THE Gospel-Feast Opened: OR, THE Great Supper of the Parable, DISCOVERED In several SERMONS.

By JOSEPH HƲSSEY, Pastor of a Congregation in Cambridge.

Isa. 25.6. And in this Mountain shall the Lord of Hosts make unto all People a Feast of Fat Things, a Feast of Wines on the Lees, of Fat Things full of Marrow, of Wines on the Lees well refined.
Prov. 9.5. Come, eat of my Bread, and drink of the Wine which I have mingled.
Matth. 22.2. The Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a certain King, which made a Marriage for his Son.
We are God's Trustees, to whom he hath committed the Gospel, and we are false to our Trust, if we don't Preach Christ, who is the Summ and Substance of the Gospel. Frost's Sermons, pag. 276.
Dulce est nomen Jesu, mel in ore, melodia in Aure, in Corde plusquam jubilaeum. D. Hen. Wilkinson. conciones ad Academicos Oxonienses, de Scientiâ Christi. p. 157.
Christus est Liber vitae in quo scriptus es. Luth. loc. com. class. secund. p. 95.
Si quos Christi taedium capit; ij Christum nunquam gusta­verunt. Camer. Myroth. Evang. p. 151.

LONDON, Printed by J. Astwood for John Salusbury at the Rising Sun, over against the Royal Exchange in Cornhil. 1692.

To that particular People of God in Cambridge over whom by a special Call I am fixed, as a Watchman in the Gospel, and a Minister of our Lord Jesus Christ.


THE Great Work of Faithfulness and Labour which by Fervent Prayer and a Una­nimous Call you have pre­valled on me to come hither and undertake, for the pro­moting the Honour of Jesus [Page]Christ, the Edification of your own Souls, and the Conversi­on of poor, lost Sinners, doth much influence and incline my Spirit, almost to do, or be any Thing, in order to these Bles­sed Ends. As the Divine Providence hath cast my Lot among you, so now a Divine Precept doth make me to be in all Things for your Good, 2 Cor. 4.5. your Servant for Jesus sake. I have therefore in this poor Essay before you, at your own Instant and joint Appli­cations, brought forth, as far as I, Mat. 13.52. a poor Scribe, instructed unto the Kingdom of God, am [Page]able, out of Christ's Treasury Things new and old. Rev. 1 [...].14. These are the Fruits which your Souls have lusted after, and the Fruits for which you have been cry­ing, Give, Give: i. e. Prov. 30.15. you have askt them from the Pul­pit, and some of you have thought long before the Week was gone about, to take them in the Great Congregation: Psal. 40.9, 10. You have now askt them again from the Press; and lo! here is the Savoury Meat, Gen. 27.7.such as your Soul loves! I desire to bring no other into your Chambers, than what the Lord your God hath brought me: v. 20. I hope I [Page]dare not tender you Stones for Bread, Luk. 11.11, 12. or venture to bring in a Scorpion to you that ask an Egg. Indeed, I had not once a Thought, that these Papers, without being burnt, must have lighted up a Candle for any to see to Sup by; but now I judge, that so long as I am yours to serve you, I must light up any Thing, if you may but shine the more. You have professed a sweetness to your Taste at the first prepa­ring of this Discourse, when this Banquet (as now you see it) was only made ready for some Meals upon the Lord's [Page]Days, 'till I had finished the Subject: And now I crave this Blessing upon your Meat, that as you have chosen more than other Seven Days to keep this Feast, 2 Chro. 30.23. it may be also sweet and nourishing in your daily Bread at home! that however the Covers may in process of Time be found mouldy in some of your Houses, the Pro­vision it self may never be so in your Hands, much less pu­trifie in any of your Heads, Exo. 16.20. 'till it breed Worms and stink. I know it is possible in rich Feeding to contract Diseases, and instead of killing Hunger, [Page]quicken some Mortal Sting. But tho' Spiders will suck Poy­son out of the sweetest Flow­ers, Heb. 6.9 I am perswaded better Things of you, who profess to be New Creatures.

Now, that the Doctrine of Grace here offered may meet with the Principle of Grace to receive it, and afford good Nourishment, when good Food and a sanctified Appetite meet, is the Prayer of

Your Faithful Servant in the Holy Work of the Lord, Joseph Hussey.


IT is sad and humbling, that Man's Nature is so prone to treat the Religious Mysteries of the Gospel with scorn and indignation, and that, because we have this Treasure in Earthen Vessels, 2 Cor. 4.7. Isa. 29.16. it should be esteem­ed as the Potter's Clay: We must [Page]indeed expect that such as sit in the Scorner's Chair, Psa. 1.1. will never, with Ehud, Judg. 3.20.rise up, tho' we have a Mes­sage from God to them. Until Men are Cur'd of a spiritual Phrensie, they will be sure to reproach others as a Generation beside themselves: Act. 26.24 But there is a Day approaching when they will in astonishment Curse their own Madness; Luk. 24.25Oh Fools, and slow of Heart to believe!

I am sensible that the Captious Rea­der must, the Curious Reader will, and the most Candid Reader may spy out abundant Failings in the Com­posing of this Work; Tho' God's Feast be unexceptionable, yet Man's Cookery may not be grateful to the Palate. The Composure of the ensuing Treatise is perhaps no ways adapted to suit the Genius of any but the Godly, [Page]nor, it may be, can be expected to suit but with some of them either. Un­doubtedly, there have been many Hun­dred Treatises suppress'd which have better deserv'd the Light, and yet shall never see it, but are condemn'd to be buried in a perpetual Grave of Dark­ness. These Provisions in the Dis­course are mostly for such as find their Appetite quick in their Master's Work, to sit down and eat under Christ's Shadow; Cantic. 2.3 they are prepared for the needy, and would miss their End, if they should only please the Dainty. I may herein use the Ex­pression of one of my Mr. W. Green. Au­thor of the Book enti­tuled Abys­sus Mati, or the Cor­ruption of Man's Na­ture. Reverend Pre­decessors in this Place: These Things were not intended to Cram the Full, but to Feed the Hungry, and to the Hungry every bitter thing is sweet. The Subject is weighty, Prov. 27.7. tho' the Management is contemptible. The [Page] Publication was desired for the Pro­fiting of Men's Souls, and I hope is so design'd by the Publisher. If it at­tains unto that Mark, and saves any, tho' of the meanest rank, I hope I shall rejoice, tho' it can hit nothing else, and vain Spectators should laugh at the Arrows, who were never prickt in their Heart. Act. 2.37. I shall study sub­mission to the Judicious, and beg amend­ment under the Castigations of the wise, but desire only Patience under evil Cen­sures and the Reproaches of Christ from Fools. Heb. 11.26 There are some who have bless'd God already for this Foolish­ness of Preaching, 1 Cor. 1.21 2 Cor. 11.1 and can bear with me (I will not say, a little, but much) in my Follies from the Press. I confess it is God's Word, and he may use it how he will; he may accomplish his own Ends either at first, or second Hand, or Both: If it therefore tends [Page]this way to preserve the Original in the Hearers, it will Answer more for all the Failures of the Copy than a Thou­sand studied Apologies.

The Phraseology will be thought by many to be too mean and illiterate, and the Style too loose and Popular: But with me it is a very small Thing, 1 Cor. 4.3.that I should be judged of such, or of Man's judgment; for I would choose rather to come in Plain­ness of Speech, even to the Eyes as well as the Ears of Men, than in the enticing words of Man's Wisdom. 1 Cor. 2.4. It is often times more difficult to be Profitable than to be Eloquent; in the latter our Education qualifies, and makes it easie to speak as Men, but in the former, Joh. 3.27.a Man cannot receive it, except it be given him from above. It is harder to stoop below a [Page]Man's own Proportion, to go the same height with Children, than to walk our full Length with Men. As on the other Hand, it is easier to Preach or Write somewhat like an Academick, than like an Instructer of the Foolish, Rom. 2.20or a Teacher of Babes, and to play the Orator than perform the work of a Divine. It is more profitable, and yet a Task of greater Burden, to gather up Matter from the Holy Text, than to utter it in fine words. It is harder to draw the true Lineaments of the Face, than to mix the Paint: 'Tis more laborious to dig in the Mines, than to gather loose stones upon the Surface, and to thresh out the Grain, than refine the Heap, and blow away the Chaff.

What a sad Case were England in, if all the Books in Divinity that [Page]have been written, had been publisht (suppose) in the Profoundest Eloquence, as many of the Publishers (I doubt not, but) could have done, in reference to their Intellectual Abilities, and spoken in a Scholastical Phrase consistently with their Learned Education: But the vul­gar may bless God for the Treatises that have been written in such a Style as Dr. Preston, Sibbs, Mr. Bolton, Rogers, Greenham, Perkins, Fen­ner, Sedgwick, Allein, and Hun­dreds more.

The plain Truth is, to publish Books for the common sort in our own Tongue Nominally, and stuff them all along throughout the Body of the Discourse in other Language really, savours too much of a Jesuitical Equivocation, while we Condemn the Papist; for if they lock up the Scriptures, and [Page] take away the Key of Knowledge, Luk. 11.52those would lock up other Good Books, and give the People a strange Key that was never made to open them.

However, if Men at a Feast love to see fine Glasses at a Side-board, let them look over to Margents, be­cause it is Pity they should find more than is needful, among the Guests, upon the Table.

Tho' we use Metaphors, yet it is no more than the same Popular, known way, which Christ (the best Master of Language in the World) used, when he taught his own Disciples. We are immers'd so much in Matter, while in the Body, that our Instructions had need be sensible to convey spiritual Things the easier. These are oftentimes more Natural, and do accommodate the [Page]Expression to the Thing beyond a Phrase Sublime, or Philosophical. As indeed it is too laborious and impertinent to fetch Metaphors remote, or un-obvious, so it argues too much Scorn and Dis­dain to trample those under our Feet which lye next us. As therefore, Read­er, thou findest the whole likened to a Supper, Eccl. 5.8.Marvel not at the mat­ter, if sometimes thou findest the Parts of it to be expressed in such Vessels, as a Supper, or a Feast is wont to be served in withall.

Let not an occasional use of some Expressions peculiar to English-men offend any English Reader, because they will not bear a Translation ver­batim; for in this Feast we did not study to recommend it by Forreign Sauces, and therefore are content to use what we find at home, and do [Page]recommend it to a Christian Appetite accordingly. A blunt Anglicism (as we call it) may upon some occasions be more affecting than a borrowed La­tinism: A rugged, unpolisht Phrase, will stick more on some minds, and to better purpose, than smoother Elo­quence that slides off from their Thoughts very inobservably; and if we herein do become barbarous to gain the Barbarous, we are but in the same Point of yield­ing with Paul, 1 Cor. 9. v. 20.22. who became all Things to all Men, that he might by all means gain some; to the Jews he became as a Jew, that he might gain the Jews; to the weak be­came he as weak, that he might gain the weak!

Peradventare, the frequent use of the second Person in the singular Num­ber [Thou and Thee] may offend [Page] some; to whom I would seriously pro­pose this, viz. That these Sermons are here publisht in the same Applicatory Form they were preacht; and in Dis­courses of this Nature we cannot be too close and particular. Bp. Wil­kins, Gift of Preach­ing, pag. 37 A great Man saith, that the Design of Preaching is to bring down Ge­neral Truths to particular Cases; I am sure it should be so; and it was so in a Greater Preacher than He, and before a greater Audience than we are wont to meet with, even in Nathan and David, when he began with a Parable, but at last spoke plainly, unto himself, 2 Sam. 12.7 Thou art the Man. The Arrow doth more Exe­cution, 2 Kings 22.34. when it enters between the Joints of the Harness, than when it flyes at random.

The greatest Blemish which perhaps [Page]may appear throughout this Work in the Eye of others, may be a co-incidence of the Argument, which indeed some­times unavoidably returns, and must oc­cur, that every Part might be handled duely; for otherwise if we had been more sparing to avoid the giving of too much, we had impair'd the Ta­ble, and taken too much away. I need not fly to the Writings of Great Men to find a Sanctuary from the Reader's pursuit of me herein, but to the best City of Refuge, Num. 35.13.15. even one that hath Foundations, Heb. 11.10whose Builder and Maker is God: For the Holy Wri­tings do abound with Parallel Instan­ces, that can never be judg'd by Pi­ous and Sober Minds to be guilty of (when they condemn) vain Repeti­tions. Matth. 6.7. I will not trouble the Reader with many Witnesses, only produce Two, Deut. 19.15 which is a sufficient Number [Page]for Proof to clear me, if my Crime were judged to be Capital: See Matth. 10.15. compared with chapt. 11.24. and Heb. 3.15. compared with chapt. 4.7. And I may add, if a further Apology herein be needful, that if the same Thing occurrs, where necessity requires, yet the manner of opening and illustrating is distinct, and methinks the Diversity, suppose it were separate from the necessity of the Case, might excuse, and make it pardonable, if any should attempt to run it down with Tautology.

Let it be only Noted by the Cour­teous Reader, that the Texts often ci­ted in the Margent are not brought as Doctrinal Proofs, to clear the Truth of what is laid down or opened, but Allusive, or Borrowed Scripture Ex­pressions, which if you look to the [Page]Text it self cited, will be found to be taken in a quite different, perhaps sometimes contrary sense: The Rea­son of which frequent Citation is only because the Language of the Holy Ghost is most pure, and accompanyed with such a secret Penetration that it will make its way, where our own Lan­guage finds none. This oftner cometh in the Demonstration of the Spirit, 1 Cor. 2.4.and of Power. The Main Proofs of Doctrine are every where met with in the Body of the Discourse it self, i. e. quoted in the Book, not in the Mar­gent, unless forgetfulness in the Tran­scribing now and then makes an Excep­tion.

Well, I recommend the following Trea­tise to the Blessing of the God of Hea­ven, that it may find faithful Readers to build them up, or be instrumental to [Page] make them such, and bring them in as Guests to his Table, that his House may be filled with them. I conclude this Epistolary Entrance with the Hear­ty Desire and Prayer of my Soul, on the Behalf of such as either this Book by Providence may be directed to, or who by the same disposing Providence may be directed to this Book; and this shall be the Joy and Crown of one that hath adventur'd to cast in his Mite, Phil. 4.1. to promote the Common Salvation. Jude 3.

Joseph Hussey.


BY reason of the Author's distance from the Press, va­rious Mistakes are crept in, and therefore

Pag. 4. lin. 28. for ceatain read certain. p. 20. lin. 22. for Christ's Money r. Christ, Money. p. 27. l. 28. in the Mar­gent for Scriptura r. Scripturae. p. 35. in the Margent, dele ibid. p. 36. l. 2. for liberal r. literal. p. 50. l. 24. for obsturct r. obstruct. p. 50. in the Margt. for [...] r. [...]. p. 52 l. 20. for month r. moneth. p. 59. l. 18. for great r. greatest. p. 78. l. 14. for htro' r. thro' p. 86. l. 1. dele di- p. 89. l. ult. for Paradice r. Paradise. p. 93. in the Margent, for litterally r. literally. p. 93. l. 22. for Leaper r. Leper. p. 105. for Epithite r. Epithete. p. 113. l. 5. blot out it (Tautological) p. 113. l. 18. for Hipocrite r. Hypocrite. p. 113. l. 19. dele out (Tautological) p. 123. in the Margent, for [...] r. [...]. p. 124. l. 14. for Jehojachim r. Je­hojachin. p. 125. l. 8. for month r. moneth. p. 145. l. 22. for litterally r. literally. p. 148. in the Margent, for [...] r. [...] p. 156. in the Margent, for credebile r. credibile. p. 161. l. 9. blot out the full stop, and insert a Comma between Cloath you, and Oh ye of little Faith. p. 165. l. 27. for cloath r. cloathe. p. 166. l. 3. for cloath r. cloathe. p. 168. in the Margent r. Psal. 44.21. over against Line the 8th. p. 180. l. ult. put the Asterism after the full stop. p. 218. in the Margent, for [...] r. [...]. p. 231. in the Margent, for hee r. ha [...]c. p. 231. in the Margent. for Coron r. Cotton. p. 232. in the Margent, for Refinings r. Refinings. p. 238. in the Margent, for aurâqu. r. aurâque. p. 253. l. 16. for to r. do. p. 278. in the Margt. for [...] r. [...]. p. 300. l. 1. for Fornicaters r. Fornicatours. p. 307. l. 18. for never­theliss r. nevertheless. p. 315. l. 19. blot out [of the Name] p. 324 l. 4. read refuse to eat Bread. p. 362. in the Mar­gent for [...] r. [...]. p. 376. in the Margent, for Goodwyn r. Godwyn. ibid. for Weymse r. VVeemse. p. 388. l. 20. for Iubitants r. Inhabitants. p. 398. l. 12. for months r. moneths. ibid. l. 23. for profitted r. profited p. 421. l. 14. for off r. of.

THE Gospel-Feast OPENED, OR THE Great SUPPER of the PARABLE.

LUK. XIV. 17. latter part.

—Come, for All things are now ready.

THE Occasion of the whole Parable (beginning at the 16th, and ending with the 24th Verse) appears to be grounded upon an Expres­sion that seems at the First Taste to be Speech seasoned with Salt, Col. 4.6. dropt from the mouth of a Pharisee that sate at Luk. 14.1.[Page 2]meat with Christ, in the House of one of the chief Pharisees. Christ under the Roof of this Pharisee, accompanyed with other Pharisees at the Table, and Lawyers, (i. e. not such Civil Lawyers as we have now in the State, but Ecclesiastical Inter­preters or Expositors of the Law of Moses, as the words in the [...] and [...]. Original do signifie in all the Evangelists,) had argued many Things concerning Feasts, unto v. 15. and behold in the 15th, one of the Com­pany breaks forth into this Expression, Blessed is he that shall eat Bread in the Kingdom of God.

This Great Speech of the Rabbie (who indeed is thought by Vid. Peli Synop. Cri­tic. in lo­cum. Interpreters to have entertained but a gross Notion of the State of Heaven, measuring it chiefly from the outward Dignity and Pomp of Pharisees and Lawyers sitting there, yet) seems to be a Religious Utterance, and looks as if the Speaker had been a Gra­cious Proselyte, and spoke as one that be­lieved the Truth in Christ, and lied not. But alas! you mistake the scope and sense of this Doctour: he utters fine Plausible words without the root of the matter in him, Job 19.28. and none of his own say­ing neither, only he had pickt up a Pro­verbial [Page 3]Speech currant among the Sententia crebra a­pud Rab­binos qui [...] imagine [...] d [...] ­pingtbant. Grotins. Rab­bines, who drew in faint colours the In­visible Things of God by the Pattern of Visible, and fancyed the gaudy Shine of their Long Robes, together with the other splendour of such as fared sumptuously eve­ry Day, to be a Goodly Draught of Hea­ven. We may gather from his Ignorance and Disaffection to true Spiritual Things, that thô he uses refined Language, yet he is no more than an Unrenewed Pharisee: for when Christ doth afterwards in the Parable propose and set spiritual, cele­stial Food, the Bread of the Kingdom of God, before him, our Lord seems to find no more Faith on the Earth in this Talk­ing Zealot, than in any other Pharisee, or Lawyer of the Company. The Mr. Sa [...]. Cradock's Harmony of the E­vangelists. Scope of our Saviour's Parable argues, that howsoever these Pharisees (eo nomine) might pretend to value the Kingdom of God; yet the Love of the World, the Profits, Pleasures, secular Employments, and Avocations of this Life, would pre­vail to keep them off from embracing the Calls of God, and shut them out of Hea­ven.

Observe, There may, upon some Occa­sions, be Discourses of the Things of God that drop from unsanctified Lips, where [Page 4]the Speakers have no inward Savour, or true undestanding of those Things. The Language of Canaan may be got and us'd by rote, where also men retain the speech of Ashdod under their Tongues. Neh. 13.24. A Person like this Pharisee may discourse of the Kingdom of God, and yet be a Child of Disobedience, in whom the god of this World rules.

But let me open the 16th Verse, where the Parable begins, and also the former part of the 17th, to bring in the Text.

Then said he.] V. 16. Christ hereupon takes the Occasion, and replyes.

Unto him.] [...], in the Singu­lar Num­ber. q. d. Unto the Pharisee that spake at the 15th. Vers. before.

Christ observed the Saying, and ta­king the word out of the mouth of this Pharisee, instructs him by a Parable, that taught the VVay of God more perfectly. Acts 18.26 The other Guests at the Table were si­lent, but this man spake, and therefore the Son of Man hath somewhat to say un­to Him, to state the matters of the King­dom, and discover how the Pharisees would dislike it, and then reject the King that should reign over them.

A centain man made a great Supper, [...] 14.16and b [...]de many.

A certain man.] This Evangelist Luke [Page 5]calls him indeterminately, describing him by no Character or Degree; but Matthew expresseth whom, and declares how great a man he was, rendring him by that certain Preheminence, and Su­preme Authority which met in him: The Expression therefore is cloath'd with Royalty, A certain King, or, Math. 22.2 as the [...]. Ori­ginal reads it, a man, a King. This was none other than the Great God, giving his own Son Jesus Christ to be married to our Natures and made like unto us in assuming Flesh, Joh. 1.14. when the VVord was made Flesh, and dwelt among us.

As to the Reason why God is set forth in this Agency by a Man (according to the Original of the Parable in Matthew, and our own Translation in Luke,) I find Interpreters silent. However, I think it may satisfie, to remember, that the Lan­guage of the Holy Ghost is Sovereign, he being at Liberty to use what Idiom or Terms he pleaseth; and that he con­descends and stoops in the Expression to our Weakness, as he doth in all other Metaphorical Allusions of Scripture else­where, (The Eyes of the Lord, his Face, Arm, Hands, &c.)

Made a great Supper.] That is, says Mr. Sa [...] Clark A [...] not. on the N. T. one, Appointed the Grace and Privi­ledges [Page 6]of the Gospel, the Glory and Hap­piness of Heaven consequent thereupon. He prepared Grace for the Benefit of our fallen Nature, and Glory in the Second Adam, when we were recovered out of the Ruines of the First.

[...]. Luk. 14.16 A Supper.] Yet Matth. 22.4. [...]. Matthew varies in the Name, and calls this Entertainment a Dinner; Behold I have prepared my Din­ner. Both mean the Provisions of Grace made for Poor sinners, and so agree in the Substance, where they vary in the Cir­cumstance. It was Grace made ready, whether we consider it as a Dinner at the Worlds Noon-Day, when the Fulness of [...]ime was come, as soon as God sent forth his Son: Gal. 4.4. or whether we consider it nearer the Evening of the World in those Ages that border upon the Second Coming of the Son of Man,

As to the Circumstance of a Supper,

1. Luke might allude to the usual and ordinary time of Entertainments more commonly (perhaps) observed in that Age. We may gather some Evidence out of the Mouth of Two Witnesses to establish it, Mark and John. — Herod on his Birth-Day made a Supper to his Lords, High Captains, and chief Estates of Galilee, Mark 6.21. And when Jesus came [Page 7]to Bethany, there they made him a Sup­per. The Jews were not wont always to treat their Guests, as Joseph did his Brethren, when he told the Egyptians, that these men should Dine with him at Noon. And as the Name might be pro­per in reference to the Jewish Banquets, so the aptitude of the Phrase seems to be further countenanc't in Scripture from the Practice of the Thing among some Gentiles also. The Apostle leaves it upon record as his Observation among the Greeks, that they that are drunken, are drunken in the night, 1 Thess. 5.7. The Church at Thessalonica to whom he there writes was planted in Greece, A Drun­ken soil that was often drown'd by Night; for the Ancients, as a Mr. Jo­seph Mede. Solebant veteres ve­spertino Tempore convivia agitare, & mero indul­gentes, ad multam noctem p [...] ­ducere. Learned Man notes, were wont to banquet late, and falling afterwards into Intemperance by drinking Wine long, after they had Supt, were overcome, and drunken with it in the Night. Thô alas! I may note it (obiter) by the way, that now men will be drunk, while it is yet day, quick­ly after Dinner, before the Night com­eth.

2. The Evangelist might allude to the Puschal Supper; for the Paschal Lamb was to be slain in the Evening, Exod. [Page 8]12.6. and to be eaten the same Night, The Paschal-Supper typified and sha­dowed forth our Lord's own Supper, instituted afterwards as a Commemo­ration to shew forth the Lord's Death un­till he come, 1 Cor. 11.26. and twice called the Lord's Supper, Luk. 22.20. 1 Cor. 11.20. Now as the Paschal Supper typified, so this Supper of the Gospel might allude also to the Lord's Supper. For indeed the Lord's Supper, not intended directly in this Parable, is yet comprehended un­der it virtually, by a Synechdoche, as the Part is contained in the whole. The Great Supper of the Gospel designs the utmost extent of all Gospel-Grace and Priviledge, it reacheth the full Mystery of Godliness, and all spiritual Benefits that redound to any Soul by it. Well, a Supper because alluding to the Paschal, and the Lords Supper.

3. He might allude to the Future state of Blessedness in Heaven, which is called the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Rev. 19.9.17. For in­deed the present state of Grace is an Emblem, or a [...]. Foretaste of Heaven. But I think chiefly in the last place, that

4. It alludes very naturally to the last Dispensation which we are now under. [Page 9]The Name -seems to bear a Peculiar refe­rence to the Gospel-Season. What fitter Name than a Supper could be given to an Entertainment of Grace now in the Evening of the World? The Days of the Gospel are in Scripture styled peculiarly the last Days, 2 Tim. 3.1. Heb. 1.2. There is a careful Father which provides in Heaven, who will have a Supper for his Children upon the Earth in these last Times; to feast them upon Gospel-Grace, before they go to Bed, that is, before the Day of the World, or their own Day ends, Isa. 57.2. when they must go and rest in their Beds, each one walking in his uprightness. I handle it after this nature in the end of the Discourse.

And bade many.] Luk. 14.16. last words. God doth not make Provisions of Grace in vain, or prepare a Great Supper, and then have none to eat it. He sends first to the Seed of Abraham, and bade many Jews. These had been a long while invited to accept of Christ, and be in a readiness to embrace the Messiah, as soon as that promised Seed came. The Jews had notice of this Approaching Supper very early in the Morning; they had warning at the first Dawn of that Star of Jacob, to get ready, Num. 24.17. and come in unto it.

And sent his Servant.] [...], v. 17. That is, (says Servum illum uni­cum, nempè Filium Dei. Poli Sy­nops. Cri­tic. in loc. one) sent his only Son whom before he called his Servant, Isa. 42.1. Behold my Servant whom I uphold, mine Elect (or Chosen) in whom my soul delighteth. This of whom the Prophet speaketh was none other than the Christ the Chosen of God, 1 Pet. 2.4. Thus Luke speaks of no more than one Servant, (and of him as the Messenger of the Covenant, Mal. 3.1. Joh. 1.14. last words. who was also the only Begotten of the Father, full of Grace and Truth,) but Matthew uses the Term plurally, Chap. 22.3. — sent forth his Servants, i. e. his Ministers and Ambassadours, after the Mission of his Son, Christ thô a Son by Nature, yea a Ser­vant by Office of Mediation for our sakes. Pem­ble upon Zech. p. 410. to press the same Thing. Luke re­lates the Parable as Christ was sent in Person to treat with Sinners, and Mat­thew writes, as the Ministers of Christ were employed to come forth afterwards successively in the same Treaty, even to the end of the World still inviting Sin­ners. This two fold Testimony of Mat­thew and Luke is not self-contradicting, or guilty of the least inconsistency: It is no such Testimony for Christ, as that was found against him, Mar. 14.59 where neither so did their Witness agree together.

[...]. At Supper-time.] In the Hour of Sup­per, it is read. Christ came out of the [Page 11]Bosom of the Father in the Time of Love to Souls, and the Dispensation of the Gospel is that Supper-season in which Christ is now given and sent by the Fa­ther to treat, in the Ministry of the Word with Sinners: This is the Hour when the Gospel is made ready; This is the Evening-Time at which we may find that all is ready drest, and waits for Guests to come. The Readiness of the Things is not delay'd beyond the Supper Hour.

To say to them that were bidden.] As they had been before invited, so now the Servant is sent to inform them 'tis High-Time to come. And therefore the Mes­sage is,

Come.] This supposeth a Distance, which they that are bidden stand in to God; he sends a Call to overtake such as were yet afar off. The Grace of God did once find all that are now in Christ so, Eph. 2.13. But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were afar off, are made nigh by the Blood of Christ. And as there was a Distance in such as are now made nigh, so there is a mighty Distance still in the All that are afar off, Acts 2.39.even the many that the Lord our God shall call. Now the Gospel-Invitation which supposeth a [Page 12]Distance from God, begins with a Call unto him, Come.

For all things are ready.] Not a Privi­ledge, not an Encouragement, not any kind of Gospel Grace excepted. Dost thou want Pardon, Peace, Light, Strength, Joy in the Lord? yet whatever thy Soul lusteth after, who cryest after God, it is all ready for thee, Come. Here is a Rich Feast, refuse no longer to be a Poor Guest. Here is All, and All will be enough for thee. Where is the Tongue of that Israelite that cryed out, Psa. 78.19. Can God furnish a Table in the Wilderness? Who can question the Power of Jehovah to pre­pare a Table, when they see all Provisi­ons ready? And

Now ready.] The Supper of the Go­spel is no such Banquet as requires any further care to make it. The Law in­deed made nothing perfect, Heb. 7.19. but the Go­spel needs no higher or clearer Revela­tions to perfect its own Discoveries. God hath in these last dayes spoken to us by his Son, Heb. 1.2. but from the Beginning, when he multiplyed Visions, and used Signs, and revealed his Counsels in Dark Speeches, then it was not so. The Provisions were reserved in store, and he hath kept the good Wine untill now.

In the Words there are,

1. Plentiful Provisions made. All things ready.

2. An Invitation made unto Sinners, to partake of these things. Come.

3. A quickning Motive urg'd from the Season of Readiness, to prevail with the Guests to come. Now ready.

I shall endeavour accordingly to ma­nage the Discourse under these three Doctrines:

  • I Doct. The Gospel is a large Feast, stor'd with all kinds of Spiritual Provision in it.
  • II Doct. God makes an Invitation unto Sinners to come in to this Feast.
  • III Doct. The Gospel is a Feast or Supper that hath all its Provisions now ready.

I Doct. The Gospel is a large Feast, stor'd with all kinds of Spiritual Provision in it. All things ready.

In the Management of this Doctrine I would handle it in the following Method, under these Nine general things. To shew

Wherein the Resemblance of the Go­spel to a Feast appears. I.

In what respect it is a large Feast. II.

What Things we have need of against the Feast. III.

What is the Bill of Fare. IV.

What excellent Properties there are in the Provisions of this Great Supper. V.

What suitableness from God appears in them to the Case of Man. VI.

Why it is a Feast with all things in it. VII.

What Hindrances do make it to many ineffectual. VIII.

To Apply it. IX.

The First Thing is to open the Resem­blances of the Gospel unto a Feast. I.

First, 1 Resem­blance. The Gospel resembles a Feast in the entireness of it. A Feast doth not consist in one kind, to yield Meat only, and withhold Drink, or to afford Drink and not provide Meat; but it makes Both ready, Dr. Tho. Fuller, Pis­gah-sight, p. 134. 1st. pt. Esculents and Beverage too, as one terms them. The Feast is not in­tire but incompleat, if either part be wanting. Thus, in the Gospel, the Pro­visions of Grace are made in both kinds ready, that we need take no Thought as to any Defect there, Mat. 6.31. either what we shall [Page 15]eat, or what we shall drink in God's King­dom, for we have them both provided: He dealeth his Bread to the hungry, Isa. 58.7. chap. 43.20. and giveth Waters in the Wilderness, to give Drink to his People, his chosen. When Wisdom entertaineth her Friends, they do not live by halves, she gives them all together, Prov. 9.5. Eat of the Bread, and drink of the Dine which I have ming­led. Wine.] He can turn VVater into VVine to create variety. Again, Eat ye that which is good, Isa. 55.2. lat. part. And if any Man thirst, let him come un­to me and drink, Joh. 7.37. The Gospel discovers no Imperfection, for tho' it be true, as to the Ceremonial Preparations in Moses, yet it doth not hold in respect of the Evangelical Provisions in Christ, Rom. 14.17. that the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink. It is a whole Feast, and therefore in its entireness is like such an Entertain­ment.

Secondly, 2 Resem­blance. The Gospel resembles a Feast in the Delicacies and Fatness of it. Enter­tainments are wont to be made of the best the House affords. Abraham in En­tertaining of the three Angels, could he have gotten it, would have given them Angels Food; however, he Order'd it to be prepared of the choicest Morsels, and [Page 16]would make it as delicate as he could, to bring it before his Guests. 'Tis said Gen. 18.6. He hastned into the Tent to Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of Fine Meal, and he ran (himself) unto the Herd, V. 7. and fetcht a Calf, ('tis not said to be an ordinary one, but) tender and good, and gave it un­to a young man, and he hasted to dress it; and he took Butter and Milk, V. 8. the best Ingredients to serve it in with, when he set it before the Men, as they are also called, v. 2. Esau likewise, when Isaac his Father bespoke that Entertain­ment for himself, Gen. 27.3, 4. is direct­ed by his Father, to go out, and take of the Dainties the Field afforded: Take now I pray thee, thy Weapons, thy Quiver and thy Bow, and go out unto the Field, and take me some Venison, and make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat

Thus, the Gospel is furnished with the choicest Viands, and God's Servants behold an excellency in the very Crumbs which fall from their Masters Table. The King doth not slay any lean Kine, but in making ready for the Marriage, his Oxen and his Fatlings are killed, Matth. 22.4. When God makes Provision, [Page 17] his Paths drop Fatness; Psal. 65.11. it is no common Furniture which is found on his Table. He hath the Best of all sorts there. He hath not brought that which is torn, and the lame and the sick to Us, tho' we have brought such a maimed, sick Offering to him: when he gives us of the Corn of Heaven, Job. 31.40. Psal. 81.16. it is not Cockle in­stead of Barley, but also with the Fi­nest of the wheat he feeds us. The Blessings of this Gospel-Feast could be set forth by no higher or richer Ex­pressions than a Feast of Fat Things, and of Wines on the Lees well refined, which comprehends the Delicacies of a Feast in the best of Meats and the choicest Drinks, see Isa. 25.6. And in this moun­tain (that is, the Mount Sion in Jerusa­lem, upon which the Temple or House of the Lord stood) shall the Lord of Hosts make unto all People a Feast of Fat Things, a Feast of Wines on the Lees; of fat Things full of Marrow, of wines on the Lees well refined. I know Day up­on that place. some do make this Feast of Fat things to signifie the Assyri­ans slain, and Wine on the Lees to re­present the Effusion of their Blood, which in that slaughter God would shed round about Jerusalem. But Mr. Pool's English An­notations. others do [Page 18]more probably interpret it of ‘A Feast made up of the most exquisite and delicate Provisions, which is manifest­ly meant, says a great Author, of the Ordinances, Graces and Comforts gi­ven by God in and to his Church.’ And indeed the Fat of God's Sacrifices which were appointed under the Law, and should be offered again upon that Moun­tain after the Captivity, doth seem apt­ly to point at the Dainties of the Gospel, even as the Law Ceremonies did to typifie the State of the Gospel, or as Mount Sion and Jerusalem to shadow out the Church. The Fat of their Meat-Offerings, and the Vinous Juice, or Wine of their Drink-Offerings, were no ob­scure Emblem of the Gospel Feast, and seem plainly by the Evangelical Prophet to foretell this great Supper. It is re­presented by Fatness to intimate that no­thing ordinary, or of a low Account is in it: It is not such course Fare as Mel­zar gave those four Children, Duct. 1.16.Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Mariah, when he took away the Portion of their Meat, and the Wine that they should drink, and gave them Pulse; Gen. 2 [...].34. nor as ordinary as Jacob gave Esau in the Portage of [Page 19]Lentiles. The Gospel hath nothing course or common, but rare and extraordina­ry. Such as God hath fed, have fared sumptuously every Day, Luk. 16.19 beyond the Rich Glutton. The Israelites had Quails and Mannah in the Desart, God brought them Rich Provision in a Hungry Place; and an Israelite indeed still finds Dain­ties, Isa. 55.2. Let your Soul delight it self in Fatness. The Shepherd of Israel that provideth will take his Flock, Ezek. 34.14. and feed them in a good Pasture.

Thirdly, 3 Resem­blance. The Gospel resembles a Feast in the Freeness of it. Feasts are Free, tho' they are Chargeable to the Foun­der, yet the Guests are wont to partake at Free-cost in them. Joseph's Brethren indeed may think of no other Provision than what they buy, but when they come into Egypt, they shall find Joseph will give them their Diet free. Jacob's Sons may carry down the Man a Present, a lit­tle Balm, and a little Honey, Spices and Myrrh, Nuts and Almonds, Gen. 43.11. and take Double-money in their Hand, v. 12. but when the Steward of Egypt entertains them, he will throw their Money back: His Servants shall slay, and make ready, and let his Fathers House [Page 20]bring what they will to pay, these Men shall Dine with him for nothing, v. 16. They like Traffiquers may bring in the Bag, and talk hard of buying with their Money, when Joseph's Back is turn'd, but they shall find he hath left Orders with his Steward not to meddle with it, v. 19, 20, 21, 22, 23. Peace be unto you, fear not, your God and the God of your Father hath given you treasure; I had your Money. q. d. ‘My Master Or­dered me to convey it privately in­to your Sacks, and send it home a­gain; he Orders your Entertainment gratis, and bestows all upon you free­ly: He will not allow it, that you should live upon your own Purse in Egypt.

So likewise in the Gospel, Sinners are prone by Nature to bring something of their own, and make exchange with Christs, Money, the Work of their Hands to purchase Grace, and buy a little Food of him. But if our Joseph nourish us, he will take our Sacks empty; we must bring them to Jesus without Money in them; his House is Free, we may Dine or Sup with Him for nothing; it is Eat, Cant. 5.1.O Friends, and drink abundantly, O [Page 21]Beloved, but still without Money and with­out Price, Isa. 55.1. The Lord draws out his Soul unto the Hangry, tho' the Hun­gry cannot draw their Purse. The Gospel yields no such Bread, as we must not eat till we work and earn it. Tho' a Poor Soul should cry out in another sense with Peter, Silver and Gold have I none, Act. 3.6. yet wherein dos this Poverty exclude from his Table, at a Feast where Christ hath paid for all? Thou hast all given in for nothing, and shalt never hear of a Bill of Charges to be brought and laid to thine account: Isa. 55.1. thô Christ bids thee buy Wine and Milk, it doth not suppose thou canst drop a Farthing for it; for it is He that hath no Money, yet encouraged to buy and eat: The Holy Ghost seems to use that Language which men are first prone to take up themselves, Come, buy; where­as it is only meant, they should take what is bought already for them. Christ, as Mr. Oba­diah Sedg­wick, Fountain Opened. p. 214. one says, never sells dear to the Poor. Free Grace will have no Pay but Thanks. Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable Gift, 2 Cor. 9.15. We have no self-worthiness in our best Estate; we could never move or oblige the King to feast such as we at supper. The Lord's Bounty in feasting [Page 22]us, was to make us Good, not as any Reward, because he found us so. Tho' in our Flesh there dwelleth no Good Thing, yet when his Spirit furnisheth our House, he doth not ask, or will ever take a Farthing; tho' his Supper cost him more than millions, we need not lay out one mite upon it.

Fourthly, 4 Resem­blance. The Gospel resembles a Feast in regard of the Place of Entertainment. Feasts are not made abroad sub Dio, in the open Air, or got ready in the Markets: Things are sold, but they are not eaten in the Shambles. Luk. 22.11.The Master saith, Where is the Guest-Chamber, where I shall eat the Passover with my Disci­ples? The Provisions are at home, i. e. where the Master dwelleth, and to be had in his Presence, at his House alone; The Guests must not be found in other Houses, but where the Master of the En­tertainment dwells. So in Things per­taining to the Gospel, the Provisions of the Grace of God do not ly in Shops and in Shambles, among our selves, but look unto Me and be ye saved, Isa. 45.22. In buying and selling, we go only to our own Place, but in receiving the Gospel, we are come to his Dwelling-place [Page 23]in Sion. Psal. 76.2. The Things of this Life are without-Doors, but if we taste of his Sup­per, we must eat it within his Holy Place, that is, we must be brought at least in­to the Church Universal. If we remain off from the Family, we shall come at no Food in it; it is under Their Roof, that we partake of Their Repast. Grace is not to be found out of its own Circle, and Nature finds out nothing but De­struction on the other side: if we are fed, it must not be with the Wild Beasts of the Forrest, but the Sheep in Christ's Fold. If we have meat, we must not wander abroad, but walk within the Pale of the Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus. Church. There is no favour to be shewn us from the King, if we keep away from Court, no Priviledge of God's Subjects, but in the Kingdom of Grace, which is not of this World. As Paul said unto the Centurion and the Mariners, Acts 27.31 Ex­cept ye abide in the Ship, ye cannot be sa­ved; so unless you be with the Master of the Feast, 1 Cor. 11.20. this is not to eat the Supper of the Parable. It is necessary that we be of the Body, to obtain a Relation to the Head, and that we be Members to possess our Place among them. Provi­sion is not to be every where had; [Page 24]but as we must have our Place at a man's own Habitation, if we taste of the Bounty and Generosity he shews in his House, so we must be set in the True Church with Christ, to receive our Bread, and drink of our Cup at his Hand.

Fifthly, 5 Resem­blance. The Gospel resembles a Feast in limiting its provisions. Feasts are not common, unexcepted Entertain­ments to make all men Guests. Such as are treated themselves at the Master's House, do not there meet with every one they know. A man may be at a Feast, where some of his own House are Strangers, whom he never finds there. One that hath lain in his own Bosom, one that hath sprung from his own Bow­els, may Sup in another place. It is not strange then, if a man finds not the whole Neighbourhood, or all that dwell near him, at the Gospel supping by him. Latter part. I will take you one of a City, and two of a Family, and I will bring you to Zion, Jer. 3.14. Nay, the wonder will abundantly lessen still, that the multitude should be excluded Feasting at the Master's House. 'Tis no strange Thing, that a Greater company than the Guests are walking thrô the the Streets, or riding thro' the Town, [Page 25]and all passing by the Door, whom the Good man of the House takes no notice of. His Dinner or his Supper is ready for them alone that are bidden, whom he hath sent to call in. Tit. 2.11. The Grace of God in like manner that bringeth Salva­tion is manifested and declared by him­self, that it doth not extend to all; Mul­titudes go by, that are neither called, nor yet come in. Some have not the Knowledge of God, 1 Cor. 15.34. some again know him, and yet in works deny him, Tit. 1.16. They are called, i. e. the Preaching of the Gospel calls upon them, and they profess to go unto the Marriage, Matth. 21.28. but are like the Son that was sent into the Vine­yard, who said, I go Sir, and went not. V. 30. Others may accidentally be mingled with the Holy Seed, but eat and drink not in God's Kingdom, who yet may be Stran­gers, and no Guests, Men and not Chri­stians; for many are called, but Few are chosen, Matth. 20.16. Chap. 22.14. As God winks, when he pleaseth, at the Times of Ignorance, looks over them, Act. 17.30. as the [...]. word signifies, so he may look on the Times when more enlightned, and destroy, as he pleaseth, the Wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the Un­derstanding [Page 26]of the Prudent. Isa. 29.14. God's Peo­ple fare well by themselves, 1 Cor. 1.19. while others are fatned for the Day of Slaughter, and never come in to sup with them. The Lord severs between the one and the other, in reference to the true Goshen state, as he did heretofore between the Cattel of Is­rael and the Cattel of Egypt. Exod. 9.4. The Friends of the Bridegroom hear his Voice, when a Stranger doth not intermeddle. Prov. 14.10

I know the Foolishness of Preaching and Man's corrupt Wisdom in this Point do no ways agree. 1 Cor. 1.21 Corruption is more tender of its own Deformed Brow, than of the Apple of God's Eye, his Sovereign­ty. Nature is too high to stoop, tho' to the God of Nature, here. This is a Knee that will not how to Jesus. Ambr [...]si­us, Origenes, Hierony­mus censu­erunt, Deum suam Gra­tiam inter Hemiues dispensare prout tâ quznque be­nè usurr [...] praeviderit. Calvin. In­stit. Chr. Rel. p. 320.6.8, initie.Cal­vin has noted it concerning some of the Ancient Fathers, as Ambrose, Origene and Hierome, that they supposed, God distri­buted his Grace no otherwise amongst men, than as he foresaw the Improve­ment which men would make of it, and the Good use they would put that Grace to: And adds, that Augustine too was some while of the same mind, but after­wards when he grew into a better Ac­quaintance with the Scriptures, he not [Page 27]only retracted that corrupt Opinion, but confuted it with great Strength of Argu­ment, as his words declare in the Adde & Augustinum in eâ fuisse aliquando Sententiâ; sed c [...]m mé­liùs in Scri­ptura cogni­tione pro­fecisset, non retractavit modò ut evidentèr falsam, sed fortitèr con­futavit. Ibid. (mihi) Octavo. Mar­gent. Men may throw his Glory whither they list, but God will never give it a­way himself. The King will be Sove­reign in his House, and have none to sup, but whom he sends for. Thou wouldst not, Oh man, thy self, and who art thou that replyest against God? Is it fit for Thee; and shall it not be Lawful for Him to do what he will with his own? (Rom. 9.20. Matth. 20.15.)

Sixthly, 6 Resem­blance. The Gospel resembles a Feast in the Order of the Guests that are plac't to eat and drink in Gods Kingdom. In Feasts it is usual for some to sit higher, others lower at the same Entertainment. This is intimated to have been observed among the Jews at Feasts, Luk. 14.8, 9, 10. where, Christ condemns not such a Civil Order but therein countenanceth the Degrees of respect that may be shewn among Men, while he maketh an outward Difference between the Honourable and the Base. It is thus at Our Tables, some are nearer, some are farther the upper end than o­thers. Some are plac't more advantage­ously by the very Man of the House, [Page 28]where they have the opportunities of a Freer converse with him, and a nearer intimacy than another that sitteth by. Sa­muel took Saul and his Servant, 1 Sam. 9.22 and made them sit in the chiefest place among them that were bidden, where they were more Honourable than the Thirty. So in the Gospel, we may see how God spiritually makes a Difference, while of his Sove­raignty, 1 Cor. 4.7. for the Beauty and Order of the Church, he makes one to differ from ano­ther. Indeed it is not our Business, or ought-herein to be our care, to mark out the chief Rooms, Luk. 14.7. or the uppermost Seats in Synagogues (like the Pharisees); for Christ knows no man after the Flesh, 2 Cor. 5.16. that is, he doth not respect the man for his Natural Precedency, or Primogeniture, who cometh to our Assembly with the Gold Ring, Jam. 2.2.or in Goodly Apparel, and much beyond the Poor man that cometh in in vile Rayment: It is not therefore as to Civil Difference or External Order according to the Flesh, which common Providence hath made among Professors, that I here assume the Parallel, but in a Spiritual Discrimination of Gifts and Graces, or manifestations of the Divine Presence to some more than others. The order lyes [Page 29]in that. There are Diversities of Gifts, 1 Cor. 12.4 v. 5. v. 6.differences of Administrations, diversities of Operations: God's People have neither e­qual Gifts, nor equal Graces. Mal. 4.2. As the Sun of Righteousness variously shines, so one Star will always differ from another Star in Glory. Some partake of more, some taste of less, when Christ putteth of his Spirit upon them that sit under his sha­dow. Cant. 2.3. He gives more out of his Col. 2.3. Trea­sures in wisdom to some, in strength to o­thers; they receive not alike of his Joh. 1.16. Ful­ness. There be Differences in the Expe­riences of God's People, a higher and a lower, a Right hand and a Left at the King's Table. Lo! to one he saith, Friend, go up higher, q. d. Luk. 14.10 ‘Thou shalt behold me, thou shalt by Faith apprehend me more, and taste me sweeter than ano­ther that hath not thy Experience, and yet he shall receive a Portion of me too.’ Some have greater Communications of the Love of God than others. Some are in the Dark, others walk so much in the Light of Gods Countenance, that, like Moses, they are got into the Mount, and seem to converse with God Face to Face. The Influences of the Spirit may shine upon one Believer with a comfortable [Page 30] Light, and a Gracious, clear Evidence, while another lyes darkned under some Eclipse, by the Cloud that cometh be­twixt. God's Children are all at Table, but they cannot all look up, at Supper, and see their Father every one alike. Peradventure, God hath done more for thee than others, thou art quickned with a larger sense, and a more lively Hope; thou art train'd up in thy Father's House under more intimate Acquaintance, Gra­cious Discoveries, more Ravishing Con­templations than another in the same Congregation that sits down sighing by thee. It is thus, under the Administra­tions of Grace among the Guests unto our God. They are plac't in order, there are (thrô a manifold Dispensation) El­der and Younger Brethren, and God will have them to sit at meat accordingly; Gen. 43.33. the First-born (perhaps) according to his Birth-right, and the youngest according to his Youth. However, the King observes what order (only an order) he will have at this Marriage-Supper, Mat. 11.26. even so Father, because it seemeth good in thy sight. All his by the Blood of Christ are nigh in their Relation, but yet as to the manife­stations of his Free Love, many may [Page 31]seem to sit down at Table a great way off. The Gospel is a long Table, and there be many Degrees of Grace and Comfort where the Guests sit down. Some may be cast down, others advanc't as high as the upper end of Assurance, Joh. 21.20. even to lean upon Christ's Breast at Supper. The Church of God hath Fathers and strong men in Christ, 1 Joh. 2.13. and the same hath Babes, and young Con­verts, little Children, newly brought forth. There are Old Disciples, Act. 21 16. 1 Cor. 15.8. and also such as are born ont of due time. There are such as are in Rom. 16.7. 1 Cor. 6.4 Christ before, and others that are less esteemed in the Church. So that the Gospel may be likened unto an Entertain­ment on respect of Order.

Seventhly, 7 Resem­blance. The Gospel resembles a Feast in the Ministerial Watters and At­tenders on it. The Queen of Sheba being enterbain'd in the Court of Solomon, takes notice not only of the meat of his. Table, 1 King. 10. v. 5. and the sitting of his Servants, (or No­bles and Courtiers of State whom he treated and brought up in Familiarity with him) but also of the Attendance of his Ministers, that is, his waiting Ser­vants, and his Cup bearers. Great Ta­bles must have great Attendance on them. Gen 40.21. The Chief Butler gave the Cup [Page 32]into Pharaoh's Hand, and Nehemiah was the King's Cup bearer. Neh. 1.11 So the Marriage-Feast in Cana of Galilee, Joh. 2.1, 2. where Jesus also was present, had its waiters attending on it; v. 5. for the Mother of Jesus saith unto the Servants, and Jesus himself commands them, Fill the water-pots with water, and draw out now, v. 7.and bear unto the Governour of the Feast. v. 8. The Guests in the Marriage-House were not put to serve themselves.

Now the Feast of the Gospel resem­bles it, and is alike in this, having it's Officers and Ministerial Waiters serving at the Altar; 1 Cor. 9.13 these indeed in one sense are of them that sit at the Table with you, but in another, they are properly of them that serve, and therefore your Servants for Jesus sake, 2 Cor. 4.5. When Ministers have done one part of their work, that is, have called the Guests, the Master appoints the other part, to come in and wait at Table. Hence it is, that we are called Stewards of the mysteries of God, 1 Cor. 4.1. no other Rulers over his Houshold, than to give them their Portion of meat in due sea­son. Luk. 12.42 The Gospel is a Table at which Ministers must wait, and work too, to serve the Lords Guests. They ought to [Page 33]have no place to stand, or sit down in near the Table idle. The Provisions made ready find work enough for Mini­sters to divide the Word aright, 2 Tim. 2.15. last words. and give unto every one a proper Portion. We are but menial Servants of Jesus Christ, to bring in the Dishes, carve out the Food, and in Applications hand it down to you. The Gospel must be opened by such as we, and its Provisions allowed you thro' our Ministry. The Lord of the Feast hath appointed the Attendance of his Mi­nisters and his Cup-bearers in a Resem­blance to other Feasts.

Eighthly, 8 Resem­blance. The Gospel resembles a Feast in the Cheerfulness of the Guests that feed upon it. Feasts are not wont to be sad, nor the Guests thereof melancholly. So long as the Harp and the Viol, the Ta­bret and Pipe and Wine are in their Feasts, Isa. 5.12. (as the Jews used to have such Musical Instruments and Diversion mixed with them.) They are filled up with cheerfulness, 1 Sam. 9.22. and make Samuel's Parlour differ from the House of Mourn­ing. Feasting and Gladness go by cou­ples, Esth. 9.17, 18. And Solomon who knew what it was to prove his Heart with mirth, saith, Eccl. 10.19 a Feast is made for Laugh­ter [Page 34]and wine maketh merry. For Laugh­ter] that is for it, as the occasion Ʋbi sese Laetiti [...]e ob­tulit occasio. Mercer. of­fers. The innocent Design and Effect of Feasting may be a Refreshment of the Mind by the Mr. Pools Engl. An­not. Society of Friends, as well as the Body by the use of Creatures. Those publick Festivals, Zech. 8.19. after the sorrow of the Captivity was turned into Joy, are called Cheerful Feasts: as if a sorrowful Feast had been a contradiction, both to the Nature of the Thing, and the Letter of a Com­mand too, Thou shalt rejoyce in thy Feast, Deut. 16.14. So that neither in their common or Religious Feasts they were ever wont to afflict their Souls.

And in this respect of cheerfulness, the Gospel retains the Similitude of a Feast. God hath kept such an open House un­der the Gospel-State to enlarge our steps, that we may rejoyce to run our Race. There are indeed some Hannah's, of a sor­rowful Spirit, that sit at Gods Table; and this doth not proceed, because they have eaten their meat with Him, but thrô Fear they have drunk poyson by them­selves. Judg. 14.17 However, thô Samson's Wife should weep before him the seven Days while their Feast lasted, yet we do not [Page 35]read in that Marriage-Banquet, that o­thers besides her did eat the Bread of Mour­ners. So, as to the Gospel, Hos. 9.4. if some are dejected in the House of Feasting, yet the Guests do mostly eat their Bread with joy, and drink their wine with a merry Heart, because God accepteth them. Eccl. 9.7. It is a Musical Lev. 23.24. Num. 29.1 Feast of Trumpets that sound glad Tydings. Besides, this Spiritual Pleasure in God's House is the Fruit of a Gracious Promise, that was to be made good under the Gospel, Isa. 12.3. With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of Salvation; yea, he doubly fulfills the Promise, while at the Marriage-Supper, together with our water, he makes our Conduits run wine. Ibid. The House of Pray­er was to be also made the House of Praise — Them will I bring to my Holy Mountain, and make them joyful in my House of Prayer, Isa. 56.7. The Children of Zion in coming to the Marriage of the King's Son, were foretold should be joy­ful in their King, Psal. 149.2. The Go­spel is a joyful Feast, of which he that truly eateth, shall one Day truly praise the Lord.

Lastly, 9 Resem­blance. The Gospel resembles a Feast in the distribution of it's Broken meat among [Page 36]others that are not the called Guests. We read in those Liberal Entertainments with which Christ sometimes treated the Multitudes, when he multiplyed the Loaves, and fed many thousands with them, that they took up of the broken meat that was left, seven Baskets full, Matth. 15.37. and twelve Baskets full of the frag­ments, and of the Fishes, when he enter­tained them miraculously again, Mar. 6.43. These Baskets of the Fragments (or Fragmen­ta à fran­gendo. Bro­ken meat, as the word signifies) that remained over and above unto them that had eaten, might perhaps be distributed a­mong others that had not partook of the Meal with them. It is customary now a days with such as are given to Hospita­lity, to distribute some of the Remainders of a Feast, even to such for whom it is not prepared, being neither invited with the Guests, nor sitting in the same Room among them, only come in upon their own account, or, as we say, occa­sionally. Indeed Nabal at the entertain­ing of his Sheep shearers deny'd such a Courtesie as this, when David and his men begg'd it; 1 Sam. 25.11. Shall I take my Bread and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my Shearers, and give it unto men whom [Page 37]I know not whence they be? Yet the Boun­ty and Kindness of a Good man extend­eth sometimes even to them that he knows not whence they are, and when he calleth together his Friends and his Neighbours, is not forgetful, as the case may stand, to entertain Strangers also.

Now the Gospel resembles a Feast in this. God hath made it indeed for his Friends, and had not prepar'd it, if he had not design'd it as an Entertainment to treat them, and they only are capable to understand the Wisdom of God in a My­stery, 1 Cor. 2.7. for the inward Glory and Saving Benefit and vertue of it is hidden from other men; Therefore speak I to them in Parables, because they seeing, see not; and hearing, they hear not, neither do they un­derstand, Matth. 13.13. Yet however it first happens thrô the common Bounty and Goodness of the Feast-maker, that he sends Portions (thô it be in Parables) to them for whom nothing is prepared. Nch. 8.10. If Benignity did not prevail, Strangers should not have so much as Broken meat. God made Ezekiel a Lovely Song to a compa­ny of Deaf Adders, Ezek. 33 32. that would not hear the Charmers voice. The outward Parts and Priviledges of the Gospel are [Page 38]dispensed in the outward, as well as the inner Court, to Forreigners as well as Friends in the Houshold of our God. The Sons of the Alien that have no Por­tion in David, may yet have some of the Priviledges of David's House, and God may rain down Manna in the Go­spel, as he does common Rain from Heaven, Matth. 5.45. Heb. 12.8. upon the just and upon the unjust both. They that are Bastards, and not Sons (as the Apostle distinguisheth) may receive, as to Priviledge, some Por­tion in the Childrens meat, and Dogs may receive the Scraps, and gnaw a Bone or a Crust, and lick up the Crumbs that fall from their master's Table. Matth. 15.27. God may throw in some common Blessings of the Gospel to Unbelievers, while the Lot of his special Favour is cast into his People's Lap only. The one may have so much of the Word, as to hear the Gospel-sound, but the other only have All, and find Sal­vation by it.

The Second Thing is, II. in what respects it is a Large Feast.

First, I. It is large, if we count the Cost. It cost the Life of the Kings's Son to buy it. The Bridegroom dyes, before he could get his Bride a Supper ready. The [Page 39]Purchaser gave himself, Eph. 5.25. Him­self for Victuals, that she might be enter­tained, when her Lord should come in and sup with her. Rev. 3.20.Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible Things, as Silver and Gold — But with the Precious Blood of Christ, 1 Pet. 18, 19. Ye redeemed.] When Christ bought up Victuals, he bought the Guests too that eat it, 1 Cor. 6.20. Ye are bought with a Price.—not redeemed with cor­ruptible Things, as Silver and Gold.] Christ did not bring so low a Treasure, as will serve in other Markets; he had no Coin but was a Price beyond any Purse to hold. The Banquet of the Gospel could not be gotten lower. I may say hereof, as Job speaks of Wisdom, Job 28.15. it cannot be got­ten for Gold, neither shall Silver be weigh­ed for the Price thereof;v. cannot be va­lued with the Gold of Ophir, with the pre­cious Onyx or the Saphire:v. 17.The Gold and the Chrystal cannot equal it, v. 18.and the ex­change of it shall not be for Jewels of fine Gold, no mention shall be made of Coral, or of Pearls:v. 19.for the Price (of the Enter­tainment) is above Rubies: the Topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure Gold. It is corruptible [Page 40]Silver and Gold, but Precious Blood (that was Price enough to buy it.) Every Drop of the Blood of Christ was a greater Sum than Thousands of Gold and Silver. Christ went to Market in the Garden, and then on to the Shambles upon the Cross. He was made a Curse, that we might have the Blessing. The First Adam eat Bread himself in the sweat of his Face, Gen. 3.19. but the Second Adam with Great Drops of Blood procured Bread for us. Now this makes it so great a Feast, that Christ hath with so great a Sum obtain'd it. Silver and Gold will ransom a King, but it must be the Blood of Christ to redeem a Beggar.

Secondly, 2 It is large in regard of the Occasion. It is a magnificent, stately Sup­per, because made at the Marriage of the King's Son; Royal Cheer, because Earth is married to the Royal Line of Heaven. You shall not find it like an or­dinary, every Day's meal, when you are come to a Wedding-Court to sup. The Day of our Espousals is such a solemn Time of Love, that the Father Proclaims, It is meet that we should make merry. Luk. 15.32 The Go­spel is the Day of our King, Hos. 7.5. and he will have his Coronation kept. [Page 41]Tho' Sions King is Zech. 9.9, Mat. 21.5. meek, and therefore comes with no such Majesty, as the Prin­ces of this World, because his Kingdom is not of it, yet the Kingdom of God cometh not without spiritual observation; tho' he doth not assume an outward Glo­ry, yet he will have a Feast suitable to the high Occasion, that is all Glorious within. We read of Great Things in Ca­na of Galilee, Joh. 2.2. where Jesus was called to the Marriage; what mighty works then are they which do shew forth themselves in him, when he comes about his own Marriage. This Supper is made an exceeding great and large Feast, to greaten the Day in which thy Maker is thy Husband. Isa. 54.5. If Abra­ham took Occasion to make a Great Feast the same Day that Isaac was weaned, Gen. 21.8. what an Occasion then was that which the Father took, when he married his only Son to make ready the Gospel in this Great Marriage Supper.

Thirdly, 3 It is large in respect of the Quantity of Provision. It is not only much, but all; Many Dishes had been Great, but one of every sort is greater. Who can understand the loving-kindness of the Lord? Hast thou entred into the Springs of the Sea? Job 38.16. V. 37.or hast thou walked in the search of the [Page 42]Depth? Who can number the Clouds in wis­dom, when he poureth Manna forth? It is a Feast of Plenty, and plenteous is joyn'd with Fat in the Provisions of God's House, Hab. 1.16. Wisdom hath laid in of all sorts enough, Prov. 9.2. She hath killed her Beasts, she hath mingled her Wine, she hath also furnished her Table. As Feasts are usually the best, so when provided, they are made the biggest of Entertain­ments. Fulness of Bread is distributed in God's House, and Flagons of Wine are allow'd his Guests. Canaan hath large supplies from Heaven, and her Countrey is nourished by the Kings Countrey. Acts 12.20 As it is not in Handfulls of Barley, so neither in pieces of Bread: Prov. 28.19. Psa. 73.10. He hath a plenty of Bread for her, and makes the waters of a Full Cup return hither. In the Dispen­sation of the Gospel, God goes not so low, Gen. 18.5. as to fetch out a morsel of Bread; that is enough for Abraham, but not for the God of Abraham, Chap. 15.1. who is his Shield and exceeding Great Reward. When God pre­pareth our Food, Job 36.31. he giveth meat in Abun­dance, spiritual Dainties as thick as Quails for Israel in the Wilderness, Psa. 78.25. when he sent them meat to the Full. When God comes at any Time under the Gospel to make [Page 43]Windows in Heaven, 2 Kings 17.2. he will pour out such a Blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. Mal. 3.10. God doth all Things in this Entertainment liberally; Psa. 44.17. when he feeds us, then have we Plenty of Victuals; Psa. 78.15. and when he gives us Drink to quench our Thirst, it is abundantly, as out of the Great Depths. He that giveth in spiritual Blessings Psa. 84.11. withhold­eth no Good Thing. The Gospel, Luk. 12.16. like the Ground of a certain Rich man hath been seen to bring forth plentifully; as the Fields of Egypt in the seven Plenteous years brought forth by Handfuls, Gen. 41.47. so there is a Store-house in the Kingdom of Grace that supplyes the Table and his Furniture. There is a Fulness of Sufficiency for the many Thousands of Israel, Num. 10.36. Math. 13.35.when he makes the multitudes to sit down. The Feast will hold out, tho' the House of God be full of Guests from one end to another. Isa. 16.33.Bread shall be given them, their waters shall be sure, tho' all his Elect were gathered from the four winds of Heaven.

The Third Branch of the Doctrine is, III. to evidence and premise What things we have need of against the Feast. For tho' the Provisions of the Gospel be first made [Page 44]ready, yet, as to our Benefit or Participa­tion, the Gospel must afford also some Antecedent Requisites, before we can ex­perience it to be a Feast good for Food.

First, 1 There must be an Invitation be­fore-hand. And here by an Invitation, I would not be understood to intend no more than an External Call of the Sinner by God's Messengers under the Word; for tho' it is necessary too that there be such an Outward Call, Rom. 10.17. because Faith comes by Hearing, yet this alone will be insufficient to partake of Gospel-Grace: I would therefore be meant to set forth the necessity of some Powerful, internal work of the Spirit upon the Heart, joyn'd with the External Call; that the Privi­ledges, or highest Benefits and Graces of the Gospel may of right belong unto the Called. The Gospel is set forth in the Parable as a Wedding furnished with Guests, Mat. 22.10 both bad and good, answerable to these Two Calls: The external Call doth nothing, but brings in men bad as it finds them, and thence come the Bad Guests, such as will say at last, Luk. 13.26 We have eaten and drunk in thy Presence, and thou hast taught in our streets; to whom neverthe­less the Master will reply, I know you not [Page 45]whence you are,Luk. 13.27depart from me all ye work­ers of Iniquity: whereas on the other hand, the Inward saving Call first changeth men into Good, and then brings them in, and thence come the Good Guests, whose company the King with his own Graci­ous Presence honours. If we obtrude our selves, and by an empty vain Pro­fession without true Grace, rush in upon Gospel-Priviledges among true Guests, it will make the Master of the Feast angry, and say at last unto every such Bad Guest, Friend, how camest thou in hither? Mat. 22.12. So to apply the Graces of the Gospel, or the Comforts of the Holy Ghost which he no ways applyes himself, is, tho' in a secret and invisible manner, to become the Rob­bers of Churches, and snatch what God never carv'd to any such Guests. If men are not called out of their wickedness, God will say unto the wicked, What hast thou to do to declare my Statutes, or that thou shouldest take my Covenant in thy mouth? Psal. 50.16. We dare not meddle with the Gospel, to apply its Priviledg­es and Comforts to our own use, till we are bidden to lay hold of them. We must be invited to the Great Feast, and re­ceive a Ticket from our Father to partake [Page 46]of the Children's Meat. So long as men are yet in their sins, under a Profession of the Gospel, they rob God, as well as his Children, Hos. 2.8. to feed their own lusts: They take his Corn and Wine and Oil which he hath multiplyed, and prepare them for Baal, for some Lust they prefer, while they hasten after another God. Psal. 16.4. An Invita­tion therefore in some effectual work of Grace is a necessary Antecedent, or one of the Things which we have need of against the Feast.

