, grief and Sorrow, or repentance for any unseemly carriage towards [Page 189]one that deserved better. The spouse, Cant. 5.2, 3. In drousy and careless fit neglected her beloved, but when she was throughly awakned, she discovereth a most deep sense of her neglect; she fell into a deep sick fit of love, ver. 8. her heart failed her when she remembred what she had done: such like workings of this Christian, spiritual, and renewed, ingenuity you may observe 2 Cor. 7.11. in that sevenfold operation which conviction and remembrance of their fault wrought in them. Carefulness, or readiness to amend the errour, clearing themselves, or duly apologizing for themselves, indignation against the offence and offender, fear least the like should be committed, or this not sufficiently taken away; vehement desire of firm reconciliation, Zeal for the injured, and revenge (such as becometh a Gospel repen­tance) against the offence, and against them­selves for it. Either thou art not well ac­quainted with what Christ hath done for thee in his last Will and Testament; or thou hast not yet observed how little love, service, and honour thou hast returned him for his love; or if thou knowest, and observest both these, they work in thee a readiness of mind to correct thine errours, a defence for Christ, and blame of thy self with indignation against thy former folly; fear of being so foolish any more, earnest desire (to be one with Christ) and Zeal for his glory, with revenge on thy sins which eclipsed it. Wheresoever Christi­an ingenuity springs from a renewed heart, renewed Sorrow for unkindnesses will put forth it self, and spring from that ingenuity. [Page 206]Say then, whatever the common ingenuity of a man, whatever the enhanced generous­ness of a Christian should work in the refle­ctions on its own unhansome carriages to­wards a sleighted friend, all that should the renewed memory of my Lord Dying a Testator, (and by his Testament enriching me), produce in me, viz. all common and ordinary effects of hearty sorrow; yea all especial and extraordinary effects of Christian repentance. Of which I need say no more, of which I dare not longer treat, because I must not exceed bounds to much.

CAP. V. Sect. 11. Better'd obedience the Fruit of Christ's Dying a Testator.

11. THE next grace suiting to the Lord's Supper, and improveable on the con­sideration of Christ's Death as he died a Testator, is Resolution and endeavour of New and better Obedience for future. There's no man (that accounteth the ordinance a mer­cy, that looketh on it as a Sealing ordi­nance, a renewing our Covenant with God, or a memorial of the Death of Christ Dying for us that we might live to him) but confesseth New Obedience should be the effect, and resolutions for new Obedience should [Page 207]be the preparatory for this Sacrament. It is not therefore needful to prove it particularly, and at large; I speak to none but such as judge it their duty after they have been at the Lord's Supper, to endeavour a renew­ing of their Obedience to the commands of Christ.

1. The gain and reward bequeathed is worthy, very well deserveth our Obedience. We have had frequent occasion to tell you, that the promises both of the life that now is, and of that which is to come, are the Legacies of Christ; which promises are rich and precious, they contain all necessary, noble, and high encouragements to Obe­dience: when the labourers were hired, and sent into the vineyard, the husband­man perswadeth them to obey and work; for (saith he) I will give you what is meet, Matth. 20.4. What the Apostle saith (in a case little different from this,) I say to you, cast not away your Obedience for it hath great recompence of reward, Heb. 10.35. It is a harvest for its abundance, and riches; It is a Crown of Righteousness which the Lord the righteous Judge will give to them that finish their course, 2 Tim. 4.7, 8. It is a Crown of Glory which fadeth not away, as the Apostle St. Peter hath it 1 Pet. 5.4. A Kingdom that can­not be shaken, Heb. 12.28. Let us then have grace; let us be so ingenuous and thankful to our Lord, as to serve him to all well pleasing: the Apostle argueth from the expectation of such a reward to the reasonableness of our serving the Lord [Page 192]with fear and trembling, the renewed thoughts of this ample, glorious, eternal recompence of our sincere Obedience, will surely renew our purposes and endeavours of bettering our Obedience; what then should you and I do at the Lord's Supper, but meditate on the greatness of the Lega­cies he hath given; and with David, de­mand of our selves, What shall we render to the Lord for all his benefits? Psal. 116.12. Wherein shall we express our thankfulness? Shall it be in Sacrifices and Offerings? No, God doth not require these, but to do justice, and love mercy, and to walk humbly with God, Micah 6. To love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love our neighbour as our selves, is more than all whole burnt Offerings and Sa­crifices, Mark 12.33. A Discerning Obedi­ence is a most acceptable Sacrifice to the Lord. In one word, we are called to the Gospel, and to the Knowledge of Christ in the Gospel; and we must walk worthy of our Calling, Ephes. 4.1. worthy of the Lord, Col. 1.10. worthy of the Gospel of Christ, Phil. 1.27. Now as every one who believeth is bound by his first Call to walk in New Obedience; so is every Believer bound by every renewal of his Call, by every renewed remembrance of his Call to Christ, to revive his Resolutions of renewing his Obedience to the Gospel of Christ.

2. Thy Renewed Obedience to Christ must be the evidence of thy Right and Title to the Rich and Glorious Legacies which he hath bequeathed [Page 209]to his kindred. Thou hast no more to shew for thy Right, then thou hast of Renewed Obedience. Christ thy Lord hath bequeathed a Kingdom and a Crown, but it is on condition thou wait for both in a constant course of New Obe­dience. It is a Kingdom which cannot be shaken, the Apostle saith; and it is true, it is a Kingdom that can neither be shaken by a Plea against your Title, nor by force against your Possession: But observe, those who have this Right, and who shall have the Possession of this Kingdom, are such who should

1. Have Grace which is of a growing na­ture; And

2. They serve God, they worship, they obey him; And

3. They do this acceptably with reve­rence and godly fear. The Apostle useth a Verb of that Mood, which ex­presseth matter of Duty, or Exhortation, [...] habeamus, or habere oportet, and [...] serviamus sive servire debemus; the Syriack reads [...], by [...], apprehending, which speaks a voluntary and active seeking Grace, and accipiamus, which speaks a ready closing with Grace offered, and retineamus, which speaks a holding fast what we sought, and acccepted, thus furnisht with Grace, [...], ministremus ceu Sacerdotes spirituales qui Deo [...], 1 Pet. 2.5. And [...] placeamus. They ought to be such persons, and to employ themselves in such ex­ercises.

Do we then hear the Apostle's Exhorta­tion? Do we see a Kingdom offered? Do we read the Will which investeth us with it? Do we see the Will sealed in the Sacrament? And will not all this stir us up to renew our Obedience? Will we be so foolish to hazard our Title to it through backwardness and dis­obedience? [Page 210]When he cast the Law of Grace and Mercy into the mould and form of a Te­stament or last Will; he framed it so that he might strongly bind all to obedience who ex­pected benefit by it. Hence it is that we read, He became Mediator of the New Testament, to the end he might purge our consciences from dead works to serve the Living God, Heb. 9.14, 15. The Covenant of Promise which of­fereth grace, Heb. 10.16, 17. and engageth the Almighty to write his Law in our hearts, was confirmed to us, and is made good to every believing soul through Christ our Testator; so that obedience to Christ is as much incorporated in the Testament, as is Glory and Blessedness. He is the Author of Eternal Salvation to those that obey him, Heb. 5.9. Obedience is requi­red of us, as Salvation is promised to us. How canst thou then renew thy Faith and Hope in expecting of the promised Salvation, and not renew thy resolutions to perform required obedience? How shall we look Christ in the face, when we so separate what he hath joined? How will you plead his Pro­mise, who have not obeyed his Precept? or how should your expectations be answered by Christ, when his expectations have not been answered by you? It is the unreason­ableness of ignorance, and prophaness to boast of rich gifts made over to them by the Will of Christ; and yet at the same time to sleight, neglect and refuse the duty, obser­vance, and obedience, which Christ requireth of all his Legatees. When thou comest to a Sacrament to renew thy assurance of in­teress in the last Will of Christ, be sure thou [Page 211]observe what he expresly requireth as con­dition of this interess, and consider, He will be Author of Eternal Salvation to thee on no other terms than thy obedience to him.

3. Christ dying once to conrfim the New Testament, and to make a firm Will for our good, did not, as other Testators do, continue under the power of Death, but he rose again from the Dead, according to the Scriptures, and now observeth how thou, and every one else do acquit themselves in this New Obedience required of thee and of them. Let it be well weighed; Christ doth now exactly know, and particularly observe all thy works, and what obedience thou givest him. His coun­tenance is as the Sun when it shineth in its strength, Rev. 1.16. both for the luster of it, and for the power of making manifest whatsoever is done, both in the world, and also in the Churches, amidst which he walk­eth, Rev. 2.1. Knowing the works, the la­bour, and the patience of each Church, of each member of the Church. He seeth who it is that laboureth and fainteth not; Rev. 2.3. and who would not take courage from such an eye-witness to abound in the blessed works of obedience? For whom will you labour, if you will not labour for him who seeth you? and will as certainly reward, as he seeth exactly? When Sarah's severity made Hagar weary of her service, and fly from it, I observe she was perswaded to return, to submit her self, and to become obedient to Sarah at the command, and upon the pro­mise of God who liveth and seeth, Gen. 16.13. [Page 212]For memorial of which she gave name to a Well, [...] calling it Beer-la-hai-roi. Christian, thy Lord who commandeth thy obedience, and encourageth thy diligence and willing­ness, both liveth and seeth. Wilt thou not obey, that he may perform his promise to thee? What, shall slothful, careless and un­faithful servants shake off sloth, and put on a shew of diligence and faithfulness whilst un­der the eye of their Master? and shall not the Christian (who is ever under the eye of his Master) be thereby perswaded to care, diligence, and faithfulness in his obedience? Whoever thou art that attendest at the Lord's Table, dost know, (or else now learn it, that for future thou mayest know it, and consider it) That the Lord of the Feast cometh to entertain his Guests, and to re­ceive their promises of renewed Obedience; and when thou hast made the promise, Christ makes the observation what diligence thou usest in performing thy promise; he seeth whether thou art mindful of thy promise, and will one day call thee to account for it, and require it of thee. And what wilt thou answer to such a demand? Friend, wast thou not guilty enough under the single guilt of neglect, but must thou needs add the guilt of perfidiousness and fals­hood to thy other guilt? How didst thou dare to affront me to my face, to give me thy promise at the Sacrament, and under my eye break the promise thou madest me? Let me, O God! ever keep it in mind my Testator liveth and seeth, may he [Page 213]see my obedience renewed in its fruits! as my obligations are renewed in the Sacra­ment.

4. Consider in Christ a Testator living and seeing (who do, or who do not perform the conditions qualifying the Legatees for the receiving the Legacies) Thou mayest see him Judge, supreme Judge of all the claims that are made to the whole, or to any part of what he hath bequeathed. In this he excelleth all other Testators, who can only make their Wills and dye, they cannot judge and determine the pleas and pretences which are made upon their last Testament. Hence it often falleth out that such get and possess the goods bequeathed, whom the testator never intended should be the better for them. But here no pretender can by sleight and fraud get any of the great and rich Legacies of Christ: Nor shall any who hath good right ever miss of them. Oh! let us look to our Blessed Redeemer, the Soveraign Judge of his own last Testa­ment, and readily, diligently, constantly, do what he commandeth, that we may receive what he promiseth. Fulfil his holy Will, that he may make good his last Will to us: Let Sacraments bind us to an increase of Obedience; for this will be the only Plea allowed by our Judge; this will be the only Plea advantageous to us. These are some few of many inducements which may move us to renew our obedience, for so much as we obey our Lord a Testator, bequeathing us Legacies rich, and worth [Page 214]our greatest obedience; Legacies no way to be attained but in the sincere obedience of our life and heart: Legacies that shall be given by him who is now living to see who obeys him, as he once died to ensure the reward to their obedience; Legacies that must be adjudg'd to the obedient by him who commands the obedience, and made the Will; out of all which result­eth

1. A Motive that may prevail with our ingenuity and hopes; we obey in expecta­tion of a Noble Reward; our Legacies are worth better obedience.

2. A Motive that may work on, and pre­vail with our fears, and our less ingenuous principles: Our Judge his eye is on us; and he is our Judge who will give only to the obedient.

3. A Motive that may meet with, and prevail on, our mixed affections, to encou­rage our hopes, to manage our fears, to enforce our backwardness, we must obey, or lose our reward; to cherish our ingenui­ty, the reward is generous and noble, ex­ceedingly well becoming the ingenuity of the most free and noble spirits.

CAP. V. Sect. 12. Brotherly kindness improved on Christ's last Testament.

THE Twelfth and last Grace mentioned, cap. 4. sect. 12. as a Sacramental Grace well suiting with the Lord's Supper, that Feast of Love, and improveable by the con­sideration of Christ's dying a Testator, is Brotherly Kindness and Charity; a peaceable disposition of mind towards our Christian friends, and a loving affection for our Brethren in Christ. This grace is so needful, that none are so ignorant as to doubt, none so prophane as to deny it, a needful qualifica­tion: yet whilst ignorance and prophaneness, confess it in words, they are both far from the true exercise hereof. The considerate, meditating and discerning communicant, will be careful to provide this grace for this Sa­crament, and to improve it by the Sacra­ment, which may very well be done by such considerations as these.

1. First, Our Christian Brethren whom we should love, are made truly lovely by the Lega­cies which Christ hath bequeathed to them, and which he hath in some part already bestowed upon them. For Christ the great, bountiful and wise Testator, hath, as is already ob­served, so disposed his estate and treasures of grace, consolation and glory, with other [Page 216]advantages, and needful supplies, that all his friends should be handsomly maintained out of his Treasury, although the principal of the estate be reserved in Heaven to enrich them there. As Rebeccah was adorned with rich Jewels before she was brought to Isaac, who invested her with all when she came to him, and the marriage was consummate. So the Church, (so each particular Believer) is adorned with very rich Jewels of grace, gifts and comforts, in which she is brought to Christ, who will invest all on her when he shall consummate the Marriage in Glory. The Crown it is true is reserved for the future state of Glory; but there are many single Jewels already bestowed. The King's daugh­ter is all glorious within, Psal. 45. The Saints of God, the Righteous ones are the excel­lent on earth, Psal. 16.3. They are filled with the Spirit of Christ; and they are led by that Spirit into all the waies of Truth, Holiness, Meekness, Goodness, Long-suf­ferance, and the like. The Philopher tells us, that true Friendship is only among the true vertuous. Vice cannot be a cement of Friendship. In the Redeemed, Called, San­ctified, there is what fitteth them for, and renders them worthy of our love and bro­therly affections.

Two things do ordinarily prevail with men to excite Natural love; first, the sweet­ness of disposition, a skill and delight to shew our selves friendly, as Prov. 18.24. He can­not be much beloved, who is not ready and prone to love. Secondly, the largeness of [Page 217]estate and wealth; it is the Rich man that hath many friends, Prov. 14.20. Both these, Motives to love, the Believer seeth in every Believer. Grace doth very much sweeten Nature, and Grace doth very much enrich the person. These Motives of love may be found in every Legatee, who hath share in the choice Legacies of Christ; he giveth an excellency of spirit which sweetneth their disposition; they are meek, lowly, faithful, and without guile: He also giveth an Inhe­ritance, a heavenly, a glorious Inheritance; these win with the considerate Christian; and either thou knowest not what Christ hath bestowed on Believers, or thou must confess they are well worthy of thy love, and bro­therly affection.

