ISRAELS PRAYER In time of TROUBLE, WITH Gods gracious Answer thereunto: OR An Explication of the 14th Chapter of the Prophet HOSEA, In seven Sermons preached upon so many days of solemn Humiliation, By EDWARD REYNOLDS, Minister of the Word of God at Braunston in Northamptonshire, and a Member of the Assembly of Divines.

Published by Authority.

LONDON, Printed by Thomas Newcomb, for Robert Bostock, dwelling in Pauls Church-yard, at the Sign of the Kings-head, 1645.

THE FIRST SERMON UPON HOSEA, CHAP. 14. VERS. 1, 2. Preached in Margarets Church at Westminster, before the honorable House of Commons now assembled in Parliament; At the late Publique and Solemn FAST, Iuly 27. Anno Domini, 1642. By EDWARD REYNOLDS, Minister of the Word of God at Braunston in Northamptonshire, and a Member of the Assembly of Divines.

Published by Order of the said House. The second Edition, Enlarged.

LONDON, Printed by Thomas Newcomb, for Robert Bostock, dwelling in Pauls Church-yard, at the Sign of the Kings-head, 1649.


IN obedience to your Com­mands, I here humble pre­sent to your view what you were pleased with patience and readiness of affection lately to attend unto. I considered, that though the Choiceness of the Auditory might require the exactest preparation; yet both the condition of the Times, and the nature of the Duty did call upon us to lay aside our Ornaments. And therefore I speake with such plainness, as might commend the matter delivered ra­ther to the Conscience of a Penitent, then to the fancy of a delicate hearer. The King of Nineveh was a King as well in his Sack­cloth, [Page] as in his Robes: And the truth of God is indeed fuller of Majesty when it is naked, then when adorned with the dresse of any humane contribution, which many times takes from it, but never addes any value unto it.

I looked upon you in your double Re­lation, both Common as Christians, and Spe­ciall, as men intrusted with the managing of those arduous and most pressing difficul­ties under which this distempered Kingdom is now groaning.

And for the quickning of those endevours which belong to you in both those Rela­tions, I presented you both with the bottome of a Nations unhappiness, which is sin; and with the top of their felicity, which is Gods free grace and favour: That by your serious cares to purge out the one, and to procure the other, you might, by Gods blessing on your Consultations, dispell that black tem­pest which hangs over this Kingdom, and reduce the face of things unto calmness and serenity again.

When the Children strugled together in the womb of Rebekah, she was thereupon [Page] inquisitive, If it be, Why am I thus? Gen: 35, 22. and she addressed her self to God for a resolution. Surely this Nation is become like the womb of Rebekah, the children thereof strugling in their mothers belly together, and when God hath mercifully freed us from forain Ene­mies, Brethren are become enemies to brethren, and by their enmities likely to tear and tor­ment the bowels of their mother, and to ru­ine themselves.

And what have we now to do, but to in­quire the Cause of these sad cōmotions, Why are we thus? And surely the Cause is chiefly where the Disease is, within our selves. We have been like the womb of Rebekah, a barren Nation, not bringing forth fruits of so many mercies as God hath filled us withall. So that now it is no wonder, if God cause us to be in pain within our own Bowels, and to feel the throwes and struglings of a Travelling woman, Hos. 13.13. ready to bring forth her own Con­fusion, a Benoni, or an Ichabod, a son of Sor­row, and of Shame, to this hitherto so peace­able and flourishing a Kingdom.

All that we can comfort our selves with in these pangs and qualms of distemper is, that [Page] there are some Iacobs amongst us.Gen. 32.24. Hos. 12.3, 4. who in­steed of supplanting their brethren, will wrestle, and have power with God. The peo­ple have often Petitioned, sometimes his sa­cred Majesty, sometimes this Honourable House, which are his great Councel, many o­vertures, & endeavor of Accommodation have been tendred,Isa. 26.17, 18. & yet we cry out in our pangs, & have, as it were, brought forth wind, neither have we wrought any deliverance in the earth.

I have here therefore presented a new Pe­tition, dictated & drawn up to our hands by Gods own Spirit, unto which both King and Parliament, Peers and Prophets and People, must al subscribe, and offer it with prostrate & penitent hearts unto him who stands in the congregation of the mighty, Psal. 82.1. & judgeth amongst the gods, that he would take away all our ini­quity, and receive us into favour again, and accept of a Covenant of new obedience.

And this Petition God is pleased to anti­cipate with an answer of grace in the conse­quent parts of the chapter whence the Text is taken, and that particularly to every branch of the Petition. He will take away ini­quity. His Anger shall not punish, His Love [Page] shal heal our backslidings, the greatness of our sins shall not hinder the freeness of his Grace. He will do us good, and give us life, by the dew of his grace reviving us: and Glory clothing us like the Lilly of the field, with the beauty of holiness: and stability, fixing us by his grace, as the Cedars of Lebanon are fastned upon their Roots: and growth or enlargement as the branches spread forth themselves, and con­tinual vigor & plenty, as the Olive tree, which is always green and fruitful, and glorious comforts by the sweet savor of the knowledg of God,2 Cor. 2.14. which like the spice trees of Lebanon shall diffuse a spiritual perfume upon the names, and into the consciences of penitent converts.

He will prevent us with the blessings of Safety, as well as of Sanctity and Comfort, we shall under his shadow finde shelter and pro­tection from all our fears. Though like Corn, we be harrowed under the Clods, though like a lopped vine we seem naked, and reduced to lowness, though like crushed grapes we lie under heavy pressures: yet he will receive, and enlarge, and comfort us again, and when we are in our own eyes as fatherless children, He [Page] will set his eyes upon us as a Tutor and Guar­dian, He will hear and observe, and answer, and pity us, enabling us to make good our Covenant by his grace, and causing the fruits of his loving kindness to be found upon us. Thus God is pleased to borrow the various perfection of other things to adumbrate the united and calumniated mercies which he promiseth unto a converting and petitioning people.

You have the Petition sent you from God, and his Answer preventing you in all the members of it with the blessings of goodness. I have nothing else to do, but to beg of you, and of all this great people whom you repre­sent, the Subscription of your hearts and lives unto this Petition: and to beg of God that he would graciously incline the hearts of this whole Kingdom, rather to wrastle with him for a blessing, then to struggle and conflict a­mongst themselves for a Curse. With which prayer I humbly conclude. Commending your persons and your weighty affairs to his grace; and rest,

Your most humble Servant in Christ, ED: REYNOLDS.

To the Reader.

CHristian Reader, Understanding that my Sermon, which was preached three years since before the Honorable House of Commons, on the day of their solemn Humiliation, was to be reprinted: I thought fit to peruse, transcribe, and enlarge six other Sermons, in which I had, at mine own charge in the Country, on the ensuing Fast days, briefly ex­plained and applyed that whole Chapter, (a portion only where­of was in the first handled,) and to send them forth together with it unto the publique: Which I was the rather induced to do for these two Reasons: 1. Because it hath pleased God in his righteous and holy providence to make me, by a long infir­mity, unserviceable to his Church in the principal work of the Ministry, the preaching of the Gospel (which is no small grief unto me.) So that there remained no other means whereby my life might, in regard of my function, be useful to the Church, and comfortable to my self, then by inverting the words of the Psalmist,Psalm 45.1. and as he made His Tongue as the Pen of a ready Wri­ter, so to make my Pen the Tongue of an unready Speaker. 2. I considered the seasonableness and sutableness of these Medita­tions unto the condition of the sad and disconsolate times where­in we live, very like those which our Prophet threatned the ten Tribes withal throughout this whole Prophecy, unto which this last Chapter is a kind of Vse, and a most solemn Exhortati­on, pressing upon all wise and prudent men such duties of Hu­miliation and Repentance, as might turn threats into promises, and recover again the mercies which by their sins they had for­feited and forsaken: Which being restored unto them accord­ing to their Petition, they are here likewise further instructed in what manner to return unto God the praises due to his great [Page] Name. And these two duties of Humiliation and Thanksgi­ving are the most solemn duties which in these times of Judg­ments and Mercies so variously interwoven together, the Lord doth so frequently call us unto.

Places of Scripture I have for brevity sake, for the most part, only quoted and referred thee unto, without transcribing all the words, and have usually put many paralel places together▪ because by that means they do not only strengthen the doctrine whereunto they belong, but mutually give light unto one an­other.

The Lord make us all in this our day so wise and prudent, as to understand the righteous ways of our God towards us: That we may not stumble at them,Isai. 26.8▪9. but walk in them, and be taught by them to wait upon him in the way of his judgments, and to fix the desires of our soul upon his Name as our great Refuge, and upon his Righteousness as our great Business, till he shall be pleased, by the dew of his Grace, to Revive us as the Corn▪ to make us grow as the Vine, and to let the scent of all his Ordinances be over all our Land, as the smell, and as the wine of Lebanon.

It will be an abundant return unto my poor and weak endea­vors, if I may have that room in thy prayers which the Apostle Paul desired to have in the prayers of the Ephesians,Ephes. 6.19. That utter­ance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly to preach the mystery of the Gospel.

The Lord sanctifie all the ways of his Providence towards us, that when we are chastened, we may be taught, and may be greater gainers by the voyce of his Rod,Psal. 94 12, Mic. 6 9. then we are sufferers by the stripes.

The Contents.

Sermon I.

Sect. 1. EPhraims blessings and judgments answerable to his name. 2. When judgment purposed against obstinate sinners, mercy proclaimed to peni­tent. 3. How good and bad are alike involved in outward judgments. Iudgments make no difference but of penitent and impenitent. Penitent sinners, in all kinds of trouble, have a refuge to some promise or other. 4. Conversion must be not meerly Philosophical, or Political, but Spiritual, and that full and constant. 5. Motives unto conversion, mercy and judg­ment, especially interwoven. 6. Great preparation due in our addresses unto God. The rule, matter, principle, and power of Prayer. How sin is taken away. 7. When God threatneth judgments, we must pray against sins. 8. Iudgments may be removed in anger. Repentance makes afflictions precious, as sin doth corrupt blessings. 9. No affliction comes in anger, but with respect to sin. 10. One sin generally unrepented of, may undo a Kingdom; we must pray against all, and dye unto all. 11. Sense of sin. The wrath of God beyond the fears of man. 12. Confession of sin full and free. Our weakness can commit sin, none but Gods power can remove it. 13. What God worketh in us, he also requireth of us. Sin most dangerous in great men, to themselves and the publick. 14. How iniquity is to be taken out of the Land. 15. God the author of good, the orderer of e­vil. 16. From conversion to salvation free-grace worketh. 17. No work truly good, but as derived from God. 18. Patience in suffering evil, in doing duty. Humility the companion of Grace, pride of emptiness. Continual dependance on God. Fi­delity in services. The misery of divisions. 19. In temporal judgments pray for spiritual mercies. No helps can avail us a­gainst [Page] Gods anger, but his grace. 20. Carnal prayers provoke God, when men make Religion serve turns. Piety the foundation of Prosperity. 21. Iudgments are then truly sanctified, when they make us more in love with grace. Prayer the more heaven­ly, the more prevalent.

Sermon II.

Sect. 1. SPiritual ends of Legal Ceremonies and Sacrifices. We return nothing to God but words for mercies. 2. A re­nouncing carnal confidence in the Assyrian, Horses, Idols. How the Church an Orphan. 3. Penitents not only pray, but covenant. Circumcision a Covenant Circumcised in uncircumcision. Gen­tiles converted are called Iews: Iews unconverted, Gentiles. Baptism how the answer of a good conscience. The Covenant perpetual. 4. God bindeth himself to us by promise, by oath: We are his by his Soveraign Interest, and our own voluntary con­sent. 5. Fickleness of the heart in duty, and sluggishness to it. 6. Duties in combination strongest. 7. Enemies combine. Mili­tary oaths. How Truth a Girdle, doctrinally, morally. 8. Wicked men, like Witches, in covenant with the Devil, doing service for wages. 9. Prayer vain without obedience. Gods Covenant to us, ours to him. 10. The material cause of a Covenant, our persons, our services, in matters of necessity. Expediency praise. 11. The formal and efficient cause. Knowledg, willingness, power of pro­mise and performance. 12. Danger of covenanting in the dark only, and 13. On the Rack. 14. When we promise duty, we must pray for grace. The final cause. 15. The falseness and perfidi­ousness of the heart [...]; how it is unstable as waters. 16. Gods faithfulness and mercies: Our Baptism, Faith, Spirits, Hopes, are all obligations to Fidelity.

[Page]Sermon III.

Sect. 1. SAcrifices Propitiatory and Eucharistical. 2. Praises the matter of a Covenant, a Staple commodity for commerce with Heaven. 3. Praises the fruits of Repentance. 4. An Argument in prayer. God forceth his glory out of wicked men, but is glorified actively by the godly. 5. A principle of o­bedience: difference between the obedience of fear and of love. 6. An Instrument of glory to God. Praises of the heart and of the lips. Communion of Sinners, Communion of Saints. 7. Con­verts report Gods mercies to others. No true praises without Piety. Sins against mercy soonest ripe. 8. The more greedy, the less thankeful. Gods greatness matter of praise. Things strongest, when neerest their original. Other creatures guided by an external, Reasonable by an internal knowledg. 9. Gods goodness matter of praise. Knowledg of God notional and ex­perimental. Praise the language of Heaven. Sacrifices were Gods own. Love of Communion above self-love. 10. We are wide to receive, narrow to acknowledg. The benefit of praises is our own. 11. Wherein the duties of praising God stand. 12. Repentance careful of obedience. 13. This care wrought by godly sorrow. Present sense. Holy jealousie. Love to Christ. Sons by adoption and regeneration. 14. Repentance sets it self most against a mans special sin. 15. By this sin God most dis­honored. By this repentance sincerity most evidenced.

Sermon IV.

Sect. 1. REpentance removes carnal confidence. Naturally we affect an absoluteness within our selves. 2. This failing, we trust in other creatures. 3. When all fail, we go to God in ways of our own inventing. Repentance the cure of all this. 4. Confederacies with Gods enemies dangerous. Take heed of competition between our own interest and Gods. 5. The creature not to be trusted in, it wants strength and wisdom. 6. Idols [Page] not to be trusted in, they are lyes. Grounds of confidence, all wanting in Idols. 7. God onely to be trusted absolutely in the way of his commands and providence. 8. The way to mercy is to be fatherless: weakness in our selves makes us seek help above our selves. 9. Sin healed by pardon, purging, deliverance, com­fort. Why back-sliding pardoned by name. 10. Our conversion grounded on free-grace. No guilt too great for love to pardon. Gods anger will consist with his love. 11. Conversion and heal­ing go together. Sin a sickness and a wound. 12. The proper passions of sickness agree to sin, viz. pain, weakness, consumpti­on, deformity. 13. Sin a wound: the impotent, wilful, and desperate case of this patient. 14. The mercy of the Physitian. 15. Guilt cannot look on Majesty. Apprehensions of mercy the grounds of prayer. 16. Sense of misery works estimation of mercy. 17. Back-sliding formally opposite to faith and repent­ance. Apostacy two-fold. What it is to speak against the Son of man, and against the Spirit. How a sin is said not to be forgiven in this world, nor in the world to come. Free love respects not persons, nor free pardon, sins. 18. From beginning to end of salvation, all is free grace. 19. In judgments Gods anger more to be noted then our sufferings.

Sermon V.

Sect. 1. BLessings as large to the penitent, as curses to the im­penitent, and answer all our wants. 2. God an­swereth prayers, beyond the petitions of the people. 3. We pray according to the knowledg and love we have of our selves. God answers according to his knowledg and love. 4. God answers prayer not only with respect to our wants, but his own honor. Gods ultimate end in working our strongest argument in praying 5. Encouragement to prayer. Gods shekel double to ours. 6. Prayer may be ambitious, and beg great things. 7. Free love puts forth it self in various blessings. 8. Gr [...]ce as dew of a celestial original, fruit of a serene heaven. 9. Abundant, insensible, insinuating, [Page] and searching, vegetating and quickning. Refreshing and comforting. 10. Peace no blessing, except it come as dew from Heaven. 11. All wants must be supplied from Heaven. Christ all beauties to his Church. The root and stability of the Church, foundation doctrinall, personall. Righteousnesse of Redemption stronger then of Creation. 12. Growth of the Church under the Law, Nationall; under the Gospell, Uni­versall. Christ the Olive-tree, originall of grace to his Church. 13. Our refuge and shelter. Our power above af­flictions. 14. All Christs graces fruits of Lebanon, the best of all others. Creature-helps liers either by falsenesse or im­potency. 15. Promises should beget duties. God promiseth Beauty to his Church; wee should labour to adorn it. 16. He promiseth stability; we should be rooted in truth and grace: all our gifts should serve the Temple. 17. He promiseth growth; we should grow our selves, and endeavour the growth of others. Christ both the end and the beinging of the Churches growth. 18. Compacture and unity in the Church, necessary to the growth of it. Divisions hinder it. 19. In the body compacted, there are severall distinct mem­bers each to act in his owne place, and joynts fastning mem­bers to the head, and to one another. A different measure of vertue for severall offices. A mutuall supply and helpful­nesse on unto another. An eternall faculty in each part to form and concoct the matter subministred unto it. 20. He pro­miseth the fruitfulnesse of the Olive, which wee should shew forth in workes of grace and peace. 21. He promiseth the smell of Lebanon, the oyntment of the Gospell, the graces of which we should expresse. 22. He promiseth protection and conversion; we should make him our shel [...]er, and from his protection learn our duty of conversion. 23. He promiseth re­viving out of afflictions, profiting by them. We should not be discouraged by temptations, but amended; they have many times mercy in them. 24. The vertues of Heathen, grapes of Sodom; the graces of Christ [...]rapes of Lebanon. What e­ver we present unto God, must grow in Immanuels land.

[Page]Sermon VI

Sect. 1. GOds promise enabling, is our confidence to en­gage. Idols sorrows. Gods observing us, a note of care, counsell, honour, hearing prayers. 2. Summe, division. 3. Mans seal to Gods promise, only a confession; Gods seal to mans covenant, a confirmation. 4. Mans covenant of obedience, hath its firmnesse in Gods promise of grace. Indissolvable de­pendance of all second causes on the first. 5. In sins of men, God hath an influence into them as actions, a providence over them as sinnes. In gracious actions Gods influence necessary both to the substance and goodnesse of them. 6. Of the concord between Gods grace and mans will▪ Freewill naturall, theolo­gicall. Innate pravi [...]y and corrupt force, which resisteth grace, the remainders whereof in the regenerate. 7. The will of Gods precept, and of his purpose. 8. They who are called externally only, resist and perish: they who eternally, are made willing and obedient. 9. By an act of spirituall teaching. 10. By an act of effectuall enclining and determining the will, preventing, assisting subsequent grace. 11. We may not trust in our owne strength, but be ever jealous of our originall impotency unto good, our naturall antipathy against it; and of the frequent decayes and abatements of the grace of God in us. 12. By prayer and faith get a heart fixed upon God. 13. Great comfort that our conversion and obedience dependeth on the power of God. This no ground of supine neglect of duties, for grace so worketh in us, as that it disposeth us unto working, the means being decreed as well as the end. 14. Other mens wills are in Gods keeping. He the author and orderer of our troubles. 15. Repentance breaks off sin, and makes haste out of it. 16. God heareth onely penitents. Our persons accepted before our prayers. A wicked man may pray a prayer of na­ture, not of faith. Two wills in prayer, Ours, and Gods: when a wicked man prayes for mercy, he prayes against Gods will: when for grace, against his own. 17. When we pray for outward things, our aimes must be spirituall. The way to have [Page] all our other ends, is to make God our chiefe end. 18. Prayer the Key of obedience. The principles of service, are the fruits of prayer. 19. Words Ammunition against Armes; that way as prayer goes, God goes. 20. Sound conver­sion engageth Gods protection, and yeeldeth comfort in all con­ditions of life.

Sermon VII

Sect. 1. THe seal of the Prophets Doctrine. Interrogati­on, denying, wishing, demonstrating, awakening. 2. In spirituall things mentall knowledge seconded with practi­call wisdome. 3. The wayes of the Lord, his providence, his pre­cepts. 4. Few men wise to salvation. 5. The weaker part more then the wiser. The word a sweet savour to [...] singularity sinfull; pious singularity necessary. 6. [...] pondreth all Gods wayes. Wisdome particular, gene [...]all. 7. Wicked m [...]n shape their own end, and apply sinfull means by a sinfull wisdome unto it. God only the last end of righteous men. 8. All wisdome is for obtaining of good, avoiding of evill. The excellency of every thing in Beauty, Vse. 9. Wisdome of Angels conversant about the Word. Scripture the best Counsellor. The plenitude thereof. The pernicious influence of corrupt doctrines upon the present state of the Church. 10. Twofold knowledge of judgements and blessings. 11. The rectitude of Gods wayes in their equity and reason, ablenesse, their perfect harmony, their directnesse to their end, their conformity to the will of God, their plainnesse and perspicuity. 12. We are apt to pick quarrels at the Word. 13. Wicked men set up their wills against Gods, and invent distinctions to reconcile Gods will to theirs. 14. Ministers may not stamp Gods mark on doctrines of humane invention, nor superinduce any thing upon the Scripture. People have a judge­ment of discretion to try the spirit. 15. Obedience the end of the Ministry. Ordinances not obeyed, ripen and increase sin, and hasten judgements. 16. None but righteous men will obey [Page] the Word. Every wicked man doth in some thing or other gainsay the truth. 17. The right wayes of the Lord are unto wicked men matter of scandall, 18. They stumble at the profoundnesse of the Word, as being above reason. 19. At the the strictnesse of it, as being against their peruliar lust. 20. At To the seraching power and simplicity of the Gospell. 21. At impossibility of fulfilling the law, which is but accidentall. To ergenerate men the Law is Evangelically possible. Wicked men hardened willingly as well as judicially. 22. At the grace of the word by presumption, at the threatnings and judgements of it by stubbornnesse. 23. Wicked men stumble at the word not on­ly unto scandall, but unto ruine.

The First SERMON UPON HOSEA, Chap. 14. Vers. 1, 2.

HOSEA 14.1, 2.

O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God, [...] hast fallen by thine iniquity.

Take with you words, and turn to the Lord, say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graci­ously [or give good] so will we render the [...] of our lips.

THe blessing of Ephraim was accord­ing to his Gen: 42.5 [...]. name, Fruitfulness. Sect. 1. The fruitfulness of the Earth, a bough by a well, and the fruitfulness of the womb, and of the brests, Gen. 49.22.25. Deut. 2 [...].1 [...], 17. Contrary un­to which two blessings [...] in our Prophet two Iudgments threatned against him for his sins, chap. 13▪15, 16. Though he be fruitful amongst his bre­thren, [Page 2] an East wind shall come, the wind of the Lord shall come up from the Wilderness, and his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dryed up, he shall spoil the treasure of all pleasant vessels. Samaria shall become desolate, for she hath rebelled against her God: they shal fall by the Sword; their Infants shal be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ript up. And throughout the Chap▪ 8.7.9, 2▪6.16.10 18.11 6 whole Prophecy (if you read and observe it) you will find the Judgments of God against Ephraim to be expressed by weeds, emptiness, barrenness, dryness of roots, of fruits, of branches, of springs, and by a curse upon their Ch. 9.11 14 Children, as on the other side the blessing here in this Chapter renewed unto Ephraim repenting, are all expressed by Metaphors of fruitfulness, ver. 5, 6, 7▪

[...] two woful Iudgments, against the fruitfulness of their springs, and the fruitfulness of their wombs, by the desolations of a bloody sword, our Prophet taketh occasion once more for all, to awaken and drive them to a timely repentance, that so they may recover the blessing of their name, Ephraim may be Ephraim again, a plentiful, a fruit­ful, a flourishing people. That Isa▪ 26.9▪ [...], Plato apud A. Gel. li. 6 c. 14. famosos la rones in his locis ubi grassati [...]unt surca figendos compluribus placuit ut & conspectu deter­reant [...]r alii ab iisdem facinori­bus. ff. de poe­nis. l. 28. sect. famosos. unde & in Brutis & in rebus in a [...]i­matis observata vindicta. vid. Pet. Erod. Dec [...]et. l. 2. Tit. 14. Zepper. de. legib. l. 1. c. 11. Pl. l. 29 c. 4. Plut▪ de fortun. Ro. when Gods Iudg­ments are in the earth, they would then at least set themselves to learn righteousness, that they may wash their Psal. 52.6. Luk 17.32. Act. 5.11. Luk. 13.1.7. Jer. 3.8. Dan. 5.18.21. Num. 16.38.40. feet in the blood of the wicked.

Of all Nations under Heaven this Land of ours hath had the blessing of Ephraim upon it, fruitful­ness of the Earth, abunda [...]e of plenty: fruitfulness [Page 3] of the womb, abundance of people. But our misery is, that the abundance of our sins hath mightily outvied the abundance both of our plenty and of our people: sins too too paralel to those of E­phraim, if you will but read this Prophet, and com­pare the behaviours of this Nation with him. And this parity of sins hath no doubt called upon God for a parity of judgments. It is but a very little while since the Lord seemed to call for a North­wind, as he doth here for an East-wind, two Armies there met, ready to look one another in the Face; but his heart turned, his repentings were kindled, he would not give up Ephraim then. He seems once more to be drawing of a Sword, and having in vain hewed us by his Prophets, as he complains, chap. 6.5. to try whether hewing us by his Iudgments will work upon us. So that now, thou [...] I must read my Text, O Israel, yet I must apply it, O Eng­land, Return unto the Lord thy God, for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity, Take with you words, &c.

The whole Context containeth two general parts. An Invitation unto Repentance, Vers. 1. And an Institution how to perform it, in the two verses following.

Before we come to the particulars of the Invi­tation, let us first briefly observe,Sect. 2. That in the midst of Iudgments proposed against sinners that are ob­stinate, God doth reserve and proclaim Mercy unto sinners that are penitent. When a Consumption is decreed, yet a Remnant i [...] reserved to return, Isa. 10.22, 23. The Lord will keep his Vineyard, when he will burn up the thorns and the bryars together. [Page 4] Isai. 27.3, 4. When a day of fierce anger is deter­mined, the meek of the earth are called upon to seek the Lord, Zeph. 2.3. When the Lord is coming out of his place to punish the Inhabitants of the Earth for their iniquity, he calls upon his people to hide themselves in their chambers, until the in­dignation be overpast, Isai. 26.20, 21. The Angel which was sent to destroy Sodom, had withall a Commission to deliver Lot, Genes. 19.15. God made full provision for those who mourned for publick abominations before he gave order to de­stroy the rest, Ezek. 9.4, 6. Men in their wrath will many times rather strike a friend then spare a foe: But Gods proceedings are without disorder, he will rather spare his foes then strike his servants, as he shewed himself willing to have done in the case of Sodom, Gen. 18.26. Moses stood in the gap, and diverted Judgments from Israel, Psa. 106.23. Yea God seeks for such, Ezek. 22.30. and com­plains when they cannot be found, Ezek. 13, 5. And if he deliver others for them, certainly he will not destroy them for others. How ever it go with the world and with wicked men, it shall go well with the righteous, there shall be a Sanctuary for them when others stumble, and they shall pass through the fire, when others are consumed by it, Isa. 3.10, 11. Isai. 8.14, 15, 16. Zech. 13.8, 9.

Reasons hereof are, Gods Iustice, he will not pu­nish the righteous with the wicked; he will have it appear that there is a difference between him that serveth God, and him that serveth him not, Gen. 18.23 Mal. 3.18. Gods love unto his people. He hath a [Page 5] book of Remembrance written before him, for them that fear him, and think upon his Name: And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of Hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels, and I wil spare them as a man spa­reth his own son that serveth him, Mal. 3.16, 17. Here is a climax & gradation of arguments drawn from Love. In a great fire, and devouring trouble (such as is threatened there, Chap. 4.1.) property alone is a ground of care, a man would willingly save and secure that which is his own, and of any use unto him; but if you add unto this preciousness, that in­creaseth the care. A man will make hard shift to deliver a rich Cabinet of Jewels, though all his or­dinary goods and utensils should perish. But of all Jewels, those which come out of the body are much more precious then those which onely adorn it. Who would not snatch rather his childe then his casket or purse out of a flame? Relation works not onely upon the affection, but upon the bowels, Ier. 3 [...].20. And lastly, the same excellency that the word jewel doth add unto the word mine; the same excellency doth service add unto the word sonne. A man hath much conflict in himself to take off his heart from an undutiful sonne. Never a worse son then Absalom, and yet how doth David give a charge to the Commanders to have him spared? How inquisitive after his safety? How passionately and unseasonably mournful upon the news of his death? But if any child be more a jewel then ano­ther, certainly it is a dutiful childe, who hath not onely an interest in our love by Nature, but by obe­dience. All these grounds of care and protection [Page 6] for Gods people in trouble are here expressed, pro­perty, they are mine; preciousness, they are jewels, trea­sures, ornaments unto me. Relation, they are sons; usefulness, they are sons that serve, none could look on a thing so many ways lovely with the same eye as upon a professed and provoking Enemy.

Lastly, Gods name and glory. He hath spared his people even in the midst of their provocations for his Names sake, Deut. 33.26, 27. Iosh. 7.9. How much more when they repent and seek his face? He will never let it be said, that any seek the Lord in vain, Isa. 45.19.

Sect. 3.But it may be objected, Doth not Solomon say, that all things happen alike unto all? and that no man can know love or hatred by that which is before him? Eccles. 9.1, 2. And is it not certain and common, that in publick desolations good as well as bad do perish? Doth not the Sword devour as well one as another?

It is true, God doth not always difference his servants from wicked men by temporal deliveran­ces: Troubles commonly and promiscuously in­volve all sorts. But there are these two things con­siderable in it.

1. That many times the good suffer with the bad, because they are together corrupted with them, and when they joyn in the common provocations, no wonder if they suffer in the common judgments, Re­vel. 18.4. Nay the sins of Gods people do (espe­cially in this case) more provoke him unto out­ward judgments, then the sins of his professed ene­mies. Because they expose his name to the more [Page 7] contempt, 2 Sam. 12.14. and are committed against the greater love, Amos 3.2. and he hath future judg­ment for the wicked, and therefore usually beginneth here at his own sanctuary, Ezek. 9.6. 1 Pet. 4.17.

2. When good men, who have preserved them­selves from publick sins, do yet fall by publick judgments, yet there is a great difference in this seeming equality, the same affliction having like the Pillar that went before Israel, a light side towards Gods people, and a dark side toward the Egypti­ans, God usually recompencing the outward evils of his people with more plentiful evidences of in­ward and spiritual joy. A good man may be in great darkness as well as a wicked man, but in that case he hath the name of God to stay himself upon, which no wicked man in the world hath, Isa. 50, 10. The metal and the dross go both into the fire toge­ther, but the drosse is consumed, the metal refined. So is it with godly and wicked in their sufferings. Zach. 13, 9, Eccles. 8.12, 13.

This reproveth the folly of those who in time of trouble rely upon vain things which cannot help them, and continue their sins still. For Iudgments make no difference of any but penitent and impeni­tent, Sickness doth not complement with an hono­rable person, but useth him as coursely as the base. Death knocks as well at a Princes palace as a poor mans cottage: wise men dye as well as fools. Yea poyson usually works more violently when tem­pered with wine, then with some duller and baser material. In times of trouble usually the greater the persons the closer the judgments. When Ie­rusalem [Page 8] was taken the Nobles were slain, but the poor of the Land had vineyards and fields given them, Ier. 39.6, 10.

Therefore in troubles we should be more hum­bled for our sins then our sufferings, because sin is the sting of suffering. That mercies should not win us, that judgment should not awaken us: that the rod should speak, and we not hear, Mic. 6.9. That the fire should burn, and we not feel, Isa. 42.25. That desolation should be threatned, and we not instructed, Jer. 6.8. That the hand of God should be lifted up, and we not see it, Isa. 26.11. That dark­ness should be upon us, & we not give glory to God, Jer. 13.6. This is that should most deject us, that in mercies we have been wanton, and in judgments sensless. Get Repentance by an affliction, and then you may look on it as trafick, and not as a trouble, like a Merchants voyage, which hath pain in the way, but treasure in the end. No afflictions can hurt him that is penitent. If thou escape, they will make thee the more thankful; if not, they will bring thee the neerer and the sooner unto God.

The way to be safe in times of trouble, is to get the blood of the Lamb upon our doors. All troubles have their Commission and Instructi­ons from God, what to do, whither to go, whom to touch; whom to pass over. Be gold, and though the fire come upon you, you shal keep your nature and purity still. Godliness, saith the Apostle, hath the promises of this life; & amongst those one spe­cial one is, that we shall not be tempted above what we are able, 1 Cor. 10.13. neither are there [Page 9] indeed any distresses against which there is not a re­fuge and escape for penitent sinners unto some pro­mise or other. Against Captivity. When they be in the land of their Enemies I will not cast them away, nor abhorre them. Levit. 26.44. Against famine and pestilence. If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locust to devoure the Land, or if I send pestilence among my people: If my people which are called by my Name shall humble them­selves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked wayes: then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and wil heal their Land. 2 Chron. 7.13.14. Against sicknes, the Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing, and make all his bed in his sicknes, Psa. 41.3. Against poverty. When the poor and needy seek water and there is none, I the Lord will hear them, &c. Isa. 41.17. Psal. 68.10. Against want of friends. When my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up, Psal. 27.10. Psal. 72.12. Against oppression and imprison­ment. He executeth judgement for the oppressed, he looseth the prisoners. Psal. 146.7. Against whatsoe­ver plague or trouble. 1 King. 8.37.38, 39. He is the God of All consolation, how disconsolate soever a mans condition is in any kind; there cannot but within the compasse of All consolation be some one or other remedy at hand to comfort and re­lieve him, And so much by the way of the Invita­tion in genera [...]l.

In the Invitation we have the Matter of it, and the Motives to it. The Matter is Conversion, with­out that, theIsa. 26.11. hand which is lifted up in threatning, [Page 10] will fall down in punishing, and where that is, God hath a book of Remembrance for his Iewels, when his wrath burneth as an Oven against the stubble, Mal. 3.16.

But this Conversion then must have two condi­tions in it. 1. It must be Ad Dominum, To the Lord; not meerly philosophicall to some low and generall dictates of Reason, such as Aristotle, or Plato, or Epictetus, or Plutarch, or the like heathen Moralists could furnish us withall, without self-deniall, lowlinesse of spirit, or Rom. 10.3 Heb. 11.6 Non sunt bona quae non de ra­di [...]e bona pro­cedunt▪ Ea ipsa opera quae di­cuntur ante fi­dem quamvis videantur ho­minibus l [...]u [...]a­bilia, ina [...] sunt-ut magna vires & cur [...]us cele [...]mus praeter viam. Aug. Enars▪ in P [...]al. 3 [...]. vide de Spi­rit. & hi [...]. c. 20. 2 [...], 26. Co [...]tra duas Epist. Pe­lag. l. 3. c. 7. ep. 106. de side & oper [...]bus. c. 14. contra Iulian▪ lib. 4. cap. 3 faith in Christ.

Not meerly politicall, to credit, or profit, or secu­lar ends Nih lad ostenta [...]ionem, om­nia ad conscientiam refert, P [...]. l. 1 epist. 22. Nil ilopinionis causa, omnia conscientiae fa­ciam. Senec. de vita beata. c 20 propter famam, non propter Conscientiam, as the Orator speaks, or as our Prophet hath it, for Corn and for wine: Hos. 7.16. as good be an empty vine, as bring forth fruit onely to our selves, Hos. 10.1.

But it must be spirituall, unto the Lord. If thou wil [...] return O Israel, saith the Lord, return unto me, Ier. 4.1. And not onely Ad Dominum to the Lord, for that may be done Ier. 3.10 falsely, and flatteringly, with a halting and divided heart. By the force of Semi-perswasions, like that of Acts 26.23 Agrippa ▪ and Ruth 1.14. Orpha, com­plementing with God, and then forsaking him. By the force of compulsory impressions, like that of Exodus 8.8. Exodus 9. [...]7, [...]4. Pha­raoh and Psal. 78.34, 37 Israel in the wildernes.Semisauciam hac arque hac vers [...]re voluntatem Aug. confess. l. 8. c. 8. plerique ips [...]i [...] paenitentiae agunt▪ Ambro. d [...] paenit. l. 2. c. 9. [...] Clem. Alexi [...]. 2. strom. Irrisor est non paenitens qui adhuc agit quod paeni [...]er, &c. Isidor. de summo [...]ono. Magnamrem pu [...]a unum hominemagere, praeter sapientem nemo unum agit. Caetera multifo [...]mes sunt. Senec. Ep 1 [...]0. Ambros. of [...]ic. lib. 2. c. 22. Promises on the Rack, and pride when there was respite again, thaw­ing [Page 11] in the Sun, and freezing in the shade; melting in the [...]urnace, and out of it returning unto hardnes again, like the Prophets Cake, burnt on the one side, and dough on the other. But it must be,

Secondly, usque ad Dominum, so much the origi­nall word [...] importeth. A Io [...]l 2.12. Act. 11. 23. Psal. 57.7. Eph. 3.27. Psal. 86.11. Heb. 13.9. full, through constant, continued conversion, with a whole, a fixed, a root­ed, an united, an established heart, yeilding up the whole Conscience and Conversation to be ruled by Gods will in all things.

The motives to this duty are two; First his Ioel 2.12, 13. Isa. 55.6.7. [...]er. 31.18. Hos. 3.5. Psal. 130.4. Acts 2, 38. Matth. 3.2. Isa. 64. [...]. Mer­cy, he is yet thy God, Sect. 5. no such argument for our turn­ing unto God as his turning unto us. Adam looks on him as a Iudge and hides; the Prodigall looks on him as a father, and returns. As the beam of the Sun shining on fire, doth discourage the burning of that: so the shining of Gods mercies on us, should dis­hearten, and extinguish lust in us. This is the use we should make of mercy. Say not, he is my God, there­fore I may presume upon him, but he is mine, there­fore I must return unto him. Because he is God, I will be afraid to provoke him; and because he is mine, I will be afraid to forfeit him. He is so great, I must not dare to offend him; he is so pretious I must not venture to lose him. His mercy is a [...] Clem. Alex. Stro. l. 6. Holy mer­cy, which knows to pardon sin, but not to protect it. It is a Sanctuary for the penitent, not for the pre­sumptuous.

Secondly, his judgement, and that expressed ra­ther as our Act then his, Thou hast fallen, by thine iniquity. Qui beneficiis nō ▪ intelligitur, vel plagis intelligatur. Cypr. in Deme [...]ia. If mercies do not work upon Love, let Iudgements work upon fear. Dan [...] animum ad loquendum libere ultimae miseriae. Liv. lib. 29. Extremities are a war­rant [Page 12] unto Importunities. Inops Sena­ [...]us Auxilii hu­mani ad Deos populum & v [...] ­ta ver it, justi cū conjugibus & libe [...]ls sup­plicatum ire, & pacem expo [...] ­cere deū. Liv. l. 3. Cum stu­pe [...] caelum & are [...]annus nu­dipedalia de­nunciātur. Ma­gistratus pu [...]pu [...]as ponunt, fas­ces retro aver. tunt p [...]ecem in­digi [...]ant, hosti­am instaurant, Vide Tentu [...]. adv. physicos c. 16. Clem. Alex. stro. l. 6.6. pag. 45.3. Edit Heins. Sozom. l. 9. c. 6. Brisso. de for­mul. l. 1. Even heathen mariners in a storm wil cry mightily upon God. When there is a deluge coming, is it not time for Noah to fear, and to prepare an ark? Hebr. 11.7. what meanest thou O thou sleeper to Perdidisti [...] mala si nondū misera est didi­cisti. Sen. ad Helvid [...] perdidistis utilitatē calamitatis & miser [...]imifacti estis & pessim permansistis. Aug. de civ. Dei l. 1. c. 33. los [...] the season, and benefit of Gods visitations▪ when there is a tempest over the ship, heavy distresses, and distractions both at home and abroad, to be so secure in thy wonted im­penitency, as if thou hadst had no sins to procure these judgements, or no sence to feel them? as if there were Isa. 28.15. agreements, and sealed covenants be­tween thee and the sword that it should not touch thee? If thou be falling, is it not high time to con­sider thy wayes? to search and to judge thy self? to have thine eyes like the windows of Solomons Tem­ple 1 King. 6.4. Broad inwards, to find out thine own provoca­tions, and as Psal. 18.23▪ [...] Plut. de seranumin, vindicta. David speaks, to keep thy self from Thine owne iniquity?

Thus when in one and the same time, Mercies, and judgements are intermixed, then is the most so­lemne season to call upon men for repentance. If we Vide Tertul. contra Ma [...]ion. l. 2. c▪ 13. felt nothing but fears, they might make us de­spair if nothing but mercies they would make us se­cure. If the whole year were Summer, the sap of the earth would be exhausted; if the whole were Win­ter, it would be quite buried. The hammer breaks mettall, and the fire melts it, and then you may cast it into any shape. [...]udgements break, mercies melt, and then, if ever, the soul is fit to be cast into Gods mould. There is no figure in all the Prophets more [Page 13] usuall then this▪ to interweave mercies and judge­ments, like those Elegancies which Vossius Rhe­tor li. 5. ca. 12. sect. 7. Rhetoricians call [...] to allure and to bring into a wildernes, Hos. 2.14. And this of all other is the [...], as Vide Gorraei definit▪ medie. & Lau [...]eur. Physicians call it, the Criticall time of diseased people, wherein the chief conjecture lieth, whether they be mending or ending, according to the use which they make of such interwoven mercies.Sect 6.

I have cursorily run over the first part of the Context, the Invitation unto Repentance, as intending to make my abode on the second, which is the In­stitution how to perform it. Therein we have, first a General instruction, Take unto you words. Second­ly, a particular form, what words they should take, or a petition drawn to their hands, Take away all ini­quitie▪ &c.

Of the former of these I shall speak but a word. It importeth the serious pondering and choosing of requests to put up to God. Plutarch Apoph [...]hegm The mother of Ar­taxe [...]xes in Plutarch was wont to say, that they who would addresse themselves unto Princes, must use [...], silken words. Surely he that would ap­proach unto God, must consider, and look as well to his words as to his feet. He is Iosh. 23.19. Iohn 4.22. Eccles. 5.1, 2. Gen. 35.2.3. 1 Sam. 16.5. Isa. 1.15.61. so holy and jea­lous of his worship, that he expects there should be preparation in Our accesses unto him. Prepara­tion of Our persons by Quantum à praeceptis tan­tum ab auribus Dei longe su­mus. Tertul. de Orat. cap. 7. [...] Homer. Illiad purity of life, Iob 11. [...]3. Preparation of Our Services, by choice of matter, Iob 9.1. Luk. 15.17, 18. Preparation of Our [...] Sacerdos [...] fiat [...]um [...] dicen­ [...]o su [...]sum cor­ [...]. Cyprian de Oratione. Hearts, by finding them out, Isa. 64.7. stirring them up,1 Sam. 7.27. Psal. 57.7.8. fixing them, fetching them in, and Psal.. 103.1. [...] [...]hr [...] [...]0.19 calling toge­ther all that is within us to prevail with God

[Page 14]The services which we thus prepare, must be Ta­ken from him. They must not be the issues of our own private and fleshly hearts. For nothing can go to God, but that which comes from him; and this phrase seemeth to import these three things. 1. We must attend unto his 1 Ioh. 5.14. will, as the Rule of our pray­ers. 2. We must attend unto his precepts, and 2 Sam. 7.25. pro­mises, as the Matter of our prayers. 3. We must at­tend unto the Rom. 8.36. Zach. 2.1 [...]. Iob 37.19. vide Aug. Epist 105. Et Epist. 121, ca, 15. Guidance of his Holy Spirit, as the life and principle of our prayers, without which we know not what to ask.

And prayers thus Regulated are most seasonable, and soveraign duties in times of Trouble. The key which openeth a doore of mercy, the sl [...]ce which keepeth out an Inundation of judgements. Iacob wrestled and obtained a blessing, Hos. 12.4. Amos prayed, and removed a Curse, Amos 7.1.7. The wo­man of Canaan will not be denied with a deniall, Mat. 15.24, 27. The people of Israel will begge for deliverance even then when God had positively told them, that hee would deliver them no more, Iudg. 10.13, 15. Ionah will venture a prayer from the bottome of the Sea, when a double death had seised upon him, the belly of the deep, and the bel­ly of the Whale, and that prayer of his did open the doores of the Leviathan, as the expression is, Iob 41.14. and made one of those deaths a deliverance from the other.

O let the Lords remembrances give him no rest. Dei potenti­am servi preces impedi [...]ant. Hi [...]on. ad G [...]udentium. There is a kinde of omnipotencie in prayer, as having an Interest and prevalence with Gods omnipotency. Act. 16.25, 26. It hath loosed iron chains; It Act. 12.5.10. hath [Page 15] opened Iron gates: It hath 1 Kin. 18.41. Fu [...]men de Caelo precibus suis contra hostium machin [...] men­tum [...], suis pluvià Im­pe [...]ratâcum siti laborarent. Iu­lius Capitoli [...]. in Antonino▪ vide Iustin. Martyr. Apol. 2 Tert [...]l. Apolog c. 5.39.40. Et ad Scapulam. c. 4. unlockt the windows of heaven: It hath Ioh. 11.40.43 broken the bars of death. Satan hath three titles given him in the Scripture, setting forth his malignity against the Church of God. A Revel 12.3. Dragon, to note his malice, a Gen. 3.1. Serpent, to note his subtiltie, and a 1 Pet. 5.8. Lyon to note his strength. But none of all these can stand before prayer. The grea­test malice, the malice of Haman, sinks under the Ester 4 16. prayer of Esther; the deepest policy, the counsell of Achitophel, withers before the 2 Sam. 15.31 prayer of Daivd: the hugest Army, an hoast of a thousand thousand Ethiopians runne away like Cowards before the 2 Chorn. 14.9, [...]1, 12. prayer of Asa.

How should this incourage us to treasure up our prayers? to besiege the throne of Grace with ar­mies of supplications? to refuse a deniall? to break through a repulse? He hath Gen. 32.25.28. blessed those whom he did cripple: he hath Mat. 15.26.28. answered those whom he did reproach: he hath Iudg. 10.13.16. delivered those whom he did deny. And he is the Heb. 13.8 [...] same yesterday and to day. If he save in Iob 5.19. six and in seven troubles, should not we pray in six and seven Extremities? Certainly in all the afflictions of the Church when prayers are strongest, mercies are nearest.

And therefore let me humbly recommend to the Cares of this honourable Assembly amongst all your other pressing affairs, the providing that those solemne dayes, wherein the united prayers, of this whole Kingdom should with strongest [...]mpor­tunities stop the breaches, and stand in the gaps at which Iudgements are ready to rush in upon us▪ may with more obedience and solemnity be obser­ved, [Page 16] then indeed of late they are. It is true, here, and in other Cities, and populous places, there is haply lesse cause to complain. But who can without sorrow and shame behold in our Countrey towns, men so unapprehensive either of their brethrens sufferings, or of their own sins and dangers, as to give God quite over, to let him rest, that they themselvs may work; to come in truth to Iehorams resolution, Why should we wait upon God any longer? to grudge their brethrens and their own souls and safe­ties one day in thirty, and to tell all the world that indeed their daies work is of more value with them then their dayes worship, multitudes drudging and moyling in the earth, while their brethren are mourning and besieging of heaven. I do but name it, and proceed,

The second part of the Institution was the par­ticular form suggested unto them according unto which their addresses unto God are to be regulated, which consisteth of two parts, a prayer, and a promise. The prayer is for two Benefits, the one Remove all of sin, the other Conferring of Good. In the promise or Restipulation we have first their Covenant, wherein they promise two things. 1. Thanksgiving for the hearing and answering of their prayers. 2. A speciall care for the Amendment of their lives. Secondly, the Ground of their Confidence so to pray, and of their Resolutions so to promise, Because in thee the fatherlesse findeth mercy. My meditations will bee confined within the first of these, The prayer of the Church in their fears and sufferings, wherein I shall begin, in the Prophets order, with their prayer against sin, Take away all iniquitie.

[Page 17]The word signifies, 1. To expiate, and make a­tonement by a sacrifice. So the scape Goate (which was a signe of Christ our Sacrifice as ri­sen and living againe) is said to carry the sinnes of the People into the wildernesse, Levit. 16.22. Thereby signifying Christs taking our sinnes from us, Iohn 1.29. Hebr. 9.28. 2. To forgive, which in the Court of mercy is the taking of sinne away, Psal. 32.1.5. 3. To remove or take away by destroying. So it is used, Hosea. 1.6. Iob 32.22. and is sometimes used to expresse Burn­ing, 2 Sam. 5.21. Nahum 1.5. so sinne is said to be destroyed, Rom. 6.6. to be subdued, Mic. 7.19. to be purged away with the spirit of Judge­ment and burning, Isa. 4.4. The meaning then is, Take away all our sinnes from us, lay them up­on Christ our Sacrifice, for his Merit pardon them, by his Grace destroy and subdue them, that so the root of Judgements being removed, they likewise may therewithall be removed too. From hence the Observation which I shall insist upon is this:

When God threatneth Iudgements, we in our Con­version unto him should pray against sinnes. §. 7. Our eye of sorrow should be more upon that which dis­honoureth him, then upon that which afflicts our selves; more upon that which is contrary to his Image, then upon that which is contrary to his own nature: more upon that which defileth, then upon that which paineth us. Exod. 10.17▪ Pharoah cares for nothing but the removall of death: Acts 8.24. Simon Ma­gus for nothing but to have perdition and the [Page 18] gall of bitternesse kept from him. But good men, like wise Physitians cure the disease at the root, as 2 King. 2.21. Elisha did the waters by putting Salt into the Spring head. The Angell was smiting the people with a plague, 2 Sam. 24.17, 25. David betakes him­selfe to the right remedy, I have sinned, I have done wickedly; He goes not to the Physitians, but to the Altar to make atonement for sinne, and so the plague was stayed. Destruction was threatned against Israel for their Calfe, their murmurings, their rebellions; Moses stands in the gap to di­vert it, Psal. 106.23. But how doth he doe it? surely by praying against their sinnes. Exod. 32.31, 32.34.9. Numb. 14.19. O this peo­ple have sinned a great sin, O that thou wouldest for­give them! A sick man was brought to Christ to be healed, Matt. 9.2. Christ overlookes the disease, and begins at the sin, Son, be of good chear, thy sins are forgiven thee; and this being forgiven, the ma­lignitie of the disease was removed, though the matter should have remained. This was the usu­all method of Psal., 5.38.3, 4.51. David in his troubles, to throw over these Shebaes that had wrought his woe. Blot out, wash throughly, cleanse, create, renew: he is farre more importunate for pardon and purging, then for ease and comfort. Complaining in trou­ble is the worke of a man, but [...]am. 3.39, 40 repenting is the work of a Christian.

The Reasons of this point are these Three.

I If a Judgement should be removed, while sin remaines,§ 8. it is not removed in mercy, but in anger: for many times God gives over punish­ing in displeasure, as a man throweth away the [Page 19] rod when his scholler is incorrigible. Why should you be smitten any more? you will revolt more and more, Isa. 1.5. If men be setled on their lees, and will not be reclamed, there cannot an heavier punishment light upon them, then to be Hos. 4.14. Psal. 81.11, 12. Ezek. 24.13. Rom. 1.24, 28. Rev. 22.11. Exaudit propi­tius, non exaudit i [...]atus: & ru [...]sus non exaudit pro­pitius, exaudit iratus. non parcit propitius, parcit Iratus. Aug. contra Julian, lib. 5. cap. 4. Parci sibi putat, cum excaecetur, & servetur ad ultimam opportunamque vindictam. Aug. in. Psal. 9. Ad u [...]ilitatem quosdam non exaudis, ad damnationem quosdam exaudis. In Psal. 21. Iratus dat Amanti quod malè amat, in Psal. 26. Magna Ira est quando peccantibus non irascitur Deus. Hieron. Ep. 33. Et in Psal. 140. Indignantis Dei major haec plaga. Cypr. de Lapsis. O fervum illum beatum cujus Emendationi Deus instat, cui dignatur irasci, &c. Tertul▪ de patient. cap. 11. with­out punishment, to be left to themselves, and the fury of their own wills, speedily to work out their owne perdition, that they own pleasures may become their plagues, and the liberty of their own lusts, their forest bondage. God may take away in wrath that which he sent in anger, Hos. 13.11. as one the other side he may punish sin then when he forgiveth it, and may visit iniquitie with rods then when he will not utterly take away his loving kindnesse from a people, Psal., 33.

II. If a judgement be removed, so long as sin remaines it is gone cum animo Revertendi, either the same or a worse is likely to succeed, for God will Rom. 3.4. overcome when he judgeth. Pharoahs stubborn­nesse did not but increase his plagues. God will not endure that the Exod. 9.17. pride of man should outvie his Iustice. If we doe not take Christs warning to goe and sinne no more, we have great cause to feare his inference, that a worse thing will come upon us, Joh. 5.14. If we doe yet exalt our selves, God will Jer. 2.9. yet plead with us. If we will Levit. 26.18.21▪ 24▪ 28. walke contrary unto him, he threatneth to doe the like unto us, and to [Page 20] punish us seven times more for our sinnes. If we doe not turne unto him that smiteth us, then his Isa. 9.12. anger in smiting shall not be turned away, but his hand shall be stretched out still. God can bring clouds after rain, distresses in Ireland after di­stractions in Scotland, and distractions in Eng­land after distresses in Ireland, mischiefe upon mischief, and counsell against counsell, Manasse against Ephraim, and Ephraim against Manasse, to vex, and weary out a sinfull people, till they pine away in their Calamities.

III. Sin being removed, though the afflicti­on should not be removed, yet it is sanctified and turned into good. Repentance like the Philoso­phers stone, can turn Iron into Gold, can make Golden afflictions. So the triall of our faith, that is, our affliction, is said to be more precious then Gold, 1 Pet. 1.7. Whereas sinne remaining is like Copres which will turne wine or milk into inke. It converts the blessings of God into the provi­sions of lusts. Cankers learning with pride, and wit with prophanenesse, and wealth with luxury; like Leaven which turnes a very Passeover into pollutions. As the Athe. l. 3. c, 13. Pearl, which is an Ornament to the woman which wares it, is a disease to the fish which breeds it: as the same perfume which refresheth a Dove, is mortall to a Vulture: as the same pillar and cloud was light to Israel, but dark to Aegypt: the same deep a path to Israel, but a grave to Aegypt: so the same blessings which by grace are converted into comforts, by sin are a­bused into dishonourable services.Hag. 2.13. Sweet pow­ders [Page 21] can make leather an ornament, when the Sanies of a plague-sore will render a robe infe­ctious. As it was said of Naaman, He was a great man, an honourable man, a mighty man of war; 2 King 5.1. But he was a Leaper: so what ever other orna­ments a man hath, sinne staines them with the fou­lest But, that can be brought to deprave the fai­rest endowments. A learned man, a wealthy man, a wise man, an honourable man, But a wicked man. This makes all those other good things tributa­ry unto Satan.

And therefore as the Num. 31.22. gold and silver of the Canaanites was to passe through the fire before it could be used by Israel: so all other blessings bestowed on men must passe through the spirit of Iudgement and burning, through the purifying waters of Repentance, before they can bring ho­nour to the Author, or comfort to the enjoyer of them. When Christ overcometh Satan, [...]. Hom. Il 11 Qui se dide­bant arma tra­debant. Caesar de Bello Gal­lico, lib. 3. he taketh from him all his armour, and divideth the spoiles, Luk. 11.21. How doth he divide the spoiles? surely he maketh use of that wit, wealth, power, learning, wisedome, interests, which Satan used against Christs Kingdome, as instruments and or [...]ments unto the Gospel.Venenum ali­quando pro Re­medio suit. Sen de Benef. l. 2. c. 18. Medici pedes & alas Canthari­dis, cum sit ipsa morti [...]era, pro­desse dicunt. Plut. de audi­end. Poetis. As when a Maga­zine in warre is taken, the Generall makes use of those armes which were provided against him, for his owne service.

And as sinne doth thus corrupt blessings, so on the other side Repentance doth sweeten Judge­ments, and can turne afflictions into matter of comfort. As skarlet puls out the teeth of a Ser­pent, [Page 22] so this takes away the sting of a Judgement. As wine draweth a nourishing vertue from the flesh of Vipers: as hot birds can feed upon Iron, and purge their bodies with swallowing of stones; so repentance, though it should not remove a Judgement, yet it can feed upon it, and fetch meat out of the Eater, and out of the strong sweetnesse.

There are two Evils in Afflictions. Their thorne in the flesh, as they are matter of paine, and their Isa. 8.21. 2 Chro. 28.22. Rev. 16.10. snare to the Conscience, as they are matter of Temptation. As there are two things in a chain or fetter, the heavinesse whereby it loads, and the hardnesse whereby it gaules. Now as a prisoner, though he cannot make his chain lighter then it is, yet by lining it with wooll or other soft things, he can prevent the galling: so Repentance though it take not away the paine of Affliction from the flesh, yet by meekning and humbling the soule, with silence and quietnesse to Mic. 7.9. Levit. 26.41. Jer. 10.19. bear the indignation of the Lord, and accept of the punish­ment of sin: it removeth the temptation and ma­lignitie of it from the Conscience. And thus as A. Gel. l. 5. c. 3. Protagoras by his naturall dexteritie ordered the burden which he was to bear with more ease and advantage: so Pietie makes Judgements, by spi­rituall prudence, more easie to be born, and the light yoke of Christ, as bladders in a deep water, bears up the spirit of men from sinking, and lightneth every other burthen. And therefore as he in Plut. [...]. Plutarch said of the Scythians, that though they had no musick nor Vines amongst them, [Page 23] yet they had Gods: so what ever other things may be wanting to a people, yet if God be their God, they are not destitute of any happinesse. Plut. de Sa­nitate tuend. Yea as those Roses are usually sweetest which grow nearest unto stinking weeds: so the com­forts of Gods Spirit are strongest when a man is otherwise perplexed with the greater difficul­ties. It was promised unto Iosiah, that he should die in peace, 2 Chron. 34.28. and yet we find that he was slaine in warre, Chap. 35.24. His weeping and humiliation altered the very nature of trou­ble, and made warre to be peace unto him.

Now for the Use and Application of this point; This serveth, first,Sect. 9. to instruct us how to deprecate Calamities when God shaketh his Rod over us. There Vsque ad de­lictum hominis Deus tantùm bonus, exinde Iudex & seve­rus, &c. Tertu. contra Marci­on. l. 2. c. 11, 14. is nothing in all the world that God is angry with but sinne: for all other things are his owne workes, in the goodnesse of which he wrested with singular complacency and delight. Sinne is that against which Gods arrowes are directed; and as the arrow sticks in the Butt unto which the marke is fastned: so the judge­ments which are shot at sinne, must needs light upon us unto whom sinne cleaveth. The way then to divert the arrow is to remove the marke. It is true, God doth sometimes bring afflictions with­out respect to the provocations of sin, upon his best servants. As if a man should shape out of a masse of gold some excellent vessell, though the gold be never so pure, yet it must passe through the fire and the hammer again. But it is certain too, that no affliction comes in Anger [Page 24] but with respect to sinne. And the Anger of God is the bitterest thing in any Calamitie.

Now for diversion of this, there is no way but to get sinne removed. Take the bark from a tree, and the sap can never find way to the boughs. Sinne is the Vehiculum which carries shame and sorrow to the soule. Take away that and a Judge­ment hath no Commission. You may find an Er­ror in it, if you be not the same men that you were when it issued forth, for God shootes no ar­rows to hurt the body of his Sonne. It is true, Iob complaines that Gods arrowes did stick in him, Iob 6.4. But these were not for Verberat & lacerat, non est saevitia, certa­men est. Senec. de Prov. c. 4. Tentationibus non vincitur fi­des, sed proba­tur. Cypr. de Mort. Aug. de Cir. Dei, lib. 1. cap. 29, 30. l. 4. c. 3. destruction, but for triall: as men shoot bullets against armour of proof, not to hurt it, but to praise it. Iob in this case was brought forth not as a malefactor to suffer, but as a Champion to triumph. Let a man take what course he can to keep off Gods judge­ments, and hide himselfe in the closest protection that humane power or policy can contrive, so long as he keepes his sinne with him, Gods ar­rows will get through at one 1 King. 22.34. joynt or other. A naked man with Innocency, is better armed then Goliah in brasse or Iron.

We are apt in our distresses to howl, and re­pine, to gnaw our tongues, and teare our flesh in the anguish of our sufferings. Like the silly Hart, which runs mourning and bleeding, but never thinks of getting out the fatall dart which sticks in his side. We look Isa. 8.21, 22. upward to see whe­ther help will drop into our mouthes; and wee look downward, to see whether humane succours [Page 25] will availe us. But we looke not inward, to finde out the 1 King [...] 8.38 plague of our own hearts, that wee may bee rid of that. And till this be done, sinne doth as na­turally draw and sucke judgements to it., as the Loadstone doth iron, or Turpentine fire. Indefa­tigable have beene the paines of this High Court, to make up the breaches that threaten us, and to heale the Land. Whence comes it that our di­stractions remaine unremoved? Certainely our leakes are not stopped, our sinnes are not thrown away, wee labour at the pump to get the water out, but we doe not take care to cure the passage at which it enters in: wee are old bottles still, and Mat. 9 17 God will not put new wine into old bottles. If men would spend their murmurings and reproaches rather upon their sinnes then upon their physicians, the worke would bee sooner done. When the Temple of God was to be new built, and a pub­lick restitution of the face of things unto glory and splendor was in agitation, the Hag. 1.6 Zach. 1.2 Prophets call upon Gods people in speciall then to repent. Impenitency puts obstructions to Gods mercy, and to all noble enterprises. So long as our lives are as bad as before, how can wee expect that our condition should bee better? in that case mercies themselves become no mercies: as in the case of Repentance, judgements would bee no judgements. If we turne from our evill wayes, God hath engaged himselfe by a solemne promise, that he will doe us no harme, Ier. 2 [...].6. Otherwise to busie our selves in outward Ceremonies of Re­pentance, bodily fasting▪ and verball praying, is [Page 26] indeed but to flatter God, and, if we could, to deceive him: And God will answer such men not according to the prayer of their lips, but ac­cording to the Idol of their hearts, Ezek. 14.4, 5:

Secondly, this teacheth us how to pray against sin.Sect. 10. It must be against all, and in all respects. In the Hebrew text there is a kind of unusuall transpo­si [...]ion of the words, [...] The word all is first. Me thinkes it doth intimate an Intentnesse of the Church upon that point, to have, if it were possible, all taken away at the very first. If there bee one leak in a ship, one gap in a wall, one gate in a City unprovided for; it is enough to sink a ship, to drown a Countrey, to betray a Citie. One little boy thrust in at a window, can unlock the doore for all the rest of the theeves. It was but one Ionah that raised a tempest, but one A­chan that troubled a Camp, and one sin general­ly unrepented of, were enough to undo a King­dome. Do not say it is a little one, and my soule shall live. Even the· Arist. Rhe [...]. l. 1. Et polit. lib. 5. cap. 8. Philosopher telleth us, that sometimes [...] are [...], the smallest errors prove most dangerous. How little soever it bee in its owne nature, it becomes hainous by thy allowance. It is as much treason to coin pence as twenty shilling pieces, because the Royall au­thority is as much violated by the one as the other.

This then wee must first and principally remem­ber, to set our selves against all sin. In Confession none to be dissembled, in Supplication none to bee excepted, in Conversion none to be reserved: ne­ver [Page 27] give it over so long as any is left. O Lord, yet it works, yet it lives, yet it tempts, yet it paines me. Sin hath not done accusing of me, let not thy mercy have done forgiving of sinne. Sin hath not done rebelling in mee, let not thy Grace have done subduing of sin. When men kill Snakes or Vipers, so long as they see them pant, or offer to thrust out a sting, they strike them still. Sin like the thiefe on the Crosse, when it is fast nailed and kept from its old tyrannie, yet will, as much as it can, revi [...]e, and spit out venome upon Christ. O therefore give it not over, break the legs of it, cru­cifie it clean through, till it be quite dead. None can pray or turne unto God in truth, or hope to be delivered from judgements in Mercy, so long as he holds fast any known sin. Can any man looke to receive benefit by the bloud of Christ, who hugs the villaine that shed it? Is it not treason know­ingly to harbour and entertain [...] a Traytor? Who­soever loves and holds fast sinne, lies unto God in every prayer that he makes.

This serveth to reprove and humble us for our hypocrisie and halvings with God in our conversions from sinne, and confessions of it; we are willing to pray for the pardon of them all, wee would have none hurt us: but when it comes to parting, and taking all away, this we cannot away with. Some are fat, delicate, golden sinnes, wee would faine spare these, as 1 Sam. 15.9. Saul did Agag, and hide them as Io [...]h. 7. [...]1. Achan did his wedge. Mark. 6.20. Herod heare [...] Iohn gladly in many things, but if hee restraine him of his Herodias, hee must expect to be [Page 28] himself restrained. Acts 16.28 Agrippa will be almost a Chri­stian, but altogether may chance bring a chaine with it. 2 Kings 10.30, 31 Iehu will downe with Baal ▪ and his Priests but hee knowes not how to part with his Calves, lest he venture his Kingdome. Policy is ever en­tring Caveats against piety. Thus men huck, and stand upon abatements with Christ in the bar­gaine of Salvation, not considering that the pur­chase of heaven, is like the buying of the Sibyls Prophecie, the longer wee stand off, the dearer every day it will cost us; the more tears, the harder repentance, the deeper sorrow the stronger cries. These men know not the price of a soule, nor the worth of a Saviour.

O if Christ should have served us so in dying for sinne, as many of us doe serve him in turning from sin, what a condition had our soules been in? If he had dyed for some sinnes, and not for others; if he had been unwilling to save us to the uttermost, as wee are to serve him to the uttermost; if hee should have stopt before hee came to Consumma­tum est, and left any one drop of that bitter Cup for us to drink after him, would it not have caused our belly to swell, and our thigh to rot, and made us for ever uncapable of any other mercy then onely a lesse damnation?

Well, (beloved,) Christ expecteth, that as hee dyed for all sin, so we should die to all: hee will be counted 1 Tim. 1.15 Zeph. [...].5 1 Reg. 17.31 Nehem. 13.24 worthy of all acceptation, before hee will bestow himself: he will not suffer his Bloud and his Mercy to mingle with sin, or to be a protecti­on to it: he cannot endure mingling of the holy [Page 29] seed with the prophane: swearing by God, and swearing by Malcham: Samaritan Services, to be for the Lord in one thing, and for the world and flesh in another, one step straight, and another crooked; one speech Ashdod, and another Ca­naan; to let our conversation be yea and nay, a mungrill service; Alternae inter cupiditatē no­stram & p [...]ni­tentiam vices sunt. Senec. de otio Sap. ca. 27. Maximum ju­dicium malae mentis fluctu­atio Ep. 120. Vir bonus [...] Arist. Ethic. l. 9. cap. 46. [...] lib. 1. cap. 10. [...] lib. 8. cap. [...]. [...], &c. Clem Alex. strom. lib. 4. Nulli servorum licet ex his quae do­minus impera [...] quod placuerit assumere, quod displicuerit repudiare. Salvia [...]. de provid. lib. 3. In this I will do as you bid me, but in that I wll not; like the Jews that would buy Christs bloud with money, but not take the money into the treasurie; they were fearfull to defile their Chests, but not to defile their Consciences: This Christ cannot away with. It is dangerous to say with the Luk. 18.11. Pharisee, This I am not, and that I am not; or with the Mar. 10.20. young man, This and that I have done, and in the meane time to have one thing lacking, to have one doore locked up still to keep Christ and salvation from us: whosoever keeps a covetous heart for the world, or a sensuall heart for the flesh, or a proud heart for the Devill, is unworthy of Heaven by his own Election, and would not goe in thither if the doore were wide open: he would not find there any fuell for these his lusts, any Nabal, or Cosbi, or Diotrephes to converse withall. And surely, he that doth any Qu uno peccavitomnium [...]eu [...] est, peccans contra Charitatem in qua pendent omnis, Aug Epist. 29. Si pauca simulacra circumferat in una Idololatria est, [...] the [...]sam tra­hat, lovis tamen plaustrum est▪ Tertull. Vide Senec. de Bene [...]ic. lib. 4. cap. 26, 27. lib. 5. cap. 15▪ one wick­ednesse with allowance, in Gods construction, is habitually guilty of all, Iam. 2.10▪ Luk. 16.10. Eze [...]. 18.10.13.

[Page 30]Therefore in this case as 1 Sam. 16.11. Samuel said to Iesse, Are here all thy children? If any be left, wee will not sit down till he come. So we must conceive in our confessions and abrenuntiations of sin, that Christ asketh us, Are here all? If any be reserved, I will not take possession till that be cast out: there must not an hoof be left in Aegypt, Exod. 10.26. if God be to be ser­ved. Gods Law, as well as mans, disallows Inmates in the same house: he will not endure a Psal. 12.2. Iam. 1.8. Psal. 119.10▪ 128. divided heart: he is heire of all things, there lies no Writ of partition in his Inheritance, his Title is so good that he will never yeeld to a Composition, hee will have all the heart or none.

4. We should therefore be exhorted (in time of trouble especially) to set about this great worke, to fall foule upon our sinnes, to complaine against them to God, as the Achans that trouble Israel, as the corrupters and betrayers of our peace,Heb. 4.13 Gen. 17.1. 2 Cor. 2.17. to set our selves in Gods eye, and not to dare to lie unto his holy Spirit, by falsenesse or hypocrisie; as if wee could reserve any one sin un­mortified which he should not know of. But be­ing in his sight to whom all things are naked and open, to deale in all sincerity, and to hate sin even as he hates it.

Sect. 11.There are five notable duties which these three words, Omnem tolle iniquitatem, do lead us unto.

1. Sense of sin, as of an heavie burden, as the Pro­phet David calls it, Psal. 38.5. Such sense our Sa­viour requires in true penitents, Come unto me all yee that are weary and heavy laden, Mat. 11.28. To conceive them heavier then a Milstone, Luke 17.2. [Page 31] Then the weight of a Mountain, Luk. 23.30. O what apprehension had S. Peters converts of sin, when they felt the nails wherewith they had cru­cified Christ, sticking fast in their own hearts, and piercing their spirits with torment and horror? Acts 2.37. Oh what apprehensions had the poor Iaylor of his sins, when he came as a prisoner before his owne prisoners, springing in with monstrous amazement, & consternation of spirit, beseeching them to tell him, What he should do? Acts 16.23.30.

Consider it in its Nature: an universall bruise and sicknesse, like those diseases which Physicians say are Corruptio totius substantiae, from head to foot, Isa. 1.5, 6. And who doth not feel such an U­niversall languor to be an heavie burden? for a man that must needs labour, to have weights hung at his hands; that must needs walk, to have clogs fastened to his feet, how can he choose but cry out with the Apostle, O wretched man that I am who shall deliver me? Rom. 7.24.

Consider it in the Curse that belongs unto it· A Roll written within and without with curses.Ezek. [...].1 [...].

Look outward, and behold a curse in the Crea­ture, Vanitie, Emptinesse, Vexation, Disappoint­ment; every creature armed with a sting to re­venge its Makers quarrell.

Look inward, & behold a curse in the conscience, accusing, witnessing, condemning, haling to the tri­bunall of vengeance; first defiling with the allow­ance; & after terrifying with the remembrance of sin.

Look upward, and behold a curse in the heavens, the wrath of God revealed from thence upon all unrighteousnesse.Rom. 1.18.

[Page 23]Looke downward, and behold a curse in the earth, Death ready to put a period to all the pleasures of sinne, and like a trap-doore to let downe into Hell, where nothing of sinne will remaine, but the worm and the fire.

Look into the Scripture, and see the curse there described: an everlasting banishment from the glory of Gods presence: an everlasting destruction by the glory of his power, 2 Thes. 1.9. The Lord shew­ing the jealousie of his Iustice, the unsearchable­nesse of his severity, the unconceiveablenesse of his strength, the bottomless guilt and malignity of sin, in the everlasting destruction of ungodly men, and in the everlasting Anima in corpore erit non vivendi causa sed do­lendi Aug. do Civ. Deili. 13. c. 2. Prima mors animam nolen [...]em pel­lit à corpore, secunda nolen­tem retinet in corpore. Ibid. l 21. c. 3. preserving of them to feele that destruction: Who knoweth the power of thy an­ger, saith Moses. Even according to thy feare, so is thy wrath Psal. 90.11. It is impossible for the most trembling consciences, or the most jealous fears of a guilty heart, to looke beyond the wrath of God, or to conceive more of it then indeed it is. As in peace of conscience, the mercy of God is revealed unto beleevers from faith to faith: so in anguish of con­science the wrath of God is revealed from fear to fear.

