BY That Pious and Eminent Preacher of the WORD of GOD, JOHN ROGERS of Dedham in ESSEX.

JOHN 5. 39.
Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testifie of me.
2 PETER 1. 20, 21.

Knowing this first, that no prophesie of the Scripture is of any private inter­pretation.

For the prophesie came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the holy Ghost.

LONDON: Printed by JOHN FIELD; and are to be sold by Peter Cole, at the Sign of the Printing-Press in Cornhill, near the Royal Exchange. 1650.

To the Reader.

THe Name alone of the Author of this Exposition and Commentary, doth put a great price and value on it, yea com­mand thy reading and study of it. It is the work of John Rogers, Minister of Dedham in Essex, written by his own hand. Being dead, he yet speaketh [...], Heb. 11. 4. in some Copies [...]. Oecumen. ad loc. [...] Theophylact.; that is, his Name is as a sweet savour poured forth, and his praise amongst the Saints in all the Churches of Christ; wheresoever he is spoken of, this may be said of him, That he was a burning and a shining light, having a heart inflamed with love to Christ, Truth, and the Souls of men; his words were as sparks of fire. As his light di­rected his zeal, so his zeal wrought with his light, and made it powerful: Animum non faciunt, qui animum non habent. Some Books are like a frosty day, clear, but dry and cold, and leave the Reader in the same temper. As in preaching, so in writing also, the stirring of the heart and affections should be endeavored, as well as Information; and such words be used, and so set, as may rather make a Sermon then a Tract, and beget rather a love to the Matter (as this Author endeavoreth) then an opinion, or an esteem of the VVriters abilities. He was a Scribe indeed, taught of God, instruct­ed and prepared for the Kingdom (that is, the Church) of God, having, yea being a Treasure [Page] of things both new and old (that is, of all sorts of Doctrine, and all ways of Application of them.) He was a Boanerges, a Son of Thunder Mark 3. 19. Lucas Brugen­sis. Beza Grot. ad loc., for the power and efficacy God gave unto his Ministry; and a Barnabas, a Son of Consolation tooActs 4. 36. Consolator, à comitate procul dubio, & exi­mi [...] in crigen­dis consuentis facultate, &c. Beza ad loc.: As the Thunder shaketh the Pillars of the Earth, over­throweth the Rocky Mountains, causeth the wilde and savage Beasts to fear; and as the Light­ning powerfully insinuates it self, breaking the bones, but not the flesh: So was it the pleasure of the Lord to bring down by his Ministry, the high and stout hearts of many rebellious ones, and to lead them in subjection to his wil through Christ; To throw down, and to build up by him even as high as Heaven. As the Scriptures give us the Genealogies of the Saints, so many came out of Adam, Abraham, &c. How numerous are the Children whom this Author hath had given him by God? Many Families, persons of all sorts and ranks, in many Counties and Nations; even so far as his sound went forth, will and do acknow­ledge him to have begotten them to God, and call him Blessed.

Reader, read his VVorks, and thou shalt know him; work what thou readest on thy own heart, that thou mayst be like unto him, one of his chil­dren also: which is the hearty desire of him who cannot but make this honorable mention of the Author, and is

Desirous of thy good in Christ, SIDRACH SIMPSON.


  • Page
  • THe scope of this Epistle both general and par­ticular, with the se­veral parts thereof, and matter contained therein, 1


Verse 1, 2.
  • 1. THe sum and parts of the Preface; 2
  • 2. The several names of this Apostle, and why so named, ibid.
  • 3. What names Parents are to give to their Children, ibid.
  • 4. Such as set forth Books, ought to set their names thereto, ibid.
  • 5 Why some worthy men have not done thus, 3
  • 6. Wherein the Apostles differed from all other Ministers, ibid.
  • 7. A Minister must have an inward calling and an outward, ibid.
  • 8. Why our Apostle nameth his Apostleship, 4
  • 9. Repentance wipeth away our sins, 5
  • 10. Why the Jews were called strangers, ibid.
  • 11. Among them there were sun­dry believers, ibid.
  • 12. Gods Church here on earth is under persecution, 6
  • 13. Lawful to fly in the time of persecution, 7
  • 14. The large extent of the Church under the New Testament, ibid.
  • 15. The Apostles diligence and care in his charge, ibid.
  • 16. God hath chosen some to salva­tion,
  • 8
  • 17. How we may know the electi­on of others, ibid.
  • 18. Christians must so live, as that even others may be perswaded they belong to God, 9
  • 19. Why God decreed to save some, ibid.
  • 20. The ends why we were elected, 10
  • 21. Sanctification the end of our Redemption, ibid.
  • 22. Christs obedience and suffer­ings the meritorious cause of our Salvation, 11
  • 23. Christs death is to be particu­larly apprehended by faith, 12
  • 24. A proof of the holy Trinity, 13
  • 25. Election the work thereof, ibid.
  • 26. Why Gods favor is to be sought, ibid.
  • 27. Ministers must labor that their people may be brought into Gods favor, ibid.
  • And may grow in grace, 14
Verse 3.
  • 1. THe sum and substance of the whole Epistle, 14
  • 2. Gods blessing man, mans bles­sing [Page] man, and mans blessing God, 15
  • 3. Gods mercies to be thought on, and spoken of with admiration, ibid.
  • 4. We must not think or speak of God, but with reverence, 16
  • 5. Why God is termed the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, ibid.
  • 6. Gods Son, why termed Jesus Christ our Lord, ibid.
  • 7. What meant here by Hope, 17
  • 8. Assurance of Salvation comes not by nature, 18
  • 9. The means whereby God works Faith, ibid.
  • 10. Why termed a lively hope, 19
  • 11. Gods free favor the cause of all our good, 20
  • 12. Man could not be saved with­out abundant mercy, ibid.
  • 13. The means whereby we are be­gotten to this hope, 22
  • 14. Benefits arising from Christs Resurrection, ibid.
Verse 4.
  • 1. THe Kingdom of Heaven why termed an inheritance, 23
  • 2. The happiness of Gods people in heaven abideth for ever, 24
  • 3. Why termed undefiled, ibid.
  • 4. The Kingdom of Heaven always one and the same, ibid.
  • 5. God hath appointed to glorifie his Saints in Heaven, 27
  • 6. The prevention of a conceit of the Jews, and of an Objection, 28
  • 7. Gods Children shall not miss of Heaven, 29
  • 8. To be particularly assured of Hea­ven, a special comfort, ibid.
Verse 5.
  • 1. THe prevention of another doubt, 30
  • 2. Gods Children have many Ene­mies to hinder their salvation, 31
  • 3. Christians cannot stand of them­selves, 31
  • 4. Gods almighty power is suffici­ent to uphold us against all our enemies, 32
  • 5. Gods people are kept through Faith, 33
  • 6. How Faith bringeth us to Sal­vation, ibid.
  • 7. Christians must not look here for outward prosperity, 34
  • 8. The fulness of our happiness not to be had here, 35
  • 9. The confutation of an Error, 36
Verse 6.
  • 1. VVE must rejoyce in the assurance of our Sal­vation,
  • 37
  • 2. Religion reforms mirth, ibid.
  • And moderates lawful mirth, ibid.
  • 3. Being assured of Heaven, we must rejoyce even in our trou­bles, 38
  • 4. Gods children must here under­go many troubles, 39
  • 5. Afflictions are tryals, 41
  • 6. Here on earth heaviness and re­joycing may stand together, 42
  • 7. The godlies afflictions are short, ibid.
  • 8. Afflictions come by the wise disposing of Almighty God, 43
Verse 7.
  • 1. A Qualification of their trou­bles, 43
  • 2. Affliction tryeth whether we have Faith, 44
  • 3. How we may try our Faith, ibid.
  • 4. Affliction tryeth whether our Faith be more or less then we take it, 45
  • 5. Affliction serveth to purifie and encrease Faith, ibid.
  • 6. Faith more precious then gold, 46
  • 7. Faith will be crowned at the last [Page] day, 47
  • 8 Christ will come on the last day to judge the world, 48
  • 9. The godly shall be publiquely re­warded, 49
Verse 8.
  • 1. VVHereat Ministers should aim in commending their people, 49
  • 2. Through Faith we believe even things above the reach of our reason, 50
  • 3. True love the fruit of Faith, 51
  • 4. How to try both our Faith and Love, 52
  • 5. Faith must directly fasten it self on Christ Jesus, 52
  • 6. A proof of the Divinity of Christ, 53
  • 7. Joy a fruit of Faith, ibid.
  • 8. Why no true joy can proceed from our selves, 54
  • 9. The joy of believers is unspeak­able and glorious, ibid.
Verse 9.
  • 1. EVery man is in danger of ut­ter destruction, 55
  • 2. The godly by Faith do even here enjoy Salvation, ibid.
  • 3. No pains too much to get Faith, 56
  • 4. Salvation not the end or reward of our works, ibid.
  • 5. We cannot merit Heaven, 57
  • 6. Believers shall have also the salvation of their bodies, ibid.
  • 7. What those are to look for that follow Christ, 58
Verse 10.
  • 1. NO point touching Salvation is to be taught or received, but what's grounded on the Word, 59
  • 2. The Prophets took great pains to know the mystery of our Sal­vation by Christ, ibid.
  • 3. The Prophets and old Fathers were saved by Christ as well as we, 60
  • 4. The Doctrine of the Gospel not new, 61
  • 5. The Prophets foretold of Christ, 62
  • 6. The Harmony between the Old and New Testament, 62
  • 7. Salvation why called Grace, 63
  • 8. The Prophets did partake of Salvation, though they saw not Christ in the flesh, ibid.
Verse 11.
  • 1. VVE must endeavor to know what's profitable to be known, ibid.
  • 2. The Prophets searched into this great mystery, through the di­rection of the Spirit, ibid.
  • 3. Gods Spirit the Author of the Old Testament, 64
  • 4. A proof of the Divinity of the Holy Ghost, ibid.
  • 5. The sufferings of Christ fore­told in the Old Testament, ibid.
  • 6. Why it was needful that Christ should suffer for us, 65
  • 7. Three degrees of our Saviors Victory, ibid.
  • 8. Through afflictions we must come into glory, 66
Verse 12.
  • 1. THe Anabaptists confuted, ibid.
  • 2. The Covenant of Grace one and the same throughout all ages, 67
  • 3. The Author, Matter, Form and End thereof, ibid.
  • 4. The difference about the mea­sure given, and persons to whom, ibid.
  • 5. Why God sent his Son no sooner, ibid.
  • 6. Why theirs was called the time of the Law, and ours of the Go­spel, 68
  • [Page] 7. God not to be charged with in­constancy, 68
  • 8. The same Gospel which was preached by the Prophets, was al­so preached by the Apostles, 69
  • 9. The Apostles have left a per­fect direction for all things need­ful for our Salvation, 70
  • 10. Why the Angels desire to see the perfection of the Salvation of Gods Church, ibid.
Verse 13.
  • 1. DOctrine and Exhortation must be joyned together, ibid.
  • 2. The corrupt conceits of the Jews about Salvation, 72
  • 3. The corrupt conceits of Christi­ans about it, 73
  • 4. The best prize it not as they should, ibid.
  • 5. What sobriety is, and of sobriety about meat and drink, ibid.
  • 6. Sobriety about Apparel, Re­creation and Profits, 74
  • 7. What Faith is, with the parts thereof, 76
  • 8. What it is to trust perfectly, ibid.
  • 9. Salvation a most special grace, 78
  • 10. What we are to expect by Christ, 79
  • 11. Salvation is not of our own pro­curing or seeking, ibid.
  • 12. The Gospel lays open Christ Jesus unto us, 80
Verse 14.
  • 1. THe two parts of Sanctifica­tion, 81
  • 2. Obedience and Sanctification fol­low faith, ibid.
  • 3. God calls for obedience, 82
  • 4. We must obey in all things that are commanded, be the Command­ment never so strange or unplea­sing, 83
  • 5. The strict obedience of the Je­suits to their Superiors, ibid.
  • 6. We must obey without consulting with flesh and blood, whosoever or whatsoever be against it, volun­tarily and constantly, 84
  • 7. What may stir us up unto obedi­ence, 86
  • 8. Two parts of obedience, ibid.
  • 9. We must forsake evil before we can do good, 87
  • 10. Ignorance is the cause and root of a bad life, ibid.
  • 11. Why being so well instructed, they were termed ignorant, 88
  • 12. All knowledge without the knowledge of Christ, is nothing, ibid.
  • 13. Knowledge without Reforma­tion, is but ignorance, ibid.
  • 14. Such as have attained know­ledge, must not live as they did before, 89
Verse 15, 16.
  • 1. HOliness must be added to ab­stinence from sin, 90
  • 2. This duty needful to be urged, ibid.
  • 3. Christians must be holy, 91
  • Holy in all maner of conversation, 92
  • 4. God is holy, 93
  • 5. A twofold calling, 94
  • 6. The parts of the inward calling, ibid.
  • 7. The fruits thereof, with the marks negative and affirmative, 95
  • 8. Why the Apostle doth so earn­estly exhort unto Holiness, 96
  • 9. Ministers must prove their Doctrine by Gods Word, 97
  • 10. Obedience is to be yielded to those Doctrines which are proved by the Word, 98
  • 11. Gods word the rule of all truth, 99
  • [Page] 12. The use of the Apocrypha Books, with the respect which is to be given thereto, 100
  • 13. Christians must be ready in the Scriptures, ibid.
  • 14. The more the Lord bestows on any, the more he expects from them, 102
  • 15. The Popish Doctrine of Free­will hath no ground from this place, 103
  • 16. Nor is it against the married estate, ibid.
Verse 17.
  • 1. VVHy we ought here to pass our time in fear, 104
  • 2. Three kindes of fear, Natural, Slavish, Filial; of which the last is often enjoyned, 105
  • 3. Whence it proceedeth, with the benefits and marks thereof, and opposites thereunto, 106
  • 4. Means to attain unto the fear of God, 107
  • 5. God requires our whole time for his service, 108
  • 6. Christians here in this world are but sojourners, 111
  • 7. The first reason of the fore-go­ing Exhortation, 113
  • 8. Such as call God Father, must walk in fear and obedience as Sons, 114
  • 9. What the name Father implyeth, ibid.
  • 10. The second reason of the fore­going Exhortation, 115
  • 11. How God doth and will judge of mens actions in this life, at death, and on the day of Judgement, 116
  • 12. The person of man how taken, ibid.
  • 13. Four things required to the be­ing of a good work, 117
Verse 18, 19.
  • 1. THe third reason of the fore­going Exhortation, 118
  • 2. A man may know himselfe re­deemed, 119
  • 3. Redemption presupposeth bon­dage and slavery, ibid.
  • 4. There's a way whereby to come out of our bondage, 120
  • 5. The whole life of an unregene­rate man is vain, 121
  • 6. Children readily follow the evil example of their Parents, ibid.
  • 7. Whom we are here to understand by fathers, ibid.
  • 8. Popish Religion stands in pat­ches, 122
  • 9. Parents must give their children good example, ibid.
  • 10. To follow the example of our Ancestors is no sure rule, 123
  • 11. The things of this world are insufficient to redeem any out of his spiritual bondage, ibid.
  • 12. The things of this world are corruptible, vain and uncertain, 125
  • 13. Christs blood the true price of mans redemption, 126
  • 14. In what respects Christ is com­pared to a Lamb, 129
  • 15. We are not to listen to, either believe all we hear, 131
Verse 20, 21.
  • 1. THe prevention of an Objecti­on, 132
  • 2. Christ was ordained before the world, 133
  • 3. The world shall not always con­tinue, 135
  • 4. Christ how manifested, ibid.
  • 5. God is constant and unchange­able, ibid.
  • 6. Gods promises are unchangeable, 136
  • 7. Christ was then exhibited, when God decreed he should so be, ibid.
  • [Page] 8. What God hath decreed, shall be in dwe time accomplished, 136
  • 9. Three differences of times, and why this called the last, 137
  • 10. God will no otherwise reveal his will then he hath already done, ibid.
  • 11. We now live in the latter end of the last times, ibid.
  • 12. Why Christ came towards the latter end of the world, 138
  • 13. What we are to do, that others may think well of us, ibid.
  • 14. We cannot believe in God but by the Son, ibid.
  • 15. In Christs Resurrection the whole Trinity had a hand, 139
  • 16. The benefits which they reap that believe in Christ, ibid.
Verse 22.
  • 1. VVHere there's no love nor fear of God, there can be no true brotherly love, 140
  • 2. Where there's the true fear or love of God, there's also brother­ly love, ibid.
  • 3. There's uncleanness in us both in soul and body, 142
  • 4. Where there is sanctification of the soul, there is also sanctifica­tion of the body, 143
  • 5. The Word of God is the outward instrument of our cleansing, ibid.
  • 6. Why the Word is called Truth, ibid.
  • 7. The Spirit is the inward worker of Sanctification, 144
  • 8. Till we be cleansed by the Spi­rit, we are unfit for any duty, ibid.
  • 9. The end of our Sanctification is to be fruitful in good works, ibid.
  • 10. What love is, ibid.
  • 11. The properties of love, 146
  • 12. Two caveats to be observed of them that for redressing of wrongs make use of the Magi­grate, 147
  • 13. There's little love in the world. 148
  • 14. The causes of the want of love, 150
  • 15. The effects of the want of love, 151
  • 16. Reasons inciting to the duty of love, 152
  • 19. The fruits of love must ac­company the profession thereof, 153
  • 20. Brotherly offices must proceed from brotherly affections, ibid.
  • 21. Love must reach to all, ibid.
  • 22. How we ought to love the wicked, 155
  • 23. Love must be without faining, ibid.
  • 24. Love must be mutual, 156
  • 25. The properties of pure love, 157
  • 26. A Christians love must be earnest, 158
  • 27. Love must be constant, ibid.
Verse 23.
  • 1. NO unregenerate person can truly love, 159
  • 2. Such as are born again must needs love, ibid.
  • 3. What Regeneration is, ibid.
  • 4. The Lord the Author thereof, 160
  • 5. The Lords will the cause thereof, 161
  • 6. Without Regeneration, all things else we have are nothing, ibid.
  • 7. Regeneration of absolute ne­cessity, 162
  • 8. The effects of Regeneration, 163
  • 9. A regenerate man is not the same he was before, ibid.
  • 10. A regenerate man groweth by [Page] degrees, 164
  • 11. Why men grow no faster in goodness, ibid.
  • 12. A caveat for such as complain they do not grow, 165
  • 13. There's no perfection here in this life, ibid.
  • 14. Regeneration cometh not by na­ture, 167
  • 15. Gods Spirit by the Word changeth mans heart, ibid.
  • 16. Gods Word is the instrumental cause of our conversion, 168
  • 17. God doth not always tye himself thereunto, ibid.
  • 18. The Ministers of the Word are appointed of God the instruments to convert souls, 169
  • 19. Whence it cometh to pass that the Word worketh Regeneration, 170
Verse 24, 25.
  • 1. VVHerein mans life may be compared to grass, 171
  • 2. How to be prepared for death, 172
  • 3. The glory of a carnal man but a vain thing, 174
  • 4. Nothing in an unregenerate man can abide the Lords examinati­on, 175
  • 5. Gods Word the means whereby to live for ever, ibid.
  • 6. The Word by preaching made the instrument of Regeneration, 176
  • 7. The Word ought to be preached in every Congregation, 177
  • 8. The Word must be so preached, as that it may be avouched to be indeed the Word of God, ibid.


  • THe Coherence of this Cha­pter with the former, with the sum thereof, and of the first three Verses, 179
Verse 1, 2, 3.
  • 1. REgeneration and the love of sin cannot stand together, 180
  • 2. There's no perfection to be at­tained unto here, ibid.
  • 3. To be is a Christian, a work of great difficulty, 181
  • 4. Under those here named, all other corruptions are included, ibid.
  • 5. Most of the corruptions here named are inward. 182
  • 6. That's nought which is forbid­den in Gods Word, ibid.
  • 7. What malice is, with the dif­ference between it and anger, 183
  • 8. What we are to understand by guile, ibid.
  • 9. Guile is to be avoided as well in smal as great matters, 184
  • 10. What Hypocrisie is, 185
  • 11. What Envy, ibid.
  • 12. What evil speaking, ibid.
  • 13. The Word of God cannot thrive in an unsanctified heart, 186
  • 14. Our desire toward the Word must be earnest, ibid.
  • 15. Our desire toward the Word must be constant, 187
  • 16. Our desire toward the Word must be impartial, 188
  • 17. Ministers must have store of milk for their spiritual children, and store of love, and much pa­tience, ibid.
  • 18. The Word why compared to milk, 189
  • 19. Nothing sweeter to Gods chil­dren [Page] then the Word, 189
  • 20. The Word is the common food of all Christians, ibid.
  • 21. The Word why called sincere, ibid.
  • 22. Why Christians are to desire after the Word, 191
  • 23. Christians must daily grow in grace, ibid.
  • 24. Such as finde the Word power­ful for their Salvation, do the more desire it and affect it, 192
  • 25. Christ is sweet to a Christian; and sweetens all that he hath, 193
  • 26. Christ is every way bountiful to his, ibid.
Verse 4, 5.
  • 1. VVHerein Christs bounty doth appear, 194
  • 2. A comparison between the Tem­ple of Jerusalem, and that which Christ maketh of all that believe in him, ibid.
  • 3. Christ why compared to a stone, ibid.
  • 4. To believe in Christ (which is to come to him) is a great privi­ledge, ibid.
  • 5. Christians must come to Christ, 195
  • 6. Christ the foundation that bears up his Church, 198
  • 7. Christ is a living foundation, 200
  • 8. The prevention of an Objecti­on, 201
  • 9. Christ disallowed, of whom, and why, ibid.
  • 10. Such things are often disallow­ed of men, which are allowed of God, 202
  • 11. There's an union between Christ and believers, ibid.
  • 12. How to come to be stones of this building, 204
  • 13. The whole Church makes but one Spiritual House, 205
  • 14. Every particular believer is a Spiritual House. ibid.
  • 15. Such as are united to Christ, ore made holy, 206
  • 16. Believers are Priests to God, ibid.
  • 17. The prevention of an Objecti­on, 207
  • 18. Christians are not now without Sacrifices, and what they are, ibid.
  • 19. Why called Spiritual Sacrifices, 208
  • 20. Our service of God must be dòne in a Spiritual maner, 209
  • 21. The prevention of an Objecti­on, ibid.
  • 22. Spiritual Sacrifices are not re­garded of carnal men, ibid.
  • 23. Through Christ our Sacrifices are acceptable to God, 210
  • 24. Our works, though imperfect, accepted through Christ, ibid.
Verse 6.
  • 1. THe Testimony of Gods Word is that which settles us in any point of Doctrine, 211
  • 2. The Old Testament of the same authority with the New. ibid.
  • 3. Of old, people were more ready in the Scripture then they are now, 212
  • 4. What the Lord saith he doth, ibid.
  • 5. God lays the foundation of his Churches Salvation, ibid.
  • 6. The Papists take from Christ his Kingly, Prophetical and Priestly Office, 213
  • 7. Believers do always finde enough in Christ, ibid.
  • 8. The miserable condition of them that believe not in Christ, and who they are, 214
  • 9. Believers can never fall away wholly nor finally, ibid.
Verse 7, 8.
  • [Page]1. GOds promises are to be parti­cularly applyed, 215
  • 2. Christ is precious unto all those that believe, 216
  • 3. Such are unbelievers which are disobedient, 217
  • 4. Why the Jews did reject Christ, 218
  • 5. Succession is of Doctrine or Per­son, 219
  • 6. Such as do least good, challenge the goodliest titles, 220
  • 7. Such as would be reputed buil­ders, are usually enemies to true builders, ibid.
  • 8. Ministers must be builders, ibid.
  • 9. Every man must be a builder, 221
  • 10. The impiety of these times, ib.
  • 11. The carelesness of these times, 222
  • 12. The enemies of the Church un­able to hinder the building there­of, 223
  • 13. Ministers must divide the Word aright, and give every man his portion, 224
  • 14. How Christ and his Word be­come stumbling blocks to unbe­lievers, 225
  • 15. Nothing so good, whereat cor­rupt nature will not take occasion to stumble, ibid.
  • 16. The world hath ever stumbled at Christ, ibid.
  • 17. The Papists stumble at him, al­so the ignorant, civil, prophane, and such as will not part with some beloved sin, 226
  • 18. Such as stumble at the Word, stumble at Christ, 227
  • 19. Offences taken against the Word, removed, 228
  • 20. Scandals of the Papists against it, 230
  • 21. Why and wherein they charge our Doctrine, 230
  • 22. About auricular confession, fast­ing days, marriage, ibid.
  • 23. Offences at preaching the Word, 231
  • 24. Which the true Church, 237
  • 25. Offences against the Preachers of the Word, 239
  • 26. Offences against Professors of the Word, 241
  • 27. Offences arising from mens selves, hindring their zealous profession of Religion, 244
  • 28. No end of the Devils devices, 248
  • 29. Why so few be saved, ibid.
  • 30. Why people have no minde to Religion, ibid.
  • 31. Gods word is therefore bestowed on as, that we may be guided there­by, 249
  • 32. How we are to obey the same, ibid.
  • 33. Four sorts of disobedient per­sons, the prophane, 251
  • The meerly civil, the ignorant and hypocrites, 252
  • 34. Why Christ proves a Rock of offence unto most, 253
  • 35. Whether it be lawful and meet to handle the Doctrine of Gods Decree, 254
  • 36. God hath ordained some to de­struction, 255
  • 37. This was of his own will, and for no cause out of himself, 257
  • 38. The Lord hath done this most justly, 258
  • 39. The Lord hath done this un­changeably, 259
  • 40. Marks of such as are reprobates, 260
Verse 9.
  • 1. MInisters must speak comfor­tably to the good, contrari­ly to the bad, 262
  • 2. And warily deliver the Word, [Page] that each may take his due porti­on, 262
  • 3. What election is, ibid.
  • 4. God before the world hath or­dained some men to salvation, ibid.
  • 5. The cause hereof was because he would, 263
  • 6. The number of the elect small, ibid.
  • 7. They that be elect cannot but be saved, 264
  • 8. A man may know, and be assured of his election, 265
  • 9. Notes of election, 266
  • 10. Whether we may be certain of anothers election, 267
  • 11. Christians through Christ are made Kings, Priests, Prophets, 268
  • 12. Christ and his Gospel preached in time of the Law, ibid.
  • 13. The promises and priviledges laid down in the Scriptures, be­long onely to Gods elect, ibid.
  • 14. Election is the foundation of all the good comes to us, ibid.
  • 15. Christ how our King, Priest and Prophet, 269
  • 16. Believers are others then the world thinks for, ibid.
  • 17. The Jews why termed an holy Nation, 270
  • 18. All that be the Lords com­pany are holy persons, ibid.
  • 19. Comfort and counsel for san­ctified persons, 271
  • 20. The misery of those that are unsanctified, with advice to them to come out of this condition, ibid.
  • 21. The Church Gods peculiar peo­ple, ibid.
  • 22. No marvel though he set much by it, 272.
  • 23. Gods glory the end of all the priviledges bestowed on us, 273
  • 24. We were elected of God, that we might shew forth his praises, and not to be idle, &c. 273
  • 25. Gods glory the furthest end of our election, ibid.
  • 26. Effectual calling a certain ar­gument of election, ibid.
  • 27. Two sorts of calling, outward and inward, ibid.
  • 28. The Word the outward instru­ment hereof, 274
  • 29. The parts of effectual calling, ibid.
  • 30. Gods free mercy the cause here­of, ibid.
  • 31. Every one must endeavor to prove his calling, ibid.
  • 32. What to understand by dark­ness and light, 275
  • 33. Every unregenerate person is in darkness, 276
  • 34. Every true believer is brought to the saving knowledge of Christ, ibid.
Verse 10.
  • 1. FOr a people or particular per­sons to look to their begin­nings, is of good use, 278
  • 2. No priviledges can exempt the contemners of the Word from Gods wrath, 279
  • 3. Gods mercy, power and truth in making the Jews a people again, 280
  • 4. Impenitent persons not worthy the name of people, ibid.
  • 5. No outward affliction doth nul­lifie Gods Church, 281
  • 6. To be the people of God a choice blessing, ibid.
  • 7. Sin unrepented of lets Gods mercy, 282
  • 8. What God did for the Jews was of mercy, and so all we have, ibid.
Verse 11.
  • [Page]1. HOliness in heart and con­versation must go together, 283
  • 2. Ministers must love and affect their people, ibid.
  • 3. The Saints are to be the objects of our love, 284
  • 4. Wisdom requisit in the Preachers of the Word, 285
  • 5. What meant by fleshly lusts, ibid.
  • 6. There are remnants of sin in the very best, ibid.
  • 7. Two sorts of sinners, 287
  • 8. Evil thoughts cast in by Satan, or from our selves, 288
  • 9. The causes of evil thoughts from Satan, ibid.
  • 10. How to be rid of them, 289
  • 11. How to discern them from those which arise from our own nature, ibid.
  • 12. How to prevent evil thoughts, 290
  • 13. How fleshly lusts fight against the soul, 292
  • 14. Believers are here strangers and pilgrims, 293
  • 15. Several properties of pil­grims applied, 294
Verse 12.
  • 1. REformation must begin at the heart, 299
  • 2. Christians are to have a good conversation, 300
  • 3. Our whole conversation must be good, 301
  • 4. Christians are to live godly, even among the wicked, 303
  • 5. In the worst places God will have his, and why, ibid.
  • 6. How to live holy among the wicked, 304
  • 7. Reasons to provoke to a godly life, 305
  • 8. The wicked speak ill of the truth of Religion, and the professors thereof, 305
  • 9. This sin rife in these days, 306
  • 10. Good works the best way to put our adversaries to silence, 307
  • 11. The wicked have an eye on the godlies actions, 308
  • 12. What good works are, ibid.
  • 13. How necessary they are, 309
  • 14. A Christians perseverance in well-doing, procures glory to God from others, ibid.
  • 15. To visit, taken two ways, 310
  • 16. Conversion is the work of God, ibid.
  • 17. Its of Gods great mercy, ibid.
  • 18. No man can truly glorifie God till he be converted, 311
  • 19. So soon as a man is converted he will glorifie God, ibid.
  • 20. Even the slanderers of the truth may become converts, ibid.
Verse 13, 14.
  • 1. AN Exhortation, with three Reasons to enforce the same, 312, 313.
  • 2. Every man must shew forth his godliness in his particular cal­ling, ibid.
  • 3. Ministers must labor to remove false conceits out of mens mindes, and apply themselves to the state of their people, 315
  • 4. The duties of subjects to their superiors, ibid.
  • 5. God requires the same, which is a reason for it, 316
  • 6. How the laws of Magistrates binde us, ibid.
  • 7. A distribution of Magistrates, ibid.
  • 8. A King is Supreme Governor over all in his own Dominion, ibid.
  • 9. Subordinate Magistrates are al­so [Page] so to be obeyed, 318
  • 10. Both the Supreme and Subor­dinate are sent of God, 319
  • 11. The end why Magistrates were ordained, ibid.
  • 12. Magistrates must punish evil doers, ibid.
  • 13. Magistrates should stand for well-doers, 320
Verse 15.
  • 1. ITs God will that we should obey, 321
  • 2. The godly by well-doing stop the mouthes of the wicked, ibid.
  • 3. They are ignorant and foolish which speak ill of the Gospel, and the professors thereof, 321
  • 4. Every natural man is a fool,
  • 322
Verse 16.
  • 1. THe prevention of an Ob­jection, 323
  • 2. Naturally we are in bondage, 324
  • 3. Believers are made free by Christ, 325
  • 4. Wherein Christian liberty con­sists, ibid.
  • 5. Through mans corrupt nature, even the most holy ordinances of God and best things, are subject to be abused, 328
  • 6. Three restrainers of things in­different, 329
  • 7. A Christian though free, yet is still a servant, 330
Verse 17.
  • 1. THey are good Subjects which not onely obey their Magi­strates, but live well one with another, ibid.
  • 2. We are to honor our Superiors in six particulars, 331
  • 3. We are to honor our equals in two particulars, ibid.
  • 4. We are to honor our inferiors, and why, 332
  • 5. We are to honor our selves, 332
  • 6. We are to honor both good and bad according to their places, 333
  • 7. Even in them that are most bad, there's something to be regarded, ibid.
  • 8. We are to love the persons of Gods children, ibid.
  • 9. We are not to love the fellowship of the ungodly, 335
  • 10. We are to love the fellowship of the godly, 337
  • 11. Rules to be observed by Chri­stians in their private meetings, 339
  • 12. How God is to be feared, 340
  • 13. Commendation and signs of Gods fear, 341
  • 14. The duties of the first and se­cond Table go together, ibid.
  • 15. The knowledge and fear of God is the fountain of all the duties we perform towards men, 342
  • 16. Differences between Religions and Civil honor, 343
  • 17. What honor comprehendeth, and if due to the bad, much more to religious Kings, ibid.
Verse 18.
  • 1. GOds Word teacheth us in all things how to carry our selves, 344
  • 2. Ministers must stoop to the meanest of their charge, ibid.
  • 3. Even particular families are to be well looked to, 345
  • 4. The prevention [...] of Objection, 346
  • 5. Who meant by good, gentle, and who by froward Masters, ibid.
  • 6. Servants must be subject even to their bad and froward Masters, ibid.
Vere 19.
  • 1. TO be incited to the perfor­mance of any duty, its ne­cessary [Page] to know that its pleasing to God, 349
  • 2. The actions of Gods children when pleasing to him, 350
  • 3. Why servants must do their du­ties to unconscionable Masters, 351
  • 4. How we may know whether we do our duties in conscience, ibid.
Verse 20.
  • 1. ALl suffering is not commen­dable nor comfortable, 353
  • 2. On June 16. 1611. being the Lords Day, there was such a grievous tempest of wind, as cast away many Vessels at sea, amongst others, one passage Boat toward Ipswich, with almost twenty per­sons; and on the 18 day, were two and thirty persons troden to death and bruised at a Play in Norwich, 354
  • 3. Patience in suffering for faults hath no reward with God, ibid.
  • 4. What it is to suffer wrongfully, 356
  • 5. What those must do that suffer wrongfully, 357
  • 6. Its commendable for Gods people to suffer for well-doing, ibid.
  • 7. How fearful their condition that hate others for their goodness, ibid.
  • 8. Such as are hated for well-doing, must bear the same patiently, 358
Verse 21.
  • 1. GOd hath ordained his to un­dergo troubles in this world, 359
  • 2. In this world the godly suffer for well-doing, 360
  • 3. Christs sufferings an incitement for us to suffer, 361
  • 4. Christ suffered even for the meanest, 362
  • 5. Christ a patern for our imitation, ibid.
Verse 22.
  • 1. AN illustration of Christs suf­ferings, 362
  • 2. Christ was free from sin, ibid.
  • 3. How the godly stand righteous before God, 363
Verse 23.
  • 1. CHrists admirable patience in his sufferings, 364
  • 2. Why we must not revenge, ibid.
  • 3. They that revenge themselves, call into question Gods wisdom and justice, 366
  • 4. God is a righteous Judge, ibid.
Verse 24.
  • 1. CHrists passion set out by the ends thereof, 367
  • 2. We must not be weary in medi­tating on Christs passion, and hearing thereof, 368
  • 3. A Brief of the sufferings of Christ, set down at large by the Evangelists, ibid.
  • 4. For whomsoever Christ dyed, he dyed to kill sin in them, 372
  • 5. The two parts of Repentance, 374
  • 6. Christians must endeavor to mortifie their lusts, 375
  • 7. As we must be dead unto sin, so must we be alive unto God, ibid.
  • 8. All that Christ suffered was for our profit, 376
  • 9. Christ dyed even for poor ser­vants, ibid.
  • 10. Sin is a disease, 377
  • 11. Our bodies are subject to many sicknesses, ibid.
  • 12. Christ is our Physitian, ibid.
  • 13. Sin hateful to God, ibid.
  • 14. How we may speed in our suits to Christ, ibid.
Verse 25.
  • 1. EVery natural man is like a beast, 378
  • 2. Every unregenerate man is out of his way, 379
  • [Page] 3. How they come to be misled, 379
  • 4. No natural man can of himself come home to God, 380
  • 5. The natural man is in continual danger, ibid.
  • 6. All believers are in a safe con­dition, 381
  • 7. The Ministers of the Word are Shepherds under Christ, 382


  • THe contents of this Cha­pter, 385
Verse 1.
  • 1. MArriage in Gods account an high and honorable state, 385
  • 2. Both husbands and wives must learn to know their duty, ibid.
  • 3. The duties of wives, ibid.
  • 4. Why the Apostle insisteth so largely about the same, 386
  • 5. Gods Ministers have been at all times liable to be slandered, ibid.
  • 6. The prevention of an Objection, ibid.
  • 7. Wives must be subject to their husbands, ibid.
  • 8. Wherein their subjection consist­eth, 387
  • 9. Wives must be subject even unto bad husbands, 388
  • 10. Wives are not to marry irreli­gious husbands, 389
  • 11. Such as live in disobedience are unbelievers, ibid.
  • 12. Good examples excellent pre­paratives to conversion, ibid.
  • 13. Wives professing Religion, must shew it by their behavior to­wards their husbands for their conversion, ibid.
Verse 2.
  • 1. HOw bad husbands may be won, 390
  • 2. Chastity and reverence why re­quired of wives, ibid.
  • 3. What chastity is, and by whom it is to be observed, 391
  • 4. How wives ought to fear their husbands, ibid.
Verse 3, 4.
  • 1. A Preservative of subjection and chastity, 392
  • 2. What apparelling it is that the Apostle forbids, ibid.
  • 3. How far costly apparel is forbid, and to whom, and when, 393
  • 4. Rules about wearing of apparel, ibid.
  • 5. The matter and maner thereof considered, 394
  • 6. Reasons against access in apparel, 395
  • 7. Objections answered, 397
  • 8. An useful meditation upon the putting on and off of our apparel, 398
  • 9. A remedy for excess of apparel, ibid.
  • 10. Inward purity required, ibid.
  • 11. Our principal care should be to adorn the soul, ibid.
  • 12. The covetous and curious re­proved, 399
  • 13. Grace is of an incomparable na­ture, 400
  • 14. A meek and quiet spirit the pro­per ornament of a good wife, 401
  • 15. The worth of grace, ibid.
  • 16. Its of great price in the sight of God, ibid.
Verse 5, 6.
  • 1. REasons of the forementioned Exhortation, 401
  • 2. The amplification of either rea­son, ibid.
  • 3. The examples of Gods servants [Page] are to be followed in all their ver­tues, 402
  • 4. Antiquity joyned with verity is to be esteemed, ibid.
  • 5. There have been always holy wo­men as well as men, 403
  • 6. Why women are as forward as men, ibid.
  • 7. Its needful there should be good women, 404
  • 8. Holiness is that which commends one, ibid.
  • 9. Marriage no hinderance to holi­ness, ibid.
  • 10. Holiness cometh by faith in Christ, 405
  • 11. Holiness may be where there are weaknesses, ibid.
  • 12. Wives cannot perform their duty aright, unless they be holy, ibid.
  • 13. Why more good men then wo­men are mentioned in Scripture, ibid.
  • 14. Why wives must imitate Sarahs obedience and reverence. 406
  • 15. Its not enough to do duties, unless done in a right maner, ibid.
Verse 7.
  • 1. SUperiority exempts not from duty, 407
  • 2. Wherein the husbands duty con­sisteth, ibid.
  • 3. Husbands stand in no less need of instruction then wives, ibid.
  • 4. Husbands are to dwell with their wives, ibid.
  • 5. In what cases they may be absent, 408
  • 6. Husbands must be men of under­standing, 409
  • 7. In what particulars the same will appear, ibid.
  • 8. What honor the husband is to give to his wife, 410
  • 9. The particulars implyed therein, 410
  • 10. The Reasons thereof, 411
  • 11. Sundry sorts of husbands re­proved, ibid.
  • 12. Objections answered, 412
  • 13. Wives are the weaker vessels,
  • 14. Wives are no less heirs of the grace of life then their husbands,
  • 414
  • 15. Husbands should pray with their wives, ibid.
  • 16. Whatsoever may interrupt our prayers is to be avoided, 415
Verse 8, 9.
  • 1. THere must be between Chri­stians unity in Religion, ibid.
  • 2. Who disagree from the truth in the foundation, 416
  • 3. Who holding the foundation, do yet erre from the truth, ibid.
  • 4. Differences for matters of cere­mony, 417
  • 5. The evils which ensue hereup­on, ibid.
  • 6. Differences about private Opini­ons, ibid.
  • 7. There must be unity in our con­versation, ibid.
  • 8. Christians must be of like affe­ction each to other, 418
  • 9. That Christians may love one an­other, what they are to do, and what to avoid, 420
  • 10. What pity is, and that we must pity our selves, ibid.
  • 11. We must pity the souls of others, 421
  • The Reasons, 422
  • 12. Why we must pity the bodies of others, 423
  • 13. Means conducing hereunto, 424
  • 14. We must be pitiful to our beasts, ibid.
  • 15. What courtesie is, and that [Page] Christians are to be courteous, 425
  • And how it shews it self, ibid.
  • 16. Christians must not revenge themselves on their Enemies, 426
  • 17. Lawful revenge on our selves and others, 427
  • 18. Gods children must even out­wardly differ from the wicked, ibid.
  • 19. We must requite evil with good, ibid.
  • 20. An Objection Answered, ibid.
  • 21. Another Objection Answered, 428
  • 22. Reasons why we are to requite evil with good, ibid.
  • 23. The effectually called are willing to do any thing for God, 429
  • 24. The excellency and worth of effectual calling, ibid.
  • 25. How to discern hereof, ibid.
  • 26. Why many Christians are un­setled herein, ibid.
  • 27. The word always perswades us to our good, 430
  • 28. Christians are a blessed people, ibid.
Verse 10, 11.
  • 1. VVHy we ought to be pati­ent, and requite evil with good, 431
  • 2. A peaceable and patient man shall live the longer and the quieter, ibid.
  • 3. Life and long blessings of God, which his children may desire, 432
  • 4. Why the godly are at sometimes taken away by death, ibid.
  • 5. Long life proveth not a bles­sing to the wicked, and yet might, ibid.
  • 6. In what respects it may be law­ful to desire to live, 433
  • 7. Whence it is that most are de­sirous to live long, 433
  • 8. In what respects days may be said to be good here, and in what evil, 434
  • 9. Mens days be usually evil, ibid.
  • 10. Mans life short, ibid.
  • 11. Good days are a blessing of God, ibid.
  • 12. The wicked may live long, yet have not good days, 435
  • 13. Prosperity why denyed for the most part to Gods children, ibid.
  • 14. Whether we may pray for pro­sperity, ibid.
  • 15. Whether we may pray for af­afliction, 436
  • 16. Whoso would be happy must re­frain from evil speaking, 437
  • 17. Means whereby to bridle the tongue, ibid.
  • 18. Reasons inducing thereunto, ibid.
  • 19. We must abstain from the close and covert evils of the tongue, 438
  • 20. Guile to be avoided in Religion towards God, ibid.
  • 21. Guile to be avoided in carriage towards men, 439
  • 22. What the evil of sin is, and that we must avoid it, 440
  • 23. The evil of sin worse then the evil of punishment, ibid.
  • 24. All sins are to be eschewed, ibid.
  • 25. They are to be eschewed at all times, in all places, with all the kindes thereof, under what colour soever it comes, with the appear­ance thereof, and occasions lead­ing thereunto, 441
  • 26. Means whereby to eschew evil, 442
  • 27. Whoso avoids not evil cannot do good, 443
  • 28. Christians must be doers of [Page] good, 444
  • 29. We must do all the good we can, ibid.
  • 30. We must do all the good we can at all times, in all places, in all companies, to all persons, in our general and particular calling, though it be hard and difficult, and in a good maner, 445
  • 31. Christians must seek after peace, 447
  • 32. Covetousness, pride, froward­ness, tale-bearers, the enemies of peace to be avoided, 450
Verse 12.
  • 1. THe prevention of an Ob­jection, 451
  • 2. Why eyes, ears, &c. are attributed to God, ibid.
  • 3. Whom we are to understand by righteous, and why so called, and whom by them that do ill, 452
  • 4. The Lord careth for the righte­ous, ibid.
  • 5. God hears the prayers of his Saints readily, 453
  • 6. What prayers prevail with God, 454
  • 7. How the same may appear, ibid.
  • 8. Why the Lord at some times hears not, grants not the prayers of his children, 455
  • 9. Gods wrath and the fruits there­of always bent against the wicked, 457
  • 10. Why the wicked are not always plagued here, ibid.
Verse 13.
  • PAtience and innocency of life, are the way to escape harms from men, 458
Verse 14.
  • 1. SOme are so bad, that they wrong the innocent, 460
  • 2. Some hate the godly meerly for their goodness, ibid.
  • 3. Such as suffer wrongfully, or for Religion and conscience sake are happy, 461
  • 4. We must tarry till God call us to suffer, ibid.
  • 5. Whether we may flee from per­secution, ibid.
  • 6. A godly man is happy in what condition soever, 463
  • 7. Fear is an Enemy to constant suffering. ibid.
Verse 15.
  • 1. VVHat it is to Sanctifie the Lord God, 464
  • 2. Faith the mother of constancy in sufferings, 464
  • 3. As we must believe Gods truth with our hearts, so must we pro­fess it with our tongues, 465
  • 4. We must believe with our hearts, before we can confess with our mouthes, 467
  • 5. Our speeches must be accompa­nyed with meekness and fear, ibid.
Verse 16.
  • 1 VVHat conscience is, 468
  • 2. The offices of con­science, to bear witness, 470
  • 3. To give judgement before our actions, 472
  • 4. To give judgement after our actions, 473
  • 5. An erroneous conscience what it is, and a doubtful, 475
  • 6. Whether a man sinneth, that doth according to his conscience, ibid.
  • 7. Whether a man may do any thing against his conscience, being er­roneous, ibid.
  • 8. Whether it be lawful to do a thing with a doubtful conscience, 476
  • 9. The several kindes of conscience, ibid.
  • 10. The kindes of a still, quiet [Page] conscience, drowsie, secure, seared, 476, 477
  • 11. Means whereby the conscience may be awakened, 478
  • 12. The stirring ill conscience, ex­cusing, accusing, 479
  • 13. A good quiet conscience, where­in it differs from a bad quiet con­science, 481
  • 14. What a good troubled con­science is, ibid.
  • 15. Signs declaring the goodness thereof, 482
  • 16. The great benefits of a good conscience, 483
  • 17. How it is kept, ibid.
  • 18. A godly conversation is to ac­company the zealous profession of our faith, 484
  • 19. A godly man will stand by the truth, 486
  • 20. The wicked are apt to speak ill of Gods servants, ibid.
  • 21. A godly conversation stoppeth the ungodlies mouthes, 487
Verse 17.
  • 1. VVHy we ought willingly to suffer for righteous­ness, 488
  • 2. It is better to suffer for well, then evil doing, ibid.
  • 3. No afflictions comes to us but by Gods will, 489
  • 4. How far God hath an hand there­in, ibid.
Verse 18.
  • 1. CHrists sufferings an encou­ragement for Christians to suffer, 491
  • 2. How Christ was just, and how we, ibid.
  • 3. Christ suffered for our good, ibid.
  • 4. The godly sow in tears, but shall reap in joy, ibid.
  • 5. Several particulars laid down about Christs sufferings, 492
  • 6. Profit arising from the medi­tation thereof, ibid.
  • 7. All Christs sufferings make up one perfect suffering, 493
  • 8. The quality of the person that suffered, and for whom he suffered, ibid.
  • 9. Why our Savior suffered, and to what end, 494
  • 10. That Christ must have dyed, and so did, 495
  • 11. The benefits ensuing by Christs death, ibid.
  • 12. Christ rose again from the dead, 496
  • 13. Why he rose again, the maner of his resurrection, the place, the time, 497
  • 14. Why the Jews Sabbath was changed, ibid.
  • 15. The benefits hereof, and duties to be performed, 498
Verse 19, 20.
  • 1. A Further comfort to them that suffer for righteous­ness sake, 498
  • 2. Reasons against the Papists ex­position of these words, 499
  • 3. That there are no such places as Limbus patrum and puero­rum, 500
  • 4. Reasons against Purgatory, ibid.
  • 5. Why purgatory was devised, 501
  • 6. That Christ went not down to hel to preach to the reprobates, 502
  • 7. Gods Spirit preacheth in faith­ful Ministers, ibid.
  • 8. God will finde a time to right things when they are disordered, 503
  • 9. The woful condition of the wicked, ibid.
  • 10. Disobedience the cause of Gods judgement on the old world, 504
  • [Page] 11. Whether all those which were drowned were damned, 504
  • 12. Two necessary considerations, 505
  • 13. Disobedience the fore-runner of destruction, 506
  • 14. The sins of our times, like those of the old world, ibid.
  • 15. Gods patience towards the dis­obedient, aggravates their sin, ibid.
  • 16. The names of the godly men­tioned to their honor, 507
  • 17. The old world then most dis­obedient, when they should have been furthest from disobedience, 508
  • 18. Christians must use the means whereby to be freed from hell and destruction, ibid.
  • 19. Faith and Repentance an ark for the soul, ibid.
  • 20. How useful examples and ocu­lar sermons are, 509
  • 21. Wicked men fear not Gods judgements, 510
  • 22. Weak means are sufficient through Gods blessing for our preservation, 511
  • 23. Righteousness shall not want its reward, ibid.
  • 24. Its good to be near the godly, ibid.
  • 25. No man can be saved by the goodness of another, ibid.
  • 26. The wicked, though they es­cape bodily danger, shall meet with everlasting judgements, ibid.
  • 27. There are but a few which shall be saved, ibid.
  • 28. The speech of an Arian at his death, 512
  • 29. Men and women be more excellent then other creatures, ibid.
  • 30. Noah and the old world a right picture of the good and bad in our age, 513
Verse 21.
  • 1. THe godly throughout all ages are saved by the same means, 514
  • 2. The uses of Baptism, 515
  • 3. Who is to baptize, and who to be baptized, ibid.
Verse 22.
  • 1. VVHat our Saviors ascension was, that he did ascend, why, before whom, and when, 516
  • 2. They that have charge over others, must be careful to leave them in good plight, ibid.
  • 3. The place from which our Sa­vior ascended, with the benefits of his ascension, 517
  • 4. Three general Observations, ibid.
  • 5. The good Angels are subject to Christ, who watch and guard us, ibid.
  • 6. The bad Angels are also subject to Christ, 518


  • THe Contents thereof, 519
Verse 1, 2.
  • 1. THe parts and meaning of these Verses, ibid.
  • 2. The passion of Christ an espe­cial means to stir up unto mortifi­cation, 520
  • 3. Observations from the necessi­ty of Christs sufferings, ibid.
  • 4. Christians are to labor for mor­tification, and who do not, 521
  • 5. Christians must furnish them­selves as Soldiers, that they may prevail, ibid.
  • 6. To mortifie our corrupt nature, [Page] why called suffering in the flesh, 522
  • 7. The whole time of our life after our conversion must be spent ho­lily, ibid.
  • 8. Gods will must be the rule for all our actions, 523
  • 9. Gods will and mens lusts be oppo­site each to other, 524
  • 10. No man at one time can live unto both, 525
  • 11. Till we renounce our lusts, we cannot be holy, ibid.
  • 12. Having renounced our lusts, we must yield obedience to Gods will, ibid.
  • 13. A mans constant course of walking discovers what he is, ibid.
Verse 3.
  • 1. MOre reasons to perswade unto holiness,
  • 526
  • 2. The necessity of frequent Ex­hortations hereunto, ibid.
  • 3. The consideration of our for­mer mis-spent time, an especial furtherance unto repentance, 527
  • 4. Where God bestows means of salvation, he expects answerable fruits, 528
  • 5. Bad company is very dangerous, 529
  • 6. Lasciviousness and lusts, what they are, and how common, ibid.
  • 7. Drunkenness an abominable sin,
  • 530, &c.
  • 8. Gluttony how committed, with the odiousness thereof, 535
  • 9. Means stirring up to Sobriety, 537
  • 10. What Idolatry is, and Ido­latry in worshipping false Gods, ibid.
  • 11. Idolatry in worshipping the true God after a false maner, whether inward or outward, 538
  • 12. Several sorts of Idolaters a­mong the Jews, 540
Verse 4.
  • 1. THe prevention of an Objecti­on, 541
  • 2. Such as live holily, shall meet with opposition, ibid.
  • 3. Mans proneness to evil exceed­ing great, 543
  • 4. The ungodly follow after sin ea­gerly, ibid.
  • 5. Its the nature of the ungodly to speak evil of Gods servants, ibid.
Verse 5.
  • THe enemies of Gods children shall not scape unpunished, 544
Verse 6.
  • 1. THe Gospel was preached be­fore Christs time, 545
  • 2. The Gospel calls for Sanctifica­tion, 546
  • 3. Differences between the Law and the Gospel, ibid.
Verse 7.
  • 1. THere shall be an end of all things, 547
  • 2. Riches good in themselves, 549
  • 3. How riches are good, 550
  • 4. Wherein sobriety in riches con­sists, 551
  • 5. A comparison between drunken­ness and immoderate seeking of riches, 553
  • 6. We must not set our mindes too much on riches, 555
  • 7. We must imploy them as God re­quires, ibid.
  • [Page] 8. Watchfulness why set after so­briety, 557
  • 9. Watchfulness what it is, ibid.
  • 10. Why we ought to be watchful, 558
  • 11. Benefits of watchfulness, 559
  • 12. Prayer must be added unto watchfulness, 560
Verse 8.
  • 1. LOve is a most excellent and necessary duty, 561
  • 2. Why love must be fervent, ibid.
  • 3. What sins love covers, 562
  • 4. On what respects we may seek redress by the Magistrate, ibid.
  • 5. How we may cover faults com­mitted against God, and against our selves, 563
Verse 9.
  • 1. VVE must be kinde to strangers, ibid.
  • 2. The regard we are to have of our own poor, 565
  • 3. Whence it is that the poor are so much neglected, ibid.
  • 4. Inviting one another how use­ful, 566
  • 5. Ministers must use hospitality, ibid.
  • 6. God looks no less on the maner of doing, then on the duty, ibid.
  • 7. Works of mercy must be done without grudging, and how we may that do, ibid.
Verse 10.
  • 1. EVery man hath some gift or other wherewith to do good, 567
  • 2. Every one hath (as it were) a several or diverse gift, 568
  • 3. God bestows gifts on us freely, 568
  • 4. Christians must communicate their gifts for the good of others, 569
  • 5. Every man must minister ac­cording to the measure received, 571
  • 6. We are but stewards of the gifts we have, ibid.
  • 7. We must be faithful in our places, ibid.
  • 8. Gods gifts manifold, ibid.
Verse 11.
  • 1. THe calling of the Ministry is of all others the most needful, 572
  • 2. Whoso is in the Ministry ought to preach, 573
  • 3. Ministers must preach the Word of God, 574
  • 4. Ministers must so preach as becomes the Word of God, 575
  • 5. All that bear office in the Church must do the same faithfully, 576
  • 6. Ability to discharge ones calling is of God, 577
  • 7. The conscionable performance of our duties tend to Gods glory, 578
  • 8. We must aim in our places at Gods glory, ibid.
  • 9. All glory comes to God by Jesus Christ, ibid.
Verse 12, 13.
  • 1. THere must be intire love be­tween Ministers and people, 579
  • 2. Christians are not to be the less, but more loved for their troubles; 580
  • 3. The want of preparation for troubles before they come, make [Page] make them haader to be born when come, 580
  • 4. Afflictions are tryals about the truth of grace, 582
  • 5. They are tryals about the measure of grace, 583
  • 6. They serve to refine what mea­sure we have, ibid.
  • 7. We must rejoyce in afflictions, ibid.
  • 8. Why the sufferings of Christi­ans are called Christs sufferings, 584
  • 9. Christians suffer with Christ, 585
  • 10. The godlies afflictions end in joy, 586
Verse 14.
  • 1. A Good name is a tender thing, 587
  • 2. Slanderers of Gods servants are persecutors, ibid.
  • 3. To slander Gods children for their goodness is usual, ibid.
  • 4. Such as are reproached for the name of Christ are happy, 588
  • 5. The judgement of the world is contrary to Gods, 589
  • 6. To suffer for Christ an evi­dence of Gods Spirit in us, ibid.
  • 7. Such as are endued with Gods Spirit are blessed, 590
  • 8. Such as are endued with Gods Spirit are glorious, ibid.
  • 9. The gifts of the Spirit which the godly have cannot be lost, 591
  • 10. They that speak ill of Gods servants for their well-doing, speak evil of Gods Spirit, ibid.
  • 11. By our suffering of perse­cution God is glorified, ibid.
Verse 15, 16.
  • 1. TWo kindes of sufferings, 592
  • 2. Suffering for ill-doing is shame­ful, ibid.
  • 3. Sufferings for godliness are glorious, 594
  • 4. To suffer for well-doing affords matters of thanksgiving, 595
Verse 17.
  • 1. THe Churches troubles are more now then heretofore, 596
  • 2. Afflictions must begin with Gods servants, 597
  • 3. Why Gods children must here suffer afflictions, 598
  • 4. Gods Church is his House, ibid.
  • 5. Assurance of salvation possible, 599
  • 6. The state of the godly and un­godly much different, 600
  • 7. The afflictions of the godly not comparable to the miseries of the ungodly, 602
  • 8. The ungodlies misery cannot be expressed, ibid.
  • 9. Disobedience to the Gospel a grievous sin, 603
Verse 18.
  • 1. VVHom we are here to un­derstand by righteous, 604
  • 2. Its an hard thing for a man to get to heaven, 605
  • 3. He that is not righteous, is ungodly, and a sinner, 609
  • 4. The fearfulness of the ungod­lies condition on the Day of Judgement cannot be expressed, ibid.
Verse 19.
  • [Page]1. THe troubles of the godly are by the appointment of God, 611
  • 2. God is careful of his children in the time of their troubles, ibid.
  • 3. Such as continue in well-doing, may comfortly commend them­selves unto God, 612
  • 4. Such may comfortably commend themselves to God, which labor for the good of their persecutors, ibid.


  • THe Contents of this Cha­pter, 613
Verse 1.
  • 1. THe duties of Ministers, with reasons to enforce the same, ibid.
  • 2. The Scriptures inform every one of their duty, 614
  • 3. The calling of the Ministry, a painful calling, 615
  • 4. Ministers are fittest to teach one another, and judge of one an­others actions, 617
  • 5. To practice the duties we teach, procures obedience thereunto, ibid.
  • 6. Peter was no Pope, neither challenged any Supremacy, ibid.
  • 7. How Peter was a witness of Christs sufferings, 618
  • 8. All that we have must be im­proved for the Churches good, ibid.
  • 9. Spiritual wisdom to be used to procure Obedience, ibid.
  • 10. The troubles of Gods Mini­sters procure them more respect, ibid.
  • 11. Such as are heirs of glory should be much respected, ibid.
  • 12. They that suffer with Christ shall reign with him, ibid.
  • 13. Glory is laid up for the Saints in Heaven, ibid.
  • 14. How we may know whether we shall be heirs of glory, ibid.
  • 15. Through faith we are even here possessed of heaven, ibid.
Verse 2.
  • 1. MInisters must preach the Word, 619
  • 2. Differences between reading and preaching, 620
  • 3. Ministers must preach the Word soundly, 621
  • 4. Ministers must preach diligent­ly, ibid.
  • 5. Christians are Gods flock, 622
  • 6. Ministers are to regard all their people, 623
  • 7. Every Congregation is to have a several Pastor, ibid.
  • 8. Every Pastor is to look to his own charge, ibid.
  • 9. Ministers must oversee and look into their flocks, 624
  • 10. Ministers are not by con­straint, but willingly to perform their duties towards their people, 626
  • 11. Ministers must not per­form their duties for filthy lucre, but of a ready minde, 627
  • 12. Duties are to be done with a willing heart, 628
  • 13. No man is to follow any calling, meerly for gain, ibid.
  • [Page] 14. Most of the gain of the world is filthy gain, 628
  • 15. Whats to be accounted filthy lucre, 629
  • 16. Usually the Scriptures mention not riches but with some check, ibid.
  • 17. Means to help against cove­tousness, 630
Verse 3.
  • 1. MInisters must not exercise any temporal power over their people, ibid.
  • 2. Ministers must not carry them­selves proudly and disdainfully, 632
  • 3. Ministers must not use ri­gor toward their people, ibid.
  • 4. Christians are Gods heritage, 633
  • 5. Ministers must not onely preach well, but live well, 634
Verse 4.
  • 1. CHrist the chief Shepherd, 637
  • 2. The great reward of faithful Ministers, 638
  • 3. At what time they shall receive their reward, 639
Verse 5.
  • 1. VVHat we are to understand by the yonger and the elder, 640
  • 2. Wherein the duty of Ministers towards their people consists, ibid.
  • 3. People must submit themselves to the Ministery of the Word, ibid.
  • 4. Gods Ministers must particular­ly inform every one of their duty, 642
  • 5. Wherein the duties of the yonger towards their elders consists, ibid.
  • 6. How Superiors must be sub­ject to their Inferiors, 647
  • 7. How equals must be subject one to another, 648
  • 8. Humility the fountain of sub­mission, ibid.
  • 9. Whatsoever submission proceeds not from humility, is hypocrisie, ibid.
  • 10. What humility is, with the fruits in respect of God, 649
  • 11. The fruits of humility in re­spect of men, 650
  • 12. Examples of Humility, 651
  • 13. Humility an excellent vertue, 652
  • 14. The fruits of pride in respect of God, ibid.
  • 15. The fruits of pride in respect of men, 654
  • 16. Examples of pride, ibid.
  • 17. How abominable it is, and whence it comes, 655
  • 18. The very best not free there­from, ibid.
  • 19. God sets himself against the proud, 656
  • 20. How God resists them, ibid.
  • 21. How God giveth grace to the humble, 657
Verse 6.
  • 1. HOw Ministers ought to preach, and people to hear, 658
  • 2. Two other reasons perswading to humility, ibid.
  • 3. The consideration of Gods power, a good means to perswade to hu­mility, ibid.
  • [Page] 4. Humility is the way to glory, 659
  • 5. God doth all things in due time, ibid.
Verse 7.
  • 1. THe prevention of an Objecti­on, 660
  • 2. Christians must not be careless, ibid.
  • 3. They must not be too careful about their souls, 661
  • 4. They must not be too careful about their bodies, 662
  • 5. They must not be too care­ful about worldly things, 663
  • 6. God cares for his own children, 664
Verse 8.
  • 1. VVHat Sobriety is, 665
  • 2. What Spiritual watchfulness is, ibid.
  • 3. A man must be awaken­ed before he can watch, ibid.
  • 4. By nature we are asleep in sin, ibid.
  • 5. Reasons for Watchfulnesse, 666
  • 6. Satans malice exceeding great, 667
  • 7. Satans strength and subtilty, 668
  • 8. Satans diligence, 669
Verse 9.
  • 1. SAtan is to be resisted, and why, 673
  • 2. Faith gives Satan the foil, 675
  • 3. True faith rare, 675
  • 4. What faith it is that prevails over Satan, ibid.
  • 5. All Gods children are li­able to Satans Temptations, 676
  • 6. God enables his children to overcome Satans Temptations, ibid.
  • 7. Ministers must endeavor as to inform the understanding, so to work on the affections of their people, 677
  • 8. People must joyn practice to their knowledge, ibid.
  • 9. There's a near conjunction be­tween believers, ibid.
  • 10. Gods Church is dispersed through the world, 678
  • 11. The Saints in Heaven are free from temptations, ibid.
Verse 10.
  • 1. GOds Ministers must fur­ther their peoples Sal­vation by all means, 679
  • 2. God is the author and giver of all grace, 681
  • 3. Whom God will save, those he does effectually call, 683
  • 4. Such as are effectually cal­led, shall partake of glory, ibid.
  • 5. God will not forsake them whom he hath called, ibid.
  • 6. All good comes to us by Christ, 684
  • 7. Gods children must here suffer before they can partake of hea­ven, ibid.
  • 8. The afflictions of Gods children are small, 685
  • 9. Gods people must labor for per­fection, ibid.
  • [Page] 10. Children must hold out to the end, 686
Verse 11.
  • OUr Election and Vocation should move us to praise God, 687
Verse 12.
  • 1. HOly things should be han­dled by holy persons, 688
  • 2. A good name is to be labored for, ibid.
  • 3. Such as are faithful in the Mi­nistry, draw their peoples hearts to them, 689
  • 4. We ought to speak and think so well of others as we have ground for, ibid.
  • 5. We ought to be wary in our com­mendations, ibid.
  • 6. The profitableness of writing Epistles, ibid.
  • 7. Gods wisdom in providing for us his Word, and goodness in ordaining Ministers to re­veal unto us his will therein, 690
  • 8. People must particularly know that the Religion they pro­fess is the Truth of God, ibid.
  • 9. Christians must persevere in the truth, ibid.
  • 10. Constancy in well-doing diffi­cult, 691
  • 11. Doctrine and Application must go together, ibid.
Verse 13.
  • 1. CHristians must be mindeful one of another, how far distant soever, 691
  • 2. God hath some even in the worst places, 692
  • 3. Hereticks wrest Scripture, ibid.
  • 4. Election diversly taken, 692
  • 5. Its not enough to live in an elect Church, but we must finde that we are Elect, 693
  • 6. Why the Apostle calls them an Elect company, ibid.
  • 7. The sending of commenda­tions how useful it is, ibid.
  • 8. The preaching of the Word the instrument of Regeneration, 694
  • 9. Ministers must love their People as their Children, ibid.
  • 10. People must love their Ministers as their Fathers, 695
Verse 14.
  • 1. ITs needful that where love is, it should be continued, 696
  • 2. Christians should salute one an­other, ibid.
  • 3. The ancient maner of saluting among the Jews, 697
  • 4. Our saluting one another must be in love, ibid.
  • 5. Hinderances of Love, 698
  • 6. What meant by Peace, ibid.
  • 7. Outward blessings may law­fully [Page] be desired, and how, 698
  • 8. Christ is the fountain of all peace, 699
  • 9. Respect is to be had of all Gods people, 701
  • 10. The near union between Christ and true Christians, ibid.
  • 11. Fervency of Affection and Faith requisite in Prayer, ibid.


In the margent, PAge 57. line 4 for inherit read merit, page 114. for Iohn 4. read Iohn 8. p. 357. l. 14. for hated of. r. haters, p. 582. l. 7. for above, r. about, p. 475. l. 19. adde may before do. Words to be amended. Page 40. line 15. for scourge, read scour, p. 46. l. 45. for them, read thee, p. 56. l. 47. for in r. it. p. 57. l. 31. for it r. as, p. 66. l. 15. for with r. which. p. 149. l. 40. for grace, r. disgrace, p. 160. l. 3. for conversation, r. conversion, p. 173. l. 39. for of r. as. p. 191. l. 40. for to r. doth, p. 202. l. 5. for no r. an, p. 218. l. 43. for chief, r. Church. p. 228. l. 30. for we, r. he. p. 253. l. 11. for of, r. to. p. 258. l. 6. for the, r. they. p. 266. l. 7. for Cod r. God. p. 272. l. 18. for of r. as. p. 274. l. 33. for calling, r. called. p. 294. l. 40. for the r. their. p. 305. l. 48. for wrath, r. word p. 350. l. 19. for them, r. him. p. 360. l. 1. for our, r. one. p. 363. l. 4. for from, r. for. p. 400 l. 37. for out, r. one. p. 410. l. 45. for unequal, r. equal. p. 417. l. 26. for discharge, r. disgrace. p. 419. l. 30. for swin, r. swim, p. 428. l. 30. for good good, r. good for. p. 453. l. 10. for mans, r. many, p. 455. l. 7. for short, r. store, p. 495. l. 43. for course. r. recourse. p. 495. l. 34. for in r. then. p. 497. l. 33. for Son, r. Sun. p. 507. l. 31. for up. r. upon p. 515. l. 36. for one, r. our. p. 527. l. 41. for he r. we. p. 615. l. 44. for fleet, r. fleece, p. 630. l. 9. for throne, r. thorn, p. 640. l. 12. for uses, r. verses, p. 641. l. 24. for world, r. word. p. 643. l. 43. for which r. with. p 619. l. 29. for of. r. so. p. 661. l. 20. for partly, r. party. p. 669. l. 5. for trust, r. distrust, p. 677. l. 8. for of. r. in. p. 700. l. 3. for them, r. they.


THe general scope and intent of this Epistle,The general scope of this Epistle. is, To confirm those Christian Jews whom he had procured to the Faith by his Ministery, that they might persevere in the same to the end, notwithstanding any troubles they should meet with for the same.

More particularly he layeth before them,The particular scope. The wonderful riches of Gods mercies vouchsafed them in Christ Je­sus by his Death and Resurrection, whereby they were recovered out of their woful estate by sin, and brought to an happy and blessed condition, even Salvation through him. Hereunto he exhorteth them constantly to cleave, and not to suffer themselves to be withdrawn therefrom by any means; as also▪ that they would walk worthy so great mercy in an holy life and conversa­tion; both in the general duties of Christianity, and the particular duties of their special Callings; and that they would so do, notwithstanding any trou­bles they should meet withal for the same.

The parts of this Epistle are two;The several parts thereof, and matter cō ­tained therein. 1. The Preface, in the first two Verses of the first Chapter. 2. The Substance of the Epistle, in the following Verses and Chapters to the end. This containeth Doctrine and Exhortation: Doctrine, from the Third Verse of the first Chapter unto the Thirteenth of the same: Exhortations in all the rest of the Chapters and Verses; and they be of two kindes: 1. Unto general Duties belonging unto all Christians. 2. Unto special, to several sorts of men and women, according to their special Callings.


Verse 1. ‘Peter, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, to the Strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bythinia.’ Ver. 2. ‘Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you and Peace be multiplied.’

THese verses contain the Preface,The sum and parts of the Preface. in which two things; 1. An Inscription. 2. The Salutation. In the former we have a description, 1. Of the person writing, and that both by his Name, Peter, and by his Office, An Apostle of Jesus Christ. 2. Of the parties to whom he doth write, and that both by their outward state to the World-ward, viz. Strangers scattered up and down in strange Coun­treys, namely, Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bythinia; and by their estate to God-ward, viz. Parties belonging to salvation, which he sets forth by the causes thereof and degrees, namely, 1. Their Ele­ction. 2. Sanctification. 3. Redemption by the obedience of Christ Jesus, which shewed it self in his shedding his blood for them. In the latter, a brief but pithy Prayer to God for his favor, as the foun­tain from whence all happiness was to be bestowed, yea multiplied upon them.

Peter] Three Names are given unto this our Apostle in Scripture:The several Names of this our Apostle. 1. Simeon of Simon, that he had at his Circumcision. 2. Cephas, by in­terpretation a Stone,Acts 15. 14. which our Saviour Christ gave him at his calling, thereby signifying what he meant to do for him,Iohn 1. 42. namely, to make him a stout defender of the Faith, on the behalf whereof (though he was born of Parents of small note) he proved one of notable courage: This is in the Chaldee or Syriack tongue. 3. Peter, which in Greek is all one with the former,2 Pet. 1. 1. so that these two Names were in effect but one: In his second Epistle he names himself Simon Peter.

Here learn,

1. Christs kindeness to Peter, in giving him a Name to assure him of some grace which he would bestow upon him: Though we can­not do so,What Names Parents are to give to their Children. yet it behoves us to give our Children such names as may edifie them, and put them in minde of some good thing; either to imitate some good man or woman whose Name they bear, or else to follow some good that the Name puts them in minde of.

2. In that he puts his Name to his Epistle, he shews his godliness and innocency,Such as set forth Books ought to set their Names thereto. which makes him bold, for Truth may be blamed, but cannot be shamed: Contrary to many Hereticks, and false Apo­stles and Teachers, the Devils disciples, which pen Books stuffed with Errors, either under the Names of the Apostles, that so they may the sooner beguile and get credit to their Lyes; or else without Names, lest being found out by their Names, they should suffer, and be brought to punishment for their Errors; or their infamous Names [Page 3] being seen in the forefront of their Book, should cause any judicious and honest Reader with indignation to cast it away. The Apostle, I say, contrariwise having the sound and holy Oracles of God from Heaven to deliver unto them, puts to his Name. There are many worthy Works,Why some worthy men have not done thus. I confess, which have no Names put to them (those especially which were written in the times of Persecution) whereof the Authors, howsoever desirous to spread the Truth of God hated and persecuted, hereby notwithstanding shunned the hands of cruel ty­rants. This is not for any fault in the matter, but only avoiding danger in speaking of the truth. This is no disgrace to them, but to their times, and their enemies; for men need not cast themselves into peril till God call them.

This condemns the vile practice of the wicked,Use. which hide them­selves in the dark, and in corners, lewdness not abiding the light: We must do nothing, but that we dare put our hands to it, and our Names. We must do as the Angel did that rolled away the stone, and sate upon it when he had done, as if he should have said, Let me see who will control that which I have done. We must do so, as we may bid our Adversary write a Book against us for any gross or unlawful thing we have done and stand in. Alas! what a folly is this, you flee mens eyes, but can you flee the eyes of the Almighty? And if you cannot abide mens censure, how shall you be able to stand before the Judge­ment seat of Almighty God, who is a consuming fire?

An Apostle of Jesus Christ] The word is general,Wherein the Apostles dif­fered from all other Ministers and signifieth one sent; but here (as elswhere often) it is taken specially for one, and the principal sort of Ministers, differing from all others in these particulars: 1. They were immediately called by Christ own mouth, and sent abroad: Many were called by him for Disciples, and out of those he chose his Twelve Apostles. 2. They had a larger measure of the Spirit then others, so that they could not erre in their writings. 3. They had also a larger Commission,Mat. 28. 19. Go ye (saith our Savior) and Teach all Nations: They were to preach to all the world; but this Cal­ling is ceased. This notwithstanding it hath communion with all other sorts of Ministers that they were called and sent: No man (saith the Apostle) takes this honor to him, Heb. 5. 4. but he that is called of God, as was Aaron; and so were also the Prophets.

There are two things required in a Minister:Two things required in a Minister. 1. That he be lawfully called: and 2. That being in, he discharge his duty faithfully.

Touching a Ministers Calling,He must have an inward cal­ling: and it must be both inward and out­ward: 1. He must have an inward Calling from God; which ap­pears 1. By an aptness and competency of Gifts to teach and edifie the Church of God. 2. By a willing minde to employ the same, seeking not his own advantage and ease, but the glory of God: This makes the Minister. As when God calls a King, he gives him the heart of a King: So if he appoint a man to be a father of Souls, he fits him for it.An outward. 2. He must have an outward Calling from the Church and those that are in place to alow and disalow Ministers, whose appro­bation they must have, which is not to make them, but to ap­prove [Page 4] of them for their further comfort, that they may more bold­ly go forward.

The Brownists call us Bishops-Ministers,Use. because they call us to this Office, but they do but alow and approve whom God hath made.

Both must necessarily concur, the one go along with the other: He that wants the inward, though he have the outward, is not a true Mini­ster of God (yet his actions are not to be esteemed nullities and void) and he that in ordinary times having the inward wants the outward,Perk. Treatise of Callings. goes not to work humbly as he ought.

Well did Peter declare himself an Apostle, one sent from God, a Messenger, who was to deal faithfully in his Message; For he publish­eth not here his own Inventions, Poets Fables, Heathen Stories, Philo­sophers Conceits,1 Pet. 4. 11. or mens Devices and Opinions, but the holy Ora­cles of God from Heaven. So must every Minister of God speak as the words of God; What is the Chaff to the Wheat, either ones Opinion to establish anothers Conscience?

But why doth he call himself by this great Name of his Office, and put this high stile before his Epistle?Why he na­meth his A­postleship. Not for vain ostentation, or for his own sake, but for the peoples good, even to procure with them the more authority to that which he was to write; for who should dare to refuse that which comes from the Lord Jesus, the eter­nal Son of God, the Light of the world, the Savior and Judge thereof? Nay, who should not with all high reverence submit himself thereunto? So did the Prophets begin, The word of the Lord, Thus saith the Lord, whereby they set their peoples faith on work to look to God, and not to men.

Hence let the Ministers of God learn to procure what credit and authority to their Ministery they can,Use. signifying often, that it is Gods will, thereby drawing their peoples mindes upward from the instru­ment. They must deliver such soundness of Doctrine, as may be food it self, not froth, which accordingly they must deliver in a grave and religious maner; adding thereunto, as Prayer, so also a godly life, and all little enough, considering the prophaneness of our hearts, that so little regard what we hear, yea hear without preparation or reverence, being of us no sooner gone then forgotten.

But how dares he call himself an Apostle,Q. that had deserved by his most shameful threefold denial of his Master, to be utterly discarded of his Office; and utterly cast away for ever?

By the grace of God he doth this,A. by Faith apprehending the mer­cy of God towards him; and he doth it to publish his grace and fa­vor, who had upon his true Humiliation and Repentance not only for­given his sin, and received him to mercy, but restored him to his Office again.Mark 16. 7. Go your way (said the Angel unto the Women) tell his Disciples, and Peter, that he goeth before you into Galilee: And afterward our Savior by a threefold Commission restored him to his Office,Iohn 21. 15, 16, 17. from which by his threefold Denial he had shut himself.

Hence note, That

[Page 5] Repentance will wipe away our sins,Repentance wipeth away our sins. and make them as if they had never been, Joel 2. 12, 13, 14. Mic. 7. 18, 19. 1 Joh. 1. 9. which

1. Shews Gods unspeakable mercy towards penitent Sinners.Use 1.

2. Is a matter of endless comfort to us,Use 2. which through our corru­ption fail and sin daily. As verily as we be unfeignedly humbled with desire of forgiveness, and not to sin, so verily may we believe our selves pardoned;Mat. 6. 12. for which accordingly we are enjoyned daily to pray; yea if we have been overtaken more foully for want of watch­fulness, yet let us not despair as Cain, or run from God as Judas, which is worst of all, but address our selves to come with a heavy and bleeding heart to God,2 Sam. 12. 13. with whom there is mercy. David ha­ving confessed his sin, Nathan said unto him, The Lord also hath put away thy sin, 1 Ioh. 2. 2. thou shalt not dye. Unto every penitent soul his Son will be a propitiation for their sins.Luke 15. 20. As the prodigal was embraced of his father, so will our heavenly father receive us, if we return unto him.

3. May be a most effectual means to humble such as have run on in their sins,Use 3. without humiliation, that at the length they may take this course;Ier. 3. 22. Return ye backsliding Children (saith the Lord) and I will heal your backslidings: See to this purpose Hos. 14. 1, 2.

Oh,Ob. but I have been thus and thus bad, will some say.