Secondly, 2 There must be Conduct. We are by nature strangers, and need a Guide to bring us to our Father's House. Lead me O Lord in thy Righteousness—make thy way strait before my Face, Psal. 5.8. If we are not led, we shall quickly lose our way.—It is not in man that walk­eth to direct his steps, Jer. 10.23. If we are left to trace the way our selves, we shall lose it thro' the Forrest. It was not ascribed unto the Israelites, nor yet to Moses, nor unto Joshua, tho' a Captain of the Lord's Host, to come of themselves to feast in Canaan, but it is attributed to a supreme Conduct, The Lord thy God bring­eth thee into a good Land, Deut. 8.7. A Land of Wheat and Barley, and Vines, [Page 47]and Figtrees, and Pomegranates,V. 8. V. 9.a land of Oyl-olive and Honey, a land wherein thou shalt eat Bread without scarceness. They could not have found the way thro' the Wilderness, to meet with such a Table, if He that prepared it had not by the cloudy Pillar led them. Psa. 78. ult. It was not Their Eyes, but the skilfulness of his own Hands. And how should we grope as Blind men in the Wilderness our selves, if we had not the Benefit of that Promise, I will lead them in Paths which they have not known? Isa. 42.10. The Shepherd of the sheep leadeth them out, Joh. 10.2, 3. And he must carry his Lambs in his Bosom, Isa. 40.11. to feed them as a Lamb in such a Large place. Hos. 4.16.

Thirdly, 3 There must be Protection. Conduct is not enough, if we have not a Captain to fight our way thrô: Plead my Cause O Lord, with them that strive with me, fight against them that fight against me, Psa. 35.1. If the Lord delivers not the Soul of his Turtle Dove from the multi­tude of the wicked, Psa. 74.19. the Hawks will intercept and seize it before it can fly as the Doves to their windows. Isa. 60.8.Deliver the Poor and needy, rid them out of the Hand of the wicked, Psa. 82.4. Psa. 102.8. when those [Page 48]that are mad, are sworn against them, he must keep them, who hath called them, and preserve them from this Generation for ever, Psa. 12.7. Such as set their Faces toward Zion, Jer. 50.5. do stand at last with their Psa. 122.2.Feet within Jerusalem, because thou Lord defendest them, Psa. 5.11. He compasseth them with favour, as with a Ps. 5.12. Job 41.28Shield, and therefore the Arrow cannot make them flee. The Devil would gather up Instruments enough to stop us in our way, if we had not a Convoy to bring us safely on. He would make a Prey of us, before we could otherwise come nigh our own Provision. We should be in jeopardy of perishing, Num. 20.17. if while we did go by the King's High-way, we had not his Prote­ction.

Fourthly, 4 There must be Appetite, for to the Hungry every bitter thing is sweet. Prov. 27.7 latter part. God requires an opening of the mouth, when he comes with a Hand of Grace to fill it; Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it, Psa. 81.10. We are not Dickson somewhat changed. straitned in God, but many a Blessing goes beside, because of our own narrow­ness to receive it. A keen Appetite suits with a Great Entertainment. The shar­per our Hunger, the sweeter God's Pro­vision. [Page 49]A man of an Evil Eye may in­vite his Neighbours, and when they are come to his Banquet, Prov. 237. may not look well upon them; now the wise man tells us, that such a Man's Delicacies are not worth a Desire, Prov. 23.6. Eat thou not the Bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his Dainty meats. He steels his Victuals into Knives that may stab thee more than Hunger; but we may bring our Appetite safe to swal­low down morsels that we need not V. 8 [...] vomit up again. We cannot hunger and thirst too much upon the Road to Heaven, Gen. 45.21. when God gives us Provision for the way. When the Israelites fell a lusting in the Wilderness, Num. 11.33. they digged their Graves with their Appetite, while God gave them their own Desires; Psa. 78.29 but Spiri­tual Desires can do us no harm, thô we have such choice Longings in our Souls, that our Ardency is singular, and there is none upon the Earth that we de­sire besides, Psa. 73.25. In a word, we shall disparage the full Table of the Go­spel, if we bring not an empty Stomach thi­ther.

Lastly, 5 The Entertainment of the Go­spel requires a Palate to distinguish it. [Page 50] Doth not the ear try words, Job 12.11.and the mouth taste his meat? As it is true naturally, so spiritually it is no lye, chap. 34.3. for the Ear try­eth words, as the mouth tasteth meat; the sanctified Ear tries Gods Words, as well as the Natural Ear the common things of Man. A man that hath the Spirit of God savoureth the things that be of God; he can distinguish between Husks that the Swine do eat, Gen. 27.9. and savoury meat such as he loveth. His Taste can discern be­tween a Fish and a Scorpion, he will tell you, the one satisfies, the other only stings him. David had a Holy Palate, and could relish an holy Entertainment, Psa. 119.103. Oh! how sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea sweeter than Honey to my mouth! The Language of the New Testament speaketh of Senses exercised, Heb. 5.14. or as the Original renders it, [...]. Senses made naked, that the Object may not be intercepted, or the influence of the thing kept off; as suppose by a Garment upon the Flesh to obsturct feel­ing, or a covering hung before the Eyes to hinder seeing; J [...] 6, 30. so a Palate made na­ked, that hath no perverse thing as a medium to intervene between a Spiritual morsel, and its own sensing it. Spiritu­al [Page 51]Senses are not like natural, to decay in Old Age; an old Disciple need not com­plain of God's Table, as Barzillai at fourscore did of the King's, Can thy Ser­vant taste what I eat,2 Sam. 19.35.or what I drink? he wanted a Palate at that Age to distin­guish and savour the Dainty Morsels of a Prince, and therefore David's Table at Court would be fitted better by a young Chimham, than an old Barzillai: v. 37, 38. Now it is not so with the Servants of the Lord, as with that old Servant of David, but thô they have been of a long standing, yet their Taste still remains, and their Palate can discern between Good and Evil. God's Children tho' you blind-folded them that their Eyes could not behold their Teachers, yet would tell you when their heavenly Father feed­eth them. Mat. 6.26. Job 6.6. They can distinguish between that which is unsavoury, and Food con­venient. A Spiritual, Prov. 30.8. judicious Palate will discern, Gen. 43, 34 tho' it be of a Benjamin's Mess, whether it be always with Grace seasoned with salt. Col. 4.6. And this is the Pa­late which we have need of against the Feast. If we come to God's Provision without our Taste, we shall roll nothing under our Tongue, thô we eat of the fat, [Page 52]and drink the sweet; Neh. 8.10. but the most deli­cious Fare of the Gospel will afford us Morsels, of which we shall say without a sanctified, Eccl. 12.1. Gracious Palate, we have no pleasure in them. IV.

The Fourth Thing is to bring in the Bill of Fare, and open the Provisions of this Gospel-store more distinctly.

It will appear that the Gospel is a mighty Table, enough to maintain the Guests beyond our weak Faith, Isa. 59.1. seeing the Lord's Hand is not shortned that hath made all things ready. Moses indeed thought when the People were six hun­dred thousand footmen, that it was impos­sible to give them a sufficient Meal in that kind they askt, and still more im­possible to feed them with such a continued plenty, that they might eat of it a whole month together, Num. 11.21, 22. Shall the Flocks and the Herds be slain for them, to suffice them? or shall all the Fish of the Sea be gathered together to suffice them? which deserved that check from the Lord for his Unbelief in the verse following, v. 23. Is the Lord's Hand waxed short? Thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass to thee, or not. Now as the Lord rain'd down victuals in so [Page 53]great a measure to satisfie the Longing of that mixed multitude in the Wilder­ness, Num. 11.4 so he hath provided Plenty and Store enough in the Gospel for all the hundred forty and four thousand which are redeemed from the Earth. Rev. 14.3. latter part. Indeed Solo­mon's Provision for one day amounted to a large Bill of Fare, 1 Kings 4.22.23. —Thirty measures of fine Flower, and threescore measures of meal, ten fat Oxen, and twenty Oxen out of the Pastures, and an hundred Sheep, beside Harts and Roe­bucks, and fallow-deer, and fatted fowl. But the Supper of our God is in a Rich­er and more abundant store than that, as will appear when serv'd up in this fol­lowing Account, viz.

Milk for Babes, Meat for strong men, the true Bread from Heaven, Living water, Flesh to eat, Blood to drink, the Lamb of God, the fatted Galf for Prodigals, the Marrow of rich Forgiveness, the food of Knowledge, the nourishment of Faith, the feast of Ho­liness, (or the bunch of Hyssop in Sanctifi­cation of the Spirit) the hidden Manna of Election, the Royal Dainties of Assurance, the Evangelical honey comb dropping Free Grace, the fatness of God's house in Ordi­nances, the Supplies of the Spirit of Jesus, [Page 54]the morsel of Hope for them that fail not to sit with the King at meat, the full meal of Contentment for them that have left all and followed Christ, the Refreshments of the Peace of Conscience, the Oyl of Joy, the Cup of Consolation with the Wine of the Kingdom running over, the continual Diet of Perseverance in the sure mercies of Da­vid, and the Fruit of the Tree of Life.

1. Milk for Babes, 1 even the [...], the sincere Milk of the Word, which the weakest of God's Little ones may lye at the Breasts and suck. On this wise speak­eth the Apostle Peter in his Exhortati­on, 1 Pet. 2.2. As new born Babes desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby. The Holy Scriptures are made ready in the Plainest Truths for a Hungry Infant that will not be quiet till it finds the Breast out. Lam. 4.4. The Tongue of God's sucking Children would cleave to the Roof of their mouth, if they could not get to the Word, and there be, as one that hath sucked the Breasts of his Mother. Cantic. 8.1. Heb. 5.12.The first Principles of the Oracles of God are compar'd to Milk, because the first sort of Truths that young Con­verts Learn, and are wont at the be­ginning of the New-Birth to be most [Page 55]affected with. The Apostle Paul speak­ing of the Infancy of his Corinthian Church, tells them in his Epistle which he first wrote unto them, 1 Cor. 3.2. I have fed you with milk and not with meat, for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. [...].Fed you with Milk] I have given you a Liquid Food you might swallow easie; Others have drank what I have given you to eat (as the Milk of Babes may by strong men be eaten or drunk either. Not with meat, ye were not able to bear it:] That is, ye could not digest the stronger and higher sort of Doctrines, neither yet now are ye able.1 Cor. 14 20.Children in understanding must have the Food of their Souls, as their lack of Age requires it, Philem [...] 9 and such a one as Paul the aged knew it. Our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ had such weak Disciples with him, that he forbore a while feeding them with strong meat, and stays till more cubits were added to their Spiritual Stature, before he weans them from the milk of Babes, Joh. 16.12. I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. He dealt with them proportiona­bly to their present state and weaker Ca­pacities in Christianity: So young Con­verts [Page 56]must be fed with Food convenient, Prov. 30.8. (not only convenient in the Quantity, and Measure as Agur meant it, but conve­nient in the Quality and Nature of it) and not too strong for them. Weaker Christians must be fed with weaker Diet, that their Souls may digest it, and be made the better for the Truths they take in.

Now the Gospel hath its Milk in Do­ctrines easie to be understood. 1 Cor. 14.9Come ye therefore, says the Evangelical Prophet, Isa. 55.1. and buy milk. It is a sort of Victuals treasur'd up in our Fathers House, that when ye rceive the Kingdom of God, Mark 10.15as a little Child, I mean, with a very Childish and low Capacity, you may meet with Provisions therein suited to you. Isa. 60.16. Our Babes in Christ may suck the Milk of the Gentiles, that is, those plain Revelations of the Son of God, who is now believed on in the World. 1 Tim. 3.16 They can milk out from these Breasts of conso­lation, Isa. 66.11 till they are delighted with the Abundance of her Glory; Jerusalem (God's Church) the Mother of us all, Gal. 4.26. hath Breasts given her which her Children shall ne­ver draw dry. The Holy Ghost stoops in very low Expressions, 2 Tim. 3.15 that from a [Page 57]Child a Believer may know the Holy Scriptures. Its Doctrines are suited to the Understanding and Capacities of the meanest. The Gospel hath a Plenty that will furnish all sorts: Heb. 5.13. The Ʋnskilfull in the Word of Righteousness is not left de­stitute, but may receive the Word of his Grace, and use it's Milk, while he is a Babe. Tho' like Zaccheus, Luk. 19.3. you are Lit­tle of Stature, yet you may reach of the Fruit, when you cannot climb the Tree of Life before you. The Gospel abounds with a Treasure of Holy Learning which some have received, tho' never brought up at the Act. 22.3. Chap. 19.9. Feet of Gamaliel, or the School of one Tyrannus. You may be taught the Truth as it is in Jesus, Eph. 4.21. Luk. 2.46. and know the Master of the School that sat among the Doctours, tho' you be not rankt among the wise and prudent. I thank thee, O Fa­ther, Lord of Heaven and Earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and pru­dent, and hast revealed them unto Babes, Matth. 11.25. The Word of God indeed hath its Depths, where there is no passing over, without swimming beyond your reach; but yet it hath its shallowes, where going lower you may wade or foord thro'. 1 Tim. 3.16. Tho' it be the Mystery of Godliness, yet [Page 58]a Mystery so revealed, that the ordinary Readers or Hearers may be taught to profit by it. Exod. 8.19. There be plain Truths writ­ten with the Finger of God, and clear Truths copied out, as with a Sun-beam from Heaven; God's Word is a Text-Hand, and he that runs may read it. In a word, Isa. 7.22. it hath the Abundance of Milk for Babes, to nourish even the least in our Father's House.

2. Meat for strong men, 2 or the strong Meat of the highest Gospel-Mysteries. Sublime and spiritual Doctrines may be set forth by Meat, as the Apostle doth in that forementioned place, 1 Cor. 3.2. and strong meat as he calls them, Heb. 5.14. which belongeth to them that are of Full Age, (that is, above New Con­verts; the Adult,) who by reason of use have their senses exercised, to discern both Good and Evil: by reason of Vse,] or, as the word is [...]. rendred, thro' a Habit. Altho' young Children's Stomachs will not endure strong meat, yet the Sto­machs of grown men are habituated to re­ceive Diet according to their Age; their Constitution is stronger than Children's, and therefore their Meat above them. Not, that any who are Isa. 28.9. weaned from the [Page 59] Milk are above the Word, but they are by it grown taller in Knowledge than just to reach unto first Principles, and are not still little Children learning their Rudi­ments in the School of Christ. While others are 2 Tim. 3.7. drawn from the Breasts, (that is, are yet as the Infant whom the Mother hath but newly taken off her Breasts,) these are gone higher in spi­ritual Gifts and Attainments, than when they were first coming to the 1 Tim. 3.13.Knowledge of the Truth. They have taken a Good Degree under the Teachings of Gods Spi­rit. The Gospel yields these Provisions of Strong meat for them.

There are indeed Doctrines in the Word of Righteousness, Heb. 5.13. that contain the Great Mystery. To instance briefly in some, as, (1) Tho' Faith cannot compre­hend the Matter believed, yet it knoweth the Ground why it doth believe, namely, the Testimony of Gods Word which saith it is thus and thus. Anthon. Burgess, Exposition of the 3d. Chapt. of the 1 Epist. to the Cor. pag. 71. That Pro­found Mystery in the Tri­nity of Persons, the Father, Son, and Spirit, that these Three are one, one God, and yet Three Persons for ever. This is a High My­stery: ‘For (as Culverwell, Light of Na­ture, pag. 148. one says,) tho' the Ʋnity of a God­head is Demonstrable and clear to the Eye of Reason, yet the [Page 60]Trinity of Persons, that is, three Glorious Relations in one God, is certain to none but an Eye of Faith. Indeed (as another Dr. Bates, Christian Religion proved by Reason, p. 187. excellent Author well observes,) ‘The Unity and supreme Equality of the Three Persons in the Godhead, tran­scends our Conception, but Reason cannot prove it to be impossible.’ The Doctrine of these Three Glorious Sub­sistences in one single, uncompounded, indivisible, Divine Essence, is a Truth, but passeth all Ʋnderstanding. Phil. 4.7. (2) The Doctrine of Reconciliation in making Sa­tisfaction to Divine Justice for Man's Breach of the Law, by the Death of the Second Person in the Trinity, Eph. 2.15. so making Peace, is so much above our shallow Reason to comprehend, that * some (ra­ther Professors of Reason than Faith or Divinity) dare strike at the Foundation, to see whether they can remove our Cor­ner-stone. (3) The Mysterious Hypo­statical Union of the Two Natures in the Glorious Person of the Mediatour (or [...],) with other Doctrines con­tained in the sure Word of Prophesie, 2 Pet. 1.19. are Truths above the Understanding of the Highest Christian, or the Greatest Scho­lar in the World, tho' not to apprehend, [Page 61]yet to comprehend them. Understandings (we may say) that are got to the Fullest measure of the stature of Christ, Eph. 4.13. are yet out of their Reach, when they are walk­ing in the search of the Depth, Job 38.16. and try to fathom these Deep Things of God. Alas! these are Mysteries in Christ which they that are Col. 2.10 compleat in Christ must sit down at the Well-Head of Life, and cry out with the Apostle, [...]. O the Depth of the Riches both of the Wisdom and Know­ledge of God, how unsearchable are his Judg­ments, and his ways past finding out! Rom. 11.33. Nay, as Mr. Sam. Lee, Joy of Faith, p. 214. one says, ‘These are Things which the Glorious Angels strain at, and makes their Wisdoms bend like an Ozier in a Storm (to look down in­to them) and can never feel the Bot­tom of these Deeps without Drown­ing.’

But however, there are Doctrines also in the Gospel which may very properly be likened to the Strong Meat and Food of grown Christians. These also are found among the Mysteries of Knowledge given us from the Spirit of Revelations; as concerning the Decrees, Rom. 11.7. both touching the Election in Christ, and the [...], the rest that were Blinded; Ibid. and concern­ing [Page 62]Christ's Natures, that there are Two (setting the mysterious consideration of the Modus in their Personal Union aside); concerning his Offices, Prophetical, Sacer­dotal and Regal; his Two States, of Humiliation and Exaltation; his Accom­plishment of all the Types in the Old Te­stament, Personal and Mystical, those Dr. Tho. Taylor of the Types, p. 2. Swadling-cloaths in which Christ was exhibited to the Fathers; All the Glo­rious Prophesies of his Gospel-Church state and Mediatory Kingdom to be yet seen in the Kingdoms of this World; Rev. 11.15. The Doctrines of the Resurrection, the Last Judgment, and an everlasting Future state, are the strong meat at this Plenteous En­tertainment for Christians that have ar­rived to some Maturity in Knowledge, and with a competent measure of under­standing are able to digest what they feed upon.

3. The true Bread from Heaven. 3. Ruth. 1.6. The Lord hath visited his People in giving them Bread, Ezek. 5.16. as well as Strong meat. Bread is the Staff of Life, take away Bread, and a Morsel of strong Meat may be enough to overcome us; so take away Christ, and when we had to do with some of the Doctrines in the Word of [Page 63]Truth without him, they would be too strong for us, and make us spit them out again: For Example, if we were left to consider the Infinite, naked Essence of God, his Divine Immensity would swal­low us; or if we were to consider the Infinite Holiness of God, Hab. 1.13. that is of purer Eyes than to behold evil, and that cannot without an unspeakable Abhorrency, look on Iniquity; if we were to ponder his strict and inexorable Justice, abstracting the consideration from the Person of the Mediatour, such a morsel of strong Meat would be so much beyond our Natures to endure, that we could not take the Name of God into our Mouths. We are such rotten Stubble since our Fall, that if we have not always to do with a God in Christ, Psal. 106.18. Heb. 12.29 the Flame will burn up the wicked, for our God is a consuming Fire. We must never touch any strong meat, if we have not the Bread of God at hand. And we must not approach unto God immediately, but come thro' Christ to God, that he may behold us in the Son of his Love only. When we are famish­ed, and cry unto God for Bread, as the Liberal Entertainments in the Dearth cryed unto Pharaoh, he sends us for supplyes to [Page 64] Christ; says Pharaoh, Go unto Joseph, what he saith unto you, do, Gen. 41.55. and saith God, This is my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him, Math. 17.5. Gen. 47.12 This Joseph was sent into Egypt to nourish all his Fathers houshold with Bread, Chap. 45.7. and save their Lives by a Greater Deliverance, than that other Joseph, when he saved the Lives of his Father's Hous­hold in the Type. What is man, that he should eat the Bread of his God! Psa. 8.4. that he should have Christ at the meal, to eat with every morsel! And yet thro' the Riches of Grace we have the True Bread to eat with Strong meat from Heaven! Christ is our Bread at the Feast, or we could not live upon fat and Plenteous meat without him. Hab. 1.16.

This is evident, and grounded upon those words, Joh. 6.32. My Father giv­eth you the true Bread from Heaven, which is called the Bread of God, and more fully in the next Verse explained, Joh. 6.33. For the Bread of God is He that cometh down from Heaven, — the Bread from Hea­ven [...], by way of eminence; other­wise the Mannah of the Israelites in the Wilderness, is called Bread from Heaven too, as Neh. 9.15. And gavest them [Page 65]Bread from Heaven for their Hunger; so Psa. 105.40. — and satisfyed them with the Bread of Heaven. But yet considering how infinitely short that Mannah was of the Blessings of Gospel-Grace, Christ makes a Distinction between the Bread of Moses, and the Bread of God, tho' Both came down from Heaven. He grants it to be That which came down from Heaven, but it was not [...]. He that came down from Heaven. As if he had said, It was not Jesus Christ the Son of the Father, tho' it was Bread real, yet it was not Bread personal; Moses gave you not Him, or That Bread from Heaven, Joh. 6.32. middle part. To sum up all, It is as if he had told them, The Bread which God nourished your Fa­thers with miraculously, under the Dis­pensation of Moses, was not the intended, spiritual, Gospel-Bread, which God would send under a new Dispensation, but I am the Bread which my Father gives at Sup­per. The Israelites had Mannah, but now my Father offers Me. Thus, our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ is such Bread as is the Staff of Life to Faith.

Now in the Storehouse of the Gospel we are furnished with this Transcen­dent, Mysterious Bread. Oh! who ever [Page 66]beheld among Men or Angels such another Glorious Loaf as this! he was stampt in the Mill, and ground to Powder, and then moulded into Bread for us, when it plea­sed the Father to bruise him! Isa. 53.10. Lo! now there is Bread enough in our Father's House to go the whole Table round. This is the Bread that strengtheneth Man's Heart; Ps. 104.15. it hath a Faculty to preserve our Strength, and when our Strength is spent, a power to renew our Vigour: Tho' man lives not by other Bread, Matth. 4.4. yet he lives by this Bread alone. It is Ʋnleavened Bread, who did no sin, neither was Guile found in his mouth. 1 Pet. 2.22 It is Bread to be eaten; He that so loved the World as to give his Son, hath cast his Bread upon the waters among much People, to mi­nister Bread for our Food. They that sold him indeed for Thirty pence did not think him to be Two hundred penny-worth of Bread to satisfie a multitude here in the Wilderness; Psa, 34.8. but we that have tasted that the Lord is good, must cry like the Daugh­ters of the Horsleech, Pro. 30.15. Give, give, Lord evermore give us this Bread! Joh. 6.34. And surely, as we should at all Times be affected, so more especially herewith when he is known of us in Breaking of Bread and in Prayers. Acts 2.42.

4. The Living water. Bread and Wa­ter, Meat and Drink are coupled, they virtually comprehend all, and contain the several Particulars of a perfect and compleat Entertainment. The Provision that may be eaten is commonly under one General Term reduced to Bread, and the Portion to be drank, of whatsoever kind, may also alike be comprehended under the Name of Water. So that here is the Stay and the Staff, the whole Staff of Bread, and the whole stay of Water, Isa. 3.1. only it must be remembred in a Conformity to the Scope of the Parable (on which this Spiritual Feast is grounded) that Bread Water, &c. are no more than Metaphorical and borrowed Terms, to express in a Figure Christ and the Benefits of the Gospel, representing them to our Faith under distinct and various Notions. Well, at the Supper of the Parable there is the Gift of this Living water: See Joh. 4.10. If thou knewest the Gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee Living Water. The Woman of Samaria questioned from whence it came, and did not believe it [Page 68]could be had in the manner Christ re­ported, Joh. 4.11. From whence hast thou that Living water? She apprehended no other than that Well of Sychar on the Place, her Eyes were yet opened to see no more than a common Well of water, she found out Jacob's, but saw not the Well of Jesus; and therefore cries out, From whence hast thou that Living water? But Christ directs her to seek it in the Benefits and offer of himself, who could furnish her with such a Water, as would never waste in using, but spring up into a Well of it in Him or in Her that drank it, Joh. 4.13, 14. Whosoever drinketh of this Water (that is, of this Well at Sy­char, or any other Earthly water like it) shall thirst again; Quo plùs sint potae, plus sitiun­tur aquae. (thô it may some­what allay and slake the thirst at pre­sent, yet it never advanceth the Parta­ker into the Fruition of any perfect Good) but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him, Thirsts no more after any other Thing, nei­ther thrô necessity or variety. Shaw's Immanuel, p. 211.212.shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him, shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting Life. Springing up.] The Benefits of Christ which are set forth by Living water in this Gospel-Feast are like the Loaves in the Miracle that multiply in [Page 69]the Distribution; Mark 8.19 20. for the more we drink of this Living water, the more we shall see still Flowing by. Christ is the Foun­tain of Life, Song 5.1. and thô we drink abundant­ly, we shall never exhaust the ten Thou­sandth part of this Living Fountain-head. This is the true Rehoboth, Gen. 26.22 the spacious well that hath Room enough for every one that is athirst, Rev. 22.17to come and drink round it. 2 Sam. 23 15. This water of the well of Bethlehem comes without Contention, and we need not call the Well Ezek: Gen. 26.20. For as Christ now is Bread that we need not get with the Peril of our Lives, so he is Water, Lam. 5.9. that, to fetch, 2 Sam. 23.16. we are not bid like the three mighty in David's Guard, to break first thrô an Host that encamps against us. Psa. 27.3. Joh. 4.28. This is a Well where we may leave our wa­ter-pot, since when we have drank of the Water, we carry a well away with us. v. 14. It is the Lamb's Fountain, and thou mayst wring more out of this Fleece, than Gi­deon's Judg. 638 Bowl full, or Hagar's Gen. 21.15 bottle, or Elijah's four 1 Kings 18.33. barrels of water. This is none of the bitter water that causeth the Num. 5 22.curse, but a Blessing, when it comes into the Ps. 109. [...] Bowels like water. Our other Drink is Hos. 4.1 [...]so [...]r, but this is a Fountain that yieldeth sweet water Jam. 3 11. [Page 70]This Precious Liquor, this incompara­ble and true Aqua vitae, was set abroach upon the Tree of the Cross, when one of the Souldiers with a Spear pierc'd his side, and there forthwith came out Blood and Joh. 19.34.water. And lo! he continues still as a pure River of the water of life, running plentifully down the Gospel by his Guests at the Table side. In a word, he is water to cleanse our Filth, Rev. 22.1. and water to quench our Thirst besides.

5. Flesh to eat. When the mixed mul­titude in the Wilderness fell a lusting, it was to eat Flesh, Num. 11.4. inso­much that the Children of Israel wept again, and said, who shall give us Flesh to eat? and can he provide Flesh for his Peo­ple? Psa. 78.20. last words. But lo! he that commanded the Clouds rained down. Flesh upon them as Dust, and fea­thered Fowls like as the sand of the Sea, v. 27. Who indeed would have looked for such a Shower? for when they temp­ted God in the Desert, one might rather have feared he should have turned them to grass with their Flocks and Herds, than have rained Flesh out of the Clouds upon them. Yet tho' they had provoked God in the day of Temptation in the wilderness, he [Page 71]tells them on the morrow ye shall eat Flesh, Num. 11.18. But alas! what was their Flesh, tho' the Flesh of Quails, to the Flesh of Jesus Christ? What was the Flesh he gave unto all this People, in comparison of the Flesh of the Son of God, which he gives the Soul to feed upon by Faith? Jesus Christ yields a variety to the Faith of God's Elect; Num. 21.5. and it doth not follow, that their Soul, like those Israelites, doth loath him as light Bread, because their Soul also longeth for his Flesh to eat. But we may here law­fully put in that wish in Job, Oh! Job 31.31.that we had of his Flesh! God doth not call you to eat the Flesh of your Sons, Jer. 19.9. but the Flesh of His; nor the Flesh of your Friend, Zech. 13 7 but the Flesh of the man that is his Fellow. What strange Flesh was that which the Poor Woman in Samaria had, when she boiled her own Son for meat! 2 Kings 6.29. Isa. 13.18. She parted with the Fruit of her Womb, being stricken thrô for want of the Fruits of the Field! Lam. 4.9. But 'tis a more astonishing wonder, that God parted with the Son of his Bosom, that we might eat the Flesh of this Sacrifice! And there is no fear of making our Brother to offend by eating this Flesh while the World standeth. 1 Cor. 8.1 [...]

This mysterious Delicate the Flesh of Christ, contains the Benefits of the Go­spel which make up this Royal Enter­tainment, that he purchas'd by his Death and Sufferings in the Flesh, when he was put to Death in the Flesh, 1 Pet. 3.18but quick­ned by the Spirit. This Doctrine of the Flesh of Christ given for meat unto our Faith, is a further Exposition of the True Bread, Joh. 6.51. And the Bread that I will give is my Flesh — Now God must be first manifest in the Flesh, 1 Tim. 3.16. Rom. 8.3. and in the likeness of sinful Flesh, and in this Flesh of ours die, to prepare meat for us; for as the Creatures that have Life die, that we, a while in our Bodies, by their Death might live, so it is the very Flesh of Christ and him crucified that must give Life unto our Souls. His Flesh suffer'd, his Flesh was pierc'd, he was hung up­on that Flesh book of the Cross, when God gave him to be meat unto us: His Flesh was powdered in the very Grave where other Things corrupt, but his Flesh did not see Corruption, Acts 2.31. to be made ready as a sweet and Dainty Morsel for us. The wrath of God broke forth upon the Body he had prepared, Heb. 10.5. and kindled a Fire in his Anger that even boil'd him as [Page 73]Flesh within the Caldron, Mic. 3.3. and roasted him that his Flesh might be meat indeed for us, Joh. 6.55. his Flesh was bor'd thro' and thro', tho' not a Bone of him should be broken. Thus was he bruised for our Iniquities, Isa. 53.5. or there should no Flesh be saved. Hence he hath spoken, Matth. 24.22. (Joh. 6.57. last words,) He that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This may serve to answer either the Jew's, or the unbelieving Gentile's Question, Joh. 6.52. How can this Man give us his Flesh to eat? it be­ing not to be understood of a Sacramental eating, as the Rhemists gloss it, but a spi­ritual by Faith alone. Oh! how may we stand amaz'd at the Provisions in Him whose Name is VVonderful! Isa. 9.6. This is the Fifth Dish, the Flesh of Jesus Christ.

6. Blood to drink. Perhaps our Igno­rant squeazy old man may loath it, as the Egyptians did to drink of the water of the River, Exod. 7.18. after it was smitten with the Rod of Moses, and turned into Blood; but our New-man redeemed by Blood will take great Delight in it. Alas! we have sinn'd our selves into such a Fea­vour, that our own common Drink in­flames; we have kindled a Burning, which nothing but Blood, the Blood of Christ [Page 74]will quench: if man tryes to put the Fire out by any Works of Righteous­ness which he hath done, Tit. 3.5. the sweat of his Brows will drop in, and like Oil still increase the Flame. Nay, it is not VVa­ter barely, separate from Blood, will quench our Anguish, tho' we trusted that we could, Job 40.23. with the Behemoth, draw up Jordan into our mouths, we must still have Blood to drink. Oh! it requires great Faith in the Son of God to see it, for otherwise Corruption will make us too nice to be entertain'd with Blood. Faith, and Faith alone is kept alive by it; it cannot, it needs not live upon a more Generous and Sprightly Liquor than this pure Blood of the Grape; Deut, 32.14. last words. 1 Pet. 1.2. p [...]t. it makes eve­ry Morsel of the Banquet Savoury, that 'tis sprinkled with the Blood of Jesus Christ! Flesh as before, and Blood now, do in­clude the whole Body, [...], an intire Christ, every Thing in him; it is not only Except ye eat the Flesh of the Son of Man, but [...], Except ye drink his Blood too, ye have no Life in you, Joh. 6.53. It is not meant of a corporal Drinking him Sacra­mentally, as the Papists say, that he speaks of in this Chapter, (as under the former [Page 75]particular it was hinted to be neither spoken of a Sacramental Eating of his Flesh) for then except ye partook every one of the Lords Supper, ye could not be saved; whereas it might so happen, that no space is given (at least to all) after Conversion to partake of any other Lords Supper, than the Marriage-Supper of the Lamb in Heaven. Besides, it is princi­pally to be considered, that the Lord's Supper was not instituted till afterwards, and therefore could not be here intend­ed. Indeed it is most evidently a Truth, that we have Blood both ways to drink; that is, we have it spiritually to receive by Faith, when the Soul ventures out to fetch in all that it needs from the Ef­ficacy and vertue of this Blood; and we have it also Sacramentally, as represented under the Element of Wine, while Love that bled, drops the earnest into our Hearts, and seals it up in us, (this Consideration will fall in more properly under the Cup of Consolation). We are now to consi­der the Blood of Christ as it notes the special Application of it to the Soul for the Being and Support of a New Crea­ture. And thus, it is rendred infinitely richer to the believing Soul than any vi­nous [Page 76]Liquor to make it fat and flourish­ing.

Drinking of the Blood of Christ implyes an Act of Faith in the Soul which re­ceives all into it that was wrought by the Blood of Christ without it, or takes hold of the Vertue of this Blood, and applyes it to the proper Use and End which God himself hath given it. To make it more plain; it is Blood to 1 Joh. 1.7. Rev. 1.5. Rev. 7.14. cleanse, Faith steps out to this Blood, and brings in a cleansing vertue from it; it is Blood to Isa. 34.3. soften, Faith makes out to it, and receives in the foftning Influ­ence of this Blood, till the Stone dissolves, and Ezek. 36.26. mountains are melted with it: it is Blood to Col. 1.20. atone, Faith runs for the Blood of Atonement hither: It is Blood to Acts 20.28. Eph. 1.7. Col. 1: 14. Rev. 5.9. redeem, Faith takes in the Redempti­on by it, and knows that the Job 19.25. Redeem­er lives. It is Blood to justifie, (Rom. 5.9.) Faith rests here for absolution from Guilt, and real Imputation of a Perfect Righte­ousness without, to appear at the Bar of God in: It is Blood to confirm, Zech. 9.11. Faith believes it shall be even as God hath spoken, and under its cloud looks up to the Blood of the Covenant, and sees this Bow in it. In a word, it is Blood to [Page 77] save, (Rom. 5.9, 10.) and Faith makes readily out to it, 1 Tim. 6.12. to lay hold upon Eternal Life. It is every way, as the Scripture speaketh abundantly of this Precious Blood, 1 Pet. 1.19 that Faith drinks it in. The manifold Benefits of this Blood of Christ do make it a Generous Drink to Faith, that as his Flesh is Meat, so his Blood is Drink indeed, Joh. 6.55.

Blood under the Law was forbidden, Gen. 5.4. but lo! here is Flesh with the Life, Lev. 17.10, 11. (that is, with the Blood) thereof allow'd us, Faith must receive it in the Antitype, tho' Sense was to refrain it under the Type: we must in all our Food have a recourse to the Mediatour, and when we eat of his Banquet, drink his Blood also. Job 31.17. We must never eat of our morsel alone with­out the Heb. 12.24. pt.Blood of Sprinkling. Indeed it could not have been a Banquet without Blood. Our Feast had been otherwise spoil'd, and all our fair Hopes spilled. Oh! Blessed, yea, for ever Blessed be the Master of our Feast for this One Thing among the All Things ready, even the [...] alludes both to the Sacrifices, and the Place of the Sprinkling the Blood. Char­nock, Vol. 2d. p. 896.Propitiation which we have thro' Faith in his Blood, Rom. 3.25. A Propitia­tion,] [Page 78] [...], the Grateful Offering un­to God, that every way pleas'd him. It was thro' the Scent of Blood, this perfumed Blood of Christ in the No­strils of Jehovah, that God was well plea­sed. In whom we have Redemption thro' his Blood, according to the Riches of his Grace, Eph. 1.7. In effu­sione San­guinis fuit complemen­tum Satis­factionis. Davenant in Ep. ad Col. ch. 1.14. p. 91. Satisfaction to Justice was compleated, when he had filled the Ephah with his Blood for the measure of our sins. Christ came not by Water only, tho' a Fountain to wash in, or a Well to drink of, but he came by Water and Blood, 1 Joh. 5.6. swimming htro' two Seas at once. Water may signifie his coming to sanctifie Ʋs, and Blood to satisfie God for us: Our Holiness springs from one, as he is made of God to us sanctification, and our Happiness flowes from the other, as he is made both our Righteousness and Redemption. 1 Cor. 1.30.

The maintaining of Justification (as a Charnock, 2d. Vol. p. 1186. Great man observes) by this Blood seems to be the Great contest between the True Church and the Antichristian State. It hath many Enemies, especially those two Bands of Warriours, the Pa­pists and Socinians, 2 Pet. 2.1. that carry away the Beauty of the Cross by denying the Lord [Page 79]that bought them: It seems to be the more deformed in the Latter, because they have renounced many Romish Abo­minations, but will still retain the Great­est. And yet the Socinians, to take off the Efficacy of Christs Blood on the Cross, positively assert that he now ma­keth the Expiation, where he maketh the Intercession. Christ makes our Peace (say they) now in Heaven by the Virtute & Potesta­te plenâ & absolutâ quam à Patre con­secutus est▪ Cateches. Racov. (mihi) 16o. An. 1651. Ab­solute Power he hath with the Father there; which if true, must shut him wholly out of Heaven as a Mediatour of the Covenant, to admit him in as the Second Person only in the Godhead. But our High-Priest hath not entred into the Holy of Holies without Blood, Heb. 9.7.which he once offered for the Errours of the Peo­ple, nor yet as the High Priests of Old, with the Blood of Goats and Calves, but by his own Blood, he entred in once into the Holy Place, [...], when he had found out, or ob­tained a Redempti­on for us, it must not be constru­ed in the present Tense.having obtained Eter­nal Redemption for us, Heb. 9.12. so that our Redemption is by his Blood, and was accomplished antecedently to his ascending into Heaven, and sitting at the Right Hand of God. It is the Merit of his Blood he carried up with him, and which he still, in his Intercession [Page 80]as a Priest, pleads there. So that the Notion of Christs reconciling us to God [by an absolute Power in Heaven,] with­out any reference to his Blood, shed on Earth, is a Socinian Dream, which, with every one that is awake, and stands up from the Dead, will vanish. The Go­spel had been a Dry Feast, whatever Socinians think of it, if He that made it, had not given us Blood to drink. In a word, Phil. 3.18. they are Enemies to the Cross of Christ, who will not know him Crucifyed. And we must contend earnestly for the Faith, Jude 3. and for the Faith in his Blood, since a whole Ʋt priùs. School of Prophets would rob us of the Cup of the New Testament in Christs Blood (considered meritorious­ly,) Luk. 22.20 as well as a Colledge of Jesuites de­prive us of the same Sacramentally by denying the Cup in the Lords Sup­per.

7. The Lamb of God. Christ is still represented in the Scripture by a copi­ous variety at his Supper of the Parable. As we have the Blood of Christ provi­ded, so it is of the Lamb [...].immaculate, 1 Pet. 1.19. a Lamb without Blemish, and without Spot. The word signifies one so perfectly every way accomplisht, that a [Page 81]carping Momus which finds fault with every thing, or the very Herodians that lye in wait to catch him, shall yet find out no Righteous Charge against him, this Dish at our Feast was Typically re­presented by the Paschal Lamb: For so we read in the Institution of the Jewish Passover, Exod. 12.8. That all the Con­gregation of Israel were to take every man a Lamb,Exod. 12.5according to the house of their Fathers, a Lamb for a house. This male of the first year taken out from the Sheep, or from the Goats, was a very apt re­presentation of the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the World, as we read in the Salutation of John, when he seeth Jesus, Joh. 1.29. In the Passover the Lamb was entire and undivided, in the Gospel it is a whole Christ prepared, his entire Humane Nature united to the Godhead, his whole Body and his whole Blood set forth collectively under one, as before we had him all distributively un­der two, that is, Bread and Water, Flesh and Blood apart. We may behold him here in the Lamb, as an entire mess that is served all in at once. We read it par­ticularly express'd, that when Samuel entertained Saul and his Servant, there [Page 82]was a single joynt provided, 1 Sam. 9.24. (and indeed one was enough for Saul who had no portion with David,) The Cook took up the shoulder, and that which was up­on it, and set it before Saul: but God re­quired the Jews to make ready their Lamb, as it consisted of every joynt whole, not so much as the Legs or Ap­purtenances thereof excepted, Exod. 12.8. to signifie a Redeemer that was not to be parted, but to be given all away. This is the Lamb slain from the Foundati­on of the World, Rev, 13.8. latter part, that is, he was determinately slain in the Counsel and Fore-knowledge of God, being infallibly ordained to it, and there­fore lookt upon by God that hath yester­day, to day and for ever always pre­sent before him, as if it had been done from thence actually; and he was slain virtually, for Adam had the benefit there­of from the beginning, when God pro­mised the seed, Gen. 3.24. before he drove out the man, as much as if the Act had passed. Well, the Table of the Gospel hath this most Glorious Provision on it of the Lamb slain, and slain actually for the Entertain­ment in these last Days. Heb. 1.2. Lo! God hath pitied the Lost Sinner, like that poor way­faring [Page 83]man, and hath not spared to dress of the Lamb that lay in his own Bosom for him. 2 Sam. 12.3. This Lamb of the first year, this Firstling of the Flock is brought as a Lamb to the Slaughter to be serv'd up in meat for them to whom it is the Fathers good pleasure to give the Kingdom. Isa. 53.7. Luk. 12.32 This Lamb was a richer present from the King of Heaven, thô One, than that which the King of Moab rendred unto the King of Israel in one hundred Thousand Lambs, 2 King 3.4and as many Rams with the Wooll. It is true of Believers on Earth, as well as spoken of such in Heaven, the Lamb shall feed them. Rev. 7.17.

8. The Fatted Calf for Prodigals. The Gospel and the Blessings of it by Christ in the sumptuous Provisions made ready are set forth in a Parable by Christ, un­der the very same Resemblance. We need not be any ways asham'd of Christ or his words, Mark 8.38in this adulterous and sinful Generation, nor think it low Divinity to preach, or speak as Christ teacheth us. He tells us, Luke 15.13. of a younger Son that gathered all together, and took his Journey into a far Countrey, and there wasted his Substance with Riotous liv­ing, and that he had V. 14. spent all, tho' he went off at first with never so great a [Page 84]Stock, and he began to be in want; but yet afterwards, when he v. 20. arose and came to his Father, his Father, when he was yet a great way off, saw him, hath compassion on him, embraceth him, bringeth him into his House, and presently ordereth a sumptuous, costly Entertainment to treat him at coming home. v. 23. Bring hi­ther the Fatted Calf, and kill it, and let us eat and be merry. This is the Parable, this is the Letter, but let us see how the Spirit giveth more life. 2 Cor. 3.6. last words.

The Great God in the dispensation of the Gospel deals after the same way with Sinners. We Foolish Gentiles were once like this younger Son, happy and want­ing nothing in our Father's House, God made man upright, Jews and Gentiles were both in Adam perfect: But we quickly grew Prodigal, and run into a great excess of riot; Eccl. 7.29 [we sought out ma­ny Inventions.] Acts 11.18 But nevertheless under a new Covenant God hath granted Repen­tance unto Life, Heb. 2.10. in the bringing of many Sons and Daughters unto Glory, and he hath brought forth an Entertainment upon his receiving of poor Gentiles home. These tender mercies of our God were dis­pleasing to the Elder Son, Luk 1.78. and grievous [Page 85]in the sight of the Jews. These had, tho' the Parable doth not expresly note it, Gen. 21.11. 12. been taken first, (after the Revolt in Adam) into their Father's House; they had been brought into a Church-state a great while before, and treated so well with the Fatness of the Olive, they had forgot the Poverty and Distress of the younger Brother, and grew angry to see how these Gentiles are treated with the Riches of the Gospel; Rom. 11.17. whereas he had ne­ver bestowed more than the Beggarly Ele­ments of the Law on them, not so much as a Kid, nothing like this fatted Calf to re­joyce or be merry with. But lo! Gal. 4.9. how­ever it pleaseth the Father, Luk. 15.29 tho' it angers his Eldest Son. He puts on Bowels, and is a Father of mercies to a wandring, dis­obedient Son; he spares him, thô he were not a Son that serv'd him. Mal. 3.17. He doth not leave poor hungry, and Thirsty Travel­lers to wander in the wilderness where there is no way, Psa. 107 40 Psal 103.1 [...] but like as a Father pitieth his Children, he provideth a Gracious, Hea­venly Entertainment; killeth the best to invite the worst to Supper; the Fatted Calf, the Furniture of Gospel Grace to feast us, that we might have an Allow­ance at the King's Table. 2 King. [...] 30. The Woman [Page 86]at Endor killed a Fat Calf to entertain a di distressed Prince, 1 Sam. 28.24. but the Father in the Parable killeth his to entertain a distres­sed Prodigal. [...]en. 18. v. 2.7.Abraham killed his Calf for the sake of Three Angels, but He in the Parable for any one Sinner that re­penteth to cause a joy among Angels. Luk. 5.10.

9. The Marrow of rich Forgiveness. The Forgiveness of Sins (where the poor Soul hath been made sensible of Sin and Wrath, both as guilty and condemned) is such a Provision of the Grace of God, as well resembles Marrow. The Remis­sion of sins that are past, (Rom. 3.25.) is a Hearty, supporting Diet for us, being Pro. 16.24 Health unto the Soul, and a morsel that makes the Bones fat. Prov. 15.30. When Christ speaks to the Paralytick, (Mat. 9.2.) Son be of good cheer, ( [...], take Heart, Son) thy Sins be forgiven thee. Thô his con­dition might have sunk him to the Heart, as we may gather from the word, yet the News of Remission was enough to recover his Spirits, and put him into Heart again. We may take notice of many a Poor Soul, that hath wanted the sense of Forgiveness, or Pardoning Love to help it, as Jonadab observed of Am­non (one of the King's Sons) that tho' [Page 87]he stood in so near a Relation to David, 2 Sam. 13.4 yet he was lean from Day to Day. But Forgiveness has holpen a poor Servant of the Lord's, thô lean-fleshed, that he hath been satisfied (like David himself) as with Marrow and Fatness, Psa. 63.5. The Forgiveness of our sins is Health, but the Apprehension of our Guilt dryeth the bones. It breeds Marrow in us, when it hath been brought first as Marrow to us. Pro. 17.22The Lord shall satisfie thy Soul in drought, and make fat thy Bones, Isa. 58.11. As there is a Present Refreshment, so it yields an after-Improvement of our Souls, when we are feasted, or fed with the Gracious Sense of Pardon. A Malefa­ctor condemned to die would find a Feast unsavoury, and a Banquet made only to feed him against the day of Slaughter, Jam. 5.5. but the news of a Pardon would make it sweet and Dainty. Now at the Ta­ble of the Gospel there is this Dish of Marrow set. Christ hath such a Plenty in himself, as affords of this sort also, in whom we have — the Forgiveness of Sins, Col. 1.14. So Acts 13.38. Be it known un­to you therefore, Men and Bretheen, that thrô this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins. We must come indeed in Repen­tance, and 'tis fit we should, to our Father, [Page 88]with the Ropes about our Necks, 1 Kings 20.31. but he meets us as he did the Prodigal, and gives Remission to us; as he makes a Feast, so he pardons our Fault, that we may partake of all acquitted.

10. The Food of Knowledge. I call it so, as warranted from that expression, Jer. 3.15. I will give you Pastors accord­ing to my Heart, that shall feed you with Knowledge and understanding. Knowledge is Provision, your Souls are fed by Know­ledge, as your Bodies are by Food. This is a sort of Spiritual Repast that may cause the Eater in some measure to ex­press it like that of Solomon — Yea my Heart had great experience of wisdom. Eccl. 1.16 It is a Dish, that the more we take of, the clearer we find our He was refreshed, and reco­vered his lost spirits, whereof part went into his op­tick nerves and so clear'd his sight, which was much darkned by Famine, as is usual. Mr. Pool. Eye-sight. Jo­nathan when he put forth the end of the Red that was in his hand, and dipt it in an honey-comb, and put his hand to his mouth, his Eyes were enlightned, 1 Sam. 14.27. He was almost Blind with Fa­mine, that is, Being enfee­bled with extreme Labour and Emptiness, his Eyes waxed dimm, which now by this little refreshing were enlightened again. Arthur Jackson. his Spirits were so weak for want of Food, that he could not dis­cern as at other Times; but a little re­freshment [Page 89]reviv'd him, fetcht his Spirits again, and made his Sight clearer; so when Wisdom entreth into thine Heart, and Knowledge is Pleasant unto thy Soul, (Prov. 2.10.) it is a Provision that giveth Ʋnderstanding to the Simple. This makes the Eyes of the Spouse like the Fish-pools of Heshbon, (Cantic. 7.4.) Fuller, Pisgab Sight, pt. 1st. p 66. of a clear and perspicuous vision in the mysteries of Christ.

Now in the Gospel-Entertainment there is this Food of Knowledge ready. Our Great Provider when he maketh a Feast doth not starve our Judgments. He makes ready enough to suffice the Faculties of a Man, or the Graces of a Christian. This of Knowledge is a Por­tion of his Feast he sends our Under­standings. He provides Good Doctrine to rectifie and inform a Bad Judgment. The Lord appoints us his Truth, that here­by we may know (and avoid) the Spirit of Error, (1 Joh. 4.6.) The Gospel is the Treasury of Wisdom, that however we may be 1 Cor. 4.10. Fools for Christ, yet we may not appear Fools, and of no Understand­ing, in him. We have lost our Know­ledge which we had in Adam at our first Table in Paradice, and therefore have [Page 90]Food again at our second Table in Christ, that Col. 3.10. renews us in Knowledge. We had gone so long Fasting, that we were empty of the things of God, but now have a Gospel that we may be chap. 1.9. filled with the knowledge of his Will. The Knowledge of the Gospel indeed still en­creaseth our Appetite, whets our Mind, provokes us into more Enquiries, and fol­lows Ʋs, Hos. 6.3. until we follow on to know the Lord; but withall affords so large a mea­sure, that our utmost Capacities may run over, tho' the Hand that fills us doth also press our Measure down. The Gospel is a Feast that contains the ut­most encrease of Knowledge, 1 Cor. 13.2. pt. it hath all Mysteries and all Knowledge, and he that partakes of the Entertainment shall know of the things, what they are, and find how they are all given of God, to en­crease our understanding. It is the Meat and Drink of a Christian to know, as it was of Christ, to do his Father's Will. The Feast is a Feast of Knowledge, and while you are feeding, you may be adding still to what you have, not only to Virtue, Knowledge, as 2 Pet. 1.5. that is, one kind of Grace to another, but even to Know­ledge it self a larger measure and Degree of Understanding.

11. The Nourishment of Faith. As in the Gospel you may be fed with Know­ledge, so also nourished up in the words of Faith and of Good Doctrine. The Apo­stle doth very expresly in that place, 1 Tim. 4.6. compare our Faith, or re­ception of the saving Truths of the Go­spel, to Nourishment. You may eat, but you will not thrive without it. We may have the Word for our Food, but it will not Nourish us, if it be not mingled with Faith to make it nutrimental, Heb. 4.2. For unto us was the Gospel preached as well as unto them, but the Word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with Faith in them that heard it. Not being mixed,] or as the [...]. Word may import, not incorporated by mixing. The Food must unite, incorporate, be turn'd into In succum & sangui­nem. an Alimentary Juice, mingle it self with our Blood and Spirits to make it nourishing. Thus, Faith must unite and incorporate, mix the Provisions with the New Creature, before we are by the Word of the Gospel nourished up in our Father's House. Faith is so nourishing a Provision to the New Nature, that the just are said to live by it, Hab. 2.4. Heb. 10.38. The Doctrine of Faith in [Page 92]the Gospel, and the Grace of Faith in the Soul, do make a blessed Nourishment in the New Man, when Both meet to­gether. Faith is the Gift of God, Eph. 2.8. and the Fruit of Christ's meritori­ous Purchase, it is given in the behalf of Christ, Phil. 1.29. Faith, as Mr. An­thony Bur­gess, Spiri­tual Refi­nings, Fol. 1st. pt. p. 62, and p. 169. one expresseth, ‘hath several Acts, Know­ledge, Assent, Fiducial Application; and the Scripture doth by a Synechdo­che express the whole Nature of Faith by one Act of it.’ Now the Gospel-Provision affords and maintains such a Principle in the Soul, as exerts Faith in the Complex, and produceth it in all its various Acts. Heb. 8.2. There is not a Guest of the True Table which the Lord hath pitch­ed, and not Man, but he hath Ordained among other Provisions for him like pre­cious Faith with Ʋs. 2 Pet. 1.1. There's not a Saint but shall find it in the All things ready; Luk. 14.17. it is one of the Parts, and not the least of the Entertainment; and it is a Dish to be had at this Feast only. A Man full of Faith, like Stephen, Acts 6.8. is one whom the Entertainment nourisheth and cherisheth, Eph. 5.29. Psal. 17.14. and hath had his Belly fill­ed with hid Treasure.Rom. 10.8.17.The Word of Faith which we preach, and your Faith that comes [Page 63]by hearing is some of the Royal Provision of the King's Meat, Dan. 1.5. to be found at God's Table only.

12. The Feast of Holiness, inward San­ctification of the Heart by a cleanly pu­rifying Bunch of Hyssop, better than a Dinner of any other Herbs. This clean Hyssop may be said for the Virtue of it, as was of the grown Mustard-seed for its Dimensions, Mat. 13.32. to be the greatest among Herbs. Nay, indeed we are not here speaking of such a poor, low statur'd Hyssop as with us runs upon the ground, but of that which runs up in the Man whose Name is the Some in­deed af­firm litte­rally that haec Plan­ta in Judae [...] arborescet. Grotius in Joh. 19.29▪Branch, (Zech. 6.12.) into a Tree as high as Heaven: It is from hence that this purifying Branch, or Holy Bunch is gathered. Christ is He who of God is made unto us — Sanctification — 1 Cor. 1.30. I ground the Comparison on the Ceremo­nial Cleansing of the Leaper, as was in­stituted under the Law, Lev. 14.4. where among other purifying Ingredients, this of the Hyssop is one, to which David alludes, as it Typed out the righteous Branch to be rais'd to David, Jer. 23.5. when he cries out in the Bitterness of his Soul for this sweet Herb in the Gar­den [Page 94]of God, Ezek. 28.13, &c. to dress his other Meat; see Psal. 51.7. Purge me with Hyssop, and I shall be clean: as if he had broken out into this Self-abhorrency, ‘I am a filthy Leaper, Joh. 13.10 and I need to eat of the Dish that is most fit to cleanse me, let me be therefore every whit clean thro' this sanctified Provision made ready, 1 Pet. 1.16. Rev. 22.11 being neither Act. 11.8. common nor un­clean it self. I would be Holy as God is Holy, and tho' by Nature and Pra­ctice I am now otherwise, yet I would not remain filthy still.

Now in the Gospel our Feast-maker hath also provided this blessed Dish ready: God hath prepared his Table of hallowed Bread, Holy, as well as Evan­gelical Furniture, Holiness it self to Feast you with a pure Conscience. 1 Tim. 3.9. As this is the Will of God, even your Sanctificati­on, 1 Thes. 4.3. so it is the Work of God to form it, Ezek. 36.25, 26, 27. As the Precept of the Gospel requires Ho­liness, Heb. 12.14 without which no Man shall see the Lord, so the Promise doth encourage it, and the Spirit by an Almighty Opera­tion works it: He creates a Principle within that yields it, and a Life with­out that acts it; for 'till Grace be infu­sed [Page 95]into the Heart, it cannot in the Con­versation be diffused or shed abroad.

There is Sanctification enough pro­vided to supply our utmost wants there­of; a Stock of it prepared, to serve for Spirit, Soul and Body, as the Apostle Pray­eth for his Thessalonians to be through­ly Feasted with it, 1 Thes. 5.23. And the very God of Peace sanctifie you wholly, and I pray God your whole Spirit, and Soul, and Body, be preserved blameless unto the Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. God would not have a Feast to be made un­der the Gospel without a universal Ho­liness, to run thro' all the Parts of it: Provision that sanctifieth, and Provision sanctified, Holy it self, and to make Ʋs Holy too. Indeed (as he saith Isa. 3 [...].24.) if the very Oxen and the young Asses that ear the ground, should eat clean Pro­vender, which had been winnowed with the shovel and with the fan, much more would he assign holy Diet for his Table in these dayes of our Purification. Corrupt Mal. 1.7.Priests may, but our Great High-Priest will never set any Polluted Bread upon his Altar.

13. The Hidden Mannah of Election. This is one of the glorious Dishes of [Page 96]our Feast, and was garnished from Eter­nity, to be serv'd up before our Face in Time: Mat. 13.35 Tho' it hath been a secret kept hid, Psal. 25 14. yet the secret of the Lord is with them that fear him. If the Lord open a wide Door, Rev. 3.8. his People may look in and see what God hath done for them from Eternity in an 1 Kings 22.25. inner Chamber. Our Work here is to 1 Tim. 6.12. fight, and hereafter to him that overcometh will he give to eat of the hidden Mannah, Rev. 2.17. This overcoming indeed will be fully known in Heaven, and yet the Saints shall obtain lesser Victories before. 2 Tim. 2.3. The good Soul­diers shall gain the 2 Tim. 2.5. 1 Cor. 15.57. Mastery, tho' not the Crown here, through our Lord Jesus Christ that giveth us the Victory. For when we have so much of that Faith (spoken of under the eleventh particu­lar) as to have Victory over the World, 1 Joh. 5.4. and other Enemies by it; this is the overcoming in this Life, that so far as is consistent with the Knowledge of our Election here, we are become the Bre­thren beloved of God, and knowing also our Election, 1 Thes. 1.4. Indeed the Saints do rather taste than eat of this Hidden Mannah here: God gives them some, Job 26.14. but lo! how small a Portion is it [Page 97]now? 'tis no more than just to save their longing; he reserves it as it were for Glory, Exod. 16.33. to bring forth the whole Pot hereafter: 'Tis too rich a Dish for eve­ry Saint while on Earth to spend upon in common. Thou must be contented to see this Dish as it were but now only served in, and must not murmur at the good Man of the House, Matth. 20.11. if it be carried off (as to a great part) again, and laid up in the Secrets of God, from whence it came forth, to be kept unto the Mar­riage-Supper of the Lamb. Rev. 19.7.

It is clear from the Spirit of Revela­tion that there is an Election of Persons, tho' some would throw in their Vote, to decide it for Propositions, being Ene­mies to the Apostle's word Rom. 8.30. Eph. 1.5. 1 Cor. 2.16. Predistinated, and bring in that vain thing, Post-desti­nation; but the Apostle who had the mind of Christ, hath given us a clear light shining in this dark Place, Eph. 1.4. According as he hath chosen us in Him before the Foundation of the World. The Father pitch'd upon an Elect Compa­ny, whom first he gave to Christ, and afterwards bestow'd Christ on them; so 2 Thes. 2.13. God hath from the begin­ning chosen you to Salvation thro' san­ctification [Page 98]of the Spirit and belief of the Truth: Which place discovers the Ele­ction of Means, as well as the End, Faith and Holiness here, as well as Salvation in Heaven. That also is a full Text and a comfortable, 2 Tim. 2.19. Neverthe­less the Foundation of God standeth sure, having this Seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his. We may look upon our selves as the lost Sheep of the House of Israel, Matth. 15.24. Joh. 10.14. but the Good Shepherd knows the Sheep by a Mark the Sheep see not. The Scripture also speaketh individual­ly, and in the Distribution of this hid­den Mannah, gives a Portion as it were to seven, Eccl. 11.2.and also to eight; a few parti­cular Women, with Clement also, and other Fellow-Labourers with the Apostle, whose Names are in the Book of Life, Nomina non nisi singulo­ [...]um.Phil. 4.3. The Doctrine of Election is so personal, as well as express, that the Spirit of God in the Scripture descends so low as to a Rufus, chosen in the Lord, Rom. 16.13. and the Elect Lady, 2 Epist. Joh. v. 1. Thus we have a manifestation thro' the Word, of the Secrets in this Pot of Mannah, being the Mystery of his Will, which he hath purposed in himself, Eph. 1.9. The Scripture also lays it down [Page 99] absolutely, without any limitations of it to the foreseen Conditions of Man's Faith and Obedience: It is he hath Chosen, not as he foresaw we would be Holy, Eph. 1.4. but positively that we should be Holy. The Lord in tender as well as sovereign Mercies, did not look to what we might be, (That had left Salvation uncertain to every one) or to what we would be, (That might have concluded us all im­mediately under Wrath) but he lookt to his own Pleasure, what we should be, Rom. 9.23. when he made us Vessels of Mercy (and that makes Salvation certain unto some.) I say, the Scripture lays it down abso­lutely, without any conditionality: Names are written so close in the Book of Life, that it leaves not room to put in an [If] between. — The Children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the Purpose of God according to Election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth, Rom. 9.11. I know See Dr. Hammond upon the Place. some do Interpret the Place by re­straining it to point out God's Electi­on of Jacob to a better Condition than Esau in the Temporals of this Life: But, 1. Esau's Temporal Portion com­par'd with Jacob's was not so much be­hind [Page 100]his Brother's, as to make a Parallel to the Divine Love or Hatred, v. 13. Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. Now, tho' God did not bestow the Land of Canaan upon the Posterity of Esau, yet he gave them Mount Seir, Deut. 2.5. and he seems to bestow more in outward Things upon his Person, than he did on Jacob, sets him up as my Lord Esau with four hundred Men, Gen. 32.4. v. 6. which were large Crusts and Parings of Common Bounty, to throw a Dog with this Motto on his Collar, Rom. 9.13.Esau have I hated. 2. These Men which speak of an Election from fore­seen Works in the matters of Eternity, would do well to give us some fair Ac­count why the Election then here in Temporals (as they suppose it) is yet an Election not at all of Works. Now sure if Works take so much with God, that he chooseth from the foresight of them to an everlasting State of Happi­ness, it might seem the more congruous to Reason, that God should have chose the Temporal Lot and Condition of those two Brothers, from the same things fore­seen: If they resolve it, as they must, into the good Pleasure of God, that he acted as a Sovereign in this Election to [Page 101]Temporals, being said expresly, Rom. 9.11. not of Works, but of him that calleth; then why must not God be allowed as well to be sovereign in the other, but ty'd to our Works there? Alas! what should we gain by Limiting the Holy One of Israel? Psal. 78.41. for the allowing God a Sovereignty doth (as was said before) make Salvation sure unto some, whereas the leaving it upon the Mutability and unstedfastness of our Wills, had been to make Salvation equally uncertain, and very doubtfull, if not impossible to all.

The Spirit of God fixeth upon a va­riety of [...] Mat. 11.26 [...] Rom. 9.11. [...] Act. 2.23. Words in the New Testament, to express this Doctrine of Election by, and discovers that the very Calling, that is, an Efficacious, saving Call of Grace in working the New Creature, is but subservient to an Eternal Purpose, Rom. 8.28. but that Purpose carries se­curity in its Bosom, for the Election hath always obtain'd it, Rom. 11.7. They are not vain words, but Deut. 32.47. it is your Life, in those words of Peter, 2 Pet. 1.10. Where­fore the rather, Brethren, give diligence to make yourIt is dan­gerous to tread on the high­est round first, and here it is impossible Culverwet The White Stone, p. 167.Calling and Election sure. God does not only write down the Names of his Elect in the Book of Life, but he [Page 102]writes such a Nature or Law within their Hearts, that they may at last be brought to read their Names in that o­ther Volume of his Book.

I know this Mannah we are treating of doth not please every Man's Taste: tho' Grace counts it pleasant, Corrupti­on calls it fulsom, and the Old Man in our Flesh spits it up again. Electi­on! Joh. 6.60. Election! This is a hard saying, who can hear it? alas! it savours so much of the Sovereign Grace of God, that Man is too prone to rebel, and fight against God. We have a clear Specimen or Proof hereof from the Jews, when Christ Preacht up this Subject to that untoward generation; Acts 2.40. see Luk. 4. from the 25th. to the 29th. Verse; they bore his Discourse, 'till he came to Limit the Grace of God unto some,Jude v. 22.making a Difference, as, Tho' there were many Widdows in Israel, in the dayes of Elias, yet unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a City of Sidon, unto a Woman that was a Widdow; and many Lepers were in Israel in the time of Elizeus (or Elisha) the Prophet, and none of them was cleansed saving Naaman the Syrian: And lo! now they can bear no longer, but break out into a Rage, [Page 103]and would have cut off the Preacher, tho' the Prince of Life; Acts 3.15. and murder'd him, if they could, before the time. — All they in the Synagogue when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up, and thrust him out of the City, and led him unto the Brow of the Hill, (whereon their City was built) that they might cast him down headlong: They grew outragious, [...], they were fill­ed with a Stomachful wind, and would have let out That, and the Blood of our Lord at the Brow of the Hill together: Their Fury was precipitant, and would have Tumbled him (if it had been possible) into Hell, for Preaching a Do­ctrine he brought them down from Heaven.

