BY The late Pious and Learned HENRY MORE, D. D.

LONDON, Printed by I. R. and are to be Sold by Brabazon Aylmer, at the Three Pigeons against the Royal Exchange in Cornhil. 1692.


I Shall not bespeak the accept­ance of these Papers, by any large Encomium, either of them, or of the Author. This would detain the Reader too long from the Benefit of them; and indeed to little or no purpose: For the Discourses will sufficiently speak for themselves without the arti­fice of any Commendatory Preface.

And as for the Author; His Name is so well known, and de­servedly admired in the World, upon the account of the many Elaborate Treatises which he [Page] Published in his Life-time, that these his Posthumous Pieces may find a welcome Entertainment without any other Invitation.

The business therefore of this Preface, is only to acquaint the Reader with some things which concern this Edition; and this I shall do very briefly in the follow­ing Particulars.

1. The First and chief thing which the Reader is to be ac­quainted with, is the Authentic­ness of these Writings; they be­ing all of them Printed by the Authors own Copies; except Discourse XIIth and XIIIth which were, with some of the other, transcribed from the Originals in [Page] the Authors Life-time, by one whose Faithfulness and Exactness is evident in the rest, and is not in the least to be doubted of in these.

2. The next thing which I should tell the Reader, is by whom these Papers were commit­ted to my care and management, in order to make them Publick: But I am forbidden to name him; and therefore I shall be silent as to this particular.

3. But here it may not be un­fit to tell the Reader, in general, That I have bestowed upon them all the care and pains which the shortness of time determined for the preparing of them for the [Page] Press would admit of: And this is sufficient to satisfie any ingenu­ous Person: Whereas to speak of all the toil and difficulties which I met with therein, would be too tedious an exercise of the Readers Patience, and piece of Vanity as burdensome to my self as to others.

4. And Lastly, As for any Defects therein, or for the Er­rors which have escaped the Press; they are such as neither the Au­thors Name will suffer by reason of them, nor the Papers be less acceptable to a Candid and well-disposed Reader.

[Page]Thus much I thought fit to advertise the Reader of here, con­cerning this Edition. As for the Discourses themselves, I shall leave it. wholly to Him to observe the Stile and Matter of them. Only this I would suggest, That they are such as were prepared for no mean Auditory; some of them being University-Sermons, and the rest College-Exercises.

I will conclude this Preface with a short Prayer: Which I wish the Reader may as seriously and devoutly put up, as the Pious Author did before one of the fol­lowing Discourses.

[Page] O Lord our God, the Foun­tain of Light, and the Well-spring of all holy Wisdom and Know­ledge; without whose aid our search after thee and thy ways, is but tedious error and dangerous wandering from thee; Assist us mercifully in our endeavours after thee; Open our eyes, that we may see the wonders of thy Law; Sanctifie our hearts unto obedi­ence, that we may unfeignedly love thee, and worthily magnifie the holy Name, through Iesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

London, Nov. 1. 1692.

THE TEXTS OF THE Following Discourses.

Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul. p. 1.
They go from strength to strength, every one of them appeareth before God in Sion. p. 31
[Page]DISCOURSE III. MAT. VI. 22, 23.
The light of the Body is the Eye: if therefore thine Eye be single, thy whole Body shall be full of light. But if thine Eye be evil, thy whole Body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! p. 60.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wis­dom. p. 85.
DISCOURSE V. JOHN IV. 31, 32, 33, 34.
In the mean time his disciples prayed him, say­ing, Master, eat. But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that you know not of. Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? Iesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. p. 119.
Be ye Doers of the Word, and not Hearers only, deceiving your own selves. p. 151.
All the dayes of the afflicted are evil, but a good conscience is a continual feast. p. 191.
As for me, I will behold thy face in righteous­ness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness. p. 221.
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ: if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glo­rified with him. p. 251.
[Page]DISCOURSE X. JAM. I. 27.
Pure religion, and undefiled before God and the Father, is this, to visit the father­less and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. p. 282.
To do good and communicate forget not, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. p. 314.
DISCOURSE XII. GAL. VI. 14, 15, 16.
But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Iesus Christ; by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Iesus neither cir­cumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircum­cision; but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy; and upon the Israel of God. p. 369.
[Page]DISCOURSE XIII. 1 PET. I. 22, 23.
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit, unto unfeigned love of the brethren; see that ye love one another, with a pure heart, fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God which liv­eth and abideth for ever. p. 394.
They joined themselves also unto Baal-Peor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead. p. 419.
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. p. 435.
Appendix to Discourse XIII. p. 458.


Lambhith Nov. 2. 1692.

Ra. Barker Rmo in Christo Patri ac Dno Dno Johanni Archiepiscopo Cant. a Sa­cris Dom.


DISCOURSE I. 1 PET. II. 11. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.

THE Text is an Exhortation to abstinence from the Lusts of the Flesh: Which Duty the Apostle endeavours to fix upon the Spirits of his Auditors by a twofold means or arti­fice. First, by insinuating into their Affe­ctions [Page 2] by a kind and friendly compellation and humbleness of Address [Dearly beloved, I beseech you:] And then by convincing their Reason by solid Argumentation: Which is fetch'd from a twofold Topick, from the enmity and active hostility of these fleshly lusts against our Souls, and from the Dig­nity and Sanctity of our Souls themselves; intimating that the state of this present World, with the enjoyments of it, is, [...], a thing too much estranged from, unsuitable to, or unworthy of a Being of so high a nature and Divine extraction, as the Soul of Man to be engaged in, or any thing taken with. This is the summe of the Text.

WE will begin with the Duty we are ex­horted to, the abstinence from Fleshly Lusts, [...]. It is too trivial to take notice that [...] does as well sig­nifie Desire at large, or natural appetite, in which there is no hurt, as Inordinate desire, which we ordinarily understand by Lust; though that English word also was of an indifferent meaning in the ancient use there­of. But this honest and allowable sense of the word we may be sure is not meant in the Text; both because the Precept were impossible to be performed without mani­fest violence and injury done to Nature; [Page 3] (for we cannot live without Eating, and Drinking, and Sleeping,) and also because of that Epithet added to [...]; Which yet denotes the pravity of these Desires, rather than their Original: For Flesh, in a natural sense, is of as harm­less a signification as Desire; as where the Apostle sayes, No man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it. Where­fore [...] or Fleshly Lust is taken in such a sense as it is, where it is opposed to the Spirit, Gal. 5. 17. For the flesh lasteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other; as appears more manifestly from their fruits or works. The works of the flesh are manifest; saith the Apostle in the same place, which are these, Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witch­craft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.

Flesh therefore and Fleshly Lusts (in the Text) is to be understood in such a sense as they are opposed to the nature and fruits of the Spirit. And in Rom. 13. Let us walk honestly as in the day, not in rioting and drunkenness, not in [Page 4] chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying: But put ye on the Lord Iesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. Here the Life or Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ, is opposed to those works of the Flesh, and to the caressing and providing for the satisfactions thereof.

And indeed, if we examine either our own lives or others, it is manifest that our care and forecast is pitch'd upon some one thing that is the leading Object to all our Affections. In this sense therefore, so to indulge to the desires of the Flesh as to make the Satis­factions of the Carnal Life the Joy and Contentment of our Souls, to make it the thing we long after, and would be at, either alwayes, or as repeatedly as we can find our selves reap the pleasures of such repeti­tions; this is truly and properly to follow, not to abstain from Fleshly Lusts. But to keep at a due distance from all Animal plea­sures, not to resent them nor rellish them with too high a gusto, or penetrating de­light; not to let these poysonous waters enter even into our Souls (as the Psalmist complains of the Waters of Affliction) nor yet our Souls to cleave to the dust; but for our Perceptive part to tamper with these things with a more suspensive or collective guard upon it self, not loosening it self, nor [Page 5] letting it self flow or melt into that which allures so strongly, and would captivate her will and affections into a base servitude to things beneath her; but to admit only so much of them, as either tend to, or are consistent with the health and sanity of both Soul and Body; Thus to order our Appetite, were properly to abstain from Fleshly Lusts, and to content our selves only with the fulfilling our harmless and natu­ral desires, with which the Apostle has no quarrel.

In brief therefore our Natural Desires then become Fleshly Lusts, when their rel­lish is so high, that they either extinguish or obscure our Capacities of those Holy and Divine Joys, or exceed the end and scope of God and Nature in planting them in us; which was not for any mischief to either Soul or Body, but for the good of both, if Men were but either skilful, or docible to learn the right uses and ends of them. Edo ut vivam, non ut edam vivo, was the Saying of an old Philosopher somewhere (Socrates I think) Whereby he intimated the true end of Eating and Drinking, and perstrin­ged the ignorance and enormity of Gluttons and Drunkards. The Animal functions and delights of them are of so low an allay, that when Men live to enjoy the exercise of [Page 6] these, it is an extreme inordinacy of Life, and all the Natural Desires and Pleasures become ipso facto, Fleshly Lusts. For surely they must be very highly taken with those things that they take to be the very Ends of our living, and without which, Life would not be vital: Which is such an unhinging of true Reason and Nature, that that saying of Antisthenes will appear from hence to bear with it a more sober and remarkable sense then we may be at first aware of, [...], I had rather be mad than struck with pleasure; that is, in such a sense as has been declared. For to be transported with the pleasure of Natural Fruitions to that inordinacy, is both a mad­ness and a piece of Immorality besides; and haply such as does more deeply wound the Soul, than Natural Madness it self, and lay more certain trains of her future Misery.

To abstain therefore from Fleshly Lusts, is to resist or deny the inordinate cravings of our Natural Propensions or Desires, and to held our Soul in suspence from being car­ried into too great a transport in but the measurable use of them; that they should not pierce into the inward life of the Soul, but let that Plant, our Body, rejoyce by it self, if it can, in its grateful refreshments. Trees and Flowers flourish well enough, [Page 7] supply'd with Rain and Sunshine, without any such high transports: And the chear­fulness of a pure Mind and upright Con­science will be Sunshine enough to be added to the moderate irrigations of convenient nourishment, due to this Plant-Animal we carry about with us: That no Man may think it his duty to exult in the enjoyment of corporeal pleasures for the health of his Bodies sake, when every such perception so heartily and feelingly taken in, is either poyson, or a stab to the life of the Soul. But that will be more seasonably considered anon. In the mean time, I hope I have made it clear enough, what is meant by [...], or Fleshly Lusts; as also what it is to abstain from them.

WE come now to consider the Second part of our Discourse, the means or artifice the Apostle uses to fasten this Duty I have de­scribed, upon the Hearts and Consciences of his Auditors, His humble Address [I beseech you] and that kind and friendly compellation [Dearly beloved.] And indeed the one implies the other.

Non bene conveniunt, nec in unâ sede mor antur
Majest as & Amor —

[Page 8] While, he calls them, Dearly beloved, it is more comely and suitable to beseech them than command them: But the Prudence and Discretion of the Apostle is very con­spicuous in both, thus to insinuate himself into the Affections of his Auditors, by such sweet and wining Rhetorick; he being to convey something to them which is over bitter and distastful to Flesh and Blood; and therefore he does well to besmear the brim of this cup of Wormwood with the sweet­ness of Honey, that his Patients may the better take this wholesome Potion, as Lu­cretius uses this Similitude, though in a sub­iect of less moment.

Sea veluti pueris absynthia tetra medentes
Cum dare conantur, priùs oras pocula circùm
Contingunt meltis dulci flavu (que) liquore.

Hard commands given with an harsh im­periousness, befits not the Spirit of the Gos­pel. And it is not so much external force, at the assurance of the kindness, integrity, and fidelity of the Instructer, that can en­gage the Affections and Conscience of the Auditor to the observance of such Spiritual Precepts as these. Indeed the falsly-pre­tended Successor of Peter may by law and force keep Men from eating Flesh in Lent, [Page 9] and engage them to observe such Com­mandments of Men, whereby they more easily make the Commandments of God of no effect: But to win upon Mens Consci­ences indeed, to set upon the true and real mortification of our Fleshly Lusts, in such a sense as I have described; this is more like­ly to proceed from the perswasion they have of him that gives this wholesome Counsel, that it is out of sincere kindness and faith­fulness to them for the safety of their Souls, than if they discern it proceeds out of an affectation of dominion over their Consci­ences; and of exposing them to unnecessary faults and mulcts.

While the Apostle therefore layes aside all imperiousness of Command, he seems to insinuate his sensibleness of the hardness of the task, and to suggest that it is not out of an affectation of dominion over their Chri­stian Liberty that he offers this Advice, but out of the mere indispensableness of the Duty, in order to their Salvation. For as he calls them [Dearly beloved] so he treats them as in that endearing respect; and seems to profess, that it is merely out of his Brotherly Love and Tenderness towards them, and faithful care of their highest and most important concerns, that constrains him to offer this severer Counsel unto them. [Page 10] Those whom we dearly love, we cannot endure to hurt or grieve any way: And therefore professing this tender affection to them in the midst of severer Counsel, it is a plain manifestation that nothing but the indispensableness thereof could extort from him the Advice; as when a tender Mother perswades her Child to endure the Searing Iron, or Incision-Knife, and to be content to quit some festred or gangren'd part of the securing of the whole Body. This is the genuine sense of this wise and discreet insinuation of the Apostle into the affections of his Auditors, that his Exhortation to Abstinence from Fleshly Lusts may take the more certain effect with them.

WE proceed now to the last part of our Discourse, which is to consider the Apostles Argumentation, whereby he would engage them to this Duty. Which Argumenta­tion (as I said) was fetched from a two-fold Topick, First, From the dignity of an Humane Soul, especially Christian. Secondly, From that enmity or hostility of the Fleshly Lusts against her.

1. The dignity and excellency of Humane Souls is intimated in those words [ [...] [Page 11] and [...]:] The former whereof signi­fies such Qui sedem habent extra Patriam; the latter, qui extra Patriam peregrinantur; as Grotius notes upon the Text. So that according to the sense of either of these expressions, it is manifest that we carry something about us that is of a far higher dignity than to be accounted a Citizen or Indigena of this Terrestrial Globe. If this round Hillock of Earth can lay claim to any thing of us born therein, or therefrom, it is only this Earthly Body. At verò ani­mis aeterna Coeli sedes quaerenda, ea (que) propriae illorum Patria; as Cicero speaks. And some­thing like this is intimated by the Author to the Hebrews, who (according as Philo Judaeus also somewhere insinuates, touching the Souls of the Patriarchs here upon Earth) does declare them Pilgrims and Strangers in this present World upon their own con­fession, which he will also have further to imply that, in thus saying, they are Pilgrims and Strangers; that they seek a Country which belongs more peculiarly to them; that they desired a better Country, that is an Heavenly; and adds, Wherefore God is not ashawed to be called their God, for he hath prepared for them a City, namely in Heaven. [...]. [Page 12] We come into his World to sojourn, uot to dwell here; for the soul of every wise man has Heaven for its Country, but this Earth for its land of Pilgrimage; as Philo speaks. Like that of Cato in Tully, Commo­randi enim Natura diversorium nobis, non ha­bitandi locum dedit. And Plato in his Axiochus, [...]. And Philo de Somniis, does expresly make the History of the Pilgri­mages of Abraham and the Patriarchs, a Type or Shadow of the Peregrination of Humane Souls here upon Earth, but that they have their proper Country in Heaven, [...]: which methinks with more elegancy the Holy Apostle calls his Tabernacle; which alludes to the pilgri­mage of the Israelites through the Wilder­ness into the Promised Land, that illustri­ous Type of Heaven, in which journey they liv'd in Tabernacles, or Booths. Yea, I think it meet as long as I am in this Taber­nacle, to stir you up by putting you in remem­brance, knowing that shortly I must put off this my Tabernacle. Which Tabernacle be­ing dissolved, we have a building of God, (saith S. Paul) an house not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens. That was only com­morandi [Page 13] diversorium, This an everlasting ha­bitation to dwell in. Wherefore the little­ness of the concerns of this Life being pro­portioned to our short stay here, and the Soul of Man being capable of so high and lasting enjoyments, it is very unworthy and unbecoming so noble a Being as the Soul, not to abstain from Fleshly Lusts, not to be so much master of the Natural Desires of the Flesh, as not to be enslaved to them, or transported by them; either to seek them, or sue after them with over-much eagerness, whether Riches, Honours, the Pleasures of the Flesh, or whatever gratifi­cations of the Animal Life; or to embrace them with over much transportedness when they are offer'd unto us. Epictetus expresses how we ought to be minded toward these things, excellently well, by a Similitude ta­ken from a Feast or Banquet. ‘If a Dish come to thee that thou likest, take part thereof with Modesty and Temperance: Is it to be removed from thee, detain it not: Is it not yet come at thee, stretch not thine Appetite out to it, before its approach. If thou shalt be thus affected toward all the things of this World, [...]. But if when they are offered thee, thou yet refuse [Page 14] them, thou shalt not only be a worthy Guest, but even a Fellow-Prince amongst the Gods.’

And truly if we would but duly consi­der the Original of our Souls, from what Fountain and Archetypon they are derived, and of what an excellent nature they are, and how little they are intended for this Terrestrial condition; methinks it should be no hard task to fulfil this Precept of the Stoick; or rather that of S. Iohn, in his General Epistle, Love not the world, neither the things of the world; If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father but of the world. Where­fore our Original being so peculiarly Divine, we are bound, if we bear a due respect to that, to gather up our Affections from sink­ing towards the vain and transitory things of this World, and look upon our selves as very little concerned in them: Christian Souls especially, who by reason of their new birth, are of a noble and divine extraction indeed; and therefore upon a double ac­count, ought not so to undervalue them­selves as to adhere to the fading pleasures and gratifications of this mortal Life. If in vertue of this new birth, ye be risen with [Page 15] Christ, into the sense of the Divine Life. and into a true and lively Faith, seek those things which are above where Christ fit­teth on the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth. For what is there that this Earthly Life affords, which we do not enjoy but as Tenants in common with the very Brutes? Eating, Drinking, Sleeping, hunting after a prey, or pursuing a project for the satis­faction of our Carnal Desires, begetting or bringing up our young; applauses, caresses, the pleasure of dominion or revenge, and the like; These set up but on one level with the Beasts of the field, and do not at all reach the excellency of our proper Nature. But yet this is the guise of this Land of our Pilgrimage, thus to be clad in the man­ners and habits of our fellow-Animals of the Earth, as well as Strangers put on Tur­bants in the Turkish Empire. But who would put on an odd habit in a strange Country, but merely out of necessity? Could he strut and please himself in it, and be curious and sollicitous about a thing that he has no conceit or opinion of? For us to make provision for the Flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof (as the Apostle speaks) is as fond, as if some Slave should be very curious to provide himself of Chains and Fetters, [Page 16] or other badges of his Slavery; or a Fool should be very careful that his Coat have all the peculiar laces or tassels of a Fools-Coat: And all this Worldly Pomp and Enjoy­ments are no better, nor bear no more agree­able proportion to the Nobleness of the Soul, than a Fools-Coat to the Body of a Grave and Wise Man. Nay, I think, that Grave and Wise Philosopher Plotinus took his own Body to be such a Coat, and there­fore was loath to be painted in it, and so leave a durable disgrace of himself behind him.

But suppose these Worldly things were not altogether so vile and contemptible, yet our stay is here so short, that to us they cannot be valuable. For as both S. Peter and Plato have told us, this Life is but [...], a kind of Pilgrimage here up­on Earth, and we are but passing through it into our own Country. How fond a thing therefore would it be to love any thing of the World; or to addict our Affections to it, when we must so suddenly leave it? As fond as if one should be inveigled with the love of his Inn, or any thing there, when as he must leave it the next morn­ing.

Wherefore being thus in a strange Land, which we are to pass through, not to make [Page 17] any abode in, let not our minds be fixt or glued to any thing from which our Persons are so suddenly to remove. And because we are Strangers in the Land, let us take heed how we tamper with any bewitching Ob­jects, lest that which looks fair may prove no safe food, but either a present or more lingring poyson, and we may find the mis­chief of it at our return into the other State. It is S. Iudes Character of some in the an­tient Christian Feasts of Charity, that they fed themselves without Fear; as if they had made that perverse sense of our Saviours Saying, That which enters into the man, can­not defile him, by either quantity or quality. But we are environed with so much igno­rance and inexperience in this strange Land, that we ought carefully to stand upon our guard, and take heed how over-greedily or over-heartily we close with any tempting delight, remembring that there may lye hid the most dangerous poyson in the great­est sweetness. Let us therefore trust no strange Objects in this strange Land, but keep close to what is nearest akin to us; that is, to our true Manhood, which is the sense of true Honour and Vertue, the Fear and Love of God, and whatever Graces descend from that Fountain of Light, and Giver of every good and perfect gift. But [Page 18] the gifts of this World are [...], which few can receive without parting with that which is infinitely better, a pure Mind and a peaceable Conscience, and the assured hopes of Eternal Happiness hereafter.

And thus much for the Apostles first Ar­gumentation, to perswade us to abstain from Fleshly Lusts, fetch'd from the Dignity of the Soul.

2. We come to the Second, which is, The Enmity and Hostility of these Lusts against the Soul; the law of the members warring against the law of the mind, and en­deavouring to lead us captive into the bondage of sin.

This Hostility is exercised, 1. In trea­cherous Circumventions. 2. In violent Assaults: And 3. in the spoil and pillage of the Soul upon Victory.

1. The treachery and stratagems of the Lusts against the Soul, are usually these.

First, A pretence of enlarging our Know­ledge and Experience in things, that it is fit to know the World, and by real Proof to judge of the estimate of things, and not to be cooped up within such narrow bounds, and thereby remain simple and ignorant. This was a Stratagem of the Old Serpent, whereby he deceived Eve; Ye shall not surely [Page 19] dye; but God knows that in the day ye eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as Gods, and know good and evil. (Gen. 3.) But the Soul must take heed of such false and mischievous insinuations as these, and remember, that experimentally to know evil, is to become evil and miserable; and that the adequate object of our Wills or Desires, is that which is Good, and that therefore Knowledge it self is not desireable but up­on this account, so far forth as it makes us good and happy. Who would have the experimental knowledge of the Rack, or of the Stone and Gout, or of a draught of Poyson, though he may have his Antidote? None but condemned Persons, and the Slaves of Mountebanks; nor they neither, but that they are forced to it. To undergo therefore such base Experiments, in which there is so much loathsomness and danger, is to submit our selves to be Slaves, and is unworthy the Nobleness of an Humane Soul. But if we will be experimenting, let us not experiment downwards, by plunging our selves into several sorts and degrees of Lusts of the Fleshly or Animal Life, but rather try how much we can emerge up­wards into the various pleasures and perfe­ctions of the Divine. Let us taste and see how good the Lord is, and what variety of [Page 20] joys and delights there is in him. All things come to an end, but thy Commandments are exceeding large, saith the Prophet David: Here's a field therefore wide enough to ex­ercise our selves in, and to try variety of experiments in the progress of Holiness; adding to our faith vertue, to our vertue know­ledge, to our knowledge temperance, to our temperance patience, to our patience godliness, to our godliness brotherly kindness, and to our brotherly kindness charity: Whereby we be­come of one Spirit with the very Godhead it self, in whose presence is fulness of joy, and at whose right hand there are pleasures for evermore, and so great that we cannot de­sire to experiment any thing greater.

Secondly, Well, but if this Stratagem will not take, the next is a fair insinuation of kindred and friendship betwixt the Fleshly Lusts and the Soul of man. Homo es, hu­mani nihil à te alienum puta; or that Pro­verbial Phrase amongst the Greeks, [...]. But the Soul here is to remember that the True man is the In­tellectual man, made in the Image of God, according to Righteousness and true Holi­ness; not the Sensual part, common to us with the Brutes; and that though she may admit of natural ordinate desires, yet Fleshly Lusts have no pretence to lay any claim to [Page 21] her, they belonging either to the worst of Brutes, or not being to be owned at all, as any part of the Creation. Wherefore it is a pittiful Sophisme men put upon themselves, while they plead an indulgence to their sin­ful Lusts upon the priviledge of their Na­ture; as if they were Beasts and not Men, or as if it were a priviledge to be a Beast, or Man were not to rule the Beast in this case, and admit of no desires but such as are ordinate and allowable.

Thirdly and lastly, These Fleshly Lusts will plead for themselves from custom and the guize of the World; and tell the Soul it is but a piece of Humanity, and Discre­tion, and due Civility to the rest of Man­kind to do as they do; that it is more cre­ditable and plausible, and how a Man had better be out of the World than out of the Fashion. But to stop this vain plea of the Flesh, the Soul may oppose that of the Blessed Apostle S. Peter; Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober and hope to the end, for the grace that is to be brought un­to you at the revelation of Iesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning your selves according to the former lusts in your ignorance; but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy, for I am holy. And [Page 22] to be holy, is not to be mingled with the World, or conformable thereto, but sepa­rate and distinct from it. What therefore have we to do to conform our selves to the rest of the World that lies in wickedness (as S. Iohn saith) when as we are a chosen ge­neration, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, who are to shew forth the praises of him who hath called us out of dark­ness into his marvellous light. (1 Pet. 2. 9.) Why then should we fashion our selves ac­cording to the sinful guize of the World, when as Christ hath redeemed us from the earth, and from all our vain conversation. And therefore we being the peculiar people of God, we are Strangers and Pilgrims as to the World, and the guizes thereof; and it would be as ill beseeming for us to conform our selves to the fashions of the World, as it would be for a Civil European to put on the Shells and Feathers of a Barbarous American.

2. But the Lusts of the Flesh being thus worsted and defeated in Parley, they will attempt to do that by violence which they could not do by treachery and circumvention: By the force and vigour of their impress they will endeavour to carry us away captive. But against this the Soul is to listen to that Advice of our Saviour, Watch and pray, [Page 23] that ye be not led into temptation; and that of the Apostle S. Peter, Be sober, be vigi­lant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lyon, walketh about seeking whom he may devour. And he entred into Iudas you know upon the eating of the Sop; which seems to intimate, that Fasting and Tem­perance is a good safeguard against him. We must with S. Paul, [...]; keep the Body under, lest this domestick Thief (as Trismegist calls it) be so strong and stubborn, that he fly in our faces, and over-master us. We must put on the whole Armour of God, (as the Apostle exhorts the Ephesians) that we may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand, to keep the field against our fiercest and stoutest Ene­mies. We must have our loins girt with Truth; that is, with saving Truth, with the knowledge of the best and most useful things: For this Truth lies in a little room, and therefore will keep in, and gird up our Affections more close, and not suffer any diffluency of our minds into folly and va­nity. And we must put on the Breast-plate of Righteousness; that is, of resolved Up­rightness and Sincerity of Heart. Above all we must take the Shield of Faith, in the power of God, whereby we are enabled to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And [Page 24] we must take the Helmet of Hope, and sure expectation of Everlasting Life, which will keep us from being easily knock'd down to the Earth by the fiercest Assaults of our Adversaries. And lastly we must take to us the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, whereby we may divide betwixt Good and Evil, and admit the one, and re­ject the other. And being thus appointed, we must pray alwaies with all prayer and sup­plication in the Spirit, watching thereunto with all perseverance: And especially to watch in such a sense as this, as to be extremely shy and careful how we admit any thing under the colour, or upon the rellish of Animal pleasure, but rather eo nomine to decline it: Which is an impregnable Bulwark against the assaults of the Flesh, and such as will ever defeat them. If we do these things we shall never fall, let the assaults of the Fleshly Lusts be as violent as they will.

3. But if we be overcome, let us now see what a lamentable spoil they will make of us, and how cruelly and tyrannically they will use us.

For First, They will rob us of whatever is precious, that we have: They will take down, and carry away with them, that chearful and delightful furniture of the Soul, Peace and Tranquillity of mind. For [Page 25] the mind of man is not of so base an Ori­ginal, as to enjoy it self in things so much below it self, as are the Fleshly Lusts; Whence it must needs be, that she will be ever and anon disturbed with loathings and regrets of Conscience, amidst her so base condition and practices; and instead of that steady peace and chearfulness of Spirit, (which are enjoyed in our adherence to Holiness and Vertue) be exposed to many horrours and distractions, and confusions of thoughts, and an ungrateful sense of in­ward shame and reproach which accompa­nies such unworthy actions.

Secondly, They will disarm the Soul of that honest activity and diligence which we ought to have in our Affairs, and make us more uncareful and more unable to pursue and manage our Business with that discre­tion and faithfulness we ought to do, to the scandal of the World, as well as to our own detriment. This Lucretius notes of that notorious kind of Fleshly Lusts, the being addicted to Women,

Languent officia at (que) aegrotat fama vacillans,

But takes place also in Gluttony, in Drun­kenness, and whatever other pleasure has once overcome the Soul, and subdued her to it self.

[Page 26] Thirdly, These Fleshly Lusts rob a man of the safe use of his Reason: They will make it wonderfully prevaricate in the be­half of themselves, and commit such Pa­ralogisms as the Soul cannot but be asha­med of so soon as she has got out of the reach of their power. And they will in the conclusion, so weaken the Faculties of the Mind, that they shall very fondly dote in their Verdicts, even touching such things as the Fleshly Lusts themselves are uncon­cerned in. For these Lusts bereaving the Mind of her purity, must needs dim and obscure her Faculties more or less, in all uses of them where there is ordinarily any difference of Sentiments amongst men.

Fourthly and lastly, These Lusts deprive us of the Life and Influence of the Divine Spirit, and most dismally damp and dead the Power of Faith, and Sense of Religion in the Soul, which is of more consequence than even Reason it self; which proves ve­ry weak in the assurance of these things, when the sagacity of a better Life is extin­guished or smothered by the soul impurities of the Lusts of the Flesh. But the Soul being once purged from these, ipso facto unites with the Spirit of God, and by an Holy and Divine Instinct, is in a proneness and readiness to believe such things as God [Page 27] is truly said to have done, or to intend to do concerning the sons of men, by vertue of her union with the Divine Spirit, or that Eternal Mind that immutably contains the whole Counsel of God touching things past, present, and to come.

This miserable spoil do the Fleshly Lusts make of the poor Soul, when they over­come her; and not only so, but they use her cruelly to boot. That they put out her Eyes, I have already intimated, in that I noted that they bereave her both of Faith and Reason. And that they pluck all her Feathers out of her Wings, it is as mani­fest, since our being captivated with Fleshly Lusts, keeps down the Soul, and hinders all Holy and Heavenly Aspires, and extin­guishes the pure Flames of Devotion. Nor are they content with this, but they also crucifie and nail the captive Soul to this Earthly Body; as Plato complains, [...]. All Pleasure and Grief nails (saith he) the Soul to the Body.

Nor is it impertinent to name enormous Grief amongst the Lusts of the Flesh, since no Grief is enormous but out of the enor­mity of Self-love, or inordinate love of this Corporeal Personality of ours; which if we could be sufficiently unconcerned for, [Page 28] and love and esteem nothing but the Al­mighty Lord of Heaven and Earth, and those Divine Laws and Holy Sentiments he has implanted in our Souls, Enormity of Grief would not be able to seize upon us.

Nor do they only thus crucifie and kill that higher and Diviner Life of the Soul, but by the exorbitant excitations of the con­trary Life into several enormous modes and forms, metamorphose men into so many abhorred Monsters, whom they keep in the chains of this base servility and captivity, and then let them loose upon the most vil­lainous outrages, or the basest and most contemptible actions imaginable. Wrath and Revenge, like a Bear robb'd of her Whelps, makes them tear apieces, and de­stroy all they meet with in their way. Am­bition and Avarice, like an Evening-Wolf, makes them fall upon the Sheepfolds, and suck the blood of innocent Lambs, to satis­fie their thirst. Superstition and false Zeal, turnes them into such Furies or Devils, that they destroy whole Cities and Countries with Fire and Sword, out of pride and im­patience that others do not submit to their Wisdom, and give themselves up to their Guidance; who yet have no Light but those Infernal Torches of an ignorant and bitter Zeal devoid of all Christian Charity, which [Page 29] they could light no where but from the Flames of Hell; nor conduct a Soul by this Light any whither, but to the place of those Infernal Flames. The sting of Lust transforms them into such Satyrs and Ba­boons, that they fly upon all promiscuously, not sparing their own Mothers, Sisters nor Daughters. Gluttony and Drunkenness (as Circe did Vlysses his Companions) changes their shapes into foul dirty Swine. To say nothing of those ugly indecorums of Effe­minacy, that brings some into as base a Ser­vility as Omphale did Hercules, who made him put off his Lyons-Skin, and sit amongst her Maids at the Distaff and Spindle. Not to add what one would scarce dare to name, had not the Apostle himself taken notice of it; That this Beastly Lustfulness has made Women change the natural use into that which is against Nature; and likewise also the Men, leaving the natural use of the Woman, burned in their Lusts one towards another, men with men working that which is unseemly. Rom. 1.

With such base and inglorious, with such wretched and hideous Servilities do the Fleshly Lusts tyrannize over the Soul, when they have once captivated her; carrying her thus in triumph, and exposing her to all baseness and lewdness, and dragging her by her chains of captivity through all filthiness [...] [Page 28] [...] [Page 29] [Page 30] and unseemliness; and having thus be­smear'd and defac'd her with the filth of all manner of Sins in this Life, fit her for a delivery to her fellow-Devils in the other, to be reserv'd with them in everlasting chains of darkness, unto the judgment of the great day.

This is the lamentable success of that Warfare betwixt the Lusts of the Flesh and the Soul, if she suffer her self to be over­come. And therefore it is no wonder the Holy Apostle uses all the Reason and Rhe­torick he has, to make us stand upon our guard, and defend our selves from so subtle and malicious Enemies; Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.

DISCOURSE II. PSAL. lxxxiv. 7. They go from strength to strength, every one of them appeareth before God in Sion.

THE Text is a Presage of admirable Prosperity and Success to some sort of People; so that it may well ex­cite in us a desire of searching out who they may be: And if we begin further off at first, or go about, yet it may (according to the Proverb) prove the nighest way home. If any one therefore demand who these are, I shall answer him out of the 24th Psalm, (the subject whereof seems to be the very same with this) and in the words of the same Prophet, This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face O Iacob; the God of the People that prevail by their importunities and wrestlings with God, as Iacob is said to do, Gen. 32. whereby he purchased to himself the name of Israel, [Page 32] because as a Prince he had power with God. And David, as being one of this extraction himself, he seems to challenge a Blessing from God on that very account, O Lord God of Hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Iacob, in the Verse immediately fol­lowing my Text.

In this present Psalm, as also in the 24th and 15th Psalms, the Holy Prophet so speaks of the Court, Tabernacle, Temple, or House of God, as of a place of the high­est enravishments that the Soul of man can enjoy; which Expositors generally (and I doubt not but truly) interpret of the Mo­saical Tabernacle and Literal Temple; But that the mind of the Prophet was carry'd up also to some higher matter, I do not at all question. And the first Verse of the 15th Psalm, Lord who shall abide in thy Ta­bernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy Hill? (which is almost verbatim repeated again in the 24th Psalm) the Chaldee Paraphrast does expresly interpret of Heaven. So warrant­able is it, not to be ty'd down to the Letter, but to seek a further edifying Mystery in the Holy Oracles of God. And such a Temple as the abode wherein will be more suitable to such earnest breathings, and ve­hement expressions of the Prophet; Ver. 1. 2. How amiable are thy tabernacles O Lord [Page 33] of Hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even faint­eth for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cryeth out for the living God. And again, Ver. 4. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. These things do not suit so well, methinks, to a house that is made of any earthly ma­terials, into which the wicked can throng, as well as the just. Nor does God dwell in any House made with hands, according to the Apostolick Philosophy, Acts 7. Any yet ac­cording to their Doctrine, We are the Tem­ple of God; at least design'd so to be. And the Apostle Paul sayes expresly, 1. Cor. 6. 19. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost? And yet the same Apostle, Rom. 7. 18. I know, saith he, that in me (that is in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing. This Earthly Tabernacle is no House of God, as being from the Earth. From whence it is that we groan earnestly, (as the same Apostle speaks, 2 Cor. 5.) desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from Heaven. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, (or further clothed) that mortality might be swallow'd up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the self-same thing, is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit: That [Page 34] is to say, He that works us [...] into this condition, is God himself, by the opera­tion of his Spirit, which is the Architect of its own House (as it is said of the Soul) the Builder of that Holy Temple in us, in which all is, fulfilled which the Prophet David sets out in such devotional and vehe­ment Language. For when we are come to this state, we are then truly the Temple of the Living God; and it is Strength to a mans Navel, and Marrow to his Bones. So that well may the Holy Prophet raise himself into so high expressions touching this condition, Ver. 2. My soul longeth, yea even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh cryeth out for the living God. For this Earthly Tabernacle destitute of this, is but a burden or body of Vanity, wherein are all the Seeds and Fruits of Sin and Misery. But of this Heavenly House, is that plentifully verify'd which the Pro­phet David presageth, Blessed are they that dwell in thy house, they will be still praising thee. And they that are arrived to this con­dition, will easily fulfil that Precept of the Apostle, (Eph. 5. 18, 19.) Be not drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit, speak­ing to your selves in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. This is the real par­ticipation [Page 35] of the Body or Flesh of Christ, the true Bread from Heaven, which is the immediate receptacle of the Divine Spirit; so that he that comes hither, cannot fail to be replenish'd with Righteousness, and Peace, and Joy in the Holy Ghost.

And this may serve for a brief intimation, Who these Persons are, to whom such good Success is promised in the Text, and what the place is towards which they are journey­ing; viz. the Tabernacle, Temple, or House of God, mystically understood.

LET us now consider, 1. The Country through which they pass. 2. How well accoutred they are in their persons for the Journey. 3. What Convoy to guard them safe. 4. Under what Influences of Heaven they travel. 5. What the more particular degrees of their Progress: And 6. What welcome they find at their Journeys end.

1. The Country through which they travel is expresly set down in the Psalm; Ver. 6. Who going through the valley of Baca, make it a well; which is ordinarily interpreted the Valley of Tears: Which though it has a sad Appellation, yet bears with it a good Omen, according to that in 126 Psalm; They that sow in tears, shall reap in joy. [Page 36] But Baca signifying also a Mulberry-Tree, some would have it denominated from thence, and also that it is so described, to set out the sterility and dryness of the Soil; as if as well the passage to, as the place where the House of God is situated, were all dry ground: For such indeed is Mount Sion it self; as its very name also imports, which signifies aridity or ficcity: Which any one will admit to bear (without forcing) an important signification, who reflects on that Philosophical Aphorism, Anima sicca anima pura, or Anima sicca sapientissima. And David, whose mind was so hugely ta­ken up with the projecting for a place for the House of God; Psalm 132. ver. 3, 4, 5. (I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed; I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eye-lids; until I find out a place for the Lord, an habi­tation for the mighty God of Iacob) immedi­ately in the following Verse, he in the Spi­rit of Prophecy delivers this great Arcanum, Lo (saith he) we heard of it at Ephratah: but we found it in the fields of the wood. The common rumour indeed, and conceit was, that it should be built in Ephratah; that is, in regione frugiferâ, in a fat, rich, fertile Soil; but we find it in the fields of the wood, in loco non tam culto nec amoeno [Page 37] (as Calvin notes) in a dry, barren, moun­tainous place; indeed on Mount Moriah, which some would have so called as if it were [...], alluding to that in the Can­ticles, as if it were a Myrrhiferous Moun­tain: And such Wood indeed is a special demonstration of a dry and barren Ground; which is congenerous with the signification of Mount Sion, as also with what is obser­vable in Philadelphia, a type of the best State of the House of God in a collective sense; it was placed [...] in a region dry, barren, and burnt up with heat: As David professeth, that the Zeal of Gods House had even eaten him up, or consumed him: But as the outward man perisheth, the inward man is renewed day by day.

But we had got to our Journeys-end, the place of Gods House, before we were well entred into our Journey. That which I would observe is, That the Region through which we pass to this State, which is called the Holy Temple or House of God, is no Ephratah; it is not a Country of green Fields, rich Pastures, and rank Flowry Meadows; but it is the Valley of Baca, a dry, barren Soil, far from being fat, fulsom and luscious. And therefore all the self-favouring sweetnesses, and caressings of this Terrestrial Body, or Carnal Personality, are [Page 38] driven far from this Region, with all that false Wisdom or Prudence which arises from the Flesh, or from corrupt Reasonings, touching the Sovereign Goodness of God; the doctrine of Love being abusable to the corruption of Life, as well as the doctrine of Faith, if men wander out of the Valley of Baca, into Fools-Paradises, made by their own Carnal Phansie and Reason. And this for the present, shall serve briefly for the Description of the Country, through which these Travellers to the House of God pass.

2. Now how well they are provided for their Iourney, is intimated also in this Psalm; and mainly it is in three things, Knowledge, Faith and Sincerity.

Knowledge:] Namely, of the wayes of God that they are to walk in. Ver. 5. Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee, in whose heart are thy wayes. (For so that Translation of the Psalms, which is ap­pointed by our Church to be read every day, has it; and that that Pronoun [This] is understood, as if it were [...], I do not doubt, and therefore rightly expressed in this Translation.) Who have the Jour­ney they are to take, the wayes and passa­ges predelineated, as it were, in their [Page 39] hearts; which denotes the best kind of Knowledge, even that which is accompa­nied with Affection, and hearty Convi­ction.

And surely it is not for nought that the Spirit of God so frequently in Scripture, names the Heart for the chief seat of Wis­dom; which is yet the less marvellous, considering that the Wisdom which the Scripture driveth at, is Practical Wisdom, Moral or Divine, wherein the Heart is much concerned. And the sense and touch of those Truths must pass the Heart, as the Colours do the Eye, before the Mind can give a steady assent to them. For what the Eye is in reference to Colours, that is the Heart in reference to the discrimination of Moral Good and Evil. And for this reason it is, that as Seeing is attributed to the Eye, so is Vnderstanding to the Heart, so fre­quently in the Scripture. The thing is so plain, I need alledge no places. Out of the Heart proceed evil thoughts, saith our Savi­our; and consequently good ones too; For the Heart is the Fountain of the Life and Spirits; and according as they are, so are our Imaginations, whether sleeping or waking, such our Ideas, thoughts and pro­pensions to belief, especially in matters of Life, whether Natural or Divine.

[Page 40]And therefore we must be very careful how we let our pragmatical, light-minded Reason, make laws of Life for us, while our Hearts have not undergone the due mea­sures of Purification; because the thoughts and imaginations of our Hearts will cer­tainly impose upon that Mercurial Faculty, till the Soul be made more judiciously dis­cerning in vertue of her Purity. But our safest way is with these Travellers in the Valley of Baca, to have Gods ways written in our Hearts, for a Map to guide us by. To the Law and to the Testimony. If they speak not according to this word, there is no light in them. Whatever private sug­gestions arise in us, and how featly soever managed by that slight Advocate, carnal or unregenerate Reason, we are to guide our Life by the Commandments of Christ, whom God has exhibited to the World as our infallible Guide, confirming his Autho­rity and Doctrine by Signs and Miracles, and by such wonderful Prophecies, as it were madness in any man to prefer his own corrupt Reasonings, imposed upon by an un­sanctify'd Heart, before those Divine Ora­cles, and unerring Laws of Life, which are given unto us by the Son of God, so de­clared and manifested to the World.

[Page 41]The first requisite point therefore, which is Knowledge, is an hearty admittance of those Laws of Life which are prescribed us by Christ and his Apostles; to take up these for Principles to walk by, and not what our own self-favouring Phancies suggest, or our vacillant Reason, blind or drunk with the foul steams of an impure and unsanctify'd Heart, would pretend to coin for us. Blessed is the man, whose strength is in thee, in whose heart are thy wayes.

The next is Faith: By which I do not so much understand Faith in general, as that which has for its proper Object the Power of God for the destroying of Sin, and the erecting his Kingdom in us. For out of this ariseth our Strength in God, and our Victory over the World. This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our Faith, as S. Iohn speaks. Which Requisite is also hinted in this Psalm, the last verse; O Lord of Hosts, blessed is the man that trust­eth in thee. And indeed, sith our Faith, and Trust, and Confidence is in the Lord of Hosts, how can we despair of the victory over any Sin whatsoever. Cannot he that created Heaven and Earth by his Word, create in us a pure Heart, and renew a right Spirit within us? I can do all things, (saith S. Paul) through Christ that strengthens [Page 42] me. Certainly it is a Contradiction, that Omnipotency should not be able so effectu­ally to assist a willing Soul, as to bring all her enemies under her feet. Can he that is the Lord of Hosts, and has the power over all Nature, be baffled in his assaults upon the corrupt Nature of any poor Creature, so that he cannot reduce it if he will? And can we possibly imagine God not to be will­ing to subdue Sin in the World, who has given us such express Laws against it, both within and without, who expresses his Wrath and Vengeance against it so fre­quently in Scripture, who is so irreconcile­able an enemy unto it, that nothing less than the Death of his only begotten Son, could make an Atonement for it: And last­ly, the Holiness of whose Nature is so con­trary and diametrically opposite to the pol­lutedness of it. Wherefore the fault most assuredly lyes at our own doors; viz. be­cause we are not sincerely willing to have our Sins vanquished and overcome by the Power of God.

Which therefore is the third and last Re­quisite which the Travellers in the Valley of Baca are said to be provided with, namely Sincerity; which comprehends not only a belief that all our Sins ought to be subdued, and that they are all vanquishable through [Page 43] the assistance of Gods Spirit, but also an un­feigned willingness to have them subdued, and an hearty endeavour, to the utmost of that power we have received, to conquer them and subdue them. He that is provi­ded of all these three, is fitly furnished for a prosperous Journey toward the House of God; and the Almighty will be his safe­guard in his travel.

3. Which is the Third Particular we na­med, What Convoy to guard them safe in their Iourney, which is intimated in the Psalm also; For the Lord is a sun and a shield, the Lord will give grace and glory, and no good thing will he with-hold from them that walk uprightly; that is to say, that walk sincerely. In which Sincerity if they keep themselves, he will also be faithful unto them, and not suffer them to be tempted above what they are able, and will deliver them from all straits and assaults of their enemies both inward and outward. The Lord will be their fortress and tower, their de­fence and shield, a present help in the day of trouble. The Angels of the Lord will encamp round about them, and deliver them. For such as these, as it is said of those few names in Sardis, Christ will confess their names be­fore his Father and his holy Angels; namely, [Page 44] profess how dear they are to him, and so commit them to their safe protection.

4. And surely the Influences of Heaven (which is the Fourth Particular) cannot but be very benign to those that are thus dear to the God of Heaven. And therefore for light, and warmth, and kindly dews and showres, they shall not be destitute of these in this Journey of theirs to the Temple of God. And therefore God is said as well to be a Sun to them as a Shield, in the fore­cited Verse of this Psalm: And in Ver. 6. They that pass through the valley of Baca are said to make it a well, and that the rain fill­eth the pools: Like that in Psalm 68. O God, when thou wentest forth before thy peo­ple, when thou didst march through the wilder­ness, the clouds dropped at thy presence, thou sentest a gracious rain upon thy inheritance, and refreshedst it when it was weary. But in this present Psalm, the Rain is said to be received into some hollows of the Earth dug out; the Latin renders it cisternas: I sup­pose any fossae or hollows of what form so­ever, will serve the turn, made by the dig­ing away the Earth, that this Heavenly Liquor may supply the vacuity. For that is a great mistake in the Carnal-minded, that they think that when we empty our [Page 45] selves of the Old Adam, and the comforts of that Life, that we thus stand empty for ever, and that Religion is a forlorn discon­solate condition. No, dig away thy Earth, and God will fill the vacuity with a sub­stance from Heaven. Or starve away the fulsomness of thy Flesh, by assiduous mor­tification and purification, and thou shalt make this arid Soil, this Valley of Baca, a springing Well, as it is suggested in the be­ginning of the Verse. When our Terre­strial substance becomes a dry barren Soil, as to the fruits of the Flesh, then will those Well-springs of living Water bubble up in us, as our Saviour has promised, unto Eter­nal Life; by which is understood the irri­gation of the Spirit. Non datur vacuum, is a Maxime as true in Divinity as in Philo­sophy. Empty thy self therefore of thy Earth, and thou shalt most certainly be re­plenished with Heaven.

5. Now for the Fifth Particular, which occurs in my Text, properly so called (for I have made the whole Psalm in a manner my Text hitherto) it is of the greatest im­portance of all throughly to consider it; namely, our gradual advance in this journey through the Valley of Baca. They go from strength to strength; è virtute in virtutem, [Page 46] the Latin has it, from vertue to vertue. And indeed this progress from strength to strength is nothing else but a proficiency in Vertue; either from one vertue to another, Add to your Faith Fortitude, to your Fortitude Pati­ence, &c. or from one Degree of vertue to another. And this vertue is very signifi­cantly termed strength, there being no true Vertue which is not such: It is but the ima­gination of vertue if it be not accompanied with Life and Power.

And forasmuch as Vertue and Grace are all one, let every one take notice, that he that has no Vertue has no Grace, as well as he that has no Power has no Vertue. Which is a plain Note to examine a mans self by, that he may not lye lusking in his softnesses and infirmities, and in the mean time flatter himself, that he is notwithstand­ing one of the Children of Grace. And besides this, though he may have some Grace and Vertue in him, yet let him fur­ther consider, unless he do with these Tra­vellers in the Valley of Baca, pass e virtute in virtutem, from one vertue to another, and from one degree of vertue to another; so that he can say with S. Paul, that though my outward man perish, yet my inward man is renewed day by day; he will never come to his Journeys end, and never appear before God in Sion.

[Page 47]And that we may understand this point more distinctly, let us consider the several parts of this gradual proficiency; that we may the better know whether we be at all as yet in the way to Sion, and the Temple of God, or no.

We know in Nature, that the weaker any thing is, the stronger ought to be the prop that is to support it; and so the less our Power is to do those things that are ho­ly and good, for their own sakes, the stron­ger that Passion ought to be, that must car­ry us to, or support us in such actions and performances. And truly the strongest and most enforcing Passion seems to be that of Fear; we being more concerned not to be tormentingly miserable in intolerable pain and anguish, than to enjoy the greatest Pleasure and Happiness. Wherefore the first Degree of vertue and power is that which is so small, as if it were not enforced with the fear of the wrath and displeasure of the Almighty, and those dreadful pu­nishments that ensue thereupon, could not exercise it self in the ways of Righteousness and Piety, could not abstain from undue Pleasures of the Flesh, or from seeking un­just gains and advantages in Worldly affairs, nor expose it self to any hazards and hard­ships for the Truths sake, and for the In­terest [Page 48] of the Kingdom of Christ; but yet in vertue of the Fear of God, and of his dreadful displeasure, is carried through all these Duties in some considerable measure: Which therefore if men be not, it is a de­monstration that either the Fear of God is not before their eyes, or that they have not so much as this first degree of Vertue, which jointly with the Fear of God should enable them to become Travellers in the Valley of Baca, that they may at last arrive to the Vision of God.

Every man therefore must examine him­self as to this point, and observe wherein his wayes are defectuous, and what it is that makes him so slack, or fail so much of his Duty; whether that due Fear of God has not slipt from him, which should be a stay and prop to the small measure of Ver­tue he has as yet attained to, and enforce and support the weakness thereof. Which help if men let go unseasonably (and it is unseasonable for every one to let it go, while he finds himself subject to fall into Sin) he will be like a City without Walls; and his security in the notional considerations of the Goodness of God, and fond and perverse conclusions fetch'd from that sweet Topick, will betray him to ruine. For being thus fudled, as it were, and made drunk with [Page 49] this delicious liquor of his own brewing, he will grow light-headed or light-minded, and presume of safety even when he is entring into the Jaws of Death: With Agag they will come out delicately, saying, Surely the bitterness of death is past, when as the Sword of the Lord stands ready to hew them in pieces. Wherefore this Fear of the Lord is a Tower of Safety, and the strongest Gar­rison against Vice that is. It is true (even in the vulgar sense of that place) Perfect Love casts out Fear; but that Love is not perfect, that will let in any Sin, or admit of any defect of Duty.

Indeed if a man had but so ardent a de­sire after the reward of Righteousness, as that it would keep him in the performance of all Duties required by the Law of God; that might excuse him from this less chear­ful state of Fear: And it would be the Se­cond advance in this Journey through the Valley of Baca, to be able upon the consi­deration of those Joyes and Glories that are to be enjoy'd amongst the blessed Saints and Angels in Heaven, to abstain from all Earthly Lusts, and from whatever in our Pilgrimage through this World, sollicits us to Sin. This, I say, would be a further step in our Journey toward the House of God. But we must by no means be con­tent [Page 50] to stick here: For this is but the state of mercenaries; and as it falls exceeding short of that Perfection we are called unto, so he that takes up here, will most assuredly fall short of his Journeys end. How far off then are they that endeavour no amend­ment of their lives, either out of the fear of Punishment or hope of Reward; how sunk and besotted must the condition of such Souls be, and how vastly removed from their Eternal Happiness!

The progress hitherto in Vertue, which I have described, borrowing a term from Plotinus we may call Political; it reaching no further than a conformity to an outward Law upon the consideration of an external Reward or Punishment; which yet I have made part of the Journey in the Valley of Baca, because these wayes lead to a nearer approach to the House of God, as facilita­ting the Soul to a speedier attainment to higher Perfections. For Temperance, and Justice, and chastising the Flesh, and keep­ing in a method of Sobriety and Abstinence, do of their own nature better dispose the Soul to a more absolute Purification, and quicker sensation of Holy and Divine things, and put her in a capacity of a more clear and certain conviction of the Reasonableness of the Commandments of God: So that [Page 51] though there were no External Law to di­rect, yet we should be satisfy'd in our own Minds and Reasons, that such and such Ver­tues are better than their contrary Vices, and that we have as we are Rational Crea­tures, an obligation to follow the one, and decline the other.

This is still a further step in the Journey, but the state is but yet Legal, if not Politi­cal. This is rather a Law of life and pre­script (though more intrinsecal than the former) than a Living law. For to be in that Dispensation, which I call a Living law, it not only to be convinced of the Reason­ableness of the Precept in our Imagination or Reason, but to have it the genuine and natural ebullition of the Spirit of Life in us; that it be not a Notion in the Head, but the very Sentiment of our Heart, and as it were essential to our Life and Being, that we should not deem our selves alive without it; and as the carnal man will part with all he has to save his Natural life, so we will be willing to part with our Na­tural life, and all, rather than quit this; This being the only Principle in which we find and feel our selves to live indeed. He that has arrived hither is not far from the House of God: For this Life and Spirit is not drawn into the Soul, but with the [Page 52] Body of Christ, which is the Holy Temple of God.

Wherefore when we come to that Dis­pensation, which we call the Living Law, or the Law that giveth Life; this is a main progress indeed in our Journey through the Valley of Baca; and in this especially is that verify'd, that it is turned [...] into a springing Well, which (as I intimated be­fore) is to be understood of the Spirit. This Spirit of Life in us, the Soul being one with it, she will cleanse her self of all dirtiness and uncleanness; like a bubling Spring, in­to which if a man fling any dirt, it will work it out again: And so will this Spirit of Life work out all filth and falshood out of the Soul, it not enduring any such hete­rogeneous stuff in it.

Here therefore the Vertues become Ca­thartical in an eminent degree. But when Corruption is laid aside and kept at a di­stance, when Regeneration is compleated, and the new man well knit and compacted together, then is the House or Temple of God built, which these Travellers in Baca seek after. And this degree of Vertue you may if you will, in Plotinus his Phrase, call Paradigmatical, though not in his Sense; who understands thereby a sensless [...] of the Soul, as if she had to do with no Mat­ter [Page 53] at all, and was to be reduced to a per­fect Apathy. But the Body of Christ and the Temple of God, though they be very Pure, Holy and Heavenly, yet they are not perfectly Immaterial. And it is that Idea or Example that we are to imitate, and ac­cording to which our perfection is; and therefore when Vertue has arrived to this degree, it may well in this solid Sense be called Paradigmatical; for all things are here according to the Pattern in the Mount.

And we have now brought our Travel­lers through the Valley of Baca to Mount Sion; or rather to that part of that Tract so called, in which the Temple was built, which is Mount Moriah, the Mountain of Myrrhe, as some would have it signifie; which implies the dryness and sterility of the Soil, as well as the Notation of Sion does, which has its name from aridity or dryness. For this Temperature wherein the lubricous and luxuriant moisture of the Concupiscible, or Desires of the Flesh of what nature soever, and pleasures thereof, are dry'd up and consumed by that more heavenly heat and zealous desire after the House of God: This is the true Terra San­cta, the Consecrated Ground in which the Temple of God will at last be erected, and wherein those Travellers through the Val­ley [Page 54] of Baca, will at last to their unspeakable comfort find it, and with it the most solid Happiness the Soul of man is capable of; which is the last particular.

6. The Entertainment of these Travellers at their Iourneys end: It is no less than a Bea­tifick Vision; They shall every one of them appear before God in Sion: For these are the generation of them that seek him, even them that seek the face of the God of Iacob. And here they are said to appear before the God of Gods in Sion, and so to see his face; which is the greatest satisfaction that the Soul of man can either desire or find; according to that in the 17th Psalm, As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake into thy likeness: Which men can never do till they are brought into this Terra Sancta; the moist fumes and vapours of a foul lushious Blood, and unsanctify'd and unpurify'd Body, will keep them fast in an heavy Sleep, accom­panied at the best but with vain and frivo­lous Dreams, and the false Pleasures and Joyes of this perishing Life, till they enter seriously into this Journey through the Val­ley of Baca, and ascend into the Mountain of Myrrh, which will prove to them the Mountain of the Vision of God, which is [Page 55] an indubitable Etymology of Mount Mo­riah, in which the Temple and Presence of God was amongst the Iews; in which God exhibits himself visible to his People. Bles­sed are the pure in heart, (which is the true Terra Sancta) for they shall see God. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteous­ness (whose Soul thirsts after God as a thirsty land, as the Psalmist speaks) for these shall be satisfied. These are arriv'd to Mount Sion, that dry hungry and thirsty Soil, and consequently to the Holy Temple; And therefore will not fail of being satisfied with the fatness of Gods house, and of drinking plentifully of the river of pleasures that flows there: For with thee is the fountain of life, and in thy light shall we see light; that is to say, we shall see God who is light, by his communicating his Image to us, and mak­ing us Deiform.