2. Another Inducement to Brotherly Love contained in this consideration of Christ Dying a Testator, may be this: Every Believer having interess in this Will, was near to Christ's heart, as art thou, or I, or any other who pretendeth title and interess in Christ's Last Testament. Now, should it not move us to love with hearty love every Christian, for so much as every one of them was equal­ly near to the hearty love of Christ? Let our hearts be toward them, Joh. 15.12. as Christ's was toward us and them. It is a maxim in Love and Friendship, that it extend it self to all our friends friends. Hence the advice of So­lomon, that thy Father's friend be not forsaken, Prov. 27.10carries sound reason in it; for he that is the Father's friend, and heartily loved him that begot, will be a friend to the Son, and love [Page 218]him that was begotten too; as the Apostle argueth in a like case, 1 John 5.1. The A­postle urgeth this Love of Christ to us as ar­gument to perswade us to love one another, Rom. 15.5. with vers. 7. to be of the same mind, [...], vide 2 Cor. 13.11. Idem velle, & idem nolle, ea demum est firma amicitia. that so ye may live in Peace and Love, which is the fruit of that Union the Apostle per­swades us to, 2 Cor. 13.11. and Phil. 2.2. where he explaineth ( [...]) The be­ing of one mind, by, ( [...]) having the same Love. The Love we should have for the Brethren (of right) should be so strong as death, because that Love which Christ had for them equally and indifferently, was even unto death. This is the Apostle's Argument, 1 John 3.16. And there is strength in it, whether we apprehend it or no. In the last Will of Christ thou mayest discern a Love equally embracing all that be­lieve, that seek their portion in Christ. There we may find Christ a friend to the poor, as to the rich Believer; to the unlearned, as to the learned Believer; to the despised, as to the honourable Believer. As the Apostle speaketh of Righteousness, (I may speak (and you must understand) of all) the bles­sings of the Covenant and Testament: The whole is by Faith of Jesus Christ unto all, and upon all them that believe; for there is no difference, Rom. 3.22. Now where Christ hath made no difference in his Love, darest thou make so great a difference in thine, as to withhold thy love from some? [Page 219]Wilt thou not love those who are dear friends to thy dearest Lord? thy best friend? I do not press an equality of love to all Be­lievers. I know, our brethren by nature, our kindred by alliances, our acquaintance and intimate friends, have a right to our love and affections, both Natural and Civil, and where such a Right is doubled by our Rela­tion to each other in Christ, our affections may be allowed to double themselves also. Whilst Grace and common Hopes do increase our love to each other, they do allow for the respects which Nature calleth for of us. We must love all with an unfeigned love, though we may love some with a more fervent love: whom Christ hath e­qually loved, we must unfeignedly love; and what reneweth the remembrance of such love to us, should renew our love to others.

3. In the last Will of Christ is to be seen, That it is the express desire of our Dying Lord we should love one another heartily and un­feignedly. He hath therefore put them all into one Will, and into the same capacity; every one by his Will made an heir. The Saints do inherit the Riches of Glory, Ephes. 1.18. Their title is a joint-tenancy; [...]. they are coheirs, Heb. 11.9. And this title is by gift of Christ in his last Testament, Joh. 17.24. Who desired they should all be where he was, that they might behold his glory. And read we John 15.12. This is my Command­ment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. This is that Commandment that [Page 220]is so mine, as if all others were to yield place to this. This is the New Command­ment, Joh. 13.34. and 35. When Christ at­tended with Angels gave the Law to Israel, the First Great Commandment was, Love the Lord, &c. The Second was, Love thy Neighbour, &c. When he was to die he re­newed the Commandment of loving our Bre­thren. Yea, so resolvedly doth our Lord require this Brotherly Love, that whosoever he is pretends to Christ, must make good his pretensions to Christ by his affections to all that are Brethren in Christ, Joh. 13.35. Hereby shall all men know that ye are my dis­ciples, if ye have love for one another. Add hereto 1 John 4.20. He loves not God who loveth not the Children of God. For how shall he love God whom he hath not seen, who loveth not his Brother whom he hath seen? In a word, read the last words of Christ's Intercession, John 17.26. which do breathe out the earnest desire of Christ, that such love may be among the Brethren one to another, as was in the Father and in the Son to them all. Now after all this vehe­mency of desire in Christ that we who are heirs by his Will, should love one another. Shall any of us dare to hate, undervalue, reject, or despise the other? Will you read the last Testament of Love with a heart of enmity? Dare you come to the Ordinance which renews the remembrance of Christ's Love to us, of his desire we should love each other, and not labour to renew your love to them? Renewed meditations on [Page 221]Christ's love to us will certainly renew our love to him and to all his; renewed thoughts of his last desire, of his earnest commending mutual love, will renew mutuall love in us if any degree of ingenuity remain in us.

4. In the Testament and Last Will of our Dying Lord we have this inducement to renew our love to the Brethren. He hath by will de­signed one onely place in which with most perfect love to enjoy as all the blessed Legacies of our Lord, so to enjoy all our fellow Legatees. Whe­ther I shall perswade now I know not, whe­ther my arguings be powerful enough to suppress envyings, and jealousies, to remove animosities, and quarrels from amongst saints, I cannot tell. But this I know, and this I will tell you, when you who are now enti­tled to the Legacies of this great Testator shall every one of you meet together to re­ceive the full and total of what you can receive, and Christ will give; there shall need no such arguments, no such reasonings, no such intreaties to perswade you to Mutual Love. There you shall not chuse but Love, de­light in, and embrace each other. Come then think what you shall be when you Feast all together at your Lord's Table in his King­dom. And judge with your selves is it nor meet we should be such now? It will be then a part of your Glory. And is not your mind and judgment convinced that it is the Glory of a Christian to strive to be now what he shall be hereafter? Christ will bring the Scat­tred sheep of his flock into one, Joh. 11.52. When there shall remain on foot-steps of [Page 222]their former folly and discord. It is a high expression which the holy ghost useth, Joh. 17.11. And I will now forbear to search in in­to. Holy Father keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one as we are. It is a place which ensureth us that such who by the Father are kept un­to the future state of the Saints in Heaven, are kept to a most intimate and Glorious Union, Friendship and Love. Now they who will not be perswaded to cement, to unite affections, to love one another here, how highly do they cross the designe of Christ and of the Father? Oh that I could perswade all who hear or read my words, and oh that more lively sense of what I write were upon mine own heart! Lord I read thy Will, Joh. 17.22. The Glory which thou gavest me, I have given unto them that they may be one even as we are one. Oh let the Remembrance of thy designe of our future Union renewed in the Memorial of thy last Will at each Sacrament, cause me and all believers, to study and endeavour a present Union and Brotherly love more be­seeming our future blessed Union and love. It may be I shall be quarrelled at for this en­deavour of gaining love from those that yet love me not, & possibly lose what I thought to keep the love of some that have embraced me with a more Brotherly affection than hereaf­ter they will, this may possibly be the Fruit of their passions, and the unhappiness of my weak, and imperfect discourses. But I shall retire my self from such storms, and view the blessed Legacies my dying Lord hath bequea­thed [Page 223]me, peace he hath left for me his peace he hath given unto me. And with his Peace, his Love, I shall at last I Hope Love them for ever who now will scarce give me leave so to do; they shall love me who think they never will. What my words cannot ex­express, what my explanations cannot yet make clear, that day of glorious appearing of our blessed Testator to give us the full possession of all bequeathed blessings shall reveale to us and we shall understand, All of grace in its Beginnings, Improvements, Perfe­ction, and Crowning in Glory, to have been the free Gift of this great Testator dying far us.


The end of the Second Part.
Gal. 3. v. 13, 14.

Christ hath redeemed us from the Curse of the Law, being made a Curse for us, &c.

THese two verses do acquaint us with what Christ hath done for us, and how he hath done it; what he was made for us, and what we are made by him. He was made a curse for us, we are made blessed by him. In the words you may observe,

1. A grand design of Favour proposed, Parts of the words. i.e. the conferring on us a great Blessing, that we Gentiles might receive the blessing of Abraham.

2. The accomplishment of the design by Christ; he hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law, &c.

3. The Manner how he hath effected this being made a curse for us.

3. The Proof of this, that Christ was made a curse for us, argued from the Manner of his Dying; For it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a Tree.

From which (declining all but what di­rectly tends to my purpose) I commend to you this Truth, viz.

That the Blessings of Grace are procured for us, imparted to us, and increased in us, Doctr. by Christ's becoming, and dying a Curse for us.

The full blessing of Grace descends on us through Christ made a Curse for us.

Here I shall 1. Clear the Term. 2. Prove the Truth. 3. Essay the Improvement of Grace, by shewing how this may excite and exercise Grace. Now in the explication of the Terms, there are these Terms offer them­selves;

11. What is this Blessing. 2. What is this Curse. 3. How Christ was made a Curse. Of each in order.

Sect. 1. This Blessing then is made evident in general by the Apostle, vers. 14. who calls it, The Blessing of Abraham, and explaineth it farther; it was that we might receive the Pro­mise of the Spirit through Faith. That Cove­nant of Grace with all the immunities of it, whereby the Jews for a long time had been the peculiar people of God, Benedicti­onis pars maximè me­morabilis in spiritûs dono sita est, P.P. Salmur. Thes. de Baptis. Sect. 23. and had been advanced high above other Nations, is now made with the Gentiles, who are now of Aliens, made Heirs to the Covenants of Pro­mise, Children of God, and endowed with the Spirit. A most memorable part of the Bles­sing lieth in the Gift of the Holy Ghost. So the words of the Apostle are a Conclusion from the premisses that the Gentiles should be made partakers of the free Blessing of Abraham by Christ, Conclusio omnium superiorum —gentes fieri in Christo gra­tuitae benedictionis Abrahami participes—& consequi pro­missam illam Evangelii Gra­tiam quam vocat Spiritum.and should obtain the promised Grace of the Gos­pel, which he calleth the Spirit. Or in the words of the learned Critick and Divine, Promissio­nem Spiritus pro Spiritu promisso accipio — Et Spiritus nomine benedictionem aeternae spiritualis vitae intelligo. Th. Beza in Loc. I take the Promise of the Spirit for the [Page 3]Spirit promised, and by the Spirit I understand the blessing of an eternal spiritual life. The blessing of Renovation, and Holiness from the Spirit of Sanctification: The blessing of Peace in our Pardon attested by the Spirit of A­doption; The blessing of inconceivable Glo­ry; reward of all the obedience of our Faith. In brief, That spiritual life we extinguisht by sin; that favour with God which we lost by our disobedience; that glory which we fell short of, when we fell from God; all that happiness which the Law could not give to sinful man; accursed by the Law for his transgressing of it: But the Gospel hath given to many, and still offers to all that it is sent unto: This is the Blessing that the Apostle speaketh of, and which the Doctrine I am speaking of doth intend; and this does come on us by Christ made a Curse, &c.

Sect. 2. Which Term cometh next to be somewhat explained. And here I conceive are two things ever found in a Curse, according to the sentence of the Law.

1. First, It either implieth an Gen. 26.28. Ezek. 17.13 Gen. 49.7.imprecation of evil in case of a persidious violation of our Faith, (as in Covenants between equals) or a Gen. 24.21. Deut. 29.14 Dan. 9.11do­nunciation of punishment from the Law of our Superiour in case of our persidious refusal or vio­lation of the Covenant we were under by his just ordination; by doing either of which the offender deserveth and draweth down the Curse by his falsifying, or breaking with God when he was under a Covenant of obe­dience, or Law of righteousness, with pro­mise of reward and blessedness.

2. Secondly, A curse implieth all that evil [Page 4]of sorrow and suffering which is cast upon the guilty by the avenging wrath of a contemned and provoked God vindicating the honour of himself and his Law, by executing the fierceness of his displeasure on the falsifier of his just and holy Covenant. So when God threatned to curse the perfidious people the Jews, Isa. 24.5. he first declares their sin, They had broken the Everlasting Covenant; they had dealt perfi­diously therein, and dishonoured God, who will therefore avenge the perjury by a Curse that shall devour the earth, and lay desolate those that dwell in it, Isa. 24.6. When God punisht the most unhappy and last King of Judah, and his Princes with him, for their perfidious breaking oath, he did it by cursing them, Ezek. 57.13. with 15. and 16. v. There is alwaies somewhat of Divine vengeance in the execution of a Curse, and when God pronoun­ceth the sentence with a Curse, he executeth it in vindictive displeasure. So Cain was judged. condemned and punished, Gen. 4.11. So are the workers of iniquity, Mat. 25.41. Sentenced to a Curse, and it is executed on them by an eternal avenging Justice; and so was the Serpent condemned, Thou art cursed.

In a word, all that punishmnnt which the violation of a Righteous Law deserved, and the violated Law threatneth, and the viola­ter is capable of suffering, is comprised in this one word Curse; Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the Book of the Law to do them, Gal. 3.10. From these things it in part appears what is the im­port of the third thing to be explained.

Sect. 3. What it is to be made, and how [Page 5]Christ was made a Curse. Now because there is a vast difference between these two, viz.

1. The sinner's being made a Curse; And

2. The blessed Jesus made a Curse. I in­tend to speak somewhat of each distinctly; so first sinners are cursed.

1. Scelus patrando, by breaking the Law of God, which is the Covenant of Obedience, binding every rational creature to voluntary, constant and perfect performance of Duty. The Angels who kept not their first habita­tion, made themselves accursed thus, scelus patrando, falsifying in the Covenant of their Creatour. So did man at first unhappily cast himself and his posterity under a Curse. The transgressing creature is, Faber suae miseriae & maledictionis, The framer or Architect of his own misery. Now while sinning creatures are, the sinless Redeemer could never be, thus made a Curse.

2. Secondly, Lex maledicit poenam pecoanti minando, The Law accurseth the sinner, threat­ning just punishment, determining what degree of punishment is just and proportioned to the crime.

Thus the Apostle, Gal. 3.10. As many as are of the works of the Law are under a Curse, i. e. as many as are found seeking to justifie them­selves by the works of the Law, are by the Law convicted of transgression, and so in­volved in a Curse which the Law threatens against all that are guilty; for by sentence of this Law every one is cursed who continueth not in all things written in the Book of the Law to do them. In this sense strictly and properly Christ was not made a Curse, for in this sense the Curse presupposeth the person to have sinned.

3. Thirdly, Puniendo maledicit vindex, The Judge maketh the offender accursed, by inflict­ing the punishment deserved through sin, when he adjudgeth the transgressour to that misery which the Law threatned, and his misdeeds have me­rited. So God the just Judge of Heaven and Earth threatned a Curse against the unhappy King of Judah, Ezek. 17.15, 16. So when he brings out the Curse against the false swearers, Zech. 5.3, 4. God makes him a Curse by executing the sentence of the Law upon him. They are cursed whom God pu­nisheth in Hell, Mat. 24.41. Now as this presupposeth personal guilt, or sin committed by him that is made a Curse, it is not pos­sible it should be applicable to Christ, The Holy One of God.

4. Fourthly, The Actores, Testes, & poenae mi­nistri, The Impleaders, The Witnesses and Exe­cutioners of the penalty may in some sense be ac­counted among those that make the offender ac­cursed. Of all which I shall not speak more at this time.

5. Lastly, One may be made a Curse, alte­rius reatum & poenam ferendo, by bearing ano­ther's guilt and punishment; by a voluntary taking up anothers guilt, or fault, and under­going the penalty thereof; so that the Law, Judge, and Impleaders in the prosecution lay the punishment on the Substitute who is re­ceptus inter Reos, or rather receptus pro reis, as the Lawyers, if I mistake not their language, speak. In the Prophet's words, Numbered with the transgressours; [...] Isa. 53. ult.so Christ did bear the sin of many. Thus he was made a Curse by his voluntary susception of our guilt, and his [Page 7]submission to the penalty of our sins. And in the transacting of this Christ was contented (which is that I apprehend peculiar to this Case) and which I promised to unfold.

1. To be accounted, affinis culpae, to be sent in the likeness of sinful flesh: He had our sins laid upon him; he did take them up­on himself; and so those sins which he could not either contrive, commit, or abet, he was willing should be imputed to him. This in the Apostle's words is, He was made sin for us.

2. Secondly, Christ charged with our sins was made a Curse, by engaging himself to abide the sentence of the Judge and Law menacing the sins imputed. He that will for the good of another derive guilt on himself, must resolve to abide by all the penal consequences which a severe Law and an impartial Judge will inflict on him. Hence it is, I suppose, that the Prophet Isa. 53. ult. hath so closely joined these two, He was numbred with trans­gressours, and bore the sins of many. The prae­cursory sufferings from the just hand of God, who declareth his resolution to vindicate his Law and Government; and who doth by Threats, Terrours and Griefs in part poured out on the guilty, partly execute his purpo­ses, and give them assurances he will farther proceed, (These being but the beginnings of sorrows) are a part of the Curse issuing from the Law, and inflicted by one who hath power to fence his Law by them. Thus Christ exposed himself to the sad consequen­ces of our imputed guilt, and being pleased to interrpose himself between us and the [Page 8]praevious penalties of our sin, was made a man of sorrows, and acquainted with griefs; whilst he did bear our griefs, and carry our sor­rows, Isa. 53.3, 4. The oppression and inju­stice he did meet with from the world, was a fruit of that Curse he was made for us. These things did he suffer in life, whose love to us brought him to bear the Curse.

