THE WORKS OF MR Stephen Marshall, late Minister of the Gospel at Finching-Field in Essex. And since at Ipswitch in Suffolk. THE FIRST PART. VIZ.

  • I. Of Christ's In­tercession. And of Sins of Infir­mity.
  • II. The High Pri­viledge of Belee­vers. They are the Sons of God.
  • III. Faith the only means spiritually to feed on Christ.
  • IV. Of Self-Denial.
  • V. The Saints Du­ty to keep their Heart in a Good Frame, &c.
  • VI. The Mystery of Spiritual Life.

Attested By

  • Ralph Venning.
  • Thomas Lye.
  • Thomas Jacomb.

LONDON: Printed by Peter Cole, and Edward Cole, Printers and Book-sellers, at the Sign of the Printing-press in Cornhil near the Royal Exchange. 1661.

BEcause it is usual to abuse Readers in thrusting forth broken Notes under the Names of Authors that are of Re­pute: These are to Attest the follo­wing fifty Sermons on several Texts; Were Preached by MR Stephen Marshall; And are now Published by the most perfect Coppy.

  • Ralph Venning.
  • Thomas Lye.
  • Thomas Jacomb.

Books Printed by Peter Cole, and Edward Cole, Printers and Book sellers of London, at the Exchange.

Mr. Burroughs ▪ WORKS viz. on Matth. 11.
  • 1 Chirsts call to all those that are Weary and Heavy Laden to come to him for Rest.
  • 2 Christ the Great Tea­cher of Souls that come to him.
  • 3 Christ the Humble Tea­cher of those that come to him.
  • 4 The only Easie way to Heaven.
  • 5 The Excellency of ho­ly Courage.
  • 6 Gospel Reconciliation.
  • 7 The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment.
  • 8 Gospel-Worship.
  • 9 Gospel-Conversation.
  • 10 A Treatise of Earthly Mindedness.
  • 11 Exposition of the Pro­phesie of Hosea.
  • 12 The Evil of Evils, or the exceeding sinfulness of Sin.
  • 13 Precious Faith.
  • 14 Of Hope.
  • 15 Of Walking by Faith.
Twenty one several Books of Mr. William Bridge, Col­lected into two Vo­lumes. Viz.
  • 1 Scripture Light the most sure Light.
  • 2 Christ in Travel.
  • 3 A Lifting up for the cast down.
  • 4 Sin against the Holy Ghost.
  • 5 Sins of Infirmity.
  • 6 The fals Apostle tiled and discovered.
  • 7 The good and means of Establishment.
  • 8 The great things Faith can do
  • 9 The great things Faith can suffer.
  • 10 The Great Gospel My­stery of the Saints Comfort and Holyness, opened and applied from Christs Priest­ly Office
  • 11 Satans power to Tempt and Christs Love to, and Care of his People under Temptation.
  • 12 Thankfulness required in every Condition.
  • 13 Grace for Grace.
  • 14 The Spiritual Actings of Faith through Naturall Impossibilities.
  • 15 Evangelical Repen­tance.
  • 16 The Spiritual Life, and in being of Christ in al Beleevers.
  • 17 The Woman of Ca­naan.
  • 18 The Saints Hiding place, &c
  • 19 Christ Coming &c.
  • 20 A Vindication of Gos­pel Ordinances.
  • 21 Grace and Love be­yond Gifts.
New Books of Mr. Sy­drach Simpson. VIZ.
  • 1 Of Unbelief; or the want of readiness to lay hold on the comfort given by Christ.
  • 2 Not go [...]ing to Christ for Life and Salvation is an exceeding great Sin, yet Pardonable.
  • 3 Of F [...]ith, Or, That be­leeving is receiving Christ; And receiving Christ is be­leeving.
  • 4 Of Coveteousness.
Mr. Hookers New Books in three Volumes: One in Octavo, and two in Quarto.
  • These Eleven New Books of Mr. Thomas Hoo [...]ker made in New-Edgland. Are attested in an Epistle by Mr. Thomas Goodwin, and Mr. Philip Nye, To be written with the Authors own hand: None being written by himself before. One Volum being a Com­ment upon Christ's last Prayer on the seventeenth of John. Wherein is shewed.
    • 1 That the end why the Saints receive all glorious G [...]ace, is, That they may be one, as the Father and Christ are one.
    • 2 That God the Father loveth the Faithful, as he loveth Jesus Christ
    • 3 That our Savior desi­reth to have the Faithful in Heaven with himself.
    • [Page]4 That the happiness of our being in Heaven, is to see Christs Glory.
    • 5 That there is much wanting in the knowledg of Gods Love, in the most able Saints.
    • 6 That the Lord Christ lends dayly direction, accor­ding to the dayly need of his Servants.
    • 7 That it is the desire and endeavor of our Savior, that the dearest of Gods Love, which was bestowed on himself, should be given to his faithful servants,
    • 8 That our Union and Communion with God in Christ, is the top of our hap­piness in Heaven.
  • Ten Books of the Appli­cation of Redemption by the Effectual Work of the Word, and Spirit of Christ, for the bringing home of lost sinners to God. By Tho­mas Hooker.
  • D. Hills WORKS.
  • The Kings Tryal at the High Court of Justice.
  • Wise Virgin. Published by Mr. Thomas Weld, of New-England.
  • Mr. Rogers on Naaman the Syrian, his Disease and Cure: Discovering the Le­prosie of Sin and Self-love; with the Cure; viz. Self-de­nial and Faith.
  • A Godly and Fruitful Exposition, on the first E­pistle of Peter. By Mr. John Rogers, Minister of the word of God at Dedham in Essex.
  • Mr. Rogers his Treatise of Marriage.
  • The Wonders of the load­stone. By Samuel Ward of Ipswitch.
  • An Exposition on the Gospel of the Evangelist St. Matthew. By Mr. Ward.
  • The Discipline of the Church in New-England By the Churches and Synod there.
  • Mr. Brightman on the Re­velation.
  • Christians Engagement for the Gospel, by John Goodwin.
  • Great Church Ordinance of Baptism.
  • Mr Loves Case, containing his Petitions, Narrative, and Speech.
  • A Congregational church is a Catholick Visible Church. By Samuel Stone in New-England.
  • A Treatise of Politick Powers.
  • Dr. Sibbs on the Philip­pians.
  • Vox Pacifica, or a Per­swasive to Peace.
  • Dr. Prestons Saints sub­mission, and Satans Over­throw.
  • Pious Mans Practice in Parliament time.
  • Barriffs Military Disci­pline.
  • The Immortality of mans Soul.
  • The Anatomist Anatomi­zed.
  • The Bishop of Canter­bury's Speech.
  • Woodwards Sacred Bal­ance.
  • Dr. Owen against Mr. Baxter.
  • Abrahams Offer, Gods Offerings: Being a Sermon by Mr. Herle, before the Lord Major of London.
  • Mr. Spurstows Sermon, being a Pattern of Repen­tance.
  • Englands Deliverance. By Peter Sterry.
  • The Way of God with his People in these Nations By Peter Sterry.
  • Mr. Sympson's sermon at Westminster.
  • Mr. Feaks sermon before the Lord Major.
  • The best and Worst Ma­gistrate. By Obediah Sedg­wick. A sermon.
  • A Sacred Panegyrick. By Stephen Marshal. A sermon.
  • The Craft and Cruelty of the Churches Adversaries. By Matthew Newcomen of Dedham. A sermon.
  • Clows Chyrurgery.
  • Marks of Salvation.
Mr. Stephen Marshals New WORKS. VIZ.
  • 1 Of Christs Interces­sion, or of sins of Infirmity.
  • 2 The high Priviledg of beleevers, They are the Sons of God
  • 3 Faith the Means to feed on Christ.
  • 4 Self-denial.
  • 5 The Saints Duty to keep their Hearts, &c.
  • 6 The Mistery of spiritu­al Life.
Several Physick Books of Nich. Culpeper Physitian and Astrologer; and A. Cole, &c.
  • [Page]1 Idea of Practical Phy­sick in twelve Books.
  • 2 Sennertus thirteen Books of Natural Phylosophy.
  • 3 Sennertus two Treatises. 1. Of the Pox. 2 Of the Gout.
  • Sennertus Art of Chyrur­gery in six Parts. 1. Of Tumors. 2. Of Ulcers. 3. Of the Skin Hair and Nailes. 4. Of Wounds. 5. Of Fractures. 6. Of Luxations.
  • 4 Twenty four Books of the Practice of Physick, be­ing the Works of that Lear­ned and Renowned Doctor, Lazarus Riverius. Physi­tian and Councellor to the late King, &c,
  • 5 Riolanus Anatomy.
  • 6 Veslingu [...] Anatomy of the Body of Man.
  • 7 A Translation of the New Dispensatory, made by the Colledg of Physitians of London. Wherein is ad­ded. The Key to Galens Method of Physick.
  • 8 The English Physitian Enlarged.
  • 9 A Directory for Mid­wives, or a Guide for Wo­men.
  • 10 Galens Art of Physick.
  • 11 New Method both of studying and practising Phy­sick.
  • 12 A Treatise of the Ric­kets.
  • 13 Medicaments for the Poor, Or Physick for the Common People.
  • 14 Health for the Rich and Poor, by Diet without Physick.

The London Dispensato­ry in Folio, of a large Cha­racter in Latin.

The London Dispensatory in twelves, a smal Pocket Book in Latin.

To the Physical Reader.

THe greatest Reason that I could ever observe why the Medi­cines prescribed in these Books above mentioned, and in ma­ny other Physick Books, do not perform the Cures promised, is, the unskilfulness of those that make up the Medicines. I therefore advise all those that have occasion to use any Medicines to go or send to Mr. Ralph Clarke Apothecary at the sign of the three Crowns on Ludgate-Hill, in London; where they shall be sure to have such as are skilfully and honestly made.

The Printer to the Reader.

I Have in my hands divers other works of Mr. Stephen Marshals, which for their ex­cellency and variety of matter are high­ly esteemed by all that heard them preach'd, Or have read them in writing. I intend to print them in several smal Books, that they may not be above the reach of a poor man's purse. The Subjects on which they treat are Chiefly these that follow.

VIZ.

  • 1. Of the Covenant of Grace, And the great pri­viledges the Saints have ther­by.
  • 2. Formal Professors sel­dom become sincere.
  • 3. Reformation and tur­ning to God, the only means to prevent Ruine.
  • 4. Christ the Prince of Peace.
  • 5. The Excellency of Christ's Kingdom.
  • 6. How Freedom come by Christ.
  • 7. The Vnion between Christ and Beleevers.
  • 8. The Riches of the Saints through the Poverty of Christ
  • 9. How Christ is the Head of the Church.
  • 10. Christ and his Seed have sufficient strength to de­stroy their Enemies.
  • 11. Christ the Bridegroom, Beleevers are his Bride.
  • 12. No Participation of Christ but by Faith.
  • 13. Faith so precious a Grace, that Christ is glad of any thing that may further it.
  • 14. An Humble Spirit In­finitly acceptable to God.
  • 15. Great Joy to all that Mourn in Zion.
  • 16. The double Recom­pence the Godly shall have af­ter their affliction.
  • 17. The Happiness of the Saints under the Cross
  • 18. The untimely Death of good men a Ground of Great Lamentation.
  • [Page] 19. The Magistrates Dig­nity, Duty and Vsefulness.
  • 20. The Churches Danger, Deliverance and Duty.
  • 21. The Churches praise unto God for their Delive­rance.
  • 22. A great Mercy in God to prevent his Peoples ingage­ing one against another in Blood.
  • 23. Gods Chosen Ones are the Preventors of destruction.
  • 24. Mens Misery is only from themselves, Their Deli­verance is only from the Lord.
  • 25. The Pearl of the Gos­pel.
  • 26. How the Gospel is the Power of God to Salvation.
  • 27. It's impossible for true Beleevers totally and finally to fall away.
  • 28. Parents Duty to their Children.
  • 29. Provision for the Poor.
  • 30. The Great Judgment of Famine.
  • 31. Of the Sacrament.

The CONTENTS of the first Book of Mr. Stephen Marshals Works.
VIZ. Of Christs Intercession or Sins of Infirmity.

SERMON, I. On 1 John 2.1. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father Jesus Christ the Righteous.

  • THe scope of the Epistle Opened Page 1, 2, 3.
  • The words of the Text ex­plained Page 3, 4.
  • Doct. That the Lord Jesus Christs Intercession in Heaven, is the great dayly Relief that all the Saints [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [...] [Page] diligentest, their watchful­est work in the world to keep their hearts in a good frame when once the Lord in mer­cy hath put them into a good frame Page 132, 133
  • Reasons of the Point.
    • Reas. 1. Because the Heart is beyond all comparisons the best part of Man, it is the Head Quarter Page 142
    • Reas. 2. Because the Heart is not only the best part of Man, but it is the Treasury, wherein better things are laid up than it self.
      • Quest. What are the Treasures laid up in the heart of a gracious Man?
      • Answer
        • 1. The great God chooses the Heart of every Godly man for his Privy and Presence Chamber.
        • 2. Christ Jesus dwels there; Emmanuel dwels there, in whom are bid, all the Trea­sures of God.
        • 3. The Holy Ghost dwels there too, the Heart of every God­ly man, is his Temple.
        • 4. All the Graces of the Spirit of God are laid up there.
        • 5. The Word that is the the rule of our life is laid up there
    • Reas. 3. Because the Lord whom we profess to serve looks only at the Heart in al the Sacrifices we perform to him.
    • Reas. 4. The Devil makes all his Assaults and Batteries against the Heart, and counts all his labor lost if he get not into the Heart.
    • Reas. 5. Because the Heart is not to be trusted, but is de­ceitfull, false, cosening, even the Heart of the best man in the world 139
    • Reas. 6. Because out of it are the Issues of Life▪ thy whol Conversation wil be as thy Heart is kept.
  • Use 1. Serves to reprove thousands with a bitter reproof who would fain go for Children of God and yet
    • 1, They are exact in keeping their Houses &c, but neg­lect their Hearts. Page 143, 144
    • 2. Others are curious about their Bodies, to Feed, Phy­sick, Adorn them but neg­lect their Hearts.
    • Others are careful also of their manners and Conversation to avoid scandal and yet neglect their Hearts.
    • [Page] 4, Others keep indeed their Hearts but sleightly, they do not keep them above all kee­pings Page 146
  • Use 2. This is a Doctrine of wonder­ful consolation (though it carry just rebuke with it) to al whose Consciences wit­ness that their greatest care is to purge and keep their Hearts Page 147
  • Use 3. To exhort all men for the time to come to make this their study to keep their Hearts. Before this can be done,
    • I. The Lord must break the Heart to pieces and new mold it And then you must
      • 1. Keep it pure from Sin.
      • 2. Keep it fit for Duty.

The Life of Christ, or the great Mystery of Spiritual Life. SERMON I.

  • THe Text Opened, Page 1, 2, 3
  • Doctrine 1. Every Soul that hath Interest in Christ, while he is in this world, it is in Christ that lives in him.
  • Doctrine 2. The manner of their living this Life in this world it is by Faith.
  • For Explication consider that There is a twofold life.
    • 1. A Natural life, which we have from Adam.
    • 2. A Spiritual Life which flows from the second Adam.
  • Quest.What is this spiritual life.
  • Answ.It is a Participation of Christs Righteousness, upon the Souls union with him.
  • Use 1. Shews how necessary it is that we should all try and exa­min our Souls whether we are partakers of this Life or No. Page 20
  • Considerations to stir up to this examination.
    • 1. That in Truth this alone is Christianity: there is no­thing Christianity but the Life of Christ.
    • 2 Aboundance of things go for this Life which are not this Life.
  • [Page] Quest. How shall we know this Life?
  • Answ. By these two Chara­cters.
    • 1 Wheresoever the Lord gives Life to any Creature in a Natural way, the life is the Preciousest thing in the world to that Creature: and so among al that live the life of Christ there is nothing in this world so dear to them, as their Spiritual Life is. Which valuation of the said Life appears in these three things. Page 22
      • 1 In a Natural propensity and inclination and appetite towards those things that are the nourishment of this Life.
      • 2 In a most vehement decli­ning of what they know to be destructive to this life.
      • 3 In a willingness to part with any thing to save this spirit­ual Life. Page 24
    • The second Character of this Spiritual Life. 2 Consists in some things that are the proper beatings of the pulse as it were of the Soul. Arguments of this spirit­ual Life. A [...],
      • 1 The Natural motion of this spiritual Life is to enjoy God in Jesus Christ as their chiefest good; this is the great thing wherin the souls pulse beates.
      • 2 There is a Natural making out of the Heart towards holiness, righteousness, love, kindness mercy, pitty. Page 27
      • 3 The Soul that is alive unto Christ, is guided by the word it is his Card, his com­pass, his Square, his Meet­wand, his Eye Looking to the word as his only Guide. Who are strangers to the Life of Christ?
        • 1 All that know not Christ
        • 2 All that live to their Lusts.
        • 3 All that live to the World.
        • 4 All that live to their Plea­sures.
  • Use, 2. This serves to comfort those that live this life conside­ring that.
    • 1 This is the highest, noblest, most excellent Life that ever any Creature did partake of.
    • 2 This is the sweetest of all Lives, for in all other lives men tast but the sweetness of the Creature, but in this the sweetness of God and Christ.
    • 3 It is the greatest pledge of Gods love he gives to any.
    • [Page] 4 Christ being the fountain of this life you may be bold to rely upon him for the preser­vation of it. Page 32
  • Use, 3. To perswade all men to study and seek after this life.

SERMON, II.

  • DOCT. 2. That life of Christ which all Gods people live in this world, they live it by Faith The DOCTRIN is.
    • 1 Demonstrated from scripture that it is so, that the whol Life of a Christian is led by Faith.
    • 2 It is opened by shewing what the Holy Ghost means by this, and what it is for a Soul to live the life of Christ by Faith. Page 35
  • Use, 1. Hence we may safely and sadly conclude, that amongst the great multitudes of those that challenge the Name of Chrstians, there are very few that are really Christi­ans. For,
    • 1 Many are Ignorent of Christ.
    • 2 Many never trouble them­selves at the very Doctrine of Faith.
    • 3 Many live to their lusts.
    • 4 Multitudes live to the world.
    • 5 Many live to their own wills.
  • Use, 2. Real Christians ought to la­ment nothing so much as their unbelife.
  • Quest. Do you think that the people of God are so much guilty of it? Judge by these Signs.
    • 1 Our not studying of the Word
    • 2 Our little Valueing of the Word.
    • 3 Our unevenness in our whol course.
    • 4 Our deviations and use of unlawful means.

SERMON, III.

  • Use, 3. This shewes what kind of Christians they must needs be who can live in the Flesh above Word and Ordinan­ces, having no use of them, and (as they think) nothing [Page] to do with them, but live in an immediate communion with God and enjoyment of him.
  • Use, 4. To make this living by Faith better known to the Lords people and more exactly practised then it hath been hitherto. For encouragement to study this art of living by Faith, consider.
    • 1 If you wil be Christians you have no other Mistery to maintaine your lives but Faith.
    • 2 All other waies of life that any man pitches, upon wil shortly appear to be but a poor thing,
    • 3 This Mystery of living by Faith is the best Life the most desirable Life that any Man or Woman can live, til they come to enjoy God immediately.
  • The Excellency of this Life opened in Particulars.
    • 1 It is the life which the Lord hath chosen out to be the life of those that he loved from all Eternity.
    • 2 It is most honorable to us.
    • 3 In this world it is the easiest Life. To live by Faith is the easiest Life under Hea­ven.
    • 4 It is the best Life because it is the surest Life. Page 64
  • Question. How shall we do to live this Life?
  • Answer.
    • 1 The Grace of Faith is the principal of his Life.
    • 2 If you would live the Life of Faith, labor to be well acqainted with God, especi­ally with God in Christ. 68
    • 3 Study to be acquainted with the word.
    • 4 Faithfully and Conscienti­ously serve the Lord, in the use of means. Page 73
  • Two Cautions to be taken in with these directions. When it is said we must use means, and thus live by Faith, the meaning is.
    • 1 That when we have done we must not limit God; God limits you and limits me, but Faith must not limit him, as to the way how, or time when be shall make [...] [Page] good. Page 74
    • 2 When you are directed thus to live the life of Faith you must take heed of some other Principles, viz. your own Reason and your own sense.
  • The Premises considered it is sad to think.
    • 1 How the common People of the world live amongst us, being wholly Ignorant of these things, and setting their Hearts upon wealth and Pleasure and Honor and such perishing things. Page 76
    • 2 It is sad to think how many Souls that are Godly and study the Scriptures and attend upon the word, yet had rather study nice con­troversies and things that engender strife, then this great comprehensive Duty of living to Christ, and liv­ing by Faith. Page 77
FINIS.

CHRIST'S INTERCESSION, OR Sins of Infirmity: Opened in a Sermon at Pauls, Novemb. 19. 1654

1 John 2.1, 2.

My little Children these things write I unto you that you sin not (now follows my Text) And if a­ny man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; And he is the Propiti­ation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whol world.

THe whol scope of the blessed Apostle in this Letter of his, is, as himself teacheth us, to confirm the people of God, to build them up in that great Article of their Faith, and their great priviledge which is, the Communion of Saints. He tels you in the beginning, he writes to them that they might have [Page 2] Communion with himself and the rest of the Apo­stles, whose Communion is with God the Father and is Son Jesus Christ; presently he proceeds to shew wherein this Communion stands, which he doth ex­press,

First, More generally: It is to walk in the light; when all the world walks in darkness; they by virtue of their fellowship should walk in the light, And then,

Secondly, Explains this more particularly, in the subsequent discourse; and shews that by walking in the light he mainly intends walking in holiness, that is, to abominate and abandon the waies of sin, and to live as becomes those that are born of God in holi­ness and righteousness, and this is the plot of the whol Epistle. And then he begins with the first branch of it, and that is, to depart from the waies of sin, and sets down this conclusion, That if any man do pretend Communion with Jesus Christ and walk in sin, he is a meer Dissembler, he hath not one dram of Communi­on with God and Jesus Christ; That is a certain rule, no man that hath Communion with Jesus Christ can walk in a sinful life, but every branch of the great things that Christ bestows upon his people, the pur­port and intent of them all is, to make them leave sin­ning, that they wholly overthrow the very tenour of the Gospel, who talk of believing in Christ and walk in a Godless life. Now this first Branch the Apostle prosecutes at large, both in the first Chapter, & in this second Chapter, and begins the second Chapter thus, Now all these things do I write to you▪ that you sin not, and presently at the 3d verse takes it up again, (saith he) If any man know him he must walk as he walketh, and [Page 3] so proves it by many Arguments. Now (Brethren) you shal see the intent of my Text: The Apostle knowing what an uncomfortable Doctrine this would be if it were not explained, how uncomfortable it would be even to the best of Gods Saints and people, he prevents the sad objection that every gracious heart would be ready to make; for when he hath set down this for his Conclusion: He that is in Christ cannot sin, he cannot sin, he deceives himself if he talks of Christ and sins, Why? A poor Soul would present­ly come out and say, Then am I utterly undone, I have then no interest in Christ, for I sin, I sin dayly, I cannot live without it, I cannot perform one Duty but my corruption is intermingling it self with it; wo be to me if that Doctrine go for currant, that he hath nothing to do with Christ that sins. Now by way of Prolepsis the Apostle anticipates this objection, and cleers the mind of God about it, and then proceeds further to prosecute his Doctrine, and it is laid down in these words, But if any man sin, let him know that we have an Advocate with the Father Jesus Christ the righteous, who is the Propitiation for all our sins, and not only ours that are Jews, but through­out all the world if they be Beleevers: This he laies down to stay the hearts of Gods people in reference to that sadness, that they would be ready to be over­whelmed with. Now (Brethren) because there is but one main Doctrine that I intend to insist upon, I wil but briefly explain the words to you, and then I wil propound the Doctrine.

First, When the Apostle saith, If any man do sin, he thereby plainly implies, that there are certain sorts of sins, that even Gods Children though they dare not [Page 4] commit sin nor walk in sin, yet even Gods own Children (for them he speaks to, my little Children I write this to you, (I say) there are sins that Gods own people) are overtaken with, even after they have fellowship and Communion with Jesus Christ; that is the first thing that he takes for granted. Then,

Secondly, To that he adds, But (saith he) if any man sin, that is, when we do thus sin, when Gods people do thus sin, What then? We have an Advo­cate, (that you all know the meaning of,) one that pleadeth our cause, that is the office of an Advocate, to appear in behalf of another in his cause: We have an Advocate with the Father above in Heaven at his right hand, that is, Jesus Christ our Lord who died for us, and loved us, and gave himself for us, he ap­pears in Heaven for us, yea, he is Jesus Christ the righ­teous; that is, though he be so righteous that he wil never plead an ill cause, yet this is a part of his righ­teousness, to intercede and appear in the behalf of his own people, even when they sin against him; Je­sus Christ the righteous who is the Propitiation for our sins; that is, who once upon earth offered himself up a Sacrifice to satisfie for them, and now in Heaven pleads the benefit and virtue of it for ever in the be­half of his people. And not for ours only; that is, we that are Jews, but for the sins of the whol world, sup­posing stil he speaks of the same matter, of those that believe in Christ, that have Communion with him throughout the world, Rich and Poor, Yong and Old, Jew and Gentile, this is a truth to them all; When Gods people sin, Jesus Christ the righteous, at Gods right hand maketh mediation for them. So the words thus briefly paraphrased upon do afford us this [Page 5] Doctrine, (which is the only Lesson that I intend to handle this day,) namely,

Doct. That the Lord Jesus Christs intercession in Heaven, is the great dayly relief that al the Saints have upon Earth against their dayly sins.

A Doctrine which at the very first propounding Promiseth not only comfort to Believers, but carnal men they wil be ready to promise themselves liberty, (though I hope without cause (by that time I have done with it,) but Jesus Christs mediation in Heaven is the great relief to all Gods Saints upon earth, against the dayly sins that they are overtaken with. Now (Beloved) that I may handle this Doctrine for your profit, there are two questions which (God willing) I shal endeavor to cleer, (and that wil be the sum of all my work, the discussing of them.) First,

Quest. 1. What sins the Lords Children and People are liable to while they are in this world, what those sins are that the Children of God may be overtaken with while they live in this world. Secondly,

Quest. 2. I wil shew you how the Intercession of Jesus Christ is the great relief to Gods Children against these sins.

For the first,

First, What are those sins which the Lords people, his own Children are liable to while they live in this world? And to make you the more attentive to it, be pleased to note that there are two Conclusions about sin, laid down so cleerly in the Scripture, yea, in this [Page 9] very Epistle, that they almost seem to contradict one another, and therefore it is of great weight to have that cleared. First,

1. Nothing clearer then this, That he that is born of God doth not sin, nor cannot sin, and if a man say he hath com­munion with Jesus Christ and walkes in sin, he is a Liar and deceives his own Soul; Nothing clearer then this in this Epistle; So likewise in Romans, 6. How can we that are dead to sin Live any longer therein; Sin cannot have dominion over you, you are not under it, you are under Grace; This is a clear proposition, A Child of God cannot sin.

2. Yet on the other side it is as clear, that if any man that calls himself the Child of God say he hath no sin, he is a Liar, it is rather an Argument he hath no grace; In many things we sin all; Nothing clearer then that the people of God, his dearest Children do sin. Paul in the name of them all, talketh of being sold under sin, carrying a body of sin about him; now these two must of necessity have such an inter­pretation, as to justifie the truth of God in it. Be pleased then to know thus much, that when the Scripture speakes so positivly and clearly, of the Chil­dren of God not sinning, that they cannot commit sin, the meaning is this, That whereas the way of sin (mark it, the way of sin) is the only way that al men walk in before they come to Christ, as conceive it thus, when men first fel from God, while he stood in his integrity God was his end, God was his portion, God was his rule, but when man fel from God, the whol corruption of mans nature stood in these two things, That now he was turned away from God, and fallen into the Creature, and there he continues til a [Page 7] new life be communicated, let him do what he will, let him pray, let him read, let him hear, let him walk in workes of justice and righteousness, and stil he is but within the compass of injoying the creature, and living to the creature, making himself and the good that he can find in the creature his portion, which is a turning off from God and this is one way of sin, and thus all the men in the world walk, that al­though it be true, yet some of their sins are greater then others, and aggrauated by some circumstances, yet look as it is with a man that is in prison, though the prison may be very large, and he may somtimes walk East, West, North, and South, and do some things more clean, and some things more gross, yet they are al done within that compass of the prison; So take a man not in the state of Grace, the end he aimes at is himself, the rule he walks by is somwhat that may yeild contentment to him from the crea­ture, and beyond al this no living man goes til God give him a new life. Now when the Lord vouchsaf­eth to cal a man home to Jesus Christ, and planteth in him a new principle of a new life, then the Soul re­turns home to God, now for time to come God is his portion, and the way that may lead him to the injoy­ment and knowledg of God, is his only way to which he resignes up himself, and makes it his daylie study and trade to walk in it: now here is his way, that as to an unconverted man the creature is his way, and al things that may make him injoy the creature, or set­led in the creature is his way, but the new man he hath no way but approaching to God, aspiring up to him, drawing nigher to him, being made more like to him, this is his way, but now while he intendeth [Page 8] this way, (mark it) he being converted but in part, he knows his way but in part, and therefore somtimes misseth it for want of light, he somtimes likewise stumbles in the right way for want of strength, som­times a violent temptation takes him and turnes him a little out of the way for want of good take-heed; these kind of sins Gods Children are liable to while they live in this world; So that the sume of it is this, no reigning sin, a sin that shal have dominion over him to carry him from God, and settle him upon the creature can be compatible with the state of a con­verted man; but yet frailties and weaknesses for want of strength those are his sins, and they and no other are the sins that Gods Children are liable unto. So that the thing I have brought you to is, to shew you, that the Saints while they live in this world are compassed with infirmities, and only with infirmities; concerning which (because it is a great Doctrine) I intend (the Lord assisting me) to open these three things, and that wil be the sume of this first Question, What the sins are.

Three things I will open to you about the sins of infirmities wherewith Gods people are compassed while they live; The first is,

First, I wil shew you the nature of them, the nature of a sin of infirmity.

Secondly, I wil shew you the kinds of them, what kinds of sins of infirmities Gods people may be over­taken with. And Thirdly,

Thirdly, I wil shew you how these may be known to be such, that no man may deceive his heart about them and these must needs be opened, because the latter part of our Question of Christs being a relief to them, [Page 9] is so ful of Consolation, that I would have no body have it that have not right to it, and therefore I would not have them flatter themselves about it. For the first,

First, To open to you the nature of an Infirmity: Take it thus, To enable a Soul to walk in the waies of God, (as all Gods people do in measure, but to en­able a Soul to do it,) there is required a twofold strength, the one is,

  • I. An habitual strength. The other is,
  • II. An actual strength.

1. The habitual strength that all Gods Saints have, it is nothing but the inclination and disposition of their hearts to the waies of God, and against the waies of sin, which is wrought in them by [...] Holy Ghost in the time of their first conversion [...] which hour the quickning Grace communicate [...] [...]o the Soul, doth once for ever make the bent of the heart stand to the waies of God, that now there is a complacency, a de­light, a suitableness to them in the waies of God, and a displacency and aversion in reference to the waies of sin. This now is habitual strength, once given to Gods people, never taken away from them. But now though this habitual strength do give them a good wil, (as the Apostle cals it) a good mind to the waies of God, yet,

2. To enable them either to forbear any sin, or to perform any duty, there must be communicated an actual strength, and that actual strength is nothing but the immediate assistance of the Holy Ghost, who dwels in them drawing out their Graces to work, and strengthening them in their working, and when this actual strength is communicated to them by the Holy [Page 10] Ghost, then if a temptation to a sin be propounded, the Saint is too strong for it, he overcomes the temp­tation, if a holy Duty be propounded to be done, by the help of this God (if need be) he can leap over a wall. Give a Child of God the inward inclination of his heart wrought by Grace, and the actual assi­stance of the Spirit of God, when he is called out to particulars, then he walketh as becomes a Saint in ho­liness and righteousness: but when at any time the Spirit of God (for reasons best known to himself) doth withold his immediate assistance from that Soul, then their habitual inclination is never able to make them do any thing that is good: If a temptation to a sin be propounded, and a corruption of their nature be a little excited, and Satan backing it, and the Spirit of God not joyning, down they tumble in every temptation, and sin against God though never so fou­ly; and if a holy Duty be to be performed, pressed with all the moral Arguments in the world, if the Lords spirit afford them not assistance and strength, immediately they are not able, they are unfit & unable to do that which they are required: and from hence ariseth all the infirmities of Gods people; and here­in you may see there is a corrupt nature in part remai­ning. There are likwise external objects that would stir up this corrupt nature, temptations from the De­vil that would inflame it, when these stir and Gods spirit doth not assist, then are all the Lords people so weak and feeble, that infallibly they sin against him; and this is the nature of the sins of infirmity, that is the first; The second thing I would cleer is this.

Secondly, What kinds there are of them, (because that will further acquaint you, for indeed my aim is [Page 11] that all the Saints of God may see the frame of their own spirits (as it were) in a Glass, that so afterwards you may learn how needful the Lord Jesus Christ is to us, then the second question is,) What kinds of in­firmities are the people of God subject to?

To that I answer, They may all be brought to these two Heads, they are either,

First, Such as are not common to all the Saints, No, nor to any of Gods Children except upon special de­sertion; or else,

Secondly, They are such as all Gods people while they live in this world are dayly compassed about with: For the first of them,

I. There are Infirmities (I say) which are not common to all Gods people, No, nor to any of them unless when very extraordinarily deserted of God, and they are such as when the Servants of God do seem to pour their hearts out into wicked waies, and commit those sins that are publickly to the disho­nor of the Lords Gospel, to the wasting of their own Consciences, to the defiling of their own holy waies, to the scandal of Gods people: as suppose, to live in Adultery, in Uncleanness, in wantonness, Cur­sing, Swearing, Drunkenness, false dealing and the like; Now two things I would say about this.

1. That somtimes Gods own Children for a season are left under such a condition; David you know even when he was the Child of God, took his neighbors Wife into his bosome, and most wickedly plotted to take away her Husbands life, and did take it away; Peter Cursed, and Banned, and Swore and counterfei­ted himsel [...] to be a prophane person, that he might [Page 12] not be thought to be a follower of Christ: So that such things & many other instances I might give you, that in the greatest the most flagitious way, wherein a man may seem to be turned from Christ, and be­take himself into the Tents of his enemies, to fight against him, as if he would be a Ranter against him, such a thing may befal a Child of God: But then I adde,

2. But this is not the Lot of all, No, nor of any but when extraordinarily deserted, and that is cleer by this, because throughout all the tennor of the Gospel it is sufficiently declared, that these are not the spots of Gods Children, these are not the waies of the Saints, these are the waies in which whosoever walks cannot be saved, and therefore what their condition is I shal tel you by and by, (God willing) when I come to cleer it: But that is one sort, that it is possi­ble the corruption may be so strong, the assistance of Gods spirit so wholly withdrawn, and the temptation so mighty, as that a Child of God for want of strength may fall into the foulest mire and filth in the world; That is one sort.

II. There are other sorts of Infirmities, which all the Saints are compassed about with every day that they live, and it is rare that any of them spend a day either without al of them or some of those infirmities, and if you wil know what they are, I answer, There are three kinds of them, and I think all the infirmities of the Saints wil fal under one of them, and I pur­posely open them that you might have a Glass to see your faces in.

1. Some and very many of the infirmities of the Saints of God, they are meerly the infirmities of their [Page 13] understandings, that is, sins of ignorance, that they do the things that are contray to God, contrary to his will, but do not know Gods mind about them, and from this sort no man upon earth is free; Who knows the errors of his life? and I think verily under this head fals those sins of the Patriarchs, of the holi­est men that walked with God, whose hearts were perfect with God, they had their many Wives, they had their Concubins too, not knowing that this was against the Institution of God. And so likwise in the sin of omission, as you shal see there was from Joshuah's time to Nehemiah's time, one of the great solemn Feasts, that is, the Feast of Tabernacles was never kept, according to Gods institution for a thousand years together, that they were by Gods institution to keep it not in their own houses, but to go to live in Booths in the Fields for that time, & it is said expresly from Joshua to Nehemiah that that Feast had never been so kept, that either they had forgotten it or the gene­rations were unacquainted: But now when Gods peo­ple do any of them in their speeches or actions, do the things that are indeed contrary to Gods wil, but espe­cially not knowing it to be so, and yet their hearts prepared, that if the Lord would but discover his mind to them, they would follow him in all things, and yet this is one sort that all Gods people are liable to in the world: But I tel you (by the way) that were but this one thing understood, it would go a great way to make the Servants of God less harsh than they are one to another: The Lord give them so much light to own it, he sees such a thing as cleer as the Sun to be the institution of God, or the mind of God, or the way of God, in this or that Duty, of the [Page 14] first or second Table, and then because he sees it, he is ready to condemn all the world as rebelling against God, for not being of his practice, because the Lord (it may be) lets not them see it: But that is one sort, sins in the understanding when Gods wil is not known.

2. Another sort of these infirmities when the thing is known, it is known that such a thing is contrary to God and I ought not to do it, but yet by a sudden hurry of temptation, when the violence of temptati­on surpriseth the Soul, many times before ever it can recollect it self, it is carried down with the temptati­on even against a cleer light, yea, carried against it, as if a Cock-boat should be carried down a strong stream, & they have not so much time to cal themselves to an account, to think whether these things become them or no; And thus it was with Aaron that Saint of the Lord, he could not but know that to make a Calf, it was destructive to the Covenant of Grace that God had made with them, it was a kind of implicite renouncing of God, but a sudden temptation came, all the people came saying, make us a resemblance of God, Moses is gone, we wil have it, he was surprised before ever he could recollect himself. And so Moses that holy meek man, when a sudden temptation came, that the madness of the people had vexed him, that he could not recollect himself, he speaks so unadvi­sedly with his lips to Gods dishonor, and this no man is free from, but some in one part, some in one kind and some in another, all Gods people before they are aware are many times carried away and surprised be­fore they can recollect themselves to know what their duty is; But yet there is a third sort, and that seems to go deeper, and that is,

[Page 15]3. When they do not only know it to be a sin, but deliberatly commit it, I mean, that the heart is temp­ted to such a thing, saith the soul it is abominable, it is against God, I will not do it, but betakes it self to prayer, prayes the Lord to assist and strengthen him, the temptation comes again and gathers upon him, that though he do resist it yet he hath not strength enough to overcome it, & the ground of it was, because the holy Spirit who is a free agent, communicates so much strength to him as to stir up his graces, and to draw them out into the Field in Gods Cause, and to oppose the Enemy, and gives him some strength to resist it, but not strength enough to overcome it, but leaves him unfit and without sufficient strength against that temptation; and of this I think the Apostle Paul mainly means in all his discourse in Rom. 7. where in the Person of a Regenerate man he saith, The thing I would not do, I do, and when I would do good, Evil overcomes me, I would not do the Evil, yet it is too strong for me, & then complains, Wretched man that I am, I am even sold under it: Now (I think) under one of these three fal al the common infirmities of all that love Jesus Christ in sincerity, they are either meer Ignorances that they know not Gods mind, or they are else sudden surpri­ses, hurried away before they can cal their hearts and graces to act, and have strength to assist them, or else the Lord lets out a greater measure of the power of the Enemy to assault than he is pleased to communi­cate to the soul to resist; and under one of these (I say) do all the infirmities of Gods people fal in their ordinary course: Now the third thing (which when I have briefly dispatched then I wil go to the next, which is the great question,) is,

[Page 16]Thirdly, How this may be known; and I wil speak to it the rather because I find there is no man in the world that lives, (within the compasse of the Church I mean;) but is wonderous desirous to have all his lusts and corruptions to be adopted into the name of an in­firmity, and when they have brought them under that Burrow, then they are wonderful safe in their own eyes; the man that Keeps a harlot, and nourisheth his wanton vain glory, or whatsoever it be, convince him of it, I (saith he) God helpe me it is my infirmity no man lives without his infirmities, and when they have once got them under that name of an infirmity then all that you say concerning Jesus Christ's relief a­gainst their daily sins, it is all their own, though God knows they are as far from it, as the East is from the West: And on the other side, I find many a real Ser­vant of God, that if their corruption have any thing in it that carries horridness to the Conscience, any strange distemper that is more than ordinary, and assaults them, and buffets them, and treads them under foot, Then they are ready to think that all the world can­not satisfie them that these are but infirmities, these cannot be the spots of Gods people: And so that nei­ther the Lords own Servants may be discouraged, nor wicked men get a Cloak, I would a little discover how you may cleerly know, what are the infirmities of the Saints, and wherein they differ from the rebel­lions of those that are the Lords Enemies, and for that I wil give you

  • 1. One Rule that is Negative, and,
  • 2. Another that is Positive.