No matter what thou hast been,Sol. so now thou with thy whole heart turnest to God, and neither art now, nor hereafter intendest to be as heretofore. Time past shall not be remembred.

Oh,Ob. but I have committed many great sins.

It's not that shall stand between God and thee,Sol. if thou be truly humbled, Gods mercy and the merit of Christ is as well able to take away and heal great as small offences.Ezra 9. 6. Though our Iniquities be en­creased over our heads, and our Trespass grown up unto the Heavens, yet if with Ezra we be truly humbled,ibid. 10. 2. there's assured hope of pardon.

To the Strangers, &c.] Though haply there might be some Gentiles amongst these, yet it is more probable that they were most Jews, which were principally his charge,Gal. 2. 7. as the Gentiles the Apostle Pauls.

They are called Strangers,Why called Strangers. not as all Christians be, while they be here on Earth,Psal. 119. 19. absent from their heavenly Countrey and Inheritance (for so are we Strangers in our own Countrey, Towns and Houses) but Strangers, as being in a strange Countery, forced by persecution to leave their own and fly into another, which might be either through the Wars and Troubles which were raised in their own Countrey, or by the persecution raised in Jerusalem about the death of Steven.

Here see,

1. That sundry of the Jews received our Saviour Christ and believed in him,Though the body of the Iews did not receive Christ, yet there were among them sundry belie­vers. and were soundly converted, though the body of them did not (for he came unto his own, and his own received him not) those made a good progress in the course of Christianity, who were contented (even with the loss of their liberties) to undergo such dangers as might befall them in a strange Land,Ioh. 1. 11. onely that they might keep faith and a good conscience.

[Page 6] 2. The estate of the Church of God here on Earth,Gods Church here on earth is under perse­cution. namely, to be under persecution; In the world (saith our Saviour) ye shall have tribula­tion. Always there hath been enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the Serpent.Ioh. 16. 33. Thus was it when the Church was but in one Family, in one Countrey, one Nation. The world ha­ving Power, Authority, Wealth, is full of malice against the poor Church, so that were it not that God Almighty defends it, it could not endure; It's as a Sheep amongst wolves, or a Ship among the waves. Though God will exercise it to keep it from errors, and corru­ptions, which it is subject unto through much prosperity and peace; though it have need of some peace to gather it self,Act. 9. 31. yet if't be long in peace it gathers mud as standing waters, rust as the ploughshare in the hedge, yea settles it self on the lees, therefore God pours it out from Vessel to Vessel. Ever mark, after long prosperity grew pride, and thereupon errors and corruptions, which like a canker brought destruction. Contrarily, the Church never shines so gloriously as either in, or presently after persecution; Then life, zeal, sincerity, heavenly-mindedness, and such like graces appear in their true lustre.

It followeth,

1. That as we are not to conclude for a company,Use. 1. because they have so much peace, that therefore they are beloved of God; so must not we against any, because they be few in number, and outwardly despised and slighted.1 King. 18. 19. Four hundred false Prophets were maintained by Jezabel, whereas Micaiah the onely true Prophet of the Lord was put in Prison; Jeremiah and Baruch were the true servants of the Lord, whom whole multitudes of proud men and false Prophets resisted.

2. That we are to prepare our selves for persecution,Use. 2. especially having had so long a time of peace. To this end we must resolve to part with all for Christs sake, and for his Cause and Religion. Thus did these Jews, thus the holy Martyrs; and great reason: For what would it advantage us,Mat. 5. 12. if we should gain the whole world, in the mean time losing our souls by denying Christ.Iam. 1. 12. On the contrary, If we for­sake any thing for Christ here,Mat. 10. 39. we shall have a Crown of everlasting glory, Great is our reward in Heaven. But how far are most of us from any such matter; many are destitute of knowledge, and how can they suffer? Many have no love to the truth, but are carnal and prophane persons, which never could yet be wrought upon by the word to embrace it, or be ruled by it, that will not leave their vile lusts for it, and how shall these leave their goods and liber­ties! Nay, that which is most to be lamented, how few pro­fessors be like to stand to it, many are more likely a great deal to flinch! Alas, what poor faith is in most; especially how are most given over to the world, being too eager and earnest for these things, neglecting good duties, and slubbering them over for the worlds sake; How wil these forsake it altogether, and leave Houses and Lands, when they will not lay aside their businesses for an hour or two to hear the word, or a quarter of an hour for prayer in their Families? O let's there­fore labor, as for good store of Faith, so to come to a contempt of this [Page 7] world; In the mean time, use we it moderately and in his place, deny­ing our selves by little and little, else we shall never come to it all at once; but for our livings sake shall be subject to fall from God, and renounce our Religion, a fearful state.

3. The lawfulness of flying in time of persecution:The lawful­ness of flying in the time of persecution. The Jews here did it, to save themselves from danger: It's lawful for a Minister or any other tyed by calling, either when persecution is onely or chiefly intended against him, or having consent for a time to go aside, seeing it to be best for the rest: It's lawful for any, either when God makes a way for them that seems to call them thereto (whereunto if they should not yield, we are to think they have some extraordinary motion of the Spirit of God to the contrary, as it's written of some of the Martyrs) or finde themselves as yet not strong enough to en­dure their rage; Those, I say, may slie to be reserved as a seed to propagate the Church afterward.

Throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bythynia.] The places whereunto they fled for habor, were Regions and Countreys in Asia the less, where there were then famous Churches.

Note hence,

1. The large extent of the Church of God in the time of the New Testament,The large ex­tent of the Church under the New Testament. that whereas before it was kept within the pale of Judea, in the New, since our Saviours ascension, it's dispersed over all Nations far and wide, from the Sun-rising to its going down; that it might be fulfilled which God spake to Abraham, that in his seed all the Na­tions of the world should be blessed.Gen. 12. 3.

But what's become of those Churches of Asia now?Quest.

They are all (lamentable to be spoken) under the tyranny of the Enemy of God and Christ Jesus,Ans. the Turk; They are now no Churches, but Synagogues of Satan, cages of unclean birds; so are al­so the Churches to whom Saint John wrote in his Revelation; Be we not therefore high minded, Rom. 11. 21. but fear; for if God hath not spared the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not us; yea considering our luke-warmness, unthankfulness, contempt of the Word, and such other our crying sins, we have cause to fear the like judgement.

2. The singular diligence and care of this holy Apostle,The Apostles diligence and care in his charge. over the charge committed to him: Not onely did he preach to them, being present with them, but wrote also being absent, being in persecution, and scattered throughout strange Countreys; he encourageth them unto constancy, and that they should not faint under their trou­bles; of such helps there is great need in such cases, and at such times. He was careful, not onely to gain them to God and the Faith, but to hold them fast,See Act. 14. 22 that as they were begotten, so they might be nourished up in the faith; as they were converted, so he was careful to confirm them, this being no less necessary then that: For Non minor est virtus, quam quarere, parta tueri. having offended, but again put in trust with the sheep, he is now care­ful of his Commission,Use. which is set down for the example of all Ministers, even as we love Christ, so will we, must we, feed his sheep [Page 8] and lambs. We must labor by all diligence and faithfulness to con­vert and build up, yea in times of sickness or any affliction, when Satan waits to tempt them, and they be weak, we are to come and strengthen them, we are to shoar them up, that they reel not, to comfort them that they despair not: But how do they perform this duty, that never come at their charges, seldom or never preach, put it off to ano­ther, though never so unfit? how also they, that either preach not, or but unprofitably, which come not to a poor or mean mans house upon any occasion? How shall they be able to answer the great Shepherd of the sheep, when they shall be called to an account? See Heb. 13. 17.

Elect, &c.] Here he describes them by their inward estate to God­ward. I will not here handle the common place of Election, I have done it at large, and I reserve such things to Catechizing; onely now of such things as are necessarily occasioned by the text: whereof this may be one, That

God hath chosen out some men to salvation,God hath cho­sen some to salvation. as he did of the An­gels, which are called the Elect Angels. Before the world, he Or­dained and decreed some persons to obtain salvation,1 Tim. 5. 21. even the vessels of mercy, Rom. 9. 23. which he had afore prepared unto glory; See to this purpose Acts 13. 48. Eph. 1. 4. 1 Thess. 5. 9.

This must needs be so,Reason. for whatsoever falls out in the world, uni­versally or particularly, God in his eternal and unchangeable de­cree Ordained the same. And if wise men do not (especially) great things, whereof they have not before deliberated, much lels doth God.

Let us hold fast this truth inviolable,Use. according to the Scriptures, casting away all carnal conceits of cruelty or the like in the Lord, and with the Apostle Paul, Rom. 11. 33. what we cannot understand, learn we to adore and admire.

Q. But how could the Apostle know they were Elect, may one know the Election of another?

A. For our own we may,How we may know the Ele­ction of others. as we shall hear by an by; for others we may also, though not with the same knowledge and judgement of certainty, because the heart of man is known to none but to God only, and a man may go far who yet may fall away; but with the judgement of charity, which hath degrees according to the fruits we see in them, if they only profess Religion, and be in the Church, we may hope, but it is but weak hope where we see no fruits; where we see some good likelihoods of re­ligion, some good beginnings, we may more strongly be perswaded; for to such a man may say, If these things be in you, in truth you are the very Elect of God: Now when we see the fruits of faith, sanctifica­tion and godliness in men, and that they shew it not by fits, but con­stantly; not in some things, but in all; not in prosperity onely, but in adversity too, in persecution, and under the Cross, we may the more, yea very boldly judge of them as the Elect of God; and so doth out A­postle here, as appears by the next words, Unto Sanctification of the Spirit: He saw good signs of Sanctification in them, and that they suf­fered [Page 9] persecution for Religions sake, therefore he so hoped of them, he so stiles them.

We should not onely labor to have sound testimonies to our selves of our Election and Salvation,Christians must so live, as that even o­thers may be perswaded that they belong to God. but so live, as we may get a good and full testimony thereof in the conscience and minde of the Church and Brethren with whom we live; For a good name in the Church is a precious thing, and much to be desired: The voice of the Church is the voice of God.Heb. 11. 2. We are so to live, that whatsoever befalls us, as to die suddenly or strangely, or to have great and extraordinary afflicti­ons while we live, our lives notwithstanding may have spoken so well for us, as we may have good report while we live, and when we be dead;See Pro. 10. 6. So have many poor godly ones in Scripture, and in our times, when great and mighty ones that have been wicked, their names be rotten, and so not at all, or else stinking, and so as a dunghil or pud­dle, which the more it is stirred, the more it stinketh: They there­fore that live vilely in their lusts, bring an ill name upon themselves, who can judge they are Elect, or shall be saved? yea many be despe­rate, they care not what men say, as bad a sign as can be; such also as walk hollowly, and by halfs, in some things well, and in some other taking such liberty as will not stand with Christianity or a good conscience; These cause that the Church of God cannot conceive so well, nor give so full a testimony of them as were to be desired, but are forced to speak doubtfully. Oh let us so walk, that by since­rity and constancy in godly courses, we my get a large and full testi­mony in the conscience of those we live withal: It's a Crown and Garland to us whiles we live, and a confirmation to us, that we de­ceive not our selves; It's an honor when we die, as the contrary, even to be accounted vile, a fearful punishment; yea it's a comfort and crown, to our Wives, Children, Friends, and a provocation to them to follow our steps whom they hear so well spoken of.

According to the foreknowledge of God] God in his foreknow­ledge and eternal decree hath (as ye heard) appointed some to Salvation.See Mat. 25. 34

Q. Why did God before all worlds thus decree of men?Why God de­creed to save some.

Ans. Of his own will,Rom. 9. 16. which is the first and highest cause; It's not in him that willeth, Eph. 1. 5. nor in him that runneth, but in God that sheweth mercy. Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children, by Jesus Christ to himself, Rom. 9. 2. according to the good pleasure of his will: He hath power over us, as the Potter over the clay. As he did not therefore chuse some, because he foresaw they would receive grace, so neither is foreseen infidelity the cause why God refuseth any, but because he would; for though he neither hateth nor casteth away any but for their sin, yet this was not the cause of the Lords decree, but his own will, which is that which maketh any thing just and good. Our will indeed being so corrupt, must not be a reason of our actions, but in God his is, whose will maketh a thing good, and not because a thing is good, therefore he willeth it. Beyond this will of his we must not enquire, but in hu­mility lay our hand upon our mouth, and admire the depth of his [Page 10] wisdom, and be content to stay for further knowledge of these things in the world to come: In the mean time sit we down quietly, be­lieving what God hath revealed in his Word.

It followeth,

1. That if any can prove his election,Use 1. he must stand and admire at the unsearchableness of Gods free mercy, that he should think upon him a poor worm before the beginning of the world, and one that should be of the common stock of Adam, a sinfull wretch; think of him I say, to choose him to life passing by so many. Oh how should this ravish our hearts, and inflame us with love!

2. That if any be rejected,Use 2. they must not complain of cruelty in God, for that they are rejected; Is the clay to say to the Potter, why hast thou made me thus?Rom. 9. 20. Beside, thou art not condemned but for the just deserts and sins which thou hast committed against God; all that can be said, is this, He gives not his grace to them, as he doth to his elect, whereof who shall complain? God is bound to none.

Unto the Sanctification of the Spirit] The end why we were elected,The ends why we were E­lected. is, 1. In respect of God his glory. 2. In respect of our selves, our Salvation, which we come unto by Santificaction,See Eph. 1. 4 which is the end of our Redemption.1 Thess. 4. 3. 7. All that were elected, in time he brings into the world;Luke 1. 74, 75. we come in enemies to God, children of wrath, polluted; but he lets us have the word,Tit. 2. 14. whereby he effectually calleth us to faith and repentance;Sanctification the end of our Redemption. and so purgeth and washeth us by his word outwardly; and his spirit inwardly, whereby our nature is cleansed from the love of all sin,Rom. 8. 30. and made pure in Gods fight, and we enabled to dye to sin, and live righteously.

Hereby may every one examine and prove whether he be elect or no,Use. 1. (viz.) Not by climbing to the top at first, and flying unto the unsearch­able counsels of God (the way to dazle and confound us) but by the lowest step, our Sanctification.

Here's also comfort to them that can prove their Sanctification in truth,Use. 2. though imperfectly: There's no condemnation to them, an in­fallible mark of their election; which may the more soundly comfort them, because it is unchangeable as God is, so that all the Devils in Hell shall never be able to prevail against their Salvation, which is a Bulwark and Castle against all temptations. Once the childe of God and ever so, onely labor to walk worthy of this love, and grow in sanctification, that we may have the more plentiful and strong argu­ment of our election past, and glory to come.

Here's also terror to those that walk after the flesh,Use 3. and the lusts thereof, that lie yet in their sins; they need not make a question about their election, they may know that as yet they have no mark of it; such rather carry a mark of reprobation about them.

Break off your sins therefore,Use 4. and turn to God; who would not leave any sin that would hinder assurance of Salvation? and who would not do any duty that might assure him thereof? Let this be a strong and sharp spur to move us to Repentance; and be not desperately care­less, [Page 11] saying, If I be elected I shall be saved let me do as I will; and if I be rejected, let me do never so well, I shall be damned. These are flat lies; use thou in humility the ways and means to attain faith and sanctification, that thou mayst be assured of thine election, else if thou wilt desperately justle against God, see who will go by the worst.

Yea,Use 5. not only the prophane bear a brand of reprobation, but even those that have some shew of holiness, such as like H [...]rod, hear gladly, and amend many things; or such as like the Pharisees, make clean the outside of the platter, the inside being full of filthiness, such as have a shew of godliness, yet by some sins deny the power of it; or such holi­ness as stands in Ceremony, the substance being neglected. These kindes of holiness are no marks of Election; therefore do not we content our selves with these, but labor for true inward and sincere san­ctification,Christs obedi­ence and suf­ferings the meritorious cause of our salv [...]tion. which is in the heart, in one thing as in another, in trou­ble as well as in prosperity.

Unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ] The me­ritorious cause of our salvation is Christs obedience and sufferings; and his obedience was chiefly in the offering up of himself: for though the Father had Elected us to salvation,Rom. 5. 19. and made us happy in Adam, yet we wrought our own overthrow by sin,Phil. 2. 8. and so deserved the curse of God here and for ever. The only way then to deliver us from this, and to save us, was by the Lord Jesus, God and man, who suffered all the wrath that was due to us for our sins, and so discharged us. To ap­pease this wrath there was in our selves no power; no means else in the world would serve, even the Angels were unable to help us herein. This hath Christ done for us, and that fully, the dignity of his person being such, that he is both God and M [...]n in one person. Of this the blood of the lamb sprinkled on the Israelites houses was a sign, all Sacrifices tended hereunto, our Sacraments point thereat; all Scripture layeth our Salvation in the Cross,Rev. 1. 5. Blood and Sufferings of Christ.

Here see,

1. An admirable mixture of Justice and Mercy,Use 1. so that God is not all mercy, as the world imagines: Therefore, for prophane im­penitent ones, they shall bear the just wrath of God themselves, and not by every late forced, Lord have mercy, have God at command as they imagine: For if Christ was feign to suffer, and the Father would not be intreated, notwithstanding his strong cries, but when he stood as our Surety, laid on load and spared him not at all, shall his prophane enemies think to escape as they list?

2. Gods infinite mercy to mankinde,Use 2. to appoint a way to save some of them, whereas no Angel that fell shall be saved.

3. It sets out the depth of our misery;Use 3. therefore they that are still in it have no small piece of work to bring to pass.

4. It teacheth us how to esteem of sin,Use 4. as being of that weight, that nothing but the blood of Christ will satisfie for it.

5. Its sets out the infinite and unspeakable love of God,Use 5. to give us his Son, and of Christ to give himself, seeing no less means would serve; Who can sufficiently either admire or express the same?

[Page 12] 6. Here's matter of endless consolation to all troubled sinners,Use 6. when Satan and the terrors of Conscience shall pursue them, to flie to Christ Jesus and his sufferings. This is their Castle, their quietus est▪ send Satan to thy Surety, all is fully discharged in his death: But this is only for humble bleeding sinners, that turn to God with all their hearts; but as for proud persons that live still in their lusts, what have these to do to talk of Christs death? yet have these it in readiness, Christ hath died for us; What, for such prophane ones as make his death a packhorse, and lay on more load, which is to crucifie Christ again? No, let these know, they shall bear the burthen of their own sins; but let the true penitent be of good comfort, and know, that all his sins (how great soever) be done away: Neither let such think, that their afflictions are any part of the punishment of sin, for it is all done away once in Christ, and therefore shall not again be demanded of them; but they are loving chastisements to humble them for their sins past, and prevent others for the time to come; both furthering their Salvation.

7. For all that know they have their part in Christs death,Use 7. how should this work with them! 1. For sin past, it should vex and grieve our hearts, for we were the Crucifiers of Christ; Judas, the Soldiers and Jews but our Servants, whom our sins set on work: It's our great fault, that we can think of our sins without being humbled, shall Christ shed tears of blood for our sins, and we not be troubled for our own? 2. This should make us hate sin for ever, being as it were the knife and spear that killed Christ; what father could ever love that knife that should kill his childe? 3. How should this inflame our hearts with love to him again, and carry us on in a zealous care of obedience all our days? our woful coldness in Christs cause and service deserves to be rebuked. Alas, how little will we do for his sake; we ought to be ready to leave Goods, Liberty and Life for him; we should herein but do as he hath done for us, yea who began thus to do for us, when we were even his enemies! How much more any other thing! And may not this stop the mouths of all prophane persons, which will be talking, they hope to be saved by Christ, when they shew no love nor thankfulness to him, but live yet in their sins to anger him.

8. An exclusion of all feigned and false satisfactions of mens own devising,Use 8. whereof the Church of Rome is full, which would strike in for a part with the merit of Christs death, which makes a great stir about the Cross, when in the mean time they make void its efficacy.

Sprinkling, &c.] By this word he alludeth to the sacrifices of the Law, which all pointed at the sacrifice of Christ; and to shew, that as it had been nothing that a sacrifice had been killed, unless the blood thereof had been sprinkled upon the people (for so was the maner) so it avails us nothing that Christ died,Gal. 2. 20. unless his blood be sprinkled on us by the hand of a true faith,Christs death is particularly to be appre­hended by Faith. applying Christ Jesus to our Consciences. Its not Christ that saves, but Christs death appre­hended by a true and lively faith, for a particular perswasion hereof are we to labor.

[Page 13] Here also in this verse is an excellent proof of the holy Trinity,A proof of the holy Trinity. three persons and one God, which is so to be worshipped; all that do otherwise worship an Idol, and not the true God.

Again observe, That

Election is attributed to the Father,Election the work of the whole Trinity Redemption to the Son, Sancti­fication to the Holy Ghost. It's not but that they be the common works of the whole Trinity, as all the works of God towards the Creatures are,Iude 1. in which respect Sanctification is also attributed to the Father; but because of their immediate working. The Father elected in the Son, and by the Holy Ghost, Father, Son and Holy Ghost elected. The Son is the immediate worker of our Redemption, he shed his blood, as the Holy Ghost the immediate worker of Sanctification.

Grace unto you and Peace be multiplied.] The usual salutation of the Jews, asking the favor of God as the root and peace, that is, all happiness, as that which flows from thence, for so by peace the Jews meant, Peace be with you, Peace be to this house, &c.

Hence note,

1. That we should seek the favor of God,Why Gods fa­vor is to be sought. as that which draweth on other things, yea all things, for in love is no lack; Men may have other things without this, but they will have an ill farewel, as they that have possession, but no right title to that which they possess.

2. What a Minister should chiefly desire for his people;Ministers must labor that their People maybe brought into Gods favor. even that they may be brought into Gods favor by Christ, have their sins for­given, Christ made theirs, and they assured thereof, with so much prosperity as may stand with happiness; So Husbands and Wives each for other; So also Parents for their Children: The favor and grace of God is the principal and root of all good. Men may have abun­dance of outward things, but if they flow not from Gods love they will have a hard farewel.Psal. 30. 5. This brings sufficiency, In his favor is life: yea this were sufficient if it came alone, but in Gods love is no want of any thing needful; worldlings indeed do greatly seek after wealth for their children, and rejoyce to see them wealthy and healthy, though in the mean time they see in them no true tokens of Gods favor, but alas what are these! It should more glad us to see an humble, godly heart, turned from sin and embracing righteousness, though sickly and poor, then to flow in all the wealth of the world, and be ungra­cious, and to come home in a Gold chain, or to hear that our childe were like Joseph, the second man in the Kingdom, without grace: But men do for their children as for themselves, labor more for goods then grace. But what shall we say to those Ministers that check their people for forwardness, and seek to discourage them? what also to those Parents, that are so far from desiring grace for their children, as they check and discourage them for their forwardness thereunto? such would like them rather if they saw them jolly as the world;See Pro. 10. 1. Oh a hard part of Parents!

Be multiplied.] He desires not that they be once taken into Gods fa­vor, and his other graces begun in them, but that they be continued, and daily encreased more and more? He was covetous to have his spritual [Page 14] children thrive apace, and grow very rich in grace; Such covetous­ness,Ministers must labor that their people may grow in grace. even a desire to joyn grace to grace, is both for our selves and others commendable. So should a Minister desire that his people may not be a little better then the worst, but to exceed others by far, that they may answer the time and means; and to this end, as to pray, so to call upon them continually, and they not to think amiss of this, but to rejoyce in it as a special fruit of his Love; so must Parents to their Children: God gives us leave to be covetous in these things, and to joyn grace unto grace,2 Pet. 1. 5. as men do house unto house, so shall we honor him much, for a little grace will go but a little way. Thus shall we benefit our Neighbors much, when our branches spread far, and our lips feed many. Thus shall we have a large Testimony to our selves of our Salvation while we live, and make a wide entrance for our selves into the glorious Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.2 Pet. 1. 10, 11.

Verse. 3. ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again unto a lively hope, by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.’

NOw followeth the substance of the Epistle,The sum and substance of the whole Epistle. consisting of Doctrine and Exhortation: Doctrine to the thirteenth Verse; Exhortations in the Verses following. The Exhortations are to continue constant in the profession of the Gospel of Christ, and to stick close to that Sal­vation purchased by Christ, and revealed therein; and that they would lead an holy and and godly life, answerable to this profession and Gospel, both in their general and particular callings; yea now in their present troubles, and notwithstanding any other they might meer with hereafter. Now this being a very weighty building, therefore he had need lay a foundation fitting for the same, and so he doth, which is this, namely, The singular benefits that we receive by Jesus Christ his Death and Resurrection, viz. Assurance of Salvation, Hope, Joy, Peace, &c. and at last everlasting life in the Kingdom of Heaven; all which are revealed and wrought in us by the Gospel, which is no new Doctrine, but that which of old was revealed to all the Prophets, though now more clearly and fully manifested. Therefore seeing God hath done so great things for us by Christ Jesus, and these things are revealed in the Gospel, which is very ancient, good reason they should cleave to Christ, and be carried after no other way of Salva­tion, accordingly walking worthy of the benefits they have both al­ready reaped hereby, and may further hereafter. The Doctrine set­teth forth the great benefit that we reap by Jesus Christ; namely, That we are begot to a lively hope of Salvation, and of being par­takers of such an inheritance, as is without comparison, which is eve­ry way set forth, according to its excellency; where we have, 1. The benefit, That we are begotten to a lively hope: 2. The moving cause, The abundant mercy of God: 3. The means whereby, namely, The Resurrection of Jesus Christ: 5. The end, That we may partake of [Page 15] Salvation, which he calls an Inheritance, and describes it by seve­ral properties.

Blessed be God] For the maner of speech,Gods blessing man. we read of three kindes of blessing in Scripture:Eph. 1. 3. 1. God blesseth man, when he bestoweth up­on him his favors and good things,Mans blessing man. earthly and heavenly: 2. Man blesseth man, and that either ordinarily when he prayeth to God to bless him (Thus Moses is appointed to bid Aaron bless the people;Num. 6. 23. and the form of prayer is set down;Mat. 5. 44. Thus Parents bless their children; and we are to bless them that curse us) or extraordinarily, when by the Spirit of Prophecie the Prophets of God have not onely prayed to God for a blessing on their posterity, but have pronounced a bles­sing upon them, foretelling what their state should be in time to come. As Isaac blessed Iacob and Esau, Gen. 27. 28. and 49. 3. Iacob also his Sons, and Moses the twelve Tribes at his death:Deut. 33. 1, 2, &c. 3. Man blesseth God, when he ascribeth that ho­nor, praise and thanksgiving which is due to him for his Mercy, Wisdom,Mans blessing God. Justice, Truth; not when we give him any thing he hath not (that cannot be) but when we ascribe and give that to him which is most justly due to him already. Thus understand we the phrase here, as elswhere often.

For the matter, Being to repeat the great benefits that come to us by Jesus Christ, he doth it not barely, but begins with praise and thanksgiving for the same, Blessed be God, &c. saith he, as if he should have said, For these unspeakable and great benefits bestowed on us un­worthy ones, Oh my soul, Spirit, and all that is in me, come forth to render thanks to God; Teaching us, That

When we speak, or have any occasion to think (as we ought often to speak and think) of Gods mercies,Gods mercies to be thought on and spoken of with admi­ration. especially his special mercies that concern our Salvation, we should do it with admiration, and setting forth his praise. Thus both David and Paul: Even his outward benefits ought to stir us up unto thankfulness; how much more ought we to be stirred up for spiritual favors and deliverances from the bondage and thraldom of Sin.Psal. 103. 1, 2. Satan and Hell;Eph. 10. 3. how can we do any less?1 Tim. 1. 17. All crea­tures,Psal. 107. 1, 2. Sun, Moon, Fouls, praise God in their kinde, and yet they have onely been created; what we then that have been redeemed when we were lost?

They that have felt their bondage, and finde themselves delivered, cannot but break out into his praise. Indeed, the common sort that have those things but in their brain onely, and never had the feeling of the one or of the other, they can speak of these things but faintly, and from the teeth outward, and not from the heart as others; but for any to boast of great matters done for them, and yet shew no whit that they be ravished with love to God, neither breaking out into his praises in words, nor shewing it in their lives, they do certainly lye and deceive their own souls,Psal. 116. 10. for they that have had ex­perience of the sowre and of the sweet cannot but speak.See Luke 1. 46. 47. I believed, therefore have I spoken, 2 Cor. 4. 13. saith David. Impossible it is for any man to think of his Election, Redemption, Calling, &c. And not be ra­vished therewith; It's our duty then to stir up our selves often, and [Page 16] from time to time, by the deep meditation of Gods special Mercies, which, as it will shake off dulness, so will it much revive us to duty.

And Father of our Lord Jesus Christ] Mark, that he cannot speak of God,Rom. 15. 5, 13, 33. but with some token of reverence and title of his. Thus, as he is elswhere stiled,2 Cor. 1. 3. The God of Hope, the God of Peace, the God of Patience and Consolation,1 Tim. 1. 17. the King everlasting; so is he here, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. We must not think or speak of God but with reverence. His practise must be our patren, we must never think or speak of the holy and blessed name of God, but with all high reverence, his greatness compared with our baseness might induce us hereunto.

This condemneth as well the Blasphemy of Swearers,Use. as the un­reverent takers of Gods Name in vain, after what maner soever.

He is termed,Why God is termed the Fa­ther of our Lord Iesus Christ. the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, not only nor so much in respect of his Manhood, viz. that he took the lump where­of his humanity was framed, which was of the substance of the Virgin, and first Sanctified and freed the same from all stain or blemish of Original corruption, and actually United it from the first conception thereof to the Godhead and second person, and so framed the hu­manity of Christ of this substance, and infused into him a reasonable soul; but especially in respect of his Godhead, by an unspeakable communicating of the whole essence of the Father to him before all worlds, which mystery though we cannot fully understand, we must believe and adore.

Here he is stiled, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (as formerly he was wont to be called, and known by the name of the God of Abra­ham, Isaac and Jacob, to distinguish him from all false gods) where­by he sheweth himself more cleerly to us, and the way how we should get into his favor, namely, by his son, there being no other way where­by our persons or service can please God.

If therefore we would obtain any thing at Gods hands,Use. we must not come barely to the Father, as for forgiveness of sins, mercy or any thing else, but with respect of his son Jesus Christ, by whom only he is and will be merciful unto us.

Speak we something of his three titles,Gods Son why termed Iesus

1. Jesus a Savior, so called by an Angel from Heaven ere he was born,Mat. 1. 21. for that he was to save his people from their sins: who is an absolute and sufficient Savior,Act. 4. 12. yea the only Savior, neither is there, was there, or shall there be any other.

2. Christ anointed to be our King,Christ Priest and Prophet, through whom we are made Kings,Reu. 1. 6. Priests and Prophets. If so, 1. Where be our sacrifices of our selves, of Prayer and Praise, Morning and Evening in our Families; a Priest must not be without sacrifice. 2. As Prophets do we teach our Families, do we instruct and examine them? 3. As Kings do we master our affections? If we be led Cap­tive of our frowardness, worldliness, and the like, what Kings are we? Look to it.

3. Our Lord. Our Lord. He is our Lord every way;1 Pet. 1. 19. by purchase and by con­quest;Col. 2. 15. He bought us with his precious blood, He also conquered all the [Page 17] Enemies that held us captive,Heb. 2. 14. Sin, Satan, Death, and so delivered us. If any great man would by money ransom,1 Cor. 15. 26. or by his sword rescue out of his Enemies hands any captive, he were his Lord; so is Christ our Lord either way. Whence ariseth,

1. Comfort to all that know themselves redeemed by him,Use 1. that he will never lose that which he hath so dearly bought, and taken such pains with every way, to come into the world, to die for us, then so to work, as we may come to the knowledge of it by his Word and Spirit; Whereby Faith and Sanctification are wrought in us.

2. Instruction,Use 2. its our duty to submit our selves to him as our Liege­lord,Psal. 2. 12. to be his loyal people; we must kiss the son, take up his yoke: He hath paid full dearly for our service and love;Mat. 11. 29. his we are, being now no more our own. There are too too many that yet do not so cleave to this Lord and his Word,1 Cor. 6. 19. but that they suffer other things, other Lords to carry them away. Many could be content to have Christ their Savior, but they will not have him their Lord and King, to rule in them and over them;Psal. 2. 3. Let us break their bands asunder (say they) and cast away their cords from us: Psal. 12. 4. And again, Who is Lord over us? Let such to their terror consider that fearful sentence passed against them (But those mine Enemies that would not that I should reign over them, Luke 19. 27. bring hither, and slay them before me) They are counted Gods Enemies, and adjudged to be slain before his face;Psal. 2. 9. Yea, he will break them with a red of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potters vessel: Others will let him be their Lord as far as they please, and in what they list, as if they would appoint their work themselves (as some coy servants) which the Lord will not indure:Mat. 11. 29. Well, let us bring our hearts to yield unto him as our Lord, else we shall never have Salvation by him: There's no refreshing by him, unless we take up his yoke, both must go together; they that will not willingly stoop to him, he will be their Lord and King in despight of them, and that to their con­fusion.

Now for the afflicted conscience that travels for mercy and par­don, and desires after Christ more then all the world, dost thou as earnestly desire him to be thy Lord and King; and art thou willing to take up his yoke, and that he shall rule and reign in thee, and none else, and that in all things; be of good comfort, thou art one of those whom Christ will save.

Which according to his abundant mercy, &c.] Now we are to observe, 1. The benefit bestowed for which he blessed God, namely, For be­getting us again unto a lively hope. 2. The moving cause, His mercy, nay abundant mercy. 3. The means whereby, The Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead; of which as they lie in order.

Hath begotten us again unto a lively hope] This is the benefit,What means here by hope. God hath begot them again to the hope of Salvation, for so he means; for by hope is not strictly meant that grace of hope which proceeds from Faith, which is that whereby we wait patiently for that which by Faith we believe, but its here meant of both faith and hope, even [Page 18] assurance of Salvation; Hereunto (saith he) they were begot again.

Whence note, That

We have not the assurance of Salvation of our selves by nature,Assurance of Salvation comes not by nature. or by our first begetting; no, by nature we are the children of wrath, enemies to God, dead in sins and trespasses, having no hope, and without God in the world:Eph. 2. 12. Nay, to have Faith and hope of Salvation, is the onely work of God, as our Savior unto Peter upon his confession of him,Math. 16. 17. Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my father which is in Heaven: So may we affirm about this particular. See to this pur­pose Joh. 6. 29.1 Pet. 1. 7. Acts 16. 14. Eph. 2. 8. Phil. 1. 29. Heb. 12. 2. The titles given unto Faith shew as much,Tit. 1. 1. as precious Faith, the Faith of Gods elect,Iude 20. most holy Faith; have we any such thing in our selves?

The means whereby he works this Faith,The means whereby God works Faith. are, 1. The outward Ministery of the Word. 2. The inward working of Gods Spirit pre­paring us by the Law;Rom. 10. 17. then working it by the promises of the Gospel: Father,2 Cor. 4. 13. Son, and Holy Ghost work Faith.

God that brings light out of darkness made all of nothing,Eph. 6. 23. and raiseth up the dead to life, he only works Faith in us, and puts life into these dead hearts of ours; its a great work of God that we can do nothing toward it. To be humbled truly in the sight of our sins, is a great work hardly brought to pass; yet this no part of Faith, but a preparation: Then when we see them, its a great work of God that we are not swallowed up of desperation, but that God upholds and works by the Gospel longing after mercy, and so by degrees gives power to apply it; many that long seek and cannot lay hold, or having, yet quickly let go, finde faith a great work of God.

What shall we say then to the hope thats so common in the world,Use. 1. almost at every hand? Go through a Parish, and you shall finde few but hope to do well, to be saved, making no doubt of it, having no fears, asking no questions about it; yea, thank God they have been of this perswasion ever since they can remember. Surely this is but a false hope, a presumptuous conceit of their own heads, without ground or bottom in Gods word, an illusion wherewith the Devil seeks to undo them, getting them to bear themselves fair in hand, that they might not be troubled till wrath overtake them without help; yea, it may appear they are not begotten again to it, for being asked, how long it hath been thus with them; they thank God they have ever been of a good belief: and they have no ground for it, but because God's a merciful God, &c. not considering that God is as Just as Merciful, and that his justice must first be satisfied, ere he can shew any mercy. Besides, they cannot say it hath been wrought, as God worketh Faith in his, viz. First, he humbles and brings to the Gates of Hell, and then lifts up; this is not with them: They also cannot say nor remember when it was wrought, nor how they came by it, nor that it hath been otherwise with them at any time. Besides,Act. 15. 9. true Faith purifieth the heart, and he that hath it purgeth him­self as he is pure,1 Ioh. 3. 3. which is not in them, but they abide in their sins; at least in the love of some, and have no Faith for outward things▪ [Page 19] but use unconscionable shifts:Rom. 5. 5. Therefore whereas true hope makes not ashamed, but in the needful time and great day will make men lift up their heads with joy; this will be like Aegypt, a deceitful and broken Reed, to lay them under feet that do trust to it: Contrarily, know we that Faith and Hope are not so easily gotten; they must be wrought from Heaven, herein both Father, Son and Holy Ghost must joyn: therefore wofully do they deceive themselves, that trust to any blinde conceit in stead of the true work of God; as they do desperately that put off Conversion and Faith till the latter end, as if they had them at command; we must in time labor for this true work of grace.

But if any can prove themselves begotten truly to this hope,Use 2. they have great cause of thanksgiving, whereinto the Apostle here breaks out; Oh what a thing is it, not only to give his only Son to the death for us, but to reveal it to us in his word, and thereby to assure us that we have our part in the same, and we poor sinners may come to know our sins forgiven, and that we shall be saved: Oh unspeakable favor I What is like this? Or what can make a man miserable that hath this? prize we this as a Jewel, nourish we it by all good means, especially by keeping a good Conscience; rejoyce in it, as being of more worth then all the world: let not a few wants or afflictions daunt us, or take away this joy. It's a fault in Christians that they will be heavy if they want something they would have: Oh! Is it not enough that God loves thee? Again, a little cross casts us down and quells us, as if we had nothing to comfort us; Oh, no earthly thing should daunt us, while we know this: He that said, I could be content to lie as a fire-block in Hell till the day of Judgement, so I might be sure to be saved then, would have been glad of assurance in this life though with many crosses.

If any have not yet this hope,Use 3. let them give no rest to themselves till they have attained it; there's no peace without it▪ Sin lieth at the door, See B. Halls Heaven upon Earth cap. 4. and 6. a wounded conscience will arrest us, though we may still it for a season; pacifie it we cannot, till our sin be taken away and forgiven: Assuredly their estate is most dangerous which neither have it nor seek after it.

A lively hope] so called,Why termed a lively hope. not only for that it is the hope of life, but because it doth exceedingly cheer and comfort the heart of him that hath is, and puts more life into him then any other thing can do. Here­in it is opposed against all other vain hopes of the world, in outward and transitory things, which yield no sound contentment to them that have their part deepest in them. Herein also from the forged hope of Salvation, that the world fain to themselves, which also hath no life in it, no heartning in it: But true Faith and hope do exceedingly revive the heart which before was dead without any true comfort,See Mat. 9. [...]. yea being stung by the Law,Psal. 4. 7 and 51. 7. 8. and so full of terror and discomfort, joy and gladness comes from perswasion of pardon. Neither comforts this only in prosperity,See Psal. 112, 7. 8. when the world can be merry, but even in adversity and trouble, when they be dismaid, and dead, as it were, on the nest; Through this they can even in Prison with Paul and Silas sing Psalms,Acts 16. 25. [Page 20] as through this the Martyrs endured the fire; Daniel and the Three Children went cheerfully to suffer: This also makes a Christian lively to serve God,Psal. 51. 15. and in every duty to praise him, as David, Open thou my lips, saith he (namely with assurance of thy love) and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise: So to do good to others, as being fitted to teach them as well the way of Gods justice against sin,ibid. 13. as the way of his mercy to them that repent; yea hereby we shall be fit to every good duty,Psal. 119. 32: I will run the way of thy commandments when thou shalt enlarge mine heart, namely, by the perswasion of thy love, and by thy Spirit and the hope of Salvation.

Its a fault in Christians,Use. that they be no more cheerful in this hope, but lumpish and soon daunted in afflictions; a fault I say, that we are no more active and lightsom in Gods business.

Let every one then labor for it; till this we are not alive, our soul never prospers, nor sees good day: This, even this, is the beginning of life, and the first step to eternal life. Would any man live, and be cheerful, and see good days, and have that which might keep him from being daunted in adversity, persecution, death at the day of Judge­ment, let him by all means get this: Without this, mens hopes are vain; their stout courage will fail them in those times when God shall frown. Its Faith onely, which will carry a man through all things: Hereby he shall have a heart to serve God, yea, both do and suffer the greatest things for him and his sake.

According to his abundant mercy] The moving cause of this benefit of our calling to Faith and hope,Gods free fa­vor the cause of all our good. is Gods mercy, nay, hit abundant mercy. The cause of all the good that ever came to us, or ever shall come, is no other but onely free favor: Why did he elect us before the world,Eph. 1. 4, 5. but onely of his undeserved love, According to the good pleasure of his own will? not for works we had done (it was before the world) not for any we were like to do, as who do none, till he work them in us.Rom. 5. 10. So also, Why redeemed he us, when we were all fallen into condemnation? even for his meer mercy; was there any thing in us could deserve it,Iam. 1. 18. when we were utterly unable to do any good, nay, when his utter enemies? why also hath he called us? Did we, or could we do any thing before our calling to deserve it? We were not onely unable to think a good thought, but serving the Devil with all our power, walking in our lusts, after the Prince that ruleth in the children of disobedience.Eph. 2. 2. &c. See our case in Ezek. 16. both in re­spect of our Parents, sinners, and our selves, or any thing we can do: Nay, to cut the throat of all conceit of any merit less or more, before or alter,Man could not be saved with­out abundant mercy. he saith, His abundant mercy: So that a little mercy, such as is in man, or some reasonable store, as in Angels, would not serve the turn, nor was sufficient to save us, or move the Lord to call us to this hope, but an abundant deal of the mercy of God, which is infinite.

Was it a small matter that moved God to chuse thee to Salvation,Use 1. ra­ther then thousands of others? or was it a small mercy to give us his onely Son, to save and deliver us by suffering all the wrath due to us? [Page 21] What, Not his Servant, nor his Friend, but his Son, his only begotten Son, the wisdom of the Father, the Image of the invisible God, the engraven form of his Person, to stoop so low as to become man! nay in that base estate to be despised of men, to be hated, spitted upon, mockt, shamefully Crucified, and he that knew no sin, to stand in the stead of most vile sinners, and so to be dealt with, and that for us no friends, but enemies; no good persons, but vile and wretched ones? Was a little love enough to bring this to pass?Ioh. 3. 16. Oh no, but a love without measure, without example, never such another, even that any Father gave his only begotten Son to save traitors and enemies.

It was wonder that the Father did not rather suffer all mankinde to perish,Use 2. then to give his only most blessed Son to suffer the least of these indignites. And it was no small love of Iesus Christ that moved him to leave the glory of the Father, and stoop to the estate of a man, and all his infirmities save sin, and to endure all these tortures of men, and his Fathers wrath especially? It was no small love that made him give us his heart-blood; when he shed a few tears for Lazarus, the Jews said,Ioh. 11. 35, 36 Behold how he loved him, but having shed his blood for us, what may we say?

So also is it a small measure of mercy to call us to the hope of Sal­vation from our wretched estate, when we went on in sin, and minded no good,See Eph. 2. [...]. nay all evil? It must needs be a great deal of mercy to move God to think well to us,Tit. 3. 5. when we went on madly in our sins, and did fight against him: so also to forgive so many and horrible offences as we had committed; no marvel though David craved the multitude of Gods mercies:Psal. [...]1. 1. If they were not infinite our sins could not be forgiven, for our sins come as neer infinite as number can make them; then to cloath such wretches with the righteousness of his Son; then to forget and forgive all that is past, and take us into favor, and make us here heirs of all his promises and priviledges, and of life eternal hereafter, who will not admire it? Is not this abundant mercy to work this hope in us, whom he might have justly condem­ned; and when he might also have been glorified in our condem­nation, as he was in Pharoahs Plagues? So also to adopt us for his children, men adopt that have none of their own; God had a natural beloved Son,Eph. 1. 5. men adopt their kinsmen; God us, nothing of his kin, yea his enemies;1 Ioh. 3. 1. men adopt for some good quality, we had no such thing to move God: was it not a great deal of mercy that moved God to call Paul that ran a persecuting of him in his members, to forgive Mary Magdalen, Manasses? &c. So every one of us, What were we when God called us? Must not we say, that it was abundant mercy that ever we were called, forgiven and saved?

They that have had their part in this abundant mercy,Use 3. must be stirred up to abundant thanksgiving,Psal. 116. 12. saying with the Psalmist, What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits towards me? We must testifie our love in [...]ealous obedience all the days of our life,Tit. 2. 14. shewing forth the vertues of him that hath called us out of darkness into his marvellous light, and be a peculiar people to him, zealous of good works, [Page 22] walking worthy of the Lord,Col. 1. 10. which is by pleasing him in all things; we must be ravished with zeal towards him, as he hath been for our good;2 King 19. 31. The zeal of the Lord of Hostes hath done it. Oh how this re­buketh the scant duty that God hath from us again! We receive abun­dant mercy, but return poor sparing obedience; what slender zeal in Prayer, or works of mercy? How quickly are we weary of well-doing? What small things will we stick at to God, that stuck at no­thing to us? If he should call us to part with our Goods, Country, Liberty, it were no more then Christ did for us, yea if to dye, did not he even dye for us?

It teacheth us also to shew mercy one to another,Use 4. in giving, for­giving,Mat. 5. 45. and the like;Luke 6. 36. herein the Lord himself going before us as a patern of imitation.

It sheweth also the miserableness of our estate,Use. 5. that without abun­dant mercy we can never be saved; therefore must we seek for it ear­nestly and betimes, as becometh those that need such an infinite thing, which condemns the notable carelesness, and desperate boldness and presumption of the World, that put off seeking for mercy till the latter end, as if they had it at command: But do they think abundant mercy is so easily gotten?Heb. 12. 17. Many have not found it so, nay they shall, with Esau, howl for the blessing and go without it, because they despised it,Mat. 25. 12. when it was so often offered: The foolish Virgins sought to enter in when it was too late.

By the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead] The means whereby we are begotten to this hope,The means whereby we are begotten to this hope. namely, the Spirits assuring that Christ Jesus is risen for us, and giving us power through his resurrection to rise to newness of life.1 Cor. 15. 3. &c.

The benefits that come to us by Christs resurrection are many;Benefits ari­sing from Christs resur­rection. 1. We are hereby assured, that he hath fully paid our debt and dis­charged all; for if one sin had remained unsatisfied for, the justice of God could not have suffered him to have risen again.Rom. 4. 25. 2. Hereby we receive power to rise to newness of life.ib. 8. 33, 34. 3. Hereby we are assured of the resurrection of our bodies at the last day:1 Cor. 15. 17. The same power that did the one, shall be able to do the other; The head being risen will draw all the members after it.

We should therefore often meditate on our Saviour Christs resur­rection,Use. and the benefits thereof, especially on the Lords-day, the day whereon he rose again; by which very day we are put in minde thereof: and among other things, we must labor by Faith to draw vertue from his resurrection, whereby we may be more and more enabled to walk in newness of life: for as our Regeneration hath two parts, a dying unto sin, and rising to newness of life, so have these two springs, Christs death, and his resurrection.

Verse 4. ‘To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fa [...]eth not away, reserved in Heaven for you.’

HEre he explains what we are called to, namely, the lively hope of the Kingdom of Heaven,The Kingdom of Heaven why termed an in­heritance. which as it is here termed an Inhe­ritance, so is it in the next verse Salvation. This is called an inheritance to shew us the nature of it, being also described by sundry properties, under divers-phrases, as if no words could sufficiently express the same. Those shew the perpetuity and purity thereof, as also how we shall come by it; its reserved for us, but where? in Heaven, where its out of danger: but how shall we come to it being here on earth among many dangers? We are kept for it, and that by a mighty hand, even the power of God, by the mean of Faith; kept, I say, unto this Salvation, prepared long ago, and which shall be shewed us in the ful­ness of it, even at Christs second coming.

An inheritance] Therefore no purchase, no wages of a servant, but an inheritance given by a Father to his son, not (such as many heirs have) entailed, or as any natural son, which hath it by a kinde of right after his father,See Act. 20. 32 but an inheritance of Adopted children;Luke 12. 32. taken in as the childe of a Traytor,Rom. 6. 23. nay a Traytor himself, and so made heirs, then which what can be freer? This is said to be given, and whats freer then gift?

This serves to confute not onely the gross Opinion of Papists,Use. that we, God setting us forward, and helping us, can do such things as whereby we can merit Heaven and Salvation; but that which is more nice, is of those which say, that we have no good of our selves, but that its wrought in us by God alone, yet now look for Salvation by their Holiness and Sanctification; No, God forbid, for our Sancti­fication being imperfect, God might justly condemn us for it, and count our works a polluting of his grace;Psal 146. 2. therefore David saith, No flesh (before nor after grace) can be justified in thy sight; Rom. 3. 20. not onely by nothing of our own,Luke 18. 11. but by nothing that God worketh in us. What differ these men from the proud Pharisee, he attributed his holiness not to himself, but to God, and thankt him for it; but he thought this would merit (that he was not so and so as others) and challenge some­thing at the hand of God, and therefore was rejected. True it is, God not onely disproveth not, but liketh and accepteth of our works, though unperfect, yea crowns and rewards his own grace in us; yet not for the worthiness of the work, but for the persons sake that is in his favor by Jesus Christ, whose perfect righteousness is imputed, to make a supply of our imperfections and wants.

Seeing therefore it is an inheritance every way free, bestowed upon us onely by right of Adoption in Jesus Christ, which by his grace he hath called us unto; let us so acknowledge it to the glory of God, and like Adopted children, love our Father, fear him, be zealous for his glory, and take his part.

Incorruptible, 1 Cor. 2. 9. &c.] Now he describes it, rather setting down what [Page 24] it is not,The happiness of Gods peo­ple in Heaven abideth for e­ver. then what it is, which no tongue can express; it is without end, perpetual, called therefore everlasting life: Life for the excel­lency, Everlasting for the continuance; God endures for ever and ever, so the happiness of his servants: no death there to deprive us of it,Heb. 12. 28. or take us from it; no sin there to provoke God to take it from us, it abides firm for ever, it cannot be moved. All earthly inheri­tances are subject to decay, liable to a thousand perils, alterations and troubles, they may be taken from us, and we from them by death. How were the Canaanites put out, and the Israelites succeeded in their places? How did the Chaldeans displace them, as themselves were by the Medes and Persians? These things below are the meat that pe­risheth, uncertain riches, a treasure which moth and canker corrupt, and whereto theeves may break in and steal, whereof also civil or foraign Wars might quickly deprive us; neither are the smallest inheritances void of cumber, as being in danger of bad titles, oppressors, tyrants, and the like, or to be spent and wasted by unthrifty heirs.

Undefiled] There comes nothing to taint it,Why termed undefiled. its most pure; how can it be otherwise, being the habitation of the most holy God, who is Holiness it self?Act. 20. 12. holiness becometh the presence of God, where his holy Angels attend upon him: This is prepared for them that are sancti­fied;Apoc. 21. 27. neither can any unclean person come there: Hereof the most ho­ly place in the Temple, called the Holy of Holies, was a figure, and this is also called the holy Jerusalem; Apoc. 21. 10. pure gold is the wall thereof, and precious stones that have no mixture of any impure thing in them; the gates That withereth not, or fadeth not away; A metaphor taken from herbs and flowers, which though fair and fresh, and of good smell in the morning, yet in a short time fade and wither, lose beauty, smell, and all.The Kingdom of Heaven al­ways one and the same. This Kingdom is not so, but continues ever fresh and flourish­ing, always the same, alters not through continuance or length of time. There's nothing in this world but welks; the older we grow, the more we wrinkle and wither, the more do we fade both in beauty and strength: so do inheritances; so goodly and fair houses in time are ready to drop down, or are quite consumed: Kingdoms also fade and decay, that were sometimes flourishing; so also Cities, yea every thing is the worse for the wearing: Not so with this, here's an inhe­ritance indeed, could we but conceive and express the fame.

This sets out the excellency of the children of God,Use 1. that are be­loved of God, attended by the holy Angels, heirs of the promises here, and of such an inheritance hereafter: If any man knew the ex­cellency of a childe of God, covered with Christs Righteousness, heir apparent to such a Kingdom, endued with the Spirit of Sanctifi­cation, and who he were that is one of them, he would fall down at his feet, and kiss the ground he trod on, and cry out, Blessed be the day that ever thou wert born; but twice blessed the day wherein thou shalt die, for then thou shalt be blessed, and that eternally: but this the world seeth not, they see us but outwardly, and so our state is mean, they see not our inward estate.Simile.

If the yong Prince should come on foot in his working-day cloaths [Page 25] through a Town, and none knew who were his Father, nor what he is born to, he might go through the street, and no man greatly re­gard him; but if in his best apparel, and known what he is, then eve­ry man would look after him, and reverence him: so the world sees us in our working-days cloaths, and therefore neglect us; if they did see us in our holy-day apparel, they would admire us: but being igno­rant of the Father that begat us, and that will give us this inheritance, how can they take notice of us?

This should stir up them that have attained hereunto,Use 2. to be highly thankful for the same; and good cause why, for we were begotten and born at first to a woeful inheritance, to hell and damnation, chil­dren of wrath, but now begotten again to this happy inheritance; walk we therefore as becometh those that are called to so high an inheri­tance:Phil. 3. 20. Kings Sons must not carry themselves like base persons; so neither must we,Col. 3. 1. but have our conversation in Heaven, seeking for those things that are above, and esteeming of this world as vain; so using it, as that thereby we may be furthered to our true inheritance, not hindred; we must long to be at it: How do heirs under age, long to be of age to come to their Lands? so should we (here as it were un­der age) long to come to our Inheritance; as they that be long tossed on the Sea, long to come to the Haven, and Pilgrims to be at their own Country, and Prisoners to be at liberty; so should we desire to be dissolved, that we enjoy Heaven, our Haven, our Countrey, the onely place of freedom. A wonderful fault in Christians, that so little think of it, take so little pleasure therein, are no more thankful for the same; seek after earthly things too eagerly, and do not so much aim after this: Oh what great unthankfulness is this! to be called to such an Inheritance, and so little to think thereof, so little to long af­ter it? Oh how we linger here below! if God should not drive us out by crosses, as Lot was fired out of Sodom, we would never be weary, we would still say, Its good being here; say we then out of our earnest desire hereof,Rev. 22. 17. Come Lord Jesus, come quickly.

Here we sin,Rev. 7. 17. and taste of sorrows many ways; then shall we sin no more, feel no more affliction, pain, sorrow, trouble any way: All tears shall be wiped from our eyes, then shall we be perfectly both holy and happy; when we come there, we shall not need to plow, sow, eat, drink, sleep, we shall not need travel any more to hear more Ser­mons, God shall be all in all.

This should comfort us against the fear of death;Use 3. what should we need to fear, since when Our earthly house of this Tabernacle shall be dissolved, 2 Cor. 5. 1. we know we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens. To go out of prison to liberty, is it not comfortable? out of of a miserable world, to a most happy Inheri­tance, what more desireable? So if we be deprived of our earthly Inheritance, as these Jews were that were scattered into other coun­treys for Religion sake, comfort we our selves notwithstanding, that yet we have an Inheritance (as hard as the world goes) and that a good and a sure one;Act. 7. 5. as long as we have this, we are happy: So though we [Page 26] have no Inheritance here, not one foot; yet if we have assurance of this, we may rejoyce, and having this, bear with the want of other things: Its better, then without this to be Lord of a Town, Owner of a Kingdom; its our great fault, that if we be somewhat shor­tened here, we are so much cast down thereat as if we had no­thing.

This should make us count all the labor,Use 4. pains, reading, hearing, conferring, praying, and all happy that hath brought us to the hope of this Inheritance; we have travelled well, its happily bestowed. Here­upon for the time to come, we must be encouraged to any pains, to do any thing, to suffer any thing for the attainment and enjoyment of so blessed an Inheritance: This Inheritance should we desire for our children above any other, and use the means accordingly; how do men toil to make their children rich, how few use means to make them gracious.

This may stir up them that have no hope to labor after this In­heritance;Use. 5. Lay up a treasure in Heaven; Mat. 6. 20. Labor for the meat that en­dureth to everlasting life. Ioh. 6. 27. This is worth our pains and cost, this is good wisdom:Mat. 13. 45. The wise Merchant spying the Pearl hid in the field, goes and sells all, and buys it; so every one that is a true Esteemer of this Pearl, prizeth it above all that he hath; But few do thus, because this Pearl is hid from carnal men, they do not see it, and many among us will not see it, though it be dis­covered to us: But O woful and miserable world, he that would look upon most men, might think there were no such inheritance: How do some spend all their time in pleasure, and never look after any thing else? How do most men rake after the world, night and day (Sabbath and all) by right and wrong, hook and crook, and suffer no stone unrolled for this pelf and trash of the world, that never set their hearts once to enquire after any other inheritance for time to come, as if Heaven were here: poor beasts, they might as well go on all four: Oh base, that men should spend their time, their thoughts, their pains, and all, for that which may be lost ere morning, and no whit for that which will last for ever: Thus with Judas, most sell Christ for Thirty pieces; with Esau, their Birthright for a mess of Pottage; and with the Gadarens, prefer their hogs before Christ; others that seem not altogether eaten up of the world, or so prophane, will talk of this inheritance, but how do they hold it? by every blinde conceit; they that cannot even by learned Counsel make sure enough their Earthly inheritance, can of their own heads make sure their Heavenly: Nay, the world if they see any take pains in Hearing, Reading, Praying, and the like, wonder at them, count them fools, say, they will beggar themselves, I wonder what they mean, &c. Dost thou wonder? They desire to attain an heavenly inheritance, not easily attained: They may rather wonder to see thee so earnest for this trash, which thou must leave thou canst not tell how soon, and have no care for the time to com, which is for ever; let such leave off seeking for the body,1 Tim. 6. 19. and now care for the soul, Laying up in store a good foundation [Page 27] for themselves against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life: Oh get good evidences to shew for it against all cavillers; con­tent not thy self with this, that God is merciful, and Christ died for all men, and the like, but labor to gain assurance upon good ground, that thou art one of them to whom God hath promised mercy, and for whom Christ dyed: To this end, examine thy Faith by its un­doubted fruits, Repentance and Charity.

If it be an undefiled inheritance,Use 6. let every one therefore labor to wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb, and by the Spirit of Sanctification, else can we never come there; none but such are ad­mitted into Gods presence: what an impudent sawciness then is it in a number that wallow in the filthy mire of their sins, and yet hope to go to Heaven as well as the best? Are swine, and such filthy cattel used to be brought into Kings Presence-Chambers? No, thou must be washed ere thou come here, and that so, as all the water in the sea can­not wash thee: If such as thou go to Heaven, then who go to Hell? If you will say Turks & Pagans, then look into the Parable of the Sower, three sorts of hearers perish; you know and do not, they know not the will of God: Dost thou think that thou canst go on in thy lewdness, and step out of thy filthy life into Heaven? No, then had all Gods servants lost a great deal of labor: We read of one, and but of one, that made any short cut, namely the thief upon the Cross; labor thou therefore in time to be washed, in time for Sanctification, and hereafter (as heretofore thou hast still done) put not off from day to day: But the Apostle contents not himself with the foregoing descri­ption, he yet adds more touching the same; what then? We notwith­standing must learn to be wise according to sobriety; and that we (forgetting our weak understanding) mount not up to search more curi­ously into Gods mysteries then he hath revealed▪ lest the glory thereof dazle and confound us: We are ready, & have a tickling desire to know further then God hath revealed, which breeds rather jangling then godly edifying: It may be enough for us to know that this inheritance and happiness is such, as that when all that mens tongues can speak is uttered, yet it is nothing to the excellency of it: So laying aside all curious questions about it, let us rather imploy our pains and study to get assurance of it.

Reserved in Heaven] This inheritance is here described by the place, not in Earth, not in Paradice, where Adam was, not in Canaan, which flowed with milk and honey, but in Heaven.

Hence note, that

Heaven is the place wherein God hath appointed to glorifie his Saints,God hath ap­pointed to glo­rifie his Saints in heaven. even the third Heaven, the place of his presence; where he manifesteth himself most clearly to his Angels and Saints; that Para­dice whereinto Christ ascended at his death, where also he promised that the penitent thief should be with himself▪ the bosom of Abra­ham, whereinto Lazarus was received.

For where Christ is, there shall all his Saints be; as he himself hath promised, and will perform: See to this purpose, Mat. 25. 34. [Page 28] Joh. 14. 2. and 17. 24. & 2 Cor. 5. 1. This is not every where, as some have imagined,Col. 3. 1. but above in the highest Heavens: Christ was taken up,Act. 1. 9. and who knoweth not that Heaven is above, as Hell is beneath?

This sheweth the excellency of this inheritance:Use 1. Oh how infinite odds is there between Heaven and Earth, both for Glory and Eter­nity! Therefore its called a glorious inheritance:Eph. 1. 18. If the outside be so decked with Sun, Moon, Stars, and such an excellent beautiful sky,Rev. 21. 11. what is the inside? According to our weakness, St. John de­scribes it by things of most worth amongst us, as pure Gold, and pre­cious Pearls: In this will God glorifie all his Saints, whensoever we die, our souls shall be taken up into it, as our bodies also at the last day.

How doth this set forth the unspeakable love of God,Use 2. and merit of Christ, that we who were worthily shut out of the Paradise on Earth, should be received into this Heavenly Paradise.

How should this ravish their hearts,Use 3. that know themselves heirs of this? How should it make them despise these things here below, when they know and finde them experimentally lets hereunto? How should it make us walk with an heavenly minde worthy of that inheritance? Out minde and soul should be there, and savour of it, whither at the time of our dissolution we are to be carried.

How should this stir up all men to seek after this glorious inheri­tance,Use 4. this Treasure in Heaven, so excellent, so incomparable? But Oh, the blinde world thinks not of this, because its not seen with the bodily eye: Men labor and strive to get up aloft here, to fet their nest on high, from which yet they may come down quickly, as many do, and must do at their death; but how few labor to get up to this height of glory in Heaven?

In Heaven] Hereby our Apostle meets with,The preven­tion of a con­ceit of the Iews. and seeks to cure a gross imagination of the Jews, which dreamed of an earthly Potentate, and thought Christ should come and deliver them from the Romans: See it in the two sons of Zebedeus; Mat. 20. 21. yea after three years teaching of Christ,Acts 1. 6. after his death and resurrection, they were not free of this con­ceit: our Savior used to call their mind from this to heaven, Can ye drink of the cup that I drink of, saith he; and, I came to serve, and not to be served.

So Peter draws them to look for their glory in Heaven; we must not therefore look for an happy estate here below but in Heaven: Here the Cross, there the Crown; here the Battel, there the Victory; The Crown of Thorns here, the Crown of Glory hereafter; many would follow Christ and the Gospel, if there came any preferment by him,Mat. 8. 19, 20. that now do not; so would the yong rich man: But Gods children will serve him, though they undergo troubles here for the glorious inheritance hereafter.

Reserved for us in Heaven] This meets with an Objection that these Christians might make:The preventi­an of an Ob­jection. Alas, come to this inheritance (it were happy indeed if we could) but what hope of it? Alas, we are tossed up and down, stript of all our goods, and persecuted; we are so far [Page 29] from hope to obtain this eternal inheritance, that we cannot keep these earthly ones which we have: He answered, this is safely reserved for us, and is out of danger to be lost; and though they lost their earthly in­heritances, they were but uncertain and transitory things, whereof God never promised that they should be other; but this is eternal, whereof they shall be most sure:Mat. 25. 34. For, hath the Father prepared this inheritance ere the world was, and chosen us unto it? hath the Son pur­chased it for us when we had lost it?Gods children sh [...]ll not miss of Heaven. Hath the Holy Ghost assured us of it, and sealed it to us, and given us the earnest of it, and shall we miss it? God forbid, the Spirit of truth cannot deceive us; shall Christ lose his death? Oh no, its reserved for us in Heaven, where no Devil can come, nor wicked men to take it from us.

Let this be a comfor to all the faithful servants of God that are justified and sanctified,Use. to sweeten all their afflictions here below, that they may be as sure of Heaven in the end without fail, as if they had it already: Many children lose their temporal inheri­tances, for want of good Gardians and Keepers, they are often wasted and gone ere they come to years, or are suffered to be recovered from them by some others; but the Lord is a faithful keeper, we are yet under age; when we shall come to age and dye, the Father that kept it for us, will bestow it on us; Christ Jesus our head and elder brother, he hath taken possession of it for us, and tells us, that where he is, there shall we be. But if we say, we have many ill willers, there can none come into Heaven, but our Friends: The Devil our deadliest adversary, he comes not there, though he did into the earthly Paradise: And for the wicked, though they hare Gods children, so as they could wish, that as they take away their earthly Inheritances, so they should never be happy, if they could help it; its past their power to deprive them hereof; they shall go to Heaven do what they can, yea oftentimes they help them sooner thi­ther then otherwise they should be (though no thank to them) and at the day of Judgement, to the increase of their torment, the godly shall be taken up in their sight to Heaven, when themselves shall be thrust into that place of utter darkness, to be tormented with the De­vil and his Angels for ever and ever: Hereof we have need to be throughly perswaded, else when great afflictions come, they will be ready to overwhelm us, as it did almost befal both Job and Jeremiah. Oh the afflictions of this present time are not worthy the glory that shall be revealed! let the assurance of Heaven keep us from wishing we had never been; whatsoever troubles we do here meet withal, pray we still, Lord increase our Faith; but more of this hereafter.

For us] Namely,To be parti­cularly assured of Heaven a special com­fort. himself by the judgement of certainty, and them by the judgement of charity.

Here note, that

Its a Christians special comfort,Gal. 2. 20. that he knows and believes that this Inheritance is for him in particular;Iob 19. 25. I know, saith Job, that my Re­deemer liveth; Ioh. 20. 28. My Lord and my God, saith Thomas: This nature of Faith is signified in the particular distribution of the Sacrament.

[Page 30] To believe it in general, affords no sound comfort; it may indeed al­lure one for a while to the profession of the Gospel, to hear that there be such excellent things,Heb. 6. 6. but it will not continue, but will fail and fade a­way: They that have no more but tasted of the powers of the world to come, will assuredly fall quite away; but a particular assurance is the mo­ther of all comfort, and the onely foundation of a true good life, and continuance therein unto the end; The onely prop and pillar to uphold us in Troubles, Dangers, Distresses, Persecutions, and what not.

Therefore labor for it;Use. But this were presumption, say the Papists, and to this purpose they abuse that of the Preacher, The Righteous and the Wise, Eccle. 9. 1. and their works are in the hand of God, no man knoweth either love or hatred by all that is before them; but hereby is meant onely, that by these outward things no man can conclude whether he be loved or hated of God, but that therefore we may not know at all, its most gross. Indeed if we should say this of our own heads, it were presump­tion, but when we speak it from the Word, and the witness of the Spi­rit of truth,Rom. 8. 14. then it is not; As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the Sons of God, 2 Cor. 13. 5. saith the Apostle; And, Know ye not that Christ Jesus is in you, except ye be reprobate. And the Apostle Saint John tells us how we may know that he dwels in us,1 Ioh. 4. 13. even Because he hath given us of his Spirit.

If therefore we finde the fruits of the Spirit, an hatred of all sin, an unfeigned care to please God in all things, love to Gods Word and his people, grieve that we can serve God no better, strive after more power, and that in the use of the means ordained to that end; we should be injurious to the Spirit of God, if we did not believe this inheritance to belong to our selves in particular;Rom. 8. 30. Therefore if we finde our selves regenerate and sanctified, we need not doubt of glori­fication.

Verse 5. ‘Who are kept by the power of God, through Faith unto Salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.’

THey might say its a goodly Inheritance indeed, and reserved for us, but how shall we come at it, that are lost on the sea of this world? how should a Mariner come to the Haven in a great tempest through the midst of rocks and sands,The preventi- of another doubt. and many Pirats in his way? This doubt the Apostle removes, by shewing, That they are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation. God doth, as if a King should lay up an infinite treasure in a most safe place, and bid his subjects fetch and take it, but in the way are many Theeves, and also Lyons, Wolves and Bears, against whom he promises them safe conduct and protection, with his gards to go along with them.

Here then is a further benefit that God bestoweth upon his, that he sets them not onely in hope of Salvation, and in a good way, but so confirms them therein, that they continue to the end, and [Page 31] that by upholding them through his mighty power, against all oppo­sitions whatsoever.

Kept] Therefore we have many enemies and hinderances of our Salvation;Gods children have many ene­mies to hinder their salvation. 1. The Devil, whose subtilty, malice, power and vigilan­cy is extraordinary; his names in Scripture, Serpent, Dragon, Lyon, and such like, with his continued practises (there recorded) to hinder our Salvation, evidence the same: Accordingly doth he daily endea­vor to have us in one extreme or another, as either to be of no religi­on, or a false religion; if of a true, then that either we may be car­nal and secure, or run on to an erroneous and preposterous zeal; so as he drives some to presumption, he drives others to desperation. 2. The world; whereof 1. The evil examples therein, like a com­mon stream carry us away, as sheep or cattel seeing a few go in at a gap, will in too, whatever come of it. 2. Ill counsel, and that both to yong men, What will you in the prime of your youth give your self to this precise course, never merry more? no body will care for you. Old men, What will you now be an hearer of Sermons, and of another minde then heretofore? what is this, but to disgrace all your former life? you have ever been counted an honest man, do not now discredit your self: and to rich men, will you go among them, a company of poor despised people? it will be no small dis­grace unto you. 3. The profits and pleasures thereof, whereby most men are beguiled and enchanted: By profits some are kept from pro­fessing religion altogether, their Oxen and Farms keep them off, they have no leasure; yea, some that have heard with joy, and (with Demas) gone further, have been choaked by these thorny cares, as others be­sorted with pleasures to the ruine of their whole man. 4. Adversities, Persecutions,Mat. 26. 56. Troubles every where to be found therein: All forsook Christ when he was first taken,2 Tim. 4. 16. and the Apostle Paul saith, That at his first answer all for sook him. Rom. 8. 7. And 3. which is the worst, our own cor­rupt nature,Gen. 6. 5. the wisedom whereof is enmity against God, and all the thoughts of our hearts are onely evill continually:1 Pet. 2. 11. Our fleshly lusts fighting against our souls; Oh the abominable corruption that lurketh in us! we drink in iniquity like water, we hale it to us as with cart ropes, naturally we can do nothing else; as a traytor its ready to deli­ver us up to every Enemy,Ioh. 17. 11. therefore Christ had cause to commend us to his Fathers custody.

These be so mighty, as that few can be saved for them: These not onely carry down the common sort, but even such as have made great profession, and have received great gifts; many of these, with Demas, are eaten up of the world, as others scared by persecution; yea, hereby even Gods sanctified ones (with David and Peter) are shrewdly shaken.Psal. 73. 2.

We should therefore Be strong in the Lord,Use. and in the power of his might;Eph. 6. 10. Putting on the whole armor of God, that we may be able to stand a­gainst the wiles of the Devil and his adherents. No marvel then, though our Savior still stirs us up to watch and pray.

By the power of God] We cannot keep our selves;Christians cannot stand of themselves. No alas! not for [Page 32] an hour: look on David and Peter, nay Adam in the state of innocen­cy; yea, as being left for a while, we fall into some one or other sin, as into security,Psalm 127. 1. or the like; so we could not but fall quite away, if there were no other help but our own.

This should make us hang down our heads,Use 1. and humble our selves, and cling to God: If we trust to our selves we shall speed like Peter; therefore crave new grace, and continual supply.

And if we be kept,Use 2. we may know to whom to ascribe the glory and praise thereof.

Though we have many opposites against our Salvation,Use 3. and we cannot keep our selves, there is one notwithstanding that both can and will keep us, so that we cannot fall from our happy state of grace, in despite of all the enemies of our Salvation whatsoever.

He opposeth to the mighty adversaries of our Salvation,Gods almighty power is suffi­cient to uphold us against all our enemies. mighty defence, even the Almighty power of God; that is, His Almightiness, whereby he rules all things in Heaven, Earth, Sea, and all deeps, whom neither Angels, Men, Devils nor Hell can resist. Whatsoe­ver disguise we see any Christians to come to,See Rogers his Book of Di­rect. we that escape them, are so kept by the power of God; the Father having elected us, the Son hath redeemed us, and so committed us over to his Father to be kept: so that our Salvation is not in our own keeping,Ioh. 17. 11. as it was in Adams, for then woe unto us, we should soon lose it; but it is in a sure hand, which makes our state by Christ much better then our state in Adam.

This is most comfortable Doctrine against all fear of our own weak­ness,Use 1. or any other enemies;Psal. 121. 4. Though they be strong, yet the Father is stronger,Ioh. 10. 19. and none can pluck them out of his hands: Our adversary is as a roaring Lyon,See Phil. 1. 6. but we have the Lyon of the Tribe of Judah on our side;Ier. 31. 3. and being made members of Christ, will be suffer any to pluck and rend us from him? no assuredly, we are not now enemies as in time past, but Gods sons and daughters, therefore not like unnatural­ly to be forsaken of him in our need;Rom. 5. 10. For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son; much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life, being delivered from our greatest fear, everlasting condemnation:Objections a­gainst this, ans­wered by Downham. lib. 3. cap. 13. its most certain, that our combats that remain, shall not be deadly, but onely to exercise our Faith; let us believe this firmly, God who hath bestowed grace on us, will up­hold us to the end, so that we may say, Though we can do nothing of our selves, we are able notwithstanding to do all things through Christ that strengtheneth us: Phil. 4. 13. And, We know whom we have believed, and that he is able to keep that which we have committed to him, 2 Tim. 12. whose love also is unchangeable.

Why,Object. we have known of great professors who have faln finally, as Judas, and many in our time.

Yea,Sol. but not such as were taken into the Divine protection and keeping of God, but hypocrites: They went out from us (saith Saint John) but they were not of us. Peter was kept by the power of God, [Page 33] though shaken by temptation, yet was he not overcome. Judas was never but the childe of perdition, and had common graces, and was never justified nor sanctified.

Let us then look we be found, and indeed be such as are taken into Gods keeping, and then safe enough; then may we triumph with the Apostle,Rom. 8. 31. If God be on our side, who can be against us? And, who shall seperate us from the love of Christ? Rom. 8. 35. 37. Shall tribulation, or distress or persecution, &c. Nay in all these things we are more then conqu [...]rers through him that loved us: So must it needs be, except we think the Lords arm to be shortened, or his power weakned, that he cannot help, and that there should be any stronger then the Almighty: Indeed if we be but Hypocrites, and out of Gods keeping, we may fall into any sin, and mi­serably fall away for ever, for what have we to stay us? For as if God take not the care of a man, all creatures are lyable to do him hurt; as Cain said murmuringly,Gen. 4. 14. Thou hast cast me from thy face, and every one that findes me shall slay me: Noting indeed truly that he lyeth open to a Thousand perils that is not kept by God; so is it for spiritual dangers, he that is not kept by God, may fall into any sin irrecoverably, and perish eternally.

This then confoundeth that hellish Doctrine of Rome, Use 2. that the elect and sanctified may finally fall from grace, which is contrary to the whole Scripture.

Through Faith] God keeps us,Gods people are kept thr [...]ugh Faith. but by no miracle or extraordinary way, but by Faith; not without us, but by working and increasing the grace of Faith, and true beleif in us: some would understand it, through hope, because hereby we wait for Salvation, and indeed there is great affinity between Faith and Hope, so that in Scripture they are sometimes put one for another: By Faith we believe the goodness of God towards us, by Hope we wait till we finde and feel him so to us; by Faith we believe eternal life, by Hope we patiently wait for it: And as there could be no Hope, if there were not Faith before, so Hope doth greatly help Faith; it keeps it that it makes not too much haste, nor break off in the mid way; for God oftentimes after his promises deferreth to perform them (so that the wicked also come to say,2 Pet. 3. 4. Where is the promise of his coming) yea ere he come, he hides his face, and seems as if he would not fulfil the same; now therefore here doth Hope her Office, and steps in, and sustains Faith very well, so that a Christian must necessarily have both to go along with him: But I see no reason to alter the Apostles words, but to take Faith properly for the grace of true Faith and believing: though this is true, that Hope helps well on, but he speaks of Faith, which includeth Hope as a necessary com­panion.

But how doth faith bring us to Salvation?How Faith bringeth us to Salvation. It is said by the Apostle Paul, By grace ye are saved through Faith: Now as it first ap­prehends Christ and Salvation,Eph. 2. 8. so it holds this hold, and continues our comfort, and still carries us on in the service of God, and an holy life: This assurance of eternal life makes us contemn profits, offered to pull us from a good conscience,Heb. 11. 24. as Moses did Pharaohs Court, [Page 34] and pleasures of Aegypt; so to despise the Cross, and overcome troubles that would draw us therefrom, as the holy Martyrs did from time to time.

Also Faith apprehending the promise of God for our upholding to the end, rests upon the goodness of God, which is constant, and his power, which is infinite: Therefore when any shall perswade us we shall never hold out, we shall be forsaken, Faith then puts up head, and saith nay to it, because God hath promised to keep us unto Sal­vation.

The wicked come and say, where is now thy God, by reason of troubles which befal the Godly; so the Devil and their own unbelief assaults them,Psal. 42. 5. 11. now Faith helps and saith, Why art thou cast down, why art thou disquieted, trust yet in God, he is my present help and my God: and,Psal. 23. 4. Though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no ill: and, the name of the Lord is a strong Tower; Pro. 18. 10. the Righteous runneth to it, and is safe: 1 Ioh. 5. 4. This is the Victory that overcometh the world, called there­fore the shield,Eph. 6. 16. By which we quench the fiery darts of the Devil: For this purpose our Saviour when he prayed that Peter might hold out, prayed that his Faith might not fail:Luke 22. 32. If that fail we are gone, if it hold, we shall be too hard for all the world; so long as our Faith holds, all the world, with all the Engines it hath to destroy us, can never over­turn us: Contrarily, without Faith we can neither begin nor stand against any temptation or danger.

This teacheth men to labor for this true Faith,Use 1. without it they may fall to any thing, as the second and third sort of ground mentioned by our Savior in the parable; most people content themselves in being professors, but labor not for this grace of Faith, and therefore do they fall away, and never come to Salvation.

It teacheth also the Godly,Use 2. still to say with the Apostle, Lord increase our Faith, Luke 17. 5. using all other means to that purpose: A little Faith will go but a little way; the least, if true, shall get to Heaven, but with much ado, as a poor tattered Vessel may get to shoar, especially if there come no storms,Simile. but if there do, its in great danger, and very hardly attains unto it: but as a strong Vessel comes safely, though it have strong tempests; so a strong Faith, though it be strongly assaulted, and put to it (as oft it is) both in life, and in the end of life, yet it conquers.

