OR, A Treatise wherein the absolute necessity, the transcendent excellency, the supereminent Graces, the beau­ty, rarity and usefulnesse of Christ is opened and applyed.

By JOHN ROBOTHAM, Preacher of the Gospel.


Cant. 3. 13.


PHIL. 1. 2.

Malim praesente Christo esse in Inferno, quam ab­sence Christo in Caelo.

Luther in Genes.

LONDON, Printed by M. Symmons, and are to be sold by Hannah Allen, at the signe of the Crown in Popes head Alley. 1647.

TO THE HONOURABLE Colonell Stapely, and William Cawley, Esquires, both Members of the Ho­nourable House of Commons, Ju­stices of the Peace, and Depu­ty Lieutenants of the County of SUSSEX.

Honourable Sirs,

IT is a rare and come­ly sight to see great­nesse and goodnesse together: both are concentring and met in you, un­wearied you have been in your paines, faithfull in your trust, a refuge for the oppressed, not [Page] onely in these times, when m [...] ­ny are assertors of Religio [...] because it should protect the [...] and because it is in fashion: b [...] even then, when it was the gre [...] test crime to be godly, it hat [...] been the counsell of others to b [...] still on the strongest side: b [...] their aime being false, they sho [...] wide of the marke. God hat [...] given you a more spiritual judgement, which hath mad [...] you to stand like a Rocke unm [...] veable, venturing all, when others out of timorousnesse hav [...] unworthily betrayed their trus [...] and left a perpetuall blot upo [...] their names.

Your wisdome and fidelity i [...] an honour and a joy to then that chose you, and to the whol [...] Kingdome; which hath grea [...] cause to blesse God for you: i [...] any doe otherwise, yet kno [...] for your comfort, that you [...] [Page] wages in your worke, as the har­ [...]est is in the seed. Whatsoever [...]ou expend for God, in God [...]ou shall find it againe: the [...]ore publick your spirits are, [...]he nearer you come to that cen­ [...]er of all perfection. Selfe [...]n a man is a base and poore end: [...]ea, it is proudly to sit downe [...]n the place of God, to whom [...]lone it is proper to worke for [...]imselfe: even the best of Crea­ [...]ures must acknowledge their [...]ubordination unto him, the [...]ore we doe so, the greater re­ [...]ection of honour and blessing [...] begets: subordination in some [...]espects may bee between two [...]nely: but sometimes there is [...] series, or concatenation of [...]hings subjected one to another, [...] which the Logicians call sub­ [...]ternation: and here there is a [...]oking upward and downe­ [...]ard: and so doe you, to God, [Page] and to inferiours: I should b [...] in gratefull either to deny, o [...] forget it.

You have engaged me, wit [...] often, manifold, choise, undeserved, unrequitable favours. [...] have consulted what to returne [...] pauperis est numerare pecus. Th [...] ensuing discourse you have already had by word of mouth [...] the acceptance that it foun [...] with you, when it was first del [...] vered, hath emboldened me t [...] present it unto you againe wit [...] some enlargements. Solin [...] writes, that the African Elephants are dwarfes to the Ind [...] ans; and therefore are loath t [...] bee seen of them; Iul. So­lin: poly­histor. cap. 38. quasi parv [...] tatis suae conscij: it is myne ow [...] case in relation unto your Honours. I much revere you Judgements: that which make me ventrous, is your unsuspected candour and ingenuity [Page] you shall have (as the Oratour speakes) levidense crasso filo: but the preciousnesse of the subject matter will make amends for that: Christ the Lord of life, and the most precious one of the Father. I doubt not but he is such to you also: and perhaps this Treatise, such as it is, will draw out your hearts and affecti­ons farther. You know not what tentations and trialls God may yet bring you through. Christ the Angel of his presence will be with you: your safety will be in him: infinite is that distance between the favour of God and us, without him. Rest then upon this rocke of ages: goe to this fountaine of strength: he will fortifie you against fears without, and terrours within: and when opposition is at the highest, he will raise your spi­rits to a sutable height: he will [Page] carry you as on Eagles wings: you shall be above the creature; above your selves: you shall as it were walke in heaven; while you live on earth.

Honourable Sirs, give mee leave to leave with you this monument and witnesse of my thankfulnesse for your many un­merited favours towards mee. I have abundant reason to think, that your hearts are right for God, and for the Kingdome of Christ: some cannot lay downe themselves enough: if it were not so; whereas they doe some good, they would doe much more. Selfe-deniall makes a fat and fruitfull soule. Blessed be God for your obedience in this behalfe: then we love our selves best, when wee love God more then our selves; the matter of this discourse will much pro­move it. I know no better Load­stone [Page] to attract and draw out affections to God ward, then Christ laid open in all the sinews and joynts, in all the veines and arteries of his Fathers love to mankinde. I have done it very jejunely and brokenly: I leave the many defects of it to be made up by your meditation: how so­ever I have handled it, I am con­fident, the subject is such, that you will receive it, as I present it, with the right hand.

I have adventured to cast this poore mite into the publique treasury, although I am consci­ous to my selfe of mine own in­ability for such a worke. What though a man cannot contend with Lynceus in quick-sighted­nesse; must he therefore be rec­koned stark blind? What though he cannot run with the swiftest; must he therefore have his heels tript up? What if he cannot [Page] climb to the highest fastidge and top, must they therefore disturb him, and throw him down from his station? Zech. 4. 10. Wee should not de­spise the day of small things: inest sua gratia parvis: there is a foot in the body, as well as an eye: and the Apostle speaks of [...], diversities of gifts, 1 Cor. 12. 4. And divers they be as well in measure, as in kinde. I much rejoyce, I know nothing by my selfe: by the grace of God I am that I am: it is he that hath stir'd me up to the best studies: and I shall be willing to doe good, according to the dispensa­tions of his grace.

Now the Lord make you so to eye and apprehend the preci­ousnesse of Christ in his person, in his graces, in his offices, in his members, in his ordinances, in all the operations of his Spirit, that you may be willing to spend [Page] and be spent for him, to adven­ture all your worldly interest, and to throw downe all your honour at his feet; as the foure [...], foure living cre­atures, and not four li­ving beasts as our trāslation hath it. living creatures, and foure and twenty Elders did their crowns: this is the way to take up all a­gaine with unspeakable advan­tage: this is the best traffique and trading in the world: this is the safest adventure, that you can make. Christ will be a rich gaine unto you here, and when you come into that endlesse world, he will set the never-withering crowne upon your heads. So prayeth

Your much obliged servant, JOHN ROBOTHAM.


THou art not I conceive such a stranger to these times but thou knowest, that there is a spirit of bitternesse and contention a­mong us; whereby abundance of Gospel­love is lost, and our affections become unpro­fitable unto us: if wee could live more in the love of Christ; wee should live more in the love one of another: this following Trea­tise being first preached (through the ear­nest importunity of many friends) is now printed for to elevate thy affections, and cause them to mount up with wings as Ea­gles unto Christ, who is the delight of all delights, and abstract of all prayses.

The Subject of this discourse is the pear­lesse, and unmatchable excellency of Christ, [Page] wherein is discover'd his rarity, price, use­fulnesse, with the high esteeme that the Fa­ther puts upon him, in which respect he is precions to Beleevers. Love is the attra­ctive Lord-stone of Love: and never was there such a love-deserving object as Christ; upon whom should Saints place all their sweet affections that are to be exercised up­on good, as love, joy, and delight; but up­on him who is the brightnesse of Gods face, and the expresse Image of his glory?

It will be worth thy time to study the ab­solute necessity, and transcendent excellency of Christ, he is precious and excellent in all relations, whether as man, as Mediatour, as God: he is attractive in his love, ravishing in his beauty, winning and delightfull in all his graces: he is absolute gaine, without losse, he is absolute for all supply: in a word, all the riches of Gods love, the brightnesse of his glory, and the shining of his face are treasured up in Christ, and by our union with him we come to enjoy them.

Now this excellency of Christ must not lie as a contemned thing: but it calls for the strength of our soules, and the height of our affections to be fixed upon it. There is no object in the world, but there is a will relating to it, and inclinable to close with [Page] it. Now what better object can the will of man have then Christ? if wee be not here what doe we differ from beasts? and a beast in the shape of a man is worst of all. 'Tis good for us, that God hath placed such sweet affections of love, of joy, of delight, and the like in our soules; but it is much better, that God hath provided such an ob­ject for them, as Christ, who is the sum­mum bonum, and the top of all felicity and happinesse. It is pitie we should lose so much of our affections as we doe upon the world: when we cast our affections upon Christ, they be not lost: he onely makes them heavenly and gracious, and gives them to us againe: if we lay down our lives for him, they be not lost, but gain'd unto eternall life.

Thus I have shewed thee whereon this discourse is grounded; namely in setting forth Christ in his beauty, in his love, in his graces, in his offices, in his riches, and in all the operations of his Spirit, in all those rich and costly gifts, which he doth be­stow upon Beleevers, redeeming of them with his precious bloud, sanctifying of them with his precious graces, enriching of them with his precious premises, reviving of them with his precious love, comforting of them [Page] with his precious Spirit, and ennobling of them with precious priuiledges: and all this is, as an attractive Load-stone to at­tract and draw our hearts unto him.

Now if thou wilt but take a view of all the high perfections and supereminent ex­cellencies of Christ; if thou wilt anotomize him in every particular, and particularize him in every excellency, thou wilt find him to be lovely in all the parts of his Media­torship, in his person, in his natures, all Offices, and Graces, yea, he is the chiefe, or Standard-bearer of ten thousand: he is altogether lovely, be is wholly de­lectable. Now it is my earnest desire, that as God hath honour'd his Sonne, and An­gels they venerate him, and Saints highly esteeme of him, that, hee might be precious unto thee, which is the chiefe thing I can desire for my selfe, or for thee, who am

Thine in the service of the Gospel JOHN ROBOTHAM.

A Table of the maine things contained in this following TREATISE.

  • THe coherence of the Text. p. 1. 2.
  • What is meant by precious. p. 2. 4.
  • What the faith is, that esteems Christ precious. p. 5, 6, 7.
  • The division of the Text, with the Doctrines contained in it. p. 8, 9.
  • The maine Doctrine propounded, viz. that though Christ be slighted and underva­lued by unbeleevers; yet he is exceeding precious to those that doe beleeve. p. 10.
  • The Doctrine is proved by three eminent ex-examples. p. 11.
  • In the prosecution of the Doctrine, three things are insisted on. 1. some demon­strations, 2. Some illustrations. 3. Grounds and Reasons of the point. p 12.
  • 1. Demonstrations, and they are foure.
  • 1. Beleevers are impatient of Christs [Page] absence. ibid.
  • 2. Beleevers make diligent search after Christ when absent. p. 13.
  • 1. They seeke Christ diligently in the use of all meanes. p. 14.
  • 2. They seek Christ constantly without in­termission. ibid.
  • 3. Beleevers have a prudentiall care in kee­ping Christ when they have found him. p. 15.
  • 4. Beleevers doe bewaile Christs absence, seeke him with diligence, and keep him with prudence out of a principle of love. p. 19.
  • Love, what it is. ibid.
  • The will cannot be forced. ibid.
  • The will must have a sutable object to draw it out. p. 21.
  • Christ is a sutable good to the soule of a Be­leever. ibid. 22.
  • A second thing in the prosecution of the Do­ctrine is the illustrations, viz. 1. Ra­rity, 2. Esteeme, 3. Price. 4. useful­nesse. p. 23.
  • 1. The rarity and scarcenesse of a thing makes it to be precious. ibid.
  • Christ is rare in the world. ibid.
  • 2. The high esteeme, that is cast upon a thing makes it precious. p. 24.
  • [Page]Christ is highly prized by the Father. p. 25.
  • By Angels. p. 26.
  • By Saints. p. 27.
  • 3. The great and excessive price, that is gi­ven for a thing makes it precious. p. 29.
  • Much hath been given for Christ. p. 30.
  • 4. The usefulnesse and profitablenesse of a thing makes it precious. p. 31.
  • Christ is precious for all things, but especi­cially for
  • Justification. p. 32
  • Sanctification. p. 34.
  • The parts of Sanctification are two, viz.
  • Mortification.
  • Vivification. p. 35.
  • Beleevers are sanctified by an influence of grace flowing from Christ their Head. page 36. 37.
  • The third thing in the prosecution of the Doctrine is the grounds and reasons, why Beleevers doe soe highly esteeme of Christ. p. 38.
  • 1. Reason, Beleevers are in some measure convinc'd
  • 1. Of their misery without Christ. ibid.
  • 2. Of their inability to help themselves. ib.
  • 2. Reason, Beleevers apprehend an infinite treasure and happinesse, that God hath treasured up in Christ; and that to be [Page] joyned to him, is the only way to obtaine these blessings.
  • viz. the Fathers love. Pardon of sinne. Manifestation of Gods face. page 42.
  • 1. The love of God is infinite like himselfe, and cannot be conferred upon any crea­ture for its owne sake. ibid.
  • Christ alone is a sutable object for the love of God. ibid.
  • The treasures of Gods love and riches are first in Christ, and by him conveyed to us. page 43.
  • 2. There is an absolute necessitie of Christ for the pardon of sinne. p. 45.
  • Christ redintigrates mercy and justice, when they seemed to be at variance. ib.
  • Christs bloud onely purges away sinne. p. 48.
  • When sinne is pardoned there is a confluence of all blessings comes along with it. page 49, 50, 51.
  • 3. It is Christ alone, that doth as it were unmaske and unvaile the face of God; and helps us to a manifestation of it. page 52.
  • Christ is the brightnesse of Gods glory. p. 54.
  • 3. Reason, Christ is precious and excellent in all relations: either as he is man, or [Page] as he is Mediator, or as he is God. p. 55.
  • 1. As man, Christ was holy and harmelesse ibid.
  • 2. Christ was lovely in his abasements. p. 57.
  • Christ was in the Essentiall forme of God. page 58.
  • Christ did evacuate and emptie himselfe of all his glory p. 59, 60.
  • 3. Christ was obedient unto the will of his Father. p. 61.
  • Repentance was hid from his eyes, when he was under the pressures of Divine wrath. page 62.
  • He prayes the cup might passe from him with submission to his Fathers will. page 63.
  • 4. Christ as man, was perfect in graces. page 64, 65,
  • Christ was more perfect then Adam. p. 66.
  • Christs Excellencie shines forth in diverse respects, as man. p. 67, 68.
  • 2. Christ is excellent as God-man, as he is Mediatour. p. 69.
  • In the Mediatorship of Christ wee are to consider three things: viz. his Prophecie. Priesthood. Kingdome. p. 70.
  • Christ was the head of all Prophets in di­verse [Page] respects. ibid.
  • 1. All other Prophets were but types and shadowes of Christ. ibid.
  • Moses was a type of Christ in diverse re­spects. ibid. 71.
  • Noah, David, Elisha, Jonah, John the Baptist were all types of Christ. p. 72, 73.
  • 2. Other Prophets could speake onely to the eares of men: but Christ speakes to the heart. ibid.
  • Other Prophets could preach wisdome unto men: but Christ can preach men wise. page 74.
  • 3. Other Prophets were instrumentall to search out the mind of God; and they did it by way of act onely: but the mind of God was in Christ habitually and radically. p. 75.
  • How all fulnesse is said to dwell in Christ. page 76.
  • 4. Other Prophets could reveale but some part of the will of God, and at some times onely: but Christ doth it fully, and altogether. ibid. 77.
  • 5. Other Prophets might not preach them­selves: but Christ might. p. 78, 79.
  • 6. All Prophets had their Commission from Christ. p. 80.
  • Christ is the fountaine of all Prophecie. page 81, 82. 83.
  • [Page]2. Christ it a Priest wherein is the heart & strength of his mediation. p. 84, 85. 86.
  • The dignity and exceeding preciousnesse of the Priesthood of Christ is set forth by a collation and comparison between him and the Leviticall Priests, those of Aron's order. page 87.
  • 1. In the Leviticall Priest-hood there were a plurality of Priests: but Christ was Priest alone. ibi.
  • 2. In the Leviticall Priest-hood there was a change, and a succession of Priests: but Christs Priest-hood was impassable. page 88.
  • Christ was not a Priest after Aron's order: but after Melchisedec's. ib.
  • In what respect Melchisedec is said to be without Father and mother. ib. 89.
  • 3. The Leviticall Priests offred oftentimes: but Christ offered but once. p. 99. 91.
  • 4. Other Priests and their Sacrifices were but types and shadowes: Christ is the essence and substance of those things. p. 92
  • 5. Other Priests entred onely into that place, which was typically holy: but Christ in­to heaven it selfe. p. 93.
  • If men will Judaize and stick to Mosaicall rudiments; they have no right to eat of the Christians Altar. p. 94.
  • [Page]6. Other Priests offred first for themselves, and afterward for the people: but Christ was without sinne, and needed no sa­crifice for himselfe. p. 95.
  • 7. Christ was a mercifull Priest. p. 96, 97.
  • 8. Christ was the Priest, the Temple, or Ta­bernacle, the Altar and the Sacrifice all in one person. page 98.
  • 1. He was Priest in respect in respect of both natures. p. 99.
  • 2. he was the Tabernacle or Temple most properly according to his God-head. page 100.
  • 3. He was an Altar most properly according to his Divinity. p. 101, 102.
  • 4. He is a sacrifice most properly accor­ding to his manhood. p. 103, 104.
  • Christ as Mediatour is a King: and in his Kingly Office he shines forth most ex­cellently above all other Kings, and that in diverse respects. p. 105.
  • 1. Christs Kingdome is spirirituall. ibid.
  • Christ onely rules over the Conscience. ib.
  • The soules of men are one of Babylons chiefe merchandize. 106.
  • Domination and Lordship over the soule and Conscience is that part of Christs glory, which he will not give to another. ib.
  • Wee are not to mancipate and enflame our [Page] Consciences to any humane devise in mat­ters meerely spirituall. p. 107.
  • Christ rules in the Kingdomes of men, and meddles in their secular affaires in refe­rence to his own spirituall Kingdome. ib. page 108.
  • 2. Christ Kingdome is universall. p. 109.
  • 1. In respect of all Nations. ibid.
  • 2. In respect of all sorts and conditions of men. p. 110, 111.
  • 3. In respect of all ages and times of the world. p. 112.
  • 4. In respect of all creatures. p. 113.
  • 3. Christ rules as King alone without ei­ther colleague in the largenesse of his do­minion, or Regent in his minority, or Vice-roy in his absence. p. 114, 115.
  • 4. Christ is an eternall and everlasting King. page 116.
  • In what respect Christs Kingdome is ever lasting. page 117.
  • In what respect Christ shall give up that Kingdome to the Father at the last Day ibid. 118.
  • Christs Kingdome is not subject to succession, or to be devolved and rould downe to af­ter comers. page 119, 120.
  • 5. Christ is matchlesse and eminent above all other Kings in all royall vertues, en­dowments, [Page] and accomplishments. p. 121.
  • 1. He is a most sapient and wise King. ib.
  • 2. He is a most puissant & warlik King. ib.
  • 3. He is as eminent in peace, as be is in war. page 122.
  • 4. He is a most just and righteous King. page 123.
  • 5. He is a most mild and mercifull King. page 124.
  • Christ as King is eminent above all o­thers. p. 125.
  • The third thing spoken of Christ as Media­tour is his God head. ibid.
  • There are fathomlesse depths, and stupendi­ous Mysteries, and confounding excel­lencies to be found in God. p. 126.
  • In generall, Christ is excellent, in that he is the altitude and summity of all glory, and one eternall God, the same in essence and substance with the Father. p. 127.
  • In speciall thus.
  • 1. Christ shines as the Sunne, in all perfe­ction and sufficiency of wisdome, power, goodnesse, love, Majesty, & glory. p. 128.
  • all these perfections are originally in Christ. ibid.
  • 3. All perfections of vertue are in Christ in the abstract, they are his essence. page 129, 130.
  • [Page]some conclusions are drawne from the God-head of Christ, by Scripture apho­rismes, to set forth the preciousnesse of Christ. p. 131, 132, 133, 134, 135.
  • A fourth Reason why Christ is precious to Beleevers: v [...]z. he is absolute for all manner of supply: and the supply which he makes to Beleevers is full, sutable, and constant. page 136.
  • 1. Christ makes a full supply to the soule, as is manifested by many types and sha­dowes which of old had relation to him. page 137, 138.
  • 2. The supply that we have by Christ is su­table. ibid. p. 139.
  • 3. Christ makes a constant supply of grace. p. 140, 141, 142.
  • A fifth Reason, Christ is the most gainfull object in the world for the soule. p. 143.
  • 1. He is absolute gaine. ib.
  • 2. He is universall gaine. p. 144.
  • 1. In respect of all persons. ibid.
  • 2. In respect of all times. 145.
  • 3. In respect of all things. ibid.
  • 3. Christ is gaine in, and for himsef. p. 146.
  • A sixt Reas: Christ is precious to Belee­vers, because of the attractivenesse, and alluring vertue
  • Of his love.
  • [Page]Of his beauty. p. 147.
  • Of his grace.
  • 1. Christs love is very winning and conci­liating, drawing the affections of the soule to Christ. p. 148, 149.
  • 2. Christ is winning and attractive in his beauty. ibid.
  • He is of a faire & comely complexion. p. 150
  • He is proportionable in all parts. p. 151.
  • 3. Christ is attractive in his graces consider'd 152.
  • 1. As inherent in himselfe. p. 153.
  • 2. As bestowed upon the Saints. p. 154, 155.
  • Beleevers are the glory of Christ. p. 156.
  • Reason 7. Christ is precious to Beleevers from that evidence of Interest, right, & propriety, that they have in him. p. 157.
  • 1. In all his works & performances. p. 158.
  • 2. In all his dignities and honours. p. 159.
  • 3. In all his Offices and administrations. p. 160.
  • 4. In all his blessed influences & graces. ib.
  • The application of the point.
  • 1. Use. It shewes us the reason why the most in the world doe despise Christ, and care not for him, namely, because they have no faith. p. 161.
  • Where Christ seemes a despicable and worth­lesse [Page] thing, there's no faith, as appeares
  • 1. By their ignorance. ib. p. 162.
  • 2. By their stumbling at Christ. p. 163, 164
  • 3. Their not improving of Christ. p. 165.
  • 4. By their carelesnesse of the things of Christ. p. 166, 167, 168, 169.
  • 5. By their refusing to receive Christ. p. 170, 171.
  • 6. By their being satisfied without Christ. p. 172, 173.
  • 2. Use. The discovery of a fit object for our affections. p. 174.
  • The affections of the Saints are some more, and some lesse intensive upon Christ. p. 175, 176.
  • 3. Use. The discovery of the singular ef­fects, the excellency of Christ, have upon Beleevers, drawing out their affections unto him. p. 177.
  • We may judge of all our affections, by the affection of love. ibid.
  • Love is the height of our esteeme, and there are in it three acts or effects, viz.
  • 1. Complacency or well pleasednes. p. 178.
  • 1. What the love of complacency is, being referred to Christ. ib.
  • Cheist is an exceeding pleasing object to a beleeving soule. p. 179.
  • Christ is welcome to a Beleever, however he represents himselfe. p. 180.
  • [Page]The Saints are wel-pleased with Christ in spirituall desertions. p. 181, 182.
  • Christs sweetnesse doth swallow up all his bitternesse. p. 183.
  • The force of that pleasantnesse, which is in Christ, is such, that nothing can make his Saints weary of their profession. p. 184, 185.
  • 2. From complacency flowes a desire of union. ib.
  • The love of union desires to enjoy Christ. p. 186.
  • Christ is enjoyed.
  • 1. In his Ordinances. ibid.
  • 2. In his secret & sweet appearances. to the soule. p. 187, 188.
  • 3. In his personall presence. p. 198. 190.
  • 3. From complacency and desire of union flowes benevolence or good-will. p. 191.
  • Benevolence being referred to Christ, is an affection whereby we desire his name may be glorified. ib.
  • A Beleevers love to Christ is a constrai­ning love. p. 192.
  • 4. Use. We are to consider the unmatchable excellency & preciousnes of Christ. p. 193.
  • We are to consider by way of motive, those rich and costly gifts, which Christ hath bestowed upon in: & they are such as these,
  • [Page]Precious bloud.
  • Precious Graces.
  • viz. Precious Promises.
  • Precious Love. p. 194.
  • Precious Spirit.
  • Precious Priviledges.
  • 1. Motive. The bloud of Christ is precious in these respects.
  • 1. From the purity of his humane nature. ib.
  • 2. It was noble bloud. p. 195.
  • 3. It was his Life-bloud. p. 196.
  • 4. From his personall union of his Man­hood with his God-head. p. 197, 198
  • 5. In the blessed effects thereof. p. 199.
  • 1. It saves from wrath. ibid.
  • 2. It is the price of redemption. p. 200. 201.
  • 3. It is the bloud of entrance into heaven by which Christ entred. p. 102.
  • By which Beleevers enter. p. 103, 104.
  • 2. Mot. Christ hath bestowed upon Belee­vers precious graces. p. 205.
  • Faith is called a precious grace, and that for these reasons.
  • 1. It is the roote grace. p. 206.
  • 2. In respect of its Author. p. 207.
  • 3. In respect of its obiect. p. 208.
  • 4. From the effects and workings of it. p. 209, 210.
  • 3. Mot. The Promises of Christ are great and precious, if we consider
  • [Page]1. The nature of the Promise. p. 211, 212, 213.
  • 2. Of the Antiquity of the Promise. p. 214, 215, 216, 217, 218, 219.
  • 3. The precious things contained in the Promises which doe appertaine
  • 1. To temporall life. p. 220, 221.
  • 2. To spirituall grace. p. 222, 123.
  • 3. To eternall glory. p. 224. 225.
  • 4. Mot. Christ hath bestowed precious, love, and precious it is because,
  • 1. Infinite. p. 226.
  • 2. Gracious. p. 227.
  • 3. Liberall. p. 228, 229.
  • 4. Eternall. p. 230, 231.
  • 5. Mot. Christ bestowes upon Beleevers his precious Spirit which doth these things.
  • 1. It illuminates our mindes, p. 232, 233.
  • 2. It sanctifies our natures, and therefore compared to wind. p. 234, 235, 236.
  • To fire. p. 237, 238.
  • To water. ibid.
  • 3. The Spirit seales our adoption. p. 239, 240.
  • 6. Mot. Christ bestowes upon Beleeevers Priviledges, namely,
  • 1. Accesse to the throne of Grace. p. 241, 242.
  • 2. Good Successe of their suites. p. 2 [...] ▪ 244, 245, 246, 247, [...]


1 PETER. 2. 7.

Unto you therefore which beleeve, he is precious.

THE particle [wherefore] in the beginning of this Chap­ter intimates a connexion, and consequently the Apo­stles going on with his exhortation be­gun in the precedent.

The first thing he exhorts to, is to love the word of God, ver. 2. As new-borne [Page 2] babes desire the sincere milke of the word. To this he doth both prepare, and also give suitable and agreeable rea­sons. His preparation is in the first verse; laying aside all malice and all guile, &c. his reasons follow the Text: and the first is edification in these words, That you may grow thereby. The second is taken from the Subject, or maine Argument of the word; and that is Christ, propounded unto us by taste: if so be yee have tasted that the Lord is gracious, ver. 3.

Now that Christ is the primary Sub­ject and cheife Argument of the word is declared from the fourth verse unto the eleventh.

First in beleevers adhering to Christ by Faith, set forth to us under the terme of coming; to whom coming, saith the Apostle. Then wee have the reasons of this duty. First, because Christ is the foundation of the spirituall edifice or building, called therefore a livingst one, verse 4.

Secondly, because Beleevers are there­by also made lively stones, verse 5. Christ is the foundation; and Beleevers are the superstructure.

Both these reasons are illustrated: [Page 3] First, Christ was chosen and precious. Se­condly, Beleivers were a holy Priesthood. Now that Christ is a lively and precious stone, the Apostle confirmes by testi­mony of Scripture, verse 6. Behold I lay in Sion a chiefe corner stone, [...], elect and precious.

This Testimony is explicated by the contrary affections of men; viz. to Be­leivers he is precious: to unbeleivers a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence.

Ʋnto you which beleeve hee is precious: here for expositions sake wee must ob­serve in the words two things: first, what is meant by the word precious? Secondly, what manner of faith it is, that is here spoken of.

He is precious, the word is [...], Ho­nour; as if the Apostle had said, he is to you that believe an honour, or ho­nourable. Prayse, glory, and honour are promiscuously and indifferently ta­ken for one and the same thing: but if we respect their propriety, they differ thus.

First, [...], praise, is when we make honourable mention of others: this is externall, and expressed by the tongue, or pen.

[Page 4] Secondly [...], Glory is a reverend, and venerable opinion that we have of others: this is internall, lying in the mind.

Thirdly, [...], Honour comprehends both those, being a testification of the opinion, that wee have of other mens excellency and worth, declared by out­ward signes, as respectfull saluta­tions, uncovering the head, bow­ing the knee, and the like. Wee have a double expression, 2 Pet. 1. 17. Christ re-received from his Father [...], honour and glory, as much as to say transcendent glory: glory in the highest degree.

The Hebrew word importing honour and glory is properly of weightinesse; as Paul mentioneth the weight of glory, 2 Cor. 4. 17. [...] Kabad signifieth to aggravate, adde, or increase: so must Th [...]a [...]stud sign [...] ­ficat [...] g [...] ­v [...]s [...]ere, fe­c [...]t in H [...]p [...]. Bux [...]. in L [...]xi [...]: wee adde excellency, price, estimati­on, and weight of honour unto Christ: not that we can really and substantially adde the least cubit unto the stature of his glory, of his beauties and perfecti­ons: for he is rich, and full, and abso­lute without us: but we must adde con­digne and worthy prayses to him; and [Page 5] so acknowledge him to be that which he is: wee adde not any worth unto Christ; but onely an agnition or ac­knowledgement of his worth.

I come to the second question, name­ly what manner of Faith it is, that the Apostle speakes of? The Divine speakes of three kinds of Faith; naturall, le­gall, and Evangelicall. The naturall Faith is to beleive that God is, or that there is a God, Hebr. 11. 6. generally all reasonable Creatures, both Angels and men have such a Faith as this: the Devils beleeve, that there is a God, and tremble, saith the Apostle.

Legall faith is to beleive that God speaks Truth in the Scriptures, or that the word of God is true; Histories, Pro­phesies, Promises, threatnings, every line of that sacred Text, as it was in­dighted by the Spirit of God, they all breath out Truth, without the least jot or tittle of falshood in them. Now the Faith that assents to this is called Legall; because the Law, and particularly the first Commandement injoynes me to honour God: and I doe honour him, when I beleeve, that which he saith is true.

[Page 6] Evangelicall Faith is to beleive God in Christ. God is objectum ultimum fidei, the ultimate, or the highest object of Faith: and Christ is objectum mediatum, the mediate object thereof. Christ is the Medium by which we goe unto God: by him we beleeve in God, 1 Peter. 1. 21. and (saith Paul) we trust through Christ to Godward, 2 Cor. 3, 4.

True Evangelicall Faith is that where­by the soule doth roll or cast it selfe up­on Christ, as upon a sufficient and faith­full Saviour.

And that this is the nature of Faith is declared by these phrases of Scrip­ture. To leane upon the Lord: the He­brew word [...] to leane produces and brings forth the word that signifieth a a staffe; because we leane upon it: now Faith in Scripture is set forth by both these termes: in respect of Faith the Lord is said to be the staffe of his people, 2 Sam. 22. 19. and they are said to leane or to stay themselves upon him, Esa. 10. 20. Againe, the word [...] signifies both confidence, hope and security, all which are effects of Faith: the radicall word is used to expresse the act of Faith, Psal. 40. 3. And very significant and choyce [Page 7] to declare the worke of Faith is that phrase [...] and applyed un­to David, and to Christ, Psal. 22. 8. as much as to say, to roll ones selfe on the Lord. Arius, Montanus renders it, vol­ve ad Dominum, roll to the Lord: the Hebrew word besides the primative sig­signification of rouling, imports also a confident committing of ones selfe unto another. Againe, [...], Faith, signi­fies a steady or firme resting upon the Promises of God. It is said, Exodus A [...]nsw. in Loc. 17. 12. that Moses his hands were stea­dy untill the going downe of the Sunne; where the same word is used for steady, as for Faith. Now then seeing that to beleive in God is to leane upon him, as on a staffe, or a supporter; to roule our selves to him, or on him, as Creatures that cannot subsist happily separated from him; and also to rest steadily in him, as in God al-sufficient, and the ve­ry life and Salvation of our soules: cer­tainly this cannot be done by an act of the understanding, but by an act of the will. Confidence indeed is a fruit of Faith: but yet you must take it thus: as it relates to God in dependance on him for some future good, so it is hope.

[Page 8] But as it respecteth him offering him­selfe to us in Christ at present; so it is faith: and hence are those phrases of the Apostle [...], being fully per­swaded, Rom. 4. 21. [...], the sub­stance or ground of things hoped for; and [...], the Argument, or demonstration of things not seen, Hebr. 11. 1.

Having shewed what is meant by Pre­cious, and what is the faith that esteemes Christ so: I come to the division of the Text. In the words observe.

First the person esteemed, or ho­noured, Christ.

Secondly, the persons so esteeming or honouring, Beleevers.

Thirdly, the ground or reason of all, implyed in the word Therefore. It is a relative particle, importing some an­tecedent, or fore-going reasons of the preciousnesse of Christ to Beleevers, as—

1. That he is found to be a precious stone, verse 4.

2. That Beleivers also are made by him lively stones, as wee read in the fift verse.

3. There is likewise testimony of Scripture alledged to confirme the ex­cellency [Page 9] of Christ: therefore he must needs be precious.

The words afforde us these Doctrines or Observations.

First, Christ is very honourable and precious. Christ is honoured in Hea­ven and Earth, by God the Father, by the Holy-Ghost in the Scriptures, by his Angels and by Beleevers: all these put such worth upon him, that hehe is the chiefest of ten thousand, Cantic. the fift chap. verse the tenth.

Secondly, however Christ be under­valued by such as have no faith, and doe not beleive: yet he is exceeding preci­ous to those that doe beleive.

Thirdly, Christ is precious to Belee­vers, because of his proper and inherent excellency, called therefore a precious stone; because of his usefulnesse, being a Foundation to build [...]pon: because of his blessed efficiency or operation, making them that build upon him to become living, or lively stones; and fi­nally, because all these beauties and lovelinesses of Christ are not shucks and shadowes, but Truths and realities, be­ing confirmed by a sure and infallible word of Prophecie.

[Page 10] I shall make bold to wave the first Do­ctrine, because the substance and matter thereof shall be laid open in the second, which was this.

