THE Great Commandme …

THE Great Commandment.

A DISCOURSE Upon Psal. 73. 25.

SHEWING That God is All things to a Religious Soul.

BEING A further Explication of a short Discourse called, The Angelical Life, formerly Written by the same Author S. S.

I laboured more abundantly than they all; yet not I, but the Grace of God which was with me,

1 Cor. 15. 10.

I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me,

Gal. 2. 20.

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy Heart, and with all thy Soul, and with all thy Mind. This is the first and Great Com­mandment,

Mat. 22. 37; 38.

LONDON, Printed by R. W. for H. Mortlock, at the White-Hart in Westminster-Hall, and at the Phoenix in St. Paul's Church-yard. 1678.

Imprimatur Hic Liber cui titulus, The Great Commandment, &c.

Geo. Thorp Rmo. in Christo P. & D. Domino Guli­elmo Archiep. Cant. à Sacris Domesticis.
May 17. 1678.

To the Right Honourable and most Accomplish'd Lady, the Lady Mary, Daughter to the Right Honourable the Countess Dowager of Huntingdon, and Consort to Mr. William Jolliff of London.


AMongst the many Ex­cellencies where­with it hath pleased the Father of Lights to adorn and illustrate you, this is not [Page] the least of your Vertues, that you do not love to be told of them: And for my part, such is the Reverend re­gard that I bear to your sweet modesty, that I fear to write what I suspect your Honour would blush to read. In my judgement I do esteem your Ho­nour to be a Person fit to be addrest to for your Patro­nage of a Discourse of this nature, and that I in so do­ing am not far from the same circumstances wherein the great Doctor of the Gentiles stood toward King Agrippa, when he accounted him­self happy that he had to [Page] do with so competent a Judge. And in ingenuous gratitude I account my self tantum non bound publickly to beg your perusal and owning of this latter Dis­course, whose acceptance of the former (when it was only offer'd you as a pri­vate Present) I found so kind and affectionate. I know your Honour is not asham'd of Religion, nei­ther name nor thing, and I hope you will neither be asham'd of, nor offended at him, who out of a sin­cere desire to promote the happiness of mens Souls, [Page] hath adventur'd to explain and recommend it to the World, though he be but,

The meanest of your Honours Servants, S. S.


Christian Reader,

REligion is deservedly esteemed the highest ac­complishment of the ra­tional nature, both humane and Angelical, as being the con­verse which the highest created powers and faculties maintain with the supreme and uncreated [Page] good. And it is worth obser­vation, that even amongst the Heathens, who yet had no di­stinct knowledge of the true God, acquaintance with their gods, and a relation to them, was ac­counted their greatest glory: which made all Prophetical and Priestly persons of what capacity, yea or sex soever, who pretended to be Secretaries or menial servants to the gods, to be had in so great veneration. Yea the very Princes and Heroes amongst them, though they were otherwise very power­ful, wise and valiant, and made no great Conscience of being proud of it neither, were still most ambitious which of them should [Page] be accounted nearest of Kin to the gods; and those that pretended nearest Kindred, gloried in that, more than in all their other accom­plishments. Thus the great and noble and valiant Hector is brought in by Homer, as being in nothing short of Minerva and Apollo, and failing of divine honour, save only that his extra­ction was not immediately divine: And there you will find that the same Hector when he could wish for no greater thing, cries out, [...], &c. Iliad. v.

I would I were as sure the son of Jupiter, and that Juno had born me, as I will plague the Grecians this day. Virgil brings in his Aeneas glorying in­deed of his Piety, Counsel and Prowess, but of nothing so much nor so often, as of his relation to Venus; Nate Deâ is the salu­tation that he is most pleased with. Ovid brings in the blustering Ajax not over modest indeed in telling of his Valour and Feats of Arms, but his greatest brag of all is his—A Jove tertius Ajax And yet for the further commen­dation of Religion, it is as much, if not more observable, that eve­ry where it put such a grace upon [Page] all the persons who professed it, that they were had in greatest estimation who were the truest to it, and justified the profession of it by the severest conformity. What ever Religion hath been at any time publickly owned amongst any Nations, so far as I can understand, hath been accounted so sacred and venerable, that if any man whatsoever should ven­ture to prophane it, or in his Works to deny it, he was ac­counted the most profligate of all men, and not fit to live. It was ever esteemed an honourable Character of the greatest Princes and Heroes to be devout and pi­ous, according to the professed [Page] Religion. If we will believe Ho­mer, Agamemnon, Achil­les and Nestor, and all the fam'd Grecian Heroes were pi­ous Princes, who would seldom either fight, or treate, or con-consult, or undertake any matter of moment, without the preface of a Prayer, or Sacrifice, or both. The despisers of the gods and Religion, were had in com­mon detestation, and nothing could be said worse of any man, than that he was contemptor supe­rûm; or as Horace calls it in his penitential Ode, Cultor Deo­rum infrequens. God does by his Prophet in a wondering way make an enquiry, whether it was [Page] ever known that a people forsook their g [...]ds, who yet were no gods, Jer 2. 11. which I may well allude to, and with astonishment enquire, whether ever any people reproached and vilified their own Religion, which yet was no Religion, or ac­counted it their honor to be thought irreligious? And yet alas it is too too obvious, that in a Christian Na­tion, in this Protestant Nation, many men do really hate that Religion which yet they do pro­fess, and account it a piece of Fanaticisme and madness to be and act according to the Gospel which they own; that is, in short, to be honest men and true to their Words. These are a generation [Page] of men whom one may well call prophane Hypocrites; and indeed they do not so much dishonour Religion as themselves, who like dishonest men do openly oppose and hate what yet they openly profess. But there are besides these another sort of men, who knavishly and malignantly, but ignorantly and superstitiously reproach Religion. These men would very honestly have all men to live up to their Religion: but then they make Re­ligion to be nothing else, but some Systematical or mechanical thing without them, by which they mea­sure themselves, or unto which they make their outward man to con­form. And thus, whilst they [Page] maintain such or such Opinions, or are of this or that Perswasion or Party, or are careful to observe such and such Modes and Forms of Worship, they fancy themselves as Religious as needs to be: in the mean time being ignorant of, or little attending to that agreeable­ness of soul to the nature and perfections of God, which is man's Religion and only Glory. Nay sin and Apostasie is the sinking of his soul from God down into self and the creature; and Religion is the recovery and restitution of this lapsed soul, caused by the Re­generating power of the Divine Spirit: And until the soul be thus raised, and God and his holy Will [Page] come to be advanc'd into a supre­macy in the soul, Religion cannot be said to be, much less to be per­fect there. It is to be feared that the greatest part of men, even of those men who speak much of God, of His Will and Glory, of His Word and Kingdom, that speak much unto Him as His Suppli­ants, and from Him as His Em­bassadours, yet still fixing up­on a Self-center, and moving with­in a circle of their own, may be too truly said notwithstanding their pretensions to Religion, to live without God in the World: and that there are infinite numbers of men, who scorn to be accounted Covetous, (and indeed in the [Page] common acceptation of the word are far from it) that yet in proper speech, mind earthly things. To heal these distempers, and to rectifie these mistakes, I have ad­ventured once more to explain and recommend Christian Religion in this short Discourse; which I think, is agreeable to the holy Word of God, and which I humbly pray the same blessed God to make ef­fectual for this end to some soul or other. I dare not say, I have al­ready attain'd, but through the grace of God I can say, that this thing I do, viz. in my judgement renounce Self-love, Self confi­dence, Self-seeking, and Self-feeling, and desire that God may [Page] be the object of all my Ambition, Covetousness and Voluptu­ousness, if I may so speake with reverence. As I have not calcu­lated this Discourse for the palate of any one Party of men, so I expect the praise, or dread the cen­sure of none; but to the ever blessed God I humbly commend it for success, and thee for edificati­on, and rest

Thine in Him and for His sake, S. S.
Nov. 26. 1677.

PSAL. 73. 25. Whom have I in Heaven but Thee; and there is none upon Earth that I desire besides Thee.

CHAP. I. The Introduction, guessing at the Au­thor of the Psalm, and shewing the occasion of it, viz. the ob­servation of the prosperity of wicked men, and the afflicted con­dition of good men in the World: [Page 2] Wherein also a brief account is given of the misapprehensions of men about that matter. A brief Explication of the Connexion of the Psalm. The words resolved into this Conclusion, That God is the good man's All.

IT is disputed by some, whether David were not the Pen man of this Psalm, and whether he did not deliver it into the hands of Asaph, as he is said to have done some others, 1 Chron. 16. 7. But I think it is more generally concluded, that it was composed by Asaph, for sundry reasons: the principal where­of seems to be that which Molle­rus, that learned Critick in the He­brew Language, renders, viz. for that the stile and Phrase thereof doth much differ from David's. But about this I list not to contend. [Page 3] The occasion of it was a sharp con­flict which the Psalmist had with himself, being tempted to harbour envious thoughts towards the wic­ked, and hard thoughts of God and Godliness, by observing the prospe­rity of evil men and the afflicted state of good men in the World. This very thing hath indeed usually been a great offence and occasion of stumbling to good men in all Ages, by reason of that remainder of car­nal and corrupt apprehensions which is found even in them, they often­times judging of things more by fan­cy and sense than either by Faith, or right reason. It seemeth to me, that as the promises and the threat­nings of the Law savoured more of Earth than the Gospel doth, and were calculated for the morning of Religion rather than the Meridian of it, for the minority of men ra­ther than their maturity; so that [Page 4] the minds even of good men under the Law, were generally more af­fected and influenced with worldly things than under the Gospel. And yet it cannot be denied, but that men of the most refined Gospel minds may sometimes be somewhat sur­prized, and for the present startled at the consideration of the seeming inequality of God's dealings, which yet upon due deliberation may be ea­sily solved, yea, and at length re­solved into perfect wisdom, righte­ousness and goodness too. The Psalmist begins with an elegant kind of abruptness, laying down the con­clusion of the whole in the very first Verse, more like a triumphant Con­querour than a wrangling Disputant. It seems his heart was very much up­on this, to assert and vindicate the goodness of God towards His people, and having been in some danger to have been depraved in his apprehen­sions [Page 5] concerning God, he glories in this, that he was resolved to hold the conclusion, however he knew not well how at present to answer the premises. It is said to the great com­mendation of Job, that he attri­buted nothing unseemly to God, Job 1. although he seemed to deal so harshly with him. And truly this doth highly concern us, to maintain right and honourable apprehensions of God, yea though we be not able to answer the Arguments brought against him and his dealings.

Having thus briefly and patheti­cally asserted the Position about the controversie arose, in these words, Truly God is good to Israel (which our English Meter renders very em­phatically, However it be, yet God is good, and kind to Israel) he falls presently upon the Narrative; where­in he relates a combate between faith and sense, a victory that faith ob­tained, [Page 6] and the means by which it obtained it, even by the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. At the 23 Verse you have him come to himself again; and so the residue of the Psalm is the voice of Faith alone, triumphing and glorying in God, and in the consolation, satisfa­ction, and confirmation received from him.

We Translate the words of the Text by way of interrogation, im­plying a vehement negation; others Translate them in the form of a Prayer quis mihi (dabit) in coelo, &c. making them the same in Phrase with 2 Sam 23. 15. and the same in sense with Psal. 4. 6. But which way soever we Translate them, the sense will be much what one, and ei­ther translation will indifferently serve for the end for which I pitch upon them. For however you ex­press them in English, the meaning [Page 7] and intendment of them is to declare the dear esteem which the Psalmist had of God above all things in the World. Yet they are somewhat more emphatical to my present pur­pose, according to our Translation of them, Whom have I in Heaven but Thee; and there is none upon Earth that I desire besides Thee. By Heaven and Earth must needs be meant the whole Creation: If in neither of these the soul of the Psal­mist can be matcht with a suitable and satisfactory good, then certain­ly not in the whole World: If God be better and dearer to him than both Earth and Heaven, then certainly we may justly lay down this proposition from the words, that

God is the good man's All, or that God is All things to a gracious soul.

CHAP. II. A general Description of the Apo­state condition of Souls. The Do­ctrine of Evangelical Redempti­on and true Liberty asserted and explained.

THE Soul of man is naturally debased and depraved; by falling from God it loseth its origi­nal and most natural freedom and amplitude, and sinks into the crea­ture, and settles upon a Self-center. Wicked men are sadly pinch'd and straitened by fixing their minds upon poor fading particularities; they move up and down in a narrow sphere and circle of their own; and [Page 9] therefore are base, low and narrow-spirited persons, whatever greatness of spirit and generousness of mind they vainly pretend to. In this sense, I'me sure, there are none more certainly imprison'd, nor more miserably confin'd than they that live and converse perpetually at home: For Self, though it be the home, yet is certainly the dungeon of the sensual soul: It is sin alone that contracts the soul of man and cramps and cripples all the powers of it, strangely enfeebling and cap­tivating all its vigorous and gene­rous faculties. But the grace of re­generation redeems the captive soul from this bondage, thaws its con­gealed affections, knocks off the Chains and Fetters from its hands and feet, and so spirits all the powers thereof by its kind and powerful in­sinuations, as that they dilate and spread themselves in God, even as [Page 10] the poor charmed Flowers do gladly open their arms wide to entertain and welcom the beams of the Sun, and the precious influences thereof. This is indeed that Redemption which the Almighty Saviour of the World, the true dispenser of life and liberty, came into the World to accomplish for us: This is the true freedom according to the Evangelist, John 8. 36. and he is the only pur­chaser and dispenser of it, If the Son shall make you free, then shall ye be free indeed. And this is that, which when it shall be perfected, shall be found to be the glorious li­berty of the Children of God, ac­cording to the Apostles phrase, Rom. 8. 21. Whatever other liberties and deliverances men may pretend to have by Christ Jesus, certainly this is that releasement and redemption which is so often spoken of and in­tended by those phrases of Christ's [Page 11] being sent to proclaim liberty to the Captive, and the opening of the Prison to them that are bound, (Isa. 61. 13.) of his bringing out the Prisoners from the Prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the Prison-house (Isa. 42. 7.) of his saying to the Prisoners, Go forth, &c. Isa. 49. 9. For so the Apostle interprets this freedom, 2 Cor. 3. 17. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty. The godly soul is free by Christ Je­sus, the true Redeemer of souls, and the powerful dispenser of Li­berty from that straitness and sel­fishness, under which it laboured; and endued with a noble large­ness and amplitude. Whereas it was formerly pinched and shrivel­led, and wrapt up in particular created goods; now it spends it self wholly upon the uncreated goodness, and is as it were Uni­versaliz'd: [Page 12] God is All things to the Godly Soul.

This Doctrine I shall explain and confirm at once in several par­ticulars.

