WORK & REWARD, OR THE TESTIMONIAL OF A BELIEVER FOR HIS Entrance into GLORY, Examined and approved: In a SERMON at the Interment of the Vertuous LADY, Margaret St. John, Wife to the Right Worshipful, Sir Alexander St. John, Septem. the 3. 1656.

By Francis Raworth, Teacher to the Church at Shore-ditch.

London, Printed by T. Maxey, for John Rothwell, at the Fountain in Goldsmiths-Row in Cheap-side, 1656.

To his Honored Friend, The Right Worshipful Sir Alexander Saint John.

Honored Sir,

THe great Design of God in this World, is to exercise man; and the greatest in­terest of man, is to glorifie God, who hath provided the Touch-stone of his Word to try our hearts by, and the Balance of his works to weigh our Lives in: So much strength as we have in a day of temptation, so strong we are; and since Temptation is for our Probation, we have as much cause to bless God for our support under Try­als, [Page] as for our deliverance from try­als: It is true, Satan hath his Sieve, and his aim is to seperate the Wheat from the Chaff; to give life to our sins, by the death of our Graces; but God hath his Fan in his hand, and his design is to seperate the Chaff from the Wheat, to give life to our Graces by the death of our sins.

I must acknowledge, That God hath lately put into your hands a bitter Cup to drink off (in the decease of your Vertuous and Beloved Consort) onely this I presume doth support you, That your eyes are opened to see that it was of your Fathers mingling: This affliction is a sharp Arrow, but it is shot out of a sweet hand; ama­ra sagitta, ex dulci manu Dei (as [Page] the Father speaks) How excellent a thing is it, when Gods Rod is upon our backs, to have our hands upon our mouthes, and not to mur­mur? While unbelief commenceth an Action against, and complains of the heavy hand of God to the World, for us to complain rather of our own evil hearts to God? Your experience (Sir, I trust) in Gods School, hath ac­quainted you with the Equity of his Discipline and Pedagogy. Oh! What an advantage have we over Satan, when we understand the intent, and and possess the fruit of every Cross; when we can see our Lashes to be our Lessons, our Corrections to be our In­structions, our Crosses to be the Ex­ecutioners of our Corruptions.

[Page]It was an Heavenly Prayer of him that said, Lord, I do not desire that the Burthen should be taken off, but that I might have strong­er shoulders to bear it: And an Heroick Experience of him that said, If any man would ride post to Heaven, let him get up upon the Cross. The truth is, every affliction is Gods Messenger, and eve­ry one of his Messengers have their Errand to deliver: The Rod must be heard, or the Word will never be felt: Though all that are corrected are not Gods children, yet all that are Gods children are corrected. Afflictions are favors, and therefore when God threatens that he will shew mercy no more, he threatens that he will af­flict [Page] no more. Ephraim is joyned to Idols, let him alone. Lord, rather (let every gracious heart say) let thine hand be laid on me, then that I should be cast out of thy hand; rather frown on me, then that thou shouldst turn thy Face from, and not look on me.

But the great Advantage of our tryal, is to come; here the Language of the rod is easie and plain, but the Dialect of that Language is hard and difficult to be known; conformity and self-denyal, are indisputably the mean­ing of every blow, but we are disposed to misconter Providence in Particu­lar; what God intends onely for our exercise, we pretend is done out of his anger: And therefore where the Text is obscure, we must be wary in writing [Page] Cōmentaries, we must take heed of turning his Reubarb into Ratsbane, by reading wrath where God never wrote it: There will come a time, when God will interpret his own minde, and sa­tisfie us, not onely in the Regulari­ty and justice of his Rods, but in the Reason and suitableness of them; why we are almost burned and consu­med, while others were but singed; why he drew so much blood from us, more then from others that seemed more exorbitant: God loves not to be sting­ing, like the Bee, he exhibits honey freely, but he stings upon provocation; his wisdom and our necessity, weigh and prescribe every drop of gall that is put into our Cups, and every lash [Page] of the Rod that is laid on our backs. A Cordial is fitter for this man, a Cor­rasive fitter for another: Such a Christian will be wakned by the light of a Candle, another stands in need of a Clap of Thunder: How sweet is it to justifie God, when he condemns us? At last day we shall say, The Lord knew our distemper, and he let us blood in the principal Vein; if we had not perished, we had perished: His Sun­shine melted us, his Hammer brake us. Blessed affliction! that made us see more uglinesse and emptinesse in the Creature, and more excellency in God, that weaned our affections from the world, and occasioned our more seri­ous thoughts of Eternity.

It may satisfie us, That God [Page] dealeth with his, as the Persians, I take it, do with the offending children of their Princes; they correct their Royal Garments in publick, but let their Persons go free; our Bodies are beaten, and our Souls are bettered: Here we must be polished by Tryals, and hewn by Hammers, and hereafter we shall be laid into Gods Building; Nunc foris per flagella tundi­mur, ut intus in Templum Do­mini disponamur, Afflictions are the fruit of his Wisdom, Repentance our fruit of his Afflictions: The Lord grant that all our storms may drive us nigher to our Harbor. I should hum­bly crave excuse for this freedom, but that I know your Ingenuity, and that your condition requireth support; and [Page] as remembring that words spoken in season, are like Apples of Gold in Pictures of Silver. I am sorry of so sad an occasion of presenting this, yet so seasonable a subject to you: I request your acceptance of it; the advantage whereof, is the desire of,

Your worships much obliged, to serve in the Lord, F. R.
Revel. 14.13.

And I heard a voice from Heaven, saying unto me, Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord from henceforth; yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them.

IN these Words we have two things; The Work, and the Re­ward of a Christian.

In the work of a Christian we have,

1. Something Implyed: It is supposed, That those that die in the Lord, do first live to the Lord; For as it is impossible for one that lives well to die ill, so it is impossible for one that lives ill to die well; for on that to [Page 2] the last lives to the Divel, to die to the Lord.

2. Something Expressed: They are such as die in the Lord: Some make a difference, between dying for, and dying in the Lord, as if that belonged onely to Martyrs, this to all true Professors:Martyres hic intelligi conce­dimus solos vero negamus. Gorhan. But the sub­stance is, That when Gods children have done their work, they go to bed, their Lusts die in them, and they themselves die in the Lord, as Children in their Fathers arms.

Secondly, As we have the work, so like­wise we have the wages, or rather reward of Christians: And that 1. Generally: They are said to be blessed, Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord: They are blessed in Hope while they live, and blessed in Possession when they die: As a Christian cannot be fully happy before death, so he cannot at all be miserable after death.

2. Particularly and Punctually: And that,

1. Negatively: Because they rest from their Labors; their labors in suffering, their labors under sin, the labors of their Cal­lings, and subjection unto Temptations: The World was their Tempestuous Sea, Heaven [Page 3] is their Port and Harbor; the Earth was the place of their working, Heaven the place of their resting: In portu navigunt quare sopor fessis.

2. Positively, and their works do follow them: Though they leave the world, yet they leave not their works behinde them: The authority and warrant of all this is pre­mised. This Oracle is not the Invention of man, but the voice of God; It is the Spirit (of God who knows the minde of God) that saith so, Thus saith the Spirit.

Quaery, Why is it said from henceforth? Were not those that dyed in the Lord before, happy?

Answer. Some say the Emphasis on this Particle, henceforth [...], q. d. Times will now be troublesome; and as it was their blessedness that lived to the Lord, at any time to die for the Lord; so especially it is their Blessedness to die then: It is some mercy to die before times of Judgement, as it is a mercy for some to die in times of judg­ment.