That though Christ be slighted and un­dervalued Doctrine. by unbeleevers; yet he is excee­ding precious to Beleevers. Where there is faith to beleive, there Christ is highly esteemed of, and precious above all the things in the world.

Hence it is that the Kingdome of Hea­ven Mat. 13. 44. is likened to treasure hid in a field, and to a goodly Margarite or pearle, which the Merchant having found he selleth all to buy it. Marke I pray.

First, it is a Merchant man, and Mer­chants commonly are well stored with mony, and of the richest sort of men: it was much then for such an one to part with all that he had: surely that thing must n [...]eds be superlatively excel­lent, that could move him to doe thus.

Secondly, it is a Merchant, the He­brew [...] which signifies a Merchant, doth also signifie a Seeker or searcher, because Merchants doe search up and downe in diverse Countries for their precious things: this notes the great paines that is taken about the Pearle.

[Page 11] Thirdly, when he hath made up his resolution thus to forsake all, observe his policy: he hides the Pearle and the treasure, craftily he conceales it and keeps it close, that so he may make it sure to himselfe, and that no man may deprive him of it.

Fourthly, he selleth all, to shew that he values it above all things in the world; and would rather part with all, then misse of such a bargaine.

Fifthly, he selleth all with joy: that which he doth, he doth with a very good will, so farre from any sticking at it, so farre from any repenting or wa­vering, so farre from any changing of mind; that he persists in his resolution with a cheerefull and joyfull heart. Now what is the ground and reason of all this? verily it is Christ a treasure, a Pearle of inestimable and unvaluable price; this is the thing that the soule like a politick Merchant-man eyes all this while, and is glad to leave all to en­joy it.

See this in the Apostle: he counted all things but losse for the excellency of Christ: yea he counted them but dung, [...], dogs-meate, [...], [Page 12] that I may winne or gaine Christ, saith he: that is, that I may get more neare communion with him; and that I may be satisfied with a larger portion of his fulnesse.

Moses also counted the worst of Christ better then the best of sinne: nothing can be imagined worse of Christ then reproach and affliction: yet Moses sets these against the pleasures of sinne and the treasures of Egypt: he chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, then to enjoy the pleasures of sinne for a season; esteeming the reproacb of Christ better riches, then the treasures of Egypt, Hebr. 11. 26.

Now beside these examples, I will endeavour further to prove and illu­strate the Doctrine in this method.

  • First, I will shew the [...], that it is so.
  • Secondly, the [...], how it is so.
  • And thirdly, the [...], why it is so.

In the [...] it shall appeare by these de­monstrations.

First Beleevers are very impatient of Christs absence. Christ may vaile I D [...]mon­stration. himselfe for a while, and withdraw his Light and comfort from the soule: though he take not away his loue, yet [Page 13] he may suspend the acts of it: he may seeme to frowne; he may so abscond, so hide and ecclipse himselfe, that the soule for a while loseth sense, and feeles not its owne happinesse. Now when it is thus with a Beleiver, Christ is gone: the comfort and assurance of his Love is gone, joy and Light is gone, ô how de­jected, how disconsolate is the soule then! so far as a man is spirituall, the flame of love to Christ is kindled in him: Malim praesente Christo esse in inferno, quàm ab­sente Chri­sto in Coelo. Luther in Genes. and then he cannot sit down without him. He is the fountaine of all supply: he is the staffe of strength, the support of joy, and the very life of the soule: ô that I might see him (saith the Beleiver) oh that I might live in his presence! nothing in the world will content him, neither honour, nor riches, nor plea­sures, nor friends, nor any thing else will content him, till he find him whom his soule loveth, till he finde the Lord Jesus Christ, whom formerly with un­speakable pleasure he enjoyed. Demo. II

Secondly, consider that earnest in­quisition and diligent search, which the Beleiver makes after Christ when ab­sent.

He seekes him diligently and con­stantly.

[Page 14] First, his diligence appeareth in that he searcheth for Christ in the use of all holy Ordinances: who so esteemeth Christ, the same person can slight no Ordinance of Christ, hearing, prayer, meditation, conference with the godly, and the like: he hath found such sweet­nesse in all these, that he cannot give over his search and inquirie, untill he hath found Christ. Those Ordinances are (as I may say) a walke wherein Christ is wont to meet with his people: a Beleiver therefore doth with great ea­gernesse, delight and study put himself upon that way. If he finde not Christ present, his spirit failes; the soule is in a syncope or fit of swooning, there is a swift and a sudden failing of strength. But Christ being once found, this is as life from the dead. The Ordinances ther­fore in which Christ presents and offers himselfe are very precious to a Beleiver. The soule that hath once felt the quick­ning power of those Ordinances, will hardly, or never be kept from them.

Secondly, the true Beleiver seekes Christ constantly, he seeks him without intermission or ceasing. See a pattern of this, Cantic. 3. 1, 2, 3. By night on my [Page 15] bed I sought him, saith the Church: and what was the successe? for the present she found him not: how then? did she give over? no: but she sought him in the streets: and yet she found him not, ver. 2. Well, she is not contented; but she seek [...] him againe: she askes the watchmen for him; such as were in place of superin­tendency and Ministry; such as pre­tended at least to have the greatest care of her: she inquires of them for him: saw yee him whom my soule loveth, saith she? but even they satisfie her not: therefore she goes further, waiting pa­tiently for the Revelation of Christ: and so at length she hath blessed successe: she found her beloved: it is not lost la­bour to seeke and waite for Christ con­stantly and perseveringly: such labour in the Lord shall never be in vaine: and verily they doe highly esteeme of Christ, who seek him so.

Thirdly, a true Beleiver doth not on­ly Dem. III seeke Christ diligently and constant­ly: but also he hath a prudentiall care in keeping him when he hath found him. I held him (saith the Church) and would not let him goe, Cant. 3. 4. she came by him hardly: and therefore she [Page 16] will not part with him lightly, it cost her hot water (as I may say) to get him; she gat him with much hazard and danger, much losse and suffering: and therefore she will not leave him for the greatest advantage in the world. She knowes, that nothing under Hea­ven can countervaile or repaire the losse of him: she knowes, that nothing in this great and wide Universe, though never so lovely and desireable can be e­quivalent to such a Jewell: She knowes, that with him is the well-spring of life and of all blessing: therefore she can­not be induced or perswaded upon any tearmes to part with him. Many of Christs followers forsooke him, and went no more with him: but will yee also forsake me, saith he to his Apostles? Peter answers for himselfe and the rest: Lord, whither shall we goe? thou hast the words of eternall life, Joh. 6. 68. as if he should have said: Lord, if wee leave thee, we leave our life and our comfort; wee forsake our owne mercy: it was motive enough to stay by him, and to keep closse to him to consider that eter­nall Life, and consequently the very quintessence of all happinesse was with [Page 17] him. The Merchant that found a trea­sure of great price, went and hid it, and joyfully sold all that he had to purchase it: and therefore he will not part with it for any good. This Merchant-man is an Embleme or figure of a sound belei­ver, who when he hath found Christ, will not forgoe him by any meanes: no, but he will say of him, whom have I in Heaven but thee: and on Earth there is none that I desire in comparison of thee: Christ is the strength of his heart, and his portion for ever, Psal. 73. 25, 26. 'Tis the voyce of the Church: the Lord is my portion saith my soule: not onely her tongue without; but even her soule and her spirit within speakes it with un­conceiveable joy and delight: she was in deep affliction when she spake it, Lament. 3. 24. Yet the apprehension of such a portion, as the Lord, was solace and refreshing enough to her. And Da­vid is in the same moode too: the Lord is my portion and mine inheritance (saith he) the lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places, yea, I have a goodly heritage, Psal. 16. 5, 6. He alludes to the manner of dividing the Land of Canaan to the chil­dren of Israel, which was done by line. [Page 18] O ter (que) quater (que) beati; unspeakably hap­py are they that have such an heritage: can wee thinke now that they will be such fooles, as to part with it? no ve­rily, they will not so dote on any thing in the world, as to leave Heaven for earth, infinite and eternall joyes for a short blaze, or a little flash of mirth, like the crackling of thornes under a pot: they will not be so overseen and besotted, as to part with such an heri­tage, as Christ is, rich, fat, alwayes fruitfull, and never decaying, [...], as the Apostle saith: 'tis an inheritance where there is no dirt, no winter, or withering, no de­cay or dying of fruites; but ever green, ever flourishing, ever bearing, infinite­ly profitable and delightfull to the pos­sessors of it: who can be so foolish as to part with such an inheritance as this? If Naboth would not part with the heritage of his Fathers; how can wee imagine that the Saints will part with theirs? Naboths was his but for his life time onely: but the heritage of the Saints is everlasting: Naboths was subject to many hazards and casualties, fire, in­un [...]ation, robbery, blasting, wormes, [Page 19] and utter losse, as the event declared: but the heritage of the Saints, the por­tion that they have in Christ is quite a­bove and beyond all such detriment: they will not then be such fooles, as to part with it.

Fourthly, consider the principle from Dem. IV whence flowes the soules bewailing of Christs absence, diligent and constant seeking of him, and keeping him with much care and jealousie when she hath found him; that principle is love. I sought him whom my soule loveth, saith the Church, Cantic. 3, 4. Now love is the inclining or closing of the will, with something that is at least apprehended to be excellent and agreeable to it selfe: I say apprehended to be excellent; be­cause sometimes the object is not excel­lent indeed, but onely fansied and con­ceited to be such: but here the case is otherwise, as I trust it shall appeare. In the meane time observe the nature of the will; it is elicita, not coacta, incli­ned and drawne forth; not compelled and constrained, not ravished (as I may say) or forced: will should be no will, if it were so: the will is absolute and free; it sits as Empresse in the soule, [Page 20] commanding there in chiefe, as we say: no violence can be offered to it: or if there be any, yet it is very pleasing full of ti [...]ation, full of tickling and de­light. I confesse the old saying is, duci­mus volentem, and trahimus [...]olentem: we lead him, that is willing, and we draw him, that is unwilling: but when the Father is said to draw us, Joh, 6. 44. and Christ also is said to draw us, Can­tic. 1. 4. we must know that here is no compulsion, or coaction: but it is done by the sweetnesse and efficacy of grace: it is done by the secret operation and working of the Spirit, inclining the heart, and swaying the will: I conclude then, that if the will be so impassible, and cannot be forced; Christ must needs be a Load-stone (as I may say) very attractive, and an object very temp­ting and alluring: else certainly hee could never have such power over mens wills to incline them, to draw them, to bend them and bow them, as he doth: he could never make the Wolfe to dwell with the Lambe, and the Leopard to lie downe wi [...]h the Kid, as 'tis in the Pro­phet: he could never tame the fierce natures, and the ravenous dispositions [Page 21] of persecutors; he could never change mens mindes, and alter the constituti­on of their soules, so as he doth; if there were not excellency in him super-humane, and above all that which any creature can boast of? doubtlesse it must argue the excelling dignity and preciousnesse of Christ, when our wills, which are subject to no enforcement, are so kindly and so sweetly swayed and commanded by him.

Againe we must know, that the object of the will according to the mind of the Philosopher is something that is good: bonum est objecium voluntatis, saith the Moralist: whether it be bonumreale, a reall and substantiall good; or bonum apparens, a shadowish and seeming good▪ it is so; both are the object of the will: but Christ is altogether substance and no shadow, no lye, no falshood, no fuke, no varnished appearance of good; but the most solid, and absolute blessing, that is in the world; so revealed by the Spirit, and so apprehended by the Saints: and therefore it is, that he is so choyce and precious to them. That excellent glory, that transcendent good, that spirituall beauty, that superemi­nent [Page 22] worthinesse, that overflowing fountaine of Grace, and the shining of Gods face in Christ; these make him to be the best object; these set a high rate and price upon him: these incline the will, attract the heart, and draw the love of our soules to him.

Againe, observe that the object of the will must be a thing sutable; bonum sibi conveni [...]ns, a good agreeable to it selfe. Now such an object is Christ: he is most sutable and agreeing too us in all his Offices, in all his communications; sutable in his bloud for pardon, in his grace to adorne us, yea in his very de­basements to lift us up; sutable in his love for lost sinners, in his fulnesse for for empty and beggerly soules; yea the summum bonum, the chiefest good, that wee can desire, or be possest of: this makes a child of God to love nothing so well as him: there is none on earth, that I desire besides thee, saith the Psal­mist. If Christ were not very precious to beleevers, d [...]ubtlesse they would not overlooke all the world to claspe, and close with him, as they doe.

A second thing illustrating the Do­ctrine is the [...], how it is so? there [Page 23] are foure things spoken of in the Scrip­ture, which make a thing to be preci­ [...]us; viz. the Rarity.

  • The Esteeme.
  • The Price.

And the usefulnesse thereof.

First, the rarity and scarcenesse of a Illustration. I thing makes it to be precious: for this cause is the word of God, viz. the word of Prophesie called precious, 1 Sam. 3. 1. It is said there, that the word of God was precious, that is, it was rare in those days: so is Christ rare in the world: few and rare they be that find him: one of a Ci­ty, and two of a Tribe, as 'tis in the Pro­phet, Christ is a Pearle, yea a Pearle of highest price, as in Matth. 13. Pearles are rare in the world: the Merchant onely, that seekes farre, obtaines them: there are more wayes to misse, then to hit the marke: the stoney ground, and the young man in the Gospel came neare the Kingdome of God, but yet missed it: 'tis rare to see a soule embellished and adorned with such a Jewell, as Christ is: this then must needs make him to be precious. If things excellent were common, the plentinesse of them would take off the price of them: it is [Page 24] said 1 Kings 10. 21. that all Solomons drinking vessels, and all the vessels of the Forrest house in Lebanon were of pure gold; none were of Silver, it was nothing accoun­ted of in the dayes of Solomon: the King made it as common as stones in Jerusa­lem, as we read in verse 27. The exces­sive and superabounding quantity of that mettall made it so cheape and so worthlesse, as it was: had it been rarer, it would have been more precious: this then confirmes the exceeding precious­nesse of Christ, because they be thinne sowne, and come up as thinly, that have him for their portion: the paucity and fewnes of such, as are enriched with him, argues his dignity and worth not a little.

Secondly, the high esteeme, that is cast upon a thing makes it also to be pre­cious; Illustration. II so is Gold and Silver precious, because men make great account of it. Neither doth Christ come short of this Argument: whatsoever worldlings account of him, it skils not: fooles and mad-men cannot judge of excellencies; Let the foolish Gadarens esteeme more of their swine, then of Christ; we will not lay him in such a balance: looke upon God the Father, and see what [Page 25] reckoning he makes of him: he calls him choyce and precious, as we reade 1 Pe­ter 2. 6. Behold, I lay in Sion a chiefe corner stone, elect and precious. God hath honoured Christ, & committed all Judge­ment even the full administration of all things to him, that all men might honour him. Christ was in the bosome of the Fa­ther; he was from all eternity privie to all his counsels and decrees, as we finde Prov. 8. 22, 23, 24. &c. The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way before his workes of old: the word [...] is there used, put for eternity, à parte antè, as we say: as if Christ should have said; even from all eternity, before his workes made in the Creation of the world I was my fathers Darling: when he made the Heavens, girded the Sea; and gave the unresistable decree, that it should keep in its bounds, I was as one brought up with him; I was as a child with the Fa­ther; I was dayly his delight: the ori­ginall word is [...] delights in the plurall number, intimating that the eternall Sonne was the greatest delight of his Father: hee was variety of de­lights unto him: while God was ma­king of the world, he tooke infinite plea­sure [Page 26] in him; in so much that he made all things by him: every creature hath a beame of the Fathers wisdome in it; and the wisdome of God is the Sunne. This is a great mystery: but God speaks of it in tearmes very quaint and famili­ar. Christ speaking of the dayes of eter­nity and everlastingnesse, saith that he was alwayes rejoycing before God; the word is [...] as much as to say, sporting greatly; a metaphor, or simile taken from little ones, which sport and play before their Parents. Christ must needs be precious, being thus highly esteemed of the Father. And to this head of Argumentation wee may adde the great and high account that the most excellent of all Gods Creation, the holy Angels have of him, they all worship him, and adore him, Hebr. 1. 6. yea they doe exceeding earnestly de­sire to stoope downe and pry into the great mystery of our Redemption by Christ, as the words [...] and [...], 1 Peter 1. 12. doe import: where the Apostle alludes to the manner of the Cherubims looking downe into the Mer­cy-seate: this is the study, yea, this is the delight and recreation of the elect [Page 27] Angels to looke into the severall scopes of our salvation by Jesus Christ, to be­hold the whole frame and fabrick of it, to observe all the parts of it from the be­ginning to the end, and the glorious at­tributes of God, his wisdome, his pow­er, his Justice, his Mercy, all shining and glittering in it like bright Starres in the firmament: this, I say, is their worke: yea this is their festivity and past-time. Then let the profane ones of the world thinke what they will of Christ; let them slight him, and scorne him, and cast him at their heeles, as they doe; let them trample upon his bloud and passion, as their wicked manner is, making it a common and worth­lesse thing; let them despise those high and celestiall Mysteries of his Media­torship; wee need not care for their thoughts; it is enough for us, that God the Father hath honoured and exalted him, that the holy Angels doe venerate and worship him; yea and all the Saints doe magnifie him, and count him very precious: the opinion, that one of the least of these hath of Christ, is more to be regarded, then the Judgement of the wisest and most judicious worldlings, [Page 28] that are. The Preacher saith, that a wise mans heart is at his right hand; but a fooles at his left, Eccles. 10. 2. what is the meaning of this? Wee know, that naturally every mans heart is placed on the left side: therefore surely that sen­tence aimeth at something higher then Nature: doubtlesse then Heavenly things are figured by the right hand, and Earthly by the left. The first is the choyce of the Saints: they are therefore those wise ones, whose heart is at their right hand: the other is the delight of Heathenish and carnall people: they then are the fooles, whose heart is on their left hand: and here is the true rea­son, why the men of this world doe despise Christ, their heart is a left-han­ded heart (as I may say) they favour and rellish nothing but earthly things: and therefore Christ and the glorious things of the Gospel are lightly set by: such wisedome is too high for fooles, as Solomon saith, they cannot attaine unto it. Even the Heathen Philosophers as wise as they were, could not reach it: they were so farre from embracing it, that they counted it very foolishnesse: and be it so (saith the Apostle, for he [Page 29] doth after a sort gratifie them) yet the foolishnesse of God is wiser then men; and the weaknesse of God is stronger then men. It skils not then what the men of the world doe thinke of Christ: but what esteeme God, and his holy Angels, and the Saints illuminated and enlightned by the Spirit of God have of him: if they count him precious; this is an Ar­gument irrefragable, and a proofe be­yond all exception, that he is so indeed.

Thirdly, the great and excessive price, Illustration. III that is given for a thing, doth likewise render it very precious. Precious things have their denomination from this Ar­gument. The oyle, wherewith Mary anoynted Christ, was called precious in this respect: this oyntment might have been fold for much, and given to the poore. Thus also the life of a man is said to be precious, Proverb. 6. 26. because he will part with one thing after another, till all begone to save it: as wee see in the Egyptians, who parted first with their mony, after that with their cattell; and last of all with their Lands; and all to buy bread to save their precious lives. Now this also doth set forth the preci­ousnesse of Christ: but who shall va­lue [Page 30] him? Who shall set the price upon him? not men of corrupt minds, not people of depraved affections: for they will set too low a rate upon him. Judas sold him, and the High-Priests bought him for 30. pieces of silver; a goodly price (saith Christ) that I was prised at of them Zach. 11. 13. Magnificum pre­tium, as Junius renders it: a very wor­thy price, I promise you: ironically spo­ken, meaning nothing lesse; and yet he was no lesse then the eternall Jehovah, that was so prised: Jehovah said unto me; cast it unto the potter; a goodly price, that I was prised at of them. But they did thus to fulfill the good Counsell and purpose of God for others, that would esteeme more highly of him. There be them in the world, that doe enhaunse the price of Christ, and value him at the highest rate: though some will not part with a beastly lust for him; though like hogs they count the base wash and figge to be farre sweeter: yet there be others, that know well the worth of him: there be others that are willing to forsake all for him: we have forsaken all (saith Peter) and have followed thee, Matth. 19. 27. The Merchant, of whom [Page 31] you heard before, sold all to buy the preclous pearle: he valued it above all things in the world, and was willing to leave all for it. The holy Martyrs thought not their very lives, and their heart-bloud too deare for Christ: so it is said, that they loved not their lives un­to the death, Revel. 12. 11. that is, they despised their lives in comparison of Christ: they exposed their bodies to horrible and painfull deaths, their tem­porall estates to the spoyle, and their persons to all manner of shame and con­tempt for the cause of Christ: they thought nothing too hot for him. A soule, that by Faith hath sense of the worth of Christ, will willingly give all for him, will goe away rejoycing, and will thinke his pennie-worth to be ve­ry good.

Fourthly, the usefulnesse and profi­tablenesse Illustration. IV of a thing makes it also to be precious: in this sense are the fruits of the Earth called precious, as we reade, Deut. 33. 14. there the precious fruits put forth by those heavenly luminaries, the Sunne and Moone, are a part of Jo­sephs blessing: and precious they were, because very usefull and serviceable to [Page 32] the life of man: and the influence of those heavenly bodies by a course, which God had constituted and set in Nature, made them the more usefull, and therefore the more precious. So al­so are the afflicted and persecuted Saints said to beare precious seed, Psal. 126. 6. because their sufferings shall profit them much in the end: such seed shall bring forth weighty sheaves of joy at the last. Now then, to come to the point, that we drive at, in this manner doth the Scripture hold forth Christ as precious: he is very precious; because he is very usefull: he is usefull for many things, yea for all things; but especially for these two,


  • Justification.
  • Sanctification.

First, Christ is usefull for Justificati­on: he is the onely mine pit of this treasure: the golden and precious veines of it runne along in him onely. That he might be just, which beleeveth in Jesus, saith the Apostle, Rom. 3. 26 [...], which is of the Faith of J [...]sus; that is, which seeke not Justification by their owne righteousnesse, viz. by the works of the Law; but by Christ alone: and [Page 33] hence we are said to be made the righte­ousnesse of God in him, 2 Cor. 5. 21. marke, I pray. The Apostle doth disert­ly and emphatically adde the clause [...], in him, that he may take away all conceit of inherence in us, and esta­blish the Doctrine of imputation: as Christ is made sinne in us by imputati­on: so wee are made righteousnesse in him by the same way. St. Augustines place, which Beza cites, is a most full commentary: God the Father (saith he) made him to be sinne, who knew no sinne; that we might be the righteous­nesse of God, not our owne, and in him, that is, in Christ, not in our selves. And being thus justified, we are so righteous, as if we were righteousnesse it selfe. It is Christ alone, that can administer life and righteousnesse: it is he alone, that bindes up the broken-hearted, opens the pri­son dores, proclaimes Liberty to Captives, and the acceptacle yeare of the Lord, or the Lords yeare of good will: the Quire of the heavenly host sang good will towards men, when this accepted and welcome yeare was come, Luke 2. 14. This was Christs worke: the Law was too weake for it: that could kill, but not make a­alive. [Page 34] Christ alone bare the whole weight of his Fathers wrath, made re­conciliation for iniquity, and brought in everlasting righteousnesse: none but he was of use for this; and therefore he must needs be precious.

Secondly, he is likewise usefull for Sanctification, that Spirit alone, which Christ sends forth, is of power and abi­lity to instill and breath grace into us, and so make us meet vessels for the hea­venly masters use. It is Christ, that stamps afresh the impression of Gods Image defaced and decayed in our soules: it is he that restores the life of God in man, lost by sinne, by the bles­sed influxe and droppings of his grace we come to put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the Image of him that created him, as the Apostle speakes, Coloss. 3. 10. he uses a Metaphor of put­ting on taken from garments, to shew that those new qualities of the soule are a [...]i [...]ed as Venu [...]t and beautifull orna­ments to our nature: the substance of the soule is not changed, as some have foolishly dream't; but onely it puts on new properties and affections, new powers and abilities: and this benefit [Page 35] wee derive from Christ.

The parts of Sanctification are mor­tification, a dying unto sinne, and vi­vification, a living unto righteousnesse: now both these come by vertue of our implantation, inserting, or ingraffing into Christ: the first when wee are im­planted into his death, and the second is a fruit of his resurrection: Christ re­viving, his members could not lie dead: a living head and dead members were a Monster never seen in nature. Neverthe­lesse observe this; that though wee are sanctified by the death and resurrection of Christ: yet his death is the Primum mobile, as I may say, that strikes the first stroke, that is the meritorious and ex­emptory cause of our sanctification, and hence is that saying of the Apostle, Rom. 6. 5. If we have been planted toge­ther in the likenesse of his death; wee shall be also in the likenesse of his resur­rection: this is an elegant metaphor, representing unto us, that as plants en­graffed doe receive moysture, juyce, and nourishment from the stock, whereby they sprout out, budde, and beare fruit; so wee being as it were inserted into Christ, doe receive vigour and life from [Page 36] him, whereby we walke in the Spirit, and become spirituall, holy, gracious, and active in all good workes. Christ is the Olive tree, that standeth before the Ruler of the whole Earth, and emptieth it selfe by the pipes and conduits of his word into the golden Candlesticks of his Church Zach. 4. [...]ight and grace in the Ministration of holy Ordinances flow from him: he is the head and seate of spirituall influ­ence, from which the whole mysticall body receives breath, life, and motion: this is the Apostles simile, Coloss. 2. 19. He makes there Christ to be the Head, and the Church the body knit together by certaine joynts, and ligaments, as wee see it is in nature: and by this meanes it hath convenient nourishment ministred to all parts, whereby it in­creaseth with the increase of God, that is, with mighty and most blessed increa­sings. Christ hath goodnesse enough for himselfe, and for all his Members: he is a Fountaine never drie; and the Phi­losophers property of good agrees to him most of all: Bonum est sui commu­nicativum: that which is good spares no [...], but communicates it selfe: this is most true of Christ: his grace is diffu­sive [Page 37] like water, of which the Naturalist saith, that it is difficultly contained within its owne bounds; but easily within the bounds of some other thing. Christ is that sunne of righteousnesse, that compasseth the whole world en­lightning, warming, and cherishing every one of his elect with his beames, of his fulnesse we all receive, and grace for grace, saith the Apostle, John 1. 16. [...], that is, abundant grace, or graces sutable to his owne. The first day of union a Beleever en­joyes this participation of grace. Uni­on is the ground of Communion. Wee must remember also that Christ did san­ctifie himselfe to the end, that we might be sanctified: for their sakes I sanctifie my selfe, that they also might be sanctified through the Truth, saith Christ, Joh. 17. 19. Christ is the principall cause of our Sanctification: wee are sanctified vertually by his sanctifying of himselfe: he being set apart, and separated from sinners, such as are by his Spirit and by faith knit to him, must needs be also se­parated from the world to walke with God in holinesse of life and conversati­on. Thus much of the [...], demon­strating [Page 38] and declaring how Christ is precious.

I come now to the third thing, which is the [...], shewing why it is so?

There be many reasons and causes why Beleevers doe esteeme so highly of Christ, as they doe.

First, beleivers are in some measure Reason. I convinced of their most miserable and wretched condition without him: and also of the impotency of the creature in respect of any help and deliverance in that condition.

First, when the soule findes it selfe in darknesse without any Light; lying un­der shame and dishonour: under the guilt of sinne, and not able to deliver it selfe: this cannot but make it looke out for it selfe, and seeke with great impor­tunity for a Saviour. The Dove could find no rest for the soale of her foot, till she returned into the Arke. It is a perfect hyeroghyphick or resemblance of a wounded Spirit, as Solomon calls it; when it is as the blessed Redeemer was [...], surrounded with sorrow, and it is full of restlesse vexations, fluctuating and tumbled up and downe in a whole [Page 39] Ocean of perplexities and feares, and can see no shoare, no Land, no creek, or haven of comfort: then it must into the Arke; then it uses the soliloquie of the Psalmist; returne unto thy res [...] ô my soule: then it cries out with the blessed Mar­tyr, ô! none but Christ, none but Christ: there's my Arke, ther's my rest, there's my refuge; there I shall find re­liefe and refreshment, or else no where. Christ will be a calme to me after a storme: he will dispell and drive away all these clouds: he will hold my head above water, and keep me from sinking; he will be light and joy, and unspeakable solace after all these distempers: thus the poore affl [...]cted soule, as a prisoner of hope (as the Prophet speakes Zach. 9. 12.) returnes unto Christ, as to its strong hold. The mis [...]rable soule seeks for cure; the whole need not the Physition (saith Christ) but the sick: sin-sick sin­ners will enquire and seek after the Phy­sition of soules. The sense of misery is the primum mobile, the first mover, that sets us on seeking for Christ. The more wee know our owne misery: the more we know how to prise Christ, and set a true value upon him.

[Page 40] Againe, Beleevers are likewise con­vinced of the impotency and weaknesse of the creature, in respect of any help or succour that it can afford. None can by any meanes redeeme his brother, nor giv [...] to God a ransome for him, Psal. 49. 7. i [...] not redemption from temporall death, much lesse from eternall. Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of Rammes (saith the Prophet) or with ten thousand rivers of oyle? shall I give my first borne for my transgression: the fruit of my body for the sinne of my soule? The truth is, should all the Angels in Heaven, and righteous men upon Earth joyne their goodnesse together, and offer it up to God as a sa­crifice: it would not be sufficient to ex­piate so much as one sinne. Now when the soule is sensible of this, it crieth out (as Peter in another case) help Lord, or else I perish.

Solomon saith, that as good newes from a farre Country, so is cold water to a thirsty soule, Prov. 25. 25. So it is with a poore distressed soule, when it seeth it selfe as it were in a farre Countrey, farre from God, farre from [...]oy, and farre from any deliverance in it selfe, or in any o­ther; then if one bring him newes of a [Page 41] Saviour, of a Redeemer, this is welcome newes indeed; this is as cold water to a thirsty soule.

An instance of this is seen in the Pro­digall: who, when he came to himselfe, that is, when he saw what a wretched and helplesse creature he was, he cast his thoughts upon his Fathers house, he loath­ed any longer to feed upon the huskes and hogs meat of the world, then he desires the bread of his Fathers hired ser­vants: Nothing but home will content him: farewell feasting and revelling, and all filthy pleasures that I have lived in: I have gotten nothing by them, but wounds, and sorrowes, and vexation of Spirit: I will home to my Fathers house: there is bread and durable cloath­ing: there is whatsoever I can wish or desire: here I starve and die: there I shall live and sweetly enjoy my selfe: here I want all things; but there I shall lack nothing. This is a lively pour­traiture of a thirsty and wearied soule flying unto Christ for ease and comfort. This then is one reason why Christ is precious to Beleevers; namely, because they are in some measure convinced of their misery with him: and of their [Page 42] owne impotency and utter inability to help themselves, therefore Christ is pre­cious unto them.

Secondly, Beleevers are not onely Reas. II convinced of their owne misery without Christ, and of their impotency and in­ability to help themselves: but also they see and apprehend an infinite treasure of good and happinesse, that God hath treasured up in Christ; and that to be joyned unto him, is the onely way to obtaine these blessings.

Viz. the

  • Fathers Love.
  • Pardon of sinne.
  • Manifestation of Gods face.

The love of God being infinite like himselfe, cannot be conferred upon any creature for its owne sake: the causa pro­curatrix, or the procuring cause of this love must of necessity be infinitely me­ritorious: now this is not found among the sonnes of men, but onely in Christ the eternall Sonne of God; onely in Christ, who was [...], God-man, as I may say; Immanuel, God with us, or God in our flesh: God, that he might be a fit object for the infinite love of his Father; and man, that he might derive [Page 43] and bring that love to us. God first loves his Sonne, and then Beleivers through him. It is impossible that the infinite love of the infinite God should bee drawne out, but by an infinite motive: and where is this motive, but in the se­cond person coe-eternall, co-essentiall, and co-equall with the Father? were it not for his Sonne, God should have no object for his love in the world. Love is as fire, which must have fewell to main­taine it. Now let all the Creatures, men and Angels be set before God; yet they all with all their excellencies and lovely parts cannot deserve the least minute or tittle of his Love. God loves himselfe in his Sonne, and his creatures for his beloved Sonnes sake. God will supply (saith the Apostle) all your need according to his riches in Glory by Jesus Christ, Philip. 4. 9. The treasures of Gods love and riches are first in Christ; and by our union with him wee come to enjoy them. So Ephes. 1. 6. To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved [...], in which he hath ingratiated us through that Beloved. Gods love and his favour is undeserved on our parts: [Page 44] wee finde grace in his sight through Christ. Notable to this purpose is the order of the three persons, which the Apostle sets, Cor. the last and the last. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the Communion of the Ho-Ghost be with you all, Amen. You must know now, that this is not a right na­turall order: for by order of nature the Father (whom the Apostle cal's God in a personall sense, as John 1. the word was with God, that is, with the Father) I say by order of nature the Father is first of himselfe, not begotten: the Son is from the Father begotten; yet eter­nall: and the Holy Ghost is proceeding from them both; yet eternally too: for though they be one before another in order of nature; yet not in order of time. But now here is the Question: seeing the Father is first, the Sonne se­cond, and the Holy Spirit last in that naturall order; why doth the Apostle in the fore-mentioned place set the Sonne first? verily because he is next and immediate unto us, being our Me­diatour; being the canalis or conduit pipe (as I may say) by which the love of God, and the communion of the [Page 45] Holy-Ghost is brought and conveyed to us; as the meanes is ever before the end. Now the Saints being convinced and perswaded of this Truth, this is the thing, that makes Christ so deare and precious unto them, as he is: if Isaac loved Esau for his venison, for a carnall respect: much more have wee cause to love the Lord Jesus, and highly to e­steeme of him, having procured for us the love of the Father; a love like Jo­nathan's love to David, passing the love of women: yea a love of infinite di­mensions and measures, if I may so speake: the breadth of it is infinite; be­cause it is without respect of persons: the length also infinite; because it is from everlasting to everlasting: the depth infinite; because it redeemes and delivers from Hell: and the height likewise infinite; because it lifts us up to Heaven. Certainly Christ having pur­chased such a wonderfull love, as this; he must needs be precious, he must needs be amiable and lovely to a beleeving soule.

