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THE Joy of Faith OR A TREATISE Opening the true Nature of FAITH, its lowest Stature and Distinction from Assurance, wi [...] a Scripture Method to attain both; by the Influence and Aid of Divine G [...] with a preliminary Tract evidencing the [...] ­ing and actings of FAITH, the De [...]ty [...] Christ, and the Divinity of the Sacred SCRIPTURES.

2 Cor. 1.24. We have no dominion over your Faith but are helpers of your JOY: for by Faith ye stand.
Phil. 1. [...]5. I know, that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and JOY of Faith, &c.
Augustin Confess. L. 6. C. 4. De Deo▪ Medicamenta fidei confecisti & aspersisti super mo [...]bos orbis terrarum.

By Samuel Lee. M. A. Sometime Fellow of Wadham▪ Colledge. Oxon.

Bos [...]on, Printed by [...]

To his highly Honoured Friend, Sir John Thomson, Knight and Baronet; and his most pious and vertuous Consort the Honourable Lady, the Lady Frances: Grace and Peace.

Honoured Sir,

IT pleased the Lord in his holy Wisdom to afflict me with a Fever in the moneths of July and August, 1684. and in his own due time to command its departure. As an offer­ing of praise and thankfulness to the Majesty and Mercy of God I thought of composing this Tract, though under the remaining weakness derived from an autumnal distemper: yet thereby I humbly hope some benefit may arrive to broken and tempted Spirits. For though my mouth be shut and silent as to Publick Ser­vice, yet I should greatly rejoice, if my heart could be opened in Print, to help and towards heaven. The Dedication is proper to your [Page]most noble person, if you please to accept, what would be an infringement of dut [...] not to pre­sent to you▪ who have so often refreshed me and mine in my privacies and retirements, kindnesses not to be bur [...]ed in the grave of in­gratitude: but to be acknowledged before the Sun. Your Library was also most kindly open­ed to my use: wherein stands many an anc [...]ent Author, calling aloud for converse, and reach­ing out his auxiliary hand and pointing at the state of C [...]ristian [...]t [...] in former and purer ages. There did I first consider of the con­signation of the Canon of Scripture which is toucht upon in these Papers but might be much more amplified and adorned: had I more con­stancy of abode and supplies of the yet re­maining Records of the first five hundred years that have happily survived the flaming fury and rage of the barbarous Goths and Van­dals and other wasters of both the East and Western Empire, which might have conduced to the compleating of such a work. But we must wait the times of Divine Wisdom in appointment of any such happy seasons to view those desirable monuments.

But why print? and why on such a subject? [Page]and why now? I answer to the first and third because being interrupted in my greatest work, I would gladly be some way useful in my generation: It may be, some that mourn in secret, and others that are as yet not called, but under the Election of Grace may atten [...]d and meditate on these things. Tho Preaching or Printing prevail but little with this de­generate age, (Jer: 6.29.) though the Bellowes be burnt in the fire, and the lead consumed which was appointed to purify the drossy Oare: yet with Jeremy and Esay, and Pau we must in our several ages keep on, where God opens the door of opportunity for us, tho Israel be not ga­thered, let the Labour of faithful Workmen wait for its reward from the Lord of the Har­vest. Tho we for our Labour of love be ac­counted as the shavings and off-sconrings of all things to this day: tis but for this life: (1 Cor 4.13) tho all the filth and garbage of the tongues in the streets of Ashdod be flung into our Carts, we must carry away the burden patiently, and meekly wipe off the soile from our names and faces. Tho our presence be a burden to many houses, and our testimony less minded than the piping of Children in a Market place, (Luk 7.32.) yet our Lord commands us to [Page]persist, till he relieves us. But that which I must every where own, Worthy Sir, give me the favour I pray, and leave to testifie: that your reverence in hearing and accepting of their messages, as of the Lord's Embassadors hath been alwayes very exemplary, and I hope will return into your bosom with a Prophets re­ward who have been an Obadiah to them in the time of spiritual Famine.

But Secondly, Why on such a Subject?

I Answer, Tho many have written, yet tis inexhaustible: besides methods may vary, and variety breeds delight, if joyn'd with brevity. If I have laid the foundation of such a Discourse in the beginning a little deeper than usual upon the Divinity of Scri­pture, and the Deity of our blessed Lord: I hope and beg that the Learned, Wise and Pi­ous would not count that or any part, a di­gression too improper: heartily wishing, it may succeed like Austin's going providentially out of his way in a Sermon and beyond his intention,Posidonius in ult. Au­gustin, Cap. 15. p. 869. Tom. 1. as if he were sent on purpose to find out and convert Firmus from the Manichees, as it proved.

There be many, that understand not the na­ture of Faith, tho so often writ upon, still affli­cting their Spirits, as not having that Grace, because they feel no assurance: To such I prin­cipally direct and bend my stile, hoping and pra [...]ing that no Soul toucht with inward sin­cere remorse for sin: but reading and rumina­ting on so many d [...]rect and positive promises, both to beginners and back-sliders, (Isai. 57.18.) will dare to despond, but come in freely to lay hold on the golden Scepter of mercy, and thereby of eternal life. As for the Basilisk of Envy, I commend it to the piercing e [...]e of Heaven, under whose protection I wrote these lines. Plin. l. 29. c. 4.

And now, worthy Sir, (not to be prolix) I most hu [...]bly beg all the mercies of the new Covenant to be your portion, and that the noble vine on your house side may spread Branches like Josephs (Gen. 49.22.) Ps. 128.3. by the well & run over the wall; that your Sons may be as Olive plants grown up in their Youth, (Psal. 144 12) that your Daughters may be as those Marble corner Stones, polisht after the similitude of Solomon's Palace. That you may see your Childrens Children walking in the Truth and [Page]peace upon Israel, (2 Ep. Joh. 4.) and after these da [...]es in the valle be received to the mount of transfiguration in Glory:

So Prayes Honoured Sir, Yours in all Gospel Service, Samuel Lee.

The Preface.

HAving Observed, that many Chri­stians spend their Dayes in the Valley of Sorrow, and walking up and down very pensive, being full of Fears and Doubts about their eternal Estate, can perform no chearful Service to God, bring lit [...]le honour to their Profession, or comfort to their Relations, or any sweet quiet to their own spirit: I often pondered what should be the bitter root of all this Wormwood and Gall, and being very de­sirous to deal in compassion, as having been under some tentations, I spake with several, and found upon conference these following to be the principal causes of this Bondage of Spirit.

The

  • 1. Was great ignorance of the true nature of Faith, and of the main funda­mental Truths of the Gospel, which did a­maze me to find upon search in so many glittering, talking, but indeed shallow Pro­fessors.
  • [Page]2. Another was the great Levity, Vani­ty, and Laxness of their lives, trifling out their precious time in fidling querks, tales and jests, to please some whose Trenchers they hang upon like the Parasites in Theo­phrastus, not li [...]e the blessed People of the former age, who far outshined us in the pu­rity of Conversation, and therefore in the brightness of their assurance.
  • 3. Others I observed to be of a froward, perverse, ill-natur'd, ill-conditioned, sower humor, full of prate and unprofitable mul­tiplicity of words, censures, backbitings, hollowness of true friendship: often mur­muring at God, and quarrelling with their Superiors.
  • 4. Others I perceived to be naturally of a fearful, timorous, wavering, inconstant, suspitious spirit, ever learning, and never coming to the knowledg of the Truth.
  • 5. And to end, most people extream worldly, couvetous, full of sordid, over­reaching tricks and cunning cheats in dea­ling, and unless for a show, basely backward to any excellent works of charity, and strict in examining the poor, to find an evasion which Jerom so complains of in some of his [Page]age. Such as these eat out the very po­wer of godliness, and rob themselves of the season of meditation, Periclitatur religio in negotiis Piety is lost in a crowd of worldly bu­siness with these and the rest I must declare that the holy Spirit of God delights not to hold communion, as being fiery or miry Spirits.

Hereupon in my retirements (I hope by the Grace of God) I pitcht my thoughts (when I could not be so publickly useful as formerly) upon the composing a small Treatise of the genuine nature of Faith, and in a peculiar Chapter to shew the indi­vidual connexion of Sanctification of heart and life in every gracious Believer.

In the management whereof, I thought it might not be inexpedient to lay its foun­dation upon the Doctrine of the verity of the Scriptures in one Chapter, and of the Deity of our blessed Lord in a second af­ter the Preface; the former being the Doctri­nal object of Faith, & the latter the personal.

Now forasmuch that in all Sciences there be certain Principles, on which their Theoremes and Maximes are built: we may consider of the like in Divinity, that [Page]the Holy Scriptures, (2 Tim. 3.15, 16.) (be­ing able to make us wise to Salvation) are the only true Basis and Foundation, on which all the great Doctrines of Holiness and Happiness do most firmly insist. In particular that great point of Faith, which bears it self on the new Covenant of Grace, revealed in those sacred Pages. I thought meet therefore briefly to endeavour the proof of this high point, that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the undoubted Word of the living God; and thereby to be received with all veneration imaginable as the solid fundamental of true Christianity, & in special of the weighty Doctrine of Faith: And this I have the more willingly performed at the entrance of this Tract, that good Christians may not (I hope) need to go otherwhere to draw: but have sufficient to settle their Faith on this Foundation, tho it be more amply en­larged upon abroad.

Now whereas it may be said that Princi­ples are indemonstrable, as in Mathematicks and other Sciences,Suarez. 5 to. Met­taph. L. C. we must understand that Maxim of the Principles of Essence [Page]and not of cognition or knowledg. It is so, as to the verity of Holy Scriptures, we cannot demonstrate them any further (and tis enough) than that they are founded on the glorious Authority of the infinitely wise, true, and most holy God, as consenta­nious to the verity and excellency of his na­ture, and published by his injunction, as the rule of life and means of communion with himself in eternal happiness, The Lord hath spoken, and who shall not tremble? (Amos 3.8.) Oh that Majestick stile, (Ezek 14.4 &c.) [Thus saith the LORD] makes Men and Devils to quake, and rottenness to enter into their Spirits, when God sets it home upon their Consciences.

My Design then is to shew, that at the Revelation and Exhibition of the holy vo­lumes, that I may both satisfie and confirm weak Believers, and convince (if possible) scoffing Atheists, that there were such migh­ty Testimonies of their divine, original at­tending the dispensing of them to the Church and the World that may convince all of their Heavenly Off-spring! if persons put not on the veil of wilful ignorance, (2 Cor. 3.15.) detaining the truth in un­righteousness. [Page]And in the close it will ap­pear that Hystorical Faith well grounded is useful to true and saving Faith.

There are then two principal points which did await their sliding down from Heaven into the hearts of the illuminated Pen-men inspired by the Holy Ghost, and the utter­ing of them to the People in their distinct Ages, which may be comprehended in the first Chapter.

  • 1. The wonderful Oracles and Prophe­cies mentioned in those sacred leaves, which have been punctually fulfilled in the seve­ral Generations of the Church.
  • 2. The Divine Miracles above and be­yond the power of nature; exhibited at those two great junctures, the delivery of the Law by Moses, and the promulgation of the Gospel at Mount Zion. In the conclu­sion of this first Chapter, I intend (God willing) to treat somewhat of the consig­nation of the Canon of Holy Scripture, a Point much desired by some, and may be of use to others.

In the second Chapter, let us speak to the Deity of our blessed Lord: which in­deed is the grand point of Christian Reli­gion, [Page]& the very Foundation of the Church of God, as Nicephorus Callistus reports a Story of a deep Cave discovered at Jerusa­lem under the ruines of the old Temple (when the Jews by the permission and in­stigation of Julian to contradict the Pro­phecy of our Lord, would needs attempt to build it again, but were beaten off by Thunder and Lightning) where they found within it upon a Stone Pillar the Go­spel of the Apostle John, fairly laid and pre­served. Let the Patriarch protect the truth of the story: I mention it allusively to this great Truth that lies at the Foundation of the true Church, that the Deity of Christ the principal design of John's Gospel, is the only Rock laid by the Father in Zion, (Isai 28.16.) without which our Faith sinks, and all our hopes vanish. If that be a nullity, all is gone, Christianity is a vain Profession and our Bibles as to Christ and the new Co­venant of Grace of no value.

Wherefore O Professors of this true Reli­gion hold these two points inviolable as your lives [The verity of the Scriptures, and the Deity of Christ] Then may we safely and comfortably proceed to the main [Page]subject of this Discourse, the nature of true saving Faith: which I have divided into ten Chapters, but shall inlarge principally on three or four, being the drift and scope of my writing to help the Joy of FAITH in those poor hearts; who tho truly gracious, yet like young Samuel, cannot well discern the voice and presence of Christ. And this my undertaking I beg the divine help and Grace to assist and prosper, extending my time and health after my late sickness, ac­cording to his blessed will, affording the sa­vourable influence of his loving counte­nance.

This Tract divides into two parts. The first containing the Foundation; the second the more visible superstructure about the nature of Faith. The first concluding with two Chapters, and the second with ten.

But whereas some may question, what need any further on this Subject, wherein several have already travelled. I may re­joyne that Holy Luke thought meet (in his pure Greek) as to his handling that heaven­ly Subject of our Lords Life, (Luk. 1.1.) that though many had taken it in hand be­fore, yet he would set forth some things not [Page]mentioned by other Evangelists. Yea, how many in almost all ages have prosecuted the same points in Divinity with benefit and use to the Church, both in Commentaries and Controversies? This consideration incouraged these Lines to appear: having observed some further need of these Chap­ters, on which I mainly insist, and were the great motive of my writing, and are but little toucht heretofore, and yet are very useful to chosen Vessels; yea, the far great­er number of the truly gracious Servants of God. To whom if you draw near, and can have the happiness to come with­in them for their good (for they are shy & aware of every approach) you may find their lives to hang in an anxious suspence between fear and hope, and feed only upon some few gracious glimpses, like the Beams from between April Clouds let down out of Heaven into their hearts to sustain their Spirits from sinking, and to preserve from dying under grievous Fits of the palpitation of their hearts.

To these I chiefly bend my Souls desire [Page]and humbly beg the dewes of Zion upon these Meditations and Labours, that nei­ther they nor I may saint under lost ex­pectations of Mercy.

And so I finish the Preface, and come to the Treatise it self.

S. L.

The JOY of FAITH.

PART I. Of the Fundamental points, necessary to build a sound and vigorous Faith, laid down in two Chapters. The first referring to the Divine Authority of the Holy Scriptures: The second demonstrating the Deity of our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

CHAPTER I. The Authority of the Sacred Scriptures.

THat the Holy Scriptures, wherein we daily read and meditate for our instruction in order to Eternal Life are the very words of God, there are many weighty arguments to evince it upon the hearts of all sober and well-inclined persons; nay, which by the good conduct [Page]of Gods Spirit may influence the minds of Heathen and Atheists, would they but im­prove the common light of reason, that Candle of the Lord.Prov. 20.27. James 2.19. Mat. 8.29. Mat. 4 2, 4. Mark 5.7. Nay, Devils them­selves who believe and tremble at the Judg­ment to come, and desire of our Lord not to torment them before that time: do quot [...] them in argument against our blessed Savi­our in his tentations, and acknowledge his Deity as being the Son of God.

But I shall not dwell upon the several Heads to clear this truth, so often insisted upon by th [...] Pious and Learned, in their Systemes and Bodies of Divinity, but I shall only touch some of them, and inlarge upon one or two, which are the chief design of this Chapter.

1. One Argument that some mention, is their venerable Antiquity, which though it be no cogent proof, yet allowing that of an ancient, (quo quid antiquius, co verius) that Truth is elder than Error, I would not lay aside the pains of Clemens Alexandrinus and others, who prove that the writings of Mo­ses are ancienter than any the Heathen world can pretend to. To which I would annex their stupendious preservation through the fury of all ages, especially the raging flames of Antiochus and Dioclesian, those cruel Persecutors of the Church of God; neither would I be silent as to the invincible pains, [...]uxtorfji [...]iberias and toile which the Jew­ish Masorites underwent to preserve the Hebrew Original. With such exactness did they manage that Affair, that they had in numerato, punctually set down every word and every letter in the whole Bible, [Page]and did also set down which was the middle word and middle letter of the whole, and I think of every individual Book: which was indeed a high providence of God towards the conservation of those happy leaves; and I could heartily wish the New Testa­ment had been so guarded by industrious and holy persons in the primitive times. Nay it were well, if yet at this day some pious Rectors of Ʋniversities and Schools of Learn­ing would take up the ancientest and purest Copies, and perform it at this time. The Masorites did the work long after the first penning of them on purpose to preserve it in their dispersions.

But I proceed to other Arguments, As

2. The Majesty of their Stile, that might justly make the Ʋniverse tremble, and all the powers of darkness to hide their heads in the dark Chaos of confusion.

3. The Heavenly Harmony of their di­stinct parts, tho written in various Ages, and distinct places.

4. The self-denial of the Pen-men, dis­covering their own sins and heart corrup­tions with the follies and weakness of their nearest and dearest relations, which is not done by other Writers, as Thucydides, Xe­nophon, or Plutarch, or Livy, but especially by Law-givers, which might disparage their Government; as the compilers of the twelve Tables, or Theodosius in his Codex, or Justinian in his Pandects, or other his Sanctions of the Civil Law.

5. The Sublimity and Spirituality of the Mysteries therein discovered far beyond the invention or comprehension of men or An­gels. They may [...] (if they please) and pry towards them▪ 1 Pet. 1.12. but none except the Lion of Judah can [...] & [...] both open the Seals, and expound the mystical depths of this admirable Vo­lumne. So far is it beyond the brains of the most fine spun Philosopher, that Amelius the Platonick in Clem of Alexandria con­fessed of the first verses of the Apostle Johns Gospel [This Barbarian saith he] hath com­prized more stupendious matters in three lines, than we in all our Volumns.

I might adjoyn to this the purity and ho­liness of its subject matter, and the glorious scope and design for our everlasting com­munion with God in heaven.

6. In the sixth place, a principal argu­ment may be deduced from the Imperial Power and Efficacy on the Souls and Con­sciences of men; both as to conviction of sin, sustentation of wounded Spirits, and their consolation under the darkest clouds and deepest confusions, while we are in this valley of Dragons, which is the reason why truly gracious persons wade and dive through Sicknesses, Troubles and strong anxieties; when wicked and ungodly men languish and perish a thousand times over and over, because the former enjoy the sweet influences of the Spirit of God in the promises of the Gospel, to cool their con­sciences and calm their spirits into a hal­cyon serenity, and sometimes tread upon the Asp and Dragon without any fear. [Page]By these and the like meanes the Scriptures confirm and ascertain themselves like self-e­vident principles: when the Spirit of God strikes aside the Curtains and Vailes of Ig­norance, and purges the Corruptions out of the minds of men.

Let all the world rage in Storms of con­tradiction, and like him in Laertius, affirm Snow to be black, or another, that there is no sense in pain, or boldly assert the Sun shines not, when I see it, or a cordial com­forts not, when I feel it,Job. 6.4. Psal. 38: 2. or that a troubled conscience is but a melancholly fancy, when the Terrors of the Lord drink up the spirits of men. These should be sent to Anticyrae, to purge with Hellebor for madness. Pray, what Energy or power can he in a printed paper in the reading of a Chapter, where­with Austin and Junius were converted from sin to God, or what powerful charm in hearing a mean Preacher, perhaps none of the Learnedest, like the blessed Fishermen of Galilee, to change the heart: if so many proud, haughty and rebellious sinners, who of direful Persecutors have sometimes tur­ned tender cherishers and protectors of the Church of God:Jer. 22.29. Psal. 19.11. Heb. 4.12. Ezek. 2.4.3, 11, 17. were it not for the fire of the Word of the Lord of Hosts that melts the Stone of the heart, and the hammer of that Word that breaks the rocks of the sturdy Zanzummims all to powder; insomuch that bitter scoffers have been changed into witty Tertullians, and turned their Satyrs into Pa­negyricks. Some morese Philosophers have proved quick and acute disputants in the primitive times to defend the Christian Religion. What can that be imagined to be that works so strange effects upon whole [Page]Nations from the East to the Western-In­dies, whitened the Black-Moores, civilized the hearts of Scythians more ferine, ragged, and bruitish, than the Rocks and Hyrcanian Tygers, that g [...]ve them suck, and beautifi­ed the barbariously painted Britains far be­yond the Oratory of the Gaules. It could be no other power than the awful dread of the Divine Majesly, and the melting sweet­ness of his mercy concomitant with his hea­venly Word. Wherefore such are justly to be suspected for strangers to the work of grace, like Nicodemus at first, tho a great Doctor in Israel, yet a great dunce in the excellenc point of the New-Birth: Or like that Doctor at Oxford sometime since, that searcht his Dictionary for the word [Re­generation] and could not tell what to make of it, because he found it not there. I say, we may greatly fear that they never felt this mighty power of the Spirit of God to change their hearts,Rom. 1.16. that dare talk so proudly and irreverently against the self­evidencing power of the holy Scriptures on the consciences of men: when the Majesty of God shines ten thousand times brighrer in the Meridian of that Book, than the Sun without clouds at noon-day in the Zenith of Africa.

I shall intreat my ingenuous and pious Readers kind leave to descend into the bow­els of two arguments to give evidence to the truth of the Holy Scriptures, and so conclude this present chapter. Which are drawn from the Oracles and Miracles men­tioned in this sacred Book: The fulfilling of the one, and performing of the other; to the consternation and amazement of [Page]such as had the happiness to be spectators of either, are in some part attested and confirmed by Heathens themselves, and cleared off by several Writers of unquesti­onable authority, confessing the matters of fact, which were accomplisht in the succe­ssions of several ages, with great exactness and punctuality.

SECT. I. Of Scripture Oracles.

FOr this purpose, it must be laid down for a standing rule, that the certain and determinate foreknowledge and predi­ction of future events long before they come to pass, is an undeniable evidence of infinite Wisdom and Power, and compati­ble to no created being Hence, the Lord challenges this glory to his own name: that former things foretold by him did is­sue in the time predicted. Yea further,Isai. 42.9. to lift up the people into the mount of ob­servation, tells them, He would declare new things before they should spring forth of the Womb of Providence. Nay,Isa. 43 9, 10 calls to the Heathen to bring out their Witnes­ses (if they had any) to justifie their I­dols, as to the verity of their predictions; and then appeals to the Jews as his own Witnesses, that they might know, believe and understand, that he was God, and be­fore [Page]him there was no God formed, nor shall be after him. Which argument is amplified and prosecuted in the forty fixth and forty eighth chapters, asserting the Di­vinity of his Essence, and the verity of his declarations and prophecies. Citations might multiply, in which the silver Trum­pets of the holy Prophets sound harmoni­ously in the ears of all Nations,1 Pet. 1.25. proclaim­ing this mark and character of his eternal Deity, and that his words endure for ever, and are filled up to the brim with veracity and run over the banks of all ages in chry­stalline streams of accomplishments: while in the mean time their [...] & all the Delphian and Dod [...]nean Oracles have filled the Heathen World with crooked serpentine lies and cheats.Mat. 5, 16. Whereas the very Ordinances of heaven shall sooner be involved into their ancient dismal Chaos, then any of these blessed sayings shall in the least tittle be dissolved or made void.

I shall now enter upon some of the fa­mous Oracles of Scripture, which have bin so plainly verified before the eyes of many Nations, that several Philosophers and Hi­storians of the Gentiles have confessed this truth, and born witness to their eventual fulfillings and doubtless honoured and em­braced those Divine Parchments with great veneration; when many of them travelled into Syria, and had the great happiness by the leave of some Rulers of Synagogues, (prece & pretio) using gifts and intreaties to behold and read those heavenly prophe­cies; and 'tis more than likely, that many notions among the ancient Platonists are [Page 9]corruptions of and Compositions with the matter of those profound Writings.

But before further procedure, I must premise, that for want of my Library at hand, since my sad recess from my most de­sired services, I am forced to make the best use I can of my memory, and therefore cannot make my Citations so perfect and exact, as I else would: and partly from the defect of Historians in barbarous ages; we are not able to ioynt every Oracle so its precise complement: I shall yet endea­vour to recal as many as I can, leaving the test to further oppertunities by Divine leave. Besides I do not think it very pro­per to over-burden this tract, or insist ve­ry long on such things, which else are use­ful to settle our faith upon a solid founda­tion, since our chief aim is the Doctrine of Faith it self.

In the first place then, because the trans­actions about our blessed Lord and Saviour are the very kernel and marrow of the whole bible: I shall set them down before I present any other Prophecies.

First we read that God himself immedi­ately foretold to our first parents the incar­nation of his Son our blessed Lord by a Woman, and by the Prophet Isaiah, that she should be a Virgin:Gen 3 15 Isai 7 14 Postel. in speed hist. c 6. p 204. & Spotswood hist scotl p [...] Lond 1668 and so its related that the Druids which were so famous of old here in Britain, did of ancient times declare that he should be born of a blessed Virgin; whence we may observe, that our Lord took upon him the humane nature; not the Angelical, and likewise that he [Page 10]took upon him no mans person but a di­stinct one of his own,Heb: 2 16: Luke 1: 35 Gen: 12: 3 & 18 18, & 22, 18, Gen: 26: 4: & 28: 14: Num. 6: 24, 17 his body being form­ed of the Hoiy Virgin, by the inumbration of the Holy Ghost,

2. It is foretold that he should proceed from Abraham, and therefore of the He­brew Nation, excluding Japhet and Cham, and all their Posterity: Again, he was to come of Isaack, excluding all the Midianites and Hagarens: After that from Jacob, ex­cluding the Edomites, since he was to be their glittering starr proclaimed by Balaam to arise out of the loins of Israel, and should in the latter dayes have dominion over Gog or the Turk, according to the Samaritan Co­py. The lustre of this star shined upon the Magi, or wise men the posterity of Abra­ham by Keturah, and is also toucht by Chal­eidius upon Plato's Timeus. [Est quoque alia sanctior & venerabilior historia, quae per­hibet ortu stellae cujusdam non morbos mort es­que denunciatas; sed descensum Dei venerabilis ad humanae conservationis, rerumque mortali­um gratiam: Quam stell am cum nocturni itine­re suspexissent chaldcorum profecto sapientes vi­ri & consideratione rerum caelestium satis ex­ercitati, quesissae dicuntur recentem ortum Dei, repertaque illae majestate puerili, veneratos esse, & vota Deo tanto, convenientia noncupasse, quae tibi multo melius sunt comperta quam Cae­teris. Mat: 2: Chalcid: in plat: Timeum: p: 219: Edit: p: 4 to: 1617: Gen: 25: 15:] These are the words of Chalcidius to Orostus Bp. of Corduba Edit: Lug: 4 to: 1617

These wise men (that I may a little gloss upon that point) I take to be of the posterity of Abrahams second wife, and min­gled among Ishmaelites, whom their fath or sent away and planted in the East Count [...] [Page]that is called in the Hebrew Kedemah from K [...]dem, one of the sons of Ishmael, who dwelt among the Itureans of Jetur, and the Nabathaei of Nebaioth, and the Cedraei in Pli­ny of Kedar, &c: Gen 25 15 on the East of the Land of Canaan before you come to the River Eu­phrates, and this was the Land that should be composed into a Map by it self, and cal­led the Land of Kedemah, or the east coun­try; and here it was that Job lived, being of the Race of Keturah or of Ishmael in Ke­dem, and here the rest of his friends also dwelt, that were petty Kings over little Territories adjoining to some little Cities in those elder dayes: Among these were the Zabii of Balaams Kindred, cultores Dei, the worshippers of God, that sprang out of Abrahams family, but were polluted with divers superstitions and magical corrupti­ons fardled together out of Astronomy phy­sick, and several blind abfurd traditions: yet retaining some reliques of truth, not utterly obliterated, but degenerating worse and worse. Of whom were the Ancient Chaldeans, and Genethliaci, observers of stars and times, and daily grew more cor­rupt and confused till it came to the Arabi­ans, their Haly and such like patrons of folly. The former were those that dwelt among the Mountains of the East, and by the Rivers of Mesopotamia, whose succes­sors are prophecied to come with presents to Christ: Our second Solomon and the very time of their coming to our blessed Lord at Bethlehem, Numb 22.5 23.7 Psal 72 10 may be stated from the Ecclipse of the Moon within the same year, that Herod dyed: But enough of this at present:

3 In the next place it was declared by Jacob on his death-bed, in his swan-like song, that the Messiah should descend of Judah, and rise up like a Lion out of that Tribe;Gen. 49: 10: but who dares rouze him up or en­counter with him.

4 The particular family in that Tribe was predicted to David to be from himself and other where,Ichro: 17, 11, 4 Psal: 89: 20: Isai: 11: 1: that he should spring from the root of Jesse the Father of David.

5. The place of his birth is also specifi­ed to be the little city of Bethlebem, and of his education to be Nazareth as some inter­pret that place in Zechary, Micah: 5: 2: Zech: 6: 12: Mat: 2, 23: 4: 15: Isa: 9: 2: not only because he was the Branch, but as to the Town where he lived, and that he should appear in the second Temple, and fill it with glo­ry, and that the crowns which were hung up in the windows of that Temple should presignifie the counsel of peace to be be­tween his Kingly and Priestly Office; and besides there are many other specialties mentioned concerning him,Zech: 9: 9: which came exactly to pass: as his riding to Jerusalem on the foale of an Ass, and the peoples crying Hosanna before him, his being sold for thirty pieces of silver, and pierced on the cross:Psal: 69: 21: his drinking vinegar, and feed­ing on Gall, his tasting of myrrhine wine, the wine of the condemned to soporate the senses,Mark 15: 23: and stupifie pain.

6. The time of his coming into the world is also distinctly predicted: First, in general when the Land of Israel should be sorsaken of both their kings; nor onely the Syrian of Damascus, Isai 7: 16: but the royal scep­ter, [Page 13]or at least the Supream Government shall depart and utterly be cut off from Is­rael and Judah: Gen. 49.10. Josephus which was compleatly per­formed, when Herod caused the Sanhedrin to be put to Death.

But yet more particular,Dan. 27. when the middle of the last week of Daniel, or the 486th year and an half should be fully accomplish­ed at his sufferings in the midst of that week; the Periocha or compass of which year took up their Epocha or commence­ment at the twentieth year of Artax­erxes Longimanus, when the Commandment or Edict went forth (not to return out of Babylon, nor to build the Temple which were done by former Kings, but) to restore and to build Jerusalem, even its streets and walls. In the time prescribed from that twentieth year:ver. 25. our blessed Lord both appeared and suffered for his Elect, under Pontius Pi­late according to the Scriptures. His ma­nifestation to the world under Augustus, and sufferings under Tiberius, seem to be hinted By Suetonius and other Authors. Nay, the Swan of Mantua sings an Anthem out of the Sybill of Cuma upon his Birth.

Jam redit & virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna,
Jam nova progenies caelo demititur alto.
The Lovely Virgin and her Heaven born Son,
Commands the golden age again to run.

So then, we find in the Old Testament these admirable predictions concerning him.

  • 1. What Nature our Lord should as­sume.
  • 2. From what Nation he should spring.
  • 3. From what Tribe.
  • 4. What Family.
  • 5. In what place.
  • 6. At what time he should appear, and all those fulfilled to a tittle: which demon­strate the Divine Original of the Holy Scriptures.

Besides these Oracles concerning our blessed Lord so exactly fulfilled and attested partly by Heathens, partly by Jews and pri­mitive Historians, but especially by the New Testament, which that it must be admitted for a competent witness will be I hope evi­dent by the Divine Authority in the consig­nation of the Canon spoken to in the close of this Chapter: There remain yet some Prophecies to be briefly rehearsed, which yield a further and great light in this point of the verity of Scripture-predictions, and therefore of their Divinity.

For inftance, the universal deluge prophe­cied by Noah 120 year, before it came: which antedate of years if not mentioned before by others, yet the deluge it seif is confirmed by many Heathens, even Youths at school, [...]lut. de Solert. [...]imal. Lucian de Deasyria the Ark p. 10.60. [...]it Paris 1615. Gen: 7.19. read it in Ovid and Horace; and the Dove of Drucalion or Noah is touched by Plutarch himself a grave Historian; that wonderful Deluge, tho' some have thought particular, yet when the Holy Ghost speaks [...] so expresly, that all the high Hills un­der [Page 51]the whole Heaven were covered, I am sorry that any should open the door to A­theists to play upon Scripture. Which ha­ving declared that All the high hills were covered, adds further, that the waters did prevail fifteen cubits above those Moun­tains, and what vast high Mountains they are wherein the Ark rested, which were anciently called Ararat, as if (Har gnall Har) Mountains upon Mountains in the ragged Country of Elwond in Media; let the ingenious Olearius declare, who I could wish were followed by other Travellers,Olearig in his Persia. that they would learn Astronomy before they go abroad for many good purpos [...]s in Travels, but especially for Calculation of Eclipses, in order to Longitudes, and of ta­king the Altitude of the Pole in the rude­ra or ruines of ancient Cities that our an­cient Geography of Scripture, and of Civil Writers might be perfected.

But there is one thing more that may demonstrate the contrary to their weak opi­nion about particularity of the deluge; be­cause, if the waters were higher than those exalted craggy tops in Armenia, and other places, there must have followed a power­ful deflux of that liquid element, whereby all Champion Conntries must be overflow­ed to give an aequilibration or poise from all sides of the world upon the Center. Not to argue from the earths diurnal mo­tion, which is the principal cause of the flux and reflux of waters in all Seas, and particularly the Atlantick Ocean, and the Mar-del-zur under the line and Tropicks: [Page 16]the former being boisterously repelled by that great barr of America, sends them back with such violence to make those mighty tides in these North-west parts of Europe, and possibly on the West-sides of America the like.

But pardon me this paragraph spent on a matter per transennam.

But I proceed.

Deut. 30.3, 3. Voss de sectis.The Prophet Moses foretold the Capti­vity of Israel many hundred years before it came to pass, and the deliverance of Israel in the latter days, not yet fulfilled. This great person is thought by some to be vai­led under the name of Moschus in Jambli­chus, Orph. p. 460. Edit. Cantabrig. 1652. 80. his receiving the Law in Mount Ho­reb is so palpably exprest by Orpheus in his gnomae in these words, [ [...]] as the water-born Prophet ordained in his Law of the two Tables, that I am scarce satisfied, whether this Orpheus were not feigned by a primitive Christian, [...]uv. sai. 14. ver. 133. rather than a Thracian Harper. But to be sure Juvenal was not counterfeited by Thomas Aquinas his Conuntryman, in that verse.

Tradidit arcano quodeunque volumine Moses

Whatever Moses delivered in his hidden volumne; he needs no testimonies from Heathens, his authority is unquestionable.

Many other predictions we find in Scri­pture, [Page 17]as the birth of Josiah above two hundred years before the Event as I think may appear.I King. 13: 2. Isa: 13: 21: That Nineveh upon Tigris the Head of the Assyrian, and Babylon on Euphrates the head of the Babilonian Empire should never be built more, but continue a habitation for Satyrs, and the Jims and Ohims or wild Cats of the Desert; and therefore they do very ill, that call Bagdat by the name of Babylon, a well inhabited, and beautiful place: which denomination gives defiance to the Holy Scriptures: whereas this Bagdat called so from the pleasant gardens is forty miles below, on the same Riv [...]r: But in the old ruines, by the River side, is a little Ware-house, cal­led Felugea, and among the vast piles of confused heaps of destruction, there are so many serpents and wild Beasts lurking up and down,Sanders in Purch that it is most dangerous for persons to venture among them.

Again, there's likewise found a Prophe­cy of Cyrus, which some take to be 170. others 200 years mentioned before his ap­pearing:Ifa. 44 28. but I have not that golden canon of Ptolomy by me at present, which states the Nabonassar Aera, and the Persian Mo­narchy, &c, so exactly, that we need not wave up and down in those Chronological Difficulties, which others have done before us, and I could heartily wish, his Almagest and this Canon were printed by that mann­script in the famous Bodly Library, out of which I copied it.

When the great deliverer of the Jews [Page 18]came abroad in the world, some assert, (as I remember) that they shewed him Isaiahs Prophecy concerning himself written so long before: not unlike to what Jaddua the High-priest did in reading to Alexander out of Daniel, Josephus l. 11. c. 8. the predictions of his great conquests over the Persian Empire.

But to draw towards an end, in mentio­ning a few more, tho there be many, the irreparable ruine of Edom spoken of, long before the time when there remained nei­ther name nor nation, but as wrapt up in Idumea a little parcel of the Province of Judea under the Romans, which contained the Philistim Country, and a little south­ward. Nay, there be many other King­doms fell under the same prophetical doom, that are now lurking in their ruines and ra­venous beasts, preying upon the bones of the ancient Cities. Of all other, that of Egypt is remarkable, that it should be a base Kingdom; nay, the basest of Kingdoms, and should exalt it self no more,Ezek. 29.15 and so it has been ever since the Persians conquered it, under whom it groaned, and then turned to the Grecians under one of Alexanders Captains till Cleopatra: the n [...]a provincial to the Ro ­mans, and after them to the Saracens, the Mamalukes and Turks, by whom it is dread­fully pillaged and plunged by every new Basla to this day.

But above all we should mind and dili­gently observe that most famous prophecy of the font great Monarchies in Daniel; Dan. 2. & 7 whose tru [...]h almost every History of the ci­vil [Page 19]Nations demonstrates age by age, from Nebuchadnezzar to the end of the world. Which as it is twice exemplified under two visions, so the fourth or Roman is much more amplified by holy John in his Patmus Revela­tions. By both which as by two great tor­ches every man in his proper age beholds the verity of scripture prophecies, to shine forth most illustriously: and we may be as certain of what remains yet unfulfilled, to receive its accomplishment as of that we have read, and heard, and seen, performed before our eyes.

There is one Prophecy I would not let slip, and that is in the Prophet Zephaniah, which declares that God will famish all the Gods of the earth:Eph 3 [...] 11. and men shall worship him, every one from his place, even all the Isles of the Heathen. I the rather menti­on it, because Plutarch that learned Gentile hath writ a tract as if on purpose to verifie this prophecy which he enstiles peri ekleloi­poton Chresterion of the Eclipse or silence of Oracles,Plut Suidas de Augusto Lactantius Boeth de distiol schoastirs h [...]l [...] 12 c: 41: Orosi­us me puer Hebraeus jubet hinc ad tartara adire Heb: 13: 20 where he mentions the death of the great God, pan o megas tethneke which some apply to our blessed Lord the great Shepherd of the sheep. It is related also, that the Temple of Apollo at Delphos in Phocis of the Grecians (where after­wards true Religion was set up) was o­verthrown by Earthquakes and Thunder; and at the same time when Jerusalems Tem­ple was destroyed, and neither of them re­built to this day: to intimate that Pagan worship of the Heathens, and the cere­monious [Page 20]worship of the Jews should be removed, and give place to the Christian Worship in Spirit and Truth.

The last thing that I shall mention is the noble Prophecy of the conversion of the Gen­tiles, so often set forth in many Chapters: the fulfilling whereof is attested by multitudes of Authors of all Countries, how Thomas in the East converted the Indians, and that the poste­rity of them that resisted him, are markt at this day with one leg much bigger than the other, as I received by eye-witnesses for a truth; Capt. Prout but the account is only a child of tradition: In the Northwest the Scythians were converted by An­drew, and thence their Posterity the Scots own him for their Tutelars Saint. The Britains as many assert were converted by Joseph of Arima­thea, [...]udolph hist. Abyss the Egyptians and Abyssines by Mark and his Disciples.

But I proceed no further, it may be ob­served by every ones experience to this ve­ry day. These things require just Treati­ses to inlarge upon, and to display in their full and lovely colours.