This will be the Entertainment of these Travellers through Baca, when they are come to Mount Moriah; the Mountain of the Vision of God, as the word signifies: [...], The God of Gods will appear to them in Sion; The God of Gods, the Summum Ronum.

O Lord our God, other Lords besides thee have had dominion over us; but in this thy Holy Temple we will make mention of thy [Page 56] name only. It was our ignorance of thee, and because we had not seen the beauty and comfort of thy Countenance, that we have served other Gods before thee; that we have sought satisfaction in the power or riches of this World, in the honour or ap­plause of Men, in the lust and pleasures of the Flesh, in needless and fruitless subtilities of Knowledge, or from any self-reflections on our own conceited worth or precellency before others, or whatever else is rellish'd by the mere Natural man: It was our ig­norance that we were any time servants to these; or that they were any way the guides of our Life, or the joy of our Hearts. But they are dead, dry'd up and withered, and shall not live; they are deceased, and shall not rise to lord it again over us. For thou only art Holy, thou only art the Lord; and thou only oughtest to possess us, who only art able to satisfie us and fill us; and so to fill us and satisfie us, as that as there is no need, so there is no room left for any worldly or carnal satisfactions; that no­thing unholy or unclean may crowd into this thy Holy Temple, or approach this thy Holy Mountain, wherein thou hast ap­pointed that day of Feasting, that Feast of fat things, that Feast of refined Wines, [Page 57] and of fat things full of Marrow, as the Prophet Esay speaks.

This is the entertainment of our Travel­lers through the Valley of Baca, when they are once arrived to the House of God. God does not only show himself unto them, but welcome them after their long travel, with a joyful Feast and all delicious refreshments. Behold I stand at the door and knock: If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Rev. 3. 20.) See how friend­ly and familiarly they are entertained by Christ, as if they feasted one another at a mutual Collation: I will delight my self by the possession and actuation of the Hu­mane Nature by my Holy Spirit; and they shall be delighted and transported by the comfortable and enravishing influence of my Divine Nature, when they shall be filled with all the fulness of God.

Of such infinite consequence is it to at­tain to that Body which is the proper House of God, or his Holy Temple; that when he knocks and calls, we may yield obedi­ence to that voice in the Psalmist, who pro­phesies of this Mystery, Lift up your heads O ye gates, and be ye lifted up ye everlasting doors, that the King of Glory may come in; that the Lord of Hosts with all his glorious [Page 58] retinue may fill his own House: For he is not there alone (as it appear'd by that voice heard in the Temple of the Iews, [...]) but by his residence in us replenish­eth us with all Heavenly Graces. We are strengthened with all might according to the glorious power of this Lord of Hosts, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness; as the Apostle speaks. And that is most eminently verify'd to us, which occurs in S. Iohn, Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

And as for being rooted in Love (as S. Paul speaks in another place) this glorious Lord of Hosts is also the God of Love: For God is Love, and he that abideth in Love abideth in God, and God in him, as touching Holy and Divine things. This Heavenly Love has his abode in this AEthereal Tabernacle.

And as for Truth and Knowledge, as S. Iohn witnesses, where is it to be seen or heard, but in this Lucid Temple of God? While we are out of this condition we know but in part, or rather quite miss the mark, by the giddiness and distortedness of an unpurify'd mind; we hear and under­stand but faintly and unsetledly, like Thun­der afar off; but in this Holy Temple, we do as it were distinctly from his own mouth, receive the Living Oracles of God. And [Page 59] briefly as for Truth, this is that state where­in all Figures and Shadows do fly away: This is that grand Mystery reserved more especially for these last approaching Ages, and witnessed by a great Voice out of Hea­ven, Behold the Tabernacle of God is with men. Apoc. 21. 3.

These are some few strictures, or faint obscure strokes of the admirable and ineffa­ble Happy Condition of the Travellers through the Valley of Baca, when once they have arrived to their Journeys end, and appear before the God of Gods in Sion.

DISCOURSE III. MAT. vi. 22, 23. The light of the Body is the Eye: if therefore thine Eye be single, thy whole Body shall be full of light. But if thine Eye be evil, thy whole Body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

THE Text seems to be a Syllogistical Parable: The Argument is con­tained in those first words, [The light of the Body is the Eye:] From whence is this double Inference, That if the Eye be single, the whole Body is full of light; But if the Eye be evil the whole Body is full of dark­ness; with this Porisma or Corollary annex­ed to the latter Inference, If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! That is, It is wonderfully and unspeakably great.

[Page 61]The force of the Argument for the in­ferring the Conclusions is so conspicuous, that it is altogether needless to say any thing toward the further clearing it. And there­fore we will only take notice of the Truths in several, manifestly comprized in the Text.

  • 1. The First whereof is, That the Eye is the light of the Body.
  • 2. The Second, That a Single Eye makes the whole Body full of light.
  • 3. The Third, That an Evil Eye makes the whole Body full of darkness.
  • 4. The Fourth and Last, That if the Eye it self be dark, the Body is left in most wretch­ed and miserable darkness; such as the pre­sence of no Light, no not of the Sun it self, can chase away:
    Non radii solis nec lucida tela Diei

These are the external Truths of the let­ter of the Parable; But hitherto we do but lambere vitreum vas, sed pultem non attingi­mus. We must know therefore that every part of this Parable is but the Protasis of a Similitude, and that all the skill will be to find out the true Apodosis in every particu­lar. [Page 62] And if our Judgment fail us not in the first, we shall not easily mistake in the following parts of the Parable.

Wherein (I mean in the First) if we make out this Analogy, viz. [That as the Eye is to the Body, so the Vnderstanding is to the Soul] it would be neither inept in it self, nor unsupported by very great Autho­rities. Aristotle sayes expresly, [...]. Which may embolden us to make the Soul the Homologous term to the Body: Which Galen does expresly (as Grotius cites him) [...]. And to this purpose several other Philosophers speak, and not without truth, though not so precisely accommo­date to our purpose. This Apodosis would be over-dry and Philosophical, and such as will not reach that Diviner meaning of our Saviour.

This Analogy was obvious enough to the Natural man; I mean the comparing the Intellectual or Rational faculty of the Soul, with the Sight or Visive faculty in the Eye of the Body.

But having regard to our Saviours Dis­course in this place, it is plain he intends not so much that which the Philosophers call [...], for the Homologous term to that of the Eye, as what S. Paul stiles [...]; which [Page 63] is not meer notion or perception, but implies with it a savour and relish of what is per­ceived. Get thee behind me Satan (said Christ to Peter) [...] because thou sa­vourest not the things that be of God. And the Apostle expresly mentions [...], and [...].

In brief therefore, respecting the scope of our Saviour (as we shall see more clearly anon) the Analogy must run thus.

1. What the Eye is for enlightning the Body, that is this [...], this relish, savour, sense or sapience (in this peculiar sense) for the illuminating the Soul; that is, this be­ing so or so minded or affected. And this is the first Analogy hinted in this Parable.

2. The 2d is, That as the Single Eye en­lightens thoroughly the Body, so Single-mind­edness does thoroughly illuminate the Soul. And this is that great and important Arcanum of Life that this Parable affords us; That that [...] (which the Apostle speaks of, 2 Cor. 1. 12.) that godly simpli­city and sincerity, is the Eye of the Soul, not only for its loveliness, but for its light which it so plentifully imparts unto her.

That his Godly Simplicity and Sincerity, that is devoid of all Self-interest, of all Self-reflection, [Page 64] or Self-gloriation, but pursues what is simply good, meerly for the good's sake, is that which answers to the Single Eye in the Parable, is plain from the preceding and subsequent Context; where our Savi­our gives Monitions against Hypocrisie, that when we fast, we should not be as the Hy­pocrites, of a sad countenance, disfiguring their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast; and that we should lay up our treasure in Heaven, not in Earth; that our Heart or Affection may not be distracted nor divided; for where your treasure is there will your heart be also; and likewise immedi­ately after my Text, he sayes, No man can serve two Masters.

It is therefore that Oneness of purpose and affection, that seems here to be aimed at, as in several other Parables of our Saviour. He that layes his hand to the plough, and looks back, is not fit for the Kingdom of God: Which implies that there should be [...], and that our mind should be taken up with one thing only. Martha is troubled with many things; but Mary has chosen the better part, which shall not be taken from her. The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hid in the field, for which a man selleth all that he hath, that he may purchase it; or like that Pearl of great price, for which a [Page 65] Merchant parts with all that he hath, that he may buy it.

To be at one therefore, or to have the live­ly savour or relish of some one most excel­lent, divine and indispensable Principle, seems to be that which is figured out by [...], by this Single Eye in my Text. Which I conceive is this; Not to seek a mans self in any thing, but simply and en­tirely to follow the will and pleasure of God, or that which is simply good; not pleasing and grateful to our Animal relishes, or corresponding with our personal interest and concerns; but that which comports with the Interest of the Kingdom of God, and the real good of Mankind. To be thus affected, is to have this Single Eye, that is, this pure and clear Eye (for so the word will also signifie) devoid of all self-tincture or self-colouring; and therefore capable of re­ceiving the pure Light as it is, and every Object in that Hue and Circumstances that they are.

The being quit from our selves and all Selfishness, and having our Desires sincerely bent to what is simply the Best in every thing, this is here that Single Eye of the Soul which our Saviour Enigmatically in­digitates by that of the Body, but is not the Light it self, as the Eye of the Body is not [Page 66] the Natural light; but they both be that which receives the Light, the one the Di­vine, the other the Natural.

Nor yet is either this Natural or Spiritual Eye to be said to be altogether devoid of light: But as Plato conceiv'd, there was an innate light in the Eye, and that by the con­junction of this with the external light (which Union in Plutarch is termed [...]) Vision was performed: So we may not de­ny, but that in some sense this [...] we have described to be thus simply and sin­cerely affected (as we have endeavoured to set forth, as well as we can in words; for what words can communicate the Sense of Life, unless to them that have it?) that this sincere affection is the Inward Light of the Soul, her diaphanous capacity of ad­mitting Divine Truths, whether suggested from without, or from the Spirit of God within; in vertue of the happy meeting to­gether of which inwardly pure disposition of the Soul with those outward suggestions, she is assured of the reality of the Divine and Spiritual Objects of the Understanding, what is to be believed and what to be done, as well as the Eye is assured of the truth of outward Natural Objects, by the corradia­tion of its innate light with the external Rayes of the Sun. What the Spirits are in [Page 67] the diaphanous Eye, that is [...] the relish of the Spirit in the pure Soul. And this may suffice for the understanding the Second Analogy.

3. From whence we shall easily under­stand the Third, after we have taken notice what is meant in this place by an Evil Eye, which is opposed to a Single one. And the right meaning is easily fetch'd out from the Opposition. For it is obvious to conceive, that it is that kind of Evil of the Eye that is opposed to the clearness, purity and dia­phanousness thereof, which is signify'd by the Single Eye. For blindness, obscureness, or depravation of sight may come from sun­dry causes; but the main is, and the only here aimed at, such as takes away the clear­ness and diaphanousness of the Eye, where­by it ceases to be actuated by its own innate light and animal Spirits, and becomes im­pervious and impenetrable by the Beams of the Sun, or any other external lights; or at least is so infected by some impure tin­cture, that the rayes of light cannot enter, without being soiled and contaminated by that internal infection. Now as such an Evil Eye as this leaves the Body either whol­ly in the dark, or obnoxious to perpetual errour touching the right hue of external [Page 68] Objects; so the Carnal relish, or Carnal-mindedness, whereby we do so affectionate­ly savour our personal concerns, our Ani­mal pleasure and interest; this self-love, self-respect, self-desire, self-will, self-gloriation, self-prelation; or whatever touch of smack there is of selfishness, be it brutish or dia­bolical, pride or lust, the inordinate desire of enjoying the pleasures of the Body, or the desire of appearing some-body in the World, and the impatience and abhorrence of being thrust below every body, and to be in a worse condition than all other mor­tals, (though our ever-blessed Saviour sub­mitted himself to that state:) this carnal relish, I say, (which with the Apostle we will call [...], as we did the sin­gle Eye [...]) this Carnal-mindedness will in such sort leave the Soul to blindness and errour in things Spiritual to be believed and practised, as the Evil Eye does the Body in things Natural. Which is the Third Analogy.

4. And the Fourth and last is this, That as that Darkness which is the darkness of the Eye, is in reference to the Body, the most calamitous and deplorable darkness that is: So the ignorance and insensibleness of the relish of the Spirit, is the most hide­ous [Page 69] and miserable ignorance that can befal the Soul; or (which is all one) to have no other light or sight but the [...], is the most hideous and miserable darkness that can possess the Mind. If Carnal-mind­edness become [...], the Eye of the Soul (for so the word [...] will signifie,) [...]; What a dismal darkness will there be then? For the blind then lead­ing the blind, both will fall into the Infer­nal Pit.

THE meaning of the Text I conceive is now abundantly plain; and that the scope and end of our Saviours uttering this Para­ble to his Disciples was to stir them up to a constant and earnest endeavour of utterly disentangling themselves from all the attra­ctions of the relish of the Flesh, or Spirit of the World; and of joyning themselves entirely and cordially with, and of dwell­ing wholly in the relish, sense and life of the Spirit of God, or of that Divine Spirit, whose suggestions are no dictates of self-love or partial interest, but the substantial concerns of the Kingdom of God, and the good of the whole World: For which he who has this Divine relish, will not stick to lay down his Life, if need require, accord­ing [Page 70] to that endearing Example of our ever-blessed and adored Saviour.

Let it be therefore my task at this time to exhort you earnestly to endeavour after this great and indispensable attainment of this Single Eye, this [...], or Wisdom of the Spirit, which this Parable of our Saviour points to, and is indeed the pro­per Spirit of Christ, concerning which S. Paul expresly declares, He that hath not the Spirit of Christ, is none of his. Which ought to be a rousing Argument to awaken us into a due sense of so great a want. For unless we regain this Single Eye, we shall never see the right way to Heaven. There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Iesus; namely to such as walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit: For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Iesus, hath freed me from the law of sin and of death. For the relish of the flesh, or carnal-minded­ness, is death: But the relish of the spirit, or spiritual-mindedness, is life and peace. But the carnal mind is enmity against God, because it cannot submit it self to the law of God, but is in perpetual opposition against it, ever suggesting what is contrary to it. Wherefore we must wholly withdraw our selves out of that Principle, as we hope to attain to the glorious liberty of the Sons of God.

[Page 71]And assuredly whosoever has that Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Iesus, it will free him and rid him from the power of all the urgings, suggestions or subtil insinuati­ons of that Law of the sinful flesh, of self-love and self-interest. Though he may feel these self-savouring suggestions, and the more clearly discern them to be such by the perspicuity of the Single Eye, the Spirit of Christ; yet he is so freed from their power, that he will never act according to them, but constantly act according to the relish and suggestion of that pure Principle of the Spirit, which has not the least tincture of self-love or carnal interest. And there is a neceffity of perfectly clearing up at last into this Single-mindedness, by reason of the war and enmity betwixt the Carnal Principle, and this of the Spirit; for without this there is no peace, nor joy, nor enjoyment in this Life, nor in that which is to come.

The Law of the sinful life of the Flesh therefore is utterly to be abrogated, nulled and annihilated; and we are to judge and act in all things according to the discern­ments of that Single Eye, or pure Principle of the Spirit of Christ.

But I will rather confine the Arguments of my Exhortation to the Text, and con­tent my self with what it will afford (name­ly, [Page 72] the four Analogies I have produced and explained) and so conclude.

1. The light of the Body is the Eye.] What therefore the Eye is to the Body, that is some vital and sensible leading Principle in the Soul to the Soul. Is it not therefore of infinite consequence what this leading Prin­ciple is, when it is of as much consequence to the Soul as the Eye is to the Body, and the Soul of incomparably more worth than the Body? What man would have the Eye of a Batt, of an Owl, or of a Mole, for the guidance of his Body; unless he were to have his abode under the Earth with the Mole, or to venture abroad only in the Night with the Batt and Owl? Every Ani­mal is to have an Eye congenerous to its own Nature: And therefore that Divine Animal which we call Man (I mean the inward man, the Soul) is to have an Eye congenerous to hers; she is to have this Single Spiritual Eye, unless she will converse only with Brutes, or Devils in their King­dom of Darkness.

2. Again, The Single Eye makes the whole Body full of light;] that is, it is a fit and faithful guide to it which way soever it goes: And that is the law of the Spirit of [Page 73] Life in Christ Iesus to the Soul: Which as­suredly is the Law of Divine love, which is not the love of a mans self, or any parti­cular or partial Interest, but the hearty love of God, and a mans Neighbour; that is, of all mankind; when with a single heart he wishes them, and is ready to do them all the good they are capable of, and himself in a capacity to administer to them.

This is that pure and lovely Eye of the Soul indeed, which fills her full of Celestial light, and enrolls her in the Book of Life and of the Children of Light.

This is that Vnction from the Holy one, even from the Father of Lights, whereby we know all things appertaining to Life and Godliness, and that Iesus (that stupendious Pattern of this Divine Love) is the Lord and Christ: And that that man of sin, that exalts himself above all that is called God, and supports his Power, Pride and Pomp, with gross Imposture and barbarous Bloodshed, is that notorious Antichrist; he that has this Single Eye easily discerns this, and can hardly forbear to suspect, that they that do not see it, are blind through the Spirit of the World, or else drunk with the steames of that Cup of abominations, and see double.

[Page 74]This Simple and Unself-interested Spirit of Love, is that Anointing of which S. Iohn saith, that if it abide in us, we need not that any man teach us, but the same Anointing will teach us of all things, and is truth, and is no lie. It is very Truth, substantial and es­sential, without any shadow of vanity or imposture in it; and such as will seal our hearts with an eternal adhesion to our ever-blessed Saviour, as being the communica­tion of his own Spirit to us; and be ever­more a safe guide to us in our passage tho­rough this present life. He that loveth his brother, abideth in the light, and there is no occasion of stumbling in him.

Wherefore as we tender our safe conduct through the wilderness of this World, through all the dangers and perils of so difficult a journey, we must earnestly en­deavour the recovering of this Single-mind­edness; this amiable Eye of the pure love of the Truth; and sincere purpose of doing what is absolutely best, and of cleaving to what is absolutely best in all things, with­out any self-relish or self-respect whatso­ever.

A thing so lovely and desirable, that even the better sort of Heathen seem vehemently to have breathed after it. [...]; O my dear Soul, when [Page 75] wilt thou become One, and naked and simple! It is the Exhortation of that excellent Em­perour Marcus Antoninus to his own Soul; as that brief monition also, [...], Simplifie thy self, reduce thy self to perfect Sincerity and Single-mindedness. These strains I confess are so near the Spirit and Genius of Christianity it self, that I half suspect the Philosopher of playing the Pla­giary, and that he adorned himself at a di­stance with the Practical Philosophy of that Religion, the truth of whose Mysteries, ei­ther the shortness of his Reason made him dissent from, or the Reason of State hin­der'd him from making profession of. But it may be a just reproach to the generality of Christians, who though they publickly profess the Faith of Christ, yet let the Life fall to the ground. But I proceed.

3. Thirdly, But if thine Eye be evil, thy whole Body will be full of Darkness;] that is, If thou be carnally-minded, and have not that Spiritual Eye, above described; thy Soul will be wholly left in the dark, or closely surrounded with a Cimmerian mist, or Egyptian fog; thou wilt have no pros­pect, nor be able to see thy way at all, thou wilt be so closely besieged by the powers of darkness. The natural man receiveth not the [Page 76] things of the Spirit of God, for they are fool­ishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned; that is, [...], by that spiritual relish above-mentioned. But he that is spiritual discerneth all things, yet he himself is discern­ed of no man: He has a full prospect of light, a large Horizon lies open to his view; so that where-ever he turns himself, his way is plain before him. But he that has not that holy, divine and unself-inte­rested Spirit of Love, that Single Eye of the Soul; he walks in the dark, and knows not whither he goes, because the darkness hath blinded his Eyes, (1 Ioh. 2. 11.) But in that the Apostle S. Paul saith, [Yet he him­self is discerned of no man,] that is to be un­derstood, that no carnally-minded man can discern him; according to what S. Iohn writes in his Gospel, And the light shined in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not. For that Maxime of the Ancientest Philosophers, is most assuredly true here, [...]. There must be a cor­responding Principle within, to be able to discern what occurs to us from without. As face answers to face, so the heart of man to man.

And hence it is, I mean from this dark­ness, that the wicked give such rude justles [Page 77] against the truly-good, namely because they cannot discern them. For if they could duely discern them, it were impossible that they should hate them; as being Friends to every mans person; and out of mere care and compassion to them, being only Ene­mies to their Vices.

Needless broils and quarrels, mistake up­on mistake, mischief after mischief; this is the necessary condition of him that by rea­son of the Evil Eye of the Soul, cannot see his way distinctly, but is ever and anon caught in unexpected Angiports and tedious Labyrinths, out of which he can find no exitus, but is forc'd to go backwards and forwards, and to make Indentures in his gate, like a sot and drunkard. [...], a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. By reason of his want of that Single Eye, he has not yet discovered that one, simple, and indispensable object that his heart is eter­nally to cleave to: And therefore his Eye being tainted and infected with the impuri­ties of the Animal life, as the inward Com­plexion of his Body changes, or the Cir­cumstances of external affairs alter, he ad­hering to nothing upon sincere grounds, may be now a Reveller, anon a superstiti­ous Bigot; now a Sceptick, anon an inept and unskilful Dogmatist; make profession [Page 78] of one Religion to day, of another to mor­row, and next day of neither; and at last (if it prove plausible or fashionable) of none at all. Such wild contrary sallies is he sub­ject to, that is under the guidance of the Double Eye. But that which is Single and One, can never run contrary to it self, but will ever act uniformly, and correspondent­ly to one End, the Express whereof is the known will of God, and what is simply and absolutely the best.

It is that only Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Iesus according to which we must act, if we would walk as Children of the Light: If we mingle any thing of the self-relish or Carnal Interest, this will supplant our goings, and we shall most certainly stumble in the dark; and if the concerns in our Interest grow high, we shall reel and stagger like a drunken man, and be at our wits end. Be things at other times never so plain, yet all must be now obscure and uncertain; we abhorring, from all evidence that is evidently against our own worldly advantage, to acknowledge and profess it.

Faithfulness and Uprightness towards God, towards our Prince, our Countrey, our Friend, it cannot be deny'd (will some say) but they are things very commenda­ble; and that this Justice is to be performed [Page 79] to them, so far as it will consist with our private Interest and Security: And Profes­sion of Truth (such especially as is of great concern to the Church of Christ) and so Exemplarity of Life, are things in them­selves worthy and laudable, and (caeteris pa­ribus) to be embraced before their corrivals. But if Truth and Vertue once become ridi­culous, and the object of reproach and ob­loquy; or the indispensable Duties to God, our Prince, our Countrey, or Friend, ha­zardous to our fortunes, liberty or life; then the Evil or Carnal Eye does very grave­ly suggest, that the great point of Wisdom and Prudence is to shift for one, and save a mans own silly inconsiderable self, what­ever suffers through so base a perfidiousness. No better possibly can come of this mixt and mongrel principle of Double-mindedness. This is that ugly and hateful mode of plow­ing with an Oxe and an Ass, or of wearing a Linsy-woolsy coat; not more expresly for­bidden by the letter of Moses, than severely prohibited by that Law of the Spirit of life which is through Christ; who has plainly declared in his Gospel, that he that loves Father or Mother, Son or Daughter, more than him, is not worthy of him: And that he that loveth his life shall lose it, but he that hateth his life in this world, shall keep it unto [Page 80] life eternal. Which Law of Christ not­withstanding (let the Carnal mind judge of it as it will) is not so rigorous, but that some of the Heathen Philosophers have ut­ter'd what is not much removed from it: Aristotle himself affirming, that some things are so vile and wicked, that a man ought rather [...], to undergoe death it self, with the most grievons cir­cumstances thereof, than submit to the do­ing of them. And is there any thing more base and vile, than for a man knowingly and wittingly, for the fear or favour of men, to sin against his Maker and gracious Redeemer? Which if he can do in any case, how can he be secure but that he will do it in all cases, where his Carnal Interest is highly concerned; and that he may not at last be brought off even to worship the Devil himself? For they whose guidance is by this Evil Eye, this mixt Principle, that worship God conditionally, (if it be safe, if it be profitable, if it be plausible,) when these conditions fail, they are naturally left in the lurch, and may easily apostatize to the grossest practises imaginable. He that lives in this Principle, it is impossible but that he must walk in dark and slippery places, and can have no fast hold at all on Truth and Righteousness.

[Page 81]And therefore a man is never to rest till his Soul clear up into such a Simple princi­ple of life, that he is conscious to himself, that neither security of his Person, nor For­tunes, nor the good opinion or applause of men, nor any sinister respects or conditions whatsoever, move him to do what he does; but the plain and hearty love of the Truth, and the sense of his indispensable duty to his gracious Maker and Redeemer, accord­ing to which he will act, and for which he will suffer, though he have no witness of either but God and his own Conscience: This is to be a true Single-eyed Israelite in­deed, in whom there is no guile: But what­ever is on this side of it, is besmeared and smutted with rottenness and Hypocrisie.

4. Fourthly and Lastly, If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, [...], how great is that darkness!] Indeed it will puzzle a man to say how great it is: It is even infinite for space, and so it will be for time, if we be not timely cured of this blindness.

A man whose Eye is pure and entire, in a dark Dungeon indeed he sees nothing, and in a Winter-night cannot so much as discern his own hand; but bring a Candle into the Dungeon, or let but Day-light return, he [Page 82] discerns all Objects very well; for the light in him is not darkness; that is, he is not blind. But travel with a blind man from Sun to Sun, nay from one Vortex to ano­ther, so that every Star may be as a Sun to him, yet in this infinite and endless Jour­ney, he is still in the dark and discerns no­thing: Even so it is with him that has the Evil Eye in the Mystical Sense, he that is Spiritually blind, that instead of the [...], is under the guidance of the [...], of the Carnal mind, he is eve­ry where in the dark, there is nothing sin­cere in all his actions, he can do no Duty as he ought, neither to God nor Man; but not sensible of any more enlarged Principle or Prospect, hugs himself every where, and seeks nothing ultimately, but the satisfacti­on of his own Carnal Will and Pleasure. Carry him from one Object to another, from one Duty to another, he is so blind, that he will not fail of doing all things sor­didly and basely in every place. He may indeed endeavour to flatter God Almighty, and crouch to him; but he cannot sincerely worship him. He may fear his Prince; but not affectionately honour him, and heartily wish him well, as the Vicegerent of God. He may be tickled with popularity; and yet set as little by the common good and [Page 83] welfare of the people, as he does by his meanest Cattle, that he will not stick to kill and flea, or sell away, for his own ad­vantage. And lastly, he may caress his Friend and Neighbour; but it will be ever with an eye to Himself, that he may lay the seeds of some Worldly advantage. But if the service of these stand in any conside­rable competition with his own Interest, he cannot fail, (having no better Principle) but to betray both his God, his Religion, his Prince, his Country, and his Friend, to serve himself: These are his acts of dark­ness, his abode in which will make him so blind, that in the conclusion he will betray himself also to that everlasting darkness, wherein is weeping, and wailing, and gnash­ing of teeth for evermore. For to be car­nally-minded is death, but to be spiritually-minded is life and peace.

These short Intimations from our Savi­ours Parable, methinks should be sufficient to well-disposed minds, to quicken their speed towards this great and necessary at­tainment of that Single Eye of the Spirit, that we may live according to that one sim­ple Principle of the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Iesus; casting out the spirit of the World, that there may be no cross vibrati­ons or Paralytical motions in our Soul; but [Page 84] that our whole man may be throughly actu­ated by the Spirit of God, we being born to this Divine State, even to be members of God and Christ: to whom till we be uni­ted, we are in an unnatural diluxation from our Body, and being devoid of this Spirit, (though we cannot but depend of him) yet we hang off from him as dead or Para­lytical members, of which the Spirit of Life has left its due hold; which must be to eve­ry discerning Eye a sad and calamitous Spe­ctacle. God of his infinite Mercy amend it in us all.

DISCOURSE IV. PROV. i. 7. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

[...], saith the Philosopher in his Metaphysicks. And indeed most men are so eager and vehe­ment in the pursuit of Knowledge; that they either afford not themselves time e­nough to consider, and deliberate, concern­ing the most efficacious means for obtain­ing it; or have not the patience to use the means, though they be well perswaded of it: But in the heat of their pursuit, make a God of their own industry; and take it for the shortest cut, to be their own carvers. Not Line upon Line; but Tractate upon Tractate; Volume upon Volume; Ossa upon Olympus: Plainly according to the attempts of that sottish and boisterous ge­neration of Giants; thinking to hale away captive [...], her that [Page 86] assists God on his Glorious Throne in Heaven; by Spider-web fetters spun and twisted out of the corrupt apprehensions of Earthly-minded men. Those did not the Lord choose, neither gave he the way of Knowledge unto them: But they were destroy'd because they had no Wisdom, and perished through their own foolishness. Who hath gone up to Heaven and taken her, and brought her down from the clouds? Who hath gone over the Sea and found her, and will bring her for pure Gold? No man knoweth her way, nor thinketh on her path.

What then? Is it impossible to attain unto her? No. Her delight is with the sons of men, as Solomon witnesseth of her. And S. Iames bids us pray for her; If any man want Wisdom, let him ask it of God. So that when the Prophet Baruch saith, No man knoweth her way, nor thinketh on her path; is as much as if he should say, No man, by the Natural Spirit of a man, can reach so far. But S. Peter faith, that we have precious promises of being made parta­kers of the Divine Nature. And our Blessed Saviour argueth thus in the 11th of S. Luke, If so be that men being evil, know how to give good gifts to their children: How much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spi­rit to them that ask him?

[Page 87]But what? Shall therefore every one that saith Lord, Lord, or that can repeat their Pater noster, receive the Holy Spirit of Wis­dom? No, in no wise: Only they that do the will of my Father which is in Heaven; saith our Saviour. If I encline to wickedness in my heart (saith the Psalmist) the Lord will not hear my prayer. And indeed the old, blind Poet, could see so far into Divinity;

He that obeys God, God hears him.

So that we see that the foundation or be­ginning of this great work of Wisdom, is that which the present Text points at, viz. The fear of God.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.] The words are plain and with­out ambiguity: In the English especially. The Hebrew [...] is not of so a de­terminate sense, but that it may signifie the principal, the first, best, or chiefest of Wis­dom, as well as the beginning of Wisdom: But the latter I take to be the better, if not the only sense; For Fear hath torment (saith the Apostle) but perfect love casteth out fear: Wherefore this Fear is not the [Page 88] choicest or chiefest of true Wisdom.

But if we compare this place with its parallel, we shall yet more plainly see, that [...] signifies merely a beginning or entrance. Prov. 9. [...]. The entrance, or first impenetration, into Wisdom, is the fear of God: For the word comes from [...] sig­nifying to boar or pierce. So that it is evi­dent, that the English Translation is the only sense of this place of Scripture. In the handling whereof I will endeavour these two things.

  • 1. To shew somewhat more largely, out of other places of Scripture, the truth of this present Text, [That the Fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom.]
  • 2. Why there is no other entrance than this, into true Wisdom.

THE former is manifest out of many places of Scripture.

(1.) Ecclesiastie. 4. 17. For first she will walk with him by crooked wayes, and bring him unto fear and dread, and torment him with her discipline; until she have tryed his soul, and have proved him by her judgments. Then will she return the streight way unto him, and comfort him, and shew him her secrets, and heap upon him her treasures of Knowledge.

[Page 89](2.) Also Esai. 66. at the beginning of the Chapter. Thus saith the Lord: The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my foot-stool: Where is that house that you will build unto me? And where is that place of my rest? Presently after he subjoineth, To him will I look; even to him that is of a poor and con­trite spirit, and trembleth at my words. He therefore that fears the Lord shall become the Temple of God. And it should seem no strange thing to us; being the Apostle makes mention of the same, more than once or twice: Know you not that your bo­dies are the Temples of the Holy Ghost; in the first Epistle to the Corinthians: And in the same Epistle; Know you not that you are the Temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

Now what Benefit accrues to us by being the Temple of God, we may gather by the nature and use of these Material Temples, these Temples made with hands. In these we know, amongst the Heathen, were the Initiations into the Mysteries of whatsoever Deity the place was Consecrate to. But we need not straggle: We see the use of outward Temples dayly here among our selves. They are for Prayers, Hymns, and for Instruction out of the Word of God; the literal Word of God in a gross mate­rial [Page 90] Temple. Therefore in analogy; in the Temple of our Souls and Spirits, shall the essential word, the [...], the Eternal Word of God, or God himself, teach and instruct us. And who teacheth like him? as is said in Iob. There was so great Vertue in the very presence of the Person of Socrates (as you may see in Plato) that his Scholars profited very much, merely by being in the same Room with him, though he spake not unto them: How much more shall they profit, with whom the Spirit of Christ abideth, as in his own proper House and Temple? With what joy and admira­tion shall they be taken; when in the Sy­nagogue of their Hearts he shall stand up and read; as in that Synagogue at Naza­reth: He hath sent me that I should heal the broken-hearted; that I should preach delive­rance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind. When he shall begin to say, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears: Then shall all the powers and faculties of a mans Soul bear him witness; and wonder at the gracious words that proceed out of his mouth. Such a Teacher shall all such have that truly fear God.

(3.) Again, That Wisdom is usherd in by terrour, fear and horrour, seems to be the subject of the 29th Psalm. The voice of the [Page 91] Lord is upon the waters; the God of glory maketh it to thunder; the Lord is upon the great waters. Now that Waters are an Em­blem of the moveable and tumultuous flow­ings of the Earthly Nature, that Learned Iew doth teach us; when as he calls the Waters of Edom, [...], and the Waters towards which the King of Egypt made [...]. And the Platonists make but a sliding passing dream of corporeal and sensible things; saying of them, that they do [...], That they slide continually from the true essence by perpetual flowing. So the Soul being united cum rebus fluxis & caducis, dis­solved as it were, and incorporate after a manner into their Watery nature, and lost amongst it; The mighty energy of the All-powerful Voice of God, or Word of God, doth operate upon these Waters, for the producing of Light in them, as in the first Creation. And according to this Analogy speaks the Apostle, 2 Cor. 4. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Iesus Christ.

But to proceed further in the Psalm. The voice of the Lord breaketh the cedars; yea, the Lord breaketh the cedars of Lebanon. The [Page 92] voice of the Lord maketh the wilderness to tremble; the Lord maketh the wilderness of Kadesh to tremble. The voice of the Lord maketh the hinds to bring forth young, and unbareth the thick bushes.

Every plant that my Heavenly Father hath not planted (saith our Saviour) shall be root­ed out: And indeed this was the end of his coming, utterly to eradicate what so is evil. And till he have his work in mans heart, there be not a few ill Plants, rather a Wilderness, a Wood thick set with Trees, not penetrable by any Star, nothing capable of the light of Heaven. But by the awful Voice of God, the Hinds, those fearful and timorous Creatures, they bring forth; the thick and shadowing Bushes are unbared. And what follows? In his Temple doth every man speak of his glory. Now what is that Glory of God; but the [...], the glorious eradiation of the Father of Lights, the Wisdom of God and the Power of God. And the Hinds, that is, those that fear and tremble, who they are, and what they bring forth, and how presently the thick Bushes are unbared, so that they that were in darkness see a mar­vellous light, I leave to any man to judge, that is not as fraid of a Spiritual sense as of a Night-spirit.

[Page 93]But if they will in this Psalm (so full of life and vigour) have all Body and no Soul: How shall we expound the next Verse, The Lord sitteth upon the water-floods, and shall sit King for ever. What will you turn the God of Heaven and Earth to some Triton or Water-Nymph? Or the great Pastour of Israel, who feeds the Souls of his people like a Flock, will you have him, Proteus-like, to feed Sea-monsters? It is true, that all things, according to their several de­grees, have their dependance and expectan­cy from God: Yet so narrow and straitend sense as the bare letter, sutes not here (I think) with the Majesty and Divinity of the Spirit of David, or rather the Spirit of God in David.

The Summe is this: Fear and Honour goes before, and the Light of God follows after.

(4.) I will only add this Fourth Proof, or Illustration more, and so go on. 1 Kings 19. And the Lord said unto Elias, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind came an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, [Page 94] but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice, the voice of him that spake, as never man spake.

But I would not have any mistaken, as if the Fear of God, which is said to be the Beginning of Wisdom, were but an hours amazement; or at most, but a wonder of nine dayes. Tam de repente. Which Er­rour will easily be wiped out of their phan­sie, if they observe but the description of the Fear of God in Holy Scripture. The Fear of the Lord is to hate evil; as pride and arrogancy, and the evil way. Now that which a man truly hates, he will do the utmost of his endeavour to destroy, or else to sever himself from it, and decline it. So the Prophet David, in Psal. 34. where he professeth the teaching of the Fear of the Lord: Eschew evil and do good, saith he. So that a lazy, inert, sluggish hatred is not sufficient. See how that Victorious King uses his enemies, in Psal. 18. I have pur­sued mine enemies, and taken them, and have not returned again till I had consumed them. I have wounded them that they are not able to rise; they are fallen under my feet. I did beat them small as the dust before the wind: I did tread them flat as the clay in the streets. Now a mans enemies are they of his own Houshold, Corruption residing in a mans [Page 95] own breast; which he will never leave fighting against, till he have the victory, if he truly hate them; which he will truly hate, if he unfeignedly fear God. So that the Fear of God is the victory over Cor­ruption: Which victory over Corruption maketh us capable of the Divine Nature, (as S. Peter speaks) which Divine Nature is nothing else but Christ, the Wisdom of God.

Wherefore whosoever would attain unto Wisdom, the way is laid open, the Old way, known to those Antients of Renown. Trismegist long since could point it out: [...]. Be God­ly my Son, for he that is Godly philosophizeth in the highest degree, or most efficacious manner. Which Sentence of Trismegist puts me in mind of the Septuagints Paraphrasti­cal variation of the Text: For beside [...], they add, [...]. In which variation, that which is most remarkable, is the substitution of [...] for [...], Sense for Wisdom.

No man I believe is so devoid of Reason, as to think the Prerogative of the Godly to be, to have a more exquisite sense than others. Though too too many gape after as a reward of obedience, that which proves too oft the fewel of Sensuality, sensible [Page 96] things. What's then meant by Sense?

There is a swimmering superficial Know­ledge; a light phantastical impression, or abortive imagination, engendered of aery words, which many times neither the hearer nor speaker rightly understand; false phan­tasms elicited out of misunderstood writ­ings; notional conjectures; vain and teme­rarious efformations of that which we have not yet attained to; so unlike the thing we would have it, that if we did not do, as the old bungling Painters did in their uuskil­fully scralled pieces, write on it [Knowledge], it would be hard to find what to call it. But this false-nam'd Knowledge the Fear of God doth not begin, but consume: As clear Light makes all those shadows and resem­blances to vanish, that by the Opticks skill had been convey'd into a dark close room. But the Fear of God is the beginning of Sense. Which is to be understood according to that in S. Iohns Epistle, That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the word of life; this declare we unto you. This is true Science, quieting and setling the move­able mind. This is the right [...], even according to Aristotles Etymon; which be­gets [...], a rest and steddy [Page 97] standing in the Soul; and therefore is not to be found in Cains Progeny, nor to be light upon in all the Land of Nod.

AND thus much of the first part of my Discourse, [That the Fear of God is the Be­ginning of Wisdom]. I will now enter up­on the Reasons, Why this is the only way that God hath pointed out for the attaining to Wisdom.

1. One Reason may be the Falseness of mans Spirit. The Heart is deceitful above all things: So that God will not trust it with such inestimable treasures of durable Wisdom, before a fearful tryal hath been upon it. Deut. 8. Thou shalt remember the way which the Lord thy God led thee in the wilderness, that he might afflict thee and hum­ble thee, that he might try thee, [...], that the most secret penetrates of thy Heart might be laid open, to discern whe­ther thou wouldst keep the Commandments, or no.

Now if the Heart of a man be not right toward God, nor endued with requisite pre­vious dispositions, if this great gift of God were confer'd upon them; they would ei­ther Swine-like prefer dirt and mire before this precious Pearl, and so quench the good [Page 98] Grace of God by Beastly Sensuality (which God will not suffer; he having taught Na­ture not prodigally to cast away any thing of hers that is good, whose best things are not comparable to the meanest of the gifts of the Holy Spirit of God): Or else, if they did affect and could retain this exceeding great Grace, they would notwithstanding wax excessively proud.

Gellius in his Noctes Atticae, tells us of a Grammarian disputing of Genders and Cases of Nouns, tam arduis superciliis, with his Eye-brows so highly display'd, and with so grave a composure of Voice and Counte­nance, as though he had been interpreting some dark weighty Prophesie out of the Sibylline Oracles. Now if the taking in of such superficial Learning as this, doth so swell and puff up vain man, surely more solid Knowledge would burst him. If we be naturally given to conceit highly of our selves, [...] (as the Phi­losopher speaks) so greatly to overvalue our selves for some small petty Notions, how could we bear such a qualification of mind, as, that no sooner any obscurity or difficul­ty could appear in our Souls, but the bright­ness of our Understanding would consume it, as those thinner kind of Clouds vanish before the face of the Sun?

[Page 99]A third Inconvenience may be added to these. There being no means so pregnant for the obtaining any end, as a clear, subtil, quick Understanding; a wicked man which makes Himself his End in all his actions, besides this abuse he would make of Wis­dom, (viz. that he might strut, and take upon him with more confidence, and be pointed at with an Hic est ille Demosthenes) he might further abuse it for the obtaining of more mischievous and Divelish ends. But be we assured, that that Spirit that doth assert men into the glorious liberty of the Sons of God, will not brook so unreasonable a bondage it self, as to become vassal to the will of corrupt man: So we see it strong enough from these inconveniences, that the all-disposing power, will not bestow this precious endowment upon unprepared per­sons.

2. But here is another Argument that seems to strike deeper, which is Incom­possibility, 1 Cor. 2. 14. The natural man perceiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: For they are foolishness unto him: Neither can he know them, because they are Spiri­tually discerned. [...], (saith the Platonist in the VI Book of his I. Ennead) The Eye [Page 100] sees not the Sun, unless it bear the image of the Sun in it; nor could it receive that im­pression were it covered with dirt and filth. So that it is plain, that the necessary foun­dation of true Wisdom is unfeigned Righ­teousness and Pureness.

The Lights of Heaven were made on the fourth day. Now it is observable, (saith that Learned Iew) [...] That the quaternary number is the first qua­drate, pariter par or equally equal, the measure of Iustice and Equity. And the Heavenly Light surely is begot in its holy quaternary, as those Lights of Heaven on the fourth day.

But a further Illustration for this pur­pose might be gathered, if we would fur­ther follow the explanation of this Symbol: Which I am the bolder with, because I make account it is no strange one; it being Aristotles own expression of a good man, [...], Homo quadratus sine culpa. Now a Quadrate, you know, consisting of Right Angles is a very useful Instrument for taking the height, depth, length and breadth of bodies; and all in vertue of a Right Angle; which is nothing else, but the demission of one streight Line upon another, perpendicular, [Page 101] so that it encline no way, but stand exactly upright. And there is an uprightness of heart and life resembled by this, which is when a man enclines neither to the right hand nor to the left; no less needful for the inabling us to comprehend with all Saints, what is that spiritual breadth and length, and depth and heigth, (as the Apostle speaks) than that other is in Geometrical measu­rings.

So we see (though in brief) that both Ethicks, Physicks and Mathematicks, have conspired together for the establishing and confirming of this so wholesome and useful a Truth, That clearness of Knowledge pro­ceeds out of Purity of Life.

To descend to a more particular handling of this matter [as to shew you how the purging of a mans Soul takes away those main impediments to truth of Knowledge; as are Self-admiration; doting upon that, which we our selves conceive of before the apprehension of others; Anger; Envy; Impatiency; a pusillanimous over-estima­tion of others; desire of Victory rather than of Truth; blindness proceeding out of the love of Riches or Honour; an heavy adhension of our minds to the sluggish inert­ness of Sense; suffocation or smothering the [Page 102] active spark of Reason by Luxury and In­temperancy; with many others, which be general Impediments to whatsoever kind of Knowledge a man aimes at;] to descend, I say, to such particulars, would ask more time than I am able to speak in, or you have the patience to hear. Wherefore, I omit them; and will only add this one Ar­gument more, to prove the Incompossibi­lity of true Knowledge and Iniquity in one Subject: And that is the Antipathy betwixt the Holy Spirit of Discipline and Unrigh­teousness.

What fellowship hath righteousness with un­righteousness, (saith the Apostle) and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? There is such a mutual abhorrency in their Na­ture, that they chace one another; as the Night and Day about the Orb of the Earth; the approach of one is the putting to flight of the other. Wisdom cannot enter into a wicked heart, nor dwell in a body that is subject unto sin: For the Holy Spirit of Discipline fleeth from deceit, and withdraw­eth himself from thoughts that are without understanding, and is rebuked when wick­edness cometh in.

By this time I hope it is sufficiently evict­ed, That Piety is the only Key of true Know­ledge. [Page 103] And indeed, I fear not, but that all with one consent will confess it, so they may have the interpretation of it, and re­strict it to that vvhich they call Saving Knovvledge, vvhich they say simple igno­rant Idiots, are capable of.

Now, what a conceit they frame out in their minds of Saving Knowledge, I will not here discourse. But if it be granted of all sides, that Obedience and the Fear of God, is the Begetter of Saving Knowledge; sure­ly the practice of a Godly Life and Conver­sation will notwithstanding be exceeding a­bundantly worth our labour, though it had not the promise of this Life as well as that which is to come. But if I shall shew plainly, that there is a further abundant luxuriancy of the goodness of God upon an Obedient mans Understanding, intimated in this word [Wisdom]; I hope there will be nothing wanting for the inflaming of our desires to a Godly Life and Conversation.

Prov. cap. 8. Wisdom is said there to cry, and Vnderstanding, to utter her voice; to speak to men from the high places, and by the way of the places of the path; to cry unto them beside the gates of the city; to speak unto them at the entry of the doors; to take all occasions to be acquainted with them: She would salute them at every turn: For the [...] [Page 102] [...] [Page 103] [Page 104] good Spirit of Wisdom is loving and sincere, aud would fain clasp with our Souls if they were pure; that she might discourse with us of the wonders of the Almighty, and shew unto us his Everlasting Glory.

Now that this Blessed Spirit would re­side with us is plain. What be her opera­tions when she doth reside, will anon be as plain.

I wisdom dwell with prudence, and I find forth knowledge and counsels. I have counsel and wisdom, I am understanding, and I have strength. I love them that love me; and they that seek me early shall find me. This Wis­dom therefore will make a man no Idiot, when it stores a man with Prudence and Counsels. But it affords not this only to the Souls of Holy men, but it gives them a Theory of the hidden things of God: This Wisdom was at the making of the World; and so can best unfold the Mysteries of the whole Creation.

When he prepared the Heavens, I was there; when he set the compass upon the deep, when he established the clouds above, when he confirmed the fountains of the deep, when he gave his decree to the sea, when he laid the foundations of the earth; then was I with him as his darling, I was dayly his delight; rejoy­cing alway before him, and took my solace in [Page 105] the compass of his earth; and my delight is with the sons of mens.

But it is yet more evident out of the 7th of Wisdom: For he hath given me (saith Solomon) the true knowledge of the things that are. So that I know how the World was made, and the powers of the Elements, the beginning, and the end, and the middes of times; how the times alter, and the change of seasons, the course of the year and the situation of the stars, the nature of living things, the furi­ousness of beasts, the powers of the winds, and the imaginations of men, the diversity of plants, and the vertue of roots; and all things both secret and known, do I know: For Wisdom the worker of all things hath taught me it.

It is very apposite to this purpose, that which is in Philo Iudeus (in his Tractate [...]) upon these words of Moses, [And God saw all that he made, and behold it was very good] [...] &c. For none else were able to discern and judge accurately of the things that were made, but he that was the Maker of them. ‘Go to now (saith he) you seeming wife ones, full-fraught with Pride, Ostentation and Ig­norance: You that say not only you know every thing, but dare so boldly and confidently avouch this or that to be the [Page 106] Causes of them; as though you had been present at the making of the World, and had seen the composure of all things as they were put together; as though the Creator had consulted with you about the means and contrivements of his work.’ A just increpation of the bold and blind at­tempts of those that pursue after Wisdom, without the guidance of God the Giver of it.

Why? What (you will say) must we think to get Wisdom as Solomon did? Nay, but I say rather, is it to be thought that we are already wiser than Solomon, that we should have found out a better way to tra­fick for Wisdom, than he could light on? Prayer, and a serious seeking after God, with industrious study, was the way that he went to compass it. And surely it is a way no whit mis-becoming any good Chri­stian: Neither ought we to be inwardly ashamed of doing of that which the Apo­stle openly exhorts us to, Iames 1. 5. If any of you lack wisdom let him ask it of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

But what true Christian can with pati­ence think upon the stupid Atheism that is so rife in these wicked ungodly dayes? When as in the highest attempts of men, [Page 107] the power of Heaven is held but for a Cy­pher. Their Philosophy certainly hath re­moved God into so high and remote an Ex­celsis, that they think him out of the call of mans voice, and man out of the reach of his sight. He must sit upon the primum mobile [...]; so speaks Ari­stotle; Afraid, forsooth, that the Godhead should be defiled, if his Presence should be among men on the Earth: So he confines him to that fine phantastick place, the Eighth Sphere. O goodly and profound My­stery! Like to that of Mahomet, that makes God clamber back to Heaven, when he had finished here his six days work. O high Divinity!

And now who shall rule among men? I know well enough who doth rule among men. Verily the Devil; or that Devilish Natural Spirit of man, who sets it self up for a Deity, attributing all to its self, with detestable arrogancy. Our good Natural parts are our Gods. Or if they chance to fail, and not answer our desire in their per­formance; whither go we? Right readily to some Temple of Bacchus, to the Sacred Tavern: Where we do devoutly magnifie the miraculous power of that sparkling Deity, enthron'd in his Crystalline Heaven; and somewhat more largely partaking of [Page 108] that fiery aethereal Spirit, our Eyes (no que­stion) are so illuminated, that vve see double. All things are then augmented and seem bigger, as the Horizontal Sun, by reason of muddy Vapours. We find then our selves, and our Comrades, such notable Wiselins, as not vve our selves, nor others, could ever have suspected.

O the deplorable vanity of misled Youth! When it hath cast off the memory of God, and due respect to its careful Tutors, and faithful Governours. Is not this Idolatry, in preferring the povver of Sack before the Spirit of God, a greater shame, than a time­ly practice of true Piety, and adorning our minds vvith all manner of Vertues in the highest degree; Fighting manfully against all manner of Passions, to the utter sup­pression of that Life of Darkness in our lovver Spirit, that the Spirit of Truth may shine in our purged Souls, as the Sun in a pure diaphanous substance?

And what hurt can come of this? Why, surely, we may come to be temperate, to be sober, to be chast, to be modest, to be humble, to study mortification of all wick­edness in Flesh and Spirit; being so persua­ded that Wisdom will not inhabit, where these be absent; and in conclusion (a dread­ful thing to think of) we may fall into the [Page 109] same Heresie with S. Iames and Solomon, That Wisdom is the gift of God, and that it is a point of Wisdom to think so.

But that no men rashly and arrogantly take upon them this gift before it be given, I could wish that all that are forward to profess themselves the Scholars of God, nay his Secretaries, his Closet-counsel, his only Children, born and brought up of him, the only wise and holy Off-spring of God, full of Wisdom and Celestial Understanding; that they would examine themselves by that Rule in S. Iames, chap. 3. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge amongst you? Let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not an lye not against the Truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above; but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is contention and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above, is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easie to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisie.

Whosoever therefore is fervent and vehe­ment in maintaining the Truth, let him first be assured that he has the right Know­ledge, and the true mind of the Spirit of God. And before he ascribes this Spirit of [Page 110] Wisdom, or Heavenly Understanding to himself, let him try if he have the qualifi­cations of that Celestial Wisdom; which are Meekness, Purity, Peaceableness, Gen­tleness, Affability, Mercy, Bounty, Impar­tialness and Simplicity. He that hath not these, hath not the Truth; but is liable to be made the habitation of seducing Devils, and to create mischief to men, and shame and eternal confusion to his own self.

As sure as God doth impart his Spirit of Truth and Divine Knowledge to his Chil­dren; so surely true it is, that that Spirit suggesteth no Cruelty nor Unrighteousness; but Patience, Benignity, Compassion, and boundless and unlimited Charity. And if men otherwise qualified, pretending to the Spirit, (as Histories testifie) have plainly shewn that they were led by some Fanatick erroneous Fury, lodging in spiritual pride and infernal bitterness and distemper, yet this is no sufficient excuse of that common Civil Atheism in the World, that excludeth the operation of Gods Spirit in the hearts of men, and attributes all to Nature and Hu­mane Industry. For as nihil generat seipsum is true in Philosophy, so, that no man can regenerate himself is as true in Divinity. But now that this New Creature, born at this Second Birth, should have its old Eyes, [Page 111] and the same sight with the Earthly Adam, seems to me a thing monstrous and prodigi­ous. Surely there is a renovation of the Understanding as well as the Will; and both by the Divine Spirit, the Wisdom of God that worketh all in all.

I, but here, some mischievous piece of modesty will object. Can that Spirit be communicable to us also, that hath such magnificent Titles, in the 7th of Wisdom? She is the breath of the power of God; and a pure influence that floweth from the glory of the Almighty. She is the brightness of the everlasting light, the undefiled mirrour of the majesty of God, and the image of his Goodness.

I Answer. Here is the treasure of those precious promises S. Peter speaks of. And hitherto may be referr'd that in the Psalms, Glorious things are spoken of thee, O thou city of God.

But I need not have gone out of the same Chapter, an answer being so nigh at hand: As there be many Epithets of Height and Majesty, so there is one of Humanity and Courtesie. But these words are too weak to express that affection which is at­tributed there to this good Spirit of Wisdom; It is said in the Greek Text to be [...], a lover of men. Therefore you shall find this Spirit descending, in the 27th of that [Page 112] Chapter, even sliding down into the Souls of Holy and Humble men: And that not once or twice, as if it were afraid of such debasement; but [...], from age to age. But there is yet a more plentiful Testimony of this [...] in the 6th Chapter, ver. 16. She goeth about seeking such as are meet for her, and sheweth her self chearfully unto them in the wayes, and meeteth them in every thought. And at the 12th Verse. Wisdom shineth, and never fadeth away; and is easily seen of them that love her, and found of such as seek her. She preventeth them that desire her, that she may first shew her self unto them. Whoso awaketh to her betimes shall have no great travail: For he shall find her sitting at his doors. Blessed is the man that exerciseth himself in her, and he that layeth up her com­mandments in his heart shall be wise. If he do them he shall be strong in all things: For he setteth his steps in the light of the Lord, which giveth wisdom to the godly. The Lord be praised for evermore. So be it. So be it.

AND here I should willingly end, did I not suspect, that that which hath been spoken might move some Scruples in the minds of the Younger Auditors. As whe­ther wicked men have any Knowledge at [Page 113] all or no; whether this [...], or ra­ther [...] exclude the use of Books; with such others (as misapprehension is the most ready and plentiful suggestor of doubts and difficulties): But I will meddle only with these two I have named.

1. And first with the former. It would be a very distastful position to Flesh and Blood, to say that wicked men are mere Ignaroes. For there being not many that are not conscious to themselves of some dearly fosterd wickedness in their breast, they would be put to a shreud strait; for they must either undergo the doleful death of dying to their beloved Corruption, or else be content to count themselves Fools so long as they live: Both which are Gall and Wormwood to Natural Pride and Con­cupiscency.

But let us brook it as we can, that Spirit in Esaiah dares give Sentence in this cause. Behold all you that kindle a fire, and are com­passed about with sparks, walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that you have kindled: This shall you have at my hand, you shall lye down in sorrow. 'Tis true, the Prophet here allowes them some light; but a light of their own kindling. And if Foolishness be the School-Mistress, the [Page 114] Scholars are not likely to be very wise. Weak quickly-dying sparks they have, blindly and boldly mounting up, though their Vehicle be but a filthy fuliginous va­pour of darkness: But the Sun of Righte­ousness hath not yet shone upon them. Gross fire they have for their light, as lame and deformed as the Poets Vulcan. It is fain to be underpropt with ill rubbish, crass fewel, to be fed with the foul oyl that sweats from that active body of sinful corruption; and having so course a pabulum, it is no wonder that it is as all Sublunary fires are, [...]. Bitter ebul­litions, and gross injuriousness, are the pro­per effects of such illumination.

And although this fewel and blaze may transmit some strange steam into their Brains, that they be drunkenly merry; yet surely if they ever come to themselves, they will fall into as deep and dull a Melancholly, to see how horribly they have been deceiv­ed: They shall lye down in sorrow.

An Emblem of this Knowledge may be that Egypt, from which the Israelites were delivered. This is that [...], the Earthly Wisdom, as S. Iames stiles it; and indeed it sutes well with the Emblem. For AEgypt is watered by Nilus, whose name is from [...], as Dionysius intimates in his [Page 115] Geographical Poem; A River ever afford­ing new mud. For although it be as that Verse in Strabo calls it, [...], a River come from Heaven (as indeed every thing, as much as is good of it, is from the First Being) yet it abounds so with the ad­mixture of earthly filth, that by its over­flowing it begets nothing but half-formed, or rather deform'd monsters, glued to the slimy cloth of the earth. Here is that nu­merous progeny of dirty ridiculous Opi­nions.