Secondly, for the pardon of sinne there is likewise an absolute necessity of Christ. The bloud of Christ onely, and [Page 46] not of Buls and Goats, is availeable to take away sinnes. The soule being con­victed of its sinfulnesse, speakes as the Prophet doth: Who among us shall dwell with devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? God is devouring fire and everlasting bumings in relation to sinners: his wrath is the fewell of Hell, as I may say: the breath of his indignation is like a river of brimstone kindling and perpetually maintaining the flames of Tophet: what shall the poore sinfull soule doe now? here's nothing but menaces and threat­nings, terrours and amazements, death and destruction: and where is the re­medy? verily no where but in Christ alone. Israel passing through the wil­dernesse had a cloud to cover him, and defend him from the scortching Sunne-beames: now what was this cloud but a type and shadow of Christ, as the Apostle makes it, 1 Cor. 10. 1.? hee makes there the cloud, and the Sea, and the Manna, and the water of the Rocke to be all figures and Images of Christ. Christ is a sea to wash, Manna to feed, water to refresh, and a cloud to hide the soule from the hot and burning [Page 47] wrath of God: the fiery beames of that wrath would surely suffocate it and stifle it, were not the bloud of Christ inter­posed and set between to veile it: the bloud of Christ obnubilates and co­vers the soule from the fierce anger of God; it is Christ onely that reconci­leth us to God: it is he alone that is our Advocate to plead our cause with his Father: when man had sinned, Ju­stice and Mercy strove one with ano­ther, & seemed to be at variance: Christ redintigrates them, and makes them friends againe: he is our blessed Um­pire to set there two together againe; giving satisfaction to Justice, and place to mercy; so honouring and dignify­ing both; making both to rejoyce, both to kisse and embrace each other. God smels a sweet sav [...]ur of rest in Christ onely: all the hilasticall and propiti­atory sacrifices of the Law did [...]oke to him, as to their end and substance: of themselves they could not pu [...]ge away the guilt of the least sinne: the repetiti­on of them (as the Apostle teacheth) showes plainely how invalid they were to expiate the crimes and offences of the soule: the strictest observance of them [Page 48] could not make the worshipper perfect, as touching cleerenesse of Conscience, Heb. 9. 9. When David cryes, purge me with bysope, and I shall be cleane; wash me, and I shall be whiter then snow; he alludes in­deed to the Leviticall Ceremony: but he aimes at the bloud of Christ onely: this alone was able to purge away his foule spot: his hainous sinne of murder would not out by any other washing then this. In one of the old sacrifices there were two Goates appointed; one to be slaine, and the other to be kept a­live, which was called the scape-Goate: now both these have an eye to Christ: the slaine or sacrificed Goate was a type of his dying for sinne: and the survi­ving or scape-goate figures his rising a­gaine and ever living to mainetaine the worth of that oblation: the Apostle saith, that he ever liveth to make inter­cession for us: and how doth he make intercession, but by continuall holding forth in the presence of his Father the merit of his sufferings? so that still Christ both dying and living is the fountaine of our peace, and attonement with God: still Christ is he, and the onely he, that obtaineth remission of [Page 49] sinnes for us. Now if wee consider the many and great benefits that redound to us by the pardon of sinne, we must needs conclude that Christ is very precious, by whom we enjoy such a mercy.

When sinne is pardoned, there is an end of Gods heavie wrath and displea­sure: Satan's Kingdome goes downe; the power of our corruptions daily de­caying: we have peace and joy within; whereas before wee had nothing but ra­ging stormes and tempests, and a very hell in our Consciences: our prayers finde acceptance at the throne of Grace: all the creatures are in league with us, and are become our faithfull servants: that which comes from them, is sweet and benigne, healthfull and good: our blessings are blessed: yea our very curses (if they may be so called) are likewise blessed unto us: Judgements are remo­ved: every bitternesse is taken away: even the sting of death is puld our: Christ, as a tree of most excellent ver­tue, is cut downe, and throwne into our Marah. Some things may worke adve [...]sly and crosly to us: but the Apo­stle speakes of a cooperating, or working together; which makes amends for all: [Page 50] all things, worke together (saith he) for good unto them that love God, Rom. 8. 28. and they be such, that have their sinnes pardoned.

Though some things worke unto­wardly, and against the haire, as I may say; yet take them altogether, and there is a blessed harmony and comply­ance, a sweet relishablenesse and savou­rinesse in them: one thing doth recom­pence and make up another: the mix­ture of sweet and sowre through the wisdome and mighty working of God is very demulcent and wholsome, full of benediction and blessednesse; that even the sinnes of the Godly are an ad­vantage to them, and turne to their me­lioration and betternment: God makes use even of them to doe his children good: he brings meate out of the very eater; and converts the causes of dam­nation into furtherances of salvation. Adde hereunto, that adoption, com­munion with God, and with his Saints, and assurance of eternall [...]lory are all of them the blessed concomi [...]ants of sinne pardoned. We recover the Image of God, and in some measure the free­dome of our wills unto good, when [Page 51] our Consciences are washed, and our sinnes pardoned. We have a continuall feast in our soules, and songs in the ve­ry night of affliction, when our sinnes are pardoned. Wee are freed from the spirit of bondage, our hearts are strong, we are as bold as Lyons, and desire no­thing more then the presence and com­ming of the Judge, when our sinnes are pardoned. Oh what a confluence of all blessednesse and happinesse is there in Jesus Christ! if we have him, wee are rich, we are full, we have all: if wee be without him, all that we have, how excellent soever it be, is as nothing: we are miserable, wretched, lost, and the very worst of creatures: all the male­dictions and curses of God lie upon us, and death, when it comes, will gnaw upon us everlastingly. Certainly, Christ must needs be exceeding precious, with whom wee enjoy such a world of bles­sings; and without whom wee are so extreamely unhappy. The Lord give us to know the things, that belong unto our peace. Christ procures for us the pardon of sinnes; and the pardon of sinnes is not a solitary blessing; it comes not alone; but with a long traine of [Page 52] good things at the heeles of it: Christ therefore, that obtaines it, must needs be precious and excellent in the highest degree.

Thirdly, it is Christ alone, that doth as it were unmask and unvaile the face of God; and helps us to such a mani­festation and sight of it, as our nature is capable of: his glory in the absolute­nesse and perfection of it no creature can behold. When Job had set forth the greatnesse of Gods wisdome and power expressed in his marvellous workes; he concludes thus: Loe, these are part of his wayes: but how little a por­tion is heard of him? but the thunder of his power who can understand? Job 26. last verse: now that thunder of Gods power is the highest degree of it: the A­postle expounds it, when he saith, that God is able to doe above all that wee can ei­ther aske, or thinke: we can aske much; and we can thinke more: yet wee can neither aske, nor thinke so much as God can doe: here's the thunder of his power, Zophar also saith, that we cannot finde out the Almighty unto perfection: he compares it in height to Heaven, in depth to Hell, in length to the Earth, [Page 53] and in breadth to the Sea: yea he makes it higher, deeper, longer and broader, then all these. And God himselfe tells Moses, that no man can see his face, and live. We may see Jehovah's back-parts: but his face, that is, his absolutenesse, and perfection cannot be seen: and therefore he is called the invisible God. Yet howsoever this doth not a little set forth the excellency and worthinesse of Christ: that Revelation, which wee have of God, we have it by him: and hereof wee may see a notable figure in Moses. The Lord proclaimed his mer­cy, his patience, his goodnesse, his Truth, and his justice before him: these are his backparts; and more then these he could not see: and therefore it is said, that the Lord covered Moses with his hand, while he passed by. But to come now to the point: where was Moses, when he had this vision and appearance of the Deity? he was in a clift of the Rocke: now verily that Rock was a sha­dow of Christ: wee see the glory of God through him per speculum, as it were in a glasse. Christ is the lively Image of God, 2 Cor. 4. 4. He is the brightnesse of his glory, and the expresse character of [Page 54] his person, Heb. 1. 3. There is no ex­cellency in the Father, which is not compleate in the Sonne: and by the Sonne we come to know it: so saith the Apostle. God, who hath commanded the Light to shine out of darknesse, hath shi­ned in our hearts to give the Light of the Knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, 2 Cor. 4. 6. both this ex­pression, and that in the Hebrewes be­fore-mentioned, where Christ is called the brightnesse of Gods glory, are a meta­phor taken from the beames of the Sunne. As the Sunne is manifested by his owne brightnesse, viz. by his beames; for wee cannot see the Sunne in Rotâ, in his Charret, or circumvolution, but by his beames: so the inaccessible Light of his Fathers glory is revealed tan­quam per radios ac splendorem, as it were by beames and brightnesse shining most clearely in Christ: and the roote and Fountaine of that brightnesse is in Christ's God-head, but darted upon us through the manhood: according to that testimony, Joh. 1. 18. No man hath seen God at any time: the onely be­gotten Sonne, which is in the bosome of the Father, he hath declared him. The bo­some [Page 55] is the place and seate of secrets: now it is Christ onely that opens the bosome, declares the secrets, and re­veales the glory and brightnesse of Gods face unto Beleevers: therefore hee must needs bee exceeding preci­ous.

Thirdly, if wee consider Christ in Reas. III all his relations: either as he i [...] man, or as he is Mediator, or as he is God, wee shall find him in all these to be most precious and excellent.

First of all as Man; he was holy, and harmel [...]sse, and separate from sinners; Heb. 7. 26. a Lambe without blemish, and without spot, 1 Peter 1 19. The Apostle relates to the Paschall Lamb, which was to be so conditioned: it was be­hoofefull, that Christ should not one­ly be man; but also a man perfectly holy and righteous; else he could not have been a competent and sitt [...]ng Saviour: yea, he had been so farre from satisfying for the sinnes of others, that he must have dyed for his owne. And besides it was requisite that there should be that beautifull analogy and propor­tion between him that lost all, and him that recover'd all; that as Adam, who [Page 56] plaid the Bank-rupt, was perfect; so should the Redeemer be. Christ indeed in a certaine place doth turne off from himselfe the appellation of good in a sense of perfection. One called him good Master: but he replyed, why callest thou mee good? there is none good but God, Matth. 19. 16, 17. But why doth Christ doe so? was not he perfectly good? yes: but the other was not ware of his God-head, when he cal'd him so: he looked upon Christ (saith Chry­sostome) [...], as upon a meere naked, extenuated, debased man: and yet he attributes unto him a more then humane goodnesse and perfection; according to the errour of the Pharisees, whose Disciple, no doubt he was. The Pharisees held, that even men by a strict observance of the Law might attaine to perfection of Righteousnesse and san­ctimony in this life: and such a thought, no question, had this Schollar of theirs concerning Christ: so that if wee looke well upon it, we shall see, that our Sa­viour doth not deny himselfe to be per­fectly good: but onely he checks the pharisaicall opinion of perfection in those, that are no more then men. [Page 57] Christ was more then a meere man: if the young man had knowne so much: he should not have been reproved for calling him good in a sense of absolute­nesse and perfection: such an Epithite was rightly applyable unto Christ, had the young Pharisee been ware of his De­ity: or had he knowne the strange man­ner of his conception, viz. by the Ho­ly Ghost; he might have said of him, as the Psalmist doth; thou art fairer then the children of men: and so the title of good Master would never have been ex­cepted against.

Secondly, Christ as man also was abased: and yet in his abasement hee was very excellent: it is a very comely sight to see a great Personage of a meek, humble and lowly carriage, willing to stoope, and to come downe from his height; so it be not in a sordid and un­fitting way. Now so it was with Christ: he washed the very feet of his Disciples: he became poore to make us rich: hee fasted, that we might feast: he went on foote, that wee might ride, as I may say: he died, that wee might live. The Apostle saith, that though he was in the forme of God, and thought it no rob­bery [Page 58] or Sacriledge to be equall with God: yet he made himselfe of no reputation, and tooke upon him the forme of a servant, and was made in the likenesse of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled him­selfe, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Crosse, Philip, 2. 6, 7, 8. Now marke, I pray, the antithe­sis or opposition, which these words hold forth.

Christ was from all eternity [...], in the * essentiall forme of God; [...], properly signifieth the out­ward shape, face, or figure of a thing, which be­cause God hath not, therefore here it is put for the Divine Essence. or in the glorious nature and condition of God: yet he tooke upon [...], the state, being and condition of a ser­vant. He was equall with God, called therefore the mighty God, and the everla­sting Father, Esa. 9. 6. and [...], the very, or the true God, 1 John 5, 20. yet he was content to be found [...], in the simili­tude and shape of men, that is in the very rank, nature and quality of men, subject to mans passions, and every way a right man, sinne onely excepted, where­of you heard before. Againe, be thought it no rapine or robbery to be equall with God: yet he suffered himselfe to be de­nuded and rob'd of his glory by sinfull [Page 59] men. God cal's him the man, that is his fellow, Zach. 13. 7. and yet he was made a fellow to theeves and malefa­ctours: yea he was made inferiour and underling to base men, a very murde­rer being preferred before him. Though he was full of glory and excellency: yet he did empty himselfe of all: for so are the words of the Apostle, [...], he evacuated or emptied himselfe, that is, he reduced himselfe, as it were to nothing; or (as a Father hath it) he ex­hausted himselfe; he drew himselfe dry. Lastly, though he was the Prince and Lord of life: yet he humbled himselfe un­to Death: and the basest death of all, the death of the Crosse: it was a Roman kinde of execution, and asserted even by a Romane Oratour to be of all o­ther most ignominious and shamefull. Civem Romanum scelus est verberare propè paricidium n [...]care: quid dicam in crucem tollere? said that Oratour. It is a hai­nous wickednesse to beate a Romane: it is almost paracide to kill him: what is it then to crucifie him? how beyond measure hainous is that? yet thus low was the Sonne of God brought. And it addes likewise to the measure of his [Page 60] humility and lowlinesse, that he was vo­luntary in all this debasement: he was not forced or compelled to it: no man taketh my life from me (saith he) but I lay it downe of my selfe, Joh. 10. 18. and what he saith of his life, is true also of all his Divine glory: it was not violent­ly snatch't from him whither he would, or no: but he did willingly, cheereful­ly, spontaneously and of his owne ac­cord devest and strip himselfe of it. Now certainly thus to descend from Heaven to Earth, from Divinity to humanity, from a Kingdome to slave­ry, from life to death, and all this of his owne free and willing disposition without any compulsion or enforce­ment; this addes no little grace and luster to him. 'tis a very seemly sight to see a venerable person condescending, stooping low, and denying himselfe; to see a King casting aside his Robes of Majesty, and descending to a lower pitch for the doing of some good, which otherwise cannot be atcheived: we had been eternally lost, if the Sunne of God had not done thus: unlesse he had humbled himselfe, wee could never have been exalted.

[Page 61] Thirdly, Christ as man was obedient unto the will of his Father: he was u­niversally and constantly obedient: he was obedient without any the least reluctation, grudging, or unwilling­nesse. To this purpose makes that of the most excellent song, where it is said of Christ, that he cometh leaping upon the Mountaines, and skipping upon the hills, Cantic. 2. 8. there were great Moun­taines of difficulties and hardship in the way of our Redemption; yet he past lightly and cheerefully over them all to doe the will of him that sent him. Yea, he was so farre from grumbling and murmuring, that it was even meat and drinke to him to doe that will; and he was straitned and pained in his mind till the bloudy baptisme of his suffering was accomplished, Luke 12, 50. It is written of him in the rowle of Gods booke; Loe, I come to doe thy will, ô God: those words, Loe, I come; shew his alacrity and cheerefulnesse, his readinesse and forwardnesse to doe his Fathers will: his loynes were alwayes girded, and his feet shodde unto it. The Spirit of Christ dwelling in the Saints makes them to be prompt and ready unto all duties, [Page 62] and workes commanded of God: how much more then was Christ himselfe so, in whom the Spirit of God was, as wa­ter in the Fountaine? when he con­quered death, and the grave, and all the powers of darknesse for us, Repentance was hid from his eyes: he shrunke not, nor drew away the shoulder from it. Three times he was under such an infi­nite pressure of Divine wrath, as had been enough to have crushed ten thou­sand worlds, yet he flinched not; but dranke the bitter cup off to the very bottome: hee patiently endured the Crosse, and despised the shame. Indeed it cannot be denyed, that when he was in his agony, he prayed to his Father to save him from that houre; and thrice he prayed, that the bitter cup might passe from him: yet he did not this through disobedience or unwilling­nesse to undergoe the taske, that his Fa­ther had set him to: but first of all we must know that his mind was so stricken with the infinite wrath of God, with which he was then confl [...]cting; so asto­nished and overwhelmed with that in­supportable pressure; that all the pow­ers and faculties of his soule were for a [Page 63] while interrupted, suspended, con­founded: so that he knew not well what to say, nor whether to turne him­selfe: this appeares by his words, Job. 12. 27. Now is my soule troubled, and what shall I say?

Secondly, when he prayed so, wee must conceive, that as a man subject to frailties like us (yet without sinne) he thought he had been utterly lost and undone, if his Father should not deliver him from that houre, and excuse him from drinking of the cup. His sense of dolour was so vehement, and he so ama­zed with it; that it wru [...]g from him a signification of Natures feares and relu­ctance: yet all the while his holy, his pure, and unblemished mind was throughly bent, and resolved to goe through stitch with the worke, what­soever came of it.

Thirdly, we see, that when he pray­ed, Father save me from this houre, he pre­sently and immediately subjoynes: but for this cause came I unto this houre: Fa­ther glorifie thy name: likewise when he prayed, that the Cup might passe from him: he desires it no otherwise, then with condition of his Fathers will. Al­so [Page 64] in that ruefull vociferation and cry­ing out, why hast thou forsaken me? wee see that he did not let goe his hold; but remembred to say, my God, my God: so that here was no diffidence, no sinne, no disobedience all this while.

Lastly, all this was so carried, and punctually related by the Evangelists to shew us these things, viz.

1. The exceeding atrocity and hai­nousnesse of sinne.

2. A mirrour of Gods infinite mer­cy in Christ.

3. Our Nature really and truly suf­fering in him.

4. The fulnesse of his expiation and satisfaction.

5. The certainty of his Fathers good­will towards us; whereof wee are the lesse to doubt, by how much the more we see that the eternall Sonne was hum­bled and made an abject for our sakes.

Fourthly, Christ as a man likewise was perfect in all graces. The Prophet tells that there should come a Rod out of the stemme of Jesse, and a branch out of his rootes; and the Spirit of the Lord was to rest upon him; the spirit of wisdome, and [Page 65] understanding; the spirit of Counsell, and of might; the spirit of Knowledge, and of the feare of the Lord, Esa. 11. 12. yea, so eminent was the Lord Jesus this way; that even at twelve yeares old, be sate in the Sanadrim, disputing with the Do­ctors, and asking them questions. It is said that God gave not the Spirit by mea­sure unto him, Joh. 3. 34. that is, he did not bestow it upon him imperfectly and in part onely: but fully and entirely: for measure is not opposed to infinite, as the Eutychians would have it to con­firme their opinion of Ubiquity: for they thought, that if the Spirit were given unto the Manhood of Christ un­measurably, then even the Manhood would be capable of Divine properties; and consequently, the flesh of Christ would be no where circumscribed, but every where present: but I say, that measure in the place before mentioned is not opposed to that which is in­finite and unmeasurable; but to that which is not whole, entire, and perfect: Christ in the gifts of the Spirit was not lame and imperfect; but omnibus suis numeris absolu [...]us, full and compleate, as Adam was before he fell: and yet farre [Page 66] excelling Adam: for Adam was set in a mutable condition: but Christ is sted­fast, and abiding for ever; confirmed in grace like the Holy Angels of God: Yesterday, and to day, and the same for ever. In respect of vertue and the Faith of Beleevers even his manhoode, before it was in being, was cloathed with perfe­ction of grace, and so continueth for ever. Againe, Adam was a meere man and alone by himselfe: but in Christ the humane nature was hypostatically un [...]ted unto the Divine: and hence it comes topasse, that Christ, even as man, had a greater measure of knowledge and Revelations of grace and heavenly gifts, then ever Adam had. The Apostle saith, that in Christ dwels all the fulnesse of the God-head [...], bodily Col. 2. 9. that is, not by a naked and bare communi­cating of vertue, as God is said to dwell in his Saints; but by a substantiall uni­on of the two Natures, Divine and hu­mane, the eternall Word and the Man, consisting of a soule and body, where­by they become one [...], one Per­son, or subsistence. Now from this ad­mirable and wonderfull union of the two Natures in Christ, there flowes un­to [Page 67] the Manhood a plenitude and ful­nesse of all Spirituall wisdome and grace, such as was never found in any meere man; no not in Adam, while he stood in his integrity and upright­nesse.

Now then to draw to a conclusion of this head. If Christ even according to his humanity were perfectly innocent and holy: if he were in his Divine celfi­tude and highnesse voluntarily debased: if he were exactly obedient in all things to his Fathers commands: and if he were compleate in all heavenly wisdome and graces: then certainly even as he was man, he was of all other most precious, most lovely and desirable.

Adde hereunto, that his flesh never saw corruption; that it rose againe from the grave, it being impossible for the bands of death to detaine it. Also as man he came of the race of Kings. As man he shall judge the world, Acts 17. 31. As man he was wonderfully borne of a Virgin; called therefore by a pecu­liar name, Shiloh, which signifieth a Se­cundine, or after-birth, Genes. 49. 10. the word comes [...] which signifies tranquillum esse; intimating that Christ [Page 68] is he, who hath brought us peace and tranquility: and that he might be our Peace-maker, it was necessary that he should be Shiloh, borne of the sancti­fied seed of a woman, without the seed of a man. The Apostle expounds the name, Galat. 4. 4. where he saith of Christ, that he was made of a woman: not of a man and a woman both; but of a woman alone without a man.

Againe, Christ as man was foretold by the Prophets, and by sundry types; attended upon at his birth by holy An­gels: a peculiar Starre created for him. Christ as man was in one hypostasis, or person with God, called therefore Ithiel, Proverb. 30. 1. a word (as Junius writes) compounded of three parts; as if one should say; the strong God with mee: the name comes all to one with Immanuel; and the Apostle expounds both, 1 Tim. 3. 16. where he saith of Christ, that he was God manifest in the flesh: and this he affirmeth also to be without controver­sie a great Mystery, and a Mystery of god­linesse: In every Art and profession there is a Mystery: but this holds forth a Mystery of Godlinesse: for he that was Ithiel, God present in the flesh to every [Page 69] faithfull and beleeving soule, was like­wise Ʋcal, Almighty, able for all things: so that by these two names the faithfull are assured of their Justification, San­ctification, and eternall Salvation through the presence and power of God: and this doubtlesse is [...], a great Mystery.

Furthermore Christ as man was our Sacrifice and expiation: he was our [...], the price of our Redemption, 1 Tim. 2. 6. though I confesse that this price had its worth from the union of the two natures. Againe, Christ as man was conceived of the Holy-Ghost: Christ as man is ascended into Heaven: Christ as man sits at the right hand of God. Now all these things, and much more that might be brought, doe speake Christ a very precious and excellent person, and that even according to his man­hood.

Secondly, consider Christ as Media­tour, and there also he shines forth most gloriously, and appeares to be the most peerelesse and precious thing in the world.

In the Mediatorship of Christ wee are to consider his [...], or his [Page 68] [...] [Page 69] [...] [Page 70] three-fold Holy Office of

  • Prophecie.
  • Priesthood.
  • Kingdome.

Christ is a Prophet [...], in way of eminency and excellency above all other Prophets: he was the Head of them all; and that in these respects.

First, of all, other Prophets were but Types and shadowes of this great Pro­phet: even Moses himselfe was but a fi­gure of him: a Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your Brethren like unto mee saith Moses, Acts 7. 37. those words, like unto me, doe plainly shew, that Moses was at the best but an Image and a shadow of Christ.

Moses fasted forty dayes before the gi­ving of the Law on Mount Sin [...]i; so did Christ before he began to preach the Gospel

God did more clearly and perspicu­ously manifest himselfe unto Moses then unto other men: it is said, that he spake unto him face to face, as a man speaketh to his friend, Exod. 33. 11. so did the Eter­nall Father more openly reveale him­selfe unto Christ, then unto any crea­ture: no man knoweth the Father save the [Page 71] sonne, and he to whomsoever the Sonne will reveale him, Matth. 11. 27.

Moses became a Shepheard in the Land of Midian: so is Christ the Shepheard and overseer of our soules, 1 Peter 2. 25.

Moses was faithfull in all Gods house, and so was Christ, but yet in a farre more excellent manner then Moses, as the Apostle declares, Heb. 3. Moses was faithfull as a servant, Christ as a sonne over his owne house.

Moses was himselfe a part of that house: but Christ was the builder of it.

Moses under God did institute Sacra­ments, 1 Cor. 10. 1, 2. It is said, that the Fathers p [...]ssed under the cloud, and through the Sea; and were all baptised unto Moses in the cloud, and in the Sea: marke that phrase, unto Moses: they were bap­tised unto him, as unto the type, or de­puty of Christ: for Baptisme is a Sa­crament of the New Testament, and properly of Christ's Institution.

Moses also instituted the Passeover: so did Christ the Lords Supper.

As the Law was exhibited by Moses: so was the Gospel, which brings grace and truth, free Redemption, and the accomplishment of all types unto Belee­vers, [Page 72] exhibited by Christ, Job. 1. 17. Thus you see, that Moses, that egregi­ous and eximious Prophet was no more then a shadow of Christ. And the like may be said of all the rest of the Pro­phets: it were no hard matter to shew how they did all of them in one thing, or other resemble Christ, just as the lively picture of a man doth his person: as Enoch and Elijah in their Translati­ons resembled the ascention of Christ.

Noah by his righteousnesse saving all the rest that went into the Arke with him, shadowed Christ, who by his per­fect obedience saves all true Beleevers. Concerning the Prophet David it is said, that even those which sate at his Table rose up against him, Psal. 41. 9. so did Judas against Christ, who dipt with him in the platter. David also was a man af­ter Gods owne heart: so was Christ with­out the least flawe or failing; and what an evident type of Christ was the Pro­phet Elisha, when a dead body rose a­gaine being cast into his grave, and touch­ing bis bones? a Kings 13. 21. This was not done by any Native or inherent ver­tue of the Prophet: but by that accident to foreinstruct the faithfull concerning [Page 73] the vertue of Christs flesh, which rising from the dead, should likewise raise up our perished bodies, according to that, Esa. 26. 19. thy dead men shall live: toge­ther with my dead body shall they arise: a­wake and sing yee that dwell in the dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbes, and the Earth shall cast out the dead. Againe, Jo­nah lying three dayes and three nights in the belly of a fish, was a signe of Christ lying so long in the grave. The Prophets were all of them types and re­semblances of Christ: even John the Baptist, then whom there arose not a grea­ter Prophet of all those that are borne of wo­men, even he, I say, was but Christs harbinger or fore-runner. Now then as substances doe farre excell shadowes, and Kings their Ante-ambulos or har­bingers: so doth Christ farre excell all Prophets: they all of them were but shadowes and fore-runners to him

Secondly, other Prophets could speak only to the ears of men: but Christ spake, and still speaks to the heart: he hath the Key of David; he openeth, and no man shut­teth; he shutteth and no manopeneth, Rev. 3. 7. it is a similitude taken from them, that keep the Keys of a City, or Ca­stle, [Page 74] without which they can neither be opened, nor shut: no more can any open the heart or breake in upon the Spirit, beside Christ: he alone is able to open the eyes of the mind, and to convince the Conscience, by the secret, kindly and powerfull working of his owne Spirit.

Other Prophets can preach wisdome unto men: but Christ can preach them wise: other Prophets can warne men by telling them of their sinnes, and de­nouncing the Judgements of God: but Christ can reclaime them, and turne them from their sinnes: the dead heare the voyce of the Sonne of God, and live, Joh. 5. 25. and hence it is said, that he taught, as one having Authority, and not as the Scribes: it came coldly and driely from them: but full of paresie and boldnesse, full of conviction, and rae­proofe, full of the evident demonstration of the Spirit, and of power, as the Apo­stle speakes: in this manner came the word from Christ.

Thirdly, other Prophets were instru­mentall to search out the mind of God: and they did it by way of act onely, the Divine will being revealed and discove­red [Page 75] unto them, but the mind of God was in Christ habitually and radically: the fountaine and roote, the source and principall cause of Christ's Prophecie was in himselfe. Before all time Christ had the honour to sit in the seat of most excellent secrets; the bosome of the Fa­ther: and therefore he is able, as from himselfe to reveale all the Oracles and secrets of God needfull to be knowne: he is able to reveale them when, and how, and to whom he pleaseth.

Now that these things are habitually in Christ, as heate in fire, or water in a living and ever-flowing spring, ap­peares by this.

1. That Christ is essentially wisdome and understanding: Counsell is mine, and sound wisdome (saith he) I am understan­ding, Prov. 8. 14.

2. It appeares also by this, because he counsels us to buy eye-salve of him, that wee may see; and because he hath power to send the Spirit; ye have an un­ction from the holy One, and yee know all things saith the Apostle, 1 Joh. 2. 20. Christ is the holy one from whom wee receive the anoynting of the Spirit, ope­ning our eyes and discovering unto us [Page 76] all saving truthes. In him are hid all the treasures of wisdome and knowledge, Colos­sians 2. 3. They are hid in him, as Gold, and Silver are in suo loco, as the Philoso­pher speakes, hid in the veines of the Earth: that's another Argument of the habitualnesse of Prophecie in Christ.

Thirdly, and another is this, that all ful­nesse is said to dwell in him, Coloss. 1. 19. where by the terme of plenitude or ful­nesse Mr. Beza understands [...] [...]cumu­lation, or heaping up of all [...] gifts in a most copious and plentifull man­ner, which he saith, that the Schoole­men doe call habituall grace, distinct from the grace of union; the union (he meanes) of the two natures. Now one part of this habituall grace and fulnesse in Christ, is the gift of Prophecie: and marke, I pray; it is said [...], to in­habit or dwell in Christ: this implyes the habitualnesse of it.

Fourthly, other Prophets could re­veale but some part of the will of God, and at sometimes onely, Heb. 1. 1. that God spake unto the Fathers by the Prophets at sundry times, and in divers manners; that is, he did let out his Light minuta­tim, [Page 77] by little, and little, till the day-Starre and Sunne of Righteousnesse a-rose: but (saith the Apostle) in these last dayes he hath spoken by his Son, ver. 2. that is, he hath spoken more fully and plainely. The antithesis or opposition which the Apostle sets between Gods speaking by the Prophets of old, and by his Sonne in this latter age of the world, shewes plainely the dimnesse and darknesse of those former ages in com­parison [...] [...]hose, which have been since the coming of Christ: in this respect [...] Apostle saith, that the heires of life and salvation were but children before Christ's incarnation, Galat. 4. 1, 2 &c. for the generality of them they knew but as Children, for that we have done since, besides other points of minority and non-age touching Legality and Ce­remonies, which the Apostle in that place termes elements or rudiments of the world; and the State of the Saints under them a state of bondage; as wee see now but [...], through a glasse darkely, for what we shall doe in the life to come: all is w [...]apt up in a riddle now, for what it will be then: so did they of old in comparison [Page 78] of us: their Light was but an obscure and glimmering light to ours. Christ hath flowed in upon his people in grea­ter abundance of Revelation since his coming, then before: His discovery of himselfe then was but a standing behind the wall, a looking forth of the window, a shewing himselfe through the Lattice, Cant. 2. 9.

Fifthly, other Prophets might not preach themselves: the Apostle inveighs against selfe-commenders, 2 Cor. 10. 12. we dare not (saith he) make our selves of the number, or compare our selves with some, that commend themselves: and in another place he speakes out plainly: no man (saith he) liveth to himselfe, Rom. 14. 7. that is, none ought to live unto him­selfe. Yea, even Christ himselfe relating to himselfe as a meere man, saith, that his witnesse is not true, if he beare witnesse of himselfe; Joh. 5. 31. but in another place relating to himselfe as Mediatour, as God and man in one person, and one with the Father, he speakes cleane con­trary to this: though I doe beare record of my selfe (saith he) yet my record is true, Joh. 8. 14. Here then is a wide diffe­rence between other Prophets in re [...]pect [Page 79] of their Office, and Christ: they might not preach themselves: they did indeed report something of their owne vertues, but it was for holy example and instru­ctions sake; and it was still with refe­rence unto the maine object of the word which was Christ. But now Christ be­ing our Mediatour, our great Prophet, the Apostle of our Profession, and the An­gel or Messenger of the Covenant between God and us, he may and doth preach himselfe: to him give all the Prophets wit­nesse, Acts 10. 43. and he beares wit­nesse of himselfe, because he hath not a greater in the point of our Justification, Sanctification, and eternall Salvation to beare witnesse of, than himselfe: and hence are those selfe-predications of his, which wee finde in the Scriptures. Looke unto me, and be yee saved, all the ends of the Earth. Come unto me all yee that la­bour, and are heavie laden. When hee read that place of the Prophet Isaiah, chap. 61. 1. &c. he told the people, this day is this Scripture fulfilled in your eares. When the excommunicated man asked him who the Sonne of God was? he answered him, thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee: and he [Page 80] told the Samaritanesse plainely, that he was the Messias. And it is said of the two Disciples, that beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concer­ning himselfe. Now surely it commends unto us the Prophecie of Christ, that he might preach & commend himself with­out any blot of arrogancie, or taking too much upon him: this argues him to be a high and honourable Prophet above all other.

Sixthly, all the Prophets had their Commission and Authority from him: the words of the wise are as Goads, and as nailes fastned by the Masters of Assem­blies, which are given from one Shepheard, saith Solomon, Eccles. 12. 11. the words of the wise are Divine and heavenly in­structions: the Masters of Assemblies are Gospel-Ministers and Teachers: and Christ is that one Shepheard from whom those words are given, and from whom those Masters have their Authority. Hence it is said, that he went by the Spi­rit, that is, by his Divine vertue and power, and preached unto those Spirits, that are now in prison (in Hell wee must conceive) having been disobedient unto the [Page 81] word of God, and despised his long-suffe­ring in the dayes of Noah, while the Arke was preparing, 1 Pet. 3. 19. 20. here we see, that that, which Noah a Preacher of righteousnesse did, is attributed un­to Christ: because Noah was but in­strumentall, and had his Commission from him; just as it is said, that what­soever the Prisoners did in the prison, Joseph was the doer of it, Genes. 39. 22. because they did it by warrant and leave from him; or by his dictation and Commandement.

Againe, observe that phrase, Ezek. 20. 46. drop thy word toward the South: and the like speech is that of Moses; my Doctrine shall droppe, as the raine; my words shall distill as the dew; as the small raine upon the tender hearbe, and as the showres upon the grasse. Now from this phrase of dropping, wee may draw an Argument, that Christ is the head of all true Prophets and Teachers. For look [...] as the cloudes, from whence the raine descends, have not their water originally and natively in themselves; but from the Sea and moistned places of the Earth exhal'd and drawne up by the heat of the Sunne: so have not the [Page 82] Prophets a Spirit of Prophesie; nor any Divine Teachers a faculty of teach­ing Heavenly and saving Truths of themselves: but it is drawne up out of Christ, as out of a full Sea of all excel­lent wisdome and knowledge, and con­vayed into them by the heat and vigour, not of their own Spirit, but a far higher spirit then theirs, viz. the Spirit of Christ.

