A FUNERAL SERMON. Opening the Nature and Grounds OF ASSURANCE, Occasioned by the DEATH OF Mr. Philip King, Minister. Who Departed this Life, No­vember, 8th. 1699.

By JONATHAN OWEN.

LONDON: Printed for: Tho. Parkhurst at the Bible and Three-Crowns in Cheapside near Mercers-Chapel. 1700.

To the Church of Christ, Con­gregating in Dead-Mans-Place Southwark, the Author wish­eth, that all Grace and Peace may abound.

Beloved in our Lord,

GOD by his merciful Provi­dence hath yet continued us together in the sacred Bonds of the glorious Go­spel; and it is my earnest Prayer and Desire, that we may stedfast­ly keep the Ʋnity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace and Love. Amongst the many Afflictions which have attended my Course in the Ministry, this hath been none of the least; to wit, the too little Service which I have done for Christ and immortal Souls; yet I thank­fully acknowledge to the God of all Grace, it is none of my Fear, that I have laboured altogether in vain; some of you I have espoused to Christ, others [Page]by my Poor endeavours have been built up in him; what the Blessed Apostle writes to the Corinthians is verified in some measure amongst you, 1 Epist. 1. Chap. 27, 28. yea God is my Witness, I wou'd gladly spend and be spent for you, it's Ability and not Will which is wanting to Answer your affectionate Expectations in all things; when your Sympathy somewhat eased me, the Lord directed, you to one richly anointed for his Masters Work: But ah alas! Mr. P. K. is removed in the Morning of his Days, in the Twen­ty Fourth Year of his Age; when your Eyes and Heart were much upon him, it may be too much, for to know Ministers after the Flesh is the speedy way to be rid of them; those Feet which were beautiful in bringing glad-tidings, shall walk with you and speak to you no more: O that all such humbling Providences might be wisely improved! The Voice of the Rod speaks loud and plain, comply with it for the Lord's sake; for what Reasons I was loth to undertake this Province you know; but I can deny no reasonable Request to your concurrant Desires; and now what you all would [Page]have, hath not only come to your Ear, but also to your Eye, and into your Hands; it may be this will abide with many of you, when shortly it will be said of me, as now of the more Worthy, that I am gone also: What may be the censures of some I know not, and if you be profited I shall less Matter. This with hearty Prayers for each other; is what I propound, and desire, whilst I am Living; and your

Unworthy Pastor, Jonathan Owen.

Books, lately Printed for Thomas Parkhurst at the Bible and Three Crowns in Cheapside near Mer­cers-Chapel.

  • MR. Adams's Funeral Sermon.
  • A Discourse concerning the Redeem­ers Dominion over the Invisible Worlds; some Part whereof was Preach'd on the Occa­sion of the Death of John Houghton Esquire.
  • Dr. Bates's Funeral Sermon.
  • Mr. Mead's Funeral Sermon.
  • All Four by the Reverend Mr. John Howe.
  • Of the Shortness of Time. By F. Fuller.
  • Mr. Bradford's Eight Sermons Preach'd at St. Pauls, at the Lecture founded by the Ho­nourable Robert Boyle Esquire.
  • Mr. Philip Henry's Life.
  • Mr. Reynold's Minister of Notingham his Life.
  • Mr. Math. Henry's Discourse of Meekness.
  • Mr. Joseph Barrett's Funeral Sermon, to which is annexed his Life, &c.

A FUNERAL SERMON: Opening the Nature and Grounds OF ASSURANCE, Occasioned by the DEATH OF Mr. Philip King, Minister.

JOB XIX. XXV.

For I know that my Redeemer liveth.

HOLY Job was an eminent In­stance of Grace, he had this sin­gular Honour put upon him, viz, Heavens Testimony that he was a non-such for true Piety, ver. 8. Never was Saint upon Earth exercised with Affli­ctions like him; they came upon him as the Waves of the Sea. The Sabbeans and the Caldeans, Wind and Storms swept all away; his Wife seemeth to be spared only to add [Page 8]to his Sorrows; all his Friends were misera­ble Comforters, such that added unto, and aggravated his Calamities, Chap. 16.2. His admirable Patience doth thus appear, to wit, in all he exalted God, and debased him­self, Chap. 1.21. The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, and blessed be the Name of the Lord. Chap. 7.20. I have sinned; there is his great Self-abasement. In this Chapter, he proceeds to maintain his Inte­grity against Bildad; he chargeth Job very high, he loads him with black Crimes, and numbers him with the vilest of Men, such that knew not God, as you may see in Chap. 18. But to fall upon the Text, it contains the Reason of his Defence and foregoing Option, and the Grounds of his inward Support under all his outward Afflictions. Therein more Particularly you have Two Things.