1. Negative: You must take this, That an infirmi­ty must not be judged of by the matter of the sin, not [Page 17] one whit judged of by the matter, but only from the disposition and qualification of the Person that com­mits it; my meaning plainly is this, We are rea­dy to think that those sins that are but petty and trivi­al, they must all have the names of infirmities, and those sins the matter whereof are odious, those must not go for infirmities: Now this is a most false Rule, for a sin that is a very trifle, if it be but an idle word, vain thought, petty oath, any such thing, as it may be committed, may be a reigning sin, and a path of the way that leads to eternal damnation, according as the Person is that commits it, and on the other side even a great sin for the matter of it, should it be Murder and Adultery, (I instance in them because they both met in David) possible it is that the things may so fal out that these may be but infirmities, therefore remember that is a corrupt Rule, and all you that please your selves with this, that God keeps you from the great abho­minations, you are no Whoremasters, you keep not a Harlot, and you are no Cozeners nor Cheaters in your Trade, though it may be your Oaths are Faith and Troth, and prittle prattle, and slighting of holy Du­ties, you wil have these things pass for infirmities, No, you wil see this is no Rule. That is one, remem­ber you must not judge of infirmities from the matter but only from another Rule which I wil give you, and that is this,

2. Whosoever can but rightly judge of an infirmi­ty of the body, hath a cleer Rule to direct him to an infirmity of the Soul: Now all infirmities of the bo­dy they have all of them these three things constantly go with them. The first is,

[Page 18]1. They never are our choyce, That that is our infir­mity never is our Choyce, that I think I shal not need much to discourse of, I have such an infirmity, I want strength in me, I, strength in my Limbs, in so much as if any body say, Come pra'y, will you walk, If I walk I must halt every step I go, But would you have it so? Do you make choyce of it to be so? Now there is a mans infirmity, he never makes any choyce of it; Though it is possible in spiritual things there may be something of the wil in temptations, yet no man ever saith, Lord, give me leave to be a Deceiver, or a proud man and the like, No, if it be an infirmity we never make choyce of it. Secondly,

2. If it be an Infirmity, it is perpetually a burden, and accor­ding to the nature of it, so the burden is greater or lesser; And so a man that hath an infirmity in his body, if it be in a noble part his Eye, Oh! it is a great burden to him, if his infirmity be in a very useful part, in his Foot, e­very step he takes goes to the heart of him, if it be an infirmity in his breast where the Lungs lie, Oh! that is a wonderful burden; According as the part or faculty is useful, so a weakness there is accordingly a propor­tionable burden: So now wheresoever any Child of God hath any passions, any corruptions stirring in him to hinder him in his enjoyment of God, or walking with him, they are his greatest burdens in the world, no affliction goes so neer to a man that hath given up himself to walk in the way to Heaven, as that that keeps him from walking in the way to Heaven, that interrupts his peace, and disturbs him in that way: So if it be thy infirmity the Soul chuseth it not; Se­condly, It is a burden unto it. And then the third is,

[Page 19]3. That in an infirmity alwaies there is a desire of curing it, that though beforehand I may know I can never cure it totally, yet if I can but cure it so as to be less bur­densome; if I could cure it wholly whatsoever it cost I would, yet, if not cure it wholly yet to keep it under: So here every Child of God whose end is God, whose way is Gods word, he finds his flesh that that hinders him he cannot walk in it, doth he make nothing of it? No, it is his dayly practice to crucifie it, to put off the Old man with all the lusts of it; No Chyrurgion more desirous to mortifie a member that must needs be cut off, than a Saint is to draw out the life blood of every corruption he bears about him: And truly because I see the time hath so prevented me that I shal be hindred I would else have stopped here, and made some Ap­plication of this, but I wil only beg of you (because I am in the next question to open a great deal of com­fort to every Child of God I beg of you) for the Lords sake deceive not your selves about it, think not that all that shal be spoken of Christs being a relief against the corruptions of his people wil reach you, you that sel your selves to unrighteousness, you that would not be made clean, and have no mind that the Lord should rend your Harlot from you, but your credit and reputation you must have, whether it wil stand with Gods or no: Flatter not your selves to think that the Blood of Christ wil be your Propitiation, and that he appears for you, No, you have nothing to do with him, you choose your waies of sin, and the Text hath told you a little before, That if any man talk of Communion with God and with Christ, and walk in darkness, that man is a Lyar and hath no truth in him: But if any of you your Consciences bear witness to [Page 20] what I have delivered, that your heart is in Gods way, Gods word is your way, your aim is at it every day in every thing, only you are surprised, you want light, and strength, and ability to stand it out when you are put to it, Now for that come we to the second Que­stion, and that is,

Secondly, To shew you how the Lord Christs In­tercession in Heaven is a sufficient relief to al his Chil­dren, against all their corruptions they bear about them: And I know (before I enter about it) I may say in so great an Assembly, all those that are the Lords they wil much more desire to have a relief about their corruptions, than about the greatest affli­ctions that betide them in all the world. For I know no such evil that the people of God lie under as their sins in their own apprehensions. Now then the Questi­on is. How doth the Lord Jesus Christ's being in Heaven serve as a relief to Gods people under their many infirmities? And to that I shal bring my Answer to two Heads, accor­ding as I laid down two sorts of infirmities, I told you there is one sort of infirmities that is not common to all, nor to any of Gods people unless when wofully deserted. Now the Question to that is,

Quest. 1. What is the Intercession of Jesus Christ unto the Saints under such abhominable fals? What Relief is the Intercession of Christ to David when he lies in Adultery? To Peter when he denies his Master? and to others when they fal into the like sins, What is the interecession of Christ to them?

Answ. That I shal dispatch very briefly, and I will [Page 21] lay you down what I have found to be the Lords mind in these two Conclusions. First,

1. That during the time that any of the Lords peo­ple do rant, after that maner against him, fal in that way against him, the intercession of Christ is so far from affording comfort to them, that it is the greatest aggravation of their sins, and Christs being related to them and so their being related to him, doth make their sin beyond al measure sinful▪ that is the first. Now, a child of God turning rebell against his Father while he lies under this rebellion, (the intercession of Jesus Christ indeed our selves know upholds him and grace wil bring him home as I shal speak by and by but during that time) he is interdicted al communion with God through Jesus Christ. Many are the eviden­ces I could give you of it in the Scripture, what was E­phraim? God saith he is his dear Child, but if he joyn himself to Idols, let him alone (saith he) let him alone, he is joyned to Idols let him alone, I wil meet him as a Bear robbed of her whelps, I will meet him as a Lion or as a Leopard, I wil tear the very Caul of his heart. And the Prodigal all the while he had run away from his Fa­ther, and wasted his goods amongst his harlots, his Father lets him alone, let him starue and giue up the Ghost, he never inquires at al after him; and had I time I could shew you abundance of particulars to make this good, that the Lords People when they fal into flagitious scandalous waies, they make them so a­bominable, that in regard of Gods glory & the good of the Church, it had bin better they had never bin born then commit them, they do so harden the wicked, so dishonor God, so deeply defile their own Consciences, [Page 22] that here is nothing can be said for any men that they have any part in Christ, while they are given up to such waies; No, (saith God) Know you not that no Whoremonger, nor Adulterer shall come into the Kingdom of Heaven? they are as it were interdicted from all right of entring into Heaven, while they are in that condi­tion, That is the first: But then Secondly,

2. When the Spirit of God awakens them to repen­tance, that they grow sensible of their unworthy and unchild-like walking; then the intercession of Christ so far is for them, that there is a free access to come to the Lord, to be in his Book, and to enjoy Peace with him, as if never any such thing had been commit­ted by them at all. Though the sins of Gods people, when they are thus egregious, are beyond al measure sinful, and do exceeding mischief to others, notwith­standing all this if once the soul be but humbled, and that they consider what they have done against God, and how they have provoked him and injured him, Christ in Heaven prevails that there is no bar in the world against their acceptance, but the Lords Arms stand open to receive them as freely, as if the things had never been done by them; and of this you have a world of Evidences. I wil give you but two instances of it, and one is that of Ephraim, The Lord saith to him he was his dear Child, but all the while he walked after that manner the Lord spit in his face and would not own him, but you shal read of him in Jer. 31.18. saith the Lord, I saw Ephraim bemoaning himself; mark there, Ephraim was come home by weeping Cross, What did he do? (saith he) I saw him bemoaning himself: Oh! I have been an untamed Heifer, the Lord hath chastised me and I was chastised, but I was [Page 23] like a Bullock that would not bear the Lords Yoke, Turn thou me, and I shal be turned, for thou art the Lord my God, surely after that I was turned I repented, and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my Thigh, I was ashamed yea even confounded because I did bear the reproach of my youth; When this Spirit had seized upon him, mark what follows, The Lord stands behind the Curtain and hears his Child thus bemoaning, and what saith he? Ephraim is my dear Child, he is a pleasant Child, for since I spake a­gainst him I do earnestly remember him stil, therefore my bo­wels are troubled for him, I will surely have mercy upon him saith the Lord; He breaks out, he can bear no longer, when once he had a Christ and Mediator in Heaven, and when once he was but sensible of it, the Lords bowels yerned towards him presently: And that other Instance is the example of the Prodigal in Luke 15. that the Lord intended to be the Pattern of those Children that should run away and be brought home again by Grace, all the while that Wretch ran away and spent his goods, his Father regarded him no more than his elder brother did when he came home, but when the man was broken, I have a Father (saith he) And I wil go to my Father and confess I am not worthy to stand be­fore him, and when he came tattered and lousie home, the Text saith his Father ran to meet him, as if he should have said, No more of that (Son) come bring him in, kill the fatted Calf, and put a Ring upon his Finger; and quiets his Elder Brother, and it is fit it should be so, thy brother is come home again; I speak this the rather because if there should be any one here to hear me this day that hath run a­way from God, and the Lord hath touched thy heart and thou beginnest to think how thou hast wronged [Page 24] him, the Lord Jesus Christ hath made thy peace, the door is open that thou maiest come freely to him, as if there had never any such thing been. As in Hosea 14. the latter end, When Ephraim shal say, Come take words and say, Father receive us gratiously: I wil heal him freely (saith he:) There is the first Question answe­red. I was the shorter in this because I would gladly hope there are none such here so wofully deserted of God, as when they have received a new life that they should give up themselves desperately to walk in waies contrary to him.

Quest. 2. But now for the other question which is the lot of al the Saints of God, I know there is no man heares me this day that hath any thing of the life of Christ in him, but he carries a body of death about him, whereby he is surprised one way or other; or for want of sufficient strength he is over­come, now such an one must know that when it is thus with him he hath a great reliefe by Christ Jesus his appearing at the right hand of God for him; wherein lies that, I wil open in four or five particulars with a very short application added. Four conclusions I would set you downe about Christs being a reliefe to his Children against their daily corruptions their infirmities, The first is.

1. That Jesus Christ doth pitty in heauen, he pi­ties his Children under their sinful infirmities, as much as any Parents pity their Children under their bodily infirmities; that is the first. That the Lord Christ who is their high Preist, their suretie? he hath com­passion upon them in their infirmities, and pitties them under them, as Parents use to pittie their Chil­dren that lie under bodily infirmities; no body I hope [Page 25] wil mistake me, when I say pity, I mean not such workings of bowels and passions in Heaven, which we poor men are subject to upon earth, but somewhat that is like to it, somewhat that carries the thing in it and that you wil find cleerly in Scripture, the Psal­mist saith, in Psalm. 103. when he cals up himselfe to blesse the Lord there for al his goodnesse, and tells us the Lord heals his infirmities, surely he means his spiritual infirmities, and there he blesseth God that pities them even as a Father pities his own Children. And we have an high Priest (saith the Apostle) that cannot but compassionate our infirmities, though he was without sin himselfe, yet he hath a compassionate heart And there is one passage which if you will but read when you come at home, it would give you abun­dance of satisfaction, it is in Ezekiel 34. in the midst of the Chapter, the Lord there quarrels with the wret­ched Shepeard that goared some of his Sheep, and trod others under foot, and killed some, and fleeced some, and when he comes to reckon with him, he tels him that he would send the Lord Jesus, and that he was the good Shepeard, and what he would do, and there he sets down all the infirmities that Sheep are subject to, I seek them that are lost, some of them wan­der, I seek them that are lost, others of them are dri­ven away, by a violent temptation, I wil fetch back that which is driven away (saith the Lord,) then others of the Lords Sheep are wounded, I will heal that that is wounded, wounded in their Consciences with guilt, the Lord wil heal them, others of them their very Limbs are broken, I wil bind up that that is broken; and compare that with another place where some of them are unable to stir, I wil lay them upon mine own [Page 26] Shoulders and bring them home; Mark, If they wan­der, be driven away, wounded, broken, lamed and spoiled, he hath a heart sutably compassionate to them all; that is One, Jesus Christ compassionates us under our sinful infirmities, as we Parents do our Children under their bodily infirmities, we are far from loving them the less for them: But if any one (by the way) should ask, If he do so, Why doth he not heal them? Stay but while I come to the last Conclusi­on and that wil satisfie you; that is the first. Second­ly,

2. Jesus Christ at his Fathers right hand prevails that the sinful infirmities of his People, make no breach in the league of love that is betwixt God and them; mark what I say, his Intercession prevails for them, he bearing their names, and pleading their cause, prevails that there is no breach made in Gods good will towards them: But even as it is with us that have a poor Child that goes about to do our work, and oftentimes spoils it when he would fain do it, and somtimes forgets to do it when yet he had a mind to do it, we knowing the frame of the Child, we kiss it notwithstanding; So God is such a gracious Father through Jesus Christ to his people, that notwithstan­ding al our infirmities the Lord never breaks his league of love, but we may go to him and pray to him, and call him Father, leave our supplications with him, and make that use of him as the Covenant of Grace holds him out to all his people, as freely in the midst of all our infirmities, as if we were quite delivered from them: Now this the Scripture is wonderful plain in, I could turn you to a great many, That Speech of Micah is admirable, Who hath such a God as we [Page 27] have? Why, what is our God? He passeth by the trans­gressions of the remnant of his Inheritance, he never looks after them, or if any one shew him them, he casts them behind his back, drowns them in the depth of the Sea, never laies them to the charge of them that fear him: Thou art a dead hearted Creature and canst not pray without wandring, and do nothing as be­comes thee, but thy own flesh rangles with it, that al is an abhomination in thy own eyes that thou doest, thou hast a friend in Heaven that presents all to God as if there were no blemish in them: Thou art all fair, my Dove there is no spot in thee. Is not this good news to all those that endeavor to walk with Christ in sincerity? The first is, He pities them under them; The second is, He prevails that there is no breach made betwixt God and the Soul because of them; Thirdly, Another which is a very great one, and that is.

3. Jesus Christ gives his Spirit unto his People to relieve their infirmities; The Spirit it self helpeth our in­firmities, you have that expression in Rom. 8. That the Lord Christ our Mediator doth give his holy Spirit to help us against our infirmities, What is that? I humbly conceive that Christ helping his Saints against their in­firmities signifies these three things, possibly it may signifie more, but these three (me thinks) are very cleer, The one is,

1. The Lords Spirit helps the Lords People so a­bout their infirmities, that they shal not be quite o­verrun with them; I, he doth as he said to the Sea, the proud waves of it when they come roaring, hi­therto you shal go; there you shal stop; So the Spi­rit of God keeps our corruptions in bounds, otherwise [Page 28] he whose corruption is gotten loose and taints his un­derstanding with a speculation, that would carry him on to action, and so to an habitualness; No, (saith the spirit of God) here I wil stop you, you shal go no further; that is one. It is through the help of Gods Spirit only, that the strength of every corruption that assaults us, makes us not act it to the very height of it; As when I walk with a man that hath overthrown me, then I am in his power, he may cut my Throat if I had not some friends to succor me; Gods Spirit succors us that Satan and our corruptions should not totally subdue us. Secondly,

2. He raiseth us up again when corruption hath brought us down; for you must know (Brethren) and that you wil easily understand, that the nature of sin is such that when a man is committing it, that he would rol down to the bottom of the Hil, and when he is there the waight would lie upon him that he should never rise again: Now the Spirit of God doth like the friend of a Wrastler by him when he hath thrown a man down, he plucks him up again and sets him up­on his feet again: So when any thing hath overpou­red the Soul, it would never rise again were it not for the Spirit of Christ, but Christs Spirit that is sent to relieve us, sets us again upon our feet; Yea, Thirdly (which is more)

3. The Spirit of Christ so assisteth all his people, that notwithstanding their corruptions be too strong for them, they shal again oppose it, yea, and by degrees get strength against it, Crucifie it, and Mortifie it all. As the Apostle expresseth it in Rom. 8. that when our corruptions are most potent, by the help of the Spirit you shal mortifie and crucifie the deeds of the Body; [Page 29] thus doth Christ for all his people, he doth not only compassionate, and keeps peace with God for them, but keeps their corruptions in some bounds that they do not quite over run them, or when they have pre­vailed in part; sets them up again, yea, and gives them strength to get up again: And then Fourthly and Lastly, (and then I draw to a Conclusion,) which is the Mystery of all the rest, and that is this,

4. The Lord Jesus appearing in Heaven for his People doth not only thus succor them, but like a Heavenly Physitian maketh Treacle of these Bites, he doth his Children Good by their Corruptions, and helps them more on in their way to Heaven, even by the opposition of their corrupt natures. This I acknow­ledg to flesh and blood is a mystery not to be opened, but you will see it cleerly to be so, only understand me thus, When (I say) the Lord wil do his people good by their sinful infirmities, I mean not that there is any thing in the nature of a corruption that can con­tribute to it, No, all that is in a corruption is deadly and poysonful, and dishonorable to God; but as one of the Fathers said of Adams fall, Oh! happy fall that did obtain such a Redeemer! So (you will say) hap­py are the People of God in the midst of their cor­ruptions, when the Lord Jesus doth them so much good by them: Now if you will know what is the good he doth to them, I acknowledg I want strength and time, and you would want Patience if I should discourse of them at large, I wil name but four Parti­culars and the naming of them wil confirm you in the truth of them, if you compare them with the experi­ences of all Gods people. The first is this,

1. By the Corruptions that the Saints of God carry a­bout [Page 30] them, the Lord keeps them in a continual self-abhorrency, which is the most excellent frame on this side Heaven. I know what I speak, that there is no frame of Spirit in this world so excellent as a self-abhorring Spirit, taken but with the next branch that you shall hear of presently, now nothing laies all Gods people so low as their corruptions; I tell you if the Saints of God had all the afflictions in the world lay upon them, were it not for their own corruptions they would ra­ther be proud of their afflictions, they are ready oft-times to murmur against God, as David and Job were tempted to it, I have walked with God in my inte­grity and simplicity, and yet I must thus be made worse than others; Oh! that would be grievous; but now when the Soul is sensible of its own corruption, dead heart, unprofitable Spirit, and the like, then wretched man that I am who shal deliver me from it? I say again, nothing in the world keeps Gods people so low as their corruptions, and that is a great gain; Augustin had a Speech That God would rather allow Lust to keep his Grace humble, than Grace to make his heart proud; Oh! nothing so abasing as the relicks of corruption, which exceedingly advantages Gods Children; The Second Advantage is, That as it makes us very low in our own eyes, so,

2· It wonderfully magnifies Christ, Oh! it maketh Jesus Christ most precious nothing makes Christ so precious to the Saints of God, as the Corrup­tions that they bear about them: Nay, I will add more, that had Jesus Christ forty years ago done the work, satisfied for sin, and made me stand in Gods fa­vor, and now I had no more need of him, I should quickly forget him; As suppose a man had forfeited [Page 31] his estate, and his Life forty years ago, and some dear friend buys all, and gives him all, and sets him up again, now forty years after he hath traded and grown Rich by his own Wit and strength, surely he cannot but remember how he was beholding to that friend, forty years ago; I, but he would never re­member him so well, as he would that friend that should do that every day for him, I live upon his Table and Almes every day, and yet he Loves me never a whit the less: So when a Soul remembers I was a dead Man, an enemy, and Christ brought me, and not only so but every day I forfeit all, and grieve God, and shall bring ruine upon my self, mark how Paul con­cludes it in Rom. 7. when he said, Oh wretched man! Who shall deliver me from the Body of this Death? I thank God through Jesus Christ; Oh! Christ Jesus his appea­ring it was dear to Paul. Now here is a wonderful gain beyond all the Righteousness of this world, if the Saints of God had in their course as much Righte­ousness as the glorified Saints in Heaven, and the An­gels in Heaven have, it were not so glorious to God in this administration, as a spirit that magnifies Christ and abaseth it self, and this is wonderfully advanced by the reliques of corruption that we bear about us; Thirdly, Another great benefit is,

3. Hereby doth the Lord temper his People, to make them submit quietly, to every bitter Cup the Lord gives them to drink; Nothing makes the Soul so Patient under affliction, so quiet in the loss of all other things, nothing doth it like to this, Oh! had I my deserts, should the Lord mark mine iniquities, it would not be the loss of a Child would serve my turn, it would not be the clipping off of a piece of [Page 32] my estate, it is mercy I am not destroyed, nothing makes the Soul lay its hand quietly upon its mouth, and quietly submit to every dispensation of God though never so bitter, as the sence of corruption we daily bear about us; And in the last place.

4. Hereby doth the Lord, wonderfully make his People long to be dissolved and get to Heaven, where they may leave sinning against him; for whatsoever carnal People may think, there is nothing so grievous to the people of God as sinning against him, and when they shal come to die, when they shall put off morta­lity and leave off dishonoring his name it is more wel­come to them then to be rid of afflictions, and that made Paul long to be in Heaven, because I know while I am in this Body I shal never be with the Lord as I should be, but I long til that day shal come; Now here is gain, when that corruption, those reliques of it abase thee, and magnifie Christ, and fit thee for every dispensation, and make thee long to be at home with the Lord, and (I might add) in the mean time make thee attend conscionably upon all the means that may bring thee to him, and is not here wonderful gain? So that you may see of what use the intercession of Christ is to al the Saints in the middest of all their sinful infir­mities that they bear about them; I will now dismiss you presently with two short Uses of it. First,

USE, 1.

This Lesson if truly understood (for I know it wil be a hard thing to keep wicked men from laying hands upon it: but I think Gods mind is, that his own [Page 33] Servants should have their portion whosoever abuse it, but) here they may have a constant relief against that which is their greatest burden, I am sure of it, if thou beest the Lords, no burden like thy corruptions, and thy other afflictions would be easily born by thee if so be corruptions did not aggravate them in thy own apprehensions; Now if the world were given thee, it would not be such a succor as this to thee, when thou canst say in all thy wandrings, Oh! I have talked with many a Soul, Oh! never such an unprofi­table wretch as I (saith one,) I think no one hath such a forgetful head as I (saith another,) and none have such impetuous affections as I (saith another,) Oh! but doest thou remember that he is at Gods right hand that gave himself for thee, and in an acceptable day carries thee home, and carries thee stil in his bo­som, how he appears for thee every day in the midst of all thy corruptions, if thou didst know it, it would engage thee to joy, and to every thing that is Holy and Good, the Lord set it home to the hearts of his people, and teach them to apply it to their own Souls in secret. And then Secondly,

USE 2.

2. I say to you all from hence: All of you learn what need there is of getting an interest in Jesus Christ, for that is the end of my Sermon, To perswade you to see the need that you have of getting an inte­rest in Jesus Christ. Would you know why? I wil tel you, Al the sins that you commit (as you wil commit sins every day you live, but all the sins that you com­mit) are all writ down in Gods Book, he numbers [Page 34] your steps though you number them not your selves, he hath your iniquities in a Bag, and the day is coming when he wil cal every one of you to an account, and now (Friends) what if you have not a Daies-man or a Mediator to appear for you? I remember Ely said, Oh my Sons! if men sin against men, men shal speak for them, but who shall speak betwixt the Soul and God? So you have committed innumerable sins, and your own hearts and Consciences tel you more than any man can charge you with, How wil you do to appear before God? What if you have not a Mediator, the Lord Jesus that is a Propitiation for our sins? What a woful case are you in? Take heed you do not imbrace a Cloud, but stu­dy Christ and get found Faith in him, and if Christ be yours, you are secure: but look to it or your case is dangerous, I dare not stay you any longer: The Lord give us understanding in all things.

FINIS

THE HIGH PRIVILEDG Of all True BELIEVERS To be the SONS of GOD. Opened in a Sermon at Suttons Hospital, Novemb. 12. 1654.

John, 1.12, 13.

But as many as received Him, to them gave he power to become the Sons of God, even to them that beleeve in his Name, Which were Born not of Blood, Nor of the will of the Flesh, Nor of the will of Man, But of God.

THe dependance of the Words stands thus. First, You have in the beginning of the Chapter a most glorious Description of Jesus Christ, both of his person, and of his Natures, and of his Office, under the Name of the Light that inlighteneth every one that cometh into the World. Then,

[Page 36]Secondly, You have a description of his Entertain­ment in the World, when this great Lord submitted to this work, and manifested himself: What was his entertainment? First, He came into the world, and though the world were made by him, Yet the world would not know him, he came amongst his own, that is, his own nation and kinred, who had been instructed a­bout a Messiah that was to come, and had long pra­yed for him, Oh! that he would bow the Heavens and come down amongst us; he came amongst them, and they would none of him, they would not receive him. Truly, this is the ordinary lot of Jesus Christ whereso­ever he cometh, but yet there were a remnant that did receive him and shal receive him, even those that belong to the Covenant of Grace. And what get they by it? That Remnant, that handful that do receive Christ, make the best bargain that ever was made in the world: As many as did receive him, to them he gave this priviledg, that they should become the Sons of God; and so here you have the comprehension of all the happi­ness that Beleevers do receive by Jesus Christ, they are made the Sons of God; so that the Text hath two things in it. First,

1. Here is the Means whereby Souls are made par­takers of Christ; that is, upon receiving of him, that is the means and condition or instrument. All that receive him, which is interpreted in the next words, even they who believed in him, Believing in Christ, and Recei­ving Christ is al one; This though it be a Doctrine of wonderfull comfort I shall speak nothing of it, but of the second; That is,

2. The benefit that they all receive who do par­take of Christ, what they get by him: They all of [Page 37] them have this priviledg or Prerogative, That they are made the Sons of God; and so without any more preparation to the Text, or explication (for the Do­ctrine I will explain in the handling of it, I say,) with­out any more preface I lay you down this Doctrine,

Doct. That al who believe in Jesus Christ are made the Sons of God, the Children of God.

And that you may receive this with better attenti­on, I will (to make you the better understand the Lord's scope) answer a Question, that is this.

Quest. You say it is very cleer in the Scriptures that al Be­leevers are made the Children of God, that is one of their Pri­viledges, but what is the reason that no more is named but that one? They are Justified, they are Sanctified, they have the Pro­mises, they are Reconciled, they have a thousand excellencies in this world, yet here is none named but only this, they are made Sons, Why is no other named but this?

Answ. I Answer plainly, and it will be of great use to understand it, namely, that though somtimes in the holy Scriptures our Sonship is but one of our Pri­viledges, yet very frequently in the Scripture all that Beleevers do obtain from Christ in this world and the world to come, here and to eternity, all is compre­hended in this one, That they are made the Children of God. Really you wil see it as cleer as the Sun pre­sently, that God comprehends all other priviledges in this one; that he that hath this one, he that is made the Son of God, he hath all other that can be imagi­ned, or that you can find any Speech of, in al the Book of God, so great is this. And I wil give you a little [Page 38] light about it, and then you wil receive the Doctrine (I hope) with the more attention, and with the more desire to see your own Interest in it; You shal see (and observe it as a general) that very frequently, when the Lord describeth the Covenant of Grace, the new Covenant what he wil be to his people in the new Co­venant, he is very frequent in the setting down of this, I wil be their Father (saith he) and they shall be my Sons and Daughters; I know not how often the whol Cove­nant of Grace is expressed in that word, I wil be their Father, they shal be my Children: but very cleerly you shal see it, if you turn to Ephes. 1.5. where the Apo­stle doth bless the Lord for all the abundant Grace that is manifested to us in Christ, there he sets it down in this one expression, having predestinated us to the adoption of Children: What is al that? Al the Graces & al the Good that we enjoy from Christ, you have it in this one Sentence, God predestinated us to the adoption of Children; he hath done all when he hath done that. And there­fore upon that very account it is that you shall see in Rom. 8.23. where the Apostle speaks there of the Groa­ning of the Saints, the rest of the Creatures groan, & al the Saints groan for the glorious coming of Jesus Christ, To what end? (saith he) That we might receive the Adoption; that is, the perfecting of our Sonship. Now we have Hea­ven it self when we have but our Sonship made, that is plain; and you wil see it still plainer in the Epistle to the Galatians, Chap. 4 and the beginning, the Apostle there speaking of Christs coming as our Surety, When the fulness of time was come the Lord sent his Son Jesus Christ, made of a Woman, under the Law, and made him a Curse, To what end? that we might receive the adoption of Children; there is all. But that the time would prevent me ha­ving [Page 39] many things to deliver, I might go on to shew you more Scriptures that fully prove this truth, That to be made a Son of God is to have the comprehensi­on of all that is obtained by Jesus Christ; so that this is no smal Theam that I am entred upon, and I hope if the Lord help me but to make it out to you in this hours discourse, you will before you part, conclude they are happy men that have gotten an interest in Christ by Faith. This premised now I come to the de­monstration of the Doctrine, That all who have really ac­cepted of Christ for their Savior, they are all of them made the Sons of God; that is the Doctrine. Now to explain it, You must know that God is said to have Sons, or to be a Father in the Scripture in many senses; I may bring them all to these two heads for my purpose.

1. Sometimes the Lord is said in a Metaphorical sense to be a Father in divers cases, and yet he is not properly a Father, he neither hath the bowels of a Fa­ther, to those whom he cals Sons in that sense, nor have they the bowels of Children, who cal him Father in that sense, for all the whol Creation he is the Father of them all in that respect, That their being is from him and their dependance upon him and the like: But then Secondly,

2. God is said to have Sons properly, and I explain when I say properly, I mean Sons so that really he is a Father to them, hath the heart of a Father, the bowels of a Father, whatsoever is desirable in a Father; and they on the other side properly are his Children, in being unto him what Children are unto a Father: Now in this sense God is said in the Scripture to have Sons two waies, two sorts of Sons. The one is,

[Page 40]1. Natural, Begotten by him, in which begetting or generation his own essence is communicated, that as we beget a man, so in that begetting God may be said to beget a God, or a Person that hath the essence of God; this is one sense, and in this sense he hath no Son but our Lord Jesus Christ, who was eternally begotten by him, and is God over all, blessed forever; and it is blas­phemy for any but Christ Jesus to challenge to be the Son of God in that sense; and therefore the Scribes and Pharisees were right when they told Christ, he did blaspheme because he called himself the Son of God they were right (I say) thus far, that had not Christ been the begotten Son of his Father, and so had the same nature, he had blasphemed in calling himself Gods Son in that sense. But then Secondly,

2. But God hath other Sons to whom he is proper­ly a Father, and those are by Adoption, which you frequently read of in the Scriptures, especially of the new Testament, where all Saints and Beleevers have the Adoption, are the adopted Sons and Daughters of God; Thus I have brought you to it, that Beleevers are the adopted Sons and Daughters of God concer­ning which I shal (the Lord assisting me) in the Doctrinal part open these three things to you, and the other shall be the Application so far as the Lord shall help me in the compass of the time; Three things in the Doctrinal part: The first is,

  • 1. What this means, what it is to be an adopted Son of God. Secondly,
  • 2. How this priviledg of being made the Son of God by A­doption is wrought, that you may see it is not a Fancy, I wil shew you how it is wrought and brought about, and by [Page 41] it those that will be willing and Faithfull may be able to judg of their own condition, whether they are the adopted Children of God or not. And then Thirdly,
  • 3. I wil shew you, in somwhat a more general way, What this adoption, or being made an adopted Child of God, what infinite priviledges it doth comprehend in it. For the first,

1. What it is to be adopted, What is Adoption?

I Answer, Indeed the word was never used in the old Testament, and the reason is because that adopti­on it was not then known, though there was somthing like it, but in the Roman Empire which was at the height when Christ and his Apostles lived, there the thing that we cal Adoption was as wel known, as al­most any thing that belonged to the government of the Empire, the Nature, the Laws of it, the Duties of it too, they were all stated, that our Lawyers have not more cleer Evidences how to set out things that be­long to our Law now, than in the Empire of Rome they were acquainted with the whole Laws and Man­ner and way of adoption, and so because it is of so ex­ceeding great use to shadow out the unexpressable be­nefits that we have by Christ, the Lord was pleased (if I may so say) to adopt into the Covenant of Grace; And amongst the Romans Adoption it was after this manner, It was the taking of a Person or Persons, who had no natural right to any inheritance, a taking them into a Lawful right, there are various descriptions of it amongst the Romans, but the best of them is this, A lawful act imitating nature, whereby a Person or Persons who have no natural right to an inheritance, are taken in, into a lawful right, and it was done after this manner in a [Page 42] few words, for commonly none but Princes, or Sena­tors, or great Persons did ever adopt any, but this was the way, When there was an agreement made be­twixt the Persons that did adopt and the Person to be adopted (for they never adopted those that were unwilling to it, but when there was an agreement it should be so) the adopter did carry the Person be­fore the Judges, or into some publick and Lawful As­sembly, and there before them al called the Party Son, This is my Son, and from that day forward he was his Son to all rights and purposes in the Roman Laws, as much as if he had begotten him; (as you will hear more before I have done my discourse,) thus it was amongst them. Now accordingly if you wil know in the Gospel Sense, what is Adoption, I describe it thus, It is a gracious Sentence of God the Father, who cals sin­ners (if Beleevers) his Sons for Christ's sake; I give you this short description: That it is a gracious Sen­tence of God the Father, whereby he doth call Be­leevers though sinners, yet he cals them his Sons for Christs sake; the very Scripture language, We are called Sons: but yet I think a little plainer take this: It is a gracious work of God, whereby he doth take poor sinners who beleeve in Christ, into that Glorious Condition of being his own Children: All this will by and by be more plain, when I come to shew you what it comprehends in it, but the Lord of his free Grace when he hath brought home a Soul, to make it accept of Christ to be its Savior, then doth he, how unworthy soever that Wretch be, he takes him into the condition of his own Children: That is the first, and I am the shorter in it because the next wil explain it more, The second Question is this,

[Page 43]2. What is this work of Adopting, or how is it done? and therein I humbly crave your best attention, because I know to you that are the Lords, I am opening the most glorious Priviledg that Christ Jesus hath bought with his blood for you, and it wil be wel worth your under­standing, how we that are Children of Wrath come to be made the Children of God. I Answer you then, First,

1. In general, The Adopting of a Soul to be a Child of God is so high a work, that the whol Trinity, the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost, every one of the three Persons have their di­stinct work, in Adopting a poor Sinner to be the Child of God; nor is any man upon Earth ever made the Child of God, til al those three works of the Trinity have pas­sed upon him, so great a matter is it to be made Gods Child: And this wil I open to you in the second place,

2. What the several works of the blessed Trinity are, in ma­king a poor unworthy sinner to become the Child of God. First,

1. The work of the Father. God the Father what is his work in our Adoption? It stands in two things, you will find them cleerly if you do but study the Scriptures. The first is,

1. From all Eternity the Lord did choose them to be his Children, that when he did first pitch upon them, (if I may speak of any thing that is first which is eternal) but when the Lord pitched upon poor Creatures and chose them to life, he chose them to be his Children; as you have it in Ephes. 1. verse 5. He hath predestinated us to the Adoption of Children, that although he himself had a naturally and only begotten Son, every way pleasing and delightful to him, yet besides this only be­gotten Son would he have other Children, who with that Son should enjoy him, and serve him, and under [Page 44] that notion he chose to make them his Children; Not only so, but,

2. When he gave them to Christ, which was like­wise a work from all Eternity, When the Lord gave these to Jesus Christ whom he chose to be Sons, he gave them to him under the notion of Brethren; These are to be thy Bre­thren, I give them to thee to compleat the work which I have chosen them to, which is to be my Sons, and therefore it is said in that place of the Hebrews, That because the Children were partakers of Flesh and Blood, that is, those that the Lord had chosen and looked up­on as Children, he that was their Surety must partake of Flesh and Blood: So there is the Fathers work, that from all Eternity he taketh a poor Creature, and saith, This shal be my Son, and he gives him to his Son Christ, These I give as thy Brethren to thee, to bring them to the enjoyment of me; There is the work of the Father, this I hope is plain. Then Secondly,

2. There is a work of Jesus Christ, What is that? The work and Office of Jesus Christ in the point of Adop­tion, that likewise stands in two things. The First is,

1. He was to purchase their Sonship for them; for though the Father would give it them freely, it should cost them nothing, yet Christ being made their Surety he must purchase it for them, so that the Lord although he was the Heir of all things, yet he condescends by his own Blood, by his own Sufferings, by himself be­ing made a Curse, He condescends to purchase adoption for those that were given him to bring to life. This is plain in Gal. 4. where i [...] is said, When the fulness of time was come, God sent his own Son born of a Woman, made under the Law, that we might receive the adoption of Sons, that our Adop­tion [Page 45] as it flows from Christ is the price of his Blood, that is one of the works that Christ doth. The second is this,

2. That when the acceptable hour is come, that the Lord is pleased to bring a Sinner home to Christ, Christ is applied to him as a Brother, that when they are brought to Christ by Faith, Christ cometh to be ap­plied to them as their elder Brother, not only as a Re­deemer that hath satisfied God and purchased for them, but when he is made over to them, he is made over to them in his Sonship as wel as in the rest of his works; so that as our justification ariseth from Christs righteousness being applied to us, so our Sonship ari­sing from Christ as the Son, (being the only begotten Son of God and our elder Brother) is applied to us: Yea, I tel you this application of Christ in his Sonship to the Saints is so neer and so close, that although he be the only begotten Son of God, the first born, the Heir of all things, yet by vertue of his application un­to Beleevers, they likewise come to be called by God himself his first born: These are high things, but the Scripture is cleer in them, for so you read it in the latter end of Heb. 12.23. where it is said, that we are come to the new Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of An­gels, to the general Assembly, and to the Congregation of the first born whose names are written in Heaven, that all they that are called home to Christ, by reason of their con­junction to their elder Brother, they are the first born of God: and the Lord speaks thus of all his Saints in that place of Exod. in that sense I am speaking, Go (saith he) to Pharoah, tel him Israel is my Son: What Son? My first born, he is my first born because Israel was comprehended in Christ, and Christ looked upon as [Page 46] his Brother, Israel is Gods first born: So here are two of the works of the Trinity in our Adoption, the work of the Father in chusing us to it, and giving us to Jesus Christ as his Brethren, the work of the Son is in purchasing this great priviledg by his Blood, and when the time of Application is come, the making himself over to them in the consideration or notion of an elder Brother, and so they really by their conjun­ction with him partake of it. There is the second work.

