By the late Reverend THO. MANTON, D. D.

LONDON, Printed in the YEAR, 1685.


THE following Discourses on Those important Subjects of the Temptation and Trans­figuration of our Blessed Saviour, together with the Sermons on the First Chapter, of the Epistle to the Colossians, from the 14th. to the 21th. verse, Having been care­fully Perused, and Transcribed from the Reverend Authors own Ma­nuscripts; are now at the ear­nest request of divers persons that were the happy Auditors thereof, offered to publick view: had the [Page] Authour lived to publish these himself, they had come forth into the World more exact; but yet as they are now left, I doubt not but they will be very acceptable to all that have discerning Minds, for the peculiar Excellency contained in them.

Thus much was thought ne­cessary to be said by way of Pre­face. The Work sufficiently com­mending it self, especially coming from such an Author as Doctor Manton.



MATTH. 4. 1.‘Then was Iesus led up of the Spirit into the Wilderness to be Tempted of the Devil.’

THis Scripture giveth us the History of Christs Temptation, which I shall go over by degrees.

In the Words Observe.

  • 1. The Parties Tempted, and Tempt­ing. The Person Tempted was the Lord [Page 2] Iesus Christ. The Person Tempting was the Devil.
  • 2. The Occasion inducing this Combate, Iesus was led up of the Spirit.
  • 3. The Time, Then.
  • 4. The Place, the Wilderness.

From the whole observe.

Doctrine, The Lord Iesus Christ was pleased to submit himself to an extraordi­nary Combate with the Tempter, for our good.

  • 1. I shall explain the nature and circum­stances of this extraordinary Combate.
  • 2. The Reasons, why Christ submitted to it.
  • 3. The good of this to us.

I. The circumstances of this extraordi­nary Combate. And here.

1. The Persons Combating, Iesus and the Devil, the Seed of the Woman, and the Seed of the Serpent. It was designed long before, Gen. 3. 15. I will put enmity between thee and the Woman, and between thy Seed and her Seed: it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel, and now it is accomplished. Here is the Prince of peace against the Prince of darkness; Michael and [Page 3] the Dragon; the Captain of our Salvation, and our grand Enemy. The Devil is the great Architect of wickedness, as Christ is the Prince of Life and Righteousness. These are the Combatants; the one ruined the creation of God, and the other restored and repaired it.

2. The Manner of the combate. It was not meerly a phantasm, that Christ was thus assaulted and used: No, he was tempted in reality, not in conceit and imagination only. It seemeth to be in the Spirit, though it was real. As Paul was taken up into the third Heaven, whether in the body or out of the body we cannot easily judge, but real it was. I shall more accurately discuss this question afterwards in its more proper place.

3. What Moved him? Or how was he brought to enter into the lists with Satan? He was led by the Spirit, meaning thereby the im­pulsion and excitation of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God. For it is said Luke 4. 1. Iesus being full of the Holy Ghost, returned from Iordan, and was led by the Spirit into the Wilderness. He did not voluntarily put him­self upon Temptation, but by Gods appoint­ment went up from Iordan further into the Desart.

[Page 4] We Learn hence.

1. That temptations come not by chance, not out of the Earth, nor meerly from the Devil; but God ordereth them for his own Glory and our Good. Satan was fain to beg leave to tempt Iob, Iob 1. 12. And the Lord said unto Satan, behold, all that he hath is in thy power, onely upon himself put not forth thine hand. There is a concession with a limitation, till God exposeth us to tryals, the devil cannot trouble us, nor touch us. So Luke 22. 31. Simon, Simon, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as Wheat. Nay he could not enter into the Herd of Swine without a patent, and new pass from Christ, Matth. 8. 31. So the devils besought him, saying. If thou cast us out suffer us to go away into the Herd of Swine. This cruel spirit is held in the chains of an irre­sistable Providence, that he cannot molest any creature of God without his permissi­on. Which is a great satisfaction to the faithful: all things which concern our try­al are determined and ordered by God. If we be free, let us bless God for it, and pray that he would not lead us into temptation: if tempted when we are in Satans hands re­member Satan is in Gods hand.

[Page 5] 2. Having given up our selves to God, we are no longer to be at our own dispose and direction; but must submit our selves to be led, guided and ordered by God in all things. So it was with Christ, he was led by the spirit continually: if he retire in­to the desart, he is led by the Spirit, Luke 4. 1. If he come back again into Galilee, ver. 4. Iesus returned in the power of the Spirit in­to Galilee. The Holy Ghost leadeth him into the conflict, and when it was ended, leadeth him back again. Now there is a perfect likeness between a Christian and Christ: he is led by the spirit off and on, so we must be guided by the same Spirit in all our actions, Rom. 8. 14. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the Sons of God.

3. That we must observe our warrant and calling in all we resolve upon. To put our selves upon hazards we are not cal­led unto, is to go out of our bounds to meet a temptation, or to ride into the de­vils quarters. Christ did not go of his own accord into the desart, but by divine impul­sion, and so he came from thence. We may in our place and calling venture our selves on the protection of Gods Providence upon obvious temptations, God will main­tain [Page 6] and support us in them; that is to trust God, but to go out of our calling is to tempt God.

4. Compare the words used in Matthew and Mark, chap. 1. 12. And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the Wilderness. That shows that it was a forcible motion, or a strong impulse, such as he could not easily resist or refuse, so here is freedom, he was led; there is Force and efficacious impressi­on, he was driven, with a voluntary con­descension thereunto. There may be liberty of mans Will, yet the victorious efficacy of Grace united together: a man may be taught and drawn; as Christ here was led, and driven by the Spirit into the Wilder­ness.

3. The Time.

1. Presently after his Baptisme. Now the Baptism of Christ agreeth with ours as to the general nature of it. Baptism is our initiation into the service of God, or our solemn consecration of our selves to him; and it doth not only imply work, but fight, Rom. 6. 13. Neither yield ye your mem­bers as instruments [...], of unrighteousness un­to sin: but yield your selves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members [Page 7] as instruments of righteousness unto God. And Rom. 13. 12. Let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Christs Baptism had the same general nature with ours, not the same special nature: the general nature is an engagement to God, the special use of Baptism is to be a seal of the New Covenant, or to be to us the Baptism of Repentance for the Remission of sins. Now this Christ was not capable of, he had no sin to be repented of or remitted; but his Baptism was an engagement to the same military work, to which we are in­gaged. He came into the World for that end and purpose, to War against sin and satan; he engageth as the General, we as the common Souldiers. He as the General 1 Iohn 3. 8. For this purpose the son of God was manifested [...], that he might destroy the works of the Devil. His Baptism was the taking of the Field as General; we un­dertake to fight under him in our rank and place.

2. At this Baptismal engagement the Fa­ther had given him a testimony by a voice from Heaven, this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, and the Holy Ghost had descended upon him in the form of a Dove, Mark 3. 16, 17. Now presently after this he [Page 8] is set upon by the Tempter. Thus many times the Children of God after solemn as­surances of his love are exposed to great temptations. Of this you may see an in­stance in Abraham, Gen. 22. 1. And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, that is after he had assured Abraham, that he was his shield, and his ex­ceeding great reward, and given him so ma­ny renewed testimonies of his favour. So Paul after his rapture, lest he should be ex­alted above measure through the abundance of revelations, there was given to him a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet him, 2 Cor. 12. 7. So Heb. 10. 32. But call to remembrance the former days, in which after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions, i. e. after ye were fully con­vinced of the Christian Faith, and furnish­ed with those vertues and graces that belong to it. Gods conduct is gentle and propor­tioned to our strength, as Iacob drove as the little ones were able to bear it. He never suf­fers his Castles to be besieged till they are victualled.

3. Immediately before he entred upon his Prophetical Office. Experience of temp­tation fits for the Ministry, as Christs temp­tations prepared him to set a foot the King­dom [Page 9] of God, for the recovery of poor Souls out of their bondage into the liberty of the children of God, verse 17. From that time Iesus began to preach, and to say, Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand. Our state of innocency was our Health, the grace of the Redeemer our Medicine, Christ our Physician: for the Devil had poisoned our humane Nature. Therefore when he sets afoot his healing cure, it was fit and congruous, that he should experi­mentally feel the power of the tempter, and in what manner he doth assault and endan­ger souls, Christ also would shew us, that Mi­nisters should not only be men of Science but of Experience.

4. The Place or Field, where this com­bat was fought, The Wilderness; where were none but Wild Beasts, Mark 1. 13. And he was there in the Wilderness forty days tempted of Satan, and was with the wild beasts, and the Angels ministred unto him. Great question there is in what Wilderness Christ was; their opinion is most probable who think it was the great Wilderness, cal­led The Desert of Arabia, in which the Israelites wandred forty years, and in which Elijah fasted fourty dayes and forty nights. [Page 10] In this solitary place Satan tryed his utmost power against our Saviour.

This teacheth us.

1. That Christ alone grapled with Sa­tan, having no fellow worker with him, that we may know the strength of our Re­deemer, who is able himself to overcome the tempter without any assistance, and to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him, Heb. 7. 25.

2. That the Devil often abuseth our so­litude. It is good sometimes to be alone; but then we need to be stocked with Holy Thoughts, or employed in Holy exercises, that we may be able to say as Christ, Iohn 16. 32. I am not alone because the Father is with me. Howsoever a state of retirement from humane converse, if it be not necessa­ry exposeth us to temptations: But if we are cast upon it, we must expect God's pre­sence and help.

3. That no place is priviledged from temptations, unless we leave our hearts be­hind us. David walking on the tarrass or house top was ensnared by Bathsheba's beau­ty, 2 Sam. 11. 2, 3, 4. Lot that was chast in Sodom, yet committed incest in the [Page 11] mountain, where there were none but his own Family, Gen. 19. 30, 31, &c. When we are locked in our closets we cannot shut out Satan.

II. The Reasons why Christ submitted to it.

1. With respect to Adam, that the pa­rallel between the first and second Adam might be more exact. They are often com­pared in Scriptures as Rom. 5. latter end, and 1 Cor. 15. and we read Rom. 5. 14. that the first Adam was [...], the figure of him that was to come, and as in other re­spects, so in this; in the same way we were destroyed by the first Adam, in the same way were we restored by the second. Christ recovereth and winneth that which Adam lost: Our happiness was lost by the first Adam, being overcome by the tempter, so it must be recovered by the second Adam, the tempter being overcome by him. He that did conquer must first be conquered, that sinners might be rescued from the cap­tivity, wherein he held them captive. The first Adam being assaulted quickly after his entrance into Paradise was overcome: and therefore must the second Adam overcome him assoon as he entred upon his office, and that in a conflict hand to hand, in that na­ture [Page 12] that was foiled. The Devil must loose his Prisoners in the same way that he caught them. Christ must do what Adam could not do. The victory is gotten by a pub­lick person in our nature, before it can be gotten by each individual in his own person, for so it was lost. Adam lost the day be­fore he had any off-spring, so Christ win­neth it in his own person before he doth so­lemnly begin to Preach the Gospel, and call Disciples: and therefore here was the great overthrow of the Adversary.

2. In regard of Satan who by his con­quest got a twofold power over man by tempting; he got an interest in his heart to lead him captive at his will and pleasure, 2 Tim. 2. 26. and he was made Gods execu­tioner, he got a power to punish him, Heb. 2. 14. That through death he might destroy him, that had the power of death, that is the Devil. Therefore the son of God, who interposed on our behalf, and undertook the rescue of sinners, did assume the nature of man, that he might conquer Satan in the nature that was conquered, and also offer himself as a sacrifice in the same nature for the de­monstration of the justice of God. First Christ must overcome by Obedience, tryed to the uttermost by temptations; and then [Page 13] he must also overcome by suffering: by over­coming temptations he doth overcome Sa­tan as a tempter; and by death he over­came his as a tormentor, or as the Prince of death, who had the power of executing Gods sentence. So that you see before he overcame him by merit, he overcame him by example; and was an instance of a temp­ted man, before he was an instance of a persecuted man, or one that came to make satisfaction to Gods Justice.

3. With respect to the Saints, who are in their passage to Heaven to be exposed to great difficulties and tryals. Now that they might have comfort and hope in their Re­deemer, and come to him boldly as one touched with a feeling of their infirmities, he himself submitted to be tempted. This reason is recorded by the Apostle in two places, Heb. 2. 18. For in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to suc­cour them that are tempted; able to succour, that is, fit, powerful, inclined, effectually moved to succour them. None so merci­ful as those who have been once miserable; and they who have not only known misery but felt it, do more readily relieve and suc­cour others. God biddeth Israel to pity strangers, Exod. 22. 21. Thou shalt neither [Page 14] vex a stranger, nor oppress him, for ye were strangers in the Land of Egypt. They knew what it was to be exposed to the envy and hatred of the neighbours in the Land where they sojourned, Exod. 23. 9. For ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the Land of Egypt. We read that when King Richard the first had been on the Sea near Sicily like to be drowned, he recalled that antient and barbarous custom, where­by the goods of shipwrackt men were escheated to the Crown, making provision that those goods should be preserved for the right owners. Christ being tossed in the tempest of temptations, knows what belongs to the trouble thereof. The other place is, Heb. 4. 15. We have not an high priest, which cannot be toucht with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Christ hath experienced how strong the Assailant is, how feeble our nature is, how hard a matter it is to withstand when we are so sorely assaulted. His own experience of sufferings and temptations in himself doth intender his heart, and make him fit for sympathy with us, and begets a tender com­passion towards the miseries and frailties of his members.

[Page 15] 4. With respect to Christ himself, that he might be an exact pattern of Obedience to God. The obedience is little worth, which is carryed on in an even tenor, when we have no temptation to the contrary, but is cast off as soon as we are tempted to dis­obey, Iames 1. 12. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation, for when he is tryed, he shall receive the crown of Life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. And Heb. 11. 17. By Faith Abraham when he was tryed offered up Isaac, and he that had re­ceived the promises, offered up his only begot­ten Son. Now Christ was to be more emi­nent than all the holy ones of God, and therefore that he might give an evidence of his Piety, Constancy, and Trust in God, it was thought fit some tryal should be made of him, that he might by example teach us, what reason we have to hold to God against the strongest temptations.

III. The good of this to us. It teacheth us divers things, four I shall instance in.

1. To shew us who is our grand enemy, the Devil, who sought the misery and destru­ction of mankind, as Christ did our Salvati­on. And therefore he is called [...], The Enemy, Matth. 13. 39. The Enemy that sow­ed them is the Devil. And he is called [Page 16] also [...], the wicked one, Matth. 13. 19. as the first and deepest in evil. And be­cause this malitious cruel spirit ruined man­kind at first, he is called a lyar and murde­rer from the beginning, Iohn 8. 44. A Lyar because of his deceit; a murderer to show us what he hath done and would do. It was he that set upon Christ, and doth upon us, as at first to destroy our health, so still to keep us from our medicine and recovery out of the lapsed estate by the Gospel of Christ.

2. That all men none excepted, are sub­ject to temptations. If any might plead for exemption, our Lord Jesus, the eternal Son of God might, but he was assaulted and tempted; and if the Devil tempted our Saviour, he will be much more bold with us. The godly are yet in the way not at the end of the Journey; in the Field, not with the Crown on their heads; and it is Gods will, that the enemy should have leave to assault them. None go to Heaven with­out a tryal, all these things are accomplished in your brethren that are in the flesh, 1 Pet. 5. 9. To look for an exempt priviledge, or immunity from temptation, is to list our selves as Christs Souldiers, and never expect Battle or Conflict.

[Page 17] 3. It sheweth us the manner of Conflict, both of Satans Fight, and our Saviours De­fence.

1. Of Satans Fight it is some advantage not to be ignorant of his enterprizes, 2 Cor. 2. 11. Lest Satan should get an advantage of us, for we are not ignorant of his devices. Then we may the better stand upon our guard. He assaulted Christ by the same kind of temptations by which usually he assaults us. The kinds of temptations are reckoned up, 1 Ioh. 2. 16. The lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. And Iam. 3. 15. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earth­ly, sensual, devilish. With these temptati­ons he assaulted our first Parents, Gen. 3. 8. When the woman saw that the Tree was good for fruit, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat. And with the same temptations he assaulted Christ, tempting him to turn stones into bread, to satisfie the longings of the flesh; to fall down and worship him, as to the sight of a bewitching object to his eyes; to fly in the Air in pride, and to get Glory a­mong men. Here are our snares, which we must carefully avoid.

[Page 18] 2. The manner of Christs Defence, and so it instructeth us how to overcome and carry our selves in temptations. And here are two things whereby we overcome.

1. By Scripture, the Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit, Eph. 6. 17. and 1 Iohn 2. 14. The Word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. It is good to have the Word of God abide in our memories, but chiefly in our hearts by a sound belief and fervent love to the truth.

2. Partly by Resolution, 1 Pet. 4. 1. Arm your selves with the same mind, viz. that was in Christ. When Satan grew bold and troublesome Christ rejects him with in­dignation. Now the conscience of our duty should thus prevail with us to be resolute therein; the double minded are as it were torn in pieces between God and the Devil, Iames 1. 8. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. Therefore being in Gods way, we should resolve to be deaf to all temptations.

4. The hopes of Success. God would set Christ before us as a pattern of Trust and Confidence, that when we address our selves to serve God, we might not fear the [Page 19] temptations of Satan. We have an exam­ple of overcoming the Devil in our glorious Head and Chief. If he pleaded Iohn 16. 33. In the World ye shall have tribulation, but be of good chear, I have overcome the World; the same holdeth good here, for the Ene­mies of our Salvation are combined. He overcame the Devil in our natures, that we might not be discouraged: we fight a­gainst the same Adversaries, in the same cause, and he will give power to us his weak members being full of compassion, which certainly is a great comfort to us.


Of Instruction to us.

1. To reckon upon temptations. Assoon as we mind our Baptismal Covenant we must expect that Satan will be our professed Foe, seeking to terrifie or allure us from the banner of our Captain Jesus Christ. Many after Baptism fly to Satans Camp. There are a sort of men in the visible Church, who though they do not deny their Baptism, as those did 2 Pet. 2. 9. Who have forgotten that they were purged from their old sins, yet they carry themselves as if they were in league with the Devil, the World, and the Flesh, rather then with the Father, Son, [Page 20] and Holy Ghost: with might and main they oppose Christs Kingdom both abroad and at home in their own hearts, and are whol­ly governed by worldly things, the lusts of the Flesh, and the lusts of the Eye, and the pride of Life. Now these are the Devils Agents, and the more dangerous, because they use Christs name against his Offices, and the form of his Religion to destroy the power thereof; as the Dragon in the Reve lations pushed with the horns of the Lamb. Others are not venomously and malignantly set against Christ, and his interest in the World, or in their own Hearts, but tamely yield to the lusts of the Flesh, and go like an Ox to the slaughter, and a Fool to the correcti­on of the Stocks, Prov. 7. 22. We cannot say that Satans work lyeth about these. Satan needeth not besiege the soul by temptations, that is his already by peaceable possession, when a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace, Luke 11. 21. There is no storm when wind and tide goeth toge­ther. But then there is a third sort of men, that begin to be serious, and to mind their recovery by Christ, they have many good motions and convictions of the danger of sin, excellency of Christ, necessity of Holi­ness, they have many purposes to leave sin, and enter upon an holy course of Life, but [Page 21] the wicked one cometh, and catcheth away that which was sowen in his heart, Mat. 13. 19. He beginneth betimes to oppose the work, before we are confirmed and settled in a course of Godliness, as he did set upon Christ presently upon his Baptism. Baptism in us implyeth avowed dying unto sin, and living unto God, now God permitteth temptation and to try our Resolution. There is a fourth sort of such as have made some progress in Religion, even to a degree of eminency: these are not altogether free; for if the Devil had confidence to assault the declared Son of God, will he be afraid of a meer mortal man? No, these he assault­eth many times very sorely. Pyrates ven­ture on the greatest booty: these he seek­eth to draw off from Christ, as Pharaoh sought to bring back the Israelites after their escape; or to foil them by some scandalous fall, to do Religion a mischief, 2 Sam. 12. 14. By this deed thou hast given great occasi­on to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, or at least to vex them and torment them, to make the service of God tedious and uncomfortable to them, Luke 22. 31. Simon, Simon, Behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he might sift you as wheat, to toss and vex you, as wheat in a sieve. So that no [Page 22] sort of Christians can promise themselves exemption; and God permitteth it, because to whom much is given, of them the more is required.

2. The manner and way of his fight is by the World, per blanda & aspera, by the good or evil things of the World. There is armour of Righteousness on the right hand, and on the left, 2 Cor. 6. 7. as there are right hand and left hand temptations. Both ways he lyeth in ambush in the creature. Sometimes he tempts us by the good things of the World, 1 Chron. 21. 1. And Sa­tan stood up against Israel and provoked Da­vid to number Israel, so glorying in his might, and puissance, and victory over neighbour Kings. So meaner people he tempteth to abuse their Wealth to Pride and Luxury; therefore we are pressed to be sober, 1 Pet. 5. 8. Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the Devil, as a roaring Lyon walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. The Devil maketh an advantage of our prosperity to divert us from God and Heaven, and to render us unapt for the strictness of our Holy calling. Some­times he tempts us by the evil things of this World, Iob 1. 11. Put forth thine hand [Page 23] now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. Satans aim in bring­ing the Saints into trouble, is to draw them to fretting, murmuring, despondency, and distrust of Providence, yea to open de­fection from God, or blasphemy against him. And therefore it is said, 1 Pet. 5. 9: Knowing that the same afflictions, &c. be­cause temptations are conveyed to us by our afflictions or troubles in the flesh.

3. His end is to disswade us from good, and perswade us to evil. To disswade us from good by representing the impossibili­ty, trouble, and small necessity of it. If men begin to apply themselves to a strict course, such as they have sworn to in Bap­tism, either it is so hard as not to be born, as Iohn 6. 60. This is a hard saying, who can bear it? Whereas Mark 19. 29. Every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, &c. for my names sake, shall receive an hundred fold, and shall inherit everlasting Life. Or the troubles which accompany a strict pro­fession are many. The World will note us, Iohn 12. 42. Nevertheless among the chief Rulers also many believed on him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the Synagogue. Where­as [Page 24] we must not be ashamed of Christ, 2 Tim. 2. 12. If we suffer we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us. Or that we need not be so strict and nice, whereas all we can do is little enough, Mar. 25. 9. Not so, lest there be not enough for us and you. In general the greatest mischiefs done us by sin are not regarded, but the least inconvenience, that attendeth our du­ty, is urged and aggravated. He perswa­deth us to evil by profit, pleasure, necessi­ty; we cannot live without it in the World. He hideth the hook, and sheweth the bait only; he concealeth the Hell, the horror, the eternal pains that follow sin, and only telleth you how beneficial, profitable and delightful the sin will be to you. Prov. 9. 17, 18. Stoln waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. But he knoweth not that the dead are there, and that her guests are in the depths of Hell.

4. While we are striving against tempta­tions, let us remember our General. We do but follow the Captain of our Salvation, who hath vanquished the Enemy, and will give us the victory if we keep striving, The God of peace shall bruise satan under your feet shortly, Rom. 16. 2. Not his feet, but ours [Page 25] we shall be Conquerors. Our Enemy is vi­gilant and strong, it is enough for us, that our Redeemer is merciful and faithful in suc­couring the tempted, and able to master the tempter, and defeat all his methods. Christ hath conquered him both as a Lamb and as a Lyon, Rev. 5. 5. 8. the notion of a Lamb intimateth his sacrifice, the notion of a Lyon his victory; in the Lamb is me­rit in the Lyon strength; by the one he maketh satisfaction to God, by the other he rescueth sinners out of the paw of the roar­ing Lyon, and maintaineth his interest in their hearts. Therefore let us not be dis­couraged, but closely adhere to him.


MATTH. 4. 2, 3, 4.‘And when he had fasted forty days, and forty nights, he was afterwards an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the son of God, command that these stones be made bread. And he answered and said, It is written, Man liveth not by bread alone, but by every word that proceed­eth out of the mouth of God.’

IN these words there are three Branches:

  • First, The Occasion.
  • Secondly, The Temptation it self.
  • Thirdly, Christs Answer.

First, The Occasion of the first temptation; in the second verse, When he had fasted forty days, and forty nights, he was afterwards an hungred. Where take notice,

  • [Page 27]I. Of his Fasting.
  • II. Of his Hunger.

And something I shall speak of them Con­junctly; something Distinctly and Apart.

1. Conjunctly. In every part of our Lords Humiliation, there is an Emission of some beams of his Godhead; that when­ever he is seen to be true Man, he might be known to be true God also. Is Christ hungry? There was a Fast of forty days con­tinuance preceding, to shew how as God he could sustain his Humane Nature. The ve­rity of his humane nature is seen, because he submitted to all our sinless Infirmities. The power of his divine Nature was manifested, because it enabled him to continue forty days and nights without eating or drinking any thing; the utmost that an ordinary man can fast being but nine days usually. Thus his Divinity and Humanity are ex­pressed in most, or all of his Actions; Ioh. 1. 14. The word was made Flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, as the glory of the onely begotten son of God. There was a Vail of Flesh, yet the glory of his divine Nature was seen, and might be seen, by all that had an Eye and Heart to see it. He lay in the Manger at Bethlehem, but a Star [Page 28] appeared to conduct the Wise Men to him; and Angels proclaimed his Birth to the shepherds, Luk. 2. 13, 14. He grew up from a Child, at the ordinary rate of other Children; but when he was but 12 years old, he disputed with the Doctors, Luk. 2. 42. He submitted to Baptism, but then own­ed by a Voice from Heaven to be Gods Be­loved Son. He was deceived in the Fig­tree, when an hungred; which shews the infirmity of humane Ignorance; but sud­denly blasted, this manifested the glory of a divine Power; Matth. 21. 19. Here, tempted by Sathan; but Ministred unto, and Attended upon, by a multitude of glo­rious Angels; Matth. 4. 11. Finally Cru­cified through weakness, but living by the power of God, 2 Cor. 13. 4. He hung dying on the Cross; but then the Rocks were rent, the Graves opened, and the Sun darkened. All along you may have these Intermixtures: he needed to humble him­self to purchase our mercies; but withall, to give a discovery of a divine Glory to as­sure our Faith. Therefore, when there were any Evidences of humane frailty, least the world should be offended, and stumble thereat, he was pleased at the same time to give some notable demonstration of the di­vine Power. As on the other side, when [Page 29] holy Men are honoured by God, something falleth out to humble them, 2 Cor. 12. 7.

2. Distinctly and Apart. Where ob­serve,

1. That he fasted forty days, and forty nights; so did Moses when he received the Law, Exod. 34. 28. And at the restor­ing of the Law Elias did the like, 1 King. 19. 8. Now what these two great Pro­phets had done, Christ the great Prophet and Doctor of the Christian Church, did also. For the number of forty dayes, Cu­riosity may make it self work enough; but 'tis dangerous to make conclusions where no certainty appeareth. However this is not amiss, that forty dayes were the usual time allotted for Repentance: As to the Nine­vites, Ionah 3. 4. so the Prophet Ezekiel was to bear the sins of the People for forty days: And the Flood was forty days in coming on the old world, Gen. 7. 17. This was the time given for their Repen­tance, and therefore for their Humiliation; yet the forty days Fast in Lent is ill groun­ded on this Example, for this Fast of Christ cannot be imitated by us, more than other his Miracles.

[Page 30] 2. At the end of the forty days he was an hungred, sorely assaulted with faintness and hunger, as any other man at any time is for want of meat. Gods Providence permitted it, that he might be more capable of Satans temptations; for Satan fits his temptations to mens present case and condition. When Christ was hungry, he tempteth him to pro­vide bread, in such a way as the Tempter doth prescribe. He worketh upon what he findeth: When men are full, he tempteth them to be proud, and forget God; when they are destitute, to distrust God: If he sees men covetous, he fits them with a wedge of Gold, as he did Achan: If discontented, and plotting the destruction of another, he findeth out occasions. When Iudas had a mind to sell his Master, he presently sendeth him a Chapman. Thus he doth work upon our Dispositions, or our Condition; most upon our Dispositions, but here only upon Christs Condition. He observeth which way the Tree leaneth, and then thrusteth it forward.

Secondly, The Temptation it self; Verse the third. Where two things are observ­able.

  • [Page 31]1. The Intimation of his Address. And when the tempter came to him.
  • 2. The Proposal of the Temptation: If thou be the son of God, &c.

1. For the Address to the Temptation: And when the tempter came to him. There two things must be explained:

  • 1. In what manner the Tempter came to Christ.
  • 2. How he is said to come then to him.

1. How he came to him. Whether the Temptations of Christ are to be understood by way of Vision, or Historically; as things visibly acted and done. This latter I in­cline unto; and I handle here, because 'tis said [...], The Tempter came to him. Christ importeth some local motion, and accession of the Tempter to Christ, under a visible and external form and shape. As afterwards when the Lord biddeth him be gone, then the devil leaveth him, ver. 11. A retiring of Satan out of his Presence, not the ceasing of a Vision onely. Yea all along, He taketh him, and sets him on a pinnacle of the temple. And taketh him to an high mountain. All which shew some external appearance of Satan, and not a word that intimateth a Vision. [Page 32] Neither can it be conceived how any Act of Adoration could be demanded by Satan of Christ [fall down and worship me] unless the object to be worshipped were set before him in some visible shape. The coming of the Angels to Christ when the Devil left him, ver. II. all understand Historically, and of some External coming; why is not the coming and going of the Devil thus to be understood also? And if all had been done in Vision, and not by Converse, how could Christ be an hungred, or the devil take that occasion to tempt him? How could answers and replics be tossed to and fro, and Scriptures alledged? So that from the whole view of the frame of the Text, here was some external congress between Christ and the devil. If you think it below Christ, you forget the wonderful Condescension of the Son of God; 'tis no more unworthy of him than Crucifixion, Passion and Burial was: 'Tis true in the writing of the Pro­phets, many things historically related were onely done in Vision; but not in the Go­spels, which are an History of the Life and Death of Christ; where things are plainly set down as they were done. To men the grievousness of Christs Tempations would be much lessened, if we should think it on­ly a piece of Phantasie and imaginary, ra­ther [Page 33] than real. And if his Temptations be lessened, so will his Victory, so will our Comfort. In short, such as was Christs Journey into the Wilderness, such was his Fast, such his Temptation; all real: For all are delivered to us in the same stile and thread of discourse. Yea farther, if these things had been onely in Vision and Extasie, there would have been no danger to Christ in the second temptation, when he was tempted to throw himself down from the Pinacle of the Temple. Surely then he was truly tempted, and not in vision onely: yea it seemeth not so credible and agreeable to the dignity and holiness of Christ, that Satan should tempt by internal false sugge­stions, and the immission of Species into his fancy or understanding: That Christ should seem to be here and there, when all the while he was in the desert: For either Christ took notice of these false Images in his Fancy, or not; if not, there is no temp­tation; if so, there will be an Errour in the Mind of Christ, that he should think him­self to be on the Pinacle of the Temple, or top of an high Mountain, when he was in the Desert. 'Tis hard to think these sug­gestions could be made, without some error or sin; but an External suggestion, maketh the sin to be in the Tempter onely, not in [Page 34] the person Tempted: Our First Parents lost not their innocency by the external sug­gestion, but internal admission of it, dwel­ling upon it in their Minds. To a man void of sin, the tempter hath no way of tempt­ing, but externally.

2. How is this access to Christ said to be after his Fasting, when in Luk. 4. 2. 'tis said, Being forty dayes tempted of the Devil, and in those days he did eat nothing; and when they were ended, he afterward hun­gred?

I Answer 1. Some conceive that the de­vil tempted Christ all the forty days, but then he tempted him invisibly, as he doth other men, striving to inject sinful suggesti­ons; but he could find nothing in him to work upon, Ioh. 14. 30. But at forty days end he taketh another course, and appear­eth visibly in the shape of an Angel of Light. He saith he came to him most solemnly and industriously to tempt him. This opinion is probable.

2. It may be answered, Lukes speech must be understood, Being forty dayes in the wilderness, and in those days he did eat no­thing, and was tempted; that is, those days being ended. There is by a Prolepsis, some little Inversion of the order. But because [Page 35] of Mark 1. 13. where 'tis said, He was in the wilderness forty dayes tempted of satan, and was with the wild Beasts, take the for­mer Answer.

2. The proposal of the Temptation: If thou be the son of God, command that these stones be made bread. Certainly every temp­tation of the devil tendeth to sin: Now where is the sin of this? If Christ had turn­ed stones into bread, and declared himself by this Miracle to be the Son of God; there seemeth to be no such evil in this. Like Miracles he did upon other occasions; as turning Water into Wine at a Marriage Feast, multiplying the loaves in the distri­bution for feeding the Multitude. Here was no curiosity, the Fact seemed to be ne­cessary to supply his hunger. Here is no superfluity urged, into Bread, not dainties, or occasions of wantonness, but Bread for his necessary sustenance? I Answer, Not­withstanding all this fair appearance, yet this first assault which is propounded by Satan, was very sore and grievous.

1. Because manifold sins are implyed in it, and there are many temptations combin­ed in this one Assault.

1. In that Christ, who was led by the Spirit into the Wilderness to Fast, and so to [Page 36] be tempted, must now break his Fast and work a Miracle at Satans direction: The contest between God, and the devil, is, who shall be Soveraign; therefore it was not meet that Christ should follow the devils advice, and do any thing at his command and suggestion.

2. That Christ should doubt of that Voice that he heard from Heaven at his Baptism, Thou art my beloved son; and the devil cometh, If thou be the son of God. That it should anew be put to trial by some ex­traordinary work, whether it were true or no, or he should believe it, yea or no. No temptation so sore, no dart so poisonable, as that which tendeth to the questioning of the grounds of Faith; as this did the Love of God, so lately spoken of him. There­fore this is one of the sharpest Arrows that could come out of Satans Bow.

3. It tended to weaken his confidence, in the care and love of Gods Fatherly Pro­vidence: Being now afflicted with hunger in a desert place, where no supply of food could be had, Satan would draw him to suspect and doubt of his Fathers Providence; as if it were incompatible to be the Son of God, and to be left destitute of means to supply his hunger, and therefore must take [Page 37] some extraordinary course of his own to furnish himself.

4. It tended to put him upon an acti­on of Vain-Glory, by working a Miracle before the devil, to shew his Power. As all needless actions are but a vain osten­tation.

2. Because it was in it self a puzling and perplexing proposal, not without inconve­niences on both sides, which soever of the extreams our Lord should choose; whether he did, or did not what the tempter sugge­sted. If he did, he might seem to doubt of the Truth of the Oracle, by which he was declared to be the Son of God, or to distrust Gods Providence, or to give way to a vain ostentation of his own Power: If he did not, he seemed to be wanting, in not pro­viding necessary food for his sustentation, when it was in his own power so to do; and it seemed to be unreasonable to hide that, which it concerned all to know, to wit, that he was the Son of God. And it seem­eth grievous to hear others suspicious con­cerning our selves, when tis in our power easily to refute them, such provocations can hardly be born by the most modest spirits. This temptation was again put upon Christ on the Cross, Math. 27. 40. If thou be the son of God, come down from the Cross. But [Page 38] all is to be done at Gods direction, and as it becometh our obedience to him, and re­spect to his Glory. Satan and his Instru­ments will be satisfied with no proofs of principles of Faith, but such as he and they will prescribe, and which cannot be given without intrenching upon our obedience to God, and those counsels which he hath wisely laid for his own Glory. And if Gods children be surprized with such a dispositi­on, it argueth so far the influence of Satan upon them: Namely, when they will not believe but upon their own terms; as Tho­mas, Ioh. 20. 25. Except I see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. If we will not ac­cept of the graces of Faith as offered by God, but will interpose conditions of our own prescribing, we make a snare to our selves. God may in condescension to a weak Believer, grant what was his fault to seek, as he doth afterwards to Thomas, Ver. 27. but there is no reason he should grant it to the devil, he being a malicious and incorri­gible spirit, coming temptingly to ask it.

3. This temptation was cunning and plau­sible, it seemed onely to tend to Christs good, his refection when hungry, and his Honour and Glory, that this might be a full [Page 29] demonstration of his being the Son of God. There is an open solicitation to evil, and a covert; explicit, and implicite; direct, and indirect. This last here. 'Twas not an o­pen, direct, explicite solicitation to sin; but covert, implicite and indirect; which sort of temptations are more dangerous. There was no need of declaring Christs power, by turning stones into bread before the devil, and at his instance and suit: It was neither necessary, nor profitable; not necessary for Christs Honour and Glory, it being suf­ficiently evidenced before by that voice from Heaven, or might be evident to him without new proof: Nor was it necessary for Christs refection, because he might be sustained by the same divine power, by which hitherto he had been supported for forty dayes. Nor was it profitable, none being present but the devil, who asked not this proof for satisfaction but cavil; and that he might boast and gain advantage, if Christ had done any thing at his instance and direction: And in this peculiar dispen­sation, all was to be done, by the directi­on of the holy, and not the impure Spirit. I come now to the third Branch.

Thirdly, Christs Answer: Ver. 4. And he answered and said, It is written, Man [Page 40] liveth not by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Christs Answer is not made to that part of the pro­posal, If thou be the son of God; but to the urgent necessity of his refection. The for­mer was clear and evident, the force of the temptation lay not there; but the latter, which Satan sought to make most Advan­tage of, is clearly refuted: Christs Answer is taken out of Deut. 8. 3. And this Answer is not given for the Tempters sake, but ours; that we may know how to answer in like Cases, and repel such kind of temptations. In the place quoted, Moses speaketh of Manna, and sheweth how God gave his people Manna from Heaven, to teach them, that though bread be the ordinary means of sustaining man, yet God can feed him by o­ther means, which he is pleased to make use of to that purpose. His bare word, or no­thing; all cometh from his divine power and vertue, whatever he is pleased to give for the sustentation of Man, ordinary or extraordinary. The tempter had said, that either he must die for hunger, or turn stones into bread: Christ sheweth that there is a middle between both these extreams. There are other ways which the Wisdom of God hath found out, or hath appointed by his Word, or decreed to such an end, and [Page 41] maketh use of, in the course of his Provi­dence. And the instance is fitly chosen, for he that provided forty years for an huge multitude in the desert, he will not be want­ing to his own Son, who had now fasted but forty dayes. In the words there is

1. A Concession or Grant, that ordina­rily man liveth by bread, and therefore must labour for it, and use it when it may be had.

2. There is a restriction of the Grant, that it is not by bread onely; But by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. The business is to explain, how a man can live by the Word of God, or what is meant by it.

1. Some take Word, for the word of Precept; and expound it thus, if you be faithful to your Duty, God will provide for you. For in every command of God, ge­neral or particular, there is a promise ex­pressed or implyed of all things necessary, Deut. 28. 5. Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. And Matth. 6. 33. Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Now we may lean upon this word of God, keep our selves from indirect means, and in a fair way of Providence refer the issue to God.

[Page 42] 2. Some take the Word, for the word of Promise, which indeed is the livelyhood of the Saints; Psal. 119. 111. Thy testimo­nies have I taken as an heritage for ever, they are the rejoycing of my heart. Gods people in a time of want, can make a Feast to them­selves out of the Promises, and when seem­ingly starved in the Creature, fetch not on­ly Peace and Grace and Righteousness; but Food and Rayment out of the Covenant.

3. Rather I think it is taken for his Providential word, or commanded Blessing: For as, God made all things by his Word, so he upholdeth all things by the word of his Power, Heb. 1. 3. His powerful word doth all in the World, Psal. 147. 15. He sendeth forth his commandment on the earth, his word runneth very swiftly, he giveth snow like wool. And then in the 18. ver. He send­eth out his word and melteth them. As the word of Creation made all things, so the word of Providence sustaineth all things. This word is spoken of, Psal. 107. 20. He sent his word, and his word healed them, and delivered them from all their destructions. 'Tis dictum factum with God, if he speak but the word 'tis all done, Math. 8. 8. Speak but the word and thy servant shall be whole. So Luk. 4. 36. What a word is this? For with authority and power he commandeth the [Page 43] unclean spirits, and they come out. So of Io­seph 'tis said Psal. 105. 19. untill the time that his word came, the word of the Lord try­ed him. That is his power and influence on the hearts of the parties concerned for his deliverance. Well then the power of sustaining Life, is not in bread but in the Word of God, not in the means, but in Gods commanded blessing; which may be conveyed to us by means, or without means as God pleaseth: There is a powerful com­manding word which God useth for Health, Strength, Sustentation, or any effect where­in the good of his people is concerned. He is the great Commander of the World. If he say to any thing go, and it goeth: come, and it cometh.

Thus you have the History of the first temptation. Now for the Observations.

1. Observe, That God may leave his chil­dren and servants to great streights; for Christ himself was sorely an hungred: so God suffereth his people to hunger in the Wilderness before he gave them Manna. Therefore 'tis said Psal. 102. 23. He weak­neth the strength of the people in the way. He hath sundry tryals wherewith to exercise our Faith, and sometimes by sharp necessi­ties: [Page 44] Paul and his companions had conti­nued fourteen dayes and had taken no­thing, Acts 27. 33. Many times Gods children are thus tryed, Trading is dead and there are many mouths to be fed, and little supply cometh in; yet this is to be born, none of us more poor then Christ, or more destitute then was Christ.

Secondly, That the Devil maketh an ad­vantage of our necessities, when Christ was an hungred, then the tempter came to him: so unto us. Three sorts of temptations he then useth to us, the same he did to Christ, 1. Either he tempteth us to unlawful means to satisfie our hunger, so he did to Christ, who was to be governed by the Spirit, to work a miracle to provide for his bodily wants at Satans direction: so us, Poverty hath a train of sinful temptations, Prov. 30. 9. Least I be poor and steal, and take the name of my God in vain. Necessities are urging, but we must not go to the Devil for a direction how to supply our selves, least he draw us to put our hand to our neigh­bours goods, or to defraud our Brother, or betray the peace of our Conscience or to do some unworthy thing, that we may live the more comfortably. You cannot plead necessity, 'tis to relieve your charge, to [Page 45] maintain Life, God is able to maintain it in his own way. No necessity can make any sin warrantable; 'tis necessary thou shouldst not sin, 'tis not necessary thou shouldst bor­row more then thou canst pay, or use any fraudulent means to get thy sustenance. If others be unmerciful, thou must not be un­righteous.

2. To question our Adoption, as he did the filiation of Christ, If thou be the Son of God. 'Tis no wonder to find Satan calling in question, the Adoption and Regenerati­on of Gods Children, for he calleth in questi­on the Filiation and Sonship of the Son of God, though so plainly attested but a little before, Heb. 12. 5. Ye have forgotten the ex­hortation, which speaketh unto you as Children, my Son, &c. Certainly what ever moveth us to question our interest in Gods fatherly love, bare afflictions should not; for to be without afflictions is a sign of Bastards. God hath no illegitimate Children, but God hath degenerate Children who are left to a lar­ger Discipline.

3. To draw us to a diffidence and di­strust of Gods Providence: this he sought to breed in Christ, or at least to do some­thing that might seem to countenance it, [Page 46] if he should upon his motion work a mira­cle. Certainly 'tis Satans usual temptation to work in us a disesteem of Gods goodness and care, and to make us pore altogether upon our wants. A sense of our wants may be a means to humble us, to quicken us to prayer, but it should not be a temptation to beget in us unthankfulness, or murmur­ing against Gods Providence, or any dis­quietness or unsettledness in our minds. And though they may be very pinching, yet we should still remember that God is good to them that are of a clean Heart, Psal. 73. 1. God hath in himself al-sufficiency, who knoweth both what we want, and what is fittest for us, and is engaged by his general Providence as a faithful Creator, 1 Pet. 4. 19. Let them that suffer according to the will of God, commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator; but more especially as related to us as a Father, Matth. 6. 32. Your heavenly Father know­est that you have need of all these things. And by his faithful Promise, Heb. 13. 5. He hath said I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. And he will give us every good thing while we fear him, Psal. 34. 9, 10. O fear the Lord ye his Saints: For there is no want to them that fear him. The young Lyons do lack and suffer hunger: But they that seek the [Page 47] Lord, shall not want any good thing. And walk uprightly, Psalm 84. 11. For the Lord God is a Sun and a shield, the Lord will give Grace and Glory: No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. And seek it of him by prayer, Matth. 7. 11. Ask, and it shall be given you, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.

But you will say, you Preach only to the poor and destitute. I Answer, I speak as my subject leadeth me: It will put the point generally Satan maketh an advantage of our condition. Christ had power to do what was suggested; every condition hath its snares, a full condition most of all, Psal. 69. 22. Let their table be a snare, their wel­fare for a trap. He hideth his snares, and gins to catch our souls; in all the comforts men enjoy they are apt to grow proud, to forget God, to become mercyless to others who want what they enjoy; to live in vain pleasures, and to forget Eternity: to live in sinful security, in the neglect of Christi­an duties, to be enslaved to sensual satis­factions, to be flat, and cold in Prayer. This glut and fulness of worldly comforts, is much more dangerous then our hunger.

[Page 48] Thirdly observe, In Tempting, Satan pre­tendeth to help the tempted party to a bet­ter condition, as here he seemeth careful to have bread provided for Christ at his need, yea pretendeth respect to his glory, and to have him manifest himself to be the Son of God, by such a miracle as he pre­scribeth. This seeming tenderness, coun­selling Christ to support his life and health, was the snare layed for him. Thus he dealt with our first Parents, he seeketh to wea­ken the reputation of Gods love and kind­ness to man, and to breed in the Womans mind a good opinion of himself. That his sug­gestions might make the greater impression upon her, he manageth all his discourse with her, that all the advice which he seemeth to give her, proceeded of his love, and good affection towards her and her hus­band; pretending a more then ordinary de­sire and care of mans good, Gen. 3. 5. as if he could direct him how to become a match for God himself. So still he dealeth with us; for alas, otherwise in vain is the snare layed in the sight of any Bird, Prov. 1. 17. He covereth the snare layed for mans destruction with a fair pretence of Love, to advance man to a greater happiness, and so pretendeth the good of those whom he meaneth wholly to destroy. He enticeth [Page 49] the covetous with dishonest gain, which at length proveth a real loss: The sensual with vain pleasures, which at length prove the greatest pain to body and soul: The ambitious with honours, which really tend to their disgrace. Always trust God, but disbelieve the Devil, who promoteth mans destruction under a pretence of his good and happiness. How can Satan and his in­struments, put us upon any thing that is really good for us?

Fourthly, That Satans first temptations are more plausible, he doth not at first dash come with fall down and worship me; but only pretendeth a respect to Christs refecti­on, and a demonstration of his Sonship. Few or none are so desperate at first, as to leap into Hell at the first dash, therefore the Devil beginneth with the least temptations. First men begin with less evils, play about the brink of Hell: a man at first taketh a likeing to company, afterwards he doth a little inlarge himself, into some haunts and merry meetings with his companions, then entreth into a confederacy in evil, till he hath brought utter ruin upon himself, and what was honest Friendship at first, proveth wicked company and sure destruction at [Page 50] last. At first a man playeth for recreation, then ventureth a shilling or two, afterwards by the witchery of Gaming, off goeth all sense of thrift, honesty, and credit. At first a man dispenseth with himself in some duty, then his dispensation groweth into a settled tole­ration, and God is cast out of his closet, and his Heart groweth dead, dry, and sapless: there is no stop in sin, 'tis of a mul­tiplying nature, and we go on from one degree to another; and a little lust sets open the door for a greater, as the lesser sticks set the greater on fire.

Fifthly, There is no way to defeat Satans temptations, but by a sound belief of Gods all-sufficiency, and the nothingness of the Creature.

1. A sound belief of, and a dependance on Gods all-sufficiency, Gen. 17. 1. I am the Almighty God, walk before me and be thou perfect. We need not warp, nor run to our shifts, he is enough to help to de­fend or reward us; he can help us without means, though there be no supply in the view of sense, or full heaps in our own keep­ing, God knoweth when we know not, 2 Pet. 2. 9. The Lord knoweth how to deliver the [Page 51] Godly out of Temptations, &c. or by contrary means, curing the eyes with spittle and clay. He can make a little means go far. As he blessed the pulse to the captive Chil­dren, Dan. 1. 15. And made the Widows barrel of Meal, and cruise of Oyl to hold out, 1 Kings 17. 14. And his filling and feeding five Thousand with a few Barly loaves, and a few Fishes, Matth. 14. 21. On the other side he can make abundance unprofitable, Luke 12. 15. A mans life consist­eth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. No means can avail unless God giveth his blessing; therefore we should not distrust his Providence, nor attempt any thing without Gods warrant, lest we offend him, and provoke him to with­draw his blessing.

2. The Nothingness of the Creature: Not by bread alone. 'Tis nothing by way of comparison with God, nothing by way of exclusion of God, nothing in opposition to God. It should be nothing in our esteem, so far as it would be something se­parate from God, or in co-ordination with God, Isa. 40. 17. All nations before him are as nothing, less than nothing and vanity, Iob 6. 21. Now ye are nothing: All Friends [Page 52] cannot help, our foes cannot hurt us, not the greatest of either kind, Isa. 34. 12. All her Princes shall be nothing. In regard of the effects which the World promise to its deluded lovers, all is as nothing: not only that it can do nothing to our needy souls, to relieve us from the burden of sin; no­thing towards the quiet, and true peace of our wounded Consciences; nothing to our acceptance with God, nothing for strength against corruptions and temp­tations; nothing at the hour of death; but it can do nothing for us during Life, nothing to relieve and satisfie us in the World without God. Therefore God is still to be owned and trusted.


MATTH. 4. 5, 6.

Then the Devil taketh him into the Holy City, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the Tem­ple.

And saith unto him, if thou be the Son of God, cast thy self down, for it is written he shall give his Angels charge concerning thee, and in their hands they shall bear thee up, least at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

IN this second Temptation I shall give you. 1. The History of it. 2. Ob­servations upon it.

  • 1. The History of it. There,
  • 1. What Satan did.
  • 2. What he said.
  • 3. The soarness of the temptation.