We have had none but calm times hitherto, but what we may have we know not, whether common trials, or particular ones, ac­companied with pain, grief, vexation, &c. Labor therefore for good store of Faith.

Unto Salvation] kept not for a while,Phil. 1. 6. but to the coming of Christ, to the enjoying of Salvation, and not as Moses, who had only a sight of Canaan.

He keeps us by his power:Christians must not look here for out­ward pros­perity. whereto? Not that our finger shall not ake in this world, but have all peace and prosperity, and every bodies good will: No, but to Salvation in the end of our life, for here we must suffer with him,Rom. 8. 17. if hereafter we mean to raign with him; [Page 35] we must be Baptized with the Baptism wherewith he was Bap­tized.

It is true that godliness hath the promises of this life,Use. and of that which is to come, but of this only, so much as God shall see meet.

Therefore let us dream of no tranquility here, but expect that in Heaven, where we shall be happier then can be uttered.

Ready to be revealed in the last time. The fulness of our happiness not to be had here,] When shall we have it? It was prepared before the world, we shall have a measure of it in death, but the fulness thereof is deferred till the day of Judgement, Christs second coming,Act. 3. 19. which is called the time of refreshing, and our full re­demption.

By the last time,Act. 2. 17 may be understood, in divers places of Scri­pture, all the time from Christs coming in the flesh,Heb. 1. [...] till the end of the world, so called, in respect of the former times; and because they go directly and immediately before the end, and because God hath per­fected his will, and the revelation thereof to his Church in his Son, and no more is to be added.

They under the Law waited for a cleerer and fuller manifestation thereof, but now we have all we shall ever have; but by the last time here, the worlds end is meant, for then shall there be no more time, as there was none before the creation;Gen. 8. 22. the Sun, Moon and Stars were made for signs and season; Winter and Summer, to measure days, moneths, years, &c. but then shall they cease; in Hell the wicked shall have none, in Heaven the godly shall need none; so there shall be no more time, no more day in Hell, but all night, no night in Hea­ven, but all day.

Well,But at the last day. our full Salvation we shall have at the last day, and not be­fore; then shall our bodies (whatsoever in the mean time becometh of them) as they have been companions with our souls in well-doing, and have been redeemed by Christ, as well as they be raised up, and set on the right Hand; when both joyntly shall hear this comfortable sentence,Col. 3. 3, 4. Come ye blessed of my Father, &c. then shall we be ever with the Lord in Heaven both in body and soul: Now our life is hid with Christ in God; 1 Ioh. 3. 2. But when Christ which is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory.

We must therefore wait patiently,Use. 1. not making too much haste; in the fulness of time we shall have our hearts desire: Christ was promised in the beginning of the world, but came not till long after, even when the fulness of time came,Iam. 5. 7. so▪ shall our happiness in the appointed time.

We are taught to pray, Object. Thy Kingdom come; and in the Revelation its mentioned that the souls under the Alter cried, Rev. 6. 10. How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth!

True,Sol. but yet patiently awaiting Gods good time that he hath appointed.Use. 2.

Hereby also we may stop the mouths of mockers that shall come to [Page 36] us, and say,2 Pet. 3. 4. Where is the promise of his coming? we may answer, it is coming, and it will be here too soon for you, and God is not slack as you think, but therefore deferreth, as willing that all men should come to Salvation, even all such as he hath elected, who being once all born and called, the end shall quickly come: And as this may stop their mouths, so it may make us patient to tarry for our fellow brethren.

When we therefore make too much haste, what is it, but that we would have our full, happiness, and leave out some of the elect to be quite put off;Simile. as if we should desire to be over a water, and then draw the bridge that the rest shall not come over: And the rather let us be pa­tient,Iam. 5. 8. not onely because of the greatness of the reward when it cometh, but also because it hasteneth; we have the vantage of our Forefathers, which lay long in the earth, waiting for that day, but now its at hand; we hasten to it, and it hastens to us, we shall meet ere long, and as our Apostle saith,2 Pet. 2. 3. The damnation of the wicked sleepeth not, so neither the Salvation of the godly, now ready to be revealed.

Last time.] The coufutati­on of an error. Some gather hence, That we shall have no part in glory at all, till the day of Judgement, but that the souls of the Saints go to a middle place, &c. confuted by our Saviors speech to the thief, Verily I say unto thee, Luke 23. 43. To day shalt thou be with me in Paridise; the Angels carrying Lazarus of soul into Abrahams bosom:Luke 16. 22. See also Eccle. 12. 7. Phil. 3. 13. Rev. 6. 10.

This should make us labor for pure and holy souls,Use. seeing they must be in Heaven as soon as ever they depart from our bodies, which we know not how soon it may be: They must be carried up above the Starry Heaven into the most solemn appearance that ever was.

Verse 6. ‘Wherein ye greatly rejoyce, though now for a season (if need be) yeare in heaviness through manifold temptations.’

HAving shewed the Inheritance at large, here he sheweth by what way God will bring us thither; namely, by weeping-cross, by the rough way of affliction, which yet shall not be to our hurt or con­suming, but to the trial of our Faith, that it may be (being purified) to our honor at Christs coming: Therefore though our afflictions breed heaviness, yet not such, but that the assurance of our Salvation makes us in the same to rejoyce.

Wherein] that is, In which Election, Sanctification, Lively hope, and happy Inheritance ye rejoyce: Here he setteth down another be­nefit bestowed upon us by the Gospel; namely, Spiritual joy, and re­joycing proceeding from Faith and Hope, yea, and that in ad­versity.

He knew they rejoyced in the assurance of their happiness, he knew it by himself, he did so, and therefore they could do no other, for the same Spirit worketh alike in the elect, which makes that they can the better tell how to speak, to advise, counsel and understand one an­other.

[Page 37] But in commending them,Phil. 1. 18. he exorteth them, namely, That they would do so still;We must re­joyce in the as­surance of our Salvation. for being now in persecution, he requires them to reioyce yet in the assurance of their eternal happiness, as Paul of him­self in another case.

Hence note,See Psal. 4. 7. & 50. 12. that

Its the duty of all those that be assured of their Salvation, to rejoyce in it,Mat. 9. 2. which being attained unto, breeds joy, and no marvel; For,Luke 10. 20.

Is liberty joyful to the captive,Act 8. 8. 39. & 16. 34. health to the sick, sight to the blinde, life to the dead? Then must Salvation needs be so to them that have felt themselves condemned; for them to be the children of God, that were the slaves of Satan, heirs of Heaven, that were firebrands of Hell.

Who can but rejoyce, that knoweth that there's no condemnation to him? Though thousands perish, God loves him, he shall want no­thing; such need not fear though Heaven and Earth should come to­gether, he knows that Heaven's prepared for him, without which there can be no true mirth.

This rebuketh Christians that do no more rejoyce in their hap­piness,Use 1. so seldom think of it, so little refresh and quicken up their hearts by it.

Wee could be merry in it,Object. but our wretched nature and corruptions, that break out so continually, so many ways damps us, and causeth us to go heavily, when we might else rejoyce.

True,Sol. but this is not all the cause, we rejoyce too much and too often in earthly things, and therefore so seldom in the true treasure and best inheritance; and this is unthankfulness, and too much baseness, and a great fault. If we did more often comfort our hearts in this as­surance, it would sharpen us on much to duty; the want of this is the cause of our dulness.

This also rebukes the fond world,Use 2. that thinketh the Christian state so lumpish, as that there's no mirth in it; and that if they should un­dertake that state, they should never be merry more: such are afraid of their own shadows,Phil. 4. 4. they are desperate and mad men, that can or dare be merry till they be Christians,1 Thess. 5. 16. who onely have commission to be merry.

The wicked are bidden indeed, but its with a choak in the end, that they must come to Judgement.

Religion takes not away,Religion re­forms mirth. but onely reforms mirth; it takes away the filthy and wicked mirth, that provokes God to anger, and ends in howling, as the wicked cannot be merry, but in swearing, drunkeness, ribaldry, mocking the children of God, and the like: What, no sport but with firebrands and edgetools? with nothing but that which must anger God, and wound our own souls?

Again,Moderates our lawful mirth. It moderates our lawful mirth, wherein many rejoyce too excessively, teaching us first to rejoyce in God and his love, then in these things, as coming from thence, and as helps, and for the hope of better things.

[Page 38] Oh that roysters and carnal worldlings would set less by this joy,Use. for howling will be the end, and labor for the ground of true joy, which may make their hearts merry here,Pro. 14. 13. and bring them to endless joy hereafter.Eccles. 7. 6. The wicked laugh, but in the midst thereof their heart is heavy.

They have many secret stings; its with good and bad men as its with a true man and a thief, the true man goes home merry, and there sits down quiet, though he have no great provision; the thief having his purse full of money at his Inn, calls for great cheer, wine and musick, and yet with a trembling heart, a fearful eye, an ear that lists to every knock, thinking still that some are come to apprehend him; he is not therefore so truly merry as the poor true man: so is it with good and bad men.

Ye rejoyce] They were in affliction,Being assured of Heaven we must rejoyce even in our troubles. yet rejoyced in the hope of Hea­ven; whence learn, that being assured of Heaven, we are to rejoyce even in affliction, in troubles.

This is often commanded; We are to count it all joy when we fall into di­vers temptations.Rom. 5. 3. For

Our light affliction which is but for a moment, 2 Cor. 8. 2. worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory: Mat. 5. 11. And,Iam. 1. 2. The sufferings of this present time, Reason. are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 2 Cor 4. 17. Therefore our assurance of Heaven should swallow up our heavi­ness,Rom. 8. 18. and not be swallowed up of it. We must be content with hungry men to eat good meat,Acts 5. 41. though it have sharp swace; as others have not been daunted by any troubles,2 Cor 6. 10. but amidst them expressed no small mirth;Heb. 10. 34. so also must we.

Herein there's no small odds between christians and carnal men,Use 1. for these though they have all that this world can afford them to make them happy (like Dives) Wife, Children, Friends, and the like; yet dangers and troubles shall sooner make them weary of this hap­piness, whereof he is in present possession, then the childe of God can be of that whereof here he hath but the assurance: for example, Take a man and give him what the world will afford him, yet let a Mill­stone hang by a small coard over his head, at his back a fierce adversary with his sword drawn, before his face an hissing Serpent ready to sting him, on each side ramping and devouring Bears and Lyons ready to tare him in pieces, would not this fear daunt him more then all his jollity would comfort him? Would he have any joy at all, the case being thus with him?Dan. 5. 6. As in Belshazzer: Nay, let him have but the gout or stone, and how will he take on? But take a Christian that hath the hope of eternal life, and set all these about him, they shall not daunt him, nor make him comfortless; He will hope and rejoyce notwithstanding, as Paul and Silas in prison: As the fear of Hell will abate all joy, so the hope of Heaven will abate all sorrow and fear: The assurance of Salvation will comfort one more, then the enjoying of all the world; what can daunt him that hath this? such is the power of Faith.Use 2.

This also sheweth the difference between the joy of an Hypocrite [Page 39] and a true Christian; The one can rejoyce in prosperity, but not in ad­versity, neither fasteth the Hypocrites joy, more then for a season: The wicked cannot bear, but fret at troubles, because they know no as­surance of ease, but rather that they are forerunners of greater sorrows: As one may be drowned in a small River if he fall in headlong, and come safe to land in the main Sea, if he have a board to swim on; so the wicked are overwhelmed in less troubles, and the godly upheld in the greatest, by the assurance of an happy end.

This also rebukes our daintiness and faint-heartedness,Use 3. that are straight dismaid at a little trouble: He hath not rightly profited in the knowledge of God, and life eternal, that is dismaid by these troubles; If thou faint in the time of affliction, Pro. 24. 10. thy strength is but small: We are ready (like the Israelites) to murmure if we lack any thing in the way to Canaan; the assurance thereof should have made them (as it may us) to bear many difficulties: To this end we set before us the Godly courage of the Martyrs, and many of our Godly predecessors: True it is, no affliction is joyous in it self, but tedious, yet Faith com­forts,Rev. 16. 21. and even in it affords joy▪ The wicked then must labor to get as­surance of Gods favor, else they may come to be Blasphemers, or to do in their troubles as Ca [...]n, Achi [...]ophel, Judas.

Though now for a season, &c.] Here he sets out their joy by the contra­ry that it was mixed withal, namely, heaviness, occasioned through temptations, which are aggravated by their number, Manifold, yet di­minished again by three things: 1. They are but short, for a season now. 2. The author or sender, God, he seeth it good, if need be. 3. By the end that their Faith may be tryed, and so found to their ho­nor at the last day, as in the ensuing Verse.

Manifold Temptations] They were driven from their Native country, forced to fly for their lives, & so questiōless met with variety of troubles.

Whence may be noted, that

Even such as are highly in Gods favor, and shall be heirs of Hea­ven, must undergo, not one or two, but many troubles:Gods children must here un­dergo many troubles. As the Israelites went to Cannan through the Wilderness, where sometimes they wanted water, sometimes it was bitter, sometimes they met with Ene­mies,Psal. 34. 19. as at other times were encountred with other difficulties, so shall we in our journey to Heaven:Acts 14. 22. Behold it in Noah, though he was saved from the flood,2 Tim. 3. 12 yet was it as it were by an Hundred deaths; what toil had he in making the Ark, whilest the world sported? Was he not also shut up in a close place amongst Beasts for a long time, where questionless there could not be but a noysom savour [...] when he came out of the Ark, was he not mockt by his own Son, so that his own mouth was feign to curse him▪ The same might also be instanced in Abraham, Jacob, Job, David, Paul, and others; one might marvel where they should have a breathing time; as one flood calleth another, one wave followeth another, one Cloud after another comes over the face of the Sun, so did their troubles and crosses as it were strive for place, and crowd to prevent one another, the end of one being the beginning of another.

[Page 40] Reasons hereof may be these,Reasons.

1. To drive them to repentance,2 Sam. 12. 18. as the death of Davids childe be­gotten in adultery,Gen. 42▪ 21. Josephs brethrens hard usage in Aegypt: They are as the Shepherds dog. to fetch us out of the corn, to bring us into compass again;Psal. 32. 4, 5. & 119. 67. 71. which David acknowledged again and again: As they prepare some which have never repented, so do they [...]waken others to the renewing of their repentance.

2. To keep them from sin,Hos. 2. 6. being therefore compa [...]ed to an hedge of thorns.Iob 33▪ 17.

3. To humble them;2 C [...]on. 20. 37 we have a proud nature, and while we be in health, we think our heads half touch the clouds, therefore God pulls us down by troubles; no rule in a house where children be with­out rods: so the Lord should have no rule with us, were it not that sometimes by himself, sometimes by others he chastiseth us.

4. To make them more holy,Isa: 4. 4. to scourge off the rust,Heb. 12. 10. purge out some of the rem [...]ant of this old man,Isa. 27. 9. and renew the inner man. Afflictions are like the furnace, like the fan, like physick, they are Gods pruning knife to cut off our superfluous branches, and make us more fruitful, as the Gardiner prunes the Vine yearly, that it may fructifie.

5. To wean them from the world, to which even the best are too much addicted, and to make them willing to die, and to be gone hence, so setting them on work to look after, and make sure of a better inheritance; how loath was L [...]t to come out of Sod [...]m, though it were then even ready to be burnt? what would have drawn him out, if it had not been that? How loath were the Israelites to leave the fleshy pots of Aegypt, and go to Canaan, being there notwithstanding in bondage▪ what would they have done▪ if they had lived there in honor as Joseph? God was feign to raise up a persecuting Phara [...]h, whereby they were made to cry [...] him, and he thereupon sent them Moses and [...], yet even then were they scant willing.

6. To prove the Devil a li [...], who gives out, That Gods servants do serve him for wages (Doth Job (saith he) fear God for nought) that so they may triumph in their obedience.Iob. [...].

7. To keep them from hell and condemnation.Ioh [...]. 18.

8. To bring them to Heaven;1 Cor 11. [...]2. no marvel then,Psal 9 [...]. 1 [...], 13. if that man be blessed whom the Lord chasteneth,Heb. 12. 6. his chastisements being indeed sight of his love. Therefore

1. We should not dream all of peace and prosperity here,Use 1. but of trouble also; accordingly looking for it one after another; if God spare us, it is because of our weakness, but look we not long to be spared, but in the mean time gather strength; if we expect troubles, they prove the weaker; if they come on us unlooked for, they daunt us the more. In our prosperity we must think often hereof, thus reasoning with our selves, Well, now I am in health, how shall I do when long and strong sickness shall lie upon me? now I have wealth, what shall I do if all be taken away. and I be put to a poor condition? now I am in mine own Countrey, House and Land, what should I do if I were imprisoned or banished among them I know not? This will partly [Page 41] make us use our present prosperity more soberly, and also we shall be fitter to meet with adversity when it comes: if it come not, its labor well lost; if it come, well bestowed.

2. We should bear them patiently,Use 2. seeing not onely we must needs undergo them, but they are so many ways for our good: We must not then be dismaid at them, seeing even Gods dearest children have undergone them, they have been their lot: But how loath are we to think of troubles till they come? They will come time enough we say, but never the sooner for thinking on them, it may be the longer, and to be sure the lighter.

3. We must be thankful for them,Use 3. as we would be to one that tames our wilde Horses or Steers, or to a Physician for purging our superfluous humors. Its no matter, so as our souls gain, though out­wardly we smart: Shall we thank and reward the Physician for very untoothsom Phisick, and which makes us sick at the heart, and shall we be unthankful unto God for healing our souls, what means so­ever he useth?

4. We must neither think them the better that are without affli­ction,Use 4. nor them the worse that are afflicted; the latter may be happy, as the former miserable.

5. We must make a right use of afflictions,Use 5. whensoever they come upon us.

Temptations] That is, troubles or tryals.

But its said,Object. God tempts none.

There be two kindes of Temptations;Sol. one, Tryals, by leaving us to our selves,2 Chro. 32. 31▪ as Hezekiah; or by afflictions (as here) to bring to light what is in us: The other, Suggestions to perswade us to evil; of the first God is the author, of the latter, the Devil and man.

Afflictions,Afflictions ar [...] tryals. as Poverty, Sickness, Banishment, Imprisonment, are Temptations; they serve to try what is in us, not but that God knoweth what is in us already (he knoweth both the heart and reins) but that our selves and others may attain this knowledge. Some­times we overprize, sometimes we underprize our selves: But they sometimes bewray hidden grace; as who would have thought of so much Faith in Abraham, Patience in Job, Meekness in David and Mo­ses, if they had not been tryed? Sometimes also hidden corruptions; for who could have thought of so much weakness in Peter, and the rest of the Apostles, if they had not been tryed? So what grace hath appeared in some, as weakness and impatience in others in the time of affliction, neither of which before could have been believed?

Are afflictions tryals? then

1. Labor we for such soundness of grace,Use 1. that when afflictions shall come, they may finde us pure gold and wheat, and not cast us out for chaff and dross.

2. Do we consider that God now tryes us by them,Use 2. and so look we to our selves, observing what they discover, if it be more grace then we thought, that we may thank God; if more corruption, be truly hum­bled, laboring for more grace: yea, whatsoever shall be discovered, [Page 42] we are to thank God, as which will tend to our good. There's there­fore no cause why we should be impatient in troubles, for they try us; and who would be unwilling to be tryed? Its a sign he meant not well that would not have his gold put to the Touchstone; or he that proffering Land to be sold, would not have his Writings perused.

In heaviness] Can heaviness and rejoycing stand together?Here on earth heaviness and rejoycing may stand together. A. They can in divers respects and degrees: In Heaven where our joy shall be in such an high degree and great measure, we cannot mourn, nor the wicked in Hell rejoyce; but here on Earth we may: The wicked be merry, because they have their will, yet inwardly they are wounded in their consciences, for fear of that which may come after; So the godly are joyful in the assurance of Gods favor and Heaven, and yet heavy thorugh troubles which here lie upon them: As a sick man hearing glad tidings may rejoyce, and yet be heavy for his pain; a Father also may be heavy for his childes death, and yet rejoyce for his happy end and godly departure:Ezra 3. 12, 13. Amongst the Israelites upon the rebuilding of the Temple, some wept and others rejoyced; both might have been (and haply were) even in some one.

Gods servants as by their Faith they are not freed from afflictions, so neither from heaviness,Heb. 12. 11. but have sence of their miseries, which are grievous to them,2 Cor. 6. 10. as Poverty,Iohn 16. 20. Sickness, Imprisonment, and the like; even our Savior himself mourned and wept, and so he said his Disci­ples should: Nay, our Savior himself shed tears of blood in his pas­sion, saying, yea crying out, My soul is heavy unto the death: Faith makes us not blocks, neither takes away sense, onely moderates our grief. The Martyrs had pain, but Faith prevailed and enabled them to bear it: Where there's no pain, there can be no patience; nothing due to blockishness, else were frantique persons worthy commenda­tion, which feel nothing: Faith moderates our grief, makes us wait upon God, speak good of him, using no unlawful means when the cross is upon us.

1. This is contrary to that blockishness of the Stoicks, Use 1. that profess to be moved with nothing so much as to change countenance, but to be at the hardest tidings, as if the joyfullest news had been brought them.

2. To those half Stoicks amongst our selves,Use 2. which think it too much weakness to complain or make moan in any affliction.

3. This may comfort the servants of God when they are pinchad hard by troubles,Use 3. and are affected thereat, and feeling pain declare it: Though they may be thought impatient, they are not; God knows we be not iron, as long as Faith can moderate; and we being heavy and pincht to the heart with pain, are yet upholden with the joy of eternal salvation,Iob 13. 15. and can say with Job, Though he kill me, yet will I trust in him, in the mean time using no unlawful means, our care is good: Job is renowned by S. James for a mirror of patience,Iames 5. 11. yet he rent his garment,Iob 1. 20. shaved his head, put on sackcloth, and the like.

For a season] Our afflictions are but short,The godlies afflictions are short. as our life is, as a span long, as a vapor, a Weavers shuttle, a thought; yet in this short time our good days have been [...]o then our afflictions.2 Cor. 4. 17. Psal. 90. 9.

[Page 43] We think them long if they have been on us a few days,Psal. 30. 5. and 125. 3. but its our weakness, they are short in respect of that we have deserved, in respect of the pains we be freed from,Isa 54. 7, 8. and joys we go to.

If our enemy should burst with malice, he cannot hurt us after this life.

Therefore bear them patiently,Use. think them not long: They that lie in Hell shall have a long task indeed; let us think of our long eter­nal joy: we if our afflictions be but very short think much, but look on Jacob and David, that from their youth were never free.

If need require] That is,See Cap. 3. 17. as it seemeth good to God, as it pleaseth him, as he seeth it fit and expedient.

Hence note, that

Our afflictions come not to us at adventure,Afflictions come by the wise disposing of Almighty God. nor by the will of Satan and wicked men, for then woe to us, they would afflict us too much; nor yet by our own will, for then either we would have none, or too little; but they come by the will, providence, and wise disposing of Almighty God, who is infinite in wisdom, and knoweth what is best for us: who in love will do for the best to all his. Therefore,

1. We may bear them more patiently,Use 1. seeing they come from our Master; Nay, from our most wise and gracious Father, thanking him that he hath not left us into the hands of Satan or any of his, but hath the rod in his own hand, and knoweth when to stay; with him is mercy, with them none.

2. We must not rush into troubles,Use 2. and draw them upon our selves, not being called of God thereto; but must be wise as Serpents, we must save our heads, whilest we may lawfully, and not exasperate men against us wilfully: Neither must we trust to our great strength, for then we prove weakest; they have not always proved the stoutest in the end, that have been forwardest to thrust themselves into trouble [...] Our Saviour Christ bade them, when they were persecuted in one city, fly into another, but if the will of God be that we shall suf­fer, we must be couragious, and quit our selves like men.

Verse 7. ‘That the trial of your Faith being much more precious then of Gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise, and honor, and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ.’

HEre also he qualifieth their troubles from the end of them:A quilificati­on of their troubles. They come not for our hurt, but for our good; Thereby we are no more hurt, then Wheat is by threshing, or Gold by fining, they come for the trial of our Faith, and tried Faith, is better then any tried Gold; For that will perish, and be lost, but this will abide, and come forth to our honor and praise, at the great appearing of Jesus Christ: It may be conceived, as if he had said, The affliction and persecution which you now suffer, bear patiently, as serving for the trial of your Faith, which (how painful soever the tryal thereof may seem for the present) will be found to your praise at the great day. This being so, who [Page 44] should not willingly undergo them? If we take pains and toil our selves to get riches, and so long as we get them, forget our toil; should we not much more be concent to endure some trouble, that our souls may get the true riches?

Now particularly for the trial of our Faith afflictions come, 1. To try whether we have any at all. 2. Whether it be so much as we take it to be. 3. To purge and refine that which we have.

1. To try whether we have any Faith;Affliction try­eth whether we have Faith. as God doth it sometimes by false teachers and heresies, so doth he also by afflictions, wherein many that have not received the love of the truth have been carried away;Iam. 1. 3. 2. whereas others,Deut. 13. 3. though haply of less parts, but more sound­ness,1 Cor. 11. 19. have resisted and stood to the truth; for there be false Faiths, and our hearts are deceitful, and the Devil is subtile to make as believe we have the right, when we have nothing less. Affliction will prove this,Mat. 4. 16. as in those whom our Savior termeth the stony ground, They went far, yea farther then most in most congregations go, yet had they not that which would serve to Salvation; affliction discovered what they were, that they were not such as before they were taken to be. The Israelites were proved in the wilderness, whose troubles manifested their unbelief;Heb. 3. 19. for which they were both plagued in the wilderness, and shut out of Canaan. Many a one thinks himself a tall man, till he comes into the field with his adversary, where he proves himself a rank coward; many think they can do great matters till they come to it: A Mariner is not tried till a storm, nor a friend till adver­sity; he that then stick [...] to one, is a friend indeed: So afflictions have discovered many that have thought but too well of themselves: Many talk that they believe in God, and put all their trust in him, yet when they are visited with sickness, losses, and the like, they run to witches and wizards for help, or in poverty, steal, lye, dissemble, or use any other unlawful courses to help themselves: Many also that in prospe­rity profess the Gospel very forwardly, when trouble comes fall quite away, are not onely shaken as Peter, or a good man may be on the sudden, or for a while, but fall quite away, when many poor souls, it may be of less gifts, have stood out and suffered.

Seeing then that God will try us by troubles,Use. we should labor to have true Faith against troubles come,How we may1 try our Faith. that we prove not dr [...]ss: There­fore let us try the Faith which we think we have by the touchstone of Gods Word,Rom. 5. 1. 11. if it will abide that, then will it endure the furnace of affliction.2 Pet. 1. 6, 7. It may be tried, 1. By the maner of Gods working it, even through humiliation. 2. By such companions as go with Faith, or fol­low it, as peace, joy, and the like; so if we love God most dearly (as they that have much forgiven,Luke 7. 47. love much) if we love his Saints and people most heartily,Cant. 5. 8. if we wonder at and admire his unspeak­able mercy to us,1 Ioh. 3. 14. passing by so many thousands of others,Ioh. 14. 22. with one hearts and mouths enlarged,Psal. 103. 1. praising him secretly and openly for the same;1 Thes 5. 14. if we pity, comfort and strengthen others, if we long to go hence where we are absent from God, and to be with him; if we mourn for our sins committed against him,2 Cor. 5. 6. who was kinde to us when [Page 45] we wandred from him,Ier. 31. 18, 19▪ and have an hatred of all evil, with an unfeigned care hereafter in all things to please him,Rom. 5. 8. they are infallible tokens of a sound Faith: Its needful that we should thus try our Faith, as being of that absolute necessity, that by it Christ and Salvation are made ours, without it, no hope of either. In so weighty a thing we had not need to venture without tryal, without it no person or work is pleasing to God, and its the foundation of a good life, and all true comfort therein.

2. To try whether our Faith be as much as we take it to be,Affliction [...] ­eth whether our Faith be more or lesse then we take it. or more; this affliction will discover: sometimes we think we have more then we have, as Peter, who notwithstanding his bold and confident pro­testations to our Savior Christ, shamefully upon the trial denied him. Contrarily, others think they have little Faith, that upon the trial ap­pears more, and shines gloriously, as Jobs and Davids. Who also could have believed that there had been so much in many poor Martyrs, if they had not come to the field and encountred with Tyrants, and their Torments? as who would imagine such sweetness in Spices, till bruised?

We should not be against such afflictions as are sent for this end;Use. for whats more comfortable then to know we have more Faith then we knew of? and what more necessary, then to know that our Faith is weaker then we imagined, that so we may labor to have it strength­ned? If it appear weaker, then be we humbled, and distrusting our selves, let us ever fly to God for more grace and strength against temptations, so will God give us as much as shall stand with his glory: but if we trust to our selves, and be slack in seeking to God, then are we like to bewray our own weakness.

3. To purge and purifie that true Faith which we have,Affliction [...] ­veth to purifie and encrease Faith. and encrease the same; this also is most necessary: for though a small Faith, being true, will save us, yet the more and purer it is, the better it will carry us to Heaven; and though by a weak Faith and mingled with corru­tion, we shall see the face of God, and his loving countenance, ye [...] the cleerer and brighter it is, the more certainly & comfortably shall we see him: As they that have weak eyes, yet see so as they are directed to their ways end,Simile. who if they had cleerer, would be there sooner, and with less danger.

As therefore its requisite to have those gross humors purged th [...] dim the sight, so those, corruptions that dim the eye of our Faith. Beside, such is our corrupt nature, that much dross and corruption is mingled with the grace of God in us; so as except it be subdued by continual affliction, it will wax wanton against God, and hin­der his grace in us.Simile. Standing waters corrupt, and bodies not exercised, are full of gross humors: So would it be with our souls, were we not continually exercised with troubles; as the finest Wheat not fa [...]ed, will be musty with dust, the finest cloaths catch dust and moths, if not continually brushed; the finest vessels take soil, if not continually scoured: so our Faith not looked to, is quickly overgrown, as the [...] with weeds, if the husbandman plucks them not out: As far, brush, [Page 46] weeding-hook,Psal. 119. 67. 71. wisp, fornace, are to these things, so afflictions to the children of God. We are as an untamed heifer, if not held under the yoke;Ier. 31. 18. God therefore purgeth, scoureth and weedeth us, that his graces in us may shine in their perfect colours:Simile. As the Vine-dresser shreds his Vine, and cuts off much, which one would think were against the Vine, yet makes it more fruitful, so doth the Lord deal by afflictions with his servants, which are his Vine branches.

Though the outward man decay (by sickness, poverty, disgrace, impri­sonment,2 Cor. 4. 16. and the like) yet is the inner man (Faith, Hope, Comfort, &c.) increased daily; for Faith the more its cut, the more it grows; the more its trodden on, the thicker it comes up. And by afflictions there's purged away a great deal of pride, self-love, worldliness, hypocrisie, and the like, which long peace gathers, whereof Jonah had experience when he was cast into the Sea; those tame us also: A man that was conceited against his neighbor for smal causes in prosperity, in sickness and affliction will be glad to take every one by the hand; therefore are the most afflicted, for the most part, fullest of Faith and Grace, and purer then others; and a man is never better then when he is in, or new­ly come out of affliction.1 Thess. 5. 16. Hence it is, that we are willed to be thankful­for them,Iam. 1. 2. 12. yea to account it exceeding joy when they come, those be­ing blessed that are so affected.

Being much much more precious, &c.] He sets out tried Faith by com­paring it with the most precious mettal we have,2 Pet. 1. 1. even gold, prefer­ring it by far before the same,Faith more precious then gold. which is elswhere termed also pre­cious, and much more precious is it every way. 1. Gold comes out of the earth,Iam. 1. 17. Faith from Heaven, whence every good and perfect gift is. 2. Faith is more rare, termed therefore the Faith of Gods elect,Tit. 1. 1. whereas most, even of the most wicked, are not without gold. 3. Faith cannot be purchased with all the gold in the world. 4. Its hard­ly gotten and hardly kept, and hath many and strong enemies, our own nature, the world and the devil are all against Faith, but not so against getting of gold. 5. It apprehends Salvation and life eternal, and so is the instrument of our happiness; so is not gold, but the instrument of many a mans damnation, by unconscionable getting, and cove­tous keeping the same, many cast away their souls. 6. It will com­fort a man with true comfort in his life,Iam. 5. 3. carry him strongly through troubles, and boldly through the gates of death. 7. Gold perisheth, here canker and rust consume it; we may be taken from it, as it from us, but Faith endureth till Christs appearing, to our full Redemption, as the fruit thereof for ever.

The uses hereof are,

1. To them that want gold,Use 1. and yet have Faith, know that thou art rich,Iam. 2. 5. richer then he that hath thousands of gold, and hath not Faith; thou hast enough, that hast Faith, it assures thee of eternal life, and enti­tles them to Christ, yea, hath the promises even of this life. Seest thou a worldly rich man, and wouldst thou change states with him? Oh but both would do well: Thou canst not tell if both would do so with thee; besides, God divides his gifts, they that have much of [Page 47] the one, have less or none of the other; therefore as long as we have of the best kinde, let us think our selves well dealt with.

2. To the rich,Use 2. Rejoyce not that thou art rich, but that thou hast Faith: Again, think all your pains to become you well, and well be­stowed in getting this precious Faith. If any should say, What you? such wealthy men; its a disgrace to you to toil so in hearing Sermons, which few do but mean persons; do not these exclude themselves with their own mouthes? But do not rich men travel to London, and to Markets and Fairs to enrich themselves, and take great pains, and is it a shame then or a disgrace for them to travel for that which is much more precious then gold? Hereat if any wonder, tell them, You seek that which is more precious then fined gold; and that you are so far from thinking your selves too good for this, that you highly thank God for vouchsafeng you this favor: yea, that you are so far from thinking that you credit the Gospel, and its beholding to you, that you confess freely, that its your credit; and that if you have any thing in you worth the commendation, you may thank the Gospel for it: for, as for wealth it commends not a man, even reprobates are not without it.

3. To them that have not Faith,Use 3. poor souls, labor after it, that you may be made inwardly rich; seek for it in the means appointed, the preaching of the Word. But O poor & miserable creatures, that regard it not for the most part, but think their poverty here shall serve for all; but worse in the highest degree remaineth behinde, if not prevented in time, could any look into your souls, they might perceive them more empty of grace, then the poorest houses are of provision.

4. To rich men that have toiled for gold,Use 4. seek this that is so much better: Many toil by Sea and land, and undergo no small perils to get gold, and to wax mighty, but as for Faith, they will scarce stir over the threshold for it: But will your gold procure a pardon for your sins? Alas, its no payment with God for any thing, especially sin: Will it shelter when Death and Judgement comes? Alas no, it bears no sway in the other world, see Job 36▪ 18, 19. Prov. 11. 4. Zeph. 1. 18. No, it will not abate your pains in Hell one jot: O once consider your folly, and labor for that whereby you may have com­fort when you draw away, and your friends are thinking of a Coffin to bestow you out of the house, and thereafter you may enjoy life everlasting.

May be found unto praise, and honor, and glory.] The farthest end of our affliction that our Faith thereby tryed,Faith will be crowned at the last day. may come forth to our honor at the great day. Tryed Faith is better then any thing that can be set by it,Iames 1. 12. for all else vanisheth, but our Faith will be crowned at the last day:2 Tim. 4. 8. Then will it be said, Well done good and faithful, servant, en­ter into thy masters joy; Matth. 10. 32. and, Come ye blessed of my Father, &c. They that confess him before men, he will confess them before God, which shall be no small honor:Matth. 19. 28. They which followed him in the regeneration, shall sit upon twelve Thrones, 1 Cor. 6. 2, 3. judging the twelve Tribes of Israel; and The Saints shall judge both the world and Angels: what pains soever we have taken [Page 48] to come to our Faith, and to keep it, it shall not onely comfort and ho­nor us here in the Church, but hereafter also in Heaven.

What an encouragement is this to them that have Faith,Use and a pro­vocation to all to labor for it? It will not onely comfort us now, and make us please God, but will give us boldness also at the great Day, when the fearful and unbelievers shall stand trembling, and be cast into the lake which burneth with fire and brinstone; Rev. 21. 8. yea, though our Faith be tryed by afflictions and persecutions, yet we should rejoyce, for they will turn to our glory: Our shame, reproach, infamy, im­prisonment and troubles, will turn to our praise, and honor and glory at that day; when we are reviled (by private persons) when persecuted by publique Magistrates and false Witnesses coming against us, yet we should not be troubled,Mat. 5. 11, 12. but rejoyce, For great shall our reward be in heaven; our poverty shall be recompenced with great riches, our shame with honor,Phil. 1. 28. and if we be rejected of men, we shall be taken in of God: Yet do not our afflictions or persecutions deserve any of this honor, as the Papists would gather from hence, and from 2 Thess. 1. 5, &c.Rom. 8. 18. Alas, no; For the afflictions of this present time, are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us: God indeed will crown his own graces in us, and hath promised to reward the suffer­ings of his servants with glory; and so he is become our debtor, not by taking any thing of us, but by promising us all things: We should therefore be comforted in all our sufferings, and oppose unto the ig­nominy thereof, the glory and honor we shall then have, which is infinitely greater: O who would not endure casting out by men, be­ing a token that we shall be honored of God, and taken in at that day. Indeed if there were no day of Judgement, nor reward, we might be sorry; but seeing there is, let us lift up our heads, and wait for that day: As the wicked shall have a second course to mar all their mirth, so contrarily the godly to swallow up their sorrow.

At the appearing of Jesus Christ.] Namely, to Judgement: True it is (as we have heard) our souls enter into glory at death, but our perfect happiness is not till the end of all;2 Thess. 1. 7. besides, that which we have at death is not seen but to our selves, whereas then it shall be ma­nifest to all. We must be content to wait for our full Redemption till then;Christ will come on the last day to Iudge the world. on that most solemn day shall we be honored by the Lord himself: Then shall our Savior come to judge the quick and the dead; and though he defer to gather his Elect, and be gone into Heaven, yet he will come, and that in another fashion then he came first; namely, in wonderful majesty, glory and power, which cannot but be a terror to his enemies.

1. This must needs comfort all that have and do still embrace Christ Jesus as their Savior and King,Use 1. for he shall be their Judge, and therefore shall it go well with them.

2. But wo to them that have despised him,Use 2. where shall they appear? Not to appear is impossible;Psal. 1. 5. for He numbreth the stars, and calleth every one by their name; he will not be bribed, for he is more just, and besides, we have nothing to give. To escape also is impossible, for [Page 49] he filleth all places, and whether can he go, that hath this revenging Judge over his head, Hell under his feet to swallow him, on each side Angels and Devils to torment him, within a tormented Conscience, and without all the world on fire? And to abide his wrath its intoler­able;Psal. 76. 7. for if when its but a little kindled no man can stand, then how when its all on fire to consume his enemies utterly?Nah. 1. 6. Kiss therefore the Sun, seek to be reconciled, get him thy Savior and thy King, get pardon of that which is past, not adding more to the score against thy self.

One thing more. The phrase here used seems to imply, that

The reward of Gods servants shall not be privy,The godly shall be pub­likely re­warded. but seen and known, yea and that of those that have most hated, disgraced and persecuted them, accounting them mad, and esteeming basely of them; even before them, I say, they shall be honored of God: As it will be a torment to the wicked to see Christ whom they have pierced to be in such high dignity and power; so will it increase their torment to see them whom they so basely esteemed of, as not worthy to live, to be received into honor, and stand on Christs right hand, and them­selves, of whom they were so well conceited, cast out: But its just with God, that they which willingly and of purpose have vexed and disgraced his servants here on earth, should against their wills see the glory that he hath prepared for them.

Verse 8. ‘Whom having not seen, ye love, in whom though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoyce with joy unspeakable and full of glory.’

HEre he proceeds to commend these believing Jews (yet withal ad­monishing and exhorting them) and that for the great measure of their faith, and the fruits thereof, love and joy, which are described by that which might have hindred their faith, namely, that they never saw Christ, and yet believed in him, and rested on him for salvation, and so loved him, as they were well content to suffer for his Name, yea and rejoyce with such a joy, as for the excellency and greatness there­of could not be expressed. In that he commends them, its to this end, that he might encourage and provoke them to go on forward, and increase more and more. To this end doth the Lord commend the good Churches in the second and third of the Revelation; and S. Paul in all his Epistles,1 Thess. 4. 1, 10. even that he might provoke them to go on in well doing:Whereat Mi­nisters should aym in com­mending their people. And this must be the end of all good Ministers in the commendation of their people, not of flattery (that were abominable, and being men-pleasers, they could not be Christs servants) nor out of a conceit that they have gone far enough, and now may stand at a stay (that were sensless,Gal. 1. 10. for that we have is nothing to that we might have had, or should have, and want) but to be a spur to provoke them to go on forward, it being a shame for them not to satisfie the expectation of such as have a good opinion of them; and so must [Page 50] the people take such at any time, not being lifted up therewith, but ra­ther humbled thereby; conceiving, that the Minister rather sheweth what he would were in them, or should be in them, then what is in­deed in them; and that he would not have them stand at a stay, but proceed and go on more and more.

Speak we particularly first of their faith, though last set down, as without which there can be no true love.

They never saw Christ, yet they believed in him; they saw the Scri­ptures speaking of him to come; they heard of him also by faithful witnesses; the Apostles had preached of his person, birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension, and that he came to save them that were lost: This they believed, and so believed in him for salvation, though they saw him not.

This shews the nature of true faith,Through faith we believe even things above the reach of our reason. namely, to believe things, not onely that we see not, and are hidden from our sense, but such things as are above the reach of our reason, and which we cannot comprehend. So Abraham, when a son was promised by Sarah, stood not to scan this by reason,Heb. 11. 1, 3. and 17. but believed it, and is accordingly commended for it; So Joshua and the Israelites compassing the walls of Jrricho: Gen. 17. 17. There­fore both Zachariah and Sarah failed,Rom. 4. 19, 20. in that they doubted of Gods Promise,Heb. 11. 30. for that it was against reason:Luk. 1. 18, 20. Hence it is that our Savior rebuked for his Thomas infidelity.Gen. 18. 12. If all that Thomas had gone and preached to,Ioh. 20. 25, 29. should have been of his minde, he would have made a poor preaching; Christ must have come to the earth again, and here tarried:Iohn 8. 56. No; Faith hath eyes, as well as the body; Abraham saw Christs day, Heb. 11. 27. and rejoyced; and Moses endured, as he which saw him that was invisible: Yea, it hath a more certain eye then the body, for it de­pends upon that which is more constant then Heaven and Earth, even Gods Word,Iob 19. 25. which shall endure when the others shall vanish away; therefore is faith called a knowledge,2 Cor. 5. 1. not a guessing uncertainty.

Hereby we believe the Incarnation of Christ, the framing of his body in the womb of the Virgin, she untouch'd of man; so the my­stery of the Trinity, and the Resurrection, the Union of Christ and Believers, the glorification of our bodies in the Kingdom of Heaven, and the like; yea, we so believe them, that (as Moses was content to part from the honor of Pharaohs Court for the Kingdom of Heaven,Heb. 11. 26. so) for the assurance we have of them, we are content to forego both pleasures and profits, which we have eagerly followed after; yea, to endure present pains and losses,Heb. 10. 34. and 11. 35. and that grievous ones, for the joys to come, not seen, but believed, whereof we have store of Examples, both in the Scriptures and Church Histories.

1. This condemneth Atheists,Use 1. that reject all that they cannot con­ceive in their foolish and corrupt brain; but Religion is not a matter of Reason, but of Faith: Wo were to us, if there were nothing for us,1 Cor. 15. 19. but that which we see with bodily eyes; the wicked were then in better case.

2. It stirreth us up to try whether we have faith,Use 2. or not; If we so believe the things to come, as whatsoever would let us from the joys [Page 51] of Heaven, we avoid it, and would rather endure any thing, then be deprived thereof, we are not without faith: The wicked will not do so; they will provide for the present time, they will have their will, will here take their ease, enjoy their unlawful profits and pleasures; as for the time to come, they are ignorant of it, what it will be: If any come after, so it is, but they will make sure work for the present; a Bird in the hand, is worth two in the bush: Neither will they suffer any thing for Religion, or the Gospel, or hope of Heaven; a sign they want that grace of true faith: They have Carnal eyes to see these things here below, but no Spiritual ones of faith to see the things to come, and so give no glory to God:Hab. 2. 4. But the just shall live by faith, and We walk not by sight, 2 Cor. 5. 7. but by faith; Thus must we do here for maintenance, thus for deliverance out of dangers. As Historical believing the truth of these things, puts a difference betwixt Atheists and common Chri­stians; so the particular believing and applying these things, between these and true Christians. The servants of God would not lose their part in that which is to come, for all that is here present: They say, the Bird in the bush is worth two of that in the hand. If the world count themselves wise that can save themselves from danger, and Gods servants fools for suffering,See D. Taylor on Acts 10. page 296. be it so; it shall one day appear who hath made the best match: Oh, say they, we are sure of this, we have it in hand,2 Tim. 1. 12. that you look for is uncertain; Well, as uncertain as it is, we will not change with you, for we know whom we have believed.

If this be so,Obj. then why may we not believe that Christs body is bodily in the Sacrament, under the signs of Bread and Wine, though our sense and rea­son say otherwise, seeing our faith goeth beyond both.

Though faith believeth that which no sense nor reason can com­prehend,Sol. because God hath said it, yet it crosseth not our senses, and the things which are daily subject to the same,Ioh. 20. 27. wherein there is cer­tainty:1 Ioh. 1. 1. If we might give no credit to our senses, there would be no end of conceits; therefore seeing all our senses say it is Bread and Wine, we are to believe it to be no other.

Whom having not seen, ye love] Now of the fruits of Faith, love and joy; for its impossible for us to love him, unless by faith we be assured of his love to us,1 Ioh. 4. 19. for we have not loved him, but he us first; so is it not possible, but believing in him, we should love him, and his love must constrain us, having done so wonderful things for us. Then

True love is the fruit of faith,True love the fruit of faith. and it cannot be sundred from love to God, and our brethren for his sake: He that knoweth, and believeth that he hath much forgiven, Gal. 5. 6. must needs love much. 1 Ioh. 5. 1.

1. This confutes the Papists,Use 1. which distinguish faith into formed and unformed, and that this latter is sufficient to the salvation of the people, Charity giving a form to it; but we must know that there's no true faith without it.

1. It serves to confute that Slander wherewith they burthen,Use 2. not us, but the Doctrine of the Gospel; namely, That Justification by faith onely, is a Doctrine of licentiousness: But while we establish faith, we set up good works, as who teach that they cannot be sundred: [Page 52] Though works have no place in our Justification, yet they are necessary to our Salvation.

3. Perceive the force and power of faith;Use 3. faith made them love Christ, though they had never seen him, as which told them of so great things done for them by him, whereby they could not but be exceedingly knit in love unto him, and be content to suffer for him. Its an encrease of love, to love one we never saw; for sight moveth much, and draweth the heart: but by faith we love that we never saw; as we love many good Christians which we never saw, because by faith we believe that they be members of Christ, and fellow-mem­bers with us: So we love Christ, because we believe what great things he hath done for us, and that we shall see him one day in his glory, when we also by him shall be set in possession thereof; so that if we believe these things,1 Ioh. 5. 1. we cannot but love Christ, though we never saw him:How to try both our faith and love. Faith is not idle, but worketh by love to God, and to our brethren; and hereby we may try our faith, as our love, by the fruits thereof: namely, 1. If we take care unfainedly to keep his Commandments in one thing, as in another.Psal. 97. 10. 2. If we love the brethren, Ioh. 14. 15. and 15. 14. and 21. 15. which are mem­bers of Christ, so as we dare not harm them; yea, love them, not onely because they have his image restored in them, but are a part of Christ,1 Ioh. 5. 3. as it were, and of our selves. 3. If we be content to suffer for his sake, and will not be pluckt from him, but are vexed to see him dishonored by any. 4. If we long for his coming, that so we may be with him, and married to him, to whom we are already betrothed: Its the Churches voyce (and should be ours in particular) Come Lord Jesus. Rev. 22. 20. If the husband be gone a long journey, his wife doth not much love him, if she never desire his coming home. 5. If in the mean time we desire to hear often of him,Simile. and from him; as the wife that loves her husband, will send or be often at the Carriers to hear of her hus­band, and receive Letters from him: So must we frequent the Word upon every occasion, where we may hear of him, and of his great honor and glory, and of his providing us a place there, and of the glory there, and how he would have us in the mean time to carry our selves, taking heed of any other lover in his absence, which also doth inform us, That his coming draweth nigh, and is at hand; Thus to hear of him, and from him, as much and as often as we can, we should be desirous. By this Touchstone we may thus try both our faith and love.

In whom though now ye see him not, yet believing,] Here's the object of our faith,Ioh. 3. 15, 16. the Lord Jesus Christ.

The common people say, They believe in God, and trust in God; which is in truth but meer self-deceiving: for though when we believe in Christ,Faith must di­rectly fasten it self on Christ Iesus. we believe in Father, Son and holy Ghost; yet our faith must di­rectly fasten it self upon Christ Jesus, who hath wrought our Re­demption, and on our behalf suffered all things; and so he must come in as a Mediator between the Father and us, else how should we poor worms come to put our trust in that glorious God, and being vile sinners, dare to look for any favor at his hands, but in and by him; [Page 53] who without him is a severe Judge? How dare any poor wretch put his trust in God for all good, that knoweth not that he is his God, nor how to bring it to pass?

Here also the Divinity of our Savior Christ may be noted;A proof of the Divinity of Christ. for we may believe in none, but in God: If even he be cursed that putteth his trust in any other for outward things,Ier. 17. 5. how much more for Salva­tion?Ioh. 1. 1. He created all things, Tryeth the hearts, Forgiveth sins, Stilled the Sea with his word;Mat. 9. 2. and 8. 26. Raised the dead by his own power; all which point out his Deity: yea, it appeared even in his greatest abasement; He took upon him the seed of Abraham, Luke 1. 41. but in this seed were all the Nations of the earth blessed; He was compassed in the Virgins womb, yet even then at his presence John the Baptist sprang in his mothers belly; He was laid in a Cratch, but even therein was he worshipped by the Wise-men of the East; He was hungry, but he fed five thou­sand with five loaves, and a few small fishes; He slept, but at his a­waking he caused the winds and waves to cease; He paid Tribute, but out of the fishes mouth; He wept for Lazarus, but he raised him from the dead; He was taken by wicked hands, but then he healed him with a touch whose ear was cut off; He was crucified and dyed. but at the same time he darkened the Sun, and shook the earth, the vail of the Temple rent,Mat. 27. 54. which made the Centurion say, He was the Son of God; 1 Tim. 3. 16. He was buried, but he raised up his body the third day; He was manifested in the flesh, but justified in the Spirit.

And it was necessary that he should be both, else had he been no Savior for us, which sheweth our gret misery, and Gods great mercy: Who should not embrace him, that abased himself so low for our sins? as if a King should rise from his throne,Simile. and row in a galley-slaves room; what then should not we be willing to do for him? yea, to abase our selves to any service he requires of us on the behalf of our brethren; but how few embrace him? how few entertain him with an humble and contrite heart?

Ye rejoyce] The other fruit of Faith is joy;Ioy a fruit of Faith. being assured of so great things done for them by Christ, and so great things prepared for them by him, they could not but rejoyce; for as the feeling of Gods wrath for our sins is fearful,Prov. 18. 14. and cannot be endured (a wounded spirit who can bear?) as may appear by the heavy cryes and complaints of some of Gods servants in agony of conscience, O I am cast out of his sight, I shall perish, O what shall I do! but especially by the de­sperate horror of the wicked, who feel it so intollerable, as that they cannot bear it, as Judas, who went and hanged himself; for no man seeing and feeling himself under the wrath of God, and no way to be freed therefrom, but must needs wish he had never been, or now were not,Psal. 4. 7. or were a Toad, or the vilest creature: so contrarily, they that feel themselves freed from this,Rom. 15. 13. and called to the hope of so great glory, must needs rejoyce; as Joseph doubtless was a glad man, when being delivered out of prison, he was advanced to honor.

The way hereunto is true Faith:Use 1. Worldlings indeed think Christi­anity a dumpish estate, but its the onely estate wherein we may be [Page 54] merry; and whoso is merry, not being assured of Gods favor, is a de­sperate person: as if one were merry that hanged over a deep pit by a twined threed.

In the midst of their mirth,Use 2. the wicked have secret gripes; as thieves condemned, though they drink and play at cards, yet to think that on the morrow they must be executed, chokes them and their mirth.

The wicked also can be merry in nothing but some wickedness or other, as if one should be merry when he eats and drinks poyson, when he slashes and cuts himself; for hereby provoking God, they increase their own damnation.

This joy then coming from Faith,Use 3. comes not from our works, or any thing that we can do:Why no true joy can pro­ceed from our selves. These cannot bring sound peace to the minde, or quiet to the conscience, or joy to the heart; for 1. We have many sins, and therefore can merit nothing of God. 2. We know by our selves, that even many of them are unto us unknown: who knows the errors of his life?Psal. 19. 12. no man can say, he hath found out all his sins, or the corruptions of his heart, so that he can say, now here be no more. 3. Our best duties be mingled with much weakness and im­perfection; so that though they may appear before men, and be well accounted of and reverenced, yet when they come before God, then they must hide themselves; as the Stars and Moon shew a goodly light in the night; but when the Sun appears, they appear not. The Nazarets vow was pleasing to God,Numb. 6. 13. yet the time thereof being expired, there was a sacrifice appointed for the sin of such a one; what, of such a one, as had lived and served God in that strict order? yea, even they must acknowledge no desert, but as they stand in need of mercy, earnest­ly call upon God for it, Who will shew mercy to thousands of them that love him; and keep his commandments: our works then, or any thing that we can do, cannot bring us sound peace and joy, as being imperfect and unable to abide the justice of God; but Faith, that layeth hold on the all sufficient merit and satisfaction of Christ, and his most perfect Righteousness, whereby they are made ours, brings us great joy, as whereby we dare come before God with boldness and confidence.

Unspeakable and full of glory] What maner of joy is that of be­lievers?The joy of be­livers is un­speakable. Unspeakable, such as cannot be uttered with the tongue: why? because it is for glory and happiness, which is unspeakable; for such things as neither eye hath seen, 1 Cor. 2. 9. nor ear heard, therefore such as the glory is, such is the joy, its an everlasting weight of glory: a wise man joys according to the object of his joy, but a fool reioyeth in a trifle of nothing; unspeakable things are believed, therefore it must needs be an unspeakable joy.

Full of glory] Not a vain,Their joy also is a glorious joy. carnal or flitting joy; that will fail and shame them that have had it, but a glorious joy, in the glorious Lord Jesus Christ and everlasting glory; glorious things believed, bring a glorious joy:Psal. 103. 1. What was Davids when he said, Bless the Lord, O my soul, Psal. 116. 12. and all that is within me bless his holy name, &c. and, What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits towards me? What the Virgin Maries, Luke 1. 47. when she said, My spirit rejoyceth in God my Savior? and can­not [Page 55] many a Christian say, that after long and heavy seeking after God and Christ Jesus, God hath sent down such glimpses of joy into their hearts, as they could not express; and would think, O if this would always last, it were a little heaven; and so it were indeed, for its the same joy for quality, that we shall have in heaven, though the quan­tity be but small in comparison.

Here then see the happy estate of a Christian above all other men,Use. and the difference between the joy of all rich worldings, that fat themselves in their rich comings in, and richly furnisht tables, and coastly attire, and the godlies; for do these bring unspeakable joy? O no! there's indeed small joy in them, besides much vexation that accompany them; and what a torment is it for such to think, that they must be snatcht from this in a moment, and are provided for no better? neither is their joy glorious, but base and childish, that turns into shame in a few days; their joy is in vain things, and not in things that abide;Phil. 3. 19. they rejoyce in the Creature, not in the Creator; yea, their glory is their shame.

Verse 9. ‘Receiving the end of your Faith, even the salvation of your souls.’

HEre's the ground of their joy, the end and reward of their Faith, the salvation of their souls: Salvation of their souls, why, was there any danger of the contrary? O yes! By nature, and through sin,Every man is danger of utter destru­ction. we have deserved the utter damnation both of our souls and bodies, but through Christ we escape it, and obtain, the salvation of both; every man is in this danger, neither is there any help to be had, but in and through Christ apprehended by Faith.Acts 4. 12.

How then doth it behoove every man to bestir himself about this so weighty a matter?Use. For what shall it profit a man, Mat. 16. 26. to win the whole world, and lose his own soul? yet the most makes small account hereof, but rather set themselves altogether about their profits and pleasures, O madness to be condemned! nay, if they see any earnest about this, they wonder what they mean; what they mean? they seek salvation; if thou wonder at that, wonder still; but the time will come, when thou wilt wonder at thine own folly, that sought'st not after this, though thou hadst missed of whatsoever else: when thou seest any grieve and mourn, wondrest thou what they ail? Its for the want of sal­vation, as thou art when thou wantest money; if thou thinkest their grief and heaviness to be but melancholly dumps of foolish weak folks, which they may shake off at their pleasure, and be merry as for­merly they were wont, thou art much deceived.

Receiving] He saith not you shall receive, but receiving in the pre­sent tense:The godly by faith do even here enjoy salvation. Whence note, that

The Servants of God by faith do even here enjoy Salvation and Eter­nal life, even presently we have glory, though not in the fulness there­of;2 Cor. 3. 18. 1. Because we are as sure of it, as if we had it, as who have Gods [Page 56] Hand for it, even his Word,2 Cor. 1. 22. his Seal, his Sacrament. 2. Because even here we have the earnest of it,Eph 1. 13, 14. which is his Spirit; when earnest is given between honest men,Ioh. 3. 36. there's no going back; and shall God say, and not do it?See also Ioh. 5. 24. shall he promise, and not perform? He is not a man, that he should lye or repent: He that believeth on the Son (saith the Son himself) hath everlasting life. 3. Because by faith we are already en­tred into the first degree of it; being knit to Christ, and so perfectly justified, we are come to the suburbs of our glory, and are as it were at the gate, lacking nothing but to be let in by death: As we say to our friends, having come a long way to a City, and are but at the walls thereof,Rom 8. 23. and not entred therein, Now we are at it, ye are welcom to this place;Eph. 2. 5, 6. so having received the first-fruits of the Spirit, we may thereupon affirm that we are in Heaven.Heb. 12. 22, 23 This sheweth the happy estate of true believers,Use. that are so sure of their happiness, and as it were entred upon it already: Thou therefore that believest, be of good comfort, thou art even as sure of Heaven, as if thou wert there al­ready; Rejoyce always, serve God chearfully, and bear afflictions patiently: Being at the suburbs, thou wantest but letting in, when Death as the Porter shall open the gate. Thou hast paid the price, and hast good Evidence to shew for it, which by thy learned Councel is judged sound and good; God hath given thee his own Writings, and thou hast sure under his Hand and Seal, onely thou wantest Livery and Seisin, which thou shalt have in good time, which in the mean time is never the farther from thee.

The end of your Faith] Or the reward which God hath promised so often,No pains too much to get faith. who would not take any pains to get faith, being so rewarded? The world wondreth at them that take pains to hear the word, yet this is the means of faith, which is the instrument of Salvation; yet wonder they not at themselves and others, that travel weekly as much and more for worldly trash,Use. who for faith would scarce stir their foot over the threshold: But do not we rest our selves either upon our gifts of Knowledge, Utterance, Profession, shew of Zeal, outward Civility,Eph. 2. 8. and the like, for nothing will save us but faith, and Salva­tion is the end hereof. If a man had lived in the days of Christ, and both heard him, conversed with him, and seen his miracles, yet with­out faith he might be damned, as Judas: Were one the kinsman of Christ, should he handle him in his arms, nay, were one his mo­ther, what would the same avail without faith? Therefore refuse no pain to get faith; for though its beginning be bitter, yet its end is happy.

If the Apostle had said,Salvation not the end or re­ward of our Works. End or reward of your works, the Papists would have had their mouthes made up, and run away with a full cry, Lo here, whether our Works merit not Heaven and Salvation, or no: Alas! there's no such matter; Can they not distinguish between Merit and a Reward freely given? True, the Scripture calleth Hea­ven a Reward, and promiseth the same to them that hold out in well­doing; but doth it not also call in an Inheritance? and who knows not that that is free? There are two kindes of debt, one of desert, [Page 57] and another of promise; Herod made conscience to keep his rash Oath to the daughter of Herodias, she deserved it not, but he promised it: And when God promiseth Eternal life to constancy in well-doing, is it to puff us up, as if we did deserve it? no such matter, its onely to help our weakness.

He calls us to deny our selves, to wean our selves from the plea­sures of this world,See Mr. Green­ham, pag. 754. to suffer Reproach, Persecution, and the like; now these be harsh to our nature, therefore to encourage us, God makes these Promises, and accordingly at the end of our work, we shall have the thing promised,We cannot inherit heaven. not because we have earned it, but because Christ hath purchased it, and God hath promised it to us. That we cannot merit heaven, may thus appear; 1. Because our best works be stained with many imperfections; and what's good in them, is Gods gift, not our goodness. 2. Because there must be some proportion between the thing merited,Rom. 8. 18. and that wherewith, but here there's none; as a man can­not buy a great Manor for a trifle, so the things we can do or suffer here, are not worthy the glory to be revealed. 3. Because that whereby we must merit, must be free, and that which we are not bound to do; but we are bound to do all that we can, and having so done, we have done but our duty, and consequently not merited; As if we had a lame ser­vant,Luke 17. 10. and assoon as he did a little service, he would think he merited of us, when if he could do much more, by the state of a servant, he owes us more;1 Sam. 18. 23. David said, Seemeth it a small thing to you, to be son in Law of a King? (yet hereby should not he have had the Kingdom) howsoever by his Victories he deserved well; what then should we in respect of God? But as the whole Scripture labors to beat down our Pride, Arrogancy, and any Conceit that we might have of any thing in our selves, so this place saith, The Salvation of our Souls, is the end and reward of Faith, not of Works; and yet not the reward of Faith, as if it merited any such thing, as it is a Grace in us, no, but onely it apprehends it an instrument, that whereby we are justified and saved, and that which meriteth our Salvation.

The Salvation of your souls.] Believers shall have also the Salvation of their bodies. Not but that the servants of God shall have Salvation of their bodies also, as being made by God, rede [...]r [...] ­ed by Christ, and shall be glorified after the Resurrection; and there­fore Christ took not onely a soul, but an humane body also: but he speaketh of the soul, as of the principal part, which first entreth into Glory; and for the bodies of Gods servants, wherewith they endea­vor to praise and glorifie God, they shall be glorified as well as their souls.

Be we therefore encouraged even in our bodies,Use. to take pains in Gods service; never a member that honors him, but shall be filled with honor at the last day, and for ever.

But what's that we have, and our Faith findes in Christ Jesus? not Ease, Health, Worldly Honor and Preferment, but Salvation;1 Cor. 1. 30. CHRIST was not made these unto us, but Wis­dom, Righteousness, Sanctification and Redemption: We have by him also right unto outward things, and possession of as much as [Page 58] shall be meet, but so as we may have and must expect, to drink of the same cup that our Master did, even to meet with Reproaches, Afflicti­ons and Trouble.

Whe must therefore when we follow Christ,What those are to look for that follow Christ. or embrace him and his ways, not expect all Prosperity here, and Ease and Contentment outwardly, but rather think of the contrary, that it may appear that we follow him not for any by-respect;See Mat. 8. 19. but Salvation we shall have, and he that thinks not that sufficient, though it be joyned with troubles, knoweth not its worth. The favor of God, the Kingdom of Heaven, is great riches, though not accompanied with outward either pleasure or profit:Ioh. 6. 26. Many profess Religion for advantage, and many will pro­fess so long as no hurt comes of it, but if any trouble arise, then they give over.

Verse 10. ‘Of which Salvation the Prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the Grace that should come unto you.’

HAving spoken of Salvation by Christ, laid hold upon by Faith, which they had obtained; He now commends and sets forth this Salvation and the means thereof, to be the onely true way, and the Gospel revealing it to be the most blessed and excellent Doctrine that ever was: for 1. Its no new device of any, or first preached by the Apostles, but that which the holy Prophets that have lived in all ages (men endued with the Spirit of God) have studied and enquired into, and found, and have in their writings prophesied of the same; en­quiring also to know the time when our Savior Christ should be ex­hibited into the world; who understanding by the Spirit, that he was not to be born in their days, but in the last ages of the world, yet see­ing him afar off, were glad, and took it thankfully, and so believing in him, were saved by him. 2. That the Gospel and Salvation by Christ, was preached by the holy Apostles, men set apart by God for that business, endued with his Spirit that came on them from Heaven; and so its the same that was known to our Forefathers, and Patriarks, and Prophets, not varied, but the same Doctrine and constant way of Sal­vation. 3. That the very Angels as they wondred at the wonderful mystery of Christs Incarnation, and learned (as is very probable) something by the Apostles Ministery, which they knew not before; so, into the fulness of this Salvation they desired to see. So we have a commendation of the Gospel, or the way of Salvation therein preached: 1. By its antiquity; the Prophets knew and embraced it: 2. The Apostles not of their own heads, but by the Spirit extraordina­rily sent upon them, preached it. 3. The Angels desire further to see into it. In the Prophets search we are to observe, 1. The substance they sought. 2. The circumstance of time: for the substance, it was privately for their own benefit, who therefore enquired into it, and searched it our diligently; and publiquely, for the benefit of the Church, who therefore prophesied of it.

[Page 59] Of which salvation the Prophets have enquired, &c.] In that the A­postle,No point touching sal­vation is to be taught or re­ceived, but whats ground­ed on the Word. to prove that this was the true way of salvation, produceth the writings of the Prophets in the Old Testament, learn, That for all matters of faith that we reach the people, and would have them receive, we must ground them on no other proof, but the Word of God; no point ought to be admitted touching salvation, whereof God is not the author, and author he is of nothing, but of that which is in his written Word,2 Tim. 3. 16. which is a perfect Rule, able to teach all truth, and confute all error.

1. This confutes the Papists,Use 1. who lean so much on Councels, as they banish the Scripture as a dumb Judge: Of those, howsoever the more ancient of them are to be reverenced, and did worthily oppose & conclude against the Heresies of their Times; yet even in them some things are left rawly, whether those worthy men intending the greatest, less regarded smaller matters, or whether they erred as men, that we might not put too much confidence in them, or give too much to them: But for many latter ones, they are patcht by the Pope and his Adherents, which will be sure to do nothing against him, and the greater part overcomes the better part; Therefore we are not to rest in these,Isa. 8. 20. but go to that Law and to that Testimony, which alone must Judge and bear Rule in the Church: For, though Christ hath pro­mised,Mat. 18. 20. that where two or three be gathered together, he will be amongst them, yet they must be m [...]t in his Name; which is, when they all submit themselves to the Word of God, and suffer Christ to be Pre­sident of their Assembly by his Word, and not when they will set up Conceits of their own devising.

2. Ministers must learn in all matters of faith,Use 2. to bring forth the written Word of God,Luke 24. 27. and not mens Judgements, which are of no force to stablish the Conscience,Acts 18. 28. neither Popish Traditions, by them termed Apostolical and unwritten Verities.

3. People also for their part must receive nothing,Use 3. but that which they see grounded hereupon:Ioh. 5. 39. To this end they are to search the Scri­ptures,Acts 17. 11. and with the Berea [...]s to confer place with place, to finde out the truth:Gal. 1. 8, 9. If an Angel from heaven should bring any Doctrine contrary to this, we are to hold him accursed. Assuredly, for want of Catechizing publikely, and reading the Scripture privately, if a cunning Heretique should in most Congregations open his pack of Wares, they would go for currant, few or none being able to control him.

Enquired and searched] The words imply the great pains they used herein,The Prophets took great pains to know the mystery of our salvation by Christ. as Daniel by prayer, fasting and meditation: They had a little hint from God, and they found the savor of it, so as they followed it most earnestly to get out more, and plodded upon it to see further and further.Dan. 9. 3.

What then are all of us to beat our heads, and to set our hearts upon? even upon the mystery of our Salvation by Christ, that we may 1. Know it, and every part thereof. 2. Give full assent thereto. 3. Labor for a particular perswasion thereof by faith. These things belong to us, whom it much concerneth to know this by an effectual [Page 60] knowledge,Ioh. 17. 3. feeling the power of Christ in us,Phil. 3. 8. causing us to dye to sin, and live to righteousness; 1 Cor. 2. 2. and this we should do: 1. For that its the chiefest thing in the world; Its life eternal to know him, and all is dung to this; yea, we should desire to know nothing but Christ, and him cruci­fied. 2. Because in seeking we may finde more in one day, then all the Prophets and Fathers could finde by all their diligence all the days of their life.

This condemns the monstrous Unthankfulness of our days,Use. that make no reckoning of this so blessed Gospel, of those glad tidings that should be the glory of the world, without which the world is dead in sin, and comes to confusion. O how few regard to hear the Word? Many run to Sports and Pastimes, others to Markets and Fairs, but in many places, what thin Churches? their Oxen and Farms draw them away: Others hear, yet it is without any regard, any life; Israel never loathed Manna more, then most do the preach­ing of the Gospel; O they have had Sermons in many Congrega­tions, until they have even loathed them! O how few can be brought to see their own misery! how few to prize Christ, and to whom he is indeed welcom, how few that will stoop to his yoke! Sundry in shew would have him their Savior, and talk that they hope to be saved by Christ, but that's but a Bawd for their sins, whereby they may go on the more freely in them; yea, are not the truest and painfullest Preachers and Professors of the Gospel hated? what this will come to, is easie to see; assuredly (being like Ch [...]razi [...] and Bethsaida) we may justly fear some iudgement at hand. Time was, when Christ was welcom amongst us, and the kingdom of heaven suffered violence (as haply it doth still in some parts of the land) but O dead hearts, and unthankful in most places. Those under the Law, saw but a little, yet took it thankfully; we have much revealed, yet little regard it: To prize the Gospel, and seek after Christ, will be our wisdom and wel­fare; then to enquire for Salvation by Christ, there can be no greater thing, it becomes us well: if for this we be counted fools, well, we be such fools as the Prophets were, who enquired and searched after Christ; God be thanked for our so doing, let us continue in Gods name; this shall bring us comfort living and dying, when carnal Wordlings shall perish for want of comfort, and go to hell.

But did they onely enquire after Salvation, and the way to it, and found it not? Yes, as they foretold Christ to others, so did they finde that in him they sought for,The Prophets and old Fa­thers were sa­ved by Christ as well as we. and were saved by him.

The Prophets and old Fathers were saved by Christ as well as we.

This confutes two pestilent Opinions, 1. That of the Anabaptists, That the Fathers had no other but earthly Promises and Rewards,Acts 4. 12. & 15. 8. and there was an end,Heb. 13. 8. and had no heaven, nor hope of any such thing; most vile;Use. 1. for 1. God gave them his Word, which was to convert their Souls,Psal. 147. 19. & 19. 7, 23 and to be an immortal seed, to beget them to eternal life; and the Prophets in their times were filled with the Spirit of God;Rom. 3. 2. but God did not all this for nothing.Zech. 7. 12. 2. He made a Covenant with [Page 53] them,Levit. 26. 12. I will be your God, and you shall be my people: Now to have God to be our God, contains not onely Earthly things, but Heavenly and Eternal,Psal. 33. 12. For blessed is the people, whose God is the Lord: Our Savior Christ saith,Mat. 22. 23. God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, not of the dead, Mat. 8. 11. but of the living; so that they live not in Soul onely, but in Body also to Godward,Heb. 11. 13. for he will surely raise them up again:Gen. 47. 9. Jacob speak­ing unto Pharaoh, mentioned the days of his Pilgrimage; both he and the rest confessed themselves Pilgrims: see what construction the Holy Ghost makes hereof,Heb. 11. 15. namely, That this was in respect of some other Countrey; but what Countrey, Earthly or Heavenly? If Earthly, then that from whence they came, Caldea; but if it had been that, they had leasure enough to have returned thereunto, but they de­sired a Heavenly, therefore God prepared for them a City, even such a one as they desired,Iob. 19. 25. an Heavenly one. Job believed that his Redeem­er lived,Luke 16. 23. and Abrahams bosom is put for Heaven.

But such speeches as Jobs, Obj. are of some few principal men, and not of the people, with whom no doubt it was as with us, most understood not, neither believed, though others did.

This comes of a false understanding of the Promises.Sol. The Lord provokes them to keep his Law, and promiseth them a plenteous Land▪ and threatned the loss thereof if they obeyed not; But who knoweth not, that as Egypt was a Type of their Spiritual bondage, so Canaan, of Heaven,2 Cor. 5. 7. and Heaven promised under it? even as the Lamb in the Passover was a Type of Christ, the true Paschal Lamb and Christi­ans Passover, as the Apostle affirmeth.

2. That of those which affirm,Use 2. That they were saved by some other way (not by Christ as we) and what? by the keeping of the Law, its otherwise; The Law was not to this end given them, that they might be justified thereby, more then to us, or that they could keep it more then we; for never could any keep it, but to shew Gods perfect righ­teousness, and their own sinfulness, and so drive them out of them­selves, to Christ the true Sacrifice: Notable is that Speech of Saint Peter, Acts 15. 10. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the necks of the Disciples, which neither our Fathers nor we were able to bear: He meaneth not here, the Ceremonial Law, wherein an hypocrite might go as far as another;Mat. 19. 20. nor the bodily observance of the Moral Law (whereof the yong man bragged so much) but the true Spiritual Rule of Righ­teousness, which never any could keep; so they were saved by the Grace of Christ as we:See Rom. 3. 30. Abrahams Faith was imputed unto him for Righ­teousness, and he was justified both before he was Circumcised, and four hundred years ere the Law was given.

Who prophesied of the Grace that should come unto you.] The Doctrine of the Gospel not new. The Doctrine of the Gospel is no new device of man, nor first Preached by the Apostles,Rom. 1. 2. & 3. 21. but almost as old as the World: The Spirit hath given testi­mony of it in all ages, all the Prophets have looked into it; some Pro­mises were given unto particular persons, some did concern all in ge­neral; those especially which were delivered by the Prophets: This was signified by all the Sacrifices and Washings in the Law, wherein [Page 62] there was an acknowledgement of guiltiness and uncleanness,Heb. 9. 12. and a promise of something to satisfie and cleanse;1 Ioh. 1. 7. which was not the blood of Bulls or of Goats,Rev. 13. 8. but of Jesus Christ, who is therefore said to wash away our sins by his blood, and to be the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

This condemneth that wicked slander of the Church of Rome, Use. that stile our Religion, The new Gospel, or a yesterdays Religion; Nay, theirs is a new Religion; who knoweth not, that though the Mystery of Iniquity began already to work in the Apostles times, and the Devil had spread some Heresies; yet alass, Popery was not then hatcht, and it was not come to the top, till within these three or four hundred years by-past, the whole being at several times patched up with several pieces, by one Pope after another: and new it is, as being of mans brain, most things therein having no ground in the Word of God, nay, altogether contrary thereunto.

The Prophets foretold of Christ, The Prophets foretold of Christ. and that very fully, of his Na­ture, Offices, Birth, Life, Death, Sufferings, Patience, Resurrection, Ascension, &c. See Gen. 49. 10. Isa. 7. 14. Isa. 9. 6. Jer. 23. 6. Isa. 53. 8. Zach. 12. Psal. 110. 1, 4. Isa. 61. 1. Dan. 9. 25. Mic. 5. 2. Psal. 22. 16. Psal. 16. 10. Psal. 68. 18. Hag. 2. 7, &c.

This sheweth what an agreement and blessed harmony there is be­twixt the Old Testament and the New;The harmony between the Old and New-Testament. no diverse matters, but the same Christ, the subject matter of both, driven at in the Law, point­ed out in all the Sacrifices:Act. 18. 28. The Old Testament is the New folded up, the New,Luke 24. is the Old unfolded and opened, the one proving the other; and hence are these Phrases, As it is written, And that it might be ful­filled.

1. This condemneth them that reject the New-Testament and Christ Jesus,Use 1. and yet retain the Old, as the Scribes and Pharisees did, and Jews and Turks do;Ioh. 5. 46, 47. but hold one, and hold both, deny one, and deny both. O the lamentable blindeness of the Jews, that were so well acquainted with the Old Testament, which did so foretel Christ! and yet when he came, in whom all was fulfilled, they could not see it; a forestalled conceit of an earthly Potentate hindred all.

2. It teacheth us to labor to be acquainted with both,Use 2. and reverence both, the one giving light unto the other; and they especially that are of better understanding, and have more time, let them read order­ly, not here and there a Chapter, and that most or always in the New-Testament, but going on throughout both; They that are slow and dull, and can read little, no matter though they hold themselves most to the New; but for the others, let them be acquainted with both: Are we ignorant of the one? its for want of acquaintance with the other; Hath God set on work his holy Prophets, to Prophefie such things as be greatly for our Confirmation, and kept them through so many storms of Persecution, and shall we not be conversant therein? yea, those Chapters that seem of least use in Leviticus, touching cleansing of many sorts of uncleanness, have this main use, even to teach, That God cannot abide sin, but that it must be cleansed through the blood [Page 63] of his Son: the Chapters also of Genealogies in Numbers and Chroni­cles, are of good use for the understanding of the rest of the Scriptures, though but a few understand the same.

Of the Grace] He calls Salvation Grace,Salvation why called Grace. and that most worthily, as being freely both Elected,Ioh. 3. 16. Redeemed, and Effectually called.

1. This condemns,Eph. 2. 4. 1. That Luciferian conceit of Merit or Wor­thiness in us,Use 1. poor miserable sinners: 2. Them that challenge part in Christ, and all that he did, and yet shew no part of thankfulness and duty again, but live as they list, and will not onely not part with their lives, but not with their lusts for his sake, they are lyars, and deceive their own souls.

2. It should teach us to acknowledge the whole work of our Sal­vation to be of Grace,Use 2. and thereupon to walk the more thankfully and zealously;The Prophets did partake of Salvation, though they saw not. yea, often meditate of this Free-grace and Salvation, whet­ting up our selves thereby.

That should come unto you.] Why? were they not partakers of Salva­tion themselves? Yes, as we have heard, but they never saw the time of Christs exhibiting in the flesh,Christ in the flesh. nor so clearly; They received not the pro­mises, Heb. 11. 13. onely saw them afar off, a [...]d were perswaded of them.

Verse 11. ‘Searching what or what maner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signifie, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.’