A timorous man can fancy vast and terrible fears, fire, sword, tempests, wracks, furnaces, scald­ing lead, boyling pitch, running bell, metall; and being kept alive in all these to feele their torment: But these come farre short of the wrath of God, for first, there are bounds set to the hurting power of a creature, the fire can burn, but it cannot drown; the Serpent can sting, but he cannot teare in pie­ces. 2. The fears of the heart are bounded within [Page 33] those narrow apprehensions which it self can frame of the hurts which may be done. But the wrath of God proceeds from an Infinite Justice, and is exe­cuted by an omnipotent and unbounded power, com­prising all the terror of all other Creatures, (as the Sun doth all other light) eminently and excessively in it. It burns, and drowns, and tears, and stings, and bruises, and consumes, and can make nature feel much more then reason is able to comprehend.

O if we could lay these things seriously to heart (and yet these are but lowe expressions, of that which cannot be expressed, and cometh as short of the truth it self as the picture of the Sun in a table, doth of the greatnesse and brightnesse of it in its own Orbe) should we not finde it necessary to cry out, Take away all iniquitie? this sicknesse out of my soul, this sword, this nayle, this poysoned arrow out of my heart, this Dagger of Ehud out of my belly, this milstone, this mountain from off my back, these stings and terrors, these flames and Furies out of my Conscience? Lord, my wounds stinke, my lips quiver, my knees tremble, my belly rots, I am feeble, and broken, and roar, and languish; thy wrath lyes hard upon me, and thy waves go over my head.

O if we had but a view of sin as it is in its native foulnesse, and did feel but a touch of that fury that God is readie to powre out upon it, this would stain all the pride of man, and soure all the pleasures of sin, and make a man as fearfull to meddle with it, as a guilty woman with the bitter water which caused the Curse. Most true was that which Luther [Page 34] spake in this point. If a man could perfectly see his own evils, the sight thereof would be a perfect hell unto him: and this God will bring wicked men unto. Reprove them, and set their sins in order before them. Psal. 50.21. Make them take a view of their own hearts and lives, fuller of sins then the Firma­ment of stars, or a furnace of sparks. O Consider this you that forget me, saith the Lord: lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver you.

The second dutie is Confession, for he that cries to have sin taken away,Sect. 12. acknowledgeth that it lyes upon him. A full Confession not of many, but of All sins, either actually committed, or habitually com­prised in our body of sin. Athenaeus. lib. 1. As he in the Comoe­dian said, that he had invited two guests to dinner Philocrates, and Philocrates, a single Man, but a double Eater: So in examination of our selves we shall every one finde sins enough in himself to de­nominate him a double and a [...]eble sinner. A free Confession, not as Pharaohs, extorted upon the wrack; nor as that of Iudas, squeezed out with an­guish and horror, but ingenuous and penitent, ari­sing from the purpose of a pious heart, that cometh like water out of a Spring, with a voluntary free­nesse; not like water out of a Still, which is forced with fire.

The third dutie is Wearinesse and detestation of all sin, for we call not to have a thing removed till we be weary of it. Thus we are taught in the Psal. 38.2. Ezek. 16.63. Ezek. 6.9.20 43. 1 Cor. 11.31. Isa. 30.22. Scripture, to be ash [...]med, and confounded; to loath, and ab­hor, to judge and condemne our selves; to throw sin away as a detestable thing, though it be a golden [Page 35] or silver sin. A Spirituall Judgement looks on all sin as filthy and Psal. 14.3. 2 Cor. 7. Omnis [...] poenitet vex­ [...]ur secum. Aug. in Psal. 34. Arist. Rhet. stinking; sheweth a man to him­self as a vessell full of Dung, Scum, Excrements, and makes him out of quiet till he be throughly purged. For Hatred is [...], against the whole kinde of that which we hate.

The fourth dutie is an acknowledgement of our own Impotencie to remove sin from our selves.Eph. 2 1.5. Psal. 40.12. Rom. 5.6, 7.6.24. 2 Cor. 3.5. Ier. 6.10. Rom. 8.7. We have no more power then a slave in chains hath to get out of his bondage till another ransome him; then a dead body in a grave, till Christ raise it. Our Iniquitie takes hold on us, and keeps us down, that we cannot hearken or be subject to the will of God. If sin were not removed by a greater strength then our own, it would most certainly sink us into Hell.

The last dutie is an Imploring of Gods mercie and grace, that what we cannot do our selves, he would be pleased to do for us. Facile est me­men [...]o, quo qui [...] velet, cedere pos­sessio [...]e magne fortunae: facere & parare eam diffi [...]ile atque arduum. L [...]v. 2.24. Corpora lentè aug [...]scunt cito extinguun­tur. Tacit. Vit. Agric. A [...]bores Mag­na [...] diu cresce­re, unâ horâ extirpari. Q. Curt▪ lib. 7. In works of Art it is hard to build, but easie to destroy. But in works of sin though our weaknes is able to commit them, yet none but Gods power is able to demolish them. Luk. 11.21. Ier. 2 22. Mrl. 3.3. 1 Ioh. 3.8. None but Christ is strong enough to overcome the strong Man. His Person onely hath strength enough to [...]eare the Curse of sin: His Sacrifice one­ly Merit enough to make expiation for sin. His Grace only vertue enough to remove the pollution of sin. Though we should take Nitre and much Sope, our sin would be marked still; but he cometh with Refiners Fire and with Fullers Soape, and can wash out all. It was his onely businesse of coming into the world, To destroy the works of the Devill.

[Page 36]Now the things which we pray for in this Peti­tion are these three. 1. For Remission, that God would take away the condemnation of sin from us, by not imputing the guilt thereof unto us, but would cause it to passeover on Christ,Isa. 5 [...].6. Rom. 4.8. on whom he hath laid the Iniquitie of his people. Such an expres­sion the Holy Ghost useth, [...] the Lord hath caused thy sin to passe over from thee to Christ, 2 Sam. 12.13. which being obtained, all other judge­ments are ipso facto removed to, so far as they im­port proper and vindictive punishment.

H [...]b 9.4. Mich. 7.19.Secondly, for Sanctification, That the vertue of Christs death, and the grace of his Spirit may sub­due the power of sin, and cleanse and strengthen our consciences against the commands of it, and temptations unto it.

Thirdly, for continued Renovation, that as in san­ctification begun we have power against all kinds of sin, so by the continuall supplies of the holy Spirit, we may have further power against all degrees and remainders of sin. That Christ would purifie our sin unto death, as our sin did him, and not give over mortifying it, till his blood be revenged of it to the uttermost, and our souls delivered from it to the uttermost.

Sect. 13.I shall conclude the first part of the Petition with a short word of Exhortation unto this Honorable Assembly. Ezek. 36.26. Ier 21.18. Ezek. 18.31. Isa. 1.16. Heb. 8.1 [...]. Those things which God worketh in us, and bestoweth upon us by his Grace, he also re­quireth of us by his Command: Sometimes he pro­miseth to turn us, sometimes he commandeth us to turn to him: Sometimes he biddeth us put away [Page 37] sinne, and sometimes he promiseth to take it away from us. Lex jubet, Gratia juvat. Aug. Epist. 95. & Epist. 144. ct l. 3. contr. 2. Ep. pelag. ca. 7. Petamus ut det, quod ut habeamus jubet. in Exod. quest. 55. de bono vidui­tatis, cap. 17. In the one shewing us what is our dutie, and in the other where is our help. And as this lat­ter consideration calleth upon our Faith to pray: so the former upon our obedience to work. I shall ther­fore (Right Honourable) humbly offer a double Exhortation unto all of you.

First, that every one of you would seriously en­deavour to take away all iniquity from his own per­son. And unto this there lyeth upon you a double Obligation; one with relation to the safety of your own souls, for whatever other honour, wealth, wise­dome, learning, interest a man hath besides, if sin have the predominancy, they are but Satans Maga­zine, and that man his servant to imploy them against God that gave them: and the more mercies any man hath been trusted withal, the heavier judge­ment will be poured out upon the breach of that trust: Better be a wooden vessell to hold Wine, then a silver vessell to hold Excrements; better be a Beg­gar with the treasure of Gods grace, then a Prince with the load of a mans own sins.

But there is a further tie upon you, with relation unto the successe of that Honourable imployment whereunto you are called. Ita nati estis, Tacit. Annal. lib. 4. ut b [...]na ma­la (que) vestra ad Rempub. pertineant. God will be san­ctified in all those that draw ne [...]r unto him, as well in civill, as in sacred Administrations. It is very hard for a person in whom sin rules, to be constant­ly faithfull to any publique and honorable service. For Grace onely establisheth the heart, Hebr. 13.9. Achitophel, a man of great wisdome fals from Da­vid: [Page 38] Ionah, a man of great valour, fals from Solomon. And admit he be faithfull, yet the sin of his heart sends out a prohibition to the wisdom of his head, and the labour of his hand: he that will be a fit ves­sell for his Masters uses; must first of all purge him­self. 2. Tim. 2.21. As we first cleanse a vess [...]ll be­fore we use it. When Ioshua was to negotiate a pub­lique Reformation, and to administer a publique service, his filthy garment must be taken from him, and he must be clothed with change of rayment, Zach. 3.4, 7. Let every one of you make his pub­lique service one argument more then he had be­fore, for his necessary reformation, and let the piety of your lives bear witnesse to the integrity of your honourable undertakings.

Sect. 14.Secondly, As you must take away sin from your selves, so make it your principall work to take away iniquitie out of the Land; Liberty, Property, Pri­viledges are sacred and pretious things, not to be in the least manner betrayed,R. Akika in pirke Aboth. yea in some sense we may look upon them, as the Jews upon their Mos­sora, tanquam legis & pietatis sepem. As a fence and mound unto Religion it self. Arbitrary government would quickly be tampering in sacred things, be­cause corruption in the Church is marvellously subservient and advantagious to corruption in the State. But the most Orient Pearl of this King­dome is our Religion, and the bitterest enemies un­to that, are our sins. These are the snuffes that dim our Candlestick, and threaten the removall of it▪ these the leaven that defile our Passeovers, and urge God to passe away and depart from us; these the [Page 39] obstructions between his sacred Majesty and you, and between both, and the happinesse of the King­dome. Think seriously what wayes may be most effectual to purge out this leaven out of the Land. The principall sacrificing knife which kils and mor­tifies sin, is the Word of God, and the knowledge of it. It would have been a great unhappinesse to the Common-wealth of Learning,Sueton in Ca­lig cap. 34. if Caligu [...]a [...] (as he endevoured) deprived the world of the writings of Homer, Virgil, and Livy. But O! what an Aegy­ptian calamity is it, to have in this Sun-shine of the Gospel, thousands of persons and families (as I doubt not but upon inquirie it would appear) without the writings of the Prophets and Apo­stles. A Christian souldier without his sword, a Christian builder without his rule and square, a Christian calling without the instruments and bal­lances of the Sanctuary belonging to it. O there­fore that every Parish had an indowment [...]it for a learned, laborious and worthy Pastor, and Pa­stors worthy of such endowments, that provi­sion were made that every family might have a Bible in it, and (if by Law it might possibly be pro­cured) the exercises of Religion therewithall, this would be the surest Magazine to secure the happi­nesse of a Kingdome: that all reproachfull titles, which the devill useth as scarcrows and whi [...]lers to keep back company from pressing in upon Christs Kingdome, were by Law proscribed; That scanda­lous sins were by the awfulnesse and severity of Dis­cipline more blasted and brought to shame. That the Lords house were more frequented, and his day [Page 40] more sanctified, and his Ordinances more reveren­ced, and his Ministers, which teach the good know­ledge of the Lord, more encouraged then ever here­tofore. In one word, that all the severall fountains of the Common-wealth were settled in a sound and flourishing constitution. That in every place we might see Piety the Elme to every other Vine, the supporter to every other profession. Learning ador­ned with Piety, and Law administred with Piety, and Counsels managed with Piety, and Trade regu­lated with Pietie, and the Plow followed with Pie­tie. That when Ministers fight against sin, with the sword of Gods Word, you who are the Nobles and Gentry of the Land, would second them, and frown upon it too; a frown of yours may some­times do as much service to Christ, as a Sermon of ours. And he cannot but take it very unkindly from you, if you will not bestow your countenance on him who bestowed his blood on you. That you would let the strictnesse of your lives, and the pietie of your examples put wickednes out of countenance and make it appear (as indeed it is) a base and a sordid thing.

If we would thus sadly set our selves against the sins of the Land, no power, no malice, no policies should stand between us and Gods mercies; Reli­gion would flourish, and peace would settle, and trade would revive, and the hearts of men would be re-united, and the Church be as a City com­pacted, and this Nation would continue to be as it hath been, like the Garden of Eden, a mirrour of prosperity and happinesse to other people; and God [Page 41] would prevent us in the second part of our Petiti­on, with the blessing of goodnesse; as soon as ever iniquity were removed, he would do us good; which is the second thing here directed to pray for, Receive us graciously.

In the originall it is [...] Take good, to wit, to bestow upon us;Sect. 15. so Taking is sometimes used for Giving: He received gifts for men, so in the Psalm,Gen. 43.3 [...]. Psal. 68.19. Ephes. 4.8. he gave gifts to men, so in the Apostle: and it is not improbable that the Prophet here secretly leadeth us to Christ the Mediatour who first recei­veth gifts from his Father and then poureth them forth upon his Church. Act. 2.23.

The meaning then is. Lord, when thou hast par­doned weakned, mortified sin, go on with thy mer­cy, and being in Christ graciously reconciled unto us, give further evidence of thy Fatherly affection, by bestowing portions upon us. They shall not be cast away upon unthankfull persons we will render the Calves of our lips, they shal not be bestowed up­on those that need them not, or, that know where else to provide themselves. It is true we have gone to the Assyrian, we have taken our horses instead of our prayers, and gone about to finde out good;Psal. 1 Cor. 8.4. we have been so foolish as to think that the Idols which have been beholden to our hands for any shape that is in them, could be instead of hands, and of God unto us, to help us in our need: but now we know that men of high degree are but a lie, that horses are but a vanity, that an Idol is nothing, and therefore can give nothing. That power be­longeth unto thee, none else can do it, That mercy [Page 42] belongeth unto thee, none else will do it, therefore since in thee only the fatherlesse find mercy, be thou pleased to do us good.

We will consider the words, first, absolutely, as a single prayer by themselves. Secondly, relatively, in their connexion, and with respect to the scope of the place.

From the former consideration, we observe, That all the good we have is from God; he only must be sought unto for it; we have none in our selves, I know that in me, that is, in my flesh dwelleth no good, Rom. 7.18. we can neither Gen. 6.5▪ 2 Cor. 3.5. Matth. 12.34. Psal. 14.3. think, nor speak, nor do it.

And missing it in our selves, it is all in vaine to seek for it in things below our selves.

They can provide for our back and belly (and yet not that neither without God: the root out of which the fruits of the earth do grow, is above in heaven, the Genealogy of Corn, and Wine, is resolved into God. Hose. 2.22.) But if you go to your Lands, or Houses, or Teasuries for physick for a sick soul, or a guilty conscience, they will all return an Ignoramus to that enquiry, salvation doth not grow in the furrows of the field, neither are there in the earth to be found any Mines or har­vests of Grace or Comfort.

In God alone is the Psal. 369 fountain of life, he that on­ly Matt. 19.17· is good, he only Psal. 119.68· doth good; when we have wea­ried our selvs with having recourse to second cau­ses, here at last, like the wandering Dove, we must arrive for rest: Many will say, who will shew us any good, Do thou lift up the light of thy countenance upon [Page 43] us, Psal. 4.6. From him alone comes every go O gift, Iam. 1.17. whether Temporall, it is his Prov. 10.2. Matth. 4.4. 1 Tim. 4.5. bles­sing that maketh the creature able to comfort us: The woman touched the hem of Christs garment, but the vertue went not out of the garment, but out of Christ▪ Luk. 8.44. or whether Spirituall, sancti­fied 1 Ioh. 5.20▪ Phil. 2.13. Ier. 32.3 [...]. Rom. 5.5. faculties, sanctified Eph. 2.8, 9, 10 Col. 2.11, 12. habits, sanctified 2 Tim. 2.25. Phil. 2.13. moti­ons, glorious Eph. 1.5, 6▪ Ioh▪ 1.12. relations, in Predestination, Adopti­on, and Christian Liberty: excellent 1 Cor. 12.6▪ gifts, hea­venly 2 Cor. 1.3. Rom 15.13. comforts, all and Concil. Mile­vit. can. 3, 4, 5. Concil. Arau­sican. secund. Aug. de grat. & lib. Arb. ca. 21▪ onely from him. And that without change and alteration: he doth not do good one while, and evill another, but goodnesse is his proper and native operation; he is not the author of sin, that entred by the devil; he is not the author of death, that entred by sin; but Hos. 13.9. our destruction is of our selves. And therefore though the Amos 3.6. Isa. 45.7. Vid. Tertul. c [...]n [...]. Marcion. li. 2. ca. 14. Prophet say, Is there any evil in the City, which the Lord hath not done? Yet, he doth it not but onely as it is bo­num justitiae, good in order to his glory: For it is just with God, that they who run from the order of his Commands, should fall under the order of his Pro­vidence, and doing willingly what hee forbids, should unwillingly suffer what he threatneth.

In one word, God is the Author of All good, by his grace working it: the Permitter of all evill, by his patience enduring it: the Orderer and disposer of both, by his mercy rewarding the one, by his justice revenging the other, and by his wisedome di­recting both to the ends of his eternal glory.

This serveth to discover the free and [...]le working of Grace in our first conversion,Sect. 16. and the continued working of grace in our further sanctification: what­soever [Page 44] is good in us habitually, as Grace inhering, or actually, as Grace working, is from him alone as the Author of it. For though it be certain, that when we will and do, our selves are agents, yet it is still under and from him, Aug. de grat. & Il. arb. ca. 1.6 de grat. Christi ca. 25. cont. 2. ep. Pel [...]g. li. 4. c. 6. de perfect. justi [...]iae ca. 19. Certum est nos facere cum faciamus, sed ille facit ut faciamus, as the great cham­pion of Grace speaketh; by Grace we are that we are, we do what we do in Gods service: Vessels have no wine, bags have no money in them, but what the Merchant putteth in: the bowls of the Candle­sticks had no oyl but that which dropped from the Olive branches.

Other Aug. de clv. Dei. li. 12. c. 9. Field of the church. l. 1. c. [...]. things which seek no higher perfection then is to be found within the compasse of their own nature, may by the guidance and activity of the same nature, attain thereunto: but man aspi­ring to a divine happinesse, can never attain there­unto but by a divine strength: Aug. li. de pa­tientia. c. 18. impossible it is for any man to enjoy God without God.

The truth of this point sheweth it in five gra­dations.

1. By Grace our 1 Cor. 2.12.14. Matt. 11▪ 27. Ier. 31.34. Vid. Aug. de grat. Christ. li 1. c. 13.14. & ep. 143. mindes are enlightened to know and beleeve him: for Spirituall things are spiritually discerned.

2. By Grace our Ioh. 6.4 [...]. Eze [...]. [...].2 [...]. Ier. 32.35. hearts are inclined to love and obey him, for spirituall things are spiritually ap­proved: He onely by his Almighty and ineffable operation, worketh in us, Aug. de grat. Christi c. 24. Et veras Revelationes, et bonas voluntates.

3. By Grace our Heb. 13.20. Rom. 7.18. Phil. 2. [...]3. lives are enabled to work what our hearts do love, without which, though we should will, yet we cannot perform, no more then [Page 45] the knife which hath a good edge is able actually to cut, till moved by the hand.

4. By Grace our good works are carried on unto 1 Thes. 5.23. 1 Pe [...]. 5.10. Iude vet. 24. Ioh. 17.15. perfection. Adam wanting the Grace of perseve­rance, fell from innocency it self: Vid· Aug. Enchi [...]id c. [...]2. de grat. & lib. arb. c. 6. & 17. Peto u [...] acci­am, & cum ac­cepero rursu [...] peto. Hieron. ad C [...]esiphont▪ It is not suf­ficient for us that he prevent and excite us to will, that he co-operate & assist us to work: except he con­tinually follow and supply us with a residue of spirit to perfect and finish what we set about. All our works are begun, continued, and ended in him.

Lastly, By Grace our perseverance is crowned: for our best Psal. 143.2. Isa. 64.6. works could not endure the triall of ju­stice, if God should enter into judgement with us; Grace enableth us to work, and Grace rewardeth us for working; Grace beginneth Phil. 1.6. Heb. 12.2., and Grace finish­eth both our faith and salvation. The work of holi­nesse is nothing but Grace, and the reward of holi­nesse is nothing but Grace for Grace.

Secondly, this teacheth us how to know Good from Evil in our selves; what we look on as good, Sect. 17. we must see how we have derived it from God; the more recourse we have had unto God by prayer, and faith, and study of his will, in the procurement of it, the more goodnesse we shall find in it. A thing done may be good in the substance of the work,phil. 1.15.16. and yet evill in the manner of doing it; as the substance of a vessell may be silver, but the use sordid. Iehu his [...]eal was rewarded as an act of Iustice, quoad sub­stantiam operis, 2 King. 10.30. Hosea. 1.4. and it was punished too as an act of policy, quoad m [...]dum, for the perverse end. A thing which I see in the night may shine, and that shi­ning proceed from nothing but rottennesse. We [Page 46] must not measure our selves by the matter of things done: for there may be 1 Sam. 21.7. Mar. 6.2 [...]. Act. 24.25. Isa. 58.3. Ma [...]th. 6.16. Mat. 23.2, 3. Malum opus in bona mate­ria. Doeg prayes, and Herod hears, and Hypocrites fast, and Pharisees preach: but when wee would know the Rebus ad ima t [...]ndentibus in Imo ponitur fundamentum; Ecclesia vero in Imo posita ten­dit in Coelum, fundamentum [...]go nostrum ibi positum est. Aug. Enarrat. 1. in Psal. 29. goodness of our works, look to the foun­tain, whether they proceed from the Father of lights by the spirit of love, & the grace of Christ, from humble, penitent, filiall, heavenly dispositi­ons; nothing will carry the soul unto God, but that which cometh from him. Our Communion with the Father, and the Sonne, is the triall and foundation of all our goodnesse.

Thirdly, Thi [...] should exceedingly abase us in our own eyes, and stain all the pride, and cast down all the Plumes of flesh and blood, when we seriously consider that in us, as now Ier. 2.21. degenerated from our originall, there is no good to be found, our Isa. 1.22. Ezek. 22.18· wine be­come water, & our Silver dresse, as our Saviour saith of the devil; when he lies Ioh. 8.44. he speaks de suo ▪ of his own, so when we do evil, we work, de nostro, of our own, and secundum hominem, as the Apostle speaks, According unto man, 1 Cor. 3.3. Lusts are g our own, our very Rom. 2.24. Iam. 1.14. members to that body of sin which the Col. [...].5. Eph. [...].22. Apostle calleth the old man, with which it is as impossible to do any good, as for a Toad to spit Cordi [...]ls.

Men are apt to glory of their good hearts and intentions, only because they cannot search them. Ier. 17.11. And being carnal themselves, to enter­tain none but carnal notions of Gods service. But if they knew the purity and jealousie of God, & their own impotency to answer so holy a wil, they would [Page 47] lay their hands upon their mouthes, and with Iob, abhor themselves, and with Isaiah, Iob 42.5, 6. Isa. 6.5. Heb. 12.20. Iosh. 24, 19. bewail the un­cleannesse of their lips, and with Moses, fear and quake, as not being able to endure the things that are commanded, and with Ioshua, acknowledge that they cannot serve God, because he is holy: they would then remember that the Law of God is a Law of fire, Deut. 33.2. and the Tribunall of God, a Tribunall of fire, Ezek. 1.27. that the pleading of God with sinners, are in flames of fire, Isa. 66.15, 16. that the triall of all our works shall be by fire, 1 Cor. 3.13. that the God before whom we must appear, is a consuming fire, Hebr. 12.29. Goe now and bring thy straw and stubble, thy drowsie and sluggish de­votion, thy fickle and flattering repentance, thy formall and demure services into the fire, to the Law to measure them, to the Iudge to censure them; nay, now carry them to thine own conscience, and tell me whether that wil not passe the Fathers ver­dict upon them, Sordet in conspectu Iudicis, Greg. quod fulget in conspectu operantis, Sect. 18. That which is fayr in thine eye, is filthy in Gods.

Lastly, this serveth for Exhortation unto these particular duties. First, unto Patience and meek­nesse under any evill that God may bring upon us, and that not barely, because he doth us good in other things, which was Iobs argument, Shall we re­ceive good from the Lord, and not evill? Job 2.10. But further, because the very evils that come upon us, are oftentimes by him intended for good, as Io­seph told his brethren, Gen. 50.20. We are not an­gry with the Medicina eti­am invitis pro­dest. Sen. ep. 98 Quae per insua­vit [...]tem meden­tur, emolumento curationis offen­sam sui excu­sant, & pre­sentem insuriam superventurae utilitatis gra­tia commen­dant. Tertul. de penit. cap. 10. Physician when he launceth, dieteth, [Page 48] and restraineth us of our will; he denieth us our will, that we may have our will: a sick man is many times most faithfully served, when he is crossed. I lop my trees, bruise my grapes, grinde my corn▪ to fit it to the ends whereunto it tendeth. Gods end is mercifull when his hand is heavy, as Iohns Roll was, Rev. [...] 9. Heb. 1 [...].11. [...]a. 27.9.48▪ 10. sweet in the mouth, but bitter in the belly, so troubles may be bitter to the palate, but profitable to the Conscience: like hot spices that bite the tongue, but comfort the stomack.

And as it dictateth patience in suffering evil, so in doing our duties, though weQu [...]squis vo­lens d [...]tra [...]it sa­m [...] meae, n [...]lens addit m [...]rcedi meae. August. cont. literas Petiliani li. 3. cap. 7. suffer contempt and reproaches for it. If we were to receive our rewards from men, their frowns might discourage us: but when we have done Gods will, God himself will be our reward, and make his promises a comfort unto us. Moses and Aaron, though their whole imploy­ments were for the good of Israel, were yet repay­ed with murmuring & discontent, and the people like children, qui cibum sumunt, sed flentes (to use the similitude of the Orator in Aristotle) repined at the food which their prayers obtained for them,Rhetor. l. 3. c. 4. yet nothing dismayed them from their duty, Etiam post naufragium tentantur Maria. The woman of Ca­naan prays on when she is denied,Sen▪ ep. 81· and Iacob holds with his hands when his thigh is lamed: our first care must be to be in our way, to be doing our du­ties, & then though as (Solomon speaks) we should meet a Lion in our way, we must not be dismayed; for Angels are stronger then Lions, and he hath given his Angels charge over u [...], to bear us in our wayes, psal. 91.11. Yea, Whilest we are with him, he himself is [Page 49] with us, 2 Chron. 15.2. so that the way of the Lord is the surest and safest walke that any man can have, The way of the Lord is strength to the upright, Prov. 10.29.

Secondly, unto Humility: If thou be a Vessell of gold, and thy brother but of wood, be not high mind­ed, it is 1 Cor. 4.7. Rom. 11.20. Ille discernit qui unde discer­naris impertit, poenam debitam removendo in­debitam gratiā largienda. Aug. contr. 2. ep. Pe­lag. l. 2. ca. 7. God that maketh thee to differ, the more bounty God shewes, the more humility he requires. Those Opulentissima me [...]alla quorum in al [...]o latent venae. Se [...]p. 23. Altissima flumi­na minimo sono labuntur. Q. Curt. l. 7. Mines that are richest are deepest, those Stars that are highest seeme smallest, the goodliest buildings have the lowest foundations; the more God honoureth men, the more they should humble themselves; the more the fruit, the lower the branch on which it grows; pride is ever the companion of emptinesse: O how full was the Apostle, yet how Ephes. 3.8. 1 Cor. 15.8. 1 Tim. 1.15. 2 Cor. 3.5. Rom. 7.18▪ low was his language of himselfe, least of Saints, last of Apostles, chiefe of sinners, no sufficiency to think, no abilities to doe, all that he is, he is by grace; thus Humility teacheth us in our Operations to draw strength from God, not for our selves; in our graces to ascribe their goodnesse to God, and their weaknes to our selves.

Thirdly, unto dependance and continuall recourse to God, as the fountaine of all good, to keep an open and an unobstructed passage between him and our soule: say not, I have light enough in my house,Vide Aug. de grat. & li. arb. cap. 8. I may now shut up my windowes, for light within hath dependance upon immediate supplies from the Sun without, and so hath grace upon continuall supplies from the Sun of righteousnesse; God teach­eth even the Husbandman to plow and thresh, Isa. 28.26. In these things his direction is to be im­plored: [Page 50] Meddle not then with great and high af­fairs, without recourse unto him. His name is Coun­sellor, and his testimonies are Counsellors, let them be the rule and square of all your debates.Isa. 9.6. Psal. 119.24. It is Liv. lib 26. A Gel. l 7.1. Valer. Max. l. 1. c. 2. re­corded for the honour of Scipio, that he went first to the Capitoll, and then to the Senate. But you have more noble examples. 2 Sam. 15.26, 31. Isa. 47.3, 4, 15. 2 Chr. 20 6. Nehem. 2.3, 4. David is put to flight, he flyes and prayes; Ezekiah is at a stand in all his Counsels, he sends to the Prophet and prayes; Ieho­saphat is in great distresse, and knowes not what in the world to doe, but he prayes; Nehemiah is sore afraid, and hath a Petition to make to the King, but first he makes one to God, and prayes; when ever the children are come to the birth, and there is no strength to bring forth, all the world cannot furnish you with such another Midwife as prayer, and re­course to God; it hath delivered even graves of their dead. Therefore let me beseech you, when ever you meet with such difficulties as put you to a stand, that you know not what to advise or resolve upon, goe to your Closets, prostrate your selves at his Throne, whose honour it is to be seene in the Mount, beg counsell of him in whom are hid all the Treasures of wisedome and knowledge. Let it appeare that you seek his face to direct you, and his glory ▪ as the supreme end and designe of all your consultations, and then [...]ny whether he be not a pre­sent help in trouble, and whether he will not mag­nifie the wisedome of his Counsell in the perplexitie of yours.

Fourthly, unto fidelity, in the use of any good which God bestowes upon u [...], for God gives not [Page 51] talents to men, barely to enrich men, but to imploy them; therefore as the Vessell hath one passage to let the Wine into it selfe, and another to poure it out into the Flaggo [...], so we should not only fill our selves by dependance upon God, but should supply our selves by love and service unto our bre­thren.

Right Honourable, This Nation hath put into your hands all that is outwardly deare unto them, their persons, posterities, liberties, estates; In these sad and wofull distractions, they look upon you as binders, and healers, and standers in the gap, and re­payrers of the wast-places; God hath called you unto an high and a great trust; and the sad distempers of the Church and State, the distresses and desolati­ons of Ireland, the doubts and feares, the shiverings and convulsions of England, and in these two the interest of all the Protestant Churches call upon you, like the man of Macedonia in Saint Pauls vision, Acts 16.9. Come and help us. Now in this great strait, when the children are come to the birth, and there is no strength to bring forth, stir up the gra­ces of God in you, call together all that is within you to call upon his name, improve the uttermost of your interests in him for the state of his Church, mannage every one of his gifts to the clo­sing of those miserable breaches which threaten an inundation of calamitie upon us all; wisedome, and learning, and piety, & prudence, are healing things: Remember (and O that God would put into the hearts of this whole Kingdome, from the Throne to the Plow to remember) the fate of a divided King­dome [Page 52] from the mouth of truth it selfe; O that we would all remember that misunderstandings, and jealousies, and divisions of heart are an high evi­dence of Gods displeasure, and that through the wrath of the Lord of Hosts, a Land is darkned, and as it were infatuated, when Manasse is against Ephraim, and Ephraim against Manasse, and every man eateth the flesh of his owne Arme. Isa. 7.9.21. O let us all re­member what it cost Shechem and Abimelech, what it cost Benjamin, and the other Tribes, even the losse of threescore and five thousand men: remem­ber Priamus and his children will laugh, Babylon will clap their hands and wag their head; no such time for Shishak the Aegyptian to trouble Jerusa­lem, as when Israel is divided. 2 Chron. 12.2. Let it never be said of Gods owne people, that they are fallen into the curse of Midianites, and Ammo­rites, and Edomites, and Philistines to help forward the destruction of one another. O that God would give this whole Nation hearts to consider these things, that he would put a spirit of peace and re­solved unity into the minds of this whole people, to be true to their owne happinesse, and by how much the greater are the subtilties of men to divide them, to be so much the more firmly united in prayers to God, and in concord between them­selves, that they may not expose their persons, estates, posterities, and (which is dearest of all) their Religion, to the craftie and bloodie advanta­ges of the enemies of the Protestant Churches, who in humane view could have no way to over­throw them, but by their own dissentions.

[Page 53]I have done with this point, and shall conclude all with a very few words of the next, which is drawn from the scope and connexion of the prayer suggested, to the judgement threatned, It is this;

When temporall judgements are felt or feared, Sect. 19. Gods people should pray for spirituall mercies; Humane sorrows cannot overcome where the joy of the Lord is our strength. Thus the Lord seems to have taught his Apostle,Bonus qui non tribuit quod volumus, ut tribuat quod malimus. Aug. ep. 34. Exdudiens Car­dinem desiderii ejus, non curasti quod tune pete­bat, ut in mesa­ceres quod sem­per pe [...]ebat. Conf. li. 5. c. 8. he was under some pressing discomfort, the messenger of Satan sent to buffet him, he prayes for particular deliverance, and God answers him non ad voluntatem sed ad utilitatem, im­plying a direction unto all such prayers, My grace is sufficient for thee, 2 Cor. 12.9. When thou feelest a thorn in thy flesh, pray for grace in thy heart, the buffets of Satan, cannot hurt, where the grace of God doth suffice; so he directeth in time of plague and famine, to pray, and to seek his face, 2 Chron. 7.14. to look more after his favour than our owne ease; to be more solicitous for the recovering of his Love, than for the removing of his Rod. This is a true character of a filiall disposition. In the way of thy judgements, even in that way, wherein wicked men fling thee off, and give thee over, and quarrell with thee, and repine against thee, even in the way of [...]hy judgements do we wait for thee, and the desire of our soul is more to thy Name, than to our own de­liverance, Isa. 26.8. true Diciples follow Christ,Joh. 6.29. Job, 10. more for his Doctrine than his loaves, and are wil­ling to choose rather affliction than iniquity.

The grace and favour of God is life, Psal. 30.5. better than life, Psal. 63.3. and therefore must needs [Page 54] be the most soveraigne Antidote to preserve, and to bear up the soul above all other discomforts, where­as if he be angry, no other helps are able to relieve us. Brasse and Iron can fence me against a Bullet or a Sword, but if I were to be cast into a furnace of fire, it would help to torment me, if into a pit of water,Heb. 12.29. Isa. 30 33. it would help to sinke me: Now our God is a consuming fire, and his breath a streame of brimstone. Humane plaisters can never cure the wounds which God makes: where he is the Smiter, he must be the Healer too, Hos. 6.1. All the Candles in a Coun­trey are not able to make day there, till the Sunne come: and all the contents of the world are not able to make comfort to the soule, till the Sun of Righte­ousnesse arise with healing in his wings. In a Mine, if a damp come, it is in vaine to trust to your lights, they will burn blew, and dimme, and at last vanish, you must make haste to be drawne upward if you will be safe. When God sharpneth an affliction with his displeasure, it is vaine to trust to worldly succours, your desires and affections must be on things above, if you will be relieved. There is no re­medie, no refuge from Gods anger, but to Gods grace. Bloud letting Calores ca [...]o ribus onerando deprimimus & sanguinis fluxli desusa i [...]s [...]per venula revoca­mus. Tertul. is a cure of bleeding, and a burn a cure against a burne; and running into Go [...] is the way to escape him, as to close and get in [...] him that would strike you, doth avoid the blow. In a tempest at Sea, it is very dangerous to strike to the shore, the safest way is to have Sea-roome, and to keep in the Main still: there is no landing against any tempest of Gods judgements at any shore of worldly or carnall policies, but the way is to keep [Page 55] with him still; if he be with us in the Ship, the winds and the Sea will at last be rebuked.

This then should serve to humble us for our car­nall prayers in times of judgement,Sect. 20. such as the hun­gry Raven, or the dry and gaping earth makes, when we assemble our selves for Corne and Wine, for peace and safety, and be in the meane time carelesse whe­ther God receive us graciously or no. God much complains of it, when he slew Israel, the ra [...]k made him rore, the rod made him flatter, but all was to be rid of affliction: It was the prayer of nature for ease, not of the Spirit for grace, for their heart was not right, Psal. 78.34, 37. The like he complains of after the Captivity: they fasted and prayed in the fifth moneth (wherein the City and Temple had bin burned) and in the seventh moneth (wherein Gede­liah had bin slain,Jer. and the remnant carried captive) but they did it not out of sinceritie toward God, but out of policie for themselves; and this he proves by their behaviour after their return. If you had in­deed sought me, you would have remembred the words of the Prophets, when Ierusalem was inhabited before, and being returned, would now have put them to practise. But Jerusalem inhabited after the Capti­vitie, is just like Jerusalem inhabited before the cap­tivitie; so that from hence it appears, that all their weeping and separating was not for pious, but po­litique reasons, Zach. 7.5, 6. And there is nothing under heaven more hatefull, or more reproachfull unto God, than to make Religion serve turns, to have piety lacquey and dance attendance, and be a drudge, and groom to private ends, to make it a cloake to po­licy, [Page 56] a varnish to rotten wood, silver, drosse to a bro­ken Potsheard.

O then when we weep and seperate our selves, let us not think to mock God with empty ceremonies of Repentance, let us not assemble our selves, only to flatter away the rod from our back, and to get peace and security to our owne persons, and then let the favour of God, the power of his Grace, the comforts of his Spirit be as unregarded as before: (as if we fasted and prayed onely for our backs and bellies, not for our Consciences or conversations) for be we well assured, he who doth not aske the things which he ought, shall not obtain the things which he asks: such a prayer begs nothing but a de­niall.

We have now many fasts together, prayed for making up our breaches, for reparing our ruines, for composing our distractions, for reducing this Kingdom unto an happy constitution, for a right understanding between the King and his great Councell. These prayers we have not found yet re­turn like Noahs Dove, with an Olive branch, a gra­cious answer unto us again. What's the reason? Where's the obstruction? Is not he a God that heareth prayers? Is it not his Title? Doth he not glory in it? Certainly mercies stop not at God, but at us. We are not straitned in him, but in our own bow­els: If there come but a little light into a room, the defect is not in the Sun, but in the narrowness of the window; if a vessell fill but slowly, the fault is not any emptiness in the Fountain, but the small­ness of the pipe. If mercies ripen slowly, or stop at [Page 57] any time in the way, it is not because they are un­willing to come to us, but because we are unfit to enjoy them. Our prayers doubtless, in many of us, have not been words taken from him, but from our own carnal dictates.

We would fain have things well in our Coun­try, but have we hitherto looked after our consci­ences? The destractions without us, have they dri­ven us to consider the distempers within, or to de­sire the things above? The unsetledness of peace in the Kingdom, hath it awakened us to secure our peace with God? We would fain have better times, but have we yet laboured for better hearts?Semper dies mali in seculo, boni in Deo, Aug. in Psalm 33. we would fain have a right understanding between the King and his great Councel, but have we yet sadly set about it, to have a more clear and sweet Communion between us and our God? we long to see more good laws, but are we yet come to the care of good lives? Every one cries out, Who will shew us any good? but how few think on the light of Gods countenance?

Hence, hence (Beloved) is the miscarriage of all our Prayers. If we would seek gods Kingdom, we are promised other things by way of overplus and Ac­cession, as he that buyeth a Treasury of Jewels hath the Cabinet into the Bargain. But when we place our Kingdom in outward comforts, and let our dai­ly bread shut out all the other five petitions out of our prayers; no wonder if the promises of this life, which are annexed unto Godliness, do not answer those prayers wherein godliness is neglected. It were preposterous to begin the building of an [Page 58] house at the Roof and not at the Foundation Piety is the foundation of prosperity. If you would have your cheldrin like plants & like polished stones, your Gar­ners ful, your Cattel plenteous, no complaining in your streets Psal. 144.12.15. Quidquid mihi praeter illum est; dulce non est, quicquid mihi vult dare Do­minus meus, au­ferat totum, & se mihi de [...]. Aug. Enarrat. 2. in Psal. 26. Hic quod vinum est non potest esse panis; quod tibi Lux est, non po­test esse potus; Deus [...] totum tibi [...]rit. Man­ducabis Eum ne Esurias, bi [...]es E­um ne si [...]ias, il­luminaberis ab eo ne sis Cacus, fulcieris ab [...]o, ne deficias. Ib. in Psal. 36.; If you would have the King happy, and the Church happy, and the State happy, and peace and prosperity flourish again; Let our chief prayer be, Lord make us a happy people by being our God. Give us thy self, thy grace, thy favour, give us re­newed hearts, and reformed lives; let not our sins confute, and outcry, and belie our prayers, and pray them back again without an Answer: And when we seek thee and thy Christ above all, we know that with him thou wilt freely give us all other things. The spiritual good things which we beg, wil either remove, or shelter and defend us from the outward evil things which we suffer.

Secondly, this serveth for an instruction unto us touching a sanctified use of Gods judgments, or threatnings: when we learn obedience (as Christ did) by the things which we suffer, Hebr. 5.8. when [...] are [...], that we are chastened and taught toge­ther, Psal. 94.12. when sufferings do quicken spiri­tual desires, and the more troubles we find in our way, the more love we have to our Country: when we can say, all this is come upon us, and yet we have not forgotten thee, Sect. 21 Psal. 44.17, 18. when we can serve God as wel in plowing and breaking the clods, as in treading out the Corn, Hos. 10.11. When with Io­nah we can delight in him even in the Whales bel­ly, and suffer not our love of him to be quenched with all the waters of the Sea. When we can truly [Page 59] say to him; Lord love me, and then do what thou wilt unto me; let me feel thy r [...]d, rather then for­feit thine affection: when we can look through the Anger of his chastisements unto the Beauty of his Commands, and to the sweetness of his loving coun­tenance, as by a Rain bow we see the beautiful Image of the Suns-light in the middst of a dark and waterish Cloud: when by how much the Flesh is the fuller of pain, by so much prayers are fuller of spirit; by how much the heavier are our earthly suf­ferings, by so much the stronger are our heavenly de­sires: when God threatneth punishments, and we pray for grace, this is a sanctified use of Gods judg­ments. And this we should all be exhorted unto in the times of distraction, to make it the principal argument of our prayers and study of our lives, to obtain spiritual good things; and the less comfort we find in the world to be the more importunate for the comforts of God, that by them we may in­courage our selves, as David did in his calamity at Ziglag, 1 Sam. 30.6. when the City Shechem was beaten down to the ground, then the men and women fled to the strong Tower and shut that upon them, Iudg. 9.51. The name of the Lord is a strong Tower, the Righteous fly to it and are safe, Prov. 18.18.

Herein we shall more honour God when we set him up in our hearts as our fear and treasure, and mourne more towards him, then for the miseries we feel, and suspire more after him, then all the outward contentment which we want.

Herein we shall more exercise Repentance, for it [Page 60] is worldly sorrow which droopeth under the pain of the flesh, but godly sorrow is most of all affected with the Anger of God.

Herein we shall more prevail with God, the more heavenly the matters of our prayer are, the more prevalent they must needs be with an Heavenly Fa­ther; we have five spiritual petitions unto one for bread; the more sutable our prayers are to Gods wil, the more easie access they will have to his eare. The Covenant of grace turns precepts into promises, and the spirit of grace turns preceps and promises into prayers. It is not Gods wil that we should live without afflictions, but our sanctification is Gods will, 1 Thes. 4.3. The more prayers proceed from love, the more acceptable to the God of love; now prayer against judgments proceeds from fear; but prayer for grace and favour proceeds from love.

Lastly, hereby we shall more benefit our selves; Gods grace is much better then our owne ease; It gives us meekness to submit, It gives us strength to bear, It gives us wisedom to benefit by our afflicti­ons.

Gods favour is much better then our own ease, and is a recompence for sufferings beyond all their evils. A man would be contented to be loaded with gold, so he might have it for the bearing, though it be heavy, yet it is precious, and Gods fa­vour turns affliction into gold. If he gives quietness, nothing can give trouble, Iob 34.29. and if he keep back his grace and favour, nothing can give peace; neither wealth, nor honours, nor pleasures, nor Crowns nor all the world, with the fulness, or ra­ther [Page 61] the emptiness thereof, nor can doe us any good at all. Any thing which wil consist with the reign of lust, with the guilt of sin, with the curse of the Law, with the wrath of God, with horrors of conscience, and with the damnation of Hel, is too base to the called the good of man. To doe judgment, to [...]ve mercy, and walk humbly with God, this is bonum ho­minis, the good of man, Mich. 6.8. to fear God, to keep his Commandements, this is totum hominis, the whole end, and happiness of man, Eccles. 12.13.

O then get Remission and Removal of sin, get this bonum hominis, the oyl of grace in your Lamps, the peace of God in your hearts, the streams of the Ri­vers of God in your consciences, and then, though the earth be moved, and the mountains shake, and the waters roar, what ever distractions, what ever desolations happen, Impavidum ferient ruinae: thou shalt find a Chamber in Gods providence, a refuge in his promises, a Pavilion in the secret of his presence to protect and to comfort thee above them all.


Hos. 14.2.3.

—So will we render the Calves of our lips.

3 Asshur shall not save us, we will not ride upon horses, neither wil we say to the work of our hands, ye are our gods, &c.

IN the whole Context we have before ob­served two general parts. Israels prayer, and Israels promise. The Prayer we have handled, and do now proceed unto the promise, wherein are two things to be considered. 1. The Covenant self. 2. The ground upon which they make it, Gods mercy to the fatherless. First then of the Covenant, wherein they promise two things, 1. Thanksgiving for Gods hearing and Answering of their prayers. 2. A special care for Amendment of their lives.

Pro [...] legisse videntur [...] We wil render the a Calves of our lips] The Apostle out of the Septuagint reades it, The a fruit of our lips. Hebr. 13.15. It is the use of the Scripture to de­scribe spiritual duties by expressions drawn from Ceremonies and usages under the Law, as Repentance [Page 63] is called washing, Isa. 1.16. and prayer, incense. Psal. 141.2. Rev. 5.8. and the Rev. Psal. 32.9. Exod 28.2. Zach. 3.4. Psal. 45.8. rigteousness of Saints, fine linen (being an allusion to the garments of the Priests) Rev. 19.8. and Vid. Reynolds Conference with Hart. cap. 8. Divis. 4. & Aquin. in Heb. 13.10. Ha [...]emus altare corpus viz. Chri­sti. Hesych in Levit. li. 1. cap. 4. Christ an Altar, whereby both our persons, and services are sanctified, and ac­cepted. Heb. 13.10. Rom. 12.1. 1 Pet. 2.5. Isa. 56.7. Thus here, the spiritual sacrifices of praise are called Calves, to shew the end of all sacrifices which were Vid. Tertul. contr. Iudaeos. cap. 5.6. & de oratione cap. 1. Aug. de civ. Dei lib. 10. cap. 5. & Epist. 49. ordained for the stirring up of spiritual af­fections, and praises unto God, and also to intimate the vanity of Ceremonial without Real services. The beast on the Altar was but a Carnal, but the faith of the heart, and the confession of the mouth was a Reasonable sacrifice. No point more insisted on in the Prophets then this. Isa. 1.15. Mich. 6.6, 7, 8. Amos 4.4, Psalm, 31. &c. They had idolatrously dishonoured God with their Calves of Dan and Bethel, and they had carnally and superstitiously placed all worship and holiness in the Calves of the Altar: but now they resolve to worship God neither politickly, after humane inventions, nor perfunctorily, with meer outward ceremonies, but spiritually, and from in­ward affections. For the lips are moved by the heart.

Now Thanksgiving is further called the Calves or sacrifices of the lips, to intimate, that after all Gods rich mercies upon us, in pardoning our sins, and in multiplying his grace, and spiritual com­forts upon us, we, like Beggars, have nothing to return but the bare acknowledgments and praises of our lips, words for wonders: And those words too [Page 64] his own gifts, we cannot render them to him, before we have received them from him. Psal. 116.12, 13. Matth. 12.34. 1 Chron. 29.16.

Asshur shall not save us] Unto the general confes­sion of sin intimated in those words,Sect. 2. Take away All Iniquity, here is added a particular detestation of their special sins, with a Covenant to forsake them, lest waxing wanton with pardon and grace, they should relapse into them again. The sum is to confess the vanity of carnal confidence, betaking it self to the aid of men, to the strength of horses, to the superstition of Idols for safety and deliverance. All which they are now at last by their experience, and by their Repentance taught to abandon, as things which indeed cannot, and therefore they are resol­ved shall not save them.

By the Assyrian is here intimated All Humane suc­cour procured by sinful correspondence, by a Synec­doche of the part for the whole. But he is parti­cularly mentioned, 1. Because he was the chiefe Monarch of the world, to shew, that the greatest worldly succours are vain, when they are relied up on without, or against God. 2. Because the Scrip­ture takes notice often of it as their particular sin, the sending unto, relying upon, and paying tribute unto him for aid and assistance. Hos. 5.13.7, 11, 12. 2 Reg. 15.19, 20. 3. Because instead of helping, he did greatly afflict them. Their flying to him was like a birds flying into a snare, or a fishes avoiding the pole wherewith the water is troubled, by swimming into the net. 2 Reg. 15.29. Hos. 13.4.

By Horses we are to understand the military pre­parations [Page 65] and provisions which they made for themselves, both at home, and from Aegypt, 2 Chro. 1.16. Isa. 31.1.

By the work of their Hands are meant their Idols which were beholding to their hands for any shape or beauty that was in them. The same hands which formed them, were afterwards lifted up in worship unto them, Isa., 7, 8. Ier. Act. 19.26. Time was when we said these are our Gods which brought us up out of Egypt, Exod. 32.4. 1 Kings 12.28. but now we will not say so any more, for how can a man be the maker of his Maker?

For in thee the fatherlesse findeth mercy.] This is the ground of their petition for pardon and grace, and of their promise of praises and Amendment, Gods mercy in hearing the prayers, and in ena­bling the performances of his people. It is a Meta­phor drawne form orphanes in their minoritie, who are 1 Destitute of wisdome and abilities to helpe themselves. 2 Exposed to violence and injuries.Orphano trophi sunt qui pare tibus at (que) sun­stantiis d [...]tit [...] ­tos minores su­stentant & edu­cant velut aff [...] ­ctione patern. Cod. de Episa, & Cleric. l. 1▪ c. Tit. 3. [...]eg. 32 & 35 3 Committed for that reason to the care of Tutors and Guardians to governe and protect them. The Church here acknowledgeth her self an out-cast, de­stitude of all wisdome and strength within, of all succour and support from without, and therefore betaketh her selfe solely unto Gods tuition, whose mercy can and useth to helpe when all other helpe fails.

This is the last Link of that golden Chain of Re­pentance made up of these gradations. 1 An hum­ble Addresse unto God. 2 A penitent confession of sin. 3 An earnest petition against it. 4 An implo­ring [Page 66] of grace and favour. 5 Thanksgiving for so great benefits. 6 A Covenant of new obedience, and lastly, a confidence and quiet repose in God.

Sect. 3.Let us now consider what usefull observations the words thus opened will afford unto us. And one main point may be collected from the generall scope of the place. We see after they have petiti­oned for pardon and grace, they then restipulate and undertake to performe duties of thankfullnesse and obedience.

True penitents in their conversion from sin, and humiliation for it, do not onely pray unto God for mercy, but doe further Covenant to expresse the fruits of those mercies in a thankfull and obedient conversation. When first we are admitted into the familie and houshold of God, we enter into a Co­venant. Therefore Circumcision, whereby the chil­dren of the Jews were first sealed and separated for God, is caled His Covenant, Gen. 17.13. because there­in God did covenant to own them, and they did in the figure covenant to mortifie lust, and to serve him, without which they were in his fight but uncircum­cised still.Visitabo super omne [...] populos incircumcisos. Versio Chald. [...]. Septuag. I will punish saith the Lord all those that are circumcised in uncircumcision (so the originall runs, Ier. 9.25.) and the Nations there mentioned with Iudah, who are said to be uncircumcised, did yet Herodot. l. 2. Ar [...]apanus apud Euseb. de praeparat. E­vang. l. 9. c. 27. Orig. in Rom. l. 2. cap. 2. Cyprian de ratione Cir­cumcis. Clem. Alex. Strom. l. 1. Pierii Hie­roglyph. li. 6. Pe [...]er. in Gen. 17.13. Valles. de Sacra phi­losophia. use circumcision as the Learned have observed, but being out of covenant with God it is accounted to them as uncircumcision, and so was that of the Jews too when they did break Covenant with God. Rom. 2.28.29. Act. 7.51. And as the Gentiles being converted are called Iews, and said to be born in Sion, [Page 67] Gal. 6.16. 1 Cor. 12.2. Psal. 87.4, 5· So the Iewes living impenitently are called Cameron. de Eccles. pa. 34. Nec hoc novum Scripturis si­grate u [...]i translatione no­minum, ex com­paratione cri­minum, &c. Tertul. contr. Judaeos c. 8. & cont. Marcion. li. 3. c. 8. Deodati. Heinsius. Gentiles, Cananites, Amorites, Hittites, Ethiopians, Sodomites. Ezek. 16.3. Hos. 12.7. Amos 9.7. Isa. 1.10. In like man­ner Baptisme among Christians is called by the Apostle [...], which the Lear­ned interpret the Answer or Covenant of keeping a good conscience towards God. 1 Pet. 3.21. the word signifieth a Question or Interrogation, which some would have to be the consciences making in­terpellation for it self to God; others to be as much as [...], the examining of a mans selfe, like that before the Lords Supper, 1 Corinth. 11.28. I ra­ther take it as an Allusion to the manner of Iohns Baptisme, wherein the people first confessed, and con­sequently renounced sinne, and being taken into Christs service, or into that Kingdome of God which was at hand, did enquire after the work which they were to doe. And we finde the same word in Luke, cap. 3.10. which the Apostle Peter useth, [...], The people asked him saying, what shall we do? whereby is intimated, An engaging of them­selves by a solemne promise and undertaking, to the practise of that Repentance unto which Iohn bapti­zed them. Aug. lib. de fide & operibus c. 9. Tertul. ad martyres, c. 2. & 3. & de co­ron. Milit. ca. 3. & 13. de Ha­bitu. mulieb. c. 2 de spectacul. ca. 24. & lib. de Idolatria. Apol· c. 38. Interrogatio legitima & Ecclesiastica. Firmilian. apud Cyprian. ep. 75. & ib. ep. 70. & 76. Salvian. li [...] 6. cod. de Episcop. Audient. l. 34. Sect. 1. Vid. Danaeum in Aug. Enchirid. cap. 42. & Brisson. L. Dominic. de spectac. Joseph. vicecomit. de Antiquit. Baptis. li. 2. Gatak. of Lots. p. 319. Espen. in Tit. digres. 9. Verbis obligatio contrahitur ex interrogatione & responsu. ff. de obligationibus & Action. L. 1. Sect. 7. & de verborum obligat. L. 5. Sect. 1. Whence arose that grave forme of the Ancient Churches, wherein Questions were pro­posed to the person baptized touching his faith, and [Page 68] Repentance, Renouncing the world, the flesh, and the devill, with a solemne Answer and stipulation obli­ging thereunto. Which custome seems to have been derived from the practice used in the Apostles time, wherein profession of faith, unfained, and sin­cere Repentance was made before Baptisme. Act. This is the first dedicating of ou [...] selves, and entring into a covenant with God, which we may call in the Prophets expression, the subscribing, or giving a mans name to God. Isa. 44.5.

Now the Covenant between us and God being perpetuall, a De pacto Sa­lis, vid. Paul. Fagi. in Levit. 2. & Pererium in Gen. Stuck. Antiquit. Con. viv. l. 1. c. 30. Sal duraturae amicitiae sym­bolum. Pierius lib. 31. Covenant of salt, Ier. 32.40. 2 Chron. 13.5. As we are to begin it in our Baptisme, so we are to continue it to our lives end, and upon all fit occasions to repeat, and renew it for our further quickning and remembrancing unto duties. So did David, Psal. 119.106. so Iacob, Gen. 28.20, 21, 22. so Asa and the people in his time, 2 Chron. 15.12.15. so Hezekiah, 2 Chron. so Iosiah, 2 Chron. 34.31, 32. so Ezra, and Nehemiah, Ezra. 10.3. Nehem. 9.38.

§. 4.The Reasons enforcing this duty may be drawn from severall considerations. 1. From God in Christ, where two strong obligations occurre, namely, the consideration of his dealing with us, and of our Re­lation unto him. For the former, He is pleased not onely to enter into Covenant with us, but to binde himselfe to the performance of what he promiseth. Though what ever he bestow upon us in all matter of meere, and most free grace, wherein he is no deb­tor to us at all, yet he is pleased to binde himselfe [Page 69] unto Acts of Grace. Men love to have all their works of favour free, and to reserve to themselves a power of alteration or revocation, as themselves shall please. But God is pleased that his gifts should take upon them in some sense the Dignaris eis quibus omnia debita dimittis, etiam pro [...]issi­onibus tuis de­bitor fieri. Aug. Conf. l. 5. c. 9. Non ei ali­quid dedimus, & tenemus de­bitorem. Vnde debitorem? quia promissor est. non dicimus Deo, Domine redde quod ac­cepisti, sed red­de quod promi­sisti, Aug. in Psal. 32. Cum promissum Dei redditur Iusti­tia Dei dicitur. Iustitia enim Dei est quia redditum est quod promissū est, Ambros. in Rom. [...]. Iustū est ut reddat quod debet. De­bet autem quod pollicitus est. [...] hac est Iustitia de qua praesumit Apostolus promissio D [...]i, Bern. de grat. & lib. Arbit. Licet Deus debi [...]um alicui det, non tamen est ipse debitor, quia ipse ad alia non ordinatur, sed potius alia ad ipsum, & ideo justitia quando (que) dicitur in Deo Condecentia suae bonitatis, Aquin. part. 1. qu. 21. art. 1. Nulla alia in Deo [...]ustitia nisi ad se quasi ad alte­rum, ut sibi ipsi debitum reddat secundum condecenc [...]a [...] b [...]nitatis, & [...]e [...]ibidinem volunta­tis suae, Scotus 4. dist. 46. qu. 1. condition of Debts, and although he can owe nothing to the creature (Rom. 11.35. Iob yet he is contented to be a debtor to his own promise, and ha­ving at first in mercie made it, his truth is after en­gaged to the performance of it. Mic. 7.20.

Again, His word is established in heaven, with him there is no variablenes, nor shadow of change, his promises are not yea and nay, but in Christ Amen. 2 Cor. 1.20. if he speak a thing it shall not fa [...]le. Iosh. 21.45. He spake and the world was made, His word alone is a foundation and bottome to the Being of all his Creatures: And yet, notwithstanding the immutable certaintie of his promises, when they are first uttered, for our sakes he is pleased to binde himselfe by further ties. Free mercie secured by a Co­venant, and a Quid est Dei veri veracis (que) Iuratio nisi promissi con­firmatio, & infidelium quaedam increpatio? Aug. de Civ. Dei, lib. 16. cap. 32. firme covenant secured by an Oath. Deat. 7.12. Luke 1.72, 73. Heb. 6.17, 18. that we, who like Gedeon, are apt to call for signe upon signe, and to stagger and be disheartened, if we have not double securitie from God, we whose doubting cals for promise upon promise, as our Ignorance doth for [Page 70] precept upon precept, may by two immutable things, wherein it is impossible for God to lie, have strong con­solation. Now if God, whose gifts are free, binde himselfe to bestow them by his promise: If God, whose promises are sure, binde himselfe to perform them by his oath: How much more are we bound to tye our selves by covenant unto God, to doe those things which are our dutie to do, unto the doing whereof we have such infirme principles as are a mu­table will, and an unstedfast heart.

For the latter, our relation unto him, we are His, not onely by a propertie founded in his soveraigne power and dominion over us, as our Maker, Lord, and Saviour. Psal. 100.3. 1 Cor. 6.19.20. but by a propertie growing out of our own voluntary consent, whereby we surrender, and yeeld, and give up our selves unto God. Rom. 6.19. 2 Cor. 8.5. we are not onely his people, but his willing people, by the inter­vention of our own consent. Emittere ma­num est cautio­nem sive chiro­graphum dare. ff. de probat. & praesumpt. I▪ 15. Iunge ergo manus, & concipe foedus. Statius. Heus ubi pacta fides, commissa­que dextera dextrae. Ovid. Justitian. In­stitut. de ver­bo [...]ū obligat. Sect. 1. I. 3. ff. de obligat. & Action. Sect. 2. Psal. 110.3. We give him our hand (as the expression is, 2 Chron. 30.8.) which is an allusion to the manner of Covenants or engagements. Prov. 6.1.17, 18. Ezek. 17.18. We offer up our selves as a free oblation, Rom. 15, 16. and are thereupon called a kind of first fruits. Iam. 1.18. We are His, as the wife is her Husbands. Hos. 2.19. Ezek. 16.8. Now such an interest as this ever presupposeth a contract. As in ancient forms of sti­pulation there was Asking and Answering. Spondes? Spondeo. Promittis? Promitto. Dabis? Dabo. As in contract of Marriage the mutuall consent is asked and given, Gen. 24.58. so it is here between God and the soul, the covenant is mutuall, Gen. 17.2. He [Page 71] promiseth mercie, to be our exceeding great reward, and we promise obedience, to be his willing people, and usually according as is the proportion of strength in our faith to beleeve Gods promises of mer­cy to us, such is also the proportion of care in our obedience to perform our promises of duty unto him.

II. From our selves. Sect. 5. And here Covenants are needfull in two respects. 1. In regard of the falsenes, and deceitfulnes of our corrupt hearts in all spiritu­all duties. The more cunning a Sophister is to evade an argument, the more close and pressing we frame it. The more vigilant a prisoner to make an escape, the stronger guard we keep upon him. Our hearts are exceeding apt to be false with God. One while they melt into promises and Resolutions of obedi­ence, as Pharaoh, and Israel did,Inversá occasio­ne ebullire sa­niem quae la­tebat in ulcere, & excisam non extirpatam ar­borem in sylvam pullulare vide­as densiorem. Bern. Serm. 2. in Assum. Ma­riae: Psal. 78.34.37. and presently forget, and harden again. Lots wife goes out of Sodome for fear of the judgements, but quickly looks back again, out of love to the place, or some other curiosity and distemper of minde. Saul relents towards David, and quickly after persecutes him again. 1 Sam. 24.17.19. This is the true pi­cture of mans Heart, under a strong conviction, or in a pang of devotion, or in time either of sicknesse, or some pressing affliction, on the Rack, in the fur­nace, under the r [...]d, nothing then but vows of better obedience; all which doe oftentimes dry sudenly away like a morning dew, and whither away like Io­nahs gourd. Therefore both to accknowledge, and prevent this miserable perfideousnesse of such Re­volting Hearts; it is very needfull to binde them unto God with renewed Covenants, and since they [Page 72] are so apt with Ionah to runne away and start aside, to neglect Nineveh and to flee to Tarssish, necessary it is to find them out and to bring them home, and as David did, Psal. 57.7. to fix and fasten them to their businesse, that they may not runne away any more.

2. In regard of the naturall sluggishnesse which is in us unto dutie. We are apt to faint and be weary when we meet with any unexpected difficulties in Gods service, to esteeme the wildernesse as bad as Egypt, to sit downe as Hagar did, and cry, to think that half way to heaven is farre enough, and Almost a Christian, progresse enough, that baking on one side will make the cake good enough, that God will accept of bankrupt-payment, a noble in the pound, part of our hearts and duties for all.Masora sepes legi: Decimae divitiis: vo [...]a sanctimoniae; silentium sapi­entiae, Pirke Aboth. We must sometimes venture to leap the hedge, for there is a Lion in the way. Now to correct this Torpor, this Acedia, and [...], as the Apostles calls it. 1 Thess. 5.14. this pusilanimitie, and faint-hearted­nesse in Gods service, we must bind them on our selves with renewed Covenants, and put to the more strength because of the bluntnesse of the Iron. Ec­cles. 10.10. A Covenant doth as it were twist the cords of the Law, and double the precept upon the soul. When it is onely a precept, then God alone commands it, but when I have made it a promise, then I command it and bind it upon my self. The more feeble our hands and knees are, the more care we should have to bind and strengthen them, that we may lift them up speedily, & keep them straight. Hebr. 12.12, 13. and the way hereunto is to come [Page 73] to Davids resolution, I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgresse. Psal. 17.3. Emptie velleities, wishings, and wouldings will not keep weak facul­ties together. Broken bones must have strong bands to close them fast again. A crazie piece of building, must be cramped with Iron barres to keep it from tottering. So if we would indeed cleave to the Lord, we must bring purposes of Heart, and strong resolutions to enable us thereunto. Act. 11.23. Cleaving will call for swearing. Deut. 10.20. As it should be our prayer, so also our purpose, to have hearts united to fear Gods Name. Psal. 86.11. whence the phrases of preparing, fixing, confirming, esta­blishing, rooting, grounding, and other like, so fre­quently occurring in the Scripture. 2 Chron. 30.19 1 Chron. 29.18. Eph. 3.17. Heb. 13.9. Iam. 5.8.

III. From our Brethren,Sect. 6. that by an holy Asso­ciation and spirituall confederacy in heavenly reso­lutions, every mans example may quicken his bro­ther, and so duties be performed with more vigour and fervencie, and return with the greater blessings. If fire be in an whole pile of wood, every stick will burn the brighter, the greenest wood that is will take fire in so generall a flame. Men usually have more courage in the body of an Armie, where con­current shoutings and encouragements do as it were infuse mutuall spirits into one another, then when they are alone by themselves. David rejoyced in but recounting the companies and armies of Gods people when they went up to Jerusalem in their solemne feasts. Psal. 84.7. And therefore most Covenants in Scripture were generall, and publick, [Page 74] solemnly entred into by a great body of people, as that of Asa, Iosiah, and Nehemiah, the forwardnesse of every man whetting the face of his neighbour. Prov. 27.17.

IV. From the multitudes, strength, vigilancie, malice,Sect. 7. assiduous attempts of all our spirituall ene­mies, which call upon us for the stronger and more united Resolutions. For common adversaries usu­ally gain more by our faintnesse, and divisions, then by their own strength [...]. Dionys. Hali­carnass l. 10. [...]. Polyb l 6. Vid. Veget de re Milit lib 2. Tertul. de Co­rona mil. c. 11. L. 2. ff de his qui notan [...]ur infami [...] [...]ect. Miles & notas Go [...]ho [...]tidi in L. 2. ff de Ve­teranis. Lipsu not a [...] li. 15. Annal Tacit praemia nunc alia atque alla emolumenta no­temus Sacramentorum. Iuvenal. Satyr. 16. Lips. de Milit. R [...]m. lib. 1. Dial. 6. Therefore Souldiers use to take an oath of fidelitie towards their Countrey, and service. And Liv lib 35. Appi [...]n. in Iberico & Lybico. Pol. b. li 3. Tertul Apolog. c [...]. 8 Florus lib. 4. Hannibals Father made him take a solemn oath to maintain perpetuall Hostility with Rome. Such an Vid. Tertul de Coron Milit. ca. 11. Oath have all Christs Souldiers taken, and do at the Lords Supper, and in solemne humiliations, virtually renew the same, never to hold intelligence or correspondence with any of his enemies.

The first thing in a Christian mans Armor men­tioned by the Apostle, Ephes. 6.14. is the Cingere est militare, apud Plaut. omnes qui militant c [...]ctisunt. Servius in li 8 Enead unde Cingulum marti sacrum test [...] Homero Iliad 2. Et stare discinctum erat paenae mili atis genus [...]ue [...]on in [...] v [...]d l. 2 [...].38 & 43. ff de Testamento militis Suidae [...] un [...] dicitur Deus B [...]l [...]eum regum dissolvere. Iob 12.18 Vid Stuck. Antiq. co [...]viv li. 2 c 19 & Pined in Iob 12.18. Tolet. Annot 62. in Luc. 12. Girdle, that which binds on all the other Armour (for so we read of girding on Armor, Iudg. 18.11. 1 King. 20.11.) and that there, is Truth. Which we may understand either doctrinally, for stedfastnesse and stability of judgement in the doctrine of Christ [Page 75] which we professe, not being carried about with every wind of doctrine, but holding fast the form of sound words, knowing whom we beleeve, and having certainty of the things wherein we have been in­structed, (Ephes. 4.14. 2 Tim. 1.12, 13. Luk. 1.4.) or else Morally and practically, for stedfastnesse of Heart in the faithfull discharge of those promises which we have made unto God, (for so faithfulnes is compared to a Girdle, Isa. 11.5.) whereby we are preserved from shrinking and tergiversation, in times of triall, and in our spirituall warfare. And this faithfulnesse the more it is in solemne Covenants renewed, the stronger it must needs be, and the bet­ter able to bind all our other Arms upon us. Christs enemies will enter into Covenants, and combinati­ons against him, and his Church, Psal. 2.1, 2.64.5, 6.83.5-8. Act. 23.12. Ier. 11.9. And our [...], Dion de Catilina, li. 37. Ita se ad Romanae sedis obedientiam obligant Archi [...]piscopi, cum pallium acc [...]piunt. Decret. Greg. de election. ca. significa & ad Confilii Tridentini do­ctrinam Jesuitae in voto professionis. Hospin. Hist Iesuit fol. 57. & Hubaldus quidam apud Augustinum juravit se nec matri n [...]c fratribus necessaria subministraturum. C. 22 quaest. 4. cap. Inter caetera. vid. Euseb Hist. Eccles. l. 6. c. 8. own lusts within us, will many times draw from us oaths and obligations to the fulfilling of them, and make them Vincula Iniquitatis, contrary to the nature of an oath. 1 King. 19.2. Mar. 6.23. How much more careful should we be to bind our selves unto God, that our Resolutions may be the stronger, and more united against so many and confederate Ene­mies?