3. Thirdly, Christ made a Curse for us com­priseth the exquisite pains, and open shame of his Death for our sin. It is death which is most legibly the execution of the Curse of the Law on sinners; and as then they find them­selves accursed indeed, when their own guilt hath in death overtaken them; so he that made himself a Curse for them, found in his death on the Cross the weight of that Curse which he did bear for sinners. Therefore do I suppose it was by Divine Providence or­dered that the kind of death Christ did under­go, should be in the sentence of the Law an accursed death, that we might more clearly discern the import of it, and see as our deli­verance by it, so our danger without this death of Christ; He was cut off from the land of the living, Isa. 53.8. And when this was effected, it appeared that for the transgression of his people this stroke was upon him, as that verse hath it. Though the im­penitent sinner be alwaies under the smaller measures of a Curse, yet when he dieth, Solo­mon observeth, he dieth accursed. The suf­ferings our Lord Jesus Christ underwent in his life, were likewise the scattering drops, But the black and violent showre of our de­served Curse was poured down on him at his Death.

Fourthly and lastly, Christ made a Curse, and in death bearing it was to suffer under the strokes of vindictive Justice pleading the cause, and vindicating the honour of the Law and Law-giver, which by the transgressions of sinners had been contemned and violated. This, as hath been observed already, is one ingredient in the Curse; and herein do chastlsements great­ly differ from punishments strictly taken; for in chastisements there is no vindictive justice a­venging the quarrel in order to satisfie Divine Justice, & to attone the wrath of God; it is all in order to the humbling, melting, purifying us that we may seek and obtain mercy. But now when vindictive punishments strictly taken are executed, it is in order to the cutting off, and destruction of the obdurate sinners; they, as enemies, lying under the wrath of God and his curse, which is most evident in the execution of the last unchangeable sentence of Condemnation, past upon the impenitent, unbelieving, and self-destroying world at the day of God's dreadful Judgment. Depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his Angels, Matth. 25.41. You do not, I hope, doubt whether it be the ve [...]geance of an angry God which the damn­ed in Hell suffer; and there is as little ground of doubt whether they suffer this vengeance in Hell to satisfie the Divine Justice; neither is it to be doubted but all they suffer is com­prised in that Curse pronounced, Depart from me cursed. Now then, answerable to what hath been said, as the condemned under their own deserved Curse suffer in order to satisfie Divine vindictive Justice for [Page 10]their own offences; so Christ made a Curse, and bearing the Curse for us, did bear it in order to make satisfaction for us, that we might obtain deliverance, and that avenging wrath might not fall on our heads since that we are no more under the Curse deserved by us, but under the Blessing procured for us by Christ. He trod the wine-press of his Fa­ther's wrath alone; his stripes were so smart and grievous, that by them we might be healed, Isa. 53.5. God did not spare him when he gave him up for us, Rom. 8. Let this then suffice for these particulars. In summe, To be made or bear the Curse, is to stand charged with guilt, to be threatned with punish­ment, to be cut off by the execution of that pu­nishment, to the end Justice may be satisfied on the person who is made a Curse. So that you may now see what it was that Christ was made for us, and what he underwent for our sakes. He took upon him our sins in the guilt of them; exposed himself to the dreadful threats of a severe, but most righteous Law; and whereas sin inevitably must be punished, he submitted himself to that also, and in love to us saved us from ours, by his own punish­ment, wherein he satisfied Divine Justice, and averted that Curse which inevitably would have fallen on us from the wrath of God provoked against us by our sins; by this 'tis clear, Into this capacity he put himself, the Law found him, and under this capacity pro­cess went out against him, and he died for us to redeem us from the Curse, and to invest us with the Blessing. I pass now to the se­cond thing proposed, viz. To the confirmation [Page 11]and proof of this, 2d. Gene­ral propo­sed. That Christ did die thus for us; a curse was both threatned and executed upon him, 2 Cor. 5. ult. He made him who knew no sin to be sin for us. There is an ele­gancy in the words ( [...]) He made him sin; The Apostle doth not say, he made him a sinner, but he made him sin, that it might the more evidently appear how he did bear what was threatned against sin, the Curse coming on us as an effect or consequent of sin; He who was made sin for us, exposeth himself to that sad effect, and taketh on him the Curse due to us; and being found so charged, must die to remove the Curse from us. This Text of the Apostle in effect then saith. That Christ had our sins imputed to him, bore the Curse of them, and that for our good, viz. That we might be made the righteousness of God in him; That we might be accounted and treated as righteous ones, which in effect is the same with what we have already said, That Christ was made a Curse, and so died for us, that we might with righteous ones live, and possess the blessing. It is not to be doubted, that Christ made sin for us, was thereby made a Curse for us, and therefore died, bearing that effect of our sin; vindicating the honour of the Law which we had transgressed, and satisfying the Law-giver whom we had provoked. In a word, Christ made sin for us, underwent the Curse our sin deserved, and the Law threatned, that in our stead he might satisfie Justice; and that mer­cy might give the blessing which we needed, and the Gospel promiseth; or in the Apostle's own words, that the blessing of Abraham [Page 12]might come on us Gentiles. Again, the A­postle Rom. 8.3. tells us, God sent his Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh. In which words you read expresly, that God sent his Son, and that he sent him in the likeness of sinful flesh, not by inherent vice, but like it, through imputed guilt, and obnoxiousness to the Curse, both which lay on all flesh that had sinned, and both which was laid on him, who thus ap­pear'd in the likeness of sinful flesh; in which capacity he appear'd not only to the world (which judged him whom they knew not) nor only to his enemies (who did maliciously slander him they hated) but he presented himself to God in our stead, bearing our Sin and Curse; for removal of both which he was made a Sacrifice, an Expiatory Sacrifice, which the Text expresseth concisely (by [...]) and our Interpreters in the Margin have rightly explained, A Sacrifice for sin; this being the proper import of the phrase, as is evident to all who are able and willing to compare the Hebrew [...], with the Greek Translation of it by the Lxxii: In the places cited, as Levit. 4.3, 14.28, 32. & Numb. 6.11; 16. & cap. 7.16, 22, 28, 34, 40.46, &c. Neh. 10.33. & Ezek. 40.40. & 42.13. & Psal. 40.6. In all which, and ma­ny more which might be cited. The Greek Interpreters use the same phrase the Apostle doth, when he assures us God sent his Son in the likeness of sinful flesh that by him made a Sin-offering, or a sacrifice for sin; he might condemn sin, but save the sinner. In one word, he that was sent to be a sacrifice for sin, must [Page 13]die, and bear the imputed guilt of the sins of the persons for whom he is a sacrifice, and consequently die under a Curse. To these add we that of the Prophet Isa. 53.5. where the Prophet doth thrice over in very emphatical words foretell what the Jews would judge of Christ under his sufferings; they would esteem him [...] stricken, [...] smitten, and [...] afflicted of God, as if he had been a no­torious sinner, stigmatized by the just hand of God inflicting Curses on him. Thus the blinded malice of the Jews lead them into blasphemous mistakes of the person and the surferings he underwent. The Gat­taker on Isa. 53.4. They thought him thus handled by God in a way of vengeance [...] his sins. The Jew understood the import [...] [...]heir own language, but they understood [...] [...]he true cause of the dolorous curses and sufferings the Messiah died under. What­ever wrath, curse, or vengeance is implied in the phrase, he did bear it, to remove it all from us; we sinned and should have died ac­cursed, but he was made a Curse to free us.

Again, vers. 5. the Prophet tells us, he was wounded for our transgressions; so we read it, [...] Tho. Gatta­ker. Annot. in lo [...]. but some observe the word denoteth a pol­luted person, or one that is prophaned. Now by the Law every polluted thing or person was judged accursed. When the Rulers of the Sanctuary are prophane, and God punisheth for it, Jacob is made a Curse, Isa. 43.28. And of the polluted, defiled, or prophaned, the Law determineth he shall die the death, Exod. 31.14. He shall be cut off, Lev. 19.8. & 22.9. Numb. 18.32. So that by the Law a polluted person is in danger of that death [Page 14]which the Law calls a Curse, and when such are used as polluted, they are cut off, and die under a Curse denounced by the Law. And thus was Christ wounded for our transgres­sions; [...], we had really pol­luted our selves, and were prophaned by our sins which we had committed: But He, the Holy One of God, was first burthened with our imputed sins; lookt on as one standing in the stead of polluted ones, and used, as they deserved, that they might be blessed, which they deserved not. Thus also vers. 6. He laid on him the iniquity of us all. Guilt im­puted, and punishment inflicted, from both which the consequent is, The person so used, dieth an accursed death, which is [...] we are to prove. Since then God laid [...] iniquity of us all on his Son, who was [...] tent to bear it, we may very confi [...] [...] conclude that our iniquity will be the cause of his death, and that this death will have a Curse intermixed with it, that it may be suf­ficient to redeem us from the Curse due to our iniquities. There is one place more which I might urge, viz. Phil. 3.7. He took upon him the form of a servant, and in that ca­pacity did humble himself unto death, even the death of the Cross, saith the Apostle; which passage possibly is not enforced to speak other than its own proper sense, if it be thus explained: He took upon him the form of a servant, i. e. put himself into the state and condition of an accursed person, and so died for them he loved and represented. The Scripture doth sometimes use this manner of speech to express a Curse on a man, or on [Page 15]his posterity; so Gen. 9.25, 26. Cham's Curse is expres­sed; so is the Curse of Gen. 25.26 Esau expressed. The elder shall serve the younger, applied by the Apostle, to prove Jacob and his seed blessed, and to evidence Esau and his seed left out of the blessing, and consequently abandoned un­der a Curse. Israel's misery in Aegypt (em­blem of a cursed state) was servitude, in ( [...] the house of bondage. Thus [...], the form of a servant in which Christ appear'd, bespeaks his appearance un­der a Curse for us. And in this conjecture on this place I am confirm'd by the authority of Erasmus on this place. Jam quod accepit formam ser­vi non proprin referri videtur ad buinanam naturam as­sumptam, sed ad speciem & similitudinem hominis nocen­tis, enjus personam pro nobis gessit dum slagellatur, damna­tur, crucifigitur. Now (saith he) that he took the form of a servant, seems not to be re­ferred properly to the taking of the Humane Nature, but to the taking of the species and like­ness of a guilty person, whose part he bore for us when he was scourged, condemned, crucified. Thus far that learned Pen. But let this conjecture be of what weight it will be, there are places enough already urged to make good the Truth.

Christ in our stead appear'd under a Curse, and so died an accursed death, that by this means we might live in hope of a blessed life; and as the Text hath it, that the bles­sings of Abraham might come on us Gen­tiles; and that we might receive the Spirit, viz. both of Sanctification to enliven us to our duty, and of Adoption, to ensure us of an hoped reward; and so be delivered from servitude and misery of sin in which lyeth a Curse indeed.

Now this duly considered will promote the increase of our graces. The Communi­cant who can meditate on Christ dying a Curse for us, may thereby excite his graces, and exercise them to an improvement of them; such meditations will be as lesser streams to a River which they greaten whilst they run in the same chanel.

A brief specimen of this will satisfie, I hope, and set the soul on work, wherein for his help I shall shew him an Essay in a rude draught of this, in eight following particu­lar Graces, which well become a Commu­nicant.

1. Humility and Self-abasement is unque­stionably a Sacramental grace; 1. Sacra­mental grace im­proved. a grace we should Bring to, exercise at, and improve by the Sacrament of our Lord dying for us. And the consideration of his death represented under the circumstances of a Curse, is a very suitable, and a likely means to effect this: For it doth represent to our thoughts not on­ly the sufferings of our dearest Lord and friend, but convinceth us that it was our sin which procur'd this to him; and that we must have been miserable for ever if he had not thus died. Thus our sin and misery is set before us, and these will humble a soul; these will bow the generous courage and stoutness of the noblest and highest mind. Mi­sery alone cannot break the courage of a virtuous and innocent mind, Nil conscire sibi, &c. A soul clear and approv'd to its self, is an impreg­nable fortress: And the spirit of a man will bear these infirmities. Indeed a base and de­generous mind breaks into shivers under a [Page 17]load of crosses. But the soul under sorrows, or in danger of deserv'd misery, reflecting on its own guilt, and looking through the vile­ness of sin, on the greatness of its sorrows, is the more humble, because more refined and excellent in it's temper, principles and aims. True lowliness of spirit, or humility that is ge­nuine, may possibly first gush out in a tear from pain; But it's constant running is in tears for sin. Misery may broach the vessel, but it is sin that keeps it running. Misery may make the best despised in others eyes; sin makes him de­spised in his own. Men will tread on a distressed fortune, but the humble soul will tread on its sinful self. And now serious Reader, cast thine eye upon Christ made a Curse, and (suppose) for thy self, and then tell me, what is first re­flected on? is not thy misery the title page of that great Volume of sorrows, which Christ did bear for thee, when he was made a Curse, and underwent it in thy stead? wast not thou in danger of that Curse? didst thou not dwell on the borders of an eternal, infi­nite misery? and wast thou not every mo­ment in danger to be haled, and thrust head­long into a prison of wofullest darkness, and unspeakable sorrows? Did not the Curse laid on Christ hang over thy head? It was thy sin, thy misery, that Christ lay under; and this will humble thee if thou hast any spark of spititual ingenuity; if there dwell any ge­nerous dispositions within thy breast.

1. For what is it to be cursed, but to lye under the transgression of a righteous Law? and what will abase an ingenuous spirit, if the baseness of sin will not?

Humility is the judgement or opinion of its little worth arising from due sense of sin. Humility what. Thus did Moses instruct Irsael to be humble, Deut. 9.7, 12, 22. & 23. & 24., shews them how great their sin had been, and leaves then to say how little their opinion of themselves ought to be; tells them how near they were to utter ruine, when nothing but a Moses and his prayer was between them, and the execution of that word; Deut. 9.6, 14. I will blot out their name from under Heaven. Let thy soul renew the memory of thy sin, when thou renewest thy thoughts of Christ's dying a Curse; Remember thy sins, and do as they, Ezek. 20.43. Gen. 41.9. Loath thy self for all thy sins. The remembrance of a fault made a Cour­tier blush. In a Sacrament thou seest Christ dying an accursed death; in his Curse thou dost, or shouldest see thy own sin; and with Ezra in another case, Ezra 9.6. Thou shouldest be asham­ed and blush to look up to Heaven. For,

2. Thou most righteous and just hast con­demned me, and judged what my fault is, how great, how vile it is in the Curse my Saviour did bear for me. It was not a rash, hasty and inconsiderate passion of a man that cursed the sinner; but it was the just, deliberate sen­tence of a wise and holy God, who never curseth one that deserves to be blessed; who never curseth before the creature hath sinned▪ and deserved it. How inquisitive is a good disposition, if he be cursed! as David by a Shimei, 2 Kings 2.23. or as the Prophet reproached by the Boyes of Bethel, or by a contemptible beggar: How ready are best natures to en­quire into the cause! Have I given an occa­sion to this reproach? Have I deserved it? [Page 19]And how is he abashed and ashamed that any reason is pretended for unreasonable railing? Now much more abashed is the ingenuous spirit when a sober man, when a judicious ob­server of his own words, as well as of other mens carriages shall condemn and adjudge him worthy of a Curse. But here it is the Lord, who adjudged thee to a Curse, and canst thou remember this, and not be humble, and not reflect upon thy sin which provoked so just a Wisdom and such deliberate Justice to execrate thee? David was humble when Shimei cursed, because it might be God had said to him, Curse David. When thou re­ceivest the Sacrament, thou remembrest Christ, whom God made a Curse for thee; there God tells thee, Thou hadst been for­ever cursed, if Christ had non been once curs­ed. There thou mayest see a holy, wise, just and infinitely excellent person displeased with thee, and provoked against thee; and surely such a sight will (I am certain it should) make thee abhor thy self and be humble.

3. Farther, thou hadst a fair and open tryal of thy Cause, and it now stands in the greatest Court of Record in the world: It is there re­gistred that thou art the son or daughter of a tainted blood, a child of an accursed stock. In the first Adam God tryed and cast thee, and told thee what thou must expect; in the se­cond Adam he shewed thee this Record stood firm, the sentence unrepealed; and if the blood of Christ dying, and bearing the Curse for thee, had not washt out the stain, thou hadst remained still under a curse and stain. It is accounted a glory in an Antient [Page 20]Family, that the blood is not stained with any treasonable practices against the Sove­riagn; and it is a disparagement and dimi­nution of their glory and greatness, that the blood is embased by disloyal designs and at­tempts. When thou receivest the Sacrament, and seest Christ dying an accursed death, re­member this, Thou art minded of thy stained blood, and of the recorded atteindure that God brought in against thee. Here thou seest what judicial process should have been made against thy self, see it and be humble.