SEarching what or what maner of time] They took great pains to know Christ, & would gladly have learnd that he should have come in their days, so they should have had a clearer Revelation; yea seen him whom they so much longed for and loved.Luke 2. 25. Simeon waited for the Consolation of Israel, Luke 10. 24. as many Prophets and Kings desired to see and hear thereof; and this was lawful,We must en­deavor to know what's profitable to be known. unless God had enjoyned the contrary: If then we know a thing to be good and profitable to be known, we must refuse no pains in searching it out, but Study, Meditate, Pray, Confer, Read, &c.Prov. 2. 3, 4. We must call for Wisdom, and cry for Understanding; we must seek and search for her, as for silver: The Word is like a Noble man, that one must make some suit, and use some means to come unto; with which being once acquainted, wherein can it not pleasure us? when we have sued to it by pains, it will be beneficial unto us indeed: where­as prophane Books (easily enough attained unto) usually work much mischief; many of us read much of the Scriptures, but take no notice whether we understand the same or not, or take no pains to come to knowledge: to be inquisitive of the meaning of this or that place of Scripture,Use. were profitable when Christians meet together, whe­ther Ministers or others,The prophets searched into this great mystery, through the direction of the Spirit. or both.

As they desired to see Christs first, so should we long for his second coming.

The Spirit of Christ which was in them] See how they sought into this matter, not of their own heads, but by the guidance and directi­on [Page 64] of the Spirit; and that 1. Because it was a matter so high and above their reach, as in which they could know nothing without the help of the Spirit. 2. To avoid curiosity, searching no further then God should see good to reveal unto them.

This teacheth us,Use 1. that when we search into any point of Doctrine, or to know any thing, we must not go to work by our own head or wit (for that were Pride and the way to Error) but by the help of the Spirit; and therefore no further then the Spirit shall guide us: this we do, if we keep our selves to the written Word of God; for Gods Spirit teacheth us according to the Word, and no otherwise.

This condemneth the frenzy conceits of the Anabaptists,Use 2. which boast of Revelations of the Spirit; counting whatsoever comes in their head, and they conceive (though contrary to the Scriptures) to be a Revelation, which is wicked; for the Word and Spirit cannot be divorced, either the one contrary to the other: We must hold us to the written word, searching thereinto according to sobriety, proceed­ing no further then it, and there staying where it stayeth.

This is also contrary to the Papists,Use 3. that will have their humane Traditions and unwritten Verities, whereby upon the point they overthrow the Scriptures.Gods Spirit the Author of the Old Testament. Again, in that the Spirit of Christ was in the Prophets when they prophesied, see the authority of the Old Testament; the Spirit of God is the Author of it, therefore is it to be highly esteemed as the New,2 Pet. 1. 21. and all questions are to stand and fall by the sentence thereof.

Read,Use. believe and obey it, and be out of all doubt of it, without ifs and ands: As the Papists most wickedly would have the authority of the Scriptures, to depend upon the testimony of the Church; and because they say its Scripture, therefore they believe it, and otherwise would not; they would give no more credit to Pauls Epistles, then to Esops Fables, if the Church did not give testimony thereof, which is a blasphemous Opinion: The Scripture is above the Church, and that whereon its grounded, and hath no greater testimony then from it self: we testifie that God is the true God from all Idols, and Christ from all false Christs; do they therefore depend upon our testimony? and are we above them? Though the Church discerneth the Word or Scriptures from false writings, and therefore rejecteth a great many of Epistles and Gospels, of Bartholomew, Thomas, Thaddeus, as adulterous; yet this proves not that they depend on the Churches testimony.Simile. A Kings Letters come to a City, the Officers thereof, by the stile, sign, or some other thing whereunto they are accustomed, accept of them, yield to them, and testifie that they are not false or counterfeit; are they therefore above the King or his Letters?A proof of the Divinity of the Holy Ghost.

Further, here is a testimony of the Divinity of the third Person; for the whole Scripture is given by inspiration from God,2 Tim. 3. 16. and here its said,The sufferings of Christ fore­told in the old Testament. it was by the Spirit; and who could foretel things so long be­fore but God? confer Acts 1. 16. with 4. 25.

When it testified beforehand of the sufferings of Christ] Namely, That he was to suffer for us,Luke 24. 26. and so to enter into his glory: This we [Page 65] finde in the Old Testament both plainly expressed, and under types and figures; as of Isaacs offering, the Brazen Serpent, the Paschal Lamb, Jonas, &c.

This serves to answer all prophane Infidels,Use. [...] that scoff at Christians because they believe in a crucified God, for so do they contemptu­ously speak of Christ.

A. He suffered what was necessary for the Savior of the world to suffer,Phil. 2. 8, 9. and what the Scripture foretold he should suffer; and though he suffered and was abased, yet he overcame it, and entred into glory: Had not these things been foretold, they might have been offended at his dejected estate,Luke 24. 21. for so were the Disciples notwithstanding, but being foretold, they are not; yea if he had not suffered for us, we had been yet in our sins, yet under the curse, as if he had suffered, and had not conquered and entred into glory, we had been never the better.

It was needful that Christ should suffer for us,Why it was needful that Christ should suffer for us. for we by Adams fall were plunged into sin, and so in danger of the curse of God, and lyable unto all wrath here and hereafter; This Gods justice could not suffer him to remit, but the death threatned must be paid: To this end our Savior became man, and suffering all that was due to us, thereby discharged us: He was arraigned before an earthly Judge, that we might never be brought to our answer before the heavenly; accused, that we might be cleared; condemned, that we might be acquitted before God; counted among vile sinners, that we might be reckoned among the Angels; spitted on, that we which had deserved that God should for ever have spitted on our face shame and confusion, might be received into favor; did undergo the curse, that we might be bles­sed; dyed, that we might live, &c. then this, there was no other way whereby we could have been discharged. See Isa. 53. 1 Pet. 1. 19. & 2. 24. 1 Iohn 1. 7. Rev. 1. 5. Hence perceive,

1. The depth of our misery.Use 1.

2. The unspeakable love of God,Use 2. and Christ Jesus.

3. Comfort to all that have their part in Christ,Use 3. all their sins and punishments are discharged, crosses and death are now become bles­sings, no punishments of sin; whoso do not by Faith take hold on him, must suffer for their own sins, and that for ever.

4. That as we are to hate sin with a deadly hatred,Use 4. so must we te­stifie our love to him that hath redeemed us at so high a price; Num­bers will talk of Christ, that he dyed for their sins, which yet are so far from being humbled to repentance hereby, and to turn from sin to God, as that they seem rather emboldened and heartened to run on in sin,1 Cor. 15. 14, 17. and sin more freely; such vile wretches crucifie Christ again, neither shall have any benefit by his death.

And the glory that should follow.] It was necessary that he should have overcome, else had his death been in vain.

Hereof there were three degrees,Three degrees of our Saviors victory. 1. His resurrection. 2. His ascensi­on. 3. That he shall one day come into judgement, & bring all his ser­vants into his glory;Iohn 14. 3. and 17. 24. whereunto may be annexed the consequents of each.


[Page 66] But how shall we come to glory?Through af­flictions we also must come into glory. even by the same way that our Head, our Lord and Master hath gone before us, namely, by suffer­ings; for through many afflictions we must enter into the Kingdom of God,Act. 14. 22. and God will have the Members made conformable to the Head.Rom. 8. 17. It followeth hereupon,

1. That afflictions or persecutions are no ill sign,2 Tim. 2. 12. but rather of the way to Heaven and glory;1 Pet. 5. 10. it should encourage us to suffer,Heb. 12. 3. seeing glory follows,Use 1. and a great reward ensues thereupon.

2. That those which will suffer no affliction nor persecution for Christ and the Gospel,Mat. 5. 12. but shifting themselves therefrom,Acts 5. 41. aym at the glory of the World,Use 2. are not in the way to glory, but shame here­after will be their portion.

Verse 12. ‘Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us, they did minister the things which are now reported unto you, by them that have preached the Gospel unto you, with the holy Ghost sent down from Heaven; which things the Angels desire to look into.’

YE have heard what the Prophets searched into, and by what guide; now see what was revealed unto them, & how far forth they were satisfied; namely, that the things which they sought into, even the time of Christs coming, should not be in their days, but in ours; They took the pains, we have the gains; They laid the cloath, and we come to partake and feed on the dainties; The fruit of their ministe­ry, was to our benefit: So that we have the advantage of all our Forefathers of the Old Testament.

Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, &c.] Lo, say the Anabaptists, the Jews foretold many things of Christ, but had no part in him themselves,The Anaba­ptists confuted. those concerning us; They had Canaan, and temporal benefits, and looked no further; But how absurd this is, we have already shewed, having sufficiently proved the contrary: And these words are not to be understood of Christ, or of the substance of salvation, but of the time of his co­ming, and of the maner and measure of revealing him to them more darkly, to us more clearly; to them more sparingly, to us more ful­ly: They believed in Christ that was to come, we hear of Christ al­ready come, and that he hath finished all things, and how; and thus are we to understand, Heb. 11. 13, 33, 39. where there seems an op­position: They received the promises, that is, the fruit of them, and salvation by Christ; and they received not the promises, that is, saw not the exhibiting of Christ, who was promised to the World: For more plainness, there was never but one Covenant between God and his people, from the beginning till now, nor shall be, which is the Covenant of Grace, except we mean the Covenant of Works, which was between God and all mankinde in Adam; the founda­tion and matter whereof was our own strength and righteousness, but [Page 67] this was soon at an end; Adam had soon broken this, and overthrown himself,The Covenant of Grace one and the same throughout all ages. and with him all us: The Covenant of Grace then the Lord entred in his great mercy with Adam in Paradise, which was founded in Christ Jesus, requiring of us to believe in him, and repent of our sins, and he would forgive us our sins, and give us salvation and life eternal: This for the substance thereof, was never altered one jot, onely the Lord hath revealed his Son more fully to us, more sparingly to them; more plainly to us, more darkly to them: Herein may be considered, both the Author, Matter, Form and End.

The Author,The Author, the same God to them and us.

The Matter,Matter, Christ Jesus the same to them and us.

The Form was generally also the same,Form, and for as God required Faith and Repentance of them, as well as of us, so he gave them the same means for the working thereof, the Word and Sacraments.

The End the same (viz.)End thereof. the Salvation of his Elect, and Eternal life.

The difference is in the measure of his giving them,The diffe­rence about the measure given, and per­sons to whom. as also in the persons to whom; then was it to the Jews onely, who were the pe­culiar people of God; now the partition wall is broken down, and the Covenant is to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews: So also for the measure, he spake to them by visions and dreams, to us by his word, and when to them by his word, it was both more sparingly, and more darkly: Also our Sacraments compared with theirs, are, as fewer, so more easie, and more significant; and for the Spirit, they had him more sparingly (except some extraordinary persons) whereas it was promised,Ioel 2. 28. that he should be poured upon us: And for the com­mon people, they are far inferior to Christians now; they saw Christ to come afar off, we already come, yea, that he is dead, risen, ascended, and shall come to judgement: They had him under Types and Shadows, we have the substance, the body it self; theirs was as the seed time, our time as the harvest; they had the twilight, we have the noon day: And there was great reason that the time when Christ himself should come, should bring more glory with it; as the coming of a King himself, hath more solemnity and priviledges, then when the Kings Harbenger comes before; and that when the sun of Righte­ousness should arise, there should be more light then before.Why God sent his Son no sooner.

But why did God send his Son no sooner, and not in their time rather?

A. We must not quarrel with God, we may as well ask him, why he made the world no sooner, why he put distinction between the sum­mer and winter, day and night: We must know, that all things are done in infinite Wisdom and Justice by the Lord, though we know not always the reasons of his dealings:Gal. 4. 4. He came in the fulness of time, he could come no sooner, nor tarry any longer; we are to thank God that he is come.

The difference between them and us, is onely in the measure of Re­velation and means; therefore we call their time the Old Testament, or Covenant, and ours the New, not two, but one; onely the Co­venant [Page 68] to them was sealed in the blood of Bulls and Goats,Luke 22. 20. ours in Christs own blood, as he himself witnesseth.

The cause why their time was called the time of the Law,Why theirs was called the time of the Law, and ours of the Gospel. ours the days of the Gospel, was not but that they had the Gospel also preached, as Adam in Paradise, so Abraham, so the Jews in all their sacrifices and cleansings; but because then the Law was so much preached, and the Gospel so darkly and sparingly, as now the Law more sparingly, the Gospel more frequently.

Neither is God to be charged with inconstancy,God not to be charged with inconstancy. because he taught his Church otherwise then, then now he doth, no more then a Fa­ther, for training his children up otherwise when they be children,Simil. then when they are men grown; he doth both in wisdom. The Lord trained on his children in their infancy, by those babish rudiments, fit for the time, reserving greater things for the grown age of his Church; yea, such is his constancy, that he hath never altered the way of Salvation, but hath ever been the same from the beginning, and shall be.

Seeing then that the Lord hath honored us to live in these days,Use. and revealed his will so plentifully, O how joyfully should we em­brace Christ Jesus, and labor to be found answerable in Knowledge, Faith, Repentance, Zeal and Holiness! Our Forefathers saw but a little, and took great pains for it, and were glad of it; How glad then should we be of that we have?Luke 2. 25. Simeon waited for the conso­lation of Israel, and was so glad that he had seen, and taken Christ in in his arms (though then in his swadling clothes) that he was willing to dye; O how joyful would he have been if he had seen his Mira­cles, heard his Preaching, known his Resurrection, Ascension and Glory,Psa. 119. 127. as we do. David was so glad of the Word, that he accounted it better then gold and silver, and sweeter then the honey, and the honey-comb;Iob 23. 12. and Job esteemed it above his appointed food: Alas, What a little had David (especially Job) in respect of that we have? we have the whole Old Testament, which some of them had not, and the New also, an Exposition and Commentary thereof, which they had not at all; How cheerfully then may we come to Christ, and believe in him? How should we walk, that know he is gone up to heaven to prepare a place for us, and will come again to receive us? But alas, if the Lord come to look for these fruits, where be they? Alas, to whom is the Gospel welcom? How many be there that would as willingly there were no Preaching as any? and are there not many that hear onely for the fashion, that will hear but when they list? The Lord publisheth his Gospel, and offereth his Son to the world; but alas, men have more minde to their Oxen, Farms, Pleasures, then to imbrace it; many savor not of the Gospel, many count it ra­ther a burthen then a jewel: yea, of those that hear the word usually, How few are there that hear it with delight? how few finde such need of Christ, as they desire him more then all the world? as they will willingly stoop to his yoke, and serve him? And as many have no more knowledge, then if they had never had the means thereof; so [Page 69] even they that have some measure of knowledge, make no conscience of their ways, are utterly void of Reformation: Thus do not they take thankfully this great jewel of the Gospel, the onely glory of the World, but most unkindely requite the Lord; yet whats their saying? They hope to be saved by Christ, as they that believe stedfastly in him; but how they came by their Faith, or any good fruits thereof, they can shew none: For this God must needs have an heavy contro­versie with the Land; and were't not for a remnant that he hath to gather, we should quickly perceive it: O therefore let our conversa­tion be such as becometh the Gospel,See Heb. 6. 7. bring we forth meet fruit, to the pains God hath bestowed on us: But as for those that live and make no account of, nor receive any profit by this Gospel, their con­dition will be heavy, God will take his Word from them, or snatch them from it; and not onely Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and old times shall rise up against such, but even the good Souls that saw but a little light fifty or sixty years ago, and had but a little knowledge (for the means were small) yet were zealous and godly, and sundry gave their lives for the Truth; even these, I say, shall rise up and condemn them: Then would they be glad of one of the days they have had, but shall not have any. Awaken therefore to day, while it is called to day, for we may fear it draws to night-ward, towards the Sun-setting of the Gospel.

The things which are now reported unto you, by them that have preached the Gospel unto you, The same Go­spel which was preach'd by the Prophets, was also preached by the Apo­stles. &c.] The second part of the commendation, The same Gospel preached by the Prophets, was also preached by the Apostles since Christ, men that were trained up with Christ all the time of his preaching, and were witnesses of his Life, Death, Resurrection and Ascension: These have preached this Gospel, and that not of their own mindes, but by the Spirit of God, which was sent down from heaven upon them, and that in an extraordinary and visible maner. The Prophets preached of the same Christ, and that by the Spirit (as we have heard) so that they and the Apostles agree notably in one; but the Apostles received a greater measure of the holy Ghost, and a more plain and visible sign, not onely perceived of themselves, but of others.

In that he addeth, Which the holy Ghost sent down from heaven, he alludes to that of Acts 2. 17. taken out of Joel 2. 28. And it shall come to pass in the last days (saith God) I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh &c.

If then the Gospel was also preached by the Apostles,Use. and that by the Spirit sent from heaven upon them, Hereby may all that hear it be induced to embrace it; as on the contrary, their case must needs be fearful which reject and despise it:Heb. 2. 1, 2, 3. Such is the case of the Jews, though they killed the Prophets, yea, though they rejected Christ and his preaching, yet were they not cast off, till they had rejected and resisted the preaching of the Apostles, who with one consent bare witness of him; confirming also their Doctrine by Miracles from heaven:Acts 13. 4 [...] having done this, their sin was at the highest, and from them the Apostles turned unto the Gentiles. Such is the con­dition [Page 70] of the Turks, utter enemies of Christ and true Christians. Such is also theirs, who among our selves despise this Gospel: [...] but none do so: Yes, many in sundry degrees; for all that receive not the Gospel, embrace not the Gospel, do not believe, obey and re­pent, all these despise it; for to believe and repent, are the Command­ments of the Gospel: therefore he that yields not unto them, despi­seth the Gospel. He that is not with me (saith our Savior) is against me; All these have a dreadful account to make: For, though now it be preached by sinful men, yet it is the Gospel that was preached by Christ himself,See 1 Pet. 4. 17. and after by the Apostles inspired by the Spirit, and it hath been abundantly confirmed by Miracle:Heb. 2. 1, 2. This is that (I say) which we preach;2 Thess. 1. 8. let every one therefore take heed, lest they set light by it, as though it were not the Gospel of Christ, but of men.

Again,The Apostles have left a per­fect direction for all things needful for our Salvation. in that the Apostles were so filled with the Spirit to preach and write, we learn, That they have left unto us a perfect Direction for all things needful for our salvation, and for the good estate of Gods Church, and that therefore there's nothing to be added, de­tracted or altered.

1. This condemns them that trust in new Gospels of Thomas, Use 1. Thaddeus, Bartholomew, &c. and in Traditions and unwritten Verities; which is to accuse the holy Ghost of want of care for his Church, as not having left that which is sufficient for salvation.

2. It condemns them also that take away and alter at their plea­sure;Use 2. what is this, but to tax the holy Ghost for leaving something not necessary, nor profitable for his Church, and by altering or taking away the same, to make our selves wiser then he?

Which things the Angels desire to look into.] The third commenda­tion of the Gospel, The Angels defire to see into the further end of that salvation that is preached therein. They are not ignorant of any thing the Church knoweth; but they have gathered some things they knew not of, or not so much till they came to pass; as, touching the Incarnation of the Son of God, both Natures in one person, &c. This they desired to see before he came;Exod. 37. 8. and this was figured by the Cherubims looking down toward the Mercy-seat, which covered the Ark, which was a figure of Christ, signifying that they desired to look into that Mystery of his Incarnation; and when they saw it, they admired thereat, even to see the Eternal Son of God joyned to mans Nature, it to be worshipped without Idolatry, and his Man­hood to suffer, the Deity remaining free without suffering: So also by the Church they learned the Mystery of the calling of the Gentiles.Eph. 3. 10. But now that which they desire to see, is that which is yet to come, namely, the fulness, perfection, and accomplishment of the salva­tion of Gods Church and People;Why the An­gels desire to see the perfe­ction of the salvation of Gods Church. namely, to see the day of Judge­ment, when God shall be perfectly glorified in his Saints.

They desire this; 1. Because they are enforced to see now a great deal of sin in the world, yea those duties which the Saints themselves perform,See Rom. 8▪ 19. full of corruptions and weakness, which after that day [Page 71] they shall see no more: 2. Because that day shall be our perfection; Alas, here we are imperfect every way, and weak, then shall we be per­fect and free from sin, and in a most happy estate both in body and soul, which for the love they bear to God and us, they long to see: for as God revealed himself more darkly to the old world, more clearly to us; so when we shall come to heaven, much more clearly then now: There shall be as much and more difference between that which we shall know then,See 1 Ioh. 3. 2. and that which we know now, as between us and the darkest times before us under the Law;1 Cor. 13. 9. 10, 11, 12. Here (as children) we are weak, and rather stammer, then speak plainly of God, his Word and Works; but when in the life to come we shall come to mans state, it will be far otherwise: Here we see with spectacles of the Word and Sacraments, but there without, and that most perfectly.

1. Is there such an happy condition remaining for all Believers?Use 1. O how should we rejoyce, that are entred into the first degree of it, and expect the other! How should we bless God for his Gospel, and for the pains which we have taken herein to attain the same! Yea, how should we walk thankfully, that look for such a state? how zealously and heavenly-minded, not defiling our selves with this world, nor sticking here, but mounting up in our affections, and having our conversation there?

2. How should we long for the day of our dissolution,Use 2. to enter an­other degree; but especially for that last day, when we shall be made perfect? The Angels have what they shall have, yet in love to God and us, they long to behold our perfection; what should we then do, that shall have the benefit of it?

3. This should teach them that be yet void of grace,Use 3. to embrace the Gospel, that they may come to this happy estate, else they shall go to one as miserable as this is happy; from which the Lord deliver us.

Verse 13. ‘Wherefore gird up the loyns of your minde, be sober, and hope to the end, for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.’

HEre followeth the 2d part of the Epistle, containing matter of Ex­hortation, built on the foregoing Doctrine. Being begot again to the hope of such an inheritance, and to such salvation, whereinto the very Angels desire to look; they were thereupon to trust stedfastly, (without wavering) to the end, honoring this hope and Gospel by an holy life and conversation, not only renouncing the lusts of the time before their calling,Doctrine and Exhortation must be joyn­ed together. but also living in Sanctification of life, wherein they might resemble God their Father, who being holy, requires that his children should so be; even holy, as he is holy: whence may be noted,Mat. 6. & 7. That for the building up of Gods Church, Doctrine and Ex­hortation must be joyned together.Rom. 12. Thus our Savior preached,1 Tim. 4. 1 [...]. thus also the Apostles;Heb. 2. 1. & 4. 1. & 12. 1. as the one must inform the judgement, so the other pull on the affections (which are as much or more corrupted then the [Page 72] understanding part) wherby Knowledge, Conscience and Practice may go together.

Knowledge without Zeal is blockishness, as Zeal without know­ledge rashness; but better less Knowledge and more Zeal, then more Knowledge and less Zeal or care of obedience. Doctrine without Exhortation, is to set a dull Horse in the way, and not spur him on: Exhortation without Doctrine, is to spur a Horse forwards, before he be put into the way; the one is the Foundation, the other the Build­ing, both which must go together.

Ministers that would go to work indeed,Use. must go with their tools, use both Doctrine and Exhortation; as he that would cleave a knotty Log, must both use Beetle and Wedges, the one without the other would be to no purpose: We must be like careful Messengers, not de­livering barely our Masters message,1 Thess. 4. 1. but earnestly entreating on his behalf: We must not bear the ayr as it were, multiplying words, yea good words, without a ground: Neither must we deliver sound Do­ctrine strongly proved, so leaving it, but urge and apply it, Practice being the life of all, and people being unapt to make particular Appli­cation; yea, it is the principal part of our Ministery, to draw on the will, and to perswade and work upon the affections, for want of which many finde but small fruit in their Ministery; for people are grown to that pass, that it is not the excellency and weight of the matter that will move (which for the most part proves but a sound with the most) if it be not whetted by some enforcement of Exhortation.

People also must not onely be willing,Use. but glad of this kinde of teaching,Heb. 13. 22. suffering (as the Apostle speaks) the word of Exhortation; but too too many had rather have general Doctrine, then be called upon to Practice and examination.

In this Verse our Apostle Exhorts to stedfastness in Faith, and to relie and trust on the Salvation, to the hope whereof they had been called by the revelation of Jesus Christ, even the Gospel of Christ, and therefore to remove from them all such impediments as might hinder the same: Those were of two sorts; 1. Such as were in the understanding part, implied in the first part of the Verse: And 2. Such as were in their affections, implied in the latter.

Gird up the loyns of your minde,] A borrowed speech from those that wore long garments, which when they went any journey, or were to stir about any thing,Exod. 12. 11. they were wont to gird up, lest they might be troubled or hindred thereby. The meaning is this, As men do thus gird and truss up their clothes, lest they should be hindred in their work or journey,Luke 12. 35. so shake off all that may hinder you in going your Spiritual journey to Heaven,Ier. 1. 17. and doing the work of the Lord. By the loyns of the minde, we are to understand all lets in the understanding part, namely, all corrupt opinions about Salvation, contrary to the Word; Those must be reformed, else can we not trust perfectly, or hope to the end.The corrupt conceits of the Iews about Salvation. The Jews wanted not theirs, nor we ours: for the Jews, 1. They looked for earthly promotion by Christ, as a Potentate of the world; This could not but much hinder them from trusting in [Page 73] him for Salvation; This they must gather up, if they would profit by him, knowing that he is made of God unto them not ease, riches, &c. but Wisdom,1 Cor. 1. 30. Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemption. 2. They did still stick much to Moses his Law and Circumcision: This also hindred them from resting wholly and onely upon Christ for Salvation; This also they must tuck up, acknowledging Salva­tion to be by him alone. 3. They prized not Salvation at so high a rate as they should, and this also was no small let unto Salvation.

For our selves,The corrupt conceits of Christians a­bout it. How many corrupt conceits be in peoples heads that hinder them from Faith? As some think that they be no great offen­ders, and hope to be saved by good prayers, good meaning, civil life, &c. Others, that its no such hard matter to be saved, but if that men call to God for mercy, they shall do as well at the last, as they that make all the stir: These conceits be as it were the strong Castle of carnal People, whereinto being once got, all that we can say, proves unable to beat them out; Others hope to be saved by Christ, who yet live in their sins; Others think that if they should Repent, and go to Sermons, they should never be merry again: Now these, and such like, must be reformed, finding these lets, we must gird up our loyns, and remove them: Nay, even Gods good servants that are truly humbled in conscience for sin, and [...]it to be­lieve, hungring after Christ more then all the world, as desirous to turn to him, yet are held off by some false conceits, O they be unworthy that God should forgive them! Therefore he will not, their sins be too many and too great; and, O if they could sorrow as deeply as some, and serve God as well, then they would hope, &c. and, O they have so many corruptions, and such a rebellious heart, as they know God will not forgive any such; whereas it is not that will hinder, so as our hearts be unfeignedly bent to strive against our corruptions, and serve the Lord in truth.

Neither do the very best prize so highly this Salvation as they ought,The best prize it not as they should. we weigh not what God hath done for us in Christ: This is the reason why we walk not more thankfully, joyfully, and zealous­ly; let us gird up these loyns, rid our selves of these impediments, up, and be sound of these points, and whatsoever thought would hinder us from resting on Christ Jesus for Salvation,Mark 10. 49, 50. let us cast it from us, as the blinde man did his cloke, when he went to Christ.

Be sober] Sobriety is a vertue that keeps us not only from things un­lawful,What sobriety is. but moderates us in the use of things lawful, that we exceed not our bounds therein:Luke 21. 34. These may be referred to two heads, Profits, and Pleasures,1 Iohn 2. 15. which we are most subject to abuse, and are therefore dehorted from them.

For the former, which is Pleasure, thereto may be referred meat, drink,1 Cor. 10. 31. apparel, recreation, &c. All which we must use soberly to the glory of the giver, our own good, and the good also of others.

1. For our meat and drink,Sobriety about meat and drink we must neither be excessive, nor over curious, as Dives that fared deliciously every day, making his belly his God; we must eat to live, and thereby be more fit for duty.

[Page 74] 2. For our apparel,About apparel. we must not exceed for the matter of it, nor for the fashion, God hath given it for necessity, comeliness and de­cency;1 Tim. 2. 9. it must not be newfangled,1 Pet. 3. either we use it to wantonness or pride.

3. For Recreation,About recrea­tion. it must be sparing in time, place, measure, to make us more fit for our duty; for God hath not set us here to sa­tisfie and pamper the flesh, but to mortifie the lusts thereof; not to play, but to do his work; to this end is Recreation to be used.

1. This rebuketh those that wallow in beastly and unlawful lusts,Use 1. in whoredom, chambering, wantonness, drunkenness, &c. so in games altogether unlawful, yet many make a practice of these, to whom Solomons speech would well suit,Eccle. 2. 2. I said of laughter, thou art madness: For a man to sport at Gods dishonor, and their own destruction, is madness: Can we play with nothing but edge tools? the Lord will laugh such to scorn;Iam. 4. 9. O turn your beastly pleasures into weeping and wailing.

2. This rebuketh also such as are drunk with lawful things,Use 2. as some that so glut themselves, and so pamper the body, that they make themselves unfit for any duty; many waste and consume them­selves this way, Bodies and Goods, yea, Souls and all: Others also are so curious in their meats, as that nothing can please them, nothing's good enough for them; yea, are more angry for any want this way, then for any sin in themselves or others; they have fat Bodies, but lean Souls: O, think they, this is a goodly life, but indeed it is a swinish life, fitter for beasts then men, most unseemly for a Christian: So for Appa­rel, they that follow every new fangled Fashion, and are so proud and costly, and so over curious, as they spend no small time in trimming themselves, taking no care to trim their Souls with Christs Righteous­ness and Spiritual Graces, How are they to be reprehended? What painted Sepulchres are these? may not an image have gay clothes put on? yet how many spend their precious time and goodly patrimonies about this vanity? So for Recreations, some are so mad on them, as they think and speak of nothing else, as if they were set here to eat and drink, and rise up to play; thus spend they the greatest part of their time.

3. Let us therefore pare away whatsoever super fluity hath been in us in these things,Use 3. and learn soberly to use these mercies, as the Gospel teacheth us, so as thereby we may ever be made fitter for our duties, and to serve God, and that they may be as a staff in our hand, to help us on in our journey, and this is to walk pilgrim like; be we more careful in feeding, clothing and making merry the Soul.

For the latter,About profits. namely profits, we must also be sober, both in get­ting and keeping them.

We must not onely use no unlawful means to get the world, but use the lawful means moderately, not setting our affections upon the world,See Mat. 6. 24. or being too earnest to compass it,1 Tim. 6. 6. filling our selves with too many businesses,Heb. 13. 5. and following the same too eagerly, lest we neglect good duties,Iam 44. or be hindred from doing them as we should.1 Iohn 2. 15▪

[Page 75] 1. This condemns those that use flat unlawful means to get the world,Use 1. swearing, lying, deceiving, oppression, usury, false weights, and the like:Hab. 2. 6, 9, 12. These pull a w [...] upon themselves,Ier. 17. 11. besides that they heap up but chaff,1 Thess. 4. 6. which the wind of Gods wrath will scatter; God is an avenger of all such things: O what reckonings do these multiply against themselves! What answer shall they make that sell their souls to hell for pelf?

2. This condemns not those onely that get thus,Use 2. but those that fol­low the world so eagerly, as they minde nothing else; of which sort most are, all day long nothing but of the world, no Prayer, no hear­ing of the Word; they think and talk of nothing else but the world, Lords days and all; they think Prayer would be an hindrance, they savor nothing but of the earth; they make more account of their old Shoes, then they do of a Sermon, they prize not such things; when they are called to the Wedding Feast, they have Farms and Oxen to hinder them, or if they come, all runs over, for they be full already, or as the Pharisees,Luke 16. 14. mock at that they hear, or if they hear with joy, the thorns (worldly cares) quickly choke it; O this world undoeth most men! its an enemy, but not of it self, but by reason of our sottish­ness and drunkenness,See 1 Tim. 6. 9. and note the place. that cannot moderate our selves, but take too much of it, and wound our selves many ways; What will it profit them in the end to have embraced this strumpet? she will serve us as Delilah did Sampson, deprive us of our strength, and give us into our enemies hands, and as Jael the Wife of Heber did by Sisera; thus will she serve her favorites.

3. Learn we to be wise indeed,Use 3. laying up a treasure in heaven, and laboring for meat that endureth to everlasting life,Mat. 16. 26. For what will it profit a man to win the whole world, if he shall lose his own soul? O that Gods good servants should be so incumbred with the world? O that that these base things should beguile and ensnare those that are born from above, to the hope of so great glory! Many good Christians are half drunk, they are unfit for good duties, cannot minde heaven, from Monday morning till Saturday night, and it is well if they be sober on the Lords day; many be not, but let both their hearts and tongues be employed on the world, who yet count themselves Christians.

O what excellent Christians would some be, were it not for the world! but how doth it mar many, keep them from good duties, weigh down their mindes?Heb. 12. 1. its that wherewith they are too easily beset.

O let's winde up our plummets (as the clock-keeper) once every day,Simil. keep our mindes from being weighed down with the world; we must set apart some time to draw up our minde, especially Saturday night, not letting them down all the day following: We must so use the world, as not to run into evil for it, neither to neglect any duty to God, our Souls, our Families, our Neighbors, the Poor, or any other, we must use it to further us, as the Pilgrim doth his staff: Learn we to prize Spiritual graces, which are the onely current coyn in the [Page 76] Countrey we are going to; yet is not the seeking of Gods Kingdom the way to hinder us of that which is meet, but rather the onely fur­therer:Mat. 6. 33. would we have more then will do us good? But if we shall have less of the world, are we not more then enough recompenced, if we shall have more peace of Conscience, more credit here, more favor with God, more joy in death?

Hope to the end, for the grace, &c.] This is the main Exhortation to constancy in the Faith,Mr. Esty on the place. to the which the other two former Exhortati­ons served as furtherances; others read the words thus, Trust perfectly on that Grace, &c. Where we have three things, 1. What they are ex­horted to, namely, To trust: 2. How, Perfectly: and 3. On what, Grace; That is, Salvation; which is described by the means how they came by it, It was brought them, and that by the Gospel which re­vealeth Jesus Christ.

1. They are exhorted to trust and believe in Christ for Salvation; Faith is a particular assurance, that whatsoever Christ hath done, he hath done it for me:What Faith is, with the parts thereof. This is to put on Christ, to eat and drink his flesh and blood; It hath three parts: 1. Knowledge of the mystery of Salvation. 2. Consent. 3. Particular Application:Iohn 3. 16. This is the instrument of our Salvation, and puts a difference between justifying and temporary Faith, what else soever a man hath, there's no Sal­vation promised to it;Rom. 15. 3. This the mother of all true joy and peace, The mother of all obedience,Heb. 11. 17. and good life: See it in Abrahams of­fering up his Son; Hereby we are induced to do or suffer any thing for Christ: This we must labor to come to, when we feel our mise­ry, and desire to come out of it, and hunger after Christ: we ought to believe that we shall be saved,Iohn 6. 40. This is the will of God (saith our Savior) that ye believe in him, &c. God is willing and de [...]irous we should believe;Mar. 1. 15. The commandment of the Gospel is so, and its commandments are as necessary to be obeyed as those of the Law, He that believeth, 1 Iohn 5. 10. hath put to his seal that God is true: Its therefore our fault, that being come to the birth as it were, we stand still and do not believe, when God hath made us fit to believe; either raze your selves out of the number of weary loaden sinners, &c. or else be­lieve you shall be refreshed, and are pardoned in Christ.

2. They are willed perfectly to trust;How they were to trust. namely, 1. Sincerely with­out faining. 2. Stedfastly without wavering. 3. Constantly with­out breaking off. Sincerely, nor fainedly, but so believe as we have ground out of Gods Word for it: many say, they hope to be saved, and this is all; but put them to prove why, and whereon their per­swasion is grounded, they can say nothing: Can you prove it out of Gods Word? What promise have you thence? if you have, then its well,See Downham, Christ. War. else its Presumption, not Faith. Try it by the fruits of Humiliation, and by the fruits of Sanctification, by thy love to the Word and Saints. Stedfastly, without wavering, we must not be off and on, we hope well, but we cannot tell; Gods promise is not yea and nay,Heb. 10. 22. but most certain and infallible, so that we may be out of all doubt:Rom. 4. 21. To this purpose its called assurance of Faith, and [Page 77] (as Abraham) we are willed to ask in Faith,Iam. 1. 6. and not to waver: Its true, no mans faith is so perfect, but there may be sometimes some doubtings, but they are not of the nature of Faith, but being from our corrupt nature, are contrary thereunto.

1. This condemns the Papists,Use 1. that tell us we may be of a good hope, but are great enemies to assurance; we may be assured, say they, in respect of God, but in respect of our selves we cannot; he being faithful, changeth not, but we are weak and variable, may be well now, but by and by fall; a tormenting Doctrine: If we look to our selves, we need not doubt, but despair rather; and God hath not promised Salvation to us upon condition of our constancy, as to Adam, Iohn 13. 1. but of his unchangeable love,Phil. 1. 6. he will never leave us, but finish the good work he hath begun in us; yea, say the Papists, if we hold out: What a foolish repetition is this? God will do great things for us, if we continue; what were this to us, if we were left to our selves?Ier. 32. 40. nay, he will give us a minde to continue, and so do all these things for us.

2. This reproves even good honest humble Souls,Use 2. that long after Christ, and hate sin with a deadly hatred, and have many excellent things in them, and yet stand at a stay; they would not for all the world, but hope that God will have mercy, but cannot be assured: Why, Is not God faithful? hath he not said, that such and such shall be saved? shall he say it, and not do it? God forbid.

O am I so unworthy.Object.

Therefore he will have mercy on thee;Sol. if thou didst not feel and bewail that, he would not care for thee.

O my sins be so great.Object.

Is his mercy onely able to take away small ones,Sol. or the blood of Christ onely for lesser offences? take heed.

O but its not for me.Object.

He names thee not;Sol. but faith he not, All weary and heavy loaden ones shall be eased? all that take up his yoke, shall finde rest to their Souls? excludes he any? exclude not thy self.

O but I have such a corrupt heart,Object. and offend him every day.

But how dost thou like thy sins?Sol. I hare them, they are as gall to my mouth, I desire to be rid of them, &c. Why, then be of good comfort, no better sign of a childe of God, then that thou strivest to mortifie them, and to please God: There is none free from cor­ruption, yet if thou fightest this Spiritual combat, thou mayest be­lieve and be thankful; therefore this do, strive against thy corru­ptions all thou canst, and labor to reform more and more, and then shalt not thou need to doubt of thy Salvation. Lay the foundation of thy Salvation once sure, and never raze it more; if there be any fault in the roof, be mending it, but let the foundation he still: Imi­tate thy Father Abraham, Heb. 11. 17. God promised him a Childe, What did he? he neither looked on his own old age, nor the deadness of Sarahs Womb, but looked on the promise of God: So do we look, not on this or that, our own unworthiness, or what [Page 78] Satan saith, but on Gods promise; If the Devil do but put into your head, you shall not be saved, it shall prevail more then all we can say out of Gods Word; fie upon it: Is not he a lyar, and a murtherer from the beginning? Doth he not tell them that have no Faith, that they have, as them that have it, that they have none; Cleave to one testimony of Gods mouth, and let all the temptations to the con­trary be gone: Renounce Thousands of them, and stick to the promise.

O but I feel it not.Obj.

No,Sol. how canst thou, when thou wiltst not believe; believe first, and thou shalt feel after, but though thou shouldst not feel of a good while, yet believe the promise of God, constantly without breaking off; believe to morrow as to day, next year as this, we have good leave, God is the same, so shall we with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, dye in the Faith.

Therefore use all good means to continue it and encrease it,Use 3. hear diligently, receive the Sacrament carefully, pray continually, al­ways keep a good Conscience▪ Iohn 15. 10. Wood is not more necessary and apt to nourish fire, then good works and well doing to nourish Faith: Also observe the dealings of God, and grow by your own experi­ence: Many that have believed, and were very earnest in their be­ginning till they got it; after, growing secure and worldly, and with­al neglecting the means, have (with David) fallen into some one sin or other, thereby losing the peace and comfort they formerly enjoy­ed: A great loss indeed, more then if a man were stript of all to his shirt. O lets take heed of this loss, as we are to be wise as Serpents, so let us shew our Serpentine wisdom in this one thing especially. The Serpent will be sure (so much as in her lies) to save her head;Simile. so must we our Faith, for on this hangs all: and if by any means we have fallen therefrom, recover we our selves by all means possible.

3. That which they are to hope for or trust on,Salvation a most special grace. is Grace, that is, Salvation: Every benefit is grace, but to be delivered out of our lost and undone state, and brought again into the favor of God, and saved,Eph. 1. 5. is a most special grace. Our Election is of grace,Ioh. 3. 16. so our Re­demption,Iames 1. 18. so our effectual Calling.

1. This condemns the Papists,Use 1. that teach partly Grace, partly Works: No, these cannot be mingled, either all or none; they be as contrary as light and darkness,Rom. 11. 6. honey and gall, else were grace no more grace. Gal. 1. 7. To joyn any thing with Christ, is to pervert the Gospel: They now begin to be ashamed, and mince this Opinion, saying, We be saved most by Grace, yet partly by Works; and, that these Works be died in the Blood of Christ; and, that it is most safe to rest on his merits alone: Well, God make them so ashamed, as al­together to renounce it, and so let us in the mean time.

2. Let us serve the Lord with a chearful and constant love and ser­vice,Use 2. for his free favor to us all the days of our life.

3. Shew we grace and favor to others,Use 3. not to such as have deserved well of us, but even to such as have not, nay ill, as we had of God.

[Page 79] Grace] That is, Salvation. See, he calls their mindes from look­ing for earthly preferment by Christ, whereunto they had a lingring minde, and calls them to look for Spiritual riches, even Salvation by him.What we are to expect by Christ. What are we then to expect by Christ, and by professing the Gospel zealously? not Wealth, Honor, Peace, Credit in the world, but pardon of our sins, freedom from Hell and Gods wrath, peace of Conscience, joy in the holy Ghost, that our persons and works shall please God, Angels to be our guard, our Prayers to be heard, our Souls at death to be carried into heaven, both our Bodies & Souls to be glorified at the great day; Will this satisfie us? Hereof we may be assured, if we believe in Christ, and zealously embrace the Gospel.Iohn 18. 36. As for other things, his Kingdom is not of this world, he promiseth not plenty, peace, ease, &c. He had them not himself, but (contrarily) troubles,2 Tim. 3. 12. as all shall have that live godly in him.

This teacheth us to lay our hand upon our heart,Use. when we go about to profess, we know what we shall finde, but it may be sorrow withal; if we can be content so, then may we go forward, else not. Many having gone on in profession not so advisedly, and after having found the wind and tide against profession, and reproach, trouble and danger for the same, have shrunk away, and with Demas, have for­saken Paul, and embraced the present world: Others seeing how hard­ly such be dealt with, though in their conscience they think best of such, yet keep in their heads, thinking that its best sleeping in a whole skin: But alas, they make but a weak choyce; were they not better have these heavenly comforts and priviledges here, and be acknow­ledged of Christ, and saved at the great day, though with some sor­rows here, then to make the world their friend, and God their enemy, and to have him ashamed of them at that day, as he will? for we can­not have it go on our side now and then too.

That is to be brought unto you] God tarried not till they sought Sal­vation, but he of his goodness brought it them, which he useth here as an Argument to perswade them to trust stedfastly to this Salvation, and look accordingly for it, because God would bring them to the Faith of it, when they thought not thereof.

Note here, That

Salvation is not of our own procuring or seeking:Salvation is not of our own procuring or seeking. Alas, what could Adam and we in him do? we could fall, but what then towards our Salvation? we could run and hide our selves, and excuse our sin, and encrease our danger,Ezek. 16. 6. but God was fain to bring him the seed of the woman,Eph. 2. 5. he could not make himself an help, a wife (for God made and brought her to him) much less a Savior. So, whats the reason he hath given us the Gospel in this Land, and not to our Forefathers, not to many other Lands? we sought it not, but when Idolaters in darkness, God brought it. So have we not been brought by marri­age or by Service into Towns where we have had the Word, when we purposed no such thing? So to our hearts, what were any of us when God called us? Did we seek him? Alas no, we ran from him rather, long ere we yielded, but he followed us, and overcame us: [Page 80] See it in Saul, Acts 2. & 16. did he seek Salvation? he was going to Damascus to persecute,Luke 19. God brought it him; so to Zacheus, the Goaler, &c. so we.Rev. 3. 20.

This teacheth us,

1. To be humble.Use 1.

2. To be exceeding thankful all the days of our life.Use 2.

3. To rest confidently on him for the time to come,Use 3. in the expe­rience of that we have had; as thus, That he that brought us Salva­tion, the Word to us, or us to it, and gave us to see our misery, long after Christ,Rom. 5. 8, 9, 10. have some taste of his love, and some desire to please him that were far from these, he will continue this, and will never leave us: Thus the Apostle reasons; But God commendeth his love towards us,Gen. 32. 10, 11. &c. So Jacob in danger of Esau, He came over Jordan with his staff, and God had given him two bands, therefore he was perswaded to relie on God for present deliverance; for why (might he say) I am perswaded thou hast not done all this for me, to be lost in an instant, as an ox should lick up a flower, or a candle be put out at once. We use not Gods mercies well, when we grow not stronger by them for time to come.

4. Comfort to a fearful heart,Use 4. that fears he shall not hold out, or that God will cast him away: O its impossible, did he bring thee Salvation that regarded it not? and now hath given thee an heart to prize it above the world, and to walk in the way to it, will he now disappoint thee? No assuredly: If he would not have saved thee, he would have let thee alone as thy companions and many others, and never have done this for thee.

O but the Devil is so strong and subtile,Object. and I so weak and simple.

He that hath pluckt thee out of his hands,Sol. will never suffer him to get thee captive again; It were else a disgrace to Christ: Except therefore he be stronger then God and Christ, thou needest not fear.

At the revelation of Jesus Christ.] He plucks these Jews from Moses Law, and the Ceremonies which were out of date, (but they could hardly be so perswaded) and brings them to the Gospel which disco­vers Christ: He was in that Law covered with Vails of Sacrifices and Ceremonies, &c. All these be done away in the Gospel, where Christ is laid open without any covering. Note,

We have the excellency of the Gospel,The Gospel lays open Christ Iesus unto us. that doth uncover and lay open Christ Jesus unto us, brings us tidings of him, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and the onely Savior of the world; So that the Gospel is the glory of the World: The Sun is not so necessary in the Firmament, as the Gospel is to the world: This teacheth us Christ, which is life eternal, and St. Paul desired to know nothing, but Christ and him crucified,Phil. 3. 8. and counted all dung for the excellent knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord: O how welcome should this be! It is well called glad tidings, so it is indeed: The Gospel is our par­don. If we should finde evidences of great Lands and Inheritances to come to us, or a Will wherein were bequeathed great Legacies to us, [Page 81] how glad would we be of the same? How often would we revise and read them over? The Gospel brings us tidings, and tells us the way to come to an everlasting inheritance, and therein are bequeathed such blessed Legacies, Item, I give thee forgiveness of thy sins by my Sons death; Item, Eternal life by his obedience. Item; I give thee as­surance that thou shalt be raised here from sin, and that thy body shall be raised at the last day by my Sons Resurrection; Item, I give thee assurance of a place in Heaven by my Sons Ascension.

1. Is it not a marvel then that the Gospel is so hardly entertained?Use 1. and that the World cares so little for it? Its welcome to most peo­ple, not as if it brought them news of a blessing, but as if it would spoil them of all they have.

2. How should they that want it be set on work to labor to get it?Use 2. as without which there's no Salvation; Its light, food, armor, without which darkness, famine, spoil: If the Sun should be want­ing to a Town, and could be procured, how would all joyn to get it? Or rain for a dry and barren ground; who would not wonder at any that should be against it? yet who joyns, who labors for the Gospel.

3. If the Gospel be the revelation of Jesus Christ,Use 3. then are the Ministers revealers of this blessed Secret, therefore worthy to be ac­knowledged for their works sake,1 Thess. 5. 12, 13. for the greatness of their work, and the excellency thereof: Pharaoh reverenced and advanced Joseph for smaller matters;Rom. 10. 15. O how beautiful are the feet of such: Most peo­ple either rate them, or at least set light by them, not reverencing their calling, but esteeming them more base then the meanest Trades­man; But that grieves us not so much, as that unkindeness that we meet with from them, from whom we look for most comfort and en­couragement.

Verse 14. ‘As obedient children, not fashioning your selves accord­ing to the former lusts in your ignorance.’

TO Faith he addeth Repentance and Sanctification, by the one to testifie the other,2 Pet. 1. 5. (as in the second Epistle, he wills them to adde unto their Faith, vertue) as if he should say, You that sometimes were the Children of wrath, and are now by grace made Gods Children, walk obediently as becomes such a mercy.

This Sanctification hath two parts:The two parts of Sanctifica­tion. and stands, 1. In renouncing evil, or the lusts, which (before grace) we were wont to be led by. 2. In putting on, and embracing holiness of life, that we may resemble the disposition of our Father who is holy, and looks for holiness in his; yea, holiness in all maner of conversation.

For the order,Obedience and Sanctification follow Faith. first goes Faith, then Obedience and Sanctification; for as the light and Sun-beams comes from the Sun, a river from the Spring head,Simile. fruit from the tree, so doth obedience from Faith: Till a man be pardoned and believe,Heb. 11. 8. he cannot repent nor obey the will of [Page 82] God, no more then a dead stick can bring forth fruit. When by Faith we are ingrafted into Christ, then we receive power, not before; one that hath never been humbled aright for sin, cannot hate and flie from sin as he should: He that seeth not the love of God to him, cannot love God, nor set upon a good life; to deny his lusts, being as dear as his life, and to yield obedience, is irksom to nature: for this cause the Devil is such an enemy to our Faith, and labors to shake it, for then he knows he damps our care of a good life.

1. This condemns Papists,Use 1. that boast of holiness of life, and yet overthrow the foundation of it, (viz.) A true justifying faith: They may stir up good moods, and a blinde devotion, by scaring men with the pains of hell, and telling them of the joys of heaven, but no sound Obedience, godly Life, renouncing Lusts, &c. with­out the work of Faith, from that will be Obedience, even to suffering.

2. It confutes them that think Repentance is before Faith;Use 2. they are indeed wrought at once, and Repentance sheweth it self first, but in order of nature, Faith is as the root: Many humble souls hold off, and dare not believe, O say they, if I could repent so heartily as I see some, and could serve God as I would, then I could believe.

3. It teacheth men,Use 3. that if ever they will set upon a good life in­deed, and in time, they must begin at the right end, and lay a founda­tion of true justifying faith; for want of this, many deceive them­selves that have some purpose to do well, being afflicted, or somewhat stirred at the Word, and fall out of a bad course, to leave this and that evil, or take up good duties; and many that never had experience of the work of Faith, that think they live well, or some that upon some occasion thus promise, You shall never hear me swear more, Ile ne­ver play more, Never come in an Alehouse; yet this lasts not, but they fal to their old byase by and by, because they took not the right course: Many also purpose to repent, and do great matters, but this is a great­er matter then the world thinks off; a man must first be the childe of God, ere he can obey, and Faith must be wrought first, ere he can come to true repentance; therefore put it not off, its not the work of a day, or sickness the fittest time to be allotted thereto, but constant­ly to be set upon, till we shall attain thereunto.

As obedient children] Or children of obedience, that is, given to obe­dience, and studying thereto with all their might of body and soul, as if you could imagine obedience to be a creature, and a mother that had children, resembling her self,Eph 5. 6. so must we be; the contrary here­of is elsewhere expressed,Col. 3. 6. Children of disobedience, that is, given over unto all disobedience, and in other places the like phrases, and to the same purpose are used, see 1 Kings 21. 5. Psal. 50. 18, 19. Mat. 7. 23.

Hereunto the Apostle exhorteth, for that they were called to be children,God calls for obedience. which strongly enforceth this duty of obedience.

Obedience is that which God still calls for, which he doth again and again require at our hands;Ier. 7. 23. its better then sacrifice, as contrarily,Iam. 1. 22. rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.1 Sam. 15. 22. The Israelites (doubtless) spake [Page 83] well,Deut. 5. 29. But O that there were such an heart in them (saith God) that they would fear me, and keep my commandments always: Neither hearing the Word,See Isa. 38. 3. nor knowing or speaking of it, pleaseth God, without obey­ing;Iohn. 14. 15, 21. nothing else can comfort our Souls and Consciences in death; nothing else can approve us to be the servants of the Lord,Mat. 7. 24, 25. or that we love him,Iohn 10. 27. or that we shall continue to the end, His sheep hear his voyce, and follow him.

For the maner of our obedience:

1. We must obey,We must obey in all things. not to halves, or where we lift, but in all things, not as Saul or Herod, Psal. 119. 6. Nadab and Abihu; there were the same persons, incense,Luke 1. 6. censers, altar that should be, onely the fire was not the same, who therefore were punished by fire from heaven.Lev. 10. 2.

2. We must not on the other side run without our errand,Which are commanded. nor do things whereof we have no commandment; this is no obedience, be it never so costly or painful, have it never so goodly a shew: And here falls to the ground all Will-worship of the Papist, to whom it will be said, Who required these things at your hands? as also all good intents without warrant of the actions: How was God dis­pleased with them that offered their sons and daughters to the fire,Ier. 7. 31. having no such commandment from him.

Moreover,Be the com­mandment ne­ver so strange or unpleasing. we must obey the Commandment of the Lord, be it never so strange, harsh, unpleasing, or contrary to Nature, denying our selves contrary to custom, though all the world counsel to the contrary: and that not indenting or covenanting with the Lord be­forehand for wages or success; as to say, I would do such a thing, so I thought no hurt would come of it, or that I should thrive in that course, or that I should not meet with trouble: no, we must follow the Lord, as the blinde man follows the staff of his leader, and chooseth not his own way. Thus did Abraham in forsaking his own Countrey at Gods Commandment in his old age; it was his Native Countrey, that wherein he had lived so long, he was to go he knew not whether: He had questionless contrary counsels of his Neighbors, What a mad man are you to remove now, and seek a new dwelling in your old age; you are here known, here are your Kindred, you know the Countrey, and have thriven: Its as if one should remove a tree that hath grown long in place, into another place when its old: Well, for all those he persisted in his obedience to Gods Commandment.

The Jesuits train up their Schollars in strange obedience,The strict o­bedience of the Iesuits to their Superiors as that they must do whatsoever their Superiors bid them, and that speedily without questioning; as to water a rotten tree, to pour a vessel of good wine into a gutter, to set trees with the roots upward, &c. when his Superior calls him to go in an instant, and not to stay to make up the circle of an O; when he is writing and made the one part of it, he must not stay to make up the other part: They to justi­fie this, and provoke to obedience, tell a miracle, That one thus called of his Superior, and leaving his O in the midst half made, at his re­turn found it made up a perfect O, and so gilded, that it shined, &c. [Page 84] Such obedience owe we to God, and these rules be very good, so as the Commanders and Commandments were good. We must obey God directly, and never cast about beforehand what shall be the end, we must leave it to him, and to obey him must needs fall out well. Abraham did not amiss, but sped well in obeying God: So Noah and the rest. Abraham never shifted for himself, but twice about his wife, and he was like then to have spoiled himself, if God had not helpt him out of the bryars; So Jonah: Our own Devices never succeed, though never so likely. But we have such reaches before­hand, that mar our obedience: Oh, if I were ruled by the Preacher, I should not thrive by plain dealing, nor wax rich; or if I should leave such a course, or such a course, I should be poor; If I should do thus and thus, I should come to trouble: but let us do our duty, and let the Lord alone for his part to look to us; in obeying him we cannot do amiss. The wicked will leave their sin a little while it may be, through Sickness, or Fear, or Counsel, as the Dog that is beat from the Carrion,Simile. or called away, yet hath a Dogs eye back again after it,Mat. 21. 30. and will be at it again, as soon as one's back is turned; yea, and if haply they give good words, yet will not their doings be answerable.

3. We must obey without reasoning the case,Without con­su1lting with flesh & blood. or consulting with flesh and blood; we must binde Reason hand and foot to follow God (as it were) blindefold, as Abraham in offering Isaac, and Joshua in compassing Jericho, 2 King. 5. 11. and not as Naaman the Syrian: Our Reason proves a very great enemy to obedience.

4. We must obey,Whosoever, or whatsoever be against it. whosoever or whatsoever be against it: If Pro­fits, Pleasure, Farm, Oxen, &c. calls us away, and God invite us, we must follow him, else have we no part in him: If Father, Mother, Friend,See Deu. 13. 6. nay the Wife of our bosom entice us from him, we must not give ear to them; nay, if our right hand, eye, or foot offend us, we must cut them off and obey God. He that hates not father and mother, wife and children, Mat. 5. 29. yea his own life for my names sake (saith our Savior) is not worthy of me; Luke 14. 26. yea, if any should command and threaten us con­trary to our obedience unto God,Dan. 3. 17, 18. we must not yield to them, but ra­ther obey God then them.Acts 4. 19.

5. Speedily,Speedily. not hereafter, but to day, while it is called to day, &c. not repent hereafter, when I have taken my pleasure a while longer, hear Sermons when I am thus rich, have Prayer in my Family when such businesses and lets be over; nay, thou mayest be dead, or meet with more ere they be gone.

6. Voluntarily,Voluntarily. not be haled onely by pain and misery, as Pharaoh; God loves a chearful servant.

7. Constantly,Constantly. not for a while, as Joash, but as Caleb and Joshua followed the Lord to the end, yea when most revolted: See the con­trary punished in the Prophet that came from Bethel. 1 King. 13. 24. We must not be weary in well doing. Gal. 6. 9.

Reasons hereof may be these:Reasons.

1 1. Gods Soveraignty over us, we Clay, he our Maker.

[Page 85] 2. His Will a rule of Righteousness.2

3. His great mercies every way, even to the worst, but to his chil­dren 3 wonderful ones.

1. This condemns them that are so far from obeying,Use 1. and that in all things, and after this maner,See Exod. 5. 2. that they will obey in nothing, but as if they were set to cross the Lord,Iob 21. 14, 15. what he forbids, they love, what he enjoyns,Ier. 6. 16. and 44. 16. they cannot away withal: They live like masterless men, as if they ought nothing to any, were beholding to none; What, art thou not a piece of Clay, the Lord thy Maker? even he that threw Angels out of Heaven, Adam out of Paradice, opened the Earth, rained down fire and brimstone on Sodom, &c. If his Soveraignty move thee not, consider, I beseech thee, his Goodness; Who hath nourished thee up? given thee a comely body, a reasonable Soul, and so long kept thee, that thou art not now in Hell? Whats all this for, that thou shouldst flie in his face that gives thee bread? He lets thee hear his Word, calls thee to Repentance, &c. Is it that thou shouldst tread these things under thy feet? Oh, thou art of thy father the Devil, whose works thou dost; and except thou fall down at the Lords footstool,Psal. 50. 22. and humble thy self before him, he will confound thee▪ O consider this, all ye that now forget God.

2. It condemns such also as obey God to halves,Use 2. and in what they list, in the mean time lying still in some beloved lust; So Pharaoh obeyed,Exod. 10. 26. so Herod and Saul: But as Moses would not part with one hoof, so will not God have us cast off any one Commandment; God will have no parting Stakes:1 King. 3. 26. The Devil, like the Harlot, would be contented with the one half, but God, like the true Mother, will have all or none. If God were so revenged of half-obedience under the Law, what then now? This halving is an Argument of no true Faith, for that purifieth the heart;Acts 15. 9. also of no Repentance, for he that repents truly of one sin, repents truly of all: Whosoever therefore thou art that dost thus, thou art in the gall of bitterness, and bond of iniquity, thou art in the state of damnation. If thou livest in the practice and love of one known sin, profitable or pleasing, this one shall be enough to sink thee down to destruction,Simile. as one leak in a Ship may endanger the whole, and one gate in a City open let in the Enemy.

3. This rebukes the servants of God that yet walk not in that obe­dience that were meet,Use 3. but leave undone this and that duty, slighting over others, and letting loose their affections and lusts; O this is not the chearful and constant obedience that we ought to perform in all things. If neither his Authority, nor his outward Benefits will move us, consider we his love towards us in Jesus Christ, that of children of wrath he hath made us his children, that by giving his Son, he hath freed us from Damnation, and means to save us: Oh, the Name of Children calls for much obedience,Gen. 13. 8. as the Name of Brethren should still all Controversie. And this is the Argument which the Apostle here useth to perswade to obedience: Oh, we be Gods Children, Children ought to obey their Parents, there's nothing more uncomely then the contrary, much more we the Father of our [Page 86] Spirits: Christ the natural Son was obedient to the death, How obe­dient then must we be, being but adopted ones?

Again,What may stir us up unto o­bedience. That he hath called us to the hope of such an Inheritance, what obedience doth this challenge? For this is the force of the co­herence of Verse 13. with those that go before. Wherefore gird up the loyns of your minde, &c. That is, Seeing God hath done such and such things for us, let us trust perfectly on that grace that is brought unto us, and walk obediently: Yea, the more we profit in obedi­ence, the more comfort we may have, that we be the Lords, and have true Faith; the more will our comfort be also in our death: So many of us therefore, as can prove our selves the Lords, do we la­bor to walk worthy hereof in all due obedience; and for others that know not they are the Lords, let them try it by obedience.

Many Covetous,Use 1. Usurers, Oppressors, Swearers, &c. will say, they believe: no, be tryed by this rule, If your heart stand to obey all Gods commandments, it is so; but while you live in any thing you know is sin, you are voyd of Faith.

Other poor humble Christians that hate sin deadly,Use 2. and unfeign­edly desire to please God in all things, yet say, they cannot believe; Why? who hath wrought these things in you? Not flesh and blood, they are the gifts of Gods sanctifying Spirit, therefore they come from Faith; as if we see a Sun-beam, we say, the Sun is risen; if an Apple that is good,Simile. we say, there is a good Tree: Except therefore you will say that men can gather Figs of Thistles, or Grapes of Thorns, you cannot deny but that you have Faith; wheresoever Sanctification is, there Faith went before; O but I finde it but weak, yet as long as it is in truth, with desire of increase, it presupposes Faith: as if we see a Sun-beam, though but dimly, yet we say, the Sun is up, after it will shine out more clearly: So we say, its a good Tree, though the fruit be small at first, so long as it is good.

If any shall say,Obj. I feel in me no such thing now, therefore I have no Faith, what shall become of me?

Was it ever so with thee?Sol. Look to the time past, and thou must not deny the mercy of God shewed thee: Thou canst not deny, but it hath been so, then thou hast had Faith, then hast thou Faith still, though it seem raked up in the ashes:Simile. when thou with the bellows of Prayer and the Word, and God with his Spirit shall blow away these ashes, it will uncover it self, and burn out again.

Not fashioning your selves, Two parts of obedience. &c.] There are two parts of Obedience, or Repentance, a dying unto sin, and a living unto righteousness; a re­nouncing of lusts,Isa. 1. 16. and imbracing holiness; a ceasing to do evil, and a learning to do well;Rom. 12. 9. an abhorring of that which is evil,Col. 3. 10. and cleaving to that which is good; a putting off of the old man, and putting on of the new; he that hath the one, hath also the other, they are married by the Lord, and none can divorce them: Therefore if any man seem to have the one, and not the other, he hath neither in truth: If therefore any leave evil, and do not good, or if any do some good, and hate not all evil, he is but an hypocrite.

[Page 87] For the order here used,We must for­sake evil before we can do good Simile. he sets renouncing of our lusts first, before imbracing of holiness; men put off their old rags, ere they can put on new apparel; purge the stomack of ill humors, ere they take good nourishment; dig up the weeds, ere they sow or set herbs: so in this case.

Where therefore there remaineth the love of any lust or sin, there is no true grace in that heart, neither will any grow till that be rooted out, God will not plant any of his grace there, till the Devils planting be pluckt up. Many think they be Christians, and do many things well, though they keep the love of some sin; no, mark, the love of grace and goodness, and the love of any sin, cannot be in one heart, they are so contrary the one to the other; therefore while thou livest in any known sin, and lovest any lust, as sure as God is in heaven thou art an hypocrite, and let me perish if there be one dram of true grace in thee, but thou standest in the state of damnation.

Therefore renounce and bid adieu to thy lusts;Use. and seeing you make a profession, and do many things, will you lose heaven for your lust, for one sin?1 Cor. 9. 24. so run that you may obtain, lose not heaven for a little, make either something or nothing of thy profession, banish from thee all sin, that God may work some true grace in thy heart.

In your ignorance] He fathers their following of lusts on their igno­rance;Ignorance is the cause and root of a bad life. and ignorance is the cause and root of a wicked and bad life: For till men know the will of God out of his Word, how can they do it? and what are we prone to by nature, but to all the evil in the world? Therefore the devil labors by all means to hold people in blindness, & of all books, hath most been an enemy to the Bible, and to sincere and diligent reading and preaching the Scriptures, for were those away, he knows all iniquity must needs abound, as there did in Popery, when people were nuzled up in blindeness; O what abundance of sin was committed? but it did not so much appear, because they were in the dark, and the light of Gods word discovers sin, which was then very rare:Simile. As if one come into an house at midnight, he [...]ees no faults, but when the morning comes, then he sees a number of things out of order; so in this clear light of the Gospel, we see the wickedness that then appeared not in the dark. Whether will not our nature run? and whether may not the devil and world lead one, when he hath no eyes to see whether he goes? The blinde eats many a fly, and a man may lead a blinde man into the deepest pit.Simile. As the Raven first picks out the Lambs eyes, and then kills it at his pleasure, when it cannot see to escape away, so doth the devil by people: Ignorance is often compared to darkness, and they that go in the dark often stumble, fall, and hurt themselves: Sampson when blinde, was led to any thing, as to grinde, to make Sports, &c.

1. This teacheth us to desire that the clear light of the Word may shine more and more brightly into all places of this land,Use 1. for there are many places that have either no preaching, or else very seldom; So as for want of knowledge, people wallow in a number of lusts most fear­fully, the Lords day most grievously Profaned, preachers slighted, &c.

[Page 88] 2. Every Minister is to endeavor to the utmost of his power,Use 2. to bring their people to the knowledge of their duty, that so they may be either truly converted, or at least hereby restrained.

3. People are to labor for knowledge,Use 3. else they must needs be ca­ptives of many lusts: Think not as many do, because ye are poor and not book-learned, therefore you shall be held excused; many think their very ignorance shall be a good plea, because they know nothing, God will hold them excused:Iohn 3. 19. Is light come into the world, and shall mens sin (their ignorance) hold them excused? its otherwise.

4. All parents are to have a special care,Use 4. where and in what Towns and houses they place their children; they must place them where they may learn to know God, to discern between good and evil, and if it prevail not with them by and by, yet there's hope it shall lie as seed in their hearts, that will shoot up in time.

But how can he say,Why being so well instructed in the Law, they are here termed igno­rant. In their ignorance, seeing they were well in­structed and expert in the Law, having it read among them daily? and had they not good knowledge in the Law, and in the Prophets? True, yet he justly calls them ignorant; 1. Because though they were so cunning in the Law and Prophets, yet they knew not Jesus Christ, the end of the Law, and so the sum of all. 2. Their knowledge was onely in their brain, and not effectual in their hearts to renew and re­form them,Rom. 2 17, &c. but they were carried away by their lusts, notwithstand­ing of their knowledge.

1. Then all the knowledge in the world without the knowledge of Christ Jesus,All know­ledge without the knowledge of Christ is nothing. is nothing: If a man could measure the heavens, tell the number of the stars, had skill in all Arts and Sciences whatsoever, yet without the knowledge of Christ it were vanity. Paul knew much being brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, Phil. 3. 8. But he counted all things else loss and dung for the excellent knowledge of Christ Jesus; 1 Cor. 2. 2. He desired to know nothing but Christ Jesus, and him crucified. If a man were the wisest in a County to arbitrate and compound controversies, yet all this were nothing without the knowledge of Christ.

2. All the knowledge of the world,Knowledge without refor­mation is but ignorance. if it reform not a man, is but ignorance; So much a man knows as he obeys: That is not know­ledge that is in the brain, but that which soaketh down into the heart, and transformeth a man into the similitude thereof; so much men know, as they mortifie their lusts: He that lives after his lusts, let him have never such store of knowledge, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know: what if a man know he should not Swear, Lye, commit Adultery, &c. yet doing these is he any whit the better? Is he not rather much worse? Yea, the Devil himself hath more know­ledge then any man: The world wonders many times to see men of great knowledge do such and such things: Alas, Knowledge and Conscience are two several things, and often sundred in the subject.

1. Then, let no man boast of his Knowledge: Many love to hear themselves talk, but look what power they have over their lusts, what mastery over their affections.

[Page 89] 2. Do not we labor so much for knowledge,Use 2. as for the power of it; Therefore when we have heard a Sermon, let's not content our selves that we can repeat it, have a good memory and utterance, but by our selves pray earnestly, and travel upon our hearts, that it may effectually work in us: A little well learned of an humble Soul, craving to be ruled by it, is better then much that a vain bragger can repeat, that will be ruled in nothing but when he list.

But he would not have them live now they had Knowledge,Such as have attained knowledge, must not live as they did be­fore. as they did in Ignorance, and now God having wrought in them the hope of eternal life, he would have them walk far otherwise then they did ere they had this; being called out of the world, they were not to live after the corrupt maners thereof.Rom. 12. 2. Men and women would be loath to be seen abroad in such attire as they go in on nights;Rom. 13. 11, 12. were it not a gross thing for any to do their work as badly by day light as in the dark night?Eph. 4. 17. & 5. 8.

People therefore that live under the Word,Use. must not do as they did before they heard it: Why may we not do this or that, will some say? we do but as we have done, and as other Towns do? well, is it not enough if upon your true humiliation God pardon the time of your ignorance,Iohn 9. 41. though he now expect obedience? and so must you now obey, else your sin will be great, and ye must be beaten with the more stripes: will God look that your work should be done no better then theirs that have no light,Luke 12. 47, 48 when he allows you candle? our conversation must be such as becometh the Gospel.Phil. 1. 27.

So for Christians that have received assurance of Gods love, and entred covenant with God, they must not yield to their lusts as others, to whom God hath not shewed such mercy, or as themselves did be­fore they knew God in Christ Jesus: they must not be as worldly now as before they knew God to be their Father, and that there was a bet­ter inheritance for them; as proud now of apparel, following every fan­gle, as before they knew the true apparel of Christs righteousness, & to be deckt with grace to be the best attire; as froward as before they had the Spirit to refuse these corruptions; they must not backbite, slander, talk of other mens faults, rejoyce in their infirmities, as they did in the time of their ignorance; they must not talk of worldly matters on the Lords day, as they were wont ere they knew the holiness thereof, and what a strict rest & observation God requireth; nor follow gaming, as before when they knew no better mirth;Gal. 5. 25. nor be so vain in talk, as be­fore they knew it to be a fault, & as carnal persons be: Then what sin­gular thing do we? We must be now as much altered in our behavior, as our case, we hope, is altered from top to toe; as from being heirs of wrath, to be heirs of heaven: Kings sons and daughters must not live as every ordinary base person, nor Gods Chrildren as Worldlings. Let us therefore so many as have given our names to Christ indeed, and know our selves delivered out of this evil world, and are assured that God is our Father, and we his children, walk as it becometh chil­dren of such a Father, and such an hope of so glorious an inheritance, not avoiding gross and outward ungodliness onely, but resisting [Page 90] our own lusts; for Christians must make an account they have them­selves, their own very hearts to strive against: Our adversary is in our bosom and bowels, no marvel then if our strife be somewhat hard, for our crown after our victory is wonderful great.

Verse 15. ‘But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all maner of conversation.’ Verse 16. ‘Because it is written, Be ye holy, for I am holy.’

HEre's the other part of Sanctification,Holiness must be added to ab­stinence from evil. namely,Tit. 2. 12. The affirmative, which sheweth what we must do; this must necessarily be added to the former: so that its not enough that we fashion not our selves to our former lusts, but we must also be holy. Our Savior Christ cursed not the fig-tree because it bare bad fruit, to poison them that came by, but because it bare none; as that also for which the dresser of the vine­yard pleaded:Luke 13. 7. Every tree that brings not forth good fruit, is hewn down; The bad servant bound hand and foot,Mat. 3. 10. not for rioting out his ta­lent,Mat. 25. 30. but for not well employing it; so on the day of judgement shall it be said,Verse 41. Go ye cursed, &c. not for casting me into prison, but not vi­siting me therein, &c.

This is the more to be urged,This duty needful to be urged. because a great many as long as they be not hurtful, think themselves in a very good case as can be, though in the mean while they do no good: They do hurt to none; alas, this is but half, God forbidding an evil, commands a contrary good: what if one do not that which is forbidden, and yet leave the duty com­manded? what obedience is this?

Let a number that think they have repented,Use. and a number of ci­vil persons try themselves by this: You have left, or do keep no ill company, but do you care for and delight in good company? alas, a number have no savor nor minde to such: You do not prophane the Lords Day, but do you carefully sanctifie it pub­liquely and privately? You have banisht Cards and Dice out of your house, or never had any, but have you entertained Read­ing and Prayer in their stead? banisht the Devil, and entertain­ed God in his room? you are peaceable, and not boistrous and spritish in your Family, but do you any good? So, its not suffi­cient that we drive none from God and his Word, and well do­ing, by mocking or any other discouragement, but provoke one another to goodness,Psal. 51. 13. the Husband the Wife, Parents their Chil­dren, Masters their Servants; and so on the contrary, Wives their Husbands, &c.

Its not sufficient to say, I hinder them not; this shews onely, thou art not so bad as some, but proves not that thou art indeed good: So many in a Town think it enough if they do no hurt in it, but they will sleep in a whole skin: But they must not onely haunt no Alehouses, or be disordered, but seek to suppress such as be; else [Page 91] if they gather not with Christ,Luke 11. 23. they scatter; if not with him, then against him:Iudg. 5. 23. for this Meroz; was cursed. How a number of rich men in Towns can shift this curse,Neh. 13. 17. I know not: O what evil is this that ye do? Too many are content to let goodness go by; they are no enemies to good Ministers or people, &c. but they will do nothing to procure the Gospel to a Town, or to hold it where it is, but if we have any truth in us, we will, though we meet with hard measure for our labor; Christ hath done more for us: So much have we pro­fited in the hatred of evil, as we have gotten in the love and practice of the contrary good, and no otherwise.

If this would serve for men, to leave evil, many would be Chri­stians, but this is but half; he that stands here will come but half way, almost onely with Agrippa to heaven,Acts 16. 28. not altogether: Repentance hath two feet, he that stands not on both is a lame Christian. If there were a Preferment for a man at London, and he should go half way, and there stay, would he not lose it? might he not also be just­ly accounted a fool, a negligent and lazy person? Such are we, if through lack of one part of Repentance we deprive our selves of heaven.

But as he which hath called you is holy, &c.] Speak we first of the Exhortation unto holiness, ver. 15. then of the Reason enforcing the same, ver. 16.

Touching the Exhortation, its to Holiness, whose extent is in all maner of Conversation, which is set out by a Simile, viz. As God is holy; who is described by a main benefit bestowed on them, Their Calling: But as he that hath called you is holy, so be ye holy, &c.

The Exhortation then is to Holiness; we were made holy at the first, we are now filthy and unclean; we must have the image of sin put off,Christians must be holy. and a new image of God put on; we must be sanctified per­sons, set aside for the Lords use, as the Shew-bread, that none might meddle with, or put to any other use. We must be for the use of nei­ther Flesh, World, Devil, but for Gods use onely; we must have no more Body, Soul, Wit, Will, Reason, Hand, Eye, Finger or Foot, but for the Lords use.1 Thess. 4. 3. This is the will of God, even our Sanctification: Angels our fellow servants be holy, Heaven the place we look for is holy, no unclean person comes there;Ioh. 15. 3. and 17. 17. God hath also given us his holy Word, and holy Sacraments to encrease us in holiness; so holy Sab­baths, and his holy Spirit.

This the end of our Election,Eph. 1. 4.

This the end of our Redemption,Luke 1. 74, 75.

This the end of our Calling.1 Cor. 6. 20. Yea,1 Thess. 4. 7.

As without holiness no man shall see God:Iam. 1. 18. So,Heb. 12. 14.

The inheritance is prepared for them that are sanctified.Mat. 5. 8.

1. This condemns such as are so far from holiness,Acts 20. 32. as they give themselves over to all maner of lewdness and prophaneness,Use 1. and mock at those that desire any better, Oh, you be of those holy ones, of the holy brotherhood: and what are you? of the prophane ones, as Esau? Take heed, you will speed as Esau did. If you be not holy, you shall [Page 92] never see God, but (as Belshazar saw the hand-writing) to your terror: Is it not too much you be prophane your selves, but would you that others also should be so too? Doth not God enjoyn holiness? speaks he not to all? Therefore except you will publish to the world that you are marching in the Devils Rabble, and have renounced your part in heaven, and vowed your own destruction, break off your fins by Repentance, and cease to be for the Devils use any longer: Con­fess and cry for pardon of that is past, enter a new Covenant, re­nounce thy old Master, with whom is ugly works, base scullery, wo­ful wages.Rom. 6. 22.

2. This also condemns all civil persons that rest herein;Use 2. you must ex­ceed this, else you cannot enter into the Kingdom of heaven. Its great pity, that many men of very fair carriage are no better for themselves, and they trust to their honest and just dealing with their Neighbors; but alas, it will deceive them for want of holiness. Alas, that you will see nothing into the first Table: How little do most regard the true Worship of God, and the Spiritual use of it? How seldom do they pray, or have any divine Meditation? How little regard they the Sabbath? How often swear? and such persons be the best Papists we know.

In all maner of conversation. Holy in all maner of con­versation.] Not where, when, to whom, and what we list, but at all times, in all places, towards all persons, and in all things,Psal. 145. 17. as God is holy in all his ways and works.