But yet that I may set before all a method to convince every candid person of the truth of Scripture upon this score, and hence their divine original; I would de­sire them to do but two things:

  • 1. To observe and study what Prophe­cies the cardo saeculi the present state and scene of things determine us to be under [Page 21]the fulfilling at this present day.
  • 2. I recommend to their continued stu­dious observation, what things remain yet to be fulfilled, that they may thereby be daily satisfied and fully convinced: For if the great God have thought fit in love and mercy to reveal such great things to his Church: we ought to lay aside our trifles and vanities of contradiction, and observe the workings of his Providence which con­tinually rowle upon the wheels of Pro­phecy. And therefore I shall name some Prophecies yet to be fulfilled:

The second coming of Christ was pro­phecied of by Enoch before the Flood,Jude 14. Numb: 24: 17, 19.24: Rev: 8: 2: and by some part of Baalams Prophecy; But the New Testament blows many Trumpets over Prophecies, as if challenging the whole World to observe this issue, and among o­thers, let us touch these following;

  • 1. The final period of the Metalline Image set forth by Visions in the Book of Daniel.
  • 2. The downfall of Antichrist after the ex­piration of his 1260 years, now at the doors.
  • 3. The ruine of the Turk after the end of 391 years from the establishlishment of his Ottoman Empire,
    Ezek. 38.10.
    and the great thoughts that shall come into the heart of that God in these latter dayes.
  • 4. The Conversion of all Israel to our Lord Christ, and their restauration to their own Land, never to be removed more.
  • [Page 22]5. The glorious state of the united Church both of Israel and Gentiles, from the River Indus to the Atlantick Ocean, wherever the four mettals have obtained: yea and the spread­ing of it wherever the ten toes have set the prints of their dominion, and that this blessed state shall endure in all manner of spiritual Ho­liness and temporal felicity under a perpetuum ver,
    [...]rudentius
    ae continual spring when the seas [...]ns shall be most happy, Heavens influences most benign, unity and concord and interminable peace among all Nations, and the deliverance of all the crea­tures (which now groan under the cruel op­pression of the wicked) into the Festival liber­ty of the Sons of God,
    Rom: 8: 21, 22:
    this happy [...] or restauration of all things shall con­tinue to the close of the World, when those of the outsides about the Holy City attempting mis­chief shall be destroyed by fire from Heaven, which enters us upon the sixth, viz.
  • 6. The Conflagration of the World, and all the wicked in it by fire:
    2 pet: 3: 7: Mal: 4: 1:
    mentioned by Pe­ter, and crept into Ovid in his Metamorphosis, [Esse quoque in fatis, &c.] Its written in Fatidical Books that the Heavens and Earth shall perish by fire.
  • 7. The return of our Lord to take up his People into Heaven. 8 Then comes the great Resurrection and 9 The tremendous day of Judg­ment After which 10 He proceeds to deliver up his Mediatorian Kingdom to the Father,
    Joh: 14: 3: Rev: 20: 12, 13 1 cor: 15: 24:
    and then the Glory of Heaven shall continue to all eternity, when God shall be All in All.

SECT. II. The Miracles in Scripture.

HAving Treated somewhat of the infal­lible Prophecies, I shall now by the Grace of God rehearse some of the notable Miracles mentioned in Holy Scripture. For as much as they are works above the power of nature, therefore all Nations stand ga­zing at such mighty exhibitions of Gods Majesty; such as curing blind-born Persons, the restoring the dumb and lame, who were so afflicted from the Mothers Womb, yea, reviving of many from death to life: are they not undeniable Testimonies, that such a one that performs these, is a God, or transacted by the immediate assistance and presence of God? whence we may very well infer, that what such a one speaks is to be embraced as by divine Authority. For that glorious Person, that manifests in his works such heavenly and coelestial power, must be believed to be God, and a God of supream Truth and highest verity, as well as of surpassing power. For infinite power and truth are and can be centerd no where but in a God.

[...]

trey where their Brethren of the Race of Cham of near alliance to the Canaanites then lived; which is toucht as I remember by Procopius in his Vandalick Wars & o­thers.Procop The standing still of the Sun seems hinted at by Plautus in the double day, I think in his Amphilryo.

4. The fourth wonder may refer to the retrocession or going back of the Sun in the dayes of Hezekiah, which engaged the King of Babylon to send an Embassy on pur­pose to search out the truth of that Prodigy. In reference to which, this is remarkable, that some Eclipses mentioned to have hap­pened before Hezekiahs dayes, are all found by our modern Astronomical Tables, as exact; as if those Prodigies had not been extant: which may give to some a little more facile apprehension of the motion of the earth, then the Perepatetick School will as yet admit. For the Phoenomenon or apeearance may be solved by a miracu­lous stopping of the Earths diurnal motion, though its annual in the Zodiack might continue.

5. The fifth concerns that extraordinary Star, which aypeared at the Birth of our Lord to the Magi in Kedemah or the East by the River Euphrates, Mat: 2: 2: who came [...] from Jobs East Countrey, where­of before, and which presaged as they thought in those dayes the rising of some Grand Emperor out of some Eastern Na­tion: whereof Suetonius speads [Percrebuit in toto oriente, &c.] that there was a pre­sage [Page 27]of one that should Rule the whole World;sueton in Ves­pas: c: 4: & Tacit: hist: l: 5: [pluribus per­suasio inerat &c which they applied to Vespasian, but more truly concerned our blessed Lord, whose Kingdom was to be universal and eternal.

There is a passage also about Herod at this time, which tho no miracle, yet it was a prodigy of cruelty, which that infamous Prince perpetrated in the Land of Judah; and herein may somewhat concern this Treatise, that it sets the time of the Epi­phany or coming of the Magi or wise men to our Lord, a little before that Lunar E­clipse in March, which preceded that Ty­rants death; who slew so many innocent children, and his own son among the rest, that gave occasion to the Emperor Augustus to taunt him with that scoff,Macrob: saturn l: 2: c 4: that he had rather be Herods Hog than his son, count­ing him for a Jew (and I think he was a proselyte) tho indeed he were an Idu­maean of Ascalon by birth, that is of that Idumaea or Edom so called in the days of our Lord, as may be observed in Ptolomies greek Geography, lying in the south-part of Ju­dah.

6. But the most remarkable miracle was that of the Suns Eclipse at our blessed Lords passion, because it disappeared, and was mantled with pitchy darkness near the Full-Moon of the Passover,paul Diacon: max: in scholl: ad Dionys Orig tract: 29, & 30: in mat: Euseb edit: scal [...]austin: Eph: 156: which is impos­sible in the course of nature. For proof whereof Eusebius gives in ample testimony in his Chronical Canon, citing the 14th. Book of Phlegon of Trallis, who asserts it to have happened in the fourth year of the [Page 28]202 Olympiad. Dionysius also the Areopa­gite is mentioned by the Magdeburgenses for an Epistle of his written to the Citizens of Heliopolis or On in Egypt, wherein that com­mon saying is avouched for his [Deus natu­rae patitur, Magd: cent: 1: l: 1: c: 11 p: 381: august in Ep: Rom: de ci­vit Deil 10: c: 27 & Euseh. in vit Constantini aut mundi machina collabitur] The God of nature suffereth, or else the frame of the world is flying in pieces] Besides what Petrus Comester records, where ever he had it; that the Philosophers of Athens disputed about this Eclipse, as being the occasion of building that Altar to the unknown God: Tho Pausanias (as I remem­ber declares it to have been erected upon the great devastation made by that fearful pestilence at Athens, pausan in atti­cis Laert in E­pimedid Lucian philopatri Oe­cumenius, &c. in the time of the Peloponnesian War, so notably described by Thucydides. But passing that, the afore­said admirable Eclipse of the Sun being ce­lebrated near the Full-Moon of the pas­chal solemnity: It must needs follow, that the Moon her self must be prodigiously and totally Eclipsed, being near her opposi­tion at the same time. Nay there was moreover another Eclipse of the Moon in her natural course in the Evening of the same day: as by calculation out of the Ta­bles doth manifestly appear, the scheme whereof is exhibited by Buntingius in his chronology, and I think declared by others also. So that there were three Eclipses in the compass of one natural day, that all the inhabitantsround the globe might read in the heavens some wonderful work about that time,Lang. de christ annis had they known the language of those glittering lamps, whose places being then near the Equinoctial, the sun in Aries, & [Page 29]the Moon in Libra, they might be seen al­most from Pole to Pole. Such a Spectacle as never had happened from the foundation of the World, and possibly may never a­gain. It being a superlative attestation to the glorious sufferings of our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Concerning the darkness of that time, how dreadful and uni­versal it was, others having discoursed; I shall not enlarge.

Many other wonderful Miracles transact­ed by the Prophets in the Old Testament, and thousands by our Lord, and many of his Apostles in the new, are set down for the confirmation of the holy Oracles. Seve­ral things, and some persons mentioned in the Sacred Books are likewise glanced at by the Heathen Writers. Such persons as the Magi, are hinted by Laertius, some things mentioned by Celsus in Origens re­futation of his Heathenish Opinions, by Julian, Porphyry, Apollonius, &c. who endea­vouring to undermine the Authority of the Scriptures, have by the conduct of provi­dence strangely ratified it,niceph. as the Patriarch of Jerusalem said of Julians attempt to re­build the Temple;Mat. it happened that not a stone was left upon a stone there, the anger of God, sending Thunder and Lightning, and Ebullitions of fire out of the bowels of the Earth so violent, that all the foundati­ons of the old Temple were flung out to the destruction of many of the old Jewish Builders at that time. There be several of the Learned primitive Fathers have ta­ken great pains to good purpose on such [Page 30]like points, as Clemens Alexandrinus, Origen, Justin Martyr, Lactantius, Arnobius, Eusebius, &c. who have distinctly writt [...]n against the Gentiles with the Pen of a Diamond, and abundantly refell [...]d their Errors and So­phist [...]ies s [...]tting forth the great and mighty acts of holy men of old, attesting the sacred Doctrines: Yea so great was the conviction of the stupendious works of our blessed Messiah, the Wonderful, the Counsellor upon the Spirit of the Emperour Tiberius: Isai 9 6. [...]useb. ex Ter­ [...]eul. l 2. c. 2. that he strongly urged the Se­nate of Rome to recognize him for God. But the counsel being horrible Idolaters, would not admit it: Because (said he) he would have no other God besides himself: which indeed is but his just and magnificent right, nor will he give up his glory to dumb Idols.

But yet these mighty works forespoken of, tho they doe not, nor can of themselves directly cause true Faith in the heart,Isai. 6.10. with­out the Almighty power of God (else why did not the gross-hearted Jews believe) yet are they a strong Foundation for Faith to insist upon, and to induce the belief of the Divinity of that person who is the ori­ginal Revealer and Deliverer of these Scri­ptures of truth to the World.Dan. 10.21. However it be plain that Miracles work no Faith without a divine concurrence, but persons, as Pharach and his Associates might stand a­mazed a while, yet quickly return to their late stupidity.Job. 2.23 And our blessed Lord we see would not trust the unbelieving Jews, though he had exhibited great Miracles a­mong [Page 31]them, because he knew what was in the corrupt and false heart of man.

But now let us step into the third and last Section of this Chapter.

SECT. III. The Consignation of the Canon.

HAving by many Arguments (I hope) demonstrated the Sacred Authority of those inestimable volumes of Scripture: There yet remains an enquiry about the finishing of the Canon, or the compass of all the Books that are of Divine stamp and original. Those two great Luminaries of the English Nation, Dr. John Rainolds of Ox­ford, and Dr. William Whitaker of Cambridge, have largely and solidly handled this Point against the Romanists: which the Learned know better than I: But since that some­what on this Subject may not be ungrate­ful or unuseful to many: give leave to treat a little upon it in this Section, and so con­clude this first Chapter,

It is then the Sentiment of several of the Antients in the primitive times, that the [Page 32]holy Apostles of the Lord did consign or state the Canon of Scripture, and it hath obtained among many of the Learned for an indubitable truth, of which Testimonies I shall recite some to that purpose.

The first whereof is Melito Bishop of Sardis about the Year 170. so sayes Euse­bius, A. 170 Euseb. l. 4. c. 25 attesting that he set out the Canon of the Old Testament, just as we do, omitting the Apocrypha, for which purpose he Tra­velled into the East to gain full intelligence. Athanasius of Alexandria sets down the same Catalogue,A. 340 as Rainold de Apocryphis, Vol. 1. p. 361.

Cyril of Jerusalem, A. 360 the same in his Cate­chis. l. 4. and expresly asserts the Apostles to be the declarers of that Canon, and that it was received from them,Rain p. 328. & 361 in these words, Qui hos nobis libros tradiderunt, that deliver­ed these Books over unto us.

The Council of Laodicea met (in an A­postolical Church) and composed of Asian Bishops,A. 394. or 8. Magd. cont 4. P. 833. A. 385 mentions no other as to the Old Testament.

Amphilochius of Iconium recites the same, Rain. p. 332. Jerom in his Catalogue of ancient Writers, expresses it thus of John, [Novissimus omnium Scripsit Evangellum ro­gatus ab Asiae Episcopis] that he being in­treated by the Bishops of Asia (of all the Evangelists) was the last that wrote a Gospel: as we may gloss upon the words: we find also that Justin Martyr affirms that [Page 33] John did see the Visions, and compose the Book of the Revelations of what he saw in Patmos (now Patina in the Egaean Sea.) And to the same purpose it is attested by Irenaeus lib. 5. towards the end, and by Eu­sebius, l. 4. c. 18.

Furthermore, Austin who a little survi­ved Jerom, in his Book against Faustus [Ex­cellentia canonicae autoritatis veteris & novi Testamenti, &c Apostolorum confirmata tem­peribus, &c.] and again, [Nemo dare potest authoritatem cuiquam libro, August. contra Faustum. l. 11. c. 5. L. 13. c. 4. quam per Ecclesias Christi ab ipsis Apostolis consts utas non acci­pit, ut inde ad posteros firmata commendatione transcurreret.] None can give authority to any Book (that is of Scripture) which he hath not received from the Churches of Christ, constituted by the Apostles them­selves, that so they might be transmitted with a firm recommendation to posterity.De Doct. Christ l. 2. c. 8.]

Again, when treating of the Canon, he sayes, we should follow the authority of those Churches [Quae Apostolicas sedes ha­bere & Epistolas accipere meruerunt] which were dignified by the presence of the Apo­stles, and received Epistles from them. And such was the Church of Laodicea, whose Canon is above-cited.

There is moreover a famous quotation out of Eusebius, mentioned by Dr. Couzins in his History of the Canon, where he brings the ancients asserting,Page 32 edit Lond 4 to. 1657 that the Apo­stle John (rogatu) at the request of the Asian Churches did fix the genuine canon [Page 34]of Scripture: and adds Eusebius to it. This is in the margin, but in te [...]t of his discourse, c. 4.647. thus. [Before Saint John dved, w [...]o dyed last of all the Apo­stles, the Canon of Scripture was made perfect, and d [...]livered over to the Christi­an Church.] What a happy p [...]n had he us [...]d and blest the Church with an excellent discovery, had he quoted the chapter and book out of Eusebius, if the words cited were really there. But upon most diligent search, I could never yet find it in that Au­thor, tho I have read him over (but pardon my saying so) in some places, but especi­ally the recited, over and over. If there be any mistake in my search, how glad to see it rectified and how thankful: But I fear otherwise, and rather suppose either he had some other Copy or Manuscript, or else the mistaken citation must refer to the writing of his Gospel, and not the consigning the Canon. For indeed the A­postle did compile his Gospel [Rogatus ab Asi [...] Episcopis] at the desire:Euseb. l. 4. c. 18 & l. 5. c. 6 Irenaeus. l. 0. c. 1 & l. 5. justin. war [...] heronim. in catalogo ut magdeb. lent. 1. l 2. c 10. p 569. & l 2. c. 4. p. 67. of the Bi­shops of [...]sia, as Eusebius and Jerom and others relate, that's very true. Now tho some hence would deem that his Gospel was the last book of Scripture written by any Apostle, yet I rather understand it, as I said before, that he was the last that wrote any Gospel of the life and acts of our blessed Lord. For so the words of Jerom imports [novissimus omnium, &c. [...]he was the last of all that wrote any Gospel History, not that he [novissimum librum no­vi Testam [...]nti conscripsit] wrote the last book of the Testament, that cannot be [Page 35]fetcht out of these words of Jerom, but is a force put upon them. From whence they would seem to draw, that if his Gos­pel were the last book written; then he thereby consigned the Canon of the whole Scripture: But the former not being clear from th [...]se words, (that because he was the last that writ a Gospel, that therefore the Gospel was the last book of Scripture that was written by any Apostle) that's not consequent. But if we can clear that the Gospel of John was the last book of holy Scripture, that ever was written by the appointment of God, it were to pur­pose indeed, that the Canon were sealed up by it. But if the Revelations should prove to be the last book written by com­mand of the Spirit, and pen'd at the de­sire of the Asian Churches, according to his visions in Patmus, then it must be Si­gillum Canonis, the finisher of the holy ca­non. But this as yet I cannot certainly find, and therefore at present must acqui­esce. Yet as to this Revelation book, there being of old much debate, it was at last determined among the Heresies to question its Authority: now its being so late received, it seems to imply, that it was the latest penned.

Whatsoever hath been hitherto said, I rather incline to think, that this great work was not concredited to Angels, or any ho­ly men, or Primitive Churches at first, but performed by the Majestical Authority, the Lord and King of his Church, and that he himself in his own person commanded the [Page 63]sealing of the Canon to his Servant John from heaven, in the close of the Revelati­on-book; however it comes to pass, that we have not as yet this testimony of John, formally set down by any Ecclesiastick Wri­ter of the Primitive Times, that I have had the happiness to peruse: happy they that shall produce it, authentick, just and true. Eut it seems to me that our Lord himself performed this work, when he added those direful and fearful curses to fall upon any that dare to add or diminish from it: which looks like a sanction of heavenly Majesty,Pro. 22: 18, 19 not only pronouncing that particular Pro­phecy, but as extensive to the whole Bi­ble: since it was foretold by Daniel, that the Messiah should not only suffer for transgression,Dan: 9: 24: Grasserus but also seal up vision and Prophecy. Which I well know may be construed in reference to all the ancient visions concentring in him: but the phrase may comprehend also his sealing and de­termining and putting an end to all visi­ons and prophecies, after which there should come no more; he being the great Prophet of his Church, and his holy Spi­rit the great dictator of Scripture.

This I humbly take to be the full final and utmost period of all Scriptures, accor­ding to the foretelling of Daniel, and the practical consignation by our Lord himself, and therefore needs no further authority. Whether then this or the Gospel were writ­ten last, it matters not so much as to the signing of the Canon, but since the Apostles in their times did attest it, and the primi­tive [Page 37]churches worshipped and walked by its light, and that ever since by some no­table providence it hath stood in the rear of the Canon in all ages: we have received it in connexion with the other holy Scrip­tures, as the complex or body of Divine Truths, let down from heaven, and there­in as Tertullian expresses it, we adore the fullness of the Scriptures.Rom 3 2 1 Tim: 3 16 2 Pet 1.21.

To draw toward an upshot, since we find the Scriptures of the Old Testament, cited in the New, as the Oracles of God-and thereby made authentical by the Spirit of God, assuring us that the Prophets of old time spake as moved by the Holy Ghost, and what they wrote was received by the Jewish Church, which is dignified with that honour to be the [...] or the keepers of the divine law: since also that the New Testament is confirmed by divine miracles and oracles, and the attestation of our Lord himself in the close of the Reve­lations; what remains but to conclude, that they are of heavenly original, and have supremacy in and over the Church, and o­ver the whole world, as the rule of life, and are as a star shining in a dark place, direc­ting us in the path to eternal life. What­ever the Romanists talk of their Church, or any other of the Patriarchal Seats, especi­ally Jerusalem and Antioch, where we are sure that Peter sat: yet the Church can give no Authority to Scriptures,Eph. 2. 2 [...]. but com­mendatory and all else is but Sophism. For the Church is built upon the doctrine of the holy Apostles and Prophets. So [Page 38]that altho at first we receive the scriptures in and from the ministry of Christ in his church. Yet as Austins sa [...]ing to this point may be gloss [...]d, [The whole Aut [...]ority, both for Ministers to preach, and churches to act, is deduced only from th [...] holy scri­ptures, so that the Churches of Christ ought to do nothing in doctrine worship or man­ners, but as the holy scriptures are their best, their unerring and most authentick guide▪

There rests yet a small objection before I conclude this chapter, which is, that if citations in the new (as I said above) do ratifie the Old: then the Septuagint tran­slation should receive a higher character than the Hebrew, because in some places its cited when differing from the Hebrew, Then Aratus being cited in the Acts and Me­nander in the Corinths, acts 17.28 1 Cor 15 22. Tit 1 [...] 12 and Epimenides in Ti­tus, are all authorized by the Apostles.

I answer, That the Septuagint Greek is cited only as a Translation: which by won­derful providence was composed at the com­mand of Ptolomy, to prepate the Grecian Gentiles for receiving the Gospel. But I must not enlarge.

As to the heathen authors, Aratus and Epimenides are urged ad hominem, as argu­ments from their own Prophets to convince the [...] of some heathenish follies and impie­ties. As for Menander, he is cited as the learned judg in answer to Anacreon in the 32 verse of his atheistical rhyme: much [Page 39]like Horace and other Epicurean Ballad ma­kers: who often push at one another with scoffs and jeers. Nay far better men then they some of the good fathers of the pri­mitive times in the Apologies made in defence of the christian-church bring in multi­tudes of Testimonies out of Heathen wri­ters against their Pagan Idolatries, Su­perstitions, Atheisms, Persecutions, and the vain boasts of the antiquity of their shamefull dunghil Deities, which matter is obvious in the writings of Origen against Celsus, Clemens Alexandrinus, in his stro­mata; Minutius Faelix, Arnokius against the Gentiles, Austin in his book of the city of God, and Learned Jer [...]m in many of his E­pistles and commentaries.

Let us then determine this point from what proceeds in the arguments ass [...]me [...] from Oracles and Miracles,Gelas Cizenes hist Nice [...] council,nnd many other grounds briefly touched above, that they are the very Word of God, but particularly by their converting pow­er upon the Soul, commanding reverence, and trembling and horror into the conscience both of men and Devils: as they did upon the Spirit of that Petulant Philosopher in the council of Nice. Nay, so terrible is the weight of these Truths upon the Souls of some fleering atheists, that they are forced sometimes to Hobbianize, that is, tremble to be in the dark [...] as he did at the Lord of Devonshires being afraid to walk abroad without Mastiffs or Pistols, and how much more was he appaled at the approach of death.

Whereas on the other side, how often [Page 38]have we seen with joy and delight, this blessed Word of God to have comforted many a soul in the greatest conflicts and agonies of death, whence it follows. that these effects must be the issue of divine power, & that these writings are indeed the very Word of the holy God: since no other books or preachings do or can so rouze and startle the proud conscience of man. In­somuch, that else we might justly wonder what the man ails that is so tormented, his heart raging like the troubled Sea, till the Allablaster box of fragrant oyntment be o­pened out of the promises, and the balsome when poured into a scalded and wounded spirit, immediately asswages its pain, and sinks the blisters: which all the Divines and holy Orators in the world could never do, till the presence of God stampt idea's of mercy and comfort, speaking peace to the Soul. Whence we may sweetly in­fer, that no other books can be received with any powerful convictive authority. but where in they agree with the tenor and canon of holy Scriptures: so that who­ever walks according to this rule,Gal. 6.16. peace shall be on him, & mercy as on the Israel of God.

I shall then finish this first Chapter with that inference, for which those mediums were brought. That since Faith in Christ Jesus is the very scope and design, the very sum and substance of the whole Scripture: it follows, that the acting of Faith upon them (as the Doctrinal Object of such divine original) is grounded on the holiness and [Page 39]truth of the omnipotent and eternal God. Wherein it is impossible for him to deceive us in not fulfilling his gracious promises,Heb. 6.18 to humble contrite and broken spirits, that [...]rust in his mercy.

In like manner,Eph. 2.20 the acting of our Faith on the Lord Jesus as its personal object for our Justification, is built on the foundation of the holy Apostles and Prophets, Christ himself being the chief corner-stone,Psal. 87.1 laid by the Father in the holy mountains.

Whoever then believes not God on his Word and Promise makes him a Lyar as far as in his power: which every one should Tremble to think on,1 Ioh. 5.10. because they believe not the record, that God hath gi­ven of his Son. Which pertinently leads me into the second chapter, about the Deity of our blessed Lord, the natural and eternal Son of God. Which Doctrine being e­victed and manifested, layes a most sure ground for Faith to erect the Temple of Glory, and will secure our tenure of Salva­tion inviolable, like a House built upon the Rock of Ages, that will endure to all Eter­nity.

CHAP. II. Of the Deity of Christ.

TO Prove the Doctrines of Christ to be true and perfect, we must de­monstrate his person to be infallible, and to prove his sufferings to be satisfactory to Divine Justice, there must be an infinite value in that glorious person, who was graciously pleased to suffer for the sins of the Elect. If this be clear, then Faith builds upon a Foundation as firm as the Being, Fidelity and Constancy of a holy and gracious God: This can't be better fixed, but by manifesting the Deity of Christ in the glorious Messiah, who appeared upon Earth in the dayes of Augustus Caesar. Now if Christ be God, even the natural Son of God, then the most precious Blood of his sufferings by communication of idioms or [Page 43]properties between the two natures may be called the blood of God,Acts 20.28. Heb 1.3. & 9 12 Rev. 1. [...], 8 Hornbeck, Ma­reius, Calovi­us, &c. as it is in the Holy Scriptures.

For the Proof of the Deity of Christ, I intend no great Enlargement, but refer to those who write directly against the Socini­an Heresie: it concerns us only to argue a little upon this point, and deduce some intermixed consequencies.

As to this great Subject, having already accounted for the Divinity of the Scriptures we may now take leave to use them as Te­stimonies sent from heaven, and left upon Record in the Church to prove this Truth. On which very score, its commonly recei­ved from the Antients, that the Apostle John wrote his Gospel against Cerinthus, and other primitive Hereticks, by the insti­gation of the Asian Churches. But most certainly by the inspiration of the spirit of God. After him Athanasius of Egypt, Hillary of France and Fulgentius of Africa, and several others have largly and nervous­ly handled the sword of the spirit against the Arians. Let us however touch a few arguments in the case.

1. The first argument may be taken from the Eternity of Christ, no Being can be eternal, but must be God. Our Lord was in Being from all Eternity, and there­fore must needs be God: he had a glory with the Father before the world was,Ioh. 17.5 [...] but let us joyn it with eternal sonship, and in­fer, that if he were the eternal son of God [Page 44]then he must be true God in Essence,Heb. 1.3 for he must be every way the character of his Hypostasis, or as we translate it, the express image of his Person. This Argu­ment of Christs being God, because he was the eternal son of God. The Jews very well understood its force, and therefore presently argued against him of Blasphemy in assuming the honour of being God.Iohn 5.18. For to be the eternal Son of God, he must be coessential with God: which confession that Christ was the Son of God; he required of all his Disciples, and it must be understood of his eternal Being, and not as Adam is called a Son of God: be­cause he urges the Jews with his works, and such as none can produce but a God, such as the Father performed; whereof more by and by.Mark 1.24.5, 7. Luk. 4.34.8, 28. [...]ert in Thalete The Devils themselves do own this point, and yet how many blind nominal Christians are there who have not attained the knowledg of Thales, who calls him the [...] if cited right. And yet our dayes find some who bear the Name of Christ, but blas­pheme his nature, and speak boldly against this grand Fundamental of Christianity: such as the Socinians and many Quakers, poor wretches perverted by cunning sophis­ters, that plead against the only true means of their own salvation, and return again to the Old Covenant of works. Whereas the scripture is both evident and copious in the case.Pr [...]v. 8.23. As that of Wisdom: (I was set up from Everlasting, &c.) which must be expounded of a person from that of [Page 45]verse 30. I was by him, as one brought up with him, I was daily his delight, Psal. 110.1, Mat 22.44. Ioh. 1.18. Deut. 30.12. Rom. 10.7. Eph 4.10. Ioh. 8 58. Rev 1.8 Ioh. 1.2 rejoycing alwayes before him] This Probl [...]me con­founded th [...] Pharisees: How can the Lord of David be his Son? He it is that lay in the bosom of God, and came down from Heaven, being the same that ascended up again. He it is, that was before Abraham, That was, and is, and is to come, the Almigh­ty: That was in the beginning, and had his glorious Being before ever the World was,Isai. 57.15▪ 1 Tim. 3 16 as the Ancients truly expound that phrase. Now what can be before the World began, but Eternity, wherein God inhabits.Ioh 1.14. This person was God manifest in the flesh, and therefore God before his manifestation on Earth:Heb. 1.8. when he vailed his glory within the Tabernacle of his sa­cred flesh. Moreover if God the Father call Christ God as he does [Thy Throne O God is for ever and ever] His Glory then must be coequal with the Fathers▪ before the World began,Phil. 2.6. he esteeming it no robbery to be equal with God. Yea as God in uni­ty of Essence, he is stiled the blessed and only Potentate, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. Which Name and Stile is applied to him by the Apostle Iohn, 1 Tim. 6.15 and seen by him as written in his vesture upon his thigh, adding, that he was the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and last. Rev. 19.16, 22 23

3. Hence flows the Doctrine of the unity of Christ the Son oi God, with the Father in the same Divine Essence, & therefore the [Page 46]Father calls him his Fellow in Zechary, and some observe concerning that passage in Isaiah [Smitten of God and afflicted] that [OF] the note of the Genitive, Zech 13.7. Isai 53 4. is not in the Hebrew: and therefore construed from the Hebrew [A smitten God] equivalent to that in the New Testament, where the pre­cious blood of Christ is called the blood of God,Act. 20.28. as abovesaid: yet others affecting not this reading in Isaiah, I shall not contest it at present: but as to his unity, there be many plain places, wherein our Lord determines it, that he and the Father are one, and had the same essential glory to­gether from eternity. For speaking of the manutenency and protection of his sheep from perishing,Ioh. 10.30. & 17.11, 21, 22, 23. he declares himself one with the Father that gave them to him: where­upon the Jews being clear in the Argument took up stones again to destroy him as a Blasphemer, in that he made himself one with God.

4. Again, He that is Omniscient and knows our thoughts by his own discerning eye and power, must needs be God. As Solomon spake to the Lord in Prayer: Thou only knowest the heart of the Children of men. 2 Chron. 6.30. Rev. 2.23. Mat. 9.4.12, 25. Luk. 5.22. & 6 8. & 9.47. & 11.17. Now our Saviour expresly assumes it to himself; that he searcheth the Reins and the heart, and tis often expressed, that our Lord knew the thoughts both of his Disci­ples and his enemies as may be observed in the Scripture. Nay, he perceived when thoughts did but arise in their hearts: much like that of David, Thou understandest my [Page 47]thoughts afar off, which demonstrates an Omniscient Deity,Luk. 24.38. Psal. 139.2. Heb. 4.12, 13. & this our Lord did not discern as to one of his Disciples only but of several at once. So that this essential word of God is a discerner of the thoughts, and intents of the heart, and all things are na­ked and open before him, and no creature but is manifest in his sight, which must needs follow, because he is the Creator of all: which brings in the fifth;

5. Another conviction of this glorious Truth of Christs Deity is drawn from his Omnipotency.Joh. 1.3. For all things were made by him and without him was not any thing made that was made: which action of creating must needs be invested in the infinite power of his Essence, whom we have before proved to be the Eternal God; & had the same glory with God the Father before the World was, praying further that his humanity now assu­med into unity with the second person might be dignified with the same glory.John 17.5 Col. 1.16. This great truth is confirmed by the great Apo­stle [By him were all things created in Hea­ven and Earth, even the Angels, those glorious Spirits were formed by him, and for him, that is for his glory and service, and to sing his praises. Rev. 4.11. Heb, 1.10. But to end, its spoken by God the Father to Christ [Thou Lord in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the Earth, and the Heavens are the work of thy hands.

Yet further,

6. As Christ made the World, it must needs follow, that he also governs it: some­times immediately by himself, sometimes by [Page 48]the ministration of Angels, and as to the Church by his own Spirit. Thence is he sti­led King or Kings, King of Nations, and King of Saints. The Apostle Paul asserts him to be before all things in his eternal Es­sence,Col 1.17 and that by him all things do consist, [...],Heb. 1.3 have the continuation of their Beings, Lives and Motions. Yea, it is he, that beareth, supporteth and upholdeth all things by the word of his power. He spake the word and they were made, and he speaks and ordains the time, method and means of their continuance.

7. Besides, as he maintains and preserves the world in its being,Luk. 24.19. Joh. 2.11 & 11.4. & 6.54. & 5 21. & 1: 14: so likewise, beyond the ordinary course of nature, in the time of his Incarnation, he wrought all those mighty Miracles by his own divine power. Whereby he manifested his own Glory, that is, of his Deity. As in turning Water into Wine at Cana, and in raising of Lazarus, he was glorified to be the Son of God: Therefore▪ the Apostle John from that and many other cases, of raising the dead,Joh 5 17 & 15: 24: & 10: 18. &c. might well affirm, that he had seen his glory, even in the transfiguration, as of the only begotten of the Father, full of Grace and Truth. Till the incarnation or rather the beginning of his Ministry the Father wrought; But now (sayes he) I Work. He laid down the life of his Hu­manity,Heb: 1: Rom: 1: 4: &c. rose from the dead, ascended into Heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God by his own Divine Power. Tho tis true, that some of these things being some­times ascribed to God essential, and other­where [Page 49]predicated or affirmed of Christ per­sonal, do therein unite in the confirmation of his Deity: who performed all these great signs, that we should believe him to be the Son of God.1 Joh. 5.13.

8. Another Testimony of his glorious Deity is, the pardon of sin. The Phari­sees saw the force of this Argument,Mat. 9.3 Luk. 5.21. and blasphemously catcht at it, as a great crime, for arrogating to himself the honour which is alone due to the Majesty of God. But our Lord sufficiently knew the dignity of his own person, tho somewhat vailed: yet to the comfort of many a poor sinner, and to their inestimable joy, often (as a God) pro­nounced the forgiveness of their sins. Nay to shew the union of his humanity with the Deity, declares that the Son of Man hath po­wer upon Earth,Mat. 9.2, 3. Act 5: 31 Heb: 1.3 as well as in Heaven to forgive sins. So the Apostle to the Hebrews confirming his Godhead over and over in the same Chapter, asserts, that having pur­ged away our sins by himself, i. e. by his blood, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

9. Again, since contrite sinners do hum­bly supplicate to God for the pardon of sin: we find him recorded sometimes as the di­rect and immediate object of Worship both from men and angels.Joh 14.13 How often do we find him prayed to, and worshipt by his Disciples, and himself accepting all as his due. Now he that receives prayer and answers it to the people of God, and takes into his custody the spirits of dying Saints, [Page 50]as he did Stephen's, this person must needs be God. Nay all the Angels of God are com­manded to Worship him,Act: 7: 59 Heb: 1: 6 Mat: 8: 27 Job 38: 9 at whose word the raging seas hush into their swadling bands, and are quiet like a child sleeping in its cra­dle: the boisterous winds delight to be still, that they may without noise hear his delicious and heavenly voice with all silence and subjection, and make a halcyon calm from Pole to Pole.

10 But to end: He that is declared to be Judg of the World, and to raise all per­sons out of their Graves by h [...]s own Imperial command to appear at his righteous Bar, must not that person be God? If he knew not the hearts and thoughts of all and eve­ry secret thing from his own Omniscience,Eccl. 12: 14 which thing is an incommunicable attribute of God, he could not be Judg of quick and dead at his appearance and Kingdom. To Judge the World was by the Pharisees ac­knowledged to be the character of a God.2 Tim. 4: 8: The high Priest therefore hearing this, rents his clothes, and calls it Blasphemy. But why the second person having admitted the humanity into union, and being head of the Church should perform this glorious work,Mat: 26: 65 Mark 17: 64 depends only upon the Oeconomy of the sacred Trinity: a secret not to be irre­verently peered into but adored. Let's be wise to Sobriety according to what is writ­ten and not transcend the limits at the foot of the Mount.Rom: 12: 3 But to draw to an is­sue: He is also constituted Judg of Angels at that great day, they must bow their coe­lestial knees at his Name, and the evil Spi­rits [Page 51]acknowledg this while our Lord was here below,Isa: 45: 23 Rom: 14: 10, 11 Mat: 8.29: beseeching him not to torment them before the time. Now it is a work competent alone to a God to torment Spi­rits. All the powers in heaven and earth besides cannot do it of their own vigor and force, unless permitted, influenced, direct­ed and managed by God in it: and blessed be God for it, that hath reserved the domi­nion of our spirits to himself alone, as well as of Angels. But this supremacy was acted by Christ at his pleasure from the in­nate power of his Deity, when he cast them out as evil and unclean spirits sore a­gainst their wills, and at their supplication gave them leave to go hither or thither. For they are in adamantine chains, and those chains in his own hand,2 Pet: 2: 4. and casts them into hell and looses them when he pleases. There fore he, who by his own power and autho­rity in communion with the essential God­head doth these great things,Rev: 20: 1, 2, 7: must be God blessed for ever, Amen.

I know the Socinians talk of their created God, and so would sain evade the dint of Scriptures: but that's most perfect non­sence to assert two Gods, and one a created God. For Infinite can be but one: or else hold one to be titular, as Angels and Magi­strates, tho in a higher Orb and Order; which yet is inconsistent with the prece­dent Scriptural Arguments, that prove our blessed Lord to be God in essence, coequal with the Father and Holy Spirit, to whom be glory and dominion for ever and ever.

Now then, since this most excellent person [Page 52]by vertue of his sufferings in communion with his infinite Deity (tho in it self impassible) hath given full satisfaction to his Father for all the sins of Believers, and by whom we receive the attonement, Rom: 3: 21: & 5: 21 Act: 20: 2 even through the merit of his precious blood, and that hereby he is become a personal, particular and immediate Object of our Faith, and that by him we do believe in God the justifier of the ungodly through his righte­ousness and his alone: Rev: 22: 17: Heb: 9: 12: Eph: 5: 26: Tit: 2: 14: 1 Joh: 1: 7: 1 Pet: 1: 2 Rev: 8: 5: Heb: 9: 16: and that this glorious person so graciously invites all thirsty sinners to take the water of life freely, and to believe in his Name for the remission of Sins: let us come boldly to the Throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find Grace to help in time of need.

Now let this suffice to have written a­bout the two great Foundations of Faith.

In the first Chapter concerning the Di­vinity of the Scriptures: And in the second in reference to the Deity of our blessed Lord, which I hope will so satisfie, comfort and erect the Spirits of feeble and stagger­ing Believers, that they may the more sweetly and firmly lay the stress of their fears in life and death upon this Rock in Zion: and if they will be but careful and vigilant as to holy walking, and be earnest in Praver to enjoy the beautiful and Soul-refreshing influences of the Holy Spirit: They may then walk safely and joyfully through the valley of the shadow of death till they arrive at the mountain of Glory.

And so I proceed to the second part of this Treatise about the nature and actings of Faith it self more immediate and particular.

PART II. Of the Nature of Faith in particular.

Having in the first part of this Treatise, laid the precious foundation upon those two marble r [...]cks, the D [...] ­ctrine of the Divinity of the Scrip­tures, and the Deity of Christ: which may be likened to those vast and state­ly fulciments which Solomon built on the sides of Mount Moriah, to sus­tain the grandeur of the Temple. I should now proceed to erect the strong hold of confidence, & the pleasant Pa­lace of assurance: wherein that beautiful [Page 54]Daughter of Zion, the grace of faith sits as upon a throne of every, within the Curtains of our second Solomon.

And this I shall endeavour in the Ten Apartiments or Chapters following.

  • Chap. 1. Of the Name and Na­ture of Faith.
  • Chap. 2. The various Expressions setting out its nature.
  • Chap. 3. The lowest or least degree of saving Faith.
  • Chap. 4. Of Justification, the imme­diate effect of Faith.
  • Chap. 5. Of entring into Covenant with God by Faith.
  • [Page 55]Chap. 6. Of the necessary and insepa­rable connexion between Sanctifi­cation or holiness, and Faith.
  • Chap. 7. Of the Infirmities of Belie­vers.
  • Chap. 8. Of assurance or joy of Eaith how attained, with some clear signs.
  • Chap. 9. The danger of Ʋnbelief.
  • Chap. 10. The happy Fruits and be­nefits of Faith.

And so conclude the whole with some Corollaries by the bles­sed leave and help of our gra­cious God.

I intend not to enlarge very much on a­ny but to be briefest on those where others have been copious. On the second third, sixth and eighth, I would insist a little libe­rally: it being my primary design, to [Page]strengthen the weak believer, and in cou­rage sinking spirits: beseeching them to meditate seriously on the directions for understanding the nature of Faith in the first and second: and to be consciencious in their holy care of walking with God in the points pr [...]scribed in the 6th chap­ter. That so they may live more com­fortably, dye more sweetly, and reign vi­ctoriously.