Neither may other Prophets goe of their owne heads, but by Commission and delegation from him. And there­fore they have the name of Ambassadors given them, 2. Cor. 5. 20. Ambassadours for Christ. Christ it is, that said, goe and teach all nations. Christ it is, that instituted the Ministry of the word. Christ it is that gave some to be Apostles, and some Pro­phets, and some Evangelists and some Pa­stors and Teachers, Ephes. 4. 11. and hence are those speeches so frequent in the Old Testament: heare the word of the Lord, the mouth of the Lord hath spo­ken it: the word of the Lord came unto me, and the like: in which places the origi­nall for Lord is Jehovah, and by Jeho­vah is meant the second person, to wit, the Lord Jesus, the whole administra­tion of things for the good of the [Page 83] Church being committed unto him: and hither tends that remarkable pas­sage, 1 Sam. 3. 21. The Lord revealed himselfe unto Samuel in Shiloh by the Junius in Loc. word of the Lord; that is, by Jesus Christ; who in the preceding bookes of the Scripture (as Junius notes) was wont to be called the Angel of the Lord: and afterward, as he revealed himselfe more cleerely, he was called the word of the Lord. But besides the opinion of Ju­nius, another place of Scripture doth confirme this interpretation: the place is Genes. 19. 24. The Lord rained upon Sodome and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of Heaven. From this Scripture I gather thus much: that as the second person is brought forth act­ing by way of mediation from the first, in point of Rule and Kingdome here: so in that place of Samuel he is brought forth acting from him mediately in point of Prophecie: although I confesse that considered according to his God-head, he did both execute Judgments upon the Sodomites, and reveale him-self unto Sa­muel immediately from himself, without any such dependence or subordination.

Thus you see, that Christ is the head [Page 84] and principall of all Prophets being in sundry respects the most excellent this way of all other.

Secondly, consider Christ as a Priest, and here also wee shall finde him to be most precious and excellent: here is the very heart and strength of all his me­diation between God and us; indeed in respect of our necessity, who must first know our owne misery and the re­medy, before we can apply the sacri­fice of Christ, and so be reduced to ho­ly obedience and subjection to the Kingdome of God; Prophecie hath the first place in the mediation of Christ; after which followes Priesthood, and last of all royalty or government.

But forasmuch as the priestly Office consisteth mainly in suffering of death; whereunto we were obnoxious and lia­ble for sinne, and could not be delive­red without it: it plainely appeares, that this Office hath the preheminence and upper hand, and that it doth pro­merit (as I may say) and buy out the other two. The Prophecie of Christ could never have opened our eyes; nei­ther could his Kingdome have ruled and swayed our hearts, unlesse by his [Page 85] Priesthood he had dyed for us. I have manifested thy name unto the men (saith our Saviour) which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou ga­vest them mee; and they have kept thy word, Joh. 17. 6. Here wee see are some that have the name of God, that is, the Salvation of God manifested unto them: so that Christ becomes a Prophet to them to enlighten their eyes: they be such also, as are subject and obedient to the Kingdome of Christ; and therefore they are said to keep Gods word: but now who be these that are partakers of such graces and choyce blessings, illu­mination and Sanctification? verily they be such as God gave unto his Sonne out of the world, as that Scripture speaks. Now I must tell you that this gift of God is free and properly so called, if wee respect the love of God, and our selves that partake of it. But if wee re­spect Christ the Mediatour, so it is im­properly called a gift: for God gave his Elect unto Christ conditionally for a price, the price of his Life-bloud. and hence the Mystery of our Re­demption is called a Covenant. It is in­deed a Covenant of Grace in respect of [Page 86] God, who was pleased of his owne ac­cord to find out such a remedy for mise­rable man, and to yeild to it: and also in respect of true beleevers, who enjoy the benefit of: but yet in respect of Christ the Mediatour, it is a Cove­nant made upon termes and conditi­ons, to wit, his passion, his Righteous­nesse.

The Priesthood then of Christ is the most noble part of all his Mediation: without this his Prophecie and King­dome could never take hold of us, ne­ver doe us any good: they whom God gives unto his Sonne out of the world upon Covenant, upon tearmes of his suffering and dying; they onely have the name of his salvation manifested unto them, and they onely keepe his word: all others how neere soever they may seeeme to be unto the Kingdome of God, and to the marke of salvation; yet they fall short of it. In the Priest­hood then of Christ, & in that especially lies the latitude and longitude, the pro­fundity and sublimity of Gods love to­ward us: and in respect of this especi­ally is the whole Mystery of our re­demption by Christ called [...]. magnalia [Page 87] Dei, the magnificent workes of God, Acts 2. 11.

But now further to set forth the emi­nency and dignity of Christs Priest­hood, and his exceeding preciousnesse thereby, let us make a collation and comparison between him and the Levi­ticall Priests, those of Aaron's order.

First of all in the Leviticall Priest­hood there was a plurality of Priests; as in Matth. 12. 4. it is said, that it was lawfull for the Priests onely to eate of the shew-bread; and in the fifth verse, that the Priests in the Temple doe profane the Sabbaoth, and are blamelesse: though there were but one High-Priest: yet there were many inferiour sacrificing Priests at once, Heb. 9. 6. But now Christ was a Priest alone: he by him­selfe alone hath appeared to take away sinne: he hath by himselfe purged our sinnes, Heb. 1. 3. his owne selfe bare our sinnes in his owne body on the tree, 1 Pet. 2. 24. and hence it is, that he cries out in the Pro­phet; I, even I am the Lord; and beside me there is no Saviour.

Secondly, in the Leviticall Priesthood there was a change, a succession and a moveablenesse, and hence it came to [Page 88] passe, that there were many Priests; be­ [...] [...] the Apostle) they were not suffered [...] by reason of death, Heb. [...]. 23. But [...] is for ever after [...] of Melchise [...] [...] [...]ich Melchi­sedec was [...] Father, [...] Mother, [...] beginning of life, or end of dayes, Heb. 7. 3. [...]at is, his Priesthood came not by Father, or Mother, or kindred, as that of the Tribe of Levi did: the Leviticall Priests had their Priesthood by generation, by succession from Fa­ther to sonne; it was hereditary to them; neither might they be put beside it, except it were for some naturall ble­mish, as blindnesse, lamenesse, crooked­nesse, and the like, Levit. 21. 17, 18, &c. But Melchisedec's Priesthood was not after this manner: his was not by na­turall descent: but it was instituted and given him of God at a time nev [...] men­tioned in the Scripture: neit [...] [...] the expiration or ending there [...] [...]o­ken of; that so he might be an ap [...] [...] semblance and figure of the everlasting Priesthood of Christ; who hath (as the Apostle teacheth) [...], an impasseable Priesthood; a Priest­hood, that cannot passe, or be transla­ted [Page 89] from him to another, Heb. 7. 24. in the priesthood of Aaron's order every Priest bare office but for his owne time: and they were subject to be put out for misdemeanor, as wee see in Abiathar, 1 King. 2. 26. yea, and the whole or­der was dissolved at the death of Christ. But Christ himselfe is a Priest for ever: he ever liveth to make intercession for us: his priesthood continueth unto the end of the world; yea and the vertue of it infinitely beyond all time: there­fore he will have no successour, or Vicar. Christs Priesthood like Melchisedec's came neither by Father or mother, as you heard: for he was of the Tribe of Judah, of which (the Apostle saith) there is no mention made as touching priesthood, save onely that a King of Judah did once to his cost usurpe that Office; and againe, as wee read not of the moments of Melchisedec's either in­auguration or ceasing; so was Christ ever from the beginning of the world a Priest, and ever shall be to the end, ye­sterday and to day, and the same for ever.

Thirdly, the Leviticall priests offred dayly offerings oftentimes: the Priests went alwayes into the first Tabernacle, ac­complishing [Page 90] the service of God, Heb. 9. 6. and the High-Priest entred into the holy place, viz. the inmost Tabernacle every yeare with bloud, ver. 25.

But Christ offred but one sacri­fice once for ever: once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sinne by the sacrifice of himselfe, saith the Apostle, ver. 26. and he doth il­lustrate this Truth by a simile, and confirme it by an Argument. His simile is in those words: as it is appointed unto men once to die; but after this the Judgement: so Christ was once offred to beare the sinnes of many: and unto them that looke for him shall bee appeare the second time without sinne unto Salvation, Heb. 9. 27, 28. the explication or unfolding of this similitude take thus: as there is nothing interposed between the death of a man, and his eternall doome, or Judgement: nothing can either marre, or mend his estate: but as the tree falleth, so it shall lie, whether toward the North, or to­ward the South, toward Heaven, or toward Hell: so between the death of Christ and his second coming, there is no hilasticall or expiatory sacrifice in­terjected, either to adde perfection to [Page 91] the first; or to ransome those that had contemned it: and to this lookes that Scripture, where it it is said, if wee sinne wilfully after that wee have received the Knowledge of the Truth, there re­maineth no more sacrifice for sinnes, He­brewes 10. 26. there is not a second propitiatory sacrifice to be expected: Christ shall appeare the second time without sinne, that is, with­out sacrifices for sinne. Men must lay hold of that one once offred, and not despise it not seeme to embrace it, and afterward cast it away: for if they doe, there will never come a second to expi­ate such an offence.

The Argument, which the Apostle useth to prove that Christs sacrifice is but one, and once offred, is taken from the perfection thereof; wherein it dif­fers much from the sacrifices of the Law: for they could not make the comers unto them perfect, Heb. 10. 1. but there was in them an anniversary or yearely re­membrance of sinnes: yea there was a daily repetition of some of those sacri­fices, as the Apostle mindeth, Heb. 10. 11. so that here was no perfection: the Conscience of the worshippers might [Page 92] remaine for ever uncleane, for any thing that these sacrifices could doe to purge them. But the single and one sa­crifice of Christ, whereby he offred up himselfe a Lambe without spot unto God, is of sufficiency and perfectly able to doe away the sinnes of all the elect in all ages and times of the world, both be­fore and after conversion.

Fourthly, other priests and their sa­crifices were but types and shadowes of good things to come, Heb. 10. 1. and so likewise was the Tabernacle, and all the utensiles thereof, in and by which they officiated, chap. 9. 9. But now Christ is the very Ita inter­pretandum est voca­bulum, [...] Heb. 10. 1. essentiall forme, or the lively and substantiall representation of those things, which were shadowed in the Law; and the Tabernacle, in which he offred, not made with hands, as the other was, Heb. 9. 11. for that other was a figure for the time present, as the Apostle saith: but the person of Christ, God and man, is the very substance and thing it selfe, figured by that resem­blance. The Ceremoniall Law was gi­ven by Moses: but grace and Truth, the full accomplishment of all those Mysti­call and shadowish services, came by Je­sus [Page 93] Christ, Joh. 1. 17. the dispensation of life and righteousnesse, Christ alone hath the honour of that. Leviticall Priests, and bulls, and goates, and Al­tars, and Ceremonies might be Types [...], Patternes, Heb. 9. 23.: but he was the Antitype and significati­on of them all.

Fifthly, other Priests entred onely into that place which was typically ho­ly: the Tabernacle was a figure for the time then present, Heb. 9. 8, 9. it was made with hands; and therefore it is called To [...], Heb. 9. 1. a worldly Sanctuary: but Christ is entred into that place, which is pro­perly holy: he is entred into Heaven it selfe, now to appeare in the presence of God for us: Heb. 9. 24. and hence he is said to be a Minister of the Sanctuary, and of the true Tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. Now from the typicalnesse of that Tabernacle of Moses, and the verity and substantialnesse of the Taber­nacle, wherein Christ our High-Priest offred, wee are taught, that if men in these times of Reformation, as the Apo­stle calls them, Heb. 9. 10. if in these times of more cleare Evangelick Reve­lation since the coming and suffering of Christ; if in these times, wherein the [Page 94] Church of God hath put off her mino­rity and childhood, and is come to be adult, as we say; is come to maturity and rifenesse of age: if, I say, men in these times having the Gospel clearely and lightsomely preached unto them, will neverthelesse cleave in any measure to Judaicall rites and Ceremonies: if they will embrace shadowes, now the substance is long since come; then truly they are ipso facto (as we speake) bar'd off from all benefit by Christ: so saith the Apostle: Wee have an Altar (saith he) whereof they have no Right to eate, which serve the Tabernacle, Heb. 13. 10. If men will judaize and stick now to Mosaicall rudiments, they have no right to eate of the Christians Altar, that is, they have no part nor portion in Christ. Such another sentence we have, Galat. 5. 2, 3, 4. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if you be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing: for I testifie againe to every man, that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to doe the whole Law: Christ is become of no ef­fect unto you, whosoever of you is justified by the Law: yee are fallen from grace. That which is here said of circumcision, is true of all other Leviticall rites: if wee [Page 95] will retaine any of them, Christ will not profit us: wee are bound to keep the whole law: if wee observe a peice, wee must observe all: and if wee be justified by such legall observances; Christ avail­eth us nothing: wee hold not the head, when wee cleave to such ordinances.

Sixtly, other priests were to offer first for themselves, and afterward for the people: Heb. 7. 27. This was the injunction of the Law: if the priest that is anointed doe sinne according to the sinne of the people; then let him bring for his sinne, that he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish un­to the Lord for a sinne-offering, Levit. 4. 3. and in the 8. chapter of that booke wee reade, how that Aaron and his sonnes were to offer a sinne-offering at their consecration; we must understand for themselves. But it was not so with our High-Priest, the Lord Jesus: hee offred for his people onely: as for him­selfe, he needed no sacrifice: after three­score and two weekes shall Messiah be cut off; but not for himselfe, Dan. 9. 26. not for his owne transgression: the Prince of this world came and tempted him: but could find no corruption in him, no yeilding to his tentations in the least [Page 96] measure: he knew no sinne, neither was there any guile found in his mouth: and it became us, that is, it was necessary and be­hoofefull for us, to have such an High-priest, as was holy, harmelesse, undefiled, separate from sinners, Heb. 7. 26. holy towards God, harmelesse towards men, undefiled in himselfe, and totally sepa­rate from sinners, not contaminated or spotted with sinne in the least measure.

Seventhly, consider this, that Christ is the most mercifull, the most pitifull, and the most compassionate High-priest, that ever was: and therefore it was, that hee was made like unto us, bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh, subject to hunger, thirst, cold, weari­nesse, tentation, and the like, as we are. The Apostle Heb. 2. 17. saith, that this was behoofefull: he saith there, that he [...]. ought in all things to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a mercifull, and a faithfull High-priest in things per­taining to God, to make reconciliation for the people. Eli was the High-Priest in his time: but he failed much in the point of tendernesse and consideration, when he judged the godly and gracious wo­man to be drunke: how long wilt thou be [Page 97] drunken (said he) put away thy wine from thee, 1 Sam. 1. 14. whereas alasse, she was farre from it: she was a woman of a sor­rowfull spirit (as she answers) and was in earnest prayer at that time. Christ our High-priest was more sensible and feeling of our affliction then so. We have not an High-priest (saith the Apostle) which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points temp­ted like as we are; yet without sinne, Heb. 4. 15. as it is said, that never any man spake, as he spake: so I may say, that ne­ver was there any Priest, so milde, so gentle, so gracious, so loving, so tender­ly affectionate, and so regardfull of our condition, as Christ was: full to this purpose is that place in Isaiah 63. 9. In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the Angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pitie he redeemed them: and he bare them and carried them all the dayes of old. And againe: he shall feed his flock like a Sh [...]pheard: he shall gather the Lambs with his arme, and carrie them in his bo­some; and shall gently lead those that are with young, Isaiah 40. 11. And the brui­sed reed shall he not breake, nor quench the smoking flaxe; that is, he shall compas­sionately [Page 98] beare with our slownesse, our dulnesse, our small and weake begin­nings, our little measure of grace, un­till he bring forth Judgement unto victory, that is, till he overcome our corrupti­ons, and give sentence of victory over sinne and Satan. In the Law wee read, that the High-priest was to beare the names of the children of Israel in his pectorall or brest-plate upon his heart; now this did figure and shadow unto us the tender love and pitie that Christ the Mediatour beares to his people: guiding the blinde, feeding the hungrie, com­forting the comfortlesse, restoring such as are out of joynt: all is mercy, and love, and sweetnesse, and more then motherly affection that comes from him. All these things are spoken of Christ, as Mediatour: and hence it is that he hath the title [...], one of ma­ny commiserations, Jam. 5. 11.

In the eight and last place I shall tell you of a wonder. Christ unlike to all other Sacrificers was both the Priest, the Temple or Tabernacle, the Altar, and the Sacrifice all in one person.

First, he was a Priest in respect of both natures; which will easily be gran­ted, [Page 99] if wee consider the nature of a Me­diatour, or Umpire, who ought to be one indifferent, and equally inclining to either party, like a paire of scales that hang even; neither side lift up, or depressed more than the other. A medi­atour is not of one, saith the Apostle, Galat. 3. 20. so did Christ indifferent­ly partake of both natures, Godhead, and Manhood; that so he might be fit to stand in the gap between his Father and us. We must beleeve therefore, that whole Christ offred up himselfe unto God; even the Manhood, as well as the Godhead, did offer it selfe: Christ is a Priest according to both natures. And whereas it is said, that hee offred himselfe through the eternall Spirit without spot unto God, Heb. 9. 14. that doth not put the manhood from its share in priesthood: but onely it shewes how the Sacrifice came to be without spot or blemish, namely by the hypostaticall union of the two natures, the eternall Spirit, that is, the God­head of Christ assuming the flesh into one person with it selfe.

Secondly, Christ was the Tabernacle or Temple most properly according to [Page 100] his God-head: for he saith himselfe in the Gospel, that the Gold of the Temple is sanctified by the Temple it selfe: so is the manhood sanctified and made noble by the God-head. Neverthelesse in some respects his humane body was the Tem­ple also: Destroy this Temple (saith he) and I will build it againe in three dayes, he speakes it of his body, which is cal­led a Temple not onely because the ho­ly Spirit dwelt in it after a singular and peculiar way, conceiving it at the first, and sanctifying it perfectly; but also be­cause in the offring of it up, God found in it an acceptable sacrifice, and smelt in it a sweet favour as in a Temple. But yet further to this purpose: the flesh of Christ is called a vaile, Heb. 10. 20. in which the Apostle alludes to the oper­tory or vaile in the Tabernacle of old, and in the Temple, by which alone there was entrance into the holiest place of all; so by the vaile of his flesh, rent and torne upon the Crosse, hath Christ opened a new and a living way for us to passe to God, and to Heaven. Thus is he the Tabernacle or Temple accor­ding to both natures too.

Thirdly, Christ is the Altar most [Page 101] properly according to his Divinity: for he saith himselfe, that the Altar doth san­ctifie the Gift, Matth. 23. 19. And thus doth the God-head like an Altar sanctifie the Manhood, as a gift or sacri­fice, making it of infinite merit, and and worth with God the Father: the Altar ought to be of greater dignity then the oblation. But now although the God-head of Christ alone be the sanctifying, and dignifying thing in re­spect of the offering of himselfe, that is, of his flesh unto God: yet in respect of his presenting us blamelesse and a sa­crifice, as it were, without spot and ble­mish unto his father, so whole Christ, God and man in one person is the san­ctifying Altar, that makes us accepted with God. The Scripture it selfe speak­eth thus, Isaiah 56. 6, 7. God promi­seth, that he will bring even the sonnes of the stranger (that is, the Gentiles) to his holy Mountaine, and make them joyfull in his house of Prayer, and their burnt of­frings, and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon his Altar: for (saith he) mine house shall be called an house of Prayer for all people: in which place by the Altar we are to understand whole Christ, God [Page 102] and man, the blessed Mediatour, upon whom, as upon an Altar, all Nations promiscuously, both Jewes and Gen­tils, were an offering acceptable to God. And a like place there is in Isaiah 60. 7. All the flocks of Kedar shall be ga­thered together unto thee; the Rammes of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee; they shall come up with acceptance on mine Altar, and I will glorifie the house of my glory. Here also whole Christ is the Altar, that makes the Gentiles to be (as I may say) a sacrifice of a sweet-smelling sa­vour unto God. To this also tends that in Isaiah 6. 7. where a coale from the Al­tar touching the Prophets lips, his iniqui­ty is taken away, and his sinne purged: now what is it that taketh away iniqui­ty, but the Lamb? what is it that pur­geth sinne, but the bloud of Christ? although I grant (as before) that if wee respect the offring of himselfe, the body and bloud of Christ was most properly the sacrifice. I will adde a few words more touching this matter out of Mr. Brightman, upon Revel. 6. 9. he saith, that the soules under the Altar are most eminently the Martyrs, whose salvation is placed onely in the death [Page 103] of Christ; under which those holy Champions lying hid, as under a Buck­ler, they might safely and without ter­rour appeare before God: now it is true, that this death of Christ in respect of himselfe was the sacrifice: but to the Martyrs, and to all the Saints, it is to­gether with his God-head as an Altar, under which (and not under their own perpessions and suffrings as any whit meritorious) they lie safe and secure.

Lastly, Christ according to his man­hood is most properly the sacrifice, Heb. 10. 10. yet for as much as whole Christ presents himselfe now in the sight of God for us: wee are to judge that whole Christ, God and man was after a sort the oblation or offring; and hence the bloud thereof is said to be the bloud of God, Acts 20 28. Neverthelesse though in respect of us, who are reconciled, justifyed, sanctifyed and eternally sa­ved thereby, whole Christ is offred up: yet let us be wise unto sobriety: Let us (as I may say) give unto Caesar the things that are Caesars, and unto God the things that are Gods, that is, let us give unto each nature of Christ its owne properties and offices: both his [Page 104] Deity and his humanity did distinctly act their parts: his humanity by suf­fring the punishment due to us, and by fulfilling all righteousnesse: and his De­ity by conferring upon those suffering infinite and saving vertue. The humane soule and flesh of Christ was the holo­causto, or whole burnt-offring rosted it the fire of his Fathers wrath, his God head was the Temple in which, and the Altar upon which this sacrifice was of­fred; and lastly, Christ both God and man, was the Priest most willingly and cheerefully officiating in this ser­vice.

Thus I have shewed you, that Chris­unlike unto all other Priests was himself both the Priest, and the Sacrifice, and the Temple, and the Altar all in one person; and in some respects also all according to both natures: so that wel▪ may he be called wonderfull, as we read of him, Isaiah 9. 6. and well also may the Apostle say, that the Mystery of God­linesse is without controversie a great Mi­stery.

Now then to conclude this discourse of Christs Priesthood: if he were a Priest alone; an everlasting Priest, a [Page 105] Priest offering but once, and yet suffici­ently for ever; the substance and verity of all those Priests, which went before him; gone into heaven, which never any did as Priests, but he onely; not need­ing to offer for himselfe, but onely for us; a most mercifull and pitifull high Priest: and lastly, sacrifice, Temple, Al­tar, and Priest, all in one: if Christ, I say, be such an high Priest, then certain­ly we must needs grant him even by this argument to be very precious and excel­lent.

Thirdly, Consider Christ as a King: and in this also his glory, his dignitie, and his excellency shines forth most e­minently. Christ is a King above all o­ther Kings, and that in these respects.

First of all, his Kingdome is a spiri­tuall Kingdome: he rules over the soules and consciences of men: other Kings may subject the bodies and the estates of such as are under them; but not their consciences. Indeed there hath been u­surpation in this kinde; but never tole­rated and allowed by Christ. One and the chiefest of all Babylons merchandize are the soules of men, Revel. 18. 13. by her curses, excommunications, pardons, pur­gatory, [Page 106] and the like inventions, shee hath made merchandize of the soules, and domineer'd over the consciences of men. Episcopacy in all places more or lesse hath trodden in the same path; let the Reformists of these times have a care, that nothing be obtruded and thrust upon tender consciences, which they cannot beare: the heart, the soule, and the conscience, is properly the subject of Christs Kingdome: neither will he en­dure the subjection thereof to any other then himselfe: domination and lordship over the soule, is a part of his glory, which he will not give to another. The Church speaks it with indignation, that her own mothers sonnes, such as seemed to be of her numbers and corporation, be­ing inflamed with rage against her, made her the keeper of other vines, and to neglect her own; that is, they forced her to serve in part their phansies and pleasures Mr. Dud­ley Fenner in his ex­position upon the place, prin­ted at Mid­delburgh, 1587., while shee abated of her diligence in do­ing those duties, which God required of her, Cant. 1. 6. God challengeth the persons of the Israelites as his own ser­vants, neither must they be sold as bond­men: because he brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, Levit. 25. 42. Now the [Page 107] like reason doth the Apostle give why wee should not subject our hearts and consciences to the ordinances of men in matters of religion: yee are bought with a price, (saith he) be not yee the servants of men, 1 Cor. 7 23. that is, doe not man­cipate and enslave your consciences to any humane devise in matters meerely spirituall. Christ alone is the King and Lord of our spirits: his Kingdome is spirituall; his Lawes are spirituall; his people are spirituall; he rules in the Kingdomes of men, and meddles in their secular affaires all in order to his own spirituall Kingdome; Heathenish people have been tamed and civiliz'd, that way might be made for their embracing of the Gospel. All the warres of the Nati­ons, all their policies, and governments, all their risings and decayings, all the great works that ever were done in the world, have tended by degrees at least to the advancement of Christs spirituall Kingdome: Christ hath still made them his prudentialls to bring about his own ends. The Assyrian first subdued the Na­tions; after him the Babylonian; then the Persian, and the Grecian followed him; but the Roman went farther then [Page 108] them all: and when God had thus sha­ken the earth, and the Kingdomes of the world, then it was high time for Christ the desire of all Nations to come, and the Gospel to be more clearly prea­ched, then before. I speake this to shew, how that Christ mingles himselfe even in worldly agitations and affaires, that thereby he may further and set forward his own spirituall Kingdome, and it should teach us to rule and steere our course in such things not carnally and grossly, as the Heathen doe, but spiri­tually, as Christ doth; his Kingdome i [...] a spirituall Kingdome; so he tells Pilate: My kingdome; (saith he) is not of this world, Joh. 18. 36. that is (saith Mr. Lu­ther) he reigneth not according to the flesh, and the world; but he ruleth and sanctifieth in spirituall and heavenly things, as righteousnesse, truth, wisdome, peace, salvation: not as though all things of this world, and even of Hell it selfe were not also in subjection unto him (otherwise how could he p [...]eserve us and defend us from them all?) but be­cause his Kingdome doth not consist ei­ther in them, or of them. Christs King­dome is in heavenly & spirituall things, [Page 109] as in binding and loosing of the consci­ence, captivating the affections, and sub­duing the heart, in obedience to him­selfe, and so bringing us by degrees unto glory. There be them, that tell us of a Monarchicall Kingdome of Christ, whereby he shall in proper person reigne a thousand yeares upon the earth, be­fore the end and consummation of the world; which if it be a truth, yet I leave the opinion thereof to be scan'd and disputed of by the judicious. Truth and falshood are brought to light by travaile, industry, and disputation: Ma­ny shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased, Dan. 12. 4.

Secondly, the Kingdome of Christ according to his Mediatorship is a uni­versall Kingdome.

First, Universall it is in respect of all Nations; There was given him dominion, and glory, and a Kingdome, that all people, and Nations, and languages, should serve him, Dan. 7. 14. The heathen are bis in­heritance, and the ends of the earth his pos­session. The Monarchs of the world have Psa. 2. 8. stretched their Empiers farre: Nebuchad­nezzars Kingdome in Strabo reached as farre as Spain, as Mr. Broughton delivers [Page 110] out of that Author; The Persians pierced farther; Alexander farther then they; and the Romans farther then them all: but none of all these subdued the whole habitable, as Christ hath done, his sub­jects have been, and are to be gathered from the foure winds all over the uni­verse. The Apostle speaking of the prea­chers of the Gospel, saith, That their sound went into all the earth, & their words unto the ends of the world, Rom. 10. 18.

Secondly, Christs Kingdome is uni­versall in respect of all sorts, ranckes, and conditions of men Noahs Arke was a shadow of the Church: Now as into that Arke came creatures of every kindes so into the Church, which is the King­dome of Christ, are received people of all ages, sexes, professions and conditi­ons whatsoever: if their conditions be such as thwart the laws and ordinances of that Kingdome, they are laid downe, they are changed in the very act of their reception. This Kingdome doth not re­fuse any, that will submit to it: but all sorts of people may come and be accep­ted. This is elegantly set forth by the Prophet, Esa. 41. 19. where God promi­seth to plant in the Wildernesse the Cedar, [Page 111] the Sitath tree, the Myrtle, the Oyle-tree, the Firre-tree, the Pine, and the Box-tree together. This also is signified by the Net cast into the Sea, which gathereth fish of Mat. 13. 47, 48. every kinde, and so also of every kinde are reserved as good: this net is an em­bleme of the Gospel preached, & called the kingdome of heaven, because it doth forme, promove and advance that Kingdome. The fish of every sort, which the net catches, doe declare that people of all qualities are admittable into the Kingdome of Christ. This likewise was sweetly represented unto Peter by a sheet knit at the foure corners, wherein were all manner of foure-footed beasts, Acts 10. 12. of the Earth, and wild Beasts, and creeping things, and foules of the aire; and the Apostle was bid to arise, and to slay and eate. Now by this he was taught, that not onely the Gentiles, as well as the Jewes were to be received into the Kingdome of Christ: but also that in every Nation (as himselfe afterwards expounds it) He that feareth God, and worketh Righteousnesse is accepted with him, Acts 10, 35. Let him be of what trade and occuptation, of what ranke and quality, of what state and condi­tion [Page 112] soever he will be, Christ will not refuse him coming unto him and sub­mitting unto the Scepter of his King­dome.

Thirdly, the Kingdome of Christ is universall in respect of the ages and times of the world: it runnes through all ages, and it lasts from generation to generation. And hence it is, that Christ is called a King immortall, 1 Tim. 1. 17. having spoken of the long suffering of Jesus Christ, toward him in the prece­dent verse, he addes immediately; now unto the King eternall, immortall, invi­sible, the onely wise God be honour and glo­ry for ever and ever, amen: Jesus Christ then is that God and King: and he is called immortall to distinguish him from all other Kings. The Kings of the world are mortall, they die, and leave their Kingdomes to others: but Christ is an immortall King, hee never dieth: his Kingdome knowes no period: it passes through all Epoches and tracts of time. Precious is Christ, that hath such a Kingdome; and happie are his Saints, that have such a King. When friends die; when Estates are gone; when the Sword rages; when sicknesse and death [Page 113] comes; when any trouble or affliction is upon them; yet to their unspeakable comfort they know, that their mighty King liveth and reigneth; and so long as he is up, they cannot be so downe, but they shall rise againe. Christ is a King in all ages of the world from the beginning: God is my King of old (saith the Church) Psal. 74. 12. and Christ is God there spoken of, as appeares by the words that follow: God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the Earth; it is Christ the Mediatour, that workes salvation in the midst of the Earth: for the Father hath committed all Judgement unto him; he then is King of old, from the very first foun­ding of the world; and so shall conti­nue to be while the Sunne and Moone indure, as 'tis prophecied of him.

Fourthly, Christs Kingdome is uni­versall in respect of all Creatures: all power is given into him both in heaven and in earth. In respect of his providence the creatures are subject to him as God: but as they serve to further the salvati­on of his elect, and to beautifie his King­dome: so they are subject unto him as Mediatour. In Ephes. 1. 22. It is said of [Page 114] Christ, that the Father hath put all things under his feet, and hath given him to be the head over all things to the Church: that is, so farre forth as they con­duce to the good of the Church, so they are under the Kingdome of Christ as Mediatour.

Thirdly, Christ rules as King alone: he alone is caput Ecclesiae, the head of the Church. When the Romane Em­pire was growne vast and unweldy, there were colleagues in government, two men of equall Authority, one to rule the East, and another to sway the West. And in some places during the minority of the King they chose a Re­gent, who hath Kingly Authority, and is pro tempore as a King. But it is not so in the Kingdome of Christ: he rules a­lone without a partner. Ʋnum non ca­pit Regnum duos is a most true saying here, this one Kingdome will not beare two Kings at once. Ridiculous is the Popes challenge to be the Ministeriall head of the Church: Christ rules alone without any such Image of his govern­ment: he rules alone as head without either colleague in the largenesse of his dominion, or Regent in his minority, [Page 115] sole, or Vice-Roy in his absence: hee hath indeed Officers, that rule under him: but the headship and royalty he reserves as peculiar to himselfe; he car­ries the government upon his owne shoulders, as wee reade, Isaiah 9. 6. he alone hath soveraigne power and Au­thority in governing of his Church: he alone hath supremacy of Regiment: he alone is Claviger, the Key-carrier to his Church, Isa. 22. 22. It is written thus of Eliakim: the Key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder: so he shall open and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open: Now herein was this Saint a lively figure and type of Christ: the words of the Prophecie are apply­ed to Christ, in his advertisement to Philadelphia, Revel. 3. and the sense is this: that looke as Eliakim was made Steward, or Treasurer under Hezekiah, that is, the next unto the King in go­vernment all over the Land, to com­mand, to forbid, to permit, to reward, to punish, to doe Justice, and to represse all disorder, of which Authority the bearing of a Key on the shoulder was a badge: so Christ as Mediatour under his Father hath regall power and Au­thority [Page 116] over his Church; where hee commands in chiefe, as I may say; and no man may lift up his hand, or foote without him: he hath the Key of the house of David upon his shoulder, to prescribe, to inhibit, to call, to harden, to save, and to destroy at his pleasure; such a Monarch and King is Christ o­ver his Church; neither hath any, such rule and soveraignty beside him.