1. What he did, Then the devil taketh him [Page 54] up into the Holy City, and setteth him on a pin­nacle of the Temple. There 1. Take notice of the ground which the devil chose for the conflict: he taketh him up into the Holy City, and setteth him on the pinnacle of the Temple. By the Holy City is meant Ierusi­lem, for this name is given to it in other Scriptures, Isa. 58. 2. They call themselves of the Holy City. And Isa. 52. 1. O Ierusalem, the Holy City. And in many other places it was so called because it was the seat of Gods Worship, and the place where God mani­fested his gracious presence with his people. If you ask why now, it was called the Ho­ly City, since it was a City of Blood, the seat of all wickedness, in which the Law of God was depraved their Religion corrupt­ed, their Religion polluted? I Answer, yet there was the Temple of the Lord. Some Relicks of good and Holy men, some grace yet continued, and the only place that owned the true God, though with much cor­ruption. The more especial place which the Devil chose for the conflict was [...], the Pinnacle of the Temple, or the wing of the Temple: meaning the border round about the fist covering of the Temple, to hinder any one from falling off easily, which might be adorned with pinnacles and spires from whence one might easily fall. 2. How [Page 55] the devil got him there? Whether Christ was carryed through the Air, or went on his feet following him of his own accord? the last seemeth to be countenanced by Luke; that he led him to the pinnacle of the Temple, Luke 4. 9. [...], yet the former is preferred by most ancient and mo­dern interpreters, and not without reason. For Christ voluntarily to follow the Devil, and to go up to the top of the Temple, and stand on one of the pinnacles thereof, it seemeth improbable, and would take up more time then could be spent on this temp­tation. He that would not obey the Devil perswading him to cast himself down, that he might not tempt God; would not vo­luntarily have gone up with him, for that would have been the beginning of a temp­tation to yield so far. Most probably then Satan was permitted to carry him in the Air, without doing him any hurt to Ierusalem, and one of the pinnacles of the Temple and battlements thereof. But how Christ was carryed in the Air visibly or invisibly the Scripture sheweth not: it affirmeth the thing, but sets not down the manner; we must be­lieve what it asserteth, reverence what it concealeth: here was a real Translation, a Transportation from place to place; not ima­ginary, for then Christ had been in no dan­ger: [Page 56] And again not violent but voluntary, a carrying not a haling, a leading not a for­cing, as the wrestler is drawn on to the com­bate. As he suffered himself to be drawn to death by Satans instruments, so by the Devil to be translated from place to place. The Officers of the High Priest had power to carry him from the Garden to Annas; from Annas, to Caiaphas; from Caiaphas, to Pilate; from Pilate, to Herod; from He­rod; to Pilate again: And then from Gab­batha, to Golgotha; which could not have been, unless this power had been given them from above, as Christ himself telleth Pilate, Ioh. 19. 11. So God for his great­er glory, and our instruction permitted this transportation: therefore this translation is not to be imputed to the weakness of Christ, but his patience, submitting thus far that he might experience all the machinations of Satan: and the transporting is not to be ascribed to the tempters strength, but his boldness. Christ did not obey him, but submitted to the Divine dispensation, and would fight with him not onely in the De­sert, but in the Holy City: and no won­der if Christ suffered Satan to carry him, who suffered his instruments to Crucifie him.

[Page 57] Secondly, What he said to him, verse 6. Where take notice. 1. Of the temptation it self, If thou be the Son of God, cast thy self down. 2. The Reason alledged to back it, For it is written he shall give his Angels charge concerning thee, &c.

1. The temptation it self: If thou be the Son of God cast thy self down, mark what was the mote in the Devils eye, that Christ was declared to be the Son of God, the Messiah and Saviour of the World: He would have him to put it to this proof in the sight of all Ierusalem, wherein if he fail­ed, and had dyed of the fall, the Jews would think him an Impostour; if he had escaped, he had submitted to the Devils methods, and so had run into the former sins mention­ed before in the first temptation, his doing something at the Devils direction; his dis­belief of the divine Oracle, unless manifest­ed by such proof as Satan required; and besides a tempting of divine Providence, the ordinary way was down stairs. He would have him leap, and throw himself over the battlements, 'twould be too long to go down stairs, he will teach him a near­er way, to cast himself down and fear no hurt, for if he were the Son of God he might securely do so. But chiefly Christ [Page 58] was not to begin his ministry by miracles, but Doctrine; not from a demonstration of his Power, but Wisdom. The Gospel was to be first Preached, then sealed and confirmed by miracles: and Christs mira­cles were not to be ludicrous but profitable, not fitted for pomp, but use; to instruct and help men, rather then strike them with wonder. Now this would discredit the Gosple if Christ should fly in the Air; be­sides we must not fly to extraordinary means, where ordinary are present.

Only before I go off observe, That Sa­tan did not offer to cast him down, that God doth not suffer him to do, because he sought to bring Christ to sin. If Satan had cast him down Christ had not sin­ned.

Secondly, The Reason by which he backeth the temptation, 'tis taken from Scripture, For it is written he shall give his Angels charge concerning thee. The Scrip­ture is in the 91 Psal. 11. 12. where the words run thus, he shall give his Angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy wayes. They shall bear thee up in their hands, least thou dash thy foot against a stone. Where

[Page 59] I. Observe, The Devils cunning in citing Scripture. The Apostle telleth us that Sa­tan is sometimes transformed into an Angel of Light, 2 Cor. 11. 14. And we read that once he took the habit, and guise of a Pro­phet, 1 Sam. 28. 18. and indeed he deceiveth more by the voice of Samuel than by the voice of the Dragon. We read of [...], The depths of Satan, Rev. 2. 24. Here he cometh like a divine, with a Bible in his hand, and turneth to the place, here the Enemy of God cometh with the Word of God, and disguiseth the worst of actions with the best of words, opposeth God to God, and turneth his truth to countenance a lye. Being refuted by Scripture, he will bring Scripture too, and pretendeth to re­verence that which he chiefly hateth. Chri­stians you have not to do with a foolish devil, who will appear in his own colours and ugly shape, but with a devout devil, who for his own turn, can pretend to be Godly.

II. That he citeth such a Scripture, which exceedingly conduceth to commend the happy­ness of the godly; for God will not only be the Keeper and Guardian of them that fear him, but hath also appointed the Ministry of An­gels; and the Argument of the tempter [Page 60] seemeth to be taken from the less to the greater: for if it be true of every one that trusts in God, and dwelleth in the shadow of the Almighty, that God will have such a care of him, much more will he have a care of his beloved son, in whom he is well plea­sed. Therefore you that are declared to be so from Heaven, and having such an occa­sion to shew your self to be the son of God, with so much honour and profit; Why should you scruple to cast your self down?

But wherein was the devil faulty in citing the Scripture? some say in leaving out those words in all thy wayes. This was Bernards gloss: in viis, non in praecipitiis: will keep you in your wayes, or duties, not in your headlong actions, these were none of his wayes to throw himself down from the bat­tlements of the Temple. This is not to be altogether rejected because it reaches the sense, yet this omission was not the devils fault in citing this Scripture, for all thy ways signifyeth no more but in all thy actions and businesses, and that is sufficiently implyed in the words cited by Satan. But the devils errour was in application. He applyeth the Word of God, not to instruct but de­ceive, rather to breed a contempt, disdain, and hatred of Scriptures, then a reverend [Page 61] esteem of them, to make the Word of God seem uncertain; or if a reverence of them, to turn this reverence into an occasion of deceit: more particularly to tempt God to a needless proof of his power. We are not to cast our selves into danger, that Provi­dence may fetch us off. God will protect us in the evils we suffer, not in the evils we commit: not in dangers we seek, but such as befal us besides our intention.

Thirdly, The sorenesse of this temptati­on, which appeareth in several things.

1. The change of place, for a new temp­tation, he maketh choice of a new place; he could do no good on him in the wilderness, therefore he taketh him, and carryeth him into the Holy City: here was a publick place where Christ might discover himself with profit, and the edification of many if he would but submit to the devils me­thods. In the Temple the Messiah was as in his own House, where 'twas fit the Me­ssiah should exhibit himself to his people: There was an old Prophesie, Mal. 3. 1. The Lord whom ye seek, shall suddenly come into his Temple, even the messenger of the Co­venant, whom ye delight in. And he was to send forth his rod out of Sion, even the Law of his Kingdom, Psal. 110. 2. If he would [Page 62] yield to this advice, and vain glorious osten­tation of his power, before that numerous multitude, which continually resorted to the Holy things performed in the Temple, how soon should he be manifested to be the Son of God, or the power of the great God. The Devil doth not perswade him to cast himself from a Rock or top of a Tree in the Desart, that had been temerity and rash­ness; but from a pinnacle of the Temple, an Holy place, and a place of much resort. But the Son of God was not to be discove­red to the world by the Devils methods. That had been such a piece of ostentation and vain glory, as did not become the Son of God, who came to teach the World hu­mility. But however the temptation is grievous, in so good a design, in such an Holy place, there could no ill happen to the Son of God, nor a better occasion be offered of shewing himself to many, so to confirm the Jews in the Truth of the Ora­cle they had of late heard from Heaven.

2. The change of temptations: since he will trust, the devil will put him upon trust­ing; he shall trust as much as he will. There he tempted him to the use of unlaw­ful means to preserve his life, here to the neglect of things lawful. There that God [Page 63] would fail him if he were still obedient to the spirit, and did not take another course then divine Providence had as yet offered to him; here, that God would not forsake him, though he threw himself into danger. There, that he would fail though he had promised; here, that he would help though he had not promised. That Faith which sustained him in his hunger, would preserve him in this precipice, if he expected his preservation from God, why not now? He had hitherto tempted him to diffidence, now to prefidence, or an over-confident presumption, that God would needlesly shew his power. It is usual with the temp­ter to tempt man on both sides; sometimes to weaken his Faith, at other times to neg­lect his duty. He was cast out of Heaven himself, and he is all for casting down.

3. The temptation was the more strong, being vailed under a pretence of Scripture, and so Christs weapons seem to be beaten back upon himself. The devil tempted him to nothing but what he might be confident to do upon the promise of God. Now it is grievous to Gods Children, when the rule of their lives, and the Charter of their hopes is abused to countenance a tempta­tion.

[Page 64] Secondly, The Observations.

1. Observe, That the first temptation being rejected by Christ, Satan maketh a new assault. Though he get the foil he will set on us a­gain; like a troublesome fly that is often beaten off, yet will return to the same place. Thus the devil when he could do no good upon his first Patent against Iobs Goods and Children, cometh and sueth for a new Commission, that he might touch his flesh and bones, Iob 2. 4, 5. Skin for skin, ye all that a man hath will he give for his Life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. Satan is uncessant in his attempts against the Saints, and is ready to assault afresh upon every occasion. Now this cometh to pass by Satans unwearied malice, who is a sworn enemy to our peace and wellfare, he still seeketh to devour us, 1 Pet. 5. 8. Also from Gods Providence who permitteth this, that we may not be careless and secure af­ter temptation, though we have gotten the victory. For our Life is a continual war­fare, Iob 7. 1. Is there not an appointed time for man upon earth? The same word signi­fieth also a warfare. Mans Life is a per­petual toil, and a condition of manifold temptations and hazards, such as a Soldier is exposed to; therefore we must perpetu­perpetually [Page 65] watch. We get not an absolute victory till death. Now this should the more prevail with us, because many of Gods Peo­plehave fail'd after some eminent service per­formed for God. Iosiah after he had prepared the Temple, fell into that rash attempt against Pharaoh Necho which cost him his Life, 2 Chro. 35. 20. After all this, when Iosiah had prepared the temple, Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish by Euphrates, and Iosiah went out against him. And Peter, af­ter he had made a glorious Confession, giv­eth his Master carnal counsel, Mat. 16. 18. Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my church, &c. and yet Ver. 23. Get thee behind me, Satan. Many after they have been much lifted up in consolation, do rea­dily miscarry; first he made a glorious con­fession, a sign of great Faith; then carnal wisdom vents its self in some counsel con­cerning the ease of the flesh. Oh what need have we to stand upon our guard, till God tread Satan under our feet! As one of the Roman Generals, whether conquering or conquered, semper instaurat pugnam; so doth Satan.

2. Observe, God may give Satan some po­wer over the body of one whom he loveth dearly. For Satan is permitted to transport Christs body from the wilderness to the Holy City, [Page 66] and to set it on a Pinacle of the Temple. As it is very consistent with Gods Love to his People to suffer them to be tempted in their souls by the fiery darts of Satan; so he may permit Satan to afflict their bodies, either by himself, or by Witches, who are his Instru­ments. Thus he permitted Satan to afflict Iob, chap. 2. 6, 7. And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thy hand, but save his life. So went satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Iob with sore boils, from the sole of his foot unto his crown. The devil may have a threefold power over the bo­dies of men.

1. By Transportations, or carrying them from one place to another, which usually is not found, but in those that give up them­selves to his Diabolical Inchantments. Or,

2. In Possessions, which were frequent and rife in Christs time. My daughter is sorely vexed with a devil, Mat. 15. 22. Or,

3. In Diseases, which is more common. Thus he afflicted Iobs body with Ulcers; and what we read, Psal. 41. 8. An evil disease cleaveth fast unto him. It is [...] a thing of Belial, as if it a were a pestilen­tial disease from the devil. So some under­stand that, Psal. 91. 3. Surely he shall deli­ver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome Pestilence. As if those sudden [Page 67] darts of Venom by which we are stricken in the Plague, came from Satan. Certainly evil Angels may have a great hand in our diseases, Psal. 78. 49. He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignati­on and trouble, by sending evil angels among them. But I press it not much. Only

1. A word of Patience, that we would submit to God, though our trials be never so sharp. We must yield to that measure of Humiliation, which it shall please God to prescribe. If he should give leave to Satan to inflame our blood, and trouble the hu­mours of our body, we must not repine; the Son of God permitted his sacred body to be transported by the devil in the Air.

2. A word of Comfort. Whatever po­wer God permitteth Satan to have over our bodies, or bodily interests, yet it is limited, he cannot hurt or molest any further than God pleaseth. He had power to set Christ on a Pinacle of the Temple, but not to cast him down. He had a power to touch Iob's skin, but a charge not to endanger his Life, Iob 2. 6. Behold, he is in thine hand, but save his life. God sets bounds and limits to the malice of Satan, that he is not able to com­pass all his designs. Iob was to be exercis­ed, but God would not have him dye in a [Page 68] cloud, his life was to be secured till better times.

3. A word of Caution. Let not the Devil make an advantage of those troubles, which he bringeth upon our Bodies, or the interests of the bodily Life, yet let him not thereby draw you to sin. Here the devil may set Christ upon a precipice, but he can do him no further hurt; he may perswade us to cast down our selves, but he cannot cast us down, unless we cast down our selves, Nemo laeditur nisi a seipso. His main spight is at your souls, to involve you in sin. God may give him, and his Instru­ments a power over your bodily lives; but he doth not give him a power over the Graces of the Saints. The devil aimeth at the destruction of souls; he can let men enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, that he may deprive you of delight in God, and celestial pleasures; he can be content that you shall have Dignities and Hon­ours, if they prove a snare to you. If the devil seek to bring you to Poverty, Trouble and Nakedness, it is to draw you from God. He careth not for the Body, but as it may be an occasion to ruine the Soul.

[Page 69] 3. Observe, If Satan lead us up, it is to throw us down. He taketh up Christ to the Pinacle of the Temple, and saith unto him, Cast thy self down. He bringeth up many by little and little to some high place, that by their aspiring they may at length break their necks. Thus he did Haman, and so he doth many others, whose climbing mak­eth way for their greater fall. The devil himself was an aspirer, and fell from Hea­ven like Lightning, Luk. 10. 18. I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven: And tho in shew he may seem to befriend many that hearken to his Temptations, yet in the end he cryeth, down with them, down with them even to the ground. Gods manner is quite contrary, when he meaneth to exalt a man, he will first humble him, and make him low, Matth. 23. 12. Whosoever shall exalt him­self, shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself, shall be exalted. But the devils way is to lift them up to the Clouds, that he may bring them down to the lowest Pit of Destruction. Adam in conceit must be like God, that indeed he may be like the beasts that perish. Psal. 49. 20. Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.

[Page 70] 4. Observe, If thou be the son of God, cast thy self down. The temptation is quite contrary to what it was before: Then it was to preserve life by unlawful means, now to endanger life by the neglect of means law­ful; there to distrust Gods care of our pre­servation, when he hath set us about any task and work; here to presume on his care without warrant. The devil tempts us sometimes to pamper the flesh, sometimes to neglect it in such a way as is destructive to our service. Thus the devil hurrieth us from one extream to another, as the posses­sed man fell oft-times into the fire, and oft into the water, Matth. 17. 15. Those that are guided by Satan reel from one ex­tremity to another; either men slight sin, and make light of it, or sinners are apt to sorrow above measure, as the incestuous Corinthian, 2 Cor. 2. 17. Lest perhaps such an one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. And the Apostle sheweth there, that these were the enterprizes of Satan. Some men are careless of Gods interest in the World, or else heated into the activity of a bitter Zeal. Some are of a scrupulous Spirit, that they make Conscience of all things; and the devil hurrieth them into a large Atheistical Spirit, that they make con­science of nothing: How often have we [Page 71] known a fond scrupulosity to end in a pro­phane Licentiousness, when they have been wearyed out of that kind of frame of Spi­rit? Some are dead and heartless, like Gallio care for none of these things; fight Christ, fight Antichrist, 'tis all one to them; and usually they are such as formerly have been heated with a blind, and bold mad­ness: As Peter at first refused to have his feet washed by Christ, and then would have head, hands, feet and all washed, Ioh. 13. 8, 9. being out in both. What sad work is there made in the Church of God by Solifidians and Nullifidians: here­tofore 'twas all Faith and Free-Grace mis­applied and misunderstood; and now it is all Morality and Vertue, while Christ is neglected, and the mystery of the Gospel little set by or valued. It is ever the devils policy to work upon the humour of people: If they will reform the Church, it shall be to a degree of separation, and condemning all Churches and Christians that are not of their mode; if they be for uniting, Christs unquestionable interests must be trodden under foot, and all care of Truth and Re­formation must be laid aside. If he can de­stroy Religion and Godliness no otherway, he will be religious and godly himself; but it is either as to private Christians to set [Page 72] them upon overdoing, that he may make them weary of the service of Christ; or as to the publick, by crying up some unne­cessary things, which Christ never comman­ded. If men be troubled with sin, and see a necessity of the Gospel, and prize the comforts of it, the Gospel must be over­gospelled, or else it will not serve their turns; and that over-gospel must be carri­ed to such a length, as to destroy the very Gospel, and Free Grace it self. The devil first tempted the World to despise the poor Fishermen, that preached the Gospel; but the World being convinced by the power of the Holy Ghost, and gained to the Faith, then he sought by Riches and Grandeur to debase the Gospel; so that he hath got as much or more by the worldly glory he puts upon Christs Messengers, as by Persecution. Then when that is discovered, the devil will turn Reformer; and what Reformati­on is that? the very necessary support and maintainance of Ministers must be taken a­way. All over-doing in Gods work is un­doing. If Christ will trust, the devil will perswade him to trust, even to the degree of tempting God.

5. Observe, That the Devil himself may pretend Scripture to put a varnish upon his evil [Page 73] designs. For here he seeketh to foil Christ with his own weapons. Which serveth to prevent a double extream.

1. One is, not to be frighted with the mere noise and sound of Scriptures, which men bring to countenance their errors. See whether they be not wrested and misapply­ed; for the devil may quote Scripture, but he perverts the meaning of it. And usually it is so by his Instruments; as that Pope, who would prove a double power to be in himself, Temporal and Spiritual, by that Scripture, Ecce duo gladii! Behold, here are two Swords! Luk. 22. 38. It is easie to rehearse the words of Scripture, and there­fore not the bare words, but the meaning must be regarded.

2. The other extream is this, Let none vilifie the Scriptures, because pleaded by Sa­tan; for so he might as well vilifie Human Reason, which is pleaded for all the Errors in the World; or Law, because it is urged sometimes to justifie a bad Cause. For it is not Scripture, that is not a Nose of Wax, as Papists say. It is a great proof of the Au­thority and honour of Scriptures, that Sa­tan and his greatest Instruments do place their greatest hopes of prevailing by per­verting and misapplying of it.

[Page 74] 6. Observe, That God hath given his An­gels a special charge about his people, to keep them from harm. Here I shall show,

  • 1. That it is so.
  • 2. Why it is so.

First, That it is so, is evident by the Scripture, which every where shews us, that Angels are the first Instruments of his Providence, which he maketh use of in guarding his faithful servants, Heb. 1. 14. The Apostle saith, Are they not all [...], ministering spirits, sent forth to mi­nister to them, that shall be the heirs of salva­tion? Their work and employment is to at­tend us at Gods direction; not to be wor­shipped, and served by us by any devotion. They are ministring spirits, not ours, but Christs; he that serveth, hath a Master whom he serveth, and by whom he is sent forth: their work and employment is to at­tend us indeed, but at the command and direction of their own Master: they are not at our beck to go and come at our plea­sure, neither do they go and come at their inclination; but at the Commission of God: Their work is appointed by him, they serve us as their Masters Children, at [Page 75] his Command and Will; and whom do they serve? the heirs of salvation. They are described, Titus 3. 7. That being justified by grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal Life. They are not Ministers of conversion and sanctification; to this Ministry Christ hath called Men, not An­gels; but in preserving the converted the Angels have an hand. Therefore it is notable, they are sometimes called Gods Angels, Psal. 103. 21. Bless the Lord, all ye his hosts, ye ministers of his that do his pleasure. sometimes their Angels; Matth. 18. 10. Take heed, that ye despise not one of these little ones, for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do alwayes behold the face of my father, which is in heaven.

But whether every one hath an Angel-Guardian, is a curious Question. Some­times one Angel serveth many Persons, Psal. 34. 7. The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. And sometimes many Angels are about one person; 2 King. 6. 17. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots round about Elisha. And here in the Text quoted by satan, He shall give his angels charge con­cerning thee. There is not mention made [Page 76] of one, but many Angels, and the Angels in general are said to be ministring spirits. When souldiers are said to watch for a City, it is not meant that every Citizen hath a Souldier to watch for him.

The onely place, which seemeth to coun­tenance that Opinion, is Acts 12. 15. Then said they, it is his Angel. But if Peter had a peculiar Angel to guard him, and look after him then, when he was in great trou­ble, and detained in prison; it doth not follow that every person, and every where should have an Angel-Guardian. Besides an assertion in Scripture must be distinguish­ed from men introduced speaking in Scrip­ture; it sheweth indeed, that it was the O­pinion of the Iews at that time, which these holy men had imbibed and drunk in. Or it may be the word Angel is onely taken for a Messenger sent from Peter; why should an Angel stand knocking at the door, who could easily make his entrance? And is it credible that the Guardian Angels do take their shape and habit, whose Angels they are? It is enough for us to believe that all the Angels are our Guardians, who are sent to keep us, and preserve us, as it pleaseth God.

But what is their Ministry and Custody? It is not cura animarum, care and charge of [Page 77] Souls, that Christ taketh upon himself, and performeth it by his Spirit; but ministerium externi auxilii, to afford us outward help and relief: It is custodia corporis, they guard the bodily life chiefly. Thus we find them often employed. An Angel brought Elijah his food under the Juniper Tree, 1 King. 19. 5. An Angel stirred the waters at the Pool of Siloam, Ioh. 5. 4. An Angel was the guide of the way to Abraham's servant, Gen. 24. 7. He will send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence. Angels defend us against Enemies, Psal. 34. 7. The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and deliver­eth them. 2 King. 19. 35. The Angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand. An Angel opened the Prison doors to the Apostles, Acts 5. 19. and 12. 7.

But were not all these services extraordi­nary and Miraculous, which we may not now expect?

Answ. The visible Ministry was extraor­dinary, proper to those times; but the in­visible is perpetual and ordinary, as Abra­ham's servant did not see the Angel in the journey. The devil worketh in and about [Page 78] wicked men invisibly, so do the good Angels.

Secondly, Reasons, Why it is so.

1. To manifest the great Love and Care, which God hath over his people; therefore he giveth those blessed Spirits, which be­hold his face, charge concerning his people on Earth; as if a Nobleman were charged to look to a Beggar, by the Prince of both.

2. We understand the operation of finite Agents, better than infinite. God is so far out of the reach of our commerce, that we cannot understand the particularity of his Providence.

3. To counterwork the devil; evil An­gels are ready to hurt us, and therefore good Angels are ready to preserve us. Well might the devil be so well versed in this place, he hath often felt the effects of it, he knew it by experience, being so often en­counter'd by the good Angels in his endea­vors against the people of God.

4. To begin our acquaintance, which in Heaven shall be perfected, Heb. 12. 22. Ye are come to an innumerable company of An­gels.


1. To shew the happy state of Gods people. No Heirs of a Crown have such Guards as they have. Christ dwelleth in their hearts as in a Throne, Eph. 3. 17. That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith. The Holy Spirit guardeth them against all cares and fears, Phil. 4. 7. And the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Iesus Christ. And the good Angels are as a Wall and Camp about them, Psal. 34. 7. The Angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. Mat. 18. 10. Despise not one of these little ones, for verily I say unto you, that in heaven their an­gels do alwaies behold the face of my father, which is in heaven. If the Angels make an account of them, surely men should not de­spise them: Yea rather, God esteemeth so much of the meanest of these little ones, that the good Angels, who daily enjoy Gods glorious presence, are ministring spirits appointed to attend them. If the Lord and his Holy Angels set such a price on the meanest Christians, we should be loath to despise and offend them.

[Page 80] 2. It should breed some confidence and comfort in Christians in their sore straits and difficulties, when all visible help seemeth to be cut off. This invisible Ministry of the Angels is matter of Faith, 2 Kings 6. 16, 17. And he answered, Fear not; for they that be with us, are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open the young mans eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the young mans eyes, and he saw; and behold, the moun­tain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. These were no other, but the Angels of God, which were as an host to defend them. Open the eye of Faith, you may see God, and his holy Angels to secure you.

3. Take we heed how we carry our selves, because of this Honourable presence. In Congregations there should be no inde­cency, because of the Angels, 1 Cor. II. IC. In all our wayes let us take heed that we do not step out of Gods way. Do nothing that is unseemly and dishonest, they are spies upon us. And it is profitable for us, that they may give an account of us to God with joy, and not with grief.


MATTH. 4. 7.‘Iesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.’

HEre is Christs Answer to the second Temptation; where two things are Observable.

  • First, That Christ Answered.
  • Secondly, What he Answered.

First, That Christ Answered. Christ an­swered, the more to convince and con­found this old Deceiver, that he might not think that he was ignorant of his sleights, or that he fainted in the conflict; as also to instruct us, what to do in the renewed Assaults of the Devil, to keep up our re­sistance [Page 82] still, not letting go our sure hold, which are the Scriptures.

Secondly, What he Answered; It is writ­ten, &c. But would it not have been more satisfactory to have said, It is sufficiently manifest to me, that I am the Son of God, and cared for by him, and that it is not for the children of God to run upon Preci­pices?

I Answer. It is not for Humane Wisdom to interpose and prescribe to Christ, who was the Wisdom and Power of God. His Answer is most satisfactory for two Rea­sons;

  • 1. It striketh at the Throat of the Cause.
  • 2. It doth with advantage give us other in­structions.

1. Christ cutteth the throat of the Tempta­tion, by quoting a passage of Scripture out of Deut. 6. 16. Ye shall not tempt the Lord your God, as ye tempted him in Massah. If we must not tempt God, then it doth not become Christ to tempt his Fathers Provi­dence for a new proof of his Filiation and care over him. Therefore the devils temp­tation was neither good nor profitable, to put either his Sonship, or the care of Gods [Page 83] Providence to this Tryal: as if he had said, I shall not require any more signs to prove my Filiation, nor express any doubt of his Power and Goodness towards me, as the Israelites did, Exod. 17. 7. And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, be­cause of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us or not? To which story, this prohibition of tempting God, allud­eth.

2. He doth with advantage give us other Instructions; As

1. That we must not esteem the less of Scripture, though Satan and his Instru­ments abuse it; and that nothing is more profitable to dissolve doubts and objections raised from Scripture, than to compare one Scripture with another. For scripture is not opposite to scripture; there is a fair A­greement and Harmony between the truths therein compared; and one place doth not cross another, but clear and explain ano­ther. One place saith, he hath a great care of his People, and useth the Ministry of Angels for that end and purpose; but ano­ther place saith, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God; they must not seek out dan­gers, [Page 84] and forfeit their protection by unrea­sonable Presumption.

2. It teacheth us, that what the Scrip­ture speaketh to all, is to be esteemed as spoken to every singular Person, for they are included in their Universality. In Deuteronomy it is, ye shall not tempt the Lord your God; but Christ accommodateth it to his own purpose, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. He that is not to be tempt­ed by a multitude, is not to be tempted by any one. So Psal. 27. 8. When thou saidst, Seek ye my face, my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek. Gods words invite all, but David maketh Application to him­self.

3. Christ subjects himself to the Moral Law, and did apply the Precepts thereof to himself, no less than to us; and so is a Patern of Obedience to us, that we ought to direct and order all our Actions accord­ing to the Law and Word of God.

Doctrine. Tempting of God may be an usual, but yet it is a great and heinous sin. In speaking to this Point, I shall shew.

  • I. What this Tempting of God is.
  • II. The Heinousness of the Sin.

[Page 85] I. What is this Tempting of God. And here let me speak

  • 1. To the Object.
  • 2. To the Act.

First, The Object; The Lord thy God. To us Christians there is but one onely true God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Now sometimes we are said to tempt God, and sometimes Christ, and sometimes the Spirit of God.

1. In Scripture we are said to tempt God, as Psal. 95. 9. When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works. We tempt God either explicitely, or implicitely.

1. Explicitely, by plain and direct words, which tend to Gods dishonour; or a doubting of his Prescience, Power and Providence, if they have not all things gi­ven them according to their fancies and hu­mors. As Psal. 78. 18, 19. They tempted God in their hearts, by asking meat for their lusts. Yea they spake against God, and said, Can God provide a table in the wilderness? So Exod. 17. 7. Is the Lord in the midst of us, or no? They doubted whether Gods Presence were among them, when they had continually such pregnant proofs of it. The words may either bear this sense; Who knows that God is present? Or, Now see [Page 86] whether God be present, or takes any care of us, yea or no.

2. Implicitely, or by Interpretation, which is a more secret way of tempting God; when the Act speaketh it, whatever be the intention of the Doer. As those who were about to lay the burden of the Rites of Moses's Law, on the new converts of the Gentiles, Acts 15. 10. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the necks of the disciples, which neither our fathers, nor we were able to bear? That is, why do you not acquiesce in the Will of God, apparently manifested, as if ye did go about to try, whether God did require any thing of his servants, besides Faith in Christ? His Will was clearly evident in the case, by what happened to Cornelius: Or as if ye would try, whether God will take it well, that ye should impose upon his Disciples a yoke that he approveth not.

2. We are said to tempt Christ; and he may be considered, either as in the dayes of his Flesh; or in his state of glory, and with respect to his invisible presence.

1. In the dayes of his Flesh, he was frequently tempted by the Scribes and Pha­risees, who would not be satisfied in his Mis­sion, notwithstanding all the signs and won­ders, that he had wrought among them; [Page 87] or else sought to accuse, and disgrace him, and prejudice the people against him; so Matth. 16. 1. The Pharisees with the Sad­ducees came, and tempting him, desired him, that he would shew them a sign from heaven. So Matth. 22. 18. Why tempt ye me, ye hy­pocrites? When the Pharisees and the Hero­dians came to question him about paying Tribute. So Luk. 10. 25. A certain Law­yer stood up, and tempted him, &c.

2. In his state of Glory, and with re­spect to his invisible presence. So the Isra­elites in the Wilderness tempted him before his coming in the flesh; and Christians may now tempt him, after his Ascension into Heaven. Both are in one place, 1 Cor. 10. 9. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of ser­pents. What was their tempting of Christ in the Wilderness? If he be considered as God, he had a subsistence before he was in­carnate of the Virgin; and in this sense, as they tempted God, so they may be said al­so to tempt Christ; for all the affliction, shame and disgrace, done to that people, are called the Reproach of Christ; Heb. 11. 26, 27. Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the plea­sures of sin for a season. Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches, than the treasures of [Page 88] Egypt. So their murmuring might be cal­led a tempting of Christ. Christ was the perpetual Head of the Church, who in his own Person did lead the people, and was present in the midst of them under the no­tion of the Angel of the Covenant: The E­ternal Son of God guided them in the Wil­derness, Exod. 23. 20, 21, 22, 23. Behold, I will send an angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not: for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him. But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to thy enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries. For mine angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the land of the A­morites, &c. This Angel can be no other than Christ, whose office it is to keep us in the way, and to bring us into the place which Christ hath prepared for us; he it is that must be obeyed by the people of God, and pardon their transgressions; in him is Gods Name, for he will not communicate it to any other, that is not of the same sub­stance with himself: God is in him, and he in the Father, and his name is Iehovah our Righteousness. So Exod. 33. 14. My pre­sence shall go with thee, and I will give thee [Page 89] rest. My presence, that is, my Angel, spo­ken of before, called the angel of his presence. Isa. 63. 9. In all their affliction he was afflict­ed, and the angel of his presence saved them. This Angel is called Iehovah, Exod. 13. 21. And the Lord went before them, by day in a pillar of a cloud, &c. This Angel of Gods presence was no other than Jesus Christ, the conductor of them in the Wilderness, who safe-guarded them, and secured them all the way from Egypt to Canaan. And we Chri­stians may also tempt Christ, for the Apostle warneth us against it: We tempt Christ now he is ascended into Heaven, when we disobey his Lawes, question his Authority, doubt of his Promises, after sufficient means of conviction, that he is the Messias, the Son of God; grow weary of his Religion, lothing spiritual Manna, and begin to be glutted with the Gospel, and are discourag­ed in the way to our heavenly Canaan, whi­ther we are travelling.

3. The Holy Ghost is said also to be tempted, Acts 5. 9. How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the spirit of the Lord? Namely by their Hypocrisie and Dissimula­tion, putting it to the trial, whether he could discover them in their sin, yea or no; they had endeavoured, as much as in them lay, to deceive the Spirit, by keeping back part of [Page 90] the price; that is, by that practice they would put it to the trial, whether the Holy Ghost yea or no could find out that cheat and fallacy. It is not barely to deceive the Apostle, who was full of the Holy Ghost, and had a discerning spirit, though to them they brought their lye; no, saith the Apo­stle, ye have not lyed unto men, but unto God, Ver. 4. and therefore they are said to tempt the Holy Ghost, whether he could find them out or no: though they had so many expe­riences of his care and respect to the Church, and all affairs belonging thereunto, and so the injury was done, not to the Apostles, but to the Holy Ghost himself.

Secondly, The Act. What is this Temp­ting of God? Temptation is the proving and making Trial of a Thing or Person, what he is, and what he will do. Thus we tempt God, when we put it to the Trial, whether God will be as good as his Word, and doubt of the cominatory and promis­sory part thereof; or whether he will be such an one as he is taken to be. Now this is lawful or unlawful, according as the Trial is made humbly and dutifully; or else proudly and sinfully, whether God will do such a thing as we have prescribed him: And again, as the trial is made necessarily [Page 91] or unnecessarily; sinfully we are said to tempt God, when we make an unnecessary experiment of his Truth, Goodness, and Power and Care of us, having had suffici­ent assurance of these things before.

1. There is a tempting or proving of God in a way of Duty. So we are bidden, Malachi 3. 10. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now therewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the win­dowes of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. God there submitteth to a trial upon expe­rience; though we are to believe him upon his bare word, yet he will have us to wait for the good things promised; and in this sense it is said, The word of the Lord is a tried word, he is a buckler to all them, that trust in him, Psal. 18. 30. All those, that build any hope upon it, and wait to see what the Lord will do, will find, that God will stand to his Word. This is a constant duty to observe Gods Truth and Faithfulness. To suspend our belief till the event is distrust; but to wait, observing what God will do, as to the event, is an unquestionable Duty.

2. There is an allowed trying of God in some cases, I cannot say it is a Duty, be­cause [Page 92] it is only warrantable by Gods special indulgence and dispensation; and I cannot say it is a sin, because of Gods gracious condescension to his People, Iudges 6. 39. And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine an­ger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once; Let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece, let it be now dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew. The request was not of distrust and malice, but of infirmity and from a weak Faith; not out of Infidelity to tempt God, but out of Humility, being sensible of his own weak­ness, he desired this help, for the further confirmation of his Faith concerning his cal­ling to this work, as an Instrument autho­rized, and the issue and success of it; and also to assure others who followed him. To this head I refer Thomas his proof and trial, Ioh. 20. 25. Except I see in his hand the print of the nailes, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. Here was weakness in Thomas, to suspend his Faith upon such a condition, but an Apostle was to be [...], an Eye-witness of those things which were done, especially of his Resurrection; and therefore Christ meekly condescended to his request, ver. 27. Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands, and reach hither thy hand, [Page 93] and thrust it into my side, and be not faithless but believing. I put it among infirmities, he alloweth him his trial of sense, but with some rebuke. To this head may be refer­red that of Hezekiah, who when he was sick of a mortal disease, and the Lord had extraordinarily promised him on his mourn­ing, that he should be recovered again, he asks a sign for the confirmation of his Faith, and God grants it him, 2 Kings 20. 8, 9. And the instance of Ahaz, who when the Prophet bid him ask a sign, he said, Isa. 7. 12. I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord. He believed nothing of what the Prophet had spoke, and was resolved to go on in his way, but he pretended a reverend and religi­ous respect to God. This kind of tempting God is tolerable, being an act of condescen­sion in God to the weakness of his People.

3. There is a sinful Tempting of God, and this is done two ways.

1. Generally, every Transgression in a general sense is a tempting of God, Num. 14. 22. They have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice. Every eminent and notable provocation of theirs is called a tempting of God. Hereby they make trial of Gods Justice, whether he will execute vengeance upon them or no. Thus we tempt Christ, when we fall into [Page 94] any voluntary and known sin, we put it to the trial, what he will or can do, we en­ter into the Lists with God, provoke him to the Combate, 1 Cor. 10. 22. Do we pro­voke the Lord to jealousie? are we stronger than he? We try, whether God will be so severe as his threatning speaks him to be, as if we would make some experiment of his Anger, Justice and Power. This kind of tempting of God is compounded of Infide­lity and Presumption. There is Infidelity in it, when we dare sin against the clear light and checks of Conscience, and ven­ture upon his Threatnings: You cannot drive a dull Ass into the fire that is kindled before him, Prov. 1. 17. Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. And there is presumption in it, therefore these voluntary Acts of Rebellion are called pre­sumptuous sins, Psal. 19. 13. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins. Gross and scandalous sinners are described to be such as tempt God, Mal. 3. 15. And now we call the proud happy, yea they that work wickedness are set up; yea they that tempt God are even delivered. And Ananias and Sa­phira are said to tempt the Holy Ghost, Acts 5. 9. By open voluntary sins men dare God to his face; by secret sins we put it to the trial, whether God be an all-seeing [Page 95] God, and will discover this Hypocrisie: both conclude they shall do well enough, though they break his Lawes, and run wil­fully upon evil practices, forbidden by his Law.

2. More Particularly, we tempt God two wayes, in a way of Distrust or Pre­sumption. Both these arise from unbelief, though they seem to be contrary extreams; for though Presumption may seem to arise from an over-much-confidence, yet if it be narrowly searched into, we shall find that men presume upon unwarrantable courses, because they do not believe that God will do what is meet to be done in his own time, or in his own way. As for instance, had the Israelites believed that God in his own time, and in his own way, would have destroyed the Canaanites, they would not have presumed against an express charge to have gone against them, without the Ark, and without Moses, as they did Numb. 14. 40. to the end. They presumed to go up unto the Hill-top, and then they were discomfited. But Presumption in some be­ing most visible, in others distrust, therefore we make two kinds of them.

(1.) In a way of Distrust. And that is done several wayes, but all agree in this; not content with what God hath done al­ready [Page 96] to settle our Faith, we prescribe means of our own, and indent with him upon terms of our own making. So the Israelites, Exod. 17. 7. And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord, saying, Is the Lord a­mong us, or not? They had sufficient signs of Gods Presence, the pillar of a Cloud and Fire, that went before them by day and by night, but they would have signs of their own. So the Iews are said to tempt Christ, because they sought a sign from heaven, Matth. 16. 1. The Pharisees also, with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him, that he would shew them a sign from heaven. He had given sufficient evidence of his Mission and Divine Power, in casting out devils, and healing the sick and diseased; but they would have, a sign from heaven, some sign of their own prescribing. The Devil is ready to put such thoughts into our Minds. If God be with us, let him shew it by do­ing this or that; and we are apt to require stronger proofs of Gods power and pre­sence with us, than he alloweth. This is a frequent sin now a dayes, and men are many wayes guilty of it.

(1.) Some will not believe the Gospel, except they see a Miracle, or hear an Oracle. [Page 97] Christ representeth their thoughts, Luk. 16. 30. Nay, Father Abraham, if one went to them from the dead, then they would repent. They would have other wayes of assurance than God alloweth, and are not content with his Word and Works, by which he revealeth himself to us, but will at their own pleasure make trial of his Will and Power, and then believe. These tempt God, and therefore no wonder, if God will not do for them that which they require.

(2.) Some will not believe Gods Provi­dence, but make question of his Power and Goodness, and care over us, and our wel­fare, when he hath given us sufficient proof thereof. When he hath taken care to con­vince our infidelity, by supplying our wants, and hath done abundantly enough already for evidencing his Power, Justice and Truth, and readiness to help us; we will not believe unless he give us new, and extraordinary proof of each, such as we prescribe to him, Psal. 95. 9, 10. When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works. Forty years long was I grieved with this generation; and said, It is a people, that do err in their hearts, and they have not known my wayes. They saw his works, were fed with Miracles, and cloathed with Mira­cles, yet they must have new proof still. [Page 98] Two ways of Tempting him as to his pro­vidence the Scripture mentions.

1 One was their setting God a task of satisfying their conceits and carnal Affecti­ons, Psal. 78. 18. And they tempted God in their hearts, by asking meat for their lusts. Of this sin they are guilty that must be main­tained at such a rate, must have such pro­vision for them and theirs, or else they can­not believe his Truth and Care of them. As the Israelites, God must give them festi­val diet in the Wilderness, or else they will no longer believe his power, and serve him.

2 The other way of tempting God with respect to his Providence, was by confining him to their own Time, Manner and Means of working, Psal. 78. 41. Yea they turned back, and tempted God, and limited the holy One of Israel. To limit the Holy One is to confine him within a Circle of their own making, and if he doth not help them by their Means, and at their Time, as those in the Text, they will not tarry Gods leisure, they think there is no depending on him for any succour. Thus they set bounds to his Wisdom and Power, as if he could do no more, than they conceive to be proba­ble. Thus also we prescribe Means and Time to God, take upon us to set rules to him, how he should govern the World. [Page 99] And one usual way of tempting God now is, when we will not go fair and softly in the path and pace of Gods appointing, but are offended at the tediousness thereof, and make haste, and take more compendious wayes of our own, Isa. 28. 16. He that be­lieveth will not make hast; but he that be­lieveth not is precipitant, must have Gods Mercy, Power and Goodness manifested to them in their own way and time.

(3.) Some will not be satisfied as to their spiritual Estate without some sensible proof, or such kind of Assurance, as God usually vouchsafeth not to his people. As suppose they must be fed with spiritual dain­ties, and overflow with sensible consolation in every holy duty, or else they are filled with disquieting thoughts about their acceptance with God. We must have matters of Faith put under the view and feeling of sense, or else we will not take comfort in them. But we mustnot limit God to give proofs of his Love, nor pre­scribe such signs, as are not promised by him, but study our case in the Word. For God will not alwayes treat us by sensible expe­rience. Thomas is allowed to touch Christ, but Mary is not allowed to touch him, Ioh. 20. 17. compared with verse 27.

2. In a way of Presumption; so we tempt God, when without any warrant we [Page 100] presume of Gods Power and Providence. As here the devil tempted Christ to cast himself down from the pinacle of the Temple, to try if he would take the charge of him in the Fall; whereupon Christ replyeth, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Now this is done several ways.

1 When we presume upon Gods help, forsaking the ordinary way and means. Christ would not throw himself down, when he could go down by the stairs or steps of the Temple. Down stairs and over the bat­tlements is not all one. Christ that could walk upon the Sea in the distress of his Disciples, in ordinary cases taketh a Ship. Whosoever will not use the ordinary means, that God hath appointed, but in ordinary cases expects extraordinary supplies tempteth God. God is able to bring water out of the Rock, when there is nothing but Rock and Stone; but when we may hope to find spring-water, we must dig for it. God can rain Manna out of heaven; but when the Soil will bear Corn, we must Till it. When Elisha was in a little Village, not able to de­fend him from the Syrians, he had Chariots and Horsemen of Fire to defend him, 2 King. 6. 17. but when he was in Samaria, a strong walled town, and the King of Israel sent to fetch his head, he said to those [Page 101] that were with him, shut the door, ver. 32. Christ in the Wilderness miraculously fed many; but near the City he sent his disciples to buy bread, Ioh. 4. 8. When the Church of God had need of able helps at first, Gifts were miraculously conferred; but af­terwards every man to his study, 1 Tim. 4. 15. Meditate upon these things, give thy self wholly to them, that thy profiting may appear to all. In short, Gods Omnipotency is for that time discharged, when we have ordi­nary means to help our selves. To disdain ordinary means, and expect extraordinary, is as if a man should put off his cloathes, and then expect God should keep him from cold.

2 When we expect the End without the Means. If Hezekiah had refused the bunch of Figs, or Paul's companions to tarry in the Ship, they had tempted God. When we desire any blessing, we must not refuse, or neglect any good means for attaining of it. In spiritual things this is very usual; men hope to have the End without the Means. In temporal things we will soon confess there must be means used, for if any would not work, neither should he eat, 2 Thes. 3. 10. In warfare no victory is to be hoped for without fighting; only in spiritual matters we think to do well e­nough, [Page 102] though we never put to our endea­vors, to cry for knowledge, and to dig for it; this is a tempting of God, Prov. 2. 3, 4, 5. If thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her, as for hid treasures. Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. We dream of Heaven, when there is no Mortification, no exercising our selves un­to Godliness. A great many say as Balaam did, Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his, Numb. 23. 10. but they care not for living the life of the Righteous. If they can but charm them­selves into a secure presumption of Salva­tion, they never give diligence to make their Calling and Election sure. This com­eth from hardness of Heart, not strength of Faith. Many defer their Conversion to the last, and then think that in the twinkling of an eye they shall in a trice be in Heaven, with Elias in a Whirle-wind. It was a Prayer of Sir Thomas More, Domine, Deus, fac me in iis consequendis operam collocare, pro quibus obtinendis te orare soleo. Lord! make me to bestow pains in getting those things, for the obtaining of which I use to pray to thee. Otherwise we tempt God.

[Page 103] 3 When without Call we rush into any danger, or throw our selves into it, with an expectation God will fetch us off again. As if Christ, when no body went about to thrust him down, should wilfully have cast himself down. Whether the danger be certain, or inevitable, or very probable, we must not throw our selves on it; but when God calls us, then we may expect his help according to his promise, as to go into places or houses infected. In spiritual cases it is often done, men that by often experience have found such and such things to be occa­sions to them of sinning, yet presume to do the same again. These tempt God, ride in­to the Devils quarters, go into dangerous Places and Companies, where they are like to be corrupted; as Peter went into the High Priests Hall, and those that go to live in Popish Families. We pray, that we be not led into temptations, but when we lead our selves, what shall become of us? as we do, when we cast our selves upon Temptations, and dangerous occasions of sin.

4 When we undertake things, for which we are not fitted and prepared either ha­bitually or actually: As to speak largely without Meditation; when an unlearned man undertakes the handling a weighty Controversie, and a good cause wanteth [Page 104] shoulders, we tempt God. When we un­dertake things above bodily strength, all will condemn us; so to undertake things, that we have no ability to perform, is un­lawful. The sons of Sceva would take up­on them to Exorcise the Devil, and the man in whom the evil spirit was, leapt on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fied out of that house naked and wounded, Act. 19. 16.

5 Another sort of tempting God is, when we come to him with an Idol in our hearts, that is, when people are resolved of a thing, they will go, and ask counsel of God. In all matters we resolve on, we are to take Gods leave, and counsel and blessing; but they first resolve, and then ask Gods Counsel. And therefore God saith, Ezek. 14. 4. Every man of the house of Israel, that setteth up his Idols in his heart, and putteth the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the Prophet, I the Lord will answer him that cometh accord­ing to the multitude of his Idols. Balaam had a mind to the wages of unrighteousness, but yet he durst not go without God, and till God had permitted him, he would be ask­ing again and again, Numb. 22. 12. com­pared with the 20 and 22 Verses. God answered him in wrath according to the [Page 105] Idol of his Heart. Thus you see men tempt God, when either out of diffidence or pre­sumption they seek an experience of his Wisdom, Power, Justice, Truth, Good­ness against his Word and Command, and the order he hath established; as the Isra­elites, when means failed, murmured and prescribed Time, Means and Manner of de­liverance, as if they would subject God to their Lusts.

II. The Heinousness of the Sin.

1. Because it is a great Arrogancy, when we seek thus to subject the Lord to our Direction, Will, and Carnal Affections. Prescribing to God argueth too great an Ascribing to our selves. Certainly the Lord cannot endure that his People, who ought wholly to depend upon him, submit to him, and be ruled by him, should prescribe as they please, how and when he should help them; and that his Power and Goodness should lacquey upon, and be at the beck of our idle and wanton humors. The direction of the affairs of the world is one of the Flo­wers of Gods Crown. Now to dislike of his Holy Government is a presumptuous Arro­gancy in the creature; we will take upon us to model our mercies, and choose our means, and will not tarry the time that he hath ap­pointed [Page 106] for our relief, but will anticipate it, and shorten it according to our own Fan­cies. God is Soveraign, we are as clay in his hands, he is our Potter, and must pre­scribe the shape in which we must be form­ed, and the use we must be put to, Ier. 18. 6. O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as the potter, saith the Lord? Behold, as the clay is in the potters hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. He hath full right to dispose of the Creature, as he pleaseth, and according to the counsel of his own Will, to which we are to be subject with­out murmuring or repining. We cannot say to him, what makest thou? or why dost thou this? Isa. 45. 9. Wo unto him that striveth with his maker, let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth: shall the clay say to him, that fashioneth it, what makest thou? or thy work, he hath no hands. Temp­ting before the Event is the same almost with murmuring after the Event.

2. It is great Unbelief, or a calling into Question Gods Power, Mercy, and Good­ness to us. We should entirely depend upon God for Salvation, and whatsover is necessary to salvation, and that he will sup­ply our wants, and bring us out of every streight, in a way most conducing to our own welfare, and his Honour. But now [Page 107] we are not satisfied with the assurance God hath given us in those Lawes of Commerce, which are established between him and us; we must have extraordinary proofs, or else we question all. Tempting God seemeth rather to be opposed to the Fear and Reve­rence, that we should have of him; yet primarily, and in it self it is rather opposite to our Trust. And though we take it for a sin which argueth too much Trust, or an unwarrantable boldness in expecting un­usual wayes of help from God; yet gene­rally it belongeth to unbelief and diffidence, and ariseth from it. For therefore we put him to proof, tempt, or make trial of God, because we distrust his help, and are not satisfied with his Goodness and Power, till we have other Testimonies thereof, than are ordinarily dispensed. Therefore this Reason is given of their tempting God, be­cause they believed not God, and trusted not in his Salvation, Psal. 78. 22. They must have their own Salvation, their own way of supply or deliverance, or else they can­not trust God, if he doth not help them at their time, and by their means.

3. It looseneth the bonds of all Obedi­ence, because we set up new Laws of Com­merce between God and us. For when we suspect Gods Fidelity to us, unless he do [Page 108] such things as we fancy, we suspect our Fi­delity to him. Therefore disobedience is made the fruit of tempting God, Psal. 78. 56. Yea, they tempted and provoked the most high God, and kept not his testimonies. They that tempt God, cast away Gods Rule, and Gods terms of Obedience, and make others to themselves. The Question is, whether God shall direct us, or we him? We say, unless God will do thus and thus, we will no longer believe his power and serve him.

4. It is great ingratitude, or a lessening Gods benefits and works already done for us, Psal. 78. 20. Behold he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also? can he provide flesh for his people? As if what he had done formerly were nothing. Now God cannot endure to have his benefits lessened, or his former works forgotten and despised.