This is that [...] (as the same Apostle calls it) no better indeed, than the uncertain conjectures of misty-minded De­vils: Whom, I must needs confess, I can­not conceive to be so great Clerks, as they are vulgarly taken to be; but rather won­der what madness possesseth mens minds, that they should either say that the pervers­ness of corruption is stronger than Gods Grace, or the Devil wiser than Holy men. But I fear, such as cry up the power of Evil, and the wisdom of that wicked Spirit so partially (as if they had sworn confede­racy with them, ar become slaves to them) magnifying them above the light and strength of God; will then become Wise themselves, when the Devil becomes Ho­nest. What commission or authority these [Page 116] men have to set him at liberty and enjoy­ment of the light of the Sun, whom God hath prison'd up in the darkest dungeon, I know not: Sure I am, they are not able to procure him bail, they themselves being but fetter'd Vassals of foulest Ignorance. But see! how basely Disobedience contracts a mans Spirits, that through the pusillani­mity of his Soul he casts himself down be­fore every petty Creature. How doth ho­nour, riches, or the dull and languid beauty of sensible forms subjugate and enslave him! Nay, how highly doth he admire, and re­verendly adore, with more than American Superstition, that piece of darkness and de­formity, the Devil!

So we see what small hope we have of attaining to Wisdom by any other means, than that which that Wise King hath pre­scribed us, The Fear of God.

2. As for that other Query [about Books] I will dispatch it in a word.

It is said in Wisdom, That it is not the increase of fruit that feedeth men: But it is the Word that preserveth them that trust in God. And yet no man abstains from these outward ordinary helps for his preservation. Therefore that this Discourse beget in no man a lazy, superstitious phrensie; let them [Page 117] be Active in good, and read such Books as conduce best for the finding of the truth of such Theories as they aim at; having al­wayes a special care that they never disjoin Knowledge from Righteousness; but that they ever prize such Treatises, as point a man to Obedience, and purging a mans Soul from wickedness, far above those that do but vex a mans Mind, and consume his Body with unfruitful subtilties: Which in­deed would be no subtilties at all, did not our dull and slow apprehension make them so; for we are rather weak-brain'd than they hard Theories: Or if you will, they are so subtil, that if a man could see clearly he would not see them at all; they being indeed nothing, or else worse: And there­fore rather to seek to have our eye-sight strengthen'd and clear'd by Purity of life; than to weary and weaken them still more by unprofitable objects: And alwayes to consider this, That our Labour is nothing without the Benediction of God, and his direction. Nostra haec in literarum studiis peregrinatio sine supernâ luce miserabilis quae­dam erratio est, is the ingenuous Confession of that Great Scholar Scaliger. And O! that we could sensibly feel, as well as ima­gine, that the Subsistence of all things is but liberum spiraculum, a free breathing out [Page 118] of the mouth of the Almighty; which if he revoke, Things are closely again locked up and gathered in, into their Centre of Darkness: And that true Knowledge is no­thing else but an arbitrarious emission of the pure rayes of God upon impolluted Souls: And therefore wholly to depend upon him, and wait upon him in Righteousness; even upon the Fountain of all Truth and Father of Lights, the only Wise God; to whom be all Honour, Glory, Power, Praise, henceforth for ever.


DISCOURSE V. JOHN iv. 31. 32, 33, 34. In the mean time his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. But he said un­to them, I have meat to eat that you know not of. Therefore said the disci­ples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? Iesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

OUR Saviour Christ here in the Text propounds a Riddle or Parable to his Disciples, [I have meat to eat that you know not of.] Whatever is in the Text may be hither refer'd, as the Occasion or Consequent thereof.

The Occasion of the proposal of this AEnigma is in Ver. 31. [In the mean time his disciples prayed him saying, Master, eat;] i. e. [Page 120] So soon as he had broken off his serious Dis­course with the Samaritan Woman, his Disciples then took occasion to invite him to his seasonable repast: Which gives him occasion to propound something to them aenigmatically, of more concernment, and of an higher nature, than this outward perishable food. Ver. 32. [I have meat to eat that you know not of.] There's the proposal of the Riddle: Of which there is a double Consequent, The Disciples misinterpretation or false collection; and then our Saviours own true solution: Their misinterpretation, Ver. 33. [Has any man brought him ought to eat?] His true solution, Ver. 34. [My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.] These parts I shall prose­cute in the same order that they lye in the Text, without further preface or more cu­rious division.

First therefore of the Occasion. [In the mean time his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat.] In the mean time; i. e. in the Interim, betwixt the departure of the Samaritan Woman, and her return with other Samaritans to confer with our Savi­our, and to see if it were so indeed, that he was the Messiah.

[Page 121]But something is here to be premised, concerning the departure of the Samaritan Woman; viz. that she was not disturb'd, but staid out her time to the full with our Saviour: Which is evident from these two passages. The first in the 27th Verse, And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: Yet no man said what seekest thou, or why talkest thou with her. The other is the Confession of the Woman, Ver. 29. Come, see a man that told me all the things that ever I did. So it should seem she left him, fully satisfied; without any interruption made by the Disciples, though there present; or without any with-holding or concealment of our Savi­ours side, in those things she desired to be satisfied in.

That therefore that is considerable is this, That the Disciples wav'd their inviting him to eat, till the Samaritan Woman of her own accord had left our Saviour; tho' they marvelled within themselves what should mean that so long Colloquy with her: That he should converse with a Wo­man, 'twas a thing unusual; but with a Samaritan Woman, worse; There being then a further incongruity in the matter; as is plain in the 9th Verse of this Chapter, For the Iews have no dealings with the Sama­ritans. [Page 122] But yet notwithstanding all this dis­advantage and hint of evil suspicion, They were carried no farther than a tacit Admi­ration, which is the daughter of Ignorance: They could suspect no ill of their Lord and Master, nor discern any great good in's conferring with a Woman of Samaria. They were perplext and puzzled in their thoughts, they could conclude nothing in their minds concerning the nature of that business; and therefore they concluded, it should seem, they would do nothing con­cerning the same.

It is a thin and somewhat exile observa­tion I would draw from hence; a rude fin­ger cannot feel out the worth of it: I would commend that which makes no noise at all in the World, Modesty and cautious suspension from acting in those things, ei­ther by proving them or inhibiting them, where our selves have not sufficient light to clear the nature and quality of them to our own Reason and Judgment. For such was the Discretion of the Disciples, they being not able to approve or disapprove of our Saviours Carriage at that time, did no way at all intermeddle in the same, but left the business to its own issue; which when it was dispatch'd, and the Woman dismist, Then they came to him, and prayd him saying, Master, eat.

[Page 123]That you may the better know how this falls in with the departure of the Samaritan Woman, it is said Ver. 8. His disciples were gone into the city to buy meat; while he fat, being wearied with his journey, at the side of Iacobs well: Whither came that Samaritan Woman to draw water, whom our Saviour held in discourse till such time, and after his Disciples had return'd from buying them victuals.

And here truly our Saviour Christ is re­presented (according to that description of himself) [...], a man with­out house or harbour. The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man has not where to lay is head. The Eternal Truth of God cloath'd in Flesh goes wandring up and down in this strange Country of the World, as a Stranger and Pilgrim, neglected and despised of all, a Man of sorrow and weariness, and of dis­respect; a Man scarce well known to his own Disciples, of no grandeur or plausibi­lity, not at all strengthened or countenanced by the favour, friendship and alliances of the World, nor at all effecting the greeting in the Market-place, or the precedency in solemn Meetings, conversing most-what with the meanest of men, condemned and hooted at by the great Rabbies and Sophies [Page 124] of the World. He hath no form or comeli­ness, no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with griefs; we hide our faces from him; he is despised, and we esteem him not. Isa. 53. 2, 3. This was the condition of Everlasting Wisdom and Goodness of God incarnate, and conversing amongst men.

And yet such was his Humility and Pa­tience, that he would not set up himself by his own or his Fathers Power, to rid him­self of this poor, sad, and contemptible condition. What? Could not he that rai­sed Lazarus's Body from the dead, have kept his own Bones from ach and weari­ness? Or he that turn'd Water into Wine, could not he have commanded the very Stones before him to become Bread? Or charged the Cities of Samaria to bring him in Provision, as to their true Soveraign and absolute Lord? And if they had discredit­ed his Word, to have made it good with the appearance and approach of the Hea­venly Host, even Legions of Angels to assist him? But nothing of all this is done: For indeed our Saviour did not any thing for himself, but for the Glory of God, and the good of poor lost Mankind. Wherefore Omnipotency was not made use of to please [Page 125] his own Flesh, or to shew himself more than Man, and to be admired of the World; but only then when the Father saw fit, for the gaining of lost man to himself: Where­fore we see our Saviour here in this Chap­ter weary, and resting his tired Limbs on Iacobs Well, hungry also, and observing the usual hours of repast; as it is plain out of the sixth Verse; Iesus therefore being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour: i. e. about noon, dinner time.


As that witty Epigram expresses it, or ra­ther the Scholion upon it, [...]: He sayes that we must work till the sixth hour of the day, but after that, go to dinner. For the sixth hour of the day is the same with the twelfth with us; as is very obvi­ous and ordinary to observe, it should seem on the Greek Dials as well as the Hebrew.

Wherefore we see plainly whence it is that our Saviours Disciples invite their Ma­ster, saying, Come and eat: For it was din­ner time, and they had now return'd from [Page 126] buying food for them, and his and their la­bour required repast.

But that which I would, before I pass from this point, observe, is this. Being that our Saviour Christ, was according to the outward view, but a piece of Morta­lity cover'd with Passiveness, Weakness and Contempt; that his outside was neither formidable for Majesty and Authority either Ecclesiastick or Civil, nor desirable for any external specious shew, and yet was the inward habitation of the Divinity it self; let us learn from hence to contemn no mans outward condition, as concerning spiritual truth and divine worth: But rather accept of Heraclitus his blunt, but friendly invita­tion into his poor contemptible Cottage, [Introito, etiam hic Dii sunt.] Come in Sir; if God doth not lodge here also, [Sub sordido pallio latet Sapientia.] Wisdom sometimes is no better covered than with rags.

BUT I leave this point for your selves to enlarge upon. I pass on from this first Part, viz. the Occasion, with all the Cir­cumstances thereon depending, to the Pro­posal of the Parable, [In the mean time his disciples prayed him saying, Master, eat. But he made answer, I have meat to eat that you know not of.]

[Page 127]It is usual with our Saviour to ascend from sensible and Corporeal things to those things which are inward and Spiritual. I need not look for instances far off. Here in this very Chapter, when as our Saviour had arriv'd at Iacobs Well, at the heat of the day, faint and thirsty, and desired the Sa­maritan Woman that came to draw water, that she would give him to drink, and she reply'd, How is it that thou being a Iew, askest drink of me which am a woman of Sa­maria? Iesus answered and said unto her, if thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith unto thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water; (Ver. 10, 11.) viz. the very same water, that he speaks of, Iohn 7. ver. 37. where he is said in the last day, that great day of the feast of Taberna­cles, to stand and cry. If any man thirst let him come unto me and drink. He that believ­eth in me, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. Which speech was occasi­on'd (as is not without Reason conceiv'd) from the custom of the day: For upon this day, by the Institution of Haggai the Pro­phet and Zacharias, and such like; they did with Joy and Solemnity, bring great store of water from the River Siloah to the Temple; where it being delivered to the [Page 128] Priests, it was poured upon the Altar to­gether with Wine, the people singing that of the Prophet Esaiah, Ch. 12. With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salva­tion. From this visible Solemnity and Na­tural Water, Christ took occasion to invite them to an invisible and Spiritual Water: As he doth the Samaritan Woman here in this present Chapter, shewing her that who­soever drinks of the water that he asked of her shall thirst again: But whosoever should drink of the Water that he should give, shall never thirst; but the water shall be in him a well of water, springing up into everlasting life.

So at the 6th Chapter of this Gospel of S. Iohn; when our Saviour had fed them with Natural Bread, he endeavours to raise their desire and appetite, to the Bread of Eternal Life. Ver. 26. Ye seek me, not be­cause ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves and were filled. Labour not for the meat that perisheth, but for that meat which endureth to everlasting life. And at the 32th Verse; Moses gave you not that bread from Heaven, but my Father giveth you the true bread from Heaven: For the bread of God is he which cometh down from Heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

I might instance in other Examples, but this point is clear. It remains only that [Page 129] we imitate that Pattern we understand so well: Whether we would be Tea­chers of others, or Instructers of our selves: For indeed the whole World is ingens quoddam Sacramentum, a large sign or symbol of some Spiritual Truths that nearly concern our Souls. Methinks when the Morning Sun rises upon us, the Eyes of our Souls should open at once with the Eyes of our Bodies, and our Hearts should send out this Ejaculation, Lord lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us; and our minds presage that promised Happiness, In thy light shall we see light. When we breathe in the fresh Air, it might mind us of something like that of the Emperours, [...]. Not only to draw in the common Air, but also to be of one mind with that Intellectual Spirit that fills all the World. Solitude and darkness that makes our Hearts shrink within us, and over­whelms our Souls with horrour and mis­doubt, what is it in Spirituals but a priva­tion of perfect Love, that casteth out fear, as the Apostle speaks? He that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in dark­ness, and knoweth not whether he goeth. 1 Ioh. cap. 2. There is nothing that the Natural man is sensible of in this outward World, [Page 130] but the Spirit of God has made use of to prefigure and set out the condition and na­ture of Reward and Spiritual things; that hence the Soul may receive hints to raise her self towards him that made her for to inherit Spirituality, and not alwayes lye groveling on the Earth. Whatsoever we see, or hear, or smell, or taste, or feel, we may in all these even very sensibly feel some hidden mystery, and find out in those shells and husks some more precious food than this that pleases our mortal Body, and pe­rishable Senses: And he that doth not feel through these sensible Creatures something better than themselves, certainly is exceed­ingly benum'd, or rather Spiritually dead; and has his Conversation in the World no otherwise than the Beasts of the field; and Nebuchadnezzars Curse is upon him, till such a Mind be restor'd unto him, that he doth acknowledge the most High, and find him residing even in this lower World, the habitation of mortal men. Beauty, Riches, Strength, Agility, Sweetness, Pleasure, Har­mony; these are all better relish'd in the Soul than in the Body.

Our Blessed Saviour, in the midst of his thirst after the Water of Iacobs Well, which he beg'd of the Samaritan Woman, was so refreshed with the remembrance of [Page 131] the Spiritual and Living Waters which he enjoy'd within, that he had forgot his first request, his Soul being inebriate as it were with the sweetness of that hidden spring in his Heart. And this Storehouse he found within, afforded him not Drink only, but Meat also, it should seem by his ansvver to his Disciples, when they invited him to eat. He did not as those starvling Souls, that not at all being able to entertain themselves with their own store, no not for a moment, so soon as the Bodies treasure is exhaust (men of this world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure, as the Psalmist speaks) so soon, I say, as the carnal or outward man is emp­tyed and impoverished, have their desire strait way furiously kindled like a broad fiery Meteor, that is swiftly wasted hither and thither, accordingly as the earthly unctuous Vapour, its proper Pabulum, is scattered in the Air. And it is no wonder that they are thus furious and impatient: For what is Desire but a living death, or an actual non-entity? It is; for 'tis Desire: But it is not, viz. that which it desires to be. And what Soul can endure to be in such a case? Wherefore it is too too probable that that mind that can abstain from fleshly and bo­dily Desires (from their accomplishment I [Page 132] mean) has some hidden Contentment with­in, undiscover'd to the World. The Heart knoweth his own bitterness, and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy. Our Sa­viour Christ himself could not with such ease have slighted the cravings of Nature, (for He was a man like to us in all things, Sin only excepted) and disregarded his sea­sonable Sustenance, had it not been so as he professes it was, in his Answer to his Disciples, I have meat to eat you know not of.

AND thus much of the Occasion and Proposal of the Parable. I come now to the double Consequent thereof; viz. First, The Disciples misapprehension, or false col­lection, [Hath any man brought him to eat?] Secondly, Our Saviours true interpretation of the Parable, [My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, &c.]

Hath any man brought him to eat?] It was obvious to think so, I confess, but not at all necessary. [...]; Has any man? The Ravens fed Elijah the Tisbite, by the Brook Cherith which is before Iordan; They brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening, 1 Kings 17. 6. And not the Fowls of the Air on­ly, but the winged Host of Heaven might [Page 133] have been employed for this purpose: They owe more than this to the Son of God. But the mistake was not so much in the manner of the conveyance of this Meat, as in the nature of the Meat it self.


Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats, but God will destroy both it and them. He breaks and weakens that strong influence they have upon the minds of men, that Circean Magick that metamorphozes the Souls of men into meer Beasts, and changes their Understandings.

By the power of These, the Disciples themselves seem stupid, and are at a loss, when their great Teacher utters himself in Heavenly Parables. [I have meat to eat you know not of.] For the unfolding of this dark Riddle, They look no higher than a Sun-dyal, or at farthest, on the Sun, and read there [past Twelve;] and without any great subtilty, can easily collect that it is Dinner-time; which now compar'd with their lately bought Provision in the Cities of Samaria, and the savoury suggestions of their own Stomachs, their thoughts are cir­cumscribed within the margins of a Platter, they have animam in patinis (as the Pro­verb [...] [Page 132] [...] [Page 133] [Page 134] goes) and are not at leasure to think of any thing higher than Bodily Food, [Has any man brought him to eat?]

I will observe two things from this pas­sage, and so leave it. First, The slowness of the Earthly Mind to apprehend Spiritual Mysteries. There be two notable Instances of it. One in those two Disciples that went to Emaus, to whom Christ appeared, and part of whose discourse was, (Luke 24.) Concerning Iesus of Nazareth, a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people. And how the Chief Priests and their Rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But they trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel; viz. from the Roman yoke, according to that meer Terrene apprehension the Iewes, it should seem, then had, and at this time have, concerning the Messias; making him a Temporal Prince, and expecting a Tem­poral Happiness from him. The other In­stance is; Iohn 6. 51, 52. I am the living bread that came down from Heaven: If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Iews therefore strove amongst themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? But the words our Saviour Christ [Page 135] here speaks are, as he himself professes; they are spirit, and they are life; and there­fore Spiritually to be discerned, and not by Carnal Eyes.

The other point that I would observe, is the Vneffectualness of our Saviours presence, according to the Flesh. If his Spirit had been in them, as his Body was with them, I make no question but their Minds had been so Heavenly disposed, that our Savi­ours Speeches would not have proved such AEnigma's unto them. It is true, the very touch of Christs Garments healed the Bo­dies of the Sick sometime, but nothing un­der his Spirit is effectual for recuring the Soul. It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing. Ioh. 6. 63. I have many things to say unto you; but you cannot bear them now. Howbeit, when the Spirit of Truth is come, he will guide you into all truth. Iohn 16. 12, 13. Our Saviours Bodily presence could not convey those Divine Truths unto his Disciples, that an inward principle of life, when they were partakers thereof, would convey to them. And there­fore he prefers the mission of the Holy Ghost, before his own Bodily conversing with them, at the 7th Verse of that Chap­ter; I tell you the truth, it is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the [Page 136] Comforter will not come unto you: But if I depart, I will send him unto you. And this was S. Pauls pious boast, 2. Cor. 5. 16, 17. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; viz. if he be in Christ, not after the Flesh; but be regenerate of the Spirit.

I HAST on now to the last part of the Text, our Saviours own Solution of this Parable proposed by him to his Disciples, and by them misunderstood. [Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him to eat?] There's the Misinter­pretation. [Iesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.] There's our Saviours expli­cation of his own mind.

The great Truth, and Mystery not infe­riour to any Mystery, contained in this in­terpretation, is this,

That the will of God is the food of the Soul.

This I conceive to be plainly exhibited to us in this Text. For the Divinity of Christ [Page 137] it cannot be said to feed of any thing; it is self-sufficient and immutable, according to those [...] that Mankind has of God: Such Spiritual food as the will of God, can­not belong to the Body; for those Bodies grow fat that have no relish thereof: It remains therefore the Soul of Christ was that which was fed with the will of God. And his Soul and ours are ejusdem speciei; Christ being utterly like us in all things, Sin only excepted: Wherefore I conclude this Doctrine, [The will of God is the food of mans Soul;] I mean of Regenerate man. I know the Carnal appetite will pronounce it a very slight and slender Sallet: But I will answer that Objection, in short, The natural man is uncapable of the things of the Spirit of God. 1. Cor. 2. 14. [...]: He has no room for them; I there­fore leave him to disgorge himself: They are too great for him, though he phansies them too little; And intùs existens prohibet extraneum: He is too full of his own Sup­per; So that he has no stomach nor appe­tite, nor the least relish or conceiving of Christs Supper.

But whatever it is to him, I will endea­vour to raise some apprehension of it in us; if I may by any means speak that which may prove profitable unto us.

[Page 138]There must be some near affinity and likeness betwixt that which is nourished and the nutriment it receiveth. Mans Body cannot be fed with Stones or Metals, but with Plants and Living Creatures; their Flesh and Substance being near enough the Nature of our Bodies, which are of the like nature with other Animals and Plants.

Our Souls, (I mean alwayes of the Re­generate) or we our selves, for 'tis all one, have our birth and being of the will of God. Iohn 1. 12. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the Sons of God, even to them that believe on his name; which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God; viz. of the will of God; [...] being to be re­peated [...].

And certainly the very depth, or essen­tial bottom and centre of the new Creature, is the Divine Will; a Will raised up in the Soul of man, perfectly answerable to the Will of God, though not so absolutely powerful. This is the very new Birth, and the new Creature. This is Christ in us, and we in him: And he that is thus in Christ, he is a new Creature; He that is not thus, never knew Christ, unless accord­ing to the Flesh.

[Page 139]When I say the Divine Will is the very inward Essence or Heart of the new Crea­ture, I mean not any desire toward God and his outward Service; or to Knowledge of him and his works, or the beautifying and adorning a mans Soul with Moral Vertues; but a full and absolute Resignation of a mans self unto the Will of God, our De­sires not at all circuling into our selves: (For it is a sign then, that they sprung from our selves) But our Desire and Will being melted as it were into one Will with God, and desiring nothing but for God, and because God desires it and wills it.

Then shall not our Natural Will be the First mover in our desire of Knowledge, or of Vertue, or of Power, or whatever is desirable; but the Divine Will in us shall will all this for God, as He is in man, that is freely and without all Hypocrisie or Self-love. This is the very Root of the new Birth; This is the Divine Life: And whatsoever is not of this, is either but Na­tural or Devilish. This is the new Crea­ture; the [...], the Plant of Gods own planting; whose will is in the Law of the Lord, and in that Law doth he exercise himself both day and night. This is the Lamp of God, the Eye of God fixt in the Soul of man, that loaths all Ob­jects [Page 140] represented to it, that arise from the will of the Flesh, or the false hypocritical suggestions of mans heart; but has its whole lust and desire after the Will of God, hungers and thirsts meerly after it.

This is that, that turns away at our Prayers and Praises, at our Fasts and Alms-deeds, at our Censuring and Conferring, at our Zeal and Devotion; viz. as often as they are foul'd and beslutted with the filth of our own Wills, and Self-ingagements; either of temper of body, or temporal pro­jects. This is that righteous man that hateth lying, and before whom the wicked man is loathsome, and comes to shame. Prov. 13.

We having therefore thus found out the Nature and Constitution of the New Crea­ture, the Regenerate Soul, it is no wonder to us to find out the proper food of it. The first Adam is of the Earth Earthly; and therefore feeds of Earthly Food. The second Adam, viz. the new Creature, is not of the Earth, but of the free Heavenly Substance, born of the Will of God; and therefore he breaths no other Air, sucks in no other Life or Food, than the Free Will of God. This is that that satisfies; and this alone can satisfie.

And now we have found the Food of the Regenerate Soul, it will not be hard to find [Page 141] out the Poyson. If the Will of God be the Souls Sustenance, then our own Will, be it to us as sweet as it can be, it is our Poyson and Destruction: It is a Cup of deadly Wine, of which by how much more deep every man drinks, by so much more is he made stupid and sensless, as concerning the Godly Life; till he be even perfectly dead drunk, and do [...] (as that Phrase of Plotinus is) lye in the very dirt.

These things are safelier felt then spoken. However it will not be amiss a little by way of Analogy to open the nature of that Spiritual Food mentioned in the Text, [My meat is to do the will of him that sent me.] The Soul set on fire by the Will of God, and become one Divine Flame, must as our Natural Flame, be kept alive by motion and agitation: The Will of God is the Pabulum of this Flame; but if it continue flaming, it must act and move, within at least, and without as oft as occasion permits or requires; otherwise it will be suffocate and extinct.

But we need not dwell so low as upon inanimates: Let's see what is Food in refe­rence to that which has Life.

Health, growth, strength, sweetness of taste, and satisfying the stomach, these be­long [Page 142] to the Food of the Body: Let's see if we can find these in the Will of God, in reference to the Regenerate Soul.

1. Health.] Prov. 3. 7, 8. Be not wise in thine own eyes, fear the Lord and depart from evil; i. e. think not that the lust, desire and determination of thine own Carnal and un­regenerate mind is the best; but abstain from that which it longs after, and fear thou God; i. e. adhere to that which he has revealed to thee to be his Will; fear to transgress his Law. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones:


Yet the Law of God is no charm, to cure the body; but it must do it by making the Soul first healthful. But to dispatch this Truth in a word. What is the disease or languishment of the Soul, but Sin? What is Sin but velle contra ac Deus vult? Where­fore He that wills as God wills, so long as he continues so, is safe from Sin the disease of the Soul. This Diet-drink will not only keep the Regenerate Soul in health; but even metamorphoze Satan himself into a Saint: When as Self-will, and the feeding [Page 143] on our own Desires, will so decay the con­stitution and complexion of the soundest Saint, that he will be mis-shapen'd and transform'd into the figure of an abhorred Fiend.

2. Growth.] As Plants and Living Crea­tures spread and grow in bigness, in vertue of their nourishment: So the Soul is en­larged by forsaking her own Will, and by continual meditating upon, and endeavour­ing to do the Will of God: For our own Will and Desire is a poor narrow contracted thing, pinching us down next to nothing, by confining us to our selves, and our own scant bottoms. But the Essential Will of God is free and large, even boundless as himself; and the work of it upon us, when we receive it, is like unto it. Our drawing and concentring all in our own Will, is like the gathering together of the free light and warmth of the Sun into a burning glass; those rayes that before lay free, mild, and friendly in a larger room, thus forc'd toge­ther become surly, ireful and scorching: Or like fire half-stifled in a bundle of green wood, it fumes and glowes, and is sad in it self, and utterly uncomfortable to others; but when it breaks out into a free flame, how chearfully doth it shine, and laugh, [Page 144] and look pleasant, filling the whole house with lightsomeness and joy! That is mans Straiten'd Will; This the Free Spirit and Will of God. Pride, and ambition, and thirst after knowledge and the glory and applause of men, do puff up the Soul, (when these are satisfied) make her look big and bloat: But that this Food is not wholesome, nor the growth sound, every small prick of adverse fortune, or frowns of men, do demonstrate; the tumour of the mind then shriveling up like an empty­ed bladder. But that bulk and breadth that the Soul gets by feeding on Gods Will, is sound and permanent, as the Will of God is, which nothing can wash away.

3. And as Strong, as large, doth the Soul of man become by feeding on this Celestial Food: In so much that it can bear all things and endure all things. What makes the miseries and misfortunes of the World so tedious and irksome to men, what makes their Souls sink and faint under this burden, but eating of that poysonous fruit, our own Will? Which would not be, if we had no Will of our own, but fed meerly on the good pleasure of God, giving thanks for whatever he brings upon us: For in all outward things, and to speak more fully, [Page 145] in all things that befall us, our Soul, our Body, our Friends, or Estate; in all these the Will of God is done, so far as Sin inter­meddles not: So that if we relish no Will but the Will of God, how strong shall we be to bear all these! We shall be able [...], easily to digest either Fortune, Good or Ill, Life or Death, Honour or Dis­honour, Riches or Poverty; all will down save our own Will: This will choak the Soul; or poyson its complexion, make it lye in weakness and languishment, that it will be weak, sickly, peevish and infirm; the whole Creature of God will be a burden to it; nay, the least of them may prove an importable AEtna.

4. But I go on. The Fourth thing con­siderable in Food is the Tast. And hitherto may be refer'd those affectionate expressions in the Psalmist, who speaking of the Laws of God, which is the interpretation of his Will, giveth abundance of sweetness and pleasantness to them. Psalm 19. The judg­ments of the Lord are true and righteous alto­gether; more to be desired then gold, yea, then much fine gold; sweeter also then honey and the honey-comb. And hence it is that the Holy and Happy man so meditates and ruminates on the Laws of God. Psalm 1. [Page 146] His delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate day and night. Psal. 63. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips, when I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night-watches.

And certainly if the Will of the Flesh be sweet, and to be longed after so by the Carnal-minded man; the Will of the Spi­rit, when it is once come, is much more sweet. For there is nothing in the Sensual Life of Good, not so much as of seeming good, but it is really and fully in the Life Spiritual: Which we must believe; for we cannot know till such time as we have experience of it; and that will be when we leave off our commerce and conversation with the Will of the Flesh. The lips of a strange woman drop as an honey-comb, and her mouth is sweeter than oyl: [This is thy Carnal-mind, the Will of thy Flesh, (as Maimonides expounds it) a subtil inticing Serpent lying ever in thy bosom; and yet a strange Woman, thy Harlot, with whom thou feastest and sportest, and forgettest thy Husband Christ Iesus, the Will of God, the Holy Spirit, the Divine Life.] But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword: Her feet go down to death, her [Page 147] steps take hold on Hell. And here is the great difference betwixt the sweetness of our own Will and the Will of God: That ends in bitter choller, in wrath, and ven­geance, and death; but this is wholesome as well as toothsome, and is the very nexus and vinculum whereby vve are held in Eter­nal Life. Lust is svveet, Pride is svveet, Revenge is exceeding svveet; and above all svveetness is the svveetness of Craft and Carnal Policy: But remember that as svveetly as thou lickest thy Lips in secret, thou hast svvallovved dovvn poyson; and it vvill burn in conclusion as the Fire of Hell.

God has brought thee into the wilderness, that thou mayest enjoy the Promised Land; offers thee Angels food; would feed thee with Manna: Let not thy mouth water after the Flesh-pots of AEgypt: Say not with the grumbling Israelites, Who shall give us flesh to eat? Lest the Lord in his anger, give you Flesh to eat, not two days, nor five days, neither ten days nor twenty days, but even a whole moneth, until it come out at your nostrils, and it become loathsome unto you; and while the Flesh is betwixt your teeth the wrath of the Lord be kindled against you: That you be so [Page 148] far engaged in your own Will and head-strong wayes, that nothing but destruction can deal with you, And thus much of the Taste of this Food.

5. The Fifth and last thing, is the Satis­fying of the Stomach. Bodinus tells us of a Story of a Noble of Aspremont, who used to entertain those that came to his House, with all Plenty and Magnificency that may be; the Tables furnished with all variety of the most rare Delicates, rich Furniture, excellent Attendance; every thing point device from the Stable to the Dining-room, above desire or expectation: But that which is strange, so soon as they were gone out of his House, both Horse and Man was ready to dye with hunger. The like Ma­gick and Imposture is there in all those things that our deceiv'd Souls feed upon in this life: It is but as the Prophet expresses it, a meer dream of eating and drinking. It is even as when a hungry man dreameth, and behold he eateth, but he awaketh and his soul is empty; or as when a thirsty man dream­eth, and behold he drinketh, but he awaketh and behold he is faint, and his soul hath appe­tite. Isa. 29. Such is the condition of all the adversaries of Sion, the holy people of [Page 149] God, that hunger and thirst after God and his Righteousness, the fulfilling of the Will of God; for this alone can fill the Soul of man. He that feeds of any thing else, sucks but in a rotten mist or fog, of scarce so good as the Prodigals husks, of no better than Mahomets Ezeck, that infernal Tree, whose fruit be but Devils heads, and root streams with flames of fire, and tracts of smoke; of which who tasts, feeds not but is fed upon, ever consuming in unsatiable fiery appetite, and restless desire.

But the sound and satisfying meal of the Soul is the Will of her Maker; not when it is done without her, but when her Life is that, and she never finds her self to live, but in that. The very Life and Spirit of God drunk in by mans thirsty Soul, that by continual repast from thence growes stronger and stronger, and sucks so sweet delight from these breasts, that she never hungers nor thirsts again; never desires the tempting Poysons, the pernicious Plea­sures, and false Contentments of this vain World: This is Christ alive in us, quite another Principle of Life, and another Food, from all that feeds our Eyes or Ears, or worse than these, our inordinate desires [Page 150] of Pleasure, Profit or Honour: This is that true Manna, that Bread from Heaven: Of this our Saviour witnesses, viz. of himself; I am the bread of life: He that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. Iohn 6. 35.

DISCOURSE VI. JAM. i. 22. Be ye Doers of the Word, and not Hear­ers only, deceiving your own selves.

NOT to be troublesome, neither to you nor to my self, by any tedi­ous Preface or Introduction: The Text will afford us at least these Three Doctrines.

  • 1. We must be Hearers of the Word.
  • 2. We must be Doers of the Word, as well as Hearers.
  • 3. We are not to deceive our selves.

I. WE must be Hearers of the Word.

To exhort men to hear (sith there is na­turally in them such an itching Desire of hearing and knowing) it may seem but a losing of time and labour: But because [Page 152] some mens dispositions are low and grove­ling, veluti pecorum quae natura prona atque ventri obedientia finxit, (as Salust speaks) all their desires and imagination tending downward; it will not be amiss to shew what good Causes there are, that men should give their mind to the hearing of the Word.

(1.) And surely no mean one is the Re­suscitation of that better part of Mans Soul, that lieth slumbering in a Trance; which many times being strongly called upon by the Word, with much adoe is reared up, and slowly and heavily moves its dull sight, that darkness so strongly had possessed be­fore: But if so be a man here be not pro­pitious to himself, and foster that Life which is then given him, like one not per­fectly recovered out of a swound, he sinks down again out of the hands of him that held him; and many such neglects may enter his name amongst the Dead, whom Death gnaweth upon, because he heard not the Monitions of his Teachers. The eye that slighteth his fathers counsel, and despi­seth the instruction of his mother, the ravens of the valley will pick it out: He lying thus like a dead carryon exposed to the fowls of the Air, the accursed Angels of darkness [Page 153] shall seize upon him, and quite eradicate the principles of true light and sight, in the valley of the shadow of death. Where­fore [...], Awake thou that sleepest, that Christ may give thee light.

Surge, ne longus tibi somnus, unde
Non times detur.

And indeed a man least of all suspects his Friend to be his deadly enemy: Yet it fares so with foolish wicked men. Righte­ousness is immortal : But unrighteousness bringeth death; and the ungodly call it unto them both with hands and words; and while they think to have a friend of it, they come to nought. Wisd. 1. Which mischief might happily be prevented by giving due heed and attention to the Word.

(2.) For this Word, if we were grown fitly prepared for the receiving of it, is the Seed of Eternal Life, whereby we may be born again, and regenerate into the image of Christ: And it is our Saviours own gloss; The seed is the word of God. Luke 8. Where­fore as in Nature, were it not for Seed, there would be no Herbs, no Plants, no Living Creatures, so without the Word there would be no generation of the New [Page 154] Creature; which S. Paul also confirms: For this is plain, where no Salvation no Regeneration; and without the calling up­on the Lord no Salvation: For so it is written in the 10th to the Romans; Who­soever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. But how shall they call on him on whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe on him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And at last he concludes, Then faith is by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

But here some (for the infringing of the necessity of this Seed) perhaps may demand otherwise than the Apostle; for he present­ly annexeth, But I demand; have they not heard? Some might be prone to say, Have they heard? But the Answer is indifferent to both: No doubt, their sound went through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. And this is the [...] or [...], the voice of the Heavens, or the voice of that vast expansum from the Earth upward. For that no man too confidently restrict and straiten this Preaching, and this Word that S. Paul speaks of in this place, the Quotation is a part of the 19th Psalm, which begins, The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his handy-work. [Page 155] This [...] (as Theon calls it in his [...] upon Aratus) this far-stretched Fir­mament, or all-incircling Air,


We never let rest, ever anvelling out its Makers praise, by Air-beating sounds and voices. Yea that lower noise of the breath­ing of Men and Beasts, call aloud unto us for obedient thankfulness, to him that is the life and breath of all living things; that [...] the Life of the World (as R. Moses the AEgyptian calls him) who if he should draw in his rayes of livelihood out of this great Universe, the World would be as a dead fabrick in silence and deso­lation.

But this by the way for the due extent of S. Pauls words in that place: For I conceive not that the Spirit of God writes in Lawyers lines, a little in a great deal; but a great deal in a little. I could travel further in this seeming Digression upon the Apostles words; and yet bring all home at the last; but I will rather pull in the reins, and put on strait to the place I left.

If then without Hearing, (at least in some sense or other) no Faith, without [Page 156] Faith no Calling upon God, without Call­ing upon God no Salvation, without Salva­tion from the Old Man and his deceitful Iust, no Regeneration; then surely it is very requisite, that we give heed to the Word, and hearken to it, and dispose our selves aright, for the receiving of it, as the necessary Seed for our New Birth and Holy Regeneration.

According to this Analogy of calling the Word Seed, the Auditors or Disciples of them that teach the Word are called Chil­dren, as begotten of their Spiritual Parents by the effusion of this Seed of the Word. So amongst the Hebrews, [...] the Sons of the wise men are as much as the Disciples, or those that hear and are in­structed of the wise men; and so filii Pro­phetarum. And accordingly S. Paul, Gal. 4. 19. My little children of whom I travel in birth again, till Christ be formed in you. Ep. to Philemon, ver. 10. I beseech thee for One­simus, whom I have begotten in my bonds.

But we commonly take this expression to be metaphorical, and the truth of every thing we ground in Sense, and make ac­count there is no generation but of Natural Bodies, which we may touch and see; making thus the visible World the idea and paradigm of better Essences, and like Epi­cureans [Page 157] or Saducees we make nothing of in­visibles; or at least not conceiving aright of them, set them in the scale of Truth at least a staff lower.

But if we could conceive that the spirit or life of every thing is the thing, and that we look upon to be but the tabernacle or husk of it, or any wise, the vehicle or re­ceptacle of it, and not the thing it self: We might very easily conceive that this Regeneration is as true and real generation as is in visible Nature; and there is as it were rather a succession of a new Lord in this outward fabrick of our Bodies, than the old, new-clad with superficial acciden­tary habits. Can the fig-tree, my brethren, bring forth olives, either a vine figs? So can no fountain make salt water and sweet. So new actions, in transient evolution, must have a new centre or bottom of Essence, which is the heart of life, which is the be­ing of every living creature.

Now the evolved life of man consists in this, in knowledge or apprehension of things, and a lively sympathy and antipa­thy with them, whereby he doth either de­sire or abhor from them. And if all the knowledge of these things which he now is perswaded of, together with desire and abhorrency, sympathy and antipathy, fear [Page 158] or hope of future matters, the memory of things past, the sense of things present were utterly taken from him, where would he be? Or how would he feel out himself or find out himself? This would be but turn­ing man to destruction. [...]. They would thus become a sleep; a sleep that they sleep, that descend into the chambers of darkness, and whom God hath covered in the grave.

And in some sence, those words of Iob are excellent: O that thou wouldst hide me in the grave, and keep me secret till thy wrath were past, and wouldst give me time and re­member me! Thou shalt call me, I shall an­swer thee, thou lovest the work of thine own hands.

When this death is perfected, in which there is no life, but only a sense that we are utterly dead to all things, then God makes a new man contrary to that of the Devils framing, and inspires a new Life, and a new Breath, and loves this work of his own hands, Thou turnest man to destru­ction; again thou sayest, return ye sons of men.

So then if this be destruction and death, then must a new sense and apprehension of things, new sympathy and antipathy, new embracing and abhorrency, be a new life, [Page 159] a new generation, a new creature. There­fore if any man be in Christ he is a new crea­ture. Old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new.

Here is plainly a new species, to speak in the Language of Philosophy: For to distin­guish species by outward figure and colour, befits Children rather, and Painters, than Men of Understanding, and true Philoso­phers. The true and real inward difference betwixt a Stone, Plant, Brute, and Man, is, that the second exceeds the first by the spirit of Vegetation, the third the second by Sensation, and the fourth the third by Rea­son. And that a Regenerate man differs intrinsecally from a Natural man, is, that his sympathy, sense, and knowledge is in the life of the Spirit of God, and the others in the spirit of the world. 1 Cor. 2.

So then the life of evolution or transient action in our Souls being utterly other from the Natural mans, surely the original or centre of life is now quite another: And here is generation of life ab intimo, as deep as understanding can conceive of, or appre­hension penetrate to.

If then this Seed of the Word be of such efficacy that it beget a man into a new species, even into the beautiful Image of Christ; and that hereby we be linked into [Page 160] such Noble Kindred, as to have to our Fa­thers such as are the Sons of God by Rege­neration; being born of God first them­selves, and so begetting Children in Christ. (Otherwise they fling but Seed as Gardeners and Husbandmen do, and that that grows is nothing like him that casts it.) More­over we our selves being able, after full age in the strength of Christ, to propagate the lovely Image of the Life of God; surely it should be a sufficient incitement to receive the Word with as much eagerness, as the dry womb of the Earth, doth the refreshing Rain after a long drought.

(3.) But as the Word is Seed to beget, so it hinders not but that it may be nou­rishment for the conservation and increase of that which is brought forth. 1 Pet. 2. 2. As new born babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby. 1 Cor. 3. I could not speak unto you brethren, as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ, I gave you milk to drink, and not meat, for you were not yet able to bear it. There's Milk and Meat. Iohn 6. And Iesus said unto them, I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth in me shall never thirst. There's Bread and Drink. But this was [Page 161] such Bread as the Pharisees ill Stomachs could not digest; neither as yet can they. Is not this Iesus, the son of Ioseph, whose father and mother we know? How then saith he, I came down from Heaven? See how they go about to vilifie the Meat, rather than any way suspect the foulness and weak­ness of their own ill Stomachs.

But as all are not to stretch out their hand to every dish, and intemperately and un­seemlyly to seize upon that which is not meant for them: [Seek not out the things that are too hard for thee (saith Siracides) neither search the things rashly that are too mighty for thee. But that which God hath commanded, think upon that with reverence, &c. Ecclesiasticus 3.] I say, as we are mo­destly to decline that which we are not as yet fitted for receiving: So no man hath excuse from receiving some or other of the variety of meats that He hath prepared, who feedeth with his goodness, every liv­ing thing. Old men and babes, young men and children, they all are sustained by the Word, according to every ones necessity and capability: Or else how could the young ones increase? Or they of full age subsist? Both which is the Will of God.

That which Theophrastus hath in his First Book of his History of Plants, belongs in­differently [...] [Page 160] [...] [Page 161] [Page 162] to all kind of Generation, [...]. Nature is not content with the bestowing of a being up­on things, but works them up to the per­fection of that being. As an little Plants, that in time grow to their just bulk, bloom­ing and bearing Fruit plentifully. And it is said of our Saviour, that he shall grow up like a plant: And our Saviour saith of the Kingdom of Heaven, that it is like the growth of the mustard-seed tree.

Now as this new Life is called a Plant for its vegetation, so is it also termed a Child for its tender sense and simplicity of meaning. That therefore that hath know­ledge and sense, having also an appetite to nourishment, and that a nourishment pro­per to sustain its own Nature; and the Word being the proper nourishment of those spiritual new-born babes; then if there be no such desire in us to this Word, it's a sign there is no such Principle of life in us, or if there be, that it is sick, or the Stomach past by over-much fasting. But if this Life, by not giving it its due nutriment, either for measure or quality, come to be extinguished; we prove our selves (it's an horrible thing to think of it) no better than Murderers of the Innocent and Just one: For Murder is not the cutting and slashing [Page 163] of the Visible Body, but the extinguishing of Life.

And thus we have seen in brief, That for the raising of our Souls from Death, for the begetting of the Holy Life, and for the conservation and increase of the same, we ought to be Hearers of the Word.

II. WE pass on now to that other Do­ctrine proposed, That we ought not only to be Hearers, but Doers also of the Word.

That awing sense of God which is im­pressed (if not upon all, yet at least) upon most mens Souls, together with a Natural desire of security and tranquillity of mind, and every pleasing good; That experience and acknowledgment of our own imbecil­lity and insufficiency, walking in the fear of darkness, and knowing not (as the Apostle speaks) whither we go; doth easily induce even our Natural and Fleshly minds, out of love to our selves, to lay hold upon some­what, which we conceive stronger than our selves: And this we call God; and that outward erected form of Religion in all Churches, as Hearing, and saying of Prayers, and giving Attention to the Word, we call Gods Worship.

[Page 164]And a Worship it is surely too too easie; and so fit for the vafrous and subdolous Spi­rit of the Natural man to play its wily pranks in, that it being well instructed by the sly and subtle counsels of that Old Ser­pent, the Devil and Satan, it turns those good constitutions which should have been introductions to further Holiness, into a strong fort or castle of false satisfaction of Conscience, and most pernicious diabolical delusion; whiles we take our selves to be distinguished from the wicked, reprobate brood, by outward performances of Ear-labour and Lip-labour, without the practice of that which is taught us out of Moses or Christ; plainly according to the Pharisees in our Saviours time, whom the Holy Bap­tist sharply rebukes for such kind of imagi­nations. Bring forth fruit worthy amend­ment of life (saith he). And think not to say within your selves, we have Abraham to our father: For I say unto you, that God is able even of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

Surely it is out of the want of that feel­ing Knowledge of that which is so accept­able to God, and a fond over-estimation of our own poor naked and contemptible Souls; or a conceit that God would want persons, (if we Christians be excluded) to make up [Page 165] the number of the Inheritors of Heaven; that makes us think that such superficial performances will make us allowable before God. But nothing is acceptable to him but a simple, humble and unfeigned obedient Spirit: Nothing glorious in his eyes, but his own Life, the Soul inacted and quicken­ed by Christ. All flesh is grass, and all the glory thereof as the flower of the field. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, but the word of our God endureth for ever. This is the Word and Eternal Life, on whom whoso­ever doth believe, and by true Faith in his strength is Regenerate into, shall obtain Everlasting Life; otherwise he abideth in the Sentence of Death, and the Wrath of God is upon him.

'Tis true there be notable Preheminences and Priviledges given even to the Natural Fleshly Adam. [...], saith Hermes, The whole World subsists for Mans sake. But this Prerogative howsoever hath its condition, which follows, [...]. The World for Man, but Man for God. And how for God? To wit, that his Life may be in us; that his Christ may be in us: Not so many verbal points of Christianity, not so many notions of Divi­nity, not so many moon-shine imaginations, from the Word heard or read, in Books, in [Page 166] our Hearts, in the Visible World, in Hea­ven, in Earth, in Men. Christ is not dead and unprofitable phansie, but the vigorous ebullition of Life. Which Life if it be not in us, then are we not partakers of that we were destinate to; for [...]. Man was made for a Tabernacle for God; he's Materials for his Holy Temple. But if we will not be living stones (as the Apo­stle speaks) we shall have the same doom that unprofitable trees or timber; They are fit for nothing, but to be hewn in pieces, and cast into the fire. This is the end of that frustraneous brood of the Sons of Belial, the off-spring of unprofitableness, that fall short of the end they were intended to by their own disobedient perversness. The best of them fare no better. Man being in honour hath no understanding, but is like to the beasts that perish.

I, but we learned Scholasticks, have Vnderstanding enough; or at least, as much as any.

As much as we have Obedience. Surely Understanding is meant there the holy obe­dient Wisdom; which alone preserveth from death, as we may see out of the Pro­phet Baruch. They that had their pastime with the fowls of Heaven, (high and lofty Contemplations; they that played with [Page 167] the soaring Eagle, and delighted themselves in her strong, acute sight) These are come to nought, and gone down to Hell; and other men are come up in their stead. When they were young, they saw the light; but they un­derstood not the way of knowledge, neither per­ceived the paths thereof; neither have their children received it, but they were far off from the way. It hath not been heard of in the land Canaan, neither hath it been seen in Theman. Nor the Agarens that sought after wisdom upon earth, and the merchants of Nerran and of Theman, nor the expound­ers of fables, nor the searchers out of wisdom, have known the way of wisdom, neither do they think of the paths thereof. See what a great deal of Understanding is purchased by Dis­obedience. Though our outward and in­ward ears be enlarged, and plentifully drink down many rivers of outward instructions, or inward imaginations, and high and learn­ed Theories; yet if we be void of that true Wisdom, that hath its root in hearty obedience to the Holy Word, we are with­out understanding, and become as the beasts that perish.

Wherefore let us not hug our selves in a false conceit of unhappy Knowledge; since not the hearers of the word, but the do­ers, are justified before God. Let us not say [Page 168] within our selves, we have Christ for the Head of our Religion, we have read his Words, we have heard his Embassadors speak to us, we have fetch'd out many a notable notion in the Christian Theology, we are well instructed in all points of the Holy Faith, we have heard much within, we have received more from without, we are the Holy Church and true Disciples of Christ. Let us not prize our selves too high for these empty respects; and think that if we be excluded, God will want Guests to sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Iacob, in the Kingdom of Christ. No. God is able even out of stones and dust to raise up Disciples unto Christ. But if we be the Disciples of Christ, let us give more heed to the voice of our Master. Matth. 7. Whosoever heareth my words, and doth the same, I will liken him to a wise man, which hath built his house upon a rock: And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not, for it was founded on a rock. The doing of the Word is the sure Foundation, a Foundati­on no less strong than a Rock. But he that hears and doth not, is like him that founds his house upon the sand; or builds Castles in the Air: He shall not abide the Judg­ment of God that comes like a Whirlwind, [Page 169] nor the fierce tempest of his destroying Wrath; but he shall be confounded in his thoughts, and all his imaginations shall va­nish into smoke.

BUT to handle this present Proposition more distinctly: That we should be Doers of the Word, there are many Reasons.

1. One Argument is taken from the End of the Word heard, which is Practice and Purification.

It is Aristo's saying in Plutarch, [...]. A bath that purgeth not, and speech that reformeth not, be both alike unprofitable. But how can any admonition purge or reform, unless the Hearer doth his endeavour to practise? The Word of God is no Magical Charm, that the meer hearing of it should be suffi­cient for this or that disease of the Soul. It may indeed beget a desire or propension to that which is good (for which cause the Old Serpent stops his ears, as close as he may, from the receiving of this spell) but if we go no further, that motion is lost, and we recoyl further back into evil.

So that we see what small profit we reap, if we rest in a bare Hearing of the Word: And it is as little for our credits, if we will believe the Stoick.

[Page 170] ‘If any man brag that he hath the fa­culty of expounding Chrysippus (saith Epictetus) say thou to thy self, [Unless Chrysippus wrote obscurely, this man hath no such great cause to boast.] Well I come to Chrysippus, I understand not his Writings, I seek an Interpreter, [...].’ Hitherto (saith he) there's no great matter done: But when I have got an Expositor to instruct, it remains that I put in practice those Precepts; and this is the only magnificent thing; the other are nothing.

Methinks the old lame man speaks per­fect good sense to him that is not more sensless and blind than he was lame.

‘Three necessary points there be in Phi­losophy (saith the same Stoick). The first consists in the use of Precepts; as, That we should be modest in our Beha­viour; true in our Speech. The other is the argument or demonstration, that we ought to be so. The third and last is a clear dilucid Logical proof, that this argumentation proceeded right. The last is necessary for the second, the second for the first: But the most necessary, and where we ought to rest, is the first. But we quite contrary, bestow all our time [Page 171] in the latter, and utterly neglect the first, [...], &c.’ Therefore (saith he) we lye nevertheless, but how to demonstrate, that we ought not to lye, [...], we have it at our fingers ends.

The case is plain, there wants no Ap­plication.

If so be we were as faithful and indu­strious to perform the Christian Life, as we are sedulous to be instructed in the Christi­an Truth, surely the reputed Church of God would send a more acceptable savour into the Nostrils both of god and Man. But whiles Religion is to whet our angry tusks in Controversie of Points, to scandal one another, contemn one another, and hate one another, contending more for the setting up of Opinion, than for the purcha­sing of the precious Life of Christ; it's no wonder that the Holy Church, which should be as the fragrant Paradise of God, be turned into the sink of Satan, and a stinking sty of Swine-like Epicures.

The Gnosticks, a most wicked Sect of Christians, in Plotinus time: When they could get one to be of their Heresie, and had instructed him well in their Principles (which was all they aimed at) then they out of self-favour, crown him with the magnificent Title of the Child of God; [Page 172] though their Life as abominable as the De­vil could wish, or Man imagine. [...], &c. Thou art now become the Son of God; but others whom thou admiredst before, they are no Children of God, they are no body. [...], Thou art greater than Heaven, without labour or pain.

A goodly Religion indeed, that consists in a [...], when they themselves are but in the jaws of Hell, and in the arms of the Destroyer.

‘What? (saith Plotinus) can a man see God, and in the mean time abstain from no manner of pleasure, in anger impo­tent, in good fortune insolent, in adver­sity impatient; remember the Name of God, and in the mean while be held with all manner of Passions, overcome no kind of perturbation? Vertue arrived at its due pitch, with true Wisdom and Pru­dence, shews God unto us; [...]:’ But without true Vertue the naming of God [...], is but a name, a word, a sound, an eccho, nothing.

See how the Heathen Philosopher tri­umphs over those unworthy Christians, whose Religion was but Opinion, and their Life the depth of filth and corruption. Or see rather how moderately and civilly he carries himself toward them, that in their [Page 173] Controversies are ready to eat up and de­vour one another.

2. But I will endeavour to convince them with the Apostles own Argument; viz. That they that hear and do not, deceive their own selves.

There be many testimonies of Scripture that will witness this deceit.

Gal. 6. 7, 8. Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap: He that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption, but he that soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

So S. Iohn. Little children be not deceived, he that doth righteousness, he is righteous even as he is righteous. He that commits sin is of the Devil; for the Devil sinneth from the beginning.

1 Cor. 6. Be not deceived, neither forni­cators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor wan­tons, nor defilers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor railers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the Kingdom of God.

How frequent are the Apostles in incul­cating this so plain a Truth, That righte­ousness of life is that which leads to God and his Eternal Kingdom! Surely those Holy [Page 174] Watchmen of Israel, did see the time would come, that the delusions of the Devil would so strongly possess the heads and hearts of men, that they would be fast glewed in hypocritical holiness to some outward form of Religion; as the formal Hearing of the Word, and such like; that they might with a more quiet false Conscience, omit the greater things of the Law; as Justice, Temperance, Charity, Humility, and the whole quire of Holy Vertues. The other they ought to do, but by no means to leave these undone.

But now I will endeavour to shevv how this simple sort of Souls are befooled.

Galat. 6. If any man seem to himself that he is somewhat, when he is nothing, he de­ceiveth himself in his imagination. Now these empty Hearers of the Word, that they think themselves to be somewhat, is plain from hence; else would they seek something better; but being that they set up their rest in this outward performance, it's a sign that they seem to themselves not to have got nothing.

But that they are as surely nothing, as it is sure they take themselves to be some­thing, is easily proved out of 1 Cor. 13. Though I speak with the tongue of men and angels, and have not charity, I am as sound­ing [Page 175] brass and a tinkling cymbal. And although I had the gift of prophesie, and knew all se­crets, and all knowledge; yea if I had all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and had not love, I were nothing.

Now that they that are but idle Hearers of the Word have not Charity, and so con­sequently are nothing, will be proved out of the effects of Charity. Love suffereth long: They are impatient. Love is bounti­ful: They are griping and covetous. Love envieth not: They are choaked with ma­lice. Love is not puffed up: They are swoln with deceitful imagination. Love disdaineth not: They regard not the hum­ble. It seeketh not its own: They are not contented with their own. It is not provo­ked to anger: They are implacable. It thinks no evil: They meditate no good. It rejoyceth in the truth: They are con­temners of the Truth. It believeth all things: They believe no more than serves their own turn. It fulfils the Law: They only hear the Law.

The estate of this kind of people is well described by the Prophet Esay: The mul­titude of all nations that fight against the altar, shall be as a dream, or vision of the night. Even all they that make the war against it, and strong-holds against it, and lay siege [Page 176] unto it. And it shall be, like as an hungry man dreams, and behold he eateth, and when he awaketh his Soul is empty: Or like as a thirsty man dreameth and lo he is drinking, and when he awaketh behold he is faint, and his Soul longeth. So shall the multitude of nations be that fight against mount Sion.

That we are to sacrifice our selves, that is our wickedness and fleshly life, no man, I think, will deny. But so exceeding mise­ry it is, and smart to Flesh and Blood, to undergo this mortification, and to lye broil­ing in this consuming fire, that there needs a steddy, strong upholding instrument for this so weighty performance; which is all-bearing Patience: This holds up the mor­tified Soul in its extreme burning anguish; and therefore is not unlike an Altar that bears the Sacrifice.

Now they that fight against this real Service of God, which is the mortification of our sinful Lusts, the sacrificing of our evil Life; and against Sion, which God calls the Hill of his Holiness: Let them dream never so strongly, nor phansie never so deeply, that such a measure of Righte­ousness will serve their turn; a formal Hearing of the Word, and a favourable false Application out of the same; all this sweet repast and imaginary trust and per­swasion, [Page 177] will prove but a vision of the night, and a feasting upon phansie in de­ceivable sleep. For these Dreamers, instead of purging the Flesh by the sacrifice of fire, defile the Flesh with the fire of Lust: Great pretenders to Knowledge; and therefore se­dulous Hearers, but no Doers: Clouds without water; and they, you know, make a goodly show of whitish shining light; though not so thoroughly enlightned as the blew Sky: Stars they are; but wandering Stars; the end of whose staggering pe­riod, is to set in everlasting blackness of darkness.

But I go on now to two other Argu­ments.