Fourthly, Christ is an eternall and everlasting King: he receives a King­dome, that cannot be shaken; there shall be no end of it: his Throne endureth for ever. God rent away the Kingdome from Soul and others; and Mene, Mene, was upon Belshazzars Kingdome, a full [...]umbring and finishing the dayes of it: but Christs Kingdome is everlasting, and shall never expire; let the enemies thereof use what art and craft they will; they shall never destroy it, or pluck it up. The God of Heaven (saith the Prophet) shall set up a Kingdome; which shall never be destroyed; neither shall it be left to other people: but it shall stand for ever, Dan. 2. 44. If that of the Apostle be objected, where [...]e saith, that Christ shall deliver up the Kingdome to God, even the Father, [Page 117] 1 Cor. 15. 24. I answer, that this doth nothing at all impeach the everlasting­nesse of Christs Kingdome: for the meaning of it is this: that at the gene­rall Resurrection, and the end of the world, Christ shall lay downe his Me­diatorship, and shall deliver up all his Elect and faithfull Members, of whom now his Kingdome consists, unto his Father, to be eternally crowned and glorifyed: and this shall be then, when hee shall have reconciled some of his Enemies, spoyled desperate ones of their abused rule, power and authority, and quite abolished death, the last Enemie: so that then Christ shall cease to reigne any longer as Mediatour: he shall then cease to reigne according to the present dispensation, and administring of his Office: but not as one God co-essenti­all with the Father: for his Kingdome according to his God-head shall then be compleate, consummate and perfect: yea and his humanity also shall reigne then not as by, or of it selfe, but as joyned in one person with his God­head, and as the common head of all those, whom he hath redeemed, and sanctified and brought toglory through [Page 118] taking their nature upon him, and suffering in it. So that the forementio­ned place in the Corinthians doth not speake of the abolishing of Christs Kingdome; but of the perfection of it rather, when God, whose glory is now much obscured and darkned by Ene­mies, shall be all in all among his Saints; and the eternall Father shall triumph eternally in his Sonne as a fi­nall Conquerour.

The like answer also must be given to the objection, which may bee made from the words of the Apostle. 1 Cor. 15. 28. where he saith, that the Sonne also himselfe shall be subject unto him, that did put all things under him. These words are not so to be understood, as if the Father were not for the present well pleased with the Sonne, or as if the Sonne were not already subject to the Father, as Mediatour: but the meaning of them is this: that when all things, which doe now during the present forme of his administration make op­position and resistance against Christ, shall bee subdued unto him, and brought under his feet; then Christ himselfe also, as touching his Mediator­ship, [Page 119] shall be subject unto the Father, and God shall be all in all; neither doth this subjection imply a depressing, or pulling downe lower: but rather Christ and his Saints shall be at the height and top of their glory, when they shall be so subject; as on the other side whosoever shall not then be so sub­ject, they shall be at the bottome of all remedilesse misery and wretchednesse.

Before I passe away to another head, I must needs touch againe upon a place of Scripture before cited, 1 Tim. 1. 17. Now unto the King eternall, immortall, invisible, &c. Here be two words that doe expresse the perpetuity and everla­sting duration of Christs Kingdome, eternall, and immortall, and neither of them is idle or superfluous: the Holy Ghost doth not use tautalogie or vaine repetition in them. I have shewed you already what is meant by immortall, namely that the Kingdome of Christ is not subject to succession; it is not liable to be devolved and rould downe to af­ter comers; which Daniel expresseth thus; his Kingdome shall not be left unto other people, as the Monarchies of the Babylonians, Medes, Alexander, and the [Page 120] Kingdomes of the Seleucidae, which the Prophet had spoken of were; they were translated from Nation to Nation, and from man to man, and at last quite dis­solved. But Christs Kingdome shall not be pluck't up for others beside himselfe; but it shall hold on constantly through all ages and centuries of the world unto the end: and when the end com­meth, it shall not expire and give up the Ghost; but it shall attaine to its full beauty and perfection; it shall come to its meridian, or verticall point, as I may say, and shall never decline, never decay: it shall last beyond the world, and beyond all time for ever: therefore the Apostle calls Christ not onely an immortall King, but also an eternall King. Thus you see, that the Spirit of God doth to good purpose use two words, somewhat of kinne i [...] signi­fication one to the other; that thereby hee might set forth the excellency of Christs Kingdome above all other King­domes: by the one word is shewed the course of his Kingdome, through this world, during the time of his Media­tourship [...] and by the other word is de­clared the lasting of it unto all eter­nity, [Page 121] after his Mediatorship is laid downe.

Lastly, Christ is matchlesse and emi­nent above all other Kings in all Roy­all vertues, endowments, and accom­plishments.

First, he is a most sapient and wise King, called therefore Counsellour by the Prophet, and onely wise, by the A­postle, the wonderfull Numberer; he that sealeth up the summe, full of wisdome: none essentially wise, but he: none but are depending and beholding for their wisedome, but he, his foolishnesse is wi­ser then men: they be all doters to him. Earthly Kings have their Counsellours; but he needs none: Solomon was the wi­sest among them: but a greater then Solomon is here.

Secondly, he is Rex armipotens, & bellicosus, a most puissant and warlike King; called therefore a man of Warre, the Lord of Hosts, the Captaine of our Salvation: the armies in Heaven, Angels and righteous men follow him; he is the stone cut out of the Mountaine without hands, sent from heaven, and acting by no humane, but meerely Divine Au­thority, which smote the Image and brake [Page 122] in pieces the iron, the brasse, the clay, the Silver and the Gold; the great Monar­chies and Kingdomes of the world, to make way for his owne Kingdome: he is terrible to all the Kings of the Earth that withstand him, he is so mighty and so politick, that he gets ground of his enemies by giving ground to them. The world, Hell, Death, sinne, the Ac­cuser of the brethren, the enmity of the carnall mind, all these are in the Trophes of his victories. All his foes are and shall be made his footstoole: he will make even the proudest of them to stoope and to hold his stirrup: yea he will make them his very stirrup to get on horse-back by, as once S [...]por the Per­sian served Valerian the Romane Empe­rour.

Thirdly, Christ is as eminent in peace also, as he is in warre; called therefore the Prince of Peace. When hee was borne, warres were husht every where, and all the world was at peace. Jacob beheld him as a ladder reaching from Earth to Heaven, and what was this, but the Image of a Peace-maker between God and man? the Angels of God ascended and descended by that ladder, [Page 123] signifying, that by Christ wee have the benefit of the Ministry of Angels: they ascend to receive new commission from God concerning the Saints, and again descend to execute it; by Christ also our prayers as Intelligencers and signi­fiers of our wants doe ascend into the presence of God: and againe his bles­sings, as Angels and Messengers of his good will towards us, doe descend and light upon us. Thus is Christ a ladder reaching from Earth to Heaven, par­taking of both, God and man in one person; our blessed Reconciler, and Peace-maker: he died to purchase peace for us: when he went away he left his peace with us: and he reignes for ever to maintaine our peace. Melchisedec was King of Salem, that is, King of Peace, nominally and in a figure onely: but Christ is the very body and sub­stance of that shadow.

Fourthly, Christ is a most just and righteous King: he raignes in righ­teousnesse, he speakes in righteousnesse, he makes warre in righteousnesse, he betroths his Church to him in righte­ousnesse, he delivers her from her Ene­mies in righteousnesse, he answers her [Page 124] prayers in righteousnesse, he doth all in righteousnesse. Neither is he perso­nally righteous alone; but efficiently also: not on [...]ly righteous himselfe; but he makes others so too; just, and a Ju­stifier, as the Apostles phrase is: called therefore [...], the Lord our Righteousnesse, Jer. 23. 6. He is our true Melchisedec, King of Righteousnesse: that King in Abrahams dayes bore the name, that he might be a Type of our King.

Lastly, Christ is a most mild and mercifull King, meeke, gentle, long-suf­fering: he is the true propitiatory, or Mercy-seate: that in the Tabernacle of old did but prefigure him: hee keeps mercy for thousands; his mercy is ever­lasting: his mercy indureth for ever is the versus amoebaeus, or the bearing of the song, as we say, in the 136. Psalme; He delights in mercy: yea, it is so plea­sing to him, that even in wrath hee re­members it; he beares long with his Enemies, he forgives them, he dies for them, hee saves them eternally, and crownes them with glory for ever.

Thus I have shewed you, that Christ is a King, a Spirituall King, a univer­versall King over all Nations, rankes [Page 125] of men, ages of the world, and over all Creatures: a King ruling alone without a mate or associate; an ever­lasting King, and eminent above all other Kings in all royall vertues and qualifications, as wisdome, fortitude, peaceablenesse, Righteousnesse, Mercy, and the like. Where shall we finde such a King, as this? It is said of Solomon, that there was no King like him, and so of Josiah: but it may more truly and properly be said so of the Lord Jesus Christ, the heavenly King. On Earth there be Kings, that have rule and do­mination over other Kings: but Christ hath them at his steps and under his girdle, as we say: and they for the most part have such command by usurpati­on and incroachment: but Christ is so constituted of his Father; I will make him my first-borne, higher then the Kings of the Earth, Psal. 89. 27. and all this is for the good of the Saints: certainly then Christ must needs be very preci­ous unto Beleevers.

Having spoken of Christ as Media­tour, I come now to commend him to you as God: and here wee be come to the supreame and highest pitch of all [Page 126] glory. Here are fathomlesse depths, and bottomlesse bottomes, if I may so speake: here are stupendious and ama­zing Mysteries; astonishing, and con­founding excellencies, such as the holy Angels themselves cannot pierce into: God is [...], dwelling in inaccessible light, 1 Tim. 6. 16. here are such beauties and perfections, that had I (as the Poet speakes) a hundred tongues, a hundred mouthes, and a voyce of steele: yet I could not suffici­ently describe them: but must be dri­ven with the Philosopher to aske more dayes to thinke of it; and at length re­solve, as he did, that the matter is so intricate and perplexed, so inscrutable, and unsearchable, that I cannot re­solve. Neverthelesse let me say some­thing, though I doe it but slenderly and weakely, as children doe of mens mat­ters.

Christ then is in the altitude [...]nd summity of all glory, one eternall God with the Father, and with the Holy Ghost: proved to be so by a cloud of witnesses: we have the Authority of the sacred Scriptures both in the Old and New Testament for it most frequently: [Page 127] where he is called God, and Jehovah, the onely begotten Sonne of God, the Image of the Father, his substantiall Image, and not as the forme of a face in a glasse: [...]lso to him are attributed such things, [...] can agree to none but God: he is said to be equall with the Father, eternall, the author of election, a searcher of hearts; one that must be beleev'd in, s [...]orne by, worshipped with Divine worship; one that gives eternall rewards; one that hath power to pardon sinne; one that doth illuminate by the Spirit; one that shall judge both quick and dead; one that is omnipotent; one that hath power to worke Miracles, to create, to send the Holy-Ghost; one that hath power to raise himselfe and others; one in whose name we must be baptised, and the like. Paraeus that Godly and lear­ned Divine of Heidelburgh in his Com­mentary upon the Revelation, pick's out of the text of that booke no lesse then forty two Arguments of the Divi­nity of Christ. By all which wee may see the blasphemy of those, who have af­firmed him to be no more then a parti­cular God, and [...] patri; but not [...], like unto the Father; but not of [Page 128] the same Essence and substance with him. But we shall farther see the mad­nesse of these men, if wee consider these particulars.

First of all, Christ shines as a Sunne in the firmament of the world, in all per­fection and sufficiency of wisdome, pow­er, goodnesse, love, Majesty and glory.

Secondly, whatsoever measure the most excellent of the creatures have of these things they are beholding unto him for it: he is the never failing spring and fountaine of all blessing and good­nesse. Now the Logicall Rule is, quod efficit tale, illud magis est tale, that which makes a thing to be so as it is, is much more so it selfe: if the creatures be full of beauty and excellency, and yet all in a derivative way: how unspeake­ably excellent then and beautifull is he, that is the Beginning of the creatures of God, and made them all so as they are? whatsoever energes or powers they have, they are but relative and borrow­ed, as the Light of the Moone from the Sunne, and also subject to subordi­nation: but in Christ according to his God-head all is absolute, and com­pleate; and all without him is by him [Page 129] and for him: of him, and through him, and to him are all things, saith the Apostle, Ro. 11, 36. Great dispute hath been among the Philosophers about the Summum bo­num, the chiefe and soveraigne good: now loe here it is. Finis et bonum conver­ [...]untur, saith the Logician, the end, and good are coincident and come both to one. Christ then being God, and God the ultimate and farthest end of all things; it followes necessarily, that Christ is the Summum bonum, and the top of all felicity and happinesse.

Thirdly, whatsoever vertue or good­nesse is in the creature, it is not of the essence and substance of the creature, but onely an accident, or an inherent quality: as a man may be said to be wise, mighty, just, mercifull; but not wisdome, strength, Justice, and mercy, as God may; who is all this, and much more in the very abstract, as we speake: whatsoever then is properly attributed unto Christ, as God, we cannot di­vide it from his very essence. It is pro­per to substances and materiall things, to have accidents adhering and cleaving unto them: but God is immateriall, and [...], without matter, and above [Page 130] all substance; and therefore above all predicament, as time, place, quantity, quality, and the like: Whatsoever i [...] in God, it is essentiall to him; a man may be a man still, though he be nei­ther knowing, nor valiant, nor just, nor gracious; but take away these from God, and you destroy his very essence and being. Now then if Christ be God, we may see by this, that he doth in­finitely surmount in praises all the most lovely and most desirable creatures in the world. Marke how the Prophet de­presses them all in relation to God, Isaiah 40. 15. 17. He saith, that al Na­tions are unto God as a droppe of water un­to a bucket-full, or as the small dust that cleaves to the balance, is to the great and heavie weights, that are put therein: and yet this is not enough to shew the disparity; therefore the Prophet addes, that they are to God as nothing: nei­ther doth this suffice to empty the crea­ture enough; but he goes a degree far­ther, and saith, that they are in com­parison of God lesse then nothing and vanity. Now beleeve it, all this is no more then is true of Christ: he is ac­cording to his God-head arayed with [Page 131] all this glory: all the creatures are to him, but as dropps to bucket-fulls, or as motes to ponderous weights: yea, they are as nothing, and lesse then no­thing and vanity. Christ hath a name above every name; all creatures in Hea­ven and in Earth, and under the Earth must stoop to him: I may truly say, that they be all to him, but as the sha­dow of a shadow, like the reflection of a Raine-bow, when it seemes to bee doubled in the cloud. The Raine-bow it selfe is but a shadow; what is then the shadow of this shadow? nay, what is the third generation of a shadow? as sometimes, when the reflection is ve­ry strong, three are seene at once. Tru­ly all creatures, even the most excellent of them must stand in the very lowest degree of these, if compared unto Christ; how precious then, how wor­thy beyond all thought and computati­on is he?

Let us draw some conclusions from the God-head of Christ farther to set forth his preciousnesse, and then wee will conclude this most weighty and considerable reason. We will doe it by Scripture aphorismes, and the first shall be this.

[Page 132] Faire weather cometh out of the North, with God is terrible Majesty, Job 37. 22. the meaning of it is this, that though the creature may be pleasing and flexible enough, and there may be faire quarter between man and man: yet not so with God: if he be once provok't, with him there is terrible and dreadfull Majesty. Now this is true of Christ. Behold, I send mine Angel before thee (saith God) to keepe thee in the way, and to bring thee in­to the place, which I have prepared: be­ware of him, and obey his voyce, provoke him not: for he will not pardon your trans­gressions; for my name is in him, Exod. 23. 20. 21. The Angel here spoken of is Christ, as appeares by this, that he hath power to pardon sinne, and Gods name is in him, that is, he is essentially God: for Gods name and attributes are his very essence. But what is this to the preciousnesse of Christ, you will say? here is terrour and dread-striking Majesty: but what makes this to the pur­pose in hand? I answer, very much: for first of all Gods terriblenesse doth not impeach the happie condition of the Saints, because they be in Christ: the terrours of the Law cannot reach them: [Page 133] their hearts are so fortified and establi­shed with Faith, that they are able to meditate of death, and Hell, and damna­tion, and the most terrible things that are, without trembling, without any slavish feare or dread Isa. 33. 18.. Secondly, it makes very much for the good of the Church of God, that some by the threat­ning terrour of Judgements are reduced to obedience and good order; & others, that are refractory and incorrigible, are cut off by the stroke of them: this I say, makes much for the good of the Church: when noxious humours are purged out of the body, all the parts are at ease, and in a healthfull State: so when wicked men are either awed and repressed, or quite extinct and cut off, the corporation of the Saints must needs enjoy much peace and quietnesse thereby. The terrour then that is in Christ doth not a whit take off from his preciousnesse. What Saint is there, that doth not with much comfort and hearts contentment read that place of Scripture, Revel. 6. 15, 16. The Kings of the Earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chiefe Captaines, and the mighty men, and every bond-man, and [Page 134] every free-man hid themselves in the dens, and in the rocks of the Mountaines: and said to the Mountaines and rockes, fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the Throne, and from the wrath of the Lambe: for the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand? The men that are here in such a feare, are the enemies of the Church; and what faithfull soule doth not re­joyce at the ruine of such? Secondly, God cannot lye is another Scripture A­phorisme, Tit. 1. 2. then if Christ bee God, we may build upon this, that all his promises, and particularly those concerning eternall Life and salvation, shall surely be made good: so saith the Apostle in the place to Titus be­fore mentioned: in hope of eternall life, which God that cannot lie, promise [...] before the world began. Christ is not on­ly verax, speaking truly; but ipsa ve­ritas, truth it selfe. He is the Amen; the faithfull and true witnesse: Heaven and Earth shall passe away, before one jot or tittle of his word shall fall to the ground. Now this likewise sets forth the preci­ousnesse of Christ not a little. Among men he is counted a very choyce and [Page 135] precious person, that is a man of his word: how much more then is Christ precious, whose eternall essence and be­ing is Truth, who cannot lie as men can, and with whom there is not the least variablenesse, or shadow of tur­ning?

Lastly, whatsoever God doth, it shall be for ever, &c. is another Scrip­ture aphorisme, Eccles. 3. 14. Then let the Devill himselfe and all enemies doe their worst: they shall never be able with all their might and policy, En­gines and Stratagenis to overthrow and frustrate the salvation of Gods elect: but it shall abide forever more perma­nent then the ancient Mountaines and everlasting hills of the world: and this must needs be so; because their Redee­mer is God, God by nature, and fur­nished with Divine power, such as all creatures, even the most able of them, must yeild unto. Now what is there, that can make Christ more precious to a believing soule, than this? God it is, that workes all our workes in us, and for us; the whole structure of our sal­vation is of his founding and raising; and whatsoever God doth, it shall be [Page 136] for ever, nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: now wee have abundantly proved, that Christ is God: our salvation then doth not stand upon our owne mutable and variable will; nor upon the weake legges of our owne power, which is as nothing; but upon the unchangeable counsell and mighty power of God; in which our Lord Jesus hath as great a share, as ei­ther the Father, or the Holy-Ghost.

Thus I have given you some taste of Scripture aphorismes, as I call them lea­ving the rest to private observation and collection. And this know assuredly, that whatsoever i [...] said of God in the Scriptures, a Spirituall man and a Be­leever may see in it the preciousnesse of Christ, and one way or other suck sweetnesse out of it.

I proceed to a fourth Reason. Christ Reas. 4 must needs be a most precious, a most lovely, a most delightfull, and a most desireable obj [...]ct to a beleeving soule, because he is most absolute for all man­ner of supply: and the supply which he makes to Beleevers is,

  • 1. Full.
  • 2. Sutable.
  • 3. Constant.

[Page 137] First, it is a full supply, if there be Light in the Sunne, the aire cannot be darke: if there be sappe in the stock, the branches cannot be dry: if there be fulnesse in the fountaine the streames cannot be empty.

This full supply through Christ is manifested by all those types and sha­dowes, which of old had relation to him. The striking of the bloud of the Pascall Lamb on the posts of the doores, where the Israelites dwelt was a token and assurance to them, that the destroying Angel should passe over them, and smite onely, the first borne of the Egyptians: now what else did that bloud prefigure but the bloud of Christ? wherewith the Elect being sprinckled, the Destroyer cannot hurt them. This bloud certainely is the inke of the Angels inke-home, spoken of in Ezek. 9. 3. wherewith the Godly are marked for deliverance, while others perish and are cut off. The pillar of the cloud by day, and of fire by night was a type of Christ, leading and guiding his people continually. The water of the Rock and the Manna in the wilder­nesse were signes, that Christ should [Page 138] spiritually feed and refresh his people. The Serpent of brasse lifted up by Moses, signified, that he should be their Physi­cian and healer. All the sacrifices of the Law did typifie, that Christ should make atonement for Beleevers. The Arke or Holy Chest in the Tabernacle did like­wise represent Christ unto us; in whom God hath treasured up all per­fection of wisdome, grace, power, goodnesse and mercy: for it pleased the Father, that in him all fulnesse should dwell, Coloss. 1. 19. Now from the redundan­cy and overflowing fulnesse of all bles­sing that is in Christ, Beleevers doe re­ceive their sufficiencie and fulnesse: of his fulnesse (saith the Apostle) wee all re­ceive, and grace for grace, Joh. 1. 16. that is, graces answerable to every com­municable grace of Christ: that as face answereth to face in water, so wee may in all things be like unto our head.

Secondly, the supply that wee have by Christ is sutable also. The faithfull soule lookes upon him, and saith, loe, here is most precious and pure bloud to wash away my guilt; here is strength to support me in my weaknesse; here is a garment of righteousnesse to [Page 139] cover the shame of my nakednesse; here is a spirit of Truth to leade me and guide me in all my wayes; here are sweet mercies and consolations to com­fort me in my droopings; here are gold and Pearles, and precious stones to en­rich me with; here is perfect purity and holinesse to sanctifie and cleanse my corrupt nature; in a word here is the plenitude and fulnesse of all grace to fill my empty and destitute soule.

The Spirit of the Lord anointed Christ, and did solemnly designe him to be home unto every Saints conditi­on, and to be made (as the Apostle saith of himselfe) all things to all men: he was anointed to preach good tidings unto the meeke, to bind up broken hearts, to pro­claime Isa. 61. 1. 2, 3. Liberty to captives, to appoint beauty for ashes, joy for mourning, and garments of festivity, and praise for sad and heavie spirits. Christ is (as I may say) for every turne: hee hath in him sufficiency relative and sutable to all conditions: there is no disease, but this Phisician can cure, no case, but this Counsellour can resolveus, and direct us in, no Enemie, but this Champion can conquer, no difficulty, but this [Page 140] mighty Saviour can overcome: he is made unto us of God all that we stand in neede of, wisdome to cure our fol­ly, righteousnesse to justifie our persons, Sanctification to purifie our nature, and Redemption from those many sorrowes and miseries, which we here are subject to. As Job saith, that he was eyes to the blind, and feete to the Lame, and a Father to the poore: so is Christ made every thing unto Beleevers in proportion to their wants. As Elisha, when he raised a child to life, put his mouth upon the childs mouth, his eyes upon the childs eyes, his hands upon the childs hands, still si­milar parts were applyed to similar: so doth Christ apply himselfe to us in a relation suting and answering to every necessity.

Thirdly, the supply that wee have from him is likewise constant: 'tis not like a winter-bourne, that failes, and dries up in the Summer: but it is as the streames of living waters, and of an ever-springing Fountaine. Christ doth not onely give grace: but maintaines it. It was a just complaint which long agoe was made against the Heathen Gods;

O faciles dare summa Deos eadem (que) tueri Difficiles!

[Page 141] They could give their Favourites great gifts; but they could not main­taine them in the possession of them. The Lord Jesus Christ our blessed bene­factour is not so: he gives to his Saints not onely the first grace; but the grace of perseverance also. As David said in another case, thou maintainest my lot: so doth Christ maintaine that lot of grace, which he bestowes upon his faithfull Members: he is the Author, and finisher of our faith: his gifts and calling are [...], without Repen­tance: he is not like the foolish man, that began to build and was not able to finish: but having begun a good worke in his Saints, hee will finish it, and make it persevere unto his owne day: and then when grace is full hee will crowne it with eternall glory. Now by that which hath been said, we may see that the condition of Beleevers, and of such as are ingraffed into Christ, is farre better, then was that of Adam in his innocency: he had excellent gifts of knowledg and grace conferred upon him: but hee was never confirm'd in them: and therefore being left to the mutability of his owne will, he chose [Page 142] the evill, and lost the good: but it is not so with the Saints now, under the Covenant of grace by Christ; what­soever heavenly endowments they have, they are confirmed and established in them; so that they can never be lost. Marie's good part, which she had cho­sen, could never be taken from her. The Saints and their graces are in the hand of God; and who can snatch them out of that mighty and powerfull hand? Mount Zion standeth fast for ever: and the Lord is about his people, [...]s the Moun­taines are about Jerusalem; they are therefore in a most safe and persevering condition. In Solomons Temple there were two pillars, the one was called Jachin, and the other Boaz, 1. Kings 1 Kings 7. 21. 21. as much as to say stability and strength: now what doth this figure unto us? but the more then brazen stedfastnesse and strength of the Church of God, of all the members of it, and of all their saving graces; which can never perish, never decay; but shall dure beyond the world unto all eternity, never to be broken, as the two staffes Beauty and Bands were, which the Pro­phet Zach. 11. 10. 14. speakes of: but still to be supply­ed [Page 143] by the Spirit of Christ with fresh strength and abilities; and so to last for ever and ever.

Fifthly, looke upon Christ as upon Reas. 5 the most gainfull and profitable thing to the soule, that can bee imagined: nothing more commodious, nothing more enriching then Christ is. And ve­rily Christ is absolute gaine.

  • Universall gaine.
  • And gaine for himself.

First, he is absolute gaine: absolute, because whatsoever we give unto him, we lose it not, there is no alienation of it: but it is ours still, and ours in a farre safer custody and keeping, then in our owne: if wee cast our affections upon Christ, they be not lost: hee onely makes them better: if wee give them to the world, they differ little or no­thing from the affections of beasts: but if Christ have them, he makes heaven­ly and gracious, and such as will fit us for the presence of God: if wee lay downe our lives for him, they be not lost neither, but gained unto life eter­nall, Matth. 10. 39.

Againe, the necessity of getting Christ makes him to be absolute gaine to such, [Page 144] as have him: the necessity of a thing puts worth upon it: it is not absolute­ly necessary to be rich, or honourable, or great in the world: but Christ being the life of our soules, and one without whom wee cannot subsist happily; he must needs be of absolute necessity: and therefore absolute gaine unto us. With­out me (saith Christ) you can doe nothing, Joh, 15. 5. As the branch cannot beare fruite, except it abide in the vine; and if it beare no fruit, men cast it into the fire and burne it: so if we bee not in Christ, and abide in him; we can beare no good fruite: and for such, as beare no good fruite, the fire of Gehenna is pre­pared: how absolutely necessary the [...] is Christ? and how absolutely gainfull to us, if once wee have him?

Secondly, Christ is universally gaine?

First, universall for all persons, rich, and poore; young, and old; noble, and ignoble; Learned, and unlearned; bond, and free: there is no man rich without Christ: neither is there any poore, that have him: none noble without him; none ignoble with him: none learned, or free without him; none bond, or unlearned with him. [Page 145] There be distinctions in the world a­mong men, honouring some, and de­basing others; exalting some, and de­pressing others: but in the body of Christ they are not to be found. There is neither Jew, nor Greeke; there is neither bond, nor free; there is neither male, nor female: for yee are all one in Christ Jesus, saith the Apostle, Galat. 3. 28.

Secondly, Christ is universall gaine in respect of all times. All things are beautifull in their season, saith Solomon: Musick is good: but it is so onely in a time fit for mirth: food is good: but it is so onely when men are hungry: cloathing is good: but it is then for them that are naked: and Physicke also is good; but it is when men are sick and distempered: but Christ is seasonable at all times; he is that tree of life, that beares twelve sorts of fruit; and before the old store is done, new comes: for it yeilds fruit every moneth, Revel. 22. 2. Christ is never out of season; and there­fore universally gainfull.

Thirdly, Christ is gaine also to all things. In Christ are made unto us pro­mises of all sorts, both of this life, and of that, which is to come: for which [Page 146] cause the Apostle saith, that Godlinesse is profitable for all things. When the Prophet saith, that the just shall live by Hab. 2. 4. his Faith; we must conceive, that it is true as well of food, and rayment, and temporall deliverance, as of Justifica­tion, Sanctification, and eternall sal­vation: this is not so well observ'd by Christians, as it ought to be: for ma­ny can trust Christ with their soules; but not with their bodies, not with their Estates. Peter rested upon him for sal­vation; thou hast the words of eternall life, saith he: but hee could not trust him with the safety of his flesh: for go­ing to him on the water, he doubted, and began to sinke. But beleeve it, what­soever our weaknesses are; whatsoever our ignorance, ou [...] doubting, our for­getfulnesse; Christ is profitable for all things; both for soule and body, for this life, and for the life to come for ever.

Thirdly, Christ is gaine for himself, other things are gainefull in aspect and relation to their ends; as wealth is good to supply want, food to maintaine life, cloathes to keep off the cold aire, a staffe to support feeble legges, a bed to [Page 147] rest wearie limbes on, and the like: but Christ is a rich and inestimable treasure to the soule, without reference to a fur­ther end then himselfe: he is to be desi­red even for himselfe. Wisdome is better then Rubies; and all the things, that may be desired, are not to be compared to it, Proverb. 8. 11. And doubtlesse Christ is the wisdome there spoken of. Now then if Christ be the most gainefull thing in the world, absolute gaine, u­niversall gaine, and gaine for himselfe, without aime at some better thing: if Christ be thus gainefull, I say, who can denie him to be most precious and excellent? I passe to a sixt Reason.

Sixtly, then Christ is precious to Be­leevers, Reas. 6 because of the attractivenesse, and alluring vertue

  • Of his Love.
  • Of his Beauty.
  • Of his Grace.

First of his love, Magnes amoris est amor: Love is the attractive Load-stone of Love: and never was there such a love, as Christs love to his Elect; free and undeserved; from everlasting to everlasting; cast upon them even when they were enemies, and in their stoma­chous [Page 148] grassations and rebellions; o­vercoming all difficulties and oppositi­ons, all peevish frowardnesse and pre­varications after reconcilement; never wearled or tired out with any provoca­tions; a love lifting up Adam, Earthly man as high as Heaven, and translating Enoch, miserable and enthralled man into the glorious liberty of the Sonnes of God; a love infinite, and past com­prehending: so that well might the Apostle set a Behold to it: Behold (saith he) what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that wee should be called the Sonnes of God, Joh. 3. 1. and the Fa­ther was not alone in this Love; but the Sonne and the Holy-Ghost too: if the love of the Saints to Christ be so hot, that many waters of affliction cannot quench it, nor the flouds of persecuti­on drowne it; if it will not be scour­ced or exchanged for any wealth: if it be strong as death and cruell as the grave, urging and constraining them to lay downe life and all for him; if the coales thereof be coales of fire, which hath a most vehement flame, as we reade, Cant. 8. 6, 7. What is then the love of Christ to his people, who is not onely loving [Page 149] but love it selfe in the very abstract? certainly such a love as this cannot but be very attractive and drawing, very conciliating and winning: it must needs like the first wheele move and turne a­bout all our affections; our desire to en­joy Christ, our joy in the fruition of him, our love toward him, our feare to displease him, our anger, when he is offended, our jealousie of losing him. Our nature is such, that wee will love, where we are first loved; as the heat of the Sunne-beames reflects from a wall: so Christs love to us cannot but cause a reflection of ours upon him: ours is but a sparke of his: we love him (saith the Apostle) because hee loved us first: 1 Ioh. 4. 19. when he reveales his love to us, such a fire must needs kindle and melt our af­fections, be they never so key-cold and frozen.

Secondly, the beauty of Christ is likewise very attractive. I doe not meane it of the aspect and face, of the out­ward lineaments and proportion of his body, although his comlinesse in that behalfe need not to be doubted of, being formed in the sanctified wombe of a Virgine by the Holy-Ghost: but of [Page 150] his spirituall beauty and gracefulnesse. Now wee know, that true beauty con­sists

In fairenesse of complexion.

And in a just symmetry or pro­portion of parts.

Neither of these was wanting in Christ.

First, he was of a faire and comely complexion, as the Church describeth him, Cant. 5. 10. My beloved is white and ruddy, saith she, the mixture of these two colours makes a beautifull and good complexion: White and red as they shew the best temperature in man; so here it may signifie in Christ his God-head and manhood. God appeared in a vision all white as snow, and pure as fine wooll, Dan. 7. 9. And man had his name Adam from the red mould or Earth, that his body was made of: and Christ vouchsafed to be like unto us in this. Againe, the red colour may sig­nifie the bloudy sufferings of Christ: and the white his righteousnesse there­by; inherent in himselfe; but convey­ed to all his members by Gods free im­putation: righteousnesse is so descri­bed by white linnen, Revel. 19. 8. Now [Page 151] this temperament, and mingling of white and red after such a mysticall way in Christ, denotes the surpassing beautie of Christ, makes him precious to the Saints, and inflames their affe­ctions to embrace him, and follow him.

Secondly, in Christ there is also a comely proportion of parts: from the correspondency and agreement of parts ariseth a feature compleatly beautifull and lovely. This every faithfull soule findes in Christ. The Church enume­rates and reckons up all his parts, Cant. 5. 10. &c. his head as most fine gold; his lockes bushie, and blacke as a Raven, ex­cellently well agreeing with a faire face; his eyes as the eyes of Doves by the rivers of water, washed with milke, and fitly set; his cheekes as a bed of spices, as sweet flow­ers; his lips like Lillies, dropping sweet-smelling mirrhe; his hands as gold Rings, set with the Berill; his belly as bright Ivo­rie overlaid with Saphires; his legges as pillars of Marble set upon sockets of fine Gold; his counteance as Lebanon, excel­lent as the Cedars; and his mouth or voyce most sweet: What a pleasant harmony and specious consent of parts is here? [Page 152] figuring unto us the supreame and ab­solute Government of Christ, his un­searchable Councells, his pure nature hating all impurity and uncleannesse, his amiable and delightfull smilings up­on his Saints, his gracious promises and soule-saving instructions, all his actions and administrations just and holy, his mercies and inward affecti­ons very precious like the Saphire, that glittereth with golden points, the wor­kings of his spirit in his Saints, most firme and stedfast like marble pillars, the whole shew and cast of his person most glorious, most excellent, most Majesticall, and yet most delightfull, like the forrest of Lebanon, and the stately Cedars, that grew in it: so that he is altogether lovely; all over from top to toe (as we say) desirable, and the chiefest among ten thousand, as much as to say, matchlesse and incom­parable: on earth and in all the world there is not his like, who is made with­out spot or blemish; yea, who is made and not made; a creature, and yet the mighty Creatour of all things, God and man in one person, wholy excel­lent and beautifull, every part sutable, [Page 153] a most ravishing and wooing object.

Thirdly, Christ is attractive in his graces considered, either as inherent in himselfe,

Or infused into Beleevers.