5. It is wantonness rather than want puts us upon Tempting of God. There is a Humour in men; we are very desirous to try Conclusions, condemning things com­mon, and are fond about strange Novelties. It was told the Israelites as plain as could be, that they should not reserve Manna till the morning, and they need not to have re­served it, they had fresh every day; yet [Page 109] they would needs keep it for experiments sake, to try whether it would stink or no, Exod. 16. 20. And though they were for­bidden to gather it on the Sabbath day, having on the evening before enough for two dayes, and it was told them they should find none on the Sabbath day, yet they must try. Where need is, there a man may commit himself to the Providence of God, and rely upon him; and where means fail us, God can help us by Prerogative, that we may say with Abraham, when we have no help present, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen, Gen. 22. 14. and with Moses, when the Red Sea was before them, and the Enemy was behind them, Fear ye not, stand still, and ye shall see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day, Exod. 14. 13. when Elias was in distress, the An­gel brought him meat, 1 King. 19. 5, 6. when Hagar and Ishmael was in the Wil­derness, and the bottle spent, then God comforted her from Heaven, Gen. 21. 17. when the three Children were in the fiery furnace, then God sent an Angel to be their Deliverer, Dan. 3. 28. But now in Wan­tonness to desire extraordinary proofs of Gods care over us, when he hath in ordi­nary wayes provided for us, is to tempt the Lord, Psal. 106. 14. They lusted exceed­ingly [Page 110] in the desert, and tempted God in the wilderness, when they had so many convi­ctions of Gods Power and Providence o­ver them, which should in reason have charmed them into a full and chearful resig­nation and dependance upon him, they remembring the Flesh-pots in Egypt, must have their luxuriant Appetites gratified; and because they had not that Festival plen­ty, which could not be expected in the Wilderness, they reproached Moses for having brought them out of Egypt, to dye in the Wilderness; and now God must show them a Miracle, not for the supply of their wants, but to pamper and feed their lusts, Psal. 78. 18, 19. And they tempted God in their heart, by asking meat for their lust. Yea they spake against God, they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? A Table must be prepared, he must give them Festival diet in the Wilderness.

6. It argues Impatiency, Psal. 106. 13, 14. They soon forgat his works, they waited not for his counsel. But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. The word signifies, they made haste, took it ill, they were not presently brought into that plenty, that was promised; Numb. 20. 5. Wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil [Page 111] place: it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates, neither is there any water to drink, which was the plenty that was promised in the land of Canaan. Thus they made hast, were impatient of staying Gods time of giving them this inheritance, and because they had it not presently, they wished themselves back again in Egypt. Tempting is because we cannot attend the performance of Gods promise in his own time. They went out passionately in the pursuit of their plenty, which they looked for, and assoon as they discovered any dif­ficulty, conclude they were betrayed, not waiting with patience Gods time, when he should accomplish his promises made to them.

7. The greatness of the sin is seen by the punishments of it. One is mentioned, 1 Cor. 10. 9. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. They were bitten of Serpents, because they tempted God, and murmured because of the length of the way, that they could not get presently into Canaan. And the Apostle tells us, that all the things, which hap­pened to Israel of old, happened to them [...], as patterns of Providence. A peo­ple might easily read their own doom, and destiny, if they would blow off the dust [Page 112] from the Ancient Providences of God, and observe what proofs and characters of his Justice, Wisdom and Truth are engraven there. The desert of sin is still the same, and the exactness of Divine Justice is still the same; and therefore what hath been is a pledge and document of what may be, if we fall into like Crimes. God is imparti­ally and immutably just, he is but one, Gal. 3. 20. God is one alwayes Consonant unto himself, and doth like unto himself; his Power is the same, so is his Justice. Even the historical part of the Word is a kind of Prophesie, not only a Register and Chroni­cle of what is past, but a kind of Calendar and Prognostication of what is to come. As other Histories in Scripture are left upon record for our Learning, so especially the History of Israel's passage through the Wil­derness unto Canaan.


Let us not tempt God in any of the kinds mentioned.

1. Not by requiring new grounds of Faith, when God hath given sufficient al­ready; not by cherishing Scepticisme and Irresolution in point of Religion, till new Nuncios come from Heaven, with a power [Page 113] to work Miracles, and to be endowed with extraordinary Gifts, as the seekers do. Ma­ny waver in Religion, would fain see an Apparition, and have some extraordinary satisfaction, which God would not give them upon every trifling occasion. The Pharisees must have a fign from Heaven: The Papists would have the Protestant Teachers shew their Commission by Mira­cles: The Iews would believe if Christ came down from the Cross. To suspend our Faith, till God give us our own terms, is to tempt God; and to disposses you of this conceit, consider

1. Signs and Wonders done in one Age and Time for the confirmation of the true Religion, should suffice all Ages and Times afterward; and it is a tempting God to ask more signs and wonders, for the confirma­tion of that Truth, which is sufficiently con­firmed already, if there be a good and safe Tradition of these things to us. The giv­ing of the Law was attended with thunder­ings and lightnings, and the sound of a ter­rible Trumpet, Exod. 19. by which means the Law was Authorized, and owned as proceeding from God: Now it was not needful this should be repeated in every Age, as long as a certain Report and Re­cords of it might convey it to their Ears. [Page 114] In the setting up a new Law, signs and wonders are necessary, to declare it to be of God; but when the Church is in the possession of it, these cease. So in the Christian Church, when the Gospel was first set on foot, it was then confirmed with signs and wonders, but now they are un­necessary. See the Law and Gospel com­pared, Heb. 2. 2, 3, 4. For if the word spo­ken by Angels was stedfast, and every trans­gression and disobedience received a just recom­pence of reward. How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation, which at the first be­gan to be spoken by the Lord, and was confir­med unto us by them that heard him, God also bearing them witness, both with signs and won­ders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the holy Ghost, according to his own will.

2. If you had lived in the Age of signs and wonders, there were hard hearts then, unbelievers then, and blasphemers then, and tempters of God then, Psal. 78. 22, 23, 24. Because they believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation: Though he had commanded the clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven: And had rained manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven, &c. to Ver. 32. For all this they sinned still, and believed not for his wondrous works. Extraordinary works will [Page 115] not work upon them, upon whom ordina­ry works will not prevail.

Object. But for them that have to do with the conversion of Indians, and remote parts of the World, is it a tempting of God to ask the gift of Miracles?

Answ. I cannot say so. God may be humbly sought unto about direction in the Gifts of Tongues, and Healing, being so necessary for the Instruments imployed, as well as the conviction of the Nations. I dare not determine any thing in the case, but I am satisfied with Acostus his Reasons, why Miracles are not afforded by God now, as well as in the primitive times. Then simple and unlearned men were sent to preach Christianity among the Nations, where many were armed and instructed a­gainst it with all kind of Learning and Phi­losophy: But now learned men are sent to the ignorant, and are superior to them in Reason, and in Civility and Authority; and besides present them a Religion far more credible than their own, that they cannot easily withstand the light of it.

2. Do not run into any wilful and known sin, as if you would try, how far the Pa­tience [Page 116] of God will go; nor abuse his fatherly goodness, by going on still in your Tres­passes. When a man will try the patience of God without any regard of his Threat­nings, or the instances of his Wrath, which are before his eyes, he puts it to the proof, whether God will punish him, yea or no. Remember you are no match for him, Isa. 45. 9. Wo unto him, that striveth with his maker; let the potsherds strive with the pot­sherds of the earth; As Abner said to Asahel, 2 Sam. 2. 21, 22. Turn thee aside to thy right hand, or to thy left, and lay thee hold on one of the young men, and take thee his Armour. But Asahel would not turn aside from follow­ing of him. And Abner said again to Asahel, Turn thee aside from following me, wherefore should I smite thee to the ground? So if you will needs be tempting and trying Conclu­sions, and making Experiments, let men meddle with their Match, those who are equal to themselves, not challenging one infinitely above them; let frail man cope with man, but let him take heed of med­ling with God, Ezek. 22. 14. Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong in the days that I shall deal with thee? Many foolish people say, as those in the Prophet, It is an evil, and I must bear it; endure it as well as I can. What, endure the loss of [Page 117] Heaven! endure the Wrath of the Al­mighty God! If Rachel could not endure the loss of her Children, nor Iacob the sup­posed loss of Ioseph, but sayes he, I will go down into the grave unto my son, mourning, Gen. 37. 35. If Achitophel could not en­dure the rejectment of his counsel, and Haman could not endure to be slighted by Mordecai, and many cannot endure the loss of a beloved Child; how wilt thou endure the loss of eternal Happiness! The Disciples wept bitterly when Paul said, ye shall see my face no more, Acts 20. 38. What will ye do then, when God shall say, ye shall see my face no more? Ah Wretch! how canst thou endure the Wrath of God! Thou canst not endure to be scorched a few dayes with feavorish Flames, thou canst not endure the acute pains of Stone and Gout, when God armeth the humours of thine own body against thee, thou canst not endure the scorching of a little Gun­powder casually blown up, thou canst not endure the pains of a broken Arm or Leg; and can you endure the Wrath of God, when God himself shall sall upon you with all his might?

3. When we are destitute and sorely di­stressed, let us wait upon God with pati­ence according to the tenour of his Pro­mises, [Page 118] and tarry his leisure, without pre­scribing Time and Means. God knoweth the fittest season, and delighteth oftentimes to shew our impatience, and try our Faith. Matth. 15. 28. O woman, great is thy faith. And that his help may not be ascribed to chance, or our industry; and that we may the more prize blessings, consider you cannot be more distressed than Christ was, who seem­ed abandoned to Satans power, distressed with sore hunger through his long fasting. The Devil was permitted to have power o­ver his body, to carry him to one of the Pina­cles of the Temple; and yet he discovered an invincible confidence and trust in God, that he would not step the least step out of Gods way for his preservation in so eminent a danger.

Now that you may not tempt God.

1. Let your heart be deeply possessed with apprehensions of the Goodness, Wis­dom and Power of God. The Scripture telleth us for his Goodness, Psal. 119. 68. Thou art good, and doest good: and again, Psal. 145. 9. The Lord is good to all. For his Wisdom, Isa. 28. 29. He is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working. His purposes are often hidden from us, but he [Page 119] doth all things well; God can do more for us than seemeth probable at the present. And therefore let us not tempt him by con­fining him to our Time, Means and Man­ner. He may love us, and yet delay our help, Ioh. 11. 5, 6. Iesus loved Lazarus, and yet ver. 6. When he heard that he was sick, he abode two dayes still in the same place where he was. Then for his Power and Sovereign Dominion, there is not a better argument for confidence, than the Preface and Con­clusion of the Lords Prayer. Whatsoever state you are reduced to, God is still to be trusted, who is Our Father, which is in Heaven, and whose is the kingdom, power and glory, 2 Tim. 1. 12. I know whom I have believed, and I am perswaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him, against that day. Whatsoever our straits be, he is a God still to be trusted.

2. Be firmly perswaded of Gods Care and Providence over his people, and so careth for you in particular. This is assur­ed to us by Promises, and by Experiences. By Promises, 1 Pet. 5. 7. Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you. Phil. 4. 6, 7. Be careful for nothing; but in eve­ry thing by prayer and supplication with thanks­giving, let your requests be made known unto [Page 120] God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Iesus Christ. By Experiences, Matth. 16. 8, 9. O ye of little faith, why reason ye among your selves, because ye have brought no bread? Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? Christ was angry with his Disciples, that they should be troubled about bread, since they had lately such experience of his po­wer, to provide bread at pleasure. Use the means God puts into your hands, and refer the success to him. You need not be anxious about any thing in this World.

3. Let all this produce in you an holy obstinacy of Trust and obedience, or an in­vincible confidence in God, and close adhe­rence to him, whatever your dangers, straits and extremities be; and this will guard your heart against all Tempting of God:

1. A resolute Trust and Dependance, Iob 13. 15. Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him. This is the Soul that is pre­pared to be true to God, and contentedly to bear whatever he sendeth.

2. A constant adherence to our duty. Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, Psal. 37. 34. Do not go one step out of God's way for all the good in the World. The [Page 121] greatest extremities are to be born rather than the least sin yielded to, Dan. 3. 17, 18. Our God whom we serve, is able to deli­ver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy Gods, nor worship the golden Image, which thou hast set up. Please God, and God will be alwayes with you, when you seem to be left destitute, Ioh. 8. 29. And he that sent me, is with me; the father hath not left me alone, for I do alwayes those things that please him.


MATTH. 4. 8, 9.

Again, the Devil taketh him into an exceeding high Mountain, and sheweth him all the Kingdoms of the World, and the Glory of them.

And saith unto him, all these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down, and wor­ship me.

THis is the third Temptation. In hand­ling it I shall use the former method, give you the History of the Temptation, and Observations thereupon.

In the History.

  • 1. The Introduction, verse 8.
  • 2. The temptation it self, with the grie­vousness of it, ver. 9.
  • 3. Christs Reply, ver. 10.

[Page 123] First, In the Introduction we have.

  • 1. The Place, the Devil taketh him un­to; an exceeding high Mountain.
  • 2. The Fact, he sheweth him all the King­doms of the World, and the Glory of them.

1. The Place chosen for the conflict, an exceeding high Mountain. For the Moun­tain the Scripture would not name it, and we need not anxiously inquire after it, whe­ther any near Iericho as some say, or as o­thers, some Mountain nigh Ierusalem: and possibly the highest above the rest was cho­sen by the tempter. The Pinnacle of the Tem­ple was not proper, because Ierusalem was sur­rounded with higher Mountains on all sides, Ps. 125. 2. As the Mountains are round about Ierusalem, &c. He chose an high Mountain, because of the fairer prospect, where the Horizon might be as spacious as was po­ssible, and the sight not hindred by any in­terposing object. God took Moses into Mount Pisgah, and showed him the Land of Canaan, Deut. 34. 1. The Devil who af­fecteth to do in evil, as God doth in what is good, taketh Christ into a Mountain. He leadeth us high, and promiseth us high things, that suiteth with his disposition; but it endeth in a downfal that suiteth with his condition. The close is still cast thy self down, or else as here, fall down and worship me. [Page 124] The Devils taking him up thither is to be explained the same way, with his taking him up to the pinnacle of the Temple.

2. The Fact, and sheweth him all the Kingdoms of the World, and the Glory of them. But how could the devil from one Mountain shew him all the Kingdoms of the World, when there is none so high, as that we can see the latitude of one King­dom, much less thorough all, partly tho­rough the unequal swellings of the Earth, and partly through the weakness of the eye, which cannot reach so far? The sight could go no further than the Horizon, and the other Hemisphere is not to be seen at all, that part which we see is much less then that part which we see not. Therefore how could he shew him all the Kingdoms of the World, and the Glory thereof? Answer, These words must not be taken rigorously; but that he shewed them. (1.) In Compen­dio. (2.) In Speculo. (3.) In Colloquio.

1. In Compendio, It may be understood of so many Kingdoms as could fall under the sight of a man looking round about him from some eminent place; as God is said to shew Moses all the Land of Canaan, when he did actually see only a part there­of. From that high Mountain, the devil gave him a view of all that was to be seen [Page 125] from thence; many Castles, Towns, and fruitful Fields might be seen as a sample of the rest. It is a Synechdochical Hyperbole, he that sheweth a part of a thing, and the chiefest part, may be said to shew the thing it self.

2. In Speculo, besides what he might reach by his sight; by way of representation and external visible species, he represented to Christ all the rest of the Kingdoms of the World, and the pomp and glory thereof as in a Map. For Satan can object to the eyes of men the species and images of divers things, and there is no absurdity to think, that this way he shewed his utmost art and cunning to represent the World to Christ in as splendid and inviting a manner as he could. If you ask therefore, why he car­ryed him to an high Mountain, he might have done this in a Valley, or any other place as well? I answer, it is true if the dis­covery had been only by representation, or if the devil could have deluded Christs fancy or imagination, so as to impress these species upon it so far, as that he should seem to see what he did not see, a Valley would have served turn as well as a Mountain: but this was done without it, and with it, shewing the glory of the World as in a Map [Page 126] and Picture, and therefore a convenient place is chosen.

3. In Colloquio, by discourse. The temp­tation might be helped on by the Devils pointing at the several quarters of the World, with words relating the glory thereof; what splendor and glory the Kings and Nations had which adored him, all which Christ should have if he would fall down and worship him. Now all this while Satan is but making way for his pur­pose, thinking Christ would be ravished with this glorious sight; possibly it was not a mere dumb shew, but the tempting objects were amply set forth by Satans speech.

Secondly, The temptation it self, where we may consider the Nature, and the grie­vousness of it.

1. The Nature of the temptation, where observe two things.

  • 1. An offer or a Promise, all these things will I give thee.
  • 2. A Postulation or demand, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

1. An Offer or Promise, all these things will I give thee. This is a vain boast of the tempter, who ascribeth to himself that [Page 127] which was proper to God, and promiseth to Christ those things, which were all his before. God had said, Psalm 2. 8. Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the Earth for thy possession; this the devil, who affecteth to be like God arrogateth un­to himself, as if he would make him the universal King of the World. In Luke it is chap. 4. 6. All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them; for that is delivered unto me, and to whomsoever I will, I give it. But you must not alwayes look for truth in the devils speeches: He is not Lord of the World to dispose of it at his own pleasure. And yet it is not to be supposed he would come with a downright untruth to the Son of God, if there were no pretence or var­nish for it. Therefore we must distinguish between the devils lye and the colour thereof.

1. Certain it is, that God doth govern all the affairs of this World, and doth put bounds and limits to Satans power, beyond which he cannot pass, and doth often hin­der his endeavours, and turn them to the quite contrary end and purpose; and if he doth not hinder them, yet he directeth them for good to his people. Therefore that power that Satan hath is not given but [Page 128] permitted; not absolute but limited. It is a lye, that Satan can give these things at plea­sure, see these Scriptures, Ps. 24. 1. The Earth is the Lords, and the fulness thereof; the World and they that dwell therein, Dan. 2. 21. He changeth the times and the seasons, he re­moveth Kings, and setteth up Kings, and verse 37. The God of Heaven hath given thee a Kingdom, Power, and Strength and Glory. All the alterations that are in the Earth are of the Lord; he pulleth down, and raiseth up, as seemeth good unto him. Therefore this power of disposing King­doms belongeth unto God.

2. That the Son of God is the right Heir of the World, Heb. 1. 2. Whom he hath ap­pointed Heir of all things. To whom the Nations are given, Psal. 2. 8. Ask of me, and I will give thee the Heathen for thine inhe­ritance, and the uttermost parts of the Earth for thy possession, Matth. 28. 18. All po­wer is given unto me in Heaven and in Earth. And therefore it was impudence in him to arrogate this power, and to promise these things to the Lord, which were his be­fore.

3. Though this was a lye, yet here is the colour of the lye. God permitteth that men [Page 129] sometimes by indirect means to become great in Honour and Dignity in this World; all which are done by the instinct of Satan, and his help: And evil men often succeed in their attempts, and from hence Satan is called the Prince of this World, Iohn 12. 31. Now shall the Prince of this World be cast out, Iohn 14. 30. The Prince of this World cometh, and hath nothing in me, Iohn 16. 11. Of Iudgment because the Prince of this World is judged. Yea Paul goeth high­er, and calleth him the God of this World, 2 Cor. 4. 4. In whom the God of this World hath blinded the minds of them, which believe not: but this is by usurpation not just right. And the devils are called Eph. 6. 12. The rulers of the darkness of this World, as the wicked consent to his Empire and evil sug­gestions. But all this implyeth but a limit­ted and restrained Kingdom; and the de­vils impudence and falshood lyeth in this, that he interprets Gods permission for a commission, his connivance for a convey­ance. Indeed there are two lyes in the de­vils offer; one assertory, as if the power and glory of the World were at his dispo­sal; the other promissory, as if he would invest Christ in the full and peaceable posses­sion thereof, whereas indeed he went about to divest and dispossess the Son of God of his [Page 130] right, or to tempt him to do a thing con­trary to his Kingdom; for he knew the abasement of Christ was the way to his glo­ry, the cause of mans happiness, and the ruine of the Kingdom of the devil, there­fore he seeketh to prevent this by these magnificent promises.

2. The Postulation or demand, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Here the de­vil appeareth in his own likeness. Before it was if thou be the Son of God, now it is, fall down and worship me. Before he appea­red as a Friend to advise him in his hun­ger; then as a Divine to instruct him how to discover himself as the Messiah; now as a plain usurper of Gods Worship. And he demands but one act of prostration such as was given to the Kings of the East, and the Jews in that manner did Worship God. Therefore this was the vilest and most blas­phemous suggestion which Satan could de­vise, that the Son of God should stoop to Gods Rebell. Here we see the devil not only importunate but impudent.

2. The grievousness of the temptation, that will appear in these considerations.

1. Because it was represented in a mat­ter grateful and pleasing. It was unnecessa­ry [Page 131] to turn stones into bread, dangerous to throw himself down from a pinnacle of the Temple; but it might seem sweet and grate­ful to behold the Kingdoms of the World, and the glory thereof; for surely the glory of the World is a bewitching object, and would much move a carnal heart: and therefore he produceth this tempting ob­ject, and sets it before Christ himself. Mark he shewed him the glory only, not the burdens, the labours, the cares, those storms of jealousie and envy, which those encoun­ter with who are at top. This way did he now chuse, wherewith to assault Christ. Had he really represented the World, with all the vexations attending it, the temptati­on had not been so great: but he sheweth the Kingdoms of the World, and the glory thereof; the bait, not the hook; he talk­eth highly of small things, commendeth what is pleasing, but hideth the bitter of these luscious sweets; he offereth Christ the glory of the Kingdoms of the World, but dissembleth the cares, the troubles, the dan­gers. Alass we see the best side of those that live in Courts, their gorgious apparel, their costly entertainments, their power and greatness; but their fears of being de­pressed by superiors, jusled by equals, un­dermined by inferiors, are hidden from us.

[Page 132] Therefore the temptation was dexterouf­ly managed by the devil, in that he shewed him the Kingdoms of the World and the glory thereof. Temptations of the right hand are more dangerous than those of the left hand.

2. He sheweth the bait, before he offer­eth the temptation, that the World might speak for him, before he spake for himself; and prepared the mind of Christ by this be­witching object before he cometh, either with his offer or demand: and then after­wards before he maketh his demand, he premiseth his offer, all these things will I give thee, the offer is made before the spiteful condition is mentioned. Observe the dif­ferent methods of Christ and Satan: Satan maketh shew of glory first, but Christ of the Cross: Satan offereth the benefit be­fore he seemeth to require the service, as here he doth first offer, and then ask; but fallaciously, for indeed he requireth a pre­sent Act, but only promiseth a future com­pensation, I will give thee all these things. Christs telleth us the worst at first, Matth. 16. 24. If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his Cross and follow me. The issue sheweth the fraud of the tempter, and the misery of those poor deluded souls, who hearken to him. On [Page 133] the contrary, the sincerity of our Lord, and the happyness of those that obey him will soon appear. The devil will have all pay­ed before he part with any thing, no Wor­ship, no Glory. But I am carryed too far, my purpose was only to shew his dexterity and cunning, how he sets a colour upon sin, before he mentions it, by glorious promi­ses, and the manifold pleasure and profit which comes by it.

3. He doth not seek to move him by na­ked Words, but by the sight of the thing it self. Objects move the senses, senses draw away the mind; nor are they the Porters of the soul, so much as the corrupters, Ps. 119. 37. Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity, and quicken thou me in thy way. If we let loose our senses without a guard, we soon contract a deadness of Heart. There is nothing so soon led away as the eye, it is the broaker between the Heart and the ob­ject; the eye gazeth and the heart lusteth; this is the window by which Satan hath crept in, and all manner of taint hath been conveyed into the soul. In the first sin, Eve was corrupted this way, Gen. 3. 6. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, &c. She took of the fruit thereof, and did eat. [Page 134] Gazing on the fruit with delight, her heart was insnared. We read of Potiphars Wife she cast her eyes on Ioseph, Gen. 39. 7. Achan Iosh. 7. 21. When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver and a wedge of gold of fifty she­kels weight, then I coveted them and took them. First he saw, then he coveted, then he took them, then he hid them, then Israel falls and he is attached by lot; so it is said of Sechem and Dinah, Gen. 34. 2. He saw her, and took her, and lay with her, and defiled her. So of Sampson, Iudges 16. 1. He went to Gaza, and saw there an Harlot, and went in unto her. David was ensnared by his eyes, 2 Sam. 11. 2. From the roof he saw a woman washing her self, and the woman was very beau­tiful to look upon. Naboths Vineyard was ever in Ahabs eye, as being near his Palace, therefore he is troubled, and falls sick for it, 1 King. 21. 1, 2. Now because so many have been betrayed by their senses, the de­vil taketh this way to tempt Christ, as knowing this is the next way to the heart.

4. He taketh him into an high Moun­tain, that he might look far and near, and see the more Provinces, Cities, and King­doms, to move him the more. The devil [Page 135] was sensible that small things were not to be offered to Christ, and therefore dresseth out the temptation in as glorious a manner as he can. The chapman of souls is grown thrifty of late, he doth not offer all the Kingdoms of the Earth, and the glory thereof, he knoweth that we will accept of less with thanks. The devil buyeth ma­ny at a very easie price, he needeth not carry them so high as the Mountain, they are contented with a little gain that is got by a fraudulent bargain in the shop: if we stand in our window, or at our doors, we meet with temptations enough to carry us away. He needeth not come with King­doms, or with the glory of all the World, thirty pence the price of a slave is enough to make Iudas betray his master, Matt. 26. 15. and the Prophet telleth us of some that will transgress for handfulls of Barley and pieces of Bread, Ezek. 13. 19. and those pretended Prophets too, making God the Author and maintainer of their lyes and de­ceits: and again of those that respect per­sons, whether Magistrates or Ministers, Prov. 28. 21. To have respect of persons is not good, for for a piece of bread will that man transgress: and another Prophet telleth us of those, that sell the poor for a pair of shooes, Amos 2. 6. and 8. 6. Those will take any price. [Page 136] And the Apostle saith of Esau, Heb. 12. 16. For one morsel of meat he sold his birth-right. So that the devil may abate a great deal of what he offered Christ: he need not say to such, you shall have all these things, nay hold you! you shall have this petty gain, that slight pleasure and carnal satisfaction. It is a wonder to consider what small things make up a temptation to many yea to most. The World is so corrupt, that they will vi­olate Conscience with a small hire. We are not tempted with great things, less will serve the turn. But the devil knew that small matters were no temptation to Christ, there­fore he carryeth him to the Mountain, that he might see the glory of all the earth, to make the temptation the more strong.

5. He sheweth him the Kingdoms of the World, [...], Luk. 4. 5. In a moment of time, that circumstance is not to be passed over. When many objects and glorious come together of a sudden, they do the more surprize us. Therefore the more to affect Christ with the splendor of these things, and on a sudden to prevail up­on him, which otherwise he was not likely to do, he did not represent the glory of these Kingdoms of the World to Christ, that he might see them one after another, [Page 137] but all together, that there might be less time for consideration, that so his mind might be the more blinded by the appear­ing splendor of the tempting object, and his heart the more captivated thereby. Di­verse things seen in one view do more sur­prize us, than if viewed by a leisurely con­templation: alass! We are sometimes over­born by the violence of a temptation, some­times overtaken by the suddenness of it, Gal. 6. 1. Brethren, if one be overtaken in a fault, [...], inconsiderately and sudden­ly surprized by a sin. We do many things preposterously and in haste, which we re­pent of by leisure. Thus the devil thought to surprize Christ, but he was aware of him.

6. In other temptations, the tempter doth only ask a thing to be done, but here he doth ask and promise things glorious, profitable and pleasing to carnal sense, and such as seem every way desirable. The offers of gain and glory are promised to the temptation.

7. He craveth but one thing, a very small thing, and this under the hope of the greatest advantage. One act of external adoration, easie to be performed, if Christ [Page 138] would but kneel to him, not as supream God, an inferiour adoration would have contented him; yeild but a little, do but fall down and worship, it shall be enough. As the Heathens of old said to the Christians, Do but touch the Censer. The commenda­tion of Gods servants was, that they had not bowed the knee to Baal, Rom. 11. 4. The devil knoweth, if he can get us to a little, he shall get us to more; and the least reverence is too much to such an impure Spirit.

Secondly, The Observations.

I. Observe from that, Again the Devil taketh him; That we must expect not only to be tempted, but to be often tempted. Satan hath both his wiles and darts, Eph. 6. 11, 16. He sometimes assaulteth us with the one, sometimes with the other. Therefore,

1. Be not secure, but watch, and stand upon your defence. It is a careless Soul, that can sleep in so great a danger. There is yet a malicious tempting Devil alive, who would sift you as wheat, Luk. 22. 31. and somewhat within you, which would be­tray you to him if you be not wary; and you may meet with such snares, as you have not yet met withal.

[Page 139] 2. Be not overmuch troubled and de­jected, if you be assaulted afresh. You must make your way to heaven almost eve­ry step by conflict and conquest. Remem­ber your baptismal vow, the obligation of which ceaseth not, till your life be ended, and then you shall be out of Gun-shot and Harmes-way. Therefore still follow the Captain of your Salvation, wherever he leadeth you. The more Trials, the more Glory.

3. Avoid rash Judgment and Censure, if the same happen to others. Pyrates do not use to set upon an empty Vessel. The best are most assaulted. God permitteth it for their Trial, and Satan hath the greatest spight at them.

II. Observe, That the more grievous temp­tations follow the lighter ones, and the last as­saults and trials are usually the greatest. This is so, if you respect either the dexterity and cunning of the Tempter, represented be­fore, or the foulness of the Temptation, viz. to Idolatry. The best of Gods Chil­dren may be tempted to the most execrable sins. Thus usually doth Satan reserve his worst assaults for the last, and his last temp­tation is commonly the sorest. Dying Beasts bite shrewdly: so Satan rageth most, when [Page 140] he hath but a short time. Therefore since our warfare is not over, let us prepare for the worst brunt, and the last efforts of Sa­tan. If God will crown us fighting, we have no cause to complain. Many of Gods servants, whom he could not draw to Worldliness, Sensuality, or Vain-glory in their Life-time, he will seek to inject blasphemous thoughts into their Minds at last. But though it be grievous, be not dis­mayed, your Conquest is sure and near.

III. Observe, The World and Worldly things are the bait and snare, which the Temp­ter offereth to Christ and his followers. As here when he would make his last onset upon Christ, he sets before him the King­doms of the world, and the glory of them, as the matter of the Temptation.

1. There are three Enemies of our Sal­vation, the Devil, the World, and the Flesh, they are reckoned up together, Eph. 2. 2, 3. Wherein in time past ye walked ac­cording to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedi­ence. Among whom also we all had our con­versation in times past, in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind. The Devil is the deceiver and grand [Page 141] Architect of all wickedness; the Flesh is the Principle that he worketh upon, or that rebelling faculty within us, that would be pleased before God; the World is the bait, by which the devil would deceive us, and steal away our hearts from God, for it suit­eth with our fleshly appetites and desires. More distinctly, that Satan is an enemy ap­peareth from his name, that signifieth an Adversary, and in many places of Scripture he is so called, as Matth. 13. 25. While men slept, the enemy came and sowed tares a­mong the wheat, compared with the 39th. verse, The enemy that sowed them is the De­vil; he is the great Enemy to God and Man, 1 Pet. 5. 8. Your adversary the Devil like a roaring Lyon walketh about, &c. The Flesh is an Enemy, yea our greatest Enemy, for it warreth against the soul, 1 Pet. 2. 11. Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war a­gainst the soul. If you indulge the Flesh, you are willing to lose your Souls. Yea it warreth against the Spirit, or better part, as contrary to it, Gal. 5. 17. For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh: Other things could do us no harm without our own flesh: We are tempted to Sin by Satan, encouraged to sin by the Example and Custom of the World, but enclined to Sin by our own Flesh. The [Page 142] World is an Enemy of our Salvation, as well as the Devil and the Flesh, all the o­ther Enemies get strength by it; by the bait of worldly things the devil pleaseth the flesh; we are in continual danger of being everlastingly undone by it. Whosoever is a Lover of the World is presumed to be a professed Enemy of God, Iam. 4. 4. Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God; whosoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. 1 Ioh. 2. 15. If any man love the world, the love of the father is not in him. It is an Enemy, because it keepeth us from God, who is our chief good, and the enjoyment of him among his bles­sed ones, which is our last end. There is a neglect of God, and heavenly things, where the world prevaileth.

2. The devil maketh use of the world to a double end.

1. To divert us from God and Hea­venly things, that our Time, and Care, and Thoughts may be wholly taken up a­bout things here below, Luk. 12. 19. Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years, take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. Phil. 3. 19, 20. They mind earthly things. But our conversation is in heaven. These are perfectly opposite. Some are of the world, and speak of the world, and wholly [Page 143] mind the world, and are governed by the spirit of this world; seldom look higher, or very coldly and slightly. Thus that which should be thought of in the first place, is scarce thought of at all. But re­member, he doth but offer you worldly things to deprive you of heavenly.

2. To draw us to some open sin for the worlds sake, as here he tempted Christ to Idolatry, and Demas to defection from the Faith, 2 Tim. 4. 10. Demas hath forsa­ken us, having loved this present world. O­thers to some carnal, fraudulent, oppres­sive course, whereby they are spotted by the World. The whore of Babylon pro­poundeth her Abominations in a golden cup, Rev. 17. 4. and the great motive here is, All this will I give thee. Though the Devil cometh not in Person to us with his offers, he doth by his Instruments, as Ba­lak when he sent to Balaam to curse the Israelites, he promised him great rewards, Numb. 22. 17. I will promote thee unto ve­ry great honour, and I will do whatsoever thou sayest unto me, Come therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people. So when he doth intice you by the motions of your own hearts to any thing that is unlawful, to falshood, deceit, or unjust gain, or to get and keep wealth by any base or unjust [Page 144] means, or doing something, that is base, and unworthy of your Religion.

3. I Observe, that Temptations from the world may prevail with us. Satan mak­eth use of a twofold Artifice. The one is to greaten the worldly Object, the other is to make us large promises of success, hap­piness, and contentment in our evil enter­prizes.

1. He useth this sleight here, he doth in the most inticing manner lay the world be­fore Christ as a splendid object, to greaten it in Christs Thoughts and apprehensions. Therefore when we begin to magnifie the Riches, Pomp and pleasures of the World, the devil is at our Elbow, and we are running into the snare. And therefore if we begin to say, happy is the people that is in such a case, it is time to correct our selves and say, yea happy is the people whose God is the Lord, Psal. 144. 15. Take heed the devil doth not gain this advantage over you, to make you follow the world with the greatest ear­nestness, and spiritual and heavenly things in a slight and overly manner. Esteem, desires, resolutions of worldly Greatness, though not upon base conditions, begin the Temptation. You think it is a fine thing to live in Pomp, and at ease, to swim in pleasures, and begin to resolve to make it [Page 145] your business. The devil hath you upon the hip, it is a hour of Temptation.

2. His next course is to make large offers and promises by his instruments, or your own thoughts, that though you neglect God and Heaven, and do engage in some sinful course, you shall do well in the world, and enjoy full satisfaction. There is a double evil in Satans Offers and Promises.

1. They are false, and fallacious. All these things will I give thee. Satan maketh fair offers of what he cannot perform: He pro­miseth many things, but doth only promise them: he offereth the Kingdomes of the world to Christ, but cannot make good his word; he sheweth them to Christ, but can­not give them. And this is the devils wont, to be liberal in promises, to fill the minds of those that hearken to him with vain hopes, as if he could transfer the Riches and Hon­ours of the world to whom he pleaseth, whereas they are shamefully disappointed, and find their ruine in the very things, in which they sought their Exaltation, and their projects are crossed, for the earth is the Lords, and the fulness thereof, 1 Cor. 11. 26.

2. All the devils offers, and promises have a spightful condition annexed. He pretendeth to give, but yet selleth at the dearest rates. It is but a barter and ex­change; [Page 146] a flat bargain, but no gift. He must have our souls, God is dishonoured, his Laws broken, his Spirit grieved. The devil staineth his grant with unjust cove­nants, and exacteth more than the thing is worth.

Two wayes then must we defeat the Temptation.

1. Not believing his Promises, that I must be beholding to sin to make me happy. Those that by unlawful means get up to honour and wealth, seem to have accepted the devils offer, they think he is Lord of the world, and all the Kingdoms and the Glory thereof. Do not look upon wealth as the devils gift, as a thing to be gotten by fraud, flattery, corruption, bribery: alas! it is put into bags with holes, Haggai 1. 6. It is called the deceitfulness of riches, Matth. 13. 22. They promise that contentment and happiness, which they cannot give. There is sure dependance on the Lord's, but none on Satans promises. Young men that are to begin the world, take up this resolution, take what God sendeth, but resolve never to take wealth out of Satans hands; what God sendeth in the fair way of his Provi­dence by his blessing on your lawful en­deavors, Prov. 10. 4. The hand of the di­ligent [Page 147] maketh rich. And Ver. 22. The bles­sing of the Lord it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it. When you deal righte­ously, and do not barely heap up treasure to your selves, but seek to grow rich to­wards God, to subordinate all to heaven, and a better pursuit: otherwise God can find a moth and a thief for your Estates.

2. The other way is, to consider, what a sad bargain you make by gratifying the devil, and hearkning to his Counsel. Matth. 16. 26. What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? A man never gets any thing with Satan, but he shall lose that which is more precious: he never maketh a proffer to our advantage, but to our loss and hurt. Fol­low the world as hard as you can, lie, cosen, cheat, and you shall be rich; put the case it is so, but I must lose my soul, not in a natural, but legal sense; Iob 27. 8. What is the hope of the hypocrite though he hath gain­ed, when God taketh away his soul? He hath far better things from us, then we have from him; a Birth-right for a mess of Pot­tage, the hopes of Heaven for an opulent condition here below. The Bird buys the Fowlers bait at a dear rate, when his life must go for it. Thy soul must be lost, [Page 148] which all the Gold and Silver in the world cannot redeem and recover.

4. I observe again, that Christ by his refusal hath taught us to tread the world under our feet, and all the glory of it should be an uneffectual and cold motive to a san­ctified soul. If we have the same Spirit that was in Christ, it will be so. All the King­doms of the World and the Glory of them was far too little to make up a Temptation to him. A mortified heart will contemn all this in comparison of our duty to God, and the comfort of a good Conscience, and the Hopes of Glory. Surely they have not the Spirit of Christ, who are taken with small things, with a Babylonish Garment, or some petty Temptation.


The Use is to teach us how to counter­work Satan.

1. Since he worketh upon the fleshly mind, we are to be mortified and grow dead to the world. We profess Faith in a Crucified Lord, we must be like him, Cru­cified as he was Crucified; then shall we glory in the Cross of Christ, when we feel the vertue of it, and are planted into the [Page 149] likeness of it, Gal. 6. 14. 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. Grow more dead to the Riches, Honour, Pomp, Plea­sure, the Favour, Fear, Love, Wrath, Praise and Dispraise of Men, that we may readily deny these things, so far as oppo­site to the Kingdom of Christ, or our duty to God, or as they lessen our Affections to him. We die as our esteem of those things doth decay; till the mans temper be alter­ed there is no hope to prevail by Argument: onely they that are made partakers of a di­vine Nature do escape the corruption that is in the world through Lust.

2. Since he worketh by Representation and Promise, you must be prepared against both.

1. As he worketh by Representation, or the fair shew and splendid Appearance of worldly things, you must check it.

(1.) By considering the little subsistance and reality that is in this fair appearance, 1 Cor. 7. 31. The fashion of this world passeth away, [...] It is but a draft, an empty Pa­geantry; so it is called, Psal. 39. 6. Avain shew; an Image, shadow, or dream, that vanisheth in a trice. So Prov. 23. 5. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? It [Page 150] was not a-while ago, and within a little while it will not be again, at least to us it will not be, we must shortly bid good night to all the World, 1 Pet. 1. 24. All flesh is grass, and the glory thereof as the flower of the grass. David saith Psal. 119. 86. I have seen an end of all perfection. It is good often to intermingle these serious thoughts of the frailty of all sublunary injoyments, to keep us modest in what we have, or desire to have, that we may not be blinded with the delusions of the Flesh, and inchanted with an admiration of worldly Felicity.

(2.) As the devil seeketh to open the eye of sense, so must we open the eye of Faith, 2 Cor. 4. 18. We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. Things unseen must be every day greatened in our Eyes, that all our pursuit after things seen may be subordinated to our desires of, and labour after things unseen. There we must see the greatest Reality, or else we have not the true Christian Faith, Heb. 11. 1. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen. It is such an evidence of the worth and reality of the unseen Glory, as draweth off the heart from things seen, which are so pleasing to the [Page 151] flesh; Faith sets it before the eye of the soul in the Promises of the Gospel, Heb. 6. 18. Who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us. Heb. 12. 2. Who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, &c.

2. As he dealeth with us by Promise. Every thing we hope to get by sin is a kind of promise or offer of the devil to us: As suppose by unconscionable dealing in our Calling. Here consider two things,

  • 1. The falsity of the Devils Promises.
  • 2. The truth and stability of Gods Pro­mises.

1. The falsity of Satans Promises. Ei­ther he giveth not what he promised, as he promised our first Parents to be as Gods, Gen. 3. 5. Ye shall be as Gods. And what ensued, Psal. 49. 12. Man that is in honour and understandeth not is like the beasts that perish, degraded to the Beasts, as the brutish and bestial nature prevailed in him when he fell from God. Or else, if we have them, we were better be without them; we have them with a Curse, with the loss of better things, Ier. 17. 13. Oh Lord! all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in [Page 152] the earth. They are condemned to this felicity, we have them with stings of Con­science, Matth. 27. 4, 5. I have sinned, in that I have betrayed innocent blood, and he cast down the pieces of silver in the Temple, and went and hanged himself; which are most quick and sensible when we come to dye, Ier. 17. 11. He that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his dayes, and at his end shall be a fool. Now rise up in Indignation against the Temptation, shall I fell my birthright? Lose my fatness to rule over the trees? As the olive Tree in Iotham's Parable, Iudges 9. 9.

2. The Sufficiency and Stability of Gods Promises.

(1.) Sufficiency: Gen. 17. 1. I am the almighty God, walk before me and be thou per­fect. 1 Tim. 4. 8. Godliness is profitable for all things, having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come: of hea­ven and of Earth, Mat. 6. 33. Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and the righteousness thereof, and all these things shall be added to you. It may be you have less than those that indulge themselves in all manner of shifts and wiles, but you shall have enough, not to be left wholly destitute, Heb. 13. 5. He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor for­sake [Page 153] thee. And you shall have it with con­tentment, Prov. 15. 6. In the house of the righteous is much treasure, but in the revenues of the wicked is trouble. And better is a little with righteousness then great revennes with sin, Prov. 16. 8. And you have it so as not to lose other things.

(2.) Stability, 2 Cor. 1. 20. All the pro­mises of God in him are yea, and in him A­men. And Heb. 6. 18. That by two immu­table things, in which it was impossible for God to lye, we might have strong consolation, &c. Psal. 119. 111. Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever; they are the rejoycing of my heart.

4. Observe [Fall down] The Pride of the Devil: he sinneth from the beginning, 1 Ioh. 3. 8. The sin of Pride was fatal to him at first, and the cause of those Chains of darkness in which now he is held: yet still he sinneth the same sin, he requireth Ado­ration, and would be admitted into a Part­nership of Divine Worship. He obtained it from Pagans and Idolaters, not from Christ. The Angel deprecates and detests it, Rev. 19. 10. And I fell at his feet, to worship him, and he said unto me, see thou do it not, for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren, that have the testimony of Iesus; worship thou [Page 154] God. So Rev. 22. 9. I fell down to worship before the face of the angel, that shewed me these things, and he said to me, see thou do it not, for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them that keep the sayings of this book; worship God. Paul when the Priests at Lycaonia were about to sacrifice to him, Acts 14. 14, 15. When the Apostles heard of it, they rent their clothes, and run in among the people, crying out, and saying, Sirs, why do you these things? we also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you, that ye should turn from these vani­ties unto the living God. But the evil Angels they are apt to invade the right of God.


MATTH. 4. 10.‘Then saith Iesus unto him, Get thee hence Sa­tan, for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him onely shalt thou serve.’

THirdly, Christ's Answer and Reply, which is double.

I. By way of Rebuke, Defiance, and bitter Reprehension. Get thee hence Satan.

II. By way of Confutation. For it is written, &c.

1. The Rebuke sheweth Christs Indig­nation against Idolatry, Get thee hence Sa­tan. This was not to be endured. Twice [Page 156] Christ useth this form of Speech, [...], to Satan tempting him to Idolatry here, and when his servant disswaded him from suf­fering, Mat. 16. 23. Get thee behind me satan, for thou art an offence to me, for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. This suggestion in­trenched or touched upon the Glory of God, the other upon his love to Mankind, and Christ could endure neither; Satan is commanded out of his Presence with Indig­nation. The same zeal we see in his ser­vants, in Moses in case of Idolatry, Exod. 32. 19. He brake the Tables: So in case of contradiction to the Faith of Christ, Paul taketh up Elimas, Acts 13. 10. O full of subtilty and all mischief! thou child of the de­vil! thou enemy of all righteousness! wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? Open Blasphemy must be abhorred, and needeth not onely a Confutation but a Re­buke. Besides, it was an impudent demand of Satan to require Adoration from him, to whom Adoration is due from every Crea­ture; to ask him to bow down before him, to whom every knee must bow: and there­fore a bold temptation must have a peremp­tory Answer. There is no mincing in such cases. It is no way contrary to that Leni­ty that was in Christ; and it teacheth us in [Page 157] such open cases of Blasphemy and down­right sin, not to parley with the Devil but to defie him.

2. By way of Confutation, for it is writ­ten thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Where observe,

1. Christ answereth to the main point, not to by matters. He doth not dispute the devils title, nor debate the reality of his promises; to do this would tacitly im­ply a likeing of the temptation. No but he disproveth the evil of the suggestion from this unclean and proud spirit: A better an­swer could not be given unto the tempter. So that herein we see the Wisdom of Christ; which teacheth us to pass by impertinent matters, and to speak expresly to the cause in hand in all our debates with Satan and his instruments.

2. He citeth Scripture, and thereby teacheth, that the Word of God laid up in the heart and used pertinently, will ward off the blows of every temptation. This weapon Christ used all along with success, and therefore it is well called, the Sword of the spirit, Eph. 6. 17. It is a sword and so a weapon both offensive and defensive, Heb. 4. 12. The Word of God is quick and powerful, sharper then any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul [Page 158] and spirit, and of the joynts and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts, and intents of the heart. And a sword of the spirit, because the spirit is the Author of it, 2 Pet. 1. 21. Holy men of God spake, as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, he formed and fashioned this weapon for us; and because its effica­cy dependeth on the spirit, who timously bringeth it to our remembrance, and doth enliven the word and maketh it effectual. Therefore it teacheth us to be much ac­quainted with the Lords written Word. The timely calling to mind of a word in Scripture is better than all other Arguments, a word forbidding or threatning such an evil, Psal. 119. 11. Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee: pressing the practice of such a duty, when we are slow of heart, Psal. 119. 50. Thy word hath quickned me: or a word speaking encouragement to the soul exercised with such a Cross, Heb. 12. 5. Ye have forgotten the exhortation, which speaketh unto you as un­to Children, my son! despise not thou the cha­stening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him, Psal. 119. 92. Unless thy Law had been my delight, I should then have perished in mine affliction, still it breaketh the strength of the temptation whatsoever it be.

[Page 159] 3. The words are cited out of the book of Deuteronomy. Indeed out of that book all Christs answers are taken, which shew­eth us the excellency of that book. It was of great esteem among the Jews, and it should be so among all Christians, and it will be so of all that read it attentively. The Church could not have wanted it.

4. The places out of which it is cited are two, Deut. 6. 13. Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and swear by his name. And again Deut. 10. 20. Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and to him shalt thou cleave. Christ according to the Septuagint, thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and him only shalt thou serve. [...] only which is emphatical, seemeth to be added to the Text, but it is necessarily implyed in the words of Moses; for his Scope was to bind the people to the fear and worship of one God. None was so wicked and pro­phane as to deny that God was to be fear­ed and worshipped; but many might think that either the Creatures, or the gods of the Gentiles might be taken into fellowship of this Reverence and Adoration, him is only him, [...], is exclusive, if [...], were left out. See the place, Deut. 6. 13, 14. Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name, ye shall not go [Page 160] after other gods, of the gods of the people, which are round about you. And in other places it is exprest, as 1 Sam. 7. 3. If you prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve him only. The devil excepts not against this Interpretation, as being fully convin­ced and silenced by it. And it is a known story, that this was the cause, why the Pa­gans would not admit the God of the Jews, as revealed in the Old Testament, or Christ as revealed in the New to be an object of Adoration, because he would be worship­ped alone, all other Deities excluded. The gods of the Heathens were good-fellow­gods, would admit partnership, as common Whores are less jealous then the marryed Wife: though their Lovers went to never so many besides themselves, yet to them it was all one, whensoever they returned to them and brought their Gifts and Offer­ings.

5. In this place quoted by our Saviour there is imployed a distinction of inward and outward Worship. Fear is for inward Wor­ship, serve is for outward Worship, and the Profession of the same. Fear in Moses is ex­pounded Worship by Christ; so Mat. 15. 9. compared with Isa. 29. 13. In vain do they Worship me, teaching for Doctrines the Com­mandments of Men, but in the Prophet it [Page 161] is their fear towards me is taught by the pre­cepts of men. He that worshippeth, feareth and reverenceth what he worshippeth; or else all his worship is but a complement and empty formality. So that the Fear of God is that reverence and estimation that we have of God, the serving of God is the ne­cessary effect and fruit of it; for service is an open Testimony of our reverence and worship. In this place you have worship and service, both which are due to God onely. But that you may perceive the force of our Saviours Argument, and also of this precept, I shall a little dilate on the word service, what the Scripture intendeth thereby. Satan saith, bow down and worship me: Christ saith, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him onely shalt thou serve. Un­der service, Prayer and Thanksgiving is comprehended, Isa. 44. 17. And the resi­due thereof he maketh a God, even his graven Image, and he falleth down unto it, and wor­shippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, de­liver me, for thou art my God. This is one of the external acts, whereby the Idolater sheweth the esteem of his heart, so Ier. 2. 27. saying to a stock, thou art my Father; and to a stone, thou hast brought me forth. So under serving sacrifice is comprehended, 2 Kings 17. 35. Ye shall not fear other gods [Page 162] nor bow your selves to them, nor serve them, nor sacrifice to them. Again burning of In­cense, Ier. 18. 15. My people have for­gotten me, they have burnt Incense to vanity. Preaching for them, Ier. 2. 8. The Pastors also have transgressed against me, and the Pro­phets prophesied by Baal. Asking counsel of them, Hos. 4. 12. My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them, for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err and they have gone a whoring from under their God. So building Temples, Altars, or other Monuments unto them, Hos. 8. 14. Israel hath forgotten his maker, and buildeth Temples, and 12. 11. Their Altars are as heaps in the furrows of the Fields. Erecting of Ministeries, or doing any ministerial work for their honour, Amos 5. 26. Ye have born the Tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your Images, the star of your God, which ye made to your selves. As God appointed the Levites to bear the Tabernacle, for Communion in the service of them, 1 Cor. 10. 18. Are not they that eat of the sacri­fices partakers of the Altar? ver. 21. Ye can­not drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils; ye cannot be partakers of the Lords Table, and of the Table of devils. So 2 Cor. 6. 16, 17. what agreement hath the Temple of God with Idols? In short, for it is end­less [Page 163] to reckon up all which the Scripture comprehendeth under service, and gestures of reverence; Exod. 20. 5. Thou shalt not bow down thy self to them, nor serve them: Bow­ing the knee; 1 Kings 19. 18. I have left me seven thousand in Israel, which have not bowed the knee to Baal. Kissing them, Hos. 13. 18. They kiss the Calves. Lifting up the eyes, Ezek. 2. 15. He hath not lift up his eyes to the Idols of the house of Israel. Stretch­ing out the hand, Psal. 44. 20. If we have stretched our hands to a strange God. So that you see all gestures of Reverence are for­bidden as terminated to Idols. Thus strict and jealous is God in his Law, that we might not bow down and worship the De­vil, or any thing that is set up by him.