It is true, 2 Cor. 12.1 that the Grace of the Go­spel doth not bring the Elect to Visions and Revelations, and unwritten means of knowing it; v. 7. it does not exalt them a­bove measure, to carry them into the Heights, and open the Book of Election immediately, as it lyes before the Face of God. 1 Cor. 4.6 [...] This is to be wise above what is written, and to pretend to open what is shut up in the Purposes of Eternal Coun­sel: For Election was first in God, but [Page 104]'tis to be last seen of Us; He began, but we must end with it. We are not to look only to the Purposes of Grace in God's mind from everlasting, but must take in his Operative Grace (as Dr. Good­win's Works Fol. 2d. Vol. on E­lection. p. 9. a great Man expresseth it) in Calling, compre­hended under it. The Grace of the Go­spel instead of leaving us to climb up to the Throne of God, carries us hum­bly to the Foot of Jacob's Ladder, and sets us up upon the Round of Sanctifi­cation that stands next to us, from which tho' our Beginnings are small, Job 8.7. yet our lat­ter End shall greatly encrease, 'till it reach out from the Root-Grace in Election, to the Top-stone in Glory: Zech. 4.7. It carries us unto the Bible in the written Word, and directs us to read the Transcript, or the Hand-writing within our Heart, Col. 2.14. and by the Help of this Fescue we may see whose Image and Superscription we bear, Matth. 22.20. and when we discern Grace, we may surely read both our Election and the Epistle of Christ together. 2 Cor. 3.3. This brings in

14. The Royal Dainties of Assurance: Election and Assurance are both so nigh of kin, Eph. 2.15. that of twain they make up (in the Point of Comfort and Satisfaction [Page 105]about our State) one clear Evidence in the New Man. From the Knowledge of our Sanctification springs the Knowledge of our Election, and from the Knowledge of our Election springs up Assurance. The Chain of Salvation is fastened with sure Links, tho' some of the poor Saints can discern neither end of it. Rom. 8.30. Moreover whom he did praedestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified. Royal Dainties of Assurance.] It deserves a high Name: Jacob in blessing Asher his second Son by Zilpah, whom she had Named the Son of her Happiness, Gen. 30.13 bestows this King­ly Epithite upon his Table, Gen. 49.20. Out of Asher his Bread shall be fat, and he shall yield Royal Dainties. Assu­rance is the white-stone, on which the New Name Copied out of the Book of Life is written, Rev. 2.17. latter part. — And will give him a White Stone, and in the Stone a New Name written, which no Man knoweth, saving he that receiveth it. The Holy Ghost seems to allude, as Durham. Dr. J. Collings, Supple­ment to Mr. Pool's Engl. An­notations. Inter­preters observe, to the Judicial Custom of some Heathen Nations, in their Ac­quitting and Condemning Malefactors, [Page 106]as also in their Elections of men to any Trust or Honour, in all which they were wont to take white and black Stones; on the white Stones were written the Names of the Persons absolv'd or chosen, and on the black Stones was no Name written: Now he that received the Black Stone, if a Malefactor, was surely Cast and Executed; if a Candidate, or one that stood for an Election, yet (ni­gro carbone notatus) he was rejected; but He that had the White Stone, with his Name upon it, was acquitted from the Punishment, or honourably Chosen into Place or Priviledge: So the Assu­rance of the Favour of God in Electing or Accepting Grace and Love, is com­par'd to the Name written upon the White Stone of him that was sav'd alive, or made Choice of. These are the Royal Dainties of the Gospel, which are made ready at this Supper of the Parable, and unto some are given, tho' our Father which is in Heaven doth not Carve them to every one that eats of the Childrens Bread. Truth of Grace, and Assurance of Grace, are a Blessed Couple, tho' they often dwell asunder. The Apo­stle speaks of a [...]. Plerophory, or a Full [Page 107]Assurance, Heb. 6.11. and Chapt. 10.22. But the Spirit doth not fill every Sail we hoise, but often breaths in a lesser Gale, when we make towards Immanuel's Land. The Knowledge of our Personal Electi­on and Assurance of Eternal Life, are Royal Dainties that none can receive, except it be given him (in a peculiar manner) from above. Joh. 3.27.We read our Evi­dences for Heaven (says Dr. Bates, Sermons on Death, p. 171. an eminent Divine) in the Light of God's Counte­nance: And as he was a free Agent at first to cast his Eye, so he is still at so­vereign Liberty where he will cause his Face to shine. Psal. 67.1.

15. The Evangelical Honey-comb drop­ping Free-Grace. A Honey-comb of it self drops, you need not wring out the sweetness of it. 1 Sam. 14.26. And when the People were come into the Wood, the Honey drop­ped: The coming of the People into that Wood had no Influence upon the Ho­ney, nor their continuance by it any Vertue upon the Distillation, but it dropt from its own i. e. A Natural Dispositi­on while it flows, to fall down in Drops. intrinsick fluency: So the Grace of God distills of its own accord, it drops upon the Creature free­ly, this Honey-Dew that descends upon the Mountains of Sion comes of its own [Page 108]accord. Psal. 133.3. The Lord commands the Blessing, and it tarries for no concurrence in any of the Sons of Men. Mic. 5.7. If God doth but break his Love to Us, 'tis a Love that drops, a Love that distills so fast, we need no Hand to squeeze it. Now the Gospel is the Treasury where it drops, this is our Canaan now that floweth with Milk and Honey. Numb. 13.27. Lo! here God hath pro­vided the Rivers, Job 20.17. the Floods, the Brooks of Noney and Butter. Grace is a Stream that's Free, and runs without De­sert, or else it would be a River like Jor­dan, Psal. 114.3. quickly driven back.

When he hath brought Us into his Banquetting-House, we shall see it to be his Arms drawn over the Banner of Love; Cantic. 2.4.I will love them freely, Hos. 14.4. It is a Free Gift, and we need not be shye to take it: This is a Ho­ney that Bring's the King's Blessing, a Jonathan may come in, and need not fear a Saul's Curse to eat it. 1 Sam. 14.27, 28. This Ho­ney-comb of Free-Grace may be mixt with all our Acknowledgments we make to God, Psal. 101.1. when we sing of Mercy. Tho' common Honey was forbidden to be used in any Sacrifice under the Law, Lev. 2.11. yet we cannot offer the Sacrifice [Page 109]of Praise under the Gospel, Zech. 4.7. lat. pt. if we mix not This Honey, and cry Grace, Grace, unto it. This hath a sweeter Taste than any, it is beyond any Corporal Prepa­rations, being sweeter than Honey or the Honey-comb: How sweet are thy words unto my Taste, yea sweeter than Honey to my Mouth! Psal. 119.103.

16. The Fatness of God's House in Or­dinances: He hath made ready the Mi­nistry, which he hath given to be Meat, and Ordinances as the Dishes in which the Feast is serv'd. He appoints Di­vine Institutions as Food for Nourish­ment, and Divine Officers to admini­ster the Banquet too: He affords a Di­vine Presence in his own Appointments, which fattens and fills them up unto us: His Paths drop Fatness, Psal. 65.11 when he walks in the midst of the seven Golden Candle­sticks. Rev. 2.1. There be Fat Sacrifices in God's House, tho' we can perform but poor lean Service. When we bring our own, we offer lean Kine; but if we offer his, they are Fatlings that come up with Ac­ceptance upon his Altar. Isa. 60.7. We are apt in­deed to wait upon the Lord, 1 Cor. 7.35. and attend with much Distraction, but lo! in God's House when we see what he hath done, [Page 110]there we shall behold the Fat and the Head in Order. Lev. 1.12. God's House is rich, you shall meet with enough to spend on there, and to carry home besides. Ma­ny a Favourite of God's, when he hath gone from an Ordinance, hath found that a Mess of Meat hath followed him from the King. 2 Sam. 11.8. Oh! the Stores that God hath brought forth in Ordinances, as Scriptures, Sermons, Sacraments, and a House-full of Prayer and Praise, by which he says, (as to his People, at the slaughter of Gog) Ye shall be filled at my Table! Fzek. 39.20. form. part. If you go into the Sanctuary and enquire, you shall find God doth not keep an empty House for you, but he makes such Provisions in the Ordinan­ces for his Guests, Psal. 36.8. that they shall be sa­tisfyed with the Fatness of thine House.

17. The Supplies of the Spirit of Jesus. Ordinances will not of themselves be a Feast without God's Spirit: Rom. 1.4. He must be a Spirit of Holiness to regenerate, and a Spirit of residence to inhabit, a Spirit to change, and a Spirit to dwell in us, that may abide with us for ever. Joh. 14.16 Now at this Feast he is wont to shed on us the Renewings of the Holy Ghost. Tit. 3.5. It is the Office of the Spirit here to put us [Page 111]into a Capacity to glorifie God and en­joy him. The Spirit stamps a Divine Impression, and then witnesseth to us that we are the Children of God. Rom. 8.16. We lose much of the Savour of the Word, when we have forgotten how it sound­ed forth; the Spirit therefore is provi­ded to quicken and refresh our Memo­ries and Understandings, when it brings all things to our Remembrance: Joh. 14.26. It is to help our Infirmities in Prayer; Rom. 8.26. we know not what to Pray for as we ought, 'till the Spirit worketh a Sense of what we need, and stirreth up a Praying Frame in us. Christ had the Spirit without measure, Joh. 3.34. an inexpressible Effusion of the Holy Ghost was poured forth on him, and he hath made ready some Droppings of that Spi­rit to descend on Ʋs, as we sit at Meat. When your Spirit is faint, still he hath the Residue of the Spirit for you, Mal. 2.15. when you cannot eat as you would of the King's Venison, God hath then provided you his Spirit to quicken you to your Meat, and make your Stomach sharper. You need not rise without a Supply of the Holy Spirit, where you may (like the Disciples) according to your measure, Act. 13.52. be filled with [Page 112]the Holy Ghost. God's Spirit will make up the Imperfections of our own, and be helpfull still to furnish us, tho' we want spiritual Blessings in any heavenly things whatever: I will pour out my Spi­rit unto you, Prov. 1.23. I will put my Spirit within you, Ezek. 36.27. If you have had a little measure of the Spirit of God at one time, he hath prepared enough to infuse a Double Portion, which you shall receive perhaps at another time from the Fulness of the same Spirit. It is not only a Stook that will reach to some few Individuals, as suppose a Porti­on to Me and to Thee, but a supply for the whole Israel of God. And we may now under the Gospel expect a more plentifull Effusion of the Spirit to come, than hath been seen yet in Drops, and wait for the full Shower, until the Spirit be poured from on high, Isa. 32.15. And in a word then, if you were never so greedy after this New Wine, you might still be filled with the Spirit. Eph. 5.18.

18. The Morsel of Hope for them that fail not to sit with the King at Meat. We are saved by Hope, Rom. 8.24. We are sometimes tost in a Storm at Sea, we are ready to be drown'd with our [Page 113]own Tumultuous Waves, but Hope steps in as an Anchor of the Soul, and saves our Ship from splitting, that we make no Wrack upon the Fair Havens side. The Sea is safe, tho' it it be not smooth, thou sailest on to Heaven: Thy Ship may reel, thy Table shake, thy Banquet for a little moment lose its relish; thy Fears may cause thee to apprehend the Storm will surely make thee lose thy Meal, but so long as thou keepst thy seat, and holdst by Christ that sits at Table with thee, thy Fears will shortly vanish, and thou shalt find a Hand to pick thy Morsel up: Tho' long at Sea, yet thou wilt quickly get a View of that Cape of Good Hope thro' Grace: 2 Thes. 2.16. Job 8.13. Prov.The Hope of the Hipocrite may even dash him out out of Countenance, but the Hope and Expectation of the Righteous is found at this Banquet to be a Hope that maketh not ashamed. He that feedeth at home, Rom. 5.5 that is, hopes God will be mercifull, be­cause he is temperate in all things, or wrongs and defraudeth none, hath not one solid Morsel that will yield saving Nourishment; but he that sets his Hope on Jehovah, apprehending none but a God in Christ to save him, has obtained [Page 114]the Better hope, and got a true Portion of the Feast. This Entertainment hath all in every kind we need, and our Days would be spent without Hope, if our Help did not ly here; but as the Pro­phet speaks, the Lord will be the Hope of his People, and the Strength of the Children of Israel, Joel 3.16. latter part. And again, The Eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy, Psa. 33.18. If thou hast yet obtained help of God in no other kinds, thou mayst however, so long as thou art found at Gods Feast, Psa. 71.14 find hope conti­nually. If thou art not plentifully rich in Faith, thou mayst be poor, and yet meet with Hope, Job 5.16. So the Poor hath hope, low in thy Spirits, and yet lifted upwards, that thou dost not sink into Despondency, or stick, when thou art sunk in the miry Clay.

19. The full meal of Contentment. When thou hast eaten and art full, thou shalt surely feel quietness in thy Belly. Thou shalt obtain so much to make up a Spi­ritual Interest, that thy Portion in God will quiet thee, thô thou hast not thy Part in many other Things. — I have learned in whatsoever state I am therewith [Page 115]to be content, Phil. 4.11. Thô carnal de­sires will be discomposed, yet a Gracious mind will be settled, when the will of the Flesh is contradicted. The whole World will be a common Ordinary, and too light, when this Feast of the Lord in the Ballance is weighed against it. If the World leaves thee poor, and the Go­spel makes thee rich, thou wilt not re­pine at the loss of their Skins and Dung, when the Fatlings themselves are ready. Thou shalt see so much in Christ at this Plenteous Table, Job 31, 24▪ that thou wilt not re­gard to make Gold thy confidence, or fine Gold thy trust; Silver will be unto thee as Dross, that is, thou wilt take the World as it is, Heb. 13.5. and be content with such things as thou hast; having Food and Raiment (I mean spiritually, Food and Raiment out of the King's Stores) thou wilt be therewith content (far more de­lighted with thy Treasure, 1 Tim. 6.8 than if ano­ther King should open thee his rich Ex­chequer.) If thou hast thy Father's In­heritance, thou wilt leave other Chil­dren Rattles. Psa. 4.6. Hos. 2.8. Others may cry out for Corn, and Wine, and Oyl, and think they can never have enough of this World, tho they had never so much of the Go­spel [Page 116]with it, but a Barrel of meal and a Cruse of Oyl (a little of this World) shall suffice a poor Woman in Sarepta, when God sends an Elijah to her. A Generation of Murmurers and Complainers may use their Language which came out of the Wilderness, Jude v. 16. Would God we had been content, Josh. 7.7. last words.and dwelt on the other side Jordan: But an Israelite indeed, a Soul in Christ, Joh. 1.47. is content, thô he hath some Num. 33 55. Pricks in his Eyes, and Thorns in his side, because the Lines are fallen on this side of it. The Increase of God contents him, having gain'd an Interest in his Son Christ Jesus, who is all in all to him.

20. The Refreshments of the Peace of Conscience. A good Conscience seems to be a Table spread in the very Soul, where we may sup by our selves in an inner Chamber: for as Solomon says, He that is of a merry Heart hath a continual Feast, Prov. 15.15. Peace in thy Soul is a little, private Banquet, the King sets by, Job 31.17 where thou mayst eat of thy Morsel alone. When the Blood of Sprinkling (we spake of under the sixth Particular) is drank down, it fetcheth out all the Evil Spots of Conscience,—having our Hearts sprinkled from an evil Conscience, [Page 117]Heb. 10.22. Conscience would quickly cry against us, if God had not provided at this Feast enough to stop its mouth; yea, the Soul would die, if the Conscience had not the Food of God to live on, as the Child would be starv'd, if the Nurse were not fed. But lo! Psa. 72.7. the Gospel hath a Table that hath abundance of Peace upon it, Peace to feed on publickly, when at an Ordinance, there be others that are dipping their hands with us in the Dish, Mat. 26 23 and Peace to feed in our Soli­tudes, while no Eye beholds us. Lnk. 2.14 The Invitation unto the Feast is Peace on Earth, the Ministerial Waiters at the Ta­ble are Act. 10.36 preaching Peace by Jesus Christ, the things ready are the things that do Luk. 19.belong unto our Peace; the Apostle wrote not one Epistle, when he sent Messes un­to the Churches, but it came still to them with these Refreshments, Rom. 1.7 1 Cor. 1.3. 2 Cor. 1.2 Gal. 1.3. Eph. 1.2 Phil. 1.2. Col. 1.2. 1 Thes. 1.1 2 Thes. 1.2 Exod. 32.17. Nahum 2.4. Isa. 19.2 Exod. 2.1 [...] Grace and Peace to you. The Gospel serves it in most excellently, Rom. 5.1. Therefore being justified by Faith, we have Peace with God thrô our Lord Jesus Christ. Thô there is a noise of War in thy Camp, thy Corruptions fight, and justle one against another: nay, not only Egyptian against Egyptian, but an Egyptian smiting an He­brew; [Page 118]Corruption opposeth Grace, and maketh an uprore in thy Soul; yet the Gospel hath a Prince of Peace to allay the Tumult, Heb. 7.2. Psa. 147.14 and to make Peace in thy Borders. There is Provision made for a Blessed Calm upon thy Soul, when the Son of God shall rebuke thy Storm, and say to the Winds that made it, Mark 4.39 tho' fu­rious Blasts from Satan, Peace, be still. Thou shalt see it to be fair weather up­on the Kings Feast-day. Peace I leave with you, my Peace I give unto you, not as the World giveth, give I unto you, Joh. 14.27. In a word, here is a Feast you may Sleep well after, not in Sin, or Se­curity, but in a Refreshment, or Repose of your Spirits in the Peace of Consci­ence.

21. The Oyl of Joy Isa. 61.3. It was the Blessing of Asher, that he should dip his Foot in Oyl, Deut. 33.24. and be as it were over shoes in his Inheritance where God's Paths dropped fatness. Psa. 65.11 It is clear in Scripture, that Oyl by the Appoint­ment of God was put to various uses. The Children of Israel were command­ed with Oyl to Exod. 25 6. & v. 37. compared. dress their Lamps, and with a finer to dress their Lev. 2.4, 5. &c. meat in the Legal Sacrifices, and with a most refi­ned [Page 119]Oyntment made of various Exo. 30.23.25. Spices after the Art of the Apothecary, to v. 26.a­noint the Tabernacle, and his v. 27. &c. Furni­ture, by all which was Typified that Spi­ritual Oyl which the Gospel now afford­eth: we have now an Oyl, an Oyl of Joy that feeds the Oleum flammis ali­moniam sup­peditat, Moller, enar in Psalmos. Ps. 45.7.Candle of the Lord, and makes it burn comfortably; an Oyl of Grace that feeds the Lamp of our Pro­fession, that we be not in the Dark at Mat. 25.3, 4, 5, 6.8. midnight, when we should see to go out and meet the Bridegroom; we have now also an Oyl to dress our Sacrifice, since we have received an Ʋnction from the Holy One, 1 Joh. 2.20. an Oyl that fattens our Entertainment, and an Oyl, as we sit at meat, Psa. 104.15. that makes our Face to shine. There is an Oyl of Joy commu­nicated to the Head, our Lord Jesus Christ, and an Oyl of Joy imparted to his Members. This Box of precious Oynt­ment was poured on his Head by a greater than Mary Mat. 26.7 Joh. 11.2Magdalen; God a­noints him, Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the Oyl of Gladness above thy Fellows, Psa. 45.7. latter part. So Isa. 61.1. The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me—He is therefore in the New Testa­ment [Page 120]styled by way of eminence the Christ of God, and [...], Luk. 2.26. part. the Lord's Christ, which signifies the Lords Anointed. Now at the Feast his Members, in some Confor­mity to their Head, are anointed also. He that ordained a Lamp for his anointed, and made the Horn of David to bud, hath al­so a Horn of Salvation to pour the Anoin­tings of the Spirit on us. God's Children may suck in this Oyl plentifully at the Feast, where there be Springs of Joy to feed a chosen Vessel. Thou preparest a Ta­ble before me, — thou anointest my Head with Oyl, Psa. 23.5.

22. The Cup of Consolation with the Wine of the Kingdom-running over. The Cup of Consolation was a Cup for Mourners, a Portion mingled more espe­cially to support them at the Death and Loss of Dear Relations, and tho' used commonly among the Jews, yet was deny'd them, Jer. 16 5. latter part. when God had taken away his Peace from them, even loving kind­ness and mercies; — neither shall men give them the Cup of Consolation to drink,v. 7.for their Father, or for their Mother. The Cup of Consolation was a little to swee­ten the Bitterness unto their Children af­ter their Parents had tasted Death. Now [Page 121]the Feast of the Gospel hath its Cup of Consolation to wash off sadness from them that mourn in Zion; it hath the Wine of the Kingdom for the Children she brings forth, when they are bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his Mother, be­cause of the Afflictions of the Church of God. Nay, suppose the Trouble should arise more from a Reflection upon their own Personal State, this Cup of Conso­lation is then to wash off their Fears, Rev. 14.10 least they should drink of the Wine of wrath out of the Cup of Indignation. The Wine of the Gospel is a refreshing Cor­dial from the Grace of God, to cheer up drooping Spirits, and comfort heavy Hearts. It is a Cup of Salvation, Psa. 116.13. to a poor Soul that hath been afraid of that Red-wine in the Threatning, lest he should pledge it in the Second Death. A Man's Body, when his Spirits are low, needeth Recruits, Prov. 31.6. Give strong Drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy Hearts, and so in Paul's Advice to Timothy, 1 Tim. 5.23. Drink no longer water, (that is, such as was commonly us'd at Meals in those hotter Climates, as we drink Beer) but use a little wine for [Page 122]thy Stomach's sake, and thine often infirmi­ties. In like manner the Spirit of a Man, when wounded, or broke and sunk with­in him, doth need Wine, the Wine of the Kingdom, that is the manifestations of the Love of Christ to chear it; for the Spirit of a man may sustain his Infirmities, (that is, he may bear up under out­ward Trouble he meets with in the Flesh) but a wounded Spirit who can bear? Prov. 18.14. Such a one must have the Cup of Consolation from Christ's own Hand, for his Love is better than wine, Song. 1.2. The Roof of his mouth when he speaks a kind pleasant word, like the best wine, goes down exceeding sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak, Song. 7.9. If God's Children be sunk down thro' long heaviness, and be­gin to sleep the Sleep of Death in their own sad Apprehensions, Psa. 13.3. yet a Cup of this pleasant Wine from Christ, on a sudden makes an Alteration, and breaks out in Praises, Psa. 118.17 I shall not die, but live, and de­clare the works of the Lord. Blessed Con­solation! Now the Gospel hath provi­ded a Full Cup of this. This, is that pre­cious Cluster, Isa. 65.8.where the new wine is found in it. He that loveth me, shall be loved of [Page 123]my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest my self to him, Joh. 14.21. lat­ter part: So v. 23. latter part, My Fa­ther will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. What a Heavenly Nectar is this Cup of Con­solation! you may drink it at Ordinances in the Golden Vessels of the Temple, Dan. 5.2. Esth. 5.6. where there needs at this Banquet of wine to be no [...], inspectores vini. Weemse Christian Synagogue. pag. 209. Inspectours or Overseers set to mind you, least you prove Spiritual wine-bib­bers at these Vessels filled up to the Brim; no [...] Godwins Hebrew-Rites, pag. 45. Song. 5 1. Eyes of the Feast, to see you do not drink too much, as is reported to have been customary at the Oriental Feasts, a­mong the Jews and Persians: But you may drink abundantly of the Love of Christ, and yet not be drunk with Wine. This Cup of Consolation is most excel­lently represented in the Cup of Blessing, 1 Cor. 10.16. Mat. 26.27 where at the Communion of the Blood of Christ, he saith unto his Friends, Drink ye all of it. Lo! Prov. 23.31. 1 Cor. 11▪ 26. there it is seen how it giveth its colour in the Cup, and moveth it self aright, by shewing forth the Lord's Death until he come (even a second time to Judgment.) The Gospel is like those water-pots that stood in Cana at the Mar­riage-Feast, Joh. 2.7.9. they yielded water at the be­ginning, [Page 124]but afforded wine unto the Guests before they rose up: So, as Christ was represented first by water, his Love is now shed abroad like VVine: Oh! Blessed is the Benjamin in whose Sack this Silver Cup is found! Gen. 44.12 These Consolations of our God abound, Psa. 23.5. my Cup runneth over. Oh! the Depth of these Streams of Love, when we swim in the Rivers of his Plea­sure! how incomparable is the Wine of the Kingdom, Dent. 32.14. beyond any other Blood of the Grape.

23. The continual Diet of Perseverance. 'Tis said of Jehoiachim, that he was so pro­vided for by the King of Babylon, that he did continually eat Bread before him all the Days of his Life; and for his Diet, there was a continual Diet given him of the King of Babylon, every Day a Portion, un­till the Day of his Death, all the Days of his Life, Dan. 1.5. Jer. 52.33, 34. So in the Go­spel there is a Daily Provision of the King's meat, Grace to feed thee every Day for new work fresh: He will persevere to relieve thee on thy way, that thou mayst persevere to come thy Journeys-End home: He will continue thy Meat, be­cause he will not have thee to break thy Work off, before thou hast made a [Page 125]Full end of it. He will feed thee, be­cause Grace will finish what Grace hath once begun: He that hath begun a good work in you, shall also confirm you unto the end, Phil. 1.6. 1 Cor. 1.8. Thou shalt not be kept upon the Corn of Heaven for one Day only, or ten Dayes, or Twenty Days, Num. [...]. 19 or a whole Month, as they did eat of the Quails in the Israelitish Camp, but thou shalt have Grace to stablish, strengthen, settle thee to thy Live's end, and keep thee on thro' Faith unto Salvation. 1 Pet. 5.10. 1 Pet. 1.5.

24. Lastly, Rev. 2.7. The Fruit of the Tree of Life. Fruit is wont at Entertainments to be last served in, and so I place it last; for Glory which is the Fruit of the Tree of Life, shall begin where Grace here ends. There may be indeed some [...], Rev. 19.9. some Foretasts of the Marriage-Supper of the Lamb, and it is enough for an Israelite, so long as in the Body; Num. 13.23. to have a Cluster or some few at most from the Edge of Canaan; he must be caught up into Paradise before he can gather the Full Vintage; 2 Cor. 12.4 he must take possession of that better Countrey, before he can eat of the Tree of Life which is in the midst of the Paradise of God, Rev. 2.7. It is [Page 126]fit, my Brethren, that both you and I should be now content with Grace: tho' I have been enabled to lay before you the Meat and Drink which will enable us to do the Will of God, Joh. 4.34. yet I cannot climb the Tree of Life for you, Rev. 3.12. Rev. 22.2. to bring down out of the New Jerusalem any one of those Twelve manner of Fruits, which grow in Plenty upon this Tree of Life above. It will be the work of Eternity, when our Days are as the Days of Heaven, Psa. 89.29. to be­hold these Precious Things that are put forth by the Sun, Deut. 33.14 Mal. 4.2. 1 Cor. 2.9.the Sun of Righteousness in Heaven; for Eye hath not seen them here, save the Eye of Faith only. And therefore so much may suffice us at the Threshold of our Father's House, Joh. 7.37. on this Great Day of the Feast.

The Fifth General Thing propounded was to shew what Excellent Properties there are in the Provisions of this Great Supper.

1. Transforming. 1 Property There is a marvel­lous Efficacy put into these Provisions, that begets a Divine Likeness. Ye shall be like God; not in that bad, lying sence the Devil intended it, when he deceived our first Parents with a Deceitful God­likeness, Gen. 3.5. Ye shall be as Gods, [Page 127]knowing good and evil, whenas it only transformed them and their Posterity in­to the Black and Filthy Image of the Devil. We are by Nature Partners with that which entred into the VVorld, Rom. 5.12. and defileth, but by Grace are made Parta­kers of the Divine Nature, 2 Pet. 1.4. When it is said of the Poor, they have the Gospel preached to them, Mat. 11.5. last words. the Original expresseth it in the [...]. Passive, are Gospelli­zed, transformed into the Image of the Truths they hear, made other sort of Creatures. Thus, the Provisions of the Gospel Feast have an efficacious, converting influence thrô the Operati­ons of the Holy Ghost, that by our Parti­cipation, 2 Cor. 3.18 we are changed into the same Image of God we see.

2. VVholsom. Other Diet, 2 Property if we eat it, we may prove the worse after; in killing hunger it may create Diseases, but this is for your health. Acts 27.34 The Gospel is wholsom in every part of it. The Guests at this Entertainment may safely feed of any Dish that God hath set before them. Psa. 68.21. Indeed wicked men that are re­solv'd to go on still in their Trespasses, may cry out like those Sons of the Pro­phets, 2 Kings 4.40. Oh thou man of God! [Page 128]there is Death in the pot. But if God throws in Meal, or mixeth his Loving Kindness and mercies with it, let others throw in their Lap full of wild Gourds, there is still no harm in the Pot. 2 Kings 4.39, 40. Every Guest may adventure safely, it is Food that will need no Physick, unless we abuse our Morsel, and play the wanton with it. It is wholsom, and never hurts any, but such as provoke the wrath of God to fall up­on them, while it is yet in their mouths, like those Israelites, while chewing Dain­ties in their Teeth, that provok't the Founder of the Feast, Psa. 78.30 31. who slew the fattest of them.

3. Delightful to every renewed Palate. 3 Property Christ to a Believer hath no ill Taste with him. Christ, thô considered in his lowest Estate of Humiliation (in the Grave) where others have lookt upon him as a Carcase, yieldeth meat unto our Faith in a Pleasant Vessel. Rev. 5.5. We may say of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Judg. 14.5 as Sam­son did of that young Lion that roared against him by the Vineyards of Tim­nath,v. 14.Out of the Eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. It seems to be represented well by the Israelitish Manna in the Pleasantness of [Page 129]its Tast, which relisht according to what every Man liked best, as Augustine hath Noted out of the Rabbins, tho' Fuller's Pisgah­sight, 2d. pt. p. 53. others conjecture that Rabbinical Tradition fa­bulous. However as to the Celestial Mannah, or Bread that came down from Heaven, we may cite the Experience of every Christian that hath tasted the Lord is good, Psal. 34.8. to evince its Delicacy to the Pa­late; who will agree not only to say an Equality unto any thing they like, but to witness a Transoendency herein a­bove all Creature-sweetness. There is nothing bitter in this Evangelical En­tertainment, but the People of God in all can experience that he hath given them Pleasant things for Meat: Lam. 1.11.I sat un­der his shadow, (saith the Church) and his Fruit was sweet unto my taste, Song 2.3. The Food of Heaven is not first sweet in the Mouth, Rev. 10.10 and then like the Book in the Revelation, as soon as 'tis eaten the Belly is bitter: But as 'tis sweet in the Mouth, it retains the Property, and becomes sweet in the Stomach also. It is Cordial in the Act, and Comfor­table in the Remembrance too; for it is the Morsel only of the Sinner, when he eats the Fruit of his own Doings, Isa. 3.10. that [Page 130]breeds so ill a Digestion, as when he hath eaten, Job 20.20. surely he shall not feel quiet­ness in his Belly.

4. Sufficing. 4 Property This Feast is enough for Ministers, and enough for People too, Jer. 31.14. I will satiate the Soul of the Priests with Fatness, and my People shall be satisfied with my Goodness, saith the Lord: So Psal. 132.15. I will abundant­ly bless her Provision, I will satisfie her Poor with Bread. Zion's Poor (in Spi­rit) shall have Bread enough for an Alms at the Door of God's House: Yea, Christ will have them come in, and sit down at his Table, Prov. 7.18. and take their fill of Love.

5. Not Surfeiting or Cloying. 5 Property There is no Intemperance in the Gospel, when we feed in the highest Degree upon it. In other Feasts the Guests can take but Part, and in that may take too much, but in the Gospel, if we do not take of all, we shall take, and have too little. Literal Provisions will surfeit, we may nauseate and thro' an Excess bring them up again. Hast thou found Honey? says the Wife-man, eat so much as is suffici­ent for thee, Prov. 25.16. but v. 27. in­timating an Excess, he addeth, It is not [Page 131]good to eat much Honey; the end of the foregoing sixteenth Verse is a Reason, lest thou be filled therewith and vomit it. There may be an overcharging The Throat is a slippery place, and a sin may get down e're you are aware, Dr. Man­ton on Jude, p. 414. Luk. 21.34 Psal. 69.22 Jude v. 4.with sur­feiting and drunkenness at our own Ta­bles, while our Table may become a snare unto us, but we can never surfeit upon Spiritual Provisions, 'till our Corruption turns our Stomach, and we turn the Grace of God into Wantonness. A Ho­ly Guest, tho' he be filled with the Wine of the Gospel, is filled at a Feast in which is No Excess: Other Wine will intoxicate, Eph. 5.18. but the Wine of the Spirit which possesseth our Heart, will never hurt the Brain. Luk. 13.26 The more we have ea­ten and drank in his Presence who hath prepared our Table, Psal. 23.5: the more ready we may find our selves to go about our Fa­ther's Business, Luk. 2.49. contrary to the effect of other Tables, which indispose both the Body and the Mind, when the Belly is fill'd with Meats. In a word, we need not at this Feast of the Parable, fear Intemperance, as Daniel did, Dan. 1.8. when he took care lest he should be defiled with the Por­tion of the Kings Meat, and of the Wine which the King drank.

6. Ʋndiminishable.6 PropertyJesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever, Heb. 13.8. He hath Provision, of which one Guest hath not the less, because a­nother Guest hath more. This great Stock in the Gospel never wastes, 1 Kings 17.14. no more than the Widdow's Barrel of Meal, or her Cruise of Oyl, after Elijah eat there­of. v. 13. If we eat and drink never so long of God's Provision, he never needs to buy in any new Store. Ordinary Food will diminish, but in Extraordinary, we leave as full a Table as we find. Tho' Guests increase, the Diet still keeps the same. When Christ feedeth the Multi­tude of the Gospel, he worketh a greater Miracle than when he fed the multitudes in it; because in the Gospel we read only of Fragments taken up, Luk. 9.17. but of the Gospel it self, when Men have eaten suffi­ciently, Joh. 2.10. or well drunk, the Feast remains: This Box of Oyntment is broken, and yet 'tis always whole.

7. Incorruptible. 7 Property It is not like the Vi­ctuals of the Gibeonites, that had all the Bread of their Provisions dry and mouldy: Josh. 9.5. It is unperishable, and this Mannah will not melt and consume away, Exod. 16.21. as other Mannah did. The Bread that God gave [Page 133]the Israelites in the Wilderness forty Years, v. 35. would not preserve from Putre­faction, but when over-kept, like the rest of common Provision, bred worms and stank, Exod. 16.20. And tho' some of it was put into a Pot, Exod. the Lord commanded Moses, v. 34. ibid. and laid up before the Lord in the Ark of the Testimony, to be kept as a Memorial throughout their Ge­nerations, v. 33. that the Children which should be born might see wherewith God had Nourisht their Fathers in the Wilder­ness, v. 32. yet it was preserved thus from af­ter-putrefaction, for so many Ages, by a special Miracle attending it, and not from the inherent Qualification of the Food it self, Psal. 39.5. Joh. 6.27. and therefore in its best Estate we may reckon it the Meat that perisheth; especially, considering that e­ven this Pot of Mannah now ceaseth, as well as the whole Jewish State. But the Gospel is a Food in its own Nature incorruptible, a Provision as well as an Inheritance that fadeth not away. 1 Pet. 1.4. When other Victuals will utterly perish in their own Corruption, 2 Pet. 2.12 this is the Meat that en­dureth to Life eternal, Joh. 6.27. latter part.

8. Lastly, 8 Property Perpetual Nourishment, and the Partaker kept alive for ever. He that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst, Joh. 6.35. latter part. And he that eat­eth of this Bread shall live for ever: He shall never pine or dye away for want of Meat or Drink: It shall implant such a Nutrimental Habit, as shall secretly, in the greatest Difficulty, keep the Soul alive. Hunger shall never kill, and Thirst shall never hurt Believers. To conclude, other Feasts have supply'd the Wants of the Body but for as many Dayes as the Feast lasted, and the Guests have been quickly empty, and the Vir­tue of their feeding lost, as well as their Entertainment over: But the Nourish­ment received, the Seed of Grace ob­tain'd at this Rich Feast of Plenty, is a perpetual and enduring Habit, or Prin­ciple of Grace, that will spring up in Glory.

The Sixth thing is to evidence what suitableness there is in these Provisions of the Gospel to the Condition of poor Gospel-Sinners, VI. or to discover that the Case of any Soul may be suited among these All things ready

First, The Gospel hath Enlivening Pro­visions, suited to the Condition of dead Souls. It hath got wherewithall to infuse Life into them, either the Being of Life, as they are found in a Dead State, or the Degree of Life, as they are fallen under any Dead Frames of Spirit.

1. The Gospel hath enlivening Provi­sions, suited to the Condition of dead Souls, as they are found in a dead State.

Indeed it is necessary that the Gospel become first a vital Principle, before it is made a Nutrimental: It must quic­ken the Dead, before it can feed the Liv­ing, and raise Sinners out of a Grave, before it sets them down at Table. Nourishment must presuppose Life. The Being of the New Creature is first in Order, and afterwards Food to maintain the Growth of it. A Man cannot feed, tho' he hath all Things before him, until he be quickned and made a Living Man: So they that are spiritually Dead (that is, separated from all Spiritual Con­verse and Communion with God, re­maining still as they were cut off from him in the first Adam) can do nothing at this Table, which requires us to touch, taste and handle the Provisions [Page 136]of it. Spiritual Death is unfit for Spiri­tual Dainties; you must be translated out of a Dead State, and chang'd from Dead Works (that is, advanc'd beyond the Power of Nature in the most active refined Morals) before you can serve the Living God, Acts 14.15 or receive the Gospel-Food. The Priviledge of the Gospel lyes in receiving Grace first, to quicken and enable us to do in the strength of Grace after. It is not the Dead, so long as they are dead, can meddle with these things. The first thing the Go­spel can do for us, is to beget us by the Word of Truth, [...]am. 1.18. and then with its Nourishment to bring us up. The Breath of Life must pass upon us, before the Bread of Life can be eaten by us. Dead Sinners may be brought to some out­ward means of Grace, and so a Carkass may be stir'd, and held up by an Ex­ternal Force, while Meat is set before it; but there must be an inward Prin­ciple in both, to take Food and digest it, or live and grow by it. You may as soon stand to purpose with a Dish of Provisions before a Carkass, and put Meat forcibly into the Mouths of Dead Men, as expect the Plenty of the Gospel [Page 137]should yield any Nourishment or Bene­fit to Dead Sinners, before they have gotten true Life in them. In a word, they must be Created in Christ Jesus, Eph. 2, 10. or the Provision is lost, tho' you Carve out Dainties to them.

Now the Gospel hath its Enlivening Provisions, suited to a Dead State: And you being dead in your sins, and the un­circumcision of your Flesh, hath he quicken­ed together with him, Col. 2.13. The Life of Jesus is prepared to be made manifest to create Life, 2 Cor. 4.10 as it finds thee Dead in trespasses and sins. Our Blessed Lord takes an occasion to reveal this in the Spirit, when he made use of his Divine Power in the Letter, to teach us, that as he was able to infuse Life into the Dead Body of Lazarus, so he could quicken any dead Soul he roucht, Joh. 11.25. I am the Resurrection and the Life, he that believeth in me, tho' he were dead, yet shall he live: Tho' thou art fallen down from an upper Chamber dead, yea, from the House top in Adam, Acts 20. [...] yet Christ can raise thee upon thy Feet, and set thee up believing: He hath Life to move thee, and Faith to make thee see the Marvels he worketh out for thee. [Page 138]Art thou dead, stark dead, that a lit­tle Life will not suffice to help thee? why, yet Christ came on purpose to bring thee enough of those Vital Spirits with him, Joh. 10.10. latter part. I am come that they might have Life, and (as if he had said, If Life be too little) that they might have it more abundantly.

If thou art a poor Dead Soul that dost not yet know what to make of Bread and Flesh, yet thou mayst hear a good Word suited in the Mouth of Christ to thee, Joh. 6.51. latter part. And the Bread that I will give is my Flesh, which I will give for the Life of the World. The Bread that I will give is my Flesh.] Alas! if Christ had stopt there, it might not have suited to thy Case, or the Con­dition of some of thine! peradventure, thou art weeping over some dead Soul by thee, either some poor Relation in thy Bosom, or some poor Child as a wi­thered Branch sprung out of thy Roots, or a Brother, E [...]h. [...]. or a Sister, yet dead in Trespasses and sins; and thou mournest over their Graves, alas! my Brother! alas! Sister! what is Bread, or where­in doth Flesh suit at all with thee? why, Zech. 1.13. the Place answers thee with good words [Page 139]and comfortable, It is the Bread of Life, and living Flesh; (the Bread that I will give is my Flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.) As if Christ had said, tho' they are dead, and cannot take it yet as Food, I will put such a Morsel into the Mouths of dead Men, as shall presently become Life, and afterwards yield Nourishment. Oh! how suitably doth this Gospel provide to help thee in thy poor dead State! tho' you are yet many of you Dead, Sin­ners, and can't as you are Dead take in Nourishment, or so much as come (by a spiritual Act of the Soul) where Nou­rishment is provided, yet the Gospel is prepared to come to You in power, 1 Thes. 1.5 and with the Holy Ghost, that Life may en­ter into your Carkasses, Jer. 25.34. and the dayes of your Slaughter be accomplished, that you shall be like the slain that lye in the Grave, Psal. 88.5. no more. Christ hath a Vertue to re­new you, Exod. 8.19. beyond all the Magicians of Egypt, and their Enchantments, that try to work Grace by Nature. ‘Moral Ver­tues, (as Flavel, Soul of Man, p. 44 [...]. one says) are but as so ma­ny sweet Flowers strow'd over a Dead Corps, which hide the loathsomness, but inspire not Life into it.’ Where­as [Page 140]there is a Quickning Touch in the Son of God that doth raise the Dead, and will enable you to stand up from the Dead and live. Eph. 5.14.

2. The Gospel hath Enlivening Pro­visions, suited to the Condition of Dead Souls, as they are fallen under a Dead Frame. Thou mayst have Life at the Root, and yet thy Branch may look as if 'twere dead in Winter; or there may be a Concoctive Faculty, and an inward Power of Digestion thro' Grace, where thine Appetite to Food seems at present gone: The Gospel therefore hath Enli­vening Provisions that suit thy Dead Frame: It hath Spirits to fetch thee, when thou art fallen into a dead Swoon. There's a Word to quicken thee, when thou art dead to Duty, tho' thou art not thro' Grace, wholly dead in Sin: For Dead Frames in the New Man are the Reliques of the Old, or the Remain­ders of thy Dead State before. Now the Gospel hath a Portion to quicken thee, a Preparation to whet thine Ap­petite, when thou seemest to be dull, and thy Senses are not as heretofore ex­ercised; Heb. 5.14. see Psal. 119.50. This is my Comfort in mine Affliction, for thy Word [Page 141]hath quickned me: And v. 93. I will ne­ver forget thy Precepts, for with them thou hast quickned me: So that if thou art dropt asleep, or fallen into a dead Swoon, as a living Man may do, thou seest how he hath provided quickning Means to help thee, and excite thy Life again: Thou art not destitute of such a Help Meet, Gen. 2.20. but it is gotten thee among the All things ready.

If thy Sap be retired inwards, there's a Sun to cherish it, and call it forth in­to outward Vital Acts agen. If like Wax that hath melted, thou art Con­geal'd, and hast contracted thy wonted hardness, there is a Fire in the Sanctua­ry to melt thee at the Presence of the Lord again: Yea, sometimes, thô thou art even ready to question the work that God maketh from the Beginning upon thy Soul, Eccl. 3.11. and thou hast been certain dayes Dead in thy Stony Frame, Dan. 8.27. or dry and wither­ed, that thou thinkest it almost impossi­ble for these dry Bones to live, Ezek. 37.3 yet there is a Quickning Virtue, an enlivening Power procur'd, and made ready for thee, and thou sometimes feel'st it sud­denly at an instant.Isa. 29.5.The Spirit of Life from God that hath seemed for a time [Page 142]to be drawn back from thee (like Pe­ter's sheet) up again into Heaven, Acts 10.16 yet is ready to come down and re-enter, as at the Resurrection of those slain Witnesses, after the three Days and a half, Rev. 11.11. That's the first Case wherein Go­spel-Provisions do suit, as well as are made ready. They are enlivening, either to raise from a Dead State, or to quic­ken under any Dead Frame.

Secondly, 2 The Gospel hath Enlight­ning Provisions, suited to the Condition of Blind Souls. A Man may be a living, yet a blind Creature that cannot see his way. Nicodemus was so blind in spi­rituals, when Christ discoursed the mat­ters of Salvation with him, that he could not discern the Mystery of the New Birth, but was fain to put that Questi­on in the Ignorant Man's Catechism, Joh. 3.9.How can these things be? It is but a blind Ap­proach to Christ, if we come to him only by the Hearing of the Ear, and our Eyes have not seen him. Job 42.5. Thou must therefore cry out as that Blind Man did, when Christ askt him what he should do for him, Luk. 18.41 Lord, that I may receive my sight. The Gospel is not suited to thee as Blind, but as it hath an Influence up­on [Page 143]that Film, to remove it, which clo­seth up thy sight. There must be a gracious and invisible Touch to open Blind Eyes, as certainly, tho' not so mi­raculously, as there was of Paul, when immediately there fell from his Eyes, Acts it had been Scales: God first struck him Blind, and afterwards made him see his Error.

Now the Gospel in its Enlightning Provisions will exactly suit such a Blind Case. Tho' thou hast liv'd in a State of gross Darkness, without any Glimpse of the [...]. true Light, yet the Gospel is ap­pointed and made ready to discover it: This is plain in the Commission Paul received to Preach it, Acts 26.17, 18. Delivering thee from the People, and from the Gentiles, to whom now I send thee, to open their Eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light: As if God had said, Come, Paul, I will send thee into a spiritual Egypt, where the People are groping in worse than Egyptian Dark­ness, and I will send the Blessing of Go­shen with thee, Exod. that there shall be Light in all their Dwellings. As in Natural Vision the Organ must be opened and clear'd, as well as the Object illumina­ted, [Page 144]and the Medium transparent, thro' which the Visual Rays do pass: So in the Opticks of the Gospel, God hath made a Provision for every one of these: His Spirit openeth the Eyes, enlightneth the Object, (by shining upon Gospel-Truths) and (for a Medium) doth utter Knowledge clearly. Job

Art thou Ignorant of Salvation? yet the Gospel is suited to give Knowledge of Salvation. Luk. 1.67. Art thou lying spiritual­ly in the dark, that thou knowest not what to make either of thy Condition, or of many needful Truths before thee? yet the Gospel is provided to give light to them that sit in darkness. v. 79. Art thou groping with that old Staff in thy Hand, of Nature, and trying by thy self how to find the way, but after all thine At­tempts dost thou find thy self uneasie? well, still the Gospel is ready suited to guide our Feet in the way of peace: ibid. [...] To guide strait, as the word imports, that in the Dark we may not run into Crooked Paths, or turn any where aside. The Master of the House sets up a Candle in his Entry, that we may see, tho' by Night, to come in to the Feast he makes. Thou bast been already, per­haps, [Page 145]under the means, and yet dost complain still of much Obscurity; eve­ry new Tryal casts a kind of a mist be­fore thine Eyes, and if thou seest any thing for thy Soul, it may be it is but as he did, that looked up, and said, Mark 8.24I see men, as Trees, walking: But however, the Gospel provideth to work thine Eye­sight better, tho' Pharisees (who object in scorn, Are we blind also?) Joh. 8.40. despise such Clay and Spittle. Tho' thro' Blindness thou hast wandered far about, yet the Gospel provideth to bring thee by a way, as Joshua saith unto the Israelites, Josh. 9.4. which ye have not passed heretofore; yea, as saith the Spirit by the Prophet, Isa. 42.16. I will bring the Blind by a way that they knew not, I will lead them in Paths that they have not known; I will make dark­ness light before them. That Promise in­deed (as Arthur Jackson, Vol. 4th. upon Isai. a Judicious Interpreter ob­serves) ‘might litterally and then more immediately refer to the Jew's Re­turn out of Babylon, who saw nothing of their approaching Deliverance, any more than Blind Men, and knew not which way to turn themselves:’ But nevertheless spiritually it was a Promise suited to these Times of Refreshing, which [Page 146]are come thus far from the Presence of the Lord already, Acts 3.19. as to enlighten Blind Eyes, and bring Man into the only way of Salvation, which he never saw be­fore. Nah. 2.5. Tho' thou stumblest in thy Walk, for want of Light to guide thee, yet God's Word is prepared to be a Lamp un­to thy Feet, and a Light unto thy Path, Psal. 119.105. as also the Entrance of thy words giveth light, Psal. giveth under­standing to the simple. And his Testimo­nies are so suited, Psal. 19.7. that they are sure, making wise the simple. Tho' thou art a Child of a very low Capacity, Jam. 1.17. yet there be Beams of Knowledge from the Father of Lights will reach thee.

The Light of the glorious Gospel of Christ is made ready for thy need, to be a Light shining forth in Darkness. The Night it may be puzzles thee to find the way to thy Father's House, but God hath made ready something for thee, to whom the Night shineth as the Day, Psal. 139.12. and he prepares to shew thee both as to the Darkness and the Light what thou never sawst before. Mal. 4.2. The Sun of Righteousness is ready to pierce thro' all the black and dismal Shades that cover thee, and tho' Darkness hath hid thy [Page 147] self as well as God from thee, Psa. 42.8. yet the Lord will command his loving-kindness in the day-time, and find out what thou couldst not in the dark take Notice of thy self; Psa. 139.12. for the darkness and the Light are both alike to Him.

Thirdly, The Gospel hath Expiating Provisions, suited to the Condition of guil­ty and condemned Souls. Expiating, that is Reconciling, making Peace for thee. Reconciliare nihil aliud est quàm ami­citiam off [...]nsione ali­quâ gravi diremptam resarcire, & sic ini­micos in pristinam Concordiam reducere. Davenant, Exposit. ad Coloss. in versic. 20. pag. 126. To reconcile is to piece up a Friendship that hath been broken off by some grand Miscarriage, and so to bring Enemies to their old Amity and Ac­cord again. This is the state of the Case as it lyes between God and Man, from hence it cometh to pass, that tho' thou art guilty thro' the Offence of one, Rom. 5.15. even the First Adam that involv'd thee, and guilty thro' thy own Personal Offence besides, yet here is this Provision for thee in the Gospel, that thou art to do with a God not imputing Trespasses. 2 Cor. 5.19 This account the Scripture gives of it, that when we were Enemies, we were reconciled [Page 148]to God by the Death of his Son, Rom. 5.10. when we were Enemies, or, as the words are read, [...]. being Enemies; the first Look of Kindness which Hea­ven cast upon us, beheld Enmity in our Hearts, and the Weapons of Rebellion in our Hands. Yet then were we recon­ciled by the Death of his Son, the Foun­dation of our actual Reconcilement was then laid, that the saving Application of the Death of Christ might be evi­denc'd in our Effectual Calling. This the Apostle pursues further, 2 Cor. 5.19. To wit, that God was in Christ, recon­ciling the World unto himself, not im­puting their Trespasses unto them. Recon­ciling the World.] The World is to be understood (as Charnock. Vol. 2d. p. 1187. a great Divine expounds it) [...], for all Ages, all Times of the World, as he observes the same to be meant, 1 Joh. 2.2. Reconciling the World.] Tho' the World be a World at Variance with God, 1 Joh. 5.19 and a World that lyes in wickedness, yet God will be so far reconciled unto this World, Gen. 6.12. (where All Flesh have Corrupted his way upon the Earth, Rom. it is written, there is none Righ­teous, no not one,) that he will find outhis chosen, and bring in them to Christ, that [Page 149] they in Christ shall be reconciled also un­to God. The Holy Ghost witnesseth to the same purpose in those words of Pe­ter, Elect, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,1 Pet. 1.2.through sanctification of the Spirit, unto Obedience and sprinkling of the Blood of Jesus Christ, Grace unto you, (you Elect) and Peace be multi­plied: So that when God comes to ma­nifest that thou art one of these, by call­ing thee out from the World by a gra­cious and mighty Operation of his Spi­rit, he then actually reconciles Thee by the Atonement, and shews thou art one to whom this Blood of the Atonment belongs, Rom. 5.11. — by whom we have Now received the Atonement.

Now tho' thou art never so sensible of indwelling Enmity, convinced that thou art an Enemy by Nature, and hast manifested the Carriage of an Enemy a thousand times over, yet the Gospel provideth a Pacifying Reconcilement to make God and Thee Friends, i. e. To make Reconciliation for Iniquity, Dan. 9.24. Thou hast an High-Priest, in things pertaining to God, that remembred thy Name upon the List among those Few Names in Sardis, Rev. 3.4. when he made Recon­ciliation [Page 150]for the sins of the People, Heb. 2.19. This is most excellently and ful­ly described Col. 1.20. Having made Peace through the Blood of his Cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself. God was fallen out with the Creation for the Creature's sin, but he looks a­micably again in Christ upon an apo­state, revolted Creature, nothing is re­conciled but by the Blood of his Cross only. Now tho' Guilt and Enmity, as considered absolutely in the Creature, may both tend to drive thee from God, yet while both are pursuing thee, Isa. 64.5. they drive thee where thou meetest him that rejoyceth to procure thee a gracious Friendship, and bring thee back through the Atonement reconciled to God again.

The Law of God condemns, but by Vertue of this Reconcilement in Christ it is God himself justifies, Rom. 8.33. It is God that justifieth, who is he that condemneth? It is God.] God hath a Prerogative of Grace upon the Mer­cy seat to absolve a Trembling Crimi­nal, as well as of Righteous Condem­nation, when he sits upon a Throne of Justice, and when God pronounceth thine Absolution, the Sentence of Con­demnation [Page 151]will prove of no effect to hurt thee: There is none shall call thee to any just Account for Life, because thou hast one that now hath traverst Death. The Council of Heaven pleads to save thee, and a Black-mouth'd Crew in Hell, or foul-mouth'd Crew on Earth shall never make thy Cause, through Accusation, now to go against thee. What unrighteous Plea shall ever over­rule, Luk. 18.6. or unjust Judge stand up to over­throw the Highest Court of Justice. He that justifyeth, will turn every Letter of the Law-Curse to make up the Gospel-Blessing. Tho' thou art verily Guilty in thy self, Rom. 3.19 for all the World is become Guil­ty before God: And tho' by offending in one Point, we are truely Guilty of all, Jam. 2.10. yet tho' we are the Sinners, the Gospel comes in ready with the Son of God, 2 Cor. 5.21 who was made sin for us. Tho' we owe our very Lives unto the second death, Rev. 20.1. 21.4. the Gospel hath procur'd the Free Gift to save them, that our Statute of Death unto Condemnation might be Repealed and Enacted unto Justification of Life. Rom. 5.18.He that passeth by and sees thee in thy Blood, delivers thee from Blood guiltiness; he takes thee up, and imputes not thy [Page 152]Trespass, tho' a poor Felo de se is the term which our Engl. Law gives a self­murtherer. Felo de se, that hast sadly destroy'd thy self, Hos. 13.9. O Israel! thou hast destroyed thy self, but in me is thy Help found.

Fourthly, 4 The Gospel hath Healing Provisions, suited to the Condition of back sli­ding, sick and wounded Souls. The Gospel provides something Medicinal to purge out Corruption, and Restoratives to fetch the Patient again, and gracious Lenitives to mollifie a Bleeding Wound, and a Skilfull Hand to bind up and make all whole again, as well as provides Ali­ment and Food to Nourish. Alas! our very Corruptions, if we had not Grace provided to remove them, would spoil all our Feast. We have such Foul Sto­machs by Nature, that we need a Pill to cleanse them, before our Morsel en­ters. Deut. 28.59. We have all Naturally great Plagues and sore Sicknesses that turn our Stomach upon a Feast of Fat things: And 'till we find something in the Go­spel among its All Things to Cure us, our Soul will be like that sick Man's in Job, Job 33.20 Psal. 107.18.whose Life abhorreth Bread, and his Soul dainty Meat: We shall otherwise be too bad to touch Meat, or receive the daintiest that can be brought us. The [Page 153]Corruption of the Heart before it is in any measure purged, makes a Sinner disdain the Gospel, and hate the Diet of the Soul, Num. 21.5 like the Israelites that loath­ed Mannah, and call'd it light Bread, and said, chap. 11.6. there is nothing at all besides this Mannah before our Eyes. This is the true Natural State of a Man, before the Go­spel hath been as Physick to work with healing Grace upon him.

Now therefore the Gospel among its All Things ready hath its Provisions of Medicine, as well as Meat: The Grace of it will heal and nourish both, it can furnish the Patient, and supply the Guest; create a soundness of Constitution by Due Preparatives, and keep it up with Provi­sions and Supplies in other kinds after. The Gospel is like those yielding and plentiful Trees in Ezekiel's Vision, where the Fruit was for Meat, and the Leaf for Medicine, Ezek. 47.12. lat. pt. The Balm of them was Healing, and would work a Recovery upon the languishing, as well as the Fruit Nourishing to supply the Hungry, and the Juice refreshing to al­lay a thirsty Appetite: Jer. 8.22. So there is Balm in Gilead; a Physician and a Feast there both: Mat. 9.12. Jer. 33.6. A Physician that doth bring it [Page 155]Health and Cure. The Gospel purgeth out Corruption, as well as prepares our Table; it cleanseth our Vessel, and then pours the precious Mannah in. In a word, it is Physick first, and refreshing Diet after.

Now this Gospel suits with thy Con­dition; tho' thou hast been a Backslider in thy ways, and art now sick and wound­ed.Psal. 38.5.Do thy Wounds stink? are they cor­rupt by reason of thy Foolishness? and do the steams of Corruption make thine Heart sick? yet God hath a Healing Me­dicine to settle thee at thy Heart, and when broken, Job 5.18. the Lord makes thee whole. This is most graciously illustrated Hos. 14.4. I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: This is a Remedy suits thy sick Case. I will heal.] [...] The word is Metaphorical, and shews the Efficacy of the Physician, that tho' there hath been a Iniquita­tes morbis, se medico, Christum medicinae comparat. Rivet in Nesemn. Complication of Distempers in thy Defection, insomuch that now the sense of it hath wounded thee in thy Spirit, and the Disease hath bruis'd thee, yet thy sickness shall not be unto death, but for the glory of God in heal­ing thee; for a Bruised Reed shall he not break, Matth. 12.20. Not Break.] i. e. [Page 154]as the [...] word imports, he will not do any thing against it, to hurt or handle with violence such a Feeble Slip; his Hand is gentle, he will touch the Bruise with Care, Isa. 57.16. least the Spirit should fail be­fore him, and the Soul that he hath made. Tho' you came as a Troop of Lazaruses, Luk. 16.20 and were laid at his Gate full of Sores, Mat. 4.24. tho' you are taken with divers Diseases, some with one spiritual Infirmity, some with another, whatsoever Sickness, 1 Kings 8.37.what­soever Plague it be, yet he hath prepared to send his Word and heal you, Psal. 107.20. Be thou sick, rent or torn, whom He hath put to Pain, Hos. 6.1. yet run over the List of the All Things, and thou shalt not com­plain, thou hast no healing Medicine. Jer. 30.13. Thy Disease indeed hath desperately broken out, and it may be now hath fercht out many a Groan, a Sigh, and a Tear, to see thy own Plague: But while your Tears gush out, God hath provided to stop an Issue of Blood. Mark 5.29 That Sore of thine which hath ran in the Night, and ceased not, shall not break out, 'till there be no Remedy, 2 Chron. 36.16. because there is a Physici­an by whose Stripes ye are healed, 1 Pet. 2.24. Nay, Rev. 13.3.12. after thy deadly Wound is healed, thou may'st carry some Marks [Page 156]of an Old Sore upon thee, but no Nisbet upon Peter. Skar in thy Wound can hurt thee, Joh. 20.25 when thou hast also the Print of his Nails.

Fifthly, 5 The Gospel hath Releasing Pro­visions to free thee, if a spiritual Captive, and break thy Chains off. When the Gospel maketh a Feast, it lets us out of Prison, Mat. 26.51 that we may follow the Ban­quet into our great High-Priest's Palace. The Grace of the Gospel takes off our Restraints, as well as takes up a Holy Repast for us: It easeth us of a Yoke, as well as spreads our Table. Grace en­ables us to walk at Liberty, Psa. 119.45 before we can leave work to earn the Wages of Death, and sit down to Meat. We read of a Feast, Matth. 27.15. at which the Governour was wont to release a Prisoner: The Jews having Credebile est, a Ro­manis hoc ess [...], Polt Synop. Crit. probably learnt it from the Roman Custom: However, this as Dickson upon Mat­thew. some account it, might be an unwarrantable Practice, yet it is a graci­ous Priviledge at this Feast of the Go­spel to release a Prisoner, ay, and a No­table Prisoner too, Mat. 27.16 Mankind, as notable in the Species, as ever Barabbas, the Indi­vidual, was. The Gospel which Preach­eth up a Feast, proclaims a Free Liber­ty to Captives, Isa. 61.1. The Spirit of [Page 157]the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me to Preach good Tidings unto the meek, he hath sent me — to pro­claim Liberty to the Captives, and the open­ing of the Prison to them that are bound. Christ came to free the Servant of Cor­ruption, and a Slave of the Devil, that being loosned out of Bondage, Gal. 5.1. the poor Soul might afterwards stand fast in the Liberty wherewith Christ hath made him free: For a Plain Text asserts the Secu­rity of such a Freedom, Joh. 8.36. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. 'Tis called expresly a Redemption, Col. 1.14. it being the Release of Prisoners and Captives by the Payment of a Price, at such a Rate as the Son of God paid for the Redempti­on of them through his Blood. Now, suppose thou art yet in Bondage to Sin, Heb. 12.1. Rom. 7. v. 17, 20.the sin that doth so easily beset thee, the sin that dwelleth in thee, yet the Gospel provideth against the intanglement, that thou may'st be made free from sin; Rom. 6.18. i. e. Free from the Lordly Dominion of sin by the Spirit of Christ, and free from the severe Condemnation of sin by the Blood of Christ, according to the Atone­ment. Suppose a Slave, that thou art [Page 158]ty'd to Satan's Galleys, and one whom Satan hath bound, lo! these eighteen, or twenty, or perhaps forty Years, yet the same Gospel that provideth to turn thee from Darkness to Light, is ready also to turn thee from the Power of Satan un­to God. Act. 26.18. Art thou bound with a Chain that cuts thee, and imprints its ragged Indentures on thee, whilst thou art sen­sibly feeling of thy self to be staked down, as if something had fastened thee with Bands to Unbelief? yet the Go­spel is made ready to come in with Faith, and more Evidences of Might in the Day of Christ's Power, when unto you it is given on the behalf of Christ to believe on him. Phil. 1.29. Tho' thou canst not be­lieve, except it be given thee from a­bove, and thine Impotence makes thy Bondage, yet the Gospel provides to re­lease thee from the Bondage of Corrup­tion, Rom. 8.21. and translate thee into the Liberty of the Children of God.

Now therefore if Bound, what can suit thee more than the Loosning Pow­er of the Gospel? If thou lack'st to be called unto Liberty, Gal. 5.13. nothing can be fitter for thy Case than the Gospel that pro­claims it, and a God that procures it [Page 159]for thee. No Power under Heaven can reach thy Case so fitly, while of a truth thou art Bound, as the Son of God that can make thee Free indeed. The Gospel is suited to thy Condition, tho' thou art shut up in Prison; thou may'st be a Prisoner of Hope, Zech. 9.12 tho' thou feelest the weight of thy Chain, Psal. 107.10. and art laid in Affliction and Iron. The Day of the Go­spel is a Year of Jubilee, a great Year of Release, Isa. 61.2. and called the Acceptable Year of the Lord, in which he accepts of a Ransom for thee. Tho' thou hast been barbarously us'd in Egypt, he hath set open a Door of Hope, Hos. 2.15. thro' which thou may'st see, and a Door of Entrance thro' which he will bring thee in Free to Ca­naan. The Gospel hath Grace ready to set thee at Liberty, and then to keep thee for ever Free from the Tyranny and Do­minion of thine old Jailors, that thou may'st always dwell in safety. Psal. 4.8. This is pro­vided suitably to thy Case among the All things ready.

Sixthly, 6 The Gospel hath Apparelling Provisions, suited to array the Naked, and adorn Nasty Souls.

1. It hath Provisions suited to our spi­ritual Nakedness, to cloath and cover it. [Page 160]The Gospel hath a Wardrobe of the richest Wear, as well as a Table of the choicest Viands. Song 3.11. Christ in the Day of his Espou­sals cloaths the Naked, as well as feeds the Hungry. We read of the Marriage-Feast of Samson, that when he had put forth a Riddle unto the Phlistines, he pro­mised to give them thirty Sheets, and thirty Change of Garments, Judg. 14.12.if they could certainly declare it to him within the seven dayes of the Feast, which Samson after­wards upon their telling it, gave them in full Tale (as He had agreed) pun­ctually. Now the Gospel-Feast at the Marriage of the King's Son, affords to us Changes of Raiment likewise, (thô not upon such hard Conditions as Samson made with the Philistines, for when we have Food and Raiment in the Gospel, 1 Tim. 6.8. he frankly gives us Both.) Tho' we are stript in the First Adam, yet we may be cloathed with the Second. Hence it is the Scripture speaks of putting on Christ, Rom. 13.14. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ — Tho' we want Cloaths in a Righteousness of our own, yet we may put on the Lord Jesus, Rev. 3.18. that the shame of our Nakedness do not ap­pear. God hath provided Christ there­fore [Page 161]accordingly to suit us, as [...] Jer. 23.6. Iehovah, or the Lord our Righteousness: if common Pro­vidence hath provided a Suit which the very Grass of the Field and the Flow­ers of it wear, Special Grace would not come behind, but provide the Righte­ousness of God, in the Garments of Sal­vation, to Cloath you. Mat. 6 30. Oh ye of little Faith! Job 1.21. tho' you come Naked into the World, yet He hath provided that you may carry this Cloathing out.