CHAP. III. The natural understanding is sunk into matter, and the imaginati­ons of carnal men are gross. Unregenerate men neglect God, and ascribe Events to Fate or Chance, or humane Wit and In­dustry: But the understandings and apprehensions of Regenerate Souls are refin'd and spiritua­liz'd. They apprehend the per­fections of God in all things. It is of great importance to have right and proper notions of things, especially of God and of the relation in which the world stands to him.

1. GOD is All things to a god­ly man in his Aprrehen­sions. The natural understanding [Page 14] is sunk into matter, and pent up in poor petty particularities. The imaginations of a carnal and unre­generate heart are gross, and ter­minated in the outside, or in the particular being of things: He that is of the Earth is Earthly, saies the Baptist, Joh. 3. 31. the natural wisdom is Earthly and sensual, saies the Apostle, James 3. 15. These fools are ready to say in their hearts, There is no God, Psal. 14. 1. or if they do acknowledge a Dei­ty, yet they make him but a kind of an idle Spectator or Supervi­sor, that neither does good nor evil, Zeph. 1. 12. phancying to themselves, that all things fall out in the World by a certain kind of fatality, casualty or humane wit and industry. Hence you hear those brags of themselves, that they are some great ones, Acts 8. 9. and of their Works and Atchievements, [Page 15] Is not this great Babel that I have built, Dan. 4. 30. I have digged and drunk waters, and with the sole of my feet have I dryed up all the Rivers of the besieged places, Isa. 37. 25. They apprehend little more in the Creation, than what with their senses they see, or hear, or taste, or handle. One saies; mine own Hand hath saved me, Judg. 7. 21. our Lips are our own, and who is Lord over us, say others, Psal. 12. 4. others pro­claim their own goodness, Prov. 20. 6. will not cease from their own wisdom, Prov. 23. 4. seek their own glory, Prov. 25. 27. My River is mine own, and I have made it for my self, saies another, Ezek. 29. 3. We have taken to us Horns by our own strength, say they in Amos 6. 13. By my wis­dom, my understanding, my great traffique have I gotten Gold and [Page 16] Silver, cries he in Ezek. 28. 4, 5. By the strength of my hand, and by my wisdom have I done it, for I am prudent: I have removed the bounds of the people, and I have put down the Inhabitants like a valiant man; thus brags the great Assyrian Atheist, Isa. 10. 13. I have made my self to differ, cries another. And so God is not in all their thoughts, Psal. 10. 4. They consider not the operation of his hands, Isa. 5. 12. they live without the sense or apprehension of God in the World: Ut nemo supra sese ascendere tentat!

But the understanding and ap­prehension of the Godly Soul is much refined and spiritualized. He sticks not in the creature, but by every thing that is Good and Per­fect, climbes up with the Apostle James unto God himself the Fa­ther and Fountain thereof. Though [Page 17] the understandings of all good men are not made learned, yet they are all refined from sensual grossness, and made somewhat Metaphysical or spiritual. The godly man views not himself in the small point of his own being, but in the infinite essence of God: he views not the creature in its own particular and limited existence or goodness, but in the nature and perfections of the Creator: He looks upon the whole World as not subsisting of it self, nor for it self, but in and for God who is above all, through all, and in all, Ephes. 4. 6. in whom the whole Crea­tion standeth, and we all live, move and have our beings, Acts 17. 28. To him the whole World is as the Temple of God, all mankind, and all their several excellencies, an Image and Por­traicture of God; yea, to [Page 18] him Monstrat quaelibet herba De­um, the Grass of the Field reads a Divinity Lecture; In a word,

Huic Deus est quodcunque vi­det, quodcunque movetur, He ap­prehends the Power, Wisdome, Perfection and Will of God in all that he sees, does, receives or sustains. Though Religion do not consist in Notions, yet true, proper and spiritual Notions of things, especially of God, and of the relation wherein the whole World, stands to him, are migh­tily conducing to it, if not a substantial part of it: So thought the Apostle Paul sure, when he corrected the superstitions and false conceits of the Athenians concerning a Deity, Acts 17. And so thought our Blessed Sa­viour, when he would not suffer the Jewish Ruler to ascribe good­ness [Page 19] to him, whom he believed to be no more than a meer man, Luk. 18. 19. Why callest thou me good? none is good save One, that is God.

CHAP. IV. God is all things to the godly man in his Affections. The Desires of Unregenerate men run out only after Creature good. The Objection of wicked men having good desires, answered: Where­in is shewed that all desires of good are not good desires, and an account given of it. Men may be carnal in their desiring of spiritual good. James 4. 3. explained, wherein is shewed how many waies men seek their own lusts instead of God, and the carnality which may be found in Prayers that seem spiritual. God is All to the godly man in his desires of things [Page 21] temporal, and in his hopes of Heaven.

2. GOD is All things to the god­ly man in his Affections. The wicked man as he views him­self in himself, and the several crea­tures in themselves, so he loves and delights in himself and the crea­tures, as something distinct from God. But the godly soul endea­vours by all means to keep all his affections pure and chast for God alone. Now in as much as the affections of the soul are many, it will be necessary to explain the matter in some particulars.

1. God is All to the godly man in his desires and cravings, in his lookings and waitings, in his hopes and expectations. I put all these together under one Head, because they seem to be much what the [Page 22] same, or at least of great affinity one to another. The desires and appetites of the unregenerate soul do run out only after creature good, self accommodations and things that do gratifie the meer animal life. Thus the Psalmist describes their temper, Psal. 4. 6. Many say, Who will shew us any good: which our English Meter interprets very truly, The greater sort crave worldly goods. That is a short, but yet a very true and full description that the Apostle Paul makes of these men, Phil. 3. 19. They mind Earth­ly things. It were easie to be large here in demonstrating (in a gene­ral way) that there is nothing in the worldly nature, but the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life; according to the di­stribution which the Apostle makes, 1 Joh. 2. 16. But I shall not fur­ther insist upon that general. It [Page 23] seems as if wicked men sometimes had good desires and good wishes; and indeed it cannot be denied but that some of their desires are ma­terially good: who can say but that of Balaam was a good wish, as to the matter of it, Numb. 23. 10. Let me die the death of the righ­teous, and let my last end be like his; It was materially a good wish (though a bad bargain) of Si­mon Magus, that by the impositi­on of his hands men might receive the holy Ghost, Acts 8. 19. It is not to be doubted but that ma­ny wicked men, yea perhaps the most of them, at one time or other, do heartily desire that their sins may be pardoned, and their souls saved, and they go to Heaven; according to that of our Saviour, Luk. 13. 28. Many will seek to enter in and shall not be able. But however these may seem to be [Page 24] good desires, yet they are not real­ly so: All desires of good are not good desires: If men should desire the presence of Christ in glory, and the Kingdom of Heaven, in subordination to self, and subser­viency to a fleshly interest, it would be so far from being indeed a good, that it would scarce be a lawful, it may be a blasphemous wish. And it is very clear, that all the seeming good wishes, and prayers, and de­sires of unsanctified minds are ul­timately resolved into a fleshly in­terest, and self gratification. It is not God, but themselves that they really seek, even then when they desire him to be at peace with them, and that they might be with him in his Kingdom. It is only true of all unregenerate men which the Apostle affirms of all men, Phil. 2. 21. All men seek their own things, and not the things [Page 25] which are Jesus Christs; and this holds good of them, not only when they are with Saul seeking their Asses, or with Absolom seeking an earthly Kingdom; but even then when they are seeking to enter in­to the Kingdom of God.

But God is All in the desires and prayers and hopes of the god­ly soul. The whole World is too short a bed for such a soul to stretch it self upon. The appetites and cravings of such a soul being ex­cited and awakened by the sense of its own large and excellent ca­pacity, the inadequateness and in­sufficiency of the creature, the in­finite self-sufficiency and sweetness, and suitableness of God the supreme good, cannot possibly fix or rest or terminate themselves in any thing below him, and the enjoyment of him. Thus the desires of the god­ly are described by the Psalmist in [Page 26] opposition to the lustings of the wicked, Psal. 4. 6. Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance up­on us: And so in the words of the Text, if they be understood by way of prayer, Who will give me to be in Heaven with thee?

The prayers of the wicked al­though they may be for things good and lawful, yet are ultimately re­solved into self-gratification: They may be as fluent in words, as loud in their cries, as hearty and fer­vent in their requests as other men: If it be for Corn, and Wine, and Oyl, they can roar and howl as loud as the best, and yet this is not interpreted as seeking of God, but of themselves, Hos. 7. 17. They have not cryed unto me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds; They assemble themselves for Corn and for Wine, &c. That is a very memorable expression of the [Page 27] Apostle James, Jam. 4. 3. Ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Which indeed is the design of unregenerate souls, even when they seem to pray for things in their own nature spiritual. Wick­ed men are carnal even in praying for spiritual things. But godly men are not so; they are so far from that, that on the contrary, they are spiritual in praying for carnal and earthly things. They wrap up a Prayer in a Prayer; they have a farther reach than the meer enjoy­ment of the creature, when they pray for creature good; a higher end than the pleasing and serving of themselves, when they pray for themselves, or their own private and personal concernments. Cer­tainly it is not only an absurd, but a monstrous and blasphemous thing for any man to pray to God to fulfil his lusts; the interest of God [Page 28] being so perfectly contrary to the interest of carnal self. And yet I fear there are very many that do thus interpretatively blaspheme God, even in their Prayers, when they pretend to honour him; and these sometimes, perhaps, not of the ve­ry worst of men neither. What would it have been else but a pray­er of lust, if the two Disciples had been suffered to have prayed for fire from Heaven upon the heads of the poor Samaritans, to revenge their Master's quarrel, as they would have done, Luk. 9. 24? What was it else but a prayer of lust when the same two Disciples petitioned their Lord for the chiefest place and pre­eminence in his Kingdom, Mark 10. 37? Only our gracious Savi­our was pleased somewhat to excuse them, by reason of their ignorance, Ye know not what manner of spi­rit ye are of; and again, Ye know [Page 29] not what ye ask. I will not dis­pute how far a devout and well meaning soul may pray upon a mi­stake, nor how far such a soul may possibly mistake the interest of his lusts, for the interest of Religion, and the Kingdom of Christ: But methinks such mistakes are very dangerous, and much more dange­rous and inexcusable now, than they were in the daies of the Son of Man. And yet as dangerous as they are, I fear they are too too com­mon even in these daies. Charity covereth a multitude of sins indeed, but yet it is the endowment of a rational soul; and so the Charity that is stark blind, is no Charity: Yea, I may add, that it is the part of Charity to discover a multitude of sins before the eyes of those that commit them, as well as to cover them before ones own. It is too evident (if we compare the con­stant [Page 30] talk and temper of men with their devotions, and if with their prayers you compare their practices which they use in pursuit of them,) that passion, revenge and self-inte­rest do indite the prayers of many that seem to be zealous for the Lord; every thing is Anti-christian, that is contrary to their opinion, ease or interest; and then is the King­dom of Christ exalted, when they themselves are advanced into a peace­ful, honourable and ruling state. What if it should come to pass that some, even of them that seem to be most forward to sit at the right and left hand of Christ in his King­dom, should be found to stand on his left hand with the impure Goats, in the day of the decision of all things? And what can we say of those animose and furious strivings and groanings of men in prayer, against all that dissent from them­selves; [Page 31] but that their prayers are rather the bublings and boylings up of interest, than the language of the pure, peaceable and gentle spi­rit of God. I fear these mens prayers are not put up without wrath, as the Apostle exhorts, 1 Tim. 2. 8. and I wish their hands be found so holy as they should be, if ever they have opportunity to use them. Nay, what if many of our most fervent and affectionate groanings after deliverance, liberty and re­demption from afflictions and op­pressions (as innocent as they seem to be) should be found to be no­thing else, but the raging of our own animal passions, and such pray­ers as an oppressed Beast might put up as well as we, if he could ex­press them so affectionately. I know it is very lawful and warrantable to put up prayers unto God for relief in our troubles, and release from our [Page 32] pressures; but yet it is no more than what is natural unto men, no more than what Jonah's heathenish Ma­riners did as well as he. Man seeks for deliverance from troubles pro­perly as an animal, not as a Chri­stian. And if this be All we aim at in our prayers, they will be in­terpreted (if not as a begging for our lusts, yet) as meer breathings of the Animal life, and out-cries of our own sensual affections, no bet­ter fruit than may be found upon Publicans; For do not even the Publicans the same? But this is not all that the Godly soul aims at in his prayers and hopes; but God is All in his hopes whether of things in this World, or in another.

It is not the meer naked abstract enjoyment of prosperity, liberty, or life it self in this World, that the godly soul so vehemently looks, longs, prays and hopes for; but it [Page 33] is some real communication from God, or something that may capaci­tate him for God in all these. Eve­ry man that is wronged and oppres­sed, would gladly be righted and de­livered; But the godly man sets not his heart so much upon his own ease; as upon the honour of God, and the interest of Truth and righteousness, which he desires may take place in the World. Every man would be great; but the good man alone ac­cepts of worldly power meerly for this end, that by his authority he may the better serve the honour of his great God; which seems to have been purely David's design, Psal. 75. 2. When I shall receive the Congregation, I will judge upright­ly. Victory is sweet and accepta­ble to all; but that truth should be mighty and prevail, that equity and justice should triumph in the World, this is dear and desirable only to the [Page 34] godly soul, the soul that is purified from earthly and selfish loves. The meer worldly life desires worldly li­berty; but that higher principle which is seated in the godly soul, co­vets a more spiritual and excellent freedom, even the glorious liberty of the Sons of God. Life is sweet to all; but to the godly Soul to be without God, would not be to live, For his loving kindness is better than life, Psal. 63. 3. In a word, it is the interest of God and com­munion with him, which spirits and impregnates all the hopes and expe­ctations of the renewed soul, which he conceives concerning earthly things.

And if this be so, it need not be doubted but that God is All to him in his hopes concerning the World to come, the All of Heaven. I fear there are many Christians that are high in their own hopes of Heaven [Page 35] and of their going thither, who lit­tle think of God there, and are lit­tle acquainted with the spiritual na­ture of right happiness. But God is All of Heaven it self to a right gracious soul: The great thing which he hopes for in the world to come, is to be perfected in the image of God, and live everlastingly in com­munion with him. And therefore when the Apostle Paul speaks of his departure out of this world, he gives us to understand what was mostly in his eye and upon his heart, and that was to be with Christ, Phil. 1. 23. And the Apostle John, when he speaks of the glory and blessedness of a future state, describes it by the re­semblance that the soul shall bear to God at that time, 1 Joh. 3. 2. When he shall appear, we shall be like unto him. Heaven is but a name and no­tion without God, God himself is not the happiness of a soul except he [Page 36] be enjoyed, and he can no other way be enjoyed but by a spiritual union with him, and assimilation to him. The word [...] in the Text signifies either who or what: Now then there are many that are for ease, many for peace and liberty, many for pomp and preeminence in Heaven; But our Psalmist hath nothing desireable, no not there, but God alone; Whom have I, or what have I in Heaven but thee?