Doctrine, That Religious service, and Religious Worship is due to God on­ly; and not to be given to Saint, or Angel or any Creature.

Thus Christ defeateth the devils tempta­tion, and thus should we be under the awe of Gods Authority, that we may not yield to the like temptation, when the greatest ad­vantages imaginable are offered to us. Here I shall shew

  • [Page 164]I. What is Worship and the Kinds of it.
  • II. I shall prove that Worship is due to God.
  • III. Not only Worship but service.
  • IV. That both are due to God alone.

1. What is Worship? In the general, it implyeth these three things, an act of the Judgment, apprehending an excellency in the object worshipped; an Act of the Will, or a readiness to yield it, sutably to the de­gree of excellency which we apprehend in it; and an external Act of the body, where­by it is expressed. This is the general na­ture of worship, common to all the sorts of it.

2. The Kinds of it. Now Worship is of two kinds; Civil and Religious. Religi­ous worship is a special duty due to God, and commanded in the first Table. Civil Honour and Worship is commanded in the second Table. They are expressed by God­liness and Righteousness, 1 Tim. 6. 11. and Godliness and Honesty, 1 Tim. 2. 2.

1. For Religious worship. There is a twofold Religious worship; one when we are right for the object, and do only wor­ship the true God; this is required in the [Page 165] first Commandment. The other when we are right for the means, when we worship the true God by such means as he hath ap­pointed, not by an Image, Idol or outward representation. Opposite to this there is an evil Idolatrous sinful worship, when that which is due to the Creator is given to any Creature: which is primary or secondary. Primary when the Image or Idol is accoun­ted God, or worshipped as such; as the sottish Heathens do. Or secondary, when the Images themselves are not worshipped, as having any Godhead properly in them­selves, but as they relate to represent, or are made use of in the Worship of him who is accounted God; we shall find this done by the wiser Heathens, worshipping their Images, not as Gods themselves, but as in­tending to worship their gods in these and by these: so also among some who would be called Christians. Thus the represent­ing the true God by Images is condemned, Deut. 4. 15, 16, 17. Take ye good heed unto your selves, for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spake unto you in Ho­reb, out of the midst of the fire, lest ye corrupt your selves, and make you a graven Image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female. Again sinful Worship is twofold, more gross of Idols, representing false gods, [Page 166] called worshipping of devils; or more sub­til, when worship is given to Saints or Ho­ly men, Acts 10. 25, 26. As Peter was com­ming in Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, stand up, I my self also am a man, Acts 14. 14, 15. Paul and Barnabas when they heard this, rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out and say­ing, Sirs! why do you these things we also are men of like Passions with you, &c. Or to An­gels Rev. 22. 8. When Iohn fell at the An­gels feet to worship him, he said, see thou do it not, for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the Prophets.

2. Civil Worship is when we give men and Angels due Reverence, and

1. With respect to their stations and re­lations, whatever their qualifications be, as to Magistrates, Ministers, Parents, great Men; We are to Reverence and Honour them according to their degree and quali­ty; according to the fifth Commandment, Honour thy Father and thy Mother, 1 Thess. 5. 13. and to esteem them very highly in Love for their works sake. Or,

2. A reverential worshipping or esteem­ing them for their qualifications of Wisdom and Holiness, Acts 2. 47. Good men had [Page 167] favour with all the people. Such respect liv­ing Saints get, such Angels may have, when they appear, Gen. 18. 2. Abraham bowed himself towards the ground, and Gen. 19. 1. Lot rose up to meet them, and bowed himself with his face towards the ground.

Now whether the worship be Civil or Religious, may be gathered by the circum­stances thereof; as if the Act, End or other circumstances be Religious, the action or worship it self must be so also. It is one thing to bow the knee in salutation, ano­ther thing to bow in Prayer before an Image.

II. That worship is due to God. These two notions live and dye together; that God is, and that he ought to be worshipped. It appeareth by our Saviours reasoning, Iohn 4. 24. God is a spirit and they that wor­ship him must worship him in spirit, and in Truth. He giveth directions about the man­ner of worship, but supposeth it, that he will be worshipped. When God had pro­claimed his name and manifested himself to Moses, Exod. 34. 8. Moses made hast, and bowed himself and worshipped. It is the crime charged upon the Gentiles, that when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, Rom. 1. 21. They knew a divine power, [Page 168] but did not give him a worship at lest com­petent to his nature. God pleadeth his right, Mal. 1. 6. If I be a Father where is mine honour? If I be a master where is my fear? And God who is the common Parent, and absolute Master of all must have both a Worship and Honour, in which Reverence and Fear is mixed with Love and Joy. So that if God be worship is certainly due to him. They that have no worship, are as if they had no God. The Psalmist proveth Atheism by that, Psal. 14. 1. The fool hath said in his heart there is no God, and ver. 4. They call not upon God. The acknowledge­ment of a King doth imply subjection to his Laws; so doth the acknowledgment of his God imply a necessity of worshipping him.

III. That both Worship and Service is due to God, him shalt thou worship, and him shalt thou serve. The worship of God is both Internal and External: The Internal consist­eth in that Love and Reverence, which we owe to him; the External in those offices and duties, by which our honour and re­spect to God is signified and expressed. Both are necessary, both believing with the heart, and confession with the Mouth; Rom. 10. 9, 10. If thou shalt confess with thy [Page 169] mouth the Lord Iesus, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man belie­veth unto Righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. The soul and life of our Worship and Godliness ly­eth in our Faith, Love, Reverence, and Delight in God above all other things: the visible expression of it is in Invocation, Thanksgiving, Prayers and Sacraments, and other Acts of outward Worship. Now it is not enough, that we own God with the Heart, but we must own him with the Body also: In the Heart, serve the Lord with fear, and rejoyce with trembling, Psal. 2. 11. Such as will become the Greatness and Goodness of God; with outward and bo­dily worship you must now own him, in all those prescribed duties in which these Af­fections are acted. The spirit must be in it, and the body also. There are two extreams, some confine all their respect to God to bo­dily worship, and external Forms, Mat. 16. 8. This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their hearts are far from me. They use the external Rites of worship; but their Affecti­ons are no way suited to the God whom they Worship. It is the Heart must be the principal and chief Agent in the business, [Page 170] without which it is but the carcass of a duty without the life and the soul. The other Extream is, that we are not called to an ex­ternal bodily worship under the Gospel; why did he then appoint the Ordinances of Preaching, Prayer, Singing of Psalmes, Baptisme, and the Lords Supper? God that made the whole man, body and soul, must be worshipped of the whole man. There­fore besides the inward Affections, there must be external Actions, whereby we ex­press our Respect and Reverence to God.

IV. That both these, Religious Worship and Service are due to God alone. I prove it by these Arguments.

1. Those things which are due to God as God, are due to him alone, and no Crea­ture without Sacriledge can claim any part and fellowship in that Worship and Ado­ration, neither can it be given to any Crea­ture without Idolatry: but now Religious worship and service is due to God as God, he is thy Lord, and worship thou him, Psal. 45. 11. Our worship and service is due to him, not onely for his supereminent Excel­lency; but because of our Creation, Pre­servation and Redemption. Therefore we must worship and serve him, and him one­ly; Isa. 42. 8. I am the Lord, that is my [Page 171] name, and my glory will I not give to another, nor my praise to graven Images. God chal­lengeth it as Jehovah, the great self-being, from whom we have received Life and Breath, and all things. This Glory God will not suffer to be given to another. And therefore the Apostle sheweth the wretched estate of the Galatians, Chap. 4. 8. When ye knew not God, ye did service to them, that by nature are no Gods; that is, they worship­ped for Gods those things, which really were no Gods. There is no kind of Religi­ous worship or service, under any name whatsoever, to be given to any Creature, but to God only; for what is due to the Creator as Creator, cannot be given to the Creature.

2. The nature of Religious worship is such, that it cannot be terminated on any Object, but God; for it is a profession of our Dependance and Subjection. Now whatever invisible Power this worship is tendered unto, must be Omniscient, Omni­present, Omnipotent. Omniscient who knowes the Thoughts, Cogitations, secret purposes of our heart, which God alone doth, 1 King. 8. 39. Give unto every one according to his ways, whose heart thou know­est; for thou, even thou onely knowest the [Page 172] hearts of all the children of Men. It is Gods Prerogative to know the inward motions and thoughts of the heart, whether they be sincere or no in their professions of depen­dance and subjection. So Omnipresent, that he may be ready at hand to help us and relieve us, Ier. 23. 23, 24. Am I a God at hand, and not a God afar of? can any hide himself in secret places, that I shall not see him? saith the Lord, do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord. The Palace of Heaven doth not so confine him and inclose him, but that he is present every where by his essential pre­sence, and powerful and efficacious Provi­dence. Besides Omnipotent, Psal. 57. 2. I will cry unto God most high, unto God who performeth all things for me. Alass! what a cold formality were prayer, if we should speak to those that know us not, and who are not near to help us, or have no suffici­ency of power to help us? Therefore these professions of dependance and subjection must be made to God alone.

3. To give Religious Worship to the Creatures, it is without command, with­out promise, and without Examples, and therefore without any Faith in the Wor­shipper, or acceptance of God. Where is there any command or direction, or ap­proved [Page 173] example of this in Scripture? God will accept onely what he commanded; and without a promise it will be unprofita­ble to us; and it is a superstitious Innovati­on of our own, to devise any Religious Worship, for which there is no example at all, whereby it may be recommended to us. Certainly no Action can be commend­ed to us as Godly, which is not prescribed of God, by whose Word and Institution every Action is sanctified, which otherwise would be common; and no Action can be profitable to us, which God hath not pro­mised to accept, or hath accepted from his people. But giving Religious worship to a Creature is of this Nature.

4. It is against the express command of God, the Threatning of Scripture, and the Examples recorded in the Word. Against express command of God, both the first, and second Commandments, the one re­specting the Object, the other the Means. That we must not serve other Gods, nor go after them, nor bow down unto them. It is against the Threatnings of the Word in all those places, where God is said to be a Iealous God. God is said to put on jealou­sie as a cloke, Isa. 59. 17. That is the upper and outmost Garment. He will be known, [Page 174] and plainly profess himself to be so. So Exod. 34. 14. The Lord, whose name is jea­lous, is a jealous God. Things are distin­guished from the same kind by their Names, as from different kinds by their Natures. Now from the [...], God will be di­stinguished by his Jealousie, that he will not endure any partners in his Worship. It is against Examples, Rev. 19. 10. and 22. 8. When I had heard, and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the Angel, which shewed me these things. And he said unto me, see thou do it not, &c. the Argument is, I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the say­ings of this book worship God.


1. To condemn those, who do not make conscience of the Worship of God. There are an irreligious sort of Men, that never call upon him, in publick, or in private; in the Family, or in the Closet; but wholly forget the God that made them, at whose expence they are maintained and kept. Wherefore had you reasonable Souls, but to praise, honour and glorifie your Creator? Surely if God be your God, that is, your [Page 175] Creator and Preserver, the duty will pre­sently fall upon you, thou shalt worship the Lord thy God. If you believe there is a God, why do not you call upon him? the neglect of his worship argueth doubting thoughts of his Being. For if there be such a supream Lord, to whom one day you must give an account, how dare you live without him in the World? all the Crea­tures glorifie him passively, but you have a heart and a tongue to glorifie him actually. Man is the mouth of the Creation, to return to God the praise of all that Wisdom, Good­ness and Power, which is seen in the things that are made. Now you should make one among the worshippers of God. An Hea­then could say, si essem luscinia, &c. Are you a Christian, and have such advantages to know more of God? And will you be dumb and tongue-tyed in his praises?

2, To condemn the Idolatry of the Pa­pists, Synesius said, that the Devil is, [...], that he rejoyceth in Idols. Here we see, what was the upshot of his Temptations, even to bring men to worship and bow down before something that is not God. Herein he was gratified by the Heathen Nations, and no less by the Papists; wit­ness [Page 176] their worshipping of Images, their In­vocation of the Virgin Mary, and other Saints, the adoring before the Bread in the Eucharist, &c. I know they have many E­vasions, but yet the stain of Idolatry sticketh so close to them, that all the water in the Sea will not wash them clean from it. This Text clearly stareth them in the face, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him one­ly shalt thou serve. Not Saints, not Angels, not Images, &c. They say Moses onely said, and Christ repeateth it from him, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, but not onely, so that the last clause is restrictive, not the first; but some worship may be given to the creature. Civil we grant but not Reli­gious, and Worship is the most important word. They distinguish of [...] and [...]; the devil demanded of Christ onely [...], fall down and worship me, not as the su­pream Author of all Gods Gifts, but as subordinate; all these things are delivered unto me; but then Christs words were not apposite to refute the Tempters Impudency. Besides, for the distinction of [...] & [...], the words are promiscuously used; so their distinction of Absolute and Relative Wor­ship, besides that they are groundless, they are unknown to the Vulgar, who promis­cuously [Page 177] give Worship to God, Saints, I­mages, Relicts. Some of the Learned of them have confessed this abuse and bewail­ed it; Espencaeus a Sorbonist, Are they well and godly brought up, who being chil­dren of an hundred year old, that is, an­cient Christians, do no less attribute to the Saints, and trust in them, than to God himself, and that God himself is harder to be pleased and intreated than they?’ So George Cassander; ‘This false pernitious Opinion is too well known to have pre­vailed among the Vulgar, while wicked men, persevering in their naughtiness, are perswaded, that only by the Intercession of the Saints, whom they have chosen to be their Patrons, and worship with cold and prophane Ceremonies, they have pardon and Grace prepared them with God; which pernicious Opinion, as much as was possible, hath been confirmed by them by lying Miracles: and other men, not so evil, have chosen certain Saints to be their Patrons and Helpers, have put more confidence in their Merits and Inter­cession, than in the Merits of Christ, and have substituted into his place the Saints & Virgin Mother. Ludovicus Vives; There are many Christians, which worship Saints both Men and Women, no otherwise than [Page 178] they worship God; and I cannot see any difference between the opinion they had of their Saints and that the Gentiles had of their Gods.’ Thus far he, and yet Rome will not be purged.

3. Use is to exhort us to worship and serve the Lord our God, and him onely.

1. Let us worship him. Worship hath its rise and foundation in the heart of the worshipper, and especially Religious wor­ship, which is given to the All-knowing God. Therefore there must we begin, we must have high thoughts, and an high e­steem of God. Worship in the Heart is most seen in two things, Love and Trust. Love, Deut. 6. 5. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. We worship God, when we give him such a Love as is superlative and transcendental, far above the love that we give to any other thing; that so our respect to other things may give way to our respect to God. The other Af­fection whereby we express our esteem of God is Trust; This is another Foundation of worship, Psal. 62. 8. Trust in the Lord at all times, pour out your hearts before him. Well then, inward Worship lyeth in these two things, delightful Adhaesion to God, and an intire dependance upon him. With­out [Page 179] this Worship of God we cannot keep up our service to him. Not without de­light, witness these Scriptures, Iob 27. 10. Will he delight himself in the almighty? will he alwayes call upon God? Isa. 43. 22. But thou hast not called upon me, O Iacob, but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel! They that love God and delight in him, cannot be long out of his Company, they will seek all occasions to meet with God; as Iona­than and David, whose souls were knit to each other. So for dependance and Trust, it keepeth up service, for they that will not trust God, cannot be long true to him; Heb. 3. 12. Take heed lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God. They that distrust Gods Promises, will not long hold out in Gods way; for dependance begets observance: when we look for all from him, we will often come to him, and take all out of his hands, and be careful how we offend him and displease him. What maketh the Chri­stian to be so sedulous and diligent in du­ties of worship? so awful and observant of God? his All cometh from God, both in life natural, and spiritual. In life natural, Psal. 145. 15, 16, 17, 18. The eyes of all things wait on thee, and thou givest them their food in due season. Thou openest thy hand, [Page 180] and satisfiest the desire of every living thing, &c. The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him, he will hear their cry, and will save them. The Lord preserveth all them that love him. Implying, That because their eyes are to him the Au­thor of all their blessings, therefore they call upon him and cry to him.

2. Serve him. That implyeth exter­nal Reverence and Worship. Now we are said to serve him, either with respect unto the duties which are more directly to be performed unto God, or with respect to our whole Conversation.

(1.) With respect unto the duties which are more directly to be performed unto God; such as the Word, Prayer, Praise, Thanksgiving, Sacraments. Surely these must be attended upon, because they are Acts of love to God, and Trust in God; and these holy Duties are the ways of God, wherein he hath promised to meet with his people, and hath appointed us to expect his Grace, and therefore they must not be neglected by us. Therefore serve him in these things, for Mar. 4. 24. With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you. It is a rule of commerce between us and God.

[Page 181] (2.) In your whole Conversation, Luk. 1. 74, 75. That we might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all the dayes of our life. A Christians conver­sation is a continual Act of Worship; he ever behaveth himself as before God, doing all things, whether they be directed to God or Men, out of love to God, and fear of God, and so turneth second Table duties into first Table duties. Pure religion, and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and the widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world, Iam. 1. 27. Eph. 5. 21. 22. Submitting your selves one to another in the fear of God. And next verse, Wives submit your selves, unto your own husbands as unto the Lord. So Alms are a Sacrifice, Heb. 13. 16. But to do good, and to communicate forget not; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

3. Worship and serve God so, as it may look like Worship and service performed to God, and due to God onely, because of his Nature and Attributes. His Nature, Iohn 4. 24. God is a spirit, and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth. When Hearts wander, and Affections do not answer Expressions, is this like worship and service done to an All seeing Spirit. His Attributes; Greatness, Goodness, Holiness.

[Page 182] (1.) His Greatness and glorious Ma­jesty, Heb. 12. 28. Let us serve him accepta­bly, with Reverence and godly Fear. Then is there a stamp of Gods Majesty on the duty.

(2.) His Goodness and Fatherly Love, Psal. 100. 2. Serve the Lord with gladness, and come before his presence with singing.

(3.) His Holiness, 2 Tim. 1. 3. I thank God whom I serve from my forefathers, with pure conscience. 2 Tim. 2. 22. With them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.


MATTH. 4. 11.‘Then the Devil leaveth him, and behold angels came, and ministred unto him.’

IN these words you have the Issue, and close of Christ's Temptations. The Issue is double.

  • I. In respect of the Adversary.
  • II. In respect of Christ himself.
  • I. In respect of the Adversary; then the devil leaveth him.
  • II. In respect of Christ himself, Behold, angels came and ministred unto him.

I shall consider in both, the History and the Observations.

First, The History of it, as it properly belongeth to Christ: And there,

[Page 184] 1. Of the first Branch, the Recess of Sa­tan, then the devil leaveth him.

1. It was necessary to be known, that Christ had power to chase away the devil at his pleasure; that as he was an instance of Temptations, so he might be to us a pat­tern of Victory and Conquest. If Satan had continued Tempting, this would have been obscured, which would have been an infringement of Comfort to us. The devil being overcome by Christ, he may be also overcome by us Christians, 1 Ioh. 5. 18. He that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and the wicked one toucheth him not. That is, he useth all care and diligence to keep himself pure, that the devil draw him not into the sin unto death, and those deliberate, scan­dalous sins which lead to it. Christ having overcome Satan in our name and nature, sheweth us the way, how to fight against him and overcome him.

2. Christ had a work to do in the Val­ley, and therefore was not alwayes to be detained by Temptations in the Wilderness. The Spirit that led him thither to be temp­ted, led him back again into Galilee to preach the Gospel, Luk. 4. 14. Iesus re­turned in the power of the spirit into Galilee. All things are timed and ordered by God, [Page 185] and he limiteth Satan how far and how long he shall tempt.

3. In Luke it is said, chap. 4. 13. He de­parted from him [...] for a season. He never tempted him again in this solemn way, hand to hand; but either abusing the sim­plicity of his own Disciple, Mat. 16. 22, 23. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee Lord, this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me Satan! thou art an offence unto me: Or else by his Instru­ments, laying plots to take away his life; as often, but especially in his passion, Luk. 22. 53. This is your hour, and the power of darkness. So Ioh. 14. 30. The prince of this world cometh and hath nothing in me. Satan shall joyn with the Iewes to destroy me, but they shall find nothing to lay to my charge; nor indeed have they power to do me any hurt, but that in Obedience to my Fathers Will I mean voluntarily to lay down my life for sinners. So he had a per­mitted power over him, and was the prime instrumental cause of his sufferings; set a­side his voluntary condescension to be a Ransom for sinners, satan had not any po­wer over him, or challenge against him. Well then, though he lost his Victory, he retained his Malice.

[Page 186] 2. The second Branch, the access of the good Angels; and behold the Angels came and ministred to him. There observe three things.

1. The Note of Attention, Behold! the Holy Ghost would excite our Minds, and have us mark this, the Angels are alwayes at hand to serve Christ, but now they come to him in some singular manner; some no­table appearance there was of them, proba­bly in a visible form and shape; and so they presented themselves before the Lord to minister to him, as the devil set himself before him to molest and vex him. As Christs humiliation and humane nature was to be manifested by the devils comming to him, and tempting Assaults; so the honour of his divine Nature by the Ministry of Angels, lest his temptations should seem to derogate from his Glory. When we read the story of his Temptations, how he was tempted in all parts like us, we might seem to take scandal, as if he were a mere man; there­fore his Humiliation is counter-ballanced with the special honour done to him; he was tempted as man, but as God ministred unto by Angels.

2. Why they came not before the devil was departed? I answer,

(1.) Partly to shew that Christ had [Page 187] no help but his own when he grapled with Satan. When the temptations were ended, then the good Angels came, least the Victo­ry should seem to be gotten by their help and assistance. They were admitted to the Triumph, but they were not admitted to the Fight: they were not spectators onely in the conflict (for the Battle was certainly fought before God and Angels) but part­ners in the Triumph: they went away to give place to the Combate, but they come visibly to congratulate the Conqueror, af­ter the battle fought, and the Victory got­ten. Our Lord would alone foil the de­vil, and when that was done, the Angels came and ministred unto him.

(2.) Partly to shew us, that the going of the one is the coming of the other. When the devil is gone, the Angels come. Cer­tainly it is true on the contrary, 1 Sam. 16. 14. The spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him: and it is true in this sense, if we entertain the Temptation, we banish the good An­gels from us: there is no place for the good Angels, till the Tempter be repulsed.

3. Why now? and to what end was this Ministry?

1. To put Honour on the Redeemer, who is the Head and Lord of the Angels, [Page 188] Eph. 1. 20, 21. He hath set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principalities and powers, &c. and gave him to be the head over all things to the church. So 1 Pet. 3. 22. Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God, angels and authorities, and powers being made subject to him. Christ not only as God, but as Me­diator hath all of them subject to him, Heb. 1. 6. and unto the son he saith, Let all the angels of God worship him. They as subjects and servants are bound to obey him. There­fore on all occasions they attend on Christ; at his Birth, Luk. 2. 13, 14. A multitude of the heavenly host praised God, saying, Glory be to God on high, on earth peace, good will towards men. Now in his Temptations, the Angels came and ministred unto him. At his Passion, Luk. 22. 43. There appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthning him: At his Resurrection, an angel rolled away the stone from the grave, and attested the truth of it, Matth. 28. 2. At his Ascension, the Angels declared the manner of his going to Heaven, and return to Judgment: Acts 1. 10, 11. So now they come to attend Christ, as Subjects on their Prince, to tender their service and homage to him, and receive his Commands.

2. For his Consolation, Inward and Outward.

[Page 189] (1.) Inward, as Messengers sent from God; and so their comming was a token of Gods special Love and Favour to him, and care over him. The Devil had men­tioned in one of his temptations, he shall give his angels charge over thee; this is a truth, and in due time to be verified; not at Satans Instance, but when God plea­sed. Therefore it was a comfort to Christ to have solemn Messengers sent from Hea­ven to applaud his Triumph.

(2.) Outward, they were sent to serve him, either to convey him back from the mountain, where Satan had set him; or to bring him food, as they did to Elijah, 1 King. 19. 5, 6. And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold then, an angel touched him, and said unto him, arise, and eat. And he looked, and behold there was a cake baken on the coales, and a cruse of water at his head, and he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. [...], the word here used, is often taken in that sense in the New Testament; Matth. 8. 15. She arose and ministred unto them, that is, served them at meat. So Matth. 25. 44. When saw we thee an hungred, &c. and did not minister unto thee. The name of Deacons is deriv­ed hence, as they served tables or provided meat for the poor, Acts 6. 2. So Luk. 10. 40. [Page 190] My sister hath left me, [...], to serve alone, meaning, to prepare provisions for the fa­mily: so Luk. 17. 8. Gird thy self and serve me, that is, at the Table: Again, Luk. 22. 27. Whether is greater, he that sits at meat, or he that serveth? or ministreth: So Ioh. 12. 2. They made a supper, and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those that sat at the table with him. Thus the Angels ministred unto Christ. This sort of Ministry agreeth with what was said of his Hunger, which was the occasion of Satans Temptations.

Secondly, The Observations. As Christ is a Patern of all those Providences, which are dispensed to the people of God.

Doct. I. That the dayes of Gods peoples Conflicts and Trials will not alwayes last.

There are alternative changes and vici­ssitudes in their condition upon Earth; sometimes they are vexed with the coming of the Tempter, and then incouraged and cheared by the presence of Angels: after stormes come dayes of Joy and Gladness; the devil departeth, and the angels came and ministred to him. So Psal. 34. 19. Many are the afflictions of the Righteous, but the [Page 191] Lord delivereth him out of them all. Here is their present conflict, and their final con­quest. Look on a Christian on his dark side, and there are Afflictions, and Afflicti­ons many for number and kind; look on his luminous part, and there is the Lord to take care of him, to deliver him, and the deliverance is compleat, the Lord delivereth him out of them all. God will put an end to their conflict sooner or later, sometimes visibly in this Life, or if he doth not deli­ver them till death, or from death, he will deliver them by death; then he delivereth them from all sin and misery at once, for death is theirs. The Reasons are these,

1. God considereth what will become Himself, his Pity, and Fidelity.

1. His own Pity and Mercy, Iames 5. 11. Ye have heard of the patience of Iob, and have seen the end of the Lord, that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. God will give an happy end to our Conflicts and Trials, as he did to Iob, that he may be known to be a God pitiful and merciful: Iob is set up as a publick visible Instance, and Monument of Gods tender Mercy. We must not measure our Afflictions by the smart, but the end of them; what the mer­ciful God will do at length: the beginning [Page 192] is from Satan, but the end from the Lord. If we look to the beginning, we draw an ill picture of God in our Minds, as if he were harsh, severe, and cruel to his Crea­tures, yea, to his best servants; but in the end we find him very tender of his people, and that sense hath made lies of God. At the very time when we think God hath forgot­ten us, he is ready to hear and to remove the trouble, Psal. 31. 22. I said in my hast, I am cut off, nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications. The Son of God was hungry, transported and carried to and fro by the Devil, from the pinacle of the Temple to an high Mountain, tempted by a blasphemous suggestion to fall down and worship the impure spirit; but at length the devil leaveth him, and the angels came and ministred to him.

2. His Fidelity, which will not permit him to suffer you to be tempted above mea­sure. We do not stand to the devils cour­tesie, to tempt us as long as he list, but are in the hands of the Faithful God, 1 Cor. 10. 13. There hath no temptation taken you, but what is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it, what a heap of consolations are there [Page 193] in that one place, as (1.) That temptations are but ordinary and to be looked for: there is no [...], but it is [...], incident to humane nature; it hath nothing extraor­dinary in it. If the Son of God in humane Nature was not exempted, why should we expect a priviledge apart to our selves, not common to others? (2.) That God's con­duct is gentle, he inflicteth nothing, and permitteth nothing to be inflicted upon you beyond measure, and above strength; but as Iacob drove as the little ones were able to bear, so God proportioneth Tryals to our strength. Before you have final deli­verance, you shall have present support. (3.) That he will together with the temp­tation give [...], a passage out, a way to escape. And all this is assured to us by his faithfulness; the conflict shall be tolerable, when it is at the highest, and the end com­fortable. God doth bridle the malice and hatred of Satan, and his instruments; he hath taken an obligation upon himself to do so, that he may omit no part of his care to­wards us. A good man will not overbur­then his Beast.

2. The Lord considereth also our frailty, both with respect to natural and spiritual strength.

[Page 194] 1. Natural strength. The Psalmist tel­leth us, that he will not alwayes chide and keep his anger for ever, Psalm 103. 9. Why? One Reason is, that he knoweth our frame, and remembreth we are dust, verse 14. He may express his just displeasure, and cor­rect us for our sins for a while; but he ta­keth off his punishing hand again, because he knoweth we are soon apt to faint and fail, being but a little enlivened dust, of a weak constitution, not able to endure long troubles and vexations. Iob pleadeth chap. 6. 12. Is my strength the strength of stones? or is my flesh of brass? We have not strength to subsist under perpetual troubles, but are soon broken and subdued by them.

2. With respect to spiritual strength, the best are subject to great infirmities, which oft betray us to sin, if our vexations be great and long, Psal. 125. 3. The rod of the wicked shall not rest on the lot of the righteous, lest the righteous put forth their hands to ini­quity. The oppressions of wicked men shall not be so lasting and durable, as that the temptations should be of too great force; this might shake the constancy of the best. He knoweth nothing in Divini­ty, that knoweth not that God worketh [Page 195] congruously, and attempereth his Provi­dence to our strength, and so will not only give an increase of internal Grace, but lessen and abate the outward temptation; that his external Government conduceth to the preservation of the Saints, as well as his internal, by supporting their spirits with more liberal aides of Grace. Therefore God will cause the temptation to cease, when it is overprossing. But all must be left to his Wisdom and holy methods.

3. With respect to the Devil and his in­struments, to whose malice he sets bounds, who otherwise would know no mea­sure.

(1.) For the devil see Rev. 2. 10. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer, be­hold! the devil shall cast some of you into pri­son, that you may be tryed, and ye shall have tribulation ten dayes. Mark how they are comforted against the persecution coming upon them; partly because the cause was clearly Gods, for all this trouble was by the instigation of the devil, making use of his instruments, Eph. 2. 2. he is called the Prince of the power of the Air, the spirit that worketh in the Children, of disobedience; partly because the persecution raised would [Page 196] not be universal, some of you, not all; and those not persecuted unto the death, but onely cast into prison; partly from the end, that they should be tryed, it was not penal or castigatory but probatory. The devil would destroy you, but God would suffer you only to be tryed, so that they should come forth like the three Children out of the furnace, without singing of their garments; or like Daniel out of the Lyons Den, without a scratch or maim; or as Christ here, the devil got not one jot of ground upon him; partly from the durati­on, ten dayes, that is in Prophetical ac­count ten years, reckoning each day for a year, Numb. 14. 34. It was not long the sad­dest afflictions will have an end. All which sheweth how God bridleth and moderat­eth the rage of Satan, and his evil influ­ence.

(2.) For his instruments God saith Zech. 1. 15. I am very sorely displeased with the Heathen that were at ease; for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction. The instruments of Gods cha­stisements lay on without mercy, and being of cruel minds, and destructive intenti­ons, which are heightned in them by Sa­tan, are severe executioners of Gods wrath; [Page 197] and if God did not restrain them by the in­visible chains of his Providence, we should never see good day more. Well then you see the reasons why the Children of God, though they have many troubles and con­flicts, yet they are not everlasting trou­bles.

Use of Instruction to the People of God. It teacheth them three Lessons, Comfort, Patience, Obedience.

1. Comfort and encouragement to them that are under a gloomy day, this will not alwayes last; he may try you for a while and you may be under great conflicts, and wants, and difficulties, as he tryed the Wo­man of Canaan with discouraging answers, but at last, Woman! great is thy Faith, be it unto thee even as thou wilt, Matth. 15. 28. He tryed his Disciples, when he meant to feed the multitude, Iohn 6. 5, 6. Whence shall we buy bread, that all these may eat? This he said to prove them, for he himself knew what he would do. A poor Believer is tryed Children increase, Trading grows dead in hard times, how shall so many mouths be filled? He promiseth Abraham a numerous posterity, but for a great while he goeth [Page 198] childless. He promiseth David a Kingdom yet for a while he is fain to shift for his Life, and skulk up and down in the Wil­derness. He intended to turn water in­to Wine, but first all the store must be spent. He meaneth to revive the hearts of his contrite ones, but for a while they lye under great doubts and fears, Moses his hand must be made leprous before it wrought miracles. Jesus loved Lazarus and meant to recover him, but he must be dead first. But I must not run too far! There will be tedious conflicts and tryals, but yet there is hope of deliverance; God is willing and God is able. He is willing, because he is sufficiently inclined to it by the grace and favour that he beareth his people, Psal. 149. 4. The Lord taketh pleasure in his people, he will beautifie the meek with salvation. The Lord loveth their persons, and he loveth their Prosperity and Happiness, Psal. 35. 27. He hath pleasure in the prosperity of his Servants. He is able either as to wisdom or power. Wisdom, 2 Pet. 2. 7. The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation. Many times we know not which way, but God knoweth, he is never at a loss. Then for his Power, power hath a twofold notion, of Authority, and Might. [Page 199] He hath Authority enough, the soveraign Dominion of God is a great prop to our Faith, all things in the World are at his disposal to use them for his own Glory, Psal. 44. 4. Command deliverances for Ia­cob; Angels, Devils, Men, the Hearts of the greatest men are all at his command. He hath might and strength, Dan. 3. 17. Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us, and what then can let?

2. Patience, we must be contented with the Son of God to tarry his leisure, and un­dergo our course of tryal; as Christ pati­ently continued till enough was done to in­struct the Church, Isaiah 28. 16. He that believeth will not make hast. The people of God miscarry in their hast, Psal. 31. 22. I said in my hast, I am cut off, but thou heard­est the voice of my supplication, Psalm 116. 11. I said in my hast all men are lyers, even Sa­muel and all the Prophets who had assured him of the Kingdom. It will come in the best time when it cometh in God's time; neither too soon, nor too late; it will come sooner then your Enemies would have it, sooner than second causes seem to promise, sooner than you deserve, soon enough to discover the Glory of God to you, Psal. 40. 1. I waited patiently for the Lord, and [Page 200] he enclined unto me, and heard my cry. God will not fail a waiting soul, his delay is no denyal, nor a sign of want of love to you, Iohn 11. 5. Iesus loved Lazarus, and yet verse 6. When he had heard that he was sick, he abode two dayes still in the same place where he was. It may come sooner than you ex­pect, Psal. 94. 18. When I said my foot slip­peth thy mercy, O Lord, held me up. David was apt to think all was gone, help would never come more to him, and in that very season God delivered him.

3. Obedience, the Son of God submitted to the Holy Spirit, while the impure Spi­rit tempted him. If you would look for a ceasing of the conflict, do as he did, carry it humbly, fruitfully, faithfully to God.

1. Humble carriage will become you under your conflicts, 1 Pet. 5. 6. Hum­ble your selves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. The stubborness of the Child maketh his correction double to what it otherwise would be. The more submissive you are, the more the cross hath its effect, whether you will or no, you must passively submit to God.

[Page 201] 2. Carry it fruitfully, otherwise you ob­struct the kindness of the Lord. He prov­eth us, that we may be fruitful, Iohn 15. 2. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit, he taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. The Rod hath done its work, when it maketh us more holy; then the comfor­table dayes come, Heb. 12. 11. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yield­eth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them, which are exercised thereby. Righte­ousness brings peace along with it, inward and outward. This maketh amends for the trouble. Then God beginneth to take it off.

3. Carry it faithfully to God, still oppo­sing sin and satan; for the more you give way to satan, the more you are troubled with him, and your misery is increased not lessened. But if you repel his temptations, he is discouraged, Eph. 4. 27. Neither give place to the Devil. The devil watcheth for a door to enter, and takes possession of your hearts, that he may exercise his former Ty­ranny. If he gaineth any ground he makes fearful havock in the soul, and weakneth [Page 202] not only our comfort but our Grace. There­fore imitate Christs resolution and resistance here. But this will deserve a point by it self. Therefore

II. Doctrine, When the Devil is tho­roughly and resolutely resisted he de­parteth.

As here, when the adversary was put to the foil he went his way. Therefore this is often pressed upon us in Scripture, Iames 4. 7. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. If you resist his suggestions to malice, envy, and strife, he is discouraged. So 1 Pet. 5. 9. Whom resist stedfast in the Faith. We must not fly nor yeild to him in the least, but stoutly and peremptorily resist him in all his temptations. If you stand your ground satan falleth. In this spiritual con­flict satan hath only weapons offensive, cun­ning wiles, and fiery darts, none defensive; a believer hath weapons both offensive and defensive, sword and shield, &c. therefore our safety lyeth in resisting.

About which is to be considered,

  • 1. What kind of Resistance this must be.
  • 2. Arguments to perswade and enforce it.
  • [Page 203] 3. What Graces enable us in this Re­sistance.

1. For the kind of Resistance.

1. It must not be faint and cold. Some kind of Resistance may be made by general and common Graces; the light of nature will rise up in defyance of many sins, espe­cially at first before men have sinned away natural light, or else the Resistance at least is in some cold way. But it must be earnest and vehement as against the enemy of God, and our Souls. Pauls Resistance in his con­flicts was with serious dislikes, and deep groans, Rom. 7. 19. The good that I would I do not, but the evil which I would not, that I do, and verse 24. Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death! In apparent cases a detestation, and vehement indignation is enough, get thee be­hind me Satan! In other cases there need strong Arguments and Considerations, that the temptation may not stick, when the tempter is gone; as the smutch remaineth of a candle stuck against a stone wall. When Eve speaketh faintly and coldly, the devil reneweth the assault with the more violence, Gen. 3. 3. Ye shall not eat of it, [Page 204] neither shall ye touch it, lest ye dye. As to the restraint she speaketh warmly, and with some impatiency of resentment, not eat, nor touch: in the Commination too coldly, lest ye dye, when God had said, ye shall sure­ly dye. A faint denial is a kind of grant: therefore slight Satans assaults with indig­nation. Though the dog barketh the Traveller passeth on. Satan cannot en­dure contempt. At other times argue for God stoutly; thy Soul and eternal con­cernments are in danger. No worldly concernment ought to go so near to us as that which concerneth our eternal good, and the Salvation of our souls. What would the devil have from thee but thy soul, and its pretious enjoyments, Peace of Conscience, Hope of Everlasting Life? What doth he bid? worldly vanities. As the Merchant putteth up his wares with in­dignation, when the chapman biddeth an unworthy price.

2. It must be a through resistance of all sin, take the little Foxes, dash Babylons brats against the stones. Lesser sticks set the great ones on fire. The devil cannot hope to prevail for great things presently: at first it is, hath God said? and then, ye [Page 205] shall not surely dye. The approaches of Sa­tan to the Soul are gradual, he asketh a little, it is no great matter. Consider the evil of a temptation is better kept out than gotten out. Many think to stop after they have yielded a little; but when the stone at the top of an Hill begins to role down­ward, it is hard to stay it, and you cannot say, how far you shall go. I'le yeild but once saith a deceived heart; i'le yield but a little, and never yield again. The devil will carry thee further and further, till he hath not left any tenderness in thy Consci­ence. Some that thought to venture but a shilling, by the witchery of Gaming have played away all: so some have sinned away all principles of Conscience.

3. It must not be for a while but con­tinued; not only to stand out against the first assault, but a long siege. What Satan cannot gain by Argument, he seeketh to gain by importunity; but resist him stedfast in the Faith: as his instrument spake to Io­seph, day by day, Gen. 39. 10. Our thoughts by time are more reconciled to evil. Now we must keep up our zeal to the last. To yield at last is to lose the Glory of the con­flict. [Page 206] Therefore rate away the importu­nate futor, as Christ doth.

II. Arguments to perswade it.

1. Because he cannot overcome you without your own consent. The wicked are taken captive by him at his will and plea­sure, 2 Tim. 2. 26. because they yeild themselves to his temptations, like the young man, Prov. 7. 22. He goeth after her straightway, as an Ox goeth to the slaugh­ter, and as a fool to the correction of the stocks. There is a Consent or at least there is not a powerful Dissent. Satan's power lyeth not in a constraining efficacy, but perswasive allurement.

2. The sweetness of victory will recom­pence the trouble of Resistance, it is much more pleasing to deny a temptation, than to yield to it; the pleasure of sin is short­lived, but the pleasure of self-denyal is Eternal.

3. Grace the more it is tryed and exer­cised, the more it is evidenced to be right and sincere, Rom. 5. 3, 4, 5. Knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience [Page 207] experience, and experience hope, and hope maketh not ashamed, because the Love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost, which is given to us. It is a comfortable thing to know that we are of the Truth, and to be able to assure our hearts before God.

4. Grace is strengthned when it hath stood out against a Tryal. As a Tree sha­ken with fierce Winds is more fruitful, its Roots being loosned. Satan is a loser and you a gainer by temptations, wherein you have approved your fidelity to God: as a man holdeth a stick the faster when another seeketh to wrest it out of his hands.

5. The more we resist Satan the greater will our reward be 2 Tim. 4. 7, 8. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the Faith, henceforth there is laid up for me a Crown of Righteousness. The danger of the battle will encrease the joy of the victory; as the dangers of the way make home the sweeter. There will a time come, when he that is now a Souldier will be a Conqueror, Rom. 16. 20. The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.

[Page 208] 6. Where Satan gets possession, after he seemeth to be cast out, he returneth with the more violence and tyrannizeth the more, Matth. 12. 45. Then goeth he and taketh with himself, seven other spirits more wicked then himself, and they enter in, and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

7. The Lords Grace is promised to him that resisteth. God keepeth us from the evil one, but it is by our watchfulness and resistance; his power maketh it effectual. We are to strive against sin and keep our selves, and God keepeth us by making our keeping effectual.

III. What are the Graces, that enable us in this Resistance? I Answer, the three fundamental Graces, Faith, Hope, and Love, so the spiritual Armour is represent­ed, 1 Thess. 5. 8. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breast-plate of Faith and Love, and for an helmet the hope of Salvation.

1. A strong Faith, 1 Pet. 5. 9. Whom resist, stedfast in the Faith. This is in the general a sound belief of Eternity, or a deep [Page 209] sense of the World to come. When we believe the Gospel with an assent so strong, as constantly to adhere to the duties pre­scribed, and to venture all upon the hopes offered therein.

2. A fervent love arising out of the sense of our obligations to God, that we do with all readiness of mind set our selves to do his will, levelling and directing our actions to his glory. Love is strong as death, and ma­ny waters cannot quench love, neither can the flouds drown it, Cant. 8. 6, 7. This love will neither be bribed, nor frightned from Christ.

3. A lively Hope, that doth so long and wait for glory to come, that present things do not greatly move us; either delights, 1 Pet. 1. 8. Whom having not seen ye love, in whom though now ye see him not, yet be­lieving ye rejoyce with joy unspeakable and full of glory; or the terrors of sense, Rom. 8. 18. For I reckon that the sufferings of this life are not worthy to be compared with the Glory that shall be revealed in us.

III. Doctrine, That those that come out of eminent conflicts are usually delivered by God in a glorious manner.

Christ was a pattern of this, The devil leaveth him, and behold! Angels came and ministred unto him. When God delivered his people after a long captivity, he deli­vered them with glory, and some kind of triumph, when he turned the Egyptian Cap­tivity, they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver and jewels of gold and raiment. And the Lord gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required; and they spoiled the Egyptians, Exod, 12. 35, 36. So in the Babylonian Captivity, Cyrus chargeth his subjects in the place where the Jews re­main, to furnish them with all things ne­cessary for their journey, Ezek. 1. 4. And whosoever remaineth in any place, where he so­journeth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, besides the free-will-offering for the house of God, that is in Ierusalem. So in a private instance, Iob 42. 10, 11. And the Lord turned the captivity of Iob, when he prayed for his Friends: also the [Page 211] Lord gave Iob twice as much as he had be­fore. Then came there unto him all his bre­thren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house, and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him; every man also gave him a piece of mony, and every one an ear-ring of gold. It is said the Lord turned the captivity of Iob, because he had been delivered to Satans power, till the Lord set him at Liberty again, and then all his Friends had compassion on him, even those that had despised him before releived him. So Isaiah 61. 7. For your shame you shall have double, and for confusion they shall rejoyce in their portion; therefore in their Land they shall possess the double, Ever­lasting joy shall be unto them. They should have large and eminent Honour, double honour for their shame, such a reparation would God make them for all the troubles and dammages they had sustained. So in an ordinary Providence God raiseth up comforters to his servants, after all the inju­ries done them by satan's instruments. And so also in spirituals the grief and trouble that cometh by Temptation is recompensed with more abundant consolation after the [Page 212] conquest and victory; and God delight­eth to put special marks of favour upon his people, that have been faithful in an hour of Tryal. Now God doth this,

1. To shew the World the advantage of Godliness, and close adhering to him in an hour of temptation, Psalm 119. 56. This I had because I kept thy precepts. And Psalm 58. 11. So that a man shall say, verily there is a reward for the righteous, verily he is a God that judgeth in the Earth.

2. To check our diffidence and murmur­ings under trouble. Within a while and Gods Children will see, they have no cause to quarrel with God, or repent that they were in trouble. For sometimes God giveth not only a comfortable but a glorious issue. There is nothing lost by waiting on Provi­dence, though we abide the blows of Sa­tan for a while, yet abide them; God is it may be preparing the greater mercy for you, Isaiah 25. 9. And it shall be said in that day, lo! this is our God, we have wait­ed for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord, we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoyce in his salvation. Afflicti­ons are sharp in their season, but the end is glorious.


Do not always reckon upon temporal felicity, refer that to God, but do as Jesus who in his sharp tryals, Heb. 12, 2, 3. For the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the Throne of God. There is a sure Crown of Life, Iames 1. 12. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation, for when he is tryed, he shall receive the Crown of Life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. That is enough to content a Christian, the eternal reward is sure. In this World he shall receive with persecution an hundred fold, but in the World to come Eternal Life, Mark 10. 29, 30. There is no man that hath left house or brethren or sisters, or Father, or Mother, or Wife, or Children, or Lands for my sake and the Go­spels, but he shall receive an hundred fold now in this time, Houses, and Brethren and Sisters, and Mothers, and Children, and Lands with Persecutions, and in the World to come Eternal Life.

IV. Doctrine, That God maketh use of the Ministery of Angels in supporting and comforting his afflicted servants.

He did so to Christ, he doth so to the people of Christ. Partly for the defence and comfort of the Godly, Ps. 34. 7. The An­gel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them, Heb. 1. 14. Are they not all ministring spirits, sent forth to minister to them, who shall be the heirs of Salvation. Their Ministry is now invisible but yet certain. And partly also for the terror of their Enemies. When David had said, The Lord hath chosen the hill of Sion to dwell in, Psalm 68. 16. he adds verse 17. The Chariots of God are twen­ty thousand, even thousands of Angels, im­plying, that no Kingdom in the World hath such defence, and such potent and nume­rous Armies as the Church hath, and the Kingdom of Christ; God hath fixed his residence there, and the Angels serve him, and attend upon him, and he will be no less terrible to his foes in Sion, that op­pose the Gospel, than he shewed himself in Sinai, when he gave the Law. Where the King is there his attendants are; so [Page 215] where Christ is the Courtiers of Heaven take up their station. Now Christ is with his Church to the end of the World; there­fore these thousands of Angels are there ready to be employed by him. Now we may be sure of this Ministry.

1. They delight in the Preaching of the Gospel, and the explication of the myste­ries of Godliness, 1 Pet. 1. 12. Which things the Angels desire to look into, Eph. 3. 10. To the end that now unto the principali­ties and powers in heavenly places, might be known by the Church the manifold Wisdom of God.

2. They delight in the Holy Conversa­tion of the Godly; as they are offended with all impurity, filthyness, and ungodli­ness. If good men be offended at the sins of the wicked, as Lots righteous soul was vexed from day to day with their ungodly deeds, 2 Pet. 2. 8. much more are these holy spirits, especially when all things are irregularly carryed in the worship of God, 1 Cor. 11. 10. For this cause ought the wo­man to have power on her head, because of the Angels, 1 Tim. 5. 21. I charge thee before God and the Lord Iesus Christ, and the [Page 216] Elect Angels, that thou observe these things, without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.

3. They fight against the devil and de­fend the godly in their extream dangers. When the devil cometh into the Church of God, like a Wolf into the flock, they op­pose and resist him. Therefore there is said to be War in Heaven, that is in the Church between Michael and his Angels, and the devil and his Angels, Rev. 12. 7. And there was war in heaven, Michael and his An­gels fought against the dragon, and the dragon fought and his Angels. In the highest hea­ven there is no War. In short the Angels and Believers, make one Church, under one Head, Christ; and at length shall both live together in the same place.

Why doth God make use of the Ministry of Angels? and how far?

1. To manifest unto them the greatness, and glory of his work in the recovering Mankind, that their delight in the Love and Wisdom of God may be increased. All holy Creatures delight in any manifestation of God, the Angels more especially, 1 Pet. [Page 217] 1. 12. Which things the angels desire to look into. And Eph. 3. 11. To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in hea­venly places may be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God. Though they themselves be not the parties interested, the spectators not the guests; yet they are de­lighted in the glory of God, and are kindly affectionated to the salvation of lost men; and that they may have a nearer view of this mistery God gratifieth them by send­ing them often to attend upon the dispen­sation of the Gospel, and to assist in it so far, as is meet for Creatures. They are present in our Assemblies; see 1 Cor. 11. 10. 1 Tim. 5. 21. they see who is negligent in his office, who hindreth the preaching of the Gospel; they observe what is the suc­cess of it, and when it obtaineth its effect; Luk. 15. 7. There shall be joy in heaven over one sinner that repeteth. They are hereby more excited to praise and glorifie God, and are careful to vouchsafe their attendance about the meanest that believe in him, Psal. 91. 11, 12. He shall give his angels charge o­ver thee, to keep thee in all thy wayes. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

[Page 218] 2. To maintain a society and communi­on between all the parts of the family of God. When God gathered together the things in Heaven and in Earth, he brought all into subjection and dependance upon one common head, Jesus Christ; Eph. 1. 10. That in the dispensation of the fulness of times, he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in him. Men by Adopti­on, Angels by Transition are taken into the family of Christ. Now there is some inter­course between the several parts thereof; our goodness extendeth not to them, but is confined to the Saints on earth, in whom should be our delight, yet their help may be useful to us, they being such excellent and glorious Creatures; But we are forbid­den to invoke them, or trust in them. God doth imploy them in the Affairs of his peo­ple. Their help is not the fruit of our trust in them, but their obedience to God; and it is seen in frustrating the endeavors of Satan and his Instruments, and other ser­vices wherein Christ employeth them. God shewed this to Iacob in the Vision of the Ladder, which stood upon Earth, and the top reached to heaven, a figure of the Pro­vidence of God, especially in and about the [Page 219] Gospel, Ioh. 1. 51. Hereafter you shall see the heaven open, and the angels of God ascend­ing and descending upon the son of man. To carry on the work of the Gospel, and to promote the glory and interest of Christs Kingdom in the World. Thus far in the general we may be confident of.