3. There is the work of the Holy Ghost, and til that like­wise be past over the Soul, never is any man made the Son of God. The Holy Ghost and his work is so emi­nent and apparent, that he is called the Spirit of Adopti­on, that when the Lord gives his Spirit unto his Chil­dren, he cals it by the Spirit of Adoption, because it is the great Office of the Spirit to make that great work of Adoption.

Quest. Now what is the Holy Spirit's work about it?

Answ. I Answer, It stands in three things, and you wil see them all cleer in Scripture, (and I hope I shal have some time for the Application, for I go it over as fast as I can,) the Holy Ghosts work in making us the Sons of God stands in three things, as it is cleer in the Scripture. The one is,

1. When the acceptable time is come, that the Lord means to make a Soul that is by nature a Child of wrath to become the Child of God, He sends the Spirit of Jesus Christ into that Soul to be a band of union betwixt Christ and that soul, that whereas Christ is to be applied to them as a Brother, and they to be mystically united [Page 47] unto him, the holy Spirit takes this Office upon him­self to come and dwel in the heart, as a band of union betwixt Christ and them, that Christ and they should never more be separated, and this work of the pou­ring out of the Spirit into the Soul, to take possession of him for Christ, and to give the possession of Christ unto him, the Spirit being the band of it, this is the first work of the Spirit as he is the Spirit of Adoption: There is one. The second work of the Spirit is this,

2. That when the holy Spirit comes to make Christ and us one, he as the elder Brother and we as his Bre­thren inseparably united to him, whereas he findeth us enemies, hateful, hating, that would rather be uni­ted to Harlots, to the Creature, to any thing, the Spi­rit of God works a Child-like heart in them, framing and molding their Spirits, that for the time to come they calling God, Father (as they have warrant to do) they likewise shall be made Sons, even in the frame and bent of their spirits, which is very excellently ex­pressed in the very next words to my Text, wherein it is said, He gave them this Prerogative that they should become the Sons of God, which were born (saith he, mark,) not of Blood, nor of the wil of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God; Now no longer shal flesh and blood sway them, but being born of God, the Spirit of God gives a new birth and a new life, now they come to have the hearts of Children, that as nature hath planted in the heart of a Child toward the Parent, Honor, and Love, and Reverence, and Obedience, where sin hath not utterly perverted it, this is the natural genius of a Child to his Father. So the Spirit of God molds and frames the Soul, and this the Scripture signifies when [Page 48] it saith, Because you are Sons, God hath sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, whereby now we can cry Abba Father, now the hearts of them shal stand to God, and be car­ried to him in Faith and Prayer, as the hearts of Chil­dren are naturally carried to their Parents That is the second thing. And then the third and last work of the Spirit (and so you have all this indeed as plain be­fore you as I can set it out, briefly the Third Work) is this,

3. This Holy Spirit even as it is the Spirit of Adop­tion, doth not only unite them to Christ, and frame a sutable disposition in them towards God and Christ, But it abides in them upon all need to witness to their Spirits that this is their condition, to give not only the Seal of it by changing their hearts, but by giving them the comfort of it as they need it in their necessities; which the Apostle expresseth in those words, it is in Rom. 8. And the same Spirit witnesseth to our spirits that we are Gods Children, it carries our hearts to God, and testifies to the Soul that God is their Father. There is the se­cond. Now I have been larger in that, because in truth the world doth not ponder these things, nay few of Gods own Children do ever consider what a strange work it is, that none but the blessed Trinity can un­dertake, and each of them have their distant work in it, of bringing a poor Child of Wrath to become the Child of God. That is the second. You hear now what Adoption is, and how it is wrought. Now the third thing in the Doctrinal part (and then I hasten to the Application,) is,

Wel, What are the benefits of it? Now what are the benefits of our Adoption? That when the Lord hath took this strange course, and brought about this strange [Page 49] work, Wherein doth the worth of this Priviledg stand? I answer, You wil receive a great deal of light of it, at least it wil help you to remember it, and understand it the better, if I do illustrate it, by the practice that was amongst the Romans: So their Adoption and the Ro­man Adoption had three things in it, it carried three things (as all learned men that have read their Sto­ries and Laws do know) The first is,

1. When a man was Adopted into a Family, the Fa­mily of a Caesar, or the great men, by his Adoption he was cut off from the Family from which he sprung by his natural birth, cut off from it, not simply, but from whatsoever was base or unworthy in that Fami­ly, that if his Father were a Slave, and himself by his birth a Slave, it was hereditary to him, or if any blot or infamy stuck upon his family, whatsoever it was, the Adopting of this Person into another Family, wholly cut him off from al the base ignominious slavish bondage, and dangers which belonged to the Family, from which he sprung by his natural birth; That was the first. The second was,

2. That by his Adoption he was taken as belonging to the Family into which he was Adopted, as much as if he had been begotten by him, he was to have (by the Laws of the Empire) the same respect from his adop­ted Father, the same provision, the same protection, the same immunities whatsoever, that his own begot­ten Son might claim by nature from the Roman Laws, the adopted Child was instituted in them all. And Thirdly,

3 By his Adoption he had the same right to the in­heritance that the begotten Child had; if there were no other begotten Children, the whol Inheritance sel [Page 50] to the Adopted Child, if there were another begot­ten Child though beloved, the Adopted shared with him in it, Look how the inheritance was to go a­mongst the begotten Children by the Laws of the Em­pire, so by the same Laws it was to go amongst them that were adopted: Thus it was amongst them, but whether any Lawyers can except against it or no I will not much dispute it, but I shal make it cleer to you, that it is thus absolutely and fully in our adoption; Absolutely and fully in the adoption of a Child by Faith, all these three things meet. First,

1. We are hereby cut off from the Family from which we sprung by nature, I speak not now of our Civil birth or rights, but of our spiritual standing, which is to be Children of wrath, Children of Belial, Children of old Adam, Children of Sin and Death, we are cut off from that Family, no longer to be recko­ned of it, the Bondage, Baseness, Obligations, Curses, whatsoever lay or doth lie upon Adams Family, or up­on any that spring from it, assoon as ever the Lord cals him Son through Christ, he is wholly cut off from all, that is plainly thus, (and because I cannot possibly open these in a short discourse, I wil commend it to your studies)

1. We are (for example) all of us by nature under the Dominion of sin, that is our birthright, sin and the curses of it, we are al under it, assoon as ever the Lord cals a Beleever, Child, that he hath let his adoption pass upon him, the bondage of sin, the curse of sin, the dominion of sin, it is wholly removed from him; ye [...] not under sin, sin cannot have dominion over you▪ because you are now brought under Grace; And then likewise,

[Page 51]2. The Law whereby sin is irritated and animated, the Law that in the Rigor of it, and the Curse of it, that lies upon all the Sons of Adam, we are cut off from it assoon as ever we are Gods Children; and therefore the Apostle expresseth it thus to the Galatians, that he made his Son born under the Law, that he might Redeem us that are under the Law, that we might have the Adoption of Children, I hope no Body will mistake me, for it is most clear in the word, that the Law remains as a rule to Gods Children, and that is their priviledg, but as for the Rigor and curse of it, they are wholly cut off from that when they are made the Sons of God by Adoption; That is the First, That the Lord calling Sons to Jesus Christ, and owning them as his Children for the sake of Christ, they are deli­vered from all the Curses and bondage that belongs to Adams Family, and which all the Rest of the world lie under: But then the Second is greater then this. And that is,

2. That by our Adoption we are really (I speak of Beleevers not nominal Christians, but real Christians, they are all of them) taken into Gods Family as his Sons and Daughters, that is, he owneth them to be his Children, and hath the Bowels of a Father to them really, that they are now under his care, under his provision, under his Protection, under his indulgence, and whatsoever he hath commanded the most Holy Parents to exercise towards their own Children that fear them, he hath ingaged himself perpetually for ever, to do all these things unto those whom he is pleased to cal his Sons and Daughters by Adoption; There is nothing so ful, no pearle so ful of excellency, there is nothing so ful of any thing that is good, as [Page 52] this is ful of consolation to the saints of God, that can but understand it, therefore he must needs bear with them, therefore he must needs provide for them, therefore if he correct them it must needs be in Love, with no­thing but a Fatherly rod, for we are all taken into his Family, and may go to him as to a Father in all things wherein we have need of a Father; that is the Second, A great comprehension of Priviledges not to be ut­tered; And then the Third branch is as clear.

3. That when God calls us to be his Children, we are thereby made his Heires, we are Heires of God; indeed in the Civil Law inheritance it is by a succession into the right of the Dead, but now as the Lord is pleased to apply it to his Children, it signifies a cer­tain inheritance, but certainly the inheritance that the Lord of Heaven is to give to any, or that he hath given to his Son Jesus Christ, all his Brethren the Brethren of Christ, and the Sons of God have a share in it; If you wil have it a little more fully, I will tell you in a few words thus, for you have the proof of it in Rom. 8.16. That the Spirit witnesseth with our Spirits that we are the Children of God, and if Children then Heirs, Heirs of God and Coheirs with Christ: But I mean these two things by it. First,

1. The Heir while he is a Child is Lord of all, he is Lord of al before he comes to the injoyment of it, he is the Lord of it, so now while Gods Children are in their minority, while they are poor ones in this world, they are Heirs of the world, the Lord hath called his Chil­dren to be Heirs of the world, that is, whatsoever is in this world is for their sakes, the Angels, the World the Devils in Hel, in spite of their Hearts they are al under the Saints, and are compelled by the Lord, they against [Page 53] their wills, and the Angels with their good wils, they all of them are subservient to those that are the Sons of God by Adoption, and whatsoever is in the wide world, and may be enjoyed any waies for the good of his People, they are the Heirs of all; this is their Por­tion while they are in this world; the Scripture saith it plain, All is yours, and you are Christs, and Christ is Gods, and therefore Paul, and Apollo, or Cephas, or whatsoever is in the world, all is yours, the Saints of God have a real right to al by vertue of their Sonship, not in the Law of man but in the spirituall sense that the Scripture holds out. And then,

2. For the other life, where the prepared possession which was cast by God from all Eternity, all the Glory of Heaven, such as Eye never saw, nor never entred into the heart of man to conceive of, it is all kept to be the everlasting inheritance of all those that are called the Lords Children. Thus (Brethren) I have as briefly as I could, and yet I have through Gods good­ness plainly opened to you this great priviledg of all priviledges, that whosoever doth beleeve in Jesus Christ, really accepts him to be their Savior, they are upon their beleeving in Christ made the Sons and Daughters of God: Now let me make some Applica­tion before I dismiss you, and one thing that I would fain have you think upon alone, is,

USE, 1.

1. To take heed you be not deceived about it (this would require a Sermon whensoever I should treat of it, and therefore I wil but commend it now to you in a few words, be not you deceived about it) I pray do not [Page 54] all of you take this for granted (now I have opened so glorious a Priviledg) that every one of you because you are called Christians, are all made the Sons and Daughters of God, take heed you be not deceived, you see it is a mighty work of the whol Trinity to make it, and therefore your own fancy and conceit will not give you a share in it, No, it is here as it is in Saintship, many a man is owned as a Saint, yea, and ought so to be owned by them that converse visibly with him, and yet God wil not own him, but look upon him as a De­vil, as he did upon Judas: So it is with Adoption, there is a visible kind of Adoption that men partake of, when they visibly own the Covenant, and I think this is the sense the Apostle speaks of, when they de­mand what Priviledges the Jews had above others, very much, to them belongs the Adoption, that is, visibly they were owned as Gods people in the face of the world, and yet I tell you, when many of them came and pleaded their adoption and said, God is our Father, saith Christ to them, The Devil is your Father, and you do the works of your Father the Devil; So you may say when you come home after the Sermon, here is a great priviledge indeed, are wee Gods Children? I you may say so, but God wil say to you, you are of your Father the Devil; look to your hearts then and examine very much, whether this be wrought in you, and you shall need no other direction, if you will be faithful (for this I tel you is not the use I intend to insist upon) therefore do but ask whether these works of the Trinity be passed upon you or no, and chiefly that of the Holy Ghost, Is the Holy Ghost come to dwel in you to unite you to Christ? Doth the Holy Ghost work a Childs heart in you? Can you honor [Page 55] God, and reverence him, and turn to him? And can you walk before God as obedient Children, at least in the constant bent and tenure of your Souls? You had best examin that, if you wil conclude all is wel. Now many force themselves, How came you a Child of God? By my Baptism (as it is in the Catechism) be­cause you were once washed, Oh! beware of these things, it is a hard thing to know that you are the Children of God, therefore be not deceived in it (but this I say, I purposely wave the entring into this, be­cause I cannot speak of it in so little a time) but that which I wil open to you shal be but two Instructions that flow from this, but are likewise very ful of conso­lation to all Gods People.

USE, 2.

Is this the Lot of al the Lords People? all beleevers in Christ, are they all made the Sons and Daughters of God? Then I pra'y be informed of these two things▪ First,

1. The infinite love of God to poor sinners: Bre­thren, were I able to speak of it (though I should bor­row half an hour to speak it, you could not grudge the time, if I could speak of it) as it deserveth, it would astonish you, Behold what love the Father hath she­wed to us, that we should be called the Sons of God, saith the Apostle in 1 John 3. and the beginning, Oh! here is love indeed! God hath shewed a kind of Phylanthropia, a love to man in many things, but could we consider what love the Lord shews to a poor Soul, when he doth but cal Child in the Covenant of Grace, I am as­sured [Page 56] it would make you all be swallowed up in admi­ration; I wil open it in three things,

  • 1. What is the love that God the Father shews.
  • 2. The love that God the Son shews.
  • 3. The love that God the Holy Ghost shews to thee a poor sin­ner who beleevest, when each of them have this work upon thee as to make thee his Son.

1. As for God the Father. Was it not a strange love that made him from al Eternity choose thee to be his Child? especially this love wil swallow thee, if thou wouldest but take in these three Considerations. First,

1. His Majesty, How great and Glorious a Majesty he is, that He should condescend: This Glorious Ma­jesty could condescend after this manner. And Se­condly,

2. To whom? To thee a Worm, if he looked upon thee at the best, as a thing made of a piece of Clay, that hast a heart ful of enmity against him, And Thirdly,

3. If we could but take in, upon what motives or considerations the Lord hath done it (for if we mark it) Amongst men, when any mortal man hath at any time Adopted one to be his Child, it was because either they had no Child, or no Child that pleased them, or because they would perpetuate their Name, that their name might continue after them, or because there was some worth or excellency in the person that might be an honor to them, some such things as these have led all mortal men, when they Adopted any to be theirs, but why did God chuse thee? Did he want a Child? Had not he a Son from everlasting? Is [Page 57] his comfort increased by it? I remember the Romans said, It was an imitating of Nature, found out for the Solace of the Father, But didst thou Solace God? Did he need any? No, but meerly out of his good will to thee; and as for the perpetuating his Name, thou addest not to it; so that it is meer mercy and meer Grace to thee and me, and whomsoever he hath set his Heart upon, that the Father would condescend after this manner. And,

2. Is it any less in Christ Jesus the Son of God? That he would die to purchase Coheirs with him? Amongst men this is not usual, an Heir is seldom troubled that he hath no more Brethren and Sisters to share in his Inheritance, he is rather afraid that there should be too many to get some of it away from him, but that the Son of God when this was his Inheritance from all Eternity, should be come in the form of a Servant, die, undergo the wrath of God to this end, that he might purchase poor worms to be Coheirs, and a Brother with himself, and that he would likewise give him­self to thee as a Brother, that thou shouldest be one mistically with him. And in the Third place,

3. The Holy Ghost, That he would condescend to come and dwel in thee, to unite us to Christ, to alter & frame our cursed natures, and (as need shal require) to be a constant supplication of comfort and refreshing to us, Oh Brethren! these things surpass the thoughts of man, utterly surpass them, but could we ponder them seriously we would say, Oh Lord! Who am I that thou shouldest remember me? it would make us so settled upon the love of God; and I the rather press it, because when a Servant of God is but perswaded of Gods love, he wil interpret every thing [Page 58] wel that God doth to him, and he will then trust him, and then fear him, when he is but perswaded of his love; and therefore learn this Lesson, here is love in­deed, here is love the like was never heard of, that the Lord should rear poor Worms, and let such a work pass upon them, to make them the Sons of God: That is one collection, that therefore the love of God is wonderful great unto those that do beleeve in him: And Secondly I have but one Collection more that I will give you at this time, and that is this,

2. Hence it follows, That they who beleeve in Jesus Christ are exalted to the highest dignity that a­ny Creature is capable of, that as here is a magnifyng of Gods love to them, so here is a magnifying of their State: That I hence collect, that there are no People under the Heavens, Nay let me ad not in the Heavens, there are no Creatures so highly exalted as Beleevers, and why? Because they are the Sons and Daughters of God, not in a name only, not metaphorically as all the Creatures are, but really, God hath the heart & the Bo­wels of a Father to them, and they the hearts of Chil­dren, Yea, the State & Adoption of Children, the grea­test exaltation that is in this world. I remember what David said when some of his Courtiers came to him, & told him of Sauls good opinion of him, to give him his Daughter, and wished him to be thankful for it, Oh! but (saith he) is it a smal thing in your eyes, for a man of so mean a stock as I am, to be made the Son in law of a King? So if there be any Beleever here, that thy heart tels thee that thou acceptest of Christ to be thy Savior, & that his Spirit hath laid hold upon thee, Is it a smal thing in thy eyes that thou art really the Child of God? Is there any thing in Heaven and Earth [Page 59] to compare with it? I remember David in 1 Chron. 17. when he had Nathan came to him with a message from God, and told him to this purpose (saith he) I wil raise up thy Child after thee and I will set him upon thy Throne▪ and I wil be his Father and he shal be my Son, and thus I wil do to thee, David could not hold but runs and sits him down reverently before the Lord, Oh Lord! (saith he) who am I? What comparison is there? Wilt thou be my Father and the Father of my Child? Is it true Lord? Can this be? Oh! it so amazed him that God should be his Father, Oh! could we think of it, I beseech you tel me, to which of the Angels said God at any time, thou art my Son? he saith to the poorest Beleever in the world, thou art my Son: It is not only a name that expres­seth good wil, but a state and condition that the Lord hath set him in, so that I dare boldly say (I will draw to a Conclusion with it, but I would have you study it when you are at home, I dare boldly affirm) that the meanest Beleever though (as we say in the Country) he go with his Flail, or a Rake, or (as you wil say in the City) he carries the Tankard, the meanest Belee­ver that hath Christ for his Lord and Savior, he is exal­ted to a higher condition than Ahasuerus was, when he was made the Emperor of a hundred twenty & seven Provinces; for let them take al the Pomp, Wealth, & State that is in this world, let them have it all, if they have not Christ, God looks upon them as Satans slaves, and over a few daies they wil perish among the Dogs, I mean among the Devils, & be base, and be miserable for ever; wheras the poorest servant of God that belie­veth in Christ, the Lord tenders him as his first born, O! I would fain (if it were Gods wil) that Gods People [Page 60] would lay this to heart, it would comfort them against all the Scorns and Reproaches of the world. It is with many of Gods People as it was with Christ when he was upon Earth, when he was called King, How was he jeered for it? Art thou a King? (saith Pilat) when he had a seamless Coat on and bound with Halters, belike you are a King: So they are rea­dy to jeer the Children of God, belike you are the Childrdren of God, I, let them scorn, I have read of Princes that when for some ends, they could be strangers from their own Countries a while, they could bear the Scorns and Jeers of People, but when I am at home I am known what I am: So a poor Child of God may say, I go in a russet Coat, and have never a penny of Mony in my purse, and undergo ma­ny afflictions and troubles, Wel, but God is my Father, and the very thought of the dignity that God hath ex­alted him to, will make him quietly and contentedly undergo all the afflictions of this world, These are but general Collections, had I time to enter into the Parti­culars, to shew what Gods Children by Adoption are delivered from, Sin, and the Law, and what they are instated into, under his Family, under his Provision, Protection and the like, truly I might set that before you, that if a man could hold to it by Faith, and the Lords spirit help him to apply it to his heart, he would live comfortably here al his daies.

FINIS

FAITH THE ONLY MEANS Spiritually to FEED on CHRIST. Opened in a Sermon at Mary le Bow, November, 12. 1654.

JOHN, 6.53, 54, 55, 56.

Then said Jesus unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye Eat the Flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his Blood, ye have no Life in you. Whoso eateth my Flesh, and drinketh my Blood, hath eternal Life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my Flesh is Meat indeed, and my Blood is Drink indeed. He that eateth my Flesh, and drinketh my Blood, dwelleth in me, and I in Him.

I Read all these verses because they all hold out one and the same Doctrine, though in a little different phrases; That you may the better understand the scope of our blessed Savior in these words, know that the occasion of it was this, Christ having the day [Page 62] before fed the Bodies of many thousands who atten­ded upon his ministry; The rumor of this flying a­broad, the next day great multitudes thronged after him again, and Christ knowing what lay at the bot­tom of the heart, told them plainly they sought him for carnal ends, because they had eat of the Loaves and were filled, but that was not the end of his coming into the world to, fil their Bellies, No, there was bet­ter food that he was willing to give all that had an ap­petite after it, and thereupon (that I may not stay you) fals into a most divine discourse of his own be­ing sent out of the bosome of his Father, to be the Bread of life to al who did thirst after him, and would but accept of him, and tels them more particularly that they must eat and drink his flesh and his blood, as the only Food that would do good to their Souls; hereupon these carnal People were extreamly offen­ded at him and at his Doctrine, for they interpret all this in a carnal manner, as if Christ did mean that they must eat his very flesh and drink his very blood, as they did eat and drink other food, and truly it was e­ver thus and it wil be ever thus, that nothing can act above its own Sphere, and they who have carnall minds can never judg right of spiritual things; there­upon our blessed Savior in the words that I have read, and in many other in this latter end of the Chapter in­culcates this Doctrine further, Assuredly no man could ever live that did not eat and drink his flesh and blood, and he that did eat him and drink him, eat his flesh and drink his blood would receive such invaluable nou­rishment, as he would think it the best meal that ever he was at: And that is the scope of these words, which before I come to handle, give me leave very briefly [Page 63] to vindicate them, from the gross erronious inter­pretation that the Papists put upon them, for you all know that there is a monster in their Doctrine that is called transubstantiation, which in their con­ceit is the turning of the Bread and the Wine in the Sa­crament of the Lords Supper, into the very Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, and whosoever doth not be­leeve it (in their conceit) is certainly damned. And this Doctrine of theirs hath been the occasion of the murdering and martyrdome of many thousands of Saints, and among all the Arguments that they alledg to prove it, this Scripture is the prime of all the rest, except only that of This is my Body: But in the next place to that comes this discourse, wherein Christ speaks so Positively and punctually of eating his flesh and drinking his Blood, and the necessity of it to sal­vation, that they think every man out of his wits that is not convinced by these Texts to grant their tran­substantiation; yea, one of them, and one of the lear­nedst of them hath left it in Print, that if ever the Lord Christ should say to him at the day of judgment, Why didst thou beleeve that the Bread and Wine was my very Body and Blood? he would make no other An­swer than this, Thou spakest it so plain in such a place that it could not be denied, my sense and reason could not deny it. Now I wil a little cleer this Text from them, and I hope to such an understanding Auditory as (I think) I preach to, a very few words wil serve the turn. There are three things which whosoever doth but weigh, will be easily convinced that the ea­ting and drinking that is here spoke of, hath no rela­tion in the world to the Sacrament of the Lords Sup­per. The first is,

[Page 64]1. This Sermon was preached a whole year before there was any word of the institution of the Sacrament, the Sacrament of the Lords Supper was at the Passo­ver, immediately before his Death, this was a whole year before it, Now how can it be imaginable that Christs speech here should be meant of a Sacramental eating, when no Sacrament was instituted? Who can imagine such a thing? Secondly,

2. This Text and all this discourse in John 6. if it should be interpreted literally, for that is the thing they stand for, the literal sense (I say) interpret it li­terally and it is quite against their transubstantiation, for they say that the Bread and Wine are transubstan­tiated into the Body and Blood of Christ, but if here be any transubstantiation at all, it is that the Body and blood of Christ are transubstantiated into bread and drink, for he doth not say the bread is my body, the drink is my blood, but my body, my flesh is meat, and my blood is drink, so that if you will have any trans­substantiation it is quite contrary. And, Thirdly,

3. The eating and drinking of Christ that my Text speaks of, it is very plain by our Lords words, that whosoever eats him and drinks him as this Text holds out, shal certainly live another life for ever, and they themselves grant that you may eat that very Body and Blood of Christ as it is in the Sacrament, and never partake of his Grace, but go to Hell with the Sacra­ment in their bellies: I hope that this is enough to shew you that this Text proves it not; I tel you (in a word) that the eating and drinking that my Text speaks of, is the same thing that the people of God en­joy in the Sacrament and out of the Sacrament, for there do we partake of the Body and Blood of Christ [Page 65] spiritually by faith, whosoever receives it preparedly, but the discourse here is nothing at all to that; But now I come to the matter, and in the words there are two things which (the Lord assisting me) I wil open to you, the first is,

1. The duty required of every one that would par­take of Jesus Christ; and that is, to eat his flesh and drink his blood; that is the duty pressed over and over and so heavily, that the Lord saith expressly, that whosoever doth not do it, can never live; The duty required, to eate and drink the body and blood of Jesus Christ; the second is

2 The benefits which every soul doth receive who doth eate Christs flesh and drink Christs blood, and that is set down in many various expressions, but all tending to the same thing, that is, they shall live for ever, they shall never hunger nor thirst, they shall in no wise be cast out, they shall be raised up at the last day, they shall live to eternity, these are the bene­fits or rather the benefit (for all is one) that every soul partakes of, who eates the flesh of Christ and who drinks his blood: wel now for the meaning of it, that I may make it plain, (for my intent is to preach but a short Sermon) I will (God willing) open both the parts, that is the duty required and the benefit recei­ved, I will open them distinctly and give you the ap­plication of them both together, for the first.

1. What is meant by our Lord when he doth thus positively say, that we must eat his flesh and drink his blood, his flesh is meat indeed and his blood is drink in­deed, this we must eat, this we must drink, What doth he mean? I answer plainly that his meaning is, we must [Page 66] beleeve, Beleeving is eating and drinking, and eating and drinking in this sense is beleeving; that is the ge­neral meaning, and that it is so, any of you may prove it your selves, if you wil but read the Scriptures over, for where he saith, My flesh is meat indeed in one place, He that beleeveth in me shall never hunger nor thirst, by and by, He that eateth of this Bread shal live for ever: So that I know not how often in this one Chapter eating & drin­king is interpreted by Beleeving, and Beleeving in a Metaphor is nothing but Eating & Drinking, therefore my work shal be (God willing) to explain this, know then in general, that this great Grace of Faith whereby Souls partake of Christ, it is in the true nature of it nothing but an accepting or receiving of Jesus Christ, to be that unto us which God sent him to be for poor sinners; the Scrip­ture is most cleer, in 1 John 12. As many as received him, he gave them power to become the Sons God, even they that belee­ved in him; So that to receive Christ is to believe in him; now the receiving of Christ being a spiritual act of the soul, wherin the understanding and the wil must both have a share, it hath pleased the Lord (I beseech you mark it, it hath pleased the Lord) to set out this one act of Beleeving by abundance of Metaphors in the Scrip­ture similitudes taken from the Body, and every one of them being rightly interpreted wil cleerly set out the nature of Faith, and what the Soul doth when it be­leeveth in Christ, as I wil give you but a tast, because it is but one only that I mean to open, and that is in my Text Somtimes,

1. Beleeving it is very often set forth by Coming; Come unto me, He that cometh unto me I will not cast him out, that is to Beleeve [...] Now Coming therein is a figure, an expression taken from an act of our Body, of our [Page 67] Feet, wherein there are alwaies these three things,

  • 1. There is the place from which we go.
  • 2. There is the place to which we go.
  • 3. There is the way and means in which and by which we go: Now these interpreted would cleerly shew you what the Soul doth in Beleeving: So like­wise,

2. To look up to Christ, that as Moses lift up the Ser­pent in the Wilderness, that whosoever looked upon it was cured, so Christ is lifted up that we may look upon him: Now that very act of the eye to look to an Object for such an end, being rightly interpreted would cleerly shew you, what the Soul of man doth when it beleeveth in Christ. And so,

3. To stay upon him or to lean upon him, which is a Metaphor taken from the Body that reposeth it self upon somewhat to uphold it, when it wants strength of its own; now this being discovered would cleerly shew you what the Soul of man doth when it believeth in Christ.

4. Now among many of these Metaphors, this Text of John's pitcheth upon this especially, of eating Christ, and drinking, which is the action of our mouth and stomach, wherby our life comes to be maintained by our Food, and there is in this of eating and drinking so cleer a demonstration what the Soul of man doth when it beleeveth in Christ, and how it may discover whether men do beleeve or no, that you cannot de­sire a cleerer than this is, if God do but vouchsafe the ful understanding of it. That then which I have laid out for a part of this afternoon's work is, to shew you wherin the eating & drinking of our food doth shadow out Beleeving in Jesus Christ to eternal life, though I [Page 68] have but now brought you to that which I would en­deavor a little more fully to discover to you, Would you know then wherein the Holy Ghost maketh the comparison to stand? for I dare not go to ad the study of our own brains, but wherein the Scripture makes these to answer one another, eating and drinking food for bodily life, and Beleeving in Christ for spiri­tual life, wherein do they answer? I answer in these six things, some of them I shall not need to stay upon, for if I should stay upon all I should not have time to cleer the rest, but in six things do the eating and drinking of our food answer our laying hold upon Je­sus Christ by Faith, and I wil desire you to mark them, because it is the foundation of a great tryal of your spiritual estate. The first,

1. That the Lord when he first created man with a living Soul, with a life; this life of man is not able to nourish it self, to preserve it self in being, nor to strengthen it self when it is any waies impaired, but God hath appointed that which is food, such creatures as have suitable spirits in them to the life of man, that mans life (under God) lies in these, and cannot be preserved without them, but it is the meat and drink (as the ordinary expression is) it is the food and the nourishment, the means wherby the life of man is pre­served in a man, and give him all other things in the world, let Angels attend him, Princes wait upon him, let all that God hath given to the whole Creation be bestowed upon him, keep food from him and the man dies, he doth not live, though it is true we live not by Bread only, but God can preserve it otherwise, but in the ordinary proceedings of God, take away food and you take away life, you need no other weapon, mans [Page 69] life, the nourishment of mans life is food; that is one. Now answerable to this for our spiritual life, it is laid up and to be found wholly in the Lord Jesus Christ, in his flesh and his blood, but you must know it is his flesh and blood prepared, that look as other meat, Bread must be broken, and ground, and baked, and so made fit for mans use before he partakes of it, so the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ was ground, was broken by the passion and sufferings he underwent for our sins, and by vertue of his dying communicated it to us, his flesh and blood hath merited life, satisfied wrath, and in Christ and Christ alone lies all the spiritual life of his people, and can be had no where else: Give him all the obedience that ever mortal man had, give him the righteousness of the Holy Angels in Heaven, give him all that a mans Tongue can speak of, or his Pen write down, he is a dead man if he have not the Lord Jesus Christ to be his life it self: Our life is hid in Christ (as the Apostle saith) there is the treasury of it. There is the first, that as our humane life lies in Gods disposing (I mean by his so ordering it) in our food, so our spi­ritual life lies only in Jesus Christ. That is one. Se­condly, (these three first I wil be very brief in) The second branch is this,

2. That look as God in nature hath planted in eve­ry man, (because his life is the most excellent thing skin for skin, and all that a man hath, he wil give for his life, therfore God hath planted in man) a more vehement appetite and desire after food then after any thing else in the world, and if he be put to it that the choyce must be made, it may be he would not part with any thing that he thinkes is sutable to him, but if choyce be made all shal goe, so he may have food, the stron­gest [Page 70] appetite after any thing in the world is after food; insomuch as therefore the Lord uses ordinarily to ex­presse the highest desires of the soule that man can put out in any kind, he uses to expresse them by hun­gering and thirsting, which is nothing but the ap­petite that men have after food, so that living men out of a desire of that which is sutable to their life, have a vehementer desire after that then they have after any thing else in the world; So the Lord plants in any soul to whom Christ is life, (for I speak not of those who are meerly dead, though I shall have occasion afterwards to shew you that Christ gives life to the dead, but (I say) to those to whom Christ is life) there is nothing in the world found in them after which their desires are so mighty, so vehement, so constant, so unsatisfied with any thing else in the world, no such appetite is in the soul of a man, as the party that partakes of spiritual life hath after Jesus Christ; as the heart after the rivers of waters, as the hungry man after his food, all kind of such things are expressed in the longing desires that the soul of a man that hath an interest in Christ hath after Jesus Christ; lay up these by you till I come to apply them, but yet I am not come to the main things, wherein the comparison holds; thirdly; There is a third thing which is between eating and drinking and beleeving, and that is this.

3. That look as it is in our bodily life, our natural life, that as there is no such vehement appetite after any thing as after food when we want it, so there is no such satisfaction in any thing, as there is to be had in sutable things, that when a hungry man is satis­fied with food, there is the quiet of his outward life; [Page 71] then all vehemency, all pains, all angers, all long­ings till he hath more need doth cease, for you know such is our life, that one meales meat will not serve it but for a little while, but when hunger is raised and food administred, then is the desire quieted: So now when the Lord Christ hath life prepared in him, and raised up in the soul a desire after him, when that soul findeth him, when he can find that Christ owneth him, or intimates to it that he accepts it, it is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, no joy, no delight, no con­tent in the world pleaseth the Soul so as to say this one thing I have found Christ Jesus and have an interest in him; All these are main, but the three last are most ful to my purpose, and therefore I hasten to them; Fourthly then, and that which I think is one of the greatest of all the rest, thus it is,

4. That look as it is in our food (pray mark it, look as it is in our food) for the body, let the food be never so excellent, never so wel Cooked, never so freely conferred, we never so freely invited, let al be set out that is imaginable, that food never nourisheth me or any other, until it come to be incorporated within me, that when a man & his food come to be made one, one mass, I wil not say transubstantiated, but translated and changed into the same substance with himself, ne­ver doth it become food to him til then. Take a man, set him before all the dainties, let him smel to them, put them in his mouth, nay (if you can imagine it) he may swallow them down, and they pass through him, if they be not incorporated into him, that the flesh of the beast he eateth turns to his flesh, or to be made fit for his blood, it is no food to him, though all the delicates of the world be set upon a Table, and [Page 82] say, here is enough to satisfie a thousand men, not one bit of them is fit for me, except it be so changed that it becometh one mass with me, this we all know in our natural food. Now herein lies the answerable­ness, so it is with Christ, it is Jesus Christ that is pre­pared, the Lord hath prepared and put the vertue in­to him, that it is enough to serve all the world, if the Lord be pleased to bestow it upon the world, but no man ever comes to have spiritual life from Christ till Christ become one with him, and he become one with Christ; It is Christ in you that is the hope of Glory; and this our Savior expresseth in the very Text (saith he) He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, I dwel in him and he dwels in me; that they are made one really, only with this difference it, remember it, indeed our food for our body, we and our food are made of one sub­stance, but there the food is turned into our substance, that if it were not the flesh of a Beast turned into my flesh, if it were not the blood of a Bird that is turned into my blood, and so it leaves its own nature and is changed into my nature, but this is different in our spiritual eating, for here instead of Jesus Christ being changed into our nature, we by feeding upon him are changed into his nature, made partakers of the divine nature, and there is a mystica, I spiritual union betwixt the Lord Jesus Christ and us, whereby we cease to be what we were in regard of our corrupt being, and now come to be changed into his spiritual being, but notwithstanding a union and conjunction there must be, or else the Lord Christ never profits: This is so plain that (I hope) I need say no more about it, that is the fourth. Lay up these, for these wil be for tryal before I dismiss you. Then fifthly, the fifth thing wherein the comparison lies is this,

[Page 73]5. That look as the Lord in his infinite wisdom hath in nature given such a Power to our stomach, our appetite to receive it, and our stomach to digest it, that all the art in the world hath not the power or skil to come and make the food that is an extraneous thing another thing from it, to fit it so and prepare it so that it shal be fit to become one with me, no art in the world can do it like that of the stomach, the power that God hath given to nature; we know if we should take our meat and boyl it upon the hottest fire, it can never prepare it so as the heat of a mans stomach can do it; God hath given this peculiar fa­culty and power to the stomach, thus to make our meat sutable for us; so it is with the grace of God, beyond all other graces and works of all the creatures yea, of the Angels, he hath given that power to the souls acepting of Christ, and consenting to Christ, that power to unite Christ and the soul together, that is not elsewhere found in all the world; for all Gods creatures if they should all joyne together to put out their utmost skil, they could not make such a conjunction between Christ and the soul as beleeving doth; but yet I wil tell you thus far, not by any virtue that God hath put in faith, but as it is the hand where­by we receive the holy Spirit, for by the Spirit we re­ceive faith, and this holy Spirit that takes Christ and gives him to us, and takes us and gives us to Christ, this holy Spirit in a way utterly unknown to us, and no waies to be understood in this world, makes us one with Christ. There is the fifth. And then the sixth and last is this,

6. That look as in our food, when the food is pre­pared, and we have an appetite to it, and the stomach [Page 74] receives it and works upon it, and it becomes one with us, then by vertue of that, by the strength of that food are we enabled to live as men; if we have wasted our spirits, if our healths are decayed, here is strength to be added, if we have work to do, we are thereby enabled to do it, to go through what belongs to us, by the power that comes in Gods way of orde­ring it, by the power that comes and is added to us; So it is here in our spiritual life, that when once the Lord brings the Soul to value Christ as that wherein his life lies, to have a desire after him above all goods in the world, to come to have Christ incorporated into us by the power of the Spirit, then do we come from hence by the Covenant of Grace, the operation of [...]he Holy Ghost, according to Gods dispensation to his Peo­ple, to receive such a supply of his Spirit, as we are enabled to walk as those that are alive unto God through Jesus Christ; only add this difference (for I wil shew you how the preheminence lies in our spiri­tual eating with this difference) that whereas our outward food never gives life to those that want it, but by the blessing of God only repairs it in those that have it, now this spiritual eating of Christ doth not on­ly maintain life in those that are alive, but it raiseth them up from the very dead, it gives life, and that moment that the Lord enables the soul to hunger af­ter him and rest upon him, in that moment is the life of Jesus Christ conveyed to him. And this is the first part, to let you see that eating and drinking, it is no­thing but beleeving in Christ, and the resemblance of them stands in these things, as I have opened to you; and now the second (which I wil be but brief in, be­cause I would not stay you long, nor be hindred from [Page 75] the Application of it, the second) thing I promised is,

2. A little to discover what the benefit is that we par­take of, by eating and drinking the flesh and the blood of Jesus Christ, What do we get by it? For answer, We can easily say when men are extolling the good cheer they have been at, at any Feast or Banquet, where lu­xury is set out, What get you by it? a feeding of our Bodies that wil return to clay is al that a man gets by it; Now what is gotten by this eating and drinking of Jesus Christ? Oh! could I but in a few words open to you what our Lord hath said of it, (saith he)

1. He that eateth and drinketh my flesh and blood he shal have everlasting life: There is the first benefit. What means he by that life? That is not this poor frail momentary life that we live, though this be the purchase of Christ to Beleevers, but he shall have, First,

1. The life of pardon, that whereas all of us are dead under the guilt of sin, dead in Law, liable to wrath, they are pardoned men if once they beleeve in Christ.