Secondly, Others refer it to their Blessed­ness immediately after their death; that is, their Souls sleep not in their Bodies till the Resurrection, as some dreamingly affirm, they are immaterial and immortal, and [...]o sooner [Page 4] do they go out of their earthly Tabernacles, but presently they ascend to Heaven: It is probable that the Spirit hereby would also presignifie by way of contradiction, the O­pinion of the Papists about Purgatory, as if the souls of good men did take that stage in their way to Glory: No, saith the Spirit, their Purgatory is in this world; here they are purified, and immediately upon the dis­solution of the union between their souls and Bodies; as their Bodies are blessed in the hope of a Resurrection, so their Souls are presently blessed in possession; those that die in the Lord, are thenceforth, or immedi­ately blessed.

But I principally on this solemn occasion, pitch on the last clause; And their works do follow them: First, for the Explication, then for the Application.

1. For the Explication here are two Quae­ries to be answered.

Quaerie 1. What is meant by works?

Answ. There are 1. Evil works, as there are evil workers: The works of the flesh are manifest, uncleanness, idolatry, strife and con­tentions, Gal. 5.19, 20. At death the sins of the godly leave them, and their Graces one­ly follow them; there sins shall be cast not into a shallow river, where they may appear, [Page 5] and swim up aloft upon the waters, but into a deep Sea of Oblivion: We must remember our evil works, and God will forget them; we must forget our good works, and God will remember them.

2. There are also good works, or as the Apostle phraseth it, fruits; such as are gen­tleness and joy, temperance and meekness, Gal. 5.22, 23. And these are those works that fol­low those that die in the Lord.

1. Specially works of Charity; as they say of Oswald King of Denmark, that in re­gard of his liberallity to the poor, his right hand, though he was dead, withered not: Works of Charity, are in Scripture in a pe­culiar maner called good works, [...], by way of principality and eminency, above many other works that yet are good, in re­gard of the influence they have for to pro­duce and give a lustre to all good works.

2. More largely: Though works of cha­rity be good works, and necessary to salva­tion, yet there are many good works, be­sides works of charity: Faith is the work of God, and a good work; repentance is the work of God, and a good work.

Charity is a Caelestial Orb, but not large e­nough for all the stars of good works to shine and move in: Therefore when the Apostle [Page 6] speaks here of (good) works, we are there­by to understand in general all works that are good; not onely a single Work, not onely their Charity, but their Faith, their Repentance, their Holiness, they all do fol­low them.

Quaerie 2. What is meant by their works?

A. 1. Here is noted propriety: Their own works follow them, not the works of other men; which Criticism suggesteth to us.

1. The Absurdity of the Papist, who maintains that a man may be so righteous, as that he may not onely merit Heaven for himself, but for others also. It was an ar­rogant saying of a Romish Pharisee, That he had done all for his own Salvation many years ago, and staid in the world after that, onely to gather treasure for others: But as a wicked man shall perish by the hand of his own unbelief, so the Just shall live by his own faith; not the Prayers and Performances, not the duties and doings of others, but their (own) works follow them.

2. The formal interest of a Believer in his works: They are his works, not because he [Page 7] is the fountain, but because he is the sub­ject of his Graces: Sin otherwise is most of all things ours; yet in a favorable sense, as nothing is so much our own before we work as our will, so nothing is so much our own as our works when they are done; they cleave to us, whether as fomentations to nourish us, or as Corrasives to gnaw upon us, that lies in the nature of the work, but ours they are and cling to us; our Work seem to be more ours, then our Faith is ours; our Works are ours as we have done them, our Faith ours as we have received it: Faith is ours as our Goods are ours, Works are ours as our Children are ours, Certè nos operamur, sed Deus operatur in nobis ut ope­remur.

Querie 3. What is meant by this, that our Works are said to follow us?

A. Though the acts of Grace be transi­ent, yet their vertue is everlasting: They fol­low us, Notes,

1. Their company to glory: As a Christian follows his work on earth, so his works shall follow or accompany him to heaven; he goes [Page 8] not out of the world naked and void of grace, as he came into the world; but he carries the garments of salvation, the ex­trinsick and Red coat of Justification, the intrinsick and internal white coat of Sancti­fication along with him, [...], they follow or accompany him.

2. Their inseperability: Death may rob them of their estates, but death cannot plunder them of their Graces; Death may separate their heads from their bodies, but shall never seperate or take their Crowns from their heads. The ambitious man can­not carry his honor with him; the Mam­monist cannot carry his Gold with him; but the godly man shall carry his godliness, his holiness, his works with him, as the shadow follows the Sun, or as the sequacious Ivy (he­dera sequax) clings to the Oak.

3. Their Honor and Dignity of State: Grace, we say, is Glory begun, and Glory is Grace perfected: I, as God is glorious in holiness, so a godly man is glorious in holi­ness, he is glorious in Grace, his Grace is his glory. As when a Nobleman or Ambassa­dor is to attend on or visit a Prince or Empe­ror, his Gentlemen in their Braveries, and his servants in their Liveries, wait on him to the Palace or Presence Chamber: So a Be­liever [Page 9] honors God in this world, and God will honor him out of this world; he glisters and shines here in his silks and embroyderies of humility, love and righteousness; and when he is called up from this world, he goes not without his Retinue, his Graces, his works accompany or follow him to Glory one Paradice (as he said) then enters into an­ther.

From the words thus opened. I shall pre­sent you with this Proposition or Do­ctrine.

Proposit. That when a Christian dies, his works die not with him.

There is a sixfold attendance on a true Chri­stian by his good works or graces when he leaves this world.

1. His works follow him in respect of that good report they leave behinde him: It is a Judgement to have our names writ on earth, but its an honor when our persons are in Heaven, to have a name of honor on Earth: A wicked man expires and goes out, but it is like a Tallow candle, leaving a stench behinde him; a righteous man expires and goes out of this world, but like a Wax candle, leaving a sweet perfume behinde him: His works in their report follow him.

1. In a blessed memory: Do well and hear [Page 10] ill is wrote on Heaven Gates, said the Mar­tyr; yet oftentimes do well, and hear well after we have done well, is wrote on Heaven Gates: Of you it shall be said, this and that man was born in her: While the poor curse the memory of the wicked, they bless God in the remembrance of the righteous: Some mens names are rotten before their bodies, but other mens names are alive and fresh, when their Bodies are rotten, being laid in their Graves (tantorum nominibus semper as­surgo, said the Moralist, of the mention of Cato and Lelius) The name of Lazarus is recorded, that is supposed to be his proper name; but the common name of Dives is onely related, a certain rich man, [...], there is all to signifie who he was, God thought him not worthy of further mention; G d shews himself herein contrary to the world, who have no name for the godly, poor, but silly wretch; or a by-name, as lame Giles. 2. God makes a memorial of the righteous, Prov. 10.7. A good name, as the Father observes, is the godly mans heir: The names of wicked men are either altogether omitted, as in that place, or Recorded with Infamy, as Jeroboam is mentioned in the Cro­nicles of Israel; Pilate in the Creed, Gar­dener in the Martyrology; but the names of [Page 11] the righteous are famous: David is dead, but his zeal for God lives; David, saith the Scri­pture, was a man after Gods own heart: Job is dead, but yet his patience for God lives; have ye not heard, or ye have heard of the patience of Job: Abel was murthered above 4000 years ago, yet his Faith is alive to this very day, he yet speaketh, his tongue is out of his head, and yet his faith is not tongue-tyed? Oh, saith God, what a Believer was Abel! some render it [...], passively is yet spoken of, that is, he is of blessed memory, his name is honorable in the Church.