3. To preserve his people from many dangers and casualties, which fall not with­in the foresight of man, God imployeth the watchers, as they are called in the book of Daniel, chap. 4. 13, 17. for he is tender of his people, and doth all things by proper means. Now the Angels having a larger foresight than we, they are appointed to be Guardians. This they do according to Gods pleasure, preventing many dangers, which we could by no means foresee. They observe the devil in all his walkes, and God useth them to prevent his sudden surprizals of his people, as Instances are many.

4. Because they are witnesses of the O­bedience and Fidelity of Christs disciples, and so far as God permitteth, they cannot but assist them in their conflicts. Thus Paul, 1 Cor. 4. 9. We are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels and to men. [Page 220] Now the Angels, that are witnesses to their combates and sufferings, cannot but make report to God, Mat. 18. 10. Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones, for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my father, which is in hea­ven. The Angels which are appointed by God to be their Guardians have their con­tinual recourses and returns to Gods glori­ous presence. Now being so high in Gods favour, and having continual access to make their requests and complaints known to him, they will not be silent in the behalf of their fellow-servants, that either the tri­al may be lessened, or grace sufficient may be given to them.

5. They do not only keep off hurt, but there are many blessings and benefits, that we are partakers of by their ministry. As the Angel of the Lord delivered Peter out of Prison, Acts 12. 7. And behold the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison; and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly; and his chains fell off from his hands, &c. but he doth not give thanks to the Angel, but to God, ver. 11. Now I know of a sure­ty that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath [Page 221] delivered me, &c. He directeth it to God, not to the creature. The Angels do us many favours, all the thanks we do them is, that we do not offend them by our sins a­gainst God, other gratitude, they expect not.

6. Their last office is at Death and Judg­ment. In death to convey our souls to Christ, Luk. 16. 22. And it came to pass, that the beggar dyed, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom, that so we may enjoy our rest in heaven. In the last day they will gather the bodies of Christs Re­deemed ones from all parts of the World, after they have been resolved into dust, and mingled with the dust of other men, that every Saint may have his own body again, wherein he hath obeyed and glorified God. Matth. 24. 31. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. That is, from all parts and quarters of the World, that their Souls may return to their old be­loved habitations, and then both in body and in soul they may be for ever with the Lord.


Now this is a great comfort to the Church and People of God, when the Powers and Principalities on earth are employed against them, to consider, what Powers and Prin­cipalities attend upon Christ. We serve such a Master, as hath authority over the holy Angels, to employ them at his plea­sure, and in their darkest condition his people feel the benefit of it. As the Angel of the Lord appeared to Paul in a dread­ful storm, Acts 27. 23, 24. There stood by me this night the angel of the Lord, whose I am, and whom I serve; saying, Fear not Paul, &c. So to Christ in his Agonies, Luk. 22. 43. There appeared an angel to him from heaven strengthning him. So against Satan, the good Angels are ready to comfort us, as the evil Angels are ready to trouble and tempt us. Let us then look to God, at whose direction they are sent to help and comfort us.

Doct. V. If God taketh away ordinary helpes from us, he can supply us by means Extraordinary.

As he did Christ's hunger by the Ministry of Angels. Therefore till Gods power be wasted, there is no room for despair. We must not limit the Holy One of Israel to our ways and means, as they did, Psal. 78. 41. They turned back, and tempted God, and li­mited the Holy One of Israel.



Matthew 17. 1.‘And after six dayes Iesus taketh Peter, Iames and Iohn his brother, and bringeth them into an high mountain apart.’With Luke 9. 28.‘It came to pass about an eight dayes after these sayings, he took Peter and Iohn, and Iames, and went up into a mountain to pray.’

I Mean to handle the Transfiguration of Christ which was,

  • 1. A solemn Confirmation of his Person and Office.
  • 2. A pledge of that glorious estate which is reserved for us in Heaven.

[Page 2] 1. It was a confirmation of his Person and Office, as appeareth Matth. 17. 5. This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him. So Peter who was one pre­sent urgeth it, 2 Pet. 3. 16, 17, 18. We have not followed cunningly devised Fa­bles when we made known unto you, the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye-witnesses of His Majesty. For he received from God the Father Honour and Glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent Glory, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from Heaven we heard when we were with him in the Holy Mount; and Iohn also Iohn 1. 14. We beheld his glory, as the glory of the onely begot­ten of the Father, they were Eye and Ear­witnesses, and therefore could affirm the certainty of this Doctrine.

2. It is a pledge of our glorious estate, for Christs Body was adorned with heaven­ly Glory, and he had spoken chap. 16. 27. of his coming in the glory of the Father, and now he gives his Disciples a pledge and ear­nest of it.

In this Introduction four things are ob­servable.

  • 1. The Time after six days.
  • 2. The Persons whom he takes with him, Pe­ter, Iames and Iohn.
  • [Page 3] 3. The Place he bringeth them to, into an high Mountain apart.
  • 4. The Preparative action, he went up in­to a Mountain to pray.

First, The Time, The Evangelist Luke saith about an eight dayes, Matthew and Mark after six days. The Reconciliation is easie. Matthew and Mark spake of the space of Time between the day of Predicti­on, and the day of Transfiguration exclu­sively, Luke includeth them both. The Jews called that flux of time between one Sabbath and another eight dayes, inclu­ding not onely the intervening week, but both the Sabbaths; according to their cu­stom Luke speaketh, Matthew of the time between.

Secondly, The Persons chosen to attend him in this Action, Peter, Iames and Iohn.

  • 1. Why, Three?
  • 2. Why, Those three?

1. Why Three? so great an Action as this was needed valuable Testimony, for the Law saith in the mouth of two or three Witnesses, every thing shall be established, Deut. 17. 6. Now Christ would go to the utmost of the Law, and would have not two onely but three Witnesses, as the Apo­stle speaks of three Witnesses in Heaven, [Page 4] and three on Earth, 1 Iohn 5. 7, 8. so here are three and three, three from Heaven, God the Father, Moses and Elias, and three from Earth Peter, Iames and Iohn.

2. Why those Three? Many give divers reasons, Peter had led the way to the rest in that notable confession of Christ, Matth. 16. 16. and is conceived to have some pri­macy for the orderly beginning of Actions in the Colledge of the Apostles, Iames was the first Apostle who shed his bloud for Christ, Acts 12. 2. and Iohn was the most long lived of them all, and so could the longer give testimony of those things which he heard and saw, till the Church was well gathered and setled. Others give other Reasons, but to leave conjectures, it is cer­tain that these had many singular favours afforded them above the rest of the twelve, as appeareth partly in this that Christ chan­ged their names calling Peter Cephas, or a stone; and the other two Boanerges, sons of Thunder; which was a token that Christ loved these more then the rest. Yea among these Iohn was his bosome Favorite, and therefore called often the Disciple whom Jesus loved. Partly because he was in the whole course of his life more intimate with these, then with the rest of the Disciples. You shall see when he raised Iairus his [Page 5] daughter from death to Life, Luke 8. 51. he suffered no body to go in but Peter, Iames and Iohn, and the Father and Mo­ther of the Maiden, so these very Persons were those who in Mount Olivet were con­scious to his Agonies, Matth. 26. 27. he took with him Peter and the two Sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy: Now these who were to be conscious to his Agonies, are first in Mount Tabor beholders of his great Majesty and Glory, for their better encouragement and preparation for his and their own suf­ferings.

Thirdly, The Place; he bringeth them in­to an high Mountain apart. This Mountain is supposed to be Tabor though not named by the Evangelists, a fit place both for height and secrecy, both which were ne­cessary to the double Action that was to be performed there, either his Transfiguration or Prayer.

1. To his Transfiguration height and se­crecy were necessary. (1.) Height, this work required not onely a Mountain, but an high Mountain, for his Transfiguration was a middle state between the infirmity of his Flesh, and the Glory that he now posses­seth. So the top of a very high Mountain was chosen, it is as a middle place between [Page 6] Heaven the Habitation of God, and Earth the Habitation of Men. Besides since Moses and Elias were to appear in this Action, and that with Bodies above the state of those na­tural Bodies, which we have here below; it was more agreeable this should be done in a Mountain then in the lower parts of the Earth, yea moreover they were so nearer to Heaven, to which they went back again.

(2.) Secrecy was necessary to his Trans­figuration, for Christ was about a business which he would not have presently to come abroad, & therefore it was to be confined to the knowledge of a few, who were to be cal­led up from the rest into an high Mountain, verse 9. Jesus charged them that they should tell the vision to no man till the Son of man was risen from the dead, and what was done before many will hardly be concealed. The due time for the general and publick manifestation of the divine Glory was not yet come, therefore he would not have it unseasonably divulged. And hereby he teacheth us modesty, Christ was Crucified in the City before all, but Transfigured in the Mountain only before a few.

2. The other action of Prayer doth very well agree with height and secrecy.

1. For Height, Though God heareth us every where wheresoever we lift up pure [Page 7] hands without wrath and doubting, yet a Mountain is not altogether disagreeable to this duty; it is good to be as near Heaven as we can, I am sure it is good to get up the Heart there. We have a freer prospect of Heaven from a Mountain and may look up to those blessed Regions, where our God is; therefore Christ often chose a Mountain to pray in not onely now but at other times, Matth. 14. 23. Certainly when we pray we should turn our backs upon all earthly things, and have our Hearts and Minds car­ryed up to him to whom our prayers are directed, and that place where he dwel­leth.

2. Secrecy is necessary for this Duty, partly to avoid ostentation, Matth. 6. 6. When thou prayest enter into thy Closet, and shut thy doors. Publick prayer must be per­formed before others, but not private for fear of Hypocrisie, so also to increase fer­vency secret Prayers are usually most ardent. Ille dolet verê qui sine teste dolet. My soul shall weep sore in secret places, Ier. 13. 17. And Peter went out and wept bitterly, Matth. 26. 75. And Iacob wrastled with God alone, Gen. 32. 24. Frequency of objects draws away the Mind, obstructeth our Affections, abates the vehemency of our zeal, fills us with carnal thoughts, therefore Christ reti­reth [Page 8] himself and his three Disciples, that be­ing separated from all Distractions they might attend the Prayer, and the vision without interruption.

Fourthly, The Preparative Action, In Luke it is, he went into a Mountain to Pray. Christ had two ends, he told his Disciples the one, but concealeth the other. He spake only of Prayer the more to hide the thing from the rest of the Apostles, which would soon be evident enough to those whom he took along with him. Now this telleth us that every weighty business should be begun with Prayer, when we go about the per­formance of weighty and serious Duties, we should withdraw ourselves from all oc­casions which may hinder us and distract us therein, as our Lord being to give him­self to Prayer goeth apart into a Mountain.

In this Introduction I shall only take no­tice of two things,

  • 1. The choice of his Company.
  • 2. His preparative Action, he Prayed, and whilest he prayed he was Transfigured.

I. Of the choice of his Company. He took Peter, Iames and Iohn. That Christ doth not use all his servants alike familiarly in every thing. Partly because he had his li­berty, for in matters of free favour it is not [Page 9] tance of Persons to pass by some and admit others, no not in the most necessary spiritu­al dispensations, Matth. 11. 27. All things are delivered to me of my Father, and no man knoweth the Son but the Fa­ther, and he to whomsoever the Father will reveal him. The plea of the Lord of the Vineyard will ever hold firm and valid, Mat. 20. 15. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with my own. But this is a thing of another nature, the dispensing of his arbitrary respects, acceptance of Persons in Judgment is a violation of Justice, but not in matters of free favour. Partly be­cause he would consecrate and hallow spi­ritual Friendship, and commend it to us by his own example, and therefore though he loved all his Disciples, yet he choose out some for intimacy and special converse, these were [...], the flower of the Apostles, either because of their sutable­ness, he had a special inclination to them, or for their sincerity and eminency in Grace, he delighted in them more then in the rest, sicut se habet simpliciter ad simpliciter, ita ma­gis, ad magis; if I love all that are godly, I love those most who are most godly. Now as Christ consecrated holy Friendship in his own Person, so was it exemplified in his Disciples, for I find a great Friendship be­tween [Page 10] two of these mentioned in the Text, Iohn and Peter you find them mostly toge­ther, Iohn 20. 2, 3, 4. Mary Magdalen runneth and commeth to Peter and to the other Disciple whom Jesus loved. Peter went forth and the other Disciple, and came to the Sepulcher, so Acts 3. 1. Now Peter and Iohn went up together into the Temple, at the hour of Prayer, Iohn 21. 7. The Disciple whom Iesus loved said unto Peter, It is the Lord, and Iohn 21. 21, 22. Peter seeing the Disciple which Iesus loved, said Lord, and what shall this man do? as willing to know the future state of his Friend, so Acts 8. 14. Peter and Iohn go to Samaria to con­firm the Disciples, See Iohn 18. 15. And Simon Peter followed Iesus, and so did ano­ther Disciple, and that other Disciple was known unto the High Priest, meaning him­self, so that in these and other places you still find Peter and Iohn together as very near and fast Friends, they alwayes keep to­gether, possibly for spiritual assistance; for Peter was of an hot temper, Iohn the Dis­ciple of Love: Peter hasty and of a Milita­ry valour, Iohn all for lenity and peace. Well then though we ought to seek peace with all men as much as is possible, Rom. 12. 18. and there should be special con­cord and Communion with all Christi­ans, [Page 11] [...], riseth higher then [...], 2 Pet. 1. 7. Yet Friendship and inward con­versation should only be with a few, such as may be helps to us in godliness, and may promote our mutual good Temporal and Spiritual. So did Christ who had twelve Disciples single out three of them for great­est intimacy, and so did Peter, who though he had eleven Collegues, and held concord with all, yet his intimate Friendship was with Iohn the Disciple whom Jesus loved. It is good to hold Friendship with those who are beloved of God, and one who by his love and lenity might cool his heats, and abate his hasty fervours which were so na­tural to him.

Now having so fair an occasion I shall treat of spiritual Friendship, for an heaven­ly faithful Friend is one of the greatest treasures upon Earth. A Friend is valua­ble in secular matters much more a spiritual Friend, Prov. 27. 17. As Iron sharpneth Iron, so doth the countenance of a man his Friend, that is, when he is dull his Friend setteth an edge upon him.

1. Friendship is necessary for every one that would live in the World, because man is [...], a sociable Creature. Man was not made to live alone, but in Compa­ny with others; for mutual Society and [Page 12] Friendship, and they that fly all Company and live to and by themselves are counted inhumane, Eccles. 4. 9, 10, 11, 12. Two are better then one; for if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but wo to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to lift him up. Again, if two lye together, they have heat: but how can one be warm if he lye alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him? Thus far Solomon. The Egyptians in their Hieroglyphicks expressed the unprofitableness of a solitary man by a single Milstone, which alone grindeth no Meal, but with its fellow is very ser­viceable for that purpose. The Lord ap­pointed mankind to live in Society, that they might be mutually helpful to one ano­ther. Surely God never made them to live in Desarts, the wild Beasts love to go alone, but the tame in Flocks and Herds. The Lord doth give variety of gifts to the sons of men; to all some, but to none all, that one might stand in need of another, and make use of one another; and the subordination of one gift to another is the great means of upholding the World. Man is weak and insufficient to himself, and wanting the help of others needeth Society, and is in­clined to it by the bent of his Nature.

[Page 13] 2. Though Man affecteth Society, yet in our Company we must use choice, and the good must converse with the good for these Reasons.

1. Partly because like doth best sort with like, Friendship is founded in sutableness, and maintained by it, eadem velle & nolle, to will and nill the same things breedeth an har­mony of minds; the Godly will have spe­cial love to the godly, and they that Fear God will be Companions of them that fear him, Psalm 119. 63. they must needs be more dear and precious to them then others, as a wicked man easily smelleth out a fit Companion for him, Psalm 50. 18. When thou sawest a Thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with Adulterers; like will to like, every man sheweth his temper in his Company. The Fowls of Heaven flock together according to their several kinds, ye shall not see Doves flock­ing with the Ravens, nor divers kinds inter­mixed. Men that delight in Excess of Drink choose Company sutable to their brutish humour. Those that delight in Gaming choose such as make no Conscience of their time, or have no care of their Souls. That which every one is taken withal he loveth to do with his Friends, therefore they that love God delight in those that love him, [Page 14] those that are most apt to stir them up to the Remembrance of Everlasting things, and the Preparation necessary, so they are of singular use to us.

2. If they be not like to us, Intimacy and Converse will make us like to them: Every Man is wrought upon by his Com­pany; we imitate those whom we love, and with whom we frequently converse; Prov. 13. 20. He that walketh with wise men shall be wise, but a Companion of fools shall be destroyed. As a man that walketh in the Sun is tanned insensibly, so if we are not aware, we adopt their Manners and Cu­stomes, and get a Tincture from them, espe­cially in Evil; for we are more susceptible of Evil then of Good. As the sound get a Sickness from the diseased, sooner than the sick get Health from the sound. Or in the Types of the Law; that which was clean, by touching the unclean became unclean; but the unclean were not purified by touching the clean, Prov. 22. 24, 25. Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man thou shalt not go, left thou learn his wayes, and get a snare to thy soul. A Man would think that of all sins Wrath and Anger should not be propagated by Converse, the Motions and Furies of it being so uncomely and undecent to any [Page 15] beholder; yet secretly a liking of the Per­son breedeth a liking of the Sin, and a man is habituated into such a frame of Spirit as they have, whom he hath chosen for his Companions. Now this should be regarded by us, because we are sooner made Evil by Evil Company, than Good by Good Company; therefore how care­ful should we be to converse with such as may go before us as Examples of Godliness, and provoke us by their Strictness, Heaven­ly-mindedness, Mortification and Self-de­nial, to more Love to God, Zeal for his Glory, and Care of our own Salvation. Especially doth this concern the young, who by the weakness of their Judgment, or the vehemency of their Affections and want of Experience may easily be drawn into a Snare.

3. Because our Love to God should put us upon loving his People, and making them our Intimates; for Religion influenc­eth all things, our Relations, common Im­ployments, Friendship and Converse, 1 Ioh. 5. 1. Every one that loveth him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of him. The New Nature inclineth to both, there is an inward Propension and Inclination, needing no outward Provocation and Al­lurements, 1 Thes. 4. 9. As touching bro­therly [Page 16] love ye need not that I write unto you, for you your selves are taught of God to love one another. Gods Teaching is by effectual Impression or Inclining the Heart. It is a smart Question that of the Prophet, 2 Chro. 19. 2. Shouldst thou hate the Godly, and love those that hate the Lord? Surely a Gracious Heart cannot take them into his Bosom, he loveth all with a Love of Good will as seeking their Good, but not with a Love of Complacency as delighting in them. Our Neighbour must be loved as our selves, our natural or carnal Neighbour as our natural self, with a love of Benevolence; and our spiritual Neighbour as our spiritual self, with a love of Complacency. We have hated our sinful Neighbour as we hate our selves, much more as to love of Bene­volence, we must neither hate our selves, our Neighbour, nor our Enemy. But it is Complacency we are speaking of, and so the wicked is an Abomination to the Righ­teous, Prov. 29. 26. The Hatred of Dis­plicency is opposite to the Love of Com­placency, as the Hatred of Enmity to the Love of Benevolence, we cannot enter in­to a Confederacy and intimate Kindness with them.

4. Because that Love which is built upon Holiness is the most durable and lasting. [Page 17] There is a confederacy in Evil, as between Drunkards with Drunkards, and Robbers with Robbers, Prov. 1. 14. Cast in thy lot amongst us, let us all have one common purse. Or when men conspire against the Truth and Interest of Christ in the World, as Gebal and Amon and Amalek leagued them­selves against Gods People; divided in In­terests, but united in Hatred; as the Pha­risees and Herodians agreed together to Tempt Christ; and Herod and Pilate, tho' otherwise no very good Friends, agreed to mock him; this is unitas contra unitatem, as Austin, or consortium factionis, a bond of Iniquity. Now this Friendship is soon dis­solved, for these men though they agree in Evil yet have contrary Lusts and Interests; and besides, Partners in Evil are usually Objects reviving Guilt; their very Presence upbraids the Consciences of one another with the Remembrance of their past sins, and sin though it be sweet in the commiting yet it is hateful and bitter in the Remem­brance of it. Again there is a Civil Friend­ship, built on natural Pleasure and Profit. Certainly men are at liberty to choose their Company, as their Interests and course of Imployments leads them. This may be a Society for Trade or Civil Respect, it can­not be a true and proper Friendship, for [Page 18] Riches which are so frail and slippery can never make a firm tye and bond of Hearts and Minds, Prov. 14. 20. The poor is hated even of his own neighbour, but the rich hath many friends. Prov. 19. 6. Many will in­treat the favour of a prince, and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts. All the bre­thren of the poor do hate him, &c. And as it is a fluid, so it is a base and sordid Friend­ship that is built upon Riches, for that con­cerneth the Estate rather than the Soul. Well then, Religious Friendship which is built upon Vertue and Grace, and is called the Unity of the Spirit, Eph. 4. 3. is the most firm bond of all. Sinful Societies are soon dissolved and the Prophane though they seem to hold together yet upon every cross Word may fall out and break; and Civil Friendship, which is onely built upon Pleasures and Profit standeth upon a brittle foundation. Certainly the Good and the Holy are not so changeable as the Bad and the Carnal. Besides, that Friendship which is built upon Honesty and Godliness, is A­micitia per se, the other is Amicitia per ac­cidens, it cometh from constitution of Soul and likeness of Spirits, and the good we seek may be possessed without Envy; the Friends do not streighten and intrench upon one another. Again there is a vertuous [Page 19] Friendship, which consists in an Harmony of Minds or an agreement in some common Studies; this is more Noble, and more like true Friendship than Society for Trade and Temporal Interests, but yet this Friendship is not so durable, for at last it must be bro­ken off by Death, but the Godly are Ever­lasting Companions. Besides, Self-love and Envy is more apt to invade other Friend­ships; but the Godly, if they be true to the Laws of Spiritual Friendship, they seek the good of one another as much as their own, and rejoyce in the Graces of one a­nother as much as in their own.

3. Though we owe this Religious Friend­ship to all that fear God, yet some few may be chosen for our Intimacy and spiritual Solace. We owe it in some respects to all that fear God and must dispense the Gene­ral Acts of Friendship to them, Acts 4. 32. The multitude of them that believed, were of one heart and of one soul; and Christian Love is called [...], the bond of perfectness, Col. 3. 14. because it is the band by which Holy and Christian Societies cal­led Churches are bound together and pre­served; otherwise, like a Besom unbound they fall all to pieces; but yet this doth not hinder but that some may be chosen for our intimacy. Christ that denied himself [Page 20] so many of the commodities of Humane Life would not live without special Friends, and would enjoy this virtuous Solace, and in David and Ionathan we have an Instance of it, 1 Sam. 18. 1. And the soul of Ionathan was knit to the Soul of David. Certainly too many cannot perform the acts of inti­mate Friendship to us, nor we to them; the Love being like a River dispersed into several Channels, must needs be shallower and weaker; therefore our choice Friends must be but few, inter binos & bonos, was the old Rule, though it need not be so streight­ly confined.

4. In the choice of these few Friends we must use Caution 1. Such as are near to us, with whom we have frequent and familiar Converse, and perform a mutual inter­change of all Offices of Love, Prov. 18. 24. A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly, and there is a friend which sticketh closer then a brother. Consanguinity and Affinity is not so near a tye as this Friend­ship. 2. Not onely near, but those who are holy, prudent and good, Prov. 13. 20. He that walketh with the wise shall be wise, but a com­panion of fools shall be destroyed. 3. Such as are most likely to be Faithful, Iob 6. 15, 16. My brethren have dealt deceitfully with me as a brook, and as the stream of brooks they pass [Page 21] away. Pools in Winter when less need of Water, but dried up in Summer when Wa­ter in those parched Countries was a great Commodity. So many seem to be great Friends, heighten our expectation; but in our Necessities and Streights leave us desti­tute, ye see me cast down and are afraid, saith Iob, as if I should be a burden to you. Dear­est Friends may disappoint us, their Affecti­on wants an inward Principle; it is a Win­ter Brook, and not a Spring; therefore since the Heart of man is so deceitful, and not onely deceitful, but though sincere for the present, very changeable, and this is so important an Interest of Humane Life, and the Vexation of a disappointment in a Bo­som Friend is so grievous, and involveth us in many inconveniencies, Natural and Spi­ritual; for Solomon telleth us Prov. 25. 19. Confidence in an unfaithful Friend in time of trouble, is like a broken tooth and a foot out of joint. When we think to eat with the bro­ken Tooth, or to walk with the foot out of joint we are put to grievous pain and tor­ment; therefore we should go to God, and pray him to direct us in the choice of inti­mate Friends. David sadly regrets a disap­pointment in a Friend, Psal. 55. 12, 13, 14, 15. For it was not an enemy that reproached me, then I could have born it, nor was it he [Page 22] that hated me that did magnifie himself against me, then I would have hid my self from him. But it was thou, a man, mine equal, my guide and mine acquaintance, &c. A deceit­ful Friend may become the greatest Foe, and we resent their Ingratitude more than the Injuries of others, when they abuse their Trust, and the Familiarity they had with us. The worst that a professed Ene­my can do, is not so grievous as the Trea­chery of a professed Friend; this is more piercing, less to be avoided, therefore whom we have used most familiarly and freely, loved as our Soul and Life, from such we expect the same firm and hearty Friend­ship. Therefore it concerneth us to seek to God that we may have a Godly Wise Man, with whom we may be free in all Cases of Mind or Conscience, and to whom we may freely open our selves, and be strengthned in the Service of God; it is a great part of our Contentment and Happi­ness therefore, that we may not be deceived in our choice. Let us go to God who know­eth Hearts, and God hath a great hand in this, Psal. 88. 8. Thou hast put away my ac­quaintance from me, thou hast made me an a­bomination to them. By the Providence of God they left him as a man whose conditi­on they were afraid to look upon; and [Page 23] again, ver. 9. Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, they stand aloof from me as an execrable thing. He owneth Providence in it.

5. When Friends be thus chosen, there must be a faithful discharge of the Duties of Friendship, both in Counsels and Re­proofs; for the Godly use this Friendship chiefly for spiritual ends.

(1.) In Counsel; for Solomon telleth us, Prov. 22. 9. As Ointment and perfume re­joyce the heart, so doth the sweetness of a mans friend by hearty Counsel. As sweet perfumes are a reviving, so to be supported in good resolutions or directed and guided in our way to heaven by a faithful Friend is very chearing and comfortable; and we read, 1 Sam. 23. 16, 17. That Ionathan went to David and strengthened his hand in God. Whereas on the contrary a carnal Friend is the greatest Bane that may be, who doth strengthen us in evil, an Instance whereof we have in Ionadab the son of Shimeah, 2 Sam. 13. 3, 4. and Amnon had a friend whose name was Ionadab, and Ionadab was a subtil man; and he gave him Counsel how he should surprize his Sister to defile her and satisfie his Incestuous Lust. Such a Friend is really and truly our greatest Foe, he was a Friend to his Vice, but a Foe to his [Page 24] Person and Soul, whereas a true Friend whose Friendship is grounded on Godliness will be a Foe to our sins, by wholesome Admonition and Rebukes, and a Friend to our Souls Salvation.

(2.) Reproofs; That is also a part of Friendship, Prov. 27. 6. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. A faithful Friends Wounds are a more sincere Testimony than an Ene­mies Kisses and so afterwards they will be interpreted, Prov. 28. 23. He that rebuketh a man afterward shall find more favour than he that flattereth with his Tongue. For this we must trust God, though for the present we displease our Friends. So Lev. 19. 17. Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thy heart by suffer­ing sin upon him. It is kindness to his soul to reprove him. In the General, Holy Friendship must be improved to the use of edifying, Rom. 1. 11, 12. I long to see you to impart some spiritual gift unto you, that I may be comforted together with you by the mu­tual faith of you and me.

6. After the best care is used you must remember that our Friends are but an out­ward help, which God can continue or withdraw at his Pleasure; and that our chief Help, Comfort and Counsel cometh of God. So it was with Christ, Ioh. 16. 32. [Page 25] Behold the hour is come that ye shall be parted every man to his own, and shall leave me alone, and yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. Christ was forsaken of his Disci­ples but not forsaken of his Father, so Paul, 2 Tim. 1. 16. At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me, Psalm 41. 9 My familiar Friend in whom I trusted hath lift up his heel against me, those that have been acquainted with the secrets of your Soul may not only grow strange to you but betray you, therefore do not over­value any earthly Friend: man will be man still, that God may be God, all in all unto his people; and when we are deserted of men we must learn to trust in God who ne­ver faileth us, fail who will, Psalm 27. 10. When my Father and Mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up. And 142. 4, 5. I looked on my right hand and beheld, and no man would know me, refuge failed me, no man cared for my Soul. I cried unto thee, O Lord, I said thou art my refuge and portion in the Land of the living. We are left alone for God to help us, the defectiveness of all Worldly Friends shews us more of the good­ness of God.

II. The Preparative Action, he went up into a Mountain to pray, and whilst he prayed he was Transfigured.

[Page 26] 1. In that he prayed, it teacheth us to hallow all our actions by prayer, we do not bid our selves God speed, unless we re­commend our affairs to God; whatsoever Assurance we have of the Blessing, yet we must Pray, Ier. 29. 10, 11, 12. For thus saith the Lord, after seventy years be accom­plished at Babylon, I will visit you and per­form my good word towards you, in causing you to return to this place, &c. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you, Ezek. 36. 37. I will for this be enquired of by the house of Israel to do it for them. Therefore we should be dayly in the practise of this duty, and not look upon it as a work that may well be spared. If Christ who as to his Divine Nature was equal with God, surely we should often come and prostrate our selves before him in this act of Holy Adoration. Christ had right and title to all, all was his due; yet he was much in prayer; how dare we go about any business without his Leave, Counsel, and Blessing, and usurp any of his Blessings without begging them by Prayer.

2. While he prayed he was Transfigured, Luke 9. 29. which teacheth us two things.

1. That we have the highest Communi­cations from God in Prayer, for then [Page 27] Christs shape was altered. By Prayer the Soul hath the most familiar converse with God that possibly it can have, and also by the means of this duty God hath most fami­liar converse with us. In our Prayers to God we have experience of the Operations of the Spirit, Rom. 8. 26. Likewise the Spi­rit also helpeth our infirmities, for we know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit it self helpeth us with groanings which cannot be uttered, Iude 20. But ye beloved building up your selves on your most holy Faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, and in Gods answering our prayer we have Expe­rience of the comforts of the Spirit, and those spiritual solaces which he secretly giveth to his People. Hannah when she had prayed went away and her countenance was no more sad, 1 Sam. 1. 18. In pray­ing we put forth the groans of the Spirit, in the answer, God gives the joys of the Spi­rit, Psalm 34. 5. They looked unto him and were lightned, and their faces were not asham­ed.

2. That we should pray so as that the Heart may be raised and lifted up unto God, and in some sort made like God; when Christ prayed to God he is made partaker of the Divine Glory, as Moses also by con­versing with God his face shined, Exod. 34. [Page 28] 29, 30. This was extraordinary, but sure the oftner we converse with God, the more Holy and Heavenly should we grow, more like him in Spirit, be changed into the glo­ry of the Lord spiritually, and so we are if we be instant and earnest in Prayer, if we have Communion with God there will be some Assimilation to God.

USE, It reproveth our remiss feeble be­nummed souls, there is no Life in Prayer, no working up the Heart to God and Hea­ven; either our Prayers are formal and cur­sory, Iames 5. 16. [...], Or our Prayers are doctrinal, instructive rather then warning, we get lightly over duties, but we should get life by Prayer; this duty is not to inform the judgment, but to raise the Affections that they be all in a flame: or else we content our selves with a dull narrative without getting up the heart to a sight of God and Heaven, or are seldom in Praises or Adoration of the Excellencies of God.


MATTH. 17. 2.‘And he was transfigured before them and his face did shine as the Sun, and his Rayment was white as the light.’With LUKE 9. 29.‘And as he prayed, the fashion of his counte­nance was altered, and his Raiment was white and glistring.’

IN both these Texts compared together, you may observe two things.

  • 1. The Circumstance of Time during Prayer.
  • 2. The Transfiguration it self.

1. More Generally propounded, he was Transfigured before them.

2. More Particularly explained, by the change of his face and Rayment. The form of any [Page 30] man is most seen in his Face, there was a glorious shining brightness, Luke saith the fashion of his countenance was altered, Mat­thew that his Face did shine as the Sun. And in the glorious description of God in the Prophet Habakkuk, it is said chap. 3. 2. And his brightness was as the light. For his Gar­ments, Luke saith his Raiment was white and glistering, Mark chap. 9. 3. White as the Snow, so as no Fuller on Earth could whiten them, but Matthew white as the light, which carryeth it higher, the works of Nature ex­ceed those of Art. The Transfiguration that was plainly to be seen in his Face was accomplished also in other parts of his bo­dy, all his body was cloathed with Majesty, so as it could not be obscured and hidden by his Garments.

Now First I shall speak of the circum­stance of Time, and then of the Transfigu­ration it self.

I. Of the Time, and as he prayed, Now what Christ prayed for is not specified. If he asked common blessings and prayed on­ly in order to his usual solace and converse with God, it shewed the success of vehe­mency in prayer; Christ prayed at such a rate as that he was Transfigured and chang­ed into the likeness of God in prayer. 2. If he asked to be Transfigured for the confir­mation [Page 31] of his Disciples, it sheweth Gods readyness to answer fervent and earnest Prayers.

1. Of the First consideration, if Christs prayer were of ordinary import it teacheth us, that we should pray so that the Heart may be raised and lifted unto God in pray­er, and in some sort made like unto God, let us state this matter aright.

1. It must be granted that this shining of Christs countenance as the Sun while he prayed was extraordinary, and a dispen­sation peculiar to the Son of God; so also was the shining of Moses his face while he conversed with God in the Mount, Exod. 34. 29, 30. and for ordinary Christians to ex­pect the like is to put a snare upon them­selves, for these things are proper only to the end for which God appointed them.

2. This must be also considered, that the eminent and extraordinary passions and affections in the soul do discover themselves in the body, especially in the Face; for it is said of Stephen, that when he was height­ned into a great zeal for Christ, Acts 6. 15. That all that sate in the Council looking sted­fastly upon him saw his face, as it had been the face of an Angel. Angels have not Bodies or Faces, but they often assume Bodies and then they appear with a glorious and bright [Page 32] countenance as the Angel of the Lord, that appeared at the Sepulchre, Mark 28. 3. His countenance was like lightning, and his Raiment white as Snow. Now such a glory and gladness did God put upon the coun­tenance of his servant Stephen, that he look­ed like an Angel; something extraordina­ry there might be in the case, but yet there was an ordinary reason for it. Stephens mind was filled with such an incredible so­lace in the sence of Gods love, that he shew­ed no troubledness, but a mind so uncon­cerned and freed from all Fear and sorrow, as if he had been among the Angels of God in full Glory, and not among his Enemies who sought his blood, and so may God raise the Hearts of his people sometimes, as if they had put their heads above the Clouds, and were in the midst of the Glory of the World to come among his blessed ones. If that were extraordinary, Solomon tells us Eccles. 8. 1. That a mans wisdom ma­keth his Face to shine, as it gives him readi­ness and tranquility of mind, and chearful­ness of countenance, guilt and shame cast down the countenance, but Righteousness and Wisdom embolden it more particularly in prayer; as our confidence and joy in God is increased, it bewrayeth it self in the countenance, Psal. 34. 15. They looked un­to [Page 33] him, and were lightned and their faces were not ashamed, they are revived and in­couraged and come away from the Throne of Grace other manner of Persons then they came to it.

3. That some kind of Transformation is wrought by prayer appeareth by these Considerations.

(1.) That as God is glorious in himself, so he maketh him that cometh to him partaker of his Glory. For certainly all communion with God breedeth some Assimilation and likeness unto God: it is clear in heavenly glory when we see him as he is, we shall be like him, 1 Iohn 3. 2. and it is clear also in our Communion with him in the Spirit; for the Apostle telleth us that by behold­ing the Glory of the Lord as in a glass we are changed into the same Image, from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord, 2 Cor. 3. 18. not onely doth vision, or immedi­ate intuition produce this effect, but also spiritual specular vision or a sight of God in the Ordinances, produces a divine and God-like Nature, inclining us to hate sin and love Righteousness; the more we are above with God, the more we are like him: we see it in ordinary converse, a man is as the company that he keepeth, he that walk­eth with wise men shall be wise, (saith Solo­mon) [Page 34] but a companion of fools shall be de­stroyed, Prov. 13. 20. now it is not ima­ginable that a man should converse often with God fervently, seriously and not be more like him. He that liveth in a Mill the dust will stick upon his clothes. Man receiveth an insensible taint from his com­pany; he that liveth in a shop of Perfumes, often handleth them, is conversant among them, carryeth away somewhat of the fra­grancy of these good Ointments, so by conversing with God we are made like him.

(2.) Nearer we cannot come to God while we dwell in Flesh, then by lifting up the heart to him in fervent prayer, this is the intimate converse and familiarity of a loving soul with God; therefore it is called a lifting up the heart to God, he will not come down to us, therefore we lift up the heart to him, Lament. 3. 41. Let us lift up our hearts with our hands to God in the Heavens, so Psal. 25. 1. Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul, and Psalm 86. 4. Rejoyce the soul of thy servant, for unto thee do I lift up my soul, so Psalm 143. 8. cause me to know the way wherein I should walk, for I lift up my soul un­to thee. All these places shew that there can be no sincerity and seriousness in this Duty, unless there be this Ascension of the soul [Page 35] to God, it is an act of spiritual Friendship, therefore called an acquainting our selves with God, Iob 22. 21. now as acquain­tance is kept up by frequent visits, so pray­er is called a giving God a visit, Isa. 26. 16. In their trouble they have visited thee. Well then here is the greatest intimacy we have with God. In the word God speaks to us by a proxy and Ambassador, another speak­eth for him: in the Lords Supper we are feasted at his cost and remember him, but we are not admitted into his immediate pre­sence, as those that are feasted by the King in another room then he dineth in, but prayer goeth up to God and speaketh to himself immediately, and therefore this way of commerce must needs bring in much of God to the soul.

(3.) In fervent prayer we have a double advantage, we get a sight of God and exercise strong love to God, and both conduce to make us like God.

(1.) We get a sight of God, for in it (if it be seriously performed) we turn our back upon all other things, that we may look to God as sitting upon the Throne, governing all things by his power for his Glory. By Faith we see the invisible one, Heb. 11. 27. surely if we do not see God before the eye of our Faith, when we pray to him we [Page 36] Worship an Idol, not the true and living God; who is and is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Our hearts should be shut up against the thoughts of any other thing, and confined only to the object to whom we direct our Worship. I reason thus, if a Christian foreseeth the Lord be­fore him in all his wayes, and keepeth al­wayes as in his eye and presence, surely he should set the Lord before him in his Wor­ship and in his prayers, Psalm 16. 8. a good Christian doth always keep as in Gods eye and presence, much more when he calleth upon his Name; now every sight of God doth more affect and change the heart, as none but the pure in heart see God; so none see God but are most pure in heart, there is a self-purifying in moral things, puri­ty of heart maketh way for the sight of God, Mark 5. 8. so the sight of God maketh way for the purity of Heart, Iohn Epist. 3. 11. He that doth evil hath not seen God, a se­rious sight of God certainly worketh some change in us.

(2.) In prayer a strong love to God is acted, for it is the expression of our delight in him, Iob 27. 10. Will he delight himself in the Almighty? Will he alwayes call upon God? Now we are changed into the like­ness of him in whom we delight in. Love [Page 37] transformeth and changeth us into the na­ture of what is loved; there is the diffe­rence between the Mind and the Will, the Mind draweth things to its-self, but the Will followeth the things it chooseth, and is drawn by them as the wax receiveth the impression of the Seal. Carnal objects make us carnal, and earthly things, earthly; and Heavenly things, Heavenly; and the love of God, Godly, Psal. 115. 8. They that make them are like unto them, so are all they that put their trust in them, stupid and senseless as Idols, it secretly stamps the heart with what we like and esteem and admire.

4. There are Agents in Prayer to help us to improve this advantage.

  • (1.) The Humane Spirit.
  • (2.) The New Nature.
  • And (3.) The Spirit of God.

1. The Humane Spirit, or our Natural Faculty; so that by our understandings we may work upon our Wills and Affections, surely God maketh use of this, for the Holy Ghost doth not work upon a man as upon a block, and we are to rouze up our selves and to attend upon this work with the great­est seriousness imaginable. The Prophet complains, Isa. 64. 7. There is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee, without this it is but [Page 38] dead and cold work, and if there be no more than this, it is but dry litteral work; not that fervent effectual prayer, which will change the heart, [...], Iam. 5. 16. the [...] were those that were inspired and possessed by a Spirit, therefore it must be a prayer that not only hath Understanding and Will in it, but Spirit and Life in it. How­ever we are to put forth our utmost endea­vour and raise the natural Spirit as far as we can.

2. The second Agent is the new Nature which inclineth us to God as our chief Good and last end: This also must be ta­ken in, for the Holy Ghost doth not blow as to a dead Coal, the New Nature is made up of Faith, Hope and Love, and all these must be acted in Prayer; Faith, or the firm belief of Gods Being and Providence and Covenant; for how shall they call on him in whom they have not believed, Rom. 10. 14. Then Love to God, or desire of the fruition of him in Heavenly Glory, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep your selves in the love of God, Iude 20, 21. If I do not love God, and desire to enjoy him, and delight in as much of God as I can get here, certainly there will be no life in Prayer, or no Ra­vishment and Transport of Soul, no spirit of Desire animating our Requests, and no spi­ritual [Page 39] Solace and Delight in our converse with God. Hope is also necessary to fer­vent praying, for a man coldly asketh for what he doth not hope for. Hope respect­eth both Means and End, supplies of Grace by the way, and our final Fruition of God in Glory; this is called Trust in Scripture, and is the great ground and encouragement of Prayer, Psal. 62. 8. Trust in the Lord at all times, pour out your souls before him. Pray­er is the act of a Trusting soul. Now these Graces quicken our Natural Faculties, as they elevate and raise our Hearts and Minds to God and Heaven.

3. The third Agent in Prayer is the Holy Spirit: He is sometimes said to pray in us, Rom. 8. 26. sometimes we are said to pray in him, Iude 20. The Divine spirit exciteth those Graces in us which incline us to God; he raiseth our Minds in the Vision and sight of God; in thy Light shall we see Light, Psal. 36. 9. and he raiseth our Hearts to a Desire after, and Delight in God, for all that spiritual solace, and Joy is called Ioy in the Holy Ghost; for both unutterable Groans and unspeakable Joyes are of his working, Rom 8. 26. The Spirit it self mak­eth intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered; compared with 1 Pet. 1. 8. In whom though we see him not, yet believ­ing, [Page 40] ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Well then, these work a kind of an Extasie, if you would pray so as to be trans­ported, transformed in Prayer, something you must do as Reasonable Creatures, som­thing as New Creatures, and the Spirit in­fluenceth all, and causeth the Soul to fol­low hard after God; we must put forth our utmost endeavour, stir up the Gift of God in us, and though we cannot command the influences of the Spirit, yet he is never wanting to a serious soul, as to necessary Help; Pray thus and you will find as the Help of the Spirit in Prayer, so the Com­forts of the Spirit as the Success of Prayer.

5. As there is daily and constant Prayer in which we must ever bewray a seriousness and sincerity, for these daily supplies of Grace, so there are extraordinary occasi­ons, because of some great Business, Con­flict or Temptation, in those the Heart and Mind, must be more then ordinarily raised and stirred. In every Prayer of Christ there was not a Transfiguration, and we read of our Lord Jesus that in his Agonies he prayed [...] more earnestly then at other times, Luk. 22. 44. and upon emi­nent occasions as the necessities of the Saints are greater, so their Acts of Prayer are more [Page 41] earnest. On these weighty occasions many Christians are wholly swallowed up with the thoughts of God, and carried beyond themselves by their High Love to God and earnest Desires of the Spiritual Blessings they stand in need of, so that they seem to be rapt into Heaven in their Admiration of God and Delight in him.


Use, To Reprove our feeble remiss and benummed Requests. There is no Life in our Prayers, no working up of the Heart to God and Heaven, no flames of Love, no Transports of Soul by the Vision and sight of Faith, no holy and ardent desires after God or spiritual Solace and Delight in him.


1. We pray Cursorily, and go about Prayer as a Customary Task for Fashions sake; we come with a few cold Devotions Morning and Evening, and so God is near in our Mouthes, and far from our Reins, Ier. 12. 2. Oh take heed of this; nothing breeds slightness and hardness of Heart so much as Perfunctory Praying. The Rule [Page 42] is continue instant in Prayer, Rom. 12. 12. and it is said of the Saints that they served God instantly day and night, [...], Acts 26. 7. that they might come to the Blessed Hope, with the united Service of all their Powers and Faculties.

2. Our Prayers are Doctrinal and Instru­ctive, rather than Affectionate and Warm­ing. We get Light by other Duties, but we should get Life by Prayer, this Duty is not to inform the Judgment, but to raise the Affections, that they may be all Flame; other duties are feeding duties, but this is a spending duty; an egression of the Soul after God, Psal. 63. 8. My soul followeth hard after thee. A Man may better spend two hours in Hearing, than half an hour in Pray­ing, if the Heart be employed in it as it ought to be, in the fight of God, and an earnest desire after him: The Prayers in scripture are all supplications or doxologies, there is no excursion into Doctrines and In­structions.

3. Else we are lamenting sin, and spend the time in confessing sin, which also hath its use in the seasons thereof, but are seldom in Praises or Adorations of the Excellencies of God, and the wonderful Mysteries of his Love in our Redemption by Jesus Christ, yet it is said Psal. 22. 3. Oh Lord that inha­bitest [Page 43] the praises of Israel. These are the things that do most ravish the heart, and raise it in the Contemplation of that glorious God to whom we speak; and fill us with the Extasies of Love, that we may be more like him, Holy, Wise, and Good, as he is Holy, Wise and Good.

4. We think a dry Narrative to be e­nough, that is, the fruit of a humane spirit or a meer product of Memory and Inven­tion, is a sufficient Prayer, without acting Faith, Hope or Love in it, or those spiritu­al and heavenly desires, which are the Life of Prayer, Psal. 10. 17. Lord thou hast heard the desire of the humble, thou wilt pre­pare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear. The Ardency of Humble Addresses, is Gods own Gift, and he will never reject and despise those requests that by his own spirit and appointment, are direct and brought to him.

But what if I have not those strong and earnest desires? I answer, yet keep not off from Prayer; for

1. Good desires must be asked of God, for it is said he prepareth the Heart.

2. Such desires as we have must be ex­pressed, and that is the way to encrease them, and to quicken us more. A sincere Heart that would serve God with his best, [Page 44] findeth more in a duty, than he could expect: and by Praying gets more of the fervency and Ardours of praying, as a Bell may be long a raising, but when it is up it jangleth not as it did at first.

3. Those cold Affections which we have are killed by disuse and turning away from God, therefore go to him to get thy heart warmed.

II. Of the second Consideration. If he prayed for this Transfiguration, Observe,

That God often answereth his People in the very time while they are praying, Isa. 58. 9. When they call I will answer, and when they cry he shall say, Hear I am. This hath been the course of Gods dealing with the Prayer makers all along; Abel, Gen. 4. 4. God had respect to; it is [...], set his offer­ing on fire. Daniel prayeth, and saith he, Dan. 9. 21. While I was speaking in Prayer the Angel Gabriel was sent unto me. And he said, at the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth. While many of the Disciples were gathered together pray­ing, God sent Peter to them, Acts 12. 12, 13. While Cornelius, was in the Act of Pray­er, at the ninth hour of the day, which was the Hour of Prayer, he saw in a Vision the [Page 45] Angel of God, Acts 10. 3. to 9th. ver. while Peter went up to the house top to pray, then he had the Heavenly Vision; so when Paul was in Prayer Ananias was sent to him, Acts 9. 11. Behold he Prayeth, and then God taketh care of him, so Acts 4. 31. When they had prayed, the house was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost. Thus God delighteth to Honour his own Ordi­nance, and to reward the waiting soul, that is frequent and constant in this way of wait­ing upon God, which should encourage us to be more frequent and serious in this work. You shall see how in the very Act of Prayer God hath, (1.) Averted Iudg­ments, (2.) Bestowed Mercies and Fa­vours.

1. He hath put a stop to Judgments; Psal. 99. 6, 7, 8. Moses and Aaron among the priests, and Samuel among them that call upon his Name. They called upon the Lord, and he answered them; he spake unto them in the cloudy pillar, they kept his testimonies and the ordinance that he gave them. Thou answer­est them, Oh Lord our God, thou wast a God that forgavest them, though thou tookest Venge­ance of their Inventions. The drift of the Psalmist in this place, is to shew by eminent Instances of Holy Men that were most no­table [Page 46] for Prayer, how they have stopped Judgments when they begun to be execut­ed. Moses, at his Prayer God was propi­tiated, after the provocation of the Golden Calf; for it is said, Exod. 32. 11. Moses besought the Lord his God. Verse 14. The Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do. The second, Aarons making an Atone­ment for the People whereby the Plague was staid; Numb. 16. 46. Take a Censer quickly, for wrath is begun. And Verse 48. presently the Plague was staid; upon Samuels prayer the Philistines were discom­fited when they were over-running Israel, 1 Sam. 7. 5. with 9, 10. ver. With every one of these God was pleased to talk and commune as a Friend; such Honour was God pleased to put on these his Faith­ful Servants, and when the people had pro­voked God, and Gods wrath was already gone out against them for their crying sins, their prayers were so effectual as to divert the plagues and obtain Remission.

2. So powerful also are they for obtain­ing Blessings, Elijah, Iam. 5. 17, 18. though a man of like passions with us, yet he could lock Heaven, and open it at his pleasure, 1 King 18. 42, 45. The Rain came as soon as Elijah put himself into a zealous posture to obtain it. Often success hath overtaken [Page 47] the prayer; and the Blessing has been got­ten before the supplication hath been end­ed; Isaac went out to meet with God to meditate or pray, and he espied Rebecca a­far off, Isa. 65. 24. Before they call I will answer, and whilst they are yet speaking, I will hear. Oh therefore let us not entertain hard thoughts of God, as if he did not re­gard our suites and requests, and prayer were a lost Labour.

II. I come now to the Transfiguration it self, as it is here propounded and ex­plained.

Doct. That one necessary and solemn Act of Christs Mediation and Manifestation to the World, was his Transfiguration before competent Witnesses.