1. This serveth to rebuke those that will yield in some things only:Use 1. what is it if a man be not covetous, if he be proud or unclean, &c. some will yield in great matters, but in small do as they list; as to swear by their Faith and Troth, especially in that which is true, talk vainly, play a game or two on the Lords day, put a little false Ware, deceive a little, &c. Some again will yield in all small matters, but in some great thing they will not;2 Pet. 1. 5. as to give all diligence to encrease in every grace,Col. 3. 17. and that no corrupt communication should come out of their mouthes:Eph. 4. 29. though thou hast spoke many good words, yet hadst thou better be silent, then have no more good to speak. There are some de­vout in the Church, but Spirits in their houses at home; In their own Town well ordered, but in strange places as the company is, riotous, wanton,1 King. 20. 23. deep in gaming, &c. as though God were God of the Mountains, and not of the Valleys, of one place, and not of another. Some must be vain at the Table, and Christ-tide, howsoever at other times. Some in adversity will be very humble, good words, golden promi­ses, but in prosperity nothing so. Some in prosperity carry themselves well, in adversity not stick to run to a Witch: At the Communion, or a day or two after,Simil. will be demure, but not so long. Some use their Superiors well, their poor Tenants or Workfolks hardly: Alas, there is no part of our life, wherein God gives any licence to do evil; in our particular Callings let us shew the truth of our Christianity. Some servants will make a shew of Religion, and be desirous to hear, but are lazy and unthrifty in their Callings: Some men carry them­selves very forwardly, that in their shops and dealings shew it not. [Page 93] Papists seem very devout in some things, yet you shall lightly ever know any that make Conscience of an Oath, or of the Lords day

2. Let us prove the truth of holiness in us,Use 2. by the generality of it; keep a constant tenour, an even hand, and let there be a proportion between every part of our life, not one part as it were devout, ano­ther prophane and wicked;Dan. 2. 32. like Nebuchadnezzars Image, one part gold, another silver, another brass, &c. These cannot hang toge­ther, but let it be in all things, and this will afford true comfort on our Death-beds,2 Pet. 1. 11. and give us a large entrance into the glorious King­dom of our Lord Jesus Christ: True it is, we cannot come to any perfection here on earth, but shall be subject to offend; yet this were to be wished, that all our actions and behavior, and all our speeches and thoughts were such as become holiness; and its that we should endeavor unto, the beginning whereof is simplicity, and truth of heart, desiring without dissembling, or feigning to walk so as we may please God in all things.

Wonderful is the weakness of most part of Christians, who how­soever in many things they do well, yet many of their actions and speeches are not answerable: Well, let us notwithstanding endeavor it, and that every day more & more; and lets not be discouraged, though we cannot attain to all we would, but if we can gain ground this way, though it be but a little at once, yet our labor shall not be in vain: we must every day exceed our selves a little, and so not bearing with our selves in our corruptions, but unfeignedly striving against them, we may receive no small comfort; let us therefore not bear with our selves in the least evil,Rom. 7. 19, 24. but strive to reform our selves in every thing; in the mean time (with the Apostle) mourning because of the corruption.

But as he that hath called you is holy,] That is, God: This is the Si­mile, whereby the Exhortation to holiness is set forth, which hath in it also the force of a double reason to perswade thereunto: 1. From the person calling. 2. From the calling it self.

The person calling,God is holy. God: he is holy, therefore must we be so. Concerning Gods holiness, we need say little; Its his very essence, and uncreated in him, he hath been so for ever, and is so in­finitely:Isa. 6. 3. The Angels cannot cease praising the same, Holy, holy, holy,Rev. 4. 8. &c.

He is the Fountain of holiness, and conveyeth the streams thereof in­to his Creatures,Lev. 20. 8. Men and Angels: He is holy by nature, whatsoever holiness is in Angels or Men, is not by nature, but by grace: He san­ctifieth the place where he manifesteth himself, as the ground where­on Moses stood by the bush where God appeared;Exod. 3. 5. much more Hea­ven, where he most clearly sheweth himself to the Saints.

This should teach us,Use. as to acknowledge him so in his Word, and in all his Works, and that we should not dare admit a thought to the contrary, though we cannot see the reason of all things, so the use hereof is, That we should study after holiness, that so there may be some agreement between him and us, as we are bidden be merciful, [Page 94] and perfect,Mat. 5. 48. as he is, and our Savior faith, Learn of me; not that he requires an equality,Mat. 11. 29. which can never be here and hereafter: Here we cannot be perfectly holy as he is, in Heaven we shall be perfectly ho­ly, but not infinitely as he is, because we are finite; but so that we la­bor to imitate him, that we may have his blessed Image renewed in us daily,Psal. 84. 7. and grow more and more like unto him, going from strength to strength, till we appear before the God of gods in Sion: Can the most holy God abide unholy persons?Lev. 12. 3. He hath pure eyes,Hab. 1. 13. and hateth sin,Psal. 94. 20. abhorreth iniquity, what agreement between light and darkness? God and Belial? Therefore the Lord so often called upon the Israe­lites, to keep themselves from all kindes of Pollution, and instruct­ed them unto holiness in innumerable things, whereof some were very small: Therefore as we take Gods holy Name upon us, hear his holy Word, partake his holy Sacrament, and take his holy Name in our mouthes, let us also study after holiness, else never look to see Gods face: He can no more endure prophane persons, then we to take a Toad in our mouthes. This holiness stands not in coming to Church, mumbling over a few Prayers without understanding, co­ming to the Communion at Easter, &c. The Pharisees fasted oft, prayed long, gave Alms, had broad Phylacteries, yet were rejected by our Savior Christ; It stands in the purity of the heart, and the whole conversation. But how little doth this example of the Lord prevail to bring men to holiness? most follow after their own hearts lusts, and the corrupt example of men, we do as we see others do, and why, (say we) should we be wiser then our Forefathers, then all our neighbors? and thus being willing to follow such examples, we draw one another to all evil: But follow we not those in evil, but the blessed example of God himself, as in holiness, so in sanctifying his day. Thus of the person calling.

The calling it self.A twofold cal­ling. A great benefit indeed: why, Is it so great a benefit to be called? Yea, as is here meant.

There is a twofold calling; 1. Outward: When God calls men by every days new benefits, by every new correction, by his Word, whereby yet they are never aw hit the better,Rom. 8. 30. nor converted, for many are called, Eph. 4. 1. but few chosen, 1 Thess. 5. 24. and this is common to Reprobates. 2. In­ward and Effectual: when besides and with the outward means, God speaks inwardly by his Spirit to the Conscience:The parts of the inward calling. The parts here­of are,

1 1. The enlightning of the minde to understand the Principles of Religion, which though alone it be not sufficient, nor more then may be in a Reprobate, yet its the foundation of the rest, without which no effectual calling.

2 2. The opening of the heart to believe (as Lydia's was) when one believes every thing particularly to belong to them,Acts 16. 14. and so the pro­mise of Salvation among the rest, till then her heart (as all ours) was 3 fast lockt up,Col. 1. 13. not able to believe.

3. The change of the whole man:Eph. 2. 1, 2. This is essentially necessary to Salvation,Rom. 6. 17. for by nature we are slaves of sin;1 Cor. 6. 11. as long as we con­tinue [Page 95] as we were born,The fruits of this inward calling. we are far from Salvation.

The fruits hereof are,

1. When a man goes about the works of the same, and labors to walk worthy of it in an holy life.1

2. When a man highly esteemeth his calling, and the hope of 2 glory he is called to, as Paul accounted all dung in respect of the ex­cellency of Christ crucified; and the things he esteemed highly be­fore his calling, afterward he made no reckoning of.

3. When he will suffer any thing for the same, rather then be 3 drawn from the hope thereof.

Some are called sooner, some later, as in the Parable of the La­borers hired into the Vineyard.

Examine we our calling,Use. for much hangs upon this, Our Election past,Rom. 8. 30. and Glorification to come. Calling is the fruit and proper effect of Election;2 Pet. 1. 10. if the one,Marks of effe­ctual calling. then certainly the other: Notes hereof are both Negative and Affirmative. Negative,

1. Not to hear the Word,Negative. and that diligently; so doth the Devil, he will not miss a Sermon, nay marks every point in a Sermon, to 1 keep thee from the obedience thereof, or turn it one way or other to hurt.

2. Nor to hear joyfully.2

3. Nor to reform many things, as Herod. 3

4. Nor to do some choyce duties, as Ananias and Sapphira. 4 Affirmative; Affirmative. But

1. To seek above all to be at peace with God, and to have his Spi­rit 1 to assure us of our everlasting Salvation, not to serve the time, nor any such thing, but above all to be assured of Gods favor.

2. That we hate unfeignedly all evil, but especially the special 2 evils of the Time, and of our own Nature.

3. To affect heartily all good, but especially those good things 3 that the World and Times least regard, and our selves be most un­toward unto.

If by these notes we finde we be called, then have we cause to rejoyce, and to praise the Free-grace of God, who for no desert, but his meer mercy, hath vouchsafed to call us that were vile, as Abra­ham an Idolater, Paul a Persecuter, Zacheus a covetous person, the Goaler a desperate Ruffian; and hath now put a difference, and that for no goodness in us, rather then in others: And hath he done so to all our companions? No, they abide in ignorance, unbelief, impenitency: And now our work must be this, even to study after holiness more and more, being called out of the world, that we should no longer fashion our selves according to the same, having no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness,Eph. 5. 11. but reproving them rather: As you would be loath to be put back with the world, and have as they shall, so be not as they, no not in the least things; and as our hope is in Heaven, so have we our conversation there, as be­ing called of God to that high Priviledge: If you be not effectually called, and have had so long and so great means of calling, its a fear­ful [Page 96] sign that you hearken not,1 Sam. 2. 25. because the Lord will slay you. The earth that after much cost,Heb. 6. 8. yet yields nothing but bryars and thorns, is reproved, reprobate ground, near the curse, whose end will be to be burned.2 Cor. 4. 3. If the Gospel be hid,Acts 13. 48. its hid to them that perish. So many as were ordained to eternal life, believed; therefore if thou hast hither­to stopt thine ear against the Lords calling, take heed thou provoke him not further, but to day, whilest it is called to day, give ear and obey: Its more then thou couldst have looked for, that he should have all this patience, abuse it no longer, lest it turn into fury, and the Lord in his wrathful indignation flying away from thee, pro­nounce that he will never more speak to thee, and either snatch thee from the Word, and send thee to Hell, or the Word from thee; or if thou hear,Isa. 6. 9, 10. that he yet bid the Minister preach to harden thee, and let thee alone:Hos. 4 17. agreeable to that, He that is unjust, let him be unjust still, Rev. 22. 11. &c. which is most fearful, and curse thy heart, as Christ did the Figtree, never fruit grow on thee, never good motion come in thy heart, or if any do, let them dye presently & not live, and give thee over to be more strongly tempted by Satan; Devil, take him, and hurry him at thy pleasure, & lay down thine own corruption unbridledly, which is the fearfullest curse under heaven: O lets seek to escape it, and tremble, to prevent this fearful judgement, which lighteth on many that have long lived under preaching, and are hardlier won at last then before. Some of you haply having barren Trees in your Orchard, and having resolved to cut them down, have tryed one year more ere you cut them down: We may fear there be sundry of us in this place going upon our last year (who they be God knows) If now you listen not,Prov. 1. 24, &c. the Lord will hew you down, and cast you into the fire; and then will you call and cry to God, but in vain, he will not answer you then. When God shall cast such into their de­served place, how shall they then fret and vex themselves? What beasts were we that we did not yield to the Word of God, which so often called upon us? Others obeyed, and they are well: O that we had profited at such a time, when such good motions came in our mindes! O that we had yielded to them, and not cast them off as we did! but then all too late; they may fret, and gnaw their tongues for vexation, but to no purpose: Endeavor we therefore in time to prevent this. Thus of the Exhortation.

Now follows the Reason of the Exhortation laid down in the 16 Verse, Because it is written, Be ye holy, for I am holy; where's to be considered, 1. That he urgeth still the matter in hand, and cannot have done with it. 2. How he urgeth it, even by Scripture, It is written. 3. The Text it self, Be ye holy, for I am holy.

1. I say, he still urgeth the matter in hand, much pressing his Ex­hortation unto holiness, and is very earnest herein.

The Reasons may be these:Why the Apo­stle is so ear­nest in exhort­ing to holines. 1. Because the thing in hand is so excellent and necessary, then which nothing can be more: Holiness makes us like God and Angels, unlike Devils and our selves; without which there's no seeing of God. 2. Because we are altogether so untoward there­unto: [Page 97] Who seeth not what a work we have to bring any to turn from their sins, and to take an holy course? how few such, and with what a deal of pains? and when converted and brought to a love of holi­ness, and desire to please God, yet who findes not what a stir he hath to bring himself to any good Duty, Prayer, Meditation, Exami­nation of his heart, &c. or when we are brought to do good things, yet to do them in a right maner, but the heart will be gone? especi­ally in all things, and in our whole conversation; therefore no marvel though the Holy Ghost dwell long upon it.

1. This teacheth us Ministers in weighty points,Use 1. to dwell as it were upon them, and not sliding from them too quickly, to urge them again and again, questioning their hearts whether indeed they will do so and so, or not, &c.

2. People,Use 2. when they perceive their Ministers so to urge such and such a point,Lam. 3. 40. they must consider it the more seriously; so when we read any thing,2 Cor. 13. 5. wherein the holy Ghost is more earnest or repeats it often, as to search and examine our selves, we must take knowledge of the weight of the matter, and of our own dulness, dwelling the more thereon in our observation and attention; where the holy Ghost is earnest, we must not pass it slightly over.

2. He proves it by Scripture,Ministers must prove their Doctrine by Gods Word and so must we when we would prove any thing to the Conscience; for Gods Word is the Judge of all truth and falshhood, good and evil; its the Golden rule, the Ballance of the Sanctuary.Luk. 10. 25, 26. Philosophers prove things by Reason, in Gods School proof must be from the Scripture: We must not look what this man, or that man, or twenty men say, this stablisheth not the Conscience; but the Word of God, that bears meat in the mouth, that is of weight and authority, either to make to yield, or at least to leave without excuse: One Testimony of Scripture, is of more weight then the testimony of a thousand men, for that is the Word truth, and all men are subject to error, and thereto may people say in­deed,Acts 12. 22. The voyce of God, and not of man.

A number of people in Cities and great Towns,Use 1. if Preachers alleage, Fathers, Councels, School-men, &c. O how they applaud them! but if any shall alleage Scripture, properly and plainly, Oh, he is a plain homespun Preacher, he may do well in a Countrey Town; but Christs sheep do otherwise, they reverence and adore above all the Word of God.

This condemns the Papists,Use 2. that deal most treacherously, and will not have the scriptures to be judge, but Fathers, Councels, the Church; And who is the Church but themselves? and the Head of Councels but the Pope? and so upon the point, the Pope is the Church, and so its like enough to go well on their sides: And in their Councels, who is any thing but the Pope and his Consistory? as he will have every thing, so it shal be, as in their last Councel of Trent, which they so mag­nifie as the most sacred Assembly that ever was, which indeed was no­thing else but a conspiracy of Traitors, against the Crown and Dig­nity of Christ Jesus, and his Truth; there such were pickt as were [Page 98] fast to the Pope and the Religion of Rome, and such as were sworn to be true thereto; and when some few spake somewhat more boldly in some things, then was well liked of, they were quickly packt out, and this charge they had after they had sate a while, That they should interpret no Scripture, but such as might stand with the Doctrine of Rome; this was good stuff, that whereas they should have brought their Doctrine to the rule of Scripture, they must bring Scripture to their Doctrine, as if the Carpenter should cut his rule according to the piece, and not the piece according to his rule: And howsoever they sate there at Trent, disputing for a fashion, yet nothing was con­cluded, but such as the Pope and his Consistory at Rome devised, which being set to them, they were to publish; and thus the parties become Judges, and they that should stand at the Bar to be judged, sit on the Bench to judge their own cause, therefore it must needs go well on their side: They cannot away that the Scripture should be the Judge, because they then know how it would go with them and their Doctrine, but we must receive it, and try all Doctrine by it, and stand to the sentence thereof, as being the onely Judge: So here the Apo­stle enjoyning holiness, takes this as a sufficient proof, It is written, though that was against their nature and disposition; though by fol­lowing after it, they might be counted Puritans, Singular, Proud, Hypocrites, &c. yet they must not stand reasoning the case with flesh and blood, they must be holy, for so it was written.

If then we know any thing once proved by the Word of God,Obedience is to be yielded to those Do­ctrines which are proved by the Word. we must make no more ado; if the Word command a thing, we must yield and obey; if forbid a thing as vile, we must dare no more med­dle therewith, then to eat poison.

For the Word of God is the Royal Law,Reason. that Rule of Righteousness that must command all the world, Prince and people must stoop here­unto;Amos 3. 8. This is the Law of his Kingdom, whereby all we his Subjects must be ruled: If the Lyon roar, the Beasts tremble; and if the Lord speak (who is our Soveraign) is it not meet that we should take know­ledge hereof,Deut. 5. 27. and yield obedience thereto? this was ever Preface enough to the Prophets in their Sermons, Thus saith the Lord, The Word of the Lord, &c. and his Word not being left us in vain, to shake it off at our pleasures, the same may command obedience.

1. This condemns the prophane and dissolute world,Use 1. do men go by any such rule, and try, ere they do any thing what God saith of it in his Word? O that were too much preciseness: But by what rules then? If it stand with my pleasure, with my profit, with my ease, with my credit, most do so; I shall be accounted a fool if I do not so: O cursed rules, What? shall Profit, Pleasure, Mammon, and our Lusts become now as it were our God? dare we cast the word of God behinde us? do we provoke the Lord to anger? are we stronger then he? Oh let him that thinketh, he standeth, 1 Cor. 10. 12. take heed lest he fall: Its written, we must be ho­ly, therefore we must be so; why, then its written, we may not swear; therefore we must not swear; so, oppress, deceive, commit [Page 99] uncleanness, &c. because the contrary is prescribed in the Word: And yet how dare men live in those very sins against the Scriptures? Hath not the world smarted sufficiently yet, whereat to take warning? What threw Adam out of Paradise, drown'd the old World, brought such variety of Judgements upon the Jews from time to time, if not their disobedience? have there drunkards enough, swearers, prophaners of the Lords-day, Usurers, &c. been plagued, and sent to Hell already? This rebelling against the Word of God, hath made all the racket and havock in the world, and hath brought to confusion the Proudest and Mightiest: If we had not the Word, but were left to the light of nature, God might condemn us for our sins, how much more when by the Word he hath told us all his minde? Well, let us look to it, if the Word may not be a light to guide us, it will be a fire to consume us; If it be not strong enough to make us yield obedience, it will be strong enough to throw us headlong to confusion, as whereby we shall be judged at the latter day: If when God smites any one part of us with pain in extemity, we be weary of our selves, when yet we have many comforts, and many to pity us, and hope also of an end thereof, what shall their care be that are smitten and plagued in all parts of Body and Soul, there being no eye to pity them, nor hope of an end? which yet en­sueth upon the disobedience to Gods Word; Then will they fret and vex themselves, O beast that I was, that took not warning at such and such a time, &c.

2. For as many as are willing the Word should guide them,Use 2. and be it with or (in appearance) against them, are willing to be ruled, let these be of good comfort: Its a good mark of Christs sheep, they hear his voyce and follow him,Iohn 8. 47. and he is of God that heareth and obeyeth his word.

Again,Gods Word the rule of all Truth. in that its said, It is written; we note, That the Word of God is the rule of all Truth and Doctrine.

This condemneth the Papists,Use which as if the written Word of God were insufficient and imperfect, and the Prophets and Apostles either would not, or could not, or might not leave a perfect direction for us,See Isa. 8. 20. divide the word into written, and unwritten; Thereupon im­posing a great number of Traditions,Iohn 5. 39. & 20. 24. Degrees, and old received Opinions and Customs upon the people,1 Cor. 4. 6. as matters whereon to ground their Faith,2 Tim. 3. 16, 17. and binde their Conscience, as much as any of the written Word,Sadael de verbo Dei Scripto. and that upon peril of Damnation; which is a fearful Abomination.

They have indeed need of unwritten Traditions, to shore up a num­ber of points of their Religion, or else they would fal to the ground for all the written Word of God, as having no authority from thence: But what a Religion is that, which must thus be maintained without the Testimony of the Scripture? we must learn to detest all such Tra­ditions, else what a Flood-gate should we let open, to let in all Er­rors and uncertainties without end; Yea, were this granted, every dream of a Fryers brain, and any old Custom, would be imposed [Page 98] [...] [Page 99] [...] [Page 100] upon the people for a Law: Cursed be they that adde to the All-suffi­cient Word of God,Rev. 22. 18. God will adde to their plagues.

3. The Text it self, Its written; where? In Leviticus 11. 44. & 19. 2. The Word is the Rule, the written Word, the Canonical Scripture, that onely.

There are other Books called Apochrypha, The use of the Apocrypha Books, with the respect which is to be given thereto. usually joyned with the Bible, which are not Gods Word, nor of equal authority of the same, but are the writings of men, of good men, and have also good use; some part for the helping out of the story of that dark time, from Malachi to John the Baptist, and other parts for instruction in good maners, and to a godly life, and are therefore to be read of us; yet were not they written by any Prophet, are not Originally in the He­brew (as all the Old Testament is) but in the Greek; neither were re­ceived of the Jews,Rom. 3. 2. to whom were committed the Oracles of God, for which they were not blamed of our Savior Christ, as question­less, they should have been, if they had done amiss. Further, we finde no Testimony of our Savior Christ, Evangelist or Apostle, cited out of them: They have also their weaknesses and imperfections, and the best parts thereof savor of a man, and have not the majesty and weight of Gods Word; Therefore are they not sufficient where­on to ground any part of our Faith, or to say, This is true, fo [...]so its writ­ten in such a book: No, but to read them and try them, and where they consent with the Word, then say its true, not because its so there, but because the Scripture approves it; where they jar from Scripture, there are we to leave them: we must walk in a middle path wisely and soberly, as not to match them with the Word of God, so not to re­ject them, as some have done, for that they observed others mag­nifie them too much, hereby running into a contrary extremity. As nothing makes a handmaid so much despised,Simile. as when she is set in her Mistresses Chair, so long as she stands as an handmaid, all like her, and say, she becomes her place well; So when the Apocrypha is equalled with the Scripture, it is justly to be disliked, when made to serve it, of good use.

It is written,] But he tells not where, because they were so well acquainted with the Scripture, as they could straightway say, Oh, we know where it is, Its written in such a Book, such a Section.

This sheweth how cunning we should be in the Scriptures,Christians must be ready in the Scri­ptures. and eve­ry part thereof, reading them diligently, as by our selves, so with our Families; and great cause: We have a corrupt heart within us, there­fore had need have the Word dwelling in us to subdue it;Iohn 5. 29. We have plenty of duties,Col. 3. 16. therefore had need of plenty of knowledge in the Word; we shall have plenty of strong and subtile temptations from the Devil and World,Iosh. 1. 8. and therefore had need to be ready herein to resist them:Psal. 1. 3. & 119. 97, 98, 99, 101. Herein must we meditate day and night, that we may ob­serve, and do and prosper, that we may be as fruitful trees, that we may become wise in all our ways, yea, wiser then our Enemies, then our Ancients: This is unto Gods Children a storehouse of all good [Page 101] things; its Food to nourish us, Armor to defend us, a Light to guide us, an Apothecaries shop containing all things for meat and medecine for the food and health of our Soul, Purgations to purge out our sins, Cordials to comfort us, Preservatives against every poisonful tem­ptation of Satan: Herein is our Fathers Will, wherein are our Lega­cies, in every leaf and line some good.

1. This condemns the Church of Rome, Use 1. that make it a deadly sin for the people to read any part of Scripture; one of them saith, He thought it was the device of the devil that the common people should read the Sriptures, which might make all loath their Religion; for is it any thing else, but as thieves which blow out the candle that they may not be seen.

2. This condemns those amongst our selves,Use 2. that say, It was never merry world since every Plowman and Weaver could talk of the Scripture, and that the world was far more quiet before; these be no [...] led by the Spirit that Moses was,Numb. 11. 29. who wisht, That all the Lords people could prophesie, and the Apostle Paul, who often speaks of the encrease of knowledge.

3. This condemns the woful carelesness of most people,Use 3. that re­gard not to read the Scriptures, and therefore are exceedingly ignorant therein, so that if a Minister quote a place, he had need name both Chapter and Verse; nay, if it be amongst the books of the Old Testa­ment, yea, some Epistles of the New, they cannot tell whereabouts to finde them, but are often fain to turn to the Table of the Book. Rich men are so mad of the world, that they can finde no leisure, Mammon is so mighty with them, as God and his Word have no time with them: And might they not finde that in one leaf of the Bible, whereof if they could make use, it would profit them more then the whole world? Some are all for the world, out of one busi­ness into another; others can finde leisure to play at Tables, Cards, Bowls, &c. or to stand in shops two or three hours, spending the time in idle discourses, and unprofitable frothy talk, if not in hurt­ful slandering and backbiting their neighbors, and reproaching the servants of God, who yet can finde no time for the Word: Others are very cunning in their Statute Books, but not so in the Scriptures: As for the poor, because they be poor and not Book-learned, they think it concerns not them, or that God looks for any such thing at their hands; and therefore are as ignorant as if they lived in Turky, altogether without fruit (as the fig-tree whereunto our Savior came) foolish, and carryed away with every temptation, and all for that they meditate not in Gods statutes: They live ignorantly and loosly, and dye blockishly and miserably; yea, and they perish worthily, for that being offered a guide, to take them as it were by the hand, and lead them through this wilderness, this narrow unbeaten path, from all by-ways, and bring them to Heaven, yet will not entertain the same.Simil. If the King should send a Letter to any of his Subjects, and they would not vouchsafe to open it, or look therein to read it, What a contempt were this? The Scripture yet is the Lords [Page 102] Letter, sent to us to inform us of his will: O what shall the condemnation of this Land be, that having the light, love darkness better? and God having given us his Word, (which he gives not to all) we make so light account thereof, we will not bestow the search­ing of it: Nay, every toy proves sufficient to keep us from it, O wo­ful unthankfulness! How did our Forefathers make account of the Word, Job, David, they in Queen Maries time, whereof some read it by stealth in Hay-gofes, &c.

O how precious was it to them!See the Book of Martyrs. Cra threw away his Money, but kept his New Testament when he suffered Ship-wrack: Many poor Christians and dear servants of God in Spain, and elsewhere, do now read the Word of God, and other good Books with peril of their lives: O how shall they rise up against us, which may with peace and much liberty, and sundry encouragements, read and be conver­sant in the Scriptures, yet regard it not? God sends his Letter to us, we will not vouchsafe to open it: What will we regard, if we regard not the Scriptures? I tell you, God hath no greater blessing to be­stow on Mortal man: This little Book is the glory of the world, without which all the world is but a dung-hill, and if this were taken away, it were better for us not to be, then to be, for we should do nothing but grope in darkness, and be devoured of our lusts till Hell snatch us away; lets learn therefore at last to be wiser, and that whilest we may: Casting away our toys and vanities, learn we to be better acquainted with the Word, then at any time heretofore; all that be strangers to it, be strangers to true comfort: Yea, resolve we that no day shall pass us, without reading some part of Scri­pture for our instruction, else how shall we do our duties each to other? how use prosperity and adversity? how to learn either to live or dye? Here (as good housholders) we may provide store both for our selves and others.

For the words themselves, Be ye holy, for I am holy: They are taken (as ye heard) out of Leviticus; Them the Lord used to his people, whom he had chosen from all others, on whom he bestowed many outward mercies, and betrusted them with his Word, who thought they should see round about them the Gentiles abounding with idolatry, and all maner of sin, yet they must not follow them therein: But as I have set you out from all other, for my self (saith the Lord) so set your selves apart to my use, and service, and be ye holy to me, as ye observe me to be.

Hence learn, That

Where God bestows on a Land,The more the Lord bestows on any, the more he ex­pects from them. or Corner, or Town, more mer­cies then on others, he looks they should not be as other places (that have not had the same favors, but have been left to themselves) but abounding in holiness, holy as he himself is holy.

Here I might speak of this Land,Use. what God hath done for it, and what he expects at our hands, even that we should be better then any other Nation; and then, how we are so far from being more holy then others, that if any Nation have any sin, we get it from them, [Page 103] and appropriate it to our selves: What should I speak of the common sins of the times? The last Assizes, and every one shews what state we are in, what horrible incests, the daughter being with childe by her own father, and the Wife burning the childe; another ravishing his own daughter, being thereof accused by his own childe and wife; What cruel murthers? besides the common mother sins, ignorance, extream worldliness, and that overspreading canker and leprosie of this Land, the contempt of good persons: If any be more forward, careful, zealous then the common sort, he is hated, mocked, discou­raged all that may be: Not the simplest fellow in a Town, though he cannot understand one petition of the Lords Prayer, but will mock at those that be any thing toward in Religion, or forward to hear the Word, refrain from disorder, and keep the Lords Day, &c. this sin abounds most fearfully in this Land: In other Religions, which are indeed false and irreligious, look who is most zealous and for­ward, he is most reverenced and regarded; onely in the true Religion, if any be but careful to bring into use and practise, that which he hears & knows, and dare not do as others, but rather reprove them, he makes himself as a wondering stock, and is hooted as an howl, & one that shal sure be hoysed up in charges, hu [...]cht at, complained of and vexed: This sin (not repented of nor left) wil be the moth & confusion of this Land, as we may justly fear. God is every year upon us with one new pu­nishment or other, but they prevail nothing, we are as bad stil or worse: what therefore may we not look for? How sped the Israelites at last? we may fear, lest God make us as famous for judgement, as we have been for mercies; we may fear, that it shall be said of all that pass by, How is this famous nation become thus desolate? and answered, Be­cause they despised the Lord, his Gospel and servants, after many mercies bestowed upon them, to have brought them in love therewith.

Be ye holy, &c.] Some urge this exhortation and the like to esta­blish Free-will,The Popish Doctrine of free-will, hath no ground from this place but without cause: They shew not what we can, but what we should do, and what God will require of the wicked, or else condemn them, and what he will enable his servants unto, as give their endeavor thereto; to the wicked they are commandments of conviction, which God may justly require of them, because he made them able to do the same; to his servants they are not so, but with the exhortation he conveys such grace, as whereby they are enabled to do the same.

Lastly,Nor is it against the marryed estate. this place is abused by sundry, to cry down the married e­state, & to magnifie single life, but there is no holiness in the one, more then in the other;Tertull. for neither if we marry not have we the more (as the Apostle speaketh about eating) or marry have we the less,Hieron. the King­dom of God not consisting in these things:Rom. 14. 17. The benefit of the one more then the other,1 Cor. 7. 32. consists onely in this, That a single life hath free­dom from many troubles and cares, and so more liberty to every good duty,Ibid. 34▪ but this gift is given but to few; therefore rather then they should live discontentedly, he perswades them to marry: Let them therefore [Page 104] that live single, take heed they put no holiness therein, or think that thereby they please God the more, but rather let them use it well, and profit thereby, in being so much the more zealous and forward in every good work, publike and private, else that their single life will one day be a witness against them; but especially take heed of a filthy sole life, for many wanting the gift of continency, yet to avoid trou­bles, cares, and charges of marriage, and that they may live easily, proudly, and gather riches, will live singly, though impurely; Such shall one day know, that they had better been married, then here to burn with lust, and hereafter in hell for ever: Marriage is no oppo­site to holiness, but an help thereto, ordained by God in mans inno­cency for holy ends,Heb. 13. 4. Honorable amongst all men, and the bed undefiled: Hereunto if a man enter holily, and in the fear of God, beginning with prayer, then chusing for the fear of God with consent of Pa­rents, and care to know his duty, and praying for Grace to bear the crosses of marriage, he cannot but finde it holy. Thus of the Reason.

Verse 17. ‘And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of per­sons judgeth according to every mans work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear.’

HEre the Apostle proceedeth in matter not unlike the former: Be­fore he exhorted to holiness in all maner of conversation, now to pass our time in the fear of God; the same thing, but in other words, and urged with new Reasons: Or this may be the intent of the holy Ghost, to meet with a secret corruption of mans heart, placing holiness in outward observance of duties (as the Jews were much given that way) thereupon exhorting not to rest in the outward doing of them, but to do them carefully, and in the fear of God, with desire therein to glorifie God, and to do the most good: And this fear of God is a great help and fnrtherance to holiness. Herein he wills us to pass our time here in this world,Why we ought here to pass our time in fear. using three Reasons for the same; 1. From this Priviledge, that we call God Father, we must then so behave our selves as Children of such a Father, and as he may not be ashamed of us, when we so call him, saying, Callest thou me Father? away varlet, and bastard, thou art none of mine, I acknowledge thee not, neither hast thou any quality of my Childe. 2. From the nature of God, who is a Judge, and that an upright one, who will Judge every man, and that without partiality, and give him not according to the outside, but the inside of his works. 3. From the invaluable price of our Redemption, laid down in the following Verse. Speak we first of the Exhortation, then of the Reasons thereof.

Pass the time of your sojourning here in fear.] This is the Exhor­tation; and very requisite it is, to speak of the fear of God, that knowing the nature thereof, we may the better try whether it be in us; for though most men will challenge it to themselves that they love, fear, and put their trust in God, and serve him, yet alas, [Page 105] there's no such matter in them,Hereof see Dr. Taylor on Acts 10 p. 108. there belongs more to it then the world thinks, as I hope we shall see ere we part.

There be three kindes of fear;Three kindes of fear. 1. Natural, being an affection plan­ted in man at his creation,Natural. as his other affections, whereby he shuns any evil thing that comes towards him, which is not in man onely, but in all sensible creatures: This in it self is not evil, it was in Adam in his innocency,Heb. 5. 7. it was also in Christ, who was heard in that which he feared. If a man should see a beast run at him, or a man with a drawn sword, he cannot but fear; onely the excess of it is a fault, when men having promises of Gods Providence and Blessing, do not believe them, but are swallowed up of fear, are at their wits end, made unfit for any duty, or reach out their hand to any un­lawful shift or means. Jacob no doubt was afraid when he heard of Esau's coming against him, but yet his faith comforted him in his fear, and made him pray to God, and use wise and lawful means. David, when they of Ziklag were ready to stone him, feared, no doubt, but yet by faith comforted himself over it, that it did not swal­low him up, which is a thing worthy to be spoken of, because ma­ny good servants of God, are yet fearful to be alone in the dark, fearful of death, of the day Judgement: The best may be so a little, but we must take head of too much fear, being in our way, and having Gods Promises, as our Savior to Peter, when he cry­ed out,Mat. 14. 31. Save, Master, I perish, so may it be said unto us thus fearing, O ye of little Faith. 2. Slavish;Slavish. when men fear God onely in respect of his wrath and punishment, and abstain from sin, not for any ha­tred thereof; or do good, not for love, but either because Gods judgements are on them already, or hang over them, were't not for them, they would not care what they did: As a galley-Slave that rows and toils but onely for fear of the whip,Simile. and were't not for that, he would do nothing, being in the mean time so far from any love, as he could eat his heart for whom he works; or as a Trewandly Boy, that learns onely for fear of the rod, not out of any love to his Book or Master: This may be and is in the repro­bate, as in Ahab and Pharaoh, but is not that (as neither the for­mer) which is meant here.Filial. 3. Filial or son-like fear, whereby the Children of God considering his Power,See Mortons Threefold estate pag. 122. Justice and Truth, and especially his Goodness in it self, and shewed towards them, stand in a reverend awe of him, and are careful to please him, fear­ful to offend him, even chiefly for the love they bear him, yea, and would not grieve him, though they knew they should not be pu­nished for it, as having been so gracious and merciful a Father to them; as a good and gracious Childe would not willingly grieve his father, though he knew he would not cast him off, or shut him out of doors,This last often enjoyned. even because he is a loving Father unto him: This proceeds from Faith, and is that which is here meant.

Hereunto we are often exhorted,Psa. 2. 11. as may be seen by the places quoted in the margent,Eccles. 12. 13. which (howsoever abused by the Papists,2 Cor. 7. 1. who understand them of slavish fear,Phil. 2. 12. to overthrow assurance of Salvation, [Page 106] and to maintain that vile Opinion, That a true Christian may fall finally) are meant of a reverend awe of offending God, which is not onely not against Faith, but stands well with it, nay proceeds from it, yea, the more Faith, the more such fear.

This proceedeth from the consideration both of Gods greatness and goodness,Whence it proceedeth. The benefits hereof, Pro. 1. 7 whether joyntly or severally considered; to this pur­pose peruse Psal. 130. 4. Jer. 5. 22, 24. & 10. 7. Hos. 3. 5. Mat. 10. 28. Heb. 12. 28, 29.Eccles. 12. 13. This is the beginning of wisdom,Heb. 11. 7. and hereby we eschew evil,Gen. 25. as both Job, Nehemiah and Joseph: This is a spur to obedience, and the fountain thereof,Rom. 3. 18. wherewith Noah being moved, prepared the Ark,The opposites hereunto. the want of which is a floodgate to all iniquity: Hereunto there 1 are four main opposites, 1. Prophaneness, when men dare live as they 2 list, and their lust is their Law. 2. Security, when men live carnally and wretchedly, contenting themselves that they be none of the worst, they be not such and such kinde of persons, yet go on without regard either to God or his Word; The evil they abstain from, as it is not from the fear of God, so if good come in their way, they do it after their fa­shion, and evil also, as comes to hand; they dare commit sin in hope 3 of mercy, and think they shall do well enough. 3. Hypocrisie, which hath more shew of Religion, but resteth in the outward ceremonious performance of duties, and looks not to do them in the right maner, 4 and so are not guided by the fear of God in their lives. 4. Slavishness, when men fear indeed, but never, but under or in expectation of the rod; they then will flie to a book, have good words, golden promises, &c.The marks hereof. at other times they care not what they do, or at least be as before.

Contrarily the true fear of God is known by these notes; 1. To hate 1 evil, and not leave it off onely for some sinister respects. 2. Not onely gross and open evils of the hand,Prov. 8. 13. but inward corruptions of the heart, 2 as Pride, Arrogancy, Hypocrisie, Hardness, Frowardness, Wordliness of the heart, &c. spying them out, mourning for them, and striving 3 against them, as being seen to God, as well as gross sins to men. 3. All 4 evil, the evil way, every evil way. 4. Such evils as a man may go closely away withal,Gen. 39. 9. as Joseph might with uncleanness with his 5 Mistress,Neh. 5. 15. but would not, as fearing God. 5. Such as a man may carry out by strong hand,Joh. 31. 15, 21, 23. by might and authority, and no body to control him, yet dares not do it, because there's an higher who hath forbid­den 6 it. 6. It will make a man watchful to avoid evil, as the Hare hath 7 an eye to passengers as she sits. 7. It will make men avoid the occa­sions 8 of evil. 8. It is ever joyned with the fear of his Word, and as is the one in us,Isa. 50. 10. & 66. 1, 15. so is the other.

If it be thus,Use. 1. then I may too truly and plainly conclude, That there is but a little fear of God in this Land; for how few hate evil, se­cret corruptions, all evil, such as they can go cleanly away with, such as they can carry away by might and colour of Law? How many live prophanely, as if there were no God, no Law, no Judge­ment day, no reckoning to be made, but do what their lust leads them too; and that which some would not, nor durst do for a world, they make no bones of.

[Page 107] Another sort live securely and carelesly, not so bad as the former, but such as look not to God, nor set him before their eyes in their deeds.

Others perform more duties to God, but so as they regard not why, nor in what maner, but rest in the work wrought, not casting with themselves how they may do them aright, and thereby taking notice as well of their own weakness, as Satans malice.

Others slavishly fear in their misery, but in their prosperity regard nothing but their own will: These being called out, a few there be remaining that truly fear God,See B. Halls 3. epistle of his 6. Decad. for which he may justly have an hea­vy controversie with this Land, that after so many happy means, so few should be found that truly fear him, though many think they do: How few keep Gods commandments all, alway with delight? let every man examine himself carefully by these notes.

If any be loth, and would have a wider sieve, truly I can give no wider, God hath given me no wider to let Hypocrites, Prophane Persons, &c. scape through; I try you but by the Word, and by it you must be judged at the last day.

But for those that do indeed fear God,Use 2. there's abundant comfort for them,Prov 31. 30. they have that which is better then all the world;Psal 112. 1. & 128. 1. yea, Gods mouth pronounceth them blessed. Both the quoted Psalms are a storehouses of promises made to such; there are others also in Psal. 25 12, 14. & 34. 9, 10. & 84. 11. & Mal. 3. 16, 17. which are duly to be weighed: Such as fear God, need fear neither Man, Death, Devils, Hell, Day of Judgement, &c. which are indeed the terror of the world, only let them be provok'd to fear him more and more; for even of Gods children, not a few have but a small measure hereof, where­by it comes to pass, that they hate not sin so heartily in themselves and others as they should, neither are such enemies to privy corruptions, but that they break out often, and so pull many a sorrow and gripe of Conscience upon themselves, which more fear of God would have prevented: Our often falls argue too little fear, as may appear by our small zeal to duties, and our little trembling at the Word of God; therefore labor we for more,1 King. 18. 3 [...] that it may be said of us as of Obadiah, That we fear God greatly, Prov. 19. 23. that so we may be preserved from evil: Oh, this is the keeper of all vertues, holding all in good order, a watch­man indeed to look to our heart; if it be there, and temptation comes, up starts it, and says, Nay: This will keep the heart clean, hold out ill, set us on to good.

Means to attain hereunto,Means to at­tain unto the fear of God. may be these, Let us often set before our eyes our own baseness, Gods greatness, power and justice, with the effects thereof on Adam, the old world, and others; especially do we consider what God hath done for us, that so our care and resolution may grow how to please God: If this religious awe be in us, O how it will keep our lives from innumerable evils, and replenish them with all goodness, that having finished them well, we may come to the Lord in peace at our latter end: O if we did consider the unspeak­able mercies of God towards us, we should see cause enough, though [Page 108] there were no hell, yet to fear more then death it self to offend God; but because our nature is so exceeding lewd and prone to sin, its good to think often, that that God under whose power we live hates all sin, and will not let any go unpunished: What cause have we then to grow in the fear of God, that have seen his greatness and just displeasure against sin so much, every year one punishment or other? What cause have we also to fear God, that have such experiences of his goodness in 88. when he delivered us from the Spanish Armado, and after from the Gun-powder Treason, and now of late hath begun to relent towards us,A great drought, Anno 1615. and gives us some showers of rain? But alas, if we will prove our selves by the notes before mentioned, it will be evi­dent that most have not the fear of God, which is a fearful thing: As no better testimony can be given of a man then this, that he feareth God, as Job and Obadiah; so none more fearful then this, There's no fear of God before his eyes, Mal. 3. 8. none in his heart, God hath threatned to be a swift witness against such;Deut. 28. 58. 59, 65, 66, 67. and such may justly fear all things, even the tiles of their houses,Iob 15. 2. their tools, every stile they go over, every crow that flies over their heads, all creatures, from the angels to worms; they have cause to fear the bread they eat, the hair of their own face, lest it choke them, yea, the thought of their own minde, lest it turn to their ruine: And though haply they do not fear, yet they have cause so to do, epecially lest the Devil pursue them in every cor­ner, and lest God should give him commission to haunt them and theirs: They have cause to fear every thing, as Cain doubtless, that every thing would kill him: a fearful state; yet none so bold as blinde Bayard, none fear so little, as they who should fear most: well, they that fear Gods judgements least, shall feel them most.

Let them therefore labor to get out of this case, and seek to be re­conciled to God, else they shall fear him in spite of their hearts at the dreadful day, when they shall stand quaking like Belshazzar, when the Lord shall come from heaven in flaming fire, &c. when he shall come armed against them.

Pass the time] That is,God requires our whole time for his service the whole time, for he names no part of time; he will have all, as who made all, who is worthy of all, if it were more and a great deal better,Prov. 23. 17. & 28. 14. and we owe nothing to any, but to him; we owe the World, Flesh, and Devil nothing: What fruit and joy shall we have to do that which we must again undo or unsay,Luke 1. 35. and vo­mit up our sweet morsels: Is there any service to the Kings service? Can we spend our time better then in Gods? There is no part of it that God allows to spend in vanity; even our youth must be employed for God, which is the best time of all, when wit is freshest, and the me­mory best, yea, the whole man every way fittest to serve God.

1. This condemns the common sort,Use 1. which (though they minde to serve God afterward) think their youth too good, and too soon for Gods service, yea, think themselves hardly dealt with, if any perswade them to leave their tricks of youth, and turn to God; nay, they think it unseemly (so vile is the World grown) to be Religious in youth, and that its never spent in the [Page 109] kinde, except it be in Swaggering, Vanity, Ruffianlike hair, and Fa­shions, Riot company, Drinking, &c. They think its time enough to repent afterward, when they have been married a while, and they be groan somewhat ancient: Thus vile wretches dally with God, and their souls, giving the wine to the Devil, reserving the lees and Cask for God: But is thy Youth too good for God, thinkest thou? and is not too good for the Devil and thy lusts? Who is the better Master? Who pays the better wages? which is the better work? the Devils Kennel stuff, or Gods service in righteousness and holiness? that which thou must afterward unsay, and be ashamed of, or this that is pleasing to God, and Angels? Fond Youth, that promises to thy self repentance afterward, see thy folly, knowest thou that thou shalt live? canst thou boast of to morrow? hath not God cut off many as likely to live as thy self, and prevented their Repenrance? Nay, what if thou knewest thou shouldest live, hast thou power to Repent? do not many after they are grown ancient, finde as great a let of the world, as in Youth they did of their pleasures? and have become so worldly, that they have been as far from Repen [...]ance as before? and this is just with God, because they will take upon them to be carvers of his gifts at their pleasure: And what if thou knew­est thou shouldest both live and repent, yet were it not better for thee to turn to God now, then to follow thy lusts till then, and so to be long out of the service of righteousness? This were, as for one to feed on draff and Hogs meat, which might have Angels food: And besides, thou treasurest up a great deal of sorrow for thy self, and it may be, fasten some punishment upon thee, such as thou shalt never get out of in this life, though thy soul be saved: Therefore follow the Lords counsel, who knows whats best for thee. Begin betimes, come into the Lords work with the first, before the Devil hath train­ed thy wit, tongue, &c. so will it be easie to thee, and never depart from thee, and (though there be a divelish proverb, A yong Saint, an old Devil, yet) if thou be truly turned to God in thy youth, thou shalt never fall off: Contrarily, they that take liberty to be yong De­vils, in hope to be old Saints, if God snatch them away while they be such, they will never prove either yong or old Saints.

2. This condemns those that can afford no part of their time to the fear of God,Use 2. but still its too soon: They have spent their time lewd­ly and vainly, as the Prodigal, as their middle age in extreme hunt­ing for the world, and yet in old age its too soon till their death-bed: How many wicked, prophane, covetous old men are there, of fifty or sixty years, and yet as far from God as ever? They smell of the Spade, but savor not of God, nor any goodness; these be unreason­able persons, and see what truth is in the Devil: He makes men be­lieve he will hold them but a while, yet when the time is more then come, he will hold them still, not let them go; what a fearful an­swer have such men to make, that should spend all the time of their life in Gods service, and spend none? when God shall call them to an account for their time, how they have spent their youth, how their [Page 110] middle and old age, and finde that none was for himself, all for the Devil, then shall they certainly have their wages, with whom they have wrought.

3. This condemns also those that having come in late into the vineyard,Use 3. yet work lazily, do not throughly imploy themselves in this great work.

4. This may stir up Gods servants to afford God their whole time,Use 4. for that he requires: Alas, none of us have done so, but spent a great deal in vanity and lewdness, grievous to be spoken of, some more, some less; every one of us have come short of that we should have done: what then? This cannot be called back, it must be re­deemed; and seeing we came not so early to the Lords work as we should, we must now work the harder; The longer it was ere we came, the more painful we must be, and employ us the faster, and now be as earnest in goodness, as we have heretofore in vanity; we must now speak as much for God, as heretofore for Baal, and for goodness against the enemies thereof, as herefore in defence of Sin.Simile. As travellers that have loytered in their way, when they see Night approach, ride hard; so let us be as earnest, and go as far to draw men to God, as we were wont to call them to vanity; let old men that came in so late, call upon yong men, and give them counsel by their own miserable experience; and if any call us, let us go as readily and gladly, as ever we did to any pastime, and the worse we have been before, be now (as the Apostle Paul) so much the more zealous: What shall we say to those that came not in till the tenth or eleventh hour, had they not need to work night and day? as also set forward the work in others all that ever they can, calling on others, and on their Families to this end, and spending all thier affections about this? They cannot but vex to think how they have spent their youth and middle age, thereupon wishing with all thier soul, that they had spent the same in Gods service.

5. But for those that have long continued in this Christian course,Use 5. they must not now leave off, but continue therein to the end. There's no time wherein we must cast off our care, or lay away our Armor, or be off our watch: What! must ancient Christians walk in awe and fear of offending still? Alas, yea: Have they not still an evil and false heart? Will the Devil ever be at peace? Nay, he laboreth with old Christians most, that he may foil them in the end, to make them call their estate, and all they have done into question, and to shame their profession, and open their enemies mouthes: The righte­ous are but scarcely saved;1 Pet. 4. 18. all our diligence, watchfulness, care, is little enough to carry us through this evil world, wherein so many enemies lye in wait for our souls. Besides we see such famous Exam­ples as Moses and Aaron, those famous servants of God, who yet in their old age at the waters of Meribah doubted, and did not glorifie God,Num. 20. 10, 11, 12. but said, Hear ye rebels, &c. So Noah, that had seen the old world drowned, himself miraculously preserved, and been a Preacher of Righteousnes so long, in his old age was caught with Wine, and [Page 111] uncovered in his Tent: So Solomon to whom God appeared twice, and was the mirror of Wisdom, yet how fell he in his latter time? so Asa and Joash. The Devil will say of an ancient Christian, This man hath done me much hurt, hath been constant many years, and many have followed him, now if I can foil him in his old age it will be worth the while; so shall I make him call all the time past into question,Prov. 23. 17. and 28. 14. shake weak ones, make my company cry out, Look on this old professor, they are all Hypocrites: Be we therefore in the fear of the Lord all the day long, for happy is the man that feareth alway: O let ancient Christians look to themselves now a while, and anon they shall be at their journeys end! so look to thy self, that as thou hast begun and proceeded well, so you mayest shut up all well, as Abraham, Heb. 11. 39. and 13. 14 Isaac and Jacob, who dyed in the faith, and had good re­port in the Church of God.

Of your sojourning] We are here but for a little while,Doctr. not Dwel­lers, but sojourners,Christians here in this world are but Sojourners. and must away to our Countrey and Home in Heaven: Therefore we must pass this little time so as we may honor God, and so provide for our end, as that dying we may live for ever; our life is so frail, as that it cannot (as I may so speak) be set out by things frail enough:2 Cor. 5. 1. Its compared to a Tent, set up in the Morning, pulled down at Night; some booths stand two or three days, some a weak, but easily overthrown, quickly removed; so to a Vapour, a Bubble,Iam. 4. 14. a Ship under Sail, having Wind and Tide with it, an Eagle in the Aira,Iob 9. 25. Post,Psal. 10. 9. a Weavers Shuttle, a Tale that is told, a Thought, yea to nothing;Psal. 39. 5. whether we be eating, drinking, sleeping, waking, playing, &c. it continually runs on, and never stands at a stay: The swiftest things have staid, even the Sun it self at Joshua's prayer, but not Joshua's life, nor any mans: Many dye the same day they are born, some the same year, some in their youth, and even they that live longest, yet dye: We are as a Traveller that lodgeth in an Inn for a Night, as a Player comes on the Stage to play his part, longer or shorter, and comes away when its done; or as one that goes to the Market, to buy one thing, and to sell another, and then home again. Therefore we have great reason to spend the time of our sojourning here in fear, we should spend that little time in well-doing to glorifie God, do good in our places, and work out our own Savation; not havocking away our precious time, or spending it about needless things,Gal. 6. 10. as God hath given us this time, so to do the work that he hath sent us hither for: This the Apostle requireth of the Galarians, As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, where's imply­ed, that having but a little while to tarry, we are to bestir our selves: Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might (saith the Preacher) even whatsoever our duty doth any way require of us:Eccles. 9. 10. I must work the works of him that hath sent me (saith our Savior) while it is a day, Iohn. 9. 4. so must we:Psal. 90. 12. This is the effect of that prayer, Teach us so to number our days (as being few, flitting and hasting away) that we may apply our hearts to wisdom, even do a wise mans part, to know the work we came hi­ther for; see we do it, and not spend our few days in other business [Page 112] and lewdness, that we must after be ashamed of, such work as we shall never have thanks for: Seeing we are but on this Stage, to play a part and down again, it were meet we should play an honest Mans part, the Christians part, the good Magistrates, the good Ministers part, the good Husbands, the good Parents part; not a Thieves part, nor a Cousener, nor the part of an idle Person.

1. This condemns them that make the clean contrary use,Use 1. let us eat and drink, Isa. 22. 13. for to morrow we shall dye, as if they had said, the Pro­phets say, we shall be cut off and dye, let's be merry while we may: Such Epicures, that think there is neither pleasure nor pain, when they be gone hence, shall finde (though no pleasure because they have had it already, yet) that pain, and that eternal, will lay hold on them: Sowre sawce to their sweet meat.

2. This condemns the common sort,Use 2. which will not consider of the shortness of their life, though both the Scriptures and Experience preach it continually, and therefore thinking the time long, care not how they squander it away, and thereupon follow their pleasure, as drinking, riotous living, &c. even selling themselves hereto; and so (to use their own Phrase) drive away the time: Alas, they need not drive it, it runs fast enough, unless they spent it better: Others are all for the world, toiling and moiling night and day, scraping to­gether by hook and crook, and minde nothing else: Is this the work for which God sent you into this world? Is Lying, Swearing, Sabbath-breaking, Whoring, &c. any of Gods work? pointed he out any time for this? And did he set you here onely to rake for the World, to Oppress, Deceive, gripe the Poor, &c? No, but to set forth his glory, and work out your own Salvation; but this lies all undone, you never went about it, as neither to do good in your places, in the Church, Common-wealth, Town, Family, &c. where you live: Now if you have done hurt to the glory of God, your own Souls,Simile. and to others by your ill example, have you not (think you) spent your time well? A man hath two Servants, and sends them to Market to sell his Corn, do Errands, buy Provision, &c. The one, when Market begins, gets him to an Ale-house with his Companions, and there calls for beer by the yard, or by the dozen, and sits quaffing, and prating, and gaming, and thereafter hath his Harlot, thus holding on till Night, and then is the Market done: The other being a worldly fellow, pitcheth down his Masters sack, and spying good Commodities, he falls to look after them for his own gain, and buyeth what's cheapest, and most profit to be had by, and so he spends the day, wholly omitting his Masters business: Well, Market is done, and all the people gone: Being come home, their Master falls a reasoning, What, was it a good Market to day? how sold the Corn? and have ye sold it all? have you brought Pro­vision? did you the Errand to such a Man? They answer, they have not done any of those; No, saith he, what then? What have you done, Sirrah? And what you? How spent you your time? One makes answer, I went into an Ale-house to drink two or three [Page 113] pots, and good fellows came in so fast, and held me till Night, that I could not do your business: The other saith, he saw there some good Bargains and Penyworths to be had, and while he followed these for himself, Market was done ere he was aware: would not the Master hereupon pull the coats of these varlets over their ears? would he not discard them in his displeasure, yea and get them punished? yet thus for all the world do most men with God; Some hunting after their pleasures, as others after the things of this world: Well, let them that have hitherto mis-spent and lost their time, let them, I say, yet ere Night come, bethink themselves and fall to their work, and dispatch it ere Market be done, and thank God that they be yet alive: Its better to be a living Dog then a dead Lyon;Eccles. 9. 4. thank God thou hast yet an hour, and use it well. There be thousands in Hell, that if they had the whole world, would give it for one hour here upon earth, and if it were so much worth to them, its as much worth to thee, that hast lost all the hours of thy life hitherto; O therefore whilest thou hast yet an hour, bestir thee, for the night approacheth: Thou hast plaid a bad mans part hitherto, now ere thou goest off the stage, unsay that part, and tell the world it was not that part thou shouldest have plaid; now begin the honest mans part, defer not all thy work to the last, as most men do, that think when they be sick, and fear they shall dye, Oh, then they will send for a Minister, and as though we could work miracles, we must teach them in a rice the whole way to Hea­ven; and, O I pray you give me some good counsel, I sent for you to speak a few comfortable words to me, and then either the Minister daubeth with untempered morter (which is a just judgement) or if he be faithful, and begin to wade into his misery, this he thinks to be strange; Oh, I sent for you to tell me some-words of comfort, not to speak so much and such things to me. And let all good Christians be wise, let us think of our brittle state, lets ply us, and be doing all the good we can to our selves or others; and do not we put off from time to time, I will next year take up prayers more constantly, when such a business shall be over; I will be liberal hereafter, or at my death, I hope I shall do my duty in due time; O fie upon it, that a Chri­stian should say. Hereafter, and be bold to put off time, and in the mean time we dye; Oh, do all the good we should now, lest on our death­bed with grief we be forced to say, Oh, I thought to have left this sin, done that duty, &c. if I had lived a year longer, I would have put off some of my dealings that have clogg'd me, given up some of my Farms; I purposed to have got out of the Usurers books, and never take that course more; I purposed to have done more service to the Town where I live, more good then ever, and now death pre­vents me.

And if ye call on the Father] Now we come to the Reasons of the Ex­hortation,The first Rea­son of the fore­going Exhor­tation. whereof the first is, Because they call'd God Father, it was therefore meet they should walk as children in awe and reverence, and that not when and wherein they list, but in all things, for he cannot be their Father unless they be his Children. An impregnable reason, That [Page 114] they which call such an holy God Father,Doctr. should walk in fear and o­bedience as sons:Such as call God Father, must walk in fear and obe­dience as sons. No Father without sons, and the very name of Fa­ther calleth for reverence and obedience; Therefore when God would include all Superiors (to whom reverence and obedience is due) Magistrates, Ministers, Masters, Governors, &c. he calls them in one word,Exod. 20. 12. Fathers; even as he that calleth one Master, thereby pro­fesseth service and obedience, and the King his Soveraign, professeth subjection, so calling God Father, we do thereby make known our filial awe and reverence.See Mal. 1. 6.

By the name of Father (which we ascribe to our Fathers) as we ac­knowledge one to be the Author of our Being,2 Cor. 6. 18. and that we owe him obedience,What the name Father im­plyeth. so we challenge much of him, as that he should have a care of us, to preserve us, defend us, and provide for us all things need­ful, for thus do Fathers to their children, especially their dutiful ones; in like maner when we call God Father, we both ascribe so much to him, and profess to look for so much from him, as that it requireth of us to pass our time in a reverent awe of him in all things.

1. This condemns them that live wickedly,Use 1. and in their sins, and yet call God Father; they might as well say any thing: If one should fight against the King on his Enemies part, and say he were a good Subject; or say he is a mans servant, and yet doth nothing that he is bidden, but is drunken, quarrels with his fellow-servants, beats his Master children, breaks down his windows, rails upon him, should this be counted a good servant, or the other a good subject? so the Lord defies that such should call him Father, and counts it a disgrace to him to be call'd Father of such miscreants,See Psal. 50. 16 that live like bastards, that have no care to please God,Ier. 3. 3, 4. no fear of offending him,Luk. 6. 46. nor de­light to be in his presence: We should take it as a disgrace to have some base and filthy person come in a market to us, and call us father, yet this may and doth befal men, yea, good too, who have lewd children, and such be like them neither in favor nor condition: yea, there's scarce one childe like the Father, or one like another; but its nor so with God, he hath never a childe but is like him, and hath his image in him,Psal. 15. 2. ver. 15. of this 1 Iohn 3. 9. like hearted and like handed to him, innocent hands, and a pure heart, holy as he is holy, hating sin as he he doth, loving his Word, People, Righteousness, &c. as he doth, He that is born of God, sin­neth not: Those are true properties of a childe of God; yet even others have a father too, Christ hath pointed him out, Ye are of your Father the Devil, Ioh. 4. 48. and the lusts of your Father you will do: Such as care for no goodness, nor for Gods children, but are Lyars, Deceivers, Op­pressors, and the like, they are like the Devil; God is not their Fa­ther, but their Enemy, with such all the Angels and Creatures are at defiance, and wait for their destruction; all the judgements of God hang over their heads, their death will be a passage to their endless wo and misery.

Therefore never call God Father till thou change thy maners, nor look for any priviledge of a childe from him, as either protection or maintenance, no nor so much as good look: But shall I thus leave [Page 115] these? God forbid; for though we finde them children of the Devil, yet we would be glad to bring them to be Gods: Therefore humble your selves, confess your sins, as the Publican and the Prodigal, entreat and sue for Pardon, change thy behaviour, and when thou canst feel thy heart effected like a Childe, or truly desirous so to be, then call him Father: In the mean time, if thou wouldest mourn for thy sins, and labor for a contrite heart,See 2 Cor. 6. 17. and abstain from every unclean thing, thou shouldest be received, thy sins pardoned, and God would be a Fa­ther unto thee; But if thou goest on in this graceless course, as thou workest, so shall thy wages be.

2. But dost thou unfeignedly desire to fear God,Use 2. 1. In thy gene­ral calling as a Christian, to walk holily, righteously, and soberly? Fearest thou to offend God thy self, or to see him dishonored by o­thers? carest thou to please him? lovest thou to be in his presence? dost thou conscionably hear his Word, and patiently bare his Corre­ctions? 2. In thy special calling, art thou careful to glorifie God, as a Parent, Childe, Master, Servant, &c. not onely in ceasing to do evil, but in doing good, yea, and laboring to do it well? Thou mayest comfortably, and with good leave call God Father, and make account of him so to be,1 Iohn 1. 12. which is the greatest priviledge in the world; Christ is thy Brother, thou art Heir with him of all good things in this world, and Salvation in the Kingdom of Glory here­after: Angels guard thee, nay, are thy Servants; Afflictions, Cor­rections, Death no Death, but a passage to Life: O let us be per­swaded to increase more and more in this care, and every time we call God Father, we may be put in minde, and provoked to labor for the affections of dutiful Children! We can readily look that God should be a Father to us, that we want nothing, but we for our parts, can be content to be wanting in our duties many ways, we neglect this and that duty; yea, in those we perform, how cold are we, little differing from Hypocrites? how often do we break out into gross evils? how little grieved, when we offend or see others offend? for these the Lord is often driven to afflict us. As its between natural Parents and Children, we see that love descends, but seldom ascends; They look for all maintenance from their Parents, but care little how small reverence or obedience they give them; So we deal with God, our head must not ake a little, but he must presently give ease, but we can be slack enough in the performance of our parts.

Who without respect of persons, judgeth according to every man works,] Here's the second Reason,The second Reason of the foregoing Ex­hortation. He whom we call Father, is also a Judge, and that a very sharp-fighted one, that will not be carried a­way with shows, and false glosses of good works, but will look in­to the inside, and judge accordingly; If they proceed from an honest heart, he will surely reward them, if not, they shall not onely miss the reward they look for, but have, for all their gay shows, their re­ward with Hypocrites: Therefore it stands us in hand not onely to renounce evil, and to do good, but to do the same with a right affe­ction.

[Page 116] Here I might speak how God judgeth,How God doth and will judge of mens actions. and will judge mens acti­ons: as 1. In this life he approveth the ways of his Servants by his Word, and by his blessings upon them outward and inward; and disalloweth the wicked actions of the World,1. In this life. and their courses, by his Word,2. At death. and by his judgements sometimes. 2. In the end of this life, by receiving the soul of the one into glory, and by casting down the other to confusion.3. On the day of Iudgement. 3. And especially at the last day, by receiving the one into everlasting glory, and throwing the other into endless misery. Which may

1. Make us all look to our ways,Use 1. to walk in reverence and fear all our days: To this purpose peruse Ecles. 12. 13, 14. Act. 24. 16. 2 Cor. 5. 9. 2 Pet. 3. 11.

2. Be a strong bit to hold back the wicked from running on;Use 2. nay, to bring them on their faces for that which is past, that it may be here pardoned, that they meet not with all their abominations at that day: For we must all appear before the Judgement seat of Christ, 2. Cor. 5. 10. that every one may receive the things done in his body, See Rev. 1. 7. and 20. 12. according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad: Even they that have been judges of others, they that have ben quit, yea, they that have had their sentence here too, shall appear before a wise Judge that cannot be deceived, a Just one that will not be bribed, from whom they cannot flee, as being Infinite.

But because this is not the main drift of the Apostle, I pass it over the more briefly, the chief force lying in this, That God judgeth ac­cording to mans works, without respect of persons.

The person of man is taken,The person of man how taken. 1. For those outward qualities that be common to good and bad, that yet set out a man, as Birth, Wit, 1 Learning, Strength, Beauty, Wealth, &c. Now God is no respe­cter of these things, though amongst men they are much lookt after, by reason of which not a few scape their deserved punishment,Deut. 16. 19. and yet the same is prohibited of God; He forbids it in others, therefore will not himself have respect of persons.

Therefore let no man think he shall escape better by his Wealth,Use. Birth, Learning, Authority, &c. and because of them embolden himself to do that which a poor ignorant mean man may not; Gods laws be not Spiders-webs: Nay, for these a man shall scape the worse, for the greater the wages are which God gives, he requires the more work; the higher place he sets men in, he looks for the better carriage: where there's more knowledge, there must be more 2 obedience, else there must be more stripes. 2. For the outward ap­pearance of a work, the shew of Holiness, Costliness, Painfulness, Multitude, &c. and so its here; God respecteth not the out-side of a work, and the shew that it hath to the eye of the world, but look­eth to the inside,See Psal. 51. 6. & Rom. 2. 2. and respecteth with what heart its done, and from what affection it comes:Isa. 1. 15. and 58. 4. The Jews did abound in their outward works and service, yet their hands being full of blood and abomination, his own Ordinances were irksome to him,See Mic. 6. and accordingly he did reject their Humiliation, though it was extraordinary: So he re­spected [Page 117] not the sacrifice of Cain, Gen. 4. 5. though he were the first-born, nor made choyce of Eliab, 1. Sam. 16. 7. for all his outward appearance.Iohn 4. 24. God is a Spi­rit,Prov. 23. 26. and will be served with a spiritual service; My son (saith he) give me thy heart; 1 Chro. 28. 9. God seeth into the heatrs and reins, whom therefore we are to serve with a perfect heart and willing minde.

To the being of a good work,Four things required to the being of a good work. these things are required; 1. That the person be justified in Christ, and so pleasing to God. 2. That it be done in Faith, or a particular perswasion of the lawful­ness of the thing done.Gen. 4. 4. 3. It must proceed from a sanctified heart,Rom. 14. 23. else the fountain being impure, makes the sacrifice or work abomina­ble to God.1 Cor. 10. 31. 4. It must be done to a good and right end, our own dis­charge, and the good of our brethren, as inferior ends, but the main end, the glory of God.

1. Here are rejected all the works of natural and unregenerated men,Use 1. all the civil vertues in the Heathen Philosophers, their Justice, Temperance,Splendida per­cata. Liberality, Fortitude, contempt of the World, Patience, and the like, which great works of theirs were but shining sins: So the actions of such as are meerly civil, though never so fair condition­ed to the world-ward, these are in no account with God, nay their hearing, praying, Alms-giving, are abominable, till their persons please God, and be sanctified; and all such, though haply of great age, did never in thoughtword, or deed please God, trust nor then to these things: Oh, many will brag with the Pharisee of their just dealing, but resting thereon, they shall have the Pharisees reward. Many a poor man will say, I thank God I have lived honestly, followed my work, earned my living truly, no man can say, Thus and thus hast thou done amiss; but even this not done to a right end and in a right maner, is sin.

O but Christ loved the rich yong man,Object. though not yet converted.

He loved that seed or good that was in his own work,Sol. but not the person.

2. Here are rejected all works of Hereticks,Use 2. though never so cost­ly, devour, painful; as their early rising to Mass, their painful travel on Pilgrimage, their costly gifts to Religious houses: So of other na­tions, that coming into the Temples of their gods, throw them­selves down on the ground, smite themselves on the breasts, &c. of all these being done without Faith, God will say, Who required these things at your hands? The faster one runs in a wrong way, the further he is out, and the longer ere he come in.

3. Here are rejected the works of hypocrites and carnal Gospellers,Use 3. which make a profession, hear, receive the Lords Supper, joyn in outward performance of duty, but look not to themselves, their hearts remaining tainted with their lusts: Such as yet live in some sins, may go to Hell with Water of Baptism on their faces, and the Bread of the Lord in their mouthes. They care not how works be performed, but slubber them over, so they be out of their hands, they care not how; these will be paid according to their work: They make sale ware for the Lord, slight and of no substance, but this the Lord cannot abide, [Page 118] he will have it substantial: If it come not inwardly from a good heart, let the outside be what it will, its but like a painted Tomb or gilded Idol, hollow within, that cannot speak. We are here met to day to hear Gods Word, a good work, an excellent work, if all came with an upright heart, God requiring it, and that we should know his will, and in all things be ruled thereby, but few be such; but when they have heard all they can, yet do as they list, at least in part: Its true, Ahabs hypocritical repentance was rewarded with a temporal benefit, but not for love of the work, but for example to others, how well God would reward things done in truth.

4. Let this teach all Gods servants,Use 4. not onely to have a care to do duties (so can hypocrites) but to do them in a right maner: Herein lies the difficulty to bring our vile hearts to do them aright, else the doing of the duty is an easie thing, and no straight way, if that were all; but we have a wretched heart, full of inwindings and privy cor­ruptions, that cannot be seen to others when we do our duties, for even sundry of them are unknown to our selves, pride, hypocrisie, dulness, earthliness, unbelief, and the like; look therefore when we Hear, Pray, give Alms, follow our Callings, or whatsoever, that we do it well and substantially, using all skill and diligence, for we have a God with whom we deal, that looks to the inside, and hates all slightings; and he will pay well, cares not what he gives so the work be done well. Commonly men that be good husbands, will look to have their work well done; so doth the Lord, and he pays presently in hand, Peace of Conscience, Joy in the Holy Ghost, with divers outward Bles­sings, besides the inheritance reserved for us hereafter.

Verse 18. ‘Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corrupti­ble things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your Fathers;’ Verse 19. ‘But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish, and without spot.’

HEre's another main Reason of the foregoing Exhortation,The third Rea­son of the fore­going Exhor­tation. drawn from a wonderful benefit bestowed upon us, namely, Redempti­on, procured by no less price then the precious blood of Christ; Were we redeemed at such a rate, and by such a great and unspeakable price? Then we must pass the time of our sojourning here in fear.

Here consider,The parts of this verse. 1. The benefit, Redemption. 2. From what, Their vain conversation; which is set out by the Original of it, The tradition of their fathers. 3. The price whereby purchased: which is set down, first Negatively; where's shewed, what it is not, no worldly thing, such as silver and gold, described by the nature and quality, Corruptible things; then Affirmatively, where's shewed, what it is, namely, Blood, precious blood, The precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without ble­mish, and without spot.

[Page 119] Forasmuch as ye know,] Here note, Doct. That

A man may know himself to be a redeemed one,A man may know himself redeemed. he may know that there's no condemnation to him, and that he is translated from Death to Life;1 Iohn 3. 14. He may know, that he serves not sin as he was wont, but his heart is to serve the Lord, and that he walk not after the Flesh, but after the Spirit.

And doth a man know himself redeemed,Use. he must pass his time in the fear of God, and therefore in vain do such boast that they are redeemed, that live yet in their sins.

That ye were redeemed] Here note,

1. That as Mercy presupposeth Misery,Doctr. so Redemption Bondage and Slavery;Redemption presupposeth Bondage and Slavery. neither is the bondage wherein we stand, such as of Pharaoh, or the Turks, but Ten thousand times worse, even of Sin, and of the Devil; God indeed made us free in Adam, Sin nor Satan had nothing to do with us, but we all sinning in Adam, became sub­ject not onely to the Wrath and Curse of God, the first and second death, and the forerunners of both, but to sin also, and so by na­ture we can do nothing but sin, we drink sin, as a thirsty man doth water; Its as natural to us, as for the fire to burn: So fast is our will bound to the will of the Devil, that for our lives we cannot think a good thought. Now as all bondage is abhort'd of the nature of man, so the baser person one is in bondage too, the more odious it is to them that see it, and the more tedious to themselves that bear it: Now none so base in the world, as sin and the Devil, the woful enemies of God and our souls.

This should humble us all,Use. being in this woful case, and so would it do if we could be brought to believe it:Iohn 8. 33. But (as the Jews) we think we were never in bondage to any, and finding our bodies at liberty, conceive so of our souls, whereas both be in a spiritual bondage unto evil: Nay, such is our woful bondage, as we cannot believe we are in it, nor can desire to come out of it, but naturally we love and desire it, & thereupon are enemies to the means of our freedom: most think that if they may have their lusts satisfied and fetch their flings in all maner of evil, some of pleasure, some of their unconscionable dealing, &c. O its a little Heaven! O such Towns and Houses where they may thus have their wills, are the onely places! but for the Towns and Services where they may not thus lash out, but are restrained, and must be brought to the Word, Prayer, Reading, Repetition, Catechi­zing, and the like, O fie upon it, say they, Here's a Bondage, a Slavery, who would be tyed thus? If my year be our once, Ile lay a stone there, &c. This is a hard saying, who can bear it? Let us break their bands, and cast their coards from us: If this Preaching be suffered, we shall do nothing shortly, we shall not be merry, we shall have our hands bound behinde us: Thus counting Gods service, which is perfect Freedom, to be Bondage, they hold their woful Sla­very to be the onely Liberty, and therefore are not onely willing so to continue, but are against the means of their Delivery, which is a great depth of bondage: for let one be a slave to the Turks never so [Page 120] though his body be bound, yet his minde is free, he retains an earnest desire to be set at liberty: well, men must see it, and feel it, else they shall never be delivered, and if they dye in this case, they must have their wages according to the work.

2. That there is a way out of this bondage,Doct. for our parts we could finde none,There's a way whereby to come out of our bondage. we could desire none; nay, God of his infinite mercy having found it out, and prepared it, we have no desire of it: This indeed is a great and wonderful mercy; He might have been glorified in our confusion, and hath provided no remedy for the evil Angels, as he hath for us. It followeth hereupon,

1. Seeing there is away of Redemption,Use 1. that all that know not themselves delivered, must give all diligence, that they may have their part in it: Believe Gods Word that thou art now in Bondage, but abide not in it, seeing there's a way-out: will any of the Turks Slaves stay in Prison, if the door be set open, and liberty offered and proclaimed?Luke 4. 18. Christ was sent to proclaim liberty to Captives, and so doth: Do this the rather, for the redeemeth not all, most shall bear their own burthen: He prayed not for the world; All mine are thine,Iohn 17. 10. saith he to his Father, thine by Election, mine by Re­demption.

But is not he the propitiation for the sins of the whole world?Object.

This is to be understood of all Believers,1 Iohn 2. 2. of all Nations through the world,Sol. in this last age since Christ.

2. That they which know themselves delivered from so great Thraldom,Use 2. both of Death and Damnation, and of Sin also, must now serve God, and that under the hope of eternal Life: They must study how to shew their thankfulness in all dutiful obedience all the days of their life; If any were ransom'd from the Turk, doth he not count himself his that hath ransom'd him? so should we: As we have yielded our members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin, Rom. 6. 13. so must we now yield them as instruments of righteousness unto God: We have taken great pains for the world and vanity, forgot our meat and sleep, thought the time short, feared ever we should come too late, have pleaded for Baal: O lets now do so for goodness, we have spent our substance on lewd persons, & to follow our lusts, now let us spend it in the service of God, and on Gods Children! O lets not serve the Devil and sin in any point more forwardly then God! we must glo­rifie God in Body and Spirit;1 Cor. 6. 20. we must have neither Heart, Tongue, Wit, Will, Eye, Ear, but for the Lord, and all to be at his com­mand: O that we would often think of our Redemption, both from whence and to what! This would make us gather up our feet in our Masters service more roundly, and call home our ranging Wits, Wills, and parts from following our Lusts, to yield better obedience to God.

From your vain conversation,] Here whence, and from what they were delivered vain,Iam. 2. 20. that is, empty, fruitless, unprofitable, as, But wilt thou know, Psal. 33. 17. O vain man (O thou empty Cask) that Faith without Works is dead? And an Horse is a vain help: Such was the conversation [Page 121] of the Jews, both their worshipping of God, and the rest of their lives; It was empty, and therein was no substance, as a blown blad­der, that made a great show, but had no substance therein, which was also unprofitable unto them, even their conversation, I say, was vain, who were the people of God by name, and his Law, Word, and Worship amongst them. Whence note, that

Till a man be converted to God,Doctr. and the work of Regenera­tion wrought in him,The whole life of an unrege­nerate person is vain. his whole life is vain: None of his actions either please God, or profit himself; for till a mans person please God, his works cannot.

Be a man an Hundred years old, and not born again, the time is yet to come that ever he thought, spake, or did that which pleased God, or shall do himself any pleasure.

Therefore it concerns every man to try in what state he stands,Use. and to labor to prove himself a person reconciled to God, and con­verted.

Received by Tradition from your Fathers. Obs.] He turns not off the fault wholly from the Children to the Parents,Children rea­dily follow the evil example of their Pa­rents. but shews that their Pa­rents giving a bad example, they by their sinful nature were as ready to follow it; to follow their Parents, I say, which were corrupt both in their Lives, and the worship of God: Concerning the corruption of their Fathers, its to be understood, not of all, for God had his among them: Abraham was a true worshipper of God, and a sincere man in his conversation,Gen. 18. 18. and so taught he his Family, and lost not his labor: So Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, and the Prophets; In this respect the Apostle said,Acts 24. 14. I worship the God of my Fathers.

But more generally of the whole body of the Jews,Whom we are here to under­stand by Fa­thers. which was shamefully corrupted in all things: Hereupon what a stir had the Pro­phets continually with them for their idolatry, & corrupting of Gods worship in the first Table, and their unrighteousness towards men against the second:Mat. 15. 4, 5, 6, &c. and 23. 23. Afterwards it was worse with them, They cor­rupted the true and sound interpretation of the Law; They were full of Hypocrisie and Ostentation, and would set up their own Traditions, and make them equal with the Word of God;Mat. 15. 9. They taught for Doctrine (even things necessary to Salvation, and parts of Gods worship) the commandments of men: Therefore they did often quarrel with our Sa­viors Disciples, sometimes for eating with unwashen hands, as at other times, for not fasting, for plucking of ears of Corn on the Sab­bath-day, &c. Yea, they were so wicked, as they would set up their own Traditions, to the casting down of Gods Commandments, and so set themselves above God:Mat. 15. 4, 5, 6. the former was fearful, but this hor­ribly blasphemous, as by their Corban they set a Son free from any duty to his Parents: Shall not God be master of his own Worship? hath he not left his Word for a light and a rule,2 Tim. 3. 16, 17. and that most suffici­ent? must there be any thing added hereunto?

If any say,1 Sam. 15. 22. they did these things of a good minde, let him know, that to obey is better then sacrifice, and to hearken, then the fat of Rams; let such call to minde Gods justice against Nadab and Abihu: Lev. 10. 1, 2. There [Page 122] were the same Incense, the same Censers that should be offered in the same place by the right persons, onely they took strange fire, which yet could burn well: shall man make himself wiser then his maker?