2. It hath Provisions suited to our spiritual Nastiness, to adorn us, and put the Garments of Praise upon us. This Raiment indeed is for Sinners that come Nasty, but not for such as are resolv­ed to continue so. Alas! we come in to the Feast of our selves, Jam. 2.2. like the Poor Man in vile Ratment, but the Bounty of the Feast-maker provides us with a better Suit to appear at his Table, and before his Presence in. Mat. 22.10 Luk. 14.21, 23. The Guests at this Feast are come off from the Hedg­es and the High-ways, in a mean, dir­ty, tatter'd Garb, and therefore had need of a clean Wedding-Garment to sit down in. The Dirt and defilements that clave unto us do make God abhorr our Persons, [Page 162]and loath our Performances, 'till he put of his Comliness upon us. Ezek. 16.14.

The High-Priest Joshua was cloathed Zech. 3.3. but yet with Filthy Garments, when he stood before the Angel, or before the Lord Jesus Christ, Mal. 3.1. the Angel of the Covenant, who appears unto this High-Priest as the same Person that was to come in the Flesh, Heb. 3.1. the Apostle and High-Priest of our Profession. Now this Glo­rious Angel, this bright Seraphim be­holding the Righteousness of Joshua as an Eye-sore in the Pure sight of God, commands it to be taken away: He answered and spake unto those that stood before him, v. 4. saying, take away the Filthy Garments from him: These Filthy Garments could not be meant properly of his Iniquities, because Sin is such an Abomination in the Abstract, that when Men begin to entertain the true Senti­ments of Religion, they dare not put on their Sins for a Covering, but yet are very prone to wrap up themselves in warm Thoughts with their own Servi­ces, even as Men, who tho' they do not use to array themselves with Dirt, may put on Dirty Garments. I therefore un­derstand by these Filthy Garments, which [Page 163]the Angel commands to be taken away, all Workings whatsoever in the great Bu­siness of our Justification, because of the immediate Impurity convey'd by the Worker, Luk. 16.15 that must make them (abso­lutely consider'd) to be an Abomination in the sight of God: For who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one, Job 14.4. Man himself is polluted, and so are all his Duties: Now upon this Account in that Type of Joshua the An­gel proceeds, after the Removal of those Filthy Garments: Zech. 3.4. And unto him (unto Joshua) he said, behold I have caused thine Iniquity to pass from thee, (I have provided thee a Remedy against thy im­pure Services, and therefore much more against thine Impurities or sins) and I will cloath thee with change of Raiment. I confess Pemble. some Expositors do make this Change of Raiment to be the Robe of Sanctification: But Hutcheson others do Inter­pret it (I think in the most natural and genuine sence) of the Robe of Christ's Righteousness, because his Righteousness being without us, is more aptly compa­red to Raiment worn upon us; not but tho' it was principally intended to sig­nifie our Pardon and Justification by [Page 164]Christ's Righteousness, it suppofeth al­so our Sanctification to be ever accom­panyed herewith; 1 Cor. 1.30 for Christ is made of God unto us Sanctification and Re­demption, wherever he is made Righte­ousness: He answers our Pollution by a Work of his Spirit in us, (of which afterwards) as well as our Guilt by his Righteousness, for the sake whereof God passeth an Act of his Grace on us. We may therefore look upon this Expressi­on of the Change of Raiment, to shadow out Christ's Righteousness for Pardon and Justification, and yet that Holiness of Heart and Life must ascertain unto Ʋs the Efficacious Interest we have in such a Righteousness to change our State, and so evidence it to be no Dream and Delusion. Alas! when we come to partake of the Priviledges of the Go­spel in our own Righteousness, we do not only come like the Gibeonites with old Garments clouted, Josh. 4.5.and rent upon us, but we are all as an unclean thing, with unclean and filthy Raggs about us, as our Righteousnesses are expresly term­ed by the Holy Ghost, Isa. 64.6. Our Plague sores issue out and defile all our Service, that we have not a Rag fit to put on.

Now the Gospel among its All things ready, Gen. 27.15 provides us the goodly Raiment of our Elder Brother, and takes Care that we be found in Christ's Righteousness, when we are plac'd at God's Table: Hence it is Psal. 45.13. that the King's Daughter is all glorious within, her Cloathing is of wrought Gold. Christ in her, and Christ upon her, his Spirit in­habiting, his Righteousness adorning, makes her truly Noble: Psal. 149.9 And this Ho­nour have all his Saints, that never a Pharisee in the World with the Long Robes of a Self-Righteousness is arrayed like one of th [...]se. Luk 20.46 Christ hath got [...]en thee Raiment that is Ornamental, Rev. 19.13 as well as Covering, for tho' it be a Vesture dipt in Blood, yet it doth not stain thy Rat­ment. Isa. 63.2, 3. Tho' he was red in his Apparel when he trod the Wine press, because the Sprinklings of his Blood dyed his own wear, Rev. 19.8. yet it was made so White in the Blood of the Lamb, that ever since it hath been to the Saints a Suit of Fine Linnen. Alas! v. 14. it would not match your spiritual Vileness, if a Prince should Cloath you in Scarlet, 2 Sam. 1.24. as Saul did the Daughters of Israel, and put on Or­naments of Gold upon your Apparel: But [Page 166] the Prince of the Kings of the Earth brings forth the Best Robe, Luk. 15.22. to Cloath you gorgeously, infinitely be­yond the Attire of all such as are cloath­ed with strange Apparel. Zeph. 1.8. That is the Sixth Case, in which the Provisions of the Gospel suit.

Seventhly, 7 The Gospel hath Sanctify­ing Provisions suited to the Universal Defilements of Spirit, Soul and Body. The Gospel requires Holy Vessels, when it makes ready Holy Victuals. As thou art Filthy, it opens a Fountain to wash in, Zech. 13.1. In that day there shall be a Fountain opened to the House of David, and to the Inhabitants of Ie­rusalem, for sin, and for unclean­ness: It is true, ‘The more full Ac­complishment (as Hutche­son upon the Minor Prophets. one observes) of these things were reserved for the Con­verted Israelites, and therefore are pe­culiarly promised in that Day when they shall repent and be restored, yet are the common Priviledge of the Go­spel-Church in every Age.’ Thus far He. It is a clear Promise of Sancti­fication fulfilled in the Cleansing Ver­tue and Efficacy of Christ's Blood under the Gospel: That Fountain opened is [Page 167](as Mr. Hurst, Supple­ment to Pool's Eng. Annotati­ons. Song 4.12. one calls it) the true Siloam, which purifies and cleanseth every Leper whom God puts into it; and as the same Au­thor observes, tho' the Spouse is to Christ a Fountain Sealed, yet Christ is to Sinners a Fountain opened. For the House of Judah, and the Inhabitants of Jerusalem.] i. e. for every one that is made to look out to Christ, it is open­ed for every one that sees the Necessi­ty of Holiness or Purification from it: These shall be all Purifyed in that Bath which is prepared to cleanse us from all Filthiness and Pollution both of Flesh and Spirit. 2 Cor. 7.1. The Generation of God's Chil­dren are not left to be like that other Generation which is not washed from their Filthiness: Prov. 30.12. But God hath provided that they may be Partakers of his Holiness, Heb. 12.10. last words. The Gospel will cleanse thee of thy Spot, which o­therwise tho' thou wash thee with Nitre, and take thee much Soap, would remain a Spot still, with thine Iniquity marked be­fore me, saith the Lord God, Jer. 2.22. The Gospel brings thee a Laver full of Christ's Blood, and this is the Blood that rinseth all clean, 1 Joh. 1.7 last words. And the Blood of Jesus Christ his [Page 168]Son cleanseth us from all sin. Nitre and Soap, either apart or mingled, are search­ing Ingredients (you would think) to cleanse a Dirty Spot! but alas! tho' Man seeks out many Inventions, Eccl. 7.29. to try to wash himself clean, yet it will not do for a Garment spotted with the Flesh, Jude v. 23. if God search this out; nothing will fetch out Sin 'till we dip in Jordan, 2 Kings 5.14. Psal. 44.21 Isa. 9.5. 1 Joh. 5.6. nay, not only wash in Water, but with our Garments roll'd in Blood, i. e. the Blood of Christ, who came by Water and by Blood, for our Spot to fetch it out clean, Rev. 1.5. being said to have loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own Blood. The Gospel provideth suitably to our Pollution, Heb. 9.13. for it sanctifieth to the Puri­fying of the Flesh, 'till we are made meet for Communion with the God of the Spirits of all Flesh, Numb. 16.22.even sanctified in Christ Jesus, 1 Cor. 1.2.

Eighthly, 8 The Gospel hath Rich Pro­visions for the Poor Saints, tho' never so impoverisht, lowly in Mind, or Poor in Spirit. The Gospel abounds with the Liberality of the Grace of God, to sup­ply the Poverty and Wants of all Men in Christ. Tho' thy Transgressions have beset thee, and the Iniquity of thy Heels [Page 169]have compass'd thee about, that thou art now like the Man in his way to Jericho, that fell among Thieves; yea, Luk. 10.30 thou may'st cry out with Micah of the Danit [...]'s Plunder, Judg. 18.24. They have taken a­way (tho' not my Gods, to Complain just like him, yet) the Image of my God, mine Original Perfection, as I was made once like him, my Knowledge, Righteousness, and true Holiness, and what have I more? Well, be it thus, here is enough left thee still to be a poor, broken Petitioner at the Throne of Grace, crying out for a New Stock to set up with Christ, in whom are hid all the Treasures that will make thee Rich agen. Col. 2.3. Art thou Poor? Luk. 22.21 thou may'st be Rich to­wards God. When thou art got to the Gospel, thou art got to God's Treasury, which he unlocks, to make known what is the Riches of the Glory of this Mystery among the Gentiles, Col. 1.27.

Ninthly, 9 The Gospel hath Full Provi­sions, suited to the Condition of empty Sin­ners. There be Lengths and Breadths in the Love of God, that will give thee full measure, Luk. 6.38.pressed down and running over. Thou art empty in thy self, and till He refresh thee with his Loving-Kindness, Prov. 7.18. [Page 170]thou canst not take thy Fill of Love. Hast thou ever met with the Emptiers, that have emptied thee out? Nah. 2.2. The Gospel hath Provisions to come in and fill up all that empty space again. Tho' at home thou art like her that is empty, and void, and wast, Nah. 2.10. as Nineveh that was once full of Men, Counsel, Treasures, yet af­terwards emptyed out of all, so thou hadst once the sensible Manifestations of one that lodg'd in thy House to fill thee, but now at home empty; and also tho' abroad, like Naomi, thou hast gone out upon some Oecasions full, if thou hast gone to an Ordinance, thou hast it may be sometimes carried much of the Pre­sence of Jesus Christ with thee, yet the Lord (to try thee) hath brought thee home again empty, Ruth. 1.21. yet still the Gospel hath Provisions suited to thee, that when most sensible of thine Emp­tiness, thou may'st receive thy measure, and not like proud careless Boasters, who presume on something when they have nothing, Luk. 1.53 Joh. 1.14. last words. be sent empty away. Thou hast to do with one that is full of Grace and Truth, and with one besides, of whose Fulness thou mayst receive, Joh. 1.16. [Page 171]even one that will never leave thee emp­ty, because he filleth all in all, Eph. 1.23. let it be as low with thee in thy Be­ginning as a sense of Want can make it, yet thou shalt never take up the Complaint of Babylon in thy latter End, Jer. 51.34.the Lord hath made me an empty Vessel.

Tenthly, 10 The Gospel hath satisfying Provisions, suited to the Condition of Long­ing Souls,Matth. 5.6.that hunger and thirst after Righteousness. Be thou as Dainty in thy Palate Heaven-wards as possible, yet in the Gospel thou hast a God who satisfy­eth thy Mouth with good things, Psal. 103.5. He will not deny Dainties, or withhold Mannah, or keep back the Fruits that thy Soul lusteth after. Rev. 18.14 Thou shalt not be estranged from thy Desire in the things of God, Psal. 78.30 thô thou wouldst eat his Lambs out of the Flock, Amos 6.4.his Calves out of the midst of the Stall, v. 6.and drink his Wine in Bowls. If six Days common Provision at home hath made thee long for Dainties, he hath appointed a Fe­stival upon the Holy Sabbath, when thy Flesh longeth for the Courts of the Lord. Psal. 84.2. This Longing of the Soul may be reduc'd unto Two Heads, Hungring and Thirsting, and the Gospel hath suit­able Things for Both.

1. It hath Satisfying Provisions, suit­ed to Hungry Ones, Psal. 107.9. For he satisfyeth the Longing Soul, and filleth the Hungry Soul with Goodness. There is many a Hungry Appetite hath been brought into his Presence, and be hath filled the Hungry with good things, Luk. 1.53. Perhaps thou art one that hast lost a Meal, thro' a Providential Hand of God upon thee, and where God sets out Food, thou comest the more Hun­gering thither: Some Black Providence may have put on Sackcloth upon thy Soul, Nehem. 1.4. that thou hast mourned and fasted certain Dayes, and lo! a Restraint of the Bread of God whets thee further on: Thou canst not forbear crying when thou art Hunger-bitten, Prov. 30.15. like those Daugh­ters of the Horse-leech, Give, Give; I have been thus long from an Ordinance detain'd, Psal. 109.24. and my Flesh faileth of Fat­ness, I must break out to the Supper now, I can stay no longer in. Well, if it be thus, the Feast is still meet for thee. Christ that Invites thee to sit down, 1 Sam. 30.12. will Feast thee with his Love 'till thy Spirit comes again.

2. It hath satisfying Provisions suited to Thirsty Ones. If thou long'st for some [Page 173]Pleasant Draught, yet the Lord doth satisfie such a Animam sitientem. Moller. Enarr. in Psalmes. Longing Soul, as some do Expound it of Thirst, Psal. 107.9. form pt. before mentioned. Thy Thirst it may be is vehement, but that Ocean in God will suit it, where thou art bid to drink abundantly, Cantic. 5.1. last words. Seeing thou may'st come and drink, it will fare but the better with thee, when thy Soul thirsteth for the Living God, Psal. 42.2. If like Samson thou art ready to dye for Thirst, Judg. 15.18 what can be more suitable to thy Case, than for God to break up the Fountains of the great Deep, Gen. 7.11. 'till thou find an Enhak­kore, the Well of him that cryed, Judg. 15.19. In short, if God cleave a Hol­low in the Rock, and open Christ the true Rock that follows us, 1 Cor. 10.4 thou shalt then be suited, and then satisfyed from the Clefts of it, much better than Samson from the Hollow of the Jaw-bone.

Eleventhly, 11 The Gospel hath support­ing Provisions, and Provisions light and easie, suited to the Condition of Burdened and Oppressed Souls. 1. Supporting un­der Heavy Burdens. 2. Substituting Light and Easie in the room of Heavy ones.

1. The Gospel hath Provisions that are Supporting under Heavy Burdens. Are Afflictions heavy? Do they gall our tender Necks, or fret sadly inwards? yet where our own shoulders sink, the Gospel hath provided to put the ever­lasting Arms underneath, Deut. 33.27. — underneath are the everlasting Arms. Thou canst not perish in Affliction, be­cause in all thine Affliction he hath made Provision; indeed otherwise the Burden would be utterly insupportable, Psal. 119.92. Ʋnless thy Law had been my Delights, I should then have perished in my Affliction: I could not have stood under my Burden, if he had not stood by to lean on. The Redeunt dolores & redeundo erescunt, at tandem op­primunt. Rivet in Psa. 119. v. 92. Vol. 2. pag. 461. Col. 2. Renewal of mine Afflictions, together with their Encrease must have otherwise overcome me: But now as the Case stands, when his Hand presseth thee sore, Psal. 38.2. Yet the Lord upholdeth thee with his Hand (too,) Psal. 37.24. when thou fallest into out­ward Calamities, he doth mitigate the Affliction, that it shall not overwhelm thee. A word of Power is prepar'd to bear thee up in his Hands, Psal. 91.12 while lean­ing Melancholly upon thine own, thou art bowed down heavily. Psal. 35.14 Suppose thou [Page 175] touchest the Bier, Luk. 7.14. thou art next akin to one that is carried to his long home, Eccl. 12.5. yet God hath made something ready to sup­port thee, while thou art chief with the Mourners that go about the streets. ibid. He that is better to thee than ten Sons, as Elkanah hath it when he Comforts Han­nah, yea, the chiefest of ten thousand, 1 Sam. 1.8. Cant. 5.10. is better to thee than so many Relations, were they possible, in any kind what­ever. The Gospel hath such support­ing Provisions, as will keep thee at the very Grave's mouth from sinking, where others slide in.

2. The Gospel hath Provisions that substitute a Light and an Easie Burden in the Room of Heavy ones. If thou hast a Burden upon thy Back, a Burden up­on thine Hands, yea, one upon thine Head, and a heavier Load at Heart, yet the Gospel is ready to exchange them, and afford thee so light a Yoke, thou needst not call a Burden: If thou dost, yet still with Christ thou mayst say, it is a Burden is not heavy, My Yoke is easie, and my Burden light, Matth. 11.30. Christ doth not leave his People to do all in their own Natural Strength, it is the Covenant of Works that serves [Page 176]the Worker so; Christ makes it easie to hold his Yoke, because his Hand lightens it, while his Hand holds it on us. Isa. 30.20. Tho' thou hast eaten the Bread of Affliction that lyes heavy at thy Heart, yet he hath prepared thee a Table of Bread to digest easier, while he appoints it thy Meat and Drink to do the Will of God; Joh. 4.34.her ways are ways of pleasantness, Prov. 3.17. For tho' it be hard in it self to bear the very Gospel Yoke, yet it is not hard, when thou hast strength to bear of him. Psal. 78.39 He remembers that we are Flesh, and therefore provides his Spi­rit to be willing, when our Flesh is weak. Christ is a Master that will not deal like others. Sin was imperious, Satan cruel, other Lords that have had Do­minion worse than Hagar's Mistress, Sa­rat, that dealt hardly with her, Gen. 16.6. but Grace is order'd to deal with Thee gently, as David charg'd his Captains to deal gently with the young Man Absa­lom. 2 Sam. 18.5.

Twelfthly, 12 The Gospel hath Establish­ing Provisions, suited to the Condition of wavering and unsteddy minds. Art thou like a Wave of the Sea, Jam. 1.6. that is driven up and down, and tost, yet the Gospel hath [Page 177]a Rock, not to break or wrack, but set­tle thee, whereon thy Soul may rest. It provides the Author of thine Esta­blishment, God himself, 2 Cor. 1.21. Now he which establisheth us is God: It provides the means of thine Establish­ment, the Grace of God, the sure Do­ctrine of Grace, that thou mayst know what to believe, and what to Practise, instead of the Craft and Sleight of Cun­ning-men. Eph. 4.14. Heb. 13.9. It is a good thing that the Heart be established with Grace, not with Meats; as if he had said, The substance of the Gospel will, but the sha­dows of the Law will not afford an esta­blisht Posture for you. The Gospel suits unto the settling of the whole, or of any part that needs it. Do you want Footing? it hath laid the Path-way to Heaven, and cut it out upon the Rock the tryed way thither. Would you Catch, and meet with sure Hand-hold? it provides you that which is fit to fasten on, that you may lay hold upon Eternal Life. 1 Tim. 6.12 It hath Establishment for gidày Heads, and enough for any gracious Hearts. It will keep you steddy in the Centre, that you shall not, like others in the Circle turn always round. Briefly, it hath all that [Page 178]can be suited to perfect, stablish, settle you, 1 Pet. 5.10. last words. The Ele­gant variety of the words may denote the highest Degree of stedfastness, an establishment that can never be over­thrown. The last words, Fundare, est Radi­cem ipsam gratiae ma­gìs-magis (que) infigere. Ames in Pet. Job 19.28 settle you, seems to have a reference to the secu­rity of the Root, and shews that Grace is of a settling Nature unto all that have the Root of the matter in them. Grace without will find out the smallest measure of it within, to secure and fix the Subject, that it shall not be moved away from the Hope of the Gospel. Colos. 1.23

Thirteenthly, 13 The Gospel hath streng­thening Provisions, suited to the Condition of weak Souls. Tho' thou hast lost some of the Power which was given thee from above; i. e. tho' the exercise and and actings of Grace be low, yet the Go­spel hath got ready to encrease Grace, and strengthen its Principle within thee, when thou canst not of thy self strengthen the things which remain that are ready to dye, Rev. 3.2. tho' thou art, as to spirituals, sad­ly pin'd away, yet God hath provided such a Hearty Meal for thee, that yet again out of weakness thou may'st be made strong. Heb. 11.34 Tho' thou art so weak [Page 179]of both Hands, thou canst not keep thy hold, he hath got such a Feast to put thee into Heart, as will make thee thou shalt not let it go. Tho' thy New Crea­ture be yet so weak, it will only lye in Arms, yet thy nursing Father is ready to open its Mouth to speak; Psal. 8.2. for out of the mouths of Babes and Sacklings hast thou or­dained strength: He opens the Lips, He loosens the Tongue of the spiritually suck­ing Infant, that the New born Babe in Christ shall give the Glory due unto his Name, and say, Psal. 29.2. Thô I a Little Child am weak, yet Oh my Father, Psal. 89.8.who is a strong Lord like unto thee!

Fourteenthly, 14 The Gospel hath succour­ing Provisions, suited to the Condition of Tempted Souls. The Devil may suggest a Defect in Gospel-Grace, as if there were nothing that did suit among the All things with thee, but in this very Case of his Assaults, it hath succours, and brings the Anchor of the Soul to throw out, while Satan makes the Storm. Heb. 6.19 Tho' he hath deluded and bewitched with his Sorceries, Acts 8.11. thou may'st bid him stand now with thine Enchantments, Isa. 47.12.and with the multitude of thy Sorceries, wherein thou hast laboured from thy Youth, if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayst [Page 180]prevail: (to allude to that Challenge of the Holy Ghost made to the Babylo­nian Confidence of old.) Make ready thy Snares and Devices, 2 Cor. 2.11 Job 2.5. of which we are not ignorant, put forth thy Hand, and now do thy worst; here is that in the Gospel, Satan, which will put thee to everlasting Silence, Mark 5.9. thô thy Name be Le­gion, and thou hast many with thee, here be All Things against thee. Deut. 32.4 The God of Truth hath prepared to rebuke thy Lyes, and the God of Peace to tread thee un­der Foot; Rom. 16.20 the God of Power will tye up thine Hands and stop thy Breath, and strike thro' the Leviathan that hath troubled the Holy Waters, even Levia­than that piercing and crooked Serpent, Psal. 27.1. and will wound the Head of the Dragon (of this presumptuous and accursed Dragon) in the Waters. Psal. 74.13 The Provisi­ons of the Gospel are succouring; it will relieve thee to meet with a Gospel that makes a greater opposition to Satan, than Satan can to Thee; to meet with a Gospel that lays open the Care in the Heart of Christ for thee, to appear and withstand him while he winnows, Luk. 22.31. And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may fift you as Wheat [...], signi­fies to shakt, or stir vio­lently up and down.. To sift you.] The De­vil [Page 181]would shake the Corruptions in the Heart together, that Grace should be invisible, and all buried in them; but Christ's Intercession is a security to these Graces, and keeps them he shall not sift or jogg them out of their Place.

There is a Good Spirit in the Gospel provided against the Evil one, either to drive him from, or to deal with him on us. Tho' thro' Satan's continual In­jections and Suggestions thou art grie­vously vexed with a Devil, Mat. 15 22 yet the Angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them, Psal. 34.7. Art thou assaulted by the strong man armed? Luk. 11.21, 22. yet the Gospel brings a stronger than He into the Field, that looks always well to thee, and will not suffer the Devil to be too long upon thee, Eph. 6.12. or Principalities and Powers to wrestle too much against thee. Art thou Con­versant in some Plat he hath beset about with Wiles? yet here is the Wisdom of the Seed to supplant and counter­work the subtilty of the Serpent, that thou mayst stand against the Wiles of the Devil, Eph. 6.11. In the Gospel, the Lord taketh Care that there hath no Temptation taken you, but such as is com­mon [Page 182]to Man; and God is Faithful, who will not suffer You to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the Tempta­tion also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it, 1 Cor. 10.13. God shews you in the Gospel, that he intends no Temptation but what he will thro' his succouring Help make you fit to bear; be they what Tryals (suppose) or incitements to Sin they will, either God tries, or Satan tempts, or our own Lusts entice, they are but slight mat­ters, and never rise above the common measure: God doth not suffer you to be over-rated, he doth not exact, nor will he allow to be exacted more on you than others. Eph. 6.16. If Satan winnow you, God will order it to blow away your Chaff: If he throws his Fiery Darts up­on you, God will have it consume no more than burn up your Dross. Tho' ye fall into divers Temptations, Jam. 1.2. yet the Gospel provides a Saviour that hath suffered being tempted, who is able to suc­cour them that are tempted, Heb. 2.18.

Tho' the Devil haunts thee with De­spair, or casts in Black and Blasphemous Thoughts upon thee, yet the God of Peace shall bruise Satan under thy Feet [Page 183]shortly, Rom. 16.20. The God of Peace.] Tho' the Devil comes in with War, and may suggest God an Enemy, yet there is Peace from God towards thee: 1 Pet. 5.8. Tho' your Adversary the Devil be that Roar­ing Lyon which goeth up and down, seek­ing whom he may devour, yet thou shalt tread upon the Lyon and Adder, (that old crooked Serpent that hath so often Poy­soned, or tormented thee with his Sting) the young Lyon and the Dragon shalt thou trample under Feet, Psal. 91.13. Tho' a Messenger of Satan buffet thee, 2 Cor. 12.7 the Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of Temptations, 2 Pet. 2.9. Tho' the De­vil should cast some of you into Prison, yet the Gospel hath Provisions still to suc­cour you, even where Satan's seat is. Rev. 2.13. Heb. 2.10. Mat. 9.34. ch. 12.34.The Captain of our Salvation will pro­tect you against the Prince of Devils. Here is not only a Shield and a Eph. 6.17. Eph. 6.11. Hel­met of Salvation, but the whole Armour of God to secure you against all his Fie­ry Darts, 2 Cor. 12.9 and His Grace sufficient when you are tempted of the Devil. Matth. 4.1. In a word, there is all; and when he goes about to cause thine Heart to despair, Eccl. 2.20. he shall never discover it of this Gospel, that it is not entire, wanting nothing. Jam. 1.4.

Fifteenthly, 15 The Gospel hath Cordial Provisions, suited to the Condition of Faint­ing Spirits. Judg. 19.5 Thou may'st comfort thine Heart with a Morsel, when thou hast eaten other sorrowful Meat, Job 6.7. or with a Cordial to fetch thine Heart again, that will even fill thy Mouth with Laughter, Psal. 126.2 after thou hast minglea thy Drink with weeping: Psal. 102.9 Psal. 13.2. Tho' thou hast sorrow in thine Heart daily, and art shook with continu­al Feebleness of Mind, yet He that made thee, can speak a word that shall make thee be of good chear, thou shalt eat thy meat with Gladness, when He hath join'd and created singleness of Heart, Acts 2.41. In the Gospel he hath it ready for thee: Tho' thou a Poor Creature faint­est, yet hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the Ends of the Earth, faint­eth not? Isa. 40.28. He doth not flag in his Power, thô an Arm of Flesh hangs dangling from the Bone, by a little skin that holds it. It may keep thine Heart up, to think that neither the Hand, or the Heart of God is ever cast down. The Ministry of the Gospel is to be a Cordial, to keep thine Heart, and cheer up thy Spirits: see 2 Cor. 4.1. Therefore [Page 185]seeing we have this Ministry, as we have received Mercy, we faint not: and v. 16. for which cause we faint not. It is a Cor­dial that warms, when thou hast suckt in other Spirits, and gat no Heat by them. 1 King. 1.1 16.

Sixteenthly, 16 The Gospel hath Quieting Provisions, suited to the Condition of Trou­bled Minds. Mal. 4.2. It hath a Sun of Righte­ousness to shine after God's Face hath been long hid: Job. 16.2. If miserable Comforters disturb, here is a merciful Creator quiets thee. When other Comforters are Phy­sicians of no value, Job 13.4. too weak and unskil­ful to remove or repel the Disease that troubles thee, the Gospel is afforded, that we might have effectual Remedy; or, as the Holy Ghost by the Apostle, that we might have a strong Consolation, Heb. 6.18. That is, as Dr. Ow­en on the Hebrews, Vol. 3d. Fol. a Learned Man glosseth it, prevalent against opposition. It is able to still the Causes of our unquiet Tu­mult, and suppress the furious Agitations that roll within our Breasts. Tho' thou hast Great Troubles, Job 15.11 yet the Consolations of God are not small with us. Tho' thou al­so as well as the Wicked dost sometimes look like a Troubled Sea, Isa. 57.20. yet with this Dif­ference, he remembers God and is troubled, Psal. 77.3. whereas in the multitude of thy Troubled [Page 186]Thoughts his Comforts delight thy Soul, Psal. 94.19. The Gospel is so universally con­trived in the whole Frame of it, thro' all its Counsels, Promises, Experiences, that when He giveth Quietness, there is none can cause Trouble. Job 34.19. He hath sweet Morsels to roll under thy Tongue, after thou hast taken bitter Pills from him, This is my Comfort in mine Affliction. Psal. 119.50. God hath so suitably provided Gospel-Grace, and so order'd it in all the Tribulations of his Children, Cant. 2.3. that they might be encoura­ged to rest quietly under his shadow, who shakes down some Fruit into their Laps, as a Testimony that he doth know their state, Col. 4.8.and will comfort their Hearts: And therefore be of good cheer, 1 Thes. 4.18. and comfort one another with these words.

17 Seventeenthly, The Gospel hath Resolv­ing Provisions, to answer thy Scruples, and remove all thy Doubts and Fears. The Soul oftentimes puts such Questions a­bout its own State, that it needs a Mes­senger with it, and an Interpreter one of a thousand, Job 33.23. Sick Souls as well as Sick Bodies do require an able spiritual Doctor by 'em, to shew unto Man his uprightness; i. e. Arth [...] Jackson, Vol. 3d. 4to. To shew how he must come to be presented Righteous [Page 187]and upright in the sight of God; Ad expo­nendum Ho­mini, i. e. pro homine in usum ho­minis. Mer­cer in loc. Isa. 19.18. Dan. 5.16. and whether the Sick or Doubting Party may be yet in such a Case. Now for this an Interpreter is requisite; not on­ly a Man that can speak the Language of Canaan, but also read the Hand-wri­ting which the Finger of God's Spirit hath written, tho' in so small a Cha­racter, that he who carries the Book may not read the Hand: Such a Text-man is call'd an Interpreter, and an Interpre­ter one of a Thousand, or as Multis è millibus u­nus. Mr. Mat. Pool, Morn. Ex. Giles's in the Fields. some read it, One of many Thousands. Dissolving of Doubts was one of the things that made Belshazzar's Queen conclude of Daniel, Dan. 5.11, 12. that the Spirit of the Holy gods was in him. Oh! what Spirit then is that in the Gospel, that will resolve thy Soul Doubts, Acts 8.22. and tell thee if perhaps the Thought of thy Heart may be forgiv­en thee? that will untye the very Knot that lay upon thy mind, thou didst not dare to utter? This is an Interpreter in­deed, one of a Thousand, one of ten Thousand Casuists; He is one that speaks as never Man spake. The Spirit of God is one that can speak in us, when a Man, Gal. 1.8. or a meer Angel frrom Heaven could only speak to us. It may be, [Page 188]with Naomi, Ruth 1.20.the Almighty hath dealt ve­ry bitterly with thee; and perhaps, as Dr. Tho. Fuller, Comment. on Ruth. pag. 122. one Notes it, thou makest sour Faces, whilst thou canst not resolve the Doubt, whether with Ephraim thou art God's pleasant Child, Jer. 31.20. or no; yet the Gospel hath a Spirit will search this out, Psal. 44.21 be­cause it searcheth the Deep Things of God. 1 Cor. 2.10 If there be never so many Dark cir­cumstances in thy state that puzzle thee, yet do not Interpretations belong to God? Gen. 40.8. He is a Revealer of Secrets, Dan. 2.47. Act. 27.23. and will tell thee whose thou art, and whom thou servest; Dent. 32.4. yea, a God of Truth that will not belye thy Case. Ah! thou art of­ten at a loss to know what God would have thee do, but God hath made Pro­vision in the Gospel to shine upon thy Path, and make thy way clear, that when the Spirit bids thee go, thou shalt go on with thy Duty, as Peter did with the Three Men from Cesarea, doubting nothing, Acts 11.12. There's not a Scruple you make, but the Grace of God can make reply to it: Not a Knot, which either the Devil or your own Fearful Hearts may tye, but the Sword of the Spirit waits to cut in sunder; Eph. 6.17. that in whatsoever you doubt, you might go [Page 189]into the Sanctuary and enquire, Psal. 73.17 Phil. 3.15. and God shall reveal even this unto you.

18 Eighteenthly, The Gospel hath saving Provisions, suited to the Condition of the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel. Matt. 10.6. Tho' you apprehend that you are in jeopardy every hour, 1 Cor. 15.30. yet the Gospel is prepared to shew forth his Salvation from Day to Day: Psa. 96.2. Tho' you think the Pit is ready to receive you in, Psa. 69.15. and shut her mouth upon you, even Hell, Job 17.1. while the Graves are ready for you, yet the Gospel opens the Everlasting Gates, Psa. 24.7, 9. that you may look thro' a Door of Hope. Hos. 2.15. Tho' you Mourn in your Complaints and make a Noise, Psal. 55.2. yet he can still the Voice of your crying, Psal. 5.2. when he stops the Voice of his Justice, and prepare you to sing of Mercy: Psa. 101.1. Tho' you count it that for your Parts, Ezek. 37.11. Psal. 1.3. your Hope is gone, and your Branch is withered, yet he that planted it by the Rivers of Water, Isa. 55.10. will cause it to bud and spring forth again. In a word, tho' you cry out with those Frighted Mariners in Paul's Ship, Act. 27.20. that all Hopes of being saved is taken away, yet the Gospel still suits your Case, for the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost, Matth. 18.11. He finds you out, tho' you are [Page 190]got where you lose your selves, tho' you are muffled up in shades, 1 Sam. 10.22. or hid behind the Stuff, or covered over with Dust, or disguis'd with Tears, or wrapt in a Mantle of Confusion, Psal. 109.29. you throw in a Fright about you.

19 Nineteenthly, The Gospel hath All­sufficient Provisions, suited to the Conditi­on of wretched Creatures, sunk below the Recovery of any Men or Angels. God can do for thee, what Men, Neighbours, thine Acquaintance, Companions, Bre­thren, nay, thy own Flesh and Blood cannot. The very Called and Chosen of God that are made nigh to Christ, Eph. 2.13. can but stand round about thee weeping, but the Lord can break in with Ten­der Mercies, Luk. 1.78. Psal. 136.23. and in thy Low Estate re­cover thee: I was brought low and he help­ed me, Psal. 116.6. last words. It is the work of God, and beyond the sufficiency of Men; God's Friends may pity thee, but 'tis God himself must favour thee; thou may'st lye in thy Pit while their Eye trickleth down with Tears, Lam. 3.49. but the Arm of the Lord can quickly draw thee out. Isa. 53.1. They may lament thee fallen, but he can lift thee up: I looked and there was none to help, therefore my own Arm [Page 191]brought Salvation, Isa. 63.5. Arthur Jackson upon Isai. 4th. Vol. somewhat changed from the Author's. When God sought but a little Help of Man, to do his People Justice, he found not one ap­pear'd; much more then doth it note an Insufficiency for any Helper besides Him that hath the All-sufficiency of Free Grace and Power, to save Men, tho' sunk in Misery, (thro' an Original Apostacy.) If God should look out for Help thro' the whole Creation round, he would never find any but what himself brings: And He can speak a word, which nei­ther Heaven nor Earth, Angels or Men, ever dare pronounce, My Grace is suffi­cient for thee, 2 Cor. 12.9.

20 Lastly, The Gospel hath Eternal Pro­visions, suited to the continuance of Man's Immortal Spirit. As the Soul must en­dure for ever, the Gospel hath Provisi­ons to make it Happy thro' the same endless Parallel. Jam. 2.5. Do you hope as Heirs of the Kingdom, for a Kingdom that can­not be shaken? why, the Gospel hath such a Kingdom prepared for you, Matth. 25.34. Heb. 12.28. Do you hope for Glory, when you see a Full End of Grace? why, Heb. 6.18. Heaven is the Hope that is set before you. Do you expect more than to be ransomed for a little moment here? the [Page 192]Gospel suits with your Expectation, for the ransomed of the Lord shal return, and come to Zion with Songs, and Everlasting Joy upon their Heads, Isa. 35.10. It is an Eternal Inheritance that is prepared for the Heirs of the Grace of Life, Heb. 9.10. an Eternal Salvation, Heb. 5.9. an eternal weight of Glory, 2 Cor. 4.17. In one word, you can never see a Full End of these All Things, tho' you look towards the utmost Bounds of the Ever­lasting Hills. Gen. 49.26 And thus I have shewn, that as the Feast of the Gospel is full and plenteous, so it is a Banquet of suit­able Provisions that do fit all the Guests of it. And Oh! that now as Man hath try'd to suit them, and Apply them to your Case, so God would by the Appli­cation of his Spirit press these Clusters for you into a Cup of Saving Health.

VII. The Seventh thing is to give some Ac­count, Why it is a Feast with all Things in it.

1. It is so in regard of the Great Foun­der, Reas. 1 who is a God that had All Things to give. It is not the Provisions of a mortal Man, but the Supper of the great King; and no wonder when a King [Page 193]Feasts his Subjects, if he hold a Feast in his House, like the Feast of a King. 1 Sam. 25.36.The Lord is a Great God, and a Great King above all gods, Psal. 95.3. And there­fore the Entertainment he makes, must be a Feast that hath Provisions above all Feasts whatever, a Feast with All Things in it. Song 1.12. The King sitteth at his Ta­ble, and the Feast of a King proclaims a Full Table, and the Royal Founder of Divine Grace makes this Heavenly Fare the greater. If this Great Provi­der were not God, Joh. 9.33.he could do nothing; Nihil dat quod in se non habet: None can supply another with what he hath not himself antecedently; but now All Things are eminenter in Deo, that is, they are dwelling by a Transcendent Fulness in him; he is the God of all Grace, 1 Pet. 5.10. first words; and therefore he gives us all this Plenty. We may say of every Dish made ready for God's Ta­ble, as David spoke of the Materials he had made ready for the Temple, 1 Chron. 29.16. All this Store—cometh of thine Hand, and is all thy own. In himself is the Abundance of All Things, and there­fore the abundant Grace redounds. 2 Cor. 4.15. There is a Full Treasure in God, and therefore [Page 194]a Full Table he hath disht and garnisht forth for us. This is the Lords Doing, Psal. 118.23. and therefore nothing De­fective in it. The Lord had so many Things to give, that he made bare his Ho­ly Arm, Isa. 52.10. that nothing might hang in his way, to obstruct the Com­munication of a Full Gift to us. In a word, he is All, and therefore he hath all ready.

2. The Gospel is a large Feast, Reas. 2 with All Things ready, because, wheresoever God bestows that one Gift, the Lord Je­sus Christ, he gives in all other Things with him. Every Child of God hath a Rich­er Portion than he thinks of, meerly for his Elder Brother's sake: For He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us Gave him up to Death for the Salva­tion of all the Elect. Dickson upon the Epistles.all, how shall he not with Him freely give us all Things, Rom. 8.32. When God provided his Son, he would to magnifie this unspeakable Gift, 2 Cor. 9.15 be­stow a House-full of all other good, that his Family should have Plenty, and eve­ry Day variety. When he parted with his Jewel, he purchased All Things with it. The Price of that dear Blood could not procure less than to buy in all Pro­vision. The Pouring out of Christ's [Page 195]Blood made the Cup of Salvation brim full: Psal. 116.13. So that when we receive of Christ's Merits we receive a full Reward; 2 Joh. 8. we shall not be kept upon Gospel-Grace with Part, when we have Christ that fully paid for All.

3. There be all Things, Reas. 3 because they all spring from God's abundant Love and Goodness: What he gives, he gives with all his Heart, 1 King. 4.29. and he that hath a Large­ness of Heart infinitely more than the Sand upon the Sea-shore, is large in Communicating, and in his Gifts doth not bestow Little Matters on us; Eph. 2.4. But God who is rich in Mercy, for the great Love wherewith he loved us. He put forth his Heart, and then he put forth both Hands for us. The Act of his Will to love us, awakened and call'd up the Mercy of his Nature to appear for us; and from hence where he sets his Love, (as Psal. 91.14. He hath set his Love upon me;) there he provides All Things to shew it. It was such a manner of Love, (1 Joh. 3.1. Behold what manner of Love the Father hath bestowed upon us) that when it ap­pears, makes no less matters of it. All Love overlookt our Defects, and [Page 196]did not think All Things too many.

The Largeness of the Divine Love in making such a Feast ready, may be heightened by a Consideration of his Boun­ty in Common Mercies to us. It is a Royal Act of Grace, that affords us any thing from Court. He is a Benefactor that prepares our own Tables, but the Riches of his Grace proclaim him more Bountiful to furnish the Table of the Lord, Mal. 1.12. and make the Gospel of his Son ready for us. It was Love and Bounty that filled our Cup to the Brim with com­mon Mercies, Psa. 116.13. but it was a larger Love than this that made the Cup of Salvati­on overflow. It was Love and Boun­ty that gave us Corn, that we ever see or hear of the Shocks of it to come in in their Season, Job 5.26. in the Appointed Weeks of the Harvest., Jer. 5.24. but it was a Larger Love that hath given us of the Corn of Heaven. Psa. 78.24. It was Love and Bounty that he hath given for the Use of Man, to drink of the pure Blood of the Grape, (as Wine is called among that Inventory of the Good Things of Men, Deut. 32.14.) but it was infinitely more that he gave us Blood to drink, Rev. 16.6. even the Blood of Jesus Christ. Oh! what a Large [Page 197]Love was that, Isa. 63.3. to give us one that should tread the Wine-press of his Fa­ther's Wrath! This was infinitely be­yond the common Bounty that made our Presses to burst out with New Wine! Prov. 3.10. Oh! Love Emphatical! God so loved the VVorld, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting Life, Joh. 3.16. If God had not left it upon Record, with a so he loved us, we had never had, no nor ever heard of such a Royal En­tertainment, as the Riches of his Grace in Christ. Herein is Love, 1 Joh. 4.10. not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent his Son to be the Propitiation for our sins: Oh! what a Present, what a Gift of Love, 2 Cor. 9.15 what an unspeakable Gift is here! we may call the Gospel with an Emphasis a Love-Feast, a Feast filled in­finitely more with Love than those [...], those other Feasts of Charity, Jude v. 12. which were no more than Banquets of Love: The Ground of these An­cient Love-Feasts was Provision for the Poor Brethren, and preserving mutual Love among themselves. Jenkyn upon Jude. Fol. pag. 111, 112. * These were Suppers used in the Primitive Times, either to mani­fest their Brotherly Union, or for the Comfort and refreshing of the Poor, in Obedience to Christ's Injunction, Luk. 14.12, 13. Dr. Man­ton on Jude. p. 407. Entertain­ments used in the Apostle's Days, and [Page 198]the early Times of the Gospel to express a Love in the Primitive Christians (and all this was but the Love of Creatures) to one another: But the Gospel is a Feast of Charity that is filled with the Love of a Merciful Creator, 1 Pet. 4.19and a Faith­ful Redeemer to us: His Bowels opened, and he shut up nothing from us; His Affections rolled towards us, and so brought in all to make a full Provision for us. It was a Large Love, and therefore a Little Flock feeds in large Pastures. He was a God Psa. 86.5. v. 15. Psa. 103.8. plenteous in Mercy, Hab. 1.16. and therefore we have plenteous Meat.

4. It is the result of the whole Coun­sel of God, Reas. 4 and therefore no wonder to see the Feast large. The Apostle not only calls it VVisdom, but the Multifor­mis, vel, ut alij red­dunt multi [...]aria Sapi­entia. Bo­dius in loc. p. 368. col. 1. Mani­fold VVisdom of God, Eph. 3.10. The Infinite Wisdom of God did exert it self in such a wonderful variety of wise and mysterious Operations, that he hath laid before us a Ʋniversal Entertain­ment. Manifold Wisdom contriving what Dishes to provide, must needs find out Dainties, and prepare a great many. He that was wonderful in Coun­sel is also excellent in working, Isa. 28.29. [Page 199]He who doth all Things according to the Counsel of his own Will, Eph. 1.11. was a God that could search this out, Psa. 44.21. even a Spiritual Feast with All Things ready. The Apostle argues it, Eph. 1.8, 9. VVherein he hath abounded towards us in all wisdom and prudence; — according to his Good pleasure, which he hath purpo­sed in himself. Inculcat, nihil hìc temerè, ni­hil inconsul­to ne (que) for­tuitò conti­gisse. Idem. pag. 369. col. 2dâ. The Lord did nothing rashly, or unadvisedly, or by chance, but carried on the whole Platform of the Gospel by Wise and Prudent Coun­sels. The Wisdom of God had the ma­nagement and ordering of all that was ever made known by the Foolishness of Preaching to us: 1 Cor. 1.21 And this was suffici­ent to find out All Things for us, that his understanding was infinite. Psa. 147.5. A Divine Contrivance could find out all the Dain­ties that any Poor Soul could ever want or wish: I VVisdom dwell with Prudence, and find out Knowledge of witty Inventi­ons, Prov. 8.12. Wisdom searcheth, and discovers to us how his ways are past find­ing out. Rom. 11.33.

5. It is a Provision against All Evils, Reas. 5 and therefore nothing less than All Things would serve us. A Poor Soul that doth find it self to be in Tempta­tions [Page 200](it may be) more abundant, in difficulties above measure, 2 Cor. 11.23. in Afflictions more frequent, in Deaths oft, and tho' long brought up under the means of Grace, yet (perhaps) that Soul is still ready to cry out, I was almost in all evil, in the midst of the Congregation and Assem­bly, to allude to Prov. 5.14. tho' I have lived under Means, yet still I need Mer­cy. Now what would have prevailed to have done such a Soul good, if all Grace had not abounded towards us. You have seen before what a multitude of Cases meet, some in one, some in ano­ther, many or them uniting and centring in the same Person: Now God hath provided All Things, that in our very dividing of the VVord, 2 Tim. 2.15 we might have enough to give to every one a proper Por­tion, and you might all find some. In many things we offend all, Jam. 3.2. and we had need of all, Rom. 5.18. that Judgment might not pass upon all unto Condemnation. We fell in­to all sorts of Misery, and we had need of all sorts of Mercy.

6. It is to procure all Happiness in God's Favour here, Reas. 6 and his Full Presence here­after; and therefore he provides all things accordingly. To invest us in the [Page 201]Possession of all Good, it was necessary there should be the Provision of all Good Things. The Means must be correspon­dent to the End. All Men indeed are not saved, but yet the Gospel is (as the Apostle said he became) All Things, 1 Cor. 9.22 that it might by all means save some: As the Apostle tries to pull this way, and that way, and the other, Zech. 3.2. if he might pluck a Brand out of the Fire, and save it any ways from burning; so the Gospel comes in with this and that and the o­ther Provision, even All Things ready, if it might but with any of them save us. Nothing must be excepted in the means, if we attain the End of our Faith: 1 Pet. 1.9. There must not be one Link of the Chain drop, if we are drawn to Hea­ven. There must be Election to Grace, or there can be no Effectual Calling, no Adoption, no Justification, no San­ctification, no Perseverance in Grace, (I mean the State of it) and there must be all these, or no Glorification after. So that All Things must be provided to begin our Happiness in God's Favour here, and to perfect it in his full Pre­sence hereafter. The Gospel is to ad­vance us, and therefore the All Things [Page 202]are the many steps to it. You can ne­ver ascend from the Bottom to the Top of Jacob's Ladder, Gen. 28.12 if you do not pass thro' many Rounds between.

7. God hath been always providing; Reas. 7 providing before Time, providing in Time, providing early, providing late, even to this moment, and therefore in the issue we must needs have rich Pa­sture. Prov. 4.7. It is impossible but with all his Gettings, he should have got in all Things for us. The Gospel-Blessings he hath brought to your Ears (tho' of ye­sterday in the report) are the result of his Counsels that were of old. Job 8.9. Isa. 25.1.The Anci­ent of Days was not idle, Dan. 7.9. Job 38.4. before the Foundations of the world were laid, but was employ'd in accomplishing our Happiness, Heb. 3.4. after he had built all Things in time. It was before the Sons of the Morning shouted, Job 38.7. that he was making Supper ready. Before the very VVorlds were frramed by the VVord of God, Heb. 11.3. his Grace was a laying in of all Things in order. The Apostle takes great No­tice of the Antiquity and Eldership of Divine Grace, Eph. 1.4. and carries up the Date of it into an Eternity, a parte ante, before the Foundations of the World. [Page 203] Nature is young, but Grace is the First­born of Heaven. The great God was cutting out this work in Eternity, which we see in Time made up into such a Coat of divers colours. Gen. 37.3. It was an Eter­nal Purpose, and therefore such full and various Preparations; according to the Eternal Purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord, Eph. 3.11. It is a Feast so large, because so long a getting.

Reas. 7 They are all Things that God's People may have enough without meddling with any Things forbidden: Luk. 6.38. It is measure running over without a Grain from the Devil's Heap. We have a Full Table from God, that we might not Covet of any Dish he hates: Gen. 2.16.17.—of every Tree of the Garden thou mayst free­ly eat, but of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, thou shalt not eat of it.Mr. Coop­er. Morn. Exer. at Giles's in the Fields. p. 84.He grants him a vast Latitude to eat of all freely, that he need not be strait­ned to eat of that one Tree excepted. So in the Gospel it is all lovely Grace, that you might not cry after one Be­loved Lust. All the Milk and Honey, Num. 13.27. the Spice and Balm, the Fruits and Clusters that grow in Canaan, v. 24. that your Mouths may never water after the Leeks Num. 11.5[Page 204]and Garlick, and stinking Onions, the Diet of the old Man in Egypt. He offers the Fatness of the Olive, Rom. 11.17. that, having tasted it, we may never relish the Fruits of the wild Tree agen. You shall have Bread enough and to spare, Luk. 15.17 that you may not whine for Husks, or cry out for the Trough to be fed among Swine. You shall be provided with Grace and Glory, Psal. 84.11 Things here and Things in Heaven, that you might not take up with, or be de­lighted in things viler than the Earth.

9. It is that all Men's mouths may be stopt. Reas. 9 Oh! it is a Silencing Argument that makes God's own People Dumb, without a reply, when he comes to rec­kon up his Mercies, and their foul Mis­carriages: See it in David, 2 Sam. 12.7, 8, 9. (where God is reproving Da­vid by his Servant Nathan the Prophet, for that scandalous Trespass, after he had gone in to Bathsheba,) Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee King over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the Hand of Saul, and I gave thee thy Master's House, and thy Master's Wives into thy Bosom, and gave thee the House of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would more­over [Page 205]have given unto thee such and such Things, wherefore hast thou despised the Commandment of the Lord, to do evil in his sight, &c. Now here David's mouth was stopt, the Provision that God made in so many things silenc'd him: He could not plead (after God had graci­ously conferr'd so much upon him) for the killing of Ʋriah, the snatching a­way of Bathsheba, and when God had given him the whole Flock of Israel, to usurp and dress of the Poor Man's Ewe. 2 Sam. 12.3, 4.

So likewise it was a silencing Argu­ment to his Church of old, when he comes to reckon up the Mercies he had bestowed, in that Song of his Beloved, touching his Vineyard, Isa. 5.1, 2. He had planted it in a Fruitful Hill, (but the Slip prov'd naught, there was nothing to be reprehended in the Soil, or the Scituation) He had (also) fenc'd it, (his Providence watched over it, his Pro­tection was round about it, he kept out Thieves and Robbers by Night, Obad. v. 5.that would have stole 'till they had enough; he fenc'd out the Wild Beasts from breaking in, and the subtle Foxes of the Desart from creeping thro') he gathered out the Stones thereof, Ezek. 13.4 (he took away such Hindran­ces [Page 206]as were most likely to marr the Soil) he planted it with the choicest Vine, (no People under Heaven that he had chosen to do these Things for but They, no Vine but that which he brought out of Egypt did he ever plant in Canaan; Psal. 80.8. he chosen the Slip, and therefore the choicest, because the chosen Vine) he built a Tower in the midst of it; (he had plac'd a Tower of Defence to save them, in planting his own Presence there; as a Tower in the midst is a ne­cessary Fortification to Command all the Out-works, and cover them under its Protection; yea, he built a Tower to discern all the Coasts round, and as a Watch-tower to observe all Enemies Postures, or Approaches towards it) he had also made a Wine-press therein; (the very Afflictions he order'd were all de­sign'd in mercy, to press out and save the Liquor of their ripe Grapes, if they had brought forth any) insomuch that when God queries and expostulates here­on with them, it stopt all their mouths. The whole House of Judah, and the In­habitants of Jerusalem are all silenc'd, when God challengeth the Vineyard for their Wild Grapes; every one hereby [Page 207]came to be Convicted in his own Con­science, Joh. 8.9. and could make no reply to God.

Now in the same manner these all things are provided in the Gospel to stop Sinner's mouths, who dare pro­voke him to Displeasure, after all that God hath made ready. I have done thus and thus for thee, Sinner, and made a Large Feast to encourage thee to become my Guest; and what? dost thou kick at my Sacrifice, 1 Sam. 2.29. and slight all my Kindness? I have sent in Provision, and serv'd up one Course after another, and wilt thou despise Mercy, and turn all my Grace to wantonness? Oh! Jude v. 4. it will shut the mouths of carnal, loose Pro­fessors, that God's Hand hath been so open towards them, Rom. 3.19. lat. pt. That every Mouth may be stopped, and all the World may become Guilty before God. Hadst thou trampled upon One Grace, or Two Graces of the Spirit of God pro­vided, thou hadst had of the Swine in thee, Eph. 3.10. but to trample upon the Manifold Grace, all the Grace of God at once, and tread under the Pearl of Price, Oh! Mat. 13.46 what a cloven-footed Swine art thou! God provides all Things to stop all Sin­ners [Page 208]Mouths: Indeed Sinners are natu­rally talkative, and think they have a great deal to say for themselves; in the Parable they all began to make excuse, Luk. 14.18. but however when all things are so openly provided, they can have no cloak for their sin. Joh. 15.22 God now writes it over the Door of their Lips, therefore thou art inexcusable Oh Man, Rom. 2.1. They who fancy they have enough to plead for themselves, will find God hath more, even all to put to silence the Ignorance of Foolish Men; 1 Pet. 2.15 Psal. 39.2. Mat. 26.73 or, if they are not dumb with silence, their very speech will bewray them, Luk. 19.22. Out of thy own mouth will I judge thee. If all things should not work upon thee, yet God will have them all Preacht, that thou mayst be one of them whose Mouths must be stopt. [...], [...]re occlusus est. Angl. He was muzled, as still in the mouth, as a Beast that hath a Bit put into him, or a muzzle laid upon him. Luk. 10.42 And he was speechless, Matth. 22.12. He was so, who thought it so slight a matter to be found where All Things were ready, tho' he wanted the one thing needful. In short, the more things there are in the Gospel, the few­er words such will have to say for them­selves, Isa. 53.6. that turn each one to his way.

Lastly, Reas. 10 All Things are provided, that God may be admir'd and ador'd by the [Page 209]Saints to all Eternity. A rich and plen­tiful Gospel shall cause these to sing, while it makes others silent. The Saints shall stand up for ever in Admiration of this Supper of the Gospel, when they are got to that other Marriage-Supper of the Lamb. Rev. 19.9. And therefore the Second Coming of Christ (when he shall come in the Clouds of Heaven) is set forth by this Blessed Description, Mat. 24.30 to be glorifyed in his Saints, and to be admir'd in all them that believe, 2 Thes. 1.10. As Christ's Personal Glory was a Ray that Shone from Everlasting, Joh. 17.5. Prov. 8.23, &c. so Christ's Sclater on the Thessaloni­ans. Social Glory (or the Glory of the Head in Fellowship and Conjunction with the Members) shall result to his Person from the Prais­es of the Elect. The Saints, Rev. 15.2, 3. having the Harps of God, will admire him in the Song of Moses, and in the Song of the Lamb for ever: Yea, the Saints shall then admire and adore him for those Things which the Angels already look into, 1 Pet. 1.12. last words.

The Eighth Thing is to lay open what Hinderances do make it unto many ineffectu­al. VIII. The Feast of the Gospel meets with [Page 210]very many. Now that we may not suffer any of these Hinderances to slip a­way in the Crowd without Notice, it will be convenient to seize as many as we find, by stopping them at these Two Doors, and shewing first what Hinderan­ces do make the Gospel wholly ineffe­ctual to Sinners; and secondly what Hin­derances peculiar do make it in part to be ineffectual to Saints.

I First, The Hinderances of Sinners that render this Feast of the Gospel ineffe­ctual to Them are numerous, no less than these Eighteen. 1. Insensibleness of the Things of God. 2. Inward Captivity of the Mind. 3. Ignorance. 4. Obstina­cy. 5. Other Banquets. 6. The Cares of this Life. 7. Slothfulness. 8. Prejudice. 9. The General Disesteem which the Go­spel meets with in the World. 10. Bad Company. 11. Carnal Relations. 12. False Teachers. 13. A Conceit of Self-Fulness. 14. Scandals. 15. Carnal Disappointment. 16. Plain dealing. 17. Sometimes open Persecution. 18. God's Righteous Indura­tion, his hardning and giving them up judicially.

First, 1 Hin­derance. Insensibleness of the Things of God, or a Spiritual Death in sin. If we [Page 211]Preach to a Company of Moral Stocks, that are no more affected with the Do­ctrines of the true God, than if we had Preacht up Stocks, and Dumb Idols, and the Doctrine of Vanities, alas! Jer. 10.8. what doth it profit? The Gospel indeed hath En­livening Provisions, as hath been shewn, but there be many nevertheless Dead in Sin, Jam. 2.16. that have not yet received them. Oh! how do we Preach still, as if the Assembly were a Golgotha, Mat. 27.33a Place of Dead Men's Skulls! alas! how small is the inner in comparison of the outer Court among us! how many come to Meetings, that never met with God! how many Graves have the Trumpet sound­ed over, Rev. 20.13 that never yet have opened and given up their Dead! we wait to see that Question graciously resolved in the Affir­mative, Psa. 88.10. shall the Dead arise and praise thee? Some, blessed be the Lord, are made Living Men, because he lives, Joh. 14.19they do, and shall live also. But how do we Preach Christ Jesus the Resurrection to a great many others that never found Life! chap. 11.25 that were never yet awakened! never sensible, never stirred! never had the Beginnings of any Good Work up­on them! These are Dead, Rom. 5.15. [Page 212] Thro' the offence of one, many be Dead; Dead in Sins, Eph. 2.5. Now All Things to him that is insensible, or not spiritu­ally risen from the Dead, are nothing. So long as a Man is Stupid, there comes not a Sigh, or ever one Groan, or Tear from him. Acts 2.37. You must be prickt at the Heart before the Liquor runs: 'Till then, no Pantings, no Desires, no Enquiries, no melting Warmth, no Motions of the Soul towards God. If thou art a meer Carkass in Divinity, or Profession with thy Pulse gone, thine Affections lost, thy Breath stopt, and thou art found but just where Adam (our first Father that sinned) left thee: Isa. 43.27. This will be an insuperable Hinderance to thee, 2 Thes. 2.7 'till it be taken out of the way. And yet this is the Condition, this is the State of eve­ry one by Nature.

Secondly, 2 Hindran. An inward Captivity of the Soul. 1. Under Sin. And 2. By the God of this World.

1. Captivity under Sin is a Hinderance to the Gospel-Feast. If a Man be not in such a stupid, blockish Cafe, as to remain grossly Dead, and altogether in­sensible of the Things of God, but sup­pose him some ways Apprehensive, brisk [Page 213]and lively in his Temper and Deport­ment; yet if sin commands him, he is but a merry Slave still, and a stranger to Gospel-Grace: For so long as a Man is overcome of the evil that doth so easi­ly beset him, Heb. 12.1. he is made a True Slave to it, 2 Pet. 2.19. latter part. Of whom a Man is overcome, of the same is he brought in Bondage: His Iniquities seize him, and carry him off as a Bond-slave, without his own Resistance: A Lust sets upon the Soul and ravisheth her, and whether it finds her in the House, or in the Field, she never like the Be­trothed DamselNisbet upon Peter. Deut. 22.24.Cryed to Christ for Help. This is an easie Conquest, a voluntary Surrender, a Running into the Enemy's Hand. Now 'tis no wonder, that Men are hindred from the Things of God, when their Iniquities withhold Good Things from them; your Iniquities have separa­ted between you and your God, and your sins have hid his Face from you — Isa. 59.2. Sin like a mighty Cord draws the Wicked more and more from God, and then winds so fast about them, they can make no return; Sin at last will hold them in the snare, notwith­standing all their faint Wishings and Would­ings, as some ex­press it. Velleityes to [Page 214]escape, Prov. 5.22. whether they will or no. His own Iniquities shall take the wicked him­self, and he shall be holden with the Cords of his sins. Men first give way to sin, and at last sin Peccata quae nexu­isti, instar Retium & Tendicula­rum sunt, quae vin­ctum te, & constrictum tenebunt, ut te expedire nequeas. Cartwright in loc. twines so close about them, they can never get free, or, by all the Art and Endeavours they use, make it loose its hold. Natural Consci­ence at first makes them start, while it hath beheld how the Snare hath caught them, but afterwards Conscience wasts, and they sin under the Dominion of the Tyrant with more Greedy Delight than ever. This is most notably represented in the Prophet, Isa. 5.18. Wo unto them that draw Iniquity with Cords of Vanity, and sin as it were with a Cart-rope. The Holy Ghost seemeth to speak there of the brisk, active Servants of Sin, who scorn with Ahab to serve it a little, [...] Kings 10.18. but with Jehu will serve it much, as Jehu counter­feits in the Case of Baal's Priests. That draw Iniquity with Cords.] There is a Generation of Active Sinners in the World, that will bring wickedness in by the Hand, if a Temptation be slow-pac'd, and doth not come fast enough alone, or present it self quickly: If Sin with­out should be long a coming, the wic­kedness [Page 215]of their Hearts is impatient, and will go out half way to meet it, Prov. 4.16 for they sleep not except they have done mis­chief; and their sleep is taken away unless they cause some to fall; they hate either to go to Bed, or to rise without sin with them. And sin as it were with a Cart-rope.] Mr. Pool. Engl. An­notations. As Beasts commonly do that draw Carts with Ropes. Arth. Jackson. ‘Whilst others are drawn away to sin, they draw sin upon themselves. It denotes the Great Pains they take, and their toilsom endeavours they use with all possible Eagerness to accomplish what they have contrived.’ They will pull hard, like a Man at a Cart-rope, when he is binding Sheaves in the Field, ra­ther than suffer sin to lye loose upon them, and hazard its dropping off. Now these in this mighty strugling with the Cord, are caught fast in it, and lye bound worse than Samson with the New Ropes, that if they would, they cannot get away. When Sin hath Dominion over them, they are made to do its Drudgery. The Will of the Flesh is put in opposition to the Will of God. Joh. 1.13. If sin therefore reign in your mortal Body, that you should obey it in the Lusts thereof, Rom. 6.12. His [Page 216]Servants ye are, to whom you obey, v. 16. And if you are the Slaves of sin, you are no Subjects of the King that hath made this Gospel-Supper ready, nor will you be able 'till freed to meddle with it.

2. Captivity under the God of this World is also a Hinderance to the Gospel-Feast. The Devil hates the Gospel, and he will allow none of his to love it. He keeps them as much as possible under Blindness, least if they see the light, they should break loose: 'Tis therefore ascri­bed to the Malignant Influence of the god of this World to blind wicked Men, 2 Cor. 4.4. In whom the god of this World hath blinded the minds of them which be­lieve not, least the Light of the Glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the Image of God, should shine into them. If the Devil did not keep his Prison-windows, as well as his Prison-Doors fast, his Prisoners would not lye contented, or be so quiet in their Place, to see by Christ's Light this Black Gaoler buckle on their Chain. Now this Blinding Power which he hath over them follows upon their Captivity they are in under him; for when God leaves them in his Hand, Satan uses them at [Page 217]his own Pleasure: He is a Tyrant where­ever he is a Conquerour, and deals with his Slaves as Nebuchadnezzar with Ze­dikiah, when he carries them Captive, he binds them in Fetters, Jer. 39.7. and puts out their Eyes: And tho' they cannot see, they shall be still made to work, for he deals with them too as the Philistines did with Samson, they must grind in his Prison-house, Judg. 16.21. (to allude to those words literally, tho' in Samson we may under­stand them, as See Dr. Smith's Pourtrai­cture of Old Age. p. 116. some do, Metaphori­cally, to represent how he did perform the Offices of Nature, as eating, drink­ing, and being nourished there, &c.) Oh! there's many an old Slave of the Devil's kept so hard under a Spiritual Chain, that they can't stir a Foot to partake of this Feast. Poor Sinners that have been Char­nock's Dis­courses. The First Volume. p. 68. as it were the Electors of him to the Government, and by their sin made him the god of this World, have chosen a mighty Tyrant over them, that now it may be they are so taken Captive by him at his Will, 2 Tim. 2.26. that he will not let them go their Chain's length to any means of Grace. This is another mighty Hinderance, which makes Gospel-Grace oftentimes very ineffectual to Men.