And now let us walk together into the first chapter by the gracious assistance of our holy and ever-blessed God.

CHAP I. Of the name and nature of Faith

THe Rise or Origen of this word is from the Italian Fede, and that from the Latine, Fides, and that as some conceit, from the Greek [...] to perswade and that from the Hebrew, [...]. Cicero in his Offices descants on the word Fides, as if so term'd, quia fit quod di [...]tum: because we believed, what is spoken or promised, shall be done. Our English Saxon word [Believe] comes from the Dutch, lieven, and that as 'tis thought from the old provincial Latine among the Roman Colonies in those quarters [Libeo Libet] to list or consent to a thing with love or liking, and that the word Love comes from a Teutonick word of the same extract [Verloff] which signifies to assent. Now as one of the Ancients says, (consensio est volentis) consent is the act of a person that is willing: so to believe, is to consent freely and with love to the truth [Page 58]of what is spoken, which breeds convicti­on and satisfaction on the mind of man. Now the inclination of the will to believe, is wrought by God, and if any question, why one is perswaded by God and not a­nother.:Psal. 119.36. Let him take his answer from holy Paul, that 'tis God that maketh to differ, and O man, who art thou that re­pliest against God, and if that please not, let the bold fellow go look another:1 Cor, 4.7. Rom. 9, 20. But as Austin treats him, caveat presumptores, &c. Let him take heed of presuming in curious searches, and determining the my­steries of grace, and the counsels of God. Is it not abundantly enough, that thy heart is softned, melted, inclined to cast thy self wholly on the free-grace of the New-covenant: when others repelling the glorious light of the Gospel, run back a­gain to the Old Covenant of works, and split themselves upon the rock of presump­tion; expecting divine mercy without the merits of Christ, and so rush upon the pikes and spears of divine justice and ven­geance to their eternal ruine.

But to prosecute our work.

To Believe is to be perswaded and satis­fied in our hearts and consciences of what God hath spoken and promised in the holy Scriptures. On the other side, to beget a confidence and trust as to what any man speaks or asserts: among several Nations, according to their civil & municipal Laws there must intervene a proof or an ascer­tainment made by the instrument of a [Page 59]publick Notary, or by trusty witnesses of the vicinage as among the Northern Nati­ons, recited in Lindebrogius, &c. or else by sound arguments that cannot be refel­led without incurring gross absurdities: as in cases of unknown Murders, the won­derful providence of God doth shine forth in their discovery by such methods and probable arguments, which procure an ac­quiescence and quietation of spirit, as to the truth of the things delivered. But in divine cases ( [...]) I am sufficient­ly satisfied and perswaded by the meer word of God:Rom. 8.38 When I am sure that God has said it, I believe it, for in things Di­vine there can be no sublimer proof then the testimony of God himself. For the very being of an infinite God determines his verity; and when our imperfect and lapsed reason, and many times misguided by education, and the secret impressions of converse from designing persons, that are apostates from the truth; doth thr'u pride and envy, and delight in contention study to contradict, and invalidate the texts of sacred Scripture.

Let's remember that infinite Wisdome, (had it so pleased him) could have am­azed us with such potent arguments that might strike us dumb, and muzle and asto­nish us, as our Lord did the Pharisees at every turn.

God is Truth, and Truth Essential, the fountain of all Truth, and in him is no darkness at all. Not one Iota [Page 60]or tittle of any of his sacred words can be infringed by the least or greatest of Er­rors.John 1.5. Whence it comes, that the truths of Gods revelation are the grounds of all the firmitude and stability of our spirits; which otherwise might waver,Isa. 7.9. 2 Chron. 20.1. and wander from their constancy, per avia eserti, through the gloomy by-paths of error to all E­ternity.

In the significant language of the He­brews, the word therefore which is tran­slated by Faith, is a conjugate from [...] verity or truth For as much as Truth is the peculiar object of trust, and whence some think the word Trust to be derived; [...] and therefore judg that all lyars, promise-breakers and false witnesses are unfit to be trusted with persons or matters of the very least importance, and should be thrust out of all good mens houses, and all ci­vil society,Psal. 101.7. and should be forced to live among beasts or such as are like themselves, which is worse and there cheat and abuse one another till their mutual extirpation; or rather by godly and wise Magistrates be made to suffer the penalty prescribed by a wise and holy God,Deut. 19.19. & 22, 19. ac­cording to what their lies and false wit­ness might have injured their brother: whether in life, member, good name or estate, they should suffer exactly the same punishment, their eye should not spare nor pity, according to the Lex Talionis, or else the world will never be at rest nor quiet from wicked wretches.

But were this Law of God made the Law of Nations, his blessing would follow it with more peace and tranquility, then yet the world hath seen.

Well then, as Truth is a most radiant at­tribute of God, and dwells in his nature, as he is Ens primum & simplicesimum, the eternal and uncompounded Being:Job. 4.18. And if Angels, whom he charges with folly in comparison with himself, do not (racio­cinari) reason by mediums, but act by in­tui [...]ion: how much more does that most abstruse and immense being, the Father of lights, both in his cognition of all things at once, and according to the purpose of his own will, act in expressing and mani­festing what he pleases to his creatures and shining upon that manifestation with such a glorious ray of truth, that were it not from the darkness of our lapsed estate, we should without any dispute or hesitation im­mediately imbrace it for the highest and unquestionable verity. Hence it is that in whatever he speaks from his most holy mouth by Oracles or Prophets ratified in their authority from him, must be judged a great presumption and impiety to call for a reason of any of his words or actions by bold and daring, and impudent creatures. For from the raies of truth streaming from the immense and soul-dazling sun of his verity flows all the certainty and stabiliment in the spirits of angels or men, to fix and settle us in our belief and obedience.

Whoever then does believe, sets his seal to the Word that God is true; and he that [Page 62]doth not believe, as far as in him lies, would seem to induce,John 3.33. that the holy and true God, should be a lyar and deceiver, and not to be trusted. Such is the most horrible conse­quent of unb lief. Though I am well sa­tisfied, that there are some trembling fouls, that either from natural timerous tempers or some other dark incidencies upon their spirits do not come up to clear and comfor­table actings of Faith,The Lady Thomson late of Osterley: park but now in heaven. & that abhorr the very thoughts of not trusting God upon his word of Promise, and are truly gracious at bot­tom, though cannot discern and know it. As I knew not long since a gracious Person, when discoursing of the work of God upon her heart, [...] John 5.10. & 6.29. said that she trembled at that Scripture in John, of making God a lyar, and that the deep pondring upon it, was the beginning of her conversion. One is apt to think, it were a very easy thing to believe the holy God upon his Word:Eph. 1 19: 2 Thes. 1.11 Eph. 3.16, 17. 1 Tim. 1.15. but indeed, renewed and sanctified persons have found it one of the most difficult works in the whole world, because its contrary to nature, to found our salvation upon anothers righteousness, & therefore needs a miraculous work from God to effect it in us. It's true, that the doctrine of the Gospel is a most faithful say­ing that is, a most certain and undoubted assertion full of grace and truth, and wor­thy of all acceptation or embracing (u­trique ulnis & in utraque cordis camera) in our most intimate bosomes: that Christ came into the world to save sinners: But it requires almighty power of the spirit of Christ to bring us to the obedience of faith, [Page 63]But of this more (God granting) in the sequel. Now I'le proceed about some things in the nature of Faith, to which end I may recount that good old saying of Au­stin cited by some (Accipe & signas) re­ceive it, that is, believe it, and thou feal­est to the truth of God. Thus Sarah act­ing by Faith, judged him faithful who had promised, and attained the end of her par­ticular trust in the case whereunto God had spoken.

But not to dilate in generals, I might proceed to the hononymy of the term, and the various Synonymous expressions of it found in Scripture. I might from fathers and schoolmen, from confessions of the Re­formed Churches, and their commentaries, common places and Systemes from contro­versial writings between us and the Roma­nists, and from the many holy practical writers of our own on this very subject, raise a great pile or mass of discourse, and therein but actum agere, over and over with the same in some little varieties. But I forbear, since my chief end and scope is principally to erect and comfort broken, languishing spirits, that hang in suspence as it were between the hopes of heaven, and the fears of hell: I would gladly put a Scripture staff (even one of the staves of the Ark within the Sanctuary) into the hands of every weary and heavy laden soul.

I shall not then be nice or over-curious in handling this point under the distinct heads of definition or description, or in di­stinguishing it into several sorts, and so [Page 64]proceed to examine all the causes, effects properties, adjuncts, contraries, and the se­veral corollaries deducible from all: or the cases of conscience, doubts and objections afflicting troubled spirits; for they are in­numerable: but only treat upon some par­ticulars most practical and useful, either past by, or but lightly touched by others. As Doctor Boodt that learned Physitian, and of great request with the Reverend Bishop Ʋsher, was more pleased to write [de af­fectibus ommisses] of cases not handled, then to trouble the world with large bodies of Phisick over and over. So should all endeavour not to burden the church of God with swelling discourses, wrought up into a cumbersome Tympany out of others pre­ceding, who have done worthily in their generations: but should either add quid no­vi: or quid noviter, either something new, that may increase christians knowledg and grace, or after a concise and clear method, that may raise the fancy, sortifie memory, and take with such as are out of the church to help on their conversion. Though I am sensible of my own deficiency, and intreat a candid Reader to pardon what is here done out of a great thirst and desire to cast in some mites for initiated believers, as may help I hope, and add to their faith, or the joy of faith, and supply something of what is yet lacking in the faith of some weaker christians, with whom we converse in Ordinances. Divinity is an Ocean that hath neither shoares nor bottom, there is room enough without envy for every one to spread new Sails, and in continual tra­velling, [Page 65]we may still see more wonders of God in these Deeps.

But yet not to prescind and cut off all proper method and genuine handling of this subject.

I shall first set down the true nature and essence of this grace of saving faith, and then proceed to the rest of the chapters in their prescribed order.

Now since it hath pleased the goodness of God, to give spiritual life to many thou­sands in these British Isles, that have, and do believe by the instrumentality of seve­ral burning and shining lights ever since the latter end of the Reign of Tiberius, Gildas deexci [...] Britan. when the Gospel began first to shine among our praecessors: whom God hath raised from age to age out of his infinite mercy, as serviceable under his divine commission to open and apply the holy Scriptures; from Joseph of Arimathea and his compani­ons at Glastenbury, as our Ancestors do ge­nerally determine it, and have handed it through dark and gloomy times,Spelman. concil Tom. 1. till its brightness recovered again by the industry of German of Auxere, and Lupus of Troyes, their disputation at Vepulam against Pela­gius his errors and heresies. Nay, through his divine goodness there never wanted some worthy patrons of the truth under British Saxon, and Nerman Governments, till the days of Wicklif, that great Lumi­nary, whose rayes shone into Bohemia, Helv [...]tia, and thence into Poland, as a late [Page 66]worthy Rector of Lesna, an university in that Kingdom, sometimes since did ac­quaint me, that they own it. And after him still sprang up more and more illustri­ous persons till the restauration from Po­pery. Since which the doctrines of holy [...]aith derived from Scripture have been set forth by the Reformed in several Na­tions, and called a Body of confessions prin­ted in quarto. But to let them pass: I shall for the maine follow that Type of truth which our own teachers have gather- out of those sacred pages.

In the first place then, the church of England having exhibited the main doct­rines consonant to the holy Scriptures in their Articles, Catechism and Homilies, I shall name some particulars to our pur­pose about Faith.

In the eleventh Article we have this clause: [That we are justified by faith only, is a most wholsome doctrine, and very full of comfort, See Nowels Catechism. Homilies edit Lond. 1635. Fol. p. 22. Homily of [...]al­vation or justi­fication) part 1. p. 14. as is more largly expressed in the ho­mily of Justification] of which more fully in the confession of Faith, and the defence of it by Bishop Jewel, some hints see in the Catechism, but especially the Homilies.

In the fourteenth Homily thus; [Live­ly Faith is a true trust and confidence of the mercy of God through our Lord Jesus Christ] and farther, that this [true and lively faith is not ours, but by Gods working in us.] and again, p. 17. 'Tis not the act of faith that justifies, that were by some act or vertue, that [Page 67]is within our selves, &c:] and again, p. 18. [By Faith given us of God, we embrace the promise of Gods mercy, and of the remis­sion of our sins] and yet still more fully in the third part, p. 20. [True christian faith is, &c to have a sure trust and confidence in Gods merciful promises to be saved from ever­lasting damnation by Christ, whereof doth fol­low a loving heart to obey his Commandments]

In the little Catechism there are hints to the same purpose, as that in the answer a­bout Baptism, there is required Faith [Whereby they stedfastly believe the promises of God.]

But lets proceed to others;

The Assembly of Divines in their Con­fession of Faith, after some previous Dis­course about it, expresly thus. [The prin­cipal act of saving Faith are, accepting, re­ceiving and resting upon Christ alone for Justification, Sanctification, and eternal life, by vertue of the covenant of Grace.] There's also much to the same effect, am­plified in the larger, and contracted in the shorter Catethism.

The Declaration of the Faith and Order of the Congregational Churches in En­gland met at the Savoy in London, by the Elders and Messengers, Octob. 12. 1658. ex­press it in the very same words, Chap. 14. Sect. 2. Page 24. which are before rehearsed out of the confession of the Assembly of Di­vines at Westminster.

All these Societies then for substance do most harmoniously agree in the same Do­ctrine [Page 68]of Faith, exclusive of works in the point of Justification. And oh that they would also, once agree to live quietly and peaceably by each other, as becomes Pro­fessors of the same holy Faith, washt in the same holy Baptism, and called in one hope of the same calling, and as becomes the wor­shippers of one Lord, and one God and Fa­ther of all,Eph. 4.5. who is above all, and through all, and in all, that truly believe.

We agree in Judgment, as to the great points of Salvation, and why not affection and brotherly love, and peace; forbearing one another in little matters, not introdu­ced into the primitive Churches before the declension and apostacy began, I am sure, the Church of England teaches other Doctrine in the second and third part of the ☞ Sermon of Faith. Well then, we are at amity in this great particular, That [Faith is the gracious acting of the whole soul or heart of a sincere Christian; whereby he rests and relies upon a crucified Saviour, for remission of sins and eternal life grounded on the precious promises of God: which is infused and wrought there by the holy Spi­rit at our new birth and convertion from sin to holiness.]

In this Declaration of the nature of Faith we may for distinction sake, take more e­special notice of the succeeding particulars in peculiar Sections.

SECT. I.

1. FIrst, We may enquire, where this Grace of Faith is subjected, and thats exprest to be in the whole man.

The Subject of its inherence is not this or that particular faculty, but the whole Soul or heart of Man: as the Scripture of­ten expresses it: and we may observe that some times the Heart is put for the1 King. 3.9. un­derstanding: sometimes for theAct. 7.39. will, other times for1 Cor. 7.37. purpose: for the af­fection ofMat. 6.21. love: for inordinateRom. 1.24. lusts in their seat: forEccl 6.7. desire, and for theLuk. 1.16 & 21.14 Acts 8: 37: Luk. 24 Rom. 10.9. Prov: 3: 5: memory.

Now that Faith is scituate, first in ge­ral, in the heart, and then in the particular faculties; let us further manifest it: and begin with that of Philip to the Eunuch of Ethiopia, [If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest he baptized] so our Lord to the two Disciples, O foolish and slow of heart to believe. Again, in the Epistle to the Romans, If thou shalt believe in thy heart, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness: and we are commanded to trust in the Lord with all our heart. And again, Christ is said to dwell in [Page 70]our hearts by Faith: and on the other side, unbelief is fixed also,Eph: 3: 17. Heb: 3: 12 or seated in the heart. Take heed lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief. I might multiply, but its obvious in Scripture.

The Jewish Rabbins or Philosophers (such as they are) use to place the Soul and its understanding faulty in the heart,Job 38: 36 according to that in Job, Barthol. Anat. Hag. 165 [...].8. d. Cartesius l: 3 c: 6. p: 336 Fromond. de anima Who gives understanding to the heart: but the Greek Schools in the head or brain; where some Anatomists have found out a chamber of presence; and therein the Glandula pinealis, where this Empress sits in state, and commands the little world or Empire of man. The Peripateticks give the Soul a Forest-range through the whole body & others (as Tremember) conceit that it swims in the blood, and flies up and down in the spirits, &c. and make a great stir about the fibula animae: the button or bond that ties or links the rational and ani­mal soul together, and when they come to the powers and faculties of the Soul, they make great distinction, and from thence their notions are derived and mixed with many subtleties among the school Divines, in the dark times, before the Reformation appeared. Whose works though in some things may be of good use to fix terms and distinctions: yet ordinarily their niceties have eaten out the heart of solid Divinity, till the happy dayes of the restauration of the Gospel.

As to what we are upon,Durandus Q Scaliger, &c. I think with some of the School men, and several other Learned men of late, that there is no sound [Page 71]foundation in reason for this variety of fa­culties, specifically distinct as some would have it: yet having asserted that Faith, is subjected in the whole Soul, that I may conform to the received and used Opinion: I would shew how Faith resides and acts in every reputed faculty, and thence by indu­ction of particulars in the whole Soul.

That Faith is seated in the understanding, is undoubted; because it is a rational act of the soul, being resolved into the divine authority of God, who is insallible. Since also our reason is finite, corrupt and obno­xious to many impostures from satan: I take him for the wisest and most rational person, who in the deep and profound mysteries of Christian Religion,2 Coe: 4: 4: acts his reason by Faith in this life, and waits for fuller Revelation when he comes to glory. Here we see, that is, understand but in part, but there we shall know even as we are known.1 Cor: 13: 12:

In the work of Grace, the understanding is first enlightned to know the truth, called the opening of the heart in Lydia, Acts 16: 14: Joh: 4: 10 & our bles­sed Lord tells the woman of Sichem: if thou knewest the gift of God, thou would­est have asked him for living water. Theres a thick massy wall broken through by the hammer of Gods word, [...]. within the stony heart,2 Cor: 10: 4. and a clear christal window placed in the breach: that the light of the glorious Gospel may shine into the mind:2 cor 4 4. which be­fore was blinded by the God of this world, that they should not believe the truth.Eph: 5: 6: Ye were darkness it self (sayes Paul) more [Page 72]than Egyptian or Cymbrian, this being the darkness of the bottomless pit, but now are light in the Lord.

This illumination from Heaven fetches off the scales as from the eyes of Paul, and teaches us all to have a prospect of an Ocean of wonders in Gods Law, and of deep mysteries in the promises, yea to appre­hend and apply them aright.Isa: 53: 11:

Therefore Faith is sometimes set out by knowledg,Joh: 10: 38: by his Knowledg (objectively) shall my righteous servant justifie many. Our Lord also proving his Deity by his Mi­racles,& 17: 3: bids them, if they will not credit his words, yet believe his works: that ye may know sayes our Lord; and believe that the Father is in me and I in him. Where know­ledg and Faith are explicitly connexed to­gether.& 14: 20 Again, This is life eternal to know thee and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. It was to that purpose our Lord made himself known and manifest to all his Disciples in the glory of his Deity. Yea our Faith on him as God-man is wrought in us by revelation from the Spirit, the eyes of our understanding being enligtned by him.Eph: 1: 17 So that we have both the object and Organ illustrated at once: Christ set forrh in the Gospel, and our understanding shone upon by the Spirit: and at length from the first degree of light, the Saints proceed from Faith to Faith,Rom: 1: 17 Col. 2.2: & 1: 12: 2 Tim: 4: 8: and then by holy Me­ditation with deligence, arrive to that ac­knowledgment of the mystery of God and of the Father, and of Christ. Nay to such sweet and full assurance at last, that with holy Paul, they come to know, whom they [Page 73]have believed, and wait for the Crown of Righteousness at his appearance and King­dom. From all this we may conclude that a true Believer takes Christ for his Saviour and Ruler, with a clear and irrefragable Judgment.

2. The second particular work in the order of nature, (tho conjoynt in time) as to conversion, is the inclination of the will to receive Christ. Now because the Scripture delights exceedingly to set forth our Relation to Christ by Marriage union:Eph: 5: 32 Song of Solom: I shall a little insist upon it. We say then in such covenants. that 'tis the Will that makes the Match. Tis not the saying a few words in the Chancel out of a Book by inforcement of Parents or Friends instiga­tion against their own wills and minds, such Marriages are but bruitish conjunctions, when persons marry meerly for Money or outward Preferments, & not unfained love, which God never ordained or appointed to be the ends of that blessed union, but with the heart and sincere affection. Promises are but dipt in falshoods and lies, and of­ten managed by some subtle false Judas for base ends: where the sweet unforced in­clinations of the will is not present: which will after a while vent it self in captious, per­verse suspitions and unnatural reflections, and seldom ends but in gall and bitterness without great mercy to the innocent party. For the truth is,Sanc [...]ior copul [...] cordis quam. corporis: it can be no less than an original cheat, and a wicked action: when a Woman accepts a Husband meerly for gain or honour, when her heart was never honestly and truly towards him. It was [Page 74]the false act of a strange or whorish heart in the sight of God, when others whose spirits were right, might have stood sincere and faithful, being filld with candor and sweetness; in conjugal Relations. Even so it is as to outward, hypocritical and feign­ed Professors, who take Christ in the Sun­shine of the Gospel, and in hope of a great inheritance, when the will in its personal adherence to Christ for his righteousness, and holiness, never came to a true and real union. Whereas the Will is the main point in Marriage, according to the determinate rule of the civil Law [Consensus non con­cubitus efficit matrimonium, Cod. Justin Tis consent and not the bed that makes it.] So in all mo­ral actions, contracts and agreements: neither is it otherwise in this grand, spiri­tual concernment of the soul: when the Judgment has declared the undone and rui­ned estate of any out of Christ, and pro­claimed the rare excellencies that are in him; and how appropriate a Saviour to scatter all our fears, root out all despon­dencies; and to supply all its wants and in­digencies: Then comes in the Will, and chooses his person as the most lovely in Heaven and Earth, consents to all his gra­cious offers, and sincerely embraces his love and mercy with unspeakable joy and thankfulness, and delightful resolutions of new and constant Obedience.

The soul then being invited by Christ in such sweet alluring terms,Rev: 24: 17: Isa: 551: Song: 1: 3: as these [Who­soever will, let him come and take of the water of life freely, and ho every one that thirsteth, &c.] it finds a sweet inclination [Page 75]smelling fragrantly of the precious anoint­ings of the Spirit: when this powerful faculty is turned about, renewed and fil­led with the balsome of heaven, and there­by through infinite grace and irresistable power allured to look, and run after him, to accept him and close with him on the terms of the New Covenant of grace.

In Scripture therefore, the Will is often phrased and signified by the beart. Thus Solomon prayes at the Dedication, that the Lord would incline their hearts, that is,1 King: 8: 58: Psal. 119, 36, 112. sweetly bend their wills to keep his laws; and David thus, incline my beart unto thy testimonies, and to perform thy Statutes. To incline the will, is, when divine light has set before, the understanding, the know­ledge of the true good, this divine power inwardly moves the will to it;Lactant. de Orig c: 3: de fals. sap. l. 3. c. 10 de ira Dei c: 7. & Bp Wilkins in a set discourse 8. Lond. 1678. not by any force or coaction, but by a sweet melting and moulding it into the Will of God. Man is a rational creature, and a religi­ous, as Lactantius seems to make the last his specifick difference from bruits. So that when the stony heart is by infinite power changed into golden oar, then 'tis melted by the fire of divine love in the furnace of godly repentance, and by de­grees cast into the mould of the divine will, and effigiated or shaped into the ex­act image of his Son. After this great work, the renewed soul finds its will de­termina: ely carried to blessed objects, and turned quite about to delight in heavenly persons and things. There's no compul­sion in the point, but natura renovata fertur, [Page 76]the soul being changed, is now by its own spontaneous freedom carried with a spiri­tual naturality to that which is coadequate to its essence, and hath received from God a blessed recovery to an enjoyment of, and a complacency in this supreame and everlasting good. Now though the soul can do no otherwise (as far as 'tis renewed) yet it is no way compelled, but acts according to its own delight and plea­sure. For the whole soul, whole heart, whole will, so far as renewed, is carried out with all the Sails of its desires, and satiated with the sense and comfort of this most happy change, and when come to heaven will be fully concentred in those enjoyments, and bathed in that Ocean of bliss, no otherwise in their (though mi­nute) proportion, than God himself, the humane nature of our Lord, then holy Angels, and the Saints in glory.

After which manner some of the Anci­ents, and several of the Moderns express themselves. I shall a little touch upon what Strangius declares to this point [Li­bertas naturae est ab omni necessitate, Strangig. de Voluntate Dei, amstel. 1657. p. 683. l 3 c. 14 & p. 686. quae re­pugnat naturae voluntatis] Liberty of nature is when free from all necessity, which is a thing repugnant to the nature of the Will.

Again, [Necessity doth not overthrow our Liberty.]

Again,p. 687. [Indifferency lies then in the nature of Liberty, when it can act or not act about the same object, when it may choose either that or another] and afterward instances in God, [Page 77]in Angels, and in the blessed Saints,690. and so Pemble p. 87. Ant Burges of sin p. 312. whose will is determined to true Good, &c.

This powerful and sweet motion and in­clination of the will of a believer by the spirit of God, may be happily shadowed forth by the inclination of the mind in persons carried towards union in the Mar­riage-covenant. It is of God, and gene­rally little or no reason to be given of ma­ny of their choices, but an influence or impulse from heaven, in those that out of pure and honest affection, give mutual consent to that relation, and not for any base and sinister ends, but for personal delight in each other: wherein that un­spotted, intaminated love in rational be­ings, so vastly differs from bruitish lusts, and draws nigh to an Angelical Excellen­cy, like that of an honourable Lady to a Philosopher in Scotland, mentioned by Burton in his book of Melancholly. How much more and transcendently excellent is that joyful and heavenly love moving in the heart by the finger of God, in a soul that thirsts after spiritual espousals to the Lord of Life.

There is no adumbration of our union to the Lord Jesus, more proper or per­tinent than this, wherein the Scripture doth so greatly delight. To the accom­plishment whereof the drawing of the Father is requisite, and 'tis performed by inward teaching,Eph. 5.32. Rev. 19.7. Johae 6.44, 45, and thereby producing a heavenly inclination to this union and communion with his Son: as the most [Page 78]excellent person, and most beloved of the Soul. This secret work being formed up­on the heart, makes up that inseparable conjunction with Christ, which shall tri­umph in the same chariot to eternity. Moreover, when 'tis freely consented to by the Soul (For the gracious heart acts voluntarily, tho by the spirits instigation and inflexion) then does God impute the righteousness of his beloved Son to that soul, being now become a true believer, and by inward intire love in the heart, es­poused to him.

Hence it follows, that whatever the son hath, the Father makes over to a Saint; who by vertue of those espousals enters into a right and title to Christ Wisdom, [...] cor. 1.30. righteousness, sanctification and redempti­on, and becomes a co-heir with Christ of the same inheritance in the kingdom of glory, and as it is here in the kingdom of grace, so much more in heaven above, fulget radiis mariti, the Church shineth not by reflected, but by infused or implanted rayes of her husbands glory, being one with Christ in mystical union, the same spirit and the same glory being in them, as our Lord sets it out, [I in them, and thou in me, John 17.22, 23. Ezek. 16.14. John 1.12. and the glory which thou gavest me, have I given them, that they may be one, even as we are one] In his comliness we are made perfect. For on them that re­ceive him, the Father bestoweth a power­ful and magnificent priviledge to become the adopted sons of God.

Having discoursed a little largely, (with thanks to the stronger christians for their leave and candid forbearance of time as to the weaker Saints, about the nature of the will, as being the principal seat of Faith, and the seminary of its fruitful ef­fects.

Let us now proceed,

In the third place to the affections of the soul, which are indeed but several emanations or streams from the Will, and may be compared to semidiametral lines that flow from this center, and run out in­to the spacious circumference of actions. For when the heart or will inclines this or that way, or to their opposites: it then shines forth in those extensive eradi­ations by the passions and several affections of the Soul. As for instance,Isa. 26. the church of God in the Prophet cries out with my soul have I desired thee in the night season. So in respect to fear, holy persons are said to fear God in the singleness of heart: Col. 3.22. D [...]ut 13.3. Judg. 16, 152. Song 1 4, 7▪ and o­thers are recounted to love, and trust in the Lord with all their hearts, and love is stated to be from the heart.

In this love of our hearts to Christ, lies the quintescence of our union, and thence a spouse like reverence, and a sweet holy fear to offend, or displease him in the least.Eph. 5.33. The like whereof is commanded in Scrip­ture, to be the holy deportment of all Wives to their Husbands, Let the Wife s [...]e or look to it [...], that she fear or reverence her Husband. Inso­much [Page 80]that Solomon brings in the Spouse with such a reverent care; when her bride­groom was asleep, that she charges all persons in and about the place, to make no noise that may disturb or awake her beloved till he please. [...]ong 2.3 She is filled with an heart-ravishing joy in communion with him, though here but through the lat­tesse of Ordinances, takes sweet compla­cency in an holy rest in his fellowship, [...]ong 2.5. and feels a delicious faintness in the sick ago­nies of love: is always satiated in his so­ciety, but never satisfied, always filled to the brim with pleasure, and running over in his praise to the daughters of Jerusalem, while the fountain of love pours out of the heart of Christ into the bosome of a Saint, by a true perpetual motion, this glorious person, [...] 5.7. delighting in his goodness and re­joycing over us with singing.

These and many more are the pure, un­stained, sanctified motions of the will, so far as renewed, rectified by grace, and acting towards its native and genuine ob­jects at first concreated with it; as fit, proper and qualified for it. 'Tis the will then, [...]sal: 42.1, 8.25. which desires, loves, thirsts, longs and pants after the living God, and is ne­ver quiet or settles its full complacency on any person or thing besides God alone, but there 'tis satiated with all manner of de­light and joy for evermore.

4. In the next place, conscience comes in to act its part, and having lookt round about upon all the pre-actings of the soul, [Page 81]subscribes to the new creation with this eulogy: Behold all the work of God is very good. It is a mixt act of the soul flowing from the understanding and will together, and proceeds from an inward work,Simplicius. as a philosopher expresses it, if I remember right.

When the soul makes dialogues within it self: It is the reflexion of the soul upon all its precedent acts, whether radical or deduced, wherein conviction is mainely concerned: As the Evangelist speaks of some Pharisees, that they were convinced of their own consciences,John 8.9. which do accuse or excuse according to the nature of the light and integrity within, and so helps the soul to assurance, by a diligent intuiti­on into the actings of Faith. Conscience is the souls looking-glass,Rom. 2.15, wherein it be­holds all the red flashings upon its face, when others talk behind them at a distance. This inward redness more especially rises from the immediate rebukes of this vice­gerent, and happy are such, who have their hearts sprinkled from an evil consci­ence [nil conscire sibi, Heb. 10.22. nullaque aubescere onlpa] To be conscious of no guilt, and to have no faults staining vermilion upon the cheeks of conscience.

I might enlarge in the next place upon the power of fancy and imagination, that anvill and hammer of thoughts in the work-house of the brain.

But I rather proceed to the last that I shall touch upon: and that's the Memo­ry, [Page]that wonderful faculty: which Austin in his confessions does so extreamly and deservedly admire, and the Platonists are so deeply affected with it, that they thought the souls science to be little else then reminiscence, or a recognition of what it had before its delapse from heaven into the body. Memory is the souls christal cabinet replenisht with diamond cells or Loculi, so termod by Tully: wherein things heard and learned, are safely retained; and who is able to expound the reason of its rehearsals. It is the recollection of the soul upon it self, acting over and reviewing every thing at its pleasure, and thereby hath a great influence upon the affecti­ons to excite them with delight or do­lour [meminisse juvabit & dolehit] When we lay up memorials in our hearts, the end is to bring them forth of the treasu­ry of a good and honest breast,Luk. [...].66 Psal. 139.18. & 63.6. like wise Scribes fitted for the Kingdom of God. Thus David remembers God sometimes to his comfort, and when awake, was still with God. At other times he remembred God and was troubled, comparing his present dolesome state with his former more delicious times.

This faculty (so we may term it,Galen being a [...] or a faciendi pote­stas) a power in the Soul to do something peculiar in calling things to remembrance, carries a flaming Torch in its hand over all the chambers of the Soul, [...]nuert. Instit. and by Physiti­ans and Philosophers is reckoned one of the three inferior senses. Now in this, as [Page 83]in all other powers Faith hath its residence, and acts in and from them upon its most noble and spiritual objects. I shall not re­count many Scriptures [Some trust in Hor­ses, and some in Chariots: Psal. 20.7 [...] but we will remem­ber the Name of the Lord our God, even what he hath done for us of old, and trust him still. Saints use to call to mind former merc [...]ies to encourage Faith [I will remember thee from the land of Jordan, Psal. 42.6. and of the Hermo­nites, from the hill Mizzar, the little hill Mizoar before Zoar. In which and the like places David escaped the violence of Saul. Memory helps Faith in a gracious person, recalling the ancient benefits of God to his Church, and his wonders of old. Help a Holy mans Memory as to former actings of Faith in his straits, and you comfort him presently with the sweet hope of con­tinued deliverances, till he arise to the great deliverance in the Heaven of glory.

But lest I be tedious, I shall prosecute no more, but descend to the second Section of this Chapter.

SECT. II. Of the Primary Efficient Cause of FAITH.

AS to the efficient Cause, Author or Worker of Faith in the heart: we know that every good gift comes down from Heaven. And hence Faith is sometime ascribed to the donation of God essential; being called the gift of God, the Faith of the operation of God. Again,Jam. 1.17 Eph 2.2. Col. 2.2. Phil. 1.29. [...] Thess. 1.11. Phil. 2.13: tis said to be given to the Saints to believe, and the work of Faith is said to be the effect of his mighty power: In which, and in all other heavenly gifts and graces, to will and to do are both wrought of God. As tis in true repentance, a grace thats al­wayes conjoyned with Faith, and leads out of our selves by the hand of Faith into Christ; the former being given of God, so is Faith. [...] Cor. 3.5. All our sufficiency to think but a good thought slides down from Heaven.

Q. If you ask then, How thoughts come into the heart?

A. I Answer: They flow into the head or heart by the power of imagination, thru the windows of the senses or from concre­ated ideas, or by some instillations and spe­cial infusions from God, as it is in all curi­ous Arts and Sciences:Prev. 8.12 He is the finder out of all witty Inventions, as we read in the case of Bezaleel for the Tabernacle, and in Hiram for Temple works. If you ask, whence holy thoughts come? I answer, from the infusion of the Spirit,Gen. 1.2: and his warming the waters of the Soul; as it is exprest by Moses in the first Creation, so it is in the new Creation from the breathings of the Spirit on the garden of spices, which [...]e himself hath planted in our hearts.Isa. 26.12: Psal. 33: 22: 1 Chro. 29: 18: 1 Joh: 2: 27 So it is in the work of Faith, as the Church ex­presses it: Thou hast wrought all our works in us and for us: he causeth us to trust or hope in his Word. He begins and inspires good thoughts into us, and keeps them in the imagination of our hearts. He teaches and anoints us with the oil of the Spirit. He makes all new within us, and puts hearts of flesh into us,Jer. 31: 18: Ezek. 36: 26 and turns us unto himself, because he is the Lord our God, having accepted us into covenant relation with himself.

Sometimes the work of Faith is ascribed to the Father, as in that to the Ephesians: Eph 1 19, 20 we are made to believe by the exceeding gr [...]at­ness of the mighty power of the Father, even the same power which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead.Joh. 6.4 [...] And otherwhere it is said, that no man can come to the Son (that is, by Faith) except the Father draw him by the golden chain of his e­lecting [Page 86]love, and teaches him from his chair in Heaven. Besides the work is oftentimes ascribed to Christ, who is said to be the Author and Finisher of our Faith, and that he is exalted to give repentance and for­giveness of sins,Heb 12.2. Act 5.31 both which are intimately connexed with Faith, as in the case of the Father of the tormented Child,Mark 9.24 praying to Christ to help his unbelief.

But more especially and immediately its attributed to the holy Spirit, who works in our understandings to think of heavenly things, and puts holy motions into our hearts, which are the original of those sud­den thoughts by darting of Scriptures, and precious Promises into our memories,Rom. 8.5, 9. [...] John 14.26. and kindling sparks of light and comfort in our hearts: yea the witnessing of our spi­rits to him are wrought by him. He in­clines our wills to embrace himself, and Christ our Lord. For if we have not the spirit of Christ,Rom 8.9. we are none of his. Yea, Faith it self, even as all other graces are given by one and the same spirit. Again, one of the fruits of the Spirit is recorded to be Faith,1 cor. 12, 9 and to speak with reverence, it is from his implantation and inoculation in the new paradise of the Soul.Gal 5.22. Yea, and after that we have believed, we are al­so sealed up in the Faith by this holy spirit of promises. He seals all his own gracious workings upon our hearts. Sometimes Believers are said to receive the Holy Ghost presently upon the first work which evi­dently shews the connexion of Faith and holiness by the same spirit.Eph 1.13.13, 19.3, 16, 17 Hence tis ob­servable, [Page 87]that tho Prophecies be never so perspicuously and radiantly fulfilled, and tho admirable miracles were performed to illustrate the presence of the Deity: yet they wrought not the least grain of Faith, without the energy of the spirit; he must add thereto an inward miracle upon the heart. Thus it befel the Israelites in the A­rabian Desart: Deut. 29.3, 4. For God (sayes Moses) gave them not a heart to perceive unto that day. Just so the Capernaites, they saw Christs blessed person, and his eminent Miracles; but believed not, as not being given to them by the Father:Joh 6.36, 37. John 12.37. and so it was with the Pharisees and other Jews, tho he had done such great works before their eyes, yet they believed not on him. There must be therefore a working power of the spirit concomitant with the Ministry of the out­ward call of the Word: else none shall be­lieve the report of Christ by Isaiah, Isa. 53.1. unless the arm of the Lord be revealed within. Hence it is that some have professed to have heard a kind of voice at their conversion: as holy Austin declares expresly concerning himself under a fig tree in the Garden at Millain: Confes. l 8. c 1 [...]. not difformous from that of the Prophet;Isa 30.21. They shall hear a voice behind them saying, this is the way, walk ye in it.

Q. But some may say, If Faith be wrought by the Holy Ghost, Gal. 3.2. how is it said that we re­ceive the Holy Ghost by Faith?

A. I Answer, Tho the Holy Ghost work Faith in us at first, that Faith which was wrought in us by him, is further augmen­ted [Page 88]and increased in us by the fame holy spirit and acts together with him in prayer for a further addition of his gifts and gra­ces. Besides in the primitive times, it was the method of mercy, that when persons had declared their Faith, upon that they re­ceived the Holy Ghost in his dona ministran­tia or gifts for good of the Church. I might treat further of the adjuvant, subor­ninate and instrumental causes, the various and wonderful methods, the seasons and times of divine working. As Naaman was excited by a poor captive Maid at home, and by his Servants abroad, to believe God for his cure by the Prophet: it is in thousands of cases and notable circumstances: where­in God produces this blessed work: but I must surcease, and end with a deduction, that since the work of Faith is supernatu­ral, and our conversion birth from the spirit: then are we not the sons of God begotten by the will of man,Joh: 3: 6: Joh: 1: 12. but of God and are breathed upon with the breath of spiritual life, by that free agent the spirit of God. Not where and when the heady list and free will of man pleases that great Idol of a perishing World,Act 18: 29: Prov. 1.19: Eph: 2: 1: rejecting the free grace of God. Faith is of Grace. There's no power in nature to believe, nay the very preparation of the heart is from the Lord. We are by nature dead in sins and trespasses, and can no more believe than the old feign­ed Atlas can support the heavens, or an in­considerable fly with her impetuous hum­mings can shove a Mountain into the Sea.

But I pass to the six Sections belonging to this Chapter: whereof briefly, hasten-to the Chapters I chiefly aim at.

SECTION. 3.