1. A full and Clear Confession of Job's Faith. Respecting the Person, Office, and Glory of Jesus Christ; his Person, that he is really and truly God. So he expresly calls him, In my Flesh shall I see God, ver. 26. His Office, a Redeemer of lost and inthrald Sinners; his Glory, both Present and Fu­ture; his Present Glory, a living Redeem­er; his Future, in the latter part of the Verse, He shall stand at the latter Day upon the Earth: i. e. He shall come in our Na­ture to Judge the World, and Triumph over all his Enemies.

[Page 9] 2. You have here, the Nature, Kind, and Degree of Holy Job's Faith, it was not a common but a special Faith, not a dead but a living Faith, not a weak but strong Faith, not a doubting but a Plerophory, a full Assu­rance of Faith, I know that my Redeemer li­veth; having thus briefly open'd the Words, behold an Ocean of spiritual Matter presents it self, we may venture to Launch into it; and how pleasant will it be, if we are wrapt up in the ravishing Contemplations thereof, as the Deceased often was in such Work; and that remarkably, in his last Discourses upon glorying in nothing but the Cross of Christ. The

Doct. They are great and rare Instances of Grace, who like Job, can say, They know that their Redeemer liveth, i. e. That can say it upon Scripture Grounds. Would to God we were all come up to this Grace, since it is possible with a Holy Ambition, let us aspire after it.

The Method of prosecuting this Point shall be thus, if the Lord will.

I. To Premise two Things for Illustrati­on.

II. To set before you the Scripture Foun­dation of a well-grounded Assurance.

III. I shall confirm this Truth, by demon­strating the greatness and rarity of this Grace.

[Page 10] IV. The Practical Improvement of the whole, with respect to the sad Occasion thereof.

The two Things to be premised are these.

1. There are but few that can say from Scripture-Foundation, They know that their Redeemer liveth; this is not more sad then true, it is facile, easie and common to re­peat the Words, but it is peculiar and rare to find those who upon the like footing as Job can thus express themselves; Zeph. 1.12. There God speaks of searching Jerusalem as with Candles, which denotes the exactness of the Scrutiny, so if we make the most di­ligent inquiry into the Lives and Experien­ces of most Men and Women. O where are the Persons that can or may thus warranta­bly declare themselves; I know that my Re­deemer liveth, among them that profess Christ in a more exact way then others, that hear more of his Person, Office, and Glory, as Redeemer; even among these it is a rare thing, most are but come up to Hopes, and but few to the good Hope through Grace, that which maketh not ashamed, 2 Thess. 2.16.

2. For as I would awaken all, so I would not cast down any of Christs weak Lambs. We that Preach the Word, must with Boa­nerges Thunder, and with Barnabas speak Consolation to you; therefore know, it is possible to be interested in Christ, and not [Page 11]be fully assured of it; Assurance is not of the Essence of Christianity, it is but acci­dental, like Benjamins Mess, it is a peculiar Favour; they were as really Josephs Brethren that had it not as he; you may be of Christs Brotherhood by adopting Grace, and yet be without it: If Assurance were of the Essence of Grace, then none could be saved but such; this makes the number of the Blessed Saints Ten Thousand Times fewer then they are, it excludes all Dead Infants out of Heaven; indeed what the Apostle saith is remarka­ble, 1 John 5.10. He that believeth on the Son of God, hath the Witness in himself: But consider, as it is spoken of Adult Persons, so it refers to the Three-fold Witness spo­ken off before; viz. the Spirit, the Water, and the Blood, now every Adult Believer hath this Witness in himself; but alas, it of­tentimes so falls out, that the Ear of Faith is so Deaf, and the Eye of Faith so dim, and Hand of Faith so weak, that the renewed Believer neither hears, sees, nor receives his own Mercy's as he ought; many a doubting Saint hath got safe to Glory, when carnal Confidents have dropt into Hell-Flames; a Child may be born Heir to a great Estate, and by reason of his Infancy not know it; it as Birth and Blood which gives right to it, not the present Sense and Knowledge of the thing; this renders the Matter comfortable, the other makes the Thing sure; thus much of what I thought needful to be Premised, [Page 12]but few know upon Scripture Bottom, that their Redeemer liveth, it is possible to be sa­vingly interested in Christ, and yet not know it certainly. I enter upon the second General.