3. A third Argument is taken from the Dignity of the Word it self. Thou hast magnified thy name and thy Word above all things, saith the Psalmist.

Hitherto belongs the Purity of the Word. Thy Word is most pure, therefore they servant loveth it. Psal. 119. And it is Philo's ob­servation upon the manner of the giving of the Law, out of Fire, and Smoke, and Lightening, [...], &c. Well and befittingly may the Word of God be said to come out of the fire; [...]. For the [Page 178] holy oracles of God are accurately purged, and tryed, even as gold in the fire. So the Psalm­ist; Psalm 12. The words of the Lord are pure words, even as silver which from the earth is tryed, and purifyed seven times in the fire.

So great Purity was conceived to be in the Law of God, even the written Word, that no Heathen durst venture to intersert any pieces of it into their Writings: So Holy it was accounted that they durst not contaminate it [...], with their pro­fane mouths; as Iosephus writes, from the testimony of Hecataeus.

Demetrius in the same Historian reports, that one Theopompus grew distracted by be­ing too bold and busie with these Writings: And that Theodectes the Tragaedian, lost his sight. And no wonder; for by Iosephus's relation, these men sought rather for Flow­ers to adorn their Works, than for whole­some Instructions to reform their Lives. Theodectes (it's likely) spyed somewhat there that would grande sonare, that would sound gravely, and make a majestick noise, fit­ting his Tragick buskin; but the man had little mind to set his feet in those Lawes of God, to do them.

And hence so much distraction, phrensie and blindness possesseth us this very day. [Page 179] Yet like bold impudent Flies, we sieze con­fidently upon those precious. Oyntment-pots of the Apothecary, and in this plenty of wholesome refreshment, have Wings and Feet clung together; and lose our Life even in the very Book of Life. Prov. 25. If thou hast found honey, eat so much as is suf­ficient for thee: That is as much as thou canst well digest into practice. For so it is with the Word as it is with Meat: Not taken it doth no good: Taken in and not digest­ed it brings but Diseases: But taken in and perfectly digested by honest labour and ex­ercise, preserveth Life and Health.

4. But these Considerations are more proper to the Fourth and last Reason, why we should be Doers of the Word: Which hath reference to us; and is the Reward of keeping his Commandments. By them is thy servant taught, and in keeping of them there is great reward. Psal. 19. [...], a Threefold great Re­ward; A reward in Estate, a reward in Body, and a reward in Soul.

1. A reward in Estate.] Blessed shalt thou be in thy basket and in thy dough. Bles­sed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, [Page 180] and the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Deut. 28. But if we think Moses word not sufficient, Christ himself will put in security, for supply of all necessaries, if we take but the condition of Obedience. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righ­teousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Matth. 6. So the Psalmist; The lyons rore and suffer hunger, but they that fear the Lord shall want no manner of thing that is good. There are manifold Testimonies in Scripture to this purpose, and so obvi­ous that quotation is needless.

(2.) The second reward is in a mans Body; for Strength, Health and Beauty. Fear the Lord and depart from evil, so health shall be to thy navel, and marrow unto thy bones. Prov. 3. Envy, Anger, Hatred, and discontented Melancholly, which reign in either proud or pusillanimous Souls, weaken Nature, and destroy the Body; but Life and Vigour is in the perfect Law of Charity. A chearful Conscience purifies and refines the Blood, but disobeying the inward Light, is the choaking of the Vital Spirits. A sound heart is the life of the flesh, (saith Solomon) but envy is the rottenness of the bones. This for Health and Strength. Now for Beauty. The wisdom of a man [Page 181] doth make his face to shine. Ecclesiastes 8. and Ecclesiasticus 25. The wickedness of a woman changeth her face, and maketh her countenance black as a sack. The heart of a man changeth his countenance, (saith the Wise Man) whe­ther it be in good or evil. So if there be a continual vigorous habit in the heart of shining Vertue and lovely Charity, it will issue even into the face of a man in all friendly amiableness. Moses was so fill'd with this Heavenly Beauty, that the Chil­dren of Israel could not look upon him for his glorious splendour. But the works of darkness make the spirit of a man to set in gloomy obscurity and deadness.

(3.) But now we come to the third re­ward; which is in the Soul. Psal. 19. 7. The law of the Lord is an undefiled law, con­verting the Soul; [...] say the Septu­agint; the word which the Platonists use.

For the clear understanding of the digni­ty of this Conversion, we are to take notice of the nature thereof. Conversion there­fore includes two things; a leaving and a making toward somewhat: And here in this Christian Conversion, that which is to be left is the Creature; and that which is to be turned unto, is God.

[Page 182]The leaving of the Creature is the for­saking of whatsoever is not God, but espe­cially the renouncing of our own selves: For while we cleave unto the Creature we most of all cleave unto our own selves; for we adhere unto it, for our own sake. Self-love is the hinge or centre upon which we turn from God to the Creature; and upon which we begin to circle from the Creature to God again: But the accom­plishment of Conversion breaks this thing, abolisheth this centre; and then we have our fixation in God, and all our motion and operation of will and affection, is upon him and from him.

That AEgyptian King (as Herodotus re­ports in his Second Book) when he had prohibited his Subjects sacrificing to God, and had shut up all the Temple doors in AEgypt; he presently employes all his peo­ple in his own Service, and sets them to leed Stones to build Pyramids for his own Honour, and the lasting Memorial of him­self.

No man would be so mad as to forsake the Service of God, to be a drudge to an inferiour Master: But without question, the plot is to be his own God and his own Master, and to employ all his strength for himself.

[Page 183]But how the Law of God doth convert the Soul from this Idolatry; and that which we falsely seek after, how it brings us tru­ly more near unto, will be seen from the manner of this Conversion of the Soul to God.

[...], saith Proclus in Plato's Theology. The conversion of things to their causes or principles, is to receive assimilating influence from them, or to rise up and ascend nearer and nearer unto them, and to become more and more like them. To return therefore unto God is to become like to him, by the recovery of the lost Image of Adam, who was made according to the similitude of God.

Now the Image of God what it is, seems not to be unknown even to the very Heathens. The ancient Greek Poet, brings in Vlysses musing with himself, amongst his travels, what a kind of People he had fallen among; after this manner,


What a kind of People be the Inhabitants of the Land into which I come? Are they inju­rious, barbarous and unjust? Or are they of a [Page 184] loving disposition, courteous unto strangers, and of a Godlike mind? [...]; Are they animo Dei formi? Where the Poet plainly makes the form or image of God consist in Love, in Righteousness or Iustice, and Courteousnes; they being contrary to Injury, brutish Fierceness, Cruelty and In­justice.

The Divine Philosopher speaks out more expresly, though in fewer words; To be like unto God is to be holy, just and wise.

I might multiply words here for the set­ting forth of the manifold Benefits and Graces that accrue to the Soul of Man from his Conversion to God, and Obedience to his Holy Word: But nothing more can be said than this Image of Christ doth either express, or at least imply.

Justice, Holiness and Prudence comprize all Excellence. That generous Magnani­mity of mind, that bears it self above all the contempt that can follow the practice of that which is Good, or abstinence from that which is Evil: [...]: Pure Temperance; Manly and awful-eyed Fortitude; Gravity and Modesty gently moving in all peaceful and steady tranquillity; and a God-like Vnder­standing, [Page 185] watering with showers of Light this flourishing Paradise of Piety and Ver­tue: This, and whatsoever else we can conceive that Good is, is contained in this Divine Image; nay more than we can con­ceive, before we be transformed into that likeness.

The Wisdom of him that is regenerate into this image and conformity with God, dives into the depth of Darkness; unties the knots of that Old Serpents train; breaks off the bonds of Death and Hell; pierceth like Lightning into the inwardness of things; stands before the Throne of Immortal Glo­ry. That Holiness winds it self from all corruption of the Flesh; flyes above the bewitching attraction of the Body; looks upon God in unspotted purity. That Iu­stice gives every thing its own; That which is Caesars to Caesar, and that which is Gods to God: But nothing to it self; seeketh nothing for it self; exulteth not in it self: But gives all to God; seeks all for God; rejoyceth alwayes in God. Thou art worthy O Lord to receive honour, and glory, and power; for thou hast created all things; and for thy wills sake, they are and have been created. Rev. 4. Thus be they nothing in their own eyes, as indeed they are nothing; but in profound Humility and Gratitude, (which [Page 186] is the most exquisite act of Iustice) give all to the Eternal and Everlasting Majesty.

This is that lovely, beautiful, and most desirable Image of Christ the Son of the Father. Who hath part here is an Inhe­ritor of Eternity: But he that by false and lazy imagination and phansie, remains in the Devils deformed Nature, his doom is everlasting Death, and unspeakable Misery.

AND thus much for the Reasons, Why we should be Doers of the Word. I will only speak a word or two of the Proposition that is left, and so end this Text. The Propo­sition is this;

III. That we are not to deceive our selves.

Errare, falli, decipi, &c. To err, or be deceived, saith Tully, turpe est: And that methinks should be a sufficient Argument to avoid it. But to deceive ones self is a double fault. He that deceives himself is both Fool and Knave (as we say) both the gull and the cheater, the deceived and the deceiver. Though to say the truth, he that is deceived by another, was first de­ceived by himself. [...], (saith Aristotle) [...]. The same [Page 187] defective Principles that expose a man to be deceived of another, exposeth him as well to be deceived of himself. No man is discover­ed to be a fool by another, but he was so in himself first: And who made him so then?

But how can this be, That man should be so wise as to circumvent himself, and so foolish as to be circumvented by himself?

Certainly it implies more Natures than one in a Man. The Platonists reckon up three in general; there is [...].

(1.) There is Vnderstanding, that lamp of Heavenly Truths, or Intellectual illu­mination. (2.) There is the Soul in the middle, where Will and Reasoning is situ­ated. (3.) In the last place, there is [...], that Life which resides in the Body, and is but a shadow of the Soul; the darken­ed Cave of evil delusions, falshood and de­ceit; a den of all Serpentine Natures, false Spectrums, Magical Allurements, thick Mists, benumming Vapours, execrable Whisperings, vain Terrour, false Delight, bewitching Apparitions, fair flitting Phan­tasms, deceivable Suggestions, besotting Attractions.

Here's that damn'd cell; where those three grand Impostors and Conspirators a­gainst the Soul, plot their fraudulent mis­chiefs; [Page 188] the Flesh, the World, the Devil: Or rather, here is a World of Devils in this Life of the Flesh, where the Prince of Darkness rules.

Well hath Zoroastre described this place. He calls it [...], a World whose light is the blackness of darkness.


A World whose bottom is the depth of un­faithfulness: It's foundation is laid in Hell; a Hell whose fense is pitchy clouds and thick darkness; whose treasure is corruption; inhabitants, vanity and shadowes; wisdom, senslesness; prudence, precipitancy; sim­plicity of heart, inextricable labyrinths of deceit and hypocrisie: constancy or steddi­ness, a vertiginous circuit of glowing phrensie and gross madness. He that here doth [...] (which those wise Oracles forbid) He that looks down, indangers his sight, indangers being carryed away with this rapid course and hurrying flux of tu­multuous motions: It's enough to turn his Brain, to change his Understanding, to be­reave him of his right Senses.

[Page 189] Here's the fountain of ignorance, and well-spring of all evil deceits. So long as the Soul leans toward this, and its loving and liking is toward this shadow of fals­hood, it carries its deceiver about with it self; and no deceit there is without but it is from this first, or in vertue of this.

That which the Platonists call, [...], the Scripture calls Spirit, Soul, and Flesh.

This Flesh is that whorish Woman, that Solomon speaks of so oft, and describes her subtil carriage: But all her fair speaking is but false allurement, and her flattering ut­ter destruction: For a whore is a deep ditch, and a strange woman a narrow pit, saith the Wise Man: Nay the high way to the very pit of Hell. Her house are the wayes of hell, whose descent is into the chambers of death. Prov. 7.

Now the Soul of man, betwixt these two, the Spirit and the Flesh, Heaven and Hell, God and the Devil, is so placed, that accordingly as it inclines or cleaves to, so is its Wisdom and Life: If it continually struggle to work it self upward toward God, God will put out his merciful arm to draw it out of those Infernal Waters: If it cleave unto the Flesh and its deceivable Lusts, the warmth of wickedness will attract it down [Page 190] lower and lower, till Satan hath insnared it in all his nests, and hath chained it in his own chains; So that being made an abso­lute Vassal of that Tyrannick Prince that rules in the Sons of Disobedience, he shall be excluded from the everlasting light of God and his Holy Truth.

And thus briefly under one, we have seen how we are said to deceive our selves, and the way to escape this self-deceit.

God that commanded the light to shine out of darkness, shine in our hearts, and give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Iesus Christ, that we may walk before him in the truth of Life. To Him with the Father and the Blessed Spirit, &c.

DISCOURSE VII. PROV. xv. 15. All the dayes of the afflicted are evil, but a good conscience is a continual feast.

THE Text is a description of the estate of the wicked man and the righteous man: Which will be more evident if we consult with the Septuagints Translation: [...]. i. e. The eyes of the wicked continually expect evil, but the Godly (or good men) are alwayes at rest. Here do the LXX Interpreters ex­press plainly, that opposition of those per­sons, and of their conditions; [Vngodly, and good or godly; unquietness of mind, and perpetual rest]: As I pronounced concern­ing this Text at first, that it is a description of the opposite conditions of those ever op­posite off-springs of God, and the Devil; the Sons of Christ, and the Sons of Belial; [Page 192] the Children of Light, and the Children of Darkness.

This Sense have the LXX put upon this portion of Scripture; though the words themselves answer not so fitly to the He­brew Text. To devise the occasion of their variation, would be more easie (though curious) than profitable. I intend not to mispend time, or abuse your attention with the husks of words, or fruitless discourse of Translations. I will follow Symmachus in the first part of the Verse, exactly answer­ing to the Hebrew, [ [...], All the dayes of the poor are evil]; in the second part the Hebrew it self, [But a good heart is a continual feast; or as the words will bear, He that hath a good heart, feasts continually.]

Now therefore that this Poverty is not to be understood of outward poverty, is plain out of the Text. Continual feasting, and constant poverty or affliction, are con­trary: So that we must either exclude the poor man from having a good Heart and Conscience, whereby all sorrow is dispell'd, and continual joy and chearfulness obtain­ed; or else if he hath these joyes, make him rich in outward wealth. But sith the poor upright honest man, through the con­tinual comfort of his own good Conscience, [Page 193] Dives like, fares deliciously every day, though poor in estate; then surely none of his dayes are evil, though he poor outwardly in them all. So that this present Text is to be understood of an inward kind of pover­ty, that makes a mans life full of evil and misery.

This evil poverty and miserable want, is described in the Revelation of S. Iohn, Ch. 3. Thou sayest, I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not, how thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. I counsel thee to buy of me gold tryed in the fire, that thou mayst be made rich; and white rayment, that thou mayst be clothed, and that thy filthy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayst see. Here's good store of penury, a wardrobe of want; want of Money; want of Clothes to cover their shame; want of Eye-sight, to be able to do that which is but a misery, to go from door to door to beg. But hear what's said, Verse 21. To him that overcometh will I give to sit with me in my Throne; even as I overcame, and sit with my Father in his Throne. See what a change! From a Beg­ger to a King; from a Dunghil to a Throne; from a blind Wretch to a Judge upon a Throne, that shall discern the right, [Page 194] that shall judge the Twelve Tribes of Is­rael. He that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

We have by this time plainly seen what this poor man is, whose dayes are said all to be full of evil: That he is one that wants those white Robes, which is the Righteousness of the Saints; wants that old precious coin, whose image and superscription is Righte­ousness and true Holiness, the figure of Christ the Son of God, the express Por­traiture of his Father: He wants his Eye-sight, the true Spiritual Wisdom, holy Dis­cretion, the sense of Spirits, and discovery of the mysterious working of that Prince of Darkness and Deceit: He's plainly de­stitute (though not of the necessaries of this Life, yet) of that main one and only necessary thing, as our Saviour calls it; that better part that Mary chose, and could not be taken from her. Virtus nec eripi nec sur­ripi [...] potest. Nor force nor fraud can deprive a man of that inward good.

And now I have described this poor man, I think it is not hard to prove that all his dayes are evil.

By how much better the Soul is than the Body, by so much worse are the Defects of the Soul, than those of the Body.

[Page 195]1. Is an Vlcer or Wound grievous in the Body? Much more grievous is it then in the Soul or Spirit. The Spirit of a man will sustain his infirmities, but a wounded Spirit who can bear? Prov. 18. 14.

2. Is Blindness or Darkness an horrid thing to the Body? then is Ignorance much more to the Soul: As may appear from that excellent description of this AEgyptian darkness in the Book of Wisdom, Chap. 17. When the unrighteous people thought to have thy holy people in subjection, they were bound with the bands of darkness and long night, and being shut up under the roof, did lye there to escape the eternal providence. (But now that we think not only of outward darkness in the Air, see what followes.) And while they thought to be hid in their dark sins, they were scattered abroad in the dark covering of forgetfulness, fearing horribly and troubled with visions. For the den that hid them kept them not from fear; But the sounds that were about them, troubled them; and terrible visions, and horrible sights did appear. No power of the fire might give light, neither might the clear flames of the stars lighten the dreadful night. (And a few Verses after.) For it is a fearful thing when malice is con­demned [Page 196] by her own testimony; and a consci­ence that is touched doth ever forecast cruel things. Thus having their eyes closed in misty sleep, it doth not secure them from the trouble of fear: For they that endure this intolerable night, breath'd out of the dungeon of Hell; as they sleep the same sleep, so are they in like manner tortured with the same monstrous visions, sounding for fear and perplexity of Spirit; as is largely described in that Chapter.

But that this evil condition may appear more evil, I will set the contrary by it. God is light, and in him there is no darkness. I am the light of the world, saith our Saviour. And the Apostle rouzing us out of this sleep of Sin, saith, Awake thou that sleepest, that Christ may give thee light. To walk therefore in the Light is to walk in the Life of Christ, as in the Presence of the Fa­ther; and he that thus walketh knoweth both whither he and others go: But he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness blindeth his eyes. 1 Ioh. 2. And no wonder then that fear attends his footing, that ever and anon he is afraid that the next step, he stumbles into the pit of destruction. The wicked fear where no fear is, but God is in the generation of the righteous, saith the Psalmist. It fares [Page 197] so with them as with those that travel in Arabia; who if they chance to set their foot upon Iron, Stone, or any cold thing by night, they are even ready to dye with fear, suspecting they have trodden upon a Ser­pent: So ungodly men whose stay and trust is not on God, are subject out of the suggestions of an ill Conscience, in every harsh thing they meet with, to think that God hath forsaken them, and that they now have stumbled upon that Old Serpent the Devil. The rising of the morning may restore the other to peace and security, but what will chace away the terrour of this inward darkness? Nor the glorious light of the Sun, nor the beautiful aspect of the Moon, nor the chearful collustration of the sparkling Stars, can yield them light, or re­fresh their troubled Spirit.

Hunc igitur terrorem animi tenebras (que) ne­cesse est
Non radii Solis nec lucida tela diei
Discutiant, sed naturae species ratio (que).

As the Poet speaks, and may be understood in a better sense, than his earthly mind could ever reach to. Till that [...], or idea, or Truth of all things free us from this misery, we shall not be truly freed from it: But if not freed from it, how evil do we think his [Page 198] dayes are, whom the clearness of the day, and common light, cannot deliver from the tormenting fears of that continual night! Vide qualis affectus sit timor (saith Cardan) qui crepitare cogit dentes, &c. See what a kind of passion Fear is, that makes a mans teeth chatter in his head; which symptom (saith that Physitian) is proper to those that labour with some deadly Disease. But sure the Horrour of that Eternal Darkness is worse, where is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth; which is the Fear of the ungodly here, and their Portion hereafter.

3. Deformity in Body, doth a little dimi­nish ones Happiness: But the Vgliness of Sin in a mans Soul, if it could be seen with outward eyes, it would even fright a man out of his wits to behold it: For it is the very Impression or Character of that evil Fiend, the ill shap'd Devil himself; as Righteousness is the Image of God.

4. Feebleness also of Body, is a miserable thing: But Weakness of Soul is worse, when that every blast of vain Doctrine is able to blow us down; when every Temptation makes us yield to our Enemy, and to be­come a wretched Vassal of the Devils cru­elty.

[Page 199]5. But that I run not too much upon one point, That which is most terrible is Death: But the Death of the Body is but to be hid in the Grave; but the Death of the Soul is to be excluded the Presence of God; and not that only, but to be vexed and tor­mented with those Spirits of torture, which in their fury lay on sure strokes.

Thus it is manifest, that every Evil of the Soul, is worse than that of the Body that answers to it: And so that Poverty, which consists in the want of good things, and the presence of evils that ensue from this want, is a great deal worse in the Soul, than in outward things concerning the Body.

Now when I say Poverty, I know not what to add, either for misery of Body or Soul; it including all in both: Hunger, Thirst, Nakedness, Filthiness, Sickness, Heaviness, Disconsolateness; these and all manner of mischiefs accompany Poverty. But be it what it will in the Body, it is unspeakably worse in the Soul; and a cer­tain cause of making that poor mans life miserable, so long as he continueth in that sense poor.

I, but will some say, how can this thing be? When as dayly experience shows, that [Page 200] men that are as destitute of all Spiritual and Heavenly Riches, as they abound in Earth­ly, live in all Jollity and Pleasure, in all Mirth and Merriment?

But this is no good Argument if we be­lieve the Wise Man. Prov. 14. 13. Even in laughing the heart is sorrowful, and the end of that mirth is heaviness. So Eccles. 7. As the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of a fool. The flame and the noise go away together; and at last is nothing left, but scorching coals or dead ashes.

Would a man count a man in good plight, because the poyson he takes makes him dye laughing; as it is said of that Herb in Sardo, and of the biting of the Tarantula? We commonly count the case of a sick man more miserable, when upon his bed he sings merry songs, and finds out fond toyes from the weakness and distemper of his troubled Brain: These men are miserable enough, though they think not, nor per­ceive themselves to be so. And so it fares with all them that be ungodly, and yet seem to flow in all joyes, pleasures and con­tentments: It's but the phansie of a sick Brain: Wise men are sorry to see them in such Distemper, to have such an ill Symp­tom upon them: And surely that that is [Page 201] miserable in their judgments is miserable; and not in theirs whom misery hath made mad, false pleasure hath infatuated.

So we see now plain enough, That the poor man (that is, he that is destitute of Grace and Vertue) all his dayes are suf­ficiently evil; sometime in the judgment both of himself and others; other some­time, or rather ever, in the judgment of others, (that is) of wise and holy men: Or that this Truth may be the stronglyer esta­blished; in the judgment of God himself, who is the measure of all Truth; Thou sayest that I am rich, and increased with wealth; but thou knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and blind, and naked, &c. Rev. 3.

But of poverty, wretchedness and misery enough: It would seem more desirable, to point out some way to be enriched.

The same Spirit that tells the Church of Laodicea, of her miserable poverty, shews her a way, how to become rich; Vincenti dabitur. To him that overcomes, will I grant to sit with me in my throne; even as I over­came, and sit with my Father in his throne. Here's no ordinary Riches: Here's the fulness of a Kingdom. But, take the con­dition I pray you, Vincenti dabitur. He that overcomes, he shall be endued with [Page 202] large possessions. He that overcomes, shall be clothed in white; shall feed of the hidden manna. Not as the Children of Israel in the Wilderness, who lived of Manna so many years and then perished. I am the bread of life, (saith our Saviour) your fa­thers did eat manna in the wilderness and are dead. But this is the bread that cometh down from Heaven, that he that eateth of it should not dye. John 6. 48, 49, 50. and Ver. 32, 33. Moses gave you not bread from Heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from Heaven. For the bread of God is he that cometh down from Heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

Now what Life is this? A vertuous ho­nest Life, a Life devoid of filthy lusts, of base concupiscence, of envy, hatred and bitterness, of idolatrous self-love, (for self-love is perfect idolatry)? Or is it an hypo­critical, false, ungodly Life, not escap'd the corruption of the Flesh that is by lust? Surely it is the former, or else our Heaven­ly Father instead of Bread giveth us a Stone; which no Natural Father would do to his Son. He therefore that lives not an honest, godly and upright Life, hath not been at this doal of Heavenly Bread; and is but as one that dreameth he eateth and he eateth not, (as the Prophet Esay speaketh) but [Page 203] when he waketh he is hungry; and dreameth that he drinketh, but when he waketh his soul is faint. But he that cometh to me shall ne­ver hunger, and he that believeth in me shall never thirst, saith our Blessed Saviour. So here's Meat, Drink, and Clothes sufficient; if we perform the condition of overcoming.

Now overcoming presupposeth a fight, and fighting an Adversary. And God knows we have enough, and strong ones too. The three Captains of them be these; the Flesh, the World, and the Devil: To whom we are sworn Enemies from our very Baptism: I am sure they are to us; from the very beginning of the World. I will briefly tell you a way to foyl them, and so conclude the First part of my Text.

Sobriety and Temperance will overcome the Flesh. Humility and Lowliness of mind will defeat the World. Self-denyal (which is the blessed Cross of Christ) will keep off all the pestilent plots and devices, the Devil can frame against us. The Apostle doth harness us very surely and strongly for this great conflict. Ephes. 6. Take unto you the whole armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day; and having finished all things stand fast. Stand therefore, having your loins girt with verity, and having on the breast-plate of righteousness, and your feet [Page 204] shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace: Above all, taking the shield of Faith, wherewith you may quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of Salva­tion, and the sword of the Spirit that is the word of God.

Here's compleat furniture for a Christian Souldier; only he sets down no Back-piece, because he intends not we should ever run away: But he commends to us above all, the shield of Faith, which if we hold fast, and become not [...], cowardly Souldi­ers, such as cast away their Shield, and take themselves to flight, he warrants it of such proof, as no shaft or brand of Hell can enter it. What great deeds have been done, and brave atchievments wrought by this Armature; the Apostle in his Epistle to the Hebrews, at the 11th Chapter, doth largely discourse, and at last more roundly and summarily conclude, thus; What shall I say more? for the time would be too short for me to tell of Gideon, of Barak, and of Sampson, and of Iephte also, of David and Samuel, and of the Prophets: Which through Faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteous­ness, obtained promises, stopped the mouth of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, of weak were made [Page 205] strong, waxed valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

All these exploits are done by keeping fast the shield of Faith; which is a sure Trust and Perswasion, that God is able and ready to fight on our side. The want of this Faith is that which makes the Devils Camp so victorious against us. We are loth to believe that God can or will enable us to resist unto Blood; even unto the effusion of that wicked Life, and mortification of all Fleshly-mindedness. But this is required; and if we will believe, that God would as heartily have it done, as he doth plainly command it; it would be done in good time. Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of life. Rev. 2. If we dye with him then shall we also live with him. For if we be grafted with him into the similitude of his death, even so shall we be into the similitude of his resurrection. Rom. 6. 5.

THUS we have seen the evil afflicted case of him that is destitute of the true riches of the mind, Temperance, Piety, Wis­dom, and all other Vertues; as also the way to attain unto those durable riches, and affluency of all good. I will now go on to the Second part of my Text; viz. A [Page 206] good Heart (or a good Conscience) is a conti­nual Feast.

The Heart is the seat of Conscience; i. e. of Desire, or bent of Will and Knowledge; Knowledge of things Moral or Divine. So in Scripture, we have oft mention of a wise and understanding Heart. And surely if a man observe; in Moral and Pious matters, a man communeth with his Heart, and discovereth deceit and hypocrisie there; as he doth incongruities and falsities in his Brain, where imagination is placed, in Na­tural and Mathematical Theories.

Conscience therefore is nothing but the Censure of the Soul upon the guize of the Heart, accusing or excusing its drifts, inten­tions and acts: And is called quiet or trou­bled: Not that that light is alwayes so, but that it causeth such a perturbation in the Spirit of man, conscious to it self of evil committed.

Or otherwise thus: Conscience is the im­pression of the true light of things Moral or Divine, upon the Heart; where Will and Intention, and Motion of Life is: As Rea­son Natural is the impression of the clear light of Truth in Natural Theories. These true lights never vary; but the impressions are more or less perfect; sometime plainly false; as the image of the Sun in the water, [Page 207] when it appeareth broken or of a long form, or in a mist when it appears red. Hence is falshood and correction of falshood both in Heart and Brain: For the clearer and more exact impression, confuteth the im­perfect, if displaced; or confirmeth it, if only dim before.

But that common and vulgar apprehen­sion of Conscience, such as every man con­ceives, when the word is named, shall be sufficient for my Discourse. And this is no­thing but a certain disposition or condition of mind, from the knowledge or remembrance of its acts and intentions; which if they be re­presented as good, simple and sincere, Ioy and Rest follows; if otherwise, Disturbance of mind and Disquietness.

And this very latter disposition is good too, but not alwayes; that is, when it is accompanied with a Iudas-like despair; otherwise it is good, as wholsome Physick, not as a pleasant Banquet. But it is seldom or never known, that the Heart was ever established, without the fore-going of this disquietness of mind: For mans Natural Inclinations lead him astray, and Childhood and Youth betray him unto vanity: So that man being lost thus in his Natural blindness, when Christ begins to open his eyes by his Truth, and he is convicted of [Page 208] his wicked errours, what can come of it but sorrow? Nay, but being thus in some good measure enlightened, afterward to have rebelled against this measure of light, or at least through weakness, or rather the love of sin and neglectful yielding to the Devils assaults, to fall into the same filth he was warned of before, surely this must needs breed great distraction and confusion of Spirit: And so long will this be as that Holy Light keeps in; and we live not con­formable unto it. For God is a God of pure eyes, and cannot behold wickedness; and so long as we see this eye upon our wayes, this light over our actions, which we see by light imparted from it, in lumine tuo videbimus lumen (as it is said in the Psalms) In thy light we shall see light: Every work of darkness will so ashame us and confound us, that we shall never be at quiet till we vvalk uprightly before the avvful Majesty of Heaven, that is ever pre­sent before us.

But vvhen through the Mercy and Might of Jesus Christ, and his quickning Spirit, vve vvalk in unfeigned Obedience in the sight of the Father of Lights, our Conver­sation being in Heaven, vvhere Christ sits at the Right Hand of the Povver of God, having led captivity captive, as the Psalmist [Page 209] speaks: Then shall our mouth be filled with laughter, and our tongue with joy; as it is said in another Psalm, about the turning again the captivity of Sion: And Psal. 63. My soul shall be filled, even as with marrow and fatness, when my mouth praiseth thee with joyful lips. But there is a more apt and ample description of this joy and feasting, Esay 25. In this mountain shall the Lord of Hosts make unto all people, a feast of fat things, a feast of fined wines, and fat things full of marrow, of wines fined and purified.

This is Mount Sion: whom the Lord hath chosen to be an habitation for himself; which he hath longed for; which shall be his rest for ever: Here will he dwell, for he hath a delight therein, Ps. 132. Here he keeps open house all the Year long, or rather all Eternity long. Ho! every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and ye that have no silver, come, buy and eat. Come, I say, buy wine and milk without silver and without money. Wherefore do you lay out silver and not for bread? and your labour without being satisfied? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat that which is good, and let your soul delight in fatness. Esay 55.

But what is this Mountain, that God should promise such Joy upon it? Or what is Sion, that such Feasting and Mirth should be in [Page 210] it? Mount Sion is called the Hill of the Holiness of God, [...] the hill of his holiness, Psal. 3. Such a kind of Holiness, such a kind of Purity as a man may stand before God in, that a man sees God in, that is approved of God and will abide the fire: For our God is a consuming fire, and burns and pains a mans Soul so long as filth re­sides there. Who amongst us shall dwell with devouring fire? Who amongst us shall dwell with everlasting burning? He that walketh in justice and speaketh righteous things, &c. He shall dwell on high, his defence shall be the munition of rocks, bread shall be given him, and his water shall be sure, saith the Prophet Esay. He shall dwell on Mount Sion; that high and holy Hill, where God hath prepared this great Feast. This is the Hill of the thirsty; for so may this word Sion signifie: And blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be sa­tisfied. Or more properly it may signifie dry Earth: And so we may fitly use that of the Psalmist, My soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land: And the same Happiness will return again as before; they shall be satisfied, so our English; [...], they shall be fed, so the Greek. They shall be sufficiently fed; they shall be feasted; con­tinually feasted: For he that eateth of this [Page 211] bread shall never hunger, and he that drinketh of this drink shall never thirst, saith our Saviour. How excellent is thy mercy, O God! therefore shall the children of men trust under the shadow of thy wings: They shall be satis­fied with the fatness of thy house, and thou shalt give them drink out of the river of thy pleasures. Psalm 36.

This is the excellent inward state of the upright Soul and undefiled Conscience, streaming and over-flowing with strong and full torrents of Heavenly Delight, issu­ing from the Throne of God and of the Lamb.

But to handle the matter some what more distinctly, I will consider the nature of a Feast, and of what parts it chiefly consists. The curious Varro in Gellius makes a com­pleat Feast to consist of these four things; Si belli homuncali collecti sunt; si electus lo­cus; si-tempus lectum; si apparatus non ne­glectus. i. e. If good disposition'd People be gathered together; if the Provision be not poor or sordid; if the Place be convenient; if the Time fit and seasonable.

(1.) That those that are assembled to this Feast, are [belli homunculi] in the best sense, I shall easily prove. Mat. 8. Many shall come from the East and West, and shall [Page 212] sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Iacob, in the Kingdom of Heaven. There is very good Company, you'll all grant it.

But the Doubt will be, what this King­dom of Heaven is. Let the Apostle resolve you. Rom. 14. The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. All which things may be obtained (in some good measure at least) here, without spreading a Table-cloth in the Coelum Empyreum.

But to proceed. You saw before out of the Prophet, how that God prepares a Feast in Mount Sion. The Apostle in his Epistle to the Hebrews, makes known to us the Guests. But you are come to the mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, the celestial Ierusalem, and to the company of in­numerable Angels, and to the congregation of the first-born written in heaven, and to the spirits of just and perfect men. All these are the Guests of Gods Heavenly Table: There these are assembled. Wheresoever the carkass is there will the eagles resort, saith our Saviour. This is the great Communion of Saints, who do all eat of the same spiri­tual meat, and do all drink of the same spiri­tual drink; and are all incorporate into one Body, all quickened by the same Spirit, all conspire into one Will through unity of the [Page 213] same Life; so that all's in peace and good order.

And thus much for the Persons assembled: Which if you doubt of, or are perswaded that you shall not continually enjoy their company; yet I will shew you an assembly, that so long as you enjoy a pure Conscience, you shall alway enjoy their company, in a true Paradise,


An Holy Paradise, where are assembled, Ver­tue, Wisdom, and all Decency and Discretion. And these are excellent companions; tho' they were known to no body, but him that lives with them: And He lives with them that hath a pure Heart; for the Father of them abides in the sincere Spirit.

(2.) But it were time now to speak of [the Provision;] had I not spoke already somewhat of it, almost before due time. But no tongue can declare it: I will ra­ther use the Psalmists words, O taste ye and see how gracious the Lord is! For they that fear him shall lack nothing. The lyons do lack and suffer hunger, but they that do seek the Lord shall want no manner of thing that [Page 214] is good. So then here is apparatus non ne­glectus at least; no want, if not redun­dancy.

Ay, but it's a poor Feast, you'll say, where there is no overplus. If any man suspect he shall come to such a slender Din­ner, I will use the words of our Saviour, Mat. 16. O ye of little faith, why think you thus within your selves? Do you not perceive, neither remember, the five loaves when there were five thousand men, and how many baskets were taken up? neither the seven loaves when there were four thousand men, and how many baskets were taken up? If Christ could satis­fie such multitudes of men with so few loaves, so that so many fragments were left: Surely we need not fear, but when he feeds us with himself, who is that Hea­venly Bread, and the foecundity or fulness of God; but that we shall be unspeakably satisfied and superabundantly refreshed.

So we have plainly seen, how excellent our company; how good our chear shall be. I will interfeit one accomplishment which Varro omits in his Feast: And that is Mu­sick. The concent of Musicians at a Banquet, is as a Signet of Carbunoles set in Gold. As the Signet of an Emerald well trimmed with Gold, so is the melody of Musick in a pleasant banquet. Ecclesiasticus 32. 5, 6.

[Page 215]Now that this Feast is not devoid of Mu­sick will thus appear.

For Righteousness is nothing else but an harmony of the lower parts of a mans Soul with the upper, of the Affections with Rea­son; as the Pythagorists define it: [...], saith Polus the Pythagorean.

When as the inclinations of a mans Will or Desire answer the dictates of true Reason, these are Heavenly responses indeed, fit for a Celestial Quire: When Reason begins the point, and all the Affections chearfully follow it; as Philo comments upon that Song of Moses and Miriam: [I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he hath over-thrown in the Sea. The Lord is my strength and praise, and he is become my salvation. Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like unto thee; so glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?] Then Miriam (the rest of the women following her with Tim­brels and with Dances) takes up her Timbrel in her hand and answers: [Sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and the rider hath he over-thrown in the Sea.]

Such [...] as these, such Triumphal Songs against our Spiritual Enemies, will become this Feast well.

[Page 216]The same exultation of Spirit you shall find in the blessed Psalmist. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart hath trusted in him and I am helped: Therefore my heart danceth with joy, and in my song will I praise him. Psalm 28.

This is that which the Apostle exhorts to, Eph. 5. Be not drunk with wine wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit, speak­ing unto your selves, with psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts.

Hitherto then is this Feasting very com­pleat; good Companions, good Chear, good Musick.

(3.) But what is all this, if not in a good [convenient place]?

Iobs Children, you know, as they were making merry at their elder Brothers, a strong Whirlwind took a corner of the house, and buried them with the ruins in the midst of their merriment. But whoso­ever dwelleth under the defence of the most high, shall abide under the shadow of the Al­mighty, (that is, under the protection of him that is able to keep them safe) Ps. 91. And at the 90th Psalm, Lord thou hast been our habitation from generation to generation. Before the mountains were made, and before [Page 217] thou hadst formed the earth, even from ever­lasting to everlasting [...] thou art the strong God; a more sure sustentation than the steddy Earth; a more strong safeguard than the massy Hills. So then this Holy Assembly feast under a safe roof, far from the reach of any tumult or tempest. God is our hope and strength, a very present help in trouble: Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be moved, and though the hills be carryed into the midst of the sea. Though the waters thereof rage and swell, and though the mountains shake at the tempest of the same. (Yet there is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the ta­bernacle of the most high.) In all this danger and stir, you see, here's secure Feasting and Joy in the Tabernacle of the most High. The voice of joy and gladness is in the dwell­ing of the righteous; safe pleasure, and ne­ver fading delight in the habitation of the upright in Heart and pure in Conscience.

But if any man be not contented with the Safeness of the place, but would curi­ously inquire into the Beauty of it, that Description is done to our hands in the 21th of S. Iohns Revelation. Gold and pearl and precious stones is a slight glimpse of the Glory of that Habitation, and the Beauty of God.

[Page 218](4.) I will pass now to the fourth thing considerable in a Feast, [The convenience of time.] And no time surely is inconvenient to these Feasters, who have the preemi­nence exceedingly above them that enjoy any outward delight. For these men be confined to Seasons and Opportunities, which be but poor small parcels of time: But all Time and Eternity too is but one entire Opportunity for those Spiritual Feast­ers to enjoy themselves in. A good Heart, or a pure Spirit, is one continual everlast­ing Feast.

It was well said of Diogenes to one that was too much taken with the seldom so­lemnity of an outward Feast, [...]; What, saith he, doth not a good man count every day a Festi­val? Surely if it be so, he must needs count it so: And that it is so, my Text can wit­ness. Solomon hath asserted it; and the Devil himself cannot deny it; nor good men conceal it; nor wicked men confute it, for they have not experience of it.

But do I not seem to Tantalize you all this while, by describing so desirable a Ban­quet, and not shew you the way to be par­takers of it? Verily neither God nor good men do envy us it. But to say the truth, [Page 219] the way to it is as undesirable as the Feast is to be wished for. Abstinence and empty­ness is the way to be filled with this preci­ous Food. The full soul (saith Solomon) loatheth the honey-comb. And if we be taken up with, and filled with the delights of this sensible World, and the pleasures of the Flesh, we shall never relish the sweetness of this Banquet; never so much as taste of it. [...]. If false transitory pleasures get possession of the Soul, they will exclude that true light and safe delight in God.

What's the way then to this continual Happiness? A contemptible thing they call Self-denyal, or abstinence from our own Wills and Desires. Upon which if I should enter a Discourse, you especially of the younger sort, might account it, or a dull Melancholick Dream, or a pretty solemn Night-piece, but when you have viewed it, immerse your selves again into the false light of this bewitching World, and closely embrace that life and pleasure that I should wish you to part with.

But be you assured, that he that is so slightly affected, with the most solemn and solid Duties of Christianity, is so far off from the good Conscience or good Heart named in the Text, that he is not so much as in a [Page 220] preparation to it; which is Contrition and Brokenness of Spirit.

But he that even now begins, and sets himself seriously upon the curbing of his Lusts, and denyal of his own wayes, and endeavours cordially from the very depth of his Heart, to perform whatsoever he conceives is the Will of God, and allowes himself in no fault, this man shall in due time be wrought into the Life and Spirit of Christ: And shall continually enjoy in a more eminent manner, whatsoever or Sight, or Hearing, or Smelling, or Tasting shall judge pleasant and delectable; such Beauty, such Harmony, such Fragrancy, such Deli­ciousness as no man can conceive, but he that hath it, nor he that hath it can know how to utter it. To this Happiness God grant that we may all arrive, through Iesus Christ our Lord, to whom &c.

DISCOURSE VIII. PSAL. xvii. 15. As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.

THE Excellency of this Holy reso­lution and High aspires of the Pro­phet David, will be better set off, and more-savourly relished, if we bring in­to view that lively character of men of a quite contrary dispensation, in the forego­ing Verse; which are stiled men of the world, which have their portion in this life; who are very Belly-gods and Cormorants, greedy devourers of the Temporary good things which God has treasured up in these lower Regions of the Universe: These they dig out, and rake up together, and lay on heaps; that they may satisfie their own Worldly Appetite, and gratifie them­selves in the lusts of the Flesh, in the lusts of [Page 222] the Eyes, and in the pride of Life; that they may eat and drink plentifully, yea riotously, fill their Bellies with the choicest delicates, and feed their Eyes with the inexhaustible store and plenty of their riches; and their treasure being inexhaustible, (when they have lived in all the jollity and gayity of this World, in all the affluency and felicity this present Life will afford,) bequeath or entail upon their Posterity the like Happi­ness themselves enjoy'd, by leaving the rest of their Substance to their Babes; as is de­scribed in the foregoing Verse.

This is the state of that Blessedness which the meer Natural man breaths after, neither his foresight nor desire piercing any further.

But this Holy man of God, who was in­spired from above, has a thirsty presage of matters of far greater moment; whose mind is not fixt upon these hid treasures of the Earth, but upon that treasure which is reserved in Heaven; whose neither hopes nor enjoyments are in the things of this Life, but deems this Life as Death or Sleep in comparison of that which is to come; who evangelizes before the Gospel, and speaks the language of Christians before the coming of the Messias, as if he would anticipate the words of S. Paul, Col. 3. 3. [Page 223] Our life is hid with Christ in God: But when Christ which is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory. Where­fore let others enjoy themselves as much as they will; let these men of the World have all things succeed according to their desire, and please themselves to the height in their Wealth, Pleasure and Honours: I do not at all envy their condition, nor place my Happiness in these things: While these mens Eyes and Minds, while their Affection and Animadversion is wholly taken up with these Worldly Objects, the pantings and breathings of my Soul are entirely directed towards God, and to the blissful enjoyment of the Light of his Countenance. As for me I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy like­ness: Or (as the Psalms in our Liturgy have it) When I awake up after thy likeness, I shall be satisfied with it.

That Saying of Heraclitus in Clemens Alexandrinus, [...]. All that we see waking is Death, and what we see dreaming Sleep (which is the Brother of Death, as another termed him; as if in this Body, whether sleeping or waking, it were in the valley of the shadow of Death): I say this Speech of Heraclitus, may seem to savour much [Page 224] of a very deeply Melancholized Spirit; yet if to speak conformably to inspired men, were an Argument of Inspiration, Heraclitus his Melancholly would approve it self Divine, by the apparent conformity it bears with the most notable passages of those who cer­tainly were inspired. God forbid (saith S. Paul) that I should glory, save in the cross of the Lord Iesus Christ, whereby the world is crucified to me, and I unto the world. What was it not sufficient that S. Paul was cruci­fied to the World, but the World must be also crucified unto him? That he was dead to the World, but the World must be also dead to him? Or who ever, except S. Paul, ventur'd on such a Phrase, as the Worlds being crucified or dead to us, though we be rightly said to be crucified or dead to it? Why yes, Heraclitus said so long before, [...]. All these things which we see with these Bodily Eyes, it is but a Scene of Death. That vivid and chearful colour of the Heavens which re­creates the Eyes of ordinary Mortals, seem'd to him not a bright azure, but a funeral black; nor Sun nor Moon real and true Lights, but two painted Scutcheons Or and Argent hung upon the Melancholly Tape­stry of this House of Mourning. Where­fore to be buried in the Body, with him is a [Page 225] real Death; and this Terrestrial Region, wherein we seem to live, but one great Caemeterium or Dormitory. No life, no joy, no pleasure is here; no not amongst those that seem to enjoy most, that have the greatest portion in this Life, nay their only portion therein. Wherefore what expecta­tion of Happiness before that blessed Re­surrection? When we shall see the Face of God, and be satisfied with his Likeness, in whose presence there is fulness of joy, and at whose right hand there are pleasures for ever­more: But for the present Interval, (that is, the time of our Immersion into the Sense of this Body) the Prophet David as well as Heraclitus, does plainly deem it a state of Sleep or Death; which are the same in Scripture every where, as to any Mystical meanings or purposes.

As for me, I shall behold thy face in righ­teousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.

Munster piously, and I believe truly, pa­raphrases thus upon the Text. Egó verò & omnes electi tui, Domine, non ita quaeremus has temporarias & transitorias divitias ut in illis deliciemur; sed justè & piè vivemus in hoc seculo, ut aliquando in futuro seculo videamus [Page 226] faciem tuam & eâ satiemur, cum scilicet è pulvere evigilaverimus & reformati fuerimus ad similitudinem Christi tui. And this may go for the Philosophical sense of the Text.

But there is a Moral sense thereof, which Castellio seems to reach at; and is indeed the most easie to the words of the Text, which run thus,


Of which the easie and accurate Sense is, I will behold thy face in Righteousness, at the awaking of thy image I shall be satisfied; ac­cording as Castellio has also rendered it; Tum satiandus cum tua experrecta fuerit ima­go. And his Gloss is accordingly, Per Christi resurrectionem qui Dei imago est, ple­nam consecuturus justitiam & foelicitatem. For the Image of God is Christ, who is called also [...], the brightness of the Glory of God; answerably to the LXX Translation of my Text, [...], I shall be satisfied when I shall see thy Glory: Which Glory, like the beams of the Sun, reach and touch the very eye-lids of him that is asleep, but are not seen nor enjoy'd till he awake; for then the image of the Sun is also awoke in him; that is to say, excited into actual [Page 227] being. According to which Analogy is that Saying of the Apostle, Awake thou that sleep­est, and Christ shall give thee light. The Evigilation therefore, or Resurrection of the Image of God in us, is our Evigilation or Resurrection in a Mystical or Moral Sense into it; which as soon as it does ap­pear, we also do appear in Glory with it; but while Christ is thus hid, or dead, or asleep in us, we are in a state of Death or Sleep, and the true Life of our Soul is hid in him.

And this I would have the First Truth comprised in my Text, viz. That the im­mersion of the Soul into the life of the Body, and love of this present World, (which is the Image of the Earthly Adam) is as it were the Sleep or Death of the Soul.

The Second, That there is no true Satis­faction in this Worldly or Terrestrial Life, which is but a torpid Sleep and the very shadow of Death.

The Third, That the true Evigilation and real Life of the Soul is the recuperation of the Image of God; the Resurrection of Christ in us, according to the Spirit.

The Fourth, That this Mystical Resurre­ction of Christ is the only solid Enjoyment and Satisfaction to the Souls of the Faithful, even in this Life.

[Page 228]The Fifth and Last, That the way to at­tain to this Satisfaction which arises from the Evigilation of that Divine Image in us, (which is also stiled the Face of God; or if you will, the Image thereof, whereby we see his Face so far forth as he is visible to Man) is Righteousness and Sincerity of Heart. [I shall behold thy face in righteousness.]

These are the precious Truths comprized in the Text, which I shall handle with all possible brevity.

1. That the Image of the Earthly Adam is as it were the Sleep or Death of the Soul, the very Text does apparently intimate; espe­cially that Translation in our Liturgy, When I shall awake into thy Image, (which is the Image of the Heavenly Adam) I shall be sa­tisfied therewith; which implies, that till this awaking we are in a state of Sleep or Death. For in that we can eat and drink, and go up and down, these are no Argu­ments that we are truly alive, no more than the growing of the Hair and the Nails of them that have lain long buried in the ground, is any Argument of Life in them; I mean of the Sensitive Life: Nor though the Flesh be full of Worms, will the man be thought ever the more alive for that. [Page 229] For neither is Sense the Life of a man, nor meer Carnal and Worldly Reason the Life of the Child of God: The Divine Image is the Soul of his Soul, and the Life of his Life; of which seeing every Soul is capa­ble, it is rightly deemed dead till it partake thereof, till it be awaken'd into this Image of God. But so long as the mind is ad­dicted to the things of this World, to the Law of the Body, which is called [...], so long is she dead or asleep; call it which you will. Hierocles calls it Death; [...], For the Death of every Rational Essence (sayes he) is the loss or suppression of her Divine and Intellectual excellencies: Plotinus, Sleep; [...], So far forth as the Soul is immerged into the Body, so far she is asleep. And therefore those that are wholly taken up with the concerns thereof, as relishing nothing but what is Worldly and Carnal, may justly be look'd upon as fallen into a deep Sleep.

And what if they can walk and talk, and go up and down, and do such things as men that are awake also do, do not the Noctambuli do the same? Whose eyes be­ing shut, yet unwittingly do they several exploits, some hazardous, others ridiculous; other some (as it some seldomer times hap­pens) [Page 230] safe and congruous, if the chain of Phantasms that leads them, attract luckily, and to convenient Objects: But in the mean time they know not what they do, but without any free consultation or deli­beration are carried out hoodwink'd to acti­on, by the meer suggestion of Dreams and Phansies. And is not this the very condi­tion of those who have arriv'd no higher than to the Image of the Earthly Adam? Surely every such man walketh like a vain image or shadow; or like a winking No­ctambulo, that sees not whither he goes, nor in what plight he is, nor whom he may meet, nor what Eyes are upon his naked­ness, nor what sad events may attend his fortuitous motions. [...]. Every wicked man or unregenerate, not yet awak'd into the Image of God, has the eye of his mind closed, as these Noctambuli, those of the body; and do not walk by sight, but by fortuitous phansie, their whole Life being but a series of dreams, and all the transactions thereof, the execution of the dictates of their imagination imperti­nently busie in this profound Sleep. For these Phantasms, under whose conduct they are in this condition, and which is their first mover in all their actions, creep upon them by meer chance, as dreams in the [Page 231] Night, suggested by the temper of the ex­ternal Air, or of their own Blood, or from some other casualty; and so one Phantasm or commotion occasions another, and the man, like a Ship at Sea whose Pilate is asleep, may be driven one while one way, another while another, in a right tract, or out of it, as it happens, there being neither judge nor guide, to stear to any end, that due examination, or mature deliberation has made choice of.

And therefore all the passages of such a Life, whether thoughts or actions, are (so as it fares in dreams) either fatal or fortui­tous. And although there be a great con­fidence, that things are true and real, and such as they appear, and that we have con­cluded sure; yet in all this we do but imi­tate those that dream, [...], thinking those things they see to be clear Realities, while they are but Dreams; as Plotinus speaks, and few but do experi­ence it. Nor can we give judgment what is right or wrong, what false or what true, whether we have dreamt luckily and divi­natorily, or all be falshood and delusion, till that Mystical Resurrection, the Resus­citation of the Image of God in our Souls. And this briefly may suffice for the First Particular, That the immersion of the Soul [Page 232] into the Life of the Body, and love of this World, is as it were the Death, or Sleep, of the Soul.

2. The Second is, That there is no true Satisfaction in this condition.

And indeed how can any true Satisfaction be there expected, where we suppose no­thing but Delusions and Dreams; nor any one in a case to profess himself satisfied, as being utterly unable to compute right, or make a due estimate of things? No man thinks him that is grosly cheated, truly sa­tisfied; no not though he give it under his own hand he is so. And is not this state of Sleep and Dreams a meer cheat and delu­sion? There only is true Satisfaction, where that which satisfies, is truly that which it would appear to be, and will be found so by a man when he can judge aright. For that which every man means, in all his pursuits, is Happiness; nor would he put forth his hand towards any thing that did not bear upon it that Inscription: Which if it be false, he must needs at last find himself in a wrong box; and what profit is there in those things whereof he then must be ashamed? And as in the sequels of Reason, some one latitant falshood being admitted, it will discover it self by the [Page 233] inference of some more gross and palpable absurdity, to be false it self: So some pra­ctical mistake in adhering to some false good, though pleasing and alluring for the present, will in the conclusion prove it self a real evil, by the calamitous Consequence that will necessarily issue from it: For the end of such things is Death, as the Apostle speaks.

Thus plain it is, that though we should dream pleasingly and prosperously, it is no true Satisfaction, because at the long run we shall find our selves disappointed and deceived. But the truth is, that those that dream most successfully, are not happy, (no not so much as in this Dream) but have an unquiet Night of it; there being so many interruptions and disturbances, from the fortuitous clashings of flying Phantasms that rise by chance, and bring in scenes of Discontent as well as Pleasure: Insomuch that those that have cast up the compute most accurately, have concluded it best ne­ver to be born; but next to that, quickly to dye; as the Epigrammatist inferrs upon his Synopsis of all the wayes and conditions of Humane Life. And Solomon, who was a King, whose Reign also was Peaceable, Splendid and Prosperous, yet when he had laid all things together, and compleated his [Page 234] account, the whole summe was Vanity and vexation of Spirit: Nay the scene of things in this present World, seem'd to him so sad and Tragical, that he praises the Dead, which are already dead, more than the Living which are yet alive; and accounts him better than them both, which hath not yet been, because he hath not seen the toil that is done under the Sun. So far is this Worldly or Terrestrial Life from affording any true Satisfaction to them that are immerse into it. But this is a Theme so trite, that it had been enough, only to have named it; and therefore we will pass to the Third Particular.

3. That the true Evigilation and real Life of the Soul is the recuperation of the Divine Image.

The truth of which assertion, we shall easily understand if we but consider, what Life is, and wherein its fulness does consist, as also what is the Image of God. For we know that Death is a privation of Life; and Sleep a partial Death, as being a partial privation of the Vital Functions: And therefore the recovery of the Soul into more full and ample Functions of Life, must needs be her expergefaction, if not resusci­tation from the dead. Now I conceive the [Page 235] fulness of Life to be compleated in these three things, in self-motion, or self-activity; in sense or speculative perception; and in pleasure, love or joy: And that the height­ning or enlargement of these in several de­grees, is the enlargement of Life, and a re­leasement from such a measure of Sleep or Death. These Principles are so plain and manifest that scarce any one can be so dull and sleepy, but that he will acknowledge them at the first sight.

What the Image of God consists in, we shall easily understand, if we have recourse to the Attributes of his Nature, by which only he is cognoscible to us: Which Nature of God consists in Omnipotency, Omnisci­ency and Infinite Goodness. Whence the Image or Face of God (as it is called in the Text) so far forth as it is visible to us, is nothing else but our perception, approba­tion, or rather devotional admiration of these Divine Excellencies; and the being effectually impressed upon by them, to the transfiguration of our Souls into this simili­tude, so far forth as Humane Nature is ca­pable to be assimilated unto God. For we cannot be absolutely Omnipotent, nor Omni­scient, nor Infinitely good.

But we may have a kind of communi­cated Omnipotency, as to the affairs of our [Page 236] own Sphere, in our own Microcosm, or little World; where we ought to rule with an absolute hand, and never to be quiet, till we can profess with S. Paul, I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me. Wherefore as God is Omnipotent in the great Universe, and does curb and keep up the whole Corporeal Creation within the limits of certain Natural Laws, which they cannot pass: So also we are to set bounds and limits to our Bodily Passions, and keep them in constant subjection to the Laws of right Reason, or to the Rule of the Spirit of God.

And again, in the second place, Though we cannot be Omniscient, yet we may be­come in a manner entirely Intellectual, and throughly understand, and as affectionately relish the true interest of our own Souls, and perfectly discern all the concerns there­of, and be accompanied with all those Di­vine Truths, and Blissfull Speculations, which are requisite for the perfecting of Humane Happiness; which in our Sphere, is an imitation of the Divine Omnisciency.

And lastly, Though it is impossible that any Creature should be infinitely good, yet it is capable of being filled with a Spirit of unexpressible Benignity; and to be a faithful well-willer to the happiness and prosperity [Page 237] of every Creature of God, and therefore to be in a perpetual promptness and readiness to help them that are in any distress, and to rejoyce in the good and wellfare of every parcel of the Creation.

And this is briefly the amiable Face or Image of God, as it is visible or communi­cable to us; which we see by the beams of its own brightness, as we see the Sun by its own Light, though not in that real lustre nor bigness that it is.