CHAP. V. God is All to the godly man in his de­light and pleasure. The plea­sures of wicked men are sensual. There are degrees of sensuality amongst carnal men. The delight that an unregenerate man takes in spiritual things is carnal. The godly soul feeds upon God in every thing: He loves and admires his own soul in God. Grace does not overthrow the judgement of sense, but it regulates the senses as to their actings, and enables the soul to delight in things sensual, in a super sensual manner.

2. GOD is All to the godly man in his Delight and Pleasure. As the appetites of the unregenerate soul are sensual, so are his sentiments [Page 38] and resentments. This must needs follow; as indeed it doth follow in the fourth Psalm: their desire is, Who will shew us any good, vers. 6. their delight is in Corn and Wine, and in the encrease of them, vers. 7. They know no higher good than peace, plenty, liberty and length of daies; know not how to enter­tain themselves any better than by sitting down to eat and drink, and rising up to play. Thus you find the desport and jovialty of the wicked described, Job 21. 10, 11, 12, 13. Am. 6. 4, 5, 6. Luk. 12. 19. and many other places. But you will say, these are a grosser sort of sen­sualists; all wicked men sure are not so brutish, so swinish as to wal­low in such kind of mire as this is. I confess they do not all welter in the same mire; there are almost as ma­ny kind of Idolaters, as there are kinds of creatures to be idolized. [Page 39] There seems to be a greater and les­ser brutishness amongst the brutes themselves; a Sheep will not wal­low in the mire like a Swine, nor a Pidgeon feed upon such stinking Carrion as a Crow, and yet they are brutes as well as they. All wicked souls do not feed upon the same husks, but all feed upon husks that have forsaken the bread of their Father's house. There are several sorts of Dishes whereupon the earth­ly life feeds. Lust is oft-times fed by things materially good, as well as by those that are materily evil. A man may be as unchast and adulterous with his own gifts and parts, as with his neighbours Wife, and a woman may fall into as unclean dalliances with her own beauty, as with a man that is not her Husband. The Lo­gical life (when men adore their own souls, and feed upon their own perfections) is as truly unholy and [Page 40] unclean, though not altogether so gross, as that which is meer sensual. And thus I doubt not but that many of the Stoical Philosophers, with their Autaesthesie and self-enjoyment, were as unclean and idolatrous, as the Epi­curean Atheists with all their meats and drinks and strange flesh.

Yea though the unregenerate mind should be much delighted with the outward dress and dispensation of Religion, as they were in Ezek. 33. 31, 32. yea though it should be mightily pleased and tickled with the notions of God's Free-grace, Justification by the blood of Jesus, an everlasting inheritance in the Pa­radise of God, and such spiritual things as these (as I do easily con­ceive it may) yet were his delight, that he takes in these very things, unclean and earthly: For still it is resolved into this, it is self and not God which he ultimately takes plea­sure in.

But God is All in the delights and complacencies of the truly godly soul. He delights not in himself or any other creature abstractly consi­dered, and in separation from God. It is said of one (I think it is of Au­stin) that after his conversion he could take no pleasure in Cicero's Orations, because he could not find the name of Christ there: but sure­ly in a good sense the name of Christ may be said to be inscribed, and something of his image drawn upon every creature; for by him all things were made, and he hath copyed out something of his own perfections up­on them all: And this is that which the holy and wise soul gathers up and feeds upon with delight. I know indeed that Grace doth not destroy natural affections in men, no nor overthrow the judgement of sense; but it doth certainly confer upon men a far more excellent and spiri­tual [Page 42] faculty of discerning and de­lighting. What I said before con­cerning the spirituality of a godly man's desires of Heaven and heaven­ly things, may be applied to his de­lights also. But I conceive that the greatest doubt doth not lie there. Therefore as to the pleasurable ob­jects of this World; whereof the chiefest seems to be a man's own soul, The godly man loves, and ad­mires and reverences his own soul no less, but much more purely, than any other man. He admires the in­finite and uncreated wisdom, under­standing, love, life, liberty, dis­playing and discovering it self in the constitution of his own mind, Free-will, and Affections, and the excel­lent capacities and functions of these faculties: and so by giving God the glory of his wonderful making (Psal. 139. 14.) he escapes the brand of a self-admirer. There [Page 43] are many other objects of delight in this World, all which it is the pro­per work of Divine Grace to spiri­tualize to the soul; such as food and raiment, Houses and Lands, Friends and Relations, and many the like. It cannot be denied, but that the godly man loves his friends, his Wife and Children and Parents with a natural love; but he loves them also, and all that is lovely in them, with a spiritual love, which is pre­dominant: that by which they are any of them pleasant and amiable, he understands to be a communica­tion of God unto them, and under that notion labours to relish them most of all. Whilst we are in this bodily mixt state, we cannot be freed from a delight that is meerly sensual. Meat and drink (no doubt) affe­cted our Saviours sense, and af­forded the same relish to his palate, whilst he had an animal body, as [Page 44] they afforded to other mens, al­though he was so infinitely pure and spiritual, as that it was his meat and drink to be doing the Will of God. The power of Grace doth not ena­ble any man not to taste a sweetness or bitterness in things that are really sweet or bitter: It does not fall under the power of my reason or will, whe­ther or no I will relish or sensate the sweetness of my morsel; I cannot help that, although I can keep my self from eating it: so then it can­not fall under the power of grace. But although Grace do not destroy the sensation of the senses, yet it re­gulates and moderates all the senses, as to their actings. Hence Job is said to have made a Covenant with his eyes, Job 31. 1. and David to have kept his mouth as with a bridle, Psal. 39. 1. And as it governs the senses as to their actings, so it also bestowes a more excellent ability up­on [Page 45] the soul to delight it self in things sensual, in a supersensual way and manner. Besides the pleasure of the senses, which is animal and com­mon to all men, yea indeed and beasts also, the gracious soul doth relish something Divine, something of God, his Love, his communica­tions in all delectable objects, which confers upon them a transcendent substantial sweetness. And thus he may be said to taste God in every morsel, to smell the Divinity in eve­ry Flower, and to converse with him by a kind of secret feeling in all that he touches, tastes or handles in the World.

CHAP. VI. God is All to the godly man in his Trust and Confidence. The crea­ture-confidence of carnal men is Blasphemy. Good men are afraid of distrust: How great reckoning they have alwaies made of their Faith. The only fear of carnal men is the violation of self in­terest. God is All in the fears of good men. They fear him only, though they are not afraid of him. God is All to the godly man in his grief and sorrow explained.

3. GOD is All to the godly man in his Trust and Confi­dence. The degenerate and unre­generate soul as it is sunk into the [Page 47] creature, so it sticks there; it sticks by love and delight, and sticks fast by confidence. It were endless to give you but the Scripture instances of Self-confidence and Creature-de­pendance. In Creature-confidence there is much Atheism, or rather in­deed blasphemy: For to ascribe that firmness, faithfulness, sufficiency, which God alone is, to any thing be­sides him, must needs be blasphe­mous and idolatrous. And thus do wicked men blaspheme, whilst they lay the stress of their souls upon the Arm of flesh, upon Chariots and Horse men, upon friends and Al­lies, upon carnal interests or world­ly riches: And thus we know they do, Psal. 20. 7. Some trust in Cha­riots, and some in Horses. Prov. 18. 11. The rich man's wealth is his strong City, and as a high Wall in his own conceit.

But godly men have God alone for their refuge and confidence, ac­cording to that of the wise King, Prov. 18. 10. The Name of the Lord is a strong Tower, the righ­teous run into it and are safe. I know they may be, and often are surprized with fears and doubts, but yet even then they will not let go their hold of God, Psal. 56. 3. What time I am afraid I will trust in thee. It is as much the part of a godly soul to relye and rest upon God, as to love him and pray unto him; he is afraid of distrust, unbe­lief, and casting away his confi­dence, as well as of Drunkenness or Debauchery. I cannot but take notice what great reckoning the Saints have made of their Faith, as if the very life of their souls had been bound up in it. How expresly and pathetically does the Apostle charge us concerning this, Ephes. [Page 49] 6. 16. Above all taking the Shield of Faith; and again, Heb. 10. 23. Let us hold fast the profession of our Faith, without wavering; and again, Vers. 35. Cast not away your confidence which hath great recom­pence of reward. Job when he had lost all, yet resolves not to part with his Faith, whatever became of him, Job 13. 15. Though he slay me yet I will trust in him. And doubt­less an ingenuous and steady reliance upon the grace and strength and help of God alone, is an excellent argu­ment of a sound and gracious soul. Good men know how to make use of second causes, and they see com­monly as far into all creature-proba­bilities, as any other men; but it is the vertue and strength of God that they rest upon in all means and in­struments.

4. God is All to the godly soul in his fears. The ungodly are full of [Page 50] worldly fears, slavish fears, scarce ever free from fears about one thing or other; yea though there be no­thing visible to make them afraid: But as their interest is bound up in self and this present World, so their great and only fear is concerning the violation of this self-interest. He that hath plac'd his happiness in the enjoyment of any created good, hath made a miserable choice, for he is in danger of being utterly ruin'd every hour; all created good being subject to so many spoilers, that a man can never be secure in his pos­session. And therefore no wonder that his heart is haunted one while with the fears of death, another while with the fears of losses, loss of Friends or Children, loss of Goods or Reputation, fears of wants, fears of disgrace, and many things more which his slavish heart is aw'd with continually.

But God is All in the fears of good men; He is their fear and their dread. as the phrase is, Isa. 8. 13. Not that they are properly afraid of God (for they discover nothing in him but what is most amiable and grateful to them, and therefore con­verse with him as with love it self, serve him as accounting it their hap­piness and interest to do so, and obey his Commands as those which are most equitable, and suitable, and most perfective of their natures, with all gladness and chearfulness) but they are afraid of sin, so as wick­ed men are afraid of sickness and death, viz. as that which is hurtful to them and destructive of their hap­piness. Sin is all their fear, by rea­son of the opposition it bears to the pure nature of God; and so it may be said that God is All in their fear. Thus Moses seems to have been more solicitous for the honour of God, than [Page 52] for the preservation of the whole Congregation; and more afraid of the sin of the Egyptians, than of the death of the Israelites, Numb. 14. 13, 14, 15, 16. whereunto many more Instances might be added.

Lastly, To name no more of the Affections, God is All things to the godly soul in his grief. Concerning the sorrow of the wick­ed one, I may say partly the same as I said even now concerning their fears; it is a worldly sorrow, de­rived from, and terminated in the Creature. But the sorrow of the godly soul is a godly sorrow. He is grieved indeed for many things; but still the reason of his grief is derived some way or other from God. He grieves when he is in­jured or Persecuted; but there is a hidden cause of his grief; he is not so much troubled that him­self [Page 53] is injured, or his own perso­nal interest wounded, as that truth and righteousness are violated there­in, and God dishonoured. He grieves over the Wars and Fight­ings, confusions and distractions that are in the Kingdom, as well as other men; but yet not as other men; for he most of all laies to heart the lusts of men, which as the Apostle James speaks, are the occasion and Original of them. He grieves over his Losses, of Goods, Children, Liberty and the like; and yet not so much over his Losses, to speak properly, as over the cause and consequent of them, as he apprehends sin to be the cause of them, or that himself shall be some way or other ren­dred less serviceable to God by them. I suppose no man in this World is so far refined, perfected and exalted in his nature, as to be [Page 54] altogether free from the affections and passions that are meerly natu­ral and animal: A good man's tears are of the same kind of wa­ter as other mens are of, though possibly not altogether from the same Fountain; or if from the same Fountain, yet they are pu­rified from much of that mud and acrimony that cleave to other mens. When the Women that attended upon Phineas his Wife in her tra­vail endeavoured to comfort her fainting spirit with the tidings of a Son, she made no answer at all to that, but she does as good in effect as tell them, That they mistook her grief, when she called the Child Icabod, signifying thus much, that the departure of Irael's glory did more affect and oppress her heart, than all her other pangs, 1 Sam. 4. I do not read that ever all Da­vid's enemies wrung such plenty of [Page 55] tears from his eyes, as the ene­mies of God did, Psal. 119. 136. nor that all Paul's Persecutions ever wrung such a groan from him, as the sense of his own sin did, Rom. 7. 24. O wretched man that I am, &c.

CHAP. VII. The unsanctified man performs all his natural, civil and sacred Actions in, to, and for him­self, though there may be some difference in the external gross­ness. To a godly man, God is the spring and end of all his actions. The notion of design­ing all things for God and di­recting them to his glory ex­plained, and how a man may be Religious in the very natu­ral and civil actions of his life. The Sacrilegious selfishness of carnal men in their sacred acti­ons [Page 57] discovered. The contrary temper of the regenerate soul.

WE have seen that God is All to the godly soul as to his Apprehensions and Affecti­ons.

3. God is All things to the god­ly soul in his Actions. Actions are either Natural, Civil or Sacred: All which the wicked man perform­eth in, and to, and for himself: He eats and drinks, and embraces, and performs all other animal acti­ons, as any other Creature doth, for the gratification of his meer ani­mal appetite, and the satisfaction of his own sensual lust. What can be more plain? Whose God is their Belly, saies the Apostle, Phil. 3. 19. whose ultimate end is the satisfacti­on of their senses. By God must needs be understood their ultimate [Page 58] end, and by their Belly must be un­derstood the pleasing and fulfilling their sensual appetites. So it is in his Civil actions: He Ploughs and Sows, Fights and Studies, Plants and Builds, confers and consults, and all to and for himself. It were easie to demonstrate and explain each of these in particular: but in any one we prove all. The ploughing of the wicked, is sin, saies Solomon, Prov. 21. 4. which certainly it would not be if it were designed and performed for God, as it ought to be; but it is designed ultimately for self, and that makes it sinful. I know, all wicked men are not so gross as to brag of their Buildings openly with the Chaldean Monarch, Dan. 9. This is Babylon that I have built by the might of my power, and for the honour of my Majesty: All that go out to fight, do not in words boast and magnifie them­selves [Page 59] against God, as the Assyrian Monarch did, of which you read Isa. 10. but the secret Genius and temper of them all is alike, they have all one heart. It is as proper to say the lust of Ploughing, Plant­ing, Studying, Fighting, as of Eating and Drinking. Yea, and thus it is in his sacred actions too; he serves himself when he pretends more especially to serve God in the Acts of Worship. I do not think that all are so gross as Jezabel in proclaim­ing and celebrating Fasts: but it is most clear that the most solemn Acts, and the most sanctimonious services of wicked men are a meer piece of superstition, terminated in self-accommodation, and resolved into a fleshly interest. Hence it is that you have God flatly denying, and disowning their very prayers, and saying expresly they were not prayers to him, Hos. 7. 4. you have [Page 60] him plainly forbidding such ad­dresses, Isa. 1. 13, &c. upbraiding them and cloathing them with re­proachful names, Isa. 66. 3. yea ab­horring and abominating their pray­ers, incense and sacrifices, Prov. 28. 9. 21. 27. Isa. 1. 13. And no wonder that such Sacrifices should be an abomination unto God; for to speak properly, the things which these superstitious minds do sacri­fice, they sacrifice to self, and the interest of flesh, and not to God.