2. What is that Scripture-Foundation, which this full Assurance of Faith (I know, that my Redeemer liveth) must be Built up­on. Here take Notice, for it is without Controversie; this Assurance hath its Origi­nal in Grace, and not in Nature; true, a natural Man may be endued with great Knowledge, his Head may be full of Specu­lative Understanding about Divine Things, he may come under very powerful and com­mon workings of the Spirit, and yet be without a Foundation for this; so much the Apostle declares, Heb. 6.4, 5. Now that I may set this weighty Matter before you in the plain Light of the Word, to know that ones Redeemer liveth, it is and must be built upon this Threefold Foundation, viz.

  • 1. The saving Knowledge of Christ.
  • 2. The appropriating Acts of Faith.
  • 3. And the Witness of the Spirit.

1. Christ Jesus in his Person, Office and Glory as Redeemer must be revealed to that Soul: Without this Manifestation of Christ no Man can say it; though ignorant and con­fident Persons may Orally speak the Words, but he that doth it with this Faith, must know [Page 13]in whom he believeth, 2 Tim. 1.12. The Glory of God, in the Face, or Person of Je­sus Christ, must shine into that Heart, 2 Cor. 6.4. For God who commanded the Light to shine out of Darkness, hath shin'd into our Hearts, to give the Light of the Know­ledge of the Glory of God, in the Face of Jesus Christ. All this is evident from Jobs Confession, let me consider it a little far­ther.

1. He knew the Lord Jesus Christ in his Person; i. e. He knew him to be really God, eternally, naturally, and essentially God, therefore he expresly so calls him; ver. 26. Though after my Skin, Worms destroy this Body, yet in my Flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for my self. The glorious Display which Christ will make of himself in the latter Day, all shall see, some to their E­ternal Horror and Confusion, and some to their Everlasting Joy; all the redeemed shall see and enjoy Christ, then not one shall be disappointed or missing; but those who are seal'd with the Holy Spirit of Promise, they know it assuredly; Whom I shall see for my self, ver. 27.

2. A well-grounded Assurance, includes, not only the Knowledge of Christs Person as God, but also an Acquaintance with his Of­fices as Redeemer in both Natures, the Lord Jesus by Eternal and Foederal Agreement with his Father, is become a Redeemer; Holy Job had the Knowledge and Fore-sight [Page 14]of this, he not only acknowledgeth Christ to be a Redeemer, but he confesseth him to be his living Redeemer. Christ redeemeth his two ways, by Price and Power, by the Price of Satisfaction paid to the Honour, Law, and Justice of God; to his Honour, by the Death of one, who thought it no rob­bery to be equal with him, Phil. 2.6. To his Law, by the perfect Obedience of Christs own self, who was under it, Gal 4.4. To his Justice, by being made a Curse, i. e. his indu­ring the Substance thereof, Gal. 3.13. As thus by Price, so by Power the Lord Jesus Christ redeems Souls, he hath already con­quer'd, Sin, Death, Hell, and the Grave by his Almighty Power: He is now conquering Sinners to himself by the Ministry of the Word and Spirit, and yet a little while, and the last Trump shall sound, and the Dead in the Bowels of the Earth, and in Depths of the Sea, shall hear his Voice and come to Judgment, John 5.28, 29. They that have done good, to the Resurrection of Life, and they that have done evil unto the Resurrection of Damnation; then Christ will compleat the Redemption of his People, their Bodies and Souls shall be reunited, they shall all appear with him in Glory.