The next thing to have toucht, was the more immediate and peculiar Object of Eaith; and that's no more than the person of our blessed Lord in his sufferings, our beloved Saviour on the Cross: viz. to be­lieve on his Name, to look up to the An­titype of the brazen Serpent,John 1: 12: Act: 16.31: Rom: 5: 11: & 3: 25: when lifted up upon the pole of the Gospel. As Paul told the Jaylor, If we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved: a Lord to Rule, a Jesus to Save, and a Christ to An­oint us; and so we shall receive the attone­ment: For God hath set him forth for a Propitiation through Faith in his blood: without blood there is no remission,Heb: 9: 22: and without blood of an infinite value, there can be no expiation to infinite Justice. Now if any be so bold as to dispute with their Maker, why this way and no other? I Answer,Rom: 9: 20: Who art thou that repliest unto God, being thy self but a defiled shiver of a pitiful Earthen Vessel, ready to be dasht in pieces every moment. I shall rather turn off to answer the caril of a Jew, who being askt, how they can expect now to be saved, since their magnificent Temple, and the brazen Altar of Sacrifice lie in the dust: whereas they are commanded not to pre­sume upon Sacrifice but in that place at Jerusalem; since also they can legally pre­tend to no pardon without blood, and yet [Page 90]will rest upon that place misinterpreted of a poor mans Offering of a handful of fine Flower,Lev. 5.12. and Moses his saying from the Lord that his sin should he forgiven him. To which may be answered, that the Temple was d [...]dicated, and the Priest, and the Altar were Consecrated with blood,Mat: 23: 19: which gave a vertue to all the Sacrifices and offerings: but I rather reply, that this handful was to be offered, [...] not as we translate it, [according] but [upon] the Offerings of the Lord made by fire: This being joyned with the Lords Flower, which was continually burnt with the Lords Lamb of the morning or evening Sacrifice, and so had its vertue from that bloody offering. But alas, theres now no place to offer either Lamb, or Incense, or Wine, or Oyl, or fine Flower according to Gods Institution since the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus and Hadrian the Roman Emperors. Let us pray therefore that the poor Jews might be enlightned to come to the [...] blessed Altar of the Cross of Christ, and to this Priest of the Tribe of Judah, Heb. 7: 28: who is Consecrated for evermore.

But lets remove to the fourth

SECT. 4.

The fourth section should exhibit, wherein the true and genuine essence of Faith consists. The formalis ratio, or that which gives to it, the force and power to unite us to Christ, and thereby to receive influences from him.

Of this having said somewhat already in this Chapter, and intending God wil­ling to dilate upon it in the next, and shew, that it lies in recumbency or rely­ing upon the Lord Jesus Christ as he is set forth in the Gospel promises

I shall strike off to the fifth.

SECTION 5.

5. The fifth particular concerns the great ends of Faith.

The first and more immediate, is the forgiveness of sin, and justification of our persons, by the imputation of the merito­rious Blood of Christ.Acts 13.38, 39 As Paul in his Sermon at Antioch in Pisidia, preacht the forgiveness of sins, and that all which be­lieved in him were justified from all things, as to which they could not be by the law of Moses, according as the Evangelist ex­prest it:Mat. 1.21. He came to save his people from their sins.

A second, is the Salvation of our souls, according to Peter, receiving the end of your Faith, the salvation of your souls.1 Pet: 1.9.

The last and ultimate end, as of all both persons and things is the glory of the wis­dom, justice, and mercy of an infinitely ho­ly God.Rom. 4.20. Johc 17.23. For he that believes on the son glorifies the Father also. As Abraham be­ing strong in Faith, gave glory to God: so Christ professes in prayer, that he was [Page 92]glorified in his believing Disciples; and when all the Saints shall triumph toge­ther in heaven, their [...] or song of victory will be, with blessing and ho­nour, and glory and power to him that sitteth on the Throne,Rev 5.13. and to the Lamb for ever and ever, even the Lamb that was slain, even the same that taketh away the sins of the believing world.

SECTION 6.

In the sixth place, it's of great use to amplifie upon the foundation or ground­work of our encouragement, in the ma­nagement of this great affair aright by the strength and co-operation of the spirit: and that's no other, than by the divine promises, laid up in the covenant of grace. 'Tis the promise allures us, the voice of the word calls us, the faithfulness of God secures us, the motion of the spirit prompts, incites and hastens us to come to Christ; who most graciously accepts us, kisses us, and lays us down to rest in his most fragrant bosom. And here it is worth our time, if every minute were more precious than the whole universe, turned into a massy diamond; to expati­ate upon the freeness, the unsought and unforethought love of God in making them, the certainty of their accomplish­ment, as built on the essence and veracity of God, their riches and preciousness, as being equivalent to the Crown of glory, encompassed with the golden ring of eter­nity, When we have obtained like [Page 93]precious Faith, we shall be made partakers of like precious promises,2 Pet. 1.1, 4. Heb. 13.7. & 6.12. as if we follow the Faith of Saints, we shall at last with them inherit the same promised Kingdom.

In the seventh Place,

I might trace a little the time of Faiths first infusion,SECT. 7. and first operation in the heart, which is undoubtedly at the new birth, when ever it is. But how to prescribe, and when precisely to determine that, in the soul of a Believer is more difficult, than to state the quickening or animation of an em­brio in the womb of her that is with child, or for any Naturallist so set the moment of the first separation of night from day at the initiating crepusculum or ascent of the first attom of the morning raies of the Suns body, or the primogenial fermentation of the vegetative soul in the seed Corn in the Earth, when it begins to chit; or the first vapors in Mineral beds, that procreare Mer­cury into a running liquid body, which af­terward is congealed by Sulphur into Gold. Its much more difficult to set down the first punctual workings of the Spirit in our hearts.

Q. But you may ask me, Cui Bono To what end were it to be so accurate, if it were possible?

A. I Answer, In all humility, tho we ne­ver attain the precise and nicest time: yet as far as we may and with what holy mo­desty we can attain to dive into these hea­venly secrets, the sooner we discern the work, by so much the sooner may our spi­ritual joy spring, which animates our ser­vices, and anoints the wheels of our Souls [Page 94]to become like the Chariots of Aminadab. For which purpose I refer my Discourse to the third Chapter of this Treatise.

SECT. 8.

In the eighth Place, I might shew the inseparable union and connexion between Faith and Holiness, they are individui comi­tes, sweet companions never divided, but delighted in each others smiles, lovely twins brought forth by grace. The heart of a Believer is purified by Faith, and his life most orient and beautiful in holiness.Act. 15: 9 Who­so then pretends to be a Believer, and walks not in holiness of life, is a self-deceiver and wrongs his own soul: But lets reserve this to a peculiar Chapter below.Chap. 6.

I should now issue this Chapter: but that I desire in the close of every one to an­swer one or more practical Questions for our spiritual improvement; referring to what precedes in the same Chapter.

Q. 1. If any trembling soul should ask, Have I this sound Faith of Gods Elect?

I should Answer briefly,

1. Christ is precious to every one that believes;1 Pet. 2.7. the joy of his heart, and delight of his soul, when but under this sweet hope, and when a little quickened and enlivened in communion: I sat under his shadow with great delight. Song 2.3. Faith and Love alwayes ride to­gether in Solomons Chariot, which is paved with love for the Daughters of Jerusa­lem. & 3.10.

2. The promises of the Covenant are precious to such a soul, they are ornaments [Page 95]of grace about his neck, and aetherial Cor­dials in all its fainting Fits: I had fainted, Psal. 27.13. sayes David, had I not believed to see the good­ness of the Lord in the land of the living. It values them above a Kingdom:

Q. 2. If we fear our state, how may we gain Faith? Rom. 10.

I Answer briefly, 1. By diligent atten­dance on the Word of God, Faith cometh by hearing.

2. By hearkening to the inward motions of Gods Spirit in hearing the Word.Luke 24.31. When thy heart is warmed by some passage in a Sermon, take special notice of that particu­lar point. Its a sign Christ is conferring with thy heart, as with the two Disciples near Emmaus, whose hearts burned while he opened the Scriptures.

3. Ponder and meditate deeply upon that which warmed thy heart, to bring Christs counsel into a resolution for obedience.

4. Sacrifice these intentions upon the Al­tar of Prayer, in the Name of Jesus Chr [...]st unto the Father. But these things requi­ring little tracts:Gerson: Bona­ventur Scala Ile conclude with that of Gerson the Chancellor of Paris, who treat­ing of Meditation, states that for the sweetest, when the soul opens it self towards Heaven, receiving in its precious dewes,Psal. 85.8. without forced and artificial methods, as Da­vid, Ile hearken what God the Lord will say, for he will speak peace to my soul: Ariani perilpl. mar. Ery thrae [...] & Benjamin itinerar. which is like the mother shell of the Oriental Pearl at Baharem, which Naturalists relate, con­ceives those precious unions by the dew of Heaven.

But I must now retire to the second Cha­pter, and tis more than time: only I dila­ted upon this a little the more, as being a substantial head in respect to the essential nature of Faith.

CHAP II. Various Expressions in Scripture, setting forth the Nature of FAITH.

THe beginning and carrying on of the work of Faith in the heart is set forth in holy Scripture by many pertinent and sweet expressions, which tend to enlighten and comfort the souls of dark, drooping and weak believers: and helping them to dis­cern the inherence of this grace in their hearts. Metaphors, Parables and All [...]geries many times teach us, when direct Precepts will not do the work. Ʋpon some where­of [Page 97] I shall endeavour to treat in this Chap­ter, and present them as a climax or a Ja­cobs Ladder, whereby to scale the Palaces of eternal joy.

1. In the first place,Rev. 24.6. & 22.17. We find this grace set forth by thirsting and hungring after Christ and his righteousness: which are strong and vehement appetitions after sup­ply of proper food and moisture to refresh the Spirits, and to preserve natural vigo [...]. Which if not timely satisfied produce pant­ings, faintness, swoundings,Psal. 42.1. and at last con­vulsive motions, the very harbingers of death. Thus did holy David pant after God, as the hunted Hart, having lickt up a fiery Serpent, pants after the water-brooks. Psal. 27.13. And at other times he had totally fainted, had not Faith fed his hope with a seeing of God in the land of the living. The promises of mercy are made to such thirstings and strong desires after God.Isai. 55.1, 2. & 26.8, 9, 12. Psal. 97 12. The desire of our soul (sayes the Church) is to thy Name, and at the remembrance of thine holiness do we rejoyce. Again, with my soul have I desired thee in the night, when others are folded in the arms of the deepest sleep, I am musing with deep meditation, and am still awake with thee. Then follows that holy confidence dropt in from heaven: Lord thou wilt ordain peace for us, for thou also hast wrought all our works in us, whence it follows, that when the brea­things of the soul are inspired by God, th [...]n his ordinance of peace shall issue from the throne of grace.

Besides, The thirst of the soul through defect of the dewes of Zion, sometimes proves so extream, that it falls into a flaming [Page 96]Fever: and lies tossing, and tumbling, and feeling after cool places,Song. 2.4. but finds no rest, till it comes to the chambers of Christ; and then with holy longings and bitter ejacu­lations cries out: My heart and my flesh fail­eth, Oh when shall I come and appear before him? when shall I see bis face, enjoy his love, and rest in his bosom? This is a sure act of Faith when the soul prises Christ above all; de­lights in none but him as the incomparable object of his souls satisfaction: if it take any comfort in sublunary things; tis but in ordine ad Christum in subordination to him, and in order to his glory. The soul doth anhelare, breath and thirst more after him than all the pleasures and treasures of Egypt, the Gums of Arabia, the Spices of India, the Diamonds of Golcondah, or the peculiar riches of Princes: nay than the fragrant Rivers of Balsam in heaven it self, besides him, as the holy Psalmist flames it out: Whom have I in heaven but thee, and whom in earth in comparison with thee. Psal. 73.25.

2. Sometimes Faith is represented by looking up to Christ with a stedfast eye, and an earnful countenance, till all the visive spirits pass the optick nerve and land in his bosom. All the bowels of the Soul are wrackt and torn with convulsive motions and iliack passions, the heart faint and sick, with many a swounding fit: the vital moi­sture having spent it self at the eyes,Psal. 38 10. Lam 2.11. is al­most blind with the saltness of her tears, and ready to give up the ghost in deep sighs and profound palpitations of heart; [...]ong 1▪ 7. has only a few minutes, wherein to cry out [O thou whom my soul loveth, hungers, longs and [Page 99]pants after: and being now set down under a Palm in the vally of tears and terrors, sinks down and yet looks towards him, when flying a­way like a young Hart upon the Mountains of Lebanon, and leaving it in a desolate case, for­lorn, and exposed to the mercy of Tigres and young Leopards. Yet the Soul cries out, as long as breath and life remains will I look to the place, where thine honour dwells, as the only one of my soul, my Lord and Ma­ker, who hast commanded me to look to­wards thee and be saved. Thy Word says Behold me, behold me, Isai. 17.7. & 45.22. and my heart in obe­dience replies, Thus will I spend my dayes and end my life.

This Looking to Christ is sometimes sha­dowed by the stung Israelites looking up to the brazen Serpent.Joh. 3.14. In imitation whereof tis thought the Gentiles composed their Ta­lismanical figures, whereof the Learned of­ten treat. But letting them pass, let us call to mind that Israel after their many mur­murs in the Wilderness, and refractary de­portments toward the Rock of ages, felt at length the dreadful wrath of God in sending upon them those Alati Serpentes the fiery fly­ing Serpents of Arabia. Plin. Epiyhan. those angry venom­ous creatures; which having once fastened their needle teeth, and dropt their yellow poyson into the wound, the stung persons (tanquam a dipsade percussi) were painted as said of some with various spots of the co­lour of Serpents, and swelld immensely, died with an insatiable thirst, as in the deadly Ca­lenture at Sea. But such as lookt up to the copper Serpent made at Punon, Ph [...]nn [...]sia metal la in Arabia and set on a Pole, presently received cure, as if the flesh [Page 100]of the adder had been laid to the wounds, to extract the malignant venom. Had they lookt any whither else but to this type of our Saviour, all was in vain. Had their eye been upon Moses in the moral Law, or on Aaron in the ceremonial observan­ces, it would have performed no cure: it was Christ alone, who overcame the great Serpent of the bottomless pit, and was lifted up on the cross, for this blessed view of Faith.

3. This work of Faith is set forth by co­ming to Christ at his call,Mat. 11.28. according to that sweet invitation of his: [Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden, &c.] For the burden of sin, the Law, Gods wrath, hell and eternity lie very heavy upon con­science, and will prove unsupportable, un­less eased by his bosom. When the soul is ready to starve, pines away, and lockes black with famine:John 6.35. then to hear that bles­sed voice, [Whoso cometh to me, shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst] Where our holy Lord himself ex­plains coming by believing: pedibus fidei, with the fe [...]t of faith and affections,44, 45, 46, we come to him for salvation; and so 'tis used in the neighbour verses.Psal. 63.8. Sometimes 'tis exprest by the souls following hard after God, (hebr, cleaving) that is, following so closely, as if it held him by the garment, and drag'd after him. In the times of fear and desertion, it runs after God,Song 1. [...], 4. Bern being allured and drawn by the perfumed oint­ments of his name, the rich odours of the promises, as powerful attractives to nee­dy and distressed persons: othertimes this [Page 101]work is exhibited by the flying of guilty persons in old time to the city of refuge. Thus David points at God as his refuge and high rock to fly to and be safe. Of anci­ent times, tis reported that the gat [...]s of these cities stood continually open, that all the ways were made plain and even: that every stumbling block was removed, and the passages maintained with accurate care above all the high-ways in Canaan, Isa. 57.14. and some of the cities might be s [...]ated in plains, as Bezer was; that difficult ascent might not retard the speed of the fl [...]er: that so the soul guilty of bloody crimes,Deut. 4: 43. Numb. 35: 12 might scape the dreadful avenger, that ho­ly Law of God, and having retired to the city of Christ, might there continue so long as this Eternal High-priest after the order of Melchizedeck, shall continue in being, and that's according to the Law of an end­less life for evermore.H [...]h 7.6.28.

4: This acting of Faith is shadowed forth by our receiving of Christ, and there­fore must be an act of the will and affe­ctions; when being sensible and convinced of his being the most adequate good for the soul, stretches forth its hand like a ragged indigent beggar, after a bag of gold, when frankly held to him by some munificent prince: or as a drooping, sin­king, languishing patient holds out his cup for a physitians cordial. For to as many as will receive him, he gives out the right and priviledge of adoption to a glorious inheritance above the starry heavens.John 1.12. Col. 2 6. John 17.24. Rev. 3.21.

O Blessed Saviour, wilt thou give thy [Page 102]heaven, thy glory, thy joy, thy crown, thy throne (by mystical union) to as many as do but accept of this motion of mercy?grot. de jure, &c. Will acceptation bring us into acquisition and a just perception of all the territories of this vast, immense and eternal patrimo­ny? Who would not open his arms, his heart, the penetralia cordis, the most inti­mate chambers of his soul, according to all thy tenders in all thine offices, and to all thy blessed purposes, and cry out with vehement and ardent moans? Are not the doors wide open: come bright morning star, come Lord Jesus, come quickly! True!Prov. 22 16. Son. [...].5 Faith indeed is but the hand, that turns the lock of the souls closet, to entertain her blessed Lord: But 'tis the spirit of Christ who lays his powerful hand upon the hand of Faith; else would conti­nue shut and never open: But this instru­ment of instruments (as the Philosopher calls the hand) acts and works in the power of that great efficient, the spirit of God, and is co-operative in him, with him and by him, Yea, the spirit hath a co-es­sential communion with Christ himself, who stands at the door and knocks by the call of his Ministers, and leaves sweet smelling myrrh dropping upon the handles of the lock: which like the famed oil of Lunaria, (beare with the comparison) will eat thro­row all, and make the iron bolts to fly in sunder. O then my soul, since the Lord of glory is come to these everlasting gates, take heed of a third knock: lest he take unkindly, depart and leave thee in the dark night of desertion.

5. Another medium to set forth the ac­tings of Faith, is laying hold of him and his most blessed covenant. This is called,Isa. 56.4.27 5. Isa. 27.5.56.2, 6. ta­king hold of Gods strength, that is, the ark of his strength: that so we may make peace with him that dwells between the Cheru­bims. The fame with laying hold on Gods righteousness and salvation, in flying to the horns of the Altar of propitiation, viz. the brazen by blood, and the golden by incense.Levlt. 19.30: Isa 56, 6.58.13. It is further deciphered by loving the name of the Lord (Jehovah, wherein is everlas­ting strength) and in keeping the Sabbath from being polluted, which is a special part of Gods covenant, and a true token of a gracious and godly man, in this his laying hold of God. Nay, we find, that the Lord complains of the church, that few or none did lay hands on him, a kind of holy violence in fervent prayers and Faith, mixt with ardent desires, and coming to him with earnest resolves to hang upon him, as Mary did on Christ at his resurrec­tion. The Lord knew the soul of Mary would be clinging upon him, and therefore with a gracious requital, manifests himself to her, and sends her with an errand of love to his Disciples: There is a sort of holy violence, and gracious impudence to be used in those cases, as Chrysostome ex­presses it of the woman of Canaan, that would have no denyal. When we seek the kingdom of God,Mat. 11.12. we must seek it with vehemence, and take it by violence. We are commanded to lay hold on eternal I [...]se, in allusion to the swift courses at the Olympick, stadium in Greece; 1 Tim. 6, 12. who coming [Page 104]near the prize or garland: stretcht out the hands and leapt up with some violence to take hold of the crown of victory.1 Tim: 6.12. Heb: 6:18: So the Apostle exhorts us lay hold on the hope that is set before us: as Jacob held the Angel fast and would not let him go before he was blest: Yea, the Spouse in the song, having found whom her soul loved,Song 3.4. held him close, and let him go no more.

6. In the sixth place, When we are now come to him, and have laid hold of his strength, and are sweetly solaced with his favour: then begin we to relie,Prov. 325: leane and rest upon him with some holy confi­dence. For leaning and trusting are in Solomons language terms equivalent. A posture this is of great sweetness, and sa­tiates the soul, that it seeks no further. All sublunary relations and enjoyments leaves a windy emptiness in the soul, but here's [Jacobs enough] which indeed con­tains [all things] and so indeed should be translated.Jer: 33 11. Song 8.5. Such high contentment of spirit fills the soul in her walking out of the wilderness towards Canaan leaning up­on her Beloved. The same posture we find the beloved disciple in,John 21:20 Psal 37.5. & 22.8. leaning upon the bosom of our blessed Lord: Thus are we encouraged in our streights to rowl our selves and our affairs upon the Almighty; revolve te & tua: Ʋsher Divin p. 161. Lond. 1677. To the same purpose, that holy man Bishop Ʋsher is much plea­sed with the term of the souls hanging up­on Christ for life and salvation, when he is setting out the nature of Faith:Isai. 10.20. Some­times the Scripture useth the expression of the souls staying it self upon the Lord, the [Page 105]Holy One of Israel: in allusion to the sup­port of a staff, imployed by weak or aged persons, to preserve from stumbling and falling. Accordingly they find a holy rest and repose of spirit, with a sweet recollec­tion from the trembling of heart, and qui­vering limbs, by an happy settlement in his arms. Yea, when the feet have been swel­led and blistred with rambling up and down in a weary and thirsty land:Dan: 8:4: here they find the shadow of a high rock, with plea­sant chrystal streams powring out of its cavernes, to revive the faint, and recal their flying spirits.

But now lets search what are the great ends of the souls recumbency, innitency, resting, and quiet reposing it self on this blessed Lord in the Arh [...]retum sacrum, or paradise of his love; why, certainly such things that asswage its vehement thirst, quell and subdue its fears, compose its trem blings, and allure its confidences, and are no other than these following, viz. Re­mission of all sin, Justification by free grace, peace of conscience, when sprinkled with the blood of atonement: adoption into Sonship, heirship, and all the priviledges and liberties of the children of God, Sanc­tification to mortifie the power and domi­nion of sin, and to quicken our graces and duties, to support us against, and under all fiery tentations: to eularge and forti­fie our spirits under dificult services, and to persevere to the end;Phil. 1.6, 1 [...] that at last we may attain the redemption of our bodies from the dust, and the resurrection to glo­ry. But these resort more properly un­der [Page 106]the tenth and last chapter, and there­fore here I forbear.

7. The next place sets forth Faith by our cleaving to the Lord with full purpose of heart.A [...]s 11 23. Isai. 28.16: When the soul is glewed by an holy love to the mercies and goodness of God, it will then [...] stedfastly abide with him. It makes not haste out of the mountains of Zion as if full of bogs and quakemires,Deut. 10.20, Josh. 2 [...].8. 1 Cor. 1.17 2 Cor. 11 2 but as being setled on the strong and lofty rock of ages. This clo­sing of the soul with God, is often set down in Scripture by that trust and assiance which a true believer hath in God, adhering on cleaving to God is a term also which some­times attends upon conjugal relation, wher­by true and faithful persons, having the yoke of that union lined with the soft vel­vet of love,1 Cor. 6.17. become one, as in person by the law, so much more in spirit and delight To the same purpose the Apostle affirms, that true believers being united to Christ by a true and lively faith, become one spirit with the Lord, and long daily to be more sully espoused by larger affections, of the unction of Christs spirit in order to the solemnity of that glorious marriage-day of the Lamb.Rom. 7.4. Rev: 19:7: Phil: 3:20: And this is true faith indeed, when persons long for the ap­pearance of Christ in glory.

8. Next follows that term of embracing of Christ; as the Saints of old being first perswaded of the truth and goodness of the promises,Heb: 1 [...]:13: then at length embraced them utrispue ulnis with all affection, and what are the promises but the precious fine linnen, wherein Christ our sacrifice [Page 107]was involved after his death at his funeral: which is the principal object of our saith, even Christ in his sufferings. This act of embracing, notes our ardent affection to him, delight in him, and heavenly com­munion begun betwixt Christ and the heart of a believer: Love is Faiths Agent and factor: Faith worketh by love, a true lov­er of Christ is certainly a true believer in him, and this love increases by faith, and faith by love. For the soul determines it; The more I know of his Excellencies, the more I believe in him:Rom. 5.4, 5 and I love him more, because I have the experience of Christs love to me. In this very state of the valley, there is a mixing of hearts and spirits, but in heaven the soul is swallow­ed up in his love for ever.

9. In the ninth place a Believer arrives at this reverent freedom with the Lord, in all its streights and dificulties, to cast its cares and burdens upon him, being both commanded and encouraged by him to do it: Whenever I am afraid saith David, Psal. 56.3. He trust in thee. If the heart safely trust in a friend,Prov. 31 11. there follows a mutual unvailing and disclosing of the most secret and bo­some counsels.Psal. 71.3. Jer 20.12: Psal: 142:2: So does the soul pour out its sorrows, and open its whole cause be­fore God. Three things make a friend or relation desirable: power to protect, wis­dom to advise and love to comfort and min­gle joys & sorrows together. All these are eminently and transcendently found in hea­ven. There's a heart large enough to en­tertain thy moans:Jam: 1 [...]; wise enough to guide thee in the dark turns of Providence, and [Page 108]so good as not to upbraid thee, and can command Legions of Angels at a beck for protection. [...] Pet. 5:7. Let us therefore cast our care upon him, for he careth for us, and 'tis worth notice, what the Apostle terms thy care, the Psalmist terms thy burden, pro­mising that the Lord will sustain thee; to shew that [...] dividing cares,Psal. 55.22. heart-rending cares, are great burdens. But divine sustentation and support of the soul in trouble, plainly shews, that God takes a fatherly care of thee, and will not suffer thee finally to be moved, as Davids song in the end of that Psalm, since thou art a righteous man, and hast cast all thy soul-battering cares upon Gods promise: which are but so many tentations to try thy faith and trust in him.

Besides, this trust is exprest by casting anchor within the vail.Heb: 6:19: When the ship of the soul being turned up-side down as to the world, though too near the earth in this bodily estate, yet in spirit sails above the firmament, and makes all its sails up­ward still,Rev: 11.19: and if any storm arises, it then rides at Anchor upon the Ark in heaven, within the vail, beyond the starry Canopy, as upon the rock of life, the Lord Christ himself.

10 In the tenth and last place, faith acts by Resignation, giving up all its comforts into his heavenly hand▪ when a true believer both living and dying commends his spirit into his divine ma­nutenency, during this frail life in all the mighty turns, circles or helixes of provi­dence, full of intricate meanders and ma­zes [Page 109]past finding out, is led by a hand coming down from heaven: So that all ends well with a Saint: his stormy dayes do always end in a sun-shine evening. He gives up himself to the guidance of his counsel, and as to death, both for time, place, way and method, yields up all to his safe conduct, and yet sometimes breaths out with a most humble and reverent motion (his soul still lying in the dust of submission before him) to grant him an [...], or an easy de­parture out of this life; if it may be his holy pleasure, and still quietly hoping and waiting for his salvation. Thus Jacob in the Old Testament, in the midst of his last languishments cries out, I have waited for that Salvation O Lord:gen. 59.18. Luke 2.30 23, 46. and good old Si­meon in the New: Let thy Servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen, and mine arms embraced my Saviour and thy Salvation This did our most blessed Lord, Father into thy hands, I commend my spirit; and so did bles­sed Stephen, Lord Jesus receive my spirit; testifying to the Deity of Christ,Acts 7.59. the im­mortality of his soul, and the resurrection of his body in the same prayer of resigna­tion.

There may be found in Scripture some other passages, exhibiting the nature of Faith and Trust, as fixing the heart, choo­sing of Christ, waiting for his coming, and expecting the blessed day, much to the same effect: but to cut off prolixity,Psal. 108 1. Luke 10. ult. I shal rather convert the former ten particulars with the like into some spiritual Solilo­quies: since all of them exhibit some ex­cellent benefits flowing from Christ, allur­ing [Page 110]the soul to him, as by the smell of those precious ointments, wherewith he was af­fused and inaugurated into all his offices by the Holy Ghost, which was signified by the inunction of the Aaronieal Priesthood of old in type, by a choice composition of myrrhe (or Benzoin) cinamon, sweet ca­lamus, cassia lignea,Exod. 30.24. and oil-olive. So was our holy Lord conse crated a Priest for ever over the house of God.Psal. 45.7.

Let us now breathe out our warm de­sires and flowing hopes in some few Ejacu­lations (as to all the ten particulars) into his own bosom.

The Soliloquies.

1 O Blessed Lord, I am scorchd and burnt up with the sense of thy wrath: the thunders of thy Law amaze my soul, Death and Eterni­ty make my bexes to quake, Psal. 22.15.119.13. I am dryed like a pot-sheard or as a bottle in smoke. Vox fau­cibus haeret: my tongue is ready to cleave to the roof of my mouth. But I come to thee as a gracious Saviour, inviting, calling, promising to help me in those fainting agonies. I thirst after thee, as the fountain of Siloam, and more than David after the water of Bethlehem.

2. I faint, and my soul quivers upon my pale lips, nay is upon the wing to take flight into etern [...]ty. I look up for some reviving smiles from the light of thy coun­tenance: Do thou look down O blessed Lord with one beam of mercy, and it cures me for ever; speak Lord, for my soul waits to hear that peace which is the fruit of thy lips,Psal. 45.2. and that grace which was poured out into them. O let me not faint nor sink into the dust of death, and perish for ever. For I have chosen to exhale my soul into thy bosom, and dye at thy feet.

These are the sweet ardours of Faith.

3. Now then since I am come to thee, O my blessed Saviour, and that with my whole soul, and come at the call of thy Word and Spirit. For I heard thy voice in the woods of the wilderness, and am returned to lie down at thy foot: shall the hungry go em­ty away from the feast of such a Solomon. Thou didst invite me by thy Ministers in many a choice calling Sermon and I made no excuse,Luke 1.53. Prov: 9.3. though too much delay (so speaks my sorow) yet the feet of those, who brought the glad tidings of thy love were to me more beautiful and enamouring than the ruddy morning.

4. Moreover O searcher of Reins, thou knowest that I am inwardly willing to re­ceive thee upon all the terms in thy holy Gospel, signified by thy heavenly call, since then my bended will inclines its bowing head towards thy bosom, and my whole soul cries after thee, since my hands are stretcht out towards thy holy place, and my parched mouth wide open to receive that Nectar of [Page 112]heaven, the waters of life: O fail not [...]he ex­pectation of the needy that commits his soul to thee & be not silent to my cries, Psal. 40.2. that ascend out of the deep and dark pit, and from the horrible clay.

5. Thou hast O Saviour full of bowels given strength to my feet, and restored the nerves and sinews that hung shriveld about my anckle bones: as thou didst to the crip­ple at the Temple-gate: so deal with me thy Lazarus, thats spiritually lame and full of fores,Acts 3.7. yet limps towards the throne of grace, the Temple of mercy. Strengthen my hands O Lord, that I may as firmly take hold of thy love, as I am freely come to thee for thy Salvation.

6. Yea most blessed Saviour, I begin to be encouraged by the warm beams of thy love, and feel some vertue flowing from thee, to invigorate all the muscles and ten­dons of my affections, and whatever incites and inspirits the motive faculty of my soul: so that I now most humbly and reverently beg leave and permission to lean upon thee, and to lay my soul down by thee, and in thy bosome to repose, as far as thou shalt graciously please to admit me into thy com­munion, for succor, su [...]port, and comfort.

7. O stay me with flaggons, for I am faint, by the strong and over coming beams of divine love, and yet resolved in thy strength to cleave to the arm of thy pow­er,1 Cor. 6.17. and by the unction of thy spirit to be united into one spirit with the Lord.

8. And to embrace thy love, that ever­lasting love, which sprang from thee in [Page 113]thine electing mercy and pity before the world began,

9. And am now become more solicitous by thine aid and help, to cast all my cares upon thee, then ever I was anxious and di­stressed as to events, while those pressures caused my foul to groan out to heaven.

10. I am now determined by thy power, to breathe out my soul at last only into thy compassionate bosome,Col. 1.11. to be kept to the day of Redemption, and being strengthned with all might by thy glorious power, humbly resolve to wait with all patience, in the fresh actings of Faith, till I see thy face in the joyful morning of the resurrection.

The soul having in these few panting Soliloquies, poured forth its breakings of heart before God, desires yet further to be resolved in one question, to help its joy and therewith I shall conclude this chap­ter.

Quest. How may I discern the truth and integrity of these breathings of the soul to be the true actings of Faith.

Answ. I answer, labour to feel the pulse of thy soul, as once a Greek Physitian tou­ching the arterial pulse of a young Prince of Macedon, knew whether his heart w [...]nt. So may we assuredly know, where our treasure is seated, and where our love is planted: if we find our hearts to be where Christ is set down, even at the right-hand of God.

But lets reply a little more distinctly.Col. 3: 1, 2.

1. Consider, where thy soul doth most acquisce, where dost thou feel thy soul at [Page 114]most rest and quiet. He that bids his soul take ease in a fat barn, was but a gross fool,Luke 12.18. and he that puts his hope or trust in a clod of yellow clay, bows down to a dumb Idol, that cannot profit. But if as David (when dying) we have all our hope and salvation in the covenant of a living God,2 Sam. 23. establisht to us in all things and sure. If thou repose thy weary spi­rits in the bosome of Christ, and findest thy lingring weariness to wear away in the warm bath of his Love, and resignest thy self into his tuition, and under the ca­nopy of heaven, and exercising thy self in applying precious promises suitable to thy captive state by the rivers of Babylon, and patiently waitest for his bright and bles­sed appearance and Kingdom.

This is true Faith.

2. Where is the solace and delight of thy soul? Is it in things and persons of Christs delight: The things of the spirit, and the excellent persons upon earth:Rom. 8.5. Psal. 16.3, Rom. 5, 1. is thy soul at rest, and under holy quiet; because in some measure satisfied, that thou art at peace with God. This will breed true joy, for peace is the alma parens, the happy Mother of joy. Whereas contenti­on and grief quarrel in the yoke together. Now when the storms of Gods wrath are calmed by the sprinkling of Christs preci­ous blood upon the Mercy-Seat, there will gradually follow joy unspeakable and sull of glory. And where this peace is, there's true Faith be sure.

3. By the souls continuance in the daily actings of faithful recumbency, whereby [Page 115]the habit is fortified. Yet always remem­ber to add thereto a continuance in well­doing. Stedfast Christians are perserve­rers. The Stony-ground brought forth sp [...]e [...]ily,Rom. 2.7. and that with joy at the first hea­ring: it was but flashy and endured not, having no firm root, the rock lying too near under it: but the good ground brought forth fruit with patience, Luk. 8.15. continu­ing under winters frost, and summers he at, till the joyful day of harvest. This is true Faith Indeed, and commended by our Lord himself.

CHAP III The least or lowest Degree of FAITH.

HAving Discoursed of some various Ex­pressions of Scripture, painting out the true Nature of Faith to the life: Let us now proceed further in our design to comfort shaken and contrite Spirits. To which end, since we find Scripture menti­oning some persons as strong in Faith, gi­ving glory to God, and others but infirm and weak, accosted with this compellation: [Page 116] O ye of little Faith, why do ye doubt and fear? the Faith of the former being very visible and apparent to themselves and others:Mat. 6.30. & 8.26. the latter tho true Believers, yet exceedingly fill'd with fears, sorrows and jealousies o­ver their own hearts: It would be expe­dient for their erection and comfort to consid [...]r what may be the Criterions or tok­ens of a true Faith, tho in the lowest degree and upon that account to dilate a little on these two Branches

  • 1. What may be accounted the lowest, meanest, weakest estate of new Converts or young beginners in the School of Christ.
  • And 2. To how low an Ebb secure souls may be reduced in time of desertion.

An answer to either of these may yield mutual satisfaction to both: Lets begin with the first,

Q 1. What may we enstate and determine to be a critical token of a true Believer in his meanest acts of Faith?

A. In Answer to this lets consider, First in general, that the commencement or be­ginning of this grace is sometimes repre­sented by conception or quickning of a C [...]ild in the Womb:Eph. 2.2. John 3.3. sometimes by the new birth or visible appearance in the light of this World. Sometimes the work of regeneration (and therein Faith, its prin­cipal ingredient) is resembled to the wind in its invisible original from mineral Exha­lations out of the bowels of the Earth and Sea,Mark 4.27. Luk. 13.2. to its motion and progress in the air. Otherwise 'tis likened to a grain of Mus­tard-seed, the least of all oleracious Seeds [Page 117]that grow to so great an extension at last. Its like [...]ed also to a little leaven that fer­ments and works it self into the whole mass. To Seed-Corn under the glebe or mould that swells by the impregnation of nitrous Rain, and sulphurious Earth, con­curring to their germination, first chits and breaks the membranes, and then sprouts a­bove the ground, Or it may be compared to the budding and flowring of Trees in the Spring: or to the grafting of a Cyon into the cleft: or a Bud inoculated into the bark of a Tree, which by degrees conceives both by the warmth and moisture of the Stock. But still the precise time or modus of the curious transactions in the vegetable Kingdom; the secret transfusion or perco­lation of Liquors and Spirits is not easily discerned, or accounted for, by the most ac­curate Naturalists. Yea when all is done and written by Roger Bacon of Oxford, or Sir Francis of Verulam, or the Learned Har­vy, or any of the new Philosophers of Brit­tain, France or Germany, or Borrichius that Learned Dane: there's none in the whole quire can yet determine the admirable my­steries of Generation. None can fathom the works of God in wise productions, and the various textures and needle-works of his diving power; as the Psalmist hath exprest it.

But much more abstruse, intricate and unfathomable is it in spiritual cases.Psal. 139.15. Opere Phrgia­nico. For how and at what time grace is inspired or sown in the heart: and how it works, fer­ments and by warm influences, becomes like a Spiritus intus agens, an inward work­ing [Page 118]Spirit: its neither discerned by persons themselves, much less by others, sometimes during the space of several years. For it grows we know not how, nor can delineate the motion of its growth:Gen. 2 6: Col. 2.19. but being wa­tered from heaven by a living mist sent by God upon this happy Plant in the Eden of a gracious soul, it encreases with the encrease of God. Hence it follows, that 'tis im­possible for thousands to fix the time of these first heavenly workings or irritations, these irradiations or impregnations of the Spirit of God. Neither needs it: sufficient it is to discern it, when sprouted a little from its seminal Principles. Wherefore to urge the preciseness of time as to regeneration (in persons that draw near to Ordinances) is timerarious and rash; and he is too busie a person, that strictly requires it of tender Consciences, and makes it an inflexible rule of Communion.

I may then say of this, more than of all other works of divine Wisdom and Power in this lower Orb, that the eye of the Vul­ture hath not searcht it out: it is too high and too wonderful for us.Job 28: 77: Psal. 139.6. As holy David having treated of his being secretly, fearful­ly and wonderfully made as to the curious fabrick of his body in all its vessels, liga­ments, veins, arteries, nerves, and juices in all the repositaries, sings in harmony and consort to heaven (how vastly melodious beyond the hymn of Galen) and stands at length upon the brink of an Ocean of Ex­tasies as to the precious thought,ver. 17. that God had to and in his soul▪ I shall therefore not venture into these Arcana Imperii, and Mag­niala [Page 119]Dei, these stupendious secrets of divine wisdom and mercy: nor sail too far in deep waters near this terra incognita, nor treat too close of the first initial formation of grace and faith in the heart, by the operati­on of the spirit of God. A labour where­in we may sweat and toil till faint, and dive so long, till the damps in these golden mines extinguish our Spirits. I shall then only for some comfort to sincere beginners insist a little (according to what I may, by the help of grace) and ponder on the first dis­coveries and discernings of this work in the heart, under the beginning work of Rege­neration, that is under the present agitati­ons and breathings of the holy Spirit. To which purpose I may genuinely compare the sense, which the mother of an Embrio begins to feel, when discerns an inward conception by some secret pulsations [...]s of a little wind in her bowels and some nauseous ebullitions from her stomack,Ferneli de &c. Weckerus de Secretis l. 4. P. 85. Bas. 1629.8. & thereby perceives there is a new work of impregnation formed with in, bevond all observations of the state of body since her birth: and begins to give a right judgment, that in Gods due time she may become a happy Mother, indeed, of some beautiful creature. Or give leave to behold it in the glass of another Emblem. It fares here, as when persons by some un­observed and unforeseen emanations of spi­rits from the heart,Plin. l. 11. c. 37 Song 6.5. & 4.9. and pressing through the optick nerves flow into their mutual eyes, and dart themselves into one anothers breasts, whence they become suddenly ta­ken, and as it were inkindled by certain lineatures in their feitures; and are rapt [Page 120]into deep admiration of somewhat in each other, which neither themselv [...]s nor the wi­fest Philosopher in being can give reason fa­gacious enough to unfold the surprizing in­fluence when they are constellated to con­jugal union

So true is that (I think) of Lucretius:

Multa tegit sacro involucro natura, neque ullis
Fas est scire quidem mortalibus omnia, &c
Nature with sacred mantle things does hide,
Nor can Man's wit such mysteries decide.