This point serveth,Sect. 8. 1. for a [...]ust reproof of those who are so farre from entring into Covenant with God, that indeed they make Covenants with Satan [Page 76] his greatest enemy, and do in their conversations as it were abuse those promises, and blot out that subscription, and te [...]r off that seal of solemne pro­fession which they had so often set unto the Cove­nant of obedience. Such as those in the Prophets time who were at an agreement with hell and the grave. Isa. 28.15. Men are apt to think that none but witches are in covenant with the devill, because such are in the Scripture said to consult with fami­liar spirits. Deut. 18.11. But as Samuel said to Saul, Rebellion is as witchcraft. 1 Sam. 15.23. Every stub­born and presumptuous sinner hath so much of witchcraft in him, as to hold a kind of spirituall com­pact with the devill. We read of the Serpent and his seed, Gen. 3.15. of the Dragon and his souldiers, Rev. 12.7. of some sinners being of A [...]terius esse non possunt [...]isi diabol. quae D [...]i n [...]n sunt. Tert. de Idol [...]l. cap. 18. & de Ha­bit▪ mulieb. c. 8. de cultu s [...]e min. cap. 5. Ne [...]o i [...] custra host [...]um transit nisi projectu d [...] mis, nisi d [...]sti­ [...]utis sig [...] [...] & Sacramentis principis sui, nisi pactus si­mul perire. Tertul. de spe­ctac. ca. 24. the devill, animated by his principles, and actuated by his will and com­mands, 1 Ioh. 3.8. 2 Tim. 2.26. Satan tempting, and sinners embracing and admitting the temptation upon the inducements suggested, hath in it the re­semblance of a covenant or compact. There are mu­tuall agreements and promises as between Master and Servant, one requiring work to be done, and the other expecting wages to be payed for the doing of it. As in buying and selling one bargains to have a commodity, and the other to have a price valuable for it. Thus we read in some places of the service of sin, Ioh. 8.34. Rom. 6.16. 2 Pet. 2.19. and in others of the wages belonging unto that service. Heb. 11.25. 2 Pet. 2.15. Iud. v. 11· and elsewhere of the Cove­nant ▪ bargain and sale for the mutuall securing of the service, and of the wages ▪ 1 Reg. 21. [...]5. Wicked [Page 77] men sell themselves, chaffer and grant away their time, and strength, and wit, and abilities, to be at the will and disposall of Satan, for such profits, Mane p [...]ger ster­ [...]is, surge, in­quit avaritia, [...]a surge, negas, instat surge in­quit; non qu [...]o, surge. Pers. Satyr. 5. pleasures, honors, advantages, as are laid in their way to allure them, and thus do as it were with cords bind themselves unto sin. Prov. 5.22. Ahab bought Naboths vineyard of the devill, and sold himself for the price in that purchase. Balaam against the light of his own conscience, and the many discoveries of Gods dislike, never gives over his endeavours of cursing Gods people till he had drawn them into a snare by the Midianitish woman, and all to this end, that he might at last overtake the wages of ini­quity which he ran so greedily after. Num [...]. 22. [...]5: [...]1. Numb. Numb. 31.16. Mic. 6.5. Rev. 1.14. 2 Pet. 2.15. Iesabel binds her self by an oath unto murther. 1 Kin. 19.2. Iudas makes a bar­gain for his Masters blood, and at once sels a soul, and a Saviour, for so base a price as thirtie pieces of silver. Matth. 26.15. Profane Esau, make mer­chandize of his bir [...]hright, (whereunto belonged the inheritance, or double portion, the princely power, and the office of priesthood, the blessings,Vt Lysimachu [...] se ob f [...]g [...]dae p [...]t [...]m hostibus [...]edit. Plutar. lib. de tuendà sanitate. the excel­lencie, and the government. Gen. 49.4. 2 Chron. [...]9.3.) all which he parts with for one morsel of meat. Heb 12.16. being therein a type of all those profane wretches, who deride the wayes of godlinesse, and promises of salvation, drowning themselves in sen­suall delights, and esteeming Heaven and Hell, sal­vation and perdition but as the vain notions of melancholie men; having no other God but their belly▪ or their gain. Phil. 3.19. 1 Tim. 6.5.

[Page 78]So much monstrous wickednesse is there in the hearts of men, that they adde spurs and whips unto an horse which of himself r [...]sheth into the battell: when the tide of their own lusts, the streame and current of their own head-strong and impetuous affections do carry them too swiftly before, they yet hoise up sail, and as it were spread open their hearts to the winds of tempt [...]tion, precipitating, and urging on their naturall lusts by voluntarie en­gagements; tying themselve yet faster to miserie then Adam by his fall had [...]ed them, and making themselves not by nature onely, but by compact the children of wrath. One makes beforehand a bargain for drunkennesse, another contrives a meeting for uncleannesse, a third enters into a combination for robbery and cozenage; a fourth makes an oath of revenge and malice, like Ananias and Saphira, they agree together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord. Act. 5.9. Like Sampsons Foxes, joyn together with fire­brands to set the souls of one another on fire, as if they had not title enough to Hell, except they bar­gained for it anew, and bound themselves as it were by solemne obligations not to part with it again.

O that every presumptuous sinner who thus sels himself to do wickedly, would s [...]riously consider those sad encumbrances that go along with this his purchace. Those who would have estates to con­tinue in such or such a succession as themselves had preintended, have sometimes charged curses and execrations upon those who should alienate, or go about to alter the property and condition of them. These many times are causlesse curses, and do not [Page 79] come: But if any man will needs make bargains with Satan, and be buying of the pleasures of sin, he must know that there goes a curse from heaven along with such a purchase, which will make it at the last but a [...], a sweet Bitter, like Iohns Roll which was sweet in the mouth, but bitter in the bel­ly; like Claudius his mushrome pleasant, but Nemo vene­num temperat selle & ellebo­ro, sed conditis pulmentis, & b [...]ne sa [...]oratis, & plurimum [...]ulcibus id mali inj [...]cit. Tertul. de specta. c. 27. Insusum del [...] ­ctabili cib [...] bo­l [...]torum v [...]n [...] ­num. Tacit. Annal. li. 12. poi­son, that will blast all the pleasures of sin, and turn all the wages of iniquity in Vid. A Gell. lib. 3. ca. 9. Omni [...] [...]ll [...] se [...] sorti [...], seu ho­nesta, seu sono­ra, seu canora, seu subtilia pro­ [...]nde habe ac si still cidia mellis de [...]batu [...]u [...]o ventuato, nec [...]anti gulam sa­cias voluptatis quanti peritu­ [...]um. Tertul. Ibid. Aurum tholosanum, into such gold as ever brought destruction to the own­ers of it. It is said of Cm Seius, that he had a goodly horse which had all the perfections that could be na­med for stature, feature, colour, strength, limmes, comelinesse belonging to a horse, but withall this miserie ever went along with him, that whosoever became owner of him was sure to die an unhappy death. This is the misery that alwayes accompanies the bargain of sin, How pleasant, how profitable, how advantageous soever it may seem to be unto flesh and blood, it hath alwayes calamity in the end, it ever expires in a miserable death Honey is very sweet, but it turns into the bitterest choler. The val­ley of Sodom was one of the most delightfull pla­ces in the world, but is now become a dead and a standing lake. Let the life of a wicked man run on never so fluently, it hath a mare mortuum at the dead end of it. O then, when thou art making a Covenant with sin, say to thy soul as Boaz said to his kinsman Ruth, 4. [...], 5. At what time thou buyest it, thou must have Ruth the Moabitesse with it. If thou wilt have the pleasure [...], the rewards, the wages of iniquitie, thou must also have the curse and damnation that is [Page 80] entaild upon it; and let thy soul answer which he there doth, No, I may not do it, I shall marre and spoil a better Inheritance.

II. This may serve for an Instruction unto us touching the duties of solemne Humiliation and Repentance,Sect. 9. which is the scope of the Prophets di­rection in this place. We must not think we have done enough when we have made generall Ac­knowledgements and confessions of sin, and begg'd pardon and grace from God; but we must withall further binde our selves fast unto God by engage­ments of new obedience, as holy men in the Scripture have done in their more solemne addresses un­to God. Nehem. 9.38. Psal. 51.12, 13, 14, 15. for without amendment of life prayers are but howl­ings and abominations. Hose. 7.14. Prov. 28.9. Quantum a praeceptis tantum ab auribus Dei longe sumus. Tertul. de orat. cap. 10. No obedience, no audience. A beast will roar when he is beaten; but men when God punish­eth should not onely cry, but covenant.

Unto the performance whereof that we may the better apply our selves,Duorum plu­riumve in idem placitum con­sensus. Vlpian. L. 1. ff. de pa­ctis unde mu­tua ex f [...]le da­ta & accepta oritur obliga­tio. Voluntatis est suscipere neces­sitatis consum­mare. Paul. Leg 17. ff. Com­modati. let us a little consider the nature of a Religious Covenant. A Covenant is a mu­tuall stipulation, or a giving and receiving of faith between two parties, whereby they do unanimous­ly agree in one inviolable sentence or resolution. Such a covenant there is between God and true belee­vers, He giving himself as a Reward unto them, and they giving themselves as servants unto him. He wil­ling and requiring the service, and they [...]illing and consenting to the Reward; He promising to be their God, and they to be His people. Heb. 8.10. A notable [Page 81] expression of with joynt and mutuall stipulation we have, Deut. 26.17, 18. Thou hast avouched the Lord this day to be thy God, and to walk in his wayes, and to keep his statutes and his commandments, and his judgements, and to hearken unto his voice: and the Lord hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his Commandments. And to make thee high above all Nations which hee hath made in praise, and in name, and in honour: and that thou mayest be an holy people unto the Lord thy God as hee hath spoken. Where wee have both the mutuall expressions of intimate rela­tion one to another, and the mutuall engagements unto universall obedience on the one side, and unto high and precious benefits on the other, growing out of that Relation. For because God is mine, I am bound to serve him: and because I am his, He hath bound himselfe to provide for me. We are not now to consider that part of the Covenant which stand­eth in Gods promise to be our God (which in gene­rall importeth thus much, Gods giving himself in Christ unto us, and together with Christ, All other goods things. Benefits relative, in justification from sin, and Adoption unto sons. Benefits Habituall, A new nature by Regeneration, A new heart and life by sanctification. A quiet conscience by peace and comfort. Benefits Temporall, in the promises of this life. Benefits eternall, in the glory of the next. Thus is Christ made of God unto us, wisdom, in our vocation, converting us unto faith in him. Righte­ousnes in our justification, reconciling us unto his Father. Sanctification in our conformity unto him [Page 82] in grace, and Redemption from all evils or enemies which might hate us here, and unto All Glory which may fill and everlastingly satisfie us hereafter. 1 Cor. 1.30. But wee are now to consider of the other part of the Covenant which concerneth our engagement unto God, wherein we promise both our selves, and our abilities unto him, to be His peo­ple, and to do him service.

The materiall cause of this Covenant is whatsoe­ver may be promised unto God,Sect. 10. and that is first our persons, Secondly our service. Our persons. We are thine. Isa. 63.19. Giving our own selves to the Lord. 2 Cor. 8.5. Servi pro nullis haben­ [...]ur. L. 1. F. d [...] Jure de libe­randi & L. 32 de Regulis juris. Sunt Res Do­mini, & quic­quid acquirunt Domino ac­ [...]uirunt. Instit. lib. 1 Tit. 8 &. Leg. 1 de [...]is qui sui aut alieni Juris sunt. ff. Lib. 1 & lib. 41. c. 10. Sect 1. Nihil suum habere possunt Instit. li. 2. T. 9 non debent saluti dominorum suam anteponere. D. 1. Sect. 28. ff. de Sepatusconsulto Silaniano. Xerxis servi exo [...]tâ tempestate in mare desiliuni ut Demini sui salu [...]i consulant. Here­dot. lib. 8. Socrati cum multa multi pro suis facultatibus efferrent. Aes [...]hines pauper Au­ditor, nihil inquit dignum te quod dare tibi possim inve [...]io, & hoc uno moch pauperem me esse sentio. Itaque dono tibi quod unum habeo, Meipsum, He [...] munus rogo quale [...]unqu [...] est boni consulas, cogitesque alios cum mulium tibi darent, plus sidi reliquisse ▪ Seneca de Be­nef. li. 1. cap. 8. not esteeming our selves our own: but his that bough [...] us. 1 Cor. 6.19. and being willing that he which bought us, should have the property in us, and the possession of us, and the domi­nion over us, and the liberty to do what he pleaseth with us. Being contented to be lost to our selves, that wee may bee found in him. Phil. 3.9. If sin or Satan call for our tongue, or heart, or hand, or eye, to answer, these are not mine own, Christ hath bought them, the Lord hath set them apart for himselfe. Psal. 4.3. They are vessels for the Masters use, 2 Tim. 2.21. I am but the steward of my self, and may not dispose of my Masters goods without, much lesse against his own will and commands.

[Page 83]Our services, which are Sunt quadam quae etiam non volentes debe­mus: quadā eti­am quae nisi vo­ [...]erimus non de­bemus, sed post­quam es Deo promillimu [...] necessario ea reddere con­stringimur. Aug. matters of necessity, mat­ters of Expediencie, and matters of praise. All which may be made the materials of a Covenant.

1 Matter of Dutie and necessitie. As David by an oath bindes himselfe to keepe Gods righteous judgements. Psal. 119.106. And the people in Ne­hemiah's time enter into a curse and an oath to walk in Gods Law, and to observe and do all his com­mandments. Nehem. 10.29.

2 Matter of circumstantiall expediency, which in Christian wisdome may be conducent unto the main end of a mans life, or may fit him for any spe­ciall condition which God calleth him unto. So the Rechabites promised their Father Ionadab, and held that promise obligatory in the sight of God, not to drink wine, nor to build houses, &c. Ier. 35.6, 7. because by that voluntary hardship of life they should bee the better fitted to beare that captivity which was to come upon them. Or because there­by they should the better expres the condition of strangers amongst Gods people, upon whose out­ward comforts they would not seem too much to in [...]roach, that it might appear that they did not in­corporate with them for meer secular but for spi­rituall benefits. It was lawfull for Paul to have re­ceived wages and rewards for his work in the Go­spel as well of the Churches of Achaia, as of Mace­donia, and others, as he proveth, 1 Cor. 9.4.14. yet hee seemeth upon the case of expediencie, that hee might cut off occasion from them that desired occasion, and might the better promote the Gospel, to bind himself by an oath (for so much those words, The [Page 84] truth of Christ is in me, Ambr, Aquin. E [...]asm. Calvin Beza, Piscator, Musc. Es [...]i [...]s, Cor. [...] Lipid Tirinus. do import, as the Learned have observed) never to bee burdensome in that kind unto those Churches. 2 Cor. 11.7, 12. Lawfull thing [...], when inexpedient, and gravaminous, may bee forborn by the bond of a Covenant.

3. Matter of thanksgiving and praises unto God, in which case it was usuall to make and to pay vowes.De hujusmodi votis vid. Gre [...] Tholosan. de Repub. l▪ 13▪ c 5 & syntag. jur [...]t lib. 24. c. 10. Se [...]arium in li. Judic c. 11. qu. 13 Pined. in Job 22, 27. Seld. of Tithes cap. 3. Brisson de formul. l. 1. What shall I render to the Lord for all his bene­fits towards me? saith David. I will take the cup of sal­vation (as the use of the Jewes was in their feasts and sacrifices of thanksgiving, Luk. 22.17.) I will pay my vows unto the Lord. Whereby it appears that godly men when they prayed for mercies, did likewise by v [...]ws and Covenants bind themselves to return tribute of praise in some particular kinde or other, upon the hearing of their prayers. Psal. 116.12, 13, 14. Psal. 123.2, 3. so Iacob did, Gen. 28.22. and so Iepthah, Judg. 11.30, 31. and so Hanna, 1 Sam. 1.11, 27, 28. and so Hezekiah, Isa. 38.20. and so Ionah cap. 1.9. so Zacheus to testifie his thankfulnesse unto Christ for his conversion, and to testifie his through mortification of covetousnesse, which had been his master [...]sin, did not onely out of duty make restitution where he had done wrong, but out of bountie did engage himselfe to give the half of his goods to the poor. Luke 19.8.

The formal cause of a Covenant is the Plighting of our fidelitie, and engaging of our Truth unto God in that particular which is the matter of our Covenant. Which is done two wayes. Either by a simple promise and stipulation, as that of Zacheus, or in a more solemn way by the Intervention of an [Page 85] oath, or curse, or subscription, as that of Nehemiah, and the people there.

The efficient cause is the person entring into the Covenant. In whom these things are to con­curre.

1 A clear knowledge, and deliberate weighing of the matter promised, because L, 57. ff. de obligat. & Actionib. Nulla voluntas errantis est L. 20. ff. de aqua & aquae L 116. de Reg. juris. error, decepti­on, or ignorance, are contrary to the formall no­tion of that consent which in every Covenant is intrinsecall, and necessary thereunto. Non vid [...]tur consentire qui errat.

2 A Votum voluntas est spontanea. Tholos. Syn­tag. juris, l, 24. cap. 10. Sect. 1. L. 219 de ver­borum sign [...] ­ficat. Hostiae ab animo libenti expostu­lantur. Tert. ad Scap. c. 2. free and willing concurrence. In omni pacto intercedit actio spontanea, and so in every promise. Not but that Authoritie may impose oaths, and those as well promissory, as Assertorie. Genes. 24.3. 1 Kings 2.42. Ezra 10.3.5. as Iosiah made a Co­venant and caused the people to stand unto it. 2 Chron. 34.31, 32. But that the matter of it, though imposed should bee such in the nature of the thing, as that it may be taken in Iudgement, and Righteousnesse, that so the person may not be ham­per'd in any such hesitancie of conscience as will not consist with a pious, spontaneous, and volun­tarie concurrence thereunto.

3 A power to make the promise, and binde ones self by it L. 5. de Con. Legibus vide Tholos. Syn­tag. Juris lib. 21. c. 5.. For a man may have power to make a promise, which is not finally obligatorie, bu [...] upon supposition; As a woman might for her own part vow, and by that vow was bound up as to her self, but this bond was but conditionall, as to effi­cacy and influence upon the effect, to wit,Vide Rec [...]ium de Reg. juris Reg. 69. Sect. 4 if her husband hear it, and held his peace, Num. 30.3.14.

[Page 86]4 A power, having made the promise, to per­form it; and this depends upon the nature of the thing; Which must be first possible, L. 185 ff. de Regulis Juris. & L. 188. & de con [...]tioni­bus institutio num. Leg. 6. & 20 de con [...]iti­onibus & de­monstr [...]t. L. 3 & 20 & de obliga [...]. & action. L. 1. Sect. 9. for Impossi­bilium nulla est obligatio. No man can bind himselfe to things impossible Q [...]ae fact [...] laedunt pi [...]ta­tem existim [...] ­tione [...], vere­cundiam no­stram, & ut generaliter dix­erim) contra bo­nos mores fiunt, nec f [...]cere nos p [...]sse credendum est. Papinian L 14 15. ff. de condition. Institut. Pacta quae contra bonos mores siunt nullam vim habere indubitati juris est. L 6. & 30. Cod. de pactis. Generaliter novimus tu [...]pes stipulationes nullius esse momenti. L 26. ff. de verbor. obligat. & de legatis & fidei commissi. Leg. 112. Sect. 3.4. Impia promissio est quae scelere adimpletur: Iura­mentum non est vincul [...]m iniq [...]itatis. vid. Caus. 22. q [...] 4. Praesta [...]e fa [...]co [...] p [...]sse me fidem si scelere ca [...]eat inter [...]un scelus e [...]t fide [...]. Senec. Hae demum impositae operae intelliguntur q [...]ae sine turpitu [...]e p [...]aestari possunt. ff. de operis libertorum. L. 38.. And next lawfull, in regard either of the necessity, or expediencie, or some other allowablenesse in the thing. For Turpe est jure impossibile, we can do nothing but that which we can do rightfully. Sinfull things are in con­struction of Law impossible, and so can induce no Obligation. Filius fami­lias vel servu [...] sine pa [...]ris Dominive autoritate vot [...] non obligantur. L. 2. Sect. 1. ff. de pollicita [...]ionibus. A servant can make no promise to the dishonour or disservice of his Master; nor a childe or Pupill contrary to the will of his Parent or Guardian: nor a Christian to the dishonour or against the will of Christ whom he serves. In every such sinfull engagement there is intrinse­cally dolus, error, deceptio, the heart is blinded by the deceitfulnesse of lust, Ephes. 4.18.22. Hebr. 3.13. 2 Pet. 1.9. 2 Cor. 11.3. And these things are destructive to the nature of such an action as must [...]e deliberate and spontaneous. Promises of this kinde binde to nothing but Repentance.

From these considerations we may learn what to judge of th [...] promises which many men make of doing service unto God.Sect. 12.

[Page 87]1 Some joyn in Covenants as the greatest part of that tumultuous concourse of people, who made an uproar against the Apostle, were gather­ed together, They knew not wherefore. Acts 19.32. do not understand the things they promise. As if a man should set his hand and seale to an Obliga­tion, and not know the contents or condition of it. Such are all ignorant Christians, who have often renewed their Covenant of new obedience and faith in Christ, and yet know not what the faith of Christ is, or what is the puritie, spiritu­alnesse, and widenesse of that Law which they have sworne unto. As the Apostle saith of the Jews, If they had known they would not have crucified the Lord of glory, wee may say of many of these, if they knew the purity & holinesse of those things wch they have vowed to keep, they either would not have entred into Covenant with God at all, or would bee more conscientious and vigilant in their observation of it. It is a signe of a man de­sperately carelesse, to run daily into debt, and ne­ver so much as remember or consider what hee owes. If there were no other obligation to tye men unto the knowledge of Gods will, this alone were sufficient, that they have undertaken to serve him, and therefore by their own Covenants are bound to know him. For surely many men who have promised repentance from dead works, if they did indeed consider what that Repentance is, and unto what a strict and narrow way of walking it doth confine them, would go nigh, if they durst, to plead an Error in the Contract, and to professe [Page 88] that they had not thought their Obligation had engaged them unto so severe and rigid a service,Qui per delict [...] ­rum paenitenti­am insti [...]uerat Domino sans­facere, diabolo per aliam paeni­tentiae p [...]nitenti­am sati [...]faciet, eritque [...] magis perosu [...] Deo quan [...]oaemu­lo ejus acceptus. Tertul. de pae­nitent. c. 5. and so repent of their repentance. But in this case, Ignorance of what a man ought to know, cannot void the Covenant which hee is bound to make, and having made, to keep; but his Covenant doth exceedingly aggravate his ignorance.

2 Some make many faire promises of obedi­ence, but it is on the Rack, and in the furnace, or as Schollers under the Rod. O if I might but re­cover this sicknesse, Sect. 13. or be eased of this affliction, I would then be a new man, and redeeme my mis­spent time. And yet many of these, like Pharaoh when they have any respite, find out wayes to shift and elude their owne promises, and like melt­ed metall taken out of the furnace,Dike of the de­ceitfulnes of the Heart, c. 20 returne againe unto their former hardnesse. So a good Divine observes of the people of this Land in the time of the great sweate in King Edwards dayes (I wish we could find even so much in these dayes of ca­lamitie which wee are fallen into) as long as the heat of the plague lasted, there was crying out peccav [...], Mercie good Lord, mercy, mercy. Then Lords, and Ladies, and people of the best sort, cried out to the Ministers, for Gods sake tell us what shal we do to avoid the wrath of God. Take these bags, pay so much to such an one whom I deceived, so much restore unto another whom in bargaining I over-reached, give so much to the poore, so much to pious uses, &c. But after the sicknesse was over, they were just the same men as they were before. Thus in time of trouble men are [Page 89] apt to make many prayers, and Covenants, to cry unto God, Arise and save us, Ier. 2.27. Deliver us this time, Judg. 10.15. they i [...]quire early after God, and flatter him with their lips, and own him as their God, and Rock of salvation, and present­ly start aside like a deceitfull bow [...]. As Austin notes,Quos vides pe­tul [...]ter & pro­caci [...]r insul­ [...]are servis Christi sunt, in tis plurimi qui illum interitum cladem (que) non evasissent, nisi servos Christi se esse finxissent. De civit. Dei. li. 1. ca. 1. Ejecta in nau­fragi [...] domino­rum adhuc sunt, quia non eo animo ejici­untur quod eas habere nolunt, sed ut pericu­lum effugiant. ff. lib. 41. L. 9. Sect. 8. & L. 44 Semisauci [...]m bac atque bac jactare volun­tatem. Aug. confes. l. 8. c. 8 that in times of calamitie the very Heathen would flock unto the Christian Churches to bee safe a­mongst them. And when the Lord sent Lyons amongst the Samaritanes, then they sent to inquire after the manner of his worship. 2 King. 17.25, 26. Thus many mens Covenants are founded onely in Terrours of conscience. They throw out their sins as a Merchant at Sea his rich commodities in a Tempest, but in a calme wish for them againe. Neither doe they throw away the property over them, but onely the dangerous p [...]ssession of them. This is not a full, chearfull, and voluntary action, but onely a languid and inconstant velleitie. Con­trary to that largenesse of heart, and sixed dispo­sition which Christs own people bring unto his service, as David and the Nobles of Israel offer­ed willingly and with joy unto the Lord. 1 Chron. 29.17.

3 Since a Covenant presupposeth a power in him that maketh it, both over his own will, and over the matter, thing or Action which he promi­seth, so far as to be enabled to make the promise: And since we of our selves have neither will nor deed, no sufficiencie either to think or to perform: Rom. 7.18. 2 Cor. 3.5. Phil. 2.12. Wee hence learne in all the Covenants which we make, not to [Page 90] do it in any confidence of our own strength, or upon any selfe dependance on our own hearts, which are false and deceitfull, and may after a confident undertaking, use us as Peters used him: But still to have our eyes on the aid and help of Gods grace, to use our Covenants as means the better to stir up Gods graces in us, and our pray­ers unto him for further supplies of it. As Da­vid, I will keep thy statutes, but then, doe not thou forsake me. Psal. 119.8. Our promises of duty must ever be supported by Gods promises of grace when we have undertaken to serve him, we must remember to pray as Hezekiah did, Lord I am weak, do thou undertake for me. Isa. 38.14. Our good works cannot come out of us, till God do first of all work them in us. Isa. 26.12. He must performe his promises of grace to us, before we can ours of service unto him. Nothing of ours can go to heaven, except we first received it from heaven. We are able to do nothing but in and by Christ which strengtheneth us, Joh. 15.5. Phil. 4.13. So that every religious Covenant which we make hath indeed a double obligation in it; An obliga­tion to the duty promised, that we may stir up our selves to performe it: and an obligation unto prayer, and recourse to God that he would furnish us with grace to performe it: As hee that hath bound himselfe to pay a debt and hath no money of his own to do it, is constrained to betake him­selfe unto supplications that he may procure the money of some other friend.

Lastly, the finall cause of a Covenant is to in­duce [Page 91] an Obligation, where was none before, or else to double and strengthen it where one was before,Quid tam con­gruum fidei hu­manae quam ea quae inter eos placuerunt servare? Ulpi­an. L. 1 ff de pactis. Obligatio est Iuris vinculum quo necessitate astringimur alicujus sol­vende [...]. Instit. lib. 3. T. 14. Vid. Gregorium. Tholos. de Repub. lib. 8 cap. 8. to be Vinculum conservandae fidei, a bond to pre­serve truth and fidelity. Being subject unto many temptations, and having backsliding and revolt­ing hearts, apt, if they be not kept up to service, to draw back from it, therefore we use our selves as men do cowardly Souldiers, set them there where they must fight, and shall not be able to run away, or fall off from service.

III. This should serve to Humble us upon a twofold consideration.Sect. 15.

1 For the falsenesse and unstedfastnesse of our Hearts which want such Covenants to binde them, and as it were fasten them to the Altar with cords: as men put locks and fetters upon wilde horses, whom otherwise no inclosure would shut in. Our Hearts (as Iacob said of Reuben, Gen. 49.4.) are unstable as waters. [...] Aristo [...] ▪ de ge­ner & corrupt. lib. 2. cap. 2. Hinc qui vitam agunt mollem, remissam, vo­luptuariam, in hanc & illam partem flexilem dicuntu [...]. [...], Chrys. Rom. 13.14. & Suidae, [...] dicitur [...]. Ejus a [...]mum qui nunc luxu [...]â & lascivâ diffluit, ro [...]und [...]m, Terent. Heauton. Messallina facilitate Adultererum in fastidium versa ad incognite [...] li­bidines p [...]ost [...]ebat. Tacit Annal▪ l. 11. Eruptiones lasciviarum Tert. Apol. ca [...]. 31. The Scripture calleth it weaknesse of Heart. Ezek. 16.30. and so the Phylosopher, [...], Ethic. lib. [...]. c. 8. Moist bodies (as water is) non continentur suis terminis, doe not set bounds to themselves, as solid and compacted bodies do, but shed all abroad, if left to themselves; the way to keepe them united and together is to put them into a close vessell: so the heart of man can set it self no bounds, but fals all asunder, [Page 92] and out of frame, [...], as the Apostles ex­pression is, 1 Pet. 4.4. instar Aquae diffluentis, Hebr. 2.1. if it be not fastned and bound together by such strong Resolutions. Sometimes men ei­ther by the power of the word, or by the sharpnesse of some affliction, are quickned and enflamed unto pious purposes, like green wood which blazeth while the bellowes are blowing; and now they think they have their hearts sure, and shall conti­nue them in a good frame, to morrow shall bee as this day. But presently like an Instrument in change of weather, they are out of tune again, and like the Camelion ▪ presently change colour, and as [...], &c. Homil. 13. ad popul. An­ [...]ioch. Chrysostome saith, the Preacher, of all workmen, seldom findes his work as he left it. Nothing but the grace of God doth ballance and establish the heart, and holy Covenants are an ordinance or means which he hath pleased to sanctifie unto this purpose, that by them, as Instruments, Grace as the principall cause might keep the Heart stedfast in duty. If then Isaiah bewail the uncleannesse of his lips, and Iob suspect the uncleannesse and wander­ing of his Eyes, what reason have we to be hum­bled for this unstedfastnesse of our Hearts, from whence the diffluence and loosenesse of every other faculty proceeds?

2 If we must bewail the falsenes of our Hearts that stand in need of Covenants, how much more should we bewail their perfidiousnesse in the viola­tion of Covenants? That they take occasion, even by Restraint like a Spumeus, & fervens & ab ob [...]ce saevior [...]bit. Ovid. Se­nec. nat. quaest. [...]. 6. ca· 17. River that is stopped in his course, to grow more unruly. Or as a man after [Page 93] an Ag [...]e which took away his stomack, to return with stronger appetite unto sin again. To crucifie our sins, and in repentance to put them, as it were, to shame, and then to take them down from the Crosse again, and fetch them to life, and repent of Repentance. To vow, and after vows to make inqui­rie, Prov. 20.25. This is a very ill requitall unto Christ. He came from glory to suffer for us, and here met with many discouragements, not onely from enemies, but from friends and Disciples, Iu­das betrayes him, Peter denies him, his Disciples sleep, his kinsfolks stand afarre off; yet he doth not look back from a Crosse to a Crown, and though he be tempted to come down from the Crosse, yet he stayes it out, that he might love, and save us to the uttermost: but wee no sooner out of Egypt and Sodome, but we have hankering affections to re­turn, at the least to looke backwards again. Engage our selves to be ruled by the Word of the Lord (as the Jews did. Ier. 42.5, 6. and with them, Ier. 43.2. When wee know his Word cavill a­gainst it, and shrinke away from our owne resolu­tions. O how should this humble us, and make us vile in our own eyes? God is exceeding angry with the breach of but H [...]mane Covenants, Ier. 34. 18. Ezek. 17.18. How much more with the breach of Holy Covennants between himself and us, and threatneth severely to revenge the quarrell of his Covenant. Levit. 26.25. and so doubtlesse he now doth, and will do still, except we take a pe­nitent Revenge upon our selves for it. And there­fore,

[Page 94]Lastly, having entred into Covenant we should use double diligence in our performance of it. Quickning and stirring up our selves thereunto.

1 By the consideration of the stability of his Covenant with us, even the sure mercies of David ▪ Isa. 54.8, 9.55.3. To break faith with a false person were a fault, but to deceive him that never fails nor forsakes us, increaseth both the guilt and the unkindnesse.

2 By consideration of his continued and renew­ed mercies. Vid. Chrysost. in Psal. 113. If he were a wildernesse unto us, there might be some colour to repent us of our bargain, and to look out for a better service. But it is not onely unthankfulnesse, but follie to make a forfei­ture of mercies, and to put God by our breach of Covenant with him, to break his with us too. Ier. 2.5, 6, 7.31. Numb. 14.34. Ion. 2.8.

3 By consideration of our Baptisme and the tenor thereof, wherein we solemnly promise to keepe a good conscience, and to observe All things whatsoever Christ commandeth us. 1 Pet. 3.21. Mat. 28.19, 20. From which engagement wee cannot recede without the note and infamie of greater perfidiousnesse In faederibus eosdem [...]micos at (que) inimico [...] habere solent faederati, quod ex Cicerone & Livio observa­vit. Brisson. de formul. li. 4. Quis miles ab infaederatis ne dicam ab h [...]sli­bus reg [...]bus de­ [...]ativum & sti­pendum cap­t [...]t nisi plane deserior & [...]r [...]nsfuga? Tertul. de Prae­script. cap. 12.. To take Christs pay, and do sin service, to be a subject unto Michael, and a pen­sioner unto the Dragon, to weare the Liverie of one Master and do the work of another, to be an Israelite in title, and a Samaritan in truth, this is either to forget or to deride our Baptisme. 2 Pet. 1.9. for therein wee did as it were s [...]bscribe our names, and list our selves in the Register of Sion; and as it is an high honour to be enrolled in the [Page 95] genealogies of the Church, so is a great dishonour to be expunged from thence, and to be written in the Earth, and have our names with our bodies putrifie into perpetuall oblivion. Ierem. 17.13. Nehem. 7.64, 65.

4 Consider the seale and witnesses whereby this Covenant hath been confirmed.Bernard. serm. 3. de Evange­lio septem pa­num. Sealed in our own consciences by the seale of faith, beleeving the Hol [...]nesse of Gods wayes, and the excellencie of his Rewards, for he that beleeveth hath set to his seale. Joh. 3.33. mutually attested by our spirits, feeling the sweetnesse of dutie, and by Vid. Bern. serm. 1. in A­nunciat. Ma­riae. & serm 2 de tribus testi­moniis. & ser. 2 in die Pente­cost. serm. 2. i [...] sestiv. omnium sanct. ser. 5. in dedicat. Eccl. serm. de qua­tuor modis orandi ser. 8.23. & 85. in Cantic. de na­tur. & dignit. divini amoris. c. 11. vid. etiam Mich [...]lis Me­dinae a Polog [...]ā pro Joanne Fero adversus Dom. Soto cri­minationes ap [...]d Sixt. se­nemsem. Bibli­oth. li. 6. An­not. 210. Gods spirit, revea­ling the certainty of Reward. Rom. 8.16. and this in the presence of Angels and Saints, into whose communion wee are admitted, 1 Corinth. 11.10. Hebr. 12.22. so that wee cannot depart from this Covenant, without shaming our selves to God, to Angels, to men, and to our own consciences. Yea the Font where we were baptized, and the Table where we have sacramentally eaten and drank the body and blood of Christ, & the very seats where we have sate attending unto his voice, like Ioshua his stone, cap. 24.22, 27. will be witnesses against us if we deny our Covenant, though there be no need of witnesses against those who have to do with the searcher of hearts, and the Judge of con­sciences, that consuming fire whom no lead, no drosse, no reprobate silver, no false metall, can en­dure or deceive, no Ananias or Saphira lie unto without their own undoing.

Lastly, let us consider the estate which these Covenants do referre unto, and our Tenure where­unto [Page 96] these services are annexed, which is eternall life. After we have had patience to keep our short Promises of doing Gods will, he will performe his eternall promises, of giving himself unto us. And who would forfeit an inheritance for not payment of a small homage or quitrent reserved upon it? If we expect eternall life from him, there is great reason we should dedicate a mortall life unto him. Let us not pay our service in drosse, when we expect our wages in gold.


HOSEAH 14. VER. 2.3.

2. So will we render the calves of our lips.

3. Ashur shall not save us, we will not ride upon Horses, neither will we say any more to the works of our hands, ye are our Gods; for in thee the fatherlesse findeth mercy.Sect. 1

HAving handled the generall do­ctrine of our entring into Cove­nant with God, I shall now pro­ceed unto the particulars which they here engage themselves un­to, whereof the first is a solemne Thanksgiving, We will render the calves of our lips. Vid. Gul. Stuc. An [...]iq. Convival lib. 1. cap. 33. Wee [...]se exercit▪ Ceremon. l. exer­cit. 13. quamvis alii al [...]ter di­stinguant. Cornel. A Lapid in Syn [...]p. c. 1. Le­vit Torniel. An. 2545. sect. 21. Pine l. in Io [...]. 1.5 Alex. Hales p. 3 qu. 55. & memb. 4. art. 8. sect. 3. All the sacrifices of the Jewes were of two sorts. Some were Ilasticall, propitiatory, or expiatory, for pardon of sin, or impetration of favour: others [Page 2] were Eucharisticall sacrifices of praise (as the peace-offerings, Levit. 7.12.) for mercies obtained, Psal. 107.22. With relation unto these, the Church here, having prayed for forgivenesse of sin, and for the obtaining of blessings, doth hereupon, for the far­ther enforcement of those petitions, promise to offer the peace-offerings of praise, not in the naked and empty ceremony, but with the spirituall life and substance, viz. the Calves of their lips, which are mo­ved by the inward principles of hearty sincerity and thanksgiving.

From hence we learn, that sound conversion and repentance enlargeth the heart in thankfulnesse towards God, and disposeth it to offer up the sacri­fice of praise. And this duty here promised, cometh in this place under severall considerations, for we may consider it.

I. Ut materiam pacti, as the matter of a Covenant or compact,Sect. 2. which we promise to render unto God in acknowledgment of his great mercy in answer­ing the prayers which we put up unto him for par­don and grace. It is observable that most of those Psalmes wherein David om­nes s [...]re Psal­mos in quibus Dei auxilium implorat, gra­tiatum actio­ne claudit. Mu [...] in Psal. 10.16. David imploreth helpe from God, are closed with thanksgiving unto him, as Psal. 7.17.13, 6.56, 12, 13, 57, 7, 10, &c. David thus by an holy craft insinuating into Gods favour, and driving a trade between earth & heaven, receiving and returning, importing one commodity, & trans­porting another, letting God know that his mer­cies shall not be lost, that as he bestows the com­forts of them upon him, so he would returne the praises of them unto heaven again. Cives habent propinquam fructuosam­qu [...] provinci­am quo facile excurrant, ubi libentur nego­tium gerant: quos illa mer­cibus suppedi­tandis cum quaestu com­pendioque di­mittit, &c. Cicer in Verr. 3 Huiusmodi nobile Empo­rium erat Ty­ros Phaeniciae urbs. Ezek. 27.12.24. de quare­ [...]ione Luca­nus, primi docuere cari­nis Ferre cavis orbis com­mercia. Those Coun­Countries [Page 3] that have rich & staple commodities to exchange and return unto others, have usually th freest and fullest trafick and resort of trade made unto them. Now there is no such rich return from earth to heaven as praises; This is indeed the one­ly tribute we can pay unto God, to value, and to celebrate his goodnesse towards us. As in the fluxe and refluxe of the sea, the water that in the one comes from the sea unto the shore, doth in the other but run back into it self again: so praises Gratiarum cess [...]t decur­sus, ubi recur­sus non fuit. [...]e [...]n. serm. 1. in cap. Iejunii. Ad locum un­dèexeunt gratiae rever­tantur [...]dem ser. 3. in vigili nativit▪ & are as it were the returne of mercies into themselves, or into that bosom and fountain of Gods love from whence they flowed. And therefore the richer any heart is in praises▪ the more speedy & copious are the returnes of mercy unto it; God hath so ordered the creatures amongst themselves, that there is a kinde of naturall confederacy, and mutuall negotia­tion amongst them, each one receiving and return­ing, deriving unto others, & drawing from others what serves most for the conservation of them all, and every thing by various interchanges and vicis­situdes flowing backe into the originall from whence it came: thereby teaching the souls of men to maintain the like spirituall commerce & confe­deracie with heaven, to have all the passages be­tween them and it open and unobstructed, that the mercies which they receive from thence, may not be kept under, and imprisoned in unthankfulnesse, but may have a free way in daily praises to return to their fountain again. Thus Noah, after his deli­verance from the flood, built an Altar, on which to sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, that a [...] his [Page 4] family by the Ark was preserved from perishing, so the memory of so great a mercy might in like manner by the Altar be preserved too, Gen. 8.20. So Abraham after a weary journey being comfor­ted with Gods gracious appearing and manifesta­tion of himself unto him, built an Altar, and called on the Name of the Lord, Gen. 12.7. and after another journey out of Egypt, was not forgetfull to returne unto that place againe, Gen. 13.4. Gods presence drawing forth his praises, as the returne of the Sun in a spring and summer, causeth the earth to thrust forth her fruits and flowers, that they may as it were meet, & do homage to the fountain of their beauty. If Hezekiah may be delivered from death, Isa. 38.20. If David from guilt, Psal. 51.14. they promise to sing aloud of so great mercy, and to take others into the consort, I will teach transgres­sours thy way, and we will sing upon the stringed in­struments. Guilt stops the mouth, and makes it speechlesse, Matth. 22.12. that it cannot answer for one of a thousand sins, nor acknowledge one of a thousand mercies. When Iacob begged Gods bles­sing on him in his journy, he vowed a vow of obe­dience and thankfulnesse to the Lord, seconding Gods promises of mercy, with his promises of praise, and answering all the parts thereof, If God will be with me, and keep me, I will be his, and he shall be mine. If he single out me and my seed, to set us up as marks for his Angels to descend unto with pro­tection and mercy, and will indeed give this Land to us, and returne me unto my fathers house; then this stone which I have set up for a pillar & monument, [Page 5] shall be Gods house, for me and my seed to praise him in; and accordingly we finde he built an Altar there, and changed the name of that place, calling it the House of God, and God, the God of Bethel. And lastly, if God indeed will not leave nor forsake me, but will give so rich a land as this unto me, I will surely return a homage back, and of his own, I will give the tenth unto him againe. So punctuall is this holy man to restipulate for each distinct promise a distinct praise, and to take the quality of his vows from the quality of Gods mercies, Gen. 28. v. 20.22. compared with v. 13.15. Gen.▪ 15. Last­ly, Ionah out of the belly of Hell cries unto God, and voweth a vow unto him, that he would sacrifice with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell all ages, that salvation is of the Lord, Ionah 2.9. Thus we may consider praises as the matter of the Church­es Covenant.

II. Ut fructum poenitentiae, as a fruit of true re­pentance, and deliverance from sin.Sect. 3. When sin is taken away, when grace is obtained, then indeed is a man in a right disposition to give praises unto God: When we are brought out of a wildernesse into Canaan, Deut 8.10. out of Babylon unto Sion, Jer. 30.18.19. then saith the Prophet, Out of them shall proceed thanksgiving, and the voice of them that make merry, &c. When Israel had passed thorow the red Sea, and saw the Egyptians dead on the shore, the great type of our deliverance from sin, death, and Satan, then they sing that triumphant Song, Moses and the men singing the Song, and Miriam and the women answering them, and re­peating [Page 6] over again the burden of the Song, Sing to the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously, the Horse and his rider hath he thrown into the Sea, Exod. When a poore soule hath been with Ionah in the midst of the seas, compassed with the floods, closed in with the depths, brought downe to the bottom of the mountaines, wrapt about head and heart, and all over with the weeds, and locked up with the bars of sin and death, when it hath felt the weight of a guilty conscience, and been terrifi­ed with the fearful expectation of an approaching curse, lying as it were at the pits brinke, within the smoak of hell, within the smell of that brimstone, and scorchings of that unquenchable fire which is kindled for the divel and his angels: and is then by a more bottomles & unsearchable mercy brought unto dry land, snatched as a brand out of the fire, translated unto a glorious condition, from a Law to a Gospel, from a cu [...]se to a Crown, from dam­nation to an inheritance, from a slave to a Sonne, then, then onely, never till then, is that soul in a fit disposition to sing praises unto God, when God hath forgiven all a mans iniquities, and healed all the diseases of his soul, and redeemed his life from destruction, or from hel (as the Chaldee rendreth it) and crowned him with loving kindnesse and ten­der mercies, turning away his anger, and revealing those mercies which are from everlasting Ab aeterno per praedesti­nationem in aeternum per glorificatio­nem, Be [...]nard serm. 2. in As­cens. Dom. in election unto everlasting in salvation, removing his sins from him as far as the East is from the West; then a man will call upon his soule over and over againe, and summon every faculty within him, & invite every [Page 7] creature without him to blesse the Lord, and to inge­minate praises unto his holy name, Psal. And as David there begins the Psalme, with Blesse the Lord O my soul, and ends it with blesse the Lord O my soul: so the Apostle making mention of the like mercy of God unto him, and of the ex­ceeding abundant grace of Christ, in setting forth him who was a blasphemer, a persecutor, and inju­rious, as a patterne unto all that should beleeve on him unto eternall life, begins this meditation with praises, I thank Christ Iesus our Lord; and ends it with praises, unto the King eternall, immortall, invi­sible, the onely wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever, Amen. 1 Tim. 1.12.17. It is impossible that soule should be truly thankfull unto God, which hath no apprehensions of him, but as an ene­mie, ready to call in, or at the least to curse all those outward benefits which in that little interim and respite of time between the curse pronounced in the Law, and executed in death, he vouchsafeth to bestow. Qualem te paraveris Deo, talis oporter appareat tibi Deus. Bern. in Can [...]. serm. 69. And impenitent sinners can have no true notion of God but such. And therefore all the ver­ball thanks which such men seem to render unto God for blessings, are but like the musick at a Fu­nerall, or the Trumpet before a Judge, which gives no comfortable sound to the mourning wife, or to the guilty prisoner.

III. Vt medium Impetrandi. As an Argument and motive to prevail with God in prayer. For the Church here Praies for pardon, for grace,Sect. 4. for hea­ling, not onely with an eye to its own benefit, but unto Gods honour. Lord, when thou hast heard and [Page 8] answered us, then we shall glorifie thee. Psa. 50.15. I shall praise thee, saith David, for then hast heard me, and art become my salvation. Psal. 118.21. It is true, if God condemne us, he will therein shew forth his owne glory, 2 Thes. 1.9. as he did upon Phara­oh. Rom 9.17. In which sence the strong and terri­ble ones are said to glorifie him, Isay. 25.3. Because his power in their destruction is made the more conspicuous: But we should not therein concurre unto the glorifying of him. The grave cannot praise him, they that goe downe into the pit cannot celebrate his name. Ps. 30.9, 88, 10, 11. The living, the living they shall praise thee. Isa. 38.19. This is a frequent argument with David whereby to prevail for mer­cy, because else God would lose the praise which by this meanes he should render to his name. Psal. &c. God indeede is All-suffici­ent to himself, and no goodnes of ours can extend unto him. Iob 22.2, 35, 7. Deus suam gloriam quae­rit non prop­ter se sed prop­ter nos. Aquin. 22. qu. 32. art. 1. ad 1 m. Yet as Parents delight to use the labour of their children in things which are no way beneficiall unto themselves: so God is pleased to use us as instruments for setting forth his glory, though his glory stand in no neede of us, though we cannot adde one Cubit thereunto. He hath made all men August de nup. in usu [...] profundarum cogitatio­num suarum, unto the uses of his unsearchable Councells. He hath made all things for himselfe, yea even the wicked for the day of evill. Prov. 16.4. Yet he is pleased to esteeme some men meete for uses, which others are not, 2 Tim. 2.21. and to set apart some for himselfe▪ and for those uses. iis & concupis. lib. 2. cap. 16. Omnia prop­ter se ipsum fecit Deus, omnia propter suos. Bern. ser. 3. in die Pentecost. Psal. 4.3. Isay. 43.21. August de nup. God by his wisedome ordereth, [Page 9] and draweth the blind and brute motions of the worst creatures unto his own honour, Est in malo­rum potestate peccare; ut au­tem peccando hoc vel hoc il­la malitia faci­ant, non est in illorum pote­state, sed Dei dividentis te­nebras, & or­dinantis eas, ut hinc etiam quod faciunt contra volun­tatem Dei, non impleatur nisi voluntas Dei Aug. de prae. Sanet. c. 16. vid. etiam ep. 69 q. 6. ep. 120. c. 2 epist. 141. l. 2. qu. sup. Exod. qu. 18. lib. 83. quaest. 27. de Civit. Dei. lib. 11. cap. 17. as the hunts­man doth the rage of the dog to his pleasure, or the Marriner the blowing of the winde unto his voy­age, or the Artist the heate of the fire unto his worke; or the Phisician the bloudthirstinesse of the Leech unto a cure. But godly men are fitted to bring actually glory unto him, to glo­rify him doingly. 1 Cor. 10.3 [...] ▪ 31. Ephe. 1.11, 12. And this is that which God chiefly takes plea­sure in.

Our Saviour bids his disciples cast their net in­to the Sea, and when they had drawn their net, he bids them bring of the fish which they had then caught, and yet we finde that there was a fire of coales, and fish laid thereon, and bread provided on the land before. Iohn 21.6, 9, 10. Thereby teaching us that he did not use their industrie for any neede that he had of it, but because he would honour them so far as to let them honour him with their obedience. And therefore even then when God tells his people that he needed not their services, yet he calls upon them for thanksgi­ving. Psal. 50.9, 14.

This then is a strong argument to be used in prai­er for pardon, for grace, for any spirituall mercie. Lord, if I perish, I shall not praise thee, I shall not be meete for my Masters uses. Thy glory will one­ly be forced out of me with blowes, like fire out of a flint, or water out of a rock. But thou de­lightest to see thy poore Servants operate towards thy glory, to see them not forced by power but [Page 10] by love to shew forth thy praises. And this we shall never doe till sinne be pardoned. God can bring light out of light, as the light of the Starres out of the light of the Sun, and he can bring light out of darkenes, as he did at first; but in the one case there is a meetnes for such an use, in the other not. Now we are not meete Subjects for God to reap honor from, till sinne be pardoned, till grace be confer­red. Then we shall give him the praise of his mercy in pittying such grievous sinners, and the praise of his power and wisedome in healing such mortall dis­eases, and the praise of his glorious and free grace in sending Salvation to those that did not inquire after it, and the praise of his patience in forbearing us so long, and waiting that he might be gracious, and the praise of his wonderfull providence in cau­sing all things to worke together for our good: and the praise of his justice by taking part with him against our own sinnes, and joyning with his grace to revenge the bloud of Christ upon them. A pot­sheard is good enough to hold fire, but nothing but a sound and pure vessell is meete to put wine or any rich depositumn into.

IV. Vt principium operandi, As a principle of Emendation of life,Sect. 5. and of new Obedience. Lord take away iniquity and receive us into favour, then will we be thankfull unto thee, and that shall pro­duce amendment of life; Ashur shall not save us, neither will we ride upon horses, &c. A thankefull apprehension of the goodnes of God in forgiving, giving, saving, honouring us, is one of the princi­pall foundations of sincere obedience. Then the [Page 11] Soule will thinke nothing too good for God, that hath shewed himselfe so good unto it.Jure gentium servi nostri sunt qui ex an­cillis nostris nascuntur. Leg. 5. D. de statu Hominis. & Leg. 28. de usuris & fructi­bus. Ibid. What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits? saith the Prophet David. Psal. 116.12. and a little after it followes, O Lord, truly I am thy servant, I am thy servant, and the Son of thine Handmaide; that is, an Home-borne servant, thine from my mothers wombe. It is an allusion to those who were borne of Servants in the House of their Masters, and so were in a condition of Servants. Pa [...]tus sequitur vent [...]em. If the mother be an Handmaide, the childe is a Servant too, and so the Scripture calleth them filios domus, children of the house Gen. 14. 14, 15, 3, 17, 12. Lev. 22, 11. Ecclesi. 2.7. His heart being enlarged in thankfulnesse, presently minded him of the deep ingagements that did bind him unto Service even from the wombe. True fi­liall and Evangelicall obedience ariseth from faith and love. Faith shewes us Gods love to us, and therby worketh in us a Reciprocal love unto him, We love him, because he loved us first. 1 John 4.19. This is the only thing wherein a Servant of God may answer him, and may de simili mutuam repen­dere vicem, as Berna [...]d speakes, returne back unto God what he gives unto him. Si mihi iras­catur Deus, num illi ego similiter redi­rascar? non uti (que) sed pave­bo, sed contre­miscam, sed veniam depre­cabor. Ita si me arguat, non redarguetur a me, sed ex me potius justifi. cabitur: nec si me judica­bit, judicabo ego eum, sed adorabo. Si dominatur, me oportet servi­re; Si imperat, me oportet pa­rere; nunc jam videas de amore quam aliter [...]; N [...]mcum a­mat Deus non aliud vult quā [...]mari. Bern. serm. 83▪ in Cantic. If he be angry with me, I must not be angry again with him, but feare and tremble, and begge for pardon. If he reprove me, I must not reprove but justifie him: If he judge me, I must not judge but adore him. But if he love me, I must take the boldnes to love him againe, for therefore he loves that he may be loved. And this love of ours unto Christ makes us ready to do e­very [Page 12] thing which he requires of us, because we know that he hath done much more for us then he requireth of us. The love of Christ saith the Apo­stle, constraineth us, because we thus judge, that if one dyed for all, then were all dead, that is either dead in and with him in regard of the guilt and punishment of sin, so as to be freed from the damnation of it, or dead by way of conformity unto his death, in dying unto sinne, and crucifying the old man, so as to shake off the power and strength of it. And the fruite of all, both his dying and our loving, is this, That we should not live unto our selves, but unto him that dyed for us and rose again. Thus love argues from the greater to the lesser, from the greatnes of his work for us to the smalnes of ours unto him; If he died to give us life, then we must live to doe him Service.

Quis coram Deo innocens invenitur qui vult fieri quod vetatur, si sub­trahas q [...]od timetur? Qui gehennas me­tuit, non pec­care metuit sed ardere; ille autem peccare me [...]uit, qui peccatum ip­sum sicu [...]ge­hennas odit. Au. Ep. 144. Bernard ser de Trip. [...]hae [...]. Vere Chrsti­anus est qui plus amat do­minum quam timet gehen­nam, ut etiam­si dicat illi De [...]s▪ ute [...]e deliciis carna­libus sempi­ternis & quan­tum potes pec­ca, nec morie­tis nec in ge­hennam mitteris, sed mecum tantummodo non eris; ex­horrescat et omnino non prece [...]; non jam ut in il­lud quod ti­mebat non in­cidat, sed ne illum quē sic amat offend [...]t. Idem de Catechizand. Rudibus. c. 17. de natur & grat. c. 57. con [...]. 2 Et Pelag. l. 1▪ c. 9. & l. 2.69. Feare produceth onely servile & unwilling per­formances, as those fruites which grow in Winter, or in cold Countries, are sowre, unsavoury, and un­concocted; but those which grow in Summer, or in hotter Countries, by the warmth and influence of the Sun are sweet and wholesome: such is the dif­ference between those fruits of obedience which feare and which love produceth. The most formall principle of obedience is love, and the first begin­ings of love in us unto God arise from his mercies unto us being thankfully remembred; & this teach­eth the soule thus to argue, God hath given deli­verances unto me, and should I breake his Comman­dements? Ezra 13.14. Christ gave himselfe to re­deeme me from all iniquity, and to make me in a [Page 13] speciall manner his owne, therefore I must be zea­lous of good workes. Tit. 2.14. therefore I must shew forth the vertues of him that called me out of darkenes into his marvellous Light. 1 Pet. 2.9. No more frequent, more copious common place in all the Scriptures then this to call for obedience, and to aggravate disobedience by the consideration of the great things that God hath done for us. Deut. 13.20, 21, 11, 7, 8, 29, 32, 6, 7. Iosh. 24.2, 14. 1 Sam. 12.24, Isay. 1, 2. Ier. 2.5, 6. Hos. 2.8. Mic. 6.3, 5. In the Per modum pigneris, licet non per mo­dum mancipii. Leg. 2. Cod. de postliminio Reversis, &c. nempe servi sunt quoad solvatur preti­um Redem­ptori. Si quis servum cap­tum ab h [...]sti­bus Redeme­rit, protinus est Redimen­tis. L. 12. sect. 7. F. de cap­tivit. Law a Ransomed man became the Servant of him that bought and delivered him: and upon this argument the Apostle calls for obe­dience. Ye are not your owne, but you are bought with a price, therefore glorifie God in your body, and in your spirits, wh [...]ch are Gods. 1 Cor. 6.19, 20. We have but the use of our selves, the property Fructu [...]rius nihil facere debet in per­niciem pro­prietatis. L. 13 sect. 4. F. de usu his, and we may do nothing to violate that.

V. Ut instrumentum divinae gloriae. As a meanes and instrument of publishing Gods praises. There is an Emphasis in the word Lips. Sometimes it is a diminutive word, taking away from the duty per­formed, as Matth. 15.8. This people honour me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.Sect. 6. But here it is an Augmentative word, that enlargeth the du­ty, and makes it wider. I will sacrifice unto thee saith Ionah, with the voice of thanksgiving, Jonah 2.9. God regardeth not the sacrifice if this be not the use that is made of it, to publish and celebrate the glory of his name. The outward ceremony is nothing without the thankfulnes of the heart and the thankfulnes of the heart is too little, except it [Page 14] have a voice to proclaime it abroad, that other may learn to glorifie and admire the works of the Lord too. It is not enough to Sacrifice, not enough to sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, except withal we declare his works with rejoycing, psal. 107.22. There is a private thankfulnes of the Soul within it self, when meditating on the goodnesse of God, it doth in secret returne the tribute of an humble and obedient heart back again unto him, which is to praise God on the Bed: and there is publick thanks­giving, when men tell of the wondrous works of God in the great Congregation of his Saints, Psal. 149.1.5. Psal. 26.7.12. Now here the Church promiseth this publick thanksgiving, it shal not be the thank­fulnesse of the heart onely, but of the lips too. As it is noted of the thankfull Leper, that with a loud voice he glorified God, Luke 17.15. The living, the living shall praise thee, saith Hezekiah; but how should they doe it? The fathers to the children shall make known thy truth, Isay 38.19. There are some affections and motions of the heart that do stop the mouth, Plu [...]rch. de ca­piend ex Hos [...]i­bus utilitate. Arist. Probl [...]m. sect. 27. are of a cold stupefactive, and constringent nature, as the sap staies and hides it selfe in the root while it is winter. Such is fear and extremity of griefe. Come saith the Prophet, Let us enter into our defenced cities, and let us be silent there, for the Lord our God hath put us to silence, Jer. 8.14. Isai. 10.14. Other affections open the mouth, are of an expansive & dilating nature, know not how to be straitned or suppressed, and of all these, joy, and sense of Gods mercy, can least contain it self in the compasse of our narrow breast, but will spread and [Page 15] communicate it selfe to others. A godly Heart is in this like unto those flowers which shut when the Sun sets, when the night comes, & open again when the Sun returnes and shines upon them. If God withdraw his favor, and send a night of affli­ction, they shut up themselves, and their thoughts in silence; but if he shine again, and shed abroad the light and sense of his love upon them, then their heart & mouth is wide open towards heaven in lifting up praises unto him. Hannah prayed si­lently so long as she was in bitternes of soul, and of a sorrowfull spirit, 1 Sam. 1.1 [...], 15. but as soon as God answered her prayers, and filled her heart with joy in him, presently her mouth was enlarged into a Song of thanksgiving▪ Chap. 2.1.

There is no phrase more usual in the Psalmes, then to sing forth praises unto God, & it is not used without a speciall Emphasis. For it is one thing to praise, and another to Sing praises, Psal. 146.2. This is, to publish, to declare, to speak of, abundantly to utter the memory of Gods great goodnesse,Apud poetas Clarissimos laudes Deo­rum inter Re­galia convivi­a c [...]neb [...]ntur. Quintil. lib. 1. cap. 10. nec ali­ter veri Dei liudes in con­viviis Christi­anorum. Ter­tul. Apolog. cap. 39. Cyprian lib. 2. Epist. 2. that one generation may derive praises unto another, as the Expressions are, Psa. 145.4.7. And therefore we finde in the most solemn thanksgivings, that the people of God were wont in great companies, and with musicall instruments to sound forth the prai­ses of God, and to cause their joy to be heard afar off, Neh. 12.27, 31, 43. Isai. 12.4, 5, 6. Ier. 31.7. This then is the force of the expression, Lord when thou hast taken away iniquity, and extended thy grace and favour to us, we will not onely have thankfull hearts, every man to praise thee by himselfe; but [Page 16] we will have thankfull lips to shew forth thy praise, we will stir up and encourage one another, we will tell our children, that the generations to come may know the mercy of our God.

This is a great part of the Communion of Saints to joyne together in Gods prayses. There is a Communion of Sinners, wherein they combine together to dishonour God, and encourage one another in evil, Psal. 64.5. Psal. 83.5.8. Prov. 1.10 11. Eve was no sooner caught her self, but she became a kinde of Serpent, to deceive and to catch her husband. A Tempter hath no sooner made a Sinner, but that Sinner will become a Tempter. As therefore Gods Enemies hold communion to dishonour him: so great reason there is that his servants should hold Communion to praise him, and to animate and heart­en one another unto duty, as men that draw at an anchor, and Souldiers that set upon a service, use to do with mutual incouragements, Isai. 2.3. Zach. 8.21. Mal. 3.16. The Holy Oyle for the Sanctuary was made of many spices compounded by the art of the Perfumer, Exod. 30.23, 24.25. to note unto us that those duties are sweetest wch are made up in a Communion of Saints, each one contributing his influence and furtherance unto them. As in windes and rivers where many meet in one they are stron­gest; and in Chaines and Jewels where many links and stones are joyned in one, they are richest. All good is diffusive, like Leven in a lump, like sap in a root; it wil finde the way from the heart to every faculty of soul and body, and from thence to the ears and hearts of others. Every living creature [Page 17] was made with the seed of life in it, to preserve it self by multiplying, Gen. And of all seeds that of the Spirit, and the Word (1 Ioh. 3.9. 1 Pet. 1.23.) is most vigorous, and in nothing so much as in glorifying God, when the joy of the Lord, which is our strength, doth put it self forth to derive the praises of his Name, and to call in others to the ce­lebration of them.

From all which we learn, 1. By what means (a­mongst many others) to try the truth of our con­version; namely,Sect. 7. by the life and workings of true Thankfulnesse unto God for pardon of sin, and accepting into favour. Certainly when a man is con­verted himself, his heart will be enlarged, and his mouth will be filled with the praises of the Lord; he will acquaint others what a good God he is tur­ned unto. If he have found Christ himself, as An­drew and Philip, and the woman of Samaria did, he will presently report it to others▪ and invite them to come and see, Ioh. 1.41.46. Ioh. 4.29. If Zacheus be converted, he receiveth Christ joyfully, Luk. 19.6. If Matthew be converted, he entertains him with a feast, Luk. 5.29. If Cornelus be instructed in the knowledge of him, he will call his kinsfolke and friends to partake of such a banquet, Acts 10.24. If David be converted himself, he wil endeavour that other sinners may be converted too, Psa. 51.13. and will shew them what the Lord hath done for his soul. The turning of a sinner from evill to good, is like the turning of a Bell from one side to ano­ther, you cannot turn it, but it will make a sound, and report its own motion. He that hath not a [Page 18] mouth open to report the glory of Gods mercy to his soul, and to strengthen and edifie his brethren, may justly question the truth of his own conversi­on. In Aarons garments (which were types of holi­nesse) there were to be golden Bells and Pomegra­nates, which (if we may make any allegoricall ap­plication of it) intimateth unto us, That as a Holy life is fruitfull and active in the duties of spirituall obedience, so it is loud and vocall in sounding forth the praises of God, and thereby endeavouring to edifie the Church. Gedeons Lamps and Pitchers were accompanied with Trumpets; when God is pleased to put any light of grace into these earth­en vessels of ou [...]s, we should have mouthes full of thankfulnesse to return unto him the glory of his goodnesse.

And as that repentance is unsound which is not accompanied with thankfulnesse, so that thankful­nesse is but empty and hypocriticall,Quintil. Insti. [...]i. 10 cap. 3. A. Gelli. l. 1. c. 15. [...]. Aes­chy [...]us apud Plut. de Aud. Poetis. Dicta sactis desicientibus erubescunt. Tertul. de pa­t [...]ia cap. 1. which doth not spring-out of sound repentance; we use to say that the words of Fools are in labris nata, borne in their lips: but the words of wise men are E sulc [...] ­pectoris, drawn up out of an inward judgement. The Calves of the lips are no better then the Calves of the Stall in Gods account, if they have not an heart in them. Without this the promise here mad to God would be no other then that with which nurses de­ceive their little children, when they promise them a gay golden new nothing. Praise in the mouth without repentance in the heart, is like a Sea-weed that grows without a root. Like the powring of Balme and Spices upon a dead body, which can [Page 19] never thorowly secure it from putrefaction. Like a perfume about one sick of the plague, whose sweet smell carries infection along with it. [...]. Clem. Alex. S [...]om. l. 7. Deum colit, quisquis imita­tus est. Senec. Epist. 95. Vid. Chrysost. Hom. 25. in Math. [...]. It is not the mentioning of mercies, but the improving of them unto piety, which expresseth our thankfull­nesse unto God. Gods sets every blessing upon our score, and expects an answer and returne suteable. He compares Corazin and Bethsaida with Tyre [...]nd Sidon; and if their lives be as bad as these, their pu­nishment shall be much heavier, because the mer­cies they enjoyed were much greater. The not using of mercies is the being unthankfull for them. And it is an heavie account which men must give for abused mercies, Deut. 32.6. Amos 2.9.13. Luke 13▪ 7. Heb. 6.7. Sins against mercy and under mer­cy, are the first ripe fru [...]; when the Sun shines hot­test, the fruits ripen fastest, Amos 8.1.2. Ier. 1.11.12. God doth not beare so long with the provocations of a Church, as of those that are not a people; the sins of the Amorites were longer in ripening, then the sins of Israel. When judgement is abroad, it will begin at the House of God.

II. We should be so much the more earnestly pressed unto this,Sect. by how much it is the greater e­vidence of our conversion unto God, and by how much more apt we are to call for mercies when we want them, then with the Leper to returne praises when we do enjoy them. Ten cried to be healed, but there was but one that returned glory to God. Vessels will sound when they are empty, fill them and they are presently dumb. When we want mer [...]cies, then with Pharaoh wee cry out for pardon, for [Page 20] peace, for supplies, for deliverances; but when prayers are answered, and our turne served, how few remember the method which God prescribes, Call on me in the day of trouble, I will hear thee, and th [...]n shalt glorifie me. Psal. 50.15. yea how many like Swine trample on the meat that feeds them, and tread under foot the mercies that preserve them? How many are so greedily intent upon the things they desire, that they cannot see nor value the things they enjoy. Omni [...] festinatio caeca est. It is noted even of good King Hezekiah, that he did not render according to the benefits which he had received,Seneca de Benefic. li 3. c. 3. Liv. lib. 22. 2 Chron. 32.25. Therefore we should be exhorted in our prayers for pardon and grace, to do as the Church here doth, to promise the Sacrifices of Thankfulnesse and obediene, not as a price to pur­chase mercy (for our good extends not unto God, Psal. 16.2) but as a tye and obligation upon our selves, to acknowledge and return the praise of mercy to him that gives it. And this the Apostle exhorteth us unto, that our requests should be made known unto God, not onely with prayer and suppli­cation, but with Thankesgiving, Phil. 4.6. 1 Thess. 5. 17.18. 1 Tim. 2.1. which we finde to have been his own practice. Eph. 3, 14.20.21. We should keep a Catalogue of Gods mercies to quicken us unto du­tie, as well as a Catalogue of our own sins to make us cry for mercy. And unto this duty of Thanks­giving we may be excited,

I. By the consideration of Gods greatnesse. Great is the Lord, and therefore greatly to be praised, Psal. 145.3. The praises of God should be according to his [Page 21] Name, Ps. 48.10. Ps. 96.8. All things were made for no other end, but to return glory to him that made them. Because al things are of him, therfore all must be to him, Ro. 11.36 And this the very Figure of the world teacheth us. For a Circular line ends where it began, and returns back into its originall point,Vid. Field of the Church. li. 1. cap. 1. Plutarch. lib. de E. Qui curat esse nisi propter te. pro nihilo est, & nihil est. Qui vult esse sibi & non ti­bi nihil esse incipit inter omnia Bern. serm. 20 in Cant Eo quis­que pessimus quo optimus, si hoc ipsum quod est opti­mus adscrib [...]t sibi. serm. 84 in Cantic. by that means strengthning and preserving it self. For things are usually strongest when nearest their ori­ginall, and the more remote from that, the weaker they grow. As a tree is strongest at the root, and a branch or bough next the trunk or stock, and the further out it grows from thence, the smaller and we [...]ker it grows too; and the further it is from the originall of its being, the nearer it is unto not. Be­ing. So all creatures are hereby taught both for preservation of that being they have, & for supply of what perfections they want, and in both, for the setting forth of the greatnesse of their Maker, (out of whose infinite Being all finite beings are sustai­ned & perfected) to run back unto God, for whose sake they are, and have been created. Rivers come from the Sea, and therefore run back into the Sea again; The trees receive sap from the earth, and within a while pay it back in those leaves that fall down to the earth again. Now as God hath made all creatures thus to shew forth the glory of his greatnes, so he will have them do it by these Prin­ciples, and in that maner of working which he hath planted in them. Inanimate and meere naturall crea­ [...]ures are bid to praise the Lord, Psal. 148.8.9. but this [...]hey do blindly and ignorantly, like the arrow which flies toward the marke, but understandeth not its [Page 22] own motion, being directed thither by an under­standing without and above it self. And thus when every thing by the naturall weight and inclination of its own form moveth to the place where it may be preserved, or draweth to it those further de­grees of perfection, whereby it may be improved, and have more of being communicated to it, it may truly be said to praise the Lord, in that it obeyeth the Law which he planted in it, and is by his wise providence carried back towards him, to derive its conservation & perfection from the same fountain from whence its Being did proceed. But now reaso­nable creatures being by God enriched with Inter­nall knowledge, and that knowledge in his Church exceedingly raised by his manifestation of himself as their utte [...]most blessednesse in the Word unto them, He therefore requires that we should worke actively, and with intention of the End for which he made us, guiding all our aimes and inclinations to­wards his glory by that internall knowledge of his Excellency which he hath implanted in us, and re­vealed to us. And indeed all other creatures are in this sense said to glorifie God, because the infinite power, wisdom, goodnesse, and perfection of God which are in their beings and workings so notably relucent, do become the object of reasonable crea­tures, to contemplate upon, and by that means draw forth admiration and adoration of him.

II. By the consideration of Gods goodnesse. He deserves it at our hands.Sect. 9. He gives more to us then we are able to render unto him. The Sun shines on the Moon with his own glorious light, the Moon [Page 23] ret [...]rns but a [...] spotted light upon the world. We can return nothing unto God, but that which is his own, 1 Chro. 29.16. and it goes not with that purity from us as it came unto us, We cannot send forth a thought round about us, but it w [...]ll returne with a report of mercy, and that mercy calls for a returne of praise. Magna est gratia quae tri­buiturhomini­b [...]s vehemen—ter egentibus, & in rebus magnis & diffi­cilibus & cum quis beneficiū alicui dat aut solus, aut pri­mus vid. Arist. Rhet. lib. 2 c. 7 ita (que) in hujus­modi benefa­ctores admissa gravius vindi­cantur. L 1. de obsequiis pa­rentibus & pa­tionis prae [...]āt▪ D. & L. 28. de poenis. sect. 8. But above all, the goodnesse of God mentioned in the text, Taking away iniquity, and receiving graciously, this calls for the Calv [...]s of the lips to be offered, as in the new Moons, with Trumpets and solemnity, Num▪ 10.10. The beams of the Sun the more directly they fall on the body of the Moone, doe fill it with the more abundant light: so the more copious and notable Gods mer­cies are unto us, the more enlarged should our praises be unto him. Therefore true Penitents that have more tasted of mercy, are more obliged unto thanksgiving, Psal. 147.20. Excellent speech is not comely in the mouth of fools, Prov. 17.7. But Praise is comly for the upright, Psal. 33.1. For as God is most dishonoured by the sinnes of holy men when they are committed against light, and break forth into scandall, as a Pretiosam vestem exigua quaevis macula turpius deco­lórat. Nobis ad immundi­ciam minima quaevis inobe­dientia suffi­cit, &c. Ber­nard. [...]er. de tri­plici custodia. spot in silk is a greater blemish then in Sackcloth, 2 Sam 12.14. So is he most ho­noured by the confession and praises of holy men, because they know more of his glory and good­nesse then others, and can report greater things of him. Wicked men speak of God by hear-say, and by notion onely, but holy men by Est locus ubi vere quiescens & quietus cer­nitur Deus, lo [...]cus omnino non judicis▪ non magistri; sed spousi -sed heu rara hora & parva mora. Bern. ser. 23. in Cant. Mens ineffabili ve [...]bi illecta dulcedine quodammodo se [...]bi suratur, imó ra­pitur atque elabitur a scipsa ut verbo fruatur—dulce commercium, sed breve momentum & experimentum rarum. Ibid. serm. 85. vid. etiam serm. 83▪ [...] serm. 1.3.31. intimate Ex­perience, [Page 24] as the Queen of Sheha knew more of Solo­mons wisdom from his mouth, then from his fame. He that sees but the outward Court and buildings of a Palace, can say it is a glorious place: but he that like the Ambassadours of the King of Babylen in Hezekiah his time, shall be admitted to see the house of precious things, and all the Treasures of the Palace, can speak much more honourably of it. E­very one might see and admire the stones of the Temple without, who were not admitted to view the Gold, and curious workmanship within. The more intimate Communion a man hath with God as a Redeemer, the more glorious and abundant praises can he render unto him. Besides Illa domus l [...]etiti [...]e est, ista militiae. Illa domus laudis, ista orationis. Bern. serm. 2. in dedicat▪ Eccle. Praise is the language of Heaven; the whole Happinesse of the Saints there is to enjoy God, and their whole busin [...]sse is to praise him. And they who are to live in ano­ther Countrey, will be more solicitous to learn the language, and foreacquaint themselves with the manners and usages of that countrey, than they who have no hopes nor assurance of comming thi­ther. As they who have hope to be like Christ in glory, will purifie themselves, that they may in the meane time be like him in grace, 1 John 3.2, 3. So they that have hope to praise him for ever in hea­ven, will study the Song of Moses and of the Lamb before they come thither. And indeed none can praise God but they that can abase & deny them­selves; wicked men in all duties serve and seeke themselves. But the very formality of praise is to seek God, and to make him the End of our so do­ing. The Apostle exhorts us to offer our selves a li­ving [Page 25] sacrifice, Rom. 12.1. that is to say, to separate our selves for God, and for his uses. The sacrifice we know was Gods, for his sake it was burnt and broken, and destroyed. We must be such Sacrifices, deny our selves, be lost to our selves; not serve, nor seek, nor aime at our selves: but resolve to esteeme nothing dear in comparison of Gods honour, and to be wil­ling any way whether by life or by death that hee may be magnified in us, Acts. 21.13. Phil. 1.20. Love of Communion in naturall creatures is stronger then self-love; Stones will move upward, fire downward, to preserve the universe from a vacuity, and to keep the compages of nature together. How much more is, and ought the love of God himself in the new creature to be stronger then selfe-love whereby it seeks and serves it self? And without this, all other services are but Ananias hi [...] lye, lies to the holy Ghost, keeping to our selves what we would seem to bestow upon him. Lifting up the eyes, beating the breast, spreading the hands, bending the knee, hang­ing down the head, levelling the countenance, sigh­ing, sobbing, fasting, howling, all, nothing else but mocking of God. And we may say of such men, as the Emperor of him that sold the glasses for pearl (though in a sadder sense) Imposturam faciunt & pa­tientur. They deceive God, and fail in his precepts, and they shall be themselves deceived, and faile in their owne expectation. For the hope of the wicked shall perish.