This was one solemn Act, and part of Christs Manifestation to the World, for we have the Record of it here; and it was ne­cessary, for Christ doth nothing in vain; and here are competent Witnesses, three persons of eminent Holiness, before whom all this was done, and they were Eye-wit­nesses of his Majesty, and Ear-witnesses of the Oracle, which they heard from Heaven, or the Voice from the excellent Glory.

[Page 48] I shall open,

First, The Nature of this Transfiguration.

Secondly, The Ends of it.

First, The Nature of this Transfiguration. It was a Glorious Alteration in the Appear­ance and Qualities of his Body; not a sub­stantial Alteration in the Substance of it: It was not a change wrought in the Essen­tial form and substance of Christ's Body, but onely the outward form was changed, being more full of Glory and Majesty, then it used to be or appeared to be.

Two things are to be handled;

  • 1. How it differed from his Body at ano­ther time, whilst he Conversed here on Earth.
  • 2. How this change differed from the State of his Body as it is now in Glory.

1. How his Body now Transfigured, dif­fered from his Body at other times during his Conversing with Men. Though the fulness of the Godhead dwelt in him always, yet the state of his Body was disposed so, as might best serve for the decency of Hu­mane Conversation; as the Sun in a Rainy Cloudy day is not seen, but now as it might [Page 49] cover his Divine Nature, it would break out in Vigor and Strength.

(1.) It was not a Change or Alteration of the substance of the Body, as if it were turned into a Spiritual Substance; no, it remained still a true Humane Mortal Body with the same Nature and Properties it had before, onely it became bright and glo­rious.

2. As the substance of the Body was not changed, so the Natural Shape and Features were not changed, otherwise how could it be known to be Christ, the shape and Fea­tures were the same, onely a new and won­derful splendor put upon them.

(3.) This new and wonderful splendor was not in Imagination and Appearance onely, but real and sensible. If it had been in Imagination, shew and Appearance, it would make Christ like those Deceivers who would dazle the Eyes of Beholders with a false Appearance; as Magical Impo­stors, or those Apish Imitators of Divine Glory; as Herod, Agrippa, of whom we read Acts 12. 21, 22, 23. how he appeared in Royal State and made an Oration, and they said, the voice of a God, and not of a Man. Iosephus telleth us the manner how he sat in the Sun, with glistering Garments of Cloath of Silver, and when the Sun­beames [Page 50] did beat upon it the People cried him up as [...] as something higher and more excellent then a Mortal Creature. No, this was not a phantastical Representation, but a real Impression of Divine Glory on the Body of Christ.

4. Although this appeared in the face chiefly, as the most conspicuous part of the Body; the Text saith, his face did shine as the Sun, yet more or less the other parts of his Body were cloathed with Majesty and Glory; and thence was the splendor deriv­ed to his Garments.

2. How his Body Transfigured, differed from his glorified Body, this must be stated also, for Christ by his Transfiguration, was not admitted into the fulness of the state of Glory, but onely giveth some glimpse and resemblance of it. These two Estates agree in the general Nature, but some Clarity, Glory and Majesty is put upon Christs glo­rified Body that was not now. But the difference is

1. Partly in the degree and measure, the Clarity and Majesty of Christs glorified Bo­dy is greater and more perfect. Here is a Representation, some Delineation, but not a full exhibition of his Heavenly Glory.

2. Partly in continuance and permanency this change was not perpetual, but to endure [Page 51] for a short time onely, for it ceased before they came down from the Mount.

3. The subject or seat of this Glory dif­fered, the Body of Christ being then Cor­ruptible and Mortal, but now Incorrupti­ble and Immortal. If Christs Body had been Immortal and Impassible, then Christ could not die.

4. Here are Garments, and a glorified Body shall have no other Garments than the Robes of Immortality and Glory in Hea­ven. Christ shall be clothed with Light as with a Garment.

Secondly, The Ends of it. By this Trans­figuration God would shew

  • 1. What Christ was.
  • 2. What he should be. And
  • 3. Also what we shall be.

1. What Christ was. The Dignity of his Person and Office; that he was the E­ternal Son of God, and the Mediator of the New Covenant; the great Prophet whom God would raise up to his People.

(1.) The Dignity of his Person was seen, for the Transfiguration was a Ray of the Divine Glory. It was not the Addition of any Glory to Christ which he had not be­fore, [Page 52] but a Manifestation of the Glory which he had, though obscured under the Vail of our Flesh, for the fulness of the Godhead dwelt in him bodily; Col. 2. 9. And we beheld his glory as the glory of the onely begot­ten Son of God, Ioh. 1. 14. But it is said, 2 Pet. 1. 17. that he received from God the same Honour and Glory. This is spo­ken of him as Mediator, the glory of the Son of God Incarnate was so obscured for our sakes, that he needed this Solemn Act to represent him to the World.

(2.) His Office. The great Prophet of the Church, Hear ye him. A greater Pro­phet then Moses. Moses saw the Face of God, but he was in the Bosom of God: Moses his face shone, but not as Christs, for it could be hidden by a Vail; Christ darts his glory through his Garments: Mo­ses his shining was Terrible, Christs was Comfortable, the Apostles were loth to lose the sight of it.

2. To show what Christ should be; for this was a pledge with what glory he should come in his Kingdom; Matth. 16. 27. it prefigured the glory of his second coming. Thus for the Confirmation of their Faith Christ would give his Disciples a glimpse of his Glory; he knew they would be sorely assaulted and shaken, by the Ignominy of [Page 53] his Cross. But what is all this to us? we see not his Glory.

(1.) What was once done and suffici­ently Attested, needs not to be repeated, but it is a great satisfaction to us that we have a glorious head, and chief; when we suffer for him we need not be ashamed of our Sufferings, the Apostles urge this con­cerning us as well as them.

(2.) The immediate Manifestations of him who dwelleth in light inaccessible would undoe us, while we are in our mor­tal Bodies. Blessed be God that he hath chosen fit means to reveal himself to us, that we may behold the glory of the Lord in a Glass, 2 Cor. 3. 18. by the Ministry of the Word and other Ordinances. The Is­raelites were sensible how little they could endure him who is as it were all Sun, and all Light, and all Fire, Exod. 20. 18, 19. Let not God speak to us least we dye. Elijah wrapt his Face in a Mantle, when God ap­peared unto him, 2 Kings 19. 13. when Christ appeared to Paul from Heaven, he trembled and was astonished, and was three dayes without sight, as you may see Acts 9. 9. there was a special Reason, why an Apostle should see him in Person.

(3.) We shall see this Glory when fit for it, Ioh. 17. 24. Father, I will that they [Page 54] whom thou hast given me may be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me. The Queen of Sheba took a long Journey to behold the glory of Solomon, that was but a Temporal, Fading and Earthly Glory. Now much more Transcendent is the Glory of Christs Body in Heaven; this we shall see to all Eter­nity.

3. To shew what we shall be; for Christ is the Pattern, primum in unoquoque genere, &c.

(1.) It sheweth the possibility of our ha­ving a glorified Body. When the Lord is pleased to let forth and communicate his Glory, he is able to adorn and beautifie our Earthly and obscure bodies, the body of man in its composition hath a great mix­ture of Earth which is dark and obscure. Now God can make this clod of Earth to shine as the Star or Sun for brightness, Phil. 3. 21. Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself. We are apt to say, How can it be? if we consider the infi­nite and absolute power of God, and this Instance of Christ, it will make it more re­concilable [Page 55] to your thoughts, and this hard point will be of easier digestion to your Faith.

(2.) The certainty of it as well as the possibility, for Christ assumed our body not for Passion only, but for Glorification; that therein he might be an instance and pattern to us. For if the head be glorious, so will the members also, how base soever the people of God seem to be in this World, yet in the Life to come they shall be wonderfully glorious, Mark. 13. 43. The Righteous shall shine as the Sun in the Kingdom of their Father. So Colossians 3. 3, 4. Now our Life is hidden with Christ, but when he who is our Life shall appear, we shall appear with him in Glory, 1 Iohn 3. 2. When he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 2 Thessalonians 1. 10. Christ shall be glorified in his Saints, and admired in all them that believe, all these places shew we shall be partakers of this Glory.

3. The manner; Glorification taketh not away the substance and natural proper­ties of the body; for there is a glorious Transfiguration, but no abolition of the [Page 56] substance of Christs body, it was the same body of Christ before, and after Transfigu­ration. Glory freeth us from natural infir­mities, but it doth not strip us of natural properties, Christ hath shewed in his own body, what he can or will perform in ours, these same bodies but otherwise adorned, [...], and with these eyes shall I see God, Iob 19. 26, 27. [...], This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality, 1 Cor. 15. 53.


1. Be Transformed, that you may be Transfigured, be ye transformed by the re­newing of your minds, Rom. 12. 2. the change must begin in the Soul, 2 Cor. 3. 18. and thence it is conveyed to the Body; the lustre of Grace maketh way for the splen­dor of Glory, Prov. 4. 18. The path of the just is as the shining light, which shineth more and more to the perfect day. The way of the wicked is an encreasing darkness, Ig­norance, Sin, outer Darkness.

2. Be contented to be like Christ in re­proaches, disgraces, and neglect in the [Page 57] World, that you may be like him in Glory, bear the reproach of Christ, Heb. 13. 13. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the Camp bearing his reproach, Heb. 11. 26. Esteeming the reproach of Christ, greater riches then the Treasures of Egypt; prefer it before all earthly honour, Acts 5. 41. And they departed from the Councel rejoycing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name, and 2 Sam. 6. 22. I will yet be more vile and base in my own sight. Your Lord is a glorious Lord, and he can put Glory up­on you.

3. To wean our hearts from all humane and earthly glory; what is a glorious House to the Palace of Heaven; glorious Gar­ments to the Robes of Immortality? The glory of Christ should put out the glory of these petty stars, that shine in the World, as the Sun puts out the fire. We have higher things to mind; it is not for Eagles to catch Flyes, or Princes to embrace the dunghill.

4. Since this glory is for the Body, do not debase the Body, to make it an instru­ment of sin, 1 Thess. 4. 4. Possess your ves­sels in Sanctification and Honour, do not of­fend [Page 58] God to gratifie the Body, as they do, Rom. 14. 13. who make provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof. Do not spare the body to do God service, Acts 26. 7. Unto which promise our twelve Tribes instant­ly serving God day and night hope for to come, for which hopes sake, King Agrippa I am ac­cused of the Iews, 2 Cor. 7. 1. Having therefore these promises (dearly beloved) let us cleanse our selves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.


MATTH. 17. 3.‘And behold there appeared to unto him Moses and Elias talking with him.’With LUKE 9. 30, 31.‘And behold there talked with him two men, Moses and Elias, who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accom­plish at Ierusalem.’

HAving spoken of Christs Transfigura­tion, we come now to speak of those special Accidents and Adjuncts which hap­pened at the time of his Transfiguration. Here are two mentioned.

  • 1. The extraordinary Apparition of Mo­ses and Elias.
  • 2. Their conference with our Saviour.

[Page 60] In the First,

1. The persons who appeared, Moses and Elias.

2. The manner of their appearing, Luke saith, they appeared in Glory. Since the Scripture affixeth a behold or note of Atten­tion, wherever this History is mentioned; it will not be unprofitable for us to consi­der it a little.

First, Who appeared, Moses and Elias, these were there in person, as well as Christ was there in Person, for it is not a Vision but a thing really done and transacted, Christ would have but two, being to give us a glimpse only, not the full lustre and splendor of his Glory and Majesty, as he will at the last day, when he shall come in the Glory of the Father, and all his holy Angels with him.

But why these two?

1. With respect to the Gospel or new Law which he was to set up. It is for the confirmati­on thereof that Moses and Elias appear talk­ing with him, shewing the harmony and agreement between them, and the subordi­nation of their dispensation to Christ and Salvation by him. Moses was the person by whom the Law was given, and Elias was a principal Prophet. The Law is re­presented by Moses, and the Prophets by [Page 61] Elias. Both did frequently foretell and prefigure the Death and Resurrection of Christ, and all the Scripture which was then written, was usually called by this term, Law and Prophets, Acts 24. 14. Believing all things that are written in the Law and the Prophets, and Mat. 11. 13. for all the Law and the Prophets prophesied until Iohn, Luke 16. 24. They have Moses and the Prophets let them hear them, so Acts 26. 22. I witness no other things then those which Moses and the Prophets say should come to pass. So Mark 7. 11. Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do you the same to them, for this is the Law and the Pro­phets. Well then the Books of the Old Te­stament are frequently and solemnly thus called, Law and Prophets; the Messiah was spoken of and foretold in both, and the godly before his comming waited for him as such. One place I had almost for­gotten, Rom. 3. 21. The Righteousness of God without the Law is manifested being wit­nessed by the Law and the Prophets. Which sheweth that not only the person of Christ was set forth, but also his institution and Gospel dispensation. Well to manifest this consent here is Law and Prophets, Moses and Elias friendly conferring with Christ, or rather attending upon him, as servants [Page 62] upon their Lord. Christ and Moses, Christ and the Prophets are not at variance as the Jews suppose, but here is a fair agreement betwixt them.

2. With respect to the Persons themselves, there are many special Reasons; these had been the most faithful, and laborious ser­vants of the Lord, and publick eminent instruments of his Glory, Moses a giver of the Law, and Elias a restorer of the Law. Moses faithful in all the House of God, and Elias zealous for the glory of God. Both had ventured their lives, Moses by encoun­tring Pharaoh, and Elias Ahab. Both had seen the glory of God in Mount Horeb, and spake with God also, Moses Exod. 33. 11. He saw the Lord face to face, and spake with him as a man doth with his Friend, and Elias 1 Kings 19. Both had fasted fourty days as Christ also did, therefore conveniently were these chosen.

3. With respect to our Profit and Instructi­on, Christ would not choose two Angels, for this service, but two Men. Here the business was not to see glorified Spirits, but glorified Bodies; therefore the Angels ha­ving no Bodies of their own, and must ap­pear in assumed Bodies if in any, are not fit; therefore two Men that had Bodies where­in they might appear.

[Page 63] But you will say, if two men must appear in glorified Bodies, why not Enoch rather then Moses, who was translated into Hea­ven, and remaineth there with a glorified Body as well as Elias.

Answ. Enoch had no publick charge, Enoch lived before the legal dispensation, these both belonged to it, and were chief in it, of great Authority among the Jews, Enoch hath an honourable Testimony in the Word of God, but had no publick office and charge in the Church, which the other two had, and managed with great Fidelity. By the appearance of Moses the whole legal Oeconomy is supposed to appear in his Per­son, and by the appearance of Elias, the Prophetical Ministry, which was a kind of Chancery to the Law, is supposed to ap­pear also. Both do as it were deliver over to Christ their whole dispensation, and lay it down at his feet, as the Magistrates that are to go out of office, solemnly resign the ensigns of their Authority to him that suc­ceedeth, and also they come both to reve­rence the majesty of their supream Lord. In short it is for our comfort that one that died, and one alive in glory, should come to shew that Christ is Lord of quick and dead, Rom. 14. 9. Moses was dead, Elias translated, these two come the one to give a [Page 64] pledge of the glory of the World to come; the other of the Resurrection of the dead; which is the way and introduction to it; and both these persons come to attend and adore our Saviour, and do homage to him.

Secondly, They appeared in glory, that is in a corporeal shape, shining with bright­ness & glory, as Christs body did, bating only for the degree & proportion, that ther might be a difference between the Lord and his Ser­vants. Now whether they appeared in Bodies formed and assumed for the present purpose, and to be laid down again as we do our Gar­ments, or in their own proper Bodies, is often disputed by Interpreters upon this occasion. That they appeared in bodies is certain, for bodily acts, and properties are ascribed to them, as their talking with Christ, their being seen by the Apostles, for a spirit can­not be seen. If in bodies why not their own? It is as easie to the Lord to cause them to appear in their own bodies, as in a body assumed for this special purpose, and ser­vice; and they were known by the Disci­ples to be Moses and Elias, not by the ex­ternal Lineaments, for they never saw them in person before, but either were made known to them by some internal Revelati­on, or by Christs words, or by some words [Page 65] of Moses and Elias themselves, but which way soever they knew them, certain it is they knew them, and took them to be Moses and Elias, therefore Moses and Elias they were, both as to Soul and Body. The Apostles that were admitted to this Trans­figuration, were not to be deceived by a false appearance, for they were admitted to be confirmed in the Truth of Christs Per­son and Office, that by what they saw they might confirm others. How would it wea­ken the Testimony, if what they saw ap­pearing before them in glory, were not the bodies of Moses and Elias, but only other bodies assumed. Concerning Elias the mat­ter is without difficulty, for since he saw not death, but was translated both body and soul into Heaven, why should he lay down his own body and take another to come and serve Christ upon this occasion? cause sufficient there was why he should come from the blessedness of Heaven to Mount Tabor, no cause why he should lay aside his own proper body. It is no loss nor trouble, but advantage to blessed and heavenly Creatures, to be serviceable to their Redeemers Glory, though it be to come out of the other into this World. But concerning Moses the matter is more doubt­ful, we read that he died in Mount Nebo, [Page 66] and his body was buried by God in the Plains of Moab, so that his Grave was known to no man unto this day, Deut. 34. 5, 6. Some think it was preserved from putrefacti­on by the extraordinary power of God, that he might resume it at this time. The Jews say that God sucked out Moses soul from his body with a kiss, and afterwards restored it again, and so he liveth in immor­tality; but he that looketh for Divinity a­mong the Jewish Rabbins will much sooner find a ridiculous Fable, then any sound Do­ctrine; suffice it to us that he was really dead, and buryed, and his body mouldred into dust, as our bodies are, and now on this special occasion, raised out of the dust, but after this whether it were laid down in dust again, or carryed into Heaven it is not for us to determine, it may be either according to the Analogy of the Christian Faith: if his body returned to corruption again, sure­ly it is a great honour that it was raised up for this special use, I say it was a great joy to these Prophets to see all their predictions fulfilled in Christ. If we say it entered in­to Glory? what inconvenience was there; If God would indulge him this peculiar Pre­rogative to be raised from the dead, and en­joy blessedness both in soul and body be­fore the last day. He granted it to Enoch [Page 67] and Elias, and those who came out of their Graves after Christs death, Matth. 27. 53. the great Harvest is at the last day, but some first-fruits before.

Secondly, Their Conference with our Savi­our; they talked with him saith Matthew, they spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Ierusalem saith Luke; they talked with Christ not with the Apostles, here is an Apparition to them, but no par­ley and intercourse between them and the glorified Saints. The Saints that are glori­fied are out of the sphere of commerce of the living, nay it is a question whether they heard at all what was said to Christ, but of that in the next verse.

Here observe three things.

  • 1. What they spake of Christs death.
  • 2. The notion by which his death is set forth, it is [...].
  • 3. The necessity of undergoing it, in the word [...], which he should accomplish at Je­rusalem.

1. What they spake of none could divine, unless it had been told us, and the Evange­list Luke telleth us, that it was of his death. This Argument was chosen.

[Page 68] 1. Because it was at hand, the next so­lemn Mediatory Action after this was his Death and Bloody sufferings, after he was Transfigured in the Mount, he went down to suffer at Ierusalem.

2. This was an offence to the Apostles that their Master should dye, Matth. 16. 22, 23. Then Peter took him and began to rebuke him saying, be it far from thee, Lord, this shall not be unto thee.

3. This was the Jews stumbling block, 1 Cor. 1. 23. We Preach Christ Crucified to the Iews a stumbling block.

4. This was prefigured in the Rites of the Law, foretold in the Writings of the Prophets. In the figures of the Law it was represented, Heb. 9. 22. and almost all things are by the Law purged with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no Re­mission, especially the Apostle urgeth the entring of the High Priest with Blood to the Mercy-seat, verse 23, 24. All the legal Sacrifices were slain, & their blood brought before the Lord. So the predictions of the Prophets, Isa. 53. 10. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him, he hath put him to grief, when thou shalt make thy soul an offering for sin, &c. And Dan. 9. 26. The Messias shall be cut off but not for himself. In short, that Christ should dye for the sins of the World, was [Page 69] the great thing represented in the Law and Prophets. Rabbi Simeon and Rabbi Hader­sim out of Daniel, that after Messias had Preached half seven years he shall be slain.

5. It was necessary that by death he should come to his Glory of which now some glympse and foretast was given to him, Luke 24. 46. Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and rise from the dead the third day, that is, with respect to the predictions, verse 44. All those things which were written in the Law of Moses, and the Prophets and the Book of Psalms concerning me may be fulfilled, and again Luke 24. 21, 26. Oh fools and slow of heart to believe all that the Prophets have spoken, ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to have entered into his Glory.

6. The Redemption of the Church by Christ is the talk and discourse we shall have in Heaven, the Angels and Glorified Spirits are blessing, and praising him for this, Rev. 5. 9. Thou art worthy for thou wert slain, and hast Redeemed us to God by thy Blood. The Angels verse 12. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom and streneth and glory, and honour and bles­sing. The Redeemed Church and glorified Saints and Angels have all one song and [Page 70] one praise, the honour of the Lamb that was slain.

7. It is an instructive pattern to us, that Christ in the midst of his Transfiguration, and the Glory, which was then put upon him forgat not his Death. In the greatest advancements we should think of our deso­lution, if Christ in all his Glory discoursed of his death, surely it more becommeth us, as necessary for us to prevent the surfeit of Worldly pleasures; we should think of the change that is comming, For surely every man at his best estate is vanity, Psalm 39. 5. In some places they were wont to present a deaths head at their solemn Feasts; merry dayes will not alwayes last, death will soon put an end to the vain pleasures we enjoy here, and the most shining glory will be burnt out to a snuff.

2. The notion by which his Death is expres­sed, his decease [...], which signifies the go­ing out of this Life into another, which is to be noted.

1. In respect unto Christ his death was [...], for he went out of this mortal Life into Glory, and so it implyeth both his suf­fering Death, and also his Resurrection, Act. 2. 24. God hath raised him up, having loosed the pains of Death, because it was impossible he [Page 71] should be holden of it. The Grave was like a Woman ready to be delivered, it suffered Throws till this blessed burden was egest­ed.

2. With respect to us Peter calls his death [...], 2 Pet. 1. 15. I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease, the death of the Godly is a going out but from sin, and sorrow, to glory, and immortality, as Is­raels going out of Egypt, (whence the se­cond Book of Moses is called Exodus) was no destruction and cessation of their being, but a going out of the House of Bondage into Liberty. Paul saith, I desire to be dis­solved, [...], Phil. 1. 23. a setting sail for the other World. In Scripture langu­age the body is the House, the soul is the Inhabitant, 2 Cor. 5. 1. We know that if our earthly house of this Tabernacle were dis­slolved, we have a building of God, an House not made with hands eternal in the Heavens. The soul dwelleth in the body as a Man in a House, and death is but a departure out of one House into another not, an extinction but a going from House to House.

3. The necessity of undergoing it, in the word [...], this word accomplish noteth three things.

[Page 72] 1. His Mediatorial duty, with a respect to Gods Ordination, and Decree declared in the Prophesies of the old Testament, which when they are fulfilled are said to be accomplished. Whatsoever Christ did in the work of Redemption was with respect to Gods Will and Eternal Decree, Acts 4. 28. To do whatsoever thy hand and counsel deter­mined before to be done. Now this was the more binding being it was a declared coun­sel in the Prophesies and Figures of the Old Testament, therefore Christ cryed out at his death, Iohn 19. 30. It is finished, or accomplished. Meaning principally that the Prophesies, and Figures, and Types which prefigured his death were all now ac­complished.

2. His voluntary submission which he should accomplish, noteth his Active and voluntary concurrence; it is an active word not passive, not to be fulfilled upon him, but by him; for though his death in regard of his Enemies was violent and en­forced, yet he voluntarily underwent it for our sakes: no man could have taken his Life from him unless he had laid it down, Iohn 10. 18. it was not forced upon him, but he yielded to it by a voluntary dispen­sation; as to men it was an act of violence, but as to his Father, it was an act of obedi­ence; [Page 73] as to us, an act of Love; on Christs part his Enemies could not have touched him against his Will, as indeed they cannot also one hair of our heads but as God per­mitteth.

3. That it was the eminent Act of his Hu­miliation, for this cause he assumed humane Nature: his Humiliation begun at his Birth, continued in his Life, and was accomplish­ed in dying; all was nothing without this for less could not serve the turn, then the death of the Son of God: then all sufferings were undergone which were necessary to take away sin, therefore there is a consum­mation or perfection attributed to the death of Christ, Heb. 10. 14. By one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are Sanctifi­ed, there is done enough to expiate sin to open a way to Heaven and Happiness, this accomplisheth all that is necessary, by way of Merit and Satisfaction.

Now what shall we learn from hence, for surely such solemn actions of Christ were not in vain.

I. A notable Argument to confirm the Christian Faith, namely, the consent be­tween the Law and the Prophets, and Christ: for Moses and Elias are all Christs Ministers and Servants agreeing in one with [Page 74] him; and therefore appear at his Transfi­guration where he is proclaimed to be the beloved Son of God, and the great Doctor of the Church, whom all are bound to hear under pain of Damnation.

I will prove two things,

First, The Necessity of this Appearance both to the Iews, and us Gentiles.

1. To the Iews in that Age, for there were three Opinions concerning Christ, some had a blasphemous Opinion of him, as if he were an Impostor, and called him Sa­maritane, and Devil; so the chief Priests and Pharisees. Matth. 27. 63. We remem­ber that that Deceiver said, while he was yet alive, after three dayes I will rise again. And Matth. 12. 24. This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the de­vils. Generally they looked upon him as an Enemy to Moses; Ioh. 9. 29. We know that God spake to Moses, as for this fellow we know not whence he is. Others had a more moderate Opinion, who were alarum'd by his Miracles, and convinced by his Holiness, Mar. 6. 14, 15, 16. Some said it is Elias, others said it is a Prophet, Ieremias or one of the prophets, but Herod said it is Iohn whom I beheaded, who is risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him. Herods Conscience could not di­gest [Page 75] Iohns Murder, therefore he twice saith it is Iohn, it must needs be Iohn. The third Opinion was that of the Disciples, Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God, Ioh. 6. 69. Now to set all at rights, to confute the blasphemous Iews, to rectifie the moderate Iews, to confirm the Disci­ples, here come Moses and Elias to justifie him; they would not have owned him if a Blasphemer and Impostor; nor have come from Heaven to honour him, and do him homage, if he had been an ordinary Pro­phet; therefore they appear in Glory, and talk with him of his Death.

2. With respect to the Modern Iews, and us Gentiles; this Apparition was ne­cessary to confirm us in the Faith both of Christs Person and Office; that he was the great Teacher sent from Heaven, to make known the way of Salvation to lapsed Man­kind, and Moses and Elias must be hereaf­ter silent, now the great Prophet and Do­ctor of the Church is brought forth, and no other Revelation or Dispensation is to be expected or regarded, now he is brought forth. There is need that this should be sufficiently evidenced, partly because Christ had the Law of Moses to repeal, which was well known to the Iews to be Gods own Law, or else they and every true Sub­ject [Page 76] of God might refuse to obey him; partly because he had a new Law to pro­mulgate, even the Law of Faith and Gospel Ordinances; and so must manifest his Au­thority before they can be received and sub­mitted unto with that firm Assent and Con­sent which is necessary; partly, because he himself was to be received and entertained as the Redeemer of the World, who had Expiated our sins by his Decease at Ierusa­lem, which was a new work, yet Mans Sal­vation lay upon it. And his Death there was Clouded with many Prejudices; for they put him to death as a false Prophet, guilty of Blasphemy and Sedition: There­fore it needed to be made manifest that such a Man of Sorrows, reckoned among Trans­gressors, was the Saviour and Redeemer of the World.

Secondly, The Sufficiency of this Evi­dence. For if Moses and Elias appear in Glory to Countenance this Dispensation, and declare their hearty Concurrence and Consent; there is no Reason Iew or Gen­tile should scruple it; if Moses the Lawgi­ver, and Elias so zealous for the Law, con­sent; why should the Iew refuse the Gospel so agreeable to their Dispensation, or the Gentiles question a Doctrine so long agoe [Page 77] manifested to the Church by God long be­fore Christ and his Apostles were in being. Those that lived in so many different Ages, could not lay their Heads together to cheat the World with an untruth. There is a double Argument may be drawn hence.

1. The Matter of Fact; Moses and Eli­as did appear to Witness their Consent. Now this dependeth upon the Testimony of the Apostles present, whose Testimony was by other means ratified and made valuable, 2 Pet. 1. 16, 17, 18. For we have not follow­ed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the coming of our Lord Iesus Christ, but were eye-witnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the father, honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from Heaven, we heard when we were with him in the holy mount.

2. Their Consent in Doctrine, which is obvious in all their Writings, the Apostles related nothing concerning Christ, but what Moses and the Prophets had foretold, and what was History in the New Testament was Prophesie in the Old; either as to the Person of Christ, or as to his Kingdom, the Duties and Priviledges thereof; Ioh. 5. 39. Search the scriptures, for in them ye think ye [Page 78] have eternal Life, and they are them that testifie of me. So Ver. 45, 46, 47. Do not think that I will accuse you to the father, there is one that accuseth you, even Moses in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me, for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how will ye believe my words? The Old Testament beareth witness of Christs Person, Natures, Offices, Birth, Life, Sufferings, and the Glory that should ensue, 2 Pet. 1. 19, 20, 21. We have also a more sure word of prophesie, where­unto ye do well that ye take heed, as to a light that shineth in a dark place, till the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts. Know­ing this first, that no prophesie of the Scripture is of any private Interpretation. For the pro­phesie came not in old time by the will of men, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the holy Ghost. The Apostles taught the same things the Prophets had written, only applyed them to Jesus of Nazareth whom they had Crucified, that they might know that he was Lord and Christ. The Hea­thens take notice that at that time when Christ appeared, there was Vetus & con­stans Fama; Sueton. Ex antiquis sacerdo­tum libris Tacitus. That their King Messiah should come.


1. For Confutation of the Iews, and to shew their obstinacy in not receiving Christ as the Messiah, God had told Moses, Deut. 18. 18. I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren like unto thee, and will put my words into his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him, and whosoever will not hearken unto him, I will require it of him. Which cannot be under­stood of any other Prophet, but Christ the Messiah, for it is said, Deut. 34. 10, 11. There arose not a Prophet in Israel like unto Moses who knew the Lord face to face in all the miracles and wonders which the Lord sent him to do. But the Messias doth match and o­vermatch him, he was a Man as Moses was; for the Promise was made on that occasion, let me hear the Voice of the Lord God no more, nor see this great Fire, that we dye not; saith God, they have well spoken, I will raise up a Prophet like unto thee from among their Brethren; he must be a Law­giver as Moses, but of a more perfect Law; he must be such an One as should see God face to face; he is of a Divine Nature, ap­proved to the World by Miracles, Signs and Wonders. As Moses was, so Christ; Moses [Page 80] divided the Sea as dry Land, Christ walked upon it; Moses healed the bitter Waters that were sick, Christ raised the dead: All the prejudice is, that he changed the Law of Moses into the Rites and Institutes of the Christian Religion. Answ. That was ne­cessary the substance being once come, that the Shadowes and Ceremonies should be a­bolished; and besides, these were proper and peculiar to one Nation in the World, namely Iudaea; the Exercise permitted but in one only place of that Country, namely Ierusalem; whither they were all to repair three times each year; but the Messias Law was to be common to all men, serves for all Countries, Times, Places, Persons, for he was to be the Light of the Gentiles as well as the Glory of his people Israel, how should Nations so far distant from Ierusalem repair thrice every year; or a Woman dwelling in England or America repair thither for pu­rification after every Child-birth, Lev. 12. When Moses delivered the Law to them, Deut. 18. 15. The Lord thy God will raise thee up a Prophet like unto me, unto him shalt thou hearken. And the Prophets when they pro­phesie of his Law, Isa. 2. 3. The Law shall go forth out of Sion, and the word of God from Ierusalem. Moses's Law was published from Sinai, not from Sion; but the preaching of [Page 81] the Gospel begun at Ierusalem, and from thence was spread over all the World. A­gain it is said, Isa. 42. 4. The Isles shall wait for his Law; that is the Maritime Countries. I pursue it no farther now.

2. To us Christians. Our Religion is true, Oh let us be true in the profession of it; otherwise it will little help us in the day of our Accounts, 2 Thes. 1. 8. Taking ven­geance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Iesus Christ. You stand upon the Vantage-ground, but are not Taller in Stature than Heathens and Iews. Disciples in Name, not in Deed; Ioh. 8. 31. If ye continue in my words, then are ye my disciples indeed: Christians of Letter, not of the Spirit. Oh Reverence Christ, if Moses and Elias did him Homage. When we have found Truth let us look af­ter Life; and having owned the true Reli­gion express the Power of it.

II. The next thing we learn is the Necessi­ty and Value of Christs Death. For Moses and Elias insist upon his Decease at Ierusa­lem; which quite contradicteth the Iewish deceit and establisheth the Christian Hope. The Death of Christ for our Redemption is the great Article of the Christian Faith, [Page 82] the thing foretold and prefigured by Law and Prophets, Luk. 24. 44. and the ground of our Comfort and Peace, Isa. 53. 4, 5. Surely he hath born our griefs, and carried our sorrows, yet we did esteem him stricken, smit­ten of God and afflicted. But he was wound­ed for our Transgressions, he was bruised for our Iniquities, the chastisement of our Peace was upon him, and with his stripes are we healed.

Let us Consider, 1. The Notions by which Christs Death is set forth.

2. The Necessity of it.

First, The Notions by which Christs death is set forth. Two solemn ones: A Ransom; And, A Mediatorial Sacrifice.

1. A Ransom; [...] Mat. 20. 28. [...], 1 Tim. 2. 6. Who gave himself a Ransom for all. A Ransome is a Price given to a Judge, or one that hath power of life and death, for to save the life of one capitally Guilty, or by Law bound to suffer death, or some other evil and pu­nishment. This was our Case, God was the supream Judge, before whose Tribunal Man standeth guilty, and liable to death; but Christ interposed that we might be spa­red, Iob 33. 24. deliver him from going down to the Pit, for I have found a Ran­som. [Page 83] There is a Price or Recompence gi­ven in our stead.

2. A Mediatorial Sacrifice, Isa. 53. 3: When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin: Eph. 5. 2. Christ hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour. He hath undertook the Expiation of our sins, and the propitiating of God; Gods provoked Justice would not acquit the Controversie it had against us, till it were appeased by a proper Sacrifice; 1 Ioh. 2. 2. He is the pro­pitiation for our sins.

Secondly, The Necessity of it.

1. The sins and guilty Fears of Mankind, needeth such a Remedy; we are natural­ly sensible that the punishment of death is deserved and due to us by the Law of God, Rom. 1. 32. They which commit such things are worthy of death. Now these Fears are not easily appeased, Micah 6. 6, 7. Where­with shall I come before the Lord, and bow my self before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt-offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams or with ten thousands of rivers of Oyle? Shall I give my first-horn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my seul? Christ came [Page 84] and died to free us from them, that we might serve God chearfully, Heb. 2. 14, 15. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself took part of the same, that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil, Heb. 9. 14. How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself without spot to God purge your consciences from dead works to serve the living God.

2. The Glory of God requires it.

1. To declare his Justice, Rom. 3. 25, 26. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to delare his Righte­ousness, for the Remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. To declare I say at this time his righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Iesus. If God will pardon sin, there must be a fit means to keep up the Honour of his Justice, and the Authority of his Law; for sin is not a wrong done to a pri­vate party offended, but a disobedience to Authority, and disturbeth the order of Go­vernment.

2. To declare his Holiness, that he is a Pure and Holy God hating sin. This was demonstrated in the Sufferings of Christ, and the dear rate at which it was expiated: for if [Page 85] this was done in the green Tree, what shall be done in the dry.


1: Oh then be affected with this great Mistery, the death which the Son of God accomplished at Ierusalem; look upon it under a double Notion, with respect to his Fathers Command, it was an Act of Obedi­ence, carried on with such Humility, Pa­tience, Self-denial, Resignation of himself to God, Charity, Pity, as the like cannot be done by Man or Angel, Rom. 5. 19. by the obedience of one many were made Righte­ous. Phil. 2. 7. He humbled himself, and became obedient to the death, even the death of the Cross; this commendeth Obedience to us. it was an Act of Love, Gal. 2. 20. Who loved me and gave himself for me. Rev. 1. 5. To him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his blood. He thought no price too dear for our Salvation, let us love him a­gain who loved us first; 1 Ioh. 4. 19. We love him because he first loved us. And be contented to suffer with him and for him, that we may enter into his Glory; Rom. 8. 17. If so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together, if he call us there­unto.

[Page 86] 2. Feel the Vertue of it in Heart and Conscience. In Heart, by our dying to sin, then we are planted into the likeness of his death; Rom. 6. 5. They that are Christs have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts thereof. Gal. 5. 24. Who his own self bare our sins in his body on the tree, that we being dead to sin should live unto righteousness. Then Glory in it, Gal. 6. 14. God forbid that I should glory save in the Cross of our Lord Iesus Christ, by whom the world is cru­cified to me, and I unto the world. In Con­science, 1 Ioh. 5. 10: He that believeth in the son of God hath the witness in himself, &c. Heb. 12. 24. And to Iesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better things than the blood of A­bel; doth it appease our guilty fears, and purge our Consciences from the stain and guilt of sin.

III. The State of Future Glory and Fe­licity.

1. The dead in the Lord are not perish­ed, but live for ever with God in Heaven; for here they appear long after their depar­ture hence, Luk. 20. 38. He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live unto him. They all live to God though they are [Page 87] gone out of the sphere of our commerce, they have another Life with God. Now fix this in your hearts, for many carry it so as if there were no Immortality or Life to come; we do not vanish into the Air when we die; Moses is somewhere, and Elias somewhere, in the Hand of God, and can appear when God will have them.

2. The Saints appeared in a true, and in their own Bodies, to establish the Faith of the Resurrection; their bodies were reserv­ed for this use; one of them was already in Glory in soul and body, the other now raised out of the dust after many years Buri­al; and why cannot God gather up our dust again and enliven it, that we may ac­company Christ at his coming.

3. This Instance sheweth also the Degrees of Glory. All the Saints have their Porti­on in Bliss, but not a just equality. Mo­ses and Elias appeared in Glory, not Enoch; nor were any of the rest admitted to this solemnity. Here were three choice disci­ples, when the rest stood at a remote di­stance; so two glorified Saints, but the rest not admitted to this Honour, but stood waiting for his glorious Ascension. There is difference on Earth in the Worldly State, some have greater Riches, Honours and Dignity than others; difference in the [Page 88] Church, both in Gifts and Graces; yea a difference in Hell, some have a hotter, o­thers a cooler punishment; so in Heaven, according to eminency in Holiness and Faithfulness with God; otherwise there would not be a suitableness in Gods dispen­sations.

4. The perfect subjection of the glorified spirits to the will of God, either to remain in the Vision of God, or to be imployed in the service of their Redeemer; we should think that a self-denial, which they count an Happiness, to come from Heaven to Mount Tabor; they take up, or lay down a body, as God pleaseth. Heaven is a state not onely of perfect Happiness, but of ex­act conformity to God.

5. We shall have the Company of the Blessed Saints in Heaven. The disciples here did not onely enjoy the company and sight of Christ, but the company and sight of Moses and Elias, being glorified Saints; so in the Heavenly Life; Mat. 8. 11. It is made a part of our blessedness in the King­dome of God, to sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Iacob; And Heb. 12. 23. Ye are come to the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect. Here we are ioyned [Page 89] to them by Faith and Hope; there by sight and Fellowship. The company of wicked Men is now grievous and tedious to us, Ezek. 2. 6. but we shall have better com­pany hereafter, here we often part with our choicest Friends and Acquaintance, but there we shall meet and never part more; It is not to be imagined but that we shall have the comfort of our glorified Fellow­creatures. The Body hath its Objects and Felicity fit for a Body.

6. The Saints shall know one another, as the disciples knew Moses and Elias, though not by Countenance, having never seen them before, but by Revelation; Christ told them who they were, and we who have known before our old Acquaintance shall know them again. Memory is not a­bolished, but perfected; we shall make one body, one society; now we shall not con­verse as strangers, Abraham knew Lazarus, Luk. 16. 25. Ministers, 1 Thes. 2. 19. What is our hope or joy or crown of Rejoycing, are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Iesus Christ at his coming. Christs Argument, Luk. 16. 9. Make to your selves friends of the mam­on of unrighteousness, that when ye fail they may receive you into everlasting habitations. An­gels know not onely themselves, but all the Elect now; how else do they Minister [Page 90] about them, they know the least believer, Math. 18. 10. Take heed that ye offend not one of these little ones, for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. And they are at length to gather them from the four Winds, Matth. 13. 41. The son of man shall send forth his Angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that do offend.

7. The Conference of the Blessed Saints; we shall be with them, speak to them, hear them speak to us, though not after an earth­ly manner. We have now Bodies, and so Tongues and Lips, which are the Instru­ment of Speech; Ears, which are the In­struments of Hearing; now these would seem vain, and to no purpose, if there were no use of Speech and Hearing. It was a blessed thing for Peter, Iames and Iohn, to stand by and hear the conference be­tween Christ, Moses and Elias, 1 King 10. 8. Happy are thy men, happy are these thy ser­vants which stand continually before thee, and hear thy Wisdom. Much more may it be said here.

USE. Well then, Christian Religion is True, Christs Death Necessary, Eternal Life Certain, Oh let our Time, and Hearts and Care be taken up about these great and [Page 91] glorious things, Meditate on them, seek af­ter them, first begin with the sureness of Christian Doctrine, that you may lay a good Foundation that Christ is the Teacher of the Church, who hath brought life and im­mortality to light through the Gospel, 2 Tim. 1. 10. then penitently sue out your Pardon, in the name of Christ, depending on the Merit of his Death, and make this Eternal Life and Happiness your choice, and the scope of your Life and Conversation, 2 Cor. 4. 18. While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen, for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are Eternal.


MATTH. 17. 4.‘Then answered Peter and said unto Iesus, Lord it is good for us to be here; if thou wilt let us make three Tabernacles, one for Thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.’With LUKE 9. 32, 33.‘But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep, and when they were awake they saw his Glory, and the two men that stood with him. And it came to pass as they departed from him, Peter said unto Ie­sus, Master, it is good for us to be here, and let us make three Tabernacles, one for Thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias, not knowing what he said.’

WE are upon the Adjuncts of Christs Transfiguration.

The first was the Appearance of Moses and Elias talking with him.

[Page 93] The Second is the entertainment which the Apostles gave to this glorious dispensa­tion, or their behaviour under it. Three Things are Observable.

  • 1. Their Posture for some while, and Pe­ter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep.
  • 2. Peters Motion when they were awake, let us build here three Tabernacles.
  • 3. The Censure of it, not knowing what he said.

First, Their Posture after the Transfigu­ration was begun, and Peter, and they that were with him were heavy with sleep. This sleep might arise either from a common na­tural cause, or from a special cause peculiar to this dispensation.

1. A common natural cause, being tyred with labour in ascending the Mountain, for it was [...], exceeding high. Or it was with watching, for they tarried there all night, and Christ continued long in Prayer, and possibly being a little with­drawn from them, as in his Agonies, he was Transfigured before them.

2. The special cause of this sleep was the extraordinary Apparition, as the Prophets often were in a deep sleep and trance, when [Page 94] they saw the like, Dan. 8. 18. As the An­gel Gabriel was speaking to me, I fell into a deep sleep, with my face towards the ground. Again Dan. 10. 9. When I heard his voice, then was I in a deep sleep. So the Prophet Ze­chariah in the midst of his Visions, Zech. 4. 1. The Angel of the Lord wakened me as one in a deep sleep, any eminent passion causeth sleep, and they were astonished so with these visions and representations, that na­ture fainted under them, and they fell into a sleep, so the Apostles seeing Christ in the midst of fervent Prayers Transfigured be­fore them.

Now whether it came from the one cause or from the other, we must conclude this sleep was a weakness on their parts, but di­rected and overruled by God for just and wise Reasons.

1. It was a weakness and infirmity on their part, for questionless they were to at­tend with all vigilancy to this manifestation of our Saviours glory, and observe the pas­sages of it, why else did he take them into the Mountain a part, but as Witnesses of it, as they were to watch in his Agonies, so in his Transfiguration it was a fault then, Mat. 26. 40. When he cometh he findeth them asleep. What could you not watch with me one hour. But the best men are clogged with [Page 95] humane infirmities, in the most glorious ma­nifestations of God to them.

2. The Providence of God is to be ob­served in this sleep; that which came to pass through their Fault was ordered by Gods Providence, for if they had been awake they had heard all the discourse that passed between Christ and the two great Prophets, which neither their present condition, nor the state of the time did permit. Christ had told them that he should suffer an ignomini­ous death, which they did not throughly un­derstand, nor could they reconcile it with the present thoughts which they had of the Me­ssiah, nor was it fit for them to hear all, how the death of Christ was foretold in the Pro­phesies prefigured in the Sacrifices, shadow­ed out in all the rest of the Types of the Law, and sung of in the book of Psalms to satisfie the Justice of God, and open a way for his Mercy, and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Christ would not have the great work of his dying hindered, and these things they were not to learn from Moses and Elias, but he would teach them himself after the Re­surrection, Luke 24. 44, 45, 46. These are the words that I spake unto you while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms concerning me, [Page 96] then opened he their eyes that they might under­stand the Scriptures, and said unto them, thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day. And the full knowledge of them was reserved till the pouring out of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost: if they had heard them now they would have begotten scru­ples, and troublesome thoughts in their minds, and hindered the present service.

Observe hence our weakness during the time we are invironed with mortality, that we cannot bear up long under spiritual du­ties, either our hearts are soon overcharged with wonder & astonishment, or else we yield to natural infirmities; however let it be a warning to us against sleepiness in the wor­ship of God. It is true the best may be sur­prized with it, as here Christs Disciples; yet it was a sin in them to be asleep when Christ was at Prayers, and it is a sin God hath severely punished, witness Eutychus, Acts 20. 9. And there sat in the window a young man named Eutychus, being faln into a deep sleep, and as Paul was long Preaching he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead. Mark though the Sermon continued till midnight, and it was a youth that slept, yet he fell down as dead: it was a small sin, a sin of [Page 97] infirmity, a boys sin, yet God would leave this warning, I do not animadvert too se­verely upon this infirmity, only give you caution; Christ praying all night on mount Tabor, this weakness prevailed on these choice Apostles, and elsewhere during the time of Christs Agonies, yet we are to strive against it, and be sure it may be said of us as of them, Mark 26. 41. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Make conscience of avoiding this sin, do not compose your selves to sleep, do not come to these duties spent with labours, and Worldly cares, nor clogged with excess of meat or drink, nor having defrauded our selves of necessary re­freshing by sleep, by vain pleasures the night before.

Secondly, Their carriage when they were awake, when they awaked they saw his Glory, and the two men that stood with them, they saw Christ transfigured before they fell asleep, but I think they saw not Moses and Elias before, but now saw them, that they might give testimony of it to the Church, not by common fame, and hear say, but as eye Witnesses, and they knew Moses and Elias either by information from Christ, or some secret instinct and Revela­tion of the Spirit, or as hearing some part [Page 98] of the discourse they heard enough to shew what they were, or what the general mat­ter of their discourse was. But that which is most remarkable is Peters motion and proposal, It came to pass to pass as they de­parted from him, just as they were parting Peter said, Lord it is good for us to be here, let us make three Tabernacles, one for Thee, one for Moses, and one for Elias. He men­tioned no distinct Tabernacle for himself and fellow Disciples, because they would be with Christ attending on their Master in his Tent.

The Motion in the general is rash, sud­den and unadvised, but being made by a good man though under a passion, there is something good and something bad in it.

1. That which was good in it is, he yet retaineth his Reverence.

1. That he submitteth his proposal to the judgement of his Lord and Master, where­in he expresseth his Reverence of Christ, Lord if thou wilt; he desireth a continuance of this dispensation, leaveth it to his consent, acknowledging herein his Wisdom and Au­thority.

2. It sheweth the valuableness and felici­ty of conversing with Christ, and the glori­fied Saints; for when but two of them appear [Page 99] in Glory talking with Christ, Peter said it is good to be here, to continue and abide in this place together with thy self, Moses and Elias. What a blessed dignity is this, the Glory of Heaven is so ravishing and satisfa­ctory to the soul, that the soul can rest in the least glimpse and degree of it. If a glimpse, what is the fulness, if the splendor of his humanity not yet Glorified be so great what is the Glory of his Godhead? If a fight of these things at a distance, what is the participation, when the Glory shall be revealed in us, or we shall appear with him in Glory? If Moses and Elias, what is the company of all the Saints and Angels? If it be thus at Mount Tabor, what will it be in Heaven, when all the World is renewed, and refined, and the Church gathered to­gether in one great Assembly.

3. The nature of a state of Glory, and how easily it maketh us to forget all things here below, Peter had a Family, and Houshold affairs to mind, for we read in the Gospel that his Wives Mother was sick and cured by Christ, Matth. 8. 14. he had Friends and a Brother called Andrew, who was one of the Disciples of Christ, left below in the Valley, Iohn 1. 40. nay he forgot his own present condition of Life, which could not long brook his remaining in that Mountain [Page 100] without the supply of Food, and other ne­cessaries. Now all this sheweth that when we are translated to Heaven we shall be so ravished with that kind of Life we shall have there, as that all sense and memory of things that we have left behind shall cease, as Peter being ravished with this sight and spectacle, thinketh not of Kindred, Friends or Hous­hold, or any kind of Worldly comfort, but saith onely it is good to be here; so that it teacheth us, that the delights of the other World, make us forget all our con­cernments here below, all shall be forgot­ten and swallowed up in that heavenly de­light we shall have there.

2. That which was Evil in it.

1. That he mistook the nature of the pre­sent dispensation, this was to be a represen­tation not a Fruition, to be transient and momentany, for confirmation not possessi­on, rather a viaticum, a bit by the way, then a Feast. It was good and commenda­ble to be affected with joy, and delight in the presence and company of Christ, and Moses and Elias, but it was not to be rest­ed in as their full Reward.

2. If this request had taken place, the work of our Redemption had been hin­dred, what had become of Christs Death and Passion, which he should accomplish [Page 101] at Ierusalem; all our happiness dependeth on that, and if God should give way to our carnal desires, what mischief would ensue. If Christ had hearkened to him he would not have gone up to Ierusalem to suffer, nor would any man living have dared to lay hands upon him while he continued in this Glory and Majesty.

3. This request was injurious to Moses and Elias, that they should utterly forsake their Heavenly Mansions for an abode on Earth, and therefore to desire their conti­nuance there, was to desire their loss, they were a little time to appear on Earth with Christ, and then to return to their blessed­ness, or to the enjoyment of the sight of God in the third Heavens.

4. It was injurious to Christ, to hope to learn something from Moses and Elias which Christ could not teach them, and to equal them with his Lord and Ma­ster, in building Tabernacles for all three alike and without difference, was some lessening of his respect to Christ. If they were to learn any thing from them they were to consult the Books not the Persons, Luke 16. 29. They have Moses and the Pro­phets, let them hear them, and the desires of extraordinary means argueth a contempt of ordinary.