Much more deep shall we find it to be in spiritual and divine concernments, when the Soul having heard or read of the admi­rable and unparallel'd incomparable excel­lencies of Christ, begins by the powor of heavens influence to hearken to Gospel motions: whence the first beginnings of grace are coucht in faint and weak, though s [...]eet and pleasing inclinations to hear more of that precious and excellent person. Then the Soul proceeds with the Daughters of Jerusalem to enquire further of his dignities and the blessed disposition of this kingly Sa­viour. Next after intelligence received, it never rests seeking for him with the lovely Spouse,In Niceph call. and when once come to a sight of that glorious countenance in which Majesty and Love sit upon their Throne, as 'tis re­ported of his external hi [...]w) then does the soul by this interview, break forth into holy Ardors after the enjoym [...]nt of his everlast­ing [Page 121]kindness, and the bottomless bowels of his infinite mercy and affection, This is the point which I would endeavour yet fur­ther to exemplifie in the sequel of this Cha­pter, and labour to state the first beginnings of grace to lie in secret motions, holy wish­es and inclinations of the will to Christ this Princely Saviour of the Elect.

The desire of a man (sayes Solomon) is his kindness th [...] he cant accomplish his will yet tis acceptable with God for the deed.Prrv. 19.22. 2 Cor. 8.12. When some spiritual good is presented to the newly sanctified will by the light of a heaven-born judgment: it draws the soul to think, ponder and study how to attain that happiness, and this volition or exten­sion of the spirit is found in different persons at various times. Some feel a blessed in­clination from their very child hood ( [...]) to Religious courses and the holy wayes of God.2 Tim. 3.15. You may observe in some Children at four or five years old a love to the sacred Bible, and the wise instructions of godly Parents. It would do ones soul good to see, how prettily and earnestly the little hearts will lean their heads to the wall or hangings, and suck in the sincere milk of a mothers instructions, as Solomon did. Only let Parents be prudent and heedful in pressing too much or powring too long into little Venice Glasses, lest it nau­seate or run over.Gen. 33.13, Remember Jacob would not drive the little ones too fast, lest they died. Children are like a Chicken or little Birds, feed them too much▪ and by night, and you endanger killing them: Be wise towards such,Isai 28.10. and sow here a little and [Page 122]there a little, and the work of God may prosper sweetly.

In Persons at the first workings of the Spirit of God, you may observe▪

1. First, There appears some savouring of the things of God: which shews there is a new palate formed by the spirit of God in the soul, [...] Cor. 2.14. Rom. 8.5. suited to the Manna of heaven: they begin to mind the things of the Spi­rit, with a disrelish of vain and frothy com­pany, a happy inclination to virtue, and wholsom infusions with some reverent awe to their Teachers and instructors: which when once taken off from the heart, all the Argument or Rhetorick in the world shall never fasten any good maxim upon such a person; but now you shall see very young ones love to have their heads in a Bible, and the tears ready to spring at some sweet pas­sages in that blessed Book: intimating to us that the same spirit, who penned it, hath begun to write the faithful counterpart on the fleshy tables of their hearts.

2. They find and feel the inward bent of their soul to be towards God, the byas of the will alwayes inclined Heaven-ward, tho some rubs and hillocks may divert a while. They are like the Sun-flower ever turning to that glorious Lamp; or as the needle pointing to the Northern Pole. It may suffer some variations and supervaria­tions, and misteries of Declination not hitherto fully determined to heip the lon­gitude: but in the main, its course bent and delight is toward that point of the compass. The soul no otherwise, having received an affrication or touch from di­vine [Page 123]love, evermore bends the motion to­wards God, and is enamoured upon the goodness and Excellency of our blessed Saviour. Vain things like vinegar upon nitre, gives an odious hiss,Prov. 25.29. Eccl. 2 2. and fumes a­way in a Stench: so does this gracious soul pity carnal mens laughter as a touch of madness, and sayes of foolish mirth what does it?

3. Again, There is in this new heart of flesh, this covenant heart, an inward, sweet sensibleness of that great stone of impenitence, that as yet remains unbroken in pieces, which with its ragged points and angles wounds, the tender fleshy part, and makes it bleed with joy­ful sorrow. The holy new convert is greatly sensible of its proud flesh, and that heavy lump that hangs like a talent of lead at the feet: and the worlds bird-lime that sticks to the wings of the soul, when it would mount up to heaven in holy duties. Or as persons after a great autumnal fever, labour under a squeazy stomack, with a mass of baked humours at the bottom. So does the soul, and weeps in secret, and often bewailes it before the throne of God.

4. There is also found within it a secret joy in the discovery of light. It takes in­ward pleasure in the launcing of the tu­mors of pride, to l [...]t out the corruption of nature. The lamp of Gods word is more precious and joyful to it, than the dawn­ings of a Spring-morning out of the East. It's a sign of an unsanctified heart and a very proud spirit, to snuff and snarl at godly reproof. But this is a certain note of grace begun, when no corruption is too dear, no secret sin so delectable: but [Page 124]it will part with it at the conviction of the Spirit. Yea, and the more searching any Ministry is, the more it delights to sit under it; & dares not call that a legal preaching, which drives men out of the School of the Law, into the Temple of Christ.

5. Besides, the tender soul grieves un­der its fears of the want of true Faith, and is never quiet, till it gain some lively hope of its implantation into Christ, which it cherishes and nourishes by the applica­tion of promises. But till then it wrings its hands, runs up and down mournfully through all the Streets of New Jerusa­lem; being desolate in spirit, as not hav­ing a comforting sense of any faith at all. It cries lamentably from watch-man to watch-man, bears many affronts and inju­ries in the tearing of her vail, and smit­ing upon her bead;Song. 5.7. till at last she finds her beloved, & embraces him in the armes of Faith. Then the soul continues in the use of all prescribed means to attain the vision of his divine love in the glass of affiance.

6. Again, This troubled soul flies far from the land of excuses, hates palliations, and self-conceited applauses, and layes all the fault upon it self: heaps accusations, and layes snares and tentations for its own feet: and so great, that the holyest minister, and one skilful in cases of con­science, can hardly sometimes answer and resolve. Whereas the hypocritical Phari­see is commonly full of talk, hath little or no solidity, is confident and boasts of ex­periences with a false tongue and a deceit­ful [Page 125]heart. But our gracious young convert is as sensible of the least sin, as the tender­est hand hath a quick and immediate sense of the sitting of a flye, or the gentle brea­things of a Western Air. It laments over In-dwelling sin, bewails its residence, and sounds continual alarums against it. For it cannot bear the domination of that proud Vice-roy of Satan, to fullfil it in any lusts thereof. If it prevail though but a little, the soul triumphs as if its conquering flag were entring the gates of heaven. For although its motions and impulses against unholiness be yet but weak, tender and low; yet are they the fruits of integrity, and grow forward in Strength. This is a true sign of grace, and that the new life is in good earnest begun in that heart; for it finds repentance towards God, and true sorrow for sin, conjoyned with real incli­nations, resolutions and workings in its gradual turning from it, and an holy ha­tred of all thoughts of reversion to it.

7. The soul feels within it self an ho­ly inclination to sincerity, in all its actions; which like a fragrant perfume in every chamber of all its powers and faculties, gives a grateful scent in every duty:Psal. 139.23. and delights to be unfeigned in every good word and work. It hates painted gar­ments of hypocrisie, and therefore with great humility, requests of God to search its heart, and begs to be what God would have it, and prays withal,Psal. 143.2 [...] 130.3. that he would not enter into a severe judgment, and mark whats done amiss with an urgent scrut iny: for then no flesh can stand in his sight, but [Page 126]intreats forgiveness of God that so he may be feared and worshipped. From hence springs that solid, sweet and comfortable doctrine of the Reformed Churches [That the true desire of grace is true grace:] On which Basis sound consolation will stand inviola­bly, when all the proud towers of Pelagi­us and Arminius shall moulder into dust at the fall of Babylon. For now the soul in this humble and holy frame lies at the foot of God, mourns for sin as committed against God, thirsts after the righteous­ness of Christ alone, and praves for the spirit of God to allure and draw it into fuller communion, having taken God in the new covenant for its God alone.

8. Lastly, it studies the increase of holiness by all holy means and methods in meditation, self-examining, and conversing with old dis­ciples, and experienced believers. For in such-like God communicates his gracious pre­sence: [...] cor. 7 1. and in these mountains of Zion com­mands the blessing and life for evermore.

In these and such particulars, if serious Christians would please to go down the stairs of humility, Psal. 133.3. into the closet of their own heart, and ponder more upon what they read with holy meditation; they might better observe the [mo­tus primo primi] the first infant motions of their hearts towards God and heavenly objects: but cursory reading spoils all.

Some indeed advise an hours meditation to an hours reading, I think a set quanti­ty of time is not necessary, but so much as may cleare and warm the motion upon the heart. By experience it will be found that the spirit of God works by vacious [Page 127]methods and very different, yet so, that by one or other token any poor broken trem­bling soul may in some measure be com­forted, as to a true work begun in the heart,Psal. 51.6. and may learn to know divine wis­dom in its secret formations of grace with­in its utmost recesses and retirements. To conclude, I take this to be one of the lowest sentiments of a true work, when there are found continually secret inclina­tions, motions, thirstings and desires after God and holiness, which by strict and care­ful observation may be perceived to grow and increase year by year; and this note is common to all believers, though in their weakest estate: who would not change their slender hopes for all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them. This work flows from the first breathings of the spirit of God, and may be discerned as to truth and sincerity by these two notes.

  • 1. If conjoyned with patient continu­ance in well-doing,
    Rom. 2.7.
    though weakly, yet with the face toward Zion.
  • 2. If growing in spiritual strength, tho' at present by small degrees, and for a while scarce discernable:
    2 Pet 3.18.
    like the growth of a child, or the augmentation of a plant, or the motion of a shadow of the Style upon the Sun-Dial.

But so much of the first:

Let's treat a while on the second branch of the chapter about a deserted soul, and then come to an end.

2. Of the lowest acts of grace in a desert­ed Soul.

Here, such as are inwardly for the main work truly gracious; yet through vain walking, and too much frequenting and associating with vain company of fro­thy relations, who because of nearness of blood or affinity, some sweet tempers are loth to reprove, for want of the grace of holy courage and wisdom: finding too much carnal delight in them, especially if witty and pleasant: though it cost them many a salt tear in closets. In this there lies a deep snare to easy and unthinking spirits, not considering the after-pangs to bring forth a new birth of holiness, tho' they be otherwise in the main truly pi­ous.

Others are taken with apish garbs and habits, fashions and gestures, going bent, as if troubled with some forraign disease, conforming themselves to the image of this present world,Rom. 12.2. Luke 16.15. which is abomination in the sight of God, loving of trifling and unprofitable converses in their visits, and wanting of secret and serious thoughts of eternity, the world to come, and of stan­ding before the Son of Man in his day, and this often joyned with too much neglect of secret and working communion, at which the world scoffs, when spending their strength and marrow in the worship of Mammon or Flora, fall off at length too far from their zeal for the pure worship of God in Christ.

Others by various deordinations of life, (not here to lengthen about) for want of caution and watchfulness over their hearts and lives, grieve and vex the spirit of God and having wounded their own conscien­ces, have lost their crown of joy, that's withered away: and they are now deservingly bemoaning themselves in the dark caverns of desertion, and can see no light,Isa. 50.11. and are in danger to follow others, who blazed a while, and then went out in a snuff, whereas it becomes true believers,Heb. 4.1. to be very tender and careful that they do not so much as seem to fall short of so great salvation.

I answer, before any comfort can break in, to such; they must repent and do their first works, and take heed they do not fur­ther lose what they have wrought. Yet to such I reccommend our Lords advise to Laodicea, John. 8. Rev. 3.18. to buy eye-salve of him to a­noint their eyes, that they may see and acknowledge their sins, and turn at his re­buke and chastening.

Then may they begin with some hope to search what vital acts are not as yet extinguisht. Though in a swoone or a deliquium animae an ecclipse of spirits, yet their pulse has not lost all its vibrations, their eyes not quite set: yet look up to­wards heaven, though somewhat dismally. There's yet left a little warmth, a little moisture, a little breathing against the looking-glass of a promise, held by a faithful searcher and obser [...]er of souls. You may take notice that this partial back [Page 130]slider turns not wholly to prophaneness and an utter forsaking of the wayes of God: but retains an impulse and a secret, respect to those that are gracious, but does not much care to shew it publickly, and when they begin to revive out of their long fit of [...]olly, give a doleful motion of their eye to their near relations, at whose checks they formerly scoft too much. They are like the smoking flax, or wei [...]k in the golden candfestick newly gone out, which yet by admotion or putting to it a little lamp fire of the Sanctuary; conceive afresh flame moving swiftly to it upon the oily smoke asc [...]nding from it. Or they may be compared to the bruised reed, which being battered by a storm of tentations, lays down its hanging head upon the sur­ging Waves of a violent torrent, and is nigh to be swallowed up. I say to such though now in a sorrowful case, yet if they were once implanted truly into Christ the true vine of Lebanon: they shall never finally wither and perish: for the calling and grace of God is without repentance, who always loves to the end. For the foun­dation of his prescience and pre-electing love remaineth sure, he knoweth who are his: but let them take heed that they de­part from all iniquity,2 Tim, 2, 19. and never return to folly more. They may make a shift to get to heaven, and sit within the door; but with many a piercing sorrow and doleful agony, and black Sack cloth on the loins of their hearts, before they get thither. But in the mean time, if they are right (as I hope and here suppose) I would help a little, [Page 131]that they may not totally walk in dark­ness) I advise them to a serious search of their former ways, and to holy resolutions add sincere endeavours of amendment, and hereby they may possibly attain to find som inward motions upon their hearts, that may manifest some vitality in the souls pulse towards things above: some true de­sires of renewing communion with God, though mixt with briny tears, scarlet blu­shings of conscience and sore buffetings of Spirit. Vital acts may begin to appear in recording the former times of the shi­nings of Gods face upon their tabernacles. Yet, as some Divines conceive, that though Davids bones were well set after his sore fall: yet there remained a callosity a sti [...]ff­ness and benummedness that was like an Almanack to him all his days after,Psal. 51.8. to his last. But for the main I do believe he did recover the beams of Gods face, and espe­cially at his swan-like song, had the clear Sun-shine of Gods love, after his zainy clouds; and that the [...],1 Sam: 23.4. the sure mercies of David were made sure to him; yea and that he went off with a ruddy ev­ening, portending a glorious morning at the resurrection. And so mayest thou, if thou quicken thy pace to redeem thy commu­nion and walk with God more carefully.

But now no more to that: only since the mention of means as necessary (quoad nos) to the working and knowing of that work of grace, in beginners,Inference false professors. and in recoveries from backsliding. I would inferr a few considerations towards some outward false professors, who presume of having grace, [Page 132]and of being received to mercy upon com­mon terms of the amplitude of divine be­nignity, and yet continue notorionsly and grosly neglective of holy duties, unless by fits, using them as bellows to blow up the blaze of false and flattering hopes: for if they do at times, hear, read, and pray, yet spend not (together with them) such serious and searching meditation on the deep points of eternity as their cause re­quires. But if they do now and then up­on a fit of melancholly: yet quickly aban­don all their secret resolutions of amend­ment, and slip out of all, like an E [...]le af­ter thunder, and seldom come near it more but if they chance to return a little, it is upon some terror of God, some disaster, some sickness, some loss, some fear, some fright of conscience, and then they [...] con­fess and seem to repent of sin, and look full of flushes, wipe their mouth with her in the proverbs, and after vowes, make enquiry: expiate their wickedness with a sacrifice: and then to it again.

Dare men thus impose upon God, and e­ven wrest and force mercy against the Pro­mises which are alway connext with obe­dience to precepts, or do they think to lay the load upon Gods Soveraignty; and with a bold face lay the cause of their wicked­ness at his door, who is bound to none, 'tis mercy and free grace to any. They know full well in their Consciences, that they have a natural power to perform ex­ternal duty to external commands, as to hearing, reading, praying, &c. nay some­what of internal, as in meditating, exami­ning, [Page 133]resolving and watching to perform their souls convictions. They can do these things as well as go to Taverns, Gamings,Suffrage of Brit. Divines at Dort. p. 68. Lotteries; and 'tis justly to be feared, to worse. Cannot they as well repair to the assemblies, hear reverently, resolve humbly, perform uniformly, to the unspeakable com­fort of their own Consciences, under whose Discipline they so often tremble, and after that to the joy of their godly Relations re­solutely bid an eternal Farewel to all their foolish, vain and treacherous Companions, they would be loth to meet them in Hell the next bout, and to dwell with them in everlasting burnings. O then while the golden sands of time are yet running, take hold of good Advice, to cast off such repro­bate Sons of Belial, and abjects of the earth, and hope by this method to arrive at di­vine mercy in Christ, by trusting in Gods Covenant upon reformation, and after some time well spent in Holiness, may obtain the Joy of Faith, which will end in the Salva­tion of their Souls.

Tis but a little courage and the work is done! O venture not the damnation of thy soul on the punctilio's of Dastardy, as afraid to displease such brain-sick fools, who after the thread is snapt by death, will curse one another for ever, as being mutual promo­ters of each others eternal ruine. But I shall transmit this useful Satyr to the sixth Chapter, and close the present with a que­stion or two, and so end it.

Quest. 1. How to discern the first begin­nings of Grace?

Ans. As it was with Thomas, he had at [Page 134]first but a confused knowledg whether Christ was going, when told of his depar­ture: and as the blind man being under Christs cure, saw imperfectly at first, men walking like Trees: but at length came to more perfect sight: so tis here, good souls at first see but darkly, and feel but grosly, yet thus much they may surely know, and therefore infer a work of Grace surely be­gun within them, by serious enquiry into their own hearts; what their inmost thoughts when in a good frame do princi­pally run upon? what their earnest desires do most constantly thirst after and pitch up­on? what the secret wishes of their Souls are bent upon? and herein Conscience will be a faithful witness whether it be for Sal­vation in the true way of Faith and Holi­ness, which is accepting of Christ on the terms of grace and Gospel tenders, as I have often mentioned to be the matter of our most close and secret enquiry, and im­partial resolution from an honest and un­bribed Conscience.Prov▪ 23.7. On which account I may remember what ouce Mr. Rogers of Hassam, being desired by Mr. Knightly a worthy Gentleman in Northamptonshire, when one time he could not sleep in the night, to help him to a Scripture to medi­tate on, told that of Solomon; As the man thinketh, so is he, which is so in truth; For at what stairs the heart, and its continued thoughts are plying: there lies the true index of the souls state and its future hap­piness.

Quest. 2. Whether desires of Grace are Grace?

Ans. The former hint at this, lets a little enlarge and determine for a Scripture­truth: if those desires be true and sincere of which take two or three tokens.

  • 1. If such desires are followed with faithful and speedy endeavours to promote and accomplish in the use of proper means.
    Eccl. 9.10. Psal. 27.8. Prov. 1.3, 4.18.1.21.21.22.1.
    One thing have I desired, sayes David, and that will I seek after: the soul of a sluggard de­sires and has nothing, but the soul of the di­ligent shall be made fat. Again, the desire of the slothful killeth him, for [...]is hands re­fuse to labour, he's alwayes roaring within, that there's a Lion roaring without. Ruine is the end of lazy wishes, but he that is dili­gent in this business shall stand before the Prince of Princes.
  • 2. If thy desires grow and encrease, ha­ving been attended with success▪ He that gathereth by Labour, shall increase. Holy desires will grow by knowledg and the tea­chable grace of humility.
    Prov. 18.11 2 Pet. 3.18.
    Grow in grace, sayes Peter, but how? he Answers, by the knowl [...]dg of our Lord and Saviour. Yet there is a stated measure to which we are appointed, and can proceed no further, tho we know it not and to whatever point our study is bent, we can know but in part in this life, and therefore Faith of the choicest Believers is but in part on this side glory.
  • 3. If thy desires prove uncessant and impatient till accomplishment and enjoy­ment, then will they prove a tree of life. Thru [...] desire (sayes Solomon) a man having separated himself,
    Prov. 13.12 Prov. 18.1.
    seeketh and intermedleth with all wisdom. He must alienate from [Page 136]all impertinencies, and dedicate himself to the [...], the work in hand, the matter and end proposed: which is a fair token that a man's in earnest, and will ne­ver cease till he arrives at his Haven by the fair wind of Providence▪ Desire is a rest­less affection, and pursues its end against all opposition round the whole Globe. Like a Spring that breaks out at the foot of the high Mountain of Resolution, and quickly spreads to a well, a brook, a river, till at last it unbosome in the vast Ocean. Or­like the Morning Star that ushers in the dawning twilight, which gradually ascend­ing, swells over the Eastern Mountains, and prophecies the bright Suns appearance, who never leaves climbing the horizontal hills till he shines in his lustre, and at last sits down in his Throne in the mid-heaven,
    Prov. 4.18.
    guarded with Lions. Such is the path of the just, which shineth more and more to the perfect noon day of eternal glory.

But to end, after all considerations of the nature of desires and the meanest state in grace: be but sure and clear that thy Faith is of the right stamp, and your enqui­ry about the lowest degree of Grace will be rather superfluous, and too full of criti­cal ambiguities and niceties.

CHAP IV, V.

THe Title of the fourth Cha­pter concerns the Doctrine of Justification by Faith, as before related, Page 54, and was fitted for Publication: but because of ne­cessary avocations calling me from the Press, which the sharpness of the Winter, and other delayes had too much congealed from Motion: I found it expedient at present to lay it aside till another season if God permit: And likewise the fifth about Entring into Covenant by Faith; and shall now proceed to the sixth Chapter; neither shall I handle that in the full Latitude I had prepared, but speak more succinctly in some things under that Head, for the same Reasons.

CHAP VI. The necessary and inseparable con­nexion between Sanctification and true FAITH.

WHat I may at present exhibit on this Subject may be comprized under these Heads.

  • 1. Let's treat a little of the nature of Sanctification,
  • 2. Shew the undivided connexion be­tween that and Faith.
  • 3. Intermix some complaints about for­mal Professors.
  • 4. Answer a Case or two and end.

As to the first we may peremptoryly determine the point, that wherever true Faith dwells there must and will be true holiness both in heart and life: and where it is not; that person who pretends to Faith without it, is a self-deceiver, and in his at­tendance upon Ordinances without life-o­bedience is but the servant of base hypo­crisie.Hei. 1.12. &c: Will any dare to tread Gods Courts on sacred dayes, and lift up crimson hands [Page 139]in prayer, that are full of blood, and stain'd with bribery and oppression: God loathes to smell any perfumes in such assemblies mixt with the unsavoury stench of their defiled bodies and putrid lives.

True Sanctification does not lie in out­ward solemnities, and the gaudery of Tem­ple-worship,Jer. 7.22. as the Prophet treats the Jews in the Name of God: that he commanded them not concerning Burnt offerings and Sacrifices, or the Incense of Sheba, 6.20. or the sweet Cane of Arabia, that is, comparative­ly, no nor principally, as he did moral du­ties of piety and honesty. To obey is bet­ter than sacrifice, 1 Sam. 15.22. and to hearken than the fat of Rams. Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of fed Beasts,Mich. 6.7. or ten thousand Ri­vers of Oyl, or the children of our bowels to smoke upon his Altar? no, no! But to to do justly, love mercy,Psal. 50.17. and to walk humbly with God, this O Man is good in his sight. Will God eat the flesh of Bulls,Psal. 69.31. or drink the blood of Goats? no! he requires the offerings of praise and thanksgiving, this will please him better than an Oxe, that hath young horns and hoofs:Hos. 6.6. Jos. 5.7, 10 Amos 5.25. Act. 7.42. Mat. 12.7.9▪ 13. Mnrk. 12.33. Eph. 4.24. Col. 3.10 and therefore in cases of mercy, God dispenses with Or­dinances; as he did with Israel in the Wil­derness, both as to Circumcision and the Passeover for about forty years together: but with Moral duties never. Our Lord bids us therefore to go and learn this point more diligently: For a Pharisee may be huge ceremonius with his white linnen about a platter, but yet neglect the weigh­ty matters of the Law, Justice and Judg­ment, and Mercy. Whereas true Sancti­fication [Page 140]is a work of Gods Spirit, renewing the whole man after the image of God in righteousness and true holiness: whereby he is instructed and inabled in all wayes of Scripture obedience, to mind the weighty and principal things of love to God and our Neighbour: and not leave undone those lesser points, which belong to any instituti­on of God, and not of man.

By this inward work upon the heart, the sanctified person immediately begins the practice of Mortification, in dying to sin, and of rising to newness of life: but yet this work is not perfectly and compleatly wrought in any person during this life: therefore we must interpret the Apostle in his prayer,1 Thess. 5.23. that the Thessalonians might be sanctified throughout: not in the highest pitch of degrees, but of soundness and sincerity in every part,1 Cor. 6.17 and member of the new Adam.

There is a habit of holiness infused, and wrought in the heart by the holy spirit of promise: by which means we are joyned to the Lord, and become one spirit with him.

We do not of our selves first believe, and so receive the spirit of God: this were to ascribe the actings of faith to the pow­er of man, before the infusion of grace: but first the inspiring and inclining moti­ons of the spirit descend into us, [...]o [...]. 3.3. Eph. 2.22. whereby we are enabled to believe on the Son, and to become by one Spirit united to him as our head.

All habitual graces are wrought in us feminally at first and at one time: yea Faith [Page 141]it self as to the order of time is infused to­gether with the rest in the same moment of our regeneration and sincere conversi­on to God. Habitual holiness therefore in the production of its blessed fruits and faith among the rest does antedate all the parti­cular acts of Faith or other Graces. As in natural Generation all the powers of life are (in semine concepto & animato) formed at once:Aristot d. gen animal. l. Pecquet de ve­nis lacteis but the heart having implanted within it, the true sanguifying virtue be­comes the primum vivens & movens, the first living and moving principle, which is dis­cerned by its pulsation (like the desires of the Soul in the beginnings of Faith) yet all sensation, attraction, digestion, excretion, sanguification, formation of nervous juices and spirits with locomotion and the rest, are all settled at once; but display their operations afterward at the command of the rational soul. Much like hereunto is the work of the new conception, formation and exertion of spiritual and vital acts.

In the first actings of the Spirit we are passive, being found of him after whom we sought not at first: but after,Isa. 65.1. that by a con­nexed power and concourse of the holy spi­rit, we act and rely on Christ in the pro­mise of life,Eph. 4, 16: Col. 2.9, 10 and receive all the supplies of nourishment from the glorious head of in­fluence thru' the spirit. Even as the head of the natural body conveys the animal spirits thru' the several conjugations of the nerves into all parts of the body to ma­nage both sensation and motion.Isal. 44.3. Mat. 3.11. 1 Cor. 6.11 As the Scripture expresses it, we are sanctified in the [...]ame and power of the Lord Jesus [Page 142]by the Spirit of our GOD.

As to the Author of Sanctification, it is no other than in all gracious works, even God essential, and the spirit of God in his more particular Operations and Applica­tions.

As for preparations to grace in any spi­ritual way before the influences of the spi­rit,Eph: 2: 1. they are insignificant and unsavoury notions: for by nature we are dead in sins and trespasses. Tis the same holy Spirit who inclines at first to the use of means, and warms the heart in and by them, as appointed and sanctified of God.

There are, 'tis true, various degrees in moral habits and their actings by the com­mon work of the Spirit in his ordinary effi­cacy: but in many moral persons in the state of nature, these moralities produce as of old, in the Scribes and Pharisees, strong and very vigorous resistance against the more spiritual operations of the holy Spirit of God.

2. I proceed now to the second point premised, which is to shew that Faith and Holiness are inseparable companions, like Jonathan and David, native twins coming up from the washing of regeneration both together: which may be evident as fol­lows:

  • 1. Because Faith is a part of holiness or the new creature, in the renovation of the image of God: whom to believe on his Word was the duty of Adam in Innocency and is indeed a branch of the first Com­mandment, and part of that blessed pour­traicture is restored again by Christ under [Page 143]the new Covnant. By nature since the fall 'tis true, we incline to distrust God and be­lieve Satan before him, and in not obeying him in trusting to his Son upon his Word, we give God the un truth: as to the method of salvation by anothers righteousness. But indeed Faith is a prime part of our holiness, whereby we trust God as to his promise of eternal life by his blessed Son,
    Jer: 17: 7: Act. 26.18.15.19.
    and is the ve­ry critical and discerning character between a true convert and a carnal man We are said therefore to be sanctified by Faith in Christ, and the heart to be purified by Faith: not from it self as an efficient cause of holiness, but as it daily fetches and de­rives holiness from him as head of the Church.
    Gal. 5.6.
    So that Faith in sanctifying us af­ter the first infusion of grace is a power or vertue co-operating with the spirit of God and enjoys a constant concourse of the same holy Spirit in all our spiritual actions.
  • 2. Another ground may be taken from the conjunct work of the spirit:
    John 3.
    who in his very first impulse and motion to true and saving conversion at his coming down into our hearts for that purpose, works both Faith and Holiness at the same mo­ment.
  • 3. Because our blessed Lord came into the World ('tis the end of his advent to us) not only to be the object of our Faith, but to save us from our sins,
    Mat. 1.21. Tit. 2.14. 1 John 3. [...].
    and Faith must act upon him for that end to purifie and de­liver us from our iniquities: not only for salvation from hell or wrath to come: but also from the guilt and filth of sin. For we are chosen in him to be holy, and created in [Page 144]Christ unto good works. Christ gave him­self to redeem us from all iniquity,
    Eph. 1.4. & 2.10. Tit, 2.14
    to pu­rifie us for a peculiar people, zealous of good works I where we may observe justi­fication and sancttification riding together in the same Chariot. If then all gracious habits be wrought at once, the too much nicety of arguing about the precedency of this or that grace is to be rejected, as not agreeing to the uniform work of the new nature, nor the inward experience of saints whose graces work according to influence, opportunity of providence,
    1 Cor. 12: 11:
    & the good plea­sure of the spirit in his assistances, who divi­deth to every one severally as he will. We may admit somewhat as to congruity of the seeming order of nature or time, but not press such conceptions over strictly: for various experiences will contradict the curiosity of such notions. But we may firmly deter­mine, that the understanding cannot spiri­tually discern the excellencies of Christ,
    1 Cor: 2: 14:
    nor the will of man stedfastly believe in him nor the affections savingly embrace him, till we are first regenerated by Gods most ho­ly Spirit, who is powred out into every fa­culty and power of the soul at the very first initials of Conversion.
  • 4. Because the Commandments of holi­ness are part of the object of our Faith in its doctrinal foundation.
    Rom. 7.12.
    Therefore Paul in his conflict sets down this as a maxim, that the Law is holy, and the Command­ment holy, just and good.
  • 5. Besides, the truth of our Faith is de­monstrable by holiness as its genuine effect. Its vain for persons to pretend to Faith [Page 145]where this is wanting, tho' it may not ap­pear so evidently at the first.
    Jam. 2.17.
    The Apostle James spends a large discourse upon this Argument, to prove that Faith without the works of holiness is but a dead Faith. Indeed our holiness being imperfect does not justi­fie the person before God, but it justifies the faith of the person to be true: and the Apostle Paul conjoynes Faith and Holiness together, and thence proves our eternal life.
    2 Thess. 2.13.
    Blessing God for having chosen the Thessalonians to glory, and proves it because they were sanctified by the Spirit, and did believe the truth of the Gospel.
  • 6. Lastly, Because the application of Faith, or the working or actuating of our Faith upon Christ in the promise, doth not only sweetly and clearly manifest our be­ing justified, but assists us also in the ob­taining and increasing of holiness.
    2 Cor. 7.1.
    They walk and work together. For how do the precious promises of the covenant purge us from sin and all filthiness of flesh and spirit, but by the acting faith in Christ, and so do embrace Christ for our sanctification,
    1 Cor. [...] 30.
    and in his name and power derive holiness from those precious promises, which are the golden Pipes or nerves, that convey it from our glorious head. Whence it comes that our belief of the inheritance promised, and of Heavens aimiableness revealed by the Word, and ratified on and by the verity of God: helps us daily to walk more holily and to be made more meet for that King­dom with the Saints in light. And thus it is,
    Act. 15.7 Lev. 4 20, 33.
    that Faith purifies both the heart and life for glory. Even as under the Levitical [Page 146]Law, the action of the Priest in his offer­ing the Bullock, and sprinkling the blood before the Lord is said to purge away sin,
    Rainold praelect vol. 1. p. 123.
    or make attonement for their sins, that is instrumentally. So may Faith be an in­strument in deriving the sense of our justi­fication, and the sweet influences of our sanctification from our blessed Lord in be­lieving the sanctifying promises made in his Name, and actuated by virtue of his holy Spirit.

Now then, according to that common and useful sentiment: there be two works that attend Sanctity: the first is to mortifie sin: and the second to vivifie and quicken Grace,Pet. 3.11. that we may be holy in all manner of conversation, and this not of our own power either to begin, carry on or finish: but wholly by the work of the Spirit at first, and then by his gracious concourse with every holy action of the new creature to the last, being carried on by the power of God thru' Faith to Salvation. This is so great a Scripture truth, that tis to be admi­red that the impugners of it, who stand up­on their own power so much, both as to conversion, and as to perseverance, should be so noted for looseness of life which shews the secret tremendous judgment of God, that such as too much neglect the righte­ousness of God,Mr. Hickman Hist. of Armi­nianism p. 396. should many times have so little of their own: as tis observed by a Learned Writer in a short History of such points.

Having thus treated a little about the ne­cessary conjunction of holiness with Faith, lets exhibit its beautiful face in the follow­ing [Page 147]chrystal Glass of Holy Scripture.

1. It principally consists in the inward frame of the heart according to the Will of God, when the image of God does most il­lustriously shine into it. True Religion and Holiness are fundamentally seated in the heart: all other is but painted false and hipocritical. Bell-Religion is but mocking of God, when lewd men and women run to the Assembly to shew their clothes, stare upon their goatish paramours,Prov: 7: 14: and like the strange woman in the Proverbs, pay their peny at the Temple, and then with an im­pudent face deck their Bed with Tapistry, and perfume it with Spices.ver: 16, 17: But true in­ward holiness excites and instigates persons constantly upon the taming and subduing rather than bridling only their fierce and sensual lusts, and to crown right reason with full power and dominion over their infe­rior beastly appetites: which is and may be performed genuinely and successfully alone by true grace.

2. Holiness consists in studying and ob­serving the purity of Gods Worship, pre­scribed in his Word according to his Will. For what communion can we have with so holy a God;Heb. 12 9. Exod 20.24.25.22.29 42. Numb. 6.24. in methods formed besides and contrary to his appointment. If earth­ly Princes will not receive Addresses but according to their own prescriptions, and appoint Masters to order those solemnities: why not much rather be subject to the King of Kings, that Father of Spirits and live, when God had set down all the Ordinances of his Worship to Moses, then adds: there will I come unto you and bless you.

3. In sobriety and chastity towards our own bodies,1 Thess. 4.4. Tit. 2.12. possessing those noble vessels (wherein our souls those Lamps of life shine so radiantly) in Sanctification and Honour.

4. In a vigilant care of Justice and Righ­teousness between man and man: setting before our eyes that golden rule,Mat. 7, 12. of doing to others as we would others should do to us.

Whoever then, upon the high testimony given to Faith in Scripture shall wax wan­ton with Grace,Rom. 6.1 and fancy they are set at liberty to live as they list: such do but trifle with God, and impose upon the purity of his Precepts, & in the end will deceive them­selves & if repent not fall into the precipice of eternal Damnation. Which point is faith­fully determined in the Homilies of England concerning Faith,Chap. 4. P. 23. and more copiously in the second part about Faith, Page 24. where they declare Faith to be a working grace; and again Page 28. citing the Apostle Peter, where we translate the words,2 Pet. 1.5. Add to your Faith vertue, they read it [Minister or de­clare vertue in or by your Faith.] that is, shew forth the force, power or vertue of your Faith in all your other graces, and in the holiness of your lives by the effects and fruits of a true and living Faith.

Let us now consider one or two questi­ons, and finish this Chapter at present.

[Page 149]Quest. 1. What means may we use to at­tain and increase true holiness.

Answ. 1. I answer, Study thine own heart, keep it with all diligence, especial­ly from your own iniquities,Prov. 4.23. and your own special tentations, by a wakeful guard, both in prayer and watchfulness. Observe who comes in and goes out. Examine thy self more frequently, and meditate deeply and seriously to give a wise and deliberate answer to these three questions in the Catechism of conscience.

  • 1. Whence came I? what's my original State.
  • 2. Where am I? what and whose work am I doing?
  • 3. Whether go I, after this life is end­ed.

Give a satisfying answer according to Gods Word, to these questions and scru­tinies of an enlightened conscience, and this will comfort you upon a dying pil­low: When all the world is not worth the tip of an atome to you. You will need no longer Catechisms, but as to dependent explications upon these heads: For if your peace be made with God on this score, you are out of gun-shot. But ever re­member Josephs question about the Eye and Presence of God in all places, saying,gea. 39.9. How can I commit this great wickedness, and sin against God. Especially consider his fla­ming Eye to awe you from secret sins, which are all in the light of his counte­nance,Psal. 90.8. when no other eye is upon you; and be ashamed to commit those things under his eye, which you would blush to [Page 150]commit before a little child, and are in a fright at the turn of every door, lest a child should come in to observe you, and tell tales of you, when faithful Relati­ons out of Town, return again. O the hellish practical Atheism, that lurks in the hearts of professing hypocrites! that write Sermons only to accuse them at the day of Judgment, and to be a pile of papers to burn them in hell, unless they repent. O set your ways before the eyes of the Lord,Prov. 5.21. who pondereth all your goings. That's like an Isaack in the field, a Jo­seph in an empty house, or a pious Natha­nael under the Fig-tree alone.John 1.48.

2. Study an exact imitation of the Saints in glory, that are now enjoying the promises, whose faith follow. If vain persons would ensnare by their scoffs or inticements, remember they are but the wiles of the Devil. Lustful villains dare not stand the repulse of a brave and vir­tuous spirit: casta est quam nemo rogavit. They! shrink and sink with shame into the De­vils bosome, when the glory of an holy life chaftizes them into horror and stran­gling. Ponder the path of thy feet, and walk in the way of good men,Prov. 4, 20, 25. & 2.20. & 5, 6. and the righteous, that are the excellent upon the earth let be thy companions. Aiery persons so called, are fit for no company, but the prince of the power of the Air, that ruleth and rageth in the children of disobedience,Eph. 2.2. the Sons and Daughters of Belial, that shall be damned. When sinners intice, consent thou not. A man is discerned by his companion, and a wo­man [Page 151]by her Gallant, as the infatuated world shamefully Italianizes; but a wound and dishonour shall he get, and his reproach shall not be wiped away: keep thou in the path of the Just that shines more and more, nill the perfect day.Prov. 6.33.

Mark the perfect, and behold the up­right, the end of that man is peace. Follow their grace,Psal. 37.37, and their glory will follow you. Shining beams stream from their paths to enlighten your feet in the way to bliss and happiness.

3. Stop up the casements of thy senses at any approaches of vanity.Prov. 4.25. Let thine eyes look right forward, and take heed to thy going. Wax up thine ears, as Ʋlysses in Homer, from the Syren-songs of fools, that may split thy soul upon the Rocks of Charib dis. The five senses are as so many rushing flood gates to set open the heart to all iniquity.

4. Beg of God a quickned heart to se­cret and family-duties. Cry to the Lord:Psal. 80.18. Jer. 10.25. Quicken me, and I'le call upon thy name, and tremble to be among those families, that for not calling on Gods Name, shall have his fury poured out upon them. Fa­mily-prayer is like some Elixir, or morn­ing antidote in pestilential times, and like some anodyne or cooling cordial julep in an evening, to procure beloved sleep in the bosome of God.

I was told a notable passage from a ho­ly man, a native of Lancashire: Mr. Hilton that a witch being to be turned over, confessed at her Execution, that she could never be­witch the person or family, (as I remem­ber) [Page 152]of a certain godly man in that coun­try, because she could never find him come out of his doors without prayer in a morning.