But God is All to the godly man in all these sorts of actions. God is the spring of them, and the end of them all. He undertakes all in the name and strength of God, [...]. It is not he that at­chieveth ought, but God by him. I laboured, saies the Apostle Paul, more abundantly than they all, 1 Cor. 15. 10. but presently he cor­rects himself, as if he had spoken [Page 61] rashly, Yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. David makes his boast in God at all times, and in all things happily performed: By my God have I leap'd over a Wall; and again, By my God have I ran through a Troop, Psal. 18. 29.

And he designs all his actions sin­cerely, and as much as may be par­ticularly for God. When I say, that he designs all his actions for God, I do not mean, that he frames a distinct notion of God in his mind, when ever he undertakes any thing; but he doth all things for good, and for the advancement of truth, peace, righteousness, and holiness in the World. He eyes that which is good, just, sober, temperate, chast, pure and decorous in all the natural and civil actions of his life, in op­position to the appetite and interest of the flesh. If I Plough or Sow, [Page 62] Eat or Drink, Build or Plant, Fight or Study, or consult with reference to the command of God, with re­ference to the advancement of the Kingdom of Christ in my own soul, or in the World, or to some end higher than the pleasing of my flesh, and the gratification of my animal passions; I may be said to do that for God, although I do not directly meditate upon the Being of God at that time. And so the Religious Christian even in his recreations (which of all civil actions may seem to be most alien from a Religious design) may truly eye and serve God. If we were so abstracted from sense, and purified from flesh-pleasing, as were to be desired, we might con­sult the health of our bodies, and the exoneration of our minds by re­creations, and serve God as truly by them, as by taking either food or Physick: yea though we did receive [Page 63] a satisfaction from those things which are purely sensual (a thing which we cannot hinder) yet might we be said to be supersensual and Re­ligious in those very acts: For it is not the having of animal senses, no nor the pleasing of them as such, that is our fault; but our sacrificing to, and being sunk into the animal life, this is our sin and shame, and misery. He that doth work or play, Marry or give in marriage, sin­cerely respecting the true good of his soul, cannot be said to be sensual in such actions, although his senses may, and indeed will have their part in the delights thereof. All things cannot be said to be done for flesh-pleasing, in which it falls out that the flesh is pleased. For some of those very actions that are princi­pally designed and calculated for the glory of God and the interest of the soul, may yet indifferently serve for [Page 64] the gratification of the senses, and the entertainment of this animal bo­dy; as may eating and drinking, though it be directly to the glory of God; and Marrying, though it be never so much in the Lord.

In his sacred Actions, there the godly soul is yet more spiritual and refined: Here is indeed no great danger of sensuality, properly so called; and yet here the wicked man can make a shift to be carnally-minded and selfish, as you have al­ready heard. But in these kind of actions God is All to the godly soul: He feels not himself in these, he seeks not himself by them. O how common a thing is it for men to carry an image of themselves before their eyes, even in the things that they pretend to do for God! I suppose Jehu was no little fond of himself, and his own valourousness, and thought God was not a little endebt­ed [Page 65] to him for it, when he calls for witnesses and spectatours of it, Come see my zeal for the Lord. And truly the Sacrilegious selfishness of other men is as great, though not al­together so gross, who although they do not so loudly proclaim them­selves, nor set up such visible Tro­phees of their own prayers, yet do magnifie themselves in their own eyes, and secretly applaud them­selves in an unhallowed sense of their own Atchievements and attainments. But the truly Religion soul though he cannot but know his own worth and excellencies, yet knows it not, no delights not in it as his own, but as a communication of the Almigh­ty goodness, and infinite perfection of God unto him. When he shines most gloriously in the exercises of gifts and the actings of grace, he does not presently fall in love with his own picture, dote upon his own [Page 66] perfections, nor wantonly dally with his own gifts; but looks upon his lustre only as a poor reflection of the divine light and glory, which hath spread it self upon him. As a rendring nothing to God but what is indeed his own; Of thine own have we given thee, and all this store cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own, 1 Chron. 29. 14, 16. Have ye not read how sharply the Apostle Peter takes up the wondring Jews, that seemed not to acknow­ledge God in the miraculous cure wrought upon the Crepple, Acts 3. 12. Ye men of Israel, why look ye so earnestly on us, as if by our own power and holiness we had made this man to walk! The god­ly man feels not himself in his Reli­gious performances: neither does he seek himself by them. He makes not Religion a piece of p [...]licy, nor serves himself of God when he pre­tends [Page 67] to serve him; as that hypo­critical Generation did, of whom our Saviour speaks, Matth. 23. 14. who made long prayers in subservi­ency to oppression; and after him his Apostle James, Jam. 4. 3. who prayed on purpose that they might have to spend upon their lusts. This hath been a very reigning supersti­tion in the world. Did Saul, think ye, properly seek God, or himself and his own safety in those forced burnt-offerings of his which he speaks of in 1 Sam. 13. 12. Therefore I said, the Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the Lord; I forced my self therefore and of­fered a burnt-offering? Did Judas, think ye, properly seek the honour of God, or himself and his own en­riching, when he made a motion for giving three hundred pence to the poor? Let the Spirit of God be [Page 68] Judge of this, whose determinati­on you will find in Joh. 12. 6. Some serve their own covetousness, some seek their own safety, some study to advance their own name and reputa­tion, by their Fastings, Prayers and Alms: But a godly soul is a stranger to all these low and sorry ends: It is not wealth, nor fame, nor peace, nor victory over his enemies, nor de­liverance from distresses, no nor any other external glory, or only reward in another World, which he pursues in his Religious course: But he draws nigh to God, that God may draw nigh to him; he waits upon him in Duties and Ordinances, waiting for communications from him; he knows nothing better than God himself, for which he should serve him; he accounts his end, happiness and ho­nour to resemble him and grow up in him. In a word, he does not only perform the duties of Religion, as [Page 69] being God's Work, which he hath set him about, and promised a reward unto; but indeed as his own work, his own business; he reckons it the true interest of his own soul to be good, and do good; and therefore will spend himself in these endea­vours, though no body will pay him, no nor thank him for it. Mark the different temper that was in Christ, and some of his followers: they served God for meat and drink, Joh. 6. 26. but he accounted it his meat and drink to serve him, Joh. 4. 34.

CHAP. VIII. God is all to the godly man in his Sufferings. An account of Self-sufferers, Papists and others. God is All to the godly man in the Efficient, the Material and Final cause of his sufferings, ex­plained. God is all to the godly man in his manner of fearing Afflictions and Persecutions.

4. GOD is All to the godly man in his Sufferings. I know that unsound and hypocritical spirits are much more forward to do than suffer; and yet no doubt the power of self-love and affectation of ap­plause, without any higher princi­ple, may prepare and prompt men to endure Persecution: And it need no [Page 71] more be wondred at, that the meer animal and selfish life should expose it self to much smart, and many se­verities, than that a generous Cock should fight to crow, and expose himself to death it self, to get the victory over his Antagonist. It is well known how much the supersti­tious Papists will deny, and debase, and degrade, and torment them­selves, what Penances and Pilgri­mages, and poverty they will under­go: and all this out of a slavish fear of God, and a design to keep their lusts alive: They will half kill their own bodies, rather than crucifie their lusts, or mortifie the body of sin: These things they do, not for the mortification of lusts, but in­deed these things they do rather than they will mortifie them, for these things with them supply the place of Mortification: But I fear we have many Self-sufferers in the [Page 72] World, that will not own them­selves to be of that Society. I be­lieve it is a malicious reproach that is by some cast upon the generality of Protestant sufferers at this day in the World, viz. that they suffer for humour and self-conceit, out of obstinacy, and a spirit of contradi­ction, for applause and a greater cor­roboration of their party: But yet it may reasonably be feared, that there are too many that do so. It seems not at all strange to me, that a man should study Self-advancement by a pretended Self-denial, that he should seem to lose his life, on pur­pose that he may find it, I mean that he should pretend to crucifie the meer animal and selfish life, on purpose to enjoy it the more securely, and hug it the more dearly; that a man should take joyfully the spoiling of his Goods, rather than violate his fleshly interest, or expose his lusts to [Page 73] spoil. Men do sometimes most of all maintain and pamper this dying life of theirs, when they seem to starve it; and drive on the same design with Judas, even when their Persecuti­ons seem to be the same with Pauls. Men may as verily feel themselves, and as passionately please themselves in the seeming constancy, courage and patience of their sufferings, as in the pretended zeal and devotion of their actions; and as truly seek and set up themselves, and a Self-supremacy in their own souls, by the one as by the other.

But God is All to the truly godly soul in his Persecutions. This I might explain as to the Cause of them, the End of them, and the Manner of sustaining them. As to the efficient cause of them, he does not fret, and storm, and rage at men, whether open Enemies or false Friends, whether Informers, Ac­cusers, [Page 74] Law-givers, Executioners; but he looks higher, and sees and owns the hand of God in all things that befal him by the ministry of men. David knew that Shimei could not have cursed him, if God had not opened his mouth, 2 Sam. 16. 10. And our Saviour presently replies un­to Pilate, when he bragged of his power, Joh. 19. 11. Thou couldst have no power at all against me, ex­cept it were given thee from above. As to the material cause, or matter of his Persecutions, God is all in that too: For he suffers for righteousness sake, Mat. 5. 10. and for well do­ing, 1 Pet. 3. 17. not for toyes and trifles, petty perswasions and private opinions, or matters of meer indif­ferency. His soul is employed about more substantial and important mat­ters; he will not so much as go to Law about such things, much less expose himself to the rigour of a pe­nal [Page 75] Law for them; he will not so much as be in a heat about them, much less will he burn for them. And therefore it is not out of pride, hu­mour, or sullenness (as the Perse­cutors do slanderously report) but out of conscience towards God that he endures grief, 1 Pet. 2. 19. He knows no interest but that of his soul, which consists in his most ex­act conformity to truth and holiness; and it is to this interest, and the propagation of it that he is well con­tent to sacrifice whatever else may be reckoned dear or grateful to him.

As to the End of his sufferings God is All unto the godly soul here too. There are many base, and low, and selfish ends, which a man may propound to himself in suffe­ring for a good cause, which it were too long to insist upon: All which the truly Divine soul abhors. He is not so prodigal of his blood, as to [Page 76] shed one drop of it to purchase a name written in Red Letters; he will not expose his Goods to spoil in order to a more ample restitution; he will not fall on purpose to rebound the higher; nor have his person con­fined, that so his name may spread, and his credit be enlarged. But he is well content to be reproached, that so God may be honoured; and to be starved that truth may be maintain­ed; he is content to wither in his estate, that so he may flourish in g [...]ace, to perish in the outward man, that he may be renewed in the in­ward; to die for the people, if so he may preserve them from perishing. The glory of God and the Salvation of souls, or if you will in plainer terms, the exercise of grace, the de­fence of truth, the advancement of the Kingdom of Christ in his own soul, and the propagation of it in the souls of others, are the grand de­signs [Page 77] of the godly soul, when he takes up any cross.

Lastly, God is All to the godly soul in the manner of his suffering Persecutions. His way of sustaining them is with a pure, peaceable, hum­ble, self-denying, patient, constant, chearful and charitable mind, a mind prepared to wish good, and do good to his very enemies and Persecutors, Mat. 5. 44. In which excellent tem­per he feels not, he pleases not, he enjoies not himself, or any self-ex­cellency, but glorifies God who gives such power unto men, and admires Divine grace in that Heroical and most Christ-like passive frame which he finds derived into his soul. I shall wave the farther prosecution of this particular, because I foresee it will fall fitly also under another Head.

CHAP. IX. God is all to the godly man in his Enjoyments. What are the En­joyments of Mind, of Body, of Estate. The unregenerate mind enjoyes all these in a sensual or selfish manner: But the godly man tastes a Divine sweetness in every thing that he enjoies; though there be different degrees of refinement in Souls that are refined. God is All to the godly Soul in his Endowments. The unregenerate mind, gross in ad­miring his own and other mens excellencies. The godly soul en­titles God to all that is good in himself or others. God is the All of a good man's life, and yet [Page 79] he is not satisfied with what he enjoies of him here, but perpe­tually thirsts for more. The Doctrine to be understood with three cautions, that are briefly laid down

5. GOD is All to the godly man in his Enjoyments. The enjoyments of men in this World are manifold; it is impossible to run thorough them all paticularly. They may be reduced according to the old division, unto three kinds, animi, corporis, and fortunae. The enjoy­ments of the mind are such as these, peace, comfort, experiences of Di­vine assistance, conquest of tempta­tions and victory over spiritual ene­mies; besides the gifts and graces of the mind which are rather endow­ments than enjoyments, and will fall more directly under the next Head.

Those of the body are such as re­late to the maintaining, adorning, feeding, cloathing, refreshing of the body. Of the Third sort are riches, honours, peace, victory, flourish­ing Families, gainful trading, and more of the like nature. All which the unregenerate mind loves and en­joyes in a gross and unspiritual man­ner, viz. either in a way meerly sensual and brutish, or else selfish and Idolatrous. These Swine feed upon husks, rest upon the lowest round of the Ladder, and dwell upon the dark side of every creature: They know not the love of God, taste not his sweetness, admire not his perfection and image shining forth and mani­festing it self in all created good.

But the godly man tastes another kind of sweetness, even the Divine goodness in every thing that he en­joyes. It is the stamp and impression of God, viz. of his love and image [Page 81] which indeed gives the value to and puts the price upon every creature. Have you not known some men put a high esteem upon a small piece of Silver that bears the image of their Prince, or testifies the love of their friend? Why even so it is here. It is a derivative sweetness, goodness and amiableness, which commends the creature to a judicious palate. There is almost as much difference between man and man, in the way of enjoying of things, as between men eating of the Fruit, and Swine devouring the husks, men picking out the marrow, and Dogs gnawing of the bones. All godly souls are not indeed alike refined, as we may shew hereafter. Isaac loves his son Esau too much for his Venison (Gen. 25. 28.) though his father Abra­ham loved him for the Promise and Covenant sake: And yet all such souls are so far exalted and restored [Page 82] by grace to an understanding of their own dignity and happiness, that they cannot possibly live and feed upon any thing below God himself.