2. His works follow him in their report, by an happy example: A good mans person is gone, but his footsteps are left behinde him; when he is dead, and gone to heaven, and be­holdeth the face of God in glory; his example left behinde him, is a Looking-glass for others to dress themselves by, a Copy for others to write after: This womans charity, saith Christ, shall be made mention of where ever the Gospel shall be preached: The Father its true dies, but yet he lives in his child that wears his image, especially in a moral sense, when the child imi­tates the vertues of the father: When a friend bewailed to Epaminandas's want of issue, that noble Captain replyed, That he should leave two fair daughters behinde him, the Battles [Page 8] of Leuctra and Mautinea, in which his me­mory should survive: A good man never dies childless, his examples of Patience and integrity are his never dying off-spring: In this sense Luther and Calvin, and the rest of those Champions that wrote for Christ, and dyed in the Lord, are yet alive in their words and works; And though their souls be in Hea­ven, yet are they instrumental for the salva­tion of souls on Earth: As long as their Works or Writings are extant in the World, they shall not have done preaching to, as long as their holiness towards, and courage for God are upon Record and published, they shall not have done converting of sin­ners to, or at least of confirming of Saints in Christ, efficacior est vox operis, quam opus vo­eis.

Secondly, Their works follow the Saints, many of them formally and really: Indeed they take leave of Faith and hope, they are militant Graces, and onely suitable to the state of the Church on Earth; but Love is a Triumphant Grace, and goes along with them to Glory: and now abideth Faith, Hope, Charity, these three; but the greatest of these is Charity, the greatest Extensively, Faith and Hope being more personal Graces, Love being communicative, rather here proten­sively, [Page 9] in respect of duration; to save a man, Faith is great; in a man saved, Love is the greatest: Faith, and Hope, and Repentance, go with Christians vertually; as he that hath the Spirits and Extracts of Herbs, is said to carry the Herbs with him, and a Merchant that turns his Lands into Pearls and Gold, is said to carry his Estate with him; so the fruit and substance of Faith lives, though justify­ing Faith, or Faith justifying dyes: The Motto of Chawcer, Farewel Physick, may well be the Motto of a dying Christian, Fare­wel Repentance, farewel Hope: Repentance is a plank after Shipwrack, and where there is no sea, no water, there is no need of a plank: As the Sword-bearer to the Empe­ror Charls, being a Protestant, carryed the Mace before his Master to the Church door, when he went to Mass, but his conscience would not suffer him to go in with him: So in a sense Faith guards us to Heaven Gates, and when it hath done its office, there it leaves us: Faith follows a Christian, as the shadow doth the Sun, from one point of the Compass or Dyal to another, until it comes to the Miridian, and there it leaves it; but love is a Royal Grace, an Heavenly Peer, with State and Majesty it enters into Glory, and dwells with the King of Glory him­self [Page 14] to all Eternity: As Dr. Preston said, when a dying, I shall change my place, but not my company: his Graces followed him.

Thirdly, Their Works follow them in re­spect of the comfort of them; as the wic­ked onely leave their duties behinde them, and carry their sins with them, so the godly leave their sins behinde them, and carry their graces with them, they put off their gar­ments when they go to bed. And here,

1. After death a childe of God is com­forted with the success of his works: How comfortable at the last day will it be, for a Master of a Family to present his servants at the Tribunal Bar before the Lord, and to say, Lord, Here am I, and my servants with me, that not onely wear my Livery, but also obeyed thy commands: For the Ministers of the Gospel that have been faithful, to present their flocks before the great Bishop and Shepheard of souls, and to say, Here are the purchase of thy blood, the travail of our souls, the fruit of our labors and tears: As the Ancient sweetly brings in the Apostles, like so many File-leaders, severally bringing up their Converts to the Judgement-Seat; Peter attended with the converted Jews; John leading up the Asiatiques; Thomas the [Page 15] Indians, and Paul the Gentiles: Et nos hic Pastores vocati sumus, & ibi greges non duce­mus? And it is the perswasion of many great Divines, That the spiritual Fathers in Christ, shall know their children in Christ at that day: Their success will advantage their comfort, and therefore it is part of our du­ty to labor for success; though it must be acknowledged, that God rewards us not according to the success of our labors properly, but according to our labors for success.

Let none be discouraged that their faith­ful works have not their success with men; for as the good Physician always heals not, so the good Preacher always converts not: The success of our labors is his work, not ours, and God rewards us not according to his own work (simply and abstractly ta­ken) by the leave of that yet true and fa­mous affirmation, God crowns his own works in us) but according to our works: He shall give to every man according to his works: [...]; we had better have one work writ in Heaven, then a thousand on Earth; and though men may forget labors of love on earth, yet the comfort is, they shal be reminded & rewarded by Christ in heaven; those that convert souls, [Page 12] and run like stars on Earth, shall at last be Crowned, and shine like stars in Heaven, Dan. 12.3, 4.

2. After death, a childe of God shall be comforted with the Testimony of his Con­science: And thus,

1. His Integrity shall follow or accompa­ny him: Miserable is he whose conscience condemns him, though all the world acquit him; but thrice happy is he whose consci­ence acquits him, though all the world ac­cuse him: A man may have hypocrisie in him, and yet be no Hypocrite; he may slum­ber and sleep with the foolish Virgins, yet be no foolish Virgin; while we are on this side our Fathers house, we cannot but trip and stumble, though we keep the way; while we are on this side Paradice, we cannot behold a Pomgranate that hath no rotten grain in it: This may support, that if we bring our Gra­ces to the Touch-stone, the Lord himself will never bring them to the Balance; the charge of Hypocrisie is familiar and easie, the proof is laborious and hard: We are not made Lord Judges of mens Consciences, and therefore, notwithstanding private suspiti­ons, we must forbear, and refer the censure of the full and final estate of man to God: Its the work of God to discover Hypocrites, [Page 13] not of man; while a man goes about to dis­cover an Hypocrite, let him beware, lest in seeking to finde out one he discover two, the searched and the searcher: Quam immensa est laetitia de recordatione transacti operis? Possibly it may be said concerning many Christians, who never studied to be conform­able to the Critical Religion of the World; as it was said of Father Paul the Venetian, because men knew not how to convince him, either in his Profession or Life, they had one­ly this common plea against him, That he was an Hypocrite: But what a testimony will Samuel bring with him at that day, to say in the audience of Men and Angels, Whose Ox have I stoln? For blessed Paul to manifest at that day, This is the testimony of my consci­ence, that in godly simplicity I have behaved my self in the world.

My Beloved, get a good conscience, for that is a thousand witnesses, and a thousand witnesses will not at that day be so good as a good conscience: How amiable will the face of true Grace be then? How abominable will the vizor and counterfeit be?

2. His Charity and Love shall witness for him: Many have no greater sensible evi­dence of their loving Christ, then by the love they bear to his servants that wear his [Page 18] Livery, to his Children that bear his Image: But then the scruples of the upright shall be dissolved, resolved, and they shall not need so to puzle their brains to finde the love of the Brethren in their hearts.

How refreshing will it be then, for a Be­liever to have occasion to say by way of Praise and Testimony; the Lord gave me the loaf, and I grudged not to give others the crums: God made my cup full, and I made it to run over for the relief of others: It will, I am sure, it will be more comfortable for a man to say, I have been good, and I have done good in the World, then to say, I had (all) the goods of the World: Good works are a Treasure, and will follow you; good and cordial Prayers are a Treasure, and they will go before you; and Faith and Hope are a Treasure, and they will go with you.

It is strange to consider, how many bad words men have for good works, as if to be charitable were to be Popishly affected; but if charity be Antichristianism, Christ is the Pope, and Rome is at Jerusalem, Rev. 14.13. Acts 7.59. Luke 23.43. Make to your selves friends of the Mammon of unrighteousness, that when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations, Luke 16.9. Not by [Page 19] way of merit, but by way of concomitancy, every acting of every Grace will stand us in stead, a charitable act as well as a repenting act: Quicquid pauperibus spargimus, nobis colligimus: I shall not impose on your be­lief: But it is reported that Evagrius in Ce­dremus bequeathed 300 l. in his will to the poor, but took a Bond of Synesius the Bi­shop for the payment of it in the other life, & the next night after his departure, appear­ed to him in his shape, delivered in the Bond, cancell'd and fully discharged, saying, Take your Bond again, I am satisfied.