Thirdly, 3 Hindran. Ignorance, and Carnal Appre­hensions of the Things of God. Men do naturally want Illumination, and mistake the very Notions of the Grace of God sometimes, but, if they hit upon right Notions, they may still fall short of an Experimental Acquaintance with those Things, having their Ʋnderstanding dark­ned, Eph. 4.18. or [...]. Gr. darkned in their Intellectuals, obscur'd and bemisted in their Reasoning Faculty, they are brought into corrupt and deceitful Argumentati­ons: The Natural Man hath little other Logick besides what those Two corrupt Tutors, the Devil and his own Heart, read him, that is made all up of Fallacy, and makes him conclude he is safe, be­cause he sees no hurt. The Apostle hath given a very Faithful and clear account of it, 1 Cor. 2.14. The Natural Man re­ceiveth not the Things of the Spirit of God, for they are Foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. The Natural Man.] It is not the Carnal Man, as some would strenuously try to render it, but the [...], is one that hath all that is or can be derived from the first Adam, one en­dowed with a Ra­tional Soul, and who hath the use and exercise of all its Ra­tional Fa­culties. Dr. Owen of the Spi­rit. p. 217. Animal, or Souly Man, as the word im­ports; i. e. it is rather the Man that hath a Principle of Fleshly Wisdom to [Page 219] guide him, than the Man that hath on­ly Carnal Affections to over-ballast him; but tho' he be ( [...]) a Man of ne­ver so great a Soul, one of a piercing insight to reach and perceive other Things, a clear-ey'd Observer in all hu­mane Speculations, yet 'tis otherwise when he hath the Things of God before him; for without a Spiritual Apprehen­sion superadded to his most sublimated Reason, and exquisite Knowledge in Phi­losophy and Politer Learning, he receives them not, [...], he doth not take, or apprehend them; you may reach them out to him, but he cannot take them with one of his Fingers: For the words [not receiveth] do imply (as a Char­nock's Dis­courses. 2d. Vol. pag. 497. Learn­ed Man observes) an offer of those Things. Men's Intellectuals are blind; Sinners naturally argue wrong, and from thence in their Actions run to Crooked ways. Mr. Matth. Mead, Good of Early O­bedience. p. 319. ‘A Dark Mind is ever ac­companyed with a Disobedient Heart; where there is no sharing in the Light of Christ, there can be no subjection to the Law of Christ.’ Now this Hin­derance may be opened under a Four­fold Division in reference to the Gospel-Feast.

1. Ignorance of the Invitation that calls, is a Hinderance. Poor Sinners dis­cern not what Grace utters, when it tells them how Bowels of Mercy yearn over them. They mistake God's Voice for a Poor mortal Man's, like Samuel while a young Stripling, that took God's Voice for Eli's, 1 Sam. 3.6. Here am I, for thou didst call me. The Lord had called him in the 4th. Verse, Samuel; and Sa­muel misunderstands; the Lord calls him again in the 6th. Verse, and still Samuel mistakes the Voice, for Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the Word of the Lord yet revealed to him. Thus, under the Gospel, if Men have an outward with­out an inward Call, they may hear a Sound, but know not the meaning of the Voice; if there be not a Divine Light shining, 1 Cor. 14.11. the Messenger may be as a Bar­barian speaking. Sinners understand not an Ambassadour of God, 'till the Spirit interpret that Language in which he speaks to them. Who then is the bet­ter for a Feast, that utterly misunder­stands and mistakes the Invitation? what signifies Spiritual Provision, when Men have Carnal Thoughts about, and are meer Strangers to, a saving Call to [Page 221]take it? no wonder, if it hinders the Banquet, when you are (any of you) held back for want of knowing that sweet and inviting Call that bids you.

2. Ignorance of the Master of the Feast that provides, is a Hinderance thereun­to. Sinners do not know the great God that makes it. When the World have thought themselves wisest, yet still the World by Wisdom knew not God, 1 Cor. 1.21. They are meer Strangers to the Action of God the Father in sending Christ into the World with these Pro­visions. The King sends his Servant, or this Messenger of the Covenant, Mal. 3.1. to treat with Poor Sinners, and because his Deity was vail'd with Flesh, Flesh and Blood did not know him. Dr. Owen. Me­ditations and Dis­courses on the Glory of Christ. pag. 79. A very Learned and. Holy Man hath thus remarkt it, ‘The World was so far from looking on him as the True God, that it believ'd him not to be a Good Man. Nay, the Father and the Son were both unknown alike, Joh. 8.19. middle pt. Jesus answered, ye neither know me, nor my Father. Alas! what was a Spi­ritual Feast to a Poor, Ignorant and Car­nal Generation, that neither knew God who provided it, nor Jesus Christ that [Page 222]came from him with it. So Joh. 4.10. If thou knewest Who it is that saith unto thee, Give me to drink; speaking there to the Samaritaness who was Ignorant of him that brought the Provision of the Gospel with him: Christ had there to do with a Poor, Ignorant Woman, that took him for no more than a common Jew, with whom such Samaritans as she had no Dealings, v. 9. How is it that thou being a Jew, askest Drink of me that am a Woman of Samaria, for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans? Alas! so long as she continued Ignorant of Christ, she was never the better for all that Living Water in him! tho' it was Jesus, he would not save her, so long as she lookt upon him as a meer Jew, and wanted an Eye to look thro' the Vail of his Flesh, Heb. 10.20 and by Faith see the Son of God in him. Thus, Sinners that have heard of the Gospel will be hindred from partaking of it, so long as they dis­cern not by Faith who provides it. God's Ministers in the Pulpit may say to Sin­ners, Come; God's People may be try­ing to deal with them too in private, and both to see, if they can perswade them into a Love with the ways of Sion; [Page 223]but if Sinners are still Ignorant of Jesus Christ who speaks by his Friends to them, this Feast is an Entertainment that is likely to do no good upon them. Men are apt to conclude we go about to Proselyte them to a Party, Act. 20.30. and draw Dis­ciples after us, and thus it will be 'till they come to believe on Christ, thro' our words to them. And therefore Christ prays for all that should see their Master's Mind in the Servant's Message, Joh. 17.20. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me thro' their Word. Not believe on you, tho' thro' your words on Me. 'Tis your Message, but my express Will.

3. Ignorance of the Provisions made ready is a Hinderance to them. Men are Fools and Blind, Mat. 23.17 and don't see what is set before them, no more than who it is that hath got it served Up. Christ al­so reprehends this piece of Ignorance in the same Woman of Samaria, Joh. 4.10. If thou knewest the Gift of God. An Ignorance of what Christ hath, as well as of what Christ is, is an ordinary and frequent Ground of the Sinners Miscar­riage to him. If thou knewest the Gift.] Were thine Heart sensible of the Grace [Page 224]that is now brought so nigh at Hand, it would make it leap within thee, and thou wouldst not rest 'till matters were at another pass with thee. Alas! if you don't know the Gift in the Gospel, you will partake of no Gospel-Grace by it. If you are Ignorant of the Table he hath prepar'd, you will never sit at Meat. If Men have low, carnal Conceits of the Good Things of God, and carry their Thoughts no further than the Letter, when the Spirit speaks herein, it will beget ordinary Conceptions in the Mind, and prove an Hinderance to the Gospel. There will be no Spiritual Application of the Substance, so long as our Thoughts rest and terminate superficially upon some Corporeal Image: This was the Grand Miscarriage of a great many Followers of our Lord, who seem'd to Covet to wait upon him in a Body, with a great deal of Religious Zeal and Forwardness. Our Blessed Lord had Preacht this Do­ctrine of a spiritual Repast, and mani­fested himself to be the Provision which the Soul by Faith must live upon; whereas it begat only in the Or, Ca­pernaites. Jews a gross Conceit of some Literal and Cor­poreal Banquet that Christ aimed at, [Page 225]and rais'd in them a certain Question even to Indignation, as they strove a­mong themselves, saying, How can this Man give us his Flesh to eat? Joh. 6.52. insomuch that Christ taxeth their Igno­rance, by expounding to them his own Doctrine, v. 63. latter pt. The words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit; as if he had said, I have been upon a spiritual Subject, but you have not understood me: I have spoken of a Feast to nou­rish you inwardly, but it is your own Ignorant Fancy that suggests the Cor­poreal Images of other Meats and Drinks, as when ye did eat of the Loaves and were filled, v. 26. Now when the Gospel in the Matters of it is ignorantly mis-inter­preted, it becomes a like Hinderance to it. If it be not apprehended and expe­rienc'd a Feast of the Soul, we shall rest in outward Conveyances, and lose the Kernel by holding fast the Shell. It will be but as if we made Provision for the Flesh, Rom. 13.14. if we receive it not as a Feast of the Renewed Mind, Joh. 4.32. which our Flesh knows not of. We must be spiritually enlightned to know the Things that are given to us of God; 1 Cor. 2.12 for He that is spiri­tual judgeth all things, 1 Cor. 2.15. Be­sides, [Page 226]Ignorance of Gospel-Provisions cau­ses Men to turn the Truth of God into a Lye, and embrace an Error instead of the Truth as it is in Jesus. Eph. 4.21. This is a Hinderance therefore to the Holy Feast we speak of. You are like to be fed with no other Mannah than that which will breed Worms and stink, Exod. 16.20. if you are Ig­norant of the True Bread.

4. Ignorance of the Way by which every one must come, is likewise a Hinderance that keeps from these Provisions. If you take it as a sufficient Act to put forth a little of your own Strength towards God, and rest in Dead Works, it will hin­der your Benefit by the Gospel-Enter­tainment. You must throw your selves upon Christ as Sinners, this is your first Work, to come as you are, and venture upon the Son of God, and af­terwards God's Spirit gradually works such Qualifications that you may come then as Sons and Daughters. 2 Cor. 6.18. The Sub­stance of this is represented in that Di­rectory for Conversion which Christ taught the Jews, Joh. 6.28.29. Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, this is the [Page 227]work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. It is to believe, and not properly to Men indeed by Nature retain such an Impression of the first Covenant of Works, that they know no way of Acceptance before God, but by the way of Works. Hutche­son upon John. work. Such as sit down upon outward Performan­ces, without going forth to Jesus Christ to rely on him by Faith, do assuredly sit upon Thorns, tho' a little slight Cover­ing they have woven, or patcht toge­ther from Works that cometh betwixt, Job 36.32. may at present bear off their Pricking, that now they feel no smart. Faith it self indeed is a Work, but doth not justifie as a * In opposition to all Works, Christ leads them to this one Work, that they believe. And his calling it a Work, doth not import that Faith as a Work doth justifie, for it is only the Hand to receive Christ who is our Righteousness: But he gives it this Name, speaking in their own Terms who doted on Works, and so the Do­ctrine of Faith is called a Law, Rom. 3 27. because the Jews boasted so much of the Law. Hutcheson up­on John. pag. 102. Work: It justifies no otherwise than as it apprehends a justify­ing Object, and it is a saving Work, no otherwise than as it fastens and relies upon a saving Worker. Hence it cometh to pass, that with­out Faith it is impossible to please God, Heb. 11.6. Now Ignorance of this way to the Provisions in Christ, makes them unto many so ineffectual.

If you think it an easie matter to thrust [Page 228]in to God any how, without Christ as your Way, his Word as your Rule, and his Spirit as your Guide, you will profit little by the Gospel, so long as such a corrupt perswasion leads you: Joh. 14.6. I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. The Way.] No access, or coming unto the Father but by me. The Truth.] No Doctrine can be sound, that leads off from me. The Life.] You will ne­ver enter into Life, Mat. 19.17 if you enter not in by me, as the Door, and unto me as the Provision. Again, The Word must be your Rule, Psal. 119.133. Order my Steps in thy Word. Si ex­tra Legem tuam ince­do, non est Stabile so­lum sub Pe­dibus meis, coeno de­mergor. Ri­vet. Via vi­tae, seu me­dit. in Psat. 119. ope­rûm vol. 2do. p. 472 If I step besides thy Law, (saith the Learned Rivet) I tread where the Ground will not bear my Feet, and where I am over Head and Ears in Dirt. Tho' Christ is the Way, yet we should never know what Steps to take to or in him, 'till the Word lays Christ forth, and discovers each of them to us. So for the Spirit, it's Guidance is necessary: The Spirit of God hath branded it as Foolishness in those that follow their own Spirit. Ezek. 13.3 There is no Spi­rit fit to be our Guide but His. Thy Spirit is Good, lead me into the Land of uprightness, Psal. 143.10. Thy Spirit is [Page 229]good, lead me, or, as Tuo spi­ritu bono deduc me. Junius. some read it, By thy Good Spirit lead me. If we had Christ as the Way, and his Word as the Rule too, yet if we had not the Spi­rit as our Guide, we should not by rea­son of the Darkness in us and upon us, see the Straitness and Perfection of the Rule before us, or know of our selves how at any Time to use it. There is an absolute need of the Spirit's Guid­ance after Conversion, hence is that of the Apostle inculcated, Walk in the Spi­rit, Gal. 5.16, 25. and walk after the Spi­rit, Rom. 8.1. and that Phrase, if ye be led by the Spirit, Gal. 5.18. all which do import a submitting to the Con­duct of the Spirit, as our Guide. And if there be a need of the Spirit for Saints, after they have received Christ, be sure there is a necessity of the Spirit's Guid­ance for Sinners to bring them in to Christ. Well, Ignorance of and Unac­quaintedness with the way of the Lord, must needs be an Hinderance to the Feast of the Lord, that makes Sinners desire none of his Dainties. That is the Third Hinderance.

Fourthly, Obstinacy, 4 Hindran. or an obstinate Aversion to the Things of God. The Pa­rable [Page 230]gives this account of it, Matth. 22.3. that when the King had sent to call them that were bidden to the Sup­per, they would not come. Alas! if Men will become their own Hinderers, no wonder that the Gospel proves ineffectu­al. If they will choose rather to starve than eat, how can a Feast preserve or relieve such as these? and yet this is the wretched and deplorable Case of Sin­ners, their Hearts do naturally stand off from God, therefore they say unto God, Depart from us, for we desire not the Know­ledge of thy ways, Job 21.14. There is a mighty Stubbornness and Rebellion in the minds of Men that God takes Notice of, this was expresly laid open in the Jews, Isa. 48.4. I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy Neck is an Iron Sinew, and thy Brow brass. Sinners will choose Poverty and despise Riches, run into Misery and forsake their own Mercy. Jonah 2.8. The Gospel would pity, relieve and save them, but they are a stiff necked Generation that will not turn and live. Ezek. 18.23. v. 32. It would feed them, but they will rather dye of spi­ritual Hunger; it would cloath them, but they will rather to Hell naked, than go with Christ's Robe to Heaven. They will [Page 231]rot in their Chains before they will stoop to choose a Free Release, and will ven­ture to fall Blindfold into the Ditch, Mat. 15 14 Rev. 3.18. Joh. 9.7. ra­ther than anoint with Eye-salve, or wash in the Pool of Siloam.

Fifthly, Other Feasts besides. 5 Hindran. Tho' in the Gospel it is the Supper of the great God, yet in eating, Sinners have taken every one his own Supper before it, 1 Cor. 11.21. as the Apostle speaketh of the Lord's Supper. They will have Banquets to corrupt the Flesh, but none of that Holy Diet which might save their Spirits in the Day of the Lord Jesus. Sinners will snatch espe­cially at these Three, the Lust of the Flesh, 1 Cor. 5.5.the Lust of the Eyes, and the Pride of Life, 1 Joh. 2.16. The World that reject a Feast provided by Father, Son and Spi­rit, yet will banquet with their own Hec Tria pro trino numine mundus ha­bet.Trinity.

1. The Lust of the Flesh is a Banquet with Sinners that obstructs the Gospel-Feast. Lusts of the Flesh are such Plea­sures, says Coton upon the 1 Epist. of John. one, as Men find in Meat and Drink, or Women; either Intem­perance or Incontinence. And then a­gain, Pleasures, whether we consider them as gross or vain, the Pleasures of the Body or the Mind, do hinder the [Page 232]Efficacy of Divine Provisions.

1. Gross and Filthy Pleasures, or Flesh­ly Lusts (as the Apostle Peter calls them) that War against the Soul, 1 Pet. 2.11. * [...]. Greek T. [...]. Pleasure is a Net that entangles ungod­ly Men. Fleshly Con­cupiscences the Original reads it, alluding to that inbred Appetite of the old Man which goes forth after Morsels roasted at the Fire of Lust, and took off the De­vil's Spit. Abstain, saith the Holy Ghost, from these. Rom. 1.26The Lust of the Flesh is a bad Appetite, a vile Affection, that co­vers to be a Partaker with Devils, and rejects Angels Food. Psa. 78.25. It will find out a Banquet that quite spoils the Feast. I may say here of the whole Gospel, as the Apostle doth of the Lord's Supper in a Part of it, 1 Cor. 10.21. Ye cannot drink the Cup of the Lord and the Cup of Devils; ye can­not be Partakers of the Lords Table and the Table of Devils. Carnal Concu­piscence that eats the Flesh as it were Fire, Jam. 5.3. will breed no other Appetite than that which sups with Venus, Prov. 7 27. and then lodgeth her Guests in That which wic­ked Men have in their Lusts is but like Tickling of the Itchy Place, which leaveth more smart afterwards. Anthon. Burgess. Sp. Refininings, part 2d, pag. 94. (mihi) Fol.Hell.

So likewise the gross * Prov. 21.17. He that loveth Pleasure shall be a Poor Man. Gaudium scilicet cibi & potûs, voluptates amat corporis. Mercer. Pleasures of Intemperance in the Acts of Gluttony and Drunkenness, as sure as those of Incontinency in the Acts of Whoredom and Fornicati­on, or motions towards Uncleanness, do hurt the Gospel-Feast. The Guests (who have Animus in patinis, their mind running upon Dishes, or) whose God is their belly, Phil. 3.19. (such as pour down Meat-offerings and Drink-offerings to an Idol, Rom. 16.18. Psa. 16.4. Heb. 11.40 Isa. 28.8. and serve their own Belly) will not hasten after another God that hath provided some better Thing. Isa. 28.8. The Tables that are full of Vomit have no Guests about them, Prov. 30.12. that 'till they are washed from their Filthiness, do ever sup with Christ. Sick Tables, Sick with Bottles of Wine, Hos. 7.5. have none well enough for Him. The Guests at these Tables, says Mr. Cruso. Ten­der Con­science. pag. 88. a Writer (who hath psctur'd such spotted Beasts in their own Native Colours) are so many Filthy Bruits oftentimes in the shape of Reaso­nable Men. Alas! these unclean Birds (to which they may be also compared) are rather for They are such Beastly Creatures, 'tis a hard matter to speak of them in cleanly Terms. Sir William Waller's Meditations, p. 47. Carrion upon a Dung­hill [Page 234]than be with the Holy Doves to pick up the finest of the Wheat. The Swine will not exchange their Acorns and their Trough for the greatest Festival in the World. 1 Cor. 15.32. Voluptuous Epicures had rather eat and drink of Meats and Drinks for the Belly, tho' to morrow they dye, than partake of Gospel-Grace, and live with God for ever. All Inordinacy, as a Mr. Sam Lee. Joy of Faith. pag. 176, 177. Learned Man expresseth it in ventre & sub ventre, whether Intemperance or Uncleanness, will make the Sensua­list very sparing, and the more niggard­ly in the Things of God.

2. Vain Pleasures that cannot profit do render the Gospel to many ineffectu­al. They are sensual Delights and not spiritual (tho' men by an Art may sift them finer) which do relish with the Carnal Gust of Man. Some Light Spi­rits had rather feed upon Frothy Plea­sures than the solid Food of Christians. A Feast for Conversion will be of no ac­count with them 'till they are delivered from their vain Conversation. 1 Pet. 1.18. They that spend their Years in Pleasures, will ac­count one Day at a Banquet in God's Courts a Burden. They who are given to Pleasures, Isa. 47.8. like the Chaldeans, will [Page 235]not carry it to the Gospel-Feast as Christians. Lovers of Pleasures, 2 Tim. 3.4. [...]. The Friends of it will be Enemies to God and his Provision for their vain Pleasure's sake. If Sinners covet to en­joy the Pleasures of sin for a season, Heb. 11.25 they will cast off the Thoughts of those Plea­sures at God's Right Hand for ever. Psa. 16.11. So long as they walk in the Vanity of their Mind, Eph. 4.17. they will never pitch upon Food that shall make them more solid. Such Trash shook into their Laps will take off their Mind from the very Tree of Life. Rev. 22.2. This as to the Lust of the Flesh.

2. The Lust of the Eyes is a Banquet with Sinners that obstructs the Gospel-Feast. This Lust of the Eye, say There are Lusts in the Fancy, I take it that is the meaning of John, 1 Joh. 2.16. — Lust of the Eyes. So Eccles. 11.9. Rejoyce Oh young Man (because these are fullest of Fancy) — and walk — in the sight of thine Eyes. Dr. Tho. Goodwyn. Vol. 2d. part 2d. pag. 92. some, is Fancy. Others do understand by it more particularly that Piece of Concupiscence seated in the Eye, which cannot be satis­fyed without the Object. Lusts of the Eye, because Cotton upon John. the Eye is only satisfy­ed with them. Covetous­ness begins at the Eye. Eve had a sight of the Tempting Object, and then sought to embrace it. When the Woman saw [Page 236]that the Tree was good for Food, and that it was pleasant to the Eyes, she took of the Fruit thereof, Gen. 3.6. Satanas incepit [...] & successivè [...] & [...] invasit. Jun. Praelect. in Gen. Col. 74. The Devil first set up­on her Reasonable Faculty, suggests a mighty Preroga­tive of Divine Empire to the Eye of her mind, ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil, Gen. 3.5. and then sets up­on her desiring Faculty, shews her an Ap­ple with a Fair Skin, but a Foul Core, to delude and captivate her other Eye of Sense. And so it far'd with Achan, Josh. 7.21. that when he saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish Garment, and two hundred shekels of Silver, and a wedge of Gold of fifty shekels weight, then he coveted them and took them. The En­tertainment therefore which this Lust of the Eye finds out abroad, takes off Sinners from the Provisions of Gospel-Grace: When Men would fain fill their Belly with encrease, snatching on the Right Hand and on the Left, to gather with their Hand what a covetous Eye beholds, and greedily to hoard up what they see, they will lay up no Treasures in Heaven. Mat. 19.21 Carnal Profit is a Banquet that makes the wordly Eater thereof un­dervalue [Page 237]and contemn Spiritual Good. A Poor Worldling that makes to himself a Feast of Wealth, could live with con­tent tho' there were a Famine of God's Word: He that looks so much upon the smiles of Gain, can see no Gain in God­liness. 1 Tim. 6.6. He that rolls the World so de­lightfully in his Fancy, will roll no o­ther Morsel under his Tongue, than from such a Banquet as his Fleshly Eyes have seen. The Gospel will not fill the Heart, where it meets with an evil Eye that is not fill'd with seeing. Eccles. 1.8.

3. The Pride of Life is a Banquet that obstructs the Gospel-Feast, and that two ways; as it puffeth up 1. With Ap­plause. And, 2. With Worldly Pomp.

1. As it puffs men up with Applause. The Ambition of Simon Magus that would be known to be [...]. some Body, or, as we read it in our Translation, giving out that himself was some great one, Act. 8.9. is not a Little one, among the Hin­derances that obstruct the Gospel-Feast from some. When Men affect their own Carnal Excellencies, they feed at home, and leave the Gospel-Feast to others. A Man's Affectation of Carnal Praise sets so high an Esteem upon his own worth, [Page 238]that he thinks the Gospel to be little worth to him. Applause blows Men up with Conceits, and instead of eating at a Feast, turns them into spiritual Ephraim pascit ventum & sequitur Eurum, Hos. 12.1. quo sensu homines va­nos & inanes, ambitionis man­cipia & van [...]e Gloriae appe­tentes, frivolis ac inanibus Studiis occupatos, vocamus Chameleontes, & dicimus aere anrâqa; pasci. Rivet in loc. Cha­meleons, 'till they are made as Ephraim that feedeth up­on wind. He that lives up­on this Air, hath a Blad­der must be prickt, before he will take a Plenteous Meal down. Indeeed he that lives in Religion upon Good words and fair Speech­es, Rom. 16.18. or is contented with the Commen­dation of a Professor that owns, or of a Preacher that teacheth Christ, without being in him, Rev. 3.20. and supping with him, is but like Him that dines or sups upon the White of an Egg, as Job speaks, in which he shall find no Tast, Job 6.6. and yet He that can live upon such a Hungry Banquet, will despise the Gospel-Feast. There was an ambitious and vain-glo­rious Temper in the Pharisees, which hath left their Character upon record, Joh. 12.43. They loved the Praise of Men more than the Praise of God. There is scarcely a greater Snare found to draw a Man from the Things of God, than an [Page 239]inordinate Affection to his own Name. This Ambition in Herod broke forth in Blasphemy, and made him receive such Praise of his Flatterers for an Oration, as was due only to God himself in the Publishing Glad Tidings; Luk. 1.19. Act. is the Voice of a god, and not of a Man. But he that could feast upon that Blasphemous Piece of Praise, was turn'd into a vile Banquet himself, v. 23. and serv'd up for Worms.

2. As it puffs Men up with Worldly Pomp and Gallantry. The Pride of Life in the Pomps of Men (of Carnal and Earthy Affections) is an Enemy to these Provisions. Ambitious Men have a huge swallow for the World, but so narrow a one for God, that a little Religion choaks them. The word [...], which we render Pride of Life, signifies the Pride of Ambition to be raised up to Prefer­ments, Dignity, and external Grandure; a Fastuous, aspiring Itch to climb into Honour, the Honour that cometh from Man, without any regard of God, or the Honour which have all his Saints. Psa. 149.9. Now when Men aim to post themselves high, and are Ambitious of Advance­ment into Great Places, affecting Gal­lantry, which is but the finest Scene of [Page 240]Pageantry, in the 1 Cor. 7.31.Fashion of this world that passeth away; they are got too high to stoop to an Entertainment where God giveth Grace unto the humble. Jam. 4.6. If Men once get up to that which they call Church-Preferments (suppose) and stand upon the Pinnacle of their Temple, Matth. 4.5. they often look down with Disdain upon the very Bottom from whence they rise, but with a great deal more upon the Provisions of the Gospel, spread they think so much below them upon that Mountain of the Lord's House near them. Isa. 25.6. Isa. 2.2. Worldly Pomp was ever such a pleasing Garnish upon this World's Dishes, that makes the Table of the Lord, Mal. 1.12.and his Meat contemptible. When Agrippa was come, Act. 25.23. and Bernice with great Pomp, (tho' it was but with great Phantasie (or Fancy) neither, the [...]. Original saith, so little ac­count doth the Spirit of God make, when it speaks of the Great Things of Man) the Gospel doth not signifie much to ei­ther of these two. Festus shining in Pomp and Purple at the Bench, laughs the Gospel to scorn, while Paul in re­lating his Conversion, gives them some account of it; he could not forbear the laying open of his contemptible Thoughts [Page 241]towards the Gospel in the midst of the open Court, but cries out, that all Men might hear, Paul, thou art beside thy self, much Learning doth make thee mad, Act. 26.24. See now what a Hinderance to the Gospel this Worldly Grandure was in the way of the most Noble Festus: Act. 26.26. He hath too big a Name, and Titles too high and gallant to stoop and sub­mit to a Gospel that knock'd Paul down: This as to Festus. And we shall see Agrippa too, that seems to be carried a­way with the Pomp of the World least, yet but almost perswaded, V. 28. Almost thou perswadest me to be a Christian. Oh! this decking, this garnishing, this Glo­ry of the out-side, dazles the Eyes of Flesh, they can see no Feast besides. The All Things look very despicable with Them in the presence of these Bp. Hopkins's Sermon at the Funer, of Algernon Grevil. pag. 75. No­things set astrut. Alas! if there be no more in it but such Bravery as is used in decking the more uncomely part, the Body, it makes up such a gaudy Ban­quet of the Pride of Life for Ambition to feed upon, 1 Cor. 12.23. as hinders the Reception of a better Entertainment. Thus I have spoken of that Hinderance to the Feast of the Gospel from other Banquets which [Page 242]are Spots in Feasts, Jude v. 12. and to Sinners will spoil the Feast where no Spot is. To conclude it, they breed such Worms in the Mind, as first take away the Appetite to Food, and then gnaw out the En­trails.

Sixthly, 6 Hindran. A Conceit of Self-Fulness. This lyes rather inwardly in a Proud Mind un­der Concealment, than in the Pride of Life outwardly. It is when a Man will not be emptyed of his own to receive of Christ's Fulness, Joh. 3.16. nor throw out the Puddle-water to fill up the Vessel with New Wine. Self-Fulness is a Hinderance to the Feast of Fat Things. There is in some, a Tumor Cerebri, as Bishop Rey­nolds calls it Of the Passions, pag. 159. 4to. (mihi.) a Learned Pride, when Men's Acquirements are risen to such a Pitch, that they are too full to admit of any saving Knowledge of Jesus Christ or his Gospel. If the Brain swells with the numerous Volumes of some Heathen Philosophers; nay, if it be only with some lesser Systems and Maxims of Phi­losophy, it may grow too big for the Gospel, and make a vain Philosopher imagine that the Truths of both the Testaments may be crowded into as small a compass, as one did of Homer's Iliad's, [Page 243]that thought they might be contained in a Nut-shell. But these Men's Brains swell, and a Crown of Glory would be thought too little to suit with their great Heads.

There is also in others a Tumor Cor­dis, a Religious Pride that swells them at the Heart, and puffs them up with a Conceit of a Self-Righteousness, 'till they grow too big to enter in at the Strait Gate, or get in at Christ's Table; Matt. 7.13. see Rom. 10.3. — Going about to establish their own Righteousness, have not submit­ted themselves unto the Righteousness of God. Have not submitted.] The Tran­slation is in the Active Voice, but the Original is Passive, different from the word by which We render it, [...]. they were not laid in order. Self-Fulness swells Men so big, that it puts them out of their place, disorders them, that 'till they are laid in order, and in their Right Mind again, Gospel-Provisions will be very ineffectual. Men that have enough of their own, do not use to buy, they live upon their Stock, while others go to Market. The full Soul loaths the Honey comb, Prov. 27.7. He mocks at it, say the [...] Septuagint, and scorns a Dainty [Page 244]Morsel offer'd. A Sinner's full Stomach turns at any Feast provided. If he doth not Vomit up the sweet Morsel he hath eaten, and be emptyed of all his Self-Excellency, Wisdom, Righteousness, Strength, and seem so little that he is nothing in his own Eyes, the Provisi­ons of the Gospel will ('till then) be all nothing with him. In a word, so long as a Man can eat and drink at his own Charges, he will scorn to depend up­on any other Table: And as long as the Soul thinks it self fed well enough alrea­dy, it will hearken the less to Christ to come in and sup with Him.

Seventhly, 7 Hindran. The Cares of this Life. Worldlings plant such a Brake of Thorns in their way, that do hedge them out of God's Pasture; they are afraid of the True Bread, lest they should lose other Loaves for it. When Christ comes to be propounded to them, they have a thousand carking, tormenting Thoughts that rend and tear their minds from him, when they make any offers to sit down with him: Mat. 6.31. What shall we eat? or what shall we drink? or wherewithall shall we be cloathed? how shall the Family be maintained, and the Year brought [Page 245]about? these Things therefore leave a Gap in their Soul, which 'till made up, but not with their Thorns in the Flesh, will keep Christ and their distant Hearts from uniting. Jesus answered, and said unto Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many Things, Luk. 10.4 [...]. The [...]. word is, thou art Divided in thy Thoughts, and knowest not which of thy Matters to unite and fix them on. [...] Pasor. [...], Cares, are Divisions of the Mind, that make it anxious and Doubt­ful where to settle, or what to take up withall. Thus is it in Religion, the Things of God are Preached unto Car­nal Men, the Thoughts of the World it may be for the present are just laid asleep, and the Word knocks up Conscience, which being awak'd for the present in a calm alone without other interruptions, listens to Gospel-Truth, hears it, and in the Hearing a little outwardly ap­proves it, insomuch that the Mind is di­vided between God and the World, and grows anxious which side to choose; but alas! the mischief is, that their Hearts had been sown before with a Field-full of Worldly Cares, just ready to spring up fresh after the Word falls, and im­mediately [Page 246]all Thoughts of Faith and Fel­lowship with Christ are choakt, the Man reverts, his earthly Heart tumbles to his Centre, and instead of a new creature to live upon this Feast, becomes the carking, Earthly, old Man agen. He that received the seed among the Thorns is he that hear­eth the Word, and the Care of this World, and the Deceitfulness of Riches choke the Word, and he becometh unfruitful, Matth, 13.22. Worldlings have their Hearts and their Hands both full of Dirt, and have no room for any Dish of God's in either. Should they put off the World a little, yet it will return, it will follow them into the very Assemblies of God's People, and in a Crowd find 'em out. And alas! a Happy Meeting! they know not how to be so unkind to the World, as to chide it home again: If such Men look a little out towards God, their Dear Idols come weeping about them, and are presently enough to break their Heart to leave them. O curvae in Terras animae, & inanes coe­lestium! Persius. Men's Careful­ness in the Things of the World is their Hinderance in all the Gospel brings.

Eighthly, 8 Hindran. Slothfulness. This is also a Fault that will do the Feast hurt. Ma­ny would like the Provisions of the Go­spel [Page 247]better, if like Tamar's couple of Cakes which she dress'd for Amnon, they might be brought to them into their Chamber, 2 Sam. 13.5, 6. while they are lying upon a Bed of Slug­gishness, as he was upon a Bed of Lust. Nature, saith Ruther­ford's Let­ters, p. 244. one, would have Hea­ven come sleeping to us in our Beds. A Sinner may seem occasionally to run af­ter the Gospel, like a Man that hunts for Venison, yet what doth it profit him, if he be like Solomon's slothful Man, Prov. 12.27. that roasteth not that which he taketh in hunting? I mean, if he be loth to take Pains diligently to apply or pra­ctise the Word he went so hastily forth to hear? if he grows too lazy to lay up some special Truth he hears, he lays out all his mighty Pains in vain. What Good will the Dainties of the Gospel do him, so long as he Vide­tur ad ge­stum desidi­osorum al­ludere, qui­bus ferè mos est manum in sinum aut manicam inferre, aut sub axillâ tenere. Cart­wright in loc. folds up his Arms like the Sluggard, and will be at no spiritual Pains to pick up the Mor­sel ready carved to him? A slothful Man hideth his Hand in his Bosom, and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again, Prov. 19.24. So Prov. 26.15. The sloth­ful Man hideth his Hand in his Bosom, it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth: i. e. He had rather to indulge his Lazi­ness, [Page 248]sit and look on than eat. So it is a Hinderance to the Gospel when Men choose rather barely to profess it, than be at any Pains to profit by one Discourse of the Grace of God they hear.

Ninthly, 9 Hindran. Prejudice. That is, a Fore­judging of Things or Persons, as if Men were resolv'd to condemn the Cause, be­fore they have heard or try'd it. Men are often angry with a Party, or with a Person, and will reject the Truth, tho' they are convinc'd it is the Truth, meerly because it comes by such Instru­ments, or such means as they have got a Prejudice against. A wicked Ahab did believe Micaiah a better Prophet than those at Ramoth-Gilead, and able to in­form him truly touching the Success of the War between Syria and Israel, but he values neither Micaiah's Abilities in the Spirit of Prophesie, nor yet his Ho­nesty in prophesying Truth, because he hates him, 1 Kings 22.7, 8. And Jeho­shaphat said, Is there not here a Prophet of the Lord besides, that we might enquire of him? And the King of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, there is yet one man (Micaiah the Son of Imlah) by whom we may enquire of the Lord, but I hate him, for he doth [Page 249]not Prophesie good concerning me, but evil. God's Elijah's would take their Food, 1 Kings 17.6. tho' God should send a Raven to them with it, but the Prejudic'd Ahab's of the World will not meddle with Their's tho' Elijah himself brought it. The Gospel is ineffectual to many by reason of Pre­judice.

Tenthly, 10 Hinde­rance. The General Disesteem which the Gospel meets with in the World. The World represents God's Morsels, as they will one Day find their own Sauce, sowre. They account it a melancholy and uncomfortable Entertainment. Reli­gion is a Diet that will imbitter all their Portion in this Life. They think the Guests that partake of this Supper, (i. e. Separated, Holy Christians) are every one of them like Him in the Book of Job, Job 21.15that dyeth in the Bitterness of his Soul, and never eateth with Pleasure. They cry it up and down in the Streets of Ashkelon, 2 Sam. 1.20. that the Ordinances and Ap­pointments of Jesus Christ are Vessels in which is no pleasure. Hos. 8.8. The Fare of the Gospel is represented by them like John Baptist's in the Wilderness, Mat. 3.4. as Locusts and wild Honey. Thus, its Provisions have got an ill Name by some, and they will [Page 250]not be drawn by the very savour of Christ's Ointments, Song 1.3. so long as this low repute it hath in the World, doth cast in Dead Flies among it, Eccles. 10.1. Dead Flies cause the Ointment of the Apo­thecary to send forth a stinking savour. The Grace of God is not courteously received, but treated ill, tho' it comes with good will to Men. Luk. 2.14. The Dishes of the Gospel by an unthankful, unholy World, are much cryed down, and there­fore when served up are generally much set by, Acts 28.22. As concerning this Sect, we know that every where it is spo­ken against. This Sect.] [...]. This Heresie, saith the Greek. The World concludes it Heresie, and therefore will not re­gard it, tho' it be the Gospel with the Holy Ghost sent down from Heaven. 1 Pet. 1.12. middle pt. Wic­ked Men will Nick-name God's Truth, and then fly from the Truth for the ve­ry Name's sake they gave it. They en­tertain Bad Conceptions of the Truths of God, and are become Judges of Evil Thoughts, Jam. 2.4. and therefore reproach and trample upon good Things under them. The World imagine Fish to be Serpents, and then fly from them, as Moses did, when he cast his Rod upon the Ground, Exod. 4.3.[Page 251]and while it became a Serpent, fled from before it. A vile and a scornful Gene­ration do esteem of the Bread of Life as Stones. Oh! it is a mighty Hinderance to their embracing the Gospel of Christ, that when his Oxen and his Fatlings are killed, Mat. 22.4. they take up these Spiritual My­steries with no more regard, than if it were but the slaying of Pharaoh's lean Kine: Gen. 41.3, 19. But no matter to God's Children what such insinuate, 3 Joh. 10. that prate with ma­litious words, the Children must take their Bread, tho' Dogs bark, and an Enemy calls it Poison. I confess this (saith Paul) that after the way which they call Heresie, Act. 24 worship I the God of my Fathers.

Eleventhly, Bad Company. 11 Hinde­rance. If a Man had some Towardly Inclinations to em­brace the Gospel, yet so long as he go­eth in Company with the workers of Ini­quity, Job 34.8. he will not be able when these Sinners entice him, to consent not, Prov. 1.10. Certain Lewd Fellows of the baser sort do often set upon a Man that is other­wise soberly inclined, even as they assaulted the House of Jason, Acts 17.5. and ne­ver leave 'till they have worn out his So­ber Impressions, that you can read no­thing at last but the Devil's Brand upon [Page 252]him. Exo. 23.2. When Men follow a multitude to do evil, Psa. 42.4. they care not to walk unto God's House in any other Company. The Gospel of the only wise God, 1 Tim. 1.17 signifies nothing to a Companion of Fools that shall be destroy­ed.Prov. 13.20 Psa. 119.61.The Bands of the wicked will rob thee of the Feast, if thou art not one that hast no Fellowship with them. Eph. 5.11.

Twelfthly, 12 Hinde­rance. Garnal Relations. If there were neither Adversary, nor evil occur­rent abroad, yet if a Man's Enemies be the Men of his own House, Mic. 7.6. and a Man's Foes be those of his own Houshold, Matth. 10.36. there is such a Radical Enmity in the corrupt mind of Man a­gainst the Truth of God, as will make their Eye Evil, and their Hand severe towards their own Flesh and Blood. They will violate the Bonds of Nature to fight against Grace. Now this is enough without Special Grace that opens the Heart, to keep the Gospel and its Provisions wholly out of Doors. Men will often hearken to the Voice of their own Flesh and Blood, when a Stranger they will not follow. Joh. 10.5.Ahaziah hearkens to the pernicious Advice of his Mother Atha­liah, for his Mother Athaliah was his Counsellor to do evil, 2 Chro. 22.3. Car­nal [Page 253]Relations will sometimes be very earnest to beat off young Beginners, that they may not take up with the New Man, tho' perhaps assaulting them with that old Argument, that none of their Kindred are called by it, Luk. 1.61. There is none of thy kindred that is called by this Name. You may be beat­en off by such as are related to you, if you be not related as Sons and Daughters to the Lord Almighty. 2 Cor. 6.18

Thirteenthly, False Teachers. 13 Hinde­rance. A cor­rupt Ministry sets the World against the Truth. Unsound Teachers are against Salt, because they have lost its savour. Mar. 9.50. Men's Lyes to make the very Truths of God of no effect with some. When Sinners are beguiled, and thro' the craft and sleight of cunning Men mis-led, Eph. 4.14. their Minds will be corrupted from the simplicity of the Gospel; 2 Cor. 11.3 if they hearken to such as are not Teachers of good things, Tit. 2.3. they will not value the Gospel that hath all good things ready. If they regard vain Talk­ers and Deceivers (as the Apostle calls corrupt Doctors) Tit. 1.10. Teaching things which they ought not, v. 11. it will hinder the Advantage of Gospel-Grace provided. If there be [...]. False Teachers [Page 254]among you, 2 Pet. 2.1. it will greatly damage your receiving the Truth as it is in Jesus. Eph. 4.21 These have a beguiling Ar­tifice to lay their varnish upon the worst Complexion'd Face, and for a well-fa­vour'd Rachel bring in a Leah that is blear-ey'd. Gen. 29.23, 25. They wash over a little false Coin in Doctrine, and then put it off to such as cannot try the Spirits, 1 Joh. 4.1.

Fourteenthly, 14 Hinde­rance. Scandals in Professors. When such as sit at Meat do prophane the Table of the Lord, Mal. 1.12. it makes others even trample upon the Lord's Panis Propositio­nis will be quickly oppositionis also. Shew­bread. Tho' you offer and propound Holy Things to them, they will oppose themselves, if they can find but any Stain dropt upon our Garments at this Holy Feast; I mean any thing in the World which they see by Ʋs, to deride a Love-Feast, and reproach the Gospel for. The World doth not look so much upon Religion, Jam. 1.27. v. 26.pure and undefiled, as up­on him that seemeth to be Religious. Nei­ther is the Holiness so much talk'd of as the Spot of God's Children: Deut. 32.5. Their acerba Ingenia, as the Instit. Chr. Rel. fol. 284. Sect. 11. (mibi) 8o. Learned Calvin calls them, their sharp or sowr Wits will try at an Advantage to render our Feast [Page 255] high-seasoned, and then in our Thirst their Mockery will give us Vinegar to drink. Psa. 69.21. We therefore who profess the Gospel had need be cautious, that we be without offence unto the day of Christ, Phil. 1.10 and not keep others from the Provisions at God's Table, Gen. 4.7. because of our Sin that lyeth at the Door.

Fifteenthly, Carnal Disappointment, 15 Hinde­rance. Men come forth (it may be) expecting to meet with one thing, and lo! in the Go­spel they find quite another. They get out at the Rumour of a Feast, thinking to meet with some Dainty Morsel rea­dy, and alas! when they come they meet with nothing which a Carnal Pa­late likes, but with a Dish their Cor­ruption can in no wise relish. It is a Feast where neither the Meat nor Drink doth please them. They bring so many Nice Corruptions to the Well-Head of Life, that the Living Water is worse than brackish to them: It grows as bit­ter to their Taste, Rev. 8.11. as if that Star in the Revelation, whose Name is Wormwood, had fallen into the Waters, and made them the Waters of Marah, where such as they come. They find the Gospel brings no such Tidings to their Ears, [Page 256]as they are hearkning after. — No such Things as I supposed, saith Festus in Paul's Accusation, Acts 25.18, 19. But certain Questions of their own Superstiti­on, and of one Jesus which was Dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive. Alas! such a Disappointment spoils their Approbati­on of the Gospel, and puts them out of Love with its Provisions (it may be) ever after. They come perhaps for the Preacher to scratch an itching Ear, Act. 7. 54. but are cut to the Heart (like Stephen's Hear­ers that gnasht upon him with their Teeth) and go away with their Consciences in the mean while accusing them. Rom. 2.15.

Sixteenthly, 16 Hinde­rance. Plain Dealing. They think the Truths of the Gospel are too keen, and they should better savour them, if the Morsels were not so often dipt in Vinegar; or if it were a Passover made ready without any Bitter Herbs. Exo. 12.8.Herod heard John Baptist gladly, and seem'd to like the Feast well, 'till he met with that Biting-grain of Mustard-seed, It is not lawful for thee to have thy Brother's Wife, Mark 6.18, 20. compared: And we never read afterwards that Herod would endure to come and Dine or Sup with John again. He met with God's [Page 257] Hook that prickt him, and being never in earnest, was resolv'd to play no more with the Bait. When Men bring their Lusts unto Christ to feed, Sinners find themselves mistaken in their Aim; and so long as they resolve to continue in their sins, they shall find it to be a Ban­quet that affords not a Bone for any sin to pick.

Seventeenthly, 17 Hinde­rance. Sometimes open Perse­cution is a Hinderance to the Entertain­ment. They are afraid of the Gospel, when God's Shew-bread and Goliah's Sword are coupled. 1 Sam. 22.13. When God's House is be­set, Sinners for Refuge will flee far e­nough from his Table. They care not to be found within, when there is a Ju­das without, Mat. 26.47 and with him a great multi­tude from the chief Priests with Swords and Staves for to take them. A Persecuted and a Professed Subjection to Christ with them will not stand together. 2 Cor. 9.13 If there be not Liberty from Men, they will renounce God's Liberality; for when Affliction or Per­secution ariseth for the Word's sake, immedi­ately they are offended, Mark 4.17. where­as it is a Character of the Saints of the most High, that being persecuted they suffer it, 1 Cor. 4.12. last words.

Lastly, 18 Hinde­rance. God's Righteous Induration, his hardning and giving Sinners up judicially. They are first obstinate, and then God is just. On Their Parts it is a contracted Obstinacy, on His a judicial Obduration. They are Haters of God, Rom. 1.30. and then (saith He) my Soul loathed them; as Zech. 11.8. My Soul loathed Them, and their Soul also abhorred Me. Sinners Discover an Aversation to God, and God manifests an Induration towards Them: They will not be sostened, and he will leave them hardened. When Men despise the Fatness of God's House, he suffers such a gross Fatness to grow at last upon their Hearts, that they can­not understand with their Heart, Isa. 6.10. and be Converted. Now will not this be a Hin­derance to purpose, when Men have Eyes to see the Provision, and yet God is so wroth with them they shall not see, or regard one Dish before them? and when they have Ears to hear, and yet they shall not hear and understand one word of Grace and Good Will to Men spoken? Luk. 2.14. Joh. 12.39, 40. Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, he hath blinded their Eyes, and har­dened their Heart, that they should not see [Page 259]with their Eyes, nor understand with their Heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. This Hardness is Originally from themselves, 'tis their own voluntary Work to contract the sin, and 'tis God's judicial Act to inflict the Punishment, and give them up to augment it. In­deed God doth not infuse a Positive Hardness, by shedding abroad any ma­lignant Influences of a hardening Na­ture, but he hardens by a pure Priva­tion, i. e. He doth not infuse Evil, but with-holds the Good he is not bound to give, and a Man's Heart will then as naturally grow hard, as Metals that are taken off the Fire. So much for the First Branch of Hinderances, which ob­struct Sinners, and render this Gospel-Feast of no more use to them.

Secondly, The Hinderances of Saints, II. which render this Feast of the Gospel so ineffectual to some of them (I mean as to the Comsort and Quietude of their State) are chiefly these [...]our.

1. Dissatisfaction about their Relation to God, and Right to this Feast. They are not satisfyed whether God is their Father, and that makes them thrive no better by any Children's Bread. Mat. 15 26 They [Page 260]question their Right, and dare not make an Application of the Promises, because they know not by what Authority they can do these things: chap. 11.23 They fear the Feast doth not belong to them, but is appoint­ed and decreed for others, Mat. 20.23for whom (alone, they think) it is prepared. A Saint may be ready to interpret Christ's words absolutely, thou hast no part with me, which yet he lays down no more than Conditionally, [If I wash thee not] thou hast no part with me, Joh. 13.8. They query, what if they should be Dogs, to whom it doth not appertain to take the Children's Bread? Mat. 15.26 but alas! why should this hinder or discourage you? it did not the Woman of Canaan, tho' Christ call'd her Dog expresly, Matth. 15.26. It is not meet to take the Chil­dren's Bread, and cast it to Dogs; as if he had said, the Bread of the House is too good for such a Dog as thee: But this Woman still comes in with a reply of Faith, and seeing good store of Pro­vision in Christ, tho' she were not a Jew by Birth, but a Syro-phenician by Na­tion, Mark 7.26. yet she would not give over, or be content to lose all: If she were a Dog, she would plead with Christ [Page 261]for Crumbs, and gather her Meat under his Table, v. 27th. and she said, Judg. 7.1.Truth Lord, yet the Dogs eat of the Crumbs which fall from their Master's Table; insomuch that Jesus now tells her she was no Dog, but a Daughter of the true Faith of Abra­ham, v. 28. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O Woman! great is thy Faith, be it unto thee even as thou wilt: As if he had said, thou hast been sueing for Crumbs, but now thou mayst take what Meat thou wilt.

2. Ʋnacquaintedness with the True No­tion of the Gospel. They want Light, and therefore walk in Darkness. They look more to Qualifications for Christ, than to Christ for Qualifications. They would fain see more Works in themselves be­fore they dare venture to rely on Him. But my Brethren, tho' we apprehend never so much unworthiness, guilt, pol­lution and misery in our selves, yet our work is to come to Jesus Christ as we are, that in him and from him we may be made better: For, if you try to place your own Obedience in the Front, and Faith in Jesus Christ at the Foot of the account afterwards, that is, you would arrive to such a pitch of Holiness, to such [Page 262]a measure of Sincerity, to such a De­gree of Brokenness, to so much Fruit­fulness in every good word and work, Col. 1.10. and then you could safely rest on Christ; alas! this is to put a Nought in the first place, and then a Figure in the next; for it is impossible to arrive unto any Degree of acceptable Obedience, 'till Faith closeth with him, who is the ground of all acceptation, This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, Matth. 3.17. — He hath made us accepted in the Be­loved, Eph. 1.6. There is by Faith an antecedent Union [...]to, and a Being in Christ as the Foundation of all our ac­ceptance with the Father, which I seri­ously profess was the sweet and prevail­ing Allurement when the Spirit of God enlightned me in this part of the Go­spel, and wrought with a Divine Pow­er, to bring me to give up my self as a Sinner to believe in him, having been a long while deluded by this Fatal and per­nicious Mistake, that I must be first a Saint, and then might set up for a Be­liever. But let none from hence misun­derstand me, to plead for a vain Faith, which never joyns with Holiness: I speak only of the order, to shew where Holiness [Page 263]must be plac'd, not against the thing, as prophane Libertines do, to exclude it out of all place. If we look first to Christ, and then to Holiness, we need not, as some weak Believers are apt under Temptation and the Hidings of the Face of God, to question our State, while we bewail a Body of Death; because our Justification, as soon as by Faith we first received Christ, brought us into a Com­pleat State, tho' it hath not brought us, nor will in this Life, to perfect Degrees of Holiness. But if we are preposterous, and look first to such measures of Ho­liness, and then in the second place look to Christ, we overturn all the order of the Gospel, which placeth Christ, or Faith in Christ, at the beginning, and then Holiness immediately to be carry­ing on gradually to our last end. It is as much Satan's Art on one Hand to trouble Souls that have been awakened, by separating Christ from Holiness, as it is the industrious Art of some Men to separate Holiness from Christ. The De­vil accuseth us, because we are not per­fect in our selves, and become our own Saviours; others accuse us, because be­ing perfect in a Saviour, we will yet [Page 264]talk of pressing towards the Mark, Phil. 3.14. 2 Pet. 3.18. and growing in Grace and Holiness; as if Men in Christ were to make the Church a Monster, that is, a Holy Head, and pro­phane Filthy Members; therefore say some, who I am sure have not learnt the Truth as it is in Christ, there is no need of an Evangelical Righteousness, when we are found in Christ's Righte­ousness, no need of our Obedience, poor, imperfect, rotten, because of Christ's which is absolutely compleat and spotless; Alas! this is no more than to tell us, because we are not justifyed by Holiness, therefore we must not labour after Holi­ness, nor pray for Holiness, nor look for Holiness, nor preach up Holiness: I would fain know why our Holiness on Earth should impair Christ's Righteousness more than our Holiness shall do in Heaven? for we shall there in Person be Holy to Perfection, and yet have nothing, after we have been millions of Years thus Ho­ly, but all of it for and in Christ. Now, how can an incompleat Holiness that be sure must be justifyed it self by Christ, injure Christ's Righteousness on Earth, when our perfect and Angelical Obedi­ence in Heaven shall not diminish or [Page 265]eclipse one Ray of this Sun of Righteous­ness to all Eternity? But to return, Mal. 4.2. and in a few words close this Hinderance to the Feast, in reference to such as err about Holiness and Obedience in the mis­placing it, as I began the particular. Let Christians take heed where they place Faith, for if they do not begin with it, they will put that, and Christ's Merits, and their own Obedience too all out of place. It is an excellent Passage to this purpose which I have met with in a Divine that hath also wrote very sound­ly an entire Piece upon the Point of Ju­stification; saith he, in another Anth [...]. Burgess, Spiritual Befinings, 1st. part. p. 249. Trea­tise, ‘As in the Holy of Holies every thing was Gold, or covered with Gold, so all that is accepted with God, is either Christ, or Duties covered with Christ.’ Again, that you may not en­tertain a wrong Notion of the Gospel, take heed, that in your view of sin, you do not spy out more in your own Ini­quities than you do in the very Grace of God, to receive you graciously, Hos. 14.2, 4 and love you freely: And beware that you do not fancy a deeper Red (different from other Death-colours) in your own Body of Death, than is seen in the Blood of Jesus [Page 266]Christ. An Unacquaintedness with the true Notion of the Gospel is a Hinde­rance to the Gospel-Feast.

3. Remaining Ʋnbelief in the Actings of slavish Fear. Reigning Unbelief in­deed is the Property of Sinners, but Re­maining Unbelief is a great Hinderance hanging in the way of Saints. There are Remnants of this Sin to bring you un­der spiritual Sickness and Infirmities, when there be no Ruling Signs-that it is unto Death upon you. There is much Fluctuation in our Hearts, an unsteddy rolling too and fro like the Waves of the Sea, sometimes carried out towards the Shore in Hope, then driven back again to Sea in Fears, whereas our Rock is the same for ever, tho' we roll aside. Oh! were our Faith (says Dr. Sibb [...], Bruised Reed, p. 23, 24. one) as firm, as our State in Christ is secure, what manner of Men should We be! A Saint may be brought many ways low, but he shall be brought no ways under. Now by how much the less it is you live in the Exercise of Faith, [...]. 2.20. i. e. By the Faith of the Son of God, by so much the less in your spiritual State will you thrive by Gospel-Grace. As you want any mea­sure of Faith to digest the Food of God's [Page 267]Word, so much the less of Nourishment and Sweetness you will find in any Mor­sel of it. Jesus said unto him, if thou canst believe, All Things are possible unto him that believeth, Mark 9.23. If you have not, Oh weak Christians, a strong­er Degree, a higher Measure of Faith, your Fears will make you jealous, and suspect the Love of God every time you try to eat and drink in his Kingdom. It is observed of Peter, he never sank in the Waters, 'till he sank first in Fears; when he saw the Wind boisterous he was afraid, and upon this followeth his be­ginning to sink, Matth. 14.30. Fears will suggest nothing but such wrong and un­comfortable Thoughts as these; Well, this Feast of the Gospel is too great for such poor Dust, and too good for so vile a Worm as I, therefore it belongeth not to me. But Oh! take heed of this, let not Unbelief carry it without a check in thy Soul, when it calls the Bread of Life Poyson, or tells thee, thou art damn'd, if thou venturest so far as to meddle with it.

4. Lastly, Refusing to be Comforted. God's People sometimes will not, tho' we take his own words, be satisfied. The [Page 268] Consolations of God are so small with them, Job 15.11 that they will not take this Cup of Conso­lation down,Jer. 16.11.Psa. 77.2. last words. My Soul refused to be comforted, let me hear what I would, it was all one with me. That was Good Asaph's case a while. Now what will All Things avail, when no thing shall be allow'd to comfort you, but you will choose to go down into the Grave mourning? Gen. 37.35 What signifies Moses to tell the Children of Israel, that God had looked upon their Affliction and Bon­dage, and to assure them of Deliverance, that it was now even at the Door, Mat. 24.33 when­as they hearkened not unto Moses for An­guish of Spirit, and for cruel Bondage? Exod. 6.9. It is observable indeed, that at the first Newes of their Deliverance, which Moses brought them from God, they are hugely affected with it, Chap. 4.31. The People believed, and when they heard that the Lord had visited the Children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their Affliction, then they bowed their Heads, and worshipped: Oh! how glad and comfort­ed do they seem that there comes any Relief to alter their Afflicted case at last! Well, but God will yet try their Pati­ence under their Burdens and Adversity [Page 269]a little longer; in the next Chapter Pha­raoh comes, and He multiplies their Bur­dens still more and more, and lo! now the Double Labour of their Bricks and the Stripes of their Task masters upon their Backs, beat them quite out of Heart; in­somuch that at last Moses with all his Ar­guments and Perswasion could no ways still them; for they are resolved to hear, to wait, to trust no longer; they hearken­ed not, &c.

Thus, some of God's Children will seem to be born up notably, when God comes first into their Souls with Com­fort; but alas! if God, to try them, lays them again in the lowest Pit, in Darkness, Psa. the Deeps, immediately their Mountain is overturned, their Sun is set, and the Rainbow of the Covenant blotted out of Their Cloud. They refuse to be comforted, and seem loth to look out towards the Everlasting Hills again. Psa. 121.1. Now hence it is that the Gospel hath been very often (in part) ineffectual (for a Time) to some of God's own Children. To con­clude therefore in a word, your Meat will not strengthen you to flee as a Bird to your Mountain, Psa. 11.1. so long as with Ephraim you remain a silly Dove without Heart, [Page 270]Hos. 7.11. And so much for the Doctri­nal Part.

The Ninth and last Thing propoun­ded in the General method was the Ap­plication of this Doctrine. IX. The Ʋses I de­sign to make (by God's further Assistance) are the Three following, Information, to discover such Truths, Humiliation, to be­wail such Sins, and Exhortation, to be­swade to such Duties as naturally flow from it.

First, I. Ʋse. by way of Information, in these Thirteen Particulars.

1. 1 Inf. We may learn the Fitness of Earth­ly Comparisons to bring down Heavenly Truths to our Capacities. I say, the Fit­ness of Earthly Comparisons, for in this Body of Flesh we have more Earth than Spirit, and need to put on Spectacles to help our weak Eyes. It is a piece indeed of condescending Workmanship in our Maker, to blow up the very Earth and the Things of it into a Glass, and then shew us Heaven and the Things thereof thro' it; which made the Apostle use the same Metaphor, when he was comparing the Knowledge of Believers here with that perfect Sight they should have in [Page 271]Heaven, 1 Cor. 13.12. Now we see thro' a Glass darkly, but then Face to Face. Thus the Holy Ghost declares, I have used Si­militudes by the Ministry of the Prophets, Hos. 12.10. Deus se quodammodò transformat in verbo suo, in quo non loquitur pro su [...] Majestate; sed prout con­gruere videt modulo no­stro, & infirmitati. Ri­vet. in loc. Vol. 2. p. 774. col. 2. ultim. Obs. When God speaks to instruct us in his Word, he doth as it were transform himself, not speak­ing according to his own Es­sential Majesty, but agreeably to the measure of our Frailty. The Scripture often instructs us in Meta­phors, and sets forth our State, Privi­ledges and Duty by them. It was Christ's frequent way of Teaching, Luk. 1.76. who was the Prophet of the Highest, but used * Similitudes may be Preacht out of God's Word, according to the Scope wherein the Si­militude holds. Vines, God's drawing and Man's coming, pag. 25. Similitudes as well as the Prophets of the Old Testa­ment. The Master when he taught his Disciples, did point to the Things that are not seen by a Fescue from those that are. He did oftner open his mouth in Parables, Matth. 13.35. than express the Kingdom of God other ways; as particularly, we may see in the Text and Context, where the Kingdom of God (that is the Church of God) is likened to a certain King that made a mar­riage for his Son, Mat. 22.2. or to a certain man that [Page 272]made a great Supper,Luk. 14.16. Ver. 17.and bade many, and then sent forth his Servant at Supper-Time to say to them that are bidden, Come. There are many Similitudes, Parables and Fi­gures in the Book of God, taken from things below, that do all tend to set forth our Priviledges, and the Riches of the Grace of God to us. To conclude it therefore, let our Adversaries tell us, we embrace Parker, Eccles. Po­lity, p. 75. a few gaudy Metaphors, yet we judge it very allowable, being justi­fied by the General current of Scripture, to use such as R. Fer­guson, Im­port and Ʋse of Scri­pture-Me­taphors, pag. 296. carry a due Proportion, Analogy and Similitude to the Things they are brought to illustrate.

2. 2 Inf. If, under these Metaphors, there be a Plentiful Store of all Provisions in the Gospel-Feast, then there could not have been more than there is, [...]eb. 11.3. made ready. There might have been more Worlds framed by the Word of God, but there could be but one plenteous Redem­ption.Psa. 130.7.Nature might have been printed in a larger Volume, Luk. 2.14. but Grace and Good will to men could not be publisht Auctior & emen­datior. Heb. 10.7. Psa. 40.7. more large or lovely, than God hath made them in the Volume of his Book. He hath provided more to save one Soul, than was sufficient to make many Worlds. [Page 273] Primoge­nitus ante quem nul­lus, unigeni­tus post quem nul­lus. He had one only Son, and he gave a richer Portion with this one, and this on­ly Son of his Love, than could be en­creased by this whole World's Goods. It was impossible we should have more than so great a Feast at the Marriage of the King's Son. He that provided the Feast made the Match, and gave his own Son to marry us. And lo! Matth. 4.8. All the Kingdoms of the World with the Glory of them, if they had the Golden Mines of O­phir or Both the same place as some think; but others do make them distinct, and seem to encline that Parvaim was no other than the Country of Peru in the American Continent. Mr. Sam. Lee, Temple of Solomon, pag. 224. Parvaim Others again be­lieve that Parvaim might be a Country now altogether un­known. Dr. Tho. Ful­ler. Pisgah-Sight, 1st Part. pag. 371., nay, the Riches of ten Thousand Times ten Thousand Indies, would be all Isa. 40.17. less than no­thing and vanity in comparison of this 2 Cor. 9.15. unspeakable Gift of his Love. When God So loved the Taken (as be­fore noted) [...], for the Elect in all Ages of the world.World, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting Life, John 3.16. He could not enrich it with a greater Dowry, than this invaluable Treasure. One Christ brings in more than Millions can reckon up to count it. We may find Words, says Rutherford, Christ's Dying, p. 136. one, to paint [Page 274]out Creatures, and the Garment may be wider than the Thing; but should Angels come and help us to find out Expressions for this matter, Words would be too low and on this side of it. The very Apostle was at a loss for a higher Word to utter it than the unsearchable Riches of Christ, Eph. 3.8. * [...]. Riches beyond our Footsteps, Riches we can never trace out: Altitudinem ba­bent, bumance mentis An­gustias modulum [...], supe­rantem. Bodius in Eph. pag. 358. Col. 1. They have a glorious Height that tran­scends our Low Stature. These All Things in the Everlasting Gospel could not be made more glorious, if ten Thousand Worlds heapt upon so many Millions were added new to them! The Apostle again calls it the ex­ceeding Riches of his Grace, Eph. 2.7. which On the Ephesi­an [...]. 2d Vol. of his Works. Part 2d. pag. 237. Dr. Goodwyn observes is an Epithete given no where else in the Scripture to the Grace of God. Grace is Ex­ceeding, and there can be no more added to it.

Alas! every Thing in this poor sorry World of our's is capable of a very high Enlargement: Rom. 8.22. The World is a Prisoner, and the whole Creation groans to be set free, Eccl. 1.3. and nothing under the Sun hath a [Page 275]Divine Perfection in it; but the Love of God to Sinners is so big with Treasure, it could not be bigger, or possibly any other ways compleated. The Reason is, because it is Infinite, a Feast without any Bounds, or Dimensions of Love that made it! The Store of the Gospel is so large, Psa. 24.1. that Heaven and Earth with the Fulness thereof could not augment the Riches of his Grace, or swell the Love of God higher. That God who hath prepa­red this magnificent Entertainment, may apply the same Interrogatory to the Feast, which he put concerning the Vineyard, Isa. 5.4. — What could have been done more that I have not done in it? i. e. No Means had been in any Kind wanting; so in the Gospel, there could be no fur­ther Preparation, no Dish or Dainty, nor Morsel of the Grace of God made, to be added to what is Made ready. Doth the Salvation of a Precious Soul require a Greater Price than hath been fully paid to save it? Could God give us more than his Son, or could he give us any Son be­sides. Could Christ have given more than richly give himself, Eph. 5.25. when the Son of man came to give his Life a ransom for many? There are all things, and what? Mat. 20.28 [Page 276]Could there have been more than all at once ready? there is nothing wanting to be added unto Grace, or need either be put into the Scale to make up the exceed­ing weight of Glory. 2 Cor. 4.17 There are all things that appertain to Life, or belong to God­liness, Godliness here in Christ, and Eternal Life hereafter with him. In a word, the Gospel makes up so full an Entertainment, that we may put in what Christ at the Time of his Crucifixion pour'd forth, when he was bowing of his Head, and giv­ing up the Ghost, Joh. 19.30. It is Fi­nished, no more Ransom to be paid, no more store for the Feast to be provided. He had purchased at once wherewith we might be perfected for ever. Heb. 10.14 The Gospel needs no more of the work of God about it, to make the Grace of God richer; he hath brought it into a Blessed Perfection, and hath put his Last Hand to it.

3. As the Gospel could be made no larger, 3 Inf. so the Provisions could be made no less for Love to make enough. Grace and Love are Two sweet Springs that have not bubled or been broken up in vain. We indeed thro' Corruption may turn the Grace of our God into Lasciviousness, Jude v. 4. but yet no Streams of it that make glad the City Psa. 46.4.[Page 277]of our God shall ever run waste. Wis­dom would not have contriv'd, or the Power of Love accomplisht, All, if Less had not been too little. Tho' the Psal­mist (when he is pursuing the String of Vanity that runs through the Pearls of all Humane Excellency) seems to make a meer nought of this Life, yet we must not make a Cypher of the next; and tho' he expostulates, Psal. 79.47. latter part. Wherefore hast thou made (we cannot add, and say Wherefore hast thou redeemed) all Men in vain?