3. As the Knowledge of Christs Person and Office, is included in this Assurance; so likewise, the Knowledge of his Present and Future Glory; to wit, that he now liveth, and shall stand upon the Earth at the latter [Page 15]Day; he liveth, there is much in that Ex­pression; it Points at the Eternity, Fulness and Power of Christ as Redeemer; his Eter­nity, that as God he hath Life in and from himself; his Fulness, that he hath Life to give to all his Members; and his Power, that, as he lives by his own self, so he will quicken the Dead, and Judge the World in Righteousness; and shew, that he hath the Keys of Hell and Death, Rev. 1.18. But,

2. In a well-grounded Assurance of an Interest in the living Redeemer; the Faith of a renewed Soul must appropriate Christ to himself; see how Jobs Faith wrought, he not only owns Christ to be a Redeemer; but his Faith cleaves fast to him, it graples hard upon him, and it receives him with the whole Heart; my Redeemer, therein lies the appropriating Act of his Faith; Luther was wont to say, that the sweet of the Go­spel lay much in Pronouns. My Lord, and my God, saith Thomas, John 20.28. Who lo­ved me, and gave himself for me, saith Paul, Gal. 2.20. When Job lost all his earthly En­joyments, he did not loose his Interest in Christ; when he could not say my Wealth and worldly Substance, my Living, Sons and Daughters; then in the Assurance of Faith, he could say, my living Re­deemer; when nothing upon Earth could yield him Comfort, then his Faith fetcht it from his living Redeemer; when he was stript of all, this remain'd, and indeed it is [Page 16] that good Part, which shall not be taken away, Luke 10.42.

3. To constitute a well-grounded Assu­rance of an Interest in the Living Redeemer, there must be the Witness of the Spirit; the Spirit must not only Witness to the Person and Office of Christ as Redeemer, but also unto a Mans Personal Interest in him; not only did all the Prophets give Witness unto Christ, Acts 10.44. But his Incarnati­on and Baptism, his Death, Resurrection and Ascension, does put this Matter out of Doubt; (but herein Jobs Faith excels ours,) he believed on the Redeemer to come in the Flesh, but we upon Him now cloathed with our Nature; he foresaw the Eternal Word to be made Flesh, but we must believe upon Christ God manifest in the Flesh, 1 Tom. 3. last. and received up into Glory. As this is the obje­ctive Faith of Assurance, so to inable the Soul to say, my Redeemer liveth, there must be the internal subjective Witness of the Spi­rit, Rom. 8.16. The Spirit it self beareth Wit­ness with our Spirits, that we are the Children of God: Here you have two Things, the Witness, and the Matter witnessed. The Witness is the Spirit, and the Matter wit­nessed unto, is Adoption, and surely, Con­science inlightened and sanctified, must [...] the Court where this Witness is heard and received; so then, what can this Witness [...], but the Holy Spirits so inlightning the Mind, and perswading the Will, that Con­science [Page 17]must conclude that Christ is recei­ved, with the Priviledge to be a Son of God, John 1.12. But as many as receiv'd him to them gave he Power to become the Sons of God, even to them that believe on his Name. Holy Job had this Witness within himself, and this bore him up against all the reproach­es of his miserable Comforters; thus you see upon what Foundation this Assertion is built. Can we say, That we know our Redeemer liveth? then Christ in his Person, Christ in his Of­ces, and Christ in his Glory, as Redeemer, must be known to us, then Faith must thus appropriate him, then the Spirit must thus Witness our personal Interest in him.

I proceed to the Third General.

3. Which is to Confirm the Doctrine, to wit, that they are great and rare Instances of Grace, who can say with Holy Job, They know that their Redeemer liveth, i. e. that can say it upon Scripture Foundation; now that such Instances are both great and rare, thus appears.

  • 1. From their Paucity.
  • 2. From their Excellency of Spirit.
  • 3. From their Christian Deportment, with respect to Death and Judgment; of these a little, which also is their excelling.