Thirdly, His perseverance will follow him: It were better for a man never to set his hand to the plow, then to look and to go back­ward; better never to have begun in pro­fession, then to end in Apostacy. Perseve­rance is the Crown of Grace, because it is the Crowning Grace: Perseverance is the Crown of Grace, and Heaven is the Crown of Perseverance: Praise the Marriner when he is arrived at his Harbor; commend the Souldiers valour, when he hath got the day and won the field: Hold on, and hold out Faith and Prayer, said the Martyr, Hold fast that which thou hast, that no man take thy Crown, saith the Lord, Revel. 3.11. How sweet will it [Page 20] be for a Believer to carry the testimony of his perseverance in his conscience to the last Assizes, to have ground to say, It's true Lord, I have had many infirmities, many failings, yet my heart was upright, my heart did not lay hypocrisie at my door; I confess, I often stum­bled, I had almost faln; many a time have I offended against thy glory before the World, but oftner have I grieved thy gracious spirit in private; yet through thy grace I have ri­sen, I have fought the good fight, I have run my race; and though I have many ways forsaken thee, yet thou didst not forsake and take thy farewel of me, thou didst par­don my sins, and heal my soars: We cannot but be shot at by Satan while we are besieged, we get many a fall and bruise by the world & lust; scarce a Jacob that wrestleth with God, but goeth limping; yet where sin is a Tyrant, not a King; an enemy at our backs, not a friend in our bosoms; it wil not be charged on us, so as to condemn, so as to damn us: What a comfortable sight is it to see a Christian to contend against flesh & blood in this world; to ruine with Christ, rather then to reign with Caesar? to march out of the Battle, though wounded and maimed, yet with his colours flying to the Grave? If they be blessed that die in, how blessed are they that [Page 21] moreover die for the Lord? Mori pro Domino, Martyrum est, in Domino, confessorum. Bern. Beatus est Petrus qui cruciatur, nec minus beatus est Johannes qui in Lecto moritur. Aret. in Loc.

Fourthly, His works follow him in respect of Testimonies, ad extra, and so his works shall finde a probation.

1. From the good Angels: As they are Gods Messengers to us, so they are our wit­nesses to God; the tears of repenting sin­ners, are the wine of Angels, they rejoyce in, therefore they must needs observe the conversion of sinners: Many Actions done out of the view of men, are yet within the cognizance of Angels: The good Angels shall give in their testimony against the wic­ked, and for the righteous; such an one, Lord, was a Blasphemer, a Drunkard, we can witness to it, we have heard him swear, we have seen him drunk; but such and such were attenders upon Gospel Ordinances; were given to Prayer and Meditation, to Re­pentance and good works: and as far as we can judge, were not onely Professors of sin­cerity, but sincere Professors; were not onely called Saints, Saints by calling, but Saints indeed by Dedication and Infusion; not onely called Christians, but Christians as they were called, Zech. 1.10.

[Page 22]2. His works shall finde a probation from the very Divels: As at the great day, in some things the godly shall acquit the Divels (for the Divels are not always guilty; when we are filthy, we often paint the Divels blacker then they are, to make our selves whiter then we are) and give them their due; so in some things the Divels (as very Divels as now they are) shall acquit the godly. God, q. d. will then say to Satan, as one of old, Satan, hast thou considered my servants, Job, David, and Peter; and Satan that accused them, while living, shall then as it were justifie them: Wisdom is too often condemned by her chil­dren here, but Wisdom shall be justified by her enemies hereafter. Providence will ex­tort this confession from Divels; true Lord, they were great sinners, but we cannot deny the truth of their repentance, and we did often tempt them, when yet they were not overcome: Thus Religion shall be cleared, not onely by Divelish men, but by Divels: The Divels will then testifie that wherein Gods servants failed, it was much, because of their snares; that such and such of Gods children had lived more comfortably but that they tempted them to dispair; had lived more righteously, but that they tempted them to scandal; had done more work for [Page 23] God in his vineyard, but that they disquieted and hindred them: Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you, said the evil Spirit in the Acts.

Thirdly, He hath a testimony of his good works from good men: Religion is now made a party by too too many; and men became of an opinion not to serve God, but to get Votes for their reputation: O what a refuge is it for the Hypocrite to flie to the applause and [...] of Gods people! to cry up others for their Heavenly-mindedness, that the Heavenly-minded indeed might not cry out against them for worldly-mindedness; not but that the good opinion of good men is considerable, but in se and separated from goodness of practise in our selves, its but the varnish of Hypocrisie: As the evil Opi­nion of an evil man maketh not a good man evil, so the good Opinion of a good man maketh not an evil man good: yet as God is the witness of our heart, so good men are the witnesses of our lives: The Rabbies have a fine Proverb, That he that doth a good work, bonum opus, gets to himself against the last day Advocatum, an Advocate; and so many good works, so many Advocates (but Christ is our Advocate) but he that continues [Page 24] so many evil works as he doth, so many Di­vels, or so many Accusers he procures against himself in Judgement: Good men will then testifie one for another; when Justice shall enquire what such and such were (not that God needs mans testimony, but to speak to conscience, and according to the substance of the process at that day) the righteous shall answer, Lord, since we are called to be wit­nesses, we must needs say, That while such were a blaspheming thy name, a scoffing at thy people; we knew them to be Blasphe­mers and Scoffers, these and these of thy peo­ple were a praying, a hearing of thy Ora­cles, a mourning for sin, they and we did comfortably and often serve the Lord to­gether.

Fourthly, They shall have a probation from evil men: Their accusation is not so considerable as their acquittance: Men, said he, speak evil of me, but they are evil men that do so; and an argument for us from an adversary, is not to be neglected: though wicked men curse the Saints while they live, yet they shall bless and justifie them in the day of Visitation, as the Apostle speaks.

1. Either when pangs of conscience seize on them: Or,

[Page 25]Secondly, When they come to die; as one said, O that I might be Craesus living, and Socrates dying! Or as the Proverb is, Let me live in Italy, but let me die in Spain: So Balaam, though he lived the life of the wic­ked, yet he loved the death of the righteous; though men live Hypocrites, yet they would die sincere; though many live by a form of godliness, yet they would fain die by the power: Or,

Thirdly, They shal respect and honor them at the Judgement-day: Oh, will Pharaoh say then, that I were Moses! Wil Cain say, that I had been but suffering Abel? Who would be a Rake-hell or a Ranter then? when many of those that have been Judges, shall be judged, and the judged (many of them I mean) shall be Judges; when Paul that once stood at the Bar, shall sit on the Bench; for the Apostle telleth us, That the Saints shall judge the world: That time is a coming (though now the world judgeth the Saints, and one Saint judgeth another) that is, shall be, q. d. Co­assessors with Christ at the last day, con­senting to, and applauding of his Judgement of the world; when the Judge shall say to the Cursers, Go ye cursed, the Saints shall say, Amen Lord; when Rabshekah shall be thrown down to Hell, and Hezekiah taken [Page 26] up to Heaven: Who would rise in that e­state of wrath he was born, lived and dyed in? Those that now accuse the godly for dis­semblers and Hypocrites, will then publikely confess their sincerity. Christians! Be not discouraged in your more strict profession of Christianity; it is no matter what now they say of you behinde your backs, but what they shall be forced to speak of you to your faces at that day.