And I hope now it will plainly appear, That the recuperation of this Divine Image is the true expergefaction or resuscitation of the Soul, from a state of Sleep or Death, into the most full and ample functions of Life: Of which the first degree was self-motion or self-activity: For meer passivity, or to be moved or acted by another, either with­out a mans will or against it, this is the condition of such as are either dead or a­sleep; as to go of a mans self, is a Symp­tom of one alive or awake. Wherefore whatever is done in us by meer Passion or Ignorance, seems rather to be acted upon us than acted by us; and to be a defect of that degree of Life which we call self-motion or self-activity; in such cases we seeming ra­ther to be carried by surprize, than to go of our own accords, as men that are dead [Page 238] drunk may be haled or disposed of where others please. And every one that is acted by Passion is drunk; or if acted upon through Ignorance, asleep; and so are de­prived of that degree of Life which is self-activity, a doing things from an inward or thorough assent to them: Which no man does in a wicked action, because every one that commits wickedness, does it to his own infinite disinterest and wrong; which no man did ever yet, nor even can assent to. Whence it is plain that he is not, in this regard, self-active; and that therefore he is in the state of Death, out of which the Image of God awakes him; namely the power of Christ in him, which shews him his way clearly, that he may make a choice never to be repented of, and enables him to walk in that way, and to bear strongly and victoriously against all the assaults of the Body, or suggestions of this Worldly Life: And so by the self-activity of that spiritual or immaterial Principle in him, he rules this little World of his by irresistible Laws, as God himself does the great one. And this I think is one considerable degree of the evigilation of the Soul through the Di­vine Image.

And the Second is no less considerable, and which we have touched upon already [Page 239] in the former. For if Ignorance be Sleep, the Intellectual state of the Soul must needs be an eminent evigilation of her. And if to grow Corporeal be to become more inert, more unactive and drousie, then surely to become more Spiritual must be joyned with a greater measure of Life and Activity. And what actions are more Spiritual, than those which the Soul exerts her self into in rational disquisitions, and divine speculati­ons, and in the search of the most noble and momentous Truths, concerning God and Nature? When she unravels all into certain immutable and indelible Ideas of things, which she was taught by no touch from external matter, but are the most in­ward hidden Life of the Soul, that Adytum or Oracle that speaks truth from the deep­est recess of her Essence, into which she cannot enter, but by a lusty rowzing up, and rubbing her Eyes clean of all those mists and fumes that arise from Corporeal Phantasms, or accustomary prejudices. These operations certainly must be very intellec­tual and incorporeal, and therefore very much raised above the Body, that Sepulchre or Dormitory of the Soul; and not to be performed but by the excitation of such kind of Spirits, as are in some measure con­generous to that Heavenly Body, that Lu­minous [Page 240] or AEthereal Vehicle in which the Soul shall ride as in her Triumphal Cha­riot, at the general Appearance in the last day. I say the closer and more noble in­tellectual Operations of the Soul are not to be performed but by the assistance of more tenuious and fiery Spirits (whence the Ora­cles call the mind [...] mentem igneam) which are contrary to that phlegmatick sluggishness and drownedness, that the Worldly and Carnally-minded are over­flown with.

But besides that the Principle from whence these Intellectual actions flow, argues a no­torious excitation or expergefaction of the mind therein; that which is Intellectual being plainly Divine or Godlike; whom the Schools rightly define to be Actus purissimus, pure Life, and Essential Energy: That the Soul in her Intellectual Operations is roused as it were out of a Sleep, will farther ap­pear, if we compare the functions of the Terrestrial Life with those of the Intellectual. The largest Operation of the former of which, is that of our Eye, which takes in but this Visible Hemisphere of the World; and if it could take in the whole, accord­ing to this contracted proportion, it were a pitiful scant thing, such as is infinitely les­ser than what our Understanding conceives [Page 241] the Universe to be, nay, many thousand times less than the Earth, which is but as a Mathematical point in comparison of the body of the World. How contracted then is Touch, and Taste, and the other Senses! For the love of which, when the Soul is immersed into the Body, and wholly given up to them, it is plain that her functions of Life are infinitely contracted, and that she lies asleep or dead to her largest Faculties; and that therefore the excitation of them is her expergefaction into infinitely a more am­ple Sphere of Life.

To all which you may add, that those that are regenerate into the Image of God or Christ, there does accrew to them by vertue of their Second Birth, an Intellectual or Divine Sense; which you may also if you please call Moral, sith what is Moral is also Intellectual. For it is an Intellectual Sense which discerns the pulchritude or de­formity of things or actions. And as all handsomeness and proportionableness of the forms and shapes of things in the Universe, is from that Vniversal Intellect which is the maker of the World; so all honest and de­corous actions, is from an Intellectual Prin­ciple in us, which bounds and figures into due proportion, all our Corporeal Passions or Actions, which otherwise would flow [Page 242] rudely and undeterminately, like the tum­bling of the particles of matter it self, com­mitted to no other guide than Chance or Fortune. Wherefore he that walks, as in the day, decently and honestly, it is a sign his Eyes are opened, and that he is not asleep: He that disrelishes every evil motion, whether in himself or others; that feels or sees plainly what is just or unjust; that abo­minates every appearance of haughtiness, or envy, or worldly baseness, and brutish intemperance; to whom these things, and others of the like kind, are distastful, un­savoury and unsufferable; it is a sign that he is awoke into this part of the Intellectual Life which we call Moral. But such as have neither love of Vertue nor aversation of Vice, whether in themselves or others, they have these Senses bound by a Lethar­gick Sleep, out of which the recuperation of the Divine Image, where-ever it is, loosens and awakens men into a perpetual quickness of perception of what is truly Good or Evil.

Thus apparently is the Image of Christ the resuscitation of the Soul into these two first parts of Life, which we call'd self-activity, and sense or perception.

The last, but not the least considerable, is Pleasure, Love or Ioy: Which how little [Page 243] it is in the Worldly-minded, I have above declared: But how unspeakably great it must be in him, upon whom this glorious Image of God is risen, is discoverable at first sight. For this Image does most emi­nently contain in it the sense of Love or Goodness. God is Love, and he that abideth in Love, abideth in God, and God in him. Which intellectual Love or Goodness, is certainly the highest joy or pleasure that Humane Nature is capable of, the flower and quintessence of all sweetness. Here's no afflicting Care, nor consuming Envy, no disquieting Lust, nor tyrannical Super­stition, no distrust or fear of our Future State, nor any jealousies concerning the Favour of God; this Spirit of Love being an inseparable Pledge thereof. And even the more miserable Objects in this present scene of things, cannot devest him of his Happiness, but rather modifie it; the sweet­ness of his Spirit being melted into a kind­ly compassion in the behalf of others: Whom if he be able to help, it is a greater accession to his joy; and if he cannot, the being conscious to himself of so sincere a compassion, and so harmonious and suit­able to the present state of things, carries along with it some degree of Pleasure, like [Page 244] mournful Notes of Musick exquisitely well fitted to the sadness of the Ditty. But this not unpleasant surprize of Melancholly cannot last long: And this cool allay, this soft and moist Element of Sorrow will be soon dry'd up like the Morning Dew at the rising of the Summer Sun; when but once the warm and chearful gleams of that Intellectual Light that represents the glorious and comfortable comprehension of the Divine Providence that runs through all things, shall dart into our Souls the re­membrance, how infinitely scant the regi­on of these more Tragical Spectacles is, compared with the rest of the Universe, and how short a time they last. For so the consideration of the Happiness of the whole will swallow up this small pretence of discontent, and the Soul will be wholly overflown with unexpressible joy and ex­ultation; it being warmed and cheared with that joy that is the joy of God, that free and infinite Good, who knows the pe­riods and issues of all things, and whose pleasure is in Good as such, and not in con­tracted selfishness, or in petty and sinister projects.

And certainly this is such an enlargement of Life, that He must needs seem either [Page 245] dead or asleep, and fixt and congealed in some contractive and obstupifying Dream, whom the love and admiration of himself, (and covering over that sack of dirt, his Body; and wholly rejoycing in the ease and pleasure of it, and the honour or respect conciliated to his own particular Person) has made unsensible and uncapable of this transcendent Satisfaction and Happiness I have described. Which leads me to the Fourth Particular, viz.

4. That this Mystical Resurrection of Christ, or the Revelation of the Face or Image of God in us, is the only solid Enjoyment and Satisfaction to the Souls of the Faithful even in the Life: Which I need not at all in­sist upon, the truth thereof being so ex­ceeding manifest from the foregoing Parti­cular. And David accordingly has decla­red it in the 4th Psalm, Many say, who will shew us any good? Lord lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. And so in my Text, At the awaking of thy image I shall be satisfied therewith. The LXX have it, [...], I shall be really fed, when I shall see thy Glory. Not according to the condition of those whom the Prophet describes, As when an [Page 246] hungry man dreameth, and behold he eateth, but he waketh and his soul is empty; or as when a thirsty man dreameth, and behold he drinketh, but he awaketh, and behold he is faint: But according as our Saviour Christ has promised, I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me, shall never hunger; and he that beleiveth on me, shall never thirst. For being fed and transformed into the Image of Christ by truly partaking of his Body and Blood, they have that which fills their vastest Capacities, and fits them for an Eternal Enjoyment thereof. Which perpetuity of the conditon plainly shews that the condition is most natural; and that perfection which is most natural must needs be most satisfactory: For every thing seeks the perfection of its own Nature; and when it is where it is most natural for it to be, is naturally satisfied, and rests therein. And this briefly shall serve for the Fourth Particular.

5. The Fifth and Last is, That the way to arrive to this Satisfaction, which is the enjoyment of the Face or Image of God, is Righteousness or Sincerity of Heart. [I will behold thy Face in Righteousness.]

[Page 247]I must confess that Righteousness is some­times of so comprehensive a Sense, that it takes in all that which we have described in the Image of God; and so is in a man­ner the same with it: And if it were un­derstood so here, the Sense would be good; for by this Image we do see the Face of God. [In thy light we shall see light.] But by Righteousness I will rather understand that in us which answers to Diaphaneity ra­ther than to Light; and which I would ren­der Faithfulness, Vprightness and Sincerity of Spirit. For in such a Sence as that, the LXX sometimes Translate [...] faithful and true. And I conceive that Pu­rity and Sincerity is that Righteousness that will lead us at length to the Vision of God, according as our Saviour has also promised, Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. So the Psalmist, This is the gene­ration of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Iacob; even of them that seek him in Sincerity and Truth, to whom God is so faithful that he will be found of them, nor shall their labour be in vain in the Lord.

And that a man may know whether he be in the way or no, I shall only briefly intimate what Sincerity is; and that he may have no excuse to keep out of the way, [Page 248] I must futher superadd that it is in his power to keep in it. For I say, it is in a mans power to be sincere, though it be not in his power to be righteous in that other usual Sense: For to be sincere is only to do what we can, and what our Conscience witnesses we can do; which God will gra­ciously accept in Christ, and endue us with further strength so long as we make use of that which we have already. Now it is Noematically true, and wants no further de­monstration, That we can do what we can do: And therefore it is but the examinati­on of our selves, whether we do all that which our own Consciences tell us we both ought to do and can do, and thereby we shall easily discover whether we be in the way toward this blissful Vision or no: And if we find our selves out of it, we cannot excuse our selves for our wandering, sith it is in our power to keep in the vvay, (that is) to be sincere, as certainly as it is in our povver to do vvhat is in our povver. And therefore the falling short of this Happiness lyes at every mans door, and God and Pro­vidence must be quit of all that evil that these Loyterers must once sadly complain of, vvhen it is too late.

[Page 249]Every man therefore must dayly examine his ovvn Conscience in this: For as the keeping close to this vvay of Sincerity, or doing vvhat is in our povver vvill unfailing­ly, through assistance of fresh supplies of Heaven, lead us directly to the Vision of God; so he that finds himself remiss and unsincere, may be as certain, that he is out of the vvay to that Happiness. He that layes his hand to the plow and looks back, is not fit for the kingdom of God. But if vve continue in the vvay of Sincerity, vvhich God has put in our povver to do, as has been already demonstrated, it is impossible but that a man shall find an encrease of Divine Assistances, and a successful pro­gress; God imparting strength, according to the fidelity of the user thereof, as seems to be adumbrated in the Parable of the Ta­lents. [Habenti dabitur,] that is, bene utenti; and [Fac quod in te est, & Deus adjuvabit vo­luntatem tuam] are, I must confess, but short and trite Sayings, but such as fall from the mouths of those that travel in the direct road to Heaven. For the aid and assistance of God is never wanting to such: But they hold on their Journey in chearfulness and constancy, with that Song of the Psalmist in their mouths, Blessed is the man whose [Page 250] strength is in thee, in whose heart are thy ways: which going through the vale of misery use it for a well; and the pools are filled with water. They will go from strength to strength, and unto the God of Gods appeareth every one of them in Sion. Or with this of my Text, As for me I will behold thy face in righteous­ness; when I shall awake into thy likeness, I shall be satisfied therewith.

DISCOURSE IX. ROM. viii. 17. And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ: if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him.

THIS Text is the evidence of our Eternal Inheritance.

There is none here (I suppose) so dull, so slow and so sensless of his own good, and outward welfare, but that if he were to purchase any Worldly Possession, he would look that his Conveyances were sure, and his Title good and warrantable. How much more sollicitous and careful ought we to be concerning our Everlasting Inheri­tance in Heaven? To inform our selves whether there be any such Possession or no; and to whom it appertains; what manner of persons shall be made partakers of it: So that our hopes of future Felicity may [Page 252] be setled upon good grounds: That they be not all blown away with our last breath; and the extinguishing of this Life, leave us not to eternal horrour of darkness.

This present Text of Scripture, will an­swer both those Queries; which contains these two Doctrines.

  • 1. That God hath prepared an Inheritance for his Children.
  • 2. That they that would have this Inheri­tance must suffer with Christ.

I. That God hath prepared an Inheritance for his Children, is plain out of Scripture. (And verily I would not go about to prove so evident a Truth, did not the lives of men contradict it; who live as though there were neither Heaven nor Hell, no Reward nor Judgment to come.) Mat. 25. 34. Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. And Coloss. 1. 12. Giving thanks unto the Father, who hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.

And surely it is a very reasonable thing, that God should as well provide for our in­ward man as for our outward. The Light of the Sun, the seasonable Showers of Rain, [Page 253] the timely Fruits of the Earth; all these hath he prepared, and many more for this Natural Life of man; Nay, his careful Providence extends it self to the young Ra­vens, and the Lillies of the field: And shall his Goodness fall short in providing for that dear and precious Life derived unto us by his own Spirit, making us his Sons and Ho­ly Off-spring? No, surely God will not for­get that which is so near to himself; when his Fatherly Benignity circuits the utmost verge of his Creature.

Add unto this, that we our selves are the House and Inheritance of God. Know you not that your bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost? saith the Apostle. And the Prophet Esaias; The vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Iudah his pleasant plant. And Cant. 5. The voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister: For my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night. And elsewhere in Holy Scripture, God is said to dwell in us, and walk in us: And Israel is called the inheritance of God. Wherefore God in a kind of Gratitude, as I may so say, will provide us an Inheri­tance, sith that we (as he himself testifieth) are an Inheritance to him.

[Page 254]Now if any man be desirous to know what an Inheritance this is that God hath prepared: It is no less than a Kingdom. And how great an esteem is put upon an Earthly Kingdom, is very well known to you all: Which if it be so desirable, how much more desirable is the Kingdom of Heaven, that nor time, nor tumult can ever demolish? This Kingdom of Heaven, of God, or Christ, is the Inheritance of the Sons of God with Christ.

But if any one rest unsatisfied yet; and would further know what the Kingdom of God is. Let him listen to S. Paul, Rom. 14. 17. The kingdom of God is not meat nor drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

But this will seem even nothing to him that hath not the Spirit of Righteousness, Peace and Joy: Wherefore saith the Apo­stle, 1 Cor. 2. 7. &c. But we speak the wis­dom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the world unto our glory. Which none of the princes of this world knew; for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entred into the heart of man, the things that God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath re­vealed [Page 255] them unto us by his Spirit: For the Spirit searcheth all things, even the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of a man that is in him? Even so, the things of God know­eth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit that is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

In a word therefore, Beloved, the Inhe­ritance of the Children of God is the Spirit of God, and all that it doth discover; as the Sun is the lot and the inheritance of the Natural Eye, and all visibles laid open by it in Nature. And can any thing be wanting to them that are sharers in that Inheritance? (If I may call them sharers, where every one is full possessour of the whole; as the Sun is alike wholly in every eye.) Can our Souls be larger than the Life of God? Or our Understanding not filled and satisfied by his all-knowing Spirit? Can our Will wax restless or anxious, where the Understanding finds out and feels the greatest good that any thing is capable of; where the pure and undefiled Affection, baths her silver plumes in eternal love and delight? What is the Soul more than infi­nite, that it should desire any Inheritance greater than God?

[Page 256]But it were now more seasonable to make some Vse to our selves from this Do­ctrine so infinitely plain, or infinitely inex­plainable.

First, Who cannot hence condemn all Avarice, Drunkenness, Fleshly Lust, Vo­luptuousness; the bartering away this Glo­rious Inheritance of the Everlasting King­dom of God, for the Muck of this World; choak'd with the Cares of this World; undermining our Neighbours by false and treacherous practices; over-reaching them in bargainings, and cheating indeed our selves of Eternal LIfe by our own couzen­ages: Instead of being filled with the Spi­rit, to be full of base liquor, drowning our Reason and Conscience, and laying our selves open to the despight of the Devil, and the shame of the World: Chaffering away for a light momentany fit of Pleasure, or some seducing wanton Lust, the Inhe­ritance of the good Spirit of God, the sweet and comfortable Fellowship of the Holy Ghost, the Joyes of Heaven, the full Contentments and unspeakable Delights of that hidden Paradise, that Garden of all sweetness and deliciousness?

[Page 257] Secondly, The consideration of this future excellent state, and glorious royal condition, may afford much comfort to men of low degree, and meaner fortune. What though our Means be small, our Calling base and dishonourable before men: This time vvill certainly over; and that quickly: Though I be poor here, a Servant and Bond-slave, a Beggar; Yet hereafter I shall be rich, free, noble, a Prince, a King, an Emperour: Then shall I be Lord; not of a larger spot of Ground, consisting of Dirt and Gravel, and vvithering Grass, and perishing Trees, the sight of vvhich every nights sleep takes from me; but of the boundless Heavens, the everlasting Beauty of God, vvhere vvith never-vvaking Eyes I shall alvvayes behold his excellent Glory.

This, I say, may comfort the poorer sort; they being as capable, if not more capable of this precious Inheritance, than Lords and Princes of the Earth, than Kings and Cae­sars, than Dukes and Emperours. Gal. 3. 26, &c. For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Iesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. There is neither Iew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: For ye are all one in Christ Iesus. And if ye be Christs, then [Page 258] are you Abrahams seed, and heirs according to promise.

But Thirdly and Lastly: Is it so indeed that there is prepared for men of all condi­tions of Life, such a rich Inheritance? Let then all men of what condition soever, ex­amine themselves, and try what assurance they find in themselves, in their own Souls, of this future Happiness.

What then is the Sign? That brings me to my Second Doctrine, viz.

II. That the heirs of the Kingdom must suffer.

So saith the Text, Heirs of God, and joynt-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him. Which Truth is manifest out of sundry places of Scripture: I will name only two. Acts 14. 22. We must through much tribula­tion enter into the kingdom of God. And Coloss. 1. 10, 11, 12. That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God: Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience, and long-suffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath [Page 259] made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.

What? Shall we think (Beloved) to ob­tain Heaven at a more easie rate, than we purchase any Temporal Honour or Estate? Multa tulit fecit (que) puer: Those that are de­signed for some special piece of Earthly Pre­ferment, sweat and toil for it even from their very Childhood, by industrious Edu­cation. But we think to have Heaven for an old song (as they say) or for a lazily repeated Pater Noster, for a word, for an imagination, for a phansie, a thought, an empty faith, for nothing. Who, in the name of God, told us so? My Text contra­dicts it: And Scripture will not contradict my Text; because my Text is Scripture. No verily; It confirms it: Be not deceived, God is not mocked; as a man sowes, so shall he reap; saith the same Apostle that wrote my Text.

But I will prove by a threefold Reason, That the heirs of the Kingdom of God shall suffer really themselves.

First, From the Antipathy betwixt the World and the Children of God. Wisd. 2. Let us lye in wait for the righteous, because he is not for our turn, and he is clean con­trary to our doings. He upbraideth us with [Page 260] offending the law, and objecteth to our infamy, the transgressings of our education. He pro­fesseth that he hath the knowledge of God, and he calleth himself the child of the Lord. He was made to reprove our thoughts. He is grievous unto us even to behold, for his life is not like other mens, his wayes are of another fashion. Hence do the Children of God oftentimes incurr much mischief, by the wicked plots of the ungodly: And how­ever, if they escape this outward evil, they are grieved and vexed continually by their dayly misdeeds.

But Secondly, The Will of God is, that all that he admits to that Glorious Inheri­tance be tryed first, and he chastiseth every Son that he doth receive, 1 Pet. 1. 3. &c. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Iesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again to a lively hope, by the resurrection of Iesus Christ from the dead; unto an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven for you; who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time: Wherein you greatly rejoyce, though now for a season (if need be) ye are in heaviness through many temptations: That the tryal of your faith, [Page 261] being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tryed with fire, might be found unto praise, and honour, and glory, at the appearing of Iesus Christ.

Thirdly, and Lastly, We cannot escape suffering and the exercise of our Christian Patience, by reason of often assaults the Devil makes against us, who like a roring lyon goes about seeking whom he may devour; as also for the close siege that sin layes con­tinually against us, that [...], that sin that so easily besets us on every side. Heb. 12. 1.

But to display the Sufferings of the Heirs of the Kingdom more distinctly, I will cast them into these four several kinds.

  • 1. In Estate or Fortune.
  • 2. In Name or Estimation.
  • 3. In Body.
  • 4. In Soul or Spirit.

1. In Estate.] As if any man by his Pious Life, his delight in the Word of God, in Brotherly Conference or Community in Spiritual things; by his rebuking his Neigh­bour for Swearing, Profaning the Name of God; or by his Frugality and Sobriety, that he will not run to the same excess of [Page 262] riot with the rest of his Neighbours, but lives temperately, honestly and justly: If this man (as it is not improbable but he may) bring on himself the envy of wicked men, Sons of Belial, or at least their dislike; and so they having power, or empair his Estate by unequal Mulcts, or deny him his due Desires: I say, he suffers as an Heir of Heaven, as a Member of Christ, as a Child of God; and Vengeance shall be poured out upon his enemies, but his Hap­piness shall be increased.

2. In Name.] As our Saviour; who for his being in company with wicked men, to convert them and heal them, (as he him­self answered, The whole have not need of the physitian but they that be sick) he notwith­standing was termed a glutton, a winebibber, a friend of Publicans and Sinners. Mat. 11. For his casting out Devils, a Conjurer: For doing good and healing on the Sabbath-day, a Sabbath-breaker: For telling the Iews that which was true, that they were going about to kill him, a Demoniack, or one possessed of the Devil: For teaching the people the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, a Seducer. And so S. Iohn the Bap­tist, for his abstemiousness, his temperance, and severe manner of Life, was counted [Page 263] also one possessed of the Devil: S. Paul for preaching the Gospel, a pestilent fellow, one that turned the world upside down: That young man, one of the Sons of the Pro­phets, whom Elisha sent to anoint Iehu King, the Captains of Ioram counted him and call'd him a mad fellow. Wherefore came this mad fellow to thee. 2 Kings 9.

The Frugal, they'll call Nigards: The Conscientious, Timorous or Superstitious: The Humble, base-Spirited or Silly: The Harmless and Quiet, Fools or Innocents: The Charitable, Papists: The Zealous and fervent in Spirit, Puritans: Godly and Pi­ous Professours, Hypocrites. The Devil hath found out a nick-name for whatsoever is good: That Blasphemous Mouth can miscall every Attribute of God. But let us not be discouraged for all the reproaches of the World: For if we suffer in Name for well-doing, our Shame here is nothing to that Honour and Glory that shall be reveal­ed in us hereafter.

I will only raise one Vse from this point, and so leave it.

Did our Saviour Christ, his Apostles, the Prophets of old, and the Holy men of God, undergoe such harsh Censures? Were they branded with such notorious Names, and undeserved Calumnies? Then are not we [Page 264] to judge ill of any man merely from the re­port of men, till we see his Life our selves. They said of Iohn, that he had a Devil. They made the Son of man, a man Glut­tonous, a Wine-bibber, a Friend of Publi­cans and Sinners: But Wisdom is justified of her children, saith our Saviour, Matth. 11. 19. That is, by its fruits. By their fruit you shall know them. And if we find Purity of Life, far be it from us, Beloved, that we should speak reproachfully against such as we are not able to judge.

Wherefore let us rather mortifie our sin­ful Lusts, and purge our own Souls of Cor­ruption, that they may be a habitation for the Holy Ghost (rather than to give ill Names, or give credence to ill reports of others we do not know) our selves being still in our Carnal condition, Slaves of Sin and Satan; Servants of Pride, of Envy, of Avarice, of Drunkenness, of Whore­dom, of Lasciviousness: Which whosoever hath, let him be assured that he hath not the Spirit of God; for it will not abide in such a sink of Sin. Wherefore he cannot judge: But he that is spiritual judgeth all things; and he himself is judged of no man. 1 Cor. 2.

And thus I have briefly run through the external Sufferings of the Heirs of the King­dom [Page 265] of Christ, in Fortune and Name. The internal follow, in Body and Spirit.

3. In Body.] These kind of Sufferings you may read of, Heb. 11. Others were tor­tured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. And others had tryal of cruel mockings and scourgings; yea, moreover, of bonds and imprisonments, They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: They wandered in sheep-skins, and goat-skins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented.

It would be a long task to reckon up all the manners of the Sufferings of Holy Mar­tyrs, which they underwent, under the tyranny of bloody salvage Heathen. Head­ing, and Hanging, and Crucifying, were nothing for the satisfaction of their fury. They were broyl'd on Grid-irons; they were fryed in Frying-pans; they were boyl'd in Cauldrons; they were put in the Brazen Bull; they were fired at the Stake; cast into Ovens; fired in Ships, and so thrust from the shore into the deep; fired in their own Houses; cast upon burning Coals; made to walk upon burning Coals; burnt under the Arm-pits with hot Irons: They had their Hearts riven out of their warm Body; had their Skin flean off from [Page 266] their live Flesh; had their Feet tyed to boughs of two near Trees, which boughs being at first forcibly brought together, suddenly let go rent their Body in twain: They were trodden down by Horses; cast, bound and naked, into Vaults to be eaten of Rats and Mice: They had their Flesh pulled off with Pinsers, torn off with Iron-rakes; were squeezed to death in Wine-presses; were tyed upon Wheels, which turning, rub'd their naked Body against sharp pegs of Iron: They were hung by their Hands and Feet with their Face down­ward over choaking Smoak: They were set out on high in the Sun, having their naked Skin besmeared with Honey, to be stung with Bees and Waspes. The Devil spent all the skill and malice he had in finding wayes and engines of Torture for them.

God make us truly thankful unto him for his Mercy so long continued to us, that we have without terrour or torment so many years enjoy'd the Christian Religion in such Purity: And give us Grace to repent us of our unworthy walking, and unbeseemingly of so great a Light.

But as concerning these Sufferings of the Body, Beloved, such is the love of God to Mankind, and so reasonable is his Service, [Page 267] that he hath made it no necessary condition of Eternal Life, actually to suffer them. But we ought to be so minded, that rather than to relinquish the true Christian Faith (or do any thing which we know offends God) we would rather dye a thousand deaths. And this was S. Pauls resolution, Acts 21. I am ready not only to be bound, but also to dye for the name of the Lord Iesus.

But yet there is a Suffering in the Body, that we must needs suffer if we will ap­prove our selves the Children of God, and Heirs of that Glorious Kingdom: And this Suffering we must inflict upon our own selves. 1 Cor. 9. 27. But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection. These Sufferings are most acceptable to God, and requisite fore-runners of Eternal Life. If you live after the flesh, you shall dye; but if you through the Spirit do mortifie the deeds of the body, you shall live. Verse 13. of this 8th Chapter to the Romans. 1 Pet. 2. 11. Dearly beloved, I beseech you, as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, that war against the soul. And Galat. 4. 24. They that are Christs have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts.

You see plainly then, That we are not Christs, nor Gods, nor Heirs of God with [Page 268] Christ; unless we suffer with Christ, in mortifying all Bodily Lusts, in curbing our inordinate Desire of eating or drinking; unless we study to keep under the Body, and live chastly and continently. If we will be Heirs of that Heavenly Inheritance, we must bring under all evil and carnal concupiscence. If we will partake of that Eternal Glory in Heaven, we must be con­tent to suffer reproach and evil speeches amongst men.

If any man ask, what Necessity, what Reason is there? I will briefly shew him how it comes about.

First, For suffering in Name (for I will step so much back). There is no man loves to be disquieted in mind, or vext: But it would disquiet us, and gall us exceedingly, to be found fools; so that we have not the heart to find our selves so, it would so dis­content our natural proud Spirit: Hence we blame other men rather than our selves; and say, they be in the false way. So did the Pharisees to our Saviour, and to his Apostles: And thus were the Prophets used before them; because their wayes were of another sort, their speeches and actions of another fashion from the World.

[Page 269]You will better understand it in some Examples. A Carnal or Natural man, that hath no Sense of the Spirit of God, and is unacquainted with its Operations, derides such performances as Prayers, Exhortati­ons, or what so else may proceed from thence, as truly and extraordinarily proceed­ing from the Spirit of God; and counts those men, that acknowledge Gods power in them in the performance of such things, weak men, crack'd-brain'd Enthusiasts, Fanatical Fools, silly Lunaticks: But all this proceeds out of Pride, Envy, and Self-love; he himself being not able to per­form such Duties, or at least not in that manner.

So some that have got the trick of Pray­ing ex tempore, by Custom the Mother of Confidence and Dexterity (Ignorance and want of a true Sense of the Majesty of Heaven upholding them in their rash per­formance) these men will vilifie Justice and Uprightness, Humility and Patience, and the mortification of our Sensual Lusts; be­cause they find in themselves no such Ver­tues, nor intend to trouble themselves so much as to practise them. Then for the upholding of their own credit, they must give them poor contemptible terms, that they are but Heathenish Vertues, such as [Page 270] Socrates or Plato had, and make but a Moral man; and that there is no such need for a Christian to have them. But, Beloved, be not so deceived; but observe this Truth: Though Moral Vertue carries us no higher than an Heathen; yet without the exercise of Moral Vertue, and inward life and liking of it, we are no true Christians.

The Summe is this, That the good ways of God are spoken against and miscall'd, that wicked men may keep their credit, and yet walk indeed in the wayes of the Devil.

To the Second I answer, That it is ne­cessary that we suffer in the Flesh; because that if we do not keep down the Flesh and its suggestions, the Spirit will be choaked and stifled by that filth and corruption. The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. Ver. 7. The carnal mind, that is, [...], the bent, will, intent, liking, or desire of the Flesh is enmity with God; desires against the Will of God, and will not be obedient to the Law of God; nor indeed can be. Wherefore we are to kill it, to mortifie it, to crucifie it; that we may be dead to sin or the desire of the Flesh, and alive to God, by his enquickening Spirit, [Page 271] through Jesus Christ our Lord. Here is the Patience of the Saints: Here their great Suffering.

4. But I go on to their last Affliction, which is in Spirit: And that is twofold,

  • 1. The wrestling or conflict with spiritual wickedness in Heavenly places.
  • 2. The suffering with the Spirit of Christ.

For the First, Eph. 6. 12. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood; but against prin­cipalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world; against spiri­tual wickedness in high places.

Beloved, The great work of Salvation is not then accomplished, when we have through the power of God, and the strength of Jesus Christ, overcome the Lusts of the Body; as Drunkenness, Gluttony, Whore­dom, and the like: But we shall find a new task, the taming of our proud Spirit. For after our first conquest, I mean, the over­coming the Lusts of the Body; then pride and haughtiness, and contempt of our Neighbour, the thinking of our selves some-body, rigour and unmercifulness to our sinful Brother, the magnifying of our selves in some conceited Opinions, search­ing out and confidently concluding concern­ing [Page 272] the secrets of God, censuring and con­temning all men that are not of the same conceit in Divine Speculations with our selves: These and many such like evil de­lusions the Devil will sow in our Hearts. The Devil himself is neither Whoremaster, nor Drunkard, nor Glutton: But he is Proud, but he is Contemptuous, but he is Hypocritical, but he is a Blood-sucker, a Murderer from the beginning; full of self-love, full of self-admiration, full of cruelty under pretence of Religion, full of deceit and injustice under pretence of Truth and maintenance of Godliness, full of ambition and desire of rule, even over the Souls and Consciences of men, full of self-applause and arrogancy, and strutting in his own supposed knowledge and power. But true denyal of our selves, and unfeigned deep humility, a sensible apprehension of our nothingness, as I may so say, or real de­testable vileness, will cause such dreadful agonies in our Souls, that no tongue can ex­press nor heart conceive that hath not had experience of those bitter Sufferings: With so great pain and torment are we torn and riven from our spiritual wickedness, dis­jointed and dislimb'd, as it were, from our head, that Prince of Pride and Father of Disobedience, the Devil.

[Page 273]But I will now shew you the other kind of suffering, which is the suffering in Spirit by reason of other mens wickedness.

When we are united to God and Christ in the union of Spirit, then do those things that are contrary to the Spirit of God, as all manner of sin, trouble our Spirit: En­vious or cruel acts, drunkenness, deceit, pride, rigour, fierceness, folly, and what­soever else is sinful or vain; our Spirit be­ing enlivened by the Spirit of God, is griev­ed and vext at these wickednesses or vani­ties: Then we plainly see how Christ is cut, and lash'd, and hew'd, and stab'd with our wicked deeds, how he is crucified afresh, as the Apostle speaketh. Here may the true Church of God, the Holy Ierusa­lem, take up fitly that Lamentation in Ie­remy. Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow. See how the Prophet David was affected with the wickedness of men. Psal. 119. Mine eyes gush out with water, because men keep not thy law. I beheld the transgressours, and was grieved because men keep not thy word. So Lot was tor­mented at the wickedness of Sodom. 2 Pet. 2. 7. And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked. For that righteous man dwelling among them, in [Page 274] seeing and hearing vexed his righteous soul from day to day, with their unlawful deeds. So God complains in the Spirit of his Pro­phet Amos. Behold I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves. Amos 2. 13.

And surely there is good Reason it should be so, a sure Necessity. For Fire is not more contrary to Water, nor Light to Darkness; nor any enmity in Nature or among men so strong, as that betwixt the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of the Devil that is in evil wicked men; according to which they live and act. So then, when that detestable ugliness flowes out in their words or acti­ons, it must needs offend the Children of God; God being of pure eyes, and not abiding to behold wickedness. Hence are they driven into consuming zeal, or deep inexpressible grief. And this is the second kind of suffering in Spirit.

But, Beloved, take this in by the way, That he that can be angry at other mens faults, and not much more angry at his own, is a dissembler, an Hypocrite. Here­in let every man examine himself. But he that is so stupid, that he is not moved at all with the wickedness of others or of himself, is perfectly dead in Sin, and is in [Page 275] the full power of Satan, and is covered with Eternal Death and Darkness.

THIS Second Doctrine is now suffi­ciently plain; That they that would be Heirs of the Kingdom of Christ must suffer with Christ. I will again here stir you up to an examination and tryal of your Spiritual state, whether you have any interest in the Heavenly Inheritance.

The Sign and infallible Seal is our suffer­ing with Christ. But not any suffering: For the fuffering in Estate if we escape it, yet may we be inheritors of Heaven. But to be evil spoken of for Christ, is harder to efcape; yet admit we escape that too, we may for all that be secure of our Eternal Inheritance. Nor have all that are now with God been whip'd, and tortur'd, and put to death or martyrdom: But yet we ought to be so minded, that we had rather endure all these things, than depart from Christ. But all the other sufferings; as abstinence from voluptuousness, from the delights of the flesh, from priding our selves in any thing that God hath bestowed upon us; a suppressing our anger, abstain­ing from the sweetness of revenge, deny­ing of the ever-craving appetite of cove­tousness; [Page 276] keeping our tongues from the delight of defamation and evil reports, our ears from hearing evil of our Neighbour; These be necessary. All which endeavours will surely afflict and vex the corrupt Na­tural Spirit of a man: But he that will not undergo this suffering, believe it, Be­loved, he is none of Christs; he hath nei­ther part nor portion in the Kingdom of Christ and of God. But he that doth, though with great agony of Soul and affli­ction of Mind, fight against all this cor­ruption of Flesh and Spirit; He may bless God for his good condition, and with good reason lay hold of the hope of Heaven. They that are troubled in Spirit for the wickedness of men, the prophanation of Gods name, and any manner of sin and iniquity; these men may conclude that they have the Spirit of God, and conse­quently that they are the Sons of God: And if sons, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ: If so be that we suffer with him: Which our own Spirit to­gether with Gods Spirit doth testifie to us, that we do; and that we shall be certainly glorified with him.

Let every man herein examine himself, that he may find a true ground of his hope of Eternal Salvation. For none shall be [Page 277] saved but they that are the Children of God, elect to this Inheritance; none are the Children of God, but those that have the Spirit of God; none have the Spirit of God, but those that suffer with Christ, that mortifie their own sins and are grieved for the sins of others.

Be not deceived (Beloved) with flatter­ing dreams and phansies: This is the very Truth of God, and according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And this Truth being so apparently true, I need not exhort in many words, to those Christian Sufferings.

Stand fast in the true Faith of the Power of God, and quit your selves like men. Cast away all softness and effeminateness; and be so stout-hearted as to endure the pangs of Death, of the mortification of your sinful flesh and carnal mind, for his sake that dyed for you. Resist unto Blood; even unto the effusion of the wicked Life, and unrighteous devilish Spirit that resideth in you.

For this is the good will of your God, that you be mortified, that you be thoroughly san­ctified, that you destroy all things contrary to God in you. 1 Thess. 4. And let this be the First Motive to run with patience the race that is set before us.


[Page 278] Secondly, These our Sufferings, though great, are not comparable to the rich Re­ward, that Glorious Inheritance in Heaven. 2 Cor. 4. For which cause we faint not, but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

Thirdly, If we compare the future state of the Wicked and the Godly, how all their Glory and Pleasure vanisheth, and how the Children of God are received into Everlasting Happiness, crown'd with Eter­nal Light, it will more firmly establish us in our Christian resolutions.

It cannot be better described, then it is in the Book of Wisdom. The iniquities of the wicked shall convince them to their own face; and they shall approach the tribunal of God with fear and quaking. But then shall the righteous man stand in great boldness, before the face of such as have afflicted him, and made no account of his labours. When they see it, they shall be troubled with terrible fear, and shall be amazed at the strangeness of his salvation. And they repenting and groan­ing for anguish of spirit, shall say within [Page 279] themselves: This is he whom we had some time in derision, and a proverb of reproach. We fools counted his life madness, and his end to be without honour. How is he num­bred among the children of God, and his lot is among the saints. Wisd. 5. You may read the whole Chapter at your leasure.

Fourthly, and Lastly, The Inheritance of Heaven is conditional: If we suffer with him, we shall be glorified with him; which implies, if we do not suffer with him, we shall not be glorified with him. 2 Tim. 2. 11. This is a faithful saying, that if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him; if we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him.

Wherefore, Beloved, sooth not up your selves in vain hopes and flatteries: For without killing of your sinful Lusts, with­out Mortification there is no Salvation. He that hath not the Spirit of Christ, is none of his. Now no body hath the Spirit of Christ, unless he be dead unto sin: For if he be dead unto Sin, then shall he be raised from Death to Life, by the Spirit of Christ that quickeneth us to Righteousness: But if he be dead unto Righteousness, and alive unto Sin; he is a son of Belial, a child of the Devil, a vessel of perdition, a faggot [...] [Page 278] [...] [Page 279] [Page 280] for Hell; and the devouring. Wrath of God remains upon him: No Heir of God, no Coheir with Christ; but he shall have his portion with those infernal Fiends, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.

Wherefore, Beloved, awake from your beds of ease; shake off your idle dreams, and bewitching phansies, that either the Devil or his false Prophets have buz'd at any time into your heads. If you will be the Sons of God, and Disciples of Christ, take up the Cross of Christ; afflict your own carnal minds; give not way to wrath, to envy, to anger, to revenge, to lust, to wantonness, to back-biting, to swearing, to revelling, to drinking, to pride, to con­temning, to reproaching, to fighting, to contesting, to censuring, to defaming, or whatsoever else Flesh and Blood is easily carried out to; but deny your selves in abstaining from all those evil acts, and so give no encouragement to the Devil to as­sault you.

Which if you shall do in the precious Christian Patience, even to the mortificati­on of all manner of Sin in you, God shall stir up in you the Spirit of his Son, and enrich you with the Power and Wisdom of the Holy Ghost: And the Peace of [Page 281] God, which passeth all understanding, shall fill your hearts with all joy; and you shall find in your selves an unexpressible taste of the delights of Heaven, and receive an in­fallible earnest of your Eternal Inheritance. Which God grant that we may all do, through Iesus Christ our Lord; to whom, &c.

DISCOURSE X. JAM. i. 27. Pure religion, and undefiled before God and the Father, is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

THE Text is a description of pure and undefiled Religion. And certain­ly if any thing; Religion it is that wants the pointing out by the most evi­dent, plain and conspicuous descriptions that may be, to be writ in Capital Letters, in so large and visible Characters that he that runs may read it. For indeed most men are but at leasure to read it running, [...] by the by, tanquam aliud agentes; still keeping on their course in that broad way, that beaten path, that leads to the reward of impiety and irreligiousness.

[Page 283]But yet I know not how it comes to pass, that though men make not Religion their [...], their main business and work, yet they prove most-what, far more fortu­nate in this, than in their worldly occasions and employments; where, though they take a great deal more pains, yet we shall more ordinarily hear them complain of ill success. But as for Religion, how few are there that find themselves at a loss therein; nay that are not suited to their own hearts liking; and from these slight and transient glances cast upon it, are kindled into so hot a passion and inflammation of love and zeal for it, that finding their own breasts too strait and narrow for such a violent heat, would even force open the hearts of other men, that there may be more room and freedom for so ample a flame: Not con­tent to keep alive this Vestal fire within the walls of its own Temple, but to dis­throne the Sun, and ordain it the sole Lamp of the Universe; where all other Religions and Worships, must like the lesser Stars disappear and vanish. Every rash Religi­on is Popery, and claims title to all, must be Catholick: None must stand before it: A true Vr of the Chaldees, eating up and devouring all other Deities. Whatsoever is not This, is Idolatry, Blasphemy and [Page 284] Impiety. And therefore we can admit of none but our own: Or if we should by chance or unawares, we recoyl back with more than Caunian zeal and indignation. We are no where so lavish of our affection as in point of Religion; and the more, because no where more safe: For who can love God too much, and Religion immedi­ately referrs to God. This I would say, that in the many and manifold distractions and divisions which the sons of men exer­cise one another with on this blind and dark spot, the Earth; where there is a great deal more talk of God than true know­ledge of him; all Religions every where agree in this one, that nothing ought to be more precious and dear unto us than our Religion: And in this also, which I must again note with greater admiration, that ordinary Religionists are in nothing so su­perficially and perfunctorily satisfied in, as in what they do so devoutly love; whence it comes to pass that many thousands of men, Ixion-like, embrace not Iuno but a Cloud.

Wherefore we cannot sufficiently com­mend the sober care and prudence of the blessed Apostle, who hath so amply and fully set out to us, that, which few men have the patience to peruse in a closer [Page 285] Character: And therefore out of neglect and carelesness very subject to mistake; and if mistaken, mistake more dangerously than in any thing else possibly they can do; spending their most serious and dearest af­fections upon falshood, their very hearts and souls upon unprofitable lyes; and not only forfeiting their own happiness, but as much as in them lyes, pulling in others also into the same whirl-pool, or dangerous pit of destruction.

But, Beloved, that we be not led away with the same errour of the wicked, nor serve the phansies of men, let us again cast our eyes on the Text, and learn the truth of Religion.

Pure Religion and undefiled, before God and the Father, is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep a mans self unspotted of the world.

The Text as I intimated before, is a de­finition of Pure and Vndefiled Religion. I might resolve it into these two Logical terms of Definitum and Definitio. Pure Religion and undefiled before God and the Father, that's the Definitum or thing de­fin'd: The Definition this, To visit the fa­therless and widows in their affliction, and [Page 286] to keep a mans self unspotted from the world.

But I shall handle the Text more rough­ly, and fetch out, though not force out, these four Particulars.

  • 1. That there is a pure and undefiled Re­ligion.
  • 2. That God the Father is judge of this pure and undefiled Religion.
  • 3. That to visit the Fatherless and Widows in their affliction, and to keep ones self unspotted of the World, this is pure and undefiled Religion.
  • 4. That it is pure and undefiled Religion, even in the judgment and sight of God.

I. That there is a pure and undefiled Re­ligion.

[...].] It will not be amiss to make some short stay upon the unfolding of the words.

[...] signifies properly Cultus divinus. Orpheus the Thracian and great Mystagogue of the Graecians gave occasion to this term: For they being taught the manners and rites of serving the Gods by him, [...], as Nonnus tells us, They called the worship­ing of the Gods [...], as being a Thracian [Page 287] invention. Beza translates it very well and significantly Cultus Religiosus; and our English not amiss, Religion, in the proper sense, as it is taken for the Worship of God, and not extended to both Tables, as S. Austin and Lactantius would have it: For beside the propriety of the Greek word, the quality of those to whom the Apostle wrote is no small Argument, that that Religion which consists in Gods immediate Worship is here meant or alluded to; they being the dispersed Iews to whom he wrote (as is ma­nifest in the beginning of the Epistle) whose Native Religion consisted in multitude of Rites and Ceremonies, and was eminent for the outward Form of Worship and Ser­vice of God. These were all but a cloud, a veil, and mist, and was to be drawn aside and vanish at the approach of the Sun of Righteousness that was to rise with healing in his wings; that is our Saviour, God blessed for ever.

And according to this notion, the two following terms, viz. [...] and [...], will not only admit of but call for this Ex­position; viz. pure and unpainted, as the words are sufficiently capable thereof: The true, pure, refin'd, unsophisticated Religion is this.

[Page 288] [...]] [...]. Plato in his Sophista. And Plotinus Lib. 2. Ennead. 1. [...]. So that according to the idiom of the tongue, Pure Religion is that which is un­bared of all heterogeneal admixture, purg'd and separated from all ascititious addita­ments, cleansed and refined from that pal­pable gross luggage of unweildy Ceremo­nies; being pure Extraction, mere Essence or Quintessence, perfect Life and Spirit.

Again, [...]] undyed, unpainted with the pencil of Humane Art or Device; a naked and bare Truth: Which though it hath been diversly figur'd and shap'd by the outward dress of Ceremonies, yet it has been from everlasting to everlasting; Christ the same yesterday, to day, and for ever; [...], the Gospel of Eternal Truth, the Law of Life, the perfect Law of Li­berty.


It is most true of this everlasting Law of Life, whose Original is as deep as the Di­vine Abyss.

But I am afraid that I have by this Ex­position (though very true and genuine) so [Page 289] spiritualiz'd Religion, and unbared the Truth, that Carnal eyes accustomed to Shadows and gross Ceremonies, will doubt whether there be any thing of Religion left, after so much sifting and cleansing. But I hold it no hard task to answer these men. If they mean by no Religion left, no Ceremony left; I grant it: But if by no Religion, no truth of Religion; I say, there is nothing but the truth of Religion left. And that the truth of Religion should not deserve the name of Religion, as well as the Shadow or Type, I know no rea­son; no more than Caesar himself should not be called Caesar, as well as his Picture, be it drawn with never so much art and cunning.

Mistake me not, I speak not as if the kernel must of necessity be without a shell; but led on by my Text, I speak of the ker­nel without the shell, and exalt it far above the dry shell. Psal. 50. 13. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Psal. 51. 17. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. And Psal. 4. 5. Offer the sacrifice of righteousness; and put your trust in the Lord. And Rom. 12. 1. I beseech you brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, [Page 290] holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service: So Beza. They were not to offer any dead or unclean Beast under the Law; wherefore are we here under the Gospel to offer our selves a living and holy Sacrifice, impolluted of the World, and alive to Righ­teousness and to God.

Give me leave here a little to enlarge my self. Who can doubt but that the Heart of a Christian, from whence sweet odours of Prayers and Praises ascend up, is a better Altar of Incense than that in Moses's Tem­ple; that God is more truly fed by reliev­ing his living Members, true and sincere Christians, than by feeding the unsatiable fire by thousands of Holocausts; that the seven Spirits, the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and Might, the Spirit of Knowledge and the Fear of the Lord, are a truer and clearer light than the Seven Golden Candlesticks of Moses; that the Iewish Temple was but a strait prison in comparison of the enlarged Soul of man; So many load of Sand or Gravel would have filled that up to the top, but no less than God himself can fill the Heart of man: which therefore is the meetest Temple or Mansion for him. In brief, what is this [...] but as Nonnus speaks, [...] [Page 291] to honour and worship God; and what doth that consist in but in appropriating or con­secrating unto him times, or places, or things, persons also and solemnity of acti­ons? Is not this therefore to worship God in spirit and in truth? truly and unfeignedly to devote our selves, and dedicate all we have to the God of Heaven, seeking his Will in all our actions, and denying our selves and our own desires. What compa­rison is there betwixt the offering the First­lings of our Flock, or the Fruit of our Ground, whereby we acknowledge we hold all these things of God, the great Lord of Heaven and Earth; what comparison is there, I say, betwixt this and the not arro­gating any thing to our selves of either knowledge and power, but very sensibly and affectionately ascribing all to God, whatsoever we can do, think or speak; which is the right Christian Humility and Spiritual Decimation to the true Melchizedek Christ Jesus? And let me be yet bolder, (if there be any boldness in it) What is Baptism or the washing of Water, in re­spect of the real cleansing by the Spirit, the being Baptized with the Holy Ghost and with Fire? What is Bread and Wine in comparison of that true Bread from Hea­ven, the Flesh and Blood of Christ?

[Page 292]Tell me therefore now, is nothing of Religion left, when I only consider the in­ward essence or substance of it abstracting from shell or husk? Is the very heart or kernel of it nothing? The pure and un­painted Religion is truly Religion, if not the only true Religion. And pardon me if I seem too careful and curious in reserving the name of Religion to it; because that word strikes more powerfully upon the ears of men, and summons at the very first alarm all the power we have both of Soul and Body, to assist, countenance and main­tain it. Wherefore I would under the name (as the notion it self doth most emi­nently deserve it) commend unto my self and all men this truth of Godliness, that we may as heartily and zealously both as­pire unto our selves, and endeavour the same in others, as ever we did or can do the opinions and institutions of men, or yet the opposing of them: For this will not be found pure and undefiled Religion in his eyes who is the judge thereof; viz. God the Father. Which is the Second Par­ticular; and upon which I would now fall, did not another sense step between, which must awhile hold me back.

[...].] Hitherto [...] and [...] have signified, the pure and un­colour'd [Page 293] truth of Religion, without Show or Ceremony. The words are not incapa­ble of another sense, which our English Translation favours; Pure, impolluted or undefiled Religion is this: Which implies that there are impure, filthy and impious Religions in the World.

How it would make a noise to speak of the obscene Ceremonies of Baal-Peor, the cruel Rites of Moloch, and that most ridi­culous Devil-service in India! But we need not run back so much in time, or travel to so remote places. I do not see but the Invocation of Saints and Worshipping of Idols is impious enough; and the relying on any one man, or a multitude, for infalli­ble guides of his Faith and Religion, mere Idolatry and Irreligiousness. For what is this but to cut our selves off from the liv­ing God, and free guidance of his gracious Spirit, and to give up our selves to men, blind guides; to the sons of men that are found deceitful upon the weights, lighter than vanity it self? Is it not the Lord that hath made Heaven and Earth, and filleth all things with his spirit and power? Behold the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the ballance: All nations are before him even as nothing, and they are count­ed of him less than nothing and vanity. It is [Page 294] he alone that has established the mountains, and has given laws to the measureless deep; that has stretched out the Heavens as a cur­tain, and spreadeth it out as a tent to dwell in; that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grashoppers. Which of these will you chuse for your God? Or what number of them for the stay of your hearts? Will you worship a Fly instead of your Maker? Will you ask counsel of the God of Ekron? Will you advise with Baal-Zebub concerning your Sal­vation? Is not Christ the only Healer, the only Saviour, the only Recoverer of fallen man? Is his Holiness at Rome infallible? Or may not a many gray heads joyn'd to­gether go astray together? [...] saith Elihu in Iob; And I said days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wis­dom: But there is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them un­derstanding. Great men are not alwayes wise, neither do the aged understand judgment. Iob 32. It is the Lord that is the only wise God; that Auncient of dayes alone it is that can instruct us in Prudence; 'tis God the Father alone that can guide us safely in his Truth. And thus am I again cast upon the Second Particular; viz.

II. That God the Father is judge of what is true, pure and undefiled Religion.

And indeed there is very good reason for it: For what is Religion but the wor­ship and service of God? He therefore knows best how he would be worshipped and served. And here it will not be un­seasonable to speak of that worship which the Apostle has found out a very fit name for, [...] Will-worship, serving God according to our own will and liking, ac­cording to the dictates of our own vain hearts: A fault that a Natural man is not only subject to fall into, but it is even im­possible for him to avoid it: For who knows the Will of God, saving to whom the Word and Spirit of God is revealed from within? For if the outward could do it without the inward, why is the whole Christian World intangled in so much er­rour and confusion? Why, unless for that they have served God, either according to their own Will, or have been led captive under the Will of other men: For that they have forsaken the Lord the fountain of living waters, and have hewed them out ci­sterns, broken cisterns that will hold no water? Is Israel a servant? Is he a home-born [Page 296] slave? Why is he become a spoil? Verily because he is become a servant and a slave; because he has ceased now to be Israel, a Prince and prevailer with God, and hath put his trust in mortal men. What is Paul, Apollos or Cephas? What is Bellar­mine, Calvin or Arminius? Was Arminius Crucified for you, or was you Baptized in­to the name of Calvin? Wo to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a cover­ing, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin: That walk to go down to AEgypt (and have not asked at my mouth) to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt. Isa. 30. Shall all the preparation of Egypt be your safety? Shall your chosen Learned Scribes and Dis­puters, with all their knowledge of Tongues and Humane Arts, assuredly talk you into the truth? Where is that infallible Judge? There are enough that say, Lo! here is Christ; and, Lo! there he is. But it is a shrewd Argument that he is not here nor there: Or else why did Christ say, Believe thou not? He himself alone it is that is the Truth, and let all men be lyars before him. Cease from man whose breath is in his nostrils, for whereof is he to be accounted of?

[Page 297]If God then be that only infallible Iudge of pure Religion and well pleasing to him­self; who is to be sought unto but He?

But that no man deceive himself, (for truth can deceive no man) my drift is not to dehort from idolizing men that every man may make an idol of himself, and to cleave to sudden phansies, rashly sprung up in his polluted Spirit: But that we may tru­ly sanctifie God in our hearts, and serve him from a true, though inward invisible Principle of Life; that we may attain to that Righteousness of Faith, which we are not born with, nor the mouth of man can confer upon us, but is the Breath of the Holy Ghost; a Light and Life derived from God the Father, the Fountain of Light and Life, from whom proceedeth every good and perfect gift.

Of this it is written; You have an unction from the holy one, and you know all things. Io. 2. But as for us that have not yet attained thereunto, it will be our wisdom and safety to have this draught of pure Religion, set out by the Apostle, ever before our eyes; and endeavour to frame our service to God accordingly: To visit the Fatherless and the Widow in her affliction; and to keep our selves unspotted from the World. And this is the Third Particular, viz.

III. That pure and undefiled Religion is this, to visit the Fatherless and Widows in their affliction, and to keep our selves unsported from the world.

It is set out to us as once God shewed himself to Moses. [...] Videbis posteriora mea, Exod. 33. Religion is here describ'd à posteriori, or ab effectis: Which as it is most feasable to the Teacher, so it is most profitable to the Learner. For the very face and essence of pure Religion is unexpressible: No pencil can draw it, and exhibit the sight of it to other men. Hence is there, and ever has been a veil drawn over it; but it ought not to be environed with utter darkness. Let your light so shine before men, that they seeing your good works, may glorifie your father which is in heaven. The Sacraments are a veil over the Chri­stian Religion; but the Christians unfruitful yea impious Conversation, a Cimmerian mist, a palpable AEgyptian darkness.

But to return, though I have as yet scarce given one step out of the way: The description of pure Religion is from a two-fold effect. The first respects others; To visit the Fatherless and Widows in their [Page 299] affliction. The second respects our selves; To keep himself unspotted from the World.

But before I fall upon these particulars, it will not be amiss, first to set out some general Considerations, which the nature of this description affords us. And First, That the Apostle chuseth to describe Religion from the Effects of it, rather than from the Form, Efficient or End. Secondly, Why ra­ther from these Effects than any other.

1. For the First. The Form of pure Re­ligion, as I intimated before, is unexpressi­ble, no man can describe it. It is that name written in the white stone, that no man knows nor can know but he that has it. [...], as Plotinus in a case not unlike to this: If thou beest it, thou seest it; speak­ing of that eternal form or beauty. Then to have described it from the Efficient which should have been God, the Apostle knew very well what juggling and uncertainty there were in that: For all Religions call God their Author, and pretend his Glory for their End. So that this general delinea­tion would have been subject to much mi­stake, abuse and deceit. Wherefore the safest mark to point out true Religion was the Effects of it.