[Page 102] 5. It was an error to imagin that Taber­nacles were necessary for Moses and Elias, who now appeared in such Heavenly Glory in the Mount, they needed not earthly Houses, and Tents, to dwell in, to defend them from the injuries of the weather, nei­ther had they such present conveniencies to prepare them.

Thirdly, The censure of the Holy Ghost, Luke saith, not knowing what he said, In Mark chap. 9. 6. He wist not what to say, for they were sore afraid. They were words of a man in a Rapture, or surprized with great astonishment. There were two affections dazled with the Majesty of this Glory, and transported with joy; there was also a great fright usually, [...], such things as bring a hurt occasion fear, and also things of excellent Glory, such as surpass our pre­sent meanness; as here the change of Christs Person, and the glorious Appearance of the great Prophets, so long since separated from the commerce of mankind.

Observe, before we proceed, the incon­venience of great and excessive Passions, they make us speak we know not what, Peter is an instance in Scripture, let us keep to him, you see him surprized with a great [Page 103] passion of fear, when at Christs command a great draught of Fish came to hand in an unlikely time, Luke 5. 8, 9. Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of Fishes that they had taken, you find him at other times transported with a passion of excessive Reverence or Humi­lity, Iohn 13. 8. Lord thou shalt never wash my feet. With a passion of Love, or Pity to his Master, Lord let it be far from thee, this shall not be unto thee, when his Master had foretold his death, Mark 16. 22. in case of contempt of Christ: here with a pa­ssion of joy or ravishment, or transport of soul, Lord it is good for us to be here. Now all these passions were religiously exercised, but it is dangerous when Religion, which should bridle and govern our passions, is made the matter and fuel of them. Passi­onate joy, or passionate fear, passionate re­verence, or passionate zeal, and anger, may easily transport us to some uncomely action or motion, for though in all these there was Religion at top, yet sin at the bottom; and therefore you see how much it concerneth us to moderate and reduce our selves to a due temper, for passion causeth us to do things without and against reason, yea to speak and do we know not what, and when [Page 104] Religious matters over heat our affections we may erre exceedingly.

Now having opened this part of the History, let us observe something that con­duceth to our practical instruction.

I. Doctrine, That the state and condition of the glorified Saints, is a most delight­ful state and condition.

For when Peter had but a glimpse of it in the transfiguration of Christ, it seemed so ravishing and transporting, that here would he abide and stay by it; so was he affected with joy in the company and pre­sence of Christ, and Moses, and Elias, ap­pearing with him, that all his natural com­forts and relations were forgotten. This would compensate all, if once we be got­ten into this blessed estate, we shall never desire to come out of it and part with it, this which the Disciples had, was but a lit­tle glimpse, and tast of the Life to come, this must needs be so; it is called joy, Mat. 25. 21. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord, and fulness of joy, Psal. 16. 11. In thy pre­sence there is fulness of joy, at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore, no better estate can be expected. The Soul is at rest [Page 105] as having obtained its end. And it is also proved by the priviledges and benefits the Saints shall enjoy in the world to come.

  • 1. A Freedom from all Evil, which here are matter of Grief to us. And
  • 2. The Fruition of all Good, which may any way bring Ioy, and Delight and Con­tentment.

1. There is a Freedom from all Evil. There is a twofold evil, either of Sin or Punish­ment. In Heaven there is neither Sin nor Misery.

1. To begin with sin, that is the worst evil, because it maketh us hateful to God, and grieveth the Saints most, Rom. 7. 24. Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this Death. If any man had cause to complain of Afflictions, Paul much more being often imprisoned, whip­ped, stoned, but his lusts troubled him more then scourges; and his captivity to the Law of sin more then Prisons. Gods children are most weary of the World, because they are sinning here, whilst others are glorifying of God, and enjoying God and the company of his blessed Ones. Now in Heaven there is no sin, Eph. 5. 27. there is neither spot [Page 106] nor blemish nor wrinkle on the face of the glorified Saints, their faces were once as black as yours. But now they are washed in the Lambs blood and fully cleansed, now with much ado we mortifie sin, but then it is nullified; but if we subdue the power of sin we do not get rid of the being of it, but then we are rid of all at once, of all sin, and temptation to sin. There was a Serpent, a tempter in Paradise, but there is none in Heaven; the devil is shut out, and the old man is left in the Grave never to rise more.

2. There is not the least evil of Afflicti­on, Rev. 21. 4. All tears shall be wiped away from their eyes, whatsoever is painful and burdensome to nature, is a fruit of sin, a brand and mark of our Rebellion against God. Therefore when sin is done away, Affliction which is the fruit of it, is done away also. In Hell there is Evil, and one­ly Evil; in Heaven Happiness, and onely Happiness; here our wounds are healed, but the scars remain, something to put us in mind that we have sin yet dwelling in us, but there all the effects of it cease, there is neither death, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor any more pain.

2. They shall enjoy all Good things, which [Page 107] shall bring Joy and Comfort to them, in blessedness there is a confluence of all Good, our joyes are full and eternal.

1. There is the immediate sight and pre­sence of God, and Jesus Christ, who shall be all in all to them, 1 Cor. 13. 12. Now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face, now I know in part, then shall I know as also I am known. And John 17. 24. Fa­ther I will that they also whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am, that they may be­hold my glory which thou hast given me; for thou lovest me before the foundation of the World. We are brought into the presence of him who is blessedness it self.

2. The society of all the blessed Angels and Saints glorified, Mat. 8. 11. Many shall come from the East and West, and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac, and Iacob in the Kingdom of Heaven.

3. The perfection of all Heavenly gifts both in soul and body.

(1.) In Soul, that is the Heaven of Hea­ven, 1 Iohn 3. 2. Now are we the sons of God, but it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but this we know that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is, Psalm 17. 15. When I awake I shall be satisfied with thy Image and likeness, by knowing we come to Love, and by loving [Page 108] God we know him, there is Vision, Assimi­lation, Satisfaction, the object is efficacious, the intimation vigorous and clear, the sub­ject prepared for the impression.

(2.) In Body, Phil. 3. 21. Who shall change our vile Body, that it may be fashion­ed like unto his glorious body, the body shall be endued with all glorious qualities as brightness, strength, agility, it is a body wholly impassible and incorruptible, fit for the operations of a glorified soul, and with it shall for ever remain a glorious Temple of the Holy Ghost, therefore it is good to be here.


1. Let this draw forth our Love to such a blessed estate, which is so full of delight and contentment, and wean us from these things which are most pleasing in the World.

1. The best estate in the World is but vanity, altogether vanity, Psalm 39. 5. mingled with some grievances. Wealth hath its incident cares, and Honour its tortures; and all pleasures here are but bitter sweets: there is a Worm that feedeth on our gourd, and will in time wither it. At last death commeth and then the lust of the World is [Page 109] gone, 1 Iohn 2. 17. The World passeth away and the lust thereof. The Godly themselves have but a mixed estate, because of remain­ing infirmities, they live here in a Vale of tears and snares, and sin doth not gasp its last till death removeth us from this sinful flesh, and puts us into the sight of God himself: Wherefore the Saints are groaning and longing for the parting day, when put­ting off the flesh we shall put off sin, and come and dwell with God for ever.

2. None are translated unto Heaven, but such whose hearts are there first, 2 Cor. 5. 2. In this we groan earnestly desiring to be cloath­ed upon with our house which is from Heaven: Phil. 1. 23. I desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ, Rom. 8. 23. We that have the first Fruits of the spirit groan within our selves waiting for the Adoption, the Redempti­on of our bodies. A Christian waiteth and longeth for a purer state of bliss and immor­tality; the first Fruits shew what the Har­vest will be, and a tast what the Feast will prove: though they are thankful for this re­freshing by the way, yet they are longing to be at home, cannot be contented with­out it.

3. The excellency of this estate requi­reth it, if it be not worth your desires and best Affections it is little worth. Christ pro­cured [Page 110] it for us by a life of Labours and Sor­rows, and the pangs of a bitter cursed death, and when all this is done shall not we desire it and look after it, that is foul ingratitude. Oh then let your Hearts be upon it, desire must go before delight.

2. To move us to labour for it, and seek it in the first place, and to get it assured that we have a part in this blessed and joyful condition, Mat. 6. 33. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and the Righteousness thereof, Luke 13. 24. Strive to enter in at the strait gate. So 2 Pet. 1. 10. Give dili­gence to make your calling and election sure. What profit is it to know that there is such a blessed and joyful estate if we have no? interest in it. Heaven is worth our pains, and will bear all the cost we can lay out up­on it, so the children of God thought, Acts 26. 7. Unto which promise our twelve Tribes instantly serving God day and night, hope to come, if we do not desire it, we do not be­lieve it; if we do not labour for it we do not desire it.

3. Let us comfort our selves with the hopes of this blessed and joyful condition.

1. Against all the miseries and afflictions of this present Life, these are necessary, we would sleep too quietly in the World, if we [Page 111] did not sometimes meet with thorns in our beds, we should be so pleased with our en­tertainment in the way, as we should for­get home; but God awakeneth us out of our drowsie fits by sharp afflictions, as if he said, arise, depart hence, this is not your rest, Micah 2. 10. while we wallow in sensual comforts, our hearts say it is good being here.

2. When there is a joyful and blessed condition beyond them; it is some comfort in this shipwrack of mans felicity, that we can see banks and shoars, a landing place, where we may be safe and enjoy our repose, To you that are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Iesus Christ shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty Angels, 2 Thess. 1. 7. Here our days are sorrow and our travail grief, but there is our repose.

3. That our joy and contentment is so in­finitely above our sorrow, and trouble, 2 Cor. 4. 7. so that in all the troubles and sorrows of this Life, we may look beyond them and through them, to the joy and comfort of the Life to come. This joy is set before us in the promises of the Gospel, Heb. 12. 2. Christ for the joy that was set be­fore him, endured the cross, &c. and Heb. 6. 18. Who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the [Page 112] hope set before us, we see it by Faith though not by sense.

II. Doctrine. That one of the diseases of mankind is, that we catch at felicity without considering the way that leadeth to it.

Peter seeing and apprehending this estate to be an estate of Happiness, and Glory, doth not consider what he must first do, and first suffer, before he could come to con­verse with Christ, and the glorified Saints. Our Saviour had lately told him that he must deny himself, and take up his Cross and follow him, but Peter overlooketh all this; and saith it is good to be here: he would be glorified before he was abased, and had suffered all the afflictions foretold, and would have his wages before he had done his work. Every one would enjoy Christs Glory and Happiness, but we do not like his yoke, are loath to submit to his Cross. If we would enjoy happiness with Christ, and the glorified Saints, we must be humbled with them, and suffer with them first. But we would triumph before we had fought any battle, and receive the Crown before we have run our Race, and reap in joy, before we have sowed in [Page 113] tears, or performed that necessary work that God requires at our hands.

Now the Reasons of it are these.

1. Because by nature we love our own ease and contentment, Gen. 49. 15. He saw that rest vvas good. We are loath to undergo the Cross, and desirous to enjoy Happiness and Glory before and without Afflictions; but this is an untimely and pre­posterous desire, proceeding from self-love. God hath appointed another order, that the Cross, should go before the Crown, Rom. 8. 17. If so be that we suffer with him that we may be glorified together.

2. From the Libertinism and yokeless­ness of our natures, and that Spirit of un­subjection, which is so natural to us, Rom. 8. 7. The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can be, Psalm 2. 3. Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. Duties are more displeasing to the flesh, then Happiness, and we like par­don and Life, more then we like strictness, purity, and that watching and striving, and waiting, and exercising our selves unto Godliness, which the Scripture calleth for.


To press us to get this disease cured, and our Hearts reconciled to our duty, as well as to our Happiness. These Considerations may be an help to you.

1. God is a Governour, as well as a Be­nefactor; and must be respected in both Relations; and therefore we must not only desire and wait for his benefits, but submit to his Government; his Government is seen in his Laws, and Providence. In his Laws he appoints our Duty, in his Pro­vidence he appoints their Trials; to refuse either, is to question his Soveraignty; Psal. 12. 4. Who have said, With our tongues will we prevail, our lips are our own, who is Lord over us. Exod. 5. 2. And Pharaoh said, who is the Lord that I should obey his voice to let Israel go, I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go; so also not to submit to his Trials. Therefore now, if we love God as a Benefactor, we must be subject to him as our true and proper Soveraign, who will bring us to Heaven in what way he pleas­eth.

2. The Terms and Means appointed con­duce to mortifie our Love to the false Hap­piness; for one great part of Religion is to [Page 115] draw off our hearts from the vain Pleasures and Honours of the World, the other part is to carry us on in the pursuit of the true Happiness; a Recess from the World, and an Access to God; Mortification and Vivi­fication. We shall sit down with present things, if we abandon our selves to our sen­sual Inclinations, Luk. 16. 25. so that our desires of the true happiness will be feeble, and easily controuled, if we submit not to the means.

3. The care and due observance of the Means, sheweth the value and Respect to the true Happiness. If we do not labour for it, and suffer for it, we do not value it according to its worth. There is a simple, naked Estimation, and a practical Esteem; Naked Approbation, Rom. 2. 18. And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the Law. The Practical Esteem, is a Self-denying O­bedience, Rom. 2. 7. To them who by pati­ent continuance in well-doing seek for glory, &c. Then they respect means, and end together, and submit to the one, to obtain the other. If the wicked are said to de­spise Eternal Happiness, it is not simply as Happiness, nor as Eternal; for they that love themselves would be happy, and ever­lastingly happy, but it is in conjunction with [Page 116] the Means, as the Israelites despised the pleasant Land, and murmured in their Tents, Psal. 106. 24. Yea they despised the pleasant land, and they believed not his word, but mur­mured in their tents, and hearkened not to the voice of the Lord. The Land was a good fertile Land, but afar of; and because of Giants, and walled Towns, and so no thought worthy the pains and difficultiest to be undergone. Heaven is a good place, but out of Indulgence to the Ease of the Flesh, we dislike difficulties, and strictness of holy walking.

4. The difficulty of Salvation lies not in a respect to the End, but the Means; and therefore the Trial of our Sincerity must rather be looked for there. There is some difficulty about the End, to convince men of an unseen Felicity; but that may be done in part by Reason, but savingly and throughly by the Spirit of Revelation, Eph. 1. 18. The eyes of your understandings being inlightened that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his Inheritance in the Saints. But man is sooner convinced, than converted, than drawn off from worldly Vanities, that he may seek after this happiness, and usually we have a quicker ear for offers of Happi­ness, than Precepts of Duty and Obedi­ence. [Page 117] Balaam, Numb. 23. 10. Oh that I could die the death of the Righteous, and that my latter end were like his. Ioh. 6. 34. E­vermore give us this bread of life. But a true Christian, if by any means I may attain to the Resurrection of the dead, Phil. 3. 11.

5. The Necessity of this Self-denying, Resignation of our selves to God to bring us to Heaven in his own way is necessary. That we may begin with God; Luk. 14. 26. If any man come to me and hate not father and mother and wife and children and brethren and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he can­not be my disciple. And also that we may be true to him, and go on with him and be fortified against all the difficulties we meet with in the way to Heaven, Heb. 11. 35. Others were tortured not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection, that none of these things move us. Acts 20. 24. Mat. 20. 22. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptisme that I am baptized with?

6. There is such an inseparable connexi­on between the End and Means, that God will not give us the one, without the other: if we believe, mortifie, waite, suffer, then shall we reign with him, otherwise not.

Doct. III. Much evil would ensue, if we had our Desires in all those thing that we think good for us.

Peter said, It is good for us to be here, but alas how ill would it have been for the World if Christ had abode still in the Mount. Peters instance sheweth us two things.

1. That we are apt to consult with our own Profit, rather than Publick Good. The World needed him, he had great business to do in the Valley, but he would be in the Mount. It is our Nature, if it be well with our selves, to forget others. Peter little minded his Fellow Apostles, the Redemp­tion of the World, the Conversion of Na­tions, &c.

2. How much we are out when we judge by present sense, and the Judgment of Flesh. We consult with the ease of the Flesh, and so desire Rest more than Pains and labour; what pleaseth rather than what profiteth. Peter saith, It is good to be here, but he must labour first, suffer first, before he entreth into Glory.

Well then, Let us learn by what measure to determine Good or Evil.

[Page 119] 1. Good is not to be determined by our Fancies and Conceits, but by the Wisdom of God: for he knoweth what is better for us, then we do for our selves; and the Di­vine Choices are to be preferred before our foolish Fancies; and what he sendeth and permitteth to fall out, is better for us than any thing else. Could we be perswaded of this, how would we be prepared for a chearful Entertainment of all that is or can, or shall come upon us. God is wiser than we, and loves us better than we do our selves. The Child is not to be governed by his own Fancy, but his Fathers Discreti­on, nor the sick Man by his own Appetite, but the skil of the Phisitian. It is Expedient God should displease his People, for their Advantage; Ioh. 16. 6, 7. Because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth, it is expedient to you that I go away. We are too much addicted to our own Conceits; Christs dealing is expedient and useful, when yet it is very unsatisfactory to us. He is to be Judge of what is good for us, his going or tarrying, and not we our selves: We are short-sighted Creatures, distemper­ed with Passions; our Requests many times are but Ravings, we ask of God we know not what, as the two Brethren, Matth. 20. [Page 120] 22. we pray our selves into a mischief and a snare, and it were the greatest Misery if God would carve out our Condition according to our own Fancies and Desires.

2. That Good is to be determined with respect to the chief Good, and true Happi­ness. Now what is our chief happiness, but the Enjoyment of God. Our happiness doth not consist in outward Comforts, Riches, Health, Honour, Civil Liberty; or com­fortable Relations, as Husband, Wife, Children; but our Relation to and Accep­tance with God. Other things are but ad­ditional Appendages to our Happiness: Matth. 6. 33. [...], they shall be ad­ded to you. Therefore Poverty is good, Afflictions are good; they take nothing from our essential, solid happiness, rather help us in the enjoyment of it, as it encrea­seth Grace, and Holiness, and so we enjoy God more. Surely, that is good that sets us nearer to God, and that Evil that sepa­rateth us from him. Therefore sin is evil because it makes an estrangement between us and God, Isai. 59. 2. Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you. But Af­fliction is good, because many times it makes us the more earnestly to seek after him. Hos. 5. 16. In their affliction they will seek me early.

[Page 121] Therefore every Condition is good or evil, as it sets us further off or draweth us near­er to God; that is good that tendeth to make us better, more like unto God, capa­ble of Communion with him; and conduc­eth to our everlasting happiness. So it is good that man bear the yoke from his youth, that he be trained up under the Cross, in a constant Obedience to God, and Subjection to him, and so be fitted to entertain Com­munion with him. If Afflictions conduce to this end they are good, for then they help us to enjoy the chief good.

3. That Good is not alwayes the Good of the Flesh, or the Good of outward Pro­sperity; and therefore certainly the Good of our Condition is not to be determined by the Interest of the Flesh, but the welfare of our Souls. If God should bestow upon us so much of the Good of the outward and animal Life as we desire, we could not be said to be in a good Condition: if he should deny us Good Spiritual, we should lose the one half of the Blessings of the Covenant by doting upon, and falling in love with the rest. The Flesh is importunate to be pleased, but God will not serve our carnal Appetites. We are more concerned as a Soul than as a Body; Heb. 12. 10. He verily cha­stened us for our profit, that we might be par­takers [Page 122] of his Holiness. Certain it is, God will chasten us for our profit: What do we call Profit? the good things of this World, the great Mammon which so many Worship? If we call it so, God will not; he meaneth to impart some Spiritual and Divine Benefit, which is a Participation of his own Holi­ness. And truly the People of God, if they be in their right Temper, value themselves, not by their outward enjoyments, but by their inward Improvement of Graces; 2 Cor. 4. 16. For this cause we faint not, but though our outward man perish yet the inward man is re­newed day by day. A discerning Christian puts more value upon Holiness wrought by Affliction, then upon all his Comforts; so that though Affliction be evil in it self, it is good as sanctified.

4. A particular Good must give way to a General Good, and our Personal Benefit to the Advancement of Christs Kingdom, and the Glory of God. The Advancement of Christs Kingdom, or the good of the Church, must be preferred before our Personal Benefit or Contentment. Paul could want the Glory of Heaven for a while, if his continuance in the Flesh were needful for the Saints; Phil. 1. 24. To abide in the flesh is more needful for you. We must [Page 123] not so desire good to our selves, as to hin­der the good of others. All Elements will act contrary to their particular nature, for the conservation of the Universe, so for the Glory of God. That may be good for the Glory of God, which is not good for our Personal Contentment and Ease. Now the Glory of God is our greatest Interest; if it be for the Glory of God that I should be in pain, bereft of my Comfort, my sanctified subjection to the Will of God must say it is good: Ioh. 12. 27, 28. Here you must have the innocent Inclination of Christs Humane Nature; Father save me from this hour; and the over-ruling sense of his Duty, or the obligation of his office, but for this cause came I to this hour. We are often tossed be­tween Inclination of Nature, and Consci­ence of Duty; but in a gracious heart, the sense of our Duty, and the desire of glorify­ing God, should prevail above the desire of our own Comforts, Ease, Safety and Wel­fare. Nature would be rid of Trouble, but Grace submits all our Interests to Gods Hon­our, which should be dearer to us than any thing else.

5. This Good is not to be determined by the Judgment of sense, but by the Judg­ment of Faith, not by present feeling, but future profit. That which is not good may [Page 124] be a means to good. Affliction for the pre­sent, is not pleasant to natural sense; nor for the present, is the fruit evident to spiri­tual sense; but it is good, because in the issue it turneth to good, Rom. 8. 28. All things work together for good to them that love God, &c. While God is striking, we feel the Grief, and the Cross is tedious; but when we see the end, we acknowledge it is good to be afflicted, Heb. 12. 11. No affli­ction for the present seems joyous but grievous nevertheless afterwards it yields the peaceable fruits of righteousness to them that are exercised therein. A Good, present, is the cause of Joy; and an Evil, present, is the cause of Sorrow: But there are two termini diminu­entes, terms of abatement, [...], and [...], present sense, and the conceits of the sufferer. When we are but newly under the affliction, we feel the smart, but do not presently find the benefit; but within a while, especially in the review, it is good for me. It is matter of Faith under the Af­fliction, it is matter of Sense afterwards. Gods Physick must have time to work. That which is not good, may be good; though it be not good in its Nature, it may be good in its Use; and though for the present we see it not, we shall see it. Therefore good is not to be determined by Feeling, but by [Page 125] Faith. The Rod is a sore thing for the pre­sent, but the bitter Root will yield sweet Fruit. If we come to a Person under the Cross, and ask him, What is it good to feel the lashes of Gods correcting hand? to be kept poor, sickly, exercised with losses and reproaches, to part with Friends and Rela­tions, to lose a beloved Child? he would be apt to Answer No. But this poor Creature after he hath been exercised, and mortified, and gotten some renewed Evidences of Gods Favour; ask him then, Is it good to be afflicted? Oh yes, I had been Vain, Neglectful of God, wanted such an Experience of the Lords Grace. Faith should determine the case when we feel it not.

Well then, Let us learn to distinguish between what is really best for us, and what we judge to be best. Other Diet is more wholesome for our Souls than that which our sickly Appetite craveth. It is best many times when we are weakest, worst when strongest, all things are good as they help on a blessed Eternity, so sharp afflictions are good. That part of the World, that is governed by sense will never yield to this. You cannot convince a Co­vetous Man that the loss of an Estate is good, or a worldly rich man that Poverty [Page 126] is good; or an Ambitious man, that it is good to be despised and contemned; or a sensual Voluptuous Man, that it is good to be in Pains; that the Body be afflicted for the good of the Soul, they will never be­lieve you: But those that measure all things by Eternity, they know that Poverty makes way for the true Riches; and Ignominy for the true Glory; Want, for fulness of Plea­sures; and Misery mortifies Sin.


MATTH. 17. 5.‘While he yet spake, behold, a bright Cloud overshadowed him: and behold, a voice out of the Cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.’

IN this branch of the story two things are remarkable, and there is a Behold prefixed before either of them, to excite our Attention. First they see a bright Cloud, and then they hear a voice out of the Cloud.

First, Of the Cloud, and while he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, it was not a dark cloud as upon Mount Sinai, when God gave the Law, but a bright one, yet not so bright and lightsome, but that it was mixt with some obscurity. It was no na­tural and ordinary cloud, such as are com­monly [Page 128] engendred in the air above us, but extraordinary, and supernatural, created by God for this occasion. The use of it was double.

1. To convey Moses and Elias out of their sight, when this conference was end­ed: therefore some expound that which is said, Luke 9. 34. They feared as they entred into the Cloud after this manner, the Disci­ples feared when they saw Moses and Elias entring into the Cloud, that is involved and covered in it. It is said of Jesus Christ himself, when he ascended into Heaven, Acts 1. 9. A cloud received him out of their sight.

2. To be a token of the extraordinary presence of God, whose voice immediately came out of the cloud, as also to vail the glo­ry thereof, which was best done by a Cloud, a thing of a middle nature between terrestri­al and Celestial bodies. When Solomon builded the Temple the Lord shewed his special presence, thereby filling the House with a Cloud, 1 Kings 8. 10. This way of Apparition God useth to moderate the splendor of his excellent Glory. We are not able to behold God as he is, and must not pry into his Glory, there is a Cloud and vail upon it.

Secondly, They heard a Voice, and be­hold a voice out of the Cloud which said, this [Page 129] is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him.

1. Observe, That there was a voice di­stinctly, and audibly, heard. Though God did sensibly now manifest his presence in the Mount with Christ, and did audibly speak to them, yet he did not appear in any di­stinct form, and shape either of man, or any other living Creature, but all was done by a voice out of the cloud, so Deut. 4. 12. Ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude, and verse 15. take good heed to your selves, for ye saw no similitude in the day that the Lord spake to you in Horeb, least ye corrupt your selves, and make to you any graven Image. The similitude of any figure, &c. The voice of God, may with less danger come to us then any sight or representation of him.

2. The matter or what this voice said, This is my beloved Son, hear ye him. By this voice there is.

  • 1. A Testimony given to Christ.
  • 2. A command to hear him.
  • Or (1.) The dignity of Christ, he is the beloved Son of God, in whom he is well pleased.
  • (2.) A suitable respect bespoken for him.

[Page 130] The words are few, but yet contain the sum of the whole Gospel, and they are spo­ken not by a Man, nor by an Angel, but by the Lord himself, and therefore they should be entertained with the more reverence. The Apostle Peter who was one of the parties present, could never forget this Testimony of the Father, concerning his Son Jesus Christ, 2 Pet. 1. 17. He received from the Father Honour and Glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent Glory. This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; and besides what Christ speaketh of another voice from Heaven, is true of this, Iohn 12. 30. This voice came not be­cause of me, but for your sakes; not so much to encourage him in his suffering as to our edification and instruction. All the testimo­nies given unto Christ from Heaven tend­ed to point him out to sinners, as the true Messiah, approved and accepted of God; therefore these words should ever be in our minds, especially when we draw nigh to God in solemn duties.

I shall begin with the Dignity, Honour, and Glory of Christ solemnly declared from Heaven; there are three things in it.

  • 1. The Relation between him and the Father, He is a Son.
  • [Page 131] 2. The dearness of that Relation, His be­loved Son.
  • 3. The complacential satisfaction which he taketh in him, and the price of our Re­demption paid by him, in whom I am well pleased.

Doctrine, That it is the main and principal point of the Gospel, and of great necessity to be known and believed to Salvation, that Iesus Christ is the Beloved Son of God, in whom he is well pleased.

  • 1. I shall open this Testimony given to Christ.
  • 2. Speak of the importance and weight of it.

I. Of the Testimony given to Christ.

1. Let me open the term that expresseth his Filiation, that he is Gods Son. Christ is the son of God properly so called, a Son on­ly begotten, Iohn 3. 16. God so loved the World that he gave his onely begotten Son. Eternally begotten Prov. 8. 22, 23. I was set up from everlasting, the Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way before his works of old. A Son coequal with his Father, Iohn 5. 18. The Jews sought to kill him because he said, God was his Father, making him­self [Page 132] equal with God, [...], his own proper Father. So co-essential, of the same substance with his Father, Iohn 1. 1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Now thus is he the Son of God.

Why is it mentioned there.

1. To shew the special dignity of Christ a­bove all others: he is the Son of God, Christi­ans are the Sons of God, but in a different manner, he by nature, we by Adoption. Tho God have many sonsby Creation and Adop­tion, yet Christ is his Son in a peculiar & pro­per way; by eternal Generation, and com­munication of the same Essence, [...] that Son, that beloved Son, so a Son as none else is the son of God, properly so called.

2. To distinguish him from Moses and the Prophets, from Moses Heb. 3. 5, 6. Mo­ses verily was faithful in all his house as a ser­vant, but Christ as a son over his own house, whose house we are, &c. so from the rest of the Prophets, Heb. 1. 1, 2. God at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the Prophets, but hath in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the World. This is the great Do­ctor of the Church, now as to meekness a­bove [Page 133] Moses, as to zeal above Elias, as to familiarity and communion, he was with God, and was God.

3. To shew the old Prophesies were fulfilled, which foretold the union of the two Natures in his Person, the predictions concerning one whose name should be Immanuel, God with us, and who should save and redeem the Church, Isa. 7. 14. And of a child that should be the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, Isa. 9. 6. This the Prophets foretold that he should be God, and the Son of God, Micah 5. 2. His going forth is from Everlasting, though born at Bethlehem; so the bud of the Lord, and the fruit of the Earth, Isa. 4. 2. The man Gods fellow, Zech. 13. 7. and in many other places the union of the two Natures is as­serted.

2. He is the beloved Son.

1. That God loved Christ, Christ is the object of his Fathers Love, both as the se­cond Person and as Mediator. As the se­cond Person of the Trinity, two things are wont to attract love, nearness, and likeness; they are both here, nearness, he was in the bosome of the Father, Iohn 1. 18. The on­ly begotten Son, which is in the bosome of the Father, he hath declared him. Likeness is [Page 134] another loadstone of Affliction, Heb. 1. 3. He is the brightness of his Glory, and the ex­press Image of his Person, such as the Father is so is Christ.

2. As Mediator, so God loveth him on the account of his obedience, Iohn 10. 17. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life for the Sheep, Iohn 3. 35. The Father hath loved him and put all things into his hand, the Father approved Christs undertaking for sinners, delighted in it as an excellent way of glorifying his name, and recovering poor creatures out of their lost condition: and rested satisfied, and was pleased with his death, as a sufficient ran­som for poor souls. Well then God loved him so as to trust the souls of all mankind in his hands, and to appoint him to be the great Mediator, to end all differences be­tween him and us, and the more he doth in pursuance of his Office, the more beloved he is and acceptable to God.

2. The testimony of his love to him as Mediator; for his unspeakable rejoycing in him, as second person in the Trinity, we are not competent judges of. It is descri­bed Prov. 8. 30. I was dayly his delight re­joycing alwayes before him. The mutual com­placency which the divine persons take in one another is there set forth; God de­lighted [Page 135] in Christ, and Christ in God. But in the second love as Mediator, God ex­pressed his love to him in two things; the gift of the Spirit, and the Glory of his hu­mane nature.

1. The gift of the Spirit, Iohn 6. 34. God giveth not the Spirit in measure to him, for the Father loveth the Son, and hath put all things into his hands. This was the great expression of his love to Christ as Mediator, not to make him a visible Monarch of the World, but by the gift of his Spirit to be head of the Church.

2. The other expression of his love to him as Mediator, was the gift of Everlasting Glory, Iohn 17. 24. Father I will that those whom thou hast given me, should be where I am, and behold my glory, for thou hast loved me before the foundation of the World. Gods love to Christ as Mediator, was manifested in exalting him to glory, and this Everlast­ing. These are the great expresses of Gods love to Christ, as God incarnate or appea­ring in our nature.

3. Why is it put here.

1. To shew the end for which Christ came to represent the amiableness of God, that he is Love, 1 Iohn 4. 8. and hath love for his children. Christ is the pattern of [Page 136] all, for he is first beloved, and the great in­stance and demonstration of Gods love to the World.

2. To intimate the redundancy of this Love, it over-floweth to us, for Christ be­ing beloved we are beloved also, Eph. 1. 6. he hath made us accepted in the beloved, to the praise of his glorious Grace. It is an overflowing Love, he is loved and all that have an interest in him are loved. There is a twofold love in God, the love of Bene­volence and complacency; The Elect from all Eternity are loved by God with a love of Benevolence, whereby he willed good un­to them, and decrees to bestow good upon them: but the love of complacency and de­light, is that love whereby God accepteth us, delighteth in us, when he hath made us lovely as his own children, reconciled them by the death of Christ, renewed them by the Spirit of Christ, and furnished them with all the Graces which make us accepta­ble to him, and precious in his sight.

3. To shew the kind and manner of the expressing of his love, to his redeemed ones. Christ prayed Iohn 17. 23. That the World may know that thou hast loved them as thou hast loved me, and ver. 26. That the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, that is by the gift of the Spirit and Everlast­ing [Page 137] Glory. Though Christ was the belov­ed Son, yet his state was but mean, and de­spicable in the world; he was afflicted, a man of sorrows, pursued to the Death, even a shameful, painful, accursed Death; yet all this while he was full of the Holy Ghost, of his Graces, Comforts, and afterwards re­ceived to Glory, and so will he love us. At this rate and Tenour, his love bindeth him not to give us worldly greatness, but if we have the Spirit, and may be welcom­ed to Heaven at the last, we have that which is the true discovery of Gods Love. So he manifested his Love to the onely be­gotten Son, and therefore the adopted children should be contented with this Love, if by the Spirit they may be inabled to continue with Patience in well-doing, till they receive Eternal Glory and Happi­ness.

3. The next thing is [...], in whom I am well pleased. This is to be interpreted of Christ as Mediator, or God Incarnate; for this was twice spoken at Christs Bap­tisme, Mar. 3. 17. and now at his Trans­figuration, both imply his Mediatorship. For his Baptisme had the notion of a Dedicati­on, he did then present himself to God as a Mediator for us, to be the Servant of his Decree, as we in Baptisme dedicate our [Page 138] selves, to fulfil the Precepts which belong to us, and as we are concerned to promote his Glory in the World, Christ presented himself as a Mediator, that is as a Prophet to acquaint us with the way of Salvation, as a Priest to pay a perfect Ransom for us, as a King to give us all things, and defend and maintain all those who submit to his Go­vernment, till their Glory be perfected, and they attain unto their final Estate of Bliss and Happiness. Now then God from Hea­ven declared himself well pleased; and now again, when Christ had made some Pro­gress in the Work, confirmeth it for the as­surance of the World.

This then must be Interpreted,

  • 1. As to Christ.
  • 2. As to those who have benefit by him, and interest in him.

1. As to Christ. He was well-pleased: Partly, as to the Design; the Reparation of Lost Mankind: Partly, as to the Terms by which it should be brought about: Partly, as to the Execution and Manage­ment of it by Christ.

1. As to the Design. God was well­pleased, that lapsed Mankind should be re­stored, at the first God was pleased with his [Page 139] Creation, Exod. 31. 17. on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed, that is recre­ated in the View of his Works, as the effects of his Wisdom, Power and Goodness. And Psal. 104. 31. The Lord shall rejoyce in his works. The Lord saw all to be good, in the beginning and working not to be re­pented of: This was Gods Rest and Sab­bath, to take delight in his Works. When he looked on it altogether, behold it was exceeding good; but afterwards Man, the ungrateful part of the Creation, though the Masterpiece of it, in this visible and lower world, fell from God his Creator, and pre­ferred the Creature before him, to his Loss and Ruine; then God was so far displeased, that he had Reason to wish the destruction of Mankind; it is said Gen. 6. 6. That it repented God that he had made man. That is, he was displeased with us, estranged from us; no more contented with us, than a man is in what he repenteth of: For pro­perly God cannot repent, but this is an Ex­pression to show how odious we were grown to him, Psal. 14. 2, 3. The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men to see if there were any that did under­stand and did seek after God. They are all gone aside, they are altogether become filthy, there is none that doth good no not one. Alas [Page 140] there is a lamentable appearance of Man­kind to Gods sight, now nothing good to be found in them; an universal Defection, both in Piety and Humanity. But then Christ undertook the Reparation of Man­kind, and the Design was pleasing to God, that he might not lose the glory of his Cre­ation, and all flesh be utterly destroyed, Col. 1. 19, 20. It pleased the father that in him should all fulness dwell, and having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things to himself. The restoring of fallen Man to Friendship with God, and all things tending to it, were highly pleasing to God, namely, that Jesus Christ, the se­cond Person in the Trinity should become a Mediator, for that end he had a great Af­fection and liking to this thing. [...], it is the same word used here, the thing is highly pleasing to God, that the Breach should be made up; that man who had lost the Image, Favour and Fellowship with God should be again restored, by renew­ing his Heart, reconciling his Person, and admitting him again into Communion with God, who was was so justly provoked by him. God stood in no need of our Friend­ship, nor could any loss come to him by our Hatred and Enmity; onely it pleased the Father to take this way, Isa. 53. 10. For [Page 141] it pleased the Lord to bruise him, he hath put him to grief, when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his dayes, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hands.

2. He is pleased with the Terms. God who is the Supream Governour of the world, and the offended Party, stood up­on these Terms, that the Honour of his go­verning Justice should be secured, and the Repentance and Reformation of man carri­ed on. Strictly these must be done, or else man must lye under his Eternal Displeasure; if one be done and not the other, no Re­conciliation can ensue. Now that God is highly pleased with the satisfaction and com­pensation made to his governing Justice, Heb. 10. 6, 7. In burnt-offerings and sacri­fices for sin thou hast no pleasure. Then said I, lo I come to do thy will O God. Ver. 10. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Christ once for all. God rejected all other sacrifices, but was fully sa­tisfied with this, as enough to expiate the sin of Man. Christ delighted to give it, and God delighted to accept of it. He paid a perfect ransom for us, besides or above which he craved no more, but rested fully content in it; for the other, the Renovation of Mans Nature, to put him into a capacity [Page 142] to serve and please God, for God would not admit us to Priviledges without change of heart, and disposition, Acts 5. 31. God exalted him to be a prince and saviour, to give repentance and remission of sins. In short God is so satisfied with these Terms, that (1.) He seeketh no farther amends for all their wrongs, Rom. 3. 25. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood to declare his righteousness for the remissi­on of sins that are past. (2.) No farther price for what they need, 1 Pet. 1. 18, 19. Ye are not redeemed with corruptible things as sil­ver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without spot and blemish. The repentance of a sinner is pleasing to him, there is Joy in Heaven; Luke 15. 7. Ioy in the presence of the angels over one sinner that is converted. A Feast was made at the return of the Prodigal. As I live saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of a sin­ner. Our Conversion is more pleasing to God, than our Destruction.

3. He is pleased with the Execution and Management of it by Christ, he carried him­self in the office of the Mediator, according to what was injoyned him, Ioh. 8. 29. I do alwayes the things that please him. Ioh. 5. 30. I can of my self do nothing, as I hear I judge, and my Iudgment is just because I seek [Page 143] not my will, but the will of the father which sent me. And did finish all that was neces­sary for the Redemption of the Elect be­fore he died, Ioh. 19. 30. When Iesus had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished; and he bowed his head and gave up the ghost. Evidences of this are his Resurrection from the dead, Act. 5. 30, 31. The God of our fathers raised up Iesus, whom ye slew and hang­ed on a tree, him hath God exalted with his right hand, to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and remission of sins. Heb. 13. 20. The God of peace brought again the Lord Iesus from the dead, through the blood of the everlasting covenant. As pacified in Christ, received into glory, 1 Tim. 3. 16. Certainly God is well pleased since he hath given not onely a Discharge, but a Reward. The gift of the Spirit, for renewing the heart of man, which is the great pledge of Gods being satisfied; Ioh. 7. 39. This he spake of the spirit, which they that believe on him should receive, for the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Iesus was not yet glorified; a sure evidence that our ransom is paid, Acts 5. 32. And we are his witnesses of these things, and so is the holy Ghost, which he hath given to them that obey him. A Sacrifice of infinite value and esteem.

[Page 144] 2. That he is well-pleased with us, who have an Interest in him. In our natural E­state we are all displeasing unto God, what­ever we are in the purpose of his decree, we must look upon our selves as we are in the Sentence of his Law, so children of wrath, Eph. 2. 3. Enemies by our minds in evil works, Col. 1. 21. Estranged from the womb, Psal. 58. 3. so that all of us, were cut off from the Favour of God, obnoxious to his wrath, this is our miserable Condition by Nature, that we were no way pleasing to him, for without faith it is impossible to please God, Heb. 11. 6. A sinner as a sinner can do nothing acceptable; indeed God having found a Ransom, is placabilis, but not pla­catus, not actually reconciled to us, till we are in Christ, and he is placandus antequam placendus; to be appeased, before he can be pleased; he is not actually reconciled, till we are in Christ.

2. Awakened sinners are not easily satis­fied, so as to look upon themselves as plea­sing unto God: for the Conscience of Sin is not easily laid aside, nor is the stain soon got out. And though the grant be passed in Heaven, yet we have not the sense of it in our own hearts, for it is the Blood of Christ can onely do it. Heb. 9. 14. How much more shall the blood of Christ who through the [Page 145] eternal spirit offered himself without spot to God purge your Conscience from dead works to serve the living God. The Carnal offer thousands of Rams, and Rivers of Oyl, and the fruit of the body for the sin of their soul, Mic. 6. 6, 7. They would give any thing for a sufficient sin-offering; yea the renewed and pardoned, have not so firm a peace as to be able always to look upon themselves in a state of well-pleasing, therefore often beg that God would dissipate the Cloudes and cause the Light of his Countenance to break forth upon them, Psal. 80. 19. Turn us Oh Lord God of Hosts, cause thy face to shine and we shall be saved. So that when there is a grant of Pardon and Peace and Access to God, we have not alwayes the sense.

3. Yet the Ground is laid assoon as we have an Interest in Christ, God is well pleased with us; if you consent to his Me­diation, and take him in his three Offices, as a Prophet, Priest, and King. As a Pro­phet, hear him; the business is put out of all Question, that God will love you be­cause he loved Christ. When you depend on him as a Priest, you have Reconciliati­on and Access to God; Rom. 5. 1, 2. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Iesus Christ, by whom also we have access by faith into the grace [Page 146] wherein we stand. When you subject your selves to him as a King, Col. 1. 13. He hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son. Christ is dear to God, and to him all the Subjects of his Kingdom are dear also. So that if you will be more explicite in your Duty, you may be more explicite in your Comforts; if you will receive his Doctrine, so as it may have Authority over your Hearts; if in the Anguish of your Souls, you will depend on the Merit of his Sacri­fice, and give up your selves to live in a constant Obedience to his Laws. You will find him to be a dear Son indeed, one very acceptable with God, for you also will be accepted with him, for his sake.

II. Concerning the weight and impor­tance of this Truth.

1. It is propounded as the Foundation upon which God will build his Church; Mat. 16. 16, 17, 18. And Simon Peter answered and said, thou art Christ the Son of the living God. And Iesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my father which is in heaven. And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and up­on this Rock will I build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

[Page 147] 2. It is the question put, to those that would enter upon Christianity, Acts 8. 37. If thou believest with all thy heart thou maist: and he answered and said, I believe that Iesus is the son of God. When they were serious in the Profession, that was enough, 1 Ioh. 5. 1. Whosoever believeth that Iesus is the Christ, is born of God.

3. This engaged the hearts of the Disci­ples to tarry with him, when others mur­mured at his Doctrine. He that cleaveth to this Profession, carrieth himself according­ly, whatever Temptations he hath to the contrary, we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ the Son of the living God.

4. For this End the Scriptures were writ­ten, These things are written that ye might be­lieve that Iesus is the Christ the son of God, and that believing ye might have life through his name. Ioh. 20. 31. By obedience to his Laws, dependance on his Promises.

5. This is the ground of Submission to Christ in all his Offices, why we should hear him as a Prophet in this place, (which I shall more fully make manifest in the next Sermon) why we should depend on him as a Priest, for the vertue of his Oblation and Intercession; if God spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things, [Page 148] Rom. 8. 32. 1 Ioh. 4. 10. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but he loved us, and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 Ioh. 2. 1. If any man sin, we have an ad­vocate with the father, Iesus Christ the righ­teous. The blood of Christ is of high E­steem and infinite Value, both as to Merit and satisfaction, to purchase all manner of blessings for us, and to satisfie Gods pro­voked Justice for our sins. And if the Fa­ther be so well-pleased with him, what can he not obtain at his hands; which is an encouragement in our Prayers and Suppli­cations. So for our Improvement of his Kingly Office, which respects Duties and Priviledges; our duty with respect to the Kingly Office, is Subjection; Psal. 2. 12. Kiss the Son left he be angry, and you perish in the mid-way. Because Christ Jesus is the Son of God, he should be submitted unto and embraced with the heartiest Love, and Sub­jection; for to Kiss, is a sign of Religious Adoration; Hos. 13. 2. as they kissed the Calves, and offer Homage and hearty sub­jection; as Samuel kissed Saul, because God had anointed him to be King over his Peo­ple; 1 Sam. 10. 1. So for Priviledges; he is God co-equal, co eternal with his Father, able to protect all those that apply them­selves to him, till he bring them to Eternal [Page 149] Glory and Happiness; and therefore it is said, 1 Ioh. 5. 5. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Iesus is the Son of God. That is the fortifying Truth; this both cautioneth us against all the delights and snares, and supports us a­gainst all the terrors and fears of the World. If we have the Son of God for our Prophet, Priest and King, we ought to carry our selves with greater Reverence, Trust and Subjection.


1. Believe it, lay up this Truth in your Hearts by a firm and sound▪ Belief. There are in Faith three things, Assent, Accep­tance, Dependance. The Matter in hand calleth for all these.

1. A firm Assent. For here we have the Testimony of God concerning his Son; the Apostle tells us, that he that believeth not hath made God a liar, because he believeth not the Testimony of God concerning his Son, 1 Ioh. 5. 10. The great Testimony is this, that we have in hand that Jesus is his beloved Son with whom he is well pleased, that he will give Pardon and Life to all that hearken to him, embrace his Per­son, [Page 150] receive his Doctrine, believe his Pro­mises, fear his Threats, obey his Precepts, the strictest of them. Oh labour to work it into your Hearts, that indeed it is so. In matters of Fact, we receive the Testimony of men, two or three credible men; why not in matters of Faith, the Testimony of God, evidenced to us by this solemn acti­on, an account of which we have from Ear­witnesses, and Eye-witnesses, who were men that hazarded their all for the delivery of this Truth, and yet referred us to the surer word of Prophesie, 1 Pet. 1. 19. He was owned as a Son, Psal. 2. 7. Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. As a beloved Son, in whom God is well-pleased, Isa. 42. 1. Behold my servant whom I uphold, my elect in whom my soul delighteth. If you be not want­ing to your selves, you may have this wit­ness in your hearts, 1 Ioh. 5. 10. He that believeth on the son of God, hath the witness in himself. Oh let us not give the flat lye to God. Rouze up this languid Faith; is this true, or is it a cunning devised Fable.

2. Faith is an Acceptance of Christ, or an entring into a Covenant with God by him. You must have the Son, 1 Ioh. 5. 12. He that hath the Son, hath life. Ioh. 1. 12. As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them [Page 151] which believe on his name. Receiving, re­spects Gods offer. God gives Christ, and we receive what God giveth; to what End? why he giveth him as King, Priest and Pro­phet, to dwell in our hearts by Faith; to rule us and guide us by his Word and Spirit; and maintain Gods Interest in us against the Devil, the World and the Flesh, till we come to everlasting Glory.

3. Dependance: He is able to save to the uttermost, all that come to God by him, therefore on him alone should we depend for all things necessary to Salvation. Two things perswade this dependance.

(1.) That nothing can be done without Christ, Acts 4. 12. Neither is there salva­tion in any other, for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved. Nothing can be done with­out Christ, that may be effectual to our re­covery, either for the paying of our Ran­som, or for the changing of our Hearts. A­las, what could we do to please God, or profit our own Souls? The work would cease for ever if it should lye upon our hands.

(2.) That he can do what he pleaseth for the good of his redeemed ones; Ioh. 17. 2. As thou hast given power over all flesh that he should give eternal life, to as many as thou hast [Page 152] given him. All that Christ did for our sal­vation, did highly content and please the Father; he is satisfied with him, he can make us lovely in his sight; Eph. 1. 6. To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. And will now joy in his People, Isa. 65. 19. and rest in his Love, Zeph. 3. 17. Well then, let us believe; Faith is a ratifying Gods Testi­mony concerning his Son; we believe what God hath said, that Christ is his Son, we re­ceive him as he is freely offered, and sub­scribe to this declaration. The Father saith from Heaven, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear him; so penitent Be­lievers must answer back again, This is our beloved Redeemer, in whom we are well-pleased, let the Father hear him. He hath somewhat to say to the Father as well as to us; his Doctrine concerneth us, but his Intercession is made to God.

II. Entertain it with Thankfulness, that such a Remedy should be provided for us argueth the unspeakable Love of God; 1 Ioh. 4. 9. In this was manifested the love of God to us, because that God sent his onely be­gotten Son into the world, that we might live by him. That God should bestow his Son upon us to procure our salvation. God tried [Page 153] Abraham's love in sacrificing his son, but manifested his Love to us, in sending his own Son; he spared him not, but delivered him up for us all. Now that such a Remedy and Ransome, is found out for us it should leave an Impression of Gods love on our Hearts, that we may love him again, who first lo­ved us, 1 Ioh. 4. 19. Think nothing too dear for God, who thought no rate too dear to purchase our Life and Peace. As our salvation was precious to him, let his Glory be dear to us; onely let me tell you, this Love must not be confined to a bare act of our Reason, but you must pray to God to shed abroad this love in your hearts by the Holy Spirit, Rom. 5. 5. that so you may study to love and please God, prize Christ and his precious Benefits above all things in the World, and live to him who died for you, that you may feel the con­straining Efficacy and Force of Love.


MATTH. 17. 5.‘This is my beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased, Hear ye him.’

1. THe Design and Intent of this Scrip­ture is to set forth the Lord Jesus, as the great Mediator, as appeareth.

1. From the occasions upon which this Voice came from Heaven; at his Baptisme, which was Christs dedication of himself to the work of a Redeemer and Saviour, and now at his Transfiguration, to distinguish him from Moses and the other Prophets, and publickly to instal him in the Mediatory Office.

2. The matter of the words shew his fit­ness for this Office, for here you have.

1. His Dignity; not a servant, but a Son, Heb. 3. 5, 6. Moses verily was faithful in all his house as a servant, but Christ as a [Page 155] son over his own house. Now the old Pro­phesies foretold the Union of the two Na­tures in his Person, and necessary it was that our Mediator should be God-Man. There is a Congruity between his Person and Of­fice; one fit to be familiar with Man, and naturally interessed in his Concerns, and yet so high and near the Father, as may put a sufficient value upon his Actions, and so meet to Mediate with God for us.