6. God is All to the godly man in his Endowments, the All of what he is, as well as of what he hath. I have in part shewed already how prophanely the wicked man magni­fieth himself in his wisdom, cou­rage, strength, and all other endow­ments of body and mind. To which I might add, that he is also very gross in admiring the endowments of other men, and the several excellen­cies that are in other creatures. The barbarous people of the Island Me­lita seemed to be more devout in this respect than the incrassated Jews: they when they saw how miracu­lously Paul was endowed, concluded it was something Divine in him; only they put it into an ill phrase, for they said that he was a God, [Page 83] Act. 28. 6. But these stand staring at Peter, as if they thought that he by his own power or holiness, had wrought such wonders, Act 3. Oh how are the understandings and ap­prehensions of natural men capti­vated, confined and terminated in poor particularities!

But the godly and renewed soul, eyes and loves the excellencie of God shining forth in all accomplish­ments and endowments, whether his own or any other creatures: In all these he sees another kind of beauty than the wicked man takes notice of. As he owns God in all that he doth, performeth, possesseth, so he enti­tles him to all that he is. He him­self is not wise, just, humble, holy in mind, nor strong, beautiful or excellent in body; but God is All this in him. The flattering Ruler looks upon Christ, but as a meer man, and yet ascribes goodness to [Page 84] him, Good Master, &c. But our Sa­viour leads up his thoughts to the Fountain, None is good but God. The Jews wonder how Christ came by all that learning; but he present­ly resolves them, Joh. 7. 16. My Doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.

In a word, God is the All of a good man's life; In whom he en­joies it, in whom alone it is sweet, for whom he spends it, and for whose sake alone he is content to prolong it; reckoning with his Lord and Saviour that he came not into the World to serve himself, or to seek his own glory, but the glory of him that sent him, Joh. 7. 18. God is so All to him, as the soul is to the body, Tota in toto & tota in quali­bet parte, wholly in his soul and in all the faculties of it, wholly in his life and in all the passages thereof.

God is so All to him that he is not satisfied with him neither, ex­cept he may enjoy more of him, ex­cept he may enjoy all of him that is to be enjoyed by a creature of such a capacity. He aspires after this perfection, to know, nor love, nor enjoy nothing but God in the World: He labours to attain to the very Resurrection of the dead whilst he is yet alive, Phil. 3. 11. that is, to such a pure, perfect and Divine Life, as the Children of the Resur­rection shall be advanced to.

And now understand all that I have said with these Cautions.

1. This is principally to be un­derstood of Good men, grown up to some perfection of Stature. You see already, and may further see that it is exactly true of Christ Jesus, and and that it is also true of David and Paul, and other eminent servants of God. But we know that there are [Page 86] also babes in Christ, spiritual men that are yet in a great measure car­nal, 1 Cor. 3. 1. That mighty Spirit of Jesus that sits as a Refiner of Silver in the souls of men, re­fines them by degrees; and yet is content that those should be called pure, in whom yet much dross re­mains.

2. It only holds of good men when they are themselves, when they are in their right spiritual wits, of good men when they act upon deliberati­on, when they are free from tempta­tions, dejections, passions, distur­bances. For there is a season where­in even the wise Virgins do slumber, Matth. 25. 5. wherein even the Spouse of Christ, who was all fair and spotless, is secure and careless, Cant. 5. There was a season when good Josiah fought his own battel, and not the Lords; when good He­zekiah magnified himself, and glo­ried [Page 87] in his own Treasures, more than in the magnificence of God; when holy David himself resolved to sa­crifice the lives of innocents to his own lusts, and to avenge a quarrel of his own, 1 Sam. 15. There­fore,

3. This is only to be understood of regenerate persons, so far as they are regenerate: In Paul himself there remained something that was unre­generate, perverse and rebellious, Rom. 7. though he will not acknow­ledge that it was he himself, vers. 20. Every regenerate and true Christi­an soul, so far as he is regenerate and acteth up to the height of Divine principles, doth thus see, taste, en­joy, and design God in all, as I have shewed. For the very life and es­sence of Religion is the dethroning of Self and advancing of God into preeminence. In as much therefore as God being supreme and his inte­rest [Page 88] prevailing in a soul, is the very life and soul of Religion; it will ne­cessarily follow that the Doctrine holds good concerning every truly regenerate soul, and that every such soul hath this temper as to the pre­dominancy of it.

CHAP. X. The improvement of the Doctrine laid down by way of examinati­on. A general direction what Queries men are to put to them­selves, as to the finding out of this matter. Certain instances of a Self-emptied and God-ex­alting mind. The first instance, When we are concerned in all the wickedness committed in the World as truly as if it were committed by our selves. The second, when we are more af­fected with the iniquity of an action, than the injury that is done to our selves thereby.

YOU cannot but by this time be somewhat in love with this excellent and Angel-like temper, [Page 90] and desirous to find whether you your selves be thus spirited. It is doubtless a scrutiny and medita­tion becoming the most serious and generous minds: For all Religion is reduced to this summa Totalis; and Religion is the only concern­ment of souls. Examine therefore I pray you, and that not only once and generally, but frequently and precisely, and rifle into all the par­ticular, and (if it be possible) in­to all the individual motions and actions of your hearts and lives to find this Divine temper; Examine your selves in all the forementioned particulars, whether God be All to you in your Apprehensions, Affecti­ons, Actions, Sufferings, Enjoy­ments, Endowments. Enquire whe­ther the truth of God be dearer to you than your own party or perswa­sion; whether the interest of God lie nearer to your heart than self-in­terest, [Page 91] the interest of your own cre­dit and reputation, whether the ad­vancement of the Divine Life be more desireable to you than Self-accommodation or Self-advance­ment; whether the love of God, or the naked possession of the crea­ture do most delight you in every enjoyment; whether the Image of God, or your own, do most affect you in your Children; whether the glory of God, or your own, do most spirit you in your Actions; whether you be rent from Self-en­joyment, and centred upon God alone; whether you be emptied of Self-will, and molded into the Di­vine Will; whether you abound in your own sense and Self-feeling, or be filled with the fullness of God; In a Word, whether all Self-love, and Self-supremacy be thrown down, and God alone do exercise his Sove­raignty over all the powers of your [Page 92] souls. These are very substantial enquiries. For your better disco­very, I will therefore propound to you some certain marks or signs of such a Self-emptied and God-ex­alting mind, as I have been com­mending; which yet indeed are ra­ther branches and instances of it than signs.

1. When we take our selves to be concerned in all the wickedness com­mitted in the World, as truly as if it were committed by our selves or our relations; I mean so far as to be grieved for it. We are wont to be dejected by reason of any gross sin, that we our selves fall into; this I do not condemn, nay judge ne­cessary as our Duty; and yet this may possibly arise from a meer super­stitious principle, and may be found springing up in the heart of a slave. We are apt to be troubled when our Children or near friends prove un­gracious [Page 93] or openly rebellious against God; this I do not simply condemn neither, and yet I must tell you, that this may arise from a meer na­tural affection and a principle that is carnal. But if the interest of God lay so close and warm to our hearts as it ought to do, and as it does to the Saints and Angels in Heaven, we should mourn over the sins of all men, even our Enemies and Perse­cutors, as truly as our friends; we should be grieved for the Apostasie of mankind, yea, and of the De­vils themselves. The predominan­cy of Religion in the soul would re­fine natural affections into spiritual, and exalt particular affections into universals. You have heard of a man who vexed his soul with the un­godly conversations of strangers, 2 Pet. 2. 7. and of another, who when ever he lookt abroad and be­held transgressours, was grieved, [Page 94] Psal. 119. 158. And I have known a man, who when he lookt upon an Assembly of ignorant and hypo­critical and ungodly men, either in a Church or in a Market, would have wept over them, as if they had all been his own Family. It is an argument of God's supremacy in the soul, when we mourn over sin because it is a degeneracy from the pure nature of God, and not be­cause it is found in them whom we love or are related to.

2. When in the wrongful perse­cutions committed against us, we can look through our own injury, and be mostly affected with the wickedness of the action. I do not say it is unlawful to be sensible of, or affected with the injury and vio­lence offered to us: But I say it is no more than is common to a Publi­can or Harlot; no more than what is common to an Elephant, a Lion, [Page 95] or a Dog, as well as to us; and therefore though it be a lawful thing and necessary, yet it is no great thing. But when we can look upon the reproaches cast upon our names, and have our hearts mainly concern­ed for the Name and Honour of God; when we can forget the bur­den of our own fetters, and as it were not feel the smart of our own stripes and wounds, because of the greater load and pain which we sustain by the lusts of men that do inflict them, it is certainly an excellent instance of God's supremacy in our souls. But you will say, Is this possible? Is it possible that the soul, whilst it is em­bodied, should be more concerned for God, than for its own body? I must confess it is somewhat diffi­cult, and very rare: Men complain of the Injuriousness of men, but seldom of their Unrighteousness; of the cruelty of their enemies as it [Page 96] is exercised upon them, but not as it is a departure from the holy and loving nature of God. But yet it is not impossible neither, thus to neg­lect the smarting of our own flesh and carnal interest, in comparison of the interest of truth and holiness and the glory of God. For thus did our blessed Saviour, who seemed to for­get his own pangs upon the Cross, in comparison of the sin of them that Crucified him, praying, Father for­give them, for they know not what they do, Luk. 23. 34. And that I may not seem to over-shoot you with Examples, thus did Stephen a man of like infirmities with us, whose last and loudest voice was, Lord lay not this sin to their Charge, Act. 7. ult. as if his heart were more broken with the sin, than his body bruised with the Stones of them that perse­cuted him: Thus did Moses, and thus did David, whose zeal and an­ger [Page 97] against his enemies was princi­pally upon the account of their sin, Psal. 119. 139. My zeal hath con­sumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy Words. Upon which words Mollerus glosses thus, David in suis aerumnis non tam af­ficitur malorum suorum sensu & pri­vatis injuriis, quàm quòd videt no­men Dei ab hostibus contumeliâ affici.

CHAP. XI. Three more Instances of a God exalt­ing mind. When in the afflicti­ons that befal us we can over-look all creature comforts and delight in the Will of God. When we repent of sin and hate it for its own sake, and esteem nothing worse than it is. When we take pleasure in the gifts and graces of God shining forth in others as well as in our selves. Joshua and Jo­nah taxed. This temper proved to be Angelical.

3. WHen in the Afflictions that befal us more immediate­ly from the hand of God, we can over­look [Page 99] all the creature-comforts which are taken from us, and kiss the hand of God that takes them. There is all reason that the Will of God should be dearer to us than any created good, however our fond and sensual hearts may contradict and blaspheme. Is not the Will of God to be seen in all our crosses, losses, sicknesses, in all our per­sonal, domestical and national disturbances? And is not even this Will of God, God himself? Is it not infinitely wise, holy and perfect? What are our sorry, scant, mixt enjoyments then in this World, that they should be valued against this Almighty and Sacred pleasure? We magnifie the good Will and pleasure of God in our peace, plen­ty, health, prosperity; and it is good to do so in a right spiritual manner: But possibly it may be the sweetness of the enjoyments them­selves [Page 100] that we do so much relish, and not the good Will of God in them. But if in the sharpest and sorest afflictions that do befall us, we find our selves so mastered and over-powered with the sense of the purity and perfection of the Will of God, that we can adore and re­verence it, yea cleave to it and love it more than any of our creature comforts, more than our lives them­selves nakedly considered, it is an excellent instance of that soveraign­ty which God hath obtained in our souls. This was the temper of our blessed Saviour, who seemed scarce to taste the bitterness of the Cup, for the excellency of the hand that reached it to him, Joh. 18. 11. The Cup which my Father hath given me shall I not drink it. The afflicti­on which the Lord sendeth, shall I not bear it, saies old Eli, 1 Sam. 3. 18. It is the Lord let him do what [Page 101] seemeth him good. The Book which was given to the Prophet Ezekiel to eat, was as sweet as Honey to him, because it was given him by the hand of God, although it contained no­thing in it but lamentation and mourning, and woe, Ezek. 2. 10. 3. 3. the Will of God was pleasant and delightful to him: for though the contents thereof were grievous, yet he gladly assented to the end and scope of these providences, as the Dutch Annotators gloss upon the words.

4. When we esteem nothing worse than sin is, for which we should re­pent of it or hate it. You may fright superstitious minds by telling them of judgements and punishments, and scare hypocrites with everlast­ing burning: but certainly there is that in the very nature of sin, that is more dreadful to an ingenuous soul, than fire and brimstone can fully re­present. [Page 102] Such a soul cannot sin without pain; he esteems sin to be the very same to his soul, which a disease is to the body; and there­fore he is not so properly said to be grieved for it (which seems to respect the evil consequences of it) as indeed to be sick of it, as one is of a distemper, or weary of it, as one is of a painful burden. It is well when men will reform their evil waies for fear of the punishments of this World, or the Hell of ano­ther (though I fear such reformati­on is rather superstition than true conversion in God's account:) but it were much better if men would be drawn to God, and not driven to him. Perhaps the fear of wrath and Hell may at length end in a more in­genuous and generous temper; but for the present it seems to me to be nothing else but a spirit of bondage: when Isaac is once grown up in the [Page 103] soul, this Bond-woman and her son must pack; Love when it is perfected will cast out fear, 1 Joh. 4. 18.