Love could not be ty'd in little Knots, when the Silver Cord was twisted, Eccl. 12.6. to draw us in Bonds of Love with it. Hos. 11.4.

The Ocean of Grace that overflow'd could not be pent up or confined in any narrow Seas. God would not be con­tented, but would give in all, when he gave any Thing to us.

And indeed as Less than All had not suited with the Infinite and Boundless Love of the Giver, so it had not been proporti­oned to a Fallen Creature's Misery. If the Line of Love had been shorter, it had not reacht to save us. Man's Case was at the worst, and there had been no Relief found, if the Gospel had not been in its [Page 278] best Estate provided. Psal. 39.5. If Christ had but dealt like Anantas, to have kept back part of the Price, Acts 5.2. the Gospel would have been no Purchase for us. And therefore if we were Happy, we must have all, and could not have less than All the Gospel ours. As when Israel went out of Egypt, the House of Jacob from a People of strange Language, Psa. 104.1 they could not go out fewer than their whole Multitude, Num. 16.33. and all that apper­tained to them, (insomuch that when Mo­ses is debating with Pharaoh about the Terms upon which they would leave E­gypt, he tells him) there shall not be so much as their Flocks and their Herds ex­empted, Ex 10.26. our Cattle shall go with us, there shall not an Hoof be left behind: So to al­lude in the Case before us) when Man was to be redeemed from everlasting De­struction, and advanced into Fellowship and everlasting Communion with the Great God, there was not one Essential [...], not so much as a little Greek Let­ter, or one Hebrew Point. Jot or Tittle of the Gospel must fail; if it had, our Salvation had failed with it. As in the Law, to Jam 2.10 offend but in one point had been a Breach guilty of all; so in the Gospel, to have left out but one Provision of 1 Pet. 4.10 the manifold Grace of God (necessary to our Salvation) had been [Page 279]enough to have shut us everlastingly out of all Happiness, Gal. 3 22 and concluded us under all Misery.

Jesus Christ did not merit one Bene­fit in the Work of our Salvation, that could have been left undone or spared: and therefore he tells his Disciples, Luk. 24.44. after they had seen such a con­currence of Wonders that seem'd to be drawn as so many black Lines from the Circumference, and met in him the Centre; that is, after he had liv'd obscurely, and dy'd with Publick Infamy, being made a Curse for us, Gal. 3.13. to procure our Entertain­ment; These are the words (says he) which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things might be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, con­cerning me. If there had been but one thing omitted, there had been a De­fective and not a Full Accomplishment: There had been too Few, unless All things ready, we can spare none of them. Eve­ry part of the Grace of God, and that which the Grace of God tends to, is so rich a Treasure, that the Loss of it had been irreparable. Nothing in the Pearl of Price but is Divine and Precious, [Page 280]there's not a Jewel could be spar'd in the Crown either of Grace or Glory: The one is necessary to bring us to the Full Assurance of Hope, Heb. 6.11. 2 Ep. Joh. 8. and the other that we receive a Full Reward in Heaven.

4. Tho' the Gospel be a Feast with All Things ready, 4 Inf.yet with nothing He prepar'd. The Father of Spirits will stand alone the Provider, and will have no Flesh to glory in his Presence, 1 Cor. 1.29. We must say of all as Meis­nerus de Ecclesiâ. pag. 46. one doth ju­diciously pro nobis, sine nobis; it is Grace for us, but yet Grace without us; it is a Feast sent to us, but nothing of its Pro­visions were got in or served by us. He puts it in the Singular Number [I], when there was no Plural with him; [I] (not You and I) have laid Help upon one that is mighty, Psal. 89.19. The King in the Parable makes his own Supper, his Servants have a Commission to call you, but are no Caterers to buy up or pre­pare any of his Rich Provisions for you. If thou art Hungry, Psa. 50.12. thou canst not say thou wilt not tell Him, for the Food in the Gospel is His, and all the Fulness thereof, and thou didst not by any kind of Work so much as procure thine own Appetite; thy Stomach to this Food, as [Page 281]well as this Food to thy Stomach, comes alone from him. Isa. 26.8. The Desire of our Soul cannot be unto his Name, and to the re­membrance of Him, 'till first he provides himself and All Things for us, and there­fore the Psalmist first mentions Him, and then his own Desire, he puts in the Object, and then puts forth the Act, Psal. 73.25. Whom have I in Heaven but Thee, and there is none upon the Earth that I desire besides Thee. Now if we could not de­sire a Crumb, or long to taste of one Drop from Heaven, Psal. 2.4. 'till He that sitteth in the Heavens creates our Appetite, much less could we have our Hand, or put in a little Finger to the Work in procuring this Blessed Meat and Drink. Our Po­verty must be supplyed by, it could not contribute towards God's Liberality. If we had sold our selves, we could not have made, Mar. 12.42 or got up one Widow's Mite to throw into his Publick Treasury. All our Mony will not buy a Sacrifice, much less could it mix with the Price of Blood to sanctify. Mat. 27.6. It would not avail to procure a Supplication to our Judge, Job. 9.15. how could it joyn then in purchasing a Satisfaction, Mic. 6.6, 7. Wherewith shall I come be­fore the Lord, and bow my self before the [Page 282]High God? Shall I come before him with Burnt-offerings, with Calves of a Year old? Will the Lord be pleased with Thousands of Rams, or with Ten Thousands of Rivers of Oyl? Shall I give my First-born for my Transgression? The Fruit of my Body for the Sin of my Soul? Our largest Offers had been infinitely too little for one of the least of God's All things to have come at our Price. Mat. 25.40

5. All These Things must surely put a Dignity upon all True Gnests. 5 Inf. What an Honour have all his Saints, while the Palace of the King sends to treat the Cot­tage! Psal. 45.15 What a Preferment is it that God should stoop down to maintain a Commu­nion with us! That our Lord should pre­pare so great a Feast, and then gird him­self to come forth and serve us! Luk. 12.37 These mighty Things will make Believers great, tho otherwise they are little both in their own and other men's Eyes. The Righ­teous is more excellent than his Neighbour, Mat. 10.42 Prov. 12.16. If we state all Accounts truly, little ones, God's Little ones are greatest. The All Things do put an Ho­nour upon the Brother of Low Degree whom others make the Footstool. Jam. 1.9. Such as are highly favoured of God shall not be [Page 283]found Ignoble. Luke 1.28 Tho' he sends out into the High-ways, and takes up Beggars, Mat. 22.9. yet here's a Feast that makes them Kings and Priests unto our God, Rev. 1.6.

6. It informs also of the Happiness as well as the Dignity of True Guests that have got the Gospel-Feast Theirs. 6 Inf. They are not only by an Advancement set up, but are a People saved by the Lord. Oh! Deut. 33.29. we may break out into Admiration, when we think deeply of the Blessedness of the People of God, who may come free­ly and partake of all these Things as their own? The Gospel is not to feed thy Phancy, and please a meer Imagina­tion, as if there were no richer, or more satisfying Good to the owners thereof, Eccl. 5.11. saving the beholding of it with their Eyes, as Solomon speaks of the In­crease of the best Earthly Things: But 'tis a Feast made ready to be Thine, to fill thee brim-full with thy own share of Christ. Oh! blessed are they that have believed and obeyed God, who re­quires the Obedience of Faith as that Work of God which will give them a Right unto the Tree of Life; Rev. 22.14. Blessed are they that do his Commandments, that they may have a Right to the Tree [Page 284]of Life. God doth not require his Peo­ple to look up as Strangers, Eph. 2.19. but as Citi­zens belonging unto Sion, and as Ser­vants that have [...]. Orders from their Lord to meddle with it; Authority to appro­priate the Tree of Life to 'em. A Right to the Tree of Life, (says Dur­ham on the Reve­lation. one) is a Right to Jesus Christ, and Glory in Hea­ven with him. Now, how rich and happy are they that have an Interest by Faith in the Riches of the King's Son! Oh! 1 Sam. 17.25. he endows them with great Riches and Honour, they can never want Portion, and he gives them this Entertainment that they may be Happy in all things, and never want Provision. An Interest in the Son of God doth not only make the best, the most, but all things thy own. Matth. 4.9. Luk. 4.7. If thou wilt fall down and worship him, all shall be thine. He hath purchas'd that thou mayst get Possession. Oh! blessed View of Faith, that can appro­priate Gospel-Grace, tho' it be a Self-emptying Grace that will lye at Christ's Foot, 'till the Soul cry out, I am a vile Wretch, Isa. 6.5. I am undone, because I am a Man of unclean Lips! yet is a Grace that ex­alts a Saviour, and will not leave the Soul hanging off from Christ, but cling­ing [Page 285]fast and crying out with Thomas, My Lord and My God! Joh. 20.28. God's Children that have his Spirit wit­nessing, see the Gospel for themselves, and not another exclusively. Job 19.27. The Saints of the most High have a Priviledge beyond all other Men. We have an Altar where­of they have no Right (says the Apostle) to eat that serve the Tabernacle, Heb. 13.10. The Apostle there means that the Faithful in Christ Jesus had such Pri­viledges by Christ as others had no Right to, who adhered to Jewish Customs and Superstitions. So there is a Spiritual, Divine Participation, which natural, un­sanctified Men have nothing to do with. Oh! blessed therefore are the Houshold, Gal. 6.10. Eph. 2.12, 13.the Houshold of Faith that be not aliens and strangers, afar off, and having no­thing to do with these Things! Blessed are the Family that come in to the Feast, because God hath given them Meat, and 'tis now their own Food! They have Children's Bread, Mat. 15.26 Luk. 6.20. and Blessed be ye Chil­dren, for yours is this Bread.

7. An outward Liberty and a safe Pro­tection of the Guests at God's Table is a great Mercy. If all Things be ready, 7 Inf. it is an Excellent Security that affords a [Page 286]Protection under the Roof of God's House, to enjoy them. None indeed shall be able to keep God's Children out of their Fathers House, that come nigh the Door with their Father's Name written in their Foreheads. Rev. 14.1. The Lord of the Feast doth al­so plant a special Providence that guards the Table, while his Guests are plac'd about it. Heb. 1.14. He hath Ministring Spirits that are set for the Defence of the Gospel; Phil. 1.17. they stand as watchful Centinels for the Good of his Chosen, Psa. 106.5. because he maketh a House of Defence to save them. Psa. 31.2. He hath given his Angels a charge over them, Psal. 91.11. Heb. 1.14. that his Guests may partake of the Feast in Quietness, and when He giveth outward Quietness in a Day of Liberty, Job 34.29. as well as internal Peace and Calmness, who then can make Trouble and Disturbance while he entertains us? The Lord hath made a Hedge and a Wall so high about his People, Job 1.10. that none shall climb over, or break thro' to destroy the Gospel-Banquet, and spoil that Holy Fe­stival: Ʋpon all the Glory shall be a De­fence, Isa. 4.5. The Holy Mountain is safely fenced round. The Guest may trust to a Protection, where he tasteth God's Provision. For He that hath said [Page 287] Bread shall be given him, his Waters shall be sure, hath said also that his Place of Defence shall be the Munitions of Rocks, Isa. 33.6. 2 Cor. 6.7. There is the Armour of Righ­teousness on the Right Hand and on the Left to guard both the Guests and Pro­vision too: And 'tis with no less than the Mighty Power of God that ye are kept through Faith unto Salvation. 1 Pet. 1.5. [...]. Kept.] Kept as a Thing or Person is when there be Souldiers set upon the Guard to look well to them, kept as the Two Centurions with their two hun­dred Souldiers, and Horsemen threescore and ten, and Spear-men two hundred at the third Hour of the Night were to guard Paul to Cesarea, to bring him safe unto Felix the Governour, Acts 23.23, 24. The Table of the Gospel is defended with a Flaming Sword, Gen. 3.24. a Divine Presence that Psa. 97.3. burneth up his Enemies round about him, and will no ways suffer them to rush in and spoil the Banquet, or Spill the Blood of his Guests that sit in Peace about it.

8. These All Things do inform us that they are worthy of all Acceptation. 8 Inf. 1 Tim. 1.15. Oh! with how much chearful Readiness doth it become us to accept the Lord's [Page 288]Kindness! nay, it becomes us to take it of the Lord with all sorts of Accepta­tion: Our Hearts should be humble, our Hands active, our Feet nimble and our whole Lives thankful. With Acceptati­on. Shall we dare reject the Grace of God? if the Alms be so Bountiful, shall not the Beggar be so wise to take it? if God stretch out his Hand, Prov. 1.24. shall we pull our Hand back, and refuse what he offers?

9. All these things do argue it a Disho­nour for the Guests, 9 Inf. who are Partakers of them, to have any Fellowship with the Works of Darkness. Their Company and Conversation ought to be suitable to their Table. If any of the Professors that sit at Meat with them become loose and scandalous, it is their Duty to abstain from Communion with such, and in or­der to Purity in the Fellowship of the Gospel to cast them out. Joh. 9.34. Nay, there must be a Forbearance of all unnecessary Com­munion or Fellowship and Converse with them, not only at the Lord's Table, but at our own Common Tables besides: 1 Cor. 5.11. But now I have written unto you, not to keep Company, if any Man that is called a Brother be a Fornicator, or Co­vetous, [Page 289]or an Idolater, or a Railer, or a Drunkard, or an Extortioner, with such a one no not to eat. It is a Dishonour for Christ's Servants to go and sit with the wicked that wear the Devil's Livery. Psa. 26.5. Our Master indeed when he came from Hea­ven, came to eat with Publicans and Sin­ners, which the Pharisees did upbraid him with, not knowing the End of Christ's coming into the World; and therefore When the Pharisees saw it, Mat. 9.11.they said unto his Disciples, Why eateth your Ma­ster with Publicans and Sinners? And in another place the Pharisees and Scribes murmured, Luk. 15.2.saying, This Man receiveth Sin­ners, and eateth with them: But Christ's Presence with Sinners was like a Phy­sician's Presence with the sick, Mat. 9.12. that came to take away the Disease, but ours with them would be like those of young Blood, to partake of the Infection. When Christ comes to Sinners, v. 13. it is to call them out of their sins, I came to call sinners to Re­pentance; but if we go to them needless­ly, Prov. 1.14. it must be to cast in our Lot among them. God comes to Ʋs in our sins to make us good, but if we go among others in their sins, it tends to make us bad, and in the conclusion may leave us stark [Page 290] naught. Rom. 4.5. He that justifyeth the ungodly, that is, cometh to change their State, co­vers them with a Robe of Righteousness, Isa. 61.10. which makes it a Dishonour ever after to have any Fellowship with Iniquity. The Honour that God bestows at this Marri­age-Supper should be a Perpetual Bill of Divorce to all our old Lovers. Deut. 24.1 Grace makes Men too high to return again to Nature. The New Diet with the King makes it a Dishonour to Covet, or eat of the old Store agen. A Saint cannot sin without double Dishonour, because he is one that hath received Double Ho­nour, the Honour that cometh from God, and the Repute he hath had with good Men. So a Professor debaseth himself every time he walks not worthy of, or according to the Honour and Credit of the Gospel. Alas! their Table raiseth them to so high a Dignity, that 'tis a shame for the Lord's Guests to keep Company with them of an ill Blood. What? shall the King's Favourites run out of his Presence-Chamber, or leave the Guest-Ceamber for his Stables and Kitchin, to go mix with Grooms and Scullions? Wicked Men are no others but such as the Great Lord employs in his Kitchen [Page 291]and Stables below in this World. Now is it not a shame when we have been with Christ to sit again with Belial? The Jews held it, (as one of our Dr. Lightfoot, Harmony of the New Testament Vol. 1. pag. 23. [...]ol. See also [...] [...] [...]. p. 2 [...]1. Edit ( [...] ­bl) [...]. Learned Countrey-men expresseth it) ‘That a Scholar of the Wise by their Canons might not eat with one of the vulgar, much less with Publicans and Sinners, the worst sort of all the vulgar that were.’ If the Jews held this when they ate Bread among themselves, much more should Christians that hold a Feast unto the Lord. Ex [...]. 10.9.

10. If there be such a Plenty in the Gospel made ready, 10 Inf. then it is very sad where there is a Famine of the Word of God, and nothing of these All things en­joy'd. How sad is it to consider dark Places of the Earth where the Light of this Gospel never shined, Psa. 74.20. and the wast places of the Earth where they wander up and down for lack of Meat! Job 38.41. how sad is it to think upon those Children of our Heavenly Father, that thro' the Fu­ry of their Persecutors are deprived of all Ordinances, and ready to be starv'd for want of Bread! how solitary and uncomfortable is their state, while they are Hungry and Thirsty, Psa. 107.5.and their Souls [Page 292]are fainting in them! It is a Terrible Dispensation to have the Word of the Kingdom taken away, Mat. 13 19 and spiritual Feasts turned into Soul-Fasts! this is so repre­sented in the Prophet, as is enough to make the Ears of them that hear it tin­gle: 1 Sam. 3.11 Amos 8.11, 12. Behold the Days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a Famine in the Land, not a Famine of Bread, or a Thirst for Water, (as much as to say, I have a more grievous Judg­ment for you, I will not deal so gently, as to inflict a Famine of Bread, or a Thirst for Water) but of hearing the Words of the Lord, and they shall wander from Sea to Sea, and from the North even to the East; they shall run to and fro to seek the Word of the Lord, and shall not find it. Oh! dreadful is the Dispensa­tion, when the multitude have been assembled, Mat. 15.32 having nothing to eat! when God hath suffered the Enemy to break up the solemn Meeting, to disperse the Assembly, ibid. and send them away Fasting, tho' divers have come from far! Mark 8.3. 'Tis sad, when the Things of our Peace are hid (tho' it be but under a Bushel) and there is no open Vision! Luk 19.42. 1 Sam. 3.1. when the Wilderness is dry, and the Rain from Heaven that [Page 293]should have filled the Pools thereof, Psa. 84.6. re­strained! if the Gospel hath All Things ready, Psa. 120.5. Wo unto such as Sojourn in Me­shech, and dwell in the Tents of Kedar, in places where there is nothing of the Glo­rious Gospel of Jesus Christ found! 'tis very sad with those poor starved Souls, if in Famine he doth not redeem them from Death, and in Hunger from the Power of Want.

Alas! who can express the Judgment, the Desolation of a Forsaken People! do we know what it is to see the Table of the Gospel like those Tables of the Mo­ney-Changers in the Temple, Joh. 2.14, 15. overthrown? it was the misery of the old World, and it will be the greatest Judgment and Calamity can befall our selves, if God should say of us as he did of them, My Spirit shall not always strive—Gen. 6.3. It is Terrible to have the Vials of Wrath unstopt, and the Cup of Salvation put, or took away from us! to be in a King­dom that is full of Darkness, Job 3.16. among poor Pagans and Idolaters that never saw Light! to lose the Plentiful Provision of all things, Deut. 28.48. and be made to serve our Enemies in Hunger and Thirst, in Cold and Nakedness, and in the Want of all things! [Page 294]this is Dreadful, and yet there are ma­ny Desolate Places of the Earth that were once fed to the Full, Jer. 5.7. yet now do not know where they can go to an Ordinance, 1 Sam. 2.36. Rev. 1.4. to eat a Peice of Bread! The Seven Churches are in the Dark, and have their Lights wholly put out. The Nati­on of the Jews that did once eat of the same spiritual Meat, 1 Cor. 10.4and drank the same spiritual Drink, are now turned out of their Inheritance, Dan. 4.32, 33. like Nebuchadnezzar, when he did eat Grass as Oxen. The Glory (of the Lord) is departed from the Threshold of their House, 1 Sam. 4.22. and now when God is gone, Jerusalem her self is with­out a Priest, and without a Sacrifice, Hos. 3, 4. their Temple is destroyed, their Provision gone, and they have none to keep House for them! And alas! how equally sad and dismal would our own Case be, Gen 41.54 if the Meat were cut off before our Eyes! Joel 1.16. and the Famine be­gun in the Land; q. d. if the Gospel that hath been spread in so large a Table, were taken quite from us! if he should cause to cease out of this Place, and out of this Pleasant Land of ours, the Plenti­ful Field, Amos. 4.6. and send a Cleanness of Teeth in the Want of Gospel-Bread among us, [Page 295]Oh! how black might our Souls be by reason of the Terrible Famine! Lam. 5.10. it is the Plenty of the Gospel thro' our Lord Je­sus Christ that is able to save much Peo­ple alive,Gen. 50.20as at this Day: This Bread shall do it, Matth. 4.4. by every word of Blessing that pro­ceedeth out of the mouth of God. Well, if the Provisions of the Feast have all and abound, Eccl. 5.13. it is a very fore Evil hath been seen under the Sun, when there is a Fa­mine of the Word of God, and none of these All Things enjoy'd!

11. They are in a miserable Conditi­on likewise, 11 Inf. who are in the Presence of this Plenty, and see it with their Fyes, but do not eat thereof! what a Wretch was that Lord upon whose Hand the King leaned! 2 Kings 7.2. he sits crowd­ed in the Gate, saw the Victuals come tumbling in out of the Syrian Camp, he beheld the Windows of Heaven open­ed, and a shower of Provision fell apace about him, but the Poor Wretch had no Vessel to put any of it in! he must only see it with his Eyes, but not eat thereof! he had not the Priviledge of a Dog to take the Crumbs, but was trod to Death under the Table! his Carkass was spread like Dung, after God had pro­vided [Page 296]and spread before him Dainties! v. 20. so it fell out unto him, for the Peo­ple trod upon him in the Gate, and he dyed.

So likewise as to Gospel-Grace, is it not a very sore Judgment to sit under Plenty of Means, and yet in a spiritual Sence not partake thereof! to have the Table of the Gospel spread among us, and a large Feast prepared, when so ma­ny of those that are bidden perhaps touch not a Morsel of it, Luk. 14.24 Joh. 8.21. but dye in their sins, and go to Hell at last. 'Tis one thing to hear of Grace, and another thing to have it. Oh! how many natural, car­nal ones, (meer Ʋnbelievers while they hear of the Means of Faith, and the Pro­visions of Grace to work Faith in them) that have not one Dram of true Faith or Grace to lay hold of the Gospel offer! they have heard many a Sermon about the Feast, and yet go away Fasting; q. d. as natural and Carnal, as empty and un­humbled as they came hither! misera­ble Wretches! what have these to live upon but the Bread of Idleness, or the Bread that perisheth, but no Portion of that which endureth to Life Eternal (as hath been shewn)? God is opening of [Page 297]his Hand, and yet many of you are shut­ting your Mouths against him! God is raining down Mannah, and you will not stoop to take Mannah up! he drops Fat­ness, but you look on, and your Souls are lean still! he prepareth Plenty, but you have such other Plenty besides, in your divers Lusts and Pleasures, that you care for none of it! He giveth Meat in abundance, but how ill a use do you make of it, that come to see it a little upon the Lord's Days, but go away and do not meddle with, or perhaps so much as think upon the Provisions all the Week after! how miserable are You!

Again, what will become of others that are Prophane, Filthy, Abominable, Disobedient, and to every good Work reprobate? Are there not some who have been instructed in the Particulars of this Feast, and yet can feed upon Oaths, if a slight Provocation move them? do not Prophane Dogs lick up the Devil's Scraps, and tho' they look upon God's Table, yet return to their Vomit again? Now, is not your Case miserable, Sinners! whose mouth (it may be) is full of Cursing, Rom. 3.10. tho' out of the Mouth of the Lord you [Page 298]have heard so many Gospel Blessings! and full of Biiterness, tho' that Mouth of yours should have been filled with the sweetness of the Honey and the Honey­comb! are there not some of you have thrown aside the Cup of Salvation, and taken up the Cup of the Drunkards? have you not changed the Glory of all that Ho­ly Bill of Fare, to shame? yea, into such a shame thro' your own beastly Intempe­rance, as the Prophet expresseth by a shameful Spewing! Hab. 2.14. Oh! how sad is it with you while you come and look upon the Provisions here, and as soon as you have turn'd your Backs, and are gone Week after Week, should be found in the De­vil's Company, or about the Devil's Work again, eating and drinking your own Dam­nation! dare any of you thus to pro­phane the Table of the Lord? And, you that are Scoffers ridicule the Pro­visions, make his Meat contemptible? Again, How do you think after this Plenty, that God takes it at your Hands, you that break the Third Command, and customarily take his Name in vain, Exo. 20.7. irre­verently, wickedly and prophanely in your mouths upon every slight Occasi­on, blaspheming and dishonouring that [Page 299]worthy Name which should only have been praised for his Bounty and Good­ness to us? Would you thank that Guest who should go away reproaching, and ungratefully vilify your own Names, af­ter you had either kindly entertain'd him, or offered courteously to treat him? I trow not. And what? Luk. 17.9. shall the Great God of Heaven and Earth be dishonour­ed in his Name, after he hath created, preserved and provided all, and spread so large a Table with Blessings of Hea­ven above, Gen. 49.25 and Blessings of the Deep that lieth under? Further, dare any of you be Disobedient to Parents, and tho' you have heard of so much at God's Table, yet continue as cursed Slips, instead of Olive-Plants round about Their Table? Psa. 128.3. Surely miserable is the Congregation of the Wicked, and sad is your state that have the Opportunities of Gospel-Grace, and yet do but see it with your Eyes, and never eat thereof! and that hear of Hea­ven, but must never, if you be not chang­ed, enter in there; Rev. 21.27 for there shall in no wise enter into it any Thing that desileth. Let those words, 1 Cor. 6.9, 10. dwell much upon you, Know ye not that the Ʋn­righteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of [Page 300]God? Be not deceived, neither Fornicaters, nor Idolaters, nor Adulterers, nor Effeminate, nor Abusers of themselves with Mankind, nor Thieves, nor Covetous, nor Drunkards, nor Re­vilers, nor Extortioners, shall inherit the King­dom of God. Remember all these Things must pass away, and there must be nothing of them remain, but only to testifie of the Grace of God that such were some of you. 1 Cor. 6.11 12 Inf.

12. Continuance in Ʋnbelief, and a Re­fusal of these All Things, is Dreadful. The State of Unbelievers must be miserable that hath no Portion in these Things, and the Sin of Unbelievers must needs become provoking that keeps them from laying hold upon them. Did you be­lieve, Rom. 6.1. you dare not trifle, or continue in sin, when Grace thus abounds. You dare not grow loose, if you did believe, or joyn with this Grace that was made to knit our Hearts to Christ. Oh! your Un­belief, which carries all your other sins in the Belly of it, is a Monster big with Aggravation. Let me represent the Dreadfulness of your Sin in two or three Instances.

1. You refuse the only Remedy. You sin against Grace, and Works cannot save you. These all things are for the [Page 301]reconciling you unto God, Col. 1.21. and yet you prefer to be Enemies in your Minds (and in your ways) by wicked Works. They are for sanctifying and renewing your A­bominable, polluted Natures, and yet you choose to remain Filthy still! Rev. 22.11 They are for healing you, and yet you will die of your Wounds before! They are for feeding and cloathing you, and yet you will be starv'd, and then turn'd out naked to the Judgment Seat of God! In one Word, they are for saving you, and yet you will die, and be damn'd for ever, Prov. 8.36. He that sinneth against me wrongeth his own Soul, all they that hate me love Death.

2. You rebell against the Light. You have heard, you have seen enough to cast you, if you do not quickly cry for Mercy, and if Jesus the Son of God have not mercy on you. Mark 10.47, 48. Oh! where will you flee to hide, when Christ lays this Sin at your Door, that you had been inform'd of the Pro­visions made for Sinners, and the more you knew, the more you hated God's Of­fers made to you? See John 15.24. If I had not done among them the Works which none other Man did, they had not had sin, (i. e. nothing in comparison of what they now have) but now have they both seen [Page 302]and hated both me and my Father. You have heard of what Importance this Feast is, and therefore it is a Rebelling against the Light to make light of it.

3. You trample upon Distinguishing Grace that comes with outward Peace to you. God might have kept a Market with the Enemy, Psal. 44.11 and given you as Sheep appointed for meat. Asaph enditeth a sad Com­plaint of this nature, Psal. 79.1, 2. O God, the Heathen are come into thine Inhe­ritance, thy Holy Temple have they defiled, they have laid Jerusalem on heaps; the Dead Bodies of thy Servants have they given to be meat unto the Fowls of the Heaven, the Flesh of thy Saints unto the Beasts of the Earth: And v. 3. Their Blood have they shed like Water round about Jerusalem. Consider, others have been fain to break thro' the Hosts of the Mighty to come at Bread, or fetch a supply of Living Water; but you are offer'd Both in a Day of Gra­cious Liberty, when you need not get your Bread with the Peril of your Lives! Lam. 5.9. Oh! come and see the Works of the Lord abroad, Psa. 46.8. what Desolations he maketh in the Earth, while he provides a Sanctuary for You that is not desolate for the Lord's sake. Dan. 9.17. How do Wars ruine and eat up [Page 303]the Countries round you, while you have Peace in your Borders, Ps. 147.14 and meat to eat which they know not of! Oh! the Di­stinguishing Grace of God, that he should on you be raining Mannah, when on so many Thousands in the World he has been seen raining Blood! Ah! Could you have lookt into Neighbouring Countries, and seeen the Frights, the Perplexities, the Distress of Nations, Luk. 21.25 the Groans of Dying wounded Men, the Revenge of Armies boiling in their Blood, the Thunder of the Captains and the shouting! Could you see that Supper which God hath been making beyond the Seas for the Fowls upon slain Carkases, as the Holy Ghost signifi­eth, when he speaks of an Eagle flying in the Sun, Rev. 19.17, 18. and crying with a loud voice, saying, to all the Fowls that fly in the midst of Heaven, Come, and gather your selves together unto the Supper of the Great God, that ye may eat the Flesh of Kings, and the Flesh of Captains, and the Flesh of mighty men. Oh! how might you then admire, that he should send forth any of the Angels of the Churches, any Servants of His at our Gospel Sup­per-Time, to say to them that are bidden, Luk. 14.17 come! that they should be Angels to in­vite [Page 304]you, and not Armies to devour you! And will you sin against the Distinguish­ing Grace of God that calls you to this Supper, when you might have been disht up among slain Carkases at the o­ther? The Lord could have bidden Guests which should have come upon the Wing, if he had but said, Deut. 28.26. Thy Carkase shall be Meat unto all the Fowls of Heaven.

13. If there be such Plenty now where God's People partake of the Gospel, 13 Inf. Oh! what an infinite Stock of Plenty is That which is still reserv'd for Heaven! If it be so much to look upon his Love, when thou art looking thro' the Lattess, what will it be when the Windows fly open, and thy Soul shall mount up like the Cha­riots of Amminadab, Song 6.12. upon Angel's Wings to be for ever with the Lord in singing, and Mansions of Everlasting Joy! What will it be then to see him as he is for e­ver! Thy All now is nothing in compa­rison of what it tends to, 1 Joh. 3.2. when thou shalt be all in the Third Heaven, 2 Cor. 12.2 all rapt up in Love, all Joy, all bath'd in the Ri­vers of Pleasure to all Eternity. Psa. 16.11. So much for the first Use.

The Second Use is of Humiliation, II. Ʋse. upon these Three Accounts particularly, as, [Page 305]1. That we have Despis'd it. 2. Forsaken it. 3. Tasted so little, when we have taken something of it.

1. It should humble us, that we have despised the Gospel-Feast. God hath been making ready, Mat. 22.5. and we have been making light of it. This Great Supper hath been set before us; I laid Meat unto thee, Hof. 11.14. saith God of Israel and Ephraim, but we have cast it behind our Backs. 1 King. 14.9 It is the Wedding-Supper, Mat. 22.2, 3. and yet how loth are some of us he hath bidden, to be courted to it! It should bring us into the Dust, that we have preferred Dusty Things before it. Those Three Despisers in the Parable all seek their own, Phil. 2.21. and with one Consent shut out the King and his Gospel-Supper. One had rather be abroad in his Field viewing a piece of Ground, Luk. 14.18 than under the Roof of God's House at Supper. Another prefers his five Yoke of Living Oxen he had bought before all those other Oxen and Fat­lings in the Parable that were killed, v. 19. and made ready to be given. Mat. 22.4. They each made light of it, v. 5. ( [...]) not caring for the Provisions of the King, to taste of his Supper) and went their ways, to his Farm, another to his Merchandize. And the other Third that was married, careth [Page 306]for the Things of the World how he may please his Wife, 1 Cor. 7.33 Luke 14.20. It should humble us, that when God hath took up this Supper of the Gospel by a Hand of Grace, we have been taken up with our Hands in other Things, which we have valu'd and preferred more. It should humble us, Psa. 94.19. that in the multitude of our Thoughts we have run so low, when God thro'out so many High Mysteries plain­ly tells us, Isa. 55.8. My Thoughts are not as your Thoughts! Again, that our Words have cast so many Reflections upon these mighty Works of God! Mat. 14.2. That our Actions have wrought much Provocation, when He hath laid in so much Provision to nourish and sustain us to all Eternity! That we should design his Glory no more, who hath accomplisht so much to declare our Good! That we should set up our selves (vile Worms) before this great Provi­der! That we should so often prefer a Mess of our own Pottage, I mean the Things below, 2 Kings 4.40. where there is Death in the Pot, and esteem this large Benjamin's Mess in the All Things, no more! Sure, it should make us with shame to take the lowest Room, and abase our selves, that have exalted our ways against God, [...]uk. 14.9. that [Page 307]hath done so much at the Ʋpper End for us!

2. It should humble us, that we have forsaken our First Love, we have once shewn to it. The Church of Ephesus, Rev. 3. seemed to have fed so long, that she took a Spiritual Surfeit, and cared less for her Meat than she was wont to do before: The Master of the House takes notice how well she kept to her Diet, v. 3. and that tho' she had met with never so many Difficulties for this Feast's sake, yet had a long while bore them: Thou hast born, and hast Patience, and for my Name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted: But when she grew weary of her Bill of Fare, he brings in a Bill of Indictment in a sad Charge against her, v. 4. Nevertheliss, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first Love. And should we not bewail it, that our own Plenty hath brought forth the Ephesian-Surfeit in England, and that even as to the very Profession of the Go­spel there hath been so great a forsaking in the midst of the Land? Isa. 6.12. Have we not in our Plenty forgotten the Bread of Ad­versity? Cha. 30.20 Oh! how precious was the Provision, when we thought we should eat no more of it! When God was threat­ning [Page 308]to break up House, did not we pro­mise to prize his Table better? When some of the Synagogues of God in the Land had been shut up, and others, thro' the Fury of the Enemy pulled down, had not we like Caleb another Spirit given us? Num. 14.24.

At the opening of our Liberty, when God set open that Door of Hope, Hos. 2.15. how did we see many entring in by the Door, that since have returned, and now are climb­ing up some other new way? Joh. 10.1. Nay, how many in the straitest Times of Difficulty, have seem'd to run well, Gal. 5.7. and followed Christ for the Loaves, I mean have been so zealously affected towards the Gospel, that rather than fast, 1 Sam. 21.6 would put Hot Bread into their Mouths, when Persecu­tion hath been greatest, and yet now are hindred either from running or walking more with us? Joh. 6.66. Again, as to others that come now and then to see what House God keeps among us, did they not seem once to come with more Appetite? Were not Men's Spirits once more akin to Job's, to love the Gospel of Christ, and esteem the Words of his Mouth more than their own necessary and Appointid Food? Job 23.12 did not this Heavenly Repast from God determine their choice best, when it came in com­petition [Page 309]with the Food that perisheth? Joh. 6.27 Could not some have been contented to lose a Meal at home, to get out to an Entertainment with our Beloved, where his Followers have gained more than Meat, and yet now steal away from the Table, having loved this present World, 2 Tim. 4.10. whither a Deceived Heart hath turned them aside. Isa. 44.20.

Again, should it not abase us, that we seem'd once to have more Valuation for the Gospel upon a Sick-Bed, Mark 2.9 than we have had since God hath made us take up our Beds and walk! Mat. 16.2 [...] Did we not better sa­vour the Things of God, when we thought of the Graves ready for us, Job 24.20 and the Worms that should feed sweetly on us? What strong Cries could many pour out, when they lay howling upon their Beds, which have been long since forgotten, and worn off by Laughter in the House of Fools! Eccl. 7.4. How many have made a fair shew in the Flesh, Gal. 6.12. while their Face hath been foul with weeping, that yet have worn off former Troubles, after we had hop't by the sad­ness of their Countenance to have seen their Hearts made better. Alas! Eccl. 7.3. how deep in Shame should these Considerations lay us, that we are not (perhaps any of us) [Page 310] as in Moneths past, Job 29.2.and as in the Days when God began to send Plenty to us! The Go­spel is the same, but we are sadly chang'd.

3. It should humble us, that we have tasted so little of this Feast, Job 16.8. when we have taken something of it. Who would not rather judge that some of us, by our Leanness that testifies against us, had kept a Fast, and never been at God's House a Feasting! How starv'd are our Souls, tho' such Plenty lies before us! How wither'd are our Graces after the Dew hath been all Night upon our Branches. Job 29.9 He that hath gathered much of this Holy Mannah (much comparatively, 1 Cor. 14.30. more than another that sitteth by) yet hath no­thing over, Exo. 16.18 and he that hath gathered lit­tle hath the more lack. The Entertain­ment hath been full, but how many have risen out of their Seats and gone empty away? We have but Tasted of the Heavenly Gift, Heb. 6.4. when the Kindness of God hath provided all, that we might have taken more of it. We have Often fed, but we need still to be fed with the same Dish again. Heb. 5.12. Ye have need that one teach you again which be the First Principles of the Oracles of God. Some [Page 311]had need to lye at the Infant-Breasts and suck a Catechism, being such Babes that many Sermons are too strong meat for them. Well, it should humble us, that we have had a great Feast, a rich Gospel provided, but little Stomach to, little Strength from it.

The Third and last Use is of Exhorta­tion, III Ʋse. to perswade and counsel you in refe­rence to this Large Feast in all the Things before us. Take these Twelve Directions.

First, 1 Dir. Labour to understand the Provisi­ons of the Gospel more. Search into the Mystery of Christ that you may not have any meat to eat, which you know not of. Be acquainted more with your Table, that you may see what is set before you. The Heart of him that hath Ʋnderstanding seeketh Knowledge, Prov. 15.14. Let not God therefore complain of you, when he hath sent these Treasures of his Gospel, as he did of Israel, when he had written to them the great Things of his Law, Hos 8.12 that they are counted as a strange Thing. Eat of the Tree of Knowledge that you may partake of the Tree of Life. The Sup­per will be lost in thy Winter-Evening, if thou hast not the Candle of the Lord to light thee, and discover the Things [Page 312]that he hath made ready. Cry there­fore after Knowledge, and lift up thy Voice for Understanding, be no Stranger to thy Diet, but know thou it for thy Good, Job. 5.27.

Secondly, 2 Dir. Meditate often upon the Fur­niture of this Table. It is no Spiritual Intemperance tho' you have (Animus in Patinis) your Minds running much upon it. I meditate (saith that Holy Psalmist) on all thy works, I muse on the work of thy Hands, Psal. 143.5. When others only wonder a little at the Gospel they know not why, as They at those Things which were told them by the Shepherds. Luk. 2.18. Be you like Mary in the following Verse, that kept all these Things, v. 19.and ponder'd them in her Heart. A good Christian (said an Mr. Jenkyn. eminent Preacher) is much in Isa­ac's Walks. He meant in Meditation, because Isaac went out to meditate in the Field at the Eventide, Gen. 24.63. Such Spiritual Wanderers can turn Fields of carnal Pleasure into a Paradise of Holy Meditation. Meditate then in the Go­spel, which is a plentiful Field where thy Thoughts may walk to and fro with Freedom. Muse upon the Extent, ponder the Depth, contemplate the prodigious [Page 313]Stores of Grace, Psa. 50.11. all the Fowls of the Mountains, and the Fish of the Sea, and the slain Beasts on Earth are nothing to the House that God keeps for thee, there­fore meditate upon these Things. 1 Tim. 4.15

Thirdly, 3 Dir. Be not satisfyed till the Pro­visions are all made yours. Children have [Ye] any meat, John 21.5. What have you laid in of chose Things wherein God hath laid out. It is not Sight but Inte­rest, no [...] Speculation but Enjoyment will be of use to you. If you gain not this Point, you lose your selves for ever. But how comfortable will you find it, to read over this Bill of Fare in the Text, when you can add Paul's Comment in the Margent, all are yours, 1 Cor. 3.22. last words.

Fourthly, 4 Dir. Partake Plentifully of this En­tertainment. Deal not with a well-furnish'd Table, as Men do with a Frugal Diet, to be sparing. Let not this Significat & vi­ctûs Rationem, quam quis sibi velut decernit & prae­scribit, ut eam non trans­grediatur. Mercer, in Job. 23.12. Appointed Food be ty'd to any scanty Rules. 'Tis not indiffe­rent to a Child of God, whe­ther he eat little or much. I would not therefore only, as Paul exhorted in another case, press you to take some meat, Acts 27.34. but [Page 314]would say as the Angel of the Lord did to Elijah when he touched him the second Time, (still) Arise and eat, 1 Kings 19.7. The Prophet had once at the Moti­on of the Angel eaten before, of a Cake baken on the Coals, and drank of a Cruse of Water at his Head, v. 5, 6. But be­cause the Journey was too great for him to perform after ordinary, slender feed­ing, he is bid to eat agen, and accord­ingly he arose, v. 8. and did eat and drink (i. e. plentifully, a double Meal,) and went in the strength of that Meat forty Days and forty Nights, unto Horeb the Mount of God. He took a large Meal, and then he held a very long Journey. So I would perswade you to partake plenti­fully of the Gospel, believe with all thine Heart, eat and drink with all thy might, and take of what Dish thou wilt. Here is no need of putting the Knife to thy Throat, Prov. 23.2. tho' thou be a man given to Appe­tite, as Solomon directs the Epi­cure. Summum tibi Dam­num & Ignominiam ac­ [...]erses, nisi Gulam cohi­beas. Idem. Other Dainty Meats may undo thee, if thou hast not more Grace, than Appetite. Take plentifully therefore of the Dainties wherein is no excess.

Fifthly, Return Thanks. 5 Dir. As it comes in Love, return it to Love agen. Jenkyn up­on Jude, 2d pt. pag. 118. mihi Fol. ‘Wick­ed Men (as one observes of their com­mon Mercies) drink of the Stream and forget the Fountain, and assoon as ever they have filled their Bucket turn their Backs upon the Well. But God's Peo­ple are to shew more holy Ingenuity; and God's Mercies that draw out their Hearts, make them they dare not shut their Lips. What shall I render (saith Da­vid) unto the Lord for all his Benefits? Psal. 116.12. All God's Benefits do re­quire all, and more than we can ask or think to pay him. When David had been studying what Thanks to render, he takes the Grace-Cup, v. 13. I will take the Cup of Salvation, and call upon the Name of the Name of the Lord. Cùm videat nihil habere se quod rependat confugit ad. Gratiarum Actionem. Mollerus in locum. Thanks is all God requires, and all that Man hath to pay. The Sacrifice of Thanskgiving is the greatest Offering we can bring to God's Altar. Praise is as much of the Lord's Tribute as we can pay in the Glory due unto his Name; and we must not pay less. We ought neither to eat of our own common, or of his hallow­ed Bread without giving Thanks. The [Page 316] Dove, as Pag. 109. Dr. Spurstow observes in his Treatise of the Promises, picks not up a Grain without casting up its Eye to Heaven, and shall not the Soul of this Turtle that hath Dove's Eyes cast them upwards, Psa. 74.19. Song 4.1. while she is picking up his Mercies? As we must be Beggars for Mercy, we ought to be Thank-offerers those Sweet Singers of Israel upon our receiving of it, especially for the Gospel, in which we are prevented with his Blessings that are granted be­fore we ask them. Be ready to shew forth the Praises of him that hath called you, 1 Pet. 2.9. Even the Praises of Provi­ding Love that hath fetcht out such won­drous Stores for you, and brought in all to treat you. Yea, bless him for Sab­bath-Festivals, that he treats you upon every such Solemn Feast Day. Psal. 81.3.I had gone with the Multitude, I went with them to the House of God, with the Voice of Joy and Praise, with a multitude that kept Holi-day, Psal. 42.4.

Sixthly, 6 Dir. Work the Works of God. Be not found a Spiritual Sluggard in God's Kingdom, that sitteth to eat the Bread of Idleness. Take Pains, Christians, with your own Hearts, and don't carry it at Sion, as those did at the Foot of Sinai, [Page 317]that sate down to eat and to drink, Exo. 32.6 and then rose up to play. The more Grace, and the more we are justified without Works, the more we should delight to work the Works of God. Ezek. 16.49. This Fulness of Bread should not be joyn'd with any, much less with Abundance of Idleness in us. ibid. Don't think you can do too much for God, that hath provided and done so much for you. Advance his Glory, as you may be most serviceable and useful in the Places God hath set you. In a Word, new Obedience unto Him, who hath provided all Things new and old for you.

Seventhly, 7 Dir. Pray Affectionately for more Appetite, for Growth and the continuance of Plenty to you. You may rise from this Feast, tho' the greatest Banquet in the World, and assoon as you are up be fit to fall down and pray.

1. Pray for more Appetite to this Plen­ty. Be desirous of his Dainties, for they are Not deceitful Meat, nor like those which the Wise-Man cautions the Man of Appetite to forbear, Prov. 23.3. Cry unto the King least Desire fail, Eccl. 12.5. when thou shouldst eat of his Son's Venison. Indeed in other Things, (as a Dr. [...] Bates Final Happiness of Man, p. 59. great Author observes) we may sigh thro' Desire, and [Page 318]when they are obtain'd we often sigh for Grief: 2 Cor. 7.11 But our Vehement Desire, or the utmost Languishment of our Souls, that God would 2 Cor. 9.10. minister this Bread for our Food, is a Desire not to be repented of. Pray then that the Holy Spirit would set an Edge upon your Appetite, that your Food when carved for you, may not be found lying useless by you. One Meal at thy Ta­ble, one Day in thy Courts, is beter than a Thousand elsewhere? Psal. 84.10.

2. Pray for Growth by it. Beg that God may never deal with Thee, as he did with the Israelites, when they tempted him by asking meat for their Lust, Psa. 78.18. while he gave them their Request, Ps. 106.15.but sent Lean­ness into their Soul: Cry therefore and make this Intercession, Oh Lord, I beseech thee send now Prosperity, Psal. 118.25. As it is given you to sit at meat, pray that you may thrive by a Plenteous Feast. That you may not live upon God's Ordinances, and yet it cannot be known either by your Health or Growth what your Diet is, like those lean and ill­favoured Kine in the Dream of Pharaoh, that did eat up the first seven fat Kine, and when they had eaten them up, it could not be known that they had eaten them, Gen. 41.20, [Page 319]21. Ask Improvements, many Cu­bits in your Spiritual Stature, that while you live upon the Gift you may grow in Grace, 2 Pet. 3.18. Much growth should be desired from much Plenty and Variety. This will be a means to adorn the Gospel, and recommend the Provisions of it.

3. Pray for the continuance of Gospel-Plenty to you. You can never more aptly apply that Petition in the Lord's Prayer, Give us this Day our Daily Bread, Mat. 6.11. Jam. 4.3. than here. Ask not any Meat for your lust, but ask in Faith all other Things and have. Entreat the Lord, that he would not deal with you, as your Persecutors more than once have done, to make em­pty the Soul of the Hungry, or cause the drink of the Thirsty to fail, Isa. 32.6. last words. Pray, that the Good Shepherd would still provide, and the Sheep of Christ be yet suffered to go in and out and find pa­sture, John 10.9. Pray, that God would Not cast thee off, or throw thy Meat quite away from thee, Psal. 51.11. Cast me not away from thy Presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Beg that the Golden Pipes of Ordinances (as they are Typed out in the Prophet's Vision of the Golden Candlestick, and the two Golden [Page 320]Olive-Branches) may also empty the Gol­den Oyl out of themselves, Zech. 4.12. That Ordinances may neither be broken, as the Pipes sometimes that convey the Water are, nor yet their Fatness or Moi­sture fail, as a means of conveying all Things ready.

Eighthly, 8 Dir. Look beyond the Instrument, any meer Servant of the King's sent to call you, or bid to wait at Table on you. Look off from Instruments, and behold the First Cause. Holy Mr. Rutherford has an excellent Passage to this purpose in his Letters Pt. 3d. p. 37., Such as are Hungry look more to the Meat than the Carver. Oh! look off as hungry Feeders from the Atten­dance of his Ministers to view the great Provider, and taste the Vertue of all his great Provision. Why look ye so earnestly on us, as tho' by our own Power or Holiness we had made this man to walk; the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our Fathers hath glorified his Son Je­sus, Acts 3.12, 13. It is the Glorifying of his Son Jesus, and not the Abilities of Paul, or Apollos, or any Ministers by whom ye believed: We are but poor Lacqueys, that run after our Lord, to be with him where he is, upon any great Day of the Feast.

Ninthly, 9 Dir. Learn to be weaned from Tem­porals, when you have such Provisions made in Spirituals. Take what you have in Christ, and be Content, the meek shall eat and be satisfyed, Psal. 22.26. tho' God blesseth your other Basket and your Store, Deut. 28. [...]. yet live above the World, up­on Him who hath blessed us with all spiritual Blessings ( [...]) in Hea­venly Things in Christ. Eph. 1.3. When he calls you to dwell in his House, regard not your Tents, nor lodge among your own Stuff. Take off your Hearts from many Things, and lay them up with your Treasure here in All, Col. 3.2. Set your Affections upon Things above, not on Things on the Earth. Pant not after the Dust, Amos 2.7. when God pours Waters out of his Buc­kets. Num. 24.7 Be more Crucifyed to the World, Gal. 6.14. since he that hung upon the Cross hath prepar'd enough (by getting all) with­out it. If God hath drawn some Earth­ly Breasts dry, yet let these Breasts of Consolation in the Gospel wean you from the Paps that you have sucked. Let that World to come provided put the World that now is under you. In one word, be contented to wash off your Thick Clay which sticks upon your Fin­gers, [Page 322] 1 Joh. 1.1. and handle the Word of Life.

Tenthly, 10 Dir. Pity others that want your Plenty. The less they have, let your Bowels grow the larger to them. Be not of a Narrow Spirit that shuts out the sense of other Men's Necessity, when you feed in large Pastures. Be grieved for the Afflictions of Joseph, Amos 6.6. and don't carry it like his unnatural Brethren, that when they had cast him into a Pit, Gen. 37.24, 25.sat down to eat their Bread. Think of God's Prisoners, tho' the chief Butler may forget them, when he is pressing the Cup into Pharaoh's Hand. Tho' you have got a Pleasant South-Land, and the Streams in the South to make it fruitful, yet think of your Brethren in France, that are driven out of their South-Land, and have their Springs of Water dry. Put on Bowels, when you behold your Table, and are about to fill your Belly.

Eleventhly, 11 Dir. Tho' you have Plenty, waste none. Make no Orts of Crumbs. When your Table is full, turn it not into wantonness, least God overturn it. Tho' you have found so much, do not lose any. Beware of every Morsel, let none fall under the Table to be trod on. Gen. 32.10 Make much of the least of all God's [Page 323]mercies, thou mayst yet be low in thy State, tho' thou art high-fed at present; and tho' such a Feast be now set before thee, Luk. 16.21 thou mayst desire again hereafter to be fed with the Crumbs that fall from the Rich man's Table.

Twelfthly, Abound in Love, 12 Dir. both to the Maker of this Feast, and to all our Fellow-Guests with us. Professors of the Gospel should love, and such as eat to­gether, cleave to one another. Love is a special Duty we owe at such a Love-Feast.

1. Abound in Love to God. The Words of the Commandment that were writ­ten in Stone should be transcrib'd upon the Fleshy Tables of our Heart; 2 Cor. 3.3. see Deut. 6.5. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy Heart, and with all thy Soul, and with all thy Might. Oh! how should we send Love streaming out of our Souls, when Love pricks the Vein, tho' we bleed to Death with Love!

2. Abound in Love to all your Fellow-Guests. 1 Joh. 4.21. And this Command­ment have we from Him, that he who lov­eth God, love his Brother also. Shall there be Contentions among Brethren at the same Gospel-Table, when Jen­kyn upon Jude, 2d. pt. pag. 118. the eat­ing [Page 324]at one Rack hath bread Peace between the very savage Beasts. It is the Note of an Egyptian, Gen. 43.32 to have an Hebrew in Abomination, and refuse to Bread with him. Let those quarrel who sit at the Devil's Banquets, but let us agree, who have our Table prepar'd of God. Let the Dogs fall out that fight for Bones, but let the Children that eat of Chil­dren's Bread, unite: Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for Brethren to dwell together in Ʋnity, Psal. 133.1. It is come­ly to sit together in our Profession at the Gospel-Table, Eph. 1.3. as we hope to sit to­gether in the Heavenly Places, and not like Foolish Children wrangle and con­tend about our Meat, to provoke our Heavenly Father, to take the Dishes off, or send Ʋs to Bed, to our Graves, with­out a Supper.

II. Doct. That God makes an Invitati­on to Sinners in the Preaching of the Gospel to come in to this Feast.

The Method in which I shall endea­vour to prosecute and handle this Truth, will lye in Four things. 1. To open the Properties of the Invitation, and shew [Page 325]you the perswasive Force, or Strength, and sweet import of this Blessed Word, Come. 2. To explain also the Nature of Man's coming, when God's Call prevails. 3. The Reasons, or Necessity of this coming urg'd upon us, Why it must be. And, 4. The Ʋse.

The First Thing is to open the Pro­perties of the Invitation, I. and explain the Nature of God's Call to Sinners, when he Invites them by the Preaching of the Gospel to partake of His Feast. Take them in these Ten Particulars.

1. It is a Gracious Invitation, 1 Property a Come that is full of Grace and Love, an In­vitation that springs not from common Tenderness, Luk. 1.78. but the tender Mercies of our God. He is styled the Father of Mercies, 2 Cor. 1.3. and therefore sends out to the Children of Wrath to shew Mercy on them. Eph. 2.3. He is a Gracious and a com­passionate Father even to Children that have wasted the substance, and run out the Por­tion he gave once unto them: He is full of Pity to such as have run away in the original Revolt from him, and therefore sends out to such Prodigals as we, a Come, Return, to fetch us home again. Isa. 21.12. He seeks, he sends, he calls, and 'tis [Page 326]nothing but Grace in every Act, in every Voice, in every Line of Pity to you, as Paul was wont to Preface his Epistles, admiring Gospel-Grace. Oh! 'tis with a mighty Emphasis in the Lan­guage of the Gospel, that by Grace ye are saved, Eph. 2.5. And again, (by Grace are ye saved) v. 8. it is by a spe­cial, extraordinary Favour that is let out of the Heart of God to you. Nempe Dilectio, Misericor­dia, Gra­tia at (que) Benignitas. Bodius in Eph. pag. 259. col.1 Grace indeed is diversified in the Scriptures, and comprehends various Terms of a Divine Affection to save, but they all agree in the Temple-Language without any uncertain sound, 1 Cor. 14.8 that we may utter our Acknowledgments, and break out with Shoutings, Zech. 4.7.crying Grace, Grace, un­to it. When God looks down from Hea­ven, and beholds from the Habitation of his Holiness, and of his Glory, it is with the Sounding of his Bowels, Isa. 63.15.and of his Mer­cies towards us. They are Compassions towards Ʋs that afford us a Call to­wards Him. The Church indeed seems there to complain of an Abatement of the Divine Care to her, as appears by the manner of her expressing it, Where is thy zeal, ibid.and thy strength, the sound­ing of thy Bowels, and of thy Mercies to­wards [Page 327]me? are they restrained? As if she had said, Why are thine Affections stopt from flowing out unto me? but alas! if God had forgotten to be Gracious, Psa. 77.9. as good Asaph too was ready to complain, there had never been an Invitation to any such as Me; O taste and see that the Lord is good, Psal. 34.8. This Come in the Text had been blotted out of his Remembrance, Isa. 49.19. if thro' Grace he had not engraven it upon the Tables of his Heart continually. He is a God that hath done every thing Graciously, Hos. 14.2. he receiveth Gra­ciously after, he invited graciously at first. Psa. 103.8.The Lord is Merciful and Gracious in di­spensing such a Call to us; Psa. 145.8. Gracious and full of Compassion in the Gospel-Message; Lam. 3.22. his Compassions fail not while he sends to fill us with good things. That is the First Property of his Call to Sinners, it is a Gracious Invitation.

2. It is a Free Invitation. 2 Property Nothing mov'd, nothing compell'd the King, in ary possible Deserts or Obligation, to send for such a one as Thee: He con­sdered thee as Poor, and therefore would invite thee according to the Free Rich­es of his Grace: Eph. 1.7. He comes freely in his Visit, and calls thee as thou art a Sin­ner, [Page 328]as a Great Sinner, as the Chief of Sinners in thy own Apprehension. When he maketh a Dinner or a Supper, Luk. 14.12 he calls not the Rich that can make a Recom­pense, not the Righteous, such as are Self-Righteous, but he calls Sinners to Repentance, Matth. 9.13. The Lord does not look for some Great Thing in you, to make you worthy of a Look or a Call of his after you, but when he comes to save you, he finds you as you are, and yet knocks at your Door to take up his Abode with you. Tho' you have not a Good Word in your Tongues, or a Good Work yet begun in your Hearts, yet the Lord invites you to begin and carry both on.

3. It is a Sovereign Invitation. 3 Property As nothing in us could move him to it, so nothing he saw in us, or by us, should divert or put him off from such an In­vitation. God will Call thee, tho' Sa­tan casts in many Things against thee. The Law of God condemns thee, but yet however he will bring his Gospe, and have it offered to thee. Conscience may accuse thee, but he will not always hear the Plea against thee; nay, Thou also in Self-abhorrency mayst say even [Page 329]to the Almighty, Lord, bid me not! do not look upon such a Dead Dog as I! 2 Sam. 9.8. yet he will not be ty'd, he will not let thee stop him, Hos. 2.6. thou shalt not hedge up his way with Thorns, but he will in­vite thee to his Son, take it how thou wilt of him, Exod. 33.19. And he said, I will make all my Goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the Name of the Lord before thee, and I will be Graci­ous to whom I will be gracious, and will shew Mercy on whom I will shew Mercy. He breaths in Sovereignty, when he opens his Lips, and brings Grace, Grace forth. He will invite, he will entertain, he will exercise a Prerogative while he offers to, while he bestows the Gift upon whom­soever it seemeth meet unto him. His own shall be bestowed where the Own­er pleaseth. He invites not only where he foresees a Heart void of Towardly Dispositions and moral Inclinations to re­ceive his offer, but where there is a perfect Aversation, a natural Hatred and Reluctancy thereunto. Even so Father, because it seemeth good in thy sight, Matth. 11.26.

4. It is a clear Invitation. 4 Proper [...] There is nothing in the Gospel but lays his Heart [Page 330]open, nothing in his Calls but doth make our way to Him clear. We may apply the Testimony of his Disciples to confirm this, Joh. 16.29. His Disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plain­ly, and speakest no Proverb. He had be­fore declared to them, Joh. 16.28 he came forth from the Father, and was come into the World; as if he had told them, I came down from God, to seek, to call, to treat with Sinners, and bring them up to Him: Again, I leave the World and go to the Father: i. e. I must go back to the Place from whence I came, and give an ac­count how my Message sped. The In­vitation was therefore clear, his Disci­ples understood the Call, lo, now speak­est thou plainly. What can be clearer than Prov. 9.5. Come, eat of my Bread, and drink of the Wine which I have mingled. Tho' these Things are Parables unto Men by Nature, yet when the Spirit of God hath formed a seeing Eye within us, to discern and perceive Spiritual Things, we may then answer as the Disciples did to Christ, when he made an enquiry about their Understandings, Matth. 13.51. Have ye understood all these Things? and they say unto him, Yea Lord.

5. It is a Commanding Invitation. 5 Propert. Mi­nisters have received a Command to Call you, and you have receiv'd a Com­mand to Come. When Orders are given from the Lord, Joh. 1.13. you are not left to the Will of the Flesh to put off the Invita­tion which from the Will of God you hear press'd upon you. The Servants indeed intreat you, and beseech you to be reconciled unto God, 2 Cor. 5.20 but the Master of the Feast doth require this of you. He is a Great King, and where the Word of a King is, there is Power, Eccles. 8.4. to employ his Agents, and Commission such as he makes the Officers of his Trust to deal with you. It is affirmed of the King in the Parable, Matth. 22.3. that he sent forth his Servants to call them that were bidden. 2 Cor. 8.23 The Messengers of the Churches must speak the mind of God and Christ to you. Matth. 8.9 Ministers are under one ha­ving Authority, and 'tis their Duty to declare unto you, what they have re­ceived from the Lord. 1 Cor. 11.23 The Servants that call you can shew their Lord's express Warrant to you, and a Commandment both to Them and You, to tell you by what Authority they do these things. Mat. 21.23Christ hath all Power in Heaven and in Earth [Page 332]to speak, Cha. 28.18 and his Messengers have an Au­thority by Delegation from him to speak also; Isa. 48.16. Come ye near unto me, hear ye this, I have not spoken in secret from the Be­ginning, from the Time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord God and his Spi­rit hath sent me: So likewise that Com­mission for Christ's Messengers to invite you, will stand, so long as the World stands it self, Matth. 28.19, 20. Go ye therefore and teach all Nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and lo! I am with you always, even to the end of the World, Amen. There is the Divine Commissi­on at large, which warrants the Messen­gers to Invite you with a Come and See, Rev. 6. sparsim. Psal. 34.8. with a Come and Taste the things that God hath prepared for you. Now if the Commission lays an Obligation up­on Them to call you, is it not a Com­mand, or an Authoritative Invitation from the God that sends them for you to come in. If they must Preach the Gospel, must not you receive it, and em­brace it? David lookt upon it as an Ar­gument of weight, thou hast given Com­mandment [Page 333]to save me, Psal. 71.3. and when God hath Charg'd us to believe and obey the Gospel, may we be at Liberty as we will, to accept or refuse the Invitation? Prov. 1.23. either to turn at his Re­proof, 2 Pet. 2.21. or turn aside from the Holy Command­ment delivered to us?

6. It is an Open Invitation. 6 Propert. The Go­spel is said to proclaim, Isa. 61.2. and not to whisper the Grace of God to you. These Gra­cious Calls are Publick, Psa. 40.9, 10. 1 Kings 19.12. you may hear Inviting Mercy in the Great Congregati­on, as well as the small, still Voice, at home. When the Gospel is spoken of by Christ, Mark 13.10. he tells us, it must be Published among all Nations, it was not enough that these things were done in a Corner. Act. 26.26. So when the Servants in the Parable are sent forth to call them that were bidden, Luk. 14.17 they are Commanded to go out quickly (but not any whither, here or there at random, into by-corners of the City, where their Message would want a Conveniency to divulge and noise forth abroad, Go out quickly therefore) into the Streets and Lanes of the City, Luk. 14.21 [...], into wide Places, as the word may signifie, where you shall meet with Room enough for the Company, [Page 334]the many Sinners in Jerusalem, Luk. 13.4. to ga­ther thick about you, and hear your Message which I have sent by you; and v. 23. Go out into the High-wayes and Hedg­es: Go, proclaim your Errand, where you are most likely to find Company, be it in City or Countrey, Jerusalem, or in Judea, throughout all the Region round, or in the Kingdoms of the Gen­tiles, beyond Judea.

For, it is thought by Interpreters that by Streets and Lanes of the City, Christ meant the Jews that were then nigh at Hand, and to whom by reason of that nearness the Servants or Preachers of the Gospel could go out quickly; for These were to have the Gospel first Preached, beginning at Jerusalem; Luk. 24 47 and 'tis thought that by the High-ways and Hedges he in­tended the Gentiles a great way off from Judea and Jerusalem, to whom also the Word should come, and be Preacht afar off in Places remote and distant from their Countrey and Metropolis. Well now, the Servants and their Message are come forth as openly into your High­ways and Hedges, i. e, unto and among such Inhabitants as dwell afar off from Jerusalem, whom the Parable seems to [Page 335]intend and set forth metaphorically un­der these Terms; yet as openly Preach­ed unto you now in these High-ways and Hedges as it was in Christ's time in the Streets and Lanes of the City a­mong the Jews themselves. The Invi­tation was Open then, Luk. 12.3. the Invitation is not in Private now. The Word that descended from the House-Tops is not whisper'd and confin'd to Closets: Joh. 18.20. I spake openly, to the World, I ever taught in the Synagogue, and in the Temple, whither the Jews always resort, and in se­cret have I said nothing: Why so

The Proclamation of Gospel-Grace is now open, the Silver Trumpet comes sounding close by you; there's no Re­straint upon a Message from God to you; nothing to arrest it before it reach your Ears. When Wisdom crieth, she cryeth without, she uttereth her Voice in the Streets, she cryeth in the Loco ubi variae semitae con­currunt, & ubi sibi in­vicem, quam plurimi ho­minum oc­currunt. Mercer in loc.chief Place of con­course, in the openings of the Gates, Prov. 1.20, 21. so chap. 8.2, 3. She standeth in the Top of High Places, by the way in the Places of the Paths; she cryeth at the Gates, at the Entry of the City, at the coming in at the Doors. These are Phra­ses that express the openness of a Thing [Page 336]done in the Face or the Ears of much People, as if Wisdom's Message had been delivered, not so much in the Street, whether of this side of the way or that, where the Passengers half are lost in passing by on the other, but in the open­ings of the Gates, and at the coming in at the Doors, where the way of all sides doth meet, and every one is pressing to crowd in or out thro'. The Word of the Lord that invites you, is intimated to be in its own Nature an open Vision, 1 Sam. 3.1. tho' it was then so precious and scarce in those dayes, that there was no open Vision actually. 'Tis no less than a Ho! if any Man Thirst, let him come unto me and drink, Isa. 55.1. compar'd with Joh. 7.37.