Fifthly, Even the Spirit of God will bear a testimony to his works: What though all men and Angels should condemn us, now God himself will not condemn, but acquit us; as he hath a bottle for our tears, so he hath a file for our Prayers, and a Book for our Works: Wicked men look on the infir­mities of Gods people, their mole-hills, as mountains; their motes, as beams, as sins of the greatest magnitude, and on their own mountains and beams as mole-hills, and motes: Men are merciless in their censures, but God hath more equitable scales, and can give Grains of allowance to his Gold.

Even as God seemed to stand Neuter for a time, while there was a dispute held between Job and his Friends con­cerning [Page 27] his integrity; at length God steps from behinde the curtain, and pleads his cause: Who saith my servant Job is an Hy­pocrite? you charge desperately on my ser­vant; but you have not spoke of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath done, Job 42.7. Gods people oft in their tem­ptations, speak that against themselves that God never spake; we are but Hy­pocrites, we are cast out of Gods pre­sence, these miscarriages of ours have dis­solved the Covenant between God and us, are inconsistent with integrity or true Grace; but God, Revel. 2.2. knows their works, their patience, their labors of love, their gold, notwithstanding some dross, their sincerity amidst many failings, and will make them known to themselves & all the World at the last day; the Lord will say concern­ing this and that man, I know them to be cleansed by the blood of my Son, how­ever men have cast dust on them: Others have surveyed their lives, and seen some spots which they themselves have lament­ed, and I know them to be Holy, and to have feared my Name: Now if God shall justifie, who shall condemn at that day?

[Page 28]Fifthly and lastly, Their works shall fol­low them in respect of a guerdon and re­ward: In Scripture the word Work signifieth three things.

1. The very act of Labor, so Solomon tells us, that in the Grave there is no wisdom, no work, that is, no working for Heaven, Eccles. 9.10.

2. For the effect of labor; that which is wrought we call his work, as well as the act of his labor; thus the fire will try every mans work, 1 Cor. 3.13.

3. For the reward of a Christians Labor: Work is taken for wages; it is usual to put Prayer for the thing prayed for, or for the thing obtained by Prayer; so Hannah, 1 Sa. 1.27. The Lord hath given me my petition; that is, The childe for which I did Petition. It is usual to put sin for the reward or punish­ment of sin, Gen. 4.13. My sin, that is, my punishment for sin, is greater then I can bear; so also its usual to put the work, as for the reward of the work, and that, 1. In malo; as Jer. 4.18. Thy way hath procured this unto thee; this is thy wickedness, that is, this is the reward of thy wickedness. 2. In bono, as in my Text, their works followed them; that is, the reward of their works; they had done their work, and now God rewards [Page 29] them through Grace: Their works die not with them, as Hortensius his labors did: A cup of cold water shall be produced, Matth. 25. They forget their good works; When saw we thee an hungry, or naked? But Christ re­members them, inasmuch as you did it to one of these little ones, you did it unto me; those that have done well, shall have a well done; those that have sown to the Spirit shall of the spirit reap everlasting life; Glory, and Honor, and Peace, shall be to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile; if in this life onely we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable; as in Adam all dyed, so in Christ shall all be made alive; as sure as we are gracious, so sure shall we be glorious; as sure as Heaven en­ters into a man in this world, so sure shall that man enter into Heaven in the world to come: To be brief in this, as certainly as now the Crown of immortality and Glory shines in the eyes of Gods people, so cer­tainly shall it one day sit gloriously on their heads: Its easier to tell what Heaven is not, then what it is; We may talk of the great­ness of our future reward, but we shall never know the weight of that Crown, till we have it on our heads; the worth of that Livery, till we have it on our backs; the greatness [Page 30] of that Glory, till it rest in and shine into our hearts: The reward of good works shall be great.

Q. But why doth the Gospel chiefly menti­on, or more apparantly note the reward of works of mercy, pity and charity, at the last day?

A. Upon four accompts.

1. Because good works are the fruits of Faith: There may be charity without Faith, but there can be no true Faith without Cha­rity: Moses in the Ecclesiastick Story was wont to say, I like that Faith better that can be seen then that Faith which onely can be heard:Ubi bona opera non apparent ad extra, ibi non est bonum opus ad intra. So where there is no Charity, ad extra, without, there is no true Faith, ad intra, within: So John Husse, Though Faith have a preheminence, because works grow out of it, and so Faith as the root is first; yet Works have the preheminence thus, both in that they include Faith (in Believers) in them, and that they diffuse and spread themselves more then Faith doth: And it is remarkable, That though Christ re­fer [Page 31] oft to believing in this life, because he would be sure to plant and fasten that safely, which is the root of all, Faith: yet in the next life his proceedings are grounded on Works, and he will judge us according to our Fruits.

2. Because works are visible demonstra­tions of Faith: In Titles and Conveyances where Lands are made over to us, we have Seals to our Writings, and witnesses to our Seals; so here our persons are instrumental­ly justified by our Faith (as we ordinarily speak) but our Faith is justified by our Works.

The evidence to God that our Works are good, scil. formally is our Faith; the evidence to men that our Faith is good, probably is our Works: Men can give te­stimony concerning our Charity; but Faith is a secret, and God onely can witness to that: Now God, who is all Spirit, will not judge the World immediately, but by our Mediator, God-Man, that humane nature that hung on the Cross, shall q. d. sit on a Throne; the Judge then shall be visible, and the Persons to be Judged shall be visible, and the publick pro­cesse, [Page 32] shall in a great part be concerning things visible too: God will so act at that day; as that all men shall see the righteous­nesse of his Processe, he will judg, not accor­ding to his secret counsels, his cabinet decrees, but according to evidence, and his revealed Law. Now James saith, Shew me thy faith without works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works; this demonstration à posteriori, is manifest. Faith like the Queen of the South, comes not alone to Solomon, she brings her traine after her: Faith is this Queen, let Repentance be her Usher to go before her; and good Works, as Patience, Charity, Meeknesse, the Court that follow her, so let her come to the King of Glory, in the Presence Chamber of Jesus Christ in heaven: As long as we feel thy pulse beating, we are sure thou livest; yet the beating of thy pulse is not the cause why thou livest, but a signe by the effects. As Christ said of himself, when the question was, whether he was the Messias? View my works, said he, they are they that testifie of me: So I may say of men, their conversations, their works testifie what they are: Good works before men, are good witnesses of our faith before God. God will then examine men of those things that man can bear testimony to.

[Page 33]3. Because men accused, naturally and generally appeal to their good works, by whom or by what wil the hypocrite be tried? By Gods people? No; by the work of Re­generation? No; for that's a mystery un­known to them: but by my works will I be tryed; why then to thy works thou shalt go; thou boastest of thy works, but where is their goodnesse! How can thy works be good, if thou thy selfe the worker art e­vil! The Lord likes Adverbs better then Adjectives; Benè better then Bonum. Do your works proceed from a good heart, and do they tend to a good end? Our works must not only materially be good (for there may be malum opus in bonâ materiâ;) but the aim and intention of our works must be good also, or else, notwithstanding our good works, we are evil workers before God. And further, I believe that the meer outside Chri­stian will then be found to have been defe­ctive in good works; in some or other good work: Either he will be charged for inju­stice in getting his estate, with which he hath been charitable; and that's not pro­perly charity for a man, as we say, to steal the whole loaf out of the cupboard of a poor man, and then to give him a crust at the door: Or as the Spanish Proverb is, to [Page 34] steal a Goose, and stick down a Fea­ther.

Or secondly, For partiality in doing good: We may observe, That all Causes are required to make an Action good, but one defective Circumstance will render an Action bad.

Fourthly, Good works will then be cal­led in for Evidence, because by them we are like God: What one Evangelist hath, Be perfect as your heavenly Father is per­fect; another renders it, Be you merciful as your Heavenly Father: Some things God teacheth us by precept, other things he teacheth us by Example; as to repent by Precept, to love by Example: Now we more imitate God in following his Precepts, then in obeying his Commands: Simply so con­sidered, we are more like God in our Love, then in our Repentance; hence God in Scri­pture is called Love, but not Faith proper­ly: A Believer that is a good man, a man full of compassion and bowels of mercy, is the most godly, the most God-like man in the world.