4. And thou mayest do well to remember what proof and evidences were against thee too, ere God adjudged thee to this Curse which thy Saviour underwent for thee; the notoriousness of the fact; the self-silencing conviction of Con­science; thy Father against thy Mother; Adam against Eve; thy own family evidence against thee in this matter. Thou canst find no pre­tence of an exception to the witness. Here thou mayest reflect upon thy own adjudged base­ness, and be proud if thou canst, when thou hast reflected on thy self. Whoever thou art who rightly perceivest the mystery of this Ordinance, and dost rightly receive it, thou art evidence for God against thy self, and confessest the matter, that thou deservedst to die for thy sins in that very capacity and notion that Christ died for them. If he died an execrated, cursed death for thee, The Sa­crament is a memorial of thankfulness to God, and to Christ for sparing thee, and letting thee escape, whilest the blessed Son of God died in thy room. Consider this and be humble.

5. Consider lastly, How humble thy heart and hand ought to be when thou receivest Christ in the Sacrament; since from him alone thou re­ceivest deliverance from a Curse. None would, none indeed could deliver thee, but Christ: Thou couldst not send for another Physician to heal thy distemper. Here thou couldest not, (as in a Market) seek a better bargain; No, He alone who was made a Curse for thee, was able to deliver thee; he was over all God blessed for ever, able to restore accursed creatures to blessedness, and to invest them with hap­piness. Be then as ingenuous toward Christ thy only hope, as thou wouldest be toward a Pa­tron, a Benefactor, a Lord, on whom thou dost solely and intirely depend. Thou wouldest humbly observe, and with due reverence re­ceive his Commands, and abhor a seeming proud, lofty, or insolent behaviour towards him. I entreat for as much from thee to­wards Christ as thou dost give to a man with­out intreaty. At a Sacrament reflect on these things; say with thy self, here is the renewed memorial of Christ dying a Curse, and this renewed remembrance convinceth me that I was a vile wretch, else my God had never cursed me; I had never been attainted, ar­raigned, condemned and recorded among those that were not worthy to live in a holy and happy Common-wealth and Court. I had never recovered my former state of bliss, if the Lord had not put himself in my stead, and bore my punishment: My life, hope and glory, are all the fruit of another's death and shame; I must be lowly who was redeemed from so low and cursed state.

By this thou mayest discern what influence is in the Death of Christ considered as a Curse, and how it may be drawn out to abase and humble thy soul before thy God. And let this suffice for an Essay or Pattern. Go thou and meditate on what thou canst see farther in this thing, and be humble all thy days.

In the second place, Take an Essay in ano­ther Sacramental Grace: Let it be supposed to be

Strong and servent Desire to be partaker of that deliverance which Christ wrought by dying a Curse for us. A good and hungring appetite is not more necessary at thy friend's table when thou art invited to feast with him, than this strong Desire is needful, and required, for the Lord's Table. Our blessed Redeemer invites the hungry, and bids the heartiest welcome to the hungriest comers: his lan­guage is, My friends, you are welcome, and let me see you come as to one that you know does bid you welcome, by your free eating and drinking. I may think you either know not how excellent the provision is, or you like it not, or you are full of somewhat else, or you doubt your welcome, if you sit as if you came to feed your eye, but not to satisfie your souls. If the Sacrament of the body and blood of Christ be the Supper of the Lord; if it be a feast; if it be stored with choicest variety of spiritual and heaven­ly rarities; if it be the Gospel Mannah, why are your longing desires so weak, so uncon­stant, so uneasily taken off? Surely you and I should be better stomach'd for this feast; Christ hath prepared his body to be your [Page 23]food, and you must prepare your desires, and awaken your hungrings after him. The best wine is drawn out for this feast, and it's pity it should not have a thirsty soul, whose thirst can relish its worth. He knows nothing of this Ordinance, who knows not it is a spiritual feast, to be attended with a spiritual appe­tite, and therefore I proceed to give you a specimen of that which is in this Dying of our Lord, to whet the appetite of the soul; and so let the first Consideration for example be this; first, In this kind of Death the soul sees both that which will awaken and add vigour to its aversation of sin or evil, and what will awa­ken and strengthen its inclination and prosecu­tion after deliverance from that evil. In the Curse thou seest what an evil sin is, and thou must bear it, or desire Christ that he would; if thou desirest not that he may really bear the Curse for thee, as in the Lord's Supper he Sacramentally doth, it will be interpreted that thou desirest all that evil should light on thee which thy sin deserveth; and canst thou desire to be cursed? canst thou desire to de damn­ed? canst thou see misery like a black storm hang over thy head, and not fly to shelter? See then in a Sacrament Christ tendered to bear thy Curse, thy misery, and ask thy self, whether it be not desirable? ask thy self, shall I desire this or no? shall I wish, and intreat, and be willing to be freed from so great evil or no? In the Sa­crament the Lord tells the discerning soul, Here, take my Son, and if thou desirest it, he shall bear thy deserved Curse, and thou shalt inherit an undeserved blessing; go think on it, and tell me what thou wilt do, whether [Page 24]thou wilt desire and be willing or no: And now judge what is like to be the Answer of the soul; will it not be This? O let the Blessing be mine, and let my loving Saviour thus deliver me, thus bless me also, oh my Father, and it shall suffice.

2. And as the proper Incentives of des [...] are contained in the things themselves offer­ed; so the very language, notion and frame of words do awaken the soul to exert its desires: A misery to be avoided by this means, will per­swade the soul to a willingness to apply the means. But surely a misery expressed by a Curse, by an Execration, will hasten the soul's desire to escape it: In some cases a man may commendably desire, and chuse affli­ction, but in no case can a man chuse a Curse to himself. The Jews had a Proverb, that we must leap to Mount Gerizzim. When God tells the soul, it must either dwell on Mount Eball, inherit a Curse, or be willing to be led by Christ unto Mount Gerizzim, it begins to say, Let me go, not a slow, a loitering pace, but the swiftest, the speediest; it is rea­dy to leap to the Blessing. Let me be any thing but a Curse; let me by any means escape the Curse, and if by a willingness, if by an hearty desire to have Christ I may escape it; oh let this very hour be the happy hour of my soul's escape. Lord, if it be so, I accept thy Son, my blessed Saviour offered in the Sacrament to bear my Curse. There is a strong propensity in man's nature carrying him wtth great desire, and with unwearied en­deavours to shun the hard speeches of all, and to hear a good report if it might be from [Page 25]all; to be blessed by every one, to be cursed by no one. And there is a cheerful forward wil­lingness to hearken to that advice and counsel which discovers how we may likely gain the good word of good men, and escape the hard words of all men. Now God proposes in Christ thus dying, A sure way of obtaining his blessing, which is infinitely better than the blessing of any man; and in the Sacra­ment of his Son's body proposeth a sure means for our escaping from his Curse, which is infinitely more to be feared than the curses of all men. God can load thee with one Curse more than all the men in the world can do with all theirs.

3. In Christ's Death considered as a Curse, there is yet farther somewhat to engage the De­sires of the soul unto Christ, and to draw forth it's willingness unto an embracing of Christ: And that is the infallibility and certainty of our deliverance from this Curse upon our re­ceiving Christ; thou mayest be sure to escape, for thou mayest be sure Christ will not lose his life; if he die, he will accomplish his own ends, and thy hopes, and the hopes of every believing soul, by his death; He hath indeed laid down his life, but he hath not lost it. He will not leave thee under uncertain and fail­ing likelihoods, if he makes himself liable to thy punishment; he will be sure that thy soul shall escape it; And if he bear thy Curse, he will be ensured thou shalt not bear it. Now having such a good, as this deliverance, and such an evil as the Curse, in thy eye; and such a sure and infallible means of escaping the one, and obtaining the other, Canst thou, [Page 26]oh considerate! oh discerning soul! do less than desire this Christ, this share and interess in his death? If thou hadst no more than faint probabilities that it might be so well with thee, thou wouldst in other cases strongly desire to try: oh why not in this! why not here! other probabilities can a­wake, perswade, prevail and carry thee through tedious Journies, and costly experi­ments, and thou justifiest thy hopes and thy desires with the likelihood of success.

And what is the reason? whence is it that so great certainty can do so little with thee in this? oh the deplorable stupidity of man! the sensless backwardness of his heart! oh think, I say, think on it, Jesus Christ was made, and died a Curse for thee, and it is certain thou mayest escape by him; awaken thy desires, and look after him. But lastly,

4. If thou yet wilt not desire Christ, not­withstanding all that hath been said already, yet at least consider with thy self, and bethink thy self, What dost thou here if thou desire not Christ? Why art thou among them that appre­hend they needed, who do in the Sacrament com­memorate, and seek to find Christ dying and bearing the Curse for them? If thou need him not, why dost thou pretend to seek him? if thou seek him, why dost thou not really de­sire to find and meet him? Consider this, and argue it with thy soul; say, I must either con­tradict my self, the ordinance, and the people of God, or I must be willing to receive Christ the Lord into my soul, as well as to receive the symbols of Christ my Lord into my mouth and hands. I hear, and know, that others do ap­proach [Page 27]this Table, this memorial of the Dying Jesus with desires to meet him, and to exchange with him, to bring their wretchedness, and carry with them his blessedness. I know (if I know the Ordinance) that it was appointed for the hungry, thirsty, desiring soul, which would have fresh remembrances, and vigorous longings for Christ; for them who would feel their own cursedness, and seek blessed­ness in Christ, and my very presence, my ve­ry approach to the Ordinance with others, will either argue and prove me a Hypocrite, or must awaken my desires after Christ; if thou art not willing to find thou art an Hy­pocrite for seeming to seek.

And I will tell thee, take it as thou wilt, Thou that art not willing to find a blessing in Christ whom thou shouldst desire to meet in the Sacrament, shalt find a curse which thou wouldst not. Remember Judas and tremble! Who doth cordially and truly seek the Lord, shall find what he seeketh; but he that is careless, wants a willingness and desire, shall find what he thinks not of; and woe to him that finds, and meets with Judas his guest at the Lord's Table! And now give me thy thoughts, Reader, whether this should awa­ken in quicken thy willingness and thy de­sires after Christ. And yet farther in the next place,

Closer application, faster hold, 3d. Sacra­mental grace Faith.and strength­ened resolutions to adhere to Christ, do very well become this Ordinance of the Lord's Supper; none have doubted or denied this, but those who have denied all its efficacy, and made the Sacrament a weak, and impotent Cere­mony; [Page 28] Every one acknowledgeth this as the undoubted and proper fruit of this Ordinance, who expect any fruit from it. This spiritual feast was made to unite the soul and Christ in a more firm and close bond of friendship, to incorporate them, and to make them more one. It was instituted, that the memory of our great advantage by it, Ʋt ejus ope tanti beneficii memoria magis ac magis in animis nojtris infigatur. Thes. Salm. Multa sunt quae nos co ducunt ut existimemus Christum ha­buisse potissimum eum sco­pum ante oculos ut fidem no­stram augeret ac confirmaret cum ritum istum Ecclesiae tradidit celebrandum. Thes. de usu coen. Dom. th. 11. might be more deeply root­ed in our hearts. The Learned Professors at Saumur tell us, Many things lead us to this perswasion, that Christ chiefly eyed the increase and confirma­tion of our Faith, as the end when he appointed this Ordi­dinance to his Church to be ce­lebrated. A true and lively Faith fits for receiving this Supper of the Lord; and an increasing confirmed Faith shews that this Ordinance is fitly received. We must not come to it without true Faith, and we must not go from it without an increase to our Faith. We must lay hold on Christ that we may come; and we must come that we may lay faster hold on Christ.

Now the consideration of Christ dying as a Curse for us, will notably confirm us in our resolutions to adhere and cleave fast to Christ. For now

The considerate, serious, meditating Com­municant, may hence reflect upon the choice which he hath made, the gift he hath receiv­ed, the condition he is now in by believing, and so approve the choice, keep fast the gift, settle himself in that condition, and farther [Page 29]secure that state to himself by strong resolu­tions of Faith, and adhering to Christ, who by this death delivers us from that cursed death we deserved; and so you may suppose the soul to argue with it self.

1. I do this day commemorate the death of my Lord, which died under a Curse for me; and if I do not now believe, or if I ever should by unbelief cast off my Lord, I must bear my own deserved Curse: I have then good grounds, I have best reason to warrant my first believing and going to Christ: I have as good reason to continue my purposes, and confirm my resolution of believing still. It is not possible I should have any reason to repent my first choice of Christ, my first fiducial adhering to Christ by that I was delivered from a Curse; and this deliverance is freshly remembred in the Sacrament, and the reasonable, well advi­sed and prudent choice of my soul is presented to me; and now my soul, thou mayest say, this was the wisest, most justifiable and ra­tional compact thou ever didst make. And I assure thee, until thou see a reason why thou shouldest be in love with, and dote upon a Curse, thou canst not be out of love with, or weary of thy adhering to Christ. The more thou seest the wisdom and prudence of this Act, the more thou wilt like it, and the more resolute and constant thou wilt be in it; and now the oftener thou considerest at the Sacrament the lively pourtraiture of thy deliverance from a Curse by Christ received and adhered to by Faith; the oftener wilt thou renew thy pur­poses and resolutions to adhere to him, the oftener wilt thou look, and take heed of that [Page 30]which may weaken thy adherence, or with­draw thee from Christ; and such renewed carefulness and heed will much improve thy Faith; Renewed purposes to believe, are renew­ed strength in believing.

2. Secondly, The considering soul will see in this review of Christ dying a Curse, The be­nefit, profit and gain of Faith chusing and adhe­ring unto Christ. It will see it self repaired and made whole after the greatest and sorest dammage; sin which brought the Curse up­on the soul, did the soul greatest injury and dammage, it made a shipwrack of all its ex­cellencies and treasure. Sinful and accursed man is the poorest, forlorn and undone wretch in the world, a very bankrupt. But now application unto Christ with a purpose to adhere unto him, and chuse him for ever; this sets the man free from the Curse; it sets him up again; it puts a new stock into his hand; it enricheth him with the fulness of a Blessing. For if Christ bear thy Curse, thou shalt wear his Crown; if he take upon him thy guilt, and sin and wretchedness, he will take thy believing soul into his blessedness; if he suffer thy deserved punishment, thou shalt inherit his glorious purchase; and what un­speakable profit is this? how good and en­riching a bargain is this? and all this doth the believing soul receive and gain by Christ dy­ing a Curse to redeem it from the Curse, and to purchase the blessing of Abraham for it; and all this becomes the believing souls gain; God gives this to every one who chuseth his Son. By his Poverty we are made Rich, and by his Curse we gain the Blessing. Now at [Page 31]every Sacrament this Bargain is confirmed and ratified, and the soul sees the gain of it; and until it can rationally desire to lose such a bargain, it cannot but strongly desire to keep to its contract: Every remembrance of our riches by Jesus Christ, is, or ought to be a confirmation of our choice of him. Renewed views of our gain, will be renewed purposes to hold fast our bargain; and thus may the soul grow strong in its adhering and cleaving fast to Christ.

3. The considering soul doth view its own security, and sweetest peace in the Death of Christ thus dying a Curse for it. At the re­membrance of its Lord's Death in a Sacra­ment, it calls to mind that peace which is made for it through the blood of the Cross. The soul saith, if Christ hath born my Curse, I shall not bear it. If I have chosen him, if I keep to this my choice, if I first believe and persevere in believing, I shall still have this peace in believing, viz. that I am delivered from the misery of an accursed state. Before thou didst believe, thou didst or mightest have heard the sad ecchos of a Curse alarm­ing and frighting thee; if thou hadst not de­sired, chosen and believed in Christ dying, thou hadst never heard one word of peace; and if after thy first choice, and faith, thou repent, relapse and forgo Christ through un­belief, thy danger, sin and trouble will return upon thee; thy last state will be thy worst state; think therefore what is best for thee, whether to go on to believe, or to go back through unbelief. Art thou surfeited with thy peace? art thou weary of thy rest? is [Page 32]trouble under the misery of a Curse more de­sirable than peace under the felicity of such a blessing? I know the meditating soul which can discern this, will never think of deserting its choice of Christ, until it can think of parting with peace for trouble, with joy for sorrow, with blessedness for misery. I know the more it perceives and finds its peace in believing, the more serious and resolute will it be to be­lieve that it may have and keep its peace. Renewed meditations on this Death of Christ will be renewed peace to a believer, and re­newed peace will be renewed purposes of believing.