III. By a double consideration of our selves. I. Of our natural Torpor and sluggishnesse unto this duty. As the dead Sea drinkes in the River Iordan, Sect. 10. [Page 26] and is never the sweeter, and the ocean all other Rivers, and is never the fresher. So wee are apt to receive daily mercies from God, and still re­maine unsensible of them, unthankfull for them. Gods mercies to us are like the dew on all the ground, our thanks to him like the dew on the fleece We are like Fishermens wheels, wide at that end which lets in the Fish, but narrow at the other end, so that they cannot get out againe. Greedy to get mercy; [...]enacious to hold it, but unthankfull in ac­knowledging or right using of it. The rain comes down from heaven in showres, it goes up but in mists. We sow in our land one measure, and receive ten; yea Isaac received an hundred fold, Gen. 26. 12. But God sowes ten, it may be an hundred mer­cies amongst us, when we scarce returne the praise and the fruit of one. Our hearts in this case are like the windows of the Temple, 1 King. 6.4. wide in­ward to let in mercies, but narrow outward to let forth praises. Now as Solomon sayes, if the iron be blunt, we must put too the more strength; and as Hus­bandmen use where the nature of land is more de­fective, to supply it with the more importunate la­bour; so having hearts so earthly for the perfor­mance of so heavenly a duty, wee should use the more holy violence upon them; and as the Widdow did extort justice from an unjust Judge by her con­tinuall coming, Luke 18.5. we should presse and urge, and with ingeminated importunity charge this duty upon our selves, as the Psalmist doth, O that men would praise the Lord for his goodnesse, & for his wonderfull workes to the children of men, Psal. [Page 27] 107.8, 15, 21, 31. II. Of our own benefit. For in­deed all the benefit which ariseth out of this duty, redounds to us, and none to God. His glory is in­finite, and eternally the same,Ipse sibi om­nia. Tertull. contra Prax [...]am cap. 5. there is nor can be no accession unto that by all our praises. When a Glasse reflecteth the brightnesse of the Sun, there is but an acknowledgement of what was, not any addi­tion of what was not. When an excellent Orator makes a Panegyricall Oration in praise of some ho­nourable Person, he doth not infuse any dramme of worth into the person, but onely setteth forth and declareth that which is unto others. A curious Picture praiseth a beautifull face, not by adding beauty to it, but by representing that which was in it before. The window which lets in light into an house, doth not benefit the light, but the house into which the light shineth. So our praising of God doth serve to quicken, comfort, and refresh our selves, who have interest in so good a God: or to edifie and incourage our brethren, that they may be ambitious to serve so honourable a Master: but they adde no lustre or glory to God at all.

Now lastly, for the right performance of this Duty.Sect. 11. It is founded on the due apprehensions of Gods Being Good and of his Doing Good, Psa. 119.68. Or on his excellency in himselfe, and his goodnesse unto us. In the former respect it standeth in adoring and extolling the great Name of God, ascri­bing in our hearts and mouths all blessednesse unto him, acknowledging his infinite Majesty in him­selfe, and his Soveraignty over us his poore crea­tures, Exod. 15.11. Mic. 7.18. and so covering our [Page 28] faces, and abhorring our selves in his sight, Isaiah 6. Ioh 42.5.6. not daring to question any of his deep, absolu [...]e, and most unsearchable Counsels; but because all things are of him, to acknowledge that all things ough [...] to be for and to him, and are to be reduced to the Ends of his glory, by the counsell of his own Difficultatem quae [...]ionis cur alius sic alius vero sic m [...]r [...]u­us est, velu [...] non solven [...]o sol [...]it Aposto­lus [...] Et hujus profunditati [...] horrotem us (que) abh [...]per [...]uxi [...] ut dic [...]et, eti­am c [...]jus vult mis [...]r [...]r, & que [...] vult ob­du [...]at. August. contra 2. Epist. Pelag. l. 2. c. 7. & l. [...]. c. 6. Cur in diversa cau­ [...]idem ju [...]ici­um nisi hoc vo lo? d [...] Dono pe [...]sev. c. 8. de pecca [...] ▪ meritis & remissi. l. 2. cap. 5. will, Rom. 9.20.21. Rom. 11.33.36. Matth. 11.25, 26. Psal. 135.5, 6. Iob 9.12. Ephes. 1.11. In the latter respect, as hee is the God in whom we live and m [...]e, and have our being, and hope for our blessednesse: So it importeth, first a glorying and rejoycing in him as our alone felicity, Psal. 33.1. Habac. 3.18. Phil. 4.4. Secondly, a choosing and preferring him above all other good things, ma­king him our end and aym, in life, in death, in do­ing, in suffering Rom. 4 7.8. Thirdly, a thankfull acknowledgement of all his mercies, as most benefi­ciall unto us, and most gratuitous and free in regard of him, 2 Sam. 7.18. Lam. 3.22.23. Lastly, a con­stant endeavour of a holy life, so to bring forth frui [...], to doe the will of God, and to finish his work which he hath set us, so to order our conversati­on aright before him, as that hee may have ascri­bed unto him the glory of his authority over the consciences of men, and of the power of his Love shed abroad in their hearts, and that all that Iustinus Martyr de se fare­tur, se conspe­cta Christiano rum in morte Const [...]ntia col legiss [...] veram esse quae apud ipsos v geret pietatem. Apo­log. 1. Illa ipsa obstinatio quā exprobratis magist [...]a est. Quis enim non contemplatione ej [...]s concutitur ad requirendum. quid in [...]us in [...]esit? Quis non ubi re­quisivit accedit [...]ubi accessit, pati exoptar, Tertul. Apolog. c. ult. see our conversation may say, doubtlesse, the God whom these men serve after so holy a manner, for whom they despise all outward & sinfull pleasures, is a holy and blessed God, infinitely able to com­fort, [Page 29] satisfie, and reward all those that so conscio­nably and constantly give up themselves unto him, Iohn 15.8. and 17.4. Psal. 50.23. Deut. 4.6, 7. Mat. 5.16. 2 Cor. 9.13. 1 Pet. 2.1 [...].

The second particular in their Covenant is, amend­men of life, Sect. 12. and a more speciall care against those sins of carnall confidence, and spirituall adultery, whereby they had formerly dishonoured and pro­voked God. From whence there are two observati­ons which offer themselves.

1. That true repentance and sound conversion, as it makes a man thankfull for the pardon of sin past, so it makes him carefull against the practise of sin for the time to come, especially those particular sinnes, whereby he had formerly most dishonoured God, and defiled his own conscience. This doctrine con­sisteth of two parts, which we will consider asunder.

And first of this care and purpose of amend­ment in generall. When the poore Converts who had been guilty of the most precious and innocent bloud that ever was shed, began to be convinced of that horrible sin, and found those nailes where­with they had fastned the Lord of glory to a Crosse, pricking and piercing of their owne hearts, with what bleeding and relenting affections did they mourne over him? with what earnest importuni­ties did they inquire after the way of salvation wherein they might serve and enjoy him? never were their hands more cruell in shedding that bloud, then their hearts were now sollicitous to be bathed in it, to be cleansed by it, Acts 2.37. The poore Prodigall who is the Embleme of a penitent [Page 30] sinner, when hee came to himselfe againe, or be­thought himself,Oportebat qui­dem si fieri posset revivere me (ut ita lo­qu [...]r) denuo quod male vi [...]i sed faciam re­cogitando q [...] reoperando non possum. Bern. Serm. de Cant. Ezekiae. as the phrase is, 1 King. 8.47. (for we doe never depart from God, but we doe withall forsake and lose our selves, and are transported with a spirituall madnesse from our right mindes) immediately grew to a resolution of arising out of that base and brutish condition and of going home to his Father, and by that meanes to his wit and senses againe. So when by Iohns preaching of re­pentance, men were turned to the Wisdome of the just, (for all unrighteousnesse is folly and madnes) and were prepared for the Lord, wee immediately finde what a speciall care they had to be informed in the wayes of duty, earnestly inquiring after that new course of obedience which they were now to walk, Luke 3.10.12, 14. All true penitents are of the minde of these in the Text, wee will not say any more, and what have I to doe any more with Idols? ver. 8. as Ezra in his penitent prayer, Should we now againe breake thy Commandements? Chap. 9.13. When Christ rose from the dead, he died no more: and when wee repent of sinne, it must bee with a repentance that must never any more bee re­pented of, Rom. 6.9, 12. 2 Cor. 7.10. The time past of our life must suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, 1 Pet. 4.3.

This care ariseth from the nature of true repen­tance, which hath two names usually given it; [...], a change of the mind; the heart is framed to have other and truer notions of sinne, of grace, of heaven, of hell, of conscience, of salvation then it it had before; for the minde of wicked men being [Page 31] defiled, they can frame to themselves none but im­pure apprehensions of spirituall things, as a yellow eye sees every thing yellow, and a bitter palate tastes every thing bitter. 2. [...], a change of the cares, and indeavours of life. That whereas before a man made provision for the flesh, and his study and care was how to satisfie the lusts of his own heart, Rom. 13.14. what he should eate, what he should drink, wherewith he should be cloathed: Now his care is how he may be saved, how he may honour and enjoy God, Acts 2.37. and 16.30.Consilium fu­turi ex pretcri­to veni [...]. S [...]nec. [...]p. 83. The first question in Repentance is, What have I done? Ier. 8.6. and the next question is, What shall I doe? Acts 9.6. And this care repentance worketh,

1. By a godly sorrow for sinne past.Sect. 13. It brings into a mans remembrance the history of his for­mer life, makes him with heavinesse of spirit re­count the guilt of so many innumerable sinnes wherewith he had bound himselfe as with chaines of darknesse; the losse of so much precious time mis-spent in the service of such a Master as had no other wages to give but shame and death. The horrible indignities thereby offered to the [...]aje­stie and Justice of God, the odious contempt of his holy Will and soveraigne Authority; the daring neglect of his threatnings, and undervaluing of his rewards; the high provocation of his jealousie and displeasure; the base corrivalty and contesting of filthy lusts with the grace of the Gospell, and the precious bloud of the Sonne of God: the gainsay­ing, and wrestling, and stubborne antipathie of a carnall heart to the pure motions of the Spirit, and [Page 32] Word of Christ: the presumptuous repulses of him that standeth at the doore and knocks, waiting that he may be gracious: the long turning of his back, and thrusting away from him the word of Reconciliation, wherein Christ by his Ambassa­dours had so often beseeched him to be reconciled unto God: The remembrance of these things makes a man looke with selfe-abhorrency upon himselfe, and full detestation upon his former courses. And he now no longer considers the Sil­ver or the Gold, the profit or the pleasure of his wonted lusts, [...]. Achaeus Ere­trieus. apud Athenaeum lib. 6 cap. [...]0. though they be never so delectable or desirable in the eye of flesh; he looks upon them as accursed things to be thrown away, as the Con­verts did upon their costly and curious Books, Acts 19.19. Isa. 30.22, 31, 7. Sin is like a plaited picture; on the one side of it to the impenitent appeareth nothing but the beauty of pleasure whereby it be­witcheth and allureth them; on the other side to the penitent appeareth nothing but the horrid and ugly face of guilt and shame whereby it amazeth and confoundeth them; Thus the remembrance of sinne past (which they are very carefull to keep al­wayes in their sight, Psal. 51.3.) doth by godly sor­row worke speciall care of amendment of life for the time to come, 2 Chron. 6.37, 38. Psal. 119.59. Ezec. 16.61, 63.20.43.

2. By a present sense of the weight and burthen of remaining corruptions, which work, and move, and put forth what strength they can to resist the grace of God in us. As the time past wherein sinne raigned, so the present burthen of sinne besetting [Page 33] us, is esteemed sufficient, and makes a man carefull not to load himself wilfully with more, being rea­dy to sinck, and forced to cry out under the paine of those which hee unwillingly lieth under already. [...]. Clearch. apud Athen. lib. 14. cap. 1. A very glutton when he is in a fit of the gout or stone, will forbeare those meats which feed so painfull diseases. A penitent sinner is continually in paine under the body of sinne, and therefore dares not feed so dangerous and tormenting a dis­ease. Conflictus miserabilis. Aug. de nupt. & concupis. l. 2. c. 1. Quo quis pejus se habet, minus se [...]it. Senec. Epist. 52. The more spirituall any man is, the more painefull and burdensome is corruption to him, Rom. 7.22. For sin to the new man is as sicknesse to the naturall man. The more exquisite and delicate the naturall senses are, the more are they sensible and affected with that which offends nature. Contraries cannot bee together without combate. The spirit will lust against the flesh, and not suffer a man to fulfill the lusts of it, Gal. 5 16, 17. the seed of God will keep down the strength of sin, 1 Iohn 3.9.

3. By an holy jealousie, [...]. Arist. [...]bet. l. 2. c. 5. Sollicitus inci­pit ambulare cum deo suo, & ex omni par [...]e scru [...]aturne vel in levis [...]ma re tremendae illi­us Majestatis offendatur as­pectus—Sic ar­dens & lucens nondum in domo se esse confidat, ubi sine omni timore vento [...]um accensum lumen so­leat deportari, sed memi [...]e [...]it se esse sub dio, & utraque ma [...]u sludeat operire quod por­tat, &c. Bernat. ser. 3. in vigil. nativ. and godly feare of the falsenesse and back-sliding of our corrupt heart, lest like Lots wise it should look back towards Sodome, and like Israel have a minde hankering after the flesh pots of Egypt, the wonted profits and plea­sures of forsaken lusts. A godly heart prizeth the love of God, and the feelings of spirituall com­fort from thence arising above all other things, and is afraid to lose them. It hath felt the burnings of sinne, the stingings of these fiery Serpents, and [Page 34] hath often been forced to befoole it selfe, and to beshrew its own ignorance, and with Ephraim to smite upon the thigh. And the burnt child dreads the fire, and dares not meddle any more with it; Considers the heavinesse of Gods frown, the ri­gour of his Law, the weaknesse and ficklenesse of the heart of man, the difficulty of finding Christ out when he hath withdrawn himselfe, and of re­covering light and peace againe, when the soule hath wilfully brought it selfe under a cloud; and therefore will not venture to harden it selfe against God. Thus godly feare keeps men from sin, Iob 31.23. Psal. 119.120. Prov. 28.14. Eccles. 9.2. Ier. 32 40. Phil. 2.12. Psal. 4.4.

4. By a love to Christ, and a sweet recounting of the mercies of God in him. The lesse a man loves sinne, the more he shall love Christ. Now repentance works an hatred of sinne, and there­upon a love of Christ, which love is ever opera­tive, and putting forth it self towards holinesse of life. As the Love of God in Christ towards us worketh forgivenesse of sinne: so our reciprocall love, wrought by the feeling and comfort of that forgivenesse, worketh in us an hatred of sinne. A direct love begets a Reflect love, as the heat wrought in the earth strikes back a heat up into the aire againe. The woman in the Gospel having much forgiven her, loved much, Luke 7.47. Wee love him because he loved us first; and love will not suffer a man to wrong the thing which hee loves. What man ever threw away Jewels or money when he might have kept them? except when the [Page 35] predominant love of something better made these things comparatively hatefull, Luke 14.26. What woman could bee perswaded to throw away her sucking child from her breast unto Swine or Dogs to devoure it? Our love to Christ, and his Law, will not suffer us to cast him off, or to throw his Law behind our backs. New obedience is over joy­ned unto pardon of sinne and repentance for it, by the method of Gods Decrees, by the order and chaine of Salvation, and ariseth out of the inter­nall character and disposition of a childe of God. We are not Sonnes only by Adoption, appointed to a new inheritance; but we are Sons by Regene­ration also, partakers of a new nature, designed unto a new life, joyned unto a new head, descended from a new Adam, unto whom therefore we are in the power of his Resurrection, and in the fellowship of his suffrings to be made conformable, Phil. 3.10. And the Apostle hath many excellent and weighty arguments to inforce this upon us, Col. 3. 1, 2, 3, 4. If then ye be risen with Christ, seek those things that are above, where Christ is sitting on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God; when Christ who is our life shall appeare, then shall ye also appeare with him in glory. 1. Our fellowship with Christ; wee are risen with him; what he did corporally for us, hee doth the same spiritually in us. As a Saviour and Mediatour, he died and rose alone; But as a Head and second Adam, he never did anything but his mysticall Body and seed were so taken into the fel­lowship [Page 36] of it, as to be made conformable unto it. Therefore if he rose as a Saviour to justifie us, we must as members be therein fashioned unto him, and rise spiritually by heavenly-mindednesse, and a new life to glorifie him. 2. We must have our affections in Heaven, because Christ is there. The heart ever turns towards its treasure; where the body is, thither will the Eagles resort. 3. He is there in glory at Gods right hand; and grace should move to glory as a piece of earth to the whole. And he is there in our businesse, making intercession in our behalfe, providing a place for us, sending down gifts unto us. And the Client cannot but have his heart on his own businesse, when the Advocate is actually stirring about it. 4. We are dead with Christ, as to the life of sinne. And a dead man takes no thought or care for the things of that life from whence he is departed. A man naturally dead looks not after food, or rayment, or land, or mo­ney, or labour, &c. And a man dead to sinne, takes no more care how to provide for it. 5. In Christ we have a new life, therefore we should have new inclinations sutable unto it, and new provisions laid in for it. A child in the womb is nourished by the navill; being born, it is nourished by the mouth. A naturall man feeds on worldly things by sense, a spirituall man on heavenly things by faith and conscience. We can have nothing from the first Adam which is not mortall and mortiferous. Nothing from the second which is not vitall and eternall. Whatever the one gives us, shrinks, and withers into death; whatever the other, springs [Page 37] and proceeds unto immortall life. Our life there­fore being new, the affections which serve it, and wait upon it, must be new likewise. 6. This life is our own, not so any thing in the world be­sides. I can purchase in the world onely to me and mine Heires for ever; but spirituall purchases are to my selfe for ever. And every mans affections are naturally most fixed upon that which is most his own. 7. It is an hidden life, the best of it is yet unseen, 1 Iohn 3.2. and though the Cabinet which is seen be rich, yet the Iewell which is hidden in it is much richer. And as there is a sinfull curiosity in lust, to look after the hidden things of iniquity, and to hanker after forbidden pleasures: so there is a spirituall curiosity or ambition in grace, to aspire towards hidden treasures, to presse forward to­wards things that are before us, to be cloathed upon with our house that is from heaven. As Absolom being brought from banishment, longed to see the face of his father, 2 Sam. 14.32: Non quiesco nisi osculetur me osculo oris sui. Gratias de osculo pedum, gratias & de manus; sed si cura est illi ulla de me, oscule­tur me osculo oris sui. Non sum ingrata, sed A [...]o, ac­cepi f [...]t [...]r metitis potio­ra, sed pro [...]sus infe [...]io [...]a vo­tis; desideri [...] f [...]ro [...], n [...]n ra­tione, &c Be [...] ­n [...]rd. ser. 9. in Cant. So the soule being delivered out of the land of darknesse, never thinks it sees enough of light. When God did most intimately reveale himself unto Moses, Moses did most earnestly beseech him to shew him his glo­ry, Exod. 33.11, 18. The more sweetnesse we finde in the first fruits, in so much of Christ as is revealed to us, the more strong are our affections to the whole Harvest, to that abundance of him which is hidden from us. A few clusters of Grapes and bunches of Figges, will inflame the desire of en­joying that Canaan which abounds with them. 8. It is hidden with Christ, so hidden as that wee [Page 38] know where it is.Testimonium credibile nimis gusta [...]ae sapien­tiae est esu [...]es ipsa tam vehe­mens. serm. 2. de duabus mensis. Non extundit desi­der [...]um Sanct­um foelix in­ventio [...]ed ex­tendi [...], &c. ser. 84. in Cant. Vide si [...] Clau­dii Espeneaei libellum de Languore spi­rit. cap. 3. & 4. Sect. 14. Hidden, so that the enemy can­not reach it, but not hidden from the faith of the childe. 9. It is hidden in God. It is life in the fountaine, Psal. 36.9. And every thing is perfect­est in its originall and fountaine. And this is such a fountaine of life as hath in it fulnesse without satiety, and purity without defilement, and perpe­tuity without decay, and Al-sufficiency without defect. Lastly, It is but hidden, it is not lost; hid­den like seed in the ground; when Christ the Son of righteousnesse shall appear, this life of ours in him will spring up and appear glorious.

Now next let us consider this Care of Repen­tance against a mans own more particular and spe­ciall sins. Ashur shall not save us, we will not ride upon horses &c. Israel had been guilty of very ma­ny provocations, but when they come to covenant with God, and to renew their repentance, their thoughts and cares are most set against their carnall confidence, and spirituall Adultery. Their most un­fained detestations, their most serious Resolutions were against these their most proper sinnes. True Repentance worketh indeed a generall hatred of e­very false way, Psal. 119.128. and suffereth not a man to allow himselfe in the smallest sinne. Yet as the Dogge in hunting of the Deere, though he drive the whole Herd before him, yet fixeth his eye and sent upon some one particular which is singled out by the dart of the huntsman: [...]. Arist. Rhet. lib. 2. so though sound conversion doe work an universall hatred of all sin, because it is sinne, (for Hatred is ever against the whole kinde of a thing) Though every member of [Page 39] the old man be mortified, and every grace of the new man shaped and fashioned in us: yet the seve­rest exercise of that Hatred is against the sinnes whereunto the conscience hath been more ensla­ved, and by which the name of God hath been more dishonered. A man that hath many wounds, if there be any of them more deep, dangerous, or nearer any vitall part then the other, though he will tend the cure of them all, yet his chiefest care shall be towards that. As the King of Syria gave com­mand to his Army to single out the King of Israel in the battle, 1 King. 22.31: so doth Repentance lay its batteries most against the highest and strongest and most raigning sinne of the heart; and by how much the more a man prized it before, by so much the more doth he detest it now. They counted no silver nor gold too good to frame their Idols of before; their eare-rings shall goe to make them a Calfe, Exod. 22.3. but when they repent, no­thing can be too base to compare them, or to cast them unto, Isay 2: 20.30: 22.

The Humane nature is the same in all men, yet some faculties are more vigorous in some, and o­thers in other; some witty, others strong, some beautifull, others proper, some a quick eye, others a ready tongue; some for learned, others for me­chanicall professions; as some grounds take better to some kind of grain then to others: so in the new man, though all the graces of Christ are in some degree and proportion shaped in every Regenerate person, yet one excels in one grace, another in a­nother. Abraham in faith, Iob in patience, Moses in [Page 40] meeknesse, David in meditation, Solomon in wise­dome, Phineas in zeal, Mary Magdalene in love, Paul in labour &c. And so is it in the old man too. Though by nature we have all the members of o­riginall corruption, yet these put themselves forth in actuall vigour differently. One man is more possessed by a proud divell, another by an unclean one, Ahaz superstitious, Balaam ambitious, Cain envious, Corah stubborne, Esau profane, Ismael a mocker, the young man a worldling. According to different complexions and tempers of body (by which Habituall lust is excited and called forth into act) or according to differences of education, In eodem prato Bos her­bam quaerit, c [...]nis leporem, Ciconia La­ce [...]tu [...]. Senec. Ep. 108. countries,Multae gentes ob sp [...]cialia▪ quaedam pecca­ta infames; un­de illud, [...] Suid. in [...]. Baeotii, Pharselii, Thessali, ob voracitatem. vid. Athenae. l. 10, Isauti & Arabes ob la. trocinia. Dion. l. 55. Ammia [...]. Marcel. l. 14. Theodos. Cod. de fer [...]is l 10. &c. Plin. l. 6. c. 28. S [...]r [...]bo lib. 16. Diode [...]. Sicul. l. 3. Qui m [...]ncipia vendunt, nationem cujusque in venditione pronunciare debent—Praesumptum etenim est quosdam servos malos videri, quia & na­tione sunt quae magis infamis est. Leg. 31. sect. 21. D. de Aedilitio Edicto. Athena [...]um lingua [...]a Civitas. Tertul. de Anima. c. 3▪ Hinc Adagia. Cretensi me [...]dacior▪ Paeno per­sidior, Scytha asperior, Sibarita fastuosior, Miletiis effaeminatior, &c. Vid. Erasm. in inito Chiliad. & Alex. ab Alex. genial▪ l. 4. cap. 13. Arist. Rhet. lib. 6. cap. 7. Liv. lib. 45. callings, converse, and interests in the world, so men are differently assaulted with di­stinct kinds of sinne, and most men have their pec­catum in deliciis, which they may more properly call Their owne, Psalm. 18.23. And as this sinne is usually the speciall barre and obstacle that keeps men from Christ, as we see in the example of the young man, Mark. 10.22. and of the Jewes, Iohn 5.44, 12.42.43. So when Christ hath broken this obstacle, and gotten the throne in a mans heart, then the chei [...]e work of Repentance is to keep this sinne from gathering strength againe; for as they say of some kinde of Serpents that being cut in pieces, the parts will wriggle towards one [Page 41] another, and close and get life againe: so of all sinnes a man is in most danger of the Reviving of his own proper corruption, as being like the net­tle, whose rootes are so crooked, are so catching to the ground, that it is a work of much care to keep the ground cleane of them after they are weeded out▪

And therefore repentance sets it selfe particular­ly against that sinne as a speciall argument of sin­cerity. I was upright, saith David, before him, and kept my selfe from mine iniquity. Psal. 18.23. And he that it begotten of God, saith the Apostle, keepeth himselfe, 1 Iohn 5.18. which hee doth certainly with most vigilancie there where he is in most danger of being assaulted. See in David, He had in that great and scandalous fall of his, stained his conscience with impure lust, with the guilt of blood, and that not out of ignorance or common infirmi­tie, or suddaine passion and surprizall of some ha­stie temptation, (which might happily h [...]ve con­sisted with uprightnes,) but seriously, and deliberate­ly, using many cunning arts, and carnall shifts of sinfull wisedome to colour and daub it over: And lastly by this meanes had given a great blow to the holy name of God, and caused his enemies to blaspheme, (as Nathan tells him, Sam. 1 [...].14.) Therefore in his Penitentiall Psalme, these foure things he principally insists upon, A cleane heart, pardon of bloud-guiltinesse, Truth in the inward parts, and occasion to teach transgressours the way of God, that they may be converted, Psal 51.6, 7, [...]0, 13, 14. See it in Zacheus. Worldlinesse and de­frauding [Page 45] had been his sinne, a Restitution and Libe­rality are the evidences of his repentance in speci­all for that sinne, Luke 19.8. So Mary Magdalen, Her sinne, han been uncleannesse, Her eyes vessels and factors for adultery, Her haire a Net platted and spread to catch sinners. She remembred her wanton kisses, her provoking perfumes; and now in her conversion where her sinne had beene most prevalent, there her sorrow was most penitent, and her repentance most vigilant; her eyes vessels of teares, her kisses humbled, or rather advanced unto the feet of Christ; her haire a towell to wipe off those teares which she judged too uncleane for so holy feet to bee washed withall; Her Oyntment poured out upon a new lover, who had annointed her with his grace, Luke 7.37.38. The sinne of the Iaylor against Paul and Silas, was cruelty, Acts 16.24. and the first fruit of his repentance was cour­tesie to them; He brought them out of a dungeon into his owne house; from the stocks, to his table; became an Host in stead of a Iaylor, a Chyrurgi­an in stead of a Tormentor, and washed their stripes, vers. 30.33.34. This was Daniels method of working repentance in Nebuchadnezzar, per­swading a proud oppressing Tyrant unto justice and mercy, Dan. 4.27. and Paul unto Felix, preaching before a Quod qua­drupsum [...]eddat Zacheus, vide­ [...]u [...] quibusdam potius exabun­dantia pi [...]t [...]tis quam ex vi le­gi [...]fecisse. Lex enim quadr [...]pli p [...]num in una tantum su [...]i specie statuit, Exod. 2 [...] ▪ 1.4 Vide Mal [...]o­nat, & Lu [...]am. Brugens. S [...]n [...] quod an edictū praetoris, atti­net, videtur tantum in du­plum teneri, l. 1. P. de Pu [...] ­lican [...]s. At non fr [...]ter ejus c [...]gnomen [...]o Felix pari mo­dera [...]ione age­ [...]at, [...] Iudaeae imposi­tus, & cuncti malefacta sibi impune ratus, [...]anta potentia, ub nixo sacit. Annal. l. 12 Antonius Felix per omnem ae yitiam ac li­ [...]idin [...]m jus Regium servi­li ingenio ex­ercu [...] D [...]usilla Cleopatrae & An [...]o [...]ii nepte in motrimonium accepta. Tacit., Hist. l. 5. vide Ioseph. antiq. l. 20. c. 5· Liberti ejus potestatem [...] adepti stup [...]is exilio, caede, proscriptionibus omnia saedabant▪ [...]x quibus Feli [...]em legionibus Iudaeae praefecit. Sext. Aur. uictor. in Claudio. corrupt and lascivious Iudge, of Righteousnesse, Temperance, and judgement to come, Acts 24.25. And to the learned and super­stitious * Philosophers, in a learned discovery, and [Page 46] making known unto them their unknown God. Acts 17.23. So Iohn the Preacher of Repentance laid his axe to the root of every tree, to the radicall and prevailing lust in every order of men; to ex­tortion in the Publican, and to covetousnesse in the people, to violence in the Souldiers, to carnall con­fidence in the Pharisees, Matth. 3.7. Luke 3.9.14. and so Christ to the young man, One thing thou wantest, Mark. 10.21. and to the woman of Sama­ria, Goe call thy husband, John 4.16. when indeed he was an Adulterer and not an Husband.

The reason of this care of Repentance, is; 1. Be­cause in godly Sorrow this Sinne hath lien most heavie upon the conscience. Hereby God hath been most of all despised and dishonoured; our consciences most wasted and defiled: our hearts most hardned; our affections most bewitched and intangled. It hath been a Master sinne, that hath been able to command, and to draw in many other servile lus [...]s to waite upon it. Many wounds even after they have been healed, will against c [...]ange of weather affect the part wherein they were, with paine and akeing; and therefore men usually are more tender of that part, keep it warmer, fence it with Furres and Seare [...]cloathes; as the Apostle saith, that on our dishonourable parts we bestow the moe abundant honour; so on such an infirme and tender part, wee bestow the more abundant care; and the like do we in those wounds of the Soul, which are aptest to bleed afresh.

2. Hereby (as was said before) wee testifie our uprightnesse. When we will not spare our beloved [Page 44] sinne, nor roll it under our tongue, nor hide it in our tent, when we will not muffle nor disguise our selves like Tamar, nor hide amongst the bushes and trees like Adam, or in the belly of the Ship with Ionah, nor spare any wedge of Gold with Achan, or any delicate Agag, any fatling sinnes with Saul; but with David will shew that we hate every false way, by throwing the first stone at our first sinne, that which lay nearest and closest in our bosomes, which the Scripture cals Cutting off the right hand, and plucking out the right eye. As Cranmer put that hand first into the fire which had before subscribed to save his life. The story of the Turkish Emperou [...] is commonly knowne, who being reported so to dote on one of his Concubines, as for love of her, to neglect the affaires of his Kingdome, caused her to be brought forth in great pomp, and cut off her head before his Bashaws, to assure them that nothing was so deare unto him, but that he could willingly p [...]rt from it to attend the publick wel­fare. This was an act of Cruelty in him; but the like is an act of penitency in us, when we can Sa­crifice the dearest affections wherewith wee served sinne, Let Christ kill our Agag, though delicately apparalled, and divide the richest of all our spo [...]les. If we be learned, we shall direct all our studies unto the feare of God, Eccles. 12.12.13. If Rich, wee shall lay up a foundation of good wo [...]kes against the time to come, and consecrate our merchand [...]ze as holy to the Lord, 1 Tim. 6.18. Isai. 23.16. If Wise, if Honourable, if Powerf [...]ll, if adorned with any endowment, our businesse will be with Be [...]al [...]el and Alohiah, to adorne the Gospell [Page 45] with them all, from our Gold, to our Goats haire, to lay al out upon the Sanctuary; to make those mem­bers and abilities which had been Satans armor, and weapons of unrighteousnesse to be now weapons of holinesse, and dedicated unto Christ Rom. 6.1 [...]. This is the holy revenge which godly sorrow taketh up­on sin, 2 Cor. 7.11.

If many men who professe repentance and think they are already long agoe converted unto God, would ex [...]mine the truth of their conversion by this Touchstone, it would minister matter of much humiliation and feare unto them, when their ow [...] heart would reply against them as Samuel against Saul, Hast thou indeede, as thou professest, done the worke of the Lord in destroying Amaleck, What then meaneth the bleating of the sheepe, and the lowing of the Oxen in mine eares? what meane these worldly and covetous practises? these Lascivious or Revengefull speeches? these earthly, sensuall, or ambitious lusts? are these Agags spared and kept delicately, and canst thou please thy selfe in the thoughts of a sound repentance? Did Paul fear that God wou [...]d humble him for those that had not repented amongst the Corinthians, by this argu­ment, because hee should finde envyings, strifes, and debates amongst them? 2 Cor. 12.20.21, And wilt thou presume of thy repentance, and not be humbled when thou findest the same things in thy selfe? Hast thou never yet proclamed defi­ance [...]o thy beloved sinne? made it the mark of thy greatest sorrowes, of thy strongest prayers and complaints unto God? Hast thou never stirred up [...] [Page 49] an holy indignation and revenge against it? and above all things taken off thy thoughts from the meditation and love of it? and found pleasure in the Holy severity of Gods Book and the ministery thereof against it? made no covenant with thine eye, put no knife to thy throate, set no dore before thy lips, made no friends of unrighteous Mammon: dost thou still retaine hankering affections after thy wonted delights, as Lots wife after Sodom? and are the flesh pots of Egypt desirable in thy thoughts still? Be not high-minded, but feare. There is no greater argument of an unsound Repen­tance then indulgent thoughts, and reserved de­light and complacency in a master sinne. The di­vell will diligently observe and hastily catch one kinde glance of this nature, (as Benhadads servants did, 1 Kings 20.33.) and make use of it to do us mischief. David had beene free from some of his greatest troubles, if hee had not relented towards Absolom, and called him home from banishment. He no sooner kissed Absolom, but Absolom courted and kissed the people to steale their hearts away from him. As there are in points of faith, funda­mentall articles, so there are in points of practice fundamentall duties. And amongst them none more primarie, and essentiall unto true Christians then selfe-deniall, Matth. 16.24. and this is one speciall part and branch of selfe-deniall to keepe our selves from our own iniquity; and to say to our most costly and darling lusts Get yee hence. Ashur a­way, Idoles away, I will rather bee fatherlesse, then rely upon such Helpers.


HOSEAH 14. VER. 3.4.

3. Ashur shall not save us, wee will not ride upon Horses, neither will we say any more to the worke of our hands, ye are our gods; for in thee the fatherlesse findeth mercy.

4. I will heale their back-slidings, I will love them freely; for mine anger is turned away from him.

THere remaineth the second point formerly mentioned, from the Promise or Covenant which Israel here makes, which I will briefly touch, and so proceed unto the fourth verse; and that is this:

That true Repentance and Conversion taketh [Page 48] off the Heart from all carnall confidence, either in domesticall preparations of our owne, Wee will not ride upon Horses: or in forraigne ayde from any con­federates, especially enemies of God and his Church, though otherwise never so potent; As­shur shall not save us: Or lastly, in any superstiti­ous, and corrupt worship, which sends us to God the wrong way, We will not say any more to the work of our hands ye are our gods, and causeth the Soule in all conditions, be they never so desperate, so de­solate, so incurable, to relie onely upon God. It is very much in the nature of man fallen, to affect an absolutenesse, and a selfe-sufficiency, to seek the good that he desireth within himselfe, and to derive from himselfe the strength whereby hee would re­pell any evill which he feareth. Su [...] potestate delectar [...], velat Bonum s [...]um s [...]i ipsi [...]ssent à superiore com­muni omnium beati [...]ico bono, ad propri [...] de­fluxerunt, &c. Aug. de Civit. Dei. lib. 2. c. 1. Cunt causa mi­se [...]iae malorum Angelorum quaeritur, e [...] [...]erito [...] quod ab illo qui Summe est aversi adsei [...]so [...] con versi sunt qui non Summe sunt, & Ibid. c. 6. lib, de vera Relig. c. 13. de Genes. ad Lit. lib. 11. cap. 14. & 23. Aquin part. 1. q. 63. art. 3. [...]t seemes that there was no other way for Angels to sin, but by Re [...]le [...] of their understanding upon themselve [...] ▪ when being held with ad­miration of their own sublimity and honour, the memory of their subordination to God, and their dependency on him, was drowned in this conceit, whereupon their adoration, love, and imitation of God could not choose but be also interrupted Hooker l. 1 sect 4. This staying within it selfe, Reflecting upon its owne power and wisedome, and by consequence affecting an independency upon any Superiour vertue in being and working, making it selfe the first Cause, and the last End of its owne motions; is by Divines conceived to have been the first sinne by which the creature fell from God, and it was the first Temp­tation by which Satan prevailed, to draw man from God too. For since next unto God every Reasonable created Being is nearest unto it self, wee cannot conceive how it should turne from [Page 49] God, and not in the next step turne unto it selfe, and by consequence, whatsoever it was in a regular dependence to have derived from God, being fallen from him, it doth by an irregular depen­dence seeke for from it self. Hence it is that men of power are apt to deifie their owne strength, and to frame opinions of absolutenesse to themselves, and to deride the thoughts of any power above them, as Pharaoh, Exod. 5.2. and Goliah, [...] Sam. 17.8, 10, 44. and Nebuchadnezzer, Dan. 3.15. and Senacherib, 2 King. 18.33, 34, 35. Isa. 10, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14. And men of wisdome, to deifie their owne reason, and to deride any thing that is above or against their owne conceptions, as Tyrus, Ezek. 38.2, 6. and the Pharisees, Luke 16.14. Iohn 7.48, 49, 52. Acts 4.11. Isa. 49.7. & 53.3. and the Philosophers, Acts 17.18, 32, 1 Cor. 1.22.23. And men of Morality and vertue, to deifie their owne righteousnesse, to relie on their own merits and per­formances, and to deride righteousnesse imputed and precarious, as the Jewes, Rom. 10. [...]. and Paul before his conversion, Rom. 7.9. Phil. 3.6, 9. so na­turall is it for a sinfull creature, who seeketh onely himselfe, and maketh himselfe the last End, to seek onely unto himselfe, and to make himselfe the first Cause and mover towards that End.

But because God will not give his glory to ano­ther, nor suffer any creature to incroach upon his Prerogative, or to sit downe in his Throne, hee hath therefore alwayes blasted the policies and at­tempts of such as aspired unto such an Absolute­nesse and Independencie, making them know [Page 50] in the end that they are but men. Psal. 9.19, 20. and that the most High ruleth over all: And that it is an Enterprize more full of folly then it is of pride for any creature to worke its owne safety and felicity out of it self. And as men usually are most vigi­lant upon their immediate interests, and most jealous and active against all incroachments there­upon: so wee shall ever find that God doth single out no men to be so notable monuments of his Ju­stice and their own ruine and folly, as those who have vied with him in the points of power, wise­dome, and other divine Prerogatives, aspiring un­to that absolutenesse, selfe-sufficiency, selfe-inte­rest, and independencie which belongeth onely un­to him. And as he hath by the destruction of Pha­raoh, Senacherib, Herod, and divers others, taught us the madness of this ambition; so doth he by our owne daily preservation teach us the same. For if God have appointed that we should goe out of our selves unto thing below for a vitall subsistence, to bread for food, to house for harbour, to cloathes for warmth, &c. Much more hath he appointed that we should goe out of our selves for a blessed and happy subsistence, by how much the more is required unto blessednesse then unto life, and by how much the greater is our Impotencie unto the greatest and highest end.

Sect. 2.Yet so desperate is the Aversion of sinfull man from God, that when he is convinced of his Im­potency, and driven off from selfe-dependence, and reduced unto such extremities as should in reason lead him backe unto God, yet when he hath [Page 51] no horses of his owne to ride upon, no meanes of hi [...] owne to escape evill, yet still he will betake him­selfe unto creatures like himselfe, though they be enemies unto God, and enemies unto him too for Gods sake, (for so was the Assyrian unto Israel) yet If Ephraim see his sicknesse, and Iudah his wound, E­phraim will to the Assyrian and King Iareb for help, Hos. 5, 13. If he must begge, he will doe it rather of an enemy, then a God, yea, though he disswade him from it, and threaten him for it. Ahaz would not beleeve though a signe were offered him, nor be perswaded to trust in God to deliver him from Rezin and Pekah, though he promise him to doe it, but under pretence of not tempting God in the use of meanes, will weary God with his provocation, and rob God to pay the Assyrian, who was not an help but a distresse unto him. 2 King. 16.5, 8.17, 18. 2 Chron. 28.20, 21. Isay 7.8.13. Isa. 30.5

Well, God is many times pleased to way-lay humane Counsels, even in this case too,Sect. 3. and so to strip them, not onely of their owne provisions, but of their forraigne succours and supplies, as that they have no refuge left▪ but unto him. Their Hor­ses faile them, their Assyrian failes them,Fiden [...]iam pariunt [...]. vi de Arist. Rhet▪ l. 2. c. 5. Hos. 7 11, 12. and 8.9, 10. Their Hope hath nothing either sub ratione Boni, as really Good to Comfort them at home: or sub ratione Auxilii, as matter of Help and aide to support them from abroad. They are brought as Israel into a Wildernesse, where they are constrained to goe to God, because they have no second causes to help them. And yet even here, wicked men will make a shift to keepe off from [Page 52] God, when they have nothing in the world to turne unto. This is the formall and intimate ma­lignity of sinne, to decline God, and to be impatient of him, in his owne way. If wicked men be neces­sitated to implore help from God, they will invent wayes of their owne to doe it: If Horses faile, and Asshur faile,Ex arbitrio, non ex Impe­rio. Tertul, contr. Psychic. cap. 13. v. de de praescript. ca. 6 and Israel must goe to God whether he will or no, it shall not be to the God that made him, but to a god of his own making; and when they have most need of their glory, they will change it into that which cannot profit, Jer. 2.11. So foolish was Ieroboam, as by two Calves at Dan and Be­thel, to thinke his Kingdome should be established, and by that meanes rooted out his owne family, and at last ruined the Kingdome, 1 King. 12.28, 29.14, 10, 15, 29. 2 King. 17.21, 23. Hos. 8.4, 5. & 10.5, 8, 18. So foolish was Ahaz as to seeke helpe of those gods which were the ruine of him and of all Israel, 2 Chron. 28.23. Such a strong antipathy and aversnesse there is in the soule of naturall men unto God, as that when they are in distresse they goe to him last of all; they never thinke of him, so long as their own strength and their forraign con­federacies hold out; and when at last they are dri­ven to him, they know not how to hold communi­on with him in his owne way, but frame carnall and superstitious wayes of worship to themselves, and so in their very seeking unto him do provoke him to forsake them; and the very things whereon they lean, goe up into their hand to pierce it, Isa. 15.2. Isa. 16.12. 1 King. 18.26.

Now then the proper worke of true Repentance [Page 53] being to turne a man the right way unto God, [...]t taketh a man off from all this carnall and supersti­tious confidence, and directeth the soule in the greatest difficulties to cast it self with comfort and confidence upon God alone. So it is prophesied of the Remnant of Gods people, that is, the peni­tent part of them, (for the remnant are those that came up with weeping and supplication, seeking the Lord their God, and asking the way to Sion, with their faces thither-ward, Jer. 31 7, 9. & 50.4 5.) that they should no more againe stay themselves upon him that smote them, but should stay upon the Lord, the holy One of Israel in truth, and should returne unto the Mighty God, Isa. 10.20, 21. They resolve the Lord shall save them, and not the Assyrian. So say the godly in the Psalmist, An Horse is a vaine thing for safety, neither shall he deliver any by his great strength, &c. Our soule waiteth for the Lord, he is our help and shield, Psal. 33.17, 20. They will not say any more, We will flie upon Horses, we will ride upon the swift, Isa. 30.16. Lastly, At that day (saith the Prophet speaking of the penitent remnant and gleanings of Iacob) shall a man looke to his Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the holy One of Israel, and he shall not looke to the Altars the work of his hands, neither shall respect that which his fingers have made, the groves or the images, Isa. 17.7, 8. And againe, Truly in vaine is salvation hoped for from the Hils, and from the multitude of Mountaines, that is, from the Idols (whom they had set up and wor­shipped in high places.) Truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel, Jer. 3.23. They will not [Page 45] say any more to the worke of their hands ye are our gods.

Se [...]. 5.So then, the plaine duties of the Text are these, 1. To trust in God who is All-sufficient to helpe, who is Iehovah, the fountaine of Being, and can give Being to any promise, to any mercy which he intends for his people; can not onely Worke, but Command; not onely Command, but Create deli­verance, and fetch it out of darknesse and deso­lation; Hee hath everlasting strength; there is no time, no case, no condition, wherein his Help is not at hand, when ever hee shall command it, Isa. 26.4.

2. We must not trust in any Creature. 1. Not in Asshur, in any confederacy or combination with Gods enemies, be they otherwise never so potent. Iehoshaphat did so, and his Ships were broken, 2 Chron. 20.35, 37. Ahaz did so, and his people were distressed, 2 Chron. 28.21. It is impossible for Gods enemies to be cordiall to Gods people, so long as they continue cordiall to their God. There is such an irreconcileable Enmity betweene the seed of the woman, and the seed of the Serpent, that it is incredible to suppose that the enemies of the Church will doe any thing which may p [...]r se, tend to the good of it, or that any End and de­signe by them pursued can be severed from their owne malignant interest. Let white be mingled with any colour which is not it self, and it loseth of its owne beauty. It is not possible for Gods peo­ple to joyne with any that are his enemies, and not to lose of their own purity thereby. He must be [Page 55] as wise, and as potent as God, that can use the [...]age of Gods enemies, and convert it when he hath done, to the good of Gods Church, and the glory of Gods Name, and be able at pleasure to restraine and call it in againe. We must ever take heed of this dangerous competition betweene our own in­terests and Gods, to be so tender and intent upon that, as to hazard and shake this. Ieroboam did so, but it was fatall to him, and to all Israel. The End of Iudahs combining with the Assyrian, was that they might rejoyce against Rezin and Rema­liahs sonne: but the consequent of it which they ne­ver intended, was, that the Assyrian came over all the channels, and over all the bankes, and over­flowed, and went over, and reached to the very necke, and if it had not beene Immanuels land, would have endangered the drowning of it, Isa. 8.6, 7, 8. If Israel for his owne ends joyne with Ashur, it will hardly be possible for him in so do­ing, though against his own will, not to promote the Ends of Ashur against God Church, and against himselfe too. And yet the Prophet would not have in that case Gods people to be dismayed, or to say, a Confedera [...]ie, a Confederacie; but to sancti­fie the Lord himselfe, and make him their feare and their dread, who will certainly be a Sanctuary unto them, and will binde up his Testimony, and seale the Law amongst his Disciples, when others shall stumble and fall, and be broken, and be snared and be taken. If we preserve Immanuels right in us, and ours in him, all confederacies against us shall be broken, all counsels shall come to nought.

[Page 56] Sect. 5.2. Not in Horses, or in any other Humane pre­parations and provisions of our owne. Some trust in Charets, and some in Horses, but we (saith David) will remember the Name of the Lord our God, Psalm 20.7. That Name c [...]n do more with a sling and a stone, then Goliah with all his armour, 1 Sam. 17.4 [...]. It is a strong tower for protection and safety to all [...]hat flie unto it, Pro. 18.10. Whereas Horses though they be prepared against the day of battell, yet safety commeth onely from the Lord, Prov. 21.31. Horses are flesh and not spirit, and thei [...] Riders are men, and not God; and cursed are they that make flesh their arme, and depart from the Lord, Isa. 31.1, 2, 3. Ier. 17.5. No, not in variety of meanes and wayes of Help, which seemeth to be intima­ted in the word R [...]ding, from one confederate un­to another: if Asshur faile, I will post to Egypt; if one friend or counsell faile, I will make haste to another; a sinne very frequently charged upon Israel, Hos. 7.11. Isa. 20.5. Isa. 57.10. Ier. 2.36, 37. These are not to be trusted in, 1. because of the intrinsecaell weaknesse and defect of ability in the creature to help, Every man is a lyar, either by imposture, and so in purpose; or by impotency, and so in the event, deceiving those that relie upon him, Psal. 62.9.

2. Because of ignorance and defect of wisdome in us to apply that strength which is in the creature unto the best advantage. None but an Artificer can turne and governe the naturall efficacy of fire, winde, water, unto the workes of art. [...]. An [...]t. apud Euseb. de praepat Evang. lib. 13. The wis­dome whereby wee should direct created vertues [Page 57] unto humane Ends is not in or of our selves, but it comes from God, Iames. 1.5. Isai. 28.26, 29. Exod· 36.1, 2. Eccles. 7.24. & 9.1, 11.

3. Nor in Idols,§. 7. not in corrupting the worship of God. In Idolola­tria mendaci­um, cum tota substantia ejus mendax sit. Tert. de Idolo­lat. ca. 1. unde Idolatrae di­cuntur [...]. Cle. Alex. in Protreptic. Idols are lies, and teachers of lies, and promisers of lies to all that trust in them, Ier. 10.8, 14, 15, 16. Habac. 2.18. Rev. 22.15. an Idoll is just [...] Nihilitates, nomen gene­raliter nihil sonat, quod apte idolis tri­buitur. Mercer. nothing in the world, 1 Cor. 8.4. and that which is nothing, can doe nothing for those that relie upon it. What ever thing a man trusteth in, in time of trouble, must needs have these things in it to ground that confidence upon.

First, a Knowledge of him and his wants; therefore we are bid to trust in Gods providence over us for all outward good things, because he knoweth that we have need of them, Mat. 5.32.

Secondly, a loving and mercifull disposition to helpe him. A man may sometimes receive helpe from such as love him not, out of policy and in pursuance of other Ends and intends: but he can­not confidently relie upon any aide which is not first founded in love. I ever suspect and feare the gifts and succours which proceed form an [...] Sophoc. in Aja. [...]. Plut. Apop. Ene­my; they will have their owne Ends onely, even then when they seeme to tender and serve me; therefore David singleth our Gods mercy as the object of his Trust, Psal. 52.8.

Thirdly, a manifestation of that love in some promise or other, ingageing unto assistance. For how can I with assurance, and without hesitancy expect helpe there where I never received any promise of it? here was the ground of Davids, [Page 58] Iehoshaphats, Daniels trust in God, the word and promise which he had passed unto them, 1 Chron. 17.25, 27. Psal. 119.42. 2 Chron. 20.7, 8. Dan. 9.2, 3.

Fourthly, Truth and fidelity in the care to make these promises good; this is that which makes us so confidently trust in Gods promises, because we know they are all Yea and Amen, that it is impossi­ble for God to lie, or deceive, or for any to seeke his face in vaine, 2 Cor. 1.20. Iosh. 21.45. Hebr. 6.18. Isai. 45.19.

Fifthly, Power to give Being, and put into act whatsoever is thus promised. That which a man leanes upon, must have strength to bear the weight which is laid upon it. This is the great ground of our trusting in God at all times, even then when all other helpes faile, because he is I Am, that can create and give a being to every thing which he hath promised, because power belongeth unto him, and in the Lord Iehovah is everlasting strength, and nothing is too hard, no help too great for him who made heaven and earth, and can command all the Creatures which he made to serve those whom he is pleased to helpe. Psal. 62.8, 11. Exod. 3.14. Isay. 26.4. Gen. 18.14. Ier. 32.17. Psal. 121.2. Rom. 4.19, 21. Matth. 8.2. Now whosoever seeks for any of these grounds of trust in Idols, shall be sure to faile of them. Knowledge they have none. I­say. 44.9. and therefore love they have none; for how can that love any thing which knowes no­thing? Truth they have none, neither of being in themselves, nor of promise to those that trust in [Page 59] them; the very formality of an Idol is to be a lye, to stand for that which it is not, and to present that which it is most unlike, Isay Ier. 10.14, 15, 16. and power they have none ei­ther to heare, or save, Isay., 29. And therefore that repentance which shaketh off confidence in Idols, doth not onely convert a man unto God, but unto himselfe; is it not onely an impious, but a sottish thing, and below the reason of a man, first to make a thing, and then to worship it, to expect safety from that which did receive being from himselfe, Isay. 46.7, 8. These are the three great props of carnall confidence, for­raigne interests, domesticall treasures, superstitious devotions; when men please themselves in the chil­dren of strangers, and have their land full of silver and gold, and treasures, full of horses and Charets, and full of Idols: hoard up provisions and prepara­tions of their owne, comply with the enemies of God abroad, and corrupt the worship of God at home. I­say 2.6, 7, 8. These are the things for which God threatneth terribly to shake the earth, and to bring downe, and to make low the loftines of man, if he doe not, (as Ephraim here by long and sad expe­rience, doth) penitently renounce and abjure them all.

And now this is matter for which all of us may be humbled.Sect. 7. There is no sinne more usuall a­mongst men then carnall confidence, to lean on our owne wisedome, or wealth, or power, or supplies from others, to deifie Counsels, and Armies, or Horses, and treasures, and to let our hearts rise or [Page 60] fall, sinke or beare up within us, according as the creature is helpefull or uselesse, nearer or farther from us; As if God were not a God afarre off, as well as neare at hand. This we may justly fear, God has, and still will visit us for, because we doe not sanctifie the Lord of Hosts himselfe in our hearts, to make him our feare and our defence, and that he will blow upon all such counsells, and preparati­ons, as carnall confidence doth deifie.

Therefore we must be exhorted to take off our hopes and feares from second causes, not to glory in an arm of flesh, or to droope when that failes us; not to say in our prosperity, our mountaine is so strong that we shall not be shaken, nor in our suf­ferings, that our wound is incurable, or our grave so deepe that we shall never be raised againe. But to make the Name of the Lord our strong tower; for they who know thy name will trust in thee, and for di­rection herein we must learne to trust in God,

First, Absolutely and for himselfe, because he onely is Absolute and of himselfe. Other things as they have their being, so have they their working and power of doing good or evill onely from him, Matth. 4.4, Iohn. 19.11. Nihil Rex majus minari male parenti­bus potest, quā ut abeat è Regno. Senec. Epist. 80. Tua me non satiant nisi tecum. Be [...]n, soliloq. Ubi bene erit sine illo? aut ubi male esse poterit cum il­lo? Bern ser. 1. de Adven Dei. Ditior Christi paupertas cunctis. Id. ser. 4. in Vig nata. Bonum mihi Domine in Camino habe­re te mecum quam esse si [...]e te vel in coelo. Idem. And therefore till he take himselfe away, though he take all other things away from us, we have mater of encouragement and rejoycing in the Lord still, as David and Ha­bakuk resolve, 1 Sam. 30.6. Habac. 3.17, 18. All the world cannot take away any promise from any ser­vant of God, and there is more of Reality in the least promise of God, then in the greatest perfor­mance of the creature.

[Page 61]Secondly, to trust him Nolite spera­rare in iniqui­tate noli [...]e peccare in spe. Be [...]n. ser. [...] Ad [...]ent. In vii [...] custo­diet, nunquid in p [...]aecipitiis? Be [...]n ser. 14. in Ps [...]. Qui habit. in the way of his Com­mandements, not in any precipices or presumptions of our owne. Trust in him and doe good, Psal. 37.3. First feare him, and then trust in him; he is a Help and shield onely unto such, Psal. 115.11. It is high insolence for any man to leane upon God without his leave, and he alloweth none to doe it but such as feare him, and obey the voyce of his servants, Isay. 50.10.

Thirdly, to trust him in the Vid. Aug. de [...] Opere Mona. & qu [...]n Gen. lib. 1. qu. [...]6. way of his provi­dence, and the use of such meanes as he hath san­ctified and appointed. Though m [...]n liveth not by bread alone, but by the word of blessing which proceedeth out of the mouth of God: yet that word is by God annexed to Bread, and not to Stones; and that man should not trust God, but mock and tempt him, who should expect to have stones turned into bread. If God hath provided staires, it is not faith but fury, not confidence but mad­nesse, to goe downe by a precipice; where God pre­scribes meanes, and affords secondary helpes, we must obey his order, and implore his blessing in the use of them. This was Nehemiah his way, He pray­ed to God, and he petitioned the King, Neh. 2.4. This was Esters way, A Fast to call upon God, and a Feast to obtaine favour with the King, Ester This was Iacobs way, A Supplication to God, and a present to his Brother, Genes. 32.9, 13. This was Davids way against Goliah, the Name of the Lord his trust, and yet a Sling and a stone his Wea­pon, 1 Sam. 17.45, 49. This was Gedeons way a­gainst the Midianites, His Sword must goe along [Page 62] with the Sword of the Lord, not as an addition of strength, but as a testimony of obedience, Iudg. 7.18. Prayer is called sometimes a lifting up of the voice, sometimes a lifting up of the hands, to teach us, That when we pray to God, we must as well have a Dii prohibe­bunt haec, sed non propter me de coelo descendent. Vobis dent mentem o [...]or­t [...]t ut prohibe­atis. Li [...]l 9. [...]. Plut, [...]. [...] Instit. L [...]c [...]nic. hand to worke, as a tongue to begge. In a word, we must use second causes in Obedience to Gods order, not in confidence of their Helpe; The Creature must be the object of our diligence, but God onely the object of our trust.

Now lastly, from the ground of the Churches prayer and promise, we learn, Patrem mise ricordiarum patrem esse ne­cesse est etiam mise [...]orum. B [...]rn. se [...]. 1. in [...]st. om [...]i [...] S [...]n. Vites arbo [...]i­bus applicitae inferiotes pri­us apprehen­dendo ramos in cacumina evadunt. Quin [...]il. lib. 1. Hedera dicta quod Haereat. Festus. That the way unto mercy is to be in our selves fatherlesse. The poore saith David, committeth himselfe unto thee, thou art the helper of the fatherlesse. § 8. Psal. When Iehoshaphat knew not what to doe, then was a sitt time to direct his eye unto God. 2 Chron. 20.19. When the stones of Sion are in the dust, then is the sittest time for God to favour her. Psal. 102.13. When Israel was under heavie bondage, and had not I [...]seph as a tender father (as he is called, Gen. 41.43.) to provide for them, then God remembred that he was their father, and Isra [...]l his first borne. Exod. 4.22. nothing will make us seeke for Helpe above our selves, but the apprehension of weaknes within our selves. Those Creatures that are weak­est, n [...]ture hath put an aptitude and inclination in them to depend upon those that are stronger. The Vine, the Ivie, the Hopp, the Wood-binde, are taught by nature to clasp and cling and winde a­bout stronger trees. The greater sense we have of our owne vilenes, the fitter disposition are we in to [Page 63] relie on God. I will leave in the midst of thee an af­flicted and poore people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord. Zeph. 3.12. Isay 14.32. When a man is proud within, and hath any thing of his owne to leane upon, he will hardly tell how to trust in God. Prov. Israel never thought of return­ing to her first husband, till her way was hedged up with thornes, and no meanes left to enjoy her former Lovers. Hose. 2.6, 7. When the enemy should have shut up and intercepted all her passa­ges to Dan and Bethel, to Egypt and Assyria, that she hath neither friends, nor Idols to flie to, then she would think of returning to her first Husband, namely, to God againe.

Now from hence we learne, First, the conditi­on of the Church in this world, which is to be as an Orphan, destitute of all succour and favour, as an out-cast whom no man looketh after. Ier. 30.17. Paul thought low thoughts of the world, and the world thought as basely of him. The world saith he, is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. Gal. 6.14. Before conversion, the world is an Egypt unto us, a place of Bondage. After Conversion, It is a Wildernesse unto us, a place of Emptinesse and Temptations.

Secondly, the Backwardnesse of man towards grace; we goe not to God till we are brought to extremities, and all other Helpes faile us. The poore Prodigall never thought of looking after a Father, till he found himselfe in a fatherlesse con­dition, and utterly destitute of all reliefe, Luke 15.17, 18.

[Page 64]Thirdly, the right disposition and preparation unto mercie, which is to be an Orphan, destitute of all selfe-confidence, and broken off from all other comforts. When the poore and needy, seeketh water, and there is none, I the Lord will helpe him, Isai. 41.17. God will repent for his people when he seeth that their power is gone, Deut. 32.36. when there is dignus vindice nodus, an extremity fitt for divine power to interpose. Christ is set forth as a Physi­cian, which supposeth sicknesse; as a fountaine, which supposeth uncleanesse; as meate, which sup­poseth emptinesse; as cloathing, which supposeth nakednesse. He never finds us till we are lost sheep; when we have lost all, then we are fit to follow him, and not before.

Fourthly, The Roots of true Repentance. Nos pupilli, Tu misericors. The sence of want and empti­nesse in our selves, the apprehension of favour and mercy in God. Conviction of sinne in us, and of righteousnesse in him, Iohn 16.9, 10. Of crooked­nesse in us, and of glory in him. Isay. 40.4, 5.

Hereby roome is made for the entertainment of mercy; where sinne abouds, grace will more abound, and the more the soule findes it selfe exceeding mi­serable, the more will the mercy of God appeare exceeding mercifull, Rom. 5.20. and hereby God sheweth his wisedome in the seasonable dispencing of mercy then when we are in greatest extremity: As fire is hottest in the coldest weather. God de­lights to be seene in the mount, at the grave, to have his way in the sea, and his paths in the deepe wa­ters. Mercies are never so sweet as when they are [Page 65] seasonable, and never so seasonable as in the very turning and criticall point, when miserie weighs down, and nothing but mercie turns the scale.

This teacheth us how to fit our selves for the mercy of God,Mendici cum [...]leem osynam petunt, non preciosa [...] ve­stes ostendunt, sed seminuda membra, au ulcera si ha­buerint ut [...]l­tius ad miseri­cordiam vi­dentis animus inclinetur. Bern. ser. 4. de Advent. namely to finde our selves destitute of all inward or outward comfort, and to seek for [...]tonely there. Beggers doe not put on Scarlet but ragges, to prevaile with men for reliefe: As Ben­hadad servants put on Ropes when they would beg mercy of the King of Israel. In a shipwrack a man will not load him with money, chaines, treasure, rich apparell; but commit himselfe to the Sea na­ked, and esteeme it mercy enough, to have Tabu­lam post naufragium, one poore plank to carry him to the shore. It is not exaltation enough unto Io­seph except hee be taken out of a prison unto honour.

Secondly, we should not be broken with diffidence or distrust in times of trouble, but remem­ber it is the condition of the Church to be an Or­ph [...]n. It is the way whereby Moses became to be the son of Pharaohs daughter; when his owne Pa­rents durst not owne him, the mercy of a Prince found him out to advance him; and when he was nearest unto perishing, he was nearest unto honour

Leg▪ 19. Cod. de Sacros. Ec­clesiis, & Leg. 46. (od. de E­piscopis & Cler sect 1.3. Vid Tholos. Syntag Juris. [...]i 15. cap. 28. In the civill Law we finde provision made for such as were cast out, and exposed to the wide world, some Hospitals to entertaine them, some li­berties to comfort and compensate their trouble. And a like care we finde in Christ; The Jewes had no sooner cast the man that was borne blinde out, whose Parents durst not be seen in his cause for [Page 66] feare of the like usage, but the mercy of Christ presently found him, and bestowed comfort upon him, Iohn 9.35. This is the true David homi­nes in angu­stia consti [...]u­tos & oppres­sos aere alieno in su [...]m [...]u [...]e­lam suscipi­ens, Typus Christi [...]st publicanos et peccatores re­cipientis. Gloss. Philo­log. Sacr. lib. 2. pag. 424. Parentum a­mor magis in e [...] quorum miseretur in­clinat. Senec. Epist. 66. David unto whom all helplesse persons, that are in distresse, in debt, in bitternesse of soul, may resort and finde entertainment, 1 Sam. 22.2.

Lastly, we should learne to behave our selves as Pupils under such a Guardian, to be sensible of our infancy, minority, Tu [...]el [...]ae vis est & potestas in capite libe­ro ad tuendum cum qui prop­ter, ae [...]atem su­am sponte se defendere nequit. D. de Tutelis. L. 1. disability to order or direct our owne waies, and so deny our selves, and not leane on our owne wisedom; to be sensible how this condition exposeth us to the injuries of strangers, (for because we are called out of the world, therefore the world hateth us,) and so to be vigilant over our waies, and not trust our selves alone in the hands of temptation, nor wander from our Guardian, but alwaies to yeeld unto his wisdome and guidance: Lastly, to comfort our selves in this, that while we are in our minority, we are under the mercy of a fa­ther, A mercy of Conservation by his providence, giving us all good things richly to enjoy, even all things necessary unto life and godlinesse: A mercy of protection, defending us by his power from all evill: A mercy of Education and instruction, teach­ing us by his Word and Spirit: A mercy of Com­munion many waies familiarly conversing with us, and manifesting himselfe unto us: A mercy of guidance and government by the laws of his fami­ly: A mercy of discipline sitting us by fatherly chastisements for those further honours and im­ployments he will advance us unto; and when our minority is over, & we once are come to a perfect, [Page 67] man, we shall then be actually admitted unto that inheritance immortall, invisible, and that fadeth not away, which the same mercy at first purcha­sed, and now prepareth and reserveth for us. Now it followeth, ‘Verse. 4. I will heale their back-sliding, I will love them freely, for mine anger is turned away from him.’

In the former words we have considered both Israels Petition in time of trouble,Sect. 9. and the Promise and Covenant which thereupon they binde them­selves in. In these and the consequent words unto the end of the 8. verse, we have the gracious answer of God to both, promising [...]oth in his free love to grant their petition, and by his fr [...]e grace to enable them unto the performance of the Covenant which they had made.

The Petition consisted of two parts. 1. That God would take away all iniquity. 2 That he would doe them good, or receive them graciously. To both these God giveth them a full and a gracious answer. 1. That he will take away all iniquitie by Healing their back-sliding. 2 That he would doe them good, and heape all manner of bl [...]ssings upon them, which are expressed by the various meta­phors of fruitfulnesse; opposite to the contrary ex­pr [...]ssions of judgement in former parts of the prophecie.

I will heale their back sliding.] This is one of the names by which God is pleased to make him­sele knowne unto his people, I am the Lord that [Page 68] healeth thee, Exod. 15.26. and, returne O Back-sliding children, and I will heale your back-slidings, Jer. 3.22.

Now God Healeth sin four manner of waies.

First, By a gratious Pardon, burying, covering, not imputing them unto us. So it seems to be ex­pounded, Psal. 103.3. and that which is called Healing in one place, is called forgivenesse in another, if we compare Mat. 13.15. with Mark 4.12.

Secondly, by a spirituall and effectuall Reforma­tion, purging the conscience from dead workes, making it strong and able to serve God in new obedience; for that which Health is to the body, Holinesse is to the soul. Therefore the Sun of righ­teousnesse is said to a [...]ise with Healing in his wings, Mal. 4.2. whereby we are to understand the gra­cious influence of the Holy Spirit conveying the vertue of the blood of Christ unto the conscience, even as the beames of the Sunne doe the heat and influence thereof unto the earth, thereby calling out the herbs and flowers, and healing those de­formities which winter had brought upon it.

Thirdly, by removing and withdrawing of judge­ments, which the sinnes of a people had brought like wounds or sicknesses upon them. So Healing is opposed to smiting and wounding, Deut. 32.39. Iob 5.18. Hos. 6.1, 2. Ier. 33.5, 6.

Fourthly, by comforting against the anguish and distresse which sinne is apt to bring upon the con­science. For as in Physick there are Purgatives to cleanse away corrupt humours, so there are Cordi­als likewise to strengthen & refresh weak and de­jected [Page 69] Patients; and this is one of Christs principal workes to binde and heale the broken in heart, to re­store comforts unto mourners, to set at liberty them that are bruised, and to have mercy upon those whose bones are vexed, Psal. 147, 3. Isai. 57.18, 19. Luke 4.18. Psal. 6.2, 3. I am not willing to shut any of these out of the meaning of the Text.

First, because it is an answer to that rayer, Take away All iniquity. The All that is in it, The Guilt, the staine, the power, the punishment, the an­guish, whatever evil it is apt to bring upon the con­science, Let it not doe us any hurt at all.

Secondly, because Gods works are perfect; where he forgives sinne, he removes it, where he convin­ceth of righteousnesse, unto pardon of sinne, he convinceth also of judgement, unto the casting out of the prince of this world, and bringeth forth that judgement unto victory, Matth. 12.20.

Their Back-sliding] Their praier was against All iniquity, and God in his answer thereunto singleth out one kinde of iniquity, but one of the greatest, by name. And that first, to teach them and us, when we pray against sinne, not to content our selves with generalities, but to bewaile our great and speciall sinnes by name, those specially that have been most comprehensive, and the Semina­ries of many others.

Secondly, to comfort them; for if God pardon by name the greatest sinne, then surely none of the rest will stand in the way of his mercy; if he par­don the Talents, we need not doubt but he will [Page 70] pardon the pence too. Paul was guilty of many other sinnes, but when he will magnifie the grace of Christ, he makes mention of his great sinnes, A blasphemer, a persecutor, injurious; and comforts himselfe in the mercy which he had obtained against them, 1 Tim. 1.13.

Vt aqu [...] prius cal [...]ict [...], dein in pu [...]u [...] de­missma, sit [...]igi­dissi [...]. C [...] ­s [...]u. in Athe­naeum. lib. 3. c. 35. & Plu­tarch. Sympo­siac. l. 6. q. 4.Thirdly, to intimate the great guilt of Apastacie and rebellion against God. After we have known him and tasted of his mercy, and given up our selves unto his service, and come out of Egypt and Sodome, then to looke back againe, and to be false in his Covenant, this God lookes on, not as a single sinne, but as a compound of all sinnes. When a man turnes from God, he doth as it were resume and take home upon his conscience All the sinnes of his life again.

Fourthly, to proportion his answer to their re­pentance. They confesse their Apostasie, they had been in Covenant with God, they confesse he was their first husband, Hos. 2 7. and they forsooke him, and sought to Horses, to Men, to Idols, to va­nitie and lies: this is the sin they chiefly bewaile: and therefore this is the sinne which God chiefly singles out to pardon and to heale them of. This is the great goodnesse of God toward those that pray in sincerity,Aug. Confess. lib. 5. cap. 8. that he fits his mercy ad Cardinem desi­derii, answers them in the maine of their desires, lets it be unto them even as they will.