This condemneth the Papists,Popish Reli­gion stands in patches. for they are nothing but inventions; almost their whole Religion stands in patches: How have they de­filed Gods Ordinances with their wicked inventions? Baptism with Salt, Cream, Spittle, Oyl, Crossing, &c? How the Supper of the Lord, by taking away the breaking of the Bread, using gay whole round Cakes, the Priests forsooth for holiness, putting the same in the peoples mouthes? (with their polluted hands they must not touch it) as if their mouthes being clean, their hands could be unclean? How by keeping away the Cup altogether? how by taking away that plain apparel which Christ and his Disciples used, and bringing in costly apparel, like that of Aaron, fitter for an Emperor? Not to speak of their Altars, Musick, Elevation, Censing, Reser­vation, Fastings, Vows, Pilgrimages, set numbers and stints of Prayers, and that upon Beads, their Penances, Indulgences, &c. one devised one thing, another another thing, those that came after not being willing to be behinde herein them that went before: Thus ceased they not, till they had filled all with trash; and then lest they should be loathed and laught at, they began to urge them more stifly, and enjoyn them under pain of great sin to be obeyed.

They also prefer their own Traditions before Gods Command­ments: Usually they count it more hainous to work on an Holy-day, or Saints-day of their own devising, then on the Lords-day: So to eat a bit of flesh on Friday, then to commit whoredom all the days of the Week: So to speak against any of their toys, when to swear or take Gods Name in vain; The one is punisht more severely, the o­ther not regarded.

Here may be also noted, That

Parents had need give their Children good example,Doct. and take heed of the contrary,Parents must give their chil­dren good ex­ample. which they will readily enough follow: The Pa­rents actions be Copies for their Children, their examples Precepts, their Precepts Oracles, to evil especially, whither their nature is prone:See 2 Kings 17. 41. David would wal'k wisely, in a perfect way, in the midst of his house;2 Chro. 22. 3. so must Parents, for in vain do they counsel their Children, if their own example be not answerable.Psal. 101. 2.

1. This condemns them that are most cruel examples to their Children,Use. 1. of Swearing, Lying, Stealing, and all Wickedness, and Cursed speaking, so of prophaning the Lords-day, railing on Gods Servants, raging in their Houses, &c. They chalk them the way to destruction, and therefore will be guilty of it.

2. Parents must be careful,Use 2. not onely not to be examples of evil unto their Families, but examples of much good; that so their Children may imitate their reverence of Gods Majesty, and his worship, their attendance on the Word upon all occasions, their con­scionable care of the Sabbath, with their daily use and exercise of Re­ligious duties.

[Page 123] Further, in that they be rebuked for thus learning of their Fathers, learn, that

Its no good rule for us to follow the examples of our Ancestors:Doctr. The Word of God is the rule,To follow the examples of our Ancestors is no sure rule. whereby we must live; the other be­ing indeed a Leaden rule: So far are we to follow them, as they fol­low Christ: Yet are not we to reject a thing simply, because it was done thus long ago, or done by the Fathers in the old time, but ra­ther being good and warrantable we are to follow it, because Anti­quity hath reverence joyned with truth; yet we must not follow a thing simply, because ancient; evil is almost as ancient in the world, as good, better a new truth (that is, truth newly revealed) then an old error.

This condemns the Papists,Use. most of them have no other reason for their Religion, but, Thus did our Forefathers; So long, and so long it hath been, and shall we be wiser then they; My Father, and my Grand­father (God rest their souls) they did thus, &c. a poor blinde rule: They walked in darkness, and so went out of the way, will you do so that have the light? Its no more a rule for Doctrine or Maners to say, Thus did our Forefathers, they were of this minde, and why am not I so to be? then if any should Swear, Rail, Lye, Curse, and say, I do but as I heard and saw my Father do; will this go for pay­ment, trow ye?

Not with corruptible things, as silver and gold,] The things whereby we are not Redeemed, are silver and gold; These he names in stead of all other worldly things,Pro. 10. 19. as which answer all, and by them Houses, Lands, yea, the most costly things, and most precious Pearls are bought.

By these men may be ransomed and redeemed out of bodily Thral­dom,Doct. but all the silver and gold in the world is insufficient to redeem even one man out of his Spiritual bondage:The things of this world are insufficient to redeem any out of his spi­ritual bondage. See Mat. 16. 26.

The Reasons hereof may be these,

1. God hath no need of any of these things, and they are his al­ready:Reas. 1. The earth is the Lords, and the fulness thereof; The gold of Ophir and Havilah, Psal. 24. 1. as are the beasts on a thousand mountains. Psal. 50. 10.

2. Our soul is an immortal and incorruptible being,Reas. 2. a Creature that had a beginning, but never shall have end: Now gold and silver are things corruptible and vanishing, therefore are not of worth or value to redeem or countervail the soul; for there must be some pro­portion between the thing bought and the price given, so is there not between the world, and the soul of a man; one soul is more ex­cellent then the whole world.

3. Sin is a transgression against an Infinite God,Reas. 3. and so deserveth an infinite punishment, a death, and that eternal and infinite: now a death must be paid, Gods justice hath set it down, no such price therefore will be taken, neither are these things infinite, all the world is not.

4. Many times even for a Trespass committed against men,Reas. 4. these things will not be taken for a recompence.Prov. 6. 35.

[Page 124] 5. These often,Reas. 5. when God sends some bodily judgement, are un­able to do men any pleasure,Pro. 11. 4. nor can at all pacifie God.Ezek. 7. 19.

6. These cannot redeem a mans bodily life,Zeph. 1. 18. and save it from death (for many would give much to procure that) nor can they prolong a mans (ones own brothers) life an hour beyond his appointed time,Reas. 6. much less can they redeem his soul.Psal. 49. 7.

7. These cannot purchase Wit,Reas. 7. Learning, Eloquence for those that want them, much less Sanctification and Grace; as also if a man were born Blinde, Lame, Deformed, they cannot purchase Sight, Strength or Beauty.

1. This condemns those gross Absurdities,Use 1. nay, Blasphemies of the Church of Rome, they by Pardons and Indulgences, sold for Mo­ney, take upon them to forgive sins; yea, they give those to houses of Gentlemen, for many years to come, perswading also, that by their Masses (which they must purchase with their Money) they shall be freed from Purgatory, and sent to Heaven: Among them, belike the rich are in a good case, they may sin freely, but the poor are in an hard taking: O cursed Blasphemy! None can forgive sins but God onely; yea, whereas all the Silver and Gold of the world can­not satisfie for one sin, yet will they set it at such and such a rate of Money: It may be said to them, as Peter said to Simon Magus, Your Money perish with you, Acts 8. 20. because you think that the gift of God (such a special gift as is the Remission of sins) may be bought with Money.

2. We must learn by any means not to hazard or sell our souls for Silver or Gold,Use 2. not for the whole world: If a man should sell his soul for the whole world, would the same price redeem it a­gain? no, not if there were ten thousand worlds: Then is it a very hard bargain to sel any commodity at such a rate, as a man would give a thousand times as much for it again, and yet must go without it; what shall I say of the common sort, which so basely esteem of their souls, that they sell them away to destruction for toys of this world: How many sell themselves to hell, some by Robbery, Bribery, Op­pression, Simony, Sacriledge, Cousenage, Lying, Swearing, &c. others for a bare living and maintenance? O poor woful Creatures! They know not what they do: They are like yong Heirs, that know not the worth of their Inheritance, and so part with all to some couzening companion for a Horse, Dog, or Hawk, nothing to the true worth of it, and then fret to think that they had such a living whereby they might have lived in good fashion all their life, and now its gone, and they have nothing, but like prophane Esau's have lost their birth-right: O if men knew the worth of their souls, they would then despise the whole world if it were offered for them,Mat. 4. 9, 10. but an Omnia Dabo pulls most of the world upon their knees to worship the Devil: Many Shop­keepers say, they would not give their lying for Forty pounds a year; but poor blinde Creatures, yong Heirs, if they gate Forty thousand pounds a year, they were great losers, for if they would give it, and as much more to it, it would not recover their souls again from Damnation thereby deserved; Oh, the soul lives for [Page 125] ever, and sin casts it into everlasting Wo and Torment: And for en­joying a few short pleasures of sin,Heb. 11. 25. shall we throw our selves into everlasting torment? Moses would not thus do, but left Pharoahs court and the delights thereof, which he could not hold without sin: O lets be wise at last, and royally set such a price on our souls, as if the Devil would say as he did to Christ, All this will I give thee, we may tell him he bids like an higler, and if he would give us seven worlds,Use 3. we would not part with our Souls.

3. We wust be more afraid of sin, then of any thing else, seeing the price is so great that must satisfie for it, even more then the loss of all that we have: If we should commit sin to save all we have, we lose; But how little account do men make of sin, whereas nothing but Christs blood can satisfie for it? If we were set to pay Twenty shil­lings for every sin we commit, how shie would we be? but consider­ing that the very greatest sum can neither take it away, nor pay for it, we ought to be the more careful; but, O Lord, men commit sin as if an half peny would satisfie for it, nay, a straw under their feet: Thus do many rap out oathes, others talk ribaldry, others lye, others rail, curse, backbite, &c. The devil thinks, nay he knows he doth us a greater spight to make us sin,Iob 1. 11. then to pluck away all that we have; see this in his dealing with Job, he desired to spoil him of his goods, Why? because he hoped thereby to bring him to blaspheme God; and its true, he doth us more mischief by bringing us to commit one sin, then by stripping us of all the estate we have: O do not that, which when done,Doctr. all the world cannot make amends for.

But what are these things?The things of this world are corruptible, vain and un­certain. what's their nature and quality? they are corruptible things, vain, uncertain, of no continuance; fire consumeth houses, water wares, death cattel, land is subject to barrenness, to bad titles, wranglings, enemies, all these outward things, sick of a consum­ption: They may hold out for a time, but at length perish; nay, our selves and our own lives as frail as any thing,2 Pet. 3. 10. a bubble, a shadow, a vapor (as we heard larely) yea,Use 1. the very heavens shall pass away.

1. Therefore be not proud of these things, alas, they be gifts of Gods left hand,Pro. 23. 5. common to the bad and good, also they have eagles wings,1 Tim. 6. 17. and are uncertain: And yet how do these things lift up mens mindes, and make them contemn their brethren? and so lordly, that they are not fit to be spoke too, froward, contentious, &c. there's lit­tle cause they should so do, but rather make them the more humble, for the more a man hath, the greater account he is to make: If of any thing, be proud of grace (yet not of that) and disdain not a poor Christian;Iames 2. 5. for though he have no wealth, yet if he have more grace then thou hast, he is the better man, I mean in the sight of God, who therefore is not to be contemned for his poverty.

2. Trust not in them,Use 2. let them not be thy strong city; hereof Job particularly acquits himself,1 Tim. 6. 17. and so should we.Prov. 10. 15.

3. Esteem of riches accordingly,Iob 31. 24. and seek them in their place: To this purpose peruse Matth. 6. 19, 20, 33.Use 3. John 2. 15, 16, 17, & 6. 27.

[Page 126] 4. This condemns the common sort,Use 4. that seek after nothing else, as if there were no other heaven, nor other end of mans being here: Multitudes seek after them by right and wrong, yea, the most unlawful and vile courses: Others not so openly evil, yet so seek these things, as regarding them more then that one thing that is needful, being so addicted hereto, that in the whole day they cannot spare one quarter of an hour for prayer in their family; so in the whole week no leisure to break off and hear a Sermon, nay, Sabbath and all, onely coming to Church (and some scarcely that) but will lose as little time as they can, for they will talk of the world till they come to the Church door, and in many places in the very Church, and as soon as they are out again, to it again: With them every little time for God and the Soul is too much, no time for the world enough; every small measure of knowledge, a shadow of any thing in that kinde is much, but much of the world seems yet small: Mammon is much beholding to them, God and their Soul but a little; therein they are wise, and have tongue enough in such things, none at all in heavenly matters, and so they bring up their children, and so match them: Thus they set the cart before the horse, and speed in their souls accordingly; yet is one dram of Faith Repentance, Knowledge, worth all the silver and gold in the world. Yea, its not onely the fault of the common sort, that they see no better things, but even of Gods children, that have the substance, and yet will be catching at the shadow; so did not Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, they dwelt in Tents, and counted them­selves Pilgrims, neither regarded Moses the pleasures of Egypt.

But with the precious blood of Christ] Here's the true price of our Redemption:Doctr. Its true,Christs blood the true price of mans Re­demption. we are redeemed by the whole course of Christs obedience, which he performed from his birth to his death; but its ascribed here particularly to his death and suffering, being the princi­pal part of his obedience,Rom. 5. 19. whereby he satisfied Gods justice for our sins (by his blood,Phil. 2. 8. is here meant, all his sufferings from his beginning, and that not onely visible from men in his body, but the inward ter­rors of God upon his Soul, yea and death it self) and no less pay­ment would serve the turn for us, for by our sin we had deserved death of body and Soul, the first and second: Therefore blood must be shed, death must be paid, else Gods justice cannot be satisfied; well, be it so, Would not then the death of some Saints have done the turn? All men are inwrapped in one and the same Condemnation, unable to help themselves, much less others: Neither could the very Angels help us, for having sinned against an infinite God, we deserved an infinite punishment, which being finite, we could never overcome; therefore it must be blood of Jesus Christ, his that was both man, that he might suffer, and as mans nature had offended, therein give satisfaction; and God, that he might make his sufferings of infinite worth and value, and that he might overcome the same; therefore it is called Precious, by reason of the hypostatical union of the Divine Nature therewith, and so was the blood of that man that was God, and so after a sort, the blood of God: Hence he is cal­led [Page 127] The Lord of life and glory, Acts 3. 15. & 20. 28. and said to have purchased the Church with his blood. No less would have served the turn, so precious is the work of our Redemption, and our estate before so miserably woful:Isa. 53. 5. This was plainly prophesied,Acts 4. 12. Other way of Redemption there was none in the world, Rev. 13. 8. neither is there Salvation in any other: He is the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world; Heb. 13. 8. & 10. 14. He is the same yesterday and to day, See Rom. 3. 25. and for ever: This was signified by the Sacrifices of the old Law,Eph. 1. 7. which were types hereof; and this indeed is an All-sufficient way:1 Pet. 2. 24. He is the surety that hath paid our debt, satisfied the creditor, and freed us,1 Iohn 1. 7. by whom we are discharged from all the wrath of God that we had deserved.Rev. 1. 5.

But how could he in so short a time dispatch that which was infinite,Object. and we should have lien under for ever?

Because he was God.Sol. It was more that he should suffer for a mo­ment, then all men and Angels for ever: As a rich man is able to pay that debt in an instant, that a poor man can never be able to winde out of; so did he that quickly, which we could never have done: There­fore let every man trust to this; if this be not a sufficient way, thou mayest say, I am content to perish; thou mayest well enough, and I with thee for company.

1. This confoundeth all other false and devised satisfactions by any other,Use 1. and sheweth the most fearful state of all that know not nor embrace Christ; as 1. The Jews that look for another Christ: 2. The Turks that trust in Mahomet, and do not acknowledge Christ; so the Pagans that are utterly ignorant of him: The Papists also that make him but half a Saviour, and adde a number of other Merits and Satis­factions, with their blasphemous Idol of the Mass, their Pilgrimages, Penances, &c. yea, not onely say they are the sufferings of the Saints, meritorious for themselves, but even to put something into the com­mon treasury to help others: These also among our selves that hope to be saved by their good meaning, good prayers, and civil life, and ei­ther do not at all look to Christ, or but to halves, being as good as not at all; So those that make God an Idol, all of mercy, and no justice, when as they are both essentially in him, and he could not be God without both, and the one is infinite in him as the other; yet by crying God mercy, they think to escape, never considering how his justice should be answered; but he should not be just, nor God, if he should let thy sins go unpunished.

2. This sheweth the fearfulness of sin,Use 2. such was our case that (as if one had committed a fault, and there were no way to scape, unless he could obtain the Kings son to dye for him) we could not but perish, unless the Son of God had dyed for us.

3. This should much grieve and humble us,Use 3. to think what our sins have done, even that they occasioned all the torment our Savior was put to: It was not Judas nor the Jews, Pilate nor the Soldiers that crucified Christ, but our sins, they being but our servants and executi­oners; How should this go to our hearts, that our lying, swearing, whoredom, pride, profaneness, &c. was the cause that put our Savior to [Page 126] [...] [Page 127] [...] [Page 128] all those indignities: Shall he be pierced, yea to the very heart, for our sins, and shall not we be pierced with grief for our own sins? Shall he shed Tears of Blood, and shall we have dry eyes? Shall he say, his soul is heavy to the death, and shall not our hearts be heavy? could we having a friend that loved us so dearly as he would take our room, to endure much for us; could we I say, stand by, and see him tortured for our cause, and look on it with dry eyes?

4. This should make us take heed of sin for the time to come,Use 4. and avoid it above all things in the world, look upon every sin in blood; no sin but hath a bloody face, when we have committed it, all the world cannot satisfie for it, it must be blood, the blood of the Son of God; one drop of which was of more worth then Ten thou­sand worlds: if it were but the blood of a man must be shed for every sin were't not fearful? but its Christ Blood, therefore how care­ful should we be? But, O Lord, How small account is made of sin! How doth the world make a May-game thereof? How do men think they can appease Gods Wrath with a broken sigh, or a Lord have mercy upon us, for we are all Sinners, or by making some counter­feit shew in their sickness, or on their death-bed? And do not the Pa­pists think that it may be done away by auricular Confession, Pe­nance, Pilgrimages, Holy-water, Popes Pardons, the saying over of so many Ave-maries, Paternosters, &c. But those that set so light by sin, are such as never knew the weight of it, nor have part in the remedy; and therefore in vain do such say, they hope to be saved by Jesus Christ, and he dyed, and shed his Blood for their sins, and yet they still live in sin: What is this but to make a light account of Christs blood?Heb. 10. 29. a treading of it under foot? an accounting of it an unholy thing? a despiting of the Spirit of grace? Yea, if even Gods Children did so weigh this unspeakable price as they should, they would be more afraid to offend then they are: This also should awaken those that know no part in their Redemption, that they have the greatest matter in the world to seek; Such should never be quiet, till they finde themselves discharged, for without this, there's no­thing but eternal destruction, they shall bear their own burthen.

5. This setteth out the unspeakable love of God and Jesus Christ,Use 5. that when we had plunged our selves into this miserable estate, and could not onely not help our selves out, but not so much as devise a way out, that he did both finde out the way, and was content to bestow his Son on us, to suffer the curse and death that we had de­served,Simile. that so we might be freed: What man would beat his Son, to spare his Servant? What man would kill his Son, to save his Enemy? What Prince would give his onely Son and Heir for a base Subject, nay, to redeem a Traytor? and that not to bondage, but to death?Iohn 3. 16. yet all this hath the Lord done; God so loved the world: O wonder­ful, that the Father did not rather suffer all the world to perish, then that his most blessed Son should suffer the least of those indignities that he indured! And was not the love of Christ infinite, that for us gave himself, and did willingly lay down his life for us, which could [Page 129] do nothing to deserve or requite it, nay, which were his very enemies? so to endure such base and cruel dealing from men, who himself was Lord of the world, and could have commanded the earth to swallow them, so to be spitted on, mocked, scourged, nailed to the cross, &c. but above all, that he would undergo his Fathers displeasures for us Rake-hells that had so provoked him.

6. And what doth this call for at our hands again,Use 6. but admiring at the infiniteness of the price, we study all our life how to walk thankfully before him, giving our Bodies, Souls, Lives and Labors to him again most zealously, faithfully serving him in all obedience, yea if he should call us to lay down our lives for his Names sake, to do it chearfully, as he did for us: we are not our own, but the Lords who hath bought us, and paid dearly for us, and so must have neither Wit nor Will,1 Cor. 6. 2 [...]. Body nor Soul, Hand nor Foot, but for him, and which we are to employ in his service. If one should redeem us with a great sum of Money,Simile. we would ever be thankful, and count our selves his; if one should give all his Substance, more; if one should give himself to serve and be bond for us, yet more; but to lay down his life for us, a Superior for inferiors, yea for enemies most of all; so far and all this hath Christ done for us, How then should this dis­solve and break our hearts to love, and cause us out of love to serve him? O woful dulness in us and unthankfulness, that can say, We have part in such a Redemption, from such a misery to such a glory, and by such a price, and yet can be ready to think every thing too much for him! How dull are we, and slow to do his service, in hear­ing the Word, Prayer, and other duties? How quickly are we weary of well doing? How think we every little time too much for him, that thought not his pains, his abasement, nay his life and heart-blood too much for us? When we have him asking us in his poor members some small refreshing, how hardly and sparingly (if at all) doth it come from us? nay, we will not part with our lusts and sinful affe­ctions at his request: Will we give our lives for him, and not our lusts? how shall we ever martyr our bodies for him, that will not martyr our affections of Pride, Envy, Covetousness, unlawful plea­sure in gaming, &c. O shall we grieve him that hath done so won­derful things for us? It was grief enough to him that he suffered al­ready, though we grieve him not again by our unthankfulness: O that we would labor to gratifie him by all means possible: To this end do we often meditate of this price, come we oft to the Sacrament, there may we see it, there eat and drink it worthily, there sprinkle it up­on our Souls, and apply it to our selves, that so an edge may be set upon our care and zeal.

7. In vain do they lay claim to the blood of Christ,Use 7. that yet live in their lust; O impudent faces and lyars that they are!

As of a Lamb without blemish and without spot.] In what re­spects Christ is compared to a Lamb. Here Christ is fur­ther described by his innocency and purity, compared therefore to a Lamb; Where allusion is made to the Lamb in the Old Testament, used in the Sacrifices, and the Paschal Lamb, which as it signified [Page 130] their own guiltiness and danger; so yet that there was help (not by their blood, but) by the Sacrifice and satisfaction of another that was signified hereby,Iohn 1. 29. namely, Christ, who is termed, The Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world: The Paschal Lamb was to be a Male without blemish, of a year old, a pure and perfect one, signify­ing the Purity, Perfection and Innocency of Christ Jesus; so he is called a Lamb,Isa. 53 7. to shew his willingness and patience in suffering both from God and men.

Our Savior Christ was innocent indeed,Isa. 53. 9. no guile found in his mouth; he was most pure and perfect in his birth, for he was conceived by the Holy Ghost, and so freed from the least touch and contagion of Original sin, which was in the Virgin his Mother; as also that mat­ter of his body was filled with all holiness that it was capable of, and likewise immediately from the first moment of the conception, united unto one person with the Godhead, the second person in Trinity: He was so in his life,Iohn 8. 46. Who could accuse him of sin?Mat. 27. 4, 24. so also in his death, for he that betrayed confessed the same, and his Judge two or three times so pronounced him;Luke 23. 41. one of the thieves also that were condemned with him, gave the like testimony of him: and it was necessary he should be innocent,See Heb. 7. 26, 27. else he could be no Mediator for us, he himself had needed a Savior.

But how could it stand with Gods Justice to punish an innocent?Object.

He being sufficient to pay our Debt,Sol. offered himself our Surety to his Father,Isa. 53. 6. who therefore could not refuse him, but imputing to him our sins,2 Cor. 5. 21. laid the punishment thereby deserved on him.

1. This sets out his love so much the more,Use 1. that being innocent, would suffer for us wicked wretches.

2. This teacheth us to imitate him,Use 2. and in all things to be inno­cent as he was (for this cause are we thrice termed Sheep and Lambs in our Saviors charge to Peter) we must walk holy in the duties of the first Table towards God,Iohn 21. 15, 16, 17. and righteously in the duties of the second towards our brethren;Eph. 5. 15. we must walk so exactly, that we may not just­ly be blamed:Iob 31. 35, 36. Be we as Job, as Zachary and Elizabeth, and as Daniel, whose enemies could finde no fault in him in respect of his outward conversation,Luke 1. 6. and therefore were fain to take another course to entrap him:Dan. 6. 5. Samuel could say,1 Sam. 12. 3. Whose Ox have I taken, &c. and though we cannot say with our Savior Christ, Who can accuse me of sin? being privy to our selves of so many corruptions and infirmities as the best of us are; yet that we may truly say, Who can accuse me of this or that gross sin? or of any infirmity that I know by my self, and both mourn not for and strive against? O its a shame that Christians should hurt others in their goods, in their names, that they should revile, cen­sure, backbite, &c. consider that there are many eyes upon us, Gods, his Angels, the Devils, both good and bad mens.

3. In that Christ being so innocent,Use 3. was yet willing to suffer and offer his blood, let us imitate him in this also; let us be patient in bear­ing troubles and persecution; we must suffer for his sake (though causlesly) chearfully and willingly, being called hereto; for its our [Page 131] honor, and we must reign with him. To suffer with Christ hath these things in it,Rom. 8. 17. To suffer as a Member of him; To suffer for his cause, and to suffer willingly as he did; we must also suffer patiently such afflictions as are of Gods immediate sending, as in like maner injuries and wrongs from men, against frowardness, hastiness, and revenge: Use we meekness and patience,Mat. 18. 15, 21. these we must follow.

If Christ were thus innocent,Object. how comes it to pass that he was called a Samaritan, a friend of Publicans and Sinners, a glutton, a wine-bibber, an enemy to Cesar, and Barabbas preferred before him?

He might be,Sol. and was innocent for all this: The holy Ghost saith not, he was never ill spoken of, for the Devil and his instru­ments will speak ill of the best persons and things, yea, of goodness it self.

Learn we then not to listen to nor believe all we hear;Obser. even Elijah will be accused for a troubler of Israel, We are not to listen to, either believe all we hear. and the yong Prophet cal­led a mad fellow, and that Micaiah never prophesied good, and that Jeremiah raves, and its not meet that he should live, Paul a pestilent fellow, Ier. 26. 20. and a mover of sedition, and now adays, the true servants of God, good Christians,Acts 24. 5. called of some Hereticks, of others Puritans, Fa­ctious, Proud, Singular, Shismaticks, worse then Papists, &c. And may they not be the good servants of God for all this? You shall have Elimas's ready to buz in yong Gentlemens and ignorant persons ears, that begin to set on to Religion, O these Puritans are the vilest per­sons in the world, even as the name of Hugenot in France was enough to help one to his death! But let such take heed, believe not all, its malice speaks: So take heed we believe not all we hear of particular Ministers, and Christians, some slandred one way, some another: Is this a new trick, or rather is it not the old course of Satan to raise up such things to hinder men, if he could, from profiting by their Mi­nisters, or set men off from the profession of Religion? Its more to be wondred that he raiseth not up ten to one; therefore never con­demn them in your hearts, till you have tryed them: Do them that equity, ere you believe it, ere you report it, ask and expect, if they have so carried themselves as they have deserved to be wel thought of before: Is it not therefore a grievous thing, that even such as profess the same truth, and that have also good things in them, hearing an ill report of their Neighbor Christian, shall be too ready to believe it, and report it to others; but I hope, saith he, it is not true, and so he tells it to another, and so it encreaseth like a Snow-ball, who should rather have stopt it, when he heard it first, and have used means to have come to the truth.

Verse 20. ‘Who verily was fore-ordained before the foundation of tbe world, but was manifest in these last times for you.’ Verse 21. ‘Who by him do believe in God that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory, that your faith and hope might be in God.’

HE proceeds to speak of Christ, as of one of whom he cannot make an end of speaking, and describes him, 1. By his Antiqui­ty. 2. By the time of his taking flesh, and the reason of it: He was fore-ordained before the foundation of the world; there's his Antiquity: He was manifest in these last times for you; there's both the time, and reason of his Manifestation. Those for whom he was manifested he describes also, 1. By their Faith in God. 2. By the means whereby they did attain thereto, namely Jesus Christ; where's shewed, both why they did for the time present, and might still also believe and hope in God; namely, because he raised him from the dead, and gave him glory, both which were for our good.

Who verily was fore-ordained before the foundation of the world,] The preventi­on of an Ob­jection. Here the Apostle prevents an Objection: He had said, they were redeem­ed from their vain conversation, which they had received from their Fathers by Christs Blood: why then belike (might they have said) our Fathers lived and dyed in their sins, and in their vain conversa­tion, or else they had some other way of being Redeemed and San­ctified, and so God had no Church in former times; yet saith the Apostle, God had his Church among the Forefathers, and such as were Redeemed, Justified, and Sanctified, as well as we, and that also by no other way then we; for Christ, though he came not in the Flesh till these last times, yet he hath been the Savior of the world from the beginning in Gods counsel, and the effic [...]cy of his death and merit: So that first he answereth what they might have doubted of their Fathers, and then shews Christs Antiquity, that they might see he was not a new way devised of late, and that after Four thousand years it came into Gods minde thus to redeem mankinde: Oh, No, saith he, it was ordained before the world, and hath been in force in all times: And this he speaks the rather, because we are ready to suspect Novelty, neither can we freely fasten our Faith upon any new devised way: He tells then, they may freely rest upon him, as being the ancient way of Salvation.

But was manifest in these last times for you.] He adds these words to stir up their hearts to more thankfulness and duty, who being so un­worthy, should yet have the vantage of all the Fathers: Christ was but promised to them, he was performed to themselves: Now its worth much thanks to have a benefit promised of God, who is so sure of his Word, and to us so unworthy, but then it deserves much more thanks when the benefit is performed.

Who was fore-ordained,] Acts. 1. & 4. [...] ordained before; The word sig­nifieth foreknown, as its elsewhere rendred, to shew that Gods fore­knowledge [Page 133] is not idle, nor separate from his Decree and Will, as some think.

Now that Christ was ordained before the World;Doctr. he was he that was foretold by the Prophets,Christ was or­dained before the world. signified by their Sacri­fices, promised to Abraham, The seed in whom all the nations of the world should be blessed; Gen. 12. 3. & 3. 15. so to Adam, The seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the Serpent; Rev. 13 8. yea, he is termed, The Lamb slain from the foun­dation of the world; Iohn 6. 27. neither is this all, He was ordained before the world: Whatsoever God brings to pass in time (as nothing,Eph. 1. 4. nor the smallest or most casual thing but comes to pass by his Providence) that he decreed beforetime; for nothing comes to pass without Gods know­ledge (for then were not he infinite in Wisdom) nor without his Will, for then were not he infinite in Power.

How could this be,Object. seeing there was no need of Christ till after the world was made, and man was the last creature that was made, and that in inno­cency; Was the remedy ordained before the malady?

The remedy was ordained before the misery;Sol. was, but not before the misery was foreknown to be: Thus was the Lords order, He be­fore all time set down this to glorifie himself: How? In the Salva­tion of some of mankinde, and condemnation of others: Well, how could he bring this to pass? he decreed to make man male and fe­male, and to make them holy; he decreed also to leave them to them­selves, that falling, he might make a way for the glorifying of his mercy and justice, which if man had continued righteous, had been stopt up; then he decreed to give his Son to redeem the vessels of mercy. Now for his decreeing of Adams fall, let it not seem strange; he did not onely foresee, but decree it, yet so, as he is altogether free from any fault thereof: God, Man and the Devil had all a hand in that action, yet man and the Devil most guilty, and the Lord most free, as may appear partly by their diverse ends that they aymed at, and partly by their maner of bringing it to pass. Their ends; God aymed to glorifie his mercy in saving some, and his justice in con­demning others; a good end: The Devils aym was to strip the Lord of any creature on earth to serve him, and to overthrow all mankinde: Adam and Eve they listened to the Devil, counting God as it were a lyar (that had threatned them when there was nothing so) and envi­ous of their good estate, therefore thought without him to thrust themselves up into his seat, and make themselves equal with him; two vile ends: for the maner also there are great odds; God effects it thus, He makes man an holy and happy creature, gives him a command­ment to exercise his obedience, gives him power to obey, useth rea­sons to have him take heed of breaking it, threatens death thereupon, onely leaves him to himself, and to the Devils temptations, yet suffi­ciently armed to resist him, onely follows him not with new grace, which he was not bound to do: Who can finde any fault in this? The Devil effects it by alluring and tempting them to do that which God forbade, and that by his vile lyes: Adam and Eve they believe the Devil, and break the Commandment of their Creator: Who can [Page 134] herein lay any thing to Gods charge, or have cause to complain? Hath the Devil? nothing done but what he perswaded to: Hath Adam and Eve? nothing done but what they voluntarily without any com­pulsion yielded unto: Have their Posterity? Neither; for 1. The godly they are restored to a better condition in Christ, then they lost in Adam. 2. The wicked they are never punished till they have justly deserved it by their own sins; therefore its without cause to complain: So is God just, Man and the Devil to be condemned.

What!Object. shall they be blamed for doing the will of God, for doing that which he had decreed?

They aymed at no such end,Sol. but to fulfil their own lusts; there­fore are they justly to be blamed.

1. This setteth out the exceeding goodness and mercy of God,Use 1. thus graciously to plot a remedy so soon, which no man could have done, God like a Father did plot and forecast for us: If we had been left without a remedy, or must have shifted for one, it had gone ill with us. Now as this should make us love the Lord for his goodness and care, so what a comfort is this to poor souls, that seeing their mi­sery, desire above all the world to be delivered out of the same; Shall these miss of it, if they seek it of God with humble heart? If the Lord had this care of his Church ere it was, will he suffer it to want any thing now, that is, if it seek it of him? Did the Lord ordain a remedy before the world was? was he so careful? and now will he not bestow this remedy on all that truly desire it? Will a Father be so provident to lay up corn and necessaries into his house, before there be need of them; and when need is, and the children call and cry for bread, will he deny it them?

2. This should marvellously provoke all to labor for their part in Christ:Use 2. Was he fore-ordained of the Father, and did he come and suffer, and shall we not lay out for him? O monstrous carelesness and unthankfulness! yet how few seek him? how few seek him aright? Few seek him as a Savior, fewer as their Lord and King, most so cold­ly as that they shall not obtain such a benefit as this.

3. This sheweth,Use 3. that as God ordained some to Salvation before the world, which was the cause of ordaining Christ, so this was most free;Ioh. 3. 16. for what could we do to move him before we were, before the world was? No, as God sent his Son into the world of his meer mercy, so he ordained him of the same.

4. If Christ were thus ordained,Use 4. then he is no new Savior, but the Lamb slain from the beginning of the world, Rev. 13. 8. by whom all the Fathers have been saved;Ioh. 8. 56. Abraham saw his day, and believed, therefore none needs doubt or fear to trust in him:Rom 9. 33. He that believeth in him shall never be confounded, nor make haste. O that the Jews and Turks would be­lieve this! but they will one day be confounded with shame, and make haste to seek another Savior, when their former shall fail them.

5. Lay for Christ,Use 5. ere thou lay a foundation for the world, let him be first sought after:Mat. 6. 33. Till we have Christ,Ioh. 6. 27. neither our persons nor [Page 135] works please God, nor have we right to the things of the world, nor any promise of blessing.

Before the foundation of the world,] Obs. As the foundation of the world was laid,The world shall not al­ways continue. so it may and shall be unlaid, and pull'd down, and that by him that laid it: The time will come, when the Elements shall melt, &c.2 Pet. 3. 10. when the earth, with all the works therein shall be consumed with fire. As all things here be frail, and of no continuance or certainty, but subject to many alterations; so the world it self, that hath worn out many generations of people, it self shall have an end, already waxeth old.

Trust not to it,Use. it will deceive all that do; Its like a great round Bowl, whereon if a man should offer to stand, it would roll away, and lay him under feet, if not break his back: Too too many break themselves with the world, onely Heaven lies foursquare.

But was manifest] He is manifested three ways;Christ how manifested. 1. By the Word and Sacraments: 2. By his coming in the flesh: 3. By his last co­ming to Judgement. Here the second is chiefly meant; for he was revealed in all Ages to our Forefathers in the Word and Sacraments,Heb. 9. 26. but yet not so evidently and clearly as in our times, in these last times, wherein he was made manifest in the flesh.

Note here,

1. The constancy and unchangeableness of the Lord,Doctr. who as he Ordained Christ before the world,God is con­stant and un­changeable. so he sent him in due time into the world: The Lord is not as man, that he should lye or repent, his purposes are unvariable, and his promises most certain and sure; he wants no power to effect his Decrees and Purposes, No length of time could make him alter or fail, neither the wretchedness of the Age that he came in, which was wofully corrupt, when even they that bare the Name of the Church were defiled in Judgement and Conversation, God notwithstanding would accomplish his purpose: So it is with every one whom he elected before the world, he will not lose one, but in time afford them effectual means for Faith and Repentance;Acts 13. 48. no length of time, no mans badness shall hinder this work. The Lord had decreed to call and make his Covenant with Abraham, and yet what was he but a blinde Idolater till God called him? What also Paul, who notwithstanding was ordained from his Mothers womb, nay, before the world, to be a special instrument in the Church?

1. This may comfort godly Parents over their children that be yet uncalled,Use. 1. they may have hope they be in the compass of Gods election, and so that God will one day have mercy on them: Oh, but they be thus and thus bad! Its grievous indeed, but that shall not hinder, if they belong to Gods election: Shall the wretchedness of man make the faith of God of none effect? nay, let God be true, and every man a lyar; wheresoever God hath any elect ones, he will finde them out and remember them.

2. It teacheth us also to be constant in all our good purposes;Use 2. Hell is full of purposes,Acts 11. 29, 30 Heaven of performances:Psal. 76. 11. How many good pur­poses [Page 136] in sickness, after the Word, before the Sacrament, &c. have we, which prove as blossoms without fruit?

2. The constancy of Gods promises they be Yea and Amen;Gods promi­ses are un­changeable. no length of time can make him break a promise (as this of sending Christ into the world) as neither the unworthiness of men: The Israelites as wretched as might be, yet they could not make him break promise with Abraham to give them Canaan; one would think he should cut them off in the mid-way, but he had respect to his Name: This was the cause that Gods Servants were always glad of a promise,Neh. 1. 9. as Nehe­miah. So are his threatnings, as that with Adam and Eve, though then there were no more upon the earth: So even with our Lord Je­sus himself, that innocent Lamb of God, yet standing as our Surety, God spared him not, but according to the threatning of death, gave him to dye; notwithstanding of his prayers and strong cryes, he abated nothing, but laid it on him to the uttermost.

1. Here's a comfort to Gods people,Use 1. finde out, apply, and hold fast the promises in all our necessities: Stand upon them, on any one one of them, as upon an unmoveable foundation; God cannot fail, who ever trusted in him and was confounded? Happy is the man that trusteth in him.

2. Let the wicked know how small account soever they make now of the Lords threatnings,Use 2. they shall finde them too true for them: And if the Lord Jesus, the innocent Son of God, the Surety, found it, shall those horrible monsters, that shake off all care of God and goodness, think to scape free, and finde his Word loose? No, though they bare themselves upon late repentance.

In these last times] Christ was not exhibited till after Four thou­sand years of the world:Obser. and why not before,Christ was then exhibit it when God de­creed that he should so be. or all this while? be­cause God decreed it to be no sooner: why decreed he it to be no sooner? because he would not: If any go yet further, and ask why he would not? this is Presumption, and curious Pride: we must not ask a reason further then the will of God, where none is revealed, God determined (as we shall see after) to bestow a greater priviledge on the last age of the world, then on the former, and who should question him for the same? This then was the time which God in his counsel had appointed,Gal. 4. 4. which is called by the Apostle, the ful­ness of time: when all time was run out that was to be before, then he came; so that he could not possibly have comed any sooner, nor tarried any longer: If we respect the Power of God simply, he could have sent him sooner, but if Gods Decree, he could come no sooner; even as Christs bones could not be broken in respect of Gods Decree, though the nature of them was as other mens, subject to be broken: Nor could Christ have lived longer in the world in respect of Gods Decree,Doctr. though he might by the course of nature and strength of body continued many years.What God hath decreed shall be in due time accom­plished.

Note we then from hence, that

What God hath decreed, as he will effect, so will he do in the due and appointed time;Acts 16. 6, 7. whomsoever he hath chosen he will call, every [Page 137] one in their time, yet after Peter writes to the Christians scattered in those places; what is this, but that the time of their calling was not yet come,Mat. 10. 5. which afterward was fulfilled? At the first sending out of the Apostles,Mat 28. 19. they were forbid to go into the way of the Gentiles, but afterwards (and that upon the forementioned ground) bid to Preach to all Nations:Rom. 11. 25. So the Jews shall be called, but when? when the fulness of the Gentiles shall be come in: Some were called into the Vineyard to work at one hour, some at another.

1. This may teach us,Use 1. being truly called, and our time come, high­ly to praise God.

2. And for those that yet be behinde,Use 2. be not out of hope, wait still, use the means, &c. and when God sends the means, hope the time is coming: who knoweth whether God hath not some Elect among the Indians that he will send means unto, which they have hitherto wanted, and so call them to the knowledge of Christ Jesus? The like may be said of particular persons: But let none hence cast off care, and say my time is not yet come wherein I shall be called, and so neglect the Word, and live badly, but let such use the means with all speed, to day, while its called to day: The longer any goeth on uncalled, its the more dangerous sign of no Election of God.

3. Here see the reason why many a good Prayer and good Enter­prize taketh not effect by and by,Use 3. but the wicked prevail, even be­cause the time is not yet come.

Further,Three diffe­rences of times. observe three differences of times, Before the Law, Un­der the Law, and After the Law, or after the manifestation of Christ: Why is this last called The last times? Why this cal­led the last time. A. They be so in comparison of former times; and these from Christ onward, are the next before the end of the world, when there shall be no more time.

God will never speak to his Church after any other maner;Obser. he will make no new Covenant,God will no otherwise re­veal his will, then he hath already done. no new Gospel, Religion, maner of Worship, Sacraments, Faith, but hath revealed all his will to us in his Son Christ Jesus, he will never alter his course; we have all that ever we may look for here on earth,Heb. 1. 1. nothing can be more clear.

This condemneth the Turks,Use. which look for their Mahomet, and the Jews which look for I know not what Messiah and Lordly Sa­vior: The Papists also, being belike ashamed of what God hath re­vealed in his Gospel, patch together an infinite number of mens inven­tions, so that their Religion is as a beggars cloak, full of pieces, of divers colours set on at divers times.

These being termed the last times,Doctr. because they be the imme­diate times before the Worlds end;We now live in the latter end of the last times. it followeth, that having been so ever since the Apostles, we live in the latter end of the last times.

1. Here's comfort to Gods people, that the last day is so near, which therefore they may wait for with patience.Use 1.

2. Terror to the wicked,Use 2. that think it will not come, because de­fer'd, and so many hundred years it hath been called the last time; but God is not slack, but patient for his Elects sake that yet are behinde: If it had come one hundred years ago, we had been prevented, [Page 138] But a thousand years are but as one day with the Lord, and it will surely come, and that too soon to the wicked, who shall feel the terror thereof.

For you] The Reason of Christs coming thus towards the end of the world,Why Christ came towards the latter end of the world. because God had appointed to do a greater favor to the last age, not but that those which went before, both knew and saw Christ, as Abraham, though afar off; So that here the Fathers are not excluded, but he was manifest for us, that we might have a fuller sight of him then the fathers; their light was but dim in comparison of ours.

How much then are we bound to God?Use. and ought we not to have more knowledge and faith, and shew more tokens of thankfulness then they? But alas, though we have the Gospel and Sacraments so clear­ly, never did iniquity more abound: Thus do we reward the Lord for his kindeness.

Who by him do believe in God] He saith, They believed, how came he to know that? he hoped so, and in charity so judged of them, as who willingly gave themselves to the profession of Christian Religi­on, and for the same did undergo persecution: Therefore I say, he hoped the more confidently of them, even as we may do of such Assem­blies as these on the week days;What we are to do, and how to carry our selves, that others may think well of us. a man may hope better of them, then of those which come by commandment (as others of Custom, not Conscience) especially considering the discouragements they meet withal, and their constancy notwithstanding; A man cannot but think they should come for Conscience, and expect better things at their hands then others; which I desire you would be careful, to declare well at home in your places and several dealings, not onely to Gods glory, your own comfort, and winning on of others, but stopping up the mouthes of the worst, that are ready to pry into, and speak all evil of the forwarder sort of professors.

By him] We cannot believe in God,Doctr. but by the Son: For 1. The Father dwelleth in the light that none can attain unto;We cannot be­lieve in God, but by the Son. How then shall we come to him of our selves, we being so poor and weak, and he of so infinite Majesty?Reas. 1. As in the Summer we cannot directly look upon the Sun shining in his full strength, but may view it in a pail of Water;2 Cor. 4. 4. so must we see the Father in the Son, who is the image of the Father,Heb. 13. and the ingraven form of his person. 2. God is infinitely just,Reas. 2. and we extreamly wicked, he a consuming fire, and we stubble; How then can we come to him, believe in him, or take comfort, but onely in and by the Lord Jesus our Mediator? who by his death hath made satisfaction to his Father,Iohn 14. 6. and covered us with his righte­ousness:Eph. 3. 12. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, none cometh to the Fa­ther but by him; Heb. 10. 19 By him we have boldness and access with confidence: Its life eternal to know the onely true God, Iohn 17. 3. but how shall that be done? onely by Jesus Christ: He therefore that would believe in God, and have comfort thereupon, must first know and believe in Christ Jesus, even know him to be for natures and offices as he is, God and man, and be­lieve in him as the onely Savior who reconcileth us to the Father.

[Page 139] 1. Therefore Jews and Turks believe not in God,Use 1. because they believe not in Christ, and know him not.

2. All are Hereticks that deny any of Christs natures or offices,Use 2. for we must believe him to be such as the Word declares him to be.

3. The Papists,Use 3. which in effect deny his Humane Nature, by stand­ing for Transubstantiation; and his offices Priestly, by their Masses, Satisfactions, Joynt-intercessions; his Prophetical, by their own Traditions; his Kingly, by making the Pope head of the Church, making Laws to binde the Conscience, to forgive sins, save, damn, &c. Therefore they cannot truly believe in God, and therefore it stands them in hand to know Christ aright, and then to believe in him.

4. This condemneth a number of ignorant creatures among us,Use 4. which will come to God, but how? by their good meanings, good prayers, good serving of God, civil life, and the like; as others which seem better taught, by their repenting, and crying God mercy: Oh, this goes for current, and in the mean time take no thought how his justice should be satisfied: These may cry their hearts out to God, and finde no mercy; they must bring Christ their Surety in their hand, and plead mercy for his sake, and his satisfaction: Such as were stung by the Fiery-Serpents, could not be otherwise healed, but by looking up upon the Brazen-Serpent, neither we otherwise accepted of God, then through Christ: Humble thou therefore thy self, confess thy sins, judge thy self, know Christ, and plead his satisfaction.

That raised him up from the dead, Obs. and gave him glory] The Father is here said to have raised up Christ,In Christs Re­surrection the whole Trinity had a hand. and yet the Son saith of himself, That he laid down his life, and took it to him again. A. Whatsoever the Father did herein, the same did the Son, and the Holy Ghost: The work is common to all.

Here I might speak, 1. Of our Saviors Resurrection, and shew how carefully all the Evangelists have recorded it, with the witnesses there­of, and how all the Apostles in their Sermons stood upon it, and how the Devil and the Jews endeavored to hinder it, and what great bene­fits ensue unto us hereby. 2. Of his Ascension, after forty days be­ing on earth,Phil. 2. 9. and how he changed his place, and vanished not, and how though absent in his Humanity, he is ever present by his Spirit, and how he is most highly advanced, and how his Godhead was not thus advanced (it was impossible) nor his manhood by it self had such a name, and such glory due to it, but that the person of Christ, God and man was advanced, and how now he makes intercession, and hath prepared a place for us; but of these I have spoken at large on the Creed.

That your faith and hope might be in God] Every one that believeth in Christ that these things belong to him,The benefits which those reap that be­lieve in Christ may boldly believe and hope in God, for all good for this life, and that which is to come, look for a full discharge of all sins, for power to rise to a new life, for a glo­rious resurrection; look also on God with boldness, by the interces­sion [Page 140] of Christ, and be assured of, expect and wait for an entrance into the same glory our Head is entred into.

Verse 22. ‘Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit, unto unfained love of the brethren; see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.’

A Good life is an inseparable companion of Faith and Hope; God having bestowed upon them the former, the Apostle would not have them to be wanting in the latter. Generally he exhorts to San­ctification, vers. 14. then particularly, first to renounce their lusts, ibid. then to embrace the contrary, Holiness, vers. 15, 16. This he divides into two parts: 1. The fear of God; which contains all parts of Piety towards God, vers. 17, 18, 19, 20, 21. 2. Love to our bre­thren; which comprehendeth all the Duties we owe to them. These two are knit in a comely order, not to be sundred.

In this verse we have an Exhortation to true and Christian love; wherein we have, 1. The ground of it, The grace of God, which they had received, namely, for that they were Justified and Sanctified; which is set out by the part purified, Their Souls: the outward means whereby, the word called Truth, which they did obey; and the in­ward worker, the Spirit. 2. The end of it, which was as to all good duties, so to true love amongst the rest; as if he had said, Seeing you are pardoned and purged to this end, that you should love purely, see that you do so. This ground is a Reason of the Exhortation; where it seemeth the Holy Ghost keeps a good order both in his Exhorta­tions and Reasons. Before he exhorted to the fear and love of God, now to the love of the Brethren: Before he had used Reasons both from the Godhead in general, vers. 15, 16. and from the first two per­sons of the Trinity; the Father, vers. 17. and the Son, vers. 18, 19. Now he useth one taken from the third person, the holy Spirit of God, who had wrought grace in them, and purified them to this end.

From the order which the holy Ghost useth, Note we two things:

1. Where there's no love nor fear of God,Doct. there can be no true Brotherly love,Where there's no love nor fear of God, there can be no true brotherly love. that being indeed the root from whence this springeth.

1. Therefore there can be no true love amongst the wicked: Drunk­ards meet together, and Pot-companionship is common, but this is no love,Use 1. its conspiracy; Love rejoyceth in good, not evil. No more is a company of Thieves and Traytors that conspire together,1 Cor. 13. 6. or many or fewer that combine against a good part, they may stick close, and hold together in evil, but this is no love; nor in those Towns where there's scarce any, or but mean teaching, where people meet twice or thrice a week to Bowls, and women to Stool-ball, or other games, thus to spend out their time, and to no good, is far from love; and yet if one speak against such things, Oh, say they, You are an [Page 141] enemy to love and friendship; and, It was as a peaceable Town till such a one came, as any other whatsoever, now there's no good-fellowship &c. But our Savior Christ saith, He came to bring no such peace in evil, but rather debate: The Devil is content with this peace, because they strengthen one another in evil; for if any good come to cross this merry prophane world, then will it be opposed: What hold is thereof their love? they go arm in arm to the Tavern, yet straight ready to stab one another, or betray each other,Iudges 9. 23. as Joab did Abner, and it was between the men of Sechem and Abimelech; if they be once out at deadly defiance, its seldom for­given, never forgotten.

2. Nor can the wicked love the children of God truly;Use 2. they may be convinced in their conscience (as Saul) that they be the Servants of God, innocent men, and God may encline their hearts to favor them, as Cyrus to set the people at liberty to return and build (For if a mans ways please God, Prov. 16. 7. his very enemies shall be at peace with them) and Ahasue­rus and Artaxerxes favored Ezra and Nehemiah; yea, as God kept Daniel among the Lyons, so he can and doth keep his children among the wicked; and as he made the Ravens bring Elijah meat, so he can make even the wicked instruments for his childrens good, but love them they cannot: They may do a man outwardly some good (and not amiss to take it) but to do it aright they cannot, as neither to pray, or do any other duty; and what hold of their favor? If they cry Hosanna now, within a while they will cry Crucifie him; as those of Ly­stra would have sacrified to Paul and Barnabas as gods,Acts 14. 15, 16, 19. but by and by upon a lying report of some, stoned them; and as Herod reverenced John the Baptist, yet at the perswasion of Herodias her Daughter, cut off his head: Judas betrayed Christ, and David complained that it was his familiar friend that did him the greatest hurt. If some great body shall say to them, I perceive or hear you are a great favorer of Puritans, they are gone, and hide their heads: if the multitude go the other way, or it be any thing dangerous, when there's most need of them, they are gone.

2. Upon this coupling of these two together,Doct. Note further, that Wheresoever there's the true fear and love of God,Where there's the true fear or love of God, there's also brotherly love. there will be also love towards our Brethren.

1. Therefore they that declare no love, but that they are void of all bowels of compassion,1 Ioh. 1. being all for themselves, are also void of the love of God.1 Ioh. 4. 12.

2. They also that malign,Use 1. mock and persecute the better sort, no worse brand of such that they have in them not the least dram of the love of God:Use 2. He that loveth him that begetteth, 1 Ioh. 5. 1. loveth also him that is begotten; Psal. 15. 4. and they that love God, make much of them that fear the Lord,Psal. 16. 3. having all their delight in such: The contrary is a black mark, and as bad as may be, as bad a brand as any can bear; as hereby we may know that we are translated from death unto life,1 Ioh. 3. 14. so by the con­trary, that we are yet under darkness.

3. They that are contentious,Use 3. giving or embracing every trifling [Page 142] occasion conducing hereto, and can fret, and fall out, and live in en­mity, and that day after day, week after week, moneth after moneth; let these suspect themselves, either the love of God hath no place in them, or else its in a very small measure, and their corruption over­grows the same.

Having purified your souls] These words are the Ground and Rea­son of the Exhortation; namely, That forasmuch as they were Justi­fied and Sanctified by the Spirit of God to the exercise of all good duties, and so of love, that they would do that for which they had this cost bestowed upon them.

This presupposing a former impurity,Obser. notes the uncleanness that is in Soul and Body:There's un­cleanness in us, both in Soul and Body They were created pure, but are now defiled in the sight of God, and that with sin, which God who is of pure eyes cannot abide; we are guilty of Adams sin, born in Original sin, therewith tainted throughout, so with infinite actual sins: Not only are our eyes full of adultery, our feet swift to shed blood, our mouthes full of cursing, &c. but our very souls defiled, and every faculty thereof,Gen. 6. 5. the thoughts of our heart being onely evil continually, thereout proceeding Murthers,Matth. 15. Adulteries, &c. whereby we are de­filed:Isa. 1. 16. This is implyed in that of the Prophet, Cease to do evil, learn to do well: Iam. 4. 8. and that of Saint James, Cleanse your hands ye sinners, and pu­rifie your hearts ye double minded: Rev. 3. 17, 18. We are not without filthy nakedness, we are so corrupt, that our nature taints all our actions be they never so good in themselves, yea, the best and most holy of Gods Ordi­nances, the Word, Sacraments and Prayer, making them abominable in the sight of God: So impure that we cannot cleanse our selves, nay, nor desire it, conceiving that even our uncleanness is purity, and be­comes us well: So as all the water in the Seas, all the help of Men and Angels cannot help us; it must be the mighty work of God alone, as the very water in Baptism teacheth us.

This should humble us,Use. and make us desire speedily to be cleansed, which is by the Blood of Christ Jesus from sin past, and from the taint of nature by the Spirit of Sanctification: But how few are thus affected? how few take knowledge of their uncleanness, and that sin doth so defile them? 1. There are even open prophane ones, which yet seek no washing, but refuse it, yea, think themselves clean enough, yea, hate them that wallow not in the mire as themselves, thinking strange to see any cleanse themselves by the Word and Prayer, yea, think them strange that will not go on in their filthiness, by compa­nying and joyning with them. 2. Civil persons can see no such thing, therefore few of them are cleansed, because few finde themselves leprous, and desire to be cleansed; let such take knowledge of their un­cleanness,Iohn 3. 5. yea, let the civilest know, that if they be not born again of water and the holy Ghost, they cannot see the Kingdom of God: Seek therefore to be purged in time,Mat. 5. 8. that you may please God, and see him, for without holiness none shall see him:Heb. 12. 14. He onely that hath innocent hands,Psal. 15. 2. and a pure heart, shall enter into his Tabernacle; else person, [Page 143] service, and all, is loathsom to God, and what should such a man do living? And the servants of God that are in some measure purged, must desire to be more purged of these evils that cleave to them,Obs. and prevail so much over them,Where there's sanctification of the soul, there's also sanctification of the body. and defile even their best duties.

Your souls] Hereby he means the whole man, both Body and Soul, for God sanctifieth throughout, and there the body is Sanctified, where there's Sanctification of the Soul, as from which comes the Sanctification of the Body.

In obeying the truth] The Word of God is the outward instrument of our cleansing:Doct. Thus were Zacheus, Mary Magdalene and the Goaler;The Word of God is the outward in­strument of our cleansing. thus also are we sanctified. The Law pulling down, the Gospel by degrees lifts up, working an high prizing of the remedy, vehement longing after it,Ioh. 15. 3. & 17. 17. at last some perswasion which Faith unites to Christ, whereby guiltiness and sin is pardoned in Christs death, and corruption being taken away, the grace of Sanctification is given, which Faith sucketh from Christ the fountain of life; so that as he that is out of Christ can do no good,Iohn 15. 5. so united to him, we receive sanctifying grace;Acts 15. 9. therefore Faith is said to purifie the heart, namely, by uniting us to Christ, and the Word is the instrument to work Faith: Besides, the Word purgeth thus, not onely setting before us as in a glass all our faults, and what we should do, but it worketh in us care and conscience to be obedient.

1. Therefore thank God for the Word,Use 1. the instrument of purging: Where it is not, all lie in the mire; O how we should desire the free passage of it!

2. If we see our children and servants defiled,Use 2. we must bring them to the Word, and pray and wait thereon.

3. For our selves,Use 3. we are to try, whether it hath been effectual to wash us, both heart and hand, if yea, then there's comfort, it hath obtain­ed the right end; if not, but that we remain in our filthiness, or in any part of it willingly, its a fearful sign: Many have been cleansed by it, what hath it purged us of? Hath it washed our mouthes from swearing, lying? our hands from wrong? our eyes from wanton­ness? our hearts from the love of all sin, our master sin, especially as Zacheus?

They obeying the Word, their Souls and bodies were purged thereby,1 Sam. 15. 22. else they could not: This is better then Sacrifice, and disobe­dience is that which the Lord cannot away withal,Ier. 25. 12, 1 [...]. but will grievously punish.2 Thess. 1. 8. All the stir is about obeying the truth, for men can be con­tent to hear,1 Pet. 4. 17. but to obey is death; O how would the Word purifie men, if they would obey it! its just with God to take away the Truth from us, because we obey it not.

Truth] The Word is called Truth,Why the Word is called Truth not true onely, but Truth, the Truth,Iohn 17. 17. nothing but Truth, and in matters of God and our Salvation, all the Truth,Iames 1. 18. the rule of Truth.

1. Then Traditions contrary to this,Use 1. are lyes, and whatsoever else.

2. Its Blasphemy to speak against this Truth,Use 2. or any part of it.

[Page 144] 3. Let Gods poor people get the Word on their sides,Use 3. humble per­sons get a promise, and stay upon it against all contrary temptations: They are lyes, the Word is the truth; yet they suffer themselves to be more carried away with a temptation of Satan, or that riseth of their own unbelief, then they are comforted by three or four plain promises of Gods Word.

4. Let the wicked that make such slight account of Gods threat­nings,Use 4. know,Heb. 13. 4. that they shall prove all too true for them; they shall not be held guiltless: and they go in danger of all Gods wrath and curses every hour, and hang over the pit of Hell, &c. These things move not, but the Word ought to make their hearts ake and tremble, as who shall one day finde whose word shall stand, theirs or the Lords.

Through the Spirit, Doct.] The inward worker is the Spirit, without which all will be in vain.The Spirit is the inward worker of Sanctification. Its the Spirit that worketh all from first to last, opens the understanding, works Faith, and then conveys power from Christ, to dye to sin, and live to righteousness; without him we shall have but binde eyes,Acts 11. 21. and 16. 14. ears stopt, no hearing ears: he opened the heart of Lydia.

We must not then trust to our selves,Use. or our wit, learning and parts, but acknowledge the very best thing in us, the wisdom of the flesh, to be enmity against God: Nor must we trust to any Preacher in the world,Rom. 8. 7. for its God onely that giveth the encrease; but ever come in humility,1 Cor. 3. 6, 7. calling upon God, both on our own and the Preachers behalf, that God would give us his Spirit to make all effectual, that through him we may understand, believe and obey.

Unto unfained love of the brethren;] Hence note,

1. That till a man be cleansed by the Spirit of Sanctification,Obs. he is not fit to do any good,Till we be cleansed by the Spirit, we are unfit for any duty. no not for love; for the heart must first be emptied of the love of all evil, ere the love of any good can take place: The garden must be rid of weeds and stones, ere we sow and plant.

For those therefore that declare by their loosness,Use. that there re­maineth the love of some lust in them, its as sure as God is in heaven, for all the countenance they make of Religion, and shew of profes­sion, and good things, there is not any dram of true grace in them, and all the seeming good things they do, are in hypocrisie, and to no purpose; for the love of evil, and of good, cannot be at one time in one heart. O look to it, will you lose all your comfort here, and all your labor, yea Heaven it self, for some one sin?

2. The end of our Sanctification is to be fruitful in good works,Obs. and to set upon good duties.The end of our Sanctifica­tion is to be fruitful in good works.

Such therefore as profess themselves to be Sanctified, must be more fruitful.

Touching the grace here exhorted unto,Eph. 2. 20. speak we both in general and particular:Iam. 1. 18. In general; where consider,

1. What Love is.Use. Its a Sanctified affection of the heart, where­with whoso is endued,What Love is. endeavoreth to do all the good he can to all, but especially to them that be nearest unto him. Its an affection seated [Page 145] (as is said) in the heart, as the others of Hope, Fear, Joy, Grief, &c. are. They were all good and well ordered in Adam, but ever since his fall wofully corrupted, and utterly disordered and perverted; as this of love is turned either into an hatred of that we should love, or into self-love.

Its a Sanctified Affection: For ere a man can love, he must be Rege­nerate and Sanctified throughout, which comes by being united to Christ by Faith, whereby our affections are in some measure purged and restored to their former integrity, as to hate evil, and love good, God,Gal. 5. 22. and our Brethren for Gods cause: Love is a fruit of the Spirit, and must come from a pure Heart,1 Tim. 1. 5. good Conscience, and Faith un­fained, and therefore cannot be in an unregenerate person; there may be indeed a shew and shadow of it, but thats no true love: They do not love one another, neither possibly can love the people of God.See Psal. 41. 9. & 55. 13. There's no trust in them, they do but watch their opportunity when to do them mischief:Mat. 10. 21. O the wretched condition of such! how needful wert for them to be wearied thereof? And for the people of God, they must not trust them, or too much open themselves to them: He onely that fears God is to be trusted, he dares not deceive.

Wherewith whoso is endued, endeavoreth: Though love be in the heart, yet it must and will shew it self forth in the Life,See 1 Ioh. 3. [...]7. Words, and Deeds, to Soul and Body, else its like the love of bad men to God, who yet keep not his commandments;Iames 2. 14, 15, 16. or like the worldlings Faith which is without Works.

To do good: For its the nature of love, it can do no hurt, but what good it can it will do, to Soul and Body; and wheresoever any true good is done to Soul or Body,Rom. 13. 10. Goods or Name, there was love, love did it.

To all: For though brotherly kindeness be to the people of God, yet love reacheth to all, whether near or far off, to Strangers, Ene­mies, such as are not yet called, under the Turk, Pope, Pagans, &c. for whom we are to pray, and to do them all the good we can, with the pitiful Samaritan.Luke 10. 34.

But especially to them that be nearest: So God gives leave, nay, com­mands that our love begin at our selves and ours, and so go on for­ward to them that be nearest by nature: [...] Tim. 5. 4, 8, 16. Therefore they that prefer Strangers before Kinsmen, and Kinsmen before Children, are blame­worthy, and to bestow upon any, to the undoing of ones Family, is not love but folly: as in them which wil spend in lewd company, their Wives and Children at home being in want. So must it be to them that [...]e nearest by grace:Gal. 6. 10. This is often commanded, and highly also commended in the Scriptures:Rom. 12. 10. and 13. 8. This is the bond of perfection, It bindes up all the duties that we owe to our Neighbor,Col. 3. 14. which are ma­ny, holds them together as the bond of a Fagot, and makes every du­ty easie, as where this is not every duty is irksome, nothing comes well off hand; It ties Societies together and Families: O how it keeps out evil, how it sets up good! By it small things have become [Page 146] great, and for want of it great things have come to nothing: Its the fulfilling of the Law,Rom. 13. 8. Its a most beneficial vertue; other vertues be­nefit our selves,Gal. 5. 13, 14. but this doth good to others:Psal. 133. Faith draws all from Christ to us, Love lays out it self for others good, as the Sun that hath no light for it self; other vertues be like the Bung of a Barrel, Love like the Tap that sets it abroach to the benefit of them that need. If a man be as full of gifts as a Tun of Liquor, if he have no Tap, others may starve;1 Cor. 13. 1, 2. so for Temporal things: without this all gifts are nothing, but as sounding Brass. We are not born for our selves, but the perfection of all we have is to employ: This is the lasting ver­tue, which (when others, as Faith and Hope, shall end) shall spring afresh, abound, and abide for ever; that vertue that makes us like to God, for he is Love, and doth good to all, even his enemies, though he have a special affection to his Children: O that I could paint out the face of this lovely vertue, that every one of us might grow in love therewith!

2. The properties thereof,The properties of love. whereby we may try whether it be in us, and in what measure. They are laid down by the Apostle unto the Corinthians, 1 Cor. 13. 4. Charity suffereth long, and is kinde; Charity envyeth not; Charity vaunteth not it self, is not puffed up, doth not behave it self 1 unseemly, &c. Take we notice of a few of them; 1. Love will inter­pret things doubtful to the best; (that is, speeches or actions of men towards our selves or others) and if they may be taken well, will not take them ill: Our nature is to take every thing in the worst part, Love doth otherwise; the Mother saith a pin pricks the Childe, or it breeds teeth, when it may be its of frowardnes that it cryes. Thus Josephs Bre­thren sold him spitefully into Egypt, afterward when by reason thereof they were afraid, what construction made he thereof? God (saith he) did send me before you to preserve life. Gen. 45. 5. If a thing be plainly evil, yet it will make it no worse then it is, nor say it was done deliberately, when it may be it was done rashly; or maliciously, when it may be it was done weakly and in temptation; for one may do injury to a bad acti­on, in making it worse, and its better to judge a little better of a thing, then worse then it is: Always provided this be understood, not of palpable, notorious, foul evils, nor of continued courses in sinning; for what good or charitable construction can a man make of these? Therefore such say foolishly, when being informed hereof, they Re­ply, Oh, ye must not judge; what can be judged of this case, but onely that there may be Repentance? Its a fault in Ministers and others that will extenuate foul sins in bad persons and wicked livers, 2 in the mean time aggravating a Professors oversight. 2. It will de­part from its own,Mat. 17. 27. rather then break love, as give way in conference, and yield,Gen. 13. 8. though we know we have the truth, so it be in small mat­ters; after offences yield, and sometimes seek Reconciliation, though it were meet the other should seek to us; for why? it more prizeth and esteemeth love,See M. Perkins Christian E­quity. then small matters: It will lay down the buck­lers, go on the lower ground, yield the way or the wal, when there's no 3 reason for it. 3. It doth no hurt; its against the nature thereof so to do, [Page 147] whether in life,Rom. 13. 10. chastity, goods, and good name: See it in God, a perfect patern of love, He doth all good (no hurt) to his Children: It provokes not, but strives by all means to please all as far as may be with a good conscience; it seeks not its own things, but others as well. 4. Its not easily provoked, but forbears, forgives, puts up, &c. It wil 4 cover natural infirmities,See Mr. Per­kins cases of Cons. such things as be weaknesses in our brethren, natural defects, not done of set purpose, or breaking out into extre­mities:1. 3. cap. 3. pag. 135. As some be a little too quick, some a little too slow; some seeing a fault are too ready to speak,1 Cor. 13. 5. some a little too slow to speak or reprove; some a little too fine, earnest, negligent, merry, solemn, others a little too homely and plain, remiss, sad, sullen, &c. If they were not so much on either hand it were better: These love will cover, or nothing; love will not stand upon them, rebuke or reproach them, it will not deal hardly with them for these things, but wisely bear them: Thus will a loving husband bear with his wife, that fears God, though haply somewhat quick, and curst, haply not so cleanly, or provident altogether as were to be desired: So a wife with her husband, though haply not so affable, or whose nature will not suf­fer him to use such complements to his wife as some can with faci­lity: So if a servant be very trusty and careful to please, onely some­what slow, the Master must not hereupon rebuke him too oft, too openly, too sharply, sometime lovingly in private he may: So a Neighbor confers with a Neighbor, and the one is a little too quick; love will not see it, but consider its a natural infirmity, its not much out of the way, though somewhat it is; love will not exasperate him, or answer him tartly, but go on friendly, in a maner not so much as taking notice thereof: Love will also cover and put up wrongs done unto it, not seeing small ones, but forgiving, and putting them up, saying, Thus ought I to do, he is a man, I am also subject to offend my Neighbor, and would be forgiven, and stand also in need that others should pardon me: And as a Christian I must do, For I sin daily against God,Mat. 6. 12. and so crave to be forgiven of him, as I for­give others: If they be greater matters, yet love will easily accept of any indifferent conditions of agreement, and that unto Seventy se­ven times: If they be so great, that without great prejudice to our estate and reputation they cannot be passed by, then its lawful to have recourse unto the Magistrate, and use the benefit of the Law; but so as there be no malice, and the revenge be not in any case sought after.Two Caveats to be observed of them that for redres­sing of wrongs make use of the Magistrate. Herein two Caveats must be observed, It must not be for trifles (which ought rather to be forgiven) and it must be the last remedy, when all other ways of more peaceable and quiet a­greement have been tried, as the cutting off of an arm or leg, when no ways else will help: Hereto belongeth also, that love covers folks faults from the World,1 Cor. 6. 7. except it hath cause and calling to speak thereof, commonly it speaks of their vertues: The contrary is most wofully common, little of mens vertues, except a word or two to make way to speak of their faults, and these we de­light [Page 148] to be much in;Simile. As the Crow that likes the Carrion, and the Hog that delights in mire, rather then to lie on the green grass, or the Flie, that is more on a galled or sore place of a Horse, then on his whole body, or one that passing by sweet flowers in a garden, gathers 5 Hemlock onely. 5. Its bountiful, beneficial and helpful, not having that to it self which it hath, but ready to distribute and communicate to the good of others, whether they be gifts Spiritual or Tempo­ral. Spiritual; for love begins at the Soul, and doth good to that first, whether of our Children, Servants or Neighbors: Love taketh to heart their Spiritual wants, giving counsel to the ignorant & doubt­ful, comfort to the afflicted, admonition to them that be out of the way, exhortation to them that be in the way, and especially if they begin to slack,Mat. 5. 42. adding prayer for all. Temporal; It will give to the poorest that are to be helpt by alms,Deut. 15. 10. as it is able; it will give in great­er measure on solemn times,Acts 4. 37. yea of the main stock in persecution or hard times; it will give cheerfully, and such God loves; it will also give quickly,2 Cor. 9. 7. that is to give twice; it will also lend to them that be a degree above the poorest,Prov. 3. 28. which having a Trade, Skill and will to follow their Trade, onely want a stock to employ themselves and theirs: These a man is as much bound in conscience to lend unto, ac­cording to their ability, and honestly to pay again, as to give a piece of bread, or a peny to a poor miserable creature; by this help many have lived in good sort, and brought up their Families. To the weal­thy that have no need of us, yet we must be neighborly and friendly, communicating in kindenesses with them, inviting them also some­times to us, and going to them being invited; so we must visit them in their sickness and heaviness, and comfort them in the best maner we can.

Now love being such a thing,Obs. and these being the properties there­of,There's little love in the world. if we try the world by the same, we must needs conclude, that there's little love in the world. 1. Who takes not things in the worst part, hardly construing mens words and actions? the doubtful ones (haply not bad) they judge to be evil; those that be evil indeed, they make far worse then they are:1 Sam. [...]. 14. Thus did Ely judge amiss of Hannah, when her lips onely moved; & the Jews with our Savior Christ, when he said,Iohn 2. 20. Destroy this Temple: this is the cause of innumerable con­tentions and breaches among men. 2. For departing from right, who doth it? who stands not out stifly to the uttermost? This is an usual speech, Its my right, and I will have it, I ask no more but my right, and that I will not lose; this is thought but reasonable, and he is thought but an honest man that will have but his right, but its an ill speech and resolution, whether it be in conference: If a man know he hath the truth (though it be but in small matters) yet he will hold it out, though the other be never so peremptory, till in conclusion, they fall flat out, this is nought; in small matters it were better to yield: so in Dealings, Covenants, Bargains, Bonds, men will have their right; herein right may be extream wrong, always provided that we give not away anothers right,Exod. 10. 9. especially Gods: Moses would not yield an [Page 149] hoof; yet most men are stiff in their own, will yield enough of Gods right; as they will not suffer their Servants to play one hour in the week day, but for the Lords day, they will suffer them therein to play as much as they will. 3. Whereas love does no hurt to any, Whence comes all the hurt and mischief in the world? Stabbing, Fighting, Quarrelling, Railing, Reviling, Scolding, Crying, all the defiling of mens Wives, Children, Servants? So for Oppression, Bribery, Thie­very, Cousenage, false Weights, deceitful Wares? So Slander­ing, Defaming, Backbiting, Mocking? All these abound in the World: I am sure they come not of Love, it was never at the doing of them, and those that will so readily provoke one another by words and deeds they care not how, are far enough from love. 4. For being provoked, O Lord be merciful to us, who can bear any thing, but taunt for taunt, quip for quip; he shall have as good as he brings, is common with every one: How do men stand upon every small trespass? Hence the innumerable Contentions and Suits in the Land, thousands in a year for meer trifles, wherein ten times as much is spent then is sued for, which is a shame for England, having had the Gospel of Peace so long: Oh, mens stomacks be up straight, all their blood in their faces, or looking as pale as ashes, or secretly practising to revenge, hand on the Dagger straight, straight on the top of the house, fly in our Neighbors face by and by; so little love is there to forgive till Seventy, I may say till Seven times; so short Spirited, as we can bear nothing; and that which is worse, if we have once taken up a displeasure, its not easily laid down, but Sun after Sun, Moon after Moon, yea, Year after Year it conti­nueth; quickly provoked, hardly pacified, especially truly. It may be we live not in open enmity, yet in secret grudging, the heart not sound, but ready to break out upon every occasion, can abide nothing but Revenge, which is fearful. 5. Where is communicating of Spiritual good things? Parents bring up their children brave, but how few Catechize, Counsel and Instruct them, pray with or for them? So for Servants, They give them Meat, Drink and Wages, with work enough on the six days, little caring how they spend the Lords day, neither instructing them, examining them, or drawing them to hear the Word, or Read, and Pray: What love call you this? shew you not as much to your Beasts? So for our Neighbors, who ad­monisheth them that be out of the way? do we not rather let them run on, talking of their Infirmities behinde their backs, and spreading them to their grace? Nay, do not many, yea most rejoyce thereat? what consolation to the heavy? who takes it to heart? how few are able to comfort fitly? but utter vain, idle, if not more hurtful words to to such, nay, many rather laugh and jest at heavy conscienced persons, every man saith, Is he is Brothers keeper? Nay, alas, so far from communicating Spiritual grace to them (which they ought) or to call one another to go to the house of God, as they rather use all means, by jesting at them, troubling them, &c. to discourage them; yea, how many have given lewd and wicked counsels to others to the dis­honor [Page 150] of God? For outward things, how backward are most from giving any more then they needs must? What contentions at making of Rates? For lending, where is this? but rather as if God had ne­ver given precept for it, or as if it were like a Statute repealed, which is of no use, so is this duty: That cursed Trade of Lending upon U­sury, hath eaten up, and banished out of the Countrey this Christian duty of free lending; What rich man hath almost at any time any thing to lend? Some are so grim and austere, as a poor man dares not speak to them for such a thing: Some put so much to Usury, as they neglect their Trading, set none a work, nor have ought to lend at any time, but rather borrow; and if a poor man happen to do any work for them, they cannot pay him in a good while, they are so bare; for as soon as any money comes in, it must out straight to Use, as if it would burn a hole in their Cupboard if it lay there two or three days, or a week. Others are ever Purchasing, and are ever in debt, and will be; then wrangle at Rates, grudge at this and that, are never fit to lend; such bring a curse upon themselves willingly, which is to borrow, when as they might else lend. Others are so miserable, that though they have wherewith, yet will not lend: So for Neighborly dealing,Mat. 24. 12. inviting, visiting, &c. Love is very cold. Here I may adde, That there's a great deal of counterfeit love, Pot-companionship, and joyning in vanity, a deal of fawning, crouching, conguing, &c. a great deal of self-love,2 Tim. 3. 2. making others faults great, and their own small or none; nay sometimes extenuating and making light of the vertues of others, highly esteeming their own; being ready to provoke and wrong others, but bearing nothing, straight provoked, seeking their own in all their dealings and courses, so making sure for them­selves, without regard to their Neighbors: These be the times. Now let every man examine himself, and see how its with himself in these, who findes not himself ready to take things at the worst? and have we not often done so, when as afterward having heard that it was no­thing so, but quite otherwise, we have been put to shame, and forced to say for our own excuse, We heard or thought it had been so: The like might be particularized in the rest.

3. The causes of the want of love:The causes of the want of love. 1. Want or weakness of Faith; when our Savior taught his Apostles this Duty, they said, 1 Lord, encrease our Faith: Assurance of pardon makes us forgive. 2. Pride,Luke 17. 4, 5. whereby men think highly of themselves, meanly of o­thers; 2 think they may speak or do any thing, but that others may say or do nothing to them:Prov. 13. 10. Onely by Pride comes contention, but hum­bleness causeth love:Eph. 4▪ 2. Pride makes men think themselves so wise and good, as every body should say as they say, and yield in all things to them, when they do not, they break the peace, as Haman with Mor­decai: Pride cannot endure a reproof, therefore could not Herod abide John, Ahab, Elijah and Micaiah: Pride makes men think so highly of themselves, and meanly of others, that they will not bear any wrong, but take the least in scorn. 3. Covetousness; this makes men contend for trifles, Oppress, use false weights and sleights, as [Page 151] also hinders from inviting and meeting together. 4. Envy at the 4 thriving and wealth of others about them, or equal to them, as La­bans sons did at Jacob; Cain, that Abels Sacrifice was better regarded then his; Esau, that Jacob was blessed; and Ismael, that Isaac was the son of the Promise. 5. Frowardness and shortness of spirit breaks 5 love very often, for angry words stir up strife. 6. These very days of 6 peace make men grow hollow and strange, and to set little one by ano­ther: As when Sheep see a Dog, they run all together; so trouble makes men to make much one of another, whereas its otherwise in peace: These be woful causes.

4. The effects of this want of love,The effects of the want of love. are lamentable every where, both in Church and Commonwealth; O what woful breaches and contentions? what wrongs and enmities? So in Families, so among particular persons, how break they out to the dishonor of God? yea, sometimes Professors one with another, to the shame of their Profes­sion, the interrupting of their Prayers, or either the hindring of them­selves from the Sacrament (as many a time it is) or slubbering it over, and coming with festred hearts, and so depriving themselves of the benefit thereof, nay, provoking the Lord by their unworthy re­ceiving.