First, as they be inherent in himselfe, they transcend in excellency all the thought and conceit both of men and Angels: they have (if I may so speake) a most fragrant smell and allicient qua­lity in them, compared therefore to sweet spices and ointments, as myrrhe, aloes, frankincense, spikenard, and the like. As these are delightfull to our senses: so are the graces of Christ to a beleeving soule, attracting the affecti­ons, winning the love of the heart, ma­king all other things vile and base in comparison of him; that the soule loathes them, and spues at them, as I may say, when they offer to stand in competition with him. It was the grace of Christ, that made him so glorious as we read of, Joh. 1. 14. We beheld his glory (saith the Apostle) as of the only be­gotten of the Father, full of grace and truth; that is, wee beheld him glorious in all perfection of grace, wisdome, goodnesse, and Mercy. It is the gemme or Dia­mond [Page 154] in a ring, that makes it very pre­cious and beautifull; so it is the grace, that God hath treasured up in Christ, which makes him so glorious, so attra­ctive, and so alluring as he is.

Secondly, Christ is attractive in his graces bestowed upon the Saints. As a Father is dignified by having a worthy sonne, and a School-master by the lear­ning and proficiency of his Scholars: so is Christ by the Graces of his people. A Master is honoured by his livery, which his servants weare: now the gra­ces of love, and humility, and meek­nesse, and patience, and the like, are, as I may say, Christs livery, by which wee are distinguished, and known to be his servants: and he is much honoured by those badges: By this shall all men know (saith Christ) that you are my Disciples, if you love one another. Joh. 13. 35. The holy lives and blessed examples of the Saints are very fruitful; they advance the King­dome of Christ, and are very attractive things to tole and draw on others to a liking of his wayes. Yee wives (saith the Apostle) be in subjection to your own husbands, that if any obey not the Word, they also may without the Word be wonne [Page 155] by the conversation of the wives, while they behold your chast, or modest conversation, coupled with feare, 1 Pet. 3. 1, 2. Not that the examples even of the best can con­vert a sinner; for that is done onely by the preaching of the Gospel; but they may doe this; they may shew a sinner the vilenesse and the danger of his own way; because they be light; they may also allure him and draw him on to ap­prove of the holy wayes of Christ, and so prepare him to heare that word, which is of power to beget faith, and to save the soule. And hither tends that of the Prophet Hosea, 14. 7. They that dwell under his shadow shall returne, they shall re­vive, as the corne, and grow as the vine: the sent thereof shall be as the wine of Le­banon: The meaning of it is this, that Ephraim being converted, others that dwell under his shadow, beholding his wayes, and approving them, shall re­turne: he shall cast forth such a sweet savour of holy conversation, that others not yet wrought upon, shall revive as the corne after the dead winter, flourish like the vine, and give a sent as fragrant and delightfull as the wine of Lebanon. The graces then of the Saints doe very much [Page 156] decorate and adorne Christ himselfe. As a faire and beautifull woman, vertu­ous, and holy, is a credit to her hus­band; [...]o are the godly to Christ: they are his Spouse, they are his Members, they are his Children, they are his Ser­vants, they are his Scholars; and there­fore whatsoever is excellent and com­mendable in them, it redounds to his praise. They be branches of his planting, and the worke of his hands, and he is glorified in them, as the Prophet speaks: If the visible heavens do declare the glo­ry of God, as the Psalmist saith; how much more then doe the new heavens, I meane the new creature, the persons of men new moulded and formed in ho­linesse and righteousnesse to the simili­tude and likenesse of God; how much more, I say, doe these declare the glory of Christ, whose handy-worke they are? Hence is that saying of the Apostle; If our Brethren be enquired of; they are the messengers of the Churches, and the glory of Christ, 2 Cor. 8. 23. And in another place he saith, that Christ presents his Eph. 5. 27. Church to himselfe a glorious Church: The glory of the Church reflects upon Christ, who first founded and formed it. [Page 157] Every childe of God at his conversion puts on Christ; whence it followeth, that whatsoever beauty and comelinesse the Saints have, it is Christs beauty and comelinesse; and he hath the praise of it. Thus you see, that Christ is very at­tractive in his love, in his beauty, and in his graces, both his own and his Saints, therefore he must needs be very preci­ous.

There is one Reason more, which Reas. 7 may not be omitted: Christ is precious to Beleevers from that evidence of inte­rest, right, and propriety, that they have in him. Much hath been said of his peerelesse and unparallel'd excellency: but what were all, if to himselfe alone, and not to us? What is all the gold of the Indies to me, if I my selfe languish in poverty? What are the feasts and full feeding of others to mee, if I my selfe starve for hunger? or what is all the helpe in the world to mee, if I cannot have it at my need? Here then is the ul­tima lima, (as I may say) and the com­plement of all, that Christ is every way excellent, and the Saints enjoy him as their own; they have a comfortable in­terest [Page 158]

  • In all his workes and performances.
  • In all his dignities and honours.
  • In all his offices and administrations.
  • In all his blessed influences and graces.

First, all Christs workes and perfor­mances, are in a peculiar respect for eve­ry Beleever; his making of the world, setling of policies and governments, rooting up of Kingdomes, executing of judgements in the earth, rewarding some, and punishing others, raising up wise, learned, valiant, active, just and mercifull men in their times: in all these, and in all other generall and providen­tiall workes of Christ, the beleeving soule hath a kind of interest & proprie­ty: next unto his own glory, Christ ai­med at the good of his Church in all these things, and hath still either imme­diately, or in the upshot and close of all made them instrumentall for her well­fare: in which sence are those words of the Apostle, 1 Cor. 3. 21, 22. All things are yours, (saith he) whether Paul, or A­pollo, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours.

Secondly, Beleevers have a kinde of claime also in the dignities and honours [Page 159] of Christ. There is a reciprocation (as I may say) between him and his Saints: they are mutually and interchangeably glorified in one another: as Christ is glorified in them, Joh. 17. 10. so they are unspeakeably dignified and graced by him. The glory of children (saith Solomon) are their Fathers, Prov. 17. 6. If the Fa­ther be heroicall, or learned, or any way excellent, this is the sonnes glory, un­lesse he degenerate: now the Saints are called the seede and the children of Christ: whatsoever therefore he excells in, it is their dignity, and their glory. Besides, Christ doth impart of his honours to them, making them like himselfe. Is Christ a sonne, and heire of all? so are they sonnes, and heires, and co-heires with Christ: shall he judge the world? so shall they in some sort: doth he breake in pieces the Nations with a rod of iron? so doe they: is he ascended in­to glory? so shall they ascend: There is not any whit of his glory, unlesse it be that which is utterly incommunicable, but they have a touch of it, if I may so speake: yea and that which is so incom­municable, redounds to their glory, as you heard before.

[Page 160] Thirdly, Beleevers have interest in the offices of Christ. Every Saint may say of Christ, he is my Prophet and Teacher, he is my Priest and reconciler, he is my King and governour: yea the godly have such an interest in these offi­ces of Christ, that vertue comes out of him to make even them Prophets, and Priests, and Kings also: Prophets in some measure, to teach themselves and others, Priests to offer spirituall sacrifices, ac­ceptable to God by Christ; and Kings to rule over their own lusts and corrup­tions.

Lastly, Beleevers have also interest in the graces of Christ: he, that hath the field, hath also the treasure, that is hid in it. It was the greatest consolation and joy of the Spouse, that shee could say, My Beloved is mine. All that is in Christ, a Beleever may appropriate to himselfe: he may say with unspeakable delight, his riches, his love, his good­nesse, his greatnesse, his power, and all that is his, is mine. I have interest in all those transcendent graces of his; his mercy, his truth, his promises, they are all mine. Now this must needs render Christ very precious, when he is not [Page 161] onely in himselfe, whatsoever is excel­lent and desirable: but also the Saints may justly challenge and claime him for their own.

I come now to the application of the Ʋse 1 Point. And first of all, it shews us the reason why the most in the world doe despise Christ, and care not for him? namely, because they have no faith; they are infidells and unbeleevers; and therefore they set light by him. Christ is very precious; but it is onely to Be­leevers: worldlings have no faith; and therefore Christ seemes a despicable and worthlesse thing to them. Now that they have no faith, this appeares

First, by their ignorance. Most have not so much as the theory, or doctri­nall knowledge of Christ: they are like Festus, who tould Agrippa, that Pauls adversaries had questions against him con­cerning one Jesus, Act. 25. 19. So let these be asked, and they can answer nothing truly, nothing rationally, nothing pun­ctually of Christ. Christ is to them (as Logicians speake) an Individuum vagum, quidam homo, a certain man, one Jesus; but they for their part know little of him; onely they have a wilde hope, that [Page 162] if he be good for any thing, they shall have a share in it, as well as others: and therefore, Jesus Christ have mercy on us, is a frequent and high point of their de­votion: they have it by tradition to re­ceive Christ: but what he is, and how made ours they know not.

Others there be, that have pretty store of knowledge; they can reason and dis­course of Christ distinctly and satisfa­ctorily; but they have no experimentall knowledge of him; they have not fel [...] the work of his Spirit upon their hearts they have not tasted how gracious th [...] Lord is: they may perhaps have a flashi [...] relish and light tast of him; such as their is, of whom the Apostle speaks, Heb. 6▪ 4, 5. Temporary gusts & apprehension [...] of Christs sweetnesse, causing joy for [...] while; but they doe not sit downe with Christ at his Table to eate even to satu­ration (as I may say) and to make a full meale of his spirituall dainties, the heavenly Manna, the marrow of fatnesse: neither have they drunke abundantly (as the charge is, Cantic. 5. 1.) of wine on the lees, well refined out of Christs wine-cellar. In a word, they have not a thorough and saving experience of Christ: though [Page 163] their braines have some print of him, yet their hearts are strangers to him: and therefore they have no faith: They that know Christs name, will put their trust in him, Psal. 9. 10. But these know it not: they know not the power, they know not the vertue, they know not the worth of Christ; neither doe they know their owne misery without him. And what faith can there be, where there is no knowledge? Knowledge is so neces­sary to breed and beget faith, that some­times it includes faith, and faith beares the name of it, as Esa. 53. 11. By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justifie many: and againe, Not having mine own righteousnesse (saith the Apostle) which is of the Law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousnesse which is of God by faith; that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, Phil. 3. 9, 10. That is one token then that men have no faith because they have no knowledge.

Secondly, It appeares by their stum­bling at Christ, Christ is a stone of stum­bling, and a rocke of offence to the disobedi­ [...]nt, as the Apostle saith: and disobedi­ent ones are opposed to beleevers: un­beliefe [Page 164] is the greatest disobedience in the world; 'tis to make God a liar, and it is the mother and damme of all other disobedience: because men beleeve not; therefore they are so vicious, so pro­phane, so ungodly, and so disobedient as they are: and therefore it is that Christ seemes so vile and so base to them as he doth: therefore it is, that they are offended with him, and stumble at him: overmuch hast makes a man to stumble: now the Prophet saith, that he which beleeveth shall not make hast, Esa. 28. 16. Had the Jewes beleeved, they had never stumbled at Christ; his poverty and de­pressed condition had never been any scandall to them; but they not belee­ving, looked for a Saviour and a Messias, that should come in the riches, in the glory, in the pompe and magnificence of an earthly Monarch; which whe [...] it failed, they were [...]ffended, and said, Wee will not have this man to reigne over us. The Prophet E [...]y brings forth car­nall people speaking thus of Christ; He hath no forme, nor comelinesse, and whe [...] we [...] shall see him, there is no beauty, that [...] should desire him, Chap. 53. 2. This is no [...] meant of the bodily visage and counte­nance [Page 165] of Christ; but of the strict lawes of his Kingdome, and of the hard terms upon which he offers himselfe: he tells men, that if they will be his followers, and will have him for a Saviour, then they must deny themselves, renounce their own wills, take up his Crosse, suf­fer mocks and reproaches, bonds and imprisonment, be hated and persecuted in the world, and resist even to bloud, and losse of life, if need be. These are the termes & conditions upon which Christ offers himselfe: and these are very un­savory, most cannot relish them, they will not downe: Christ is very offensive being so tendred; without forme, with­out comelinesse, without beauty, a most nauseous and loathsome object. Now where it is thus, it is evident, that men have no faith: a man will not rest or relye upon that, which he hath no good conceit of.

Thirdly, It appeares to be so also, when men doe not improve Christ. True faith is a growing thing, and makes all other graces to grow, it is not idle and lazie, but active, and advancing, and still pressing forward. What is ground, if not goodded and manured? [Page 166] What is a Ship, if not rigged, and sent to Sea? What is a trade, if not driven, and made use of? So what is Christ, if not working, not acting, not improved in us? What is his incarnation, death, resurrection, intercession, if wee receive no vertue, or vigorous impresse, no ac­cession or augmentation from them? the businesse of Christ in a soule is not a matter of words and names, as Gallio thought: but it is a work of the highest and greatest concernment that can be; the aimes of it are above all created ex­cellencies: and therefore where it is true and not fained, it is ever in agitation, ever girding forward to the marke, ever building, ever running, ever growing: if not so, it is manifest that men haw no faith: and if they have no faith, it is no wonder, that they should despise Christ.

Fourthly, When a man is carelesse and regardlesse of the things of Christ, this is also an argument of a faithlesse and unbeleeving soule, Phil. 2. 20, 21. the Apostle opposes Timothy (whom else­where he commends for his unfained faith) unto such carelesse ones; I have no man like minded (saith he) who will [Page 167] naturally care for your state; for all seeke their own, and not the things which are Je­sus Christs. But how doth he meane it? did Timothy care for the Philippians as a naturall man? No; but as one that was by faith implanted into Jesus Christ, and so had a new nature: and by the motions and inclinations of that new nature, he did as indearedly and affec­tionately tender the good state of the Philippians, as parents do naturally care for their children. By this Antithesis then, or opposition, it appeares, that those who sought their own privacies, and not the things of Jesus Christ, had no faith. They might perhaps, and did in all likelihood make profession of the faith: but not regarding the communi­ty and publick good of the Saints, it is evident, that all their Religion was but a vaine & empty flourish, a meere shukke or shadow, without heart, without life, without truth and substance of grace: had they been truly of the body of Christ, they would have had more pub­lique spirits, and considered others, as well as themselves: So writes the Apo­stle; The members have the same care one for another, 1 Cor. 12. 25. And this was [Page 168] his own practice, I please all men in all things (saith he) not seeking mine own profit; but the profit of many, that they may be saved, 1 Cor. 10. last. And in the very same Chapter he gives in precept, that no man should seeke his own; but every man anothers wealth. I confesse, that both these sayings of his doe offer some hold for cavill and exception: as where he saith, that he pleased all men in all things; it may seeme that he was then a flatter­er, and a time-server; but yet wee must not so understand it; for he intends it no question, of his care not to give of­fence to any, as appeares by the con­text. And againe whereas he saith, Let no man seeke his owne, but every man ano­thers wealth; wee must not conceive, that he doth enjoyne selfe-neglect; but onely he gives a charge against self-love, to wit, that no man should so seeke his owne, as wholly to neglect the benefit of others, and especially their spirituall benefit: yet thus it is with many in the world, who notwithstanding make a glorious shew of better things: let the cause of Christ, let his Church and peo­ple sinke or swimme, tis all one to them; like Gallio they care for no such matters. [Page 169] Eli's heart trembled when he heard, that the Arke of God was taken: but let newes of the ill successe of the Saints come to these, and it never troubles them: they will make some shew of sor­row with their tongues; but there is not a whit in their hearts. Now certainly, here can be no faith. Tis the right guise of Infidells, to call the Church an out­cast, and to say, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after, Jer. 30. 17.

Josephus Antiqu: lib. 8. c. 2. writes, that Solomon was not so intent and earnest in building of his own pallace, as he was in the structure of the Temple; because the one was for God; but the other for Kings.’ Cleane contrary to which was the practise of those, that dwelt in their seeled houses, and let the house of God lie wast, Hag. 1. 4. Doubtlesse, where there is such slighting of God, and of his peo­ple, and such intensive care of private concernments, there can be no faith. As a man beleeves, so he cares for the things of Christ.

Fiftly, When men procrastinate and delay their seeking of Christ, putting off this great and necessary work from day to day, giving the prime, the morning, [Page 170] and the virginity of their affections (as I may say) to the world, prostituting their precious soules to such base, vile, and worthlesse thinge: this is also a signe of a faithlesse heart, and consequently, that Christ is little set by. Yee cannot serve God and Mammon, saith our Savi­our, Mat. 6. 24. Mammon is a rabinicall word, signifying plenty of riches and worldly wealth: some say it comes from [...], a multitude: now as Beleevers di­lating upon the copious theame of the love of Christ, doe as it were lose their hearts and affections in the bottomlesse depth of his unsearchable riches and grace: so worldlings doe in like man­ner ingurgitate and drowne their spirits in the endlesse and unsatiable desire of worldly riches and pleasures: and when they thus serve Mammon, how can they doe the worke of God, to beleeve on him, whom he hath seat? The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, that is, the inordinate desire of earthly pleasures, and riches, and honours; these are of the world, as the Apostle saith; and we all know, that the world and the Elect are ê regione (as wee say) diametrically opposite and contrary one [Page 171] to the other: and if so, then certainly where there are those lusts and inordi­nate desires, there can be no faith; for faith is proper to the Elect; and there­fore it is called the faith of Gods Elect, Tit. 1. 1. Neither will it serve the turne for men to say within themselves, as many doe, that there will be time e­nough to seeke Christ hereafter: for the present it will be best to follow after pleasures, and to pursue the world; when gray haires, and old age comes, then 'twill be rathe enough to look af­ter God, after Christ, after grace; cer­tainly, this is a most desperate resoluti­on; for know assuredly, that though many seeme to seeke Christ in the twi­light (as I may say) and evening of their lives; yet in the upshot and close of all he is not found: though men seeme to leave their sinnes, when they be old; yet for the most part, it is not so; but rather sinne leaves them; for were they young and lusty, as they have been, they would be as forward to act it, as ever. Now where there is no seeking, nor re­ceiving of Christ, there cannot be any faith at all.

Sixtly, When men can sit down con­tented [Page 172] and satisfied without Christ, ne­ver misse him, never feele the want of him; this doth also argue a state of unbeliefe. Every true Beleever makes Christ the center and rest of his soule. All things tend naturally to their pro­per place, as light things upward, and heavie things downward: so the nature of faith is to flie up unto Christ, who is (as I may say) the bosome of perfect rest and repose. Those that have been most eminent for faith, could never endure the absence of Christ: they have still borne it very impatiently, very eagerly and discontentedly. The Church pro­fesses her selfe to be sicke of love for him, Cantic. 2. 5. Davids soule panted after him, as the hunted or chased Hart doth af­ter the water-brookes. And the people of God say, The desire of our soule is to thy Name, and to the remembrance of thee. With my s [...]ule have I desired thee in the night, yea with my spirit within mee will I seeke thee early, Esa. 26. 8, 9. Now, I must tell you, that it was faith, which caused such love-sicknesse in the Spouse, such panting and thirsting in David, and such soule-desires, such incessant seeking of Christ in those godly ones, that wee [Page 173] reade of: Give me children, or else I dye, said Rachell: so certainly nothing can quiet and content the minde of a Belee­ver, but union and communion with Christ. It argues then a dead, darke, a hopelesse, a faithlesse condition, when the soule can goe whole moneths and yeares, pleasing it selfe with rattles and toys, as I may say; and never labour for sweet intercourse or commerce with Christ: at the very best here can be no better then a divided esteeme of Christ, which is nothing worth. When the heart is divided between Christ and the world, there is alwaies a disproportion: the world hath most, and Christ least: yea even then, when Christ seemes to have most; yet it is but occasionall: dangers, feares, the ficke bed, a spirit of bondage, stings of conscience, and the like, may perhaps make Christ most re­lishable for a spirt; but when the fit or storme is over, and God gives respit; then the heart is hardened like Pharaohs, and there is a returning with the dogge 2 Pet. 2. 22. to his vemit, and with the washed Sow to wallowing againe in the mire. It is possible for a man to esteeme of Christ meerely for ease; he would be freed from an­guish, [Page 174] but not from sinne; he would be eased of the burden of sinne, I meane those horrors, and terrors, and wounds, and affrightments, which it workes: he would be delivered from paine, and the hell of sinne, but he cares not to be pur­ged from the impurity and filthinesse of it. Now where Christ is welcome and accepted onely for such an end as this, truely he counts himselfe to be but little set by: such an esteeme of Christ is but an occasionall esteeme of him, a divided esteeme, & a disproportionable esteeme, which he doth nothing esteeme of: and it declares a soule quite destitute of faith: and Christ cannot be precious where there is no faith.

Secondly, Here is discover'd to us a Ʋse 2 fit object whereupon to spend the mar­row of our best affections; wee should labour to place all our sweet affections that are to be exercised upon good, as love, joy, and delight, upon this love-deserving object Christ. It is pittie wee should lose so much of our affections as wee doe upon worldly things: when we suffer a pure streame to run through a dirty channell, our affections to run af­ter the things of the world, wee doe but [Page 175] lose our affections, and they become un­profitable unto us.

I confesse, that the love of Christ is not alike in all the Saints, some are more, and some lesse intensive in their love to Christ. Wee all know that in the natu­rall body, there is not so much strength in a finger, as there is in the arme: so in the mysticall body of Christ, the mem­bers have not all of them the like mea­sures, and abilities of grace. And it is possible also to sleepe spiritually, while the heart, that is to say, the life and in­most affection of the soule, is waking. I sleepe (saith the Spouse) but my heart waketh, Cant. 5. 2. The meaning is, that shee was somewhat secure, and kept not that watch against the pleasures of this life, and the baits of this world, as shee should doe: and yet her heart was up­right still. So the wise Virgins slumbred and slept as well as the foolish, Mat. 25. 5. And yet they had oyle in their Lamps, and were ready to go in with the bride­groome. The spirit may be willing, when the flesh is weake, as our Saviour saith. Neverthelesse, it were to be wished, that every childe of God had heavenly affe­ctions in him at the height, and like an [Page 176] arrow drawn up to the head: And wee must take heed, that our pusility and dwarfishnesse in them do not flow from a vicious and adulterate love: love of the world, love of ease, love of any thing more then Christ. Many of Gods deare ones are not without some tincture of this; they have, as it were, fits of it some­times, as we may see by those excuses, which the Spouse makes, when Christ did knock at the doore of her heart for entrance; I have put off my coat (saith shee) how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet, how shall I defile them? Cant. 5. 3. 'Tis a Metaphor taken from those that are gone to bed, and are loath to rise for any mans pleasure: and the meaning may be this; that shee had now shaken off many feares and troubles; shee was free from persecution, & delivered from many afflictions and miseries formerly endured; shee had now thrown off these things, as one going to bed doth his gar­ments; shee had washt them off; as in the Eastern Countries travailers were wont to wash off the soile of their feet, when they went to their rest; and shee was now in the bed of fleshly ease and world­ly contentment, loath to disrest her selfe, [Page 177] loath to rise, and to be pincht with cold againe, loath to set her feet into the dirt of former sufferings: though in her heart shee preferr'd Christ above all; yet so sweet were those earthly accommoda­tions, that shee would rather forbeare intercourse with him for a while, then lose her share in them. Thus it was with her: but this was a naughty temper, and cost her deare to be purg'd of it. The true and healthfull temper of the soule is, when Christ is a joy to us, even in the absence and want of all other things; when wee can say with the Pro­phet; Although the fig-tree shall not blos­som; neither shall fruite be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall faile; and the fields shall yeeld no meat; the flocke shall be cut off from the fold; and there shall be no herd in the stalls; yet I will rejoyce in the Lord; I will joy in the God of my salvation, Habac. 3. 17, 18.

Thirdly, This may discover unto us, what singular effects the excellency of Christ have upon the hearts of Belee­vers; and how eminently their affections are drawn out toward him. Wee may judge of our esteeme by our affections, and chiefly by the affection of love. [Page 178] Love is the height of our esteeme, and there are in it these three acts, or effects, viz.

  • 1. Complacency, or well-pleasednesse.
  • 2. Desire of union, or enjoyment.
  • 3. Benevolence, or good will.

First, Complacency, or well-pleased­nesse, being referred to Christ, is an af­fection whereby wee doe approve and like of all that is in him, resting in his goodnesse, as in the most lovely and de­sireable object in the world. Thy love is better then wine (saith the Church) be­cause of the savour of thy good ointments, thy Name is as ointment powred forth; there­fore doe the Virgins love thee, Cant. 1, 2, 3. This Scripture shews what a pleasing and delightfull object Christ is to a belee­ving soule. What more acceptable to tast, then fragrant wine? Christ is farre more to a Beleever. What more plea­sing to the smell, then sweet ointments of an exquisite composition? Christ is the same, and far sweeter to the heart of a beleever. The judgement the Church hath of the love of Christ is, that it far excells all the pleasures and delights of the world, synecdochically signified by wine, one pleasant species or kinde for [Page 179] all the rest: and his Name, that is, the knowledge of him, by preaching of the Gospel, is powred out like odoriferous ointment, to the unspeakable delight of the Saints, drawing and ravishing the mindes of them that heare it, as virgines are drawn with the offer of some lovely match. Now where Christ is such a pleasing and delightfull object: where the sences of the soule are so exceeding­ly taken with his sweetnesse: where there is such a totall acquiessence in Christ, and such a full, absolute, and universall resting in him; it is most evident and undeniable, that there cannot but be a high and worthy esteeme of him. The best of Gods Saints and servants have liked of Christ, coming with a frowne, as well as with a smile, with a rod, as well as with tender and sweet embra­cings: though there hath been some re­luctance in the flesh, and aversenesse in nature: yet to the new man within, to the sanctified and regenerate part, Christ hath been ever welcome, however re­presented, and in what shape soever he hath offered himselfe. Indeed Christ hiding, and absenting himselfe, ecclip­sing his light, and withdrawing his com­fort [Page 180] from the soule; this hath ever been bitter and unsavory to the Saints, and never could they beare it with any pati­ence; because they thought Christ to be utterly lost and gone: they thought Christ to be no Christ: but in other things, though never so tart and un­pleasant, Christ hath been acceptable enough: Lord, if it be thou (saith Peter) bid me come unto thee on the water: so it is with the Saints, they refuse not to ven­ter even upon the boisterous water to goe unto Christ: Christ is welcome to them upon any termes: scourging and whipping Christ, as well as stroaking and embracing Christ. When Samuel told Eli of judgements to come upon his family; It is the Lord (saith he) let him doe what seemeth him good, 1 Sam. 3. 18. If it be the Lord that doth it, it is no matter, I will beare it. So David; I was dumbe and opened not my mouth, be­cause [...]h [...]u didst it. And Job; Shall we re­ceive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evill? As who should say, God shall be welcome to me any how, bring­ing good, or bringing evill. Yea, even in spirituall desertions, when Christ hideth [...], and vaileth himselfe from the [Page 181] soule, the Saints are enough wel-plea­sed in him: though the tentation be full of amarulency and bitternesse: yet in Christ himselfe there is abundant sweetnesse and satisfaction: hence was that resolution of Job; though he kill me, yet I will trust in him. Hence also it is, that the children of God, though they walke in darknesse, and have no Light at all, yet they will trust in the name of the Lord, and stay themselves upon their God, Isaiah 50. 10.

Though some weake ones doubt of this and call it into question; and the e­fore are sometimes in fits of despaire: yet the more exercitate of the Saints; those among them, that are as bea­ten and tried souldiers, they cannot be beaten off from the comfortable appre­hension of it: and therefore in the depth of darknesse and tentation, when Christ hides and turnes away his lo­ving countenance, they resolve to wait for better times: I will waite upon the Lord, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will looke for him, Isaiah 8. 17. and notable to this purpose is that of Job: Behold I goe for­ward, but he is not there; and backward, [Page 182] but I cannot perceive him; on the left hand where he doth worke, but I cannot behold him; he hideth himselfe on the right hand, that I cannot see him. Job doth not speak thus in respect of the invisible essence of God; but in respect of comfortable revelations: God hid his cheerefull and loving face from him, that which way soever he turn'd himselfe he could not behold it. Well, but what doth Job in this case? doth he despond? doth he let goe his hold, and give over his hope? no, but he holds fast still, he likes Christ well enough still: he knoweth (saith he) the way that I take; & when he hath tried me, I shall come forth like gold, Job 23. 8, 9, 10. Job had (as the Apo­stle speakes) [...], by reason of a habit, or perfection, he had his senses well exercised, H [...]b. 5. 14. or scool'd, as the word signifieth, he was a man of experience, and experience wor­keth hope, as the Apostle saith: and therefore in the depth and bottome of all his miserie Christ was a Light, a stay, and a comfort to him. Now whence is it, that the Faith and graces of the Saints are so impregnable? whence is it that their hope is so inde­fatigable [Page 183] and never out of breath? whence is it, that no stormes or tem­pest of tentation can breake their spi­rits, and make them give out, but from that complacency and well pleasednesse, from that exceeding swavity and sweet­nesse, that they find in Christ? so that let him present himselfe how hee will, they are never offended, as to flie off from him, and to give him the slip for ever. A bundle of Mirrhe (saith the Church) is my welbeloved unto me: he shall lie all night betwixt my brests, Cant. 1. 13. Myrrhe is very sweet of smell, and leniter amara, meanely, or some­what bitter in taste, as the naturalist writeth: so is Christ in this world a kind of a bitter-sweet unto his Saints: but yet his sweetnesse doth (as I may say) swallow up all his bitternesse: his bitternes is in the lowest degree; but his sweetnesse in the superlative: so that let his dispensations be what they will, his Saints are never weary of him: yea they take pleasure in infirmities, in re­proaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for his sake: and when they be weake in themselves, then they are strong in him, and more then Con­querours, [Page 184] as the Apostle saith.

To conclude, such is the force of that pleasantnesse and lovelinesse, that is in Christ, that neither the shame of his owne poverty and crosse, nor his com­ming to set fire in the earth, holding forth such a Doctrine, as makes wick­ed men rage like Devills, and makes his owne people to be in the midst of feares and troubles, and Christ himselfe hi­ding his face and love from them: such I say, is the force of his pleasantnesse and amiablenesse, that none of these bitter things could ever make the Disci­ples of Christ wearie of their professi­on, or cut off the race and succession of them.

There is a remarkable passage to this purpose ‘In Josephus Antiq. lib. 18. cap. 4.; At that time, saith he (meaning when Pilate was Governour) was Jesus, a wise man; if it be lawfull to call him a man: for he was the performer of diverse admi­rable workes, and the instructure of those, who willingly entertaine the truth. And he drew unto him divers Jewes, and Greekes to be his follow­ers: this was Christ; who being ac­cused by the Princes of our Nation [Page 185] before Pilate, and afterward con­demned to the crosse by him; yet did not those, who followed him from the beginning, forbeare to love him for the ignominy of his death: for he appeared unto them alive the third day after, according as the Divine Prophet had before testified the same, and divers other wonderfull things of him. And from that time forward the race of Christians, who have de­rived their name from him, hath ne­ver ceased.’

Here you see what an honourable testimony this Jew, that was no Chri­stian, gives of Christ and his Disciples: so precious and desirable was hee not­withstanding his suffering, notwithstan­ding all the shame and trouble that came upon his followers for him, that they never would forsake him, neither could the generations of them be rooted out of the Earth unto this day. This is my beloved, and this is my friend ô daughters of Jerusalem.

Secondly, from complacency, or wel-pleasednes flowes another thing in love, viz. a desire of union, or enjoymēt. When the soule eyes a tempting or tickling ob­ject, [Page 186] as I may say, it presently covets the possession and fruition of it: there is by and by a kinde of clasping or clo­sing with it, or a strong appetion of pe­culiarity, or private Intrest. Whence it is that the French Divine writeth Molinus. thus of love. ‘Love (saith he) is that point of our spirits, whereby it joy­neth it selfe unto objects. That which is weight in heavie things, love is the very same in our soules: for as weight moveth earthly bodies toward the place of their rest: so love moveth our soules toward that object, which promiseth rest and contentment.’ Now Beleevers highly esteeming Christ, desire nothing more then the possession and enjoyment of Christ. Now Christ is enjoyed

In his Ordinances.

In his secret and sweet appea­rances to the soule, and in his personall presence.

First, Christ is enjoyed in his Ordi­nances. The Ordinance is (as I said be­fore) a walke wherein Christ is wont to meet with his people: a Beleever therefore doth with great delight and study put himselfe upon that way, that [Page 187] he may enjoy Christ in it. But

Secondly, Christ is enjoyed in his secret and sweet appearances to the soule. What are all holy Ordinances, but dead and heartlesse things without such revelations?

Job tells us of Ordinances of Heaven; and Jeremiah in like manner of the Or­dinances of the Sun, of the Moone, and of the Starres: these are naturall Ordi­nances: but to what purpose were they; if this inferiour world did not partake of their light and heat, and sweet in­fluence? Wee read also of politick and Judiciall Ordinances, which God con­stituted and set in the common-wealth of Israel: but to what purpose were these likewise, or what benefit could an Israelite reape by them, if he lived in such corrupt and lawlesse times, that he could not have them administred? so what are all heavenly and sacred Ordi­nances to a Beleever; if he finde not the vertue, the life, and the power of them, enjoying Christ in the Ordinance, and finding an influence of his spirit and grace flowing in upon his soule? As there is a desire in a Beleever to commu­nicate his heart unto Christ; so Christ [Page 188] communicates his grace unto a Belee­vers heart. Christ as a Fountaine, sends forth his streames of comfort and joy: and as a Sunne, sends forth his glorious beames of grace and love into a Beleevers soule. Now a Beleever doth account prayer, preaching, Sacraments, and all other meanes of his soules wel­fare to be nothing; unlesse the Spirit of Christ comply with them, flowing in upon the soule with such heart-ra­vishing discoveries of his grace, as no tongue can possible expresse. Hence it is, that a Beleever sets open the windowes of his soule, desiring that Christ may shine into it, with the bright and glori­ous beames of his grace and favour; but if Christ eclipse and hid himselfe from the soule, there is nothing but darknesse and complaining, sorrow and mourning, and no rest at all; untill the mist be dispelled, and the cloud blowen over, and the day-starre arise in the heart againe; untill Christ come and refresh the soule with new supplies of revelations. The Church never left off seeking Christ; untill she had found him; till the King had brought her into his bed-chamber, and into the ban­queting-house, [Page 189] and imparted some of his love unto her. Oh how precious is that sweet and secret communion, which a Beleever enjoyes with Christ! ô! what a delight is it to sit under Christs shadow, and to enjoy him in such a way, at this is?