7. It is a large and comprehensive Invi­tation: 7 Propert. A Come that shall reach Jew and Gentile both; the Arms of Love shall make a wider Circle, Many are call­ed, Matth. 22.14. and all Israel shall be gathered. People, Nations and Langua­ges will be invited to come and hear the Gospel, Mark 16.15. Go into all the World, and Preach the Gospel to every Creature, i. e. Cuivis hominum or­dini. Poli Synops. omni Gene­ri singulo­rum, non omnibus sin­gulis Gene­rum. to Men of every Rank and Order; to men indifferently of any [Page 337]Quality, Character or Degree, to all the Kinds, be they Barbarian, Scythian, Bond or Free, tho' not to every Individual nei­ther, appertaining to those Kinds. A­gain, to every Creature, i. e. as the word Creature is restrained to Mankind: Thus Eve is called the Mother of all Living, Gen. 3.26.i. e. of all Mankind Living, be they Male or Female, but not to be understood of Living Creatures produced of any other kind. Well, the Call of the Gospel shall be a wider, a more extensive Call than now: The Hour is coming in the which there shall be no Speech nor Lan­guage where their Voice, Psa. 19.3. the Voice of them that will be Called to Preach Glad Tidings, shall not come. But however, it is a large Come, an extended Call at present. God speaks it in the Ears of many Nations, Come, fill your selves with Fatness; Kings are exhorted to accept of it, to be wise and Kiss the Son, Psa. 2.12.i.e. be subject to him, alluding to the Kiss of Homage which was used by the Jews. Cities, Towns and Villages are spoken to, Families and single Persons have a Message of Grace sent them, and the Voice still cryeth, Come. You particu­larly of this Congregation in Cambridge, [Page 338]are invited to come near and hearken, to incline your Ear to near, and your Souls shall live, Isa. 55.3. it is large and com­prehensive, the Voice Cryes to many.

8. It is a Pressing, 8 PropertyEarnest Invitation. It gives no rest, but solliciteth and thro' the forbearance and long-suffering and good­ness of God follows thee Day after Day. Rom. 2.4. The Call refused hath become a Call repeated: Isa. 62.11.Once hast thou heard it, yea twice that (Grace and Mercy, as well as) Pow­er belongeth unto God. If thou art slow, that shouldst be swift to hear, upon one Week or Sabbath-Day that's past thee, God [...] hath followed thee with another, and try'd thee by his Goodness once again, if Instruction may but enter, and thine Ear be bor'd at last. Thou hast now a Call, if thou wilt but come in and embrace it with this Day's Mercies. The Apostle expresseth this Earnestness, with an as tho' God did beseech you by us, 2 Cor. 5.20. The Call is urgent with Thee, as the Angel was with Lot to hasten him. While he lingred, Gen. 19.16the Men laid hold upon his Hand, the Lord being merciful unto him; Mercy was earnest, Mercy press'd him, it would not leave him to be con­sum'd with a Sodom burning round a­bout [Page 339]him. Why thus Mercy pleads with thee, Why wilt thou dye? Ezek. 18.31. Mercy is ur­gent, it lays hold upon thee, Sinner, and would pluck thee as a Brand out of Everlasting Fire; Zech. 3.2. Mercy is loth to give thee up for ever: It comes with a sweet and gracious Importunity, it cryes con­tinually in thine Ears, Judg. 16.16. presseth thee with words, and would draw thee with Bands of Love to Jesus.

9. It is a seasonable Invitation. 9 Propert. It is Mercy that is not come too late. He calls thee while it is yet Day, Joh. 9.4. that thou mayst see thy way before the Night com­eth: He sends out to invite thee with a Summons of Love before the Sun be down, and therefore let not this Day's Sun go down upon his Wrath, Eph. 4.26. before thou art willing to come and Sup with him. If you lose him now, you may lose him ever; if you dye in your sins, Joh. 8.24. you drop without Recovery! when thy Mouth shall be stopt with Dirt, thou wilt not eat of this Bread that strengthen­eth Man's Heart. Psa. 104 15 Death like a Thief is stealing in upon thee, and may rob thee of thy Table, before thou take thy Food! it may come with a rough Hand apace, to overthrow thy Table, and snatch away [Page 340]Cloth and Thee, and All for ever! but of this more under the next Doctrine.

10. Lastly, 10 Pro­perty. It is an effectual, saving Call to all the Elect of God. If God's Pow­er be accompanyed with his Voice, we may add that of Paul to the Invitation, who hath saved us and called us with an Holy Calling, 2 Tim. 1.9. when the open­ing of God's Mouth is joyn'd with the out-stretching of his Arm, then calling and saving us do both go together. Now God doth this to make the Call effectu­al; he puts forth his Hand, and the Sin­ner comes to God's Foot immediately. Eph. 3.7. The Gift of Grace and the Effectual Work­ing of his Power do meet, and make the Invitation saving. When God saith Come, to those he intends to bring in, he waken­eth their Ear to hear, Isa. 50.4. and gives them Feet to walk. He removes all Obstru­ctions, and will make the very moun­tainous way to Zion become a Plain, Zech. 4.7. when he intends to save unto the utter­most, Heb. 7.25. Isa. 30.21. and saith, this is the way, walk ye in it. Every Lost Sheep shall be found and brought home, before the Shepherd hath done crying after it.

The Second Thing is to open the Na­ture of Man's Coming, II. when God's Call [Page 341]prevails. Coming in the General im­plyes a coming off from some Things, and a coming on to others: For in all Motion (suppose it Natural) there be two opposite and contrary Terms, Ter­minis a Quo, and Terminus ad Quem, one from which we pass, the other to which we arrive. 'Tis the same Thing in spi­rituals, in the Motion of the Soul to­wards God. We must come from many Hinderances, before we come to Him: There is much within us to be forsaken, and much to be left without us, before we break thro' all our way to Him.

First, I shall rank the Terms From which we must begin our motion in the Lord, and place them under these four General Heads, Sin, Satan, our Selves, and this present evil World. When we come, when we run after Him that calls us, we must start from every one of These. We must come off from these four Terms like those four Points in the Compass, if we begin a new, distinct mo­tion; that is, if we are Spiritual, and do not walk as Men; for it is not North­wards or Southwards, towards the East, or towards the West, but a sursum cor­da, our Hearts only upwards.

1 1. Sin is a Term we must be sure to come from. The Invitation of the Go­spel is a Holy Calling, 2 Tim. 1.9. and the Feast is a Feast of Holiness, and it will surely hin­der our Complyance, if we are resolv'd to touch the Ʋnclean thing:2 Cor. 6.17.Shall we con­tinue in sin that Grace may abound! Rom. 6.1. Tho' Grace should abound, that is, the offer of it to us, yet it will work out nothing, if it doth not work us off from sin. Rom. 1.26 It must take of [...] our vile Affections, as the Apostle calls them, that we do not hate the good, and love the evil, it must eat off the Chain we bind our selves in; for this continuance in Love to sin must be broken off, before we yield to any New Complyance. We shall ne­ver stir towards a Saviour, so long as we stand in any Evil Thing. If Iniqui­ties prevail, Psa. 65.3. the Invitation worketh no Perswasion or Success upon us. All Things in this Great Supper will be too weak to perswade, if there be but one Beloved Lust prevails. You must not defile, you must not foul your Hands with sin, and your Fingers with Iniquity, when you come to eat Bread in the King­dom of God, but wash ye, make ye clean, Isa. 1.16. and touch not the Unclean [Page 343]Thing, 2 Cor. 6.17. Wherefore come out from among them, (that is, from Un­righteousness, from Darkness, v. 14.) and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the Ʋnclean Thing, and I will receive you.Egress [...] in Scriptu­râ animo, non modò corpori tri­buitur. Ca­mer. My­roth. p. 355Be ye separate.] i. e. Re­move, be gone, be not contented to lye still in sin, change your Doings and Behaviour, tho' you don't change your Dwelling; come off in your Affections and Conversations from the Pollutions that have cleaved to you; 2 Cor. 7.1. Cleanse your selves from all filthiness both of Flesh and Spirit, or you will never accept of the Invitation that calls you to such a clean­ly Feast. Tho' Wisdom cryeth without, Prov. 1.20. she will not help you, 'till she is suffered to break off the League which you have made with Folly, You must come from Sin, for it is unto Death, Rom. 6.23. The Wages of Sin is Death; or you will not come to this Feast, to take of the Bread of Life in it. You must get off the Broad wan, that leadeth to destruction, Mat. 7.13. before you can advance aright, or come on to the Gate that's strait, and the nar­row way to Heaven.

2 2. Satan is another (Terminus a Quo, or) Term we must likewise come from. [Page 344]Natural Men are apt to imagine that the Devil and They are far enough a­sunder, his Name perhaps affrights them, tho's they can bear his Nature on them. And therefore if we comply with the Invitation of Gospel Grace, we must Re­turn where we have turned aside after Satan. This may be opened in three Things.

1. Sinners must come out of the De­vil's Family. The Devil is expresly call­ed the [...]. Father of Wicked Men, Joh. 8.44. Ye are of your Father the Devil, and the Lusts of your Father ye will do. Of your Father, and therefore of your Fa­ther's House. His Lusts ye will do.] His Children obey him, tho' they can never obey this Parent in the Lord. Eph. 6.1. You must Dis-obey, 1 Pet. 1.14 fly from Him, if you would be found the True obedient Chil­dren. You can never be the Children of God, if you remain the Children of the Evil one. Again, you must change your Family, and get off from your old Lord, before you you can serve a New Master; for you are but one, and can never serve Two, Mat. 6.24. tho' Satan be a Prince, Eph. 2.2. yet you must not confent to let him lord it over you: Tho' he be [Page 345] Lucifer, Son of the Morning, Isa. 14.12. yet he is fallen from Heaven, and if you obey him, you fall down and worship Hell. Tho' he be the God of this World, 2 Cor. 4.4. yet it is Treason against the King of Kings, to consent as They unto the Bramble, Judg. 9.14. come Thou, and reign over us. He is called the Prince of the Power of the Air. [...] not, [...]. The Word is the Authority, not the Intrinsick Power: And his very Autho­rity too is wholly Precarious and de­pendent, and what he exerciseth in the Air as the Seat of his Empire and Do­minion, is no otherwise than by Delega­tion; Eph. 2.2. so that tho' he be the Power of the Air, you must resist the Powers of Hell, or you resist the Ordinance of God. Jam. 4.7.Re­sist the Devil, rebel against the Tyrant, tho' you have been born and trained in his Court. In a word, you can never become the Friends of God, ch. 2.23. so long as you are related to this Enemy of God that owns you: You must come out of Satan's Family.

2. Sinners must come off from the Devil's Work. When they leave his House, they must leave his Service, both within, and out of Doors too. Alas! Men are nothing but Abominable, Strange [Page 346]Flesh, so long as th [...]y are acted by this Spirit. It matters nothing how they are swept and garnished, tho' their Houses be hung with a Profession, and they stick their Windows with the Boughs, so long as the Ʋnclean Spirit dwells within. Eph. 2.2. lat. pt. He is the Spirit that now worketh in the Children of Disobedience; that worketh in, or [...]. the Inward Work­er: He doth not only stand by and look over the Children of Disbbedience, but he works himself in them, i. e. saith James Ferguson in loc. one, by way of Inspiration and a kind of Breathing. The Devil blows up Men to Wickedness, their minds swell, while that cruel Task-master enters in, and they are filled with the Devil: He suffers none of his Slaves to rest idle, among the many Millions he employs in his Ser­vice every Day. He worketh at the Trade of Hell, and will make all his Ser­vants help him. He cuts out work con­tinually, and all Natural Men, who re­main under his Power, he keeps close, as a hard Master to it. Now Sinners must be brought to leave these Works of the Devil, Joh. 9.4. before they can work the works of God. You must put nothing in Satan's Hands, when you present your [Page 347]selves unto the Lord. You must throw off his Drudgery, if you would be do­ing the Holy Will of God. You must not make your Bricks in Egypt, if you go to be built up for an Habitation un­to God in Canaan. You must be will­ing to be freed from His Slavery, be­fore you are Free for Christ's Service, and shake off his Yoke of Iron, before you can take the Yoke of Christ on, Prov. 1.9. as an Ornament of Grace, or a Chain of Gold about your Neck.

3. Sinners must come off from all his Flattering Adurements, let him pro­mise what Reward he will. We shall be ty'd by the Heels, tho' we think to come to Christ, 2 Tim. 2.26. if in the Snare of the Devil we are taken Captive by him at his Will. You will never come to the Banquet of the Gospel, so long as you relish His Baits. You must not have Fellowship with De­vils, 1 Cor. 10.20. if you partake of God's Dainties. You will never be drawn in the Bands of Love to Christ, if you listen to the Subtilty of the Serpent, to be snar'd by his Enticements. His Voice is as full of the old Poisonous Flattery now, as it was unto Eve of old, 2 Cor. 11.3 when the Serpent beg uil­ed her, and she did eat, Gen. 3.13. lat. pt. [Page 348]You must come off therefore from all his Allurements, tho' he points to a Tree of Knowledge, Gen. 3.6. and a Tree to be desired to make one wise, or a Tree thou wouldst fain be at, if it bears forbidden Fruit up­on it.

3. Our Selves is a Term from which we must come likewise off. 3 Sinners must be taught to go out of themselves, before they comply with Gospel Grace that calls them. We are all so natural­ly ty'd to Self, that it will be one of the last Things we leave for Jesus Christ; And yet if God's Call prevails, we must come off from our selves in these Five Things following, viz. Our own Bottom, Ease, Interest (where it contradicteth the Interest of Christ,) as also from our Unwillingness to come at Christ's Call, and all our Carnal Fears that discourage us from Christ, and suggest Evil Things to us.

1. In coming off from Self, we must come off from our own Bottom. We must depart from a Sandy Foundation, before we can come to dig one in the Rock that is higher than we. Mat. 7.24. Our own Hearts, our own Strength, our own Counsels, and our own Righteousness are all such a Bottom [Page 349]of our own that we must remove our Tabernacle from, before we can pitch in Christ to have our Foundation in the Ho­ly Mountains. Psa. 87.1.

1. In coming off from our own Bot­tom, we must come off from trusting our own Deceitful Hearts. We are lying Chil­dren, if we say our Hearts are good, while we think them not so bad as others. It is but next akin to that other Boast of the Perfectionist, to say we have no sin in us. 1 Joh. 1.8. Thine Heart is the Dungeon where all thy Vermine breed, Matth. 15.19. Out of the Heart proceed evil Thoughts, (and that is enough to pronounce it bad, tho' the rest of the Vipers be not reckon'd in) Murders, Adulteries, Fornication, Theft, False Witness, Blasphemies. Men are naturally prone to think it is enough, that their meaning is good, and intend hurt to none. They have good Hearts, tho' they have not such Heads and Tongues to speak as others: But you must come off from this piece of Blind Self, for he that trusteth in his own Heart is a Fool, Prov. 28.26. Your Heart is despe­rately evil, and the worse because you are not Good enough to know it. There be Depths of Wickedness in this hidden [Page 350]man, which you that have Grace have too short a Line to fathom, and can you then that have nothing but Nature search it out unto Perfection, that have not one Thread of Grace to help you? The Heart is deceitful above all things, and desperate­ly wicked, who can know it? Jer. 17.9.

2. In coming off from our own Bot­tom, we must come off from all our own Strength. All our's, did I say? alas! our strength is dryed up like a Potsheard, Psa. 22.15. since our Springs were cut off in Adam, and if we would come by a Right Hand we must have Union with Jesus Christ our Head. We may talk and boast of something, but Christ hath told us, [...] bîc non est sim­pliciter fine, sed majus ali­quid quasi dicat Christus, seorsum a me, nam to loco Christus agit de uni­one nostri cum ipso, quam tàm ait esse neceslarium quàm sit unio Palmitum cum vite. Camer. My­roth. pag. 163, 164. Without me ye can do nothing, Joh. 15.5. Vain Man thinks he hath strength enough to catch, but we can trust our Hands no more than trust our own Hearts. The Flesh is weak, until his Spirit from on high be sent to work upon us. And we must let go all confidence in this Flesh, Phil. 3.4. before the Spirit can be saved in the Day of the Lord Jesus. 1 Cor. 5.5.

3. In coming off from our own Bot­tom, we must come off from all our own [Page 351]Wisdom. Trust in the Lord with all thine Heart, and lean not to thy own understand­ing: In all thy Ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy Paths. If we lean to our own understandings, we have found out a Poor Reed instead of the Pillar of Truth to lean on. 1 Tim. 3.15 Acknow­ledge Him.] In Him are hid all the Trea­sures of Wisdom and Knowledge. Christ is a Full Treasury of every Thing we need. In humanâ Christi Na­turâ inest omnis plenitudo infusae & creatae scienti [...]e, seu omniscientia absoluta. Davenant in Coloss. in loc. There is a Created Fulness infused into his Hu­mane Nature, and an Uncre­ated Fulness absolutely Posses­sing his Divine. If we are not therefore Fools for Christ's sake, we shall never be wise, 1 Cor. 4.10. (as we ought to be truly wise) in Him. If Christ be not our Wisdom, the best of our Wisdom will become our own Folly. Nay, were we Ahitophel's, and Men, like Oracles, should consult us, yet if we took not Counsel from above, 2 Sam. 15.31. all our Wisdom would be turned into Foolish­ness. Jesus Christ calls us, and if we do not learn to choose our way of Him, we shall drop into Hell, tho' to a Foolish mind that's darkned, Heaven may seem but just before us. We must become [Page 352] as Little Children, Mat. 18.3.i. e. as ready to take Direction in our way to Christ, as a Little Child might be taught in the Way how to come to Ʋs. If we think our own ways the wisest, in the Matters of our Souls, we make the Wisdom of God a Cipher, and, I am sure, our selves a great Figure for Destruction. You must pluck out your own Eyes with those Gala­thians in another sense, Gal. 4.15. I mean renounce all Fleshly Wisdom, that you may see none but Jesus Christ to guide you on, and help you. If the Father bids us to a Feast, no man can come unto the Fa­ther, to be welcome unto his House, but by the Son alone, Joh. 14.6. lat. pt. No Man cometh unto the Father but by me. You must despise your own Wis­dom in competition with Christ, and not carry it as if you knew of your selves what, and how to do without him.

4. In coming off from our own Bot­tom, we must come off from our own Righ­teousness. I do not mean to put off Mo­rality, or the Works of Piety and Cha­rity, and become loose, Ungodly and Li­centious; but I mean, that, when in the Discharge of our Duty, we may seem to others, or to our selves to be [Page 353]Righteous, then not to trust our own Works. It is an excellent The 14th. a­mong the Nine and Thirty. Article to this Purpose in the Church of England, and I wish it were received as an Ar­ticle of Truth, as well as an Article of Peace among all the Sons that she hath brought forth. That Article words it plainly in the close with the very ex­press words of Scripture, When you have done all are commanded you, say you are Unprofitable Servants. Tho' thou couldst not discern a Spot, yet to justifie thy Self in the sight of God is not the Spot of God's Children; Deut. 32.5 see 1 Cor. 4.4. For I know nothing by my self, yet I am not here­by justifyed. Tho' thou canst not discern a Mote in thy own Eye, yet the Eye of the Lord may behold a B [...]am in it, for in his sight shall no man living be justifyed, Psal. 143.2. Now, tho' it be the Gar­ment of Christ's Righteousness, and not thy own must cover thee, yet thou must be brought to pull off thy own, before thou put on His. So much for that First Term in our selves, we must come off from, viz. Our own Bottom.

2. In coming off from our selves, we must come off from our own Case. This is another thing we must leave in Self, be­fore [Page 354]we can come and accept of Christ's Call. If we choose our Ease, and would wrap up this Lust warm, we shall be loth to bring it with us Naked and bare­foot to Christ to be turned out of Doors. If Christ invites us to partake of Gospel-Grace, we must leave off that slothful Note, Soul take thine Ease, Luk. 12.19. [...]. Rest Soul, said that Sluggard, I have enough, cease from taking further Care; so the word signifies. We shall not care to gird up our Loins and walk after our Master, if we had rather sit down in our Poverty and lost Estate, and be con­tented in a Natural and Sinful state with such things as we have. Heb. 13.5. We shall not be Christ's Sheep, if we leave not that Pra­ctice of Foolish Shepherds off, who for this are compar'd to Dogs, Isa. 56.10. in sleeping, lying down, and loving to slumber. If we come to Christ, he will call us out to Watch­fulness, and what shall we do, if we can­not endure to watch with our Lord so much as one Hour! Mat. 26.40 we had need to have ano­ther Spirit, and other Language than that Tongue of the Sluggard, yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep, Prov. 6.10. A Call to put on Christ's Yoke, and sit at Christ's Ta­ble, [Page 355]tho' in never so sweet and gracious an Invitation, Job 12.5. yet will surely be despised in the Thought of him that is at Ease. A Man must cease to be like that wicked and slothful Servant, Mat. 25.26 and not continue to be Slothful in Business, Rom. 12.11 before he's one whose Soul shall truly dwell at Ease. Psa. 25.13. We must come off from our own Ease and Sloth, and be willing to have Peace with God any how, tho' we put our Sinful Flesh to Pain.

3. In coming off from our selves, we must come off from our own Interest, where Christ's and our own are inconsistent. We must come chearfully unto Christ, what­ever our Journey costs us, or we may go away sorrowful, like that young Man who had great Possessions, Mat. 19.22. We must deny our selves, or we are likely afterwards to deal very ill with Christ. We must be ready to lose what the Flesh might gain, before Christ and the Gospel can be sound the best Gain to us. When we are building this Tower, we must sit down and consult the Cost, or it may quickly end in Babel, i. e. Confusion, be­fore we finish, or have half done our Work: So long as all seek their own, i [...]e, are swallowed up wholly with making [Page 356]Provision for the Flesh, Rom. 13.14. they will be such as the Apostle speaks of, that seek not the Things of Jesus Christ, Phil. 2.21.

4. In coming off from our selves, we must come off from our Ʋnwillingness to come at Christ's Call. If we come against our Wills, tho' it be but hither to our So­lemn Meeting, to hear what God the Lord should say, we go up a Double Hill, Pe­lion upon Ossa, Heaps upon Heaps, Hill upon Hill all the way to Zion. A Man's Legs may bring his Body into the Assem­bly, while his Mind starts back like a Deceitful Bow, never bent for God; a Friend at home or Neighbour near you, may by accident perswade you out to hear, but so long as your Wills, Sin­ners, are hanging off from Christ, your Consent is no ways Cordial; your Iron Sinew yet was never toucht, to come bending and melting all the way on. Ah! here lyes one of the Dying Symptoms, in this Plague of thine Evil Heart, which the Physician speaketh of, ye will not come unto me that ye might have Life, Joh. 5.40. Salvation it self, as Dr. Sibbs, viz. Bruised Reed. pag. 182. one ob­serves, will not save those that spill the Potion, and cast away the plaister. You must be Cur'd of Obstinacy, before you [Page 357] close with Jesus. Tho' you are bidden to a Feast, yet your Wills must be taken down, before you can take up your Beds, and walk to it. Willing and Obedient go by couples, when God invites you to eat the Good of the Land, Isa. 1.19.

5. In coming off from our selves, we must come off from all our Carnal Fears, that discourage us from Christ, and are rea­dy to suggest an ill thing to us. When Christ calls a Soul unto him, if that Soul hath been much awakened, it often happens, as when a Stranger calls a lit­tle Child, the Child is loth to draw near, he looks like a Stranger, and he knows not how to trust him: But wilt thou serve thy best Friend so? Man's corrupt Ima­ginations suggest Evil Things to him: Our Eye is ready to be evil, Mat. 20.15because Christ is good, and we are ready to think, as if this Joseph, tho' he invites us to nourish us in a time of Famine, would yet find some occasion against us; as Joseph's Brethren thought and spake of him in Egypt. Now we must lay aside our Fears that terrifie us, before we can come to Jesus Christ to treat us. Methinks Christ's Invitation should bring our Faith, and banish all our Fears: Mat. 1049.Be of good com­fort, [Page 358]rise, he calleth thee, were words e­nough to make the Heart of the Poor Blind Man to leap within him. Oh! how did he shake off every Impediment, throw his very Cloaths by to take hold of the Hem of Christ's Garment! and should not we shake off this Spirit of Heaviness, that clogs our Approaches, and makes us sweat with Fear, when we might in Christ have Boldness (or James Ferguson upon the Place. Liberty to speak all the mind freely) and Access with Confidence by the Faith of Him? Eph. 3.12. [...]. With Confidence,] in a gracious and well-grounded perswa­sion of kind Acceptance with him. I speak this only to you that have been mourning like the Doves of the Valley for the manifestation of the Love of Christ to you. And thus you have had an account of the Third Term, our selves, we must come off from, before we can come to the Gospel Invitation.

4. This present Evil World is a Term from which we must come, before we com­ply with God's Invitation. The World it self, as well as sin and our selves, and the god of this World, will try to draw us from Christ, tho' it be but with Cords of Vanity. Indeed this Tempta­tion [Page 359]from the World, be it twisted with never so small a Thread, is enough to pull the Corruption of our Natures down-Hill: But neither must the World be a Hinderance, if we fall in with the In-Invitation of our God, and close with Gospel-Grace. Let me open this of the World briefly, as to the Things and the Persons of it.

1. In coming off from the World, we must come from the Things that keep us off from Christ; the Profits, Pleasures, and Applause, or vain Esteem of Men.

1. You must come off from the sinful Profits of the World. These do either eat you out with Cares, or press you down with the Carriage, or scatter and divide your minds with Covetousness, and may put you upon unlawful means to gain it. You must come off therefore in your Minds and Affections, and hang loose upon all Earthly Profits. Thô the Gospel will allow you to buy and sell, and get gain, yet if you embrace the Truth as it is in Jesus, you must come from such Bargains where you have put Con­science to sale, and not strike your Hands in Cases where God hath smitten His. Behold therefore Percussi manum me­am. Tigur. vers. com­plosi manum meam. Jun. I have smitten my [Page 360]Hand at thy Dishonest Gain which thou hast made, Ezek. 22.13. When you are putting the World into your Scale, take heed lest the over-weight press you down to Hell; for what is a Man profited, if he shall gain the whole World, and lose his own Soul? or what shall a Man give in exchange for his Soul?

2. You must come off from the sinful Pleasures of the World. You must leave off your Stolen Waters, if you take of the Free Gift of God. You must not come nigh these Foul Cisterns, or resolve to taste a Corrupt Spring, if you drink of the true Fountain-water. Ye have lived in Pleasure on the Earth, and been Wanton, ye have nourished your Hearts, as in a Day of Slaughter, Jam. 5.5. And the Apostle Peter expresseth it by their count­ing it a Pleasure to riot in the Day-time, 2 Pet. 2.13. [...]. Gr. The Original reads it, counting Riot in the Day a Pleasure. The Word Riot in Divinity, signifies an effe­minate Softness of the Mind contracted by much Wickedness in Pleasure, that even [...] luxus, deli­ciae; a [...] frango. Pa­sor. breaks, and un-mans us; and if it destroys the Man, it will surely Mar the Christian. There is much of this Rio­tous Living in the World, among them [Page 361]that count it a Pleasure not only to be seven Years, but if it were possible se­venty times seven serving divers Lusts and Pleasures. Now if you come to Christ, you must first come away from These: You must depart out of their Track, who are described 2 Thes. 2.12. to have had pleasure in Ʋnrighteousness, before you can tread in the Paths of Wis­dom, and take in New Delights.

3. You must come off from the Ap­plause and vain Esteem of Man: You must step over this Threshold, before you come into God's House to Feast; for how can ye believe, saith Christ, which receive Honour one of another, and seek not the Honour that cometh from God only? Joh. 5.44. It hath put by many that have seem'd to approach towards Christ's School, but never threw out any that were truly entered, to upbraid them with This, we are Moses's Disciples, we know that God spake to Moses, as for this Fellow, we know not from whence he is, Joh. 9.28, 29. it hath likewise overthrown the Faith of some, but never shook the Faith of God's Elect, to be told that Great Men have disown'd God's way, have any of the Pharisees (the Doctors of the [Page 362]Chair) or the Rulers believed on him? Joh. 7.48. But if you will come under the Sun of Righteousness, you must not be frighted with this Shadow that cometh betwixt.

2. In coming off from the World, we must come from the Persons that keep us off from Christ.

1. Sinful Companions. If we have Fel­lowship with these Works of Darkness, we can have none with the Father of Lights; for what Fellowship hath Righte­ousness with Ʋnrighteousness, and what Communion hath Light with Darkness? and what Concord hath Christ with Belial, or what part hath he that believeth with an an Infidel? and what Agreement hath the Temple of God with Idols? wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, 2 Cor. 6.14, 15, 16, 17. So Eph. 5.11. And have no Fellowship with the unfruitful works of Darkness, but ra­ther [...]reprove them, i. e. convince them both by Life and Argument, for a Com­panion of Fools shall be destroyed, Prov. 13.20.

2. Carnal Relations. You must first shake off their Objections, before you will yield to Christ, thô we should produce [Page 363]our Causes for your Duty, and bring forth our strong Reasons for it. It was a Carnal Relation, Luk. 14.20. in him that had Married the Wife, and could not come to Christ; for had she been a Spiritual Yoke-fellow, she had put her Husband forward. We must be brought into a Hatred of Evil Counsel, thô from our own Flesh and Blood, before We can be brought into True Love to Christ; see Luk. 14.26. If any Man come to me, and hate not (Carnal Relations may be willing you should come to Christ a lit­tle, but they are ready to put in Pha­raoh's Condition, ye shall not go far away: Therefore saith Christ, it is not enough to come, if you do not come to purpose, notwithstanding such Relations, if any Man come to me, and hate not) his Father and Mother, and Wife and Children, and Brethren and Sisters, (all that would keep him off from Christ) yea, and his own Life also, he cannot be my Disciple. You must hate their Advice, thô never hate or disrespect their Persons, that hereby you may have the Person of Christ, as you ought, in chiefest Admiration.

3. Other Evil Counsellors: Thô there be not Relations as a Bar in your way [Page 364]to Christ, yet there may be a conferring with other Flesh and Blood, which the Apostle would not entertain, Gal. 1.16. Immediately I conferred not with Flesh and Blood. The [...]. Greek word in its most genuine and immediate signification re­lates to the putting a Thing to one, and so I conferred not, is as much as, I never put it to them as a Case fit to be decided by them. We may have Carnal Acquain­tants we must overcome, before we ac­quaint our selves with God, and must be at some War perhaps with Them, before we can fully be at Peace with God, Job 22.21.

Having now shewn you that in coming at the call of God in the Invitation of Gos­pel-Grace there is a Terminus à Quo, a Term from which we must begin our Steps, I shall next briefly open the Ter­minus ad Quem. Therefore

Secondly, The other Term we must come to, or the Point in our Spiritual Compass we must arrive at, when the Gospel-call prevails and enables us to come, may be opened in Two Things that clear it, particularly, A Believing close with the Gospel-Invitation, and an obedient accept­ing the Gospel-Entertainment.

1. A Believing Close with the Gospel-In­vitation. When the Soul comes, it is drawn with a Full consent to Christ; the Understanding is enlightned, the Will persuaded, the Affections are drawn forth, and the Soul doth not any longer draw back. When the Snare is broken, and the Cords that held it back are cut, the Soul comes pressing forwards, towards the High-calling of God: Phil. 3.14. when 'tis loosned of its wonted Hold, it complies, and begins a close with that Blessed Person of the Son of God that calls it. Heb. 10.39. For we are not of them that draw back unto perdi­tion, but of them which believe unto the sa­ving of the Soul. When our more than a Threefold Cord is broken, Eccles. 4.12. then a call pre­vails, and we are drawn in Bands of Love to Christ. We can (thro' Grace) take hold of Christ, when He hath loosned our Knots that ty'd us so close to other Things before. Oh! if we come once to be like that Band of Men whose Hearts God had touched, 1 Sam. 10.26. we shall be even prickt to the Heart, we did not come sooner, Acts 2.37. and be earnest to dispatch our close with Jesus Christ the faster. We shall then to pur­pose sincerely mind his Calls, and evince our Hearty closing with them; not an­swering [Page 366]swering like that Second Son we read of, that was bid to go work in the Vineyard, but play'd the Hypocrite and never came there, Matth. 21.30. Igo Sir, and went not; but like the First, tho' obstinate a while, yet at last o­bedient, that afterwards repented and went, v. 29. When the Soul closes, it is glad of an Errand to come for any thing to Christ, as before it was glad of a shift, and sought an excuse, to keep it off from him. Lo! now it will not be satisfied with a Call, if the Soul but suspects it doth not come a­way. Oh Blessed, Sweet and Gracious, Universal Change! The Will consents unto the Invitation, Rom. 10.9 with the Heart the Man believeth, and with the Mouth the Poor Soul confesseth, and lo! a change wrought upon the Invited Sinner you may discern all over! Oh! how does the Soul press after the mark, when the Call of Jesus Christ prevails! It is no sooner loosned from Prison and from Death, but 'tis join­ed unto the Lord in Free-hold.

‘I come Lord, I come with my Soul, I desire to bring my Body in also. I re­nounce my Sins, and now I seek a Sa­viour; I throw off Satan, and now I put on the Lord Jesus Christ; I come out of my Self, Lord, whither shall I [Page 367]go? I come to thee alone; I flee from the World, Psa. 55.6. and with the Wings of a Dove, by the Help of thy Spirit am fleeing in to thee: Psa. 119.30.I have chosen the way of Truth, I have cast mine Eye, my Feet are bent to thee: I am resolv'd by the mighty Power of thy Grace to be taken off, to be called away, to be seiz­ed and stopt by none that calls, by none that comes but Thee.

2. It is an obedient accepting the Gospel-entertainment: The Soul is willing to take the Provisions of the Gospel as they are, Mat. 20.11 without any murmuring against the Good man of the House. When the Soul comes to the Provisions of Christ, it is pleas'd in his House, delights in the en­tertainment, and takes without a Re­serve of any Dish he gives it. The Soul comes, when it will be at the Feast to meet with a Christ, and to feed on a Christ at every Opportunity! when Souls are brought to accept of Divine Provisions, and cry out with an Holy Importunity, Lord, Joh. 6.34.evermore give us this Bread! when the Soul takes up the very Fragments of the Bread of Life, and would have nothing lost that is ready among the All Things. To come, is to [Page 368]accept of him that calls, and accept of what he offers, and comply with thy Lord who is ready to welcome and kind­ly accept of thee. ‘Lord, I come, here I am, 1 Sam. 3.6.for thou calledst me, (as Samuel said to Eli) and I never read thou sendst me back agen; I think my self happy to be a Guest, where the Ma­ster of the Feast that sent to call me, will be sitting by to serve me. Lord, I am come to seek my Meat of thee; I remember thy Kindness to call a poor Worm forth, and lo! here I am to eat of the Bread, Prov. 9.3.and drink of the Wine which thou hast mingled. This coming of the Soul at the Gospel-call to Christ, is a Readiness (thus) to accept of the Glorious Things that are spoken of this Table, where these All Things are spread: for Glorious Things are spoken of the Sup­per as well as of the Psa. 87.3. City of our God. The Provisions of Grace are wonderful, as well as the Treasures that are laid up in Glory. And the coming of the Soul is to accept of such as these; untill it be filled with all the Varieties of the Word of the Kingdom, Mat. 13.19 which God can bestow, or man receive of him.

The Third Thing is to enforce it by Arguments, III. and urge the necessity of man's coming at the Call unto these Holy Com­mons of the Gospel (for there is a Com­munion of Saints held at this Table.) And in evincing why it must be so, I would lay open the Necessity of the Thing these two wayes in General: 1st. Necessitate Praecepti, as a Command. 2dly. Necessitate Medii, as the Means appointed. It is no matter of Indifferency, other Things are convenient, but this one Thing is need­ful, Luk. 10.42.

1. It is necessary, necessitate Praecepti, as the Master of the Feast requires it. It is his command, and that will render a compliance with it necessary. God hath bid you to a Feast, and it should not lye before you as a common, slight indifferen­cy, if ye be disposed to go. 1 Cor. 10.27. The Command­ment saith, Seek ye the Kingdom of God and his Righteousness, Matth. 6.33. The Gospel-Dispensation is called the Kingdom of God and his Righteousness by a Phrase that is equivalent to and comprehensive of its Provisions made ready. Now this Provision in the Kingdom of God, God commands us to seek, and seek it Potiùs quàm Pri­ùs. first; seek it rather; let the Priority be in your [Page 370] Affection, seek it more than all Things else. This is seeking first, when you give God's Provisions the Preference in your Hearts, tho' other Things have got the start, and were sought by you first in Time. Christ is there taking off his Dis­ciple's Hearts and Thoughts from laying out their chief Care in maintenance about their Bodies, and setting them upon a more necessary Duty than Provision for their Body was. The Master of the Feast knows that the Soul is more than the Bo­dy, Matth. 6.25. as the Body it self is more than Raiment, and therefore he commandeth his Disci­ples and Followers to be careful rather in This, and come away unto the Feast of the Gospel, seeking Soul-Food. It is the Will and Commandment of our Lord Je­sus Christ, Rom. 16.18. that we serve not our own Belly, but in obedience to his Divine Injunction, come and fill us with Hidden Gospel-Treasures. Labour not for the Meat which perisheth, John 6.27. But doth not this Negative thwart a Positive command, 2 Thes. 3.10. This we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat? Doth not Paul a Servant of Jesus Christ seem to contradict our Lord Jesus Christ himself? I answer in the words of a clear [Page 371] Streat's Dividing of the Hoof. pag. 418, 419. Reconciler of the Scriptures, No; for, ‘To live without a Calling is one Thing, and to swallow up all Care for Heaven in this Earthly Calling is ano­ther.’ Labour not for the Meat which pe­risheth.] i. e. Do not lay out your Thoughts, nor spend your Time and Pains about that Provision alone which is not your chief Portion, as if your Happiness consisted in the Abundance of the Things that you possessed: but (it follows, la­bour) for that Meat which endureth unto Everlasting Life. Thus, he that hath pre­pared his Dinner, hath also bid his Guests, and therefore necessity is laid upon us to go up unto this Feast. There is a necessity we should partake of the Grace and plenty of the Gospel, because God hath required this at our Hands. It puts a must upon the In­vited, and they cannot in point of Duty refuse or put it off. We must in this be all Servants, and Ministers of his to do his Pleasure.

2. It is necessary necessitate Medii, as a means of becoming Gospel Guests. Finis pri­ùs intentio­ne, posteri­ùs executi­one. The means are first in Execution, and the end after. There must be a compliance with the Invitation before we can be called Guests. The Provisions of the Gospel will [Page 372]be hid, until Men come and see by Faith what the Things are. Coming, which sig­nifies a Conversion of the whole Man to God, is performed in the first place, and partaking of the Feast (or a feeding up­on the Provisions of Grace that are made ready for the nourishment of the Soul in it's converted state) is brought about af­ter. God first brings the Soul to himself, and then he fills it with Good Things. The Prodigal could not partake of the Fatted Calf, so long as he was absent from his Father's House; it was therefore necessary (as a means of receiving it) that he should come away and be with his Father where he was. I will arise and go to my Father, and say, Father, I have sinned a­gainst Heaven and before Thee, Luke 15.18. But this necessity of coming as a Means will appear Three ways.

1. It is necessary to come to the Gos­pel-Entertainment, because all our Labours cannot purchase Bread. Isa. 55.2, 3. Where­fore do ye spend Money for that which is not Bread, and your Labour for that which sa­tisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is Good, and let your Soul delight it self in Fatness; incline your Ear and come unto me, hear and your Soul [Page 373]shall live. Here are plainly Two Feasts spoken of in opposition; God's Entertain­ment which he provides for Sinners, and Sinner's Entertainment which they pro­vide for themselves at their own charges; now the Poor Sinner so long as an awa­kened Conscience sets him on Works and the Duties of Obedience, but never looks to Christ, he sweats, he labours, lays down a Price, and pays dear for nothing, he spends Money for that which is not Bread; all the poor Creature doth, or can possi­bly reach to, is infinitely short of Christ, he makes a Feast of his Duties, but when he comes to sit at Table wants Bread to eat. Alas! he must hearken to another Provider, before he will get supplies; he must come and taste of God's Bounty, be­fore he will ever fill his Belly; hearken dili­gently unto me, incline your Ear, and come. If we come not to this Plenteous Feast of the Gospel, we may strive and take much Pains, but all our Reward will be Husks with the Swine, instead of Bread with God's Children. We may stir, we may strive in a way of outward working, but if it be out of Jesus Christ, we are Poor and can't maintain our selves. We may [Page 374]look upon one another, as we read of Ja­oob's Sons, Gen. 42.1. when there was Corn in E­gypt; but if we will live by Bread, we must go for Food to Joseph. All the Plen­ty in the Land of Egypt was deposited in Joseph's Granaries, not a Sack could be fill'd tho' it came from his Fathers House in Canaan, but it must come thro' Joseph's Hands; v. 25. then Joseph commanded to fill their Sacks with Corn. So there is a necessity we should come to the Son of God for Food, because all is lodg'd with Him, Col. 2.3. Treasures, Joh. 1.16.Fulness, while all our La­bours will not purchase Bread. Again,

2. It is necessary to secure our Souls from Starving. We perish with Hunger, if we do not come for Food. We must have Bread to preserve our Lives, and yet we can have it no where else but here. As our Bodies would starve, if our necessary Food were gone, so will our Souls, and the Souls of others under our charge, if we do not take a little Food for the Famine of our Housholds, to supply us and them. We must come forth to this Rich, Gospel-Feast, where there is no want of any Thing (as the old Man that came out of the Field from his Work at Even, Judg. [Page 375]19.16. told the way-faring Levite in the Street of Gibeah, v. 19. latter part,) if we would not have our selves, and all that is within us come to want. No other Table hath Vertue enough to preserve our Souls, but that which the Redeemer of our Souls hath furnisht. No Bread will sustain us, but the Bread that came down from Heaven, and no Feast but the Go­spel-Feast alone.

Why sit we here until we die was the Lan­guage of those four Leprous Men that were ready to perish with Hunger at the entring of the Gate of Samaria, 2 Kings 7.3. last words. They could not live in so Black a Famine as we read preavailed, Chap. 6.25. where an Asse's Head (in this extremity, perhaps not common, yet Legally unclean) was sold for fourscore pieces of Silver, i. e. See Mr. Pool's Engl. An­not. in loc. If we com­pute those Pieces by the common Estima­tion, or the common Shekel, which was half the value of the Shekel of the San­ctuary, and reckoned at Fifteen pence, then being multiplyed Eighty Times will amount to Five Pound, as the Price of an Asse's Head in that extraordi­nary Famine. And (it follows) the fourth [Page 376]Part of a(h) The Kab answers to our Quart. Dr. Ful­ler's Pisgah-sight. p. 399. (mispag'd on the other fide 397). [...] This contained 24 Eggs, and held pro­portion with our Quart. Goodwyn. Moses and Aa­ron. lib. 6. Heb [...]. Mea­sures, p. 262. See also Weymse Hebr. Weights and Measures. Vol. I. p. 136, 137. But Others think this mea­fure by Egg-shells must be very uncertain, be­cause of the Dispropor­tion to be found in Eggs; and therefore are not so exact, to adjust the measure to our Quart. Saith one, This way of dealing with Eggs in measures, I doubt will make nine mea­sures of ten prove addle. Lee's Temple of Solomon, pag. 110.Kab (which was the least Hebrew-measure) of Dove's Dung; i.e. no more of this Dung neither for Food, than they say could be con­tain'd in six Egg-shells, that is, the fourth part of once 24. (24 being reckoned the entire measure of the Kab); and these six Egg-shells of Dung too at no lower rate than five Pieces of Silver, or, as is esti­mated according to the value of our English Coins at 6 s. and 3 d. Well, (this Durum Telum, necessitas) this mighty strait makes these four Le­prous Men resolved to quit their Post in the Gate, and venture out into the Camp of their very Enemies, to find better Quarters. They had starv'd, if they had not sought supplies, or had lookt that the Stones of their Gate should be turned into Bread. In­deed these Distressed Hungry Lepers must be fain to put it to the issue, as the Histo­ry relates, v. 4. whether they should get their Bread upon the Place where they agreed [Page 377]to go forth. They are not Invited to a­ny Entertainment, but must venture upon their Enemies Swords to get their Bread with the Peril of their Lives. But lo! Lam. 5.9. ne­cessity spurr'd them on. Why sit we here until we die, was Argument enough to venture any where to live!

Why, so there is the same necessity for our coming to the Gospel-Entertainment. We die, if we have not this Feast, this Food to keep our Souls alive! And lo! we are more abundantly encouraged to seek our Bread than They! These Lepers sought it of Bloody Syrians, we may of a Saviour that hath shed his own Blood for us. They of their Enemies, and we of the best Friend we have. They ventured to the King of Syrta's Camp, we may approach to the King of Sion's Court. They ven­tured without inviting, we are bid to come. And shall we not go? shall we not gird up our Loins and run? 1 Sam. 17.29. Is there not a Cause? And shall we starve our Souls to indulge our sitting still? We have nothing left by Nature, no Bread under our Hand to feed us, 1 Sam. 21.4. and tho' we are Prodigals that have wasted our first Al­lowance, we cannot find our second Keep­ing in any far Countrey, or upon the [Page 378]Husks that any Swine do eat. We must be nourisht in the King's Houshold, un­der the Roof of his Loving Kindness, or we pine, and die in the open Field with Hunger! Oh! wo unto us, we are un­done, if we make not out to our Father! There's a mighty Famine in the Land, and we are Strangers in the Earth, Psa. 119.19. and from below we have neither inward Grace, nor outward open Vision. And is it not necessary we should come? Shall we slight a Feast of Plenty? Shall we hear the Calls, shall we smell the Entertainment, shall we see the Provisions served up be­fore us? And yet shall we hear, shall we see? Shall we do any Thing but come and taste that the Lord is good? Psa. 34.8.

3. Lastly. It is necessary to come, to maintain the Healthful and Vigorous Constitution of the Soul, with the nourish­ment of Grace continually. Coming to the Gospel Feast is necessary not only to pre­serve our Life, but to encrease our Strength, which is also one of the Proxi­mate and Immediate Ends of Eating, ac­cording to Eccles. 10.17. Blessed art thou O Land, when thy Inferiour Rulers and Officers of State. Pemble. Analytical Exposition of Ecclesiastes. p. 333.Prin­ces eat in Due Season, for [Page 379]Ad Corporis robur & animi vires, ut vivant & valeant Cartwright. Homil. in Eccles.Strength, and not for Ad reficiendum, non ad Luxuriam. Mercer.Drunkenness. As the Ta­bles of the Greatest Men should be spread to no other end than the Refreshment and Supplies of Nature, so the Table of our Great God must be furnished, and we par­taking of it, as a means of Nourishment and Encrease of Grace. If we would have strength in our Souls, Judg. 16 5 we must come to the Provisions where our great strength lyes. When Grace hath put a new, Health­ful Constitution into the Soul, it procures a Diet to preserve that same Blessed Tem­per. If we would be strong and lively, and wait upon the Lord to renew our strength, Isa. 40.31. if we would mount up with Wings as Eagles, if we would run and not be weary, and walk and not faint in our Journey towards the New Jerusalem, as the Holy Ghost hath promised, and spoken by the Mouth of his Servant Isaiah, Isa. 40.31. we must come to a Feast that hath Healthy Diet in it. 'Tis by means we obtain the End. Waiting, running, walking, as the Means, before strength and not fainting as the End. Would you be strong in the Lord? Eph. 6.10. you must first accept of his Invitation, and partake of strong (that is Soul-streng­thening) [Page 380] meat. This is the way by which you may come to be strengthened with all might according to his Glorious Power, Col. 1.11. So much for the Doctrinal Part.

The Last Thing is the Ʋse, IV. only in some Few Truths we may learn from it.

1. Inf. If we must Come, Oh! what need then of the Spirit of God to bring us! we need a Real Aid, and a mighty, wise and holy Guide with us. We must have a Principle of Internal, Spiritual Assi­stance wrought by the Holy Ghost, first to enlighten our Ignorance, and then to strengthen our Impotence: we cannot stir, if the Spirit do not strive with us. Psal. 143.10. Thy Spirit is Good, lead me into the Land of uprightness. I must come, Lord, to thy Table, I must see what House thou keepest for me; Da i­gitur sidum illum du­cem, qui non prehendat tantùm ma­num, sed vi­res sufficiat, & motum. Rivet. in loc. vol. 2. Joh. 6.63. ‘Grant me therefore thy Spirit to be my Sure and Faithful Guide to thee, who will not only take me by the Hand, but af­ford me sufficient Strength and Motion, as the Pious and Learned Rivet glosseth it.’ The Spirit that Quickneth must give Life and Motion, Legs to the lame, and Feet to walk with them. If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the Dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the [Page 381]Dead shall also quicken your Mortal Bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Rom. 8.11. Char­nock's Dis­courses. Vol. 2. p. 1321. The Spirit must be our Auxiliary upon Earth, as well as Christ our Advocate in Heaven. As we can never be obedient to the Truth till we come to the God of Truth that calls us, so we can never come to be thus obedient, till there be an obeying of the Truth thro' the Spirit, 1 Pet. 1.22. He may call, he may command, This is the way, walk ye in it, but we can never run the way of his Commandments, till He en­large our Hearts, Psal. 119.32. Acts 17.28 For 'tis in him that we live and move, and have our Being Spiritually, as well as Naturally, both are from him, because all our Springs are in Him. We must have our motion from him, before we can make any motion to him. A moving Principle to cause our Pace, or we shall either stand still, or start back, or turn aside, or tumble down, or stumble in our walk, when we try to come along.

2. Inf. God's Calling and Man's Coming are not the same, but Two Distinct Things. 'Tis His Grace, but 'tis our Work and Duty; He draws, but 'tis we must run, Cant. 1.4. Draw we, we will run after thee. The Call is often sent, when there is no [Page 382]coming seen. Christ oft invites, but Men too oft refuse. He holds out a Sceptre of Grace, but They remove the Shoulder, and will not stretch out one Hand to take it. Calling is the Act of God, Coming is the Duty or the Act of Man in the receiv­ed strength of God. God's Act in calling often goes alone, but our's never doth so, because it is impossible tho' God calls of himself, that we should come alone. These Two then must be distinguished, God's Calling and Man's Coming; neither must Man deceive himself to think he comes, because God calls him. For he may be no Guest after God hath given, and a Man hath had a Gracious Invitation. The In­vitation may be made on God's Part, and yet no compliance seen on Man's.

3. Inf. There may be also much coming to Ordinances, and little coming unto God with any Spiritual motion in them. A­las! there be many Foolish Guests, that follow their own Spirit, and rather come at their own call than God's. They bid themselves, and so come in the Flesh, but never understand what to make of a mo­tion in Spirit and in Truth to God. They hear not with Spiritual Distinction the Voice of the Son of God, but with a Con­fusion [Page 383]and Disorder the Flesh makes, and therefore can't come, but rather from some Forcible external Cause are brought, without any Life in them. You may be going from the Feast in a Spiritual Sense, when you are seen to come to it in the Li­teral. The Heart must be upright, or you will come all awry in a crooked Line with the workers of Iniquity, while you ap­pear in these Duties. You know what was said of Ezekiel's Hearers, Ezek. 33.31. They come unto thee as the People cometh, and they sit before me, as my People, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them, for with their Mouth they shew much Love, but their Heart goeth after their Covetous­ness. Judaei magnâ fre­quentiâ ad Prophetam concurre­bant & co­ràm illo non secùs consi­stebant, quàm si ani­mum planè induissent populo Dei dignum. Jun. in loc. They carried it well to the Pro­phet, but very ill to God. They would throng to their Preacher, but be easily thrust away from God. They stood before the Prophet as if they had put on the same Ornament of the Mind which the best of God's Children wear; but yet God saw, their Hypocrisie stood before him naked. So you may seem to come, when your Heart goeth after your Covetousness. You may come and make such a Dust with the Earth about you, while you put out the Eye of Faith, that you see not where you are.

4. Inf. If God invites us by the Go­spel-Call, other Invitations should be of less account with us. When the Law of Mercy in the Gospel requires us to come and eat, shall the Law of Cruelty in our Members be obey'd, that saith, Abstain from Meats? It casts a Disparagement upon the great God, that his Call must be neglected, while other little calls are minded; that you have an Ear open to let in the Per­suasions (suppose) of a Mortal Man, while you stop it against your Maker! wilt thou stay with the Swine, when thou art Invited to the Sheep-folds to lye down in green Pastures? Canst thou raise an Objection against the Sequel, because the Antecedent is so clear, Arise, He calleth thee? 'Tis the Voice of a God and not of a Man, of the God of the Spirits of all Flesh that calls thee, and shall the Voice of a Creature, the Voice of a Dying Man, or the Voice of a Condemned Malefactor stop thee? Who hath hardened himself a­gainst him and hath prospered? Job 9.4.

5. Inf. It is an Aggravation of our Trespass against Love and Kindness, to turn our Backs upon the High-calling of God. This is a Prodigious Evil, tho' Men have Presuming Thoughts upon it. This Re­bellion [Page 385](this Refusal to come to Court when sent for) is as the Sin of Witchcraft, and Stubbornness is as Iniquity and Idolatry, 1 Sam. 15.23.

6. Inf. It is such a Sin to stand it out against God's Calls, as God will severely pu­nish. A neglect of God's Calls will make our own Cries unpitied. Prov. 1.24, 25, 26. Because I have called, and ye refused, I have stretched out mine Hand, and no Man regarded, but ye have set at nought all my Counsel, and would none of my Reproof, I also will laugh at your Calamity, I will mock when your Fear cometh. Such as refuse the Load-stone, and are not drawn with Mercy, shall have a Milstone ty'd about their Necks that will make them sink for ever. Such as would not be call'd shall be cast into Hell.

7. Inf. and last. The Invitation of the Gospel should find in us a suitable compliance with it. I say a suitable or a meet com­pliance. As ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord, (so walk ye to him) so walk ye in him. Col. 2.6. For instance, the Grace of this Blessed Invitation should make us Gracious under it. The Freeness of this call should make us ready of our own ac­cord, and not find, or rather not leave us, [Page 386]like those that are drag'd by others to eve­ry good word and work. The Soveraignty of the call should dissolve our Stone, and bring it unto Christ in Dust and Ashes. The clearness of the Invitation should leave no dispute about it. The Authority of the Call should meet with no Denial. The openness of the Thing should make us less asham'd of Christ; we should have more Boldness in our Profession, when we are bid with such a Publick Invitation. We need not be Timerous or Afraid of what we go about, to come either by Night with a Nicodemus, or by Day that no Eye should see us. The Largeness of the Invitation should take hold of us. The Earnestness of the offer requires us we do not trifle with it. The Solemnity of the Call enjoins us not to Jest with it. The Sincerity of it requires, that we do not hear a little, and pray a little, and then go away, and sin much for it. In one word, the Seasonableness of the Gospel­call requires us while it is yet Day to come. If God calls us in the Day of Prosperity, we should not stay till the Day of Adver­sity to consider it. If in the Day of Health, Peace, Strength or Liberty, we must not delay till Sickness, Calamity, Weakness [Page 387]and Restraint. If in the Days of our Youth he makes the Invitation, we must remember our Creator before the Evil Days come. Eccl. 12.1. If he calls us in the Day of Life we must not loiter 'till the Night of Death. To conclude, whenever he calls us in the Day of Grace, while the Spi­rit breaths and blows upon us, we must come, least we Quench the Spirit, and provoke him to blow out our Light, that the Things of our Peace shall be ever hid from us.

III Doct. That the Gospel is a Feast or a Supper in which all its Provisi­ons are Now ready.

In the handling of this Proposition there will be only these Three Things to do. 1. To Open: 2. To Prove; and 3. To Apply it.

The First Thing will be to Open it, I. and unfold this Present Readiness coucht under the word Now.

There is a Twofold Readiness in the Marriage Supper of the Gospel; the one is Absolute in the Provider, as all its Pro­visions are now got, I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do, Joh. [Page 388]17.4. lat. pt. This hath been largely discours'd already. The other is a Re­spective Readiness, being a reference un­to Men, as these Provisions are now rea­dy to be had. It is the latter kind of Gospel-Readiness which I must here speak of. This may be opened under a Threefold Regard. 1. To Place. 2. To Time. And 3. Opportunity.

1. The Supper of the Gospel is now ready for the Place where the Gospel comes. In every Nation, Town, Fa­mily, where an Evangelical Message ar­rives, God's Heralds may proclaim the Supper now ready, Isa. 65.1. I said, be­hold me, to a Nation that was not called my Name. It is now ready for this Quarter of the World, for these Nati­ons, for our own Native Countrey, for the Inbitants of this Isle, Isa. 20.6. for the Town in which we are, or the obscure Villages to which any of us may belong, Act. 10.35. In every Nation he that feareth him, and worketh Righteousness, is accept­ed with him; i. e. It doth not suppose there can be any Acceptable Fear of God, or Works of Righteousness in any Na­tion where the Gospel was never Preacht, for these must be the Fruits and Effects [Page 389]of the Gospel it self; but the meaning is, in every Nation where the Gospel comes and produceth this Fear, and these works of Righteousness, not finds them antecedently, there the Gospel is now rea­dy to instate them with all true Happi­ness in God's Acceptation. The Supper is now ready for any Place whither the King sends forth a Message, thô it be in the Hedges and the High-ways, Luk. 14 23 where poor Sinners are cast out into the open Field. Ezek. 16.5

2. The Supper of the Gospel is now ready for the Age or Particular Time of the World in which the Gospel comes: It is Preached unto the Generation that now is, and therefore ready for them that are now upon the Stage, and do hear it from the House tops, Luk. 12.3. or from the Pulpit-Top in our Gospel-Day. The Ge­neration that is come up, and stands o­ver the Graves of their Ancestors, are acquainted with the Voice of Preaching, and many Thousands in the World do now live, when God doth this. Behold, Num. 24.23. the Mysteries of the Gospel are by Preach­ing now made known. Dark Ages of Popery, and the Brightest Ages of Juda­ism saw not what we see. The Light [Page 390]shined thro' a Vail to the Church of old, and as for our Pagan Ancestors their Lot was cast in such a Midnight-Darkness, that neither Sun, Act. 27.20.nor Moon, nor Stars, nor any Light appeared. But in our Age the People that sate in darkness, have seen great Light. Math. 4.16 There were in the Apostle's Days, as he takes Notice, Eph. 2.7. The Ages to come that God would look after, that he might shew them the Exceed­ing Riches of his Grace, in his Kindness towards us through Christ Jesus. Ages to come.] Chry­sostomus, Anbrosius, Hierony­mus, ea ad futurum se­culum refe­runt. Bodi­us in loc. The Ancients do interpret these Ages of which the Apostle speak­eth, of that Eternity of Ages in the Fu­ture State which is to follow after the Dissolution of the World; but others reser the Scope of the Apostle's mean­ing unto the after-ages of this World. Dr. Goodwyn thinks Dr. Goodwyn's Works, Vol. 2. pt. 2d. see him from p. 236. to p 248. the Apostle had both Senses in his Eye, and therefore professeth (the Reasons for both being so cogent) that if one Stream of these Interpretations should be exclusive of the other, he should hardly know which to prefer. However it be, it doth not ex­clude a shewing forth the Riches of his Grace to us that live so many Ages since the Apostle's Days; for We now, thro' [Page 391]Mercy, do find our own (thô otherwise miserable enough) to be one of those happy, Golden Ages. Our Gospel now (tho' Hid to them that are lost) is the Revela­tion of the Mystery,2 Cor. 4.3which was kept secret since the World began, but now is made ma­nifest, — Rom. 16.25, 26. The Apostle also speaks of it to the same purpose else­where, Col. 1.26. Even the Mystery which bath been hid from Ages, and from Gene­rations, but now is made manifest to his Saints. Alas! how many Ages before Christ were filled up with Generations of Men from whom the Mystery in Christ was hid! Dr. Bur­thogg, Cau­sa Dei, p. 195. All the Light before Christ, was but Moon, or Star-light, designed only for the Night preceding, (as that famous Apologer cited in the Margent ob­serveth in a Learned Tract.) And it must needs be a Thick Darkness upon the Pagan World, while the Divine Light did but faintly shine in Goshen. God's own People had but some Prelibations and Fore-tasts so early, not a full Gospel­meal: Holy Diet was more sparing, thô they were sed with never so many slain Beasts, both in the Morning and at Noon; because the Chief Meal in the Day of Grace at the Supper of our God [Page 392]was not then come. But we under the Gospel may say now ready, even we of this Age to whom the Gospel is Now come. Job 8.9. We are but indeed of yesterday up­on the Earth, and our Span will reach but a little way, tho' it extendeth most upwards; Luk. 1.78. yet no sooner did the Day-spring from on high visit our Quarters, but God sent in Provision with it. 1 Sam. 25.8 We come in a Good Day that are born at the Hour of Supper. We are come forth into this World a little before Night, and just as the Gospel hath met us, reeking in our Pollution, Ezck. 16.6 and lying in our Blood as it passeth by, the Grace of it unto us may be dated now ready. It is ready for poor Dark Families, that have been full of the Habitations of Cruelty, Psa. 74.20. and Dark Souls, even now when God springs in with Light, and reformeth the Times of this Ignorance, which before he winked at, coming now in the Preaching of the Go­spel to command them every where to re­pent, Acts 17.30. And the Times of this Ignorance God winked at.] There was a Time when the Nations were in the Dark, and God took no Notice of them; he [...]. overlookt them, as the Word is, he had not an Eye of Mercy for them, but [Page 393]lookt over their Dark Times to instruct other Ages in the Knowledge of Saving Truth; so we have a Paralel Testimo­ny given us, Acts 14.16. Who in times past suffered all Nations to walk in their own ways. [...].In times past he did so, that is, in the Ages and Generations of Men that are gone, such whom Time hath now carried us off a great way from: But God hath now alter'd the Case in Mercy, and tho' he did shut his Eyes on Them, and righte­ously wink and overlook them, yet his Eyes are not contracted at this Day, but he opens and graciously fixeth them to look full on us. And now commandeth all Men every where to repent.] That is, the Times in which the Gospel comes, are the Times in which a People do receive the Grace of God in Christ, and therefore God looks to such, Heb. 9.10. and expects they should be I imes of Reformation. Well, the Go­spel is now ready for you of this Age, when God hath taken that which letteth out of the way, be it any obstruction whatsoever, and it comes in the Preach­ing of it to you: 'Tis now ready to give understanding unto the simple, when God perceives of most of you, that you are ignorant and unlearned Men, and hereby [Page 394]will have your poor Ignorant Neigh­bours, and your Carnal Kindred and Ac­quaintants, who it may be will not be per­swaded to come along with you, take Knowledge that you have been with Jesus. He sends the Light of the Gospel among you, to acquaint you with the Things of your Peace, which perhaps you had lived all your Days in the World (some of you) and never knew till now. 'Tis now ready to regenerate and save such of you as have been Dead and Lost until now; the Gospel hath been excellently made known by many a Saint that is now Dead, and now in the Grave, and yet speaketh, whose Testimony agreeth with some that are alive and remain, that now confirm the same Gospel also. You have Great Things that have been made known in this Age, I speak particularly of this 17th Century since Christ; whereas our Ancestors in some Ages and Generations past were nurst up universally in the Darkness of Popery, and again before that in the blackest Shades of See Verstegan's Antiquities. Chap. 3. from p. 73. to p. 89. (mibi) 8o Edit. 1673. Paganism, and never had a Glimpse of the True Light that now shineth, or a Taste of the Sup­per now ready.

3. The Supper of the Gospel is now ready in regard of the opportunity, or spe­cial season now afforded us. Opportunity is that happy juncture which Jenkyn, Supplement to the Morn­ing Exer­cise. pag. 92. Sect. 7. one ex­presseth thus, ‘The Spiritual Market­day for the procuring of saving Provisi­ons for our Souls, upon which we are to live for ever.’ The original expres­seth the opportunity of Time by a Di­stinct word, 1 Cor. 7.29. We translate it the Time is short, but the [...]. Greek readeth it The opportunity is short; it is [...] not [...]. I shall consider this ( [...], this Punctum Temporis, or) pre­sent Readiness of the Gospel, according to the Season, under a Five fold Divi­sion.

1. Now ready, while Life now continues, Life is in a continual Lapse, it is a Thread that slips, and hath nothing but a succes­sion of present Moments that like Points hold it together in continuity; now we have no more properly for our Season than these instant Points, or Moments: We can say only of Time past, it was, Punctum est quod vivi­mus. of Time to come, it is not; and therefore it re­mains only that we possess the Time that now is. Life consequently is a going, and the work of it for our Souls must be done, [Page 396]can be only done, while Time's a lasting. John 9.4. I must work the works of him that hath sent me, while it is Day, the Night cometh, when no Man can work. The Night of your Departure is at hand, and draw­ing on apace in which you can neither eat, nor see to walk, or work! Now (you hear) is but a Point, and 'tis always Pas­sing. Life never standeth still, the Time is short if we measure it from one end to the other with our common Span. Alas! what is Methuselah's Age to Eternity? Gen. 5.27. And what is Threescore years and Ten to Methuselah's, Psa. 90.10. and what is to Morrow, that we cannot boast of, Prov. 27.1 to Threescore years and Ten! And yet we have but such a short and uncertain season of Life to come and receive Mercy in. Mercy (if we refuse it) can but follow us all the days of our Life, Psa. 23.6. tho' often Mercy steps back, and leaves a Sinner to himself sooner, and doth not follow him (I speak of the offers of Saving Mercy) to his Live's end. However, after Death, if the Time of Life be slipt, Psa. 6.5. in the Grave there will be no Remembrance of us, the Gospel can be on­ly ready for us now, before we are like the Slain that lye in the Grave, Psa. 88.5. whom it remembreth no more. Well, but now [Page 397]Life continues, and there is some capacity of Improvement, some Help and a Possi­bility of Recovery by the means of Grace. It is said of him that is joined to all the Liv­ing there is Hope, Eccles. 9.4. We are now thro' the Merciful Providence and Good Hand of our God, Living Men; Neh. 2.8. God hath not yet rooted us out of the Land of the Living, Isa. 52.5. where our Place shall know us no more, Job 7.10. but we may yet (thro' Mer­cy) walk before him in the Light of the Liv­ing. Psa. 56.13. The Angel hath not yet Sworn it in our Hearing, even the Messenger of Death by a Sentence of Death within us, 2 Cor. 1.9. Rev. 10.6. that Time shall be no longer; but God hath spar'd us to recover strength, after many a Humbling Visitation that had brought, and once kept us low. He hath rais'd us, when we were fallen upon a Sick-bed, and did not know whether ever we should come down from that Bed on which we were gone up, but might surely die. This is therefore the Season unto us who are all here present before the Lord, Act. 10.33 because Life continues with us, and to us whom he hath granted Life and Favour in a Re­covery from Sickness, Job 10.12 and his Visitation that hath preserved our Spirit.