[Page 300]2. But why these Effects rather than any other? Would not Prayer, would not the Hearing of the Word, often Reading of the Scripture (as the very Etymon of Reli­gion, as some would have it à relegendo, doth import) would not these a great deal better have set out the nature of Religion? No verily: For I dare be bold to take the Apostles part, and rely upon his judgment. For as for the external act of Prayer, a Pharisee may perform it, both largely and often, with many tedious tautologies, and wearisome circumlocutions, as our Saviour has marked them out in the Gospel. And as for hearing Divine Truth to talk of it in a natural exercise of our Memory and Reason, it is pleasant even to the unregene­rate and impious man. That very natural motion that is in words and sounds put in a tunable number, and set off with action and affection, pleaseth in some sort even all kind of Auditors: And if smartness of Reason, and weight of Argument be added to it, the merest Philosopher that is, can be content to lend his attention thereto; and no acceptable point of Religion exerciz'd all the time. God himself bears witness against them; Ezekiel 33. They speak every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, [Page 301] and hear what is the word that cometh from the Lord. They come unto thee, and sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words but they will not do them; with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after covetousness. And lo! thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument; for they hear thy words but they do them not. And Reading of the Scripture privately is so like the publick Preaching of it, that I need not take any new pains to refute the vanity of it, if it be not accompanied with due obedience. We may fetch that up to Divinity, which Epictetus hath both wittily and gravely, of Moral Theorems. The Sheep tell not their keeper how much Fodder or Grass they eat, but shew that they feed suffici­ently by their Milk and Wooll.

Let us not therefore, Beloved, do as vain Limners they say have done, drawn Venus and the Virgin Mary according to the fea­ture of some Face they themselves love best: Let us not, I say, picture out Reli­gion to our own liking, and then be in love with an Idol of our own making, but love and like that which the Apostle has so plainly pourtray'd to us: That, whose de­scription consists in visiting the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and keeping [Page 302] our selves unspotted of the world: Which in two words is this, Charity and Purity. Of these two consists that true Religion accept­able to God. For I conceive visiting the Fatherless and Widows in their affliction, ex­cludes not other good deeds from this defi­nition, but by a Synecdoche, is put for the whole office of Charity.

1. The First branch is Charity.

I will not curiously and artificially set out the bounds of this Vertue. It will be enough to intimate, that it is not confin'd to the relief of the Body only; as he is not only Fatherless that wants his Natural Pa­rent, but he much more that has not God for his Father, through the seed of the new birth: Nor she alone a Widow that has lost her Natural Husband; but every Soul is a Widow that is estranged and divorced from her God; whose sins have made a separation betwixt her and her Maker. Thy Maker is thy Husband. Esa. 11. 54. He is so indeed to those that are not faithless and play the Harlot; for of such saith the Lord, She is not my Wife, neither am I her Husband. Hosea 2. 2. He therefore that can reconcile a Soul unto God, doth not only relieve the Fatherless and Widow, but procures an Husband and Father for them, [Page 303] and wholly rids them out of their distress­ful estate. These outward transient actions tending to the spiritual or temporal good of our Neighbour, are fit testimonies of our sincere Religion before men; but for every mans private satisfaction concerning himself, there be divers inward and imma­nent motions of the Soul which will abun­dantly help on this confirmation. I will reckon them up out of the mouth of the Apostle. 1 Cor. 13. Where I will not balk those that be at ad extra too, they being all very well worth our taking notice of. Cha­rity suffereth long, and is kind: Charity en­vieth not: Charity vaunteth not it self, is not puffed up: Doth not behave it self un­seemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily pro­voked, thinketh no evil, rejoyceth not in ini­quity, but rejoyceth in the truth: Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

2. I pass on now to the Second branch, Purity: [...], to keep himself unspotted from the World.

[...],] the word signifies properly such kind of spots as are in Clothes by spilling some liquid or oyly thing on them. An hard task certainly to be Religious at this height. Is it to be thought possible that we should [Page 304] wear this Garment of Mortality every day, nay every hour and moment, for thirty, forty, fifty, sixty years together, and soil it by no mischange or miscarriage, either of careless Youth, violent Manhood, or pal­sied Old Age? To pass through the hurry and tumult of this World, and never be crouded into the dirt, nor be spattered by them that post by us. But verily this is not the meaning of the Apostle, or of his description of Religion, that no man is Re­ligious but he that is absolutely spotless. But he sets before us an Idea or Paradigme of true Religion; that men having their eyes upon it, may know how much, or rather how little of Religion they have at­tained to: By how much nearer conform­able to this pattern, by so much more Re­ligious; by how much further off, by so much the less Religious. He that is not so much as within the sight of it, has not so much as seen the least glimpse or glance of Godliness, but may be, without any wrong to him, writ down, Atheist. Let every man herein examine himself, and ask his own Conscience, how unspotted he has kept himself from the World.

And here as hard a difficulty represents it self, if not harder than before. To keep himself unspotted from the World? Is it not [Page 305] pure Irreligiousness to think so? Impossible to be so? Who can keep himself pure? I answer, it may be a mistake in the Idiom of the Tongue; [...] is no more than [...], to be kept unspotted from the World; Hithpael for Niphai; as there is elsewhere Niphal for Hithpael, Acts 2. [...], for [...]: So Beza. Or to keep himself unspotted from the World, is to be understood so far forth as is in our power, which in truth is very little.

Here therefore steps in the power of Christ, that strong Arm of God for our Salvation, the stay and trust of all Nations, and the hope of the ends of the Earth. For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Iesus, hath made me free from the law of sin and death: For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh, con­demned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, that walk not after the flesh but after the spirit. Rom. 8. We walk, though it be in the power of that Spirit of Life in Christ, as our Body moves by vertue of our Natural Spirit. But whether this act of purification, or keeping our selves pure, be so from God, that it is not in any wise from us, I [Page 306] leave to them to dispute, that are more at leasure. That it must be in us, if there be any Religion in us, is all that the Text affords me, and 'tis enough for the tryal of our Religion.

Pure Religion is to keep our selves unspotted from the World.

What? to keep our selves unspatter'd and unspall'd upon by foul Tongues? 'Tis a thing as impossible as unprejudicial to the Soul her self. That which is without a man defiles not the man, but that which is within him.

What is meant by World, S. Iohn doth fully unfold unto us. All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but of the world. Of these then we must keep our selves unspotted, if we will be holy as our Heavenly Father is holy. This is the World that we must keep our selves un­stain'd of: But for the Natural World, [...], all things are sa­cred and good.

'Tis Sensuality that soyles the Soul, and fills the Mind full of impure thoughts, un­worthy desires; that transform the Hu­mane Nature, which is capable of the Image of God, into a loathsome Beast. 'Tis Covetousness that contracts the large [Page 307] Spirit of man, and makes it shrivel up and wrinkle, for want of that which can alone fill it, those unspeakable treasures of Heaven, that no tongue can number, nor figures express. How deformed is that mind, whose are nothing but Bills and Bonds, mouldy Money, moth-eaten Housholdstuff, and such like trash; rusty Locks and Keys, Iron Chests, and strong hollow Vaults be­hung with Cobwebs! This is the Covetous mans Soul, if we could see within him; nothing near so beautiful as the foulest pond or dunghil-puddle, where if you cast your eye, you may happily meet with the re­flection of the Stars, or the bright Circle of the Sun, or the white moving Clouds, or the pleasant blew-coloured Sky. But such things as an Ingenuous man would scarce have the patience to look on, be not only the continually desired Objects of the Worldlings sight, but the perpetual Life and Energy of his mis-shapen Spirit. And here though the Proud man may please him­self in conceiting, that this inward man is garnished with better bravery; and is a more comely Creature, his phansie glitter­ing with the representation of Crowns and Scepters, Silver Maces, Purple and Scarlet Robes, rich Stuffs and Holy Mitres: Yet if we look upon the Beast that bears this [Page 308] glaring luggage, his own dear Soul, what is the very life and heart of it but Pride and Envy; the two Essentials that constitute the ugliest of all Creatures, the deformed Fiends of Hell? And beside this innate ill-favouredness, his whole Person is ordina­rily besmear'd with the Bloud of the Inno­cent, and his Garments drop and reek with the warm Tears of the Afflicted and Op­pressed, and are foul and greasie with the Sweat of the Poor. This is the attire both of the Ambitious and Covetous man. And certainly there is very little Religion in him that doth not heartily abhor so abominable a monster.

I [...] but is there indeed much Religion in him that doth? I confess that a man may be temperate (for the Devil, as we ordina­rily conceive, is not lyable to the sins of the Flesh,) and yet fall short of true Reli­gion. His constitution, or some other strong but natural or secular design making him so. Covetousness is also often but a com­plexion, and Liberality may be no better in some men.

Some men are also born with a more low and quiet disposition, which is not the Vertue of Humility, but the lowness and stillness of their Natural Spirit. But to be unspotted of the World, is also to be free [Page 309] from the attraction of our own private Nature, which is a piece of this dark de­ceivable World, and to have our whole man acted and regulated by the Spirit of God. Dull Phlegm is no Christian Pati­ence; nor all Fire, true Zeal; especially if it be fed by the fat of the Earth. But that is true Zeal that flowes out in affliction, and glories in the cross and tribulation. He is not chast that never partak'd of the bed of defilement, nor temperate that eats nor drinks to excess: But he that enjoys the pleasure of the Creature, only in reference to the Creator, tasting the sweetness of his God, even in his Meat and Drink, lifting up his Soul to the Meat that perisheth not, but endures to Eternal Life. He is un­touch'd of Covetousness, that desires no­thing for himself, but is a faithful Steward of the manifold Blessings of God. He is unstain'd of the Pride of life, who is so dead to himself, and the sense or cognos­cence of his own power and will, that he arrogates no good thing to himself; but doth, from the very ground of his Soul, speak that of the Prophet, Thou, O Lord, hast wrought all our works in us. This is, as I said before, the right Idea or Paradigme, of true Religion. By how much more near we come to this, by so much more near we [...] [Page 308] [...] [Page 309] [Page 310] are to Religion; and the farther removed hence, the farther off from true Religion. If any man doubt of it, I appeal to this judgment that cannot err, even to God the Father; and that's included in my last par­ticular, viz.

IV. That to visit the Fatherless and the Widows in their affliction, and to keep our selves unspotted of the World; this is pure and undefiled Religion, even in the sight of God the Father. I will dispatch this point in a word or two.

The Summ, as you may remember, of this description of Religion, was comprised in these two words, Charity and Purity. Both these are so near the Nature of God, that he is engaged (as I may so say) to give Sentence for them. God is love; and he that abideth in love, abideth in God, saith S. Iohn. Can any thing then be more ac­ceptable to God then Love? To do good and communicate, forget not, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased, saith the Au­thor to the Hebrews. And our blessed Sa­viour, Matth. 5. Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you; that you may be [Page 311] the children of your father which is in heaven: For he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust. Be ye therefore perfect as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. So then there is no doubt of Gods sentencing that Religion for the best, whose Nature consists in that which himself loves and likes, and is the image of himself, viz. Love or Charity. And we have his Com­mand for the other part thereof, back'd with his own Example, viz. Purity. Be ye holy saith he, for I am holy.

But what is now this Holiness or Purity of God? Is it not this? That whereas he is present in all things, he is not immerse nor polluted of any thing. So must our Souls be. We are of necessity here in this Orb of Death and Corruption, actors in the administration of the affairs of this lower World. Let not our hearts sink in­to that, that our eye must needs attend, if we be not idle and useless. Every man has a part or province committed to him by God: Let us administer our part as God doth the whole; not by immersion or spilling our Souls or Affections upon the visible Creature; but collectedly into God, as God is collected into himself. Let not our Souls cleave unto the dust, nor be spilt [Page 312] upon the ground, as the Prophet David some­times complains; but be as the Rayes of the Sun, which though they reach to the Earth, sink not in the Earth; but being fast fixt in their fountain, or not, the Sun it self, do alwayes move whither he carries them. Let us also acknowledge our own Original which is from above, and move with God and the Lamb, wheresoever they go. Let us be so pure as not to drown our selves in the muddy stream of this tran­sient World: Let us be so Charitable as to wade in it, that others be not drown'd. Let our Love to men be such, that we make not our selves unprofitable members of the World. Let our Love to God be such that we keep our selves pure and unspotted from the love of the World. Let our whole Conversation be such, that all men may see (that have eyes to discern) both whence and whose we are; that we serve not the Will of man, nor are Vassals to our own vain Desires, but are the free Servants of Christ, and true Worshippers of the Living God.

O Lord our God, thou which alone art able to speak to the Hearts and Consciences of men, descend we beseech thee powerfully into us by thy Holy Spirit: Guide and teach us in [Page 313] thy ways. Open our eyes that we may see the wonders of thy Law. Set up thy Truth in us, and the Life of thy Son, above all contentious opinions and conceits of men. Take away all Pride, and Prejudice, and Wrathfulness, and Hypocrisie; and grant that the whole Chri­stian World may agree in Meekness, and that sweet Candour and Simplicity that is in Christ Iesus. Shew unto us, and convince us of that acceptable Service thou requirest at our hands. Let bitterness, and heart-burning reviling, and all deceit, and falseness, cease from amongst us; and let the Scepter of thy Son bear rule over us in Peace, and Truth, and Righteousness. Enrich us with those pre­cious Graces of Love and Purity: And let the effectual power of thy Spirit be so felt amongst us, that the least of thy Church may be as David, and the House of David as the Angel of the Lord before thee. Hear us, O Merciful Father, &c.

DISCOURSE XI. HEB. xiii. 16. To do good and communicate forget not, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

THE Philosophers define good to be that which all things desire. Now all Desire is founded in Life: And Life is twofold; There is the Life of Na­ture; and the Life of God, which in men is called the Life of Grace. Now both these Lives desire good. But here is the difference: The Life of Nature is only carried to good, as it is good to it self; or if it wish good to others, its for its own sake: The Life of God, or Life of Grace, desires good too; but not only for it self, but simply it desires good, wheresoever it can be effected, in due order and right means. So that the Heart of the Divine [Page 315] Life is enlarged toward every capable thing, and would impart its good so much as any is capable, and so oft any is disposed: For there is neither envy, want nor niggardness in the Divine Nature.

So then he that is thus affected; whose bowels are enlarged to his fellow-creatures, to every one as they are capable: He that is merciful to the beast, loving to men; feeds the hungry; clothes the naked; vi­sits the sick; directs the traveller; is cour­teous to the stranger; informs the igno­rant; heartens the poor-spirited; sheweth the proud his folly; comforts him that is in sorrow; ballasts him that floats in vain joy; soders up enmities, and stints strife; flies envy, and exerciseth an universal ami­ty to all: This man is like his Heavenly Father, who makes his Sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust. This man will neither persecute his enemy out of hatred, nor ac­quit his friend in his fault, out of fond love: But deals his doals of all kinds to every one as he is fitted for receiving; slips no opportunity of doing any manner of good; loseth no occasion of hindering of evil. His Soul is nothing but the inward Life of Charity; his Life nothing but the passing from munificency to munificency, [Page 316] from one good deed to another. Out of love to God he embraceth his Neighbour; after his duty to his Neighbour faithfully perform'd, he is nearer united unto God. He becomes a King for his bountiful libe­rality and royal free mind. He becomes a Priest, by offering these Sacrifices so accept­able to God. Nay he himself is but one intire Sacrifice, whom that great High-Priest, Christ Jesus, offers to his Father: The fire of Love and Charity, is the fire that consumes and wasts continually all corruption in his Soul; and loosen'd every day more and more from the body of sin and iniquity, ascends in holy fume up nearer unto Heaven, a sweet savour unto God and all the assistants of the Divine Majesty.

But for a more orderly handling of this present Text of Scripture: Be pleased to observe with me these three Truths con­tained in the same.

  • 1. That we are not to forget to do good and communicate.
  • 2. That doing or communicating good is a Sacrifice.
  • 3. That it is a Sacrifice in which God is well pleased.

I. That we are to do good, I think no man is so devoid of reason or goodness as to deny it; no not so much as in his silent thoughts: Though this Truth that he is so certainly perswaded of, lies not alwayes so freshly in his mind, but he may easily overslip the practice of it Yea because a mans understanding, cogitations and affe­ctions are so mightily taken up for his own projects, and the advancement of his own private peculiar good, it were somewhat strange, if he did not omit too too oft this Duty of communicating good to others; his fierce and eager pursuit after his private welfare, so strongly and steddily directing his eyes upon his own.

We being therefore so subject, out of the extream love of our selves, to forget the good of our Neighbour, it is no won­der that the Apostles Exhortation is not de­livered in a bare simple manner: Do good and communicate: But runs thus, To do good and communicate forget not. As if he should say, ‘I have delivered in this my Epistle, many high and Divine Myste­ries, concerning the Divine Nature of Christ, the Office of the Angels, of the Levitical Priesthood, and Ceremonies of the Old Law, the Sacrifice of Christ, [Page 318] and the excellency of Faith, and many other Heavenly Theories; which for their profoundness may easily invite the curious to muse upon them, and for their mysteriousness made me write somewhat more largely upon them: But that which I speak to you now; it is not a thing so difficult to understand, or so hard to explain, you know it already, only be mindful to do it; To do good and communicate forget not.

And that we forget not, God hath set over us Monitors enough; it is not the voice of the Apostle alone, but of the whole Creature. The Clouds drop fatness upon the Earth. The Earth sends up all manner of Herbs and Corn for service, and Flowers for delight of men. The Trees stretch out their spreading armes and offer their Fruit. The musical falls of the cooling crystal Brooks, sweetly call to them the thirsty Traveller to refresh his fainting Spirit. The Sun and Moon, with all the Host of Hea­ven, dance in their circuits about the Earth, as being joyful to impart their Light and Influence, for the procreation of things here below, and their continual conservation. The Sun cometh forth as a bridegroom out of his chamber, and rejoyceth as a gyant to run his race: He leaves us indeed in the West; [Page 319] but in the Morning he carefully revisits us with his chearing Countenance, and rescues the World from the close cloging Vapours of the loansome Night. See how readily and willingly the Creature practiseth this Precept of the Apostle, and therefore be­come fit Preachers unto us to do the same.

But if we scorn to have so poor a Pat­tern as the visible Creature; look through the Creature unto God. For it's He rather that doth this, than the outward visible Creature. He laid the foundations of the earth, that it never should move at any time. He sends his springs into the rivers, which run among the hills. All beasts of the field drink thereof; and the wild asses quench their thirst. Beside them have the fowls of the air their habitation; and sing among the branches. He watereth the hills from above; the earth is filled with the fruits of his works. He bringeth forth grass for the castle, and green herb for the service of men. That he may bring food out of the earth, and wine that maketh glad the heart of man. He appointed the moon for certain seasons: and the sun knoweth his going down. Psal. 104. He lov­eth righteousness and judgment; the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord. Psal. 33.

The continuation of the Creature, and subsistance of this mighty Universe, is no­thing [Page 320] else but a continual testification of the Nature and Goodness of God, and his munificent and communicating property.

Wherefore we being incompassed with such a world of witnesses, witnesses that so clearly testifie unto us the mind of God and Christ, let us be like-minded with him, and delight in doing good according to our power, to shew our thankfulness to him, of whom all power is received. There is the same Argument for giving, that there is for forgiving. Mat. 18. 32. O evil ser­vant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou prayedst me: Oughtest not thou also to have pity on thy fellow, even as I had pity on thee? So surely God will reason with us in this matter too, That which thou hast, I gave it thee; why therefore dost thou not imitate me, and impart somewhat to thy Neighbour of that I gave thee? Freely you have received (saith our Saviour) freely give.

NOW for the better understanding of this point, I will spend a few words by way of explication of this act of communi­cating of Good; wherein three things are supposed, and therefore to be explain'd so far forth as is necessary: There is the per­son, to whom we must communicate; the [Page 321] matter, what; and the manner, how we must communicate.

(1.) The Persons to whom we are to com­municate, are such as the Prophet David names: Psal. 112. 9. He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor; and his righteousness remaineth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour.

Quite contrary to the garb of the World, and common practice of crafty and cove­tous men, who exalt themselves by gifts of unrighteousness, and trample upon the poor and needy how just soever; and con­temn the weak as of little worth: Whose Charity is none, and Courtesie but Policy, Munificency a well contrived bargain: Whose Gifts are but Worms and Flies; but their Expectation, no worse than the best Fish they can pull up: Whose Hearts are alwayes cold; and their Hands ever be­numb'd, till mutual friction. Manus manum fricat. This has alwayes been the way of them, the usual beaten path of the World; and their Children praise their sayings.

But the Children of God, born of the Coelestial Seed, be quite of another temper. Witness that true noble and Heroical Spirit in our Eldest Brother Christ Iesus: With whom if the generosity and gallantry of [Page 322] the World be compar'd, it will appear mere pageantry: Or to express the truth more homely and rudely, they will be found partaking more of the Huxter than the Courtier. But to leave them to their petty markets, let us endeavour not to de­generate, but to follow the counsel of the First-born of our Fraternity. Luke 14. 12. When thou makest a dinner or supper (saith our Saviour) call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and recompence be made. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame and the blind; and thou shalt be blessed because they cannot recompence thee, for thou shalt be recompenced at the resurrection of the just.

But what needs so ample a testimony in a case so plain? Even ordinary Reason will tell us to whom Good should be imparted: Not to them that have enough already, but those that want. Physick is proper to him that is sick already, or is inclining to sickness. To whom should Drink be given, but to the thirsty? To whom Meat, but to the hungry? Clothes to the naked; and warm harbour to him that is afflicted with cold. So that whatsoever Good it is that a man is in want of, that Good is to be ad­ministred unto him, by him that is not in that want.

[Page 323](2.) Good is to be administred, which is the matter that is to be communicated. If any, ask Bread, we are not to offer him a Stone; or if a Fish a Scorpion. Which though we do not in that gross manner, yet too oft we do, lapides loqui, we mall the poor indigent man in the head with some stonish or hard-hearted answer, and deal such liberal lashes of sharp reproof, that bites and stings him as the whips of a Scorpion.

But that we straiten not the sense of this Text more than needs: This communica­ting of good is not confin'd to outward Bread and Meat, and such necessary things for the natural sustentation of man; but stretcheth also to that of the Soul. So that this good which we are to impart, may be divided into these two general kinds, In rem & consilium; A supply of outward ne­cessaries, or seasonable and friendly advice. Both these are good, and so both to be communicated, where we see there is a want, and find our selves able to make a supply.

He that informs the Ignorant, doth as it were lead the Blind. He that comforts the distressed Conscience, gives a Cordial to the sick. He that appeaseth Pride and [Page 324] Anger, asswageth a dangerous swelling. He that casts out the envious Devil out of a man, cures a rotting Consumption. He that out of friendly monition and informa­tion amendeth another mans outward Man­ners and Behaviour, clotheth him as it were with a seemly garment and comely orna­ment. He that begets in a man the love of Vertue and true Piety, restores him to Life.

These things ought to be done, but the other in no wise left undone. For he that is liberal in good words, and a nigard in his works, he doth but verba dare, deceive both himself and others.

Now to whom and what we are to give, I have briefly intimated.

(3.) It remains that I speak of the man­ner; which consists especially in these three things: 1. In the quantity of the gift. 2. In the universality of the persons to whom we are to give. 3. In the inward affection or qualification of the mind of the giver.

1. For the quantity of the gift. 2 Cor. 9. I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to come before unto you, and to finish your benevolence appointed before, that it might be [Page 325] ready as of benevolence and not of sparing: Remembering this, that he which soweth spa­ringly shall reap also sparingly, and he that soweth liberally shall reap also liberally.

Now that those that are of a lower fortune be not discouraged or disheartened from giving Alms, because they may con­ceive that their estate is such that their act of communicating must needs be deficient in this first requisite: They are to under­stand that this quantity of their Alms, con­sists not in an absolute bigness or largeness, but is in relation to their states and abilities. See what a testimony our Saviour gives of the poor Widow, who cast in but her two Mites into the treasury, among those great largisses of the rich men. He called to him his Disciples, and said unto them, Ve­rily I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they that have cast into the treasury: For they all did cast in of their superfluity, but she of her poverty did cast in all that she had, even all her living. Two Mites was not more than all those rich men cast in, but was more to her, or in respect of her poor fortune, than that which those rich ones gave, was to them and the abun­dance of their Estates! From whence that is plain which I said before, that the quan­tity of our Alms doth not consist in an ab­solute [Page 326] bigness, but in a respect to our abi­lities.

AElian in his First Book of his Various History, tells us how the Persians, when the King goes his Progress, are all to offer Gifts to him, [...], every one according to his ability. ‘And that one Sinetas, when King Artaxerxes was not far off from his Cottage, what with the fear of the Law, and what with the shame, that he should not be found as forward as any in expression of his Loy­alty and good Will toward the King; having notwithstanding nothing at all at that time to offer or present to his Ma­jesty: The poor man was ill troubled in his mind; and in this perplexity (the King approaching nearer) he runs to the River Cyras, hard by, with all speed, kneels him down, gets up Water in the hollow of his Hands, comes to the King and salutes him after this manner; [...], O King, Ar­taxerxes, Reign for ever; I now (O King) what I am able, after what man­ner I am able, offer this Present unto you, that so far as lies in me, you may not pass by me without the acknowledg­ment of my Duty and Allegiance: The King was very well pleased with the Gift, [Page 327] and commanded the Water to be receiv­ed into a Golden Phial.’

Surely the Charitable man serves as rea­sonable a Master, and one as graciously disposed. Our Saviour Christ hath promi­sed his favourable acceptance even of but a cup of cold Water. Whosoever shall give one of these little ones to drink a cup of cold water only, in the name of a disciple, Verily, I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. Matth. 10. And to make the application of the story more fit: He that offers a cup of cold Water to these little ones, offers it to no less than a King, and no less a King, than the King of Heaven and Earth; Matth. 25. 34. &c. (where these doers of good, and free communicators, receive their doom of that great Judge, and mighty Prince Christ Jesus.) Come ye blessed of my Father, (saith he) inherit you the kingdom prepared for you from the foun­dations of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat; I thirsted, and ye gave me drink; I was naked and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or a thirst, and gave thee drink? or when saw we thee a stranger, and lodged thee? or naked, [Page 328] and clothed thee? or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer, and say unto them; Ve­rily I say unto you, inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me. He therefore that offers a cup of cold water to these, offers it to this King, who hath promised a gracious acceptance of it, and a sure reward.

Wherefore we are not to be discouraged from these works of Charity, though our means be small: For if we give a little of a little, that little is great in the eyes of God, who knoweth how to prize the works of his Saints. If there be a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that a man hath not; saith the Apostle, 2 Cor. 8. So that we see none excluded from this First requisite, in communicating of good: For though one man cannot give so much as another, yet one man may be as liberal as another; which is, if he give as much for his Estate as the other doth for his.

Which consideration, as it may animate the Low-estated man in his Beneficency: So it may make them of higher fortunes, bring their Liberality to the right measure, and consider that he hath not done a super-eminent act of Charity above others, be­cause [Page 329] his Alms was bigger than others of lower degree. He that gives one shilling out of twenty, is as truly liberal as he that gives one hundred pound out of two thou­sand. This I speak, that the Poor man depretiate not his slenderer bounty, nor the Rich overprize his larger liberality; but that all may walk in all Meekness, Humi­lity and Holy Charity, before God and be­fore men.

2. But I pass on to the Second requisite in our Beneficency, which is the Vniversality thereof. Gal. 6. 10. While we have time, let us do good to all men; especially to them of the houshold of faith. Here's no evasion out of this injunction. If so be the Apostle had said, [Do good to all,] some cavilling Sophister would have said, I; to all Chri­stians, or to all true Professours; (As every Sect will be found to stile themselves so.) Thus this [All] is to be restricted. But the Apostles command, or rather the manner of it, prevents all such self-seeking Sophi­stry: [Do good to all men whatsoever, so far as they are capable; though in the first place I could wish you to have a special tender care of them of the Holy Faith, and upright Godly Life.]

[Page 330]I, but (will Flesh and Blood reply) to our Enemy? Yes, to our Enemy. If a man find his enemy, will he let him go? This was that that amased Saul so mightily: That David (a Type of the Divine Love, a Sym­bol of the very Life and Spirit of Christ,) that David whom he had sought to kill, should let him escape when he was in his power: It wrought so upon Sauls Spirit, that it forced tears from his eyes, and made his heart in his body like melting wax. When David had made an end of expostu­lating with Saul about his unjust pursuit of him, and had shewed how dear his Masters Life was in his sight; Saul said, Is this the voice of my son David? And Saul lift up his voice and wept: And said to David, thou art more righteous than I: For thou hast rendered me good, and I have rendered thee evil. 1 Sam. 24.

I will only add the Apostles Exhortation, Rom. 12. 26. If thine enemy hunger feed him, if he thirst give him drink.

3. And so I go on to the Third requisite, which is the Qualification of the mind of the giver; which consists chiefly in these two things, 1. In chearfulness and willingness of mind. 2. In an honest and humble sim­plicity of heart, without any reference to [Page 331] the applause and approbation of men, but in an unfeigned obedience unto God, and tender heartedness toward his Neighbour.

(1.) That Chearfulness S. Paul speaks of, 2 Cor. 9. As every man wisheth in his heart; so let him give, not grudgingly or of necessity, for God loveth a chearful giver. And Rom. 12. 8. He that sheweth mercy, let him do it with chearfulness.

It should seem that in time past the Ho­ly Saints of God distributed their Alms to men with such a loving and kind Spirit, that they out of the abundance of their good affection, added sweet and comfort­able words to their Christian Bounty; whence in the New Testament in the ori­ginal, Beneficency is called [...] good-speaking, blessing or well-wishing to the party to whom they do communicate: And the Hebrew word [...] hath the same notion, which signifies both benediction and a gift.

(2.) The Second qualification of mind is the Sincereness of communicating, without re­spect to popular applause, but merely out of love to God and our Neighbour. Take heed that you give not your almes before men, to be seen of men; or else you shall have no reward of your father which is in heaven. Not that it is unlavvful to give Alms in [Page 332] the sight of men; but unlawful it is to give Alms in the sight of men of a purpose to be seen of them. A man among other Gifts and Graces of God may let this light of Mercy shine also before men, that they seeing his good works may glorifie his Fa­ther which is in Heaven: I say, with this proviso we may do our works in publick, that it be not for our own proper ostenta­tion, but for the Glory of God.

HITHERTO I have declared, To what persons we are to give; what we are to give to these persons; and after what manner we are to give: I will now set down some Motives to stir us up to give our Beneficence to due Objects of our Be­neficence.

1. The First Motive may be drawn from the things themselves that we communi­cate: For such is the nature of them that no man can assure himself the possession of them, no not an hour. Wilt thou cast thine eyes upon that which is nothing? For riches taketh her to her wings as an eagle, and flyeth into heaven. Prov. 23.

Here's a double Argument to unty our hearts from that which Flesh and Blood so easily cleaveth to. The most envious and [Page 333] nigardly man that is, will be very well content to give nothing, or to part with that which he conceives to be worth little or nothing: And such is Riches in them­selves (unless made good use of for further happiness) instead of being of our substance they are nothing, if Solomons judgment be better than ours. But grant they be some­thing; I, and some great thing too, and very desirable: Yet it being so uncertain how long we shall enjoy them, being they are so suddenly stone, as an Eagle that in a moment gets upon her wing; surely we would do wisely to follow our Saviours counsel, Make you friends with the mammon of unrighteousness, that when you fail they may receive you into everlasting habitations. Luke 16.

The Covetous man holds his Wealth so fast, as if he was perswaded whensoever his Riches take their flight as an Eagle, and mount to Heaven, they will draw him up with them. I, but if he hold so fast, how shall they fly? Or if they get from him, he holds not fast then, and so is dis­appointed of his post.

But to let this pass, and fall more seri­ously upon Instruction. There's no way of making Riches serviceable for our journey to Heaven, but willingly to let them fly [Page 334] thither before us: And that is by giving them to poor honest necessitous people; to them that are as poor in Spirit as in Purse. Thus may your Liberality happily arrive at Heaven: For Heaven is where God is; and God is there if any where. In so much as you did it to any of these little ones, you did it unto me, as you heard before out of the 25th of S. Matthews Gospel. He that gives unto these, doth rather purchase than part with his Means: He doth but remove his goods to another house, whither he him­self shall follow after, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

2. And this is the Second Motive, viz. The profit which doth accrue to us from our liberal distributions. But if we be so sharp set that we cannot wait till that great payment: That we have no excuse to hold our hands from doing good, God hath pro­mised even a Temporal Reward too. Prov. 28. 27. He that giveth to the poor shall not lack. And elsewhere in the Proverbs, He that giveth to the poor lendeth unto the Lord. And the borrower you know returns the same kind to the lender. So we lending Temporal things to God, God will return to us Temporal things here; and Eternal Spiritual Riches he will endue us with here­after.

[Page 335]3. The Third Motive is taken from the persons to whom we are to communicate. The rich and the poor meet together, and the Lord enlightens both their eyes. Prov. 29. No difference between the greatest Prince and the poorest Beggar, but the goods of Fortune; or rather of Providence: For they come not to us by chance, but by the good will of God, who hath made out of his Wisdom, some Poor and some Rich, that we may have occasion to exercise the acts of Mercy and tender Compassion to our Brethren; who live by the same Air, vvalk in the light of the same Sun, vvere created by the same God, are to be saved by the same Christ. There is one Body and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling: One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism: One God and Father of all; which is above all, and through all, and in you all. Eph. 4. What? One Body, and one Mem­ber despise and disregard another? One Spirit, and not sympathize one vvith ano­ther? One Hope, and not help one another? One Lord, and not one fellovv-servant ac­knovvledge another? One Father, and Bre­thren not relieve one another? One God above all, over-seeing us all in all our acti­ons, (vvho though he be so high, yet be­holdeth [Page 336] things here belovv upon earth) and vve poor earthly vvorms overlook one ano­ther? One God in us all, and no goodness in us all? God vvho is Love it self pierce through us all, and yet not those lovely shafts of holy Charity vvound any of our hearts? God forbid. If vve abide not in Love, God abideth not in us. If our hearts be contracted and darkened by frozen rigid­ness, the light of God shineth not through us. If our poor contemptible Neighbour be so far under us, that vve disdain to stretch forth our armes to help him, vve forget God above us. If vve love not as Brethren, God is not our Father. If vve be asham'd of our Fellovv-servants, the Lord is not our Master. If vve be cold in mutual affection, our Faith is dead, and Hypocrisie is our Religion. If vve have no sympathy or fellovv-feeling, the Spirit vve boast of is but vanity or empty air. If vve favour not one another as Members of the same Body, vve are not Members of the same Body; but disunited Dust, vvhich the Wind blovves to and fro upon the face of the Earth, and the Angel of God scat­ters it.

Community is but a name vvhere there is no communication of good: Vnity but a deceivable phansie vvhere there is no real [Page 337] Mercy. He that will endanger the Soul of his Brother by with-holding the sustenance of his Body, which out of Brotherly affe­ction he is to administer to him, surely that [...], that Brotherly Love which the Apostle calls for, dwelleth not in him. The very shame of Poverty will force a man to do or suffer any thing: How much more will pinching hunger, scorching thirst, be­numming cold! Necessity hath no Law, or at least necessitous persons are easily drawn to think so. Give me not poverty (saith the Wise Man Prov. 30. 8, 9.) lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain. A good man is merciful to his beast, and shall not we be so good as to have compassion upon men? The miserable and penurious condition of the Poor man would afford me great store or plenty of Argu­ments to plead his cause; but I will only name them; Hunger, thirst, nakedness, rags, filth, deformity, pensiveness, sick­ness, torture, contempt, sighs, tears, groans, fear, despair, disconsolateness, assaults of the Devil, hard-heartedness of the World, dejectedness of his spirit, weak and vain looks, loss of limbs, blindness and deafness. I cannot name them all; Poverty is attended with such a numerous regiment of defects and infirmities, that [Page 338] they may win the most strong and stony heart to compassionate their miseries.

But because we are fallen into these ill latter times, in which the Apostle hath foretold that the love of many (or rather of most, if not almost of all) shall wax cold; Mercy and Pity are not passions easily to be stirred up out of the representation of our Neighbours misery and ill plight. These are poor contemptible vertues, befitting the weak womanish sect: A strong vigorous faith, (I would to God it were so) or if you will, a deep conceited phansie that we are Gods Children, (though we be not merciful as our Heavenly Father is merciful) is altogether in request and fashion amongst us Christians. So this conceit makes us abound with Love toward God, (as vve think): But when all comes to all, it will prove but false and adulterate Love; It will not abide that touchstone, If you love me keep my commandements: Or that of S. Iohns Epistle, Chap. 3. Whosoever hath this worlds good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

4. But if we do love God so much, and our Neighbour so little, yet we may not evade or escape this duty of doing good for all that. For say that all our time is [Page 339] to be spent in the duties of the First Table, all our Piety to be shewed in performances toward God: If I shew that these acts of Mercy and Bounty, be acts of the First Table too, I hope we will not shew our selves so ungrateful and impious, as to de­cline this manner of Worship which he requires at our hands. Now that acts of Mercy are duties of the First Table, I need go no farther for proof than my Text, which tells us that doing good and commu­nicating is a sacrifice: And Sacrificing you know is a duty of the First Table; even the immediate service of God.

How fitly the Apostle hath framed his Argument for convincing of mens corrupt Consciences, and discovering that mysteri­ous hidden wickedness, that lurks in our hypocritical hearts; a strong perswasion that we are Gods, though there be little of the inward power of Godliness in us! This holy kind of irreligiousness, that is so im­merse and lost as it were in a false counter­feit love of God, that it quite forgets all respect and duty to our Neighbour: That foolish impudent Spirit that would so con­fidently father it self upon God, and per­swade him that he is his Child, when its nothing but the deceitful breath of the De­vil: A handsome slight to travel to Hea­ven [Page 340] at least charges! The service of God; that is, a strong perswasion that we are one of them that God hath sign'd to be his (though there be no other sure argu­ment or sign, saving that we do strongly perswade our selves so) The hearing of the Word, the saying of Prayers, and such outward performances, or outward deceiv­able phansies; is a Religion so cheap and easie, that it asks a man neither cost nor labour. But to be crucified with Christ, to suffer with him, to undergo the deadly dolorous pangs of mortification, to sweat drops of Blood, and endure the unspeakable agonies of dying to sin, this is a harder way: To give Alms and relieve the needy, to furnish those living Temples of God, the poor Christians Souls with necessaries, this way is more chargeable. Now which of those wayes be more pleasing to Flesh and Blood, let any man judge.

Beloved, be not deceived, God is not mocked: He that sowes nothing but words, shall reap nothing but wind: If we will serve God as we will, he will recompense us as we would not. I will have mercy (saith he) and not sacrifice; as the Prophet speaketh: Or in the Apostles Language, (If you will be sacrificing) This is the true Christian Sacrifice and Holy Worship of [Page 341] God, even to do good as we have opportu­nity.

As if the Apostle should thus speak; ‘I know that such is the quality of the na­tural man, and the highness of his mind, that he will easily be perswaded to be exercised in the immediate service of the great King of Heaven and Earth: But he is not so easily induced to regard the state of his poor necessitous Neighbour. Such his crafty and covetous disposition is, that he will easily bestow some sugar­ed words upon his Maker in publick or private Devotion; so that hereby he may be excused from real good deeds to his fellow-creature: He will easily sa­crifice the calves of his Lips, so it may exempt him from a chearful relieving or feeding the hungry and needy: He will be very earnest and anxious in the intri­cate subtilties of Opinions, so he may be cold or frozen in common Charity, the only acceptable Religion. Wherefore I knowing these slights and subtilties of the Devil, and false and dangerous ima­ginations of the Flesh, and abominable hypocrisie of the Natural man, who takes all the hints and occasions he can to decline the true service of God, and seeks false pacifications of Conscience for [Page 342] to retain his so dearly loved disobedience, and following his own desires: That you rest not our selves in a false pre­tended service to God, and so neglect those Charitable Duties to your Neigh­bour; I tell you that these good offices to your Neighbour are services to God, the highest kind of service of his Sacred Majesty, such service as is most accept­able to the God of Charity.’

5. Which is the Fifth and last Motive; and brings to the second and third Proposi­tions in my Text, (2.) That the doing of good and communicating is a sacrifice: (3.) That this doing of good is a sacrifice well pleasing unto God.

THESE I will now handle in an ab­solute way, considering them in themselves. And first of the former; viz.

II. That doing good is a Sacrifice.

I will first prove the truth of it out of other places of Scripture. Then compare the doing of good with the nature of a Sacrifice and its kinds. Lastly, I will draw some practical Inferences from it.

[Page 343]1. That doing of good is a Sacrifice, may easily be gathered out of that in S. Iames 1. 27. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father, is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep our selves unspotted of the world. [...]. That is, The Worship of God (which in the Old Law consisted of Sacrifices and Purifications external) is this; even offer­ing or giving our Benevolence to the Poor, and comforting every one in his distress, as his misery requires, and our ability will afford; this is our Sacrificing: And our Washing and Purification is not that of the Body but the Spirit; the keeping our selves from the pollution of the wicked World; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life; as S. Iohn glosses upon that word. Purity from these, is undefiled Religion in the sight of the Fa­ther: To do good is that acceptable Sacri­fice or Oblation to God. Ecclesiasticus 35. Whoso keepeth the law bringeth offerings enough, He that keeps the commandments, offers an offering of salvation; and he that gives alms, sacrificeth praise. S. Paul, Phil. 4. 18. But I have all things, and abound; I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things that were sent from you, an odour of a sweet [Page 344] smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God. So this point is strong enough out of Divine Testimony, that communicating good is a Sacrifice.

I but, some will say, it is not truly a Sacrifice; but Metaphorically, and impro­perly so called. But the Answer is easie, (and yet beyond their expectation) that it is more really and truly a Sacrifice than those in the Old Law: As the living man is more truly and really a man than the picture of a man, or his shadow in a glass. It is well known and acknowledged of all true Christians, that the service of the Old Law and its Ceremonies, are but Types and Shadows of the Righteousness that is required of us Christians under the Gospel. So then as the truth of the putting away the old leaven, is the purging of our Souls of all malicious wickedness and hypocrisie: (1 Cor. 5. 8.) So our sacrificing or offering unto God, is giving to our Brethren that be in need, and not to God who hath no need of any thing. I will not reprove thee (saith God) because of thy sacrifice and burnt-offerings; I will take no bullock out of thy stall, nor he-goat out of thy fold, for all the beasts of the forest are mine, and so are the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls upon the mountains, and the wild beasts [Page 345] of the field are in my sight. If I be hungry I will not tell thee, for the whole world is mine, and all that therein is. Thinkest thou that I will eat bulls flesh, or drink the blood of goats. [...] Sacrifice unto God praise. Psal. 50.

But what shall we think then, that he that professeth his own self-sufficiency so largely in this Psalm (that he needs not the Flesh of Bulls, or the Blood of Goats) that he stands in need of the empty breath of mans mouth, a thing so fading and tran­sient, that weak puff, or perishing blast of man, whose very substance is but a vapour, a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again? Is this the change of Worship that God requires? Is our vain breath the very Life and Soul of that Body of Moses, the Ceremonies of the Old Law? Has Aarons melodious Bells, given place to sounding Brass or a tinkling Cymbal? If good deeds (as giving our Goods to the Poor; and Body to the Fire, if need be) without Charity, be such a disconsonant and harsh thing be­fore God, how will the praise of a wicked Worldling, that hath neither inward Cha­rity, nor outward Munificency, grate the ears of the Almighty!

But that you may know that this Sacri­fice of praise is not a mere Lip-labour, let [Page 346] us compare it with that of Ecclesiasticus, in the fore-cited place; He that gives almes sa­crificeth praise: And with that of our Saviour, Let your light so shine before men, that they seeing your good works, may glorifie your fa­ther which is in heaven. Hence doth shine out the Praise and Glory of God, even from our outward real good Life. But to turn the Sacrifice of the Old Law into a Ceremony of Words, would not be the turning of the type or shadow into the truth or reality, but the substitution of a lighter shadow for one of more solid sub­sistence. For words are but imagines re­rum, the showes or shadows of things, and the faintest flittingst shadows of all shadows, next to vanity it self. But seni verba dare difficile est: If we offer empty words to the ancient of dayes, he will not be so deceived. Wherefore it behoveth us to serve him in the truth of his Worship, which is in the acts of Charity; lest we be found as mockers of God, and fire come from his presence; not to consume our Sa­crifice, which so easily vanisheth of it self, but to blast our selves; and so we perish irrecoverably.

The Summ is this: If sacrificing praise; that is, giving of Alms, or doing any man­ner of good to our Neighbour, out of the [Page 347] holy spring of lively Charity in our com­passionate hearts, succeed the Sacrifices of the Old Law; then must these Sacrifices of doing good be more really and truly a Sa­crifice than those of the Old Law; by how much more the Anti-type is more really such than the Type, and every body more really that body or being (suppose man, beast or tree) than the shadow or image thereof is such.

2. This scruple removed, I will pass on to the second thing propounded, which is the comparing this true and Christian Sacrifice, with that description of a Sacrifice that com­monly men give.

Learned Mr. Calvin, in the Fourth Book of his Institutions, speaketh thus. Nos per­petuo Scripturae usu Sacrificium appellari scimus quod Graeci, nunc [...], nunc [...], nunc [...] dicunt, quod generaliter acceptum com­plectitur quicquid omnino Deo offertur. We know (saith he) that Sacrifice in continual use of Scripture is called, that which the Greeks name sometime [...], sometime [...], some­time [...], which in a general conception comprehends whatsoever is offered to God. So he.

And according to this sense it is very plain and evident, that Alms or any man­ner [Page 348] of doing good, especially to the mem­bers of Christ, is a Sacrifice. In as much as you did it to one of these little ones, you did it unto me. Matth. 25. They that are united to God and Christ, the Spirit of God being shed abroad in their hearts, and so they becoming one with God, and God one with them; surely our Sacrifice of Alms offered to these, doth as immediate­ly approach to God, nay nearer and more immediately, than when a Sacrifice lyeth upon a sensless stone, and the smoak vanish­eth into the empty air.

Or suppose a Turk or Infidel to receive these Alms; if they be given in reference to the honour of God, and in obedience to the Almighty, they are Oblations or Sacri­fices to God as before: And what great matter, whether an outward fire upon an Altar, or the inward heat of an hungry stomach consume them?

But that I may satisfie all apprehensions concerning the nature of a Sacrifice, let us now take it in a more proper and restricted sense; according to which some define it thus, A Sacrifice is an external Oblation, made to God alone, whereby some sensible thing be­ing Consecrated by a Lawful Minister with some Mystical Rite, is consumed or changed, [Page 349] to the acknowledgment of our humane infir­mity, and the praise and profession of the Di­vine Majesty.

That all these requisites are found in the true Christian Sacrifice of doing good, I will both briefly and clearly shew.

That it is an Oblation external, [...] a Gift or Offering sensible or external, is evi­dent to every mans apprehension; it needs no proof or manifestation.

But that it is an Offering made to God alone, seems more difficult: Yet that is true too. As true as in those Sacrifices of the Old Law: For neither in those of the Old Law was God alone served; others partaked of the Sacrifice; or the fire, or mens mouths fed upon them, or both. In­deed to say the truth, in the matter of the Sacrifice, God was not so much as a par­taker. Will I eat the Flesh of Bulls, or drink the Blood of Goats? Can the fume of frying Flesh be so acceptable to him, when the vapour thereof is so displeasant to men? Or can he take any delight in the smoak of Frankincense, the breath of whose spirit, gives life and motion to those sweet odours of Paradise? Surely no. Why then, when others partake of the Sacrifice and he not, should a Sacrifice be an Offering to him alone, and not to others? Surely not [Page 350] because he enjoyed any emolument from them; but because the minds of the offerers passing through all sensible objects and acti­ons, fixed themselves in God, and wit­nessed before him their obedience and thank­fulness, in an humble devotion of Soul; and this was the only thing that passed to God alone. And thus may the Christian Offering be offered to God alone: When this action of communicating is resolved ul­timately into obedience and inward sensible Worship of the Almighty, not by watery and cold Reason, but by a fervent vigour of Life: When out of a quick and lively apprehension of the Will and Nature of God, which is Goodness it self and all-embracing Love, we to our power work according to that principle, and so exhibit to God an action most consonant to his own Nature, an action of Bounty and Good­ness; neither the applause of men, nor hope of requital, nor any other sinister re­spect sharing therein; but God alone be­ing the end and beginning, whereby we move, and in whom alone we rest in this holy action.

And this unfolds the following words of this description of a Sacrifice, Some sensible thing consecrated. Consecration, you know, appropriates a thing to God. And our [Page 351] action of communication is appropriated to God, if we seek not any thing for our selves in this action, but do it simply in obedience to the Will of God.

But now that this action of doing good, whither by hand or tongue, is not without an outward mystical Ceremony, is hence plain: For whether it be the munificence of our hands, they are but a resemblance of his munificence, that openeth his hands, and filleth with good every living thing: Or if of tongue, whereby we do beget the ho­ly life in others, or direct in doubt or dan­ger, this is an emblem of the eternal [...], the everlasting word, whereby all things were made, and are now governed and di­rected.

The next term that I shall explain in this definition, is a legitimate Priest or Minister. And surely every true Chri­stian is truly such. Christ hath made us kings and priests unto God his father. Rev. 1. 6. And 1 Pet. 2. 5. And ye as living stones be made a spiritual house, and holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices accept­able to God by Iesus Christ. Ver. 9. You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood. And if we consider the qualification of the righteous man, the unfeigned Christian, we shall find him fit for this employment. [Page 352] Who more gracious with God than he? Who more loving to men than he? Who therefore more fit to make Prayers and Sup­plications for the People than he? That Life which is in him, even the Spirit of Christ, doth adopt him into an higher Or­der, than the Order of Aaron. Or rather Christ whose Spirit of Life is in him, is that High-Priest, higher than the Order of Aaron; A Priest after the Order of Melchi­zedek; A Kingly Priest, who officiates in Everlasting Righteousness. Here's a Priest without exception, above all commendati­on, worthy all honour and admiration, worthy to be heard of God, worthy to be obeyed by Men, worthy to be attended by Angels, worthy to whom all power should be given in Heaven and Earth; worthy of that Glorious Throne, even the Right-hand of God the Father in the height of Heaven, where he makes intercession for us his poor members, wandering and toyling in the mire and mud of this wicked earth: That vve being redeemed vvith his most precious Blood, may be made Kings and Priests to his Father, to offer Spiritual Sacrifices; and first of all, our selves, in a sensible ap­prehension that vve are vvholly from him, nothing at all of our selves; and then an open and free-hearted love to our Neigh­bour, [Page 353] in acknovvledgment that our fulness is not of our selves but of God. And this contains the last and best requisite, in that description of a Sacrifice, the acknowledg­ment of our Humane infirmity, and the praise and profession of the Divine Majesty.

HITHERTO we have compared this Christian Sacrifice with the general notion of a Sacrifice. We will now see how it fits with the kinds of Sacrifice: Which accord­ing to the Schoolmens Division are three. (1.) Sacrificing, or slaying of living Crea­tures; which is most properly called [...], and is the word in my Text. (2.) Immo­lation, which is a Sacrifice of inanimate things; as of Meal, Bread, Salt, Frank­incense, and such like. Or (3.) Libamen­tum, a Drink-offering; as of Wine, or other liquid things.

How well some kinds of doing good will agree with that first kind of Sacrifice, we should easily understand, if we did but rightly apprehend, how that the sundry lives of beasts lurk in the bodies of men; as in some the Fox, in others the Lyon, in others the Bull, in some one, in some other, in others many. Our Saviour calls Herod, Fox. S. Paul his Persecutors, Lyons. So Eccles. 6. Be not proud in the device of thine [Page 354] own mind, lest thy soul rend thee as a bull. Where there is the living property of a Beast in a man; no wonder that the Spirit of Truth, that pierceth through the sur­face of things, into the depth of Life, calls them by that which they are within, not by that which they seem without. He therefore that can kill the Oxe, the Bull, the Goat in any mans Soul; that is a stupid laborious toyl in the dirt, an high raving unquietness of mind, or that goatish na­ture, that brutish sensual lust: He that can exhibit these animalities dead before God, who is Judge of the Quick and the Dead, he offers of the first kind of Sacri­fice, which is [...], the mortification of some Life that God was displeased with. He that doth this either in himself or others, doth sacrifice in this kind. He that gives his Bread to the hungry, sacrificeth an Im­molation. He that gives his Drink to the thirsty, offers a Drink-offering. As much as you did it to one of these little ones, you did it unto me. He that goes about doing good; (as our Saviour Christ) that is, He that lives not to himself, but according to the Command of God, and Example of his Son; spends all his time, power and abi­lity, in diffusing of that good which God hath bestowed on him; offers Frankincense: [Page 355] Or rather, that precious composition of sweet odours, which is mentioned Exod. 30. 34, 35. And the Lord said unto Moses, Take unto thee sweet spices, Stacte, and Oni­cha, and Galbanum; sweet spices with pure Frankincense: of each like weight. And thou shalt make of it a perfume, &c. Philo Iu­daeus will have these four ingredients to be Emblems of the four general Principles or Elements of which this World consists: and the evaporation of this fume, to be that acceptable re-ascending of the Crea­ture to God in holy thankfulness, and eva­cuation of it self into that great ocean. His words are very significant. [...]. It is a Life (saith he) well befitting the World, to give unces­sant thanks to its Father and Maker; even quite exhausting it self in a continual ascent and grateful fume, and simplifying it self into its Elements; that all may see that it hoards up nothing for it self, but consecrates it self wholly unto God that made it. Such a Sacrifice doth every Microcosm, or little World, every particular man, offer dayly unto God; when he spends all his dayes, and employes all the strength and faculties [Page 356] of his Soul and Body: It is a thankful ac­knowledgment of what he hath received, resunding that goodness that he is partaker of, back again to God, through those sure conduits or conveiances, the poor necessi­tous Brethren.

But there is yet another Division of Sa­crifices into three kinds as before, [...]: So Philo: Which our Modern Writers call thus, Ho­locausta, Hostias pacificas, Hostias pro pec­cato. The reason of this Division, Philo thus unfolds; The two main and general causes of Sacrificing be these, [...]: The latter consists in two things; The participation of good, and the removing or preventing of evil. Hence that Sacrifice that respects the profit of the Sacrificer, is twofold, A Sin-offering, for the preventing the just punishment thereof; and a Peace-offering, which was either pro beneficio accepto, or accipiendo for a benefit received, or at least hoped for.

(1.) That the doing or communicating good appertains to the first sort, which Philo calls [...], an Holocaust, which respects merely the Glory of God, and not the Profit of the Sacrificer, will appear out of places of Scripture, concerning this Duty [Page 357] of communicating. Let your light so shine before men, that they seeing your good works, may glorifie your Father which is in heaven. Matth. 5. 16. There's the Honour of God. Now that we are not to participate our selves in this; but that it be wholly to God, and for God, a true Holocaust; Our Savi­our shews, Matth. 6. 3. When thou doest thine almes, let not thy left hand know, what thy right hand doth. That is, We must not have any sinister respect, but do it simply in obedience to God, and for his Glory. Consult not with thy left hand, that is, thy natural false Spirit, that will counsel for it self: But let thy right hand act by it self, that strong Arm of God, the Spirit of Christ; that the action may be wholly to God, the evil principle of that wicked life of falseness, nothing at all intermingling it self with it. And thus this communication of good will be an Holocaust, totally conse­crated and consummated in the service of God alone.

But for the other two kinds, Though the Christian Sacrifice hath not finem Sa­crificantis, the end of the Iewish Sacrificant, yet hath it finem Sacrificii: For so thanks is rendered to God for his goodness, and further goodness obtained, and future evils prevented; as is manifest out of Scripture.

[Page 358](2.) The end of the Peace-offering, was to procure the Blessing and Favour of God. See now what the Wisdom of God teach­eth us, Prov. 11. The liberal person shall have plenty, and he that watereth shall also have rain. And in the Psalms; He hath dispersed abroad, and hath given to the poor: His righteousness shall remain for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour. Cornelius his Prayers and Alms, how well were they rewarded with the service of Men and An­gels, and the descent of the Holy Ghost! For as he was Fasting and Praying in his House, one in the shape of a man in white clothing stood before him and said, Corne­lius, Thy prayer is heard, and thine alms had in remembrance in the sight of God. So he directs him to send for S. Peter; who came, and in requital of his Alms, fed him with the Bread of Life; at whose Preaching the Spirit of Life, the Holy Ghost fell upon all his Auditors, amongst whom was Cor­nelius.

Thus we see, how meet a Sacrifice this is, pro beneficio accipiendo, for the procuring a benefit from God. And as fit it is pro accepto, to manifest our thankfulness for fa­vours received. Freely you have received, freely give, saith our Saviour: This is all [Page 359] the requital I desire, all the thanks I ex­pect.

(3.) The last Sacrifice is a Sin-offering. The reward of sin is death: But merciful­ness and doing good, delivers from this. Prov. 20. 2. The treasures of wickedness pro­fit nothing, but righteousness delivers from death. That is, The covetous hoarding of the wicked man, or Riches wickedly and unlawfully heaped and scraped up together, shall not profit in the conclusion: But Righ­teousness, that is, bountifulness, acts of Mercy; (For so the original will signifie, the word [...], which is sometime turned [...], an act of Mercy: As also appears out of the Inscription of the Poor mans Box in the Iewes Temple, which was [...], The chest of Iustice, as we would Translate it, following the first sig­nification of the word; but according to the signification of the word in that place, the chest of Alms.) This Righteousness, Goodness of Mercifulness, will deliver from Death. That of our Saviour Christ is more plain, and without exception. Bles­sed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

So whether we compare this Duty of communicating good, with the general notion [Page 360] of a Sacrifice, or with the kinds thereof, we see correspondency enough; it falls short in nothing of a Sacrifice under the Old Law, but in not being a shadow; which you might bear withal. Though to say the truth, it hath that in it too, the out­ward act; which I have intimated before. But the inward principle it self, whence those good acts flow, nothing is greater than it, nothing more divine, nothing more sublime; the Everlasting Life of Charity, the Glory and Image of God, the Beauty of Man, the Lamp of Knowledge, the Sun of Paradise, the Seal of Eternity, the Pledge and Crown of Everlasting Happi­ness.