Thirdly, Christ is enjoyed in his per­sonall presence at his second coming. The Saints are described to be such, as long and looke for Christs appearing, 1 Cor. 1. 7. you come behind in no gift (sai [...]h the Apostle) waiting for the com­ming [...], revelation of Jesus Christ. It is called the revelation of Christ, be­cause the glory and Majes [...]y of Christ it now hid; but then his brightnesse shall appeare and be manifested; for he shall come in the clouds and great glory. And the Apostle saith in 1 Thess. 2. 10. that Christ shall be glorified in his Saints, and admired in all them that be­leeve. that is, the Saints seeing them­selves to shine as the Starres for ever­more, and to be made conformable to the glorious body of Christ, they shall infinitely admire his grace and Mercy unto them. Hence it is Beleevers wait for the consolation of the second com­ing [Page 190] of Christ, as they did for the con­solation of his first coming; because here they receive good in promise, but then they shall receive it in the fruit of the promise: here they receive the first fruites of his Spirit, then a full harvest of joy and blessednesse: here they see Christs glory at a distance, and through the lattesse, but then in the luster and brightnesse of it; Christ is the object of a Beleevers affections, and nothing but fruition will give him satisfaction: his heart is never at rest, untill it come to his proper place of rest and repose; agreeable to that of the Father, fecisti nos Domine ad te, & inquietum est cor nostrum donec requiescit in te, thou hast made us ô Lord for thy selfe, and our heart is never at rest, till it rest in thee. Now whence is it, that a Beleever de­sires to enjoy Christ in his Ordinance, in that sweet and secret communion, in his personall presence, but from this love of union: when he sees such a glo­rious object, as Christ is, he desires to claspe and close with it.

Thirdly, from complacency, or wel-pleasednesse, and from union and enjoyment flowes a third thing in love, [Page 191] viz. benevolence or good-will. Bene­volence being referred to Christ, is an affection whereby wee doe yeild our selves wholly unto him, desiring his name may be glorified by us. The Saints cannot properly conferre any es­sentiall goodnesse, or glory upon Christ; but onely make an agnition and ac­knowledgement thereof. Can a man (saith Job) be profitable unto God, is it any pleasure to the Almighty, that thou art righteous? Job 22. 2. that is, if a man were just and holy, yet hee could not profit God, or adde any joy and delight unto him. Againe in Psalme 16. 3. Thou art my Lord (saith David) my goodnesse extendeth not to thee: that is, I cannot enlarge and enrich God; but (saith he) to the Saints on Earth, in whom is my delight; that is, as for those that beare thy stampe and superscription upon them, I will entertaine with my goods: thus we may wish well to Christ in his members.

Againe, this love of benevolence doth carrie and containe in it a willingnesse to yeild all obedience unto Christ. He that loves Christ freely, cannot but stu­dy to please him in all things, and be [Page 192] like unto him, 1 Joh. 4. 17. And he that keepeth his word, in him is the love of God perfect, 1 Joh. 2. 5.

Love is the condescending to the lowest service, it is impulsive and con­straining, it hath a sweet kind of vio­lence to draw the heart of a Beleever unto the obedience of Christ: so saith the Apostle, the love of Christ constraines us, 2 Cor. 5. 15. And so in Cant. 8. 6. Love is strong as death, and Jealousie is cruell as the grave. That is, love is that strong affection which cannot be subdu­ed by trouble or tentation; it is as strong as death: the heart (as some say) is primum vivens, & ultimum mori­ens, the first living, and last dying, and therefore all the vitalls of the body drawes to the heart, and unites there; whence it is a man gives such strong plunges at his death, because his strength is united: so love doth unite all the affections of a Beleever drawing them forth to act for Christ: and for zeale or jealousie, that is, love enflamed and fervent, and it is fierce and inexo­rable as Hell and the grave: that as Death and Hell devoureth, and swal­lows up all; so love to Christ over­cometh [Page 193] all opposition and suffring, and makes Beleevers rejoyce to fill up (that is declaratively) the suffring and affliction Col. 1. 24. of Christ.

Fourthly, the unmatcheable excel­lency, Ʋse 3 and preciousnesse of Christ must not lye as a contemned thing: but it calls for the utmost strength of our soules, and the height of our affections to be fixed upon it. There is no object in the world, but there is a will relating to it, and inclinable to close with it. Now what better object can the will of man have, then Christ? if wee be not here, what doe wee differ from beasts? and a beast in the shape of a man is worst of all. 'Tis good for us, that God hath placed affections of love, of joy, of de­sire, and the like in our soules: but if these be not placed upon Christ also, it were better that we were quite with­out them, and were as uncapable of Christ as the most insensible and unrea­sonable creatures that are. Let us con­sider then what may yet farther elevate our affections, and cause them to mount up with wings as Eagles unto that delight of all delights, and abstract of all prayses. This will be, if we look [Page 194] upon those rich and costly gifts, which Christ hath bestowed upon Beleevers, and they are such as these, viz.

  • Precious Bloud.
  • Precious Graces.
  • Precious Promises.
  • Precious Love.
  • Precious Spirit.
  • Precious Priviledges.

The bloud of Christ is precious in Mot: 1 these respects.

First, from the purity of his humane nature, which was holy, harmelesse, un­defiled and separate from sinners: to God, to man, and to it selfe it was wholly without spot and blemish, and had not the least touch of sinfulnesse in it. In nature the best constitutions have the best bloud: never was there a better tempered, a more purely constituted nature, farther from the corruptions, freer from the pollutions and grosse hu­mours of sinne, then Christs was. It behoved him as man to fulfill all righte­ousnesse, and throughly to come up to the patterne of Legall types; which did all shadow him absolutely holy, and speake him perfectly pure without the least tainture of spirituall defilement. [Page 195] Now if the bloud of the Saints, who are but in part sanctified, dregs of sinne remaining in the best, be precious in Gods account, as wee read, Psal. 116. 15. how much more then is the bloud of the Sonne of God precious; who never went awry, never failed in the least jot, or title of due obedience to the Law of God? The Apostle saith, for a good man peradventure some would even dare to dye, Rom. 5. 7. and why so? but because 'tis great pitie such precious bloud should be lost: now if their bloud be so precious, that are but imperfectly good, what then was his, who was good without any mixture of evill?

Secondly, Christs bloud was noble bloud, and therefore precious. He came of the race of Kings, as touching his manhood: but being with all the Sonne of God, this renders his nobility match­lesse and peerelesse. 'Twas Pharaoh's bragge, that he was the Sonne of anci­ent Kings, Isaiah 19. 11. Who can lay claime to this more then Christ? who can chalenge this honour before him? he is the Sonne of the ancientest King in the world: he was begot a King from all eternity; and the bloud of Kings is [Page 196] precious: thou art worth ten thousand of us, said David's Subjects to him; and therefore they would not suffer him to hazard himselfe in the battell, 2 Sam. 18. 3. his Life-bloud was of more va­lue, then if halfe of his people had pe­rished, because he was King and had the Soveraignty: the noblenesse of his person did set a high rate upon his bloud; and whom doth this Argu­ment more commend unto us, then Christ?

Thirdly, the bloud which Christ shed for his people, was his life-bloud. Life is the most precious thing that a man hath. As the life of God is the summe of all his attributes: so the life of man doth eminently containe in it all other blessings: all that hee hath serves to maintaine it: it is the end and drift of all his enjoyments. What could Christ doe more then to spend his heart-bloud, and to lay downe his life for us? Sanguis est vehiculum vitae, saith the Phy­sician: the bloud is the Chariot of life: yet Experience teacheth that there may be great effusion of bloud, and yet no death following. Had Christ almost emptied all his veynes, and not dyed, [Page 197] this would not have reached to our mi­sery: it had not been sufficient to save us from death: even those [...], drops of bloud; which hee did sweat in his agony, had nothing availed with­out death. Death is the summe of the curse due to us: in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt die the death: Christ then dying for us, here was the accomplishment of all his sufferings, and the height of his love towards us: Surely that bloud must needs be very precious, which could not be let out, but the vitall spirits must follow after it. Those that professe skill in words, doe derive [...], bloud from [...], which signifieth to burne, or to kindle: whe­ther this be a true etymologie, or not, I will not dispute: the heate that is in the bloud of a living creature (if at least­wise in good temper) speakes for it: sure I am, that the bloud of Jesus Christ shed for our sinnes both testifies his ar­dent and burning love toward us, and requires a like affection in us, the kind­ling and fiering of our love toward him.

Fourthly, the preciousnesse of Christs bloud appeares likewise from the per­sonall [Page 198] union of his manhood with his God-head. The Divine and humane natures of Christ subsisting together in one, and the same person, is called an hypostaticall union: properly the word [...] signifies a placing, or standing under: when the Godhead stands un­der the manhood, and the manhood is taken into the same person with the God-head, this is hypostaticall. Now from this marvellous and wonderfull union floweth, though not a reall com­munication of properties, yet a promi­scuous predication of them, as if they were all alike common and naturall to both natures. Hence the manhood is said to be in heaven even while it was circumscribed & compassed with a place on earth, John 3. 13. and on the other side, the bloud of the humane nature is called the bloud of God, Acts 20. 28. and else where by reason of this union God himselfe is said to be crucified. Oh how precious was the bloud of Christ then! doubtlesse it had more worth in it then all the creatures in Heaven and earth, Angels and men, and all the world beside. The uniting and conse­quently the cooperation and compli­ance [Page 199] of the impassible Deity in the same person with that soule and body, which suffered, must needs put infinite dignity, and preciousnesse beyond all account upon the bloud of Christ: yet this was not thought too deare for his Saints.

Fiftly, and lastly, the blessed effects of Christs bloud is another strong Ar­gument of the inestimable value and price of it. It justifies our persons in the sight of God. It frees us from the guilt, from the punishment and from the power of all sinne. It saves us [...], from that wrath that is to come, 1 Thessalonians 1. 10. Wicked people are Light and merry-hearted, and never dreame of an after recoming: but there is a thunder shower of Gods wrath to come, which will light heavily upon the heads of unbe­leeving ones. Wee are all of us by na­ture obnoxious to, and involved in this danger, therefore the Apostle useth the words [...], snatching or pul­ling us out from the wrath to come: even wee of the children of God, wee of the Corporation and society of the Saints, we Beleevers, as well as others [Page 200] were liable to this wrath: but Christ hath d [...]livered us: this is his tender lo­ving kindnesse and good will to his Elect.

Againe, the bloud of Christ obtaines eternall redemption for us, Heb. 9. 12. whence it is that the Apostle opposes it to Gold and Silver: though these be among the most precious things that the Earth affords; yet being corruptible and transitory, they cannot purchase incorruption and eternity for us. The bloud of Christ is the price of our Re­demption: yee are bought with a price, saith the Apostle, 1 Cor. 7. 23. and a like phrase he uses in the end of the precedent chapter: yet there is neither a pleonasme in the words, that is to say, a fulnesse of speech, though that sometimes be rhetoricall enough: nor impropriety, or unfitnesse of Language, as if a thing could be bought without a price: though, I confesse, the Scripture in some respects doth sometimes speake so: neither is there an hebraisme, where­by words of the same signification are itterated and repeated ob vehementiam, to set the matter on with the greater ve­hemency and force: but the word price [Page 201] is used [...] to shew the superlative excellency and dignity of the price wherewith the Saints are bought: so that, ye are bought with a price is as much as to say, yee are dearely bought, 'twas a price with a witnesse, that was given for you, a price of inestimable va­lue, a price past the number of a man: it cannot be calculated or summed up, it is so infinite, such a rich and exceeding price is the bloud of Jesus Christ, costly and chargeable were our soules, that re­quired such a ransome. This is the price wherewith wee are bought from the earth, bought out of Hell, and bought into Heaven and everlasting glory. This is the price that redeemeth us from con­demnation; and this is it that cleanseth us from the filth and staine of sinne. This is it that purgeth our Consciences from dead workes to serve the living God, Heb 9. 14. The Apostle in that place draweth an Argument [...] minori ad majus, as the Logician speakes. If typi­call rites and sacrifices, as the bloud of Bulls and goates, and the ashes of an Heifer sprinckled upon the uncleane, a­vailed for externall Sanctification, namely for the purifying of the flesh le­gally [Page 202] and ceremonially; how much more shall the bloud of Christ sprink­led upon our Consciences, purge away the guilt of sinne, and avayle to the in­ternall, spirituall, and everlasting san­ctifying of our persons.

Againe, by this bloud it was that Christ, as the high Priest of our profes­sion, that is of Christians, entred in­to Heaven: so saith the Apostle, Heb. 9. 12. Christ entred [...]y his owne bloud in­to the holy place: hee did not enter into the presence of God as the high-priest of old did with the bloud of Goates, and Calves: what should those slender things doe in the Tabernacle made without hands? there are no such meane and poore offerings there. Neither did Christ enter to offer for himselfe, as well as for his Family, as Aaron did, Levit. 16. 6. he had no need of expiati­on himselfe: but he went into the ho­liest to offer for his people only: whom he hath for ever washed, justified and sanctified not with bloud of others (as the Apostle speakes) but with his owne bloud.

Lastly, from the precious bloud of Christ, we also that are so cleansed and [Page 203] purged have boldnesse to enter into the ho­liest, Heb. 10. 19. 20. The bloud of Christ breeds us and begets us this con­fidence. The Apostle in that place doth covertly oppose the liberty of Christi­ans unto the restraint of them that li­ved under the Law. The Jewes of old might not presse into the Holy of Ho­lies: it was lawfull onely for the High-Priest to enter into it, and that but once a yeare. Great in this regard is our pre­eminence now above Gods ancient peo­ple: they might not passe so much as in­to an earthly Sanctuary inclosed with materiall walls, and coped with a roofe: but wee have licence and leave to enter into a farre more holy and undefiled place. Christ hath consecrated or initi­ated a way for us: hee hath trod the path first as our fore-runner; and hee hath done it by his bloud, or as (the Apostle speakes) through the vaile, that is to say, his flesh: he alludes to the vaile of blew and purple scarlet and fine twi­ned linen, which was to divide the ho­liest of all from the rest of the Taber­nacle. That vayle was a type of Christs flesh. Now as the High-priest of old en­tred into the holiest by removing of the [Page 204] veile: so Christ by the death of his bo­dy did as it were turne aside the veile, and so hath entred into heaven, the ho­ly of holies, there to make intercession for us. Yea by the renting and tearing of that veile of his flesh upon the crosse, he hath for ever opened a way for all Beleevers: a new and a living way: that of old is obsolete and vanished, this is such as the vigour thereof shall never decay: that of old being by the bloud of beasts, could not give life to the com­ers, this being by the bloud of Christ, revives and raises up them that are dead in trespasses and sinnes, and doth also conferre eternall life upon them. O how precious, beyond all thought and con­ceit is the bloud of Jesus Christ? the bloud of a most righteous person, most noble bloud, the very life and heart-bloud, the bloud of God, justifying, sanctifying, redeeming bloud; bloud purchasing eternall redemption for us, bloud that quickeneth us, and conferres both spirituall and everlasting life upon us. Lastly, Bloud that opens to us a ne­ver decaying way into Heaven. How precious, I say, is this bloud of Christ? and how doth it call upon us to stirre [Page 205] up our affections to embrace Christ, to lay hold of him, and to love him with a most ardent and unfained love, who hath bestowed such a precious gift up­on us?

Secondly, Christ hath bestowed up­on Beleevers precious Graces. Grace is called by the Apostle, the renewing of the Holy-Ghost, and the forming of Christ in us. It consisteth in the recti­tude and conformitie of our will unto the will of God, and to Christ the ab­solute patterne of all grace and holi­nesse, the image of the invisible God, the expresse character of his Fathers bright­nesse: the Sun of righteousnesse, the morn­ing starre, most eminently and gloriously above all others; chiefest of ten thousand for sweet and gracious deportment. How precious are those qualities of the soule, which come neare such a patterne as this? which imitate, resemble, and take after such unmatchable beautie? Now all grace is precious; but the Scrip­ture gives that Epithite especially to faith, 2 Pet. 1. 1. and that for these Reasons.

First, Because it is the roote and wombe (as I may say) of all grace; it [Page 206] is the inward fountaine and principle, from whence all grace flowes; it is the mother grace; it purgeth the conscience, and purifieth the heart, and so breedeth every needfull grace in us. You may see this genealogie or pedigree of grace, notably delineated by the Apostle, 1 Tim. 1. 5. There we finde that chari­tie, or love, which is the fulfilling of the commandement of God, and a chiefe grace or Christian vertue, flows from a pure heart; and a pure heart springs from a good conscience; and a good conscience is the off-spring of faith. Faith is the Genetrix and breeder of Grace, as Eve was the mother of all mankinde. I speake so in respect of an internall principle; for if we regard ex­ternall causes; the race and genealogie may be stretched farther; as thus, faith comes by hearing of the word of God; the word of God is declared by the mouth of a Preacher; and every true Preacher is [...], sent from heaven. But I must speake ad rhombum; though there be sundry externall efficients and workers of grace, yet faith is the inter­nall roote and principle of it: and that is one reason why it is called precious.

[Page 207] Secondly, it is precious in respect of its Author, which is the Father, Sonne, and Spirit. The Father draws us unto Christ, Joh. 6. 44. And hence wee are said to be [...], to be taught of God, and to heare and learne of him. The Sonne likewise draws us: draw me; we will run after thee, saith the Spouse. Christ is both the Author and the finisher of our faith, Heb. 12. 2. He casts in the first seed of it; and also makes it to per­severe: he layes the foundation of it, and brings it up to the roofe, as I may say: he makes us first to apprehend him, and then leads us to the end of our faith, which is the salvation of our soules. Whence it is that he is called the Apostle and high Priest of our professi­on: that is, he is the teacher of our faith, and the Captain thereof. Lastly, the Holy-Ghost is likewise the Author of our faith. No man can say, that Jesus is the Lord (saith the Apostle) but by the Holy-Ghost, 1 Cor. 12. 3. And in the ninth verse of that Chapter, faith is reckoned among the gifts of the Spirit. Faith then must needs be very precious, having God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy-Ghost for the Au­thor of it.

[Page 208] Thirdly, Faith is precious in respect of the object thereof, that is to say, the thing upon which it leanes, or rests, which is God himselfe, or God in Christ. God is said to be in Christ, reconciling the world unto himselfe, and not imputing their trespasses unto them, 2 Cor. 5. 19. Now this is the highest and most excellent object of faith. Christ also as Mediatour is the object thereof. David prayeth, Lead me unto the rocke that is higher then I, Psal. 61. 2. And the rock that he speaks of is Christ: he is the strong rocke on which his Church is built firmely and unmoova­bly. Needs then must faith be precious, while it leanes on such a solid and sted­fast foundation. Againe, the promises are metonymically an object of faith: because they are made unto us in Christ: they are in him as adjuncts in their sub­ject: we rest upon the power and truth of Christ, for the obtaining of that good which is in the promises. All the promises of God are in him yea, and in him Amen, 2 Cor. 1. 20. He is mediate, or in the middle between the promises and us: God makes the promises, and Christ is his pledge and assurance for the ac­complishment [Page 209] of them: so that faith rests on the promises of God, mediante Christo, through the mediation of Christ: and anon you shall see what precious things those promises are: in the meane while, we may conclude even from them likewise, that faith must needs be preci­ous, which hath such precious props and pillars to uphold it, God & Christ, and a sure word of promise, all the wisdome and power of the Father, and the Sonne, and the Spirit, all that they can doe to establish and confirme their own word, and that is more then e­nough.

Lastly, The preciousnesse of faith ap­peares from the nature, from the effects and workings of it. The nature of it is piously to know, and to affect the things of God: to cleave unto God in Christ, to rest upon him for the obtaining of the promises. Faith joynes us to God, who is our life, in whom the lives of our soules are bound up, as Jacobs life was bound up in his darling Benjamins. Faith filleth the soule with solace un­speakable, with peace passing all under­standing, and with joy everlasting. As bloud is in the veines, dispersing it selfe [Page 210] into all parts of the body, so giving life and heate and continuall nourishment thereunto: such is faith in the soule; it works upon all the affections; it diffu­seth and sheddeth abroad in our hearts the love of God in Christ; it attracts and draws our spirits to delight in no­thing more then in Christ; it entertain­eth the soule with feasts of fatted things, and of wines refined; it leadeth it into the wine-cellar; it invites us unto those apples and fl [...]ggons of pleasure, which Christ hath prepared; it sweetens the crosse; it makes us to rejoyce in tribula­tion, and that with joy unspeakable and glorious; it workes in us a childe-like confidence toward God, whereby wee approach boldly to him, crying, Abba, Father; it carrieth the soule up to hea­ven, and giveth ravishing sights of God and Christ, and the joys of eternitie; it brings us into communion with God, whereby we have most intimate and fa­miliar conference with him; it brings us into his bed-chamber, into his galleries of love. In a word, it enlightens, justifies, sanctifies, and saves us for ever; because it lays hold on Jesus Christ, who is made 1 Cor. 1. 30. unto us of God, wisdome, and righteous­nesse, [Page 211] and sanctification, and redemption, as the Apostle saith. O how precious is faith, that hath such wonderfull vertues and operations, as these? how precious also are those graces, that flow from it, as love, and the feare of God, and hu­militie, and patience, and the like? But above all the rest, how precious is Jesus Christ, and how highly to be esteemed of, who hath bestowed upon us such precious, such royall, and such rich gifts as these?

Thirdly, Consider likewise the pro­mises Mot. of Christ; these are also exceed­ing great and precious, as they be cal­led, 2 Pet. 1. 4. Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, saith the Apostle. I confesse that by promises he meanes the effect of the promises, or the things themselves that are promi­sed, which are of no small value and worth; and therfore the promises them­selves are of no little weight and mo­ment. This will easily appeare, if wee consider

  • The nature of the promiser.
  • The antiquity of the promises.
  • And the precious things, which they containe.

[Page 212] First, God, who hath promised, is by nature wise and powerfull, true and un­changeable. God is infinitely wise, he hath a profound reach; his counsells are very deepe: even his foolishnesse is wiser then men, as the Apostle saith: and he knows wayes beyond our imaginati­on and capacity, how to bring about his owne ends, and to accomplish his promises. He is also almighty to effect and bring to passe his designes: he can doe above all that wee can either aske or thinke. And againe, he is true and cannot lie, and therefore he is called the God of Amen by the Prophet, Esa. 65. 16. And lastly, he is unchangeable; he cannot repent: there is no variablenesse or shadow of turning with him: all these are the fulera, the props and supporters of the promises, on which they stand firme and sure, and cannot fall to the ground. The saying is Pollicitis dives quilibet esse potest. Every man can be rich in his promises: even a beggar may be as rich as a King in promises: but all the question and doubt is about the performance of them. Among men it is frequently thus: they are facile and forward in making of pro­mises: [Page 213] but they are ignorant of the meanes how to fulfill them; or if they know the way; yet they want power and abilitie; or if they be both know­ing and able; yet they want a will; they have a heart and a heart, as the Scrip­ture speakes: they pretend, what they never intend; The children of men are deceitfull upon the ballances: or lastly, though they know how to be as good as their word, though they can doe it; yea though for the present they doe re­ally intend what they promise, yet Multa cadunt inter ealicem supremaque labra. many things fall out between the pot and the lip, as the proverb is; they are fickle and inconstant, well instructed how to play fast and loose, unstable as water, like Reuben: and so their promi­ses prove to be nothing worth: perhaps the fault may be in their intellect and understanding: though they be wise to day, yet after a while they may grow sots and fooles, and so know not how to steere their course, and to wheele a­bout their purposes; or perchance the default is in their hands: though they be in possibility of performing their pro­mises [Page 214] to day, yet to morrow their armes may be cut off, and they are left shift­lesse; or if not so; yet it may be worse; the fault may lie in their affections; they may be honest now, and after a while dishonest; and so say, and unsay; pro­mise, and change their mindes. Thus it is with men oftentimes; but with God it is not so; he knows how to performe his promises; he is able to make them good; and he is most true and faithfull in all his pro [...]essions: yea he is ever wise, ever powerfull, ever true, ever the same, never altred or changed in the lest mea­sure: how precious then and sweet are his promises? and how lovely also ought Christ to be, by whom we enjoy them? Thus much of the nature of the Pro­miser.

Secondly, Consider the antiquity of the promises. The maine and chiefe promise of God is that which concern­eth eternall life, and this was made at the beginning of the world unto Adam, when God said, that the seed of the wo­man should breake the Serpents head: yea it was made before the world began, Tit. 1. 2. In hope of eternall life (saith the Apostle) which God that cannot lie, pro­mised [Page] before the world began. Here by the way we learne, that the promise being before all time, it must needs be abso­lute and without all condition. But let that passe. The question is to whom that so ancient a promise was made? when there was yet no world, nor any men created to receive it, to whom did God make it? I answer, that it was made to him that even then was ordai­ned to be our head and M [...]diatour, even the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternall Son of God. The Elect are called the s [...]ede of Christ, Esa. 53. 10 and his children, Heb. 2. 13. Now as wee were in Adams loyns when he transgressed: so as touch­ing the decree and counsaile of God, we were (as I may say) in the loynes of Christ from all eternity, and before the world began: and so the promise was made to him for us, or to us in him be­fore all moments or measures of time. But you will aske mee perhaps where we finde such a promise? I answer, that wee have such a promise, Psal. 2. 7, 8. I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Sonne, this day have I begotten thee. Aske of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and [Page 216] the ends of the earth for thy possession. In this Scripture marke two things.

First, That God the Father saith of his Sonne, this day have I begotten thee. And [this day] signifies both time and eternity. Time as touching the resur­rection of Christ from the dead: that was done in time, as you know; and the Apostle applyes the words of the Psalmist unto that very matter of Christs resurrection, Acts 13. 33. And to the same purpose he is called elsewhere the first begotten of the dead. Againe [this day] signifies eternity. It is most certainly to be beleeved, that God did beget his Sonne before all time, even from everla­sting. There is a place to this purpose, Heb. 1. 4, 5. where the Apostle saith, that Christ hath a more excellent Name then the Angells; because God the Fa­ther said of him, Thou art my Sonne, this day have I begotten thee, which he never did say unto any of the Angells. And marke I pray, the Apostle saith, that Christ obtained this more excellent name by inheritance, as being Gods na­turall Sonne: and therefore he had it from everlasting.

Secondly, In this day of eternitie (if [Page 217] I may so call it) God makes unto his Sonne a promise of a Church to be ga­thered among the Heathen. This pro­mise was stipulated in the nature and manner of a decree: and all Gods de­crees are eternall, and co-etaneous with himselfe: most true is the theoreme of the Philosopher; a voluntate antiqua non procedit actio nova: from the anci­ent will (he means from Gods will) there doth not proceed any new act. God doth not begin to will any thing; he doth not will any thing afresh; be­cause whatsoever he wills, from all e­ternitie he will'd it: his will from ever­lasting to everlasting is one most pure and simple act: it is sometimes called a decree: but yet in respect of himselfe it is no such thing: for a decree suppo­seth some intervall of time to be be­tween the purpose and the execution: and so there is, I confesse, in respect of us: but to God it is not so; for he is without all predicament of time: one day is as a 1000 yeares, and a thousand years as one day with him: those things that are past and to come with us, are eternally present with him. But to come to the point. Though the counsells of God [Page 218] be not properly decr [...]es in respect of himselfe, f [...]r the reason before alled­ged: yet they are from eternitie, and that is the thing that we drive at. The forementioned decree of gathering a Church from among the Heathen, was made when the Sonne of God was be­gotten: and he was begotten of old from everlasting, as we have prooved. And it was not onely a decree, but a promise also; it runnes plainly in the forme and tenor of a promise: Aske of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the ends of the earth for thy possession.

Now then consider; how precious is that promise that was made in a fami­liar parlie and conference between the Father and the Sonne from all eterni­ty? Christ was foreseene and ordained even of old to be our [...], or Me­diator: upon this ground God makes even then a gracious promise to him for us; a promise of giving us to him, and consequently of giving us eternall life through him. So that here wee have plainly the reason why the Apostle saith, that God promised eternall life be­fore the world began? Namely, because [Page 219] Christ was even then in the counsell and purpose of God our Media [...]our. And hence in another place, he saith, that the grace of God, whereby wee are cal­led with an holy calling, and consequent­ly everlastingly saved, was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 2 Tim. 1. 9. Christ Jesus was even then lookt upon as our Redeemer: God stipulates and promises to him; and he againe re­stipulates to undertake for us. Certain­ly then the promise of eternall life must needs be exceeding precious, being the substance of that Dialogue (as I may say) and communication, which pas­sed between the Father and the Sonne before the world was created. And if that great promise be so ancient, then questionlesse so are all promises: be­cause eternall life doth eminently con­taine in it all other blessings, just as the heaven of heavens doth all inferiour parts of the world. Now how should the consideration of this stirre up our hearts to love Jesus Christ, who re­ceived promises for us, not onely be­fore wee our selves were, but even be­fore there was any time, or creature made.

[Page 220] Thirdly, Consider the precious things that are couched in the promises, and they appertaine either to temporall life, or to spirituall grace, or to eternall glory.

First, Great and precious are the promises, which doe appertaine unto this life. Godlinesse (saith the Apostle) hath the promise of this life, as well as of that which is to come. And even in this respect, God hath promised never to leave us, nor forsake us, Heb. 13. 5. There are in this place no lesse then five negatives to strengthen and confirme our faith in the truth of the promise; [...]; as if he should have said, I will in no wise whatsoever come of it at any time forsake thee; mine eye shall be still upon thee, and I will watch over thee for good continually. And marke, I pray, what the Prophet saith, Esa. 63. 9. In all their afflictions he was afflicted, and the Angel of his presence saved them, in his love and in his pitie hee redeemed them, and carried them all the dayes of old. The place may be read interrogatively thus, Was he not afflicted? &c. That is, did he not take to heart the wrongs done to his people in Aegypt? Was not [Page 221] Christ the Angel of Gods presence their Conductor and Saviour? Did hee not beare them, as a tender Mother or Nurse doth her young childe? Did he not car­ry them as the Eagle doth her broode, with such care, that shee her selfe may not hurt them, and at such a height, as o­thers may not reach them? In such manner doth Christ for ever protect his people. In Zech. 2. 5. he promises to be a wall of fire round about them: where the Holy-Ghost alludeth to the practice of Travailers in the Wilder­nesse, who by surrounding themselves with a fire, did thereby fray away the wilde beasts, and kept them off from annoying them: now such a defence will Christ be unto his Saints; he will be with them in most deadly dangers, When they passe through the water, and when they walke through the fire, Esa. 43. 2. Fire and water are two most devour­ing elements, good servants, but bad masters, as we say; and therefore here they are put for all other perilous and dangerous kindes: Christ will save and deliver his people from them all. Wee reade, Dan. 3. 25. that the three Chil­dren were cast into the fiery furnace: [Page 222] But what said the Tyrant? I see foure (saith he) and the fourth is like the Sonne of God: and in all probabilitie it was so; it being usuall under the old Testa­ment for Christ, upon some weightie occasions to appeare in humane shape. Thus Christ will be with his people in the furnace of affliction; and either he will provide that it shall not be over­heate, or else he will worke a miracle to restraine the power of the flames: he will both preserve them in, and de­liver them out of trouble: he will so sanctifie affliction, that it shall prove a very blessing and mercy to them.

Secondly, Great also and precious are the promises, which appertaine un­to spirituall grace: The Apostle saith, That by them we partake of the divine or godly nature, 2 Pet. 1. 4. He doth not meane it of the essence or substance of God, as some of the Heathen conceited, affirming man to be aurae divinae parti­cula, a little piece of the divine Spirit: Thus did the Platonicks dreame, and al­so the Manichees and Priscillianists: not so, I say; for the essence of God is in­communicable: but wee are to under­stand it of the graces of the Spirit, [Page 223] whereby the image of God is stampt againe and restored in man: therefore the Apostle doth not call it [...], that is, the essentiall nature of God: but [...], the godly nature; as if he had expressed it in one word, [...], Sainthood, or a nature approaching to Gods, resembling and like unto Gods. So that Beleevers through Christ have in their soules a lively image and repre­sentation of the perfections, of the ver­tues, and of the life of God: according to that of the Apostle, Colos. 3. 10. And have put on the new man, which is renew­ed in knowledge, after the image of him that created him: he puts knowledge, which is the incipient part of regenera­tion, for the whole, including under that both holinesse and righteousnesse. And answering to this is that precious promise, Esa. 65. 17. where the Lord saith, That he will make new heavens, and a new earth: This is meant of the spiri­tuall excellency of the Church, in re­gard both of doctrine, of discipline, and of life: and therefore it holds forth a promise concerning the renewing of the soule by the Spirit of the Lord: where doctrine is sound, discipline wholesome, [Page 224] and life holy, there are new Heavens and a new earth, as I may say, and there the soule is become a new creature by the sanctifying Spirit of God.

Lastly, great and precious also are the promises appertaining to eternall glory: they containe in them that hea­venly inheritance of the Saints in Light, where they shall have blessed communi­on with God, with Christ, with the Ho­ly Spirit, with elect Angels, and with one another for ever: where they shall have the quintessence of all good things, the sweetnesse of all Mercy and conso­lation: where they shall have the splen­dour and bright rayes of everlasting ho­nour; where after this life (and this life is but a bubble, a smoake, a wind, a shadow) they shall have that unutte­rable & immortall Crowne of glory set upon their heads, which Christ hath promised: in a word, where they shall have totum quod volunt, & nihil quod nolunt, all that they would have, and nothing that they would not have. Hence it is, that the Gospel, which hol­deth forth the promise of these things, is termed glorious, and the ministration thereof likewise glorious. And therefore [Page 225] as the Apostle makes the comparison between the Law and the Gospel: if the ministration of death and condemnation be glorious (saith he) how shall not the mi­nistration of the Spirit and of righteousnesse be rather glorious? so may I say: if the glory of Christ be so splendent and shi­ning, so attractive and alluring even in the promise and expectation of it: what then will it be in the full fruition and enjoyment thereof? if so excellent and surpassing at a distance, and through the lattice, as I may say: what will it be in the neerest touch and vision there­of, when wee shall come our selves to participate of that glory? Now wee see but in a glasse darkely, saith the Apostle, 1 Cor. 13. 12. that is, here wee see God but as we see our owne Image in a glasse, and not the very face it selfe; here wee see him by a kinde of reflection, and at second hand, as I may say, in the Or­dinances, in the creatures, and such like dimme representations, which at the farthest are in some sense aenigmaticall, full of intricacy and obscurity. But then wee shall see God face to face; and then we shall know him, as we our selves are knowne by him, that is to say, perfect­ly; [Page 226] I meane with such a perfection as a glorified creature is capable of. Thus have I shewed unto you what excellent and precious things are contained in the Promises for our soules, and for our bodies, for this life and for the life to come for ever: ô then how much more precious and excellent, how much more to be desired and longed for is Jesus Christ, by whom so manifold and un­speakeable blessings are conveyed unto us▪

Fourthly, Christ hath bestowed up-Beleevers Mot: 4 precious love, and precious it is, because Infinite.

  • Gracious.
  • Liberall.
  • Everlasting.