Again I beseech you let us take heed of Omission-sins, and beg pardon for, and as­sistance both of memory and strength a­gainst them; yet be not too much discou­raged, if age, sickness or weakness, or some sudden disappointments hinder or impair thy work. Nay if sometimes the sweet wind of the spirit do not breath so fragrantly upon thy garden of spices with the same benigne influences, as to melt thy heart in holy ardors and flames of love; remember that relentings and mour­nings under such apprehended absences of the spirit, do manifestly infer the inward presence of the same holy spirit in the compunction and brokenness and languish­ments of heart for Christ, do shew a sick­ness for want of communion visible, by secret invisible touches of his love. Be­hold he stands behind the wall,S [...]ng 2.9. and will by and by look forth at a window, and shew himself through the lattesse to thee.

Let me here interpose an humble and earnest request to all persons who may light upon these lines, to set upon a spee­dy and sincere reformation of all things dis­pleasing in his sight, that the Lord may bless us, and restore and preserve our mer­cies, and especially to conserve the Gospel among us.

Lets' also mix prayer with holy thank­fulness for the least of mercies: which re­minds of a passage of Mr. John Ball, when [Page 153]occasionally at a very short and mean din­ner with Adams Ale, (as the Author terms it) he breaks out into these words. It would cost a man many a years labour to be truly and throughly thankful for one piece of bread and cheese, Clearks lives p. 176. Oh how many poor persons in this land would leap at the crusts parings and offals, which many lewd per­sons and wastful servants fling away pre­sumptuously against the command of our Lord, who could make bread by a word out of stones, out of nothing, and yet bids that nothing be lost: while as they consider not what bitter poverty they may howl under;John 6.1 [...] nor the dreadful judgment of a famine of bread and water.

But then, how much more abundantly thankful ought we to be for the festival-days of the Gospel, which we have enjoy­ed: that so we provoke not the master of the feast to remove both his flourish­ing table, and such ungrateful guests. Since many people are even weary of their faithful and painful Ministers, who are so disheartned, grieved and wearied with a­buses offered to them: that we may justly fear, lest God should prove weary of us all as we are weary of him, and provoke him to take away the golden, and put brazen candlesticks in their room, as that holy man Dr. Owen exprest himself with much sadness to that purpose, a little be­fore his ascent to the spirits of just men made perfect. Lets earnestly implore the divine love and patience to forbid these [Page 154]dangerous symptoms, and return in mer­cy to us again.

5. Look well to the flocks of your fa­milies, that no sin break forth without re­buke, restraint and punishment as the mat­ter requires; study and beg for prudence in government. Take heed of multiply­ing over-many, especially impertinent words in family-prayer, lest worshippers prove sleepers, and disturb that duty by snoring. Remember that God is in hea­ven, and thou upon earth,Eccles. 5.2. therefore let thy words be few. It often makes the ways of Religion tedious and irksome to young persons, and sometimes hinders their looking towards heaven: In all points labour to keep servants and chil­dren in full work and business, and keep them from gadding with Dinah. For womens chaste behaviour gives a flatter de­nial, than their saying of [no] to wanton fellows. They come too near a grant to ai­ry women that would seem to deny it. Let the reins of government be held in a gen­tle hand; moderata durant: Let not little faults be the object of severe chastisements, yet wise correction is most necessary, tho now fled from this dissolute age, which is the true cause of many enormities; 'tis hard for good persons to retrieve it, while wicked persons are so rampant and pow­erful: but do what thou canst in the wi­sest way, for a good mans paths are orde­red of the Lord. Ill and sordid breeding and evil communications affects many thou­sands with corrupt manners all their dayes. Good education helps to sweeten ill-tem­pers [Page 155]betimes; as a new vessel that's scen­ted with a vinous liquor. And although under bad influences at birth, and in nur­sing by a froward milk (as Plutarch points it) yet wise parents by the blessing of God may greatly form and lick their conversati­on into some smooth civilities. Its a weighty work to fashion young ones to religious habits, it tames the heathen fierceness, and barbarism of some natures, and brings them up by degrees to advance in some measure the glory of God, their countries benefit, and their own peace;Eph. 1.2. within, and ornament without.

Whereas others who are hurt by bad presidents, and examples in the ungraceful carriage of Superiours, who care not to prune or lop off the wild luxuriancies of youth; they often prove quarrelsome and contentious wretches in age, disturbers of families, the instruments of mischief in cities and towns, and if many, then they prove firebrands to whole Nations.

6. Deliver your souls from this wicked generation, fly youthful lusts,Acts 2.40. fast away tentations, beat down the flesh, that great Ass, as Hilarion terms it: by moderation and abstinence; especially from wine and strong drink, and all excesses. Shun as a serpent or a flying dragon, the dreadful madness of these days, which tends in the end to shame and beggery here; to the ruine of many ancient and famous families: who have swallowed many a park, and many a Lordship, and drunk down the royalty of fishing in many Rivers. As 'tis easy [Page 156]to see in the turns of estates from the old to new upstart races, in the antiquities of many counties described by diligent men of late. But what is worst of all, they are ready to sink into everlasting burn­ings, in flaming pitch and brimstone, in that direful and bottomless lake.

Quest. 2. If true holiness be so rare a Jewel, and always connexed with true Faith: then help us to know whether we are indeed truly sanctified?

Answ. 1. I answer, we may know that we are truly sanctified, if we have been exercised in godly sorrow and repentance for sin, joyned with an holy hatred a­gainst it.

True penitent tears like salt-waters, do purge and cleanse the soul. Bitter sor­rows, and an inward sense ef Gods wrath, with an holy awe of Gods precepts and threatnings,Z [...]ch. 12 10. and a sincere desire of a mend­ment fit the souls pallace for the carrying on of grace.

Holiness of life, and reformation of our ways does alway follow inward and sincere Repentance.

2. An inward satisfaction with and some delight from the heart in a convin­cing Preacher; that searches his heart to the bottom, and lets out the old corrup­tion, and then pours in the Samaritan Oyle of the Gospel upon the acute wine of the Law; yea he reverences and loves him for his work sake and faithfulness to his Pa­tient.

Obj, But may not an unfanctified person shew outward holiness and have some inward [Page 157]dogmatical Faith, as Herod and others.

A. Their Obedience is neither universal nor permanent,Luk. 8.13. Heb. 6.4. & 10.24 2 Pet. 2.20. and their Faith not rooted in an unfeigned love to Christ.

No more here to this, intending a fur­ther measure in the eighth Chapter.

To conclude about Sanctification with the words of that holy and reverend Per­son, Bp. Ʋsher in his little sheet about the two Witnesses. Being askt by a Lady of Honour what Sanctification was: after some modest diversion, brake out into this expression, [That it was the offering up tho whole will to God, See Brit. Divin [...] at Dort. p. 11 [...] which was more than all burnt offerings and Sacrifices. To which I may subjoyn that none need to dread or fly back from the flames of affection in this free-will Offering, tho' it be difficult to [...]esh and blood: for tis perfumed with the Frankincense of our Lords passion-offering at the brazen Altar, and the fragrant min­gled Incense of his intercession at the gol­den Altar. So that in conclusion, all the holy wayes of wisdom are pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.

Thus much at present to explain a little the nature of holiness in this Chapter to­gether with a sad lamentation dropt upon the Herse of vain Professors in these dayes. But lets add, Let him that stands take heed lest he falls, be not high-minded but fear: for thou standest by Faith:Rom. 11, 20. 1 Cor. 4.7. and that grace of God alone makes thee to differ.

Let us now finish this excellent and use­ful Subject of Holiness: tho' mixt with some warm reflections for the good of souls, and come to a very comfortable Subject [Page 158]about the Beauty and joy of Faith in the Throne of assurance: tho' I should inter­weave a shorter Chapter about the infirmi­ties of Believers to prevent stumbling at the threshold of Assurance: and now I hope somewhat to change my voice in more sweet lessons of comfort, for the use of broken and mournful Saints. The Founda­tion indeed is laid in the Doctrines of Faith and holiness, if faithful Souls will di­ligently build gold and precious stones up­on it: they may erect the most stately and Imperial Temple in the whole World, not like the Pygmy Pyramids of Egypt up to the Clouds and Vapors, but like the Cedar-Temple of the second Solomon, all wrought with Saints and Cherubims, whose Pinacles reach within the highest Heavens nec habent umbras, all shadows and mists are fl [...]d away. Still remember that all must pass thru' the Temple of vertue and grace, before they can enter the Temple of heavenly glory.

CHAP VII.

THis Chapter about the in­firmities of Believers, for the same fore-written causes, I lay aside at present, and proceed to the Eighth, about the Doctrine of Assurance.

CHAP. VIII Of the Assurance of FAITH.

THe nature of Assurance and Method to attain it, is the Subject of this Chapter. In former times, Faith was re­presented under the notion of assurance, [Page 160]or a Saints particular certainty, that Christ died for his own soul among the rest of Be­lievers. Like to that special priviledg to which Paul prescribes,Ga [...]. 2. [...]0. that Christ loved him and died for him. But now, more diligent observation of Holy Scripture and experience hath cleared up this point; that assurance is the belief,Rom. 5.1. that we are justified by Faith in Christ and so have peace with God. It is the application of Faith, or a perswasion of our hearts concerning the love of God.Joh. 3.19. When the Spirit of God sets his seal upon our hearts with the im­pression of the image of Christ as in wax or as the Antients graved the effigies of their Princes on a Cornelian or Opal, or such precious Stones.Eph. 3.12. Joh. 14.23. It produces a con­fidence of access by Faith in Christ, and is daily more and more evidenced by the a­bode of both Father and Son with us: when the ripe Grapes of Eshcol are cast into our bosoms, and Christ himself comes in to sup with us.Rev. 3.20. Assurance shines by a reflex beam of the souls eye upon it self. When a Saint sitting down in the closet of his own heart takes a clear view of his face in the glass of Faith. I may term it, a Saints belief of his own Faith. Assurance is the cream of Faith when tis settled: its the joy of Faith springing in the Soul from the warm healing beams of the Sun of righteousness rising upon its humble val­leys. Some take Faith to be a trust on the promise for remission of our own sins in particular, or conjoyned with reliance, dependance, adherence and affiance. When having cast all our hope and expectation [Page 161]of heaven and happiness into the arms of Christ alone; and thence infer the promise to have been made to us in particular, by an immediate consequence drawn from our special and personal application of the in­definite or more general promise, and ta­king it as a divine Oracle to us in particu­lar, and therefore call it special Faith: the promise being thereby assigned to me im­mediately as certainly as to any in the world, because I have set to my seal, that God is truth, and accepted him upon his Word. When this is done, to wait with joyful expectation, that God will perform it at the day of Christ. But what is all this any more than Faith and assurance tied up together in a bundle of sweet smelling Myrrhe:Psal. 1.6 drest up in various words to the same effect, as we before exprest it. Lets then proceed and endeavour to prove it under some distinct heads.

  • 1. That Assurance may be had.
  • 2. Prescribe some means to attain it.
  • 3. Some Rules to clear it. And
  • 4. Solve a question how to retain and preserve it.

1. First, Lets shew that assurance may be obtained by every true Believer, under these Arguments.

Arg. 1.

Because God hath commanded and ex­horted us to try and examine our own e­state,Brit▪ Divines in Synod Dort. Page 140 2 Cor. 13.5. Phil. 2.12 whether we are in the Faith or not, and therefore we may know it. We are commanded to work out our Salvation with fear and trembling: therefore the sense of it may be wrought out: and we are urged [Page 162]to do it with fear and trembling, to spur us unto godly care lest we should miscarry. Again, we are enjoyned to give diligence to make our calling and election sure, and therefore we may ascertain it,2 Pet. 1.10. and make it plain and evident in the eyes of our Con­sciences.

Arg. 2.

Because God hath given out many gra­cious promises of it to the faithful. I might gloss on that place [Thou shalt know that I am thy Saviour and Redeemer:] or a clearer in that;Isai. 60.16. & 22.17. 1 Cor. 2.12. The effect of righteousness, shall be quietness and assurance for ever; and yet further [We have received the Spirit of God, that we may know the things free­ly given us of God.

Arg. 3.

Because many have enjoyed this honou­rable favour and high priviledg from God.1 John 3.2. Quod potuit, potest, what hath been attain­ed, may again. We know that when he shall appear we shall be like him:] and so in several other places. I doubt not but many living can put seal to this truth, as having lived in this mount of vision. A­mong others who are gone to enjoyment, I would call to mind, Mr. Benjamin Albyn a Turkey Merchant of good repute for his ho­liness, and whose evidences I have by me, approved and signed by some grave and holy Divines. Another was my much ho­noured, Mrs. Anna Revell Mother to my beloved Wife Phaehe; a very holy Matron, and a discerning Christian, who acquainted me (I think twice) with great humility and tears trickling down in a most meek [Page 163]broken and penitent manner: which made me value the testimony more than Gold, se. that she had walked in the light of Gods countenance for thirty years not interrup­ted. I mention it, not so much for my happy relation as because of my certain knowledg: and indeed she was one, who walkt accordingly. O that all her remain­ing Friends and Relations would lay it up, as a Jewel of value for them to eye and imitate. But it is not every gracious per­sons attainment adire corinthum, to go to heaven feeding on Milk and Honey to carry this glittering Diamond in their bosom.Gen. 43.11. They are Gods Josephs, to whom he sends the Balm and the choice Fruits of Canaan to feed upon while they are in Egypt. Yea, of those, who enjoy this Sun-shine, this transfiguring vision in Tabor, all have not equal visions, nor the same persons at all times alike: but are up and down, higher and lower: tho they never want a sweet view of the Turrets of Salem, yet some­times it is a little more cloudy: but when they skilfully set the Telescope or Prospe­ctive of a lively and actuating Faith, they may discern plainly the Pinacles of the Temple of Glory, and like Moses on Mount Nebo become ravisht with a sight of that lovely Land, that land of desire, that land of the living, that goodly Mountain even Lebanon. Which view (to speak humbly and with some desired fellowship of this joy) gave wings to the soul of Moses, and swift feet to his affections,Deut. 3.25. when he gave a leap from that pleasant and fragrant Moun­tain into Glory.

But to leave the first part of this Chapter, and proceed to the second about means and methods to attain Assurance, which may be performed,

  • 1. By Argumentation.
  • 2. By observation of the Spirits in­fluences.

As to Argumentation:

1. First, By Arguments drawn from our having and acting of Faith and the effects of it; we may obtain some measure of this blessed priviledg. Thus [Whosoever be­lieves in Christ, such a persons sins are par­doned, and therefore shall be saved. But I believe, and therefore I shall be saved. The major Proposition is expresly the Word of God, and built upon the rock of eternity. The minor, which is [That I believe] must be wrought out and proved by the first Chapter of this Treatise, or any other holy Directions; and then upon examina­tion is to be found in the sense and experi­ence of thine own soul: and thence the con­clusion will irrefragably and undeniably follow with unspeakable comfort and full of glory. Now here a Christian may see, how necessary it is to ponder diligently upon the true nature of Faith, and to understand its inward essence and actings in casting the soul upon Christ, and likewise the di­stinction of Faith from Assurance, and how assurance may be clearly and firmly built upon a sound and a well-argued sense of its being and acting in the soul. In the Looking-glass of Assurance the soul beholds it self clinging and cleaving to Christ while he is supporting and carrying it over the [Page 165]stormy Ocean to the haven of glory. It is Faith that feeds the Lamp of Assurance, and Assurance is the Oil which feeds the Lamp of Joy.

2. We may argue the truth of our Faith by the fruits of holiness, and thence inferr and draw forth Assurance. Because of the unseparable connexion there is be­tween Faith and holiness;1 John 1.7. whoso walks in the light, the blood of Christ cleanseth him from all sin: that is, whoever is san­ctified, may thence inferr, that he is justi­fied, and shall be glorified. So Paul ar­gues: He that's washed and sanctified,Rom. 8.30. 1 Cor. 6.10, 11. is also justified in the name of the Lord Je­sus, and shall inherit the Kingdom of God. If we study to walk to all pleasing: we may then give thanks for that we are thereby made meet for the inheritance with the Saints in light.Col. 1.10: 12.

3. Again, Grace in exercise is a most evident token of its real existence, and may consequently raise Assurance. If a tree flower fragrntly, 'tis certain it has a root. If a Ship be under Sail, and its Top-gallants out, shews its sound estate, and makes way towards its Ophir. To be strong and swift in motion demonstrates a strong and healthy soul, and is the way to keep it in a happy frame: for exercise conduces to health and Strength. Wa­ters of great rivers, by their voluble moti­ons and tides, resist putrifaction and the heavenly bodies by their continual circu­lations and fiery beams convey their influ­ences to serve all the sublunary generati­ons and accretions. Little sparks by a­gitation, [Page 166]conceive larger degrees of fire in the application of more combustible mat­ter and purifie the Air. Artificial imple­ments, as Locks, Saws and Handles, &c. are made brighter by mutual affrication, attrition and use. So do the chariot-wheeles of the soul kindle fire by swift rotation and motion in the ways of holi­ness, and run flaming towards heaven.

4. We may argue it from the good­will of God towards us, according to that in the Angelical Song [peace on earth, and good-will towards men] peace of conscience on scripture-ground is a certain token of Gods good-will towards us.Luke 2.14.

But if you ask:

But will God pardon me in particular.

I Answer,2 Cor. 5, 20. John 3.33. why doubt it?

When as God exhorts, commands and s [...]nds his Embassadors to beseech us to be­lieve him, and rest upon his promise, and not to make him seem to be a deceiver by our unbelief.

Nay, thou and I, and every one, to whom the Word of Life doth come, are comman­ded in particular to believe.

Obj. I but says the timorous soul, how can I know that be means the promise of life to me?

Answ. I Answer, if thou trust him: it will certainly prove so,

For thy accepting, and then relying, and resting on him to perform his promise, makes up the agreement between God and thee.

More of this anon God willing.

5. An interest in the prayer of Christ, [Page 167]is an assured help to evidence that we are in Covenant, and under electing love.

To clear up this we must take our Lords own reasoning before the Father, I have given them the words thou gavest me, John 17.8.6. verse 14. and they have received them, and have kept thy word, and they are hated of the world, because they are not of it. So that if we keep the words or commandments of Christ, and are therefore hated by the world, we may conclude we are his,verse. 9. and under the efficacy of his divine prayer. He prayes for them whom the Father gave him out of the world, and not for the world. And lest we might say, this concerned the Apostles only, our Lord subjoyns: I pray for them also that shall be­lieve on me through their word. verse 24. Wence we may inferr, that all true believers in Christ upon the hearing the word of Apostolical Doctrine, are the Subjects of Christs pray­er. The great end of all is, that at last we may be with him, and see his glory.

6. Learn the blessed art of applying promises: this is a sure and certain way to argue out the point of Faith, and to infer assurance. He that can spiritually, apply a promise, has the Spirit of God, and acts in and by his vertue and influ­ence. A promise in the reading sparkles and shines; but a promise applyed, com­forts and warmes. Some noble cordial as Alchermes, or that of Tycho or some great Elixir, if charily set up in a closet or a cabinet of chrystal is an help to the thoughts: but drunk or taken down in a proper vehicle, makes it by divine blessing [Page 168]to become actually restorative. Could we repeat all the promises in the Bible, forward and backward, and reduce them upon occasion to proper heads and use, and service: yet 'tis special application gives the signative vertue: and therefore I shall endeavour by the help of grace to give in a little aid to this purpose.

First, Ʋniversals contain particulars of the same kind. Indefinite and unlimited promises are equivalent to universal in a necessary matter. Gods invitation is uni­versal, his proclamation extensive to all quarters of the world, to all Regions and Ages,2 Pet. 3.9. Mark [...]0.49.16.15 col. [...].23. Isa. 55.1. Rev. 22.17. John 3.16.2.37. 1 cor. 5 2 cor. 6, 17. John 6.37. God would have none to perish. Ho, every one that thirsteth, and whosoever will, let him take of the water of life free­ly, and whosoever believeth shall not perish.

Wherever the sound of this Gospel-Trumpet rings.

Into whosoever's ears this blessed news descends from heaven, he is the person in­vited. The Lord excepts no person in the proclamation, that will but receive the promise of life: and although a God, yet beseeches us to come to him, and hath promised (if we will come) to accept and receive us: I will receive you saith the Lord, if you will come out from among them. If youl come to me, I will in no wise cast you out: No time, quality, number, or other circumstance of sins set barrs to free­grace. The promulgation declares the mind and good-will of God, and that if thou in particular accept the proffer of mercy, thou mayst conclude it to be thine. Because the inclination of thy will within, [Page 169]comes down from God out of heaven, and plainly determines that he is willing to save thee, because thou art willing to close with his grace upon Gospel-terms of holiness and new-obedience:Luke 2.14, Thy will is the effect, and therefore the token and e­vidence of his will to thee, good-will to­wards men. Whence thou mayst collect, that thy name is written within the parch­ments and coverings of the general pro­mises: which when thus accepted, they are then particularly applyed.

Obj. If any inwardly object their own unworthiness.

Answ. I answer, it is a most frivolous and impertinent cavil against thy self. For Christ came to save, not the worthy Pha­risee, but the miserable, sinful and un­worthy Publican.Rev. 3.17. Rom. 7.8.11, The Sick need the Physitian and not the whole: and there­fore come the rather, because poor, mise­rable, blind and naked. Sin took occasi­on by the commandment to slay thee: do thou take occasion by sin to run to the promise. Therefore come to Christ, be­cause lame, tattered torn and wounded, and sick and creeping by the hedg-side: The more miserable, the more accepta­ble; when under the sense of misery, thou comest to so merciful an High-priest and Saviour. The promises of the Gospel are made to no other; if thy case were not miserable, thy coming were to no purpose. The very reason which thou objectest, is the only reason why thou shouldst be encouraged to come, to run and flie to this bosome of mercy. God [Page 170]has made his promises without any pre­vious foresight of any holiness,Ezek. 36.32. grace or Faith. It is for his own sake alone, that he blots out our iniquities, not for yours, Indeed he sends his Son, Word, Ministers and his Spirit along with them. He is graciously pleased to call, invite, beseech and command us to believe: he promises rewards, threatens punishments, proffers the use and help of all imaginable means proper to this end. He also by his holy Spirit, moves upon our wills, softens, turns and bends them as he pleases: and by his quickning work stirs up and guides our consciences in all its offices. So that I may say,Acts 13.26. as the Apostle to some of old: To you is the Word of this Salvation sent O languishing trembling soul, wouldst thou gladly [...]embrace the promises, and implore his help to do it? What canst thou desire more: fince [...] 'tis his promise to do this work, and grant this mercy to such petitioners at the throne of grace. Per­haps thou wilt answer,

All this I find, even sweet inclinations in me by grace to accept,Mat, 8.3. embrace and perform.

But oh blessed Lord I beg, that I might be cleansed from the leprosy of sin, oh that I might be holy?

To this I rejoyn a question.

Art thou willing to be holy? accor­ding to the Gospel rules, to accept the proffers of mercy as both pardoning and purging, to be holy as well as happy, in Christs method, that is, to use sincere endeavours after that holiness which thou [Page 171]declarest to thirst for, if thou upon calling, in the power of his might, with integrity of heart, doest really intend and set about it to use purging graces and ordinances, and wait with perseverance for the mani­festation and aid of the Spirit of grace; (whereof beneath) I may then be hum­bly bold to say to thee, though as yet but low it may be, in the state of grace,Luk. 19.5. yet oh thou little but zealous Zacheus, come down and Christ may dine at thine house this day.1 cor 3.22.

I may then say, The Covenant is yours, Christ is yours, God is yours, life and death and all is yours, and ye are Christs, and Christ is Gods. Stretch out in the blessed name of the Son of God, and in his power and at his command the hand of your long­ing, thirsting, hungring, panting, hastning Will to the Lord of life, and the great work is done, and thou art happy.

I confess, I need say no more but that I desire to enlarge upon this so desirable a Theam: considering that one thing may be sanctified to take with one Spirit; that may not with another: but lets ever re­member the connexion of holiness with Faith in the sixth chapter:Col. 2.2. if you would obtain to be the heirs of clear full and strong Assurance, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and the Father and of Christ: [...] to a spiritual acquaintance with God as a gracious Fa­ther in Christ.John 17.3. This is life eternal to know thee the only true God, in and together with Christ as a Father, to dwell & abide withus.

But lets proceed to a second means of applica [...]ion.

2. Particular promises made in ancient times, concern every particular believer in all succeeding ages. For whatsoever was written aforetime was writ for our learning,Rom. 15.4. that we might have hope As all the precepts concern us, and we con­cern our selves in duty and obedience to them; then why not interested in the promises, unless there be some special reason assignable to the contrary.1 cor. 10.11. Heb. 13.5. Rom. 4 24. We may observe also, that all the examples of unbelief, and Gods displeasure to an­cient Israel, and the particulars unto some persons among them, were set forth for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come to us that live in the ends of the earth, or ages of the world▪ Joshuahs Faith and Courage is recorded for us.

The Faith of Abraham is recited not for his sake alone, but ours also; to whom it shall b [...] imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus Christ from the dead. The Apostle having inrolled the memori­als of many famous Patriarks before our Lords time,Heb. 11.40.13.8. concludes; that they without us shall not be made perfect. Whose Faith let us follow, since Christ is the same yesterday in Joshaah's time, to day in Pauls and for ever thro [...]gh all generations.

All the sheep of Christ drink of the same River of life, the same streams of the promise, that runs through paradise, in [...]mne volubilis aevum.

It comes originally from the secret chan­nels of the Ocean of divine and eternal love, and breaks or springs forth out of the rocky mountain of Zion, and the various sources of its Ordinances. So that every Saint may sing with David, Psal. 87.7. All my springs are in, thee O Zion, in thee O God of Zion. All the promises are in and thru' Christ the Prince of Zion. 2 Cor. 1.20. Yea and Amen, even cer­tain, inviolable and unchangeable.

3. If thou wouldest successfully apply the promises, labour to strengthen the habit of Faith by frequent actings of it upon Christ in the Promise. Remember to be every day ejaculating up to heaven, and casting the eye of Faith upon a Saviour in glory,Rev. 506. a Lamb as it had been slain, and standing in the midst of the Elders by the Throne of God. This is a sweet method to breed love to Christ, and love will raise thee up to some assurance and confidence in his love. God is love, and his mercy to sinners in misery is the fruit of his love, and love springs out of the original goodness in the nature of God: who delights in them,Psal. 33.18.147.11. that hope in his mercy and trust in his love: and when the love of God to us begins to warm our hearts with the inward feeling and tast of it; as the foretast of the Wine of the Kingdom: it encreases Faith, and experience of it advances us into high­er degrees of love. Then this sweet sense of divine, eternal, electing love brought in­to our hearts by Faith, leads us at last into the pleasant fields of Assurance.

4. That so we may particularly apply the promises, call to mind and ruminate [Page 174]upon the qualifications mentioned in the promises: and if you can find such graci­ous inclinations wrought in you by the Spi­rit of God, then may you humbly deter­mine your selves to be heirs of the promi­ses. I would not strain hard in the exa­mination of many great things required in the promises: but if thou canst by a sin­cere search find in thee a humble broken-hearted frame: it is a covenant frame: if thou find in thee a penitent fear to sin, a holy trembling at Gods Word, a thirsting after Christ with some sparks of true love to him:Psal. 147.3. Isai. 66.2. tho thou mayest seem to faint under the sense of wrath sometimes; yet if thou resolve in his strength still to thirst after him, and his pardoning love, and to hope for it in his promise; yea and if thou perish, and thy heart-strings break, yet to gasp out thy last at his foot: Thou art the desirable person, the Daniel, the man of de­sires, the Samuel, the asked of God, the Nathanael, the gift of God, without guile, the beloved, the acceptable person, that shall be taken into his bosom for ever. Only and alwayes remember and perfectly con [...] this lesson (I intreat thee in the Lord) that these actings must alwayes be connexed with holiness, as 'tis expresly de­termined, Chapt. 6. and which I do so often recal to mind, and the Lord by his powerful grace enable us to do it: then may est thou draw forth a perfect lot for thy self out of our Joshuah's Book of the Land of Canaan, which is above all heavens.

Thus, when thou hast wisely and delibe­rately weighed the various phrases in the [Page 175]promises: then examine the frame of thy heart; and if finding them suit in some sweet measure, tho not so clearly, as thou longest to have it; yet fear not, delay not to joyn thy heart and the promise together. And this moreover I'll say to thee for thy comfort; that tho the hand of thy Faith should shake with some tremblings at pre­sent, be not dismayed:Mat 9.2. Mark 2.5. our blessed Lord who spake to the palsie man, both can and will in due time (for thy inward hope is an evidence of it) speak that great strengthening word to the relaxed nerves and sinews of thy Faith: Son be of good cheer, 2 Tim. 2.13. thy sins be forgiven thee; for if thou hold but the head, nay if touch but the hem of his garment, virtue, will proceed, and thoul't perceive it by some sweet settling quietings of Spirit: as when the dew of heaven falls in a still evening. For he will abide faithful, tho we do not in so full and triumphant a manner act Faith upon him;Psal. 149.4.50.23. yet he will continue to be gracious, and will shortly beautifie the meek with salvation: If you order your conversation aright, he will shew and make to shine the face of your Saviour, and the Sun of his salvation upon you his beloved ones. That person may certainly conclude himself to be in Christ, who walketh in this World as he did, all to our proportion, and continue in acts of contemplation and adherence,1 Tim. 4.8. Heb. 12.6. em­bracing the promises.

Hitherto I have spoken somewhat to the application of the promises, whereby we may argue true Faith, and thence lay a strong foundation for assurance: but before [Page 176] I relinquish this Subject, I would touch up­on the several Arguments used by the A­postle John, which he insists upon in his Epistles, written on purpose fo [...] the com­fort of B [...]lievers,1 Joh. 1.4. & 5.13. 1 John 3.23. that their joy may be full, and that we may know that we have eternal life. To which end, it is Gods Commandment to believe in the Son, and to love one another.

Let us then mention the chief in Or­der:

  • 1. The first evidence of eternal life is drawn from our walking in the Light, that is, of holiness, 1 John 1.6. & 2 29. & 3.6, 9. walking in the truth, Epist. 3.3. in obe­dience to his Commandments, 1 John 2.3, 5 & 3.24. & 5.2, 3. & Epistle 2.6. In imi­tation of Christs holy walking, 1 John 2.6. & 4.17. and in purifying of our selves ac­cording to his pattern, 1 John 3.3. and yet all this must be qualified in respect to our infirmities and weaknesses, 1 John 1.8, 9, 10. & 2.1, 2.
  • 2. The second Argument to prove the truth of grace, and assure our selves be­fore God, is love to the Brethren, 1 John 2.9, 10 and chap. 3.11, 14. & 4.7, 12, 20. and in his Gospel, Joh. 13 35.
  • 3. The third Argument is from our not loving the World, nor the things thereof, 1 Joh. 2.15. as the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes or the pride of life ver. 16.

That is, 1. Pleasures of all sorts, as luxu­ry in Diet, Habit, Houses, Gardens, ram­bling about the World without special ends; and all inordinacy and intemperateness in the body, as Jerom uses to express it, i [...] [Page 177]ventre & sub ventre. For they that love Pleasures and Riotings shall not be rich in purse sayes Solomon, nor in grace,Prov. 21.17. sayes the whole current of Scripture.

2. The lust of the eye, which is as to all sorts of covetousness, to get and retain by right or by wrong, in an excessive appeti­tion of the things of this World, which must be left behind us, and do not, can not fill the heart of man, no nor the eye with satisfaction.Eccles. 5.11.

Nor 3. the [...], that is, the Pride of Ambition, Fastuousness, Honour, and advancement into great places, and to be alone in the Earth. These things eager­ly pursued, eat out the heart and power of godliness.

4. The fourth Argument is assumed from the anointings of their Spirit, 1 Joh. 2: 20, 27 & 3.24. & 4.13. whereof more by and by God willing.

5. The fifth Argument is taken from a holy and reverent hearing of Gods Mini­sters, 1 John 4.6. we may know what spi­rit we are of by this, if we receive Christ: as Hilary expresses it, [Qualis ab Apostolis praedicatus est] as he was preached by the Apostles and submit to him in all his Offices and Ordinances such a one belongs to the spirit, that is of God, that keeps the Doctrine of Christ as the Apostle expounds himself, Epistle 2. ver. 9.

6. The last Argument arises from our love to Christ, 1 Iohn 5.1. and in him to the Father.

Now if these things be found in us, we shall then overcome the World, 1 Ioh. 5.4. [Page 178]and shall not be touched virulently or fa­tally by Satan, 1 Iohn 5.18. shall have ac­cess to God in prayer, 1 Iohn 5.14. and shall have boldness in the day of Judgment, 1 Iohn 4.17. and this will so settle our sense of the love of God to us, that it will by de­grees cast out the torment of fear. For it will allure us to a holy familiarity with di­vine love,1 Iohn 4.18. and so sweeten our thoughts and affections of and to him, that we may begin to enjoy a kind of heaven upon earth, which the Father of his great mercy in Christ grant unto us by the Spirit.

Having hitherto treated about Argu­mentation, I proceed now to the second Head about attaining Assurance, which is by the irradiation of the Spirit of God upon the hearts of Believers. For all is in vain as to gaining of solid and permanent com­fort, unless the Spirit of God come in and confirm us against the innumerable doubts and cavils that will arise upon us under all our Arguings, because of the subtlety of satan, the natural diffidence of our own hearts, and the clouds that arise from the unholiness of our lives, and the dread of eternity. I design therefore to treat a lit­tle while about the witness of the spirit, his immediate breathings, his bright shi­nings, and as it were speakings within our hearts, when a holy soul hath this witness in himself.1 Iohn 5.10. 2 Cor. 1.3. Act. 10.44. For in and upon believing, the Father of Lights and of all consolations sends in his own due time, this his holy spi­rit like a dove of peace into our hearts, who helps us to discern the truth of the work of grace. [After ye believed sayes the [Page 179]Apostle, ye were sealed with the holy spi­rit of promise.Eph 1: 13. He is sometimes set forth by a Seal and a Witness to the bond of the Covenant by a Seal and an Earnest to the contract about the inheritance:2 Cor. 1.22. by a Seal and a Love-Token, or an [...], a word used of old to note Tokens sent before Mar­riage, and to be sure, God will not lose his earnest, nor be defeated of the fore to­kens of his contract of love to souls: some­times the Spirit is compared to fire, and yields both the light of joy, the heat of love and influences or quicknings for service. And 'tis this lively Faith, which works by love effectually thru' the Spirit

But I would speak a little more distinct­ly; for the observation and the experience of holy men hath set to their seals, that they do find and feel sometimes a most il­lustrious irradiation upon their hearts from the Spirit of God: which I take to be of two sorts;

  • The 1. We may call an irradiation of concurse with our spirits.
  • The 2. An irradiation of incidence up­on our spirits. Give leave to use the terms and explain them to the meanest.

The First or the irradiation of concurse is then dispensed when he shines upon our Argumentation: when we have laboured with our spirits, used scripture mediums, and upon examination suited them to our hearts in their most inward sincere and humble searches; then comes the spirit of God, and witnesses with our spirits that we are the children of God. When we have toiled and sweat many a time in our closets [Page 180]and brought things as we hope some times to a pritty good issue: then thru' one ten­tation or another our unbelieving hearts fly off from the Conclusion and all our com­fort vanishes. But now, when our argu­ings by evident Scripture tokens are finisht over and over; and yet still we demurre to lay hold on the Tree of life, and while we stick in the mire of fear, doubtings and hesitancies, and wander under dark clouds in the depth of midnight, then comes in the spirit of God,Rom. 8.16. as the Morning Star, glit­tering over the Horizon and clears all. This is the [...] or the co­witness of the Spirit of God.

2. The other is that which I beg leave from a term in Opticks, to call the irradia­tion of incidence, and is then illustriously performed, when the Spirit of God in his most free and glorious agency is pleased to shine personally upon our spirits, without and apart from all argumentation whatso­ever. This comunion with the spirit draws nigh to that of Angelical intuition; where by acts of volition and luminous emanati­on they converse mutually together in a higher degree than we do here by ratio­cination with mediums and consequences,

This is the point we are now upon, to shew that the Spirit of God (when he pleases) without any previous foregoing arguments doth testifie by a secret, still, heart-ravishing voice,Acts 2.2. [...] and doth sweetly and suddenly (as 'tis said in the Acts) dart in a ray, perswading and satisfying the soul in an instant; that thou art a Child of God, that sin is pardoned, and [Page 181]that thou shalt be saved.page 147. Which I re­ [...]ember the British Divines at Dort call the [...]pirits speaking to the heart, and even in darker times, there were some of the Il­ [...]uminate both of Spain and Germany, and France that had to do, I am perswaded with many distrssed souls in their secret con­fessions, & were acquainted with great wor [...]nigs in the hearts of penitents, but few of [...]hem had skill to manage those inward methods.

Of which things we may find some [...]otable footsteps in Bonaventure, Gerson, Thanlerus, and sundry others.

So that of this inwa [...]d, clear and bright perswasion of Gods love to the heart, we have no solid reason to doubt; but that some holy persons have enjoyed it. Au­stin at his conversion in the garden at Mil­lain had a voice, though he had no visi­on, as Paul had in the fields by Damascus.

I shall be sparing, and touch but an instance or two.

Dr. Manton spake it in my hearing, at Oxon, of one that being in conflict in prayer, had a beam shining into the chamber, and being desired by him to have a care of delusion; answered, O Mr. Man­ton, little do you know what God may do for his poor distressed children, or very like words.

But the caution was wise and grave.

I know one also, who being for almost a week deeply distressed about Eternity, had an impression as like a voice within, as if he heard it, comforting in these [Page 182]words [I will give thee rest] and so i [...] followed speedily and joyfully: and at a­nother time: [I will not leave thee no [...] forsake thee.]

I might also hint at the beam upon the wall in prayer to Dr. Winter in his life and the voices of Angels to Mr. Patrick Simpson.

I must confess, they are great priviled­ges and sweetnesses, which God may it his divine good pl [...]asure, and I am per­swad [...]d doth sometimes instil and drop in to gracious, when timorous hearts, an [...] whose constitutions the great former o [...] hearts and spirits knows full well to b [...] naturally over subject to fears and inwar [...] commotions: he like a most gracious and Tender Father, full of pity and bowels discerns our frames.See Mr. Ma­ [...]hers prevalen­cy of prayer Psal. 103. p 17.14 at the end of his Tract of N. E. troubles. Psal. 40.17. By his loving eye and remembring that we are dust, is mind­full of us in our low condition: whereas many proud and disdainful persons set light by the inward sorrows of broken and contrite souls. And are like lamps despi­sed in the thought of him that is at ease. But says David, though I am poor and needy, yet the Lord thinketh upon me, and with how many precious thoughts his goodness is pleased to embroider and en­amel upon the hearts of his holy, hum­ble, meek and trembling children [For your high exalted, boasting persons, tho' it may be have some few grains of grace at bottom, are seldom visited with these inward joyes] But the meek will he teach his ways. Such blessed thoughts of grace David could not number,Ps. 139.17, 18 they were more [Page 183]than the Sands of the Sea, or the stars of heaven for multitude.

But now if these or such like lines should fall under the view or knowledge of any prophane or scoffing Ishmael, that may vi­lifie the works of God, and like bruits speak ignorantly of what they know not: would advise them to forbear presump­tious speeches,2 Pet. 2▪ 12. Jude 10. lest their bonds be made strong, lest the Terrors & horrors of the almighty should one day drink up their spi­rits. So that when Gods Servants shall rejoyce and sing for joy of heart, they shall cry for sorrow of heart and howl for vexation of spirit.Isal. 65.14.

But yet, because there may be such things as Enthusiasines and transformation of Angels of darkness among some that call themselves Sweet-singers: and among others that have more need to mourn o­ver their follies and delusions in the dust of shame. I would speak somewhat to that question of an humble Soul.

Quest. How may I comfort my heart, that this irradiation you speak of is a true and im­mediate work of the Spirit of God, and no delusion?

Answ. In answer to this, I must first in all manner of humble modesty declare, that I would not dare to meddle too far with such deep and mysterious workings and influences, only professing with all thankfulness to the Majesty of divine mer­cy; that having had some glimpses of hope a little sometimes, and thirsting after some further and clearer helps from heaven, we faint not utterly: but striving after, to at­tain [Page 184]towards the resurrection of the dead crave leave to set down somewhat, that hope may be a clue to conduct us out [...] the Labrinth, and maze of delusion.