I will love them freely.] This is set downe as the fountaine of that Remission,Sect. 10. Sanctification and Comfort which is here promised. It comes not from our Conversion unto God, but from Gods [Page 71] free love and grace unto us. And this is added, first to Humble them, Si vera sit gra­tia, id est, Gra­tuita, nihil in­venit in ho­mine cui me­rito debeatur, &c. Aug. lib. de patie [...]t. ca. 20. vid. cont. Juli­an. lib. 6. cap. 19. de peccato orig. cap. 24. de Grat. [...]t lib. Arbit. cap. 5. de natur. et grat. cap. 4. de corr [...]pt. et gra. cap. 10. Epist. 105. et 106. et alibi passi [...]. Temere in t [...] ­li negotio vel prius aliquid tribuis tibi vel plus. et magis amat, et ante, Bernard, serm. 69. in Can. Ex se sumit mate­riam et velut quoddam se­minarium mi­serendi-mi­serendi cau­sam et origi­nem sumit ex proprio: Ju­dicandi vel ul­ciscendi magis ex nost [...]o: Idem serm. 5. i [...] natali Dom that they should not ascribe any thing to themselves, their Repentance, their pray­ers, their covenants and promises, as if these had been the means to procure mercie for them, or as if there were any objective grounds of lovelines in them to stirre up the love of God towards them. It is not for their sake that he doth it, but for his own, The Lord sets his love upon them because he loved them. Deut. 7.7, 8. not for your sakes doe I this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you. Ezek. 36.22.32. He will have mercy because he will have mercy. Rom. 9.15.

Secondly, To support them, above the guilt of their greatest sinnes. Men think nothing more ea­sie while they live in sinne, and are not affected with the weight and hainousnesse of it, then to be­leeve mercie and pardon. But when the soule in conversion unto God, feeles the heavie burden of some great sinnes, when it considers its rebellion, and Apostacie, and backesliding from God, It will then be very apt to think God will not for­give nor heale so great wickednesse as this; There is a naturall Novatianisme in the timerous consci­ence of convinced sinners, to doubt and question pardon for sinnes of Apostacie and falling after repentance. Therefore in this case God takes a penitent off from the consideration of himself by his own thoughts, unto the height and excellencie of his Thoughts who knowes how to pardon abun­dantly, Isay. 55.7, 8, 9. Ier. 29.11. Ezek. 37.3. Nothing is too hard for love especially free-love, [Page 72] that hath no foundation or inducement from without it self.

And because we reade before Hos. 8.5. That Gods Anger was kindled against them, therefore he here adds that this also should be turned away from them.Aristot. Rhet. lib 2▪ cap. 2. Anger will consist with love; we finde God Angrie with Moses, and Aaron, and Miriam, and Asa; and he doth sometimes visit with rodds and scourges, where he doth not u [...]terly take away his love­ing kindenesse from a people. Psal. 89.32.33. A man may be angrie with his wife, or childe, or friend, whom he yet dearly loveth. And God is said to be thus Angry with his people, when the effects of displeasure are discovered towards them. Now up­on their Repentance and Conversion, God promi­seth not onely to love them freely, but to clear up his Countenance towards them, to make them by the Removall of Judgements to see and know the ftuits of his free love and bounty unto them. When David called Absolom home from banishment, this was an effect of love; but when he said, let him not see my face, this was the continuation of Anger; but at last when he admitted him into his presence and kissed him, here that Anger was turned away from him too. 2 Sam.

Sect. 11.These words then containe Gods mercifull an­swer to the first part of Israels prayer for the Ta­king away of all Iniquity which had beene the foun­taine of those sad Judgements under which they languished and pined away. Wherin there are two parts, 1. The Ground of Gods answer, His free love. 2. A double fruit of that love. 1. In Healing [Page 73] their Backsliding, In removing his Anger and heavie Iudgements from them. We will breifly handle them in the order of the Text.

I will Heale their Backsliding.] When Gods people do returne unto him, and pray against sin, then God out of his free love doth heale them of it. First, he teacheth them what to aske, and then he tells them what he will give. Thus we finde Conversion and Healing joyned together, Isai. 6.10. They shall returne even to the Lord, and he shall be in­treated of them, and shall heale them, Isai. 19.22. Return, Backsliding children, I will Heal your Back­slidings, Ier. 3.22. [...] Homer▪ Iliad▪ [...]. Quae in praese [...] Tiberius civi­liter habuit, sed in animo revol­vente iras, eti­amsi impe [...]us offensionis lan­guer [...]t, memo­ria valebat. Ta­cit. Annal. l. 4. Non enim Ti­berium quam­vis triennio post caedem Sejâni, quae cae [...]eros mol­lire solent, Tempus, pre­ces, Satias mi­tigabant, quin ince [...]a & abo­lita pro gravi­ssimis & recen­tibus puniret. Anal▪ lib. 6. vid. Aristot. Ethic. lib, 4▪ cap. 11. Men if they be injured and provoked by those whom they have in their power to undoe, though they returne, and cry peccavi, and are ready to aske forgivenesse, yet many times out of pride and revenge, will take their time and op­portunity to repay the wrong. But God doth not so; His Pardons, as all his other Gifts, are without exprobrat [...]on; as soon as ever his servants come back unto him with teares and confession, he looks not upon them with scorn, but with joy; his mer­cy makes more haste to embrace them, then their repentance to returne unto him, Luke 15.20. then out comes the wine, the oyle, the balme, the cor­dials; then the wounds of a Saviour doe as it were bleed afresh to drop in mercy into the sores of such a Penitent. O though he be not a dutifull, not a pleasant childe; yet he is a childe; though I spake against him, yet I remember him still, my bow­els are troubled for him, I will surely have mercy upon him, Jer. 31.20. The Lord greatly com­plaines [Page 74] of the inclination of his people to back­sliding, and yet he cannot finde in his heart to de­stroy them, but expresseth a kinde of Gravi [...] quae­dam inter vir­tutes videtur orta con [...]emio Siquidem ve­ritas et justitia mise [...]um a [...]ti­gebant; pax & misericordia judicabant magis esse parcendum, &c. vid. Bern▪ serm. 1. in An­nunci. Conflict be­tweene Iustice and Mercy; and at last resolves, I am God and not man; I can as well heale their backsliding by my Love, as revenge it by my ju­stice; therefore I will not execute the fiercenesse of mine anger, but I will cause them to walk after the Lord, Hos. 11.7.10. Yea, so mercifull he is, that even upon an hypocriticall conversion, when his peo­ple did but flatter and lie unto him, and their heart was not right towards him, nor they stedfast in his covenant, yet the Text saith, he being full of compassion forgave their iniquity (not as to the ju­stification of their persons, for that is never without faith unfained, but so farre as to the mitigation of their punishment, that he destroyed them not, nor stirred up all his wrath against them, Psal. 78.34.35.) for so that place is to be expounded, as ap­peareth by the like parallel place, Ezek. 20 17. Neverthelesse, mine eye spared them from destroying them, neither did I make an end of them in the wil­dernesse.

Now the Metaphoricall word both here, and so often elsewhere used in this argument, leadeth us to looke upon sinners as Patients, and upon God as a Physician. By which two considerations we shall finde the exceeding mercy of God in the pardon and purging away of sinne set forth un­to us.

Healing then is a Relative word, and leades us first to the consideration of a Patient who is to be [Page 75] healed, and that is here a grievous sinner fallen into a Relapse. Healing is of two sorts. The healing of a sicnesse by a Physician; the healing of a wound by a Chirurgian. And Sinne is both a sicknesse, and a wound. The whole head sick, the whole Heart faint, from the soale of the foot, even unto the Head, there is no soundnesse in it, but wounds and bruises, and putrifying sores Isai. 1.5.6. A sicknesse that wants healing, a wound that wants binding, Ezek. 34.4. A sick sinner that wants a Physician to call to repentance, Matth. 9.12, 13. A wounded sinner, that wants a Samaritan (so the Iewes called Christ Iohn 8.48.) to binde up and poure in wine and oyle, Luek 10.34.

Diseases are of severall sorts, but those of all other most dangerous that are in the vitall parts, as all the diseases of sinne are, and from thence spread themselves over the whole man. Igno­rance, pride, carnall principles, corrupt judgement, diseases of the Head. Hardnesse, stubbornesse, Atheisme, Rebellion, diseases of the Heart: Lust, a dart in the Liver; Corrupt communication the effect of putrified lungs: Gluttony and drunken­nesse the swellings and dropsies of the belly: de­spaire and horrour the griefe of the bowels: Apo­stacie a Recidivation or Relapse into all. An Eare that cannot heare God speake, Ier. 6.10. An Eye quite dawbed up, that cannot see him strike, Ier. 44.18. Isai. 26.11. A palate out of taste, that cannot savour nor relish heavenly things, Rom. 8.5. Lips poisoned, Rom. 3.13. A Tongue set on fire, Iam. 3.6. Flesh consumed, bones stick­ing [Page 76] out, sore vexed and broken to pieces Iob 33.21. Psal. 6.2. & 51.8. Some diseases are dull, others acute; some [...]upifying, others tormenting. Sinne is All. A stupifying palsie, that takes away feel­ing Ephes 4.19. A pl [...]gu [...] in the Heart, which sets all on fire. 1 King. 8.38. Hos. 7.4.

Sect. 12.Let us consider a little the proper passions and effects of most diseases, and see how they suite to sinne.

First, Paine and distemper. This, first or last is in All sinne; for it begets in wicked and impenitent men the Peccatum quod inultum videtur, habet ped [...]ssequam poenamsuam ut nemo de admisso nisi a­maritudine doleat. Aug. de Continent. cap. 6. Memoria Te­sti [...], Ratio Index, Timor carnifex. Be [...] ­nerd. ser. de vil­lico in qui [...]a [...]i▪ pain of guilt, horrour, trembling of heart, anguish of conscience, fear of wrath, ex­pectation of judgement, and fiery indignation, as in Cain, Pharaoh, Ahab, Felix, and divers others, Gen. 4.13.14. Exod. 9.27.28. 1 King. 21.27. Acts 24.25. Isai. 33.14. Hebr. 2.15. Rom. 8 15. Hebr. 10.27. And in Penitent men it begets Omne ma­lum aut Timo­ [...]e aut Pudo [...]e natura suffudit. Tertul, Apol. cap. 1. Perturbatio a­nimi respic [...]n­tis peccata sua. respectione perhorrescentis: horrore e [...]ubeseenti [...]: c [...]bescentia. cor [...]i [...]entis▪ Aug. in Psal. 30. Con. 1. c. Morbus est [...]. Galen. Habitus corporis contra n [...]turam qui usum ejus ad id [...]ac [...] deteriorem, cujus causa natura nobis ejus corporis sanitatem dedit. Leg. 1. sect. 7. D. de Aedilitio Edict. the pain of shame, and sorrow, and inquietude o [...] spi­rit, a wound in the spirit, a prick in the very heart, Rom. 6.21. Ezek. 16.61. 2 Cor. 7.10. Prov. 18.14. Acts 2.37. Penitency and Paine are words of one derivation, and are very neare of kin unto one another. Never was any wound cu­red without paine, never any sinne healed without sorrow.

Secondly, c weaknesse and Indisposednesse to the Actions of life. Sinne is like an unruly spleen, or a [Page 77] greedy wenne in the body that sucks all nourish­ment, & converts all supplies into its own growth, and so exhausts the strength and vigor of the soul, making it unfit and unable to do any good. When ever it sets about any duty, till sinne be cured, it goes about it like an arm out of ioynt, which when you would move it one way, [...]. Arist. Eth. l [...]. c. ult. doth fall back an­other. It faints, and flaggs, and is not able to put sorth any skill, or any delight unto any good duty. Naturally men are Reprobate or void of Iudgement unto any good work. Tit. 1.16. Godlinesse is a mystery ▪ a spirituall skill & trade; there is learning, and use, and experience, and much exercise requi­red to be handsome and dextrous about it. Tim. 3.16. Phil. 4.11. Heb. 5.13-14. To be sinners and to be without strength, in the Apostles phrase, is all one. Rom. 5.6.8. And look how much flesh there is in any man, so much disability is there to per­forme any thing that is good. Rom. 7.18. There­fore the hands of sinners are said to hang downe, and their knees to be feeble, and their feete to be lame, that cannot make straight pathes till they be healed. Heb. 12.12, 13. If they at any time upon naturall dictates, or some suddaine strong conviction, or pang of feare, or stirrings of conscience, doe offer at any good worke, to pray, to repent, to beleeve, to obey, they bungle at it, and are out of their element; They are wise to doe evill, but [...]o doe good they have no knowledge: They presently grow wea­rie of any essaies and offers at well doing, and can­not hold out or persevere in them.

Thirdly, Decay and consumption. Sinne wasts [Page 87] and wears out the vigour of soule and body, feedes upon all our time, and strength, and exhausts it in the services of lust.Tabificae men­tis perturba [...]i­ones, Cic. Tu [...]cul. quaest. Sicknes is a chargeable thing, a consumption at once to the Person and to the E­state. The poore woman in the Gospel which had an issue of blood, spent all that she had on Physicians, and was never the better: Luke 8.43. So poore sinners emptie all the powers of soule, of body, of time, of estate, every thing within their reach, upon their lusts, and are as unsatisfied at last as at the first, Eccles. 1.8. Like a Silke-worme which workes out his bowels into such a masse wherein himself is buried. It wearieth them out, and suck­eth away the Radicall strength in the service of it, [...], Aristot. Ethic. l. 3. cap. ult. [...]. Polit. lib. 2. Naturalia de­sideria sinita sunt; ex fals [...] opinione na­scentia, ubi de­sinant non habent, &c▪ Sen. Ep. 16. ex libidine or­ta sine Ter­mino sunt. Epist. 39. and yet never giveth them over, but as Pharaohs taskmasters exacted the brick when they had taken away the straw; so lust doth consume and weaken naturall strength, in the obedience of it: and yet when nature is exhausted, the strength of lust is as great, and the Commands as tyrannous as ever be­fore. Isa 57.10. Ier. 2.25. We are to distinguish betweene the vitall force of the faculties, and the Activity of lust which sets them on work; that de­cayes and hastens to death, but sinne retaines its strength and vigour still; nothing kills that but the bloud of Christ; & the decay of nature ariseth out of the strength of sinne; the more any man in any lust whatsoever, makes himselfe a servant of sinne, and the more busie and active he is in that service: the more will it eate into him and consume him, as the hotter the feaver is, the sooner is the body wa­sted and dried up by it.

[Page 79]Fourthly, Deformity. Sicknesse withereth the beauty of the body, maketh it of a glorious a ghastly and loathsome spectacle. Come to the comliest person living after a long and pining sicknesse, and you will not finde the man in his owne shape; a wan countenance, a shriveled flesh, a leane visage, a hollow and standing eye, a trem­bling hand, a stammering tongue, abowed backe, a feeble knee a swelled belly: nothing left but the [...]akes of the hedge, and a few finewes to hold them together. Behold here the picture of a sinner,Infl [...]tus & Tu­m [...]ns animus in vitio est. Sa­pientis animus nunquam tur­gescit, nunquā [...]ume [...]. Cic. Tuscul. quaest, l. 3. Invidus alteri­us rebus ma­crescit opimis. Horat. [...] ep. 2, O curvae in terras Animae et Coelestium inane [...]. Pers. Vt Corpora verberibus, ita saevitia, libidi­ne, malis con­sul is animus di [...]ceratur. Tacit▪ Anal, l. 6. swel­led with pride, pined with envie, bowed with earth­lines wasted and eaten up with lust, made as stink­ing and unsavoury as a dead Carcasse. Psal. 14.3. Ezek. 16.4. When thou seest an unmercifull man, that hath no compassion left in him, thinke thou sawest Iudas or King Iehoram, whose sore disease made his bowels fall out. 2. Chron. 21.19. When thou seest a worldly man whose heart is glu­ed to earthly things, think upon the poore woman who was bowed together and could not lift up her selfe. Luke 13.11. When thou seest an Hypocrite walking crooked and unevenly in the wayes of God, think upon Mephibosheth or Asa, lame, halting, diseased in their feet. When thou seest a proud ambitious man, thinke upon Herod eat­en up with vermine. O if the diseases of the soule could come forth & shew themselves in the body, and work such deformity there (where it would not doe the thousandth part so much hurt) as they doe within: if a man could in the glasse of the word see the uglinesse of the one, as plainly as in a [Page 80] materiall glasse the foulnesse of the other, how would this make him crie out, my head, my head: my bowels, my bowels: my leannesse, my leannesse: unclean, unclean? No man thinks any shape ugly enough to represent a divell by; yet take him in his naturals, and he was a most glorious Creature: it is sinne that turns him into a Serpent or Dragon. There is something of the monster in every sinne; the belly or the feet set in the place of the head or heart; sensuall and worldly lusts set up above Rea­son, and corrupt Reason above Grace.

Now because the sicknesse here spoken of is a falling sicknes, Sect. 13. and that the worst kinde of Fall not forward in our way or race, as every good man sometimes falls, where a man hath the help of his knees and hands to break the blow, to prevent or lessen the hurt, and to make him to rise againe; but old Elies fall, a falling backward, where a man can put forth no part to save the whole, and so doth more dangerously breake and bruise himselfe thereby:Cecidimus su­per acervum la­pidum & in lu­to: unde non solum inquina­ti sed graviter vulnerati et quassati sumus Bernard. ser. 1. in Coena dom. Cecidimus in carcerem luto pari [...]er et l [...]pi­dibus plenum, captivi inqui­nati, conquas­sati. Idem, ser. 2. in octav. Paschae. Therefore as it is a sicknes which requires curing, so it is a wound which requires healing and binding. The Ancients compare it to falling into a pit full of dirt and s [...]ones: where a man doth not onely defile, but miserably breake and bruise him­selfe. There is contritio, solutio continui, suppuratio, sanies &c. All the evils of a dangerous and mor­tall wound.

Adde to all this, That in this diseased and woun­ded condition, 1 A man hath no power to heale or to helpe himselfe, but in that respect he must cry out with them in the prophet, My wound is incura­ble [Page 81] and refuseth to be healed, Jer. 15.18.

Secondly, he hath no desire, no will, Libens aegro­tat qui medico non credit nec morbum de­clinat. Arist. Ethic. lib. 3. O fortes qui­bus medicus opus non est: sortitudo ista non sanitatis est sed insaniae nam & phre­ne [...]icis nihil fortius. Sed quanto majo­res vires, tanto mors vicinior. Aug. in Ps. 58. no thought to enquire or send after a Physician who may heal him: but is well contented rather to continue as he is, then to be put to the paine and trouble of a cure, and pleaseth himself in the goodnesse of his owne condition, Rev. 3.17▪ Matth. 9.12.

Thirdly, He is in the hands of his cruell enemy, who takes no pity on him, but by flattery and ty­ranny, and new temptations, continually cherish­eth the disease, 2 Tim. 2.26.

Fourthly, when the true Physician comes, he shuts the door against him, refuseth his counsell, reject­eth his receipts, quarrels with his medicines; they are too bitter, or too strong and purging; or too sharp and searching; he will not be healed at all ex­cept it may be his own way, Prov. 1.24, 25. 2 Chron. 36.16. Ezek. 24.13. Matth. 23.37. Ier. 13.11. Thus we have taken a view of the Patient, Sick, weake, pained, consumed, deformed, wounded, and sore bruised: without power or help at home, without friends abroad: no sense of danger, no desire of change: patient of his disease, impatient of his cure: but one meanes in the world to helpe him, and he unable to procure it; and being offered to him, unwilling to entertaine it; who can expect after all this, but to hear the knell ring, and to see the grave opened for such a sick person as this?

Now let us take a view of the Physician. Surely an ordinary one would be so farre from visiting such a Patient,Sect. 14. that in so desperate a condition as this, he would quite forsake him: As their use is to [Page 82] leave their Patients when they lie a dying. Here then observe the singular goodnesse of this phy­sician.

First, though other Physicians judge of the dis­ease when it is brought unto them, yet the Patient first feels it and complaines of it himselfe; but this Physician giveth the Patient the very feeling of his disease, and is faine to take notice of that as well as to minister the cure. He went on frowardly in the way of his heart, saith the Lord, and pleased himself in his owne ill condition, I have seene his way, and will heale him, Isay. 57, 17.18.

Secondly, other Patients send for the Physici­an, and use many intreaties to be visited and un­dertaken by him. Here the Physician comes un­sent for, and intreates the sick person to be healed. The world is undone by falling off from God, and yet God is the first that begins the reconciliation; and the stick of it is [...]n the world, and not in him: and therefore there is a great Emphasis in the Apostles expression, God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not himself unto the world; He intreats us to be reconciled, 2 Cor. 5.19.20. He is found of them that sought him not, Isai. 65.1. and his office is not onely to save, but to seeke that which was lost.

Thirdly, other Physicians are well used, and en­tertained with respect and honour: but our Pati­ent here neglects and misuseth his Physician, falls from him, betakes himself unto Mountebanks and Physicians of no value; yet he insists on his mercy, and comes when he is forsaken, when he is repel­led. [Page 83] I have spread out my hands all the day unto a Rebel­lious people, Isai. 65.2.

Fourthly, other Physicians have usually ample and honourable rewards for the attendance they give; but this Physician comes onely out of love,Medicos civi­tate donavit Julius Caesar. Sueton. in Ju­lio, cap. 42. Vis morbo­rum pretia me­dentibus; Fo [...]i Tabes Pecu­niam advoca­tis fert. Tacit. Annal. lib. 11. heales freely, nay is bountifull to his Patient, doth not onely heale him, but bestows gifts upon him gives the visit, gives the physick, sends the mini­sters and servants who watch & keep the Patient.

Lastly, other Physicians prescribe a bitter poti­on for the sick person to take; this Physician drink­eth of the bitterest himself; others prescribe the sore to be launced, this Physician is wounded and smitten himself: others order the Patient to bleed, here the physician bleeds himselfe: yea he is not onely the Physician but the Physick, and gives him­selfe, his own flesh, his own blood, for a purgative, a cordiall, a plaister to the soul of his Patient; Dies himselfe, that his Patient may live, and by his stripes we are healed, Isai. 53.5.

We should from all this learne, First, to ad­mire the unsearchable Riches of the mercy of our God,Sect. 15. who is pleased in our misery to prevent us with goodnesse, and when we neither felt our dis­ease, nor desired a remedy, is pleased to convince us of our sinnes, Thou hast fallen by thine iniquity; To invite us to repentance, O Israel returne unto the Lord thy God: To put words into our mouth, and to draw our petition for us, Take with you words, and say unto him, take away all iniquity, &c. To furnish us with arguments, we are fatherlesse, thou art mer­cifull: To incourage us with promises, I will heale, [Page 84] I will love; To give us his Ministers to proclaime, and his Spirit to apply these mercies unto us. If he did not convince us that iniquity would be a down­fall and a ruine unto us,Pol me occi­distis amici, Non servastis alt Horat. Molestus est somnium ju­cundum vi. denti qui ex­citat. Sen. ep. 102. Ezek. 18.30. we should hold it fast, and be pleased with our disease, like a mad man that quarrels with his cure, and had ra­ther continue mad then be healed, Ioh. 3.19, 20, 21.

If being convinced, he did not invite us to repen­tance, we should run away from him as Adam did. No man loves to be in the company of an Enemy, much lesse when that enemy is a Iudge. They have turned their back unto me, and not their face, Jer. 2.27, Adam will hide himselfe from the pre­sence of the Lord, Gen. 3.8. and Cain will goe out from the presence of the Lord, Gen. 4.16. Guilt can­not looke upon Majestie; stubble dares not come neere the fire; If we be in our sins we cannot stand before God, Ezra 9.15.

If being invited, he did not put words into our mouthes, we should not know what to say unto him. We know not wherwith to come before the Lord, or to bow before the high God, if he do not shew us what is good. Mic. 6.6, 8. Where God is the Judge (who cannot be mocked or deceived, who knoweth all things; and if our heart condemne us, he is greater then our heart, and where ever we hide, can finde us out, and make our sinne to finde us too. Gal. 6.7. 1 Iohn 3.20. Num. 32.23.) where I say this God is the Judge, there guilt stop­peth the mouth, & maketh the sinner speechlesse. Matth. 22.12. Rom. 3.19. Nay the best of us know not what to pray as we ought, except the Spirit be [Page 85] pleased to help our infirmities. Rom. 8.26. When we are taught what to say, If God do not withdraw his anger, we shall never be able to reason with him. Iob. 9.13, 14. Withdraw thine hand from me, let not thy dread make me afraide, then I will answer, then I will speak. Job. 13.21, 22. If he doe not re­veal mercie, if he doe not promise love or healing; if he do not make it appeare that he is a God that heareth prayers, flesh will not dare to come neere unto him. 2. Sam. 7.27. We can never pray, till we can cry Abba father; we can never call unto him but in the multitude of his mercies. As the earth is shut and bound up by frost and cold, and putteth not forth her pretious fruits till the warmth and heat of the Summer call them out:Oratio de con­scientia proce­dit. Si cons [...]i­entia erube­scit, erubescat oratio. Si spi­ritus reus apud [...]e sit, eru­bescit consci­entia. Tertul. exhort. Castit. c. 10. so the heart under the cold affections of feare and guilt, under the darke apprehensions of wrath and judgement, is so contracted that it knows not to draw neere to God; but when mercie shines, when the love of God is shed abroade in it, then also is the heart it selfe shed abroade and enlarged to powre out it self unto God. Even when distressed sinners pray, their prayer proceeds from apprehensions of mercy; for prayer is the childe of faith. Rom. 10.14. Ia [...] 5.15. and the object of faith is mercy.

Secondly,Sect. 16. The way to prize this mercie is to grow acquainted with our own sicknesse; to see our face in the glasse of the law: to consider how odi­ous it renders us to God: how desperately misera­ble in our selves. The deeper the sense of misery, the higher the estimation of mercy. When the Apostle looked on himselfe as the cheif of sinners ▪ then he [Page 86] accounted it a saying worthy of all Acceptation that Christ Iesus came into the world to save sinners. 1. Tim. 1.15. Till we be sicke and weary, we shall not looke after a Physician to heale and ease us. Matth. 9.12.11, 28. till we be pricked in our hearts, we shall not be hasty to enquire after the means of Salvati­on. Acts 2.37. Though the proclamation of par­don be made to All, that will, Revel. 22.17. Yet none are willing till they be brought to extreami­ties: as men cast not their goods into the sea, till they see they must perish themselves if they doe not. Some men must be bound before they can be cured. All that God doth to us in conversi­on, he doth most freely: but a gift is not a gift till it be received. Rom. 5.17. Iohn 1.12 and we natu­rally refuse and reject Christ when he is offered. Isay. 53.3. Iohn 1.11. because he is not offered but upon these termes, that we deny our selves, and take up a Crosse, and follow him. Therefore we must be wrought upon by some terrour or other. 2 Cor. 5.11. When we finde the wrath of God abiding up­on us, and our souls shut under it as in a prison, Iohn 3.36. Gal. 3.22. and the fire of it working and boyling like poison in our consciences, then we shal value mercie, and cry for it as the Prophet doth, Heale me O Lord, and I shall be healed, Save me, and I shall be saved, for thou art my prayse. Jer. 17.14. Things necessary are never valued to their uttermost but in extremities. When there is a great famine in Samaria, an Asses head (which at another time is thrown out for carrion) wil be more worth, then in a plentifull season the whole body of an Oxe. Nay [Page 87] hunger shal in such a case overvote nature, and de­vour the very tender love of a mother; the life of a childe shall not be so deare to the heart as his flesh to the belly of a pined parent, 2 King. 6, 25, 28. As soone as a man findes a shipwrack, a famine, a hell in his soul, till Christ save, feed, deliver it, imme­diately Christ will be the desire of that soule, and nothing in Heaven or earth valued in comparison of him. Then that which was esteemed the foolish­nesse of preaching before, shall be counted the power of God, and the wisdom of God; then every one of Christs ordinances (which are the waters of the Temple, for the healing of the Sea, that is, of many people, Ezek. 47.8. and the Leaves of the Tree of Life, which are for the healing of the Nations, Re­vel. 22.2. and the streames of that Fountaine which is opened in Israel for sin and for uncleannesse, Zach. 13.1. and the wings of the Sun of righteousnesse, where­by he conveyeth healing to his Church, Mal. 3:2.) shall be esteemed, as indeed they are, the Riches, the Glory, the Treasure, the feast, the physick, the salvation of such a soule, Rom. 11.12. Ephes. 3.8. 2 Cor. 3.8.11. 2 Cor. 4.6.7. Isai. 25.6. Revel. 19.9. Luke 4.18. Hebr. 2.3. Iames 1.21. Iohn 12.50. Acts 28.28. And a man will waite on them with as much diligence and attention, as ever the impo­tent people did at the poole of Bethesda, when the Angel stirred the water; and endure the healing se­verity of them, not onely with patience, but with love and thankfulnesse; suffer reason to be captiva­ted, Wil to be crossed, high imaginations to be cast down, every thought to be subdued, conscience to [Page 88] be searched, heart to be purged, lust to be cut off and mortified; in all things will such a sick soul be contented to be dieted, restrained and ordered by the Counsell of this heavenly Physician.

It is here next to be noted that God promiseth to heale their Back-slidings. Sect. 17. The word imports a departing from God, or a turning away againe. It is quite contrary in the formall nature of it unto faith and Repentance, and implies that which the Apostle calls a Repenting of Repentance. Venire ad Christum, quid est aliud q [...]am creden­do convert? Aug. de grat. et l. arbit. ca. 5. Transfugas arboribus sus­pendunt. Ta­cit. de morib. Germ. Trans­fug [...]s ubicun­que inventi [...]uerint quasi hostes inter­ficere licet. l. 3. S. 6. ad leg. C [...]rnel. de Sicariis. D. et l. 38. D. de pae­nis S. 1, et l. 19. l. 38. D. de cap­tivis et postli­minio. et l. 3. de Re milita­ri. S. 11. l. 7. 2 Cor. 7.10. By faith we come to Christ, John 6.37. and cleave to him, and lay hold upon him. Heb. 6.18. Isay. 5 [...].2.6. but by this we depart, and draw back from him, and let him goe. Heb. 10.38.39. By the one we prize Christ as infinitely precious, and his ways as holy and good. Phil. 3.8. 2 Pet. 1 4. by the o­ther we vilifie and set them at nought, stumble at them, as wayes that doe not profit. Matth. 21.42. Acts 4.11. 1 Pet. 2.7, 8. Iob. 21.14.15. For, a man having approved of Gods wayes, and entred into covenant with him, after this to goe from his word, and fling up his bargaine, and start aside like a deceitfull bow: of all other dispositions of the Soule this is one of the worst, to deale with our sinnes as Israel did with their servants. Ier. 34.10, 11. dismisse them and then take them again. It is the sad fruit of an evil and unbeleeving heart. Heb. 3.12. a And God threatneth such persons to leade them forth with the workers of iniquity. Psal. 125.5. as cattell are led to slaughter, or malefactours to execution. And yet we here see God promiseth Healing unto such sinners.

[Page 89]For understanding whereof we are to know that there is a Twofold Apostacy. The one out of Impo­tency of Affection, and prevalency of lust, drawing the heart to look towards the old pleasures thereof againe, and it is a Recidivatton or Relapse into a former sinfull condition out of forgetfulness and fals­ness of heart, for want of the fear of God to ballance the conscience, and to fix and unite the heart unto him. Which was the frequent sin of Israel, to make many promises and Covenants un­to God, and to break them as fast. Iudg. 2.18.19. Psal. 106.7, 8, 9.12, 13. And this Eorum qui peccant ante­quam deum noverint, ante­quam miso [...]a­tiones ejus ex­perti sunt, an­tequ [...]m porta­verint jugum suave, et onus leve, prinsquā devotionis gratiam et conso­lationes acce­perint Spiritus sancti; corum inquam copio­sa Redemptio est: at eorum qui post con­versionem su­am peccatis implicantur ingratiacceptae gratiae, et post missam ma­num ad ara­trum retro respiciunt te­pidi et carna­les sacti-Eorun utique per paucos invenias, qui post haec redeant in gradum pristinum, - nec tamen si quis hujusmodi est, desperamus de eo, tantum ut Resurge [...]e velit cito. Quan­to. n. diutius permanebit tanto evadet difficilius. Bernard. serm. 3. in Vigil. vid. ser. 35. in Cant. Aug. de civ. dei. lib. 16. cap. 30. Isid. Pelut l. 1. ep. 13. falling from our first love, growing cold and slack in duty, break­ing our engagements unto God, and returning again to folly, though it be like a Relapse after a disease, exceeding dangerous, yet God is sometimes plea­sed to forgive and heal it.

The other kind of Apostacy, is proud and malici­ous, when after the Tast of the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, men set themselves to hate, oppose, persecute Godliness, to do despight to the spirit of grace, to fling off the holy strictness of Christs yoake, to swel against the searching power of his word, to trample upon the blood of the Covenant, and when they know the spiritualness and holiness of Gods wayes, the innocency and piety of his servants, doe yet notwithstanding set themselves against them for that reason though un­der [Page 90] other pretences,) This is not a weak but a wil­ful, and (if I may so speak) a strong and a stubborn Aposta [...]y. A sin which wholly hardneth the heart against Repentance, and by consequence is incu­rable.Vid. Bezae An­notat. in [...] Jo­an. 5.16. To speak against the Son of man, that is against the doctrine, Disciples, ways, servants of Christ, looking on him only as a man, the leader of a Sect, as master of a new way (which was Pauls notion of Christ and Christian Religion when he perse­cuted it, and for which cause he found mercy, for had he done that knowingly which he did ignorantly, it had been a sin uncapable of mercy. Acts 26.9. 1 Tim. 1.13.) thus to sin,Vid. Isidor. Pelut. lib. 1. Ep. 59. is a blasphemy that may be pardoned: but to speake against the Spirit, that is, to oppose and persecute the doctrine, worship, ways, servants of Christ, knowing them and acknow­ledging in them a spiritual Holiness, and eo nomine to do it, so that the formal motive of malice against them, is the power and lustre of that spirit which appeareth in them; and the formal principle of it, neither ignorance, nor self-ends, but very wilfulness, and Immediate malignity; Woe be to that man whose natural enmity and antipathie against Godliness do ever swel to so great and daring an height. It shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come. Matth. 12.32.

That is, say some, neither in the time of life, nor in the point or moment of death which translates them unto the world to come.Beza, Calvin, Car [...]hwrig [...]t, a­gainst the Rhe­mists. Chem­nit. Deodati. Others, not in this life by Iustification, nor in the world to come by consummate Redemption, and publick judiciary ab­solution in the last day, which is therefore called [Page 91] the Day of Redemption, in which men are said to finde mercy of the Lord, Ephes. 4.30. 2 Tim. 1.18. For that which is here done in the Conscience by the ministery of the Word, and efficacy of the Spirit, shall be then publickly and judicially pronounced by Christs own mouth before Angels and men, 2 Cor. 5.10. Others: Shall not be forgiven, that is,Chrysost. & Theophylact. Broughton Ex­plicat. of the Revel. cap. 21. pag 301.302. shall be plagued and punished both in this life, and in that to come. Give me leave to add what I have conceived of the meaning of this place, though no way condemning the Expositions of so great and learned men: I take it, By This world we may understand the Church which then was of the Iews, or the present age which our Saviour Christ then lived in. It is not, I think, insolent in the Scripture, for the words Age, or World, to be some­times restrained to the Church. Now, as Israel was God's First-born, and the first fruits of his in­crease, Exod. 4.22. Ierem. 31.9. Ier. 2.3. So the Church of Israel is called the Church of the First-born, Hebr. 12.23. and the first Tabernacle, and a worldly Sanctuary. Hebr. 9.1.8. and Ierusalem that now is, Gal. 4.25. And then by the World to come, we are to understand the Christian Church after­wards to be planted; for so frequently in Scri­pture is the Evangelical Church called the World to come, and the last dayes, and the ends of the world, and the things thereunto belonging, Things to come, which had been hidden from former ages, and ge­nerations, and were by the ministery of the Apo­stles made known unto the Church in their time, which the Prophets and righte [...]us men of the former [Page 92] ages did not see nor attain unto. Thus it is said, In these last dayes God hath spoken to us by his Son, Heb. 1.1. And, Unto Angels he did not put in sub­jection the world to come, Heb. 2.5. and, Christ was made an high Priest of good things to come, Heb. 9.11. and, The Law had a shadow of good things to come, Heb. 10.1. and the times of the Gospel are called Ages to come, Ephes. 2.7. and the ends of the world, 1 Cor. 10.11. Thus legal and Evangelical dispen­sations are usually distinguished by the names of Times past, and the last dayes or times to come, Hebr. 1.1. Ephes. 3.9, 10. Colos. 1.25, 26. The one an Earthly and Temporary, the other an Heavenly and abiding administration, and so the Septuagint ren­der the Originall word [...] Isa. 9.5. Everlasting Father, which is one of the Names of Christ, by [...], The Father of the world to come.

The meaning then of the place seems to be this: That sinnes of high and desperate presumption, committed maliciously against known light, and a­gainst the evidence of Gods Spirit, as they had no Sacrifice or expiation allowed for them in the for­mer world, or state of the Iewish Church, but they who in that manner despised Moses and his Law, though delivered but by Angels, died without mer­cy, Numb▪ 15.27, 30, 31. Hebr. 2.2, 3, 3. so in the World to come, or in the Evangelicall Church, (though grace should therein be more abundantly discovered and administred unto men) yet the same Law should continue stil, as we finde it did, Hebr. 2.2, 3, 4, 5. Hebr. 6.4, 5, 6. Hebr. 10.26, 27, 28. [Page 93] neither the open enemies of Christ in the one, nor the false professors of Christ in the other, committing this sin, should be capable of pardon.

This doctrine of Apostacy or Back-sliding, is wor­thy of a more large explication: but having hand­led it formerly on Hebr. 3.12. I shall add but two words more.

First, that we should beware above all other sins, of this, of falling in soul as old Eli did in body, backward, and so hazarding our salvation; if once we have shaken hands with sin, never take ac­quaintance with it any more, but say as Israel here, What have I to do any more with Idols? The Church should be like Mount Sion, that cannot be moved. It is a sad and sick temper of a Church to tosse from one side to another, and then especially when she should be healed, to be carried about with every winde.

Secondly, We should not be so terrified by any sin, which our soul mourns and labours under, and our heart turneth from, as thereby to be with­held from going to the Physician for pardon and healing. Had he not great power and mercy, did he not love freely, without respect of persons, and pardon freely without respect of sins, wee might then be affraid of going to him: but when he ex­tendeth forgivenesse to all kindes, iniquity, trans­gression, sin, Exod. 34.6. and hath actually par­doned the greatest sinners, Manasses, Mary Madalen, Paul, Publicans, harlots, backsliders; we should though not presume hereupon to turn Gods mer­cy into poyson, and his grace into wantonness (for [Page 94] mercy it self will not save those sinners that hold fast sin, and will not forsake it) yet take heed of despairing, or entertaining low thoughts of the love and mercy of God; for such examples as these are set forth for the incouragement of all that shall ever beleeve unto eternall life, 1 Tim. 1.16. And the thoughts and wayes which God hath to pardon sin are above our thoughts and wayes, whereby we look on them in their guilt and greatnesse, many times, as unpardonable: and therefore are fit matter for our faith, even against sense, to beleeve, and rely upon, Isa. 55.57, 58.

Now followeth the Fountain of this Mercy. I will leve them freely. Sect. 18. Cum quis pro­pter nullam a­liam causam donat, quàm ut libertatem & munificentiam exerceat, Hae [...] propriè Dona­tio appellatur. Iulian. D. de Do­na [...]ionib. lib. 1.] Gods love is a most free and bountifull love, having no motive or founda­tion but within it self, and his free love and grace is the ground of all his other mercies to his peo­ple; hee sheweth mercy on whom and because hee will shew mercy. From the beginning to the end of our salvation, nothing is primarily active but free grace. Freely loved, Deut. 7.7, 8. Freely chosen, Ephes. 1. ver. 5, 6. Christ the gift of free love, John 3.16. His obedience freely ascepted for us, and bestowed up­on us, Rom. 5.15, 18. Iustification free, Rom. 3.24. Adoption free, Ephes. 1.5. Faith and repentance free, Phil. 1.29. 2 Tim. 2.25. Good works free, Ephes. 2.10. Salvation free, Titus 3.5. Acts 15.1. Thus the Foundation of all mercies is free love. We do not first give to God, that he may render to us again. We turn, we pray, we covenant, we repent, we are holy, we are healed, onely because he loves us: and he loves us, not because he sees any thing lovely or [Page 95] amiable in us, but because he will shew the abso­luteness of his own will, and the unsearchableness of his own Counsell towards us We are not original­ly denominated Good by any thing which floweth from us, or is done by us: but by that which is be­stowed upon us. Our goodness is not the motive of his love, but his love the Fountain of our goodness. None indeed are healed and saved, but those that repent and return; but repentance is only a condti­on, and that freely given by God, disposing the sub­ject for salvation; not a Cause moving or procur­ing God to save us. It is necessary as the means to the end, not as the cause to the effect. That which looks least free of any other act of God, His reward­ing of obedience, is all and only mercy. When we sow in righteousness, we must reap in mercy, Hos. 10.12. When he rendreth according to our works, it is be­cause of his mercy, Psal. 62.12.

This is the solid bottome and foundation of all Christian comforts, that God loves freely Were his love to us to be measured by our fruitfulness or carriages towards him, each hour and moment might stagger our hope; but he is therefore plea­sed to have it all of Grace, that the promise might be sure, Rom. 4.16. This comforts us against the guilt of the greatest sins; for love and free grace can pardon what it will. This comforts us against the accusations of Satan drawn from our own un­worthiness. 'Tis true, I am unworthy, and Satan cannot shew me unto my self more vile, then with­out his accusations I will acknowledg my self to be: but that love that gave Christ freely, doth give [Page 96] in him more worthiness then there is or can be unworthiness in me. This comforts us in the as­sured hope of Glory, because when he loves he loves to the end, and nothing can seperate from his love. This comforts us in all afflictions, that the free love of God, who hath predestinated us thereunto, wil wisely order it all unto the good of his servants, Rom. 8.29. Hebr. 12.6.

Our duty therefore it is, First, to labour for as­surance of this free love. It wil assist us in all du­ties; it wil arme us against all Temptations: It wil Answer all Objections that can be made against the souls peace: It wil sustaine us in all conditions, which the saddest of times can bring us unto. If God be for us who can be against us? Though thousands be a­gainst us to hate us, yet none shall be against us to hurt us.

Secondly, if God love us freely, we should love him thankfully, 1 Ioh. 4.19. and let love be the salt to season all our sacrifices. For as no benefit is saving unto us which doth not proceed from love in him, so no duty is pleasing unto him which doth not pro­ceed from love in us, 1 Joh. 5.3.

Thirdly, plead this free love and grace in prayer; when we begge pardon, nothing is too great for love to forgive: When we begge grace and holiness, nothing is too good for love to grant. There is not any one thing which faith can manage unto more spiritual advantages, then the free grace and love of God in Christ.

Fourthly, yet we must so magnifie the love of God, as that we turne not free grace into wantonnesse. [Page 97] There is a corrupt generation of men, who under pretence of exalting grace, do put disgrace upon the Law of God, by taking away the mandatory power thereof from those that are under grace, a doctrine most extremely contrary to the nature of this love. For Gods love to us workes love in us to him; and our love to him is this, that we keep his Commandements; and to keepe a Commandement is to confirme and to subject my conscience with willingnesse and delight unto the rule and precep­tive power of that commandement. Take away the obligation of the Law upon conscience as a rule of life, and you take away from our love to God the very matter about which the obedience thereof should be conversant. It is no diminution to love that a man is bound to obedience (nay it cannot be called obedience if I be not bound unto it) but herein the excellency of our love to God is com­mended that whereas other men are so bound by the Law that they fret at it, and swell against it, and would be glad to be exempted from it, they Sub lege est qui timore supplicii quod lex minatur, non amore ju­stitiae se sentit abstinere ab o­pere peccati; nondum liber nec alienus à voluntate peccandi. In ipsa enim voluntate reus est, qua mallet si fieri posset non esse quod timeat, ut libere faciat quod occulte desiderat. August. de nat. & grat. cap. 57. Et infra. Omnia fiunt facilia charitati, cap. 69, non est Terribile sed Suave mandatum. De Grat. Christi, lib. 1. cap. 13. Suave fit quod non delectabat. De peccat. merit. & Re­mis. lib. 2. cap. 17. Contr. 2. Epist. Pelag▪ lib. 1. cap. 9. lib. 3. cap. 4. de doctr. Christi, lib. 1. cap. 15. de spiritu & lit. cap. 3. who love God, and know his love to them, de­light to be thus bound, and finde infinitely more sweetnesse in the strict rule of Gods holy Law, then any wicked man can do in that presumptuous liberty wherein he allowes himselfe to shake off and breake the cords of it.

[Page 98] §. 19.Now lastly, when we returne with sound repen­tance unto God, then God is pleased to give more then ordinary tastes of the sweetnesse of his love, by removing judgements, which are the fruits of his Anger, from us. This point falls in with what was handled before on the second vers. There­fore I shall conclude with these two notes:

First, that in all judgements God will have us looke on them as fruits of his anger, and take more notice in them of his displeasure than our owne suf­ferings. When wrath is gone out, the sword drawne, thousands and ten thousands slaine in our Coasts; Israel given to the spoile, and Iacob unto robbers; a land set on fire with civill flames, and none able to quench them; A Kingdome divided within it selfe; A Church which was sometimes the Asylum for other exild and afflicted Christians to fly for shelter unto, miserably torne by the foo­lish and unnaturall divisions of brethren, and dan­gerously threatned by the policy and power of the common enemy who studies how to improve these divisions, to the ruine of those that foment them; our worke is to make this conclusion, Our God is angry; a God that loves freely, that is infi­nite in mercy and pitty, who doth not afflict wil­lingly, nor grieve the children of men; This should be our greatest Affliction; and the removall of this anger by an universall Reformation and conversion unto him our greatest businesse. And I doe verily believe that England must never thinke of outliving or breaking thorow this anger of God, this criticall judgement that is upon it, so as to [Page 99] returne to that cold and formall complexion, that Laodicean temper that she was in before, till she have so publickly and generally repented of all those civill disorders which removed the bounds, and brought dissipation upon publick justice: and of all those Ecclesiasticall disorders whch let in corruptions in doctrine, superstions in worship, abuses in Government, discountenancing of the power of godlinesse in the most zealous Profes­sors of it, as that our Reformation may be as conspicuous as our disorders have beene, and it may appeare to all the world that God hath wash­ed away the filth and purged the blood of England from the midst thereof by the Spirit of Iudgement, and by the Spirit of burning.

Secondly, That Gods love is the true ground of removing Judgements in mercie from a people. Let all Humane counsells be never so deep, and ar­mies never so active, and cares never so vigilant, and Instruments never so unanimous, if Gods love come not in, nothing of all these can doe a Nation any good at all. Those that are most interested in Gods love, shall certainly be most secured against his Judgements. Hither our eyes, our prayers, our thoughts must be directed. Lord, love us, delight in us; choose us for thy selfe, and then though Counsells, and treasures, and armies, and men, and horses, and all second causes faile us; though Sa­than rage, and hell threaten, and the foundations of the earth be shaken; though neither the Vine, nor the Olive, nor the figg-tree, nor the field, nor the pastures, nor the heards, nor the stay yeeld any [Page 100] supplies, yet we will rejoyce in the Lord, and glory in the God of our Salvation; sinne shall be healed, anger shall be removed, nothing shall be able to sepa­rate us from the love of God which is in Christ Iesus our Lord.


HOSEA Chap. 14. ver. 5.6, 7.

5. I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the Lilly, and cast forth his re [...]ts as Lebanon.

6. His branches shall spread, and his beautie shall be as the Olive Tree, and his smell as Lebanon.

7. They that dwell under his shadow, shall returne. They shall revive as the Corne, and grow as the Vine; the sent thereof shall bee as the wine of Le­banon, &c.

IN these verses is contained [...]ods answer unto the second part of Israels petition, §. 1. wherein they de­sired him to doe them good, or to receive them graciously; And here God promiseth them seve­rall singular blessings set forth by severall metaphor [...] and similitudes, all answering to the name of Ephraim, and the ancient promises made unto him, Deu. 33.13, 17. &c. opposite to the [Page 2] many contrary courses threatned in the former parts of the Prophecy under metaphors of a contary importance. Here is the dew of grace, contrary to the morning cloud & the earthly dew that passeth away, Cap. 13.3. Lillies, Olives, Vines, Spices, contrary to the Judgments of Nettles, Thornes, Thistles, chap. 9, 16.10.8. Spreading roots contrary unto dry roots, chap. 9.16. A fruitfull vine, bringing forth excellent wine, con­trary to an empty Vine bringing fruit only to it selfe, that is, so sowre and usavory, as is not worth the gathering, chap. 10.1. Corne growing, instead of corne taken quite away, chap. 2.9. instead of no staulk, no bud, no meale, chap. 8.7. Fruit promised in stead of no fruit threatned, chap. 9.16. Wine promised in opposition to the failing of wine, Chap. Sweet wine opposite to sowre drinke, Chap. 4.18. Safe dwelling in stead of no dwelling, Chap. 9.3. Branches growing and spreading, instead of branches consumed, Chap. 11.6. Green trees instead of Dry springs, Chap. 13.15. And all these fruits the fruits as of Lebanon, which was of all other parts of that Country the most fertill Mountaine, full of various kindes of the most excellent Trees, Cedars, Cypresse, O­live, and divers others, affording rich gummes and balsomes: full also of all kinds of the most medicinall and aromatick herbs, sending forth a most fragrant odour, whereby all harmfull and venemous Creatures were driven from harboring there: And in the Vallies of that Mountaine were most rich grounds for Pasture,Adricomius, in N [...]p [...]alim. 64. Brocard. Hieron. in loc. Corne, and Vine­yards, as the Learned in their descriptions of the holy Land have observed.

[Page 3]The Originall of all these blessings is the hea­venly dew of Gods grace and favour (alluding to that abundance of dew which fell on that Moun­iaine,) descending upon the Church, as upon a garden bringing forth Lillies, as upon a Forrest, strengthning the Cedars, as upon a Vineyard, sprea­ding abroad the branches,, as upon an Olive yard, making the trees thereof green and fruitfull, and as on a rich field, receiving the Corne. Here is spi­rituall beautie, the beautie of the Lillie, exceeding that of Solomon in all his glory; spirituall stabilitie, the rootes of the Cedars, and other goodly trees in that mountaine; spirituall odors, and spices of Lebanon; spirituall fruitfulnesse and that of all sorts and kinds for the comfort of life. The fruit of the field, bread to strengthen, the fruit of the Olive trees, oyle to refresh, the fruit of the Vine­yard, wine to make glad the heart of man, Psal. 104.15.

Wee esteeme him a very rich man, and most excellently accommodated, who hath gardens for pleasure, and fields for corne and pasture, and woods for fuell, for structure, [...]. A [...]enae­us. lib. 1. cap. 23 Vid l. 4. ss. de Censibus. for defence for beautie and delight: and Vineyards for wine and oyle, and all other conveniencies both for the necessities and delights of a plentifull life. Thus is the church here set forth unto us as such a wealthy man, fur­nished with the unsearchable riches of Christ, with all kinde of blessings both for sanctity and safety; as the Apostle praiseth God the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spirituall blessings in heavenly places in Christ [Page 4] viz. Election to eternall life, adoption to the condition of sonnes, and to a glorious inheritance, redemption from misery unto blessednesse, remi­ssion of sinnes, knowledge of his will, holinesse and unblameablenesse of life, and the seale of the Holy Spirit of Promise, as we find them particu­larly enumerated. Ephe. 1.3, 13.

§. 2.The words thus opened, doe first afford us one generall Observation, in that God singleth out so many excellent good things by name in relation to that generall petition, Doe us good, That God many times answereth prayer abundantly beyond the petitions of his people. They prayed at large only for good, leaving it (as it becommeth us who know not alwayes what is good for our selves) to his holy will and wisedome in what manner and measure to doe good unto them: And he answers them in particular with all kinde of good things. As in the former petition they prayed in generall for the forgivenesse of sinne, and God in particu­lar promiseth the healing of their Rebellions, which was the greatest of their sinnes. God many times answers the prayers of his people, as he did the seed of Isaac, Gen. 26.12. with an hundred fold encrease. As Gods word never returns empty un­to him, so the prayers of his servants never return empty unto them; and usually the c [...]op of prayer is greater then the seed out of which it grew, as the putting in of a little water into a Pumpe makes way to the drawing out of a great deale more. Isaac and Rebecca had lived twentie yeares together without any children, and he grew now [Page 5] in yeares, for he was forty yeares old before hee married; hereupon he solemnly prayes to God in behalfe of his Wife, because shee was barren, and God gave him more then it is probable hee expected, for hee gave him two Sonnes at a birth, Gen. 25.21, 22. As the cloud which riseth out of the earth many times in thinne and insensible va­pours, falleth downe in great and abundant showres: so our prayers which ascend weak and narrow, returne with a full and enlarged answer. God deales in this point with his children, as Io­seph did with his brethren in Egypt; he did not only put corne into their Sacks, but returned the money which they brought to purchase it, Gen. 42.25. So he dealt with Solomon, he did not onely give him wisdome and gifts of government, which he asked, but further gave him both riches and honour, which he asked not, 1 King. 3.13. The people of Israel when they were distressed by the Ammo­nites, besought the Lord for help; he turnes backe their prayers, and sends them to their Idols to help them; they humble themselves, and put away their Idols, and pray againe, and the highest pitch that their petitions mounted unto was Lord, Wee have sinned, doe unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto thee, onely deliver us we pray thee this day, Iudg. 10.15. and God did answer this prayer beyond the c [...]tents of it; hee did not onely deliver them from the Enemy, and so save them, but subdued the Enemy under them, and delivered him into their hands; he did not only give them the relief they desired, but a glorious victory beyond their [Page 6] desires, Iudg. 11.22. God deales with his servants ar the Prophet did with the woman of Shunem, when he bid her ask what she needed, and tell him what she would have him doe for the kindnesse she had done to him, and she found not any thing to request at his hands, he sends for her again, and makes her a free promise of that which shee most wanted and desired, and tells her that God would give her a sonne, 2 Kings 4.16. So many times God is pleased to give his servants such things as they forget to ask, or gives them the things which they aske, in a fuller measure then their owne de­sires durst to propose them. David in his trou­bles asked life of God, and would have esteemed it a great mercy onely to have beene delivered from the feare of his Enemies: and God doth not onely answer him according to the desire of his heart in that particular, and above it too, for he gave him length of dayes for ever and ever; but further setled the Crowne upon his head, and added honour and majesty unto his life, Psal. 21.2, 3, 4, 5.

And the Reasons hereof are principally two.

§. 3.1 We beg of God according to the sense and knowledge which we have of our owne wants, and according to the measure of that Love which we beare unto our selves. The greater our love is to our selves, the more active and importunate will our petitions be for such good things as we need: But God answers prayers according to his know­ledge of us, and according to the Love which hee beareth unto us. Now God knowes what things [Page 7] we want much better then we doe our selves, and he loves our souls much better then we love them our selves, and therefore he gives us more and better things then our own prayers know how to ask of him. A little childe will beg none but trifles and meane things of his father, because he hath not understanding to looke higher, or to va­lue things that are more excellent; but his father knowing better what is good for him, bestowes on him education, traines him unto learning and ver­tue, that he may be fit to manage and enjoy that inheritance which he provides for him: so, wee know not what to aske as we ought, Rem. 8.26. and when we do know, our spirits are much straitned, we have but a finite & narrow love unto our selves. But Gods knowledge is infinite, and his love is in­finite, and according unto these are the distribu­tions of his mercy. Even the Apostle himselfe when he was in affliction, and buffetted by the messenger of Satan, and vexed with a thorn in his flesh, besought the Lord for nothing but that it might depart from him; but God had a farre better answer in store to the Apostles prayer, and purpo­sed to do more for him then he desired, namely to give him a sufficiency of grace to support him, and to magnify his strength in the infirmitie of his servant, 2 Cor. 12.9. When the Prophet had encoura­ged men to seek the Lord, and to turne unto him, and that upon this assurance, that he will not only heare petitions for mercy and forgivenesse, but will multiply to pardon, that is, will pardon more sinnes then we can confesse (for with him there is [Page 8] not only mercy, but Plenteous redemption, Psal. 130.7.) he further strengthneth our faith and encou­rageth our obedience unto this duty, by the consideration of the thoughts of God, to wit, his thoughts of love, mercy, and peace towards us; My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your wayes my wayes saith the Lord; for as the heavens are higher then the earth, so are w [...] wayes higher then your wayes, and my thoughts then your thoughts. Esa. He can par­don beyond our petitions, because his thoughts of mercy towards us are beyond our apprehensions. See the like place Ier. 29.10, 11, 12.

§. 4.2 God answers prayers not alwayes with re­spect to the narrow compasse of our weak desires, but with respect to his owne honour, and to the de­claration of his own greatnesse: for he promiseth to beare us that wee may glorifie him. Psalme 50.15. Therefore he is pleased to exceed our petitions, and to do for us abundantly above what we ask or think, that our hearts may be more abundantly en­larged, and our mouthes wide opened in rendring honour unto him. When Perillus a favorite of Alexander, [...]. Plutarch. Apoph [...]heg. begged of him a portion for his daugh­ters, the King appointed that fifty Talents should be given unto him, & he answered that ten would be sufficient; the King replied that tenne were enough for Perillus to ask, but not enough for A­lexander to grant: So God is pleased many times to give more then we ask, that we may look upon it not only as an Act of mercy, but as an act of ho­nour; and to teach us in all our prayers to move God as well by his glory as by his mercy: So Moses [Page 9] did, when he prayeth for pardon unto Israel, lest Gods Name should be blasphemed, Numb. 14.15, 16, 17. So Ioshua did when Israel turned their backs before their enemies, what wilt thou do unto thy great Name? Josh. 7.9. So Solomon in his prayer at the dedication of the Temple, Heare thou in hea­ven thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for, that all the people [...] the earth may know thy Name, 1 Kings 8.43. So David in his for Israel, and for the performance of Gods promise to the seed of David, Do as thou hast said, let it even be established, that thy Name may bee magnified for ever. 1 Chron. 17.23, 24. So Asa, O Lord thou art our God, let not man prevail against thee, 2 Chron. 14.11. So Iehosaphat, Art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the king­doms of the Heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand t [...]ne? &c. 2 Chron. 20.6. So Hezekiah when he spread the blasphemies of Sennacherib before the Lord, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdomes of the earth may know that th [...]u art the Lord, even thou onely: Isa. 37.20. So the Church of God in the time of distresse, Help us O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy Name, and deliver and purge away our sinnes for thy Names sake; where­fore should the Heathen say, where is their God? Psal. 79.9, 10. As every creature of God was made for his glory, Prov. 16.4. Rom. 11.36. so every Attri­bute of God doth work and put forth it selfe for his glory. If he shew mercy, it is to shew the riches of his glory, Rom. 9.23. Eph. 1.11, 12. If he execute [Page 10] justice, it is to make his power known, Rom. 9.17.22. 2 Thes. 1.9. When he putteth forth his power, and doth terrible things, it is to make his Name known, Isa. [...]4.1, 2, 3. If he engage his truth, and make his promises Yea and Amen, it is for his own glory, and that his Name may be magnified in doing what he hath said, 2 Cor. 1.20. 2 Sam. 7.25, 26. [...]xod. 3.14, 15. Exod. 12.41. Iosh. 11.45. When­soever therefore we pray unto God, and therein implore his mercy on us, his justice on his ene­mies, his truth to be fulfilled, his power, wisedome, or any other Attribute to be manifested towards his people, the highest and most prevailing medi­um we can use, is the glory of his own Name ▪ Gods ultimate end in working must needs be our strongest argument in praying, because therein it appears that we seek his interest in our petitions as well, and above our own.

This serveth first to encourage us unto prayer, because God doth not onely hear and answer pray­ers,Sect. 5. which is a sufficient motive unto his servants to call upon him, O thou that hearest prayers, unto thee shall all flesh come, Psal., 6, 7.102.17. but because he oftentimes exceed­eth the modesty, the ignorance, the fearfulnesse of our Requests, by giving unto us more then wee ask. When poore men make requests unto us, we usually answer them as the Eccho doth the voyce, the answer cuts off halfe the petition. The Hy­pocrite in the Apostle (Iam. 2.15, 16.) when he saw a brother or sister naked or destitute of daily food, would bid him be warmed or filled, but in the [Page 11] mean time give him nothing that was needfull; and so did rather mock then answer their requests. We shall seldom finde amongst men Iaels cu [...]tesie, Iudg. 5.25. giving milk to those that ask water, ex­cept it be as hers was, [...], munus cum ha­mo, an entangling benefit,Seneca. the better to introduce a mischief: there are not many Naamans among us, that when you beg of them one Talent, will force you to take two, 2 Kings 5.23, But Gods answer to our prayers is like a multiplying glasse, which renders the request much greater in the an­swer then it was in the prayer. As when we cast a stone into the water, though [...] be but little in it selfe, yet the circles which come from it spread wider and wider till it fill the whole pond: so our petitions though very weak as they come from us▪ and craving but some one or other good thing, yet finding way to the fountain of life, and un­searchable treasure of mercy which is in Christ, are usually answered with many and more spreading benefits.Spiritu [...] noster. clariorem s [...] ­num reddit cum illum Tula [...]er longi canali [...] an­gust as tractum pa [...]en [...]iore no­vissime exi [...]u es­sundit. Seneca Epist. 108. The Trumpet exceedingly streng [...]hneth the voyce which passeth through it; it goes in at a narrow passage, and the voyce is but a silent breath as it comes from the mouth; but it goes out wider, with a doubled and multiplyed vigour: So our prayers usually go up narrow to God, but they come down with enlarged answers from him againe; As the root is but of one colour, when the flower which groweth out of it is beautified with variety.

Now this should be a great encouragement unto us to call upon God with sincerity of heart, be­cause [Page 12] he multiplyeth to pardon, because we know not the numbers of his salvation, Psal. 71.15. we cannot count the summe of his thoughts towards us, Psal. 139.17, 18. If there were any man so weal­thy, that it were all one with him to give pounds or pence, and who usually when he were asked silver, would give gold, every indigent and necessitous person would wait upon this mans mercy. Now, it is as easie with God to give Ta­lents as farthings, as easie to over answer prayers as to answer them at all. It is as easie to the Sunne [...]o fill a vaste Palace as a little closet with light; as easie to the Se [...] to fill a channell as a bucket with water. He can satisfie with goodnesse, and an­swer with wonderfull and terrible things, Psal. 65.4.5. Oh who would not make requests unto such a God, whose usuall answer unto prayer is, Be it un­to thee as thou wilt? Matth. 15.28. Nay, who an­swers us beyond our own wils and thoughts, Ephes. 3.20. and measureth forth mercy by the greatnesse of his own grace, and not the narrownesse of our desires. The Hier. in Ezek. 49. Pagnin in Thesaur. W [...]se­ [...]s de m [...]nsur. Heb li. 1. ca 1 Sect. 6.7. B [...]z in Matt. 17.14. Iun. in Gen. 23. Masius in Iosh. 7. Ainsworth on Gen. 20. Se [...]ar in Iosh. 7. q [...]. 5. shekell belonging to the sanctuary was as many learned men think, in weight double to the common shekell which was used in civill mat­ters: To note unto us, that as God expects from us double the care in things belonging unto him above what wee use in the things of the world, so he usually measureth back double unto us a­gaine; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over into our bosomes. When the man sick of the palsie was carried unto Christ to bee healed, Christ did beyond the expectation of [Page 13] those that brought him, for he not only cured him of his disease, but of his sinne, gave him not onely health of body, but peace of conscience; first, Be of good chear, thy sinnes be forgiven thee; and then, Arise, take up thy bed, and go to thy house: Matth. 9.2.6. The Thief on the Crosse besought Christ to remember him, when he came into his kingdom, but Christ answers him farre beyond his petition, assuring him that the same very day he should be with him in Paradise, Luk. 23.42, 43. The poore man at the gate of the Temple beg'd for nothing of Peter and Iohn but a small alms, but they gave him an answer to his request far more worth then any other alms could be, namely, such an alms as caused him to stand in need of alms no longer, restored him in the name of Christ unto sound strength, that he walked, and leaped, and praised God: Act. 3.6. Si non secundum volunta­ [...]m, tamen ad u [...]ilitatem. [...]. Acro­tatus apud Plu­tarch Laconic Apoph [...]heg. Sect. 6. In like manner doth God answer the prayers of his people, not alwayes it may be in the kinde, and to the expresse will of him that asketh, but for the let [...]er, and consequently more to his will then him­self expressed.

Secondly, This should encourage us in prayer to begge for an answer, not according to the de­fect and narrownesse of our ow [...] lowe conceptions, but according to the fulnesse of Gods own abun­dant mercies. It would not please one of us if a beggar should ask of us gold, or jewels, silke, or dainties; wee would esteeme such a petitioner fuller of pride and impudence, then of want. But God delights to have his people begge great things of him, to implore the performance of exceeding [Page 14] great and precious promises, 2 Pet. 1. [...]. to p [...]y for a share in the unsearchable riches of Christ, to know things which passe knowledge, and to be filled with the [...]ulnesse of God, Ephes. 3.8, 18, 16▪ to ask things which eye hath not seen, nor e [...]re heard, nor hath entred into the heart of man to conceive, 1 Cor. 2.9. to ask not as beggers onely for an Almes, but as children for an inheritance, Rom. 8.15, 17, [...]3. Gal. 4.6, 7. not to ask some thing, or a few things, but in every thing to l [...]t our requests be made known unto God, Phil. 4.6. because with Christ he gi­veth us freely all things, Rom. 8.3 [...]. even all things richly to enjoy, 1 Tim. 6. [...]7. As Alexander the Great was well pleased with Anaxarchus the Phi­losopher when he desired an hundred talents of his Treasurer.Plutarch. He doth well, s [...]ith he, in asking it, and understands his friend aright, who hath one both able and willing to give him so great a gift. God allows his children a spirituall and heaven­ly ambition to covet earnestly the best gifts, 1 Cor. 12.31. to aspire unto a kingdome, and accordingly to put up great and honourable requests unto him. To think what great things Christ hath purchased, what great things God hath promised and proposed to us, and to regulate our prayers more by the merits and riches of Christ, and by the greatnesse of Gods mercies, then by those appre­hensions which we cannot but have of our own un­worthinesse.

Sect. 7.Now next from the particulars of the Text, thoguh many particular observations might be raised, yet I shall reduce them unto one gene­rall, [Page 15] which may comprehend the particulars; namely, That whom God loves and pardons, up­on them he powreth forth the benediction of his grace and spirit, as the dew of heaven to quicken them unto an holy and fruitfull conversation. The generall promises nakedly set down before, I will heale, I will love, are here further amplified by many excellent metaphors, and elegant figures, which are nine in number, multiplyed into so many particulars, partly because of the difficulty of the promise to be believed, which is therefore seve­rally inculcated and represented: Partly because of the dejectednesse of the people under the variety of their former sufferings, who are therefore by variety of mercies to be raised up and revived▪ and partly to represent the perfection and com­pleatnesse of the blessings intended, which should be of all sorts, and to all purposes; and the foun­dation of all the rest is this, that God promiseth to be as the dew unto Israel: For Ephraim having been cursed with much drouth and barrennesse; now when God blesseth him again, he promiseth to be unto him as dew is to the weary and thirsty ground, which so refresheth it that the fruits thereof doe grow and flourish againe. Lillies, flowers, trees, vines, corne are very apt (especially in such hot Countreys as Iudea) without much refrewing dew and showres from heaven, to dry up and wither away: so would Ephraim have been quite consumed by the heavie wrath of God, if he should not with the supplies of his grace and holy spirit, and with his heavenly refreshments [Page 16] and loving countenance revive them againe.

Dew in the naturall signification of it, impor­teth a comforting, refreshing, encouraging, and calling forth the fruits of the earth, as being of a gentle insinuating vertue, which leasurely soaketh into the ground; and in that sense is mentioned as a blessing, Gen. 28.39. In the mysticall and spiritu­all sense of it, it signifieth Christ, Psal. 72.6. who by his holy word and heavenly grace dropping down and distilling upon the souls of men,Chrysost in Psal. 51.7. Deut. 32.2. Iob 29.22, 23. by his princely favour and loving countenance, which is as a cloud of the latter rain, Prov. 16.15.19, 12. by his heavenly righteousnesse, and most spirituall efficacy, Isa. doth to quicken, vegitate and revive the hearts of men, that they like dew from the womb of the morning are borne in great abundance unto him, as multitudes of men, and believers use to be expressed in the Scripture by drops of dew, Psal. 110.3. Mich. 5.7. In one word, That which dew is to the fields, g [...]r­dens, vineyards, flowers, fruits of the earth, after an hot and a scorching day, That the favour, word, grace, loving countenance, & holy Spirit of Christ will be to the drooping and afflicted consciences of his people.

From this metaphor then we learn,

1. That we are naturally, dry, barren, fruitlesse, and utterly unable to do any good, to bring forth any fruit unto God, like an heathy and parched l [...]nd, subject to the scorching terrors of the wrath of God, and to his burning indignation. So Christ compares Ierusalem unto a dry withered [Page 17] tree, fitted unto judgement, Luk. 23.31. And hee assureth us that out of him we can do nothing, Iohn 15.4.5. In us of our selves there dwelleth n [...] good thing, Rom. 7.18. we are not of our selves as of our selves sufficient unto any thing. 2 Cor. 3.5. He is the Sun that healeth us, Mal. 4.2. he the rain that disposeth us, Psal. 72.6. he the root that de­riveth life and nourishment upon us, Revel. 22.16. As naturall, so much more spirituall fruitfulnesse, hath its ultimate resolution into him, who alone is the father of the raine, and begetteth the drops of dew, Hos. 2.21.22. Iob. 38.28.

2. That the grace of God is like dew to the bar­ren and parched hearts of men to make them fruitfull.§. 8. And there are many things wherein the proportion and resemblance stands.

First, None can give it but God, It comes from above, it is of a celestiall originall, the nativity thereof is from the wombe of the morning. Are there any amongst the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause raine, or can the heavens give showres? Art not thou he O Lord our God? for thou hast made all these things, Ier. 14.22. And the like wee may say in a more strict and peculiar sense of regeneration, That it is a spirituall and heavenly birth; It is not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. There is no concurrence or active assistance of the flesh, or of any naturall abilities unto a birth which is meerely spirituall, Ioh. 1.13. Ioh. 3▪ 5, 6. Iam. 1.17, 18. Therefore Christ was pleased to go up into heaven, before he shed forth his holy Spirit in [Page 18] abundance on the Church,Ita docet ut quod quis (que) di­dicerit, non tantum cog­noscendo vide­at sed etiam volendo appe­ [...]a [...], ag [...]nd [...]que pe [...]s [...]ciat. Aug de Grat. Christi. cap. 14. Trahitur miris modi ut velit ab illo qui no­vit intus in ip­sis hominum [...] bus ope­rari, non ut homines, quod fieri non po­test, nolentes credant, sed ut vo [...] e [...] ex no­lentibus fiant, cont. 2. Ep [...]st. Pelag. lib 1. cap. 19. Interna, occul­ [...]a; mirabil [...]s, in eff [...]bilis pote­stas, de gr [...]t. Christ. cap 14. Occultissima efficacissim [...] potestas cont. 2. Ep. Pelag li. 1 c. [...]0. omnipotentis­sima pot [...]stas, de corrept & grat. cap. 14. Modo mirabili & ineffabili agers, de praed [...]stinat. sanct. cap. 10. idque indeclinabiliter atque insupera [...]iliter de corrept. & grat. cap 1 [...]. I [...]tus à patre audiunt a [...] (que) discunt, qui credunt. de praedest. sanct. cap 8 vocatio Al [...]a & se [...]ta, Epist [...] 107. Bernard. Sermon. Parv. Serm. 66. Ioh. 7.39. Ioh. 16.7. Act. 1.4.5. to teach us, first, that our conversion and sanctification comes from above, by a divine teaching, by a spiritu [...]ll conviction, by a supernatu­rall and omnipotent traction, by an heavenly calling, by the will of him who alone can give a will unto us. No voice can be heard by those that are dead, but the voyce of the Sonne of man, Ioh. 6.44.45. Ioh. 16.8, 9, 10, 11. Heb. 3.1. Iam. 1.18. P [...]il [...], 1 [...]. Ioh. 5.25. Heb. 12.25. and withall to acquaint us whither the affections and conversations of men thus sanctified should tend, namely, unto heaven, as every thing works towards its originall, and every part inclines unto the whole, Col. 3.1, 2. P [...]il. 3. [...]0. With allusion unto this metaphor of dew or raine, the holy Spirit is said to be powred out upon the Churches, Act. 2.17. Tit. 3.6. and the word of grace is frequently compared unto raine. As it is the seed, by which we are enabled to bee fruitfull, Math. 13.19. so it is the r [...]ine which softne [...]h the heart, that it may be the better wrought upon by that seminall vertue, Esay 55.10, 11. Heb. 6.7. whereas false teachers are called clouds without water, Iud. v. 12. They have no fructi­fying vertue in them. None can give grace but God; It is heavenly in its nature, therefore it is so in its originall; It stayes not for man, Mic. 5, 7. It depends not on the wills, concurrencies, pre­parations, or dispositions which arise out of us, [Page 19] but it wholy preventeth us; we are made active by it, but we are not Pedissequa non praevia volunt [...]s, A [...]g. Epist, 106. gratià dei praeveni di­cimus homi­num volunta­tes, Epi. 107. ut velimus sine nobis operatur cum autem vo­l [...]mus, nobis­cum coopera­tur. Aug. de grat. & lib. ar­b [...]r. cap. 7. at all antecedently active in fitting or dispos [...]ing our selves for it.