2. Whereas they were dead likewise under the do­minion of sin, and were strangers to the life of God, the Lord Jesus infuseth a principle of a new spirituall life into them, and such inward qualities and holiness, that enables them to live the life of God, that life that is of the same kind that Christ himself lives, his life, a holy spiritual life, that alas! if I could open it to you and you understand it, it would make you con­clude, that there is no such life in any creature to be found, as the life that every soul lives that laies hold upon Christ; I, and then he adds,

[Page 76]3. This life is an everlasting life, that is as our Savi­or expresses it, (saith he) Your Fathers did eat Manna, that is (as the Scripture saith) Angels Food, not that Angels eat any meat, but if they did eat any food it would be Manna, Your Fathers did eat Manna and are dead, but he that eateth upon me lives for ever; It is not such a poor momentary life as this is, but a life that wil last to all eternity; this is the Benefit: Nay, mark some other expressions that come in here toge­ther,

2. He shal never hunger nor thirst more: That wil explain wel what the Lord means by saying an ever­lasting life, they shal never hunger nor thirst, What is that? He means not that they shal never desire more of Christ, No, there is a two fold hunger and thirst.

1. There is such a hunger and thirst as riseth out of sweetness, that because the honey is good they would have more of it, because the Wine is good, therefore the Drunkard saith, I wil sip again, where the content of it makes them desire more of it: This hunger all the People of God have, because they find contentment in Christ, therefore they desire more of him: But then,

2. There is another hunger and thirst which is deadly, which will kill a man unless it be supplied, which our Savior explains in his discourse with the Woman of Samaria, He that drinketh of that Water shall thirst again, that is, if he have not a supply he will be in as dead a condition as he was in before, if he be not supplied: But now he that eateth and drinketh of the meat and drink that he prepares, though there wil be a sweet hunger to make him desire more, yet there wil be such a life and stock of life within, that til eter­nity [Page 77] have end they shal never be destitute of meat: So here is a benefit, a life everlasting, that they shal ne­ver hunger nor thirst; Nay, he explains it yet a little higher in the words I have read, the one is (saith he)

3. Whosoever doth thus eat and drink, and thus cometh to me, I wil in no wise cast off; What is that? though (it may be) he may think himself the most unworthy, and say, Lord! here is meat indeed, Lord! ever more give us of this meat, But who am I that I should come? I am the unworthiest, wretchedest, vi­lest of all; Nay, let him be never so unworthy in him­self, never so vile, I wil in no wise cast him out, if he come to me, for God my Fathers wil is, and he gave it me in commission when I came from him, not to deny food to any one that cometh after me; Nay, (saith he) last of all,

4. This is the Command I have from the Father, That I should raise them up all at the last day: Though it is true, the bodily life ends and fails, and they shal turn to dust as others do, yet when I come to make good the life that my People must have in abundance, when I come in the last day to make it good to them, I must raise al up that ever did partake of me to life: you see here is the benefit which is laid down in the Text: I have only a little paraphrased upon it, thus I have o­pened the Doctrinal part, That whosoever would live happy, Eating and Drinking of Jesus Christ is the Duty required of him, and they that do it are happy abun­dantly; Let me now a little apply this to you, but three Uses I wil briefly make of it, or rather the Lord makes them, for it is out of mans power to do it, three things I would observe. First,

USE, 1.

If you be but willing you may cleerly discern whe­ther you are partakers of Jesus Christ yea or no; Oh! that the Lord that is the Father of spirits would work upon your spirits while I am speaking, Friends! Shall I speak a little freely and examin this great Assembly, where doth your eternal happiness lie? tel me in your own hearts, what you would answer to it if God did examin it, where doth your hope of happiness lie? Would not this be your Answer? Only in Jesus Christ the Son of God that became a Savior for poor sinners, I disclaim all other things, and I look for my happi­ness only in Christ, Would not this be the Answer of you all? It may be some Pharisaical self justifiers, they can pitch presently upon their own honest and in­nocent life, but I pitch upon that which I think every one of you would answer, It is Christ (you say) but what Christ is it that you make account is your life? What Christ is it? Is it Christ the Son of Mary and the Son of God, Christ that died upon the Cross, that rose again and ascended into Heaven, and sits at Gods right hand in the Glory of his Father, and that shal come a­gain in the end of the world to judg the quick and the dead? Jesus Christ is preached to you in the several meetings in the ministry of the word, Is it this Christ you look for? I, let me add this, If there be no more for thee or me than this, this Christ that sits at the right hand of God, if thou canst not ad, this Christ fed upon by me; It is Christ in you the hope of Glory, it is not Christ in Heaven the hope of Glory, therefore I must needs beg of you that you would be true to your own [Page 79] souls, for (through mercy) I have a little converse amongst men, and a little experience of them, but the want of the knowledg of this point undoeth many men, they have heard so much of Christ that unless they be the arrantest sots and debauched persons, they can tell you all the story of Christ, but if you come to examin how I pra'y came this Christ into your hearts? I know how he was prepared for Bread, how the Father hath ground him, and baked him, (pardon the expression) I know how the Father hath prepa­red his flesh and blood to be meat and drink, But how came he to be your food? and how got you your in­terest in him? if you did eat his flesh and drink his blood in a carnal way, it would do you no good, for though you go for Church members, yet if the Lord have not done these things in thee, which I have spoke of, thou wilt be utterly lost when thou comest to seek for salvation; Doth it not trouble thee to think how thou canst answer these four or five Questions? I will but name them. First,

1. Hath the Lord convinced thy Soul really and cleerly that there is no salvation to such a wretch as thou art, further than Christ Jesus wil vouchsafe it un­to thee; art thou set down under that? that is wel, for believe it til this work of Christ come upon our hearts, we never see the necessity of that work. Secondly,

2. Hath he raised up in thee that amongst all the contents thou findest in other things, though God ma­keth thy Wife comfortable, or thy Husband comfor­table, and al things sutable, yet stil thy heart is unsatis­fied, if I have not Christ I am undone, What will my riches do me good, if I have not Christ? What wil all the talk of others do me good if I have not Christ? [Page 80] Hath he raised up in thee such a desire after him What sayest thou? Thirdly,

3. If at any time the Lord smile upon thee though no body be by, but he smiles upon thee in secret, thou hast gotten some cleer Evidence that Christ is thine, and he wil own thee before the Father, Canst thou turn back and even laugh before the Lord and say, Oh Lord! is it so? Is Christ mine? Is this to thee [...] the honey and the hony combe?

4. Dost thou find likewise in a way that thou know'st not, how it is brought about, but thou findest somwhat settled upon thy heart that hath changed the frame of thy heart? thou that art by nature proud, lascivious, and naught, there is somwhat that is wrought in thee, and there comes some strength, that though thou canst not walk as thou should'st do, yet the Lord is dear, and his Children are dear, and his waies are dear, some strength God affords, that thou art not pleased in the world, but thy soul finds that God hath enabled thee to make him the end of thy life, and his word the rule of thy life, Hath he done this for thee? then there is eating and drinking of Christs flesh and blood, then in the name of God thou doest partake of Christ: But (good Friends) be not deceived, I tel you in many places not one of a hundred that hears such a Doctrine as this, have any part in Christ, or their feeding upon him, or relying upon him, therefore I pray try your selves; That is the first Use I wil make of it. Then in the second place,

USE, 2.

Oh! what a comfort may this be if the Lord would enable me to speak of it, I could pour down even showers of Consolation, upon those souls that have gone along with me in the tryal: All you that the Lord hath shewed this mercy to you, that you feed thus upon Christ: I tel thee this, Carry it home, thou hast eat a meal's meat that will keep thee as a man while God lives, he hath given thee one bit, Oh! one mouthful of Christ to get into Christ: I read of the Wi­dows Oyl, truly it was a delicate portion that God laid out for her, that for a great while together shee had a little Oyl in the bottom of a Cruse, and a hand­ful of meal in the bottom of a Barrel, and she and her Son did live upon it for as many years as the Famine lasted; I warrant you that poor Woman would not have taken a hundred pound for it: So that poor soul that can say, I bless God he hath raised me up from my low condition, and I have abundance of the world about me, but I know Christ is more dear to me than all the world, I know my prayers are to him for life, and I hang upon him as wel as I can for life, and look for it no where else, and I dayly apply my heart to him in that poor measure his Spirit enables me, I tel thee (poor soul) he hath given thee Jehoiakims por­tion and the richest food, for manna was Angels meat this the Angels, nay, pardon me, God never created any creature in the world to tast of this, but every poor soul how wretched soever that lives upon Christ feeds upon [...]t; I pray meditate upon this at home, and the Lord help you to ruminate upon this in secret. Is it [Page 82] so Lord that the poor soul that casts himself upon Christ is thus made one with him? Surely I wil never take care how it is in the world with me, God hath provided wel for me, my Lot is fallen in a very good place. And Lastly,

USE, 3.

For Exhortation: I shal make but one Use and that shal be in the very words of our blessed Savior, when he begins this Doctrine in this John 6. ver. 27. when they came and flocked after him for the Loaves, saith Christ to them, Labor not for the meat that perisheth but for the meat that endures to eternal life: This Counsel of Christ I would a little press to you, though I borrow half a quarter of an hour, forgive me, for it is for your good. First, (saith Christ)

1. You seek me for the loaves, labor not for that▪ Friends, we are all cumbred, as our Saviour said to Martha in Luke 10. the latter end, Martha, Martha, thou art carefull and cumbred about many things, So we are cum­bred all of us about many things, some of us are cum­bred how to get more wealth, some of us cumbred how to dispose of the wealth we have got, we are cumbred about our places, offices, and these worldly things hurry us up and down, we can hardly come into any place but all the peoples talk is, no body is at leisure but full of business, and what is it for? the meat that perisheth, all that thou laborest for is perishing, perishing money, pershing wealth, perish­ing honor, perishing profit, alas Freind! in a very few daies all that thou laborest for, wil not be worth one penny, at least to thee, and but over a little time to [Page 83] no body else, perishing things not worth your seeking, the Lord knows they are not, they that the world comes in most upon, and all that their hearts can wish comes in with ease, it is not one hours content, it is but meat that perisheth, but now labour (saith he) for the meat that endures to eternall life, here is meat worth your labouring for, I appeal to all your con­sciences that have heard the Sermon, whether this meat be not worth the labouring for, whether to get an interest in Christ, to hunger after him, to long for him, to rely upon him, Is not this worth the seeking? Oh! seek it, and to encourage you,

2. I wil tel you what our Savior adds in verse 27. Labor for that meat that endures to everlasting life, (saith he) the Son of man he gives it you; that is, you have no promise if you labor for the things of this world, How many are those that toyl and moyl, and cark and care most for the world, and it wil not come upon them? many a man sits up late, and riseth early, and manages his business discreetly, and yet it wil not come, but God hath engaged himself by a Promise, that he that seeks the bread of life shal have it, that if thou canst but pour out thy soul, Lord! leave me not destitute of Christ, he wil not deny the Son of man to thee: But lest some-body should further add, Give it me! Why should he give it me? What is there in me that the Son of man should be given me? Why should I think the Lord Christ would give me this food? If I ask that, he ads, For him hath God the Father Sealed, that is, I came into the world under a sealed Office to do the wil of my Father, and the work that my Father hath sealed to me, made my work to do, is, To give eternal [Page 84] life to those that seek it: He can as wel deny himself, and deny that he is sent from God, and his Office, as to deny the bread of life to a soul that unfainedly labors for it: Wil not this do it? The Lord bless it, and give you to consider what I have said, and win all our hearts to study that Jesus Christ may be more in our thoughts.

FINIS

SELF-DENIAL Opened in a SERMON At St. Mary Spittal, March, 26. 1649.

Matth. 16▪ 14, and so forward.

Then said Jesus unto his Disciples, if any Man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his Cross and follow me, For whosoever will save his Life shal lose it, And whosever will lose his Life for my sake shall find it, For what is a Man profited if he shall gain the whole World and lose his own Soul? Or what shall a Man give in Exchange for his Soul?

THe occasion of this speech of our Savior was this, he had a little before told his Disciples, what great things he was short­ly to suffer at Jerusalem, whereupon Simon Peter begins to rebuke his Master for ad­mitting of such a Melancholly thought, Far be it from [Page 86] thee to imagine, that God will ever suffer thee to un­dergo such sad things as these are, Master pitty thy self, if there be any danger take a course to avoid it; Our Savior therefore replies to Peter, get thee behind me Satan, thou art an offence to me, this is nothing but the savor of the things of the world, that makes thee give me this wicked counsel; having rebuked Peter, he turns to al his Disciples and utters this speech that I have read, wherein our Lord strikes at the Root of that, which made Peter give him that carnal counsel, for the Lord knew it was nothing but unmortified self in Peter, and he wel saw that it would bring the like bit­ter fruits in all in whom it was not Crucified, and ther­upon gives them that counsel, that is contained in those three verses that I have read to you, wherein there are these two things. First,

1. Here is a Lesson necessarily to be practised by all Christs Disciples, in these words, If any man wil be my Disciple, Let him deny himself, Take up his Cross And follow me; that is the Lesson. Secondly,

2. Here is an Argument to perswade to the learning of this lesson, the Argument is taken from the necessity of it, it is so necessary, that that man that wil not deny himself, even to the denying of his life for Christs sake, wil undo himselff by his good husbandry, by his provi­dence, if he think to save himself by following more wary Counsel, he wil ruine himself, but if he wil resign up himself to the counsel that Christ gives him, Christs counsel shal save him, and Salvation any other way he shal never find: Now lest some-body might object against this and say, But in probability the following of thee, and taking up our Cross wil be so far from sa­ving of us that it wil ruine us, and the looking a little [Page 87] better to our selves may save our state, save our cre­dit, save our liberty, save our life: Wel, to that saith Christ, do but cast up the gain that wil be got by this way, I deny not but a man may by that providence that you speak of save his estate, and save his credit, he may possibly gain the world, a great state in it, but he wil lose his soul by it, and that man that should pur­chase al the world, that should be able to say this King­dom is mine, the other Kindom is mine, all the King­domes of the earth are mine, But what did they cost you? nothing but my soul, I gave my soul for them, that man hath made a miserable bargain of it, he will gain nothing that will venture the loss of his soul for the purchasing of the whol world: The worth of a soul is invaluable, and besides when a soul is once lost, the loss of a soul is irrecoverable, what shal a man ever give in exchange for his soul? Therfore set this down for your Conclusion, The man that wil not follow my counsel, upon the best account that can be made, is certainly an undone man. This is the scope of Christ in these words, Now I come to the Doctrinal part, (which I shal only insist upon at this time) and in it there are these two things. First,

1. Here is the Lesson that Christ teacheth and im­poseth on his Disciples, in these words, Let him that wil be my Disciple, Deny himself, Take up his Cross and follow me. Those are the three things that Christ imposeth upon all his Disciples, Deny themselves, Take up their Cross, Follow him. Secondly,

2. Here is the Condition upon which this Duty is imposed; If any man wil be my Disciple: Christ wil com­pel no body to be his Disciple, and if they have not a mind to be his Disciples, he wil not impose upon them [Page 88] denial of themselves, and taking up of their Cross, and following him, if they like other waies better, let them take them, and see what will come of them in the end, but if any man wil pretend to be a follower of Christ, if he be resolved to be listed amongst Christs Souldiers, or admitted into Christs School, or into Christs Family; then this is the ABC, this is the first Lesson that he must learn, He must deny himself, Take up his Cross and follow him, and that is all that I will say to the Condition of it, that it may be as a watch word to all you that hear me this day, I shal by and by (by the Lords assistance) handle a Doctrine that I know is ve­ry hard to flesh and blood, that which possibly many of you never yet learned, nor have any purpose to learn, but only now remember this: You shal not be compelled to learn it, if you have not a mind to the Doctrine that shal be opened, you are at freedome to take another way, provided you wil not lay claim to be the followers of Christ: Run your hazards and en­joy your good things in this world, and see what wil come of it, but if you have a purpose (as I know you have) and would be glad to be thought followers of Christ, then be you high or low, Lords or Ladies, Gentle or Simple, Learned or Ignorant, know you that this is injoyned to every one whom Christ will own, that they must deny themselves, take up their Cross, and follow him. It is only the first of them that I purpose to treat upon at this time, Deny himself, and the Doctrine which (by the Lords assistance) I shall handle is this, the very words of the Text.

[Page 89] DOCT. That whosoever wil be a Disciple or Follower of Christ, he must deny himself.

And for the explication of the words, there is no­thing hard but this: The word, He shal deny himself, doth signifie a total abrenunciation, he must wholly deny himself, (as I shal make good out of the Scripture) it must be a total work.

Now for the proof of it that it must be so, it were easie to turn you to a great many Scriptures, where the very same words are used, and upon the like oc­casion, you shal find it in Mark 8. and also in Luke 9. but for fear I be prevented, I wil content my self with a Text that I wil turn you to, and that is in Luke 14. from verse 28. to the end of the Chapter, & it wil abun­dantly demonstrate the necessity of this Doctrine: If Christ may be beleeved, you shal find there, that there were a great many came in to Christ to be his Disciples, great multitudes, they were taken with his Miracles, & his Sermons, and the Conversation of the whol world began to run after him, and gave in their names as fast as they could be admitted: but mark what Christ saith to them, about verse 26. saith he, If any man come after me, and do not hate Father and Mother, and Wife and Children, and Lands, and his own Life, he cannot be my Disciple, mark what he saith, he cannot, he doth not say, I wil not own him, but positively, because there is an impossibility of being Christ's Disciple, unless that a man do so far deny himself, as to renounce and and forsake whatsoever may be called himself: And lest he should not be beleeved, he doth prosecute this [Page 90] by three parables that follow there in order, and they are to this purpose, in the two first parables he doth plainly tel them.

1. That if any man pretend to be Christ's Disciple, and do not learn this lesson of self-denial, that man if e­ver he be put to it wil prove an Apostate, if ever times of tryall come, that man that enters into Christs School not having learned the Lesson of self-denial, wil prove an Apostate. or Secondly,

2. If he be never put to it in a way of persecution, then he wil live all his daies but in a meer form of Godliness, and an unsavory general profession he may make, he wil never have any power in it; and this (I say) the Lord shews in three Parables, the two first of them you wil find they are taken, one from a man that goes about a building, to errect a House, before he have throughly cast whether he have mony enough to go through with the building, and then when he hath gone as far as he can, and spent all that he hath, the building is unfinished, and himself is laughed at; Or a King that goes to war-fare, and doth not cast up what the War wil cost him, and whether he have strength enough to go through with it, when he is in­gaged in it, then he is fain to make shameful conditi­ons, and come off dishonorably and basely, because he thrust himself into a War that he was not able to go through with: So (saith Christ) wil it prove with you, if any man undertake the work of being my Dis­ciple, and hath not brought his heart to this resoluti­on, to deny himself in whatsoever may be called him­self, that man wil never hold out if a storm come, or if it he be ever put to it: Then the next Parable tels you, that he wil live but an unsavory profession, he may be [Page 91] Salt without any savor that is good for nothing, not so much as good to be cast to a dunghil; and that wil be the upshot of all: the Christians in the world that list themselves under Christ Jesus, and have not lear­ned this lesson of self-denial: That one Text is proof enough of it, but the main thing that I aim at in the Doctrinal part is, to try if (by the Lords assistance) I may make you understand what this same self denial is, and wherein it stands, and so there are two things that I shal bestow the best part of an hour upon. First,

1. In shewing you what is meant by self, what is that self that must be denied. Secondly,

2. What is this denial of a mans self, or when doth a man do that which Christ Jesus cals denying of him­self. First,

1. We wil enquire what is meant by self, and the rather you must enquire into it, because there is a self that a man must not deny, there is a self that we must bring with us to Christ, we must not leave that behind us, we must give our selves to the Lord: The Apostle saith in Rom. 6. We must save our selves: in Acts 2. Peter exhorted his hearers, Save your selves: there is a self that we must watch over and attend to, Attend to your selves: So that if there be a self that must be saved, and brought to Christ and preserved, it is necessary to en­quire what the Lord means by that same self that must be denyed: Now that I may make this plain to you, I must carry you a little further back; Then the pre­sent condition that we are all now in, in our sinful state, and I beseech you bend your best attention for a while, while I endeavor to cleer this to you. Know therefore thus, That when the Lord did at first make man, he gave unto man a Soul and a Body and excel­lent [Page 92] endowments and accomplishments to both of them, he gave man likewise the Creatures, all the works of his hands, but though man had all these things to use, yet man had no portion but God, God alone was the Portion of mans Soul, he might use his Understanding, use his Wil, his Wit, his Reason, his Parts, his Wife, his Estate, use them all, but enjoyed nothing at all, but God, God was the whol portion of man, as man stood in the state of integrity: But now assoon as man fel off from God by sin, when (I say) he sinned against God, man did immediately leave God for his portion, cease to make God his portion, and having forsaken God as his portion, now he made himself his own portion, and the greatest good that he hoped for or looked for was himself for the time to come, and therein indeed fulfilled the Devil's speech, that if you eat of such a Tree you shal be as Gods, so we became Gods to our selves immediately upon our fal, and ever since that, man did come to fal into himself, to settle (as it were) upon his own bottom, and to rest upon his own Center, and now since that time all other things good or bad, that might be any waies conducible to man, to nourish that self-sufficien­cy that he had conceived in himself, and expected in himself, presently man maketh use of all these, but though he useth them all as means, he rests in none of them as his end, but himself is the end of all: This is the true state of man; so that by self is meant that self-sufficiency, that portion that lost man did find af­ter he had departed from God: But to make you un­derstand this a little more fully, be pleased to know that every man in the world, though he have but one comprehensive self, yet this self hath four branches, [Page 93] and (if you wil) you may cal them so many selves, though indeed they are but one, yet there is a quater­nity in it. First,

  • 1. There is a sinful self.
  • 2. There is a natural self.
  • 3. There is a worldly self.
  • 4. There is a religious self.

Give me leave to explain all these to you. I say First,

1. There is that that we cal a sinful self, not that the other selves are not sinful, but we call this sinful, be­cause it is materially sinful, this is not only sinful, the others are sinful in the use: but this (that I mean by the first) it is materially sinful, and that is the body of corruption, the body of lusts and corruption which e­very man in the world hath in him from his Mothers womb. You shal find that to be called our Self in ma­ny places of Scripture, in Collos. 2.5. saith the Apostle there, Mortifie your earthly members; mark you, they are our members, And what are they? Fornication, Uncleanness, evil Concupiscence, Covetousness, An­ger, Wrath, Malice, Lying, all these Cursed lusts doth he call our members, and in the next verse, cals it the old man; and our Savior Christ cals our beloved lusts, our right Eye, or our right Hand, or our right Foot. There is one branch of Self, the body of corruption. Secondly,

2. There is another Self that is called natural Self, and by it I understand the Soul and the Body, and all the endowments, and Ornaments of them, our wis­dom, our Learning, our Will, our Love, our Joy, our Fear, our Strength, our Beauty, all these that make up the Person that you or I do bear, with all the natural [Page 94] endowments or accomplishments; that you al know to be Self, and that the world commonly understands by Self. Thirdly,

3. Every man hath in him likewise that that is cal­led a worldly Self; by that I mean al the relations that man stands in to the Creature, and all the interest that he hath in the Creature; as for example our Wife, our Children our Estates, our Trades, our Lands, our Re­venues, our Offices: Now that this is called a mans self the Text is plain for it, in this Text where Christ speaks of denying a mans self, he makes the world a piece of a mans self, and in Luke 14. where he would have a man forsake himself, there he reckons up Fa­ther, and Mother, and Wife, and Children, and Lands, and all that he hath. This is a third Branch of Self. Fourthly,

4. There is another that is as much Self as any of these; and that is that that we cal religious Self; and by that you are to understand our performance of holy Duties, our Vertues, our Righteousness, any thing that seems to be spiritual, and good, and moral in us; this you shal find a notable passage about, in Phillip. 3. where the Apostle there saith of true Beleevers (saith he) We are the Circumcision that do worship God in the spirit, but we put no confidence in the flesh, we regard nothing of the flesh, and (saith he) if there be any man that might have any confidence in the flesh, I as much as any, mark his words, I much more than any, What flesh doth he mean? mark what follows, I was an Hebrew of the Hebrews, of the Tribe of Benjamin, by my Religion a Pha­risee, touching the righteousness of the Law I was altogether un­blameable, here was his self: Now, this was his flesh; so that the Religion, the Honesty, the Conversati­on [Page 95] agreeable to the Law, that Paul makes a part of himself, and cals it his flesh: Now concerning these four, (for yet I have not done explaining this first part, what I mean by Self, concerning all these four) both our Lusts, and our natural endowments, and our worldly interest, and our Religion, you must take these three corrollaries to understand them all, three things that I would add, The first is,

1. That al these are but one and the same self; pray mark me, all these are but one self only, As the Sea which is but one, yet it is called the Brittish Sea as it toucheth upon England or Scotland, It is called the Ger­man Sea as it washeth the German shoar, and a great way off it is called the Ethiopique Sea as it washeth there, but all is but one Sea, so all is but one wretched self, though we call it a sinful self: as self applies it self to Lusts, cal it worldly self, as self applies it self to wealth or riches or honor: and cal it religious self, as self applies it self to the Law of God or to God, in any such like, but all is but one self, all is but one and the same man in all these. And Secondly, Another thing that I would have you know about them all four is this.

2. That though all these are in every natural man, yet commonly there is but one of them that is predo­minant, and all the other are subordinate unto it, As for example, Some men make their Lusts, their known Lusts their predominant self, and unto that Reason and Wil, and Father and Mother, and Children, and Law, and Duties, and all shal be subordinate, because this is the Lord paramount: In some others it may be the world is the paramount, Oh! and then unto that all their other Lusts, and all their Religion likewise [Page 96] shal be subordinate; It may be in another his Religi­on is the predominant, his Honesty, his righteousness, his holy performances, that is his great predominant, and then unto that all the other shal be subordinate; Commonly there is but some one of them that car­ries the Chair, that sits upon the Throne, and al the rest are underlings to that. Thirdly, and that which I most of all would have you mark, and weigh, con­cerning them all is this, and I beseech you weigh my words.

3. That in all these the heart is equally wicked, in every one of them the heart is as bad, and as far from God in the one as it is in the other, I mean plainly thus, That man that sets up his Lusts, suppose his Whore, suppose his Pride, suppose any known wic­kedness, sets up that to be the great good that plea­seth him, that man is no more wicked, his heart is no more wicked in that than another man that maketh Mammon his God, the gathering of wealth, or the maintaining of his honor, and neither of these are more wicked than he that maketh his righteousness, his own religious performances his God, because for (though these may seem strange, yet if you wil wait you will find it to be good Divinity) though in all these self is the end, and all these are used but as means, in the one of them I make use of the Devil to serve my self, in another I make use of the world to serve my self, in another I make use of God to serve my Self: but who­soever I make use of, it is my self that I set in the Throne, my own Ease, my own Wil, my own Good, my own Happiness: Now then here is the result, whatso­ever a poor lost sinner doth make his portion, before he come to be reconciled to God in Christ, whatsoever [Page 97] it is that he maketh his portion, or placeth his happi­ness in, that our Lord means by self; and there you have the first thing explained that I intended to han­dle, What is meant by our Self that must be denied? all that we make our portion, be it our Lusts, be they our natural abilities, be they our worldly interests, be they our religious Vertues, Duties, Righteousnes­ses, they are all alike when the heart sodders with them, or rests in them, all these make up that self that must be denied. That is the first. Secondly, The se­cond thing that is to be explained, is,

2. What it is to deny a mans self; he that will fol­low Christ must deny himself, What is that? I an­swer, First,

1. In general, (as I hinted before) it must be a to­tal denyal, it is such a denial of a mans self, as must be a total abrenunciation, it must not be to put off the skin, the Serpents skin, and leave the Body, or to cut off a Joynt and leave the Trunk, but the whole man, all the comprehension of this must be abhominated and renounced, by that self-denial that the Lord here means.

But what is it? (you wil say) Wherein stands it? That I shal labor to cleer to you as wel as I can.

  • 1. Negatively, I wil shew what it is not. And then,
  • 2. Positively, I wil shew you what it is.

1. What it is not. First,

1. By denying a mans self the Lord means not, that we should counterfeit our selves to be other than we are, as Jeroboam's Wife denied her self to be Jeroboam's Wife, by faining her self to be another Woman than she was; The Lord means not that he that is a proud [Page 98] man should say I am not a proud man, or he that is a rich man should say, I am not a rich man, or he that is a proper man should say I am not a proper man, or he whose name is John or Thomas, should say I am not that man that is not the meaning, that he should counter­feit or feign himself to be another than he is: Nor Secondly, (which it may be you think most probable) by denying a mans self is this meant.

2. That a man must wholly be rid of al these things, that that man that denies himself must wholly part with all his corruptions, and part with the powers and faculties of his soul, or the accomplishments of them, or part with all his Estate, his Wife and Children, or part with his morral Duties and Religion, that is not the meaning neither, and that that is not the mea­ning I prove thus to you First,

1. Some of these things are things we must not part with, the Lord forbids us to part with them: If God have bestowed upon any man a good Wife, or Chil­dren, or Memory, Understanding, Learning, Wealth, Honor or Abilities, or Honesty and Righteousness, the Lord commands them not to part with these, these are things that God may be served with, and must be served with, therefore that cannot be the meaning. Nay,

2. The worst of them, none of them can be parted with while we live in this world, though we would never so fain part with them, totally no man upon earth can part with all his corruptions: If there be a­ny man can say, he hath no sin in him, that man rather hath no Grace in him: St. John saith that man that saith he hath no sin in him lyeth, and the truth of God is not in him; therefore that cannot be the meaning, What is it [Page 99] then? I answer, and I humbly crave your attendance and weighing of these things, because your everlasting welfare must be measured out by this, you wil know your spiritual interest in Christ by it. I answer then,

2. That this same denial of our selves, this total re­nunciation of our selves, it comprehends these four things in it, and these four things do constantly meet in every soul that doth deny it self. First of all,

1. All these things that I have spoken of, we do totally and absolutly renounce them all from being a­ny part of our portion, that whereas before all our good lay in some of these things, that if you would ask any man what he is worth, What are you? and what are you worth? he must tel you, I am worth a thousand pound a year, or I am worth as much as my Wife and Children, my Wit, my Parts, my Learning, my Education, my good name, my honest Conversa­tion, Look what worth there is in all these so much I am worth; and this was all his portion: but now when the soul cometh to Christ, it totally renounceth all these, to be nothing at all to him in the point of a portion, if he be the Lords; and I shal shew you good reason for it by and by God willing; I wil shew you a notable instance of it in the Apostle Paul, in that fore­named Phillip. 3. where he saith, I think if any man might Glory in the flesh, I might Glory as much as any, and there he reckons up his Religion, his Birth, his E­ducation, his Learning, his Righteousness, and the like, and (saith he) these things were gain to me, they were my portion, that if you had asked Paul, Paul what are you? What am I? as good a man as you I hope, Wherein lies your goodness? I am a Jew, an Hebrew, a Benjamite, a Pharisee, a Scholler, an honest [Page 100] man, one that is unblameable in my whol conversati­on, This was my gain (saith Paul) but after that Paul was called to Christ, he did profess al that was his gain before, it was now Dogs meat to him, shipwracked; his Learning abided with him stil, and his wealth, and his wit, or any thing, he had it stil: but it was all rubbish now, he did lay no worth in the world upon it, he had no portion now but the favor of God in Christ Jesus, that was his wealth, but now for all these things what use soever he might make of them, they were nothing, not one penny to him in the point of a portion; This is the first thing that is an ingredient into this same self-denial, that when the soul cometh to Christ, it is unloo­sed and set loose from all these things, as they gave any support to the soul, to breed a good esteem in it of its own happiness. That is the first. The Second thing that maketh up this self-denial is,

2 That as the Soul doth renounce all these from being a portion, so as in any of these there is any thing found that stands in opposition to Christ, or hath any enmity against Christ, so far the soul totally doth not only throw it aside as a worthless thing, but opposeth it as a deadly thing, it casteth it aside as an enemy: Be­fore in the other it throws it aside as a useless thing: but here it throws it aside as an enemy, when it hath any opposition or enmity against Christ Jesus, or the waies that Christ would have his people walk in; that is plain both by many Scriptures, that you shal see the Servants of God when they come to deny themselves, they say to their Lusts, get you hence, to their Idola­try, to their wicked waies, they throw them out to the Moles and the Bats, they mortifie them, they crucifie them, they put off the old man, with all the Lusts that [Page 101] are contrary to Christ, & their carnal reason that stands in enmity against Christ; According (I say) as there is any thing in them that bears opposition to Christ Je­sus, and the waies of holiness, so far the soul renoun­ceth them as an enemy, if ever they deny themselves, because (as you shal hear in the Reason) Christ Jesus alone is the great good of that soul that denies it self. A Third thing that maketh up this self-denial is,

3. That all these four, or any thing that may fal un­der any one of them, so far as they ever stand in com­petition with Christ, and the things of Christ, so far the soul totally abandons them likewise, totally abandons them all according as they stand in competition with Christ Jesus; and that our Lord means when he saith, That a man must hate his Father, and Mother, and Wife, and Children, Certainly the Lord doth not mean that we should hate them simply, No, but when they come to stand in competition with Christ's ex­cellence, or providence, or things fall out so, that I must either renounce these, or I must withdraw from Christ, I cannot serve Christ, and enjoy them too, therein I totally renounce them all; and this you shall understand thus: Our Savior Christ saith a man then denies Christ, though he have never so good an opini­on of Christ, if yet when he comes to that exigent, that either he must leave Christ, or leave the world, or leave his wealth, if he leave Christ for his wealth sake then he denies Christ, so Christ saith, by the same reason when I leave my life, leave my wealth, leave my Wife, my Children, my Name, my Credit, my wil, my Duties, when these stand in competition with Christ, then I de­ny them all, then that soul may truly be said to deny [Page 102] them; as I pray take an instance or two of it, that you may see what I mean: Take that that is reported of a famous Lady in the primitive Church, I think her name was called Julida or Juletta, that having a Suit before a Heathen Magistrate, in somewhat that concerned her estate, her cause was good, and it was like to go of her side, but some body whispers the Judge in the Ear, and tels the Judg that she was a Christian, the Judg tels her; Lady, your cause is good (saith he) and it is like to go with you, but here is an information come that you are a Christian, and if so, you will not only lose this cause, and this part of your estate, but al your estate, and your honor, and your life, all is gone: Is it come to that? (saith she) farewel my lands, farewel my honor, farewel my life, Nay, I am a Christian when these come to stand in competition with Christ once: Or as Gallatius Carixialdus a famous Italian Mar­quess, that had a Lady and delicate Children, and a fair Estate, but when he could not enjoy Christ and these together, he left them all and went to Geneva to live with Mr. Calvin: And there is a speech of Chryso­stome that he said, when he thought he should go to banishment, or martyrdome for Christs sake, he said, If my Father should stand in my way, I would throw him down, if my Mother should meet me, I would tread upon her belly, meaning plainly, that if any of these should be hinderances to him in Christ's cause, and stand in competition, he would trample them un­der his feet: And this the Lord plainly means by a mans denying himself, my Life is dear, my Learning is dear, my Children are dear, my Credit is dear, al are good, I value them, I love them, I would keep them, but if either my peace with Christ must go or these, if [Page 103] my Conscience must go or these, if the Glory of Christ must go or these, all pack away, they are all renoun­ced as they stand in competition with Christ. This is the third thing in self-denial. Fourthly there is another, (and I pray lay up these things in your hearts, against I come to apply them by and by) and that is,

4. That the soul that doth deny it self doth totally forsake all these so far, as from claiming his interest or propriety in them; they do not only not make them their wealth, but now they resign them all up unto Christ, give them up to Christ, and themselves turn Baylifs or Stewards to Christ, to use them all ac­cording to the will and pleasure of Christ Jesus alone: Pray understand this, because though you be never cal­led to some of the other, yet for this last this is that vein of self denial, that must run through the whol course of a mans life, and he hath use of it every day he lives if he be a servant of Christ; Pray understand my mea­ning thus: Suppose a man had a smal Farm upon which he totally lived, it was the inheritance he recei­ved from his Father, and it is al that he and his Wife & Children have to subsist on, and he useth it according to his own will for his best advantage, builds, plucks down, plows, laies down his plowed ground, turns it into pastures, sels it, keeps it, changeth it, doth what he wil, it is all the wealth he hath, suppose this man had a fair estate that is ten thousand times better, set­tled upon him by some great man, that gives it him freely, only ties him to this condition, that this Farm that was his own before, he shal now surrender it up to the hands of the Lord, to him that is his Lord, and for time to come though he shal dwel upon it stil, yet now he shal occupie it only as his Baylif, shal not cut [Page 104] down a Tree but what he appoints, not pluck down a house nor alter a room but as he orders him, and all the fruits he shal lay them where he would have them, and dispose of them as he commands him, be but his Baylif and Steward as to that: the other now is his own portion that he shal live upon: Just now here is the case, while we are in our natural estate, all we have to live upon is our self, I have so many corruptions that (it may be) are very pleasurable, and ho­norable some of them, I have such parts, such strength of Body, I have such a wit, or such an estate, or such a good name, it is al I have to live upon, and I wil im­prove it to the best I can, and as it may best serve my turn I use it, but now when I take Christ Jesus to be my portion, when I come to take the Lord Christ to be my portion, I surrender all these up into Christ's hands, and while he is pleased to put them back again into mine, I am only his Baylif, his Steward, my wit is his, my Honour is his, my Wealth is his, my Lands are his, and a man that hath denied himself doth occupy all these things, just as the Jews were to occupy the Land of Canaan, of whom you may read in Levit. 25. that the Lord told them, This Land (saith he) is all mine, and you are but sojourners with me, you shal plow it thus many years, and then you shal plow it no longer than such a time, and of the fruits of it you shal bring the first fruits to such a place, and pay the Tithes to such a place, and to the poor give such a thing, and gives this Reason, For the land is mine and you are but sojourners with me, so that all that a man hath in this world, al that is comprehended under the name self, when once the Soul closeth with Christ, it is but a sojourner with him to use these things, and to use [Page 105] them according to the Lords pleasure; and these four do make up self-denial; when a Soul (in a word) is come thus far, that he doth abhominate all that is in it so as for making it a portion, when he hates and labors to crucifie whatsoever in it is an enemy to Christ and the waies of Christ, when he parts with all, with any thing as they stand in competition with Christ, when they labor to use all according to the rules of Christ, so as to make Christ the Proprietor, and themselves to be but Stewards or Tennants at wil to him. This is the self-denial that the Lord saith must be in every Soul that wil be his Disciple. Now before I come to the Application of this, I have but one thing more and that is to shew you,

3. Why it must be thus, what reason there is, that so the thing may be demonstrated to you, that so when I come to the Application your hearts may have no­thing to oppose against it; and understand me, the question is not why it is comely to do thus, why it is requisite it should be so: but why there is such an ab­solute necessity of it, that a man cannot so much as pretend to be a Disciple of Christ that will not submit to it. What Reason for it? I answer first,

1. Because wheresoever the Lord Christ is received by any soul, he wil be received as the All of that Soul, mark my words, Christ wil be all or he wil be nothing, what the Father hath sent him to do he wil be all to do it, he wil never undertake a piece of it, and the Lord hath sent him to be all that a poor lost sinner can need. Now I pray conceive my meaning thus, Take a Maid that a Man wil be a Husband to her, when she marries to this man he wil be all in the place of a Hus­band, and she must renounce all the men in the world [Page 106] in matters that belong to conjugal Relations, the marriage state wil admit no rivalty; I but for al that, though the Husband must be all in the relation of a Husband, yet he is not al that the Wife needs, and she may lawfully have application to other Creatures, and to other men for some things wherein her Hus­band cannot be all to her; if she be sick, she must have a Physitian; if she be wounded, she must have a Chy­rurgeon; if she be sad, it may be she must have ano­ther to comfort her: neither can her Husband be her Bread, and her Cloaths, she must have another must make them, and prepare them. But now Christ Je­sus is All that the soul needs, he is their Father, their Husband, their Brother, their Friend, their Compani­on, their Bread, their Drink, their Cloth, their Gold, their Silver, their Honor, he is All in All; Christ Je­sus is so, and he wil be so, or he wil be nothing; and there is this natural reason for it, Because every mans heart shares out both its prayers, and its confidence, and its love, and its praises (I say it shares it out) ac­cording as it needs, or findeth supply any where. If one man be my Patron, and give me a great deal of my maintenance, I share out my expectations, my prayers, my love, my service most to that man; but another helps me with some of these, and he hath part of my good wishes, and part of my prayers, and part of my praises, according to the proportion of good I receive from him, so is my heart shared out to him in dependance, or thankfulness, or love. But Christ Jesus wil have no sharing, he wil have all thy heart, all thy prayers, all thy love, all thy affections, all thy obedience; Christ Jesus expects all, which he cannot have until he be all, and he never can be all, [Page 107] til al other be renounced, til I have no God but Christ, til I have no Father but Christ, til I have no Wisdom but Christ, til I have no Righteousness but Christ, I shal never share out al my prayers, and confi­dence, and love, and the like, to Christ for al; and therefore wil Christ have al renounced that he may be all. That is one Ground, and the great Ground. There is another (which I wil briefly touch) and that is this:

2. Because al these things that we are to renounce, even the best of them al in those notions wherein we are to renounce them, they are al of them, and wil be adversaries and hindrances to us, in the way that Christ Jesus expects we should walk before him, and therefore until our souls do totally renounce them, we are in perpetual danger of being undone by them; as I pray conceive my meaning thus in a familiar com­parison: Suppose in a Civil War wherein a Nation is divided, and one Faction engaged against the other; if a man that hath been engaged on the one Party, do leave that Party, and come over to serve that side a­gainst which he did oppose before, this man must re­nounce all the other Party, though his Brethren were there, though his Estate lay in those Quarters, he must renounce them all, or otherwise he wil never be tru­sted by them, to whom now he pretends to joyn; or be sure (which is the thing I alledg it for) if he hold correspondence with them, they wil ever be dropping destructive principles into him, against the way that he now engageth for. So al these things, not only our Drunkenness, and Whoredom, and Lust, and Ly­ing, and stealing, and slandering; but our Reason, our Wills, our Affections, our Wealth, our Honor, our [Page 108] Children, our Friends, our Duties, our Performances, wil lie as blocks in the way to hinder us from some of the things that the religion of Christ wil put upon us; there is nothing cleerer, Saint John hath an excellent speech in 1 John 2.16. saith he) All that is in the world (mark his words, All that is in the world) the Lusts of the Flesh, the Lust of the Eye, and the Pride of life, it is not of the Father: It is not of the Father al that is in the world, What means he by all that is in the world? that that he had said before, Little Children love not the world, nor any thing in the world, his meaning is, love not Life, love not Wife, love not Children, Estate, Honor, Wealth, love them not, Why? They all serve but to nourish the Lusts of the Flesh, the Lust of the Eye, or the pride of Life, and that is not of the Father, they wil draw you away from God, therefore take heed of them; and look what John saith of the things of the world, the same may be carried to al the other; Love not your Duties, love not your Righteousness, love not your Performances, love not your Honesty, love none of these as you in your natural estate cleave to them, they al of them tend but only to advance your self, and to pul down Christ, and wil be hinderances to you in the way wherein Christ wil have you walk; And thus I have endeavored (Beloved) to make plain unto you this great Doctrine of Christianity, that is the very first door that we pass through when we come into Christs School to deny our selves: Now it remains that I make some Application of it, and that I shal do as briefly and as cleerly as the Lord shal please to enable me, and among many other things there are but two or three that I intend to insist upon. The one is,

USE, 1.