1. If we consider the Paucity of these In­stances they must be rare; the scarcity of a thing oftentimes makes it rare; if Gold were as plenty as Silver, it would be less valua­ble [Page 18]then it is; this celestial Jewel (a well­grounded Assurance) it is lodged in the Breast but of very few, more are Poor with much Wealth, then are Rich in the full As­surance of Faith. Since Christs Flock is but little comparatively, as he assures us, Luke 12.32. Therefore the number of sealed Souls cannot be great; as Holy Job was a non-such in his Day, so there are but a few such in ours. Not many do attain to Assurance, and them that are indulged with it, do not always hold it; it is got in great Diligence, and it is kept with no less. This the Apostle plain­ly hints, Heb. 6.11, 12. And we desire, that every one of you do shew the same Diligence, to the full Assurance of Hope unto the End; that ye be not slothful, but followers of them, who through Faith and Patience inherit the Pro­mises. Who doth not hence perceive, that our utmost Diligence, and a well-grounded Assurance, are inseparably Connext? Such Instances must be rare, because they are but few.

2. The rarity and greatness of such In­stances of Grace, appears from their Emi­nency of Spirit; and that, with Respect to their knowing, doing, and suffering the Will of God; Scripture-certified Saints, are Persons of a choice Spirit, when Holy Jobs Body was rough cast with Ulcers, Boils, and Sores, then his precious Soul like the Kings Daughter was all glorious within, Psalm 45.13. He upon the Dunghil, was in [Page 19]Gods esteem a rare Jewel. So the sacred Scriptures stile the Saints, Mal. 3.17. They shall be mine, saith the Lord of Host, in that Day when I make up my Jewels. What the Holy Ghost remarks concerning Caleb, for his eminent Zeal, his undaunted Courage, and constant Obedience is applicable unto these Darlings of Heaven, well assured Souls, Numb. 14.24. But my Servant Caleb because he had another Spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the Land whereinto he went, and his Seed shall possess it. Mark, God seldom makes great Promises to the faithful, but his Heart is al­so towards their Children, his Seed shall pos­sess it; so in like manner, those that are sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise; and therefore can say, their Redeemer liveth, they are Men and Women of choice and eminent Spirits; and this excellency of Spirit chiefly consists in these three Things, to wit.

  • 1. In their clear knowing.
  • 2. In their faithful doing.
  • 3. In their patient Suffering the Will of God; let me insist upon these a little.

1. They have another Spirit of Know­ledge, than what other Persons commonly have; That a Mind savingly inlightned in the great Truths of the Gospel is necessary unto a well grounded Assurance, I need not stand to prove, Job witnesseth it in the Text, I know that my Redeemer liveth, and you have read what Paul saith of himself to [Page 20]this Purpose, 2. Tim. 1.12. I know whom I have believed, and I am perswaded, that be is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that Day. I shall not now insist upon the specifick Difference, which is be­tween common and special Knowledge. You may be sure, it is more then gradeal. Jobs Friends were Men of exquisite Parts, they were indued with a great measure of excel­lent Understanding; but in all which they have elegantly said, concerning the Nature, Perfections, Attributes, and Providence of God, how little is there made of Christ the Redeemer? But see how full, clear, and ex­press Holy Job is in this Matter. Was Christ in our Nature a living Redeemer, in the Decree, Purpose, and Promise of God the Father? This Job knew. Was he actually to come in the Flesh, and therein to Die and Satisfie for the Sins of his People? Job was not ignorant of this. Will he at the latter Day stand upon the Earth, and appear in a most glorious Manner; and then shall all that believe unto Salvation admire him, and see him for themselves? Why Holy Job was instructed into all this, herein also lay his excellent Knowledge; as Heaven gave a singular Testimony to his Godliness, so that of the Psalmist was verified in him, Psalm 25.14. The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his Covenant. The Glory of God in the Face of Jesus shone into his Heart, he knew [Page 21]him to be a Redeemer, and his living Re­deemer.