Secondly, It is the fruit of a Aristot Mete­orolog▪ lib. [...] cap. 10. Plin. lib. 2. cap. 60. l. 18. cap. 29. Serene, cleare and quiet heaven; for dew never falleth either in scorching or in tempestuous weather as Philoso­phers have observed, In like manner, the grace, favour and blessings of God are the fruits of his reconciled affection towards us: Upon the wicked he raineth storme and tempest, he showreh down on them the fury of his wrath, and shewes himselfe dark cloudy, gloomy, terrible unto them, Psa. 11.6. Psal. 83.15. Iob. 20.23. [...]ah. 1.3.8. But unto those that feare his name he openeth a clear and a graci­ous countenance, and being reconciled unto them, sheddeth abroad his love into their hearts and his peace into their consciences, like Gedeons dew on the fleece and on the ground, as a speciall evidence of his grace; and therefore the Psalmist compares the love and peace that is amongst brethren unto dew, Psal. 133.3. which ever falleth from a calme, serene and quiet skie.

Thirdly, It is abundant and innumerable;§. 9. who can number the drops of dew on the ground, or the haires of little raine? (for so they are called in the originall [...] because of their smal­nesse and number, Deut. 32.2.) so Husshai ex­presseth the multitudes of all Israel, 2 Sam. 17.12. we will light upon him as the dew falleth upon the ground; And the multitudes of beleevers are said to be born unto Christ by his sending forth the rod of his strength, as dew from the wombe of the [Page 20] morning Psal. 110.3. as we finde Historically ve­rified, Acts 2.41. Act. 5.14.16. Act. 6.7. Acts 9.31, 42. Act. 19.20. Such is the grace and favour of God unto his people after their conversion; unsearch­able, it cannot be comprehended, or measured, nor brought under any number or account, Psal. 71.15. Psal. 139.17.18. Christ is compared unto Manna, hee was the bread that came down from heaven, Ioh. 6.50, 51. and Manna came in mighty abundance, so that there was enough for every one to gather, Exod. 16.16. It had dew under it, and dew over it, as we may conjecture by compa­ring Exod. 16.14. with Num. 11.9. whereunto the holy Ghost seemeth to allude when he speaks of the hidden Manna, Lud. Capel. S [...]i. cileg pag 132.133. Rev. 2.17. (though that may likewise referre unto the pot of Manna which was kept in the Tabernacle, Exod. 16 32, 33. Heb. 9.4. As our life is said to be hid with Christ, now hee is in Heaven, Col. 3.3.) By this dew com­ing along with Manna▪ is intimated, That the mercies of God in Christ, his daily mercies, (which are said with allusion, I suppose, unto this Manna, to be renewed every morning, Lam. 3.23.) and his hidden mercies, to wit, the inward comforts of his grace and spirit, are all Innume­rable and past finding out. We may say of his mer­cies, as the Psalmist of his Commandements, I have found an end of all perfection, but these are exceed­ing broad, more then eye hath seen, or ear heard, or the heart it self is able to comprehend, 1 Cor. 2 9

Fourthly, It is silent, slow, insensible, while it is falling you cannot say, here it is: it deceives the [Page 21] eye, and is too subtle for that to see it: it deceives the eare, and is too silent for that to heare it: it deceives the face, and is too thin and spirituall for that to feel it. You see it when it is come, but you cannot observe how it comes. In this manner was God pleased to fill the world with the knowledge of his Gospell, and with the grace of his Spirit, by quiet, small, contemptible, and as it were, by insensible meanes: The kingdome of God came not with Observation, Luk. 17 20.21. that is, with any visible notable splendor, or externall pompe (as the Iewes expected the Messiah to come) but it came with spirituall efficacy, and with internall power upon the consciences of men, and spread it self over the world by the Mi­nistry of a very few despised instruments; with respect unto which manner of working the spirit is compared unto winde, which we heare and feel, but know not whence it comes, nor whither it goes Iohn 3.8. The operations of grace are secret, and silent upon the conscience; you shall finde mighty changes wrought, and shall not tell how they were wrought. The same man coming into the Church, one houre, a swine, a dogge, a lion, and going out the next houre in all visible respects the same, but invisibly changed into a Lamb.

Fifthly, It is of a soft and benigne nature, which gently insinuateth and worketh it selfe into the ground, and by degrees moisteneth and mollifieth it, that it may be fitted unto the seed which is cast into it. In like manner the spirit, the grace, the word of God is of a searching, insinuating, [Page 22] softning qualitie; it sinks into the heart, and works it selfe into the conscience and from thence makes way for it selfe into the whole man, minde, thoughts, affections, words, actions, fitting them all unto the holy seed that is put into them: as the earth be­ing softned and mingled with the dew, is the more easily drawn up into those varieties of herbs and fruites that are fed by it.

Sixthly, It is of a vegerating and quickning na­ture, it causeth things to grow and revive againe; therefore the Prophet cals it the dew of herbs, Esay. 26.19. which are thereby refreshed, and reco­ver life and beauty; even so the word and spirit of grace distilling upon the soule, as small raine upon tender herbs, and as showres on the grasse, cause it to live the life of God, and to bring forth the fruits of holinesse and obedience, Esay 55.10, 11. Those parts of the world which are un­der either perpetuall frosts, or perpetuall scortch­ings, are barren and fruitlesse, the earth being clo­sed up, and the sap thereof dried away by such distempers. Such is the condition of a soule un­der wrath, that hath no apprehensions of God but in frost or fire; for who can stand before his cold? Psal. 147.17. Who can dwell with everlasting bur­nings? Esay 33.14. Feare contracteth and bindeth up the powers of the soule; it is the greatest in­disposer of all other unto regular action. But when the soule can apprehend God as love, finde healing in his wings, and reviving in his ordnan­ces, this love is of an opening and expansive qua­lity, calling forth the heart unto duty, love within [Page 23] as it were hastening to meet and close with love without ▪ the love of obedience in us, with the love of favour and grace in God. I shut and barre my doore against an Enemy whom I feare, and look upon as armed to hurt me; but I open wide my doores, my bosome, unto a friend whom I love, and look upon as furnished with counsell, and comfort, & benefits to revive me. There is a kind of mutuall love between dew and the earth; dew loves the earth with a love of benefice [...]ce, doing it good, and earth loves dew with a love of concu­piscence, earnestly desiring it, and opening unto it. Such is the love between Christ and the soule when hee appeares as dew unto it. He visites the soule with a love of mercy, reviving it, and the soule puts forth it selfe towards him in a love of duty earnestly coveting as well to serve as to enjoy him.

Lastly, it is of a refreshing and comforting na­ture, tempering the heat of those hotter Coun­tries, and so causing the face of things to flourish with beauty and delight. So God promiseth to be unto his people in their troubles as a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest, Esay 18.4. The spiritu­all joy and heavenly comfort which the peace and grace of God ministreth to the consciences of be­lievers, Rom. 15.13, 5.1. Phil. 4.4. 1 Pet. 1.8. is said to make the bones flourrish like an herb, Esay 66.14. (As on the other side a broken spirit is said to dry up the bones, Prov. 17. [...]2.) Their soule saith the Prophet, shall be as a watered garden, they shall sorrow no more; I will turne their mourning into joy and will comfort them, Ier. 31·12, 13.

[Page 24] §. 10.By all which we should learne, first, as to bee sensible of our owne personall and spirituall drinesse, barrennesse, emptinesse of fruit and peace, hard hearts, withered consciences, guilty spirits, under our own particular sinnes: So in regard of the whole land to take notice of that tempest of wrath, which like an East winde out of the wilder­nesse dryeth up our springs, and spoileth our trea­sures, as the Prophet complaines, Hos. 13.15.16. and to be humbled into penitent resolutions, as the Church here is. If God who was wont to be as dew to our Nation, who made it heretofore like a Paradise, and a watered garden, be now as a Tempest, as a consuming fire unto it, turning things upside down, burning up the Inhabitants of the Earth, causing our land to mourn, and our joy to wither, (as the Prophet speaks, Ioel 1.12.) this is an evident sign, that the Earth is defiled under the inhabitants thereof, Isa. 24.4, 5. Therefore as our sinnes have turned our dew into blood, so our re­pentance must turn our blood into dew againe. If ever we look to have a happy peace, we must make it with God: Men can give peace onely to our bodies, our fields, our houses, our purses, (nor that neither without his over-ruling power and providence, who alone mannageth all the counsels and resolutions of men) but hee alone can give peace to our consciences by the assurance of his love, which is better then life. And if there should be peace in a Nation, made up onely by humane prudence and correspondencies, without publike repentance, and through Reformation in Church, [Page 25] in State, in Families, in Persons, in judgement, in manners; it would be but like those short interims between the Egyptian plagues, Exod. A respiting only, not a removing of our afflicti­on; like the shining of the Sunne on Sodom be­fore the fire and brimstone fell upon it, Gen. 19.23, 24. Wee all cry and call for Peace, and while any thing is left would gladly pay dear, very dear to recover it againe. But there is no sure and la­sting purchase of it, but by unfained Repentance and turning unto God; this is able to give peace in the midst of warre. In the midst of storme and tempest Christ is sufficient security to the tossed ship, Matth. 8.24, 27. This man is the peace even when the Assyrian is in the Land, Mic. 5.5. Where­as impenitency, even when we have recovered an outward peace, leaves us still in the midst of most potent Enemies, God, Christ, Angels, Scripture, Creatures, Conscience, Sinnes, Curses, all our Enemies. The Apostle tels us that Lusts warre against the soule, 1 Pet. 8.11. There is a strong emphasis in the word, soule, which is more worth then all the world, nothing to bee taken in ex­change for it. Matth. 16.26. So long as we have our lusts unconquered, we are under the woful­lest warre in the world, which doth not spoyle us of our blood, our money, our corne, our cattell, our houses, our children, but of the salvation of Immor­tall soules. Time will repaire the ruines of other warres, but eternity it self will not deliver that poor soule which is lost, and fallen in the Warres of lust.

[Page 26]Therefore if you would have peace as a mercy, get it from God, let it be a dew from Heaven upon your conversion unto him. A Kings favour is said to be as dew on the grasse, Prov. 9.12. and as a cloud of the latter raine, Prov. 16.15. And it would with all joyfulnesse be so apprehended, if by that meanes the blessing of peace were bestowed upon these distressed Kingdomes. How much more com­fortable would it be to have it as a gift from God unto a repenting Nation? For God can give peace in anger, as well as he doth warre. A ship at Sea may be distressed by a calme, as well as broken by a tempest. The cattell which we meane to kill, we doe first preferre unto some fat pasture: And some­times God gives over punishing, not in mercy but in fury; leaving men to goe on quietly in their owne hearts lusts, that they who are filthy may be filthy still, Psal. 81.12. Hos. 4.14.17. Esay 1.5. Ezek. 24.13. God was exceeding angry with Israel when hee gave them their hearts desire, and sent them Quailes, Num. 11.32.33. Many men get their wills from Gods anger by murmuring, as others doe theirs from his mercy by prayer; but then there comes a curse along with it. Now there­fore when our own sword doth devour us, when our Land is through the wrath of the Lord of hoasts so darkened; that the people thereof are as fuell of the fire: no man sparing his brother, every man eating the flesh of his owne arme (it is the sad character which the Prophet gives of a Civill Warre, Esay 9.19, 20.) Let us take heed of Gods complaint, In vaine have I smitten your Children, they receive [Page 27] no correction, Ier. 2.30. Let us make it our busi­nesse to recover God. It is he that causeth Warres to cease in the earth, Psal. 46.10. And it is he who powreth out upon men the strength of battell, and giveth them over to the spoylers, Esay 42.24▪ 25. A sinfull Nation gaines nothing by any humane Treaties, policies, counsels, contributions, till by repen­tance they secure their interest in God, and make him on their side. God being prevailed with by Moses in behalfe of Israel after the horrible provo­cation of the Golden Calfe, sends a message to them, I will send an Angell before thee and will drive out the Canaanite, And presently it followes, when the people heard these evill tidings they mourned, Exod. 33.2, 3, 4. What were these evill tidings, To have an Angel to protect and lead them? to have their enemies vanquished? to have possession of a land flowing with milk and honey? was there any thing lamentable in all this? yes. To have all this and much more, and not to have God and his presence, was heavy tidings unto Gods people. And therefore Moses never gave God over till he promi­sed them his own presence again, with which he chose rather to stay in a wildernesse, then▪ without it to goe into the land of Canaan. If thy presence goe not along, carry us not up hence, Exod. 33.13, 14, 15.

Secondly, we should from hence learne,Sect. 11. what­ever our spirituall wants are, to looke up to heaven for a supply of them. Neither gardens, nor woods, nor vineyards, nor fieldes, nor flowers, nor trees, nor corne, nor spices will flourish or revive with­out [Page 28] the Dew and concurrence of heavenly grace. Christ alone is all in all unto his Church; though the instruments be earthly, yet the vertue which gives successe unto them, comes from heaven.

1. The beauty of the Lillies, or as the Prophet David cals it, the beauty of holinesse ariseth from the Dew of the morning, Psal. 110.3. He is the ornament, the attire, the comelinesse of his Spouse. For his people to forget him, is for a mayd to forget her ornaments, or a spouse her attire, Ier. 2.32. The perfect beauty of the Church, is that comelinesse of his which he communicates unto her, Ezek. 16.14. Of our selves we are wretched, miserable, poore, naked,; our gold, our riches, our white rayment, we must buy of him, Revel. 3.18. He is the Lord our righteousnesse, whom therefore we are said to put on, Rom. 1 [...].14. He hath made us Kings and Priests unto our God, Rev. 5.10. and being such, he hath provided beautifull Robes for us, as once he appoin­ted for the Priests, Exod. 28.2. Revel. Gul. Stuc. Co [...]vival. lib. 2 cap. 26. This spirituall beauty of holinesse in Christs Church, is sometimes compared to the marriage ornaments of a Queen, Psal. 45 14. Revel. 18.7, 8.21.2. Sometimes to the choyce flowers of a garden, Roses and Lillies, Cant. 2.1.2. Sometimes to a most glorious and goodly Structure,Et quae divisa bea [...]os. Efficiunt, coll [...] ­cta tenet, Clau. Rev. 21.11.23. Sometimes to the shining forth of the Moone, and the brightnesse of the Sunne, Cant. 6.10. Revel. 12.1. All the united excellences of the creatures are too low to adumbrate and figure the glories of the Church.

2. The root and stability of the Church is in and [Page 29] from him; he is the root of David, Revel. 5.5. Except he dwell in us, we cannot be rooted nor grounded, Eph. 3.17. All our strength and suffici­ency is from him, Phil. 4.13. Eph. 6.10. 1. Pet. 5.10. The graft is supported by another root, and not by its owne. This is the reason of the stability of the Church, because it is founded upon a Rock, Matth. 16.18. not upon Peter, [...]. Isid. [...] lib. 1. Epist [...]35. Vt ae [...]isic [...]r [...]tu [...] Ecclesia super Petram quis sa­ctus est Petra Paulum audi dicentem, Petra autem erat Christus, Aug. in Psal. 60. Super hanc Petram quam confessu [...] es, super hanc Petram qu [...]m cognovisti dicens, Tu es, Christus Filius Dei vivi, aed sicabo Ecclesiam meam. De verbis Dom. Serm. 13 Quid [...]st super hanc Petram? Super hanc fidem: Super id quod dict [...]m est, Tu es Christus fi [...]ius Dei. Tract. 10. in Epist. 1. Ioann. Felix fidei petra, Petri ore o [...]sessa tu es Christus filius Dei. Hilar. de [...]rin. l b. 2. Super hanc cons [...]ssio [...]is Petram Ecclesiae aedificatio est. lib. 6 [...]. Chrisost. in loc. vid. Rey­nold, Conferrence with Hart. cap. 2 divis. 1. Causaub. exercitat. ad An [...]l Eccl [...]s. 15. c. 12 & 13. Sixt. Senen. l. 6, Annot. 68 69. but upon him whom Peter confessed; upon the Apostles onely Doctri­nally, but upon Christ personally, as the chiefe cor­ner stone, elect and precious, in whom whosoever be­leeveth shall not be confounded, or by failing in his confidence, be any wayes disapointed and put to shame, Eph. 2.20, 21. 1 Pet. 2.6. This is the difference between Istam eratiam non habuit homo primus qua vel­let nunquam esse malus; sed sane habuit in qu [...] s [...] pe [...]manare v [...]llet nun [...]uam malus esset. Sed deseruit, & desertus est [...] Haec prima est gratia quae data est primo Adam. Sed haec potentior est in secund. Adam. Prima sit, ut habeat Homo justitiam si velit. Secunda sit etiam ut velit, & tantum vel [...]t, tantoque ardore diligat, ut camis voluntatem [...]n [...]raria concupiscentem voluntate spiritus vincat, &c. Aug. de corrept, & grat. cap. 11. & 12. the righteousnesse of Creation and the righteousnesse of Redemtpion; the state of the world in Adam, and the state of the Church in Christ. Adam had his righteousnesse in his own keeping, and therefore when the power of hell set upon him, he tell from his stedfastnesse; there was no promise given unto him that the gates of Hell should not prevaile against him, being of [Page 30] an earthly constitution he had corruptibility, mu­tability, infirmity belonging unto him out of the principles of his being. But Christ the second Adam is the Lord from Heaven, over whom death hath no claime, nor power; and the righteousnesse and stability of the Church is founded and hath its originall in him. The powers of darknesse must be able to evacuate the vertue of his Sacrifice, to stop Gods eares unto his intercession, to repell and keep back the supplies and influences of his spirit, to keep or recover profession against his ejectment; in one word to kill him againe, and to thrust him away from the right hand of the Ma­jesty on high, before ever they can blow downe or overturne his Church. As Plato compared a man, so may wee the Church, unto a tree inverted, with the root above and the branches below. And the root of this tree doth not only serve to give life to the branches while they abide in it, but to hold them fast that none can be able to cut them off, Ioh. 10.28, 29.

Sect. 12.3, The growth and spreading abroad the branches of the Church, is from him whose name is the branch, Esay 11.1. Zach. 3.8. Unto him are all the ends of the Earth given for a possession, and all the Kingdomes of the world are to be the Lords, and his Christs. In regard of his first dispensation to­wards Israel, Gods first born, so the Land of Ca­naan is peculiarly called Immanuels Land, Esay 8.8. But in regard of his latter dispensation, when he sent the rod of his strength out of Sion, and went forth Conquering and to conquer, and gave [Page 31] commission to preach the Gospell unto every creature; So the whole world is now under the Gospell become Immanuels Land, and he is King of all the Earth, Psal. 47.7. King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Rev. 19.16. Gentiles come in to the light of his Church, and Kings to the bright­nesse of her rising, and the Nation and Kingdome that will not serve her shall perish, &c. Esay 60.3.12. Now every Countrey is Canaan, and every Chri­stian Church the Israel of God, and every regene­rate person borne in Sion, and every spirituall worshipper the Circumcision; now Christ is crucified in Gala [...]ia, and a Passeover eaten in Corinth, and M [...]nna fed on in Pergamus, and an Altar set up in Egypt, and Gentiles Sacrificed, and stones made children unto Abraham, and Temples unto God, See Ioh. 4.21. Mal. 1.11. Zeph. 2.11. Gal. 6.16. Esay 44.5. Esay 14.1. Zach. 8.23. Rom. 2.29. Psal. 87.4, 5. Phil. 3.3. Col. 2.11. Gal. 3.1. 1 Cor. 5.7, 8. Revel. 2.17. Esay 19.19, 21.23. Rom. 15.16. Luk. 3.8. Eph 2.11. In Christs former dis­pensation the Church was only Nationall, amongst the Iewes, but in his latter dispensation, it is Oecume­nicall, and universall, over all the world; a spreading tree, under the shadow of the branches where­of shall dwell the foule of every wing, Ezek. 17.23.

4. The Graces of the holy spirit wherewith the Church is annoynted, are Origo fonti­um & flumi­num more, vir­tutum & scien­tiarum Christus. Si quis callet i [...]gento, si quis nitet Eloquio, si quis moribus placet, inde est, Bernard. in Cant. Se [...]m. 13. from him. He is the Olive tree which emptieth the golden oyle out of himselfe, Zach. 4. [...]2. Of his fulnesse we all re­ceive grace for grace, Ioh. 1.16. with the same [Page 32] spirit are we anoynted, animated by the same life, regenerated to the same nature, renewed unto the same image, reserved unto the same inheritance, dignified in some respect with the same Offices, made Priests to offer spirituall Sacrifices, and Kings to subdue spirituall enemies, and Prophets to receive teaching from God, and to have a du­plicate of his law written in our hearts, 2 Cor. 1.21. Ioh. 14.19. 1 Cor. 15.48, 49. Rom. 8.17. 1 Pet. 2 5. Rev [...]l. 1.6. Ioh. 6.45. Ier. 31.33.

5. The sweet perfume and scent or smell of Le­banon, which ariseth out of holy duties, the grace which droppeth from the lips of his people, the spirituall incense which ariseth out of their prayers, the sweet savour of the Gospell which spreadeth it selfe abroad in the ministry of his word, and in the lives of his servants, they have all their original in him, and from his heavenly dew. [...], Chrysost. Serm. 27. in Gen. vid. Lud. Capell. Spi. cileg. pag. 97, 98. Weemse exercit. C [...]rem. lib. 1. p. 62, 63. Of our selves, without him, as we are al­together stinking and unclean, Psal. 14 3. Prov. 13.5. so we defile every holy thing which we meddle with, Hag. 2▪ 13, 14. Prov. 28.9. Esay 1.11.15. insomuch that God is said, as it were, to stop his nose that he may not smell them, Amos 5.21. they are all of them as they come from us, gall and worm­wood, and bitter clusters, Deut. 29.18.32, 32. But when the spirit of Christ bloweth upon us, and his grace is poured into our hearts and lips, then the spices flow out, Cant. 4.16. Then prayer goes up like incense and sweet odours, Revel. 5.8. then in­stead of corrupt, rotten, contagious communicati­on, our discourses tend to edifying, and minister [Page 33] grace to the hearers, Eph. 4.29. then the Savour of the knowledge of Christ, manifested it selfe in the mouthes and lives of his servants in every place where they come, 2 Cor. 12.4.

6. The shadow and refreshment, §. 14. the refuge and shelter of the Church against storme and tem­pest, against raine and heat, against all trouble and persecution, is from him alone. He is the onely defence and covering that is over the Assemblies and glory of Sion, Esay. 4.5. The name of the Lord is a strong Tower, unto which the righteous flye and are safe, Prov. 18.10. So the Lord promiseth when his people should be exiles from his Tem­ple, and scattered out of their own land, that hee would himselfe bee a little Sanctuary unto them in the Countreys where they should come,De Domo sua nemo extrahi debat aut in jus vocari, quia do­mus [...]utssimum cuique R [...]fugi­um atque recep­taculum. De in jus vocando. P. leg. 18. &. 21. Ezek. 11.16. He is a dwelling place unto his Church in all conditions, Psal., 2, a strength to the needy, a refuge from the storme, a shaddow from the heat, an hiding place from the winde, a covert from the Tempest, a Chamber wherein to retire when indignation is kindled, Esay Every History of Gods power, every Promise of his love, every Observation and experience of his providence, every comfort in his word, the knowledge which we have of his name by faith, and the knowledge which we have of it by expe­rience, are so many arguments to trust in him, and so many hiding places to flie unto him, a­gainst any trouble. VVhat time I am affraid I will trust in thee,. Psa. 56.3. VVhy art thou cast down O my soule? still trust in God, Psal. 42.5, 11. He hath de­livered, [Page 34] he doth deliver, he will deliver, 2 Cor. 1.10. Many times the children of God are reduced to such extremities, that they have nothing to en­courage themselves withall but their interest in him; nothing to flye unto for hope but his Great name made known unto them by faith in his pro­mises, and by experience of his goodnesse, power and providence. This was Davids case at Ziklag, 1 Sam. 30.6. and Israels at the red Sea, Exod. 14.10, 13. and Ionahs in the belly of the fish, Ion. 2.4, 7. and Pauls in the shipwrack, Acts 27.20, 25. God is never so much glorified by the faith of his servants, as when they can hold up their trust in him against sight, and sence; and when reason saith thou art undone, for all help sailes thee, can an­swer in faith, I am not undone, for he said, I will never faile thee nor forsake thee.

7. The power which the Church hath to rise up above her pressures, to outgrow her troubles, to revive after lopping, and harrowing, to make use of Medicamen­ta quaedam pri­us affligunt ut sanent, & ipsa collyria nisi s [...]n­sum videndi priùs claudant, prodesse non pos­sunt. Aug▪ qu. in Matth. qu. 14. Quo terreri deberet, illo ipso recreatur — contumeliam tenet curationis pignus, &c▪ Scult. cap. 42. Observat. in Matth. de mullere Syrophae [...]issa. Plures efficim [...]a quotīes metimu [...], Tertul. Apol. cap. ult. affliction as a meanes to flourish againe, all this is from him. That in trouble we are not over­whelmed, but can say with the Apostle, As [...]. &c. Chrys. de Tribus put [...]is, Ser 2. in Psal. 50. dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and not killed; as sorrowfull, yet alwayes rejoycing; as poore, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all [Page 35] things, like the corne wich dies and is quickned againe, like the vine that is lopped and spreads a­gaine, all this is from him who is the Resur­rection and the life, Ioh. 11.25. who was that grain of wheat which dying, and being cast into the ground, did bring forth much fruit, Ioh. 12.24. the branch which grew out of the rootes of Iesse, when that goodly family was sunk so low as from David the King, unto Ioseph the Car­penter.

Lastly,§ 14. as God is the Author of all these bles­sings unto his people, so when he bestowes them he doth it in perfection; the fruits which this dew produceth, are the fruits of Lebanon, the choycest and most excellent of any another. If hee plant a Vineyard, it shall be in a very fruitfull hill, and with the choycest plants, Esay 5.1, 2. a noble Vine, a right seed, Ier. 2.21. When in any kinde of straights wee haue recourse to the Creature for supply, either wee find it like our Saviours figg-tree, without fruit, or like our Prophets vine, as good as empty, the fruits thereof not worth the gathering, Hos. 10.1. Grapes of gall and bitter clusters; full of vanity, windinesse, vexation, disappointment; friends faile either in their love, or in their power; people cry Hosanna to day and Crucifige to morrow. Men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree a lie. Counsels clash, or are puzzled with intricacies, and unhap­py obstacles, like the wheels in Ezekiels Vision, that seeme hampered in one another. Armies like Ruben, unstable as waters, that flow now, and [Page 39] anon ebbe, and sinke away again. Treasures like the Mountaines out of which they were first digged, barren, and fruitlesse, better fuell to feed our sinnes, then water to quench our flames; matter of prey to the wicked, more then of help to the miserable. In one word, take any creature-helps in the world, and there will bee something, nay very much of defect in them. All being, but by Gods, is mixed with not-being; and as every man, so every creature else which is nothing but creature, is a Lier, like Iobs brook, or friends which he compareth there­unto, that vanisheth into nothing when there is most need of it, Iob. 6.17, 21. A Lier, either by way of perfidiousnesse, which promiseth and then deceives; or by way of impotency, which under­taketh and then miscarries. But when ever God promiseth and undertaketh to blesse any man or any people, he carrieth on his work to perfection; his blessings are all milk and honey, dew and fat­nesse, wine and oyle, the fruits of Lebanon, full of sweetnesse and maturity: He perfits that which he begins concerning his servants, Psal. 138.8. Phil▪ 1.6. There doth not one thing faile of all the good he speakes concerning his people, they all come to passe and not one faileth, Iosh. 23.14. The riches which are gotten by humane lusts and sinfull reso­lutions, doe come along with many and piercing sorrowes, 1 Tim. 6.10. but when God blesseth a man with riches, he takes away all the sorrow from it, Prov. 10.22 The gifts of God are all of them like his works, very good, Gen. 1.31. and bring after a Sabbath, a rest, and peace into the soule with them.

[Page 37]Thirdly,§. 15. We should from hence learne to shew forth the fruits of this heavenly dew, in those se­verall expressions which the Prophet her useth, drawn from the consideration of a garden, forrest, fruitfull field, heavenly Paradise, which is a simi­litude frequently used by the holy spirit, to note the beauty, sweetnesse, fruit, comfort, shelter, pro­tection, which the Church of Christ affordeth to the members of it, Esay 35.1, 2.58, 11. Cant. 4.12, 6.16, [...]. as on the other side the wicked are compared unto a dry desert, and barren wildernesse, Esay 35.6, 7.41.18. Ier. 17.6. For these things as they are promises in regard of God, and so matter of comfort, so are they duties in regard of us, and so matter of obedience.

First, He promiseth, Tantum est sto­ris Lillii digni­tas ut H [...]merus omnes flores v [...] ­caverit [...]. Iul. Pallux. vid. Plin. lib. 21. chap. 1. that his people shall grow as the Lillie, which is the most beautifull of all flowers, Mat. 6.28, 29. That they shall be gloriously cloathed like a Kings daughter, with the garments of praise, and the spirt of holinesse, Esay 62.3. set forth by various metaphors of broidred work, and fine linnen, and silk, and ornaments, and bracelets, and chaines, and jewels, and crownes, Ezek. 16.8, 13.

And as it is his promise, so it ought to be our duty and endeavour to adorn the Gospel of Christ, to be in his garden as a Lilly, and not as a Nettle or bramble; to walk as becometh godlinesse; to let our light shine before men, that they may be wonne to admire the amiablenesse of the Lords Taber­nacle, and glorifie God in the houre of their vi­sitation; to be as lights in the midst of a crooked generation, Phil. 2.15. or as Lillies amongst [Page 38] briars, Cant. 2.2. to make it appeare that spirituall wisedome causeth the face to shine, Eccles. 8.1. That holinesse is indeed a most beautifull thing, which commendeth us to the eyes of God and Angels; a robe worne by Christ the King of Saints, and by which we are made like unto him who is the fairest of ten thousand and altogether lovely; wee should take heed of any thing whereby our holy profession may bee blemished, and the name of God defiled by our meanes: of such Levity, as is inconsistent with the Majesty of holinesse; of such morosity as is inconsistent with the meeknesse of holinesse; of such drooping as is inconsistent with the joy of holinesse; of such stiffenesse and sowrenesse as is inconsistent with the lenity of ho­linesse. In one word, we should labour by the in­nocency, purity, elegancy, fragrancy, fruitfulnesse; by the winning ingenuity, the milde and humble condescension, the prudent insinuation, the meek, quiet and gracefull managaing of an holy life, to shew forth the praises of him that hath called us, and to put to silence the ignorance of foolish men, who like Black-Moores despise beauty, like dogs bark at the shining of the Moone, and speak evill of the things they know not.

§. 16.Secondly, He promiseth that his Church should cast forth her roots as Lebanon: Though she should have the beauty of the Lilly, yet she should be freed from the infirmity of it, an aptnesse to fade and wither, beautifull to day, and to morrow cast into the Oven.Plin. lib 16. cap. 40. Theoph [...]ast. Hist. Plant. l. 3. But she should have stability like the Cedar, which is one of the strongest of trees, [Page 39] and least subject to put refaction, and therefore the Church is compared to it, Ezek. 17.22, 23. and the Temple is said to be built of it, 1 King. 6.15, 16. To signifie the strength and duration of the Church, against which the gates of Hell should not pre­vaile: (And we may by the way observe, that most of the things here mentioned by our Prophet, are also noted to have been in the Temple, or in the services thereof; Lillies, 1 Kings 7.19, 22, 26. Olive trees, 1 King. 6.23, 32, 33. Spices for incense, Weat and Oyle for meat Offerings, Wine for drink Offerings.) God furnisheth his people with these blessings which may bee most properly dedicated unto him. [...]. Hom. Iliad. [...]. Spolia in Tem­plis suspendere antiqui moris erat. Cic de. nat. deor. lib. 2. Liv. lib. 10. Vir­gil. Aenead. 7. Teaching us as often as we receive any gifts from God, presently to inquire what relation they have to his Temple, how his name may be honoured, how his Church may be served, how his Gospel may be furthered, how his people may be edified and comforted by them, how all our en­joyments may be divided as spoiles unto Christ. The power of great men, Esay 60.3. the swords of mighty men, 1 Sam. Iudg. 7. [...]8. the wisedome of learned men, 1 King. 3.9.28. the cunning of Craftsmen, Exod. the wealth of rich men, Esay 23.18. Prov. 3.9. Psal. 45.12. Esay. 60.69. 1 Tim. 6.17, 18, 19. Abraham gave of the spoiles to Melchisedec, Heb. 7.4. and Israel of all their wealth to the Tabernacle, Exod. 35.21. and David and his people of their Trea­sure to the Temple, 1 Chron. 29.2.

And as it is his promise, That the Church should thus take root, 2 King. 19.30. Ier. 17.8. So wee [Page 40] should account it our duty, to be firme, stable, con­stant unmovable in the Truth, and in the work of the Lord, as an house built upon a rock. To stand fast and be rooted in the truth, that wee may hold the profession thereof without wavering, not being car­ried about with every winde of doctrine, but know­ing whom and what we have believed, 1 Cor. 16.13. Eph. 4.14. Col. 2.7. Heb. 10.23. to stand fast and be rooted in the Love of God, that we may be strengthned with might in his service, and may with purpose of heart cleave unto him, being esta­blished by his grace, Eph. 3.17. Col. 1.11. Heb. 12.28.13, 9. P. de Adqui­rendo rerum [...]o­minio l. 7. § 13. & Arborum fu [...]im caesa­rum, l 3. § 3. Cod. de R [...] vin­dicatione, l. 11. In the Civill Law, till a tree hath taken root, it doth not belong to the soile on which it is planted. It is not enough to be in the Church, except like the Cedar of Lebanon, we cast forth our roots, and are so planted that we flourish in the Courts of our God, and bring fruit in our old age, Psal. 92.12, 13, 14.

Thirdly, He promised that the Church should spread forth her branches,§. 17. and fill the earth, and grow into a great compasse and extent, and should send forth her boughs unto the Sea and her branches unto the River, Psa. 80.9, 10, 11. Dan. 2.35. That his Church should be a universall Church over the whole world; that as the whole world in regard of sinne lieth in mischiefe, 1 Ioh, 5.19. so the whole world should have Christ for its propi­tiation, through faith, 1 Ioh. 2.2. Totus in maligno propter zizania, A [...]g. Epist. 48. Christus propitiatio propter Triti­cum. By one spirit we All are baptised into one Body, 1 Cor. 12.13. and that one Body made [Page 41] up of all the Churches of the Saints, 1 Cor. 14.33. even of all Nations, kindreds, people, tongues, Revel. 7.9. no difference of persons, neither Greek nor Iew, neither Circumcision, nor Vncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ All, and in All, Col. 3.11. no difference of places: All that in every place call upon the name of Lord Jesus both theirs and ours, 1 Cor. 1.2. no difference of Times, Christ yesterday, and to day, and the same for ever, Heb. 13.8.

And as this is his promise, so we should en­deavour:

1. To grow our selves in knowledge and grace, to let our profiting appeare unto all men, to abound in the work of the Lord, to let our graces from the heart, like leven from the middle of the lump, spred abroad, and finde their way to all the parts and powers of soule and body, that the whole man may be filled with the fulnesse of God, and grow up unto the measure of the stature of the fulnesse of Christ, Eph. 4.13.15, 16. Phil. 3.12, 13. 2 Pet. 3.18. Heb. 6.1.

2. To labour and endeavour the growth and progresse of the Gospell in others. This is the nature of grace, to manifest it selfe, and by that meanes to allure and gather others to its own quality. It is set forth in Scripture by the names of light which shines abroad, of oyntment and perfume which can­not be hid, of leaven, and salt, which deriveth its own nature and rellish upon a whole lump. There­fore the holy Ghost was given in Tongues, fiery tongues, and a rushing winde, all which have a quality of selfe-manifestation, and notifying them­selves [Page 42] unto others. There is an excellent place to this purpose in the Apostle, Eph. 4.15, 16. But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things which is the Head, even Christ. From whom the whole Body fitly joyned together and com­pacted by that which every joynt supplyeth, according to the effectuall working in the measure of every part, maketh encrease of the Body unto the edifiing of it selfe in love: Where the Apostle sheweth the manner of spirituall increase in the mysticall Bo­dy of Christ by the proportion of the growth of members in the naturall Body.

And first, there must be a fellowship between the Head and Members, which in the mysticall Body is here twofold, [...], and [...]; Growing into him, and receiving from him. Looking in this work of growth, upon Christ; first, as the end of that growth unto which it drives; secondly, as the fountaine from whence it proceeds. That by growing we may have a more intimate and strong communion with him; by that vertue which we receive from him. So here are two necessarie re­quisites unto this duty of endeavouring the en­crease of the Body; to have Christ for our end unto which wee work, and for our fountaine out of which we derive our ability of working. Every true member of Christ is intent and vigilent upon the interest and honour of Christ, and it belongs un­to the honour of Christ to have a perfect body. Vid. C [...]meron. de Eccles. p. 84.85, 86. The Church is hi [...] fulnesse; he esteemes himselfe maimed and incomplete, if that should be finally deficient in any thing requisite to the integrall [Page 43] perfection of it; and hence it is that every true Christian puts forth the uttermost of his en­deavours in his place to carry on the encrease of his Masters Body: As every true-hearted Souldier that loves his Generall, is exceeding desirous and to his power endeavours that every company and Regiment under his Generalls command may bee in all the offices and members of it compleat. Againe, every member of Christ being unto him united, doth from him receive of his fulnesse grace for grace, and so worketh unto the same ends as the head doth: And as the water which first riseth out of the fountaine, doth not stand still there where it began, but goeth forward till it grow in­to a great River; so those who are joyned unto Christ as a Fountaine, doe by reason of that vitall Communion which they have with the Fountain, carry on the growth of the whole Body; and the more vigorous the life of Christ is in any part, the more actively doth that part work towards the e­dification of the whole.

2. Here is further required a fellowship and mutuall Communion of the members of the Body within and amongst themselves:§. 18. unto which is first presupposed the Organicall and harmonious Con­stitution and compacture of the Body into one, out of which ariseth the forme and beauty, the strength and firmnesse, the order and fitnesse that is in it unto those works that are proper to it, intimated in those two words [...], and [...] fitly joyned together and compacted. [...], Greg. Nazian. Orat. 1. It is a metaphor drawn from Carpenters and other Artificers, who [Page 44] by severall joynts do so coaptate and fit the parts of their work unto one another,Nulla multitu­dinis potentia nisi consentien­tis, id est, unum sentientis, Aug. de ve [...]a Relig. cap. 25. that being put toge­ther and fastned, there may one whole structure or body grow out of them; & in that body this accu­rate fitnesse & intimatenesse of the parts with one another, produceth an excellent strength, a beauti­full order, and a readie serviceablenesse of each part to the other, & of all to the whole. So Ierusalem is said to be a City compacted within it self, Psa. 122.3. as the Ark (a Type of the Church) had the ribs and planks, and parts thereof so closely fastned into one another, that no water might get in to drown it: And in the Tabernacle all the Curtains thereof were to be coupled together into one another, Exod. 26.3. Christ is all for unitie, and joyning things into one, Two natures united in one person, two par­ties reconciled by one Mediat [...]r, Two people con­corporated into one Church, one family, one father, one seed, one head, one faith, one hope, one love, one worship, one body, one spirit, one end and common salvation. Christ is not, loves not, to be divided: This is a fundamentall requisite unto the growth of the Body, Possessionem Bo­nita [...]is tantò latius quantò concordiùs in­dividua sociorū p [...]ssidet chari­tas. — Et tan­to eam reperiet ampliorē, quan­to amplius ibi potuerit amare consertem, Aug. de Civ. Dei. l. 15. c. 5. the preservation of its unity. The building must be fitly framed together, if you would have it grow into an holy Temple to the Lord, Eph. 2.21. Col. 2.19. when there was most unity, there was greatest increase in the Church; when they were All of one accord, of one heart, and one soule, then the Lord added to the Church daily such as should be saved, Act. 2.46, 47. They that cause divisions and dissentions, doe not serve the Lord Iesus, and therefore they cannot but hinder the [Page 45] progresse of his Gospel, Rom. 16.17, 18. As in the naturall, so in the mysticall body, solutio continui tendeth to the paining and grieving of that spirit by which the Body lives, Eph. 4.30, 31. and by consequence hinders the growth of it. Our growth is by the Apostle distributed into growth in knowledge, and growth in grace, 2 Pet. 3.18. and divisions in the Church are of themselves great hinderances unto both these; unto knowledge, be­cause the most usuall breaches in the Church arise out of diversities of opinion publickly asser­ted and insisted on by the authors and followers of them. And though accidentally, where truth is embraced, it is held with more care, and searched into with more accuratenesse, because of the errors that oppose it (as the fire is hottest in the coldest weather;) yet corrupt doctrine being of the nature of a weed, or canker, to spread, and eat further and further, it must needs consequently hinder the spreading, and in that kinde, the growth of knowledge. Nor doth it lesse hinder the growth of grace; for while the people of God are all of one heart and of one way, then all their Communion runnes into this one designe of mu­tually edifying, comforting, supporting, en­couraging one another in their holy faith; but when they are divided and broken into faction by different judgements, if there be not a greater a­bundance of humility, and spirituall wisedome, the spirits of men runne out into heates and passions, and into perverse disputes, and meer notinall contentions, which have ever beene diminutions [Page 46] unto the power of godlinesse, 1 Cor. 3.3, 4. When there are schismes in the body, the members will not have care one of another, 1 Cor. 12.25. Greatly therefore even for this one cause are the sad and dangerous divisions of these times to be lamented,Non tulit Caeli­us ass [...]nti [...]n [...]m sed exclamavit, Dic aliquid con­tra ut Duo si­mus, Senec. de Ira 3. lib. c. 8. when men make use of civill troubles, to disturbe, yea, to teare asunder the unity of the Church, when they set up as in the times of the Donatists, Altar against Altar, and church against Church, and make secessions from the common body, and then one from another, to the infinite content and advantage of the com­mon Enemies of our Religion, and hazard of it. It were a blessed thing if wee were in a condition capable of the Apostles exhortation, To speake all the same thing, to be perfectly joyned in the same minde and in the sam [...] judgement, to be of one minde, and to live in peace, 1 Cor. 1.10. 2 Cor. 13.11. But if that cannot be attained unto, let us yet all learn the Apostles other lesson,Vnitas interior & unanimitas ipsam cuoque multiplicitatem colligat & con­stringit charita­tis glutino, & vinculo pacis, Barnard. in Septuagesima Serm. 2. wherein wee are otherwise minded, to depend upon God for revealing his will unto us, and whereunio we have attained to walke by the same rule, to minde the same thing, to remem­ber that every difference in opinion doth not, ought not to dissipate or dissolve the unity of Gods church. Even in Corinth where the people were divided into severall parties yet they conti­nued one Church, 1 Cor. 11.18.

The body thus constituted, and compacted for the increase thereof.

§. 19.1. Here are members severally distinct from one another; some principall, others ministeriall, all [Page 47] concurring differently unto service of the whole. If the heart should bee in the head, or the liver in the shoulder, if there should be any unnaturall dislocation of the vitall or nutritive parts, the bo­dy could not grow, but perish. The way for the church to prosper & florish, [...], &c Plutarch. de Tranquillit. is for every member to keep in his own rank and order, to remember his own measure, to act in his owne sphere, to manage his particular condition and relations with spiri­tuall wisedome and humility; the eye to doe the work of an eye, the hand of an hand. Say not as Absolom, If I were a Iudge, I would doe Iustice, 2 Sam. 15.4. But consider what state God hath set thee in, and in that walke with God, & adorn the profession of the Gospel, Rom. 12.3. 1 Cor., 30. 2 Cor. 10.13, 14. Eph. 4.7. Remember Vzzah, Vt Ilus Palla­dium ex incen­dio eripiens dum a [...] deret Templum Mi­nervae, lumi ni­bus privatus est, Plutarch. Paralel. it was a good work he did, but because he did it out of or­der having no call, God smote him for his error, 2 Sam. 6.6, 7. There are excellent works which being done without the call of God, doe not edifie but disturbe the body, Rom. 10.15. Heb. 5.4. every man must walk in the church as God hath di­stributed and called, and every man must in the calling wherein he was called, abide with God, 1 Cor. 7.17, 20, 24.

2. Here are joynts and ligaments so fastning these members together that each one may be ser­viceable to the increase of the whole, 1 Col. 2.19. There are bands which joyne the body to the head, without which it can neither grow nor live, name­ly, the Spirit of Christ, and faith in him, 1 Cor. 6.17. Rom. 8.9. Eph, 3.17. and there are Bands which [Page 48] joyne the parts of the Body unto one another; as namely, the same holy Spirit, 1 Cor. 12.13. which Spirit of grace stirreth up every member to seek the growth and benefit of the whole, 1 Cor. 12.25, 26. The same sincere love and truth which each member beareth unto all the rest, this is cal­led a bond of perfectnesse, Col. 3.14. and the bond of peace, Eph. 4.3. Now love is a most communicative grace, it will plant, and water, and feed, and spend it selfe for the good of the whole, it will deny it selfe to serve the body (as Christ did,) Gal. 5.13.

3. Here is a measure belonging unto every part; some are in one office, others in another, some have one gift, others another, and all this for the perfe­cting of the Saints, Eph. 4.11, 12. 1 Cor. 12.4, 11. one is able to Teach, another to Comfort, a third to Convince, a fourth to Exhort, a fifth to Coun­sell, and every one of these are to be directed un­to the edification and growth of the w [...]ole, Rom. 12.3, 8. Eph. 4.7. The Apostle saith, that we are fellow Citizens with the Saints, Eph. 2.19. Now as amongst fellow Citizens there useth to be an in­tercourse of mutuall negotiation, Vid. Aristot. Ethic. l. 5. c. 8. one man hath one Commodity, and another another, and these they usually bartar withall: So amongst the Saints one man is eminent in one grace, another in another, and according to their mutuall indigencies or abi­lities, they doe interchangeably minister to one another towards the growth of the whole. And this is that which is here further requisite to the encrease of the Body, called

4. [...] ▪ The supply of service and the supply [Page 49] of nour [...]shment which one part affords unto ano­ther, and so to the whole. This is principally from the Head to the members, called by the A­postle, The supply of the Spirit of Iesus Christ, Phil, 1.19. Of whose fulnesse wee receive grace for grace, Ioh. 1.16. into whose image we are trans­formed from glory to glory, 2 Cor. 3.18. but it is proportionably between the members amongst them­selves; for as severall particular ingredients make up one cordiall, and severall instruments concurre to the perf [...]cting of one [...], or consum­mate work, and the beauty of every thing ariseth out of the varietie, and order, and mutuall ser­viceablenesse that the parts thereof have unto one another: So is it in the Church too, which Christ hath so tempered together, that they might all stand mutually in need of one another. Therefore we finde the Saints in Scripture communicating to one another their experiences, temptations, deli­verances, comforts, for their mutuall edification, Psal. 34. [...], 6. Ioh. 1.41, 45. Ioh. 4. [...]9. 2 Cor. 1.4, 6. Phil. 1.12, 13, 14. Col. 2.1, 2. And Gods dealings with Saints in particular are therefore registred in the Scripture,Specialiter pr [...] ­nunciata generalite s [...]p [...]unt. Cum Deus Isra­elitas admone [...] d [...]sciplin [...] vel objurgat, uti (que) ad omnes bab [...]t. Te tul. de Spe­ct [...]c. cap. 3. both that we might learn that way of building up one another, and that by their ex­amples we might support our faith, and through patie [...]ce and experience of the Scripture have hope, because what hath been done unto one, is in the like condition applicable unto everie other, Iam. 5.10, 11, 17. Rom▪ 15.4. 1 Cor. 10, 6. Heb. 13.5.

5. After all this there is [...], an effectuall [Page 50] working, a vis [...], or a vis [...], a faculty to forme, and to concoct the matter, which hath been subministred, unto life and nourishment: which is the work of faith, and of the Spirit of Christ, whereby the soule of a Believer, being sensible of want, desirous of supply, and pressing forward unto perfection, doth sweetly close with whatsoever the measure of any other part hath communicated unto it, conver [...]ing it into growth and nourishment to it selfe, which the Apostle calls the mixing of the word with faith, Hebr. 4.2. Now

Sect. 20.Fourthly, He promiseth, that the beauty of his Church shall be as the Olive tree; that as she should have the glory of the Lilly, the strength and exten­sion of the Cedar, so this spreading should not be a vain ostentation, but should have joyned with it the flourishing and fruitfulnesse of the Olive: Now the honour of the Olive tree standeth in two things; Perpetuall greennesse, and most profitable fruit, which serveth both for light to cause the Lamp to burn, Exod. 27.20. and for nourishment to be eaten, Levit. 6.15, 16. in the one respect it is an embleme of peace, it maketh the face shine, Psal. 104.15. and in the other it is an embleme of grace, and spirituall gifts, 1 Ioh. 2.20. These are the two most excellent benefits which God promiseth un­to his people. He will speak peace unto them, Psal. 85.8. Isa. 32.17. and he will give them grace and glory, Psal. 84.11.

And as he promiseth, so should we practice these things, and learne to beautifie the Gospel of [Page 51] Christ, first, with our good works, as the fruits of his grace, Ioh. 15.8. Secondly, with our spirituall joy and comfort, as the fruits of his peace; That others seeing the light and shining forth of a serene, calm, and peaceable conscience in our conversation, may thereby be brought in love with the wayes of God. These two do mutually cherish and increase one another. The more conscience we make of fruitfulnesse, the more way do we make for peace; when the waters of lust are sunk, the Dove will quickly bring an Olive branch in: and the more the peace of God rules in the heart, the more will it strengthen the conscience and care of obedience, out of these considerations: first, out of thankful­nesse for so great a blessing: secondly, out of fear to forfeit it: thirdly, out of wisdome to improve and encre [...]se it.

Fifthly,Sect. 21. He promiseth that his Church shall be as the smell of Lebanon, [...] &c. Herm [...]pput apud Athenae­um, lib. 1. ca. 23. and that the sent of it shall be as the wine of Lebanon, as elsewhere we finde her compared to a garden of spices, Cant. 4.12, 14. shee shall be filled with the sweet savour of the Gospel of Christ. Thanks be unto God, (saith the Apostle) which alwayes causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his know­ledge by us in every place, for we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, 2 Cor. 2.14, 15. where there are two Metaphors, one of a sweet oyntment, the other of a triumph. The Name of Christ is com­pared to an ointment, Cant. 1.3. and preaching of the Gospel▪ which is making m [...]nifest the savour of this oyntment, is called the bearing of Christ's [Page 52] Name, Act. 9.15. Now, this sweet savour is annex­ed unto a Triumphall solemnity, because in all times of publick joy,Convivia, Lu­di·· Pocula cre­bro, unguenta, coronae, serta parentur, Lu­cret▪ lib. 4. Aderant un­g [...]enta, corona, incendib [...]ntur odores, Cic. Tuse, qu. l. 5. vid. Anthenae­u [...], l. 15. c 11, 1 [...]. they were wont to anoint themselves with sweet oyl, which is therefore cal­led, Ol [...]um laetitiae, the oyl of gladnesse, Psal. 45.7, 8. Isa. 61.3. (For in times of mourning they did abstaine from sweet oyntments, 2 Sam. 14.2. Dan. 10.2, 3.) The Gospel therefore being a message of great joy, Luk. 2.10. a leading of captivity captive, and the meanes whereby Christ rideth forth glo­riously conquering and to conquer, Psal. 45.3, 4. Psal. 110.2. Revel. 6.2. therefore they who brought these good tydings, are said to be as a sweet savour, whose lips drop sweet smelling myrrhe, Cant. 5.1 [...]. and whose Doctrine is compared to the powders of the Merchant, Cant. 3.6. and the time of the Gospel is called an accepted time, a day of salvation, 2 Corinth. 6.2. that is, a time of singu­lar joy and solemnity, a continuall▪ Easter, or festivall, 1 Cor. 5.7, 8. and herewithall he promi­seth likewise, That his people should offer up spirituall incense and services unto him in prayers, thanksgivings, almes and good workes, Ezek. 20.41.

And as he promiseth, so we should practice these things; our care should be to let our lips and lives breathe forth nothing but grace and edification, Col. 4.6. To be frequent in the spirituall Sacri­fices of prayer, thanksgiving and good works, which may be as an odour of a sweet savour in the nostrils of God, Phil. 4.18. Revel. 8.4. To labour to leave behinde us a good name; not out of vaine [Page 53] glory, or an empty ambitious affectation of ho­nour, but out of the conscience of an holy life, which makes the name smell better then sweet oint­ment, Eccles. 7.1.

Sixthly, He promiseth,Sect. 22. That they who dwell un­der his shadow shall returne: Which words admit of a double sense, and so inferre a double promise and a double du [...]y: first, we may by an Hysteron Proteron understand the words thus, when Israel have repented and are brought home to God again, they shall then have security, defence, protection, refreshment under the comforts of his grace a­gainst all the violence of temptation, as a spreading tree doth afford a sweet shade unto the weary Tra­veller; and shelter him from the injuries of the heat, Iob 7.2. Isa. 4.6. Mich. 4.4. Zach. 3.10. Whereby is signified the secure, quiet, and comfortable condition of Gods people un­der the protection of his providen [...]e and pro­mises.

And as he promiseth such a condition, so should we in all troubles not trust in an arme of flesh, or betake our selves to meer humane wise­dome, and carnall counsels, which are too thinne shelters against Gods displeasure, or the Enemies of the Church: But we must flie unto him to hide us, we must finde spirituall refreshment in his ordinances, promises and providence, get his wing to cover us, and his presence to be a little sanctuary unto us, and the joy of the Lord to be our strength; Psal. 57.2. Psal. 91.1. Isa. 26.20. Nehem. 8.10. When the Lord cometh out of his [Page 54] place to punish the inhabitants of the la [...]d for their iniquity; when flood, and fire, storme and tempest, the fury of anger, the strength of bat­tell, are powred out upon a people; when a de­stroying Angel is sent abroad with a Commissi­on to kill and sl [...]y, Ezek. 9.5, 6. when death the King of Terrours, rideth up and down in triumph, stripping men of treasures, lands, friends, honours, pleasures, making them an house in darkness, where Master and Servant, Princes and Prisoners are all alike: to have then an Ark with Noah ▪ a Z [...]ar with Lot, a Gosh [...]n in Egypt, to have one arme of this Olive tree spread over us, to have one promise out of Gods word, one sentence from the mouth of Christ promising Paradise unto us, is infinitely of more value to a languishi [...]g spirit, then all the Diadems of the earth, or the peculiar treasure of Princes.

2. If we take the words in the order as they lye, Then the mercy here promised is, that when God shall restore and repaire his Church, they who dwell under the comforts of it, should return and be converted to the knowledge and obedience which should be there taught them: when the branch of the Lord is beautifull and glorious, and the fruit of the earth excellent and comely, then he that remaineth in Ierusalem shall be called holy, Isa. 4. [...], 3. then every vessell in Iudah and Ierusalem shall be inscribed, Holinesse unto the Lord: Zach. 14.20, 21. then the heart of the rash shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the slammerers shall speak plainly. Isa. 3 [...].2, [...], 4.

[Page 55]And this should bee the endeavour of every one who liveth under the shade of this tree, under the puritie of Gods Ordinances, under the pious government, and constitution of such a Church, or family as is here described (especially in such times when on the one side the world is so much loosned, and estranged from us; and on the other side Reformation in the Church is so much desi­red, to convert and turn unto the Lord. All endea­vours of Reformation in a Church are miserably defective, when they come short of this end (which is the ultimate reason of them all) namely, the repentance, and conversion of those that dwell und [...] the shadow of it. When God promiseth to give unto his Church the glory of Lebanon, and the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, the consequence of this beauty and Reformation in the Church is, The eyes of the blinde shall be opened, the cares of the deafe shall be unstopped, the lame shall leap, the dumb shall sing, the parched ground shall be a poole, the thir [...]ie land springs of water. Isa. 35.2, 7. The Woolf, the Leopard, the Lion, the Beare, the Aspe, the Coca­trice, shall be so turned from the fiercenesse and malignity of their natures, that they shall not hurt nor destroy in all the holy Mountain, but a little childe shall lead them all: Isa. 11.6, 9. It is a great happi­ [...]esse and advantage to live under the shad [...] of a godly goverment; many men have reason to blesse God▪ all their dayes, that they were in their child­hood trained up in such a Sch [...]ole where Piety was taught them as well as Learning, where they had meanes as well of Conversion, as of Institution; [Page 56] That they lived in such a Family where the Master of it was of Ioshuahs minde, I and my house will serve the Lord: Iosh. 24.15. Salvation comes to a whole house when the governor thereof is converted: Luk. 19.9. Act. 16.33, 34. I shall never look upon a Church as Reformed to purpose, till I finde Refor­mation work conversion, till piety and charity, and justice, and mercy, and truth, and humility, and gentlenesse, and goodnesse, and kindnes, and meek­nesse, and singlenesse of heart, and zeal for godli­nes, and mutuall edification, and the life and power of Religion are more conspicuous, then before. When th [...] very head-stone was brought forth, and the last work in the building of the Temple [...]as finished, yet the people must then cry, Grace, grace unto it: Zach. 4.7. intimating that Reformation is never indeed consummate till t [...]e blessing of God make it effectuall unto those uses for which it was by him appointed. Church Reformation should be like Pauls Epistles, which alwayes close in du­ties of obedience.

Sect. 23.Seventhly, he promiseth, That they shall revive as the corne, and grow as the vine: in which two exp [...]essions are set forth two excellent and whol­some consequents of Affliction. 1. The Corne, though it dye first,Semina non nisi corrup [...]a & dis­soluta saecun­dius surgunt. om [...]ia pe [...]cund servantur; om­nia de inter [...] r [...]fo [...]m [...]tu [...]. Tertul. Apol. cap. 48. and suffer much from frost, hail, snow, tempest, yet when the Spring comes, it revives and breaks through it all; so God pro­miseth to his Church in the saddest condition, a Reviving againe, and that it shall be brought forth into the Light, Ezek. 37.12. Mic. 7.9. 2. The Vine when it is pruned and lopped, will [Page 57] not only Revive and spread againe, but will bring forth the more fruit, and cast forth the more fra­grant smell: so God promiseth unto his people not only a reviving out of their afflictions (in which respect haply it was that Christ was bu­ried in a Garden, to note that death it selfe doth not destroy our bodies, but only sow them; the dew of Herbs will revive them again, 1 Cor. 15.42, 44.) bu [...] further a profiting by afflictions, that we may say with David, it was good for as; when wee finde it bring forth the peaceable fruits of Righteous­nesse after we have been exercised therein.

And as he promiseth these things, so we should learn to turn these promises into prayer and into practise Nemo agonis praesidē suggil­laverit quod homines vi [...]len­tiae objectet, [...]njuriae [...]um actiones extra s [...]udium: Sed quantum livo­res illi, & cru­ores & vibice [...] negotiantur intendit; co­rona [...] scilicet, & gloriam, & dotem, Privi­legia publica, stipendia civi­ca, imagines, statuas, & qua­lem potest praestate secu­lum de fama aeternitatem, de memoriâ Resurrectionem. Pyctes ipse non queritur, do­lerese non vult; corona pre [...]it vulnera, palma sanguinem obscurat: plus victoriarum est quam injuriar [...]m. Hunc tu laesum existimabis quem vides laetum? Tertul. Scorpi ac. cap. 6.; when we seem in our own eyes cast out of Gods sight, yet we must not cast him out of our sight, but as Ionah in the Whales belly, and as Daniel in Babylon, pray towards his holy Tem­ple still. The Vid. Chrysost. Ser. 38. in Gen. 16.3. woman of Canaan would not bee thrust of with a seeming rejection, nor utterly de­spond under a grievous Tentation, but by a singular acumen and spirituall sagacitie discerned matter of argument in that which looked like a deniall, Math. 15.27. Sope and Fullers Earth at the first putting on, seeme to staine and to foule cloaths, when the use and end is to purifie them. And Gods frowns and delayes may seeme to be the denials of prayer, when haply his end is to make the granting of [Page 58] them the more comfortable. Therefore in all troubles we must not g [...]ve over looking towards God, but say with Iob, though he slay me, I will trust in him.

And after all afflictions we must learn to expresse the fruit of them, to come out of them Refined, as silver out of the fire; to have thereby our faith strengthned, our hope confirmed, our love infla­med, our fruit and obedience encreased, our sinne t [...]ken away, and our iniquities purged, Esay 27.9. To bee Chastened and taught, Psal. 84.12. to bee chastned and converted, Ier. 38.18. If we have runne away from our duties, and been cast into a Whales belly for it, when we are delivered, let us be sure to look better to our resolutions after­wards: after all that is come upon us for our sinnes, take heed of breaking his Commandements againe, Ezra 9.13, 14. As Iobs riches after his, so wee should endeavour that our graces after our af­flictions may be doubled upon us, and that the sent of our holy example, may like spices bruised, or the grapes of Lebanon crushed in the Wine-presse, give a more fragrant smell in the nostrils of God and man, as the smell of a field which the Lord hath blessed.

Lastly, he promiseth that all these should be fruits of Lebanon, §. 24. of the best and perfectest kinde. There are many evidences of the goodnesse of God even in the lives of Pagan men; we reade of Abimelechs forbearance to sinne against God, Gen. 20.4, 6. and of his and Ephrons singular kind­nesse to Abraham, Gen. 20.14, 15. Gen. 23.10, 11, 15. [Page 59] No argument more common then this of the ver­tues, the temperance, prudence, justice, mercy, patience, fidelity, friendships, affability, magnani­mity of many heathen men: insommch that some have presumed so farre as to make them ex con­g [...]uo Vide Vegam. de Ius [...]i [...]. lib. 6. cap. 18.19.20. Andrad. Orthodox. Explicat. l. 3. Maldonat. in [...]ohan. 5.6. Sixt. Senens. bibliothec. l. 6. annot. 51. colli­um de Anima­bus P [...]gan. l. 1. cap. 11, & 10. Bann. in secun­dam secundae qu. 2. a [...]t. 8. Greg. Valent. To. 3. disput. 1. Qu. 2. punct. 1. & 4. Erasm. Praefat. in Qu. Tusc. Cic. Aug. contra Iulian▪ Pelag. l. 4 c. 3. meritorious, or dispositive to salvation. But all these are but wild grapes, bitter clusters, the fruits of an empty Vine, not worth the gathering in order to salvation: But the graces which God bestoweth upon his Church, are of a more spirituall and perfect nature, proceeding from faith in Christ, from love of God, from a conscience clean­sed from dead works, from an intention to glorifie God, and adorne the Gospel, from a new na [...]ure and from the spirit of Christ, conforming his ser­vants unto himself. They are not grapes of Sodom, but grapes of Lebanon.

And as hee thus blesseth us, in the like manner should we serve him, not offer unto him the re­ [...]use, the halt, and blind, and maimed, for Sacrifice, not give unto him of that which cost us nothing, but goe to Lebanon for all our Sacrifices, covet earnestly the best gifts, presse forward and labour to perfect holinesse in the feare of God. Give unto him our Lillies, the beauties of our minority; and our Cedars, the strength of our youth; and our olives, and grapes, and corn, and wine; whatever gifts hee hath bestowed on us, use them unto his service and honour againe; nor content our selves with the forme of godlinesse, with the morality of vertues, with the outside of duties, with the seeds and beginnings of holinesse, (he hath none, who thinks [Page 60] hee hath enough) but strive who shall out-runne one another unto Christ, as Peter and Iohn did towards his Sepulcher. It was an high pitch which Moses aimed at, when he said, I beseech thee shew me thy glory, Exod. 33.18. Nothing would satisfie him but fulnesse and satiety it selfe. Be sure that all your graces come from Sion, and from Leba­non, Reproba pecu­nia non liberat solventem, l. [...]4 § 1. P. de Pig­noratitia acti­one. that they grow in Immanuels Land; till Christ own them, God will not accept them. Morall vertues, and outward duties, grapes of Sodom, may commend us unto men; nothing but inward, spi­rituall, and rooted graces, the grapes of Lebanon, will commend us unto God. To do only the out­ward works of duty without the inward principle, is at best but to make our selves like those mixt Beasts, Elephants and Camels in the Leg. 2. P. ad Leg. Aquil. Se­nec. de benefic. lib. 7. cap. 19. Civill Law, operam praestant, natura fera est, which though they doe the work of tame beasts, yet have the nature of wilde ones. Vide Aug. de Civit. dei lib. [...]. cap. 19. & lib. 19. cap. 4. & cap. 25. Retract l. 1. cap. 3. de Trin· lib. 14. cap 1. de nup. & concupis. lib. 1. c. 3. contra Iulian. Pelag. l. 4. c. 3. Ad Simplician. l. 1. qu. 2. contra [...]. Ep▪ Pelag. lib▪ 3. cap. de side & ope [...]ibus, c. 7. Epist. 105. 10 [...], 110 Prosper. contra collat. c. 13. Greg▪ Arimin. 1. dist. 1. q. 3. art. 2. Morall vertue without spiritu­all piety doth not commend any man unto God: for we are not accepted unto him, but in Christ, and we are not in Christ but by the holy Spirit.


HOSEA Chap. 14. ver. 8.

Ephraim shall say, what have I to doe any mor with Idols? I have heard him, and observed him, I am like a green firre-tree, from me is thy fruit found.

§ 1. THe Conversion of Israel unto God in their trouble, was accompanied with a Petition and a Covenant. A Petition imploring mercy and grace from God, and a Covenant promising thanksgivings and obedience unto him. And God is pleased in his Answer to have a distinct respect un­to both these; for whereas they petition first for pardon, that God would take away all iniquity, he promiseth to heale their backslidings and to love them freely; and whereas they pray for blessings, re­ceive us into favour, doe us good, God likewise maketh promises of that in great variety, expressed by the severall metaphors of fertility, answering [Page 62] to the name and blessings promised formerly unto Ephraim. And all this we have handled out of the four preceding verses.

Now in this 8th verse, God is pleased not only graciously to accept, but further to put to his seale, and to confirme the Covenant which they make, promising that by the assistance of his spirit they should bee enabled to doe what they had un­dertaken. This is the greatest ground of confi­dence that wee can have to binde our selves in ho­ly Covenants unto God, even the promise of his strength and assistance enabling us to keep Co­venant with him. Therefore when David had said, I have sworne and will performe it, that I will keepe thy righteous Iudgements, it followes a little after, Accept I beseech thee the free-will offerings of my mouth O Lord, and teach me thy judgements, Psal. 119.106, 108. David was confident that God would not onely accept his Covenant, but teach him how to keep it, and that made him the more confident to binde himselfe by it.

In the Originall, the words are onely thus, Ephraim, What have I to doe any more with Idols? which therefore some would have to be the words of God spoken unto Ephraim. But there is no­thing more usuall in Scripture then an ellipsis of the verb; and we finde this very verb omitted, and yet necessary to be supplyed, Esay 5.9. and in this place the Chaldee paraphrast, and from him the best in­terpreters,Solom. Glassi­us Grammar. Sacr. pag. 3 [...] c. 654. with our Translators, have supplyed it thus, Ephraim shall say: and so it is Gods confirma­tion of the promise which penitent Ephraim had [Page 63] made, and his undertaking for him, that he should indeed be enabled to performe his Cove­nant.

What have I to doe any more wi [...]h Idols? Gloss. Rhetori. Sacra. Tract. 2. cap. 5.] It is In­terrogatio cum Indignatione, an Interrogation not onely importing a negative, I will not any more have to doe with them, but also a vehement de­testation of them, and indignation against them, as that of David to Abishai, 2 Sam. 16.10. and that of Elisha to Iehoram, 2 Reg. 3.13. and that of the Devill to Christ, Matth. 8.29.

With Idols.] The Originall word signifieth likewise sorrows and griefe of minde, a fit word to expresse their sinne and repentance. What have we to doe with these Idols and sorrows any more? They can produce no good, they can heare no prayers, they can work no deliverance, they can bring nothing but evill and anguish to us, and therefore we will not follow or seek unto them any more. Here then is a solemne detestation as of all their other sinnes, so of that especially which had most dishonoured God, most wounded their own consciences, and procured most sor­row unto themselves, with Gods confirmati­on of it.

Then next, follow severall promises of speciall mercies: 1. Of hearing and answering their prayers; I have heard or answered him, or as others render it, I will beare him. 2. Of fatherly care and provi­dence over them. I have observed him, or fixed mine eyes upon him. I have strictly considered his condition, that I might proportion my mercies [Page 64] thereunto. It is a symbole, first, of vigilant care and most intent and sollicitous inspection and providence. The eye of the Lord is upon them that feare him, upon them that hope in his mercy, to deli­ver their soule from death, and to keep them alive in famine, Psal. 13.18, 19. Secondly, of direction and counsell, I will instruct thee, and teach thee in the way that thou shalt goe. I will guide or counsell thee with mine eye, Psal. 32.8. Thirdly, of honour and exaltation: He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous, but with Kings are they on the throne; yea, he doth establish them for ever, and they are exal­ted, Iob 36.7. Lastly, it is an expression of hearing prayers; God is said to have his eye open unto the sup­plication of his servants to hearken unto them in all that they call upon him for, 1 King. 8.52. and the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his eare open unto their cry▪ Psal. 34.15. The Church had before professed her selfe to bee an Orphan, that stood in need of tuition and protection: and here God promiseth to cast his eye, and to place his affection upon her, to look to her, to be her Tu­tor and guardian, to govern her with his speciall providence and wisedome, to take notice of her wants, and supply them; to take notice of her desires and fulfill them; to take notice of her condition, and accordingly in all respects to pro­vide for her. 3. Of refreshment from the heat and violence of temptations or any kinde of afflicti­ons, by the Metaphor of a firre tree which be­ing ever green, and casting forth a large shade, doth afford much comfort and reviving to the [Page 65] weary travellour, 4. Because the firre-tree though comfortable in regard of the shade, is yet unfruit­full; therefore he further promiseth to be a roote of blessings, and all kinde of spirituall graces unto them, From me is thy fruit found; that is, from me is, or shall be thy fruit, as Mal. 2.6▪ 1 Pet. 2.22. Zeph. 3.13. though the word found may here seem to imply and direct unto, an inquiry after the foundation and originall of the fruit here men­tioned. Though all thy fruit of good works and new obedience may seeme to proceed from thy selfe and to bee thine owne, yet if thou be care­full to inquire after the root of them,Certum est nos velle cum volumus; sed ille facit ut ve­limus. Certum est nos facere cum facimus, sed ille facit ut faciamus. Aug. thou wilt finde, that they come from us, though they grow upon thee, and that thou bringest them forth only by the help, supply and vigour of my grace be­stowed on thee: Thou dost them, but the power and strength whereby thou doest them proceeds from me.