Hence from all this discourse it cleerly follows, that among the great multitude of those that are cal­led Christians, there are but very few who are Chri­stians indeed (for Gods sake marke this that I say to you, I say) If this discourse of mine be true (as I hope I have made it cleer out of Gods word to you) that a man cannot be Christs Disciple, that hath not learned this lesson of self-denial, certainly there are very few Christians to be found in Christendome, and truly I have often thought and am perswaded it is true, that the not understanding of this lesson, or the not coming to Christ upon the tearms of this Lesson, is the great cause of all the formalities, and hypocrisies, and the unbelief, and apostacy that is sound amongst Christi­ans. I observe (and it is an observation that many have made) that in the primitive times of the Church, when death and ruine was visibly to be expected by a­ny one that would imbrace Christ, then it would be hard for any man to enter upon Christianity, until he had resolved upon this lesson, because they took it for granted, I go to poverty, I go to hanging, I go to stoning, I go to beggery if I go to Christ, and there­fore they had need see so much in Christ, that they might be willing to part with all for him, and yet even then our Savior Christ noted, that a great many came in upon false grounds: but now after the name of Christian Religion hath obtained in the world, and men are made Christians from their mothers womb, I mean in an outward form, that assoon as we have a Child born we say it is born a Christian, and then we go [Page 110] and Baptize it as a Christian, and then when it cometh to Church it hears Sermons as a Christian, and then as it grows up and gets a little more knowledg it comes to the Lords Table as a Christian, and so men are made Christians by piece-meals, and they know not how, but the Lord knows mavelous few amongst them ever understood any thing at all of this Point of self-denial, that if amongst such a great Assembly as here is, if a man in Gods name should come but to en­quire and say, Are you a Christian? Yes: Do you fol­low Christ? I: And are you his Disciples in truth? I hope so: Pray have you denied your self? Have you learned the Lesson of self-denial? God he knows they know nothing of the meaning of it (as they say) it is heathen Greek to them, they are unacquainted with it: Wel (Friends) know you for certain, that you may be bred Christians, bear the name of Christ, make a profession of Christ, hear Sermons of Christ, partake of the Sacraments of Christ, and do a thousand things that may outwardly speak you to be the Servants of Christ, and in the mid'st of all these you may be as far from being his Disciples in truth, as they were that crucified him, and if ever the Lord come but to dis­pose of you, and come to cal for that same beloved Self of thine whatsoever it be, that thou must turn it out of door, the world shal quickly know that thou never didst receive Jesus Christ in sincerity, I am per­swaded that so many of you as have but ordinary un­derstandings in the Book of God wil be able to Judg, if you compare my Doctrine with the lives of most men. You wil say, Either this that you have prea­ched is not Gospel, or we are not Christians, there are very few of us that ever learned this Lesson, therefore [Page 111] I desire you (before I go any further) every one a little to try his own soul, what evidence he hath of this Lesson wrought in him, you cal your selves the servants of Christ, I beseech you examin, Have you ever denied your selves? I do not ask now whether you have learned a particular Lesson, to deny your Credit, or your Wil at this time or the other time, but this same putting off this old Self, this renouncing of thy self, hast thou ever learned that? and among a great many trials I wil pray you (at the present) but to weigh these two Considerations. First,

1. In the presence of God tel me, what doest thou weigh in the Ballance? This is somwhat a blunt que­stion, but it is that that wil mightily determine the case, Tel me in the sight of God, what doest thou weigh in the ballance? my meaning is this, I know thou knowest what thou art, and what thou hast, thou knowest thy self (it may be) to be a Scholler, a wel bred man, it may be a great Magistrate, it may be of a great estate, it may be a great name, it may be an ho­nest man, it may be an unblameable conversation, it may be cried up as one of the eminentest men in the City where thou livest, looked upon by all the City, and neighborhood as a rare man, and it may be al this is true: But tel me what doest thou weigh in Gods sight? That God that knows how thou esteemest thy self can determine this question: Wel thus plainly, Art thou one that carriest such thoughts as these? there is such and such and such they are great Profes­sors, I thank God I am as good a man as any of them all, I am sure I have a better estate than they, I am sure I have more honesty and as good a wit as they▪ and I can set out my foot by any man, let any man de­tect [Page 112] me, I thank God I am not as a great many others are, and thus thou judgest of thy self; Alas poor soul! thou art very far from Christ Jesus: But now if God wil bear witness with thy soul, that in the mid'st of al these thou sayest, I am (indeed I am) it may be a learned man, or a great man, or a rich man, or a Schol­lar and the like, and I have lived honestly, and God hath kept me from many notorious wicked waies that others have walked in, but alas what am I for al this? a poor undone Creature, a worthless Craature, not only my lusts but my Prayers, my Sermons that I preach, or hear, my duties that I perform, God help me I am a base Creature, if God look not upon me in Christ Jesus, I have no one thing to commend me to God, nothing that ever I had, nothing that ever I did is of any worth, I loath it all, Oh! if God would give me Christ I am wel, but for other things I have nothing, there is the man, the soul that weighs nothing in the ballance, is nothing hath denied himself, he hath sold himself, he saith indeed I am worth nothing, Why? Is not this house yours? It was but I have sold it and spent the mony too, God help me, so I had these things, but (alas) they are not worth a Groat, they are wotrh nothing, my worth is this, if I have hope in Christ I am wel, if not I am lost. Ask but thy soul that. Secondly,

2. Tel me (for that fourth branch that I named, because I know if thou hast but any face of Christiani­ty, thou darest not own those that are known Lusts, known Corruptions, thou endeavorest to mortifie them, but I wil insist only upon that fourth branch) Dost thou with all that thou hast, look upon thy self [Page 113] as one that is Christs Baylif and Steward, he hath laid up thy portion for thee, he measures out thy wealth for thee, and for him thou livest, and for him thou gi­vest that that thou hast, and that that thou art, and that that thou doest, thy honor, thy estate, thy life, thy wealth, if Christ may have any service from them, by them, through them, here they are, thou tenderest them to him with all thy soul, if the Lord have subdued thy heart to that, I tel thee for thy comfort (and so I pass from this first use, if the Lord have subdued thy heart to that) he hath taught thee that lesson which though it be the first in order to Christianity, yet it is the har­dest Nut thou hast to crack, it is a lesson that nothing but Gods Spirit dwelling in thee ever subdued thy heart too, and it is assure a token that the Lord is thine, as any thing that ever can be found in thee, when thou hast renounced all, that Christ may be all to thee: but if this be a stranger to thee and thou to it, do not flatter thy self with thy carnal confidence, thou maiest be very religious and honest in outward shew, but thou servest thy Self and not the Lord, and that self of thine wil ruine thee and never save thee, and therfore in the next place (which is the use which I most of all intend, and which when I have done with I have done my Sermon)

USE, 2.

I would labor to teach this Lesson, this great Les­son of self-denial, I would be a help to those that are willing to learn this hard Lesson, how it may be attai­ned that we may follow the Lord, and truly (Hono­rable and Beloved) if I should look upon my self on­ly [Page 114] in this work, my weakness to think that I should perswade you to deny your selves, I profess I would as soon expect that I might perswade you to go out of this Assembly, and lay violent hands upon your selves, and cut your own Throats, as soon as by any Rheto­rick or Arguments of mine, I should ever look to per­swade you to this great lesson of self-denial, but when I consider that in this work I am the Minister of Christ, and that his Spirit goes along with his word, I may hope through his Grace that I may teach that, and leave that upon many of your souls, that may make you contented to forsake all, and follow Christ all the rest of your daies; I say again, looking upon humane perswasions it is nothing: I remember the Story that is told of Luther, When Luther first came out to preach against the Popes indulgences, and to reform the cor­ruptions of the Church of Rome, went about that vast Task, there was one Albertus that liked Luthers projects very wel, but despaired that ever he would make any thing of it, he wrote to him, Frater abi in cellam, die miserere mei Deus; Fryar (saith he) go to thy bed, go into thy Cel, thou wilt never do any good at this work: So to come to perswade men to forsake them­selves, to renounce themselves, to come and deal with Lord Majors, and Aldermen, and Sheriffs, and Ladies, and great Citizens, and learned men, to come and turn them out of al that ever they have, that they should renounce al, and deny al, and not be worth one Groat but the favor of God in Christ, Abi in Cellam, Go to thy Bed, there is no hope of it, but if God strike in, there wil be hopes of it, and therfore to perswade you to it, be pleased to take these three motives·

1. Three Considerations I would give you, to make [Page 115] you willing to learn this lesson of self-denial, and then,

2. I will shew you the means that you must use to attain it.

1. To provoke you to it, Consider in the first place.

1. That this self, this cursed self that I am preaching against, it is absolutely the greatest Idol in the world, the greatest Idol and false God that is to be found in al the world: Since man left the true God from being his portion, there have been found out a hundred thousand other Gods, but all those hundred thou­sand and hundred thousand demy-gods, they are all of them but underlings to this same God that is called Self, Self invented them, Self set them up, Self chan­geth them, Self produced them, and they all bow be­fore it, as Dagon did before the Ark, so all the other Idols in the world bow before Self: I know I speak Gods truth, my meaning is, All false religions, all po­licies, all injustice, all oppressions, all underminings, all villanies that are acted in the world, and from one end of the world to the other, they all are but the fruit of self-love, self-preservation, self-interest, self-content, self-respect, somewhat about Self hath set them up, and were they all banished out of the world, while we have a Self in us, an unmortified Self, that self in mankind would invent all those again that ever were, or as bad as they: This is the Abaddon, the A­pollion, the abomination that was all desolation, and certainly this ruines Kingdoms, ruines Common­wealths, overthrows Churches, it is the great waster that destroies all, and you set against all other things without any purpose, til you go against this; I hope I speak to wise men, but I am sure if you wil search you wil find this to be true, that it is only self is the ruine [Page 116] of al men, and til you turn that off, you do but crop the bud; and as if a man should say, that I have almost un­done my self by a Whore, but I wil give her over, I wil follow her no more; and another say, I have undone my self by a pack of Cards, but I will use them no more, but if self remains Covetousness wil undo thee with Religion and with Honesty, it wil carry thee to Hell by thy Prayers, by thy Tears, by thy reformati­ons, til the Lord turn self out you do nothing. That is one. Secondly, Consider this,

2. There is an absolute impossibility (the Lord help you to weigh what I am now saying to you, I say there is an absolute impossibility) that ever the soul should cordially close with Christ until it do totally re­nounce it self, never can Christ be cordially closed with til then: There are a thousand things may make a man make an external profession of Christ, or keep a fair quarter with him, but cordially to close with him it is impossible, til the Lord teach us to renounce our selves: I wil give you the reason, because Christs interest and self-interest are diametrically opposite one to the other, directly opposite one to another, and therefore it is not possible that ever we should close with Christ until we renounce that other; that is that our Savior means in Math. 6. No man can serve two Masters, he doth not mean that a poor man cannot serve two or three or ten Masters, he may serve twenty Masters, so as all those Masters have but one interest, if they have all one common and joynt stock he may serve them al, but if their interests be opposite one to another, the man can never serve them both; Now Christs inte­rest what is that? it is only to lay the Creature low, to make man, and all that is of man vile and nothing, [Page 117] and to exalt free Grace only, that is Christs interest, but now self-interst is nothing in the world but to ex­alt it self, whosoever goes down, to tread upon the Devils shoulders to exalt it self, to tread upon the world to exalt it self, to tread upon Gods shoulders to exalt it self, any thing that may exalt it self, they are so opposite that it is impossible they should both close: Thus far indeed a man that hath made Self and self-interest his portion, that man may keep a marvei­lous fair quarter with Religion, as a learned man han­dling this very Doctrine I am preaching of, useth this comparison, saith he; Those men whose interest is to maintain their own greatness, they will entertain those that are cal'd the wits of the time, the pleasant Companions, the Drols, they wil entertain them, bid them welcom, be glad of them: though it be some cost to them, it is a part of their grandour, it maintains their greatness to have such, and they are as welcome to them as any body in the world, but if any of these wits or pleasant Companions shal come to engage this man, and say, pray (Sir) be you bound with me for ten thousand pound: Sir you are welcome to my house, and your Horse is welcom, but (Sir) you must par­don me, he wil throw him off rather than do so: So a man may entertain Christ, while hearing of Sermons and discoursing of Religion is only an Ornament to a man, a man that is of a selvish spirit may cordially entertain him so far, but so as to hazzard their own undoing for Religions sake, for Christ's sake to bring me to beggary, it may be to hang me upon a Gallows, to throw me out of my Office, to overthrow my Trade, wholly to throw these away no man living can enter­tain Christ so far. It was a notable speech of the King [Page 118] of Navarre, that afterwards was Henry the fourth of France, The King of Navarre was a Protestant, and ow­ned the Protestant cause, but his eye was upon the Crown of France, to which he knew he was Heir, and hoped to come to it, and when Beza and the other Pro­testants did press the King of Navarre, to appear cordi­ally in the cause of God, saith he, I am yours, I wil go with you, but I promise you I will go no further to Sea, than I may come to Land if a storm rises, his mea­ning was, he would never hazzard the loss of the Crown of France for the Protestant Religion, and so he fared accordingly; and truly so may it be now, Thou maiest tel Christ after a complemental manner, Lord, thou art mine, it is my honor to be thy servant, I de­light to hear thy word preached, and worship thee in my Family, I rejoyce in it: all this fair quarter maiest thou keep, but beleeve it, if the Lord have not taught thee to renounce thy self, when Christ shal come to try thee throughly, thou wilt honor him just as you shal find in the Story, and it is worth your observation, in 1 Kings 20. you have such a Story as this is, Benha­dad the King of Syria sendeth to Ahab King of Israel such a Letter as this, saith he, Thus saith Benhadad, All that thou hast is mine, thy Wives and thy Children are mine, thy Gold and thy Silver is mine; and al is mine, Ahab very loth to quarrel with him returns him a very fine complement, My Lord (saith he) all that I have is at your service, all is thine; Well, Benhadad sendeth next day, Wel, (saith he) whereas I sent to thee that all is mine that thou hast, I wil send my Servant for to seize upon it: while he only talked of it, Ahab would own it, my Lord all is thine: But when to morrow I wil send my servants, and they shal seize up­on [Page 119] it, then he cals his Counsellors, See you how this man picks a quarrel with me, what a fair answer I sent to him, and now he would seize upon all: So if Christ come to thee, til thou hast learned self-denial, and say, here I wil lay thee down, here thou shalt lose thy cre­dit, or thy Conscience, peace with me, or peace with men, thou canst never close with Christ cordially till thou hast learned this lesson. And then Thirdly and Lastly for my Motives.

3. Know for certain, If the Lord have but once taught thee this Lesson, there is nothing in all Christia­nity wil be difficult to thee, all the waies of Christ will be as plain as a Bowling-Alley, whatsoever thou art called too; I know I speak a great word, but I bless God I speak not unpreparedly in it, all the waies of Christ wil be as plain as a Bowling-Alley to thee, if the Lord have but once taught thee to turn Self out of doors, thy work wil be brought only to these two Heads.

1. One part of it to learn to know what Gods wil is concerning thee, what he would have thee do, or what he would have thee suffer. And,

2. The other wil be but to seek strength of him, that thou maiest not in thy own power go about it, but be supported by him; but otherwise all objecti­ons and difficulties are removed, if Self be but once turned out of doors; Why? Because all the difficul­ties in the waies of Christ ariseth from Arguments ta­ken from Self only, either this will be against my ho­nor, or here I must part with such a pleasure, or here my estate may hap to be crack't, or here this may haz­zard my life, or this may deprive me of my Children, or this may cut me off from my Friends, or this may [Page 120] expose me to scorn, some such thing or other comes in, but otherwise when a man hath no such thing to take care for, I have no honor, nor credit, nor wife, nor Children, nor friends I regard, the Lord is my portion, I live upon him, I drink water out of that Cisterne, and I care for no other, when the soul hath but once learned that, it is but with him as it was with Paul, saith he, I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, and I profess I know not what I shal meet withal, saith one, then I will tel you what you shal meet withal, the Holy Ghost saith the Jews shall bind you, and Scourge you, and Whip you, and send you to Rome, and what then? they all fal a Weeping for, and about him, saith he, why break you my Heart? What care I to die at Jerusalem when it is the work of the Lord; he had no self to regard, he had turned self out of doors, and all the waies of Christ were easie to him, and God knows this passage was one of the motives that made me choose this Theam before this grave Auditory; Truly our times are extream Ticklish and dangerous, and the wisest man under Heaven knows not what wil betide him, whether it fals back or edge, no man can tel what will become of him, nor what to meet withal, and a great many wise men are perplex­ed to know what to do, now I tel you, if the Lord do but teach you to deny your selves, to lay aside all that may be called self, you will have no great difficulty not in these difficult times, but only to know what God would have you do, that you may not go out of the right way for want of light that you may not in­gage in sinful actions for want of councel, you wil pray to God to make your way plain, but as for other diffi­culties whether you shal stand or fal, Live or Die, it [Page 121] would be no great trouble to you, if God had but once taught you to deny your selves; Nay, you will not only be prepared for the worst times to come, but for all services you shal be called to, It is a good ob­servation of a learned man, That all the men that ever have been eminently serviceable, either in matters of the Gospel, I mean, in Duties of Religion, or emi­nent if it have been in a Christian way, in matters of Charity, or Justice, or in being faithful Patriots, they have been men that have little regarded themselves, that have not greatly regarded what they were talked of, how they were valued or esteemed, or what was like to betide them, but only men that were willing to be publick sacrifices if need were, and those men have done the best service if any other; So in the greatest Services, you may be possibly called to suffer, turn but Sarah aside now, when Abraham must go to Sacrifice his Son, Sarah shal not know of it, and then Abraham can do it well enough, for he had learned to follow Gods will, but Sarah would have Rung him an­other Peal; So turn but self out of the way, and you will be fit for any thing God shal cal you to; But you will say.

Quest. How shall a man attain this Lesson? What Argu­ments or what Rethorick can you use, that you can expect ever to prevail with men, to turn them off thus from themselves?

I wil tell you,

Answ. Not by any Humane Oratory in the world is this to be effected, but it is the Lord, it is the spirit of the Lord that doth it; no man can come to me (saith Christ) except my Father draw him; now in every [Page 122] coming, there is a Terminus a quo, and a Terminus ad quem, the term that you must go from, that is Self, the term that you must come to, that is Christ, Now no man cometh from himself, or cometh unto Christ, til God Almighty draw him: But what (think you) is Gods drawing? It is nothing but the spirits perswa­ding, Gods spirit perswades them, And what do you think the Spirit of God perswades them too? that I now come to, and afford me but one quarter of an hour for that, and then (God willing) I shal have done. The Spirit of God when it doth enable a soul thus to deny it self, it doth perswade them of these two things, which two things I would commend to you as your study. The one is,

1. The Spirit of God maketh him see what Self is, and no man under Heaven longer cleaves to himself, than he is deceived in himself, for let him but once have but a true information of himself, and he abo­minates himself presently. That is one. And then the second is,

2. To make him see the excellency that is to be found in Christ, the All-sufficiency that the soul may find in Christ, and when they see their present portion worth nothing, and that that is offered to them to be every way satisfrctory, then doth the soul readily renounce the one, and close with the other; so that then if you would get out of your self, and renounce your self.

1. Study to know thy self, study but to know who thou art, in any of all these things that I have spoke of, know but thy self; I confess it wil not be a short study, but I commend it to you, and the Lord help you that you may study it (I say) know who thou art. First,

[Page 123]1. What thy Lusts are; for I tel you while a man is in his natural estate, his Lusts are very excellent Orna­ments to him, it is a brave thing to many a man to think what a proud spirit he hath, how he can rant it, and tread all his Neighbors under foot, and that he can go from one filthy pleasure to another, that plea­ses him: Study to know what thy sins are, and who thou art that art a sinner.

2. Study to know what the World is, thy Wife, Ho­nor, Estate, Friends, Liberties, Study to know them.

3. Study to know thy Righteousness, thy Honesty, thy Prayers, thy Duties that thou art so prone to magnifie thy self for, and to make a bottom to stand upon, labor to know them, and thou wilt have e­nough of them, as I beseech you conceive me thus: Suppose a deluded young man were in love with some beautiful Woman (as he takes her to be) he takes her to be the paragon of beauty of all the Country, and of good behavior, and therefore he sacrificeth his State, his Life, his Parts, his Wit, and all to be her Ser­vant, imagine now that this Woman were some ugly, deformed, abominable strumpet that hath only pain­ted her self, and take her paint off, she hath the hor­ridest visage that a man can look upon, and is all eaten up with loathsom Diseases, shew this Man but this Woman in her own colors, let him see her deformity, he hath quickly enough, then he loatheth himself for loving her: Would the Lord therefore teach you but to take any of al these things, and but to weigh them and study them, and see what shadows, what baubles, what dreans, what fancies the best of them all are, I speak not now of your Swearing, and Drunkenness, [Page 124] and Whoring, but I speak of your Pomp, your Honor, your Wealth, your great Estates, your Revenues, your good Cloaths, Nay (I wil go higher) your Prayers, your Mercies, your hearing of Sermons, your Righteousness, your Honesty, if God would shew you what guilt, what filth cleaves to them, what venom is in them how little they wil stand your soul in stead in the day of tryal, if God would teach you but to study these things aright, certainly you would say, Lord, draw me from my self, deliver me from my self, that am the veriest monster that lives. But especially.

4. Study to know Christ: Christ saith, Let him for­sake himself and follow me, (said his Disciples to him) Lord, we wil follow thee, but what shal we have? I wil tel you, (saith he) you shal have a hundred fold more in this world, besides in the world to come you shal have life everlasting, that is, (in a word) Thou shalt find in Christ all that that wil abundantly satisfie thy soul, there is righteousness enough, there is wis­dom enough, there is mercy enough, there is goodness enough, there is counsel enough, there is honor e­nough, thou canst not need so much as thou shalt find in Christ, Rivers, Seas, Oceans of happiness in Christ, study to know Christ and thou wilt follow him. These things I thought good to press, and purposed indeed to have pressed them larger, but I know not how the time is gone, nor how burdensom I may be to you, and although this was all the use I intended, when I prepared this Sermon for this place, yet since I finished it, there is brought somwhat to my hands, that doth enable me to make another use of it, at least of one branch of it, and I beseech you give attention to it, and I have done. I am informed that it is one of the [Page 125] ends of this grave, honorable and solemn meeting of the Magistracy of the City, and of this holy service, to promote a work of Mercy, and Charity, towards the poor of the several Hospitals, to let the wel affected be acquainted how things are, and what may be expected or desired from them, and that I may do it in a few words, have patience but while I read this short pa­per to you, and then I shal spend a little more of my Theam about it, and then I have done. Here is a true report &c Thus (Beloved) I have read over this pa­per, and I think I shal not need to tell you how it fals within my Theam, I told you that one special branch of Self denial is, to resign up all that we have of Wealth, Lands, Mony, Trades, Parts, Abilities, to re­sign them up to Christ, to serve him with them, to lay them out in the way that he wil appoint: Now your hearts could not wish for a way more cleer and evi­dent, for the testifying your being good Stewards for Christ, than in owning the present business that hath been read to you, and to make it good, I wil say but these two things in a few words. First,

1. That of al the Services, of al kind of Services that ever we can do for Christ, next to the saving our souls, the work of Mercy and Compassion to People is most accepted with him, that that himself wil most own in the great day, when there shal not a cup of cold water go unrewarded that ever hath been given for his sake. I am confident you so frequently hear of the excellen­cy of the work of mercy and bounty to the poor, that I shal not need to spend any more time to commend it to you, only I pray you to think of it.

2. But the other thing that I would commend to you is this, (and I beseech you beleeve I would not [Page 126] willingly flatter, but according to the best information that ever I could obtain) There is no such Treasury in the Christian world, no such Banck where a man might promise what he doth to be faithfully, and wisely, and most advantagiously laid out, as in this Treasury of the honorable City of London, and the Go­vernors of these Hospitals, I have often heard (for I am but an ignorant man my self in the affairs of this Ci­ty) Godly men and wise men often say, that had they any Hospitals to erect, any sums of mony, were it a hundred thousand pounds, that they would promise themselves to be laid out so, that it should not go into private mens purses, or be given to Vagrants and Knaves, but to the halt, and the lame that have need of it, they have professed they would put it into the hands of those that are the Governors of the Hospitals about London, where things are done in such a way, that setting aside such frailties as al humane affairs are suhject to in the generality, they are above making personal gains, but desire only to be faithful Stewards, and therefore if God do put it in any of your hearts, that you would shew your self-denial, and would in­deed make Christ beholding to you (as he will be pleased to cal himself your Debtor) know that such things as these are very fit objects for your thoughts. And the Lord of Heaven direct you about it. I dare stay you no longer.

FINIS

THE SAINTS DUTY To keep their HEARTS In a GOOD FRAME. Opened in a Sermon at Olaves Silver­street, November, 9. 1654.

PROVERBS, 4.23.

Keep thy Heart with all Dilligence, (or as it is chiefly read, Keep thy Heart with all keepings) for out of it are the Issues of Life.

IN most of the Chapters of this Book of the Proverbs, there is no connection of one verse with another, that one should give light or help to clear the other, but they are as a multitude of excellent Pearls put into a large Box, whereof every one singly is of a very [Page 128] great price, and it is thought by many that they were but so many sentences, that King Solomon did utter usu­ally when he sate in judicature, according as the cause or condition was that was heard before him, so there was a divine sentence in the Lips of the King, and the Lord in his good providence and love to his Church hath recorded them, to be for instruction for his Peo­ple to the end of the world, and amongst them al if you go from one end of the book to the other, if it be law­ful to make comparisons, I may freely say, there is not one Pearl of greater price, one sentence of more di­vine use than this that I have read to you, and shal en­deavor (God willing) to open as far as I can within the compass of an hour and in it there are these two things plainly laid down. Here is first,

1. A Duty enjoyned to all the Lords Children, in these words, Keep thy heart above al keeings. Secondly,

2. Here is an Argument to enforce to this Duty, in these words, for out of it are the issues of life.

1. And in the Duty there are likewise two things. First,

1. Here is the subject matter, the thing that is to be done, and that is, Keep thy heart. Secondly,

2. Here is the manner how it must be done, and that is, (as we translate it) with al diligence; Keep thy heart with all diligence, or, above all keepings keep thy heart.

Now give me leave briefly to interpret the meaning of the words, and then I will put it all into one instru­ction, which I will endeavor to handle in this hour. First,

  • 1. What is meant by the heart, And,
  • 2. Keeping the heart, And,
  • 3. Keeping it above all Keepings. And so,
  • [Page 129]4. Of the issues of life that flow from it. Let me give you a brief interpretation of each of them.

1. What doth Solomon mean by the heart here that must be kept?

No doubt it is not meant of the heart made of flesh, that is in the midst of our bodies, it is spiritually meant that no man doubts of: Now take the heart spi­ritually, and somtimes in the holy Scripture the heart is put for the whol soul; somtimes it is put for the un­derstanding faculty; somtimes it is put for the me­mory; somtimes it is put for the Conscience; some­times it is put for the Wil; sometimes for one or two Affections; it were endless to give you the instances of all these; but here is a Key in the Text which will tel you what is meant here; for without question that is meant by the Heart here, that is the spring of life, from whence the issues of life do flow. Keep thy heart for out of it are the issues of life, (now as I shal shew you by and by) the issues of life are nothing but our whol conversation, so that what's within is the Foun­tain of our conversation without, that is meant by the Heart here; and so consequently it must be meant chiefly of the Wil and Affections. not excluding the understanding: by the Heart then is meant the under­standing faculty, especially the Wil and the Affections. Then,

2. Keep thy heart, Keep it, What is that? The word that is here translated Keep, I find it in other Texts of Scripture variously applied, somtimes it is applied un­to those that are the Keepers of a Prison, where dan­gerous Fellons or Malefactors are to be looked to, that they do not break away; Joseph was made the Keeper of the Prison. The same word that is here; somtimes [Page 130] it is applied to keeping the Sanctuary of God, and all the holy things that belonged to Gods Temple, so it is several times used in Ezekiel. Somtimes it is used to signifie the keeping of Treasures, Jewels, &c. so that it is such a keeping as doth argue a great deal of care and watchfulness and diligence &c. All this is meant by Keep thy heart, keep it as thou wouldst keep a dange­rous Fellon, a Traytor; keep it as thou wouldst keep a holy Sanctuary and Temple of the Holy Ghost, keep it as you would keep the richest Treasures, keep thy heart. And then,

3 Keep it above al keepings, with al diligence or above all keepings, that plainly needs the least interpretati­on of all, because that it is clear that there are abun­dance of things that God gives men in charge to keep, that if God commit to any man a Flock he must take heed to his Flock, if he bestow any Talent upon him of outward goods, he must keep it and occupy it for Gods Glory, every thing that is received from God must be kept according to the rules he hath given, but above all thy keepings, when you have put them all together, all the keepings that must be kept for Wife, Children, Estate, Name or whatsoever is dear,, let thy heart be kept above all keepings, beyond them al, above al keepings keep thy heart. And then,

4. Here is added thy Heart, keep thy heart, that sig­nifies these two things. The one is,

1. That Solomon who was a Son of wisdom, for it is judged by many that these were not Solomons own words, but they were a part of the Catechism that his Father taught him, for so in the beginning of the Chap­ter he tels you that he was his Fathers dearly beloved Son, and he taught him & instructed him & said so and [Page 131] so to him, and so they think that all these were Davids words to Solomon, but if it be not, if you take them for Solomons words it is all one, for a little before he saith, My Son, that is, when he saith my Son he means one that is a Son of wisdom, a Child of God, Keep thy heart, that is a good heart, that is a reformed heart that hath Grace planted in it, yet he that hath it so, must be care­ful to keep it so. And then it signifies further,

2. Thy heart, that is, above al other mens hearts look to the hearts of thy Children, if thou beest a Pastor look to the frame of thy People, so far as thy relation and duty reacheth look to them all, and get what good may be, but let thy heart be looked to above them all. That is the meaning of the first branch, Keep thy heart above all keepings.

2. Now a word of the other, For out of it are the Is­sues of life. Here are two things to be interpreted. First,

1. The Issues of life, What is that? The word that is translated Issue, it sometimes signifies a Bud that grows out from a Tree, somtimes a Child that is born of a Father, sometimes and very often the waters that spring or issue out of a Fountain, and so by the issues of life he plainly means all that comes out in our Con­versation, that is the fruit of the heart, Words, Acti­ons, Relations, Duties, Sufferings, whatsoever you wil, they are all the issues of life, Al these are issues of life. And then,

2. All these are out of it, What is that? out of it, may signifie two things, and both come to the same purpose, Out of it, that is,

1. Out of the heart, it is out of our heart that co­meth [Page 132] all the issues of life, or (I think life must be ad­ded) out of it, that is,

2. Out of keeping of thy heart though it be a good one, though it be reformed, yet when I exhort thee to keep it diligently, I would have thee to know that ac­cording as thou keepest thy heart, so wil the issues of thy life be; Now out of these words thus opened, I observe this Instruction.

Doct. 1. That the greatest Duty that lies upon all the Sons of God, the Sons of wisdom in this world is, to keep their hearts.

To explain it a little more before I come to a fur­ther proof of it, be pleased to know that there are two great works about our hearts in this spiritual sense. The one is,

1. To get it into a good spiritual Frame, which no mans heart in the world is, til the Lord break it in pieces and make it new.

The other work is,

2. When God hath put this Instrument into tune, that we keep it so, that when God hath put it into a good frame, our work must be to keep it in a good frame. The second of these is the Duty of this Text, for this is here applied unto the Sons of wisdom in whom Grace is planted, and so my Doctrine then is this.

Doct. 2. That all the Servants of God must make it their busiest, their diligentest, their watchfullest work in the world to keep their hearts in a good frame when once the Lord in mercy hath put them into a good frame.

[Page 133]Now to make this good to you, I wil not (because an hour wil quickly be gone, and I have many things that I would fain give you) turn you to many Texts that should particularly prove it, I think any of you that do but read the Scriptures, where the Lord Christ enjoyneth us to look to our hearts, because out of the heart and out of the treasury of the heart comes every thing out, but to convince you of it I would open six grounds to you, and all of them out of the Scripture which may satisfie you, that the greatest work that all the servants of God have to do in this world as to themselves is, To keep their hearts in a good frame; and I hope I shal shew it you cleerly that the things are so, and then I wil make some Application of it, as the Lord shall enable me within the compass of the time. I say, there are six Conclusions that I would set you down, any one of them may be sufficient to convince, but al of them together may and (I hope) wil abundant­ly satisfie you, that we have no such Duty lies upon us as to our selves in this world, as the looking to our hearts. The first is,

1. Because the heart, that heart which I have interpre­ted, it is beyond all comparisons the best part of man, it is the head quarter. You know in an Army they have their Sentinel in every corner, they would be loth to have the out quarters beat up, but the head quarter where the General or chief Officers lie, there is the strongest and watchfullest guard of all: Now the heart of man, the wil and the affections, and the intellectual faculty, that is beyond all degrees of com­parison better than every thing else that is in man, so much better than all the rest that our Lord saith, that the man makes a very ill bargain of it, that gaines [Page 143] all the world if he lose his soul, Loose thy Heart and thy Soul is lost; Now then if our Souls, if the heart be ten times more worth than all things else that we have, surely it should be kept more diligently than any things else we have: This I think no man can question the strength of the reason of it, it is the best; Remember our Saviors word in a lower case, when he did chide men that did take care of meat and drink and clothing and the like, saith he, Is not your life more than your food? Is not your body more worth than your raiment? I do but allude to that comparison, Now I may say then, Is not thy Heart better than thy Head? Is not thy heart thy inward man better than thy outward man? What is the body but meerly the shel? It is the Heart that is the Jewel. That is one. I hope to have a little more time afterwards to shew what this includes in it, this keeping (at least to point at it) but that is one ground. Because the heart it is the best part of man, it is the Queen, it is the Prince, it is the head quarter, and al others are nothing when compared with it. Se­condly, A second ground that is for the demonstration of it, is this,

2. Because the heart it is not only the best part of the man, but it is the treasury wherein better things are laid up than it self. The heart is a very rich Cabinet, yea, but it is a Treasury or Cabinet of the rarest, the invaluablest wealth that is in Heaven or Earth. Un­derstand me aright, I speak not of the heart of a wic­ked man, of an unconverted man, for Solomon tels us expresly, the heart of a wicked man is nothing worth, it self is a base thing, and there is nothing in it but that that is worse than it self, nothing in the world but the rubhish and the filth of the Devil and the World and [Page 135] Hell lies in the heart of a wicked man, but a man that is a Child of wisdom, that is Gods Child, Oh! there is a rich treasury laid up in his heart. You shal read our Savior speaks of a good man, who out of the good treasury of his heart bringeth forth good things, he hath a good treasury: Now would you know what are the trea­sures that are laid up by God, not of our own getting but of the Lords depositing.