Seeing these things be so,Use. O let every one of us, finding our selves faulty, humble our selves, crave mercy, and labor to be reformed herein: To this end learn we to pluck out of our hearts those noysom weeds, that this precious plant of love may grow. We must strive against infidelity, and labor for more faith: In humbleness of minde we must labor to esteem every one better then our selves; we must labor for a moderate affection to outward things, setting more by peace then them; we must also avoid envy: We have more then we could have look'd for; Is our eye evil because our Masters is good? we must also cease from frowardness, and be gentle and meek; and labor we that this love to our brethren may shew forth it self in all good fruits, as in judging the best, departing from our right, not pro­voking, or being easily provoked, but forbearing and forgiving: Alas, we have need that others should forgive us; for who lives, and is not subject to offend? God forgives us many and great debts, and shall we catch our neighbor by the throat?Mat. 18. 26, 28 God bids us ask forgive­ness on no other condition, but to forgive our offenders; and there's no better sign that a man is forgiven of God, then to shew mercy to men; none can be assured of that, but they will forgive: Let us therefore from the sea of compassion that God sheddeth out upon us, let fall some drop thereof on our neighbors, and not seek revenge, which every bad man,Pro. 19. 19. 11. yea beast can do, but pass by offences, which is the glory of a man: Besides, revenge is the Lords Office, and to revenge, is indeed to resist the Lord, without whose Providence no­thing is done; this kept David from revenging himself on Shimei. Not to revenge, is always the best way for us, and the worst for him that wrongs us: There's no dealing with a man that commits his cause to God; more safe to anger a Witch, then an Innocent meek spirit­ed [Page 152] man that hath his recourse to God; thou hadst better deal with one that will take revenge on thee to the uttermost. To this end keep we out anger if we can; if not, yet let it not rest in us, as it were sowr­ing in our hearts: Let not the Sun go down upon it. This indeed the world accounts a base thing,Mic. 7. 18. but its honorable, it makes us like God: Neither must we labor for this a little, or some few times, but for a long skirted love,Prov. 10. 12. that will cover even a multitude of offences. And let our love shew it self in giving Spiritual and Temporal things; for God gives to good and bad, and makes us but Stewards of that he gives us, that we may dispense the same; yea, the more we give, the more we have, as which encreaseth by giving: and for Temporal things,Pro. 11. 24, 25. the high-way to thrive therein, is to be merciful; as to beg­gary, to be pinching.

5. The general reasons inciting to this duty of love,Reasons inci­ting us to this duty of love. 1. God re­quireth it of us, who is love; and if we perform it, we do not so 1 much serve our Neighbor as please God, who takes it as done to himself: If we neglect it, we neglect not our Neigbor onely, but God,Isa. 58. 2. who takes himself wronged in this point. 2. We are all one 2 flesh, and all have some part of the Image of God upon us: But for the people of God,. 1. We be members of the same body: The members of the Natural body not onely hurt not, but help each o­ther, else quickly would the body be brought to confusion. 2. Bre­thren,Gen. 13. 8. not Natural ones, but a better Brotherhood, a nearer Bond: Now between Brethren there must be no contention,1 Cor. 6. 6. and it were a 3 shame for such to contend. 3. Both the Word requires it, and the Sacrament of the Lords Supper calls for, and puts us in minde of it. 4 4. No better Argument that we are in the light,Ioh. 13. 34, 35. love God, are Christs Disciples,1 Ioh. 3. 14. and translated from death to life, then this. 5. The beauty 5 of a Christian is love; he's the best Christian who loves most, whose 6 lips feed most, whose branches spread widest. 6. As it brings us much peace to our conscience, and will comfort us not a little on our death­bed, that we have not lived to our selves, but to be useful to many, e­specially to Souls; so it procureth us love in the places we live in, and in the Church of God, where we have a good name. No man is well beloved, though he have good things in him, if he be not loving; Oh, say they, he is a good honest man, but a harsh Censurer, Contentious, and so hasty, that no man can tell how to speak to him; he is a strait man, no man is the better for him by counsel, encouragement, admonition; so for other things: But if a man be full of love, Oh, it shall procure him love again, he shall be commended while he lives, and mourned for when he dyes;See Pro. 10. as they wept for Dorcas; but a proud, churlish,Acts 9. 39. close man, he shall live without being desired, and dye with­out being mourned for: Many would have Love, and Good-will, and Credit, but will not seek this way to procure it; they live closely to themselves, neither being useful, or any way liberal to their Neigh­bors, let them never look for it: Many care not, so they may scrape all to themselves (for their good name let it go whether it will) but these are bafounded, and its a curse so to live. Thus in general.

[Page 153] In particular, Touching the love to the Children of God, which is here chearfully called for, consider we both the duty, and the maner how its to be performed.

For the duty it self, it hath these two things in it, 1. That we have brotherly and tender affections one towards another. 2. That we shew it forth by brotherly actions and fruits answerable;Rom. 12. 16, 17. both which must necessarily go together.

1. Then,Obser. In vain do any challenge tender and loving affections, ex­cept they shew the fruit thereof to their Brethrens Bodies and Souls especially.The fruits of love towards our brethren must accompa­ny the profes­sion thereof.

2. Its not enough to do brotherly offices, unless they proceed from brotherly affections: Many a man will give frankly, and do other du­ties required of him, but defiles his liberality with insulting over the parties relieved,Obs. upbraiding them therewith,The doing of brotherly offi­ces must pro­ceed from bro­therly affecti­ons. and thinking there­by to make them subject unto them; whereas a gift should be given chearfully, and seeing one that stands in need of our help, we ought compassionately to tender his estate as our own; remembring Gods commandment for relieving such a one, and thanking God we may: and though the party ought to be thankful, yet should not we stain our liberality with any sinister maner of giving: It must be frank, thats the nature of a gift, and it must also come from compassion and feeling. So for reproving, admonishing, &c. (an excellent duty, I would it were more usual) it must proceed from a brotherly affection, not proudly, imperiously, or harshly: So we must invite from a bro­therly affection, else our brotherly action loseth his grace with God, yea, with men also if they perceive it.

And though we are chiefly to love Gods servants,Love must reach to all. Christians, pro­fessors with us of the same Religion, and our fellow Brethren; yet we are not to neglect any, we must love all, all that either be, or may be the people of God, though they be yet Pagans, Heathens, &c. for they are our own flesh, and have in them (as ye heard) some part of the Image of God, as in their Soul, which is a Spirit, and Immortal, and the Majesty of their face above all Creatures: A King, though an Heathen, hath a part of the Image of God in his Soveraignty.

Then we must love the Devil,Object. as having some part of Gods Image.

We are not,Sol. because he is pronounced of God as his final and de­sperate Enemy, appointed to destruction: So if we knew any such men (as the Prophets did) we ought not to love them, but hate them; not pray for them, but against them, as David did. For others, though Infidels we must love them, and if God cast them into our lot, we must do good to them, to their Souls and Bodies.

They be strangers to me.Object.

So was the Jew that fell among Thieves to the Samaritan,Sol. and in that Christ taught who is our Neighbor:Luke 10. 33. Gods Image ought not to seem strange to us, but loved wheresoever we see it.

They never did ought for me.Object.

But God hath,Sol. who bids thee love.

[Page 154] They have wronged me,Object. and are mine enemies.

This is no sufficient ground for thee not to love them,Sol. for the rule is not to love for that thou art loved,Matt. 5. 44. but because the Lord commands it:Rom. 5. 10. God is not our enemy, he deserves well of us, and to him we owe all that may be; and he hath turned us over to pay some of the debt we owe him to our enemy, and he will take it as paid to him:Note. O that we could learn this Lesson! And if we must love that small part of the Image of God where we see it, then where its more, we must love more: Therefore where we see the very face of his Image renewed in Wisdom, Holiness, Righteousness, and the Sanctifying Grace of Gods Spirit vouchsafing to make a man a new Creature, and Holy as he is Holy; Oh, this we ought to em­brace, love, reverence in a high degree: we cannot shew a better token­of our love to God,1 Ioh. 5. 1. & 3. 14. then to love his Image, and the more we see it,Zech. 2. 8. to love it the more, such are dear to God, as the Apple of his eye.

1. Those that make all alike,Use 1. make one as welcome as another, make no difference of good and bad in their countenance, help, as­sistance, they be not endued with the Spirit of God, for where it is, it will take knowledge of his own work, and make a man love it; yea, though a carnal man should have some natural parts of civility,Gal. 6. 10. skill, &c. more then a Christian man, yet we must affect grace most: These men be neither fish nor flesh.

2. But much worse are those that of all persons like the Children of God worst,Use 2. and that for their zeal and forwardness; If't were not for them they could like them, and therefore chuse swearers, jesters, and prophane persons for their companions, and cannot away with the society of Christians, who in their liberality will rather give to bad persons, fitting in the others light, and making them fare the worse for their zeal and godliness: Of all men they cannot away with these Puritans, and had rather their Friends should be any thing then of that number, their Sons, Daughters, and Tenants, &c. They would love them,1 Iohn 3. 14. ibid. 10. if they were not so precise: A bad sign, such are not translated from death to life, are not of God, are in darkness to this hour;Psal. 15. 4. & 16. 3. they are not led by Davids Spirit, who could not abide the workers of iniquity: The more of Gods Image a man seeth in ano­ther, to like him the worse is a fearful sign of no love to God: If you will needs hate, hate not them which God loves, but whom he hates; hate them not because he loves them, and because of their good­ness,Gen. 27. 29. for God saith to them as to Jacob, I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee; Num. 23. 8. even Balaam himself refused to curse Is­rael: If they shall stand at the last day, and be damned that gave them no meat, then what shall become of their haters, imprisoners, and that for their goodness? Then would they be glad to be with the least of them, but it shall be far from them, how little soever they re­gard them in this world, and then shall their time of glory be, as is their enemies in this world: We must therefore labor to be religious, else we can never love them that be so because of their goodness.

[Page 155] Here also observe a difference between the love we ought to bear to the Wicked,How we ought to love the Wicked. Pagans, Infidels, &c. we must love them as our flesh, not as our brethren, for they have not God for their Father, the Church for their Mother, have not suckt the same breasts with us, the Word and Sacraments: Therefore look how natural Brethren be affected each to other, so ought Christians, Fellow-heirs of the same Inheritance, as having a better Brotherhood, as much as the Spirit is better then the Flesh, and Grace above Nature. Our Savior prefer'd the hearers and doers of the Word, before his natural Kindred: This is a more lasting Brotherhood, which abides longer then this life, even for ever, when it shall be with a most intire affection each to other, which often in this life is not, because of the weakness of Grace: Its unseemly for Kinsmen to disagree,Gen. 13. 8. much more Brethren, but most for Christians to fall out,See 1 Cor. 6. 8. to contend, wrangle, and be at odds: Do we not profess we are members of Christ, and perswade our selves our Neighbors are so? We do; then let Nature teach us: See how the natural members be affected? Are we not Fellow-Brethren? When therefore we live in enmity with our Neighbor that is a Christian, we do as much as in us lies put him out of the Lords Roll, and unbro­ther him; for is he our Brother, of the same Father and Mother, and can we jar with him? especially (though somewhat should fall out otherwise then well) can we suffer the Sun to go down upon our wrath? God forbid: When we come to Heaven, we shall love all our Fellow-Brethren, better then ever two Brethren loved in this World, and shall we not aym at it now, and come as near it as we can?Iohn 15. 19. and we have need so to do, for the World loves their own, therefore hates us; shall not we then hold to­gether? shall we be divided within our selves? O what wrack comes of this in the Church of God in these days? whiles Bre­thren differ and contend, the common Enemies, Atheists and Pa­pists multiply.

For the maner of it,Doctr. It must be without faining, love unfained; God hates dissembling in every thing,Love must be without fainng. loves simplicity and plain deal­ing,Rom. 12. 9. as in Jacob and Nathanael: If love, which is the main vertue, be counterfeit and false,1 Iohn 3. 18. what shall become of all the duties that proceed from thence?

Two sorts of persons may be here chiefly taxed:

1. Such as pretend to love,Use 1. but indeed hate, as Joab to Amasa, Saul to David, Psal. 28. 3. Judas to our Savior Christ; such have a mark of Rebrobation, workers of Iniquity, to whom belongs some notable judgement of God;Gen. 3. 5. they be like the Devil, who pretended to love Eve, Mat. 4. 3. and our Savior Christ: of these see Psal. 12. 2. & 55. 12. & 62. 4. Pro. 26. 24. Jer. 9. 2. 1 Sam. 18. 17, 25. 2 Sam. 20. 9. Those are more dangerous to them they hate, then if they bare open hatred; as one ene­my within the walls, is worse then ten without: its also worse for them­selves, for any vice cloaked or masked under shew of vertue, is double iniquity; such shall receive greater damnation, yet how common is this? Many will speak men as fair as may be, yet lie in wait to do them a [Page 156] shrewd turn, and as soon as their back is turned, raise a slander of them, and do them all the hurt they can: Others haply have done so with us, but so must not we do.

2. Such as pretend they love,Use 2. but do not: Many will salute with Good morrow, and Good night, when as there's no true love; one hand­ful of true hearty love, is worth ten armfuls of their Court holy-water, crouchings, and congees down to the ground. These are clouds without rain, vessels with false bottoms, that have onely a little water in the top. Such are they who pretend they love the poor, who yet coming to them, can get nothing of them, but what they are enforced to, and that very hardly. So many good Ministers have proved the good-will of a number that have made goodly shews, but have found small kindeness at their hands: What love call you this? its dead, as Faith without Works: Iames 5. 17. Such is theirs, who will speak well of such and such, and seem to pity them, saying, They are worthy men, and pity they should want, but yet relieve them not at all. If God should so feed and deal with them, they would soon complain.

See that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.] Here's the Ex­hortation; wherein we have again both the duty required, which is to love one another, and the maner also, with a pure heart fervently.

Love one another] This noteth,

1. A mutual love:Obs. It must come from one to another mutually, and be at every hand.Love must be mutual. As others are to love us, so are we to love o­thers; none free. Many wil look for a deal of love from others, that yet care not how little they themselves part with; would be visited, but care not to visit others; would have their own vertues commended, but will not do so by others; have their infirmities covered, but will not do so by others; would not be provoked, yet will provoke; would not that others should be quickly angry with them, who will yet be angry with others:Acts 20. 35. Alas, this is weakness; Its a more blessed thing to give then to receive, and we should rather strive to go before, and set others in our debt by love: A good minde rather remembers the debt that is going from him, then that which is coming to him. This often comes of pride in some men, to look for much of others, and perform little themselves: The husband often looks his wife should walk at an inch with him, though he will break many ells out of square; So the wife will look for much of her husband, not caring how little she perform: This is no equity; We must do as we would be done to. Its more dangerous for us to neglect our duty to others, then for them to neglect theirs to us; let us therefore strive who shall perform most each to other, Husbands, Wives, Neighbors, &c.

2. A community:Obser. We must not love one or two, or a few, but all that fear God in the place wherein we live.In love there must be a com­munity. Love communicates it self, and is not ingrossed to a few.

Many can be content to love one or two, or a few, but they oppose and justle against many others, and live unkindely with them: This is no true love, nor ought love so to be; yet in many Towns there is siding, which at the length turns to its undoing; yea, we must love [Page 157] the meanest that fear God, and not neglect them, as the meanest mem­ber of the Body is regarded of the chiefest; we must not have the Faith of Christ in respect of persons.Iames 2. 1. God hath vouchsafed to give his Son to Redeem them, his Spirit to Sanctifie them, and Heaven to be possessed of them, and shall we despise them? Nay, we ought ra­ther to encourage and hearten them on in well doing, seeing so few of that sort fear God. If we regard them, they will bear their poverty the better, and it will be a great chearing to them: There's nothing more comely, then for the wealthy to be thus affable and kinde to them;Prov. 22. 2. The Lord is the Maker of both, and being fellow-Brethren and fellow-Members,Iames 2. 5. the one as dear to God as the other, a little wealth must not puff up the ones minde over the other.

With a pure heart] Every kinde of love is not that which is here re­quired;Gal. 5. 22. it must be the fruit of the Spirit,1 Tim. 1. 1. proceeding from a Sancti­fied heart, and be agreeable to the pure Word of God.

This hath many properties:The proper­ties of pure love. 1. It loves for some good actions, which condemns the common love of wicked persons, as of the For­nicator and his Harlot, the Adulterer and his Mate, the Drunkards 1 and Thief, though sworn Brethren. To love any because they can rail against goodness, or Dice well, or are eager against the Servants of God,1 Cor. 13. 6. &c. this is cursed love. True love rejoyceth not in ini­quity, a worse note cannot be, then for one to love them, whom as Rebels and Conspirators against God, he sees fighting against God. 2. Pure love is that which is grounded on Grace and Religion, not on 2 any transitory thing, which condemns the carnal love of the world, which love onely for worldly respects, as strength, beauty, and the like; or if it be for any inward gift of the minde not Sanctified, thats also but carnal, as wit, skill in Arts, Musique, &c. these are worthy love; but to love onely for these, is not true and pure love, for thus the Heathens loved;Gen. 25. 28. as Isaac loved Esau for his hunting, and many a man his wife for her beauty: These are false grounds, when they fail, love fails. 3. Pure love is in respect of the party himself whom we 3 love, and for no respect to our selves, or commodity of ours, which condemns the world, which onely loves on such respects, as be­cause he is my Uncle, my Friend, loves me, hath done this or that for me, or may do me a pleasure; therefore I will make much of him, or for fear he may do me a shrewd turn. This being shak'd out of the clow [...]s,Mat. 5. 46. is indeed but self-love, as having a respect onely to our selves. Many a man shews kindeness to others to purchase credit: The charitable deeds of the Papists were of self-love, for they were done out of opinion of merit: So the love of worldlings, they have a reach at themselves. 4. Pure love reflects chiefly on anothers Soul,4 therefore hates his sin in him, whom he loves most dearly, advising him from all evil, counselling him to all good.

This condemns all impure love:Use. So to love, as not to tel our neighbor of his fault for angring or disquieting him;Lev. 19. 17. this is hatred: So Parents that love their children so well, as they will not nurture, rebuke or cor­rect them, do indeed hate them, & slay them in following their ways: [Page 158] He that spares the rod, hates his childe. Prov. 13. 24. Its as if any should be so tender over a childe, as not to suffer the wind to blow on it, and therefore holds their hand before the mouth of it, but holds it so hard, as they strangle the childe;Simil. or as the Ape, which hugs her yong one so hard, that she strangles it. Again, friends perswade a man to do this or that for preferment, which he cannot do with a good conscience, Oh, they love him, they would fain see him prefer'd; woful love to the body, by destroying the soul: A neighbor hath his Childe or Cattel strange­ly handled, one comes in of love, perswading to send to such a Cunning-man or good Witch (one of the Devils worsts instruments) Is this love? Is he a friend that will do that whereby a peny may be gained, but many hundred pounds lost? So when a Christian is rea­dy to suffer for a good Conscience, and a friend comes and says, Oh, I pray cast not away your self, I wish you well, do as the times are, and as others do: This was the tormentors love to Martyrs (tormenting love indeed) that by saving their bodies, their souls might perish: Thus would Peter have perswaded our Savior,Mat. 16. 22. O Master, these things shall not be unto thee; but if Christ had not suffered, we had all perish'd in our sins, yea, the Saints in Heaven must have come out from thence, for they went to Heaven by Christ who was to be crucified; What love was this? our Saviors Answer shews, that he gave him no thanks for that counsel.

Fervently.] This stands in two things, Earnestness and Con­stancy.

1. For the Earnestness of our love,Obs. we must stretch it to as many persons as we can,A Christians love must be earnest. and to as many duties, as giving, forgiving, &c. and therein we must not be sparing; as in giving, For he that gives sparingly, shall reap sparingly: 2 Cor. 9. 6. So for forgiving, it must not be onely an of­fence or two,1 Pet. 4. 8. Charity covers a multitude; thus is God to us, in giving for Soul, Body, Goods, Good-name to us, to ours, day and night, never weary, never upbraiding us: So in forgiving, how mer­ciful is he to pass by our many offences, and that daily? should not we then herein resemble him? Again, a little love is soon quench'd, soon hindred, but we must love so, as if we meet with ma­ny temptations from our selves, or the parties whom we are to love, our love notwithstanding must last still; yea, we must not onely do these things when we can well do them, or there's nothing to let us, but even forget our ease, pleasure and profit to do our neighbor good: Love seeks not her own things,1 Cor. 13. 5. is laborious; we love our selves fer­vently, and therefore must so love our neighbors.

This condemns the cold frozen love of the world,Use. wherein there's no heat or fervency, a little thing lets: We are so full of self love, that we will not speak so much as a good word in defence of the very best,1 Sam. 30. 23. whether man or cause,Hest. 4. 16. if thereby we may be prejudiced never so little;Obs. so did not Jonathan, so did not Hester, when she adventured her life for her people.Love must be constant.

2. For the constancy thereof,Heb. 13. 1. Unity must be kept, we must seek Peace,Eph. 4. 3. and follow after it, and its a part of fervency when it will not [Page 159] easily be broken off.Psal. 34. Gods love is constant, ours must be so; the De­vil will assay to break it off, we must therefore the more stand in it: Oh, its the easiest matter in the world to break off love, but we must not embrace any occasion moving hereunto.

This rebukes the inconstancy of many men,Use. that are won with an Apple (as we say) and lost with a Nut, that will upon every slight oc­casion break friendship; I loved him as well as could be (will some such say) till such and such a thing fell out: and what, are you now broke off? what can worldings do more? If God should so deal with us, how miserable were we? but his love is constant, yea, he loveth us in our adversity and low estate, nay, best then, and is then nearest with his comforts; so it ought to be with us, for then our Neighbor hath most need of us, and then our love will appear most free, not mercenary: But how contrary this is, daily experience shew­eth, while men be in prosperity they have many friends, which in their affliction forsake them (as Doves, that come to fair houses, not to low cottages) whereof Job often complaineth.

Verse 23. ‘Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incor­ruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.’

THis duty of love is of such use, and we so untoward to it, and so hard a thing for us to love as we ought, that its urged with a Reason:Iames 4. 5. True, it is so, and no more then needs; for the spirit that is in us lusteth after envy. Tit. 3. 3.

The Reason is taken from the grace of Regeneration bestowed up­on them, They were born again, and therefore were to shew the fruits thereof, as in other things, so in this of love. Where might be noted,

1. That such as are not born again,Observ. cannot love, no more then men can gather Grapes of Thorns,No unregene­rate person can truly love. or Figs of Thistles, or pour Wine out of a Bottle full of Vinegar; but as Grapes are gathered of the Vine, so must love come from a Regenerate man, not otherwise.

2. That the Regenerate man must needs love;Observ. therefore they that declare no love,Such as are born again, must needs love. but hate their Brethren, the people of God especial­ly, shew they be not born again, nor of God. But I proceed to the words.

Being born again, 1 Ioh. 3. 10.] Here's occasion offered to speak of the grace of Regeneration. Touching it, consider briefly these particu­lars:

1. What it is to be born again;What Regene­ration is. Its to be made new creatures, to be cast in a new mold, to have the corrupt Image of Sin, which we have by Nature (and wherein we were conceived and born) put off throughout, and the contrary good one, wherein we were at the first created, put on, to have the understanding enlightned with distinct knowledge of God, the heart bowed to the obedience of God, &c. [Page 160] new thoughts,2 Cor. 5. 17. desires, speeches, actions: In the new Creature all things must become new; Thus its done to all that were elect before the foundation of the world: They are changed up and down, from a good state by Creation, to a bad in Adam; from thence to a good one in Christ, by grace here in expectation of glory hereafter: For the wicked, they are changed from good to bad, and there remain the same (but still worse and worse) for ever; we should give God thanks that made us so good at first, be humbled to see our base and woful state now, and seeing there is help, never to be quiet till we recover our first condition.

2. That the Lord is the Author hereof,The Lord the author thereof. he takes away the stony heart,See Deut. 29. 4. and gives a new heart, an heart of flesh; Its his work onely, nor Man or Angel can change the heart,Psal. 51. 10. to work a deadly hatred of that which by nature we love as our lives,Ezek. 36. 26. and to love and take delight in those courses,Iohn 1. 13. & 3. 5. duties, companies, which sometimes were as a Prison:Acts 11. 21. Alas, the best Paul and Apollos cannot; often even of their Children or very Friends,1 Iohn 3. 9. not a few remain unconverted, though haply in the mean time God bless their labors to convert many others; Yea, if an Angel should take a man and carry him to Heaven, and shew him the Joys thereof, and thence to Hell, and shew him the Torments thereof, yet this would not convert him, nei­ther all Mercies, Afflictions, or Plagues of Egypt: Its a great work of God, and so great, as if all things were not possible to him; he could not do it; Its a greater work then the Creation of the World: In that, there was no opposition, in this much: we have not onely no aptness to good, or to be wrought to good­ness, but a violent opposition against it; there but to make the things, here both to put out the corrupt nature, and to put in the contrary good; then he made all of nothing, now he makes good of nought.Simile. As its easier making a thousand glasses, then the setting together one that is broke; so it was easier (to speak quo ad nos, for all things are alike easie to God) to make the world, then to repair the broken Image of God in man: Its a miraculous work of God, greater then any miracles that Christ or his Apostles wrought; our Saviors several miracles upon the bodies of men, are all done in the conver­sation of a sinner; sight restored to them that were blinde, and dark­ness it self, hearing to the deaf, speech to the dumb, feet to the lame, Devils cast out, yea many, for the Devil possesseth us, and all our Parts and Members, Hearts, Hands, Eyes, Tongues, Feet, &c. as any Captain holds a Castle, and hath it at command. Thus its a wonderful work of God to see a mans Soul and Life,Acts 3. 10. his wit, will, desires,Iohn 9. 8. affections, and all altered from black to white: It was a wonder to see the Criple go, and for him that was born blinde to see; but its more marvel to see a man converted: for whereas God gave power to work all these miracles (the raising of the dead not ex­cepted) to men,1 Tim. 4. 16. this of regenerating is his own onely: If we finde it ascribed to Ministers, as Paul is said to have begot Onesimus, and as a Father the Corinthians, 1 Cor. 4. we must not conceive as if it were not [Page 161] proper to God onely, but know, that it is; for that God would keep them the instruments by whom he works from contempt:1 Cor. 7. 16. A good Husband or Wife may be a good means each to other, but have no power of themselves: Adam could easily cast away himself, but none could restore him but God onely; as a Childe of half a year old may break a glass, which all the men in the Town cannot set to­gether again: Its wrought of God by uniting us to Christ by Faith, through his holy Spirit, which works this alteration, when pardoning our sins past, he taketh away the guiltiness and punishment thereof in his death.

Let all that can prove it,Use. give all glory to God, for so unspeakable a mercy, even that when they were going headlong to destruction, when as vile as any, he yet called them, passing by thousands which yet lie in their sins: And for them that can prove no such thing, let them not delay, nor put off to the last, as the fashion is, as though it could be dispatcht in a trice, or with a wet finger, but seek it both earnestly and quickly in the means appointed: Why do men think they shall repent on their death bed rather then now? Is it because the pain or fear of death will make them? Alas, all the Plagues in the world cannot change a man without God, and will God be near to work then? Nay, he that was rejected in health and life, will more likely cast off in death; and if he will not bless his Word, will he work in the end by other means? This is little better then Sauls pra­ctise, to go to the Devil when God would not help him.

3. That the Lords own will is the moving cause hereof;The Lords will the cause hereof As he Elected freely, and gave Christ of his love, so this: Nothing in us could move him hereto,Iam. 1. 18. but whom he elected before the world, those doth he of the same grace effectually call and convert,Iohn 3. 16. which should binde our hearts more effectually to praise and serve him all the days of our life.

4. That the excellency of this grace is such,Without rege­neration, all things else that we have are nothing. as all things without it are nothing; If we had the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Sampson, the policy of Achitophel, the wealth of Ahasuerus, &c. if we could measure the Heaven, Earth and Sea, and knew the nature of all Creatures therein, from the Cedar to the Hysope; nay, if we could understand the Bible, could Preach never so Learnedly, and had all gifts of knowledge and utterance, yet were we not born again, all were nothing: Besides, its the more excellent, both because so rare (only the Elect of God are born again) and because E­ternal. In the natural birth we dye, because born of mortal seed, and nourished by corruptible food, but they that be born again never dye more, never come more into their former state, as being born of the im­mortal seed, of the Word, and Spirit, and being thereby nourished, are joyned to the fountain of life, Christ: Again, by our first birth we are made miserable, by this happy; by that sinners, by this righteous per­sons; by that children of wrath, by this children of God; by that slaves of Satan, by this servants of righteousnes; by that limbs of the Devil, by this members of Christ; by that heirs of Hell, by this heirs of Hea­ven: [Page 162] O happy day, O happy birth; before Regeneration, Sin and Satan wholly ruled in us, but after, Grace and the Spirit of God.

1. This should teach us,Use 1. if we can prove it in our selves to rejoyce, and remember our birth-day. Many delight to talk of their age, as others, when, where, and what year they were born; But canst thou tell where and when thou wert born again? thou canst else have little joy of thy first birth. The older thou art, the more shame and greater condemnation if thou art not born again: He that is not re­generate is a Bastard; for though he have after a sort the Church to his Mother, yet he hath not God to his Father; and though in the Natural birth the Mothers side is the surest, yet in the Spiritual birth its otherwise: Therefore if thou hast Wit, Beauty, Strength, Wealth, and the like, rejoyce not in them, but that thou art born again; yea, though thou art Poor, Weak, Sickly, yet being born again, thou art happy: If God hath denied thee Wealth and Health, or taken them away, yet if he hath given thee grace, thou art to rejoyce exceedingly.

2. It may teach us to rejoyce,Use 2. if we know our children new born: We rejoyce at their Natural Birth; but alas, wert not for hope be­cause they be of Christian Parents, we might rather weep: for when a childe is born, there's come a sinner, a guilty person into the World, one that is in danger of all evil, subject to a great deal of sin and sorrow, and one that hath deserved to be cast into Hell; O therefore, if we know them born again, there's cause of re­joycing, yea, we must rejoyce at the new birth of a servant or any other as the Angels do: The World likes such the worse, a sign they are the old men.

3. If we know it not,Use 3. we are to use the means, bring them to Baptism, after teach them what is fit, that they may make consci­ence of their Covenant, and bring them to the Word; if they be any whit forward, further them, if backward or unwilling, use thy Autho­rity over them.

4. Rebuke them that desire to see them Strong,Use 4. Fair, Rich, Healthy, and the like, in the mean time not respecting whether they be born again or not.

5. He that is not born again,Use 5. hath nothing excellent in him, but abides in death, and is the servant of sin.

5. That its so necessary,Regeneration of absolute ne­cessity. as without which there's no entring into the Kingdom of Heaven, for thereinto can no unclean thing enter, and they onely which are pure in heart shall see God:Iohn 3. 3, 5. We are born impure, sinful,Revel. 21. 27. defiled from head to foot; while we are in this state, there's no possibility of serving God,Mat. 5. 8. as either by thinking, speaking, or doing good; we must therefore be washed and made clean.

The world imagine no such necessity herein, its a riddle to them, few know what any such work or change meaneth: They think to be saved by their good meaning, civil life, and living orderly, O this is sound; if these do not well, God help us all: Again, though openly bad, if they can cry God have mercy on their deathbed, they shall do well enough: Here's no dreaming of a new birth, of any change [Page 163] in the understanding, will, affections, yea, throughout both body and soul;Col. 3. 9, 10. but none of the others will serve the turn, therefore try whe­ther ye be new born: If we live still in sin (as in lying) its a certain argument we are as we were naturally,2 Cor. 5. 17. He that is in Christ is a new crea­ture, and such a one walketh not after the flesh, Rom. 8. 1. but after the Spirit; if thou art thus, thou hast put off thy old conversation, and put on a new.

6. The effects of Regeneration;The effects of Regeneration. 1. An hatred of all sin, a love of all good. 2. A strife and labor to do the one, and avoid the other. 3. A 1 diligent use of the means for this purpose, and a Spiritual combat a­gainst 2 the lets, wherein being conquerors, we have peace and joy; 3 if otherwise,See also the notes laid down. grief. 4. Delight in the Word, Prayer, and Heavenly things, whereas we were wont to delight in vain and worldly things; so to cry,2 Cor. 7. 11. Abba-Father, to love the Father, to desire the sincere milk of the Word, and to live innocently: If upon tryal of thy self by these 4 notes,1 Iohn 2. 29. thou findest thy self not born again,1 Pet. 2. 2. thy case is fearful; it had been better then thou shouldest thus dye, that thou hadst never been born, or born a Toad, whereof when its dead, there's an end; but the man that is not born again while he lives, when he dyeth, the se­cond death will lay hold on him eternally; yet alas, a number of old folks ready to drop into the grave, are not yet born again; What shall become of these? few men are born again when they become old, which I speak not to discourage you quite, but to awaken you the more earnestly to look about you; some were called about the ele­venth hour, but let them that have day before them, not defer or put it to the venture.

6. That the life of a Regenerate man cannot be that it was,A Regenerate man is not the same he was before. or as is the life of carnal men, for the case is altered; he is now united to Jesus Christ as an imp to the stock, a member to the head; by Faith on our parts, but principally by the Spirit of God: by which Faith we draw, and by which Spirit is conveyed to us vertue from Christs death to kill sin, our old man, and the corruptions thereof, whereby it hath a deadly wound given it, which it shall never recover; so from his Burial, his Spirit conveyeth power to hold under our corruptions, that they get head no more; so from his Resurrection, power to rise to new­ness of life: so that now being graft into such a living stock, by such a cunning hand of the Spirit of God, the Regenerate man receiveth ver­tue accordingly: He was before a branch of the wilde olive, but now of the true olive, therefore the fruits are and must needs be accordingly; so that though he sinneth, yet its not as before: before he was guided by the Spirit of Satan and the world, now by the holy Spirit of God, and therefore must needs bring forth the fruits of holiness,Gal. 2. 20. as it is holy, must needs be renewed throughout, though not wholly and perfectly.

1. Here's a great comfort to Gods children,Use 1. and infinite cause have they to praise God, that whereas before they brought forth nothing but fruit unto death, now they are enabled to bring forth fruit to God, and to life; before servants to the flesh, reaping corruption, now to the Spirit,Gal. 6. 8. the fruit thereof being everlasting life: There must needs be joy in doing such work.

[Page 164] 2. This condemneth them that say they believe,Use 2. and they are con­verted, and hope to be saved by Jesus Christ, and yet continue in their course: No, every one thats in Christ is a new creature; its a dis­grace to Christ to say such fruit comes from him.

7. The growth of one thats truly Regenerate,A Regenerate man groweth by degrees. he is not at his pitch the first day: Its not with him as with Adam, who was perfect at once in his creation, but he comes to it by degrees; as every thing that moveth from one place to another, doth it in some space of time, so in this motion from sin to righteousness and life eternal, its done in time, and by degrees, and that not in all alike: But as some men are of greater stature, some of smaller, and sometimes the yonger are taller then the elder; so it may be in this: but all do and must grow, and that by the Ministery of the Word and Sacraments, as Corn by the early and latter rain springs up by degrees: and a Babe first small and weak, yet by good tendance and Gods blessings grows bigger and stronger in every part, then can go alone, speak, digest strong meat, begin to bear burthens, and do the works of a man; so must a Chri­stian grow from a Babe to be stronger, to digest strong meat (higher Points of Doctrine) to be able to go alone in good Duties, by the finger, as in Prayer, Reading anothers Prayer, but now can go alone in it, so in other Duties; then stronger to bear Afflictions. Tempta­tions, Mocks, Discouragements, and also to put up wrongs, and go through duty and service.

1. This may rebuke them that are so far from growing,Use 1. as they go back, and are worse then sometimes they were. These may suspect that either they never begun in truth, but were suddenly moved, had but some common gifts, and were but built upon the Sand; or else that they have ill behaved themselves, beginning in the Spirit, to end in the Flesh: Were you too well? what fault found you that you are weary, and gone back to your old Master? If you belong to God, and do not awaken your selves, the Lord will whip you home, will send you as Runnagates to the house of Correction.

2. For those that stand at a stay,Use 2. and no difference can be discerned be­tween that they were many years ago, and now, they also are in a wo­ful case. Doth not a man look his childe should grow in learning every year, and would it not grieve if he should stand always at one stay? We love to see our children grow, and would grieve to see them Dwarfs, and no bigger now then they were many years ago; and have we no care of our own or their growth in grace? As men every year aym more and more to grow in wealth: and as in a Race men press hard forward towards the mark, so should we to grow in grace. But why do men grow no faster?Why men grow no faster in goodness. A. 1. Some are proud, and conceited they have more then they have, and so strive not. 2. Some compare 1 themselves with them that are under them, and not with them that ex­ceed 2 them in grace, and so think they have enough; whereas in worldly things they reach always at those above, that they may not 3 onely equal them, but over-top them. 3. Some are so cloyed with the love of the world, and multitude of businesses, that they can [Page 165] spare no time for this. This is the bane of Religion, and hinders from many a duty publike and private, choking the Word in the obedience thereto, and practice thereof, and causing many a duty to be but poorly performed. 4. Ill company is as great a hinderance to Spiritual 4 growth, as the East and North winds to tender flowers and plants. 5. Neglecting and failing of the means of growing; as if any man 5 want his meals, he will soon faint, and if any Tradesman want his Markets, he will soon be Bankrupt. 6. Some use them negligently,6 as Hearing, Praying, &c. and thrive accordingly: He that keeps the Market but once in a moneth, will not gain much; so they that hear the Word but now and then at their leisure, will not get forward very fast, especially they that keep not the main Market, nay, the Mart of their Souls, The Lords day, when they should make off their cor­ruptions, and provide themselves with all Spiritual commodities. 7. Such as hear often, but without preparation before, or regard after.7 Do men thrive by meat taken into a full or foul stomack? or by swallowing their meat whole? no more shall we Spiritually thrive though we swallow down whole Sermons, unless we chew them by Meditation and Practice they will never nourish us.

And whereas many humble Souls complain that they do not grow,A Caveat for such as com­plain they do not thus grow. though earnestly desirous thereof, and diligent in the use of the means, they must examine themselves, whether indeed they have used the means, and that diligently with preparation and prayer; If not, they must reform the same; if yea, they may be of good comfort, for assuredly they cannot but grow somewhat, though not as they would: They must yet be constant, and that God who hath given them an heart to use the means of growing,See Wilson of Sanctification, pag. 11. 12. will also enable them to grow: we must be growing as long as we live here. If we had Methuselahs years to live, and still took pains, yet still there would be work; so hard is it to get victory over, and to subdue this Army of our lusts, and to draw dry this ocean of our corrupt affections.

Blessed is he that makes this his chief or onely work, to mortifie more and more his sinful nature, applying the Word, Promises, Threats, Mercies, Judgements, general, particular, on our selves or others: To this end God hath given us many means to subdue them, therefore will be angry if we keep them not under, and grow espe­cially against our strongest corruptions; they offend God, hurt us, glad Satan, defile the Temple of the holy Ghost, were the cause of Christs death, are of long continuance, and therefore must be put away: And as we must labor daily to mortifie our lusts and old man, so to grow in all graces.

8. The perfection of a Christian:There's no perfection here in this life. There's none here in this life we know but in part; there be still remnants of sin in us: we are in­deed perfectly Justified, not, but in part Sanctified. Sin and Grace is mingled in every part,1 Cor. 13. 9. (not sin in one part, and grace in another) as heat and cold in lukewarm water,Eph. 5. 27. light and darkness in the twi­light: God will have it so to be,Reasons hereof 1. That we might be saved of mer­cy, and by Christs merit, and not by any merit of our own: for if 1 [Page 166] we were perfectly Sanctified here, then should Christ seem onely to 2 make us fit to merit our own Salvation. 2. That his power might be made known in our weakness, whereby we are enabled to overcome 3 such mighty enemies of our Salvation. 3. That continually we might 4 be kept humble, ever thankful to God for daily pardon. 4. That there might be continual use of the Word, Sacraments, Prayer, and 5 one of another. 5. That there might be something to weary us hence, and make us long for Heaven, where we shall attain that which here we can never: But though these Corruptions remain, yet they reign not; they are indeed troublesom and hurtful, as the Ca­naanites to the Israelites, or Rebels that make Insurrection in a King­dom, but have not the Scepter in their hand, but are subdued in time; and they dwell in us as unwelcom guests. There is always a Civil war in a Childe of God; two men in one man, the old and the new; two laws, the law of our members, and the law of our minde: the Flesh and Spirit fight each against other,Rom. 7. now the one prevailing, then the other,Gal. 5. 17. yet so as the old man grows weaker, and the grace of God stronger. It had a deadly blow at first, and still languisheth, and is in a Consumption;Simil. as a Serpent that is deadly wounded in his head, yet wrigles with the tail; or a Soldier deadly wounded in his brain, yet thrusts with his weapon. The Scripture speaks of the old man in Re­generation, as if it were crucified and wholly destroyed, because its so wounded that it can never recover his former strength.

1. This condemns all Anabaptists,Use 1. and others that dream of a pu­rity in this life.

2. It teacheth us to bear with one another:Use 2. The husband, though godly, must not look the wife should be without fault, nor the wife the husband; so the Master the Servant, or the Servant the Master; there are none without Imperfections: we never read of any, but noted with some weakness, Christ alone excepted; therefore think it not strange, neither neglect the graces that be in any for one or more in­firmities, so as they grow to no height.

3. Here's comfort to those that doubt of their Conversion,Use 3. be­cause they meet with temptation, and feel sin rebelling in them, and their corrupt nature lusting after evil. Its not so much a sign you are not converted, because you have sin (for thats common to all) as that you are, because you feel it, strive against it and grieve for it: This is indeed a sign you have the Spirit in you. The godly and wic­ked sin both, but there's great odds in the maner; the wicked sin wil­lingly and advisedly, yea, delight in it, are loath to be hindred from it; when they have done, are not humbled, but go on therein: where­as the Regenerate sin not with full consent, but haled thereto by force of temptation, and strength of corruption, being thereafter hum­bled, ashamed, grieved. If it be thus with thee, be of good comfort, be still constant in resisting, use means to subdue the old man, and che­rish the new, so shall you every day get the victory more and more, and when you be overtaken thus, it shall not be laid to your charge, but pardoned in the Death and Obedience of Jesus Christ: [Page 167] Neither shall your corruption recover it self again to rule over you as before, but shall still languish; and this is the cause why the Scri­pture speaks, as if our Regeneration were perfect, our old man de­stroyed: And at last by death we shall get a final and perfect victory, and never feel sin more, for with laying down our bodies, we lay down our sin, and not before.

Not of corruptible seed, &c.] Here is set down, 1. The efficient cause of our Regeneration, both Negatively; where's shewed, what it is not, and Affirmatively, what is not. 2. The instrument thereof, the Word of God. 3. A description of God, that he liveth and abideth for ever.

Not of corruptible seed.] Of mortal seed we are born,Observ. not born again;Regeneration cometh not by nature. by it we are made Creatures, not new Creatures; we are not born holy, but by being born again we are made holy: The god­liest Saints of God cannot convey grace into their Children,See Iohn 3. 6. but sin and nature;Psal. 51. 5. whence it is, that even Abraham had an Ishmael, Isaac an Esau: Iob 14. 4. As we are born of our Parents, we are altogether corrupt, our understanding seeth little in heavenly things, and our Reason is an enemy thereto; as that there is one God in three Persons, Christ God and Man, born of a Virgin, the world made of nothing, Man saved by the imputed righteousness of another, the near Union between Christ and a Believer, the Resurrection and last Judgement, &c. Reason sees them not, yields not to them, nay, being much urged,Mat. 16. 17. laughs thereat; and that which it doth understand, it con­ceives not as it ought: the will desires nothing that good is, or at least as it ought, for it is defiled, and so the whole man. Again, mortal seed begets that that is mortal onely, and not immortal; but when we be once Regenerate, we never dye more, but live the life of grace here, and shall that of glory hereafter; a final fall, or the se­cond death can never befal the new Creature.1 Ioh. 5. 18.

Let none therefore trust in this, that they were born of godly Pa­rents, but desire God as their Father to beget them anew.

But of incorruptible, Observ.] Namely, by the Spirit of God, which is the true efficient cause,Gods Spirit by the word doth alter and change mans heart. who doth alter and change our hearts, and con­veys power to kill sin in us, and to quicken us to a good life: Usually these words and the next are put together, and understood of one thing; namely, that the Word is the immortal seed of Regenera­tion,1 Iohn 3. 9. & 5. 1. and after a sort it may be so called, but properly the Spirit of God is the seed,Iohn 3. 5. the Word is the instrument, and we know the Word of it self can do no such thing, no more then a Tool can work without the hand of the workman. Joh. 1. 13. is a notable Ex­position of this place, where by Blood, and the will of Man, and of Flesh, the same is meant that here he calleth mortal seed, and that which is here immortal, or incorruptible seed, is there but of God: All Men and Angels cannot do this, whomsoever God useth as the instrument, he himself is the worker; therefore is the Spirit com­pared to water, as washing and making fruitful, and to fire, as through whom our corruptions are purified.

[Page 168] 1. This should stir up those that are born again,Use 1. to labor with all their might, to shew themselves thankful to God, that hath done that for them that their own Father, their Preacher, nay all the men of the world could not have done for them; and to labor to glorifie his name in all holy obedience all their days,Iam. 1. 18. for therefore hath he done it, that they should be as the first fruits of his creatures, even set apart for his service as the first fruits were.

2. For those that are yet natural,Use 2. let them not trust to Ministers nor means, but desire Almighty God to open their heart, and to work in them that work that may be to their Salvation.

3. Here's an exceeding comfort to all new born persons,Use 3. namely, That though they have a corrupt Nature, the Devil subtile, the World naught, and themselves subject to many temptations and dangers, yet they shall never fall finally from God; its not possible they should perish, for then the immortal seed (the Spirit given them, and which is in them) should perish, which is more impossible then that that should perish,Eph. 4. 30. whereby they are sealed unto the day of Redemption.

By the Word of God] Its the mean to make of the servants of sin,Obser. the servants of God;Gods word is the instrumen­tal cause of our conversion. of unclean, clean; of vile persons like Lyons, Tygers and Bears, to make meek humble Lambs; to raise up the dead in sin, and to bring to the Kingdom of Heaven, which is therefore cal­led, The Gospel of the Kingdom:Rom. 6. 17. See to this purpose Psal. 19. 7. Isa. 53. 1.Ioh. 15. 3. Rom. 1. 16. 1 Cor. 1. 21. Jam. 1. 18. Acts 26. 18. and for ex­amples hereof,Isa 11. 6, 7. Acts 2. 37. & 11. 21. & 16. 30. The Law preparative­ly makes a way for Conversion and Faith,Ioh. 5. 25. by humbling and affright­ing the heart with the sight of misery; the Gospel effectively: This works Faith and Repentance, tells us of the remedy, the sufficiency of it, and how freely it is offered, then works an earnest desire after it, and an heart to leave any thing that might let us from it; not that God is tyed to this,God doth not always tye himself here­unto. but thus it hath pleased him to appoint ordi­narily to work: In times of persecution he can bless, and doth read­ing of the Word to convert, yea, the report of private men: So also for Infants he hath another way (no less easie to him, then hidden and admirable to us) how to work in them, as he sanctified John Baptist in his mothers womb:Luk. 16. 29, 31 He hath not ordained Angels to come and tell us news from heaven, nor any to come from the dead with tidings, but Moses and the Prophets, Ministers to open and apply the Scri­ptures, and this he makes effectual. Its true, God prepares men some­times by crosses, as the fire doth the iron, but most are moved present­ly at the Word; some by sickness or terror outward or inward, sent of God, have something brought to their conscience that they have heard, and so are converted; as others thereby prepared to the Word, and thereupon converted by it, as by experience hath been often found. This is the reason that the Devil hath ever been a spiteful enemy here­to, an enemy to true, sound, plain and diligent preaching; raising so many Enemies against it, laying so many logs in the way to hinder the course of it, raising up such in the Ministery as either preach not at all,1 Cor. 2. 4, 13. or seldom, or in the fleshly words of mans wisdom, crying down [Page 169] preaching, under this or that colour, &c. for he knows well that its the mighty Engine to batter his Kingdom; its that which pulls down the walls of Jericho, 2 Cor. 10. 4. how base soever in the worlds eyes: Its the strong voyce of God that casts Satan out of his hold and possession, his mighty arm that plucks us out of his power and Kingdom, and translates us into the Kingdom of his dear Son.

1. This teacheth us highly to esteem of it above all other means,Use 1. not preferring or equalling thereto either Reading or Prayer, publique or private; For what were this but to thwart the Lord? hath he blest these alike to win souls? If thou sittest at home and readest, when thou shouldest be hearing, God will curse thy pride, that thinkest to be wiser then he, or teachest any so to do.

2. It teacheth us to praise God for his unspeakable mercy towards us,Use 2. that whereas most of the world sitteth in darkness, he hath given us the means of the new birth: If thou art hereby Regenerate, thou art happy, if not, thy case is hard; then will it profit us, when it hath wrought this in us; therefore pray unto God to continue his Word, and give it power to change thee, and that he would whet this two-edged sword to pierce through thee, and make it an hammer to break thy stony heart.

3. They that have it not,Use 3. should mourn for it, and pray for it, as being subject to perish,Prov. 29. 18. For where prophesie faileth, the people perish: we must pity them who do not pity themselves.

4. Labor to profit daily by it,Use 4. for its also for our further building up, and whereby we go on to perfection, praying that it may be so long continued, till we shall have no more need of it, or our poor children whom we leave behinde us.

5. Pray to God to give it free passage every day,Use 5. to the winning of many souls, to the accomplishment of the number of Gods Elect, and let every man further it what he can to the utmost of his power, herein shewing himself Christs true friend: And let all men take heed of hindring the same; hinderers are enemies to mens souls, and to the Kingdom of Christ, and friends to the Devils Kingdom.

Here I may speak how God hath appointed Ministers to be the bringers of this glad tidings,The Ministers of the Word, are appointed of God the in­struments to convert souls. that converts the soul, and that the Lord useth them as instruments to win the soul, who are therefore cal­led in Scripture by many Honorable names, as, Men of God, An­gels, 2 Cor. 5. 20. Ambassadors from God, Spiritual Fathers &c. so, Builders, La­borers, Watchmen, Shepherds, &c. in respect of their pains; They are appointed over the Lords flock, they have the trust of Souls, the great­est trust that can be; other callings are about mens bodies or goods, but this their Souls.

1. Therefore for Preachers,Use 1. we must be faithful, in token of our thankfulness to God, that hath so highly honored us, and deeply en­trusted us,Dan. 12. 3. so shall our reward be great above others; if we be un­faithful,1 Pet. 5. 4. we must look for greater damnation, as being treacherous in so weighty a work.

2. For people,Use 2. how ought they to regard Gods faithful Ministers, that [Page 170] watch over their Souls? Alas, how little are they regarded! how poorly maintained? every thing too much, every little enough for them; whereas Lawyers, Physicians, &c. live wealthily, are much sought to: Its a plain sign men love their Bodies better then their Souls, and the Earthly Inheritance better then the Heavenly.

Which liveth and abideth for ever. Whence it co­meth to pass, that the Word worketh Re­generation.] These words spoken of God, are to shew how it comes to pass that the Word is able to Regenerate and beget us to a new and immortal life; namely, because it is the Word of him who liveth, and giveth life to all, and endureth for ever: If it were not the Word of such a one it could not; for as for the word of man, it can do no such matter. All the wisdom of all the men of the world put together, and used to perswade a sinner, are not able to change his heart: The word of a man can but stir up that in a man which is in him already; but to put any thing into him that was not in him, it cannot.

1. This teacheth us to preach the pure Word of God purely,Use 1. and not our own Devices: for what is the chaff to the wheat? not any word of man, this or that (how wise or ancient soever) can put life into a man: So, nor to mingle mans word with Gods; it hath no need of help from mans testimony, let it alone, it shall be able to per­form that which its appointed for. The Word of God is sharp enough to divide between the joynts and the marrow,Heb. 4. 12. though it be not whet­ted on this or that mans Grindstone. As Pearls need no painting, so that which is of incomparable power,2 Cor. 10. 4. and is pronounced to be migh­ty, hath no need of the help of weak man.

2. Let him that is born anew by the preaching of the Word,Use 2. be well assured he shall live and endure for ever, as God so liveth and endureth; as every one that is not begotten thereby, shall through Gods judgement live after a sort and abide for ever, but it shall be in everlasting wo and misery.

Verse 24. ‘For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass: the grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away.’ Verse 25. ‘But the Word of the Lord endureth for ever; and this is the word which by the Gospel is preached unto you.’

THe Apostle now laboreth to make men labor for their part in this Regeneration whereof he had spoken, and that is by shewing the miserable state of a carnal and unregenerate man; and that a man without this hath nothing that good is, nothing that can please God, that can stand him in stead, and bring him to Salvation; for what­soever is in man besides this, is flesh, is corrupt and sinful, and so con­sequently vain and vanishing as grass; yea, the best thing that is or can be in an unregenerate man, is but as a flower, that fadeth soon away, and cannot abide the heat of the Sun; no more can any thing in an unregenerate man abide the censure and judgement of Almighty [Page 171] God: and this he doth to drive as well carnal men out of themselves, and make them labor for this grace of Regeneration; as to stir up them that were Regenerate, to be thankful to God for this marvel­lous work, and labor to walk worthy of it in all fruits of holiness and obedience.

Now having laid out the misery of a carnal men, yet he leaves him not so, but tells him that there is a means to help this, and to bring him to an happy state, and to live for ever; namely, The Word of God, which endureth for ever, whereby the Soul is converted, Faith wrought, we united to Christ, and fetch from him as pardon of sin by his death, and favor by his obedience; so, ability to live the life of grace here, and the life of glory hereafter. But lest any should say, But where is this Word that is able to do thus wonderfully for us? and how must it be dealt with to make it thus effectual for our Rege­neration? He tells them, that its among them; and being sincerely preached, and humbly heard, believed and obeyed, would become effectual to their Salvation.

In the words we have both the Law and the Gospel: 1. The mi­serable state of all unregenerate men. 2. The mean to make us live for ever. Both these are set down in two Propositions: The first con­cerning the base estate of a carnal man, hath two branches, one a de­gree above another; The first, that all flesh (that is, whosoever is car­nal and unregenerate) is grass, that is, frail, brittle, fickle, perishing, which is not onely in respect of his bodily estate, but any thing else in him. The second, that the glory of man (that is, the best things that be or can be in him) are as the flower of grass, vain and vanishing. The second concerns the Word of the Lord, that it endureth for ever, and that to make us live for ever, by uniting us to Christ the Foun­tain of life.

The words are taken out of Isa. 40. 6, 7, 8. (where note by the way, that no text is ever cited out of the Apocrypha) the Apostle being guided by the same Spirit that the Prophet was, looking upon the same sense, not standing precisely upon the very words.

All flesh is as grass,] Though it be not chiefly meant of the frailty and brittleness of our bodily condition,Psal. 103. 15. yet it is also included; of which a little.

This our life is often compared to grass,Wherein mans life may be compared to grass. and that fitly: for as grass is subject to come to an end many ways, so we. It may be blasted with the East-wind as soon as ever it peers out of the ground; if not that, yet in the spring the beasts will crop and bite it off; if it miss both these, yet the mower will cut it down with his sithe; if it escape all these, yet there is one thing coming that it cannot escape, namely, the cold frosty winter, whereby it must needs wither away: So we may be blasted as soon as we be born; how many have dyed the same day they have been born, or shortly after? if we scape then, yet some disease may bite us in our youth; or if we miss both these, death with his sithe may cut us down in our middle age; but if yet we scape, the winter not­withstanding of old age will wither us away, and we cannot shift it.

[Page 172] Alas, we are as a bubble, a vapor, of no continuance, so vain a thing is man,Mr. Midman at that time so kild. lighter then vanity: A little too much heat or cold, * a little blow with a Horse foot, a bad savour, or the like, can quickly make an end of us: Alas, we carry the matter of many diseases daily about us, in our bosoms and bowels; insomuch that all must dye: Its so appointed,Heb. 9. 27. It cannot be shifted, Its the way of all flesh, high and low: This grim Sergeant knocks at every door, spares none, will not be bribed by any, Money, Physick, Wit, Wealth, cannot free us from it; even Methuselah dyed: They that have been most unwilling, yet have dyed; where are all our Forefathers? where all the mighty Monarchs? long since gone, and so must we, there's no remedy: yet we know not when, to day or to morrow, this year or the next; nor where, at home or abroad, in our bed or in the fields, by sea or land, nor how of a natural or violent death: Here to day, to morrow gone; The fairest flower may be soon welked: A few years ago we said, Our Fathers and Mothers are dead, and shortly our Children will say so of us,Eccles. 1. 4. one Generation passeth, another suc­ceedeth.

1. This may well serve to humble us,Use 1. pull down our Peacocks plumes: Alas, why should we be proud? proud against God, as most be to shake off his commandment, to stand in no awe of his Word, but to do that which he flatly forbids, nay, though he threaten never so severely? O thou poor Worm, thou Snail, what art thou poor Potsheard, that darest lift up thy self against thy Maker, the mighty and glorious Lord of Heaven and Earth?Dan. 5. 22, 23. shouldest thou not fall down at his footstool, and say, Speak Lord, for thy poor Creature is ready to do whatsoever thou requirest, as its right meet, and my bounden duty so to do? proud against our Neighbors, what art thou that liftest up thy self proudly, vaunting of thy Beauty, Birth, Strength, &c. mayest thou not be laid full low ere to mor­row Night? what art thou that treadest others down by thy great­ness, mayest thou not be laid where others shall tread on thee, and that shortly? what art thou, who so proudly deckest thy self with endless cost and time? why dost thou so gorgeously set out, and take such delight in a piece of clay? may it not lie by the walls this week? may not a Tuft of grass be cut down this night? O that there should be such excess, cost, vain fangles, endless and too much time spent in trimming up the body, and no care of decking the soul! O this cu­rious and long dressing and pinning is but for a day! and yet what a great deal of precious time is spent this way? Also what art thou that bearest malice against thy Neighbor, and will not be pacified, but threatnest to be revenged? Alas poor soul, where mayest thou be ere that time? lay down thy displeasure to day, lest thou dye to morrow, and dye in wrath.

2. This may abate our care for the world:Use 2. O how do men toil and care,Use 3. as if they were to live here, and never dye, when as dye they shall,How to be pre­pared for death and that haply very suddenly!

3. This should make us labor, always to be prepared for death: To [Page 173] this end, 1. Labor to be assured of the forgiveness of our sins, and that the book be crost, the reckonings cancel'd, and God at peace with us; wo be to him that dyes, these things being not discharged: But alas, most as if they were not enough indebted already, run on more and more. 2. Walk ever carefully in the fear of God, that we may be found well-doing; but how do most live in sin, that they are unfit to dye. 3. Be we not fettered nor intangled with the profits, pleasures,Luke 21. 34. and excessive cares of this life. 4. Imploy we our selves carefully in some measure about the work whereunto we are cal­led. 5. Wait we for the Lords coming, being always desirous thereof.

4. It should make us (seeing we be but grass) not to promise great matters of our selves;Use 4. We will do this or that, We will be revenged of him ere seven years come to an end, We will go and buy and sell, and get gain,Iam. 4. 13. and tarry thus long, We will repent seven or ten years hence: Alas poor fool, art thou not ashamed to shew thy folly? Alas poor Creature, whereof art thou made? Thou thinkest of heart of Oak, Marble or Cedar, remember thou art but grass: Reckon not without thine Hoast, boast not of to morrow.

Be we hereby stirred up to do all the good we can,Use 5. while we may, and work while its day;Eccles. 9. 10. If thou hast to repent, do it to day, hear this Sermon,Gal. 6. 10. keep well this Sabbath, thou knowest not but it may be the last; come this Communion, thou knowest not whether thou shalt live till another.

6. Never trust to any mortal friends,Use 6. haply they may be gone when thou shalt have most need of them, and when they might do thee most good; Trust in God that lives for ever, who is Almighty, ever a mer­ciful Father and a Friend to his: So, make the best use of any friend while thou hast him, People of their good Ministers, Husbands of their gracious Wives,2 King. 2. 3, 5. Children of their godly Parents, &c. Thou knowest not how soon they may be taken from thee; we shall hear lamentings after the death of such, buts it more wisdom to make use of them while they be with us: so for thy Enemies, fear them not too much,Exod. 4. 19. they are but grass, they may be taken away ere the time come wherein they should have hurt thee.Matt. 2. 10.

7. For our Children,Use 7. delight not too much in them for their beauty, stature, growth, they are but grass; If we set our minde too much on them while we have them, we will be too excessively grieved when God takes them from us; love them moderately of Gods bles­sings: If we bring them up in the fear as God, that they may prove gracious, and instruments to honor God in Church and Common-wealth, we do well: Take heed we prank them not up too much, or too much cocker them, and give them the head, as David to Absolom and Adonijah; as also that we rake not greedily for them, and so hin­der God of his service: If they be perkt up to high, or regarded more then the glory of God, its the next way to provoke God to pull them down.

And all the glory of man as the flower of grass:] Not onely the glory [Page 174] of men, as Nobles, Princes, Great-men, High-born, Wise, Witty, Learned, and the like, which are the chief, are as flowers, somewhat finer and fairer then grass in colour, & of them some fairer then some, but even the greatest man is but a flower, that for all the beauty fades assoon as another: But this is the meaning, that

The glory of a carnal man is but a vain thing,Doct. and the best part of an unregenerate man is corrupt;The glory of a carnal man is but a vain thing. the best gift is but vain, our un­derstanding not dark, but darkness: The natural man perceiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can; flesh and blood reveals no such things to him:Eph. 1. 8. Our understanding is altogether blinde in the first Ta­ble,1 Cor. 2. 14. unless it be for some few general notions, that serve to leave us without excuse, as, That there is a God, That he must be served, but what, and who he is, and how to be served, alas, here we dote: Hence have risen so many thousand Inventions, Images, Idols, so ma­ny kindes of Services in all Nations,Rom. 1. 23. Turning the glory of the incorrupti­ble God, into the similitude of a corruptible man, calf, creeping thing, &c. In the second Table, God for the preservation of civil society, hath left a little more light to discern between right and wrong, just and un­just, good and evil, as appears by the Laws of the Heathens against vices and for vertues, yet herein how blinde is carnal man? In the ge­neral he holds adultery, murther, &c. to be evil; but in particular, lust and anger (practised by himself) not so, or but a little; but for concu­piscence, original sin, the root of them, alas, this is quite hidden: So for our will, its altogether corrupt and rebellious; it ought to be guided by Reason, yet often when Reason speaks, and would guide right, it will not onely not be ruled, but will over-rule Reason; as the horses draw Coach and Coachman over hills and dales whither they list,See Gen. 6. 5. yea all that is in us is onely evil; Our Righteousness is like a fil­thy clout,Isa. 64. 6. we are not able to think a good thought; In me, that is, in my flesh (saith the Apostle) dwelleth no good thing: Rom. 7. 18. & 8. 7. The wisdom of the flesh is not onely an enemy,Eph 2. 1. but enmity against God, and our own con­version and Salvation, and we are dead in sins and trespasses, and so cannot stand before God; our sins must be taken away in Christ, and Christs righteousness imputed to us, and put upon us; we must also be purged and renewed,Mat. 5. 20. Either must our righteousness exceed the righte­ousness of the Scribes and Pharisees (who yet were very strict and civil) or we cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven: What if a man could rule Towns, Countreys and Commonwealths, as long as he hath no true rule over his own heart according to Gods Word? What though a man could compound all the controversies between man and man in a Countrey, and were reputed the wisest man therein, yet if he know not the great controversie that sin hath made between God and him­self, and seek and know that compounded in Christ, what would it a­vail him? What if a man were never such a skilful Lawyer, and could help every man to his inheritance, if he knew not that hell were his inheritance by nature, and labored for a better, and for the same shew good evidence? What if a man▪ were so skilful in Physick, as he knew the cases and cures of all diseases, if he know not the Spiri­tual [Page 175] diseases of his soul, and how they must be cured in the blood of Jesus Christ.

This may stir up all men to examine themselves in what state they stand:Use. If thou hast not felt an Almighty work of God in thee, to re­new and alter thee throughout, then art thou yet but a carnal and un­regenerate man, then thou art in a woful case, thou hast nothing that can please God, what shall become of thee? rest not in this state: O that people could be perswaded of their woful and wretched misera­ble state, then were it easie to perswade them to seek to have it better­ed! The Lord ferret you out of your holes, and muses that you have to lurk in: Alas, they will not all hide you f [...]om the All-seeing eye and justice of God: O pitty thy soul! This is the first step to Heaven, to know thy naked case: Take out this first Lesson, Thou canst never learn any other till this be learned; Thou that hast not learned this (as most have not) thou hast learned nothing to do thee good by all the Sermons which thou hast at any time heard.

The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away. Observ.] Even so whatsoever is or can be in a meer unregenerate man,Nothing in an unregenerate man can abide the Lords ex­amination. when it comes to the Lords examination, it will not abide, but vanisheth away, as snow on the Sun-fide of the house, and Butter before the fire.

But the Word of the Lord endureth for ever;] Having told them of their misery without Regeneration, he leaves them not there, but tells them of a remedy: To what purpose were it to tell one of his nakedness, unless he were also told how to come by clothing? that he is sick, un­less he be told how he may be cured? to rake in the wound and sore, unless a Playster be applyed? This were but to encrease a mans grief; so to Preach mans misery, and there leave, were to drive a man to dispair, were either to make men blockishly careless what they did, or desperately to rage, and run into the Gulf of all impiety, seeing there is no remedy: The Apostle therefore doth both, teaching Ministers wisely to joyn Law and Gospel toge­ther; we must not onely tell people of a remedy in general (so leaving them to se [...]k it themselves) but prescribe them the way by dutiful attendance to the Word of God; else they are like to do as sick folks, that having no counsel from the Physician, take things of their own head, which rather increase the disease then o­therwise, even by some blinde courses of their devising seek a reme­dy, which will do them no good.

The Word of the Lord is the means appointed of him,Doctr. to make us live that be dead,Gods Word is the means whereby we may live for ever. to convert the Soul, to work Faith, whereby we are united to Christ the fountain of life: Its the Conduit pipe, whereby God conveyeth the life that is in him into us; without the Word,Iohn 5. 25. we are sta [...]k dead, where that fails, the people perish; with­out the Word,Prov. 29. 18. I say, we are but dead men, and we must dye and perish eternally if it help us not: But if it be carefully heard, believed and obeyed, it will bring us to everlasting life, to an enduring state in Grace and Glory.

1. O then,Use 1. wherewith shall this Word be prized? If even a Soul [Page 176] be more worthy then all the world, what is it worth that saves Souls? O no marvel though David said it was better then gold and silver,Psal. 19. 10. & 119 72, 127. and sweeter then honey: O how thankful should we be to God for this rich treasure hidden from most part of the world? he hath given his Statutes to Jacob, Psa. 147. 19, [...]0 he hath not dealt so with other Nations; what if we had this whole worlds wealth amongst us, if we had not the Word of God? O what are we, that we should be preferr'd before so many great Countreys, and innumerable people? O how great is the unthankfulness of this Land, that set so little by it! why are the people so shie, and so hardly drawn to the preaching of the Word? Is it not some great hurt it would do them? Its even this, It would make them of sinners converted persons, bringing Salvation to their house; of dead, make them alive, and to live for ever: without it we are sure to dye, and that eternally.

2. To answer the prophane world,Use 2. that wonders at people that take pains winter and summer, to travel and take such journeys to the Word; they think they be fools, and laugh at them, What do they mean, say they? What mean they? they seek to have their Souls saved; if you have any greater business in hand then that, or know a better way to effect it, then the preaching of the Word, you should do well to set about it: But if ye do neither of these (as I know ye do not) then cease marvelling at them, and give them leave rather to marvel at you, that can be so careful for toys, and so careless of your Souls for the time to come.

3. If we have the Word of God, which is sufficient, and ap­pointed to save our Souls, then how dare the Brownists separate them­selves from us? Peter would not from Christ, when being asked of him whether he would go away,Ioh 6 68. Master (saith he) whether shall I go, thou hast the words of eternal life; yea, though there may be some things amiss, and where at they are offended, yet seeing there is suffi­cient to the Salvation of our Souls, we ought to take heed of depart­ing from those places where such means are; they will go farther, and speed worse. Again, whereas they call our Ministers Antichri­stian, and B [...]alitical Priests, &c. what gross wrong is this? will God bless the labors of such to the winning of Souls? Have not sundry Ministers among us through Gods goodness been the instruments of converting many to God?1 Cor. 9. 2. Paul took that as a good Seal of his Apo­stleship, that he had been so blessed.

Of the Lord] This is to exclude all mens Traditions, false Scri­ptures, &c. which have no such power, and to stop the mouthes of Enthusiasts, that depend upon immediate Revelations from God, as though the Scriptures were insufficient.

And this is the word, Doct. which by the Gospel is preached unto you.] Where is the Word,The word by preaching is made the in­strument of Regeneration. might they say, and how must it be handled to make it thus effectual? He answereth, If it be effectually preached, as it is among you, this is the means; its not in heaven, but among you, and by preaching its made the instrument of Regeneration: For, How shall they believe in him, Rom. 10. 14. of whom they have not heard; and, It pleased God [Page 177] by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe: 1 Cor. 1. 21. The Eunuch having that by preaching opened and applied to him which he read,Acts 8 3 [...]. was thereupon converted;See Neh. 8. 8. that which could not be done by bare reading, was done by preaching. Its true, the Word read and preached are both alike apt to convert in respect of themselves, but not in respect of us; as whole loaves, and bread cut in pieces and made small, have like nature and aptness to nourish in respect of themselves, but not in respect of us: for whole loaves will not enter into the mouth, nor into the stomack; or if they could be there, so fit to digest as when cut small, yea and chewed, for then its fit: So a sentence of Scripture must be broken, and divided into Doctrine and Use, then its fit, and not till then to nourish us; so that the cause why the Word read is not so apt to Regenerate and nourish us as the Word preach­ed, is not in the Word it self, but in us, in respect of our weakness that cannot conceive it, nor yet apply it to our selves.

Therefore they that would have bare reading in Congregations,Use. and that as sufficient for the Salvation of a Congregation, they are Enemies to the Souls of Gods people. True it is, the reading of the Word, as well privately as publikely in the Congregation, is an ex­ercise both holy and profitable, and hath ever been used in the Church of God, and is to this day, but yet not as sufficient (as the other) to Salvation.

Preached] This he addeth, that they might not look that God should speak to them from Heaven, or by an Angel, he hath thought good to speak unto us by men, whom he sends to preach unto us.

Unto you. Doct.] In that it was preached as to others, so also to them; note, That the Word ought to be preached in every particular Congrega­tion;The Word ought to be preached in every Congre­gation. They that have it not, must seek it elsewhere, for it will not avail them that its preached in the same Land, Countrey or corner, except they also have it preached; nor yet will this serve for their ex­cuse, We had it not in our Town: If light be come into the world, we must seek after it, as men go from Market to Market for pro­vision.

And if the Word be truly preached in any Congregation,Use. the peo­ple ought in any wise to attend there, and wait for a blessing thereon: They must not discourage their Ministers through their absence, but rather by their presence and prayers for them in preaching, and them­selves in hearing, help them forward.

And this is the word, &c.Obser.] Peter boldly avoucheth it was the Word of God that was preached among them;The Word must be so preached, as that the Mini­sters thereof may avouch it to be indeed the Word of God. and therefore that they which resisted it, resisted not him, but God: So must we preach, that we may boldly say thus and avouch it.

Those Ministers that broach Errors, and corrupt Opinions, or that plead for Baal (for this and that Disorder) or they that bend the edge of their Ministery against the forward and better sort, and so weaken their knees,Use. and strengthen the hands of the wicked, these cannot thus say, This is the Word of God that is preached unto you; God would not have said thus, neither saith Gods Word thus: and they that re­sist [Page 178] not God, but man, nay, the Devil, that moves him to utter these things. We ought to take heed, not daring to utter any thing, but that whereof we may boldly avouch; Thus saith the Lord, He that speaketh, 1 Pet. 4. 11. let him speak as the Oracles of God: But if we speak nothing but the Truth, and as God would, let all take heed how they shall dare to resist or gainsay it, or not yield obedience thereto; for he that resisteth it, despiseth his own Salvation, and resisteth not a mean man, but Almighty God, whose Word and Ordinance it is to save the Elect: and be sure if it save you not, it will condemn you, For as the rain cometh down, Isa. 55. 10. 11. and the snow from Heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower: So shall my word be that goeth out of my mouth (saith the Lord) it shall not return unto me void, but shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.


WE have finished the former Chapter through Gods good­ness; many that heard the beginning thereof, dyed ere we came to the end, many dead since: We set now upon this second, hoping for the same assistance; and I pray lets all attend to the beginning with carefulness, for no doubt sun­dry of us (so frail are we) shall never live to the end of it, and therefore are to make the best use of that we shall hear.

In the latter end of the former Chapter,The coherence of this Chap­ter with the former. he had spoken of Regene­ration, whereof he was perswaded many of them were partakers; now he perswades them to declare and honor that state and calling by a life answerable, even an holy conversation, both in their general and special callings, renouncing the sins and corruption from which they were called, and which became not new persons, and performing all the contrary good duties, beseeming them that are called to the state of grace and hope of glory.

This whole Chapter contains Exhortations;The sum of this Chapter. some general to all Christians, from the beginning to the thirteenth verse, some special, from thence to the end.

In the three first Verses he exhorteth as well to the laying aside some faults,The sum of the first three Verses. as the performance of a most necessary duty: The faults to be avoided and abandoned, verse 1. The duty to be practiced, verse 2. Whereunto is annexed a Reason why they should so earnestly long after, and heartily embrace the Word of God, even because they had already found some benefit thereof, yea the special goodness of God thereby, verse 3.

Verse 1. ‘Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and evil speakings:’ Verse 2. ‘As new born babes desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby.’ Verse 3. ‘If so ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.’

WHerefore laying aside, Doctr. &c.] Sundry things may be hence ob­served in general:Regeneration and the love of sin cannot stand together. 1. That Regeneration and the love of sin cannot stand together, it must needs be accompanied with a new life: This is the end of our new birth. The life of a Regenerate man must be a continual practice of mortification,Rom. 8. 1. and stu­dy to please God;2 Cor. 5. 17. this may be seen from the dependance which this hath with the former,Gal. 5. 24. Wherefore laying aside, Rom. 13. 1. 2 &c. as if he should say, Seeing you are Regenerate, and God hath done so much for you as thus and thus, therefore we must lay aside, &c.

1. Here's reproof for those that bless themselves,Use 1. as if they were Regenerate and Believers, who do yet still live in their old lusts; Do Vines bear Haws and Brambles? do men gather Grapes of Thorns?

2. Admonition to all that have proof of this work of Gods special grace in them,Use 2. which Man nor Angel could not have wrought, and which is given but to a few, that they labor to shew forth their thank­fulness, by renouncing all evil, and setting themselves on the con­trary duties to please God.

3. Comfort to them that do thus,Use 3. They may rejoyce in the assu­rance of their Regeneration, they have cast off the work of darkness, put on the armor of light.

2. That there's no perfection here to be attained,Doctr. for men cannot lay away that they have not,There's no perfection to be attained here. but that they have; even the best have remnants of the old man, they have sin dwelling, though not reigning in them; they are sanctified throughout, but not perfectly; so that though it be true,1 Iohn 3. 9. & 1. 11. That he that is born of God, sinneth not, its also, That if we say we have no sin, we deceive our selves, and the truth is not in us; God will have it so to humble us, and exercise us in his Word, Sacraments, Prayer, &c.

1. This condemns all such monsters as challenge any perfection or purity here,Use 1. whereof have been sundry sorts, raised up by Satan at all times, as the Pelagians, Catharists, Caelestians, Donatists, Anabaptists, Libertines, Family of love, &c. a dangerous Opinion: 1. To puff up with arrogancy while they look for inherent righteousness to come to heaven. 2. To drive such into desperation that feel the corruptions of their hearts rebelling, and cannot be rid of the same, which yet was the case of Paul himself: We are at the best unprofitable servants, and while we live shall for many things stand in need to make this Petiti­on,Luke 17. 10. Forgive us our trespasses.

2. This must not yet quail or discourage us from this Spiritual combat,Use 2. but rather set us on work more carefully; for though we [Page 181] cannot overcome in all, yet we may prevail much; and though we shall have cause to say with Paul, Rom. 7. 24, 25. O wretched man that I am, &c. yet we shall also have cause to say with him, I thank God through Jesus Christ; and though we shall have cause to grieve that we can get no more mastery, yet we shall have cause to rejoyce, that we have attain­ed to that we have, wherein though we have gone on but slowly, yet sincerely: Original sin is not a cistern, if it were, we would never leave till by the grace of God we had emptied it;Simil. but its a spring, when we have pumped out all we can at night, at a Fast, at a Sacrament, yet it will come in again quickly; there will still be more, whereat not­withstanding we must not be discouraged, and give over, but out with all again, for the longer we tarry, the fuller it will be, therefore we are to set upon it both quickly and continually.

3. That its no easie thing to be a Christian,Doctr. its no plain, nor easie life or work,To be a Chri­stian, is a work of great diffi­culty. but a very difficult, sore and painful life, for a man to renounce those sins which be so neer to him, and he so wonderfully given to, to deny himself, and take up his cross, therefore we are bid, strive,Luke 9. 23. labor, study, give all diligence hereunto, mortifie our earthly members, pluck out our right eye, cut off our right hand, &c. so ma­ny affections as be within us, so many armed soldiers we have to fight against; therefore is our life compared to a warfare, as who are to fight against three sore Adversaries, the Devil, the World, and our own Lusts, the worst of all: O how hard it is to resist the multitude and example of the vulgar and most! how hard to despise the baits of unlawful Honors, Profits, Pleasures! how hard to overcome the con­trary troubles for well-doing! how hard to resist the Devil! but chief­ly our own corrupt heart is a rebellious traytor, subtile and wicked, which few overcome, and great is their reward which doovercome.

1. They that finde themselves in an easie way,Use 1. are not in the state of grace: Its easie to follow the course of the world, and our own will, but he that doth thus, is in the broad way; but to deny these, and obey God, we shall finde hard, it will cost much labor, many prayers, sighs, tears, much hearing, meditation, partaking of the Sa­crament, and the like.

2. For them that wrestle,Use 2. and finde themselves beset, and therefore are fain to take pains, let such be of good comfort; this is the way to heaven, be not discouraged, go on; the work is hard, but the crown and reward is wonderful eternal.