2. As they have another Spirit of Know­ledge, so also of Obedience unto the reveal­ed Will of God; (but mistake me not here,) I do not alledge that our Obedience is the Spring and Foundation of Gospel Assurance; no, no, the Faith of Assurance looks high­er; and through all this, to expect it from thence in our imperfect State, is but lost la­bour; such will always be doubtful and flu­ctuating about it; if Adams perfect Obedi­ence did not secure the Love of God to him, muchless can our imperfect; this Assurance comes in at the Door of Faith, from Faiths eyeing of, from Faiths relying upon, and improving the Person, Offices, and Glo­ry of the Redeemer. Obedience can't give it, but it always evidenceth that it is well grounded. Remember I am shewing the Rarity of this Grace, from that excellent Spirit of Obedience, which goes along with it. And this Obedience flows from the right Principles of Faith in Christ, and Love to God; it's managed by the Rule of the Word, and prosecuted unto the Glory of God. Thus they adorn the Doctrine of God their Saviour in all things, thus they observe whatsoever he hath commanded them, and thus they desire to stand compleat in the whole Will of God; like as the Nee­dle in the Compass, inclines to the right Point, so such is the Divine Vertue of a well ground­ed [Page 22]Assurance, it prompts the Subjects of it to respect every Divine Command. The Lan­guage of their Holy Souls, is like to that of Samuel, 1 Sam. 3.9. Speak Lord for thy Servant heareth. Or like that of Saul, when our Lord spake vocally unto him from Hea­ven, and miraculously Converted him to the Faith of himself, Acts 9.6. Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? No sooner was the Will and Work of his persecuted Lord revealed unto him, but his whole Self, Soul and Body was ingaged in it, his Head and Heart shall contrive, his Mouth shall boldly speak, and his Feet take many a weary step to pro­pagate the glorious Gospel of the Blessed Je­sus. This is that eminency of Obedience which assured Souls are inspired with.

3. As they have another Spirit of Emi­nency for knowing and doing, so they have also for Suffering the Will of God; the So­veraign Lord of all Things, hath wisely or­der'd that his Servants should meet with Tribulations in this World, I say with ma­ny, much, and great, Tribulations, John 16. last. In the World ye shall have Tribulation. Acts 14.22. Through much Tribulation we must enter into the Kingdom of God. Those that had washed their Robes, and made them White in the Blood of the Lamb, are said to come out of great Tribulation, Rev. 7.14. Now it is not the Moral Vertue, but the Christian Grace of Patience which glorifies God in Afflictions; it is Patience excited by a living [Page 23]Faith, Patience exerted by a Divine Love; such is that eminency of Spirit which is in a well-grounded Assurance, they according to our Lords Injunction, In your Patience possess ye your Souls, Luke 21.19. i. e. They enjoy themselves in Christ, when they possess lit­tle or nothing else, Job was not only emi­nent for his Faith of Assurance, but also for his singular and exemplary Patience; others have been inabled to say, they know that their Redeemer liveth: But none (except Christ) did ever match him in Patience, though Job was not perfect and without fault, yet he was a Non-such for Patience; in all his Afflicti­ons, he highly exalts the Soveraignty, Wis­dom, Holiness and Justice of God; saying, The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the Name of the Lord, Job 1.21. in all his Tribulations, he greatly debased himself, saying, I have sinned, Job 7.20. And therefore the Holy Ghost puts a speci­al mark of Honour upon him, James 5.10. We have heard of the Patience of Job: Well-assured Saints are eminent Instances of Grace in regard of their patient Suffering the Will of God; let me add one Argument more to confirm this Point.

3. The greatness and rarity of this Grace (a well grounded Assurance of an Interest in Christ) further appears in their Tri­umphing over Death, Hell, and the Grave, with their patient waiting for Christs par­ticular and general coming to Judge the [Page 24]World. Christ hath conquer'd Death, Hell, and the Grave on the behalf of eve­ry true Believer; Rom. 8.37. Nay in all these Things, we are more then Conquerours through him that hath loved us. This gash­ly Enemy, the grim King of Terrors, Death, must shortly be encounter'd by every one of us; as every Believer may, so them that are rightly assured can Tri­umph in Christ over them; they like Paul can give Death a bold challenge to do its worst, 1 Cor. 15.55, 56, 57. O Death, where is thy sting? O Grave, where is thy Victory? The sting of Death is Sin, and the strength of Sin is the Law; but thanks be to God, which giveth us the Victory through our Lord Jesus Christ; Victory they have by Free Gift through Jesus Christ, the Faith of Assurance often puts Believers upon desiring and groan­ing to be dissolved and why, though im­mediately after Death comes Judgment; yet being cloathed upon, they shall not be found naked of Christs Righteousness, 2 Cor. 5.3. If so be that being cloath'd, we shall not be found naked; hence it is that Believers, espe­cially such that are seal'd with the Holy Spirit of Promise, they are said to Love, and look for the appearing and come­ing of Christ to Judgment, 2 Tim. 4.8. Henceforth there is laid up for me a Crown of Righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that Day, and not to me only, but unto all them also that Love his [Page 25]appearing. So in Heb. 9.28. Christ was once offered to bear the Sins of many, and unto them that look for him, shall be appear the second Time, without Sin unto Salvation. They Love and look for Christs appearing, like as a loving Wife doth for the pleasant return of her long absent Husband: It could be no great Matter for Job to Die, for it was but to go to his living Redeemer; it could be no terrifying Thing to him to appear at the Bar of God, for he not only kept his In­tegrity unto the Last, but he knew that his powerful Advocate and Days-man was his living Redeemer. Thus I have finished the Doctrinal Part of this Observation; viz. They are great and rare Instances of Grace, who can with Holy Job, upon Scripture Grounds say, They know that their Redeemer liveth. Now this Doctrine might be appli­ed many Ways, but to Contract:

1. Know that the greatness and rarity of this Grace is no effectual Bar to the thing it self; though it be great Grace, and a spe­cial Favour, yet it is possible and attainable; the Papists and Arminians erre greatly by de­nying the possibility of Assurance, in the true and proper Scripture Sence of it. Is not the Effect of Christs Righteousness appre­hended by Faith, Peace, Quietness, and As­surance for ever? Yea Isa. 32.17. Doth not the Holy Ghost expresly say. These things have I written unto you that believe on the Name of the Son of God, that ye may know, that ye have [Page 26]Eternal Life, 1 John 5.13. Is it not the special Office of the Spirit to Witness and Seal up our Interest in Christ? 1 John 5.8. There are Three that bear Witness in Earth, the Spirit, and the Water, and the Blood, and these Three agree in one. Moreover, are not we required to give Diligence, to make our Calling and Election sure? 2. Pet. 1.10. Let me add, have not some of Christs faithful Servants attain'd to it in this Life? if the Deceased had not experienced this great Grace, if he had not been one of these rare Instances, you had not been thus entertain'd, by this Subject at present. Now that you may attain to this rich Grace, and have an experimental discerning that you are in the blessed number of these rare Instances. Take this Advice.

1. Stedfastly believe, that a well ground­ed Assurance is attainable, but withall take heed of the two common Extreams, which▪ abound much in this present Age; viz. do not with some deny the possibility of the thing, nor with others (who know not ex­perimentally the way of the Spirit in work­ing this) I say, do not with them presume upon it without Scripture warrant, these both must be carefully shun'd; they are ve­ry hazardous, to the Peace, Comfort, and welfare of immortal Souls.

2. Hope, that in the use of appointed means you may be favour'd with it. Say not there is no hope, as God hath not excluded you, [Page 27]so do not you shut out your selves. The very command to give Diligence, imports a design and possibility of the Thing; 2. Pet. 1.10. Give Diligence to make your Cal­ling and Election sure. Methinks the Grace and Authority herein contain'd, should move you to strive and endeavour after it; yea to conclude though not for, yet in so doing it is possible for you, and you in particular; do not only propound Grace necessary to Salvation in the use of the means, but level and aim at this, even to know like Job, That your Redeemer liveth.

3. Would you attain to this Grace, viz. (a well grounded Assurance of your interest in the living, Redeemer) then with Dili­gence attend to the Ministry of the Word; even that which hath a Testimony in your Consciences, that it is the Ministry of the Gospel, and hath the Administration of the Spirit going along with it. Not only Faith, Rom. 10.17. But also this Assurance comes by Hearing, and what an incouraging Pro­mise is that which you have in Hosea 6.3. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord, his going forth is prepar'd as the Morn­ing, and he shall come unto us as the Rain, as the latter and the former Rain unto the Earth. O what hold is here for Faith, mark, his go­ing forth is prepar'd, and prepar'd as the Morning; now how doth the Morning go forth? Why certainly, gradually, irresista­bly and exceeding comfortably? Why thus [Page 28]will the Lord discover himself to the re­deem'd; but remember then, you must follow on, not play fast and loose; take some steps and then turn out of the war, but you must with this Promise, like a Staff in your hand, follow on to know the Lord. In this his ordina­ry Way he sealeth up Believers unto the Day of Redemption: Is Christ a living and Life giving Redeemer, then why may not you have Life in and from him? Hath he by the Price of his Blood, and the Power of his Spirit redeemed precious Souls: Why may not the Vertue of the one, and the Power of the other inclose and save you? Is he exalted in our Natures, then why may not you be pittied and reliev'd by him? Will he stand upon the Earth in the latter Day, and in a Triumphant Manner to Judge the World, then except the Judge be your Advocate, you'll perish for ever.