Quest. What are the treasures that are in the heart of a Gra­tious man?

Answ. I Answer, the Tongues of men and Angels cannot tel you what; I wil name you a few. The one is,

1. The great God himself hath chosen to make the heart of every Godly man, his own privy and Presence-Chamber; himself saith it, that though the Heaven be his Throne, and the Earth his foot-stool, yet he dwels in in an humble broken heart, in the heart of one that trem­bleth at his word, and fears his name, there doth he him­self dwel. And then,

2. Christ Jesus dwels there: Emmanuel, the Son of God, the Savior of poor sinners; the Scripture is plain, That Christ may dwel in your hearts by Faith, Christ dwels in our hearts, Is not there a Jewel? I tel you the Apo­stle saith of Christ, In him there are hid all the treasures of God; The God of Heaven is worth no more than is laid up in Christ, and Christ & al he is worth comes to dwel in the heart, and in him (saith the Apostle) they are both of them in Collos. 2. the one in verse 13. and the other in verse 9. where he tels you, that the fulness of the God­head dwels in Jesus Christ essentially or bodily: Now Je­sus Christ dwels in the hearts of Gods people. And then,

[Page 136]3. The Holy Ghost dwels there too, For the Heart of e­very Godly man is a Temple of the Holy Ghost; and if you wil I might go on to Multiply more.

4. That all the graces of Gods spirit are laid up in our Heart, It is Faith in the Heart, and love unfained in the Heart, and all those excellent things. And,

5. The word that is the Rule of Life, saith David, I have laid up thy word in my Heart, I have hid thy word in my Heart; Now (Brethren) where there is such a treasury that God is laid up in it, and Jesus Christ is laid up in it, and the Holy Spirit (pardon the expression) is plea­sed to dwell in it, and all Gods Graces, all they that are Gods ordinances are there laid up, his word and the like, do not you think this should be wel watched, and well barred, and wel kept, and wel looked to? There is a second ground, that thy Heart it is not only the best piece that is, but it is the treasury of that that is a great deal better than it self, the richest treasury, and therefore Heaven hath not a richer treasury in it than the Heart of every Saint hath, and therefore it should be kept above al keepings; Thirdly, A third ground of demonstration is

3. Because that the Lord whom we serve, or pretend to serve, and profess to serve, and do serve if we be his, The Lord looks only at the Heart in all the services that we per­form to him, All things that we are to do to the Lord as an homage, and tribute and honor to him, he regar­deth nothing but the heart in them all, nothing else is of any esteem with the Lord but the Heart. My mea­ning is this plainly, that in any services God liketh a thing never a whit the better, for the brave accom­plishment or adornment of it with any of our parts or faculties, Wits, Fancies, Memory, expression, De­corum, [Page 137] fair carriage and deportment of the Body, the Lord values not this one button in any service whatso­ever, but so much as the heart is in it, so much as the wil & affections are in it, so much doth the Lord value it, insomuch that this one thing wil satisfie you about the truth of it: read all the Scriptures over that speak of the servants of God, & you shal find this, That when all their infirmities (as many of them had many gross ones and grievous ones, when they) were all recko­ned up, if this were but added, but his heart was with God, his heart was upright with God, that was a Salvo for all the other, he never broke with any of them or cast them off, if so be their hearts were but with him in the midst of al other weaknesses and infirmities, if they could but say as Hezekiah, Lord, remember that amongst all my weaknesses my heart hath been with thee, there was Gods content. And on the other side, Let the perfor­mances be never so glorious, or in things never so much commended, or never so much delighted by the Lord, the duties of his Worship and Ordinances, if God did but say of them, This they did but their hearts were not with God, Nevertheless his heart was not upright with God, that signified the Lord threw it all a­way as rubbish stuf that he took no pleasure in the wnrld in: So then because that it is the Lord that looks at the heart, and if he have that, he hath all, he hath so much as contents him, and never breaks for the want of any thing else, (as you shal see further a­non) because where the heart is, the best they have wil be brought out, therefore above all we should keep that. That is a third ground. The Lord looks at that above all others, therefore we should keep it [Page 138] above all others. Then Fourthly, (which I need but name).

4. The Devil who is our Adversary, and the Lords Adversary, and goes about like a roaring Lyon see­king how he may devour, all his assaults and batteries are at the heart, and he counts all his labor lost if he do not get into the heart, if he gets that he gets the Cittadel that wil command all the rest, and if he be kept out or cast out there, he himself counts he hath nothing, therfore he saith he wil enter into Judas's heart, he wil fil Annanias's heart, he labors to set up his Throne and his Dominion in the heart of the Children of disobedi­ence, that is his great endeavor. Now then when we are called home to the Lord, we give our selves up to him to fight his battels, and where we know the Ene­my wil most assault, certainly our care should be most to watch. If the good man of the house knew at what hour the thief would come he would watch, if he knew what part of the house he would assault, he would watch that most of all; Now Satans whol endeavor though I confess that by his good wil, he would not let the Lord have a good word out of the mouth of a­ny of his People, nor of any People in the world, nor the bending of a knee if it lay in his power; but he wil afford that, so he may have but the heart, and if he can but any waies batter the heart, or discompose the heart, or bring it out of frame, he wil not greatly be troubled at all other formalities they give to God: Now because Satan doth so extreamly lay his battery there, surely the servants of God should above all kee­pings with all diligence keep that. That is a Fourth ground. Fiftly, Another that is of equal force is this,

[Page 139]5. The Heart even the heart of a Godly man it must be kept above Keepings with all diligence, because in truth it is not to be trusted, No, not the heart of the best man living in the world, it is deceitful, it is false, it is cozenig, it is treacherous, not that the new heart is so, but our heart is renewed but in part, and though it be made a Garison for Jesus Christ where our Treasures are kept, yet that Garison hath a great many false enemies that lodg within it; It were endless for me to explain this sufficiently, in so short a time as is fit for me now to speak, you know where the Scripture saith, that the heart of man, of an unconverted man, in Jerem. 17.9. It is deceitful above all things, it is desperately wicked, so desperately wicked and deceitful that none but the God of Heaven can search into the bottome of it, the deceitfulness of a mans heart goes as deep as Hel, that no plum-line wil go to the bottom of it; Now when the Lord plants Grace in any of his Children, and brings in some integrity, some sincerity, yet there re­mains a woful tang of their former falshood and treachery, that was in it before any Grace was brought in; and if it be not wel kept and wel looked too, the old deceits wil quickly so get up again, that all wil be put most wofully out of temper upon a sud­den. Should I but give you the instances that the Scripture hath left upon record, of some of the choy­cest Servants of God, how they have been lamentably befoyled, when they have but a little trusted their own hearts, and not had a s [...]ickt watch and ward go­ing along with it, you would hardly beleeve it; That holy Apostle Peter, how did he trust his heart when our Lord and Savior asked him, whether he would stick to him when he was in danger? Lord (saith he) [Page 140] I wil die with thee, and hang with thee, if thou beest in danger, and he beleeved it, and little knew what dan­ger lay in the bottom: and David he would not counte­nance any one that was wicked, but when he trusted his heart it led him to Murther, and Adultery, and Dis­sembling. And abundance of others that when they have but a little beleeved their own hearts, the best of Gods Children have found so much, that I may say of all the Saints living what Solomon saith in Prov. 28. He is a Fool that trusteth his heart, he that trusteth his heart, that wil beleeve it, No, if it be not throughly searched and throughly looked too: as Solomon saith of an enemy, Beleeve him not though he give the fair words, there are seven abominations in his heart: So I may say to a Child of God, that hath set Christ and Grace and Gods Glory the highest in his heart, Beleeve not thy heart, there are seven abominations lie in it, that if it be not very wel looked to it wil lay thee in the ditch, it will bring thee into woful inconveniences: Now then as you know in a Garison, if so be that we would keep a Garison, if there be impetuous enemies without, if the Rampires and Wals be strong the Guard may be a lit­tle secure, but when they know there are a hundred false enemies within their wals, that watch for any opportunity to open some postern Gate or other, to set fire upon the City, to make way for the enemy to come in, they are mad that think that it wil be kept without al diligence; So that because of the deceitful­ness and treachery of our hearts, we must therefore keep them with all diligence in the world. Lastly, to give one more and that is that which my Text holdeth out, and therefore I wil speak a little to it. Keep thy heart with all diligence, Why?

[Page 141]6. Because out of it are the issues of life, That is plainly, because Thy whol Conversation wil be as thy Heart is kept, that is the plain meaning of it, Thy heart is the foun­tain, and if thy heart be wel kept, clean, sweet, and pure, thy Conversation wil be such: Now you know that the Conversation of the Lords People it must be pure, it must be holy, Oh! there is a wonderful deal lies upon it, that the Servants of the Lord should glo­rifie him in a holy & unblameable Conversation: Jesus Christ redeemed them that they should in their Con­versation shew forth the graces of him that hath called them out of darkness into his marvelous light, & made them Inheritors of better things, that they should be to the praise and glory of his Grace, and to have the ser­vants of God walk unworthily, walk in a deformed dis­ordered conversation, this makes the Lords name stink amongst his enemies, this is the greatest reproach of God that can be in the world, to see those that are his redeemed people walk otherwise than as becometh Saints: Now our Conversation wil be as we look to our hearts, look wel to thy heart, keep that above all keeping, and then thy Conversation is secure, then thy words and thy actions may all be trusted, then the Lord will be secure of his Glory (if I may speak it with reverence) in thy words and Conversation, if thy heart be but looked to; but if thy heart be disor­derly, and defiled, and polluted, then unclean issues of life wil appear: A proud Heart will bring a proud Conversation; a wanton Heart wil bubble out a wan­ton Conversation; a worldly Heart that drinks in the love of the Creature, wil dishonor God in a worldly Conversation, be sure of that; I thought to have na­med you the Text, but I confess I had not time to [Page 142] look it, but you well know it an excellent speech of Solomons to my purpose, let me tell you before hand, that it is usual in the Proverbs of Solomon, that one part of the sentence concerns the wicked, and the other part concerns the godly, and commonly they are one of them ever set contrary one to another, Now he hath this speech towards the latter end of the Proverbs, The Tongue of the Just it is like refined Silver, (mark that expression, the Tongue of the just it is like refined Silver) what is that? the language, the savory discourse of Godly men, of gracious men, it is pure, and it is gain to a whol City where they dwel, they even scatter refined Silver where they come; Oh! it is delightful to sit and partake of the language of gracious men, the Tongue of the just is so; now you will expect the other sentence should be, now the Tongue of the wicked is rotten, their speech is rotten, No, but he saith, The Tongue of the wicked is nothing worth; as if he should have said, never look for any good in the Tongue of a wicked man, Why? For his Heart is worth nothing, and therefore never ex­pect his language should be worth any thing, and though it is true some wicked men have so much Hy­pocrisie, that they can express otherwise to men, yet God that looks at the Heart he looks upon it as rotten and unsavory, but let thy Heart be Silver, and thy Tongue will be like refined silver, let thy Heart be rotten and nothing worth, and thy discourse will be as nothing; Now lay these six things together, let me endeavor to make some use of it, but this is the sum, therefore should all the Servants of God, all Gods Children look to their Hearts above all things in the world, because First, It is the best part of them, Se­condly, [Page 143] It is a treasury of that that is better than it self, Heaven hath not a better treasury than is laid up in the Heart of a godly man, and the Lord looks at it above all other things, and Satan assaults it above all other things, and even the best men have abundance of cor­ruption and deceit in their Hearts, and according as their Hearts are kept so will their life be, therefore above all keepings look to thy Heart; Now the Appli­cation of it, I fear I shal not speak so much as I would have done, but I would willingly (if God help me) a little warm your Hearts about it, three Uses I would wilingly make of this Doctrine, that the greatest, the busiest work that the Servants of God have to do in this world, is to keep their inward Heart in a good frame to God-ward.

USE, 1.

Is this so? How lamentably and bitterly doth this speak to the reproof of thousands, who yet fain would go for the children of God, I might say of it as Ezekiel saith in another case, it is a Lamentation and shal be for a Lamentation to a world of People, truly almost the whol world, many bitter reproofs may be gathe­red out of this Doctrine two three or four sorts of peo­ple, (I will give you a touch of it) and they are found in every place where you come. First,

1. How many are there that are wonderfully exact in keeping the outward things that belong to them; come into the House which is your Housewives care, those that are neatly, civilly brought up, that would go for Housewives, how delilcatly are their things kept? How are their Roomes rubbed? How is every utensil [Page 144] kept tite and clean? Come into the Shops of your Trades men, How do they keep al their wares? and if any thing lie out of its place and pile, How impatient are they with their Servants? if they have received any mony, how wonderfully careful are they to have a Treasury where it may be barred and kept safe for them? and come into our Country, How do People keep their Cattel? their very Swine they will keep them as they ought to be, that they may thrive and be for their gain, and credit, and the like, this you shall find common, but go amongst these People, and how are their hearts kept al this while? As if I should come into one of your houses, and find it very neat, and clean, Truly I con you thanks, surely this cost some­body hot water to keep all this so neatly; but how do you keep your heart? Pray how do you keep your heart? Friends, I fear your Houses, your Shops, your Chests, your Garments, I fear they wil all rise up in judgment against you, every one of you: Have you a Jewel, have you a heart wherein you think such a treasury is laid up? Do you let it lie open to let eve­ry Rogue and Raskal come in, and every thing to de­file it, and can you find time to keep these outward things so? methinks I hear a Mother say to her Child that she gives a row of Pins to, See you keep them carefully I wil call you to an account for them: But saith God to a Soul, I have given thee a Soul, and (if thou beest mine) Graces that one of them are more worth than all the Kingdomes of the world, and what paines dost thou bestow upon the keeping them? The Lord help you to ask your Souls the question, whether this will not rise up sadly against you one day.

[Page 145]2. Go to others and rise higher, because the Body is higher than all these things, Oh! what curiosity shal you find in many about keeping their bodies? Alas, I must keep my body (saith one) I am subject to colds and distempers, and if once they be but bitten a little you shal hardly make them drink a Cup, it wil hurt their Bodies; yea, they wil have their Cordials by them that shal cheer up their hearts, O! how shal I live if I look not to it, and this care I condemn not simply, because it is an Utensil we should use for Gods Glory, but I fear the bodies of most of you wil be a sad con­demnation to the souls of most of you: You shal never meet any of you in a Congregation, but the body of you shal be tricked up as fine as you can, which it ought to be, But what have you done for your hearts? Have you not left them at home? Nay, to go a little higher.

3. How many are there that keep their very lives, not only their bodies but their moral Conversations, that look that they may be Sine crimine, that nothing may turn as a reproach to them, God forbid that my language should be otherwise than becomes a Servant of God, God forbid that my Recreations should be such but what may be honorable to God; and come to them and ask them seriously, Are you the Servants of God? Pray tel me, Why, can any body detect me? No, there is your care, the issues of it shal be kept as far as thou canst keep it: but what doth thy heart do? Thy Tongue talketh righteouly, thy Ears hear good discourse, thy Eyes are in a comly deportment, and so thy actions with men, Justice, Honesty, Sobri­ety, and other things shal not be found against thee, and perhaps in the mean time, thy very heart left to be a Cage for unclean Beasts and Birds: The good [Page 146] Lord pitty us, these things are very sad, where did you ever read that the Lord said, Keep your Shops above all keepings, or your Bodies a­above all keepings, or your Conversations above all keepings, though I told you how far it is comely, but for you to keep all these things and never look to your hearts is sad: Nay, there is one more that goes beyond all these.

4. It is true, you say true, We were Wretches if we should look to our Goods and Bodies, and not look to our Hearts: I look to that every day, I but Friend, Do you look to it above all kee­pings? And bestow more pains about it than a­bout all things in the World besides? pray deal faith­fully in it, for you must give an account to one that knows all things in the world, but have you more stu­dies desires and endeavors about that than about all things in the world? No, no, Alas most of the peo­ple I converse with, they do as some poor Trades­men do, wretched men that think that they have got a servant that they leave all to, and now and then be­cause they wil not let all run at randome, look into the Shop and ask him, Come, What? Do you keep your Cash right? and is all right? and so rest in him, when all this while he is a Wretch, and runs out of all, and so is my heart wel? is all wel there? I, I, saith the heart, and we beleeve it, and put our trust in it, and it is the arrantest Lyar in all the world. I remember So­lomon hath a notable Speech in the latter end of the Prov. Chap. 30. where he saith, There are three things that are wonderful, that I could never find out the way of them, yea, there are four of them, the one is, The way of the Ship in the Sea, and that is hard to find for [Page 147] it leaves nothing that you may say here a Ship hath gone, And another is, The way of an Eagle in the Air, and that hath many windings and turnings, And ano­ther is, The way of a Serpent upon a Stone, and that leaves neither slime nor excrement, that you cannot find which way it goes, And the fourth is, The way of a man with a maid, which he interprets afterwards to be a las­civious maid, who hath a wanton heart within that would deceive a hundred People, you may add the heart of a man too, for that wil tel you, I have been at Prayer, when it never prayed a word, and I heard the word very wel, and his heart was dead and asleep all the while, Oh! (Brethren) it is hard for you to think with a few words thus to charm this deceitful wild Beast, and you to have no care about it, but God knows and man knows that you are real in your other keepings, and slight in this, I fear there is little in your heart that your self judg worth the keeping, that you are so extream slight and loose about it. Wel that is one, (I dare not stay longer upon it) let it be a matter of rebuke, and to help you to try and judg how things stand between God and you, for if your hearts be as they ought to be, you wil bestow more pains about them than about any thing in this world. Secondly, Another Use that I wil make of it, which is a Use that Gods Children wil rejoyce in, and that is.

USE, 2.

It is a Doctrine that affords abundance of Comfort, I, this very Doctrine though it may seem and doth carry just rebuke (I beleeve) to the best of all Gods Children, in some degree to be humbled, but with­all it is a Doctrine of wonderful Consolation to all those, whom God witnesseth with that their greatest [Page 148] care and study is to purge their hearts, to have their hearts mended, to have their hearts guarded, and are most humbled and afflicted when it is not wel with the inward man, though all other things go smooth with them, yet it is not comfortable with them except they find the heart set right Godward, this Doctrine speaks a world of Consolation to such poor Souls, I am confident it is the Lot of the generation of Gods People that hear me at this time, though it may be under a temptation they may lay all aside, yet other­wise God knows their dayly work, their greatest work, their work of prayer and mourning is most a­bout their hearts; If you ask them, How doth your Body? better than my heart, How do you perform your Duties? wel outwardly, but my heart is wret­ched, I have a vile heart, and there they make their study, there they make their search, there they make the matter of their mourning: Now I would say to such Souls, and dare affirm it with much bold­ness, none but the Schollars that are of the Lords own teaching ever study that Lesson, for as for others they love and like their hearts wel, that when they are convinced of every thing else in the world, they will boast of their heart that that is right, but when a man can say, as Hezekiah said to God, Oh Lord! remember I pray thee that I have with an upright heart sought thee; as if he should have said, If I could have done thee more service I would, I would have prayed better, and be­leeved better, and been more active, but thou hast had my heart, the Soul that can say so, the Lord would answer it even as David said to the Lord, in 1 Chron. 29. Oh! Lord (saith he) I know that thou lovest the heart, when he had offered up an Oblation [Page 149] he and his People, Oh Lord! (saith he) I know thou regardest the heart, and hast pleasuere in uprightness, as for me in the uprightness of my heart I have sought thee; So when thou shalt say, Father, my memory is weak, my utte­rance bad, my temptations strong, and my corruptions great, I can deny none of these, but the Lord knows he hath my heart, could I get it in a better frame, I had rather see it in a better frame than have the estate of an Emperor; Where there is a willing mind (it is an ex­cellent Speech of the Apostle, in 2 Cor. 8. in the point of Alms, and I wil give you an instance in that, that you may make of it in a hundred other things, when he would stir them up to contribute, he saith, where there is a willing mind) it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not, as if he should have said, The Lord hath given me a heart, I like this cause so wel I would willingly give twenty shillings to this cause, but I am not able to give above a penny, Hast thou a willing mind to give more? thou art accepted according to what thou hast, The liberal gift is but the work of Gods Providence, the willing mind is the work of Gods Grace, The same wil run throughout all duties, go to prayer, one man hath such an utterance, conception, working fancy, can speak admirably to the affecting of all, but these are but gifts and parts, and if he hath an humble bro­ken heart goes with it there is Spirit too: but it may be another poor Soul that joyneth in the Duty, that can hardly speak a few words of sense together, but God knows if they could pray, if they could pour out their souls, if they could wrastle with God, they had rather do it than any thing else in the world, that is the work of prayer, the other is but the work of common gifts, [Page 150] that is for the edification of others, therefore know this all of you, we poor creatures deal with men, and it is almost impossible but we value men according to their parts, a man whom God enableth with parts and gifts to edifie others, especially if there be Grace in his Heart too, he is measured by the value of his parts by all men, God goes not by that value, No, that Soul that takes most care about his Heart, give me a Woman, a handmaid that wrestles more in secret, that she may bring her wil to Gods wil, and may love and hate nothing but what God loves and hates, find such an one out, they are Gods choice ones, and his Jewels, therfore be not discouraged for the want of any thing while you can say, The great God that knows al knows my great study is about my Heart, I will conclude this use with a speech I have often heard of one Mr. Banes, a man that was indeed an excellent emminent Man for any thing that was good, and not long before he died, some friends were with him in his Library, it was an excellent one, and they fel a commending of it, I (saith he) There they stand but the Lord knows that for many years last past, I have studied my Heart more then my Books; Oh! There was a study, give me a Scholler that can say, I study my Heart more then my Book, I study my Heart more then my Shop-book, I study my Heart more then my Counting-House, I study my Heart more then a Bargain, that it may be pure and Holy, this Man is a blessed Man and Woman that hath but attained this; and then Lastly the last Use that I would make (and I wil but even name it) is this,

USE, 3.

I beseech you therefore for the time to come will [Page 151] you all make this your study, You have heard it is a dangerous Heart you bear about you, whatsoever you are that think you may be most secure of your heart, you are but Fools to trust it, and your Conversation wil be as your heart is, remember all the Arguments I gave you, and let it prevail with you for the time to come, to enter into this serious study, how you may keep it in a good frame continually, and this now would have been an Introduction to the second Question, for this is sufficient to prove that it ought to be so: But now the next is,

Quest. Wherein stands the keeping of the heart in a good frame? It is true, I confess it is comfortable to hear of the ge­neral endeavor of it, but what are the rules and directions the Servants of God should attend to, when they would keep their hearts in so good a frame, that it may be such a Temple of the Holy Ghost for the Lord to delight in?

Answ. That is too great a Question in truth to han­dle in a little time, only these two or three things I would say in general before I dismiss you: As First,

1. There is no talking, it is not for any man living ever to talk of keeping his heart in a good frame, un­til first the Lord have broken it to pieces and new molded it, that is for certain, while the heart is as we come into the world, as we are in a state of nature, the wildest Beast under Heaven will be easilier tamed, than the heart of a man wil ever be ordered; It is just as a Bel that hath a crack throughout, al the Bel-foun­ders in the Town & Country they may hew it, and chip it, and scurfe it, and I know not what, they wil never make it sound right, til it be choped a pieces and new cast: So (I say) the heart of man is by nature so for­lorn, so ful of wickedness, so utterly destitute of all [Page 152] good, that if all the Teachers and Tutors under Hea­ven had it to work, to bring a man up and make him right, til God take away the heart of stone and rege­nerate him, and give him a new heart, there is no talking of ever keeping it in a good frame: Therefore if you be not throughly grounded in it, get your heart knocked in pieces, the first thing you do pray God Al­mighty to break it through, break it down, break it up, and then when the Lord hath broke it and new shot it, that he hath given you an interest in Christ, and the Spirit of Christ is become a new life to you, then you are fitted to this Duty, but til the Lord hath wrought that in you, all other talk is to no purpose, therefore your first work must be, to get such a heart as is capable of this, for every one is not. Then Se­condly,

2. When the Lord hath done so, then for the kee­ping of it in a good frame, all the directions (though there be very many of them yet) I think they may be all brought to these two heads. The one is,

1. Keep the heart pure, keep it pure from sin, from the defilement that wil daily grow upon it if it be not wel kept, from the stirrings of corruption, either to keep them down that they do not stir, or when they do stir to get them dayly washed off by the blood of Christ. And then the other is,

2. As to keep it pure from sin, so to keep it fit for Duty, tuned and prepared for the several Duties, the word is large and through Gods mercy your instru­ctions are many, and whosoever is willing may have constant directions to guide him in all these.

FINIS

THE LIFE OF CHRIST: OR THE Great Mystery OF SPIRITUAL LIFE. Opened and applied in several Sermons, at Olaves Silverstreet, Octob. 27. 1653.

Gal. 2. part of verse 20.

I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, (now fol­lows that which I shal more insist upon) and the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

THE Dependance of these words with the former, briefly stands thus: The Holy Ghost having decried the Law as that which is utterly unable to give life, and set up the justificati­on of a sinner only from Gods Free Grace, in ma­king [Page 2] over unto him the Righteousness of Christ, having (I say) asserted this great fundamental Doctrine of our Christian Religion, wherein the Galatians were begun to be tainted, he then comes to answer the common Cavil, which (not only the Papists, but) too many among our selves do charge this Doctrine withal, namely, That it is but a door to al licenciousness, and doth take off the rains from any man, and give him an occasion to be bold in wickedness; for if our righteous­ness cannot justifie us, nor our unrighteousness condemn us, but the righteousness of Christ is accepted for us, and in him we are compleat without any thing of our own, who would not take liberty to indulge himself in such fleshly courses as are agreeable to his nature? Now a­gainst this the Apostle opposeth several things, as arguments to prove, that this cannot be a conse­quence of this Doctrine to a man that rightly un­derstands it, Justification by free Grace wil never be a temptation to a man to a sinful life; and one Argument is,

1 All Pauls Ministry tended to beat down a wicked life, and do they think he would come to build up that which he had pulled down? that were an absurd thing. Secondly,

2 The very end of our Justification by Christ is quite contrary to it, for (saith he) through the Law I am dead indeed to the Law, but it is that I might live to God; as if he should have said, It is true, that the right understanding of the impossi­bility of a sinners keeping the Law, wil beat down in him al thoughts of ever obtaining any life by [Page 3] the Law, he wil be dead as to look for justifica­tion, or acceptance that way; but it is that he might live to God, that is the very end of it that he might live to God; that is another argument, and that being the very end that God aims at, it is impossible that the quite contrary of it should flow from the Lords own appointment. Then Thirdly,

Every man that doth but partake of Jesus 3 Christ, he is crucified with him; and he instances in himself, I am crucified with Christ; when Je­sus Christ hung upon the Cross, and there by ver­tue of his death did kil sin, and by vertue of his resurrection hath opened a way to a new life, when I partake of Christ I have an interest in this, I die with him, and am buried with him, therefore it is impossible that looking for life by Christ should make a man live a wicked life. And Fourthly.

Which he brings in by way of Answer to a tacite 4 Objection, Are you crucified? do we not see you are alive? Yes, I live indeed, but in truth more properly I may say it is not I that live, but it is Christ Jesus that lives in me, by vertue of my in­terest in him, my whol life flows from him, and that life that I live in this life, that is, in this flesh­ly Tabernacle, it is the life of Christ, and the way how I live, it is by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. And so I have brought you to my Text; and in the words (without any further interpretation, save what you shal have in handling the Doctrine) there are these Two Doctrines cleerly laid down: The first is,

[Page 4]Doct. 1.That every soul that hath an Interest in Christ, while he is in this world, it is Christ that lives in him.

While we live in this flesh, in this world, the life that we live, it is Christs life, Christ lives it, we do not, only (when we accept of Christ) beleeve in him to be saved by him when we go out of this world, and trust al the daies of our life, that when this life endeth he hath a better life for us in store, that is not al, but when we accept of Jesus Christ, we so accept him, that his life is communicated to us, and while we are in this world we live that life. That is the first Doctrine, That all the Lords peo­ple while they live in this world, they live Christs life. The Second is,

Doct. 2.That the modus vivendi, the manner of their living this life in this world, it is by faith.

We shal live the life of Christ to Eternity, but when that moment of Eternity cometh, faith shal have no hand in it; but the life we now live while we are in the flesh, it is the grace of faith by which we live it. Just as I may express my meaning (for I shal not handle that Doctrine) as take it of an Infant, As soon as ever the body and soul are but joyned together, that it is made a living soul, it is the life of a man that it lives; but while it is in the mothers womb, the manner of living is by the navel, the navel-string conveyeth al to it; when it comes into the world, that is cut, there is no more use of it, and then it lives another way. So while we are in this world, though we live the [Page 5] life of Christ, yet Faith is (as it were) our navel-string, it draws and receives al from him, when we are transplanted into another world, that way of living ceaseth, and we enjoy God in Christ im­mediatly. These two Doctrines lie in the Text, the first of them (with the Lords assistance) I shal spend one hour in endeavoring to cleer it to you, and to make some use of it.

That all that do receive Jesus Christ, even in this world, Doct. 1. they live his life. I live, but it is Christ that lives in me, and the life that I live in this flesh, I live it by the faith of the Son of God. Now to make a little way to it, That al the Saints live Christs life, the life of Christ; I would not have you expect that I would spend any part of my hour in a Phyloso­phical Discourse about the Nature of Life in ge­neral, No, let this suffice, That you shal find in the Scripture a two fold Life of man spoke of: The one is,

This present natural life which we al live, which 1 we receive from Adam, I speak not of the corrup­tion of our Nature, but the first man was a living soul, that is, he was an animal man, a man en­dewed with a reasonable soul, and al that come from him have that life which is nothing but the union of the body and soul together, and those motions and operations that are in us are acted in us by vertue of that union, and this the Scripture somtimes cals the natural man, the natural life, the animal man, as who should say, the man endew­ed with a soul, the happiness of whom is to en­joy a soul-life, and this life it is somtimes called [Page 6] the present life, somtimes called the bodily life, the life of man, and this life al that proceed from Adam do live in al Ages and parts of the world, and to the upholding and beautifying and ac­commodating of this life, are al mens labors and their studies, and the good things of this world, they are naturally al subservient to it, every thing parted with, rather than part with it; Skin for skin, and all that a man hath, wil he give for this life: Now that there is such a life, no man doubts of it. But then Secondly,

2 The Scripture speaks of another Life, and so you shal see my Text leads to it, he speaks of a­nother life which is a spiritual life, which flows from the second Adam, that as the first Adam was a living soul, and communicates a living soul to al that come from him, the second Adam is a quick­ning spirit, and communicates a quickning spirit to al that come from him, that is the Life that my Text leads me to speak of, and this Life (before I come to speak further of it) the Scripture som­times cals the new Creature, somtimes cals it the Life of Christ, as in my Text, somtimes cals it the Life of God, not only because God is the Author of it (for so he is of the other Life) but because (in a sound sense) it is the life that he himself lives, their Life being but an Image of his Life; this is called Eternal Life, this is that that is the end and fruit of al Christs undertakings. Now this Life, this Spiritual Life, this Life of Christ, this new Life, this Eternal Life, it is that that I now come to endeavor to demonstrate to you, that al the Lords people live this Life while they are in this world. [Page 7] Now there are Two things that my purpose is to treat upon in the Doctrinal part of it, before I come to the Application; but before I come to either of them both, I wil crave your leave to set down three or four Propositions that are but pre­paratory to it; I wil not handle them, for they would take up too much of the time, but to name them is requisite, it shal be a kind of inlet or pre­paration to it. The one is,

That this spiritual Life that the Saints do live,1 no natural men have any understanding of it, not any real understanding of it; he doth not know the things of God, nor can he, they are spiritual­ly discerned, and therefore if it should prove a Riddle to many of you, you may have cause to suspect your condition, but not to suspect the truth of the Doctrine. Yea Secondly,

I premise that men may be in the Church, live 2 in the Church, and have admirable learning, and admirable abilities to judg of al other things that fal under humane Capa [...]ty, yet not be able to look upon this any otherwise than as a meer whimsie or a dark riddle. Nicodemus who was a Doctor, a Pharisee, a Ruler, & an honest man accor­ding to his principles he had been trained up un­der, yet when he comes to Christ to know the way to Heaven, he tels him al his other righteousness was nothing, if he be not born again, and have a new life, he could never come into the Kingdom of God; What is this? (saith he) this was as dark to him as if he should enter into his Mothers womb, and be born again when he is an old man: Therefore stil think not, that if you be Scholars, [Page 8] or wise men, or learned men, you must needs have the capacity of it though the vulgar cannot; No, if the Lord give you not a share in it, you wil ne­ver understand it. Thirdly I premise this:

3 That there is a double knowledg of this Life. The One is,

1 Only a notional knowledg, the Theory, to be able to conceive that there is such a thing, and to be able to talk of it, and to reason about it. And

2 There is another knowledg of it, that is experi­mental, and practical, and real, and convincing. Now the notional knowledg (I confess) by the common Light that accompanies the Ministry of the Word, may break in upon some men; but for the experimental real inward knowledg of it, they wil stil be strangers to it. Yea, I would pre­mise this also.

4 That while we are in this world, none living understand this Life, none, not only natural men, unconverted men, but the wisest, holiest, graci­ousest men that live in this world, never come to have any other than some gatherings, they have some real knowledg (I hope I shal make good to you) but for a ful clear understanding of it, it is not attainable in this world, no more than as our Lord speaks of the wind, that we hear the noise of it, but understand not where it rises, nor when it wil end, and no marvel that it be not thus in­telligible, Because

1 Partly from the depth of the things themselves, they are the operations of the spirit of God. And,

2 Partly from the weakness and corruption of our faculties and understandings, which in truth [Page 9] know nothing perfectly. No man doth under­stand how his own bones were framed in his mo­thers womb, and the things that are before our eyes, not a man living is able to decipher the life of a Pismire or a Butterfly, therefore much less must you think to be able to comprehend this; for this I note to prevent a discouragement, if a­ny soul should not be able to go along with a man in every thing, nor understand every thing, it may be an argument to humble thee, but not to discourage thee: only I shal ad this in the last place,

They that live this Life, the poorest, weakest,5 simplest of al that are numbred amongst the Lords people, though others may be able to dispute of it better than they, and to speak of it to the edifi­cation of others better than they, yet they that live this life know more of it than al the world besides. I only give you these little things be­forehand: Now I come to the Two things that I promised to treat of. The one is,

I will first prove it cleerly to you out of the Scripture that there is such a Life, a spiritual Life,1 a Life of Christ, which al who receive Christ live while they are in this world, demonstrate the truth of it that there is such a Life. Secondly,

I wil then a little more fully endeavor to disco­ver to you what this Life is, and wherein it stands,2 and I do not doubt but if the Lord help me in it, the things I shal deliver wil be not only useful in some kind, but very comfortable to the Lords people. First then,

[Page 10] 1 The thing that I promised to endeavor the de­monstration of it, is, That there is such a Life be­sides the Life of eating and drinking, and putting on of Apparel, and buying and selling, and enjoy­ment of these corporal things, there is a Life that is a higher degree of living, wherein men are ta­ken up above the life that other people live, that there is such a Life, and I wil tel you why I un­dertake to prove this: Because as natural men do not understand it, so out of the pride of their hearts, disdaining that there should be any happi­ness that the poor creatures enjoy, which they themselves cannot understand, thereupon they beleeve that there is no such thing, and I am confident that most people that live, when they hear men talk of the Life of God, and the Life of Christ, and a new Life, a supernatural Life, a spi­ritual Life, they look upon it as a meer juggle, partly in the Ministers, to make the world beleeve that they know more than others do; and the simple people that follow them, that they may have somwhat to cloke their fantasticalness, they give it out; but for the thing there is no such matter: this men beleeve, and the rather because it is a hidden life, and hidden both under the po­verty and weakness of those that have it, and many times hidden under their Infirmities and corruptions that break out, which maketh them look like other men; and so men force upon themselves, and nourish in themselves a conceit, that though some (it may be) may be honester men than others, and stricter, and devouter, and [Page 11] the like, yet this is but a little chipping and he wing of the life that other men live, and can live as they do if they had a mind to it; but as for a life by another principle and Rule, and to have other manner of operations than the Life of the rest of the world, they abominate the admit­ting of it into their understandings; and I am perswaded this is that that hardens abundance of people, that they never look after, nor suspect their own condition: therefore (I say) I would now prove to you that there is such a life which the Saints do live, and instead of turning you to many particular Scriptures to prove it, I wil give you these Four Arguments out of the Scripture, which you shal in reading the Scripture find fre­quently proved to your observation; Four Argu­ments to prove that there is such a Life, that is a higher degree of living, and another kind of Life than the rest of the world live. The one is,

The comparison between the two Adams: Jesus 1 Christ is to al those to whom he is a Root, as Adam was to al to whom he was a Root: For it is worth your observing, that the Scripture speaks but of two Adams from the beginning of the world to the end of it, two Men; the First Man, and the Se­cond Man; because they two only were Roots that others do partake of, either which they spring from, or are grafted into. Now the first Man Adam, God made him a living soul, and of a living soul is he the Root of all us, that is, that natural, rational life that all men in the world [Page 12] have, the first Adam he was the Root of it which communicates it. Now Jesus Christ is to al us the Second Adam, and the Lord made him not only the Lord from Heaven to rule all that should be under him, but to be a quickning spirit, that as the natural men follow their stock, so al that par­take of Jesus Christ must follow their Stock, and consequently must partake of his Life, as the branches of the first Adam do of his Life. That is one Argument, and pray weigh it, for if it please God anon, I shal come to examine whether you have that Life or no. Secondly, The second Ar­gument I give is this,

2 The Scripture holds it out as the proper end of Jesus Christs undertaking his work, to give life to al that come to him, that upon their coming to him he should give them life; I am come that my sheep might have life, that they might have it in a­bundance; and herein appeared the love of God, that he gave his only begotten Son, that we might live by him: He that hath the Son, hath life; he that hath not the Son, hath not life. Now were there no other life than what all natural men live, this were an absurd argument, and a poor (I may speak it with reverence) undertaking. Suppose I should go visit, and ride a Journey of many hun­dred miles, and lay down my life, and part with my estate; For what end? That the party for whom I do it, might have have a house, that hath a house already; why should I do this if there were not another house than that which he dwels in? Or why should I go that he might have [Page 13] health, that is well without my undertaking, if there were not another health besides that. So, were there not another life, to what end should Jesus Christ make that the undertaking of his life, and death, and burial, and communicate life, if there were not another Life than the rest of the world live? Thirdly,

Cleerly you wil find this, and very frequent in 3 the Scripture, that all the world are said to be dead til they come to Jesus Christ, all the world are said to be dead; rich or poor, sickly or health­ful, yong or old, they are al dead. Now it is apparent that they are not dead as to their natu­ral life, that needeth no confutation, to say of this Assembly, that they are dead men, when they live, and move, and breath, and talk, and do all the actions of men; when therefore the Lord saith, that al are dead til Christ cometh, certain­ly there is another Life besides that life that natu­ral men enjoy. Fourthly and lastly,

Abundantly in the Scripture wil you find this 4 proved, that upon the souls accepting of Christ they are said to be quickned; They who were dead in sins and trespasses he hath quickned▪ Read but the ten first verses of the 2d of the Ephesians, and I know not how many other places there are, Ye were dead, ye were such, but he hath quickned you: and he that beleeveth in me (saith Christ to Martha in John 11.25.) though he were dead, he shall live, and living once he shal never die: Doest thou beleeve this? Then, Christ being the Root of a Life, it being the end of his undertaking that his people might [Page 14] have life, and all men being dead before they come to him, and quickned to life upon the re­ceiving of him, certainly then there is a life that they who have any interest in Christ do live, which others are strangers from. And let this suffice for the first. And (beloved) though I shal not apply this alone, yet I would count it a great fruit of this daies meeting, if the very notion of it might but stick upon your hearts, it would be of admirable consequence, that if al of you would go home and say; Certainly whatsoever I may think of my self, if I be in Christ, there is another life than that which I live yet, and (as you will hear if it please God) a better life, another man­ner of life than this is. But that for the first. The Second (which it may be you wil more long for, for I suspect not that you wil doubt the truth of the first) is,

What is this Life? what is it? Now remember 2 I taught you in one of my Preparatory Conclusi­ons, That it is not to be understood of this world, and therefore pray expect not any cleer opening of it, what it is; but only so far as the Lord hath taught me out of his Word, I shal communicate to you: I wil give you this Description of it, and then I will open it more expresly as I go along. The Life that al Beleevers have from Christ, it is a participation of Christs righteousness upon their union with him, Pray mark it, I shall make this plainer by and by; (I say) That the Life of Christ that al the Saints partake of, it is a participation of [Page 15] Christs righteousness upon the souls union with him. Where there are these two things a little to be cleered. First,

That all who do receive Christ are united to 1 him, and that is the foundation of their Life. The Second is,

That upon their union they partake of his 2 Righteousness, and the participation of this righ­teousness is their life. That is that I mainly in­tend to cleer.