4. That under those corruptions here named,Obs. all others are inclu­ded,Vnder those here named, all other corrupti­ons are in­cluded. and the first word may be taken very fitly for all naughtiness in general, the rest being particular branches thereof, elsewhere more are set down: Therefore a Christian must not renounce onely some evils, but all, all being hateful to God, he must cast away every thing that presseth down,Col. 3. 5. we must cleanse our selves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit:Heb. 12. 1. The Spirit of God,2 Cor. 7. 1. and the love of any one sin, can­not be together in one heart; and here he names onely those wherein they were most faulty, and which were contraries to that love ex­horted unto in the former Chapter.

[Page 182] Therefore wheresoever there's the love and practise of any one sin,Use. assuredly the Spirit of God dwells not in that man, neither is there any work of Regeneration in him.

5. That most of those here mentioned be inward corruptions,Observ. which we must as well avoid,Most of the corruptions here named are inward. as the outward, the sins of the tongue, and the like: Its not enough to pare away the outward sins, but the heart also must be purged; we must be sanctified throughout, our whole Spirit,Iam. 1. 26. Soul and Body,1 Thess. 5. 23. must be kept blameless.

1. This condemneth those that will look to the outside,Use 1. and yet in the mean time suffer their hearts to boyl full of Lusts, and swarm ful of Corruptions, of Pride, Envy, Impatience, Unbelief, & the like, making no conscience of these; This is an ill sign: These haply may bridle themselves awhile, but they wil surely break out one time or other; if they should not, yet were they but painted Sepulchres in Gods sight.

2. This may comfort Gods Servants who groan under their in­ward corruptions,Use 2. and when men think they have done well, yet they shake their heads at themselves, at their dulness to good, at their Pride and Hypocrisie therein, at their unwillingness thereto, at their wan­drings: This is the minde of Gods true Servants, and this also may much comfort them.

Wherefore laying aside] Now of the vices themselves, or corrupti­ons rather as they are in the Regenerate.

I remember I requested in the beginning of the Chapter to attend to it, because we knew not whether we should live to the end of it, or no; and is it not proved true? Some that were at the first Sermon (there being but a little intermission from the course of my Ministery here) are now at their long home;The Author was absent at this time three weeks. not Ancient alone, but Yong and Lusty also, that might have lived to see the most of us buried: Therefore I see we had need take heed not to Chapters onely, but to every Verse, every particular Sermon, this very Sermon, accord­ingly making the best use and benefit thereof, seeing no man knows whether he shall hear another, so vain a thing is man; and I pray God we may so do.

All malice,] The Word signifieth very properly all kinde of naugh­tiness, and so may fitly here, as the genus of the vices that follow, and all others, and accordingly speak we thereof. Naughtiness: What is that that is naught?Obser. and what makes a thing naught? That which is forbidden by God in his Word,Thats naught which is forbidden in Gods Word. as that is good which he appro­veth; for his will is the absolute rule of righteousness: who doth not see a thing first good, then willeth it, but willeth and commandeth it, and thereupon it becomes good,Iohn 3. 4. and so on the contrary; and there­fore sin is said to be the transgression of the Law.

This teacheth us to examine all things, and knowing any thing commanded,Use. to conclude that its good, and thereupon to do it; con­trarily, knowing any thing forbidden, that thenceforward we know it to be naught, and therefore abhor it; for what good can come of that which is naught? and what should we have to do therewith? The Lords will is a rule of Righteousness, all promises made to [Page 183] the obedience of it, and all the threatnings and plagues upon the world have come because of disobedience, that God would have his will, and men will not, but have theirs. This is the trouble of the world, and that which hath cost the world full dear, yet how few knowing Gods will can be content there to rest, and say, Now I know this is forbidden, I have done with it, I know this prescribed, I will there­fore obey it? O this were a happy world!

But if by this word we understand malice in particular,What malice is Its an old grudge upon some wrong done, or conceived to be done to a man, whereupon he waits to do some hurt or mischief to him that did it.

Anger is like a fire kindled in thorns,The difference between it and anger. soon blazeth, is soon out; but malice, like a fire kindled in a log, it continues long: This is often forbidden,Eph. 4. 31. and yet as Esau hated Jacob, and Haman Mordecai; so the world hateth Gods Servants,Col. 3. 8. as being reproved of them, and who run not with them into the same exce [...]s of riot.

1. We ought to take heed of the beginnings of unadvised an­ger,Use 1. it rests in the bosom of fools;Eccles. 7. 9. whereas he that is so slow to wrath is of great wisdom: God is slow to wrath, and so should we be.

2. If we be overtaken (as a right good man may) take heed it fester not,Use 2. grow not to hatred, heal it quickly, as we do our wounds: The Devil is an ill Counsellor, cast it out to night, how can you else lie down in peace, or pray? prayers be lost, and that's a grievous loss: Nay further, Cast it out to night, thou mayest dye ere to mor­row; and then shalt thou either dye in malice, or else forgive per force, when thou canst not retain it any longer, nor any cares for it; for what needs one care for thy hatred, if thou be once dead? Again,Mat. 5. [...]3. thou art not fit to come to the Sacrament; not fit to offer thy gift at the Altar: And to be revenged, what a madness is this? It may be thou dost but imagine a wrong, and then there's no cause, thou dealest unjustly: but if there be, wilt thou revenge? Its the Lords office; Take heed of perking up into Gods place, as if he would not deal equally, either not revenging at all, or not sufficiently; The Lord knoweth what is best, let him alone, else thou turnest off his hand from thine adversary against thy self: Nay, what is this but to be revenged of God,2 Sam. 16. 11. as it were? for hath not he a hand therein? Is it not by his appointment?Iob 1. 21.

And all guile,] What we are to understand by guile. Its meant of guile, that is between men and men in their dealings each with other, as in buying, selling, letting, hiring, borrowing, lending, paying wages, doing work, partnership, and the like; when men would seem to do well, but do otherwise; when one thing is pretended but another practised:Prov. 20. 14. Guile in the buyer is naught,Prov. 11. 1. as not to pay, or to pay in ill coyn; so also there may be many frauds in the seller:1 Thess. 4. 6. These God forbids, and he is an avenger of such things; we are not born for our selves, but for the good each of other: we must love our Neighbor as our self, and do to him as we would be done to; we must not lye one to another, seeing we are [Page 184] members one of another, as it were monstrous in the natural body, to see the hand beguile the mouth, &c. and yet how common is this sin? how doth one spread a net for another? not caring how they come by their goods, so they be once masters of them.

The buyer should look to himself,Object. his eye is his Chapman, he should have had more wit.

Thou shouldest have looked to him,Sol. and God will say to thee, thou shouldest have had more love, and more honesty.

Yea,Object. plain dealing is best, but he that useth it shall dye a beggar.

This proverb was never framed in an honest heart,Sol. but in an unbe­lieving and prophane heart; Its as much as if we should say, men should speed the worse for obeying God, and they that dishonor him most shall speed best at his hand.

We must maintain our charge,Object. and except we use our wit, and the best shifts we can, we shall not do it.

Saith not the Scripture,Sol. A man cannot be established by iniquity? Hath not our Savior promised,Prov. 12. 3. that if we shall in the first place seek Gods Kingdom,Matt. 6. 33. all other things shall be added unto us; we shall have that which is meet, and Gods blessing withal, and thats better then never so much with his curse, an ill conscience, and the loss of our Souls, God will rifle in it, and scatter it at his pleasure: What if we get not so much, or so hastily, as they that care not what they do? (and yet God often crosseth such, and hath ways to defeat them, as to bless his servants) A Thief robs by the High-way, he steals Twenty pounds, sooner then an honest man can earn Twenty pence, what then? would the true man change parts with him, when he sits quiet on his Loom, or is threshing in the Barn without fear, whereas the other hath the Countrey raised after him, and being apprehended is haled to the Goal, thence to the Bar and Gallows? whose part is best? There's no less difference between goods well and ill got.

All] This is added to shew (lest any should think none but guile in great matters or measure forbidden here) that there's a through-Refor­mation required;Obs. Therefore it will not serve any mans turn to say,Guil is to be avoided as wel in small as great matters. My shop is not so dark as others; I mingle not my commodities so much as such and such; I never deceived in any great matters: All guile must be abandoned of a Christian that cares for his Soul. A Christian must shew forth the truth of his Christianity in his particu­lar Calling, in his shop, Buying, Selling, &c. that men may take his word, and believe it, as if they had seen it with their own eyes, yea, count his words as good as a bond, that they dare rest on his faith­fulness, that he will not deceive: O some smile at this, as if there were none such, I hope there be some, its pity they be so rare; Its but that every Christian should do, and must, if he will honor his pro­fession, and do as God requires.

And hypocrisies,] Not that grossest (as I take it) that our Savior Christ condemned in the Scribes and Pharisees, and that which is so common in the world, that come to Church and place all their Re­ligion in Ceremony, and make no account of the power of any part of [Page 185] it in their lives; and yet of this hypocrisie Gods servants have rem­nants, whereby oftentimes they draw nearer to God with their lips, then their hearts; their knee is bowed, when the heart is not hum­bled▪ the tongue goes, when the soul mourns not unto God: But this chiefly is meant,Whats here to be chiefly un­derstood by hypocrisie. when a man is willing to be better thought of then there is cause; when he hates sin indeed, but not so much as he would seem; so loves good, hath some care in his Family, &c. this often befals good men, and is for want of setting our selves in the sight of God nakedly, and looking to him with whom we have to do: Now he seeth what and how we do, so that we are to lay away all approving of our selves to men, that is not joyned with as nar­row a care to approve our selves to God that seeth our very hearts, and let us rather do more then is thought of us, or then we desire should be thought to be in us, then less; that if we deceive the opinion of men, it may be in the better, not in the worse.

And envies,] What Envy is. Of this I have spoken in handling the Ninth Com­mandment: Its a bearing ill will, and wishing hurt, not for any hurt done to us, but because another man prospers, or doth or is accounted of better then we would have him, or we our selves are; therefore we seek to disgrace him, cannot abide his commendations, labor his ruine: Thus Cain against Abel, the Scribes and Pharisees against our Savior Christ. This is forbidden by the Apostle, and reckoned of him among the fruits of the flesh. Gal. 5. 21. The more a man clears before men his innocency, the more is the envious mans envy fed, whereas were he found blame-worthy, this would stanch it: Lay away all envy, save emulating the grace of others, I mean so far as to strive to reach and exceed them therein, and all good fruits thereof.

And evil speakings,] What we are to understand by evil speak­ings. Namely, against our Neighbor, in slandering, backbiting, reviling, &c. whereof also I then spake at large; Whoso bridleth not his tongue (how religious soever he seemeth) his Religion is vain: Iames 1. 26. Lets desire therefore, and pray the Lord to set a watch about the door of our lips.See Iam. 3. 5. The tongue is a slippery member, as little as it is it may do much good if well ruled,Psal. 120. 4. much hurt, if otherwise; an evil tongue is compared to Fire, a Razor, Coals, a Sword: these things must be laid aside, not to put them on again at any time, as men do their work a-days clothes, but as Joseph laid away his Prison garment when he went to Pharaoh, at no time to put them on any more.

As new born babes, &c.] Having prepared the ground, he now comes to sow the seed; and having purged the stomack of ill humors, he comes to prescribe wholesom food, namely, the word of God, which he would have them seriously and heartily to love and long after, and the Ministery thereof, being that wholesom means of nou­rishment that God hath ordained to this end, that they might grow and encrease from grace to grace thereby, till they should come to the full measure of their Sanctification which they were to attain unto in this life: So that in this verse we have the Affection, the Object, and the End; or, 1. A duty required, namely, to desire after [Page 186] the Word of God, which is set down by a similitude from children new born: and 2. How the Word of God is described, namely, from the nourishing nature thereof, its called Milk; the purity, its sincere Milk; and the end thereof, that they might grow thereby.

He had before willed them to lay aside all malice, &c. now to de­sire the sincere milk of the word: Hereby implying, that

The Word of God cannot thrive or prosper in an unsanctified heart,Doct. neither can a man either affect it,The Word of God cannot thrive in an unsanctified heart. earnestly desire it, or truly de­light in it, as long as he lives in any one sin: For 1. The Word of God is holy, and will not abide in an unclean heart, no more then Rose-water will keep good in a musty or foul vessel. 2. It crosseth all our sins and corruptions; whoso therefore loveth any one sin, cannot love the Word: Hence it is that so few affect the Word soundly, even because it crosseth that which they love, and so few grow by it, because their hearts be defiled with some sin.

Therefore let us abandon the love of all evil and sin from us,Use. if ever we mean to finde the Word sweet unto us, or to prosper there­by; so far doth any man profit in the love of Gods Word, as he profits in the hatred of sin: The best nourishment taken into a cor­rupt stomack, yet nourisheth not; so its with the Word: The most come to Church with hearts over-grown with rank weeds more or less, therefore cannot the Word thrive in them; and so the carnal people of the world receive no benefit after long preaching, and they that have good things in them, yet when they suffer some corruptions in themselves to wax too rank, do not thrive in grace.

The duty required is, As new born babes to desire the sincere milk of the word, so being much conversant both in the hearing and reading thereof.

The desire that new born babes or yong children have after their Mothers breast,Observ. is 1. Earnest: 2. Constant: 3. Impartial:Our desire to­wards the word must be earnest. Such must ours be towards the Word. 1. Earnest; the new born babe hath not only an aptness to suck at the first, but makes aym at the dug, wrings and turns the head, and gapes, which is the wonderful work of God, nay, desires it so earnestly, as it will cry for it, yea and if it hath it not,Iob 23. 12. nothing else will still it; and after it hath been accustomed thereto,Psal. 42. 1. & 119. 20, 103, 111, 227. no dancing, rocking or gingling will still it, but the Big it must have, and that satisfieth it. Such must be our desire to the Word, an earnest fervent desire, so as nothing can satisfie us without it,Psal. 119. 98, 99. but we esteem it above all, both profit and pleasure. Such as be new born do thus desire it; and no wonder, for it made David wiser then his Teachers,2 Tim. 3. 15, 16. his Enemies, his Ancients: It makes us wise to Salvation,Iam. 1. 21. its able to save our souls; its the instrument to convert, to build up, to teach, instruct, convince, correct, &c. and to make per­fect to every good work: Every part of it is so holy and profitable, the Promises so comfortable, the very Threatnings also able to sub­due our rebellious Corruptions, and the Instructions thereof to teach us the way we have to walk in: O there can be no part thereof spared.

1. This condemneth those that have no desire at all to the Word,Use 1. [Page 187] had as leave be at home, as thereat, no Sermon, but for names sake; that care not to come to the Word, or if they come for company or fear of the Law, yet its without any appetite or desire, and therefore they come no more then they must needs for shame or danger: Tell whether Papists or others amongst our selves that care not for the Word, of profits or pleasures, they like it well, but as for a Sermon, they have no appetite thereto, finde no savor therein; some had ra­ther be with their Oxen, and at their Farms, some at Bull baiting, or some Play; some had as leave be in the Churchyard as in the Church, love the Word as one would love a Prison: This is a cer­tain sign of carnal persons dead in their sins; as if a childe after it were born, or at any time, should lie a day or two and make no aym for the Big, would not every body say it were dead? Many other would seem to desire Preaching, and wish they had a good Preacher, but in the mean time it troubles them not, they seek not to compass it, nor mourn for the want, nor will they take pains to stir abroad to hear elswhere till they have one of their own: Certainly these men have no life of grace in them, if they had, they would not onely wish for it, but earnestly desire it: Doth the childe onely sometimes make aym for the big? No, but if it be well it will cry for it: These profit accordingly when they hear, because they hear not with a de­sire; others can be kept from the Word by every trifle, and wonder that others are not: For this sin of the contempt of the Word, God may justly visit the Land, as he doth every year with one Judgement or other, and why rather then for this mother sin, and great unthank­fulness for this most precious and invaluable Jewel?

2. It may comfort those that long after it,Use 2. and so earnestly desire it, as nothing can please them without it; a fair house, fertile ground, wholesom ayr, a good farm, all this gives them no content without the Word, which should sweeten and teach the use of all; O if they had thought they should not have had the Ministery of the Word, they would never have come there; and now labor by all means, not coldly, but with endeavor to compass it, going where it is, till they have it, taking great pains about it, hot and cold, in winter and summer, a good sign of health of such as are alive, born again, when men are not held away by any small occasion, are never so glad as when they are at it,Prov. 2. 3. and 8. 17. never so grieved as when withheld therefrom. These be they that shall profit.

2. Constant;Constant. A yong childe having newly suckt, is quiet a while, but by and by will desire the dug, and cry for it again, and ever and anon must be sucking:Psal. 27. 4. So should we always be desirous of the Word,Psal. 119. 20. still hungring after it. Regenerate persons or true Christians desire it again and again; for why, they seek so much to know, that they desire still to hear more; they finde their Faith feeble, therefore desire more still that it may be strengthened: They finde many and strong corruptions, therefore they would hear that which might sub­due them; they finde many doubts and much weakness, therefore they desire to hear still as often as they can, and all too little; there­fore [Page 188] they think the time long from one Sabbath or Exercise-day to another.

1. For them that care not how little they hear,Use 1. with whom once a Sabbath is full enough, once a moneth for a need, yea, once a quarter would serve the turn; Its a sign of clung and starved souls, for as they that be in health, must eat oft; so they that have spiritual health in soul, must hear oft; Therefore they that loath, and are weary of the Word, its a sign of sick souls, having no Stomack to this food, its a sign they are dead at the heart.

2. For those that feel an appetite from Sermon to Sermon,Use 2. and to hear oft, its a sign they see their wants, and finde the goodness of the Word.

3. This may stop the mouth of barkers at such as go to the Word,Use 3. Why, were you not at Church last Sunday? must you go again to day? must you go on the week day too? Why, know ye not that growing persons eat oft, are often hungry: They are growing, and therefore that they may grow more, must use this means; they that see no wants in themselves, a Sermon now and then will serve their turn.

3. Unpartial;Vnpartial. As the childe cares not whom it sucks, rich or poor so the milk be good, so must we not look at the man, or at his out­ward appearance, so as he deliver the Word of God soundly, truly, and sincerely, that it may appear good milk.

Many look upon pomp and outward complements,Use. so as they set light by the Ministery of them that want them, counting them plain men, simple men to see to; let such know, that not painting of the Cask makes good wine.

These being the duties of the people, thus earnestly, constantly, and impartially to desire the Word of God, by the way in a word Ministers must learn their duty, and how to carry themselves.

1. As the People be the Children,Obser. so Ministers be the Nurses, therefore they must be no dry Nurses,Ministers must have store of milk for their spiri­tual Children. then the people shall desire and miss, but have full breasts, that their Children may have enough to nourish them: They must Study, Read, Meditate, Pray, that their breasts may be full, as good House-holders, they must have old and new for every bodies turn,Mal. 2. 7. give every one their portion; and as good Nurses that fear they shall want milk, eat and drink spoon-meat more then they are willing; so must we study, against our ease to satisfie our spiritual Children, not woo-meal our Children.

2. Ministers as they must have milk enough,Obser. so must they have love good store,Ministers must have good store of love. to lay out their breasts publiquely and privately up­on all occasions, as the kinde mother that sometimes a whole day to­gether doth not pin up close her things,Acts 20. 31. but lets her breast always be in readiness.2 Tim. 4. 2.

3. Ministers must have much patience,Obser. that though the people, some or all be wayward,Ministers must have much patience and take not the breast handsomly, yea, sometime fall out with the breast, when it comes too fast, and fall a crying,2 Tim. 2. 25. as Children do; They must I say have patience, and wait, [Page 189] putting it again in their mouthes, though they cag and puke it up again.

Milk of the Word] The Word is here and elswhere compared to milk (as to wine and bread,The Word why compared to milk. this being to the Soul as those to the body) as in respect of the plainness of it to yong children,Isa 55. 1. which is therefore opposed to strong meat,1 Cor. 3. 2. that is, harder Points, and Myste­ries of Religion,Heb. 5. 12. so especially for the nourishing nature thereof.

1. Therefore they that may hear the Word,Use 1. and will not, starve their own souls, and are wilfully guilty of their own destruction; They that take away the Word from any place, pluck away the chil­drens bread, and leave the people to perish for want of knowledge.

2. Christians must desire it,Use 2. and hunger and thirst after it, pray­ing God to continue it, and that of all punishments, he would not send a famine of the Word: The Soul hath a life as well as the Body, bo­dily food will do it no good, therefore the Word must be had.

3. This also stops the mouthes of those that wonder at Christians because they hear oft,Use 3. they can never be content; They did hear on the Sunday, must they go on the week day too? Did not you eat yesterday, yet will dine to day again? and no marvel, for you can­not live without it; no more can the Soul without the Word, the Spiritual food thereof: And though your Soul be a small feeder, and little will content it, indeed nothing at all, because you have no Spiritual life in you, yet the children of God that are alive, must have it again and again: We say, They that are growing must eat oft, and are hungry, so must growing Christians hear oft.

Its also compared to milk for the sweetness of it;Psalm 19. 10. nothing sweeter to a childe then the mothers breast, so is the Word to a new born Christian.

They that feel no sweetness therein,Obs. their mouth is out of taste with sin,Nothing sweeter to Gods children then the Word as they also to whom it seems bitter; contrarily, they that finde it sweet, pleasant, delightsom, yea every part thereof, and to whom even the threatnings thereof are welcom, as whereby their corruption may be subdued, its an infallible sign that they are Gods children.

Besides,Obs. as milk is a general food for all Christians rich and poor, so is the Word the common food of all Christians,The Word is the common food of all Christians. the means of their begetting and edifying; the greatest must look for no other, so neither the poorest, none must neglect it, its the common food of all that shall be saved: Happy is the Land therefore that flows with Peters milk and Davids honey, they have the best Spiritual complexions that be fed therewith.

Sincere] That is,The Word why called sincere. Pure, Unmixt, a borrowed speech from honey that is not mixt, but sine cera, without wax; and its so called, not one­ly because its the purest thing in the world (and therefore we o [...]ght to desire it the more earnestly) but because there be such as will deal with the Word, as Hucksters that sell milk, and mingle it with water; so some mix the Word with Errors, and deliver it not sincerely, whereof accordingly they were to take heed.

[Page 190] Hereof he had great cause to warn those Jews, because there were false Teachers, that labored to draw them from Christ altogether; others joyned Law with Christ, as if Salvation were not by Christ alone: This was to put poison in the milk.

1. This teacheth Ministers to preach the Word sincerely without mixture:Use 1. For matter, all must be according to the Law and the Testi­mony, and the Ballance of the Sanctuary, so that they may boldly avouch thereof,Isa. 8. 20. that Thus saith the Lord, they must speak as the words of God,1 Pet. 4. 11. and his Oracles: And for maner, it must not be carnal, in humane eloquence, and curious words of mans wisdom; such teach­ing darkens the Word. The Lord hath left us marvellous things in his Word,Psal. 119. 129, 130. and yet in a very plain maner, He saith they be wonderful in one Verse, and in the next, That the entrance into them giveth wisdom and sheweth light: So must Ministers deliver it in an holy kinde of plainness, not mingling therewith carnal and fleshly eloquence, fine conceits, and I know not what witty sayings out of Heathen Wri­ters to garnish the same, but handle Spiritual things spiritually, not being ashamed of the simplicity and plainness of the Gospel, for this foolish and plain preaching shall be blessed, and be the wisdom and power of God, when that wisdom shall remain unprofitable and vain; What is the chaff to the wheat? all that vain Ornament doth but disgrace the Word, and it may be seen that God is displeased there­with, for that he blesseth it not to win Souls, as he doth that other which is despised of many of the world, and counted plain English preaching, a good English Sermon.

2. It teacheth the people to avoid all vain and humane corrupt mixtures,Use 2. accepting onely that which is sincere milk: For the mat­ter, They must take no erroneous Points for truth, but be able (with the Bereans) to try all things by the Scripture,Acts 11. 17. and so rejecting the rest, keep that which is good; they that through ignorance slap us all together, will be poisoned in stead of being nourished: It is the safest and best dyet which is most simple, and therefore some render this as a reason why our Forefathers were stronger, and lived longer then we do, even because of the simpleness of their dyet; this Spiritual mixture hath been the cause of all Errors, wherein some truth is used to help away the falshood: So for the maner, They must affect a plain and Spiritual kinde of preaching, when the Text is clearly open­ed, aptly divided into his parts, the Doctrines maturely gathered, strongly confirmed for the setling of the judgement; and lastly, Uses are made of Admonition, Reprehension, Consolation, Confutation, together with Exhortation, all applyed to the consciences of the hear­ers; Oh, this is sweet! Many simple people desire to hear Sermons, stuft with sentences out of Authors, and that in a strange tongue, and highly commend it, though they understand it not; and is not this a great folly and judgement of God upon them? A num­ber of idle and vain curious heads, had rather hear fine witty con­ceits, ancient stories, pleasant discourses, serving rather to tickle the ear, then to edifie the Conscience, such are like those that [Page 191] desire sawce, and leave the meat. But Preaching was never ordain­ed but to work upon the Conscience, and in such teaching the true Servants of God finde no favor, but grief; when its kindely, natural­ly and spiritually handled, then its sweet to them.

That ye may grow thereby.] Why Christi­ans are to de­sire after the Word. The end of our desiring after the Word, of our Hearing, Reading, Meditating, Conferring thereof, is not that we might get some knowledge to tip our tongues with, and make our selves the better thought of in some companies, as some do, or that we may be able to discourse, haply eavil against it, but that it may work effectually in our hearts, to humble us, to work in us true Faith and Repentance, and being wrought, may be increased and set forward more and more, and hereat we should aim at all times; when we read a Chapter, or hear a Sermon, we must come with this minde, that we may be the better thereby: For the Word is ordained and is apt and able not onely to convert, and beget us, but also to nourish us, that we may grow up from strength to strength.Eph. 4. 11. 15.

1. This rebuketh the common sort,Use 1. that come with no such minde and resolution, as appears by their continuance in their sins; They wil be brought to reform nothing, though they hear never so oft, never so plainly: They come onely for fashion, and what Hypocrisie is this? Yea, also if those that have some goodness in them came with this minde, and cast with themselves to go away gainers, and it would grieve them as much to make an ill market at Church, as at London or elsewhere, surely they would grow and thrive faster in Grace; They could not then fit and sleep, for who sleeps at his Mar­ket while profit drops? Its said of Agustus Caesar, that he thought that day lost, or ill spent, wherein he had done no good to others; so we should moan our losses, and think that Sermon lost, whereby something hath not been added to the stock of our Faith, Knowledge, and Repentance.

2. Seeing the Word serves as well to build up as to convert us,Use 2. men o [...]ght to attend on the Word Preached as long as they live;Acts 20. 32. yea, though already they be full of knowledge and able also to admonish of others:Rom. 15. 14. Therefore they that think they have profited enough,2 Peter 1. and now may take their ease and let others hear, they have indeed got no­thing as they ought.

Christians must daily grow in grace;Doctr. For this as the Church of Thy­atira was commended,Christians must daily grow in grace. even because their works were more at the last then at the first; So the Church of Ephesus reprehended for re­volting from her first love:1 Thess. 4. 1. For hereby as greater glory to redound unto God;2 Pet. 3. 18. So more comfort to our selves, more good to others.Rev. 2. 19. & 2. 4.

1. For those that are fallen away, and now are nothing so good as heretofore,Use 1. let them consider, that relapses are very dangerous, let them weigh with themselves, whether ever they began in truth or not; If not, then to begin to lay the foundation, though they may be ashamed at themselves, and say, Shall I that seemed to be so for­ward, begin in a new again? yet better so then to perish; if yea, then let them endeavor by all means to recover themselves.

[Page 192] 2. For those that grow slowly or not at all, many things may be in fault; as 1. Pride, when men think too well of themselves: 2. Worldliness, which the faster it goeth up, Religion goeth down, like a pair of scales, or as a Dog that is following the chase hard, and lights on a piece of carrion: 3. Ill Company, wholly addicted to their Sports and Pleasures: 4. Neglect of the means, or careless use of them, as those that have slack Markets prove Bankrupts; O finde out those, and use the means constantly and conscionably, both pub­lique and private, whereby being freed, thou must grow in some good measure.

If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.] The Reason, They had tasted the goodness of the Word already, therefore to desire it more and more.

By tasting,What we are to understand by tasting. he means not such as in Heb. 6. with the top of the tongue as it were, and tip of the lips, which Hypocrites may have, but an experimental taste upon good proof; as if he should have said, Seeing you have found by good experience, that the Word hath been effectual to enlighten, convert, comfort and sanctifie you, and the in­strument working wonderfully for the Salvation of your Souls, you are the moreto desire it, and continually shew your affection there­unto. Therefore

Who so have at any time found the Word of God powerful to their Salvation,Doctr. as to humble them who before saw no danger,Such as finde the Word powerful for their salva­tion, are the more desirous thereof and af­fectioned thereto. to comfort them when they were in woful distress, to change their hearts, to be a word of life and Salvation, they will be the more de­sirous thereof, and affectioned thereunto; it will draw their hearts to it, as the Adamant doth the iron, it will ravish them with the love of it; so were David and Job, who found so much profit thereby: as they are most desirous and greedy of gain, which have felt the sweetness and comings in thereof; as the Israelites after they had tasted of the Grapes, could not but desire more after Canaan; so they that have tasted of the Word, can never be satisfied therewith, but still cry for more.

1. For those that are much affected herewith,Use 1. its a sign of much good received thereby: Its true, an Hypocrite may hear it with joy, and have some flashings, but a constant desire after the Word, with de­light, argueth an experimental feeling of the goodness thereof; that heart is indeed drawn thereby, which still desires more comfort, more instruction, and more grace from thence.

2. For those that have no desire after it,Use 2. no delight in it, had as leave be absent as at it, at play or in their Shops then at Church, that are (as most be) strangers from it; strangers in judgement (as who cannot conceive thereof, though apt enough to conceive of worldly things;) strangers in their thoughts (for of those many they have all day long, fewest (if any at all) be of the Word;) strangers in their af­fections (as who have no delight herein, though in other things too much;) strangers in their tongues (they speak not of it;) strangers in their actions (as not being guided thereby) their condition is fearful, [Page 193] the Word hath not been effectual to their conversation, and so they remain in the state of Damnation to this hour:Iohn 8. 47. & 11. 27. He that is of God, hear­eth Gods Word (and that both with affection and obedience) And his sheep hear his voyce; they then that do not hear, are not of God, are none of sheep: These must desire God to make his Word effectu­al to their good, that it may convert them, for then will they affect it.

3. This serves also to stop the mouthes of carnal people,Use 3. that wonder at Gods servants for that they are so fond after the Word, and take such pains, and that so often; O would you know? they have found it a powerful Word to pluck them out of the jaws of Hell, and to save their Souls, that before were in the way of Damnation, therefore do they still desire it, and can never have enough thereof.

Tasted] A borrowed speech from meats which are discerned by the taste.

Their Souls had tasted the sweetness of the Word,Obs. and therein the sweetness of Christ,Christ is sweet to a Christian, and sweetens all that he hath in whom is Salvation, yea and in him onely: O the vanity of all things without him! he is sweet to him that hath nothing but him, and he also sweetens all that we have, without whom we could have but little joy therein.

This condemneth those to whom Christ is not sweet,Use. which favor profits and pleasures, but Christ is a sapless and dry thing to them: To some he is the joy of their hearts, and their very life, to others he is of no account; such as have not found their sins bitter, cannot finde Christ sweet, or desire after him: Thus are civil persons, thus prophane impenitent ones, thus worldings; these feel no need of Christ, they desire him not, Oh, it had been good he had never been offered to these swine that tread him under foot; Oh, they that hear Christ preached, and have him offered daily, and yet neglect him, how shall they escape? Is this favor granted to all to hear of Christ? Alas, no, but to a few; I tell you, those that perish in these times, shall have the deepest damnation in Hell, the fornace will be made se­ven times hotter for those that perish among us, then for others.

Gracious] Great was our Saviors bounty,Obser. in forsaking the glory of Heaven for our sakes,Christ is every way bountiful to his. and suffering so much for us here, without which our condition had been miserable: He was bountiful of his life, of his blood for us; through him we are delivered from Hell, and made heirs of Heaven, and was not this bounty? and not this onely, but to reveal all this to us in his Word and Sacraments, which he doth not to the world.

O how should this unspeakable bounty affect us?Use. all that have found their part therein, how should they be stirred up unfainedly to be thankful for the same, even to the laying down of their lives for his sake, if need be? and how should it affect all to desire their part in this bounty, to finde that the Lord is bountiful and gracious unto them? O happy are they that partake hereof! and they that shall neglect and contemn the same for profit, pleasure, sin, or whatsoever, will have fearful experience of Gods severity.

Verse 4. ‘To whom coming as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious;’ Verse 5. ‘Ye also as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifice, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.’

NOw he sets out the bounty of Christ to all that believe on him, and consequently, the excellent state and condition of such above all people in the world.

This stands in these things;Wherein Christs boun­ty doth appear 1. That he gives them leave to come to him: 2. That having so done, he makes them partakers of that blessed and spiritual life that is in himself, whereas they were dead before, and makes them which were an habitation for the Devil, a dwelling-house for the Lord wherein to take pleasure; and where­as before they were unholy and prophane, he being once come to them, will make them holy Priests, apt to offer such Sacrifices to God as he will accept of by Jesus Christ.

This he sets out in a borrowed speech, taken from the Temple of Jerusalem, which was the House of God, wherein he took pleasure, and in which he dwelt after a sort,A comparison between the Temple of Ie­rusalem, and that which Christ maketh of all that be­lieve in him. by manifestation of his favors: As that was built of many fair stones in a magnifical maner, and in it were Priests that offered sacrifices to God, such as he required and accepted, such a Temple doth Christ Jesus make of all that believe in him, save that its every way more excellent: The foundation of that was but a dead stone, this a living stone, Christ Jesus; all the stones of that (though fair, yet but) dead stones, of this all living, answerable to the foundation; those joyned together with morter, these by the Spirit and Faith; that was an Earthly House, this a Spiritual House; there were Sacrifices of the blood of Bulls and Goats, but these be Spiri­tual Sacrifices; there the Temple was one thing, and the Priest ano­ther, here the Temple and the Priest are all one; there the Priest one, and the Sacrifice another, here both are one and the same.

Now this that he hath said concerning Christ Jesus, the foundation of his Church, and of the good estate of those that be built upon him, he confirms out of Isa. 28. 16. which accordingly he applies, as well for the comfort of the godly, as the terror of unbelievers.

For this foundation, consider what he is, and how esteemed: What he is,Christ why compared to a stone. A stone, so compared for his firmness, stability and continu­ance; his nature, a living stone, whereby he differs from all other foun­dations: How esteemed of men, namely, wicked ones disallowed, but of God elect and chosen to be Mediator, and to the godly pre­cious.

To whom coming] The first priviledge,Obser. he gives us leave to come to him,To believe in Christ (which is to come to him) is a great priviledge. which is to believe in him, and is indeed a very great priviledge: He might scare us from him (as Adam was kept out of Paradise by the blade of a sword) but doth not, and this is the beginning of all good from Christ, till which we are never the better for him.

[Page 195] Hence observe, That if ever we would receive good by Christ, we must come to him.

But how can we come to him,Object. he is in Heaven, and we on Earth?

Not with our bodily feet,Sol. but with the feet of our minde and heart, when we seeing our misery, and finding our selves wholly lost, come to him to seek for Salvation, and relie on him, and are ruled by him: This is to come to him. Such as go on Pilgrimage from this place to that, and seek him bodily in the Sacrament, do but deceive them­selves, being thus void of Faith; when they think themselves nearest him, they are as far off as ever.

To come to Christ and to believe in him are all one;Ioh. 6. 35. and then we come to him,Doctr. when we go out of our selves, as being utterly undone, and go to him as an All-sufficient Savior,Christians must come to Christ. and relie on him, and are willing to take up his yoke, and forsake all other Saviors and Lords▪ and this we must do, because

1. Of our own utter misery in our selves by sin,Reason 1. punishment, and inability to help our selves out, whereof if people were perswaded, it were as easie to perswade them to come to Christ, as to perswade a sick man to the Physician, one overloaden to be eased of his burthen, an hungry man to take meat.

2. In Christ there is sufficient to make us as truly happy,Reason 2. as we be utterly miserable in our selves,1 Cor. 1. 30. Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctifica­tion and Redemption: The sinner cannot complain of any thing, but there is help for it in Christ, do but ask the thing, and its to be had; Oh, I have deserved the wrath of God and Damnation, but I (saith Christ) have dyed for thee, and paid thy debt; But how shall I come into the favor of God and be saved? Oh, saith Christ, I have obey­ed for thee, and purchased it; But I have no power to do any good? but I have enough (saith Christ) to make thee a Sanctified man.

3. Christ is willing to have us come to him,Reason 3. and therefore also doth earnestly call us:Isa 55. 1. If one know himself poor, and that such a rich man is both able and willing to help him, and is also invited of him to accept hereof, will he not thereupon go to him? so is Christ to us, and accordingly we must come to him.

1. For those that are come to Christ,Use 1. and do believe in him with their hearts, and are guided by him, they may be of good comfort, having done what God requires of them, they shall finde fruit and benefit thereby, more then they can express.

This serves to provoke on those that are coming and coming,Use 2. and yet draw back, set one foot forward, and pull the other back again, fain would believe, and yet cannot, but fear (Oh, its not for me) and cannot be perswaded that they be of the number of such whom Christ will save: Why, what would you have Christ say to you? He bids all without exception, that are weary and heavy laden with their sins, to come to him, that is, believe in him; its also the end of his coming in­to the world: You stand in great need of mercy, do ye not? O yes, above all the world, and cannot indure to think but that I should have part therein; and Christ hath need of some to shew his mercy [Page 196] on, and therefore calls thee: Therefore as in a Market, one having need of a Commodity, another (that hath it) of money, me thinks these two should quickly agree, the Buyer and the Seller, who both come for that end; so is it between Christ and the poor sinner, wherefore else doth Christ set forth his stall of so rich mercies, and call people to them? to send them away empty? no verily, Christ hath said the contrary, and so can assoon deny himself, as not save thee; therefore believe,Iohn 6. 29. which is the great Commandment of the Gospel.

Oh,Obj. but I am so unworthy.

If it be so,Sol. thou art the more fit for Christ, he came for such, he accepts such.Luke 18. 13.

Oh,Obj. if I could weep as much as some, or had been so long, or so much hum­bled, or could repent and serve God as I would.

What God doth,Sol. he doth freely, and when thou canst do nothing but feel thy misery,Acts 16. 27. then believe Christ will save thee: What was the Jaylor when he did believe? believing will break thy heart, and bring Repentence; O that we should so much, so often, and so ear­nestly be perswaded to believe, and yet do not. If a King shall call a poor Subject,Simile. and reach him a handful of gold, will he draw back, and say, I am unworthy that he should call me, or I should come to him; What am I? I never deserved any such thing, &c. If it be great, great gifts become a great God; and seeing he will do it, hin­der not thy self, thou shalt be the more bound to love and praise him here and for ever; yet is it no easie matter to believe: If a man had this Church lying upon his back, it were not so easie a mater to rise and stand upright; so, when any have the wrath of the infinite God lying upon their Souls, what can they do? howsoever, do your endeavor, strive against unbelief, discern between temptations that come from the Devil, and the promises of God; those (how many soever) reject as lyes, but these apply diligently, stand even up­on one word of Gods mouth, and let that comfort thee more then ten thousand temptations to dismay thee.

3. This Rebuketh the most part of men,Use 3. that will not come at Christ, though he call them, and offer them wonderful fair; He bids them come, confess their sins, seek to him for Salvation, and be ruled by him, and he will take all their burthen on him and save them: But how few give ear to this gracious voyce and offer? how many go on, and are not at all moved, though Christ be preached daily? though they need him, he be sufficient for them, and willing to do them good? and why? few can be perswaded of their danger: Civil persons, Ignorant ones, and a number of Worldlings are so glued to these things, that they savor and minde no other life, nor offer of any such thing; A number of prophane peo­ple will not part with their sins, though to obtain such a be­nefit; And there be such a number of other Comes, that calls and carry them away, that though Christ call, Come, few follow him; The Devil saith, Come, and they flock after him; The World saith, Come, and they flock after it; The flesh saith, Come, and they fol­low [Page 197] it thick and threefold, even striving who shall follow it fastest: But if they had wit to see whether these Comes tend, they would not be so forward; The Devil calls, Come, as the Fowler calleth the Bird into his Net; The World calls, Come, and serves her follow­ers as Dalilah did Sampson, and Jael, Sisera; The flesh calls, Come, but all that follow it shall dye;Rev. 8. 6. The Harlot also hath a Come,Prov. 7. 18. but her Chambers go to Death and Hell, and he that goeth in into her, is led as an Ox to the slaughter; the like might be instanced of others: So that Christ by his Ministers might cry, Come, but few hear and follow: O what woful unthankfulness is this! Did Christ come down from Heaven to us, and will not we come to him one whit? Hath he taken so long a journey, and come to offer himself, and do we refuse? O horrible ingratitude! Yea, what mischief is this to our selves? Is it not to seek our own destruction? If a King should send a gracious Pardon to a company of Traytors that had deserved Death, and they should go on and set light by it, would he not send an Host of armed Soldiers to destroy them? So may the Lord justly deal with us. You are told you are undone without Christ, that he can and will save you, if you come to him; if you will not, you cannot but perish, and whom then will you blame? O whose heart should not leap at such an offer, and coming in, yield himself, and say, O its the first bargain I'le make, the best that ever I shall make! How ma­ny thousands would be glad to hear such things as these, that do not, nor are vouchsafed the favor? Do you think ever to have a better of­fer? to make any better of your sins, then to renounce them, and em­brace Christ? O consider of this, and renounce all other Comes which you have already followed, and at last, ere it be too late, embrace this most blessed offer: O fall down and humble thy self!

O but will he ever pardon and receive me,Obj. who have been thus and thus?

Its no matter what thou hast been,Sol. not number nor greatness of sins can let,Isa. 1. 18. if thy heart could be truly humbled, theres the greatest doubt: He as the true Samaritan will pour wine and oyl in thy wounds; He is the true pool of Bethesda, now the water is stirred, step in, and though thou hast been Thirty and eight years, yea Forty eight and more sick of deadly sin, thou shalt be cured; Christ is a perfect Phy­sitian, what disease is there, that he cannot cure? The Urinals that stand so abundantly in Physitians and Apothecaries houses may con­demn the world, seeing there be so few seek to the spiritual Physitian; labor to see thy misery, understand and apply the Law, to make the soul sick, as some make themselves sea-sick: When thou art touch't deeply with thy misery, come to Christ, he will do thee good; If be­ing burthened with thy sins, thou goest to the Devil for councel, he will tell thee thy [...]ins be unpardonable, no mercy, better rid thy self out of the way as Judas: If thou go to the world, they will bid thee be merry, and put away these melancholly dumps and thoughts, Ride abroad, go to Cards, Dice, haunt Ale-houses, &c. and go to [Page 198] no more of these Preachers and Sermons, they put folks out of their wits, thats the good they do: People that were honest folks, and lived at quiet, since they have used to go after them, are grown full of fancies: But if you come to Christ, he will take pity on you, ease, comfort, and save you: O be perswaded, will you perish rather then humble your selves? will you cast away your souls for love of your lusts? We will hereafter, for we know that else there is no Salvation: O thats the Devils word, Hereafter, he knows delays to be dange­rous. Accept it whilst it is offered, lest thou never come to it again; If thou despise it, thou shalt hear a fearful, Go ye cursed; If thou wilt embrace it, thou shalt hear a comfortable, Come ye blessed. The Lord perswade your hearts, and cause many to come this day, if it be his blessed will.

As unto a living stone,] The next priviledge of a Christian by Christ, is, that being come to him, he conveyeth of that spiritual Life and Grace that is in himself into every of them; which is here set down under the similitude of a building, of which there be two parts: 1. The Foundation: 2. The rest of the House raised and built there­upon, which be so coupled, as they make but one building.

For the Foundation which is Christ Jesus,Observ. he is compared to a stone, because as thats used for a foundation in an house of moment,Christ the Foundation that bears up his Church. as being sure, lasting, firm and perpetual: So is Christ Jesus the Foundation that bears up his Church, and by which it is saved, a sure, firm and perpe­tual Foundation,Acts 4. 12. without whom there is no hope of Salvation, he being the way, Iohn 14. 6. the truth, and the life: He that brings another Gospel, let him be accursed; Gal. 1. 9. If he come like an Angel, spit on his face, defie him to Hell: Adam and all since have been saved by him, and all that are or ever shall be; what he did, no other could do, and that he did which was needful for our Salvation.

1. This condemns all that build not upon this Foundation,Use 1. but on another, either in whole or in part; as 1. The Jews, that look for a Savior in the Ayr, that will come they know not when: 2. The Turks, that build on a deceitful cursed Mahomet, that will never come till he be hailed before the Judgement-Seat of Christ for his Blasphe­mies. 3. The Papists, who though they acknowledge Christ in word to be the Redeemer and Savior of the World, yet they so pull from him, and adde to him, as they leave him but a bare Name and Title; for then is Christ the Foundation and so acknowledged, when we acknowledge Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, Redem­ption, Satisfaction, Life and Glory to be in him, and in him alone: Contrarily, they attribute part of these to their own Merits, Masses, Pardons, Satisfactions, and so they rake together a deal of Rubbish to joyn with the Foundation, which will not be, for he is an whole Foundation or none; of them, some few whose eyes God opens in their end (as finding no certainty nor sure rest in any thing of their own) do renounce themselves and all in them, and onely lean upon Christ Jesus for Salvation, and so become happy indeed: They also hold that Peter is the head of the Church and Foundation thereof, who [Page 199] would not wonder at their wickedness, when as Peter himself saith it here of Christ, and attributes nothing to himself.

But is it not confirmed by that of our Savior, Object. Thou art Peter, and upon this Rock I will build my Church?Mat. 16. 18.

The Question propounded by our Savior,Sol. was moved to all the rest as well as Peter, and answered of all, though by the mouth of Peter; Christs meaning is, That on himself whom he had confessed, he would build his Church; Would he build it on Peter? then either on his Person or on his Faith: not on his Person; and how weak was his Faith, which was so sore shaken by the speech of a Maid? that could be no meat foundation to build on. 4. Those fools among our selves, who though they acknowledge no other foundation, yet build not upon him, but on their civil life, their bare hearing of the Word (which yet they do, because its commanded by Law, and stands most with their safety, and as the Papists, but for their purse, so they would not come to Church, but for shame or punishment) their doing as others do, &c. foolish Builders that build on the sand; their house (as every other that is not built on Christ by true Faith) how fair soever in their own eyes, will fall on their heads; if any storm of trouble arise for the Gospel, they will quckly yield, and change as oft as Religion changeth; and if no such change be, yet at death they shall drop into Hell for want of a foundation, as the five foolish Vir­gins were shut out of Heaven, for that they had no oyl for their Lamps, no stock of Faith to feed or back their outward Profes­sion.

They that content themselves with any thing, with any gift, be­fore they have got a true justifying Faith, will fall away, will perish, may prove Persecutors or any thing: They that so hear the Word, as they never give over till it hath humbled them, and brought them to Christ, and they have found sure foundation on him, and footing, and grace to be changed; these build upon the rock: Therefore con­tent not your selves with hearing the Word, nay hearing it with joy, and reforming many things, nay that you have been troubled for your sins (as some have wept for their sins at a Sermon, but let it go over, and wear away, ere they came at Christ) so bearing your selves in hand that ye are converted persons, for afterward by your falling away, or at your death, it will prove nothing so, and all for want of a foundation: There be even now thousands in hell, that have heard as many Sermons as ever you heard, or ever shall.

2. That Christ is a foundation,Use 2. and the onely foundation of his Church, is no small comfort to all that believe on him: They may quiet themselves amidst the multitude of contrary Opinions in the world, or temptations of Satan to make them waver; they may answer, If Christ be not sufficient to save me, I am content to be damned; I'le never seek other foundation, you may well enough. Again, being built on Christ, there be many enemies will lay Bat­tery against you to beat you off; but be of good comfort, they may shake you indeed, but to overcome you, or pull you off the founda­tion, [Page 200] its not possible,Mat. 16. 18. All the gates of Hell shall not prevail against you, all their power shall not quail you. As in a City the strength is placed at the gates, as the Port-cullis, and the Canon to keep from entrance, so if Hell should plant all its force against a Christian, yea the poorest Christian, it shall never be able to prevail against him, he is so sure­ly joyned to the foundation, by the Spirit of God that lies so fast; Will Christ suffer his Building to be defaced, or one member, or the least joynt to be pulled out of his body? Christ that prayed that his Disciples might be kept,Iohn 17 15. prayed also for all that should believe.

Living] Christ is a living foundation,Doctr. not onely because he hath life in himself (as he is the Living Bread, Christ is a living foun­dation. the Truth, and the Life) but because he giveth life to others, even all that believe in him. Hence percieve.Ioh. 5. 16. &. 5. 21. & 11. 25. & 17. 2.

1. That Christ differs from all other foundations, he gives life to his,Use 1. but whoso trusteth on any other, shall dye eternally.

2. An encouragement for all to come to Christ;Use 2. He is not such a one as can do them no pleasure, but as he can and will save them, so he will also put life into them; that whereas before they were as dead as a stock, to any thing concerning the glory of God, or their own good; no Wit, Will, Memory, Affection, no Hand, Foot, Tongue, but all were stiff and stark lame to any good, yea dead; being joyned to him, he will make them alive,2 Cor. 5. 17. give them Wit, Will, and a Heart to that which is good,Eph 2. 1. so a Hand, Foot and Tongue, yea so change them, that they shall be nothing the same, but new Creatures. Hence it is, that some that were as very wretches as could be to their lusts, that loved a Sermon, Sabbath, or good Exercise, as a Bear doth the stake, have yet by the preaching of the Word been brought to Christ; the case is so altered with them, that now they loath what they loved, love what they loathed. It is not a strange thing, to see a man that loved money as his life, and had no savor in any good, to set as light by it as his shoes, and to love the word that wrought this dislike in him? So for a man that loved a pair of Cards, and Tables, and to ramble abroad on the Lords Day, and who could not abide to take a book in his hand, or to be in any Religious persons company, now to abandon the one, and to be earnestly affected with the other? yet this Christ worketh in those that be joyned to him: O come to this Christ Jesus, humble thy self, believe in him, and give over thy self to him, and though thou beest as bad as the worst, he will so alter thee, as thou mayest prove a worthy Christian.

3. This serves to uncase a number of Hypocrites,Use 3. that think them­selves stones of this Building, and hope to be saved by Christ, and to be Believers, and yet have no Spiritual life in them: If you can shew me that Spiritual life that you have got from Christ, to dye to sin and live to righteousness, then you say something; but there be no dead stones in this Building, but living, answerable to the foun­dation: Therefore they that remain dead in their sins and old lusts, or any of them, Christ and they are assuredly as yet two, and [Page 201] not one: Shew your Christianity by renouncing all ill, and by your love to good, Prayer, good duties in your Families, and places where you live, and in all good Works.

Disallowed indeed of men,] Here's shewed how this foundation is esteemed, both of Men and God: He first speaks of men, and that by way of prevention.The preventi­on of an Ob­jection. No marvel you speak of Christ to be such a Foundation, might they have said, we are sure, when he came into the world, a number cared not for him, would none of him, and those none of the fools or simple ones, but Wise, Politick, Learned Clerks: True, saith he; but what then? yet I have that which will weigh it down, namely, that he is chosen of God, and precious to him, and them that shall believe on him.

Disallowed he was indeed of men;Christ disal­lowed of whom, and why. They called him the Carpen­ters Son, a Samaritan, Wine-bibber, deceiver; They would have no other King but Caesar, never left him while they put him to death, with them Barabbas was meeter to live then he: What was the cause? or how should they disallow him, when it was so plain that he was the Christ, foretold by the Prophets, who came at the same time, in the same place, and after the same maner, whose Life, Preaching and Works did well declare him so to be, what might be the cause hereof? They looked for one that should come as an earthly Prince, to deliver them out of the hands of the Romans; but his Kingdom was not of this World:Acts 6, 14. They looked also for one that should have upheld their Customs, Law, and Traditions, but the date of them was out. (See by the way what it is to have an old conceit setled in ones brain, O how hardly is it removed!) Again, How came they to this height of disallowing him? at the first of ignorance and blindeness, but after of malice; so men grow (when they desire not to amend and see the Truth) from one degree of wickedness to another: The Jews dis­allowed him, and do to this day, though the hand of God be heavily upon them,Mat. 27. 25. according to their own Imprecation, His blood be on us, and our children; whose case is most fearful: So is the case of all o­thers that disallow him, whereof there be multitudes among us. Why, nay, all we allow him? O most of Pharisees disallow him and will perish.

Yes,Obj. most among Jews and Turks, but all we shall be saved, unless it be here and there an adulterer, or horrible drunkard, &c.

Consider that of four sorts of grounds (Professors) three are naught:Sol. O most among us disallow Christ,Mat. 13. 3, &c. while they will not come to him, embrace him as their Savior, and renouncing all evil, take up his yoke as their Lord; most amongst us allow a kinde of Christ, but not a true Christ: They allow a Christ that will save them, though they never be humbled, though they live still in their sins; but Christ is no such, Christ will save no such: O let all such look to it, that will not come to Christ as he hath appointed; you think the Jews, Judas and the Soldiers have a fearful account to make, so they have; and how shall they appear before Christ at the day of Judgement? but even thousands in our Parishes are in no better case, that break his [Page 202] bonds, and despise the offer of his blood; Such are all Apostates that have profest the name of Christ, and fall away, all fearful ones, that deny him out of fear, and all that will not embrace him being offered.

Disallowed] Was not this no ill sign of Christ that he was disal­lowed?Doctr. O no:Such things are often disal­lowed of men, which are al­lowed of God. Even that may be disallowed of men, which yet is allowed, and highly accounted of of God; nay, the more Spiritual any thing, any course, any person is, the more and the sooner will the world disallow him and it.

For, they be carnal, therefore savor the things of the flesh, not of the Spirit; they be in darkness, therefore care not for the light; The more Spiritual any thing is, the higher is it out of their reach: Those courses and persons that be carnal, the world allow well of; four hundred false Prophets maintained at Jezabels Table,Heb. 11. 37. good Micaiah and Elias abused;Iohn 6. 35. of those that wandred up and down in sheep-skins and goat-skins, the world was not worthy, yet did not the world think them worthy to be among them,Acts 4, &c. but thrust them among the wilde Beasts:See Luke 6. 22, 23. Others also were racked as the vilest Malefactors, yea, our Savior himself was so accounted,Isa. 8. 18. so the Apostles, men wonder at them as at a thief.Use 1. Hence learn

1. That we are not to esteem the worse either of our selves or o­thers because of the worlds mislike; many be so weak, that if they see the most, and especially any great ones, or any learned cry down a man or an action,Iohn 7. 7, 48. &c. they are carried away, and open their mouthes wide against them; but if that might have gone currant, Christ him­self had been naught: we must not go upon any such rule, but examine whether they be allowed of God, or not; if they be, then are we not to regard what the world saith; The world wil prefer Barabbas to Christ, call evil good,Simile. and good evil: There's no more heed to be given thereto, then to be judged of a blinde man concerning colours. As they that have sore eyes cannot abide the clear light and Sun-shine,Luke 15. 16. so cannot the wicked abide that which is pure and Spiritual, yea, the things that they highly allow, are abominable in the sight of God.

2. That they which disallow that,Use 2. and those whom God alloweth, are in a miserable condition, they cross God, and he will cross them: The time shall come, when they shall finde by woful experience, that he disalloweth them, when they shall be glad, and desire to be in the number of those whom they have most despised, but to no purpose.

Ye also as lively stones are built up,] Now of the rest of the building that is reared upon this Foundation; Every Believer is a stone of this building, a lively stone, and all together make up a spiritual House for the Lord to delight in, as many stones go to the making up of a mate­rial House.

Now in that Christ is compared to the Foundation,Doctr. and believers to stones built on him,There's a near Vnion be­tween Christ and Believers. it sheweth the near conjunction that is between Christ and them; as stones are joyned to the Foundation by morter, so are believers to Christ by the Spirit: Accordingly he is compared to a [Page 203] head,Eph. 1. 22, 23. and the Church to the body; he to the Vine, and the Church to the Branches:1 Cor. 6. 15. Such an Union is between Christ and Believers, as is be­tween the husband and the wife,Iohn 15. 2. no more twain,Eph. 5. 30. but one bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh: Before a man have Faith, he is as a dead stick or stone, by Faith he is united to Christ; which is signified by these and the like speeches,Iohn 6. 51. eating Christs flesh, and drinking his blood, which is to believe in him, shewing that as the meat we eat is turned into our substance,1 Iohn 1. 3. and nearly joyned to us, so are we to Christ by believing in him: and this is a real and true Union, but a Spiritual one, not that we are thereby united to Christs soul, but to his body also, and by his humanity to his Deity, and by both to God the Fa­ther, and the holy Ghost, which is an admirable prerogative: If any say, How can this be, Christ being in Heaven and we on Earth? It is so by the Spirit on Gods part, and Faith on ours; Those joyn things far distant in place most nearly together. If any say, I can­not see nor comprehend how this should be;Eph. 5. 32. If we cannot, no mar­vel, for its a great mystery which we are to believe and adore in our hearts. The benefits hereof are unspeakable (as the honor most glo­rious) for by vertue hereof, we that were as dead as blocks and stones, draw spiritual life and Grace to become new Creatures, to dye to sin, and to lead a righteous life; as the members receive sence and motion from the head, and the Vine-branches sap from the root: Hereby also we have title to Christ and all his good things; He also bears our troubles with us, and hereby our souls shall be as filled with Grace here, so taken up to glory with him at death, and the body remains united to Christ even in the grave; by vertue whereof it shall be raised up a spiritual and glorious body to be glorified for ever: And this is yet so much the more absolute and blessed a Union, be­cause its indissolveable; No violence of Satan, nor any other Enemy can break off the same:Rom. 8. 38. He hath not therefore fastened us as stones in­to this building to be ever pulled out any more;1 Iohn 2. 19. If they had been of us (saith the Appostle) they should have continued with us: What God hath joyned together, who can separate?

1. This is for instruction to all that are believers,Use 1. and so members of this body, stones of this building, that they walk in their conver­sation answerable to such high Dignity, to such an Union: The Mem­bers must be like the Head, the stones answerable to the Foundation, as the Fruit to the true Vine: Take heed they disgrace not themselves and their stock by bringing forth sowre fruit, even of the wilde Olive, of their own sinful and corrupt nature, but mortifie the same more and more.

But how cometh it to pass that they which are graft into Christ should bear any sowre Fruit?Object.

Even because there are some suckers of our own crabbish and sin­ful nature shut out,Sol. and have through heedlesness and want of care grown apace, and which we must pluck off by any means.

2. Comfort to all believers;Use 2. O admirable priviledge to be joyned into one with Christ, and with God! What grace or good thing can he [Page 204] stand in need of, that is joyned to such a plentiful and living head? He cannot but mortifie the strongest Corruptions, overcome the greatest Temptations, perform the most difficult Duties; Such thou mayest draw from thy head, but make no obstructions by sin: Keep open the passages, and by the Word, Sacraments, Prayer, and other like means, fetch Grace from Christ Jesus: He also will strengthen thee, and even in the fiery Fornace be present with thee, and after take thee up to glory; neither shall all the power of Hell ever se­perate thee from him: for though Hypocrites that hang on onely by the untemperated morter of outward Profession shall fall off, thou that art saudered into Christ by the Spirit of God shalt never be pluckt off.

3. To discard all those that profess themselves believers,Use 3. and stones of this building, and yet have no life in them; let such know, they have no part in Christ, nor fellowship with him.

4. This should perswade all men to labor to have part in this bles­sed Union;Use 4. Till this be, they are quite dead, and have no more Spi­ritual Life then a stone hath: If thou beest not united to Christ, thou canst never have Life of grace here, nor glory hereafter; And if not a Member of Christ, thou art a Limb of the Devil; If not a Branch of this Vine, thou art a dry withered stick for the fire of Hell; If not a stone of this Building, thou art refuse and rubbish to be thrown into Hell.

Q. How to be­come stones of this building. But how should we become stones of this building?

A. By suffering the ax of the Word of God to cut off our knobs, to hew and square us, that thereby we may be humbled, and mortifie all our sins and lusts; for if there be but one sin in us unrepented of, we are not fit to lie in this building: And though all stones be not alike, some bigger, some less, some more costly, some less; yet happy we, if we be any true stone of this building; let us now suffer our selves to be fashioned for it,Simile. it must be now in this Life, or never. As there was no hammer heard about the Temple, but all was hewen in Libanus, so must we be hewen in this Life, that we may rest in the Spiritual Temple for ever: Having a house to build, will we lay in a stone rough, as it comes from the Quarry, or a piece of Timber as it comes from the Wood?See 5. H. on Mat. 3. 10 pag. 6. much less will the Lord suffer any to be joyned into his Spiritual building, till they be squared and hewen by his Word: Therefore lets be tenderly affected one towards another, and build up one another, and do all the good we can one to another, not living to our selves, or having hand in Contentions, Rents, Divisions, which do so abound among Christians, and that for toyes.

Are built up a spiritual house,] Hag. 2. 10. So foretold by Haggai; Not a mate­riel one, as was the Temple of Jerusalem, but a far more excellent, as much as the body is better then the shadow, which the Apostle speaks, to take off the mindes of these Jews from the material Temple on which they too much doted, and on the promises made thereto (not considering that it was appointed but for a time, and that it was but a [Page 205] type of this Spiritual house, infinitely more excellent) and to labor to become stones of this Spiritual house, which did so far excel the other.

All the Church of God and Believers,Obser. make together a Spiritual house;The whole Church makes but one Spiri­tual House. as a house, though it hath but one foundation, yet hath many stones to make up the building.

This sheweth the communion that the Saints have one with ano­ther,Use. members of the same Body, stones of the same Building; with this Union that we have with Christ, we have also commu­nion one with another, as Fellow-members, Stones, Branches. Besides,

As all the Saints together are here said to be built up a Spiritual house, Observ. so els where the like is affirmed of every particular Believer;Every particu­lar Believer is also a Spiritu­al House. that where­as before he was but a Cage of uncleanness, and a Den for the Devil, and an Habitation for foul Spirits, now he is made the House of God, of a poor mortal man,Isa. 57. 15. an Habitation for God; as a King maketh a Cottage a Court,Iohn 14. 23. so doth the Lord make a Bethel an House of God,1 Cor. 3. 16. & 6. 19. of him that was before Beth-aven, an house of Iniquity; which is an admirable advancement.2 Cor. 6. 16.

1. This teacheth every one that is such,Use 1. to take heed he pollute not himself with any sin, thereby grieving and wearying so happy a guest. The Prophets were profitable to those with whom they sojourned; The Widow of Sarepta had her oyl and meal increased,1 King. 17. 16. and her life saved;2 King 4. 7. & 4. 17. The wife of one of the Children of the Prophets had her two Children kept out of the Creditors hands; The Shunamite obtained a son; but much more profitable is Christ, he brings Peace, Joy and Life: A pitiful thing that sundry Christians are so hasty, so furious, so full of pride, worldly, negligent in religious duties, and the like; How can Christ tarry in such an house? can he abide in an heart full of these?

2. To deck and trim up the house of our Souls with all graces of the Spirit of God;Use 2. therefore take pains, and think no cost too much in Hearing, Reading, Praying, to trim up this House for the Lord, that he may take the more pleasure therein. Solomon bestowed great cost on the Temple, and was seven years in building thereof, and shall we take no pains on this Spiritual Temple?Hag. 1. 4. The Lord complained of his people that would dwell in fieled houses, and let the House of God lie waste; much more may he of us, who minde many earthly things, and minde nothing so much the dressing up of our hearts by Prayer, Meditation, Watchfulness, and the like, as a Bride prepared for the Lord Jesus: When we dress up our houses to entertain strangers, it were good to have such meditations,Psal. 24. 7. saying to our selves, Lift up your heads, ye gates, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting door, and the King of glory shall come in, and thus entertain him most respectively here, till he shall vouchsafe to entertain us at our death into that habitation, that is not made with hands, 2 Cor. 5. 1. but eternal in the Heavens, and when thou art at the best, think that thy heart is too strait, nothing good enough to entertain such a blessed guest.

[Page 206] An holy Priesthood] Another branch of the benefit that believers have, being received of Christ, and united to him, namely, That whereas they were unholy, now he makes them holy; whereas they might not come near God, neither their persons nor works, now they are advanced to this dignity, to be a Priesthood, and every of them an holy Priest to draw near unto God, and offer him Sacrifices; whereas before they did nor could do nothing but was abomi­nable in Gods sight, now they are enabled to offer such Sacrifices and Services as God accepts, and takes pleasure in, and are not these great priviledges? and all this comes by the means of Jesus Christ, whom while they were without, they missed all these priviledges, but having him, enjoy them all.

Holy] They that are united to Christ are made holy,Doctr. that were nothing less before,Such as are united to Christ are made holy. and draw sap of Grace and Sanctification from him, through whom also they become new Creatures; which is a wonderful priviledge, that such filthy and unclean ones as we are by nature,Rom. 8. 1. should be made holy;2 Cor. 5. 17. for holiness is the greatest gift that can be, a little of it is better then all the world: God is holy, his An­gels holy, therefore he gives us his Word, his Sacraments, Afflictions, and the like means to bring us to holiness.

1. They that have any measure of holiness,Use 1. must acknowledge that they have received it from Christ.

2. Let every one try whether he be united to Christ or not by this mark;Use 2. he is an holy head, and all that are joyned to him partake of holiness.

Priesthood] Believers together make a Priesthood,Doctr. and every Be­liever is a Priest to offer Sacrifice to God.Believers are Priests to God

What,Object. are not Priests and Sacrifices at an end yet? I thought they had been onely in the Old Testament, and now abolished.

True,Sol. some Sacrifices are at an end: There were under the Law Priests ordained to offer Sacrifices daily to God, for their own and the peoples sins, all which pointed at Christ the true Priest, and that blessed Sacrifice of his Body:Heb. 7. 27. & 10. 2, 10, 11, 12, 18. & 12. 25, 26. All these Sacrifices did but tend and direct to that All▪ sufficient Sacrifice of his Death. Now when he had offered himself on the Cross, and dyed for our sins, he put an end to all Sacrifices propitiatory,Iohn 19. 30. as who finished all himself, saying, It is finished; so then, there is now no more need of Sacrifices for sin, Christ once offered being All-sufficient. Which

1. Condemns the Sacrifices of the Jews,Use 1. and all bloody Sacri­fices, which are to the Devils and not to God.

2. Condemns the Blasphemous Sacrifice of the Mass,Use 2. where (as the Papists say) Christ is by the Priest offered daily on the Altar a propitiatory Sacrifice for the sins of the quick and the dead: This is to overthrow Christs Cross.

But though there be an end of all legal Sacrifices and Propitiatory, yet there are Evangelical and Gratulatory; and though those Priests that offered blood and beasts be at an end, yet are there Priests still remaining in the Church of God, which the Apostle mentioneth, lest [Page 207] the Jews should think the former times better then these; thereupon objecting,The preventi­on of an Ob­jection. Have we no Sacrifices now to offer to God? he answereth, We have, though not of the same kinde: We have no Propitiatory Sacrifices (the date of them being out, and which yet were not taken away by men, but by him who ordained them but till this time, who yet is not inconstant in changing them,Christians now are not without Sacri­fices which they must offer up to God. as having done away sin through the Sacrifice of his Son, of whom the others were onely the types and shadows) but Sacrifices of thanksgiving we have, and that for the mercy of God in Christ, and all other blessings flowing from thence: This is no small honor and priviledge. It was an honor un­der the Law to be Priests, few were admitted to the Office; they re­presented Christ, they went near and offered Sacrifice, the people standing afar off; so is it now to be a Spiritual Priest, to have the ho­nor to come near to God with comfort and boldness.

1. They therefore speak they know not what,Use 1. that use this as a name of disgrace, and call Ministers in derision, Priests; and what is he but a Priest? but its an honor, and a great one, though Mass-Priests by their filthy lives have brought the same in disgrace; yet is not this proper to Ministers onely (which we speak not as though we were ashamed of it,Re. 1. 6 but that every one may have their due) its also common to all Believers, and they that will none of this, shake off the name of a Christian, but they that are wise will take their part in it. This is signified by the name Christian of Christ, which signifieth anointed; of that anointing by the Spirit without measure, he was made and fitted our King, Priest and Prophet, and not so onely, but to make us so; so that every one that believeth in him, he gives him the honor to be so: As we partake of the benefit of his Priesthood, and its parts, Satisfaction and Intercession, so of him we also are made Priests.

2. As we are to rejoyce in this priviledge,Use 2. so we must use it, and improve it carefully in offering Sacrifices; What else becomes a Priest? he were not worthy the name, that did not delight to offer Sacrifices to God.The Christi­ans Sacrifices. Now the Sacrifices of the New Testament for Christians to offer, are these, 1. The offering up of our Bodies and 1 Souls,Rom. 12. 1. and all that is in us to serve God, having neither Wit, Will, Memory, nor any thing else, but for the Lords use: Its meet we should offer this Sacrifice, for its his by right of Creation, Redem­ption, and continual Preservation; we owe neither it, nor any part of it, to any other, all to him, and when we give it to him, we provide best for it: Its not onely never the further from our selves, but that is the happiness of it, we should give it, and thank him he will take it of us; and this is the first Sacrifice to be offered: Till this be, no other will be accepted of,2 Cor. 8. 5. Prayer, Praise, or whatsoever; first the person must please God, then the work, as in Abel: And thus eve­ry man may try his Cristianity; Do you give up your bodies and souls for his Service, and would not with your good wills that any the least part should be withdrawn from him, no not one thought if you could help it? thou art a good Christian, this is a good Sacrifice, con­tinue [Page 208] it still; But how few do thus? how few which give not their Hearts and Bodies to Profits and Pleasures, to Sin, the World, and the Devil? How many Sacrifice to these all day long? Christians in name, not in deed: They that give themselves wholly to sin are mon­sters, as they that give themselves partly to God, and partly to their lusts, are like Ananias and Sapphira: Oh, but though we do not thus, yet we offer other Sacrifices:Isa. 1. 13. Fie upon thee and them, they are abo­minable in Gods sight, as is the Sacrifice of the wicked: O give them no more as weapons of sin, to serve the Flesh, the World, and the Devil (that were too too base) but employ them for Gods service, not some part, but the whole, all too little, and wish it were better 2 for his sake. 2. The Sacrifice of a contrite and broken heart, that is, an heart grieved and crush'd for sin past,Psal. 51. 17. comforted in Christ, afraid to offend, careful to please God, touch'd and grieved at the smallest of­fence:1 Cor. 11. 31. They that offer this,Prov. 28. 14. scape Gods Judgement; fearing alway, they are happy; fearing small sins, they escape great ones; being troubled at the least, they rise, and fall not into security: Such as of­fer this, and would it were softer, grieving and complaining of their hardness of heart, let such know, that there may be hardness as they complain, but not such hardness as they conceive, as who could not feel the same: But there are few broken hearts in any measure, most are not troubled for their sins past, nor afraid to offend, nor careful nor humbled after they have offended, being neither melted by mer­cies, nor moved by the Word and Afflictions: O the fearful state of an hard heart; all have not alike tender heart, but assuredly he is no 3 Christian that hath it not in some measure. 3. Prayer and Praise for Christ Jesus,Psal. 141. 2. and all benefits by him past,Heb. 13. 15. present and to come, for Soul and Body: O what a favor is it, that we worms on earth may come to the glorious Lord of Heaven and Earth? but where are our morning and evening Sacrifices? What, a Priest without a Sacri­fice?Psal. 14 2. They that pray not at all,Iob 27. 9. its a sign they are prophane persons, as they that pray onely in misery are hypocrites: Hath God honored us to make us Priests by Jesus Christ, and do we neglect the Office, 4 not appearing with our Sacrifice?Heb. 16. 13. 4. Alms, mercy to all in hunger, thirst,Phil. 4. 22. sickness, prison, especially to the houshold of Faith: This we ought to do; whensoever God prepares an Altar of the necessity of a poor Saint or Church,Mat. 25. 40. that then we Priests lay on our Sacrifice: God requires it, its an honor, he counts it as done unto himself; there­fore he promises that he will requite it, and that not as we, a peny for a penyworth, but as Kings that use to reward a house largely, where they have found kindeness;2 Cor. 9. 6. therefore its compared to sowing: God and his poor Saints are the best ground can be sown in: O that we had Faith enough in this Point! If we did believe that we should have peny for peny, it would make us forwarder then we be, but he will do more: The world savoreth not this at all, and Believers fall too short in this Sacrifice; but the more we offer it, and the better, the better Christians are we.Why called Spiritual Sa­crifice.

To offer up Spiritual Sacrifice] He calls them Spiritual, 1. In compa­rison [Page 209] of the carnal and bloody Sacrifices of the Law. 2. Because they must be done with the Soul, Heart and Spirit. 3. Because they must be done by the help of Gods Spirit.

Our services then to God must be done in a Spiritual maner,Obs. else they please not God;Our services to God must be done in a Spiritual maner. They that give God their bodies, and keep their hearts to sin, perform a carnal and wicked, no Spiritual service and sacrifice: So we must pray and praise in a Spiritual maner, with our souls and best affections,Iohn 4. 24. not with labor of the tongue or knee: True, he will have the Body, but especially he will have the Spirit, which condemns the cold idle wordy Prayers of men, wherein there is no Spirit: So our alms and liberality must be done, not out of osten­tation, for company, no nor for a natural kinde of pity, but for love to God,Mat. 10. 41. because he requires it, and to them, because they are the Lords.

Acceptable to God,] It being a great favor to do any thing that may please God,The preventi­on of an Ob­jection. they might object, as any weak Christian would; Alas, I would go and offer these Sacrifices, but doth the Lord regard what I do? will he once look to such a one, or such service as mine? Yea, saith the Apostle, we may offer up Spiritual Sacrifice acceptable to God: Gods Servants shall not then need doubt, but being once Be­lievers, their services done Spiritually are accepted of the most High God of Heaven, yea, of the meanest true Believer; for he that vouch­safed to bring thee to Christ, to unite thee to him, to make thee a lively stone, a Spiritual house, an holy Priest to offer Sacrifice, he will also accept of the same: Let this encourage us much to these du­ties, what a spur is this? True it is, if one knew he should not be ac­cepted; or if he did doubt whether he should or not; this would take off all edge; but when we are sure, thats a great encouragement: For who would not be glad to do any thing, wherewith God would be pleased? Art thou afraid that he doth not accept thy Sacrifice, as who hast prayed oft and long, and art not heard? Judge not accord­ing to that;Dan. 9. 23. Thy Prayer sent up in truth, was accepted at first, though not granted by and by, as not being then time; The Lord stays till a fitter time.

Acceptable,] Not that God hath any need of them, but it pleaseth him for our encouragement so to tell us; for if we serve him never so diligently, he is never the better, but our selves are the better, and our Neighbors by our good example;Iob 22. 2, 3. and 35. 6. So contrarily if we do never so ill, he is not the worse,Psal. 16. 2. as being most perfectly holy and good at first, and so is and will be.

To God,] Here may seem a secret Antithesis between these words, To God; and these, To Men: For indeed

Spiritual Sacrifices are nothing to Carnal men,Obser. but such only as stand in outward Pomp,Spiritual sacri­fices are not regarded of carnal men. Shew, and Ceremony; But its the Spiritual service that pleaseth God: He cares more for a broken heart, and for the Sa­crifice of praise Spiritually performed, then for Thousands of Bulls, or all the outside that so much pleaseth the eye: He cares not for the Papists going on Pilgrimage, numbers of Prayers, Fasting days, Pom­pous [Page 210] service, and curious musick, which doth more delight the ear, then tend any way to edification; And because we reject these, they cry out upon us, as having no Religion: And are there not some among us, with whom its a foul matter to neglect any outward Ceremony, who yet do altogether neglect Spiritual services?

By Jesus Christ.] Doctr. Our Sacrifices are acceptable to God, nor for own-worthiness,Through Christ our Sa­crifices are ac­ceptable to God. or the worth of the service, but for the sake, and by the means of Christ Jesus: He onely makes them acceptable to God, 1. In taking away our sins by his Death. 2. Covering us with his Obedience.Reasons 3. Inabling us by his Spirit (who can do no good of 1 our selves) to perform these services. 4. Covering the wants 2 thereof in his perfect Obedience, and making Intercession for us; 3 and in this worthiness must we offer up our selves, Prayers, Thanks, 4 and Alms.

1. This condemneth them that do these Duties,Use 1. and yet are in their sins unpardoned, not having Christs Righteousness made theirs, and which do them not by the Spirit of God, but by their own might; Their services are abominable.

2. Those that come in the worthiness of any Saint,Use 2. as the Papists which pray for this or that Saints sake, do grievously sin: Oh, but say they, he is indeed the Mediator of Redemption, others may with him be Mediators of Intercession: He is belike beholden to them that will leave him somewhat; but there is no other Intercessor, but the Redeemer,1 Iohn 2. 2. he thats the one, is the other also: Oh, but they con­clude all their Prayers, per Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum. A good mends, when they have robb'd him, by joyning others with him, to conclude with his Name; So those that come in their own wor­thiness, not asking for Christs: But we ought not to think of God but in Jesus Christ coming between. Note further, that

Our works,Doctr. even the best can never attain to that perfection to be worthy of themselves,Our works, though not without their imperfections, are accepted through Christ. as being still full of imperfection, but by Jesus Christ to all that perform them in Faith, and to their uttermost they are accepted as perfect.

1. This serves as to humble us while we live under the daily sence of the imperfections of our services; So, to warn us to shrowd them and our selves under Christs perfection.Use 1.

2. To comfort them that in Faith strive,Use 2. and yet cannot perform them to their mindes; They must not be dismaid, but believe that for Christs sake they shall be accepted: This is necessary to be known and believed, because many a good soul, when they have pray'd or done any service in the best maner they can, are yet discouraged: Why? nothing pleaseth God but that which is perfect, and I know (will such a one say) how imperfect my poor service is, I cannot in any sort pray as I would, I cannot continue a short Prayer without wan­drings, &c. Well, what thou dost, do in truth, and with all thy might; and Christs perfect obedience shall make it up; Though thy service be short, yet it is large enough to cover all; wer't not for this, we might be dismaid at our best duties: But this is not for the wicked [Page 211] and unbelievers, they think they will do as well as they can, and there's an end, Christ shall do the rest: But what right hast thou to Christ? and what canst thou do? as good as nothing.