For the Application and Conclusion of this Doctrine, That when a Believer dies, his works die not with him.

Ʋse 1. Hence, is by way of Caution con­cerning [Page 35] good works: Good works, say the Papists on this Scripture, go before in respect of Merit, but follow after in respect of Re­ward; but the words speak of the Reward that follows, not of the Merit that goes be­fore; a Reward we acknowledge, Merit we deny; we shall be rewarded according to our good Works, but not for our good Works: It is sufficient to merit, that merit sufficeth not.

The Antinomians say, Good works are not necessary for Salvation; they might better say, They are not necessary as to Justification; that is, that they Justifie not: He that beggeth Mercy, boasteth not of Merit: Good works do not go before, but follow us to Heaven: The blood of Christ, is the golden Key to open the door of Pa­radice. It is reported, that the Doctrine of Simon Magus, was, That a bare profession of Faith, without a reformation in the life, was sufficient for salvation. Austin justly conceives that one reason why James so prefers Works,Cave non tan­tum ab operibus malis sed etiam à bonis. as to say, That Abraham was ju­stified by them, was, because that some Licentiats had so a­bused the Doctrine of Faith delivered be­fore [Page 36] by Paul: Good works are such things, as no man can be saved for them, and yet no man can be saved without them: The truth is, we are not onely not saved for our Works, that we are not so much as saved for our Faith.

The greatest degree of Faith, is not worth the least or lowest degree of Glory: It was height of Pride, that made a Jesuit say, Coe­lum gratis non accipiam; the value of Faith grows, non ex persona credente, vel ex na­tura fidei, sed ex pacto contrahenti, not so much from our condition, as from Gods Covenant; He that believes shall be saved: There is no inconsistency between these two Propositions, He that believes, and he that repents shall be saved: For though we are justified by Faith onely, yet not by Faith alone; that is, Works justifie not with Faith, and Faith justifies not without Works: Good Works qualifie the subject believing, but Faith is the proper instrument of recei­ving the Covenant of Grace: Faith is an evidence to us of our righteousness before God, and Works are an evidence of the truth of our Faith before men: Out of the point of Justification, Works cannot be suffici­ciently justified or commended, but in the point [Page 37] of Justification Works are not to be admitted: How hard is it to joyn together, what God would not have seperated? Faith and Works; so to work and repent, as if we were to be saved, q. d. without Faith; and so to believe, as if we were to be saved without Works: How difficult is it for a man, a moral man, to see the necessity of Faith? to cry out, What though I am righ­teous before men, if yet I should want the righteousness of Christ before God? My righteousness is but as rags, my duties but as dung, my tears need Christs blood: Lord! without thy free Grace, and a Plaister of the merits of Christ, notwithstanding all my Prayers and Performances I am undone. Lu­ther well observes, how much the believing and the begetting Abraham differs; the be­getting Abraham was a worker, the belie­ving Abraham was righteous, his Faith was on Christ the object of Faith; and we are blessed, not with the working, but with the believing Abraham.

Ʋse 2. Is for the information about the aim and end of men in their Works: It is curiously questioned, whether it be not a sordid way of obedience, for a man to eye his reward in his obedience; but it is more [Page 38] becoming a Philosopher then a Divine (I judge) to provoke his Auditors to vertue, without the least reflection of a future re­ward.

If that be true which is affirmed by many, that Grace and Glory differ not specifically, but gradually; and that be true which is af­firmed by all, That mans Happiness and Gods Glory be indisputably conjoyned in Heaven; then certainly we may have our eye to the Star, while we have our hand at the Helm; we may have one eye to our Re­ward, as well as the other to the Work: As it is no Prerogative act for God to damn the Hypocrite at last day, but an act of Justice, sin being the antecedent cause of wrath; so the salvation of the Ʋpright, will not appear to be the product onely of Gods Arbitrary Grace, but (according to his revealed truth) the manife­station of his remunerative righteousness; Grace in us being, though not the cause, yet the ante­cedent of Glory:

Hence it is, that the Gospel deters us from sin, by arguments formed out of Hell, as the unquenchable fire, and the terrors of the Lord; so it animates us to duty, by ar­guments made out of Heaven and Glory: How doth it embolden a Believer to sail [Page 39] through Storms and Tempests, when he thinks on his Harbor; to resist unto blood, and rather to die for, then deny Christ when he ponders on his Crown? Let us endure the cold frosts, let us be content, though we are buffeted for a while, cryed the Martyrs of old, for Heaven will make amends for all: There may be amor mercedis, a love of the Reward (as well of the Rewarder) and yet no mercinary love, no amor mercenarius: When I will not love God without this world, when I love or respect God onely for riches and honors, &c. this is a merci­nary love; but not when I love God for the hoped perfection of my Graces, for the mo­ral obolition of my sins, for the contempla­tion of his presence in light; for if the en­joyment of God be the essential Heaven, then to love the enjoyment of God, is to love Heaven; and I am no more mercinary for loving of God the more for Heaven, then for loving of the enjoyment of God: Some have applauded the strength of direct obedience, without eyeing the reward by an Emblem of a Lady, with a Water-pot in one hand, and a Fire-brand in the other, saying, She would serve God, though with the wa­ter Hell-fire were quenched, and there were [Page 40] no torments to punish her for sin; though with the fire Paradice were consumed, and there were no everlasting happiness to re­ward her, Yet methinks, though good use may be made of such Hyperbolies, they do not so fully speak to a Christian under tryals; they teach us how to run, but they obscure the Garland; they teach us how to shoot, but in the mean time take away the mark: Its true, God is principally to be beloved for himself, & vix queritur Deus, propter deum; and so he may be, and yet be loved for Heaven.

We may pray and wrestle against sin for the love of our King, and yet have the hope of a Kingdom to be enjoyed after the bat­tel: The Doctrine of the Resurrection, is the foundation of Religion; and he that considers not of the Resurrection of the flesh, will hardly be drawn to mortifie the flesh; I know no such suggestion in the Bible: Sinners! Would you deny the lusts of the flesh, and the pomp and vanity of the World, if there were no Resurrection, no Salvation? And its a dangerous temptation to a perplexed con­science, to have his sincerity tryed by this touchstone; if you can't serve God without a re­ward in Heaven, you are an Hypocrite.

[Page 41] Ʋse 3. Is for terror unto two sorts of Workers.

  • 1. Evil workers.
  • 2. Idle workers.