5. When we can rejoyce and take pleasure in the gifts and graces of God shining forth in others, as hear­tily and really as in our selves. It were to be wished that we could do it as much: but this is a rare attain­ment, and for ought I know, re­served for the other World. How­ever if we do it as truly and really, it is an argument, that God is grea­ter than self in our souls. Joshuah, though a good man, being transpor­ted with zeal for his Master's credit fail'd in this, when he was offended at the gift of Prophecie confer'd up­on Eldad and Medad, and cry'd, My Lord Moses forbid them, Num. 11. 28. And it lies as a blemish to this day upon Jonah the Prophet, that he valued his own reputation above the kindness of God shewed [Page 104] upon the poor Ninevites. We profess to disrelish this temper in Joshuah and Jonah; but (alas) we are apt to indulge it in our selves. For where shall we find a soul so emptied of it self, and so ravished with the Divine beau­ty and glory, that can be hearti­ly well pleased with the temporal prosperity of others, when it seems to jar with our own, or the beam­ings forth of Divine lustre upon the souls of others, when we our selves come to be eclipsed there­by. If God were so supreme in our souls as he ought to be, we should overlook our selves; look upon the excellencies of other men without disdain or envy, yea, and admire and delight in the commu­nications of God to our fellow­creatures, as heartily as if our own particular Beings were adorn­ed with them. Certainly there is [Page 105] no such thing as Meum and Tuum amongst the Inhabitants of the up­per World, but God is All in All unto them: and we commonly say, that one part of the happiness of Heaven will be, that there will be no place for envy and emulation; From whence I infer, that those souls that are in this World most refined and universaliz'd, have most of Heaven come into them, and do most plentifully taste the First-fruits of Eternal Life. This hea­venly temper we find in Moses, made manifest in his answer to Joshuah, Numb. 11. 29. In his Father-in-law Jethro, who rejoyced for all the goodness that the Lord had done to Israel, Exod. 18. 9. In the Apostles who glorified God, and were right glad, because that unto the Gentiles also God had granted Repentance unto Life, Act. 11. 18. And in Mr. Calvin, who [Page 106] is reported to have spoke thus con­cerning Luther, Lutherus est cha­rus Dei servus, etiamsi me diabo­lum millies mille vocaverit. It is an excellent sign of Self-debasement, and the exaltation of God in the soul, when propriety ceaseth.

CHAP. XII. The sixth Instance an Universal Love. The notion of the love of the Brethren examined. Who is our Brother according to the Apostle James. No man can be truly said to love God, who does not love the Image of God. The spirit of some men, even in their pre­tences to the love of God, is ra­ther Devilish than Divine. To be content that men should go to Hell, implies a contentment that men should be wicked, which is against the Honour of God. The seventh Instance, an holy unsatis­fiedness with all the Attainments of this Life. It is an Argument of a mercenary and penurious spi­rit [Page 108] to be only desirous to know the lowest degree of saving Grace. To take up our rest in Evidences destroies the nature of those Evi­dences. The Conclusion is an Ex­hortation to men to endeavour to make God All to themselves, to which they are briefly moved and directed.

6. AN Universal Love, a Love of the whole Creation; If we love all men, some with a love of delight, others with a love of com­passion, it is an excellent argument of God's supremacy, yea of his All­ness in our Affections: For it must needs be for God's sake, if our Cha­rity be thus large. Many men do mightily please themselves with this, that they love the Brethren; though in the mean time they can well allow themselves to hate all, [Page 109] whom themselves are pleased to esteem otherwise: But I say unto you (saith Love it self) Love your Enemies, Mat. 5. 44. There is no­thing more a-kin to the nature of God, than a mind thus unbounded in its Charity and Benevolence, vers. 45. Men boast much of their love of God: why no man hath seen God at any time (saies the Apostle, 1 Joh. 4. 12.) only he hath copied out himself in the Creation: and if we love not that, it is absurd to talk of loving him: as if a man should brag that he lov'd an Universal, when in the mean time he hateth all the particulars through which that Universal derives it self. The Apo­stle John speaks much of loving our Brother: but would you know who is this brother? he describes him in the 1 Joh. 4. 20. His Brother whom he hath seen; which must not be understood, as if our love were to [Page 110] be limited to them only whom we have actually set our eyes upon; but rather it is to be extended to every man that may be seen, q. d. Omne visibile est amabile. All particular loves are capable of being defiled; yea the love of good men may pos­sibly be a bad, that is, a selfish love: But when we find our hearts formed into an universal love of mankind, it is a sign that God is principally concern'd in our hearts; for all men are not in themselves lovely, nor obliging to us. I can­not but wonder that ever men should imagine that they are then most loving of God, and mightily zealous for him, when they most rage against his enemies, curse them, kill them, and devote them to destruction, and alledge David's Prophecies to justi­fie their Imprecations. Shall I say concerning these men, as our Sa­viour to his Disciples, they know [Page 111] not what spirit they are of? Truly one may much suspect it to be De­vilish, because it is envious, bit­ter, wrongful, censerious and dam­ning; rather than Divine, which is pure, peaceable, gentle, easie to be entreated, full of mercy, &c. However, sure I am that the wrath of man worketh not the righteous­ness of God, Jam. 1. 20. God for­give our hasty and rash passions! But to be in cold blood well content that any man should go to Hell, is a sad sign that ones self is not in the way to Heaven, nor spirited according to God: For God is Love, and desires not the death of a sin­ner, but wills all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth, 1 Tim. 2. 4. God's glory is indeed the communication and beaming forth of himself unto the creature; he is then honoured, when he is imitated; sin and wick­edness [Page 112] is only contrary to the ho­nour of God, as darkness alone is contrary to light. Yea to be content that men should go to Hell, implies a contentment that men should be wicked: For it is wickedness alone that brings men to Hell; nay indeed to be wicked is to be in Hell.

7. An holy unsatisfiedness with all things here below, yea with the very gracious attainments of this life, and an eager panting after a state of perfection in God. It is an argument of a mercenary spi­rit, and a sign that men look upon Eternal Life rather as a Bargain, than their proper happiness, when they are only desirous to know the lowest degree of saving grace, and would go to Heaven at the cheap­est rate. When men do desire to find evidences of grace in them­selves, on purpose that they may [Page 113] take up their rest in them and fix there, it is a sign of a penurious, shrivelled and parsimonious mind; and in so doing, they do ipso facto destroy the nature of these evidences. The surest evidence of grace is that which springs up in the soul it self, and discovers it self in the growth of true goodness, and in restless motions after God. He that can be content with any measure of ho­liness that is competible to man in this earthly mixed state, content to live an eternity in this kind of bo­dy, yea though he could do it with­out sin, hath not such honourable thoughts of God as he ought to have. But when the soul is unsa­tisfied with all its present acquisiti­ons and attainments, and springs up incessantly into God, and the fur­ther and fuller resemblance of him, and into a state of perfect purity (as the Apostle Paul did, Phil. 3.) [Page 114] it is a certain argument and instance of an absolute supremacy that God hath obtained in such a soul. And truly I cannot reckon that God is so great in my eye, nor so high in my heart as he ought to be, till I arrive at this temper.

To Conclude then, Labour to make God All things to your selves, according to all the fore-named in­stances, viz. in your Apprehensi­ons, Affections, Actions, Suffer­ings, Enjoyments, Endowments, to be abstracted as much as can be from all poor, pinching particula­rities. And now, shall I need to tell you that this is the most noble and Angelical Life? You your selves surely know that that which makes the life of Saints and Angels so much happier and more glorious than ours, is, that they are not sunk into any senses nor drowned in any matter, but are perfectly centred upon [Page 115] God and filled with him. Shall I need to tell you, that thus we shall live in that other World, to which we all hope to come; or that this will be to us (not only an infallible evidence, but indeed) a real begin­ning of that blessed Life? I hope I need not insist upon such motives.

Be often pressing upon your selves the vanity, emptiness, insufficiency and unsuitableness of all created good. Self and the creature must be nothing in our eye, before God can be All things in it.

Consider well the worth of your own Souls. Think of that excel­lent Angel-like capacity which God hath bestowed upon them, which nothing but himself can fill up, and live not below the dignity of your own souls.

Meditate often upon Christ Jesus, who lived to propound this way of living, and both lived and died to pur­chase [Page 116] it. Of his example you have heard already; see Joh. 4. 34. 6. 38. 7. 16, 18. 9. 4. 12. 27, 28. 14. 24. 17. 4. Luk. 22. 42. and many other places. And that he lived and died to purchase this blessed life for us, is plain, 2 Cor. 5. 19. God was in Christ reconciling the world to him­self. The great end for which Christ came into the World and went out of it was, to restore the souls to God, who were fallen from him into self and the creature; to reunite and reconcile us, and make us partakers of Divine fulness.


THE SPIRITUAL MAN IN A Carnal Fit: OR, The former Doctrine Illu­strated by its opposite, in a famous Instance from PSAL. LV. 6.

LONDON, Printed by M. White, for Henry Mortlock at the Sign of the Phoe­nix in St. Paul's Church-yard, and at the White-Hart in Westminster-Hall, 1678.

PSAL. 55. 6. And I said, O that I had wings like a Dove! for then would I flee away and be at rest.

CHAP. I. The meaning of the Words: The division of the Verse into its parts, with a gloss upon each. The Proposition contained in the Words. That the hearts of good men are sometimes surprized with fear­fulness, impatience of troubles, [Page 120] and eager desires of rest from Adversity. This proved by Ex­amples, but most largely by the Example of David in this place, wherein the Emphasis of the se­veral words in the Text are ob­served.

THis Psalm contains a Prayer of David rela­ting to himself, and his enemies. The Prayer that he puts up for himself, is for deliverance from his troubles, vers. 1, 2. The occasion of it is laid down, vers. 3, 4, 5. and am­plified, vers. 6, 7, 8. It is gene­rally supposed to be Penned by the Psalmist in the time of his be­ing persecuted by Saul, when he was reduced into some eminent strait. But what particular strait it was that he was now in, is not [Page 121] certain. Some refer it to the time of his flight to Nob, which is re­corded in 1 Sam. 21. Others re­fer it to the time when he was conspired against by Saul, and like to be betrayed by the men of Keilah, whom he had a little be­fore so much obliged; mentioned 1 Sam. 23. But whensoever it was, it is very clear that his di­stress was great, and himself rea­dy to sink under his burden. The words may possibly seem at first hearing to be the cry of a de­vout mind, and an expression of a raised temper. But if we look nar­rowly into them, and ponder all the circumstances, we shall find indeed that they are the voice of an impotent and impatient spirit, and do discover a great infirmity in this holy man, and are more elegant than devout, have more of Rhetorick in them than Divinity; [Page 122] like those of Saul to the men of Ziph, Blessed be ye of the Lord, for ye have compassion on me: And what was this compassion, but their administring to his malicious and re­vengeful lusts?

In the Words there are Three Parts.

1. Optandi forma, a form of wishing, Oh that I had: In the Hebrew it is Mi jitten li, who will give me? which is their form of wishing, and not of doubting or despairing, as some through their ignorance of the Hebrew Idiom have imagined. This form of wishing is very usual in Scri­pture, which we Translate some­times by Oh that, as in Job 11. 5. 13. 5. Jer. 9. 1. Oh that mine head were waters! and Psal. 53. ult. Oh that the Salvation of Is­rael were come out of Zion! Some­times we Translate it by Would [Page 123] God, as Deut. 28. 67. In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even, &c. Judg. 9. 29. Would to God this people were un­der mine hand.

2. Optationis materia, the mat­ter of the wish, a wing like a Dove. Eber cajonah. He first laies down the matter of his wish, a wing; and then illustrates or amplifies it, as of a Dove, or like a Dove. It is ordinary in the Hebrew Idi­om to put the singular number for the plural, and so it is here. And yet there may be some­thing more in it too; in wishing for a wing and not wings, pos­sibly he describes the great fear and haste and passion that he was in. What a thirst was that rich man in, when he expected so much relief from a drop of water, Luk. 16. And what a fright was Da­vid in when he wishes so earn­estly [Page 124] for one single wing? The more inconsiderable and small a thing is which one catches at, the greater argument is it of distress, fear and distraction of mind. If instead of the wing of a Dove, he had cried out for the feather of a Dove, it had been yet a more lively description of his amazed­ness; and indeed the Word here in the Text does signifie a Feather as well as a Wing; and so we Translate it, Psal. 68. 13. Her Feathers with yellow Gold. But it is not any kind of Wing that will serve his turn; it must be like the Wing of a Dove, the swiftest that he could think of, as we shall see by and by. Certainly it was a great fright of mind that in­dited this strange wish: and in­deed so he confesses in the fourth and fifth verses, where he calls it pain, yea pain of heart, terrour, [Page 125] yea a terrour of death, fearful­ness, trembling and horrour, yea a deluge of horrour. Here's just the heart of a silly Dove, that spies the Hawk and trembles and flies, and therefore it's fit it should be matcht with Wings of the same, Oh that I had wings like a Dove.

3. Optati sinis, the end of a thing wish'd for; that is twofold, Medius & ultimus, I will fly away and be at rest: he would speedi­ly escape out of the dangers and troubles that he was in, and keep himself out of harms way for the time to come.

All the Divinity that I can pick up out of this elegant and pathe­tical wish will be contained under this one Proposition.

The hearts of good men are some­times surprized with great fear­fulness, impatience of troubles, and [Page 126] eager desire of rest from Adver­sity.

Here are three thing to be spoke to, Fearfulness, Impatience of trouble, and eager desire of rest. The first of these is not indeed directly found in the Text, only it seems to be implied in the word Dove, which is Meticulosa avis & imbellis. And therefore I shall not speak much distinctly to that, but to the two last. Only I cannot but intimate, that there is a vast difference between fearing of God and being afraid of him. To fear him is often made the Cha­racter of an ingenuous holy, child­like spirit, and is therefore made the summ of all Religion, Eccles. 12. 13. but to be afraid of him, to worship him as a severe numen or a saevus dominus, with a kind of horrour and invidiousness of mind, with a secret kind of wrath [Page 127] and jealousie or doubting, does certainly argue a superstitious and legal spirit, a mind that for the present is in bondage; yea if I mistake not the meaning of the Prophet, he makes this the badge of an hypocritical people, Isa. 33. 14. Fearfulness hath surprized the Hypocrites: who amongst us shall dwell with devouring fire; who amongst us shall dwell with everlasting burning? As soon as Adam had sinned against God, he becomes afraid of him and flies from him, Gen. 3. And to this day men do secretly hate him whom they fear.

As for the fear of the creature and fear of trouble in the flesh, it is a predominant principle in carnal minds where self rules, but it is incident to the best of Saints, and is recorded as their infirmity for our caution; as in Isaac, Da­vid, [Page 128] Peter, who for fear of men, denied one his Wife, another his reason, a third his Saviour. But it is weariness of troubles, and eager desires of rest from Adver­sity, that are most plainly found in the Text, and which I am there­fore to speak to. I think I need not speak to them singly, for I think they are never found sin­gle, but are inseparable Compa­nions.

And here I shall endeavour to shew that good men are subject to these distempers. Secondly, Shew the cause of the distemper. Thirdly, Prescribe the cure of it. And lastly improve the Doctrine in some few Inferences.