4. As the Gospel reveals Christ to poor Sinners, so put forth the Hand of Faith and receive him; you are under command to believe, and that without delay, 1 John 3. 23. No present Indisposition removes the Obligation, put not those blocks in your Way, which Christ in the Gospel has re­mov'd. What though Sinners are naturally impotent, yet who knows, but if you heark­en, his Power shall be exerted; the Poor Man did not Object his Hand was wither'd, but when his Heart was toward Christs Grace and Power: He found it went out [Page 29]with the Command, and his wither'd hand was restor'd and made whole; see Mat. [...]2.13. The living Redeemer, is Lord of Life and Glory; when the Word went out of his Mouth, you know how Thomas reply'd my Lord and my God, John 20.28.

5. Take heed of grieving the Spirit, but understand, and examine your selves in the way of his sealing and consirming Souls. I shall not touch upon the immediate and me­diate Way of the Spirits Witness, you have not only heard, but experienced the thing it self in both Parts. But ah alas, it is Ig­norance of this which makes some presume, and it is unacquaintedness with this which makes thee safe in the Hands of Christ, to fear they shall be miserable for ever. O that you were skilful in this matter, the Lord lead you into this Truth, viz. The right way of the Spirits sealing and assuring Souls.

Now you will expect, that I should speak something of what hath occasioned this Sub­ject; you know it is somewhat more than ordinary, two related to us, both Interred in one Week, desir'd this Text might be spoke from. The one was a Private Mem­ber, the other a Publick Person; your choice and my Fellow-Helper in the Work of the Gospel. It is not my way to speak much of the Dead, I had rather that Persons Lives and Good Works, than my Lips, should be the Trumpets of their Praises; but in this I [Page 30]may not be altogether silent, Mr. Philip King for his Time and standing was a burn­ing and shining Light, you could rejoyce in it but for a season; because a violent Feaver extinguisht his Lamp in the Twenty Fifth Year of his Age. And now, when God is cutting off his faithful Watchmen, shall not we that remain tell you what of the Night? It is evident, God hath a Controversie with us, for his Embassadors are call'd home; not only the Aged and Honourable whose Labours commend them to all judicious and ingenious Christians: But also, our budding Hopes are cut off in great measure by the surprizing Death of the rising Generati­on; not only the Reverend Dr. Bates, and Worthy Mr. Mead, but some of our hope­ful Young Ones, Mr. S — Mr. King are gone also. Formerly God gave us ma­ny faithful Witnesses in Time of restraint, but now we have Liberty, what have we else? Now our Elijah's Mantels are dropt off, O that a double Portion of the Spirit might be upon the succeeding Elisha's. But you of this Congregation, behold what the Lord hath done, and humbly enquire into the meaning of this sad Providence; doth not this Rod loudly call for the Unity of the Spi­rit in the Bond of Peace and Love? conform to it for the Lords sake. I need not inform you, that the Deceased was one of these rare Instances of Grace; was not his short abode with us a live Comment upon this Text. Did [Page 31]not almost every Prayer, and every Sermon, declare that he was upon the Coelestial Wrings of a well grounded Assurance; and so com­sequently as they were for him: Indeed he was of an emi­nent Spirit for powerful Godliness. I know not what Suffering-Work he was ever cal­led out unto, but his Acquaintance with the Mysteries of the Gospel, his Patience in Sickness, and his Triumph in Death was all more than Ordinary; by these things we have fair warning, God help us to take it, lest worst befal us; not hardening, but teach­ing and humbling Afflictions are New-Co­venant Mercies. So much for this Text, and Time, the Lord give you Understanding in all Things.

FINIS.

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