The first and best token, that these a [...] no deceits, can only arise from the spirt himself. According to that saying of [...]oy Iohn: It is the Spirit that beareth witness, that the Spirit is truth.1 John 5.6: Whitak. de sa­cramentis p. As I remember th [...] learned Whitaker in his book of the Sacra­ments, says, it should be translated (I have forgot the page, my books being laid up [...] ▪ But this is a great truth: as no better light to see the Sun by,Psal. 36.9.34.5. than his own light: So 'tis of the Spirit, as David expresses. In thy light we shall see light: and they look­ed to him and their faces were enlighten­ed. This is the apprehension of learned gracious persons, that the spirit of God never speaks by this his inward heavenly voice; but that he graciously helps them to know that it is no delusion: but that it is he, even the spirit himself that spea­keth to them. This phrase of speaking to the heart, and in and upon the heart, is more visible in the Original Hebrew of the Old Testament, and was well known to the Prophets of old, and is much treat­ed upon among Jewish Antiquiaries. Out of whom I must not here stand to enlarge but call to mind what the Apostle Peter mentions of the Day-star arising in our hearts,2 Pet. 1.19. so that it is as clear (when the spi­rit of God does thus shine and testifie) yea and more radiant, than the Sun at Noon-day without clouds.

I shall say no more to this, but what our Lord to the Angel at Pergamus, of them [Page 185]that have a new name written in the white stone, Rev. 2.17. which none knoweth saving he that re­ceiveth it.

2. I need say little more, but that wher­ever the Spirit doth so illustriously speak and shine: it is concomitant with growing in holiness. For this most holy Spirit of God is still a building and increasing in such the works of holiness, they are of a heavenly frame, rivers of holy discourse flow from their lips in prudent seasons; they are not vain and trifling spirits: but grave and serious, and yet chearful. For the joy of the Lord is their strength, and they have inward delights, and value not the cracklings of fools. Divine joy is a weigh­ty thing, and yet greatly upholds the spi­rits, and sustains their griefs and infirmi­ties. If you come into their company by a blessed accident, as they say of the A­depti in Philosophy, there's a glittering star shines from their converse & society.

3. They are the most humble persons living. For the humble he will teach his way, and shew his Covenant,Psal. 25.9. I know they may fall sometimes, and othertimes have need of a little holy courage against despi­sers; But the main of their conversation is like them, of whom the spirit of God says, they took notice of them that they had conversed with Jesus,Acts 4▪ 13. who was meek and lowly: if we imitate him, we shall find this rest; and remember that Moses the meekest man had the greatest inter­views with God in the Mountain. Such as are given to much prate and length of idle impertinent discourses are seldom [Page 186]and little or never acquainted with the Spirit of God.

4. They are also the sweetest persons, and fullest of love, though sometimes pro­vokt by fierce & evil spirits about them, but if their natural tempers had been be­fore somewhat eager and sharp: yet now they are washed, purged, whitened and sweetned by the Spirit of God. Tender to the Tempted, kind to the afflicted, pi­tiful to all: bear every ones burden with a gracious frame: onely they are taught by the holy Spirit,1 cor 23 4.5. as to such as prate with malicious words against them to imitate hole John, not to succumbe under a prou [...] Diotrephes: 3 John 9. but loves a child of God as such with the full stream of his Spirit. And this love to the brethren is much more to Christ himself, being fil­led with the love of the Spirit which by degrees casts out the torments of fear▪ 1 John. 4.18, and gives a blessed confidence as to the Appearing of the Day of Judgment.

To end this, we must remember, that the holy Spirit of God doth never witness or illustrate apart from the Word.Isa. 8, 20. [...] any light in you, try it by the Word and Testimony, and hence that as Tentations and afflictions sanctified, so the manifesta­tions and communions of the Spirit help us to understand holy Scriptures and pro­mises by experience,

Let us then be sure as far as possible, that the person that pretends to be thus illustrated, prove himself to be an holy person in heart and deed, or else all's like a puft and swoln delusion, and such an on [...] [Page 187]must lie down in sorrow. For the Spirit of God is a most holy spirit, and never seals but as he is, the holy Spirit of Promise, upon the holy heart of an holy child of God.

Well then to end this second part of the Spirits illustration.Eph 1, 3. Rom. 8.16. 1 John 4.13.

I say it is not meant of the Spirit of God concurring or witnessing with our spirits in the point of assurance; clearing up our doubts, dispelling the mists and clouds uponour spirits: But it is an [...], or like an [...] a bright shining Ray, a most illustrious beam streaming down from heaven into the inmost cham­bers of our hearts, and is an act distinct and apart from his former blessed con­curse with our spirits in time of argu­mentation or the gracious application of the promises for our peace and comfort: it is an irresistable evidence of divine love,See Dr Owen of the spirit 167. scattering all the clouds of diffidence and distrust in that very moment; and when this immediate irradiation flows in, though it may be a distinct act from that upon argumentation; yet it cannot be to­tally severed from it, because in this glo­rious light, though we may see further; yet cannot but see any argument, we think meet to touch upon, to be also illustrated by it: as the Moon in her increases may be seen in the heavens like a cloud in the day time, which also has its light from the Sun, while he is yet shining bright within our hemisphere at the same time: and when these come together, they make heavenly work indeed.

That these blessed visits have been som­times, tho rarely, afforded yet to some few, besides Patriarks and Apostles, I have no cause to doubt, whatever some Ponti­sicians have said to the contrary, to darken it. The Holy Scriptures clear it, expe­rience doth witness it, and seal it in the h [...]arts of some meek, humble, self-deny­ing, mortified▪ and holy walking persons, who ha [...]ing lived a while in the light of Gods count [...]nance, have afterward gone to heaven in a Chariot of Triumph.

Having now spoken what concerns this excellent point, and▪ observing that these Orient Jewels are such grand rarities, and having placed them in the middle like a Diamond set in ouches of Gold; give leave to descend again from the Spouses Tower of Lebanon into the Plains of Damascus, Song. 7.4, and walk again in the pleasant Gardens at the foot of the hill where streams flow with the comfortable Doctrines of Assurance. A priviledg of high Dignity, which tho it attain not to the first of David's Worthies, yet does attend and that more frequently many of the children of God; if they will labour to be holy, and study this high point of Arguing and observing the accesses of the Spirit of God, and in their diligent working and prying into it, they may learn and perceive it, thus,

1. First, We may obtain some sweet knowledg of this point, by the Spirits in­terceding in our hearts, helping to form and frame our Prayers both for matter and manner,Rom.. 8.18. teaching us both what and how to Pray.

2. By His sweet pleading our evidences within us, when we find a kind of divine holy force put as it were upon our spirits to determine comfortably, and witness to the Spirit's work, not being able to deny some grace to be in us, when strongly urged and put to it by some intimate and gracious, faithful Friend.

3. By His discovering our graces to us in times of tentation and conflict, yea,1 Cor. 2.12. and in Communion at the Lords Table, and in Meditation.

4. By His cogent Apologies for us in our Consciencies upon our Reptenance and Hu­miliation in the sight of God:Psal. 51.12▪ proving and clearing up to us our love to God: so that weak Believers who at present have but lit­tle glimmerings of joy, yet finding true love in themselves by his light may by degrees thru' his happy testimony arrive to further clearness both in love and joy.

III. Now by the order prescribed in the beginning of this Chapter. I should pro­ceed to the third Branch, and that is to treat of some Rules to clear up our Assu­rance.

I Answer to this, that herein I have even prevented my self, and therefore shall at present only add, that these Particulars fol­lowing may be of use.

  • 1. A watchful care of a holy heart.
  • 2. To observe the inward workings and issues of it.
  • 3. To be careful in cleansing and wash­ing of the first risings of sin in the Laver of Sanctification.
  • 4. To labour a holy attendance upon, [Page 190]and a spiritual delight in the addresses, in­comes, comforts, and sealings of the Spirit that we may discern and rejoyce in them,
  • 5. An earnest invoking the Father to send the comforter in his assuring work upon a sanctifying progress;
    John 14.24.
    for then he proves a comforting Spirit, after he hath been a sanctifying Spirit. He first comes to us as the Holy Ghost, and then as the Com­forter: tho the foundation of both be laid at once, yet the appearances are successive.

But I hope to add more in answer to the Questions by and by, only I would first set down a passage about assurance out of that grave Writer,Hooker in his Polity, in his Life before it. P. 17. Mr. Hooker, which I hope may be of use to some of his perswasion as well as others; and 'tis to this purpose:

[There's a certainty of Evidence and of Assurance, grant that the weak in Faith en­joy not certainty of Assurance, because they feel it not: but are they not grieved for it, wish and strive it may be otherwise. Whence comes this, but from a secret love and liking that they have to those things which they believe to have. Because no man loves those things, which in his own opinion are not, &c. Therefore love and desire to believe, is Faith. For no man thinketh that things believed, are, (that is have a being) without Faith. Which Ar­guments (sayes he) all the subtleties of infernal powers will never be able to dis­solve.] Thus far he: to which let me joyn, that since Faith of evidence (as be­ing the foundation work) is therein more excellent than the Faith of Assurance, as be­ing the superstructure (tho I had rather [Page 191]call it in Scripture terms the Assurance of Faith, since Assurance properly as I have often said is a distinct thing from Faith: tho common speech hath prevailed to make such a distinction; as if they were proper Members or Branches of true Faith. But let that pass, I say, if Christians would a­rise to high Assurance, they must lay their foundation strong and deep in the rock of evidence upon Christ himself. Evidence flows from a direct act; Assurance from a reflect: the one is like the view of the Suns body in the heaven, the other like his refle­ction in the water, or on a Looking glass. Now all reflect rayes are weaker than the direct, and the reverse than the incident. But I speak not here of the Spirits work, and its most illustrious evidence: but of our workings upon the actings of our Faith. As to which the stronger our applications are to Christ, the stronger and more com­fortable will be the reflections upon them. For both rayes, the nearer the reverse and incident are in union, as in the depth of Summer; the heat and influence is the more strong and fervent, and so 'tis here:

But now it is high time to hearken to some Questions which troubled Souls may bring in.

Quest. 1. The first Question may be: How may I be assured of the pardon of my sins, and consequently of Salvation?

Ans. In answer to this, I shall lay down some Rules to clear it, which was the third thing premised in the beginning of this Chapter.

1. Forsaking of sin, with a holy endea­vour to mortifie and subdue it,Prov. 28.13. Mic. 7 19. Rom 8.13. is a special sign of mercy.

2. When after darkness and conflicts, a begun renovation of life with a sincere care to continue it, is attended with some spring­ings of peace in conscience with God, this will prove an excellent token. For the blood of sprinkling upon the conscience speaks better than Abel's blood:Heb. 12.24. That cried out for condemnation; this for reconcilia­tion with God.

3. When we find some sweetness in our admissions to the Throne of Grace. When our eye up to the Throne affects our heart▪ at the threshold of Gods Sanctuary. When a bended knee and a melting heart work together. Then we may ask of God what ever we will, if according to his will: the precepts and the promises being the rule of asking. We have a most free access to plead the promises both of this and the life to come,Eph. 3.12. Heb. 4.16. 1 Tim. 4 8. so that by holy degrees and steps we may arrive to further humble confi­dence of divine mercy.

4. When we feel some gracious risings of love to God, as pardoning our iniqui­ties for Christs sake, and tho we do not so fully and sweetly feel it as we would: yet our hearts do pant and long after it. This is a true sign of Love.

But yet to clear it a little, the humble soul will ask,

Quest. How shall I know that I love God?

Ans: I answer, Of all the affections that spring and bubble out of the will, this is [Page 193]most easily to bediscerned and known. Do you know the Sun, when you see him walk in brightness, do you know that you live by the actings of the senses and the pulsation of your arteries: or do you know that you walk when you move your feet, and feel your motions from place to place? you may as certainly know your affections and the workings of your Soul▪ This distin­guishes men from Bruits in the acting of their reason upon all they do, and in mana­ging ends and means. The affections spi­ritually beating, are the pulsations of the regenerate heart. Observe then your Ob­jects: if you love the things above, better than all below;Col. 3.2. Isal 73.25. in your choice and pre­ference, tho sometimes under some ebbs and eclipses: yet still you find an inward regard to God and his glory: and that you perform every action in ordine ad Deum, and love all as to the inward sincerity of your heart:1 Cor. 10.31. and enjoy every relation with some desire to work up your mercies to­wards God in thankfulness and usefulness. These are good tokens that you are risen with Christ by Faith, and that your life is hid with God in him, and that by continued degrees of Sanctification, you shall at last arrive to this, even to appear with him in Glory.

4. But that I may at length wind out of this delightful Labyrinth in discoursing a­bout Assurance; Let us hearken to the se­cond Question, wherein the Soul being somewhat revived does now start the fourth Particular at the beginning; and that is,

Quest. 2. How may I preserve and retain Assurance when it is gained?

Ans. The reason of this Question arises not only from hence, because the sweet sense of divine love is a most desirable frame of Spirit, and fills the soul to the brim with joy and peace in the Holy Ghost; and besides renders persons very service­able and greatly honours Religion: But also because,

1. Many gracious persons that have true Faith, yet labour under deep fears of Hypo­crisie, arising from their pious Education, not answered by proportionable holiness. It puts great jealousies in their hearts, that all they have done, is but a forced work, and a habit of formality; attracted from the precepts of godly Ministers and Pa­rents, instilling into an inlightned consci­ence the frightful form of an outward conversation consonant: and therefore fear at a strange rate that their diamonds are but as it were from the soft Rock of St. Vincent, their Gold, but Alchymy, their Faith but fained and temporary.

But be not discouraged: For that Faith is true and unfeigned, which proceeds from a pure heart,1 Tim. 1.5, 19. and a good conscience, that is, without fraud and guile, in setting it na­ked and open before God,Act. 24.16. in labouring and exercising to keep a good conscience in sight of God and Men. You may then re­joyce in the testimony of such a conscience, having been upright before him in the main bent of the soul,Psal. 18.23. and in keeping from your own iniquity.

What tho thou didst not come in with such remarkable pangs; no more did Za­cheus nor Lydia. Tis not the manner but the truth of our coming in to Christ, is the great point, if thou constantly adhere to the Lord with full purpose of heart. Nay, what if there were some errors at first,Act. 11.23. this puts no bar, if the root of the matter be in thee. The Apostles followed our Lord at first in some hopes of preferment in the temporal Kingdom of the Messiah: but at length understood the Doctrine of the Crosse better, which God in great ten­derness is pleased to vail from young con­verts at first, or at least preserve them from suffering till they are strengthened, and then like the Apostles they still cleave to, and continue with the Lord under all trials by the exceeding power of his might. And thus as I remember, Dr. Crakenthorp in defending of Cyprian and Jerom against some pontificians imputing some errors to them,Crakenthorp of the sixth Coun­cil, P. the better to vindicate their Liberius answers; that if they did erre, they did it not willingly, but were ready to reform up­on the first approach of Scripture light, and conviction. Tis so in our case, they are ready with that holy man to pray, what I see not, teach thou me. Job 34.32. The mind and will of God is the perfect square, rule, canon and compass of all their actions: and tho they may fail threu' weakness, yet never thru' wilfulness.

Wherefore be not out of heart, O ten­der and trembling soul, let not go your hope and confidence, because you have not had so long and such bitter pangs in the [Page 196]new birth; that makes the work the har­der, but not the truer. A child may be born sometimes with greater ease and speed. Great horrors may attend great sinners, and yet after all their heavy con­victions may stick in the birth and never be truly converted, till they are truly and perseveringly reformed; which indeed cuts the work short, and makes the evidence clear. If thou hast been under a gentler hand from God, bless him with louder Songs of praise. For the shorter and sweeter the method, the greater is the mer­cy: and as one said, A young Saint may make as old Angel.

2. This question begs a full answer: because, though want of Assurance does not denote an unbeliever, yet it keeps a true believer under the dark shades of fear and sorrow. Assurance besides, in the best of Saints is but an imperfect work, because our Faith it self is but im­perfect: we see but in part, because we do but trust in part. If our Faith do at any time waver and stagger, [...]ol. 2.2. assurance must needs qviver and shake. It's true, there's mention made of the riches of full Assu­rance: but that's comparative in respect to some Saints, and mentioned as attain­nable with full sweetness, and may possi­bly for the main, continue pretty constant, especially in very active and suffering Saints, yet 'tis not without ebbs and bu [...] ­ [...]etings in the best.

There are but few that walk in the mountain of Sun-shine all their lives; as 'tis said of Zabarel the Philosopher, when [Page 197]one day in his study upon an high hill near Padua; he enjoyed the bright and warm beams, while it rained all day in the vally, and he himself saw the dark and heavy clouds under the hill. Few be like to Moses, to whom its granted to walk on tho top of Pisgah, till they dye. Wherefore, such as have once obtained Assurance and a lively hope of glory:1 Pet 1.3. blame them not, if they are very desirous to preserve, increase, and imbellish it more and more. For since Assurance may be lost for a season, as it was in David, Heman and Peter, and as in the case of that wounded deserted soul that askt Mr. Dod once, Was ever any soul in so dreadful a case as I? Yes, says that great and skilful comfortor of a wounded con­science, Christ on the Cross was in as sad a case,Clars Lives when he cried out of the Fathers forsaking him: I think it therefore most meet to subjoyn some rules with divine help, to maintain and preserve it.

1. Take heed of what impairs and dar­kens assurance, as the defect of quickning influences: against that, pray for the sup­plies of the Spirit.Phil. 1.19, If it rise from a weakness of judgment, read more, medi­tate more, and cry after knowledg as for hid treasure. If the seriousness of your spirits be hurt by minding vanities and the rattles of pride and finery, and over­valuing the trifles of this world; Pray for a more noble and judicious and gene­rous frame, and judg of all wordly mens Jewels, as indeed the word (jocalia) im­ports, as so many whistles and hobbies [Page 198]for children to play with. If thou hast lost thy comforts by neglect of holy walk­ing, take heed hereafter of damping thy joyes by froth and foolishness▪ Take heed of a vain heart, of vain and manifold words,Prov. 10.19, and especially fiery tongues, wher­in Solomon says, there wants not sin, and of vain converse with their apish and childish tales and jests which are not convenient, and tend to corrupt the mind by deceitful lusts.Eph. 5.4. These things will blot thy eviden­ces, and quench the Spirit of God. Pray that God would not lead thee by his pro­vidence into tentations. If thou wouldst have the Lord to know or acknowledge thee for his, depart from all ini [...]uity, and that will prove the foundation to be sure. [...] Tim. 2.19. Keep the divine commands, though you find mixtures of weakness, yet in an holy fear and love to the purity of the precept, labour to walk in your house with a perfect heart.Psal. 101.2.112.1. 2 Tim. 1.17. [...] John 2.3. & [...].13. For we may be sure, that we know him, and be humbly con­fident that he is our God in Covenant, if we keep his Commandments.

2. When under great darkness (for eve­ry stitch we must not run to a Doctor) repair to your faithful Interpreter, that may reveal and open to a man his righ­teousness:J [...]b 33.23. some blessed soul thats higher in acquaintance with heaven, then your self, as you may humbly judg, some ex­perienced christian, some faithful, grave, and prudent friend, no babler, nor revea­ler of secrets, nor scoffer at the wor­kings of the Spirit, as if enthusiasmes; he is an unjudicious person: and if you [Page 199]cannot well wrestle out the point your self; but still your soul droops and drives in the mire, and no light of joy comes in: then open your soul to some prudent friend and give him leave, nay intreat him to search out the coare, and conscientiously follow his advice, and it may prove a most happy day to your soul by comparing mu­tual experiences: yet remember in mat­ters of weight, that might prove a scan­dal, if he should not be wise and faithful, be very cautious of discovering; what thou shouldst only pour out before the Lord.Psal. 142.2. For if he be of a weak envious spirit, and once used to speak evil of friends behind their backs, use him not, he'l prove a foo­lish serpent, and double your misery.

3. Judge not thy grace always by its flowers, but search out its sap and root. One may be a well spread and weighty christian, and yet not flower in much dis­course. The flowers of some trees fall off quickly, and never set in to much visible fruit, and some have no flowers at all as the fig, and yet yields a wholsome and pleasant fruit. 'Tis so with some choice and serious christians, you shall not hear them talk much, unless you pump and draw out the spirits by questions I like them the better. For the little they produce is usually much to purpose and of good weight. Yea further you may, if critical, observe, that the graces of good men may vary in fruit, and have their different seasons, but never alter their grain or root. Grace may lie hid as the corn under ground after first Sowing: [Page 200]yea after 'tis come up, may bow and hide its green head under a flight of snow. And when there's least of sense or present experience, yet the root of Faith like strong winter-corn, may grow more in­ward and downward, being covered and kep [...] under by pinching North-east blasts, and sharp black frosts: till it recover head by an early Spring. So indeed, the pow­er and strength of grace is best seen and discerned, when it persists and stands its ground under a shock of tentations, and adversities. At length the Sun will return Northward, and the sharper the past win­ters were, theyl make the new spring the pleasanter. Comforts, their proper nature lies in being restoratives from bitter troubles, and a sweet May-morning, is most delightful after a dark and thun­der night.

4. Take heed of denying the works of the Spirit within thee, and labour to di­scern the gracious fruits of the Spirit as distinct from moral actions and vertues: and principally observe your conflicts a­gain [...] sin, when followed with success. Godly jealousie not to be deceived, is good: therefore search and try thy heart, and if thou find sound footing for grace, then bless God, and honour the Spirit, and grieve him not by froward and foo­lish self-accusations, which savour of the spiritual pride of humility: but in all meek and humble modest manner own free grace, adore divine mercy, and testi­fie to it; when thou judgest by the best of thy wisdom, that thou art called to give in [Page 201]thy testimony, as the Apostle Peter re­quires, and David performs in telling what God did for that poor mans soul, as he calls himself. Or as Ambrose cited by Mr. Philpot: Take away the Law,Tolle legem [...] fiet certamen. See Ambrose as he is cited By Mr. philpot in Fox Martyrs vol. 3. p. 542. 2 Pet. 3.15. Psal. 34.6. and then we will dispute against you.

5. Assurance should be earnestly pray­ed for, and diligently wrought out by ho­ly labour; and it will come. Give dili­gence to make it sure, says Peter. Surely 'tis blessed working in these golden mines. It proves with the diligent hand like the works of Chimical Phisitians, who suffer great pains, travel, dust, smoke, and swel­ter in their fiery furnaces: and though they attain not the great Arcana, ye [...] of­ten meet with curious rarities, which sufficiently reward their diligence.2 pet. 1.5, 10. As­surance usually comes in upon our diligent use of prayer, meditation and holy wal­king in some time after several plunges, fears and sorrows. Though indeed som­times the wayes of God prove unsear­chable, and sometimes he is pleased to bestow this favour on a sudden to such as are gracious from their childhood, tra­ctable and ingenuous at the calls of God, as young Samuel: when he understood it by the instruction of an elder Saint: and when such have not been defiled by any great staines and blotches in their youth, nor caused the ways of God to be evil spo­ken of by any scandalous sin.

Quest. If now you ask how to preserve it when you have received it in an answer to your earnest prayer? Psal. 25.7.

A. I answer, Conservatur qua quaeritur. Tis preserved by the very same methods.

6. Call to mind what former experi­ences you have enjoyed. Having once seen the Kings face, it will for ever en­lighten yours; former mountain-visions makes a Saints heart to shine as bright as Moses's face,Psal. 34.5. and reflects upon the heart gloriously in the vally of desert: once ha­vi [...]g c [...]eared up the love of God to you then may you return to that experiment. As a fountain shewn by the Angel of the Covenant at Beersheba, the well of the sacred [...]ath of God,Gen 21.14. Rom. 11.29. Heb. 3.14, & 10.35. Phil. 1.6. It will never dry up it fears no scorching summers. For the gifts and calling of God are without re­pentance. Ca [...]r not away then, the be­ginnings of your confidence. For he will perfect what he hath begun, till the day of Christ

7. Cherish the sacred motions of the Spirit of God: for he takes of the things of Christ: not from us, our merits faith or holiness: for they are of no value, but of his blood to comfort us:John 16.15. therefore hearken to his affectionate breathings. If thou at any time fall thru' infirmity: this holy Spirit helps thee to mourn under the sight of displeased love. If thy faith seem to muddle and grope in the dark: he will shine upon thy pa [...]h again. If grace like the sensible plant, shrink up, by the touch of some rough hand of ten­tation: it will open and expand its bran­ches again by this Suns warm and sweet influences. If then the joy of Assurance spring again, if the glories of heaven be described as in a lively Landskarp before thine eyes, written as it were [Page 203]with bright illuminated letters;[E capite mor­tuo sanguinis vel urinae] [...] Song 4. Jerom. bless the Spirit of grace, and cry out with the Spouse in the book of Songs. Be gone O chill and blasting north, and come O fruitful cheris [...]ing distilling south upon the garden of my Soul, that the spices thereof may flow forth that my beloved may come and eat his pleasant fruits.

8. Be careful in the constant use of Ordinances, and pure worship, and espe­cia [...]ly the Lords Supper (and considering the times of trouble) as frequent as thou canst: (but woe to them that are obstru­cters) and remember when God opens the doors of his Sanctuary, that thou behave with all holy reverence, endeavouring to enjoy it in its purity and power. There the King sits at his Table, Song 1.1 [...]. and the Spiknard fends forth its fragr [...]ant smell. At this ban­quet Faith helps to assure us, that we shall as certainly sit with Christ in glory, as we now partake of the seals in grace. Here Christ is received by the hand of a true believer, here we eat & drink Christ into our souls. As we take the bread and wine into our bodies: so by Faith we take his most precious body and blood; which being digested with an holy heart, is turned into the nerves and spirits of Assurance. That thou mayst now sing the holy hymn of praise with a loud voice, This is my Lord and my God, he will come and save us; Let not go this your holy confidence, but hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.1 Pet. 1.13.

Lastly, look dilgently to the holiness [Page 204]of your ways, and with it be careful of a humble resigning interpretation of the ways of God towards you, that you be never too much elevated or high-crested in prosperity: nor in time of adversity, despise his corrections,Heb. 12.5. Souls conflict p. 321. Rom. 8.28. or faint under them. It is a never-sailing rule (said holy Sibbs) to discern a mans state in grace, when he finds every condition draw him nearer to God, and when all things work together for his good: As the flesh of vipers (I may add) and other poysons, compounded and corrected into Antidotes, and mixt well together, pre­vail against contagious diseases: so do corrections sanctified, sweat out the poyson of fin: that it shall never fatally touch the heart and vitals of such as truly love God, and are called according to his purpose.

I shall now conclude this long but sweet Chapter with Mr. Scudders Testimony of the work of Grace. Walk. p. 555, Lond, 8. 1674.

The Question being put about Assurance: he there asserts, that whoso can answer affirmatively to these following queries (which I may contract) may be assured of Gods peace and love, and of his own sal­vation, what ever fears or feelings may seem to happen to the contrary.

Quest. 1: How stand you affected to sin? are you afraid to offend God, and dare not sin wittingly? is it your grief and burden, that you cannot abstain it, nor get out of it as soon as you would?

Quest. 2. How are you affected to holiness, and the power of godliness? To know Gods [Page 205]will and do it? to fear and please him? is it your grief when you fail? and your joy when you do well?

Quest. 3. How to the Church of God? are you glad when it goes well, and grieved when it goes ill, and sit trembling with Ely to hear how it goes with the Ark of God, however it be with your own particular?

Quest. 4. How towards men? do you dis­like wicked men, and love those that fear the Lord, because they are good?

Quest. 5. Can you endure your soul to be ript up, and your beloved sin to be smitten by a searching Minister: and like him the rather? and can yield an obedient ear to such a wise re­proof?

Quest. 6. Tho you have not Evidence al­wayes, or can scarce tell whether you ever had it: yet resolve or desire, and will as you are able to cleave to God in Christ for salvation by Faith, and to trust in no other person nor by no other means to be saved?

If you can answer [Yea] to all, or [Any] of these, assure your self, you are in God's favour and state of grace, and that you sin not with allowance, it is adherence. Thus far that holy man.

I like well that saying of his [Or any of these] for so should Signs and marks be framed by Divines for examination of di­stressed souls, that the meanest and lowest Form of Christians may reap true comfort by their laborious gleanings: when a higher and more experienced Christian may possi­bly carry more sheaves of this joyful har­vest in the bosom of his soul.

Now, tho. I have been larger than ordi­nary [Page 206]in this Chapter, out of tender regard to troubled and darkned Spirits: yet I hope the multiplicity and variety of expressions (which to the Learned in Christs School may seem somewhat long) may beg and obtain their loving and candid excuse, since I hope thru' grace. I may say with some graines of integrity, that I have endeavour­ed to manage my words with some care and circumspection in the main: that so if possible, I might with divine assistance and blessing, help to draw some out of the pit, where no water is: and that I might not grieve, no not one soul of the generation of the Just: but to be a helper of their Faith & Joy. If any think I have been too copious I beg their copious pardon. Dulce est ex mag­no tollere acervo. Its comfortable gathering for an exil [...]d Ruth. and (upon Boaz his leave & order) to ramble all the Field over, & to gl [...]an where, and what she pleases. The Lord increase our Faith, and give leave to our Joy to go up with a Pipe into the house of the Lord as in the solemn Feasts,Isai, 30.26. and sing the Songs of Assurance in the heights of Zion. Which conducts me into the view of the next Chapter, to set forth the danger of unbelief, and exhibit some pre­ventives against the rising of that sore sin: That the Lord may be graciously intreated to advance the work of Faith with power, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his good­ness; [...] Thess. 1.11. that the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in us and we in him.

CHAP. IX, X.

THe ninth Chapter about the grand danger of Ʋnbelief, and some methods to avoid the sunk Rocks in that dead Sea: and likewise the tenth about the choice blessings and inestimable benefits that flow from saving Faith: how thereby a good Christian, by the grace of God may live a joyful life in the midst of all his troubles, and ride in one of our second Solomons Chariots over the Kidron of death unto the Mount Olivet of Ascenti­on into glory; but what I said before upon the titles of the 4th and 5th Chapters, crave also a Super-sedeas or a Writ of Ease for these: tho I am somewhat unwilling to omit them, especially the 7th about the [Page 208]infirmities of sorrowful and de­serted souls. If the published pa­pers find acceptance with the pious, it may encourage the others to ap­pear in Gods due time, as a second part of this Tract: if they may be thought useful: but at present they are left to some other providential opportunity: if the Lord permit and prosper it: which I humbly give up to the divine conduct in sparing of life, and shining upon the seasons of his holy Will and Pleasure: if otherwise I hope the Lord will stir up some to perform the like with more usefulness and success in advancing the poor in spirit toward the Kingdom of hea­ven, then any of these mean helps could have effected: and so I leave this and all the labours of any of His faithful Servants with the great Lord of the Vineyard▪ and conclude this Tract with the Epi­logue to the whole, which I had prepared.

THE Epilogue Or Conclusion, in some Corol­laries or Deductions from the precedent Discourse: tho cut short in a great measure, con­trary to my desire and inten­tion.

THe main Body of this Treatise being finished, I thought meet to draw some useful deductions for profit and de­light.

1. The first that may arise is, That if true Faith be the only means to Salvation thru' Christ, then natural reason is insuffi­cient to guid us in the way to Heaven. Not that the true use of reason should be laid aside in drawing Logical or Rational con­sequences from Scripture Assertions: but we must not use it to lay down Principles, and Axioms founded and grounded only upon the light of nature: which is not [Page 210]furnisht with ability to dive into the won­ders of Gods love, or the deep mysteries of his Gospel in order to Salvation. If it were (since the Ship-wrack of humane nature) capable to work such effects; what then needed the Revelation of a Saviour; and why hath the Church of God thought meet to comprehend the Doctrine of life in Creeds or short Systems of points purely and meerly to be believed. Fare­well all Articles and Confessions of Faith, and in truth all our Bibles: if reason were the only Cynosure or Polestar to direct us to the haven of happiness. But blessed be God, he hath infused better thoughts into us, and bestowed better things upon us, and which do accompany true salvation. Ʋpon many accounts therefore do we re­ject humane reason in the sense foremen­tioned, as a true means to discover God in the new Covenant, or to open a way for reconciliation to him, and peace with him, or to hold any saving communion with him in grace and glory.

1. Because natural reason (as such) in its noblest and most sublime estate, is but a finite Agent, and therefore cannot drink in things of infinite depth. There's no pro­portion between finite and infinite, the or­gan and the object.John 3.11. The cockleshell of mans brain cannot contain the immense and superlative knowledg of heavenly things: who can expound the Trinity, the union of the two natures, the incarna­tion of our Lord from a Virgin: the uni­on of the Members of the mystical body by the spirit: the resurrection of the dead, [Page 211]and the true nature of Eternity, and seve­ral other. Its therefore necessary to act Faith upon the Doctrines revealed by God in holy Scripture. Nay how can Natu­rallists with any face hope to measure these deep counsels and wayes of God: when there are so many things both in Ma­thematicks, and natural Philosophy, and Physick that pose the most acute Philoso­phers in the world, and set them together by the ears, and so are like, to the end of the world. As about the progression of two parallel lines,Mr. Boyle in a late Tract in 8 vo. 1685. the quadrature of the circle, the extimous convexity of the hea­vens: the wonderful motion of the fixed Stars, that a fixt Star should move in the aequator 52555 miles in a minute; that one of the first magnitude is a hundred times bigger than the Earth, and that so many thousands of them keep their constant mu­tual distance since the Creation, and yet move in a liquid aether. Who can deter­mine the motion of Mars or the Moon ex­actly: or expound the Load-stone in all its variations, or clearly reason out all diffi­culties of the Tides, or saltness of the Sea; or can by calculation set down that or the like appearances of the Sun and Moon both above the Horizon and in the meridian when they are in opposition partile: so as to determine them exactly to a point of time,M. Na Revel as they appeared to a Relation of mine at the Cape of Norway? who can open and discover the vertues and the rea­sons of Specificks, and occult qualities cal­led by the Greeks [...], un­speakable properties. Nay to go much [Page 212]lower; who among the Learned in Chro­nology can truly state the age of the world, considering the years of the Antediluvian Fathers are set down in round numbers, and yet how positive are many weak pre­tenders?

What the admirable sagacity of future ages may compass as to thousands of pro­blems within the circle of Sciences, or in that most noble Art of Chymistry, or the analysis of the three kingdoms of na­ture: the tubes and glasses of our present inventions give us no sufficient prospect. We and our Fathers pitty Austin and Lactantius, and others for denying the Antipodes, and (which makes the jest) for deriding those that held that opinion,Philaster Brix­ [...]ensis. and some so zealous as Pope Zachary, to Excommunicate Bp Virgilius for holding it. And some of the Antients put down very odd heresies of the like kind. The learn­ed of this age wonder at the denial of the motion of the Earth, tho now the truth of it appears clear to all the generality of the ingenious of Europe, and might be easily demonstrated by the transition of the Moon constantly eastward by the fixed Stars in the Zodiack, by the six-fold bigness of Mars at his opposition to the Sun, and by other invincible reasons mentioned by Gallaeo and others.

Indeed so may posterity deride at these our ages, and the more ingenious of fu­ture times, may stand amazed at our dul­ness and stupidity about minerals, meteors and the cure of diseases, and many thou­sand things bosides, about the lustre of stars [Page 213]and precious stones, which may be as easy to them as letters to us: which was so wonderful a mystery at first, and is so still to the American Heathens, to form the fleeting breath of our lips into painted scrawles upon paper. To them the longi­tude may be as easy as the Latitude to us, and that by methods, we yet do not dream off. Such rare inventions may be given in of God to beautifie the glory of the latter days. All our writings in Divinity, will be like insipid water, to what shall then appear upon the Stage, when the Jews come in; and the Artists that shall then be born, may discover more things in the works of God to be discust and en­deavoured to be explained, then they themselves shall arrive to. The sup [...]erflne Wisdom and Learned Wits of those acute times will discover vast regions of dark­ness and ignorance. There will be a plus ultra to the end of the world. The scope for which I mention these or the like cu­riosities, is, that if nature can pos [...] all men in the matter and composition of the heavenly bodies, and in the various mix­tures of all things under the Moon, and puts forth new riddles continually to vex and torture mens brains in making water malleable, or to measure mineral winds, &c. to find the weight of fire, or to make artificial carbuncles to shine and burn in the night, or exuberate Mercury: yea and malleable glass too;Rev. 21.18. Pers. Stat 1. which some boa­sters pretend to: if in millions of things we are stunted and fooled at every turn, that we may cry out with the Satyrist. — [Page 214] Auriculas Asini quis non habet? What fear­ful sots are we in the things before us? Then what shall dull reason do in the great sublimities and solemnities of faith, and the doctrines set forth by Infinite Wis­dom. What long ears had Socius and many others that will admit little or no­thing but what must come to this scale, that will scarce turn at an hundred weight. Nay things that the glorious Angels do strain at, and makes their wisdoms to bend like an Ozier in a storm, and can never feel the bottom of these deeps without drowning:Mat. 18.10. though they stand always be­holding the face of God.

2. Reason, besides its finiteness being less then the dwindle of a rush candle to pierce into the concameration of the hea­vens: its also very corrupt since the fall of man, polluted with many stains and filthy contagions. The pia mater is now grown impia. The strongest brain is now shrunk into a cerebellum, and that stayned with yellow poyson. The pure spirits in the nerves are now grown thick, and corporeal with many feculencies. The ey's chrystalline humour has a thousand black motes swimming in it: that we can difcern nothing, but whats confused, in­verted, distorted. The most serend and shning intellect that ever was in meer man,Schotti iter E [...]s [...]aticum. Sch [...]iner. Kircher. is now become more cloudy and smoky than thofe Mountainous spots said to be found of late in the body of the Sun by the Telescope. It is most deplo­rable to think how imperfect and obscure the minds of men appear, and yet thru' [Page 215]the obstinate perverseness of their wills, how desperately tenacious of old fond and foolish notions. So that not only the stu­pid Country [...] an who is immerst in the dun­gil of conceitedness, and will not alter his old customs: [...] But also many that sacri­fice to Minerva in the School of Philoso­phy can hardly stride one step beyond Ari­stotle, but are mockt and traduced by igno­rant Caprisios. How much more blind (then the very Moles and Beetles are in discerning the motions of the heavenly bo­dies) are natural men as to spiritual objects, they are stark and stone blind, and see not one spark of light. The na­ture of man as truly says the Apostle, per­ceiveth not the things of God, 1 Cor. 2.14. neither indeed can do, for they are spiritually discerned. He hath no eyes suitable and proper for such excellencies.

3. Because reason (as such) was never appointed to obtain those sublime ends. God never designed the great matters of eternity and the other world, and the tre­mendous issues of his glorious D [...]cre [...]s to be scanned and examined by the weak brains of silly worms, that crawl at his foot-stool: but has ordained them to be believed and received for supreme truth upon his sove­raign authority. Our bodily hands can sooner span the visible heavens, th [...]n our shallow: and short reason the invisible my­steries within the heavens. And who is that bold sceptick that dares to enter the lists, and contend with his Maker.Isai. 45.9. Let pot-sherds strive with their fellow pot­sherds, and not with the Almighty potter [Page 216]himself. A proud usurpation, and a sawcy intrusion, no ways fit for such atomes of being as we are, to meddle with. These mysteries surpass the ingeny of the most intuitive Angels: their morning or even­ing science is blacker than the deepest midnight, neither can they know these things but by Revelation from heaven.

4. Besides all this,Eph. 3.10. man is subject to a thousand tentations, and prestigiating in­fatuations from Satan: if God permit; and lies under many doubtful uncertain­ties from other strange Emergencies and Events of Providence: which fall like so many [...]ists and fogs upon his understand­ing: till the light of the Gospel shine out more clearly. Ʋnder what fearful bondage did all the fallen posterity of Adam gro­vel and groan, and knew not whence their misery sprang; till God sent his Word and healed them. Nay, if Gerson hit it right, the Devils themselves (that do so usurp o­ver the dismal world) thru' their evil works, are daily more intangled and dar­kened since the Fall If so,Psal. 107.20. then how much more may poor man thru' his own corruption, & others fettering insinuations become uncapable of these noble objects: so that we may look upon that as a proud conceited saying, let fall in the close of a Sermon. My Religion is my Reason, and my Reason is my Religion. If this be not cnm ratione insanire, to dote upon that withered hag of corrupt reason and its dangerous fables: then commend me from these giddy christians, to the more noble Heathens of former ages: who both saw [Page 217]and instructed the world with better pre­cepts, and acted upon more generous principles wrought out by the dim light of nature, whoso reads many of the Pla­tonicks, and several of the Stoick and Epi­curean Philosophers, before and after the coming of our blessed Lord, will find their arguings to have suggested by the conduct of providence some preparations for the world not to think so strange of matters of Faith. When the Septuagint in their translation of the Hebrew Bible (or the pentateuch at least) into Greek at the command of King Philadelphus did spread the saving knowledg of the God of Israel wherever Alexanders conquering sword, and his greek tongue together had obtai­ned.