That the hearts of good men are sometimes surprized with im­patience of troubles and eager de­sire of rest from Adversity, will appear by the Examples of seve­ral [Page 129] eminent Saints. I will not peremptorily determine whether the Prophet Elijah were thus di­stempered, when he fled from the Persecution raised against him by Jezabel, gat him all alone into the Wilderness, and requested for him­self that he might die, 1 King. 19. But I doubt not to affirm that holy Job was under this distem­per: He sticks not to confess, that he is even tired out, and wearied, and wasted, and exhausted in his spirits with the Afflictions that were upon him; Wearisome nights are appointed to me, Job 7. 3. My soul is weary of my life, it is bitter within me, Job 10. 1. Therefore you have him even cur­sing the day and night of his birth almost through the Third Chapter; and wishing to be hid in the Grave over and over, and that with a great deal of vehe­mency, [Page 130] Job 6. 8, 9, 10. O that I might have my request: and that God would grant me the thing that I long for! Even that it would please God to destroy me, that he would let loose his hand and cut me off. And the Prophet Jeremiah was wearied with the Persecution and Oppression of his Country-men, although the same was light in comparison of what he was to suffer, Jer. 12. 5. he was wearied with running even with the Foot-men. At another time you have him also cursing his Birth-day through impatience, and the man that brought tidings of his coming into the World, because he slew him not from the Womb, Jer. 20. 14, 15, 16, 17. The same Prophet could be con­tent to live a solitary, unplea­sant, unprofitable life, like an An­choret, so he might but escape [Page 131] the treachery of the people, Jer. 9. 2. What a discontentment and passion Jonah was in, and that for a light matter, all know, and how he will needs be gone out of the World in a pet, his Hi­story does fully relate. Concern­ing David and his impatience, disquietness, weariness and per­plexity of mind, I have many things to say, and the book of Psalms does afford many pregnant instances: How long wilt thou for­get me, O Lord, how long shall mine enemies exalt themselves over me, how long shall the Adversary re­proach, how long shall the wicked triumph, &c. But I need not go far from my Text to demonstrate the greatness of David's distemper. In the words of this Text, and the two following Verses you will discern the greatness of his weari­ness, and the eagerness of his de­sires [Page 132] of deliverance, if we consider the following particulars.

1. In general, he seems to ap­prehend his case desperate, out of which there was no escape. Vi­dentur hae voces esse hominis despe­rati, saies Mollerus. The Words of the Text seem to be rather a boyling up of passion, than the putting up of a Prayer, a wise or well grounded Prayer. This is a sad distemper of mind, very disho­norable to God and unbeseeming a godly soul; and yet so diseased in his mind does David here seem to be; as also at other times: as when he forgot all the promises that God had made to him, and cry'd out, All men are Lyars, and I shall perish by the hand of Saul.

2. More particularly, he is so weary of his Persecution, and so intent upon deliverance, that he [Page 133] puts God upon the working of Miracles for his escape, and such a Miracle as we never read that he wrought for any man, Oh that I had wings! What, must the course of nature, and the order of the Creation be inverted for him? It was a devout and holy zeal in David to envy the Sparrows and the Swallows because they were allowed to come nearer the Altar of God than he, Psal. 84. 3. But to be content to be transformed into a silly Bird, meerly to have the benefit of her wings to escape a temporal danger, is certainly a strange distraction in a holy man. Oh how wonderful great is the power of this animal life, which puts men upon such strange con­trivances for its own preservati­on, yea even such men as in whom the reigning power of it is destroyed, and a higher life [Page 134] hath taken place! Certainly the wings of David's Soul, the wings of Faith and hope were sadly moul­ted away, or he would never have invented such a strange device, as a winged body.

He is so eager, that any kind of wings will not serve his turn neither, they must be wings of a Dove, the swiftest that he could think of; Oh that I had wings like a Dove. For so I judge that he names the wings of a Dove rather than any other Bird, be­cause of the great speediness of her flight; though I know some men to excuse the Prophet, or rather indeed to shew their own wit, have invented other reasons. Na­turalists speak much of the swift­ness of the Dove in flying, they say she can out-fly the Hawk, and need not to fear him, if she would but keep a direct and simple flight, [Page 135] but when she begins to clap with her wings in a certain kind of pride and wantonness, then she becomes a prey.

4. Yea, so eager is he, that if he had such wings, he would pre­sently fly with them. He does not wish the wings of a Dove for or­nament and beauty, but for speed; and if he had them he would not stand picking and dressing, and trimming them, as sometimes Doves do, but he would present­ly spread his new sails and be gone. We Translate the words, Oh that I had wings like a Dove, for then would I flye away; but in the Hebrew, there is nothing between the wings of a Dove and flying with them: The words run thus, Oh that I had a wing like a Dove, I will flye away and be at rest.

5. Yea, he would hasten with them. He would not simply fly with his wings, but use them to the utmost expedition: As if the wings of a Dove and flying with them were not enough, he will also hasten with them, he will fly as fast as wings will carry him, Vers. 8. I would hasten my escape from the Storm and Tempest; In which words he seems to continue his Metaphor, and to allude to the manner of Doves, who when they are abroad and presage a Storm, make all possible speed to recover their Cote.

6. So great is his impatience and eagerness, that he will be content to wander, to have no cer­tain place, not to be fixt any where; so he may but escape; he cares not whither it is, Vers. 7. Lo then would I wander, &c.

7. He would be content to wan­der afar off; he cares not how far, as far as wings will carry him, Vers. 7. Lo then would I wander afar off. He that used to be so loving of the Land, and so desirous of the Sanctuary, that he was once ready to wish himself a Swallow or a Sparrow, that he might flye thither, now wishes himself a Dove that he might flie far enough from it, into some of the utmost parts of the earth. It was wont to be his Policy to abide in some of the borders of Judah, and to hover about the skirts of that Land, that so he might be ready to lay hold of any advantage that God should put in­to his hand for the obtaining of the Kingdom (as it is the man­ner of most men, to contrive to dwell as near as they can to their hopes:) but now his hopes of a [Page 138] Kingdom are expired, and all his policys are expired with them, he is so eager to be got out of harms way, that he never thinks of being in the way of prefer­ment, Lo then I would wander afar off.

8. So impatient and eager is he, that he cares not though he rested in a Wilderness, so he might but rest. He that was wont to take so much delight in good compa­ny, as you may see in the 14 Vers. of this Psalm, can now be content to sit down in a solitary Wilder­ness, void of all humane Society. He that used to be so loving of the company of men, can now be content to converse amongst Beasts in the Wilderness, and expose him­self to their savage and ravenous temper. This seems indeed to im­ply that the lusts of his enemies were grown to a great height of [Page 139] sury and fierceness, when he ap­prehended it safer conversing with the Beasts of the Wilderness than with them. [...], as Antisthenes used to say: But yet it argues the greatness of his distemper, who would be content with a life amongst Beasts, which is a most unprofitable life, scarce worthy to be called life, so he might but live at rest. But may some say, he would have only retired into the Wilderness for a season, he would have returned when the Storm was over. It seems other­wise to me, for,

9. He will be content not only to escape thither, but even to dwell there, Vers. 6. Eschonah ha­bitabo, and Vers. 7. Alin, I would remain in the Wilderness. He seems as if he would forget the promise of the Kingdom, and bu­ry [Page 140] all the hopes of it in an ever­lasting Self-banishment. Now put all these together, and you will say with me, That here is an Ex­ample of a good man in a very sad distemper of Impatience of trou­ble, and eager desire of Rest from Adversity.

CHAP. II. An enquiry into the causes of the foresaid distemper in the minds of men. The first cause as­signed, viz. A misapprehension of the Nature of God, and a misinterpretation of his Provi­dences. A correction of these misapprehensions, and a prescri­ption of a cure in reference to this cause of the distemper.

AND now I will enquire what may be the cause of such a disease as this in holy minds. [Page 142] Here I shall lay down some of the immediate causes as I apprehend, and for brevity sake annex the cure to each, which is by taking away the cause.

The first Cause of this distem­per of Impatience of troubles, and eager desires of rest from Adver­sity, is, a misapprehension of the nature of God, and a misinter­pretation of His Providences. Men are apt to imagine God to be like unto themselves, a peevish, self-willed, Arbitrary Being, acting meerly by prerogative, or carried by passion, after the manner of some great King or Judge upon Earth. It is the misery of these captive and degenerate souls of ours, that they are fain to bor­row Notions and Ideas from men and their manner of acting and governing their petty Dominions, [Page 143] whereby to apprehend and con­ceive of God, and his infinite na­ture and unsearchable Providences: and by this means we come to attribute those things to God which indeed are utterly inconsi­stent with his perfect nature, be­cause the same are found in those earthly Potentates from whom we derive those Ideas, and form these resemblances. Now such a God as we phancy to our selves must needs be burdensome and grievous to us, especially when he afflicteth us. Who would not vex, and fret, and rage under the Sentence of such a Judge, as he supposed did command him to be punished, meerly because it was his pleasure, or to shew his Authority, when there was no reason in the thing? Who can patiently bear the Yoke of such [Page 144] a God, as does impose his com­mands only Pro imperio, and in­flict his punishments only Pro ar­bitrio, only to shew his Autho­rity?

But such is not the God whom we serve; All his Laws are the products of his Wisdom and In­finite understanding, and not im­posed upon his Creatures till his own goodness and the good of the Creature was first consulted: All his Providences are the re­sult of Infinite Love and Benig­nity, and carried on by the Eter­nal Laws of Righteousness. If you would therefore possess your souls in patience, labour to purge your minds from imbittering thoughts of God, as if he did seek to get a name and make himself famous by the suffering of his Creatures, or were pleased [Page 145] with the sighs and groans which his Almighty severity can extort from those whom he hath a mind to make miserable. Be ye veri­ly perswaded that the Will of God, however absolute and un­limited it is, doth alwaies pro­ceed according to the Eternal Rules of goodness and righteous­ness: And this will heal your spirits of all fretfulness, and re­concile your minds not only to those Laws and Institutions of his, which seem to be most Ar­bitrary, but also to those Provi­dences which seem to be most se­vere or unequal.

By a like mistake we are apt to ascribe Passion to God, and to represent him to our selves as if he were all in a rage and ve­ry angry, when he afflicts us. Which Notion destroies all that [Page 146] chearful acquiescence under his hand, and that quiet and friend­ly conversing with his Providence which we ought to maintain; and so an imaginary wrath in God begets a real rage in our peevish and inpotent minds. When as indeed the nature of God is as free from Anger, Hatred, Re­venge, and all the passions of our minds, as it is from Hands, or Eyes, or Feet, or any of the Members of our Bodies. God is good and doth good, saies our Psalmist, Psal. 119. 68. God is Love, saies the beloved Apostle again and again, 1 Joh. 4. 8, 16. And there is nothing more certain, than that God would never af­flict his Creature, if some grea­ter good were not in view. He envies not his People any of their Ease, Peace, Health, Li­berty [Page 147] or other Enjoyments; but he loves them with a strong and Holy and Wise Affection, and therefore will Afflict them in these things whether they will or no, that he may bestow upon them some more substantial good. La­bour to converse with God in all his Providences, as with Wis­dom, Goodness, Righteousness and Love it self, and then you will not be weary of his Discipline, or peevishly affected towards any of his Dispensations. We are apt to cry out, Oh if we were but sure of the Love of God towards us in all our Afflictions, we could be then content and patient! Why, go you and possess your souls in patience, and get your Wills reconciled to the Provi­dences of God, Love him and de­light in him, and believe in him [Page 148] though he Afflict you never so sore, and then be assured that God loves you: for the Love and good Will of God, is not his giving the Creature, but it is the communication of himself, and his Divine Perfections to your Souls.

CHAP. III. A Second Cause assigned, viz. A misunderstanding of our true interest. This Explain­ed; Where the true interest of Souls is Stated, and the Cure prescribed in reference to this Cause of the Distemper. A third Cause assigned, viz. The want of a right discern­ing of Good and Evil. Where the nature of Good and Evil is Explained, and Direction given how to discern them by way of Cure.

2. ANother Cause of this di­stemper, is, A misunder­standing of our true interest. Alas how are we sunk into this body! How studious are we, and fond of the accommodations and conve­niencies of this animal life! What fears and jealousies, cares and con­trivances, what watchings, and prayings, and strivings, and all for the peace and welfare of the flesh! Certainly we judge our main interest to lie in the pre­serving, pleasuring, accommoda­ting of the body, and not of the soul: which wicked apprehension, as it destroies all true Religion, so particularly it breeds the di­stemper that I am speaking of. We are strangely fond of this Life, as miserable as it is, and [Page 151] of this body, as unsuitable as it is, and therefore are we so much offended with all things that are grievous and hurtful to the same; yea we are apt to fret against God himself, if he do not please and pamper them as much as we. It is a woful degeneracy that hath befallen the soul of man, which makes him mis-judge and mistake his main interest; the like mi­stake is not to be found in the whole World sure. I will not say with the Prophet, Pass ye over the Isles of Chittim, and send un­to Kedar, and see if there be such a thing; but indeed pass ye through the whole Creation, and visit all the particular beings that are there­in, and you shall not find such a thing; such a degeneracy as this is: you shall not find any Crea­ture that thus forgets it self, or [Page 152] thus mistakes its main intetest, al­though the same be no interest, in comparison of the concernment of an immortal soul. Be astonish­ed, O ye Heavens, at this mon­strous absurdity! The Fig-tree in Jonathan's Parable would not leave its sweetness, to go to be pro­moted over the Trees; but this no­ble plant of the Lord's planting, the rational soul, hath forsaken its interest and forgotten its proper sweetness, and renounced its own pleasure and felicity, to go serve its own servant, and study the in­terest of flesh and blood: To the service whereof it is so entirely de­voted, that God himself must be quarrelled with, if he use not this Dalilah kindly, if he offer to put it to any pain.

Be advised, I beseech you, there­fore to get a right understanding [Page 153] of your grand interest, and where it lies, in order to the healing of this distemper. Value your selves by your souls and not by your bodies, by your spiritual and not by your corporal state. Is that man happy, whose body and bo­dily concernments are all in a peace­ful and flourishing state, when in the mean time his soul is defiled, depraved, deformed, impoverished, and become more vile than the Dung upon the earth, and more wretched than the Beasts that pe­rish? How then can that man be judged miserable, whose nobler part is beautiful, healthful, rich, and prosperous, although his cor­poral and temporal estate be squa­lid, sordid, contemptible, and much afflicted? Our Saviour hath fully resolved this Question in the persons of Dives and Lazarus, [Page 154] Luk. 16. Live like souls, as much as may be, abstracted from the bo­dy, provide, take care for, view and visit your souls, value your selves happy or unhappy, accord­ing as it fares with your souls; and then you will find it more na­tural and easie for you to bear up patiently and chearfully under all the Storms that light upon your out­ward man.