2. The Dearness between God and him, my beloved son; Christ is the Object of his Fathers love, both as the second Per­son in the Trinity and Mediator. The one is the ground of the other, for because he loved him, he intrusted him with souls, Ioh. 3. 35. The father hath loved him, and put all things into his hands; the Elect and all things else; all power that conduceth to their salvation. Afterwards loved him as Mediator; Ioh. 10. 17. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life that I might take it again. Now such a beloved Son is fittest to Mediate for us, and to come upon a design of Love to demonstrate Gods great Love to wretched sinners, and to be a pledge of that love which God will bestow upon us who are altogether so unworthy of it.

[Page 156] 3. His Acceptableness to God, who is well-pleased with the Design, the Terms, the Management of it.

II. This work of Mediator Christ exe­cuteth by three Offices of King, Priest, Prophet. For he is Head and Lord of the renewed state; a Priest, to offer a sacrifice for sin, which having once offered, he for ever represents in Heaven; he was also to be Teacher of Mankind to acquaint us with the way of salvation. These Offices are of­ten alluded unto in Scripture, Rev. 1. 5. The faithful witness, the first begotten from the dead, the prince of the kings of the earth. So Heb. 1. 2, 3. God hath spoken to us by his son, he having by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high. The effect of them is more briefly described, Ioh. 4. 6. I am the way the truth and the life. The way was opened by his Passion, and is kept open by his Intercession. Truth as a Prophet. Life we have from him, as Prince of Life, or Head of the renewed Estate. So the effects, 1 Cor. 1. 30. But of him are ye in Christ Iesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, sanctifica­tion and redemption. Wisdom as a Prophet to cure our Ignorance and Folly; Righte­ousness and Sanctification as a Priest; Re­demption, [Page 157] as the King and Captain of our Salvation. The same Benefits which he pur­chaseth as a King, he bestoweth as a Priest, revealeth as a Prophet. These three Of­fices were typed out by the First-born, who were Heads of Families, and also Prophets, and Priests.

3. That though all the three Offices be imployed, yet the Prophetical Office is more explicitely mentioned, partly as suit­ing with the present occasion, which is to demonstrate that Christ hath sufficient au­thority to repeal the Law of Moses which the Prophets were to explain, confirm and maintain till his coming. But now Moses and Elias appear in Person to certifie their consent, and God his Approbation, from Heaven, to that new Law of Grace which Christ should set up. Partly because it is not necessary that in every place all the Offices should be mentioned, sometimes but one; as where Christ is called either King, Priest or Prophet; sometimes two, toge­ther, Heb. 3. 1. Prophetical, Sacerdotal; Consider the apostle and high priest of our pro­fession Christ Iesus; sometimes his Prophe­tical and Kingly, Isa. 55. 4. Behold I have given him for a witness to the people, and for a leader and commander to the people. Partly because if Christ be received in this one Of­fice, [Page 158] he will be received in all the rest; for as a Prophet he hath revealed that Doctrine which establisheth his Kingly and Priestly Office; for he hath revealed all things ne­cessary to salvation, and therefore his own sacrifice and Regal Power. Lastly some think all expresly mentioned here; thus Christ is Gods beloved Son, and therefore the Heir of all things, and Lord and King, in whom he is well pleased; that is, pacified and satisfied with his offering as a Priest, or appeased by his compleat sacrifice. Hear him as the great Prophet and Doctor of the Church.

This premised, I come now to observe.

Doct. That Christ is appointed by God the Father to be the great Prophet and Tea­cher, whose voice alone must be heard in the Church.

I. That Christ is the great Prophet and Teacher of the Church appeareth.

1. By the Titles given to him, he is com­pared with Moses, the great Law-giver a­mong the Iews, The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of you like unto me, unto him shall ye hearken, Deut. 18. 15. He was to be like a Moses, but [Page 159] greater than Moses; a Lawgiver as he, a man as he, one that saw God Face to Face as he, a Mediator as he, but far other in all respects; a better Law, a more glorious Person, a more blessed Mediator, working greater miracles than ever did Moses, so he is called our Rabbi or Master; Mar. 23. 8. One is your master even Christ, and ye are brethren. The supream Authority, the ori­ginal hight is in Christ: We are not Lea­ders and Teachers, but Fellow Disciples; so Heb. 3. 1. Consider the Apostle and high priest of our profession, Iesus Christ. Again, he is called the Angel or Messenger of the Covenant, Mal. 3. 1. Christ with a great condescension took upon him the office of his Fathers Ambassador to the Church, to promote the Covenant of Reconciliation, between God and Man, and make offers of it in preaching the Gospel, and he it is that doth by this Spirit perswade the Elect, and doth make his Covenant sure to them. Once more; he is called Amen, the faithful and true witness, Rev. 3. 14. there can be no prejudice against his Testimony; he can ne­ver deceive, nor be deceived; it is so, it will be so, as he hath said, Amen is his Name.

2. By the Properties of his Office; he hath 3 things to qualifie him for this high Office.

[Page 160] 1. Absolute supream Authority; and therefore we must hear him and hearken to him. This is usually made the ground and reason of the Gospel invitation, to invite sinners to submit themselves to seek after God in this way. As Matth. 11. 27, 28. All things are delivered unto me of my father, and no man knoweth the son but the father, neither knoweth any man the father save the son, and he to whomsoever the son will reveal him. Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden, &c. There is no true know­ing of God but by Christ, and the Gospel Revelation which he hath established; there­fore here must we seek rest for our souls. So Ioh. 3. 35, 36. The father loveth the son, and hath put all things into his hands. He that believeth on the son hath everlasting life, and he that believeth not the son hath not seen life, but the wrath of God abideth on him. First his Mediatorial Authority is acknow­ledged, and then Faith and Obedience to the Gospel is called for; for to the sentence of the Son of God we must stand or fall. So when Christ instituted and sent abroad his Messengers, to invite the World to the O­bedience of the Gospel, Matth. 28. 18, 19, 20. All power is given to me both in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Fa­ther, [Page 161] and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. He hath absolute and supream Authority to gather his Church, to appoint Ministers and Ordinances, to be­stow the Spirit, to open and close Heaven and Hell as he pleaseth, to dispose of all affairs in the World for the furtherance of the Gospel, and to enjoyn the whole World obedience to his Commands, and to em­brace this Doctrine,

2. All manner of sufficiency and power of God to execute this Office; Ioh. 3. 34. For he whom God hath sent, speaketh the words of God, for God giveth not the spirit by measure to him. The former Prophets had the Spirit in a limited measure, bestowed on them by God, for such particular purposes as best pleased him. Therefore all their prophesies begin, Thus saith the Lord, as having for every particular Message and Errand new Revelation; but on Christ the Spirit de­scended once for all, and commanded the belief of all and obedience to all that he should say. Therefore it is said, Col. 2. 3. In him are all the treasures of wisdom and know­ledge. He is Ignorant of none of those things which are to be known and practised in order to our eternal salvation; they are deposited with him to be dispensed to us.

[Page 162] 3. There is in him a powerful efficacy. As he hath absolute Authority to teach in his own name, and fulness of sufficiency to make known the Mind of God to us; so he hath power to make his Doctrine Effectual. As when he dealt with his Disciples, after he had opened the Scriptures, he opened their Understandings, Luk. 24. 25. so he opened the heart of Lydia, Acts 16. 14. He can teach so as to draw, Ioh. 6. 44, 45. He can excite the drowsie Mind, change and turn the Rebellious Will, cure the di­stempered Affections, make us to be what he perswadeth us to be. There is no such Teacher as Christ, who doth not only give us our Lesson, but an heart to Learn; therefore to him we must submit, hear no­thing against him, but all from him.

II. About Hearing him; that must be ex­plained also.

First, What it is to Hear. It being our great duty, and the respect bespoken for him In the hearing of words there are 3 things considerable; the sound that cometh to the Ear, the understanding of the Sense and Meaning, and the assent or consent of the Mind. Of the first, the Beasts are ca­pable, for they have Ears to hear the sound [Page 163] of words uttered. The second is common to all Men, for they can sense such intelligi­ble words as they hear. The third belong­eth to Disciples, who are swayed by their Masters Authority. So that, Hear him, is not to hear as Beasts, nor barely to hear as Men, but to hear as Disciples; to believe him, to obey him; to believe his Doctrines and Promises, and to obey his Precepts. For his Authority is absolute, and what he doth say, doth warrant our Faith, and command our practice and obedience. I gather this partly from the word Hear, which not only signifies Attention and Belief, but Obedience, as 1 Sam. 15. 22. To obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken then the fat of rams. Where to obey and hearken, are put as words of the same import and sig­nification. Partly from the Matter of Christs Revelation; he hath revealed not onely Doctrines to inform the Mind, but Pre­cepts to reform the Heart and Practice. If we assent to the doctrine, but do not obey the precepts, we do not hear him. There­fore to hear him is to yield obedience to what he shall teach you; and when Christ cometh to take an account of the entertainment of the Gospel, he shall come in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of [Page 164] our Lord Iesus Christ. Partly too from the intimate connexion there is between his Prophetical and Regal Office. Christ is so a Prophet, that he is also a Soveraign; and doth not onely give us Counsel and Dire­ction, but a Law, which we are to observe under the highest penalties. If the Gospel were an arbitrary direction, which we might observe or not observe, without any great danger to our selves, surely it were folly to despise good Counsel; but it hath the force of a new Law from the great King and Law-giver of the World, there­fore it must not onely be believed but obey­ed; Heb. 5. 8. He that is the chief prophet of the church, is also the king of saints. Partly also from the near connexion that is be­tween Faith and Obedience. The Matter which we believe is of a practical concern­ment, and doth not require onely a simple Faith, or bare belief, which were enough in points merely speculative; but a ready Obedience. It is said Rom. 16. 26. The mysteries of the gospel are made manifest to all nations for the obedience of faith. They are not matters of speculation and talk, but practice; and Blessedness is pronounced on such as hear them and keep them; Luk. 11. 28. Blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it. Many hear and talk, [Page 165] hear and stuff their Minds with Notions, but they do not frame themselves to the practice of what they hear. Many questi­on not Christs Authority, but yet they do not regard his Doctrine. Now Faith doth not onely silence our doubts, but quicken our Affections, and enliven our Practice.

Secondly, How can we now hear Christ, since he is removed into the Heaven of Heavens, and doth not speak to us in Person.

Answ. Surely it doth not onely concern the Believers of that Age, who conversed with Christ in the dayes of his Flesh; but it is the general duty of all Christians to hear Christ; for during the whole Gospel dispensation, God speaketh to us by his Son. Heb. 1. 2. The Revelation is settled, and not delivered by parcels, as it was to the ordinary prophets. Now we hear Christ in the Scriptures, Heb. 2. 3, 4. How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation? Which was first spoken by the Lord and afterwards confirmed to us by them that heard him. He began to speak and to declare the Gospel both before and after his Resurrection; and they that heard him were especially the Apostles, who being indued by the Holy [Page 166] Ghost declared it first to the Iewes, and then to the Gentiles to whom it was contin­ued by divers signs and wonders, as to the Apostles, and to extraordinary Messengers. Christ saith, Luk. 10. 16. He that heareth you, heareth me, and he that despiseth you, de­spiseth me, and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me. The despising of the Mes­senger, is the despising him that sendeth the Message. A mans Apostle is himself, is a Iewish Proverb. As to ordinary Ministers he saith, lo, I am with you to the end of the world, Mar. 28. 20. they are taken into part of the Apostolical Commission and Blessings; they preach in Christs Name, and we as in his stead pray you to be reconciled, 2 Cor. 5. 20. so that it is his Voice and his Message, he affordeth his Presence and Assistance unto the Worlds end. If you receive it with Faith and Obedience, you are in a Course and way which will bring you to Everlasting Blessedness: but if you stand out obstinate­ly against his Message, you are in the way to Everlasting Misery, for refusing Gods methods for your Redemption.

Thirdly, The Properties of this Hearing or Submission to our Great Prophet.

1. There must be a resolute Consent or Resignation of our selves to his Teaching [Page 167] and Instruction. All particular duties are included in the general. First, we own Christ in his Offices, before we perform the duties, which each of those offices calleth for at our hands and from us; before we de­pend on him as a Priest, or obey him as a King. As we receive him with thankfulness and love, as our dearest Saviour, and with Reverence, and a consent of subjection, as a soveraign Lord; so also with a consent of Resolution to follow his directions, as our Prophet and Teacher, being convinced that he is sent from God to shew us the way of Life and Happiness; Ioh. 6. 63. Lord to whom shall we go, thou hast the words of Eter­nal Life. His Doctrine sheweth that there is such a thing, how it was purchased, which way it may be had, by Gods offer and the terms prescribed. Before we take any par­ticular direction from Christ about this or that duty, we must first consent in the ge­neral, that he shall be our Teacher and Prophet. A particular consent to Christ in this Relation is as necessary as to any of the rest.

2. This Resignation of our Souls to Christ as a Teacher, as it must be resolute, so it must be unbounded and without re­serves. We must submit absolutely to all that he propoundeth, though some Myste­ries [Page 168] be above our Reason, some Precepts against the Interest and Inclination of the Flesh, some Promises seem to be against Hope, or contrary to natural probabilities. There are some Misteries in the Christian Religion, though not against Reason, yet above Na­tural Reason. Now we must believe them upon Christs word, Captivantes omnem intel­lectum in obsequium Christi, 2 Cor. 10. 5. Bringing into Captivity every thought into the obedience of Christ. All our disputings and reasonings against the Christian Doctrine, must be captivated by a submission to the Authority of our Teacher and Prophet. A Disciple is to be a Learner, not a Caviller; and some Principles are not to be chewed, but swallowed as Pills on the credit of the Physitian, when it appeareth on other Grounds that Christ is the great Teacher sent from God. And as there are Myste­ries above our Reason, so there be duties against the Interest and Inclination of the Flesh. Many of Christs Precepts are dis­pleasing to Corrupt Nature; to deny our selves, to take up the Cross, to mortifie our Appetites and Passions, to cut off right hands, and to pluck out right Eyes, that none shall be saved that are not Regenerate and Holy; that non-condemnation is the priviledge of those that walk not after the [Page 169] Flesh, but after the Spirit; that if we live after the Flesh, we shall dye; that we must not seek great things for our selves; that we must hate Father and Mother, and our own life, if we will be Christs Disciples: Flesh and Blood can hardly down with these things: that there shall be such an exact day of account, such eternal torments in the other World: yet if this be revealed by our great Prophet, as reason must not be heard against Christ, so the flesh must not be heard against Christ, nor the World heard against Christ; so if some of our Hopes exceed the probability of natural causes, Rom. 4. 18. he against hope believed in hope, as the Resurrection of the Body, we must believe and obey him in what he offereth and commandeth, notwithstanding the contradiction of our carnal minds, and hearts, in what is hard to be believed, and practised as well as in what is easie.

3. It must be speedy, as to the great so­lemn acts of submission, do not delay to hear him, Heb. 3. 7. To day if you will hear his voice harden not your hearts. Christ must not be put off with dilatory shifts, if we re­fuse to hear to day, Christ may refuse to speak to morrow. The Father hath his time of waiting, the Son of his Gospel-of­fers, the Spirit of his earnest motions: it is [Page 170] dangerous to slip our day, therefore if you will hear him, hear him now? hear him betimes, the season falleth under the pre­cept as well as the duty, now while it is cal­led to day.

4. Your consent to hear him must be real, practical, and obediential, verifyed in the whole tenour and course of your lives and actions: for Christ will not be flattered with empty Titles, why call ye me Lord, and Ma­ster, and do not the things which I say? Luke 6. 46. if you pretend to hear his word, you must do it also, for you do not hear to please your minds with knowing, but that you may make it your serious care and bu­siness to serve, love and please God. Many study Christianity to form their opinions, rather then reform their Hearts and Practice. The great use of Knowledge, and Faith, is to behold the love of God in the face of Je­sus Christ; that our own love may be quick­ned and encreased to him again. If it serve onely to regulate opinions, it is but dead speculation, not a living Faith. A naked belief is but the sight of a Feast, it is the gracious soul doth eat and digest it; when our Faith is turned into Love, and Obedi­ence that is the true Faith.

III. The reasons why this Prophet must be heard.

[Page 171] 1. Consider whose voice it is who speak­eth, the only beloved Son of God, or God himself, and surely when he speaketh he must be heard, Heb. 12. 25. See that ye re­fuse not him that speaketh from Heaven, for if they escaped not who refuse him that spake from Earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from Hea­ven. It is Christ doth speak, and God by him, commanding us to repent and believe the Gospel, now to refuse him is a high con­tempt. God when he gave the Law he spake on Earth, but when he spake by Christ, he spake from Heaven; for Christ came from Heaven to acquaint us with the mind of God, and having done it is return­ed to Heaven again; from whence he sent down his Spirit on the Apostles, who re­vealed his Gospel to the World. This was a Mystery hidden in the bosom of God, and brought to us thence, by his only begotten Son, surely with all humble submission we should attend unto and obey his Word, Psal. 103. 20. Bless the Lord ye his An­gels, that excel in strength, that do his Com­mandements, hearkning to the voice of his Word.

2. The matter which he speaketh, and we hear the Doctrine of the Gospel, it is the most sweet excellent and comfortable [Page 172] Doctrine that can be heard, or understood by the heart of man, Prov. 8. 6. Hear saith Wisdom for I will speak of excellent things, and the opening of my lips shall be of right things. This is the brightest light that ever shone from Heaven. The profoundest Wisdom, the greatest Love, and Mercy that ever was or can be shown to sinful wretches, of the highest concernment to man, because his Everlasting state lyeth up­on it, a state of Everlasting wo or weal.

Three things I shall take notice of.

1. The way of Reconciliation with God, manifested and discovered out of his inti­mate Love to us. Man had fallen from the Love of God to the creature, and was con­scious to himself of having displeased his Maker, and so lay under the fears of his vindictive Justice. Now God by Christ declareth his Love to the offender, in the fullest and most astonishing way, Reconci­ling himself to him, and sheweth his readi­ness to forgive, and save him, 1 Tim. 1. 15. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptati­on, that Iesus Christ came into the World to save sinners, of whom I am chief, and 2 Cor. 5. 19. God was in Christ reconciling the World to himself. Oh what should be more welcom to the creature than this news, of [Page 173] this pardoning Covenant founded in the Blood of Christ.

2. Our duty exactly stated with conveni­ent motives to enforce it. Not only the com­fort of man is provided for, but also our subjection to God, and that upon the fre­est and most comfortable terms, that we should serve him in love, and glorifie, and please him, that we may be happy in his love to us: for the sum of Religion is to love him, and keep his Commandements, Iohn 14. 21, 23, He that keepeth my Commande­ments he it is that loveth me, and if any man love me he will keep my Words, to love him is our work, and to be beloved of him is our Happiness, and verse 24. He that loveth me not keepeth not my saying, and the word which you hear is not mine, but the Fathers which sent me. The Gospel is the very Word of God, both the Fathers and the Sons, it is an act of loving, serving, and pleasing God, for this is the Word Christ preached, that we love God, and Christ loveth us again.

3. A prospect of eternal Happiness, 2 Tim. 1. 10. He hath brought Life and Immortali­ty to light through the Gospel, this is news, but darkly revealed before, and without this [Page 174] man, knew not how to satisfie all his capa­cities and desires, but was like Leviathan in a little Pool. Nay we have not only a pro­spect of it, but the offer of it as a reward appointed, if we will be sincere in our Faith, Love, and Obedience, 1 Iohn 2. 25. This is the promise that he hath promised us even eternal Life. Everlasting Joy and Blessedness is propounded to us, Oh then hear him, if this be that he speaketh of.

3. The Danger of not hearing this Pro­phet.

1. For the present to continue to slight and contemn the Gosple, is the mark that you are in a carnal perishing condition, 2 Cor. 4. 3. If our Gosple is hid it is hid to them that are lost, Iohn 10. 3. My Sheep hear my voice, and verse 16. Other Sheep are there which are not of this fold, and they shall hear my voice. Christs Sheep whether Jew or Gentile, they have all the same cha­racter, they all hear his voice, and verse 27. My Sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me. They distinguish his voice, own his voice, obey his voice; so Iohn 8. 47. Whosoever is of God heareth Gods Words, ye therefore hear them not, be­cause ye are not of God, so that you lose all [Page 175] this comfort, if ye do not hear the voice of Christ, and his faithful Servants.

2. For the Future, Deut. 18. 19. Who­soever will not hearken to the words which that Prophet shall speak in my name, I will require it of him, that is, he must look to answer it another day. Peter rendreth it Acts 3. 23. Whosoever will not hearken to that Prophet shall be destroyed among the people. It is not a bodily punishment but eternal torment, Iohn 3. 36. The wrath of God abideth on him. Mark 16. 16. He that believeth not shall be damned. Thus you see how dan­gerous it is to refuse this Prophet.


1. Of Conviction, to the carnal Christian for not submitting to Christs Authority. All Christians do it in pretence, but few that do it in reality. Doth his Word come to you, not only in Word but in Power?

1. Do you seriously come to him that you may have pardon, and life. When Christ had proved that he was the Son of God, the great Prophet of the Church, by the testimony of Iohn, the testimony of his works, the testimony of his Father, and the testimony of the Scriptures, Iohn 5. 40. And ye will not come unto me that ye [Page 176] may have Life, though Iohn, his Works, the Father, the Scriptures, will prove him to be what he was, the Messias; the Savi­our; and Redeemer of the World; yet they would not come to him, nor believe, but wilfully rejected him, and their own blessedness: What the Jews did wilfully, carnal Christians do lazily, they prize his Name and slight his Office, do not come to him to be taught, sanctified and drawn to God.

2. Do you respect the Word of the Go­spel, entertain it with Reverence, and De­light; as the Voice of the great Prophet? Do you meditate on it, digest it as the seed of the new Life, as the rule of your actions, as the Charter of your Hopes? A good man is described to be one that delighteth in the Law of the Lord, and meditateth therein day and night, Psal. 1. 2. and again Psal. 119. 97. Oh how I love thy Law, it is my Meditation all the day long. But alas few are of this temper, Hos. 8. 12. I have written to them the great things of thy Law, but they were counted as a strange thing, they contemned the Word of God, as if its directi­ons were of little importance, or did not concern them. Most men live like stran­gers to the Word of God, little conver­sant [Page 177] in it, as if there were no great hazard in breaking it.

3. Do you mingle it with Faith in the hearing, that it may profit you, Heb. 4. 2. and feel the power of it for your good, but rather you shun it, run from it, Iohn 3. 20. They that do evil hate the light, and will not come to the light, least their deeds should be re­proved. The Word is a torment, rather then a comfort to you, you are afraid it will be found too true.

4. Do you receive it as the Word of God, 1 Thess. 2. 13. It may be you do not contradict the divine Authority in the Scriptures, but do you soundly believe them, and know the certainty of those things wherein you are instructed, Luke 1. 4. Have you done any thing to prove the supream Truth, that Jesus is a Teacher sent from God? Most mens Faith is so weak and slight, because it is taken hand over head, there is no deepness of Earth, Mark 13. 6. You have some light sense of Religi­on, but slight impressions are soon defaced, and truths easily taken up are as soon quit­ted, the more we search into the grounds of things the more we believe, Acts 17. 11. [Page 178] The Bereans searched the Scriptures, whe­ther those things were so or no.

5. Doth it come to you as the Mediators Word, not in Word only but in Power, 1 Thess. 1. 5. There is a convincing power in the Word, Acts 2. 37. When they heard these things, they were pricked in the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the Apostles, Men and Brethren what shall we do? Many have not felt this power, but they fear it, Iohn 3. 20. Every one that doth evil hateth the light, neither commeth he to the light, least his deeds should be reproved. A converting power, when it becometh the seed of a new Life, 1 Pet. 1. 23. Being born again not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God which liveth and abideth for ever. A comforting power, giving the heirs of promise strong consolation, Heb. 6. 18. Do you find any thing of this in your hearts, is it ingrafted in your soules, Iames 1. 21. Receive with meekness the in­grafted Word which is able to save your Souls.

6. Do you hear him universally? it is said of the great Prophet, Acts 3. 22. him shall ye hear in all things that he shall say unto you. [Page 179] Many will hear him in the offers of pardon, but not in the precepts of duty, you must take his whole Covenant, the Promises for your Happiness, the duty for your work.

7. Do you hear him so as to prefer God and Christ, and the Life to come, above all the sensual Pleasures and vain delights, and worldly Happiness, which you enjoy here? Religion is obstructed, not soundly receiv­ed: if your hearts be not taken off from these things, Luke 8. 14. That which fell a­mong Thornes are they which when they have heard go forth, and are choked with cares and riches, and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. He is not a Scholar of Christ, who is not more devoted to the Love and Obedience of God, then any sensual satisfaction here below, unless you can renounce the Devil, the World and Flesh, and give up your selves to Christ, to be taught, sanctified and saved, and brought home to God, to enjoy him in Everlasting Glory; and taught how to de­ny Ungodliness and Worldly lusts, Titus 2. 12.


II. Advice to weak Christians.

1. To excite themselves to obedience by this hear him when dead and lifeless. Ma­ny times the heart is dull and needeth quick­ning, Conscience groweth sleepy and need­eth awakening, you are too bold in sinning, cold and careless in spiritual and heavenly things. Now the first means to quicken us is Christs divine Authority, 2 Pet. 1. 16. For we have not followed cunningly devised Fables, when we made known unto you the power and comming of our Lord Iesus Christ, but were eye-witnesses of his Majesty, when there came such a voice to him from the excel­lent Glory, this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. When you are customary in Prayer, and Hearing, it is Christs will, I must do it as I will answer it to him ano­ther day.

2. When you do renounce some belov­ed lust, or pleasing sin, urge your hearts with Christs Authority. Remember who telleth you of cutting off your right hand, and plucking out your right eye. How can I look the Mediator in the face, if I should [Page 181] wilfully break any of his Laws, prefer the satisfaction of a base lust, before the mer­cies and hopes offered me by Jesus Christ.

3. In deep distresses, when you are apt to question the comfort of the Promises, it is hard to keep the rejoycing of Hope, with­out regarding whose Word and Promise it is? Heb. 3. 6. Whose house are ye, if ye hold fast the confidence and the rejoycing of hope firm unto the end.


MATTH. 17. 6, 7, 8.‘And when the Disciples heard it they fell on their faces, and were sore afraid. And Iesus came and touched them, and said, arise be not afraid. And when they had lift up their eyes, they saw no man save Iesus onely.’

IN this part of the History are Three Things.

  • 1. The Disciples Fear and Astonishment, verse 6.
  • 2. Their Comfortable and Gracious reco­very by Christ, verse 7.
  • 3. The Event and Issue of all, verse 8.

1. Their Astonishment, they fell on their faces and were sore afraid; their falling on their faces was not out of Worship, and Re­verence, [Page 183] but consternation, as those Iohn 18. 6. As soon as he said to them I am he, they went backward and fell to the ground. The causes of their fear must be enquired into. These were holy men, the flower of Christs Disciples; they were men in an ho­ly action, for Belshazar in his cups to trem­ble were no news, they were not in the pre­sence of an angry God, it was a Gospel­voice that they heard, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him. They had not a full dispensation of his glo­ry, but only a glimpse of it, and that un­der a cloud and revealed in Mercy; yet they were sore afraid. Upon any Visions and Apparitions of the divine Majesty, Gods Servants fell to the Earth, Ezek. 1. 28. When I saw the appearance of the likeness of the Glory of God, I fell on my face; Paul when Christ appeared to him from Heaven, he fell to the Earth, Acts 9. 4. Rev. 1. 17. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. Abra­ham was cast into great horrour, Gen. 15. 12. when God appeared solemnly to en­ter into Covenant with him. So Isa. 6. 5. Then I said, wo is me, for I am undone. So Daniel chap. 10. 8. 9. When I saw this great vision, there was no strength in me; for my come­liness was turned into corruption, and I re­tained no strength, yet I heard the voice of his [Page 184] words, then was I in a deep sleep upon my face, and my face was towards the ground.

Now I shall give the special reasons why the manifestation, and appearance of God to his great Prophets did breed this asto­nishment and Fear. (2.) What general Note and Observation, may be concluded hence for our profit.

1. The special Reasons why these mani­festations and appearances of God to his great Prophets do breed this astonishment and fear, they are Two.

1. To humble them to whom he vouch­safed so great a favour. To humble them least the Glory of these heavenly Visions should too much puff them up. Therefore there was ever some weakness discovered in those that did receive them; Iacob wrestled with God, but came off halting and maimed, though he prevailed, Gen 32. 31. when he came off from seeing God face to face, he halted on his thigh. Paul was wrapt into the third Heaven, yet presently buffetted with a messenger of Satan, least he should be lift­ed up with the abundance of Revelations, 2 Cor. 12. 7. Corruption remaineth in us and we are not able to bear these favours, which God manifesteth to his choice Ser­vants, and therefore there is something to humble them, in the dispensation, and to [Page 185] keep them from being puffed up with pride, something that is a ballance to the great honour wherewith God hath honour­ed them.

2. All those that received Visions from him to teach his people, God would season them by leaving a stamp and impression of his excellency upon them. This was the preparation of the Prophets, and a prepa­ration of the Disciples to fit them for the work of the Gospel. A due representation of Gods glory and excellent Majesty doth qualifie them for their duty; they are fittest to carry Gods message and describe him to others, who are thus qualified and prepa­red, and have some reverence and awe of God impressed upon their own hearts, and have felt the power of his great Majesty, 2 Cor. 5. 16. Knowing the terrors of the Lord we perswade men.

The General Conclusion and Observati­on which we may draw from thence is this.

Doctrine, That God is of such glorious Excellency and Majesty, that we are not able to bear any emissions, or extraordi­nary Representations thereof in this state of frailty.

  • 1. I will prove that God is a great God, and of glorious Majesty.
  • [Page 186] 2. Give you the Reasons why we are not able to bear the extraordinary manifestations thereof in this state of frailty.

1. That God is a God of great Majesty, and ought to be reverenced by all that have to do with him. The point being a matter of sense, and evident by natural light, needeth not to be proved so much as improved.

1. Scripture representeth him as such Dan. 9. 4. He is called the great and dreadful God, so Deut. 7. 21. A Mighty God and terrible, and Nahum 1. 5. A great and terrible God is he, and again Job 37. 22. With God is terrible Majesty.

2. This eminently shineth forth both in his Works of Creation and Providence. 1. Cre­ation, in the stupendious Fabrick of the Heavens, Ier. 32. 17, 18, 19. Ah Lord God, behold thou hast made the Heaven, and the Earth by thy great power and outstretched arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee, &c. In that mighty Collection of Waters in the Sea, we cannot look upon that vast expansion of the Firmament, that huge body of Waters in the Sea without some religious horrour, what is the God that made all this, Ier. 5. 22. Fear ye not me, saith the Lord? will ye not tremble at my presence? which have placed the Sand for a bound to the Sea, by a perpetual [Page 187] decree that it cannot pass it, and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it. 2. Providence, whether in his way of Mercy or Judgment. Mercy; what a Majestick description of God is there, Ps. 50. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. yet there his presence in his Church is described. The drift of the Psalm is, to set forth Gods Power and Ma­jesty when he comes to call the Gentiles, and to set up the Evangelical way of his Worship, when the light of the Gospel shall shine forth from Sion, Psalm 5. 5. by terrible things in Righteousness wilt thou an­swer us, Oh God, thou God of our Salvation. Though God is a God of Salvation, yet the way of his delivering them carryeth Maje­sty and Terror with it. So his Works of Judgment, Psal. 119. 120. My flesh trem­bleth for fear of thee, and I am afraid of thy Iudgments, when the wicked of the Earth are put away like dross. A Lyon trembleth to see a Dog beaten before him, and it is im­puted as a fault to the wicked, that they do not take notice of it, Isa. 26. 10. They will not behold the Majesty of God.

3. His Greatness and Majesty is such, that we cannot comprehend it, Iob 36. 26. Behold God is great and we know him not, nor can the number of his years be searched out. [Page 188] The Greatness of God cannot be known, but only by way of Negation, that he hath none of those infirmities, which may lessen his being in our thoughts, or by way of comparison, that he is above all, God is greater then man, Ier. 36. 12.

4. So great that he is fain to put a cove­ring on, to enterpose the Clouds between us and him, for we are not able to bear his glorious and majestick presence, Ioh 26. 9. He holdeth back the face of his Throne, and spreadeth his Cloud upon it. What would be­come of us, if he should discover all his Glory: this is his condescension to the lower World, to appear under a vail, and cover his Throne with Clouds.

But though we do not know his full Ma­jesty, yet there is enough discovered both to Faith, Reason and Sense, that God is great and glorious, both in himself and in all his Works. Scripture declareth it to Faith, and Reason will soon subscribe to so evi­dent a Truth, that he that made and su­staineth all things, must needs be a great God. What other conceptions can we form of him, when we look to the Heaven, and this Earth which he sustaineth by his great Power, and he declareth himself to Sense by his dayly Providence to be a God of great Majesty.

[Page 189] The proof of it needeth not so much to be spoke to as the improvement of it, which we are called upon for every where.

1. It is a Mercy that being so great, he taketh notice of us, Psal. 8. 3, 4. When I consider thy Heavens, the work of thy Fin­gers, the Moon and Stars which thou hast or­dained, what is man that thou art mindful of him, and the Son of Man that thou visitest him. When we consider how the Majesty of God shineth forth in the heavenly Bo­dies, and those many glorious Creatures God hath made besides us: we may won­der that God should esteem of man, and take care of man; and be so solicitous a­bout mans welfare, who was formed at first out of so vile materials, as the dust of the Earth, and is still of so very frail, in­firm and mortal condition, and hath carry­ed himself so unthankfully to God, that he should take care of him above his whole Creation, Psalm 113. 6, 7. The Lord our God dwelleth on high, who humbleth himself to behold the things in Heaven and Earth. That the great God of such glorious Majesty should take notice of Worms, and behold us not only by visiting, over-seeing, and go­verning the affairs of this lower World, but should condescend to this low estate of ours, in taking our flesh; whose Excellency [Page 190] and Majesty is so great, that he might de­spise the Angels, of whom he hath no need: but to stoop so low towards men is matter of wonder, praise, and adoration.

2. We should be humble in our con­versing with him, considering what he is, and we are, Iob 42. 5, 6. I have heard of thee with the hearing of the ear, now mine eye seeth thee, therefore I abhor my self in dust and ashes. This should keep his children in a holy awe. Oh how low should we lye be­fore this great God, Gen. 18. 27. Who am I that am but dust and ashes, that I should speak unto God.

3. That we must not please our selves with the performance of ordinary service to him, but we should raise it to an eminent degree of Worship and Adoration, Psal. 48. 1. Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised in the City of our God, and Psalm 145. 3. Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised. Alass the best we do is much beneath God. what low thoughts had Solomon of his state­ly Temple, 2 Chr. 2. 6. Who is able to build thee an house, seeing the Heaven of Hea­vens is not able to contain him, who am I that I should build him an house? Thus should we see, that our best resolutions and per­formances come much short of the excellen­cy and greatness of God. All formality and [Page 191] lifeless service proceedeth from hence, that we have not due and raised thoughts of his Ma­jesty and Being, Mal. 1. 14. I am a great King, saith the Lord of Hosts. The greatness of God calleth for other service then usually we give to him: he gets nothing from us that is perfect. But surely we should not put him off with our refuse, but spend the best of our strength, time, parts, and af­fections, in his service. Superficial dealing in it argueth mean thoughts of God, it is a lessening of his Majesty.

4. We serve a great Master, and so may expect great things from him. He discover­eth himself unto his people according to the greatness and Majesty of his Being, Ps. 126. 2, 3. The Lord hath done great things for them, yea the Lord hath done great things for us whereof we are glad. Kings or Princes do not give pence or brass Farthings, but bestow Gifts becomming their Magnificence. The Heathens were forced to acknowledg it, and the people of God do willing acknow­ledg it, so Ioel 2. 21. Fear not, O Land, be glad and rejoyce, for the Lord will do great things. Be the Mercies never so rare, the way never so difficult, God is able to accomplish them.

5. This should banish the fear of man, as to any danger can come from them to us, or to any attempts against God, Matth. [Page 192] 10. 28. Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the Soul, but rather fear him who is able to destroy both body and Soul in Hell fire; they may threaten great things to us, but God threatneth greater. See Exod. 18. 11. Now I know that God is greater then all Gods, for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly God was above them. There is a greater being we have to depend upon.

6. Because God is of such Majesty and Greatness, we should quarrel at none of his dealings, for he is too high to be questi­oned by the Creature, and his Counsels are carryed on in such a way as we cannot judg of them, no more then a Worm can judge of the affairs of a man; he is great in Coun­sel, and wonderful in working.

7. This should keep his children in an holy awe, Heb. 12. 28, 29. Let us have Grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with Reverence and Godly Fear, for our God is a consuming fire. When we come in the Holy Assemblies, Gen. 28. 17. How dread­ful is this place. In our general course we must not slight his frowns, nor despise his favours, all comes from a great God, nor behave our selves irreverently in his pre­sence, but still walk as those that have to do with a great and glorious God.

[Page 193] II. That in this present state we are not able to bear any extraordinary manifestati­on of his Greatness and Majesty.

1. Because of his Glory, which would consume and swallow us up. This was a Voice from the excellent Glory, 2 Pet. 1. 17. Now if this excellent Glory by the Vail of the Firmament were not obscured, man were not able to bear it, Iob 37. 20. If man speak, he shall be swallowed up. 1 Tim. 6. 16. He dwelleth in light which no man can approach unto, whom no man hath seen, nor can see, till we are received to Heaven. Thus it is, his Glory would kill us, his Voice confound us. There is a mighty disproportion be­tween Mortal Creatures, and the infinite Majesty of God; the brightness of his Glo­ry soon burdeneth, and over-burdeneth the infirmity of the best Creatures.

2. Because of our Weakness.

1. Natural: We faint when we meet with any thing extraordinary, and there­fore no wonder if we are astonished with the near approach of the Excellent Majesty of God, and made unfit for any action of Body or Mind. If we cannot look on the Sun, how can we see God? our Felicity in Heaven would be our Misery on Earth: This Wine is too strong for old Bottles.

[Page 194] 2. Sinful Infirmity, consciousness of guilt is in it also, and our disconformity to God through sin, Isa. 6. 5, 6. Wo is me, I am for un­done, I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips, and mine eyes have seen the king, the Lord of hosts. So Peter, Luk. 5. 8. Depart from me, for I am a sinful man; this raiseth a fear in us up­on every eminent approach or discovery of Gods Glory. Before the Fall, God and Adam were Friends; he would have en­dured God to speak to him; yet after the fall the appearance of God became terrible. When he heareth his voice, he is afraid and hideth himself, and something of this fear sticketh to the best of his People, and when God is eminently near it is discovered. For persons that have sin in them, to be near to so Holy and Glorious a Majesty, that is a part of the reason of this Fear and Trouble. Well then, both these causes go together, the Representation of the Majesty of God, and the sense of our own frailty and weak­ness.


Is to press us to two things;

  • I. To press us to an holy Awe and Reve­rence, when we come near to God.
  • II. To take heed that our fear of God do not degenerate into a slavish fear.

First, To press us to an holy Awe and Re­verence of God, when we draw nigh unto him. Surely we should in all our Worship have such thoughts of God, as may leave a stamp of Humility, and some Impressions of the Majesty and Excellency of God upon us; and we should fall upon our faces, though not in a way of Consternation, yet in a way of Adoration. And because usually we be­wray much slightness and Irreverence in our converses with God and Approaches to him, I shall press it a little.

1. I will shew how the Scriptures in the general do call for this Holy Awe of the Majesty of God in all our Worship. Psal. 111. 9. Holy and reverend is his name, and therefore never to be used by us, but in an awful and serious manner; Psal. 96. 4. The Lord is great and greatly to be praised, he is to be feared above all Gods▪ Whether [Page 196] we pray, or whether we praise God, still the heart must be deeply possessed with a sense of his Excellency, and we must ad­mire him, above all created or imaginable greatness whatsoever, and so mingle reve­rence, with our most delightful Addresses to him. Again, Psal. 89. 17. God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of his Saints, and to be had in reverence of all that are round about him. Holy Angels, and sanctified Men, who of all Creatures have nearest Access to God, should most adore and reverence him, because they are best acquainted with him, and have the clearest sight of him that mor­tal creatures are capable of. The Angels are an assembly of holy Ones, that alwayes behold his Face; therefore alwayes Laud­ing and Glorifying God: So God is said to be terrible in his holy places, Psal. 68. 35. whether Heaven, or the Church; indeed the awful carriage of his people in his Worship should be one means to convince of the Excellency and Majesty of God, 1 Cor. 14. 25. The Apostle sheweth there, that an Unbeliever coming into the Christi­an Assemblies when they are managed with Gravity and Awe is convinced and judged, and will fall down on his face and worship God, and say, God is in you of a truth. That is, seeing their Humility, brokenness [Page 197] of Heart, hearing their praises and admirati­ons of God, and seeing their orderliness and composedness of Spirit; whereas rudeness, slightness and irreverence, doth pollute and stain the glory of God in their Minds.

2. Other Addresses will not become Faith and Love.

1. Faith, for whosoever cometh to God must fix this principle in his Mind, that God is, Heb. 1. 6. We do not worship God aright if we do not Worship him as Believers, and if we worship him as Believers, we will worship him with reverence, and godly fear. Faith giveth us not only a thought of God, but some kind of sight of God, and sight will leave an impression upon the heart of reverence and seriousness; surely a sight or believing thought of God should be able to do any thing upon the soul. It is the great work of Faith, to see him that is invisible, Heb. 11. 27. We should in our whole conversation live as in his sight, and live as those that remember God standeth by, and seeth all that we are about: but especially in our worship, we then set our selves as before the Lord. Pray as to our Father, that seeth what we do, Mat. 6. 6. Pray to thy father which is in secret and thy father which seeth in secret, will reward thee openly. Hear as before the Lord, Acts 10. [Page 198] 33. We are all here present before God to hear all things that are commanded thee of God. Then the Soul should turn the back upon all other things, that the mind may be ta­ken up with nothing but God.

2. No other worship will become Love. Worship is an act of love and delight. Now love is seen in admiring the Excellencies of that glorious Being whom we love, and ascribing all to him, as being deeply affected with his Goodness, Rev. 4. 10. The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, honour and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. They fell down not out of astonishment but reverence, and cast their Crowns before the Throne. Whatever Honour they have, they had it from God, and are content to lay it at his feet, from whom they have life, and being, and all things. They have such an high esteem of God, that before him they cannot be too vile. They are unworthy to wear any Crown in Gods presence, and are content that their Honour be a footstool to advance and extol his Glory. Certainly those that are heartily affected to God will go about [Page 199] his Worship, as with Chearfulness, so with Humility and Reverence.

Secondly, To take heed that our Humility and Reverence, do not degenerate into servile Fear and Discouragement. It is apt to do so even in the best of Gods People. We can hardly keep the middle between the extreams, our Faith is apt to degenerate into presumption, and our Humility into despondency of Spirit, and our Fear into discouragement and distrust. So hard a matter is it to serve the Lord with fear, and to rejoyce with trembling, Psal. 2. 11. or to walk in the fear of God, and in the com­forts of the Holy Ghost.

Therefore to avoid this Consternation, do two things.

1. Consider how amiable God hath re­presented himself in Jesus Christ, and how near he is come to us: and within the reach of our Commerce there is a new and liv­ing way, through the Vail of his flesh, Heb. 10. 20. So that though our God be a con­suming fire, yet there is a screen between us and this Fire; though if he should draw away the Vail, a glimpse of his glory would kill us, yet this Glory being vailed, we may have access with confidence, Eph. 3. 12. There are naturally in our hearts fears, estranged­ness [Page 200] and backwardness from God; but now God is incarnate, and hath been manifested in our flesh, we may have more familiar thoughts of him, and they are made more sweet and acceptable to us.

2. Get your own peace with God made and confirmed to you more and more, Rom. 5. 1, 2. Being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through Iesus Christ our Lord. So Eph. 2. 18. He preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that are nigh, for through him we both have an access by one spirit to the father. See the breach made up, between you and God, and be very tender of putting it to hazards any more. God that is a consuming fire to guilty souls is a Sun of Righteousness to the upright; when we are accepted in the beloved, those thoughts of God which guilt will make amazing and terrible, will be through peace comfortable and refreshing.

Secondly, Their comfortable and graci­ous Recovery by Christ, Ver. 7. And Iesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, be not afraid. He relieveth and helpeth them by three things.

  • 1. His Approach.
  • 2. His Touch.
  • 3. His Word.

[Page 201] 1. His Approach; he came to them, you must understand having laid aside his glory, which he had in the Transfiguration, that he might more familiarly converse with them, and without prejudice. Because of their weakness and infirmity he layeth aside his Majesty, and reassumeth the habit of his Humiliation; as Moses did put a Vail upon his face, that the people might endure his sight and presence. Gods appearing at first may be terrible, but the issue is sweet and comfortable, a still calm Voice followed the Earthquake, Wind and Fire, 1 Kings 19. and God doth good to his People, after he hath humbled them and proved them, Deut. 8. 16. Here when the Apostles lay like dead men, Christ came and put new life, and strength into them. He came of love and pity to them, that nothing more grie­vous might happen to them; either loss of life or senses. He would not let them perish in these amazements.

2. His Touch. He touched them. Christs Touch is powerful, and a means of Appli­cation. Usually thus Christ conveyed and applyed his Power, Mat. 8. 3. He touched the leper and cleansed him. Mat. 8. 15. He touched Peters wives mother, and cured her of a fever. So Matth. 9. 19. He touched the two blind men, and they received their sight; [Page 202] and in many other places, so this touching of the Apostles, was to apply his Power, and to recover them out of their Trance.

3. His Speech. And said, arise and be not afraid; The glorious voice of the Fa­ther affrights them, and the gracious voice of the Son reviveth and refresheth them. He comforts those whom the terrors of the Al­mighty had cast down, he doth not chide them for their fear or little Faith, as he doth at other times, he considered the great­ness of the Cause, their natural Infirmity: the governing of which was not in their power, and the terribleness and suddenness left no time for deliberation; therefore he doth not chide them, but encourageth them. The like was done in other cases, as to Eze­kiel in his Trance, Ezek. 2. 1. Son of man arise, stand on thy feet, and I will speak to thee. So to the Apostle Iohn, Rev. 17. 18. When I saw him, I lay at his feet as dead; and he laid his right hand upon me, saying, Fear not, I am the first and the last. So here, be not afraid. We must reverence Christ, but not be scared at him. Such a fear as may stand with our duty is requir­ed, but not that which disableth us for it, or discourageth us in it, that is no more pleasing to God than security.

[Page 203] 1. Observe Christs tender care over his Disciples, in their faintings and discourage­ments.

1. That he comforteth and reviveth his Disciples. Christ alone can help us, and confirm us against our fears: the disciples did not stir, but lay prostrate upon their faces, till he came and touched them, and said, arise, be not afraid. In all the trou­bles and perplexities of his People, he will be owned as the causer and curer of them, Hos. 6. 1. Come let us return unto the Lord, for he hath torn, and he will heal us, he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. So Iob 5. 18. He maketh sore and bindeth up, he wound­eth and his hands make whole. As all our troubles and perplexities are from his hands, so must the healing be. If he make the wound, all the World cannot find a plaister to heal it; and no wound given by him­self is above his own Cure; and he wound­eth not as an Enemy, but as a Chirurgion; not with a Sword, but a Lancet. All other means are blasted till we come to him.

2. That he is exceeding ready, and hath great Pity and Tenderness towards them. As appeareth by laying aside his Glo­ry and coming to the Disciples, when they came not to him; and speedily, that he might not leave them long in the Trance, [Page 204] least worse effects should follow; and is he not like affected to all his people, in their perplexities and troubles? Yes verily. See Isa. 57. 16. I will not contend for ever, nor will I be alwayes wroth, for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made. He speaketh as if he were afraid, lest mans spirit should fail, being long overwhelm­ed with terror and trouble. So the Apo­stle, 2 Cor. 2. 7. Comfort him least he be swal­lowed up with over-much sorrow. The Lord Christ is full of bowels and compassions, pitieth his people in their Infirmities, Fears and Troubles.

2. The manner and way which he tak­eth is considerable also, by touch and speech. The touch noteth the application of his Po­wer; and in his speech he saith, Arise, be not afraid. Christ doth not love to confound, but comfort his Servants, and therefore tak­eth this double course, by secret power en­livening and strengthening their hearts, Psal. 138. 3. I cried unto the Lord and thou answerest me, and strengthenest me with strength in my soul. That is, God did secretly sup­port him and strengthen him, under the trouble. He doth it also by a word; there­fore we read of Gods speaking peace to his People, Psal. 85. 8. I will hear what God will say, sor he will speak peace to his people [Page 205] and his saints. Besides an inward strength­ning, there is a necessity of a word from Christs own mouth, ere we can cast off our Discouragements. Besides his touching or his laying his right hand upon us, there is need of his word to us.


It teacheth us what to do when we have serious thoughts of appearing before God: For the case in hand is about those that were affrighted and disquieted with Divine Visi­ons, which was occasioned by natural frail­ty, and partly by a sense of sin. Now all of us must shortly come into Gods presence, but who can dwell with devouring burn­ings? If your thoughts be serious, you will find that it is no slight thing, to appear be­fore God, who is our Creator and our Judge, and who is an holy and glorious God, to whom we have carried it very un­thankfully, and undutifully. Now who can relieve you in these perplexed thoughts, but the Lord Jesus Christ: get a word from him that your Iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged; Isa. 6. 7. and wait on him, till he settleth your souls in the peace and hope of the Gospel, Isa. 57. 14. and then you are relieved in your Agonies of [Page 206] Conscience; stand up, be not afraid, the Gospel is a Soveraign Plaister, but his hand must make it stick.

Thirdly, The Event and Issue of all, ver. 8. And when they had lift up their eyes, they saw no man save Iesus onely. This inti­mateth two things.

1. That this Testimony from Heaven did onely concern Jesus Christ, for Moses and Elias vanish out of sight, and Jesus is left alone, as the Person in whom God is well pleased, and all the Church must hear him. When they are withdrawn, Christ remain­eth as Lord and Head of the Church, and so it sheweth the ceasing of Moses his Law and the continuance, and Authority of the Law of Christ. The Apostle telleth us, when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away. They onely prophe­sied, prefigured Christ to come, but now upon the Exhibition, the Legal Ordinances vanished.

2. That God manifesteth himself for time, measure and degree, as he himself seeth fit for our good: for the Vision is removed, when the intent of it is obtained: Here the spiritual Banquet doth not always last, Hea­ven is a perpetual Feast, but we must not look upon Earth to be feasted always with [Page 207] spiritual suavities. There is no permanency, but perpetual Vicissitudes in our enjoyments within time, we have clear and cloudy dayes in the World, a feast, a desertion, Cant. 5. 1. &c. I am come into my garden, my sister my spouse, I have gathered my myrrhe with my spices, I have eaten my honey-comb with my honey, I have drunk my wine with my milk; eat O friends, drink, yea drink abun­dantly, O beloved. I sleep but my heart wak­eth, it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled, for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night, &c. And Ver. 6. I opened to my beloved, and my beloved hath withdrawn himself and was gone. After the greatest manifestations of Christs love, there may be a withdrawing; we can­not bear perpetual comforts, and God re­serveth them for a better time; when we are more prepared for them. There must be Day and Night in this World, and Winter and summer; but in Heaven it is all Day, there is a perpetual sun-shine never clouded nor overcast.


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