Fourthly and lastly, The considering be­lieving soul is able to discern this ignominious cursed Death of Christ to be the fountain of true honour and real excellency. The soul is delivered from a state of baseness and dishonour by this Death of Christ. A cursed condition is base and dishonourable, as well as miserable and unhappy. The dregs of the people were by the Jews called the people that are cursed. Cam cursed by Noah is devoted to servitude to a base condition. And Esau's loss of the Blessing was the bringing of servitude and baseness on him. But now if Christ dying a Curse were abased for me (may the believing soul say) I shall be exalted to honour, and my first act of believing was my first step to ho­nour, and my continuing to believe will be the continuing of me in my free, noble, and honour­able condition. If I depart from Christ through unbelief, I shall go from honour to dishonour, from excellency to baseness, from the noble state of a Son, to the ignoblestate [Page 33]of a servant, of a slave: And I know the con­siderate soul will not easily return to the baseness and ignominy of such a state; No! no! Faith in my dying Lord did set me free from such baseness, and advanced me to the dignity I now enjoy; and my persevering confirmed faith, will, and must preserve and confirm me in that dignity: This prerogative my Dying Lord purchased for me whenever I would believe; this prerogative he gave me so soon as ever I did believe; and there is none can take it from me so long as I do believe; oh let me believe for ever, that I may have it for ever! I would never lose this honour, I will never leave my Lord. Whilst thou art able to make the best of this Death of thy Lord commemorated in the Sacrament, and pre­sented to thy faith, (which is done on pur­pose, that thou mayest make the best of it,) thou canst resolve, or conclude nothing less than that thou wilt adhere now faster than ever.

In this manner may the Humiliation, the Desires, the Purposes of the Soul be wrought, drawn forth and confirmed upon the conside­ration of Christ dying a Curse for us: The sight of our cursed state will lay us low, and convince us; the sight of a deliverance by Christ, will make us desire that deliverance may be ours, and then knowledge of its be­ing ours upon first believing, and that it shall be ours so long as we believe, will perswade us to look that our faith continue, lest unbe­lief should reduce us into the misery of a Curse, whence we almost escaped. And let it be next observed,

4. That Love to God and unto Christ, 4th. Sacra­mental grace, Love to God and Christ.is an­other Sacramental grace, which I am sure will be well improved, by a due consideration of Christ dying a Curse for us. I do verily sup­pose it needless to attempt the proving of this; every one knows, that Love to Christ is a necessary and suitable grace for a Communi­cant. God requires that every one of his servants should love him, and serve him with all the heart in every duty, much more in this which is a more solemn, and more than ordinary one. If thou wilt come to the Table of the Lord, thou must come with love to the Lord of the Table; thou must not come with enmity in thy heart, nor with a sword in thy hand. They are friends who are in­vited to eat and drink with Christ at his Table, and it is a monstrous incongruity to sit down as though you would friendly feast, Cant. 5.1.and yet watch a season to muther the guests, or him that invites you. God will not have an Abso­lon's feast, in which one of the guests was mur­thered; nor will he have a feast like the unhap­py Phocus, [...]. whose guests slew him. It is the ex­press will of our Lord, that we come to his Table in love and charity with our Brethren, and in love, and with sincere affections to our Lord. We must here feast without the sowre leven of malice against our Brethren, and with­out the swelling leven of hypocrisie toward God. Now let me a little point out what induce­ments are in this Death of Christ to draw forth our love to our Lord; and so let it be considered.

1. Did my Lord die an accursed Death for me? do I now celebrate the memorial [Page 35]hereof? Would he have done this if he had not loved me as his own life? It was a love that is ever to be blessed by me, which made my Lord take on him a Curse for me. Greater love than this could not be shewn to me, and less than love to him for it cannot not be tendred by me. Is Love the loadstone of Love, and doth not thy heart stir toward Christ when he draws it with this attractive? When he calls, Look upon my Living Love in my cursed Death, and give me what you judge a reasonable acknowledgment for my Love; and when the considerate soul looks on this, it is ready with David to say, What shall I render to the Lord for all his goodness? What shall I render to God the Father who laid my Guilt, Pu­nishment and Curse on my Blessed Redeemer? What shall I render to the Lord Jesus Christ, unto God the Son, who took this heavy load upon him? What shall I render to God the Holy Ghost, who supported the humane na­ture of my Blessed Redeemer, that he should not fail, nor be discouraged in this great work, under this weighty burthen? Oh Bles­sed Love of the Glorious Trinity, worthy of an infinite Love, though a finite creature is not able to give it! Lord my Love shall be endless, though it cannot be boundless; though it is nar­row, it shall not be short; I will make up its defect of intenseness, with an addition of end­less date; let thy Love to me which caused thee to die once for me an accursed Death, be a spring and source of Love in my soul to thee, of such a Love as shall never die. Lord, thou deservest more than I can give, but I would [Page 36]not be unwilling to give as much as thou deser­vest. It was matchless Love that the Prince of Life would die for condemned subjects. But 'tis, methinks more, that the Lord of glory, (over all God Blessed for evermore) should take upon him Death with a Curse!

2. Do I celebrate the Death of my Lord dy­ing a Curse for me? why then, oh my soul! thou dost this day in this duty call to mind Christ's taking on him all faults, and bearing all thy blame, being content that thy faults should be accounted to him; and that if there be (as certainly there wlil be) anger for it, he will bear it. Oh what endeared Love do servants in a family bear to that Son who is willing to excuse the servants fauls, and to bear their blame; to make up their peace, and to con­tinue them in, or restore them to their offices again! Reader, whoever thou art that readest these lines, it is thy case, Thou o [...]est unto Christ the Eternal Son of God, all thy innocence, all thy safety, all thy peace, all thy continuance in the family of God, unto Christ I say thou owest it, for thou hadst sinned, and provoked God thy Master and Lord; he had cursed thee, and would have damned thee; he had declared thine office in his house void, and would have turned thee out; and then thou must have said with the unjust Steward, what shall I do when God thus deals with me? how shall I live? Dig I cannot, beg I am ashamed; I shall be accursed on Earth, and accursed i [...] Hell for ever; oh thus had it been with me! if my Lord Jesus had not stept in, and took my faults upon him. Blessed be that [Page 37]Love which hath so loved me; Let him car­ry away all my affection, who thus hath carried all my transgressions; He shall have my love whilst I live, by whose love it is that I live. Oh let my love at the Sacrament revive, where there is the revived memory of my Lord his love to me. None but those foolish and mad creatures who are in love with their faults, and with their misery, will withhold their love from Christ, who delivered us from both.

3. Did Christ die such a death in thy stead, let this then awaken thee to consider how thou wouldst resent another mans suffering for thee, and speak what interess thy friend should pur­chase in thy affections, by his undergoing affli­ctions for thee. Wouldst thou love thy rich friend, that took thy debts on him? wouldst thou do less than dearly love thy skilful friend, that cured thee of thy disease? thy powerful friend at Court, who rescued thee from a prison? thy watchful friend, who kept strict and careful watch lest thou shouldst be surprised, and ruin'd, whilst thou wert sleeping secure in greatest danger, and in greatest ignorance and security? But what wouldst thou say if thy friend should deliver thee from thine, by making it his own dis­ease? or should go into a prison, that thou mightest go out of it? or expose himself to ruine, that thou mightest be indemnified? Just so did Christ for thee; he did bear thy dis­ease, and took thy sickness upon him; he be­came a prisoner first to unjust hands seizing on him, and then to the grave, which could not hold him, yet a while he was a prisoner [Page 38]there, for thy sake, in thy stead, and what acknowledgment wilt thou make of all this? How wilt thou certifie the Christian world, that thou dost well resent what Christ hath done, if thou wilt not love him for doing it? Thou lovest those that speak well of thee, that bless thee, that wish well to thee, and endeavour to do thee good, and what law, reason or equity wilt thou pretend why thou dost not love Christ, who speaks best of thee to his Father, and who wished best to thee, and hath done most for thee, and all this by his dying a Curse for thee? Let thy own heart ponder this, and draw to a conclusion, what ought to be done in this case; say, Had any man whom I know, done this for me, which Christ hath done, I could not but love him; and why do I not love Christ? if I did see my friend loaded with curses, and re­proaches, and bearing them patiently for me that I might not be reproached, that I might not be cursed, it would endear such a friend to me: why now in the Sacrament the vi­sible memorial of Christ's dying a Curse for me, I do see such a friend, so loaded for my sake, that I might not be loaded with my deserved Curse, I may not, I will not be less to him than I would be to another; I will love him more than any else, for he hath done more for me than all could; and I see it in the Sacrament, the blessed memorial of his cursed Death.

Fourthly and lastly, Is the Sacrament of the bloody Death of Christ, a memorial of his dying an accursed death for me? oh then I see the evidence of a love to me which surpas­seth [Page 39]the love of best friends, which indeed ex­ceeds the thoughts and belief of most considerate men. For who will believe (beside a Chri­stian, who is taught by the revealed word of the God of truth) that Christ would become a Curse for us? Some men will hardly be­lieve that the Apostle spake his very thoughts when he wished that he himself were accur­sed from Christ for his brethren, his kins­men after the flesh. Some judge it so incon­sistent with reason, that they think the A­postle could not soberly, sedately and ra­tionally desire it, but that he did use the li­berty and freedom of an Orator, to commend his greatest affection to his kindred by a grea­ter expression. But behold Reader, Paul's wish for his kindred, is Christ's own act for his; what Paul wisht but could not do for his bre­thren, Christ hath undertook and undergone for his brethren. What some do think was too great for a rational and sober desire in the one; hath been found not too great for the choice and performance of the other. Now let Christ have but a serious view of this he hath done for thee, and answer thy self this, or such like questions; Is that too little to engage my love which was too great for any to undertake but Christ? Do I see Christ do­ing that which few men will believe a man could wish he mght do, and do I still with­hold my heart, my affection from Christ? Do I know that his love was stronger than death? he was content to be accursed for the sake, good, life and salvation of Believers; I see him for a while separated from God, that he might bring me to God, and now he shall [Page 40]have that love which is too great for any one, since he hath done what is so great for me.

In the fifth place, 5. Joy in be­lieving a Sa­cramental grace. The Believer's Joy is, or at least might be considerably improved in the commemoration of Christ dying as a Curse for us. It is not to be questioned whether joy and rejoycing through faith in the Lord be sea­sonable in our feasting with the Lord. Joy is the souls rest with delight in the Lord; and such a disposition of mind doth the Lord require and accept at this seast. Now let us observe how that his dying a Curse for us, may in­crease our joy; and this may appear

1. From the Nature of Joy, which is the triumph of the mind in its freedom and delive­rance from its fears; or in its attaining and pos­sessing of its hopes. It is a rational security of our best hopes, and a due removal of our worst fears, singing a rest and happiness to the soul. Joy is the rapture of our soul, hearing and observing desired events, sweetly keeping tune with our desires and hopes. It is the Tripudium Animae, the soul's dance to the Musick which the God of Heaven makes for it. If there be any exstasies of joy, it can be from no other harmony than which is heard not from Pythagoras his melodious spheres, but from the Cross of our Blessed Lord set­ing Heaven and Earth in a blessed concent by his accursed Death. The Philosopher will tell us, Dilatatio cordis ob bo­num praesens. that Joy is the dilatation of the soul, the enlarging of the heart to entertain a present desired good. Good wished for is the Sun, the heart is the Heliotrope, the flower of the Sun; Joy is the opening and turning of this flower towards the Sun. This, or somewhat [Page 41]like this is Joy. Now in what can the soul triumph if not in its freedom from a dread­ful Curse? What may possibly be imagined will secure the rational hopes and wishes of a Christian better than Christ's bearing his sin, its curse and punishment, that Justice may not lay any sentence of condemnation upon it, but absolve and acquit, justifie and save it? Where can the soul better rest, and congratu­late its happiness in its rest, than in a pacified propitious God? Tell me, who ere thou art, reading or hearing these lines, canst thou desire more than happiness? Is any thing greater and better in thy wishes? Certainly either thou knowest not what thou answerest, or else dost answer it is thy greatest, dailyest, hourly desire; and that the man or woman who would assure thee of this, would fill thy heart with raptures of joy. Now behold these desires answered in the Lord Jesus dy­ing to remove that Curse which kept thee from thy happiness. If Joy be the enlarging of the heart to entertain a desired good, lo here a good worth the entertaining, Christ bearing thy Curse: lo here a good so great, that no heart but an enlarged heart can rightly entertain it: Oh be perswaded to re­ceive it, and tell me then what affection it raiseth in thy soul! Certainly he never feared, because he never knew the danger of Hell, who doth not greatly rejoyce in his deliverance, and escape from it. Open but thy heart to receive, and thy Joy will as surely break out, as the streams do when the springs and fountains are opened.

Secondly, Christ dying a Curse for thee, [Page 42]will heighten thy Joy; For whatever thou canst approve a ground of Joy in other mens re­joycing without this, thou mayest much more ap­prove in thine own rejoycing in this without any other, There is very much Joy in the world which is unseemly, and there is some which is justifiable, seemly and seasonable; but whatever makes it so seemly, that and much more is in the Death of Christ dying an accursed Death for us, to justifie and war­rant the Christian's Joy. I dare stand to plead the Christian's Joy, to excel on this account, as much as the Joy for recovery of a Crown and Kingdom doth excel the Joy of a wise man for the finding of a Pin. Could a Christian en­large his Joy to the exceeding greatness of his cause of Joy, it would incomparably ex­cel all other mens Joy, as much as the reco­very from a mortal wound excels the heal­ing of a scratcht finger. Indeed all other Joy without this is the unseemly Joy of fools or madmen; but this (without all other) is Joy of wise, considerate and know­ing men; and might we enter the compari­son, it would appear what trifles men of the world (how great soever, and how wise so­ever in the account of the world) do rejoice in.

It is reported of Francis the first, recover­ing the French shore upon his delivery out of his Captivity, Je suis le Roy. That he leapt and rejoyced with this, I am a King. And who that va­lues liberty, or safety, or power, or a King­dom, censureth him for it, or doubts whether it were seemly? But oh believing soul! thou seest at a Sacrament a worse prison, a more [Page 43]doleful Captivity, crueller enemies, and more deadly dangers left behind thee, and thou set at liberty in a more blessed safety, and en­titled to a Crown and Kingdom, as much better as Heaven is better than France was; and this by Christ's Death as it was an ac­cursed Death, to free thee from the Curse.

The men of the world rejoice in their full harvests. The victorious Conqueror rejoiceth in the dividing of the spoils. The ambitious Courtier rejoiceth in his Court-preferment. But what Joy will the Barns and Stores of the wealthy man be, when he dies the accur­sed Death, and with Dives, is tormented in endless fires? Will the Joy of the preferred Courtier continue to him under the disgrace which he shall fall into when God shall arrest, imprison, condemn and execute him as an ac­cursed wretch? What will become of the Joys of Victories and Triumphs, when the Crowns shall wither before the hot displea­sure of God; and when the crowned Con­queror shall be delivered up an accursed wretched prisoner and captive in eternal chains?

In few words, there are many daggers lifted up, and striking at the Joy of every man who rejoiceth in any thing but the Cross of Christ, and first or last some one or other of these daggers will reach the heart, and let out the life of such Joys. But the Believer's Joy in the Death of Christ dying a Curse for him, is a Joy which is immortal, and cannot be destroyed: It is a Joy will most gloriously crown the Believer, when other mens Joys do most shamefully forsake, deceive and tor­ture [Page 44]them. If then any may rejoice, the Be­liever may much more; and this he may do at every remembrance of his Redeemer's dy­ing a Curse for him. And such renewed re­membrance of our cause of Joy, will un­doubtedly renew our Joy; he may rejoice still more than yet he hath rejoiced, who seeth he hath more to rejoice in than all the jovial merry world ever shall have.