3. The want of a right discern­ing of Good and Evil. This is somewhat akin to the former. Our souls are so sadly sunk into mat­ter, and so fondly inamoured of our bodies, that we are ready to judge of all things to be good or bad according as they accommodate or incommodate them; and so we come many times to put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter, Isa. 5. 20. This is certainly a proper [Page 155] and immediate cause of our flying from, groaning under, and hasten­ing out of Afflictions and Perse­cutions, because we judge them hurtful and evil to us. And why evil? Forsooth because they gall our backs, offend our senses, pinch and oppress our flesh. And is this indeed a right rule whereby to judge of the goodness or evilness of things? Nay, but if you would indeed possess your souls in pati­ence in the midst of bodily pres­sures, then exercise your spiritual senses to discern aright between Good and Evil, as the Apostle's phrase is, Heb. 5. ult. But how shall we thus discern; by what rule shall we judge them? Good is the rule whereby to judge of Evil, Rectum est Index obliqui: and then for created good, the na­ture of God the supreme good is [Page 156] the rule whereby to judge of that; Perfectum in suo genere est mensur a reliquorum. So then judge of all things by their relation that they bear to the nature of God, and the tendency that they have to make us partakers of it. And if we thus judge sincerely, we shall not be so much offended at those Providences that are forming us in­to a resemblance of Christ Jesus, nor be so hasty to run out of that Furnace that is refining us to be Vessels of Honour fit for our Ma­sters use. If David had at this time judged as discreetly, and dis­cerned as clearly, as afterwards he did, he would rather have wisht for the strength of an Ox to en­dure, than the wings of a Dove to escape these pressures; for in the up shot of all, when he had viewed and compared all together, and well [Page 157] recollected himself, he professed openly that he accounted it good for him that he met with such usage in the World, Psal. 119. 67, 71, 75. God is the supreme good; that is good for us that brings us nigh and makes us like unto him: and that is not only Prosperity (though indeed that ought to do it, and I hope often doth it) but even Adversity also, Heb. 12. 10. He chasteneth us for our profit, that we might be made partakers of his ho­liness.

CHAP. IV. The Fourth and last Cause assigned, viz. Selfishness. Self-love brief­ly touch'd upon. Self-will more largely described, with an earn­est advice to bend all our powers against this rebellious Giant.

THese Causes of this Distem­per are to be found in the understanding.

The Fourth and last Cause that I shall name is in the Will, and [Page 159] it is Selfishness. By this I mean two things, Self-love, and Self-will. By Self-love, in this place, I mean sensuality, or a judging of things by sense, which I have touched upon already; and an over high valuation of this meer earthly life, and the conveniencies thereof. Why are we so weary of Sickness, and so impatient under Persecution? Will it not come to this at length, because we are so afraid to die. There can be no farther end of the greatest Affli­ctions in this World, than the parting of soul and body: Is not this the worst that can come? It seems then that it is an immode­rate love of this wretched life that is the root of all these bitter fears and passions.

Labour therefore to be Crucified to the love of this natural life. [Page 160] There are many inconveniencies and miseries that do arise from this root, which I cannot now name; cer­tainly this distemper which I am speaking of is a very great one: For however you find David here la­bouring under it, yet elsewhere we find him earnestly labouring to be rid of it, Why art thou cast down, O my soul, and why art thou dis­quieted within me, &c. Psal. 42. 5, 12. 43. 5. He is troubled at his being troubled, and cannot with patience think how impati­ent he had been. Strike therefore at the root of this Distemper, la­bour to get your over-fond love and over-high valuation of this earthly life mortified. He will be able not only to endure, but even to contemn all Adversity, who hath once well learnt to contemn his own life. He cannot be in the [Page 161] power of any who hath death in his own power, saies Seneca: which admits of a good sense and agree­able to our Christian Divinity, though he did not mean it so.

The other branch of selfishness is Self-will: And this also is a pestilent disturber of the mind, and engages the soul in many quarrels against God. The understanding indeed may be mistaken, and the flesh may smart, and the Devil may tempt, but I think the proud, petulant, perverse Self-will is the Achan; the grand troubler of the soul: This is the Sea from whence arise all those Clouds and Storms that trouble the Earth and infest Heaven it self. If this were tho­roughly mortified, I dare say all the skill of earth, all the Magick of Hell, all the passions and pangs of the body could not make a cla­morous [Page 162] soul. This was the cause of Jonah's heat and rage, and de­sire of death, viz. because he might not have his own will. Yea, and it seems that Job's will was not molded into the Will of God, and that that was the cause of his im­patience; for his complaint is cal­led a contending with the Almigh­ty, and that by Job himself, Job. 40. 2.

I do earnestly advise you there­fore to bend all your strength against this rebellious Giant, and be daily begging more strength than yet you have. If you can overcome your own Wills, you need not fear being overcome by any Adversity: He that can deny himself, can do any thing. The Will of God is holy, pure and perfect, and indeed it is not only the duty, but the glory of man to comply with it freely and [Page 163] chearfully. What can be more Divine than a will according to God's Will, an Heart according to God's Heart? It was the commen­dation of David you know, yea it is the perfection of Angels. I have often observed with great de­light the excellent patience, and composure of David's spirit in the time of his flight from Absalom, which you will find recorded in 2 Sam. 15, and 16 Chap. and you may see that he possest his soul in so much patience by this means, by eying the absolute goodness of the Will of God, and resigning him­self thereunto, Chap. 15. 26. and Chap. 16. 10. The patience of our Lord and Saviour was much more admirable than his; and he was a person whose will was swal­lowed up in the Will of God, Luk. 22. 42. Not my will but thy Will be [Page 164] done. The time and matter, and manner, and measure of all your af­flictions are all ordered by a Will and Wisdom which is above, that is infinitely pure and perfect: O there­fore labour to get your wills recon­ciled to this Divine Will, and your hearts at all times overpowered and mastered with the sense of the infinite goodness and holiness thereof; and so shall you find all wrath and doubt­ings, all discontents and jealousies to die and wither away, and you will possess your souls in peace and glad­ness, in patience and serenity, in the midst of all your Afflictions.

I know several other causes might be brought of this distemper; but I conceive they are either such as are inferiour and less principal; or such as may be reduced to some of these that I have assigned. Therefore I pass on to the Improvement.

CHAP. V. The Improvement, by way of Con­cession, that there is an averse­ness in the humane nature from Afflictions which is purely na­tural: How it becomes sinful. Secondly, It is a greater distem­per when unlawful means are used for deliverance out of Adver­sity. Thirdly, An Exhortation to beware of this Disease, and to labour after a contrary tem­per. Which temper recommend­ed in three things. First, Pa­tience under the troubles of [Page 166] this life. This pressed with two or three weighty considera­tions. Secondly, Weariness of the Imperfections of life. Third­ly, Eager desires of Eternal rest. How to turn David's Rhetorick into Divinity.

AND here I will grant, that there is an averseness in the humane nature from Afflictions, and a desire of release from them, which is purely natural, which is not properly sinful as I conceive, no more than eating, or drinking, or sleeping is. But it easily be­comes sinful many waies; when it is not rightly ordered, directed and bounded by our wills, or when our wills do concur with the dis­orderliness and excess of it: And [Page 167] so it is when the averseness of the nature becomes impatience in the will, and desires in the appetite be­come turbulent passions in the higher powers of the Soul.

2. If impatience of troubles, and eager desires of rest from Ad­versity be a Distemper, then much worse is it when unlawful and in­direct means and courses are added thereunto: David indeed was ea­ger, over eager of deliverance; yet we do not find that he used unlawful waies to decline the rage of Saul, and to save his life, but he consulted with God and pray'd unto him, and so stood upon his own defence. The wings of a Dove are swift indeed, but they are honest and innocent. But what shall we say to them that take to themselves wings to escape, and that the wings of a Hawk or a [Page 168] Vulture, that deliver themselves by Injustice, Rapine, Murder and Deceit, that break the Snare by breaking Vows, and Oaths, and Promises; that care not if they swim through a Sea of Blood, so they may but get safe to Land; that to redeem their bodies will not stick to sacrifice their souls. David's indeed was a great distem­per, but this is a desperate and Devilish madness.

But that which I do principally infer, and most of all press from the consideration of David's di­stemper, is, that you would dili­gently endeavour to beware of the like: The infirmities of Saints are not recorded for our imitation, no nor to afford us a way of excusing our selves, but indeed for our cauti­on, and they will render us the more inexcusable, if we beware [Page 169] not that whereof we are so warn­ed. Now that you may be safe and sound from this distemper, labour to get a contrary temper. Three things therefore I exhort you to in opposition to this distem­per, to wit, Patience under trou­bles of this life, Impatience of the imperfections of this life, and eager desires of eternal rest.

1. Labour to be patient and during of the troubles of this life, and moderate your desires of de­liverance and rest from Adversi­ties. Think not much, nor think not long concerning any tryal, as if some strange thing, or some un­equal thing befell you: Labour to be mortified (as much as may be) to the sense of all bodily Afflictions, and moderated in the expectations of temporal delive­rance, in as much as the former [Page 170] is not properly your misery, nor can the latter of it self be your happiness. What an unseemly thing is it to hear Christians vent­ing all their passions, spending all their complaints upon their out­ward state, Oppressions, Injuries, Persecutions, and spending all their Prayers upon their fleshly interest, as if it were by that that they must live and be happy. Oh that the voice of this weeping might be heard no more amongst us! Was it not a childish thing in the Israelites to weep and whine after a little flesh? Do but read the story in Numb. 11. 4, 5, 6. and you will take it rather to be the puling of Children, than the complaint of men, and especi­ally the men of Israel. Wherein was the cry of the men of Israel after Corn, and other sensual ac­commodations, [Page 171] better than the howling of Dogs; to which it seems to be compared, Hos. 7. 14. Concerning this impatience of trou­ble, and eagerness after relief and ease, and rest; I need not say as our Saviour saies, Matth. 5. Do not even the Publicans the same; but do not even the Beasts the same? do not they groan under their burden? do not they long to be delivered from their pains and pressures, and restraints? And shall the longing of souls be no higher nor purer than those of a meer animal appetite? Shall the Pray­ers of the Sons of God be of no higher a strain than the Children of the Raven, which are said to cry unto God for meat, Job 38. ult. Set aside the elegancy of them, and all your groanings under Afflicti­on, and lusting after deliverance, [Page 172] are common to the beasts that pe­rish as well as you. And this may well be the first Motive to the du­ty which I exhort you to.

2. Consider that if you be thus weary of Affliction, and eager af­ter rest, you do▪ secretly find fault with a chief piece of God's dispen­sations in the World, and frustrate the ends which God hath in bring­ing tribulation upon the righteous. The exercise of Graces, such as Patience, Self-denial, Faithfulness, Courage, Constancy is the great end of God in all his afflictive Providences upon his people: and if we be so soon weary of them, and so importunately bent upon deliverance from them, how can this great design of Heaven be ful­filled? For can the Plaister work a Cure except it may be suffered to lie on?

[Page 173] 3. Consider that there is really more valour and true greatness of mind in enduring hardships pati­ently and constantly, than in all these fightings and contendings for God, which pass with many men for such a noble zeal. To dare to live in an unpleasant and bitter time, is much more magnanimous than to wish to die; and to endure the anguishes of life with an hum­ble patience and submissive spirit, is more Divine than to endeavour to escape them. This passive va­lour was the mighty courage of the Son of God, whereby he over­came all that was against him. How easie was it for him to have revenged himself upon all his ene­mies, by Legions of Angels, or Fire from Heaven? How easily could he have frown'd them all in­to their first nothing? But he gave [Page 174] his back to the smiter, and his cheeks to them that pull'd off the hair; he was dumb as a Sheep be­fore the Shearers: whereby he gave us an Example of the most admi­rable longanimity and magnanimi­ty too; and by enduring the Cross did perfectly vanquish all that Cru­cified him. We do mightily ad­mire the valiant Acts of David's Worthies, when we read how one slew eight hundred at one time; another resisted the whole Army of the Philistines, and slew many of them; another defended a piece of Ground from a whole Troop of Philistines, and slew them; another slew a Lion and two Lion-like men; another went down to an Egyp­tian Champion only with a Staff, and first spoil'd the Egyptian of his Spear, and then slew him with it. I will not disparage this valour of [Page 175] theirs; but I will affirm that Da­vid in his flight from Absalom ma­nifested a more excellent courage, than when he slew the great Phi­listine; and that the valour of these his Worthies in it self considered, is no more to be compared to the admirable Patience, Self-denial and submission of the Redeemer of the World, or to that of Moses, who was but one of his servants, than the passions of a Beast a [...]e to be compared unto the ingenuous re­solution of a rational soul. For such a kind of animal courage, fierceness and killing faculty, ma­ny of the Beasts of the Earth have as much, Adino, Eleazar, Shanimah, or Benaiah the son of Jehojadah, so much commended in the 2 Sam. 23. True valour consists not in the greatness of bones, but in the greatness of mind, not [Page 176] in strength of sinews but in strength of Grace, not in the fierceness and sightingness, but in the meekness and patience of disposition. That's not the true generousness of spirit which cannot brook injuries; but indeed that which can: That's not the true valiant mind which is re­solved, what ever comes of it, to have its own will; but that which most freely resigns it self to the Will of God. Quo minus quid sibi arrogat homo, eò evadit nobilior & divinior.

2. Instead of being weary of the Persecutions of life, be ye weary of the imperfections of life: Let the body of death, rather than the troubles of God, be the cause of your weariness and complaint, O wretch­ed man, &c. It is valour to en­dure patiently the Afflictions of the body; but to mourn under the [Page 177] infirm and imperfect condition of the soul, whilst it is embodied, is also devout and pious: yea to be content to spend an Eternity in such an imperfect state, and such an un­suitable body as this, were an ar­gument of a mind over sluggish and forgetful of its own bliss. And yet I cannot say, but that there is something of Religion in the souls patient induring of its imperfect condition in the body, because the Will of God is so.

3. Convert the animal appetites into Divine longings; instead of eagerness of rest from Adversity, be as eager as may be of Eternal Rest, of a state of perfection and glory. Let not the Beast be above the Man, the sensual appetite be stronger than the spiritual, let not David's thirsting after the waters of Bethlehem (2 Sam. 23.) nor [Page 178] the Bond-servant panting after the shadow (Job 7. 2.) condemn your lazy souls that have a more de­sirable object set before them. It is good to be a Horse-Leech here; suck in what you can of Eternal Life, and after all yet cry, Give, give. In a word then, to turn David's Rhetorick into Divinity; Instead of, Oh that I had wings like a Dove, cry ye, Oh that I had the Heart of Dove, chastly adhering to God, innocently be­having it self towards men, and patiently enduring injuries! In­stead of, Oh that he would give me wings like a Dove, that I might flye away, pray ye, Oh that one would give me the wings of Faith and Hope, that I might soar aloft in a disdain of Worldly Evils! The wings of the Ostrich that lifteth up her self on high, and [Page 179] scorneth the Horse and his Rider! Instead of the wings of a Dove to flye away and be at rest, wish rather, Oh that one would give me the wings of an Eagle, that I might flye away towards Heaven!


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