These words then are the summe of Gods answer, which he makes unto the Covenant of his people.Sect. 2. They return the calves of their lips,Ipse sacit ut illi faciant quae praecepit: illi non faci­unt ut ipse fa­ciat quod pro­misit. de prae­destin. sanct. cap. 10. God heares and accepts them: They renounce carnall confidenec, in men, in horses, in Idols; and when they look off, and turne away from these, then God looketh upon them with a fatherly eye of care, providence, councell, and protection, I have observed him. They will not say any more to the work of their hands, yee are our God [...], nor any longer make lies their refuge; and God enables them to do as they have said and affordeth comfort and refreshment unto them as the shade of a firre-tree unto a weary tra­vellor. [Page 66] Lastly they believe and acknowledge that when they are fatherlesse and destitute of all help, there is mercy in God to comfort and provide for them; and this God makes good too. Mercy of protection; I am as a green firre-tree; and mercy of bounty and benediction; from me is thy fruit found; by the one defending them against their feares, by the other enabling them unto their duties. Thus God doth enlarge and proportion his mercy to the uttermost extent of Israels prayer or promise, and when they have no help or comfort out of him, he himselfe becomes All in All unto them, making a thorough compensation for every thing which they part with for his sake, and causing them to finde in him alone all that comfort, and satis­faction to their desires, which in vaine they sought for in other things.

The parts are these two generals: First, Gods promise enabling Israel to perform theirs: Ephraim shall say, What have I to doe any more with Idols? Secondly, Gods speciall regard to their prayers, I have heard him; To their persons, and observed him: illustrated by two Metaphors, the one importing protection and defence. I am as a green firee-tree; the other, grace & benediction; from me is thy fruit found.

Ephraim shall say] This is Gods speech and pro­mise,§ 3 setting to his seale and gracious ratification to the Covenant that Israel made, ver. 2.3. without the which it would have been null and evanid: for as man by believing, setteth to his seal to the truth of God, Ioh. 3.33. so God by assisting setteth to his seal to the purpose of man: but with this great [Page 67] difference; mans seal is but a subscription and confes­sion of that which was firm before; for all Gods promises are Yea and Amen, and faith doth not put certainty into the promise of God, Rom. 3.3.4. 2 Tim. 2.13. but into the heart of man concerning the promises, Rom. 4.16, 2 Tim. 1.12. But Gods seale is a confirmation and making efficacious the promise of man, which otherwise would vanish into a lie; all our sufficiency is from him, we can neither will, nor doe any thing further then we re­ceive from him both to will and to doe. Pharoah made promise after promise, and brake them as fast, Exod. Israel makes ptomises one while, and quickly starts aside like a deceit­full bow, as Ice which melts in the day, and har­dens againe in the night, Psal. 78.34, 38. Ier. 34.15.16. to day they will, and to morrow they will not againe; they repent to day, and to morrow they repent of their repenting; like the sluggard in his bed, that puts out his arme to rise, and then puls it in again. So unstable and impotent is man in all his resolutions, till God say Amen to what he purposeth and establisheth the heart by his own grace, Heb. 13.9. When the waters stood as a wall on the right hand and on the left of Israel as they passed through the red Sea, this was a work of Gods own power; for water is unstable and cannot keep together by its own strength, nor be contained within any bounds of its own. So great a work is it to see the mutable wills and resolutions of men kept close to any pious and holy purposes.

The point wee learn from hen [...] is this,§ 4 That [Page 68] our conversion and amendment of life is not suf­ficiently provided for by any band, obligation, or Covenant of our own, whereby we solemnly pro­mise and undertake it, except God bee pleased by his free grace to establish and enable the heart un­to the performance of it: or thus, A penitent mans conversion and Covenant of new obedience hath its firmnesse in the promise and free grace of God. Israel here in the confidence of Gods mercy prayes for pardon and blessings; and in the confidence of his grace, maketh promise of Reformation and a­mendment of life; but all this is but like a written instrument or indenture, which is invalid and of no effect, till the parties concerned have mutually sealed and set to their hands. Till God be pleased to promise us that wee shall doe that, which wee have promised unto him, and doe as it were make our own Covenants for us, all will prove too weak and vanishing to continue. The grace of God un­to the purposes of men is like graine to colours died, or like oyle to colours in a Table or Picture, which makes them hold fresh and not fade away.

There is a necessary and indissolvable dependence of all second causes upon the first, without whose influence and concurrence they neither live, nor move, nor have, or continue in their Being, Acts 17.28. Heb. 1.3. He who is first of causes and last of ends, doth use and direct the necessary, volun­tary, contingent motions and activities of all se­cond causes unto whatsoever ends hee himselfe is pleased to preordaine. And this the naturall and [Page 69] necessary concatenation of things doth require that that which is the absolutest, supremest, first, and most independent will, wisdome, and power of all others, should govern, order and direct all other wills, powers, and wisedomes, that are sub­ordinate to, and inferiour under it, unto whatsoever uses and purposes he who hath the absolute Do­minion and Soveraignty over all, is pleased to ap­point. It cannot be other then a marvellous di­minution unto the greatnesse of God, and a too low esteeme of the absolutenesse of that Majesty which belongs unto him, to make any Counsels, Decrees, Purposes of his to receive their ultimate forme and stampe from the previous and inter­current causalities or conditions of the creature. This I have alwayes looked on as the principall cause of those dangerous errors concerning grace, free-will, and the decrees of God, wherewith the Churches of Christ have been so miserably in the former ages, and in this of ours, exercised by the subtlety of Satan, and by the pride of corrupt minded men; namely, the too low and narrow thoughts and conceptions which men have framed to themselves of God, Vid. Aug. En­cl irid. ad Lau­rent. c. the not acquiescing in his Soveraign Dominion and absolute Power of dispo­sing all things which hee made, unto whatsoever uses himselfe pleaseth: into which I am sure the holy Scripture doth resolve all, Matth. 11. 25.26. Rom., 36. Eph. Psal. 135.6.

Even in the sinfull actions of men,Sect. 5. Gods in­fluence and providence hath a particular hand. [Page 70] As actions, his influence; as sinfull, his providence. His influence to the naturall motion and substance of the action, though not to the wickednesse of it; for this standeth not in Being or perfection (else the fountaine of Being and perfection must needs be the first cause of it) but in defect and privation of perfection. As when a hand draweth a line by a crooked rule, the line is from the hand, but the crookednesse of it is from the rule: or, as when a man goeth lamely, the motion as motion is from the naturall faculty, but the lamenesse of the motion is from the defect and vitiousnesse of the faculty. A swearer could not speak an oath, nor a murtherer reach out his hand to strike a blow, but by the force of those naturall faculties which in and from God, have all their Being and work­ing. But that these naturall motions are by pro­fanesse or malice directed unto ends morally wicked, this proceedeth from the vitiosity and defect which is in the second cause making use of Gods gifts unto his owne dishonour. 2. The Providence of God hath a notable hand in the guiding, ordering, and disposing of these actions as sinfull unto the ends of his own glory in the declaration of his Power, Wisedome, and Iustice, unto which the sinnes of wicked men are perforce carried on, contrary to those ends which they themselves in sinning did propose unto them­selves Vid. Aug. de [...] lib. 11. cap. 17. & lib. 14. c [...]p. 26. q [...]. s [...]pe [...] Exod. [...]. 2. qu [...]st. 18. de peccat. O [...]ig. l▪ 1. c. 34. & [...]. Epist. 59. in so­lut. q. 6. contra [...]ulian. Pelag. lib. 5. cap. 3. & 4. de grat. & lib. Arbit. cap. 20.21. Epist. 120. & 141. Vt medici fae­dorū animaliū felle aut coagu­lo utuntur ad mo [...]bos sanan­dos, Vid Plut. de sera numi­nis vindicta. Quid tum ela­boratam & di­storium quam est ille Discobo los Myronis? Si quis tamen ut parum rectum improbet opus nōne ab intel­lectu artis ab. [...] Quin­ [...]l lib. 2. Instit. cap. 13. [...] ▪ Plu­tarch. Sympos. lib. 5. c. 1.. As an Artificer useth the force of naturall causes unto artificiall effects: as an Huntsman useth the naturall enmity of the Dogge against the Fox or Wolfe, unto the preservation of the [Page 71] Lambs which otherwise would bee destroyed: though the dogge himselfe by nature is as great an enemy to the Lamb, as the Fox. As the Pha­risees were as great enemies to Religion as the Sadduces; yet Paul wisely made use of their emnity amongst themselves for his own preserva­tion and deliverance from them both. Nothing more usuall then for God to mannage and direct the sinnes of men to the bringing about of his own purposes and Counsels. Gen. 50.20. 1 Sam. 2.25. 1 King. 2.26.27. 2 Sam. 12.11. compared with 2 Sam. 16.22. Esay 10.5.6, 7. Act. 4.28. Psal. 76.10. But now unto gracious actions, which belong not at all unto nature as nature, Vide Field of the Church ▪ l. 2. cap. [...]. Aug, de Civ. Dei l. 12. cap. 9. but onely as inspired and actuated with spirituall and heavenly princi­ples, a more singular and notable influence of God is required, not onely to the substance of the acti­on, but more especially to the rectitude and good­nesse of it; for wee have no sufficiency of our selves, not so much as unto the first offers and begin­nings of good in our thoughts, 2 Cor. 3.5. when we are bid to work out our own salvation with feare and trembling, it must be in dependence on the power, and in confidence of the aide of God, for it is he that worketh in us both to will and to do, Phil. [...].11.12.13. when we Covenant to turn unto God, we must withall pray unto him to turne us, Lam. 5.21. Ier. 31. God commands us to turn our selves, and to make us a new heart and a new spirit, that we may live, Ezek. 18.30.31 32. but withall, he telleth us that it is hee who gives us one heart, and one way and a new spirit, that we may walk in his Statutes, Ezek. 11.19.20 Ier. [Page 72] [...]2.39. He giveth us posse, velle, agere, proficere; the power to make us able, the heart to make us willing, the Act to walk, the proficiency to improve, the perseverance to finish and perfect holinesse. David cannot run in the way of Gods Commandements till he enlarge his heart, Psal. 119.32. nothing can finde the way to heaven, but that which comes first from heaven, Ioh. 2.13. wee cannot give unto God any thing but of his own. Who am I, saith David, and what is my people that we should be able to offer so wil­lingly after this sort? for all things come of thee and of thine own have we given thee, 1 Chron. 29.14.

For the further understanding of this point, and of the sweet concord and concurrence betweene the will of man converted,Sect. 6. and the effectuall grace of God converting, wee shall set down these few propositions:

Vid. Calvin▪ in Ezek. 1 [...]. [...].19.20, & Aug. contr. 2. Epist. Pelag. lib. 1. cap. 2. & lib. 2. cap. 5.1. That there is in man by nature a power or faculty which wee call Free will, whereunto be­longeth such an indifferency and indeterminacy in the manner of working, that whether a man will a thing, or [...]ill it, choose it, or turne from it, hee doth in neither move contrary to his owne naturall principles of working. A stone moving downward, doth move naturally; upward, contrary to its nature, and so violently. But which way so ever the will moves, it moves according to the con­dition of its created being, wherein it was so made, as when it chose one part of a contradicti­on, it retained an inward and fundamentall habi­tude unto the other, like those gates which are so made as that they open both wayes. So that as [Page 73] the tongue which was wont to sweare or blas­pheme, when it is converted, doth by the force of the same faculty of speaking, being newly sancti­fied, utter holy and gracious speeches: so the will, which being corrupted did chuse evill and only evill, being sanctified doth use the same manner of operation in chusing that which is good: the created nature of it remaining still one and the same, but being now guided and sanctified by dif­ferent principles.Gibeuf. de li­bert. Great. l. 1. Melior est cum tolus haer [...]t at­que constringi­ [...]ur incommu [...]a­bili Bono, quam cum inde vel ad scipsum relaxa­tur, Aug. de doct. Christ. l. 1. c. 2 [...]. Libe [...]o arbitrio male u­ [...]ens Homo & se­perdidit & ip­sum▪ Sicut enim qui se occidit, u­t [...]que vivendo se occidit, sed se occidendo non vivit, nec s [...]ip­sum potest re­suscitare cum [...]ciderit: Ita cum libero pec­caretu [...] arbitrio, victore peccato amissum est & liberum arbitri­um, Aug. En­chirid. c. 30. & Epist. 107. This wee speak onely with re­spect to the naturall manner of its working; for if we speake of liberty in a morall or theologicall sense, so it is certaine, that the more the will of man doth observe the right order of its proper ob­jects, and last end, the more free and noble it is, the very highest perfection of free will standing in an immutable adherency unto God as the ultimate end of the creature, and all ability of receding or fal­ling from him being the deficiency and not the perfection of Free-will.) And therefore the more the will of man doth cast off and reject God, the more base, servile, and captive it growes. In which sense we affirme against the Papists, that by nature man since the fall of Adam, hath no Free-will or naturall power to beleeve and convert un­to God, or to prepare himselfe thereunto.

2. In man fallen, and being thereby universally in all his faculties levened with vitious and malignant principles, there is a native privitie and corrupt force, which putteth forth it selfe in re­sisting all those powerfull workings of the word and spirit of grace, that oppose themselves against [Page 74] the body of sinne, and move the will unto holy re­solutions: for the wisedome of the flesh cannot bee subject unto the Law of God, Rom. 8.7. The flesh will lust against the spirit, as being contrary thereunto, Gal. 5.17. an uncircumcisied heart will alwayes re­sist the holy spirit, Act. 7.51. there is such a naturall antipathy between the purity of the word and the impurity of the will of man, that he naturally refu­seth to heare, and snuffeth at it, and pulleth away the shoulder, and hardneth the heart, and stoppeth the eare, and shutteth the eyes, and setteth up strong holds, and high reasonings against the wayes of God, and is never so well as when he can get off all sight and thoughts of God, and be as it were without God in the world, Ier. Mal. 1.13. 2 Chron. 36.16.

3. According to the degrees and remainders of this naturall corruption, so farre forth as it is unmortified and unsubdued by the power of grace, this originall force doth proportionably put forth it selfe in withstanding and warring against the Spirit of God even in the regenerate themselves:Habitat in eis, & mentem Re­sistentem repug­nantemque sol­licitat ut ipse conflictusetiam­si non sit dam­nabilis quia non perficit iniqui­tatem, sit mise­rabilis tamen quia non habet pacem. Aug. de [...]upt. & con­cupisc▪ lib. 2. cap. 2. contra Iulian. Pelag. lib. 5. cap. 7. A notable example whereof wee have in Asa, of whom it is said, that he was wroth with Hanani the Seer, and put him in a Prison-house, and was in a rage with him, when hee reproved him for his carnall confidence, 2 Chron. 16.10. and the Apostle doth in many words both state, and be­waile the warring of the Law of his members a­gainst the law of his minde, so that when hee did with the one serve the law of God, hee did with the other serve the law of sinne, and [Page 75] was unable to doe the thing which hee would and the evill which he would not, he did doe by the strength of sinne that dwelled in him, [...] Rom. 7.14, 15.Sect. 7.

4. We are to distingish of the will of God,Aquin. Part. 1. qu. 19. art. 11. which is set forth in Scripture two manner of wayes; There is voluntas signi, or that will of God whereby he requires us to work, and which he hath appointed to bee observed by us. His will signified in precepts and prohibitions. This is the will of God, saith the Apostle, even your san­ctification, 1 Thess. 4.3. So we are said to prove, to try, to doe Gods will, or that which is pleasing in his sight, Matth. 7.21. Rom. 12.2. Ioh. 8.29. and there is voluntas benepla [...]iti, the will of his purpose and counsell, according unto which hee himselfe in his owne secret and unsearchable good pleasure is pleased to work; for hee worketh all things after the counsell of his owne will, Eph. 1.11. whatsoever the Lord pleaseth that he doth in heaven and earth, Psal. 135.6. And no second causes can doe any thing else, though they never so proudly break the order of Gods revealed will, but what his hand and Counsell had before determined, Acts 4.28. The will of Gods precept and command is every day violated, resisted, and broken through by wicked men unto their owne de­struction: How often would I, and yee would not? Matth. 23.37. Ierem. 13.11. But the will of Gods Counsell and purpose cannot bee re­sisted or withstood by all the powers of the world; the Counsell of the Lord must stand; [Page 76] and Multa siunt à malis contra voluntatem Dei, sed tantae est il­le sapientiae tantae que vir­tutis, ut in [...]os exitus sive sines quo [...] bones & Iustos ipse pre­scivit tendant omnia quae vo­luntati ejus videntur adversa, Aug. de Civ. Dei, lib. 22. c 1. Alii obediunt, alii ligantur; nemo Leges omnipotentis evadit de Agone Christiano. c 7. Vid. Bradwardin. de Causa Dei, lib. 1. cap. 32. & Hug. de Sanct Victor. Sum. Sentent. Tract. 1. cap. 13. & de Sacrament. lib 1. part. 2. cap. 19, 20 & part. 3. cap. 5, 6, 13, 14, 15. Anselm. lib. 1 cur Deus Homo, c. 15. Lumbard. lib. 1. dist. 17. those very agents that worke purposely to disappoint and subvert it, doe by those very workings of theirs brings it to passe: and when by their owne intentions they are enemies to it, by Gods wonderfull ordering and directing, they are executioners of it, Romans 9.19. Psalme Proverbs 19.21. Esay 46.10. Ioshua 24.9, 10.

5. According unto this distinction of Gods will, wee are to distinguish of his Call. Some are called voluntate signi, by the will of his pre­cept, when they have the will of God made knowne unto them, and are thereby perswaded unto the obedience of it in the ministry of the Gospel: in which sense our Saviour saith, many are called, but few chosen, Matth. 20.16. and unto those who refused to come unto him that they might have life, he yet saith, These things I say that you might be saved, Ioh. 5.34, 40. Others are called voluntate beneplaciti, ordained first unto eternall life by the free love and grace of God, and then thereunto brought by the execution of that his decree and purpose in the powerfull calling and translating of them from darknesse unto light. And this is to bee called [...] Vocatio alta & secreta quá sit ut legi atque doctrinae accom­modemus assen­sum, Aug. Epi. 107. vocatio qu [...] sit credens: de praedestinat. Sanct. c. 16, 17. according unto purpose, Rom. 8.28. namely, the purpose and counsell of shewing mercy to whom he will shew mercy, Rom. 9.18.

[Page 77]6. They who are called, only as the Hen cal­leth her chicken, with the meere outward Call or voyce of Christ in the Evangelicall Ministry, may and doe resist this Call, and so perish. Co­razin and Bethsaida and Capernaum, were out­wardly called by the most powerfull Ministeriall meanes that ever the world enjoyed, both in Do­ctrine and Miracles: and yet our Saviour tels them that they shall be in a worse condition in the day of Judgement then Tyre, Sidon, or Sodom, Matth. 11.21, 24. So the Prophet complaines, Who hath beleeved our report, or to whom is the arme of the Lord revealed, Esay 53.1. which the Evangelist applies unto the argument of conversion, Iohn 12.37, 40. for so the hand or arme of the Lord is said to be with his Ministers, when by their Ministery men doe turne to the Lord, Act. 11.21. And the same Prophet againe, or Christ in him complaines, All the day long have I stretched forth my hands un­to a disobedient and gainesaying people: Esay 65. 2. Rom. 10.21. So disobedient and gaine saying, that wee finde them resolve sometimes point blank contrary to the Call of God, Ier. 44.16, 27. Ier. 18.11.12. Ier. 2.25. Matth. 23.27.

7. They who are called inwardly and spiritually,Sect. 8. with an heavenly Call, Illud nescio quomodo dici­tur, frustra de­um misereri nisi nos velimus. Si enim Deus miseretur, etiam volumus; ad eandem quippe misericordiam pertinet ut velimus, Aug. ad Simplician. lib. 1. qu. 2. Haec gratia quae occulte humanis cordibus divina largitate tribuitur, à nullo [...]uro corde respuitur. Ideo quippe tribuitur, ut cordis duritia primitus ause­ratur, de praedestinat. Sanct. cap. 8. & contr. 2 Epist. Pelag. lib. 1. cap. 20. vocatione altâ & secundum pro­positum, with such a Call as pursueth the Counsell and purpose of God for their salvation, though [Page 78] they doe resist quoad pugnam, and corruption in them doth strive to beare up against the grace of Christ, yet they doe not resist finally and quoad eventum, unto the repelling or defeating of the operation of Gods effectuall grace: but they are thereby framed to embrace, approve, and submit unto that Call, God himselfe working a good will in them, captivating their thoughts unto the obedience of Christ, and working in them that which is pleasing in his own sight, Phil. 2.13. 2 Cor. 10.5. Heb. 13.21.

And this is done by a double Act.

§. 9.1. An act of spirituall teaching, and irradiating the minde and judgement with heavenly light, called by the Prophet the writing of the law in the heart, and putting it into the inward parts, Ier. 31.33. 2 Cor. 3.3. and by our Saviour, The Fa­thers Teaching, Iob. 6.45. and the holy Spirits con­vincing of sinne, righteousnesse and judgement, Iohn 16.8, 11. and by the Apostle, a demonstration of the spirit and power, 1 Cor. 2.4. A spirituall re­velation of wisedome out of the word unto the conscience, Eph. 1.17. For though we are to con­demne fanatick revelations besides the word, and without it: yet wee must accknowledge spirituall revelation, or manifestation of the divine light and power of the word by the holy Spirit in the mindes of men converted: for the word of God being a spirituall Object, doth unto the salvificall knowledge of it require such a spirituall quality in the faculty which must know it, as may be able to passe a right judgement upon it; for spirituall [Page 79] things are spiritually discerned, 1 Cor. 2.14. It is true, that hypocrites and other wicked men may have very much notionall and intellectuall know­ledge of the Scriptures,Cibus in som [...]is simillimus est [...] vigilanti­um, quo tamen do [...]m [...]ntes non [...], Aug. Confess. lib. 3. cap. 6. Sol non omnes quibus lucet e­tiam accendit. Sic sapicatia multos quos do­cet non continuo etiam acc [...]ndit. Aliud est multas divitias scire, aliud possidere: nec notitia d [...] ­vitem sacit, s [...]d poss [...]ssio. Ber­nard. in Cant. Serm. 23. and those holy things therein revealed, Heb. 6.4. 2 Pet. 2.21. But none of that knowledge amounteth unto that which is called the Teaching of God, and a spirituall de­monstration: for the mysteries of the Gospell were unto this end revealed, that by them we might be brought unto the obedience of Christ; and therefore the knowledge of them is never propor­tioned or commensurate to the object, till the mind be thereby made conformed unto Christ, till the con­ceptions which are framed in us touching God, and sin, and grace, and heaven, and eternall things, be suteable to those which were in the minde of Christ, 1 Cor. 2.16. Evangelicall truths are not fitted unto meere intellectuall, but unto practicall judgement. It is such a knowledge of Christ as may fill us with the fulnesse of God, Ephe. 3.18.19. A knowledge that must work communion with Christ, and conformity unto him, Phil. 3.10. A knowledge that must produce a good conversation, Iam. 3.13. [...], B [...]sil. de martyre ma­nante. Hominis sapi­entia pietas est. Aug. Enchirid cap. 2. de doctr. Christiana, lib. 2. cap. 6.7. & lib. 1. cap. 35. He that saith he knoweth him, and keepeth not his Commandements, is a lier, and the truth is not in him, 1 Ioh. 2.3, 4. We doe not know Christ till wee know him as our chiefest good, as our choycest trea­sure, as our unsearchable riches, as Elect, and precious, and desireable, and altogether lovely, and the fairest of ten thousand, and worthy of all acceptation, in com­parison of whom all the world besides is as dung. The knowledge of Christ is not seeing onely, but [Page 80] seeing and tasting, Psal. 34.8. Psal. 119.103. And therefore they who in one sense are said to have known God, [...]. A [...]tor. Et [...]ic. l. 3. c. 7. Rom. 1.21. are yet in the same place, verse 28. said not to have God in their knowledge. It is an excellent speech of the Philosopher, That such as every man is in himselfe, such is the end that he works unto, and such notions he hath of that good which is his end. And therefore it is impossible that a wicked frame of heart can ever look upon any supernatuall object as his last end, or as principally desireable. If I should see a man choose a small trifle before a rich jewell, how­ever hee should professe to know the excellency and to value the richnesse of that jewell; yet I should conclude that hee did not indeed under­stand the worth of it a right. And therefore unto the perfect and proper knowledge of supernaturall things, there is required a speciall work of the grace and spirit of Christ opening the heart, and working it to a spirituall constitution proporti­onable to such kinde of truths about which it is conversant. The Scripture every where attribu­teth this worke unto God,Deum scire ne­mo potest nisi Deo docente: sine Deo non cognoscitur De­us. Irenaeus l. 4. c. 14. A deo dis­cendum est quid de Deo mulli­gendum sit, quia non nisi se Au­thore cognosci­tur, Hil. de Trin. l. 5. and his Spirit; It is he that giveth a heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and eares to heare, Deut. 29.4. It is he that giveth an heart to know him, Ier. 24.7. It is he that manife­steth himselfe unto those that love him, Ioh. 14.21. It is he that revealeth unto us by his Spirit the things of God, 1 Cor. 2.10. It is he that giveth us an understanding, 1 Ioh. 5.20. and that opens the understanding to understand the Scriptures, Luk. 24.45. Act. 16.14. It is he that teacheth us to call [Page 81] Christ our Lord, Matth. 16.17. 1 Cor. 12.3. for the voyce of carnall and corrupt Reason is, we will not have this man to raign over us, Luk. 19.14. Every man naturally frameth and shapeth his notions of doctrinall matters unto the manner of his consci­ence and conversation, embracing that which is consonant, and rejecting that which is dissonant thereunto, Mic. 2.11. Esay. 30.10, 11. To the un­cleane every thing is uncleane, because the very minde and conscience of such men is defiled, Tit. 1.15. This then is the first work in effectuall calling, the opening of the eye of the minde rightly to conceive of the things of God, of the guilt of sin, of the heavinesse of wrath, of the perill of perishing, of the weight and moment of damnation and sal­vation, of the things that concerne its everlasting peace, of the righteousnesse of Christ, of the beauties of holinesse, of the exceeding abundant weight of glory, of the comforts of the holy Spi­rit, and the unspeakable and glorious joy shed forth into the heart by believing. These truths the heart is so convinced of, as seriously to ponder them, and to fix its deepest and saddest considerations upon them.

2. An act of spirituall inclining and effectuall determining the will of man to embrace the ulti­mate dictate of a minde thus enlightned,§. 10. and to make a most free, spontaneous, and joyfull choyce of supernaturall good things thus rightly appre­hended, upon a cleare and deliberate considerati­on of their excellency above all other things, Phil. 3.8. This Act of choosing the Lord for our [Page 76] [...] [Page 77] [...] [Page 80] [...] [Page 81] [...] [Page 82] portion and chiefest good, and of cleaving unto him, we finde often mentioned in the Scripture, Deut. 30.19. Iosh. 24.22. Psal. 84.10. Heb. 11.25. Act. 11.23. Psal. 119.30, 31, 173. for when the soule of a man is so throughly by Gods teaching con­vinced of the danger and misery of sinne, wherein so long as a man continueth, he lives onely to dishonour God, and to undoe himselfe: of the be­nefit of righteousnesse in Christ, whereby he is re­conciled unto God, and adopted unto a glorious inheritance: and of the beauty of Holinesse, where­by he is conformed unto Christ his Head, and fit­ted for the Inheritance:Operatur Deus in [...]ordibus quid aliud qua voluntatem? Aug. Ep. 107. C [...]rtum est nos velle cum volu­mus, sed ipse facit ut veli­mus praebendo vires efficacissi­mas voluntati. De grat. & lib. arbit. cap. 16. These previous Acts of heavenly teaching, are alwayes seconded with effe­ctuall operations upon the will, suteable unto them­selves: for the liberty of the will doth not stand in a peremptory indifferency unto any object what­soever (else there should be no liberty in hea­ven) this is a defect and imperfection, not any matter of power or fredome; misera vis est va­lere ad nocendum. But the liberty of will standeth in this, that being a reasonable appetite, it is apt to be led one way or another, to choose one thing or another, according to the dictates of reason, and servato ordine sinis, with subjection to that which it made appeare to bee the supreame end and happinesse of the soule; for every faculty is naturally subservient to the ultimate good of that nature whereof it is a faculty, and should mon­strously exorbitate from its use and end, if it should put forth it selfe to the destruction, or re­fuse to close with that which is the happinesse of [Page 83] the soule unto wich it pertaines. As soone as ever therefore the Spirit of grace doth by such a spirituall and practicall demonstration as hath been described, set forth God in Christ as the su­preame and most unquestionable end and happi­nesse of the soule, there are consequently suteable impressions upon the will, determining it unto operations conforme unto such a beautifull and glorious object, and enlarging it to runne unto this Center, to renounce all other things and to cleave onely unto this.

And these Acts upon the will are,

1. By preventing Grace, it is bended and excited unto heavenly appetitions, and unto the choyce of such spirituall good things, the soveraigne ex­cellencies whereof have been so sweetly repre­sented. Good is the object of the will; we cannot will evill under the notion of evill: and amongst good things, that which is by the practicall judge­ment resolved to bee best, and that by the teach­ing of God himselfe (who neither is deceived, nor can deceive) is the object of the wills electi­on: and thus God by his exciting grace worketh in us ipsum velle, that every Act whereby we choose Christ, and subscribe our name in the role of his souldiers and servants, answering the Call of God by a most chearfull consent thereunto.

2. By assisting and cooperating Grace Cooperando perficit quod o­perando incipit; ut velimus sine nobis operatur cum volumus nobiscum coope­ratur, Aug. de grat. & lib. Ar­bitr. c. 17. En­chirid. cap 32. de nat. & grat. cap. 31. contr. 2. Epist. Pelag. lib. 2. cap. ult. Non mihi suffi­cit quod semel donavit nisi semper donave­rit. Peto ut ac­cipiam, & cum accepero, rursus peto, &c. Hier. Epist., it is fur­ther enabled to put forth this good will into deed, and so to work towards its salvation, Esay 26.12. 1 Cor. 15.10.

Lastly, by subsequent Grace, it is carried on [Page 84] towards perfection, to finish what was begun, and so to proceed from the beginning of faith in voca­tion to the end of faith in salvation, the Spirit of Christ working in us, as he himselfe did work for us unto a consummatum est, saving to the uttermost those that come unto God by him, Phil. 1.6. 1 Pet. 9.10. Heb. 13.21. Eph. 4.13. Heb. 7.25.

And by this meanes the native obstinacy of the will both in and after conversion is subdued, so that it neither doth nor can overcome the grace of God working effectually with his word: First, because of the purpose of God, to shew mer­cy where he will shew mercy, which can in no wise be resisted. Secondly, because of the power of God, in the effectuall applying of that mercy unto the soules of men with admirable sweet­nesse, with undeniable evidence, with ineffable perswasion, with omnipotent and invincible energie, which no hardnesse of heart is able to refuse, be­cause the proper operation of it is to take away that hardnesse which would refuse it, and that by an act of equall power with that whereby Christ was raised from the dead, which all the world was not able to hinder or prevent, Eph. 1.19. Col. 2.12. 1 Pet. 1.5. Thus wee see, though wee desire, and endeavour, and purpose, and covenant conversion and amendment of life; yet the whole progresse of conversion, our promises, our cove­nants, our abilities, our sufficiencies to make good any thing, doe all receive their stability from the grace of God.

§. 11.From whence wee learne: First, Not to put [Page 85] confidence in our own studies, vowes, purposes, promises of new obedience: Every man is a lyar; no sooner left unto himselfe, but hee becomes a miserable spectacle of weaknesse and mutability.Vide Aug. de correp. & grat. cap. 11. Even Adam in innocency when hee was to be supported and persevere by his owne strength, though hee had no sinne or inward corruption to betray him, how suddenly was he thrown down from his excellency by Satan with a poore and slender temptation? how strangely did a creature of so high and noble a constitution exchange God himselfe for the fruit of a tree, believe a Serpent before a Maker, and was so mi­serably cheated as to suppose that by casting away Gods Image, he should become the more like him? Who could have thought that David a man after Gods owne heart, with one miscarrying glance of his eye should have been plunged into such a gulfe of sinne and misery as he fell into? that so spirituall and heavenly a soule should be so suddenly overcome with so sensuall a tempta­tion? that so mercifull and righteous a man should so greatly wrong a faithfull servant as he did Vriah, and then make the innocent blood of him whom hee wronged, a mantle to palliate and to cover the wrong,Vt Bellerophon literas in scip­sum scriptas se­rebat. Hom. Ili. 2. & Plut. de Curiositate. and make use of his fide­lity to convey the letters and instructions for his own ruine? Who could have thought that Lot, so soone after he had been delivered from fire and brimstone, and vexed with the filthy conversation of the Sodomites, should bee himselfe inflamed with unnaturall, incestuous lust? who could have [Page 86] suspected, that Peter who had his name from a Rock, should be so soone shaken like a Reed, and after so solemn a protestation not to forsake Christ though all else should, to bee driven with the voice of a Maide from his stedfastnesse, and with oaths and curses be the first that denied him? Surely every man in his best estate is altogether vanity.

Therefore it behoveth us to be alwayes hum­bled in the sight of our selves, and to be jealous 1. Of our originall impotency unto the doing of any good, unto the forbearing of any evill, unto the repelling of any temptation by our owne power: In his owne might shall no man be strong, 1 Sam. 2.9. To bee a sinner and to be without strength, are termes equivolent in the Apostle, Rom. 5.6, 8. Nay, even where there is a will to doe good, there is a defect of power to perform it, Rom. 7.18. our strength is not in our selves, but in the Lord and in the power of his might, and in the working of his Spirit in our inner man, Eph. Phil. 4.13. If but a good thought arise in our mind, or a good desire and motion bee stirring in our heart, or a good word drop from our lips, we have great cause to take notice of the grace of God that offered it to us, and wrought it in us, and to admire how any of the fruit of Paradise could grow in so heathy a wil­dernesse.

2. Of our naturall antipathy and reluctancy unto holy duties; our aptnesse to draw back towards perdition; to refuse and thrust away the offers [Page 87] and motions of grace; our rebellion which ariseth from the law of the members against the law of the minde; the continuall droppings of a corrupt heart upon any of the tender buds and sproutings of piety that are wrought within us, our aptnesse to bee weary of the yoke, and to shake off the burden of Christ from our shoulders, Esay 43.22. our naturall levity and inconstancy of spirit in any holy resolutions, [...], vide [...]the­naeum, l 7. c▪ 19 Tertul. de P [...]l. c. 3. [...] [...] ▪ A [...]ist E [...]h. l. 8. [...]li [...] 9 cap. 4 Hoc ha­b [...]m int [...]r cae [...]tera b [...]ai mo [...]es, placent sibi & p [...]rmanent, Levis est malitia, saepe mutatur Senec. Epist. 47. Max­imum indicium est malae men­tis, fluctuatio, Epist. 120. continuing but as a morning dew, which presently is dryed up, beginning in the spirit and ending in the flesh, having inter­changeable fits of the one and the other, like the Polypus, now of one colour, and anon of another; now hot with zeale, and anon cold with security; now following Moses with Songs of Thanksgiving for Deliverance out of Egypt, and quickly after thrusting Moses away, and in heart returning unto Egypt againe. Such a discomposednesse and na­turall instability there is in the spirit of man, that like strings in an instrument, it is apt to be altered with every change of weather, nay while you are playing on it, you must ever and anon bee new turning it; like water heated, which is alwayes offering to reduce it selfe to its own coldnesse. No longer Sun, no longer light; no longer Christ, no longer grace: If his back be at any time up­on us, our back will immediately be turned from him, like those forgetfull Creatures in Seneca, who even while they are eating, if they happen to looke aside from their meat, immediately lose the thoughts of it, and goe about seeeking for more.

[Page 88]3. Of the manifold decayes and abatements of the grace of God in us, our aptnesse to leave our first Love, Revel. 2.4. How did Hezekiah fall into an impolitick vainglory L [...]g [...] Imperi­ali interdicta vini, olei, liqua­minis exporta­tio, ne Barbari gustu illecti promptiùs in­vaderent sines Romanorum, Leg. 1. Cod. quae res expor­tari non deb [...]at. Et apud Chine­ses, exteri in le­ca Regni Interi­ora non admit­tuntur, tantùm in oris ma [...]ti­mis conceditur commercium. Boterus in Ca­talog. Impe­riorum., in shewing all his Trea­sures unto the Ambassadors of a forraign Prince, thereby kindling a desire in him to be master of so rich a Land, as soone as God left him unto himselfe? 2 King. 20.12, 13. How quickly with­out continuall husbandry will a Garden or Vine­yard be wasted and overgrown with weeds? How easily is a ship when it is at the very shore, carried with a storme back into the Sea againe? How quickly will a curious watch if it lie open, gather dust into the wheeles and bee out of order? Though therefore thou have found sweetnesse in Religion, joy in the holy Spirit, comfort, yea heaven in good duties, power against corrupti­ons, strength against temptations, triumph over afflictons, assurance of Gods favour, vigour, life, and great enlargement of heart in the wayes of godlinesse; yet for all this be not high-minded, but feare. Remember the flower that is wide open in the morning when the Sunne shines upon it, may be shut up in the evening, before night come. If the Sunne had not stood still, Ioshua had not taken vengeance on the enemy, Iosh. 10.13. and if the Sunne of righteousnesse doe not constantly shine upon us and supply us, wee shall not be able to pursue and carry on any victorious affections. While God openeth his hand thou art filled, but if he withdraw his face, thou wilt be troubled againe, Psal. 104.28, 29. Therefore take heed of resting [Page 89] on thine owne wisdome or strength. Thou mayest after all this grieve the Spirit of God, and cause him to depart and hide himselfe from thee: thou mayest fall from thy stedfastnesse, and lose thy wonted comforts; thou mayest have a dead wi [...] ­ter upon the face of thy conscience, and be brought to such a sad and disconsolate condition, as to conclude that God hath cast thee out of his sight, that he hath forgotten to be gracious, and hath shut up his loving kindnesse in displeasure ▪ to roare out for an­guish of spirit as one whose bones are broken; thy soule may draw nigh to the grave, and thy life to the destroyers, and thou mayest finde it a wofull and almost insuperable difficulty to recover thy life and thy strength again. It was so with Iob, Chap. 10.16, 17. Chap. Chap. 16.9, 13. Chap. 30.15, 31. It was so with David, Psal. 51.8▪ Psal. 77.2, 3, 4. It was so with Heman, Psal. 88. and diverse others. See Iob 33.19.22. Psal. 1 [...].3, 11. Isa 54.6, 11. Ion. 2.3, 4. There­fore we should still remember in a calme to provide for a storme; to stirre up the graces of God conti­nually in our selves that they be not quenched, 2 Tim. 1.6. So to rejoyce in the Lord, as withall to work out our salvation with fear and tr [...]mbling, Psal 2.11. Phil. 2.12, 13. never to let the grace of God puffe us up, or make us forgetfull of our own weak­nesse; but as the Apostle s [...]ith of himself in regard of Gods grace, When I am weak, then am I strong, 2 Cor. 12.10. so to say of our selves in regard of our own naturall corruption, when I am strong, then I am weak.

[Page 90]Secondly, This must not so humble us as to de­ject and dismay us,Sect. 12. or make us give over the hope of holding out to the end, when our nature is so weak, our enemies so strong, our temptations so many: but we must withall be quickned by these considerations, with prayer to implore, and with faith to rely on and draw strength from the word, and grace of God, to have alwayes the window of the soule open towards the Sunne of righte­ousnesse, whereby the supplies of his grace to prevent, exci [...]e, assist, follow, establish us, and car­ry on every good thing which he hath begun for us, may be continually admitted. This is one of the most necessary duties for a Christian, to hold constant and fixed purposes in godlinesse: the Scripture frequently calls upon us for them, that with purpose of heart wee would cleave unto God, Act. 11.23. That we would continue in the grace of God, Act. 13.43. that we would bee rooted and grounded in love, Ephes. 3.17. that we would hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering Hebr. 10.23. th [...]t we would be stedfast and unmove­able, alwayes abounding in the work of the Lord, 1 Cor. 15.58. that we would look to our selves that wee may not lose the things which wee have wrought, 2 Ioh. ver. 8. that we would hold fast and keep the works of Christ unto the end, Revel. 2.25, 26. and it is that which godly men are most earnestly solicitous about, and do strive unto with greatest importunity: I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgresse, Psal. 17.3. Vnite my heart to feare thy name, Psal. 86.11. My heart is fixed, O God, my [Page 91] heart is fixed, I will sing and give praise. Psal. [...]7.7. Therefore in this case it is necessarie for us to draw nigh unto God, who onely can ratifie all our pious resolutions, who giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no power encreaseth strength, Isa. 40.29. who onely c [...]n settle and stablish the [...]earts of men, 1 Pet. 5.10. The conscience of our duty the sense of our frailtie, the power, malice, and cunning of our Enemies, the obligation of our Covenant, should direct the sou [...]e perpetually unto God for the supply of his grace, that that may in all our weaknesses be sufficient for us, and hold us up that we may be safe, as the Psalmist speaks, Psal. 119.117. and may never through infirmitie or unstablenesse of spirit violate our own resolu­tions.

Thirdly, This is matter of great comfort unto the godly,Sect. 13. that in the midst of so many temp­tations, snares, impediments, amongst which we walk, not onely the s [...]fetie of our souls, and securi­tie of our eternall salvation; but even our present condition in this life, our conversion, our obedi­ence, all our pious purposes of heart, all the pro­gresse we make in an holy conversation, do not de­pend upon the weaknesse and uncertainty of an hu­mane will, but upon the infallible truth, the con­stant p [...]omise, the immutable purpose, the invinci­ble power, the free love the abs [...]lute grate, the om­nipotent wisdome and working of God, who doth whatsoever he pleaseth both in heaven and earth, and worketh all things by the counsell of his own will, I the Lord change not, therefore you sonnes of [Page 92] Jacob are not consumed, Mal. 3.6. We poore and weak men change with every winde strong to day, and weak to morrow: fixed and resolute to day, sh [...]ken and staggering to morrow: running for­ward to day, and revolting as fast to morrow: no hold to be taken of our promises, no trust to bee given to our Covenants. Like Peter on the water, we walk one step and we sink another. All our comfort is this, our strength and standing is not founded in our selves, but in the rock whereon we are built, and in the power of God, by which we are kept through faith unto salvation, out of whose hands none are able to pluck us; our verie actions are wrought in us, and carried on unto their end by the power of Christ, who hath mercy, wisedome, and strength enough to rescue us, as from the power of hell and death, so from the danger of our own fickle and froward hearts. To see a man when hee is halfe a mile from his enemie draw a sword to encounter him, or take up a stone to hit him, would be but a ridiculous spectacle: for what could he do with such weapons by his own strength at such a distance? But if he mount a canon, and point that levell against the enemie, this we do not wonder at, though the distance be so great: because though the action be originally his, yet the effect of it proceedeth from the force of the materials and instruments which he useth, to wit, the powder, the bullet, the fire, the canon. It seemed absurd in the eye of the enemy for little David with a Shepheards bagge and a sling to go against Goliah an armed Gyant: and it produced in [Page 93] his proud heart much disdaine and insultation, 1 Sam. 17.41, 42, 43. But when we heare David mention the name of God, in the strength and con­fidence whereof he came against so proud an ene­my, this makes us conclude weake David strong enough to encounter with great Goliah. It is not our own strength, but the love of God which is the foundation of our triumph over all enemies, Rom. 8.38, 39.

But some will then say, then we may be secure; If Gods grace and power be our alone strength,Doctrina is [...]ius mod. opta [...]ata est ad securitatem omnis Religionis pes [...]en & pernicum homi­nibus inge [...]e­randam, &c. Remonstr. in Scripti D [...]gma­ [...]icis circa a [...]tic. 5. pag. 299. Nos autem di­cimus hum nam voluntatem sic divinitus adju­vari ad facie­dam Iustitiam ut accipiat Spi­ritum Sanctum quo fiat in ani­mo ejus d [...]lect­tio dilectioque summi illius & incommutabilis Bo [...]— Cum id praesti­teri [...] Grati [...] ut moreremur [...]eccato, quid aliud faciemus si vivemus in eo nisi ut Gratiae simus Ingrati? ne­q [...]e enim qui laudat b [...]n [...]ficium medicinae, prodesse morbos d [...]cit, &c. Quos p [...]aese [...]vit ut prae­dest ma [...]et praed [...]st [...]n [...] vit ut vocaret, vocavit ut just [...]fiacaret just [...]ficavi [...] ut glorificaret, Aug. de Spi [...]itu & liter. cap. 3.5.6▪ 30. then let us commit our selves and our salvation unto him, and in the meane time give over all thoughts and care of it our selves, and live as wee list; no act of ours can frustrate the counsell or the love of God. To this we answer with the A­postle, God forbid. Though the enemies of Free Grace do thus argue, yet they who indeed have the grace of God in their hearts, have better learned Christ: For it is against the formall nature of the grace and Spirit of Christ to suffer those in whom it dwelleth to give over themselves unto securitie and neglect of God: for grace is a vitall and active principle, and doth so work in us, as that it doth withall dispose and direct us unto working to. The propertie of grace is to fight against, and to kill sinne, as being most extremely contrary unto it; and therefore it is a most irrationall w [...]y of arguing to argue from the being of grace to the [Page 94] life of sinne. How shall wee that are dead to sinne, live any longer therein? Rom. 6.2. If we be dead to sinne this is argument enough in the Apostles judgement, why we should set our affections on things above, Col. 3.2, 3. The grace of God doth not onely serve to bring salvation, but to teach us to deny ungodlinesse and worldly lusts, and to live so­berly, righteously and godly, in this present world, T [...]t. 2.11, 2. He who hath decreed salvation as the end, hath decreed also all the antecedent meanes unto that end to be used in a manner suteable to the condition of reasonable and voluntary agents: un­to whom it belongs, having their minds by grace illightned, and their wills by grace prevented, to cooperate with the same grace in the further pursu­ance of their salvation. And if at any time cor­ruption should in Gods children abuse his grace and efficacy unto such presump [...]uous resolutions, they would quickly rue so unreasonable and car­nall a way of arguing, by the wofull sense of Gods displeasure in withdrawing the comforts of his grace from them, which would make them ever after take heed how they turned the grace of God into w [...]ntonnesse any more. Certainly, the more the servants of God are assured of his assistance, the more carefull they are in using it unto his own service. Who more sure of the grace of God then the Apostle Paul, who gloried of it as that that made him what he was, By the grace of God I am that I am; who knew that Gods grace was suffici­ent for him; and that nothing could separate him [...]rom the love of Christ; who knew whom he had belee­ved, [Page 95] and that the grace of the Lord was exceeding abundant towards him? and yet who more tender and fearfull of sin? who more set against corruption? more abundant in duty? more pressing unto p [...]rfe­ction, then he? This is the nature of grace to am­mate and actuate the faculties of the soul in Gods service, to ratifie our Covenants, and to enable us to perform them.

Fourthly,Sect. 14. As it is singular comfort to the ser­vants of God, That their own wills and purposes are in Gods keeping, and so they cannot ruine themselves: so is it also, That all other mens wills and r [...]solutions are in Gods keeping too, so that they shall not be able to purpose or resolve on any evill against the Church, without leave from him. So then first, when the rage and passions of men break out, Tribe divided against Tribe, bro­ther against brother, father against childe, head against body; when the band of Unitie which was wont to knit together this flourishing King­dome, is broken like the Prophets staffe, and there­withall the Beauty of the Nation miserably wither­ed and deca [...]ed (for these two go still together, Beauty and Bands, Zach. 11.10, 14.) we must look on all this as Gods own work. It was he that sent an evill spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem for the mutuall punishment of the sinnes of one another, Iudg. 9.23. It was he who turned the he [...]rts of the Egyptians to hate his people, and to deale subtilly with them, Psal. 105.25. He sent the Assyrian against his people, giving them a charge to take the spoil and the prey, and to tread them down [Page 96] like the mire of the streets, Isa. [...]0.16.6. Hee ap­pointed the sword of the King of Babylon, by his over-ruling direction to go against Iudah, and not against the Ammonites, Ezek. 21.19.22. He by the secret command of his providence marked some for safety, and gave commission to kill and slay others, Ezek. 9. [...], 5. It is he who giveth Iacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers, and powreth out upon them the strength of battell, Isa. 42.24, 25. If there be evill in a City, in a Kingdome, the Lord hath done it, Amos 3.6. Isa. 45.7. This cons [...]eration is very usefull both to humble us, when we consider that God hath a controversie against the Land, and that it is he whom wee have to do withall in these sad commotions that are in the Kingdomes▪ and to quiet and silence us, that we may not dare murmurre at the course of his wise and righteous proceedings with us: and to d [...]rect us with prayer, faith, and patience, to implore, and in his good time to expect such an issue and close, as we are sure shall be for his own glory, and for the mani­festation of his mercie towards his people, and his Iustice towards all that are implacable enemies un­to Sion.

2. In the troubles of the Church this is matter of singular comfort, that however enemies may say, This and that we will do, hither and thither wee will go; though they may combine together and be mutually confederate, Psal. 83.2, 5. and gird themselves, and take counsell, and speak the word, yet in all this God hath the casting voyce. There is little heed to be given unto what Ephraim saith, [Page 97] except God say the same: without him whatso­ever is counselled, shall come to nought; whatsoever is decreed or spoken, shall not stand, Es. 8.9, 10. We have a lively Hypotyposis or description of the swift, confident and furious march of the great Hoast of Senacharib towards Ierusalem, with the great terrors and consternation of the Inhabitants in every place where they came, weeping, flying, removing their habitations, Esay 10.28, 29, 30, 31. and when he is advanced unto Nob, from which place the City Ierusalem might be seen, he there shook his hand against Ierusalam, threatning what he would doe unto it. And then when the waters were come to the very neck, and the Assirian was in the hight of pride and fury, God sent forth a prohibition against all their resolutions, and that huge Army which was for pride and number, like the thick Trees of Lebanon, were suddenly cut downe by a mighty one, to wit, by the Angel of the Lord, vers. 33.34. compared with Ezek. 31.3, 10. Esay 17.12, 13, 14.37.36. therefore,

3. Our greatst businesse is to apply our selves to God, who alone is the Lord that healeth us, who alone can joyne the two sticks of Ephraim and Iudah, and make them one, Exod. 15.26. Ezek. 27.19. that he would still the raging of the Sea, and com­mand a calme againe. He can say, Ephraim shall say thus and thus; he hath the hearts of Kings, and consequently of all other men in his hands, Prov. 21.1. and he can turne them as rivers of wa­ter, which way soever he will, as men by art can derive waters and divert them from one course to [Page 98] another (as they did in the Siege of Babylon, Herodot. lib. 1. Xenophon. Cy­ropaed. lib. 7. Sa­lianus. Anno mundi 3515. § 5 & 3516 § 22. Sir W. Raleigh, lib▪ 3. cap. 3. § 5. as Historians tell us, whereunto the Scripture seem­eth to referre, Esay 43.15, 16. Esay 44.23, 28. Ier. 50, 23. Ier. 51.36.) he can sway, alter, divert, over-rule the purposes of men as it pleaseth him, reconciling Lambs and Lions unto one another, Esay 11.6. making Israel, Egypt, and Assyria agree together, Esay 19.24, 25. hee can say to Balaam Blesse, when his mind was to Curse, Iosh. 24.10. he can turne the wrath of Laban into a covenant of kindnesse with Iacob, Gen. 31.24, 44. and when Esa [...] had advantage to execute his threats against his brother, he can then turne resolutions of cruelty into kisses, Gen. 33.4. and when Saul hath com­passed David and his men round about, and is most likely to take them, he can even then take him off by a necessary diversion, 1 Sam. 23.26, 27, 28. This is the comfort of Gods people, That what ever men say, except God say it too, it shall come all to nothing. He can restraine the wrath of men whensoever it pleaseth him, and he will doe it, when it hath proceeded so farre as to glorifie his power, and to make way for the more notable mani­festation of his goodnesse to his people, Psal. 76.10. And thus farre of Gods answer to the Covenant of Ephraim. They promised to renounce Idols, and here God promiseth that they should renounce them.

§. 15.Now there are two things more to be observed from this expression, What have I to doe any more with Idols? 1. That in true Conversion God maketh our speciall sinne to be the object of our [Page 99] greatest detestation: which point hath beene opened before. 2. From those words any more, That the nature of true repentance is To break sin off, as the expression is, Dan. 4.27. and not to suf­fer a man to continue any longer in it, Rom. 6.1, [...]. It makes a man esteeme the time past sufficient to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, 1 Pet. 4.2, 3. and is exceeding thrifty of the time to come, so to redeeme it as that God may have all: doth not linger, nor delay, nor make objections, or stick at inconveniences, or raise doubts whether it be seasonable to goe out of Egypt and Sodome or no: Is not at the sluggards language modo & modo, Non erat om­nino quod re­sponderem v [...]ri­tate convictus, nisi tantum ver­ba lenta & som­nolenta, modo, cece modo, sin [...] paululum. Sed modo & modo non habebant modum, Aug. confess▪ lib. 8. c. 5. Da mihi ca­stitatem & con­tinentiam, sed noli modo; time­bam ne me ci [...]o exaudires, & cito sanares, Ibid. cap. 7. a little more sleepe, a little more slumber: nor at Agrippas language almost thou perswadest me: nor at Felix his language, when I have a convenient sea­son I will send for thee: but immediately resolves with Paul not to conferre with flesh and bloud, Gal. 1.16. and makes haste to flie from the wrath to come, while it is yet to come, before it overtake us, Luk. 3.7. doth not make anxious or cavilling questions, What shall I doe for the hundred talents? How shall I maintaine my life, my credit, my family? how shall I keep my friends? how shall I preserve mine Interests, or support mine estate? but ventures the losse of all for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, Matth. 13.46. Phil. 3.7, 8. is contented to part with a skie-full of Starrs for one Sunne of Righteousnesse. The Converts that returne to Christ, come like Dromedaries, like Doves, like Ships; no wings, no sailes can carry them fast enough from their former courses unto him, [Page 100] Esa. 60.6, 7, 8, 9. Abraham is up betimes in the morning though it be to the sacrificing of a Son, Gen. 22.3. David makes haste, and delayes not when he is to keepe Gods Commandements, Psal. 119.60. when Christ called his Diciples, immediately they left their nets, their Ship, their Father, and fol­lowed him, Matth. 4.20, 22. This is the mighty power of Repentance; It doth not give dilatory an­swers, It doth not say to Christ, goe away now, and come to morow, then I will heare thee; I am not yet old enough, or rich enough, I have not gotten yet pleasure, or honour, or profit, or perferment enough by my sinnes; but presently it heares and entertaines him. I have sinned enough already to condemn, to shame, to slay me; I have spent time and strength enough already upon it, for such miserable wages as shame and death come to; Therefore I will never any more have to doe with it. This is the sweet and most ingenuous voyce of Repentance; The thing which I see not, Teach me, and if I have done iniquity, I will doe no more, Iob 34.32. There is no sinne more contrary to repen­tance then Apostacie: for godly sorrow worketh Repentance unto salvation which the soule never findes reason to repent of, 2 Cor. 7.10, 11▪ Let us therefore take heed of an evill heart of unbeliefe in departing from the living God, Heb. 3.12. and of drawing back unto perdition, Heb. 10.39. of dis­missing our sinnes, as the Jewes did their servants, Ier. 34.16. and calling them back again: for Satan usually returnes with seven more wicked spirits, and maketh the last state of such a man worse then the [Page 101] first, Luk. 11.26. Ground which hath been a long time laid downe from tillage unto pasture, if af­terwards it bee new broken, will bring a much greater crop of corne, then it did formerly when it was a common field. And so the heart which hath been taken off from sinne, if it returne to it againe, will bee much more fruitfull then before. As lean bodies have many times the strongest appe­ [...]i [...]e, so lust when it hath beene kept leane, re­turnes with greater hunger unto those objects that seed it. A streame which hath beene stopped, will runne more violently being once opened a­gaine. Therefore in Repentance wee must shake hands with sinne for ever, and resolve never more to tamper with it.

Now in that the Lord saith,§. 16. Solenne erat eos quibus p [...]ae ma­nus non erant sacris arceri, Briston. de sor­mul. lib. 1. [...], Hom. Iliad. 3. Etiam impiae initiationes ar­cent profan [...]s, Tertul. Apol. Quantum à praeceptis tan­tum ab [...]ibus Dei longe su­ [...]u [...], Tertul. I have heard him and observed him: we learne hence: First, That God heareth and answereth the prayers only of penitents. When a man resolves I will have no more to do with sinne, then, not till then, doth his prayer finde way to God. Impenitencie clogs the wing of devotion, and stops its passage unto Hea­ven. The person must be accepted before the peti­tion: Christ Iesus is the Priest that offereth, and the Altar which sanctifieth all our services, 1 Pet. 2.5. Esay 56.7. And Christ will not be their Advocate in Heaven, who refuse to have him their King on earth. The Scripture is in no point more ex­presse then in this. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not heare me, Psal. 66.18. Prayer is a powring out of the heart; if iniquity be harboured there, prayer is obstructed, and if it doe break [Page 102] out, it will have the sent and savour of that iniqui­ty upon it. The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomi­nation to the Lord, Prov. 15.8. both because it is impure in it selfe, and hath no Altar to sanctifie it. He that turneth away his eare from hearing the Law, even his prayer shall be an abomination, Prov. 28.9. Great reason that God should refuse to heare him who refuseth to heare God; that hee who will not let God beseech him (as hee doth in his word, 2 Cor. 5.20.) should not be allowed to beseech God, Prov. 1.24.28. Esay 1.15. His eare is not heavie that it cannot heare, but iniquitie separates between us and him, and hides his face that he will not heare, Esay. 59.1, 2. Ezek. 8.18. God heareth not sinners, Ioh. 9.31. the prevalency of prayer is this that it is the prayer of a righteous man, Iam. 5.16. And indeed no wicked man can pray in the true and proper notion of prayer. It is true, there is a kinde of prayer of nature, when men cry in their distresses unto the God and Author of nature, for such good things as nature feeleth the want of, which God in the way of his generall providence and Common mercies is sometimes pleased to answer sutably to the naturall desires of those that aske them. But the prayer of faith (which is the true notion of prayer, Rom. 10.14. Iam. 1.15.) goes not to God as the Author of nature, but as the God of grace, and the Father of Christ, and doth not put up meer naturall, but spiritual requests unto him as to an heavenly Father, which requests proceed from the spirit of grace and supplication, teaching us to pray as we ought, [Page 103] Zach. 12.10. Rom. 8.26, 27. Gal. 4.6. So that they who have not the spirit of Christ enabling them to cry Abba Father, Gemendi & in­terpellandi in­spirans affectū, Aug. Ep. 105. Inspiranes de­side [...]ium etiam adhuc incognitae tantae rei, quam per patientiam expectamus, Ep. 121. c. 15. are not able to pray a prayer of faith. Prayer hath two wills concuring in it when ever it is right, Our will put forth in desires, and Gods will respected as the rule of those desires: for wee are not allowed to desire what we will our selves of God, but we must ask according to his will, 1 Ioh. 5.14. Now whensoever impenitent sinners pray for spirituall things, they doe ever pray con­trary to one of these Two wills: when they pray for mercy and pardon, they pray against Gods will, for that which God will not give: for mercy is proposed to, and provided for those that for­sake sinne, Prov. 28.13. hee who choseth to hold fast sinne, doth by his owne election forsake mercy: for the goodnesse of God leads to repentance, Rom. 2.4. Gods mercy is a holy mercy, Interdum ob­nixè petimus, quod recusare­mus si quis of­serret—multa videri volumus velle, sed nolu­mus—Saepe aliud volumus, aliud optamus, Et verum ne Di [...]s quidem dicimus, Sen. Epist. 95. It will pardon sinne forsaken, but it will not protect sinne retained. A­gaine, when they pray for grace, they pray aganst their owne will, for that which they themselves would not have: It is impossible that a man should formally will the holding fast and continuing in sinne (as every impenitent man doth) and with the same will should truly desire the receiving of grace, which is destructive to the continuance of sinne: and if a wicked man do truly will the grace of God when he prayes for it, why doth he refuse the same grace, when he heareth it in the Ministry of the Word offered unto him? If God offer it, and he desire it, how comes it not to be received? Certainly there is not any thing in the corrupt [Page 104] heart of man by nature which can willingly close with any sanctifying grace of the Spirit of Christ. Selfe-deniall is a concomitant in all Acts of grace, and selfe-seeking in all acts of lust; and therefore where there is nothing but lust, there can be no reall volition of grace which is so contrary un­to it.

This teacheth us to have penitent resolutions, and spiriturll aimes in all our prayers, §. 17. if we would have them prevaile at the throne of grace. We are now under the heavy calamity of a Civill warre: And very desirous we are it should be removed; we suffer and languish, and fret, and pine away, and we complaine every where of want, and violence. But who set themselves to cry mightily to God, and call upon their soule as the Marriners upon Ionah, O thou sleeper, what meanest thou, arise, call upon God? Haply we goe so farre, we pray too, and yet receive no answer, because we ask amisse, Iam. 4.1, 2, 3. wee are troubled that our lusts are abridged of their fuell, or that our nature is de­prived of her necessaries, and for these things wee pray. But till our troubles bring us to seek God more then our selves; make more sensible of his wrath then of our owne wants; more displeased at what offends him, then at what pincheth and oppresseth our selves; we cannot promise our selves an answer of peace. The Marriners cryed, and the Tempest continued still, Ionah was to be cast over; so long as there was a fugitive from God in the Ship, the storme would not cease. Never can wee promise our selves any comfortable fruit of our [Page 105] prayers, till the aime of them is spirituall, that God may be honored, that his Church may be cleansed & reformed, that our lives may be amended, that whatsoever forsakes God in us may be cast away. Till Gods whole work be performed upon Mount Sion & upon Ierusalem, we cannot promise our selves that he will call in his Commission and Charge to take the spoile and the prey, Esay 10.12. And there­fore our greatest wisedome is to consider what God calls for, to make it our prayer, and endea­vours, that his will and counsell may be fulfilled; the more wee make God our end, the sooner we shall recover our peace again.

Secondly, We learne,§. 18. that our performance of duty, doth depend much upon Gods hearing and answering of Prayer. Ephraim will have no more to doe with Idols, because God hath heard him. Prayer is the key of Obedience, and the introduction unto duty. The principles of duties are, wisdome to know and order them; will to desire and intend them; strength to performe and persevere in the doing of them: And all these are the product of Prayer. If any want wisedome, let him ask it of God, Iam. 1.5. so Solomon did, 1 Kings 3.9. and who am I, and what is my people saith David, that wee should bee able to offer so willingly? for all things come of thee. 1 Chron. 29.14. and the Apostle prayes for the Ephesians that God would grant them to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inward man, Ephe. 3.16. the Principles of duty are the fruits of Prayer, and therefore the per­formance of duty doth much depend on the [Page 106] hearing, and answering of prayer.

§. 19.Thirdly, we learne from Gods observing, or ha­ving a carefull and vigilant eye upon Ephraim, that when we renounce all carnall and sinfull con­fidence, and cast our selves wholly upon God, engaging his eye of favour and providence unto us, this will be a most sufficient protection against all the cruelties of men. One would think when we heare a sword threatned, dashing of Infants, ripping of women, the Prophet should have cal­led on them to take unto them weapons to make resistance (and certainely the use of meanes in such cases is necessary; the sword of the Lord doth not exclude the sword of Gedeon.) One would thinke, Take to you words, were but a poore preparation against a destroying enemy: yet this is all that the Prophet insists on; when the Assyrian comes against you, do you Take with you words; your lips shall be able to defend more then his Armies can annoy. Words uttered from a penitent heart in time of trouble unto God, are stronger then all the preparations of flesh and bloud, be­cause that way as prayer and Repentance goe, that way God goeth too. Amalek fights, and Moses speakes unto God in the behalfe of Israel, and the lifting up of his hands prevailes more then all the strength of Israel besides, Exod. 17.11, 12. One man of God that knowes how to manage the cause of Israel with him, is the Chariots and horsemen of Israel, 2 Sam. 2.12. What huge Armies did Asa and Iehoshaphat vanquish by the power of Prayer? 2 Chron., 25. Till God forbid prayer, [Page 107] as he did to Ieremy. and take of the hearts of his servants from crying unto him in behalfe of a people, we have reason to hope that he will at last think thoughts of mercy towards them. Exod. 32.10, 14. and in the meane time, when they are reduced to the condition of father­lesse children, he will be a Guardian unto them; his eye of providence and tuition will observe them, and take care of them; He is the Father of the father­lesse, and Iudge of the widow, even God in his holy habi­tation, Psal. 68.3.

Now in that he saith, I am a green firre-tree, It is a promise made in opposition to all the vaine succors which they relyed on before,§. 20. intimating that instead of them he would be their defence and shelter, that they should not need to hide themselves under such narrow refuges. Whatso­ever humane wisdome, wealth, power, or other outward meanes men have to defend themselves withall, yet they shall never finde any true and solid protection but in and from God after sound conversion unto him. The firre-tree Pliny saith, cast­eth not its leaves, and so yeelds a perpetuall shade both in winter and in summer. To note that sound conversion yeeldeth comfort in all conditions of life. Though the earth be removed and the moun­taines carried into the midst of the Sea, &c. Psal. 46.2, 3. Habac. 3.16, 17, 18. However it be, God is good to Israel, and it shall goe well with the righteous; he will be for a sanctuary to his people that they need not bee afraid, Esay 8.12, 13, 14. If you would have your hearts above all the troubles of the world, get un­der [Page 108] this firre-tree, cast you selves under this pro­tection, get into the Chamber of Gods providence and promises, and then though the troubles of the world may strip you of all outward comforts, yet God will be all unto you.

Lastly, in that hee saith, From me is thy fruit found: We learne, that though good works be Ours when they are done by us, yet they come from God who enableth us to doe them; we beare them, but God worketh and produceth them in us: The duty is ours, but the efficacy and blessing is his. This falleth in with what hath been handled in the first Doctrine; and therefore I shall say no more of it.


HOSEA Chap. 14. ver. 9.

9. Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? Prudent, and he shall know them? for the wayes of the Lord are right, and the just shall walke in them: but the transgressours shall fall therein.

THese words are a most patheticall close, and as it were a Seale which the Prophet setteth to all the Doctrine of his whole book,§. 1. & to the course of his Ministery; implying, first, A strong asseveration of the truth of all those things which he had in the name of God delivered unto them. Secondly, An elegant and forcible ex­citation of the people unto a sad & serious ponde­ring of them, laying to heart the sins therein char­ged, the duties therein required, the judgments therein threatned, the blessings therein promised. And withall thirdly, a tacit complaint of the pauci­ty of those who were wise unto salvation, and of [Page 110] the desperate use which wicked men make of the word of God, and the Ministery of his Grace; namely, to stumble at it, and to turn it unto them­selves into an occasion of ruine.

Who is wise, and he shall understand? &c.] The in­terrogation is first a secret exprobration of folly un­to his hearers, or the greatest part of them: for so this kind of interrogation doth frequently in Scripture intimate either a negation, or at least the rarenesse and difficulty of the thing spoken of: as Who hath knowne the mind of the Lord? Vid. Gl [...]ss [...]i Rhetor. Sacr. Tract. 2. cap. 5 1 Cor. 2.16. Who shall lay any thing to the charge of Gods Elect? Rom. 8.33. These are negatives. Who knoweth the power of thine anger? Psal. 90.11. Who amongst you will give eare to this? Esay 42.23. Who hath believed our report? or to whom is the arme of the Lord revealed? Esay 53.1. These are Restrictives. Who? that is, few or none are such. Secondly, An earnest wish and desire of the Prophet. O that men were wise to understand these things and lay them to heart! as, Who shall deliver me from this body of death? that is, O that I were delivered! Rom. 7.24. Who will shew us any good? Psal. 4.7. that is, O that any could doe it. Thirdly, A strong af­firmation or demonstration wherein true wisdome doth indeed consist; and what men that are truly wise, will doe, when the wayes of God are by the Ministery of his servants set forth before them; namely, ponder and consider the great weight and consequence of them, as Ier. 9.12, 13. Who is the wise man that may understand this? namely, as it followeth, for what the Land perisheth, and is burnt [Page 111] up like a wildernesse that none passeth thorow? And the Lord saith, because they have forsaken my Law, which I set before them, &c. This is the Chara­cter of a wise man, to resolve the judgements that are upon a people, into their proper original, and not to alledge non causam pro causa. Fourthly, a vehement awakening and quickning of the peo­ple unto this duty of sad attendance on the words which he had spoken unto them, as Exod. 32.26. Who is on the Lords side? Let him come unto me. and 2 Kings 9.32. Who is on my side? who? So it is, as if the Prophet should have said, there are none of you who have been my hearers, but would willingly retain the reputation of wise and understanding men, and would esteem it a high in­dignitie to be recorded unto all Ages for fooles and madd men. Well, I have preached amongst you many yeares together (sixty are the fewest that we can well compute, some say seventy, o­thers above eighty) but alas, what entertainment hath mine Embassage received? what operation or successe hath it had amongst you? [...] there not the Calves still standing at Dan and Bethel? do not carnall policies prevaile still against the expresse will of God? O if there be any wise, any prudent men amongst you, (and O that all Gods people were such) let them, now at length in the close of my Ministery towards them, shew their wisdome, by giving heed to what I have declared from the Lord, that they may learn to walk in Gods righte­ous wayes, and may not stumble and perish by them.

[Page 112]Here are two words used to expresse the wise­dome which God requireth in those who would fruitfully heare his word;§. 2. Duae sunt partes Rationis secun­dam Philoso­phum, una [...], altera [...], qua [...]a [...]iocinamur & deliberamus in ordine ad mores. Vide Arist E­thic. lib. 6. ca. 2. & cap. 8. the one importing a mentall knowledge of the things, and the other a practicall and prudentiall judgement in pondering them, and in discerning the great moment and consequence of them unto our eternall weale or woe. So the Apostle prayes for the Colossians, That they might be filled with the knowledge of Gods will in all wisedome and spirituall understanding, Col. 1.9. In meere notionall things which are on­ly to be known for themselves, and are not fur­ther reducible unto use and practice, it is suffici­ent that a man knowes them. But in such things the knowledge whereof is ever in order unto a further end, there is required besides [...], Arist. [...] 7▪ cap. 11. the knowledge it self, a faculty of wisdome and judgement to ap­ply & manage that knowledg respectively to that end, & for the advancement of it. Now we know [...]hat Theologicall learning is all of it practicall, and hath an intrinseall respect and order unto [...], Iustin Mar­tyr. Apol 2. Qui Chris [...]iani nominis [...] non agit, Christianus non esse videtur. Salvian. de Gubern. Dei lib. 4. wor­ship and obedience: therefore it is called the know­ledge of the truth which is after godlinesse, Tit. 1.1. The feare of the Lord is the beginning of wisedome, and a good understanding have all they that doe his Commandements▪ Psal. 111.10. keep his judge­ments and doe them, for this is your wisedome and understanding, Deut. 4.6. therefore, besides the bare knowledge of truth, there is required wisdome, and spirituall understanding to direct that know­ledge [Page 113] unto those holy uses & saving ends for which it was intended.

The doubling of the sentence is the augmenting of the sence, to note, that it is the supreme and most excellent act of wisedom and prudence so to know the word and the wayes of God, as with a practi­call judgement to ponder them in order to salva­tion.

By the wayes of the Lord we are to understand 1. The wayes of his judgements,Sect. 3. and of his wonderfull providence towards men: which however to the proud and contentious spirit of the wicked they may seeme perverse and inordinate, and are to the eye of all men Iud [...]cia Dei plerunque oc­culta, nunquam Injusta, Aug. Serm. 88▪ de Tempore. [...], Clem. [...]. vid Tertul. contra. M [...]rcion: lib. 2. cap▪ 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. unsearchable: are yet by spirituall wisedome acknowledged to be most righteous and holy, to have no crookednesse or disorder in them, but to be carried on in an even and strait way unto the ends whereunto his holy counsell doth direct them. His workes are perfect, and all his wayes are Iudgement, Deut. 32.4. When Ieremy had a minde to plead with the Lord concerning his Iudgements, yet he premiseth this as a matter unquestionable That God was righteous in them all, Ier. 12.2.