Thirdly, Renewed Meditations of Christ's dying such a Death for us, will renew our Joy, appeareth from this, That our Joy will be most full, satisfactory and transporting to us when we come to the distinctest, fullest and live­liest knowledge and apprehension of this Death of Christ. They who most fully apprehend, and who most particularly apply the Benefits of this Death to themselves, who live upon it, and know what life it is, how excellent, how happy, &c. These are fullest of purest Joy; and truly as we abate in our ability and skill to meditate on this Death of Christ, or as we abate in the exercise and actual me­ditation and thought of Christ's dying for us as a Curse, the more our Joy will abate also. The Saints in glory do now rejoice, and will forever rejoice, for they do ever behold the scars which this Curse hath left in Christ; they ever remember that Christ dying a Curse, hath given them that blessed Life in which they ever shall rejoice. Now what it hath wrought on them, and what it will work one day upon us, proveth to us what it might work in us at the present: It hath now all in it which it ever will have, but we have not all in us which we shall have, when this [Page 45]dying of our Lord shall fill us with a never-dying, or abating love to him who did it, and with Joy in the thing done for us. The rea­son why the Believer rejoiceth more in the sight of Christ dying a Curse for him, as his distinct knowledge of it groweth, is not that his knowledge addeth any thing to it, but be­cause his knowledge of it now maketh more of that Death, (which appeared not so much then to his own eye) so his Joy groweth with his knowledge. But now it is not so with other Joys, they lessen as our knowledge of them increaseth, and those which at di­stance we flattering our selves hoped would be pure, and deep, sweet and lasting as a Crystal stream, prove to us when we come nearer, and live on them, muddy and shallow, scarce worth the tasting, and which is worse, yet they prove bitterer than gall and worm­wood, and of shorter continuance than a morning dew. But our Joy in blessed peace with God, in sweet hopes of glory, in sure foundations of faith, in endless happiness to crown our faith, to satisfie our hopes, and to be the manner of enjoying our God, (which are the pleasant fruits of Christ thus dying) do increase upon us as our insight into them increaseth, and are purest when nearest; are deepest in the spring, or rather ocean of true Delight and Joy; are sweetest when most lived upon; and are most lasting when we enter at last into them. The Joys of others are never so great as their hopes, nor so lasting as their desires. But the Joy of a Believer in his Dying Lord, is at last greater than his hopes, and as long liv'd as his desires. And in this he [Page 46]may exalt his Joy above the greatest that ever the world boasted of. If ever mortal man satiated and glutted himself with world­ly Joy, it was with a sudden gush, which left him so soon, that he had the more time to la­ment himself, and wofully wrack himself with the loss of it. I believe Caesar never met his expected content and joy in obtaining Rome's Empire; I know it lasted not with him so long as he desired; in one or both of these it proved less to him when he knew most of it. This made a good Emperour once say, That if men knew what thorns and cares a Crown was lined with, they would not take it up if they found it in the street.

Now, oh blessed soul! whose Joy lives upon the Death of thy Lord, tell me, did ever any experienced, knowing, and expert Chri­stian abase the worth of those Joys with such a report of them? Can thy own jealous fears suggest a rational, probable, likely ground of suspicion, that these Joys are greater in hope than they will be in hand? dost thou think that there is any disappointment in Heaven? Are there any complaints that less is posses­sed than was looked for? Hast thou ever had any cause to wish thou hadst known less of Christ and his Death? or couldst thou ever say that the Joy had been greater if thy knowledge and experience had been less? I know thou darest not say so, nor debase the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus thy Lord. Turn therefore thy serious thoughts upon this, meditate more that thou mayest know more; for the more thou knowest of this, the more wilt thou rejoice in Christ.

Thus renew thy Meditations on the Cause of thy Joys, and they will renew thy Joys. Others will see, and thou wilt find in thy own soul, that the more thy Cause of Joy abound­eth, the more thy Joy will abound. Now that Christ hath thus died, thy soul (oh happy Believer!) shall not be left in Hell, nor shalt thou see an eternal corruption: This is en­sured to thee by the Lord, whose Death thou commemoratest. Say then and speak it with enlarged heart, [...], &c. There­fore my heart is glad, and my tongue rejoiceth; moreover my flesh shall rest in hope, for God will not leave my soul in hell. And now, oh my soul! set thy self to hear what may be spo­ken to thee. By these who will have to do with thee in thy most weighty matters. And so

1. First what would a judicious and affectio­nate Believer say? What news would such a one tell thee from Mount Calvary? from the Cross of Christ? Suppose thou heardest such an one improving this Doctrine, why should I fear when the iniquity of my heels compasseth me about? hath not my Lord taken away all the Curse I feared? Do I not see him evidently set forth crucified before mine eyes? he drank off the bitter cup of astonishment, I will therefore take the cup of salvation, and call upon the Name of the Lord. I will re­joice in him; yea and I will tell my Brethren the good news, that they may rejoice with me. Come all ye that fear the Lord, hear and rejoice, for I have found at the Cross of Christ, the blessing which I lost in Paradise, and which is more, I found yours there too; and if [Page 48]you will go with me quickly, you shall find it too. Come, oh come and see Christ laying down a Blessing for thee, when he took up thy Curse! would not such a friend's voice sounding in thine ear ravish thy heart, or at lest revive thy drooping spirits, and turn thy grief in­to joy? Could'st thou do less than smile to see thy lost Heaven found? thy dying Soul recovered to life? thy God reconciled and delighting in thee? Hear next

2. What language the Embassadour of thy Soveraign and Gracious Lord useth to thee, when he offereth a Dying Christ unto thee; a Christ bearing thy Curse for thee. Behold thou drooping Believer, That Blood which I offer thee in this Cup, is the purchase of that happiness which thou desirest; the atonement of that wrath thou fearest. Lo here is that Blood which can abate the scorching heat of a self-accusing, condemning, and tormenting soul! Oh taste, drink of it! this never failed of curing, easing, comforting so many Saints in Heaven. In one word, Christ's Minister doth in Christ's Name offer thee that Blood which was shed for the remission of the sins of many, and in which thou mayest find for­giveness of thine also; and thou findest little if thou findest not Joy in the forgiveness of sins. Thou art very slow of understanding, if a Publick Officer proclaiming thee acquitted and cleared, doth not raise thy joy. But yet, oh fainting soul! hearken

Lastly, What will be the language of Christ himself to thee, when he unfolds thy blessedness, and declareth before Men and Angels that he took upon him thy sin, thy guilt, thy punishment; [Page 49]was made a Curse for thee, and so presents thee to God, and makes good all thy claim to Bles­sedness. What heart is large enough to con­ceive the thousandth par of that Joy! Oh! a single sight of this, one unrepeated, once pro­nounced sentence of Christ's own mouth. Soul, thou art blessed, for I was made a Curse for thee, would swallow up all other Joys, and would fill the heart of the believing soul with Joy unspeakable.

Now I must tell thee, oh thou doubting, sollicitous and trembling Believer! that Christ will so bespeak thee ere long, and so give thee an entrance into thy Master's Joy, that thou mayest rejoice for ever in this Blessed­ness, which I tell thee is the fruit of Christ's Death, as it was an accursed Death. And if after all this thou wilt weep, and not be com­forted, I must also tell thee, thy tears are not wiped away, because thou wilt not suffer us to do it, & thou art a stranger to thy desi­red joy, because thou art so much a stranger to the Death of thy Lord. Oh that our eys were opened to see that fountain whence most re­freshing streams do flow continually! Lord give me a heart knowing, how to turn this kind of my Lord's Death into what Joy is hidden in it, and I know my heart will need no other, will desire none but this.

Again in the sixth place, A peaceable, 6th. Sacra­mental grace, peaceable disposition to the Bre­thren.com­passionate, and tender affection toward our Bre­thren, our fellow Christians, is a Sacramental Grace, a disposition of mind which is never out of season, and is most in season at a Sacrament. Christians should ever live in charity, but they should feast with their Lord, and with their [Page 50]Brethren in highest measures of charity. When they thus feast, they should embrace each other; when they walk together, it should be hand in hand. This Love-feast must not be allayed with any mixture of sowre mur­murings, bitter envyings, or unsavoury grudges of discontent. The Apostle doth give us a most excellent Rule for this, 1 Cor. 5.7, 8. Purge out the old leaven, &c. Let us therefore keep the feast, not in the old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice, &c. In malice we should ever be children, but espe­cially at the Lord's Supper. I will not urge reasons why we must be thus affected each to other, when we come to the Table of the Lord; for it is so universally known by all, and it is so necessary among many other gra­ces, that too many think this alone sufficient to prepare men for the Lord's Supper. It is true, who hath all other, but hath not this preparatory, is unfit; Whosoever wants this alone is not fit, though this alone will not fit him for the Lord's Table. The want of this must keep him back from this Supper, until he hath a mind full of sincere and true love to all men, especially to all the invited guests of the Lord. Supposing therefore that it is nothing doubted, peaceable affections, and compas­sionate tender love or charity to the Bre­thren, is a Sacramental Quality. I shal in­sist a little on the manner, how this may be improved and advanced by the Death of Christ dying an accursed Death for us. And so

1. First, When thou art at the Lord's Sup­per, and seest a few of thy Christian Brethren [Page 51]there to celebrate the Death of thine and their Lord dying a Curse; this in all likeli­hood will be thy first reasoning upon it. If Christ died a Curse for us, then were we all under a Curse; then were we all plunged in mi­sery; all were under the guilt of sin, and under the wrath of God; and what tongue can tell what this is, or what heart can think of it, and not be compassionately tender over such poor creatures! Can your obdured, hardened hearts, hear the groans of men tormented with the Strangury, or Gout, or Stone? Can you look upon the miseries of an Hospital without yearning bowels? or can you look upon the tortures of one wracked and torn upon a wheel, or between wild horses, with­out a wish, oh that I might deliver them! what kind of hearts do you bear toward per­secuted, murthered and tormented Christians, when you see the pictures of them, or read the history of them? do not your hearts drop into tender compassions toward them? Why now look on Christ dying a Curse, he is the lively picture of thine and their woful state, it is to be seen in his Death; read over the story of Christ accursed, it is the story of thy most woful state, and of the miserable state of them who are now com­municating with thee; they were with thee sinful, guilty, dying creatures, which ere long must have been groaning, sighing, howling under the avenging wrath of the Almighty, if Christ had not thus died for thee and them. Look upon them, say (as indeed they were) behold what was saved of my ship­wrack! These were tossed in the same vessel, [Page 52]dashed on the same rock, taken up helpless and lifeless, &c. with me. Oh I never see them, but it comes into my thoughts, and my heart; my heart weeps over our com­mon danger: We do so often renew our com­passionate affections toward our companions in dangers, as the sight of them renews the thoughts of our danger. That which in a different case David said, When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me. The soul redeemed from the Curse, will be able to say, when I remember these things, com­passion and tenderness are poured out. The remembrance of a common danger, Nihil ad misericordiam sic inclinat atque proprii peri­culi cogitatio. August. Misericordia est vicina mi­seriae. Seneca de Clem. is a most prevailing enducement to compassion. The Philosopher could tell us, That this Pity is a neighbour to misery. Whence likely it was that the Lord did enjoyn the Israelites to shew a hearty compassion unto afflicted strangers; for They know the heart of a stran­ger, for they were strangers in Aegypt. We must compassionately and tenderly love, wish well, and affect those whose hearts we know, for so much as we were in like case. Now this is one part of our brotherly love or charity; here it begins, though it doth not end here. This tenderness of heart is like the pith or tender pulp which runneth through the whole body of the tree. This in­deed is the Root on which the delightful Tree grows, and from which the beautiful fruits of love do blossome, bud, increase and ripen. And so often you water the root of Love as you do soften and mollify the temper of your heart, [Page 53]which is done when soakt in the thoughts of our common danger.

I shall close this particular with that pierc­ing Question, Matth. 18.33. Shouldest thou not have had compassion on thy fellow-servant, even as I had pity on thee? How shall we answer this Question, if the consideration of our common danger do not stir up in us a love of compassion to others? what bowels hast thou if they do not now yearn and move towards them? We are apt to pity those whose tormenting diseases and sharp pains we have felt; and if ever we felt the inward sorrow and trouble of an accursed state, we shall pity such who are under it, and with tender affection demean our selves towards those who were under it; it will renew our sympathy, and this will renew our love to them. But

Secondly, In the remembrance of Christ's dying a Curse for us, there is the renewing of a most self-abasing and humbling consideration. Now the renewal of this will be a very likely means to improve our love, which is a humble, self abasing grace. So that what in­creaseth our humility, will increase our charity. Solomon tells us, that onely by pride cometh contention; and our own experience proveth the proud man neither sit to be chosen for a loving friend, nor to be trusted as one that will be constant in his friendship and love: such an one will be ever breaking the laws of friendship, of which the Apostle discoursing, 1 Cor. 13.4, 5, 6. tells us, that it neither vaunteth it self, nor is puffed up. Indeed he can see no cause of vaunting himself, who [Page 54]views himself in this cursed condition repre­sented, and confirmed to us by Christ's under­going it for us. Something or other there must be indeed, or must be thought to be, which shall exalt a man above his neighbour and brother. Now when it appeareth that it was equal guilt and misery under which thou and I, and every one did lye, until Christ redeemed us, this cuts off all vaunts, and proud boasting of our selves above others; and where pride is laid thus low, and taken out of the way, there meek and peaceable deportment outwardly, and meek and peaceable temper inwardly do spring up and flourish. This will prevent all increase and growth of malice, and dislike for whatever thou canst find in thy Brother to dislike, the same, or as bad is found in thee; for before grace appeared to you, you were both ac­cursed, both rebels against God, both con­demned by the Law of God, both alike mis­creants and vile; nor may dislike fester and ranckle into malice against thy Brother: For if the Grace of God hath taken occasion from his vile miserable condition, to be and appear grace indeed to him, who art thou darest make it an occasion of wrath or malice? I know the reasonings of a believer toward believers are of another nature and tendency, they all savour of humility and peaceable dis­positions, and forbidding all proud quarrels, and hushing them with some such reflection upon our selves, and our condition; such was I but I obtained mercy. Alas! how are we mistaken if we think we may boast our selves in the difference between us and others; for [Page 55]who made us to differ? There was much of reason in the penitent Thief, when he took up and reproved the railings, reproaches and blasphemies of the other; Luk. 23.20. Doest thou not fear God seeing thou art in the same condemnation? This ought to have humbled him, and kept him in a peaceable behaviour and mind to­wards those who were dying with him. Oh let us manifest a humbled soul, a mind abased and laid low with our guilt and vileness! let us manifest such a mind by meek, peace­able, loving disposition towards our Brethren, who were first our Brethren in a Curse, but now are our Brethren in Christ. Certainly nothing doth more become pardoned sinners, than such a peaceable behaviour and disposi­tion. Nor do I know a more natural genuine fruit of our peace with God through Christ, than this our peaceable mind and behaviour towards men, when Angels shewed the glad tydings, viz. Salvation through Christ, they did also proclaim peace on earth; so must we when God makes us glad with this salva­tion.