That they are al united to him, the Scripture is 1 abundant in the proof of it, It is Christ in us that is the hope of glory, and we are one with him, and he with us, and he dwells in us by his spirit, &c. there­fore it is cleer that we are united to him, made one; and this union it is nothing but the Lord Jesus sending his spirit into the soul, as a band to knit him and them together, that he be made their Root and Stock. Now that I will not treat of, because the very handling of it, it is not only a great Mystery, but it would take up more time than is to be allowed for the Sermon. But Se­condly,

Upon their Union with Christ they partake of 2 his Righteousness, and the participation of his Righteousness is our Life: Mark (I pray) this, because I hope it will give you some Light into this great Work; for if you be Gods People, I am only making you to see what your spirits are, what your blood is, what your pulse is, and I shal speak of nothing but the things that are in you, if you be the Lords (I say.) The participa­tion [Page 16] of Christs Righteousness that is our Life: To this purpose, be pleased to observe this one rule, and mark it in your reading of the Scriptures, of the new Testament especially; How that Righ­teousness and Death, are the two things that are opposed one to another; Death and Righteous­ness: That look as soon as ever man was a sinner he was a dead man presently, he was dead under the sentence of Death; In the day thou eatest thou shalt die: and not dead only under the Sentence, but dead as his sin deprived him of Gods Image. Now as it is sin that is our Death, so it is Righte­ousness that is our Life; not our own (which the Scripture disclaims) but the Righteousness of Christ: and you shal find several times in Rom. 5. where the Apostle compares the Death by Adam, and the Life by Christ, ordinarily he useth this expression, That, As sin reigned unto Death, so righ­teousness by Christ unto Life, stil opposing them, our Death is sin, our Life is righteousness. I know the time will prevent me if I should stay upon that. But therefore,

2 I wil proceed to that that I aim at, the Righte­ousness of Christ, the participation of Christs Righteousness.

Quest.You wil say, What mean you by that?

Answ.I mean plainly this: That our spiritual Death it hath two Branches, that Tree of Death, that deadly Stock hath two Branches; and we are said to be spiritually dead in a two-fold respect. The one is,

[Page 17]We are dead as we are under the sentence of 1 Condemnation, and that is our death of guilt, being bound over by the righteous Judgment of God, to make him amends for the injury we have done him, and that sentence of condemnation is our death; that is one branch in regard of our guilt. The other branch of our spiritual death is,

Our state of death we are in, as being deprived 2 of the image of God wherein we were made, and not only deprived of it, but have contrary prin­ciples in al the faculties of the soul, carrying us constantly to the things that are opposite to him. In these two respects are all men and women in the world dead til Christ finds them. Now Jesus Christ answerable to this, hath a two-fold righte­ousness, the participation whereof is our life. First,

He hath a Righteousness of his Obedience,1 which is inherent only in himself; but is bestowed upon us, imputed to us, reckoned to us, and by that righteousness performed by Christ, and in­herent in him, and reckoned to us, by the righte­ous sentence of God he delivereth us from the death that we are under, the death of our con­demnation, under the sentence of death; and so the Apostle expresseth it cleerly in Col. 2.12, 13. Ye (saith he) who were dead in sins and trespasses hath he quickened; How? forgiving you your trespasses. In that place, the pardoning and removing of our trespasses, is the chief thing that is the quickning there intended. So there is one, a righteousness [Page 18] of Christ performed in our name, accepted by God in our stead, and made over to us in the Co­venant of Grace. That is one Righteousness. Se­condly,

2 There is another Righteousness of Christ, which is not only inherent in himself, but is communi­cated to us, so that it is wrought in us, which is the righteousness of our Sanctification, and it is that branch of our spiritual Life that this Text aims at; for he did assert the other, our quick­ning from the guilt of sin, in al the former part of his discourse. Now that no wretch may abuse it, and say, that then we may continue vassals to sin, he proves it that Christs righteousness is communicated to us, that is, Christs Grace is in­fused into our souls; and that is made up of these three things, and I conceive there is nothing else in it but these three things. The one is,

1 The Spirit of Jesus Christ, that holy Spirit of Jesus Christ is communicated to Beleevers, to dwel in them, to be in them a principle of a new Life. Secondly,

2 This holy spirit poured into the soul, works in them in al the faculties of the soul, those gracious dispositions wherein the Image of God stands, which is, light in the understanding, freedom in the will, love, and fear, and joy, that is, the tur­ning of al these affections or passions to their right object, habitually disposing them, turning the bent of the heart from sin to God. And then the third is,

[Page 19]This self same spirit that plants in them these 3 Graces, abides in them to excite them, and stir them up, and draw them out in their whol course, to think, and speak, and do the things, which in a kind of natural way flow from these inward principles, and are a conformity to the Will of God; and thereupon al the love of the Saints to God, and one to another; all their mourning for sin, their striving against it; all their endeavors after God; they are motions of this new life that is wrought in us: and this is the life now that all the Lords people do live while they are in this world. The Spirit of Jesus Christ bestowed up­on them, working in them a new frame of heart, turning the bent of their hearts to God, and re­maining as an exciting principle to draw out their graces, and strengthening them in their working, whereby their endeavor is in al things to live unto God according to his Will; and this is that Life which my Text, and other Scriptures call the Life of Christ, and the Life of God, which although it be perfect in none in this world, but there are re­liques of our old death in us, and of our sinful di­stempers in us; yet really and truly these things are found in every soul that is brought home to Jesus Christ. And let this (I pray) suffice for the Doctrinal part, that without being burdensom to you, I may make some application of it.

Thus then you see though I have not turned you to many particular Scriptures; yet I know that if you do but read the Scriptures, you wil find that this Doctrine it lies written upon the fore­heads [Page 20] of abundance of Texts, that thus it is with al Gods people. Now then for the use of it, I in­tend but three Uses, it may be I shal but even name the last. First,

Vse 1.You see by all this how necessary it is that you should al try and examine your souls, Whether you be partakers of this Life or no? And (good friends) be serious about it, and to make you the more serious, give me leave to stir you up by these few Considerations, to be willing to have your hearts tried about it. The one is,

1 That in truth this alone is Christianity: mark my words (and if you understand them not now study them) There is nothing Christianity but the Life of Christ, nothing else that is truly Christia­nity. Opinions they may be Christian Opinions, they may be Christian Truths, but there is no life▪ As we say not of any dead Carkass, of any Picture though it be drawn to the life, we say not in proper language, this is a man, though it be as like him as one thing can be like another, if it have not a mans soul; we say not of a dead man, though it be the body of your Father or Mother, you cannot properly say, this is my Father or Mo­ther, it is but the Carkass of them. So, (I say) be baptized, be in any Church Form or Order, wait upon never so many external Duties, hear Sermons never so constantly, give as good words as you will to those that preach the Truth, and hold it out to you; this is not Christianity, Chri­stianity is to live Christs Life, and at that day you [Page 21] shall find the Lord will never own a soul to be a Christian, that had not the Life of Christ commu­nicated to him. And Secondly, I tel you to pro­voke you to it.

Abundance of things go for this Life which are 2 not this life; because it is the thing that discri­minates Gods people from others; Satan hath shewed infinite stratagems, and discovered all his abilities, laid them out that he might make coun­terfeits of these things, that might go currant with people that he could delude; Civil Righteous­ness in some it is not Christianity, a form of God­liness in others it is not Christianity, and abun­dance of things that I have not time so much as to reckon up; but these are not Christianity though they look like it, and therefore I beseech you but think how you could answer this great Question; Doth Christ live in you? have you the life of God in you? The Life you live in this life, is it the Life of the Son of God? Think what you could answer to it.

Now if you wil say, How shall we know it? Quest.

I wil briefly discover it to you;Answ. for I will give you but two Characters of it; many others might be had, but two I would bestow a little time to cleer to you. The one is,

Wheresoever the Lord gives Life to any Crea­ture 1 in a natural way, the life is the preciousest thing in the world to that Creature; howsoever it may mind other things, delight in them, be ta­ken with them, there is nothing so precious to it as life, Skin for skin, and all that a man hath, will he [Page 22] give for his life; and if you would suppose, as the life of a man it is made up of several lives, that that continues the being of his life, it is prized a­bove al the others; if he wil be impaired in any of them, it shal not be in that (as neer as he can) that concerns the being of his life. Now accor­dingly (say I) you shal find it cleer, that among al those that live the life of Christ, there is no­thing in this world so dear to them as their spiri­tual Life is, it may be they are dayly mourning for the weaknesses of it, but that that they have of it, is dearer to them than any thing they have in this world besides; and the high valuing of this spiritual Life wil appear in these three things, just as it is in the other life. The one is,

1 A natural propensity and inclination, and appe­tite towards those things that are the nourishment of their Life. Look what God in Nature hath made the means to preserve life, those things living man, so far as he is living, hath the greatest inclination and disposition to; and therefore of al desires that man is subject to, none so vehe­ment as those of hunger and thirst: a man may love Gold, or Silver, or Lands, but there is no­thing so vehemently carries him out of himself, as the satisfying hunger and thirst. So it is with all those that have this spiritual Life: Look what­soever God hath placed their life in, as David had learned God had placed it in his Word, O Lord (saith he) give me thy Word, my life lies in it: and new born Christians, if ever you tast how sweet the Lord is, desire the sincere Milk of the Word [Page 23] that you may grow by it▪ be longing after a high and reverent esteem, and an appetite after those things wherein the Lord hath placed thy nourish­ment, though they be but the channels, the ves­sels whereby his spirit is administred to you, the supplies of the spirit comes in them to you; of al things in the world, these are the most desired: Others that are painted Christians may for their reputation, and that others may think well of them, and to get knowledg, &c. and for such car­nal ends; but with an inward savor no man is mightily and eagerly carried out after the means of spiritual Life, but he that lives it. That is one. A Second thing that manifests the high value of that spiritual Life is,

A most vehement declining of what they know to be destructive to life. Let a man that is thirsty,2 come in, and give you all his money in his purse for a cup of Beer; but let one come and tel him, Sir, that Beer in that cup is poyson; that man wil drink his own Piss rather than that shal go down, Oh! it wil destroy Life. God hath put it into the bruit beasts; as put a Sheep into a pasture, he carries that discerning tast, he wil not eat the poy­sonous Weeds that are there; the Tree it will shoot no Root that way, it will decline it. So those that are the Lords People, that live the life of Christ, what their souls are convinced of to be destructive to their spiritual life, that they de­cline, shun, and hate, and turn from: and of all things under Heaven nothing so hateful to them as the waies of sin. And thirdly, it wil appear in this:

[Page 24] 3 That look as it is in the natural life, every Crea­ture as it longs after that which would nourish it, and declines that which would destroy it; so if they must come to the parting, they wil part with al other good things in this world, actually part with them to save their lives. It was a speech of Esau (and had his Birthright been nothing but a Civil Priviledg it would have been justified) If I die for hunger, what good would my Birthright do me? he sels his Birthright for to preserve his life; Skin for skin, and al that a man hath, he wil part with rather than his life. Take me a man that is alive to Christ, if he must part with his Christ, or with his wealth, with his Christ, or with his outward life, though it be the best thing that is to be en­joyed under the name of all worldly things, yet to a man that lives the life of Christ, that is a poor thing to him in comparison of his spiritual life, you shal rather strip him of al. I know when we come to practice, our weaknesses, ignorances, temptations, reliques of corruption often over power us, which may cause matter of self abhor­rence; but no man that hath this life of Christ, but in the bent of his soul doth these things, no­thing so lovely as that that preserves his life, no­thing so abominable as that that wil destroy it, and if he must part with any, they must go before Christ. Pray lay up these things. The Second and other Note whereby this Spiritual Life of Christ may be judged of, is this,

2 That look as it is in al other Lives, there are some vital operations, some kind of motions or [Page 25] operations that are properly vital, that where they are found you may say and swear it too, that there is life, and where these are not found there is no life, or that life is in a swound. As now take the Life of a Tree, we know the natural operati­ons of it are al those of vegetation, to draw nou­rishment, to expel superfluous moisture, to put out their seed in the sap and bark, and seed and the fruit according to its kind, where you see these things, if the sap run, if the buds be, if there be vegetation the Tree is alive, if it appear there be none of these in their season (though they may be dead in Winter) it is a dead Tree. So likewise in the life of man, the sensual life of a Beast, if there want the pulse that there be not those beatings, that there are not such motions of the heart, we conclude there is no life there; if there be a beating of the pulse, though never so weak, life is there. Now in this Spiritual Life there are some things (that you shal find in the Scripture) that are the proper beatings of the pulse; some operations, that though the things, the acting of them abroad, may be counterfeit as to others, yet to a mans own soul that studies his own heart, and the motions and operations of his own inward man, he cannot be cozened in it, and therefore you may by them be able to discern, whether the pulse of this spiritual life beateth. Now they are many, but I thought but of these three, and I think most of the rest wil fall under them. The one is,

[Page 26] 1 The proper genuine, and (as I may so say) the natural motion of this Spiritual Life, is to enjoy God in Jesus Christ as their chiefest good; that (I say) is the great thing wherein their pulse beats, because Jesus Christ is not only the foun­tain of it, and so it must flow back to him, but he is the supream good of the soul, God in Christ is the supream good, and to be carried to that that we fancy to be our supream good it is not in our choyce, we do it necessarily, Nature compels every man to follow that that he looks upon as his chief good, therefore we use to say that of the chief end there is no deliberation, a man is not of choyce, but is carried to it. Now God in Christ being the chief good of the soul, the aiming after him, the braying, breathing after him, the mour­ning for the want of him, the joying in the pre­sence of him, and all those things that would ar­gue Christ to be the souls chief good, are never found in any but those that have the Life of Christ, there is no man else in this world, but if Christ be Twelve to him, there is somthing else that is Thirteen, therefore ask your souls that; find you that by some operations (it may be you know not whence they come, nor how they come in you, but there is this fixed upon you) there is no good to your souls but Christ, let you enjoy God in Christ for your portion, and that is that good your souls aims after: you may tel others, and I tel you that I do this, and my heart may de­ceive me; but if I examine my soul, I can never say I do this truly, unless the Life of Christ be in [Page 27] me. Secondly, Another Pulse wherein this Life constantly puts out, is this,

That the things of Holiness they are connatu­ral 2 to him: Holiness, Righteousness, to be gra­cious, to be freed from sin, to be filled with love and kindness, and mercy, and pity, and these things, there is a kind of natural making out of the heart towards these; because look as it is in our outward man, you know that the actions of eating and drinking, and of a man, no man shall need to learn them, he may have arts that shall make him do them mannerly, but to do the things, they are natural, they were born with him. So now to be holy with God, to be righ­teous in our conversation with men, freed from sin, to walk as the Lords redeemed ones, to pra­ctice these things, this is your life, and therefore the Apostle Peter useth this very expression, That we were redeemed by Christ that we should live to righteousness, live to righteousness. Now as a worldly man lives to his money, another man to his wrath, another man to his lusts, these are the things his heart runs its circle in: A gracious man, the things of holiness and righteousness are the things that suit his spirit. And then thirdly, and lastly, (I wil name no more, but bring it a little closer to you) a third thing is,

That the Lord having made his Will to be the 3 Rule of our Life, and revealed this Will in his Word, thereupon the soul that is alive un­to Christ eyes the Word, looks at the Word, is guided by the Word; the Will of God revealed [Page 28] in his Word, that is his Card, that is his Compass, that is his Square, that is his Meet-wand, his eye looking to the Word as his only guide. No man (I dare affirm it though other things may come neer it, but I dare affirm it, that whosoever will study it shall find) in this world doth any of these three things, but he that hath the Life of Christ, upon a serious debate to make Christ the good of his life, to make the acts of holiness the things that his soul naturally makes after, and for the directing of him in all to live (as the Apostle saith) not to the will of man, or the will of the flesh, but to the will of God, that is, to the Word of God, to make Gods Word the Rule of all our actions in our bent and purpose; here is the discovery of the Life of Christ, and this is now to have Christ in you. Now I beseech you (Brethren) tell me (for I shall by and by dismiss you, when I have made but one Use more, I will leave the third) what say your souls to these things? Really leave al self conceitedness, and apprehensions that you may have out of the Pride of your hearts of your own conditions, what say your souls to these things I have opened? have you now the Life of Christ? I wil tel you (Brethren) if I had time to press it, I had here a large Field to enter in, and to shew you what worlds of people that go for Christians, are yet utter strangers to the Life of Christ. I will name you a few that you may enlarge your thoughts of them when you are alone.

1 All they that know not Christ; it is impossible [Page 29] that there should be a making of Christ their chief good, where there is no knowledg of him. There is no valuing of an unknown thing. All ignorant persons are strangers to this life, as the Apostle saith, the Gentiles were strangers to the Life of God, because of the ignorance that was in them If you know not Christ and his Excellencies, you can never live in him.

Then al those that live to their lusts, whose life 2 is to be wanton, unclean, drunken, prophane, these live to the Devil, the Devil lives in them; they may say, I live, not I, but the Devil lives in me. And so thirdly,

All they that live to the world, whose work 3 that the genious of their heart carries them to from morning to night, his wealth, purchases, buying, trading, &c. there their soul fixes on them, there they rest, to the world they live. And again,

All that live to their pleasures, whose viv [...]re is 4 bibere and the rest, they eat and drink, and sport and play, and give them these and these are the things that make a happy life to them. All these and abundance of others (which I fear I should presume upon your patience, if I should stand to innumerate but al these) are cleerly proved to be destitute of this Life of Christ; think of it (Bre­thren) think of it. It is an easie thing (let me tel you) to be Christians (as we cal it) they are cheap things to hear Sermons, cheap things to profess Religion in our daies, wherein I think a long time there have not been fewer that mind it hear­tily, [Page 30] yet abundance now pretend to it; but to be alive to Christ, to be able to say in this Life, I have other business than what I have here below, I have a Trade, a Wife, a Husband, and Children, but the Lord knows my Conversation is in Hea­ven, my life is in Heaven, it is Christ that lives in me, they are few can say it, and the Lord help you that you are not deceived about it. And then the other Use that I will make of it, is,

Vse 2.That this Lesson is a most comfortable Lesson, for I do not doubt but the clearer any man speaks about these things of Gods Kingdom, the more will the hearts of Gods people be able to joyn with him. I fear not but many of you can say it is thus with you, the Lord witnesseth that with you, doth he not? That there is nothing you have such an appetite after as the means of Grace and Salvation, that you might live, and that your hearts dread at the waies of sin, and that (if God put you to it) you beg of God to be stripped of all, rather than God should not be set up, and that al your prayer is, let God give me Christ, God in Christ for my portion, and that re­verently, not in a ranting way, as if a lewd life could honor God (as some rude people pretend to now) but that I might be holy in this perverse generation, especially in my inward man where Christ dwels, and the things you look at in buy­ing, selling, and purchasing, and sporting, and in al the things you may do that are Lawful to you, observing Gods Rules you take Gods Word to be your Rule, then I tel you for your comfort these two things. First,

[Page 31]The Lord hath communicated to thy soul the 1 excellentest life that ever he gave to any creature. Three things I wil speak briefly that you account of. First,

To be thus minded, to be thus molded, thus 1 framed, it is absolutely the highest, the noblest, the excellentest life that any creature ever parta­ked of. I might shew it you in a world of Parti­culars out of the Word, that there is no life like it. We use to say in Phylosophy, That the life of a Pismire it is a more noble life than the life of a Cedar, though one Cedar be worth many thou­sand Pismires; yet the life of the Pismire is bet­ter, because it cometh from a nobler spirit. Now the Life God hath given thee comes from the spi­rit of Jesus Christ.

It is the noblest; the operations of this Life are 2 above what poor creatures can do: as we say, the Life of Reason it is such a brave flying thing to be a top, above the poor sensual things of bruit Beasts, and to deal with God. And,

It is the sweetest too (that is another;) for in 3 al other lives men tast but the sweetness of the Creature; but here the sweetness of thy Life is God and Jesus Christ himself, there is no life so excellent as this is. Secondly, I say for thy com­fort,

The Life God hath given thee, is the greatest 2 pledg of his love he ever giveth to any; he hath given thee life, it was the end of Christs underta­king to give life to his beloved ones, he never gi­veth this to any man he means hurt to. He can [Page 32] give a Kingdom to a man he means to destroy; he gave it to Saul, and cast him away in his wrath; he can give an Apostleship to one that shall be damned; he gave Judas an Apostleship, and yet he perished: but to have this Life, to close with Christ, to live to him according to his Word: had you this Church ful of Diamonds given you to do what you would with, and to raise your posteri­ty to be the greatest men in this part of the world, it were not such an expression of his love as to give Christ to you. And thirdly, I tel you,

3 This Life that the Lord hath given thee, of which Jesus Christ is the Fountain, thou mayest be bold to rely upon him for the preservation of it, because it flows from him, he is the Well-head of it, he is the Well spring of it; and therefore when thou thinkest how many evils thy Life may be incident unto, what temptations thou mayest meet withal, how weak thou art to resist them, remember man or woman whose Life this is, it is not thy life, but Christs Life, and he ever lives to make us live; and therefore thou in an humble walking, and dependance upon him in the use of Gospel Ordinances, mayest comfortably expect that God wil nourish this Life, and cherish it, till thou come to be a perfect man, till thou come to be transplanted into another Life, where Faith and al these things shal cease, and God be All in All: this the comfort of it. Then I thought to have spoken a little to the third Use.

[Page 33]That because all the people of Christ live this Life, to perswade you all to study it,Vse 3. and to seek after it, and often compare it with that other life that we so often weary our selves about with a vain shadow, hazarding every thing for it, to have our accommodation with as much refresh­ing as can be.

SERMON II.At Mary Magdalens Milkstreet Octob. 30. 1653.

Gal. 2. part of verse 20.

I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; (now follows that which I shal more insist upon) and the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

THe Second Lesson, which is the manner how all the Saints of God live this Life of Christ while they are in this world. The Life which I now live in the flesh. By Flesh there he means not his fleshly part, as they are said to live to the flesh who live sensually and wickedly; but by the Flesh there is meant our mortal condition while we are here upon Earth, while we live our natural life, the Life of Christ in us, it is lived by the faith of the Son of God, that is, the faith wrought in us by the Son of God, which we place upon the Son of God; but that grace of faith, it is the manner, or the instrument, or the [Page 34] means of our holy Life while we are in this world. And this Doctrine which (beloved) is the myste­ry of Christianity, is the very life, and soul, and kernel of true Christianity, I shal endeavor (ac­cording as the Lord shal enable me) this day to open to you. This is the Doctrine,

Doct. 2.That that Life of Christ which all Gods people live in this world, they live it by faith.

Understand but the scope aright, and I hope the discourse may prove useful to those that have this Life. My meaning therefore is, That the grace of faith, it is not only the instrument, or con­dition required to make us partakers of Christ and his Life, it is not only one chief grace, or one branch of this Life, but while the Saints are in this world, the mannagement of their whol Spiritual Life is the work of faith, Christ indeed is the fountain of it, and the Spirit of God is the great administration of it, but that which we do while we live in this world, our whol spiritual Life is through the assistance of God acted by the grace of faith, and I intend (the Lord willing) to handle it in this Method:

1 First, I will cleerly demonstrate to you from the Scripture that it is so, that the whol Life of a Christian, it is led by faith. Secondly, which I more aim at.

2 I shall endeavor to clear to you what the holy Ghost means by this, and what it is for a soul to live the Life of Christ by faith; that shall be my [Page 35] chiefest work in the Doctrinal part, and then I wil come to the application of it.

For the proof of it, that it is so. First,1

Mark how cleerly the Scripture holds it out,1 that while we are in this world the life of the Saints it is led by faith. There is one place in Habbakkuk 2.4. I wil mention that, you shall see the reason by and by; the Spirit of God there speaks of the several waies that men had to live in troublesom times; for Habakkuk lived in very difficult times of the Church, and there in his dis­course he shews how proud men lived by main­taining a good opinion of themselves, and lifting up their hearts, and how worldly men lived by loading themselves with thick clay, good store of Gold and Silver, and Houses, and Lands; but (saith he) the just live by faith, every godly man lives by faith. Now this Text of the Prophet Habakkuk, it is three or four times in the new Te­stament alledged by the holy Ghost, to prove the very self same Doctrine: as for example, Rom. 1 17. I wil rather name that first, because it proves both these Doctrines I have propounded, saith he in verse 16. I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation to every one that be­leeveth the Gospel, for (saith he in verse 17.) therein is the righteousness of Christ manifested from faith to faith: There now is my former Doctrine, that our Life to Salvation, it is nothing but the righteous­ness of God manifested to us, and communicated to us, yea, from one degree of faith to another, according as we get more faith, so we have more [Page 36] life, and as Righteousness is further revealed, so we have more faith, and consequently more life, as it is written the just shal live by faith: mark it, The manifestation and communication of the Righteousness of Christ, it is held out in the Gos­pel, but received by Faith, and every Beleever lives by Faith, The just shall live by faith. So in the Epist. Gal. 3.11. the holy Ghost repeats the very same expression again, speaking of the Life of the Saints, as it is written, The just shall live by faith. A­gain the very same phrase in Heb. 10.38. where the Apostle there is pressing of Beleevers to a ho­ly Life, in difficult and troublesom times that are coming upon them, and shews what wil become of Apostates and Back-sliders, but (saith he) The just shall live by faith. The whol life of al holy men while they are going through the world, and get into Heaven, all their life is transacted by faith, this is clear. And I wil ad but another Text, that which you find in 2 Cor. 5.7. the Apostle saith ex­presly, We live by faith, we live not by sence; if you wil take sence there for carnal sence, things that are sensible to our outward man, we live not to sence; or if you wil take it in the more eleva­ted interpretation, spiritual sence, that is, the im­mediate enjoyment of the light of Gods counte­nance to ravish us, though it is a Treasury to be desired rather than ten thousand worlds, yet we live not by it, but by faith, the Life of Gods peo­ple it lies al in the grace of Faith. But,

2 I wil add two Proofs more that are not parti­cular Scriptures, but conclusions that are fit for [Page 37] you to study, and wil give a wonderful convicti­on to your hearts of the truth of this Doctrine, That the Life of al Gods people while they are in this world is lived by Faith. You shall have this demonstration. First,

That the holy Ghost when he compares spiri­tual life and natural life together, he useth to 1 compare the grace of faith to al those faculties or members, which are the whol livelihood of our natural lives, those members or faculties which contribute the most to the livelihood of our natu­ral life, the holy Ghost makes faith to be al these in our spiritual life; pray remember, my mea­ning is thus: You know while we are in this world, while we live we must be fed, take away food, appetite, eating, digesting, drinking, con­cocting of it, and you destroy a mans life present­ly: Faith is our mouth by which we feed, al the food that the soul hath, it is by a spiritual mouth, and it is faith whereby we feed, ordinarily it is compared to our mouth, appetite, and stomach; but then before the food cometh to our mouth, the hand receives it and conveys it to the mouth; Faith is our hand, compared to the hand whereby we do our work, and receive our food and carry it; Faith is our eye whereby we behold the things we are to act, and work upon, for the main­taining of our life; Faith is the foot whereby the soul is carried both to its business and food: hands, eyes, mouth, tast, the Spirit of God sets it out by them all, thereby signifying to us, that what the eye, mouth, hand, and tast, contribute [Page 38] to our natural life, that doth the grace of faith to our spiritual life while we are in this world. That is one Conclusion that I think is a cleered demon­stration, that while Gods People live in this world, it is faith that is their Life. The Second, which is yet more ful, is this,

2 That you shal find cleerly in the Scriptures, that not only our life in general is attributed to Faith, but every thing concerning our life is in Scripture made the work of faith. Oh! that we could un­derstand this; but you that are spiritual must needs be versed in the truth of this Doctrine, (I say) that not only the bulk of our life in general is said to be the work of Faith, but every thing that concerns our spiritual life, the holy Ghost doth impute it to the grace of Faith; as now I will instance in some things that wil comprehend al the rest. All the Life of a Christian is reducible either,

  • 1. To the beginning of it. Or,
  • 2. To the preservation of it, and carrying of it on. First,

1 The Beginning of it: We have our spiritual Life begun in us by Faith, it is on our part the principle whereby the very spiritual life is recei­ved: or if you will have it more plainly; All those things that are the real principles of our Spiritual Life, they are all received by Faith. As,

1 Jesus Christ who is our Life, and is the foun­tain of our life, we recive Christ by faith. As many as received him, that is, as many as be­leeved. [Page 39] And in Ephes. 3.17. whether Jesus Christ dwels in our hearts by faith. That Lord Jesus that remains in us constantly, we have him by faith. Then,

The Spirit of Jesus Christ, who doth take from 2 Christ and communicate to the Saints; for so Christ said when he promised him to his Apostles, and Church; that shall be his Office to take of mine, and give to you (saith he) How received you the Spirit? was it not by faith? So that by faith we receive the Spirit, as it is the very princi­ple of our life. I confess this is a great mystery, for Faith it self is the work of the Spirit, and yet the Spirit is received by faith, but the holy Ghost saith it is so. Somwhat I would say to witness that, but the time wil not allow it me. So that our very beginning of our spiritual life is by faith, while we are meerly passive, the Spirit of God works alone without us; but when we come to be active, the very first, and al the acts of our lives they are by Faith. Well, when this life is begun, Then Secondly,

The Preservation, the Maintainance of it, the 2 acting of it wholly, the Spirit of God acts by the grace of Faith: as thus; All our nourishment comes from Ordinances; for though the Lord be the Fountain of it, yet the Ordinances are the ca­nales, the channels wherein the Lord gives out a greater supply of himself; we must receive all these by Faith. The Word profits no man unless it be mingled with Faith, your Prayers they must be Prayers of Faith, the Sacraments they [Page 40] are received by Eaith: All Ordinances are so far effectual to the soul as the grace of Faith puts them upon you. Faith is not only the means of our Food, but for Physick, the overcoming of our evil, al the Spiritual enemies of our spiritual life, all that would destroy it, it is Faith alone must do it.

1 You shall find Satan the great Enemy, how do we overcome him? By resisting him in Faith.

2 The World another Enemy; every one that is born of God overcometh that the world cannot prevail upon them, and this is that that overco­meth the world, even your Faith. So,

3 All our Lusts; it is by Faith that we put off the old man: the Scripture is cleer in it, nay, the actings of our lives, all the actions of our spiritual life, all the excitings and callings out of all our graces in every relation publick and private, the Spirit of God laies it al upon Faith, until we come to be consumated, and put into Heaven, the Lord doth leave the mannagement and carrying on of our spiritual life to the grace of Faith, himself is the Sum, the fountain; but so far as the Creature hath a hand in it, that is the sanctified creature, it is this faith whereby the whol life is acted. Thus you see the first thing I hope sufficiently cleered, That the Life of al Gods People while they live in this world, it is the life of faith. But now comes the greatest Question, for there are so ma­ny cleer Scriptures about that you cannot doubt of it, you had as good doubt of your Christianity as to doubt of this, Whether a Christians life is the life of faith? But now,

[Page 41]What the holy Ghost signifies by this, what is 2 it to live by faith? That is a thing that may be more difficult to be understood, and if it please God that I can but cleer it to you out of the Word, that you may see wherein the true living by faith doth consist, when I have opened this I wil not doubt but so many as are Gods People wil say, this is my very condition; but as for others they wil say, every body talks of living by faith, one man makes living by faith only to be a fancy in his own head, that God wil do this and that for him without any warrant from the Word; ano­ther (it may be) fancies, that live how he lists, if he hope but to go to Heaven when he goes out of the world, then he lives by faith: But living by faith is substantial, I shal now set my self (by the Lords help) to clear to you, what the holy Ghost signifies when he saith, that the life of Gods peo­ple in this world, they live it by faith; and to this end I must premise these two things; but to make way. The first is,

That our Lord Jesus who is our Head, our spi­ritual 1 mystical Head, he hath not only an Al-suffi­ciency for al his people, for every one that belee­veth, til they come to glory; but he hath a full purpose in his heart never to be wanting of sup­ply unto his called ones, a full unchangeable pur­pose to supply them with whatsoever is needful to bring them to glory. That is the first thing I lay down as a foundation, to lead you to know what it is to live by faith, there is an all suffici­ency in Christ our Head, yea, a ful purpose and [Page 42] resolution unchangeable, to supply to all his peo­ple whatsoever they can need in any condition, til he hath brought them to glory. That is the first thing, no body wil doubt this the Scripture is so ful to it. The Second thing is more imme­diate and closer to my purpose, and it is this,

2 That Jesus Christ hath not only this determi­nate purpose in his heart, but he hath in his Word declared and manifested al that he will do for his people, and expect from his people til they come into Heaven; mark, that is,

1 In his Word hath he declared Promises, which hold out al the good that Christ means to do for his people, not only general promises for pardon of sin to bring them to Heaven, but promises for every condition that can be, he hath declared what he means to do, and which way he wil do it.

2 He hath there likewise declared what his will is for al the duties that his people are to perform i [...] the way of obedience; he wil never expect from them in al their life time any thing but what in his Word he hath set down. And thirdly,

3 In the same Word he hath not only laid down Promises what he wil do, and precepts what they must do, but Directions that hold out both argu­ments to stir them up, and waies that they should take; al these hath he laid down in his Word, al the means either to attain strength to do duties, or to accomplish the benefit of any Promise; in his Word he hath laid down al his mind, and that is called his will concerning us, that is the will of God concerning us. Now these three things pre­mised, the purpose of Christ to do all that he [Page 43] will do and expect, the declaration of all this in his Word. These two taken for granted, now in the third place, which is my Doctrine, and which wil make you understand what the living by faith is,

The Grace of Faith wrought in us by the Spirit 3 of God, and acted in us by the Spirit of God, it immediately hath its whol application to the Word. Good Friends hearken, (I say) the grace of faith is the work of the Spirit in us, and is ex­cited and stirred up to work by the Spirit; the Spirits proper and immediate work is to deal with the will of Christ revealed in his Word, it looks not at Heaven immediately, it looks not to Christ immediately; but it looks at God, and Christ, and Heaven mediately through the Word. In the Word there saith sees all the good things promi­sed, that in its life time it shal stand in need of; in the Word it seeth the injunction of al those duties that the renewed soul should be conversant about or be exercised in; in the Word, and in the Word only, he seeth the Methods, the Counsels, the ar­guments, the Directions that are to be attended upon for the enjoyment of all that which is in Christs purpose to do for us. Now mark, The grace of faith stirred up by the Spirit of God, to look to the Word in every thing in the right way, and the Lord by his invisible and secret work ma­king the things held out in the Word effectual to the soul, by this act of faith in the whol course of our life, applying it self unto the Word; the Word of Promise for matters of Comfort, the [Page 44] Word of Precept for matters of Duty, the Word of Direction in matters of means and Ordinances; the applying of the soul to the Word in all these things, the Lord according to his goodness ma­king these things good to the soul that thus ap­plies it self to the Word, this is to live by faith. So that now to come a little neerer to the business, (for I have not yet explained it so far as I hope by and by I shall, but I say) now to live by faith. First,

1 It is not only for a soul to beleeve in Jesus Christ for salvation, or to beleeve all our life time that we shal be saved by Jesus Christ when we go out of the world; it is not only that that is but a piece of it. But,

2 To live by Faith, it is in our course to enjoy the whol revealed will of Christ to us as our life, thereby fetching all our consolations that are fit for our life from promises, thereby fetching all our practices from the declaration of what he makes our duty, and applying our selves in the use of those means, which the Lord hath appoin­ted us to attend upon for the accomplishment of these; this conversation of the soul is the living by faith. To live by faith it is this: I am not on­ly made partaker of the Righteousness of Christ which is imputed for my justification, and is in­herent for my new quickening: I have not only these principles in me, but by the grace of faith al the comfort of my life is fetched from a pro­mise, al the rule of my conversation is from the Precepts, and all the means I use for the accom­plishment [Page 45] of one or other, they are those that are prescribed there; so that be it to undergo affli­ction, to conflict with a temptation, to go through my Calling, be it to comfort my heart against temptations, when the soul looks to the Word of Christ, and there takes the Word for its guide both for comfort and duty, until the Lord of his meer grace have accomplished in us all the good that he intendeth to us, which wil never be til he takes us out of this world, when faith cea­seth; but in the mean time, this, and this only is that which the Scripture cals living by faith. But now (because I would yet make it a little plainer to you) be pleased to know, That although there are acts of faith applicable to every particular condition we are in, which would require a Vo­lumn to mention; yet for the present purpose you must know, that there are five things faith doth in this general living by faith, that every one that is said to live by faith, his faith doth five things in his ordinary course, which are applica­ble to every thing that you can think upon, which I shall not need to stand to prove, though I will give a touch as I go along, because I would spare a little time for the Application before I break off: But there are five things applicable.