NOW that I may not seem to have lost my time in inculcating this Truth so long, let us see what useful Inferences will flow from the same.

First then, If doing good be a Sacrifice, let us remember that which R. Moses the AEgyptian conceives, their Wise and Holy Law-giver to have bound them to: Vt, quisquis utilitatem aliquam ceperit, ex re san­ctificatâ, pro praevaricatore habeatur, &c. Whosoever doth take to himself any profit out of Consecrated things (as Oblations, or Sa­crifices, [Page 361] or whatsoever is Consecrated to God) he is a Transgressour; and hath need of an Atonement to be made for him, although he commits the act out of error.

Our doing good therefore to other men; if we do it not simply in obedience to God, and love of our Neighbour; but in hope of requital by his friends, or himself, or out of desire of applause or vain glory, or any other sinister respects; it is a making use of a thing Consecrated, a sharing with God in the Holocaust, and makes our action sin­ful and unsavoury before God. Wherefore vve are to endeavour to the utmost, that vve be not guilty of this Sacrilege.

Secondly, In omni Oblatione tuâ offeres sal. Lev. 2. 13. All thy meat-offerings shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat-offering: Vpon all thy oblations thou shalt offer salt. See hovv this Precept is inculcated for offering of Salt with every Oblation and Sacrifice. That Salt is an en­blem of Wisdom and Discretion is so well known, that I need not speak of it. I will only name our Saviours words, You are the salt of the earth: [...], If the salt become foolish, &c. So that by Salt [Page 362] is understood Wisdom, or Knowledge; as it presently follows, You are the light of the world. So the seasoning our Christian Sa­crifice of Bounty, will prove nothing else but distributing our good things with dis­cretion, whether pertaining to Body or Mind.

Rebuke not a scorner, for he will hate thee; but rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee; saith Solomon. And our blessed Saviour in­still'd his words of Wisdom into his Dis­ciples ears, according as they were capable. Iohn 16. 12. I have yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now. How­beit, when he is come, which is the spirit of truth, he will lead you into all truth. As the Apostle, 1 Cor. 2. The natural man receiv­eth not the things of the spirit of God. And Chap. 3. 1. I could not speak unto you, bre­thren, as to spiritual men, but as unto carnal: I fed you with milk; and not with meat, for you were not able to bear it. This is the discretion in imparting Spiritual Alms.

Nor is every man a fit object of our Bounty, as concerning things belonging to the Body. If Strength and Health be joyn­ed to their Poverty, the best Charity is to set them to work.

[Page 363] Thirdly, Leaven was not to be offered in Sacrifice: So these Christian Oblations, are to be offered in sincerity of heart, with­out pride, without hypocrisie. Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees; which is Hypo­crisie. And 1 Cor. 5. the Apostle makes mention of the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. But this is included in the first Inference. Wherefore I will let it pass.

Fourthly, If communicating of good be a Sacrifice, then it is a Duty of the First Table, and respects the Worship of God: From whence we may learn to set a true estimate upon this Duty. We applaud our selves in the frequent Hearing of the Word of God, and praying to God, and the like. We highly esteem (I say) our performances in this kind, because they be of the First Table, and respect God so nearly: But that we may with as great zeal and dili­gence, exercise the acts of Charity, as well as of that kind of Devotion, The Apostle tells us, that when we distribute our Goods to others, relieving them either in Body or in Soul, we then worship God; we then sacrifice to God, which is an act of service and worship proper and peculiar to him; [Page 364] which consideration is worthy our thinking of, and more worthy our practising of. Cursed is he that doth the work of God negli­gently.

The Fifth and last Inference shall be this, That which Philo the Iew speaks of in his Tractate, [...], Of them that sacrifice; of their washing and sprinkling; that kind of sprinkling of water mingled with the ashes of a red heiser. Numb. 19. Which is (saith he) to put us in mind whereof we be made; that we are but dust and ashes, wa­ter and earth mingled together. This is our composure, such our frailty, this our poor condition; capable of so many mise­ries, by reason of this tempered dirt we carry about with us: And therefore being all of one mould, we may the more hear­tily commiserate one another, and help one another. This sprinkling is a fit Consecra­tion of every Christian Sacrificer, that in all humility and compassion he may relieve his fellow-member.

The Summ is this, That with all since­rity, discretion, diligence, humility, and tender sympathy, we may offer unto God, this Christian Oblation; even the Charita­ble [Page 365] communication of such good things, as God hath imparted to us.

AND thus I have dispatched the Second branch of my Text; viz. That doing of good is a Sacrifice.

III. The Third and last is, That doing of good is a sacrifice in which God is well pleased.

It is not improbable that the Apostle hath here an eye to those many testimonies in the Prophets of Gods displeasure against the Iewish Sacrifices. Esa. 1, 11, 13. What have I to do with the multitude of your sa­crifices, saith the Lord? I am full of the burnt-offerings of rams, and of the fat of fed beasts; and I desire not the blood of bullocks, nor of lambs, nor of goats. Bring no more oblations in vain: Incense is an abomination unto me: My soul hateth your new-moons, and appointed feasts. So Chap. 66. 3. He that kills a bullock, is as if he slew a man: He that sacrificeth a sheep, as if he cut off a dogs neck.

What is it therefore that God would have? Wherein is his delight? I desired mercy, and not sacrifice, saith he, Hosea 6. 6. [Page 366] And in the first of Esay, he nameth the relieving of the oppressed. And Chap. 66. Ver. 2. He speaks of a poor and contrite Spirit; and such a Spirit is also merciful. For it's pride and high-mindedness that makes us forget the evil plight of our Neighbour.

I will add a Reason or two to confirm this Truth, and so conclude. God is Truth and Essence it self; therefore his delight is in the truth of every thing, and not in their empty shadows. He loves the truth in the inward parts, as the Psalmist saith. There­fore doing good out of pure Charity, can­not but please him; it being the substance of the Iewish Ceremony of Sacrificing. [...]; saith the Pious Iew: True Sacri­ficing, what can it be, but the Piety of the Soul that loves God? And he that loves him, must needs love his Neighbour also: And he that loves his Neighbour, will do good to him so far as he is able. Therefore the same Author saith very truly in another place. [...]. Humanity (or forwardness to do all good offices to our Neighbour) and Piety are twins. He thinks not the term of Cousin or Sister fit enough; but calls [Page 367] them Twins, to shew that they be born both at a time. So soon as true Piety is born in us, Humanity strait springs up with it.

Now this [...], or love of our Neigh­bour, being so like the Nature of God, whom the Apostle calls Love; This prin­ciple and the effects of it (doing good to our Neighbour) must needs be acceptable to God. The Heathens had so much Reason in them, to offer that to their Deities, which was most consonant to their Nature. So the Persians Sacrificed on Horse to the Sun,

Ne detur celeri victima tarda Deo.

But I will not insist upon the proof of a thing so plain: I doubt not but that you are thoroughly perswaded of the truth of these tvvo latter parts of my Text, That doing good is a Sacrifice; and that it is a Sacrifice wherein God is well pleased.

The Inference and Conclusion of all is that vvhich I begun vvith; viz. To do good and communicate forget not. And that vve forget not, He that hath set his eyes up­on the hearts of men, and mindeth all their [Page 368] wayes; He strengthen us and stir us up, by the powerful working of his all-quickening Spirit; that we constantly endeavour to fulfil the dictates thereof through Iesus Christ our Lord; to whom with the Father, and the Blessed Spirit, be all Honour, Glory, Power, Praise, henceforth and for ever.


DISCOURSE XII. GAL. vi. 14, 15, 16. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Iesus Christ; by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Iesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but a new creature. And as many as walk ac­cording to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy; and upon the Israel of God.

THE drift of this Epistle to the Ga­latians is to reduce them again to the Truth of Christianity, that were almost apostatizing to Iudaism and the Ceremonial Lavv of Moses. Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years: I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed labour [Page 370] on you in vain. Chap. 4. Ver. 10, 11. But the main scope of the Apostle is against Circumcision, as is plain upon the very first perusal of the Epistle: Which he beating dovvn, together vvith all the Lavv of Moses, and extolling the Faith in Christ, seems sometime to excuse a man from walk­ing in the Lavv, under the pretence of Faith in Christ.

But as S. Peter hath well observed; there be many things in S. Pauls Epistles hard to be understood, which foolish men pervert to their own destruction. And that we be not led into the same error and mischief, I hold it not from my purpose to trace the foot­steps of S. Paul in this present Epistle, if so we may happily wind our selves out of this dangerous maze or labyrinth.

Whereas then he seems to nullifie, or vilifie at least, the Law, in the advancing of that Righteousness that is by Faith; Let us see what this Righteousness that is of Faith, and what that of the Law is.

Chap. 2. 19. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. Ver. 20. I am crucified with Christ: Never­theless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.

I through the law am dead to the law,] What a riddle is this? that the Law should [Page 371] deprive it self of its Disciples. And yet it doth so. For it is a Schoolmaster to Christ, or rather an Usher: Which when it hath well tutour'd us and castigated us, removes us up higher, to be made in Christ perfect, who is the perfection of the Law: But the Law it self makes nothing perfect. And this is the reason that Righteousness is not of the Law. And to this purpose speaks the Apostle in this very Epistle, Chap. 3. Ver. 21. Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: For if there had been a law given which could have given life, ve­rily righteousness should have been by the law.

[...], A Law that could enliven and enquicken us]. But that is beyond the power of the Law. That's the Title and Prerogative of Christ; who is the way, the truth, and the life. [...], I am the resurrection and the life: He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. Iohn 11. 25. This therefore is the Righteousness of Faith or Belief; far above the Righteousness of the Law or killing Letter.

Now when this Faith is come, we are no longer under that Poedagog of Punie-boys, the Low-master: But are all the Children of God by Faith in Jesus Christ. And none are the Children of God, but [Page 372] those that are led by the Spirit of God, as the Apostle witnesseth in his Epistle to the Romans. And those that have the Spirit of God, what fruits they bring forth, is am­ply set out by the Apostle in this to the Galatians, Chap. 5. ver. 22, 23. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: [...], Against such there is no Law: For indeed there is no need of it, they being a Law unto them­selves.

So we see how those that are in Christ, are not under the Law, because their Obe­dience or that living Law in their Hearts are above it: They do really and truly ful­fil it, through the Spirit that is by Faith: For that Spirit is the begetter of Love, and Love is the fulfilling of the Law. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thy self. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led by the spirit, ye are not under the law. Ver. 14, 15, 16, 17, 18.

[Page 373]Observe that [If you be led by the Spirit] For against such there is no Law, as was said before. Which implies if thou art not led by the Spirit, thou art liable to the Curse of the Law, to Death, Hell and Damnation: For so also speaks the Apostle, when he hath reckoned up the works of the flesh, ver. 21.

But here methinks I see some filching away an excuse for their own hypocrisie, out of some of the foregoing words at the 6th Verse of that 5th Chapter, The flesh and the spirit are contrary, so that you can­not do that you would.

I, but withal this is true too, That if we will that which we do amiss, we are then under the Curse of the Law: For we are not then led by the Spirit of God, but are servants of Sin and Satan: We are not then in Christ, no more than our bo­dies at Athens or Carthage, but our phansies roving thither; For they that are Christ, have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts. Ver. 24.

So we see plainly, Beloved, that the Righteousness that is of Faith is not a mere Chimaera or phansie, but a more excellent Righteousness than that of the Law. For the Law is no quickening Spirit, but a dead Letter: But Christ is the resurrection and [Page 374] the life. And he is God our Righteousness, mighty to save; and can with ease destroy the powers of Death, Darkness, and the Devil, out of the Soul of man: But we must have the patience to endure the work wrought in us by him. I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.

And if we will still cloak and cover our foul corrupt Hearts with forged conceits of Hypocrisies own making, and excuse our selves from being good to one another or to our selves, because God in Christ is so good to us; Hear what the Apostle speaks in the last Chapter of this Epistle, (for it is now time to draw nearer to my Text) Ver. 7, 8. Be not deceived, God is not mock­ed: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption: But he that soweth to the spirit, shall of the spirit reap life everlasting.

The aim therefore of the Apostle is not to extenuate or discountenance real Vertue and Righteousness, but to point us to it, and tell us where it may be had. Not in Days and Years, not in New Moons or Fe­stivals, not in Circumcision, nor in the dead Letter of the Law; But in Christ and the Spirit of God, in the renewed Image of God, in the New Birth, in the [Page 375] New life, in the second Adam from Hea­ven, in the New Creature, in that stum­bling block to all Flesh and Blood, in the Cross of Christ.

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross, &c.

THE Text contains briefly the Summ of the whole Discourse; we may cast it into these Three parts.

  • 1. The Apostles Resolution; He will not glory in any thing save in the cross of Christ, whereby the man of Sin in his very Soul is crucified and made dead, that the Life of Christ may abide in him.
  • 2. The Reason of his Resolution; Be­cause when a man hath given his name to Christ, neither circumcision, nor uncircumci­sion (nor any of the Ceremonial Laws) is any thing, but a new creature.
  • 3. His Benediction or well-wishing to all that walk after the rule (i. e. according to the new man, that is fram'd in Righteous­ness and true Holiness) the true Israel of God; Peace be on them.

[Page 376]But I will rather fall upon the words themselves: And in my passage point out such Observations, as shall arise most natu­rally from the Text, and be most profitable for you to hear.

But God forbid] That hath reference to the precedent Verse, [But they desire to have you circumcised, that they might glory in your flesh.]

Yet the Holy Apostle, devoid of all am­bition and emulation, and of making an outward shovv among them, contents him­self vvith that vvhich is but the scorn of Worldly men, nay glories in it, and in it alone, the Inward Cross, the Mortification of the Old man, the Circumcision of the Heart.

God forbid that I should glory in any thing, &c.] See the exceeding deep humi­lity of the Apostle, a man endued vvith such excellent gifts from God, so learned and vvell versed in the Lavv, one acquaint­ed vvith so Divine Revelations, rapt up in­to the Third Heavens, an Hebrew also, an Israelite, a Son of Abraham; such an ex­cellent Oratour as he approved himself be­fore Felix, before Festus, before Agrippa, and also at Lysta, vvhere they took him to [Page 377] be the God of Eloquence, Mercury himself, and would have Sacrificed unto him; so well versed in the Poets, as his quotations out of Aratus and others, testifie him to be. But these are but trifles, I mean Poetry and Oratory. You may see him in the Acts, casting out Devils, healing the Sick, mak­ing the Lame walk, recovering the Dead to Life; nay giving the Spirit of Life, even the Holy Ghost, and with it the power of Prophesie, and speaking with Tongues: Yet all these, and many more (the least whereof were able to puff up the vain mind of our ordinary Christians, and swell them to an unusual extent) stir not S. Paul above his wonted measure: But he still continues himself a Paul, i. e. little in his own eyes, though the endowments God had bestowed on him were very great.

A true Disciple of Christ who taught his to be thus minded; Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly. And methinks I hear the Apostle call to us out of this Text, saying, Be you followers of me, as I am of Christ.

But if a man propound the Example of the Apostles and Saints of God to some, they look on them rather as Prodigies to gaze at, than Examples to imitate; and do usually with the rude Cyclops in Erasmus, return this answer, Paulus est Paulus, Ego [Page 378] sum ego. Paul had a privilege to be good, my privilege is to be as bad as he was good.

But let Reason move thee, if Example will not. Why shouldst thou glory, and in what? Art thou Noble? No more than the blood that runs out of thy Fathers Nose, or that which is blown out of it, unless thou be Vertuous. Art thou well Apparel'd? Yet a Lilly is better. Art thou Fair? It is but in thy superficies, or surface of thy Bo­dy; within is stinking dung and dirt. Art thou Strong? Yet weaker far than an or­dinary Cart-horse. Art thou Proper? Yet not so tall as a Pine. A goodly great-bodied man? The whole Earth is but a Point, why struttest thou then so proudly, as if thou wouldst out-face Heaven? Thou art a wise and subtil piece: So is the Devil, and a Serpent. Thou art extolled and ad­mired of men: So is Vanity. Beloved of women: But their own Lust and Lascivious­ness a great deal more.


All, whatsoever thou boastest thy self in, is but ludicrous and ridiculous, contempti­ble dust, and less than dust, even nothing. Why then dost thou glory in any thing?

[Page 379] God forbid that I should glory in any thing, save in the cross] What a Paradox is this? More strange than not to boast at all. For not to boast, there being nothing worthy boasting of, is but reasonable: But to boast of that which is a shame and reproach a­mong all men, is uncouth and strangely ad­mirable. Crux crux, inquam, infaelici & miseris. The Cross was but the fate and doom of Thieves and Malefactors, and as little glorious as the deserts that bring to it.

But it may be it was some fine Silver or Golden Crucifix: A pretty toy for Chil­dren to glory in. What was it?

The Cross of our Lord Iesus Christ]. Yet it is but a stumbling-block to the Iews, and to the Greeks foolishness. I, but it is the Cross of Christ,

Whereby the World is crucified to him, and he unto the World]. This is worse and worse, a scandal also to the Christians themselves. Sufficient for them it is that Christ bore his own Cross, and the Cross bore him: It was fitter one man should dye for the people. What? that we may securely live in sin? God forbid. He that will be my disciple, let him take up his cross and follow me, saith our blessed Saviour. The death therefore of the Cross belongs to us, as well as to him, though we would fain avoid it?

[Page 380]This is true then (truer than we would have it) that a right Christian whose Pat­tern S. Paul is, must be crucified to the World, and the World to him; be dead un­to the World, and the World dead to him.

But what is the World, and what to be dead to it? S. Iohn in his 1 Ep. Chap. 2. describes it from its parts; Ver. 15, 16. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but of the world.

These then ought we to be dead to, viz. The lust of the flesh, i. e. all carnal concu­piscence and unlawful desires of the Body, all gluttony, drunkenness and leachery: To the lust of the eyes, i. e. all covetousness and filthy avariciousness, desiring to en­croach and compass all that we see, and pleasing our selves with looking upon what we have got already, but making no good use of it, to the glory of God or good of our Neighbour: To the pride of life, i.e. ambition, stately and lordly living, the praise and applause of men, superiority and authority over others. All these things we are to be dead to by the inward Cross, by an holy and serious mortification of our corrupt Life.

[Page 381]But how shall a man be able to mortifie this corruption, to kill these inordinate de­sires?

I will tell you an infallible way, upon condition you will remember it: By a con­stant denial of their Cravings. Give a Beggar nothing at thy door, and he will never visit thee. Desire is starved by being unfulfill'd. A man, you know, often loseth his appe­tite by staying very long for his Dinner. Inordinate desire will hurt a man like an Ague, if we pamper or satisfie it. The Devil and the Sop will both down into our guts at once. But thou mayst pine out both Desire and the Devil that lurks in it, by a pertinacious Temperance, or stopping thy self in thy outward actions. Affect not vain glory in thy actions or words, but modestly decline it, and Pride will fall in thy Soul in good time; thou shalt find Hu­mility rise in thy Heart, and sweetly shine in thee with her mild light. Give not thine Anger vent, it will be extinct like smother­ed fire. Answer not thy Lust or Lascivi­ousness, and it will cease to call unto thee, but dye as a Weed kept under in the ground. Dare to do good, though thy base heart gainsay it: God will look upon thee in pity, and repay thee with a more noble Spirit; and Covetousness being oft [Page 382] crost, will even out of discontent quite leave thee.

But if thou be false to God and thine own Soul in these things which he hath put in thy power (and he hath put the outward man plainly in thy power) and neglectest the performance of them, and yet doest complain of want of strength, thou art in plain English an Hypocrite; and the Devil and thy own false heart have deceived thee. A man, I confess, cannot generate himself, but he may kill himself: So though we can­not regenerate our selves, yet we may mortifie our own corruption, if we be not wanting to our selves.

And this is the Cross that we with S. Paul are to bear, and to dye upon; that when we have suffered and been buried with Christ in this Baptism, God may raise us up with him to Life, and endue us with his Holy Spirit.

And this is the New Creature which is spoken of in the next Verse, For in Christ Iesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but a new creature.

In Christ Iesus] i. e. When we have taken upon us the Profession of Christ, have been made Members of the Christian Church by Baptism.

[Page 383] Circumcision availeth nothing]. And ve­rily there is no reason why it should, for it is a badge of Judaism, not of Christianism; and cannot, no not in Judaism, do much without the inward Circumcision of the heart, and observation of the Command­ments of God. Rom. 2. 25. to the end. For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: But if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. There­fore, if the uncircumcision keep the righteous­ness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not un­circumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circum­cision dost transgress the law? For he is not a Iew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Iew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter, whose praise is not of men but of God.

And this also was known and propound­ed to the Iews under the Law. Deut. 10. 16. Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be not refractory. And in Chap. 3. ver. 6. And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayst live.

[Page 384]And what else indeed doth God require of thee, O man, but that thou wouldst love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and all thy strength, and thy neighbour as thy self! This if thou perform in thy Circumcision, thy Circumcision is effectual to thee: If thou do not, it is but Concision; and cutting off a piece of Flesh, which God and Na­ture was not so overseen in making, but it might well be left uncut off. And if Cir­cumcision without Obedience and an Holy Life, availeth them nothing that are under the Law, how could it possibly be any thing to us that live under the Gospel?

But to what purpose is this to us that do not bear the outward Circumcision, nor are likely to prove so giddy as to revolt to Judaism? Wherefore let us here turn aside awhile from the Circumcision of the Iews, to that which is its [...], that answers to it among us Christians: And that is Bap­tism. Will that avail any thing without the New Creature?

What it may do to Children before they be actually sinful by their own misdeeds, I leave to the censure of the Schools to dis­pute: That concerns not us who are past Children, were we got as far out of Fool­ishness as Childishness. The Question is, how much Baptism availeth us of grown. Age, without the New Creature.

[Page 385]Just as much as Circumcision without the keeping of the Law, availeth a Iew. Can Water wash without the Spirits operation? Doth the Spirit operate and effect nothing? Are we suppressors and choakers of the Christian Life that should revive in us, and yet stand justified before God? Can we kill Christ within us, and persist in that obstinate cruelty, and yet be clean from the guilt or punishment of so hainous trans­gression, by the sprinkling of that outward Water upon us in Baptism?

Ah nimiùm faciles! qui tristia crimina caedis
Flumineâ tolli posse putatis aquâ.

Foolish and too too credulous men they are indeed, that think their being dipt in the Font, shall vvash out the deep stain of this so horrible murder.

Yet there is a Baptism that vvill do it, and vvithout it nothing is done: It is Mor­tification. If the Murderer dye, that is, that man of Sin, the Old Adam, or the blood-red Edom, and Christ revive, all is vvell. Rom. 6, 3, 4. Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Iesus Christ, were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: That like as Christ was raised up from the [Page 386] dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Ver. 6, 7. Knowing this, that our old man is cru­cified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead, is freed from sin. Believe it, though vve are called to Liber­ty, vve are not invited to Libertinism. But our true Liberty or Freedom is to become free from sin.

So you see that Outvvard Baptism vvith­out the Invvard, is as little available as Circumcision in the Flesh, vvithout that in the Spirit. If any here, as it is not plainly immaterial, ask of the efficacy of the Lords Supper: So far it is from doing good vvith­out an invvard qualification, that it is Poy­son to the unvvorthy Receiver, or vvorse; even Damnation it self, as the Apostle vvit­nesseth.

It is the New Creature then only, or at least chiefly, that a Christian must rest up­on; sith nothing is available without it.

The New Creature] It is worth the enqui­ring into, what this New Creature is, that is of such efficacy, and power, and worth, and price.

It is no more certainly than the New man. Ephes. 4. 22, 23, 24. That ye put off concern­ing [Page 387] the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts: And be renewed in the spirit of your mind: And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holi­ness; that is, not in external Ceremonial holiness, or outward Sanctimonious show; but in the Regeneration of the inward Spi­rit to a new life from the very heart.

And again, Col. 3. 9, 10, 11. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds: And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge, after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek, nor Iew, circumcision, nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free; but Christ is all, and in all.

This New Creature then is nothing but the Image of God in the Soul of man. So witness both these Texts: —The new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness: After God] that is, according to God; or like him, [...], after the image of him that created him. This New Creature is the likeness of God: And the likeness of God (as both these places evidently shew) doth consist in Know­ledge, Righteousness and true Holiness. The very same that Plato speaks at once in his Theatetus, [...] [Page 388] [...]. To be like God, is to become holy, just, and wise.

But because most men (even the Old Adam in us) take themselves to be holy, just and wise: It will be seasonable here to see what Justice, Wisdom and Holiness this is that is in the New Creature. And who can tell it so well as he that is it? Matth. 5. 21, 22. Ye have heard, that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill, shall be in danger of the judgment. But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of the judgment: And whosoever shall say to his brother, Racha, shall be in danger of the council: But whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Ver. 27, 28. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery. But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a wo­man to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. Ver. 33, 34, 37. Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thy self, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths. But I say unto you, swear not at all. But let your communication be, yea, yea; nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these, cometh of evil. Ver. 38, 39. Ye have heard that it [Page 389] hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil. Ver. 43, 44. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.

Behold the exact and unblameable Righ­teousness that is in the Regenerate Soul, far above the doctrine or thoughts of the Pha­risees. External Righteousness in the Out­ward man, or to be internally just as far as corrupt reason suggests, is but filthy raggs, in respect of this Righteousness that Christ requires of us, and the New Creature doth bring with it, once grown up to its due sta­ture in us. Let every man examine him­self by this rule.

And as this Iustice is far above, I, some­time contrary to the Justice of the Natural man (for with him to hate his enemy, to recompence evil with evil is just) so the Holiness is far transcending the Holiness of the Scribes and Pharisees, and Zelotical Ce­remonialists. For all Outward Ceremonies of Time, or Place, or Gestures, or Vest­ments, Rites or Orders, they are all but Signs and Shows; but the Body is Christ, the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

[Page 390] Lastly, that the Natural man phansie not himself wise (as who is not, of all precious things, the most forward to appropriate that to himself?) that he phansie not him­self wise, before he be holy and just, let him examine his Wisdom in the third Chap. of S. Iames's Ep. Ver. 13, 14, 15, 16, 17. Who is a wise man, and endued with knowledge amongst you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earth­ly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion, and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above, is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easie to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisie.

The Righteousness then of the New Crea­ture is a Righteousness far above the Letter of Moses's Law, though exactly performed. Its Holiness more resplendent than the Robe of Aaron and all his Priest-like Attire, or whatsoever Ceremonies else God hath insti­tuted or Man invented. Its Wisdom far a­bove all the thin-beaten subtleties of the dis­putacious Schools, without contention or bitter contradiction.

[Page 391] And they that walk according to this rule] This upright rule of everlasting Righteous­ness,

Peace be on them, and mercy; and upon the Israel of God.] [...]. Peace be on them, or Peace is on them. For the Verb is not exprest in the Greek.

Peace certainly is on them, they having obtained the true Righteousness, whose very Essence is Peace, [...], The Peace of the Soul, as the Pythagoreans have well defined it.

And how can there not but be Peace, when they that cause tumult and rebellion in the Soul are dead? Pride is dead, Cove­tousness is dead, Anger is dead, Malice, Ha­tred, and Envy, and Lust, all dead and bu­ried in the true Christian Baptism: None left now but Reasons Liege Subjects. The whole man now is but an Habitation of the Deity, the Temple of God, an Instrument for the Holy Ghost to work his Will by.

This is the Kingdom of God in us, the Kingdom of Peace and Righteousness, the Kingdom of Joy and Triumph in the Holy Ghost. This is the Rule of Christ in us, who is the Prince of Peace. And they that are thus guided and ruled, [...],

Peace on them]. The inward Peace is on them; they are at Peace with God, and [Page 392] their own Conscience: And God give them also Peace with men.

[...], Let no man molest me (let no man trouble me) for I bear in my Body the marks of the Lord Iesus, saith S. Paul in the following Verse. The Apostles desire is but equal: For why should any man afflict this peaceable generation of men? Certainly it is either out of Igno­rance or Malice, whosoever do it.

Pray rather even for the outward Peace of this true Ierusalem: They shall prosper that love thee: For these indeed are the true Inhabitants of Salem, whose Head or King is Melchizedek, King of Righteousness, and therefore King of Salem, that is, King of Peace. This is, as the Text doth plainly speak,

The Israel of God]; The righteous Nation in whom there is no guile. As our Saviour saith of Nathanael, Behold a true Israelite in­deed, in whom there is no guile. And thus the Psalmist, Surely God is good unto Israel, even to such as are of an upright heart.

God continue his Goodness to them, and en­crease it sevenfold: And encrease them in num­ber above the Sands of the Sea, and the Stars of Heaven; that none may be able to count the dust [Page 393] of Jacob, or to number the fourth part of Is­rael: That the Heathen may be swallowed up of them; and that the very memorial of wicked­ness may perish from off the Earth, To the King of Saints, the Holy one of Israel, who inhabits Immortality, and the Light inaccessible, to the only Wise and All-powerful God, be ascribed, as is most due, all Honour, &c.

DISCOURSE XIII. 1 PET. i. 22, 23. Seeing ye have purified your souls in obey­ing the truth through the Spirit, unto unfeigned love of the brethren; see that ye love one another, with a pure heart, fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God which liveth and abideth for ever.

THE Text is an Exhortation to Chri­stian Love, The Duty is enforced from a double Argument.

1. From the end of our Sanctification, in those words, Seeing ye have purified your Souls in obeying the Truth through the Spirit, [...], unto (or for) unfeigned brotherly love. And this ushers in the Pre­cept [Page 395] or Duty, Love one another with a pure heart, fervently.

2. The other Argument follows, of no less force than the former, which is drawn from the condition of our new Birth; Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of in­corruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

THE several Truths or Doctrines con­tained in the First Argument are these, viz.

Doctrine I. That the Christian mans Soul is Purified.

Purified] [...] is the word, synony­mous to [...]; both imply a purging or cleansing from filth. They are both used together, Iames 4. 8. in one signification: But yet there is a more special sense belong­ing to them both; they both signifie a Sa­cred and Ceremonial kind of cleansing and purification, and after, appropriation to God; as Titus 2. 14. where the word is [...], with allusion to the Consecration of the Levites, Numb. 8. and their washing of their Cloths, and sprinkling the Water of Purification, is called [...].

[Page 396]So that the purifying of the Soul (in the Text) implies cleansing and appropriation. But the Objects are not here express'd, yet very safely supposed; we cannot miss of them if we would. For from what should the Soul be purified, but from its filth? What is the filth of the Soul but Sin? To whom should the Soul thus purg'd be ap­propriated or consecrated? To it self? It is not purg'd, if not purg'd from it self. To the Creature? It is the height of Impiety, palpable Idolatry. To Sin? It is not Sense. To what then but to God its Creator and Redeemer, who gave himself, [...], that he might purifie unto himself a peculiar people. Tit. 2. 14.

Thus is purified the Christians Soul; which is true not only in that narrower sense of taking the Soul, but also as it in­cludes the Body, or the Beast as the Plato­nists call it; even the very Passions, and more fiery motions which those Philosophers resemble to Horses drawing the Chariot of the Soul; these also shall be Sanctified: So that upon the reins of the Horses (if I may speak with Zechary) there is inscrib'd, Ho­liness to the Lord. But certainly more pro­perly and chiefly this Purification belongs to the Soul her self, and from thence will sink through all the powers and faculties of the [Page 397] Body, taking hold of them, wielding them and ruling them at its own pleasure, or at least not suffering it self to be over-ruled by them.

Now this purifying of a Christian im­plies, that he was unholy and foul before. And not only the whole man, but also whole mankind is in this sinful state till wash'd and purified. Rom. 3. 12. 1 Ioh. 1. 8, 9, 10. where we have both these points confirm'd. 1. That we all have sinned, and stand obnoxious before God. 2. That by the worth and merit of Christ, and the effectual working of the Divine Spirit we have forgiveness, and that God doth cleanse us from all unrighteousness. And this is the true Christian Mystery: If we be Christi­ans, we must be as certainly purified, as its certain we were once impure.

Doct. II. That the Christians Soul is puri­fied in obeying the Truth.

Here meets us the unwelcome visage of Obedience; but with its face turn'd upon a safe object the Truth. Where we may note, that it is not any Obedience that purifies, but the Obedience to the Truth. A man may toil like a Mill-horse in a circuir of Cere­monies and outward performances, and yet but take his walk with the wicked, unless the Truth be obey'd.

[Page 398]Again it is such a Truth as Obedience belongs to, not an high aery speculative Truth; not a Truth only to be believed, but to be put in practice; for we cannot be said properly to obey speculative Truth, because the Soul there has no power to resist or disobey: For the Devil himself would glady embrace and assent to all pure and in­offensive speculation, that doth not touch his own interest and present condition; and so would all his and Natures children, the most wicked men that are: And that the Devil is cast into a fit of trembling at this grand speculative Maxime, [There is a God]; is because his quick memory doth presently recollect that he is Just, and that himself stands obnoxious to his Justice; here is his interest toucht.

The Truth therefore here meant is not so much those general speculations of the In­finite Power and Wisdom of God, the In­comprehensible Trinity, &c. which both good and bad men do easily spend their time in, and promiscuously believe, and yet sit securely upon their lees, their hearts being untoucht, unbroken, unstir'd: But the Truths which we are said most properly to obey are the Practical Truths, such as Matth. 5. Chap. 16. 24. Chap. 11. ult. Chap. 7. 13. &c. The Purification of a Christian [Page 399] is in obedience to such Truths; and Christ admits none for his that be disobedient, workers of iniquity. Matth. 7. 23.

Doct. III. That the purified and obedient Soul is thus purged and obedient through the Spirit.

This is he of whom Malachi 3. 2, 3. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiners fire, and like fullers sope. And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he shall purifie the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver; that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteous­ness.

We having then so powerful a Purifier, what hinders but the Christian Soul may be purified? No doubt of this Refiners Art or Skill. Is his Will doubted of? It is one with the Will of God; and Gods Will is, that we be purified, 1 Thess. 4. 3. And Christ is no teacher of loosness, but of the height of Righteousness. 'Tis not the pri­vilege of the Gospel that we may sin secure­ly, because Christus solvit; but that we may live more exactly, because Christ re­quires it, and doth inwardly enable us to perform it.

[Page 400]See also Rom. 8. 1, 2, 3, 4. There is there­fore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Iesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life, in Christ Iesus, hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Here we will acknowledge that God is able, his Spirit is willing, but we are unca­pable of so great a good, by reason of the infirmity of the Flesh: But answer me, O vain man, what is this infirmity of the Flesh, is it not the strength of Sin? And is there any strength that can withstand the powerful operation of the Spirit of God? The weakness, or strength if you will, of the Body bears it towards the Earth; but the fire and activity of the Natural Spirits bears it above, and enables it to walk up­right on the Earth, contrary to be bend of its own Essence and Nature. Shall not the Spirit of God then be as able to actuate and lead the Soul contrary to its accidental and ascititious Principles, as the Natural Spirits to actuate the Body contrary to its [Page 401] innate and essential Principles? Certainly if it be not effectual in us, we our selves are in fault, who abuse our shuffling Phansie and Reason to fend off the stroke and power of Truth that at once would cleave our hearts, that's a tender place, the seat of Life it self; and any Religion but that which kills us and mortifies us. The Devil knew well enough what he said, and his Children make it good; Skin for skin, and all that a man has will he give for his life. This is the shuffling hypocrisie of the Na­tural Spirit of man, and the root of infi­delity.

But let us make better use of this preci­ous Scripture, [Seeing ye obeyed the Truth through the Spirit]. 1st. For the encrease of Faith, and Confidence, and Courage in the wayes of Obedience, sith we have so strong assistance as the Spirit of our God, with true Christian Fortitude to conflict with all our Spiritual Enemies, wearing that Motto in our Minds, [...]. 2dly, For hearty Thank­fulness to God when ever we find our selves successful in our Spiritual Warfare, as to the only giver of Victory. 3dly, and lastly, For Humility, AEquanimity, and Christian Patience and expectancy towards our Neigh­bours that are not yet reclaim'd from their [Page 402] evil ways, being compassionate over them; not to insult in other mens weaknesses and miscarriages, sith we our selves stand not by our own power, but by the gracious assistance of our Saviour Jesus Christ: And certainly Purification arrived at its full end, will easily afford us this; for the end of Purification is Brotherly Love, which is the Fourth Doctrine.

Doct. IV. That this Purification of the Soul, and Obedience to the Truth through the Spirit, is for this end, viz. the eliciting of Brotherly Love and Since­rity in the Soul.

[...]]. I know, sometimes [...] and [...] are distinguished, as 2 Pet. 1. 7. But that [...] here may be as large as [...], I know nothing considerable to the contrary. The word is capable of that Sense, [...] and [...] being used in as great a latitude as Proximus and Alter, in­cluding all that descended from our Father Adam.

So that [...] is the love of our Neigh­bour; and this Love is the end and height of our Purification and Obedience, the aim and scope of it, as much as concerns the Second Table, Rom. 13. 9, 10. and 1 Tim. [Page 403] 1. 5. Who is able to express so Divine an excellency? For certainly the unfeigned Love of men is the very Divine Love it self, whereby God loves himself and all things, and we also love God and all things in refe­rence to him. This is that Love of whom the whole Universe was begotten, and that rock'd the cradle of the Infant World; the very Spirit of God, whose Splendour none can behold and live; for he must first be dead to himself, and extinguish the love of himself, before he can be touch'd and quickened by this Spirit of Life and Love.

THUS much for the Doctrines inclu­ded in the First main Argument. In the Second are these; viz.

Doctrine I. That there is a Regeneration of the Soul.

By understanding what Generation is, we may better know what is Regeneration.

1. The notion in general of Generation (according to Aristotle) implies no more than a right and fit union of a form sub­stantial with some capable subject, whe­ther that form be elicited of the subject or matter, or be brought in from else­where, [Page 404] [...], as Aristotle speaks of the Rational Soul.

2. There may be more Forms substantial than one in one subject; so they be but sub­ordinate one to the other; and that a new Species doth not arise so much from the de­struction of the pre-existent Form, as by addition of a new one, which might actu­ate the whole that doth pre-exist: As the numerus ternarius is not made by taking from the numerus binarius, but by adding an Unite thereto. Thus Aristotle seems to speak, Metaph. 7. Cap. 3.

3. Observe, That one Soul actuating a Body, if any part of that Body be cut off and lose the benefit of information, suppose an Hand or Foot, that is then said to be but equivocally what it was before; which im­plies it is then of another Nature or Species, as much of it as there is, though it be not an entire substance if compared with the whole; and consequently that the Soul actuating it, did then specificate it another way.

We have now a tolerable insight into Generation, and Regeneration is but this twice told. That which is this specifical [Page 405] substance now, by adding a new substantial Form thereto becomes something else: This is Regeneration. And to apply it to our selves. We are already once born accord­ing to Nature; our Bodies and Souls being fitly united together by him that is the Fa­ther of all Life, and the Lord of Nature: But though we be thus specificated, yet we are not thence perfected; but this Binary of Body and Soul the Pythagoreans would be bold to call but a miserable, [...], till that Third completing Vnite be added, the [...], that Divine Nature, or Spirit of God.

This Doctrine of Regeneration is inculca­ted often enough in Scripture, though not under this express name; but it is strongly enough implyed in as many places as there is mention of being born of God: For what is that but Regeneration, or a Second Birth, and how oft is that repeated in S. Iohns Writings? Iohn 1. 12, 13. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. Chap. 3. 5. Iesus answer­ed, Verily verily I say unto thee. Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

[Page 406] Regeneration is not a sleight tipping or colouring over with superficial qualities and habits, but is from a substantial principle of Life, that actuates the Soul as powerfully as the Soul doth the Body; is the Souls true form or [...], as the Soul is the Bodies [...] and form. For what doth [...] imply, but penetration and most intimate possession of the subject actuated or informed, and power, rule and com­mand over the same to move it at pleasure? And doth not the Divine [...], the Eternal Word, thus penetrate and possess the Souls of Godly men; even as the subtle Light doth the Air, of it self but a dark and for­lorn body?

There is so perfect a correspondency be­tween Generation and Regeneration, that un­less prejudice and Sophistical curiosity keep it off, mans Reason would forwardly assent that the Christian Regeneration is no dry Metaphor, but full Truth: And that the Regenerate man is even as specifically di­stinct from the mere Natural man, as the Natural man from brute Beasts. We made it good even out of Aristotle, that the Spe­cies or Essences of things are as Numbers, &c. The Ternarius is not made by taking from the Binarius, but by adding another Unite thereunto: Therefore a man though [Page 407] he have one Form already, viz. the Natural Soul, it hinders not but he may have also another, the quickening Spirit of God. I will add a little more force to the Conclusion by taking notice of the grounds of our spe­cificating things, and essentially distinguish­ing the one from the other; that we may discover the like grounds for our conclusion. What small and slight intimations from ac­cidentary differences in Natural Bodies, have cast the Earth, Water and Air into so many distinct Species; and that they can­not put on one anothers outward qualities, without the generation of some inward sub­stantial form! A little difference in weight and colour must imply a several Specificati­on in Silver and Gold; and upon a little more occasion than colour and taste, must a Pigeon and a Partridge be distinct Species. Not that these things are false, but that there is as true grounds to find a real Speci­fical difference betwixt a Natural man and a man Regenerate. For if several colour, figure and weight, though they be some­thing near akin to one another, be a suffi­cient cause of surmisal that some inward essential form is within; surely then when we see the Soul of man figured and covered over with new Thoughts of Mind, new Knowledge, new Desires; it is as good an [Page 408] Argument that it is actuated by a new Prin­ciple of Life.

But here it will be replyed; Then any Chast man will Specifically differ from an Unchast man, Just men from Unjust, Phi­losophers from Idiots.

But it is not such an opposition as it seems at first sight. The improvement of Nature is no sign of a new Specification. A Horse that can go, may also trot, gallop, pace, swim, and dance too, and yet not cease to be an Horse: But if I should see him fly­ing in the Air, I should take him to be no Horse but a Devil. A Nightingal may va­ry with her voice into a multitude of inter­changeable Notes, and various Musical falls and risings, and yet be but a Nightingal, no Chorister: But should she but sing one Hymn or Hallelujah, I should deem her no Bird but an Angel. So the highest improve­ment of Natural Knowledge, or mere Mo­rality, will argue us no more than the Sons of Men: But to be of one will completely with God, will make us, or doth argue us to be the Sons of God. Stones, Dirt, Me­tals, Minerals, distinct enough one from ano­ther, agree in tending downwards to the Earth; and Fire is as much determinate to moving upward to the Natural Seat of that Element: But if that either of them, or [Page 409] Fiery or Earthy nature, move of its plea­sure upward, downward, to the right, to the left, this way and the other way, even as it will; no man any longer will suppose it either Fire or Earth, but something else Specificated by a new internal principle. To be always bent down to the desire of the body and worldly delights, that motion is Bestial: To be always reaching at high things, that's Diabolical: To be disengag'd from a mans self, and stand indifferent to what ere the Will of God is, that's Ange­lical or Divine.

But it is again objected, If Regeneration imply a real new Generation, that then it must also imply a real Corruption; so that the Natural Soul shall be destroyed, or at least Natural Knowledge, Natural Princi­ples of Reason.

Not a jot of this follows. Neither the Soul it self, nor its Natural Principles of Knowledge or Reason are destroyed or aba­ted, but made up and perfected. Doth one Unite added to two pre-existent Unites de­stroy those Unites? Or rather, do they not all put together beget a new Number of another Species and Name? Or, to bring it more home, doth the Soul of man com­ing into the organiz'd Body, destroy the Body? Or doth it not rather perfect and [Page 410] compleat it? So doth also the Spirit of God coming into the Soul. But as for the pre-existent qualities, no more of those are de­stroy'd than are incompatible with the resi­dence of that new Form, the Divine Spirit. Disobedience and wickedness be the only [...] with this new Birth. Reason is no more incompatible with this state, than phansie, memory, hearing, seeing, smell­ing, &c. Nor the improvement of Reason, or Arts and Sciences, then looking upon the Stars through a Galilaeos Glass, or reading the Bible with an ordinary pair of Spectacles.

Doct. II. That the Soul is Regenerated of no corruptible Seed, but incorruptible.

There needs no Descant upon this, no Interpretation, the Words are so clear; no Proof, the Truth is so unquestionable.

Doct. III. That this incorruptible Seed is the Word of God.

The Word of God has two or three Senses: It signifies The written Word, The Word spo­ken, and Verbum mentis, That which God conceives within himself. This last is chiefly the Word: The other but dead signs or shadows of it, differing as much from this, as a picture of a man from a living man; [Page 411] nay much more; as much at least as the shadow of the Garland hanging on a Sign-post, and projected on the ground, differs from the best Wine in the Inne. The Word spoken perisheth with the speaking, Vox audita perit. The written Word is indeed longer-liv'd, but Paper and Ink is not in­corruptible and immortal: For the heavens shall melt away with a noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burnt up. 2 Pet. 3. 10. The Word of God then is safe no where but in his own bosom, cypher'd within himself in his own mind. This is his eternal Wisdom and incorruptible Word; the only incorruptible Seed.

Preaching and hearing, and reading and discoursing, they may be a kind of plowing or harrowing, or some such piece of Hus­bandry: But it is an hand out of the Clouds that sets this Seed of everlasting Life in our hearts. Those are but some hungry talk of the best dishes, or spreading the table: This is the real food. Those but a note under the Physitians hand: This is the very Phy­sick that restores to health.

Doct. IV. That this Word of God, which is the Seed of the Soul, is a living and everlasting Word.

[Page 412]This Word is no other than the inward Word of God, which is his first-born Son, the everlasting Wisdom of the Father, which sat in Counsel with him when he made the World. Prov. 8. Iohn 1. This Second Hypostasis is so acknowledged by the Heathen to be everlasting; they make it to be [...], the first Life. That it is a living Word, we have an ample testimo­ny, Heb. 4. 12, 13. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the divi­ding asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joynts and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked, and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Can these Attributes be given to any dead letter, or any transient hand? Can Words or Writings be so penetrating as to divied asunder the Soul and Spirit? &c.

'Tis true, Authors both Divine and Pro­fane give very quick operations to the Words of the Tongue. Prov. 25. 15. By long forbearing is a prince perswaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone. Psal. 57. 4. My soul is among lions, and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and [Page 413] their tongue a sharp sword. Psal. 64. 3. Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words. And in Homer, [...] is to speak words that cut to the heart. But for this, consider that it is not the words that do then so wound the mind; as the mind launceth it self, and plagues it self by those unruly phantasms she then occasionally cre­ates in her self upon such speeches. One man being jear'd at a Comedy, bears him­self so carelesly and jollily, that he walks cross the stage that all the people may take notice that he was the man that was so abused. Another so used, goes home and hangs himself; which is a sure experiment to prove that it is not words, but the Souls own thoughts that so wound and scorch her self. Words of themselves are but empty shells and husks, and can give no greater blow than the shadow of Hercule's Club lifted up in the Sun; nor can no more administer comfort than an Ivy-bush can quench our thirst. Wherefore it is plain, that 'tis the Soul her self that creates these joys or disturbances in things Natural or Moral. But in real Conversion to God, in unfeigned Repentance, in the New Birth (as the Letter or outward Word is excluded, as has been cleared, so) the Soul her self is [Page 414] excluded, as being unable to regenerate her self; therefore what is left but God himself by his living Word? That's the immediate cause of Conversion and Regeneration, the other but occasions. If not, there is no su­pernatural act at all in Conversion and Re­generation.

Again, this Word of God is said to be a discerner of the thoughts, &c. all which are manifest Properties of Life. Compare­ing therefore this place of the Hebrews with the Text, it is plain that there is a living and everlasting Word, and that that Word is meant in both these places: And if so, then its the same with S. Iohns words, In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

THUS much for the Doctrines or Truths, which are as so many enforce­ments to the great Duty, [...]. The substance of the Duty is mutual Love; which is charged with a double modification, viz. of quality, [...], and of quantity, [...]; which implies extension, and is as much as [...], or intension, and is as much as [...]. Again, this [...] or extension, is either in reference to the object or else du­ration, and implies an universal Love, and continued. But no English word will fully [Page 415] answer to [...]: Therefore our Interpre­ters have been forc'd to make use but of one of these senses, fervently: And they have with more judgment, pitcht upon the sense of intension than extension, because that intension in some measure implies extension; but not è contra; for that which is (ex. gr.) very hot, has also a further extended sphear of calefaction, and doth last longer hot, than that which is at first but more remisly heated, as is manifested in heated Irons.

To make any subtle disquisition of the nature of Love, is not much to the purpose. Every one knows what it is to love him­self, how he is affected towards himself: Let him but transfer that affection, which he is so sensible of in himself, to his Neigh­bour, and the Duty is done more substan­tially and completely, than all Scholastical definitions and curious circumscriptions can be able to set it out. Be so affected to other men, as you would they should be to you, or as you are affected to your self: This is the Law, and the Prophets.

THE Incitements to this Duty are many: But I will confine my self to the Text, and cull out some three: As,

  • [Page 416]

    1. From the Seed of the New Birth.

    For what is this Seed but the Son of God, by union with whom we also become the Sons of God, petty Deities? But sith that the Deity it self is nothing else but a sufficient and overflowing Goodness, crea­ting all things, and sustaining them from no other principle than the Spirit of Good­ness; though we cannot act as this absolute Deity, yet we may will according to that uncreated Will, which is nothing else but pure overspreading Love.

    Again, this Seed, (as hath been shewed) which is the Word, is a living Seed. But where Life is, and Understanding or Sense, there must needs be Love, for it is the flower and sweet of all desire. What then can be the desire of the living Word but Love; and how can he want desire, sith he is Life; and what can he so much desire as the good and welfare of Mankind? What therefore should that part of Mankind that partake of this Divine Nature, desire more than the good of one another, and of those also, that as yet have not partaked of that Divine Nature: For God also loves those, or else how could ever any partake of it?

  • [Page 417]

    2. From the Regeneration of the Soul.

    It is the Holy Ghosts own arguing, 1 Ioh. 4. 7. Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth, is born of God, and loveth God. Ver. 16. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwell­eth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him. By Righteousness and Unrighteousness, by Love and Hatred, are the Children of God and the Children of the Devil manifested. 1 Iohn 3. 10. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: Who­soever doeth not righteousness, is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. Ver. 14. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren: he that loveth not his brother, abideth in death. If Water or Earth be turn'd into Fire, we expect it should burn and be hot. How shall then a Son of Satan, or the Earthly man, be turn'd by Regeneration into the Son of God, and not love?

  • 3. From the end of our Sanctification.

    Love is the very End of it. Shall Envy, shall Hatred, shall Lust, Ambition, Luxu­ry, &c. shall all these enormous Desires and Affections be cast out of the Soul by San­ctity [Page 418] and Purity, that she may be but a transparent piece of Ice, or a spotless fleece of Show? Shall she become so pure, so pellu­cid, so christalline, so devoid of all stains, that nothing but still shadows and night may possess that inward diaphanous Purity? Thus would she be no better than the no­cturnal Air, no happier than a statue of Alabaster; it would be but a more cleanly sepulchre of a dead starved Soul. Nay, certainly at this cleansing and preparing is for something well worth that labour. The Stoicks themselves, that were such severe Sentencers of Passion, would retain [...]. Stoicism it self brings in, upon that deadness and privation of other Passions, that divine motion of the Soul, which is Love or Goodwill to all Mankind. And shall Christianity be but a cold grave to the mor­tified Soul of man? No surely, there is a Resurrection to Life, Love and the Divi­nity, as well as a Death of the enormous Affections of this Mortal Body. Bitter Zeal, harsh Censure, busie Revenge, [...] are so far from being able to supply the place of Charity, that it's a manifest sign that we are as yet carnal and unsanctified.

DISCOURSE XIV. PSAL. cvi 28. They joined themselves also unto Baal-Peor, and are the sacrifices of the dead.

THIS Psalm is a compendious com­memoration of those many slips and falls the Children of Israel had in their Journey to the Land of Canaan.

As foul and as dangerous as any, is this in my Text; this business of the Baal-Peor. In the handling whereof I will observe this method.

First, I will explain what may seem dif­ficult to understand, or ambiguous.

Secondly, I will further confirm out of Scripture the narration in this Particle of Scripture.

Thirdly and Lastly; I will make some Observations or Deductions from the truth [Page 420] of this Text; such as will come from it with as much ease as profit.

I. For the First.


[...], i. e. They joyned themselves.] For although the word be in Niphal, and may seem to signifie either Passively or Neutrally; yet (as Elias the Grammarian hath observ­ed) the Conjugation Niphal sometimes sig­nifies as Hithpael, which denotes a reflex act: Tota actio ejus est retransitiva, quum recipiatur ab ipso agente. So he expounds that in 2 Kings 20! [...] Amasa non est custoditus; that is (saith he) [...] Non custodivit se. So Lev. 25. [...] Et venditus tibi. Vt dicunt sapientes bonae memoriae (saith Elias upon this place) loqui­tur hic versus de vendente seipsum, necessitate cogente. Other Examples this Grammarian brings, for the further confirmation of the matter, but I will omit them; these being sufficient for proof. According therefore to this Analogy [...] is to be interpreted (as our Translators have ex­pounded it) They joined themselves also to Baal-Peor.

[Page 421] To Baal-Peor] But what's that? Such an Abomination that I am loth to name it. I am almost forced back at the evil sight of it, and ill sent: And well may be, if we believe the Hebrew Writers. Peor (saith Vatablus) testantibus Hebraeis spurcissimum Idolum Madianitarum fuit, a denudando nem­pe nomen habens: [...] enim aperire & denu­dare significat. I will not venture any fur­ther in this description. The impure Dog hath more modesty than the Worshippers of that Deity: For that which they hide by scraping over earth from the sight of men, they lay open to the view of their God. Yet as filthy Abomination as it is, the Iews (as Moses the Egytian for example, and R. Salomon) stick not to assert it as true. Origen durst conclude, that at least, it is idolum turpitudinis, though not define what kind of turpitude, in his twentieth Homily upon Numbers. Cum multae sint turpitudinum species, una quaedam ex pluribus turpitudinis species Beelphegor appellatur. S. Ierom ventures to parallel it with the La­tines Priapus, and makes it to be chiefly workshipped of Women. Others I could bring in to confirm this of the turpitudo of this Idol. But I lift not to dwell so long upon an history so foul. It is enough and too much, that it be true that all assent to, [Page 422] that it was an Idol that Israel joined him­self to. Those things concerning it that be questionable and uncertain, I will let go, and will build nothing but upon a sure foun­dation.

Let the condition therefore of their trans­gression be set as low as Venerable Bede hath pitch'd it, in his Exposition upon this Text, Initiati junt (saith he) or consecraverunt se, vel initiati sunt & sacricaverunt Beel, qui colebatur in Phegor: Belus enim fuit Pater Nini, in cujus honorem Filius Idolum fecit, quod vocabatur Beel, & colebatur in regione Phegor, cui isti in deserto sacricaverunt. And hence we may have some little light, to find out the meaning of the latter words of my Text,

They ate the Offerings of the dead] that is, Offerings offered to dead men, departed this life.

Est honor & tumulis animas placare paternas.
Ovid. Fast.

This piece of Superstition exhibited by Ninus to his Father Belus descended to his Posterity, and over-spread that Country; he being not a private Person, but Lord of a Kingdom.

[Page 423]This worshipping of the Dead by Prayers and Sacrifices, is as commonly known as ordinary School-books. There's a large de­scription of these Rites in Homers Odyssees: Where after three Libations or Drink-offer­ings of Wine and Honey, of Wine, of Water and Meal, which were poured into a ditch of a cubit wide, with promise of a further Sacrifice, a barren Cow and a black Wether, with a present immolation of Beast then prepared for Sacrifice, upon the run­ning down of the black Blood,


straight there were gathered together by whole flocks from out of Erebus, the Souls of dead deceased.

Cardan also writes of Adrian, that he erected a Temple and Oracle, instituted Priests and Rites for his execrable Catamite Antinous, when he was dead. This is the Superstition of Necromancy. Which tho' the Israelites aimed not at, in their Sacrifi­cing to the Ghost of Belus; yet is their Idolatry as little, if not less excusable: For the end of the Necromancer is knowledge of future things, or things past that lie hid: The drift of the Israelites was the accom­plishment [Page 424] of their wicked Lust, their com­mitting of Whoredom with the Daughters of Moab.

But more light than from any profane Writer, may we gather out of the Book of Wisdom, Chap. 14. A father afflicted with untimely mourning, when he hath made an image of his child soon taken away, now ho­noureth him as a God, which was then a dead man; and delivered to those that were under him ceremonies and sacrifices. Thus in pro­cess of time an ungodly custom grown strong was kept as a law, and graven images were worshipped by commandment of Kings. Here we see a Father making an Image for his Child, and Deifying him with Ceremonies and Sacrifices: Which makes Venerable Bedes opinion of the Childs Deifying the Father [Ninus his erecting an Image in ho­nour of his Father Belus] sufficiently pro­bable.

So an ungodly Custom got the strength of a Religious Law among the Children of Moab: As also that among the Latins from the first Example of AEneas,

Ille Patris genio solennia dona ferebat:
Hinc populi ritus edidicere pios.
Ovid. Fast. Lib. 2.

[Page 425] Where patris Genius may be very well for Anima patris, the Soul of his Father, or his Fathers Ghost; as Hesiod also terms the Souls of them that dyed in the Golden Age, [...], which is Genii in Latin. [...]These be Genii. Plutarch re­stricts it not to the Golden Age, but speaks at large: [...]. Souls freed from their Bo­dies become Genii according to Hesiod. So Plutarch, and he venters to shew how they be affected with things here below: They love to be abettors though not actors; as old men who have left off the more youthful sports, love to set the younger sort to their games and exercises, and to look on and encourage them; as he expresseth it in his de Genio Socratis. Maximus Tyrius doth endeavour at large to prove that the [...] or Genii be nought but the Souls of men, who are occupied much what in such employments as they were in the flesh. And Xenocrates in Ari­stotles Topicks, makes [...] and [...] all one, even when it is in the Body. [...]: As Xenocrates saith, He's happy that hath a good Soul; for the Soul is the Genius of every one.