3. Again thirdly, In the remembrance of Christ dying a Curse for us, there is renewed the remembrance of forgiveness and pardon granted of God to us. The Believer commu­nicating at the Lord's Table, doth there see himself pardoned, and the like pardon offer­ed unto others also through Christ dying a Curse for them. Now this doth mightily per­swade with the Believer to lay aside all occasions and ground of quarrel, and so doth much more promote this brotherly love, increasing it both in the habit of charity, disposing the mind to it, [Page 56]and in the exercise and acts of it in our beha­viour and converse among Christians. That which God hath done for us teacheth us what we are to do for others, when God might justly and righteously have cursed us, and refused us peace; he did for Christ's sake free us from the Curse, and entred, confirm­ed, and still keeps peace with us. Now saith the considerate Believer, I must be like my Heavenly Father, he hath accursed but one thing for which he hath not yet, for which he never will have, thoughts of peace, and I must never make, or keep a peace with that accursed thing, with sin. But since it hath been the good pleasure of my Heavenly Fa­ther to make peace for such who were cur­sed; and seeing he hath made them blessed by this peace, I must with better mind, though I cannot in better words, say with Ba­laam, Num. 23.20. Behold I have received Commandment to bless, and he hath blessed, and I cannot reverse it. When any grudge, envy or dislike, would solicit thee to break the law of Brotherly Love, ask but this question, Is God at peace with this man with whom I am ready to break? If God be his friend, and at peace with him, it is my best course, and most advised, to be at peace with him also, and keep and make him my friend. It is re­ported in the Life of Marius (that cruel man) that if he saluted not the man he met, Plutarch. in vit. C. Ma­rii. his souldiers took it for the token that such a one must not live: But if he saluted any one, no hurt was done to him. At this present I tell you, no hurt must be done by you or me to such whom the Great God saluteth as he did [Page 57]Abraham, and as he doth still salute Abra­ham's seed, calling them friends. As then the renewed use of the Lord's Supper is a renew­ed testimony of God reconciled unto us, and a renewed profession of our friendship unto God; so it will be a renewing of our friend­ship with those who are so blessed and happy in their alliance unto the Lord, who is also our God. Moreover, suppose flesh and blood could pretend an occasion of contention and quarrel with thy Christian Brethren, summon them to put in their Bill, and make their plea before Christ, who once died a Curse for thee, and them; let the grievances be right­ly stated, and hearken what Christ would say to thee that contendest; He would surely tell thee that he did not stand upon greater injuries done to him, but did bear them, and forbear thee in them; witness thine own ap­pearance at the Sacrament, where thou pro­fessest to believe that Christ died an accursed death for thee, and dost thou dare to retain the thoughts, the remembrance, of farthing dammages done to thee, in that very place, and at that time where thou renewest the remembrance of many talent-dammages by thee done to God, all forgiven to thee by thy God, who thereupon requireth thee to forgive others? How silent and speechless will the merciless unpeaceable man be when God shall make him read over such places as these; Shouldest thou not have had compassion on thy fellow-servant, even as I had pity on thee? And if ye from your heart forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father which is in Heaven forgive your trespasses. And [Page 58] he shall have judgment without mercy, who showed no mercy. Come then thou froward, peevish, unpeaceable soul, look what Christ hath purchased and prepared for every Be­liever; he hath purchased a peace for them; he hath for them prepared a blessed peace through his bearing a Curse for them; and he hath sealed and confirmed this peace, tak­ing away every thing that might break it; and this peace made thus, thou art now again confirming with God among those which have equal share and interess with thy self in this peace; and wilt thou not judge it comely, convenient, necessary, (and what must be done by thee, viz.) to embrace them with hearty, peaceable affections, who are embraced by thy God, with as hearty affections as thou art, or canst be? Oh come then! make peace with all thy Brethren, and forgive them as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven thee. And thus I have very briefly drawn out three particular inducements (among many other) which from Christ dy­ing a Curse for us, and all Believers should perswade us, and them to live in a Christian brotherly peace, which becomes a Sacra­ment, and which should be improved by each Sacrament. I now proceed to

A seventh Sacramental Grace, 7th. Sacra­mental grace, a Thankful heart. which ought to be exercised at each Sacrament, and which may receive some addition from the consideration of Christ's Death as a Curse in our stead. Now this grace is a Thankfull acknowledgment of the great mercy we have by Christ's dying a Curse for us. It doth exceeding well become us to be thankful, and praise the [Page 59]Lord for his mercy to us in Christ dying for us: And though praise be ever seasonable, yet a Sacrament is the season of seasons for praise; then it is most in season, though it be never out of season. The commonness and universal praenotion of this truth among all Christians, saveth me the labour of prov­ing it. I need not prove that to any one which is denied by no one; let then praise and thanks attend our communion at the Lord's Supper. And among other motives unto praise, let us view some few arising from the Death of Christ, as it was an ac­cursed death for us. And so

1. First, To this kind of Death of thy Lord thou must be beholden for all the sweetness which thou tastest in thy mercies. Thy sin which brought thee under the Curse, imbittered every thing to thee also; nay that sin which cursed thee, forfeited all thy mercies; thou hadst no right to them when once thou hadst sinned, and thou couldst taste no sweetness in them if thou hadst still lain under the Curse; thou hadst no more right to thy estate, and life, than a condemned man hath to his; thou couldest have no more enjoyed them, than a pensive condemned person who is kept in prison with a daily allowance to keep them alive unto the day of his near approach­ing execution, every morsel is bitter to him, so would it have been to thee. Thou mayest read this in the emblem of the sin­ner's state; a naked man cast out of a fruit­ful garden, and left in a place of thorns and briars: Such was the consequence of thy sin, cast naked out of what thou hadst, and [Page 60]turned out among grieving thorns and briars. Now, would he not deserve thanks who re­storeth thee to a title? gives thee a new right unto all desirable blessings? who shall root up those cursed thorns, and plant the Vine and the Olive to yield thee fruit? Look then, this, and more than this done for thee by the Death of thy Lord made a Curse for thee. Lo thy title renewed to necessary mercies, and mercies renewed unto their sweetness and delightfulness; thou a Prodi­gal received as a Son, and the husks thou didst feed on turned into bread in thy Fa­ther's house. Christ was accursed for thee, that every blessing might be sweetened to thee. Ever praised be our Physician who hath taken out the most of the poison, and hath turned the rest into necessary and sea­sonable Physick. God hath blest thee with every thing in Christ, that thou mightest bless and praise, that thou mightest be thank­ful for every thing, and ascribe it all to the goodness of God in Christ. We owe all to this Death of Christ, and how little do we pay when we are thankful! Let us not then with-hold this little too. In one word, read over the latter part of Deut. 28. from v. 15. to the end of the chapter, and consider how well he deserves blessing and thanks from thee, who hath delivered thee from the bit­terness of so many Curses, imbittering all thou enjoy'dst.

Secondly, The renewed thoughts of Christ bearing thy Curse, will be renewed Thank­fulness in renewed security and assurance against the fears and terrours of a self-accusing and con­demning [Page 61]heart. Thou shalt never bear that Curse which the righteous Law threatned; thou needst not fear it, if Christ died for thee; for he did die a Curse for every one in whose stead he did die; and that God who accepted his Death, will never go from his word, or disown the virtue of his Son's Death, nor cast the Curse upon thy soul. Oh thou trembling Believer! thy fears are the weakness of thy graces, or the want of ex­ercising them; either thou knowest not what it is to have a Christ, a Jesus dying a Curse for thee, or else thou dost not enough consider it, nor observe how little ground of fear is left. Oh! It would be a blessed tran­quility of mind to us to feel as little fear with­in our souls, as Christ hath left of Curse behind him in the Law against us. Happy soul, who believeth that Christ died for him. He may look upon the Law, and find that there is not in it any Curse against him; for Christ made a Curse, died to redeem them who were un­der it. There is no doubt to be made of this Truth; there cannot be just cause of fear where Christ hath taken away the Curse Which the Law threatned: Now there is no condemnation to such, nor may any one lay any thing to the charge of these redeemed ones. And when this is duly weighed, how thankful will it make us! How much would a feeble swouning person thank you for a sweet reviving cordial! what life would there be in his expressions of kindness for such a courtesie! what loving embraces would such a one court his friend with! especially if his life had certainly miscarried without this! [Page 62]Oh unkindness! unthankfulness of us Chri­stians! who lay in a swound of death, strucken with the thunder-bolt of the Law, perishing without recovery, hopeless without a Christ, accursed for ever unless Christ become a Curse for us; and we profess to know all this, and to believe it, and yet are straitned in our thankfulness to him. The Plutarch. in vit. Artax­erxes. Historian reports that Artaxerxes King of Persia, gave one a thousand The Darick was a coin bearing the image of Da­rius, and the value of each piece was two shillings four pence; so the whole sum amounted to one hun­dred and sixteen pounds six shillings and eight pence, beside the Cup of Gold. Da­ricks in a Cup of Gold for a recompence of a little fair water offered him in the palms of the man's hand. But what have we given unto Je­sus Christ, who hath brought us not a little water in his hands, but his heart and hands full of love, and blood shed for us! Oh come magnifie the Love of Christ, and be thankful to him for us! Remember the daies of thy fears, when thou wouldst have welcomed the news of thy pardon, and received it on thy knees, with ten thousand praises to thy God. Re­member the anguish of thy soul, when the Arrows of the Almighty stuck fast, and the poison thereof drunk up thy spirits, what pains wouldst thou have taken then? what cost wouldst thou gladly have been at, to pro­cure thy soul's peace and ease? When thou thoughtest Hell would be thy tormenting prison for ever, and thou lookedst on it as the greatest evil, because thou shouldst bear thy sins there for ever, and never have one smile from God, what thankfulness didst thou [Page 63]then think was meet for thee to pay, and for Christ to receive! Oh let not this be for­gotten when thou comest to commemorate the Death of thy Lord; say then, and think so, Here is the blood of my loving, gracious Redeemer, who was content to be made a Curse for me, that I might not slavishly fear my guilt, nor be in Hell So Fran­cis Spira thought & spake of his fears and tears. before I came to Hell; that I might not go mourning under the heavy burthen of my own easeless pains, which were worse than death it self; those fears, terrours and pains which no tongue can describe, my blessed Redeemer delivered me from them, and duly confirms it to me in minding me that he died, and that he died being made a Curse for me; I must therefore mind my debt of thankfulness, I vowed, at least promised and purposed never to forget, that more thankfulness was due to Christ then I could ever pay; Let my renewed view of this blood so affect me, oh my dearest Lord! at every Sacrament, that it may ever renew my thankfulness, until thankfulness be so perfected, that I may never more need a Sacrament to put me in mind of this my duty.

Thirdly, The renewed thoughts of Christ dying thus accursed for us, will add to our thankfulness, In that the heart of a Believer meditating on this, may conclude, he is judici­ally acquitted from the charge laid in against him by the Law. This charge is sin, deserving death, to which charge every one must make his plea, and bring it to an issue; in which process there will be no denying of the charge, it is so undeniably true, that all have [Page 64]sinned and come short of the glory of God, only the believing soul hath a gracious Redeemer who stept in between the passing of the righteous sentence, and the execution of it, and offered Bail, body for body, life for life; took upon himself the Curse, which was all the Law threatned, and died thus a Curse for the Believer, so that now he may sue for his discharge, and plead for his release: Nay, he hath the discharge and release offered to him as it were sealed, signed and delivered to him at the Sacrament, whilst God by his Minister doth put the New Covenant into his hand, and shews him that blood which was shed for confirmation of the Covenant, and for remission of the sins of as many as do believe. And that we may know how all this can be, how sinners can be acquitted, and the Curse threatned can be avoided, we are at every Sacrament minded of this, that Christ died for us, being made a Curse for us; that is, undertaking and performing what he undertook on our behalf, he presented him­self to the Justice of God, abode the Trial, was found in the likeness of sinful flesh, humbled himself to the death, even the death of the Cross, and so suffered; all which is exemplified to us in the remembrance of his death, considered as the death of one who lay under a Curse for us. It is not only en­tred in the Court Rolls in Heaven, but it is entred in the Register-books of the Church by Christ's own order; and every believing soul at the Sacrament may see and read it, and conclude it for himself, and make im­provement of it to his comfort. Now what [Page 65]heart can look on all this, and not look on this duty of thankfulness? what soul can re­ceive a pardon under the broad Seal of Hea­ven, and not bow the knee, and kiss the Seal! When an offender upon indictment and trial is acquitted, it is a custom (and seemly enough) to testifie his thankfulness by praying for the King: How much more doth it become us to give thanks at the remembrance of our ac­quittance, absolution, and being declared ac­quitted, as we are so often as we duly par­take & communicate in the blood which was shed for the remission of the sins of many. In a word, a bare promise of pardon deserveth a grateful acknowledgment, but the passing of it under seal doth much more deserve it: Had God passed his word onely, and required us to believe it, and praise him for it, we must have done it. Now he hath given us greatest assurance, he hath proceeded judi­cially against Christ, the common and ade­quate representative, bail and undertaker for us; and hath appointed the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper as an Authentick and Publick Record or Testimony hereof; we ought the rather to be thankful. Renewed thoughts of this will renew our judicious and rational praise, if we have either judgments or reason exercised in things that excel.

Fourthly and lastly, A fourth particular which will increase our thankfulness to Christ for our deliverance so often as we remember it at a Sacrament, under the notion of a deli­verance by his dying a Curse for us, is this, That it mindeth us we were delivered not simply from sorrow, trouble and affliction, but we were [Page 66]saved from an accursed sorrow, from an accursed trouble; we are freed from misery, but that is not all, we are freed from an accursed misery; and this should enhance our thankfulness.

There is an affliction that hath the pro­mise of Comfort, Rev. 21.4. Jer. 31.9. Psal. 126.5, 6. tears that shall be wiped away, sorrow and sighing that shall flee a­way; there is a weeping which God will ac­company and lead; this is a blessed weeping, for such carry forth seed which is precious, and they shall teturn rejoycing. Matth. 5.4. There are mourners whom Christ hath pronounced blessed; so that trouble and sorrow are not such evils when they are considered without the imbittering thoughts of a Curse in them; it is the Curse which maketh the Cup so full of astonishment. It is the Curse which goeth with the condemned into Hell, that maketh it Hell indeed unto them. Affliction with the favour of God is a blessed state; but affliction with the hatred and displeasure of God, is a miserable state, and unspeakably sad, forlorn and woful. Now Christ dying a Curse for us, hath saved us from sorrows, and the Curse, from misery aggravated with the hatred of God toward the miserable, so that he deser­veth much more thanks from us; it had been worth our thanks if we had been by him de­livered from a bloody issue, or a deformed crookedness, or a burning fever, or a loath­som leprosy, or a sad and solitary blindness: But more than this, more than all I can speak did Christ deliver us from, when he did die a Curse for us. Oh unparallel'd love of Christ! and oh the unparallel'd ingratitude of Chri­stians! Sirs, though you and I must leave the [Page 67]greatest, the best part of this work of praise to another world, yet let us not leave it all; let us do somewhat whilst we live, and are among men on earth. Heaven is full of those praises, which, did we hear, would ravish us: Let Earth be witness that we do not quite forget our Lord. Whereas you could have born all the envy, anger and malice of creatures, and it may be have contemned the weakness of it, you could never have stood under, nor have made head against the anger and indig­nation of the Lord, nor have fortified your selves with resolutions to lessen the fury by lessening your apprehensions of it. The dear children of God in their bitter complaints, cry out, if an enemy, if any but God himself had done it, I could have born it. And the hopeless unbelievers cry out the same in ef­fect; let any thing come, let all come upon us, rather than the wrath of the Almighty; let rocks grind us to powder, or mountains bury us for ever under their weight: Oh the heaviest of all these are lighter than one stroak of an angry avenging God! All these may be more easily endured than one Curse of the Law: See then and consider what thou owest, oh my soul! to Christ made a Curse for thee! remember and be thankful; let thy heart, oh thou who feastest with thy Lord! weigh first the burthensomness of that Curse which justice casteth upon every sin, and then weigh the exceeding great love of Christ who did take this Burthen, and bear it for thee; and I do nothing doubt, but as often as thou layest these in the ballance, thou wilt still find thy praise, thy thankful­ness [Page 68]too light; thou wilt be still with the A­postle adding Glory and Power to him who loved thee, Rev. 1.5, 6.and washed thee in his blood: And with the great Apostle of the Gentiles, Thanks be to God who hath given us the Victory. Could you and I entertain these things within our breasts, and renew our thoughts and medita­tations, we should more clearly discern, that if there be sweetness in our mercies, or re­spite from our fears, or absolution and dis­charge from our guilt, or deliverance from ac­cursed sorrows, miseries and death, we owe it all unto this kind of Death of our Lord; beside all the positive blessings of grace and glory, of which I may not now speak: if the blessing of Abraham on the Gentiles be worth our thanks, then our thanks is due to Christ dying thus; for he was made a Curse for us, that we might be redeemed from under the Curse of the Law, and that we might be re­stored to a blessed state. In one word, who­soever seeth his own blessedness procured by Christ dying a Curse for him, cannot but see so much thanks as blessedness is worth due to Christ; and so the reviving of the memory of Christ's Death considered as a Curse, will be the reviving of our thankfulness; and re­viving of thankfulness will be an increasing and improving of thankfulness. So much to the seventh Sacramental Grace. The eighth and last I shall now mention, followeth, viz.