First, the love of Christ unto his Saints is infinite and unmeasurable: it is beyond all imagination or concepti­on. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you, saith Christ, Joh. 15. 9. Now who can understand with what love the Father hath embraced his Sonne? who can dive into the bottomelesse depth of that tender affection, which the infinite God beareth unto Christ? no more can wee define and fully set forth what the [Page 227] love of Christ unto his Saints is? The Apostle indeed would have the Ephesi­ans able to comprehend with all Saints, the breadth, and length, the depth and height of the love of God in Christ: but yet for all that hee concludes, that it passeth knowledge, Ephes. 3. 18. 19.

Secondly, Christs love is a gracious love. That which the Lord speakes by his Prophet concerning Jerusalem, may fitly be applyed to all his people, When I passed by thee and saw thee polluted or tro­den under foot, as the word signifieth) in thine owne bloud, I said unto thee live. That is, (as we use to apply it spiritually) when we were in our naturall filthinesse and uncleanenesse, which we drew from our first Parents, God loved us freely, and not for our worth or merit; not for our beautie or comelinesse: wee had no worth in us, nor no beauty upon us: yet he loved us, and said unto us live, that is, he made us to live spiritually; he did put the life of grace into us: he did breath into the nostrills of our soules (as I may say) the breath of hea­venly life: his saying in this new Cre­ation was as his saying was in the first Creation of all things: he did but speak [Page 228] the word, and it was done. Againe, he addes in the forementioned Prophesie, verse the eight, I spread my skirt over thee. He alludeth to a custome or Ceremony of the Jewes, whereby at Mariages, the Husband in token of his Interest and propriety, and also as a pledge of his most tender love and endeared affection to his wife, did cover her with a lappe or skirt of his garment: now this ma­trimoniall rite was a figure of the merit of Christ, who hath by his righteous­nesse covered all our sinnes and trans­gressions, veiled all our filthinesse and polutions, and hid all our spirituall na­kednesse, and deformities, and that most freely, most graciously, most undeser­vedly, according to that Hosea 14. 4. I will heale their back-sliding; I will love them freely.

Thirdly, Christs love to his Saints is a liberall love, a munificent, a magnifi­cent and bountifull love: this appeares plainely by those hard and bitter things, that he underwent for us, Philip, 2. 7. the Apostle saith, that he made himselfe of no reputation: he tooke upon him the forme of a servant, and was made in the likenesse, or habit of men. The originall word in [Page 229] the place signifieth, that he emptied him­selfe, or redegit se ad nihilum, he brought himselfe, as it were to nothing: he de­vested and stript himselfe of the robes of Divine Majesty, laying them, his Throne, his Crowne, and his Scepter of Glory aside for a while. Through the extremity of his agony his body did sweat drops of bloud: he did exhaust such an infinitely rich and precious trea­sure, as all Heaven and earth could not recompense and make up againe. It is reported of the Pelioan, that she open­eth her breast with her bill, and feedeth her young ones with the bloud distil­ling from her: and therefore (saith mine Author) the Egyptians did make that kinde an hieroglyphick of Piety and pitie, and upon that consideration they spared them at their Tables. Now this creature is a lively picture and Em­bleme of Christ: he parted with that, which was most deare unto him; the soule in his body, the bloud in his veines, and (which was more then all the rest) the sweet and ravishing appre­hensions of his Fathers love eclipsed, and darkned in his agonies, and so to­tally eclipsed, that he cryed out with [Page 230] a loud voyce, my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? And all this he did in his infinite pitie and love to us: the Apostle saith, that he loved his Church and gave himselfe for it, Ephes. 5. 25.

Lastly, Christs love is eternall and e­verlasting: a love that never decayes or waxeth cold; like the stone Asbestos, of which I read in Solinus, that being once hot, it can Iul. So­lin: poly­histor. cap. 12. never be cooled again. The love of Christ is like a Fountaine ever flowing, and never dried up: or like the sacred fire, which never went out. I have loved thee with an everlasting love, saith he, Jer. 31. 3. and in ano­ther place, with everlasting kindnesse will I have mercy upon thee. Though the Saints offend Christ often, yet he loves them still: he onely purges them and heales them of their spirituall maladies, which cannot be done without some smart: but he doth not a whit lesson, or detract his love from them. Though his people come upon him every day for new fa­vours and new supplies; yet his good­will is never wearied or tired out: yea though thousands, millions of his Saints presse upon him at once; yet hee hath for them all, and the Fountaine of his [Page 231] love is never emptied. I like the matter of the Poet very well; although, I con­fesse his verse be something jiggish and toying.

Sumit unus, sumunt mille:
Quantum isti, tantum i [...]e:
Neque sumpius absumitur.

One Beleever drawes water of life, and supply of all needfull blessings out of this well of salvation; and a thousand like gracious soules doe the like; and the one drawes as much as the thou­sand: and yet the well is never drawne drie. Now then a little to recapitulate. If the love of Christ unto his Saints be infinite, boundlesse and unmeasur [...]ble, if it be gracious, free, and undes [...]rved, [...]r it be liberall, rich, and bountifull. Last­ly, if it be eternall, everlasting, and ne­ver decaying, ô what a whetstone should this be to our affections, what a spurre to our Spirits, and what a bellowes to blow up, and kindle the fire of our love to Christ? nothing doth more conci­liate and attract love, then love it selfe: it were horrible ingratefulnesse not to spend, and be spent (as the Apostle speakes) for one that hath loved us so much as Christ hath done: certainely if [Page 232] love doe not draw us unto him, no­thing will. The acts of Christs love are the cords wherewith he drawes soules unto himselfe. I drew them with the cords of a man, with bands of love, saith hee, Hosea, 11. 4. and in another place, with Jer. 31. 3. loving kindnesse have I drawne thee*. 'Tis an Argument then, that wee are not drawne at all, if love doe not effect it.

Fiftly, Christ bestowes upon Belee­vers Mot. 5 his precious Spirit. This is that, which Christ promiseth to his Disciples, Joh. 14. 26. The comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name (saith Christ) he shall teach you all things, &c. Now let us consider how excellent the Spirit is, in all the work­ings of it upon our hearts, and then we shall see what a precious and lovely gift this is.

The Spirit of Christ doth these things.

  • It illuminates our minds.
  • It sanctifies our natures.
  • It seales our adoption.

First of all, the Spirit of Christ doth illuminate the mind and understanding: it opens the windowes of the soule, as I may say, and sets up a new Light in [Page 233] it: it brings in light upon light. Even by nature men have some Light, such as it is: by Art and industry they acquire more: but the saving Light of the Spi­rit of Christ farre excelleth all that of the naturall man, as the Light of the Sunne doth the light the Moone, or as the Light of seven dayes doth the light of one: hence is that Spirit by an excel­lency called the Spirit of wisdome and un­derstanding: and it is said to lead us and to guide us into all truth, Joh. 14. 16. I have many things (saith Christ) to say un­to you: but you cannot beare them now: but when the spirit cometh; he shall lead you into all truth, that is, he shall open your understandings, he shall enlarge your capacities, and shall make you able to comprehend those Divine and heavenly Mysteries of the Kingdome of God, which shall be dispenced unto you. Yee have an unction from the Holy one (saith the Apostle) and yee know all things, 1 Joh. 2. 20. The Holy one here spoken of is the whole Trinity, God the Father, the Sonne, and the Holy Ghost: the unction is not the Spirit it selfe: but a thing different from the essence and sub­stance thereof: viz. the grace of illumi­nation [Page 234] and saving Knowledge, where­with the eyes of our minds being anoin­ted as with an unction, wee come to know all things, not absolutely, and omnisciently, as God doth: but to know all things that are needfull to be knowne unto salvation. And hence in the 27. verse, the same anoynting is said to teach us, and that wee need no other teaching, but that: it is called eye-salve, Revel. 3. 18.

Secondly, the Spirit of Christ sancti­fieth the hearts and natures of Beleevers, whereby they are really changed from the filthinesse of sinne unto the purity of Gods Image; that as Christ himselfe is holy, so are they in some measure by an inherent holinesse: their love and their hatred, their joy and their sorrow, all their passions and affections, are not such as they were before, but they are quite altred and changed, new-moulded and fashioned, made after Gods owne heart, and conformed to his holy will. This is the blessed worke of the Spirit: We are sanctified through the Spirit and be­leefe of the truth, saith the Apostle, 2 Thess. 2. 13. The Spirit is principall in stamping the Image of God upon the [Page 235] soule: the Spirit it is that doth convey the efficacie of Christs death and bloud unto us. Hence it is called in Scripture wind, fire, water, and the like.

First, it is a winde. Awake ô North, and come thou South, Cant. 4. 16. and that for these reasons. As wind allayeth heate: so the sanctifying Spirit of God asswageth hot and burning distempers in the soule; it suppresses inordinate and lustfull desires, moderating all our affe­ctions, and keeping them in a good tem­per. Againe, as wind purges the aire, and dries up superfluous moysture in the earth: so the Spirit purgeth our corrupt natures, and dries up the excrementi­ous humours of sinne, which are Ene­mies to spirituall health. Also Fav [...]ni­us the West­wind, di­c [...]ur à savendo, from che­rishing of fruits and other things. as the wind is a great fructifier, causing the fruits of the earth to spring out: so the Spirit of God makes that soule, which naturally is as a barren and dry wilder­nesse, no plants of grace growing in it; but the weeds of sinne rankling every where, to be a fruitfull and flourishing garden, where Christ delights to walke and to take his repast, beholding how his trees of Righteousnesse doe spread, and blossome, and beare most pleasant [Page 236] fruit. When the wind of the Spirit doth blow upon the garden of the soule, then the spices of grace flow out: then Christ may come into his garden and eate his delicious fruits of union and Sanctification. The soule is not now an emptie vine, neither doth it beare wilde grapes; it doth not beare grapes of gall and bitter clusters, but fruites of Righ­teousnesse and holinesse, most sweet and well relishing, most pleasing and accep­table to Christ.

Againe, the wind is a quickning and enlivening thing: the breath of every li­ving creature is a winde: Come from the foure winds ô breath, and breath upon these slaine, that they may live, saith the Prophet, Ezek. 37. 9. Now such is the Spirit of God also: it raiseth up the soule from the death of sinne, and puts the life of grace into it: it sets us upon our feet and makes us to walke before God in the Light, and in the land of the living.

Lastly, As the winde is not in the power of any man, it bloweth where it listeth, as our Saviour saith; and it is impossible to hide it, Prov. 27. 16. So the Spirit of regeneration is not at the ar­bitrement, [Page 237] will, and disposing of any creature: but it is sui juris, at its owne choice and disposing, at its own plea­sure, when, where, and how it will breath and dispense grace: Of his owne will begat he us with the word of truth, saith the Apostle, Jam. 1. 18.

Secondly, the Spirit of sanctification is also called fire in the Scriptures; He shall baptize you with the Holy-Ghost, and with fire, Mat. 3. 11. It resembles fire in the purging property thereof; as fire is a great purger, attracting and draw­ing corrupt aires to it selfe, segregating & severing pure substances from drosse, as wee see in the trying of gold and sil­ver: so doth the fire of the Spirit draw away from our soules all pestilent and infectious sents of sinne, and by little and little purges away all the drosse of our corruptions.

Againe, The Spirit resembles fire in the consuming property thereof: fire purgeth onely, when it meets with a substance that can endure it: but when it lights upon combustible matter, then it wasts and consumes: so the fire of the Spirit doth no more then purge the hearts of the Elect: yet it wasts and con­sumes [Page 238] their lusts, because they be things to be wasted and abolished.

Lastly, The Spirit of grace resembles fire in the assimilating property thereof: fire turns other things that are approxi­mate into its owne nature: it makes things hot, as it selfe is hot: it propa­gates and spreads it selfe, increasing its own flames by licking up and catching in other things to it selfe: so the sancti­fying Spirit of God doth fire our hearts and affections, heating them with his own heate, kindling them with his own sacred sparkes, assimilating and making us like unto himselfe: holy as he is ho­ly, pure as he is pure, and perfect, as he is perfect. The soule being acted and wrought upon by the Spirit, is changed into the same glory, and becomes spiri­tuall like it selfe. Wee know that a pa­per will smell of the muske or civet that is put in it: so a soule endued with the Spirit of grace, cannot but become gra­cious: it must have the same savour, the same odoriserous and pleasing sent that the Spirit it selfe hath.

Thirdly, The precious Spirit, which Christ bestows upon his Saints, is called water also; because as water washeth [Page 239] away the filthinesse of the flesh; so doth that Spirit the uncleannesses of the soule. And againe, as water hath a softning and suppling vertue with it: so the gra­cious Spirit of Christ doth mollifie and soften hard hearts; making them of im­penetrable and insensible to become bro­ken and contrite, of stubborne and fro­ward, to be flexible and pliable unto Gods holy will: so that though they were before like Leviathans heart, as hard as a piece of the neither milstone; yet now they can tremble at judgements, submit to commands, and be glad to close with the promises of Christ. Thus you see that the Spirit which Christ be­stows upon his Saints, is a sanctifying, a purging a regenerating, and a renew­ing Spirit.

Lastly, This Spirit sealeth our adop­tion, our filiation or son-ship unto us. By adoption wee are received into the number of the sonnes of God; and by the Spirit of Christ we come to be assu­red of this prerogative. The Spirit of God seales up our salvation and blessed state unto us: The Apostle saith, That God hath sealed us and given us the ear­nest of the Spirit in our hearts, 2 Cor. 1. [Page 240] 22. He hath given us the earnest of his Spirit for the assurance of our heavenly inheritance. The Apostles manner of speaking is taken from the custome of men, who to assure and confirme others in the truth of their promises and co­venants, are wont to set their seale to bills and bonds, and such like instru­ments: so God sets his seale to all his promises, and to the covenant of grace, which he hath plighted with us, by gi­ving us his holy Spirit to renew us, to imprint his image upon our soules, and to beare witnesse within us, that we are his children, and consequently heires of life and glory everlasting. Now this Spi­rit is expresly called the Spirit of the Son, Gal. 4. 6. Because the Holy-Ghost sea­leth up our adoption in Christ: so that through Christ it is made sure unto us. Let us now summe up all which hath been said of this gift: if Christ hath not withheld his gracious Spirit from us, but hath given even that unto us, to en­lighten us, to sanctifie us, and to assure us of our adoption and salvation: where can we finde greater favour then this? and where should our mindes be lifted up into the opinion of any thing more [Page 241] then of Christ? Doubtlesse, the giver of such a precious gift, ought himselfe to be much more precious unto us. If wee make great account of the gift, much more ought we most highly to esteeme of the bestower of it.

Lastly, Christ bestowes upon Belee­vers Mot. 6 precious priviledges: and they are many: but I will speake onely of these two.

  • Accesse to the throne of grace.
  • Good successe of our prayers.

First, Beleevers have blessed accesse; Let us come boldly unto the throne of grace (saith the Apostle) that wee may obtaine mercy, and finde grace to helpe in time of need, Heb. 4. 16. The Apostles phrase is [...], a word which signifieth libertie of speech, and boldnesse of face, when a man intrepidly and undaunted­ly utters his minde before great ones, without blushing, without weaknesse of heart, without shaking of his voyce, without haluccination, imperfection and faltring in speech; when neither majesty nor authority can take off his courage, so as to stop his mouth, and make him affraid to speake. With such spirits would the Apostle have us to [Page 242] come unto God by prayer: wee must come with paresie, with confidence of heart, and freedome of speech. This is a fruite of our accesse to the throne of grace, to which doubtlesse the Apostle would never have exhorted us, if wee were not blessed with such a privi­ledge.

Againe, A like exhortation wee have Heb. 10. 22. Let us draw neare with a true heart, [...], in full as­surance of faith, that is, in stedfastnesse of faith, without wavering, without doubting. The Apostle meanes it of our full assurance of Gods favour, and ac­ceptance of our persons in Christ. In the Law the high Priest going into the Sanctuary, did beare upon his shoul­ders, and in his pectorall or brestplate, the names of the twelve Tribes of Israel. Now this figures unto us the great love that Christ beares unto his people: he hath them alwayes at his heart; hee loves them most tenderly and dearely: he beares them also upon the shoulders of his mighty protection, carrying them a loft out of the reach of all adversary power. And he is gone into the hea­venly Sanctuary with Ʋrim and Thum­mim, [Page 243] with the names of his people upon his breast, for a memoriall before the Lord continually: so that now through his mediation we may draw neare unto God in plerophorie, and full assurance of faith: nothing doubting but that God will for his sake accept both of our persons and of our prayers.

Secondly, Beleevers have not onely accesse to God, but also good successe of all their suites and petitions, which they put up unto him. Christ by his office of mediation and intercession, is an advocate for his people, and doth in his own person appeare before God for them: he takes upon himselfe their suite and their cause, as an Advocate in Law doth his Clients. Hence is that exceed­ing sweet and consolatory promise of the Apostle, 1 Joh. 2. 1, 2. If any man sinne (saith he) wee have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righte­ous, and he is the propitiation for our sins. Here is never a word, but hath sweet­nesse in it. Marke, I pray; first he saith, If any man sinne; not as though there were some that did not sinne: for that this very Apostle beats against expresly in the end of the first Chapter: but when [Page 244] he saith, If any man, he speakes cordiall things, he speaks to the heart and com­fort of sinners, shewing that with God there is no accepting of persons; but all without exception of any for exteriour adjuncts and qualities, doe finde grace in his fight through Christ: this is plainly the inference of the indefinite particle, Any.

Secondly, He saith, That wee have an Advocate: an Advocate is a forensicall word, and it signifieth properly one that is called to, or assumed as an Assi­stant, as a friend, as an helper, as an In­tercessor: such Advocates did guiltie ones among the Greeks and Romans assume to themselves. Now such an Ad­vocate is Christ unto us: he is our Pa­tron, he is our spokes-man, he it is that pleadeth our cause for us; he it is that by the merite of his expiation doth in­treat for us. The Devill is called our [...], our Adversary, another Law-terme, 1 Pet. 5. 8. he lays in hard against us; and therefore he is elsewhere called the Accuser of the Brethren: and guiltie we are too: but Christ is our [...], our Advocate, and he intreats the Judge for us: he implores mercy and clemen­cy for us.

[Page 245] Thirdly, The Apostle saith, that wee have an Advocate with the Father; with him still at his right hand: so with him, that he is his own naturall Sonne: so with him, that he needs but onely shew himselfe for us, and without speak­ing any word wee are accepted. At that day (namely at that day when I shall be ascended into heaven) yee shall aske in my Name (saith Christ) and I say not un­to you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father himselfe loveth you; because yee have loved mee, and have beleeved, that I came out from God, Joh. 16. 26, 27. In these words Christ bids us not so to depend and hang upon him, as to have no confidence in God the Father, as if he were angry with us, and did not love us. Christ is so an Advocate with the Father, as that the Father is made ours fully and perfectly: and so the eager and malicious adversary can doe no­thing against us.

Fourthly, Our Advocate is Jesus, a most sweet and heart refreshing name; it signifieth a Saviour; one that doth not onely intreate for us, but perfectly save us: other Advocates may intreate, and not prevaile; but Christ intreates [Page 246] and prevailes; and so saves his people from their sinnes.

Fiftly, He is called Christ; there's an addition and increase of comfort in this name; it signifies anointed. Christ was anointed to be our Prophet, to shew us the waies of life and salvation: he was anointed to be our Priest, to offer a reconciling sacrifice for us. And he was also anointed to be our King, to protect us, and to destroy all our ene­mies.

Sixtly, Our Advocate is called the Righteous, by an eminency, none so righteous as he: he is perfectly righte­ous: so that he needs not, as other Ad­vocates, to plead for himselfe: he plea­deth onely for us: and he must needs have good successe in his pleading; be­cause he is righteous himselfe: he is the Righteous; just, and a justifier; abso­lutely and compleatly righteous by his own inherent purity; and conveying righteousnesse to us by imputation.

Lastly, our Advocate is such an one as stands in our roome, and takes the whole penalty and punishment due to us for our offence upon himselfe: therefore the Apostle addes, that he is the propiti­ation [Page 247] for our sinnes, that is, he is the sa­crifice that implores and begs pardoning Mercy for us. Hence the bloud of sprink­ling, that is, the bloud of Jesus Christ, is said to speake better things then that of Abel, Heb. 12. 24. for of Abels God speaks thus: the voyce of thy brothers bloud crieth unto me from the ground. Abels bloud cried unto God for vengeance to be executed upon Caine that murdered him: but the bloud of Christ crieth un­to God for mercy to be shewed unto poore miserable sinners. Now then if Christ be our Advocate, if he be an Ad­vocate with the Father, alwayes in his presence, alwayes neere and deare unto him; if he be an Advocae mighty to save; if he be an Advocate separated and san­ctified of God himselfe, and anoynted to beare Office for us; if he be an Ad­vocate perfectly righteous and blamelesse in his owne person; if hee be such an Advocate, as is willing to stand in our stead, and to beare the burden of our deserts, like him that cried out when he saw his friend ready to be sl [...]ine,

Me me! Adsum qui f [...]ci; in me convertite [...]er [...]ū. Me mee! I am he that did the fact, turne your sword upon me; Lastly, if he be [Page 248] such an Advocate as refuses none, but receives all without exception, that come unto him: if Christ, I say, be such an Advocate, such a days-man, so every way qualified and furnished to doe us good; then surely it cannot be, but that the prayers, which we present unto God in his name, must finde acceptance, and obtaine a glorious returne. Whatsoever you aske the Father in my name; he will give it you, saith Christ, Joh. 16. 23. Christ puts incense upon our prayers and mingles them with the sweet odours of his owne merits: he is the onely Al­tar of Christians, sanctifying all their gifts and sacrifices. Thus you have a taste of the excellent priviledges of Be­leevers: through Jesus Christ they have accesse to the Throne of Grace; and all their petitions find acceptance with God, returning (as the Spies did out of Canaan) with great and weighty clu­sters of blessings, or (as Jacobs sonnes did from their brother Joseph) full and loaden with good things. Oh then how precious, how lovely. how longed for ought Jesus Christ to be, who accumu­lates, and heapes such royall favours up­on us? who stores us with such rich and [Page 249] inestimable gifts, who gives us free in­gresse into the presence of God, and re­gresse from him with joyfull hearts; who makes way for our prayers, that they may come as things of worth unto his Father, and sends them back againe with good newes, and glad tidings of blessed successe: how precious, I say, and how highly to be esteemed, and re­garded is such a Benefactour as this? how ought wee to draw out all our love, and the very strength of our affections to cast them upon such a lovely object as this, and to embrace Jesus Christ, who hath done for us above all that wee can either name, or thinke? I passe now to some meanes by which we may awaken, and stirre up our affections unto Christ. And herein I shall give no other directi­ons, then the Church doth to the daugh­ters of Jerusalem in Cant. 5. 10. &c. And the occasion was this. The Church was seeking Christ earnestly, and diligently, and in her seeking, enquires of the daughters of Jerusalem for her beloved: upon which the daughters utter these words. What is thy beloved more then ano­ther beloved, ô thou fairest among women? The Church for answer, and as a meanes [Page 250] to draw forth the affections of the daughters; sets forth exactly the high perfections and excellencies of Christ: & shee doth anatomize him in every part, and particularize him in every excellen­cy, setting him forth thus:

First, the Church describes Christ in generall, and that two wayes.

  • 1. Positively.
  • 2. Comparatively.

First, positively; my beloved is white and ruddy, verse 10. that is, he is of the most compleate, perfect, healthy consti­tution. The strongest complexion and constitution is noted by these two co­lours; white and ruddy: and it denotes unto us the power and omnipotency of Christ, whereby he is able to doe the greatest things in the world. Also his whitenesse denoteth his purity and Righ­teousnesse: and ruddy; his owne bloud and sufferings; and likewise his venge­ance on his enemies, for he hath his gar­ments dipt in bloud, Isaiah 63. 2.

Secondly, comparatively, he is the chiefe of ten thousand: or having [...] the banner above ten thousand. Christ is the Standard bearer of ten thousand, that doth excell all men and Angels, and all [Page 251] other creatures in the world. Now in Armies the goodliest men use to carrie the Ensigne or banner,: so Christ is in­comparable beyond all other, and hath the perfections of Angels, of men, and of all creatures beside. Againe, the En­signe is a warlike Instrument, and the bearer thereof, one of the chiefe: so Christ is for the Ensigne of his people, Isa. 11. 10. And all the Armies in Heaven and earth doe follow him, Rev. 19. 11. the Saints they worship him, the Angels they adore him; for he is the Lyon of the Tribe of Judah: and he is the first-borne of God, set above all the Kings of the Earth.

Secondly, the Church descends from her generall commendations of Christ, to that which is more particular, setting him forth by all the members and linea­ments of his body.

First, the Church begins with Christs head, which is the most eminent part of all the body. His head is as the most fine gold, verse 11. that is, Christ hath a head most glorious and excellent, most splen­dent and shining, as pure as gold. This denotes unto us the beautie, dignity, eminency, and government of Christ. [Page 252] As gold is of a splendent and durable nature; so is the government and dig­nity of Christ everlasting and durable, it is Divine and heavenly, and of a glori­ous extent.

2. His locks are curled, and black as a Raven, verse 11. Blacke and curled locks are a signe of a hot braine, and they doe argue quicknesse, and dexterity of wit and strength: this denotes to us the vi­gour and strength of Christ, and the depth of all his counsels.

3. His eyes are as Doves eyes by the streames of waters, washed with milke, and fitly set, verse 12. that is, his eyes are pure as Doves: so that he cannot behold any evill with the least approbation: and they are quick to search all things: and they are white as milke, in that he doth behold his people in grace and mercy: Lastly, his eyes are fitly set; that is, as a Diamond in a ring, or, as the fi [...]ling stones, which were set in the hollow places of the golden Ephod, Exod 25. 7. and those stones were called stones of fulnesse, because they did fit the hollow places in that golden Ephod. In like man­ner Christ hath steady eyes, he is not goggle eyed, (as we say) but his eyes [Page 253] are steady and firme, they are as a stone set in a gold ring, which cannot be tur­ned out of its place: so are Christs eyes evermore guiding his fight to looke per­fectly into all things, both into the depth of Gods Counsels, and into the depth of mans heart and understanding.

4. Christs cheekes are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers, verse 13. that is, he is like a bed of sweet spices, or growne plants, that serve for persume. This de­notes and shewes unto us Christs beauty and grace, his comelinesse and gravity to all that doe behold him. All Christs graces are sweet, and his fight & counte­nance hath a transforming vertue in it, it makes those that behold Christ to be like unto him, while others behold his glory, they are transformed into the same Image of his glory, from glory to glory, 2 Cor. 3. 18.

5. His lips are like dropping sweet smel­ling myrrhe, verse 13. The Lillies are faire and sweet of themselves; yet hee addes, they dropp pure myrrhe. This is to be referred unto the holy, heavenly, sweet and gracious Doctrine of Christ. Honey and myrrhe, that is, love and mer­cy, grace and goodnesse did flow out of [Page 254] Christs lips: so its said in Psal. 45. 1. grace was in his lips. Christs heart was a treasure full of all Divine grace and goodnesse, then needs must his lips bee sweet; yea, and farre surpasse in sweet­nesse honey and myrrhe.

6. His hands are as gold Rings, set with a berill, or Chrysolite, verse 14. The he­brew word [...] put for Chryso­lite, signifieth a precious stone. The hands of Christ are set forth with all ornaments and precious stones, and shi­ning rings of Gold. This denotes unto us not onely the person of Christ; but also his actions and workings. The ope­rations of Christ are admirable and full of Majesty, if we consider them in the course of the creatures, in the Sunne, Moone, Starres, in the growth of hearbs and plants; so in all the Creation of the world, in gubernation, in ordering of the event of all things, and the like. The workes of God are incomprehen­sible, as in Job, 9. 12. who shall say un­to him what dost thou? that is, the things which he doth are too high for mans understanding. Now as all the govern­ment of Egypt went through the hands of Joseph; so all the workes of God goe [Page 255] through the hands of Christ. The Fa­ther hath committed all his Judgements and workes into the hands of his Sonne, glorious therefore are the workes, which Christ doth performe both in Heaven and in earth.

7. His breast, or belly is overlaid with Saphires, as bright Ivory, ver. 14. Ivo­rie and Saphires are precious and beau­tifull: and with these Christ hath his belly overlaid. This denotes unto us the bowels and inward affections, the tender mercy and pitifull commiserati­ons of Christ toward his Saints and Children.

8. His legges are as pillars of Marble, set upon sockets of fine gold, ver. 15. That is, Christs wayes are full of Majesty and power, and as Marble pillars they are firme and constant, having sockets of Gold to sustaine them, and to beare up his feet, whereby his way is perfect, by which hee walkes safely, treading downe his enemies under his feet, and bringeth glad tidings of peace unto his people.

9. His lookes, or countenance is as Le­banon, excellent as the Cedars, ver. 15. that is, Christ was of a goodly and tall [Page 256] stature, like unto the Cedars of Lebanon, a goodly Mountaine on the north side of the Land of Canaan. This shewes the Majesty and countenance of Christ, when he shall plead for his Church and people against their Enemies.

10. His mouth, or palate is sweet, ver. 16. this is the same with his lips, and shewes how sweet and comfortable, how gracious and amiable the Doctrine of the Gospel is, this expression is here againe repeated to shew, that Christ is better knowne in Sion, then in any o­ther place. All the workes of Christ are glorious, but his Gospel exceeds them all in glory. The Gospel is the glasse, wherein wee see the glory of Christ more clearely, then in any o­ther way; therefore the words of Christ are much more sweet to a Beleevers taste, then honey or the most sweetest of spices are unto the mouth.

Lastly, Christ is precious and amiable in his whole selfe: yea, he is altogether lovely, ver. 16. that is, Christ is lovely in generall, and he is lovely in particular: he is lovely in all parts, and altogether: yea, he is altogether lovely. As if the Church should have said, what shall I [Page 257] say more of my beloved? he is all over, and altogether lovely. Christ was lovely to God, to Angels, to Saints: hee was lovely in his nature and person, in his Offices and graces, yea, he is all over lovely, he is wholly delectable.

The Church having thus described her beloved, shee concludeth with an exclamation; this is my beloved, and this is my friend, oh daughters of Jerusalem: this is he, that I sought with so much diligence, and for whom I was sick of love: this is he, that shall have my best affections, in whom I desire to glory in: this is my friend, oh yee daughters of Jerusalem.

In the next words, wee may take notice of the effect, that this com­mendation of Christ hath upon the daughters of Jerusalem. Whether is thy Beloved gone, oh thou fairest among wo­men? whether is thy Beloved turned aside, that wee may seeke him with thee? The daughters hearing such a high commen­dation from the Church of her Belo­ved, hearing of his riches and glory, and of his beauty and excellency, she is en­flamed with a desire to seek Christ also.

Now from this singular effect, which [Page 258] this commendations of Christ wrought in the daughters of Jerusalem: Ministers of the Gospel may learne and see what their chiefe dutie is; namely, to display those rich treasures of grace, and that splendent shining glory, which is in Christ, to publish and spread before men those manifold excellencies, which be in him, to draw and allure them un­to Christ. The Ministers of the Gospel should imploy their whole force and strength this way, that poore soules may be drawn to esteeme highly of Christ. Who will seeke after that, which he knowes not off? and who will not seeke after a precious jewel? O then tell peo­ple where this jewel, this pearle, this treasure is, that they may seek & search, and become Merchants for to adventure all for Jesus Christ.

To conclude, study then all his ex­cellencies, riches, beauty, lovelinesse, of­fices, and the nature of Christ: meditate upon whole Christ, and upon all the parts of him; and never give over un­till thou hast sweeten'd thy soule, en­kindl'd thy love, and fixed all thy af­fections upon him. Meditate what Christ hath done for thee, what moo­ved [Page 259] him unto it; and likewise how un­worthy thou art, and how thankfull thou art, and let these meditations draw forth thy affections unto him.

Againe, Feed upon Christs love; that which wee feed upon, turnes into our own nature: love is fuell for it selfe; love feeds upon love, and the person beloved: so let us upon Christs love: the more wee live upon Christs love, the more our love will be enflamed to­ward him. Kisse sweetly the glorified body of our crucified Saviour, with the lips of infinitely indeared and unexpres­sible affectionate love: though the di­stance be great between Christ and the soule; yet faith will bring them easily together.

Lastly, Goe to the everlasting foun­taine of Christs bloud; let the cocke run; rence thy soule (as it were) in the bloud of the Lambe; apply it for justi­fication and sanctification; so shalt thou be free from the guilt and pollution of sinne; thou doest aske but the acquit­tance, the debt being paid in Christ.


A Table of those Scriptures, which are occasionally cleared and briefly illustrated in the fore-going Treatise.

The first number directs to the Chapter, the second to the Verse, the third to the Page.


23.20, 21.132.

21.17, 18.88.


1 Samuel.

2 Samuel.

1 Kings.
10.21. 27.24.

2 Kings.

23.8, 9, 10.182.

2.7. 8.215.
16.5, 6.17.
73.25, 26.17. 22.

8.22, 23, 24.25.


1.2, 3.178.
3.1, 2, 3.14. 19.
5.2, 3.175.
510. 9.151. 249
8.6, 7.148.

6.7.58. 102.
26.8, 9.172.
40.15. 17.130.
56.6, 7.101.
61.1, 2, 3.139.



16.6. 8.227.



Chap.V [...]s.Page.

Hab [...]kkuk.
Chap.Ve [...]s.Page.
3.17. 18.177.

Chap.V [...]rs.Page.

H [...]gg [...]i.

19.16, 17.56.
13.44.10. 23.


1.16.37. 1 [...]8
1.17.71. 93.
6.44.20. 207
16.26, 27.245.

10.12. 36.111.


1 Corinthians.
3.21, 22.158.
7.13.107. 200.
10.1, 2.71.
12.25.6. 67.

2. Corinthians.

5.23, 24.94.

3.18, 19.227.

2.20, 21.166.
2.6, 7, 8.58.
3.9, 10.163.

3.10.34. 223.

1 Thessalonians.

2 Thessalonians.

1 Timothy.
1.17.112. 119.

2 Timothy.


1.354. 87.
1.4, 5.216.
7.26.55. 96.
9.6. 26.90.
9.8, 9.93.
9.9.48, 92.
9.12.200. 202.
9.14.99. 201.
10.19, 20.203.


1 Peter.
3.1, 2.155.
3.19, 20.81.

2 Peter.

1 John.
2.1, 2.243.

6.15, 16.133.

The Printer to the Reader.

NOtwithstanding all our care, there are some faults escaped in the Print; yet I hope none will be found so great as to disturbe the sence, if thou wilt but make a fa­vourable construction of what thou shalt read.

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