[Page 426]But I have not bestowed all this pains for a Distich in Ovid. If we be perswaded of the Identity of the Souls of the departed and Genii or Spirits, way is made to that in S. Basil, where he describes the nature of Sacrificing to these Genii, Daemones or Souls of the deceased; they being all one, or little difference being betwixt them. Which will be further confirmed, if we consider that even all the Deities of the Heathen (as Iupiter, Mars, Sol, Luna, and the rest) have been Men upon earth, as the Egyptians witness in Diodorus Sicalus; from whence the Graecians had their Numina, as the Egyp­tians contend, and is not improbable. In­somuch that we shall scarce find any Daemo­nes or Daemonia among the Heathen, but the Souls of them that have departed this life, to whom Sacrifice hath been offered. Statues, Temples and Stars have been be­stowed upon them, as in that Story of Adrian and Antinous, whom he placed also among the Stars; the Constellation next the Eagle bears his name, as all the Planets the names of men once here upon earth, as I intimated out of Diodorus.

But to come at length to S. Basil, out of whom we shall understand more fully this eating of the Sacrifices of the dead, or of the Daemones or Daemonia, The Statue consecrated [Page 427] to any Daemonium or Genius, hath the assist­ence (saith he) of the Genii or Daemonia. [...], &c. For as hungry dogs haunt the shambles where blood and gore use to be, [...]. So the lickersome Daemonia seeking the enjoy­ment of the blood and nidour of the Sacrifices, frequent the Altars and Statues consecrated to them. [...]. Hence it is that the Apostle saith, That they that eat things con­secrated to Idols, partake of the table of the Daemonia, or Genii: Or (as was probably inferr'd before) the Souls of the dead, ac­cording to their apprehension. For it is more incident to Natural Reason to think that the Souls of the departed (men being rather forced out of their Bodies by fatal necessity, than willingly following the call of Nature) that they should delight rather in such provision as men can make them, than those that we conceive never to have stooped so low as the descent into the flesh: And so, whatsoever S. Basil speaks of the Daemonia, Natural Reason to be more prone to conceive of the Souls of the departed; and accordingly to have provided for them in that worship they did to them. So that [Page 428] they that have been [joined to Baal-Peor;] that is, that have been initiated into that Religion, have worshipped the Soul of Belus, and have been partakers of his Table, eaten of the same Flesh with him; accord­ingly as S. Basil explains the Daemonia. And nor Reason, nor Scripture, nor the Mysteries of Nature do any thing clash against this.

II. BUT now that Israel was initiated into those Rites of Peor, is manifest out of Numb. 25. 3. [...], &c. Initiatus (que) est Israel Beelphegor: Or, as the Hebrew hath it, Et adjunxit se Israel Baal-Peor. But that we may see the abo­mination of this act more fully, we will take in a more full narration of it. And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab, and they called the people unto the sa­crifice of their Gods, and Israel joined him­self unto Baal-Peor. Ver. 1, 2, 3. of that Chapter. That which is here [...] Sacrificia Deorum, is in my Text [...] Sacrificia mortuorum: Which makes further for that I drove at before, viz. That the Gods of the Heathen are mostwhat the Souls of dead men.

[Page 429]THUS I have dispatched the two for­mer Parts of my task, viz. the Explication and Confirmation of the truth of this Text, so far as was needful.

III. The Inferences following are these.

First, From those words [They joined themselves to Baal-Peor] we may observe, That it is long of a mans self when he sins. Thus Ecclesiasticus 15. 11, 12. Say not thou, that it is through the Lord that I fell away: For thou oughtest not to do the thing that he hateth. Say not thou, that he hath caused me to err: For he hath no need of the sinful man. So Iam. 1. 13, 14. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: For God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

To say therefore, that it is the all-sway­ing Providence of God that bore men to this or that evil action, is to blaspheme the Sacred Name of God, and contradict Rea­son and Scripture. Or (which seems more plausible) to say the Devil ought us a spight, is but to be gull'd by the Devil, and to add a new errour to our former misdeed. The Devil may suggest, but not compel. But to exalt the strength of the [Page 430] evil Spirit above the dominion and power of him that is the Prince of Spirits, as tho' they were stronger than he, is to cast God out of his Throne, and to place Satan in his stead. Surely God who hateth Sin with a perfect hatred, will not let the Devil pre­vail against that Will in us that is conform­able to his. If we be against Sin, God will aid us. If we fall into Wickedness, it is long of our selves: Yea, though the greatest of Wickednesses; For they joined themselves to Baal-Peor, &c. Not forced or necessitated by the Devil, against a good Will, and sincere aversation of Sin; for this is the Will of God, and he will help his own Will: Nor led on by God; for God will not beget to life that which he hates to see. But the truth is, God who is the God of Love and Freedom, would have us to serve him out of a free Principle; and so neither constrains us to good, nor over-sways us to evil.

Secondly, They joined themselves [also] to Baal-Peor. The Calf in Horeb, their envying and murmuring against Moses and Aaron, their lusting after the flesh-pots of Egypt, all these did not satisfie; but as if these were a light matter, they add Whore­dom and Idolatry in this business of Baal-Peor. [Page 431] Hence we may observe, That the wickedness of a mans heart knows no bounds, but his evil desires are enlarged like Hell.

Thirdly, If we compare the greatness of this transgression with the great experience they had of the Power and Love of God to them; who had done great things for them in Egypt, wondrous works in the Land of Ham, and fearful things by the Red Sea; who had given them from Mount Sinai an express Law against Idolatry, in Thunder and Lightning, Clouds and Vapours of Smoke, to the utter dismaying of them from Sin; who had given them Manna in the Wilderness, and fed them with Angels food; who had guided them by two mighty Pillars, a Cloudy Pillar by day, and a Pillar of Fire to give light by night; who had made them eye-witnesses of so many Mira­cles of his Almighty Arm: That these People should so fouly Apostatize, argues plainly an excessive weakness in the Children of Adam. And the best Use we can make of it is this, To be vigilant over our own wayes, and merciful to our Brother when he slides.

Fourthly and Lastly, We may gather also a kind of disability in all outward stays and props of our Souls in goodness, all visible helps [Page 432] for Piety; if something stronger within do not sustain us and keep us.

What more forcible outward means could have been used, than Israel had experience of? But all the terrour upon Mount Sinai, and all that tempest and dread in giving of the Law, all the Miracles that were wrought by the hand of Moses, and the visible pre­sence of God or his Angel, all those passed out of their minds like a dream, and vanish­ed as a vision of the night; all those failed them, when the present object possessed their Eyes, when the beauty of the Daugh­ters of Moab had ensnared their Hearts, and captivated their Souls to the commit­ing of folly.

The Young man in Macarius, who in an high Rapture beheld glorious sights, [...], Faces of Light, and the shining Lustre of Heaven, after fell into the filth of the Flesh, and deplorable deformity of Life.

The best use we can make of this is, Not to satisfie our selves with any outward or mo­mentany Worships or Ceremonies, as to rest in them; but to seek an inward Principle of ne­ver failing Life.

Else so soon as we are departed the Church, and that honour we do there to God, we may be easily carried into the service of the Devil, the committing any wickedness. [Page 433] Whereas if we had the living Spring of Truth and Righteousness in us, we should also have a perpetual sense of what is good or evil: And as our Natural Life is tender of it self, and perceives the least touch of harm that approacheth it; so would that Spirit of Life and Truth be exceeding sen­sible of whatsoever is contrary to it or the Will of God, which would always be very fresh and vivid in our Minds and Will.

But to attain to this Spirit of Life and Righteousness, there is no way but Morti­fication, a death to Sin and our own selves, that the Life of God may alone rule in us. Then shall not the Daughters of Moab in­veigle us; that is, as Philo the Iew inter­preteth it, the false allurements of the be­witching Senses. Nor shall we then worship Baal-Peor; or partake of his Sacrifices, that is, according to the same Author, [...], &c. We shall not di­late all the openings of our Bodies for re­ceiving the influx or strong impressions, the unwholesome vapours of this intoxicating World, and the pleasures thereof; and so drown our Souls in the bottom of Corrup­tion. For so he interpreteth the name of this Idol, as if it were [...], intima­ting his power to lye in all the openings of the Body, or rather outward Skin; through [Page 434] which the influences of this sensible World, if they be not kept out by due vigilancy, stream in and drown the Soul, and choak all Life of Vertue and Goodness. This is that great Deity of the Heaten: This is the Idol of the Daughters of Moab, whose stay and confidence is in this visible World, whose joy and pleasure is in the Life of the Flesh.

I will conclude with the Conclusion of the Psalmist.

Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the Heathen; to give thanks unto thy holy name, and to triumph in thy praise.

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from ever­lasting to everlasting; and let all the people say Amen. Praise ye the Lord.

DISCOURSE XV. COL. iii. 1. If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God.

THIS Text contains in it that preci­ous mystery of the internal or in­ward Resurrection of Christ in our Hearts or Souls; which is the chief, if not only saving Knowledge of that part of our Christian Religion. For (alas!) Beloved, what will that outward Resurrection of our Saviour according to the flesh profit us, though we have the History of it never so accurately; nay, though we had seen it with our own eyes? We may lye in the grave of sin our selves for all that: We may sink like a dead stone into the bottom­less pit, and have our portion with the damned Devils, who have an Historical Faith of all the passages of Christs doings [Page 436] or sufferings here on Earth (it may be) better than our selves. And those wicked Souldiers that watched his Sepulchre, were perfectly convinced, that he had escaped the jawes of Death: But what was this to them, who were yet dead in their trespasses and sins? Surely nothing at all. And as little is it to us, Beloved, if we be dead in sin, and have not risen from the strong hold­ing bands of iniquity and vanity.

Wherefore it is not enough to say Christ dyed for our sins, and rose again for our justi­fication; and so to imagine his Resurrection to be our raising from wickedness and cor­ruption: But we our selves also really and in truth are to rise from the grave of sin, by the power of the enlivening Spirit of Jesus Christ. And whether we be thus risen indeed or no, this present Text of Scripture will teach us.

If you be risen with Christ, seek those things [or you do seek those things] which are above: For the Greek Text will bear both senses.

I will first briefly run through the Sense of the words; and then raise such Do­ctrines and Uses as shall most naturally flow from the Text, and shall be most profit­able, for the promotion of that main work of our Salvation.

[Page 437] [...], If then you be risen with Christ,] That is, If you be risen in your Souls, as Christ in Body rose from the grave: If your Souls have scaped the bands of the Spiritual Death, which is the nature and life of Sin, (for that maketh us truly dead unto Righteousness and unto God) as Christs Body broke from the Prison of the Sepulchre: Then you seek those things that are above. It must needs be understood of the Resurrection of the Soul from Sin, because the Apostle did not Preach to dead men departed this Life once, and again clothed with this Fleshly Tabernacle; but to men, who were alwayes alive from their first being born into this visible World. In vain then had he taught them a sign of that which he knew would never come to pass, till the Colossians were past his Preaching to; to wit at the last day, the time of the Re­surrection of our Bodies.

And according to this manner, doth the Apostle speak also of the Crucifixion of Christ; making the outward Passion and Death of Christ, a sign or resemblance of something in our Souls, viz. our dying to Sin, as here he hath made his Resurrection an emblem of our rising to Righteousness. Rom. 6. 2, &c.. How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know you not that [Page 438] all we that have been baptised into Iesus Christ, have been baptised into his death? We are buried then with him by baptism into his death, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we be grafted with him into the similitude of his death, even so shall we be into the similitude of his resur­rection. Knowing this that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. The Apostle there plainly compares our dying to Sin, to the Crucifixion of our Saviour; and that as he dyed on the Cross Corporally, so we ought to crucifie the body of Sin in us, by the power of God in our Spirits.

Thus have we good warrant from the ex­ample of the Apostle, to look upon the Mystery of Christianity with Spiritual eyes. The Birth, the Death, the Resurrection, and Ascension of our Saviour Bodily, have their similitude Spiritually in our Souls. The Birth of Christ, a resemblance of Christs being born in us. Gal. 4. 19. My little children of whom I travail in the birth again, till Christ be formed in you. His Death, of our dying to Sin, as I have already decla­red: Or of Christs being dead in us. For we are also said to crucifie Christ by our un­godliness, [Page 439] and by extinguishing his Spirit of power and illumination in us. Heb. 6. 4. For it is impossible, that they which were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted of the good word of God, and of the powers of the world to come: If they fall away, that they should be renewed by repentance; seeing they have crucified again to themselves the Son of God, and put him to an open shame.

Crucified again: For verily, Beloved, from our very youth up we have laid dead the Son of God, the suggestions of the Holy Life in our Consciences. But yet it pleaseth God to raise his Son in us, and recover him to Life, by the Preaching of the powerful Messengers of God, and the secret working of his Holy Spirit upon the Heart: And here is Christ risen as it were from the grave. But if we by loose and negligent courses, destroy this Life of Christ in us, and extin­guish the Spirit of God in our Souls, then do we crucifie the Son of God afresh, and shame the profession of Regeneration and the Spirit of God, and the true and living Christianism, by our open revolting from the living God, and taking part with the wicked of this World, and their ungodly and sensual courses.

[Page 440]But now as Christ is thus in a Spiritual manner killed and crucified, so when he is in us restor'd to Life, it must needs be fit­tingly termed his Resurrection from Death: And according to this sense may those words of my Text be understood also, If you be risen with Christ: That is, If your Souls have become living by that Spirit of Christ being alive in you, then you seek those things that be above. For it is as impossible that the Spirit of Christ should be alive in us, and not we alive by it to him, as it is, that light should be let into a room, and the air in the room not enlightened

Wherefore if Christ be risen in us, we are also risen with him. But the Sign that we are thus risen with Christ, is, that we seek those things that be above. But how above? What? Is the contemplation of the Stars, or the knowledge of Meteors, viz. of Comets, of Rainbows, of falling Stars, of Thunder, of Lightning, of Hail, of Snow or such like, commended to us? Nor Astronomy, nor Astrology, nor Meteorology, seem considerable things in the eyes of God.

Those things that be above] That is, in Heaven. But how in Heaven? Or what is Heaven? We are therefore to understand, [Page 441] that this word [Heaven] has a threefold sig­nification in Holy Writ.

First, It signifies the Air. Psal. 79. 2. The dead bodies of thy servants have they given to be meat to the fowls of Heaven. That is, of the Air.

Secondly, It signifies that space where the Stars, the Sun, and the Moon, and the rest of the Host of Heaven do move. Isa. 13. 10. For the stars of heaven, and the planets thereof, shall not give their light; the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.

Thirdly, It signifies that aboad of the ho­ly spirits of men where the eternal light and lustre of God is present; where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God.

At the right hand of God.] That is, the Power, Majesty or Glory of God. For God hath neither a Right hand nor a Left, because he hath not a Body, or any palpa­ble distinct Members. Wherefore when any sensible parts of a Body are ascribed to him, they are to be understood, by way of Ana­logy or resemblance. So when, his eyes are said to be upon the hearts of men, and his eye­lids to try their wayes, when his ear is said to be open to the prayers of the faithful; these [Page 442] signifie nothing else but that God doth per­fectly both know and discern, and approve or disallow, as certainly and as clearly, nay infinitely more clearly, than we see or hear any thing with our eyes or ears. Now as by the organs of sense attributed to God, the Knowledge of God is set forth, so by the organs or instruments of action or ope­ration, is his Power decyphered: And most eminently by this [...], the instrument of instruments, or best of all instruments, the Hand. The hand of God is the Power of God ordinarily in Scripture. So is he said to deliver the Israelites with a mighty hand and stretched-out arm; that is, by exceeding great Power. Now the Right hand being more active than the Left, the more usual instrument in outward works or manufa­ctures, it may intimate the exceeding abun­dance of the Power of God. Or the Right-hand of his Power, may intimate the Power of God to good; the more large effusion or pouring out of Benignity; the enlarge­ment and exaltation of the Soul of Christ and his Fellow-members, as many as have been conformable to him in the death, or mortification of the Old Man. For these also God will raise up with him to Eternal Riches and Glory, and irresistible. Power, which the Devil, Death and Sin shall never [Page 443] be able to overcome. But the Power of his Left-hand, is the Power of destruction, the fury, and wrath, and strong tempest of God, which doth sieze the Children of Dis­obedience; which abideth in Hell for them, for an endless woe, and toil, and torment for ever. And this is the distinction of the Sheep and the Goats, on the Right hand and the Left; these shall be plagued with the vengeance and anger of God in the power and dominion of Hell; but those shall be strengthened, and comforted with those pleasures that flow at the Right-hand of God for evermore. Thou wilt not leave my soul in the grave, neither wilt thou suffer thine holy one to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: In thy presence is the fulness of joy; and at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

What therefore the Right-hand of God is, we plainly see; viz. the full and strong stream of his Goodness and Divine Benig­nity. To sit here, what can it be but to remain in this Happiness, unshaken, un­mov'd, steadily and securely? But he that stands is next going or departing.

AND thus much by way of Explica­tion of the words, which will afford us these Doctrines.

  • [Page 444]1. That there is a Spiritual Resurrection of the Soul, belonging to every true Chri­stian.
  • 2. That those that do partake of this Spi­ritual Resurrection, seek those things that be above; that is, Divine and Heavenly things.
  • 3. That they seek them where Christ sitteth, at the Right-hand of God.

First of the first, viz. That there is a Spi­ritual Resurrection of the Soul in this Life.

I will not go far for my first Proof. I will only step back into the Chapter fore­going my Text, viz. the Second Chapter of this Epistle to the Colossians, at the 11th and 12th Verses; In whom (i. e. in Christ) also ye are circumcised with circumcision made without hands, by putting off the sinful body of the flesh, through the circumcision of Christ; in that you are buried with him through bap­tism: In whom ye are also raised up together through the faith of the operation of God, which raised him from the dead. And ye which were dead in sins, and in the uncircum­cision of the flesh, hath he quickened together with him, forgiving you all your trespasses. And then follows my Text (for all the re­sidue of that Chapter may be very well [Page 445] Parenthetical) If ye then be risen with Christ, &c. which he doth assert or affirm in the forenamed Verses, when as he saith they [are buried with him in Baptism.] There's the Death we are to imitate in our Soul; that is, to have the body of Sin dead and buried. [In whom you are also raised up by the operation of God.] There's the Spiritual Resurrection of the Soul. And in the next Verse, [Ye which were dead in sins] There's the Death of the Soul; [hath he quickened toge­ther with him]. There's the Resurrection of the Soul from its Death, which is Sin. For Sin is the Death of the Soul; as Obedience, Righteousness, or the Holy Spirit of God, is the Life thereof.

But for further and more manifest proof of this point, it will not be amiss to re­hearse again to you, that place at the 6th of Romans, (for it suits exceeding well with the place I expounded to you just now.) Ver. 3, &c. Know you not, that all we that have been baptised into Iesus Christ, have been bap­tized into his death? We are buried then with him by baptism into his death, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also should walk in new­ness of life. For if we be grafted with him into the similitude of his death, even so shall we be into the similitude of his resurrection. Knowing [Page 446] this that our old man is crucified with him, &c. The words do plainly describe the Spiritual Death of the Soul, as also the inward Re­surrection thereof from Sin to a newness of life; as the Apostle speaks.

And so Rom. 8. 10. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin, [...], is mortified for sin: As we would say, such an one is kill'd for Rob­bing, or is let blood for an Ague. So [dead for sin] is either the mortifying our Bodily and Carnal Affection, in a just vengeance on our selves for the sin they suggest, and made us commit: Or [dead, or mortified for sin,] is, that Sin may be quite dislodged of our Bodies; as a man is said to be let blood for an Ague, to rid himself quite of that disease, or to prevent its unwelcome returns. But the Spirit is life or righteousness; that is, the Spirit is our life, vivification, or the cause of our inward or Spiritual Resurre­ction, [...], for righteousness; that is, that we may be righteous, or live righ­teously. For, Beloved, if we take the sense of this place of Scripture, in a natural mean­ing: It will not prove true. For those Ro­mans, bodies to whom the Apostle writes, were not dead; for if so, they had not been able to read the Epistle, or to have heard others read it: And beside this, the words [Page 447] would imply, that Christs being in us, de­stroyed this Body or the health of it; when as Piety unfeigned preserves both Body and Soul in good temper; much less doth Christs being in us, make the Body dead unto Righ­teousness Therefore it is plain that this is the sense of this place; viz. That if Christ be in us, the Body or Flesh of a man is dead or mortified to sin; and that our Life then is the Spirit of God, to live in Righteousness.

Now mark the following Verse. But if the spirit of him that raised up Iesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead, shall also quicken your mortal bodies, by his spirit that dwelleth in you.

O behold the mighty power and domi­nion of the Spirit of God in a man! Not only our Will and Understanding, is sway­ed, ruled, and enlivened by it, but it de­scends even to the enquickening of our Bo­dies too, when they be once mortified; that is, the Passions and Lusts thereof de­stroyed, so that we exercise not our Affe­ctions in the things of this World. Then will God enliven it with better and more Divine Passions and Affections: For Anger against our Brother unadvisedly, it shall be moved with holy and discreet Zeal against all wickedness in every body: For Sorrow [Page 448] and inordinate Grief, for its own private crosses, with a sweet and tender Compassion and Pitty toward all that be in any Afflicti­on: For Lust, and Sensual or Carnal Love, with Divine Charity, and a large embrace­ment of all the Creatures of God; they having some resemblance of his lovely Wis­dom and Beauty. Thus shall a man exult and rejoyce in the ways of God, both Body and Soul, serving willingly and chearfully with the whole man. For our mortal Bo­dies, even those earthly tabernacles, lyable to death and dissolution, shall the Spirit of Christ enliven by his powerful working; if so be, that our Bodies be first made dead unto Sin, and the Spirit of God be in us in­deed: As the Apostle doth plainly witness.

A further proof for this purpose may we gather out of Phil. 3. 10, 11. That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to his death: If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect.

That this is meant of a Spiritual Resurre­ction, seems reasonable from these grounds: First, because it is ranked with Spiritual sufferings, and Spiritual conformableness un­to the Death of Christ: And then, because [Page 449] the Apostle useth this way of apologizing, [Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect;] which caution he need not have put in about the Bodily Resurre­ction. For could the Apostle think the Phi­lippians to be so mad, as to conceive that the Apostle had now risen out of the grave already, clothed with his glorious Body, which should be incorruptible? Wherefore the Apostle speaks there of a Spiritual Re­surrection.

And that this Doctrine want no Autho­rity to confirm it, I will add those words of our blessed Saviour, Iohn 5. 25. Verily; ve­rily I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live.

That Life and Resurrection from the dead, can it be understood of the Resurrection of the Body out of the grave? That was not then when our Saviour Christ spoke; nor hath been yet fulfilled, saving in one single example of Lazarus, whom Christ called out of the grave: But that was not the Life that is meant here, for it is called everlasting life, in the foregoing Verse; which Lazarus was not raised up to, else Lazarus would be alive at this very day, which no man will acknowledge to be true.

[Page 450]But remember what our Saviour Christ saith, Iohn 11. 25, 26. I am the resurrection and the life, he that believeth in me (or trusts in me, or my power) though he dye (or be mortified; or though he be dead) yet he shall live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me (that is, is alive in me, or to me, The everlasting Righteousness of God; and trust­eth this living power) shall never dye; but be ever alive to Righteousness, and to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. This must be understood of a Spiritual Life or Resur­rection; or else it will follow, that all true Believers in Christ shall not dye at all, that their Bodies shall never descend into the grave.

And now, Beloved, if this Discourse of the Spiritual Resurrection of the Soul, seem to us subtle, nice or obscure, it is our fault, not the fault of Truth. The Sun is clear enough, and easie to be seen, but he that is blind, dead or asleep, beholds it not: Nor can the unbelieving and unregenerate, while he lies dead or asleep in Sin, discern the truth of the Spirit of God in the Holy Scripture. But all things are discovered, and made mani­fest by the light: For whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. Eph. 5. 13, 14.

[Page 451]Wherefore this point is plain to him whose eyes are open to behold it; viz. That there is a Spiritual Resurrection, or Vivification of the Soul.

But now if you be desirous to know what this Resurrection of the Soul is: I will also endeavour to satisfie you in that too; but very briefly.

It is the inward Life of Righteousness, it is the renewing of the Soul, the shaping of it again into the image and similitude of God; in a word, it is the Life or Spirit of Christ, whereby a mans Soul is alive to all Spiritual and Heavenly things. I will ex­plain it by a comparison.

When a mans Natural Life is gone, all his imaginations and machinations perish: He desires not any thing belonging to this Natural Life, nor Food, nor Clothing; he feels not though his Body be rent, or cut, or rot away; goes not about to preserve or recover the Health or Life of his dead Body; thinks not of Wife, nor Children, nor any Natural thing else: But when a man is a­live according to Nature, he desires Food, Meat and Drink for the preservation of his Natural Life; Cloths, both for shelter and ornament; is sensible of what hurts his living Body; provides for his Health and Strength; is active in the deeds of Nature, [Page 452] and (if he be a mere Natural man) all his joy, pleasure and content is in the same. Just thus it is, Beloved, in the Death and Life of the Soul. While the Soul is dead Spiritually, it hath no true desire to the Word of God, which is the Food of the Soul, but doth come to the Church only for fashion sake; gives no ear to the Voice of God, rebuking her in her Conscience; hath no unfeigned thirst after Righteousness; nor is she sensible of the violent heat of Passion, how wicked it is; nor feels her self frozen and stark cold to all Charity and due Devo­tion; she goes not about to obtain that sav­ing Health, even Jesus Christ, that precious Balsam of the Soul, nor is she a whit moved whatever mischief betides him. But when the Soul hath risen from this Death, and hath got the new Life of Christ, being en­quickened by his Spirit: Then hath she a right healthful appeal to that Heavenly Bread, and those Spiritual Waters, those Refreshments from above, the sweet Com­forts of the Holy Ghost: Then doth she heartily abhor all filth of Sin; and keeps her Affections unspotted before her Lord and Husband Jesus Christ, clothed in fine Linnen pure and white, which is the Righteousness of the Saints: Then is the living Law of God to her sweeter than the Honey and the [Page 453] Honey-comb, so delightful and pleasant that she meditates thereon day and night: She is very sensible of whatsoever is disgraceful to Christ, or wounds or hurts his precious Body in any thing; very tenderly loves the Communion of Saints, and hath a very forward desire to propagate and enlarge the true and living Church of God: She never falls by any infirmity or surprisal, but is grieved and hurt; as the Natural man is vexed, when his Body chanceth to fall upon stones and is bruised. Beloved, where there is Life there is also Sense, and where there in Sense, there is also Grief and Joy; Grief at such things as are contrary or destructive of the Life; and Joy at such things as are agreeable and healthful for the same.

BY this time I hope you are sufficiently instructed concerning the Spiritual Resurre­ction; both that it is, and what it is. Let us now make some Vses of this Doctrine, That there is a Spiritual Resurrection belong­ing to every true Christian.

1. Then it is plain from hence, That every Christian be he what he will, that hath been made partaker of this Resurrecti­on, was once dead himself: For as rising presupposeth a being down first, so doth also [Page 454] a rising from death, or being quickened, presuppose a being dead. Hence therefore it is plain, That every Christian man, or if you will even every man, or was once, or is at this present Spiritually dead. Now the Nature of Death you know is such, that nothing that is held therewith, nothing that is Dead can recover it self to Life: As it is also said in the Book of Psalms, No man hath quickened his own Soul.

Wherefore, Beloved, this is the proper Vse we can make of this Consideration, That if we find the fruits of the Resurrection of Christ Spiritually in our Souls, we give God alone the Glory. For it is he alone that killeth and maketh alive, that leadeth down to Hell and bringeth up again: He it is that is the death of deaths, and a mighty destru­ction to the destroyer: He it is that is the Resurrection and the Life; as he himself witnesseth of himself: He it is (I mean the Spirit of Christ in us) that fights against all the powers of Death and Darkness in our Souls, and triumpheth gloriously over his and our enemies: He is the strong arm of Salvation from God: He hath wrought all our works in us. Therefore not to us, but unto God be the praise, for his mercy and truths sake.

Nor only are we to praise God, but also to live humbly and meekly before our Neighbour. [Page 455] For thou whoever thou art, that presumest thou hast attained to the Resurrection, or enquickening, or enlivening of the Spirit of Christ; If hereby thou contemnest thy sin­ful Brother, and settest him at nought, and art not mercifully and kindly affected to­ward all men, acknowledging very sensibly and inwardly, that wherewith thou con­ceivest thy self to excel others, or to be di­stinguished from them, to be the Grace of God and his free work; Thou art a lyar, and a deceiver, and jugglest with God and thine own Soul, and art vainly puffed up in thy Carnal Mind: For where Pride is, there is not the saving Spirit of Christ; where harshness of Mind is, and contempt of our Neighbour, there abides not the Love of God.

2. If men be dead till they partake of the Resurrection of Christ, then such neither can, nor ought to take upon them any office of the living. Who will make a Blind man judge of Colours, or a Sick man of Tasts, or a Deaf man of Musick? But he that is Dead is worse than Sick, or Blind, or Deaf. Wherefore no man that is devoid of the Resurrectiod of Christ in the Spirit, is fit to judge in Spiritual things, or in the secret Mysteries of God. It is the Spiritual man [Page 456] that judgeth all; the Heavenly man, the Lord from Heaven, and yet with man upon Earth; the true Emanuel, God with us, and in us by his Spirit; the true Judge of the Quick and the Dead. As it is written, The first man is of the earth earthly, the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthly, such are they that are earthly; and as is the heavenly, such are they that are heavenly. Wherefore, Beloved, judge nothing before the time; that is, till the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus; till his glorious appear­ing from Heaven, when he shall make every work of man manifest, and shall judge with right judgment.

3. I will only add an Vse of Exami­nation, and so conclude. Is there such a State of the Soul belonging to every Chri­stian, such a State, I say, as the Resurrection from Death? Then it is worth our pains, to try our selves, whether we be in that state or no. We have seen many Easter-Morn­ings, God be praised, but if the Sun of Righteousness hath not yet risen upon us with healing in his Wings, all those solem­nizations of the Resurrection of Christs Body from the grave, is but Death and Dark­ness unto us; is no Health, no Light, nor Life. It was the manner of Primitive Chri­stians [Page 457] to salute one another with this Saluta­tion, [...], The Lord is risen: If we could this Easter-Sunday, and every Lords-day, make such Salutations as this in the very Spiritual Truth, [The Lord is risen,] That is, is risen from Death in our Souls; and we by him become enlivened to all Righteousness; O what Mutual Rejoycing, and true Spiritual Triumph, would there be in the Church of God!

Verily, Beloved, if you partake not of the Mysteries of Christianity in the Spirit and Truth of them, as well as in the Histo­ry and Ceremony, your Profession is but vain, you are still in your Sins, and dismal Sentence of Damnation remaineth still upon you.

DISCOURSE XVI. Appendix to DISCOURSE XIII. 1 PET. 1. 22, 23. Seeing ye have purified your Souls in obey­ing the truth through the Spirit, unto unfeigned love of the brethren: See that ye love one another with a pure heart fer­vently. Being born again, not of cor­ruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

I Have already insisted upon the Doctrines or Truths which are as so many enforce­ments to the great Duty in the Text, [...]. That which may be observed out of this Precept is a fourfold Doctrine.

  • [Page 459]1. That we are to love one another.
  • 2. That we are to love one another out of a pure Heart.
  • 3. That we are to love one another fervently.
  • 4. That we are to love one another univer­sally and continually.

The First of these I have done with. I come now to

Doct. II. That we are to love one another out of a pure Heart.

This Purity may be set out in these three Constitutives, or at least, Consecutives of Love, viz. Complacentia, Benevolentia, Be­neficentia.

1. The Purity of Complacency consists in this, that we love and like that of a man that is the adequate object of honest Love; and that is Divine Beauty, which is not in the Body, but in the Soul, adorn'd with all Moral and Divine Vertues. He that loves not according to this in a man, he loves after the same manner he may love an horse, a dog, or any beast that is fitted for the satis­fying of his natural or extravagant humours. For if there be no ground of right Friend­ship [Page 460] but Vertue, then is there no Love in vain and leud men, but after the manner of Brutes; that is, eating together as Sheep and Kine in one pasture, or sporting toge­ther like young. Greyhounds at their going out into the fields, or better natur'd Spaniels, or such like fond Animals.

I, but the gaudes of Phansie and queint toyes of Wit; or at least the subtilty there­of, Art and accomplishment of the Intelle­ctual parts; these, all of them put together at least, may make up an object of Compla­cency and friendly delight.

Verily as much as a well proportioned Bo­dy, clear Complexion, a vigorous Eye, gen­tle Deportment, &c. which are so far from that living object of Pure Love, that by the same Law we may join Friendship with a well wrought Statue, or some more curious Picture. Complacency in any person, saving for Vertues sake, is as far removed from pure and Divine Love, as the affections of Xerxes, Glauca, the Youth of Athens, and that others of Sparta, who loved trees, statues, rams, geese, &c. were distant from Natural. (Vid. AElian. lib. 1. cap. 39. [...].) And as ridiculous and absurd will their Love prove in respect of that more pure and holy affection, that can take Complacen­cy in the person of men that have but the [Page 461] outward accomplishment of parts and abili­ties, or outward artifice, or natural well-favouredness, their Souls being dead to Ver­tue and Righteousness. For beside that these are as helpless to the best things as a dumb statue or a dead picture, they are also very dangerous for either hindering the first shoot­ing out of divine worth in the Soul of man, or for corrupting and destroying what alrea­dy is grown up of Vertue and Goodness. For so it is with man, that so soon as he is capable of Vertue, he must either have it or the contrary. Mans Nature is no barren Soil, it brings forth or good grain or stink­ing weeds: And where once corruption has taken hold, it is even worse than a Gan­grene; it catches hold on the companion, and is the very pest of the Souls of men.

But if the Love and Complacency of those be not pure that can love notwithstanding the foulness of their friends, what pollution is there in theirs that can love for foulness it self? viz. whose society pleaseth one ano­ther for some bad quality, as for being a vain Gamester, Swearer, for their Lasciviousness; or that delicious condiment of Friendship, good Fellowship, which some loving Souls are so taken with: When as its nothing but the similitude of their evil manners, or equa­lity of their enlarged bellies, do thus joyn [Page 462] their affections; Fellow-wine-bottles of the same size, or Ale-tap-urinals, &c.

And as this Impurity in Love is Bestial, so there is also that is Devilish; as when men like one another the better for being alike imbittered against this or the other party: Such complyance as this is but like the twining together of Snakes and veno­mous Serpents in one bed. A Paradox, That that which is the most ugly of all the affe­ctions, viz. embittering Malice and Hatred, should make men so amiable one to another. Thus Hags and Imps love one another.

And there is a knot of Friendship, that is as Fond at least, as this is Devilish; viz. en­dearment from Identity of opinion, Fellow-Thomist, Fellow-Scotist, &c. And when it riseth no higher than Scholastick siding, or Philosophical altercations, it is not much worse than fondness or childishness. But when this unskillful affection interweaves it self with matters of Religion, and toucheth upon the Attributes, actions or designs of the highest God (where men are very loth to be deceiv'd though no where more sub­ject to err) Fondness is then too mild a term for that which is boil'd up to Fury and Fa­naticalness. For here men of the same Sect are not content with the pleasure and good­will they exhibit one to another; but they [Page 463] grow to that heat, as to scorch all gainsayers, as well as warm themselves at these mis­guided flames.

God forbid that I should go about to slack any mans affection in the pursuit and profes­sion of Divine Truth, such as is plainly con­tained in the Scripture, or evidenced by pal­pable experience in his heart. But that which is but the collection of Humane Reason (which at the best, and containing it self within its own more proper Bounds, the re­presentations of Nature, is slippery enough and uncertain) if it be promoted with ur­gency of Affection over-proportionated to the weight of Reason and Argument, by how much it transgresseth this way, by so much largely doth it partake of superstitious Phrenzy and Fanaticalness. And that this heat is but mistaken zeal, not divine Love of the Truth, this one thing may be a shrowd sign, That they hate a man commonly more for not being of their Sect, than they love him for being a Christian.

2. The Second Branch of Love is Benevo­lence: Which as it is nothing so precious as the former [viz. Complacency] so we may and should be the more prodigal thereof. We may wish well to all men, but can delight in none but such as be good.

[Page 464]The Purity therefore and perfection of Benevolence, is that it shoots out before and lasts longer, if need be, than Complacency may do. For God also loved us when there was nothing lovely in us. And we are to be like-minded with God, who is kindly affect­ed to those who deserve it not. And though there be a good rude Honesty in such a dis­position that makes a man not able to be at all kindly affected to them that are debauch­ed; yet certainly we are obliged to a more high and Divine temper, if that which is most perfect and most Divine doth oblige us, as certainly it doth.

Object. But then, Anger and Hatred, and such churlish Passions are useless, nay sinful.

Sol. That follows not. For we may wish well to the man, though we be angry, or hate, or grieve at his Vices. Nay, its im­possible to bear a sincere Good-will to any man that goes out of the way, but that he should be angry, or grieved at such a mans wicked courses, and reprove him. Benevo­lence is so far from excluding Anger and Re­buke, that the want of this upon due occa­sions is an argument of the impureness or counterfeitness of the Affection; at least in those men who hold it lawful, or are upon [Page 465] any occasions brought into this Passion. When a man sees God dishonoured, and his Brother endangered by his vain ways, Quis est tam ferreus ut teneat se? He that can be still and smooth in such matters, has some unwarrantable Complacence in his Friend; they are not united in the bond of Vertue.

The Impurity of this part of Love, is the well-wishing to others for our own sakes. This is called Amor Concupiscentiae, in con­tradiction to Amor Amicitiae; as being in­deed nothing akin, but rather opposite there­unto. He that loves a man thus, is no more a Friend to him, than a Country Farmer is a Friend to his Team of Horses, his Cart, or Plough. I wish that most Polititians were not of this stamp, to look upon all the World as the Rustick does upon his Horse, Plough, Sheep, Dog, &c. as profitable and instru­mental. The World is so Epidemically cor­rupt herein, that the whole Conversation or dealing of men, (even of them that would seem something more than ordinarily seri­ous) is not much better and more generous, than the trade and commerce of Fairs and Markets: They make choice of their Friends after the same rate they would seek out a purchase. Profit and Pleasure share all the Societies of men betwixt them two. He that is not instrumental to either of these [Page 466] ends, is overlookt as a thing of no worth; so that there is no room but for the skilful flatterer, or the able purse. And indeed none can love at a better rate, that is not born of God, who is Love it self; and made the World, and the whole Creature, out of no such self-respects at all, but for their Hap­piness; or if for any thing in reference to himself, for the delight that should arise to him from their being Happy. Nor do I know that they are obliged to any thing but what is conducible to this end, whatever unlearned Melancholly, or rude Mistake may surmize to the contrary.

3. The Third and last considerable in Love is Beneficence. And 1. This should spread out as large as our Benevolence. Hu­manity is to be extended so far as Mankind reacheth, at least, 2. Those who partake most of Vertue, and the Divine Image, should share the greatest part of our Favour. 3. It must be devoid of all self-respects. What a shameful thing is it, That where that noble and generous title of a Friend is pretended, there should be no other Love found at the bottom (if the business be un­ravelled) than such as he bears to the mean­est utensil he has in his house!

[Page 467]WE pass on now to the Intension of our Love, viz.

Doct. III. That we are to love one another fervently.

And if we did make good the foregoing Precept of loving sincerely, we might easily arrive to the doing of it fervently,

—Quis enim celaverit ignem?

Indeed the most accurately well painted Flame that is, gives no heat: But true Fire without a miracle will betray it self in burn­ing, or warming at least.

Quest. But you will say, We are uncer­tain of the due measure and degree of this fervency of our Affection.

Answ. The least degree that we can allow our Brotherly Affection is, that it must be fervent. Coldness here is Death, and Luke-warmness an Abomination, a thing to be spued out, as being nauseating and distastful to all good men. But when we are got to that due warmth and heat that we are really constituted in the Divine Life and Heavenly Love, we are in a very good and safe and [Page 468] commendable condition, though we have not reached all the degrees thereof; for a little fire is as truly fire as a great deal.

And these degrees of Divine Love are, it may be, best proposed unto us in several Examples of Saints and Prophets, which have gone before us carrying the Glorious Lamps of Divine Love in their hands to light us the way, that we might follow them by a godly imitation. Such were Abraham, Ioseph, Moses, S. Paul, &c.

This kindly Flame did so inact Abraham, that in the very heat of the day, at the door of his Tent, he waited with as much earnest­ness for an opportunity to exercise that ex­cellent Vertue of Hospitality, as our greedy Inn-keepers at their Sign-posts expect a Tra­veller. Nor does this generous Fire only melt him into all sweet behaviour and kind­ness unto Strangers; but elsewhere we shall find it bravely to raise him to feats of Arms and hardy. Enterprizes in behalf of his Cap­tived Friends, Gen. 14. And certainly no truer root of Valour and Bravery can be found, than Hearty and Compassionate Love to those that be in affliction and oppressed: Nor any cause that God is more engaged to prosper.

Nor does this Principle of holy fervency only express it self in bounty and indignati­on, [Page 469] and just revenge; but in Grief also, whether mixt with joy or downright sad­ness. Thus Ioseph fell upon his brother Ben­jamins neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck. Moreover he kissed all his bre­thren, and wept upon them. Gen. 45. 14. 15. And thus in Acts 20. 37, 38. They all wept sore, and fell on Pauls neck, and kissed him: Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. But no Story in all the New Testament at least is of that sadness and solemnity, as the preparation to the raising up of dead Laza­rus. Women, Men, nay God himself (as in the flesh) all melted together into one Sor­row. Iesus wept.

Nor is this so much a torture as a pleasure to the Mind sweetly melting in kindly mo­tion and gentle ruth for any mishap that be­falls her tender care and charge, the several parts of the Creation of God. This is so far from being a blemish to the condition of Holy and Divine men, that it is even a member and branch of that condition that makes them Holy and Divine, which is their abiding in Love, i. e. in God; whence we become Dei-formes.

Now the due and safe measure of those degrees of fervency in our Mutual Love, is, The love of our own selves. Thou shall love [Page 470] thy Neighbour as thy self; and none is coldly affected to himself. And that which is to limit our Love to our selves, is to bound our Affection to our Neighbour; and that is Discretion and Iustice. For if we may not do any thing unjustly in our own behalf, nor Reason, nor Scripture, can warrant us to adventure on any unjust enterprise in the be­half of our Neighbour.

Now let us see what this plain and fami­liar measure will amount to; which indeed is little less than what was intimated before. For though we love our Neighbour no bet­ter than we love our selves, and that within the bounds of Justice and sound Reason; yet we loving our selves so much, and so affectionately as we do, it must follow that all that Joy, Grief, Pleasure, Displeasure, Hope, Fear, Care, Labour, Valour, and whatever else we can bestow upon our selves in our own behalfes, that when occasion re­quires, we confer it all upon our Neighbour. This will enable us to profess with S. Paul, 2 Cor. 11. 29. Who is weak and I am not weak? What is offended, and I burn not? And to make good his Precept, Rom. 12. 15. Rejoyce with them that rejoyce, and weep with them that weep. To bear others burdens, to wax pale with other mens fears, to grow lean with their cares. It will harness us [Page 471] with Courage, as it did Abraham for Lot. It will make a man, though not desire, yet not care to dye for his Brother: For its plain his Affection being equal to both, he must be indifferent whether shall taste of that bit­ter Cup.

Object. If we love every one equally with our selves, then must we love all men equal­ly: Which is thus demonstrated; for the Love whereby one loves every man, being each of them equal to that one Love where­by one loves himself, they must be all equal to one another from the first [...] in Euclid.

Sol. I Answer, That our Love of Com­placency is not equally to be distributed to all. What then, shall our Love of Benevolence? Shall I bear as much good-will, and there­fore do as much good, and owe as much ser­vice to Thersites as Achilles, Shimei as David, Nabal as Abigail? Verily no. But as God loves himself best, not because it is himself, but because there is nothing better than him­self; so we certainly are to love all things according to the several degrees of partici­pation of the Excellencies of the Divine Na­ture. As they that contribute to one com­mon stock, though by unequal contributions, [Page 472] suppose some one contributing a third part, another a seventh part, a third a tenth; though they partake of the gains but accord­ing to this proportion, the distribution is said to be just and equal; there being indeed a similitude or equality of proportion, tho' the shares of gains that every Adventurer has, are not equal (for it were unequal that they should be so): So though the shares and portions of our Love to others be not equal, nor ought so to be, yet the proporti­ons of our Love may and ought to be equal; and that is, if our Love flow out according to the several degrees of Divine Excellency in every Person: And thus its true, [...], viz. of Geometrical Equality.

Object. But you will still urge, my Love to my self, being one single term of Quan­tity, to which my Love to every one is to be equal, proves plainly that all these Loves are Arithmetically equal one with another; as 2 and 2 are equal to one another.

Sol. To dispatch all in a Word. When we are pointed to the love of our selves, as a right measure of our love to our Neigh­bour, it must be understood thus; That we are to love our Neighbour of this or that Rank and Qualification, in such sort as we [Page 473] would love our selves, if we were in that Rank and Qualification; and do the same to our Neighbour of this condition, that we should expect from others if we were of that condition; as suppose a Prince, a Noble, a Wise man, an Honest sincere man, a man of unparallell'd Accomplishments. In these cases what Love and Respect we would look for, if we were such (though we be not such yet) are we bound to give it to those that are such. And thus it will come about, that we are obliged to love some better than our selves, viz. such as have more Divine Ac­complishments in them. Thus in 2 Sam. 18. 3. The People said to David, Thou art worth ten thousand of us. And this oblige­ment to love some better than our selves, arises from that general Rule of all, That we are bound to love every one according to the proportion of Divine worth in them. Whence it must also follow, That we are to love othersome less than our selves, if we do palpably and infallibly discover in our selves more Divine Accomplishments, and more excellent Endowments than in others.

AND thus we come to the last Doctrine, viz.

Doct. IV. That we are to love one another universally and continually.


[Page 474] Vniversally.] So also 2. Pet. 1. 7. where [...] is universal Love. And so 1. Thess. 3. 12. The Lord make you to increase and abound in love one towards another, and towards all men. And Chap. 5. 15. See that none render evil for evil unto any man: but ever follow that which is good, both among your selves, and to all men.

We might add Testimonies out of Hea­then Philosophers, whose Examples may shame us, who without any niceness place them many Stories below our selves. So­crates had so little gall against the Judges, his mortal Enemies, who were no better to him than to tell him, He should dye for it, if they caught him Philosophizing; and had so great Affection to the good of all, that he saith, [...].

The Meditations of M. Antoninus are full to this purpose. Vid. lib. 5. and lib. 6.

And this Philosopher attempts by many wayes and Arguments to keep us in this so pleasant temper of Spirit to all men, good and bad, friends and foes, viz.

1. A settled perswasion that all those things which the Stoicks call [...] or [...], are so indeed, not truly good or bad in themselves; there being nothing [Page 475] truly good but what is in our own power; such are the voluntary motions of our Mind or Soul.

Thus he. And indeed a very little obser­vation will make this good to us, That an eager and sharp desire of outward things, Riches, Honour, and Corporeal Pleasure, whose maintenance is from the outward Creature; that this is the main, if not only Cause of all Dissention amongst the Sons of men: So that I think Envy it self is not moved at the Vertuous Accomplishments of any; but merely at the effects thereof, viz. the Ad­miration and Glory they get amongst the People. Therefore the best way to be friends with all the World, is not to desire the things of this World, but to reckon them as nothing to the purpose; and so shall we as­suredly provoke very few against us, and be provoked by none.

‘2. Consider Socrates's Maxime, [...].’

So Christ said, Father forgive them, they know not what they do. This is true in inju­ries done to our selves, but the Stoick would drive it to an universality.

3. That thou thy self transgressest in many things, &c.

4. Mans Life is but for a moment of time.

[Page 476]5. Consider how many things may and do often follow upon such fits of Anger and Grief, far more grievous in them­selves than those things we are grieved for, and angry.

6. The Meekness is a thing unconquer­able, if it be true and natural.

7. It is a mad mans part to look there should be no wicked men in the World, because it is impossible, &c.

Thus he. But observe, that in all these attempts for a continued Meekness and Be­nignity towards all men whatsoever, the ease and quiet of the Philosophers Mind is rather aimed at than any thing else: And that it is not so much an Vniversal Love to all men, as an universal fencing of himself against the provocations of all whatsoever may at any time chance to assault and shake that firm­ness and stillness of Temper he proposes to himself; being loth to be so obnoxious to any man, that it should be in his power to plough up in uneven furrows the settled Pla­nities of his smoothed mind.

Object. But here it will be Objected, That unless we endeavour after, and at some time reach that Stoical state of the Mind, it will be impossible to hold out perpetually in that mild and even tenour of Love to all men. [Page 477] For some men are so habitually evil, that nothing is tolerable, much less lovely in them: So that when we light on such, some other Affection will be drawn out. And for those of the better sort, They are sometimes so unlike themselves, that it cannot be that the same Affection should be continued to them. How then is it, That we are to love conti­nually?

Sol. To this I answer, three wayes.

First, We are to love all men, i. e. all manner of men, of what Religion, Sect, or Nation soever; so be that God has mani­fested his Graces in them any way: And then that this Love should continue as long as the deserts of them that are loved. And this takes away all partiality in Love.

Or Secondly, We are to love all men, and alwayes, amore Benevolentiae, though not Com­placentiae: And thus all particularity or pe­culiarity will be taken away, or swallowed up: All men whatsoever being objects ca­pable of this Love.

We may wish those to be good that are notoriously evil, and endeavour too to make them so; which are real fruits of Love: Or we may pitty them, that they are not so [Page 478] already, it being so great a Misery for them to be otherwise; which is a Symptome of Love, if not a genuine Notion thereof; nay the very Act of Love, only under another modification. Which minds me of a

Third way of Answer, which I cannot so well make out without giving first some settled Notion or Definition of the Nature of Love.

The general Description whereof let be this. Love is an Affection, or Passion of the Mind, conversant about Divine Beauty and Perfection, introducible into the Souls or Per­sons of the Sons of men. And I say Conver­sant about Divine Perfection and Beauty com­municable to the Sons of men, to distinguish it from what Love soever else. For that Love that ariseth from Interest, is but such as a man would bear to his Saddle-horse that carries him safely and easily: And that Pitty we bear to calamitous men in Sickness, Death or great distress, without reference to what we have mention'd in our definition, is but the same we may be haply moved with toward a dying beast, or a bemoaning and whining dog. That Love therefore that like the Vestal Fire is never to go out, but alwayes to burn and shine in our hearts, is the motion of our Mind one way or other [Page 479] taken up about the Divine Beauty communi­cable to man.

And thus I have at large, as if I should define Colour in general, described the Na­ture of Love. But as Colour is not at all, but in its several kinds and distinctions, viz. ei­ther White, or Red, or Yellow, or Green, &c. or some other particular kind: So this Love is not any Passion at all, indeed no­thing at all but in its several kinds, such as are Hope, Fear, Ioy, Anger, Sorrow, &c. For the very root or matter of all these is Love, yea of Hatred it self, if we look to the bottom of this Mystery. As the Wax takes all shapes, and yet is Wax still at the bottom; The [...] still is Wax: So the Soul transported in so many several Passi­ons of Ioy, Fear, Hope, Sorrow, Anger, and the like, has for its general ground-work of all this, Love; which if it were taken away, those various superstructures would sudden­ly fall. For he that loves nothing, how can he fear any thing, or hope or joy, or hate any thing? For how can he hate, when there is nothing to injure, or cross him in what he loves, he loving nothing?

Or yet to make a more fit representation, Love is that to the Soul that the Light is to the Sun: For Light being simple in it self, and uniform, is yet the Basis or ground of [Page 480] much variety in the [...] of Nature. Light being in it self one, according as it lights on various surfaces of things, returns modifyed into this or that colour. If it fall upon Grass, it becomes green: if upon the Piony-flower, red: on the Marigold, yellow: from the Swans back it is reflected white; and so ac­cording to the variety of the surfaces of Bo­dies which occur, there is a change of light into some particular modification, which to us are so many distinct Colours. But take away the Light, and all these Colours cease to be: As if there were a way to intercept the Suns light from coming to the Cloud where the Rainbow is figured, all the Co­lours of the Rainbow would soon vanish and disappear. So if Love be not, no other Passion can be; but that first supposed, the other occasionally will arise from it: As from the hitting of the Sun-beams against several Objects several Colours arise, which are nothing else but the Beams or Light it self variously modify'd, according to the va­riety of surfaces against which it doth im­pinge, and is reverberated from. So in like manner the Passion of Love in a mans Soul being one, is variously transformed into se­veral shapes and modes, according as the occurrences and occasions it meets with.

[Page 481]And this we may sensibly perceive in the love of our selves, which Domestick fire is kept alive in us with more superstition and care than that more Sacred flame of Divine Love; but in a multifarious transfiguration, as we may easily observe. For Example; When a man has committed any thing a­gainst his own Profit or Interest, through some carelesness or mistake, and so grows vext at it, what is this but Self-love appear­ing in the disguise of Anger? Sadness and discontent at the death or displeasure of some potent friend, what is this but Self-love mufled up in the sad attirements of Sor­row? Those pleasing motions and prefigu­rations of the mind upon the promise of fu­ture Honours and Preferments, what is that but Self-love putting on the smiling counte­nance of hope? And so of the rest.

But now to transfer all this to the present purpose: That Love which I have defined to you, is one simple and uniform thing, like the visible Light. And this is a perpe­tual well-liking of, or benign affection to the Divine Beauty communicable to man; which is as one still Sun-shine day; or (if you will) as the Sun shining in silence and solitude, there being no Earth, or any opake part of the World to reflect and variegate his Rays. Such is the mind of him that is possest with [Page 482] this Divine Love, as it is freely and uncurb'd­ly working in it self: But lighting upon se­veral objects is after several manners modi­fied and transfigured into several shapes. This Love at the Conversion of a Sinner shines forth in that chearful aspect of Hea­venly Ioy and Exultation of Spirit; at the unworthy usage of good and holy men it burns with Anger and Indignation, looking as red and purpled as the Horizontal Sun; at the doubtful carriages of men is broken into distractful thoughts, careful Fear and Anxiety; at the sight of Solomons Fool, de­void of understanding, is struck with For­lornness and Sadness of Spirit; such a one being as a lonesome desolate Cottage where no man inhabits. For as he that is in the Wilderness, though he have the company of Beasts, yet being destitute of the society of men, finds himself really in sadness and solitude; so certainly he that is regenerate into the Image of the true man, the Heavenly Adam, i. e. Christ, even in a crowd of ac­quaintance devoid of that Image, perceives himself but in solitude: And whensoever he converses or meets with any in whom that Heavenly inhabitant is wanting, it is to him as forlorn a spectacle, as a lonesome and empty Lodge in the midst of a Desart; whi­ther when the weary Traveller diverts, he [Page 483] finds no man to refresh him with a morsel of Bread, or a dish of Water. For certainly they that once have a right sense and esteem of the lovely Image of Christ, out of a kind of a Divine dotage (as I may so speak) can not endure to find it missing any where, would have it hung up in every room, would have it inhabit every house, that they may meet with it at every turn. And therefore where they miss of it, it is as sad a chance, as Divorce or Exile from our dear Friend; as discomfortable, as close Imprisonment, and seclusion from all Conversation with men.

Thus we see Divine Love ceases not by other Passions, but remains still the same, though in several postures: And that it is the several operations of one simple Nature about one and the same Object, that is the Image of God or Divine Accomplishments communicable to man: Which when they begin to spring and flourish in men, this Love is figur'd into Ioy; when they decay or are lost, into Sorrow; when despightfully used, into Anger; and the like. So that if we know what we chiefly love, and for whose cause man is to be loved, we shall find it not impossible to have our Souls work ac­cording to this Principle of Love, upon what Object soever: So that we may without [Page 484] contradiction fulfil these Duties in the Text, of Vniversal and Perpetual Love.

And now that the Thing is understood feasible, it will not be hard to fetch out Ar­guments for the enforcement of the same: The present Text will afford them.

And the First is, From the State of Pu­rification, which every Christian is bound to be in, and is in, if he be truly a Christian. For the Soul of man being a kind of Flame or Fiery Essence,

(Igneus est olli vigor & Coelestis origo.)

whereas that foulness and rubbish, which it lies in, to wit, sensual and corruptible Pleasure, the instrument whereof is this fae­culent and misgoverned Body, makes the Soul wrathful, lustful, self-will'd, impetu­ously given to petty interests, and particu­lar poor contentations and delights: Surely the purging of it from this foul dross and dregs, must needs wing it, free it, univer­salize it, and make it as generally benign to all men, as the Sun is universally courteous to all the World, in lending Light and Heat to all. For by how much the Soul doth purge her self, by so much nearer she ap­proaches [Page 485] to that Primogeneal, or Original Fire, which is God himself, that lets his sun rise on the evil and good; and sendeth rain on the just, and on the unjust, Matth. 5. 45.

This is the Chaldaean [...], out of which proceeds all things: [...], as those Oracles speak. And the Soul of man, the Image of God, is in the same said also to be Fire, which Psellus more expresly defines in his Notes upon those Oracles, [...], that the Soul is an immaterial and incorporeal Fire, which withdrawing it self from the thickness and foulness of this low Corruption, incor­porates with that Original Fire, even God himself, [...], as the same Author upon those Oracles hath it. Wherefore mingling Essences, as it were, with the Di­vinity, it must be of the same sense and mind with God; and therefore never ceases from loving all men, as God himself refuses none.

The Publishers POST-SCRIPT.

THree things I shall here ad­vertise the Reader of.

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