1. To Evil workers: Shall the works of Gods Children follow them, then by just consequence your evil works, your lying, your scoffing at Religion shall follow you: As righteousness shall follow the righteous, so wickedness shall follow the wicked: Those that will not now finde out their sins,Morientes di­vitias hic di­mittunt, & pec­cata sua secum portant. their sins shall one day finde out them, and judgement shall finde out their sins: Even as Destruction said to Pride, they being both invited to a Feast, contending who should go before, and who should fol­low; said Pride, Go you before; no, re­plyed Destruction, I prae, sequar; Go you be­fore, and I will follow after: So here impe­nitency goes before to Hell, and the impe­nitent sinner follows after; their sins reached to Heaven, [...], accumulata pervene­runt; as one Mountain laid on the top of an­other, the same word as in my Text, so one sin follows another, until the sinner and his sins meet together in Hell: The wicked shall not carry their goods, but their evils with them: [Page 42] They shall leave their Estates, their Gold be­hinde them, but they shall carry their op­pression, their guilt with them; they shall lie down in their sins, and their sins shall rise with them; their sins shall go into Hell with them, and there stare them in the face; here a Regiment of Oathes on the one hand, there a Regiment of Lies on the other hand: Happy would the wicked be, that they could go naked out of this World, as free from their sins, as of their riches

If men shall be condemned for idle words, much more for ill works: How many will then wish their Blasphemies against the Medi­ator unprinted, and their slanderous Libels a­gainst men unpublished to the World? when God himself shall read a black Bill or Indict­ment against them, out of every line they wrote, and make every Volumn a Fagot to burn and torment them withal; and the more Proselites men have gained to their damnable Errors, the more additions of Wrath they shall have to all Eternity: As Christ said, Can men gather Grapes of Thorns, or Figs of Thistles; So comparing Works to Trees, Rewards to Fruits; Consider, Will thy gall and worm­wood ever make pleasant Drink? These wilde and sowre Grapes, ever yield sweet [Page 43] Wine: This ignorance, this impenitency, these vulgar Oathes, and wanton dalliances, are these the seed-plot of Heaven, the foun­dation upon which I build my salvation? No, no, my soul, as thou brewest so thou must drink; as thou sowest, so thou must reap: Alass, how unfruitful have I been in good works? how fruitful in evil? whilest others have been a praying, wretched I have been a cursing; while others have spent their time in gathering of Manna to feed their souls, I have been gathering of sticks to burn my soul withal: I had a season to go into Gods Vineyard, the Spirit called, Conscience cal­led, Providence called, but I was idle, but I was evil: How can I, that have so long stood idle (and O that I had onely been idle and done nothing!) look for the peny? or that have refused to mortifie a last look for a Crown? or for the Harvest of Glory, that have neglected my seed time? Can I think to finde the living among the dead? the Tree of Life out of Paradice? Heaven in Hell? O that either my works had been according to my profession, or my profession according to my works! Aut professio secundum opera, aut opera secundum professionem: When the Saints die, they rest from their labors, and [Page 44] their works follow them (through Free-grace in glorious rewards.) When the wicked dye, they rest from their labours too, but their works follow them (through Divine Justice) into everlasting punish­ment.

Thus many may everlastingly rest from their troubles in this world, and when they have done so, go into a world of e­verlasting troubles; Opera sequuntur bonos, persequuntur malos: Omnia mala, mali se­cum portant.

Secondly, As it reproves evil, so also Idle workers.

Ah Christians, How ready are we to neglect our Watch! to give over our Worke! to make the affaires of this world our [...], our main work, and the affaires of Heaven our [...], things by the by. Volumus assequi Christum, sed non sequi, how do we set our affections on things Temporal, while wee neglect the things that are Eternal! Are we by na­ture Children of wrath? have we sea­sons offered us for reconciliation? and shall we neglect our Souls? Pretend the [Page 45] world against God; and desperately ven­ture our Salvation upon an Arbritary God, upon an, it may be we may be sa­ved.

Do we know already, that they that dye in sinnes, shall forever live in ever­lasting burnings, and shall we dare live in sinne, and goe out of the world in that same state of enmity against God, with which we came into this world? Is heaven a Kingdome, and have we no vi­olence to offer for it? Will this be a sufficient Apology for any man to say at last day, "Lord, I never opposed thy wayes when I did not professe them; I did not despise the offers of grace, though I did neglect them? Have you any grea­ter work to do in the world, then to looke after the glorifying of God, and the salvation of your souls? I must ac­knowledge, that in the first work of Grace, we are rather Passive than A­ctive, (for ut Deus operatur in nobis, ut accedamus ita operatur ne decedamus) and that without the influence of Omnipotency wee can doe nothing but undoe our selves; and that when wee have done all wee can, wee must say (not in [Page 46] a Jesuitical Complement, but really) we are unprofitable servants, yet our impotency contracted and nourished by our selves, ex­cuseth not, but aggravates our weakness; though we can't create the breath of the Spirit, yet cannot we hang out our sails to entertain it; though we cannot make the Pool of Bethesdah, the ordinances of God effectual for our cure, yet cannot we come and lay our selves at the Pool to wait the motion of the Angel.

Is it not our duty to pray for, as well as to pray in the Spirit? Because God worketh in us both to will and to do, shall we there­fore sit still, and not work out our salvation with fear and trembling? might not we have done more for our souls then we have done? Doth God compel us to run to a Tavern, when we should go to Church? Is it no bur­then to be a Pack-horse and Drudge to the Divel, and yet it is a burthen to be a servant, a free-man, a Son of God? Will it not be a greater trouble to suffer hereafter the will of God, Go ye cursed, then now it is to do his will, Believe and repent? Non posse pretendi­ditur, cum nolle est in causa? My Beloved, No work, no reward, no holiness, no Hea­ven, roundly and plainly (as 'twas said in an­other [Page 47] case) either turn or burn; Do and live is Evangelical Language, as well as Legal: Do on Earth, or suffer in Hell: Finde out a new Heaven if you can, for you shall never finde out a new way to the old; if ever you go before to Heaven, your works must fol­low you: Si non vertamus verba in opera, Deus vertet verba in verbera, If we turn not our words into works, God will turn our words into blows. It was the trouble of a Martyr when he was led to the stake, that he was now going to that place where he should receive wages but do no work.

Ʋse 4. Is for comfort to the godly and holy: Your works of goodness shall follow you, not your sins: Pharaoh followed Is­rael to the Red-sea, and there he left them; the Pilot follows the Merchant-man to the Harbors mouth, and there leaves him: That busie Divil, that now prosecutes you from one Ordinance to another with his tempta­tions; that envious World, that now perse­cutes you from one place to another, with re­proaches and revilings, shall then prosecute and persecute you no more; farewell trou­bles and tryals, farewell hardness of heart, and unprofitableness under the means of Grace, and that for ever.

[Page 48]Remember Christians, that Death that is a Trap door to let some down into hell, shall be a Portal or Gate to let you into heaven. That that stroke of the King of terrors, that shall separate your souls from your bodies, shall separate sin likewise from you souls: Your sorrowes now are mixt with your joyes, your darknesse with your light, you have indeed some rest while you labour, how full then will your rest be, when you shall rest from your labours, and work no more? this is your day of working, hereafter is your day of rewarding; this is your seed­time, hereafter is your harvest; Si Deus tam bonus sequentibus, quam bonus fuerit con­sequentibus? though here you sigh and mourn, yet hereafter you shall sing and re­joyce; though here you are as Pearles hid in, and besmeared with durt, yet hereafter you shall shine as the Sun: Then you shall see the fruit of the travels of your souls, then you shall not repent of your mortification and repentance; Then finally will it appear that that man is happier that hath had Saint Pauls Coat, with his heavenly graces, then the Purple Robes of Princes with all their Kingdomes.

[Page 49]Fifthly, By way of Advice to all, That they may so carry themselves while they live, that their works may gloriously fol­low them when they die. To which pur­pose,

First, Bee importunate at the Throne of Grace, that ye may be made the workman­ship of God, which you must be, before you can do the work of God. Fiamus opus Dei, ut facimus opus Dei; your natures must be renewed before you can doe new actions: A bad man can never Theologically do good works, morally he may, but he that doth a moral work only, shall have a moral re­ward only; as the wheele turns round, not to the end it may be made round: But on the contrary, as the stemms must first be grafted on the stock, before they can bring forth fruit, so we must be Branches in Christ, united to, and made one with him, before we can be fruitful in good works.

The Church in the Canticles is described no where by the beauty of her hands or fin­gers, though oft by the beauty of other parts of her body, because a Christian should abound in good works, and yet in silence without boasting. Or Secondly, because it is [Page 50] Christ alone, that works all our works in us and Grace, is not our Creature, but the ma­nufacture of Christ: Bona opera non praece­dunt Justificandum, sed sequntur Justifica­tum.