As to the present point, I shall recite a few testimonies, and then turn off to fur­ther inferences.

The first shall be of Plato in his Epistle to Dionysius, who advises to [shun such as a [...], a gulf or dark pit: who eypect and require punctual demonstrati­ons in the things of God: as if they could be apprehended and held in by our hands] and again in his Gorgias he says, that Socra­tes did rather give credence to the things which he received from the Prophetess Diotima: then insist upon a conviction by reason Theophrastus also the Scholar of Arist­otle affirms concerning natu [...]al things that whoever seeks to find a reason of all things by their (affected) reason take away know­ledg it self:Gaien. de usu. part. l. 15. and Galen one of the Princes of Physitians expreffes of some things. [If [Page 218]thou endeavour to find out, by what means such a thing was made: its plain, thou dost neither understand thy own weakness, nor the power of the (great) Maker: and therefore Pliny in his natural history cuts it short:Plin. l. 2. c, 1. that a man cannot take right measures of other things, since he knows not himself: and to end, I may recal an observation of Capivaccius: that experi­ence in Physick manifests many errors, which reason did not reveal.

The truth is, that in most Arts and Sci­ences, many argute reasonings and fine-spun distinctions of Scotus and Occam and others, vanish into smoke: when they come to the touchstone of some solid ex­periments: wherefore now the Learneder part of the world have left off their old musty maxims, and sophistical cavils of the Schools whereby pure Philosophy has been intangled and obscured; and are re­solved to spend some ages, and set all Eu­rope a work to write volumns of faithful experiments before they will presume up­on more Systems of natural Philosophy, to gull the world: and then call a Council out of the learned nations in some cen­ter place, and so make short and pithy and uncontroulable axioms for the Schools: I might mention many things that have made a great noise, but upon tryal have sunk down into emptiness and shame: I shall only touch the notion of managing a flying chariot, when once by the force of springs raised above the gravitation of the Atmosphere: But alas the wheels, when they come to action, flew in pieces [Page 219]or stopt quickly in the current, looking for better Workmen. Yet such was the ingenuity of some, and their imagination towred so strongly, that they procured a Merchant to make some tryal of the Tor­ricellian experiment of quicksilver at the peak of Teneriff in order to determine how high the air might gravitate: But a­las to little purpose: as all automata, es­pecially as to durability and perpetuation of motion do as yet pose and abash the greatest pretenders: but their ingenuous endeavours are most highly commendable, and seem to be reserved as blessings for better ages. When Bellona and Erinnis shall be banisht out of the earth, and Pal­las shall teach Athens with an head-piece of iron no more. When holines and integrity shall beautifie the world, and divine grace shall raise new Bezaleels and Aholiabs to make those sweet and candid persons happy in their generations, by ex­quisite and curious inventions: which these bloody and treacherous days shall never see, thru' the righteous judgment of God.

But to draw to an end: since the Ma­jesty of God is not nor can be known, so neither can his works and ways:Bradward p. 2 [...] not the least of his admirable operations can be found out to any perfection:Job 11.7. Meditat. De­votiss. let me con­clude with a story in a treatise ascribed to Bernard, of one that was laving the Ocean with a little shell, and being askt what he meant: answered, Thus do they who think to exhaust the knowledge of the Essence or Works of God (or to that purpose) and then breaks out into a so­ber [Page 220]ejaculation, though in barbarous La­tine, Quomodo te capere possem, cum non possum capere meipsum] How can I compre­hend thee, whereas I cannot understand my self?

Now lets descend to another inference.

2. A second induction from the fore-discovery may be, that the study of the Holy Scriptures is most excellent, neces­sary and profitable, being given by inspi­ration from God to make us wise to sal­vation. Thence we may extract, what is the perfect will of God as to doctrine,2 Tim. 3 16. ver. 15. worship and government for the World in the conduct of providence, and in the Church by the scepter of Christ. They being the only true directors as to eternal life, ought to be diligently searched by us.John 17.3.5.39. Dig in their mines for for spiritual understanding of things that will enrich you to all eternity. The Diamond Rocks of Gulcondah or any Indian, or China or Japan treasures are baubles and trifles to humour crying children with,2 Pet. 3.10. in compa­rison of these. The Day of Judgment will turn all them to ashes: when those shall adorn and stand thee in stead at the Dreadful Bar, where all the great Dons of the World shall tremble to appear, and none but Sain [...]s shall lift up their heads in that great morning of their Redemp­tion.

3. Since this treatise concerns a happy preparation for our state in the world to come: it strongly incites to an impartial examination, Whether we be in the Faith or no? to enquire what graces or what [Page 221]degrees are yet deficient?2 Cor. 13.5. 1 Thess. 3.10. and especially to work at the main or fundamental grace of all, to search what's lacking there.2 Pet. 1.10. For when the defects are supplied it will give you an abundant entrance in­to the heavenly Kingdom, and certifie you that you have a blessed right and title to that incorruptible inheritance.ver. 5. Your ho­ly Faith will work sweetly by the help of love; and unfeigned Faith is ever co [...]comi­tant with unfeigned Repentance, to purge and cleanse continually both heart and life, and then comes thankfulness riding in­to the heart in the Chariot of love and helps to conduct us into higher measures of service, and sweeter degrees of joy,Song 3.10. as a prodromus and fore-runner of the eter­nal happiness.

4. This Treatise may serve as a pow­erful motive to fervent and uncessant love to the Lord Jesus: who has done all for us, yea more than we can think. It cannot enter into our hearts to conceive what he hath purchased and prepared for those that love him.Isai. 64.4. Oh what delight should we take in him? Oh what thankfulness can we express or render to him. He has planted his graces in and upon us as so many pearls and jewels to adorn us.Prov. 4.9. & 1.9. Song 7.12. Joh. 14.2. His love is advanced as a Banner and Shield to protect us He is ascended far above all heavens to fit a place for us, and then will come again and take us thither. Let us give forth all our love to him, till we come to the full enjoyment of his. Here I would beg a little leave to pour out a complaint, and weep over our want of love to Christ: [Page 222]for we see and find that we are all too apt by the sad inclination of the old Adam with­in us, to love and embrace any temporary comfort above and beyond him, and then to few the old fig-leaf excuses to hide our na­kedness from his all-searching eye: some­times we make Idols of Relations, if sweet tempered and pleasant like Jonathan and David, and so incite God to take them a­way in displeasure, and to plant sower, dirty and crabbed tempers in their room; and yet 'tis in a mixture of mercy to wean us more to himself: for very few have the wit and grace to set God on the Throne in the midst of their hearts,Rev. 3.20. and let all others wait and tend while he sups with us. Let's pray our heavenly Father, and beg it ear­nestly, that if he will please to purge away our former miscarriages, and indulge such mercies to us in our pilgrimage; that he would please also to teach, help and incite our hearts to love him best, and above all, and love none but as foot-stools to advance our hearts the more to him, and to improve all in order to him. Then are we more likely to keep and enjoy our mercies, and tast more of God in them all, till the bles­sed time of our ascention to his bosom.

There be multitudes of a far more in­feriour orb, stamp and form; that instead of persons which sometimes have an excel­lency, when holy, meek and chearful; fit to converse with man,Prov. 5.19. & 1.10. and ordained of God to be his solace: but their price is far above Rubies. I lament over those that value not persons gracious and rare-tempered: which are the very ornaments of the Crea­tion; [Page 223]but being of a low and sordid frame fall down and worship fine houses, green Gardens, fleet Ships, bags of Guyn­nies, and such like trash, with many other dumb Idols, that will not profit in the day of wrath; and yet continue dancing in the plains of Dura, Dan. 3.1. at the sound of the Organ, Flute and Sackbut; and in a moment slip down into the Grave. I have read of a good Woman that after her conversion, having flung away her foolish trifles: once upon the opening her Chest, and seeing them ly there: cries out: Oh sayes she, these were (once) my Idols: but now she had left her idolatry: and minded nobler Objects.

There be some yet worse: that if you attempt them tho by gentle reproofs are not content with ordinary leaves to cover it, as being decent, comely, fashionable: but are in mad rave, and cry like Micah: will ye take away my gods,Judg. 18.24. and ask what ailes me? They dote upon a painted trifle, or a silly lace, or a dress with silver hawks­bells, as one in the West; or a well-set Border of false hair:Isai. 3.24. Tho as Martial re­flects Scit te Proserpina canam, the Goddess of Hell knows thee to be but a bald Coot. But yet they will in their Moon-like tires worship the Queen of heaven. When will the world be wise, nay, when will Christians be modest and sober, remem­bring they are but dust, that Paradise had no garments, and Heaven will have none, and serious christianity and a mortified heart to the vanities of this life (if risen with Christ) seeks things that are above,Col. 3.1. [Page 224]and is not only content, but pleased with great moderation in all those things,Phil. 4.5. 1 Pet. 3.3. like the holy Women that were of old, and cal­led their Husbands [Lords] & not afraid of any amazement or scorn from a vain world, knowing that all must shortly perish in the dust: and clothe red worms with all your Scarlet.Vicus Par­mensis Imag. Augustorum P. 142.400. Livia the Empress being askt by the Roman Matrons, what art she used to render Augustus so kind and gracious, as to obtain any thing at his hand: Answered, I do it by my modesty, since I do all things according to his will and mind. This would rid the world of Serpents, when the Law of kindness sits down in the chair of duty. Let not such as would be thought other persons, and such as would be highly favoured of God; let not such by an He­rodias-attire betray their unacquaintance with him, the slightness and lowness of their spirits, and the deformity of their souls, and how little of the image of Christ is formed in them, that can delight in things that please him not, & in midst of their ma­ny outward pleasures forget the afflictions of Joseph (alluding to the ten Tribes in the rocks and mountains of Media) and lay but little to heart the sorrows of the Church of Christ either abroad or at home.Amos 6.6. If you truly love the Lord Jesus, remember your vanity and foolishness is alwayes before him:Psal. 69.5. beg his pardon, and study these things and walk in the Garden of Gethsemany a­mong his sorrows and drops of blood, which may inflame your affections to him, and crucifie them to the world more and more. You begin to grow up, and [Page 225]some into years: Its high time as the Apo­stle exhorts to put on the Lord Jesus, and to make no provision more for the flesh and the lusts thereof.Rom. 13.14.

5. Fifthly, The Doctrine of Faith infers it to be great wisdom and duty to keep your consciences undefiled. For the my­stery of Faith is held and preserved in a pure, clean and serene conscience,1 Tim. 3.9. like a chrystal Venice-glass tipt with gold [...], that runs like a clear sweet stream not conscious of any sin wilfully commit­ted.1 Tim. 1.19. Its sometime termed a good con­science: whereof wilful sins make sorrow­ful ship-wracks: A good conscience is a continual feast, gave Paul a Banquet eve­ry night, and composed him to a better rest,2 Cor. 1.12. than in a bed of Roses. But why is a good conscience such a golden vial for Faith? Because holiness of life feeds conscience with joy, and thereby testifies and comforts about the truth of Faith.

6. Sixthly, We may observe from the former tract, that Faith is an excellent en­gine to discern and observe the wise Go­vernment of God in the World and in the Church. Its a Telescope to discern afar off in the heavens, and a Microscope to pry into minuter accidents in the earth. Had we no other Argument,Heb. 11.3. yet by Faith we may know it, and that more fully and punctually, how the worlds were framed, and by Faith we understand the divine do­minion and management of the world by Spirits. He maketh his Angels Spirits, Psal. 104.4. his Ministers a flaming fire: of some where­of lets speak in order.

1. First, God manages many things by the ministration of Angels. They are the seven eyes of God, that joy to see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel for re­building the Temple.Heb. 1.7. Zech. 4.10. Dan. 9.21.10, 13, 20. Gen. 19.1. 2 Kin. 1.9, 15. Deut. 32.8. We read in Scri­pture of the Prince of Persia, and Graecia, of Michael and Gabriel, tho the third is judged to be meant of Christ: the other of created Angels; which were imployed in divine works and messages: and what were the Chariots of Mahanaim, and near Samaria, and at Elijah's rapture, and o­ther times, but the holy▪ Angels of God. There is also a place in Deuteronomy, which the Septuagint read thus [When the most High divided the inheritance to the Nations, when he separated the Sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the Angels of God.] Tho I do not justifie the Translation: yet it shews that this notion was current among the an­tient Jews: And altho the Pseudodionysius in his Hierarchy of Angels, sets down ma­ny frivolous fancies and curiosities about their orders; yet that God is pleased to execute his pleasure by the administration of good, and sometimes evil Angels, is con­sonant to holy Scripture. As in the Psal­mist,Psal. 78.49. he sent evil Angels among the E­gyptians, and so made a way to his anger: whom some interpreters judg to be good Angels, but called so from the evil of pun­ishment, which as instruments they infli­cted. However that be, yet tis a Scripture truth, and an object of Faith, and known by experience in several ages: And altho the methods be unknown, yet the matter [Page 227]is certain and indeed may be joy and com­fort to Saints to know that they encamp a­bout them that fear him, and are the vali­ant ones about their beds by night;Psal: 34: 7: they are the holy Watchers in Daniel, and the comforters and aiders of Saints by day, and why may not they suggest some heavenly ill apses, as well as evil Spirits tempt, when God permits. Its ground of sweet joy and praise for the Saints to have such so­ciety and communion with these holy Sons of God, these Morning Stars that sang be­fore him.Ioh 38: 7 Zech: 6:8: Its said of them that they quiet­ed the Spirit of God in the North Coun­trey: that is, Gods wrath was satiated by the execution of justice upon Babylon in the ministry of these holy Angels. They fought against the Assyrian in Sennacharibs Camp:2 King 19: 35 Zech: 1: 8: 2 Chro. 35.21. they were in Battel aray against Babylon among the Myrtle Trees. What may we divine of the visions to Pharaoh Necho, when commanded to go up against Carckemish the Cercusium in Ammiano, or of that to Alexander in Josephus; or of that voice to Totilas, commanding him to go a­gainst Italy, and making him (the flagellum Dei) Gods Scourge to the Nations: were not they secret impulses and instigations of Angels upon their Spirits to do the work of God?

2. Sometimes by the spirits of men: God turned the Egyptians hearts to hate his people, and deal subtilly with his Ser­vants: after a while,Ps. 105.29.37 E [...]od. 12.36. he gives them fa­vour in the sight of the same nation: so that they lent them what they required, both Jewels of gold, silver and raiment; [Page 228]sometimes a Pharaoh, that dealt kindly with them all the days of Joseph: and then other Pharaohs that were very harsh and cruel to them. Sometimes a Grecian Alexander shall favour them, and after him Antiochus, one of his Successors, deal bar­barously with them. When Israel was come into their own land, God promised to restrain the Spirits of the Neighbouring Heathens at the three times a year, when they went up to worship, yea to bridle the inward desires of the adjacent nations,Exod. 34.24. that not a man of them should so much as desire their Land. In after-ages, the Prophet Daniel treating of the times of the silver breast,Dan. 11.27. Prophesies, there should arise two Princes, scil. Antiochus Epiphanes, and Ptolomaeus Philometor, who should speak lies at one table: but it should not pros­per: that is, make feigned shews of amity, when they feasted together; but it should not avail them. To name no more, there is a wonderful Praediction in Ezekiel, that in the latter days (not yet fulfilled) things shall then come into the mind of Gog [...] that is the Turk or Tartars (as the learn­ed judg) He shall think an evil thought,Ezek. 38.10. even to come into the Land of Israel, ver. 18. ver. 22. after the Jews are re-entred into it. But the Lord will plead against him to his utter destruction, and he shall be finally ruined, when the Lord will raise up the Sons of Zion against the Sons of Greece: Zech. 14.3.9.13. that is a­gainst the Turk or Tartarian, in that day having fixed his seat at Constantinople, in the old Imperial Pallace of the Grae­cian or Eastern Empire: and being the [Page 229]Successor of the Graecian Alexander in his East Dominions.

3. Sometimes by the heavenly bodies, and their influences by the spirits of mete­ors, and many other natural exhalations out of the sea, and bowels of the earth, as from Vesuvius Aetna, Hecla, and the Vulcanian Islands. How did the Stars in their courses fight against Sisera, Judg. 5.20. causing great inundations in the River Kishon, that ancient River, or River of Antiquities or great battels of old: but now swelling to a great overflow, swept away the Host of the Canaanites? How did the Lord tame the pride of Egypt by locusts, hail, fire, and frogs, and darkness that might be felt, thick fogs as black as pitch, and many o­ther ways. How did God subdue the proud Pope Hadrian by a fly, &c. There's no age but ecchoes and cries aloud to all people, to prove and make all to acknow­ledg the Soveraign Dominion of the Lord of Hosts in the Heavens, Earth and Seas, and over all Creatures: nay under the earth, in Mineral Caverns, if Paracelsus and the Learned Agricola write true sto­ries, of multitudes of Spirits and living creatures in the bowels of the earth. All testimonies trumpeting aloud how God at times, arms what of his Hosts he pleases, for the protection of his Church, and the ruine of his enemies. Famous is that memorial of the cloud which presented its dark side to the Egyptians, but gave light to Israel: when the Red-sea stood up in heaps, and the depths were congealed or frozen in the heart or midst of that sea;Exod. 15.8.14.22. so that [Page 230]the waters became as a wall to his peo­ple, which the Egyptians essaying to pass thorough, were drowned. Nay the won­derful motion of the tides, which is so great a mystery,Heb. 11.29. Exod. 15.10 Psal. 147.18. is managed by Gods Wisdom: and the inconsiderable sands are a boundary to the Ocean, determining how far his waves shall toss themselves, and go no further.Jer. 5.12. They have their stated and fixed limits by the laws of Creation, which has settled their channels into which they shall subside at his command. Some there be (to mention it a little) that would in­ferr the sea to be higher than the earth from such a Text. But 'tis a mistake, and misapply of Scripture,Jonah 1. Exod. 20.4. Psal. 24.2. Psal. 107.23. which expresly sets the waters under the earth, and that it is establisht upon the floods, and menti­ons mens going down to the sea in ships. If the sea were not lower comparatively to the ordinary surface and globe of the earth besides the mountains, how can all the Rivers r [...]n down into the sea, if the earth out of which they spring,Psal. 42.10. Eccles. 1.7. Jer. 51.42. were not higher: wherefore the Prophet alluding to the natural situation, foretells that the sea should come up upon Babylon, and more to that purpose. But this belongs not properly to our present work, only so far, as to shew, that God rules the ra­ging seas, and the stormy winds fullfil his pleasure.

Let's step to Land, and end our voyage with one note more,Psal. 1 [...]8, 8, to observe, how that God injoyned Israel to plow and sow for six years: but must trust him for the seventh, and part of the eighth, till the harvest [Page 231]came: living for the while on the blessed providence of God, sending them the greater plenty in the foregoing years.

4. Fourthly and Lastly, lets touch a lit­tle upon the mysterious government of the Church by his most Holy Spirit, sway­ing his golden scepter in the hearts of Converts, and ruling them by his rod out of Zion. But this refers to that great point of communion with the Spirit of God:Psal. 110, 2. which this treatise only considers in the doctrine of assurance, Chapter 8th, and in one further consequence following, which is the seventh.

7. We may learn from the preceding tract, that the knowledg of our Faith and the attainment of assurance flow princi­pally from the influences of the Spirit of God. He is the profound teacher of all mysteries, and the worker of Faith, and therefore gives the clearest evidence: without the necessity of arguing, when he is pleased to speak to the heart.Joh 16.13. He shall teach you all things (our Lord promises) and guide into all truth. He glorifies the Son, receives of his, shews it to us, and manifests things to come. Where he tea­ches any doctrine, he works the knowledg and sense of it into the heart, and causes us to believe: He is the former of faith, he commands and inclines us to trust, and imprints the image of Christ upon us,Epist. Gassendi de mo­tu impresso, &c as the vis impressa sends out a power from the hand or instrument upon the ball ar­row or bullet, which together with the air that's gathered by the force into an impulsive vortex behind the body (as in [Page 232]the ignis lambens) carries on the motion to the end of its vigor.

'Tis more abundantly here: when the spirit becomes the arm of God to break the stone in the heart; he moves & works in the most intimate recesses of the soul; he shapes and forms the new Adam with­in us, and inspires it with fire from the throne between the wheels of the cheru­bims:Ezek. 10.7. He is the skilful architect of the Temple of the Church, cementing the li­ving stones together, which were cut out of the mountain of the divine Decrees to make a glorious Habitation for God by the Spirit.Eph. 2.22.

Let's then never forget to be earnest in prayer for the gift of the spirit: since the influx of all grace, and the beautiful enamel of our hearts with heavenly gifts, flows from this holy spirit of Ʋrim and Thummim: And the truths in Scripture can only be settled and confirmed upon our hearts by him. He is like the master of Assemblies, that fastens the nail in a sure place:Eccles. 12.11. like the great shepherd that knock's in (the paxilli in caula) the stakes about the hurdles of the sheep-cotes to keep the harmless creatures from the Wolves, close and warm together in a dark and stormy night.

8. Another deduction from the former treatise may be: that the number of true believers is very small: for the generality of the world knows not God in Christ. The Turks indeed own him for a great Prophet, but disdain his banner. The Jews confess there was such a person at [Page 233] Jerusalem? but contradict his message, blaspheme his Deity, and stumble at his sufferings.

Among the various nations bearing the name of Christian, what wild confusions and absurdities are practised in Muscovy: by the testimony of the ingenious Olearius, Marriage and what rude mixtures and barbarities are found among the Abyssins, south of Egypt, as we are taught by that learned Writer Ludolphus, or what ignorances blind Cu­stoms, and perverse worshippings are noti­fied among the Armenians, Ludolph. Edit. 1684. Fol. Maronites or Thoma-Indians, as are related by Breerwood Paget, and in the collections of travels in Purchas, and several others. What shall we say to the corruptions among the Pon­tificians, nay in the Reformed Churches of God in the world; and how are the lives of most grown degenerate and prophane: insomuch that one has adventured to pro­nounce that 'tis hazardable whether above one in a million may be saved: I remem­ber also to have read somewhere,Dr. Mouli [...] that Chrysostome should say to the people of An­tioch: that among so many thousands in that great City, that scarce an hundred would be saved, and he doubted of that too.

When we ruminate and consider of the pride, vanity, luxury, wantonness, excess, and rioting, pleasure, and vain-glory, en­vy, backbiting, and variance both among Ministers and people: neglect of holy du­ties, love of the world, and the perishing trash and trifles therein: The contempt of the Gospel and faithful Ministers: we [Page 234]must subscribe to that of our Lord, [ [...]] Fear not little, yea very little or diminutive flock (when not only all the wild beasts and wolves; but the goats also are separated) For it is your Fathers good pleasure to give to you a Kingdom.Luk. 12.32. Since the number then com­paratively is so very small, and the danger of miscarrying so very great: oh how does it stand us in stead to make the things of E­ternity establisht and sure, which ushers in the next corollary.

9. That the knowledge of our sinceri­ty and integrity, is of great use to gain both peace and joy in believing: which is a principal aim in the foregoing treatise. For though the want of Assurance doth not prove us to be under the power of unbe­lief, yet this defect shews the weakness of our Faith, and keeps the yoke of bondage (in manifold fears, and torments) too strait and pinching upon the necks of some that are truly gracious.

It is thy greatest interest then to clear the case, and to state thine evidences by answering to the questions at the end of each chapter, or to the whole in general, or by any sound way and method to ma­nifest a work of true grace and faith in thy heart. Phrase things, term or call them how thou wilt: but be sure the work be right between God and thee. Sincerity will clear up all: under various misprisi­ons and accusations of undiscerning friends, who usually insult upon persons in adver­sity (not for want of censorious pride and folly, which they seldom come to own and [Page 235]behold, but in the glass of their own cala­mities) yet holy Job stood his ground: and which was bitter indeed, to conflict with their severe animosities, when under a cloud from God: yet still held fast his inte­grity before the Lord. This is such a strong pillar that a Christian may lean the whole strength and stress of his soul upon it in the name and power of God. A dear and intimate conjugal relation (who is menti­oned before chapter 8) would sometimes be upon this point: But am I right in­deed, am I sincere in my heart, and love to Christ, if I could but prove that clear­ly, I know all were well? I answered, how do you know, or can prove the truth of your love in the relation wherein you stand, but by descending into your heart and examining the inward honest inclina­tions and readiness of spirit to any kindness and labour of love. For any one may assuredly know, that they have true love, or any other natural affection within their bowels, unless their senses and brains be deficient. We may tell, whether we mean honestly and truly in what we pro­fess and do? Whether our tongues agree with our hearts, or whether there be found a secret aversation and loathing within, or not: It is so, verily, in the case between Christ and us: ask your soul the question, and answer it from the integrity of your conscience, and then pronounce with the Spouse so often mentioned:Song 2.16. I am my Be­loveds, and my Beloved is mine, for he fee­deth among the Lillies and Spice-beds of graces in my heart.

There are manifold signs of true grace set down by some: most whereof might be spared, being but like pitch or bird­lime to entangle discouraging Spirits: use but few, and those very pertinent: if thou find a true one, truly wrought in thee, tis enough: for then all are there in semine, in the seed-plot, tho under ground. As suppose: unfained love to the Brethren, or constant pantings after God, and delight in secret communion, or the like: Be but sure of its true being within you: it will do your buisiness, by serious pondering and rumination upon it with the aid of Gods Spirit. Some are over-free in multiply­ing tokens, it shews a popular invention, but not very logical and rational because usually co-incident, and but little comfort (rather sorrow and perplexity) arises thence to mourning souls, under the ab­sence of God, and therefore be advised to forbear: because they will not agree to the various forms: especially the lowest state of Christians, and then theres wise work for tentations: when you grieve the gene­ration of the just, whom God would not have grieved.Psal. 73.15:

If then, all your multiplied signs do not comfortably agree with thy strict and im­partial search: Be not cast down. For an honest heart, having true love to Christ, tho mixt with failings, yet all lamented and none allowed:Rom. 7.5. but hated and striven against with an inward content of soul, and joy, that it can bear up against the stream of corruption, and with all its care towes the boat up the River toward the Spring of its hap­piness, [Page 237]and tho it find much unholiness, ye [...] melts and grieves over it, studies amend­ment in what the word and conscience smites upon, and that with some improve­ment in mortification, and some growing in grace or a gracious willingness to be and do so, mixt with honest endeavours: tho it be not so lively and flourishing as it would: tho the soul labours and sweat in the fire of contention and conflict with its lusts, and corruptions, and feels not that success it prayes and thirsts after: yet do not dis­courage nor greive thine own spirit, and so hinder its elevation to work and service: The root of grace appears to me, to be plainly in thee, and that it will by degrees wax and increase like the house of David: and if thou canst perceive some growth, tho but little: it is a sure and certain Index of life. If thou daily diest in some mea­sure to sin,Psal. 18. and particularly to that sin which thou art most inclined to, thy peevish, fro­ward, cursed, proud & contentious humors and lusts, or any else, upon sudden inroads of Satan which thy heart and faithful Mi­nisters and Friends check thee for, and be­ginnest to live a little more to holiness, then thou didst, and growest & perseverest in grace, and art watchful against thy lusts, and humbly and meekly thankful to them that reprove thee: and labourest to imitate the holiness and meekness of Christ the be­loved: I must say and insist upon it, that sincerity is the cardo rei, the very hinge of that door that lets thee into life and sal­vation, and if thou dost truly love him, who [Page 238]pardons all thy foolishness. I say then th [...] thou fear the work, that it was not right at first, at such a time when thou thoughtst it was a sound and a true conversion: never stand puzling and frighting your spirits a­bout the point, what that work was whi­ther then sound or not: but do as Dr. Tho­mas Goodwin was wont to counsel troubled consciences: Begin the work a new, and lay your foundation better, and build the materials of holiness upon the precious foundation of Faith in Christ alone, and ne­ver gather your principal and fundamental comfort and hope from works and duties; that will fail you: because of their many and great imperfections: yet having plan­ted your Faith aright on the Doctrine of free grace: then exercise daily a more ac­curate care of pleasing God, and thereby comfort your consciences, and beautifie your holy profession in all manner of god­ly conversation; and this brings me to the tenth and last Assertion.

10. In the tenth and last place: La­bour to keep up the verdure and lustre of holy walking with God.1 Pet. 1.3. Lively Faith breeds lively hope, and both make a lively Christian: who draws his vertue from the death and rising of Christ for a conformity to him. Imitate holy Abraham under the Oak by Hebron, in teaching thy Family, and keeping up pure Worship in it: Its a great piece of a Christians work. Remember the morning and evening Sacrifice: a little Lamb must be offered twice a day or else [Page 239]the juge Sacrificium, the daily Worship will be lost under the Gospel times.Walaei comment in N.T. libr. histor. ex Peti­to. Lug. [...]at. 1653. 4 to ad Act. 2 16. &, C 3.1. It is judged by their antiquities, that the godly Israelites went to Prayer in their Houses at the times or hours of Prayer and Sacrifices of the Temple. To incline godly Fami­lies to this practice, I might call to mind that we are taught in our Lords Prayer, to pray in joint fellowship, the words are plu­ral: and I might also remember that God hath threatned to curse the Families that call not on his Name: where tho Families (there) be a comprehensive term as to Na­tions and Countries,Jer. 10.25. yet it must contain Housholds within it. If it be presented as a free-will Offering, 'twill be accepted in mercy, and returned in Family preserva­tions and rewards.Deut. 6.7. Psal. 92: 2. Morn & even day & night. Act. 10.2. Teach then thy Chil­dren and Relations: when thou liest down and risest up, that is evening and morning to whet divine precepts upon their hearts: exercising thy self and thine to godliness. As Cornelius the Centurion, being a devout man, and scared God with all his house: gave Alms and prayed to God alway, in which words, if his devoutness, or [...], as tis in the Greek, be explained of Worship: then its plainly connexed with all his house: but I shall not urge it, nor the phrase of fear for reverence in Worship, according to the language of the Old Te­stament. This is certain, that Family mer­cies call for Family Prayers, and Family praises: and whoso useth to wait upon God in such Family addresses, will find a holy awe of God to fall upon their infe­riors [Page 240]and preserve their obedience, and shall enjoy many a deliverance, and many a blessing Besides, in the constant pra­ctise of holiness, you'l have need of pati­ence every day in doing and submitting to the Will of God;Heb. 10.36. wicked Neighbours if powerful, will oppress you; and false pre­tended Friends, wily Relations, and faith­less Servants will endeavour to betray your Children and your Daughters to themselves or theirs: use all wisdom, but especially a quietness of Spirit: if you have none good in power to defend or avenge you. Walk on with a humble submissive frame to God, till you receive the promises, and then your reward will be abundant. In your Family-duties be prudent, because of Servants and Children; render not holy duties burdensome by tediousness.Eccles. 5.2. God is in Heaven and we upon Earth: let your words be weighty, considerate and few. There will (surrepere) creep on a desidia or listlessness upon our weak and corrupt flesh, and a too much perfunctory formali­ty in the constancy of Duties, especially when growing in years, do what you can, unless you be endued with good natural strength and vigor of body, and use great watchfulness and help from heaven. Which calls to mind that advice in golden Letters upon the outside of the Pulpit in Pauls, London before the Fire [Concionandi satietas ne sit, erit.] Take heed of too much length in Preaching: satiety will come without sending for. Endeavour, if possible, to beautifie and put a gloss upon [Page 241]all the duties, you engage in; with some quickness of Spirit, craving Heavens in­fluence and assistance. They'l be the more delightful, and set a pleasant verdure and vernish upon Religion with the more lustre, to intice and allure others into the same blessed paths of life. Labour also to enjoy and improve all thy mercies and blessings in a chearful manner,Eccles. 9.9. with the pleasant Wife of thy desire and delight, and with the precious Olive-plants about thy Table: If the Lord of Heaven shall think good to bestow upon thee so great a mercy, as one of a meek and quiet spirit,Prov. 5.19. Psal. 128.3. which is of so great price with God. If such a mercy and happiness be thy portion under the Sun,1 Pet. 3.4. and therein to enjoy the good of thy labour: it is the gift of God, and must be sacrificed in whole hecatombs of Peace-offerings, Services and Praises to the Majesty of Heaven.Hortature

But to draw to a final period: Be ex­horted to keep thy accounts even, thy faith vigorous, thy evidences clear. Main­tain society among the Excellent in the Earth, pious and fruitful Christians; mul­tiply not relations, nor too much acquain­tance, they are burdensome, and chargeable robbers of time; and if possible to be had in the neighbourhood,Psal. 16.3. such as are of sweet tempers planted with grace, they are like Pomgranates dipt in spiced wine, like diamonds, or rather green Be­rils, or Emeralds, that most lovely of all colours; set in gold, the most precious of all [Page 242]Mettals. It's better to sit alone in sweet contenting silence on the top of an house, or in the corner of a wilderness, then with a sower and exceptions creature: you may quickly know them, they are forward, ma­lipert, contentious, and imperious, and have all the talk in company: Sweet tempers will sweeten thy journy to heaven, and make it excceeding amiable. As the Ancient said of some Travellers toward Rome [can­tantes, minus ut via laedat, eamus] chearful­ness cuts off the tediousness of the way: and if moderate without vanity, does good like a Cordial Medicine.Prov. 17.22. Above all, let thy love to Christ be unspotted and infla­med: then thou needest not be anxious a­bout the foolish censures of ignorant men, either of the world or amongst false bre­thren; whose persons or censorious judg­ings and juglings blessed Paul weighed not at all. Let's imitate him: They are but the hissings of the old Serpent, the ignita jacula, Satans false-pious firebrands flung in thy way to molest thy journey towards thy Heavenly Country. Mind not their supercilious, conceited proud reproofs and slanders, spurn them away with the foot of faith and courage: know thy duty and study to do it. When they are in a better mood and humour, and begin to repent and be humbled;1 Cor. 4.3. pity them; if they de­sire thy pardon, be as ready to forgive them: else remember the divine counsel to Jeremy. Let them return to thee, but return not thou unto them: for they are rebellious against God: he will save and [Page 243]deliver thee: Trust in him,Jer. 15.19. and he will bring it to pass.

We are then most uneasy and usually most unsuccessful: when we govern our wayes by the pride of others directions, and their say­so's, especially of those that ought to be guid­ed by your self, and to enquire the Law at your lips, if in such a station, 'tis Gods Or­dinance: and if they be in the state of infe­riors, Caelo descendi [...] [...]. you'l never find sweet rest, till you have stept over the style of that foolish question: [What will they say of you] Make the Word of God your rule, according to the best of light, and study to increase it; and that in fine will bring peace and rest. He that is not Tattle-proof, is so far forth in the minority of his wisdom and judgment.

Every man is allowed [judicium discreti­onis] his judgment of discerning upon and above all the world, and ought to guide his own actions by the light of his own conscience, and to walk by the candle of the Lord within his own Spirit, conjoyned with the light of Gods Holy Word. For according to that must he answer at the great Tribunal, and not for neglecting what some conceited Ʋsurper would impose upon his conscience.Prov. 20.27. Follow the verdict of the honest Jury of the vicinage, your own impartial thoughts sitting in the court of conscience, illuminated to the best of your integrity and knowledg: But never make other mens dictates your laws. For as Solomon says, every fool will be medling,Prov. 20.3. [Page 244]and being full of words, his own lips at last will ensnare and swallow up himself. Turn off such proud insulting spirits with a holy disdain,Eccles. 10.14. verse 12. 1 Thes. 4.11, and chido them home to look to their own affairs, to study quiet­ness, and do their own business. Mind them not, turn away thine ears from such viperine mouths, make them not thy com­pass to steer by, either in Calms or Storms but let the holy Laws of God be taken in hand.Psal. 119.24. Let Moses, David, Paul and John, be thy Counsellers. Turn the Bible, and dis­course with those Divine Lawyers, ask counsel at their mouth, and give them thy fee of meditation, and they'l advise thee better than Papinian or Justinian; and if very difficult cases rise, consult Gods holy Ministers that are in being, they are the present lively Oracles of heaven,Job 33.23. his Inter­preters, to whom he reveals his secrets, their digests and pandects will advise thee thorowly, and let the Scriptures dwell rich­ly in thee in all utterance and wisdom.Col. 3.16.

Thus shalt thou gain and maintain peace with God and with Christ the Son of God, set down in his last and blessed Legacy, to fortifie thy heart, and compass thee with adamantine armour against a foolish quar­lelsome and troublesome world:Jon. 14 27. and mark such as walk disorderly, and cause divisi­ons and offences in Churches contrary to sound doctrine,2 Thes. 3.6, 11. avoid them and have no fellowship with such unfruitful works of darkness;Rom. 16.17. Eph. 5.11. that are set on by Satan to un­dermine the peace and comfort of Saint [...] [Page 245]communion: such sower and rough tem­pers, they live and dye undesired, and are laid in the dust as a bundle and burden of dung unlamented: but keep society with such, in whose hearts the peace of God doth rule, to render them both humble and thankful.

These are the Jewels, wherein God de­lights (while others continue troublers of Israel) the Excellent Ones upon Earth, with such keep thy choicest interviews: till thou arrive by his safe conduct beyond both the stains of sin,2 Chron. 21.20 Jer. 16.4. and the pains of sorrow.

If then the blessed marks in the fore­going tract be found in thy heart and life, for the main: thou shalt find thy graces to bloom and flourish in these mountains of Spices,Song 4.16.8.14. and in due time thy beloved will come leaping over the fragrant hills, to thine excceeding joy: which was pre­sented in our Title page as the end and scope of all these lines, and like a boiling spring will ascend higher and higher, till it run over in the joy of full Assurance: which bubbles first out of a believing heart, and runs in the current of a well-spent life, and flows into the joy of a blessed death: and then your soul being perfum­ed with the odoriferous ointments and spices, wherewith Joseph honoured out Lords Funerals:John 19.40. shall lye down by his sa­cred side in the same fine linnen, till the day dawns to the joyful marriage of a ho­ly [Page 246]soul; to a holy new raised body, and t [...] the joyful marriage of a holy Saint with a most holy Saviour, the heavenly Bride­groom of his Church: when all the pro­mises shall be sanctified in accomplishment and compleatly fulfilled in all their circum­ces.

At this Resurrection Day the present joy of Faith [as Faith] shall end,Rev. 14.2. Mat. 24 31. 1 Thes. 4.16. and welcome the joy of Vision: when the joy­ful Angels shall sound their Empyraean trum­pets, and the twenty four Elders shall sing melodiously to their pleasant harps made of the Algum trees of Paradise,Mat. 13.43, the Song of Moses, Heb. 2.12. and the song of the Lamb: when Christ himself shall sing in the midst of that bright constellation of the Stars, those Sons of the Morning, in Zion above. And when all the Saints, like Kings with golden Crowns on their heads, and like Priests, with pure Linnen Ephods on their shoulders, shall prophesie with their in­struments of Musick before the Lord, sit­ting as King and Priest upon his Throne for ever and ever.Zeeh: 6: 13: Then the Saints shall invent new instruments of Musick like Da­vid, and shall dance before the Ark of the testimony in heaven, and sometimes Riding in Curule Chairs made of the Cedar of the Caelestial Lebanon, shall wait upon his triumphal Chariot of Cheru­bims thru' all the holy Mountains of the heavenly Canaan, 1 Chron: 28: 18 [...] Psal: 36: 8: and shall at pleasure drink of those Rivers of Eden that slide in chrystal streams from under the threshold of the Throne of God.

Then shall all they who have here thirsted after the Righteousness of Christ, be filled with it to the brim: and shall e­ver sing for Joy of heart;Isai: 65: 14: since they are sweetly and fully arrived at that Eternal, and unspeakable mercy,

The Joy of Faith in its Glorious Vision.

FINIS.

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