2. The wayes of his will, word, and worship; so the word is often taken in Scripture to signifie the Doctrine which men teach, as Math. 22.16. Act. 13.10. Act. and damnable heresies are called pernicious wayes, in opposition to the way of truth, 2. Pet. 2.2. and the rites or rules of corrupt worship are called by the Prophet the way of Beer­sheba, Amos 8.14. And these wayes of God are like­wise [Page 114] very strait, which carry men on in a sure line unto a happy end, Psal. 19.8. whereas wicked ways have crookednesse and perversnesse in them, Psal. 125.5. and this way seemes here chiefly to bee meant because it followes, The Iust will walke in them, that is, they will so ponder and judge of the righteous wayes of God in his word, as to make choyce of them for their way of happinesse wherein they intend to walk, as the Psalmist speaks, I have chosen the way of thy truth, Psal. 119.30. Psal. 25.12. Whereas wicked men being offended at the purity of divine truth, do stumble and fall into perdition as the Chaldee Paraphrast expresseth this place.

The words are a powerfull and patheticall stir­ring up of the people of Israel, unto the considera­tion and obedience of the doctrines taught by the Prophet in his whole Prophecie. The arguments which he useth, are drawn, first, from the character of the persons: Who is wise, he shall understand, &c▪ Secondly, from the nature of the doctrine taught: for the wayes of the Lord are right. Thirdly, from a double use and fruit of it made by different sorts of men. To the Iust, It is a way of happinesse, they will walke: To the wicked, it is an occasion of stumbling, They will fall therein.

Touching the persons, we observe two things; the one intimated, their paucity, the other expressed, their prudence.

From the former consideration we may note, That there are few men who are wise unto salvation, Sect. 4. and who doe seriously attend and manage the mi­nistry [Page 115] of the word unto that end. If there be any kind of accidentall Lenocinium to allure the fancies, or curiosities, or customary attendances of men on the ordinances: elegancy in the speaker, novelty and quaintnesse in the matter, Credit or advantage in the duty; upon such inducements many will wait on the word; some to heare a sweet song, Ezek. 33.32. others to heare some new Doctrine, Act. 17.19▪ some for Loves; to pro­mote their secular advantages, Ioh. 6.26. having one and the selfe same reason of following Christ which the Gadarens had when they entreated him to depart from their coasts.Rari sunt qui philosophantur. Ulpian. P. de Excusationibus Leg. 5. Rari quippe Boni, numero vix sunt To [...]idem quot Thebarum por­tae vel divitis ostia Nil [...]. Iu­venal. Sat. 13 But very few there are who doe it propter se, and with respect to the primary use and intention of it. Our Prophet seemes to doe, as the Philosopher did; who lighted a candle at noone to find out a wise man indeed, to [...] to and fro through the streets, and in the broad places, to finde a man that seeketh the truth, as the Lord commanded the Prophet Iere­my, Ier. 5.1. How doth the most elegant of all the Prophets complaine, Who hath beleeved our Report? Isa. 53.1. Isa. 49.4. How doth the most learned of the Apostles complaine, that the prea­ching of the Gospel was esteemed foolishnes, 1. Cor. 1.23. Noah was a Preacher of righteousnesse to a whole world of men, and yet but eight persons saved from the flood, and some of them rather for the families sake then their owne, 1. Pet. 3.20 Paul preached to an whole Academy at Athens, and but a very few converted, Act. 17.34. some dis­puted, and others mocked, but few beleeved the [Page 116] things which they were not able to gain-say. He­zekiah sent messengers into all Israel to invite them unto the true worship of God at Ierusalem; but they were mocked and laughed to scorne, and a rem­nant only humbled themselves, and came to Ierusa­lem, 2. Chron. 30.10, 11. (whereunto the Prophet seemeth to allude, Isai Though a gun be discharged at a whole flight of birds, there are but few killed. Though the net be spread over the whole pond, but a few fishes are taken; many thrust their heades into the mud, and the net pass­eth over them▪ and so most hearers doe busie their heads with their owne sensuall or wordly thoughts, and so escape the power of the word. In the richest Mine that is, there is much more earth and drosse digged out then pure mettall. Christs flock in every place is but a little flock, Luk. 12.32. Few chosen, Math. 20.16. few saved, Luk. 13.23. few that finde the narrow way, which leadeth unto life, Math. 7.13, 14. The basest creatures are usually the most nu­merous, as flies, and vermine: [...]. Arist. de Gene­rat. Anima lib. 4. cap. 4. Unum pa [...]io, sed. Leo­nem. vid. a Gell. l. 13 c. 7. Gesner. de quad [...]uped▪ in Elephanto. & Leone. C. those that are more noble, are more rare too. The people of the God of Abraham are in the Scripture-stile Princes and Nobles, Psal. 47.9. Act. 17.11. 1. Pet. 2.9. and how few are such kinde of men in compa­rison of the vulgar sort? They are [...]ndeed many in themselves, Heb. 2.10. Revel. 7.9. but very few and thin being compared with the rest of the world.

We must therefore learne not to be offended or discouraged by the paucity of sincere professours,Sect. 5. no more then wee are in a civill State by the pau­city [Page 117] of wise Counsellors and Polititians in com­parison of the vulgar people. It is no strange thing at all in any societies of men to see the wea­ker part more then the wiser. If but few attend the right wayes of the Lord, and walke in them, remember it is a worke of wisedome, and such wisedome as cometh from above, and hath no seeds or principles in corrupt nature out of which it might be drawne: nay against which all the vigour of carnall reason doth exalt it selfe; so that the Pudet doctes homines ex dis­cipulis Plato­nis fieri discipu­los Christi &c. vid Aug. de ci­vit. Dei l. 10. c. 29. & l. 13. c. 16. & Ep. 10▪ more naturall wisedome men have, the more in danger they are to despise and undervalue the wayes of God, as being better able to reason and to cavill against them, Math. 11.25. Act. 4.11. Iohn 7.48. 1. Cor. 2. Cor. 10.5, 6. Therefore first in the ministry of the word wee must continue our labour, though Israel be not ga­thered, Esay 49.4, 5. We must stretch out our hands, though it be to a disobediint and gain saying people, Esay 65.2. whether they will hear, or whe­ther they will forbeare, we must speak unto them, be they never so rebellious, Ezek. 2.7. and the rea­son is, because the word is never in vaine, but it doth ever prosper in the worke whereunto. God sends it, Esay 55.1 [...]. If men be righteous, they walk; if wicked, they stumble [...]. Clem. Alex. in prot [...]ephe., and in both there is a sweet savour unto God, 2. Cor. 2.15. Gods worke is accomplished, his glory promoted, the power of his Gospel commended in the one and the other Vultures un­guento sugan­tur & scarabei rosa Plin, & Aelian. [...]. Clem. Paedag l. 2. c. 8 [...]. Plutarch. Quòd Stoici doceant absurdiora poetis. [...]. Nissen. Hom. 3. in▪ Cantic. [...]. Plutarch. in conjugalib. praecept.: [Page 118] as the vertue of a sweet savour is seene as well by the Antipathy which one creature hath unto it, as by the Refreshment which another receiveth from it: the strength of a rock, as by holding up the house that is built upon it, so by breaking in pieces the ship that doth dash against it: the force of the fire, as well by consuming the drosse, as by refining the gold: the power of the water, as well in sinking the ship that leakes, as in supporting the ship that is sound. The pillar of the cloud was as wonderfull in the darknesse which it cast upon the Egyptians, as in the light which it gave unto the Israelites, Exod. 14.20. The power of the Angel as great in striking terror into the souldiers, as in speaking comfort unto the woman, Math. 28.4, 5. Secondly, In attendance on the Word, we must resolve rather to walke with the wise though few, then to follow a multitude to doe evill, and to stumble with the wicked, though they be many: rather enter the Arke with a few, then venture the flood with a world of sinners: ra­ther goe three or foure out of Sodome, then bee burnt for company: We must not affect an Hu­morous singularity in differing unnecessarily from good men, being one for Paul against Apollo, ano­ther for Apollo against Cephas: but we must ever affect an holy and pious singularity in walking con­trary unto evill men, in shining as lights in the midst of a crooked and perverse Nation, Phil. 2.15. for the Righteous is more excellent then his neighbor, Prov. 12.26. Though there be but few in the way, there will bee many in the end of the journey: [Page 119] As the Tribes and Families went up divided to­wards Ierusalem, but when they were come thither, they appeared every one of them before God in Sion, Psal. 8.4.7.

Secondly,Sect. 6. In that the Prophet calleth upon his hearers to attend unto his doctrin by this argument because it will be an evidence of their prudence & wisedome, we learne, That true and solid Wisedom doth draw the heart to know aright, namely, to con­sider and ponder the judgements, blessings, wayes, and word of God in order to the chiefe ends, and accordingly to direct all their conversation: for in Gods account that knowledge which doth not edi­fie, is no knowledge at all, 1. Cor. 8.2. None are his wise men, which are not wise unto salvation, 2 Tim. 3.15. who doe not draw their wisedom from his Word, and from his commandements, Psal., 99. Ier. 8.9.

There is a Ethic. lib. 6. cap. 7. twofold wisedome, as the Philoso­pher distinguisheth, [...] and [...]: wise­dome in some [...]. Philemon apud Athenaeum. lib. 7. cap. 11. & Liv▪ lib. 39. particulars, as wee esteeme every man who is excellent in his profession, to bee a wise man eousque, so farre as concernes the managing of that profession: as when a man knowes all the necessary Principles and maximes of that way wherein he is, the right ends thereof, and the proper conclusions deducible from those principles, and derigible unto those ends. And next, wisedome in generall and in perfection, which is of those principles, ends, and con­clusions which are universally and most transcen­dently necessary unto a mans cheefest and most [Page 120] generall good: and this the [...], Ethi. l. 6. c. 7. [...]. Arist. Metaphysic. l. 2. cap. 2. [...], Rhetoric. lib. 1. cap. 37. Philosopher calleth the knowledge of the most excellent and honourable things, or of the last end, and cheefe good of man. Now the end by how much the more supreme, perpetuall, and ultimate it is, by so much the more it hath of excellency and goodnesse in it, as bearing thereby most exact proportion and conveniency to the soule of man Vide Field of the Church. lib 1. c. 1.; for the soule being immor­tall it selfe, can have no finall satisfaction from any good which is mortall and perishable: and be­ing withall so large and unlimited, as that the rea­sonings and desires thereof extend unto the whole latitude of goodnesse, being not restrained unto this or that kinde,, but capable of desiring and judging of all the different degrees of goodnesse which are in all the whole variety of things, it can therefore never finally acquiesce in any but the most univer­sall and comprehensive goodnesse, in the nearer or more remote participation whereof consisteth the different goodnesse of all other things.

Sect. 7.This supreme and absolute goodnesse can indeed be but one, all other things being good by the participation of that. There is none good but [...]ne, that is God, Math. 19.17. But because there are Two sorts of men in the world, righteous and wicked, the seed of the woman, and the seed of the Serpent: therefore consequently there are Two sorts of ends which these men doe differenly pur­sue. The end of wicked men is a happinesse which they out of their own corrupt judgements doe shape unto themselves, and unto which they doe finally carry all the motions of their soules, [Page 121] called in Scripture the pleasures of sinne, and the wages of iniquity, Hebr. 11.25. 2 Pet. 2.15. that thing whatsoever it is, for obtaining whereof men do direct all their other endeavours, as profit, plea­sure, and honour or power; and there are mediums exactly proportionable unto these ends; namely, the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life, 1 Ioh. 2.16. And there is a wisdome conso­nant unto these ends and means, and fit to direct and manage these lusts unto the a [...]taining of those ends; which therefore the Apostle calleth the wisedome of the flesh or corrupt nature, Rom. 8.7. and St Iames, a wisdome earthly, sensuall, and divelish, Iames 3.15. earthly, managing the lusts of the eyes unto the ends of gaine; sensuall, managing the lusts of the flesh unto ends of pleasure; and divellish, managing the pride of life unto ends of power. But such wisedome as this, God esteemes very foolishnesse; My people are foolish, sottish children, they have no understanding: Why? They are wise to do evill, but to do good they have no knowledge: Ier. 4.22. Wisedome is onely unto that which is good; he is the wisest man who is simple and igno­r [...]nt in the trade of evill, Rom. 16.19. If any man amongst you seemeth to bee wise in this world, let him become a foole that hee may be wise: 1 Corinth. 3.18.

On the other side, the true and ultimate end of righteous men, is Almighty Fecisti nos ad te, & inquietū est Cor nostrum donec requi [...]scat in [...]e. Aug Con­fess. li. 1. ca. 1. Omnis mihi co­pi [...] quae Deus meus non est, Egestas est, lib. 13. cap. 8. vid. de Trinit. lib. 8▪ c. 3. de Civit. Dei, li. 12 c. 1. God as most glorious in himselfe, and most good unto us; or the seeking of his glory, that he may be honoured by us: and of our own salvation, that wee may bee glorified [Page 122] by him. The fruition of him as the highest and first in genere veri, and the greatest and last in genere boni, the chiefest object for the minde to rest in by know­ledge, and the heart by love: this must needs be the best of all ends, both in regard of the Beatitud [...] haec du [...] requirit, fru [...]tionem in­commutabilis Boni, & certi­tudinem aeternae fruitionis, vid. Aug de Civ. Dei lib. 11. cap. 13. excellency of it, as being infinitely and most absolutely good: and in regard of eternitie, so that the soul having once the possession of it, can never be to seek of that happinesse which floweth from it, Ioh. 6.27, 28. The proper meanes for the obtaining of this end, is the knowledge of God in Christ, as in his Word he hath revealed himself, to be known, wor­shipped, and obeyed; for there onely doth he teach us the way unto himself: and true wisdome is the pursuing of this meanes in order unto that end. For though many approaches may be made to­wards God by the search and contemplation of the creature, yet in his word he hath shewed us a more full and excellent way, which onely can make us wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Iesus, 2 Tim. 3.15. Prov. 9.10. Eccles. 12.12, 13. Ier. 9.23, 24.

All the thoughts and wisdome of men is spent upon one of these two heads,Sect. 8. either the obtaining of the good which we want: or the avoiding and declining the evill which we feare. And by how much the more excellent and difficult the good is which we want; and by how much the more pernicious and imminent the evill is which we feare, by so much greater is the wisedome which in both these procures the end at which we ayme. Now then what are the most excellent good [Page 123] things which we want?Vid. Aristot. de iis quae Bon [...] sunt, & quae Meliora & ma­jora, Rhetor. lib. 1. cap. 6.7. food is common to us with other creatures. Raiment, houses, lands, pos­sessions, common to us with the worst men: take the most admired perfections which are not hea­venly, and we may finde very wicked men excell in them. All men will confesse the soule to be more excellent then the body; and therefore the good of that to be more excellent then of the o­ther: and the chiefe good of it to be that which doth most advance it towards the fountaine of goodnesse, where is fulnesse of perfection, and per­petuity of fruition. The excellency of every thing standeth in two things. The perfection of beauty wherein it was made, and the perfection of use for which it was made. The beauty of man, especially in his soule, consists in this, that he was made like to God, after his Image, Gen. 1.26, 27. and his end and use in this, that he was made for God, first to serve him, and after to enjoy him; for the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himselfe, Psal. 4.3. This people have I formed for my selfe, they shall shew forth my praise, Isa. 43.21. There­fore to recove [...] the Image of God, which is in knowledge, righteousnesse, and true holinesse, Col [...]s. 3.10. Ep [...]es. [...].24. to work to the service and glory of God, Ioh. 1 [...].8. to aspire and to enjoy the possession and fruition of God, Exod. 33.18. Phil. 1.23. must needs bee mans greatest good; and by consequence, to attend on the meanes hereof, must needs bee his greatest wise­dome.

What is the most pernicious and destructive [Page 124] evill which a man is in danger of? not the losse of any outward good things whatsoever, for they are all in their nature perishable; we enjoy them upon these conditions to part with them again; no wise­dome can keep them; Meat for the belly, and the bel­ly for meats, but God shall destroy both it and them: 1 Cor. 6.13. Not the suffering of any outward trou­bles, which the best of men have suffered, and tri­umphed over; But the greatest losse is the losse of a precious soul, which is more worth then all the world, Matth. 16.26. and the greatest suffering is the wrath of God upon the conscience, Psal. 90.11. Isa. 33.14. Heb. 10.31. Matth. 10.28. Therefore to avoid this danger, and to snatch this darling from the paw of the Lion, is of all other the greatest wis­dome. It is wisdome to deliver a City, Eccles. 9.15. much more to deliver a soul, Sect. 9. Prov. 11.30. Angeli­call, Seraphicall knowledge without this, is all worth nothing, 1 Cor. 13.1, 2.

Therefore we should learn to shew our selves wise indeed by attendance on Gods Word. If the most glorious creatures for wisdom and knowledge that ever God made, the blessed Videntur ipsi Ang [...]li ex Scrip­tis Evangelicis, & ministerio Apostolico plu­rima didicisse, Vid. Chrysost. Hom 1. in Io­han▪ Gregor. Nis [...]en. Hom. 8. in Cantic. Theophylact. & Occumen. in Eph. 3. alios apud Sext. Se­nens li 6. An­not. 165.182. & [...]99. Angels were em­ployed in publishing the Law of God, Act. 7.53. Gal. 3.19. and did with great admiration look into the mysteries of the Gospel, and stoope down with their faces towards the mercy Seat, 1 Pet. 1.12. Eph. 3.10. Exod. 37.9. it cannot but be also our chiefest wis­dome to hide the world in our hearts, and to make it our companion, and Councellor (as David did, Psal. 119.24.) We esteeme him the wisest man who followeth the best and safest Vide Greg. [...]holos [...]n de Repub li. 24. Counsell, and [Page 125] that which will most preserve and promote his in­terest, his honour, and his conscience. Herein was Rehoboams weaknesse, that by passionate and teme­ratious Counsels he suffered his honour to be stain­ed, his interest to be weakned, and his conscience to be defiled with resolutions of violence and in­justice. Now, there is no counsell to that of Gods Word. It illightneth the eyes, it maketh wise the simple, Psal. 19.7, 8. It is able to make a man wise [...]. Plutar. de occulte vi­vendo. for himselfe, and unto salvation, which no other counsell can do, 2 Tim. 3.15, 16. there is no case that can be put, though of never so great in­tricacie and perplexity, no doubt so difficult, no temptation so knotty and involv'd, no condition whereinto a man can be brought so desperate, no imployment so darke and uncouth, no ser­vice so arduous, or full of discouragements, in all which so farre as respecteth conscience and salvation, there are not most clear and satisfacto­ry expedients to be drawn out of Gods Word if a man have his judgement and senses after a spirituall manner exercised in the searching of it. That we are so often at a stand how to state such a question, how to satisfie such a scruple, how to cleare and expedite such a difficultie, how to repell such a Temptation, how to manage such an action, how to order our wayes with an even and composed spirit in the various conditions where into we are cast in this world, doth not arise from any defect in the word of God, which is per­fect and able to furnish us unto every good work, but only from our own ignorance and unacquaintance [Page 126] with it, who know not how to draw the generall rule, and to apply it to our own particular cases: and this cannot but be matter of great humiliati­on unto us in these sad and distracted times, when besides our civill breaches, which threaten desola­tion to the State, there should be so many and wide divisions in the Church; That after so long enjoyment of the Word of God, the Scripture should bee to so many men as a sealed book, and they like the Egyptians, have the darke side of this glorious pillar towards them still; that men should be tossed to and fro l [...]ke children, and carried about with every winde of doctrine, and suffer themselves to be bewitched, devoured, brought into bondage, spoiled, led away captive, unskilfull in the word of righteousnesse, unable to discerne good and evill, to prove and try the spirits whether they bee of God, alwayes learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth;Sunt qu [...]edam falsae opiniones quae ulcus non gignunt: Sunt etiam errores venenati, qui anim [...]m depas­cu [...]tur, vid. Plutarch, de superstit. and this not onely in matters problematicall, or circumstantiall, wherein learned and godly men may differ from one ano­ther, & yet sti [...]l the peace and unity of the Church be preserved (for things of this nature ought not to be occasions of schisme, or secessions from one another) but in matters which concern life and god­linesse, touching the power of Gods law, the na­ture of free-grace, the subjection or [...]he conscience unto morall precepts, confession of sinne in prayer unto God, and begging pardon of it: the differencing of true Christian liberty from loose, profane [...]nd wanton licentiousnesse, and a libertie to vent [...]nd publish what perverse things s [...]ever men [Page 127] please; the very being of Churches, of Ministers, of Ordinances in the world; the necessity of humi­liation and solemne repentance in times of publick Judgements; the tolerating of all kinde of Religi­ons in Christian Common-Wealths; the morta­lity of the reasonable soul, and other the like per­nicious and perverse doctrines of men of corrupt minds (the Devils Emissaries,) purposely by him stirred up to hinder and puzzle the Reformation of the Church; These things I say cannot but be matter of humiliation unto all that fear God, and love the prosperity of Sion; and occasions the more earnestly to excite them unto this wisdome in the Text, to hear what God the Lord sayes, and to lay his righteous wayes so to heart, as to walk stedfastly in them, and never to stumble at them, or fall from them.

Now there are two things which I take it,Sect. 10. the Prophet in this close of his Prophecy seems prin­cipally to aime at; namely, the judgements, and the blessings of God. His righteous wayes in his threatnings against impenitent, and in his promises made unto penitent sinners. These are the things which wise and prudent men will consider in times of trouble.

For Iudgements; there is a twofold knowledge of them: the one naturall by sense, the other spiri­tuall by faith. By the former way wicked men do abundantly know the afflictions which they suffer, even unto vexation and anguish of spirit. They f [...]et themselves, Isa. 8.21. they are gray-headed, with very trouble and sorrow, Hos. 7. [...]. they gnaw [Page 128] their to [...]gues for pain, Revel. 16.10. they pine away in their iniquities, Levit. 26.39. they are m [...]d in their calamities, have trembling hearts, fa [...]ling of eyes, and sorrow of minde, &c. Deut. 28.34.65. and yet for all this they are said in the Scripture, when they burn, when they consume, when they are de­voured, not to know any of this, or to lay it to heart▪ Isa. 42.25. Hos. 7.9. Ier. 12.11. and the reason is, because they knew it not by faith, nor in a spiri­tuall manner in order unto God. They did not see his name, nor heare his rod, nor consi [...]er his hand and counsell in it, or measu [...]e his Iudgements by his word, nor look on them as the fruits of sin, leading to repentance, and teaching righteous­nesse: nor as the arguments of Go [...]s displeasure, humbling us under his holy hand, and guiding u [...] to seek his face, and to recover our peace with him. This is the spirituall and prudent way of knowing judgements, Mic. 6.9. Isa. 26.8, 9. Isa. 27.9. Levit. 26.40, 41, 42. Scire est per cau­sam scire ▪ true wisedom looks on things in their Causes: Resolves Judgements into the causes of them, our sinnes to be bewailed, Gods wrath to be averted; makes this observation upon them, Now I finde by experience, that God is a God of truth: often have I heard Judgements threatned against sinne, and now I see that Gods threatnings are not empty winde, but that all his words have truth and substance in them. The first part of wisdome is, to see Iudgements in the word before they come, and to hide from them: (for as faith in regard of promises is the substance of things hoped for, and seeth [Page 129] a being in them while they are yet but to come; so is it in regard of threatnings the substance of things feared, and can see a being in Judgements be­fore they are felt.) The next part of wisedom is, to see God in Iudgements, in the rods when they are actually come, and to know them in order unto him. And that knowledge stands in two things; first to resolve them into him as their Authour, for nothing can hurt us without a commission from God▪ Iob. 19.11. Satan spoiles Iob of his children, the Sabeans and Chalde [...]ns of his goods, but he lookes above all these, unto God, acknow­ledging his goodnesse in giving, his power in ta­king away, and blesseth his name, Iob. 1.21. Ioseph lookes from the malice of his bretheren, unto the providence of God; He sent me before you to preserve life, Gen. 45.5. If the Whale swallow Ionah, God prepares him, Ionah 1. [...]7. and if he vomit him up again, God speakes unto him, chap. 2.10.Perdidistis uti­litatem cala­mitatis & mi­serrimi facti estu, & pessimi permansistis. Aug. de Civ. Dei l. [...]. c. 13. Second­ly, to direct them unto him as the end; to be taught by them to seeke the Lord, and wait on him in the way of his judgements; to be more penitent for sinne, more fearefull, and watchfull against it, to study and practise the skill of suffering as Christians, according to the will of God, that he may be glorified, Psa. 94.12. Psa. 119.67.71. Zach. 13.9. l· Isay 26.9. Heb. 12.11. Deut. 8.16.1. Pet. 4.16.19.

So likewise for Blessings; there is a double knowledge of them: one sensuall by the flesh, the other spirituall in the conscience. The former is but a brutish and Epicurean feeding on them without feare, as Israel upon quailes in the wil­derness; [Page 130] as Swine which feed on the fruit that fals down, but never look up to the tree whereon it grew; to use blessings as Adam did the forbid­den fruit, being drawn by the beauty of them to forget God: as our Prophet complaines, Hos. 13.6. But spiritual knowledge of Blessings is to taste and see the goodness of the Lord in them; To look up to him as the Author of them, acknowledging that it is he who giveth us power to get wealth, and any other good thing, Deut. 8.17, 18. Psal. 127.1. Prov. 10.22. and to be drawn by them unto him as their End, to the adoring of his bounty, to the admiration of his goodnesse, to more chear­fulnesse and stronger engagements unto his service, to say with Iacob, He gives me bread to eate, and raiment to put on, therefore he shal be my God, Gen. 28.20. He giveth me all things richly to enjoy; therefore I will trust in him, 1 Tim. 6.17. Catalogues of mercy should beget resolutions of obedience, Iosh. 24.2, 14.

§. 11.Thirdly, we have here a singular commendation of the Doctrine which the Prophet had delivered unto the people of God; namely, that it was al­together Right, and the way which God required them to walk in, whatever Judgement carnall and corrupt minds might passe upon it. Now the Doctrine of Gods Judgements, Precepts, and Pro [...]mises, is said to be Right diverse wayes.

1. In regard of their Equity and Reasonablenesse ▪ There is nothing more profoundly and exactly rationall then true religion; and therefore conver­sion is called by our Saviour Elenchus est syllogismus cum contradictione c [...]nclusionis. A­rist. Elench. l. [...] c. 1. El [...] est certa argum [...]n­tatione dispu­tantem vincere. Steph. ex Platone. conviction. There [Page 131] is a power in the word of God to stop the mouthes and dispell the cavillations of all contradictors; so that they shal not be able to resist, or speak a­gainst the truth that is taught, Ioh. 16, 8. Tit. 1.9.10. Act. 6.10. Mat. 22.34. and the Apostle calleth his Ministry, Demonstratio est Syllogismus Scient [...]ficus. [...]ist. poster. A­nalyt. lib. 1. c. [...] a Declaration and a mani­festation of the truth of God unto the consciences of men, 1 Cor. 2.4. 2 Cor. 4.2. and Apollos is said mightily to have convinced the Jewes, shewing or demonstrating by the Scripture that Jesus was Christ, Act. 18.28. therefore the Apostle calleth the devoting of our selves unto God, a Reasonable Service, Rom. 12.1. and those that obey not the Word, are called unreasonable or absurd men, that have not wisedome to discerne the truth and equity of the wayes of God, 2 Thess. 3.2. What can be more reasonable, then that he who made all things for himself, should be served by the Creatures which he made? That we should live unto him who gave us our being? That the su­prea [...] will should be obeyed, the infallible truth beleeved, that he who can destroy, should be fea­red, that he who doth reward should be loved and trusted in▪ That absolute Iustice should vindi­cate it self against presumptuous disobedience, and absolute goodnesse extend mercy unto whom it pleaseth? It is no marvel that the holy Spirit doth brand wicked men throughout the Scripture with the disgracefull title of Fools, Nullum scelus rationem habet. Liv. lib. 28. because they reject that which is the supreme rule of wisedome and hath the greatest perfection and exactnesse of reason in it, Ier. 8.9.

[Page 132]2. In regard of their consonancy and [...]. &c. Iust. Mart. dialog▪ cum Tryphon. Quod de suo codice Iustinia­nus, verius de sacro codice af­firmatur, contrarium aliqu [...]d in hoc codice pos [...]tum, nul­lum sibi locum vindicabit &c. Cod. de ve [...] ­re Iure enu­cleando. l. 2. Sect. 15 & l. 3. Sect. 15. Har­mony within themselves; as that which is right [...]nd strait hath all its parts equall and agreeing one unto another: so all the parts of Divine Do­ctrine are exactly suteable and conforme to each o­ [...]her. The promises of God are not yea and nay, but yea and Amen, 2. Cor, 1, 19, 20. However, there [...]ay be seeming repugnances to a carnall and captious eye (which may seem of purpose allow­ed for the exercise of our diligence in searching, and humility in adoring the profoundnesse and per­fection of the word) yet the Scriptures have no ob­liquity in them at all, but all the parts thereof doe most intimately consent with one another, as being written by the Spirit of truth who cannot lye, nor deceive, who is the same yesterday, to day, and for ever.

3. In regard of their Directnesse unto that End for which they were revealed unto men, being the strait road unto eternall life, able to build us up and to give us an inheritance, Act. 20.32. In which re­spect the word is called the word of life, Act. 5.20. and the Gospel of Salvation, Eph. 1.13. yea, Salvati­on it selfe, Ioh. 4.22. Ioh. 12.50. Act. 28.28. as being the way to it, and the instrument of it, 2. Tim. 3.15, 16, 17. Iam. 1.21.

4. In regard of their Conformity to the holy nature and will of God, which is the Non id [...]irco juste voluit quia futurum justum suit quod voluit, sed quod voluit, id [...]irco justum suit quia ipse voluit— secundum cam justum est quod just­um est, &c. Hug. de Sacrament. lib, 1. part. 4. cap. 1. originall rule of all Rectitude and Perfection. Law is no­thing but the will of the Law-giver, revealed with [Page 133] [...]n intention to binde those that are under it, and for the ordering of whom it was revealed. That will being in God most holy and perfect, the Law or Word which is but the patefaction of it, must needs be holy and perfect too; therefore it is called the acceptable and perfect will of God, Rom. 12.2. Col. 1.9. It is also called a Word of truth, import­ing a conformity between the minde and will of the speaker and the word which is spoken by him; in which respect it is said to be Holy, Iust, and Good, Rom. 7.14.

5. In regard of the Smoothnesse, Plainnesse, Perspicuousnesse of them, in the which men may walke surely, easily, without danger of wandring, stumbling, or miscarriage; as a man is out of dan [...]ger of missing a way, if it be strait and direct with out any turnings: and in no gre [...] danger of falling in it, if it be plaine and smooth, and no stumbling block left in it. Now such is the word of God to those who make it their way, a strait way, which looketh directly forward, Psal. 5.8. Heb. 12.13. An even and smooth way, which hath no offence or stumbling block in it, Psal. 26.12. Psal. 119.165. It is true, there are [...], hard things to exercise the study and diligence, the faith and prayers of the profoundest Scholers; waters where in an Elephant may swimme: but yet as nature hath made things of greatest necessity to be most obvious and Common, as aire, water, bread and the like; whereas things of greater rarity, as gemms and jewels, are matters of honour and ornament, not of daily use: so the wisedome of God hath [Page 134] so tempered the Scriptures, as that from thence the wisest Solomon may fetch jewels for ornament, and the poorest Lazarus bread for life; but these things which are of common necessity, as matters of Faith, Love, Worship, Obedience, which are universally requisite unto the common salvation, (as the Apostle expresseth it, Iude ver. 3. Tit. 1.4.) are so In iis quae A­perte in Scrip­turis posita sunt inveniuntur illa omnia qua continent fiaem, m [...]resque vi­vendi. Aug. de doct. Christi­an. lib. 2. c. 9. & Ep 3. ad Vo­lusian. & contr. Ep. Petilian. cap▪ 5. Vid. Theodoret. Serm. 8. de Martyrib. perspicuously set downe in the holy Scriptures, that every one who hath the spirit of Christ, hath therewithall a judgement to discern so much of Gods will as shall suffice to make him beleeve in Chirst for righteousnesse, and by worship and obedience to serve him unto salvation. The way of Holinesse is so plain, that simple men are made wise enough to finde it out, and way­faring men, though fooles, doe not erre there­in, Psal. 19.7. [...]say 32.4. Esay 35.8. Matth. 11▪ 25.

§. 12.From all which we learn, First, to take heed of picking quarrels at any word of God, or presum­ing to passe any bold and carnall censure of ours upon his righteous wayes. When God doth set his Word in the power and workings of it upon the spirit of any wicked man, making his con­science to heare it as the voyce of God, it usually worketh one of these two effects: either it subdues the soule to the obedience of it by convincing, judging, and manifesting the secrets of his heart, so that he falleth down on his face and worshippeth God, 1 Cor. 14, 25. Or else it doth by accident excite and enrage the naturall love which is in every man to his lusts, stirring up all the proud [Page 135] arts and reasonings which the forge of a corrupt heart can shape in defence of those lusts against the sword of the spirit which would cut them off; as that which hindreth the course of a river, doth accidentally enrage the force of it, and cause it to swell and over runne the bankes; and from hence ariseth gainsaying and contradiction against the word of grace, and the wayes of God as un­equall and unreasonable, too strict, too severe, too hard to be observed, Ezek. 18.25. snuffing at it, Mal. 1.13. gathering odious Consequences from it, Rom. 3.8. Replying against it, Rom. 9.19, 20. casting reproaches upon it, Ier. [...]0.8, 9. enviously swelling at it, Act. 13.45. There are few sinnes more dangerous then this of picking quarrels at Gods word, and taking up weapons against it. It will prove a burthensome stone to those that burthen themselves with it, Zach. 12.3. Math. 21.44.Ut vernula illa apud Senecam quae cu [...] caeca esset, cubicu­lum esse tene­brosum quere­batur [...]. Plutarch, d [...] Animi Tra [...] ­quillita [...]e. Therefore when ever our crooked and corrupt Reason doth offer to except against the wayes of God as unequall, we must presently conclude as God doth, Ezek. 18▪ 25. that the inequality is in us, and not in them. When a Lame man stumbleth in a plaine path, the fault is not in the way, but in the foot: nor is the potion but the palate too blame, when a feverish distem­per maketh that seeme bitter which indeed was sweet. He that removeth in a Boat from the shoare, in the judgement of sence seeth the houses or trees on the shoare to totter and move, where­as the motion is in the Boat, and not in them. Uncleane and corrupt hearts, have uncleane notions [Page 136] of the purest things, and conceive of God as if he were such a one as themselves, Psal. 50.21.

§. 13.Secondly, it should teach us to come to Gods Word alwayes as to a Rule, by which we are to measure our selves, and take heed of wresting and wrying that to the corrupt fancies of our owne evill hearts, as the Apostle saith some men do to their owne destruction, Cesset voluntas propria· & non erit Infernus, &c. vid. Ber­nard, Serm. 3. de Resurrect. 2. Pet. 3.16. Act. 13.1 [...]. Every wicked man doth, though not formally and explicitely, yet really and in truth, set up his owne will against Gods, resolving to doe what pleaseth himselfe, and not that which may please God, and consequently followeth that reason and councell which waites upon his owne will, and not that Word which revealleth Gods. Yet because he that will serve himselfe, would faine deceive himselfe too (that so he may doe it with lesse re­gret of conscience) and would faine seem Gods servant, but be his owne; therefore corrupt Rea­son sets it selfe on work to [...] Clem. Alex. Strom. lib. 7. [...]. Ibid. [...] Ibid. [...] &c. Justin. Martyr. Ep. ad Zenam. Simplicitatem sermonis Eccle­siastici id volunt signifi [...]are quod ipsi sen [...]iunt. Hieron ep. vid. Aug. de do [...]. Christian. lib. 3. cap. 10. Scripturas tenent ad speciem, non ad salutem. de Baptism. contr. Donat. lib. 3. cap. ult. [...]as secundum suum sensum legunt. de Grat. Christ. lib. 1. c. 41. Sequi­tur voluptatem no [...] quam audit, [...]ed quam attulit, & vitia sua cum coepit putare s [...]milia praeceptis, indulget illis non [...]i [...]ide nec obscure; Luxu [...]iatur etiam inop [...]o capi [...]e. Sen. de vita Beata cap. 13. Nondum haec negligentia deum v [...]nerat, nec interpretando sibi quisqu [...] jus jurandum & leges ap [...]as saciebat, sed suos potius mo [...]es ad ea accommodabat. Liv. lib. 3. excogitate such distin­ctions and evasions, as may serve to reconcile Gods word and a mans owne lust together. Lust [Page 137] sayes, steale; God sayes no, thou shalt not steale; carnall Reason, the advocate of Lust, comes in and distinguisheth: I may not steale from a neighbour, but I may weaken an enemy, or pay my selfe the stipend that belongs to my service, if others doe not; and under this evasion, most innocent men may bee made a prey to violent Souldiers, who use the name of publike interest to palliate their own greedinesse. Certainly, it is a high presumption to tamper with the word of Truth, and make it beare false witnesse in fa­vour of our owne sinnes; and God will bring it to a tryall at last whose will shall stand, his, or ours.

Lastly,§ 14. this serveth as an excellent boundary both to the ministration of the Preacher, and to the faith of the hearer, in the dispensing of the Word; first, To us in our ministry, that we deli­ver nothing unto the people but the Right wayes of the Lord [...] &c. Ba. in Ps. 14. [...]. Naz Orat. 1. Qui [...]rumento orenam immiscuit, quasi de corrupto agi potest, l 26. ad Leg. Aquil P. § 20 Aurum accepisti, aurum reddo; nolo mihi pro aliis alia subjicias. nolo pro au­to aut impudenter plumbū, aut s [...]audulenter aeramenta suppo [...]as; nolo auri speciem sed naturam plane, Vincent. Lirin. Lege Corneliâ cavetur ut qui [...] aurum vi [...]ii quid add [...]derit, qui argen­teos nummos adulterinos flaverit, sals [...] crimine ten [...]atur. l 9 P. Leg. Cornel. de falsis. Qui tabulam legis res [...]rit vel quid inde immutaverit, Lege Iulia peculatus tenetur, l. 8. P. ad leg. Iul peculat., without any Commixtures or con­temperations of our owne. Mixtures are usefull onely for these Two purposes, either to slaken and abate something that is excessive, or to supply something that is deficient▪ and to collect a vertue and efficacy out of many things, each one [Page 138] of which alone would have been ineffectuall: and so all Heterogeneous mixtures doe plainely in­timate either a vitiousnesse to be corrected, or a weaknesse to be supplyed, in every one of the sim­ples which are by humane wisdome tempered together in order unto some effect to be wrought by them. Now it were great wickednesse to charge any one of these upon the pure and per­fect Word of God; and by consequence, to use deceit and insincerity by adulterating of it, either by such glosses as diminish and take away from the force of it, as the Pharisees did in their carnall interpretations (consuted by our Saviour, Matth. 5.21, 27, 38, 43.) or by such Super­inducements of humane Traditions as argue any defect,Instrumentum rem principalem sequitur, vid. Locati condu­cti, P. Leg. 19. Sect. 2. as they also did use, Matth. 15.2, 9. Hu­mane Arts and Learning are of excellent use as Instruments in the managing and searching, and as meanes and witnesses in the explication of ho­ly Writ,In Itinere non debet extrui ae­dificium, l 9. P. si Servitut vin­dicetur. when piously and prudently directed unto those uses. But to stampe any thing of but an humane Originall with a divine character, and obtrude it upon the consciences of men, (as the Papists doe their unwritten traditions) to binde unto obedience;Nequis vela Re­gia aut Titulum audeat alienis rebus imponere, Cod. l. 2. Tit. 16. Qui rem depositam in u­sus suos invito Domin [...] conver­terit, furti Reus est, Leg. 3. Cod Depositi velcon­tra. to take any dead child of ours (as the Harlot did, 1 Kings 3.20.) and lay it in the bosome of the Scripture, and father it upon God; to build any structure of ours in the road to heaven, and stop up the way; is one of the highest and most daring presumptions that the pride of man can aspire unto: to erect a throne in the consciences of his fellow creatures, and to [Page 139] counterfeit the great Seale of Heaven for the countenancing of his own forgeries; is a sin most severely provided against by God, with speciall prohibitions and threatnings, Deut. 12.32. Deut. 18.20. Ier. 26.2. Prov. 30.6. This therefore must be the great care of the Ministers of the Gos­ple, to shew their fidelity in delivering onely the Counsell of God unto his people, Acts 20.27. to be as the Two golden pipes which received oyle from the Olive branches, and then emptied it into the gold, Zach. 4 12. First, to receive from the Lord, and then to deliver to the people, Ezek. 2.7. Esay 21.10. Ezek. 3.4. 1 Cor. 11.23. 1 Pet. 4.11. Secondly, The people are hereby taught, first, To examine the doctrines of men by the rule and standard of the Word, and to measure them there, that so they may not be seduced by the craftinesse of deceivers, and may be the more con­firmed and comforted by the doctrine of sincere teachers; for though the Iudgement of Interpreta­tion belong principally to the Ministers of the Word, yet God hath given unto all Belevers a Iudgement of discretion, to try the spirits, Vid Davenant. de Indice & norma fidei. Chap. 25.31. and to search the Scriptures, whether the things which they heare be so or no, 1 Ioh. 4.1. Act. 17.11. 1 Thess. 5.21. for no man is to pinne his own soule and sal­vation by a blinde obedience upon the words of a man who may mislead him; nay not upon the words of an Angel, Isid. Pelut. lib. 3. Ep. 165. if it were possible for an Angel to deceive, Gal. 1.8. 1 Kings 13.18, 21. but onely and immediately upon the Scripture, except when the blind lead the blind, the leader only should [Page 140] fall into the ditch, and the other goe to heaven for his blind obedience in following his guides towards hell: whereas our Saviour tels us both shall fall, though but one be the leader, Matth. 15.14. Matth. 23.15. Secondly, Having proved all things, to hold fast that which is good, with all readi­nesse to receive the righteous ways of God, and submit unto them, how meane soever the Instru­ment be in our eyes, how contrary soever his message be to our wills and lusts. When God doth manifest his Spirit and Word in the mouths of his Ministers, we are not to consider the vessell, but the Treasure, and to receive it as from Christ, who to the end of the world in the dispensation of his Ordinances, speaketh from heaven unto the Church, 1 Thess. 2.13. [...] Cor. 5.20. Heb. 12.25. Matth. 28.20.

Fourthly, In that it is said, That the Iust w [...]ll walk in them, § 15. we may observe Two things. 1. That Obedience, and walking in the right wayes of the Lord, is the end of the ministry, That the Saints might be perfected, that the body of Christ might bee edified, that men might grow up into Christ in all things, Eph. 4.11.15, that their eyes might be opened, and they turned from darknesse to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, Act. 26.16, 17, 18. The Prophet concludeth that he hath laboured in vaine if Israel be not gathered, Esay 49.4, 5. Without this the Law is vaine, the pen of the Scribe in vaine, Ier. 8.8. better not know the way of Righteousnesse, then having known it, to turne from the holy Commandement [Page 141] which was delivered unto us, 2. Pet. 2.21. We should esteeme it a great misery to be without Preaching, without Ordinances, and so indeed it is; of all famine, that of the Word of the Lord is the most dreadfull; better be with Gods pre­sence in a wildernesse, then in Canaan without him, Exod. 33.15. better bread of affliction, and water of affliction, then a famine of hearing the word, to have our teachers removed, Amos 8.11. Esay 30.20. this is mischiefe upon mischiefe, when the Law perisheth from the Priest, Nihil est aliud Scientia nostra quam culpa, qui ad hoc tantum­modo Legem no­vimus ut ma­jore offensione peccemus, Sal­vian. lib. 4. and there is no Vision, Ezek. 7.26. and yet it is much better bee in this case, without a Teaching Priest, and without the Law, then to enjoy them, and not to walk an­swerably unto them; where the Word is not a savour of life, it is a savour of death unto death, ex­ceedingly multiplying the damnation of those that doe despise it, 2 Cor. 2.15. Matt. 11.22, 24. First, it doth ripen those sinnes that it findes, making them much more sinfull then in other men,Criminosior cul­pa, ubi status ho­nestior.— Qui Christiani dicimur, si simi­le aliquid Bar­barorum impu­ritatibus faci­mus, graviùs erramus; a [...]rocius enim sub sancti nominis professione peccamus: ubi sublimior est praerogativa, major est culpa. Salvian. lib. 4. possunt nostra & Barbarorum vitia esse paria, sed in his tamen vitiis necesse est peccata nostra esse graviora—Nunquid dici de [...]unnis potest, [...]cce quales sunt qui Christiani esse dicuutur? nuuquid de Saxonibus & Francis, Ecce quid sa [...]iunt▪ qui se asserunt Christi esse cul [...]es? Nunquid propter [...] [...]ex Satr [...] Sancta [...]?—Evangelia legunt, & Impu­diti sunt; Apostolos audi [...]t, & incbriantur▪ Christum sequuntur, & Rapiunt, &c. Ibid. because committed against greater light and more mercy. One and the same sinne in an Heathen is not so hainous and hatefull as in a Christian. Those trees on which the Sun con­stantly [Page 142] shines, have their fruit grow riper and greater then those which grow in a shady and cold place. The raine will hasten the growth as weell of weeds as of corne, and make them ranker then in a dry and barren ground, Ioh. 9.41. Ioh. 15.22.24. Secondly, it doth superadde many more and greater; for the greatest sinnes of all are those which are commited against light and grace; Sinnes against the Law and Prophets, greater then those which are committed against the glimmerings of nature, Ezek., 7. and sinnes against Christ and the Gospel, greater then those against the Law, Heb., 29. Such are, unbeliefe, Impenitency, Apostacy, despising of salvation, preferring death and sinne before Christ and mercy; judging our selves unworthy of eternall life, &c. Thirdly, it doth by these meanes both hasten and multiply judgments. The sinnes of the Church are much sooner ripe for the fickle then the sinnes of Amorites; they are neare unto cursing, Heb. 6.8. Summer fruits, sooner shaken off then others, Amos. 8.1. Ier. 1.11, 12. Christ comes quickly to remove his Candlestick from the abusers of it, Rev. 2.5. The Word is a rich mercy in it selfe, but nothing makes it ef­fectually and in the event a mercy unto us but our walking in it.

§ 16.2. We learne from hence: That we never make the Scriptures our Rule to live and walke accor­ding unto them, till we be first justified, and made righteous: Our obedience to the Rule of the Law [Page 143] written in the Scriptures, proceedeth from those suteable impressions of holinesse wrought in the soule by the Spirit of Regeneration, which is called the writing of the Law in our hearts, Ier. 31.33. 2 Cor. 3.3. or the casting of the soule into the mould of the Word, as the phrase of the A­postle seemeth to import, Rom. 6.7. we are never fit to receive Gods Truth in the love and obedi­ence of it till we repent and be renewed. If God (saith the Apostle) will give repentance for the acknowledging of the truth, 2 Tim. 25. The wise in heart, that is, those that are truly godly, (for none but such are the Scriptures wise men) these will receive Commandements, but a prating foole will fall, Prov. 10.8. where by prating I understand cavil­ling, contradicting, taking exceptions, making objections against the Commandement, and so falling and stumbling at it, according to that of the Apostle, Iam. 1.19, 20, 21. Let every man bee swift to heare, that is, ready to learn the will of God, and to receive the Commandement; but slow to speak, slow to wrath, that is, carefull that he suffer no pride and passion to rise up and speak against the things which are taught, according as Iob sayes, Teach me, and I will hold my peace, Iob 6.24. for the only reason why men fret and swell, and speak against the truth of God, is this, be­cause they will not work righteousnesse: The wrath of man worketh not the righteousnesse of God; there­fore men are contentious, because they love not to obey the truth, Rom. 2.8. disobedience is the mother [Page 144] of gainsaying, Rom. 10.21. when we once resolve to lay apart all filthinesse, then wee will receive the Word with meeknesse, and not before; none heare Gods Words, but they who are of God, Ioh. 8.47. none hear the voyce of Christ, but the sheep of Christ, Ioh. 10.4, 5. Christ preached is the power of God, and the wisedome of God; but it is onely to them that are called; to others a stumbling block, and foolishnesse, 1 Cor. 1.24. We speak wisedome, saith the Apostle, but it is amongst them that are perfect, 1 Cor. 2.6. He that is subject unto one Prince, doth not greatly care to study the Laws of another; or if he doe, it is in order to curiosity and not un­to duty. So long as men resolve of Christ, we will not have this man to raign over us, so long either they study not his Word at all, or it is in order to some carnall and corrupt ends, and not either to o­bedience or salvation.

Hereby we may try our spirituall estate, whether we be just men or no; if we make Gods Word our Way, our Rule, our Delight, laying it up in our hearts, and labouring to be rich in it, that wee may walk with more exactnesse. It was an ill signe of love to Christ the Master of the Feast, when men chose rather to tend their cattell and grounds, then to waite on him, Luke 14.18. An ill signe of valuing his do­ctrine, when the losse of their Swine made the Gardarens weary of his company, Luke 8.37. There was much work to doe in the house, when Mary neglected it all, and sate at his feet to [Page 145] heare his Doctrine, and yet was commended by him for it: Hee was better pleased to see her hunger after the Feast that hee brought, then solicitous to provide a Feast for him: more delighted in her love to his Doctrine, then her Sisters care for his entertainment, Luke 10.41, 42. This is one of the surest Characters of a Godly man, that hee makes the Word in all things his Rule and Counsellor, labouring con­tinually to get more acquaintance with God, and his holy Will thereby, Prov. 10.14. Col. 3.16. Iohn 15.7. It is H [...]s Way; and every man endeavours to be skilfull in the way which he is to travell. It is his Toole and instrument; every Work-man must have that in a readinesse, to measure, and carry on all the parts of his work: It is his Wisedome Turpe est patri­cio, & nobili, & causas oranii, jus in quo versare­ [...]ur ignorare. Pompon. P. de o [...]igine Ju [...]is leg. 2. § 43. Ita­que in medicum imperite secan­tem competit Actio. l. 7. P. ad Leg. Aquil. § 8 quia Imperitia culpae adnume­ratur. Instir. lib. 4. de Leg. Aquil. §. 7. & l. 132. P. de Regulis Juris.; every one would be esteemed a wise man in that which is his proper function and profession: It is the myste­ry and Trade unto which he is bound; and every man would have the reputation of skill in his owne Trade: It is his Charter, the grant of all the Priviledges and Immunities which belong unto him; and every Citizen would willingly know the Priviledges which he hath a right in. It is the Testament and Will of Christ, wherein are given unto us exceeding great and precious Promises; and what Heire or childe would be ig­norant of the last Will of his Father? Lastly, it is the Law of Christs Kingdom, and it Iuris ignorantia cuique noces. l. 9. P. de Juris & facti [...]gnor. Arist. Ethic. lib. 3. cap. 7. Greg. Tholos. syntag. Jur. l. 30. c. 10. concerns [Page 146] every Subject to know the Duties, the Rewards, the Punishments that belong unto him in that relation.

Fifthly, in that he saith, That the Transgressours shall fall therein, Sect. 17. wee learne, That the Holy and right wayes of the Lord in the ministry of his word set forth unto us, are unto wicked men turned into matter of falling; and that two man­ner of wayes. 1. By way of Scandall they are offended at it: And 2. by way of Ruine, they are destroyed by it.

1. By way of Scandall, they are offended at it. So it is prophesied of Christ; that as he should be for a Sanctuary unto his people; so to others who would not trust in him, but betake them­selves to their owne counsels, he should be for a stone of stumbling, and for a rock of offence, for a ginne and for a snare, Esay 8.14. for the fall and the rising againe of many in Israel, and for a signs to be spoken against, Luke 2.34, 35. So he saith of himselfe, for Iudgement am I come into this world, that they which see not, might see; and that they which see might be made blinde, Ioh. 9.39. And Bonae res ne­minem scanda­lizant nisi ma­lam men [...]em. Tertul. de ve­land. virg. cap. 3. this offence which wicked men take take at Christ; is from the purity and holinesse of his word, which they cannot submit unto; A stone of stumbling he is, and a rock of offence, to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient, 1 Pet. 2.8. 2 Cor. 2 14, 15. Thus Christ preached was a Sanctuary to Sergius Paulus the Deputy, and a stumbling block to Elymas the Sorcerer: a San­ctuary to Dionysius and Damaris, and a stumbling [Page 147] block to the wits and Philosophers of Athens: A Sanctuary to the Gentiles that beg'd the preaching of the Gospel, and a stumbling block to the Iews that contradicted and blasphemed, Act. 13.42, 45. the former primarily and per se; for salva­tion was the purpose of his comming, there was sinne enough to condemne the world before: I came not, saith he, to judge the world, but to save the world, (Joh. 12.47.) The other Vid. Irenaeum lib. 5. cap. 27. occasionally, not by any intrinsecall evill quality in the word, which is holy, just, good, and dealeth with all meeknesse and beseechings, even towards obsti­nate sinners [...]. Athanas. de synod. Arim. & Seleuc.; but by reason of the pride and stubbornesse of these men who dash against it: as that wholesome meat which ministers strength to a sound man, doth but feed the disease of ano­ther that sits at the same table with him: the same light which is a pleasure to a strong eye, is a paine to a weak one: the same sweet smels that delight the braine, doe afflict the matrix when it is distempered; and none of this by the infusion of malignant qualities, but only by an occasionall working upon and exciting of those which were there before.

And there are many things in the word of God, at which the corrupt hearts of wicked men are apt to stumble and bee offended: As first the [...]. Iustin. Exposit. fidei▪ profoundnesse and depth of it, as con­taining great mysteries above the discovery or search of created Reason. Such is the pride and [Page 148] wantonnesse of sinfull wit, that it knows not how to beleeve what it cannot comprehend, and must have all Doctrines tried at her barre, and measured by her ballance; as if a man should at­tempt to weigh out the earth in a paire of scales, or to empty the waters of the Sea with a bucket. As soone as Paul mentioned the Re­surrection, presently the Athenian Wits mocked his Doctrine,Sect. 18. Act. 17.32. and it was a great stumbling block to Nicodemus to heare that a man must be borne againe, Joh. 3.4. Sarah hath much adoe to beleeve beyond reason, Gen. 18.12. and Muses himselfe was a little staggerd by this temptation, Numb. 11.22, 21. A very hard thing it is for busie and inquisitive Reason to rest in an [...] in the depth of the wisedome and counsell of God, and to adore the unsearch­ablenesse of his Judgements, [...]. Plutarch de se­ra numinis vin­dict [...]. Non omnium quae à majoribus con­stituta sunt Ra­tio reddi potest, & ideo Ra­tiones corumque constitu [...]ntur, inquiri non op [...]r­cet. P. lib. 1. T. 4. Leg. 20, 21. though even Hu­mane Lawes tell us that Reason of Law is not always to be inquired into. Vid. Hooker. lib. 5.3. Mater omnium Hareticorum superbia. Aug. de Gen. contr. Manichaeo [...]. lib. 2 cap. 8. The first great He­resies against the highest mysteries of Christian Religion, the Trinity, the two natures of Christ, the Hypostaticall union, the deity of the Holy spirit, had their first rise among the Graecians, who were then the masters of wit and Learning, and esteemed the rest of the world Barbarous; and the old exception which they were wont to take at the Doctrine of Christianity was the foolishnesse of it, as the Apostle notes, 1 Cor. 1.23.

Secondly,Sect. 19. the sanctity and strictnesse of it, as it is contrary to the carnall wills and affections [Page 149] of men: for as corruption doth deifie Reason in the way of wisedome, not willingly allowing any mysteries above the scrutiny and comprehension of it; so doth it deifie will in a way of Li­berty and power, and doth not love to have any au­thority set over that which may pinch or restraine it. As Ioshua said to Israel, yee cannot serve the Lord, for he is an holy God, Josh. 24.19. we may say of the Law, we cannot submit to the Law be­cause it is an Holy Law; the carnall minde is not, cannot be, subject to the Law of God, Rom. 8.17. Heat and Cold will ever be offensive unto one another, and such are flesh and spirit, Gal. 5.17. Therefore ordinarily the arguments a­gainst the wayes of God, have beene drawne from politique or carnall interests. Ieroboam will not worship at Ierusalem, for feare least Israel revolt to the house of David, 1 Kings 12.27. Amos must not prophesie against the Idolatry of Israel, for the Land is not able to beare all his words, Amos 7.10. The Jewes conclude Christ must not be let alone, lest the Romanes come and take away their place and Nation, Rom. 11.48. Demetrius and the Craftsmen will by no meanes have Diana spoken against, because by making shrines for her they got their wealth, Act. 19.24, 25. See Perkin [...] his works, [...]om. 1. pag. 356.362. Bol tons dis­course of true happinesse. Sandersons serm. on 1 Kin. 21.29. Dan. Dikes deceit of the heart cap. 6, 7, 8. Down­ham of Chri­stian warfare, part. 4. li. 1. cap. 13. §. 3. & lib. 2.11. Corruption will close with Religion a great way, and heare gladly, and doe many things wil­lingly, and part with much to escape damnation; but there is a particular point of rigor and strict­nesse in every unregenerate mans case, which when it is set on close upon him, causeth him [Page 150] to stumble, and to be offended, and to break the treaty. The Hypocrites in the Prophet will give rammes, and rivers of oyle, and the first borne of their body for the sinne of their soule: but to doe justly, to love mercy, to walke humbly with God, to doe away the treasures of wickednesse, the scant measure, the bagge of deceitfull weights, vio­lence, lies, circumvention, the statutes of Omri, or the Counsels of the house of Ahab; durus sermo, this is intollerable: they will rather venture smi­ting and desolation then bee held to so severe termes, Mich. 6.6, 16. The young man will come to Christ, yea runne to him, and kneele, and desire instruction touching the way to eter­nall life, and walk with much care in observa­tion of the Commandments; but if hee must part with all, and in stead of great possessions, take up a Crosse and follow Christ, Vid. Basil. H [...] ­mil. in ditescen­tes, s [...]atim ab initio. and fare as hee fared, durus sermo, this is indeed a hard saying; he that came running, went away grieving and displeased, and upon this one point doth hee and Christ part, Mark. 10.17.22. Herod will heare Iohn gladly, and doe many things, and ob­serve and reverence him as a just and holy man; but in the case of Herodias hee must be excus'd; upon this issue doth hee and Salvation shake hands, Mark. 6.20, 27. This is the difference betweene Hypocriticall and sincere conversion; that goes farre, and parts with much, and proceedes to almost; but when it comes to the very turn­ing point, and ultimate act of Regeneration, hee then playes the part of an unwise sonne, and [Page 151] stayes in the place of the breaking forth of children, Hos. 13.13. as a foolish Merchant, who in a rich bargaine of a thousand pound breaks upon a dif­ference of twenty shillings: but the other is contented to part with all, to suffer the l [...]sse of All, Fides famem non time [...]. Hier. Perquam durum est, sed i [...]al [...]x scripta est. Vlpian P. Qui & à quibus ma­munissi Liberi non s [...]unt. l. 12. §. 1. to carry on the Treaty to a full and finall conclusion, to have All the Armour of the strong man taken from him, that Christ may divide the spoiles, Luke 11.22. Psal. 119.128. to doe the hardest duties if they bee commanded, Gen. 22.3.

Thirdly, the searching, convincing, and pene­trating quality which is in the Word, is a great matter of offence unto wicked men,Sect. 20. when it cuts them to the heart, as Stephens Sermon did his hea­rers, Act. 7.54. Light is of a discovering and manifesting property, Eph. 5.13. and for that reason, is hated by every one that doth evill, John 3.20. for though the pleasure of sinne unto a wic­ked man be sweet, yet there is bitternesse in the root and bottome of it; hee who loves to enjoy the pleasure, cannot endure to heare of the guilt. Now the worke of the Word is to take men in their owne heart, Ezek. 14.5. to make manifest to a man the secrets of his owne heart, 1 Cor. 14.25. to pierce like arrowes the hearts of Gods ene­mies, Psal. 45.5. to divide asunder the soule and spirits, the joynts and marrow, and to be a dis­cerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, Hebrewes 4.12. Esay 49.2. This Act of discovery cannot but exceedingly gaul the spirits of wicked [Page 22] men; it is like the voice of God unto Adam in Paradise, Adam, where art thou? or like the voice of Ahijah to the wife of Ieroboam, 1 King. 14.6. I am sent unto thee with heavy tidings.

Fourthly, the plainnesse and simplicity of the Gospel is likewise matter of offence to these men, 2 Cor. 10.10. and that partly upon the preceding reason; for the more plaine the Word is, the more immediate accesse it hath unto the conscience, and operation upon it. So much as is meerly hu­mane elegancy, finenesse of wit, and delicacy of expression, doth oftentimes stop at fancy, and take that up, as the body of Asahel caused the passers by to stand still and gaze, 2 Sam. 2.23. And wick­ked men can bee contented to admit the Word any whither, so they can keep it out of their con­science, which is the only proper subject of it, 2 Cor. 4.2. When I heare men magnifie quaint and polite discourses in the ministry of the word, and speak against Sermons that are plaine and wholesome, I look upon it not so much as an Act of pride (though the wisedome of the flesh is very apt to scorne the simplicity of the Gospel) but indeed as an act of feare and cowardize; because where all other externall trimmings and dresses are wanting to tickle the fancy, there the Word hath the more downright and sad operation upon the conscience, and must consequently the more startle and terrifie.

Fifthly, the great difficulty and indeed impossi­bility of obeying it in the strictnesse and rigor of it, is another ground of scandall, that God in his [Page 153] Word should command men to doe that which indeed cannot be done; this was matter of asto­nishment to the Disciples themselves, when our Saviour told them that it was easier for a Camell to goe through the eye of a needle, then for a Rich man to enter into the Kingdome of God, Mark. 10.25. Censores di­vinitatis dicen­tes sic non debu­it Deus, & sic magis debu­it—consultio res sibimet vi­dentur Deo, Tertul. in Marcion, lib. 2. cap. 2. This was the cavill of the disputant in the Apostle against the counsels of God, Why doth he yet find fault? if hee harden whom he will, why doth he complaine of our hardnesse, which it is impossible for us to prevent, because none can resist his will? Rom. 9.1. Now to this scandall we answer; first, That the Law of God was Non suit Im­possibile quando praeceptum est, sed stulti [...]ia pec­cantis Impossibi­le sibi s [...]cit. Gul. Paris. de vitiis & pec­ca [...] ▪ cap. 10. Neque [...]im suo vit [...]o non imple­batur Lex, sed vitio prudentiae carnis, Aug. de [...]pir. & lit. cap. 19. not ori­ginally, nor is it intrinsecally or in the nature of the thing impossible, but accidentally and by rea­son of naturall corruption which is enmity a­gainst it; a burthen may be very portable in it selfe, which he who is a creeple is not able to beare; the defect is not in the Law, but in us, Rom. 8.3. Secondly, that of this Nec latu­it praeceptorem praecepti pondus hominum exce­dere vires: Sed judicavit utile ex hoc ipso suae illos Insuffici­entiae admoneri—Ergo mandando Impossibilia non praevarica [...]ores homines fecit sed humiles, ut omne os ob­struatur, & subditus fiat om [...]is mundus Deo, quia ex operibus leg [...] non justifi [...]abitur emnis caro coram illo: accipientes quippe mandatum, & sentientes defectum, clamabimus in Caelu [...] & mis [...]rebitur nostri Deus, Bernard. Ser. 50. in Cantic. Impossibility there may be made a most excellent use, that be­ing convinced of impotency in our selves, we may have recourse to the perfect obedience and righteousnesse of Christ, to pardon all our vio­lations of it, Gal. 3.21, 24. Thirdly, being re­generated and endued with the spirit of Christ, the Law becomes Lex data, ut gratia quaereretur, gratia data ut Lex impleretur, Aug. de sp. & lit. c. 19. Omnia fiant Charitati facilia, De nat. & grat. cap. 69. de grat. Christ. cap. 9. de grat. & lib. arb. cap. 15. Evangelically possible unto [Page 154] us againe, yea, not onely possibly, but sweet and easie, Rom. 7.22. 1 Ioh. 5.2. Ma. 11.30. Though impossible to the purpose of Iustification and legall Covenant, which requireth perfection of obe­dience under paine of the Curse, Gal. 3.10. in which sense it is a yoake which cannot bee born, Act. 15.10. A Commandement which can­not be endured, Heb. 12.20. yet possible to the purpose of acceptation of our services done in the obedience of it, The spirituall part of them being presented by the intercession, and the carnall defects covered by the righteousnesse of Christ, in whom the father is alwayes well pleased. Fourth­ly, if any wicked man presume to harden himselfe in the practice of sinnes, under this pretence that it is impossible for him to avoid them, be­cause God hardneth whom he will, Though the Apostolicall increpation be Answer sufficient, Who art thou that replyest against God? yet he must further know, that he is not onely hardned judici­ally by the sentence of God, but most Cor lapideum non significat nisi durissimam voluntatem & adversus Deum inflexibil [...]m, Aug. de grat. & lib. [...]rb. c. 14. willingly also by his owne stubborne love of sinne, and gi­ving himselfe over unto greedinesse in sinning, and thereby doth actively bring upon himselfe those indispositions unto duty, so that the Law being impossible to be performed by him is indeed no other then hee would himselfe have it to be, as bearing an active enmity and antipathy unto it.

§ 22.Sixthly, The mercy and Free-grace of God in the promises, is unto wicked men an occasion of stumbling while they turn it into lasciviousnesse, and continue in sinne that grace may abound, Rom. 6.1. [Page 155] Iud. ver. 4. and venture to make work for the blood of Christ, not being led by the goodnesse of God unto repentance, but hardning themselves in impenitency because God is good, Rom. 2.4. There is not any thing at which wicked men doe more ordinarily stumble then at mercy, as gluttons surfet most upon the greatest dainties, venturing upon this ground to goe on in sinne, because they cannot out-sinne mercy; and to put off repentance from day to day, because they are still under the offers of mercy; making mercy not a sanctuary unto which to fly from sinne, but a sanctuary to protect and countenance sinne; and so by pro­fane and desperate presumption turning the very mercy of God into a Fructum ex eo quis consequi non debet quod impugnat. Go­toftid. Nemo sit Liber in fraudem sisci. Marcian. P. Qui & à qui­bus manumiss [...], l. 11. judgement, and savour of death unto themselves, Deut. 29.19, 20. Num. 15.30. pretending liberty from sinne that they may continue in it, and abuse God by his owne gifts.

Lastly, the threatnings of God set forth in his Word, and executed in his judgements upon wicked men, are great occasions of stumbling unto them, when they are not thereby with Manasses humbled under Gods mighty hand, but with Pha­roah hardned the more in their stubbornnesse a­gainst him. There is such desperate wickednesse in the hearts of some men that they can even sit down and rest in the resolutions of perishing, resolving to enjoy the pleasures of sinne while they may, To morrow we shall dye, Vide quae de Sardanapalo, Nino, Bacchida, Xanthia, aliis, congessit Athe­naeus, lib 8. cap 3. &. lib. 12. c. 7. therefore in the meane time let us eat and drink, 1 Cor. 5.32. This evill is of the Lord, why should we wait for the Lord any longer? 2 Kings 6.33. There are three [Page 156] men in the Scripture that have a speciall brand or marke of ignominy set upon them, Cain, Dathan, and Ahaz. The Lord set a mark upon Cain; Gen. 4.15. This is that Dathan, and this is that Ahaz, Num. 26.9. 2. Chron. 28.22. and if we examine the reasons, we shall finde that the sinne of stub­bornnesse had a speciall hand in it.Contumacia cu­mulat poenam, l. 4. P. de pae­nis. Cains Offering was not accepted; upon this he grew wroth and sullen, and stubborn against Gods gentle warning, and slew his brother. Dathan and his Compani­ons sent for by Moses, return a proud and stubborn answer, we will not come up, we will not come up. Ahaz greatly distressed by the King of Syria, by the Edomites, by the Philistimes, by the Assyrian, and in the midst of all this distresse stubborn still and trespassing more against the Lord. It is one of the saddest symptomes in the World for a man or a Nation not to be humbled under the correcting hand of God, but like an anvile to grow harder un­der blowes; and a most sure argument that God will not give over, but goe on to multiply his judgements still, for he will overcome when hee judgeth, and therefore will judge till he overcome. In Musicall Notes there are but eight degrees, and then the same returnes againe; and Philosophers when they distinguish degrees in qualities, doe usually make the eighth degree to be the highest: but in the wrath of God against those who im­penitently and stubbornly stand out against his judgements, wee shall finde no fewer then eight and twenty degrees threatned by God himselfe, I will punish seven times more, and yet seven times [Page 157] more, and againe, seven time more, and once more, seven times more for your sinnes, Levit. 26.18, 21, 24, 28. thus wicked men doe not only stumble at the Word by way of scandall, but also—

2. By way of Ruine, § 23. because they are sure in the conclusion to be destroyed by it; for the rock stands still, the ship only is broken that dasheth against it. Gods Word is and will be too hard for the pride of men, the more they resist it, the mightier will it appeare in their condemnation. The weak corn which yeelds to the wind, [...]. vt Plut. Sympos. lib. 4. qu 2. is not harmed by it; but the proud Oake which resists it, is many times broken in pieces. The soule which submits to the Word, is saved by it; the soule which rebels against it, is sure to perish. Therefore since the Word comes not to any man in vaine, but returnes glory to God either in his conversion or in his hardning: It greatly concer­neth every man to come unto it, with meek, pe­nitent, docile, tractable, believing, obedient reso­lutions, and to consider how vaine and despe­rate a thing it is for a Potsherd to strive with a rod of Iron; for the pride & wrath of man to give a chalenge to the justice and power of God; for bri­ars and thornes to set themselves in battell against fire. As our God is a consuming fire himselfe, so his law is a fiery Law, Deut. 33.2. & his word in the mouths of his Ministers a fire, Ier. If we be gold, it will purge us; if thorns, it will devour & feed upon us. This is the condemnation (saith our Saviour,) That light is come into the world, and men loved dark­nesse rather then light, Iob. 3.19. There was damna­tion [Page 158] in the world before while it lay in darknesse and in mischiefe, and knew not whither it went: but not so heavy damnation as that which grow­eth out of light. When Physick, which should remove the disease, doth cooperate with it, then death comes with the more paine and the more speed. The stronger the conviction of sin is, the deeper will bee the wrath against it, if it be not by repentance avoyded. No surfet more dangerous then that of bread, no judgement more terrible then that which growes out of mercy known and despised; The word which I have spoken (saith Christ) the same shall judge you at the last day, Ioh. 12.48. Every principle of truth which is by the Word begotten in the hearts of disobedient sinners, and is held down, and suppressed by unrighteousnesse, lies there like fire raked up under ashes, which at that great day will kindle into an unquenchable flame. The word can bring much of Hell upon the spirit of impenitent sinners here: It can hew, and cut, and peirce, and burn, and torment, and root out, and pull down, and destroy, and strike with trembling and amazement the proudest and se­curest sinners, Hos. 6.5. Act. 7.54. Heb. 4.12. Esay 49.2. Psal. 45.5. Revel. 11.5, 10. Ier. 1.10. 2 Cor. 10.4. Act. 24.25. we need no messenger from the dead to tell us of the torments there: All the Rhetorique in Hell cannot set forth Hell more to the life then Moses and the Prophets have done already, Luk. 16.31. But O what a Hell will it be at last, when the Word which warned us of it, shall throw us into it! when every offer of mercy [Page 159] which wee have refused, and every threatning of wrath which we have despised, shall accompany us unto the tribunall of Christ, to testifie against us; and into the fire of Hell, to upbraid us with our owne perdition! O the dolefull condition of impenitent sinners! If they have not the Word, they perish for the want: and if they have it, they perish doubly for the contempt of it. O that men would conside [...] the terror of the Lord, and bee perswaded! and that they would learne so much wisedome as not to arm the very mercy of God against themselves. A bridge is made to give us a safe passage over a dangerous river; but he who stumbles on the bridge, is in danger to fall into the river. The Word is given as a meanes to carry us over Hell unto Heaven; but he who stum­bles and quarrels at this meanes, shall fall in thither, from whence other­wise he had been deli­vered by it.


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