Secondly, If you would have your good works to follow you, send them before you: Now Repent, now Believe, and hereafter you shall have the reward of your Repent­ance, and of your Faith; and as for Charity, part with that you cannot keep, that you may obtain that you cannot lose: When the world shall leave you, your good works shall follow you, your gracious actions; your good works are an inexhaustible fountain, that shall never be dryed up, a durable spring that shall never fail; they are acts of time, short in performance, yet eternal in their recompence: Non transeunt opera nostra, si­cut transire videntur, sed velut aeternitatis se­mina jaciuntur: Though they are sown in this world, they shall spring in the next; that which you lay out for Christ on earth, you lay up for your selves in Heaven; the hand of the poor is the Treasury, the Gazophyla­cium of Christ; and by charity, in a Gospel sense, you make your Maker your Debter; and surely if thou be the Creditor of the [Page 51] Almighty, it will not be long ere he come out of thy Books: How foolish are they that fear to lose their wealth by giving it, and fear not to lose themselves by keeping it? He that lays up his Gold may be a good Jai­lor, but he that lays it out is a good steward. Merchants traffick thither with a commodity where 'tis precious, in regard of scarcity: We do not buy Wines in England to carry them to France; Spices in France to carry them to the Indies: so for labor and work, repentance and mortification, there is none of them in Heaven, there is Peace and Glo­ry, and the favor of God indeed: Their works, in my Text, go with them, they dare not go without their fraught: A Merchant without his Commodity, hath but a sorry well­come: God will ask men that arrive at Hea­ven Gates, ubi opera? Rev. 22.12. His re­ward shall be according to our works: Thou hast riches here, and here be objects that need thy riches, the poor; in Heaven there are riches enough, but no poor; therefore by faith in Christ, make over to them thy monies in this world, that by Bill of Exchange thou mayest receive it in the world to come; that onely you carry with you, which you send before you: Do good while it is in your pow­er, relieve the oppressed, succor the fatherless, while your Estates are your own, when you [Page 52] are dead, your riches belong to others; one light carryed before a man, is more service­able then twenty carryed after him: In your compassion to the distressed, or for pious uses, let your hands be your Executors, and your eyes your Overseers; and that I may not be mistaken, let your Charity have these two Qualifications.

1. Let your works be done in Faith; as without works we cannot profit men, so without Faith we cannot please God; we must be marryed to Christ, or our children are not Legitimate, our works are not right: All our surviving out of the Ark, will not save us from the deluge of Gods wrath: As Isaac said to Abraham, Father, here is the Altar and the wood, but where is the sacrifice? so at last day, when you shall knock at Gods door, and seek to enter, and hold up your Lamps and cry, Lord! we are Virgins, we are Christians, we were hospitable and cha­ritable according to thy command, let our neighbors be witnesses of our good works; but, will the Lord reply, True, here are your duties and your works, but where is my grace of Faith? Are these a satisfaction to my Justice? where is my Benjamin, the righ­teousness of my Son to plead for you? My Beloved, There seems to be less glory in Faith, [Page 53] then in any other Grace, it seemed but a sorry Grace, a Grace of no great vertue; Holi­ness is acceptable, because it honors God; Charity is noble, because it profits men; Thankfulness is melodious, because its the tune of Angels: Other works seem to make God a Debter, to give as it were something to God; but ad quid fides? What is Faith good for? Yes, it is good for every good purpose, its the root of all the Graces, its the richest Grace, because its the inriching Grace; if Faith go before, Works will follow: Ʋbi Christus non est boni operis fun­damentum, ibi nullum est bonum aedificium.

2. As works of Charity must be qualified with Faith, (or else our haec ego feci, haec ego feci, this and that have I done, are but faeces dregs, as Luther saith aptly) so they must be qualified with sincerity; while the peny is in the hand, let Gods glory be in the heart: Your lights must shine, so that men seeing your good works, may glorifie God; but not that men should see your works, and glorifie you, and cry you up and down, There goes a charitable man, there goes a great worker: Men judge of the heart by the work, but God judgeth of the work by the heart: At the Judgement Bar it will be no ex­cuse before God, if the matter of the work [Page 54] be ill to plead the goodness of the heart; to say, Though I was a common Blasphemer of thy name, a common neglecter of holy du­ties, yet I had an honest heart; so when the heart is naught, there is no pleading before God the goodness of the work; you fasted, and pro­fessed, and were charitable; Will the Lord say (as he did to the Jews) but was it for my Glory, for the exaltation of my name? out of the sense of my love? Cains works had been good, if Cains heart had not been evil: How sad will it be for some, to behold at the last day the mites of others to be received, and their own talents rejected; the good works of many to leave them, and their evil works onely to follow them? Christus opera nostra, non tam actibus, quam finibus pensat.

3. Work while you have time to work; cast up your accompts, before you come to give up your accompts, or your accompts will cast up you: How vainly do many talk of working for Heaven, when they are go­ing from the place of working, to the place of rewarding, of doing the greatest work, to repent, to believe, when they have least strength to do them, of turning their souls to God, when they can hardly turn their bo­dies on their beds? Believe it, believe it Christians! its too much for one man, [Page 55] and that at one time, to look after a sick soul, and a sick body together; if ever you would have your works to follow you when dead, follow you your works while you live, be earnest in self-examination, in­dustrious in making your Calling and Electi­on sure; like wise Virgins, Get not onely lamps into your hands, but oyl also into your lamps: The Grave is a place for resting from out works, not of working for rest: The Judge­ment Bar is a place for the distribution of Ju­stice, not for the dispensation of Mercy; now or never, now if ever, work out your salvati­on, get the one thing necessary: Surgunt impii non ad judicium, sed ad condemnationem: The wise man tells us, There is no work to be done in the Grave, that's not a shop to work in, but a Grave to rest in; thats not a time for the killing of the worm of guilt in our souls, when the worms are gnawing and feeding on our bo­dies: God will not send Prophets to the grave, nor set up a Pulpit in Hell for the Preaching of salvation to the dead or damned.

Lastly I might adde, Take examples from Gods Oracles, and from Providence, follow them that have so followed Christ; as ever you would have your persons follow Gods servants to glory, let your faith & love follow their examples that are left behinde on earth.

Good Reader,

IN regard of the known exemplariness of the conversation of this vertuous Lady deceased, I am perswaded (from arguments brought as to the common good) that this her following Cha­racter be annexed to my Sermon.

It is reported of a great man, that he had good Intellectuals, but bad Morals: This ho­norable Lady had a good head, and also the ad­dition of a good heart, not to mention her ac­quaintance with several Languages; she was best versed in the Language of Canaan; she was able solidly to maintain the controversies of the Church of God against Papists, Socinians, &c. It was her Honor, while other Ladies spent their time in reading Romances, and painting their faces, that she spent her time in reading the Oracles of God, and adorning her soul: Her private family duties, justled not out her publique attendance on Gods Ordinan­ces, nor on the contrary; some few have hearts but want time; most have time, but want hearts; but as God gave her time, so he also gave her a heart to serve him: She never thought the Sabbath to be over, till the du­ties [Page 57] of the Sabbath both publique and pri­vate were over: She was able to comport her self with the highest, yet she usually condescend­ed, both in discourse and behavior, to the lowest and meanest of Gods children: She brought forth much fruit, and made but a little noise: She had much glory by her Face (but as Reverend Hall says of Moses) in her proportion, she had more glory by her vail. I never heard she was reconciled to any, for indeed, I never heard she had an enemy: The Ministry have lost a ju­dicious Favorer; the Poor a Physician; her endeared Husband, the best Companion in this troublesome world. And that which is the Crown of all, she acknowledged the imperfection of her own Duties, and the necessity of Christs righteousness. To conclude, she was of the num­ber of those few that lived and dyed in honour; she hath done her work, and is gone to sleep.


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