2. Now ready, when Grace is now offer­ed. [Page 398]This may be opened in Two Things. 1. Now, when Crace is offered unto Saints to comfort them that mourn in Si­on. 2. Now, when Grace is offered un­to Sinners to bring them in to Christ.

1. These Provisions are Now ready, when Grace is offered unto Saints, to com­fort them that Mourn in Zion. Isa. 61.3. The Soul that thinks it hath had a Repulse, yet shall not like Jordan, now be driven back; tho' thou hast cry'd out of a Denial in Months past, Psa. 114.5. Job 29.2. yet thou shalt not be deny'd thy Supper, or kept without it Fasting, when Grace is now offer'd. We do not only hear of the Kingdom, but if we be­lieve, Luk. 12.32 it is our Father's good pleasure to give us the Kingdom, that we might eat and drink in it, Luke 22.29, 30. And I ap­point unto you a Kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me, that ye may eat and drink at my Table in my Kingdom. There is now the offer of a Gift to Saints in whatsoever of Spirituals they may be profitted withal; Mat. 15.5. Mark 5.43 Christ hath commanded that something should be given them, as he did unto Her that was heal'd, to eat. Tho' thou hast been afraid, that Christ did frown upon thy coming heretofore, yet lo! Song 3.9, 10. now he com­eth unto the Table in a Chariot Pav'd [Page 399]with Love, to meet thee! Tho' thou hast cry'd under a sorrowful Spirit, he would turn thee out of Doors, yet lo! now he puts forth his Hand upon the Handles of the Lock, Song. 5.5. to let thee in presently. This Key of David shall be turned for, Rev. 3.7. and not against thee to make thee lose thy Supper. Grace is offer'd, Grace is now ready for thee; thy Redeemer is entred into the Chambers of his Love upon a Blessed Feast-Day to see thee. When thou hast wept in secret, and in solitary Retirements sigh­ed out thy Case, Christ hath heard the voice of thy mourning, and is still taken with it; he loves the Musick that is made by the Organs which he himself hath cho­sen: see Cantic. 2.14. Oh my Dove, that art in the Clefts of the Rock, in the secret Places of the Stairs, let me see thy Counte­nance, let me hear thy voice, for sweet is thy voice, and thy Countenance is comely. The Poor Soul may often be compared to the See Durham upon the Place. Frighted Dove that runs into Holes, instead of flying in at the Windows to hide it self. Some fierce Temptation per­haps like a Hawk pursues thee, and thou like a Poor Dove for shelter art scar'd in­to a Hole to hide thee, and there thou ly­est mourning in secret and durst not ven­ture [Page 400]forth; well, however Grace is now offer'd, and tho' thou canst not come home of thy self, Christ hath sent to fetch thee! Thou shalt now be guarded to come forth with others that are made to fly as the Doves to their Windows. Isa. 60.8. He will not ab­hor and reject, or cast thee off, but doth remember that now is a Time to embrace. Eccles. 3.5. Christ listens to the complaint of the Frighted Soul, and is resolv'd to make it welcome. Let me see thy Countenance, let me hear thy Voice; as much as to say, Come now into my Presence, venture to my Table's side, and see if I do not make thee welcome! Ask what thou wilt and it shall be given thee, even double, to the half of the Kingdom. Est. 5.3. For Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out, John 6.37. latter part.

2. These Provisions in the Gospel are now ready, when Grace is offered unto Sinners, to bring them now in to Christ. There is a fit opportunity upon the offer of Mercy for Sinners to be made now wel­come to it. Feasts are ready, when the Guests have an opportunity to go and be made welcome at them; so the Gospel is then ready, when Sinners may have the Freedom to hear the Doctrines of Salvati­on [Page 401]on publisht; it is Then for Sinners to listen after and lay hold of some Good Thing tender'd by the Lord God of Israel, when they hear the Name of the Lord proclaimed, even the Name Immanuel, Mat. 1.23.which is God with us; being proclaimed, the Lord, the Lord God, Merciful and Graci­ous, Long-suffering, and abundant in Good­ness and Truth, Exod. 34.6. while he makes all his Goodness pass before us in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Exod. 33.19. This is an opportunity to be made welcome! So it is in the Preaching and Proclamations of it. A Sinner may be now accepted at this Blessed Entertainment, for it is cal­led an Accepted Time, 2 Cor. 6.2. A Time that God hath accepted for Sinners, and a Time in which he accepts also of them. The Gates of the Kingdom of Heaven are set wide open to receive Sin­ners now in. Jesus Christ now opens to let in every Sinner that comes to Him. The Gate of Mercy shall be lockt against none that have been knocking at it to come in.

Oh! how fit is the Present opportuni­ty for Sinners to be made welcome! how chearfully, how abundantly might they come and be refresht at the Solemn Feasts! Ezek. 46.9 [Page 402]Oh! how readily is Christ now opening of the Treasures of his Grace and Love, to welcome Sinners to him! What mul­titudes might there now step in, while the Banquetting House is open! Song. 2.4. Oh! why is it that there is but one of a Family and Two of a Tribe, Jer. 3.14. when you might with your Houses come in and be welcome to serve the Lord? Why is it that so Few of you are setting your Faces towards Sion, Chap 50.5 even when Sion's Provisions are now rea­dy? Oh why is the Season now, slighted? Why is the opportunity, Heb. 3.15. To Day, if ye will hear his Voice, neglected? Oh! why will you die, Sinners, when you might close with the Redeemer now, according to the Time of Life? Gen. 18.14 Why will you be Sick, and yet shut the Door against the Physician's entrance now, when he would come with Grace and Healing Love to save you? Why will you now be Blind, Rev. 3.18. when you might have Eye-salve to make you discern every Thing clearly? 2 Sam. 16.17. Is this your Kindness to your Friend that would make you highly welcome? For behold now is the Day of Salvation, behold now is the Accepted Time, 2 Cor. 6.2. Never such an opportunity appear'd as the Day of Salvation is, and therefore it is now [Page 403]that there is hope in Israel concerning this Thing, Ezra 10.2. last words. And this shews how the Provisions of the Gospel are ready in their Season, as there is a fit opportunity for Sinners to be made now welcome to them. So much for the second Branch of this Readiness now in opportuni­ty, being now when Grace is offer'd.

3. Now ready, when Ministers are now urgent. They are now like Phinehas, Numb. 25.11. zea­lous for their God, not to slay as He, but to save and present you alive at Supper. They are loth to see you starv'd, and so much Victuals ready, and therefore are earnest in calling out to bring you in to Christ. Their Heart's Desire and Prayer, Rom. 10.1 their Tears and Travel, their Sermons, Study, Aim is, that you may be saved! Their Language is to Sinners turn again now every one from his evil way, Jer. 25.4, 5. and 35.15. Their Language is to Saints, Oh taste and see! Psal. 34.8. They are serious and earnest towards all, Faithful Ministers dare jest with none. Isa. 53.1. We press you to be­lieve our report and come, if by any means we may see you but safe in at Supper. We blow the Trumpet, Ezek. 33.3 we ring the Warn­ing Bell, to give you notice of Supper, that the Feast now is ready.

4. Now ready, when God himself now waits to bestow Mercy on you. It is your Duty to wait upon God, but such is God's Grace and Condescention that he is pleas'd to wait on you. And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be Gracious unto you; and therefore will he be exalted that he may have mercy on you, Isa. 30.18. He stoops that you may be made the means by which he will raise his own Name the higher. Rev. 2.21. He waits, that he may be Graci­ous.] He gives space to repent, and does not break up House before the set Time is come. The King waits at the Supper-Hour to see his Guests in. He hath li­mited a certain Day, Heb. 4.7. And he will stay his own Time he sets. As he hath constituted and set Bounds to a Sa­cred Day of rest (as that Place must be understood) which Bounds can never be broken up without a gross violation of the Morality of the Fourth Command­ment; so he likewise limiteth the Day of his Grace and Patience towards Sinners, and he will not remove the Bounds he hath plac't by a Perpetual Decree to fence it. Jer. 5.22. He hath secretly fixt a waiting-time within his own Breast, and as he now waits accordingly, so he hath fixt a Time, [Page 405]when he will never wait more. If thou dost not come in, Sinner, to this Supper, within the compass of God's waiting-time, he will not stay a Minute, and be­seech or use one word of intreaty after! 2 Cor. 5.20. There is now silence in Heaven for the space of half an Hour, Rev. God seems to be making a Pause upon Mount Ebal, and will read no more Curses yet, that thou might'st hear more comfortably and di­stinctly what is said upon Mount Gerizim, Deut. 11.29. Psal. 24.3. to encourage thee to ascend into this Hill of the Lord, where the Fat Things wait upon the Mountain ready, till thou art brought thither. God now looks thro' the Pillar of the Cloud to see who comes running by the way of the Plain, Exod. 14.24. 2 Sam. 18.23. Numb. 35.13. Mat. 7.13. Matth. 25.10, 11, 12. to get in at the City of Refuge, and thrust in at the strait Gate to Table, taking the Kingdom of Heaven by a Holy Violence, now, now, now before the Door is shut.

5. Now ready, when the Spirit breathes and blows upon us. For the Spirit of the Lord bloweth when, as well as the Spirit John 3.8. where it listeth. As the Spirit of God in the first Creation did move upon the Face of the Waters, Gen. 1.2. or sit and hatch the Creature; so in the new Creation under the Preaching of the Gospel, the Spirit [Page 406]moves upon the Face of the Waters, or People, who often in Scripture are com­pared to Rev. 17.15. Jer. 47.2. Eccl. 11.1. Psal. 124.4, 5, &c. Waters, and forms Gal. 4.19 Rom. 6.19.Christ in them. Now, when Men preach, and the Spirit helps the Infirmity of our Flesh, the Gospel is then made ready: For it is the Spirit that quickneth, the Flesh profit­eth nothing, Joh. 6.63. It is a Time of Readiness when God sends forth the Spirit of his Son, Gal. 4.6. and proclaims it in your Hearts with a crying at the Table, Abba, Fa­ther! 1 Cor. 12.8.9, 10. yea, when to one is given by the Spi­rit, the Word of Wisdom, to another the Word of Knowledge by the same Spirit, to another Faith by the same Spirit, to another Prophesie, to another discerning of Spirits; when the Spirit lifts up Ordinances and Means above their own Power, when the Spirit speaketh expresly in us, as well as the Language of the Messenger speaketh to us, and when we see by the Blessed Ef­fects of it, Joh. 1.32. the Spirit of God descending from Heaven, while the Word of the King­dom comes in the Demonstration of the Spirit and with Power, 1 Cor. 2.4. then is the Blessed Season, the opportunity of the Gospel, the special Time of Supper, the now, when All Things are ready.

It is now when the Spirit breathes and [Page 407]blows upon us. And lo! God now stretcheth forth his Hand, the Spirit makes some work in thy Soul that per­haps thou canst now witness, yea, must acknowledge it, this is the Finger of God. Exod. 8.19. Why, now then the Provisions are rea­dy for thee, 2 Cor. 2.15 'tis now a Savour of Life un­to Life to many, and 'tis now ready to get up Thee that art Dead while thou livest. 1 Tim. 5 6 The Spirit now opens some Eyes that never saw one Morsel of the Bread of Life before. It reveals Mysteries unto Babes which they never heard till now. Mar. 11.25 God's Word now is Quick, Heb. 4.12. Nah 2.4. Rev. 3.4. and runs like the Lightnings to find out the Few Names in Sardis: 'tis now Powerful, tho' we are weak that use it. Heb. 4.12. 'Tis now sharper than a Two-edged Sword, and cuts when we do not see what is become of it out of our Hands! It was a Dead Letter, it may be, but now a Quickning Spirit. 1 Cor. 15.45. Eph. 6.17.The Sword of the Spirit makes its way, when we that handle it cannot make it enter. Oh! Now God goes forth with the Chariot of Israel, 2 Kings 2.12. and the Horsemen thereof; he rides among some sturdy Sinners, unhorseth them, makes them acknowledge that God is in his Ordinances of a Truth, 1 Cor. 14.25. brings them to the Ground, calleth them to his Foot, Isa. 41.2. when [Page 408]they lye groveling in the Dust, and goes forth Conquering and to Conquer. Rev. 6.2.

The Second Thing is to Prove it, II. that the Gospel is a Feast, or a Supper, with all its Provisions now ready.

1. The Guests of this Supper are now in­vited to it. Reas. 1 You have heard under the second Doctrine that God calls you to come and Sup with him. Now, it is a sure sign the Lord hath a Supper, as it was once that he had a Bloody Sacrifice of Destruction, Zeph. 1.7. when he hath bid his Guests. It is now assuredly a Call to a Wedding-Banquet, because the Spirit and the Bride say Come, Rev. 22.17. There is a Feast, for the Children of the Bride­chamber do not fast so long as they have got the Bridegroom the Lord Jesus Christ with them. It is ready, and now unque­stionably, for the Elder Brother of the Fa­mily and his Servants have invited all the King's Sons, 2 Sam. 13.23. 2 Cor. 6.18 every one of the Children, Sons and Daughters of the Lord Almighty; i. e. all who are brought into such a Re­lation to him, are commanded to sit down as so many Olive-Plants round about his Table. Psa. 128.3. This is therefore a Proof that his Provision is now ready for them.

2. The Supper of the Gospel is now ready, Reas. 2 because it is now in the Evening of the World Supper-Time. The whole Time of the Gospel-Dispensation, if taken by it self from Christ's first unto his second coming, may be term'd as one Entire Day; and so the Apostle seems to intimate, as To Day, signi­fies now in the Time of his Ap­pearance. Charnock. Vol. 2d. p. 1192. some observe, in that Expression, To Day, if ye will hear his Voice, Heb. 4.9. But yet if the Gospel-Time be taken in with the other Time that went on before Christ, then it may be called the Evening of a Day; and in this joint-consideration I now take it here, as the Apostle also doth, 1 Cor. 10.11. latter part. They are written for our Admoni­tion upon whom the Ends of the World are come. The Gospel is the last Season, or the utmost Difpensation that Sinners will ever meet with to make Provisions of Mercy for them. Grace therefore in this Dispensation is well expressed in the Parable by a Supper; A Supper is the last Meal, and so is the Gospel the last Thing God hath to give you in the Evening of the World. The Food of these last Times indeed had been promis'd early, when God spake at Morning and at Noon what he would do for his People before Night, [Page 410]for as the Passeover in another sence, so this is a Feast to be kept at Even; Lev. 23.5. and now in the Evening of the World he doth give us Flesh to eat. Exo. 16.8.

Besides, our Now is the latter part of the Day of God's Patience towards the World, and of his Provision and Grace towards us; we live still later in the Evening, Gen. 8.11. and lo! in the Evening comes a Dove with an Olive-Branch to us. We are Borderers upon Eternity, and are as near that Ocean, Acts 10.6. as Simon the Tanner that lodg'd by the Sea-side. Now then is our Supper-time; for as now it is Evening, so the Night cometh next: God therefore provideth his Supper now, be­cause he will have it to be in Season rea­dy for us. Hence is it that he may say, Now have I brought it to pass, Isa. 37.26. not as Sen­nacherib vaunted it in the laying waste de­fenced Cities into ruinous Heaps, (no, that was a Now for mischief) but now hath he brought it to pass, Gen. 50.20 to save much Peo­ple alive, as at this Day; and God hath now done it, because he would not, when we see a Full Congregation, kill this whole Assembly with Hunger, Exo. 16.3. as the People in their Murmurings against Mo­ses and Aaron complain'd unjustly. Well, [Page 411]God hath made ready the Provisions of the Gospel now, because he would fit them to our Entertainment now at Sup­per-Time; and therefore they are Created Now, and not from the Beginning. Isa. 48.7. God maketh Supper ready, and we may say the Hour now is for entertaining us. When the Age of the World is departed, Isa. 38.12. Rom. 13.12 1 Pet. 4.7. its Day is far spent, and the End of all things is at hand.

3. Many Guests do now partake already. Reas. 3 There is a Feast, because so many eat and drink; the Supper is ready, because so many sit down. I am the Door, by me if any Man enter in he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture, Joh. 10.9. There be many thro' Grace which have been brought into God's House thro' this Door, and set at God's Table. It is not only of our selves in these Nations, and these Churches, but there are other Sheep also which Christ hath, Joh. 10.16 that are not of this Fold, and these also he hath taken Care of, to lodge and re­fresh in fat Pastures. The Gospel hath not only been profitable to some of you, but there hath been the Fruits of it that appear, thro' the Blessing of the Feast-maker, among other Gentiles also. Paul [Page 412]witnesseth in his Day, that the Romans were not the only Gentile-Hearers, who had profited under his Ministry by the Entertainment, for he rather wisheth that They might but reap as much Be­nefit by the Gospel, as others had done besides, Rom. 1.13: — that I might have some Fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles. Other Gentiles.] Because others had been the Seal of his Apostleship elsewhere, he tells the Corin­thians, 1 Cor. 9.2. that ye are so in the Lord; i. e. Partakers of the Benefits and the Graces of the Gospel as well as you. So that many Guests do partake, and have partook, and therefore this Supper's rea­dy.

Lastly, Reas. 4 After-Delays will prove too late to sup; and therefore it appears now ready. What will the Provision signi­fie (suppose to us) if we han't it now! what will a Supper avail, when our Candle is out, and we are gone to Bed! will the offers of Christ neglected now, become an Advantage when we are gone hereafter? if Death should clinch our Hands, could we open them in the Grave, or the Belly of Hell, Jonah 2.2. to close with Jesus Christ? 'tis Sup now, Close now with [Page 413]Christ and Welcome, God now accepteth thy Works; but there is no work, nor de­vice, nor knowledge, nor Wisdom in the Grave whither thou goest, Eccles. 9.10. There will be no feeding for Sinners up­on Dainties, Psa. 49.14. when Death shall feed on Them. In a word, no rising from their Beds, when they lye down and sleep in the Dust of the Earth, Dan. 12.2. to come in again to Supper!

The Third and last Thing will be to Apply it, III. and the uses will be only Two. 1. Of Information to instruct, and 2. Of Exhortation to perswade.

The First Use is of Information in these Thirteen following Points. I. If the Gospel is a Feast in which all its Provisions are now ready. Then

1. We may learn of the Times and Sea­sons that the Father hath put them in his own Power. 1 Ins. This is evidently cleared in those words of Christ wherewith he checkt his Disciple's Curiosity, Acts 1.7. It is not for you to know the Times and the Seasons which the Father hath put in his own Power. The Present Readiness of this Supper argues, that the fixing and order­ing of Times and Seasons for the Dispen­sing of Grace to Sinners, is solely in the [Page 414]Hands of God, and at his Soveraign Dis­posal. It was an Act of Soveraignty to prepare the Gospel, and make it ready in the Time that now is. As our Times are in Goa's Hand, Psal. 31.15 so are all our Mercies. It was decreed in his Soveraign Purpose, and fore-ordained according to the Good Pleasure of his Will, Eph. 1.5. Prov. 16.33. Eccles. 3.1 what Blessings of Grace should be the Lot to be cast into our Lap in the latter Ages. As there is a Time to every Purpose, and to every Thing a Sea­son, so God is the Judge to dispose of it, and order every Thing in it. If the Ma­ster of the Feast had order'd it, his Sup­per had been ready before such a Time of Day, and he could have gotten courser Fare at Night. He that spreadeth the Morning upon the Mountains could have gotten up the Provisions early, even at the First break of Day, and at that Breakfast of the Promise made in the Garden of E­den to our First Parents, before he drove out the Man. Gen. 3.15.24. But he was Soveraign, and would stay to bring in this till Sup­per.

2. We may learn from this now, 2 Inf. in the Text, that God finds out some special Sea­son for the Things of our Peace, when he deals in Mercy with us. There is a Pe­culiar [Page 415] Day of Grace, nay sometimes a Particular Hour of that Day more than ordinary; being a season more highly valuable than any time that we have besides in General. Our Gain or Loss of the Season proves the Gain or Loss of all for ever. Thus it is hinted of Jerusalem to the same purpose by our Blessed Lord, Luke 19.42. Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy Day the things which belong unto thy Peace, but now they are hid from thine Eyes. Thou Jerusalem in time to come maist remember that thou hadst once a Day of Grace offer'd! Once thou mighst have sound Mercy, but now thou hast lost thy Season! There was a Particular time, an express Day of Grace in which Christ Preacht up the Provisions of a Gospel Entertainment, a Day in which they were brought even to Jerusalem now ready. Christ tells them the Happy Minute which the Men of Ju­dah and the Inhabitants of Jerusalem might once have closed with. Isa. 5.3. He had a special Season of shewing Mercy, and offering the Terms of Salvation among the Jews, a Season-day, a Day of a choicer oppor­tunity than any of their Time had been before, or was likely in that Generation [Page 416]to prove again. The Lord was pleased also thus to pitch upon a Particular, spe­cial Season under the Old Testament to bring Glad-tydings of Good Things to Judah and Jerusalem by the Prophet, Rom. 10.15.Isa. 1.18. Come now and let us reason together, saith the Lord, tho' your Sins be as Scarlet, they shall be as white as Snow; tho' they be red like Crimson, they shall be as Wooll: As much as to say, I am now willing for your good, if you can but hit the Season, and let us now argue the Thing together. And likewise afterwards in the same Pro­phesie, Isa. 40.2. when God speaketh comfortably to Jerusalem, he takes notice of it as a spe­cial Season, and expresseth it as an extra­ordinary, particular time of his Dealing thus with her, Isa. 44.1. Yet now hear, O Jacob my Servant, and Ifrael whom I have chosen: Altho' God had been otherwise dealing with them for their Sins, as may be gathered from sundry passages in the former Chapter, yet he Records it as a special time in which he would change his Dealings with them, Yet now hear, O Jacob, my Servant. When God hath shewn Mercy either to Saints or Sin­ners, to bring in one, or eminently build up the other, he has taken a Peculiar [Page 417]Time that may be styled their Day of spe­cial opportunity.

And as we have heard of it in old Time, even so it is now, God is wont to come in still with the Provisions of this Gospel. Supper, Peace, Pardon, Reconciliation to himself in the Blood of Christ, and lay the Foundation of a Saving Work of Grace upon the Heart of a Sinner in some special Season, not indifferently upon any com­mon Time. He does it when the Parti­culars of the Feast in the Provisions of Gospel-grace may be said to be even now upon a Feast-day ready. The Gospel must in some present Day affect, and work a change in Men. The Provisions that have now of a long time been ready to relieve one, and wrought also effectu­ally according to the working of his mighty Power, even to Salvation upon some of you, Eph. 1.19. may not be accompanied with the Arm of the Lord till now upon others found a­mong you. Isa. 53.1. One may have met with it as a special Season formerly, and have been provoked by the Love of God to be ready (for a close with the Gospel) a year ago, 2 Cor. 9.2. or, it may be, many years since, where­as another may not have found it to be a Time of Love till lately, or a Time of [Page 418]Love till now. God meets with some of his Elect under one subject of Grace, and brings them in sooner to Jesus Christ; then he sends out under another subject, or another Sermon, or another Preacher with the Invitations and Proposals of Grace again, and makes new ones come in as Guests, that his House may be filled with them. He'll run over the Olive, and turn up the Branches of his Vine a­gain, to meet with new Clusters. And therefore he comes again and calls them, tho' they have been without Christ, aliens from the Common-wealth of Israel, Eph. 2.12. and stran­gers from the Covenants of Promise, having no Hope and without God in the World, it may be to the sixth, Matth. 20.5, 6. the ninth, the ele­venth Hours, till 'tis almost Bed time with them. If you have not heard of the Gospel in Power, Eccl. 12.5. Luke 1.18 until the Almond-Tree flourish, and till you have been well stricken in years, and grey hairs are here and there upon you, Hos. 7.9. yet if you have the Gospel at last, and it calls upon you to bring forth the Fruits of it in Old Age, Psal. 92.14 this is a Season in which God is dealing with you; and tho' of An­cient Times you have not heard it, Isa. 37.26. yet even now the Provisions are ready for you that are old and grey-headed. Psal. 71.18 Thus God finds [Page 419]out a special Season, and undertakes not the work at any common time in General, to deal with Poor Sinners in.

3. God expects there should be a closing with his Calls upon special Seasons. 3 Inf. When God provideth our Summer, and brings a Harvest, he expects we should be as wise as the Ant, to lay up against Winter, which provideth her Meat in the Summer, and gathereth her Food in the Harvest, Prov. 6.8. Solomon as Arthur Jackson. Vol. 3d. in loc. one observes upon the sixth Verse, had put up, as it were into the Pulpit, this little despicable Creature, to instruct Brutish Men; go to the Ant, thou Sluggard, consider her ways and be wise. For the Ants are a People not strong, yet they prepare their Meat in the Summer, Prov. 30.25. That Creature (the Ant) is so Provident, she will not slip the time of preparing Food. The Fa­mous Cartwright that confuted the Jesuits of Rhemes in their Glosses upon the New Testament, thus Comments upon her In­dustry. Formica quasi Hye­mis praescia aestate paret victum suum cùm per a [...] ­ris serenita­tem, & coeli clementiam, per (que) via­rum planiti­em & mun­ditiem jus­tum onus comportare possit. Tho. Cart­wright in Pro [...]erbia Solom. cap. 6. v. 8 v. 97 ‘The Ant, (says he) as if she foresaw an Approaching Winter gets her Provision in the calm Summer, when the Air is mild and gentle, and the ways smooth and clean to carry her Burden in.’ Sure the Lord takes it [Page 420]very ill at the Hands of Men, when poor Insects on the Ground, and Fowls of the Air take more notice of their Ap­pointed Times than we. Jer. 8.7. Yea, the Stork in the Heaven knoweth her Ap­pointed Times, and the Turtle, and the Crane, and the Swallow, observe the Time of their coming, but my People know not the Judgment of the Lord. Birds will rise up in judgment with the Men of this Generation and condemn it, Mat. 12 42 because they are upon the Wing before their Season fleeth. God expects our close. Alas! when he hath been trying all things in kind, measure, order, and maketh Pro­vidences as well as Ordinances ready for our Good, he looks that we should take notice of his Dealings, and com­ply with him in them. There is a Par­ticular now which makes God offend­ed with us more than ordinary, when we neglect and slight it; because there are special Tokens and Marks of his Grace upon it, and these in a special manner do require us to improve and accept thereof.

4. When God calls there is a Harmony, 4 Inf.and a special Loveliness in our Seasonable complying with it. Our Duty like eve­ry [Page 421]Work and Event of Providence is Beautiful in his Time. Eccl. 3.11 There is some Particular Time in which we may be called to obey the Will of God, and when Obedience carries more than a common Loveliness in the Face of it. We may see it exemplified in that great and extraordinary pattern of Obedience, the Faith of Abraham, Gen. 22.2. Take now thy Son, thine only Son Isaac whom thou lovest, and get thee into the Land of Moriah, and offer him there for a Burnt-Offering upon one of the Mountains which I will tell thee off. Go Abraham, hearken to my Voice, and obey the Commandment now; Then God tries him, and Then obedience and a com­pliance with the Call of God is Beau­tiful.

In like manner as to us, when the Gospel-command saith, Take now, Sin­ner, thy Darling, thy Beloved Off-spring, the Lust of thy Constitution, or some Peculiar Bosom-sin, Mat. 5.29, 30. the Dalilah whom thou lovest; Cut off a Right Hand, pluck out a Right Eye, and now cast it from thee; accept of my Son Jesus, and let go thy Son that serves thee; come to my Feast, and take what I offer thee, [Page 422]now I am come and have set out all before thee. Lo! now God calls, and accordingly the Sinner's compliance now would prove so Beautiful the very An­gels of God would joy to see it, Luke 16.7.—joy shall be in Heaven over one Sinner that repenteth. When there is such a Time to be Born, Eccles. 3.2. and of obedience here on Earth, v. 4. it is a Time to laugh, and a cause of Mirth in Heaven.

Furthermore, There is a special Love­liness in complying seasonably with the Call of God under Afflictions: Job 36.10 If God takes off thine Ear from the Word, and bores it with an Awl of Discipline, now is a Time to hearken. David clings under the Rod, and complies when chastened, he takes notice of the Whipping Post, Job 33.11 and God's Correction, while he putteth his Feet in the Stocks, Psal. 119.67. Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now have I kept thy Word. As if he had said, I once sligh­ted and contemned my Father's Coun­sels, but since he hath made his Scourge ready, now I have complied more with him. Well, our compliance with God is Beautiful, or our obedience to his [Page 423]Commands, whether he calls, or chides us in to Supper.

5. If this Feast be now ready, it is sad, 5 Int.that Sinners should be now unprovided. That Supper should be ready for them, but they not ready for Supper, all things in a Posture fit for them, but they in a careless, unprovided state just fit for nothing. A want of Readiness hath produced Fatal and sad Effects. The high Places were not taken away in the Reign of Jehoshaphat over Judah, be­cause the People had not prepared their Hearts unto the God of their Fathers, 2 Chron. 20.33. They were ready for any but the Provisions that God had made for them, and were wholly un­provided to meddle with any Reforma­tion. The Scripture condemns an un­ready Servant, Luke 12.47. The Servant that prepared not himself—shall be bea­ten with many stripes: Prepared not] i. e. He who was unprovided for God's work when it lay before him, and not rea­dy to comply with his Master's Will, such a Servant shall feel his Master's Blows. The Charge therefore, and the Counsel which Jesus Christ gave unto his Disciples, was this, Therefore be ye [Page 424]also ready, Matth. 24.44. And be ye therefore ready also, Luke 12.40. But now it is sad, when the Gospel is made ready, Gal. 2.15. and Sinners of the Gentiles are yet unready for it. Behold (saith Christ) I stand at the Door, Rev. 3.20.and knock; but how many obstinate, resolved Sinners that are going on still in their Trespusses do keep a Hand upon the Latch, Psal. 68.21 while he knocks, and they will not open to him! Psal. 24.7, 9, 10. They refuse to let in the King of Glory, tho' he knocks to come in and bring them to a Banquet of Love pre­par'd! God is ready with his Son, Christ is ready with himself, yea, the Holy Spirit and the Gospel with the Faithful Preachers of it (These) are all now ready, and yet how many wretch­ed Hearers that are yet in their Sins are not ready for them! Oh! 'tis sad, that when God calls away to Supper, Men should chuse rather to play than to come in! Matth. 11.16, 17. 1 Cor. 13.11. to be like Children playing in the Markets, rather than put away Childish Things, and come in to the Provisions that have been purchased at a Dear Market for them! It is sad, to be sloth­ful in Business, when we should be fer­vent in our Spirits,Rom. 12.11.serving the Lord! [Page 425]Ah! how unworthy is their Carriage, that when all is now ready, Supper served in, Grace offered to pardon, cleanse, save them, yet they will stand off, and have neither Hearts nor Sto­machs to it! 'tis a high piece of In­gratitude, when Sinners are not ready to embrace the Gospel, let the cause of their unreadiness be as plausible and specious, as a negligent Hand, or an unbelieving Heart can make it! 'tis sad, when Men will keep their Hands too dirty to dip them in the Dish with Christ! Mat. 26.23 Luke 10.40. Chap. 22.27. that they will be cumbred about much serving, and will rather run up and down upon any thing among them that serve, than sit down among them that sit at Meat!

6. Again, it is still worse, 6 Ins.when Men shall even now degenerate from what they have once been! That Men by a slight and temporary Profession should once pretend to be Guests, and yet quickly after (it may be) downright Apostates, at least wretched Backsliders, and Stran­gers to Grace and Holiness! what a Horrible Revolt from an open counte­nancing of the ways of God to a vi­sible Enmity, or at least, a secret Ha­tred [Page 426]of them! Once Zealous in Profes­sion, now as hot, if it lay in their Power, to stir up Persecution! Some­time outwardly reconcil'd, now again a­lienated! A sad reverse of the state of the Colossians and all true Believers! Col. 1.21. Oh! how sad was the degenerate state of Jerusalem, when the Prophet de­scribes it, Isa. 1.21. How is the Faith­ful City become an Harlot? It was full of Judgment, Righteousness lodged in it, but Now Murtherers? And what? is it thus with any of you that have read, heard, and professed the Doctrine of the Grace of God? Are you now de­generate, now worse than ever? What Apprehensions have you of this Gospel now ready? Could you once rise up in a Readiness for Communion with them that dare not forsake the Assembling of themselves together, Heb. 10.25. to be join'd with such as do understand and seek God? And can you now sit down in a con­tented slothfulness at home, as if you were shut up in Plenty, and had all things by you? Could you once set upon the Practice of an outward Re­formation, and yet when sanctifying Grace is now ready for you, are you [Page 427]fallen into your old course again? Don't you need to be mourn'd over, that you should return with the Dog to your Vo­mit, and with the Sow that was washed to your wallowing in the Mire again? 2 Pet. 2.22. Did you once pretend to hate and rebuke them that regard Lying? And what? Are you now upon every slight occasion, accustomed to utter Lies? (tho' lying Lips are an Abomination to the Lord of Truth.) Prov. 12.22. Did you once pre­tend a Regard to the Commandment, Swear not? Jam. 5.12. And yet even now you can ordinarily Swear by the Greater, Heb. 6.16. and per­haps mock at the Tenderness of a Neigh­bour that feareth an Oath, Eccles. 9.2 and will tell you that even for Swearing the Land mourns! Jer. 23.10. Were you once convinced that you took up a Reproach against the Lord, when you prophan'd his Ordi­nances, despis'd his Sabbaths, trampled upon his Gospel, Blasphem'd his Re­verend and Holy Name? Psal. 111.9 And are you now as loose and extravagant, as open­ly wicked, it may be Debaucht or Pro­phane, and more than ever? Did you not once tell Men by your Profession, that the Lord was the Portion of your Cup, Psal. 16.5. and yet can you drink off the Cup [Page 428]of your Abominations,Rev. 17.4. Deut. add Drunkenness to Thirst? Oh! 'tis sad, that you should have professed Righteousness and Puri­ty, but return again to Uncleanness, and remain filthy still! Rev. 22.11 'Tis sad, that you should have sate under the Preach­ing of the Gospel which hath been made and brought in now ready, and yet be hardened any of you by the Deceitful­ness of Sin, Heb. 3.13. till you are now worse than ever!

7. It will now make your next Sins the Greater. 7 Inf. Present Acts of Grace will ag­gravate future Acts of Sin. This Days Provision, if refused, will encrease your to Morrow's Provocation. You will pre­sently heap up wrath, if you neglect the Treasures of Mercy longer. If you are not led to Repentance by a Saviour now ready, Rom. 2.4. you will be more greedy to fill up your Sins alway. 1 Thes. 2.16. If the Go­spel be a Supper now ready, if all the Blessings of the Kingdom of Grace are now prepared, if Heaven it self be of­fered, and Everlasting Glory promis'd and set before us, and yet Sinners will not regard the offers of Salvation in the Day of Grace, Rom. 8.31. what shall we then say to these things, but as the Prophet doth, [Page 429] Jer. 14.10. latter part. That the Lord will now remember their Iniquity? and that now also will he give Sentence against them? Jer. 4.12. latter part. The Sin is the greater, because a rejection of Mercy and Grace in the very Season of it. It is the sign of a more Rebel­lious and Revolting Heart, if we do not now fear the Lord our God. If Men will not reform, nor now turn and live, why then assuredly now shall they be found faulty, Hos. 10.2. middle clause. i. e. Now God will look upon their Sin more than he hath been wont to do in time past. You might once per­haps have had a covering to have wrapt up and conceal'd your neglects of God before, but now you are made naked to your shame, Exod. 32.25. and have no cloak for your Sin, and therefore now is the Judgment of this World, Joh. 15.22 8 Inf. John 12.31.

8. It is a mistake of corrupt Flesh and Blood to look back upon the Days of Ig­norance, Vanity and Sin, and yet say the former Days were better than these. A­las! What were those Days in which we all had our Conversations in Times past! the Apostle makes our Births which we brought forth in such a Day [Page 430] Monsters! Eph. 2.3. — fulfilling the Desires of the Flesh and of the Mind. Was it better in our Carnal Security to have Fellowship with Devils, than now at a Table to sit in Communion with God? Was our Morality better, when we only made clean the outside of the Cup and Platter, than since we have been at a Feast which must have Vessels clean within? Shall there be any that dippeth his Hand in the Dish, count it better to run back from Christ, and be such a Judas to betray him? Are the Days of Darkness better than those when the Sun shines from Heaven? and better than the shine of God's Face at Sup­per? Dare any Soul that hath sate in the King's Hall, look back into the De­vil's Kitchen, and say then it was bet­ter with me than now? Corruption would fain break loose, it loves not to sit so long as Grace delights to be at Supper. It is a Torment to the Flesh, so far as unmortify'd, to keep in God's Presence. Flesh and Blood savours not the Dainties that came down from Hea­ven, and it would fain return back to be as in Days of Vanity, and as in Months past again. But surely, if we [Page 431]should hearken to these complainings in our Streets, Psal. 144.14. and say, Wherefore are the former Days better than these? we should (in the worst sense) not wisely enquire concerning this, Eccles. 7.10. The Flesh will be ready to object, we were not once put so hard, as now, to it; we need not once have gone so far, or took so much Pains to hear, and then have had our Faults, or every Miscar­riage dealt so hardly with. We were once as Merry in our Carriage, as Light at Heart, and free from the Bur­dens Religion lays upon us, as our Neighbours that do but reproach us for being Righteous overmuch. Eccl. 7.16. How is it that we are grown Melancholly and Heavy, and the Case now alter'd with us? Come, let us return, Num. 14.4 let us make a Captain and go back, let us resolve to lay aside our Profession, and it will go as well of our side yet again as ever.

This is exactly such a kind of Re­volting Spirit as fell among the Jews, when they cast off God, and embrac't Idols, and when instead of worshipping the Sun of Righteousness, they adored the Image of the Moon, Jer. 44.16, 17. As for the Word that thou hast spoken [Page 432]unto us in the Name of the Lord, we will not hearken unto thee; but we will certainly do whatsoever Thing goeth forth out of our own Mouth, to Burn Incense unto the Queen of Heaven, and to pour out Drink-offerings unto her, as we have done, we and our Fathers, our Kings and our Princes, in the Cities of Judah, and in the Streets of Jerusalem: For then had we plenty of Victuals, and were well, and saw no evil. They would rather make Cakes to worship the Devil than eat of the Bread of Life! v. 19. Sirs, if you meet with any thing that is grievous to be born, and think the way to mend it, will be now to turn from the Holy Commandment, 2 Pet. 2.21 yet know for a certain­ty, Numb. 32.23. that your Sin will find you out. It will be a base encrease of your Victu­als, if you either rob (by your own withdrawing) or pollute (by unhal­lowed Approaches) the Table of the Lord, Mal. 1.12. in Hopes it may fare the better with you. It will be a sad mending the Case, to chuse your own ways for the Inconveniences which you think you find in God's.

9. If this Feast be now ready, 9 Inf. then now God makes amends for all the Dis­couragements [Page 433]and Inconveniences you ever did, or do meet with, to enjoy the Means of Grace. Peradventure, thou hast sometimes found much ado with Men to break thro' all thy way to God. Thou hast met with Family-Dis­couragements, Reproaches at home, or Scoffs abroad; thou hast been in Jour­neyings often, in Fastings, Watchings, 2 Cor. 11.26. Temptations to enjoy Christ at Sup­per; any thing, Psal. 66.12 we went thro' Fire and thro' Water, if it might but conduce to come any ways at Bread. Well, you shall now find the Gospel will become a Double Portion to you. You that have come to the Provisions of the Feast in weakness, 1 Cor. 2.3 Neh. 8.10.the Joy of the Lord shall be your strength. The Bread of God shall be now the sweeter, as you have ea­ten the Bread of Affliction; Deut. 16.3 Cant. 7.9. Psal. 102.9 and the taste of his Love like the best Wine, since you have mingled your Drink with weeping. So that a Man shall say, Verily there is a Reward for the Righteous, Psal. 58.11. A Man] perhaps, a Carnal Man that sees how God doth bear thee out; or the Man, thine Enemy, shall be forc't to acknowledge, that surely, John 4.32. if thou hadst not Meat to eat which others know [Page 434]not of, thou couldst never break thro' such Discouragement, or get out to a Meal prepar'd so far from home. And blessed be God which hath not turned away my Prayer, nor his Mercy from me, Psal. 66.20. It is a great Encouragement to wait upon God, when he will give it in to your own Experience, that in keeping his Commandments there is great Reward, Psal. 19.11. You come it may be divers of you from far, Mark 8.3. to come in and Sup with Him, but nevertheless you have your Reward, Matth. 6.5 if you find that God who invited you, hath been nigh and not afar off. You are wet it may be sometimes, or cold, or chid, some of you, when you are got home. Per­haps some in the Family will rebuke you for coming hither, Mark 10.13. as the Disciples in another Case did the People when they brought in Children to Jesus Christ; well, no matter, there is enough in the Entertainment to make amends for all. If God Rains down Mannah upon your Souls, he makes amends, tho' he does not command the Clouds in your return to rain no Rain upon you. Isa. 5.6. 1 Pet. 1.2. Job 14.8.The sprink­ling of the Blood of Jesus will recom­pense your being wet with the showers [Page 435]of the Mountains; ay, the sprinkling it upon your Souls, will make amends, tho' your Bodies may a little, like Ne­buchadnezzar's, Dan. 4.15. be wet with the Dews of Heaven. The Love of Christ when he hath brought you into his Banquetting House will warm you, Song. 2.4. and make amends while you return cold home. Weather shall not chill your Affections, if they are strongly bent for Him, as it is wont, when the Love of many shall wax cold. Mat. 24.12 Again, Jer. 15.15. if Christ whispers Peace into your Souls, you will not think the worse of him at a Banquet, tho' for his sake you have suffered Rebuke, and the Re­proaches of Christ have fallen upon you. Heb. 11.26. It will support you, tho' you hear Grie­vous Things spoken proudly and contemptu­ously against the Righteous. Psal. 31.18 In a word, if you have chosen the way of Peace, Psal. 119.30. you are provided with an Entertain­ment that shall recompense the strife of Tongues. Psal. 31.20

10. Your Hunger and Thirst, 10 Inf.your Ap­petite to this Feast is now come in Season. You have more than Meats for the Bel­ly, 1 Cor. 6.13 and you could not hunger at a bet­ter Time than now. Blessed are ye that hunger now, for ye shall be filled, Luke [Page 436]6.21. God now will have you to be no more consum'd with Hunger; Ezek. 34.29. Lam. 2.19. you shall not faint for Hunger in the Top of every Street. You shall not Thirst, and yet now go without a Draught from the Water of the Well of Bethlehem. 2 Sam. 23.15. Je­sus Christ is provided for your Enter­tainment, and you shall now have Meat and Drink both. It shall not be unto you now, as was threatned, Isa. 20.8. Even as when a Hungry Man Dreameth, and behold he eateth, but he awaketh, and behold his Soul is empty; or as when a Thirsty Man Dreameth, and behold he drink­eth, but he awaketh, and behold he is faint, and his Soul hath Appetite. I say, it shall not be so to any who hunger and thirst after Righteousness, Mat. 5.6. because their Appetite is come when the Provisions of God are now ready. Blessed is the condition of such as these, Job 22.7. Chap. 24.10. for he hath not with­holden Bread, or taken away the Sheaf from the Hungry: He hath pitied us in Hunger and in Thirst, and now at once can supply our Fastings often, 2 Cor. 11.27. John 19.24, 28. and that the Scripture might be fulfilled, he hath prepared his Dainties against our Ap­petite, and made them now ready. What a Blessed Journey do we make, [Page 437]when we come with an Appetite to Je­sus Christ! and get to his House, while his Doors are set open! and sit at his Table, Mat. 22.4. when his Oxen and Fatlings are killed, and spread now in Plenty on it! Is it not a Blessed Thing to come and find what we want of Him? Oh! Happy is the People that is in such a Case! Psal. 144.15. Happy is the People whose Soul thirsteth after the Benefits of Christ as a Dry and Thirsty Land; Psal. 143.6 because now Christ takes up the Cup of Salvation, and drinks to such as these in it.

11. Now is our Salvation nearer than when we believed. 11 Ins. This is the Testimo­ny that is given Rom. 13.11. our Sal­vation, that is, our Eternal Salvation; we were saved Spiritually, when we were by Faith united to a Saviour; we shall be saved Eternally, when we are with him, where he is, to behold his Glory. Joh. 17.24 Now that other Supper (in the Presence of Christ immediately) is approaching nearer, than when we sate down first to this. We have our Table now spread with Grace, what can we have next but the Provisions of Glory in the High­est? Luke 2.14 Isa. 25.6. When the Sun Sets upon this Moun­tain, it will be Risen upon the Saints in [Page 438] the Heights of Zion. Jer. 31.12. It is but a little while, and he that shall come, will come, and will not tarry, Heb. 10.37. The Saints do hear that now is their Supper­time, it is not long after before they shall enter into Peace, they shall rest in their Beds, (in the Bosom of Jesus Christ) each one walking in his uprightness. Isa. 57.2.

12. Time should now be of a more Pre­cious Esteem with us. 12 Inf. We had need be wise, and since we have lost so much, lay out our utmost to redeem the Time. Eph. 5.16.Now is a Golden space of opportunity, and 'tis pity to throw the Filings of this Gold among the common Heap of Dust. We may almost grudge at the occasions of this Life that come in of every side, like so many little Thieves, and steal Handfuls of Time away. We have Rob­bers by Day, Eating, Drinking, Con­versing, Visiting, being Visited, and a Great Robber by Night that steals a­way our Time, when we are insensible of his Approaches. Supper is ready, but we have almost every Thing that lets us; we had need then improve the Remainder of an allotted space to sit down at our Gospel-Meal, and Sup.

13. Lastly. 13 Inf. You that have supt may now go to Bed with Comfort. You are now at Table, but if God calls any of you to depart out of this World, John 13.1 you need not stay for your Fellows that shall tarry, and make an end after. If you are ripe for Glory, you may leave them behind you yet to grow in Grace. 2 Pet. 3.18 When it is late, and thou art tyred, perhaps thy Bones would gladly be at rest, Psal. 116.17. Return unto thy rest, O my Soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee. So Luke 2.29, 30 Lord, now lettest thou thy Servant depart in Peace, accord­ing to thy Word: For mine Eyes have seen thy Salvation. Simeon had Supt, and therefore thought it a Blessed Season now to go to Bed. So after thou hast Supt, and done thy work, a Bed will do well. When thou hast made an end of Supper, thou art here fit to go to thy Heavenly Sabbath's rest.

The Second use of Exhortation, II. to per­swade and entreat Sinners not to for­sake their own Mercies. Jonah 2.8. The substance of the Exhortation Rom. 10.6. speaketh on this wise, that seeing the Provisions of the Gospel are now ready, we would all indeed labour after more Readiness in [Page 440]our selves to receive our Portion of Meat in due Season. Luk. 12.42 That it may become the more useful unto us, I shall manage it under these two Parts. 1. Backing it with Motives. 2. Urging Counsel.

First, As to Motives I shall only use these Three Considerations.

1. The Day of our Entertainment is now sliding over. We may observe by what Degrees our shadow goes down. Isa. 38.8.Wo unto us for the Day goeth away, for the shadows of the Evening are stretched out, Jer. 6.4. latter part. Our Time spends, our Day wastes apace, the shadows are long, and if we are not quick, we must be fain to cut our Work the shorter: The shadows of the Evening are stretched out, as you know the shadows are long­est, when the Sun is lowest. The Sup­per-Hour is expiring, wo unto us; the end of all Flesh is at hand! we are arrived almost in our Day to the shut­ing in of the Evening, God seems, as to the state of the World, to be just now lighting up his Dr. Lightfoot's Works. Harmony of the New Testament. Fol. vol. 1. p. 18. Sabbath-can­dle, that we may now see to end Sup­per by a little Light he lends us, be­fore he turns all into the shadow of Death, and make it gross Darknesi, Jer. 13.16. [Page 441]We must by all means keep this Feast, as the Apostle said of his keeping the Passeover in Jerusalem, Acts 18.21 and we can ne­ver keep it but in this our Day, while the Offers and Provision of the Gospel are now tendred to us. A Feast that is now ready may be quickly dispos'd of out of our Reach. Mal. 4.2. The Sun of Righ­teousness hath not stood still throughout all our Day of Grace, no more than that other Sun in the Firmament is used to stay and lengthen out the common Days of Nature, tho' yet we read upon Two extraordinary occasions of a mi­raculous prolonging the Day, between the rising of the Sun and the going down of the same. One instance is, Psal. Josh. 10.13. when the Sun stood still in the days of Joshua, and the other is, Isa. 38.8. when the Sun return­ed ten Degrees backward, upon the Dial of Ahaz, by which Degrees it had gone down, in the days of Hezekiah: But the day of Grace, like our stated common days, is wearing off continually, that nothing can slacken the motions of it, or bring it one Degree backwards, to keep it a moment longer from the Period to which it hastens. The Day of Grace wastes, tho' the offers of Grace abound. And [Page 442]as the day of Salvation spends, so it lays a greater necessity and duty on us, to look after the work of Salvation, before the offers of the Thing come to a perpe­tual End. Psal. 9.6. He that is now present to entertain us, is not afar off to judge us, if we refuse to be fed before our Sup­per's over; for behold the Judge standeth before the door, Jam. 5.9. latter part. He is ready to step in and examine it, whether we have Grace, and eaten of the Bread of God, or no.

Consider, the Table shall not be al­ways furnisht, or the Cloth continue af­ter Supper for any succeeding Enter­tainment, to treat one Sinner here. God hath set the Provisions of Grace forth, that to day we might come and take our Fill of Love; Prov. 7.18. but if we will not obey, while the Lord shall command his Lov­ing Kindness,Psal. the (Remnant of the) Day-time, (in the Evening-Time for us) he will not offer us Kindness a Moment beyond the Limits of the day he sets us. If there be not an Improvement of this present passing Season, there will be no prolonging it to endure beyond our Supper-Time. Time must be observ'd, and will not wait on us, and the Dews [Page 443]of Grace are like the Showers upon the Grass that tarry not for Man, nor waiteth for the Sons of Men, Mic. 5.7. That is, it is their inseparable Property to at­tend the Appointments of God, and not our own Pleasure. And these Dews are sliding off in the very Moments while they are distilling from Heaven on us, they are flying from us faster than (it may be) they are now filling of us. We may say of the Good Day of our Enter­tainment, as the Prophet doth of the Great Day of the Lord, Zeph. 1.14. It is near, (even the end of it is near) and hasteth greatly. Much of your Day is spent already, and under every Offer and Ser­mon of the Grace of God you have still less of your day to come! Alas! it slides so fast, and hath been sliding off so long, that you have but a little while more to partake of Grace in; and tho' you may yet see to eat while the shadows of the Even­ing are stretched out, yet, Jer. 6.4. as to your own Being in this World, God will not af­ter so long a Summer's Day light up a Can­dle in the Grave, Nemo finitis nundinis ex­ercet merca­turam. to lengthen out your opportunity, when Day light's shut in.

2. What if it should be now the Last Day of the Feast, as it was when Jesus [Page 444]stood and cryed! The Feast of Taberna­cles among the Jews did not expire sooner, nor endure longer than the space of Seven Days, according to the Commandment, Lev. 23.24. And on this last Day of the Feast Jesus stood and cryed, saying, If any Man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. John 7.37. i. e. If any Man wants special, Rich Grace to supply all his need, if he de­sires to be entertain'd with Righteous­ness, Counsel, Pardon, Strength, Com­fort, or the like, let him come in quick­ly now, and I will bestow it at the shut­ing up of House, in the close of the Feast before the Guests are risen. It is the last opportunity, This is a Day of En­tertainment, but no Feast to Morrow. So under the Gospel, we are yet within the Compass of a Spiritual Feasting-Time, but we have no Assurance how long? Psal. 74.9. Our Festival may expire with this Sabbath, and this Sermon prove our last Meal! God can say to a Graceless Sinner, that loyters away his Season, as he did to the Rich Man that laid up Earthly Substance, Thou Fool, this Night thy Soul shall be re­quired of thee! Luke 12.20. Your Great Possessions would be a very unprofitable heap of Lumber, Mat. 19.22 and all your Barns or [Page 445]Bags full of Encrease a hoard of poor Stuff, if your Souls be empty, and you are sent Supperless to Bed, at the close of the Gospel-Entertainment. Lay it, Sinner, unto thine Heart, what if God should now shut up his Tender Mercies, Psal. 77.9. and in wrath o­pen his Mouth against thee! Prov. 27.1. Boast not thy self of to Morrow, Dan. 5.30. lest with Belshazzer thou be slain that night; or, with a King of Is­rael, in the Morning be utterly cut off. Hos. 10.15

3. If it were now already with thee after Supper, in that Black Night in Hell, the of­fers of this Grace would be never tendred more. Now you may drink, Song. 5.1.and drink abundantly at the Feast, but not a drop of this Living Water will be then obtained to cool your Tongue. See Luke 16.23, 24. In Hell he lift up his Eyes being in Torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his Bosom, and he cryed and said, Father Abraham, have Mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the Tip of his Finger in Water, and cool my Tongue, for I am tormented in this Flame. Father Abraham have mercy on me;] but in Hell (if Grace doth not prevent our coming thither) Abraham will be ignorant of us, Isa. 63.16.and Israel acknowledge us not. There is not one Drop or little Crumb of Mercy to be had, when the Furniture of the Gospel-Table [Page 446]Table is over. There is neither Provision, nor so much as a Candle to Sup by in ou­ter Darkness. And besides all this there is a Great Gulf fixed, Luke 16.26. A Gulf] i. e. [...]. a Great gaping or parting asunder of the Two Countreys by such a wide Di­vision you can never step over. There is no passing from the Regions of the shadow of Death, Mat. 4.16. even of the second Death to the Better Countrey, Heb. 11.16 Luk. 16.26so that they which would pass from hence to you, cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. The state will be fixt, and the offers of Grace ended. God will feed nothing in Hell, but the Worm that dieth not, Mar. 9.44, 46, 48.and the Fire that is not quenched. Conscience indeed will have a stinging Remembrance to gnaw upon, but the Sinner will have no Refresh­ment with such a Guest for ever. God will drink to you no more, Sinners, in a Lake of Fire, Rev. 19.20, &c. unless it be in the Wine of his wrath, which will be poured out without mixture into the Cup of his Indignation, Rev. 14.10. There can be no rising to Supper, if he should cast you out to lodge in a Bed of Flames! These are the Motives, and Oh! that God would fasten them upon your Minds by his Spirit, Isa. 22.23. as a Nail in a sure place.

Secondly, As to Counsel, I would leave [Page 447]these following Directions with you, and close up the whole Subject.

1. Now consider this ye that forget God, Psal. 50.22. Consider it, that Grace is now offered, and the Statute of Refusal will next be executed. God is now calling, but remember, if you will not hearken, you will be then crying! Mercy doth now invite you, but Fury will then Fall upon you. Know therefore this Day and consider it in thine Heart, as Moses, in that Solemn Advice to Israel, Deut. 4.39. Let Sinners that are desperate and hard hearted, or careless and unregardful of themselves, consider this. What will ye do in the Day of Visitation, and in the Desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for Help, and where will ye leave your Glory? Isa. 10.3. What Provision canst thou have, if thou hast none of this Supper? Canst thou bear it to Sup with Devils, and reject Angel's Food? What will become of all that airy Glory thy Mind is now Feasting on? what will it avail thee, that thou hast Supt on Vanity, if thou must be fed with Torments, when thy Day of Grace is ended. Remem­ber, thou art going, as swift as Time can post thee, into the Land of Forgetfulness, Oh! thou busie, distracted Worldling that [Page 448]hast forgotten to eat thy Bread. Psal. 102.4 Men indeed will forget thee, Jam. 1.24. Psal. 95.11what manner of man thou wast, but God will swear in his wrath, if thou wilt not meddle [...] the Grace he offers, Amos 8.7. that surely he will ne [...]er forget any of thy Works, but will remember thy Faults that Day.

2. Acquaint now thy self with God, Job 22.21. Be not a Stranger now to the God who will one Day take such knowledge of thee, as either infallibly to save, or else in Hell destroy thee. Look to it, Oh thou young Man! and remember now thy Crea­tor in the days of thy Youth, Eccles. 12.1. Look to it, thou ignorant Man, and lay up sound Knowledge, that thou maist say with the Blind Man, when Christ had opened his Eyes, John 9.25 One Thing I know, that whereas I was Blind, now I see. If the Provisions are now ready, let them be no longer as a strange Thing unto thee. Be acquainted, that this is Life Eternal under the Gospel for poor, condemned Malefactors, already dead in Law, to know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent, John 17.3. Thou wilt never taste and see, Psal. 34.8. till thou art acquainting thine Heart with Wisdom.

3. Get now into Friendship with a Lover of Hospitality. Tit. 1.8. Be not an Enemy in thy Heart [Page 449]or in thy ways to this Feast-Maker under one call more. Be at peace, thereby good shall come unto thee. Throw down your Arms, and beg for Qu [...]rter, if you would find mercy with th [...] [...]ord in that Day, for he spares none with their Weapons of War a­bout them. You spoil your Banquet, so long as you run upon the thick B [...]sses of his Buck­ler. Be reconciled, and made Friends to God presently; for he will have none but Friends to come in and Sup with him. E­nemies must fall, but shall not be Feasted, Luke 19.27. But those mine Enemies which would not have me to reign over them bring hither and stay them before me. Provoke not God by Delays, when his Supper is now ready; if his wrath be kindled Spiritual Mannah will melt away from you, as Cor­poral Mannah did from the Israelites, when the Sun waxed hot. Exod. 16.21. See that the Master of this Feast and you are made one, or at least if Two, yet you may either walk together, Amos 3 3. or sit together at Meat, when by Grace ye are so agreed. Be reconcil'd and go make your Friend sure. Do this now, my Son, and deliver thy Self, when thou art come into the Hand of thy Friend, go humble thy self and make sure thy Friend, Prov. 6.3. As thou art now once again invited into the Ban­queting-House [Page 450]of Love, come prostrate in the Dust, and lye at Christ's Feet; the lower you chuse to sink, the higher you shall rise, when you sit at Christ's Hand. Friend, go up higher, the [...] shalt thou have worship in the Presence of them that sit at Meat, Luke 14.10.

4. Now accept of Grace. Put forth thy Hand now and lay hold upon Eternal Life. 1 Tim. 6.12. Tho' you have staid out from this Feast long, yet make the more haste, and be not afraid, or asham'd Now to come at last. Take Encouragement, and knock at the Gate of Mercy, for tho' the Sun be low, yet if you are in earnest for admission, 'tis not too late to be let in.

5. Be now more Holy, if you partake of what is now ready. Serve the Lord better, and Act for the Interest of Christ, to keep up the Reputation and Honour of this Feast more than ever. Omit nothing which may advance the Gospel, and do nothing that may tend to make the Provisions of it sink. More especially, Now yield your Members Servants of Righteousness unto Holiness, Rom. 6.19. Let your Eyes be more stedfastly fixed, where you have seen his Salvation; let your Ears be more at­tentive, that even the Ear may now try [Page 451]words, and the Mouth taste his Meat. Job 12.11 Let the string of your Tongue be loosed, and speak of these All Things (now ready) in the Language of Canaan plainly. Stretch out your Hands unto God, that he may not stretch out his to you in vain. Refrain your Feet from every evil way. Let your Loins be girt about with Truth. Keep your Hearts with all Diligence. Take Wisdom as an Ornament to bind about your Heads, and set your Faces in reality towards Sion. This is to be Holy, Rom. 6.19 and to yield your Members Servants of Righteons­ness unto Holiness.

6. Now cry and make Intercession to the Lord of Hosts. Save now I beseech thee, O Lord, Psal. 118.25. In the Morning direct thy Prayer unto God and look up, Psal. 147.9 that He who giveth unto the young Ravens when they cry, would refresh thee with good Things: And at Evening do thou return, Psal. 59.6. and beg thou maist not lye down upon thy Bed, until thou hast Supt upon Jesus Christ. Beseech the Lord, that he would impart to thee this Hidden Treasure, and fill thee as a Vessel of Mercy with it. Pray, that he would change thy Diet, and give thee Righteousness, Peace, and Holiness, not suffering thee (however under some [Page 452]kinds of Spiritual Sickness thou maist have evil Longings) to eat that which is com­mon or unclean.

7. Now take Pains, rather than lose such Provision now ready. It is a shame to be so forward to encrease in Goods, and so backward to lay in Grace. Take but as much Pains on a Lord's Day to Occupy with your Talent, as you have done upon the Week, to save or gain a Penny. Lay up for your Souls, as you are wont to do for your selves. Get up and travel to a Meet­ing, as you could to Traffique in a Market the Day before. Go thro' as many incon­veniences, wet, wind and weather, to ob­tain a sure reward, as you are wont to ven­ture thro', to partake of uncertain Riches. Think not a Few Miles to be short enough for your Pleasure or your Profit, and then too long, when you compute them for a Sabbath-Day's Journey. Think how ill Christ takes it, who travell'd farther to buy in Provisions for you, than you can to fetch them now from Him; while he sees how backward you are to walk a Mile to hear the Word of God, and yet are compell'd by other Motives to go Twain, yea many to accomplish other Work. If you think you dwell from Jeru­salem [Page 453]more than a Sabbath-Day's Jour­ney, come then to a Feast as you would to a Fair, get up and Ride, and be not like the Horse or the Mule which have no understanding. Remember, Psal. 32.9. that perhaps you have borrowed or hir'd a Horse to Trade with, but never did so in all your Days, to get to the Means of Grace, tho' you could not come on Foot. Oh! think you that have been negligent under this pretence of Distance, what Conscience will say unto it, if it were awakened in the Hour of Death; or what God himself will, if he tries it without Mercy at the Day of Judgment!

8. Beg of God that this Holy Diet may now agree with you. It would be sad, that when God hath made ready, his Supper should be too strong for you, while you discovered an Aversation to the Pure Worship, or the Pure Ways of God! It is a sign of a most weak and sickly Sto­mach, when you can't bear it, perhaps sometimes, Amos 5.21. so much as to smell in the So­lemn Feasts! the very smell of Holiness offends you, and you cannot endure the Religion of the Apostle, because it is pure and undefiled. Jam. 1.27.

9. Don't think the Ordinances of God Te­dious, [Page 454]or that you sit too long at Meals-Consider, that Ordinances and the Op­portunities of Grace are Eating Hours, don't grudge your Time then in your way to Heaven, while you are Baiting at any Inn that's needful. The People of God when they sit at Meat are often troubled they rise so soon, and art thou complain­ing, thou art made to sit too long? To say, Behold what a weariness is it, as Mal. 1.13. is not a sign that you are qualify'd to be for ever with the Lord. 1 Thes. 4.17. Psal. 118.4

10. Let them now that fear the Lord say, That his Mercy endureth for ever. Remem­ber Him that is staying you with Flaggons, and say with the Church, Now will I sing to my well-beloved, Isa. 5.1.

11. Keep up an Honourable Esteem of Jesus Christ. Oh! don't come to a Feast, and now at last upon the close of all mur­mur against the Good Man of the House. Blessed is he that is not offended in me, Mat. 11.6.

12. Lastly, Now bear Afflictions. If he breaketh thy Bones, yet bless him for Christ our Passeover, Joh. 19.36 where not a Bone of him shall be broken. Do not refuse Cor­rection, tho' God sometimes Carves out thy Sorrowful Meat, Job 6.7. as Job calls his Af­flictions. [Page 455] Isa. 30.20. If he gives thee the Bread of Af­fliction, and the Water of Adversity, do not impatiently or frowardly spit it out again, Psal. 111.5 seeing he will be ever mindful of his Cove­nant, and hath given Meat unto them that fear him. Psal. 23.5. And thy Cup of Mercy that now runneth over may encourage thee to take a sip of that other Bitter Cup he gives thee. Thy Cup is a little Cup to Christ's; A Drop of Wormwood, His a Draught of Gall, and full of Dregs at Bottom; yet the Cup which my Father hath given me, Joh. 18.11shall I not drink it? Well then, take En­couragement, O Believer, under thy Trials, and now do not faint. Despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint, when thou art rebuked of him, Heb. 12.5. bear his Reproofs, seeing thou art now in the Banqueting House of Love. He will not kick thee from the Table, tho' now he chides thee at it. He will not be always wroth, Isa 57.16. tho' now he seems to have hid his Face at the upper-end from thee. Wait for the Cup of Consolation, tho' thou hast mingled thy Drink with weep­ing. Psal. 102.9 Bear it with Christian Patience, with a Holy Faith and Submission, 1 Pet. 1.6. tho' now for a Season (if need be) ye are in Heaviness through manifold Temptations. [Page 456]There is enough of Love prepar'd to ease thee of thy Burdens now, and in Time to take them off from thee. Do not think the worse of the Lamb of God, John 1.29.36. tho' thou must eat it as the Jews did their Lamb in the Posseover, Exod. 12.8. with Bitter Herbs. God may entertain thee with Grace in a Win­ter's Day, which tho' short, yet is dark and stormy: But let it comfort thee in thy Tribulation, Mat. 24.32 that Summer is now nigh at Hand. When all the Bread in thy Bas­ket is spent, and no more for thee in the City of our God here, Psal. 48.8. but Mannah it self fails, and Grace is ended, yet still God hath provided thee a Summer's Store in Glory! Come therefore, for all Things are now ready.

The END.

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