First, The grace of faith looks at the Word as 1 that which is most sure, that is, it yields a firm as­sent to the truth of all that Jesus Christ hath re­vealed concerning him in his Word. The Promi­ses that are made, faith assures the soul they are al true; they are not whimsies nor fancies. The [Page 46] Duties and Directions there prescribed faith as­sures the soul they are things the Lord looks for; so that the Apostle saith in Acts 20. when he lived as a Christian, he did exercise himself to beleeve al that was spoken by the Lord in his Law, and David saith, Thy Word (Lord) is from everla­sting: It makes not any scruple or doubt, but gives a firm assent to what the Lord hath set down in his Word. That is one, and that indeed is the Basis and Foundation of the rest. The Second,

2 It not only assents that all these are true, but faith acquiesses that these are the magazine, the store house, the comprehension of al excellencies that the soul shall ever be made partaker of, he desires to be satisfied in the goodness of them, he desires no other course of Life to order him but what is set down in the Word, he thinks not there are any Councels nor Directions to be regar­ded, nor compared to those set down in the Word, he rests in them, there his Treasure lies in that great iron Chest, and the Word is not on­ly true, but his livelihood, he knows God hath declared this in his Word, and there his soul is sa­tisfied: That is the Second. And then the third is this:

3 The Lord laies al our happiness up in his Word, the happiness of our comfort, the happiness of our holy conversation, therefore faith directs the soul to attend to the Word as to its only guide and comfort: that look as a man that is satisfied, I am to travel in a dark night, and to go through a dangerous place; but I am sure I have a mighty [Page 47] guide, not a Will of the Wisp (as they cal it) and an Ignis fatuus to miss-lead me; and therefore as I love my life and happiness, I will look to the Word, by the Word I am guided, by the Word I am directed, as the Apostle expresseth it: It is a thing you do wel to take heed to, as to a light that shines in a dark place until the day dawn, un­til the day of Heaven come, and you be brought to glory. The soul looks to the Word as its only card and compass: as the Marriner at Sea looks at his Card and Compass, they are his guide; so the Beleever he only looks at the Word as his guide. There is the third. And then the fourth thing that faith doth in al that live the life of faith is this,

That they make the things revealed in the 4 Word the matters of their prayers, they dare not beg a thing of God until they know it is Gods wil, that they find a warrant to beg it either absolute­ly or conditionally; they make the Word the matter of their prayers and endeavors; and if they go about any thing, or be under distress and affliction, they labor to get rid of it by making the word their direction in that. And Fiftly and lastly,

Doing al these things as well as it can, it staies 5 it self upon the truth▪ and faithfulness, and power, and wisdom, and goodness of God, and the Lord Jesus who hath revealed these things to him, he staies himself upon him for the accomplishment of these things, in his own time, and in his own way. And he now that doth these five things, he [Page 48] truly lives by faith: The Lord hath turned the bent of his heart to it, and he is assured his Word is true, and that there lies his happiness, he looks at it as his only guide, he makes this the matter of his prayer and endeavors, and when he hath done, knows all his poor endeavors are nothing, but waits upon the Lord to make all good to him, according to his wisdom and faithfulness Thus you have heard a Christian ought to live by faith, and I hope now you see what it is. Now one Question more I must needs briefly speak to, and that is this:

Quest.But may some say, Do all that live the life of Christ live thus? that this is excellent I will not dispute, and that this is held out in the Word, I doubt it not; but will you make true Christianity fall within the compass of this, and no further? dare you affirm it that none live the life of Christ in this world, but those that you have spoken of?

Answ.Now the Answer to this you shall have cleerly in these three things. First,

1 It is true, that even the Lords own people do somtimes too much live to the flesh, there is flesh in the best; somtimes they are under great temp­tations, somtimes (it may be) under the sweet­ness of the Creature, and flesh prevails, and they walk by other rules so far as they are unregene­rate, so far as the true Genius of Christianity works not in them; for we all know that as we live but in part, so we live by faith but in part, and too [Page 49] much Gods people fail in this. But Secondly, I answer,

That so far as we are Christians, so far every 2 man in the world, be he strong, or be he weak, he lives according to these things. I fear not to speak it positively, that not one man living upon the Earth ought to own himself, or any other to own him to live the life of Christ, further than he lives according to this that I have set you down, though they talk of them, preach of them, write of them, if they practice them not, and actually live according to these Rules, they live not as Christians. But thirdly, I answer,

That many souls do live thus, really live thus 3 in their course, who cannot speak thus, who do not know that they live thus. As take my mea­ning thus: It is certain that our life in nature, it is lived thus, Food is taken into the mouth, when it is taken into the stomach, it digests it, and by a concoction it is so and so separated; and al Schol­lers, and those that know the course of Nature, know not only that they live by food, but can tel you the Methods of it; but many thousands that live the natural life, cannot tel how they live it: And as there is in Logick an Art of Logick, which is nothing else but Reason digested into the right Methods, to shew you what is the cause, and subject, and adjunct, &c. that we cal the Art of Logick, doth but cast al these things into their [...] place; but many thousands do argue, and speak from causes, and effects, and subjects, and adjuncts, and comparisons, and things that are op­posite, [Page 50] use arguments from them, who know not that they play the Logicians in al these. So in the great acts of Faith, there is no man (it is certain) partakes of Christ but beleeves in him; but doubt­less there are many thousands that beleeve in Christ, that know not what that act of faith is, that gives them an interest in Christ, but the Spirit of God carries them on to it. So the Saints of God though they cannot speak of these Rules I have shewed you til they be opened to them, and then they can close with them; so that I am far from saying that no man lives the life of faith, but he that understands that he acts al these things, but he may understand them really. Well, this laid as the foundation, you will pardon me though I take a little time to give you a tast of the Appli­cation before I dismiss you: But thus I have en­deavored to cleer this Doctrine, That all the Lords people while they are in this world, while they do partake of the Righteousness of Christ, one part of it for their Justification, the other for Sanctification, the acting of this while they are in this world, it is the life of faith. Now the use of it is very large and sweet; I will give you but a tast of two things before I dismiss you: The one is for Instruction.

Vse 1.Hence therefore you may safely and sadly con­clude, That among the great multitudes of those that challenge the name of Christians, there are (God knows, and we may know) a very few that are really Christians; if this that I have opened [Page 51] to you be the Lords truth, which I hope through his mercy I have demonstrated, but if this be true, you shal see that amongst those great mul­titudes of them that are called Christians, there are but a very smal number who really are Chri­stians. Oh! (Beloved) should I (as justly I might, if the time would give leave) but come to separate the chaff from the wheat, and to cul out the several sorts of men in this world, who live by clean different Rules from this I have spoken to you, in what a smal number might the names of real Christians be comprehended, what a lit­tle Book would hold them all? As for Exam­ple:

Do all the Saints of Christ live the life of Christ 1 by faith? Then certainly they that are ignorant of Christ, and know him not, are destitute of all real knowledg of him, it is not to be thought that they should live this life of faith.

They that never troubled themselves at the ve­ry 2 Doctrine of faith, it is to them but a meer whimsie, they are the most ignorant of him; sure­ly no man can be careless about that which is the principle of his Life: now a careless man about his faith, you may be confident that man never li­ved the life of faith. Again,

All they who live to their lusts (as God knows 3 multitudes do) what is their life and comfort, but to drink, to whore, to swear, to cozen, to cheat?

Multitudes of others live to the world, Mam­mon 4 is the God of their life, the end of their life, [Page 52] that that takes them up from the beginning of the morning til the evening comes, when they are a­wake the world is in their hearts. And,

5 They that live to their own wills; as look what­soever their own fancies and wills suggest to them to be advantagious, this is that that satisfies them and serves their turn, to attain such a corrupt end, or such a way as they are in. Oh friends! there are a smal number that live the life of Christ, the Lord help you that you may not be deceived about this. I can but name this. And then Se­condly, The other thing I wil name is this (and pray carry this home.)

Vse 2.Those that are Christians, it hath plainly ap­peared that of al things in the world, Gods people have most cause to lament and bewail their unbe­lief. You hear that faith is your life and lively­hood, therefore there is nothing to be so much lamented by real Christians concerning them­selves as their unbelief: I speak not but there should be somthing more lamented than our own damnation; but for our selves of al the evils we lie under in this world, there is none to be la­mented so much as our unbelief. Take my mea­ning thus: Suppose a poor child under the care of loving and careful Parents, that would neglect nothing that may do the child good; but the child cannot eat his meat, it hath no appetite, or the meat is cast up; alass, if he have no stomach the child wil languish, and for this and other di­stempers, let the Parents weep over it never so [Page 53] much, or dandle it never so much, the child hath an inward root that wil destroy it. I tel you what is true from the Lord, there is nothing can undo you but unbelief, there is no cross under Heaven can betide you, but faith will carry you through it, no duty can be preached, but faith will carry you through it; no Promise so hard in the Word of God, but faith wil fetch out the sweetness of it. Oh! this unbelief of ours undoeth us.

But you wil say,Quest. Do you think the people of God are so much guilty of it?

I wil give you a little tast,Answ. and by that you shall judg. First,

All our not studying the Word, that we are no 1 more acquainted with the Word, for were a ser­vant of God assured that his livelihood in com­fort, in duty, and every thing were to be fetched from the word, there is no Merchant that would endeavor to be skilful in the mystery of his Cal­ling, more than every Christian would be in the understanding of the word. And

When the word is held out to us, that we do no 2 more value it, and that we no more rely and ven­ture our souls upon it, it is nothing but our unbe­lief: As if so be a man that I dare put my trust in, if he make me a promise to furnish me with so much money at such a time, I dare rely upon it: But that I do not thus rely upon God in all my temptations, and fully perswade my self that the Lord will deliver me, it is nothing but my unbe­lief. [Page 54] If a mortal man tel me, if I walk thus and thus, I will fall into many a danger, and thus it wil fall upon me by Law, this makes me careful. That we deal not so with our gracious God is through our unbelief. Nay, in a word.

3 All our unevenness in our whol course, that we somtimes rely so much upon the Creature, that when things flow in according to our minds, then my Line is cast in a fair ground, then God hath made my Mountain stand strong while the things of the world are with me, & at another time if I see a visibility of ruine, then I cannot say that the great God wil stand by me in these difficulties, this is nothing in the world but unbelief. Nay,

4 All your deviations: If you find David using unlawful means, going over to the King of Gath to gain relief, it is nothing but unbelief. If you find a man venturing out to take any unlawful comfort in the Creatures, it is nothing but unbe­lief, it is a thrid runs through the whol course of Gods people, to make them live low lives, and hinders them from the obtaining of that that would be consolation to their own souls, there­fore I beseech you, you that have made Christ your portion, and make account that faith must be your livelihood, lay it to heart, mourn under it, pray the Lord to root out this bitter weed, and make you masters over it, for certainly it is a great evil; we stand by faith, we fal by unbelief, it is that that occasions all the disquiets of our lives. The Lord set it to our hearts, and deliver us from it.

SERMON III.At Mary le Bow. Octob. 30. 1653. afternoon.

Gal. 2. part of verse 20.

I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; (now follows that which I shal more insist upon) and the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

NOW I proceed, and there is but one great Use that I intend, though I would a lit­tle mention another, and speak a little of it in the first place. Good Christian Friends, weigh what I have said, and regard it not because I say it; but because of the evidence I hope goes along with it. But the thing I collect is,

That you may all hence learn what kind of Christians they must needs be,Vse 3. who can live in the flesh above the Word and Ordinances, having no use of them, and (as they think) nothing to do with them, but live in an immediate Communion with God and enjoyment of him. This is one of the wildnesses and infatuations that the Lord hath let out amongst us in this sinful Nation, that ma­ny that have gone for sober, humble, gracious men and women, they look upon al those that [Page 56] have to do with Ordinances, that study Scrip­tures, and tend upon Sermons, they look upon them but in the A B C Form, they are of a low pitch and rank, themselves are above these things, they have attained to a higher Form: But this Doctrine that I have opened, will cleerly di­rect al Gods people what to judg of them; for if they live the Life of Christ (for that they pretend to) it is either the life of spiritual sence, immedi­ate enjoyment; or the life of Faith: if they pre­tend to an immediate enjoyment of God without the intervention of faith, beleeve it they are be­yond the Apostle Paul, that professed in his own name, and in the name of al the Saints that then lived, That the life that they lived in this life, it was by faith, and not by sence; yet these have learned that they are beyond his Form: I will not say, much good may do their hearts with it; but poor Creatures their delusion will one day af­flict them.

Object.But if they say, No, we grant you it is the life of faith we live in this world.

Answ.Then say I, Unquestionably, and without all dispute, it will appear faith hath its subordinate work, it is the declaration of the Lords mind in his Word, that faith meddles with, and all the Ordinances, and all tending upon the Word and Sacraments, &c. are the administrations of Christs will that is carried on in Ordinances, and no other way I know; sure I am the Scripture is silent in it: Therfore Friends (for such as are concerned in it, they wil not be here to hear it, nor any where [Page 57] else, they count it a folly, but) to your sober Chri­stians that desire to go to Heaven, and to walk with the Lord in his own way, give me leave to say this: Therefore,

I confess our divisions and subdivisions in other matters of Religion are very sad, the cutting of the people of God a pieces in the several molds and forms of Government, and therby alienating their spirits one from another, it is very sad, and the Lord in his mercy remove those things. But yet this I must say, That while these lower conditi­ons are, and as long as each form carries people to the Word, holds out Christ in his Word, Christ in preaching, Christ in the Sacrament, there is food for souls; and if we could look aright (it may be) we would not be so angry with one another about it as we are; for there is but one Truth, and we pray the Lord to reveal it: but stil here is carry­ing on the life of Comfort, Duty, Direction, and all that faith meddles with, that the Lords people may enjoy: but for Gods sake, and as you love the life of your souls, watch against temptations that would take you off from the Word, that the Scripture should be nothing; this takes you off from that that your faith wholly meddles with; for if you can say, I beleeve God for such a thing, and Christ for such a thing, unless you find it pro­mised in the Word, it is presumption. There­fore,

Pity such poor souls, your own experience may 1 tel you; do but mark them, generally they that live above Ordinances, see whether the Spirit of [Page 58] God do not withdraw, see whether the Lord hath any other way to convey himself to them, than what he hath held out in his Word; their loosness, folly, pride, and joyning in any thing else that is naught, almost plainly shews that the Lord hath withdrawn from them. And secondly,

2 You wil find that such of them as have grace in them (for I am far from thinking any that have grace cannot be under such a temptation, but) I fear not but the Lord will awaken them again though they be asleep, because faith must be the navel, and the string that must maintain them here. But this I did not intend to be large in. The great Use that I intend is,

Vse 4.To all the Lords people whose Life is Christ, and in whom Christ doth live; I would endea­vor in the rest of this hour to give them some help out of the Word, that this living by faith might be better known to the Lords People, and more exactly practised than it hath been hitherto, and if the Lord help me to divide it, and you to receive it, I will not fear but your life will be more honorable to the Lord, and sweeter to your selves than it hath been: and there are but two things that I intend to treat upon. The one is,

1 Some serious Considerations or Motives, to pro­voke all who have any thing of Christ in them, that they would study this art of living by faith more than in time past. And secondly, and prin­cipally,

[Page 59]To lay out of the Word the true Directoins, the 2 easiest and the readiest way that a willing soul may take to be built up in it.

For encouragement to provoke you to it, I 1 pray think of these things:

First, If you will be Christians, it is our Trade,1 and the way of our livelihood, we have no other mystery for the maintainance of our lives but faith, that is cleer. Schollers may live by their Wits, Trades-men upon their Mysteries, and Gentlemen upon their Wealth: But as a Christi­an we have no other living, or way of living to God, but only our faith. Now because it is our Life, and our Trade, and our Profession, it would be a horrible shame to be found Bunglers in that that is properly our own Mystery. If a man should come and examine me, a Minister of the Gospel, and put into my hands a Merchants Book, and bid me cast up such an Account, and I could not, this were no shame to me: but if he should come and give me a Bible, and bid me open a Text, if I could not do it, it were a shame to me. So (friend) have you the right skil of living by faith? No, It is thy Trade: As thou art a Mem­ber of the Common-wealth, or one of the Army, thou mayest have a Calling; but as thou art a Christian, which is thy best Life, thou hast no Trade, but to live by faith, no other way to ho­nor the Lord, nor to manifest the Life of Christ, nor to turn all things for thy good, and the Lords glory, it is thy living by faith must do it; what a [Page 60] horrible disgrace will it be for thee to be found ignorant of it. Secondly,

2 I tell you there is no other way of Life that any man pitches upon, but it will very shortly appear to be but a poor thing. If you should think that the living upon God, this holy life, it is a thing that is a mystery that you do not study; but for the present life that you mind, and you mean to follow the things that will help you to live in the world, I tell you all those after a little while will prove meer delusions. If any of you have the way (as some of you have found it) to raise up your selves to great estates, of a poor servant, in few yeers to become a great man in the place where you live, and now you are wealthy. Be­fore our eyes God hath overturned all these things; hath not God let us see how he hath pul­led down great Princes and Kings? hath he not let us see a thousand, ten thousand a yeer a man may have, and yet live to see them al buried, and himself come to beggery? doth not God tell us they are not al worth our study? The Lord (my meaning is) dayly before our eyes stains the glo­ry of all other waies of living; never to the worlds end did he, or wil he stain the glory of li­ving by faith, because you can no where else close with him. Thirdly, that which I most aim at in my Considerations, is to acquaint you with this:

3 That this same Art, this excellent Christian My­stery of living our life by faith, it is absolutely the best life, the most desirable life that any man or [Page 61] woman can live, til they come to enjoy God im­mediately. This I wil demonstrate, and I hope I shal make it plain, that if a man had the com­fort of al other waies of living in any kind, never would the learning or wit of man find out any life to be compared with the life of faith, for the ex­cellency of it; and the excellency of the life of faith I would open to you in four or five Particu­lars, the Lord perswade you but to study them when you are alone. One is more general.

It is the Life which the Lord hath chosen out,1 to be the life of those that he loved from all eter­nity. The Lord you grant him al of you to be in­finite in wisdom, and therefore before his eyes al waies of living happy were apparent, and out of them all he chose this same life of faith, to be the life of those he loved from al eternity. It is the Prophet Malachi's argument; it is the best Conjugal condition for a man to have one wife, and a woman to have one husband, because else God could have made ten women if he would; but he made but one, that is Gods choyce, ther­fore that is the best matrimonial life. Therefore the Lord (say I) who knew what learning, what wisdom, what friends, what Phylosophy, what Policy, what any thing might advance men to, he out of them al shews the living by faith to be the way how they should live in this world, who are as dear to him as the apple of his own eye; and to a sober heart more needs not be said to make him think it an excellent thing. Secondly, as it is excellent because of Gods choyce, so,

[Page 62] 2 It is the honorablest life that can be; there is no life in this world so honorable as the life of faith. First,

1 It is wonderfully honorable to God, when his redeemed ones have their whol livelihood from him without hanging upon every hedg, but to acknowledg the Lord, I, to tel every body where they come, I have not one comfort in a child, nor in a wife, nor in a penny, nor in a garment, nor in a dish of meat, but I receive it from the hand of God by vertue of my faith, here God is lifted up in al his administrations. And as it is ho­norable to God, so,

2 It is most honorable to us; for in truth, if we were independent, that is, if we needed no de­pendance upon any, we must be Gods our selves, and no man would put his foot under another mans table (as we use to say) that hath one of his own. To live dependantly upon another man, that can live independantly of himself, takes off from his nobleness: but if we must live depen­dantly, then surely it is more honorable and no­ble to depend upon the head than the foot. He that hath not learned to live by faith upon God, he lives in part upon skins of beasts, upon the world, upon the excrements of the world, he lives (I mean) upon poor, ragged, beggerly crea­tures: one man saith to Gold, thou art my hope; another man loads himself with thick clay: wel, this is a poor low thing in comparison of depen­ding upon him more immediately, that hath in­comprehensible glory; it is ignoble. Thirdly,

[Page 63]In this world it is the easiest life; I will speak it 3 (I humbly bless the Lord that I have any experi­ence of it in my own soul, but I dare speak it) as Divine Truth, to live by faith is the easiest life un­der Heaven. Do not mistake me, I mean not it is easiest learned, that a man may learn it with a wet finger. Oh! it is a hard trade to learn, and this may be one motive it is not easily gotten: but my meaning is, that when once the soul hath learned it, that it be but a Master of this Trade, that it can say, I have learned to live by faith, no man un­der Heaven lives, or can live so easie a life as a Be­leever may, Why? Because the life of faith wil never leave any thing upon my care, but to walk humbly, and thankfully with my God, it leaves the providing for my body and soul, and posteri­ty, and for the disposing of them al, and for al my affairs, it leaves it at Gods doors, laies it to him, and to me leaves nothing but to take the Book, find my duty, bend the knee, and for all the suc­cesses faith leaves it quietly to the Lord; and is not this a sweet life? We that are Parents know (by reason of our carnality) what a hard thing it is, when we have a company of poor children to provide for in a confused World, when all we have may be swept away, and others to have great trading, and yet our Ships miscarry, how we shal pay all our engagements we know not: but if once the soul have faith, it directs him to leave al to the wise and gracious God, and my self to acquiess in his will: I repeat it again, and I pray if you be not satisfied in it now, study it, and [Page 64] I wil be bound to recant it (as the saying is) at Pauls Cross, whensoever you wil, if ever man can come out and say, the life of faith is an uncom­fortable life, no, it is the sweetest life of all: Oh! that God would perswade you to study it, it is the easiest life. Come into a family, and tell me who lives the easiest life, the Father or the Child; the Child hath food, the Father provides it, the Maid cooks it; he hath cloaths, his Father buys him them, the Taylor makes them; and the child goes to school, and never thinks what will be­come of him when his cloaths are worn out, and his linnen spent, he leaves all to his Father. And then again I tel you.

4 It is the best life, because in truth it is the surest life, for that man or woman that will trust God, and wil study to live according to the rule of faith, (I speak it with reverence) they have a statute upon al that God is worth that they shal be provi­ded for; they have a statute upon his All-suffici­ency, I am a God all-sufficient, walk before me, I will be a horn of strength, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee; a statute upon his Wisdom, Power, Good­ness, Faithfulness, what God is and hath, he hath engaged to the soul that wil trust in him. It is an old saying of a Poet, That it is an uncertain E­state (though it may be great) if it cannot be built upon: It is an uncertain estate to depend upon Cables and Anchors; if it come home it is well, but it cannot be built upon; and somtimes they stand in need of an Insuring Office, but how just­ly I dispute not. But lastly,

[Page 65]This Art, when once the soul hath learned it, it will deliver a man from all base and unworthy means, it wil deliver the soul from all base and unworthy means in any kind whatsoever, because if he have God in his Word, what need he shirk and shift, or do any thing that is base, when he hath such a rock, such a livelihood for his soul as faith. As now I wil give you but an instance; The Apostle Paul when he was in prison at Rome, he conceived he might have gone out, by giving the Captain of the Guard some money, but Paul scor­ned to give a penny: when he was at Philippi, put in prison in the stocks, the Magistrates came and bid him come out, he scorned to go out; some might have said, you may provoke them; I care not, he had God on his side. Never did any one so much study to get an Office, or Lordship, or an encrease of his Estate, that they may say there is that boy or girl provided for, let them go where they wil their portion lies by me: this is not so comfortable as to study this Doctrine, That that life that you live in the flesh, you live by the Son of God; that this life of faith may be on your part your principal delight. Now then the Last part of my Sermon which I come to, is,

But how should we do this? Attainable it is,II and in some degree all Gods people have it; but what course should we take that we might be (as it were) Masters of Art in it, that we might Com­mence to a good degree? I shall cleerly out of the Word, give you some four or five Directions, [Page 66] which if you will study you may much enlarge, and I hope it is the right way. The first is this,

1 The grace of faith is the principle of our holy life; while we are in this world you must labor to be well rooted and grounded in the grace of faith; mark what I say, to be rooted and groun­ded, look to that that is your livelihood: when I say rooted and grounded, in that I mean these two things. First,

1 You must labor that your faith be a right faith, a sound faith; for (beloved) it is not every faith that wil afford a man a livelihood: painted fire is fire in the Summer time, but it wil never warm a mans hands in the Winter time; painted bread will never fill a mans stomach; it must be real bread, and real drink that wil maintain your life. So (Brethren) that common faith that goes about in the world, fancies and conceits people have ungrounded, without any work passing upon their hearts to make them new Creatures, it may serve for a dead profession, it may serve (it may be) to set you off so far by talking of Religion, that if time serve that way you may get an Office, a Place, and some accommodation for this life; but never wil a formal faith enable you to live the life of Christ, that must be sound faith, faith of the right stamp. I, and secondly, I mean when I say, to be rooted and grounded in the faith,

2 You must labor for strong faith, for (Brethren give me leave to say) the least degree of saving faith will certainly keep thee from Hell, and car­ry thee to Heaven; but the least degree of it will [Page 67] not enable thee to live the life of Christ to his glo­ry, and thy comfort: If a storm comes little faith shakes; Why are you troubled, O ye of little faith? but never, why are you troubled, you that have ful­ness of faith? A little childs hand wil serve to receive a penny, I but a little hand wil do but a little work; there is a great deal of work lies up­on faith, drawing comfort lies upon faith, and quickning to duty lies upon faith, and as is the man, so is his strength. Gideons Son while he is a child, he wil not venture to cut off the heads of the Princes of Midian, no, he dares not fall upon them: no, a little faith will get but a little com­fort, but you must endeavor (and remember this is taught you as the first Direction) to be strong in the faith of our Lord Jesus: Oh! (if my heart deceive me not) I had rather have a strong faith than any thing that may be called strong in the world: A strong purse, a strong head, a strong courage, a strong estate, will never do that that a strong faith wil; therefore I intreat you al, if you find your want, I am a poor creature, I cannot bear afflictions, if God come with a heavy afflicti­on it is hard for me to bear; strengthen thy faith, and thou wilt carry any cross in the world, fly to the Lord. The Lord hath given us in our daies, many preachers that preach faith, many excel­lent Books that treat of Faith, and living by faith, and how faith may be strengthened, and all that is good about it. No Nation in the World since the Apostles daies (I think) have the like helps that England hath; and therefore study it in the [Page 68] first place, labor to be rooted and grounded in faith, get a good faith a strong faith. Secondly,

2 If you will ever live the life of Faith, labor to be wel acquainted with God, especially with God in Christ (pray mark that, and carry it home) labor to know God, I know whom I have be­leeved (saith Paul;) a man may beleeve confi­dently, but if he have not a ful knowledg of the party he doth beleeve, it may be his comfort wil be less. To know how all sufficient he is, that he can perform Promises easier than any man can, to know how gracious, how good he is, how un­changeable he is, there is no knowledg of God but wil do thy soul good; but I mean, to know God in Christ, that is, as he stands related to Be­leevers in a Covenant of grace; and that I rather fix upon, because my Text hath it, and carries it here as the great Basis of Pauls living by faith, (saith he) The Life I live in this Flesh, I live it by the Faith of this Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me: he knew the dear regard that Jesus Christ bears to all his people, he loves them like the apple of his eye. Never Mother tendered her Children as Christ tenders all his Lambs, though never so weak, though never so feeble, though never so dead, he and his Father in him, is wel pleased when we look upon him in Jesus Christ, that not only I beleeve in him, but I beleeve in that God who in Christ Jesus loved me so, that he gave his Son to shed his blood that I might not perish. Now to know God in Christ is the way not to perish. Thirdly, another great [Page 69] Direction to live by faith is that that I opened at large, and now to speak a little more about it.

Study to be acquainted with the Word: If ever 3 you would live by faith you must study to be wel acquainted with the Word; for though God be the ultimate object, and Christ be the all-sufficient means, yet (beleeve it) it is the Word that faith immediately looks upon; and though I dare pro­mise my self great things from my great God in my Christ, yet it must all be still as he hath revea­led it in his Word: therefore if you would ever learn to live by faith, soundly, comfortably, you must be acquainted with the Word: And when I say acquainted with the Word, I mean these two things:

The Promises of the Word for the comfort of 1 your lives.

To get a good understanding of all those excel­lent 1 Priviledges, which are scattered up and down in all those glorious Promises, which are (as the Apostle saith) exceeding great and preci­ous Promises. Brethren, the Word hath not only the great Promise of the pardon of sin which is an invaluable thing, and will carry us safe when we die; but you shall find in the Word Promises for every condition it is possible for you to fal in­to; if God should take away al thy children from thee, and thy wife from thee, and visit thee with sickness, and let men loose upon thee, and ene­mies to persecute thee, there are Promises in the Word for every one of these. Oh! to know the [Page 70] Promises it is an infinite help, especially if you ad this which I will make a second Branch of the same Direction: When I say acquainted with the Promises, I mean,

2 We should know not only where the Promises are, but what they signifie; what doth a Promise signifie that God in his Gospel maketh to souls? for a man may have Promises, and truly from a great many able and great men; good Promises signifie very little from many great men, and mighty men; but to know what Gods Promises are, and what they signifie, it would be a great comfort, and I wil tel you briefly what they sig­nifie, and it may be a key to unlock all the Locks in the House, that is, al the Promises in the Bible. First of all.

1 The Promises of God, they do for the present, at the instant of their making, signifie,

1 That God loves us; for all the Promises come from his heart, his Providences come from his hands: the Promises come from his heart, and when the Lord makes a Gospel Promise to a soul, he doth as if he should say to that soul, I love thee dearly at the present, before the thing be accom­plished thou mayest say it signifies thus to me, If the Lord make such a Promise to me, he loves me. And Secondly,

2 A Promise signifies thus much at present, That God wil never hurt me: God gives in a way of Providence those things to many men whom he wil hurt and destroy, nay, he will destroy them even by the things that he gives them; but to [Page 71] the souls to whom his Promises belong, they sig­nifie not only Gods good will, but nothing in the world that can betide them shal ever hurt them, because they are all Branches of that Covenant of grace; in which Covenant of grace there is no e­vil shal light upon the soul that is under it, there­fore God wil one day make thee to know that he intendeth thy good in it: this is signified for the present. And,

For the future, A Promise is a certain infalli­ble 2 pledg of a seasonable performance: His Co­venant he wil never break, he will not alter the thing that is gone out of his mouth. All the Pro­mises of the new Covenant are all backed with an Oath of him that is unchangeable. Here is a Pro­mise for my poverty, for my temptation, it comes from the God that first loves me, and will do me no hurt, and wil accomplish it. Brethren, Do you beleeve this? As Jesus Christ said to Martha; He that beleeveth in me, though he were dead he shall live, and if he live he shall never die; Doest thou beleeve this? I Lord, I beleeve it: So say I, Do you beleeve this? Do you not think you shall live comfortably? And Secondly, when I said in this third Directi­on about being acquainted with the Word, I mean,

Be acquainted with the Duties held out in the 3 Word, as wel as the Promises, for it cals to holi­ness as well as to comfortableness; therefore in the Word learn your Duty: and I the rather tell it you, because many a poor soul takes a great deal of care and pains, in some things that God ne­ver [Page 72] required, and they afflict themselves, and make their lives uncomfortable, in things that God hath not appointed; as not to tel you of ma­ny poor creatures in Popery, that would thrust themselves into Monasteries, God never requi­red it; but my meaning is, study the Word, you can never study any thing that so much concerns you; therefore there learn your Duties, the Du­ties that belong to your relations, and particular places where God hath set you; for to know the will of God concerning me, argues an honest heart more than to know the will of God concerning others: but study to know the Word in the Pro­mises, and in the Duties. That is the Third. Fourthly, which must not be neglected,

4 When you have done all this, faithfully and conscienciously serve the Lord in the use of means, serve the Promises and Commandements, serve them faithfully in the use of the means without distraction, but out of conscience resign­ing up your selves: For, for me to go to labor for an enlarged faith, and to know the all sufficiency of God, and to have the Promises as familiarly as my Pater noster (as they use to say) for me when I have done this, to neglect the means the Lord hath appointed, this is not good. But look as an Hus­band-man; What rational Husband-man is there, especially if he know God, but he knows that the Corn upon the ground cannot yield him a Crop, unless rain from Heaven water it? and it cannot fall from Heaven unless God send it; and not­withstanding all this, unless God give the Corn a [Page 73] new body, but because he hath likewise learned that ploughing, sowing, and harrowing, and dung­carting, &c. are all duties belonging to Husban­dry, he serveth the Providence of God, and God blesseth him accordingly. Do thus with your souls; God hath given you Promises for some things, Commandements for other things, serve him diligently in the use of the means; but re­member what I taught you before, that by the use of the means I mean, means only of his own appointment, for faith dare not go out of his own line, Lawful means that are agreeable to a parti­cular calling, to reason, &c. I have often thought (and I speak it to you from the Lord) that when a people walk with a Word in one hand, and the use of the means in the other hand, we fairly leave the business at Gods feet, whatsoever the success shall be, we will be his Servants, when such a thing hath betided me, I find this is my duty by the best Counsel I can get, and so we leave it at his door, and whatsoever will come, fall back, fall edg, we may have peace and com­fort. These are the great Directions, only with these I must put in two Cautions (and when I have done them, I think I may have said that, which may be helpful to them that would walk by Faith) The one is, When I say we must use means, and thus live by faith, my meaning is, First,

That when you have done, you must never li­mit 1 God; God limits you, and limits me, but for himself, Faith must not limit him. My meaning [Page 74] is, Do not limit him to the way how he shal make it good, for he often works by contraries; do not limit him for time when he shal make it good, for it is good to wait patiently the Lords leisure, though it be al the daies of our appointed season, and we injure God, and our faith doth not work up to its true height, when we will come and say, do it to day (Lord) or else I will question it to morrow; no, limit him not, chalk him not out his way; I may Lawfully expect from God that such a thing shall do me good, but I may not Lawfully tell God which way it shall do me good; I may Lawfully say, from such a temptation God wil deliver me, but I may not Lawfully say, he wil deliver me from it within this week or fortnight, but quietly wait upon the Lord as one that infalli­bly wil do what he hath spoken: and is not here enough? It may be some will add now by way of Objection.

Object. But what if my difficulty be such an one that I can find nothing in the Word about it▪ What can my Faith do then? Where is your circumscribing Faith within the compass of the Word? It may be my difficulty is such as I find no Promise for it in all the Word.

Answ.I dare confidently then say it is a matter of no great consequence, it may be in thy fancy some great thing, as the fancy of man can blow up a Molehil to a Mountain; but beleeve it, if it be such a trouble as hath not a Promise, it is not worth the taking notice of; for all things that concern the Lords Glory, and good of his People, [Page 75] there are Promises in abundance. That is my first Caution. And the other Caution is,

When I direct you in all this to endeavor thus 2 to live the life of Faith, you must take heed of some other principles which will put the wisest of you all to the utmost of your graces, and that is your own reason, and your sence, I mean not sanctified reason, nor your holy experience, but I mean carnal reason, and carnal sence, which in spight of our teethes will have an Oar in every Boat, it will be putting in, in all things that con­cern our whol Conversation: If a Duty be pro­pounded, of a sudden I am called out to it; it may be my Reason puts in twenty things against it, You wil lose your Credit in it, and your Labor, and it will come to nothing; it may be our Sence will oppose it, You do but water a dead Plant, a dead Stock, nothing will come of it; and I will tell you, all the experiences that the People of God hitherto have found of our carnal Sence and Reason, in all things that belong to the Waies of God, they are but like a Sophister in the Schools; a Sophister that hath a wrangling head, will blur, and blind, and slur the clearest Positions, in any Art in Logick, Grammer, Rhetorick, Phylosophy, or what you will; when a Conclusion is made and proved, a Sophister riseth up, and he shal slur it all, especially with weak people: So it is with carnal men, whereas a Promise, and a Direction of the Word looked upon by Faith, appears like the Sun in its strength, look upon the very same with carnal Reason, and carnal Sence, and it [Page 76] looks like the Moon in Ecclipse: a dark Body, it hath no light at all in it; Oh therefore watch a­gainst it, and the rather because we are men, and from our Mothers Womb we are corrupt men, and therefore these things are bred in the bone, and will not easily out, but while we carry flesh about us, they will never be subdued. And therefore one handsomly expresseth it, as Abraham did when God called him to that Duty, it was cleer that God made it his Duty when he had cal­led to it; he never goes to call his Wife, for she would have said, Husband, it is impossible, this is but a delusion, it is not possible, the Child that must be the Heir of all Nations, and in him they must all be blessed, What! for you to kill him! it is not from God, never talk of it. Friends, I the rather desire to open these things, because in truth, to a great many the Life of Christ is not known, and many holy souls do want plain Di­rections, how they should order their Conversa­tion as becometh Christians, and in our uncertain daies, wherein we are every day looking what new Confusions shall break out, Oh! it were a sweet thing for a man to be stablished that he might possess his soul in quietness, in the midst of all the Changes in the World; and really it many times grieves my heart to think, First,

1 How the common People of the World live a­mongst us, they are totally ignorant of these things; but they set their hearts upon Wealth, and Honor, and Pleasure, and these perishing things, these men are carried after, when God [Page 77] knows, these things are not worth the while. I wil briefly shew you one instance in Dan. 8. you shal reade of a Goat that came with one Horn, and he ran and killed all other Beasts that were in his way; and that Goat was Alexander, and this same Alexander in ten years space did conquer one of the greatest Empires, I mean, he brought into his own hands, one of the greatest Empires that ever were in the World, in all the four Quarters of the World (except America) had he a great part; within ten years there was an end of him, and not one of his posterity had one foot of it, and yet he left a Son and Heir, but al was carried a­way to others. And so will al Earthly things, we may struggle and strive, and weary our selves in a vain shadow, and when we have done, no man knows for whom he have labored; it may be we expose our Posterity to the greater malice, envy, and hatred, and they wil be the sooner ruined: What a pity is it that such beggerly things as these should be so looked after, and Faith so lit­tle thought of. I, in the Second place.

It grieves me to think how many souls that are 2 Godly, and study the Scripture, and attend upon the Word, yet they rather study nice controver­sies, and things that gender strife, and help (it may be) to maintain a Party on this side, or the other side, and this great comprehensive Duty of living to Christ, and living by Faith, preached by many, studied by few, little regarded; these are common Dunstable Truths that the old Puri­tans did preach a long time ago, but we have a [Page 78] more Seraphick vein and Spirit: and so God suf­fers us to be gulled of our Religion, which is the sweetest Portion that can be enjoyed in the world; we make it a matter of brangling, and lit­tle comes of it, either to the Honor of God, or Comfort of our souls: And upon such thoughts as these, while the Lord shews me that mercy, that I may preach any thing unto you, I would fain acquaint Gods People with these things, that they may know wherein their life lies, and how they may lead it to the glory of God, and comfort of their own souls. I presumed upon your Pati­ence: if God please to lay these things to your hearts, it wil not offend I hope.

FINIS.

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