A disposition and purpose of mind to walk in new Obedience towards God in all manner of conversation; 8th. Sacra­mental grace, New Obedience.such a mind must every welcome guest bring to the Lord's Table. No man may come thither who intends to go thence to his [Page 69]old course of sinning. We must not, as Na­turalists report of some venemous creatures, which lay down their poison when they go to drink, and having drunk, suck it up again; we must not so lay aside our old sins while we go to the Lord's Supper, as to renew our old acquaintance with them, nor tender our service to them, so soon as we depart from the Table of the Lord, Men will not endure such sycophants and parasites, who come to their table for a meals meat, and to fill their bellies, but then sort themselves for months together with the veryest enemies they have in the world: No more will God en­dure him for a guest at his Table, who comes for a meal out of a customary formality, and then sorts himself with those sins which God hateth, and commandeth should be slain. This above many others aggravated Judas's trea­son, that he came and ate with his Lord, when he had resolved to betray him; this is to kiss him with, All hail Master; when the kiss is the very token by which his enemies should know and apprehend him. The Lord Jesus, who knoweth what is in man, and needeth not that any should testify of man, will never let a man who lives and dieth of this temper, escape deserved punishment. He knows they flattered him with their lips, but their hearts are far from him. Thou that comest to make a Covenant with thy God at a Sacrament, must come with a firm purpose to keep thy Covenant, for God will not be mocked. Better never come at all, than come with a mind hating to be reformed. God will ere long ask such hateful hypocrites what they had [Page 70]to do to declare this Statute of his, or that they should take his Covenant into their mouths, Psal. 50.16, &c. It is confessed of all sides, and would to God it were as well practised on all sides, that every Sacrament should en­gage us to better lives, to holier conversa­tions, that we should sin the seldomer, because we have been so often at the Lord's Table. Now I say, that the remembrance of the Death of Christ dying for us a Curse, hath in it good and strong reasons to move us to renew our obedience; and if these reasons be well con­sidered, I do not doubt but they may prevail with some to renew their purposes and en­deavours of living less to sin, because Christ died a Curse for us sinners. For,

1. First, In this manner of his dying (beside the powerful influence of his Death consider­ed in the general, of which I speak not now) I say, In his dying thus as a Curse for us, we have a clear discovery of the vileness of sin, how much it abaseth and depresseth us. We look upon cursed things as the vilest and basest of things. A curse and a reproach go together, Jer. 42.18. This was the thing which brought our Lord into so low estate, that he was despised of men; this made him of no reputation, because of our sin imputed to him, and the Curse due to us for our sin laid upon him; he became like a servant, and so died. Now then let a sober judgment be made of this, and see how forcibly it disswad­eth from continuing in sin. Do I renew the remembrance of my Lord dying as a Curse? Could sin which he never committed, which he never loved, which he hated infinitely, [Page 71]which was no otherwise his, than by impu­tation; could this bring him to such shame? What shame and confusion of face will cover and overwhelm me, when after my serving my sins, both the guilt imputed, and the baseness, vileness and reproach of the fact committed, shall meet in one, and be charged upon me! Is it not high time to forsake this service which will end in the shame and re­proach of a Curse? Doth the Sacrament mind me of the Death, the accursed Death of Christ the Lord of Glory? I see then such a worm, such a lump of worthless flesh as I am cannot expect any other event of sin, than to lye down in shame for it; and if af­ter (I do know this) I should still love sin, and delight in it, how brutish and unreasonable should I appear to be, how unlike a man! I must either renounce my reason, or renounce my sin. It is no dallying in a matter of this nature; I see the just and righteous Judge of Heaven and Earth would not spare his own Son, when he found him under my sins, but laid upon him the punishment of them, the Cross and the shame; and I deceive my self if I think he will spare me, and not cast the shame of my sin upon me the sinner; if I live and die in this service, I shall rise with those who rise unto everlasting shame and contempt. I will therefore resolve, and keep my resolutions, of departing from sin, because I would not depart from my God with the shame and reproach of a Curse for my sin. Thus the renewed thoughts of Christ dying a Curse for us, will renew the apprehensions of that shame which attends the sinner, and so renew [Page 72]our purposes against sin, as the only thing which can clothe us with shame, and we shall be as unwilling to live in sin, as we are to bear the shame of sin.

2. Secondly, In the renewed thoughts of our Lord's dying a Curse, there lieth a motive to New Obedience, drawn from the congruity and suitableness of the thing it self: Nothing more unseemly than to continue in sin after our professing our selves to be his servants, friends and followers, who died for sin. Nothing more justifiable than their leaving of sin, whose Lord died for sin; especially seeing sin brought upon him an accursed Death. What wilt thou answer for thy self in the day when this absurd, unreasonable and monstrous de­portment of thine shall be laid open before Men and Angels? when Christ shall ask thee whether thou hadst not heard and seen that he was made a Curse for thy sins? whether thou hadst not often been minded of this at the Sacrament? and when he shall farther demand of thee what thou couldest see in sin, or hope to find in sin, or expect from sin, when as thy Lord could see, did find, and ex­pected to find nothing else but a Curse in it? wast thou so sottish to think of finding any thing in sin better than what thy Lord found in it? or wast thou so unthankful, that thou wert resolved to offer despite to thy Lord, and serve that which brought an accursed Death upon him? Whatever sinners now judge, I know that a day will come when they shall judge nothing so unreasonable and unseemly as living in continued sin, and professing a crucified Jesus. It is such a self-contradicting course, [Page 73]that none ever would continue it if ever they understood it: Nor is he, what he pro­fesseth to be, who professeth our crucified Jesus to be his Lord, yet serveth his own cursed lusts: Christ doth not own him; he will declare to all the world that he knows not, that he ne­ver knew such workers of iniquity. But sup­pose it possibly might be (which yet never shall be) that such a one resolvedly continu­ing in sin, should be owned by Christ at last, and received into a blessed state of glory, what kind of answer could such one make to his Lord when questioned? what was it not enough that I was once made a Curse for thee? or did I not bear sins enough for thee at first? or wouldst thou indeed be crueller to me than Jews and Roman souldiers? or hadst thou a design to wound my heart after I was gotten out of the reach of all others? after wicked men and Devils had done their worst, and I had triumpht over them, and none but my friends could wound me, wouldst thou be my friend that thou mightest do it more deeply? was this thy friendship to me? are not they the sorest and cruellest enemies, who cover their hearty enmity with preten­ces of friendship? either then be my cordial friend (saith Christ) and renounce thy sins, serve them no more, or else come no more pretending to commemorate my friendship to the dying a Curse for thee; nor ever let me be provoked with such counterfeit alli­ance and friendship. Christ cannot endure such seeming to be what we are not, such contradi­ctions to his Death. In truth it is most un­seemly to live in the cursed service of sin after [Page 74]we are redeemed from the Curse of sin. And therefore the believing and considerate soul casts off the thoughts of continuing in sin, with a God forbid, [...]. how shall I live any longer in sin, since I am dead to it?

3. Thirdly, The renewed consideration of Christ dying a Curse for sin, doth renew our thoughts of the odiousness and hateful nature of sin, which carryeth a Curse into every place and person where it cometh. Christ's dying a Curse for us, sheweth us how hateful sin is to the eyes of our God, Reverâ est odium quo Deus pecca­tum prose­quitur, ab eâ perfectione quae Numinis naturam de­cet. Th. Sal­mur. de trib. Foed. Div. th. 18. who doth (and cannot but so do) loath, detest, threaten and curse it where-ever he findeth it; of which truth the considerate believing soul hath so clear proof in the Curse which Christ did bear for sin; that he stands convinced beyond possible doubt of it, and cannot but conclude, that whoever resolves to continue in sin, must also resolve to abide the hatred of God against sin. He that will keep and maintain a communion with sin, must expect that God will keep and maintain wrath and hatred against him; and this the Communicant is at every Sacrament minded of whilst he seeth his Lord evidently set forth, crucified before his eyes, so that he is put to such a kind of deliberation with himself: What! could not Christ take upon him my sin, but he must also take upon him the burthen of divine displeasure and hatred due to my sin? what! is God so irrecon­cilable an enemy unto sin, that he would not, or could not, restrain his just wrath against the guilt where it lay, without the foulness of committing the fact? was the displeasure of my God so hot against his blessed Son, who [Page 75]was never tainted with any one sin, only bare the guilt of many? I see then it is self-de­ceiving flattery to hope for the love and fa­vour of God, whilst I love my sin, and con­tinue in it; if I will have his love, and escape his hatred, I must leave off sin; for he hateth all the workers of iniquity, Psal. 5.6. He hateth the evil way, Prov. 8.3. I must either leave the evil way, or perish in his hatred: For none ever escaped perishing, who by continuing to sin provoked his displeasure and wrath against them. Resolve therefore as becomes a man, (O my soul!) fly, and hasten thy flight from wrath to come; prevent the misery of being hated and accursed of thy God; cast off thy sin; cease to do evil, and then God will cease to be angry. There cannot be any thing in sin to compensate thee, to reward thee for the loss of the favour of God. Sin can never heal the wounds which the hatred of God will make in thy soul. Poor creature! thou wert better have all the men on Earth, and all the finite invisible powers of light and darkness to hate thee (thou mightest bear this) than have one God to hate thee; thou canst never bear this. In fine, therefore saith the be­lieving, serious and considerate soul, I will not hazard, I will not run the venture and danger of divine displeasure of the hatred of an Almighty God, for I see in the Curse which my Lord lay under, what I must lie under for ever, if I will by continuing longer in sin own my former sins, pull the punish­ment of them upon my self, and love that which my God so perfectly hateth: I will every day labour to hate that with perfect [Page 76]hatred which my God hateth; I will seek his love by a present separation and divorce from sin: I will this day renew my purpose and attempts to leave my cursed sins, for God hath renewed my thoughts of his hatred against sin by the renewed remembrance of Christ dying a Curse for my sin.

Fourthly, In the renewed thoughts of this kind of death, The Believer hath the renewed sight and evidence of a death hanging over the head of every sinner, which of all deaths is the most dreadful, which is fullest of horrours and soul-tormenting fears. Death is the King of terrours, though represented and cloathed in the lest dreadful manner it can be. [...]. Aristotel. No kind of death but is terrible enough, but of all, this is the most terrible, and only to be fear­ed; it is this at the heels of the other that makes it dreadful. It is a most undoubted truth, that every one continuing to sin, and so dying, shall die under a Curse for his own sin, though the sinner should live to an hundred; nay to many hundred years, yet if he live and die a servant to his sin, he shall die accursed; and this we may be sufficient­ly assured of by the accursed Death of our Lord; for he died so, for as much as the sins of God's Elect and chosen ones were laid to him; he was loaded with them, and all the guilt of them was charged on him, and there­fore was he punished, therefore he died in such a manner. He was made a Curse, be­cause the guilt of our sins was laid on him, and punishment due to that guilt inflicted on him. Nothing more certain, He was wounded for our transgressions, Isa. 53.5. He bare the [Page 77]sin of many, ver. 12. He his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, 1 Pet. 2.24. And all this evidently set forth before our eyes, so that the serious and considering soul soon comes to this conclusion, that whoever doth bear the guilt of sin, he must die a Curse for it, and he needs no other proof of it but this; Christ did bear guilt, and this brought him to a cursed Death. Now then he be­gins to argue the case with himself; Can I continue in sin, and not bear the guilt of sin? Can I yield my self a servant to sin, and yet not be accounted a servant of sin? Can I do the works of iniquity, and not be thought by judicious and wise men, a worker of ini­quity? How much more will the just and righteous God occount me so? When I do any fact for which the Law of man will call me to account, can I do the fact and the Law not impute it to me? It is most sottish folly to continue in the service of sin, and to flatter my self that I shall not be accounted a servant of sin, or to hope I shall not be loaded with the guilt of my sin. And it is no less folly to think that we may lye under the guilt of sin, and yet not sink under the importable bur­then of a Curse. No, no, either I must leave my sinning, or I must die that Death, which of all is the most terrible. I must be a Curse under the wrath of God. Now therefore re­solve what thou and I shalt do; God proposeth a Christ dying a Curse for thee, to encourage thee to leave sin, or to shew thee what thou must trust to if thou live in sin.

He preacheth to thee this Doctrine, Life through Grace, if thou wilt obey, if thou wilt [Page 78]renounce thy evil way, for then thy Saviour shall be thy Peace, bear thy Guilt, and en­dure thy Curse; or else Death if thou wilt still refuse to convert and leave thy sin. And let me tell thee, it is Death with a Curse; and consider thou whether thou canst endure it, and let me ask thee these few questions.

1. Dost thou not believe that there is some­what more in Death, when it is sharpened with this sharp and piercing sting? Dost thou not think that the Curse doth add unto the dread and fear of Death? When God proclaimeth any one blessed in death, dost thou not per­swade thy self that God taketh away much of the terrour of death? if so, then certainly when God addeth a Curse with death, he addeth terrour to it; and thou must confess it also, if thou wilt consider it. Now then say, Canst thou contentedly think of dying for thy sin? Canst thou think of doing more than dying for thy sins? Ʋntil that time be come wherein thou canst say, thou wouldest be willing to suffer more than death for sin, thou should'st not be willing to serve sin any more in thy life. I know when we come to die, we shall judge sin unworthy of such a pledge of love or service as one pang, or one fear, or one sigh for its sake; oh then we shall say, He loved sin too much who for sin's sake added the lest pang to death. Whatever thou dost there­fore, leave to sin, lest tlou add the misery of a Curse to thy death.

2. Let me ask thee, Is there no manner of dying which is a terrour to thee more than or­dinary? If thou wert now to die, and mightest chuse thy death, wouldst thou chuse any that [Page 79]were full of pains, or loathsomness, or both these continuing long? Are there not some kinds of death from which thou prayest to be delivered? and what kinds of death are these? are they not those wherein God's hand would most immediately, and most publickly, and with most displeasure appear against thee? wouldst thou not account it worse than death to be long dying with such a torment­ing, lingring, and loathsom disease as Sylla the Roman? or as Maximinus the bloody perse­cutor? or as Herod the great? (whose story is better known to thee) eaten up of worms? Would not others be ready to say of thee, That God had indeed set his hand against thee, that God judged thee unfit to live among common men, and unworthy so good a death as the death of common men? how would this trouble thee? This was the thing wherewith Job's friends did most aggrieve him, that they would conclude God's hand against him as against an enemy. But now let me tell thee, The afflictions of Job, nor the woful death of a Sylla, or a Herod, have no such evidences of God his displeasure and wrath in them, as the easiest death of an accursed sinner hath in it. For other deaths may, and usu­ally are inflicted by other means; this is in­flicted by the immediate hand of God alone, and can thy heart endure, or thy hands be strong when God shall do this? is not his wrath as he is? He alone can bless, and he alone can curse; and this shall be known to the sinner in the day wherein God will ap­pear against him; think then whether sin de­serve so well, that thou shouldst not only die, [Page 80]but die a Curse for it? whether there be any thing in sin to fortifie thy spirit against the terrours of God's immediate furious re­bukes, and slaying of thee? Who dieth a Curse, dieth under the revenging strokes of an infinite God. Look then how much there is in infinite Power and Justice more than can be in finite; so much indeed is there in dying a Curse for sin, more than in naked, single dying. For,

3. Thirdly, Let me ask thee one question more, Doth not Death, a cursed Death reach the soul, and kill this? no other disease but is in the body, and is the disease of the body, and kills the body, and so vanisheth: But who dieth a Curse dieth in his soul, that is, his soul is separated and disjoyned from that sweet commu­nion and fellowship with God which is the true life of souls and Angels. When God slayeth these wretches, and makes them sacrifices to his offended Justice, he slays them with this, Depart from me ye cursed, Matth. 25.41.

Now, is it not more dreadful to die thus a Curse, than barely to die? or if thou couldst die, and be willing to lose the life of thy bo­dy for sin sake, canst thou also be willing to lose the life of thy soul for sin's sake? This is another arrow in this quiver, and which woundeth deeper than any other. The soul dieth when the man dieth a Curse for sin; and let me tell thee, albeit foolish and incon­siderate slaves of sin will cast away their souls for sin, the wise and considerate Believer judgeth his soul, and the life of it, infinitely too good to be so spent and wasted. The death of the soul is so much more dreadful [Page 81]than the death of the body, as the soul is more worth than the body; thou mayest not then continue in cursed sins, for they will bring down upon thy soul a death of all most dreadful; cease therefore to sin, that thou be not a curse for thy sin.

Fourthly, Let it be considered, after all this, (if this do not convince enough) whether thou couldst be willing to die more than once for thy sin? Would not a thousand deaths one after another be too much to undergo for sin? He that dieth a Curse for his sins, shall die more than ten thousand times for them; he shall be ever, ever dying as many daies, nay hours, nay moments, as are in eternity; so many times shall the miserable, deplorable, cursed sinner die in the acute, fresh and renewed pangs of soul, every lash of conscience, every dolorous remembrance of what he suffereth for, shall be a death unto him. This makes it death indeed, and if thou canst not love thy self so little, as to chuse to be ever dying, thou must not love thy sins so much as to be ever serving them. Say then, if thou canst not but fear endless dying, I must fear and fly endless sin­ing; who dieth a Curse for his sin, is as long dying, as his soul is living, and that is for ever and ever.

Fifthly and lastly, Can any thing sweeten the thoughts, or allay the bitterness of such a Death? Can there be any thing wherewith others may, or thou mayest bless thy self after God shall have so cursed thee? Consider what a loss it is which is so great, that nothing can lessen it; say then, though possibly thou couldst endure somewhat for sin's sake, yet I [Page 82]can never endure a Curse for it, which is more than to die; it is to die under the im­mediate avenging hand of God; it is to kill my soul; That is to be as often dying as are moments in eternity; and all this without any recompence and sweetning allay, I cannot chuse so to die; therefore saith the conside­rate Believer, the renewed thoughts of my Lord's dying a Curse, renew my apprehen­sions of the danger of sinning any longer; this renews my dislike of sin, and I must needs re­olve to leave it.



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